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, December 3, 2013

Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club

I love stories in whatever form they are delivered and I especially liked Dallas Buyers Club. This is a biographical drama based on the life of rodeo cowboy, electrician, and hustler Ron Woodroof who is diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and given 30 days to live. As a human being, Ron Woodroof doesn't have many endearing qualities, but when faced with a death sentence, he finally gets a slap in the face that gets his attention. Actor Matthew McConaughey has done an excellent job of portraying this character's frailty, determination, and evolution into a higher self. Finding himself ostracized by his friends and with no access to effective medicines, Ron takes matters into his own hands by seeking alternative treatments, smuggling unapproved drugs, and by founding the Dallas Buyers Club to sell medications to those who couldn't wait for the medical establishment to provide help. It's interesting to see the transformation of a completely unappealing character into someone who takes on the medical establishment and pharmaceutical industry to help himself and others.

I think you'll enjoy this movie. McConaughey does an excellent job in this role. In fact it looks like he nearly starved himself to death to portray the ravages of HIV. What I find most appealing about this movie is the evolution of character. Life can deal a hard blow, but instead of laying down and accepting it, a character who fights back can transform his life and the lives of others. Go see it.

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