Some thoughts on Prose (and Prosers)
I found this site when I was 23, about five years ago. I wanted to make money from my writing, and one of the first things I found in my Google search was a Prose challenge. It's hard to believe it's been that long. The piece I wrote for that challenge, the first piece I'd ever posted on the site, might still be on my profile though it's buried pretty deep. I didn't win the challenge and between my bruised ego and hectic life, I did not log back in for some time.
Now, I visit this site regularly. Daily, if I can. Most certainly on the weekends. Though I definitely intend to pursue writing with some element of professionalism, I've come to truly appreciate the pure community of Prose. This is a unique environment. It's anonymous(ish) but brims with such personality and vulnerability that we are able to see into the personalities and interests of one another in a way that may I dare to say, most people in our personal lives probably don't. It is (mostly) free from the back and forth of our current climate and even when those topics do come up, they are handled eloquently. So is the nature of writers. No one had to tell us that the pen is mightier than the sword. We know it innately. The challenges that frequent this website are constant motivation; a no-pressure way to keep the juices flowing. They remind me of what it's like to write for the pure thrill of it, of why I fell in love with writing to begin with.
Many times, I think to call you friends. I've become familiar with the names that traverse through my notifications and it serves as a comfort. I enjoy seeing new posts from Prosers I admire, and I am always thrilled to see a new username come across my feed, especially when it leads me to discover beautiful pieces and fresh ideas. There are so many users on here that I would love to sit and chat with. I have friends, people I admire, and a small community in real life. It's different, though. No one gets a writer like another writer. That's what brings us all together, right? That, and the ability to fully express our creativity free from the scrutiny of red ink and rejection letters.
Sometimes I picture this site like a salon during the Enlightenment in France. An exchange of ideas, hashing out questions of the self and the world around. A small gathering would be nice, like in the ballroom of a Marriott or something, but sometimes I wonder if meeting fellow Prosers would ruin the sanctity of the site. Some relationships are better at a distance.
In my younger years, I'd make friends with strangers. Sometimes it was a chance encounter during travel-- an engineering student who doesn't want to be an engineer on the train to New York City, a recovering alcoholic on a connecting flight to Charlotte, a friendly kid on a Greyhound who saw my Player's Handbook and helped me build a character-- and other times, it came in small glimmers. A cashier at the gas station that remembered my name, a bus driver who would slow down if he saw me booking it to the stop because he knew I had to get to work, an old Native man sitting at the same bench each time I walked my dogs. My life is more quiet these days, but I still crave to build those relationships with people- a deep conversation with someone you've never met and may never seen again can be one of the most enlightening things you'll ever experience. I feel that every time I log into Prose.
Space for Rent
There’s space for rent inside my heart. The plus side is there’s not much in there. Not many tenants, but they’re here to stay—don’t have the heart to evict them. Yes, I know some of them have moved out. Doesn’t matter. I’ll hang on to their stuff for them for as long as they want.
Most of this empty space I’ll admit I’ve been afraid to lease, worried I’ll find the wrong person to fill some rooms. But all this empty space makes me feel a little lonely. That’s gotten worse with time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current tenants. They live rent free—the space they occupy I make sure stays theirs.
I’ve gotten better at putting out my “For Rent” signs. Most of my applicants are boring though. Nice enough, I’m sure, just…not for me. I’m picky, I guess. Then again, one has to be selective when renting out space in the heart.
“For Rent.” What an odd concept, considering I give the space away for free. Maybe I should change my signs. But I don’t want anyone getting any ideas and taking advantage of me. I’ve got plenty of room. No hurry to change that.
"Girl, you are doing too damn much. You're so burned out, you don't even realize you're tired. Also, he's not that into you and you just need to accept that."
High Guardian Spice: A Word from Raye Rodriguez
Honestly, I thought I was done talking about this failure, much like everyone else. But strangely, that's sort of the beauty of the show. High Guardian Spice always offers something new to talk and criticize about. Recently, showrunner Raye Rodriguez took to Twitter to defend himself. Let's take a look of what he's got to say:
"High Guardian Spice had a very small budget. We were the first show of a non-union studio. If you're mad at the animation quality, it was the budget. BG art? Budget. Writing?? Budget. We literally started storyboarding the first episode before the first script was finished.
"So when we inevitably ran into problems (all productions do), we didn't have the time or money to slow down and fix them. We had to barrel forward and make due with what we had."
