A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Christmas Eve I sufferred the nightmare of a hard drive crash. My notebook computer locked up on me and then refused to restart, informing me that the operating system could not be found. A little time on tech support with the manufacturer only informed me that everything was gone, the repair discs they supplied me with would not work, and since my warranty with them was kaput, they could charge me $40 to continue the call and still not have it fixed. So, I have to take it back to where I bought it, as I still have two years left on my warranty there.

Still, I was ill-prepared for how devastasting a loss this would feel like, and what a ridiculous act of timing it was to not be able to do a single thing about it because of Christmas. I actually didn't lose that much in the scheme of things. I backed up the novel when it was finished, though of course I had not backed up everything else recently enough. I lost almost all the work I did on my novella over the past couple of weeks; it was the second draft, though, and I have a printout of the first. I also have a prinout of what was to be this month's "Can You Picture That?" but I won't be able to post it anyway. I lost some personal journal writing that is a bit sad to say good-bye to; that's the only sort of stuff it's hard to recreate. My e-mail is gone, too. Completely.

So, I'm going to be hard to get ahold of electronically for a bit. My back-up computer started to refuse to get on the internet last summer, and I haven't solved that problem yet. The old link I had to get to my confessions123 mail via the web isn't working, either. golightly@gmail.com is likely your best bet, but I am not sure how much I will be on the net for the time being.

So, if you e-mailed me later than Friday at 6:00 (Barry, you were the last guy I replied to), now you know why you haven't heard back.

Friday, December 24, 2004


For those of you who are going out to do some last-minute shopping today, please be kind to the poor shlubs who have to work to compensate for your poor planning. If you aren't kind, I hope you have a rotten retail experience and an even worse holiday. You've no excuse. It's not like they sprung this on you. It happens the same time every year, you maggot!

And to those of you working behind a cash register today, I hope that customer you have a crush on stops by. Come on, I know everybody in retail has one. Well, except maybe comic book retail...because really, what customer would qualify?

Merry Stinkfist, suckers!!!

And don't forget, I do have an Amazon wishlist!

Current Soundtrack: The Boo Radleys, Wake Up!

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


From this week's New Yorker (12/23-27/2004):

That is so Lance Scott. Like, nutshell time.

Current Soundtrack: Low, A Lifetime of Temporary Relief disc 1

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, December 17, 2004

IS HE DEAD? (is he dead?) IS HE LIVING? (is he living?)

No, I have not been updating. Yes, I have been alive, and I have been working.

Besides the strange twists our lives always take after Thanksgiving, in this ridiculous time we have created to turn our worlds upside-down and max out our credit cards, I think I have a little post-partum depression in regards to The Everlasting. It makes me anxious, and it has made it difficult to transfer my energies to other work. However, since its completion, I have:

* Completed my first draft for the full-length graphic novel I am doing with...Christine Norrie. (There, I said it.) It's called 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and it will be out, maybe, in 2006. No more secrets. (Sorry, Butterbear.)

* Turned in the scripts for Legal Drug volume 3 and Gravitation volume 12. The latter was turned in today, a week ahead of deadline.

* Secured a deal for a project due to be published in May, which I am now in the midst of rewriting. It makes me anxious, too. The publisher--someone we all know and love--will make an announcement soon, once all the final details are hammered out. This means I will likely be doing a comics convention or two this year, too. (It's not comics, however...but it's also not The Everlasting, which I have not yet begun to shop.)

* I got Guy Davis' inks for our story in The Dark Horse Book of the Dead, and I am really knocked out by them. His line work is more liquid than I normally expect from him, and it's really lovely. Guy drawing zombies and samurai...think about it!

I presume these are good enough reasons not to blog.

Current Soundtrack: The Music, Welcome to the North

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Someone I don't know randomly said "Merry Christmas" to me yesterday.

To people like that, I only have two words in response. "FUCK YOU!!!" Go bother someone you actually know, if they aren't already sick of you, too!

Current Soundtrack: The Beautiful South, Gold Diggas Head Nodders & Pholk Songs

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


The tenth installment of "Can You Picture That?" is now online. I tackle a handful of Robert Altman films that have recently been released on DVD, as well as make some holiday gift suggestions.

The November picks are about to go up at Trilogy, as well. I went for a theme this time of older films that contain a political story that is still revelvant to life today.

* Ballad of a Soldier, dir. Grigori Chukhraj

* The Children's Hour, starring Audrey Hepburn, dir. William Wyler

* Citizen Ruth, starring Laura Dern, dir. Alexander Payne

* Hearts & Minds, the quintessential Vietnam documentary

* Inherit the Wind, starring Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly

In other movie news, I was excited to see Wong Kar-Wai's Ashes of Time as part of the NW Film Center's festival of his films. While I've watched a Hong Kong DVD version before, it was a rare opportunity to see it on a screen. In fact, it turns out that there are no 35mm prints in circulation, and they had to borrow one from a private collector.

Ashes of Time is Wong's marial arts epic. It's a strange piece, with swift temporal shifts that are disconcerting to first-time viewers. Characters blur together, and it's a puzzle to figure out who fits where. On second viewing, though, you begin to realize that it's intentional. All of these people are connected, even when they don't know it, and in some ways, they are interchangeable.

It also struck me that Ashes of Time is relly a Sergio Leone movie with all the long bits cut out. Extreme close-ups, audacious music, loners--but with it chopped down to its most essential bits. Remove a lot of those pauses from The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, and you could turn it into a 100-minute film like Ashes of Time. Only be sure to break every character's heart first. It's lovesick Sergio Leone, full of romantic longing rather than manly swagger.

Congrats to Maryanne Snell for finishing her novel!

Similar congrats to Kelly Sue DeConnick for getting through the Slayers novel series, and the publication of her excellent short story in Bloodsucker Tales #2.

Nertz to me for having to report to jury duty tomorrow. Don't expect to hear from me much this week, unless they send me home early. [Scratch that. Better yet, not have me show up at all. Turns out the whole panel has been deferred until August.]

Current Soundtrack: misc. mp3s; Massive Attack, Danny The Dog soundtrack

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, November 22, 2004


Two books released this week. Gravitation vol. 9 and the second CLAMP School Paranormal Investigators prose novels. Both should be in comics shops on Wednesday, and hitting most book shops, as well.

As I did when #1 was released, I am giving a little taste of the CLAMP book. If you have any interest in these, please buy them through my Amazon link, either using the click above or the pic below. This will actually end up putting a penny or two in my pocket--self-made royalties! (Same with Gravitation.)

