The Mullet, neon colors, pastel colors, cheesy pop tunes, and cocaine; as the drug-du jour, plus the Golden Age of heavy metal. What better place in which to set a story right? Well, guess what? Yours truly is taking the plunge by writing a story which takes place in that era. This new story is much more than simple nostalgia though. Is a fictional story set mostly in the town of St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Florida. The opening scene came to me in a flash of imaginary flight of fancy, as most good ideas tend to.
Now, I know I mentioned that my next story was going to be a serial-killer type number. No worries; chill homie, chill. I’m not ditching it (is still in the works, I’ve got 7,156 words going on it) but this new story has a hook on me. It wants to come out and play, so I’m writing it. The working title of the story is Gray Salt, the tag line is: Drugs, Heavy Metal & Murder; a coming-of-age-story. The research is a lot of fun and I’m having a blast writing it. The 1980’s were colorful years indeed, as colorful as a comic book. Stay stoned, eh, I mean, stay tune…
And that, as they say, is my report from the writerly trenches. Y’all have a good one.
For the first time in a looong time I’m enjoying a three-day weekend (actually; I don’t remember ever having a three-day weekend, but I digress), so I decided to go on an autobiographical bender and read a few short books to keep me from losing my melon. Here are my thoughts on these short and easy reads.
My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller
This Kindle single delves into author (character actor and writer Fred Stoller), extremely lucky streak of becoming a writer on one of the most popular sitcoms in modern American TV history (Seinfeld), yet he wasn’t too happy about it. I can’t imagine that writing for TV is an easy gig, especially for such a stratospherically popular show. He describes the almost Darwinian elements of a competitive writing gig which, quite frankly, would give anyone nightmares. He did managed to write some memorable episodes for the show, such as the one where Kramer is forced to apologize to a monkey and the one about the suit for a meal, in which Jerry has to buy Benia a meal for a suit, but Benia only has a soup and a sandwich after which he declares that a soup and a sandwich is not a meal, funny stuff. His insight into the ‘real-life’ Kramer is very interesting because the guy comes across as a real New York hustler, just like the TV Kramer. Overall a good read. 4 out of 5
The Girl in the Photo by Gaspar Gonzales
The historical background on this short alone will have you glued. The author (writer and documentary film maker Gaspar Gonzales) has been obsessed with a picture of the brother he never met, and decides to trace the girl who’s posing on said photograph with his brother, a photo, presumably taken on prom night. And so begins a journey of forty plus years in the making. This is an immigrant’s tale intertwined with family, history, war and the love of one’s adopted country. I just wish the book was longer because, as it stands, it feels like a taste of a much longer story, a story which honors the legacy of the brother he never had a chance to meet, a shy and smart guy who became a quiet war hero. If you haven’t guess already; this short will hit you in the feels (is someone peeling onions around here?) 5 out of 5
Happy Fourth of July!
I hate to admit it, and quite frankly, I’m a little ashamed, but I’ve yet to read anything by Raymond Chandler, (so many great books and so little time to read them all). I keep hearing great things about his work. I was over on Reddit the other day and found an outstanding quote of his, I can’t say that I subscribe closely to the style he describes because I don’t like too much description on the stuff I’m reading or writing, when reading I tend to skip that stuff, I’m a firm believer in the Elmore Leonard adage of “I try to leave out the parts people skip”, anyway here’s the Raymond Chandler copy-pasted quote:
“A long time ago when I was writing for pulps, I put into a story a line like ‘he got out of the car and walked across the sun drenched sidewalk until the shadow of the awning over the entrance fell across his face like the touch of cool water.’ They took it out when they published the story. Their readers didn’t appreciate this sort of thing: it just held up the action. And I set out to prove them wrong. My theory was they just thought they cared nothing about anything but the action; that really, although they didn’t know it, they cared very little about the action. The things they really cared about, and that I cared about, were the creation of emotion through dialogue and description; the things they remembered, that haunted them, were not for example that a man got killed, but that in the moment of his death he was trying to pick a paper clip up off the polished surface of a desk, and it kept slipping away from him, so that there was a look of strain on his face and his mouth was half open in a kind of tormented grin, and the last thing in the world he thought about was death. He didn’t even hear death knock on the door. That damn little paper clip kept slipping away from his fingers and he just couldn’t push it to the edge of the desk and catch it as it fell.” – Raymond Chandler
Now, this other quote was said about Raymond Chandler’s writing by George V. Higgins.
“He did not write about crime or detection… He wrote about the corruption of the human spirit” –George V. Higgins (1988)
I think I can hang my hat on that quote