For “Noah,” that’s a big Ah, No!

I’ve had over 36 hours to ponder the film “Noah” and, to be honest, I really don’t know where to begin.

I guess I would start by mentioning a bunch of the inaccuracies in this movie that Christians and Bible readers have read about, heard about and, I’m assuming, believed for many, many years. I might be a little bit generous is saying maybe 50 percent of the film is what Hollywood would call “fact-bases,” but the other stuff — WOW!

Some things simply stand out more than others. For instance, the word “God” was never used, though many references were made to “the Creator” so I give them credit for that. The run-through of creation was covered in about the first two minutes with a rapid video montage, but some also might confuse that opening with an example of the theory of evolution. (OK, it’s pretty obvious I’m writing this as a believer, using the word “theory” with “evolution.” So what? It’s my blog.)

The film begins in earnest with “The Fall” as almost alien-like caricatures of Adam and Eve are shown in the Garden of Eden, tempted by a fruit that looks like an apple, but is beating like a heart. We get a recap of how sin drove the first couple out of the garden and, once Cain kills Abel, how Cain’s descendants populated the world with more sin and environmentally destructive tendencies. Once “The Creator” decides that He has had enough, we are treated to a couple of dream sequences where Noah realizes it’s going to be water that destroys the world, not fire or plagues or anything else.

Noah is portrayed by Russell Crowe as a hard-working man of the land, which is pretty consistent with biblical teachings. He raises three sons — Shem, Ham and Japeth, the latter pronounced with a “short” A as in sand, not James — and they grow and prosper under the tutelage of Noah and his wife. This is where things got interesting, and troubling, for me. Noah and his family are befriended by rock creatures called “The Watchers,” though they look to me more like Transformer rejects. Internet research says that are mentioned in the book of Daniel during Nebuchadnezzar’s dream sequence, but more so in the books of Enoch as fallen angels. (Sorry, never read it.)

Thrown into the mix is Methuselah, Noah’s father, who dispenses Yoda-like wisdom which on a continuing hung for berries to quench his hunger. Then it gets really interesting.

In the movie, only Shem had a wife to take on board the ark with him. Ham found a girl as the rains began, but she was trampled when the masses started running for the ark once they realized the seriousness of the situation. Japeth seemed to be no more than a teenager. Also, Shem’s wife gave birth to twin girls about the same time the rain stopped and … well, I don’t want to spoil anything for you.

According to Genesis 7, “For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.”

The film does add some drama with a stowaway named Tubal Cain. He is mentioned in Genesis 4 as “a forger of all instruments of bronze and iron,” but that’s all we know of him. Those who believe know that he certainly did not join the others on the ark. I did like the part of how Noah and his family members walked through the bowels of the ark with what looked like incense burners to sedate the animals for their long journey. Possible? Sure, why not.

As a believer, a lot of the Hollywood drama bothered me, particularly The Watchers and the exclusion of wives on the ark. I also tried to look at it from the perspective of a non-believer and all I could think of was, “Really? That stuff really happened?”

Bottom line: If you’re looking for Biblical inspiration from this movie, there is some, but not enough to outweigh the made-up stuff that helped produce some drama. My wife noted that early in the movie, when “The Watchers” helped Noah and his family, one couple got up and left, never to return. We also heard a number of comments in the lobby from people planning to head home to reread the account of Noah. Others mentioned “I must have missed that chapter” or variations on that them.

As entertainment, “Noah” is what you might expect from a disaster movie. As history, well … enter the theatre at your own risk.

 

Tigers get Romine while Iglesias heals …..but what’s wrong with their real SS?

Andrew Romine, backup to Erick Aybar with the LA Angels, is Detroit’s new shortstop. He’ll likely platoon with Hernan Perez and/or Danny Worth while Jose Iglesias heals.
But, like I’ve said before, there’s no reason Nick Castellanos can’t play SS. That was his natural position in high school and amateur ball until he signed a contract and the organization moved him to third and the, for whatever reason, outfield.

HEY TIGERS, YOU’VE ALREADY GOT YOUR SHORTSTOP!!!!

Or don’t you remember?

Why do I have to be the one to fix things?

My cousin, the novelist, will be in town for a “Meet & Greet”

M.L. Rowland had her first novel, “Zero-Degree Murder,” published recently. On Tuesday, March 25, she and some other writers will be at the Schuler Books and Music, 2660 28th Street SE, for a signing party as well as a meet-and-greet session. I’m inviting all of my blog readers and Facebook friends to join me/us at Schuler’s from 7 to 9 p.m. to meet Marcia and the others. She’s my cousin on my dad’s side and she and her husband, Mark, live on Colorado. I haven’t seen her much recently and I’m looking forward to kind of a mini-reunion. You’ll like her; she’s a Lamberts through and through.

That being said, following are some questions and answers I’ve put together from Marcia about “Zero-Degree Murder” and its heroine, Gracie Kincaid. Hope to see you at Schuler’s on Tuesday.

 

Q: What inspired you to become a writer?

