Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012.08.29 — I Write Like William Shakespeare! & Jane Austen, Nabokov, Lovecraft, Twain, and...well, just about every Tom, Dick and Hairy

I write like
William Shakespeare

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Today I have decided to be completely self-serving, delusional and just a tad narcissistic with my blog. With the help of Meg Harris and her nice blog Blue Moon North East I stumbled into a bemusing claim from a 'writing' web site: through some sort of statistical analysis the web site's software will determine what famous writer your writing most closely resembles. So, for those of you who have read some of my verbiage and find such time-wasting amusing, I have supplied the list of writers that Analyze your writing claims my writing most resembles. I have put them in descending order of frequency that their software's chose a particular writer, followed by the number of times my writing emulated that writer's.

    1) H.P. Lovecraft −8
    2) David Foster Wallace −4
    3) Mark Twain −3
    4) Isaac Asimov −3
    5) James Joyce −2
    6) Arthur C. Clarke −2
    7) William Shakespeare −2
    8) Chuck Palahniuk −1
    9) Vladimir Nabokov −1
  10) Jane Austen −1
  11) Lewis Carroll −1
  12) Mario Puzo −1

Of course the site is a bit self-promotion for some additional software, but regardless, who wouldn't want to know that their hack drivel resembled the magniloquence of a Shaw, or Austen? You'll likely want to test out your own writing, and if you haven't found it already, the link is above, in the official notice that "I Write Like Shakespeare." I had enough fun at the site to willingly put its advertising in my blog. But I caution you, it is very addictive! As you can see, I wound up putting quite a lot of my writing in to be 'analyzied' because I wanted to test its consistency from one piece and style of writing to another; to test prose versus poetry. And the more I tested, the funnier were the results, as the listing suggests, until I wound up wasting an entire evening — before starting to post this blog!

In particular I had fun with my partial novel, The Wong Wedding. Each of the four chapters I've written compared to a different author, including Shakespeare (for Ch. 2). (I blush at that! LoL!). Ch. 1 was similar to David Foster Wallace, Ch. 3 Isaac Asimov, Ch. 4 H.P. Lovecraft. And for my own self-promotion, I have created links to some of my other writing that managed to emulate the famous, below.

To be honest, until this test I didn't even know of the existence of David Foster Wallace or Chuck Palahniuk. (Note to self: they are actually very famous.)

And I won't call it a fushigi, but recently Goodreads friend Al asked for a book recommendation for her class. I recommended Mark Twain.

"Gag. Mark Twain. I'd rather chew on glass than read his stuff." I laughed, and replied "I'm not a big fan, either, but Huckleberry Finn is interesting." I didn't add that I had, over the years, tried many times to force my Self to like his writing, but simply have been unable to do it. I've now given that up as a lost cause.)

Well, it turns that Life is just too too funny because one of my favourite pieces of writing, and one that Al found very enjoyable …
… was found to be like that of
Mark Twain's Writing

The story I wrote that emulated Mr. Twain
can be read @
Bilgewater in Heaven

Bilgewater assessed his situation. He realized that, if this was an example of a cat trying to commit suicide, he would need nine more tries before succeeding — the thought of which he found odious. He decided that escape was the only option, and so the battered and forlorn cat three-leggedly limped and dragged himself until after dusk, when he fell, exhausted and many miles away, at the stoop of a small and rather disgruntled looking Buddhist monastery which was hiding behind a shaggy hedge and a cracked and weed filled tarmac parking lot. He fell into an immediate and profound sleep.

Now, to complete my being completely self-serving in this blog, here are links to the writing I had 'analyzed' and the famous writer they supposedly most closely resemble, stylistically. It isn't complete because some of the writing I had analysed isn't linkable at this time. If masochistically curious, look through the feathered boxes below. You will see the famous writer I've managed to emulate in big green letters, followed by the link in small letters that will take you the writing that created this delusion. In blue is a short extract from the writing that was analyzed.

I've rationalized this blog as being a good buffet of my writing. Enjoy, if you can!

Something I wrote that is like
Jane Austen's Writing …
… can be read @ Elizabeth Strong: A Short Story

Elizabeth awoke. She thought it a good sign that in contrast to the sweat producing nightmares she'd been having almost every night for the past fortnight, last night's dreams had been quiet. From them remained feelings of peace and meaning despite all details of the dreams already having fled from memory.

