Monday, January 29, 2007

Literary Disappearance

I ran into a novelist I hadn't seen in almost two years. He apologized for not being around. He dropped out of society trying to write his book. He is venturing out into the world again, making social events and such. I laughed because many writer friends--especially those working on book length projects--seem to drop out for months, years at a time. Suddenly, they're around again, making readings, showing up on panels, feeling bad for not showing up. I don't mind. Only other writers know the importance of going away for long periods of time. Coming out of seclusion, breathing fresh air is a wonderful thing.
My response to anyone who leaves for literary reasons, then returns: "Welcome back. We've missed you."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Literary Itch

Here's a pic of Mark Twain reaching for an itch. I wonder if this has anything to do with writing.

I gotta tell ya, I have an itch. There's this book I wanna write and it's scary. I see it being this big monster novel spanning hundreds of years and hundreds of lives. For some reason, I see it being my seventh novel.

I'm actually thinking of going back to school to learn all about this particular subject matter so I can write about it.

Ugh! It's so frustrating wanting to write a book, but not having the necessary information to do it.

It's not like I need more to research. The third book that I'm writing has me reading books on religion, hemophilia, and homeopathic healing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Literary Relations

It's a good idea to maintain good relations with those people marketing your book. Late last year, I e-mailed the head of marketing to introduce myself and let her know that I'm available for whatever press she'd like me to do. I told the marketing folks that I have a background in Communications and understand the job they must do. I made it a point that I don't want to be a headache to them.

This is good advice to aspiring writers out there: Be nice to the Public Relations people. They are the ones who try to get the word about your book into the world.

I used to do Public Relations for an arts organization. I would get phone calls from artists who made my life hell. They would demand that I contact this newspaper or that radio station. Some of them would YELL at me, wondering why they weren't on the cover of the LA Times. The last thing I wanted to do was get idiots like that press coverage. I'd rather they crawl under a rock and stay there. Apparently, they did; I never heard another word from those demanding, egotisical types.

I was a much younger man then and I SWORE that I'd never behave that way. I think I've kept my word.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Literary Stars

I'd been checking Amazon and noticed that there are two people who have already read and reviewed my novel. I was given four out of a possible five stars! Not too shabby. And the people who gave me the positive reviews are people I don't know!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Literary Highlights of 2006

So, Gladys, did a 2006 highlights. This inspired me to do one.

1. Most difficult Literary moment:
Doing rewrites for "Talking to the Moon." They were hard, but had to be done.

2. Most Literary Dinner:
Having dinner with James Ellroy at the Pacific Dining Car. He talked murder, rape, mayhem the entire time. I'll never forget it.

3. Most Literary Uplift:
Hearing the Dalai Lama interpret ancient Buddhist Text.

4. Most Literary Weekend:
The LA Times Bookfair, where I hung out with my editor Don Weise and lunched with writer Andrew Lam. I ran into other literati like Hope Edelman and Diana Wagner.

5. Most Literary Overload:
The Southern California Booksellers Associaiton Author Feast. Egad, ever been in a room with drinking booklovers? The gossip, the whispers, the dismay at the awards ceremony when a favorite author didn't win.

6. Most Literary Joy:
Getting high marks from my students at UCLA Extension. It's nice to know that I'm not spinning my wheels.

7. Most Literary Regret:
I didn't fisnish a draft of my third novel. Ho-hum.

8. Most Literary Purchase:
My computer. It's changed my life.
9. Most Literary Duty:
Moderating a panel about Los Angeles at the West Hollywood Bookfair. You can cover a lot of ground when discussing LA. It was work, I tell ya!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Literary Brunch

My family took me out for a birthday brunch over the weekend. What was most surprising is that my brother had a copy of "Talking to the Moon." He said he went into a bookstore to get something to read and there it was--my novel--smack dab on the table. He got it right then and there. The official publication date for my book isn't till February 13th, but it's slowly making its way into stores.

I singed his copy and I realised it was the very first copy of "moon" that I'd autographed. Whoa! It was a nice unveiling. My mother saw that I'd dedicated the book to my late father. She was touched by that.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Literary Musical

"Music and literature" are sometime said together, say on a board game. There can be music and there can be literature, but the musical (and opera) is a form that can actually fit into both. There's obvious music in a musical. There is also a plot, a protagonist, an antagonist--elements associated with the literary.

I love music and a really good story. Finding them working well together can be tough. There are a few musicals that really get me going. Into the Woods and Westside Story come to mind. And Dreamgirls.

I never saw it live on stage, but the music--oh, the music--is to die for. "And I'm telling you I'm not going" was a song that stuck to my bones. It is THE song from Dreamgirls, sung by the character Effie White. I saw the movie and just fell right into it. Jennifer Hudson (pictured) as Effie is really good, but Jennifer Holiday, the Original, was amazing. I'd heard the recording and saw her sing it live at an AIDS conference. (She'd slimmed down considerably.) I read an interview with Jennifer Hudson and even she says "And I'm telling you" is Holiday's song.

Keep this performance of Jennifer Holiday at the 1982 Tony Awards in mind when you see the movie. Hudson is good, but Holiday is...well, watch for yourself. (um, you may have to cut and paste it)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Literary Thirty-Nine

I turn thirty-nine today. The last year that I'll be thirty-something. I have so many books inside of me, I need to live till I'm 139.