April 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
SPOILER ALERT – If by some miracle you have not seen Grey’s Anatomy this week, or have not already heard what happened, STOP READING.
The internet was buzzin’ after Thursday night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. People were outraged that Shonda Rhimes not only decided to kill off yet another character from the show, but the beloved McDreamy himself!
Yes, I am a fan of the show and have watched it from the beginning, so certainly I am attached to these characters.
But let’s take a look at this just from a writing perspective. Was it smart to kill off one of the most popular characters of the show and one of the few remaining original characters at that?
While the episode was well written (although, not the best episode they ever had), and while it certainly created a buzz, in my humble opinion, I think it was a dumb move.
The show has been losing viewers over the last couple of years. We all know that it is drawing to an end – It has already been stated that they are planning on ending it after 2 more seasons. Wouldn’t you want to keep as many viewers as possible over your last 2 seasons?
Derek Shepherd earned the nickname “McDreamy” for a reason. He is written to appeal to women as the perfect guy. And women across the world love him for it. Many people have continued to watch the show mainly because of him. Now he’s gone.
Perhaps his storyline was done. Perhaps he just wanted out. It doesn’t matter the reason. Killing such a beloved character at this point in the series is not a smart move. There are plenty of other ways you could write him out that would leave it open for him to be back for the finale, or to still be part of the storyline without actually being on the show. Keeping it a little more open ended – whether if he ever appeared on the show again or not – would keep viewers watching. It would keep viewers happy.
Now, if Shonda didn’t already have the habit of killing off almost every character she wanted off the show, would my opinion on this be different?
I think it would. It would make Derek’s death much more shocking and traumatic. It would hit the viewer’s core even more. We wouldn’t be ready for it, and it would send us reeling. We would want to keep watching to see how Meredith would survive.
But since there have already been a ridiculous amount of deaths on this show, quite frankly, this wasn’t much of a surprise. Of course she would kill him off – she killed everyone else off (except Christina). Of course Meredith is going to survive and move on – she did with everyone else.
Was I upset Derek died? Sure, I love that character like everyone else. But did I have the ugly tears while watching it like I would have expected in other circumstances? Nope. I was fully expecting it, and I was quite annoyed. This show has proven that it has some fantastic writers. Some of the opening/ending narrations have been darn near genius in the past. So I KNOW they have good writers. So I KNOW they could have created a better storyline. So I was annoyed that they took the easy way and killed him just everyone else. Derek deserved better. The show deserved better.
Was the episode itself well written? Yes. Was it the best written episode I’ve seen from them? No.
It was a fitting way for McDreamy to die – a hero. I would expect nothing less. It was an interesting choice to have the great neurosurgeon’s brain being what ended up killing him. Nice move. It is within Meredith’s character to be strong and stoic like her mother. However, that said, I felt it was weird, especially considering the final song that was playing, that Meredith didn’t lay down next to him one last time. To hold him, as he always held her and supported her, while he passed away. That last part of the ending left me unsatisfied, and it seemed like there should have been a bit more than just hearing the great McDreamy’s last breath.
But that is just this one writer’s humble opinion. What did you think? Was it a fitting ending? Was it a smart or stupid move in the overall arch of the show’s story? Do you think viewers will still watch till the end of the show?
It certainly will be interesting to see how it ends up panning out….
April 26, 2015 § 1 Comment
The desire to travel is in my blood. For the majority of his career, my grandfather worked for an airline company and had the benefit of getting free airplane tickets anywhere the company flew. For my mother, childhood holidays were spent traveling, either throughout the United States or abroad. Both my grandfather and grandmother have been to every continent, except Antarctica, and all fifty states.
When I go to my grandparent’s house in Kansas City, Missouri, after a delicious home cooked meal, the evening entertainment often is an old fashioned slide show. My grandfather will hang a sheet, as my grandmother brings out the slide projector and flips through thirty years worth of photographs telling stories as she goes. Growing up, my parents instilled in my siblings and I the importance of jumping at every opportunity you have to travel. Throughout my childhood, whenever my dad would travel for work, we would go with him.
