a Quick Movie Review : Joker

Alright. Here we go. Just saw the film and going to jot some thoughts down (note: though I’m finally posting this about a month after writing this).

No editor.

One time viewing.

Yes SPOILER ALERT

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2

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There’s a dance to the film, Joker.

Get it? Those of you who’ve seen the film?

A dance?

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Was that parallel a bit obnoxious?

That ultimately, even though you “get it”, the decisions made still feel a bit derivative and slightly awkward?

It’s as if I’m self-aware but not self-aware enough to see the big picture of what I’m doing.  Not able to see truly outside of myself.

And, obviously, that’s essentially what the movie felt like to me.

It reminded me of that ice cream shop in town.

They had weird flavors like pickle and jalapeno.

The idea was that they had goofy flavors.

The result was that they closed in a year.

So the question becomes clear:

What flavor did JOKER want to be?

As an acting piece for Joaquin Phoenix, it’s wonderful.

As a character piece as a film, it’s alright. But because it’s still ultimately tied to a comic book character, it ends up feeling forced and cheesy because it’s inevitably trying to explain and establish a well-known character.

There was an elegant dance that Christopher Nolan’s adaptation of the Joker character did that this film couldn’t. There was an understanding of give-and-take in Nolan’s vision and also an understanding of the film he was creating (and also a better understanding of the character and the appeals of the character. But that’s for another time).  There was a sense of relief to the breath of fresh air that Nolan’s writing brought that this film did quite the opposite of.

It shoved down my throat it’s own “cleverness” behind the “purposefully” blatant imagery and narrative until I chocked on it and died.

It believed that it exculpated itself by being self-evident that it’s the audience’s job to get the film.

We got it just fine. But it’s as if you imagined your highly promoted rated R rating was going to only be viewed by a bunch of ninth graders.

That Looney Tunes like ending was just the kick in my liver even though the film was, with all intent and purpose, going for my nuts. And as I’m groaning in pain on the ground—puking—the film didn’t even know why that kick worked. And it doesn’t care. It’s just happy that it did. It has faith that my nuts are right around my ribcage.

The thing is, even if we understand why we’re given every explanation for every quirk this famous comic book character has, that doesn’t mean it’s any less cliche or felt any less lazy and ridiculous.

Oh, he has a mental condition so he’s forced to laugh. I got it. 

Oh, he had a terrible parent and childhood. Of course, what self-respecting villain doesn’t. Check.

Oh, everything went wrong for him with his life choices until he became the villain. Right. Manifest that destiny, my friend. Check.

Ah, the whole plot seeming almost comically tragic is the point. How clever. That’s the joke. As if the tone of the film was any different, it’d be a black comedy.

WE GOT IT. HA.

But dare I say that the actual joke is that the film might have been cleverer, braver, and just better had it just gone strictly that route of being a comedy instead? Turn the whole film into a Wes Anderson-esque film or a Coen Brothers-esque film as if we’re experiencing the world as this mad man is experiencing it.

Just let us actually laugh and feel terrible about it.

When the tone of the film expects us to take it seriously, it forces us to observe it and take it in with a lens and stomach fitting that tone. So the at times beyond non-sensical and lazy plot points feel less justified and feel more half-assed.

And that feeling has a poignant exclamation near the end of the film when Joker, the character, himself doesn’t seem to know what the hell he is.

Is he a tragic man haunted by the demons beyond his control?

Or is he suddenly a political representation of an oppressed economic class in our society?

Why did that become a thing? Why was that necessary?

You were doing so well of carrying on your various plot points with some consistency. That was one decent thing you were doing in your writing.

Sure. The whole economic inequality and social turbulence serve as a backdrop but the whole character of Joker felt like he was developing into someone who was a victim of it but not really part of its evolution nor revolution—at least not by choice.

He was developing as someone whose madness and downfall into darkness was a machination of his own inner chaos. That the poverty was just one of many items on the long, screwed up list of what made his life go wrong. Especially by the way he seems to see it until that point in the film. Unaware of the greater effect he had on the Gotham’s economic revolt and generally uncaring of the revolution beyond the fact that it put him on the news.

