Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, September 30, 2011

You never know where support will come from

This comment was made by the man who hosts "This American Life" on NPR. I've listened to a few shows and they're usually economically well-told tales of ordinary people in all sorts of circumstances. He's not a great novelist or filmmaker or artist or anything more than the perfect producer, really...but what he says makes me feel slightly vindicated in how I work...and pissed off at myself.

I've written 30 screenplays, rewritten 10 scripts (2 of which were produced), crafted 2 plays, done 5 novels (1 in 2 volumes, 1 in 3 volumes), published a well-received novella and finished countless shorts and one-acts and fictional tales...and I'm just now beginning to think I honestly know how to tell a story.

Until reading this, I knew I could write and I knew my writing was better than most, but I still felt a bit too uncertain about it, overall. People didn't want my scripts? Well, that had to mean my work was too complex for them...which is a bit true for today's cinema, but is also something of a cop-out and rather condescending. I even used my growing ego to justify saying that I don't write one-note characters and won't force my stories into someone else's mold so small wonder I'd get rotten coverage from producers' readers. And while that's true to an extent, it's also too much on the arrogant side.

But reworking "The Lyons' Den" from play and script to novel suggested to me that these attitudes were also being used to hide some laziness on my part. That story became a hundred times more entertaining once I dropped the limitations (real or perceived) of screenplays and dug deep into the characters...and now I know I could do that with my scripts as well, if I wanted to.

I'm reminded of a scene in "To Have and Have Not", when Lauren Bacall's character is slapped by the vicious head of police. She jolts and stiffens, but says nothing. Just glares at the snake. Later, Humphrey Bogart comments, "You've been slapped around before, and not just once," or something to that effect. And that subtle moment indicates their relationship has changed from older man not wanting to deal with a larcenous kid to a guy who's got some respect for this slip of a girl.

It's a different language, and I never bothered learning it fluently. Maybe if I'd written 60 scripts (instead of rewriting half of those 30 a dozen times each) and 10 novels in the same space of time, I could have figured that out and gotten farther in my writing career. What a time to catch on to that limitation of mine. But then, I always was a slow learner.

However...once I learn it, I've got it for life.

PS -- I should give a hat-tip to a friend of mine who's been telling me that for years, albeit in a more roundabout way. I listened but shrugged him off with the usual, "He just doesn't get it." He did, better than me. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's called "WE-COME"...

And this is the next couple of scenes in it --

Teenaged skateboarder BOYS and GIRLS -- known as SHREDDERS -- make “gnar” on their “shredsleds”. CHILL, a total shredder punk showboats while POWELL, his personal “sheep”, backs him up.

They’re in a corner of a park where FAMILIES picnic and have fun, PEOPLE play frisbee and soccer, GIRLS in bikinis roller-blade around, and four young HARE KRISHNA DEVOTEES chant and sing, ignored by everyone.

Three college-aged kids -- DANNY, a good-looking, easy-going guy; SKYE, a skinny wanna-be she-punk who’s as “ill” as any boy and don’t you forget it; and MARIO, who’s smarter than he seems -- pull skateboards from the trunk of Danny's classic convertible. They are joined by CATHERINE, pretty and level-headed (AKA: CATH), who holds a video camera.

Skye drops her board and kicks off, carving a few loops. Cath records her.

The bro’s are this way.

And she is gone. Danny calls after her.

They know we’re making face, right?

Me an’ Skye clocked it, last night.


He drops his ‘board and cuts some curls in a showy way. Mario joins him and they roll around. Catherine videotapes them.

Man, this is sweet.

They don’t skateboard in Phoenix?

“Shred." No shredding in Phoenix. Gonna tell story, better know the lingo.

Seriously? No shredding?

Cath -- of course there is.

He rolls off. Catherine starts for the park. Danny and Mario share a nod then curl up behind her and each grabs one of her arms. They lift her up and carry her, in tandem, laughing.

Hey! Careful! My camera!

The shredders watch Skye bring Mario, Danny and Catherine over.

Right, this is Danny and Catherine. Chill, Powell and the guys.

Hi. Thanks a lot for letting me shoot -- .

Danny nudges her to be quiet then offers knuckles. One shredder knuckles him back, politely. Chill steps up, Powell right behind him.

That right? You really wanna shoot us?

Yes, for a -- .

“Stupid school project.”

Danny eyes him.

Been done. By ESPN. Twice.

An’ we’re in a hundred DVDs.

I know, but I plan a different take on -- .

Another shredder looks closer at Danny, cutting her off.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, you look like -- whoa, you Danny Harris?

Danny hesitates -- then nods. The shredders’ eyes grow wide. Shredder #3 is confused.

The Art Man!?

Chill and Powell pop out more attitude.

Ho-lee -- I saw you at Playa Domingo, couple years back!

Dude! Your half-calf over that nine-set was ill!

And the air-feet you got on the five-boards? Dag!

-- Thanks.

Bro’, that was a wicked C & B you took at the Wilson Tour.

You gonna run the scores, again?

Whoa -- what happened?

He nussed out.

He took a spill during a tourney. Cracked his head open.

Blood everywhere, bro’.

Took ‘em hours to clean it up.

Got the boards stained nice, tho’.

Hey! That’s not funny!

Aw, chill, puff -- .

Danny signals for Powell to be quiet. They exchange glares, but Chill flicks Powell’s arm and he backs down. Danny moves Catherine aside.

Listen, Cath, I told you -- you gotta be more cool ‘round shredders ‘cause we always rag each other.

But you almost died -- .

It is still fair game. Now -- you wanna get this project done or not?

She hesitates then nods.

Then take my cue and go with the flow. Okay?
(to Chill)
We cool, bro’?

Yeah, bro’. So -- what’s the Art Man up for?

Brain says he’s checkin’ you out. Gonna yoink your moves for his re-run.

Powell -- this is Danny “effin’” Harris!

He don’t yoink nobody’s moves!

Yeah! Show some respect.

No need for bullshit. If you’re up for some play.

Or you just a pusher, now?

Oh, Christ -- Danny, let’s go.

No -- I’ll bust a session.

Chill nods. Overjoyed, the shredders scramble for position.

Danny, don’t, please.

Hope you got lots of memory.

Catherine reluctantly sets her camera to record.

The shredders set to it, Skye and Mario with them, crisping up some death-defying blunt-sides, switches and backside flips, making the whole process seem like ballet.

Chill and Powell run 50-50’s and verts that are pure beauty.

Catherine records them all over the place.

Randall appears, dressed the same as before. He eyes the shredders like a jackal eyes its prey.

