Saturday, January 14, 2012


Bill Peschel's posts are always fascinating, loaded with trivia about famous people. He wrote a book called Writers Gone Wild (I bought 2 copies and gave one to a friend):

"If you’ve imagined famous writers to be desk-bound drudge, think again. Writers Gone Wild rips back the (book) covers and reveals the seamy underside of the writing life." 

I found that picture of Marilyn Monroe, by Eve Arnold, via a link in Peschel's sidebar. Click on the picture and you'll notice the book is "Ulysses," by James Joyce. Somehow I doubt Marilyn actually read the book. I lived in a college town when I was in high school, and I was always trying to impress the college boys with my brains. So, I would prominently carry some snobbish literary doorstop in public, something I'd never read, of course. Eventually, it occurred to me that college boys were not interested in girls' brains. I wonder how many men noticed the title of the book Marilyn's holding? I looked, but then I'm a woman.

But I digress...

In Peschel's latest post, he ponders Why successful writers are doing more than you (and me) :
"If you’re thinking about why you’re not a success, it’s because you’re thinking about why you’re not a success. 
In other words, self-reflective people, people who think about things, start farther behind the success curve as people who don’t think about such things."
I've never wondered why I'm not a 'successful' writer; I know why. I've written a few things, and I've actually sold two pieces. I was paid $125 for a guest op-ed in USA Today back in 1992, and I sold  a short story for $5In fact I write so little that I can hardly refer to myself as a 'writer.' But I love it when an idea clicks, because even though the writing can be stressful at times, there's nothing like a creative high. So, I began blogging again just to kick-start my brain and get those dusty synapses firing again.

But Peschel does have a point.

There's a great scene in the movie "Get Shorty" in which Chili Palmer (John Travolta) and Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo) discuss writing a movie script.
CHILI: You know how to write one of these? 
BO CATLETT: There's nothin' to know. You have an idea, you write down what you wanna say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit where they belong, if you aren't positive yourself. Maybe fix up the spelling where you have some tricky words . . . although I've seen scripts where I know words weren't spelled right and there was hardly any commas in it at all. So I don't think it's too important. Anyway, you come to the last page you write in 'Fade out' and that's the end, you're done. 
CHILI: That's all there is to it, huh? 
BO CATLETT: That's all.
Nothing "self-reflective" about Bo. Just write down what you wanna say. That's it. Y'gotta love the simplicity. I'm sure there are writers who can do exactly that: just write. I'm not that kind of writer. I think too much about details before I ever type one letter -- punctuation, back story, names, even script format sometimes -- and it trips me up every time. I don't know how to "just write." And lately the ideas have dried up. I'm hoping blogging will prime the pump.

Btw, I know the conventional wisdom is that Travolta re-energized his career with "Pulp Fiction," but I say it was doing Get Shorty. It's one of the funniest movies ever. And who can ever forget Dennis Farina: "I'm Ray Barboni from Miami"  “They say the fucking smog is the fucking reason you have such beautiful fucking sunsets.”

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