Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ender's Game

My younger brother insisted that I read the amazing book. He said it was brilliant. He said it was descriptive. He said it was one of the best books he had read. He was correct. You can imagine both my joy and suspicion when I first saw the trailer for the film. The story bore the potential for a great work of art. Just in time for today’s technological ability for startling CGI. However, Hollywood has an annoying habit of failing to live up to the hype it creates.

I am very pleased to announce my wariness of this film was completely unnecessary. The film was action-packed, thought provoking, and dramatic. Ender Wiggin is a brilliant child under the control of everyone around him. His gift of battle strategy puts him in an inescapable predicament. He becomes extremely frustrated, because nobody listens to his feelings. All they want are his strategies without his opinions.

Throughout the course of the film, Ender is manipulated, deceived, taken advantage of, beaten, exhausted, and overworked. Not only do his superiors take away his free will, but they take away his innocence. They take his childhood all because of their human obsession over revenge. Instead of appreciating fifty years of peace, they spend their time training innocents to do their job until the entire alien planet is destroyed.

I have personally seen what angry obsession does to a human mind. It acts like a virus corrupting the mind and spreading until it affects every part of one’s life. It makes one incapable of happiness and success. Most importantly, it creates collateral damage. Ender becomes that collateral damage. His superiors make him do unspeakable things, things he would not do on his own. They rob him of his innocence.

For the Bible tells us in Ephesians, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Forgiveness is no one way street. We cannot expect others to forgive us if we are unwilling to forgive others. That requires a sense of accountability. Ender is the only one who takes responsibility for the genocide that he caused. That is when he comes to realize that the aliens had been peaceful for fifty years, and there was never a guarantee that they would attack Earth again.

Despite everything his superiors did to convince him that aliens are evil and destructive, Ender stands strong in his compassion. I will not spoil the ending for those who have not seen the movie or read the book. What I can say is Ender finds the freedom he craves, and he uses that freedom to immediately redeem himself.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

National Novel Writing Month

I know I haven't been around much in the past two weeks. Allow me to explain that I have been writing; it is writing of a different kind. November is National Novel Writing Month, or most would recognize it as NaNoWriMo. I consider it to be a brilliant means for accountability. The challenge: to write 50,000 words in thirty days. Granted, it doesn't allow much free time. However, it gets the novel finished.

Today's day and age is filled with distractions: Television, YouTube, Facebook, etc. It is more difficult than ever to sit down at one's computer with out rabbit trailing into ten different website and accomplishing no writing in the process.

How can we ensure pure focus short of purchasing a typewriter? One piece of advice I have for you. Set the NaNoWriMo website as your browser's home page. That way when you log on to waste time on the internet, you will face an immediate reminder. You should be writing!

In the past fifteen days I have encountered a lot of ignorant questions about the challenge. So, allow me to clear up the confusion with the following facts:
  1. NaNoWriMo is 100% free.
  2. NaNoWriMo is NOT a contest or competition.
  3. NaNoWriMo is NOT a editing or critiquing service.
  4. NaNoWriMo is NOT a publisher.
  5. NaNoWriMo only sends motivational messages to your email.
  6. NaNoWriMo provides motivation to write. That is all.

All you need to do is create an account with your name, email, and the title of your novel. Starting November 1st, you begin to write. As an aspiring novelist of many years, I know how hard it is to buckle pdown and focus. My last participation in NaNoWriMo motivated me to write more in one month than I had in a year. I hope that this month I will work hard enough to finish my novel for good. 

I might not be where I am without NaNoWriMo. It is a blessing to all writers. If you know a writer, then spread the word. To my fellow writer, join me next year. And good luck!