Danny does some smooth air-foot work, nothing spectacular but still lovely in his movements. During one of his Verts, Catherine catches Randall turning and walking over to the family part of the park.

Chill really pushes the pipe. Danny pumps it up to match him. Neither one is able to outdo the other.

During another of Danny's runs, Catherine catches Randall sitting and talking with one of the Hare Krishnas as the others chant and sing, happily.

Danny rocks back and forth on the half-pipe, his flips so elegant, the other shredders watch in silent awe. Each roll takes him a bit higher for the flip. He’s gearing up for something big. Everyone can sense it.

Chill watches, intently. Catherine is nervous.

He’s aimin’ for his flip-dive.

Chill keeps watching. Tension grows.

Danny does another flip and rolls down. Faster. Faster. Aims to shoot high.

And EVERYTHING GOES SLO-MO as he hits the middle of the half-pipe. And the other curl approaches.

Tight shots. Bright lights overhead. Darkness everywhere but the skateboard half-pipe. Danny soars. Flips head over heels, holding his board. Starts his nose-dive. Camera FLASHES explode. One is brighter than most. Danny looks. Loses his sled. The floor rushes up to him and BAM!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Got a question...

Of anyone reading this blog -- does this seem like a good opening for a movie?

Bleak.  Empty except for a solitary SUV barrelling down it.

A California-style yuppie couple -- RANDALL and TABITHA.

I say, “Go left.”  But does he listen?  Oh, no, Mr. “I always know where I’m going” can’t take any suggestions from his wife.  Never.


Randall!  We haven’t seen another car for an hour.  Turn around.

There’ll be something, soon!

Please!  We can’t even pick up a country music station on the radio!

You want me to drop some “country” on you?

“Short cut!”

A building appears ahead, nestled between elegant rock formations the look out over a desert valley.

Stop there.  Get directions.

Fine!  Fine.

Old.  Long and low-slung.  A sign says it’s the “Welcome Inn”, but the “L” has broken off, leaving only a shadow of itself.  It's a mess -- except for the HUGE bean-shaped pool; that is empty and perfectly clean.  The SUV pulls to a stop and Randall gets out.  Tabitha joins him.

Way to go, Tabitha.

The office door CREAKS open.  An OLD MAN peers out, dressed in ratty jeans, a wife-beater and boots.

Welcome to Welcome Inn.  You folks lost?



Where you aimin’ for?


That’s east.  You’re headed west.

Tabitha glares at Randall.

How do we get back to the road?

Got a map in my office.

Do you have a wash-room?

Unit One’s open.  Use that.

He leads Randall to the office.  Tabitha heads for Unit One.

Why does this remind me of a slasher movie?

Derelict.  The Old Man leads Randall in.

Only time folks stop here, now, is they’re lost.

How do you make a living?

Old Man just smiles and shakes his head.

Dark.  Dank.  Nothing newer than 1950.  Looks untouched for years.  Tabitha enters and she’s wary.  She goes to

Definitely 1950’s and nasty.  Tabitha flushes the toilet, testing it.  It works, but a GROAN is heard.


The Old Man shows Randall a fold-out map -- from the 50’s.

Let’s see -- this road here.  Ten miles up.  Go right.  Should get you back to the One-twenty-seven.  Connect with the Fifteen at Baker.

How old is this map?

That matter?

Well -- is the road still there?

Was, a few years back.

Tabitha sort of washes her hands.  The water is brown.  She HEARS a THUMPH.  Looks around.  Shrugs and dries her hands.  HEARS SKITTERING noises.

Okay, that was NOT the pipes.

She exits the bathroom and heads for the door.  The bathroom door closes.  The front door SLAMS SHUT!  The room is totally dark.  She tries to open the front door.  It’s stuck.

Randall!  Randall, the door’s stuck!  Randall!!

More SKITTERING NOISES.  Getting closer.

If a rat touches me...

A WHISPERY CHUCKLE comes from the darkness.  Now she’s spooked.  She pulls at the door.  It will not budge.  She pounds on it.


The SKITTERING gets closer.  Closer.  She grows frantic.  Tries to kick the door down.  Smash it down.  Anything!

Randall HEARS her pounding.  Looks around.

Door must be stuck, again.

Randall smirks.

Tabitha tries a window.  Pushes heavy curtains aside to find the windows are blacked out.  She scrambles to the bathroom.  That door is also stuck.

The NOISES STOP.  Complete SILENCE.  Tabitha slowly looks around.

The WHISPERY CHUCKLE is heard, again.

A BLACK FORM rises in the darkness.  Two red dots shine in the middle of it.

Tabitha slams against the door, horrified.  Rope-like metallic tentacles wrap around her head.  She SHRIEKS.

Randall HEARS.  Bolts from the office.  The Old Man does not move.  Randall runs up to Unit One and slams against the door!

Tabitha!  Tabitha!!

The door finally opens!  He sees inside.  Freezes.

Tab -- ?

A tentacle jumps out and YANKS HIM IN.  The door slams!

The Old Man wanders out of the office and up to the door.  He opens it.  A set of car keys are spit out at him.  He catches them, gets in the SUV and drives behind the building.

The mouth of a cave.  The Old Man drives the SUV down to the entrance.  Parked nearby is an old pickup truck covered with dirt and shrubs, as if being hidden.  Just beyond the truck are two cars covered with dirt and surrounded by brush, like they’ve been there for years.  The Old Man gets out and wanders into the cave.

The big opening quickly becomes several small side caves.  The walls gleam, unnaturally.  The Old Man touches one wall.  A BRIGHT FLASH and -- NOW HE LOOKS LIKE RANDALL!  The old man’s wife-beater and jeans fit him like a glove.  He flexes his muscles, joyous in his tattooed skin.

Shit, you wasn’t kiddin’.

A GROAN is HEARD.  Randall nods.

I know, I know.  Need folk nobody’ll miss.  Be easy.

He returns to the mouth of the cave and looks out over the desert.  Sees nothingness forever.  He grins -- and it is spooky.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just read Paul Krugman

So far he's been right 9 times out of 10 about the situation over the last few years...and he now shows exactly why you should never believe anything out of a Republican's or Tea Partier's mouth -- they lie about the facts to fit their fantasies.

I'm tired and have nothing to add to this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

John Waters for President!

This man is so damn smart and funny and irreverent and willing to snap back at those who snipe at him, he should be leading the country instead of the clowns currently in charge. And this quote just made him even more appropriate for the role. Anyone who doesn't read doesn't know life.

That's not to say experience doesn't matter; it does. A lot. But we all get caught up in our own little views of the world and can easily get lost in the forest of our limitations without realizing it. Books are like a map leading you from darkness to light, from being surrounded by thick overgrowth to an open field of daisies and buttercups, from the dry and barren desert to the calming lakeside. New worlds are opened in your mind's eye, and thus your mind is kept open, as well.

