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

Friday, June 29, 2012

TALKSPLODE WITH MIKE NORTON & JAMIE S. RICH

Mike Norton and I were on iFaboy's Talksplode podcast to discss the August release of It Girl and the Atomics #1.

Listen to it/download the file here.

I think I put my foot in my mouth at least once. Which isn't that bad for me.

So excited for this book to come out. Only a few weeks left!

Current Soundtrack: Saint Etienne, "Tonight" EP




Thursday, June 28, 2012

UH-OH, IT'S MAGIC!

NEW TO THEATRES...




* Magic Mike is coming from you. Watch out for his wand! Steven Soderbergh's latest is ridiculous fun.

I never did figure out what Channing Tatum was supposed to be wearing in that scene the photo is from. I think he was a shirtless SWAT team member.

UPDATED TO CRITERION CONFESSIONS...

* In Which We Serve, the first collaboration between David Lean and Noël Coward is a war movie and also wartime propaganda.

* Vanya on 42nd Street, Louis Malle's cinematic tribute to the live theatrical experience.

Also, I wrote a little bit about my turnaround regarding Lena Dunham's Girls. Come find out how that crow tastes.



Current Soundtrack: The Cars, Heartbeat City




e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'M YOUR FAN: Kimmie by Yllya

Lots of great French artists keep drawing the girls from Spell Checkers. Today, it's Yllya drawing Kimmie.

Check out Yllya's daily blog for more of her wonderful drawings.



Current Soundtrack: El-P, Cancer for Cure

WRITING DOODLE: DEJA VIEW


The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here. 

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

This particular assignment was to write a story based on a great quote from Woody Allen's wonderful film Manhattan, which I rewatched tonight before embarking on this quest. Also partially inspired, by more own accord, from looking at pictures of actress Jane Greer on Tumblr.

*

“My analyst warned me, but you were so beautiful I got another analyst.” ­- Woody Allen, Manhattan

When Derek realized where he had seen her before, he didn’t quite believe it. It was the smile that tipped him off. Maybe it was the only thing that worked at this proportion. He saw all of her other features as gargantuan, he expected they should be the same size as when he spotted her on that billboard, wearing the red-and-white, polka-dotted bikini, seven stories off the ground and at least two high.

For all the things that a man would notice in that advertisement--the curves of her body, the ample breasts, the curled hair--it was the smile that was dangerous. The other pieces, they could have belonged to any swimsuit model. The smile, on the other hand, was uniquely hers. It was the smile you would see across a crowded room, begging you to approach, daring you not to.

And when he realized that, yes, the brunette he was waiting at the bar with was the same brunette that dangled a lazy finger over Times Square, pretending that the city was a giant sandy beach in which she could carve her name, he immediately regretted that he had opted for the cheesy pick-up line. “Don’t I know you from some where?” Might as well have said, “Don’t you know I’m a dope?”

Not for nothing, the girl didn’t even blink. She just said, “You think you do, but my gut reaction is that you don’t.”

“That’s a fair guess, since when it comes down to it, I don’t know much.”

She laughed. Maybe the self-deprecation had worked.

“Okay, then,” she said. “Of the little you do know, tell me one thing.”

It was a challenge. This would take some quick calculating. Derek took a sip from his drink. It burned his throat the way only the cheap stuff could.

“That tomorrow morning I will be the same as I was this morning, but despite that cold fact, I can do whatever I want right now.”

The girl said nothing. Not until the bartender came and she ordered another round for both of them, and she made sure to tell the bartender to make sure Derek’s was considerably more expensive than what he was drinking right now.

*

Current Soundtrack: Paul Banks, Julian Plenty Lives... - $4 download EP from the Interpol singer, available from Matador directly

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ABOUT A GIRL

The press blitz continues!

Mike Norton and I discuss It Girl and the Atomics with Chris Arrant over at Newsarama.

Read the interview in full right here.

And don't forget to order the comic from your local comic book store. It's coming August 8! Diamond order code JUN120428.




Rich: It Girl is Luna Romy, the youngest member of the Atomics, who used to be street beatniks but then were mutated by some alien goo and once upon a time had an adversarial relationship with Madman. The goo had deformed them originally, but they learned to harness the mutation and discovered they had super powers. For Luna, it's the ability to adopt the properties of anything she touches. If she touches metal, she can turn to metal; if she touches a bird, she can grow feathers and fly. This is a very handy power, and I am having fun coming up with new things for her to turn into for specific scenarios. "What can get her out of this situation?" 
In terms of where she's at in the new series, It Girl and the Atomics, Madman and Luna's boyfriend, Metal Man, are touring the galaxy performing with their band. It Girl is stuck back home, and she's bored, so she takes over Madman's role in that she becomes both the leading crimefighter in Snap City, but also the guinea pig for the experiments run by her benefactor, Dr. Flem. In the first issue, he has a new machine that is supposed to turn a person into an electronic signal and beam them through the air to faraway locations. This, of course, will end up having terrible results.

Current Soundtrack: Paul Weller, "When Your Garden's Overgrown/Lay Down Your Weary Burden"





THE ACTOR (LOVES HIMSELF)

Hey, check it out. I'm quoted in a movie trailer for the first time ever. And it's an actual quote for a movie I loved, not some doctored pull that doesn't quite jibe with the truth.