Ah, so it was the budget why there were so many animation errors? It was the budget why there the dialogue was just cringe? Yeah, I'm not buying it. I've seen YouTube animations with a minimal budget and a three minute runtime do so much more than what you and your team did with twelve episodes. Hell, every season of South Park has a minimal budget, and they still have managed to produce many memorable characters and stories for the past two decades.
Also, he's seriously blaming the series' bad writing on the budget? What?!? What the fuck does budget have to do with writing? You don't need a budget to proof read your scripts and ask yourselves if anything there makes sense. And he also admitted that they started storyboarding the first episode before a script was finished. That's already a bad sign. Spider-Man 3 and Jurassic Park 3 ran into this issue during their productions. The big difference is that I can still enjoy those two movies despite their flaws and lackluster stories. Can't say the same about High Guardian Spice. But as the late Billy Mays would have said, "But wait! There's more!" Here's what else Rodriguez had to tweet out:
"People compare HGS to anime because it's on CR [Crunchyroll], but it isn't anime, it's a cartoon made from the same pipeline as any other American cartoon. Our budget was comparable to a CN [Cartoon Network] show, which are usually 11-minutes long, are comedy-centered and have much simpler BGs [backgrounds] and characters."
I've heard that argument too, and honestly that's not a fair comparison. Through the course of my life I've seen so many Cartoon Network shows that look far better than High Guardian Spice. Even the worst shows that Cartoon Network aired looked far better than High Guardian Spice.
"Really the best show to compare HGS to is Onyx Equinox, our sister show and the only other show made at the same studio as HGS. OE had the advantage of learning from its mistakes made on HGS and being union, but it was a lot of the same team and same pipeline."
Yeah, HGS wasn't the only non-anime original production released by Crunchyroll. Last year they released another series called Onyx Equinox, which centered around Mesoamerican culture and mythology. Now I have watched Onyx Equinox in its entirety and I must admit it has its own fair share of issues. But despite its problems the show did keep my interest. I wanted to see where they were going with this. I might have to do a review of that show sometime in the future, but just know that it's not a great show yet it's not awful.
"What we were trying to make was incredibly ambitious for what we were working on and we did the best we could. Maybe in another timeline HGS would have gotten the budget & schedule it needed to reach its full potential."
The best you could? You seriously believe you and your team did their best? I'm gonna borrow a quote from the late, great Sean Connery.
"Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen."
But in all seriousness, what they delivered clearly wasn't their best. If they truly did their best the show wouldn't have so many animation errors and inconsistencies. If they truly did their best the show would have had a linear story for the audience to follow rather than pointless filler episodes. At this point these are just excuses.
"And also in another timeline maybe HGS wouldn't have been roped into the culture wars from its first trailer and marked as BAD years before it came out. But alas, this is the timeline we're in and all I can do is shout about it on Twitter."
Oh, so that's the route you're going with, huh? You're going the Josh Trank route where you bitch about how the public and studio screwed you over instead of accepting responsibility for your own shortcomings. Come on! Act your age and accept this as a failure.
"Instead of piling on the HGS is trash campaign, maybe think about what happened behind the scenes to make it that way, have empathy for the real human beings who did their best working on it & think critically about about who started this hate campaign in the first place."
Really? Hate campaign? Here's a news flash for you, Rodriguez: everyone isn't hating on your show just for the sake of it. Everybody isn't hating the show because it had women/gay/trans characters or writers or creators behind this show. Honestly people could care less. Everybody genuinely hates your show because it really is bad. It was a poorly animated, poorly written piece of American animation full of one-dimensional characters and stereotypes that should not have been on a streaming service meant for anime. Everyone says it's bad because IT IS bad! I tried to give this show a fair viewing. I tried not to be so judgmental. But the more I watched each episode the more I got angry with it.
Ultimately, Raye Rodriguez doesn't accept his own failure but instead blames the studio and the so-called haters. Crunchyroll didn't hire writers. They hired Tumbler-posters. And they used subscription money to fund this garbage. These tweets are essentially Rodriguez adding fuel to the fire. To make things worse for him, Raye Rodriguez has also gone on to block all those who criticized the show. People, don't be like Raye Rodriguez. Hell, don't be like Kate "Kill All Men" Leth. Learn from criticism. Learn from your mistakes. Write better stories and characters.
