Bestselling Teen & Young Adult Short Stories in 2020
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
- Farrar Straus Giroux
Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World
Christmas Stories by LM Montgomery: Short stories by Lucy Maude Montgomery
Best Short Stories of the Modern Age
Sixteen: Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults
Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds
Flowers for Algernon
Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two
Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
- HarperCollins Publishers
The Winter Horses
Spanish Stories: A Dual-Language Book (Dover Dual Language Spanish)
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
A Christmas Carol (Puffin Classics)
Movie Review of the Short Film "Doxology"
A Tale of Man and God and the Meaning of Everything...Or Not
The word "doxology" refers to a short hymn of praise to God, usually sung at the end of a church service. It also refers to a short film that has taken honors at the SlamDance and Sundance Film Festivals, as well as others. Themes of God and the meaning of life are wound through this short film by Michael Langan. Whether or not these threads can be found may depend on what drugs you happen to be taking at the time of viewing.
There is no coherent, understandable storyline to this film; rather, it's a sequence of random images intended to bring up ideas in the mind of the watcher. After watching this film the first time, I felt like the cat from the "Confuse-A-Cat" Monty Python skit. Still, that's not a bad thing in this case, simply because the production and animation values are truly excellent. His techniques of combining live-action, 3D animation, pixilation and stop-motion technology are impressive for a short film.
One of my favorite things to do with my friends in college was to find hidden meanings and storylines in the indecipherable lyrics of rock songs. If you listen long enough, meaning can be found where very little, if any, meaning is truly intended. For those of you who require or prefer a cohesive narrative, here then is a suggested storyline for the short film "Doxology":
In the vastness of the world, communication to God goes out and then returns. Man is fractured and confused about the meaning of his life, and whatever God may want to say to us is lost in the confusion and constant desires of man, who mindlessly goes through the motions of his life communicating with God.
Through the constant motion of man, he becomes fractured, with pieces of his heart and mind getting lost. He is dead to God, struggling between the desires of his head and the desires of his body. Man in this state, over time, begins to sense an imminent destruction.
He turns naturally, in the coldness and isolation of life, to the idea of a benevolent Supreme Being who can help bring meaning to life. Man approaches him, but God is not what Man expected. God seems weak and ineffectual, surrounded by the prayers of Man unanswered. God offers a token to Man, which he partakes of, but Man gives it back, unimpressed. Finding that God is essentially indifferent, and his own nature unchanged by the encounter, Man continues onward in his spiritual quest for meaning in life.
Though his daily routines and business continue unabated, he senses a certain destruction of something is moving closer, that something new will take its place...a new consciousness of life's infinite Goodness.
Man loses himself in a love of materialism, all the while searching for something that will fulfill him. Finally an act of random chance ends his continual striving for empty fulfillment and God is simply there...on the highways, in the fields, over churches and homes, over us all. Time passes, and yet we are here, whether God answers us or not. Man must in the end, therefore, act for himself, with or without help and/or intervention from a Higher Power.
Thus enlightened, Man lets go of reflexive, mindless religious activity and moves on to a more authentic life, unified at last.
And there you go. A complete storyline that doesn't actually exist, and one that probably says more about me than about the actual film itself.
The only meaning you ultimately take away from "Doxology" is the meaning you bring to it. Being the filmmaker's thesis film, it could very well be the equivalent of an elementary school child's ubiquitous "What I Learned in School This Year" essay.
You can watch it and simply come away with a new appreciation for spinning carrots, tennis balls, and the tango as performed with a car, which truly is not to be missed.
However you view this film, it's an intriguing effort from a promising young animator. Look for it on YouTube.