I am thinking of abandoning this blog…

This blog has been a special place for me to blog about life in general and, of course, about Star Wars. But I haven’t been updating the blog as often as I’d like and that’s mostly because I just don’t feel this blog is going anywhere. I suppose I’ve lost direction. My other social media accounts are all doing relatively well, but my blog has always struggled. I have come to face some hard facts about myself as a result.

Maybe I am not as good at writing as I thought? Perhaps my animation isn’t really all that entertaining. Maybe I am actually quite a boring person, so why would I expect anyone to follow me? Maybe people just don’t care all that much.

As hurtful as these things are to admit, I think that perhaps they are right. Am I defeatist in feeling this way? I don’t think so. I compare my blog every now and then to other people who haven’t been blogging as long as I have, and they are all doing much better than I am with their communities. And some of them don’t blog every day and don’t do blog guest posts or any of those things I see a lot of bloggers doing.

When I created this blog, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it. I knew that I wanted a space for my writing, I guess, but I never imagined I would even be good enough to animate something or create something. It seems those skills are not really what WordPress readers care about? I don’t really know. People say “just blog for yourself, don’t worry about the follower count,” but blogging for myself just seems so aimless and probably just another waste of someone else’s time.

Perhaps I just spread myself too thin with all the other commitments I have and I have lost the will to blog here. If I can think of a reason why I feel this way I think it’s probably to do with Star Wars in general and the fandom. I just don’t really feel it any more.

The one thing I still want to do, however, is pursuing the goals I set out to pursue mentioned in an earlier blog post.

I guess I have some soul searching to do…

Well, 2019, what a year you were!

A lot of bloggers are doing a new year’s post, and I was inspired by MillennialLifeCrisis and her blog post, so here’s my retake for 2019.

One thing I would like to acknowledge first is that 2019 was fundamentally better than the shocking year I had before where I was facing the possibility of losing my job. I won’t linger on this topic for long suffice to say that 2019 was almost a complete reversal of 2018. And I am a lot happier as a result.

In terms of goal setting, I surpassed some and some of my goals kind of went wayward and were replaced by others. I guess that is how life works. Setting goals should allow for flexibility. You can never know what is around the corner and I learned that it’s good practice to remember that. Unforeseen life events may change your perspective on almost anything and everything! Life can hit really hard some days, and you have to be willing to roll with those punches and come out the better for it – you have to at least try. You can never predict what will happen in the days to come and you’ll be a lot happier without worrying about things you cannot control (like your job security, to a degree).

So this year, in light of what I’ve achieved and done in the past year, I only have one goal and that is to move out of the 9 – 5 employment model and into a 100 per cent Work From Home existence. I am already working from home three days out of the five with it looking to increase to four this year. The beautiful thing about this is that I have a lot more time to work on what I actually want to do so I can leave my current job. That is the only goal I have set myself this year and it’s a big one. So I am not going to set myself any others until I’ve done all I can to achieve this one.

I would also finally like to mention that I have met and made friends with some very awesome and talented people this year here on WordPress and in other social media circles and I am so grateful for their kindness, wisdom and support. I am not a very open person by nature (once you get to really know me) so to connect with these amazing people is just incredible.

I wish you all the best for 2020 my friends and thank you all again โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ

When you’re called a “racist” on social media…

Today after a lovely and restful sleep, I went on social media and was bombarded by posts all about John Boyega. For some reason, John has come under attack from some fans for voicing his opinion about Rey’s relationship with Finn and Kylo Ren/Ben Solo in The Rise of Skywalker. If I haven’t made it clear before, I will now – I have never liked John Boyega. I can’t explain it in any way that would make much sense but I can guarantee you now that it has NOTHING to do with the colour of his skin.

I am a little bit rattled because I’ve never been called a racist before. Being of mixed blood myself, I find it hilarious that anyone would think I’m racist just because I said I don’t like John Boyega OR the character that he plays in the sequel trilogy. It’s like, sorry but first of all, who do you think you are making comments like this about someone you don’t even know? And secondly, what does not liking someone have to do with the colour of their skin? I like Pedro Pascal and he’s of Latino heritage. My favourite artist of all time was Prince, also of mixed blood like myself. I like Barack Obama and Denzel Washington. The list goes on. How can I be a racist if I respect and love people who have darker skin than I do?

It’s just ridiculous what people do on social media. It makes me shake my head and feel sorry for them because they have nothing better to do than pass judgement and make criticisms that are cruel and mean-spirited.

So back to the John Boyega thing. I actually discussed the entire meltdown between John and the Star Wars fans on Dork Side of the Force. It hasn’t been edited yet so it won’t be up on the site for a bit but when it is, you can support me by visiting their blog and reading all about it (if you feel like it, of course).

I think I’ll go and write a positive and lovely New Year’s post because it is already 2020 in my country! Let all the most glorious things that can happen to you happen to you this year!

Much love

J.

 

Kylo Ren’s non-redemption arc

redemption [ ri-demp-shuhโ€‰n ]
noun
an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
deliverance; rescue.
Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
atonement for guilt.

SPOILERS FOR THE RISE OF SKYWALKER BELOW!

I’ve seen a lot of fans talking about Kylo Ren’s redemption. I’ve seen bloggers on prolific sites confirming this. But I don’t agree. If you look at the dictionary meaning for redemption, it is an atonement of guilt. I don’t recall seeing a scene in The Rise of Skywalker that shows or implies that Kylo Ren is atoning for his past sins – his father’s murder, the murder of thousands of innocent people throughout the galaxy and the list goes on. That’s because Kylo Ren didn’t atone, and just because he reverted to Ben Solo does not confirm his redemption. Adam Driver has also confirmed in various interviews, the most recent with EW, that he doesn’t feel Kylo Ren needed to be redeemed. This would have me believe that Adam Driver was not playing the character of Kylo Ren as someone who needs redemption or needs forgiveness for the things he did.

 

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Kylo Ren Edit by Me ๐Ÿ™‚

 

What I did see was Kylo Ren become Ben Solo. The one scene I do consider the closest thing to a redemption arc is the scene between Kylo Ren and his father, Han Solo. This was the highlight of the film for me. It was a scene with very few words but was the most significant turning point in Kylo Ren’s character development, where he made the conscious and willing decision to turn his back on the dark side and his dark side persona, Kylo Ren. When Ben Solo turns towards the tumultuous sea behind him, he throws his lightsaber into the ocean. This is the closest we ever see Kylo Ren get to his redemption, but it’s still not an admission of guilt for past transgressions. And Ben’s interaction with Han Solo was a memory, not an interaction with a “force ghost” as many have said.

I do, however, firmly believe that had Ben Solo lived, there would have been time for him to atone or to at least ask for forgiveness from the people he hurt the most. With Leia’s death, we know that she still loved him as she was reaching out through the force to him in the final duel with Rey. But again, this is not a confirmation of redemption. As Leia dies, Ben’s final opportunity for true redemption dies with her.

 

 

The Rise of Skywalker Review #1 (With Spoilers!)

THIS IS NOT A SPOILER-FREE POST SO IF YOU ARE AVOIDING SPOILERS, PLEASE STOP READING, THANK-YOU!

I’ve numbered this review because I want this to be the first pass for the film, and my thoughts and feelings may evolve once I’ve had more time to think about it. My first initial reaction was confliction – I both loved and disliked this film in equal measure. I’ve seen the movie twice now, so I have had more exposure to it than most, and I’ve been able to go on social media and talk about it in spoiler tags (of course).

I’ll break this review up so that it’s easier to read, but right now, my honest opinion is that this film was better than The Last Jedi, at least for me and on equal par with The Force Awakens, which I came to love after watching it a few times.

The Resistance, Leia, Poe and Finn

I thought that Leia was treated well in the film and represented the way I expected she would be. No issues at all there. The CGI was still a little weird looking, but overall, I liked what JJ and Chris did with her. This is a huge deal for fans because Princess Leia is a prevalent character, even in the sequel trilogy. I felt that her presence was honoured and respected. I hope fans feel the same way once they see it. Her passing was as emotional as can be expected. I cried a fair bit silently, in my seat, hoping the light from the screen wouldn’t expose my tears.

Poe and Finn’s dynamic has evolved quite a bit. Anyone who is a fan of these two characters will enjoy what they represent in the film and how they interact. Some of it was witty, some of it was tense, but Poe and Finn will always be yet another draw-card for fans. And I would be lying if I said that I enjoyed these characters myself. I didn’t. I found Finn’s consistent badgering of Rey annoying. Rey had big stuff going on and she just honestly didn’t have time to deal with Finn and his unresolved feelings for her. Finn just needed to understand that he was friend-zoned a long time ago and he’s never climbing out of that hole, no matter how many times he tries. There, I said it.

Poe and his past – not really sure how this helped the movie as a whole but I guess if you’re looking for character development, there’s a bit of that thrown in. I thought Zorii, the mysterious woman from Poe’s past was really just a filler character. The film would have been fine without her.

First gay scene ever in a Star Wars film – yup, that’s legit. It was pretty cool, too. I guess if we’re handing out brownie points, JJ earned a couple there.

The Return of Emperor Palpatine

This, in my opinion, was one of the best things to come out of this entire trilogy. While I was not too comfortable with the idea at first, I began to realise that bringing back Palpatine as the main antagonist was a genius idea. Not only does it give the movie the appeal of coming “full circle”, but it also draws in fans from the original trilogy, which is a crucial step for the fandom. Many OT and PT fans have felt divided over the direction of the Sequel Trilogy, and now they actually have a reason to be invested. Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine was AMAZING and every single scene with him resonated such significant presence and foreboding. I haven’t felt that sense of fear and dread for our heroes in a long time. While Kylo Ren is a fantastic antagonist, Emperor Palpatine is an entirely different type of evil – the deepest and darkest evil there is. And we also know now that Palpatine has been the main antagonist all along (another great twist in the story).

THE FOUR GIGANTIC ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM – REYLO

For anyone who wants to know, yes, Reylo is indeed a thing if only for a moment. It is a genuine and emotionally charged moment at that. As I was never a massive supporter of Reylo, I found myself surprised by this aspect of the plot because I thought I would feel really grossed-out about it. And I just wasn’t. I cried, twice – once for each viewing. The scene is honestly one of the most heartbreaking that I think I’ve ever seen in a film. And that’s including Wuthering Heights! So if you’re going for the Reylo, take tissues, I implore you.

ELEPHANT NUMBER TWO – THE REDEMPTION OF BEN SOLO

And again, this just broke my heart. There is a scene where Ben is confronted by his past, by his father and his mother and they are almost tied together in timing. This is one of the most moving parts of the film and again, I warn you that if you’re soft like I am, bring tissues because cry you will! I guess the question of whether or not Ben Solo is redeemed can only be answered by your own interpretation of this scene and Ben’s scenes with Rey in the final act. It is undeniable when Kylo Ren becomes Ben Solo, and you won’t be at all disappointed by this. I was elated to see Ben Solo, finally, get his moment to truly be. It was cinematic beauty for me, it was one of the highlights of the entire film.

FROM TUMBLR TROS.jpg

ELEPHANT NUMBER THREE – BEN SOLO’S DEATH

Yup, it happens. And again, I choked up like a newborn baby when he passed over to the light. I couldn’t help myself. I mean we get to see him as Ben Solo for what? 10 maybe 15 minutes only to lose him at the end? Yeah, that was just wrong. I am sorry, but I will never agree with this part of the story. It’s right up there with Luke Skywalker’s character development in The Last Jedi. It felt like an assault on everything that I held dear in the sequel trilogy. I felt ripped apart and left to die. Why give a character this beautifully moving moment of happiness only to rip his heart out at the end and throw it away like trash? I just can’t with this, I get teary-eyed just talking about it, so I’ll leave it there.

ELEPHANT NUMBER FOUR – REY PALPATINE – OR WAS THAT SKYWALKER?

The one thing I thought about when all of these plot points were revealed in the film was that Jedi Praxis over at Reddit and Jason Ward from Making Star Wars were both spot-on with their leaks. And I will be forever grateful that I knew what was coming before I went into this. I couldn’t imagine having to go through any of the final act without knowing the end. So the last elephant is enormous, I know. But it does explain how Rey was an alleged “Mary Sue” throughout the trilogy (she had power from the Palpatine line as Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter) and able to defeat a trained and skilful Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens and fight like she was born a Jedi in The Last Jedi. That bit is handled exceptionally well. But the ending where she claims the right to call herself a Skywalker when the TRUE Skywalker had to die so she could live?!! Nope, not having it, not one single bit. Burying the Legacy sabre AND Leia’s sabre on Tatooine was an excellent way to kick the fandom when they were already bleeding on the floor.

So that’s my first pass for this film – I haven’t talked about the visuals or how pretty it looked, John Williams’ sound or any of those aspects of the movie because by the end of it, you truly won’t care. I feel that fans will have more than enough to feel good or bad about given the points I’ve made above.

Blog Cleanup – looking forward to 2020!

So I’ve been thinking about blogging, in general, a fair bit and I’ve decided that I will be reverting back to blogging about life on this blog *like I used to way back when*. I actually stopped doing that because of work-related issues arising from my personal blog posts, but I’ve since decided that none of that is essential now. I think it’s more important for me to continue writing about life regularly rather than keep it all in. I also don’t really have time to dedicate to another blog. Now that my writing and reviewing is all separate and located on my other website, I can use this one to talk about Star Wars and other stuff maybe not necessarily relating to Star Wars.

Next week is a big week – we all know what next week is right? So, I’ll definitely be blogging about my experience once I’ve seen The Rise of Skywalker. I anticipate I’ll have a lot to say.

To any of my new followers, if you are following me solely for book reviewing, writing and related topics, please follow my other blog The Broken Quill instead. Feel free to unfollow me here, it’s all good ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Status Update – Social Media and Grammarly

I haven’t done a social media update in a long time, too long, in fact. I was hoping to keep this up regularly but now that I’m reading a lot more and reviewing I find that I have a lot less time to dedicate to these types of posts. I do think it’s important to remind yourself of your successes. It is all too easy to remind yourself of your failures which is why I try to keep focused on the positive (I am one of those people that can easily get bogged down by the feeling of failure). I suggest that everyone does this every now and then to keep your “eyes on the prize” or your goals relevant so-to-speak.

I actually broke a significant milestone on Pinterest that I’ve never done before – I’ve remained at 1 million unique views for more than a month and broke that this week – 1.1 million unique views from the 22nd of October to the 22nd of November. Out of those views, I have a total engaged audience of 80.25 thousand so roughly 20k Pinterest users a week engaging with my content. I actually work quite hard on my Pinterest content, and I am pleased to see it growing. I just need to somehow get that happening here on WordPress ๐Ÿ˜

Previous monthly stats were taken way back in June!

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My current stats as at 22/11/2019:

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As you can see, the stats have improved a fair bit in four months, but I can still see areas where I can continue to grow. In my total followers, I had 579 in June, and that’s increased to 1,356 followers, so I have more than doubled my follower count from June this year.

I haven’t blogged about Grammarly stats before, but I do think as a writer, it’s essential to take note of how far you’ve progressed, no matter how small. Even the smallest of improvements is still an improvement, and it is still one step closer to becoming better at what you do, right?

So here are my latest Grammarly stats. I thought about moving these posts to my writing blog (where they would be a lot more relevant), but this is my place to blog about all things, not just writing so I’ll continue to post these updates here:

Annotation 2019-11-24 105552Annotation 2019-11-24 105551Annotation 2019-11-24 105442

I wonder if any of my followers do the same? Do you regularly keep track of progress on your goals? As a writer, do you keep track of how many words you are writing in a week or a month? Why or why not? I’d love to hear how you keep your goals in check and relevant. ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