Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quintessential B

Each of us has our own signature style, something that sets us apart from others. You might have a flair for the dramatic, or have a passionate love for blue hats. Someone else could insist on only eating off green plates. Another person might harbor a secret passion for museums on Tuesday afternoons.

What makes the quintessential B? There are many things which I consider part of my signature style, and every one of them has shaped the person I am - and the writer I want to be. Movies, music, books which I've discovered and saved over the years. Here's a rare look inside B. Miller and what could be considered my inner workings - without these things, I may just not be me.

Y'all know I have a passion for Murder By Death and Stephen King. But did you also know I'm a Star Wars nut? It was my first movie - I was two years old and I saw it from the back of a Subaru hatchback, at a drive-in. My parents got the first movie (A New Hope) on Betamax when I was five. By the time I was six, I could quote every line of dialogue without the movie going. (I can still do this with most of the lines.) I've been told by more than one friend that I also specifically quote Han Solo's lines in my sleep. Obsessed. Yeah.

Star Wars gave me a passion for sci-fi as well. I love Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5 (yeah, I admit it), Heroes, Dune, Stargate, all that geeky stuff. I'm a HUGE nerd. I can't help it; I've been that way since I was a toddler. Always on the outside looking in, that's been me my whole life. It's ok though - I think it's something that helps my writing. I've been observing how other people work for most of my life, taking in all the details I can. Now I'm dumping it back into prose.

I love villains. Often the villain is my favorite character in a movie. Some of my favorite villains from TV, movies, and books are: Darth Vader (aka Anakin Skywalker), Khan Noonien Singh, the Shadows, Randall Flagg, Sylar, and Rene Belloq.

I have a deep love for the South, specifically my home state of South Carolina. I'm proud to've been born here. This was the state, after all, who had the cajones to stand up and say, "hey, US government, we don't appreciate you taxing the crap out of us and trying to take away our states' rights without our say-so. So we're making our own damn country!" I appreciate the courage it must've taken for so many people to do that. The South has made me who I am and the writer I've become. This is a great region to live in and you'll find some of the nicest people in America living in the Southern states.

As for quintessential pieces of my writing style - I love to focus on tiny, mundane details to offset the weird crap I put in my stories. I bring in every sense of the character in my writing, focusing particularly on hearing and smell. I use a lot of Southern dialect in my prose, dropping so many g's at the ends of words that it sometimes makes my writing partner Gail Gray (a damn yankee herself, but we won't hold it against her) clutch her head and moan in pain. I like to put things together you wouldn't normally expect, then bring everything crashing down on my characters before allowing the sun to shine through the dark clouds again. I love horror and have a flair for gore - ha! It comes in handy.

What about you? What are a few things that make up the quintessential person that YOU are? Please share - I'd love to get to know you better.


Wendy Ramer, Author said...

This was great. I really feel I got to know you a bit. I won't dare attempt to enlighten you about what makes me tick in a simple comment statement. My best rec would be to read my blog...I think it offers the most insight I'm willing to share.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a fun post! I am mostly shaped by my love of kids (including high schoolers) and picture books. I am all about baseball!! And I need color in my life.


I just love to go to concerts especially Daniel O Donnell ones,if you don't know who he is
he is an Irish singer/entertainer,
I am coming to Nashville in June to see him record a show for your PBS TV at the Gran Ole Opry.
Music and writing poetry is my life
apart of course my family of 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

I loved your "Q" BLOG, my husband used to like Star Wars and Star Trek.
Take care.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're a cool geek in my book! I was influenced by many of the same things. (Two of which I'll blog about the next two days.)
I played an instrument in school and college, which fueled my love of music and taught me discipline.

Survivormama said...

AS you can read in my blog, I am Quirky, I blog about me, my feelings, my life experiences, what makes me smile and what makes me sad/mad/passionate...My blog reflects who I really am..loved your post today!

Talli Roland said...

Thanks for sharing the quintessential B! I'm pretty sure the 'About Me' section sums me up pretty well: coffee, writing and wine!

Steel Magnolia said...

Lovely getting to know you a bit more.

The things that make me, me:

- My southern sensibilities rooted in big city sophistication.
- Films and movies, especially the small ones. There are so many.
- Drives to anywhere or nowhere.
- The strains of a jazz piano remind me of my Dad who tinkled the ivories by ear every night in the study right below my bedroom.
- Ability to imagine the possibilities no matter how towugh the going gets.
- Oh yes ... I love the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking!


Hannah said...

I love Science Fiction and Fantasy! Just take a look at last weeks post about my favorite tv shows and that'll show ya! :)

But I think I'm drawn more towards Horror and psychological thrillers as far as my fiction goes. The paranormal fascinates me. And I have a passion for the workings of the mind.

I'm glad I've found a fellow Scifi geek!!

Unknown said...

I am like, the complete opposite of you. lol. I was never a big SW fan--in fact, thanks to some annoying boy who bored me to tears telling me the whole movie when I was about 12, I had no desire to see the movie. I did, eventually, see it, and it was okay. I loved The Empire Strikes Back, but mostly because I thought Han Solo was hot. ;-)

I go for the reluctant hero, not the bad guy.

