Best TV Shows of the 1950s and 1960s—Part Two: Star Trek

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I am continuing the series I began about what I consider to be the best TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s and representative example episodes of those shows. For this post, I am going to talk about Star Trek, the original version, which ran from 1966-1969. I will be dating myself, but this show ran when I had just become a young teenager, and it had huge influence on me.

I remember looking forward all week to the next episode and wondering what that week’s episode would be about.  Star Trek was filled with what were, at the time, wonderful special effects, but much more than that, great stories and deeply developed characters.

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I have many episodes that I think were very good, but one, in particular, stands out as excellent: “City On The Edge Of Forever.” It was written by the noted science-fiction author Harlan Ellison and ran towards the end of the first season. It dealt with time travel and insanity, which were always good themes for science-fiction, but it also dealt with an issue that continues to confront our society: what does someone do when seeing the existence of evil? Do they act at the risk of enormous sacrifice, or ignore it? Other questions also emerge from the show: what matters more—the fate of an individual or of society? How do we judge what is necessary to do in a difficult ethical situation? And where is the place of love in our world? These are very heady issues for a young teenager to struggle with; in fact, they continue to influence my thinking and my writing.  It was also a series that infused hope, optimism, and humanism in its message, the idea that humanity can improve itself but always with struggle.

I am wondering: did you like the original Star Trek series, and if so, what episode was your favorite?

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A Milestone!

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I began this blog almost a year ago, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was hoping to reach readers with my thoughts on books, on reading, and on writing.  It seemed like I was planting a garden, but I wasn’t sure how to tend to it. I remember being very excited when I reached 25 followers, because it seemed like quite an achievement.

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This week I reached over 2000 followers!  I can’t quite believe it, but I am thrilled and thankful to everyone who has followed me.  The seeds I have planted are growing into what I hope is a strong oak tree.  I hope I have provided interesting reading for you, and I will try my best to continue to make the site interesting.

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Again, to all of you who are my followers–THANK YOU!!!

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5 Reasons Internal Dialogue is Essential in Fiction (And How to Use It in Your Story)

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This is a very useful post on the importance of internal dialogue.

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Today, I have a special treat for you guys. Author, speaker, editor and long-time W.A.N.A. International Instructor Marcy Kennedy is here to talk about internal dialogue—when to use it, why we use it and how not to get all cray-cray with it.

Trust us. As editors, Marcy and I see it all. Often newer writers swing to one extreme or another. Either they stay SO much in a character’s head that we (the reader) are trapped in The Land of Nothing Happening or we’re never given any insight into the character’s inner thought life, leaving said character as interesting as a rice cake.

Like all things in fiction, balance is key. Marcy is here to work her magic and teach y’all how to use internal dialogue for max effect.

Take it away, Marcy!

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Understanding why something is important to our writing lays the foundation for bettering our writing because it…

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Favorite TV Shows: the 1950s: The Twilight Zone

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I had engaged recently in a conversation in which TV shows were discussed. Afterwards, I was thinking that I consider the 1950s and the 1960s to have been the era which produced the best television shows.

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I am not claiming that the special effects were good or that the shows were slick in any way.  In some cases that I will mention, the acting was not the finest, but, and this is my point, the writing was extraordinary.

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I will mention one show per post and will cover more in the not too distant future.  In all cases, I am referring primarily to the writing, the story-telling, and the themes of the shows. First is The Twilight Zone, which ran from 1959-1964 and dealt with the moral, ethical, and social problems of the time.  Certainly, this show is memorable for the famous actors who appeared at different times, but it is still the writing with which I am the most interested.

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The one episode, in particular, that I argue is among the best writing of all time for TV is “Death’s-Head Revisited.”  In this episode, a former concentration camp captain visits Dachau after the war.  There the ghosts of his victims take vengeance on him.  Serling wrote a riveting epilogue in which he says, “All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes – all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in the Twilight Zone but wherever men walk God’s Earth” (The Twilight Zone.) This is one of Serling’s best moments in writing.

This is one of the most powerful moments ever shown on Television, and it is one of the most extraordinary statements on the worst evil ever committed by human beings to other human beings.  We must never forget  the horror of the Holocaust.

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Citations:

Serling, Rod. The Twilight Zone. “Death’s-Head Revisited” 1961.

About the 2015 Writers Digest Conference!

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I spent the weekend attending the 2015 Writers Digest Conference in New York City, and it was an extraordinary experience.  This was the second year in a row in which I went to it, and I plan on returning again next year. The conference, which ran Friday through Sunday, was full of sessions that covered issues of craft, details of writing query letters, inside information on the publishing world, the scoop on self-publishing, how to promote a book, and agent pitch slams, among many others important panels.

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I filled a legal tablet with notes from the conference.  Yes, while many people were taking pics of the slide shows, I was scribbling away in the old-fashioned manner–using pen and paper!  I have committed to being a hybrid writer–attempting to publish traditionally and through self-publishing.  Because of what I learned at this conference, I realize that I have much to learn about the business of publishing as well as the art and craft of writing; I am throwing myself into learning as much as I can about the business aspect as possible.

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I was impressed and delighted by the gracious and welcoming nature of several of the writers who gave talks and presentations.  I was able to speak with Jonathan Maberry, Kristen Harnisch, and G.P. Ching after panel sessions, and they were all willing to share advice with a newcomer.   I want to thank and recommend them as authors and as good people.

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Jonathan Maberry, Best Selling Author, To Speak at Closing Session of Social Media Conference

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I came away from the conference filled with information and determination to continue to learn and grow as a writer and as a business owner (at least in the future!).   One belief I hold that is essential to being a writer was reinforced there–persistence, discipline, and dedication are essential to finding success as a writer. I will post pics from the conference in the not too distant future.  I still took them the old-fashioned way and have to get the film developed.  I am slowly making my way into the 21st Century!

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To any writers reading this, plan to attend writers conferences if you can.  I have found them to be very valuable places to learn about the craft and the business.

Happy writing!

Albums That Changed Your View of Music

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I have been a bit behind in responding to some challenges, so I will try to catch up now.  I was tagged to do this challenge by Trish of http://threehandsoneheart.com/

Here are the rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Sixteen albums you’ve heard that changed the way you thought about music…if you are too young to have owned albums you can surely chose songs.  List the first sixteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag two friends, or more if you have the time.

Here are my answers in random order, and some are the music but not a particular album:

Creedence Clearwater Revival  Chronicle

Johnny Cash Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

Beethoven The Ninth Symphony

Beethoven “Fur Elise”

Beethoven The Fifth Symphony

Miles Davis “Harlem Nocturne”

Ben E. King “Stand By Me.”

Mozart “Eine Kleine NachtMusik”

The Who Tommy

Bob Seger Greatest Hits

Kris Kristofferson “To Beat the Devil”

Kris Kristofferson “Me and Bobby McGee’

Bruce Springsteen Born To Run

Charlie Parker Best of Charlie Parker

Seamus Kennedy In Concert

Coven “One Tin Soldier”

Here are my taggees:

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Latha https://poonamallee.wordpress.com/

Marc https://mavtheauthor.wordpress.com

Have fun!

Home again!

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Hi all, this will be a relatively small post today.  I just arrived back home after attending the 2015 Writers Digest Conference this weekend.  I had a great time at the conference, and I learned much during the various sessions.

I missed my wife enormously, because we were not able to travel to the conference together.  I have a great deal to talk about and share with you, and I will do that soon in a series of posts.

Right now, though–I am exhausted.  So, more in future posts!

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