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

Monday, September 27, 2004


It's a comic book week. I am working on part of a script today, so my collaborator can have a good chunk of pages in the drawer for when work schedules permit, and there are a couple of notable releases that I am connected to coming out this week. All should be available at your local comics shop this Wednesday, at the Oni store online, or when links are provided, Amazon (though, currently, they show the items as out-of-stock, I imagine things will be set right within a week).

First up on the release rack is the hardcover edition of Queen & Country, vol. 6 - Operation: Dandelion, the last arc of the book I was involved with and which I wrote the intro for.

Next is the trade paperback collection of Too Much Hopeless Savages!. Christine Norrie and I worked together on a comic strip intro/outro that, when I reread it last week in the printed version, I was really proud of. Fans of Alfred Hitchcock Presents will hopefully be pleased, and since the book's title is an homage to The Man Who Knew Too Much, we are all of one.


Click on it!

Finally, we conclude with what is my last official editing job, Scandalous by J. Torres and Scott Chantler. It's set in post-WWII Hollywood, amongst the red scare and the early tabloid days, and is a great read. You can check out some pages and an interview here. It also has an afterword by Ande Parks.


Click on it!

Though the book itself won't be out until January, Eric Stephenson has released the cover to Four-Letter Worlds this week. My story with Andi Watson will be behind this nifty image:

Current Soundtrack: Mansun, "Slipping Away" 7"; Super Furry Animals, Phantom Phorce cover

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, September 26, 2004


Is there such a thing as an American neorealist movement in film? I watched my first John Cassavetes film, Shadows (also his directorial debut), last night, and I can instantly see a connection to the Italian neorealists, who were moving on to other things when Shadows was released in the late ‘50s, and the French New Wave, which was just getting started. I now see the influence Cassavetes likely had on a young Scorsese (particularly as a fellow New Yorker), and would put Shadows in the same category as Fellini’s I Vitelloni and Scorsese’s Who's That Knocking At My Door? for portraits of restless youth looking for their niche.

And as I type this, I am midway through being bored with Richard Linklater’s It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books, his previously unreleased directorial debut that comes on the second disc of Criterion’s Slacker. This, along with Gus Van Sant’s recent output (Elephant and Gerry, which I should disclose I have not seen), though nearly two decades apart from each other, seem to be a part of a more recent independent movement, one that is indebted to Cassavetes but which also owes a heavy debt to Antonioni. So, the gritty attempt to capture something true happening is pulled from America, and the wandering philosophizing from Italy. Yet, there is a real sense of being lost in these more recent films (literally in Gerry) that can’t help but beggar the question, is this a celebration of aimlessness or artists never arriving at a destination? Because in Shadows or La Notte, the characters end up someplace, the search itself is not enough.

It’s random theorizing. Clearly I need to see Gerry, and I need to finish It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books to find out if this endless train ride ever stops, if anyone ever does something or even says something of any import, before I can come to even the beginning of a conclusion (and this wandering makes me no better than what I may end up deriding).

Interestingly, I am engaging in an exercise for novel 3 where I am creating an interview with my main character, and just yesterday, he said, “The thing is, though, when it comes down to story, I have no need for the real world. I live in the real world, I am opening up a book to experience another. It’s why I often have a few scenes of an exaggerated reality, a hyper reality, in each story, to signal to the reader this is not a place you know, it’s different.

Update: Near the conclusion of the movie, Linklater shows his main character watching TV, as he has done several other times throughout the film, each lengthy clip containing a clue to the film we, as the audience, are watching. The final one is a foreign movie, where a woman says that all lives are dreams, searching for connections to other dreams. Arguably, in the last scenes of the movie, where the character is told that a person he knows who has had many traumas in the past year should not be alone and he then mails a letter (to whom, we do not know), we are seeing him finally learning that he should be making these connections with other "dreams" and the letter is a way to reach out--but I don't know, it seems a rather slight message for all the work that goes into it. And if it is a dream we are watching, aren't dreams usually more complex and coded than this?

