Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Find out who you are and do it on purpose."

This, my friends, was going to be such an awesome, revolutionary post. Last week I drove by a car wash in Phoenixville that had the words above emblazoned on its letterboard. Find out who you are and do it on purpose.

Normally this stuff is of the if-you-give-an-idea-wings-don’t-forget-the-landing-gear variety of chortle-inducing Pearl of Wisdom found outside flower shops and latter-day Protestant churches built to resemble beer outlets. But a car wash! So much wisdom, so much power, so much speaking to me!

Not yet having a digital camera of my very own, I prevailed upon a friend to borrow hers . . . only to discover that in the interim between thought and action said car wash had changed its letterboard to “Happy Easter” and “God Bless the USA.” How trite. How mean!

This post was going to be all about how artists infuse their works with a central theme, or how some lasting concern influences, guides, permeates everything they produce. It was going to discuss how one’s wound, in mythic terms, is the source of both one’s doom and the means by which one can bring greatness to the word. It was going to relate the words of St. Thomas Aquinas* to Robert Bly’s discussion of katabasis** in Iron John. Explore the implicit notion that there is some negative value or consequence to be experienced should one not do it on purpose (so get cracking!). That having your purpose thrust upon you is maybe not the best way to go.

But no.***

Happy Easter. God Bless the USA.****

*“If you bring forth that which is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

**A downward movement, a sinking, a bottoming out that cares nothing for ego, societal demands, mortgage payments. It is an inevitable mythic, mighty maw of a sewer drain down which you will spiral unless you get your shit together right quick. The kind of void commonly dealt with via red Miatas and mistresses a generation too young.

***Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Crymes did not invent the asterisk. He is, however, generally credited with the first casting of the Ironstorm spell in the fall of 1987, which led to the Great Rift of Korax and the untimely demise of several NPCs. Be sure to ask him about it!

****Meant ironically. Sort of.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

First 10 Verbs: A Meme

Owwwww! Next time you tag someone, Mr. Crymes, try Post-It notes instead of nails, mmmkay?

Where were we? Ah, yes, verbs.

Sometimes we writers get lazy. We assume that verbs are helpful for such crucial endeavors as screenwriting, sudoku, or graduating from college, but this is not always the case. In her first-year composition class at Penn State, my wife had the pleasure of doing peer reviews for one of her, well, peers. Thing is, the fellow wrote his essays without using verbs. Nary a one. He’s now making millions as a professional basketball player.

But I digress. Here, then, are the first 10 verbs of my action-figure epic, Disaster Man.

1. roars
2. billow
3. looms
4. fire
5. explodes
6. glances
7. looses
8. sweeps
10. whines

Wow, I like these. Wagnerian, indeed almost Bruckheimerian in their operatic majesty. Now let’s see what the list would look like if I had followed the aforementioned sportsman’s stylistic technique:


Plainly, I cannot match his economy of language. In fact, I suspect that even Hemingway or Carver would be up against the wall. I wonder if either had a good outside shot.

And now, a crisp bounce pass to The Moviequill.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Holy mimesis, Batman! I've been tagged!

Like, 90 million years ago. Well, Julie O., this one's for you.

ONE (1) earliest film-related memory:

Bambi. The theater was later turned into apartments.

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:

"The duke will die before these eyes, and he'll know that it is I, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who encompasses his doom!"

"It's a very plum plum."

THREE (3) jobs you'd do if you could not work in the "biz":

fiction illustrator
classical trumpeter

FOUR (4) jobs you actually have held outside the industry:

neighborhood lawncare engineer
instructional technology assistant
university English instructor
technical writer/editor

THREE (3) book authors I like:

J.R.R. Tolkien
Michel Foucault
W.G. Sebald

TWO (2) movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt:

Dune (the TV mini-series does not count) and one that's, like, a total secret.

ONE (1) screenwriter you think is underrated:

Charlie Kaufman?

THREE (3) people I'm tagging to answer this meme next:

Tom (The Bag Means Your Mind)
Pat (Could You Describe the Ruckus?)
Brett (A Bucket of Love)

The bag means your mind. Or something.

My once and future co-conspirator Thomas H. Crymes II has at long last entered the scribosphere. If you're looking for an erudite elucidation of Euripidean literary tropes, please keep moving. But if you have a fascination for words containing the letters "e" and "u," you'll be on solid ground with Tom as your guide. He also likes flan.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Go West, young man."

So I did.

I find it strange that over two weeks have already passed since I embarked on my journey to Los Angeles. It seems like a dream.

The plan was simple. In three days, meet with existing and potential contacts, pitch my work, build relationships. A preliminary scouting mission to see what I was getting into.

Now, this was my first time in L.A., my first time in California. I don’t have an agent, I don’t have a manager, I don’t know anyone based in Los Angeles other than a few fellow bloggers. So I was quite pleased that folks like Matt Smith of Weed Road Pictures, Ben Tyson of FOX TV (comedy), and Kevin McNamara of Sunset Pictures agreed to meet with me. All were very generous with their time and defied the stereotypes I’d heard and read about. I laughed to myself, though, as I sat down on, was swallowed in, the Proverbial Couch of Unending Softness.

L.A., too, was not the horror show I’d been led to expect. Sure, the traffic was heavy (though the drivers were more laid back than their East Coast counterparts), the women carried little dogs and exuded a suppressed desperation, and parking rules made no sense (thank you so much, City of West Hollywood).

But if you’re thinking about “some day” making the move to L.A., I highly recommend a trip like this. There was magic in seeing the big Hollywood letters. Standing in the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica. Walking about the Warner Brothers lot. Witnessing the 500,000-person protest in downtown L.A. Experiencing Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow exhibit at the Nomadic Museum by Santa Monica Pier.

Upon my return, I was asked if I had anything to show for the trip other than good feelings. The answer is yes, but that would be telling.