Monday, December 06, 2010

The Moneyed Places

The interesting thing with wikileaks is how fast the powers that be have scrambled to shut this guy up and shutdown the site. The moneyed places have struck back because there is nothing scarier than information.

I'm sure it's understood that, given the age we're in, some information should be withheld; people are stupid, everyone craves instant gratification, folks want  things cheap, free, mostly cheap, and they want it now. In many ways we're still getting over the 90s if not still suffering the hangover of the 80s; we went from excess to more excess to a mindset that is so financially frantic that it'd do anything for a buck.

Which is why I think Wikileaks is brilliant. Sure, if you're a conservative and have been mindlessly going off your script (the one handed to you, not the ideas you cobbled down), you view this as mostly a talking point but also a threat; you're designed to react to it because your side says so. On the hand, liberals, who defend people like this author, say that we're next, that we should fear the government's crackdown on this kind of stuff. They're both right, though I nod to the left, as always, when it comes to things like free speech and amendment rights in general.

At the end of the day, sadly, this dude will be shut down and the whole mess will be swept aside. Watch for some large distracting bit of news to coincide with it. Free speech truly has so master but the moneyed places always win in the end.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blood-Colored Mountains

Yeah, I know. But it's been a damn busy summer in the studio working out the tracks for my forthcoming CD release West Coast Hearts, and this means stories and such are in remission. Fiction comes slow but songs sometimes don't. For this I'm thankful.

This isn't to say that Dryline Rhapsody or any of the other writing projects have completely fallen off. Hardly. It's all about clock management, plain and simple.

Frankly, I don't remember Dryline, and have been thinking it's time to revisit the project, if for no other reason than to relish the nostalgia. This was a real novel, a serious novel in an age of pubescent wizards and dirge-driveling vampires. I actually never thought about literary wizards apart from Gandalf and in terms of vampires, Anne Rice's vampire chronicles did much to lull me to sleep. So there you have it. No fantasy or vampires for me--at this juncture.

I was recently thinking about Jim Thompson and how he managed to capture a grittiness, and had thought about going back to reread a couple of his wonderful, sad, immediate novels, notably The Killer Inside of Me, After Dark, My Sweet, and South of Heaven. Really great hard-edged stuff reminiscent of Cain, who, as you probably know by now, is one of my heroes.

My agent tells me we're getting there. I listen and nod and think about all the time it took to get here. He tells me we're close, and I think about what to write next. I focus a lot more of my energy on my music these days but there is a change in the light out here in the Southland: autumn. It's a perfect time to write.

**Project update**

The sunset mountains are lovely this time of year. A must-see. Like a wound on the earth...



Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Jeez, I Can't Find My Knees

What usually happens after a weekend amid the appellations is I get back to loud unruly Los Angeles and either count my blessings or confirm my insanity. Either way, It's always kind of a buzzkill getting back here. It's L.A., and I've a love/hate relationship with this place.

Maybe my Yankee roots will never really wilt. Maybe they'll continue to seek new dirt, which makes me think of Central Coast. I'm transformed by the place; it's life-affirming. I actually had time to think up there--about the weather, about the drowsy light, about the oak trees and low rounded hills, about the end of the earth and the beginning of the water. About everything, I guess.

And this whole "writer" thing. Thought about that, too. They were fleeting thoughts at best; I've been out here long enough to have given up on deep thoughts, and maybe this isn't a bad thing.

No, it'll dog me until I finally surrender to the dirt. It's gotta be this way; what they hell else is there? Another MBA? Another lawyer? Another dope finding his way senselessly, like I have this past 1.5 Decades?!

It'll finally happen now. All writing eventually happens. And I may or may not care, as I've said recently to more than one person. Alas.

The road. We are transformed by beauty, I think. And up there, somewhere 'neath that cloudless sky, I found something else.

**Project update**

Workin' it.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Atop an Underwood

Once again, life gets in the way of living. My hiatus from this blog is now officially over and it's time to get back to work. I won't waste your time by commenting on current events--we all know the gulf is in trouble, the banks are in trouble, the job market still sucks, and California is gonna sink under the weight of Meg Whitman--rather I'll start by thanking you for keeping up the vigil. And I'll do my best to revive Dryline Rhapsody, the reason I got into this in the first place. It remains my passion, my raison d'etre, and it's a damn good book.

