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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


It's movie time again.

First, the newest installment of "Can You Picture That?" went up today. In it, you will find a tribute to Ismail Merchant and a review of the indie film The Graffiti Artist. (Anyone wondering what Westerns I was going to review, the one I was going to most hearily recommend was Sam Fuller's Forty Guns. What an amazing, take-no-prisoners film! Even today it pulls no punches, so for 1957, it was pretty out there. The sexual innuendo alone is shockingly risque. Who knew references to cleaning rifles could be so dirty!)

Second, new monthly picks for Trilogy Video. My choices for June veer between women in a questionable state of mental health or not-so-right relationships, and sometimes both.

* Crazy/Beautiful, starring Kirsten Dunst

* House of Yes, starring Parker Posey

* Leave Her To Heaven, starring Gene Tierney

* Millennium Mambo, starring Qi Shu

* Zhou Yu's Train, starring Gong Li

Everyboyd's Talkin': Eric Stephenson, editor of Four Letter Worlds, has an interview up at Suicide Girls. I am not talked about, per se, but the interviewer did single me out in the intro. Beware, you may see boobies and/or tattoos. Confessions reader/filmmaker Robert Fortney also tells me the book is reviewed in Entertainment Weekly, but I haven't seen it yet.

Current Soundtrack: Pink Floyd, A Saucerful of Secrets

Current Mood: busy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


These quiet times, when you think I've left you and retreated into that infamously crusty shell of mine...well, I have. It's nothing personal. I just have nothing to say to you. If we're going to continue dating, you're going to have to learn to live with that. I need my Jamie time, and frankly, no significant other of mine is going to last if they are irritated by behavior of mine that doesn't irritate my cat, as well. She's content to sleep while I brood. It's a lofty standard to live up to, but I think you've got what it takes.

After some recharging of the batteries last week, having nearly died on the Everest of a previously referenced metaphorical journey, I got to work and finished the third volume of Honey Mustard. I've also been working on a short story, the soon-to-not-be-titled "My Best Regrets." I started it several weeks ago but have let it linger in the back of my mind because I realized I was heading for the same sort of un-ending that had occurred in my previous two short stories, where the main character, who has been dislodged from his life, may or may not be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, depending on your point of view. Non-action as action. One, "Walk Like a Panther," serialized on this blog, ends with Jean asking a question, getting the answer, and sort of nodding; "No Brakes, I Don't Mind," has Wayne basically just lay down on an empty road. I realized that Andy in "My Best Regrets" was scratching the same kind of itch, and I wasn't going to let myself get away with not finding out the source this time. Clearly, my mind is chewing on something, and I need to recognize what the taste of this mixed metaphor is. So, I am looking for the positive action that will wrap up this tale, trying to see where Andy takes me. There are many obvious resolutions, but I have discarded them for being obvious. Yesterday, I wrote nearly 3,000 words, but feel no closer, and they may have actually gotten me off-track. The word "Kafka" keeps coming to mind, both for the state my character is in and for the state I am in.

Another Review: Buzzscope scopes out The Dark Horse Book of the Dead. "From the clever twist of Kelley Jones' 'The Hungry Ghosts' opener, to the waterlogged horror of Jamie S. Rich and Guy Davis' 'Kago No Tori,' Book of the Dead delivers literate storytelling that doesn't shortchange fans of gore and hanging entrails."

Current Soundtrack: Dusty Springfield, Dusty In Memphis

Current Mood: moody

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, May 22, 2005



How odd to discover myself on the Internet Movie Database. Vanity search ahoy!

A Movie Poop Shoot review of Four Letter Worlds. "...when this book is firing on all cylinders, some superior material makes it to the page...the simple and snarky 'True' by Jamie Rich..."

Current Soundtrack: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, "Free (Peel Session);" Mansun, "Rock 'n' Roll Loser"

Current Mood: loved

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

Monday, May 16, 2005


Big releases for me this week and the rest of May.