Current Soundtrack: It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books

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, September 25, 2004


Wow. What an amazing Friday. The slowness of the day's writing should have been an evil omen for my night to suck, but I made a smart decision to move my Saturday plan of a haircut and a movie to fit in before the Franz Ferdinand concert, and damn if it didn't work out.

It's been almost two months since my last haircut, and I had so much hair on my head, it was starting to hurt from the weight. (Oh, my fragile eggshell mind!) I was nervous about going and getting it cut, though. My stylist for the last two years, Jennifer Healy, retired to become a writer, and I was feeling very abandoned. I am not one to switch willy nilly, and I was afraid of the results. Still, it was something I could no longer ignore, so I shoved a copy of A Moveable Feast in my back pocket (it was a gift from Spookoo), and went down to the shop. I devoured around 40 pages while I waited. Hemingway makes me feel very small. He's just too good, and his portrayal of his writer's life serves up much good advice.

Thankfully, the haircut turned out just as well as my reading choice. The woman who did the job knew just when to be economical, just where to trim away. I wanted to say to her, "When you cut, cut one true thing, and that is all." But I did not.

I was finished just in time to catch the 7:00 pm show of John Waters' A Dirty Shame just up the street at Cinema 21. For anyone who has missed the no-holds-barred world of Waters, this movie delivers everything you've been longing for. It's silly and depraved, making good use of its NC-17 rating. Tracey Ullman sneers and snarls her way through a comically sexual performance, backed up by an appropriately swaggering Johnny Knoxville and Selma Blair having great fun with the massive mammaries Waters constructed for her. Nothing is off-limits in this film, and you can tell Waters had a blast putting in every filthy phrase he could think of, all in an effort to shock and amuse. And boy, does it do both!

Outside after the show, a pinched man with a three-inch long billy-goat beard was apparently staging a one-man protest, holding up a sign that said "God Hates Pornography" on one side and "NC-17=Evil" on the other. I walked over to him, leaned in, and said, "Actually, God hates bad beards." I think he expected to get some guff, but the nature of it threw him off a little. He tried to recover, saying, "You right, God does hate facial hair," but it was kind of a sad effort coming out of a mouth surrounded by his particularly foul chin sculpture.

From there, it was on to the final stop of the night: Franz Ferdinand playing a sold out show at the Crystal Ballroom. Part of me was dreading how packed it would be, but I planned to stay a bit to the back and try to stay out of the mess. I really wanted to see them, so I just had to suck it up and go.

Thank goodness I did! What an amazing show! They opened with "Cheating On You" and just lit the place up. They maintained a constant energy, keeping the crowd excited as they ran through most of their album, a couple of B-sides ("Love & Destroy," "Shopping for Blood"), and one new song ("This Boy"). Lead singer Alex is a cutie pie, slinking around the stage like a tailored panther. I was ready to surrender.

And surrender I did. I was bouncing on these old man knees! I even unbuttoned the top button of my shirt! (Well, the second to top button, as the top one is always unbuttoned.) Quel dangereuse! I danced the whole time, joined in the occasional clap-along, and was hauled into the mass frenzy of the unbelievably hyper version of "Take Me Out." The whole room began the song by jumping up-and-down all at once, but since it's a spring-loaded dance floor at the Crystal, we were soon scattered out of sync. One's dancing was dictated by which way the floor tossed him. It's a shame I didn't have room to do my little disco shuffle to the main guitar riff the way I do at home. The cat tells me it's quite smooth, and as we all know, if anyone is going to know smooth moves, it's a feline.

Current Soundtrack: Eminem, "Lose It;" Keane, "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore;" Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "Nature Boy/She's Leaving You;" Franz Ferdinand, "Take Me Out (Morgan Geist Re-Version);" Iron & Wine, "Such Great Heights;" PJ Harvey iTunes performances

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, September 24, 2004


Margaret Cho is currently on her "State of Emergency" tour, going to swing states and getting people fired up about the current political situation. Topics ranged from same-sex marriage to the war in Iraq to John Kerry's resemblence to the tree people in the last Lord of the Rings movie. Given the fluid nature of her presentation, she was even able to work in new material about Cat Stevens being booted out of the country and Jimmy Swaggart being an insane old asshole. There was also time, of course, for a couple of jokes about her mother and dildoes, just to remind us she's the same old Margaret.

