The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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American Psycho

My young nephew in Seattle, who is a writer and English major, mentioned how much he had been influenced by the novel American Psycho. Curious, I bought a copy and read it. The New York Times called it a brilliant satire of American life. I don’t think this even comes close to describing what the novel represents. It’s brilliantly written, with hardly one wrong note–like listening to a Mozart quartet performed by professionals in the rough, old shell of St. Mark’s Cathedral. It is not satire, however, but a metaphor for modern Americans and how we operate in the world–materialistic, drugged, empty spiritually with non-functioning consciences, and sadistic to the point of being cannibals. When confronted with such material, it is easy to see why my Christian friends consider the world essentially evil. I wish I could agree, but their vision of God is the stuff of Marvel Comics. Simply reading this novel sullies me and reduces my humanity, but that doesn’t make it any less true. We need to look at ourselves head-on, if we are ever going to change.

December 20, 2007   Comments Off on American Psycho

To Death

Each night I raise my glass, “To death,” I say, “To death,” and feel God’s presence as a tingling sensation along my arms like a bird taking flight, and know that one such breath will be my last and wait for it like a child yearning for his mother.

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December 20, 2007   Comments Off on To Death

Day of Weird Shit

Yesterday, after taking the plunge and blogging for the first time, I decided to do a search on my name to see if Google had listed my blog. I had, of course. Google is amazing. But I found something even more surprising. My books were listed on Amazon. This was strange because I hadn’t listed them, nor had my publisher (I published them myself). What had transpired became instantly obvious. I had printed copies and sent them to literary agents in the hope they would read my work if I gave them such pristine copies. (By the way, self-publishing is ridiculously easy.) Of course, only a few agents expressed any interest in the work, and, eventually, all of these rejected it. This is natural and normal. What I didn’t expect was that they would sell my novels to book agents, who listed them on Amazon for a profit. I’m laughing as I write this. There is no depth to which a literary agent will not go. They are worse than worms. There is no place in Dante’s hell hot enough for them.

December 20, 2007   Comments Off on Day of Weird Shit

Dylan (Cont.)

Dylan is a public example of someone who lost his connection with his genius, and we can study him and the changes he’s gone through precisely because he is so public. He never stopped writing and working even when he probably should have. After his accident, I cringed whenever I watched him perform. It was frightfully embarrassing. He sounded like a screeching parody of himself–a parrot pretending he was Bob Dylan. This is interesting because nations can also lose their identities, as we have now.

December 20, 2007   Comments Off on Dylan (Cont.)

Dylan’s Motorcycle Accident

Dylan’s music changed dramatically after his motorcycle accident. How someone so talismanic could become that clichéd in the course of several months is an odd mystery. It was as if a quack had performed surgery on his voice and removed everything that was special about it. I know a number of people who actually prefer his music after he lost his voice (or, they would say, found it), which is even more mysterious to me. That he continued singing until he became a sad caricature of himself was odder still. And, then, even more mysterious, he found himself again forty years later. A portrait in real courage.

December 20, 2007   Comments Off on Dylan’s Motorcycle Accident