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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Movie Review: The Butler

The movie, The Butler, arrives at movie theaters as we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. It may be a little hard for those born after the heady, scary days of the Sixties to understand the importance of Martin Luther King and the fight for civil rights. This is not history they lived and, therefore, it seems distant and unreal to them. That's one reason to see this movie.

The Butler is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen who served as a White House butler for 34 years. Forest Whitaker plays the fictional butler, Cecil Gains, and Oprah Winfrey plays his wife. Their outstanding acting is complimented by a large cast of well-known actors. This movie is an education for those that missed this piece of our history and helps them to understand what all the fuss is about. Some have criticized this movie for not presenting fully-developed white characters. My take on that is that this movie is about the black experience at a time when blacks were supposed to be silent and invisible in the presence of whites. Maybe that was the big disconnect back then--an inability to walk comfortably in a white world. Walking on eggshells. Not understanding the hatred or the person who delivered it. Not trusting in those whites who tried to help. In any event, it’s okay to focus on the black perspective because it has so often been excluded from consideration. How else are you going to get the big picture?

Maybe this movie wasn’t perfect, but it was entertaining and enlightening. Sometimes the message was a little heavy-handed, but it was ambitious in trying to distill the black experience and what it felt like. I think every viewer will come away with a much better understanding of our history and the awareness that there is always somebody who wants to take your life away, figuratively or literally. There is always somebody who wants to stand in the way of somebody else’s rights. Honorable people struggle to roll back the barriers and insist on justice for all. That is why we must always remain vigilant and recognize that today there are those who want to diminish voter rights, women’s rights, economic rights, and minority rights.

Go see The Butler. I don't think you'll regret it.

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