Sunday, November 25, 2012

Finding Forrester - How to write

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

President Obama Sings "Sweet Home Chicago"

Poem: September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden/ Separated at Birth The Thing & W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ned Vizzini -The Proust Questionnaire

Ned Vizzini is the author of four booksHis writing career, which is very reminiscent of film director Cameron Crowe's, began at the age of fifteen with the New York Press. From that auspiscious start, Ned has gone on to write for the New York Times, The L Magazine, and The Daily Beast. His second novel  It's Kind of a Funny Story  was adapted into a film in 2010 that starred Zack Galifianakis. His latest novel,The Other Normals, concerns fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert who's shipped off to summer camp by his parents because of an obsession with the "epic role playing game" Creatures & Caverns. (keep an eye out for upcoming review at this blog) In addition to writing novels and non-fiction, he's also written for the television shows Teen Wolf (season 2) and currently for the ABC drama Last Resort. For everything Ned Vizzini, check out his home page HERE

Below, are his answers to the Proust Questionnaire. 

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Doing great writing and seeing it materially benefit my family
2. What is your greatest fear?

Doing bad writing and falling into isolated self-hate

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Thinking that they can insult me casually and I'll find it cute 
5. Which living person do you most admire?

Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

My addiction to the book-sharing website
Bookmooch, where I spend about $100 a year (and lots of time) sending free books to people in Australia and Iran
7. What is your current state of mind?

I'm in a decent state of mind, or I wouldn't be doing this interview
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

9. On what occasion do you lie?

When I need to protect my interests
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My double chin
11. Which living person do you most despise?

Myself, in occassional bursts.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

"it's kind of"
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife, of course
16. When and where were you happiest?

I achieved pure happiness when I drank a Coke in the snow when I was nine in Park Slope, Brooklyn
17. Which talent would you most like to have?

Spur-of-the-moment wit
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Stop reflexively putting my hand in my pants like Al Bundy
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My books
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I would come back as an armadillo, because they sleep for 20 hours a day, and catch up on sleep
21. Where would you most like to live?

Vizzini, Sicily
22. What is your most treasured possession?

My Sony Vaio laptop
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Vomiting up a salad leaf and trying to eat it

24. What is your favorite occupation?

Honestly? Cleaning the house, with my 17-month-old son helping out
25. What is your most marked characteristic?

"teen angst"
26. What do you most value in your friends?

27. Who are your favorite writers?

Michael Crichton, George Orwell, Brian Jacques

28. Who is your hero of fiction?

Vladimir Grishkin inThe Russian Debutante's Handbook
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

The Ramones
30. Who are your heroes in real life?

Michael Crichton, George Orwell, Brian Jacques
31. What are your favorite names?

Perry, Saul, Dean, Timber, Lionel, Warwick, Craig
32. What is it that you most dislike?

Failure of effort

33. What is your greatest regret?

This UK television interview I missed in 2009
34. How would you like to die?
35. What is your motto?

"Always be aware of the consequences of negative behavior" -- inspired by H.H. The Dalai Lama and his book The Art of Happiness