Chapter 1: The Uninvited Guest

The wind danced with the rain and blew it sideways.

Every so often, the lightning would illuminate the night sky so that it was as bright as day.

On a night such as this, when most people wouldn’t even dare to venture outside, the sight of an elderly man dressed head to toe in white and digging a hole in the ground seemed even more unusual than it sounds.

He was digging at the center of the sprawling Clamp School campus.

If it had been any other place but Clamp School, they’d probably have thrown the old man in the loony bin.

The man stopped digging in mid scoop. It was a sudden change. He froze, dropped the shovel, and looked down at his feet.

A tiny object was resting against his right shoe. It had been carefully wrapped in several layers of oil paper and meticulously tied with string.

The man crouched down, lowering his head to look at the package. “Keiko...” he muttered, “forgive me.”

With that, the old man placed the object in the hole he had made.


At that very same moment, across campus in a quiet, dark room, a girl sat by herself, bathed in the pale glow of machines. The quiet of her room was in direct contrast to the tumultuous weather that raged outside.

Just as suddenly as the old man had stopped digging, this girl rose up, and a sad expression washed over her face.

But, let’s leave her be for now. There’s nothing we can do to heal the deep wounds in her heart....


Several years and months passed after these two incidents on that dark and stormy night.

The first annual Clamp School Summer Vacation Treasure Hunt sponsored by the School Director is just around the corner! Who will be the top treasure hunter on campus?! And what treasure will they find? All of these questions will be answered when this exciting game gets underway this August!

The headline seemed unnecessarily grandiose—a topic Yuki Ajiadou was well-versed in, often fostering a grandiose image himself. He was in his second year in the High School Division of Clamp School, but more importantly, he was also Chairman of the Supernatural Phenomena Research Association—a position that required a little pizzazz from time to time. Such as now, when he decided to address the other members in a voice half an octave higher than what was normal for him.

“There’s only two days to the treasure hunt!” he squealed. “I can’t believe it’s finally here! At our best, we’re the top investigators on this campus, but we’re going to work a hundred times harder when it comes to seeking that treasure!”

Takayuki Usagiya, another High School sophomore, was sitting in his usual spot across from the Chairman. Those who knew him well knew that the way he adjusted his glasses just then meant his reaction to Yuki’s declaration was a rather annoyed, “Oh, brother!” (And, let’s be honest...can you really blame him?)

“You can’t be serious?” Takayuki groaned. “You really expect us to run all over the entire school in this sweltering weather and use our summer vacation to find some bogus treasure?”

“Don’t be such a spoilsport!” Yuki said. “How can you say that? This is our big chance to get some publicity for the Association! We may have solved quite a few supernatural mysteries, but the Student Body needs something tangible to wrap their heads around if we’re ever going to be granted Club status. If we can show some results here, our dream of becoming fully recognized could actually become a reality! Think of it—a real clubhouse, not some drafty stairwell!”

Yuki gestured around him. To the wall, the window, the steel door leading to the roof—they were in the only stairwell on the high school building’s top floor. It was bare except for a few old chairs made from metal piping.

Current Soundtrack: Still listening to the Nirvana box, and can't help wondering, if you missed this band the first time, and you started here to hear what the fuss was about, would you not think that this was the most undeserving band of all time? Is their legacy served by this mess?

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, November 20, 2004


I've been contemplating the idea of endings, lately. In a sense, when an audience enters into a story, they are putting their trust in the storyteller to take them somewhere. Whatever we are subjected to at the start is going to have some kind of payoff in the end, so even if we don't know where we are going, we have faith that it's all going to make sense.

Which is not a cry for pat endings, where everything is tied up. I am all for ambiguity, and I have said of myself, many times, that I prefer to end my stories at the moment before the "final" ending. I usually express it thus: I like to end on the inhale, and not wait for the exhale. It's a technique I took from Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird, where the book ends as its main character answers the phone. He has been mute up until this point, but the phone acts as a wake-up call, and he speaks for the first time, the cap to a long ordeal. I think this is fine, because Kosinki's goal--the goal I share--is to make sure that all that precedes that wake-up call creates the map that leads to it. I may want you to choose what's next, but I have hopefully given you the proper information to make that choice; my movement towards the inhalation was purposeful. And the final moment isn't accidental or random, it's what the rest of the story supports.

It's when we think that the storyteller lost that sense of purpose, or is trying to sidestep having to answer all the questions he's posed, that we feel cheated. A lot of these thoughts are based on debates I've had with Christopher McQuain over some of Brian DePalma's films. DePalma often falls back on the hoary cliché of "It was all a dream," which to me feels like a tremendous cheat. Rather than do the work to get out of the situation he has created, he opts for an easy exit; on the other hand, Christopher sees the final destination in such a case as far less important than the thrill of the ride. That is a valid argument in something as deliberately lurid as, say, Femme Fatale, but I don't find it at all acceptable in something like the recent film Birth. In Birth, Nicole Kidman plays a woman who has been mourning her dead husband for several years, and when she finally is ready to move on with her life, he returns in the form of a grade schooler. The director and writers (it took three of them to end up with negative results) approach the subject very seriously, raising questions about boundaries in romantic relationships and the nature of madness. Rather than actually give us any real answers, they throw a twist into the last act that gets all of the characters out of the big mess they are in. They then play the game of, "But have they really gotten out?" Except it strikes me as cursory rather than intentional. I felt like by heaping on all sorts of stylistic brushstrokes, they thought I would be dazzled and never see that the film went nowhere. They had demanded a lot of me throughout a very moody, slowly paced film, so it's unfair that they didn't demand as much of themselves as the creators.

These issues were all brought up again upon viewing Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl, a film about two sisters who are forced to live parallel but disparate lives, stuck in the quagmire of sexual adolescence. At the end of the film, a sudden and random act of violence changes everything, and then the film is over. Obviously, in real life, people who are victims of crime are victims of a random act. They never saw it coming, and their whole lives do end up hinging on the occurrence; however, is such a thing permissible in the world of story, where nothing is random, where every act contributes to a finite whole? Charlie winning the trip to the chocolate factory in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory isn't random, but expected: we know that's why he's the character that has been chosen for examination. But what if instead of it happening at the beginning of the story, it happens at the end? After 90 minutes of watching Charlie and his family struggle with poverty and illness, Charlie wins the lottery and their lives are saved. Would we not call such an ending pat?