1. I Was Someone Dead still has a couple of weeks before it will be on shelves, but Amazon has finally added a listing for it. Preorder HERE, and don't be afraid to give them the correction that it's written by Jamie S. Rich and illustrated by Andi Watson, so that maybe they'll put our names on it.

2.The Dark Horse Book of the Dead anthology with my short story "Kago No Tori," illustrated by Guy Davis, lettered by Lois Buhalis, colored by Dave Stewart, is on its way to stores now.

Other contributors to the book include Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson, Mike Mignola, Eric Powell, Kelley Jones, Gary Gianni, and more.

3. Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 9. I'm continuing to do the scripts on this sweet little soap opera manga. It's one of my favorite jobs. Released this week.

4. Blue Monday: Painted Moon trade paperback collection by Chynna Clugston-Major, on the way from Oni shortly. When I read the script for the fourth issue of this series, there was a moment where Mr. Bishop referred to an incident in his past. I told Chynna I wanted to know what happened there, and she said if I did, I had to write it myself. So, I scripted a short comic story and she illustrated it for this collection.

Order any three of the above, or any of the two with a copy of Four Letter Worlds , and you can get free shipping. Or you can order four things, all five, or any combination of these and anything else your heart desires. It's also not to early to go to my Wish List and plan what to send me for my birthday, content in the knowledge that you can buy me something and I will never return the favor.

While you're at Amazon, you may note they added some more strange stats to Cut My Hair . They have a concordance now that has things like word count, stats about the complexity of the words I use, how many words you get per dollar spent, and the top 100 most frequently used words. I'm glad to see "fuck" made the list, and that you can actually click on that word and it will show you where it appears. Like on page 6, it says, "'Shut the fuck up, asshole,' somebody replied." Actually, by page 31, apparently someone is told to "shut the fuck up" three different times. Where's my Pulitzer?

Current Soundtrack: Oasis, Heathen Chemistry; ExileInside sample MP3s (the new band of Jake Shillingford, from My Life Story); MOJO magazine's Mod Club Party comp

Current Mood: pleased

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, May 13, 2005


Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation is a puzzling, disturbing film. On one hand, it's arguable that it's like one of Godard or Orson Welles' essay films, updated for a time after music videos have affected how visuals and music are combined, with the whiz-bang editing style familiar to any MTV viewer. On the other, it possibly sidesteps what it wants to say by distracting us with that same style. The film is about one boy's journey into his family's mental history and how he fits into it, but does Caouette obscure his discoveries by over-abstracting? Or is the abstraction just a way for him to continue to avoid the hard answers?

Caouette is his own worst artistic enemy, it seems. Something about how he presents himself offset me as a viewer, made me inclined to distrust him. All artists are self-obsessed, but most step away from who they are when they deconstruct their lives for their art. Ironically, Caouette is always away from himself: he suffers from a mental disorder that causes him to disassociate from his own reality and view life as a dream. He uses film to try to get back into his own shoes. But I couldn't shake the feeling throughout Tarnation that it was all bullshit. I wasn't witnessing soul searching but a masturbation tool for a man who is in love with his own visage. Caouette started filming himself at age 11, creating disturbingly graphic monologues where he'd play characters like battered wives and drug addicts. While they suggest a natural talent for film, these scenes also begin a pattern of Caouette staging his own life for the sake of the movie of it. In his final confession, when he is alone in his bathroom with the camera, I wanted to believe he was sincere in his epiphany; instead, I was more appalled by how badly he was mugging for the lens.