Keeping that would have kept the character of Joker as a self-absorbed mad men who was like a sponge to his own psychosis and that ultimately led to his downfall. Which is what the movie was setting up the whole time.

His rise to becoming the leader of the disgruntled parts of society seemed like it should have been purely coincidental, accidental, and tragically—and unintentionally—opportunistic.

As if he was Forrest Gump who had different kinds of mental problems.

But that gets all thrown out the window in his surprisingly lucid rant about social inequality during his meltdown.

Fine. In some sense, the film could be trying to show us that as the “Joker”, Arthur (Joaquin Phoenix) finally got the courage to speak his mind and stand up to/for society. That as the “Joker” he actually sees things clearer.

But that still feels like an injustice to what the narrative was building towards.

And why is anyone in this universe taking Joker/Arthur seriously? How did the film justify that? Y’all were just laughing at this failed comedian days ago, brought him onto a talk show to mock him, and now after he commits a few murders on TV after going on a middle-schooler rant about societal injustice he suddenly inspires enough people to become the defacto figurehead and spark a revolt?

We’re just supposed to go, “yeah that’s how screwed up Gotham is”?

The pill is just too damn big, Morpheus. At least lubricate it first or give us a glass of water.

Again, this is probably due to the tone the film sets for itself that it’s asking for a higher standard from its audience than it’s ready to take on.

At this point, I should mention that I sound like I hated the film but I actually enjoyed a lot of it. The film is not without its merits.

I actually appreciated the poetic nature of Batman being born on the same day as the Joker. They built that up surprisingly well even when Bruce was a very minor character. To those who don’t know what Batman’s origin story is, the scene might have even been more poignant as they could see it as a boy losing his parents instead of seeing it as a famous comic book hero being born.

It was impressive that we got to see the full arc to the story of Thomas Wayne and those who are unfamiliar with the Batman lore could still appreciate the character for what he was in the film.

The way they balanced all the story arcs felt generally quite organic. That part of the writing was generally solid.

Not to mention, as I’m sure everyone has heard by now, there are breathtaking and captivating scenes and cinematography.

And Joaquin Phoenix did what Jared Leto wanted to do. Joaquin’s Joker felt so right as a version of the Joker and yet also added such meaningful flair of his own that his performance was as memorable as Heath Ledger’s performance in Christopher Nolan’s film. Unlike Jared Leto’s performance that felt like a teenager trying to do what he thinks makes the Joker cool and neat.

Leto’s performance felt like a parody of Ledger’s performance.

Phoenix’s performance felt like theater. It just felt like we were witnessing some good-ass acting and we were absorbed by it.

It’s unfortunate that this is another DC film that gets bogged down by not understanding its own tone and by trying to do too much without the finesse to pull it off.

But it’s also the second DC film that felt like a proper film experience (the other being Wonder Woman). However, I realized as I was watching it that I had a different opinion of the film if I was thinking of it as a Batman fan instead of just being a filmgoer. That review will be coming in the near future.

Thanks for reading you beautiful monsters.

Remember to eat your vegetables and Epstein didn’t kill himself.

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7.2 / 10



ARAMIRU OUT

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10 Quests to Write and then to Publish / General Steps from Writing to Publishing

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Quest 1: Decide if you’re Pantsing or Plotting

Have an idea.

Then choose:

Want to just start writing and figure out as you go? Pantsing!

Want to plan out every detail and then write? Plotting!

Quest complete.

 

Quest 2: Finish First Draft.

Figure out a writing schedule.

Stick to your writing schedule.

??? (usually sweat, tears, and self-hate)

Quest complete.

 

Quest 3: Don’t share your first draft.

Thinking about giving these out to beta readers? NO.

Thinking about querying agents? NO.

Thinking about having your dying grandmother read this? NO.

Quest complete.

 

Quest 4: Start your second draft.

Optional Sub-Quest: Give yourself some distance between you and your manuscript.

Read through your first draft.

Make the necessary corrections and changes.

Quest complete.

 

Quest 5: Repeat Quest 4 until you feel it’s ready.

Repeat Quest 4 until you feel it’s ready.

Quest complete.

 

Quest 6: Beta Readers

Find other heroes to join your quest.

Hopefully, they are those who you can trust to be honest with you and give you a variety of insights.