When I worked at Heritage Book Shop, we had an area of nice sets of books that were of minimal value. We called them furniture, because about twice a month some designer would come in looking for books of a particular color to fit into their client's newly refurbished library. They'd want this certain shade of brown or blue or green or red or combination thereof so everything would coordinate (and they brought PAntone color charts to make sure). It didn't matter what the set was, so long at it looked good and well-read. I was stunned. Didn't their clients have their own books to put on the shelves? If not, why bother?

But then I took some pricey sets to a major music star's home up on Mulholland Drive and installed them in her library. Which was pristine. And really white. With gold trim. And the books I'd brought counterpointed that so perfectly, with their specialty bindings. What was sad was, it was sets of Blazac and de Maupassant and Hugo (apparently she was into a French phase). Brilliant writers. I hated leaving them, because I knew they'd never be touched least, not till she got rid of them for some other phase. And needless to say, from that point forward whenever I saw her on TV or in a video, she came across as less than intelligent and all about the artifice.

To counterpoint this, another client at Heritage was building a library of first editions of all the books he'd read, from "Tom Sawyer" to "The Brothers Karamazov" (both of which I've read). Very quiet, very intelligent, very self-effacing, and very well-off, because some of those firsts were in the six-figure range. But THAT is the kind of library I'd love to build. I can just see a set of Nonsuch Dickens on shelves in a home of mine.

Man, you can tell when someone doesn't read. They sound like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin or Rick Perry or Rick Santorum or George W. Bush (who was proud of his non-reading) or a dozen other GOP scum. And you can tell by their statements they have no idea what life is really about because they've cocooned themselves away from it. Nothing is allowed to breach their forest or fortress or thicket or desert or whatever you want to call it.

But John Waters reads. Everything. I met him when I worked at Book Soup and he would take stacks of books home with him. Damn, I wish he was running. I'd all but kill to vote for him.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Written out

On draft 5.5 of this script for Kasey and apparently can't get the "tone" right. Dunno what it is about this particular one...but my thoughts are mush so I'm just going to vege with something I find lovely. put it honestly...someone. Nick Ayler is a model based in NYC, I think, and has these hurt eyes that make me want to protect him. As if a guy who looks like this needs any kind of protecting by me.

It's funny how beauty is...but there are guys who I can look at and know, intellectually, that they're very attractive, but they hold nothing in the way of emotional interest for me. While this kid...

And it's not so much his beauty, or that he's dark haired or muscular. Here's another guy I find attractive...and he's the polar opposite of Nick. But there's something about him that makes me want to with him. And I don't know what it is. It just is.

But that's me, Mr. Blank-of-brain, at times.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I done did it

Well...I'm off the wagon. I spent today working on a script for a promotional video that's meant to introduce a billion-dollar company that's unknown by most people...and it burst open my dreams of writing screenplays. I'm doing a rewrite of one and injecting it with my new sense of farce and chaos, at least, as much as I can. I know of a couple that would benefit from it.

I know, I know, it's ridiculous. It's a waste of time. It's chasing shadows into the darkness. But the truth is, I crave it like a junkie craves heroin. I guess I'll be one of those guys who dies and leaves behind a hundred scripts that people think, "Hm, this could make a good project," and they get done and are wildly successful, and I'll get zip from it because I'm dead and won't know or care. "A Confederacy of Dunces" wasn't published till long after the author's suicide and it won the Pulitzer. Oh well, at least I'll have my books out there, too...though I seriously doubt any of them will be Pulitzer Prize material. Besides, I have too much baggage for people to take me seriously, like that.

I dream about it, of course. Hell, sometimes I dream about having an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Pulitzer, Nobel Prize for Literature, Golden Globe and even a Grammy, just so I can say I have them and beat Alfred Uhry, who's one of the few writers to have the big three -- Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer. Sort of a Fuck you to the people who put my work down or want me to change it to suit them.

Dreams are good. Actions are better. Hence...I keep writing and dreaming, no matter what.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Who me? Diet?

I have to have one of these or something similar, tomorrow. Though mine will be with a Dr. Pepper. How anyone can drink MILK with a meal like that is beyond me. But lately I've been ravenous. I guess it stems from just plain not eating enough to keep a mouse alive, last week. I dropped 5 pounds in 8 days. I'd say I want to keep it off...but considering what it took to get rid of it, I ain't gonna make that commitment.

I mean, I've already altered my diet to where I eat about 2/3 of what I used to and could probably drop that down to half, if I wanted to. You don't realize just how much you're gorging on till one day you wake up and have to roll over to get out of bed. But it seems in order for me to drop all the poundage I want to, I'll have to work 8-12 hour days and live on DP and Tostitos (which is what I did a couple of times).

What that does NOT mean is I'm going vegan or anything. I know some people who have and they haven't lost any weight at all, plus they're sick a lot more often. No, I gots to has da boigers, dat's fer shure.

Thing is, I haven't found a truly killer burger in Buffalo, yet (and I will NOT include Chili's in my search; theirs are too standardized). Some decent enough ones, but nothing that stops me cold and makes me swoon for the joy of red meat, American cheese and ketchup, mustard and Mayo.

Dammit, now I'm hungry! And it's nearly midnight. That is NOT a time to eat a meal of that massiveness. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New love.

I found a new radio station to stream on my computer -- WFUV's "The Alternate Side."  I'm hearing music I've never heard before by bands who will never exist on mainstream radio. It's based at Fordham University and currently it's playing this hauntingly elegant song by The Antlers, "No Widows."

I just finished the first draft of my second video script for Kasey. I'm letting it sit for a moment to get a hint of distance so I can see if it works before I send it off. I'm not really brainiac enough, yet, to toss this stuff off, thanks to last week's job. Fortunately, it's only a couple of pages long.

But that's enough to make me think I should do some rewriting on some old scripts, add in my new sense of chaotic humor to see if that will pump them up enough to get people's interest. I thought of one moment for this old comedy I did, "The Lavender Curse"...wait, a quick synopsis here -- it's about a tough and rumble cop in Vegas whose mind is switched with his 60 year-old mother-in-law's as he's just about to make a huge bust and she's about to be in a senior lady beauty pageant.

Well, I had this moment come to me where, once her mind's in his body, she can't figure out how to get dressed. Including how to put on his tighty-whities so they're comfortable (and she doesn't...oh, let's just say...touch anything too personal on his part. So he, in his mother-in-law's body, has to show her. Or do it for her. I wonder if that would get it an "R" rating. But I can just picture Susan Sarandon playing all butch and no-nonsense and rearranging the merchandise, so to speak, as Chris Evans does a girly, squirrely thing and their wife and daughter, respectively, becomes so creeped out, she takes a shower fully clothed to keep from slipping into hysterics.