Caouette begins his history before his birth and carries us all the way through 2002. The way he puts images together, a decade can pass by over the space of a montage set to a single song. Midway through the picture, I was beginning to question what it was I was being shown. I didn't feel like I was getting to know Caouette or his family. The photos seemed random. I could have been looking at any stranger's photo album, purchased in a thrift store or found in the road. When the rush of images would stop, it was rarely to contextualize what had just been presented. Rather, the viewer is given increasingly exploitative, drawn-out sequences of the filmmaker's mother, Renee, losing her grasp on reality. One sequence, when she dances and sings with a pumpkin, feels like it will never go on forever as Caouette milks his audience for every last squirm. Renee believes she is Elizabeth Taylor's daughter and Dolly Partner's sister, and she's going to perform for us just like they do. This is where her son got it from. A former model and actress, mom's mental illness has become an elaborate stage for her to play her part on. Caouette witnessed her being raped and abused when he was four, and Tarnation oftentimes seems like his attempt to recreate that kind of trauma over and over so we can share it with him.

I couldn't help but feel sorry for Adolph, Renee's father and Caouette's grandfather, for being caught up in all this. He may have done the things his daughter claims (we'll never know), and he certainly was misguided when consenting to give her shock treatment, but the character Caouette gives us is of a genial old man who has tried to smile his way through it all, not the monster he'd have us believe. When his grandson moves to New York, he sincerely wishes him well and speaks supportively of the boy's abilities; except Caouette has him say his farewell into a machine that turns the old man's voice robotic. A prescient contrivance so he can suggest the sentiment is false? When Caouette accusingly turns the camera on Adolph near the end of Tarnation, it just feels vicious, and when grandpa declares he has had enough, I frankly felt I had, as well.

It's hard not to think of the famous scene from Madonna's Truth or Dare documentary where Warren Beatty says to Madonna, "Why would you do anything off camera? What's the point of living if it's not on camera?" Often in this day and age, it feels like the majority of the population missed that Beatty wasn't saying that like it was a good thing. Technology has put the means of expression into just about everyone's hands. This blog is a perfect example of that. If I wanted to, I could follow the example of many others and record my every waking moment on here as if it were absolutely vital and important. The problem is, self-expression (and its evil twin, self-obsession) in itself is not all there is. We can't simply present what happened to us on our lunch break and expect the fact that it happened to grant it meaning. I like to joke that everyone has a right to an opinion, just not the right to express it...but I'm starting to think it's not so funny. Unless we start to demand that people extract something out of these experiences before they frame them for public consumption, we're going to lose sight of the big picture that is capital-A art. All the little snapshots are going to cover it up.

It's not an either/or question. One should dare to tell the truth.

Current Soundtrack: Oasis, Don't Believe The Truth

Current Mood: cynical

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich


It's my primary instinct is to protect the child...

Current Soundtrack: Black Box Recorder, England Made Me (US Edition)

Current Mood: drained

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, May 08, 2005


The Gotham Lounge blog reviewed Four Letter Worlds. They say, "There was 'T for True' by Jamie S. Rich and Andi Watson, which just had me chuckling throughout." Why haven't you purchased this book yet?

This week I embark on a long and dangerous metaphorical journey. Will I come back meaner and leaner, shattered and broken, or same as I ever was?

Just Finished Reading: Rent Girl by Michelle Tea & Laurenn McCubbin

So, Currently Reading: Misfortune by Wesley Stace (who sent me an e-mail after Wordstock because he is the world's nicest man)

Current Soundtrack: The Trash Can Sinatras, Fez (acoustic live album)

Current Mood: nervous

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, May 05, 2005


"Daddy where's the sun gone from the sky?
What did we do wrong, why did it die?
And if you've got no love for me then I'll say goodbye

The Oregon State Legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 1000, a gay rights bill that would grant same-sex couples the right to civil unions and equal protection under the law. It's a step towards healing the wound of 3,000 marriage licenses being invalidated by those "activist" judges in our State Supreme Court. (I'm sure when Tom DeLay heard that more members of the judiciary were pushing their own agendas from the bench, it totally ruined his corporate-sponsored vacation.) Yesterday, hundreds of Oregonians descended on the Capitol to express opinions on both sides of the issue. As a similar piece of legislation just got shot down in Washington state, it's time to stand up and be heard if we want this thing to pass.