Something I wrote that is like
H.P. Lovecraft's Writing …
… can be read @ Single Transferable Vote Nonsense: A Letter

As I read it, being unfamiliar with Spector’s writing, I expected a cogent argument given the prestige the Globe & Mail reportedly has. I was disappointed. I wasn’t able to finish reading the 2nd paragraph before finding him fear mongering in the most specious of ways. He says that of the commonwealth countries only (stupid?) Malta has it. An odd thing to say, and a bit misleading, as at least a part of Ireland has it, and it exists in non-commonwealth countries, including (maybe, given my weak memory), Austria. So, what’s his point here? That because no one else in our “special” group has it, it is a stupid way to go? Really, this isn’t even good fear mongering, let alone a sound argument.

Something I wrote that is like
Mario Puzo's Writing …
… can be read @ On the Self-Corrupting Nature of Electioneering

The failure of the parliamentary process due to corruption, and the eventual symptoms of that failure, begin with the electoral process itself: by its structure, the process of getting elected populates parliament with tainted goods, regardless the integrity and honesty and goodness of the individuals entering the electioneering forum. There are three endemically malevolent aspects of any electoral process built around electioneering. They are: the roles of money, good intentions and power.

Something I wrote that is like
David Foster Wallace's Writing …
… can be read @ You Have Failed Democracy: A Letter to the Editor

Shame on you all. You have failed democracy, and with it democracy is failing. ... As [Fazil] Mihlar has pointed out, the TWU’s history affords the critic plenty of truth-based ammunition – lying is not required. But when deservedly pilloried, it is a truthfully informed population that can decide for itself the value to be ascribed to the opinions printed. If I do not see some signs of at least journalistic integrity, let alone moral integrity, from Mihlar and The Sun derived from honesty, disinterest, and a respect for law and democracy, I will seek legal advice with regards to launching a libel suit.

Something I wrote that is like
Lewis Carroll's Writing …
… can be read @ The Traumatized Cat — A Mini-Play

Neve: I don't understand why Ralph seems concerned about his situation.
Professor: I don't understand.
Neve: I know.
Professor: Huh?
Neve: Yup, a rather strange cat, that cat Ralph. Not a cool cat at all.
Professor: Huh?
Neve: I understand that his having regurgitated a living mouse could be unsettling — given that he is a cat. I mean, it is not hard to see that such an upchuck could give a cat an existential cataclysm. [Starts to laugh.] And, of course, there is the fear of what that mouse was up to in his stomach before he was expelled. [Continues laughing.]
Professor: What are you laughing at?
Neve: [Pauses her laughter to look at him. Then laughs even harder.]
Professor: What? [Pause to stare at her while she laughs.] What?!
Neve: [When she stops laughing.] Have we met?
Professor: Of course we have!
Neve: Are you sure? I don't remember…
Professor: [His face turns red in embarrassment.] We had a long talk in one of Guy's plays.
Neve: [She looks at him blankly. Shakes her head slowly, but not definitively. Then shrugs.] I guess it wasn't that good for me, then. Glad it was good for you, though.

Something I wrote that is like
Mark Twain's Writing …
… can be read @ Pandora Muses on Couple Arguments — A Mini-Play

Guy: Why do couples argue?
[No one says anything, they just look at Guy. He is completely oblivious to having broken an unspoken protocol. Pandora is pleased, however, but remains impassive.]
Pandora: What is this? [She looks around.] Surely all of you here must have something to say about that! [She laughs. The others giggle nervously.]
Guy: What? What's so funny?
Sophia: [Hisses loudly.] Don't you know? We are sworn to silence, from morning to dusk. And, furthermore, most everyone here has taken a vow of celibacy. There is no arguing.
Guy: I don't believe that!
Sophia: What do you mean? We don't lie.
Guy: Of course you don't. Not here.
Sophia: Oh.
Guy: 'Oh' what?
Sophia: You're one of those.
Guy: Huh? That is kind of insulting.
Sophia: No, it isn't.
Guy: Yes, it is.
Sophia: No, it isn't!

