Haiku and Reviews: Saga, To Catch a Thief, Rear Window

A Horn and a Wing
star-crossed lovers in wartime
trying to save their child.

I don’t read comic books often, but I think it’s about time I started to, because if they are anything like Saga, I’ve been missing out big time.  Saga is written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples, and it’s been going on for years (the title of the series is very apt) — since 2012.  I just caught up to the last issue, #42, and it is a humdinger.  Even though this story takes place in another world, in space, the kind of stuff you’d expect from comic books, it is extremely accessible and very much a story for our times.  It’s got elements of Romeo and Juliet and Star Wars, and it’s just an epic, epic story.  Great characters, exciting storylines, what we love about fiction.

She drives her car as
if the road does not exist.
All for a picnic.

A single suitcase.
Pink gown, pink slippers, for night.
Then we hear the scream.

Old movies, these two.  Both by Alfred Hitchcock, and both starring Grace Kelly.  To Catch a Thief felt a bit more dated than Rear Window; it is definitely the lesser of the two films, though still quite entertaining, especially the scene where Kelly drives Cary Grant to a picnic lunch.  Even though I’d seen parts of Rear Window before, I never actually sat down to watch the whole movie from start to finish, and I must say, I think it’s my new favorite Hitchcock (Vertigo was my previous #1).  Not only are the lines hilarious (especially Thelma Ritter’s Stella but really, all the characters), the movie is really about movies — how we all are voyeurs when we watch.  The script is impeccable, the balance between humor and suspense just right.  Also, there are times when Grace Kelly here is so incredibly beautiful that I almost had to avert my eyes!  What great casting — she had to be the perfect woman, and she delivers in form and function.  This is a very difficult part for Jimmy Stewart to play, too, as he’s stuck in that wheelchair and so much of his acting is subtle expressions.  There are so many scenes where he has no one to act against, just himself with his camera or his binoculars, reacting to what he sees.  Rear Window is just a gem of a movie.  Roger Ebert, as always, does a fantastic job of reviewing this film.  Watch it, and then read him.

Interview in Slice Magazine

The lovely folks at Slice were kind enough to conduct this interview with both myself and artist Dina Brodsky.  Last fall, they published our work, Desert Places, in the magazine, and now you can read it online in addition to the interview.  Here’s their intro:

After all of the pieces for an issue of Slice have been edited, we send them over to our art director, Jennifer K. Beal Davis, who then strikes up a dialogue between art and prose. Jennifer and associate art director Matt Davis have a knack for selecting artwork that invites the reader to look at a story, an essay, or a poem in an unexpected way.

When writer Sung J. Woo mentioned that he’d written some stories that were inspired by Dina Brodsky’s paintings, we were immediately intrigued. What if we could capture an even more deliberate conversation between writer and artist?

We published “Desert Places,” which is posted below, in Issue 19 of Slice. What follows is an interview between Sung and Dina about their collaborative creative process.

Read on!

[link]

Columbia Journal: Cycling Guide to Lilliput (11-13)

Check out the latest batch of my ekphrastic endeavor in Columbia Journal, the magazine published by Columbia University School of the Arts Graduate Writing program.  It’s available online, three little interrelated stories inspired by the fantastic paintings of Dina Brodsky.  FYI, the first ten of these flash fiction stories can be found in Juked.

2/6/2017: Write Out Loud @ San Diego, CA – The Things We Do for Love

Thank you, Google Alerts, for letting me know that on Monday, February 6th in San Diego, CA, Write Out Loud will be reading my short story “Paris, at Night” as part of their story concert series.  You can read more about it on BroadwayWorld San Diego.  Here’s the excerpt:

Paris at Night by Sung J. Woo – read by Walter Ritter

This futuristic story presents a couple about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. She dreams of seeing Paris at night; he ponders, “What can I do to make this happen?” A surprising examination of the power of love, and the importance of memories…

And here’s a bit about the company that’s putting it on.

Write Out Loud – an organization founded in 2007 with a commitment to inspire, challenge and entertain by reading short stories aloud for a live audience – announces THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE, the fourth production in their 10th Anniversary Season. Write Out Loud Story Concerts bring literature to life – aloud – with rehearsed readings by professional actors. Each program explores specific themes by weaving a variety of stories, poems and music together into a literary tapestry. David Fenner, Jeffrey Howard Ingman, Veronica Murphy and Walter Ritter will perform. A pre-show reception starts at 6:15pm with a 7:00pm curtain.

One of the other stories that they chose is by P.G. Wodehouse, so this is quite an honor.  I only wish I could be there to hear it performed.

[additional link – San Diego Reader]