Needless to say, I laughed hysterically. Cho was focused and hitting her targets with laser-point precision. Having only seen her on DVD before, sometimes in the old shows I found the commentary elements, where she pauses for a moment to talk seriously about an issue, a little disjointed from the humorous narrative; there was no such problem last night, as everything was integrated perfectly.

It's terribly hard to writer about comedy and make it sound interesting instead of academic. I could run over some of her jokes, but that would fall flat. So, just take my word for it, if she's coming to your town, GO! You can see her tour dates here, and then look at this picture of Margaret on Sesame Street. I so want to be on Sesame Street.

Current Soundtrack: Brian Wilson, Smile cover

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, September 23, 2004


Monday I finished and coded "Can You Picture That?"

Tuesday was a bust, barely eeking out some notes on the next book and a few lines in the conversation I had stopped in the middle of the last time I had worked on The Everlasting, which was how the previous week had ended, with me trying to understand the new territory I was in with Part III.

Today was lunch with Keith Wood, Oni's main designer, and then some script polish on the zombie story now that I have Guy Davis' pencils, and cleaning up comics piled in my kitchen. In truth, procrastination efforts. I even watched Slacker and discovered it's grown really annoying in its old age.

So, for something different, at a quarter to midnight, I sat down and started writing, jumping much farther ahead in The Everlasting and writing 2,425 words of a later sequence in just under two hours. And I may keep going. I haven't decided.

And how long has this been up, I wonder?

Current Soundtrack: R.E.M., Around The Sun; Manic Street Preachers, Lifeblood cover

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, September 21, 2004


The eighth installment of "Can You Picture That?" is now online. With October approaching, and also to keep the theme of the last several Oni Buzz features, focusing on Neal Shaffer's The Awakening, I cover two horror movies: Videodrome and Uzumaki. I'm a little out of my depth, genre-wise, but I think it came out all right.

(Note: If you get there before the error Jen De Guzman caught yesterday is fixed, the line ends "the psychology is a little obvious." I originally had a longer point there, comparing that element to Cronenberg's Spider, and when I cut it, I cut too deep.)

Current Soundtrack: Gilbert O'Sullivan, The Very Best of... cover

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, September 20, 2004


The following was written in an e-mail to Christopher about movies I watched this weekend, and since I liked what I had to say but am too lazy to retype it, I will just cut-and-paste (with a few minor tweakage):

I rounded out the marathon weekend viewing with The World of Suzie Wong, a kind of perplexing love story with William Holden as a man pursuing art in Hong Kong who falls in love with a Chinese bar girl. There are things that our modern eyes react to with a knee-jerk "this is so racist," yet at the same time, it is also fairly progressive for 1960, with Holden fighting people's racism and coming to love Suzie and care for her. I nosed around online, and all I could really find were the thematic arguments about the white-knight nature of the story and the broken English of Suzie and her friends (all of which I get). But nothing to actually say the material was historically inaccurate. Like, would uneducated prostitutes speak perfect English? Is the life shown accurate, if maybe a limited view? Or even an acknowledgement that, for the time, the smart way to go to get a white audience interested was to have a major white actor like Holden be the doorway in. The most I see is that it does get credit for being a trailblazer for having an Asian American actress share the lead billing, but then it usually gets blamed that Hollywood followed that success with imitations that relegated Asian women to exoticized, sexualized roles. Not that it's a great movie by any means, more of a curiosity, but it seems that there is a more rounded approach to looking at these things in context. The director, Robert Quine, even shot the film on location in Hong Kong, so clearly there was at least an attempt to capture life (the scenery is amazing). And for that reason alone, I'd like to know if any of the film is reliable.