A: It wasn’t a lightning bolt that just hit me one day out of the blue; it was more of an evolutionary process throughout my entire life. I love books. They’ve always been a huge part of my life—I’ve never lived in a house that wasn’t filled with books. As a child, I was read to, mostly, if not exclusively, by my father. A very early memory is him reading to me sitting on his lap in his study. I also remember going to the library with my two older sisters, pulling out books like Flicka, Dicka and Ricka, sitting on the floor and paging through them, looking at the pictures.

As a result, I became a reader at a very young age.

My oldest sister used to write and illustrate stories in those small brown, spiral notebooks. I think she was the original inspiration for me to become a writer. While I was in grade school, I wrote a couple of stories of my own, emulating her. In college and there throughout the years, I took writing classes, most significantly, I think, an imagery poetry class that proved very influential to my current writing style. Over the years, I wrote some non-fiction pieces and several screenplays. Only within the last ten years, did I turn to writing novels.

 

Q: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

A: I spent almost a dozen years as a very active volunteer on a very active Search and Rescue (SAR) team in the mountains of southern California. So, following the classic advice to write what I know, I did! The heroine in ‘Zero-Degree Murder,’ Gracie Kinkaid, is a woman on a volunteer search and rescue team in the mountains of southern California.

Because I participated in hundreds of missions and trainings (including being airlifted out by a helicopter [no injuries involved], jumping out of a helicopter into the snow on the side of a mountain and overnighting in the snow with only a sleeping bag), I had to do very little traditional research for “Zero-Degree Murder.” Much of what’s described in the book, from the setting to SAR procedures and protocol to some of the circumstances and events, is drawn from personal knowledge and experience–my own and that of other SAR members.

For instance, Gracie Kinkaid’s tumble down a steep, snow-covered mountainside was “borrowed” from my husband, Mark’s winter mountaineering accident where he slid/tumbled/fell over 400 feet, hitting rocks and trees along the way, all the while trying to use his ice axe to stop himself (‘self-arrest’). (Luckily, he finally did. His ice axe and crampons were dented, and his helmet was cracked, but he walked away with only bruises–no broken bones!)

 

Q: Do you have a favorite author or genre you like to read for pleasure?

A: I read whatever strikes my fancy. I love mysteries. I’ve read every Dick Francis, some multiple times, and read every new Nevada Barr that comes out. I go through long stretches of reading only the classics or books by a certain author, regardless of genre. I first read “The Lord of the Rings” when I was around 12 or 13–I loved it then and still do. I love American history, particularly the old west. I’ve read every Louis L’Amour at least once, and just finished reading Zane Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage” for the first time.

 

Q: What has been your experience with the publishing industry, both pros and cons?

A: One of the biggest surprises is how long everything in the publication process takes. From the time I was offered a publishing contract from Penguin to the actual release of the first book took almost two years. I’m constantly amazed at how genuinely nice and supportive everyone I’ve dealt with at Penguin is. 

 

Q: Have you always wanted to write a book? Seems like a lot of people want to, but never get around to it. How did you get it together to publish?

A: I can’t remember specifically having the goal of publishing a book when was younger, but I did write stories in grade school. Later, as an adult, I wrote (but never had produced) six or seven screenplays. I didn’t turn to writing fiction until about ten or so years ago, a difficult transition for me. Writing screenplays is like building the skeleton of a story—you only write what can be seen or heard on the screen. Writing fiction is completely different … like putting the meat on the bones.

Because “Zero-Degree Murder is my first book and because I was, for all intents and purposes, learning to write fiction when I was writing it, I rewrote the book no less than ten times before it reached its current, published state.

Writing and getting a book published, especially a novel, takes nothing if not hard work and perseverance. So my best advice to anyone interested in writing and getting a book published is to work hard and, to borrow from Winston Churchill: Never give up. Never, never, never, never give up. 

 

Q: What do you hope readers get from the book?

Lots of things! A fun and compelling read for starters, one that grabs their attention and imagination from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the end. An introduction and demystification of the world of Search and Rescue, what it’s really like, what it entails, what it requires. An awareness of survival and the concept of being prepared and, therefore, self-reliant. An exploration of the idea of facing and conquering one’s personal fears. Especially for women, an awareness that they’re stronger than they may think, capable of summoning inner reserves they may not know exist, that in acknowledging and standing up to their fears, they can conquer them.

 

Q: What’s your favorite part in the book and why?

A: I love that Gracie Kinkaid is smart, physically capable, skilled and proficient. Gracie has her faults and self-doubts, as everyone does, but she’s a lot stronger than she believes on so many different levels. She proves she has courage, which is not to say she’s not afraid, but she acts in the face of and in spite of the fear.

I also love Gracie and Rob’s relationship—that they come from such different backgrounds and worlds in which both are somewhat isolated or insulated, and that they find comfort and friendship in each other, that they learn different things from each other.

 

Q: What’s next?

A: The second book in the Gracie Kinkaid Series, “Murder off the Beaten Path,”  releases in October 2014. Book 3 in the series, as yet untitled, releases in the summer of 2015.

After that, who knows? I have ideas for Gracie Kinkaid Books 4 & 5. And it would be great fun to see Gracie brought to life in television or a motion picture. Who knows to what heights she might ascend?