So, why should it be any different with something like Fat Girl, where the filmmaker has chosen to fulfill some of her main character's desires and push her in a different direction, the direction the rest of her life will take, but rather than let the events take that course naturally, throws a roadside killer into the mix? Was his bursting through the windshield that far a cry from someone waking up in bed, screaming, drenched in cold sweat? It wouldn't be fair to say Breillat doesn't at least telegraph it a little. As soon as the family pulled onto the highway, I was waiting for something bad to happen, so she clearly did something to create a sense of dread (though what she did escapes me, almost like she relied on a filmic unconscious trained to believe something will go wrong in the final third). So, why do I feel like the older sister in Fat Girl, a victim of some foreign lothario, who swore he'd love me forever, only to leave me alone in the despair of broken promises? Or should I give Breillat more credit, that maybe that's what she meant all along?

Current Soundtrack: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "Breathless/There She Goes..." CDS; Nirvana, With the Lights Out, disc 1

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Rewrites on that final 50 pages actually ended up being a lot more extensive than I had thought. I beefed up the scene with Lenny, to make him appear more for a reason, rather than a cute cameo of someone else from Cut My Hair, and I finally gave in to my instincts and cut two chapters completely. The first I was worried was redundant, and I finally accepted that it was and that I could collapse it into the other piece and make it all one.

The other was the entire epilogue. I like what I was trying to say in it, which is why I hung onto it right up until the end. I was going to keep it and see how my test subjects reacted to it when they read it, but it kept haunting me. You can't ignore those nagging voices. The epilogue distracted from the end of the story proper, and I think it ended up leaving the reader on the wrong note--so it's gone now. It's funny, because there was a similar element removed from the lst paragraph of Cut My Hair, a little tidbit that brings the reader around to remind them that it's a specific person's story. I guess in both cases it ended up being just something for me.

I also discovered the downside of beginning your book in one version of Word and then upgrading your computer in the middle. When you begin merging files, they go all whacky. (Thanks to James for being on IM when I was going crazy, and Keith for making my pdf.) Perhaps it was for the best, though, since I found some narrative tense problems in one of the storytelling techniques. In one of the styles I was using, I started by using past tense, but then shifted to present midway. So, fixed that.

Cuts combined with rewrites put final word count at 178,250. To get some perspective, I found my CD with the draft of Cut My Hair I submitted to the graphic designer that set up the to-print file. My first novel settled in at 70,000 words. It's kind of staggering to consider the scope of this second book. 150% more prose.

I did a final one disc mix of the reading soundtrack to. The track list only contains one song that was not on previous lists (the Bjork), and is as follows:
Manic Street Preachers - "The Everlasting"
Mansun - "Legacy"
Tindersticks - "The Not Knowing"
Lara Michell - "Crimson Flag"
Paul Weller - "Woodcutter's Son"
Kim Weston - "Helpless"
Embrace - "My Weakness Is None of Your Business"
Gene - "Why I Was Born"
The Style Council - "Waiting"
Bjork - "Like Someone In Love"
Low - "Will The Night (Demo)"
The Style Council - "Why I Went Missing"
The Jam - "The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)"
Primal Scream - "I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have"
James - "Blue Pastures"
Manic Street Preachers - "The Everlasting (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Mix)"
Gene - "You'll Never Walk Again"

Oh, and look! In creating the Amazon button for Cut My Hair you see below, I discovered Barry Wolborsky posted a new review of the book. Click the button and check it out. It's very nice of him, seeing as how I spent an entire evening in Christine Norrie's house without ever realizing it was that Barry. And it's much better than the person whose review precedes his, pouting that it wasn't no durn comic book. Amusingly, if you follow the links to that reviewer's other reviews, you'll see he only ever posts to complain. Like, say, how his Harry Potter costume wasn't nearly as cool as he thought it would be.

Current Soundtrack: Inspiral Carpets, "Dragging Me Down" CDS; Herman's Hermits, "The End of the World"

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Okay, I'm pooped. I've spent the last two days going over corrections and rewrites for The Everlasting. I just finished, and the computer estimates that I have a 178,500 word novel sitting here.

Rather than declare draft 1.5 a wrap, though, I have decided to go over the last 50 or so pages one more time in the morning, to look at the changes I made and see if I brought some of the things out that I was looking to bring out.

Yesterday I made a provisional cover using a page on how to style your hair that was reprinted from an old magazine in Richard Barnes' book Mods!. I used a photocopier, a labelmaker, and black crayons. It was fun.

Current Soundtrack: The Score (a Mojo Magazine comp of soundtrack cuts)

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Work Update: I spent Saturday doing nothing, because I could, and who are you to judge? (Unless you're Elin, who works much harder than all of us.) Sunday and Monday I whipped up a quick proposal for Dave Land at Dark Horse for something he's got going. It's not something that would be expected of me, but that was precisely why Dave came to me. It's the type of thinking I like. When I was an editor, if I'd hear, "You can't get that guy to do this," my instant response would be, "Oh, yeah? Watch me!" Hence, Stan Sakai doing a Queen & Country story or Terry Dodson on Hopeless Savages covers.

Today I am back on The Everlasting, implementing the notes and rewrites I made last week.

Currently Watching: The first season of HBO's The Wire is now on DVD. It's an engaging police drama that is noteable for its coldness and even hand. There is a distinct lack of nobility in most people's actions (and when someone is noble, there is usually a punishment for it), and there is no clear right or wrong between the cops and the crooks. A police officer can make a speech about how the drug dealers treat people like trash, but then we'll see another officer take an innocent kid's eye out. It's viewing the demands you pay attention, that assumes you're smart, and well worth the rental.

I've also been watching the first season of Arrested Development on DVD. I can't believe I didn't watch this show earlier. Its black humor is a godsend amongst the neutered family sitcoms. Jason Bateman is perfect as the put-upon hero, and Portia De Rossi is certainly one of the most beautiful people on the planet, so it's scary how funny she is.

Music: The forthcoming Destiny's Child album, Destiny Fulfilled, is depressingly bad. If you've heard the single, "Lose My Breath," you probably feel pretty safe. It's a little formulaic, but it shows they still have a knack for crazy sounds and superfast beats. The album even starts with it--which is just a set-up for the fall to follow. The second track is the obligatory nod to southern rap, and it's decent, but it's also the last song with a beat. From there, it's nine straight ballads, each more watered down than the last. Beyonce, Kelly, Michelle--we could handle it! Why did you forsake us?

Current Soundtrack: Interpol, Antics; De La Soul, The Grind Date

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, November 08, 2004


More homework for you.

Jane Smiley says what we're all thinking over at Slate. (Thanks to Matt Wagner for this one.)

Molly Ivins writes about just how the Bush administration operates and why we should hunker down and make sure their four more years are their last four. (Snaked from Kelly Sue's blog.)