Something I wrote that is like
Arthur C. Clarke's Writing …
… can be read @ Pandora Muses on the Muse Frank — A Mini-Play

Guy: [Knocks on the doorless door frame to Pandora's chamber. The knocking, which although done quietly, could still be heard throughout the main floor of the old house being used for Pandora's retreat centre.] Excuse me, Pandora. I apologize for the interruption, but you have received a request from someone who would like to speak with you.
Pandora: And what made this particular requestor important enough that you felt the need to interrupt my meditation?
Neve: [Before he can answer, Neve, who had run down the hall to catch up with Guy, interrupts him. Her face is red with embarrassment and frustration.] Guy! What are you doing interrupting Pandora!? You know the rules!
Guy: Define 'know.' I have read them — glanced at them, really, I guess. Aren't rules—
Neve: —meant to be understood and followed! And one of the important ones is to not interrupt the master during matins' meditation! [She turns to Pandora, and bows to her.] I am so sorry. This won't happen again! [She turns to Guy.] Well, what are you doing, standing there!? Get going, back to your spot.
Guy: [Doesn't move.]
Neve: [Is beginning to be visibly angry, and hisses] Guy! Get—
Pandora: Neve! [Her voice was quiet, but somehow the energy in it stopped Neve in mid-sentence. Her red face is now very red.]
Neve: Y-e-s?
Pandora: Is it not your assignment to train the newbies?
Neve: Yes. Of course. I am—
Pandora: —unable to follow the simple 'rule' that you keep the newbies in their seats during meditation.

Something I wrote that is like
H.P. Lovecraft's Writing …
… can be read @ Imperfect: A Short Story

Looking back I am no longer sure that my motives were simply to bask in his approval for my becoming creatively liberated, or to be simply carnally consumed by his spirit made flesh. I did love the flash in his eyes whenever a particular passion in art was discussed. Now, as I look back on it I wonder that my having aged did not bring at least some token of understanding, or even an iota less confusion. Or perhaps it is simply that youth misunderstands what real understanding is, and that is to expand from impossibility what can be true and untrue at the same time.

Something I wrote that is like
Isaac Asimov's Writing …
… can be read @ On The Myth of Man's Truth-Seeking Nature:
A Letter to an Editor

Dear Mr. Saunders:
Good try! But your investigation into the nature of truth was, while truthful, significantly incomplete in several ways. I was distracted enough by your arguments’ failures that I, instead of enjoying my ferry ride through the beautiful Georgia Straights, put pen to the margins and atop the story of the precocious Sri Lankan immigrants.

The first strong gut reaction I had was against Mr. Williams’s cited claim that the human “desire for truthfulness has led humans to believe that we ought question everything.” This is empirically not true and the worst idealization of human motivation I have seen in a long time! In fact it has been only the few that have significantly questioned anything, let alone everything.

Something I wrote that is like
David Foster Wallace's Writing …
… can be read @ Chapter 1 of The Wong Wedding: A Novel

But that was many years ago, and now, despite her ostentatious faith in God, the sight and smell of bird shit and unwashed masses was making Susan feel desperate. As was usual whenever Avis noticed Susan's unspoken but physically expressed anxiousness, he could only think that her agitation was less for the shitty state of their castle than it was a fear that God had meted out justice justly, and that Susan had been found wanting some unknown, yet to be discovered, or even completely missing, state of personal Christian mien. When he took the time to look at her hiding behind the omnipresent and well thumbed New Testament, Avis thought he could see the tracks of fear pinching into cracks her eyes and mouth.

Something I wrote that is like
William Shakespeare's Writing …
… can be read @ Chapter 2 of The Wong Wedding: A Novel

Sometime after midnight an unenlightened monk from the monastery, who was wandering around in his usual daze because of his chronic insomnia, stepped on Bilgewater and broke his other front leg. The tom's ear-piercing yowls startled the monk into the here and now, a place he hadn't been in many months because of his complete pre-occupation with his lack of enlightenment. The level of horror he felt when he falsely determined that he had broken two of the cat's legs was a significant measure of how far he had yet to go as a Buddhist, despite his fifteen committed, self-mortifying, effort-filled and celebrated celibate years. So it came to pass that, against the strenuous protestations of the Abbot who tersely cited one vague catastrophe after another, the unenlightened monk took Bilgewater in, set his legs and brought him back to health.

Something I wrote that is like
Isaac Asimov's Writing …
… can be read @ Chapter 3 of The Wong Wedding: A Novel

Somehow that uncontrolled micturition aligned with everything that she had done in the last twenty-four hours, to Joel, to Wong, to her mother. And to herself. She felt whole laying with a strawberry-chocolate masque and pee dampened panties, a studded collar, leather clothes and food-stained bra in the bed she'd made sordid with food and spit and champagne and the gagged and hog-tied Ng. She relaxed into life, into being alive for the first time inside her life. She wiggled her toes, and marvelled at the wonder of that, with the wonder she must have felt as an infant when first she knowingly wiggled her toes.

