Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Writing for Godot

To start off this brand-new year, here are a couple of presents for the writers among you (yeah, we know who you are).

First, a wonderful video trailer for what seems to be a “missing movie,” Bad Writing, which was allegedly released last month. If the film is showing out there someplace, it hasn’t received much publicity. And, sadly, it’s not yet available to rent or buy. There’s nothing at Netflix, and when I clicked on the “Rent this at Blockbuster” button on the International Movie Database (IMDb) site, what popped up was a link to the 2008 film Marley & Me. (Hmm. Is that supposed to be a hint about that other picture’s quality?)

Gift Numero Dos offers less mystery but more fun. Carolyn Kellogg, whose Jacket Copy blog may be the only thing worth reading these days in the Los Angeles Times, one of my (many) former employers, asked dozens of writers to reveal their resolutions for 2011. A few highlights:
Janelle Brown, author of the novels “This Is Where we Live” and “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything”: Stop reading Amazon and Goodreads reader comments about my books. For really reals this time.

Janet Fitch, author of “Paint it Black” and “White Oleander”: My book-related resolution for 2011: To converse more with my books. To write in the margins. To read books that irritate me, inspire me, challenge the way I write, or in some way cast new light on this crazy life we lead. And I also resolve to shape these conversations into essays for the new L.A. Review of Books, starting up this spring.

Dani Shapiro, author of “Devotion: A Memoir”: I am determined not to blog, tweet, check e-mail, or shop for boots online before beginning each day working on my new novel. If I can’t manage this, I’m going to pull a Franzen and disable my laptop so that it best resembles a Smith Corona.

Joseph Mattson, author of the novel “Empty the Sun”: In 2011, maybe I’ll work on only three books at once instead of five--crawl out of the wormhole a little bit and see your and everyone else’s beautiful faces more often. Though I’m widely considered to be a dangerous whiskey-soaked hellraiser, I really don’t leave the house much, and I think I need a little more sun, you know, Vitamin D, ward off the rickets. Shatter my own myth. I would say, thin the book collection a little, but that would be a lie, for it is the holy addiction that keeps the other good/bad stuff at bay. That, and I might read a Stephen King novel. I’ve never read one, for no particular reason, and I do believe I have some respect for the man. Eye exercises, too.

Antoine Wilson, author of the novel “The Interloper”: My resolution, for the second year in a row, is not to talk smack about books (or authors) I haven’t actually read.

Neal Pollack, author of the memoir “Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude”: I’d like to resolve to read at least an hour a day, every day. That’s not so much, really. It used to be a bad reading day if I read an hour. Now it’s not quite a rarity, but definitely not a routine. If I’m going to make my son read an hour a day, I should keep to a similar program. Less Fruit Ninja, more reading, that’s what I say.
However, my favorite one of these resolutions comes from David Kipen, a former NEA director of literature and the owner of Libros Scmibros bookstore: “Find my Kindle.”

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