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inspiration

I have allies. Friends that connect me to opportunities, loved ones who try to take care of me (as much as I’ll allow…), family members who reach out to me, and strangers often surprise me with kindness and generosity. On any given day, there’s at least one other person trying to do the right thing on my behalf.

Sometimes, that’s easy to forget. The struggle is real these days. Beyond wrestling with this nonsense puzzle of a country we live in, my days are filled with the stress and demands of raising a child, trying to make a living, and keeping my debtors at bay. Just like everyone else. Add in the focus required to create meaningful storytelling, and… It’s amazing I can remember where I left my whiskey.

I keep myself so isolated. I have to reach down deep to pull these words out of me. The outside world can feel like a distraction from that. Yet, nothing is created in a vacuum. I need to actively engage in conversation with the world. Otherwise, the whole endevour becomes ethereal and one way. A ghost shouting through the veil.

Some days it’s not enough to believe in myself. It’s important to remember the people who know my value, the ones who care enough to help me keep my head out of my ass. Here’s to you.

Thanks.

Not every story is worth telling, and not everyone is capable of telling one. The only thing I disagree with here is that she picked the wrong gamble. The odds are worse than roulette. http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2012/06/12/why-you-shouldnt-be-a-writer/

“She wasn’t beautiful to me so much as exotic, although that might be too strong a word for what I’m trying to express. An ability to fascinate is probably closer to what I’m looking for, a certain air of self-sufficiency that made you want to watch her, even when she just sat there and did nothing.”

These two sentences are doing some heavy lifting; both character development and exposition done so subtly that this passage could easily be passed over as typical Male Gaze bullshit. I am grateful for the constant rewards I find in reading Mr. Auster.

I’ve never done NaNoWriMo. I think the idea that a proper novel can be written in 30 days is silly, and maybe a little insulting. But I am a desperate man. I am desperate for the words, hungry for the rhythm of a good sentence, ravenous for the momentum of building paragraph after paragraph. I need my habit again.

So, I will do this. I will write everyday for 30 days. Short term, the goal is to churn out word count on whatever lights my fire. I’ve plenty of projects to work on, and might even spend some time on this misbegotten blog. The long term goal is to be a writer again. Or, at least feel like less of a fraud.

Okay.

I’ve recently watched documentaries about three people who inspire me. I look at the narratives of these paragons of principled longevity and wonder if I’m deceiving myself that there’s a reason to keep going. Sometimes, I think this is the best fate I could ever expect.

Alice Neel

Melvin Van Peebles

Bill Cunningham

One of the major inspirations for my writing has been the work of Otto Dix. I stumbled across a documentary about him one late night and have wanted to see his prints and paintings in person for nearly a decade. That is very difficult to accomplish, since most of his work is on display in Germany. With the exception of two prints I saw in L.A. , I never thought I’d get a chance to view anything by Dix in person. And then they announced this show… Otto Dix Neue Galerie Show

With my job, my daughter, and money being what it is, it breaks my heart to know that I won’t get to see this exhibition. Thank goodness for the web, otherwise I wouldn’t have the smattering of Otto Dix works that currently live on my hard drive. Oh wait, I forgot, the Web is Dead, didn’t you hear?

Oh well, enjoy…

Neue Galerie Audio Tour

It’s no secret that Raymond Chandler’s 1944 essay, The Simple Art of Murder laid out what is the foundation of modern crime fiction. It’s also no secret that Polanski, Towne, et al all but leveled that foundation 30 years later.

Yet, we still have space for heroes, and anti-heroes, who wade through our corrupt world to answer questions and right wrongs. Despite my fascination with the genre, I have always wondered what value, if any, does crime fiction still have, beyond plain good storytelling. I began to find clues in the works of Donald Goines, and Chester Himes and I want to pick up what they left behind.

That’s what I’m attempting to do with the John Burrey books. Besides telling a ripping yarn, and exploring this city that I love, I hope to create my own version of Chandler’s questing knight.

“He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.”

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