"Criticism is not throwing around fancy terminology and claiming that the story does or does not have "it." Criticism is making a valid attempt at understanding what the author is trying to accomplish and assessing how they succeed and where they fail."
----- Dispatches from an MFA-Seeking Writer
Currently Reading :
James Patterson’s Violets are Blue wherein Alex Cross, our erstwhile forensic psychologist is on the trail of some real-life vampires who are feeding in various cities across the country, drawing his posse of detectives, FBI agents, and hangers-on on a long, involved goose chase. It’s entertaining enough, so far, despite some glaring inconsistencies, but I’m struck by the inanity of this “Mastermind” character who stalks Alex – this killer who deems him a “worthy adversary,” and so stalks his life, calls his phone, and is always, of course, just smart enough to stay beyond the sweep of any and all radars as he plans his grand, Scooby-Doo finale. It doesn’t ring true, and it gives the book the feel of a bad “b” movie, rather than the impact I recall from Along Came a Spider, and Kiss the Girls. I’ll give a full report once I’m done.
He did cause me to order a used copy of Carol Page’s book, “Bloodlust,” which is a volume of interviews with “real vampires.” I don’t know if I’m going to write something along those lines, or not. It occurs to me that it would be interesting to write something where a “real” vampire met a REAL vampire (lol). I bet that would cure his gothy, misled little brain of its illusions.
I was pissed off last night because our cable lost the channel with AI just before we got to hear the guy sing FUEL at the end…but I have to point something out. They read my blog. It has to be, don’t you think? The images they used of the one kid singer they call “Squish,” and Chicken Little, are exactly the same ones I stuck together in my journal a couple of weeks back under the heading of American Idol’s most unfortunate comparison thus far. I don’t know how it slid through the Internet and into the hands of someone on the show – if one of the singers read my journal, or someone passed it to someone who passed it to someone else – it doesn’t matter. It’s validation of the oddest kind. Even if none of them DID connect with my journal, they came to exactly the same conclusion that I did, and that in itself is worthy of props, yes?
You saw this here first… (heh).
Writing Updates :
The publisher I’m working with on the short story collection acknowledged receipt of round two of stories today. He asked for a couple of weeks to read through them before we go any further toward finalizing the project, so I’m in wait mode on that one – but a pleasant wait mode. He seems sold on doing the book already, so it’s more of a “what will be in it” wait than a “will he do it” wait. Different animal altogether.
I finished about 1200 words of The Orffyreus Wheel Chapter Nine yesterday, and feel like I’m back on a roll. I also need to get to Chapter Two of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Woodstock,” the pseudo-historical story of the band Mind Garage.
I was thinking about it this morning, and that niggling question of memoirs came up again. I know from working this book that I will never really know what happened, exactly, at any given point in the band’s career. In fact, they don’t know. What I have are their memories, and memory is a faulty thing prone to data loss, fragmentation, repression and enhancement. Nothing based on memories can be wholly accurate, so I guess what the bottom line comes to is that it’s only when you purposely make things up, as Mr. Frey apparently did, that you run into real trouble. How can someone get down on you for not remembering? You either do, or you don’t. In the case of the Mind Garage book, you can bet there will be PLENTY of little notes in there qualifying the historical accuracy and pointing out that it’s the feel of the era, the music, and the life of the band that I’m after. It’s an experience I want to share, not a day-by-day accounting of people’s lives. How boring would that be?
Anyway, in the interest of getting on with it, I’m outta here. If anyone at American Idol is actually reading this, here’s another one for you…