Saturday, September 30, 2006

Folk Wisdom 016

My reaction to grief is a certain kind of nervous action. I just keep moving, walking, pulling away at things, praying to myself while I move, and making up my mind that it is not going to get me. I am not going to be licked by tragedy, as life is a challenge and we must carry on and work for the living as well as mourn for the dead.

Rose Kennedy

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Master Says 061

It's finding the soul of the story, and deciding what that is. And when all of the scenes develop from the roots of this tree, which is a philosophical understanding of the story.

Conrad Hall

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Master Says 060

When characters are presented in a static relationship, dramatic tension is apt to be weak (remember 'drama' means the 'thing done'). The beginner is apt to think of character in terms of outward physical appearance, the age, sex, social class or profession of the person in the story. But this matters very little in the sense of the drama. A dramatic character is definable only in relation to other characters or situations that involve tension. A dramatic scene is usually one in which something happens: an incident or an event takes place, the situation between the characters is different at the end of the scene than it was at the beginning. The equilibrium has been altered and there is some narrative momentum that drives the character (and us the audience) to a new situation in the next scene.

Alexander Mackendrick

The Master Says 059

I'm a liar, but an honest one. People reproach me for not always telling the same story in the same way. But his happens because I've invented the whole tale from the start and it seems boring to me and unkind to others to repeat myself.

Federico Fellini

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Summer of 1995 I returned from several months in Mexico. Before returning home, I spent the remaining money in my checking account twice by putting a final trip to the Yucatan with a girl on my debit card and making a cash withdrawal at an ATM immediately upon leaving the travel agency. That trip is another story that isn't at all blurry -- its pleasures and pains remain blissfully vivid.
The blurry story is my return to Portland. Everything went away before and during the Mexico trip - my Portland girlfriend, my best friend, my place to live, my '73 Buick Riviera, my money as I mentioned and, most notoriously, a few years of sobriety.
I wanted to get everything back but the sobriety. I was staying at my mom's house in Dunthorpe, no place to be without a car. I had the idea that a job as a busser at one of the better restaurants in town would be easier to get and pay just as well as some starting shift as a waiter. I started work immediately. Black bow tie and starched white shirt hustling dirty dishes and setting tables. Drinking every night after work at the same couple of bars that boasted the latest last calls in town followed by boozy after-hours bullshit sessions at some waiter, cook or bartender's apartment. Some nights the whole gang was there. Other nights it was but a couple of us. I was very regular. There was a pretty cocktail waitress at the after work spot that eventually became a bartender and eventually said no to a date with me. There were flings with some of the waitresses at the restaurant where I worked. One of whom lived across the street from me in New York a few years later. And another whom turned up back east as a server at Grammercy Tavern where my wife and I went to celebrate our marriage.

I got incredibly tan while living in Mexico. So much so that two months after my return during which I was still awake on the wrong side of the sunrise more often than not, I still had a pretty deep tan. One night after work I was at the late last call joint with a co-worker - one of the cooks I think. After work I traded my no longer starched white shirt and bow tie for a tee shirt from a surf shop in Puerto Escondido. One minute I was telling lies to the cook and pining over the cocktail watiress cum bartender, the next some woman was all over me. I couldn't tell you if she was pretty or not. A lot thick, dark and curly hair. Tall - ish, I think. I had been waiting for this to happen at this bar all summer. Of course she was attractive; how could she be anything but hot? Two o'clock in the morning on a Tuesday, rubbing an underemployed dude's forearms. She was sure the big muscles in my forearms were from surfing. I didn't bother to tell her it was from hauling tubs of dirty china and buckets of ice all over a huge terraced restaurant. It was the day before my birthday. If she thought she was getting a surfer boy rather than a busboy, I wasn't going to let her down with the dreary truth.
The cook bailed and I ended up at breakfast with this woman and her friend. Breakfast was a pretext to extend the possibilities of hooking up. Somehow I guessed her last name and we ended up at my mom's real estate office by the river. I let her friend make long distance phone calls to her boyfriend. There was a lot of running around to the different offices. Even into the copy machine room. Finally to the break room where there was a fold out couch that I called home when I couldn't make it to Dunthorpe for the night. By this time it was dawn and my birthday.
A few months later I went out with this woman again. By this time things were getting more and more blurry. It was Fall - dark and rainy. All the Summer-time drinkers were getting back to their responsibilities. I was wandering the streets making poetry out of my lonely pain. I was calling women I didn't have but a fleeting attraction for in the middle of the night. I was crashing the '71 BMW a friend sold to me on a payment plan. The woman from my birthday was yet another on my desperate hit list. I remember a few things from our date. She was a flight attendant on international flights. We ate at some fancy restaurant. I had some sort of fish filet on a bed of lentils and a lot of wine. We crossed the street for drinks at a dive bar. We went back to her place in Goose Hollow for duty-free booze and a quallude. Despite our previous encounter and lots of drugs and booze there seemed to be some resistance on her part. Something happened between us - boozy arousal and clumsy attempts at satisfying it. Then I woke up and went to a Latin American history class. After that I wandered around campus in a pained, blurry haze. I saw her from a distance a few months later on Twenty-third. I didn't say hello.

