NEW RELEASE

LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter

I’m happy to announce the release of my fifth book, a short story collection entitled: LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter.

Within the collection, there are 30 stories new and old. Some are short in length as are traditional short stories, and some are shorter in length, as are the more contemporary flash fiction stories. Some were written as recently as this past winter; others, as long ago as the early ’90s. Many have been published previously on my website and other places, but there are several new stories that have not yet been released until now.

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While waiting impatiently for Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games…

While Waiting for Football

#AMWRITING

 

#butdistractedlyso
#yesthatshortstorycollectionstillseemstobeathing
#yesistillwritefirstdraftswithpenandpapersowhatofit
#goeagles
#gojaguars

 

THE FIX: A Short Story

Here’s a look at the book cover and a brief excerpt (it’s about the only parsing of the story I could find to share here that wasn’t filled completely with vulgar language – hey, the story involves sailors…what can I say?) of a story about fear, passion, and unrequited desire that I just added to my short story collection. I hope you enjoy it.

ADULT CONTENT
 

The Fix

The lieutenant commander looked out across the water and focused in on one of the many dhows making its way through the harbor. Its wooden hull was long and its beam narrow. Its single lateen sail was full, even with the slack wind. Its two-man crew looked like haunting, seafaring wraiths through the heat rays shimmering off the water… [CONTINUE READING]

 
 

Yes, that #shortfilm of mine is still a thing…

LEAVE, A Short FilmIt’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we wrapped up production out in West Hollywood on my short film LEAVE, which was adapted from my short story of the same name.

That, my friends, was a good time, indeed.

Time sure does go fast…

And, frustratingly enough, it, concurrently, goes so frakkin’ (any BSG/Caprica fans out there?) slow when one’s breath is bated in anticipation, such as mine is for the film’s completion.

Movie making is not as easy as it looks from the theater seats, that’s for sure.

Continue reading “Yes, that #shortfilm of mine is still a thing…”

Transformation of a G

Transformation of a G

He kicks off the covers and reveals the body of a mid-sized, thin but muscularly defined, mid-twenties, African-American male. He does some cat-like stretching and then concludes his ritual with some aggressive eye-rubbing underneath the pillow. While doing so, he seems to notice something strange about his hands.

He holds them over his head and looks up at them from under the pillow. He flips them over and inspects both sides of them as if he’s never seen them before. He sits up on his elbows and looks down at his bare upper torso. He sees the scars of five bullet holes and an assortment of tattoos littered across his brown abdomen. The most prominent tattoo, “Thug Life,” arches across the muscle-ripped gut…

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So there I was just minding my own business…

You know, making every honest effort not to think about #youknowwho by revisiting a favorite book of mine (and which is listed as one of my Writing Resources) so as to give my brain a break from of all of #youknowwhose juvenile behavior, which includes but by no means whatsoever is limited to his recent flurry of tweets, in one of which he engages in childish, bullying name-calling and effectively proves he has no interest in governing effectively by labeling the Senate Minority Leader and the rest his Democratic party as “clowns”…

However and unfortunately, I am presently trapped in a surreal and inescapable alternate reality where, similar to the brokenhearted lover who is painfully reminded by each song on the radio of the love he has lost, everything I chance upon seems to remind me of #youknowwho regardless how hard I try to ignore his ignorance.

I guess in this sad metaphor, I would be the brokenhearted lover and my love lost would be the ideals, honor, and integrity of my country.

Anyway…

So I’m flipping through this favorite book of mine called POINTS OF VIEW: An Anthology of of Short Stories and I’m really digging it because its been so long since I’ve read it and I’m rediscovering such cool points from it as…

The differences in a spectrum are differences of degree: to go from violet to red you keep increasing the wavelength. In our spectrum [of how the short stories in the collection are arranged] you keep increasing the distance between the speaker and the listener, and between the speaker and his subject. Thus the central concept is the trinity of first, second, and third persons–I, you, and he.”

Pretty cool, right?

Right. And the best part about it is I’m completely not thinking about #youknowwho because of how cool and completely engrossing the read is.

So after reading the preface, I flip to the back real quick to see what pearls of wisdom can be gleaned there within its Afterword…

And everything is going along just nicely and with much intrigue…

The techniques of fiction imitate everyday recording and reporting. …[Interior and dramatic monologue] purport to be actual discourse going on “now”–somebody thinking, somebody speaking. The reader is privileged to tune in on a stream of thought or speech.

More cool stuff, right?

Right. And even more cool stuff follows with a discussion of how the techniques of fiction purport to mirror other aspects of reality, such as letters, diaries, autobiographies, etc., and we are told that it is up to us, the reader, to determine “what the differences are between these fictional forms and their real-life counterparts.”

Yeah… more awesomeness.

