Tuesday, June 24, 2008

David Milch lecture series

Milch on the set of HBO's Deadwood...pulling the sled to Woo's Ice House?

David Milch, the genius creator/writer of HBO's Deadwood (or the self-indulgent engineer of the train wreck called John From Cincinnati) holds forth in a series of lectures, which, coming from a self-indulgent genius are both maddening and fascinating. I think Milch understands more about the psyche of the writer than anyone I've heard on the topic. His life story is a composite of some 1950's writer-persona mythology (drunken, whoring, heroin-addled drifter), and the contemporary context: Ivy League wunderkind, Iowa MFA, struggling in a market increasingly intolerant of character-based fiction. Collapses into the refuse pile of police procedural television. One wonders how much of this adventure tale he engineered and how much his circumstances shaped him. What's certain is few can write damaged human beings better than Milch.

Here's a blog with a series of his lectures. The first, at the bottom of the page, concerns a writer's contentious relationship with the ordering structures of his or her life. It's rambling at times but worth the payoff.

The Idea of the Writer Blog

Friday, June 13, 2008

funny book nerd stuff

Funny post on The Consumerist about McCarthy's The Road. Which of course is being adopted for the screen--ugh. A work that singular and important should be left alone. But this is our culture. Stand by for the TV series and comic book in 2012.

I guess if it sends people toward challenging novels, it's not all bad. I taught The Road two years ago in a freshmen comp course and the students loved it. They enjoyed it even more when during that semester Oprah picked it as required reading for her Legions.

I guess Blood Meridian is forthcoming as well, though without Marlon Brando around to play The Judge, I don't have much hope.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm back from chasing and back to writing. I was away from the novel for three weeks, not a good thing. Rather than reading it from the beginning up to where I stopped, I wrote four one-page treatments of the four point-of-view characters, curious to see which turns of characterization (and plot) came to the fore. This helped me simplify the story and understand what needs amplification and what should recede. Now I just need to finish the fucking thing.

Here comes Election 2008. I want to suggest that if people are serious about electing Barrack Obama, they should arrange to spend time in a swing state during the last week of October or the first few days of November. The GOTV (Get Out the Vote) organizations are hands-down, no-contest, the most effective and efficient use of your political energies. Trying to convince so called "moderate Republicans" or undecideds is a waste of time. If they can't see the difference between these candidates and what's at stake, it's too late for them.

What YOU should be worried about are the people who know they want to vote for Obama, but wake up on November 2 and (a) forget [not joking]; (b) get stuck on the phone with their grandmother and run out of time; (c) find themselves in such a death-defying round of Grand Theft Auto that they can't be bothered [the reason why the "youth vote" is the most notorious illusion in presidential politics]. In a GOTV effort, you knock on doors, make calls, drive people to the polls, answer their questions about where to vote, and, most fun of all, growl at fat Republicans in business suits who illegally try to intimidate or misinform voters waiting in line. They run away pretty easily. You can throw things at them if you like, wrappers and such. I did this kind of work last election and it was a blast. (yes, even though we lost).

If you live in Texas or Indiana or some similar one-party fascist stronghold, don't waste your time. Get thee to a swing state.