Something I wrote that is like
H.P. Lovecraft's Writing …
… can be read @ Chapter 4 of The Wong Wedding: A Novel

But as it turned out, even five years of being a cop had not brought J.J. closer to concluding whether or not the compiled contributions of the Shakespeares and Blakes and Bachs to the world outweighed the existence of the order and structure seeking Inquisition and all the other "Ultimate Solutions" tyrannies which have plagued the centuries. He slowed his chewing while rolling through his mind the pros and cons of the validity of holding a world view which saw life as brutal and short or benevolent and full. Like five years ago he eventually gave up this tainted grail quest. He wasn't going to be able to answer this age-old and apparently unanswerable question. Maybe the long and short of it is that life feeds upon itself, and the sun and rain fall equally on the good and the bad.

Something I wrote that is like
James Joyce's Writing …
… can be read @ Summer Love: A Sonnet

I came to this lonely place to be alone.
In my thoughts, what little thought I thought I thought,
This seemed the way to find how to atone
For dreams that I'd taken, stolen un-sought.

Something I wrote that is like
Vladimir Nabokov's Writing …
… can be read @ Everything Happens to Everybody: A Short Story

Jack pushed his heavy black rimmed glasses back up his nose, brushed off the remnants of potato chips, nuts and dried noodles off his shirt. He looked out the window. He could see reflected in the blinded window in the building across from his suite that the sky was greyed with dark and threatening clouds. They reminded him of Phil Connor, Murray's weatherman, weathering with dismay his being betrayed by snow filled clouds and his misplaced faith in his meteorological science. Jack laughed. 'Science,' he told the cat, 'thinks that the simplistic act of naming things is enough. Hah! The label of DNA is as explanatory to the why of life as is Allah, Buddha and Anne of Green Gables combined.' Jill had heard this cant many times before, and so continued to dream his little dream of Koi and catfish flicking their tails just out of reach beneath the surface of a sun drenched pond.

Something I wrote that is like
Chuck Palahniuk's Writing …
… can be read @ Whose Deja View: A Short Story

It was with uncomfortable familiarity that I sat down at my spot to sip a new drink, a caffè mocha. For reasons that will become clear I, for the first time in as long as I can remember, forwent my usual, my macha latté. And instead of having a white chocolate macadamia nut oversized cookie I chose the low-fat scone on which to nibble. I had hoped that my change would be enough to remake my fate, but as has happened every Thursday for the last three and a half months, the face I saw walking to sit in the table across from me was hers.

Something I wrote that is like
David Foster Wallace's Writing …
… can be read @ Why Are You False?: A Play in One Act

Jane: I lie because life is funny. I have heard it – life I mean – described as a kind of practical joke. And this imagery of life I love for many reasons, but mostly because it makes enduring the prating ideologues and other moralists espousing their bile, in this age of moralistic posturing, rather entertaining.
Moralist: [And uninvited guest, stands.] As an honest, and serious moralist, I take great offence to that! Morals are what the wise and good person uses to guide him or herself towards a moral, hence proper life! This makes the moralist the most –
Jane: [Laughing.] See what I mean? [Laughter increases.]
Moralist: – important philosophers and teachers! We moralists take what we do very seriously. [More laughter, louder.] I don't see why you people are laughing. In life, being able to distinguish between good and evil is extremely important! Just look to history to see what evils have been wrought because of moral ignorance!
Jane: [Trying not to laugh.] And this just proves my point, because in a way I agree with you! But not your rules-based solutions to the problem of good and evil, which Jung also condemns when he wrote that 'There is no morality without freedom.' You moralists have failed to see the trees for the forests of life because you don't trust the winds of true freedom blowing through their limbs!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012.08.21 — The Devil Wears Prada: A Ten Bulls Review

The Devil's in the Details, and She also Wears Prada.
M and Al, two people I respect in Goodreads, the book-biased social networking site, panned this movie. M was mostly ambivalent, seeing in it some positives, but finding it not to his taste. Al dissed it quite harshly. I was surprised, because I actually like it enough to have watched it more than once. On 2012.08.18, this is what we wrote:
Al: mm, I just experienced a fushigi moment. I walked downstairs and my mother was watching The Devil Wears Prada. Guy just mentioned that movie not long ago and then I walked back upstairs went back on GR and saw the book in my recommendations. How strange.
I hope the book is better than the movie.

I confess to enjoying The Devil Wears Prada movie. And not because it is a 'good' movie, because I doubt very much that it is. I enjoyed it in part because it is a guilty pleasure. And it is a guilty pleasure because it is in a very curious way, a western hyper-stylized version of The Ten Ox Herding Songs of Zen Buddhism, A.K.A The Ten Bulls! LoL! It's funny, I didn't think of that until I tried to figure out why it was I liked it.


