Archive | December, 2015

Thoughts on Star Wars: Sick with Spoliers

28 Dec

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In the waning days of 2015, I finally managed to carve out some time to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

While I was happy to complain that I was the last person left on Earth who hadn’t seen it, I realize that is not the case so skip this entire post if you don’t want spoilers.

Okay again, SPOILERS abound!!

Last time, SPOILERS!

So of course I loved loved LOVED the movie. But I knew that I would. There is very little that JJ does wrong in my opinion and even going into knowing pretty much all the spoilers I loved it.

I audibly cheered in the theater when they showed the Millennium Falcon for pete’s sake. I’m THAT guy.

And while Han’s death scene was rough, it was a fitting end to a great character. I’ve read some posts about how half the movie is about getting Han there on the bridge emotionally but I didn’t feel that way. I thought it worked.

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What I didn’t think worked was Finn’s motivation. And I say this while ordering my I LOVE FINN t-shirt because I absolutely adored the guy. He was funny, smart, clever, and full of heart. He’s a reformed Storm Trooper! What’s not to love? Except…maybe THAT. At one point he tells Rey (more on her later) that he was taken from his family and raised as a Storm Trooper which means that is the ONLY reality that Finn knows. I understand that the argument is that once he’s ordered to kill, he can’t do it and that’s fine, but Finn had zero inner conflict about killing other Storm Troopers who were essentially his only family. I sort of wish they had made it like a conscription thing – like serving as a Storm Trooper is some sort of punishment or what not so that he would have knowledge of another kind of life. It takes incredible amounts of courage to abandon the only life you’ve ever know (hence the power of cults). I wish they had shown Finn struggle a little with this choice. Eager is not a character choice.

Rey

Now to Rey. There’s been some talk about Rey being a Mary Sue (too perfect of a character). I completely disagree or at least no more of a Mary Sue than Luke was. And if Rey were RAY this conversation wouldn’t even be taking place. No one worried about Han being too….everything!

This is why the term Mary Sue is inherently sexist.  (Click that, it’s short and concise and really fooking good)

 

What is so great about Rey is that she’s never ever going to cause a little girl to sit on a back deck bored out of her skull watching her friends with light sabers.

Let me explain. As a kid, the majority of my friends were boys. There was my best friend, his little brother and their male neighbor and me. As the only girl in the group, when we played Star Wars, I was Leia. I argued for Han but was overruled that a) there had to be a Leia because otherwise who would get rescued and b) I was THE girl.

So I spent a lot of time, watching my friends run around the backyard, swinging their light sabers while I waited to be rescued.

I hated it. I hated that even though Leia occasionally used a blaster, she was still a Princess. In need of rescuing.

So, enter Rey.

Rey who rescues herself.

Rey who goes toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren.

Rey who weilds a light sabre.

Watching that moment my heart nearly burst. There it was. There SHE was. The character I wanted so badly as a little girl.

And I realized that when my niece, Neve, is old enough she’ll see Rey and she’ll see herself. A strong, brave resourceful girl. And when she plays Star Wars with her friends and her brother, she’ll never ever spend it on a back deck, waiting to be rescued.

She’ll call Leia, “General” and not “Princess.”

Because fuck princesses.

“I don’t want to be king, I want to be real.” – John Lennon ‪

8 Dec

 

35 years today.

This poem was originally published at Dead Snakes.

 

The Day after the Anniversary of Your Death

 

We walked through the freezing cold,

that blew up 75th street,

straight from the estuary

and through the fabric of our jackets,

 

your music blasting from

an ear bud one in each of our ears

the way young lovers do

not old lovers like we are now.

 

There was caterwauling

and I thought to myself,

we are going to wake up

all the old people on the street

 

because I can’t carry a tune.

You were doing great though, you always do,

 

but you weren’t worried about the others.

We always have to hear them, you remind me,

 

and besides, it was thirty years ago,

thirty years and one day

since Lennon was killed.

 

Tomorrow we’ll walk past the gates of the Dakota,

not really stopping by the guard,

but lingering just a bit to look down that driveway.

You will tell me that John asked to walk in. He stopped the driver.

 

There will be no singing tomorrow.

