Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why the World Needs Superman

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I do have a viable excuse; it's because I actually have a writing deadline. Bob gave me the ok on the urban fantasy book, and I need to get the first half to him by the end of October. Also recently, the husband of one of my crit partners gave the Moxie an ultimatum. We meet roughly every two weeks with some adjustments for shifting schedules, and my friend's husband thinks that it's time to take the gloves off. He says that unless all three of us produce at least ten new pages prior to each meeting, he will refuse to allow his wife to attend said meeting. Now everybody knows that he would never actually try to keep her from doing anything--it was a bogus threat. But nevertheless something about the challenge appealed to all of us. The threat might not have been real, but the pages produced are. Not one of us has brought in less than ten pages since he made that statement. Magic? Psychology? Coincidence? Whatever. I say if it works, we use it.

Anyway, last evening after I'd cranked out a few pages (moving toward the end of Chapter 6) the family went to see Superman Returns at the second-run theater. My husband had to gripe about technical issues involving the spaceship, the airplane, and the broken-in-half yacht. Aside from that, I liked the plot well enough. I mean, it's Superman--what's not to like? The new actor did a great job. Very believable as the new Man of Steel.

In the movie, Lois was having a hard time writing an article called "Why the World Needs Superman." I'm sure some movie critics were having the same problem, albeit for different reasons. But I was one of the faces in the crowd who's glad he's back. So why do we need him? Why do we need the X-men, or Spiderman, or Mr. Incredible, Luke Skywalker or Lara Croft, for that matter? Why do we need people to tell us stories of people who are somehow larger-than-life and yet vulnerable both at the same time?

It's because the world needs heroes. Human beings need heroes, no matter whether we live in New Guinea or Korea, Scotland or New York. We need heroes to show us how to rise up against the darkest parts of our own nature as a species. We need to believe that no matter what the odds, there's still hope. We need to imagine that each of us could be--whether through great act or small--a hero in our own right. They--how did Aunt May put it?--show us right from wrong, keep us noble, and when the time comes, allow us to die with pride. She's right. Her writer was right. There really is a little hero in all of us, and every once in a while, we need a little reminder of that. It doesn't matter who your heroes are, exactly. What matters is that you have them. What matters is that you remember them. And what matters above all is that they inspire you to be more than you thought you could be. If you can get that far, you can change the world. See? The world really does need Superman.

Ultimately, Superman exists because a writer/artist once doodled a comic character on a notepad, dressed him in a red cape and blue spandex, did a little worldbuilding and world-destroying, and created an international icon. Actors like Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh were inspired to embody the role. Millions of kids have already grown up wanting to be Superman. Some were inspired by what the character stands for--values that, like the character himself, never seem to age. Some of his fans probably went on to become policemen, firemen, doctors, teachers. Some undoubtedly are parents now, showing their kids the difference between right and wrong, and how to be more than they thought they could be. Just your average, ordinary, everyday superheroes.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Summer of the Traveling Moxie

This summer, my crit group thought we'd do something different just to liven things up a bit. We decided to make it the Summer of the Traveling Moxie, and meet at a different Moxie Java every meeting date until fall. We toured around the city, through little tiny Moxies with just a few seats inside to a large bistro with offices upstairs. We went downtown, uptown, across town. We finally ended up at a place called Moxie Java and More, where the decor was cheap, quaint and rustic, but they also served sandwiches and ice cream. There are larger tables and plenty of places around the room to take a group aside and actually have a little privacy. We've decided to swich our meetings to that one on a permanent basis. While we'll always remember the little Moxie where we first began to meet, we're moving on and trading up. Someday we might even break up as members start to move out of town and out of state. But for now, we've found a Moxie that fits all three of us, and we know we'll always remember...
...the Summer of the Traveling Moxie.

(ducking flying objects!)