So, give a look to the new trailer for Jobriath A.D.




Current Soundtrack: A Place to Bury Strangers, Worship





Monday, June 25, 2012

PUNCHING IN A DREAM

Joëlle Jones and myself, alongside our friends Terry Blas and Oni Press marketing man Tom Shimmin, were guests on the sixth Nerd Fight over at Chronicle of the Nerds. We argue stuff like Buffy vs. Angel, Star Wars fans vs. Star Trek fans, and if Pringles are better than Cheetos.

You can stream the whole thing or download it from here.

I may have gotten a little inebriated during the broadcast. I mean, it's possible.



Current Soundtrack: Francoise Hardy, Comment te dire adieu



Sunday, June 24, 2012

WRITING DOODLE: DIG DIG DIG (TO NOWHERE)

The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here. 

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

*
They remembered each other as they were, and so to see the updated versions was, to say the least, disconcerting. For Milo and Ross, it was like someone had cut out their faces from when they were kids and sewed them onto these older men, their heads bigger, like a grotesque mask stretched across a pumpkin. Or pinheads. Circus freak pinheads. Their skulls had grown disproportionate to their visage.

Ellison looked at photos of himself from when they knew each other, and he didn’t recognize that kid in the pictures. That skinny teen with the patchy skin and the big grin. Life and adulthood had played different tricks on him, it seemed. He was more squat now, his features drawn more harshly. His cheeks sank, pushed down by the bags under his eyes. In just about every image, he was laughing. Did he laugh anymore? What was the last thing he found funny?

“Do you remember that first semester of junior year,” Ross asked, “when we all dated the same girl?”

“Cindy DeBrowski,” Milo affirmed.

“Yeah, Cindy. We all got so mad at each other. What was it? Every time one of us got his driver’s license, she’d move to that guy. Like she owed you something for being able to legally drive.”

“I wish girls were like that now,” Milo added. “You know, grown women. I wish they were that aggressive.”

Ellison spoke softly. “If you recall, she was my girlfriend first. I got my license just before Labor Day. I hooked up with her at that barbeque.”

Really aggressive,” Milo said. “It’s not like she gave us a choice. I mean, we were 16.  When a girl gets in your car and climbs on top of you...Hoo, boy. I wish that happened now, like I said. I’d kill to have that one gal from the office lay it on me like that.”

“You always have a choice, Milo,” Ellison said. His tone said was annoyed. Both guys probably remembered the sound from school. “For instance, you could say ‘no,’ or you could say ‘yes.’ Like, you could say ‘yes’ to yourself and go talk to that woman, and then she could say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to you.”

Milo snorted. “Right. It’s that easy.”

“It ain’t that hard,” Ellison replied.

“Yeah! That’s his problem!” Ross’ own joke made him howl with laughter. Ellison supposed that noise was what was meant by the term “guffaw.”

This was starting to seem like a mistake. Ellison felt he had been tossed down amongst the junkyard hyenas, back into a pit he’d spent the last two decades climbing out of. “You can’t go home again” was a lie. The truth was, home was the place you could never escape.

“Listen, guys, can we focus? As much as I love walking down memory lane--”

Ross interrupted. “No, you don’t.”

“What?”

“Don’t treat us like we’re stupid, Ellison. You always treat us like we’re stupid. We know you don’t want to reminisce with us.”

“Not about you guys passing around my girlfriend, no.”

“Like we handed her off,” Milo said.

“What?”

“That’s my point! She walked from one to the other. No one had to hand her.”

Ellison groaned. “It doesn’t matter. We’re here for other things.”

He stuck his shovel into the ground. The hole was only a foot or so deep at that point. It wasn’t going to dig itself.

“He’s right,” Ross said, himself starting to work his spade. “Put your back into it, Milo. Show us that office job ain’t made you soft.”

Milo whistled through his nose. It was a nervous tic he’d had all his life. He did as told.

Three shovels worked in tandem. Milo dipped in and emptied as Ross dipped in and emptied as Ellison dipped in and so on.

Only the three of them would know to dig there. Only the three of them would know what to find. Ellison had tried to forget since he’d moved away, but he never could. Between the groping trees--three gnarled oaks just like them, all growing toward one another, like they were leaning in and clasping hands and forming a cover over this secret. Ellison had always had a fantasy about coming back on his own, undercover, and exhuming what lay there and moving it, hiding it, making it disappear. He never did. It occurred to him now that the other two could have had that fantasy, too. If one of them had, if the space under where the branches met was empty, Ellison would know it wasn’t him that did it...but how easy would it be for the guy who did do it to deflect suspicion. Only one of the three would really know what had happened.

Or two of the three. Perhaps they had moved it together. Both Ross and Milo were eyeing him. Was it because they were waiting for him to find out, or because they just found him as distasteful as he now found them?

Suspicion passed when his was the first shovel to hit it. It was a loud clank, both metallic and more solid. Tool meeting treasure.

*

And so here we found a downside of this kind of writing. I hadn't planned for these guys to be digging for anything. I only started writing from listening to the Monkees song "Shades of Gray," which is where the opening quote is from. I thought of several things they could be digging for, but I didn't like any of them (the most gruesome one was a baby's corpse)...and so that's where the story stopped. Maybe I can pick it up again. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. 

