It’s the third Saturday of the month. Excuse me while I pass out, okay? [And I just started thinking about all the things I need to do and felt immediately sick to my stomach so let's go back to ignoring everything, shall we?] Today we have an awesome guest post from my pal Lynda. And in case you didn’t realize you can click on her name, you can check out her site here. … We’re so subtle, aren’t we.
So without further ado, heeeere’s Lynda the Guppy!
And I don’t have a closing, because she’s covered it with a great question.
Who Is Your Favorite?
As a reader with one of the largest book collections most of my family has ever seen, I’m often asked by family, friends, and strangers who is my favorite author? I always find that such a difficult question to answer.
Of course there are my all-time favorites such as Judith McNaught, Nora Roberts, and Linda Howard. There are lesser-known authors I glom like Sharon Sala, Suzanne Brockman, and Jill Shalvis. There are the Harlequin authors I’ve loved for years like Alison Leigh, Elda Minger*, and Jennifer Greene. I can’t forget the newer-to-me authors I’m currently stalking such as Maya Banks, HelenKay Dimon, Shannon Stacey, and Lauren Dane.
That’s just romance. Then there are the fiction authors, the nonfiction, the poets and children’s authors. How can I not include them in the list?
But what about other writers? What about the lyricists and scriptwriters? Shouldn’t they count as well? Some of the best writing I’ve seen has been from these types of writers. My two all-time favorite scriptwriters are Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin.
There’s Joss Whedon who wrote Buffy The Vampire Slayer (which dude! The complete series deluxe edition is only $69.96!), The Avengers and the innovative and surprisingly complex Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. I know. I can hear you laughing now. Really? Buffy and Dr. Horrible? But yes. The guy who wrote those is one of my favorite writers. Once you’ve seen Buffy all the way through from the beginning, go back and watch again. You’ll see how he layered all the subtle bits of storytelling. He is a genius at adding small pieces here and there which, if you were paying attention, would have shown you what he was up to. (Spoiler alert: Everyone you love dies. It’s not fair, but it’s what he does.)
How can you not admire a writer who writes these Dr. Horrible lyrics for do-gooder Penny:
Look around, we’re living with the lost and found
Just when you feel you’ve almost drowned
You find yourself on solid ground.
And you believe there’s good in everybody’s heart.
Keep it safe and sound.
With hope you can do your part
To turn a life around.
I cannot believe my eyes!
Is the world finally growing wise?
Because it seems to mean some kind of harmony
Is on the rise.
And sung in counterpoint is the Anti-Hero, Dr. Horrible:
Anyone with half a brain
Could spend their whole life howling in pain.
But the dark is everywhere
and Penny doesn’t seem to care
That soon the dark in me is all that will remain.
Listen close to everybody’s heart,
and hear that breaking sound.
Hopes and dreams are shattering apart
and crashing to the ground.
I cannot believe my eyes
how the world’s filled with filth and lies,
But it’s plain to see evil inside of me
Is on the rise.
All he wants is for Penny to notice him, to see he’s screaming in pain, and if she just stopped trying to save the world and instead tried to help this one man, if she would just reach out even once, she could change her part of the world. Since Dr. Horrible’s portion is sung in counterpoint and much softer than Penny’s lyrics, you almost don’t notice them. You laugh at how silly Penny is, and how ridiculous Captain Hammer is when he sings about the “Deltoids of compassion and the abs of being kind,” but it’s not until you delve deeper into the more subtle lyrics where Joss shines and you see how there are so many layers to this simple, 45-minute musical.
Another favorite is Aaron Sorkin. Want to watch some of his best stuff? Try Sports Night or The West Wing or the current The Newsroom on HBO. I recently watched The West Wing, and what amazed me was how the politics of the show is still so current. I’m not sure if I should be impressed at how well the series has stood up over time or depressed at how we’re still fighting the same battles.
In an episode where the fictional President Bartlett is shot, Press Secretary CJ Cregg delivers this:
This is our fifth press briefing since midnight. Obviously, there’s one story that’s going to dominate news around the world for the next few days, and it would be easy to think that President Bartlet, Joshua Lyman, and Stephanie Abbott were the only victims of a gun crime last night. They weren’t.
Mark Davis and Sheila Evans of Philadelphia were killed by a gun last night. He was a biology teacher and she was a nursing student. Tina Bishop and Linda Larkin were killed with a gun last night. They were 12. There were 36 homicides last night. 480 sexual assaults, 3,411 robberies, 3,685 aggravated assaults, all at gunpoint.
And if anyone thinks those crimes could have been prevented if the victims themselves had been carrying guns, I’d only remind you that the President of the United States was shot last night while surrounded by the best trained armed guards in the history of the world. Back to the briefing.
See what I mean? Gun violence is still very much in the news. There was one day when I was re-watching the series on Netflix, there was an episode where there were riots in Egypt. Turned off Netflix and CNN was playing and they were talking about…riots in Egypt. I had a moment of unreality where I couldn’t remember which was the fictional show and which was a live news broadcast.
Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin are two totally different writers, and not the sort you usually think of when asked “who is your favorite writer?” With Aaron, dialogue is king while Joss is not afraid to leave things unsaid. One of my favorite episodes of Buffy, “Hush” has almost no dialogue. Watching a Sorkin show you think it’s all about how many words you can cram into each minute. He has his dramatic moments of silence, such as when Chief of Staff Leo goes to tell the President how his long-time secretary has been killed in a car crash. All you see is Leo walk down the colonnade and close the door to the Oval Office. Through the old, distorted glass you just see the two actors’ body language, there’s no dialogue, but you can practically write it yourself, Martin Sheen and John Spencer were both THAT brilliant in the scene.
So…who is YOUR favorite writer?
Lynda the Guppy aka Guest Blogger Guppy aka The Fish With Sticks
*What ever happened to Elda Minger? I LOVED her, but I haven’t seen anything new from her in years.