During my time at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Bath, England. Choosing to go abroad was the best decision of my college career. I had never been away from home for that long a period of time but I learned to be so much more independent and it was amazing to live somewhere that felt so different from home. While I was there, I was also able to travel throughout England, as well as to Greece and Spain.
Whether working or going to school or both, it’s important to have time that is stress free and different from our everyday routine. When you travel, you have time to get lost. You can forget the problems of home as you explore new cities, new cultures, new art and new foods. Traveling brings compassion and understanding as well as independence as you navigate your way through new, strange places and experiences. You can return home, revived, with a clear mind, and with new inspirations and insights.
Bill Bryson said, “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” I think that’s the most amazing thing about traveling: everyday things are new and extraordinary, every building is beautiful, kitschy souvenirs become treasures and each day holds endless possibility.
Photo Credit: Emilie Nadler
Photo Copyright (c) 2015 Emilie Nadler. All rights reserved.
Photos are not to be used without prior permission & license.
March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
For most of my life I have had a love hate relationship with winter. Every year I fall into the same trap – eagerly awaiting the first snowfall only to scorn snow that comes in the deeper months of winter. However, as someone who has lived in the Northeast their whole life, harsh winters are an inevitable part of the year. You have to make the most of it with winter sports, time spent with family around the fire, and appreciating the beauty that comes with the snow and cold.
This poem by Wallace Stevens has always been one of my favorites and I think sums the life of a Northeasterner during the winter. It is easy to focus on the negative aspects of winter – it’s freezing, you spend less time outdoors, snow can be hazardous and cause many transportation issues, and many other annoying things. However, I think to be a true Northeasterner, you have to bravely face the weather and find the beauty in the “nothing that is.” To be truly one with winter, as Stevens asserts, is to appreciate the beauty that is in winter, in the trees that are “shagged with ice” and in the “distant glitter” of the white snow. Though winter can be seen as nothingness, as barren, there is a life to winter, a beauty and simplicity to its silence. Cold can often be the most beautiful.
*Copyright (c) 1923 Wallace Stevens
Photo Credit: Emilie Nadler
Photo Copyright (c) 2015 Emilie Nadler. All rights reserved.
Photos are not to be used without prior permission & license.
December 3, 2014 § 2 Comments
Many people view fall as a time of endings – the end of summer, the shedding of dead leaves, the long sleep of winter, the end of another year. Granted, most people enjoy fall activities – playing in the leaves, apple picking, pumpkin patches, hay rides, cider, cider doughnuts, etc. – but they dread the day that last leaf falls and winter officially begins.
However, I’ve always looked at fall as a time of new beginnings. I don’t see “death,” I see the preparation of life. It is a time to reflect and make needed changes. It is a time to recharge and renew your mind, body, and spirit. It is a time to take charge of your goals for your life and/or business. It is a time to give thanks and be grateful for everything you have and your accomplishments, and a time to think about what you want to achieve in the fast approaching new year. It is the rest (not death) before the new growth.
I know January is the usual time to make new year’s resolutions, but to me, fall has always seemed like the real start of the new year. Maybe it comes from all those years of being in school and everything starting in September – I don’t know. But whatever it is, fall is the new beginning for me.
As I did the usual Thanksgiving reflections, I realized that I once again have much to be thankful for this year. I was lucky enough to have many great things happen both personally and professionally. There are some new, promising opportunities lurking on the horizon for this coming year that I am also looking forward to. I get another wonderful year on this earth to make my own little mark any way I can, and I am so grateful.
So as the season turns from fall to winter, I am not going to mourn the end of summer, flowers, good weather, sunshine. I am going to rejoice in the chance for another new beginning. I am going to continue to walk confidently down this road of life and enjoy every moment of my journey – leaves or no leaves. I will cherish each detail the season offers. I am going to take full advantage of this period of rest, while everything around me renews and recharges – myself included. I will come out revitalized and ready to rock this year even better than last!
