When one has many things to write -- things owed to various interested parties, various employing parties and sundry other parties that are less parties in and of themselves but still nonetheless interested in seeing said (promised) writing, it is only a matter of time before the writer of such expected writing succumbs to distraction. Or, in my case, invents distraction(s). In no particular order, the delicious distractions of the past few days as I prepare various pieces that are still owed to the interested parties identified above:
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell -- If ever I thought myself to be any sort of writer of fiction, this book has forced me to alter my working definition of "writing a novel." The man can write. Obviously, nothing that hasn't been said before, and better, here, here and here. Is it fun to try and thread it all together or somewhat annoying? I don't even care at this point. With every story thread he starts and then stops, I'm left wishing I had half the moxy and just an ounce of his dexterity. Does he pull it all off? That is for you to decide. Either way, a writer who is very much in charge of his craft. Looking forward to Black Swan Green and hoping to absorb it all in advance of his visit to LA on April 27th. A lovely way to spend a weekend that should be spent writing.
- A Humument by Tom Phillips -- How have I managed to remain ignorant about this book for so long? I'm in love. There is no other way to say it. If this is old news, well a star for you, dear readers. If not, please do take a peek inside. The concept of taking a book (piece of art #1) and making it into something else altogether (piece of art #2) has inspired me to order an extra copy so that I can take it apart and somehow gouache the pages onto a very large canvas (piece of art #3). The cycle of art engendering more art is yummy and has already inspired much writing this weekend, although none of it being the writing expected by various parties. Thanks to Book World for the delightful distraction.
- Say what you will about McSweeney's (I, personally, dig Believer...yet I know others loathe the whole aren't we clever vibe), but their "related link" to 826LA -- "A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write." -- got me very excited about future generations of writers and the importance of education. I'm not only pleased that such a program exists in LA, but they have a need for tutors. LA reader/writer types who are interested, please check it out. 826 projects have also been started in Valencia, New York, Seattle, and Michigan.
- After several months of bitterness about the recent unveiling of the brand-spanking new Santa Monica Library (which had been in a terrible temp building during my 3 year stint on the Westside) mere seconds after I moved Downtown, I was tickled all sorts of colours upon visiting my own spanking new library (take that!) in Little Tokyo this weekend. I was so thrilled, in fact, that I got a little overzealous when checking out books. I've checked-out out a mountain of books I could not possibly read in three weeks. No matter. A lovely little find has proven to be worth lugging the mountain of likely to remain unread books home with me -- The Japanese Experience. Lovely visuals of contemporary Japanese art. I'm so absorbed with the images I've not even gotten to the text, which promises an overview of the current Japanese art world, westernization and the world as seen by Takashi Murakami. I'll post more on this later, including visuals. Teaser at left is by Yoshitomo Nara. Teaser at right is Murakami.
- Capote. The film. I won't say more. I'll just say that however you felt the film portrayed him and regardless of what you think of him, his writing and/or his career or lack thereof as it relates to being prolific or not...it reminded me of how powerful writing can be when it strives to get at the truth. Mostly, it called to mind the task incumbent upon each writer to seek out that truth. No matter what. And then, I thought, well, maybe not no matter what. But then, that makes me...bought and sold? Hmmm. Either way, I do think the basic tenant here would be an excellent guide for many of today's journalists to follow. The truth as it is. Not the truth as certain people would like you to say it is for political, financial or other material gain.
I think it's safe to say I'm prone to distraction.