Current Soundtrack: Jack White, Blunderbuss



e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


Thursday, June 21, 2012

POWERMAN AND THE MONEYGOROUND

NEW TO THEATRES...




* Brave, the latest Pixar hits the bullseye. Their first with a girl hero does not disappoint, even if the 3D does.

Lola Versus herself, as played by Greta Gerwig.

* Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, a surprisingly emotional comedy about the apocalypse. Starring Steve Carrel, Keira Knightley, and a ton of funny cameos.

UPDATD TO CRITERION CONFESSIONS...

* Blithe Spirit, the third collaboration between David Lean and Noël Coward is a ghostly comedy.

* Contempt, my favorite film from Jean-Luc Godard.



Current Soundtrack: Jerry Butler, Soul Legend; Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man in the Universe


e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WRITING DOODLE: SMOKE AND MIRRORS

The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here. 

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

This particular assignment was to write a story based on a particular photograph, a film still from the 1933 movie, Female (which I have never seen, but based on this photo, would love to). 

*




She was pretending to search for an ashtray, but in truth, she was using the mirrored table as convenient cover to check herself. Her hair hadn’t had enough time to set properly, and there was a legitimate fear that her curls could tumble down and make the night before look like the morning after instead. A quick fluff confirmed they were holding up fine, nothing to worry about, and there would be none of the gossiping about her vanity like there might have been had she been seen giving herself the once-over in the hall mirror. And don’t even mention the powder room. If she disappeared from this party of jackals for even a second....

His shadow appeared from behind moments before he spoke. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Looking for an ashtray,” she said, sticking to the lie. She had felt him creeping up, and she wasn’t surprised that he was the one who had followed her.

He indicated the cigarette balanced between her painted lips. “It looks like you need a light, as well.”

“Naturally,” she replied. “It’s just, I’m thinking ahead. Everyone has a light, but then where does that leave me? Running around looking for a place to discard the remains. Speaking of a light....”

She motioned with two fingers toward her mouth. A gentlemen should not have left her hanging. 

The man fumbled in his coat pocket. He produced a gold lighter, flipped its top, sparked the wheel. “Sorry,” he said.

The woman took a deep drag. Newly formed ash glowed at the end of the cigarette. “And you see?” she asked, indicating the powder as it turned from orange to gray. “Whatever shall I do with all this rot and decay?”

No words were spoken, but the man lifted a hand, palm raised, and held it under the tip of her burnt tobacco. He reached with the other hand and gently tapped the cylinder, letting the hot embers land on his skin. He smiled as if to say, “And do you see? Was that so hard?”

She smiled in return. “Now if I could only get you to roll them for me, you might actually be as useful as you think.”

Then she moved on, leaving him holding the evidence. Let the wags report these facts: there had been a woman here, she had smoked a cigarette, and then she vanished. Surely that would keep the rest of the pack talking for days.

*

Current Soundtrack: Laetitia Sadier, "Find Me the Pulse of the Universe/There is a Price to Pay fo Freedom (And It Isn't Security)"

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, June 18, 2012

WRITING DOODLE 6-18-2012: JARED

The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here. 

Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

*

Jared had spent the last five days housesitting for a friend, and when he got home, he discovered that his own apartment had been robbed.

It was a textbook definition of irony. While he had stayed over at someone else’s place to make sure no one broke in, there was no one to do the same for him, and his home had gotten ransacked. Everything had been upended. His kitchen table, such as it was, had been flipped upside down and the contents spilled on the tile floor. Cups had been pulled out of the cabinets, books had been knocked off the shelves. For a minute Jared hoped it had just been some kind of joyriding prank and some teenagers had gotten in here and tossed the place with the intent of freaking him out.

Because the cruelest cut of all was that there was really nothing in Jared’s apartment that was worth taking. To be crooks at this level, you had to be sinking pretty low. Yet, as he started taking stock, it was clear they had taken anything that could maybe earn them a buck.

This meant the out-of-date widescreen TV with the warped top corner that gave every movie and show a rainbow edge was gone. With it went the $60 DVD player and the hand-me-down stereo system that, though it possessed four speakers, was only capable of two sound channels. Correction, actually: of simulating two-channel surround. Wires hung over the entertainment center like chaff after a harvest. The only solid object that remained was the clunky old VCR that Jared hung onto because he had convinced himself he’d watch those couple of movies he still had on tape. The layer of dust on the battered previously rented copies of Last of the Mohican and Moulin Rouge begged to differ.

In his bedroom, the robbers took a similar selective approach. They had taken the bed frame, but they had left his ratty old mattress. It had a hole in the center where a spring had poked through, and Jared had sliced his leg on it three times before he finally took wire cutters and removed most of the coil. This was Jared’s lot in life: he had to lose three times before any defeat really took hold. He’d been mugged outside this apartment building, and now he’d been ripped off inside it. One more theft and he would probably move.

But tonight he was thankful that the thieves had left that ratty old mattress, because even without the frame, he could lay it on the floor and go to sleep. He also had his laptop with him when he was away, and though a four-year-old Macbook was maybe not state of the art, it was his and he had something that glowed and showed him entertaining things while he drifted off to sleep.