Tip: If they’re people you know, they should be people who are comfortable enough to call you a moron if the need arises and have strong enough bond with you to tell you to not waste any more time on your manuscript if it’s horseshit.

Listen to their judgments and insights.

Quest complete.

 

Quest 7: Another day, Another draft.

Compile all the notes you’ve gathered from your beta readers.

Make a new draft of your manuscript based on the notes.

Quest complete.

 

Quest 8: Choose your class.

Self-Publishing or Traditional

Class descriptions:

Self-Publishing:

High risk, high reward.

With all the freedom comes with it the burden of fugue

Even the risks are up to the players to decide depending on their goals and investment.

While it’s true that this can be a low-investment, non-pay-2-win class, most experienced players would say otherwise.

Or as Michael J. Sullivan, a notable self-published player, said recently to the question what if you don’t have a day job that you can balance to support this class,

“Marry rich.”

A personal note from the scribe of this quest is that he wished he had around 3500 USD to invest in his first book before starting out. 1500 USD minimum.

The general rules of thumbs are:

  1. Don’t expect to make much money.
  2. No one will find your book until you shove it into their hands.
  3. Write at least three before expecting a profit.

Traditional:

Relatively low risk but still grind-heavy.

The well-established, longest enduring class. That being the case, the progression for this class is clearly mapped out for those who want to go down this path.

Finish manuscript -> Get an Agent -> Get a Publisher.

While the steps seem simple, it can be a grueling and even a life-long task for many to complete the second step of this journey.

As in the name of this class, this is still what the most of the public traditionally consider as a writer and hence comes with it the prestige and network that most self-published authors will not be able to enjoy.

Even the upfront payment by the publisher is probably more money than most self-published authors will ever see with their work.

However, while it is a bragging-right of sorts, often the writers themselves will realize that the payoff of the class is more-or-less may be the same as most of their self-published authors in the long run—if not worse.

Not to mention that more often than not, most writers with publishers will not enjoy a lot of the luxuries that writers assume that they’d receive.

The general rules of thumb are:

  1. Don’t expect to make much money.
  2. No one will find your book until you shove it into their hands.
  3. Your manuscript should be at a point of you not being embarrassed if that gets leaked to the public before you start querying agents.

Quest Complete?

 

HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER!

 

“Hybrid Author”

Self-Pub, Trad, they do it all. Their success entirely in their hands.

No balance patch will be applied.

Tip: The author mentioned previously, Michael J. Sullivan, always shares his wealth of knowledge having experienced all three classes. 

Check out his Reddit Page here: /u/MichaelJSullivan

If that link is there, that means I got his permission to do so.

Quest 9: Do your class quests.

Self-Pub

  • Figure out your budget.
  • Figure out editing.
  • Figure out the cover art.
  • Figure out blurb.
  • Figure out marketing.
  • Figure out networking.
  • Figure out where to publish.
  • Figure out how to publish.
  • Figure out the circumstances of the publishing.
  • Figure out any legal matters that need to be resolved before publishing.
  • Publish?

Trad

  • Find your potential agents.
  • Query, Query, Query.
  • Sit.
  • Wait.
  • Found an agent!
  • Celebrate!
  • Sit.
  • Wait.

Quest Complete.

 

Quest 10: Do it all again.

Do it all again.

Do it all again.

Do it all again.

 


 

In my next blog post, I’ll probably go into what my experiences were like.

What I wish I’d have done differently.

And what I want to do in the future.

I’ve done something like that already in the past but given the years it has passed since then, I think it might offer a new insight.

ARAMIRU OUT

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Check it out HERE

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Writing Workshop: “How to write Characters with ‘X'” [X-Post from Reddit]

This is a post I’ve posted on Reddit recently that I thought I’d put on the blog as well for extra views because it got decently popular for archival reasons.

I’m definitely not recycling content.

In the end, I’ll add on additional thoughts I have regarding the topic.





 

Alright.

I’m hoping that showed up. You can click on it to see the discussions that ensued.

The reason I decided to write that post is clear. I don’t have any content right now for the blog that’s ready to ship and I need to drive traffic to keep the webpage alive. It’s like finding a dead rodent and tying some strings on it to make it move around as if it’s alive.

