The Great Gatsby … reviewed by a kid.

The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels of all time. I’m not a pencil-necked critic – I don’t feel the need to defend it – and I am looking forward to going to the movie. Fortunately my oldest went the other night and texted me this hasty review:

“It’s a story with no good guys in it. Tom’s a cheating white supremacist pig. Daisy actually made me hate women and Gatsby, well Gatsby ain’t bad – but he says “old sport” too much and in the end his existence was sooo bleak you’re almost happy he’s dead”

So that’s how it looks to a teenager who has not yet read the book. (He is however, almost through everything Cormac McCarthy has written – He’s a big reader) Thus forewarned I’m going to go see it soon.

On the scale of literary/theater criticism today where Northrop Frye might be at the high end of the scale (criticism as analysis – a tool for understanding)  and youtube commentary at the bottom (typically “f*ck you you f*cking f*ck, you’re a f*cking n*zi”) I’d say the kid is edging more towards the former than the latter.

To me the novel has always been about loneliness – about not belonging even when you try hard to belong and even look – for a while – like you belong. But you don’t.

The movie will have it’s critics as the book does but it doesn’t matter to me – I give not a single gram of fuck what others think – I will go see it for myself.

My name is Steve and I beat on, boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past … special thanks to F. Scott Fitzgerald!

Writing: Marketing “Shirlena”

Back at Writing in the Works in Calgary in April I read from a heretofore unpublished short of mine called “Shirlena”. WITW asks specifically for works that have not yet appeared in print ( or online – this is “in the works” part of it) and audience response was really good – especially considering I have a whiny, tubercular voice, poor hygiene (aka I read in “smell-o-vision”) and – as my daddy used to say –  “a face made for radio”. 

I think it’s invaluable to have an opportunity to read in front of a live audience. The rhythym and flow of actual speech tells you how your work “reads” and you can tell from the expressions on the listener’s faces if they are “getting it” and what/where you are successful and what/where you need to improve the piece.

So today I am sending out “Shirlena”, an Oprah-esque and moving story about redemption and recovery (or something like that) involving a good man, a bad woman, a sweet sweet El Camino … and Satan.

As my friend and fellow writer Minkee says “it’s not doing anything just sitting on your hard drive”.

Another friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) said “Don’t be a pussy”. 

So out it goes. 

Wish me luck.

My name is Steve Passey and I write moving Oprah-esque fiction about redemption, recovery, and Satan.

Ok loyal readers (by which I mean “reader”) – I’m off to meet with my writer’s group.

Most writer’s dream of the day they can quit their day job and write full-time. It never happens ’cause writing don’t pay. So we grind away at our day jobs (Damn you theater seat cushions! Damn you!) and it makes us feel like whores – but not in the good way. However, this gives us something write about … and the world goes round and round.

Fortunately the Unband has a song for that

Rock on, writers.

Steve

Road Trip: Calgary Comic Con and Expo

As you know I am a faithful attendee of Calgary Comic Con and Expo and on April 27th I made my third trip in as many years. I took my oldest and his best friend (the drummer in his band) and my youngest so it was a regular hot dog cart headed up the #2.

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Check that pic out – this is how you start a road trip. I’m a Tim’s man from way back. Hot as hell, sweet as love, black as death. I actually don’t put any sugar or sweetener in it but it’s still sweet to me.

Highlights of the trip up:

Man, the stuff you hear when the kids are trapped in the car with you and just sort of forget that you are there.

  • “My cousin (name deleted) smoked a whole cigarette, then stole $100 from his dad’s wallet to go buy a slurpee. He runs around naked all the time too. That kid – he don’t give a fuck. He’s 5 now, turns 6 soon – then shit’s gonna get real”
  • “A girl in our school has chlamydia. She’s 18 though – a super senior. It’s to be expected.”
  • “My boss fake-fired me. He does this shit to everyone. He’s a drama major and does it with a straight face. Let’s fake beat him to death i.e stop when he’s crying and incontinent with fear and see how he laughs that shit off, the fucker!”
  • Farting and singing “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas …. isn’t that funny really.
  • “Have you sold any more stories?”

Ah shit. They remembered I was there.

In addition the three did a super job of the “Afternoon Delight” scene from Anchorman – the dialogue was spot on, the effects accurate to a fault, and their vocal harmonization … sublime.

Comic Con Highlights:

  • He’s still alive? Weird Al Yankovic.
  • British artist Simon Bisley had a sign up saying “Accepting donations for beer and hookers” and was drawing on spec for people on poster board with a felt pen. He chatted amiably the whole time. Super guy and a fantastic artist.
  • He’s still alive? John Rhys Davies
  • $9999 for an authentic “Orcrist” from WETW – $1300 more for the scabbard.
  • Best costume: A Minecraft Alice in Wonderland – how they pixel-ated the foam rubber mask I’ll never know. Sorry – I don’t have a pic.
  • He’s still alive: John Carpenter. Super short line up for Carpenter – one of the few “celebs” I’d want to meet but I’m not paying $40 for anyone’s autograph – not when it could go to Bisley’s beer and hooker fund.
  • Here’s a tip: Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Walk in Tattoo Shop – with a book of Celebrity Autographs so you could get your favorite celeb’s autograph on any part of your anatomy for evermore. More on that below.
  • Shorter than you would think: Casper van Diem (“Starship Troopers”) and Chris Sarandon (“Princess Bride”)
  • About as tall as you would think: Peter Dinklage.
  • Worst Costume: Tie – any of the Banes who might have been the biggest guy at their Saturday LAN parties with all the other guys who have never been to a gym but in real life are like Grandma’s feather bed: 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and soft as a downy chick. I did see one good one though.
  • Narrowly avoided disaster: A Wonder Woman who appeared to be about 5 ran into me from behind while talking on a cell phone.
  • Still makes me laugh every time: The Wanted: Schrodinger’s Cat. (Dead & Alive) tee shirts.
  • Hey! Good news!  My old Savage Sword of Conan comics that I paid $3.50 for new are now worth …. $5. Minimum!
  • I told you he was still alive: Stan Lee. I actually didn’t see him there – his sessions were at a different time than I was around.

All in all Comic Con was a lot of fun. I think the organizers learned from last year and entry/exit was tightly controlled but smooth. It was busy in there – no doubt – but you could move around and breathe.

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THIS. IS. SPART … Actually it’s a small boy in a helmet.

I love comics/graphics and for me the show is about cruising the artist’s aisles and the vendor stalls. I understand it’s TV and Film that brings in the bacon though. I don’t resent anyone selling their autograph but I personally won’t pay for one. As for getting someone’s autograph tattooed on me?

WTF?

I’d rather dry-shave my man parts with a rusty skate blade.

But if that’s your thing y’all go on and knock yourself out. (The autographs – not the dry-shaving.)

At any rate – I’m going to next year’s for sure!

That’s all for now folks – I’ll be back after I fight my evil clone to the death in an epic battle on the roof of an abandoned factory.

My name is Steve Passey and I write fiction.