Friday, January 30, 2004

Answer Me These Questions Three Five

I played this game a while back, wherein someone asks me five questions, and then I pose five questions to someone else, but hey, that was a while back and I have new readers and new people to ask me questions, so why not? (God, what a tortured sentence that was. And I consider myself a writer….)

These questions come from Sarah Jane Elliott, whose answers to her own questions are here. By the way, I should warn you all that I cheat at things like this: I construct my replies in a thoughtful, "ruminating" structure that thus allows me to actually give multiple answers to the questions! Sneaky, eh?

1. While out shopping, you enter a travel sweepstakes to pass the time as you wait in the very long line at the drugstore. Six months later, you get a phone call. You've one a one-week, all-expenses paid vacation to the destination of your choice. Where do you go?

Well, after looking at the pictures Bara's been posting, I'd be tempted to say the Alps, but probably not. The other places I most want to see are Japan and Britain, specifically touring around every locale relevant to the Arthurian legends and my own novel-in-progress. Between those I'd flip a coin, unless coin-flipping is not allowed, in which case I'd choose Britain. I think.

2. If you could go back and erase any one moment of your life, what would it be?

Hmmmm….this is one of those deceptively-hard questions. While there are indeed any number of things I wish I hadn't done, such as getting fairly pissed for a very long period of time at a friend during my college years over something that I now realize was pretty friggin' stupid to get that pissed about, I'm not sure I'd actually reverse any of them, since they were lessons learned. And other moments I wish I'd handled differently I don't think it's too realistic to think I'd handle differently again, seeing as how I didn't have all the knowledge then that I do now. I guess I wouldn't have quit the last good-paying job I had when I did, but even so, I'm not sure I'd have committed to developing a writing career before quitting. So basically, I guess I'm not one to dwell on milk I've already spilled; I'm always too busy looking for the next glass to tip over, you know?

Or, as Mr. Shatner put it, "I don't want my pain taken away! I need my pain!"

3. Aliens take over the world, and in exchange for all the help you've been giving them over the years, they give you Hollywood as a way of saying thanks. You now have the best and brightest of the filmmaking world at your feet, and they have to do what they tell you or they'll get vaporized. All those times you kept thinking "damn, I wish they'd make this book into a movie" have led up to this moment. So, what movie do you have them make, and who do you insist be involved?

Man, another hard one! The Lord of the Rings movies have really changed the calculus of what used to be considered "unfilmable" books. An obvious choice would be to have Peter Jackson do a Guy Gavriel Kay novel -- Lions of Al-Rassan, probably, since The Fionavar Tapestry would be too much like what he's already done. But even then, why Jackson, specifically? The LOTR films buck convention all over the place: Jackson was never known for a predilection for the epic; the books themselves were considered unfilmable; and among film music fans, the selection of Howard Shore was generally met with a "Huh?"

Maybe I'd have the Wachowski brothers film Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, or just for experiment's sake, re-gather the same cast and use the same screenplay, but have Steven Spielberg direct The Phantom Menace. (And remember: I love the movie as Lucas did it, so this is not a slam on Lucas!)

But you know what I'd really want to see? I don't know if the aliens would let me do this, because the question specifies Hollywood, but what I'd want is this: Four films, actually. I'd gather every top animator in the country, all those poor folks left out-in-the-cold by Michael Eisner's recent insane management practices at Disney, and have them make animated versions of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, using the classic recordings made by Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic. (I once made just this suggestion on a classical music newsgroup and promptly got roasted, but I've come to believe ever more deeply in serious animation.)

4. What's in your CD player right now?

My music-listening habits are pretty similar to my reading habits: I tend to have a bunch of CDs I have in heavy rotation at any one time. These days I can't get enough of the scores to the Lord of the Rings movies, with my favorite track therein being either "The Breaking of the Fellowship" from Fellowship or "Foundations of Stone" from Towers. In truth, though, I am firmly convinced that these are the best filmscores of the last ten years.

Other musical items I've been listening to a lot are Lee Holdridge's score to The Mists of Avalon, the soundtrack to My Fair Lady, the Chieftains' album Tears of Stone, and a CD I recently grabbed from the used-bins at a local store of "Beloved Chinese Songs".

5. You save the life of a brilliant and influential (and wealthy) inventor by pushing him out of the path of a falling piano. He's so grateful that he gives you access to his time machine and tells you that you can have a casual conversation with anyone in the world, living or dead. Who do you pick, and why?

Sheesh…OK, clarification needed: am I just "brain picking" here, or am I trying to "kibitz" someone from the past? If the latter, I'd certainly want to go to whatever person rejected Adolf Hitler's art school application and try to talk him out of that.

But if I'm just shootin' the breeze, I want to talk to Carl Sagan. I wouldn't even have to say anything, really. I'd just want ot listen to the guy.

1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed

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