Greg Rucka sent me this article, itself full of links, about possible hacking of the voting database and questioning how the early exit polls and the final results can be so far apart. Late Monday Addition: Steven Birch also sent me this aricle by Greg Palast, one of the main investigators into Florida in the 2000 electon. It's quite simply titled, "Kerry Won..."

Current Soundtrack: Al

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Read Margaret Cho's excellent post-election cries to arms here and here.

Current Soundtrack: Snow Patrol, "Teenage Kicks" (free download in tribute to John Peel)

Friday, November 05, 2004


Reading over the novel over the last couple of days has been a rewarding, reassuring experience. But it has left me scant time to focus on writing anything else, and I am behind on writing about things I wanted to here. So, I catch up with some capsule reviews of things I've taken in over the last couple of weeks, including the few moments of respite I've allowed myself in the Everlasting process (I have not been reading anything else while I am reading my manuscript, so as to keep my mind on that single track):

Undertow: The new film by David Gordon Green, who made the excellent movies George Washington and All The Real Girls is based on a true story about two young boys who have to go running from their murderous uncle. It reminds me of '70s films like Deliverance and Southern Comfort (which was actually '80s) where we are taken through a deep American South that we barely recognize as the real world, the people are so foreign to us (see also Cold Mountain), where at every turn we find some sweaty, grimy peril. As in his previous films, Green manages to capture performances that convey a quiet, studied reality, but this time around, I think I ended up enjoying the style more than the story, which was more conventional plot-wise than his earlier efforts. He uses grainy freeze frames to mark his cuts in a way that hasn't been done this well since Goodfellas. Philip Glass' score is also excellent.

House of Flying Daggers: Zhang Yimou's follow-up to Hero is another stylish kung-fu movie full of forest fights, exceptional archery, and the super-powered flying daggers of the title. The camera work in the fight scenes are just as beautiful as Hero, and the early scene in the Geisha palace is a cornucopia of color that dazzles in much the same way Yimou's last film worked with thematic color schemes. For those who felt that Hero didn't conform to narrow definitions of plot properly, House of Flying Daggers has a more conventional story, with lots of twists and betrayals. Zhang Ziyi continues to prove why she is becoming the go-to gal for the top Chinese directors, taking on a challenging role that demands she change her character on a quick spin. (I'd go into more detail, but the plot has so many turns, I'd feel like I would be doing a disservice to those of you who will want to see this film.) The love triangle is also tragic and beautiful, and Yimou is unafraid to inject heavy emotion into the action. Easily one of my favorite films this year.

The Incredibles: Believe the hype. This is as funny, clever, and exciting as everything would lead you to believe. And Pixar finally proves once and for all that you can do computer animated human characters and not have them look stiff and lifeless (compare the plasticity of the Shrek films films; the forthcoming, awful-looking Polar Express; or David Hasselhoff in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie).

Music-wise, the new Eminem is really good. He expands his lyrical base, exposing more of himself and going after some bigger targets than his ex-wife (who still doesn't escape his ire, but her tracks are fewer and weaker than the rest). The new Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, despite being produced by the Neptunes, is on autopilot. There is nothing at all inspired here. Chad and Pharell continue to lose sight of their once innovative musical vision. Their spirit seems to have infected Mos Def, whose New Danger album suffers from the same overreaching as N*E*R*D's Fly Or Die in that it sees him trying to be a rock star and tossing out a bunch of half-baked songs that suggest he's not very good at it.

A Perfect Circle have released their third album, Emotive, and it's a covers record. A damn good covers record, bending the likes of Joni Mitchell, Devo, Marvin Gaye, and Depeche Mode in surprising ways. And Depeche Mode have a new remix retrospective, spanning two discs on the regular edition and sprawling to a third on a limited version, which features some newly commissioned tracks. They have gone for the more abstract, more adventurous reinterpretations, and though some of them date back to 1981, it's the most futuristic sounding batch of songs that I've heard in some time. And for another great compilation, Travis' Singles collection is a tremendously satisfying grouping of A-sides

The Go Fug Yourself blog, which winnowed its way to me via Greg McElhatton via Kelly Cute, makes me laugh every day. Those vicious little backbiters have a wit and sense of style those old whores Mr. Blackwell and Joan River can never touch. Praise be to the mean girls!

As for the reading of The Everlasting, it's all done, and I only need to implement the changes, which will probably take a couple of days. I have some doubts about some parts, but at this point, it's really hard for me to judge. I need to push the boat out and see how she sails.

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, Remixes 81-04 disc 3

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I ventured out to the comics shop for the first time since June because the first issue of The Golden Plates by my buddy and living Adonis, Mike Allred, was released today. I was flipping through some other comics when someone asked me if I was who I was. What the hell? I need to wear a wreath of garlic next time!

I had kept my Kerry/Edwards button on my bag as a small way of hanging in there, but it seemed to only invite people to talk to me. So, I took it off.

I'm on my read-through of The Everlasting. I have read a quarter of it and am really happy with it so far. A few things have popped up that I had not seen before, my subconscious working to bring out the themes in ways I never imagined. There some sensory descriptions early on that I know I reuse later, but I am wondering if when I get to the second instance, if the repetition will work. If not, I'll change it. I will likely be staying up all night to see how far I can get. I don't want much pause in the process.

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, "Enjoy The Silence 2004" CD2


Well, the sun isn't exactly shining, but it's not yet declared that it won't shine anymore.

Good for Kerry for sticking in. I've always hated this idea of concession, that politicians need to pack it in before they are really told it's over. Ohio still has votes out, and it's unfair to the people whose votes they are to declare it's over. It's not even about which candidate will win or lose for the people of America; it's about making sure the system is fair, that it works right. In 2000, Gore's opponents tried to paint him as a crybaby, and that sort of thinking is sad. Particularly since the incumbent President is riding on a ticket that claims to be spreading democracy around the world. Which example are we spreading? The one where you can lie, cheat, and steal your way to the top and choose which groups of people you feel deserves to be heard? That's just Wrong.

If you think all the talk of the vote being tampered with is a lot of nonsense, I urge you to go back and look at the examinations of Florida in 2000. There are several books about what went down out there, but quicker, shorter information to arm yourself with is also available. Rent the documentary Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election. Get the October 2004 Vanity Fair (Jude Law cover), and read their lengthy article about it. While no one is quite caught with the bag of money, the mountain of evidence that various tricks were pulled is hard to deny, and you have to accept that something went down.

