Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, April 9, 2023, or: Weekend Update, Part the Second

A “selfie” I took back in 2020. The beard is gone, though I still sport a ‘stache.

“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida, on Sunday, April 9, 2023. It’s also Easter Sunday 2023. It’s a somewhat cool and cloudy day here in the Tampa Bay area, and the house is quiet and peaceful, with only the soft whir from the nearby fridge – I am writing this on my laptop in the kitchenette – and soothing classical music from  The Cleveland Orchestra Centennial Celebration concert Blu-ray playing on the family room TV set.

TBW Update: Mission Accomplished – I Finished Devotion

(C) 2022, 2023 Columbia Pictures/Sony/Paramount Home Media Distribution

Last night I finally finished watching Devotion, a 2022 biopic/war movie about the friendship between Ens. Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors), the first black naval aviator in the U.S. Navy, and Lt. (j.g.) Thomas “Tom” Hudner (Glen Powell), his white wingman. A rare Korean War-set movie, Devotion was adapted from Adam Makos’s book Devotion: An Epic Story of Friendship, Heroism, and Sacrifice by screenwriters Jake Crane and Jonathan Stewart for director JD Dillard (Sleight, Sweetheart).

Because I started watching Devotion late – a habit I can’t seem to shake – I decided to not start at the beginning but rather from where I left off in a previous attempt. This was a good decision; I’d already seen the half of the story where Brown and Hudner first meet in early 1950 and become friends and wingmen. I had even watched a scene when the two aviators, who flew F4U Corsairs off the carrier USS Leyte, meet Elizabeth Taylor (Serinda Swan) while on liberty in Southern France in June 1950.

So, I started Devotion in the “chapter” immediately after that incident; Brown is harassed by a racist Marine, a scuffle ensues, and Hudner – to Brown’s dismay – intervenes, punching the bigot and knocking him unconscious.

Because several historians, including the late Jim Hornfischer, have covered the last mission flown by Brown and Hudner by citing that portion of the Makos book, I knew how Devotion ends (which might be another reason why I wasn’t in a rush to watch it in one sitting). Nevertheless, I was moved by how screenwriters Crane and Stewart, as well as director Dillard, depict the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir and the courage of the naval aviators that provided close air support to the Marines in that pivotal battle of the war in Korea.

Photo by Pixabay on

Unlike Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick (which also features a performance by Glen Powell), Devotion was a box office bomb, despite a smart, authentic script, fine performances from the cast, and solid directing by Dillard, who is himself a Navy brat and the son of the second black member of the Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration flight team.

All Quiet on the (Creative) Writing Front

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

As I noted earlier, it’s Sunday, and since I need to take time off from Project X on weekends to read, relax, and decompress, I don’t plan on doing any writing after I publish this on WordPress. Every bit of advice I’ve read about writing fiction – especially in Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – suggests that while it is important to have a regular schedule for writing and to set productivity goals, rest and relaxation are equally important. I have a tendency – at least when I have a grip on a story and its characters – to obsess over a writing project and spend most of my time either writing or thinking about the project (regardless of genre or format), much to the detriment of everything else, including badly needed downtime.

This version, 5, is no longer available, according to Amazon. It still works on my Windows 11 PC, though. Whether I use it or not…that’s another story.

That having been said, I found the CD-ROM of Write It Now 5: Creative Writing Software, one of the programs I purchased on Amazon early in 2016 – when I still lived in Miami and did not foresee my move to Lithia – to help me with a novel (which I started but abandoned during the process of leaving South Florida to live in the Tampa Bay area).

I did not use Write It Now much on this PC’s immediate predecessor, and because neither of my two laptops has a DVD-ROM drive, I can’t use it on those backup computers. But I don’t know; I paid good money for the software seven years ago, so I installed it here. It might come in handy once I learn how to use it properly.

Oh, and on Friday night I bought Dahlia Evans’ Character Expressions: A Fiction Writer’s Thesaurus of Facial Expressions (2018, Satin Publishing). According to the product description on Amazon, this book helps writers with “portraying a character’s internal thoughts and feelings using facial expressions.”

Here’s what the book cover and table of contents looks like on my Kindle for PC app. (C) 2018 Satin Publishing

As hard as it is for readers to imagine, writing descriptions of facial expressions and body language is difficult. I trained as a journalist, not a “creative writer” (even though I did take one three-credit course in creative writing when I was at Miami-Dade back in the late Eighties), and even though I was taught some techniques on how to make a news story or features article crackle with good descriptions, tips on describing body language and facial expressions were not part of the curriculum. They weren’t necessary, especially in a format that by its very nature required vivid language combined with an economy of words.

Project X is not a news story nor an opinions column. It’s not a screenplay, either, although if it’s good enough it might be adapted into one once I finish it. I have only written around 450 words so far, so I am not sure if it’s going to be a short story or a novella; I am sure only that I don’t believe it will be a novel.

In the meantime, if you have not purchased Reunion, here’s a free preview (as well as a quick way to buy the Kindle edition.

I do know that I want it to be good. As good as, or perhaps better than, Reunion, which (apart from three short films I’ve written or co-written) is the only work of fiction I’ve produced in my long quest to be a bona fide writer. And if Project X is to meet that expectation, I need to be more prepared to get it there.

Thankfully, I bought the Kindle edition and not the paperback. E-books are usually less expensive than their hard copy counterparts, plus I don’t have to worry about packing them in boxes for the move to the house in Brandon. I can access it from all devices with my Kindle app, including this PC, so I can use it any time I want (or need) to. It’s an expense, yes, but I see it as an investment in my future – and eventual literary success.

Well, since I’m not the Speedy Gonzales of typists, morning has given way to early afternoon, and I do want to spend the rest of my Sunday relaxing, so I’ll close for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay healthy and safe, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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