Sunday, May 23, 2004

A day of work

Today was spent with my butt planted firmly in my chair and working on the staff issue of Rose & Thorn. As I'm going thru the whole thing and deciding where to put everyone's submissions, I was struck right between the eyes that these are editors and staff members, some of which I have known (sort of) for years and their writing leaves a lot to be desired. What really amazes me is that Her Italian Highness, the editor in chief, looked over and edited some of these and a lot was left undone. I know some editors have a problem editing a published writer's work, but I don't. If it's wrong, I don't care how many publications they have to their credit, it is wrong.

On top of everything else I have to balance, now I have to go back thru and re-edit everyone's work because I will not ask anyone to pay for an issue if it is not the best it can be. One editor on the staff called me today while I was in the thick of things whining about not having anything to put in the staff issue since I shot down her essay. "But it happened just that way," she protested. I don't care. It was slow, used too much passive voice, and not as funny as she thought it was. There were moments, but they were more like nano-moments and not really laugh your butt off moments. I mean, really. "But I had two pieces in the last staff issue," she reminded me. Yes, and they were all right, but nothing to write home about. Besides, how wrong can you go when you're doing a Christmas piece and trying to tug the heart strings at a time of year when everyone's heart strings are easily pulled? She ought to try standing up in front of a hostile audience to do stand-up comedy and then come talk to me about what is and isn't funny. With that tripe, she would have been pelted with rotten tomatoes.

Oh, well, I'm sure you're all tired of seeing me complain about another R&T problem, but this is my journal and what I would write in my paper journal any way.

On another note, I popped The Last Samurai into the DVD player and finished watching it. The movie was pretty good, especially the parts in the Samurai village. The war scenes were excellent and I liked the way Tom Cruise's character compared the last battle to Thermopylae (the Spartans against the Persians if you're not up on your ancient history), but I was a bit amazed that after all of that Cruise lived. I guess someone had to take Kasimoto's sword to the emperor, especially since that sword had been in the service of the emperors of Japan for 900 years. But I shouldn't give away the rest of the ending, except to say it hurt to see all those brave and honorable men mowed down by a gatling gun simply because Omoru, the man who wanted to get rid of Katsumoto, was afraid Katsumoto would kill him with his last breath. What a wimp. He kept screaming that Katsumoto had lost and should do the honorable thing and kill himself. I don't know if I would agree with that version of events. After all, 500 Samurai killed two regiments and nearly decimated a third before they died. Somehow I see that more as a victory for the Samurai than for Western technology and guns that kill indiscriminately.

Maybe I've read too much science fiction and fantasy because I believe you should see your enemy's eyes when you kill him. Killing a man from a distance, especially from hundreds of yards away, makes the killing too impersonal, too removed from reality. When you kill someone hand to hand, your life against theirs, it has a greater impact and you cannot divorce yourself from the reality of death.

Oh, well, I'll shut up now. I could be reading something interesting.

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