Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

Jon Jordan of Crimespree challenged everyone involved with the magazine:



I'm not challenging anyone in turn. The sight of me taking the challenge should be enough to compel you to do it or donate.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Just So You Know

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

Semi-intentionally, this blog is a haven from the ills of the world. I'm well aware they exist, but I try to avoid piling them here, creating cynicism. Last week I had address two suicides that affected me, Jeremiah Healy's even moreso than Robin Williams'.

They have me thinking about the impressions we leave, how these may differ from how we see ourselves. At key times in my life, family and friends have been there for me, but if I didn't also maintain my own positive attitude and self-image, no amount of outside support would save me.

So allow me to restore the blog's positive vibe by reporting that my self-image is fine. I remain hopeful in the face of my own difficulties. Carry on.

At The Five-Two: "Slenderman" by Kristina England

This week, Kristina England's response to the attempt by two twelve-year-old Wisconsin girls to murder a third in the name of pleasing a fictional horror site character:


Friday, August 15, 2014

Jeremiah Healy

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

I saw the news on Twitter that one of my favorite authors, Jeremiah Healy, committed suicide yesterday, aged 66. Relayed from The Rap Sheet, Healy battled chronic depression, which was exacerbated by alcohol.

I've often blogged my appreciation for Healy's John Francis Cuddy P.I. series, including a 2012 overview of the series after my last correspondence with Healy upon the ebook release of some Cuddy novels.

As dramatically satisfying as Jerry's work was, he could explain the premises and core conflicts of his stories better than many writers can. This is the first I've heard of his depression. As one of countless writers Jerry helped, I mourn his loss, am grateful to have called him a friend, and will remember him at his best. Godspeed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

I woke up at this odd hour, actually my usual hour, to reports of Robin Williams' apparent suicide. He battled inner demons for years and was still able to make others laugh. I'm reminded that no one can know what someone else is feeling unless he chooses to show it. And if he does, he may not get the response he needs. I'm also reminded what I've often felt is disappointment, not depression, a puddle compared to an ocean. I get up and walk on because I love people and know I am loved.

Monday, August 11, 2014

At The Five-Two: "Somewhere in Florida" by Austin Alexis

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

This week, New York City poet Austin Alexis:




I'm now accepting unpublished poetry for The Five-Two's fourth year, which begins September 8.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Dateline: May 1996

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com


To my surprise, my friend John Ricotta saved this note I left in the office of Hofstra's literary magazine, Font. I was on the founding staff in 1995, many of whom remain my best friends. The magazine succeeded because we worked so well together. It's still around, and I hope that chemistry has passed down.

On Reviewer Bias

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

Knowing Lee Goldberg to be one of Robert B. Parker's biggest fans and straightest-shooting critics, I passed his review of Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot by Reed Farrel Coleman on to Spenser's Sneakers.

One member dismissed the review because it states that Lee and Reed are friends. I replied that I saw the member's point. On one hand, we'd all like to read unbiased reviews. On the other, reviewers aren't obligated to state their biases so plainly. If a reviewer known to be an author's friend didn't say so, readers might dismiss the review as well: "This is a positive review, but I know the reviewer and the author are friends. Of course he's going to write a positive review."

I've become friendly with several authors whose work I've reviewed. I don't disclose my friendship in reviews, but I do mention I'm a fan of the author's previous books, so I'll probably like this one. I keep my reviews focused on the text (or the film, or the TV show) because they're not meant to win over or attack the author. They're only meant to give my opinion of the work.

Monday, August 04, 2014

At The Five-Two: "Visiting My Great Aunt, Maude"

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

Rutgers emeritus professor Louie Clay imagines a childhood visit with his great aunt, widow of a KKK leader:




I'm now accepting the first poems of The Five-Two's fourth year.

An Imperfect Superman

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com

Yesterday, a Twitter discussion of superhero movies brought up Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, which many of my friends dislike. While their complaints are reasonable, they didn't keep me from enjoying the movie.

Everyone expects Superman to make perfect decisions, saving all life along with public and private property. We expect this fantasy heroism because of his theoretically limitless power.

Real heroism is making an effort despite one's limitations. Yesterday's most serious complaint was that the Kents encouraged Clark to bury his talents, not make the best of them. The most poignant support for this complaint is Jonathan Kent's waving off Clark's attempt to save him from the tornado. While I agree the Kents contributed largely to Clark's morality and decision to use his power for good, this can be portrayed in any number of ways. Man of Steel showed Clark's upbringing in snippets, and I saw Jonathan as a honorable man of few words. In my view, despite their limitations, the Kents accepted Clark as a son and wanted society to accept him, too, not alienate him. All parenting is an imperfect mix of protecting children and encouraging their sense of adventure.

Behind the best-known complaint, that Superman kills Zod, is the movie's poor job of making the kill necessary. Here, too, though, because of Superman's power, we imagine everything he could have done instead of killing Zod. It's clear the filmmakers wanted to include the killing to raise debate. Unlike viewers, who can spend hours second-guessing, they had to make that decision and move on.

Man of Steel may not live up to idyllic visions of the Kents and Clark, but I relate better to this imperfect, more human Superman.