Folk Wisdom 015

Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.

Satchel Paige

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dark Tales from Hollyweird

Takes a minute to load and runs almost twenty minutes, but it's worth it.
Courtesy of AC Dickson.

The Master Says 059

A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an

Karl Kraus

Friday, September 22, 2006

Folk Wisdom 014

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Master Says 058

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of
light on broken glass.

Anton Chekhov

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sweet September

Been a long while since I've blogged about the folly and fodder in my life. Basically I've been trying to keep things simple. Not an easy task for anyone in the modern world. I've been working a lot, including three of the past four weekends. It's busy production-wise in Portland these days. Feast of Love, the Morgan Freeman movie and some big car commercials out of LA as well as politicals and the regular stuff.
Neil Kopp, my buddy that produced But A Dream, is producing Gus Van Sant's new film Paranoid Park. I'm excited for him and for Portland. Paranoid Park is the park between Washington and Stark at SW 9th Avenue known for the punkers and freaks that made it home. There's a parking lot beneath where much of the action used to happen. I'm not sure how much of the histroy of the park is to influence the film or if they're even going to shoot it in the actual Paranoid Park.
June took her first steps last Saturday. We were all quite proud. Maisie started Montessori school and is very excited about her lunch box that she decorated with a glitter pen and some patches. Henry is now in the first grade and rides alongside me to school on his bike sans training-wheels. Nicola has been working a lot as well and is off to New York next week.
We've been landscaping our front yard. I moved four nine hundred pound boulders into place by myself last weekend. Very primal activity -- pivot rocks, pry bars, brute strength. Satisfying work.
I watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang last night. Don't think it will make the Master Moments anytime soon, but I enjoyed it. Val Kilmer was funny and RJ Downey Jr was at his better. I liked Michelle Monaghan. Angela Lindvall was in it as well. I think she's very beautiful and had the fantasy of casting her and Michelle as the San Antonio girls in Original Glory. Angela is an Okie after all.
I'm searching my schedule to carve out some time to edit London Calling, But A Dream and Made Crooked. It's really not looking very good. I'm going to have to let something in some area of my life go. I don't know what that is just yet. I'm exploring the possibilities.
I had to be somewhere very early this morning and threw on a down jacket to beat the chill. Feels cozy.
Recently, I read a great novel called Towelhead about a 13 year-old Lebanese-American girl gone to live with her father in Houston during the Gulf War. It would make a great film. Alan Ball optioned it when it was published, but nothing has happened with it so far. A few years ago, I would have given some energy to the what if of getting a hold of that. Now that I'm a little more grounded and realistic about my resources, I would be happy to see it made, knowing full well that it's way beyond a guy like me. I haven't let go of someday, but I'm more in tune with what's right in front of me.

Signore Direttore

The Master Says 057

All of my life I been like a doubled up fist... poundin', smashin', drivin' - now I'm going to loosen these doubled up hands and touch things easy with them.

Tennessee Williams

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Folk Wisdom 014

The winds of grace are blowing all the time.
You have only to raise your sail.

Sri Ramakrishna

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Master Says 056

Love, and love alone, is capable of giving thee a happier life.

Ludwig van Beethoven

The Master Says 055

To be or not to be. That's not really a question.

Jean-Luc Godard

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Master Says 054

What I admire most ardently in Jung is the fact that he found a meeting place between science and magic, between reason and fantasy. He has allowed us to go through life abandoning ourselves to the lure of mystery, with the comfort of knowing that it could be assimilated by reason. My admiration is the sort that is felt for an older brother, for someone who knows more than you do and teaches it to you. It is the admiration we owe to one of the great travelling companions of this century: the prophet-scientist.

Federico Fellini

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Master Says 053

I'm not a good critic myself. I'm a very poor witness. I put everything out of shape and I'm very partisan. I won't have any argument; discussion bores me. The critical spirit appears in me in the form of doubt. It's paralysing. For someone of my temperament, exercising the critical faculty is masochistic. Why mummify what has moved you, why become lukewarm about it, why mortify it, why extinguish it? It's a physical fact: I can't bear people who try to define me too precisely.

Federico Fellini

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Master Says 052

The point of life is to fail at greater and greater things.

Rainer Maria Rilke