In some ways, my next choice, I Am Cuba, fits right in with Suzie Wong in that it is once again an outsider looking in, though this time just the filmmaker, Mikhail Kalatozov, who inserts himself into Cuban life. It was certainly heavy-handed agitprop, but the gold standard for how such a thing could be done. It could get criticized for its black-and-white portraits of the downtrodden and the oppressors (though, frankly, the white capitalist invaders get off easy), and Castro is romanticized, but the film is so lyrical and poetic, they hardly seem worthy complaints. Even the choice of the Russian interpretation for the audience adds a sense of surreal poetry to the film, the duelling audio of Spanish and Russian, one folloing the other. And the camera work, the long tracking shots, are amazing. In the second scene, where we go off the balcony and down into the pool was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.

Current Soundtrack: Roxy Music, Country Life cover

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, September 18, 2004


I went to see Marjane Satrapi at Powell's Books last night, and it was kind of a surreal experience. I haven't yet read her book Persepolis (I picked it up last night), but had heard good things about it, wanted to support a comic book event, and it fit perfectly in between seeing Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow and seeing Carmina Luna play at the Green Door.

Satrapi didn't do a reading, as reading from a grapic novel can be a bit tricky. Instead, she talked about some of the things that lead into her doing the book--including answering "why a comic?" before anyone could ask her, apparently used to it being the first question. That was all perfectly normal and expected. Where it got strange for me was by how well-attended it was--I hadn't seen that large a crowd for anyone but Michael Chabon--and the fact that I didn't recognize a single face.

Let me break it down for you: Portland is a comic book town, in so much as we have a ton of creators here and about four publishers. That said, any attention comic books get in Portland is rare and rationed out sparingly, because in this town, if you don't have a guitar in your hands, you may as well be dead in the street wearing cowboy boots. So, when there is a comic book-related event, it's often underattended and populated with in a usual-suspects manner. Everyone knows each other, there aren't a lot of people coming in from the outside.

So, Satrapi's engagement was a reversal. Here was a large group of people--most of them women, ages ranging from teen to senior citizen--and not a comic book professional among them. Why? How did this happen? Here is a room full of people that comics traditionally can't reach, and no one from the industry was there to check it out? Has the comics industry marginalized Satrapi as a high-brow invader or something? I didn't expect anyone there handing out flyers or anything, but surely as a basic level of market research, just come and look at these faces and try to figure out how you can get one of your books in front of them.

Of course, there was the usual head scratching over this curious drawn thing people were holding. Art Spiegelman and Maus came up more than once, which is no surprise. I was, however, surprised to hear a couple of questions I had never heard before. In relation to Maus, it's normal to hear explanations as to why Spiegelman chose to draw the people as animals, but last night was the first time I had ever heard anyone ask why a cartoonist had chosen not to draw the people as animals. It's also farely common to have someone inquire about the size of the original pages of a comic book, and Satrapi used a rather standard size (around 10" by 17"); however, when she explained this, the woman asking followed up with, "Is that for one page, or for just one 'frame'?" That misconception is new to me. I guess I haven't heard it all.

Current Soundtrack: Graham Coxon, "Billy Hunt;" Starsailor, "Four to the Floor" ten-inch single; Carmina Luna demos

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, September 14, 2004


What's that book I see in the library of the Real World house in Philly?

Click for pic.

(Thanks to Jenny Sireci for stocking the shelves well!)


Just finished Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 8, which has been my focus for the last several days. Just need to proofread it.

Current Favorite Quote: "Do you know the difference between true and false love? False love leaves me as I am. Time changes me and the person I love." - from Two or Three Things I Know About Her, written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Current Soundtrack: Joni Mitchell, Dreamland: The Best of...; Nancy Sinatra, "Let Me Kiss You" iTunes single

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, September 11, 2004


Updated word count on The Everlasting: Part II is 78,513 words, bringing it to a grand total of 131,763 words over 361 pages. That's already 100 pages more than the original draft of Cut My Hair. The CLAMP books are between 30,000 and 40,000 words.

Last night I saw Zhou Yu's Train, Gong Li's first film since 1999, when she made The Emperor & The Assassin and Breaking the Silence. Only seeing her back on the screen can explain how wrong it is that she's been gone so long. Li has a singular presence, at once erotic, sad, and soulful. In Zhou Yu's Train, she plays two roles: a woman searching for the truth behind a poem, and the subject of those poems. In many ways, they are one person, as Zhou Yu's story, as we see it, is really the other woman's imagining of it.