I urge everyone from Oregon reading this to write or call their State Legislator. You can do so by visiting here. If you are from out of state, there is no reason you shouldn't speak up and urge Oregon to lead the way in civil rights. E-mail Representative Mitch Greenlick at rep.mitchgreenlick@state.or.us or Senator Charles Ringo at sen.charlieringo@state.or.us. Here is my letter (and Greenlick already wrote back to say he is supporting it):

Dear Representative Greenlick/Senator Ringo:

I am writing you in support of Senate Bill 1000. I believe this is an issue that is important to everybody, regardless of one's background and orientation. Equal rights are not special rights, and it's up to no government or outside person to tell another how to live and love. In fact, I believe that the only people demanding special rights are heterosexual married couples, who wish to have benefits exclusive to their narrow-minded group. Being straight or gay is not a lifestyle choice, but being married is: so, by their own argument, maybe their special rights should be revoked?

My agenda here is what's fair. I am a primarily heterosexual white male who grew up in a Christian household. I personally stand nothing to gain from SB1000; nor do I have anything to lose by letting other people live the way that is natural to them. I feel opposition to equal rights is morally reprehensible, and those who stand against SB1000 are seeking to horde their pieces of the pie with little regard to the nourishment they deny others by doing so.

It's time Oregon stands up and shows the rest of the country that we are at the forefront of human concerns and leading the charge towards what is right. As long as people like Senator Charles Starr can stand up at our Capitol and spout homophobic rhetoric, accusing homosexuals of suffering from "mental disorders," without his fellow legislators denouncing him, we can't do this. We can't rise above the embarrassment and shame that has dogged our state since we joined the ranks of the close-minded by voting down Proposition 36 in November. Let's set the record straight. Oregonians aren't Neanderthals, but people of the present who are moving forward into a better future. Vote yes for SB1000.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Jamie S. Rich

Okay, I get a little into the proselytizing at the end there, but whatever. I think we've reached a crucial time in our culture where we really have to define where we stand, and do so vigilantly. It's not enough to express our beliefs, but to vehemently shout down the opposition and remove any pretense of moral ambiguity in issues such as these. Yes, everyone has a right to their opinion, but that doesn't mean sometimes they shouldn't be told to sit down and shut up. To that end, I also wrote the above mentioned Senator Charles Starr (sen.charlesstarr@state.or.us), who is quoted in today's Oregonian (5/5/05) as saying "people are not born homosexual" and hawking the outdated assertion that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

Dear Senator Starr:

It was with great distress that I read your comments in today's Oregonian in regards to the gay and lesbian community and Senate Bill 1000. With all due respect, sir, I feel you have embarrassed our state by openly spouting such out-of-date rhetoric. Is this sort of hateful, retrograde thinking really how we want the rest of the country to view Oregon?

I feel you owe everyone an apology. Empty words won't do, either. Do some research, educate yourself on reality, and vote yes for SB1000. Then I'll believe you; otherwise, despite not living in your district, I will make sure I am part of whatever effort I can be to make sure that come the next election, Oregon relieves you of your duties.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Jamie S. Rich

If I get audited this year, we'll know why.

The political climate right now is really weird. The illusory divide between the supposed "red" and "blue" is lingering from the last election, despite the fact that, in reality, Americans agree on a lot of the important issues. (Read the excerpt from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s book Crimes Against Nature from the May 2005 issue of Vanity Fair for a detailed explanation of this situation.) It seems to me, though, where the real disagreements appear to exist are in issues regarding how one lives one's life. What consistently baffles me about the Right is that their fundamental belief that government should be small and not interfere with our lives seems to stop as soon as they run into lives that our different than theirs; yet, as I state above, these are often issues regarding things that don't effect them whatsoever. If two men want to get married and are afforded the same rights and benefits under the law as a man and woman getting married, how does that hurt the man and the woman? They don't give up any rights by including the men. In fact, wouldn't allowing gay marriage actually support the homophobic stance that "Those queers can do want they want as long as they don't do it around me." Trust me, leave them alone, and they will leave you alone. If they are married to each other, then you no longer need to hang on to your irrational fear that they might be attracted to someone like you.