#criticism #HighGuardianSpice #Twitter #opinion
“Bedtime, Little One.”
"Tould you tuck me in?" She pleads, eyes wide, her strong little fingers clasping mine.
"In ancient Rome
There was a poem
About a dog
Who found two bones
He picked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
He dropped dead." ~Devo - Freedom of Choice.
"No, no I've had enough! Go ahead and do me in already. I'm a writer, not a composer.. And even if I was (I mean, alright, I dabble..) Saint Saens was a musical genius and Animal Carnival was a masterpiece. Next you'll be getting me to re-imagine Danse Macabre or Samson and Delilah. After that I suppose you'll have me writing a high-class restaurant's metaphorical misery menu or a sexually provocative rhyme about aviary hexapods... I mean I have a few ideas... but no! No I've simply had enough! Your requests are getting more and more imperious."
Ghost Writer Number Ten quivered slightly but courageously stood his ground, like a heroically invincible ninja, squinting his eyes mostly-shut, waiting for the inevitable swing of the baseball bat named Surgeon General.
"Hah. So you've got some cojones in those pink pajamas after all?" Pesci snickered then clapped the brave writer on the shoulder, nodding in approval. "You're alright kid. I like your style. Say, what are you trying to do with those outrageous drawers anyway? Support some sort of flamingo world conquest?"
"What's wrong with pink? It matches the good-intention pavers... besides, my batman pajamas were recently repurposed; sewn into a frisbee to please Fritzy the Goliath Beetle. You don't mess about with Fritz's requests.."
Pesci nodded again, "Fair enough. What say you come with me and the Attorney General, we'll go collect the money from the Raven."
Ghost Writer Number Ten hesitated for a moment, deliberating about the moral qualms of giving Pesci the middle finger while his back was turned... "I guess I could come. Why does he call himself the Raven anyway? Why not the Hummingbird... or the Woodpecker?"
"You'll see." Pesci replied mysteriously, a deranged smile contorting his (to be fair already contorted) features.
*** the ending to this story is, regrettably, being held for ransom. If you ever want to see your beloved conclusion alive, you will first have to provide even more outrageously brilliant prompts for consideration. Failure to provide adequately stimulating topics will result in a finger or ear being brutally and barbarically chopped off of the narrative for every month without compensation.
For my last meal. I was served up humble pie. I’d finally decided where and when I would like to die. It’s foolish to leave it up to chance. Just think of the damage old age does to ones reputation. Gross there goes old poopy pants.
I’ve taken note. And found nothing to prove otherwise. There exists no gods other than the ones we humans have made up ourselves.
I always maintained i had free will. As long as I had the ability to become a martyr. Whenever I wished. (in my own eyes) The ultimate act of defiance in the face of tyranny. It was so clear to me. Like the shit eating grin i was captured wearing. When I was filmed trying to get myself killed to prove a point.
An inside joke I’d never spoke of for it was no laughing matter. Like the bits and pieces of bloody brain that rained down and stained the onlookers. That just moments before mocked my sincerity and strength of will.
I had foolishly thought I’d get the last laugh. Somehow forgetting Murphy’s law always persists. To ruin the best laid plans. And make a fool out of every kind of woman or man.
I‘ve half the face I use to have. And not quite enough brain damage to keep my mind from kicking me in the nuts every two seconds. For ending up a quadriplegic in a wheel chair. With a bad taste in my mouth. Instead of a well fed idea blowing freely thru the air. Out of everyone’s hair.
Skin bronzed glistening like a tequila sunrise, clouds bask in the morning sun. Smiles and memories bring teardrops to my reflective eye, as the whispering loon sings. Our bodies gold and sun bleached as waves of an ocean cascade off tanned flesh. O' tequila at sunset, tip toeing through the nights sand, on a treble clef... Our fingers dance, play the tune as we drift away under a margarita moon.
The last laugh
I've never been good at staying for to long. Coming to know humans make the biggest messes with your heart, especially when giving them more than they deserve. I am still learning with surprise that I still have as much heart as I do left. My heart has been through war dealing with thoughts of you, promising to become someone better because of it. You will not get the last laugh - last smile, only death can laugh at its own jokes - going on living in the midst of survival.
It wiggles when walking
It eats many leaves
And one day, it hides itself
When it comes out, it becomes a butterfly.