But then it happens…

Cue obnoxious sucking sound followed by a loud startling pop, signalling my return from literary bliss to my real-life alternate reality consumed completely by #youknowwho where it is hard for me to distinguish what is real and what is fiction…

So arrayed, narrative techniques tend to recapitulate the course followed by the child (my emphasis) in developing his powers of speech, and to some extent the course we follow in processing a subject through stages of discourse. When I talk to myself about myself I am all three “persons,” as in the case of interior monologue. This is the first discourse of the child, who does not distinguish between speaking to himself and speaking to another, talking about himself and talking about things outside himself.

My surreal alternate-reality of now had me at “child.”

I mean, after reading that and then the following quotation block, how can you not think of #youknowwho?

According to the great psychologist of child development, Jean Piaget, who has called this discourse “egocentric speech” (emphasis again mine), the very young child thinks aloud, talks to the air…his talk is an accompaniment to whatever he is doing at the moment.

I mean, c’mon…

#whysodummurica

 

Fake News is so Poe-thetic

I read an Edgar Allan Poe story today entitled The Angel of the Odd.

It’s a fun, fast, Kafka-meets-Twain, easy to forget kind of read.

But what is most memorable to me about the story is that it is entirely set up around the protagonists drunken dismay over what we would call the “fake news” of the day…

Continue reading “Fake News is so Poe-thetic”

LEAVE IS LIVE! | PLEASE DONATE & SHARE

This is it, my friends. The moment I’ve been waiting for where things finally begin to get real for me.

And by real I mean from now until the end of the filming of LEAVE at the end of October, it looks like it’s going to be one mad rush of new and exciting experiences.

Awesome.

I would like to introduce you to the cast and crew of LEAVE. For now, you may see them and everything LEAVE is about here >> LEAVE: A Short Film.

After things slow down, I will introduce them to you personally here.

I would also like to thank all the good folks who donated to my website campaign here. Please check out the list and try to support them as awesomely as you support me. That campaign has officially ended and all donations will now be managed through IndieGoGo. I will use the funds raised here to get me across the country. I’m so grateful for the support.

I will introduce my final website donor to you, Author Anna Kopp, on Friday, October 14, 2016. Her work looks amazing. Stay tuned!

Today, I am heading on an anniversary getaway to New England with my lovely and loving wife. Shortly after I return I will get on the road again with my sons and drive cross-country to LA for the filming LEAVE.

I’ve decided to fire up my barely-used Instagram account and, beginning today as I head to the hood of some of my favorite authors, I will be photo-blogging my journey along the way and during the filming. Please follow along if you’d like (icon on the sidebar). I would love to have your company.

Cool?

Ice cold!

LEAVE: A Short Film

 
 
LEAVE, A Short Film

George Saunders On Story

I haven’t read any Saunders yet; been meaning to…more so after watching this:
 


 


I discovered this video at Saunders’ site.

I watched it first at The Atlantic.

You can see it in its original production at the beautiful site of Redglass Pictures.

If there are any Saunders fans or nonfans out there, what are your thoughts about his writing. . .

I wonder.

 
 

The book’s always better than the movie…

Right?

That’s the rule, right?

Books rule over movies.

Always.

Before I got involved with this whole short film thing, I always would get indignant after watching yet another failed movie adaptation of a book I liked. And I would always wonder to myself why in the heck could they never get it write/right.

Until on a whim I decided to try my hand at adapting my short story LEAVE into a screenplay.

Right away I realized that this was going to be no easy feat.

Introspection and contemplation that serve a short story or a novel so well is basically useless in a screenplay where just about everything must be represented as action and dialogue so it can be seen and heard by the audience.

Of course LEAVE as a short story is mostly introspection and contemplation by the protagonist so right off the bat the whole structure would have to change in order to be able to show his shift of character from beginning to end.

To do this, new scenes had to be invented and new characters had to be developed and within the first writing of the story of LEAVE as a screenplay, it was already hugely different from the story of LEAVE the short story. And that was only by my own efforts.

After I showed it to an actor friend for his feedback, from his guidance it went from 33 pages down to fifteen. And yes, to whittle it down that much there had to be a significant change in story and tempo.

But really, the biggest changes to the story didn’t occur until once the screenplay was accepted by a studio and a director was found and she got ahold of it… and then several of the lead actors got ahold of it…

Talk about feedback overload. It took much effort and persuasion to maintain it as a story I recognized.

And, while we are scheduled to begin filming in two months, we haven’t yet cast the lead actor so I can only wonder what changes still might occur to it.

But you know what… the story as it is now as a near fully developed screenplay is really not that far from what it is as a short story.

It is just different.

And much, much better in my opinion.

Still, I guarantee it if you read the short story and then see the film, you will be significantly surprised by the differences that there are between the two.

I just hope you are not significantly disappointed.

But I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be because we have an awesome crew and the cast is going to be first rate and impressive.

And I can also guarantee that from now on whenever I watch a movie that has been poorly adapted from a book that I like I will certainly be less critical and more understanding of the differences between the two and the winding and somewhat weary course that had to be traveled to get the story to the screen.

Because now I know.

And now I have only one rule regarding movies and books.

Both of them do.

Rule, that is…

 


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