But it’s also clear that I wrote that because maybe it’s good to let some people know that writing requires some legwork at times.

It’s a creative endeavor.

You can do whatever the hell you want.

You can do it however the hell you want.

But others will have an opinion about it.

To the extent how much you care about that depends on your goals as the creator.

To the extent how much you want to shape their experience depends on your goals as the creator.

If you need to be factually accurate or have some honesty to the experience you’re trying to portray then maybe you need to do your homework.

We’ll make mistakes.

But it’s better to get a C+ than a F.

Unless you’re Asian.

Then you f$%cked up when you go home with a C+.

“Maybe you shouldn’t make a joke that stereotypes a certain racial group”

 

Maybe you should shut the f#$* up and learn to take a bad joke. Because life’s full of them and learning to differentiate malice from humor is probably a better way of accepting the world as the way it is, a more decent way to get along with others from all walks of life, trying to not be a control freak to fit the world to your narrative, and overall just keepin’ things more chill and fun.

What am I on about.

As Eminem once said…

WILL SMITH DON’T GOTTA CUSS IN HIS RAPS TO SELL RECORDS. WELL, I DO, SO FUCK HIM AND FUCK YOU TOO!

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I’m sure the world collectively cussed when we saw this. Including Mr. Smith.

ARAMIRU OUT

Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!

Check it out HERE

If you liked what you’ve read, make sure to click SUBSCRIBE or FOLLOW!
Twitter: @ASAramiru
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ASAramiru

 

P. S. I really like Will Smith.

Quickie – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

This is a Quickie.

Where I spill my thoughts almost right after seeing a film. Unedited, unresearched, and undeniably a bit lazy.

 

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It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a movie where I was so impressed and fascinated by the characters, the lore, the actors, and… still be so disappointed by it.

The movie is incredibly frustrating because it feels like they had everything to make a great movie except for having a decent screenplay.

In fact, the plot (perhaps also the fault of the director or the editor) was such a mess during the second act and the third act that it completely ruined the film for me because the story just became incoherent.

It’s like a really bad episode of Scooby-Doo with wizards, melodrama, with a hint of daytime soap opera.

Full disclosure:

Am I the biggest fan of Harry Potter?

No. I just grew up with it. Forced to read the first one to learn English. Then enjoyed the rest as I got older with my friends.

But I shouldn’t have to be a Potterhead or even a lore-buff to enjoy a film. And to be frank, I’m not sure how even the most fervent fans could call this a decent movie when they are actually honest with themselves.

There are parts of this movie that are just factually bad. Poor editing, forced exposition, nonsensical plot points, literal plot devices, throwaway fan service characters, and etc.

Maybe the problem was that the movie just wasn’t long enough at little over 2 hours. The movie feels like a supercut of a miniseries. It feels like it never had enough time to fully tell us the story. Characters are underdeveloped… or suddenly overdeveloped. During the third act of the film, there are terrible jump cuts and sequence of events that just makes the movie feels like its riddled with plot holes at best and movie just realizing the mess it’s in and not giving a flying witch’s f@#$ at worst.

That Asian character (I purposefully do not mention her name in kind with how much the film valued her) does nothing but look sad. She just walks around with the aura of teenage-Evanescence-depression and fannnnnserrrrvice.

Y’all thought her turning into a snake was a bad thing?

Y’all too sensitive.

Y’know what I’m offended by? Just badly written characters that end up being an accessory. Accessory to the plot. Accessory to the future plans of the filmmakers and the studio. It’s just a little ironic that she’s an Asian character that feels as if she was added to make the cast even more diverse but as the only real Asian representation, she’s essentially the handbag to the white male.

Again, I don’t think it’s a racial issue but a poor writing issue. And just a bit exasperated by the fact that movie was very much attempting to be diverse and feeling that it’s failing an aspect of that in the most ironic way of deducing a particular race and gender combination to what it tends to be in film and TV.

It’s a bit sad that I have to clarify that.

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Claudia Kim was definitely not wasted at all in this film.

And the worst part of it all?

Again.

I feel like this could have been a spectacular adventure of a film.

The film starts like a modern action flick with Grindelwald bustin’ out.

Grindelwald is a compelling villain at his core. His ideas present some natural questions and problems we all had with the series.