The Devil Wears Prada isn’t my kind of movie, though I think it’s very well, and very expensively, done. I don’t feel that I know Andrea or Miranda or Emily much better at the end of the movie than I did at the beginning. The movie is loaded with atmosphere, a sense of place, but a kind I find offputting. The music in the movie is a complete turn-off for me—though I think it’s perfect for the movie.
And so it was that I began with a peculiar thought. What made that thought even more peculiar is that when I began to examine it more closely, it is actually a pretty strong link. Here is what I wrote:
Re Prada I find your comment interesting because you are correct and, I think, not. [I was going to make a quick and oh-so clever comment, but as I started writing it my ideas and connections continued to expand and multiply. So…]

Here's the Ox Herding Songs thing that I see in the movie:
Andy (played by Anne Hathaway) begins the journey with a strong identity of her place in the world. She (with the ostensibly masculine name) is a journalist, a documentarian of the 'real' world. And that real world demands she soil herself in the grime of money acquisition and its challenges to identity. When she is first faced with its challenge, she rejects it as being beneath her — her contempt for the fashion industry and those who profit from it. This is the first hypocrisy of Andy as the seeker of truth: her morals have given her the arrogance to be able to predetermine where the truth of the 'real' world can and cannot reside. This is an example of the classic Taoist problem of where the Tao does and does not reside: the mind, dazzled by its glittering truths and moral edicts, believes in demarcations and separations that do not in real reality really exist. [LoL at that sentence.]

Fortunately, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Her hypocrisy is challenged by Nigel (played by Stanley Tucci). 'You haven't tried, not really,' he tells her, 'so don't cry to me about how badly Miranda is treating you. If you want her respect, you need to respect your place here.' [That's a paraphrase, of course.] Slap! She is awakened to her hypocrisy, and moves into the fashion world fully. With skill and focus, she learns a new truth and rises to the top of the industry. But typical of all truth acquisition, she has in the process replaced her other truths with it without being aware of that change. Her other real world keeps reminding her of where she is from, and how far she has moved from it. She doesn't see it, so blind has she become to her new truth, which is to become fully one with the world — of fashion.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. This time from Miranda (played by Meryl Streep), who slaps Andy with the truth of her journey. And so Andy leaves that world, the 'real' world, and applies for a job at a 'real' magazine. LoL. This scene transforms Miranda from being a mere puppet in her world, to a fully aware participant. She doesn't change or grow, but with the end we become aware of her self-awareness. We may not agree with it, but she has made a conscious choice to be, to embrace, her nature. In fact, without that self-awareness she would not have been able to teach Andy in the end and return her to her self with enlightenment.

So, what we see in Andy is the journey of the young idealist, who leaves her ideals to join the grimy world, and then move back to her ideals, but now with the acquisition of real-world wisdom.

Emily (played by Emily Blunt) remains unchanged and, we see, largely without self-awareness. The hope that she will change is when Andy gives her the clothes without expectation of anything return. In Emily's world view, such 'exchanges' are unheard of because there are no free gifts. That is what I call planting a seed of doubt about the 'reality' of one's beliefs. Furthermore, the gift of clothes is a confirmation of Andy's spiritual growth: she is a part of the real world but apart from the real world at the same time.

I'll paraphrase and shorten the ten songs (or bulls as they are also known).

Here is the journey to one's Self:

   1) seeking for truth because of ignorance/hypocrisy;
   2) discovery of a path towards it (or a) truth;
   3) finding what you think is the truth because vision is too small to understand you haven't yet;
   4-7) struggle with that truth (Miranda/boyfriend, Emily/co-worker loyalty, etc.)
   8) Find the various faces of the truth.
   9) Rediscovery of self.
10) Return to the world.

Amusingly enough, even the name of the movie is a gesture towards this path: the devil is the archetypal energy of carnal physicality. The devil is what keeps us mired in the real world. And, it is only in embracing the physical world fully, that the truth of our spiritual connection to it can be made. The shoe is often a dream symbol of 'understanding' because it holds up our feet. It also represents the intellectual (man-made) separation or gap between our soles/souls and our being grounded in the real world. The shoe may epitomize the fashion world, and also the crippling of feminine (anima) understanding: highly stylized, expensive, hobbling and, if kept on too long, ultimately crippling.

Sorry to have gone on so long, but as soon as I started thinking about this, more and more of the ideas and connections came into my consciousness. And yikes! This sounds so pompous. Sorry about that.