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[personal profile] handful_ofdust
It seems roughly that long since I've posted anything here, and indeed since I've thought creatively or analytically about anything. Part of that is because Cal got strep, yet again; we have an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor on May 10, thank Christ, and I will push extra-hard for the idea that taking out his tonsils seems like it might save us all a lot of grief. Will it work? Who knows. Then there was Echo Women's Choir's Spring Concert, followed by me thinking I had strep ("just" a cold, apparently), followed by various other forms of bullshit. Chores have taken over my life yet again; my digestive system hates me; I can't sleep and take my waking slow; yadda yadda yadda. All fucking that.

At any rate: I'm working on an essay for Nightmare magazine's "The H Word" column, because I can and because it's due on June 20th. I also have a couple of prospective story fills that I owe various places, and "Always Tried To Be A Good Girl..." is up to six chapters, just over 30,000 words. I've spent much of the last four days either beading necklaces (eight in two weeks, not bad for a hobby I let lie fallow at least five years) or reading my way through Blackchaps's Oz and Oz/Law & Order: SVU fanfiction, all of which makes me feel like a real dilettante; this person seems constitutionally incapable of writing something that isn't multi-chaptered, and her canon-based AUs rock hard. Her SVU stuff, in particular, is very enjoyable, because she almost always manages to create scenarios which posit a happy ending for Tobias Beecher yet never gloss over his inherent trauma and difficulty--her Elliot Stabler isn't just some sort of Chris Keller-shaped human door-prize, but a person with his own problems who manages to make a place for himself inside Beecher's often almost Gothically complicated life. And if she'd just transfer all her older stuff over to AO3 then things would be perfect, but I understand how hard that can be.;)

Last night, meanwhile, I watched two movies, one merely adequate--The Take, a Parisian-set thriller that doesn't quite manage to take full advantage of Idris Elba as a grumpy CIA agent, while also saddling Richard Madden with a truly shitty American accent as the pickpocket who stumbles into what initially seems like a terrorist plot to disrupt Bastille Day but (hey-oh) turns out to be camouflage for a heist--but the other quite low-budget brilliant. This latter film was We Go On, co-directed by Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland from a script by Mitton, who also composed the driving, skittery score. Miles Grissom (Clark Freeman) is an intensely phobic video editor who decides to master his constant anxiety by offering a $30,000 reward to anyone who can show him positive proof of an afterlife. His caustic, loving mother (Annette O'Toole) comes along for the ride, determined to make sure he doesn't get cheated, and the two of them make their way through a pile of submissions--restaurant-dwelling mediums, fear-studying scientists, a man who claims to own a Tibetan artefact that will show you the Other Side but turns out to be a complete charlatan. (This last guy at least doesn't get to waste much of their time, since Miles recognizes an FX expert he sometimes works with outside the dude's home, and gets him to spill the beans about his latest job.)

Things kick into gear about forty-five minutes in, when Miles remembers a weird voice message he got from a guy who claimed a woman's ghost told him Miles had already seen her "in the grandfather clock"--weird specifically since Miles's original ad didn't include his phone number. While editing some footage, Miles does indeed spot a female face reflected in a clock in the background, and realizes there's been a bit of a time-slip; he agrees to meet the guy at a park near the L.A.X. airfield, sneaks out of the house while his mom is sleeping, then downloads driving lessons as he sits in her car, willing himself calm enough to use them. At the park, Nelson (Jay Dunn) tells Miles there's "something not human" in a nearby abandoned house that's part of the original Hollywoodland complex, so they walk over there. "You already know it's real," he tells Miles, as Miles hesitates; Miles takes a deep breath, walks upstairs...only to find Nelson's own dead body lying there in its filth, apparently the victim of a drug overdose. "Surprise," Nelson says, from his elbow. "Now we're together." And Miles faints dead away.

The ghosts in We Go On are interestingly palpable, reminding me strongly of the spectres from Gotham; yes, they can sometimes appear and disappear in chunks or flashes, snarling interstitial cuts, but they can also just approach from the middle distance, slow and unsmiling, to stand rooted in the middle of the shot, or simply be discovered all soft-focus in the background. Nelson still talks like the person he used to be, though probably slightly more circularly, considering how his interests have been truncated by death; what he wants is for Miles to find and kill his girlfriend Alice, so that if he has to pass on, she'll be forced to go with him. And though Miles refuses to do this, giving rise to some of the best Lawful Good speeches I've heard in a while, the fact that he can now see ghosts everywhere--or, more importantly, be seen by ghosts, everywhere--makes it increasingly difficult to hold onto his moral standards.

In a lot of ways, it all goes back to something I've believed for quite some time now, which is that bad as not knowing what may or may not wait after death can be, having a definitive answer might be even worse. "We go out like lights, that's all," Miles's mother says, at one point; "that's what I want to believe, because the idea of there being more...well, that's not really very comforting, to me. I mean, it'd be nice to see your father again, but...I've done things in my life I'm not proud of, and if there was more, I might be judged. And I don't want to be judged! That would be worse than anything." And for all that Miles, when later facing his own death, feels qualified to whisper: "There is no Hell," the film as a whole does seem to agree with her thesis. It's back to the old refrain, one I've built into a couple of different stories, at the very least: Show me something, please...but oh God, please don't SHOW me something. Because doubt is grinding and fear is exhausting, but to know, completely, forever? That's when you've REALLY reached The End.
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