Friday, February 26, 2010

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I will let Sir Ken Robinson due the speaking. All I will say is; I couldn't agree more, Ken!

listening under the influence,
jeffc

Thursday, February 25, 2010

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Have you seen HBO's "Temple Grandin" starring Claire Danes? Well, I am not, as you know, fond of critics and their reviews, so this post really isn't about the movie as much as it is about what the movie proved to me.

I believe, though I may not be skilled enough to practice it yet, that all art requires a certain amount of invisibility of the artist. When one listens to music, as they do, they shouldn't be constantly reminded that there is a musician behind the notes. When one reads a book, they should notice the story and not the writer behind it's words. And when one watches a film they should not be shelled with evident camera movements, over acting, one liners and strange production design that could risk taking the viewer out of the story and into the film. After all, a film, or a novel, is simply the telling of a story. A tradition that dates back beyond recorded history, where one person, or many, would stand before their listeners and, simply, tell a story.

I digress. "Temple Grandin", though no big stars grace it's credits and no famous art house director was calling it's shots and no Kaufman was behind it's words, was, I dare say, one of the best film I have ever seen. And I claim this for one reason and one reason only. Yes it had spectacular and poignant acting, yes it was a very technically competent film, but neither of these are the reason I speak of. The reason is the film's unparalleled achievement in, what I think is the most important aspect of a film, the suspension of disbelief. It wasn't about the directing, writing or acting. It was about the story. The visible edge of filmmaking was nowhere to be seen or felt.

If you are having trouble grasping my point, compare my thoughts to say, "Smoking Aces". A wonderful film that I enjoyed very much, but while watching, was constantly reminded of how cool the film actually was. It wasn't about the story, it was about the film.

I know a lot of screenwriters, but not as many storytellers and the spread is ever widening. As an artist there is a desire to show yourself in your work, I know for I am guilty of just this, but perhaps an artist will appear in their work whether they try to or not, and when one tries, they compromise that elusive and sweet suspension of disbelief, the story.

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Friday, February 19, 2010

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So, beginning in 2009, I will be publishing an annual paperback series containing the year's worth of poems, blog entries and short stories found here on 'A Writer Under The Influence'.

Plus, I will be adding a few additional entries and pieces in the paperback version that can't be found here online just to egotistically reward those who still actively enjoy the tactile feel of bound paper.
Please help support. (I have removed my profit from the price to lower the book cost, but you purchasing will surely support my will to live)

There are two ways to purchase 'A Writer Under The Influence - Volume #1'
(Click the icon to be whisked away to the purchase page)
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Friday, February 12, 2010

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P.F. Sloan penned "Eve Of Destruction" in 1965 and soon after Barry McGuire laid down a legendary one take recording of it off of a wrinkled cocktail napkin. It would be his only hit song. Poignant, provoking and holding back no punches, it delivered a hard but honest message; our world is messed up and if we don't do anything to fix it, we will destroy it. And, 50 years later, not only have we done nothing to fix it, but it has only gotten worse.

Can humans not change? The Eastern world still explodes, the bullets are still loading, rivers still have bodies floating in them. What fears existed then still exist today. The button still lies in shadow on the finger which wants to push it. The world is still bound to scare a boy. Still we contemplate, still we watch senators corrupt systems and marches fail to have any effect all the while human respect disintegrates. Hate still thrives. We still bury our dead and eat our neighbors and still we hide the traces and say the graces. Can humans not change? If you're not building your castle, you're tearing in down and we are tearing down, brick by brick, the world around us. It's the same old place. There will be no one to save with the world in a grave.

Sometimes, it's promising when things written 50 years ago still apply today; this isn't one of them...

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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I think myself an artist, and, in so doing, hold my head steady, and with a subconscious commitment, thrust it so far up my ass that I no longer know myself different from an unripe melon. Now, I don't mean to say that I have nary a notion of who I believe I am. What I am implying is that who I believe I am can in no way be accurate. As I plummet further and further down into the rabbit hole of shadows, where creating feels realer than living, my own opinion of myself can no longer be trusted. Those around me, my family and peers, have an opinion of me, be it good or not, that could possibly be more precise than that of my own. And in this state of mind, I look to those around me for their perspectives of who I am, because they have better an idea than I.