Newt is a great protagonist that also balances well with Grindelwald and the world around him.

I found Jacob and Queenie’s dilemma compelling (and disappointed that after the setup of their plot, the script essentially puts them on autopilot).

But there’s no real pay off to any of this.

And for the great “mystery” the film was building up?

It ends with a “Scooby-Doo” moment where everything just told. With a bunch of super convenient plot devices (some of them literal devices and some of them out of nowhere) that tries to explain overly complicated tangled web of scenarios.

I just…

*sigh*

Look, I was really enjoying the movie for the first 10~15 min of it so it was just that much more disappointing when the rest of it sucked so much.

I give it:

3.5/10

It felt like a screenwriter for films, not TV miniseries or a novelist, should have written this.

A case of perhaps a lawyer who shouldn’t have defended himself. I have no doubts that if Ms. J. K. Rowling could be a fantastic screenwriter eventually as she is an incredible storyteller.

But, for me, undoubtedly, even with all of its other problems, nothing really broke the film as much as the screenplay did.

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Very split about how Dumbledore developed in this film. Jude Law was great.

ARAMIRU OUT

Oh.

My Audiobook is coming out soon.

Be on the lookout for that announcement. 

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The Secret of NaNoWriMo, Writing, and Such

What?

What time is it?

Yeah, I’m sleeping out of my car! It’s great! Why? You want to fight about it?

You can shower in the rain.

You can eat with the pigeons.

And you can really feel the heart of the city when you sleep in their Wal-Mart’s parking lot.

What? No, I don’t know what date it is.

That’s literally the only downside of living out of my car.

No calendars.

NaNoWriMo?

320x486
Dealing with this handsome schmuck and his stupid events to promote literacy and the arts in the world again. Yeah, I know I’ve used this pic before.

Oh. Oh.

‘Tis the season!

‘Tis the season when all of us and our granddaddies are writing about mundane and over juiced writing tips, tricks, and unwarranted life advice for that sweet, sweet Internet traffic.

Because we are all successful, professional, knowledgeable writers who care about the youth and the other budding talents in the field.

STOP WRITING J. K. ROWLING.

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The Nefarious British witch who caused your book to not be picked up, for that movie deal to not be given to you, and why you’re now living as a struggling writer after your poor life choices. She’s the source of all of your problems.

WHY ARE THERE STILL HARRY POTTER MOVIES COMING OUT.

I DON’T CARE IF HARUMYONEE IS BLACK, LAOTIAN, OR GENDER CONFUSED.

DON’T YOU KNOW WE HAVE OUR OWN CHILDREN TO FEED? YES, I DON’T HAVE KIDS YET BUT I MIGHT IN THE FUTURE.

What?

That’s dated and unnecessarily socially charged references?

Hold on. Let me get in my best sweatpants and rain jacket to get to a McDonald’s for their free Wi-Fi.

Come on daddy’s gotta sparkle. Daddy’s gotta make a buck!

eh-hem!

Hi, I’m A. S. Aramiru and you may know me from my previous works such as:

and the latest hit:

As you can see, I’m a successful, professional, knowledgeable writer who’s qualified to give you some tips and tricks for this upcoming writing adventure. Something you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

Because I care about all of you fellow writers out there and especially you writers who’re just starting to create their first baby.

So, get your hot cup of water, tomato ketchup, the free pepper packet ready for a nice little soup for your writing soul.


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They wouldn’t give me pepper packets. I was already getting weird looks for asking for these and taking a bunch of pictures.

There’s a lot of tips that circulate amongst writers.

And to be honest you’ve probably heard them all already because they’re regurgitated and recycled over and over.

  • Just write.
  • Make a plot line.
  • Don’t get too attached to your first draft.
  • Take criticisms.
  • Etc.

And those are great tips. That’s why they’re regurgitated and recycled over and over. They derive from universal truth that can only improve your life:

  • Do your tasks.
  • Strategize your tasks.
  • Hone your skills.
  • Take in other perspectives.
  • Etcetera.

But there’s a great concern I’ve had lately when I see a lot of other want-to-be creators.

You see, my fellow thespians, scribes, and charlatans, it’s far too easy to see other people’s talent and work these days with Google, Youtube, Instagram, and etc.