So let that last leaf fall – It’s not just an end. It’s a fresh start. A new beginning. Another bend in the road that offers a different view and new adventures. My journey awaits!
Photo Credit: Jesse Storms Linton
Copyright (c) 2014 Jesse Storms Linton. All rights reserved.
Photos are not to be used without prior permission & license.
April 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
Ok, so we all know that How I Met Your Mother ended this week. After 9 years of watching, the show’s loyal fans finally got all their answers. And while some were quite satisfied, most of the fans were left confused and angry. Was this show really supposed to be called How I Met Your Stepmother??
Personally, I’m a little torn on my opinion of this ending. On one hand, it’s a tidy roundabout finish – it ties up the story, and it’s nice to think that your first love can come back. On the other hand, I was disappointed. I felt that Ted’s character had grown throughout the series and actually evolved beyond Robin. I was excited to see him find true love with someone new and felt a little robbed by the mom being more like a long montage than anything else.
But personal feelings aside, let’s take a look at this strictly from a writing structure point of view. A good story obviously has a distinct beginning, middle, end. A good story has foreshadowing, repeating patterns or symbols, compelling characters that not only draw you into their world, but become so familiar they are a part of your world. A good story, like life, often has various twists and turns, bringing us down a different track and always keeping us on our toes.
Does HIMYM have these things? Yes, it most absolutely does. Everyone can point out the repeating themes of Ted’s quest for love, his big gestures, his dogged & determined romantic side, the blue horn, the slap bet, The Playbook, The Bro Code, and “Legendary” moments – the list could easily go on. Every character was on a journey and we knew their love and loyalty for each other was what always carried them through. They grew up together. They grew together.
The creators have stated they knew their ending from the very beginning and the story across the seasons show that. It always came back to Robin. That blue horn periodically made an appearance. We knew the mother herself was not a major part of the story. The story was really more about Ted’s journey. Not only his journey in finding the mother, but his journey in finding himself and growing up in the process.
So does the fact that he eventually ends up with Robin anyway, blue horn in hand, make sense in terms of story structure?
Well, yes, it does. Life, like stories, have repeating themes. Robin is one of Ted’s themes for sure. The story came full circle and everything was tied up. There were no other questions left to be answered. Except for perhaps the question of how the future of Ted & Robin would work this time. Yes, Ted already has the kids, so that solves that problem. But Robin is still a famous world reporter that has to travel all the time. Ted is much more of a responsible homebody than Barney ever was, plus he has kids. So if it didn’t work for Barney, why would Ted & Robin work any better considering the difference in their lifestyles?
But that wasn’t the point of the ending. The point was the story coming full circle. It may not have been the most satisfying ending that fans were looking for, but that’s life too – it’s not always a clean, satisfying end.
Could it still have worked the other way? Could Robin have stayed just Aunt Robin and Ted ended his dialogue with, “And that, kids, is how I met your mother.”? That could have been followed by a montage of some snapshots and/or “home videos” before a fade to black. The End.
Yup – that could have worked too. Maybe it wouldn’t have brought the story to a complete full circle like ending up under Robin’s window again, but it still would have worked well with the themes because Ted evolved. He learned from his on-again off-again relationship with Robin. He found out what really mattered to him and what the kind of love was that he needed in his life. What the mother of his children should be like. And even if she still ended up dying, it would be ok because he has learned over the last 9 years that it isn’t just about the end result – it’s about the journey, the story itself. It’s about the adventures, the people you meet along the way, and the knowledge you gain. The happiness and life in general that you experience is what makes up your story, not your ending. In the end, he knew that’s what it was really all about. Not just mom, but what made up the path leading to mom. That was his story all along (with or without Robin).
Yes, that ending could have worked too.
But then, if that had been the ending, everyone wouldn’t be talking about it so much, would they?
What did you think about the ending of How I Met Your Mother? Did you like what the creators decided to do? How did you feel it fit in terms of a writing technique?
