Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Movie Review: 42

The movie 42 is the biographical story of Jackie Robinson, America's first black baseball player. Go see it! It's a truly uplifting story and, yes, it does have a lot of coarse, racially charged language but we're talking about the late 40s and the 50s. It depicts how people spoke and acted in that time period. You can't have authentic art if you try to clean it up to be socially acceptable by today's standards.

You may not want your ten-year old to see the movie, but you teenager should see the movie. I noticed there were quite a few young people in the audience when I went to see the movie. I think the movie was a good history lesson for them. An eye-opener. Back in the 40s, racism was in your face--visceral, ugly, and without pretense. Today, racism is still here, but it is more covert. Its practioners conceal their true animus by carefully chosen code words and ingratiating platitudes. You only have to look at the treatment our first black president has received. No one is standing off field yelling the n-word at him (at least very few are), but you pretty much get the drift by the words they choose to conceal their prejudices. All in all, racism is alive and well and as mean-spirited as it has always been--just more clever and hard to pin down. Yes, of course, there have been many improvements. Some older people may still cling to the old prejudices they learned as children, but newer generations tend to be more accepting and open-minded about race. It's good that young people know the history of civil rights and the difficult road a lot of people had to travel to make life fairer for everyone.

For plain ol' lovers of baseball, it was also a good story. When the movie was over, the audience clapped their approval. Yeah, go see it. A movie doesn't have to be flashy. Everyone is hungry for a true story that touches the heart.

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