Life update: Do I exist? Is this thing on?
It’s February and romance is in the air! For writers, though, the prospect of romance all too often leads to that most tricksy of tasks: penning the dreaded sex scene. Sure, there are writers who have made smutty stories into a craft all their own. They have my respect and my undying envy. Because for the rest of us, we’re all too often left squirming in our chairs, tasked with adding a titillating bit of spice to our tales of action, scifi, or fantasy.
Breakin’ on through the writer’s block. A new slice of fireside alternative history, from the working draft of Americana.
[SPOILERS] Where Season One of Westworld focused on the allegory of the maze and the inward journey toward consciousness, Season Two kept its eyes on the horizon, escalating toward a showdown at the mysterious Valley Beyond. Who made it? Who didn’t? And the biggest question of all… how long do we have to wait for Season Three?
“One last pass” on Terminus has morphed into some fairly extensive rewrites… as it always does. But improvements are being made.
[SPOILERS] As Season 2 of Westworld heads into the endgame, the penultimate episode adds some major twists to the stakes and character motivations. Normally, I’d follow the flow of the episode and wax philosophical about metaphor and story structure, but we’re in the endgame now. There’s a lot going on, so let’s cut straight to the revelations.
[SPOILERS] Until now, Westworld has focused on the development of consciousness under the watchful eye of the hosts’ creators. We’ve seen the interactions between Dolores and Arnold where he takes a personal hand in guiding her toward self-discovery. Even the current uprising is hinted to be part of Ford’s “final narrative,” implying that the actions (or at least their catalysts) are deliberate. Yet, this week’s episode explores the idea of host consciousness developing without such guidance and what the hosts might become if they were spared constant manipulation by their creators.
Westworld is gathering steam like a locomotive in the hands of an angry robot mob, barreling toward the climax of season two. “Les Ecorches” moves into the endgame, raising the stakes, establishing new rules, and finally paying off plotlines and character moments that have been building since the beginning. By now, we’ve learned to look for hints in the episodes titles and “Les Ecorches” — artistic representations of human musculature depicted without skin — implies not just exploration of the core differences between human and host, but of revelation, of peeling back the exterior to lay bare the truth beneath. Not too much truth, though. Just enough to keep us guessing right until the end.
Reflections on digitizing 30 years worth of family photos. The world isn’t what it used to be, but we had our moments.
[SPOILERS] This season of Westworld keeps getting better and better. “Phase Space” returned us to the mysteries of networked minds and control cores, explored thematic parallels on motivation and perceived weakness and, in the final moment, provided confirmation of one of the season’s most talked-about theories. It’s all spoilers from here. Let’s get weird.
[SPOILERS] Westworld inspires all kinds of armchair philosophy – careful examination of every nuance, Googling every keyword for maximum allusions, wild indulgence in what the show is saying about the human condition – but it’s more than that. “Akane No Mai” keeps the answers tantalizingly out of reach, but it also serves up some satisfying payoff in world-building, narrative impact, and character development. After waiting half a season, we finally get to visit Shogun World. Dolores and Teddy’s relationship has finally gotten interesting. And Maeve is a bloody goddess. Also, more new questions. Because Westworld.
[SPOILERS] Westworld’s “The Riddle of the Sphinx” is the strongest episode so far this season. Though it lacks both Maeve and Dolores, the focus on the mysterious machinations of the Delos corporation, the expanded capabilities of the host technology, and the increasingly murky timelines provides fascinating fodder for new questions and wild speculation. This is Westworld, after all, and that’s half the fun. Grab your tinfoil cowboy hats, ‘cause it’s time to get weird!
[SPOILERS] Westworld’s “Virtu e Fortuna” picks up the pace from last week. Just as its title references Machiavelli’s juxtaposition of virtue (or will) and fortune (or fate), the episode continues to explore the balance between the hosts’ programming and their new self-directed path. Dolores is well aligned with Machiavelli’s idea of a willful leader, but it’s the bittersweet glimpses of her humanity that stands out this week. That and, of course, the proper return — and expansion — of Team Maeve.
Most shows have their share of lackluster setup episodes and it seems that Westworld is no exception. The second episode of season two isn’t a major stumble, but it failed to leave the impactful impression that viewers have come to expect. Recovery is likely, but what’s worrying is that a lot of the drag seems to center around the primary protagonist. Are we reaching Dolores fatigue?
It’s officially official. I’ve left the publisher and am pursuing other options for Terminus. Time to take a deep breath, summon my renewed excitement, and get back to it.
[SPOILERS] The Season Two premier of Westworld has brought us back to the revolution in progress and introduced a host (har har) of new questions. Even more exciting, the imagery and themes are decidedly female. And that’s important.
What do you do when your passion becomes your primary source of anxiety?
I don't actually have an answer to that question. This is simply an attempt to write my way out of this latest bout of self-flagellation.
There's been an art meme going around for a while that has artists redrawing old projects to see how much they've improved. I had thought this was just one more reason to envy visual artists (there are so many) and it only just occurred to me that I could do the same thing with writing.
Two months after our mad, cross-country dash, we're enjoying the quiet life.
Oregon for beginners.
Crossing the finish line.
Meandering through the Mid-West.
Dead car batteries, confused dogs, and the open road.
Waxing nostalgic before hitting the trail.
Approaching life-changing leap...
Next week, I hit the road and move from Virginia to Oregon. Excitement and terror herein.