 *

Jared didn’t call the cops. He didn’t see the point. He didn’t have renter’s insurance and noting was really valuable and while he was sure they’d be polite about it and no one would confirm it out loud, they weren’t going to put any effort into finding the guys who did this. Nor did Jared think they should.  

On the scales of Justice, Jared’s predicament was merely a speck of fool’s good, tipping the bowls neither this way nor that. If something heavy landed on the other side, his would probably be the first thing catapulted off in the resulting jerk.

When he woke up in the morning, Jared put some of the place back together. He fixed up the kitchen enough so he could eat a bagel and have some juice, though the discovery that they had taken his toaster oven meant that he ate the bagel cold. He was surprised he hadn’t noticed that was gone when he had seen they had taken his microwave. The bathroom was the only room in the house that the thugs left untouched. Jared showered, shaved, and went to work, and for his time in that little room, at least, life seemed normal and without disruption.

Work passed without incident. Jared returned home. He cleaned up the rest of the flat. He went to bed on his mattress on the floor.

By the next morning, except for not being able to once again heat his bagel or watch the news while he ate it cold, things were basically right back in the same place as they had been, as if nothing of great shocking import had ever really happened.

Or so it seemed.

When Jared went to leave that day, he found an eleven-year-old boy outside his door. The boy wore a stocking cap, and his jacket and pants were too big. He had Jared’s DVD player in his hand.

“This isn’t Blu-Ray,” the kid said, by way of “hello.”

“No, it isn’t.” Jared answered out of some politeness reflex, he hadn’t really considered the depth of this question.

“I was supposed to get Blu-Ray,” the kid said.

“I don’t have Blu-Ray.”

“Why not?”

“You saw my apartment. I don’t have anything. Literally, now that you’ve been here.”

“But I was supposed to get Blu-Ray.”

“Then you robbed the wrong house.” Jared was starting to really consider the situation now. “In fact, can you tell me why you picked this apartment? Why me?”

“There were no lights on.”

“That’s it? That’s the science behind your criminal enterprise?”

The kid got irritated. He shoved the DVD player into Jared’s stomach. Hard. It knocked the wind out of Jared, and when the kid let go of the machine, Jared was unable to scramble fast enough to catch the silver metal box. He fumbled for it, and it tipped back and forth in the air, one hand to the other, but ultimately hit the floor and cracked.

“Get me a Blu-Ray,” the kid said. “I’ll be back.”

He walked away, but he never took his eyes off Jared. His head was turned in the older man’s direction even when he rounded the corner. 

Current Soundtrack: The Daily Show


All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


IMAGE FANTOME: THE GIRL THAT I KNEW SOMEWHERE

My friend and collaborator Megan Levens drew this picture of Joan from Mad Men for me for my recent birthday. Please visit Megan's website and look at more of her work. Maybe commission her for a piece of your own. Also, be sure to wish her a happy birthday tomorrow, June 19.


Current Soundtrack: Jonsi, We Bought a Zoo



Friday, June 15, 2012

LITTLE ATOMS

September solicitations are out for Image comics, and so I can finally show off both sweet covers for It Girl and the Atomics #2! A main cover by Michael and Laura Allred, and a second super cute cover by Darwyn Cooke. Mike didn't warn us that Darwyn was doing it, it just showed up in our inbox one day. Imagine how me and Mike Norton lost our minds!

IT GIRL & THE ATOMICS #2
story JAMIE S. RICH
art MIKE NORTON
cover MICHAEL & LAURA ALLRED
variant cover DARWYN COOKE
SEPTEMBER 12
32 PAGES / FC / E
$2.99
"DARK STREETS, SNAP CITY," Part Two
It Girl comes crashing down to Earth. Can she figure out where she's landed before the shadowy figure following behind catches up with her? Also, see what the Skunk's old gang gets up to when left to their own devices! Joins us for world-bending new adventures starring Michael Allred's Atomics!




Current Soundtrack: running through my friends' picks on This is My Jam, including tracks by Jupiter and Thomas Dolby


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

COMMISSION: A Girl Called Daydream

This is my second commission. As you can see, it's a different tone from the first.

The prompt I was given was:
Nerdy girl in high school who gets bullied. She idolises Audrey Hepburn but feels like she is nothing like her.

Here is what I did with that:

***

Kathy lay in the grass and imagined herself saying that to Audrey Hepburn, and Audrey Hepburn laughing with that wide grin that helped make her famous, and she said, “Me, too.” And then when the actress went off to make Sabrina, she told Billy Wilder about this thing her friend had said and they made it a part of the movie. Sabrina would speak to the ages on Kathy’s behalf.

The girl was on her back in the park next to her school. She stared at the sky and watched the spotty clouds drift past, and even saw an occasional bird or two jetting on their way to somewhere better. It was the lunch period and she could hear her schoolmates behind her on the other side of the fence chattering about things she knew she did not care about any more than they cared about what she was thinking all alone out here. Kathy could hear the girls giggling over jokes she would never find funny herself.

