September. 1st, 1984
The first real entry in a journal I’ve been meaning to start for at least the past several years.
It is near midnight and I am quite tired, having gotten little sleep last night and the monotonous 4-hour trip to my grandmother’s here in Mogadore, Ohio, a suburb of Akron.
My grandfather is not well having had a stroke 2 years ago his health has steadily declined. Today I saw him again for the first time in a month and a half.
I approached the home he is staying in with another man and two women with considerable dread.
I don’t think I quite have the hang of this journal thing yet.
But I tried to steady myself against my fear by viewing it as a completely unique experience that, as a writer, I should embrace. All kinds of mad fears flooded my thoughts as we (my father, Aunt Eileen, and I) ascended the stairs to his room. What if he has just now died? What if he dies in our presence? These thoughts disgust me now, but nevertheless these were my feelings at the time.
We passed through the room adjacent to my grandfather Marvin’s to see an old man in a white hospital smock sitting asleep, his head lolling to one side.
When I saw the horribly thin frail creature sitting in a chair staring at the television I was shocked. It was very much like seeing a completely different person and it took me some time for me to fully feel that this was Grandfather. He has lost conservatively 20lbs (current weight 135lbs??) because he eats next to nothing. Whether he is unable or unwilling or simply uncomprehending, I don’t know. His false teeth and his glasses do not fit him because of his weight loss.
When asked by Aunt Eileen what he would like he replied, “Ice cream”. Ice cream is one of the few things he really seems to want and enjoy.
When he spoke today it was in a barely audible whisper. It was very difficult to get his attention or to keep it for very long when speaking. Dad tried to make him promise to eat something for him and it was a considerable time before he recieved any acknowledgement at all.
Grandma who had come in the same car with Dad and I did not come upstairs until after Aunt Eileen and we had spent some time with Grandfather.
As Grandma entered the room she cried and I think Grandpa might have cried a bit as well. The two of them, at that moment (as Grandma had his hand in hers) reminded me of two battered weary adventurers just trying to ride the storm out to its end.
- What is a dirigible?
- Adrenaline at 35,000 feet
- Smoking is cool ...
- ... and fatal
Episode 2 of the Imagination →
10 Words The Queen Has NEVER Used
Labels: Top 10 Lists
NEAL: Hello, Carolyn, Tony, and Rob! Before we begin, shall I refer to you three in alphabetical order according to first name or last name?
CAROLYN: Like we give a shit.
TONY: Is this the weirdo you were talking about?
ROB: Yeah, that's him. I'm surprised he showed up. He's always flaking.
TONY: I hate people who flake. I hate this guy already.
ROB: You think you hate him now. You don't know him.
CAROLYN: I hear he killed a man.
ROB: You don't know the half of it.
CAROLYN: I don't want to know.
ROB: Did you know that he used to write a check to pay for a bus ticket?
TONY: That's impossible.
ROB: No. It can be done. He proved it could be done. That is his one and only contribution to society - proving you can write a check to pay for the bus. Provided you are in a Third World country - like England.
NEAL: Mind if I sit down?
CAROLYN, ROB and TONY look at each other.
NEAL sits before they can say anything.
NEAL: Hey, Carolyn. Listened to your interview with Jonathan Ames. Nice work.
CAROLYN: Please don't tell me that. It makes me feel dirty.
NEAL: Oh, and hi, Tony. I'm very pleased to meet you. Rob told me about your blog long ago, after he told me I needed to start a blog. He said: 'You should start your own blog. But check out Tony Pierce's busblog first, because if you just start writing whatever's in your head, a lot of people are going to throw up'. Rob is wise.
CAROLYN: (throws up)
NEAL: Oh, and, shit, on the way over here, I listened to the end of that game. And shit! Ninth inning - SMACK! GO BIG BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
TONY leaps to his feet, smashes a glass into NEAL's face.
NEAL: Oh, my eyes!! My precious eyes!!
NEAL falls to the ground. CAROLYN starts kicking.
NEAL: Oh, my groin!! My precious, precious groin!!
ROB: You and your groin! Always, always you and your goddamn groin!
CAROLYN: Let's go get that hot dog.
CAROLYN, ROB, and TONY exit, leaving NEAL writhing on the carpet.
After a moment, TONY returns, grabbing the pot of freshly brewed coffee from behind the bar. He pours it on NEAL's head.
NEAL: Aaagh. My scalp! My semi-precious scalp! O, coffee! Et tu, coffee?! Et tu?!
TONY: And that's for those Obnoxious Jesus Cartoons of yours!
TONY exits. The WAITERS call 911 in an hour or two.