I haven't given up on fiction or even literature for that matter. But as I said, life gets in the way of living. But in case you were concerned here's a few rejoinders, however post-postmodern seeming:

First off--I'm still alive. Been spending more and more time this past year working on recording projects rather than fiction and screenplays. This will change.

Second off--I'm still alive. Contemplating getting an absurd muscle car if for no other reason than to justify this midlife crisis (my second).

Third off--I'm still alive. And I'm glad for that.

See you up the road, and thanks for hanging in there.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mr. Stack, Remembered

It's one thing to dream of revolution, make change, and be called a patriot. It's something altogether different to dream of revolution, steal a plane, fly it into a federal building, believing it's "sane", and be considered a patriot. And yet this is what I see as a reaction to Mr. Joseph Stack from the folks on the Right: the patriot who has had enough; the Tea-Bagger Saint, crazy and fringed like the rest of them.

Naturally, a Fox affiliate posted his "manifesto" on one of their websites and I can just hear the Right going on about this guy. And yet there is something romantic about this fatalistic gesture. Where do you put yourself mentally when there is no exit? What did the captives in Iraq think right before they were decapitated? Indeed, what did Mr. Stack think as the plane slammed into the building?

Mr. Stack believe that "there isn't enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken," and by this he meant, among other things, the simple concept of justice for all. Why the hell are we taxed as much as we are? What are really getting out of this? What did it mean when Clinton said we would have a balanced budget that would eliminate the national debt? Had this happened--had 9/11 not happened, had Bush not raged into Baghdad--and the tax laws completely wiped out, would Mr. Stack still be with us? Would any of these jackasses?

Apart from his family, I'm afraid Mr. Stack will be forgotten in a week--this thanks to our wonderful short attention spans.

And like The Rifleman fighting for his land, Mr. Stack had had enough. He got up from the couch, went to the window, stuck his head out and shouted, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!"

But unlike The Rifleman, Mr. Stack was crazy.  The Rifleman was making good on his personal promises--to himself, his son, and his God. After all, Jesus said pay your taxes. And The Rifleman blazed the bad guys. What the hell did you do today?

You're a coward, Mr. Stack. You're a coward because we're still here and you're not. As it turns out you weren't part of the solution, were you?

**Project update**

Life continues, as it often does, here in the place where continuing is what we do best.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Like Mountains in the Rain

The skies have opened up over Los Angeles, and it's a real Blade Runner rain.

I used to work with a guy who, when it rained like this out here, would kick on his hiking boots, grab his favorite anorak, and hit the mountain trails, often up Mt. Wilson or maybe one of those vague rises you can see from the 134. He knew that Angelenos often stay away when it's raining like it is. And the peace he probably found on the trail was mostly in his mind.

If you've walked in the rainy woods you'll recognize the constant almost hypnotizing drumming of the rain. You press forward through the constant curtain, ever moving closer to the source. You generate a different kind of warmth--a strange, sickly, steamy warmth that's neither offensive nor comforting. You're mostly soaked through but it doesn't matter. It's human to want to press on through the rain; it seems legends come out of the rain.

With this in mind and armed with nothing more than a crappy pair of hiking shoes and a raincoat, I hurried up a mountain trail with memories of doing the same as a young man in New Hampshire one wet, late-winter day. As was then, the rain was steady but not drowning. While that climb was pretty much along a tumbling waterfall, this one was along a trail I knew quite well.

I stopped to listen, to remember, to watch the Valley disappear in the ghostly vaporous veils. Ahead, the trail curved beneath a promontory. I stopped. What would the chances be if I passed beneath this ancient, scarred rock and the mountain decided to give it away. A few hundred feet below was a swelling mountain stream. The clifflike slope was already loose from the fires. This wouldn't do.

So I stood there and decided it was the poetic thing to do: to allow nature to continue unobserved and to forget wondering whether a wet mountain is made for humans or coyotes.

I headed down the mountain, got into my car, and grabbed a coffee at Peet's on the way home. 

**Project update**

Finally working on a new novel. It's been too long, this hiatus.



Thursday, December 31, 2009

One More Time, With Feeling...

Here's to a prosperous, peaceful, eventful, life-affirming, life-changing 2010 and beyond. It's a new decade; the last one was kinda shitty for me personally but it ended gloriously.

There are new stories to explore, new novels to pen, new deals to be struck; there are screenplays to write, stageplays to contemplate, songs to be developed. I'm looking forward to it all--aren't you?

Happy New Year and thanks for reading.