Her real name was Kathleen, which she never liked, until she found out that Kathleen was Audrey’s middle name. It made the sartorial love affair between them feel like kismet all the more. That immediate kinship she felt the first time she stumbled into Roman Holiday on cable, it made even more sense now.  In all of her movies, no matter how glamorous she really was, Audrey always played an underdog. In Sabrina and Funny Face and even Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she was the misunderstood misfit trying to make her way. She was Cinderella, but with only herself to act as fairy godmother.

Kathy could identify with this. That was why on days when high school was particularly unbearable--which was most of them--she’d sneak off by herself and relive her favorite scenes in her head. She closed her eyes. “My dear Kathy,” Gregory Peck asked her, “what is the opinion of Your Highness on the outlook of friendship with your classmates?”

“Zero,” Kathy replied. “And who would want it anyway?” She smiled to herself thinking about it.

“Look at you. You’re positively beaming. And here I thought you didn’t know how to smile.”

Opening her eyes, Kathy was surprised to find a boy from her history class standing over her. He was dark complexioned with a long fringe of hair that hung in his eyes, and he wore T-shirts for bands she had mostly never heard of. She always thought he was cute but never could think of an excuse to talk to him. But there he was, right there, talking to her, grinning.

“I-I was thinking about a scene from Roman Holiday,” she told him.

“Yeah? You like old movies? Me, too. We’ll have to get together and talk cinema sometime.”

“Sure.” She was surprised by her own answer, almost as much as she was by the suggestion.

“I mean it,” he said, as he headed back to the school. “You’d better watch out. It’s always open season on Princesses.”

Did he just...? Surprising herself for the second time that day, Kathy giggled. 

***

Like what you read? You can also have a commission from me. Read all the details here.

Current Soundtrack: The Hollies, The Air That I Breathe - The Very Best of the Hollies



All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


Monday, June 11, 2012

"COSMO"

So, as promised, here is my first commissioned piece of writing.

Chris Peterson contacted me and said he had a 9-year-old daughter who liked Astro Boy, puppies, horses, dinosaurs, and possibly her father (as he phrased it). Instead of taking one element from there, I attempted to use all of them.

To make this inaugural effort even better, Chris did a drawing to go along with the story after it was done. It became an even more collaborative experience. (Chris also writes about it on his blog.)

So, here is his drawing, and the story immediately after:



In the very near future there lived a little girl named Emma, and like most girls do today, Emma had a puppy that she loved very much. The puppy’s name was Cosmo and he was known to get into things puppies shouldn’t otherwise get into. This was why one day he climbed into a rocketship that was just about to depart for a colony on Mars. Before Emma could tell anyone Cosmo had stowed away, he was gone, off to the stars, most likely to join some family on the next planet over.

Emma’s father was a very famous scientist who had much success in robotics, and when he saw how sad losing Cosmo made his daughter, the man decided to use all his brainpower and technology to build her a new dog, just like the one she had lost. He labored day and night to create an artificial puppy, a little metal dog that would be the new Cosmo and Emma’s new friend.

When Emma saw the robotic canine, she was unsure at first, surprised by its smooth corners and shiny surface. But when the new Cosmo lowered itself on its front legs and wiggled its tail and barked twice at his intended owner, the girl’s doubts melted and she scooped robot Cosmo up in her arms and hugged it like there had never been another puppy of any kind before it. Excited by the affection, Cosmo unexpectedly showed off its unique features. Little engines ignited in its four paws, and it flew from Emma’s hands. The girl laughed as she chased it around the room, leaping and grabbing at her special pet. Then the dog did a turnaround in mid-air and started chasing Emma instead. More laughter followed.

The scientist was pleased to see his invention had worked. As he spoke, there was a faint glistening of tears on the edge of his eyes. “Do you like your new dog then?” he asked.

“Oh, yes, daddy, very much,” the girl answered. “I had no idea robots could be such fun, too.”

“That’s good,” the man said. “This is what daddy does for a living, and he’s glad he could do it for you.”

Emma’s face lit up. “Really? You mean you build stuff like this all the time?” When the man answered that he did, the girl said, “Oooooh. Can you build a pony for me next? And then a dinosaur? Yessss, let’s have a robot dinosaur!”

The man was unable to deny his daughter anything. A kind of fear gripped him, however, as he began to contemplate the storage issues. While Emma and Cosmo ran out into the backyard, the scientist returned to his lab, where he was greeted by a chorus of barks. Twenty robot dogs saying hello in unison.

You see, he worried that this new Cosmo could go missing like the old one had, and he wanted to be prepared. Having extra dogs on hand meant he would never have to see Emma cry over a lost puppy again. His head hurt just formulating the question: where would he keep all the extra ponies, much less the replacement dinosaurs? 

* * *


Current Soundtrack: Best Coast, The Only Place



All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


Sunday, June 10, 2012

MURDER TO EXCELLENCE, Part II

As promised, the second part of the daily doodle, written the next day after writing this beginning. Presented with a minimum of corrections/touch-ups.

* * *


Alicia took such a hard swallow of gin, she had a brief fear that she had maybe swallowed an ice cube. Jeff’s story was gruesome and intriguing and probably the wrong opening gambit for a date set up through an online network, but there it was and there was Jeff, and gee that was honest.