- Blockbuster stores
- Development, production, and distribution times relatively long
- Creation by committee
- Corporate control
- $1 million
- Creators/Producers have little or no contact with their intended audience
- Economy of scale
- Buying & selling
- Rewards determined by negotiation
- Mohammed must come to the mountain
THE NEW MOTION PICTURE
- Development, production, and distribution times infinitely flexible
- Creation by author(s)
- Corporate assistance
- Author communicates directly with audiences
- Economy of need
- Sharing & trading
- Rewards determined by merit
- The mountain must come to Mohammed
The First 10 Verbs of "Fortune and the Devil"
|You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer|
Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!
Dear Young Screenwriter,
I've jotted down some things for you to consider. I have had some experience in the grand attempt to become a writer of movies. I have done it badly. But that's okay. Everyone does it badly. No one anywhere does anything as well as they think they should have. Those rare few that do are either enlightened or, more likely, imbeciles.
I urge you to study the following suggestions, which I have written down in no particular order - even though I have numbered them.20 Suggestions To A Young Screenwriter
- Read. Read screenplays. Read them in screenplay format, printed on single sides of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Hold a screenplay in your hands, with brass fasteners in it, with a cover page, as often as you can. Don't be afraid of killing trees. If you're that worried about the environment, then sell your car.
- Help other writers - nothing cures the strangling self-obsession and despair of the writing game like trying to help another writer make his/her story the best it can be. As a wise old man once said, probably quoting another wise old man, "There is no end to what you can accomplish, if you don't care who gets the credit."
- Watch movies - lots of movies. Watch the movies you like again and again and again. Become an expert on your favorite movies.
- Find a hero and become an expert on that hero's life. If you don't know who your favorite screenwriter is, pick one.
- Find a secondary art that you love, other than screenwriting, and practice it whenever the hell you feel like it. I like photography and drawing. Other people enjoy disco dancing.
- Don't be afraid of other people's feedback. On the other hand, trust yourself utterly - 8 times out of 10 you are right about that idea.
- But on the other other hand, things often go better when you assume you know nothing. Just bear in mind that when William Goldman says "No one knows anything", he means you too.
- Write the movie that you think is the coolest movie ever - trust your own taste. Eventually, you may find out that you are a lousy sci-fi writer and brilliant at comedy. Or find out that you are a lousy screenwriter but a brilliant novelist. But you will never find this out if you keep writing what you think other people want.
- Love your characters - desire them, whisper to them, sneak into their bodies and walk around in them, treat them as if you were a jealous ghost obsessed with their every waking and sleeping moment
- Love your audience - enjoy imagining the pleasure they will get from reading your script/seeing your movie, treat them as if you were a secret admirer whose only wish is that you could see the look on their face when they read that one scene. You know the scene I mean.
- Write as many scripts as you can. Accumulate a varied library of your own screenwriting. One finished mediocre script is worth more than an unfinished script which will be really great when it's finished.
- Write as many days a week as you can.
- A surprising amount of writing can be done in 10 minutes. If 10 minutes is all you have, take it.
- Rewriting is only valuable, when know what to leave alone. It is dangerously easy to suck all the blood and breath out of a script with unjudicious rewriting.
- Tell your agent to fuck off once in a while.
- Never accept the water. If you meet with a potential fan and they offer you a water - or a coffee - while you are waiting, refuse it. Do not let them off the hook. You are not there for refreshment, you are there for work (Obviously, this does not apply if it is a lunch or dinner meeting. Refusing the water in that case makes you look like a maniac).
- Avoid looking like a maniac. Don't be afraid that you won't stand out as someone interesting and unique. People who are afraid that they won't stand out, usually try to do things to make themselves stand out. These people make others very nervous and are usually shunned and ignored. You want to be friends with as many people as possible. Make it easy for them.
- If you can't remember what you did the night before more than once a week, deal with that problem first and put the writing career on hold. You're wasting valuable time trying to serve two masters.
- If you want to be in the movie business in order to become rich and famous and powerful, or to get revenge on your enemies, or to make your parents proud, or to fill that horrifying emptiness in your chest, please TRY SOMETHING ELSE. If you are meant to be in the movie business, you will be lead back to it.
- Finally, please throw this list of suggestions away. Do it immediately.Always yours,
"And here on my left is Dave Taylor who is, as you can see quite plainly, a gigantic lizard. And beside him is Sean O'Keefe just back from another harrowing voyage in the North Sea - all hail Lord Osiris, may his name live forever! Yeow! The guns! Jesus God! The GUNS!!!"
"No. That's not true. That's impossible!"And so then Gary Gygax said to me:
"Search your feelings, Neal. You know it to be true."And then I squealed like a little piggy:
"Noooo! Noooo! ..."And then coming to my senses:
"... Oh, no. Wait. Yes! Yes! Of course! That explains a lot."Yes, Gary Gygax is my father.