Oh, fuck it. I just read on CNN.com that Kerry conceded. Thanks for wussing out on us, Democrats. Like I said yesterday, America has learned nothing. (And yes, I read about the concession a while ago, but with everyone rending their garments on Blogger today, it's taken me over an hour to actually get through to post.)

And please, people, this whole, "I'm moving to Canada" routine was tired six months ago. Drop it, or seriously, just do it. Shut up or do it. But it's going to take a lot more balls for you to stick around here and fight. In the same Vanity Fair referenced above, James Wolcott writes about how another four years of Bush will give the left an opportunity to solidify the way the right did under Clinton, which would give us the first real organized movement on this side of the aisle since the '60s. Bail on us now, and we won't let you back in! (And where are you really going to go, anyway? If we drew up a map of the world where we marked countries full of guilty people in red, and innocent people in blue, we'd have a giant red map. Wherever you go, you will encounter a common problem: humanity. The history of humanity, also known as the history of the world, is a long, tedious plot about people treating each other like shit. We ain't no better, we ain't no worse.)

Yes, a lot of what I have written over the past two days has been sarcastic, satirical, and over the top. It shouldn't mask the genuine feeling of disappointment, though. I think a lot of us are feeling let down because we honestly thought there was a realigning of our country, that there was a real coming together for change. And that phrase is key: coming together. I don't want to demonize the people who voted for the current administration, but let's be real. So much of what Bush and the Republicans do is about sticking the wedge in further between the people of America, of finding the issues that we have a harder time agreeing on and aggravating them. Most of the time, those issues are about one set of people telling another set of people what they can't do with their lives. So many of us want to get back to the idea that America is a place where we create space for people of all shapes to live as they see fit. Making "morals" the top issue doesn't really have the most moral outcome, and morals end up being the top ironic issue given how immoral Bush and Cheney and DeLay and the rest really are, and how immoral the smear tactics of the campaign were.

I shout and I complain now because I want the feeling I had at 9 a.m. yesterday to stick around, and to make the next four years the hardest four years an administration has ever had. In the words of shoulda-been VP John Edwards, "You can be disappointed, but you cannot walk away."

Or, in keeping with my theme, maybe Snoopy says it best today.

Current Soundtrack: Air America

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


I lost in my efforts to not look at campaign coverage. I was outvoted at work. I am still hopeful. It doesn't look like anyone can officially call it tonight, it's going to be too close. Don't you love how predictions are made on the slightest percentage of votes reported? It seems ridiculous to me that for an effort this large and this important, we want instant results and sit glued to our TVs watching stuffy Tom Brokaw make guesses based on limited information.

But regardless of who wins, I have two observations that I find disheartening:

(1) Something like 10 states--including I am, ashamed to say, possibly my own--are voting to define marriage as something between a man and a woman. Many of these (maybe all, I am not sure) are doing this in their State Constitutions. This seems like a dangerous lack of forethought as far as I am concerned. Amending any Constitution should be considered a major deal, and to my mind, it should never be done to create exclusionary rights. These amendments weaken the moral strength of the documents they are attached to. And really, what for? An issue that is being decided by people for no real reason whatsoever? Letting same sex couples be married doesn't change the fact that men and women are getting married and divorced all over the country. I am sick and tired of this legally privileged class we have created. At this point, I'd like to see any benefits for married couples and parents repealed. That's right. Forget the issue of sexuality. As a single male with no desire for children, I am tired of being a second-class citizen. And if this is how you people are going to treat the standing afforded to you, let the reign of terror end!

(2) Given that the voting seems to be falling in the exact same slots as four years ago, it suggests to me that this country is stuck. Particularly given what an eventful four years it's been, I can't believe that we have changed so little. All I can guess is that people really don't think about the world around them, they are sticking to the party line. More than ever, this is the time for an alternative voice to rise up and break this system down. We have three years to get our act together before the next time this circus comes to town. Let's make something happen. Leave Nader at the side of the road, and let's find some people who are willing to make some real change occur, building across all levels of politics and not just fulfilling an egomaniac dream to chase the top prize. There's room to do it, so let's do it.

But let's all also hope we'll wake up in the morning and George Bush's smug smile will be changed to a petulant frown.

Current Soundtrack: Travis, "We Are Monkeys"

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich


Nearly four years, actually.

Yeah, I am sick of hearing about how we need to go vote today, too, because I can't imagine there are people out there who need to still be told that it's their duty to do so. Except that I can. So, if you're one of those people, what the hell is wrong with you? You have the time. You do. No, shut up. You do! And none of this crap that one vote doesn't count. If you read up on the 2000 election, including all the crap Jeb Bush pulled for his brother in Florida, you'd see that sometimes the margin is barely 100 votes between candidates. That's 100 people like you who said their vote didn't matter. Apathy isn't a singular experience, and your woe-is-me-I'm-just-one-guy pity party is really just an argument for enforced euthanasia.

And if you're still one of those mythical undecided voters, then please identify yourself in public places. I don't want to be stuck in line behind you at Taco Bell, because I am sure you have as much difficulty deciding between a taco and a burrito, chicken or beef. I'm making it simple for you: you're voting for Kerry. Decision done. You'll feel better about it come tomorrow.

For the rest of you, don't take any shit today. If you're messed with at the polls, find your party's advocate, call their headquarters, do whatever you have to do.

Then go home and watch You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, which can be found on the Great Pumpkin DVD. It's about all the media I plan to indulge in. I'm going on a blackout. Do I need to spend the whole day having the TV tell me they have no idea about anything? I can tell myself that and enjoy myself doing something else. If I hear they did better this election than they did when they royally fucked it up last time, I'll be go back to them in four years; otherwise, piss off! It's me and Chuck!

I was going to shill Abenobashi: Magical Shopping Arcade vol. 2 and Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 6, both of which come out this week, but Amazon doesn't have them listed! What is the deal with manga's slipshod representation on Amazon? Manga publishers need to give their distributors a good kick. So, go to your local book shop or comic shop, and if you do the later, look for The Golden Plates #1 by my main man Mike Allred, too.

Current Soundtrack: Pete Townshend, Live > The Fillmore 1996

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, November 01, 2004


My monthly pick for November for Trilogy Video. You can also see what other staff members recommend, if you're looking around for some new stuff to watch. My picks are all playful and step out of everyday life, valuing style as much as substance, and should offer welcome relief from these ridiculously political times.

* And The Ship Sails On, dir. Federico Fellini

* A Life Less Ordinary, starring Ewan McGregor & Cameron Diaz, dir. Danny Boyle

* Playtime, dir. Jacques Tati

* Trouble In Paradise, dir. Ernst Lubitsch

* The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, starring Catherine Deneuve, dir. Jacques Demy

I am starting Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 9 today.