More honest was that Alicia’s fantasies took over and she started to daydream about her ex. What ways could she have killed him? Could she come up with something so that the murder could sneak past Jeff? Wait, wait, wait. Could she get Jeff to do it? Because he’d know how.

Double Indemnity.”

“What?”

She kind of shook herself awake. Jeff’s words broke the cloud.

“That’s usually the movie people start thinking of when I tell them something like that,” Jeff said. 

Double Indemnity. The one with the dad from that TV show, My Three Sons, and he’s an insurance salesman who tries to kill his mistress’ husband because he thinks he knows all the angles.”

Alicia caught the bartender’s attention. When they made eye contact, she dipped her gaze to her empty glass. She was going to need another one.

“I’ve never seen it,” she said.

“You should. It’s good. And sorry. That was presumptuous. I shouldn’t assume my date is automatically thinking about murder because I started talking about murder.”

The drink came.

“That’s all right,” Alicia said. “I mean, if you get it a lot, you get it a lot. You know, I would probably spend the whole night waiting for you to ask about Mad Men.”

Jeff perked up, but it seemed only half serious. “Is that what it’s like in your office?”

“We smoke more.”

He laughed. “Brilliant.”

Enter the awkward pause. Alicia kind of hoped he had thought about asking her about Mad Men--it’s all anyone thought of when she said she worked in advertising--because she wouldn’t have to feel bad about immediately wondering if Jeff would be a hit man.

Not that she really wanted the ex dead. The relationship ending had just left her feeling powerless, like her feelings on any given subject carried no weight, and if she could snuff out his life and not get caught, that would be like having the ultimate power. There was nothing he could do about that. He’d be dead!

And there he was, inserting himself into the situation again. So much for leaving that bag at home.

“Dare I ask where you keep drifting off to?”

This told her Jeff must be kind. She must have been being obvious. He could have handled her distraction in far less classy ways.

“Nowhere,” she covered. “I’m just not always that good at thinking of the next thing to say.”

“Gotcha.” He finished the last of his drink, and by way of ordering the next, twirled his finger in the air, and then pointed down at his empty glass, making stabbing motions. Then he winked when he knew the bartender had gotten the message, making a loud click with his tongue. “I come here all the time,” he explained.

“I see. You have a code.”

“My last name is Morse, after all.”

“It is, isn’t it?”

“Dot dot dash.”

“Have you ever wondered if people truly do run out of things to say to one another?” she asked him.

“Like how so?”

“I mean, over time. Like couples. Do they ever really hit that point where they’ve said it all, and the years just become...awkward.”

“I don’t know. I see a lot of situations where maybe they needed to. Like maybe they needed to shut up. Evolution tries to help us out. You know, that whole thing of how we start to lose the frequency in our hearing attuned to the person we hear talking the most.”

“Is that true? Or is that some kind of marriage old wive’s tale? I’ve never known.”

“You mean like a bogey man warning for long-term spouses?”

“More like a promise that things will get better.” She giggled a little. “Saying that things might be awful right now, but eventually, you won’t even hear what the other person is saying, so peace can come.”

This time he laughed loud, throwing his head back, his mouth open wide. “That’s some dark stuff right there.”

“Is it?”

“Your profile didn’t suggest you were a cynic.”

Alicia contemplated the way the ice cubs moved in her glass when she stirred the liquor. “I don’t think that I am,” she said. “Curious, more like. That was a legitimate question in search of a legitimate answer. I could be swayed that it means something else, that we have that happen.”

Jeff took a drink and cleared his throat. “Here’s where I reveal I’m the cynic, then. I think if you like each other’s company long enough to use the parts of your eardrum that hears the other person so much that those parts die, then life really is a mean joke. It’s a selfish older sibling that can’t stand any of its youngers having a good time, and so it takes the toys away.”

“Bartender, do you have a bell to ring? This gentleman wins!”

They both started laughing. A shared moment. The first real one.

* * *

Not sure if I will pick this up further. The last two days, my warm-up has actually been doing commissions. But conceivably I could keep writing these two bantering back and forth for a very long time. 

Current Soundtrack: Best Coast, "Why I Cry;" Jay-Z and Kanye West, "Murder to Excellence"

(c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

I'M YOUR FAN: Christopher Deloor


Artist Chistopher Deloor sent Nico this cute drawing of Jesse from Spell Checkers. What an adorable surprise, huh?


You can see more Christopher's work over at his blog.

Thanks, Mr. Deloor!

Current Soundtrack: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, The Complete Duets



e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


Saturday, June 09, 2012

MURDER TO EXCELLENCE: Some words on the inspiration for my taking commissions

I had two things I wanted to include in yesterday's post about taking commissions, but I thought they would just get in the way of the matter at hand, so I am posting them now instead.



1) In addition to the "Romantica" series Christine and I did, I was actually inspired by an old book called Mind Fields. It's a collection of stories and art. Harlan Ellison curated a selection of Jacek Yerka's paintings and wrote short short stories to go with them. This book came out in 1994. It's 12" x 10", and on the left-hand page is Harlan's story, on the right the painting that goes with it. Some of the stories are as short as a paragraph, some fill the whole page. None go over a single page. Admirably, Harlan manages to make some of them as personal as others are abstract, despite drawing inspiration from completely outside himself. It's worth seeking out if you can.