Hm...I don't own the script, anymore, so I'd have to get the okay to do it. But that'd be so...WEIRD.

Fits in with my mindset, lately.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Death Penalty

I'm opposed to it. Period. End of discussion. And I say this as someone who's had a family member murdered and seen the son-of-a-bitch who killed him walk. I see it as state-sanctioned murder that has killed innocent people in the past and will do so again, maybe as soon as tonight.

Seems there's a black guy on Georgia's death row named Troy Davis whose execution was set for 7pm but got stayed to give the Supreme Court time to consider his appeal. They'd stayed an execution in Texas because a black man was sentenced to death after a so-called psychiatrist testified during the penalty phase that black men were more prone to commit violence than white ones, and that guy's guilty of the murders he committed; he actually admitted he shot his ex-girlfriend and her male companion and had zero regrets.

But Troy Davis has consistently maintained his innocence, was convicted solely on eye-witness testimony (testimony that has since been recanted by the witnesses, who claim the cops coerced and tricked them) and apparently someone else admitted to the crime. However, our glorious Supremes denied his appeal (Antonin Scalia apparently gave the word), so Davis will be killed. You see, the victim was a cop and was white, and this is Georgia. And never you mind how unspeakably corrupt and racist the capital punishment system is in this whole country, let alone that diseased state, white folk have to get their revenge on someone black, whether they did it or not. Reminds me of this infamous quote by a British officer during the Zulu Wars in Africa; he had black soldiers helping fight the Zulus yet still ordered his white soldiers to fire on any and all blacks fighting, snapping, "Kill 'em all, let God sort it out."

So...Davis will, effectively, be lynched to please those of light skin. And nothing will change. America is too blood-thirsty a nation at heart to allow it.

At the same time, the man who dragged James Byrd to death behind his pickup truck (for no more reason than he was black) was killed, tonight. That was a viciously brutal crime committed by a racist redneck that so shocked even the state of Texas, for the second time in its existence it sentenced a white man to die for murdering a black man. And that was just as wrong.

The death penalty does not work as a deterrent. It does not work as a cost-saving measure. It does not work as justice. Considering how many men and women sentenced to die have been exonerated thanks to The Innocence Project, and considering how many times misconduct by the police and prosecutors has been proven in those cases, anyone who says the death penalty is useful in any way, form or fashion is nothing but a blood-thirsty zealot out to satisfy some sick perverse desire for pain and destruction. And it is scum like that who are destroying the soul of this nation.

Seriously, when it reaches the point where people cheer during a debate over usage of the death penalty and letting the sick die, and when they say "It takes real guts to execute someone innocent," and when not one politician will take issue with those explosions of pleasure at the thought of causing human suffering, you know the country is doomed to revert to barbarism. The Mongols aren't at the gate; they built the damned thing to keep their evil hidden.

God damn the GOP for setting this up. God damn them. And to hell with any political leader who will not stand up to it, I don't care which party they are part of.

They did it. Motherfuckers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Today was filled with nitpicky things having to be handled -- like my bank killing my ATM card because I used it in New Jersey instead of New York without telling them I was going there -- and just letting myself catch up with reality.

Oh, and working on a couple of short promo video scripts for Kasey. She called me, yesterday, as I was handling Manhattan traffic asking if I'd rework a couple of 2-5 page scripts for her in time to get them to the client tomorrow. So I've done one...and miss it.

I know, I know, I dismissed scriptwriting as silly...but it's in my blood, I guess, like a sickness or addiction I can't shake. And like a junkie, it just takes one hit to kick you off the wagon. Dammit. Like I wasn't already weak enough. My main excuse is I need the money...but in reality, I'm just a wimp.

I just sent the third draft (but only the second one, so far as Kasey's concerned; I never show my first drafts to anyone...except when I'm being stupid) off and will work on the other one tomorrow after I get home. Nice thing is, she's on the West Coast so she's 3 hours behind me.

Now it's time to get my expense report in order and see how deep in the hole I am.

I'm not posting any more of POS. Apparently I'm at the point the story where anything I reveal will be a plot spoiler. Oh well...maybe I can do something else. As mentioned before, that cop who had me rewrite his story about the NYPD and how they drove him crazy wants his script turned into a book, still, so maybe I'll start trying that out. I came up with an odd concept for it -- "Did you ever think you are what you aren't, even when you are?" Don't know what it means yet...and yet...I do.

This will be an interesting project.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Got nuthin' t' say. You got a problem with that?
(Spoken in my best Joisey attitude, dude.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011


When I was driving back to my hotel, this evening, I couldn't help but look across the Hudson River at Manhattan and be struck by how unreal it seemed. Seriously, it could have been a poster that was Photoshopped to make it seem even more perfect than it was in reality, or a shot from a movie that was tricked up in post. Because what I saw were thousands of black blocks aiming straight for the sky, each one dotted with shimmering stars and only barely anchored to the ground by glowing embers of white and blue while casting gentle reflections in the water at its feet. It was breathtaking and I almost forgot how impossible this city is to live in.

Seriously, you can't even go grocery shopping without all kinds of trouble. The storage facility I'm working in is in the middle of a HUGE residential area of high-rise apartments and old residential buildings and single homes...and you think I can find a drug store or grocery store in the immediate area? No. There's a convenience story type deli at JFK East and 60th where they are as slow as molasses in January when it comes to waiting on you. And where they have next to nothing in the way of quick food or fresh veggies. I saw a restaurant or two, and there's a place called The Lighthouse (I think) right by the facility that looks like it costs $20 just to look at the menu, but other than that this area is barren.

Hell, all of Jersey's barren from what I can tell. The only grocery store I could find is a Super Walmart in Harmon Meadows, en route to the facility...and then only because I was directed to it. And they do not have a major selection. I couldn't even find 2.5 gallon containers of water and the only gallon jugs they had were specially enhanced for babies.

So today I had Nacho Doritos for lunch and just now finished a bowl of Chef Boyardee mini ravioli. And now I'm taking a long hot shower before I make a cup of tea and pack my things. I'm headed home tomorrow night and I want to make a pilgrimage to Wegman's ASAP to remind myself of what civilization is like.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Place of Safety -- in Houston

October 1973, a year after Brendan arrived.


The day was blistering hot and Rocky had no air conditioner in her car. “Engine’s too weak for it,” she explained, and I had to agree with her. So the second we were back to Aunt Mari’s, I doffed my boots and belt and fell into the pool.