And usually we only seee the end result.

But it’s rare to see the process. Especially, the honest portrayal of the process.

The most important part.

The ugliest part.

The part we all need to appreciate a lot more.

Because you hear about it, you imagine it, but it’ll always be a little romanticized in a lot of people’s minds even if they’ve struggled elsewhere before.

We assume it’ll be so much easier than it actually is. We have the confidence in our minds because we’ve seen others do it.

Why not me?

I bet it wasn’t that hard.

He’s just talented so I bet it was easy for him.

999,999 / 1,000,000 of the times, it wasn’t.

It was a fight. It was a personal war. It feels like an exaggeration but it’s not. The struggle will consume you.

But that’s what makes it awesome.

You see the sexy pic on Instagram.

sexy5
Fun note: I was naive and Googled “sexy animals”.

But what you didn’t see is the once skinny, fat, regular guy/gal, working their ass off in the gym, thinking about giving up more than once, sacrificing a lot of for-pleasure meals, paying for a lot of cycles, and taking a lot of pics until they got that perfect one to post.

You listen to that awesome song.

But what you don’t hear is the countless combination of notes that weren’t good enough to make the cut even though no one else would know the difference.

You read that next best seller novel.

But what you didn’t read is another one of these offensively cheesy parallel examples of what I’ve just reiterated twice already above.

Everyone wants to reach the summit but no one wants to do the climb.

No one wants to risk the time, the effort, and their lives. No one wants to feel that lack of oxygen, the burning muscles, and the sense of desperation that you may never make it to the top and maybe you won’t make it back home. I’m talking about writing still.

But there’s nothing more beautiful and important than the struggle.

When you make it, that’ll be the most powerful memory that you have of your journey. The pillars of what made the achievement memorable.

When you make it, it’d have been the most important part. The only part that you can really pass on to others for their benefit.

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From Vagabond by Takeshi Inoue. Chapter 109.

That’s the secret of NaNoWriMo. It gives you a way to appreciate the process and not just the end. I appreciate the event for making the goal the struggle. And I totally got the title of this blog off the SEO generator again but found this kickass way of just tying it all off in that #trending bow.

That’s why I make the big bucks.

Writing will suck at times.

You’ll get stuck.

You’ll hate what you’ve written.

You’ll regret the time and the effort you’ve spent.

And you’ll feel like you’ll never make it.

But as long as there’s a breath left in you, you can make it if you actually want it.

If you don’t want it, just move on.

Time’s finite. Do something worthwhile for you.

But at least start something. Start the struggle.

And then learn to embrace the struggle.

There’s really nothing else more worthwhile in life. Because it’s the crucial, and the not so secret, ingredient of what is worthwhile.

*sip*

I wonder if honey mustard packets will make good soup

*sip*

Did you guys like the clickbait title? It worked last time. The irony.

Haha, what kind of desperate scumbag would sell out like that, right? Just randomly insert things to boost visibility?

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I don’t like getting political in these blogs but I really have to say this. JFK did not deserve to be shot.

#bitcoin #CristianoRonaldo #Grindelwald #JohnGreen

Did I mention I have an audiobook coming out of the BOOK I’ve written so many years ago that I should have really written another one out by now?
Haha, I mean it’s not like selling out and calling himself out on it in a roundabout way makes anything better. So who would do that?

#ASAramiru #TaylorSwift #NaNoWriMo #SEO

Ok, I have to go now. McDonald employees say I have to at least buy something if I want to keep using their Wi-Fi.

*sip*

Time to put on my cardboard sign and get back to my imaginary car.

The sign reads:

“You think I’m joking, but most writers would live like this if they lived only off of their writing earnings”



Seriously. Don’t write for the money. Don’t plan on it to be your income. Unless you’re copywriting.

“Why can’t you just take a helicopter up to the summit?” – Editor

“Shut up.” – Me

ARAMIRU OUT (3, 2, 1, カモーン!)

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Short Story: The Devil & Me (Part 4)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3



19 Years and 7 months

 

Beelzebub.

Isn’t it funny?

The idea of love fascinates humans.

Love redefines joy.

Its end redefines pain.

…Isn’t it marvelous?

