His Mistress's Eyebrow

A soliloquy from the desktop

Pixar’s 22 rules to phenomenal storytelling. Because who hasn’t wanted to tell an awesome story?

taken from: http://pbjpublishing.com/blog/2012/07/09/pixars-22-rules-to-phenomenal-storytelling-infographic/

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

New York City

Tuesday, June 19th New York City, New York Initial assessment: I am a Chinese-American straight female, and about as happy as I could ask for. I’ll be 20 in September. I’ve had 20 birthdays, 19 of which were pretty fantastic, or else I don’t remember. 5 Summer Olympics and 5 Winter Olympics have elapsed, and three US presidents have been in office. I am 5’ 3” and currently weigh 135 pounds, and have rather disliked my body since I was about 11. It has been approximately 21 hours since I last showered. I’m sitting in a café at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, waiting for a flight to Accra, Ghana, having passed 11 out of the roughly 12 hours of my layover. The JFK is less grand than I had imagined. Compared to the glittering concourses in Atlanta and San Francisco, it’s plain Jane Eyre. I made my rounds in about an hour. Honestly, the airport itself is pretty big, but the venues clustered according to departure gates, so it’s hard to experience the entire airport all at once. Anyway, I took a nap, bought some coffee, and took my malaria medication with a papery Panini and boarded a train into the city. I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens offer free admittance on Tuesdays. I liked the BBG. I liked reading the plaques with the plant names on them, even the common ones. How many times have I read about myrtle, aster, balm, nettle and foxglove? I never knew what they actually looked like until today. You might think I’m occupied too much with the names of things. But all language is names of things. Poets rearrange names-of-things that are pleasing together, like a florist for words. The next time you’re in Brooklyn on a Tuesday, if you can spare the time, visit the gardens for an hour or two. There is a Japanese garden worth strolling slowly, with a green pond containing friendly koi and lots of swimming turtles. I came back a little earlier than I thought was necessary, around 4:00, because I hate to feel rushed. It was a good thing too; security was packed and I waited in line for a full hour. Along the way, a man was stopping passers-by asking them for something- used MetroCards? And I had the pleasure of hearing a tan Australian man lean in and say, “Wot’s that, mate?” so I stayed near their party for as long as I could, hoping to hear them say more things. But I lost them after a while. So here I am. It’s so weird to think, in an hour, I’ll be in Africa.

“Homo sapiens doesn’t seem able to cut himself off at the supply end. He’s one of the few species that doesn’t limit reproduction in the face of dwindling resources. In other words - and up to a point, of course - the less we eat, the more we fuck.”

“How do you account for that?” said Jimmy.

“Imagination”, said Crake. “Men can imagine their own deaths, they can see them coming, and the mere thought of impending death acts like an aphrodisiac. A dog or a rabbit doesn’t behave like that. Take birds - in a lean season they cut down on the eggs, or they won’t mate at all. They put their energy into staying alive themselves until times get better. But human beings hope they can stick their souls into someone else, some new version of themselves, and live forever.

“As a species we’re doomed by hope, then?”

“You could call it hope. that, or desperation.”

“But we’re doomed without hope, as well,” said Jimmy.

“Only as individuals,” said Crake cheerfully.

—Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood (via jestry)

(Source: icognito)

"Unless you love, your life with flash by."

I saw Tree of Life today, which I thought was stunning. It’s… well I’d recommend it more but I don’t think I have that much pull over the Internet, so I won’t really bother trying to get you to see it. All I can say is that I came away with an image of life, nature, God, families, as they are…not the muddling, prevalent version of what they should be. 

I’ve got nothing to say about my life. So here’s one of the highlights from the conversation I had with my 14-year-old brother


him: oh yeah I wake up every morning at 6:00  to go swimming  I play gotta fly now in my head as I trudge to the bathroom8:18 PM it helps me feel better8:19 PM me: wat  link please? him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJmr5CKY73Mme: HARDCORE him: yeah!!!  time to drink some raw eggs!!!! me: HAHAHAHA  with baby chickens still in them!!! him: oh, I have a video for that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDwFdTsS30Q  don’t mess with the Zohan starring Rob schneider and Adam Sandler me: how are those washboard abs looking?   him: amorphous

And another one he sent me:

I watched a program earlier  It was “through the Wormhole” with Morgan Freeman  It was saying that time is an abstraction of the human mind  it was so…12:34 AM long  or was it?

Vid not related. But the girl in the opening (Yvette) did go to my school one year ahead of me. And it’s a nice melody.

So. Much. Shit. today.

I really don’t want to go into details. But toward the end of it there were several items of clothing I really wanted to wash. I mean, after cleaning up, not because of…jeez.

Incidentally, I felt very powerful standing there with latex gloves and a brand new bottle of Clorox disinfecting spray. And afterward…with a box full of acrid, skin-peeling, nose-burning Tide detergent.

I wonder if it’s human nature to want to kill every other living organism residing in a space with you. And to want to remove every trace of those who dwelt there before. As in: we have one of those OLD washers. The ones that let you lift the lid and peek in without a fuss, so you can see the suds foaming and churning at the dirty couch covers out of the closet, the flip-flops that have kicked over a beer can full of piss, the oven mitts encrusted with bits of lasagna from 1994…All of that filth, the used, the stained, disappearing into the hungry froth.

Burn, thou unclean raggery. Twist and shriek and be ravaged as thy microbial citizens in their Sodom of human sloughage dissolve into the foamy floodwaters of my wrath.

I’m taking a rest now. I’ve been meaning to finish The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest but I just realized that it’s very, very long. I’m on page 600 and it’s just starting to get good.

My housemates probably think I’m crazy for using a Dustbuster at 2:30 am. I’ve nothing really to say, having spent a glorious day paying homange to the idols Gluttony and Consumerism in Chinatown and on Newbury Street in Boston with some good friends of mine. And a nice fun-sized JP licks scoop of pistachio completed the afternoon nicely.

Came back in the rain to find H and M in the kitchen and a warm plate of Chinese-style pastries containing different things….like sugar, herbs, green onion and peanut butter; and a tub of well-prepared fried rice. Dinner was followed by Pulp Fiction and scoops of strawberry ice cream. An entire life spent like I spent today is probably not far from Nirvana….if Nirvana weighs 300 pounds and wallows through Forever 21 bags to get around the room.

I had a happy, uninteresting day. So I’ll share a more interesting-ish story. That I may continue tomorrow, since it’s getting late.


I got on the trolley Friday afternoon, having stayed late at work and….

ah, heck. Tomorrow it is.