She cried, “Brendan, your wallet,” just as I hit the water. She had yet to notice I didn’t have one, and the couple bills in my pocket would dry out well enough.

I broke through the surface and yelled, “Christ, does it ever stay one way or the other in Texas, with the weather!?”

Rocky laughed and said, “Sure -- hot or not.” Then she jumped in with me, also fully clothed.

“Now I know why everyone needs a pool here,” I said when she was back on the surface.

She just smiled and floated on her back, drifting as she said, “I hear it’s the same in LA. No back yards, just swimmin’ pools.”

My shirt was tight with the water -- one of those madras things the twins had made me buy -- so I stripped it off along with my socks. I finally did my jeans, too, because the bell bottoms were flapping against me and I was a poor enough swimmer as it was. That left me in my Y-fronts, but I doubted Rocky’d mind so long as I stayed in the water.

I popped up through an inner tube and held on, letting the water cascade down my face. Christ, it felt so fine and cool. It stung my eyes a bit but I didn’t care; I shook my head and let my hair sling the water away, then just sighed and floated there, my arms folded over the tube, my heart at peace. I looked at Rocky and saw she was merely floating on her back, her breasts pointing above her, thanks to her bra, for I could see the outline of it under the wet cotton of her blouse, see her slow movements up and down as she breathed and the gentle expansion of the bluebonnet tattoo on her skin.

“This is how the world oughta be,” she whispered.

Without thinking I said, “It could if it wanted to.”

She looked at me, the hint of a frown on her face. “What a thing for a boy to say.”

“Boy,” I huffed. Put me in my place, right?

“If you’re a day over eighteen, I’ll be surprised.”

“I will be,” I said, “if you come back the Third of February.”

“You’re born February Third -- no, no, you’re sayin’ you were born on the second. Groundhog Day.”

“Not in my country.”

She laughed, her voice rich and full, and began to tread water. “It ain’t no insult, Bren. It’s just cute.”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

Then she saw the tattoo.

“Who’s ‘Joanna’?”

I froze and --

The car dissolved into nothing but smoke and debris and a single child’s leg flipping through the air and Joanna fighting to free herself as the flames danced, danced, danced closer and closer and filled the world and the sound of someone screaming in my voice crushed my ears and --

I didn’t black out. I just closed my eyes and released the tube and drifted down into the pool and let the water cut out all sounds and didn’t move, didn’t do a thing but float in the center of nothingness and let my lungs grow heavier and heavier even as Rocky splashed about and began to grab for me. I slapped her hands away and jumped up to the surface to gasp in fresh air and sling more water off my face. I was breathless, gulping, my head pounding, and Rocky was looking at me with wild, worried eyes.

I finally was able to murmur, “She’s dead. Dead.”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nothing beats a cuppa...

Tea, that is. Morning. Evening. If I can have a nice hot mug or even bowl of it (like the French have their coffee with a croissant), I can settle down and do just about anything. It's like the warmth of it opens the pores of my brain to release the thoughts I've been bottling up in my attempts at writing. Nothing else does that, not even Dr. Pepper.

What's funny is, Brendan drinks coffee. His memory of tea is how nasty it tastes after the leaves have been used a few too many times for a few too many people. He embraces coffee the first time he tries it and could live on the stuff...and practically does in the Houston section of POS.

Me, I don't like it. I can't get past the burned flavor. Which is weird because I do enjoy the smell of it as it's brewing. I think the only time I ever was able to tolerate it was when I had an Irish coffee at a restaurant where I worked, but that was because it was so milky and creamy and sweet, I could barely taste the black stuff.

Brendan's revealing a number of things he adjusts into once he's in America -- like how we are such a throw-away society. As he's walking home from work, he finds things in the trash that need minimal repair so brings them back to his place, repairs them and sells them to a second hand shop. He's also amazingly cheap. Suddenly his nickname around his buddies is, "The Irish Jew." But he's the one who always has a little money in times of emergencies, and his way with cash comes in handy in more ways than one.

I need to go back over my blog and see what I've posted of this story, so far. I'm getting ready to share, again, and I don't want to repeat myself. Not too much.

Now it's time to refill my cup.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh, yeah...

THIS is a view of NYC...and man does it look dense. I took it from JFK Boulevard East after work, just as a cold front was roaring in from the West and the sun had peeked out just long enough to make me park the car and run across the road to snap it. Not very sharp, since the wind was blowing and icy and I was just in a t-shirt and pants, but you get the idea.

Behind me were high-rise apartments and townhouses. No cheap rents in this area...but I can understand why. This is spectacular.

City of gleaming gold.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Talk To Me...

When I'm working, sometimes. I slip into this zone where thoughts are filling my head about things that could go into stories and I work them out as I wrap and stack and pack the books into boxes. Which is not necessarily a good thing to be doing when someone else is around. Like today.

I had a guy helping me by building boxes and moving books back and forth, and I think I may have spooked him. Granted, I'm schizophrenic at heart, but that doesn't mean I'm crazy. Does it? Anyway, I got lost in my nattering a couple of times and instead of me buying him dinner (since we worked through lunch) he just wanted to get back to the warehouse and clock out and go home. On the bus, thank you. Who knew I was such a danger?

Well...some of my characters do. The rest are either unaware or deliberately turn a blind eye to my madness. Hm...maybe I should be on meds of some kind. Or just give in to the voices, George.

I'm in the NY area till Monday, now. Not happy with that but not freaked out, either...except financially. I'm close to the edge, again. Such is life in Kyle's fast lane.

Oh, and a hat-tip to Amazon for screwing up my books, again. The paperback version of RIHC6v1 is no longer listed, and its sales are posted as "other books." I contacted them about it and they sent me two e-mails -- 1 on Monday, 1 on Tuesday, both asking for more information. I sent it in, yesterday evening. Today they told me they weren't do anything about it because they'd "tried several times to contact me and I hadn't responded." Since when is twice "several times?" Apparently I'm supposed to go to another page to do a reply instead of just hit reply to their e-mail. I swear they go out of their way to screw with me.

*sigh* My life and no one else's.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I hear ducks

I'm in The Meadowlands, New Jersey, at an Extended Stay hotel that's fairly nice. The mattress isn't so great but it's on the firm side so I'm happy with it. What makes me happier is the fridge and microwave in the mini kitchen. I got milk, DP on ice, cold water in the fridge, nukables in the freezer; I'm in hog heaven. What surprises me is my window looks out over a marshland (with MetLife Stadium in the near distance; is that Yankee Stadium?) and ducks have settled in for the night. Probably migrating.