The first time Zhou Yu and the poet make love features the most beautiful poetic film image I have seen in ages. We intercut between their passion and shots of the train that connects their two cities, building to a crescendo of movement as we pull back in the poet's sparse room to see that the world outside their window is passing by at full speed, that the whole house is rumbling, having become one with the train. The metaphor comes to life visually.

Really, the whole movie is like a poem. It's puzzling, with lots of gaps between the lines that the viewer has to fill in. Our desire to do so is really our desire to watch Gong Li.

Current Soundtrack: The Primitives, "You Are The Way" single

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, September 10, 2004


The writing yesterday went a little worse than expected, but then better than expected as well. (I hope I used the right "then/than" switch-ups, or someone I know will stop talking to me.) I ended up as far along as I thought I was going to be, but only after some real hunkering down in the late afternoon. First, I discovered I had not written a crucial scene I had thought I had written. Given that it's a scene I have been writing in my head since high school, I guess I'm not surprised. After 15 years of hanging onto it, writing and rewriting it mentally, I can be forgiven for thinking I had already done it. I managed to get that and some other clean-ups done yesterday.

Other than that, the only major thing I found was I had used the same anecdote twice. It's similar to the above. Over the years, writers gather ideas and scenes, stories that happened to them, someone else, or that came to them out of the blue. The end of Part II of The Everlasting is something I wrote some time ago, maybe a year or more, and so between then and starting the section proper, I had forgotten I had used it already. I like how I used it in the later scene best, so after I post this, I am going back and figuring out what to replace it with the first time it appears.

Yesterday, I also got a pretty cool surprise from Guy Davis: scans of the pencils for "Kago No Tori," our zombie story for the Dark Horse Book of the Dead (due sometime next year). Our editor, Scott Allie, told Guy to take two more pages than our allotted 8, and I think he opened up the script in great ways. Stuff I had compressed, he was able to break into two panels, adding to the suspense. I'm really knocked out by what he did.

Scott and I went over everything on the phone and troubleshot some problems with how dialogue is placed now, so next week I am going to go back in and do a polish to fit the new layout.

If that wasn't enough, earlier this week Andi Watson finished up our story for Four-Letter Worlds. He really made it come alive and brought a sense of visual fun to it that surpassed what was in my head. I am a spoiled writer. People should be pleased to note that "T for True" contains cameos from Orson Welles, Mason from Cut My Hair, and Greg Rucka. As well as me in a Wonder Woman costume. You can't wait to order it now, can you?

Current Soundtrack: The Trash Can Sinatras, Weightlifting (deluxe edition) cover

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



Earlier this year, I read Dave Eggers' novel A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and wrote about it positively on this blog. I particularly liked the heady rush the ending gave the reader, finishing on an up note that defied explanation.

But something bugged me about it, and has been rattling around in my brain since, gathering ire like a snowball growing in size as it travels downhill. At first I assumed it was just how ubiquitous Mr. Eggers is, and how at every turn, I see him pulling his "Everybody's clever nowadays" routine. It's an accurate target, as each successive Eggers endeavor pokes at me, getting that raccoon-in-a-bag personality of mine all abuzz. (In this paragraph alone, if we add up the metaphors, I am a creature of the night with ice in my skull. Who is clever now?) But I was always able to say, "Yeah, he is a bit much, but the novel is still good," kind of the way I had always been able to ignore Quentin Tarantino "The Entertainer" and just stick to his movies.

The explanation that this aspect was the only target never satisfied me, though, and it's only now started to sink in that it's because the precocious behavior of the author is actually a problem of the work, as well. His persona is too much at play in the novel, even beyond the abysmal introductory material. It's in the narrative itself, where he attempts to stave off potential criticisms by discounting the experiences he is writing about. It's in all the bits where he proclaims himself and his twentysomething friends as having very twentysomething problems, which are inherently less important than the problems of the rest of the world (teenagers and senior citizens, then? Balding businessmen in hot rods?). To my reading eye, it's the author trying to make his book critic proof by tossing an ironic wink in their direction. "I know we are shallow, so you can't tell me we're shallow, because it's that very shallowness I celebrate and denigrate." It's the same irony that leads to the title A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which with either tickle you or annoy you, depending on your disposition. (If your T-shirt advertises an high school with a funny name you did not attend, you just might be one of the ironically tickled. Don't you think it's about time for a new wardrobe, Mr. 1997?)

Now, we all hedge our bets. Every creative person at some point can't help but consider how his work will be received. For me, I write about outsiders, but usually outsiders within subcultures of outsiders. I rarely think in those terms, naturally, but I do at times have to gauge how the stories may be viewed by the subcultures I am writing about and have to make sure my parameters are clear. You can take exception to the main character of The Everlasting as a mod, for instance, if I am not clear enough that he isn't a very good one and wouldn't want to be part of your group any more than you would want him to be.

But there is something different the way Eggers does it in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dare I call it disingenuous? Or is it worse than that? He sets his parameters, sets up the shallow nature of the people he is writing about, but never debunks it. He stays behind the hedge, and thus says that the critics are right, that the experience of people of our generation is shallow and is less important, just by the nature of when and how we existed. And I think I resent that.

Experience is experience. There is a great passage in Bret Easton Ellis' The Rules of Attraction (Ellis being a master at digging into the shallow for the deeper meaning), where a frat boy at an R.E.M. concert is looking at a rich daddy's girl, and at first he is being very judgmental, imagining she has never known real pain. And then he realizes that if the worst thing you've ever felt is, say, a pinprick on your finger, to your experience, it hurt just as much as a gunshot in the stomach. It's all perspective. There is no grand scale for individual suffering that says you are less because you don't notch as high.

And so doesn't it go for any generation of people? Should we allow our artists to discount how we are because of their own fears of measuring up to the grand tradition of capital-A Art? I know that is partially what Eggers is talking about, trying to sort out his greater meaning in things, and maybe in that final Frisbee game, he does come to grips with the simplicity of a personal life--but I'm starting to feel like that's something tacked on as opposed to what the text really gives me.

(Really, to answer this fully and probably more honestly would require a second reading, not just my creative memory, which could be lying to me. If I wanted to hedge my bets, I'd note that this is just a place for me to get my thoughts out and you don't pay to read it, so don't expect much. But I demand you expect plenty! Until I tell you to fuck off, at least.)

(Yes, everybody's clever nowadays--and by everybody, I mean me. Do you love me like you used to?)

Current Soundtrack: Fatboy Slim, Palookaville; Morrissey live at Reading 2004

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

Thursday, September 09, 2004


It appears an error on my part is turning out rather fortuitous. I had thought I had the untranslated manga for Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 8, but it turns out I was wrong. So, rather than switch gears from the novel this week, while I wait for the book to arrive, I have been chugging along at full steam and am about to finish up the part II of The Everlasting.

Part III opens with a quote from Tender is the Night: "All my beautiful lovely safe world blew itself up here with a great gust of high explosive love."

Last night I went out to see Keane at Berbati's Pan. It had been long enough that I had forgotten what a sweaty, dank pit the club is, and how unpleasant people can be at shows. I don't understand the social aspect of listening to music. If I want to hear some stupid person talk, I don't need to pay $15 for it. Stupid people are everywhere for free.

Keane were excellent, however. Even with only three guys (and a laptop filling in here and there), there was a lot of power onstage. Lead singer Tom Chaplin puts a lot of work in, having to make up for his cohorts both sitting down through the set (on drums and keyboard, though keysman Tim Rice-Oxley is terribly spastic). Chaplin never stayed still, and yet his voice was always spot-on and beautiful. Some of his poses were a little too Pop Idol, but it's to be forgiven. He's got a lot of space to occupy.

The set lasted about an hour, and covered most of the album Hopes & Fears and a couple of B-sides. Well worth it.