Maybe that’s why it fascinates you as well.

This inexplicable phenomenon they try to explain as a byproduct of their need to procreate.

But somehow they accept that we, the divine, must be able to love as well.

They have faith—faith—that even He loves them.

When was the last time that He put his loins into anyone?

Some of them say it’s more of a mystical occurrence of their human experience.

A little spark of magic and beyond in their minuscule presence in the endless time and space.

But why invite such vulnerability to their already fragile existence?

I find it all very amusing, Beelzebub.

And I find it very potent.

There is truly a before and an after to humans when it comes to their first true love and the first heartbreak.

Something they wish they’d never experience, and yet, something so profound that those who haven’t experienced it are at a sincere loss of what it means to be human.

Even their foulest have a moment of innocence when it comes to their first heartbreak.

And it is there—yes, there—where all of them can truly realize that life is unfair. 

A reality check.

There. Is. No. Magic.

‘Irreversible’ is real.

‘Impossible’ is real.

Something so beautiful is fleetingly ephemeral and yet its damages so eternal.

Not everyone will be involved in heinous violence like rape, murder, or war.

Not everyone will experience detrimental deprivations of neglect, starvation, or incapacity.

All of the other devastating, palpable consequences of free will.

But nearly all of them will experience their fellow human’s freedom to give their hearts and take it away.

∗∗∗

“Am I wrong, Beezebub?” Suzie softly asked with a moist voice.

∗∗∗

To walk away from the road the two had paved together.

The betrayal.

Falling into the pit of desperate denial that everything they had wasn’t meaningless.

∗∗∗

“I should just let him go, right?”

∗∗∗

But how could the road have meant anything if the destination itself disappeared?

Everything they’ve been working towards.

All they’ve been through.

Poof. Gone.

∗∗∗

Beelzebub stared out the window of Suzie’s apartment. Neglecting to acknowledge his brother’s words from beyond. Suzie’s roommates were out for the night. As if in a scene of a movie, it was pouring rain.

“Beelzebub,” Suzie sobbed sitting on her bed. “I wish… I wish… I never met him.”

He had seen her cry before. But never like this. Thick droplets of tears poured out of her eyes. Each droplets draining her.

There are mothers who’ve watched their children die.

Men who stared at their friends as they were drawing their last breaths.

A young woman experiencing heartbreak wasn’t something even close to being comparable.

“I…” Suzie choked on her words.

But the voice of his brother had a point. It was all too common. All too relatable. Palpable.

Never like this.

She’s never been like this.

Beelzebub let out a deep sigh.

Don’t deny of me this Beelzebub.

She’s mine as much as she is yours.

“…I love him,” Suzie confessed. “But I’m scared”

Don’t deny yourself of this.

“He messed up and I… I fucked up too. I feel like if I don’t stop him now… We won’t ever be okay. But… but… what if I lay it all out after what he’s done and he’s not worth it? What if we fight to make this work and it’s all just meaningless? Like, mom and dad?”

I know what you’re thinking you want to tell her.

She’s too young to know what real love is in the real world.

And she’s young enough to find someone else.

Someone she doesn’t have this kind of history with.

This kind of tarnish.

Something fresh.

“You’re worried that you’ll end up like your mom and dad?” Beelzebub asked without turning away from the window.

But let her pursue.

“I’m worried that I’m ripping my own heart apart over something I can just move on from!”

She’ll fail like most of them do.

And then we can show her the path. The right path.

“I can move on right?” Suzie asked. “This’ll just be another thing that happened in my life in a month. Maybe a year.”

Don’t. Let. This. Opportunity. Go.

“You’re right. You’re young,” Beelzebub told Suzie. “Your life hasn’t even begun yet. You’ll probably get over  this.”

…Beelzebub…

“Yeah,” Suzie seemed to understand what Beelzebub wanted to say. “Yeah.”

“There’ll probably be other guys. Other loves. Plenty of time for all that,” Beelzebub turned around and faced Suzie.

“So what’s there to lose?” Beelzebub smiled.

Instantaneously, Suzie darted out of her room. Ran down the stairs of her apartment. Like the movies, it was raining. And like the movies, she saw him standing in the rain unable to leave for the same reasons she was now standing behind him.

