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!

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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.

Kelly Crigger’s The Comfort Station

I got an early look at Kelly Crigger‘s latest book, The Comfort Station, and I was not the only one who found an engaging, well-crafted novel:

The Japanese enslavement of Korean women during the occupation is seen through the keen eyes of Ki-Hwa Kim, our heroine who learns the true meaning of courage and perseverance. Packed with memorable descriptions and enticing characters, Kelly Crigger’s The Comfort Station is the kind of historical fiction that teaches as well as entertains.
-Sung J. Woo, author of Everything Asian

Good historical fiction doesn’t just bring us to another time and place to make us consider the lives and journey of the past – it brings us into the past and immerses us in those lives and journeys. Kelly Crigger’s The Comfort Station is such a book. Crigger writes with passion for, and knowledge of, World War II and Pacific bastion of Rabaul. More importantly though, he writes the characters that make up The Comfort Station with fullness and dimensionality. Not to be missed.
-Matt Gallagher, award winning author of Youngblood

A lyrical novel about a young girl taken captive and forced to serve as a comfort woman. The plot is fast paced and intriguing, but still takes the time to explore the people and places in a beautiful, poetic manner. It’s hard to know if I appreciated the quality of the prose or the excitement of the story more.
-Alana Terry, author of The Beloved Daughter

Now here’s a photo of my cat Mac with the book, since we all know how much the internet loves cats.  Looks like he’s already halfway into the book…