Opening band The French Kicks were as unimpressive as the last time I saw them, but a lot more cocky about it. They have an "anything goes" approach to songwriting that means most of their tunes have no focus, and their we're-not-very-good-at-this attempts at charm are utterly charmless. I sense a bit of a Beck influence, which the decent folk among you will know is a bad, bad thing.

On the way home, I discovered that two of my favorite things have gotten married. Yoo-Hoo and mocha. They make a terrible couple. Why didn't their friends and family tell them they were so ugly together?

Amazon has fixed their listing for the Queen & Country collection I wrote the intro for. Go forth and shop!

And this new Elvis Costello record looks to be a winner. A strong rock album in the tradition of his more recent band efforts like When I Was Cruel and Brutal Youth. I recognize the title track from the last couple of concerts I saw of his, too. I remember the Jesus/Elvis lines.

Current Soundtrack: Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Delivery Man

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, September 02, 2004


I’ve been working on The Everlasting pretty diligently since Clamp School Paranormal Investigators was turned in. I realized yesterday that much of what I had done in the last ten days I want to shuffle around, though. I have an idea for a way to maybe make it more dramatic. What I am going to do is finish writing on the track I started, and when I get to where the scene break would be, I’m going to print out the section in question, set aside the file, and start over in a completely new file. That way I will have the two versions to compare and contrast.

Amidst all this, I have been debating whether or not to insert an important element about Percy, Lance’s younger brother, into the narrative. A pattern in the Scott boys’ behavior has emerged, and though the payoff for Percy’s part in the pattern won’t be until They Are All In Love, it might have a significance to the overall arc of Lance at this point in the game that will work well. The question came up, though, of what if it didn’t? What if it felt like I was just shoehorning it in as a cute hint of things to come? Maryanne Huntzinger and I traded a bunch of e-mails over this, and ultimately it came down to, try it and if I don’t like it, throw it out. Which was a good thing to remind myself I could do. We, as writers, often forget that just because we wrote it that way, we aren’t stuck with it until it’s printed. So, why not try it?

Similarly, I wrote the first version of the epilogue to the book today. I did something similar with Cut My Hair. I wrote the last page around the same time I wrote the first chapter, and worked my way to it. What lead to my doing this now was two epiphanies: a moment in the Mira Nair film version of Vanity Fair and an excerpt from the novel Tom Jones that Jen De Guzman (who I always imagien smells like curry (in a good way)) posted in her live journal. (The difference between Jen and I is that she, being a smart person, would read the books Vanity Fair and Tom Jones, and me, being a bear with very little brain, would see the adaptations.)

All of this creative top spinning actually makes up for the fact that the last hour was spent gathering my financial information for checking in with my accountant over my upcoming quarterly payment. I’ve been diligent with setting aside portions of my freelance checks, though, having learned from watching the mistakes of others in my years as an editor, and am hoping that I end up with a good surplus once the year is through.

Current Soundtrack: Tindersticks, Simple Pleasure (remastered), disc 2; Bjork, Medulla

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

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


It's time for my September video picks. Since we're heading into fall, I decided on a theme of change, but with some specific strictures.

All of these movies take place within an enclosed space of time, be it over a day, a couple of hours, or a weekend. One takes place in real time, opening on a clock and closing on the same clock, advanced in an amount equal to the running time of the film you just watched.

All of them exist in our world, but in their own way, separate. Some are different metaphorically and less recognizable than others, but whether it's an airport terminal, the late-night streets of NY, or the artistic underworld in Paris, they wear the trappings of every day life without actually being a part of it.

Finally, as I said above, all feature some kind of change, and usually it's the isolated nature of the setting that allows for this, creating a world of metaphor where the characters can go on a journey to advance. In the process, they defeat fate, staving off death, loneliness, age, and failure, so that they can progress to the next stage of their lives.

* Black Orpheus, directed by Marcel Camus

* Bringing Out The Dead, starring Nicolas Cage, dir. Martin Scorsese

* Cleo From 5 to 7, starring Corrine Marchand, dir. Agnes Varda

* Jet Lag, starring Juliette Binoche & Jean Reno

* The Set-Up, dir. Robert Wise

Current Soundtrack: Sonic Youth, Sonic Nurse cover

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