“Jay,” Suzie carefully called out his name.

She worried that perhaps the rain drowned out her voice and he’d walk away.

“Suzie,” He turned around in surprise. She was there getting more drenched by the second. His mind and emotions in too much of a chaos to express how happy and surprised he was to see her.

Suzie searched for words. Anger and doubt still lingered for a moment that felt like it was made of thin glass.

“I—”

“I love you,” He interrupted her. “I love you. And I… I want to make this work. I’m sorry. And I… I don’t want to be without you.”

The devil watched from Suzie’s room as she ran towards the young man to embrace him. They held each other in the rain under the street lamps. The world around them had stopped existing a long ago.

It was too much like the movies.

But sometimes.

People were allowed to have their movie moment.

A magical moment they’ll cherish. A near fantasy others may not believe. But the magic they’ll always have them believing in something beyond what’s there.

Because they were witnesses to it.

They’re the evidence of it.

And because it makes life just a little more than what it is.

The devil had disappeared by the time the two young lovers returned.

 

∗∗∗

 

“You did that?” Binkle asked Beelzebub in surprise as he handed Satan his bottle of dark lager.

“Why?” Satan questioned Beelzebub.

Satan decided to visit Beelzebub at The Center, Beelzebub’s bar in Hell, after their incident earlier with Suzie. He took the form of what a scotch whiskey and a dark lager would look like as a man from the 80s. The gruff man gave a piercing stare as he analyzed his brother.

“Why? Why? I did what I wanted and it happened to also be what you wanted. You know what you get when you complain even after getting what you want?” Beelzebub took a sip of his drink. Today was a drink that’s equal parts vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. It had a name that was perhaps a bit too on the nose for today’s occasion.

“You get to be Daddy’s least favorite. He’s always hated you.”

“Whatever the case,” Satan stood and raised his bottle. “Here’s to the young lovers. For its blossoming spring and its eventual winter.”

“Seriously. He’s always hated you,” Beelzebub raised his glass. “Y’know, for being a creep.”

Satan finished his bottle in one quick chug.

“And I’ve always found you painfully weak,” Satan placed the empty bottle on the table and the money to pay for it. “Painfully weak and unpleasurable. I’m sure you saw as I did what will happen. You did what’s coming to her as much as I. But don’t fret. It’ll all be for the best. Though I suppose I’m a bit confounded on exactly why you’re being more… nettlesome… than usual.”

“Oh, is it not obvious?” Beelzebub looked surprised. “It’s because of you. Hearing your voice makes me want to pray. Seeing you makes me want to get on my knees and tell Pops that I’m sorry. You’re welcome to free me of this misery at any time.”

Satan smiled. He gave a nod to Binkle, put on his hat, and whistled as he exited the bar.

“I’m surprised you let Satan have his way,” Binkle spoke soon as the door closed behind Satan.

“Love is a beautiful thing while it lasts,” Beelzebub answered as he continued to sip on his drink.

“I’m certain Satan foresaw something in the girl’s future where having this boy in her life will hurt her. Did you see otherwise?”

Beelzebub shook his head.

A person’s future was an uncertain thing. It’s a messy grid full of knots and every direction that only became more of a disarray as the person grew older. But certain choices have fewer detours and pathways than others. And some lead to dead ends.

“Oh,” Binkle froze for a moment. Caught by a surprise to his boss’s response though he was uncertain why. His boss was simply doing his duty.

“Alright then. I guess I should be expecting to see her here sometime,” Binkle smiled as he went on to make drinks for his other customers.

“Perhaps,” Beelzebub finished his cocktail. He stared at his empty glass. He remembered the rain. Not even all the raindrops he had seen this evening would amount to the souls he had seen come and go.

Who could possibly care for them all?

 



 

It took a long time to post this.

As always, I apologize for the delay.

The greatest concern with this chapter was regarding if it did appropriate enough job building momentum for the next chapter–the final chapter.

And I guess it’s there, in the final chapter, where I’ll actually discuss my thoughts on finishing this little what-was-supposed-to-be-a-simple-fun-side-project and what the actual process ended up being like.

Thank you always for reading.

See you all next time.

It’ll be sooner than later.

I know I always say that.

ARAMIRU OUT

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