Friday, 19 July 2013

Kuato Says, "Open Your Mind"

Kuato the Activist
This lasting image in the Total Recall movie, of Kuato telling the protagonist to "Open your mind", has stayed with me for years.

A baby-sized alien co-existing with a biped is an odd thing to be interested in. Before I read the original story by Philip K. Dick, I always thought that Kuato was a telling addition on the author's life, because Phil Dick was a twin to sister Jane, who died less than eight weeks after her birth, allegedly from an allergy to mother's milk. After I read the original story, there was nothing at all that involved Kuato, or anything that most of Total Recall has, in fact.

Reading the story, it seemed to be more thought oriented than what the movie portrayed. The protagonist was trying to figure out his past and present, his memories (were they accurate?) and thoughts; and the story was basically about a man trying to understand who he was, and who tried to not be defeated by his thoughts.

There is another example of a baby-sized creature in Phil Dick's work, a novel called Dr. Bloodmoney (1965). In this novel the baby is unborn, and from memory it is a twin that speaks through telepathy to a woman that has it inside her. Being a twin myself, I found this very disturbing and fascinating.

The scene in the Total Recall movie, where Kuato drums those three words into the protagonist's head over and over, was illuminating to say the least. As I saw the camera zooming through the depths of Mars, it triggered an idea that the mind can also open up when you perceive an expansive scene for a setting, be it a large world, an area of space (why not the entire universe) and even when an author views in his mind his novel in its entirety.

Friday, 10 May 2013

My Two Favourite Artists

I should say they are 2 of my many favorite artists. But what separates these two is the fact that they have a photographic memory (well, the kind of mind that can conjure images that can be perfectly executed, without years and years of practice). They are both savants in the field, I believe, and are able to create images that one would think were created through many years of experience.

Frank Frazetta and Mahmoud Farshchian.

Dark Kingdom 1976 by Frank Frazetta
Silver Warrior 1972, by Frank Frazetta

Injustice by Mahmoud Farshchian
Vanity by Mahmoud Farshchian

I was drawn to Frank Frazetta because my older brother used to buy and read comics like Maxx, Lobo, Dread, and Sandman, etc. The Lobo comics were drawn by the well known illustrator Simon Bisley, an obvious fan that had a keen interest in Frank Frazetta and his work.

Click here for a detailed account of Mahmoud Farshchian's life and works; and for Frank Frazetta, click here.

In posting this blog, I hope that those who aren't familiar with these two artists will check out their sites. It really is inspiring to observe how perfectly original and moving their work is. For instance, Frank was able to depict motion within the stillness of the scene, and Farshchian able to create dreamlike qualities (almost mirage-like) of beautiful colors and patterns that the eye moves over as though it were the surface of water.

Lewis Carroll and Ideas

If you have managed to read Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, I'd recommend purchasing the Penguin Classics copy below (ISBN 9780141439761), because this copy includes the original manuscript version called Alice's Adventures under Ground, complete with Lewis Carroll's own drawings.

The Child, Nonsense and Meaning.
It is also known that Carroll, in a letter to Tom Taylor of 10 June 1864, talks of his difficulties of finding a title for his "fairy-tale". This letter, along with a second about "Good English", and his discussion regarding names in Symbolic Logic (there really is a plethora of information regarding all his dealings with language that I simply cannot write here) I shall now talk of Lewis Carroll and his interpretation of how one obtains their ideas for writing.

One of his many mathematical works.

What I shall talk about is in regard to "ALICE" ON THE STAGE published by Carroll in The Theatre, April, 1887, which is in the Penguin edition mentioned above. This excerpt also has information that pertains to his characters (such as the White Rabbit, the Hatter, but particularly Alice), riddles, and thoughts about childhood in general.

In reference to the two books:

"In writing it out I added many fresh ideas, which seemed to grow of themselves upon the original stock; and many more added themselves when, years afterwards, I wrote it all over again for publication: but (this may interest some readers of "Alice" to know) every such idea and nearly every word of the dialogue, came of itself. Sometimes an idea comes at night, when I have had to get up and strike a light to note it down - sometimes when out on a lonely winter walk, when I have had to stop, and with half-frozen fingers jot down a few words which should keep the new-born idea from perishing - but whenever or however it comes, it comes of itself. I cannot set invention going like a clock, by any voluntary winding up: nor do I believe that any original writing (and what other writing is worth preserving?) was ever so produced. If you sit down, unimpassioned and uninspired, and tell yourself to write for so many hours, you will merely produce (at least I am sure I should merely produce) some of that article which fills, so far as I can judge, two-thirds of most magazines - most easy to write and most weary to read - men call it "padding," and it is to my mind one of the most detestable things in modern literature. "Alice" and the "Looking-Glass" are made up almost wholly of bits and scraps, single ideas which came of themselves. Poor they may have been; but at least they were the best I had to offer: and I can desire no higher praise to be written of me than the words of a Poet, written of a Poet,

"He gave the people of his best:
The worst he kept, the best he gave.""

As a writer myself, I glean what gold I can from the sand. I tend not to worry too much about remembering such information; I know that if it's interested me enough to remember it, it will stick. Idea's (at least I think) do involve some sort of problem solving on the part of a working story. I guess it's obvious that your mind is always on what you are currently writing - whether asleep or awake - and it is there, the ideas are coming to you and your decision making skills are on full speed (for me it is most effective at night), even though the problem solving aspect is long past the starting line.