Current Soundtrack: The Style Council, Here's Some That Got Away

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All material (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Oregonians! If you haven't voted yet, the Democrats are providing a pdf detailing rights you have so you can be informed and avoid any shenanigans that may occur. The Democrats.org site also has info on polling places if you are unsure of where yours is. Non-Oregonians can also go to the site and look for info in their state. Don't be ill-prepared because you think it can't happen to you. All things that happen are things that happen to people who didn't think it would happen to them!

Current Soundtrack: Peter Murphy, Alive Justforlove

Friday, October 29, 2004


If you're still one of those people who aren't quite sure which way your vote is going to go, then I highly recommend this editorial from The New Yorker. It's the first time in the magazine's history they have ever endorsed a President, which says something about how strongly they feel about it. Not only do they go into why it should not be Bush, they also say why it should be Kerry.

Currently reading: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (a little grammatical thinking before rewriting); Love Poems from the Japanese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth; The Plastic Man Archives, vol. 3 by Jack Cole

Current Soundtrack: The Al Franken Show on Air America

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Artbomb has posted my review of the most recent Usagi Yojimbo collection, the excellent Travels with Jotaro. Read it here.

Since I work retail Mondays and Tuesdays in the evening, I try to manage my writing time to have projects that fit within the shorter space lined up for those days. Like formatting "Can You Picture That?" was perfect for Monday, where I have to go in at 3:00. And if I am going to start going over The Everlasting, I would hold that until a Wednesday, so that several days are clear to work on it.

But like I noted last week, I am using the opportunity to get some work done on the graphic novel I am doing. I've been writing all day today (Tuesday, as I type, but since I am working at Starbucks for a change, I won't post this until later), and if I keep on the track I am on until I am done this week, I'll be able to give the artist twice as much material as I delivered already, bringing the current page count up to about 50 pages. It's an old editor's trick. Even though I know that other commitments will precede the drawing of the book, I can play on the artist's guilt by piling on the pages! (This is why a writer should never be heard to say, "But Mr. Editor, I don't need to write #12 yet, because #10 isn't even drawn." Mr. Editor knows better than you, you layabout!)

More importantly, though, working on a comic book script is providing me with a welcome break from prose. I don't want to say that comics are easier than prose, but this particular project is more easygoing. The Everlasting by its very nature requires more energy, because as a novelist, I am required to detail every moment, every aspect, every thought. With the graphic novel, the production is scaled back. You can't convey the same level of detail, and so it's all about choosing the essential moments, distilling your story down to the proper beats. In a novel, I can take as many pages as I want to explore something, but in a comic the same scene has to be showed on a limited number of pages with a limited number of panels. So, it's all about choices, about picking the right things to see, to convey the emotion or the event. (Add to this that I know the artist very well, and thus can leave a lot of the staging and other things to someone with a much more visual eye than my own without having to worry about the book jumping the tracks. Much of my stage direction is preceded by the word "maybe," as in, "Maybe we could show this tight, over the shoulder.")

My process right now is working scene by scene. I have a pretty good outline of what I think I want to do, and so I just go one step at a time. In some cases, since it's mainly people talking, I write the dialogue out straight with a minimum of description, and then I go back and break it down into the proper units (pages and panels again). Interestingly, though the approach is much more laid back, it's also more controlled. Like I said, I pretty much have every story point noted on my outline, whereas with The Everlasting and Cut My Hair both, I had major holes in my outline right up until the very end. I like to say that if the books were the alphabet, I would know there were 26 letters, but I would only know the first and last letter, the vowels, and maybe some of the consonants, and I would discover the rest as I went along. Not so much here.

That doesn't hold off experimentation, though, or even lock me in too securely. Today a scene naturally evolved to include a story point I wasn't planning on introducing yet. As of right now, I think it can lend an air of tension to the story that will be under the surface the whole time even if it doesn't pay off until later. The novelist in me says I can just take it out if I get farther in and discover I did go too far too early--but then, only if I stay ahead of the artist. The flipside to putting on the pressure to draw!

Current Soundtrack: Pet Shop Boys, PopArt: The Hits (Pop disc); Bryan Ferry, As Time Goes By

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


The new installment of "Can You Picture That?" is now online, and it is a Popular lovefest. I also reveal that I am the only guy to ever work in comics who didn't hate high school.

When Cut My Hair came out, a couple of Hollywood types took a look at it. I never was expecting anyone to bite, it's never seemed all that commercial to me. (People always respond, "What about SLC Punk?" Sure. What about it? Huge box office, eh?) The usual showbiz evaluation was, "If you want to write a screenplay, then we can see if we can sell that." It was always too big an if, and I had only just gotten the story out of my hands. It was too early to pick it up again. Plus, I never actually wanted a movie anyway. While I would let it happen if the opportunity arose (the benefits are good, let's be honest), I find the whole need to have movies of everything utterly ridiculous.

Plus, I never see what I write as anything but what I wrote it as, and even though I crafted an opening sequence to a screenplay a couple of years later under the idea that maybe I could fix things I didn't like about the novel, I never really got into it. Why do I tell you these things now? Well, only because when Popular was on the air, I wanted there to be a Cut My Hair movie so Leslie Bibb could play Jeane. As an actress, she was everything I wanted for that character. It doesn't change the picture I have of Jeane in my head, which Andi Watson captured dead accurately in the first illo of her in the book, but if it was ever put to celluloid, they'd have a tough time making me stop thinking of Brooke McQueen.

I thought Christopher Gorham could probably play Mason, too. As Popular's resident nice guy, he managed the balance of funny and smart vs. insecure and awkward. He never quite embodied Mason in my imaginaton, though, not the way Bibb became Jeane. I am not sure anyone can do that.


Margaret Cho has a sassy ad up at MoveOn. Click here, and check it out. Love is love is love.

Current Soundtrack: The Creatures, A Bestiary Of...

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Because no one asked for it...I am continuing my comprehensive Morrissey reviews.

Moz has now released the third single from You Are The Quarry, "Let Me Kiss You." Though the lyrics almost sound like a parody of what a Morrissey song is supposed to be ("then you open your eyes and see someone you physically despise"), it's a good choice for a single track. The melody is nice and easy, and over time, it's become one of the songs I return to most often. It's also the one Nancy Sinatra covered for her excellent self-titled album, and in a strange marketing move, the label has released both as singles on the same day. Originally, there was talk of it being a split release, which seems like it would have been much better. Or...

