**Spoilers** In the Greek myth of the phoenix, after a long life the magical bird dies, usually in a burst of flames, and a new bird resurrects from the ashes, symbolizing renewal in the cycle of life. Dark Phoenix gives a subtle nod to the folklore by having Jean Grey, the titular phoenix, die in a spectacular explosion but then goes dark and gritty. Rather than rising from the ashes, an elite private school is named in Jean Grey’s honor, symbolizing the filmmakers didn’t give a shit about the mythology, the comic source material, nor the audience.
The addition of “shin” in the title has many meanings, which is clever wordplay on the writer’s part. In Japanese it can mean things like “new,” “true,” and “god.” In English it refers to the part of the body that connects the ankle bone to the knee bone, just like in the hit song Dem Bones (“shin,” in English, is pronounced “leg,” the s is silent).
Neurotic writers are the shit! The raging mental illness Anne Lamott describes in Bird by Bird is endearing. David Sederis’ shame in Santaland Diaries is heroic. The seemingly endless tales of imposter syndrome from all of my heroes is embiggening. I suffer thusly. . .
And yet the reality, in my life at least, is depressing. I’m beginning to think I’ve been duped by some very talented tricksters. But, in all fairness, I can’t blame it all on them.
Continuing on the theme from yesterday’s post, GAD Guide: How to be a Neurotic Writer in 15 Steps, I got to thinking about the underlying precepts of the neurotic writer’s life. If you’re going to be a neurotic writer, you want to be as uptight as you can be, right? So here are three principles to cultivate in order to be your unstable best.
(plus, it makes for another listicle and listicles are all the rage with the kids these days.)
Writing wisdom states: Write what you know. That’s mostly correct. Kind of, I guess. I mean, “write what you know” doesn’t REALLY work. Think about it. How could we have anything science fiction? No one knows hyperdrives or time machines. Or what about fantasy? Orcs, spells, floating castles, no one knows them. Or, take a more realistic example, how could a mild-mannered author write about a psycho serial killer? All she’s murdered are the trees that made the paper she wrote on.