Unfortunately, this is one of those packing jobs that's become an exhausting nightmare. I worked until nearly midnight, last night, to get one stage of it done so I could focus on the second stage...and this one is threatening to become just as demanding if I want to get it done it time. I was told to expect 1500 books; I'd swear it's closer to 2000. Here I thought I'd over-ordered on boxes and packing materials and it looks like I'll be just right, instead. May even have to use some of the client's trash to finish stuffing the boxes. We are not happy about that.

I'm asking the people I'm working with for an assistant for the next couple of days. Otherwise I'm working through the weekend, and I do NOT want to.

BTW, do not trust Google maps. I don't know what it is with them, but they come up with some of the weirdest ways to get to places in their suggestions. Like this morning -- I take the NJ3 east to the 495 heading for the Lincoln Tunnel and get off at the last exit. Then I have to do this elaborate U to get down to JFK Boulevard. But you can't, not the way they showed. The street is no longer there. So I did a round-about to head back to where I'd started off the 495 and found a road that paralleled JFK and followed that to a street that cut across to JFK...and got to where I needed to. Truth is, I think it would have been easier for me to go left instead of right, when Google told me to, and connected with JFK that way. Plus, JFK seems to be a more direct route than driving down Port Imperial Boulevard to River Road, like they'd suggested. I'll find out tomorrow.

No writing done. Dammit. Just a few notes for moments in the story. And right now it's hard to be coherent. A tub of hot water is calling my name. Be right there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This just begs to be shared

Of course, "Christians" will claim he's denigrating religion and not just hypocrisy. Of course.

Me, I'd go farther, because I gave up on religion a long time ago. It's become nothing but a political tool for grasping, snarling beasts willing to lead the idiots willing to follow them straight off the cliff into hell, all the while telling them that heaven is just over the next mountaintop. All they have to do is hate those their leaders hate....just like Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao had theirs do.

But if you read the teachings of Christ (which are about to be removed from the new conservative version of the bible because they're too liberal), you know he said flat out -- do not judge, do not hate, do not condemn anyone with whom you disagree. Period. End of story. In fact, the only time he lost his temper and violated his own precepts was when he saw moneychangers cheating people in the temple and threw them out. The rest of the time, he lived by what he preached.

What do we have these days? Pat Robertson blaming both fire and flood on gays and liberals. Preachers helping countries in Africa set up laws that call for executing gays and lesbians, with one going so far as to say what Iran is doing (killing teenage boys for jacking off together) should be done here in the US. Rick Perry actually executing people who are innocent, underaged or insane (and being applauded for it) while being part of a "Christian" group that wants to dismantle Social Security and reinstate sodomy laws even as they hand over cash, left and right, to billion-dollar corporations.

What else do we get? The fetishizing of the catastrophe of 9/11 as an excuse to torture men and women while invading nations that had done nothing to us and slaughtering their citizens (estimates of Iraqi civilians, alone, killed in the war rang up to nearly 1 million) as well as destroying civil liberties here in the US. So far today I've been able to ignore all the wailing and moaning over 9/11; I see it as an insult to those who were murdered by a group of maniacs (thanks to the stupidly lazy nature of the president in charge at the time). Fortunately, it seems to finally be fading as a rallying cry and many in the nation are beginning to see just how crazy we got after the Twin Towers came down.

My hope is we will begin to heal. That Obama will finally see it's okay to stand up to the nutcases in the GOP, and when he does, their constituents will send them packing. That the Tea Party will be sent out with yesterday's trash. And that we will get back to being the greatest nation the earth has ever seen. That's not to say I think we were ever perfect; we were just less imperfect than all the others...and that's a lot to be proud of.

As Winston Churchill is reputed to have said, "...democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried." I'd like us to get back to being the best of the worst instead of just the nastiest.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Three books - 3

The hell with it -- I'm making "Place of Safety" a three book series. It's been pushing that direction for some time and me fighting it is getting me nowhere. I mean, I already have 38K in wordage on book 1, and I still have another 30K to go. That's a novel unto itself, what with everything that still needs to be added in. The bit in Houston has 33K with at least that much more that need to be added, and the part where Brendan returns to Derry already has 50K with 40K left to add, at least. If I make this book long enough for all three sections to be in one, it will be a good 1000+ pages in my format and about 650 pages in a book. No one will buy it.

But if it's cut in pieces like steak, it'll be much easier to chew upon and digest. It will also be a lot easier to write. I just need to make certain I have everything in the first book that's needed to set up books 2 and 3.

Looks like I'm not going to Seattle this year. Not enough clients are using our service to attend the book fair to make it financially feasible. Hell, no one from England is going; that alone indicates how bad things are getting over there, because this is a good fair that brings in a lot of sales. I don't really mind, because I'm still reeling from the cost of my time in San Antonio and the expense of my mother's funeral.  I just hope I can pull things together in time for Hong Kong...if I get sent. It looks good, but I've been there before so don't want to plan on it till the plane is on its way.

Uh...oh...just had an idea. Bye.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Less Huck, more "Chuck"

It's been years since I read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" but a passage is flowing through my mind, at the moment. It's as Huck and Jim are drifting down the Mississippi on a raft in the aftermath of a flood and see a house wandering by in the middle of it. Jim explores it as best he can, since it could sink at any moment, and tells Huck it's got nothing of concern inside. (Later it turns out there was actually a dead man in the house, and as fiction would have it, this man was supposedly Huck's father...which made me frown in disbelief, at the time.)

What struck me was how Mark Twain built this image of a beautiful, silent, massive body of water whispering along and taking everything in its wake without a thought -- house, tree, man, didn't matter. The Mississippi was so completely in control, it could let itself appear to be gentle even as quick deadly currents raged underneath.

Last night I dreamed something like this -- me in the middle of water in a half-sunk boat being carried somewhere and completely unconcerned. Which is weird because I can't swim. Can barely even float and then only if I'm in water shallow enough to where I know I can touch bottom without my head having to dip below the surface. If I can't, I freak. And this is after years of swimming lessons. Maybe I drowned in a previous life.

Which segues into me wondering if Brendan can swim and how exactly did he learn if he can? My feeling is, he can't. When he's in the pool in the back of his aunt's house in Houston, he stays in the shallow end. But as I was writing that, something happened and he drove himself into the deeper part and remained underwater until his lungs were about to burst. I'm not sure why, yet. I've never seen him as suicidal or prone to making grand gestures...well, aside from getting a tattoo of Joanna's name on his left shoulder.

Only...that actually was a sort of spur-of-the-moment way of proving his love for her. I'm branding myself for you kind of thing. And other little moments have cropped up where he can be just as impetuous as his brothers and friends, even as he knows it's pointless nonsense when he's doing it.