You see, as an artist, there is a certain self-abandon present in all my decisions. My art is far more important to the world than I am, and because of that, my priorities are reflected accordingly, and when you have been creating art for a number of years, and abandoning ones self in proportion, what can you truly know about yourself beyond the art which you produced? Like the tumbling snow ball or the rippling water, with each passing moment and each decision made, the effect compounds itself in such a way that for the snow ball to become smaller it has to stop and melt, likewise for the water, ripples only cease when the action causing them does so to. So to continue creating art furnishes the continuance of my fading self-awareness.

If one's opinion of me is that I get ahead of myself and fail to finish things which I start; they are probably correct. If someone thinks that I am selfish, caring, responsible or unaccountable for my actions, well, who am I to argue? So you can understand, or hope to at least, the mental state I am in as I continue, in this life, to paint the self portrait of a man I do not know.

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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If you have not read "Part I" of this poem, please do now by clicking here. One wouldn't want to digest the entree prior to the appetizer so carefully plated.

THE PORTRAIT PAINTING

Adieu, adieu! to history's winds do we,
Bid farewell to history's sprawling tree.
For a new tree grows now called The Present,
One you'll find was scarce more pleasant,
Than the past our hero was sore victim to,
Nay, this present was but a present to few.
Like a true soldier's faith did he march on,
And still from social circles was withdrawn,
To the point where awkward silence lied,
In every council and tête-à-tête he tried.
For the past had no mercy, nor the future would,
Have such charity for but a boy misunderstood.
Leaving school early he soon became,
Nothing more than a tradesmen of pity and shame,

The seasons of life so soon changed for,
The best of our subject's time spent yore.
For he fell in love for a time first and last,
From which time he forgot his entire past.
His childhood was a memory vague at best,
To recall a fond memory he was pressed.
But when love knocks on one's iron door,
And that fist belongs to one they adore,
One's past becomes nothing but idle fiction,
To be condemned to a novel crucifixion.
And one's future then dost become,
A fountain of dreams that dost flow from,
A spring of imagination so long ago sprung,
When our subject was so innocent and young.

Here an internal conflict did boil and brew,
And there his resentment grew and grew,
For the life for himself he had so actively built,
So the loathing and spirits doused his guilt.
But when he would peer into his true love's eye,
He saw a faith and solace if he were to defy,
Would haunt and linger each and every thought,
That he thought when he should have fought,
Against his disdain and against his fears,
That would up till now rule his years.
On one hand; submission. The other; dreams.
He grew to tolerate a life of extremes.
To the horizon he searched for a way out,
To his dreams, to his wants; he craved route.

The course became clear, the direction ahead,
Was to be one of a path often tread,
By those with minds and bodies strong,
So to this group our subject did not belong.
With his reckless abandon and parent's pride,
Nay! only in his true love could he confide,
That his one true passion was far from trade,
Ay! it was a passion in which most often played,
Those with money and power and idle of both,
Both of which our subject hadn't the growth,
So from a different launching pad must he,
Sculpt the shape of the newfangled tree.
He took a step back and thought once and for all,
That nothing could stop him, storm nor squall.

Now his relationships were on the mend,
With his father, brother, foe and friend.
And his mother continued to show support,
And with his true love did he so cavort.
But as all youths learn when of age they grow,
That there is more to life's ebb and flow,
Like jobs, cars, money earned and spent
No matter where the spender says it went.
The fog of reality crept in more each dawn,
Like the due of fidelity on one's lawn.
This well orchestrated dance did he so view,
But something told him that he knew,
A healthier alternative to the status-quo,
One where creativity could freely flow.

