Where I’m at in life. . .

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General

. . .I’ll order a book light to read books at night in bed so I don’t wake up my boyfriend with obtrusive lamps before I buy a replacement for my toothbrush on the fritz. Priorities are in check.

Other than that, I’ve been chugging along with world building for my current sci-fi novel, and I should have a post out by the end of this week or early next week. It will be the most important post I’ve ever written about creativity. No big deal. 🙂

1959 Interview Quote from Rod Serling

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Quotes

In 1959, Mike Wallace interviewed Rod Serling, the producer and narrator for The Twilight Zone. The piece of the interview I have encapsulated below is Rod’s response to Mike Wallace after Mike read to him a soundbite from Herbert Brodkin (another TV producer) about Rod’s work: “Rod is either going to stay commercial or become a discerning artist, but not both.”

“I remember the quote. He gave it to Gilbert Millstein when Millstein was doing a profile on me in the New York Times. I didn’t understand it at the time. I failed to achieve any degree of understanding in the ensuing years, which are three in number. I presume Herb means that inherently you cannot be commercial and artistic. You cannot be commercial and quality. You cannot be commercial concurrent with having a preoccupation with the level of storytelling that you want to achieve. And this I have to reject. I think you can be, I don’t think calling something commercial tags it with a kind of an odious suggestion that it stinks, that it’s something raunchy to be ashamed of. I don’t think if you say commercial means to be publicly acceptable, what’s wrong with that?

The essence of my argument, Mike, is that as long as you are not ashamed of anything you write if you’re a writer, as long as you’re not ashamed of anything you perform if you’re an actor, and I’m not ashamed of doing a television series. I could have done probably thirty or forty film series over the past five years. I presume at least I’ve turned down that many with great guarantees of cash, with great guarantees of financial security, but I’ve turned them down because I didn’t like them. I did not think they were quality, and God knows they were commercial. But I think innate in what Herb says is the suggestion made by many people that you can’t have public acceptance and still be artistic. And, as I said, I have to reject that.” by Rod Serling

Here is the full video interview (caution: the quality isn’t the best). Here is the full transcript.

State of Mind

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Cleansing State of Mind

Writing feels an awful lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. One with a several thousand piece count—minimum. And the pieces aren’t precut at all. I have to jerry-rig them by picking and choosing things from my environment and sharpening those people, experiences, and settings into prose, bit by bit. It’s one big mind game for me. When everything aligns, it’s an amazing high and makes me feel like I’m assembling an epic story. Characters are falling into place, plot arcs are squaring out the edges and aren’t trying to derail the story with chipped pieces, and I’m in this heightened sense of creating something. Box cover? Pfft! I don’t need to consult that for direction because everything fits together perfectly. But then sometimes it’s not so great. Someone clearly stole a few pieces, and trying to figure out what’s missing and what’s throwing things off is like trying to step out of a nuclear wasteland. Except every step from the bleak milieu leads me to smashing my nose on a brick wall. It’s brutal. . . it’s broken teeth and blood. Over time though, I’ve learned to endure it, as it’s not only strengthened my framework for writing, but it’s also fleshed out and strengthened the state of mind for the characters I create.
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Writing by Reading

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Quotes

“Good writers are avid readers. They have absorbed a vast inventory of words, idioms, constructions, tropes, and rhetorical tricks, and with them a sensitivity to how they mesh and how they clash… The starting point for becoming a good writer is to be a good reader. Writers acquire their technique by spotting, savoring, and reverse-engineering examples of good prose.” by Steven Pinker

Sacrifices

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Character Concepts

Life has rules. In this game, achieving something comes at a tradeoff. Sure you can move away from home to broaden your horizons, but realize that every time you come back to visit, your parents will seem to have aged quicker without you catching the daily nuances. You can take that shiny new job, but know that your new colleagues will have different dynamics with you, and there will be new things to learn—some of them being challenging in ways you might not have expected. You can dedicate your time to learning a new language, but there is only so much time in a day. Maybe it comes at the cost of being able to read for pleasure. Whatever it is, whatever happens to you during the pursuit of your goals is your life. It’s what defines you. I guess a better word for all of this would be sacrifice. In the process of getting what we want, our sacrifices define us. When writers show readers the way a character’s life falls in place around their sacrifices, they will carve out more distinct, meaningful people. Read More

Sonder

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Sonder (n): the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.