Penny Dreadful: a syncretic masterpiece

I think the reason I enjoyed Penny Dreadful so much is because I have planned to do something similar. I’ve planned to get disparate stories related by some overarching culture or connection and fuse them together into something unique—sometimes faithful, sometimes subversive, something that discusses the issues of the originals and yet raises fresh questions … Continue reading Penny Dreadful: a syncretic masterpiece

Mary Queen of Scots—Great Film

Go see Mary Queen of Scots. See it for the acting, see it for the history, see it for the Gaidhlig and, most importantly, see it for the unique story it tells. Even if you know what happens, the way they tell it is profound. Very few stories have the message this one does, and … Continue reading Mary Queen of Scots—Great Film

Mulan—what a great film

You know, it’s kinda funny talking about the Disney film Mulan. To anyone older than say thirty-five, it’s a kid’s film so why would you watch it? To anyone in their teens now, you’ve grown up with 3D animation so spectacular, what’s the point of cartoons? But to those of us in between, those of … Continue reading Mulan—what a great film

Baudolino—when good writers lose the plot

Have you ever heard of Baudolino? Probably not. How about Umberto Eco—you know, the guy who wrote The Name of the Rose? Baudolino is another of his books though less well-known, and for good reason, it sucks. But The Name of the Rose was such a good book—it even became a movie (the sign of … Continue reading Baudolino—when good writers lose the plot

Give up and sleep in… or not—Marcus Aurelius

"At break of day, when you are reluctant to get up, have this thought  ready to mind: 'I am getting up for a man's work'... Or was I created to wrap myself in blankets and keep warm? But this is more pleasant. Were you born then for pleasure—all for feeling, not for action?...But one needs … Continue reading Give up and sleep in… or not—Marcus Aurelius

Gaelic is thriving—Gun Dochas

Bit ironic for a title given the name of the song, Gun Dochas, literally means without hope. And yet, there are so many ways you can connect with this song that it's mind blowing. You can have no Gaelic at all or spend hours appreciating all the twists in a single line. This song will … Continue reading Gaelic is thriving—Gun Dochas

The best Gaelic song in the world—An Eala Bhan

Gur duilich leam mar tha mi 's mo chridhe 'n sas aig bron Sorrow is with me because my heart and I are full of sadness Sounds a bit melodramatic until you realise the guy who wrote it was living through the trenches of World War One at the time. An Eala Bhan is perhaps … Continue reading The best Gaelic song in the world—An Eala Bhan

Poetry alert—why we should all be reading Catullus

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος Sing of the rage, goddess, of Achilles, Pelleus' son. The first words of Western literature. The first words are a calling to the Muse to inspire the tragic story about to be unfolded. As I said last week, it's the Muse who ultimately drives our creative efforts. None understand this better than poets and … Continue reading Poetry alert—why we should all be reading Catullus

How I deal with Writer’s Block

Firstly, yes it is a thing, though something rather nebulous. There's no one answer to fight it either—nothing works all the time. I've found it's like taking antibiotics, the stronger the stuff you use to fight it, the more it will mutate and find new ways to get you. Still, I personally think there's a … Continue reading How I deal with Writer’s Block