Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We Three Kings Be Stealin' the Gold...


OK, this is not good. I have way, WAY too much to talk about today... I actually wrote out a list. My only issue now is which half of the list I'll have to put off for another day. I mean, I could write dozens of paragraphs of solid text right now... I'm in just that mood. But I guarantee, y'all would bail before long, and I would be writing for an audience of one... and even He might not make it through... so I will simply pick a place at random to start, sprinkle in a pic and video or two, and hope for the blessed.

I'm 120+ pages into the first Mistborn book (Brandon Sanderson) and I love it. It's night and day different from my experience with The Talisman, and I've been pondering why. I think I've boiled it down primarily to the undercurrent, or the feel, if you will. I noticed the Sanderson book has a similar "world in peril" scenario, typical of the genre, but it's handled with a levity and lightness that is at the same time rich and textured. There's an underlying feel of mischievous nose-thumbing by the characters toward the evil Lord Ruler's Empire, as well as by the author to the reader -- and to the fantasy genre itself. It is literally a joy to read, and discover the major players in what promises to be a terrific tale.

Contrast The Talisman, where reading it felt like I had a weight attached to... what? My soul? It was a dark and oppressive read, with characters that I didn't feel rang with any sort of authenticity, and as a result, it was hard to form any sort of bond with them. Oppressive is a good word for it, I think... I'm trying to come up with an analogy... I guess it would be like King pointing out a hilltop and saying, "You need to double-time it up that trail, and here, carry this backpack full of stones, too." As opposed to Sanderson, who pulls up on a dirtbike, saying "Get on, and hang on."

I guess I'm getting a little melodramatic, sorry. It's just really nice to find a writer that writes the way I want to write: fast, fun, rich, real. Even Patrick Rothfuss is different - and I loved the Rothfuss book - Pat's writing (in The Name of the Wind) is refined and polished, with beautiful language... reading his book is like eating a really nice, expensive meal. Sanderson is like eating a ton of your favorite food in the world...

OK, I've sufficiently gone overboard. Hard to imagine I could come to such conclusions after 120 pages of one book, eh? lol. Well, I have a book on writing called The First Five Pages that contends a book agent can tell all he needs to about an author by reading the first five pages of one of his/her novels. The book tells you all the things that book agents, writing coaches and editors look for from the beginning of a script that make or break it - it's actually a fascinating book about the craft.

OK, Picture/Video Break...

Eldest Daughter went shooting with her good friend Cole today. Cole's family got a new semi-automatic rifle of some kind (he told me, but I didn't write it down, so of course the info immediately evaporated from my brainpan)...

I came to confess. I was the second gunman on the grassy knoll...

She's been shooting more times than I have now... I'll have to fix that... here's video proof.

video

She's awesome.

A month or two ago, I read about a young man in the Air Force (named Colton Read) who's life dream was to serve his country. He went through the necessary training and was qualified and ready to ship out on his first deployment overseas. Before he headed out, he went into the hospital for a relatively routine surgery - something with his gall bladder, if memory serves. He was going to be in and out, recover, and then deploy with his unit. During the surgery, the doctor nicked his aortic valve, and didn't catch it until he'd lost a lot of blood. He wasn't a vascular surgeon, so he couldn't fix it himself. By the time they could get Read to a qualified heart surgeon, his life was saved, but the circulation had been lost to his legs, and when he woke up from the near-death surgery, his legs had been amputated.

The doctor admitted it was human error, but because of a long-standing law, Read can't sue... it's a law that was initially meant to protect the military against soldiers wounded in combat suing if medics in the field made an error in a field hospital. This guy's dream is over before it began, and there's no legal recourse. The doctor just shrugged his shoulders and walked off. Read will get a $1200/month military pension, and that's that.

I can't imagine a more heartbreaking, infuriating story. What get's me most about stories like this is that, for everyone outside his immediate circle, life goes on... a quick "that's awful," a shrug of the shoulders, and people quickly forget. I don't know if it's possible for it to be any other way... it's still maddening. Why did I choose to share this tonight? It rose to the surface of my brain while I was pondering other things, and I wrote it on my list, that's why. I still think of this guy now and then since I first read it, simmering that I can't do anything about it. I guess mentioning it here might result in a couple of you also occasionally remembering him and throwing a quick prayer up for him and his family.

Well, now that you are all also thoroughly depressed, I better hypocritically post a funny video to take your mind off of it.



But I have nothing to give you. My hands are empty.

Ahh, there we go! Now we can move on! O_o

I watched a couple more episodes of No Reservations tonight. Great show. I guess I'll drop another season into my Queue and get the discs.

