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.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Movie Review: Trumbo

Trumbo is an interesting movie by which to view our American society. In times of fear and paranoia we make bad mistakes.

In 1947 Dalton Trumbo was a famous and highly successful Hollywood screenwriter. He was also a member of the Communist Party. In an era of cold war paranoia, he and other writers and actors became targets of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Trumbo refuses to testify and spends 10 months in jail for contempt. Hollywood studio chiefs set up a blacklist and many writers and actors find themselves out of work and unable to support themselves. They lose their homes, some lose their families and some lose their lives. They are branded and ostracized. We are not given much detail about the complexities of the Communist Party in the United States or Trumbo’s party activities. We do, however, have a picture of a defiant, principled man who decides to take on and circumvent the Hollywood blacklist.

Trumbo manages to get work with one producer (played by John Goodman) by working under a pseudonym and cranking out screenplays for peanuts. He is resilient and persistent. Eventually his undercover screenwriting wins Oscars for Roman Holiday and The Brave One but without recognition. After all his trial and tribulations, he is vindicated when Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger are willing to defy the blacklist and give him recognition for his writing (Spartacus and Exodus).

There is some good acting here. Bryan Cranston does an excellent job playing Dalton Trumbo. Diane Lane plays his long-suffering, patient wife Cleo. Helen Mirren is superb as the mean-spirited Hedda Hopper. Most of the characters, however, are just quick sketches—John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, Dirk Douglas, Otto Preminger and so on.

Trumbo is an interesting true story. Maybe it could have gone deeper and had more meat on its bones, but it offers a good lesson about paranoia and prejudice that we see played out in the news today.


  1. It's a movie I intend to see, thanks for the review. Communism in its true form isn't such a horrible idea, neither is socialism, but when used by dictators for power and gain it turns sour. Sort of like what capitalism is today with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. All ideas can be turned to a disaster by the power hungry! A shame more background isn't given, maybe I should do my own research.
    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Holiday and a prosperous and peace filled New Year.

    1. Thanks for dropping by and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  2. Sounds like a movie I would love to see. Great review. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  3. Happy Holidays Linda. Good review. Out in the sticks, we rarely get these I'll have to order it from Netflix once it's released for video. We're leaving today for N. California and we'll get to visit with Zuzu and Debra!! Shout out a Holiday Hello from us to the "cave men" across the street!:):)

    1. Have a great time in N. California and happy holidays to you.