But tonight, we are still on this street,

with music in our ears

his music

and the hope of warmth

if we can ever make it out of this cold

and to the front door.

Flying Monkeys, Books and the Cold Unfeeling Universe

4 Dec

Where the flying monkeys did this year go?

I mean honestly. I distinctly remember whole days in January 2015 and there is no way way they were 12 months ago.

Anyway I wanted to do a whole book blog about what I read this year but that’s going to wait till next time because we got some other things to talk about. Good? Good.

 

book

First and foremost How to Be An American is out in the wild and for sale!

Here’s proof:

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That handsome devil up in the left hand corner is none other than Oscar Varona, the amazing artist who created the cover collage. And that sly fox on the right is Aida.

Aida is a phenomenal artist. Here’s a bit of her work:

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Those are from a series she did on women who influence her. Incredible.

As for my book, someone needs to give a copy for Christmas to their super Team USA relative so they can write a scathing review on amazon calling me communist and telling me to love it or leave it. Seriously. Can we make this happen?

Until then, here’s what Jessica Fenlon had to say:

drawcloseGot @AllyMalinenko‘s “How to Be an American” today – so happy to read these ‘rejected’ poems! The tough kind to write – and to read – thin clear slices of moments, the good part of Bukowski, walking a line leaning to one side and then another but never falling down, never tangling really. So clear when we hit the drop-lines in the poems they sink into you. Sometimes there isn’t a drop, sometimes it’s a slow eddy, a dance with an idea I myself have considered. I like the steps Ms. Malinenko takes . . . 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5 of 5 stars)

So the book is on amazon – but I’ve got a few copies in my hot little hands that I will sell to you for less than the drones at Amazon so by all means hit me up in the comments or via email (ally dot malinenko at gmail dot com) if you’re interested. And if you’ve got something creative you cooked up I’d be happy to do a swap!

In addition, Bookfish Book who published This Is Sarah has lowered the price of the ebook to 99 pennies. I may be biased but I think it might be worth that.

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Also the other morning while I was staring at the wall wondering what the hell I was going to do with my writing mornings now that my sci fi book is done, I spotted a few copies of Sarah just sitting there looking all sad and lonely and wishing that they were in the hands of readers so I decided that because I don’t visit the post office nearly enough, I would do a goodreads giveaway. So that’s in the works in case you want to try and win a copy.

Next up, in the book department is this little number:

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I’ve certainly crowed about how much I love Jersey Devil Press here before but seriously, they’re such a great home for all us little weirdos. I’m over the moon honored to have not one, but TWO (I know, right!) stories in their anthology. The first is Paper Heart and the second is Vital: A Love Story (which was written for Eirik and Monica when they were going through some serious shit)

I’m super excited about this because honestly, I love these two stories so very much. And I’m honored to be included in such a great collection.

So a huge thank you to Laura and Sam and Eirik and Mike.

And while I’m dishing out the thanks, thanks to Richard Vargas and his amazing Mas Tequila Review for including some of my poems in the new issue, which I have been pleasure delaying the end of because I don’t want it to stop.

And thanks to Drunk Monkeys for publishing Telling All My Secrets about that super crappy day I had to spill the beans to my amazing parents about having cancer.

Another of my favorites, Clockwise Cat, also included two of my poems in their new Clockwise Cat Strikes Back Issue. Thanks you timely feline.

And because it’s the end of the year, it’s award time so a million trillion starburst-y thanks to Drunk in Midnight Choir for nominating me for a Pushcart. It’s an incredible honor that out of all the amazing pieces that DMC published this year, they highlighted mine.

And finally, here’s an interview I did with Your One Phone Call

What is your writing process?

I write a sentence. I re-read the sentence. I change the sentence. I polish the sentence. I re-read the sentence. I delete the sentence.

This goes on for years.

And because it bares saying in the wake of the Paris attacks, the multiple mass shootings in the US, the Syrian refugees desperately trying to find safety, the UK deciding to bomb Syria, the GOP turning into the party of hate and whatever retaliation Putin is planning for Turkey………..Please for the love of the Cold Unfeeling Universe, hug your babies tight.

And remember…”We are all passengers pitching downward into the night…so get up and help someone.”

 

Peace, love and Starbursts,

Ally

 

 

 

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