I just wrote out two long sections on two different topics and then erased them in disgust. And now, I just feel like stopping. I'm sorry tonight's post was so odd... I guess I just need to read, hit the sack, regroup and hit it again tomorrow. So much stuff to talk about, I guess the weight of it all caused me to implode. I am done.

I hope to be back to my normal manic, flighty self tomorrow. Until then, remember, the only way to win this war is to be as nasty as the enemy.

10 comments:

Krista said...

Isn't Sanderson the Man? I'm so glad your enjoying him! Trust me Sanderson just gets better with every book and so does Mistborn. Seriously. Who's your favorite character so far? Mine was Kelsier, he's awesome! How are you liking the magic system, cool, eh? I can't wait until his new series comes out, The Way Of The Kings. Especially to see what new magic system he invents! That's my favorite thing about Sanderson, he never seizes to amaze when it comes to his unique, well thought out, and though-provoking magic systems. Anyway, I could go on forever about Sanderson and his books....

I have never shot a gun before and I don't know if I ever will but your daughter looks awesome shooting that huge gun! Wow, it's huge!

I will definitely be praying for Colton and his family. That truly is a sad story...thanks for sharing.

Very cool and funny video! LOL! Poor Dad couldn't believe what just happened.

Okay now onto movie quotes...

logankstewart said...

Man, that just makes me want to re-read Mistborn again. The writing style is great, the story is brilliant, and everything flows logically and perfect. Enjoy the rest of the series.

Pretty funny video, yet again.

Krista said...

"But I have nothing to give you. My hands are empty." - Little Women

"I came to confess. I was the second gunman on the grassy knoll..."- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

We Three Kings Be Stealin' the Gold...- Oh, oh, I know this one- Three Kings- LOL!

Lets see if I can find any in yesterdays post.

All the best!

havah said...

Sorry I'm getting to this so late, I've been sleeping at night. o_O

Really good analogies in your book comparisons there, Dave. I haven't read either book, and probably won't, but I get the feel of them none-the-less. Nicely done.

You know, it never ceases to amaze me that we're around the same age, and you have a daughter that age! I'm always surprised somehow. Anyway... Wish I could go shooting again sometime. There's just nothing like seeing all those nicely grouped holes in a target. :) Btw..."evaporated from my brainpan"? You do come up with some unique witticisms! *lol*

Stories like that one (Colton Read) burn me up. Guess we'll have to see if the news keeps tab on the story so we can too.

Aww...poor dad! *lol* And poor little girl...that's going to be one of those stories repeated every baseball season until she shuffles off this mortal coil.

Quote on the other.

David Wagner said...

15 points for Krista, and 5 for Havah!

On that video, I think that's a gut moment thing... I know a couple dads that would probably have immediate got pissed and maybe even have given the kid a swat, cameras or no. That he could so easily, immediately smile and laugh it off is a testament to his character, methinks...

Abbie said...

haha, oh man, that video has been on yahoo and msn and all over the place! lol, that is so cute though :) The dad had such a sweet smile without getting mad, what a good dad!!
lol, Chris is amazing :) Looks like she had a blast! no pun intended lol.

David Wagner said...

Krista: Sanderson rocks. I love the unique magic system he's employing, with the ingested metals. I like Kelsier and Vin both equally at this point. Good stuff. I heard a bit today about the magic system he's going to use in The Way of the Kings, and it sounds cool... I won't spoil the surprise for you if you don't want to... but he talks about it in the videos I linked to in Thursday's post.

Abbie: I should award bonus points for puns put in comments... that's a good idea, thanks!

Paula Titus said...

Colton Read - sad story. Sometimes I wonder if it's wise to make such long reaching plans for our lives and then build everything around that plan when things can be so completely altered in a nanosecond. God had different plans? Who knows.

Krista said...

David, for real I'll be looking forward to your review, and what your overall take of the book is.

Warbreaker's magic system is also one to marval at, as well as Elantris' magic system! For me, the hardest part of Sanderson's books to let go of are the magic systems. Both of these books are stand alone novels that I wish weren't!

Yeah, I've read about The Way of the Kings magic system, but it's not the same as reading and seeing how it works, is used, and such, you know.

The thing I like most about Sanderson is that he seems to be able to pop GREAT books out left and right and your not waiting Two Years for the next novel. That's an awesome quality to have when it comes to writing.... I'm sorry to say this but Rothfuss needs to get on the ball with The Wise Man's Fear(IMO)....It makes you wonder if he'll be able to top his first novel, and what will happen once it's finally out???

David Wagner said...

Rothfuss submitted his (monster) Book 2 manuscript to his editor(s) a couple months ago. That should be a good sign. Hopefully by next Summer, we'll have it in our greedy little hands to read... long before Martin's Book 5, I'm sure...