March 5, 2014 § 1 Comment
I’m a writer, so obviously I love language. Wordplay is a part of my job and I actually get excited about learning different ways to use language to enhance my writing. I have always enjoyed hearing how a particular phrase came about and learning the origins of a word, but I have to admit, I do not actively seek out these tidbits of information. I take for granted all the words I do know and don’t think twice about the true meaning behind them. Until recently…
The last few years, I have been privileged to know a wonderful and inspiring woman who is originally from Russia. If you met her, you would never know that she just received her citizenship a couple of years ago, or has been living in this country for only a few years altogether. Her English – wait, let me clarify that – her American English is flawless. She not only knows proper English, but she knows all the slang and common phrases that we naturally use everyday. It is very rare that I see her trip up on something someone says to her.
I asked her how she did it. I mean, I took Spanish in high school, and although I earned good grades, I was FAR from a fluent speaker. Learning a new language is hard work! And English has so many double meanings, I can imagine that it would be doubly tough to become a fluent American speaker.
She said she just immersed herself in it. And she studied. If she hears a word she doesn’t know, she writes it down. She has a whole book of words and phrases that she can look back on and study whenever she needs to.
However, I’ve also observed that she doesn’t just teach herself the words, she asks the origins too. Sometimes she’ll ask me what something means and although I know the word, I have to really stop myself and think about how to explain it without using the actual word. I love when she asks me these things since it forces me to not only use my brain, but to also evaluate my own language and my personal communication skills. I get excited when she asks me about the origins of a phrase and I don’t really know the answer, because then we look it up together and the information is usually so interesting!
We have a rich history to our language that has contributions from so many different cultures. Until I met her, I never really thought about that. It has forced me to look at language, and thus my writing, in a whole new way. I really think about the words I’m using much more than I ever used to. In fact, she has inspired me. Not only do I want to one day learn a different language for myself, but I want to learn about my own language even more.
The realistic side of me knows that I just do not have the time to do this to the degree I really want to, but my goal is to set aside a little time here and there to look up new words and learn the origin and history for my own information. Not only will it be good for my own personal growth and enrichment, but it will also enhance my writing in new ways and add a new layer of quality to my work. There’s always room for improvement!
January 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
But let’s face it – we all know those New Year’s resolutions are pretty much shot by March. And what really changes? You’re still you. Ok, so the number on the calendar went up one more notch, but everything else is still the same. You still have the same job. You still have the same body. You still have the same problems. That pile of work you left on your desk just before the Christmas break is still going to be there. Your to-do list hasn’t been deleted. In fact, it now is even longer since it has your New Year’s resolutions added to it. Nothing has been truly erased – it’s all still there.
I’m not trying to be a “Negative Nelly” here. I’m just being realistic. As nice as the thought is to wipe the slate clean with the new year, it just can’t happen.
Instead of New Year, New You, how about New Year, Better You? Because let’s face it, you’re still you. And that’s a good thing! You’ve spent your whole life becoming who you are. You’ve worked hard to get here, and even if you don’t like everything about your life, you don’t really want to erase your history. That’s your backstory – it leads up to the exciting climax. A new year is really just a new chapter in the book of your life. Which way is your story going to go now?
When thinking about my New Year’s resolutions this year, I’ve decided to get rid of the notion of a whole new life and fresh start. I am merely turning the page and developing my story in a better direction. I am an ongoing masterpiece. I will keep the good things and revise the things that need some work. I am the master behind my own story – I control the pen, so it is up to me to decide what comes next. My decisions determine whether my character is a strong one or a boring one. I might stumble. I might fall back on some old habits. But I know the direction my story needs to take and I will continue to work toward that, and enjoy every aspect of the journey along the way.
A good story has twists and turns, highs and lows. We must learn to relish the same in our own lives. We don’t need to completely change. We just need to strive toward that better revision, develop our story, and add to our plot.
Here’s to a New Year, BETTER You!
Image Courtesy of: Silverpen Productions, LLC. Images should not be used without prior permission & license from Silverpen Productions, LLC.