God, I wish I knew what all of this meant, already! Just as I think I've got a clue, something happens to mess with me and my inner workings.

Of course, I could just have ADD on top of the dyslexia I exhibit when I'm typing too quickly and the general psychoses I let out of their cage when I get too deeply into my writing.

Hmph, they should have an emoticon for flipping a finger quickly over your lips with a blubbering sound.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Moody and blue

at this time.

My heart wants to sleep
In a pool less than deep
To let cool water seep
Softly into my dreams.

It's no joy to fake
Hours passed while awake.
Wasting them's no mistake
'Cause it's not what it seems.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fashion Week!

It begins tomorrow, September 8-15, and I'll be right in the middle of it since I'm flying down to NYC the morning of the 12th. No wonder it was hard finding a hotel room in the city. I'll actually be staying in New Jersey, just across the river by the Meadowlands. Something tells me this will be the epitome of desolation.

I've been rethinking a few things about Brendan. Mainly because I found this --
Alice Cooper in their Glam Rock period, not long before David Bowie came out with "Life on Mars". I can't see my guy ever actually dressing like this, not even for Hallowe'en. It'd take too much time and effort for something that doesn't really mean anything to him.

No writing done on POS but some reading. I couldn't get my head around laying down words on a page in any meaningful way, today; too much crap at the job...half of which is just me getting back into the groove of going to work for 8 hours after having been away from it for nearly 7 weeks during a difficult time.

I spoke with a friend who lives in Austin, today, and apparently not only is the city almost circled by fires, there isn't enough water in Travis Lake to even go boating let alone fight the blazes. There are some real concerns the city will run out of water in a few months if there isn't rain of a goodly amount. And where is Rick Perry? In California bullshitting along with the rest of the GOP crowd after making a ten minute stop to look like he gave a damn. Now bear in mind, this is the same man who helped slash state assistance to fire departments from $39 million a year to $7 million in the middle of the worst drought in Texas history. To call him a snake would be an insult to reptiles.

Oh, and they started this news broadcast off with, "It's eleven o'clock; do you know where your children are?" I remember hearing that on WOAI in San Antonio forty years ago and even then I thought it rather condescending. Not at all what a TV News station ought to be doing.

This is why I don't watch the news, anymore -- it just pisses me off or irritates me. But I wanted to see about the rain in NYC since some of the books I'm dealing with next week are being picked up at 10:30 am...and I got butkis. Back to the interweb for my info.

And they wonder why no one pays attention to old form media, anymore.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"I Wanna Be Your Dog"

Good Old Iggy Pop...who looked old twenty years ago. He kicks my inner punk into gear, sometimes, and has me wondering if Brendan would ever wear a Trevira polyester shirt. They're a bit pretentious (I know; I had one and have a photo of me in it), but they didn't really become the rage till 1976 and the explosion of disco. I remember dancing "The Hustle" with some friends in a bar on the north side of San Antonio wearing that friggin' shirt. I think it fell apart after six washings.

No...Brendan's more an unpretentious t-shirt kind of guy who has fun watching trends come and go as he just keeps on keeping on. Or maybe not. If he's out to get a girl to notice him. I dunno. That may not be decided until later.

I'm wondering this because he just got laid for the first time, and the woman he was with is making cheese toast in the morning. He's never had it before so she smirks he's about to be deflowered twice in 12 hours...and rather than take offense at it like most guys would (the "I've been with girls before" kind of bullshit), he laughs.

And Iggy'd be there in the background, thinking about it. He was still with The Stooges and had a lot of serious counter-culture cred. But I can't figure out how to introduce Brendan to his music. He's working in a bar where the bartender/manager is more of a Dead Head than a punk. And the Houston family is too conventional to even know about him, especially since Texas was anything but a welcoming place to the likes of Punk. So I need other people around him to do maybe Everett, this gay man he knows. Would Jeremy, a friend of his cousin's?

I suppose he could slip into it via David Bowie during his "Ziggy Stardust..." phase.

Shit, why am I focusing on this superficial crap? Avoidance, maybe? I'm really good at that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Laborless Day...not

I worked on a list for one of my packing jobs in NYC next week and shredded another 2 bags of old financial records (amazing how a short stack of papers can expand so much) while watching a decent enough documentary on TCM about the film biz up to 1970. It was a bit lumpy in parts but did a good job of connecting the direction of film with the times they were caught in.

I also did some more notes on POS. Rereading them a moment ago they seem trite and wordy, but again I'm laying a foundation for (hopefully) better work later. Brendan had some fun with me over this, and I'd like to keep that lightness. It'll come in handy as this section nears his return to Derry.

One nice thing about going down to NYC next week is, I'll get to see some movies I'm interested in. Like "Weekend", a new British film about two guys who hook up just as one is about to leave the country. It's been WAY too long since I've seen a movie in an actual theater instead of just DVDing it at home and I want to get back to that. Jeez, I used to go to 2-3 movies a week, on average...but that was when I was still pushing to work in film. Some of them were freebies I got through being a member of Film Independent, the West Coast ex of the IFP. Some were big releases. Some were revivals at one of the few remaining theaters that showed old films in LA. Half the time they were foreign -- French, German, Spanish and Japanese being my favorites. I feel like I can do that, again, and I don't know why, exactly.

Any suggestions on other films about to come out? NYC usually gets things first, in the US, even before LA...not to mention Buffalo. Just keep in mind -- I'm NOT interested in "Spy Kids" or "Transformers" or crap like that. I'm the kind of guy who knows that "The 400 Blows" is not a porn film, that Pedro Almodovar used to make porn films and that his new one, "The Skin I Live In", is not a new commercial for Loreal.

Do I sound condescending yet? If not, just give me time to work up my inner film connoisseur. I can be a mean little bastard about that.

Nice and cool, today. Breezy. Right now it's 57. All very nice. Maybe I was an Eskimo in a former life. does one reconcile that with being a vampire in a former death? Dunno. Maybe I'll work that into "Blood Angel."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back in the saddle

I just finished adding 8 pages to POS and feel good. They aren't the best work I've done, yet, but they're a solid beginning for the shift in Brendan's character while in Houston. And once again, we went wandering into some surprising areas. It's weird but I almost felt like I hadn't stopped writing on it. We'll see how long this lasts.

Something else I found was Van Morrison was big in Northern Ireland because he was born in Belfast, and his "Astral Weeks" album came out in 1968. I thought it was later. I haven't paid much attention to what pop music was preferred in the area because so much else has to be gleaned from the details I'm jamming into my brain. I'm already beginning to feel the need for a serious de-fragging.