After reading the classics, books upon books,
Of mad scientists and buccaneer crooks,
Our subject took to the pen and to the write,
And in taking to such indulgence ignite,
A second true love that he'd give his all,
So many poems and fictions he did scrawl.
With each poem and each fiction penned,
He would less, and even less, comprehend,
The way the world worked outside his doors,
The riots, the politics, the future and wars.
His writing, his woman. His booze by his side,
This man, still young, tried to in vain divide,
His imagination that was so early sprung,
From the fellow inhabitants he was among.

Part III will soon follow, if you are interested, in my mind's hollow...

Monday, February 8, 2010

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THE PREFACE

Adieu, Adieu! yon silver night sky,
For 'tis tonight that I dare to ask why,
It is that I only now say a fair hello,
To the man I am and do not know.
A self portrait of sorts must all artists do,
Whether or not they know exactly who,
They are inside when the brush dips in,
The paint of life from wither all begin.
Yet here shall rest a medley of rhymes,
That act as a portrait detailing my crimes,
Against my self for which I do so revel,
While reveling beside me sits the Devil.
For I have little idea of the man I am,
So through this poem I shalt try to exam.

THE PORTRAIT PAINTED

He was born to a Mother and Father proud,
And so a cloud of pride did enshroud,
This outcast, this pariah as he grew,
Into the child who so little knew.
As a boy born of freedom so oft' does,
He had nary a sense what struggle was.
At the year four, his parents so split,
From the vows to which they did commit.
And so this boy would know a broken home.
As a childhood home that was his own.
Too young to know what to make thereof,
This apparent abandonment of true love,
He would float throughout spans of time,
In his imagination so sublime.

His Brother who was his senior two years,
Would so feed off his younger's fears,
In response to the lack of figure Father,
The older would take upon himself the bother,
Of teaching and guiding our poem's subject,
Through youth in hopes of being correct,
When it came to the life he knew nothing of,
Nay, he was but two years in age above,
Our boy, so what could he possibly know,
About the knowledge he tried to bestow.
For now our boy was without two things;
The Brother of Princes. the Father of Kings.
Now to his mother he looked and prayed,
And to her side he loyally stayed.

In this pattern he sailed through youth,
Not knowing the fiction from the truth.
Out of many schools he was wretched,
Due to how his Mother's dollar stretched.
So friends were a pleasure not to be had,
By this child whose thoughts were sad.
When his age into double digits crashed,
His awareness of life left him abashed.
Within a few years a girl showed to the boy,
That after all this still to be had was joy,
From relations with people besides those,
That live with he and that he knows.
T'was a new era for our tortured subject,
That in the part following we will upon reflect.

For the next few years and years beyond,
A new style of life of which he grew fond,
Was that of one he should have known before,
And to make up time he began to explore,
At a pace perhaps some would deem risky,
That involved vodka, gin and whiskey.
Before reaching twenty years of age,
Against the machine he deemed fair to rage,
And so his few friends began to wane,
Leaving him to roam his own domain,
Within a psyche diseased from the start,
That should have taken notes from his heart.
Ay! 'Tis here our child became a man detached,
From his future ahead and his past snatched.

No stranger to lust but one to new love,
He grew fast into a being devoid of,
Social skills that would be needed soon,
In his broken life's quarter life swoon.
Caught in a web of anxiety and hate,
He found it increasingly hard to relate,
To those around him in school and play,
That seemed to effortlessly show and display,
The skills that were needed from one his age,
To preform on the unforgiving adolescent stage.
There wasn't a woman he failed to want,
But all he wanted seemed to flaunt,
The fact that other men clearly waived,
What these women so clearly craved.

After knowing many women abound,
And drinking many spirits around,
He began to wonder what the purpose was,
To this life. A thought he thought because,
Nary an answer had been proposed to he,
Who was never given a guarantee,
That life would give those who longed,
A reason to forgive those who wronged,
He when he was to young and did wonder
If man was held criminal for every blunder.
Through many a phase our man sped through,
And many an experience he did accrue.
Tis time that we bid fair adieu,
To the past we have fallen into.

PART II, coming soon.... if you so care, to follow through...