When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press scholars feared people would loose their memory. They had spent decades erecting memory palaces to house all of their knowledge. Imagining columns and arches, linking them to their life experience. They feared these mnemonic memory devices would fall out of fashion. They were right. Many a memory palace crumbled when the responsibility of preserving knowledge was differed to the printed word.
The same thing happened when William Seward Burroughs invented the calculating machine. The slide ruler was put out to pasture. Professors feared that the formulas they had their students commit to memory would disappear. They were right. The responsibility had been differed to something else. Continue reading Deferred Memory
You find yourself pressed between the dueling kick drums of neighboring apartments. Off tempo rhythms compete for dominance. Giant blacksmiths hammer anvils as big as houses. Dinosaurs march down the street. Subwoofers fart. Every so often, you make out the digital squeal of auto-tuned vocals. The rapid fire pulse of an arpeggiating synth.
Continue reading Writing Space
This was found on the first page of my notebook for the screenplay Savior Complex (my second attempt at a feature film back in 2008). I think I wrote this montra to motivate myself to write from a place of honesty. This last line kills me every time.
Dig: A Writer’s Oath
To the shame and embarrassment
To the parts you’ve disowned
The habits you can’t seem to break
Show us your temperament
Your teenage oath Continue reading Dig: A Writer’s Oath
Artists make attractive protagonists because they’re driven. They pursue their passions despite the odds, odds that are rife with conflict. The chips are stacked against them. You can’t paint your student loan checks away. You can’t sing your credit score higher. You can’t pay your electric bill with a poem, believe me I’ve tried. Artists are society’s underdogs. We love to root for the losers. The dreamers who just don’t want to wake up.
The hero with the artistic temperament, doesn’t always change at the end of the story. Sometimes they change our expectations instead. Continue reading An Artist Statement About Artist Statements
When naming a child, modern parents find themselves faced with a Herculean task. It’s not enough to choose a name that sounds strong. Nor is it enough to chose a name out of a baby book. This is the age of the Internet after all. Modern parents must scour the list of most common high income baby names. They must consider how the name will look on an admissions slip, on a resumé, on a loan application. A name that once signified high stature, might find itself dated, co-opted by the lower classes. Today’s “Madison” is tomorrow’s “Maddy.” What you find to be a strong declaration of your cultural heritage, might just damn your little darling to a life on the pole.
Continue reading The Name Game
Submitted for your approval: you’re writing the great American novel. Scratch that. Your idea is so inspired the great American novel is writing itself. Galactic forces dictate cosmic secrets and you, the humble writer, just transcribe them. You are a vessel, a witness to a celestial ritual that has been documented throughout the ages. Sure, you have a hand in building this universe. You populated it with characters, but the characters have all the real clout. They make the decisions for you.
The writing is automatic. A seance across your keyboard. The characters borrow your hand when they need it. They page you at the least convenient times: at work, in the shower, on the bus.
Continue reading Submitted For Your Approval
You’re digging a trench, poring the mortar, stacking the bricks. You’re an author building a brand. Wait for the grounds to grow fertile from the comfort of your spire. Wait for the town’s minstrels to sing praises of your handy work. Wait for the peasants to come clamoring over your draw bridge. Wait and watch the cobwebs form over your intellectual property. The time has come to go out among the commoners. The time has come to plant some seeds out in the country. Send your squires out to tell the world of Camelot.
Continue reading Over Branding