Thursday, April 28, 2011


As joyful as it can be to write when you want to the opposite is true if you don't want to. It seems that everyone wants to do it and to learn how to do it but it is about a huge investment in time, discipline, and faith. Where does one find the confidence to chose a path anyway? There are so many options.
They tell me the public brought paranormal to the fore, but the many half vampire, half werewolf, half of somethings make me cringe. It's almost as if we've got this new material but we've got to do the same things with it. We go for newness but somehow we can't arrive. Newness must arrive with the person themselves, who they are and what they think and what they write cannot be separated. I get these impressions from the huge amount of reading that I do, almost a book a day and no, I am not joking. What I get is a tiredness of this glut of stories, a sense of sameness, that I'm reading the same thing over and over. What I want is unpredictability in story even as it is in life. The thing that books did for me when I was between being a child and an adult doesn't happen now. This overwhelming sense of possibility.
Being a writer is an odd thing, people study it and even so I don't think it has parameters. The simple telling of story seems to be enormously complicated.
NEVER start a story with a character waking up.
NEVER change point of view
NEVER start with It was a dark and stormy night unless you are Snoopy the dog.
NEVER have the main character be the murderer or an awful person.
NEVER tell a characters dream in detail
NEVER use the passive voice, actually this is very useful.
NEVER use exclamation points.
NEVER have the answer be aliens did it unless things are exceedingly odd all around during the story.
NEVER forget to enclose a self addressed postage paid envelope
NEVER call editors constantly or make a pest of yourself. I'm told publishing is a small world.
NEVER use colored paper or confetti or perfumed paper.
NEVER have characters on drugs or depict drugs in any other way than dangerous, deadly, and unsavory
NEVER say love does not exist. Make those dreams come true at least on the page.
I think it wise to remember that people who do read like some wordplay and things of that nature because they love words. That's why they are reading.
This is a list of advice I've read or been given. It is not I who is wise and know these things. I do however, cook a mean fried chicken.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life by Keith Richards

This book is like a very long interview with the rocker and guitarist for the Rolling Stones. The strangest thing about it are the things he says about drugs and his drug use, and how they kept throwing him in jail and two years later they were naming streets in his native part of London after his songs. He says that he wrote the music and Jagger would do the words, which didn't suprise me. I was suprised that Jagger can play, he just doesn't do so onstage. As for Brian Jones in this memoir he comes off looking not so good, a man who was violent with his girlfriends and often so stoned he couldn't contribute to a recording session even if he did manage to get there. As for his death Keith says that he was so self-destructive that he himself was to blame for his death regardless of all the theories that maybe the guy he hired as a contractor killed him. For anyone who does not know, Brian was found dead in his own swimming pool the same night there was a party at his house. He is perhaps most known for playing the sitar on "Paint It Black" Keith has shown regret and shame in interview but not over his drug use, but over the fact he took Brian's girlfriend Anita away from him sometime in the late sixties. I see it that way, the way he stares defiantly at the interviewer. Somehow he is ashamed. In his new book he says he rescued Anita from a violent Brian, but it is odd how Anita goes from Brian to Keith to Mick. Anita was with Keith the longest, for many years and supposedly with Mick only once. It is like that song "You're So Vain" where she sings "You're with some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend, wife of a close friend." I used to think for that reason that song was about Mick Jagger, but now it seems to be about Warren Beatty. Beatty says it is about him, just as the song says. Marianne Faithful, singer of "As Tears Go By" and Mick's girlfriend claims she went to bed with three of them in an interview. Perhaps most telling of all, Keith writes Gimme Shelter while Anita is filming Performance with Mick and he suspects having an affair with her. Looking back on it, he says maybe that song had something to do with that though at the time he didn't make that connection. I rather think these proper English boys are so out of touch with their feelings, and when Keith writes about Mick he leaves out a lot. He says that Mick is his "mate" but on one tour they refused to talk to each other at all so had to speak to each other through other people. I can imagine people running back and forth with "messages" So perhaps this book, as very thick as it is, leaves a lot of unanswered questions after all. I have an idea that Keith is not very introspective and perhaps doesn't know exactly how to put things into words at all. I was suprised how much of the book I already knew. Perhaps that is why Keith writes songs, to say the things he cannot say.