crazy / depression / Pop Culture / writing

Embracing the Crazy

I can’t believe summer is almost over. Today is officially the last day of it for those of us who teach (Where did it go??). At any rate, I’ve done what I set out to do — wrote a shitty script for a TV pilot that will never see the light of day (awful character issues and plot holes), connected with some fabulous people, began a thoroughly detailed outline of book 2 (am more than halfway finished and hope to get it done before my classes start next week, def. before NaNoWriMo), attended my first book launch (for Jeff Strand’s Blister), continued editing entries for the antho…and little bits and pieces here and there. I just feel like I’d spent more time obsessing over things that don’t matter than working on things that do. I think I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time journaling like a heartsick teenager than I did being productive. Still, I accomplished more than I thought I would.

Little, nagging, emotional issues keep bugging the crap out of me though…

I’m still smarting over TWO friends having ghosted me (if “ghosted” is the correct tense) this summer (I don’t know WTF I did to deserve it), and I keep getting these raw, burning reminders of the man who broke my heart years ago (yes, he’s officially become the equivalent of a hemorrhoid that comes and goes).  With school starting up again, I need focus and a better attitude before I let the little things come at me.

Another alternative, however, is to just give in to the crazy and embrace it simply because it makes for fab material. In fact, two films came out a couple of weeks ago that strangely connected with me in their characters and those particular characters’ brand of crazy…

(WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead.)

CASE STUDY #1: Harley Quinn of Suicide Squad

MargotRobbieHarleyQuinn

Like the critics, I didn’t care for the messy Suicide Squad. There was a paper-thin plotline, the dialogue was atrocious, the editing left out SO much, there were too many characters tossed in to do anything with, the CGI was a joke, etc, etc. Also, I didn’t care for the way the female characters were presented and then treated. Even the squad’s puppetmaster, Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis), was a bit of a dud, hastily written as a cutthroat official who didn’t think ahead, the mark of an awfully irresponsible leader. Ms. Davis deserves far better material, thank you very much.

Harley Quinn (played with a mad, chirpy twinkle by Margot Robbie) was, by far, the most interesting character IMHO, but it was evident much of her backstory, like the others’, had been significantly cut, leaving viewers with the equivalent of a Stockholm Syndrome-giddy anime-sexpot character who’s more than happy to be pimped out by her psychotic lover. I’m well aware that Miss Quinn has had a richly controversial backstory, and some of that bleeds into the film, but I found her best moments in the movie — as few and far between they were — were of her chipper, gung-ho antics as the squad’s self-appointed, bat-wielding cheerleader and all-around gal pal. Even though this variant of Quinn wasn’t well-written, I confess that I held more than a little envy for her ability to just keep at ’em, even when her heart was momentarily broken. I hope the stand-alone film, should it come to fruition, has better writing, direction, and editing.

CASE STUDY #2: Sophie of Lights Out

lights-out-maria-bello-750x375-c

Lights Out is the feature-length horror film by David F. Sandberg loosely based on his short of the same title (see below). The feature itself centers on the themes of childhood obsessions, motherhood and madness. The story is fairly simple: Estranged twenty-something daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) is forced back into her mother’s life when she learns that her little brother is being tormented by the same violent ghost that had tormented her as a child and had caused her mother  (Maria Bello) to succumb to her manic depression.

Bello portrays raw and wounded so believably, it’s hard not to feel her pain. The character of Sophie, while not at the front and center of the film (it’s Rebecca’s journey, really), is gripping. She’s probably one of the most dangerous mothers onscreen in all of her madness, for she wants so desperately for her son to accept the jealous spectre who’s latched onto her as a part of the family.

It’s that very nature of obsession within friendships that I connected with the most in the film. The ghost, Diana, represents that sort of obsession, essentially packaged as a tightly bound friendship she once had with Sophie when they were children locked away in a mental institution.

Me and my ghosting issues with friends and lost loves…I feel a little Diana-ish, crazed and out of control, obsessive and damaged.

No matter, the feature-length Lights Out is a strong, little horror film with sympathetic characters and comfortably creepy tropes. Highly recommended for horror buffs out there.

 

 

By the way, here’s the short  by Sandberg (Fair warning: it’s pretty creepy):

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Embracing the Crazy

  1. Good luck starting back to school. Henry Miller said something cool about going crazy but since I no long have any of his books around I can only paraphrase. He said not to be afraid of falling into the pit because when you do you’ll find it is you. He thought it was a road to self-discovery. Having fallen in myself, I think he’s right, but I also don’t think it’s something I’d ever CHOOSE as a way to find myself. Shudder.

    As for being “ghosted” — I am in the process of “ghosting” and the reason is that the person is simply who she is and THAT is something I just don’t want to be around too much because it’s not good for me. There’s nothing to say; I’d have to say, “Be someone else, OK?” I still like her, don’t want to cut her off and I hope we don’t have a conversation about it. If that makes sense.

    Sounds to me like you had a productive summer in spite of the drag of emotional crap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes sense that you’d keep someone in your life because you care about her but that you’re now inclined to keep your distance. I also have some good acquaintances with whom I’ve developed a good rapport over the years, but as of recently (not coincidentally) since election season has hit, I’ve felt the need to distance myself from them. I don’t know about you, but I keep it on a “surface” level with them, choosing to talk to them about common cultural interests but nothing more than that…not anymore.

      Anyway, sorry it took awhile to respond. The school’s enrollment numbers have skyrocketed this term, and we’ve not even started (that’s on Monday). Not only that, we’re reeling from last term’s low retention numbers due to SB1720 here in Florida, so we’ve had to come up with possible solutions we could try out this year (with lots of data-collecting, as ever). What I’m trying to say is “I have a valid excuse for not focusing on my blog for the past few weeks.” Thanks for responding to the entry. I’ve been avidly reading your guest postings on what really goes on with writing once one has finished with a project (and wish you the best with The Brothers Path).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never particularly felt crazy … maybe because I’m not exactly sure what that means. I’ve felt low, and hurt and hurtful, and gloomy, but I can’t say that my sanity was ever fractured. You might feel “crazy” sometimes but I think you’re just a bit stronger than you might think;)…not a bad thing at all. I haven’t seen Lights Out yet, but I saw Suicide Squad, and to me the film just reeks of obvious studio interference. It’s almost like you can see the movie it was just below the surface, before reshoots and recutting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, you! Thanks for coming by! My own brand of crazy has more to do with obsession than anything else. After getting significantly hurt, I crave answers that I may never, ever receive, and I feel a desperate need to know them, even if they’re not what I want to hear (or read). It’s definitely one step beyond “closure” that most anyone with any sense of compassion identifies with (that step slips past that point and heads straight for Crazy Town).

      You’re so right about studio interference in Suicide Squad, which totally explains its slapdash editing and massive plot and character gaps. I read bits and pieces on what Ayers had filmed that had been cut due to WB’s freakout over Deadpool’s success. It seemed as if Suicide Squad would’ve played as a MUCH darker film, as it ought to have.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope that you get your answers. If not, I hope that you realize that sometimes people hurt other people for reasons even they don’t fully understand. Some are just that way, shitty as it can be. WB seems to be making a mess out of this DCU thing. They seem to be in too much of a hurry, and expect these marvel level box office returns. Marvel took the time to cultivate an audience. Meanwhile, wb/dc hasn’t even decided what their expanded universe is. And while he didn’t direct suicide squad, I have no clue why they keep using Zack Snyder. Batman v Superman was a mess and the man of steel was only marginally better.

        Liked by 1 person

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