Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Spark: Wrapping Up

So I've talked about how I first got it into my head that I could or should try a writer.  But now I'll switch to a different question posed by the Spark Blogfest:

Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

Little known fact - the film The Shawshank Redemption was based on a novella in the Stephen King book, DIFFERENT SEASONS called "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption."  (Like how I used three different styles in that last sentence? Me too.)

If you haven't read it, I recommend it, and then go ahead and buy the film as well because you'll want to watch it as soon as you've read the last page. 

I don't want to give anything away, in case you haven't read it or seen it, but suffice it to say, it caused me to look at the criminal justice system in an entirely different way.  There are guilty men at Shawshank Prison and there are innocent men at Shawshank--but none of that is as important as the fact that there are men in Shawshank Prison, and they all deserve as much dignity as they can be afforded under those circumstances. 

(PS - Do you know what signing up for three blogfests, all with overlapping dates, gets you?  A boatload of posts in one week, which is truly unfortunate, since (a) I haven't had much of a chance to explore other blogs this week and (b) will be somewhat MIA next week.  But never fear!  I will catch up as soon as I'm able.  Thanks to all the new followers, I'm super stoked to go check out your blogs as well.)


  1. People who haven't seen The Shawshank Redemption mystify me. That movie is on TV practically non-stop. Much like Dirty Dancing. I mean, how do you escape those movies?

    I have issues with Stephen King as a writer. I feel like he has great characters and the master when it comes to setting and atmosphere. But the endings of his book pretty much suck across the board (at least, of the books I've read which admittedly isn't a huge percentage of his works). But his short stories are something different. Did you ever read the one about the guy who gets marooned on an island and resorts to self-cannibalism to stay alive? "If it's true you are what you eat, then I haven't changed at all."

  2. As one who's seen the movie but not read the story, I agree, it is a mind blowing tale. Methinks I will consider this for my To-Read list.

  3. The two books that most did that for me were The Once and Future King. I think it changed the way I viewed power, justice and government. It may be the cause of my unabashed liberalism and hopefully help me retain the idealism of youth as I continue to grow older and thus more cynical.

    The other is Lonesome Dove. I am not a cowboy. To exacerbate this point I am currently wearing pants the color of vanilla ice cream, a pink Oxford shirt, a navy blazer with a pink silk pocket square all from Brooks Brothers. Also, three tone boat shoes (You didn't need to know that, but I needed to point out I look good today). However, no book better describes what the ideal of manhood should be. It shows to very contrasting archetypes of manhood and shows the deep bonds of friendship. It's a book many people would dismiss as Louie Lamore type novel, but the book is much deeper than normal westerns. It has the depth and feel of John Ford's best cinematic interpretations of the American West and gets reread by me at least every five years.

  4. Nikol - I haven't read the cannibal one! I'll have to find it.

    I agree, some of his books have bizarre endings. I love The Stand with all my heart, and I can to a certain extent defend the first ending (we all know it keeps going for 100+ pages after the climax of the book), but I feel like you can only get away with, "AND GOD KILLED EVERYONE!" once in your career.

    That being said, I think that more often than not, I do think the examples of good endings outweigh the bad.

    Angela - you won't be disappointed.

    Colt - I have never read Lonesome Dove! I will definitely look into it.

    I did read Once and Future King at the request of an English teacher who did her very best to lame it up as much as possible ... I've often thought I should re-read it as an unbiased adult.

  5. Love that movie. I didn't know it was based off a book. Will have to check it out.

  6. I haven't read the book, but I love the movie. And I feel you about taking on too many blogfests! I haven't had a chance to do any writing of my own this week.

  7. That is a great movie. I might have to give Stephen King a try.

    And speaking of stories that "caused me to look at the criminal justice system in an entirely different way"...

    The movie, "In the name of the Father", did that for me. It was assigned in my "The Law in Pop Culture" class (arguably the best class I took in law school). If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. In short, it's a true story about an innocent Irish man who confesses to acts of terrorism in the UK. It's really good and Daniel Day Lewis is always a pleasure to watch.

  8. The Shawshank Redemption is one of those films that affect you so much you can only watch it once every two years or thereabouts. They're my favourite kind of films.

  9. Hey there, fellow Sparkfester! So I read all three of your entries, and can I just say that it's amazing that your father is so supportive/encouraging... because mine is, too! He truly is my biggest fan. Funnily enough, he LOVES Stephen King. I have to admit horror really isn't my cup o' tea, but I read The Talisman... Awesome. Just awesome.

  10. Melanie - you'll really like it. And it's a quick read.

    Christine - uh, yeah, me neither. I'm kind of just pretending that my pages for a critique aren't due next week. :p It's the only way I can survive work at the moment.

    Maggie - I love that movie! Excellent choice.

    AJ - so true.

    Crystal - I haven't read Talisman yet, I'll have to get it a shot. :) Yay for Stephen King! Yay for Dads!

  11. Your example of The Stand is a classic example of how Stephen King can't end a book. The story ends...but the book KEEPS GOING! Just end it! In The Shining, the Overlook blows up and they get away. Just say THE END. Don't tack more onto the end. In Cujo, the dog is finally defeated. THE END. In It, they finally overcome Pennywise in the sewers. THE END. In Eyes of the Dragon, Peter takes his rightful place as King. THE END.

    I can't believe I used Eyes of the Dragon as an example. I'm stretching because, as I said, I haven't read a ton of his books. Particularly the newer ones. And some of the older ones I've read, I don't remember that well (ie, Firestarter, Christine or Salem's Lot).

  12. Wow, these were all excellent posts with great details. Thanks so much for participating!