2) I've been doing "Daily Doodles" for about a week. These were inspired by Joëlle's warm-up sketches she does and sometimes posts on her blog. She gives herself an hour and does a drawing to get her day going. Some are more detailed and finished than others. I thought about what the equivalent would be as a writer, and last weekend started doing a poem a day. By Tuesday I had upped the game to include prose. I simply begin with something and see how long I can keep it going. Still, here is a process that works for creating content that Joëlle can monetize, so why not find a way to do that myself?

The poems are dreadful, FYI, and won't be shared. But the following is the piece I wrote in a coffee shop on my iPad on Tuesday, using the onscreen keyboard and the Office2 HD app. It was written in considerably less than an hour and has only been corrected for spelling and two things that make the moment unclear.

*** 

Alicia walked into the bar with a deep breath and a hard swallow. Jeff had answered her ad within hours of her posting, and though the language he used was a little weird, it was her first response and maybe she just didn't know how they worked. The invite was polite, flirty...but also a little proposition-y? Like, had it been in person, it would as if he was speaking with a smile, but his eyes were leering. There was a little too much saliva pooling between his teeth and lower lip.

But then, the dating profile was set up to attract men. How could she blame them for being men? Or maybe that was backwards too. Maybe she was expecting the wrong things, putting the bad idea out there, and then inviting the bad to come in. It's like when someone begins a conversation with, "Now don't get mad." Nine times out of ten, you will.

Jeff was sitting on the corner of the bar. He didn't see her come in. Alicia took the opportunity to circle around and go to the jukebox that was right behind him. It was a digital jukebox. Listeners could download songs online. Alicia pretended to scroll through the joint's most popular plays while she eyeballed her prospective date.

He looked remarkably like his photo. Not just that it was recent, but the lighting was similar, he wore the same kind of collared shirt, his hair had been messed up just so. It was thin in back, but that wasn't so much hidden on the photo as it was out of sight. Had he maybe had the snapshot taken in another bar on another date? Or out on the town with his bros? For a second, she felt bad, but she was sure he had scrutinized her photo and would run a similar mental checklist when he saw her.

Alicia's photo was a casual shot taken at a party. She had just looked away, as something had made her laugh, and so the camera caught her in half-profile. Her friend Ida said that it was a bad choice because she was not making eye contact. If there was eye contact, guys would think there was a connection even though they had never met. Alicia didn't care about that. For her the photo had a different meaning. For one, she had to crop it to isolate herself, effectively removing herself from a group of people she didn't associate with anymore. More poetic, though, was that one of those people was her ex. He was mugging for the camera when the photo was taken, flaring his nostrils and bugging out his eyes. Maybe it was him that had made her laugh. He used to be able to do that.

Her finger was on the new Nicki Minaj album when Jeff turned his head and saw her standing there. "Alicia? Is that you? It's me. Jeff!"

Busted. She decided to come clean. "Yeah. I was checking you out for a second. Sorry."

"Not a problem. Just as long as you weren't planning on bolting for the door."

Alicia gasped. "No! Sorry. No. Not at all."

He smiled. "I'm just teasing."

"Sorry. I'm nervous." If she was going to start out by being honest, she might as well go all the way.

Alicia moved behind him and sat on the other side. Jeff was motioning to the bartender before she had even sat down. "G and T? That's what it said on your profile, right?"

The bartender was taking this in. She looked from him to her for confirmation.

"That's correct. Good memory."

"A gentleman listens." He paused. "Or in this case reads."

Advantage his. Maybe? She tried to run over his profile in her head. Was there something about Jeff she should remember? She was drawing a blank. All she could think of was that bald spot. Oh, God! How terrible!

"Sooooo...you work in advertising?"

The drink came. Alicia took a quick gulp. "I did. Or, I'm on sabbatical, trying to make up my mind about things. I've got stock options, so skating by for a while on those."

He nodded. "Mmm-hmmmm."

Uh-oh. Had she sent some kind of signal? Could he tell how loaded that was? She had sworn not to bring up her ex but there he was, he was in that statement about work, and Jeff could tell.

"You're in...insurance?" It was coming back to her. She shouldn't have made that sound like a question.

"Yup. Claim assessment. I'm an investigator."

"Oooh. Then you've heard a few lies, seen a few things."

Jeff snorted. "Yeah, you could say that." He got a little twinkle in his eye. His lip curled into enough of a grin to show he had little hounds teeth to the side and the back. "Like today, I was looking into a domestic accident. Wife slipped in the shower. Maybe. There are little duckling stickers on the bottom of the tub. You know, the kind that is supposed to stop you from slipping. The husband, he looks squirrely to me."

"You think it's murder?" Alicia was so caught up in the story, she absent-mindedly used the little stir straws in her drink and sucked about half the gin down in one go.

Jeff licked that dog's tooth of his. "Well, I have to be careful with conclusions and accusations," he said, "but consider the details. That's my job: considering the details. The explanation is that she got her big toe caught in the drain and lost her balance. It's a pretty awkward position to be standing in to have that happen. The toe was still stuck in there when the coroner arrived. It was totally broken. Like snapped. From the fracture, one could argue that it was broken forward so as to be put into the hole, as opposed to the backward snap that would have happened had she caught it and fallen over."