I honestly think they should have made the B-side, "Don't Make Fun of Daddy's Voice," the A-side. With its ? & the Mysterians organ riff, it's one of the best songs of the recent crop. The hook is ebullient, and the lyrics are funny. It could have stood in the grand tradition of excellent non-album A-sides (the post-Viva Hate triptych of "Last of the Famous International Playboys," "Interesting Drug," and "November Spawned a Monster," "Pregnant for the Last Time," "Boxers").

The other two tracks on the single confirm what the "First of the Gang To Die" B-sides suggested: this time around, the best material was used on the album. "Friday Mourning" is a good song, one of Morrissey's grandiose, self-pitying ballads. Unfortunately, instead of fully taking off and breaking through the atmosphere and becoming something stellar, it just glances the edge and comes back down.

"I Am Two People" is interesting lyrically. As the title suggests, it's a war of one's own nature, and how to remove the barriers that separate us from one another. (And is it me, or does Moz seem to be writing a lot of songs about exposing himself to people and coming up short lately? Who are these folks?) The backing music never quite matches up with the thrust of his voice, though. The band gives him nothing to hang the words on, and the melody doesn't stick.

Current Soundtrack: Travis, "Walking In The Sun;" Kylie Minogue, "I Believe In You;" Eminem feat. Dre & 50 Cent, "One Last Time"

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, October 23, 2004


If I could be Wong Kar-Wai, I would be. I would take that opportunity if it came. There are few people I respect so much in the world today, who follow their crazy ideas and somehow manage to make it work, despite all odds. He works his camera the way a novelist works with words, changing and diverging and revising. Most filmmakers can't afford to toss film away, but Kar-Wai will make three or four films on his way to the one he lets you see.

It goes without saying that as soon as his newest film, 2046, showed up on eBay, I was all over it. The discs came out in China within a week of the film opening, an attempt to combat rampant bootlegging over there. It turns out patience would have been a virtue. This was a Face release, and they are known for having their logo pop up at regular intervals (this time, unlike their more subdued product placement on their extended Hero DVD, showing up in three separate pieces coming from three separate corners), and since it is the mainland version, Cantonese speaking characters, including Tony Leung's Chow Mo Wan, were dubbed into Mandarin. But those are small prices to pay to see the movie I was looking forward to more than any other this year.

Thank goodness I wasn't disappointed! I am drunk with the love I have for 2046. As a narrative, it is a chapter in an ongoing project that now encompasses Days of Being Wild and In The Mood For Love. It finds Chow after the failed affair of In The Mood. He has turned himself into a callous womanizer, escaping from his personal pain in the science fiction he now writes. As we watch him stumble through several relationships, we also get a glimpse of the literary world he is creating. In the future, there is a place called 2046. People take a train there to retrieve their lost memories, but no one knows quite how it works since no traveler has ever returned. 2046 also happens to be the number of the room in the hotel next to his, which is the room where he and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) would retire to in In the Mood to have their faux affair and write their martial arts serials. As a further nuance, it's the last year Hong Kong rules itself.

Kar-Wai has always been obsessed with time and how it weighs on people. In 2046, he creates three timelines: the late '60s world of Chow Mo Wan, the future world of his fiction (a fiction within a fiction), and the present world of the viewer. The third element is important, since Kar-Wai always demands a certain level of involvement of his audience. You can't be a passive viewer, you have to get completely inside the narrative and puzzle it out. Though 2046's lines are more clearly delineated than Kar-Wai's more ponderous efforts, it still shifts subtly. If you aren't giving it your full attention, you will rejoin the film in a completely different place than where you left it.

The other pervasive theme in all of Kar-Wai's films is the transience of human connections and the pain that comes from missed opportunities at love. Circumstance gets in the way far too often. In 2046, Chow engages in three significant relationships: the call girl played by Zhang Ziyi, the hotel owner's daughter played by Faye Wong, and the mysterious gambler played by Gong Li. Each encounter dissolves because the lovers can never get on the same page with one another. When Chow is loved, he plays the cad; when he is in love, he loses; when both participants are in love, it can never be thanks to ghosts from the past. They move in and out of one another's lives with a poetic sense of tragedy, and Kar-Wai's editing creates a melody of heartbreak. In much the way a novelist can create a symphony of emotion with words, Kar-Wai's camera delivers an impact beyond the action and dialogue.

The image that still resonates the most with me is when Faye Wong's character Wang Jing Wen asks Chow to rewrite his story with a happy ending for her. He sits down at his desk and days pass, his fountain pen poised above the paper like a needle waiting to come down on a record, and he can't write a line. He doesn't know how to write his way to happiness.

A movie of a different kind that also says something about artists unable to dictate the path of their art or, consequently, their life, is the documentary DiG!. DiG! is a chronicle of two bands, the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who begin as friends and end up as rivals, with one band finding far more success than the other.

It's the Massacre that ends up off the rails. The passionate drive of the band's leader, Anton Newcombe, to cause a musical revolution is both their most alluring component and their most dangerous. Anton accepts no compromise, not in any aspect of life. His attitude leads to fights, hissy fits, and delusion. His refusal to work within the system makes for a much more treacherous route for his band, whereas the Dandys' willingness to go for it eventually affords them an ongoing career. Their guitarist, Pete Holmstrom, has the key line of the movie when he says that in order to lead a revolution, you eventually have to take it overground. Staying underground changes no one. (Not surprisingly, Anton is now disavowing this movie, and if you're interested, go to the band's site to read why. The reasons are valid.)

If the film has a failing, in fact, it's that it doesn't explore Pete's statement enough. The filmmaker--and indeed, everyone in the movie--is so hypnotized by Anton's self-destructive antics, it almost feels like the Dandys are just a footnote. There is an implication that their success proves Anton right. Their label does a poor job of marketing, and the band nearly goes south, before a fluke commercial opportunity overseas, which the band follows up with relentless touring, leads to a long-term triumph. It was only be sticking to their guns and not letting the bean counters dictate everything that pushed them through.

So, DiG! beggars the question: is it better to never accept compromise and slave away in continued obscurity, or do you give up a little to exploit opportunities when they come? Is it better to revolutionize nowhere, or to change a corrupt somewhere? Or in the terms of 2046, do you stay true to yourself and isolate your heart, or do you shove that pen down and write "and they lived happily ever after"?

Current Soundtrack: Celebrity Poker Showdown

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, October 22, 2004


I filled out my ballot and sent it in today. I love Oregon for sending ballots to our homes early and giving us time to sit and go over it.

So, I've done my part to get Bush out of the White House, and it's up to the rest of you. If you don't vote, you get what you deserve.


