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Friday, November 28, 2003
Cat All I can say is I got this e-mail from Paul Pope. I was expecting a preview of something he is working on, the kind of thing he usually sends me. Instead, I got this.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Gobble Happy Thanksgiving. Gabrielle and I are hosting dinner for her parents for the first time in our new house. We hope your day is as wonderful as ours.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Dope Wars So there's this tiny game for PDAs called Dope Wars. I've actually passed through the phase of being bored with it and have moved on to thinking of it as some kind of ritual urban I Ching. I play it as fast as I can, and use it to see how my day is going to turn out. Last night I got $94,001,720 ... which doesn't beat my high score of $149,398,673. But I think it means it's going to be a good holiday.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Lost and Found I'm tremendously excited to report that I've just been hired as a creative consultant/lead writer/producer on a huge project for a major cable TV network. I'm somewhat sad to report that I can't discuss any more of the details until we're ready to promote the launch -- which is frighteningly not that far away! Of course, UglyTown is still going full force, and I'm hoping that this additional work will also do wonders to continue to fuel my creative battery (I work best when I'm overwhelmingly busy).
This good fortune has had me thinking about the best context in which to create. What is it about being busy that is so good for me? Perhaps it's the same as being horribly and despondently out of work. Music producer and movie trailer editor Alex Pitschka and I just had a conversation about the benefits of being LOST. We were saying that in today's modern world, it's just way too easy NOT to get lost, geographically. Even though it's probably easier than ever to FEEL lost.
I believe that a rich source of creativity comes from the true feeling of being lost. Whether it's a simple as sitting in front of a piano without sheet music -- hell, without the ability to PLAY the piano -- or something more drastic like finding myself so overwhelmed by what I'm doing (not doing), what I'm trying to do, why I'm trying to do it ... that I just have to get out of the forest, I just have to tell a story, as simple as following a stream.
This is not a "handy trick" that you can try at home in fifteen short minutes. It's as serious as Descartes' refutation of the world, leaving only the singular truth of ego cogito. I've often said that if you want to be a writer you have to write, read, and edit. Now I want to add that you have to get lost.
Okay, I'm getting way too worked up with all this philosophy. Maybe I just need to curn down a bit.
Friday, November 21, 2003
WWF is Fundamental Okay, so I'm in this West Hollywood diner, the kind with all the signed celeb photos on the wall. Most of these has-beens are folks I don't know -- nothing against Rip Taylor. But here's one that catches my eye -- good ol' Rowdy Roddy Piper. Besides being a fan of John Carpenter's They Live, I was drawn to this wrestling photo from yesteryear because Mr. Piper had written upon it: "Your the best." Who says wrestling isn't educational?
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
New Word Remember when IM shorthand was all the rage? (You do if you're 14.) Well, my new source for invented languages is that all dreaded ... spam! In fact, my favorite word of the moment is "curn." I'm not sure what it really means, but I know it's a visual pun to represent the sexual word "cum," done in a way the spam filters won't catch. To me it's a little more "churn" than "kern." Perhaps it is a forgotten character from Battlestar Galactica? "The Commander will not be pleased with your actions, Curn." Perhaps it's an explitive? "Curn-nabbbit!" Whatever its secret is, please try to use it at least once today. Thanks, and have a curn day.
Monday, November 17, 2003
Writer Tip Today's friendly tip for writers: reread your favorite novel and write down every sentence that describes smell. If it does not contain at least ONE reference to how something smells, it should no longer be your favorite novel.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Electricity Perhaps spinning records on the night of the worst thunderstorm L.A. has seen in 5+ years isn't the best way to draw large crowds. Still, I was please that so many friends and strangers showed up for my gig last night. Vine is an amazingly cool new bar. The walls are lime green -- mmm. And so what that it only has a beer/wine license. Hey, booze is booze, right? Those of you adventurous enough to want to recreate the experience at home, here's my set list:
Welcome to Videodrome - Howard Shore
Tone Garden - Jim Pascoe
Rockit Miss U.S.A. - Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Power - John Oswald/Plunderphonics
We Love to Rock - Arling & Cameron
Family Man - Mike Oldfield
Sound + Vision (808 Giftmix) - David Bowie
AA XXX - Peaches
Georgia on My Mind - Willie Nelson
Fearless - Snog
Brazil - Cornelius
Cry Me a River (Dirty Vegas Vocal Mix) - Justin Timberlake
Symphony #1 for Dot Matrix Printers (movements 1-3) - [the user]
Rainbow Connection - Kermit the Frog
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Jim Pascoe LIVE Tomorrow night, Wednesday 11/12, I'll be spinning a live DJ set at Vine in Hollywood during Club VERSION from 10:00pm to 10:45pm. Vine is located at 1235 N. Vine Street between between Sunset and Santa Monica. It's a free 21+ show, so if you live in the L.A. area, please come, buy me a drink, and chill to some of my vast collection of strange sounds.