"Jesus."

"Plus, where she was alleged to have hit her head versus the nature of the injury. Let's just say I've bought plenty more bananas for a whole lot less."

 ***


The next day I actually picked up the conversation from there as Wednesday's free-writing exercise. I may share that, as well.

The real point, though, despite this piece being way too long to fit on a single sheet of paper, it is indicative of the kind of work I can do off the cuff--and in this case totally unprompted and with no real revisions, which isn't the case with the commissions. Extrapolate from that what you might get for your $25.

Most likely I'll be posting my first hired commission tomorrow. Stay tuned!


Current Soundtrack: Friends, Manifest! [streaming from the Guardian]



e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon


All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, June 08, 2012

WRITER-FOR-HIRE: How about a personal commission?

"Adventure wanted, will go anywhere, do anything -- write Box 13, Star-Times."


Box 13 is my favorite radio serial, and while I am not hiring myself out for adventure like Dan Holliday (unless you're a generous heiress; then let's talk), I have decided to try an experiment in taking commissions.

That's right. Original commissions. From a writer. For you to purchase.

The idea has been percolating for some time. It's been suggested to me that I should start writing quick, personalized pieces of fiction at conventions. As a writer, I sit there all day watching my artist friends draw and make cash, while I try to get by on hustling books. Such is the life of a comics scribe. (Not intended as a "boo-hoo, woe is me," just stating the facts.)

Same goes for when we're at home. Joëlle has a six-month wait on her drawings. I have a six-minute wait while this Hot Pocket cools down. How can I use this time better?

The answer is simple: write a commission for you.

How so? you ask

Well, remember these: "Romantica" series by Jamie S. Rich & Christine Norrie

These are basically what I am proposing. I wrote these short pieces by taking Christine's drawings and writing what came to mind while looking at them.

I can do the same for you. Short fiction pieces, slices of life, captured moments. 

And here's how I propose to do it:

* You send me a prompt. This can be a word or a sentence; it can be a drawing or a photo you like; it can be your own sketch. Anything goes. It doesn't have to be romantic. It can have a genre element, it can be free form.

* I take the prompt and I write the piece. It might be really short, it might be longer, but it will be yours and yours only.

* I print the story on nice paper. Not flimsy copy paper. Nice paper with a little tooth. I mail it to you flat. Signed. Personalized if you like. Ideally, each piece will fit on one sheet so you can frame it.

* Cost is $25 + $6 postage. Payment due upon my accepting the job. [International customers will have to adjust for shipping; $13 to Canada and $17 to the rest of the world.]

* The only added fee is an extra $15 if you have a specific need, like a gift with a purpose or something personal. Something that we might have to do some refining on to get it right for you. (Reasonable refining.) This is negotiable. [Note, too: I can't guarantee success if you want to, say, have me write a story that will have an actual purpose or be intended for a desire result, like one that will lead to a marriage proposal. If he or she says "no," not my fault.]

* E-mail me. Let's set this up. golightly[a]gmail[dot]com

* Commissions will be delivered within four weeks.

* Note: You can also ordered any of my books signed at this time, provided I have them in stock. Comics I did with Joëlle can be signed by both us, and we split the cash.

There are also a few ground rules, for you and for me:

* You are not purchasing print rights for the material. I can put it on my blog, you can put it on your blog, but you can't do anything else with it. Much in the same way you can't make a print if you get a drawing at a convention or run a commissioned piece as a pin-up in your comic; that costs considerably more. I retain intellectual copyright on the material.

* I will never sell another version to anyone else. You get the only printed copy. (You can sell that sheet to someone else, just like artwork, but not a reproduction.)

* Due to intellectual copyright issues, we must be wary of you asking me to work with your characters or an idea you have for a story if you don't have a pretty solid foundation for that character. That ends up being development work and a slippery slope.

* If you send me someone else's drawing or photo, obviously they still own that and my work will be what it is: "inspired by."

And I think that's it. I may update this as more issues come up. Sorry for the boilerplate, but this is new territory. I don't know if Anaïs Nin had similar caveats for the erotica she wrote for private collectors, but that was before the internet and a lot of her stuff was probably illegal. (I'm not dirty enough to compete, so don't get any funny ideas.)

All questions obviously welcome. There's a good chance you're as confused by all this as I am.

THANKS!


Thursday, June 07, 2012

YOU CAN'T GET A SUNTAN ON THE MOON

Illustration by Nicolas Hitori de


NEW TO THEATRES...

* Moonrise Kingdom, a charming rumination on the divide between childhood and growing up from Wes Anderson. Wonderful.

* Prometheus: Now if only Ridley Scott could make a prequel to my disappointment.

UPDATED TO CRITERION CONFESSIONS...

* And Everything is Going Fine, Steven Soderberg's documentary about the late Spalding Gray.

THIS WEEK IN DVD/BD REVIEWS...

* The Innkeepers, a middling ghost story from Ti West.

* King of Devil's Island, a bummer of a drama set in a reform school in early-20th-Century Norway.

Illustration by Joëlle Jones


Current Soundtrack: Prince, Ultimate (it's his birthday!)



e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich