Point of View

I was home today with a sick Harry. We took the opportunity to watch the 5th and 6th Harry Potter movies.

It’s always interesting to  compare movies to the books on which they are based.  Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and sometimes it does.

My gut level thought on this question is that movies that accept that they are a different medium than the book are the ones that succeed in adaptation.  The Potter books are a great example of this because of the way they use the camera to move beyond what the character sees in a point of view to give the viewer more information.

A great example of this is the relationship between Harry and Ginny.  As much as the couples seemed to fall into somewhat predictable configurations, with Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione set up for some convenient double dates, the Harry/Ginny relationship seemed forced in the books.  In a way, its because of the point of view of the narrative.  By limiting the POV to that of a teenage boy, a notoriously clueless population, you lose out on the “what every one else sees” factor.

You lose the stolen looks in the background, the side conversations, and the general flirtations that some writing a teenage boy would not necessarily see even though the rest of the world does.  It’s actually very honest writing.

But the camera sees backgrounds, and that opens up a whole world of ways to clue the view into the building romantic tension between the characters.

I’ve had my own dealings with point of view.  I was quite a ways into the story I’ve been working on when I realize that I could not get to the ending I wanted with only one point of view.  The nature of the story called for a second POV to offset one character’s perception of the story.

There are probably whole textbooks on how a writer can properly handle POV in writing.  I think I’ve even written on the topic.  Still,  that’s the thought that’s been bouncing around in my head, and now it’s out and I’m ready to call it a night.

Good night folks.

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Ten Things I Love About March

Daylight savings time
St. Patrick’s Day
Spring starts
Little League practice starts
Only one day off from school
Better weather
Time for yardwork
Spring training
Becoming a basketball fan for a few weeks
Thoughts turn toward summer.

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Saturday: A Haiku

Busy Saturday
Had a fun dinner with friends
Almost missed my post.

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A Farewell to Leonard Nimoy

In 10th grade, on the first day of school, my home room teacher introduced himself and floated an idea for a club that he thought would be fun to start, a Star Trek Club.

 

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I would not have considered myself a Trekkie or Trekker at the time.  Of course I knew about Star Trek.  I watched The Next Generation pretty regularly.  I played Star Trek-based role-playing and board games. I knew the references, and I generally liked them.  But I wasn’t steeped in the culture.  I was more of a Star Wars kid, but without a VCR or cable or the expanded universe books, the franchise was in a state of dormancy.  I’d also discovered anime, mainly Robotech, but other titles that a friend had introduced me to.  I was most definitely part of the target audience for Star Trek, but I was really not a hard-core fan.

 

So, naturally, I joined the club.  And was elected captain. And introduced the club to the school at an assembly. And served for three terms before being term-limited and promoted to commodore.

 

In entering the world of Star Trek I discovered a vision of  a future where humanity had made it.  We’d made it out of the cold war and boldly ventured out to the stars on the wings of science and dreams. And yet, we had still maintained our humanity.  The bridge of the Enterprise was a revolutionary collection of heroes for the day.  You had a Russian serving with an American. You had an asian man and a black woman and of course Doctor McCoy. You had a 23rd century engineer who maintained his identity as a Scotsman. It was a picture of diversity before its time.

 

And there was Spock.  Spock was the emotional center of the show.  Half human and half vulcan, his story and his relationship with his shipmates, his struggle between his vulcan commitment to logic and reason and his passionate humanity was the story of humanity progressing into an age of science.  Spock was the meeting of heart and mind that made Star Trek stand out and last.

 

After all, if we explore the wonders of nature, whether on Earth of among the stars, well, we need science to understand what we encounter and survive said encounters.  We need our minds.  But we also need our hearts.  What profit is there for us as a species if we only see the world through the cold objective lens of science at the expense of the awe and wonder.  Yes, we need to be able to analyze the gases that make up Jupiter or the asteroids that make up Saturn’s rings, but we also need to be awed by their beauty, their wonder.  We can’t carry our minds into space while leaving our hearts on Earth.  We need both.

 

To me, that’s what Spock represented, and Leonard Nimoy brought him to life for nearly half a century.  He defined the conflicts in Spock’s personality, making the Vulcan one of science fiction’s most beloved characters.

 

It’s no longer news that the world lost Leonard Nimoy today.  Tributes from his friends, fans and colleagues have been criss-crossing the internet all day.  As for me, I think I’m going to remember a man who brought to life, in Spock a character that captured that perfect balance of head and heart that allowed Star Trek to have the inspirational impact that it did.

 

Space is not the final frontier.  The future is, but to boldly venture into that future, to explore that frontier, it will take that uniquely human marriage of head and heart that Nimoy brought to life in Spock.
As we mourn Leonard Nimoy, we can thank him for bringing to life a character that shows us those qualities that we need to employ in our future if we want humanity to live long and prosper.

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Well…

It was a true battle to get out of my comfy b
bed this morning.  Then I proceeded to pour my oatmeal into my coffee cup. Fortunately,  there was no coffee in it. That probably contributed to the problem in the first place.

So I’m going to bed early.

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On the Other Hand…

Last night I talked about one kind of nostalgia that I find…prickly.  There’s another type of nostalgia that I find kind of interesting, and more helpful.  I don’t have a handy internet meme to show you, but I’m sure you’ve seen or heard people who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s talking about how, by modern thinking we should never have survived our childhood, what with the lawn darts and iron playground equipment and the experience of kids being sent out by their parents with instructions to come home when the street lights come on.

Taken to a more serious level, we find a criticism that kids are being over parented and not given enough freedom to develop their independence. We see stories about parents facing CPS investigations for letting their elementary schoolers walk home or play in the park without them, and we see the rise of the free-range parenting movement.  

I’m sympathetic to, if not completely on board with this movement.  I look at my kids and where we live, and I think back to my childhood.  As our eldest, I’m going to focus on Harry here.  He’s about to turn 9.  I’m certain that by the end of this summer he will be chomping at the bit to take his bike beyond our little cul de sac.  He has friends living close by.  We live in the school’s “walking zone”.  He could get to the park without crossing a major street.  He would only have to cross one major street to reach school.

I also look back at my own childhood.  That summer after I turned 9, my friend Hector and I were playing baseball in the street and getting into all sorts of harmless mischief without direct adult supervision.  Were we perfect angels?  Of course not.  There was an incident involving a garden hose in the bathroom.  And of course there was the time I broke my foot jumping off a roof.  Okay, that’s not the best example, except it kind of is.  Yes, I did something stupid and got hurt, but I learned my lesson, paid the price, and moved on. I certainly never jumped off a roof, at any rate.

Am I a free range parent?  Probably not.  I think Harry  is close to being ready to roam and stretch his boundaries, but he’s not there yet.  The time is coming though…maybe this year, or the next, or, if early tests of the concept go poorly, in two or three years.

I guess that’s my point.  I know my kids.  I can’t think of better people to decide when they’re ready to sit in the car alone, or walk to a friend’s house or the park than Alissa and I.

So that’s where I come down.  As a parent, I want to know that the considered decisions that Alissa and I make about what our kids are ready to do when will be respected by our community as opposed to an overly-strict one size fits all government policy.  If we decide to let our kids out on their own, I don’t want to face prosecution for that decision.

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When I Was a Kid…

Have you seen those meme’s on Facebook that seem to be decrying the conveniences of this generation?

meme

Okay, it’s not explicitly a criticism, but the message I get from memes like this is that the digital generation has it easy compared to those of us who grew up in the analog world.  We had to read actual books or use an atlas or mail  letters.

I’ve even taken a tongue in cheek shot at the convenience of email and Skype compared to the hardship of a long distance relationship in the 80’s.

I get nostalgia,  but I find it ironic that memes critical of the cushiness of the digital world  appear on digital media.  Besides, didn’t our parents decry walkman’s (walkmen?) and ghetto blasters with nostalgia for the simplicity of transistor radios, which, in turn, their parents decried out of nostalgia for the technology?

Oh well, I guess I’ll look forward to decrying whatever my kids have that seems over the top compared to my childhood.

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