I love Friday Night Lights. I also shooting baskets and throwing a baseball--both odd loves for a forty-something short woman.

Unknown said...

What a fabulous idea for a post. I enjoyed getting to know you more, and what makes you...YOU! I would definitely have to say family is a big part of who I am...music and books also.

Have a blessed day!

Kierah Jane Reilly said...

I wonder if all writers feel like they're on the outside looking in. Maybe that's what makes us observant enough to be able to write the details. I'm with Wendy Ramer, you can check out my blog to find out my quirks. I don't dare post them here!

Mel Chesley said...

Belloq... ::Chuckles:: I love Star Wars, but not so much Star Trek. I'm not a huge SF nut, love Stephen King and Horror but I write fantasy.

I'm an odd duck I think, sometimes. I have to have music playing that sets the mood for my world when I write. I watch movies and read books... alot. I love World of Warcraft. "It only hurts when I PvP".

Yep, I'm a geek. But I'm pretty quirky as well. I can't stand my kitchen cupboards being open and have a thing about sharing drinks with people unless they're like, my kids or husband. :D

Great Q post!

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing and letting us get to know you a little bit better. :)

Laura S. said...

Great idea for a post! Thanks for letting us know you better.

Hmm, well, I'm obsessed with zebra. It's been my favorite animal since forever and I have A LOT of zebra-striped things. And things with zebras on them. You name it, I probably have it in zebra!

My favorite color is orange. I remember I chose orange as my favorite color when I was little because I felt bad for it. No one ever seemed to like orange. The girls liked purple or pink and the boys liked blue or red. So I picked orange. And I really began to love it! It's so cheery and bright and makes me happy whenever I see the color. If I can't find something in zebra, I look for it in orange.

I'm an avid gymnastics fan. I'm glued to the television whenever a competition is on no matter if it's elite or collegiate!

Btw, I love Star Wars, too! The Return of the Jedi is my favorite. And when I was young I used to love ST: Voyager! I thought B'Elanna was the most badass woman ever and I wanted to be like her, hahaha.

Hart Johnson said...

This was fabulous, B! I like seeing what makes you tick. My quintessential me is the tart, as you may know... nothing more me than encouraging nudity, pudding wars, and a good dose of silliness. It's so true though, that THIS is what we own. The US, nobody else could be. I love how you put your finger on it.

Unknown said...

Love this post, learning a little about you is fun!

I am a very passionate and opinionated person. It's funny though because I am opinionated with only the ones I love, those I don't I'm extremely guarded and painfully shy!

Rebecca T. said...

I am SUCH a sci-fi geek. Grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek. Love Babylon 5 and StarGate. (My sis and I are going to Polaris, which totally rocks my socks off to think about)

It was fun to read some more about you.

Let's see. I also am a gimongous romantic who likes to see a happy ending in everything and I'm a total sap when it comes to fairy tales and touching stories and I cry at McDonald's commercials. :)

Ella said...

Great post; fun to read...
I love Stephen King, I'm a gypsy aka
(Navy spouse), I love music, movies
gardening, painting, use to play guitar, need to pick it up again!
I can be a Mama bear, if necessary.
I am a wanna be chef and artist, maybe I'll combine the two. Edible
art~ I love Star Wars(my Dad hired
a man to dress as Darth Vader, for the Drive-In). I love to read, I figure out most book n' movie endings(or whodunit.
I want to be surprised; it doesn't happen very often~

Sophia said...

I'm jealous of your love for your State. I've largely lived in one house my whole life but I never really felt connected to anywhere I've lived. There's been no one place it would tear my heart apart to never visit again. One of my quintessetial quirks lately seems to be a desire to find a place that feels like home.

Another quirk, possibly related, is that I love to be alone. I know it's supposed to be a 'thing' for creative types, especially writers, but I *really* need my alone time. It's a combination of being indepedent, wanting to do what I want when I want, and having interests that are usually solitary activities (e.g. writing, reading, art).

And I have a lisp, only a small one, but noticeable, and an American accent despite having lived in England since forever. My voice is pretty distinct but I'm good with doing voices especially while singing. This is not a talent I generally show off.
- Sophia.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Oh Goodness!

Star Wars is the only movie that I ever watched alone. Drove myself to the theatre and sat in the dark by myself watching it. Loved the movie. Hated watching it alone.

And now I feel old! You were TWO????

Tahereh said...

wow, great post! so much insight!!

i guess i'm shaped by my love of first-times (not *that* kind! lol). that's why i love YA. it's a fresh start to everything -- a whole new world, a whole new introduction to who you think you might be.

great post!

Raquel Byrnes said...

I'm known for my snarky comments, love for survival books, and writing great action scenes. I love Star Wars also.

I guess its unique that I'm the only homeschool mom in my group with tattoos, who loves to shoot guns...

Loved the post!