Monday, November 10, 2003
Cut and Segmented Two interested bits of culture from this weekend. The first: Gabrielle and I saw Jane Campion's In the Cut. We both loved it. I mean really loved it. The sound design was incredible. Meg Ryan's performance was bold and fierce. The mystery was sufficient. And the love story was one of the most brutally honest that I've seen on screen in a long time -- it reminded me a bit of Cronenberg's Crash.
Not that I'm one to listen to what others think, but I'm saddened (if that's the right feeling) that critics have bashed this movie so badly. Don't get me wrong: critics pretty much HATED Crash and another of my favorites: Mulholland Drive. But I was so much more willing to write them off as idiots in those instances. My feelings about In the Cut are not as steadfast. Maybe I need to see it again. I most certainly need to read Susanna Moore's book. I also found this film remarkably similar to Mystic River -- and not just because of the Kevin Bacon appearances.
If anyone has any opinions on this film, please e-mail me. I'd love to start a discussion.
The other interesting thing I saw this weekend: Trail Mix, a weekend of outdoor site-specific installations and performances at the Hahamonga Watershed Park. Most of the art was pedestrian, although that didn't stop me from enjoying the one-mile hike around the park to witness it all. The best piece was called "The Segmented Path" by Palle Henckel, Sara Roberts, and Kadet Kuhne.
This sound installation piece was designed as a game so that the audience would create the a version of the finished piece. The idea was game players were given a portable recording device and asked to record sounds from the park to form a one-minute loop. The devices were then brought back and arranged within the composition's boundaries. It ended with "the ground touring the resulting spatialized sound composition, noting individual compositions and the overall soundscape." Amazing.
The thing that I love most about these kinds of art -- a good movie or an experimental art piece -- is that they are so inspiring for my own work. I believe that art is fuel.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Tired and Tedious I'm here at the UglyTown offices late (not really all that unusual) typesetting the next book, DARK AS NIGHT by Mark T. Conard. Specifically, I'm going through the text and inserting all of the italic type manually, because it's much better than using the preset computer font styles. Will anyone notice the difference? Most likely not. But the devil's in the details. I guess that makes me the devil.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
The Suitcase I was thinking about writing up a Bouchercon post mortem. But with the server crash and everything else, I just didn't think I could do it justice. Much better that you hear part of the story from "Janine," who posted recently on Lee Child's site.
So I'm in the bookroom at B'Con hunting for a copy of BURN, the latest UglyTown Press offering. Sold out. Not a copy to be found. Anywhere. Story of my life. Not willing to settle for anything else (well, at least not on that particular day...) I stumble out the side entrance and run into (yes, literally) Sean Doolittle and tell him my sad story, seeking his assurance they will be available in Seattle when I return home. He smiles and points me to a thin man standing across the hall - 20's era suit, narrow necktie, oversized briefcase -- and whispers "he might have one you can buy" so across the hall I march and quietly ask this man if it's true, you have a copy of BURN I might buy? Flips open his briefcase and there's a copy of BURN. Money changes hands and I am the proud owner of said book, feeling a little like I just bought black-market contraband off of a man in a trenchcoat standing on a corner in Berlin or something. Nope. It was just Jim Pascoe, co-founder of UglyTown and you wouldn't believe what he had in that briefcase....
Monday, November 03, 2003
Mystery Fiction I had a fantastic weekend hosting Mr. Sean Doolittle in Los Angeles. Lots of great into-the-night conversations over many beers. I had an especially good time talking about his next book and my first solo novel. Sure, writing can be a solitary experience, but for me it has always been about SHARING a story with others. It's interesting when writers get together and are willing to talk (however veiled) about the material they are working on. There's a certain mystery to it, itself. Sean and I both seemed protective of our content, not wanting to talk too much about the stories themselves. But what we did share -- tone, feel, style, and the quality with which we want to leave the readers -- that was enough for us. For now.
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