Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

The Unforgivable Sin, Part I

SO, I stuck my foot (or maybe my fingers, since I was typing) in my mouth once again. Earlier in the week, in response to Nancy S. Thompson’s post (When a Character Does the Unforgivable) I said “I don’t think I can adequately order my thoughts on it here in this tiny little space. If I can get my act together, maybe I can make my own post on this for Friday!” I should know by now to keep these thoughts to myself, because I can never get my act together in time, and this week is no exception.

I spent a couple of hours at odd times this week trying to get my thoughts in order, and what I’ve got is not acceptable. I could keep pounding on it today, but I really want – no, need – to get on with revisions to Parallel Lives, and fresh writing on the currently-untitled WiP. Here comes the cop-out portion of this post, where I leave you with a few clips and quotes, and the question: Is this forgivable?

Situation 1: Indiana Jones has been racing through the streets of Cairo vainly searching for Marion Ravenwood, (still the best Indy heroine ever, in my opinion) who has been kidnapped. He’s been brawling his way through a dozen or so ‘thugees’ who have been trying to thwart him, and then this happens:

This drew a big laugh in the theater. Is it forgivable?

Next up, 5-second sound clip from Pulp Fiction (surprisingly safe for work): Jules and Vincent have just recovered Marsellus Wallace’s mysterious briefcase. Brett tries to apologize and explain how sorry they are. “We got into this thing with the best of intentions…” Jules turns and guns down ‘Flock of Seagulls’ on the couch.

Did I break your concentration?
Is it forgivable?
Or how about this, from Unforgiven, which might be the greatest western ever made? (stop it at about the 1:00 mark, though the scene between Eastwood and the Kid in the aftermath is brilliant)

And finally, the story of ‘the offer he couldn’t refuse’, as told by Michael Corleone to Kay Adams in The Godfather:

Are these acts forgivable? Why or why not? I promise, there is a point to all of this. It will just have to wait until next week.

In the meantime, I figured I’d mention something I will be doing in the near future:

The Origins Blogfest. Word of this came to me yesterday via Matthew MacNish. Since I’m a sucker for creation stories, I thought, “Why not?”

Here’s the dirt, from the blog of DL Hammons: On Monday, February 13th, you should post your own origin story. Tell us all where your writing dreams began. It could be anything from how you started making up stories as a child, or writing for the school newspaper, or even what prompted you to start a blog. How about stories about the first time somebody took an interest in your writing, or the teacher/mentor that helped nudge you along and mold your passion, or maybe the singular moment when you first started calling yourself a writer. It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own, unique, beginnings.

You can sign up at DL’s site, linked above.

This is kind of cheating, because I’ve already told part of my origin story, somewhere in the past, but I’ll find a way to embellish it, hah hah.
So there you are for this week. Some clips, a cop out, and a promise for next week, and beyond. Have a great weekend, all.

4 Responses

  1. Hmm. I'd say the Indiana Jones moment is definitely forgivable. I'm on the fence on the others–I'd need more details of the backstory and who the people are who are involved. I guess that just shows how much bias I can have depending on how much I like a character to begin with.

  2. You WANT Indy to kill that guy. You KNOW the Kid HAS to kill that man. Michael seems to be gloating almost, so I'm not sure I like that his attitude, but his father gave the the orchestra leader an out before he took matter in his own hands. So yeah, I think they are each forgivable.

    As for my own story, it's all about the journey the character goes through both before he does The Terrible Awful Thing, as well as afterwards, and how he acts on his remorse and regret. If I started the book with him doing that terrible thing, he would be irredeemable. I hope the journey makes him forgivable and redeemed in the end.

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