In other news, I am still taking time off from The Everlasting. I am playing it by ear. I may get back to it next week, I may take more time. I saw Greg Rucka at a reading for A Gentleman's Game last night, and he suggested a month. In the meantime, I am picking up the graphic novel I am writing again. The artist and myself and the publisher probably should put our heads together about making it a non-secret, so that the artist and myself can quit speaking about it in veiled terms. Though, hasn't somebody put the puzzle pieces together yet? Surely no one is fooled!

Current Soundtrack: Brian Jonestown Massacre, ...And This Is Our Music

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


I've returned to health pretty much, and am going to get on the ball today with printing out The Everlasting so I can start going over it.

I am going to be late with the October installment of "Can You Picture That?" Since it was due yesterday, that is likely obvious. I informed James Lucas Jones of this fact last week. Not knowing if the novel work would spill into this week, I was loathe to stop it to write a DVD article. I actually did a draft yeterday, so we will be good to go for next Tuesday.

Eric Stephenson has been talking about Four-Letter Worlds at the Pulse, and you can see a page from the story by Andi Watson and myself there. (Good thing, too, because I re-caught a typo I thought we had fixed.)

Current Soundtrack: Air America

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, October 15, 2004


...but I'm still fond of you. Oh, whoa ho.

This life of the mind is more dangerous than I thought. I woke up all stuffed up and with a weird throat, and by mid-afternoon, had a full-on fever. Seems like a bizarre after effect of yesterday. I am not even sure what I am doing on a computer. Which is why I am leaving as quickly as I came.


So, as Ian surmised from my last post, I finished the first complete draft of The Everlasting today. I haven’t done a word count, but it’s probably around 200,000 words, nearly 500 pages. About twice the size of Cut My Hair.

It was a strange experience. I ran the gamut of emotions, feeling both elation and sadness, satisfaction and fear. It was quite a mix, like a manic episode. As I told Kelly Sue, I felt like I should be put in a bathysphere and dropped in the middle of the ocean. I could crawl into a ball and will my molecules to separate until they got so far apart I completely dissipated. Then I might feel normal again.

That all sounds negative. It’s not. I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and the fact that I started to cry as I was writing the emotional climax leads me to believe I was on some kind of right track. It reminds me of writing the skinhead brawl in Cut My Hair, when I had to walk away from my computer because I made myself physically sick. When other people read that chapter--"Like An Outlaw (For You)"--when the book was published, they had the same reaction. It’s a good omen.

I don’t actually remember how I felt when I finished Cut My Hair. It was a much more drawn out process (ten years from starting the writing to publication), with nothing like the last four months of intense work I put into The Everlasting. The closest I can think is after I left Dark Horse to whip Cut My Hair into shape, I was going to do my major rewrite by typing the whole thing into my laptop. It had been written on an old Brother word processor, which was really a typewriter with a disc drive. Thankfully I had printed as I went, because I lost a lot of other material when that machine finally broke.

My goal on that rewrite mission was to do a chapter a day until all twenty-five of them were input. I think I ended up averaging about two chapters a day, which put me on an even better path than I anticipated. I went to my nearest Kinko’s and ordered up twenty-five bound copies, including a cover from an old sketchbook depicting the church scene from “Hideous Towns.” The lost artwork of Cut My Hair! When I picked up the copies, I carried them back to my apartment on foot. My muscles were sore and spasming by the time I got back, and it only added to my pride. The feeling of having done physical work is not something a novelist probably feels that often, unless you count cricks in the neck.

The feeling today was something different, something beyond that. You talk to most prospective writers, and there is a line between those who have actually finished a project and those that haven’t. Even with Cut My Hair on my resume, though, I felt like I still had something to prove, that the second book would be as big of a challenge, if not bigger. As an editor, I learned that everyone has one in them--one of whatever they want to do. If they pound away at enough, they will stumble on it. It’s why sometimes you’ll look at an artist's portfolio, and there is one good thing in amongst a bunch of bad things. Or why first-timers jump out the gate and wow you and then their second album, screenplay, book is terrible. Or think The Wonder Boys, and the writer is so crippled by the prospect of the follow-up--which is usually bigger, better, and more ambitious in scope--that he can never reach the last page.

Maybe that’s why so many of us go in for trilogies. We extend the concept of beginning-middle-end to the whole of the story, making them signposts for the series, as well. I finished The Everlasting, but I still have to do They Are All In Love (Have You Seen The Horizon Lately?), so the work is still in progress, yeah?

I definitely thought about The Everlasting as part of this Romance cycle of mine. It is part two, so it is inevitably the darkest hour. I look at the cycle as (1) the Fairy Tale, (2) Love Fails, and (3) Love Conquers All. I don’t adhere to the idea strictly, obviously, but then, I don’t have to. I don’t believe in creative rules. I had some rules for The Everlasting, as far as how I wanted the narrative voices to advance specific goals and depict specific aspects of the main character, Lance Scott's personality, but those slowly fell by the wayside. I followed what worked. In a way, I suppose, it was the synthesis of everything about Lance. The prose about him blended together as his splintered personality collided with itself. (I’ve already set up some restrictions for They Are All In Love, too, in a challenge to myself. Namely, the main character, Percy, who lives in exile, has banished pop music from his house. Thus, no avenue for pop music references.)

In the trilogy sense, as well, I allowed some story parallels to exist with Cut My Hair. They crept up naturally as I wrote The Everlasting, and I can actually point in my notes to the spot where I realized it, too. Certain types of events repeat, but they relate to the overall themes of the series, and in 99% of the cases, when something happens to Lance that also happened to Mason, the effect was totally different. What works for Mason doesn’t work for Lance, and that’s part of the thrust of the book. Youthful folly is no longer so cute.

Sorry if I am all over the place, but I’m just lining everything up in my head. Plus, if you put Scotch in hot chocolate, it tastes just like one of those mini chocolate bottles of liquor. Swear to God!

Next step for me is to spend a couple of days away from the book, giving me time to forget it. Then I will pick a good block of days to just sit and read it with a red pen, looking for redundancies, holes, whatever. Just a nice overview and clean-up. I may even go away and do it, I don’t know. The cat could resent me if I do that. She likes being part of the process. (I swear she knew today. Animals can certainly sense extreme emotion, and she gets motherly with me when I’m upset. Lots of passing by my shins and meowing.) Then I’ll likely do what I did with Cut My Hair and bind up some copies and get some feedback and start looking for an agent and publisher.

Current soundtrack: Robbie Williams, Greatest Hits

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich