Storytelling is an innately human thing to do. Maybe it comes from the evolutionary need to pass on information as a survival strategy. LIke when a hunting party tells the tribe where they found the mammoths grazing, or how exactly they were able to isolate a young bison from the herd and kill it without being killed. Those listeners most attentive would tend to benefit from the information and survive to pass on traits of storytelling and of desiring to hear stories.
I don't know how much truth is in the above, but I think it does describe the human drive for drama. The passage, in itself, is an example of expressing truth with fiction. Examples speak a thousand words and even Christ taught with parables.
And so being natural lovers of stories, we want to know where to find the kinds of stories we like, and which stories are worth hearing, reading, or seeing. Or, going back to our hunter-gather metaphor, who will point us to the hunter giving the best description of the last hunt? The person doing the pointing would be one of the world's first reviewers.
That's how I ennoble the role of reviewers. I've been a rabid reader and movie-lover all my life, and so have been drawn to sources for my drama fixes. I read Judith Crist's columns in the TV Guide magazine, took note of what Siskel and Ebert thought about movies, and base most of my Amazon.com book and other purchase decisions on the accompanying reviews. With my psyche so front-loaded, it's little wonder that when I started trying to write seriously, I would take up writing reviews as an exercise.
It has become a habit now. A compulsion, really. I have to write a review for most every book I read. This compulsion often extends to movies and dramatic/comedy series (indeed, any publicly-offered entertainment). I've written so many Amazon reviews, that I'm ranked in the lower thirty thousands in their list of reviewers. (As of this writing. I'm not sure what to make of that ranking, but being under a million in any Amazon ranking seems like an accomplishment).
Since this reviewing activity seems to be the one I am most focused on, and it is driven by my appetite to read (mostly speculative material--SF, Fantasy, paranormal nonfiction, and such), I looked for some way to channel it further and share it. A book-movie-series blog seemed a good idea.
So welcome to Ray-Views. This is simply my blog dedicated to making suggestions for your reading and viewing entertainment and enlightenment. I'll post reviews of books and movies and series and make suggestions in the form of lists. My reviews, as your correspondent experiencer, will usually be literary—book reviews—but generally dramatic—movies and series. Sometimes I’ll offer the experiential—hiking a national forest trail, seeing a concert. In all of it, I won't stray far from a speculative theme infused with inspiration. Seeing potential, I think, is the truest vision of the intellectual and the artist.
In rating the works I review, I use the five star system like you find on Amazon.com where a one means, “sucks,” and a five means, “impressed me a lot.” You can consider my ratings from three to five as positive recommendations. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) uses a 10 point scale so I have to adjust accordingly. A Seven-to-ten there indicates a good movie for me.
I've quoted Joseph Campbell many times. That's because what he said about what we are all seeking rings so true for me. And I think it fitting that the man who wrote the foundational book about storytelling reveals such a keen insight into living:
People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life...I think that what we're really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.
Drama can provide inspiration and example for our seeking. And when drama moves us to tears and hurrahs, it becomes the measure of what we experience thereafter.
And so I dedicate this blog to helping you find those dramas that inspire your own experience and lead you to that rapture of “just being.”