As another example of this, consider the current debate over the legality of certain companies taking films and editing them to include only family content. They remove violence, language, drugs, and sex, and in some extreme cases, references to ethnicity and homosexuality. AMC recently ran a news special about it, and you can read a short piece about it here, as well as an impassioned editorial by Marshall Herskovitz here). Essentially, these people feel that Hollywood is not making films that fit their sensibilities or are not suitable for their family to view together, so they create these new versions to fit their mold, regardless of whether the film was ever intended for children or not. Why would you want your eight-year-old to watch a movie like Traffic in the first place? (One hysterical clip on the AMC show came when they went out to ask people on the street if film ratings were less stringent than they have been in the past. One woman said, completely oblivious to her own faulty logic, "I took my ten-year-old to see a PG-13 movie, and it was really racy for him.") Hollywood argues that altering films and then turning around to sell or rent them in order to make a profit violates copyright law; the censoring companies argue it is fair use of a privately purchased product, and for every censored version they sell, they have paid for a corresponding copy of the legitimate DVD.

There are two things that strike me about the goals of the people who are seeking to censor entertainment in this way.

(1) Just because someone throws a party, it doesn't mean you're invited. Now, on the surface, that statement sounds contradictory to the pro-Gay marriage stance I've taken. I would argue it is not. The civil rights issue is about denying individuals opportunities based on who they are, while what entertainment you choose is entirely up to you. No one says to these people, "Stop. You can't watch this movie because you're a Christian." Anyone has access to the material, and if it's not to their tastes, they can avoid it. There is other entertainment out there for them, or they can go out and create their own (hello, Mel Gibson!). The recent pseudo-documentary What the Bleep Do We Know? is thinly disguised propaganda for a religious cult that takes advice from the spirit of someone from the lost city of Atlantis (I'm not joking); I don't agree with their point-of-view, but instead of asking for a version of the film altered to fit my belief system, I choose not to watch it. Similarly, I don't go into someone's church and ask the preacher to cater his sermon to me or attend wine tasting parties and complain they don't have any scotch. Nor do I stop anyone from renting What the Bleep Do We Know?, going to their church, or drinking their wine. Particularly when you can do any of those things and not harm me one bit.

Classically, it has always been the non-white, non-Christian groups who have felt underrepresented in American entertainment. If that has truly shifted and now conservative White America no longer feels it has a voice, then isn't that a signal that the tide has turned against them, that they are on the wane? Is this like the dinosaurs seeing a big meteor hurtling at them from the sky and trying to dig a hole big enough to catch it?

(2) If you disagree with Hollywood so much, why do you keep giving them money? This one makes no sense to me. The defense that they pay for the movies they find so offensive makes this a spineless protest. Why would you support a business you find so reprehensible? You're aiding in making their enterprise profitable! If a guy robs your house, you don't reprimand him while letting him keep your stuff and handing him the keys so he can get in easier next time.

It's becoming my personal quest in life to become less tolerant in the name of tolerance. I'm an imperfect being, and I know I haven't always stood up against bigotry and stupidity as zealously as I should have in the past. It's a failing I am attempting to eradicate, and I urge everyone to do the same. We're at a crux in our history where we can't accept half-baked settlements. In some cases, it may require us to redefine words like "friends" and "family," but I'd rather be on the right side alone than on the wrong side surrounded by people who love me for what they think I am or wish I was.

Current Soundtrack: various Robbie Williams; Manic Street Preachers, various versions of Holy Bible tracks (the bad grammar in the post title is theirs; I know the difference between "its" and "it's"); The Raveonettes, Pretty In Black

Current Mood: infuriated

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, May 04, 2005