Anyway, I saw some old clips of him singing "Gloria" and "Baby Please Don't Go" on some British version of "American Bandstand" (thanks to YouTube) and thought he'd be interesting to use as background music for my characters. For instance, Joanna would probably love these two songs but not be crazy about the music on "Astral Weeks" because it's so experimental and moody and elegant, while Brendan...he'd be, no, he's telling me that's the kind of thing his older brother, Eamonn, would like, to make him feel even cooler than he already seemed to Bren. And Brendan would listen to it to be close to Eamonn but not get it. That's why he's so into the Johnstons.

I've also verified in my own mind that half the reason Irish Catholics are so bound up in their history and lineage is because they were made to feel inferior, even though they had their own Earls and Lords and such, some of whom were even at court in London back in the 16th and 17th centuries. Because of that and the massive focus on being of your clan, many will trace themselves back to an O'Neill or O'Donohue member of Irish royalty to counter the condescension. Like anyone who's been made to feel like nothing.

I don't think I have all of it down, yet, but I'm getting...well...SOMEplace with it. Step by baby step.

What to do, what to do?

Shredding makes the world go around, but damn, it's tedious. So I watched the Criterion "Seven Samurai" as I did it. I've seen the movie half a dozen times and it's still overwhelming in parts, and Kurosawa's directing was just plain phenomenal. I can't imagine how much work went into just the final battle in the rainstorm.

It seems my creativity comes in...well, I honestly don't know how it comes. I like to think it's as I'm writing the stories and my characters begin talking to me and guiding me to existences I'd never known. And the truth is, that does happen. I honestly have no idea how else I was able to write HTRASG or BC. And it does seem to be kicking in, once more, now that my focus is shifting back to POS. Hell, it even happened during my incessant rewrites of LD. So maybe that's all creativity is is focusing on something and working at it till you can't do anything more to it.

I wish I'd been able to do that in film, but the truth is I was much too conventional in my cinematic vision for someone who's supposed to have been a visual person. Looking back over my storyboards, they're all functional. Period. Rarely are they exciting or artistic or anything more than exactly what was needed to get through the moment and cover the scene. Doesn't help when you're trying to tell a story with some pictorial power.

Oh, it's not like I'm sitting here going over all my old storyboards. I used copies I'd made of them as scrap paper to print on, occasionally, and as I shred my bank and credit card statements, I'm seeing them, again. I'd gone as paperless as soon as I could years ago and just did printouts of things I needed. Still do. And now I have a lot more scrap paper to print on.

Y'know, I think the only way I've really been self-reflective is in my writing...and I mean more the narrative and less the screenplay. Narrative fiction is all on the writer's back, so I have to pay more attention to the wholeness of the piece. The consistency. The characters and their inner workings. I didn't do that nearly enough with scripts, mainly because I thought the actors wanted room to explore and play with who they were becoming. I've had actors tell me they love my work after reading it because it gave them that freedom. But...and this a biggie...actors aren't the only ones involved in making a movie (much as they'd like to think they are) and the truth is, I was just being lazy. I was lazy in the rest of the structure, too, putting in way more than was necessary to tell the story. I think that's why I was told by a number of people my scripts read more like books, at times. Guess that is what I was meant to write.

Ah, the joy of learning. I'm glad I never gave that up. Now if I could just figure out German, I'd be a lot happier.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Recycled and reborn

Boxes and boxes of old papers will soon become other forms of paper and will be happier than if they'd wound up at the bottom of a landfill. I still have a box to shred and more boxes to decimate, but I'm finally back to seeing the rug in my apartment. Happiness encompasses me...until I look at my desk and table and see what a mess they are. And don't get me started on my bookshelves; I need at least two more, but those'll have to wait till I'm solvent, again.

POS is beginning to whisper around my mind, again, nudging me to notice and keep its newest indications in my mind. Like a stew simmering on a back burner and sending out whiffs of flavor while still warning, "Not done yet, not quite." For example, reading "The Catholics of Ulster" has increased my awareness of how wrong the character of Brendan's mother is, right now. Which isn't saying much because I don't have her in a lot of what's been written, except in the background. But she was trending one way and she's begun to shift her direction to a better one. A more honest and less overtly symbolic one.

It's the same for Brendan. He's becoming more real, more human in my thoughts. I'm already itching a little to make some changes to reflect this. Like how I was going to have him in the typical long hair and mustache and such of the 70s and 80s, but he doesn't like his hair long. "Too much bother," is his comment. So he's going to have it short. Which messes with my plan to  have him unrecognizable when he returns to Derry as a man. We'll have to see how that goes.

I'm back to not knowing for sure how this will turn out. My characters are finding themselves and insisting they each be heard through their own voice. I love it when that happens.

Quick Sharing

"However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light." Stanley Kubrick

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Almost broke again

It's the bane of anyone artistic -- having to figure out how to pay such mundane bills as rent, food, utilities and the like. Money runs like sand through our fingers, to put it mildly, and I am no exception. I have maybe enough to take me through the end of the month, when I start getting paid, again, but it'll be rough catching up after that.

I'm not saying I wish I hadn't done all that I did. Fact is, if I hadn't come down early and been with mom her last two weeks, I'd have ripped myself up for it. And you can't put a price tag on that. The same for going down to visit my aunt in Carbondale; it's worth the money for the peace of mind in knowing you've done what you should.

This also fits in with the way I protect my stories. That's hurt me when it comes to making a living at it. If I'd been willing to change them to fit what people wanted, I'd have felt like I betrayed them. Betrayed my characters and their willingness to trust me. I have to be their rock, and I can't be that if I worry about money too much. So I usually just scrape by and wonder what might have been.

This is backed up by my experience with "Bugzters", when I was trying to conform it to what others wanted. I felt like shit the whole time and had headaches and became way too self-indulgent in the food department. My nails, which are already pretty well-gnawed, were all but non-existent and I was not nice about how uncompromising people were. Finally I just hit the wall of, "That's it, not one damn thing more." But it was too late. By that point the story was ruined for me and I signed it over to them. And even though they've done exactly what various animation producers tell them they should have done, it still hasn't sold.

I don't know if that means I was right or we had bad timing or the people backing it were incapable of getting it made or if the story was a bad idea from the outset or if I just suck as a screenwriter...though I tend to give that last thought short-shrift because I did hit 2nd place in a serious writer's competition (in its pre-animation form); exterior validation helps keep things in perspective. I just know it's dead in the water, last I heard, and I have no idea what will be done with it next.'s nice to know I've got some kind of backbone in me, other than the one required to live this life. Wish I could use it in other ways.