okay, looks like something happened to me last night and i snapped. actually, it wasn't me snapping, but more like a slow revelation over the course of a half an hour trip on the skytrain. something just wasn't right with cooler than the millions, and i guess it all came to a head last night. i realized that all i had were a bunch of scenes, with no real cohesive narrative. so i've dumped the whole book save for the opening chapter, which in my mind, is still the best writing i've ever done. the rest was just shite. juevenile. i wanted a sophisticated political story, but what i got was something that just degraded into bits and pieces of violence and random politics. i think i actually revealed a few plot points way too early. it was a mess. that august 31st deadline is looking pretty crazy to me right now. we'll see how much i can get done.


entourage, baby, entourage!

okay, so i've written about entourage a few times here and i just can't get enough of the show. especially since this third season is the best yet. this show has everything: great writing, awesome cast and lots of style. plus, it's on hbo, so there's less concern for censorship. money, fame, women, expensive cars... it's every guy's wet dream. it's really an adult show for men who really, in a way, don't want to grow up. but at the same time, it has lots of heart and the characters do step up to the plate when they have to in the name of family, friends and honor. the show really should be an hour long with a full 22 episode season, but hbo does things diferrently. the fewer the episodes does seem to guarantee the quality. just look at the dilution of lost. since i've always thought that "less is more," i can appreciate what they're doing. so now i'm going to pimp the show for no reason every week as new episodes come out. entourage alone is worth getting hbo for. if you don't have hbo, there are... let's say, other ways of getting the episodes. but that would be illegal. *cough* just make sure you eventually by the dvds.

last week's episode 28: three's company

this week's episode 29: strange days


upside down, inside out

so i've been writing a lot lately. pretty much living and breathing my book like i said. it sort of helps that i spent outside of my budget this past month, which results in me being mostly a homebody. my routine has been to get up, go to work, come home, write, go to bed, repeat. on my days off, i've become this isolated wierdo, not shaving or showering, coming out only to get a few supplies and return back home where i spend most of the day writing, passing out for a few hours to nap in the middle of the day (it has been incredibly hot and humid here in vancouver this weekend), waking up and writing some more. actually, this whole experience, especially in the last couple of days, has reminded me of when i was in montreal writing dessert sessions.

the interesting thing, is that my isolation is helping. the scenes that i am writing involve one of my characters to go into isolation, where he watches the rest of the world unfold through television and from his balcony. i don't have a television, but my daily routine involves lots of web surfing, reading up on the latest news, which quite frankly, is depressing enough to not want to go back out into the world.

it's wierd, i wake up from naps in the middle of the day not knowing where the heck i am. then i go write about a character who doesn't know where he is. i've never really written myself into one of my books, but this character, john, seems to be doing everything that i do in real time. almost like it's a blog. strange. we'll see where this goes.

anyway, here's a bit of a soliloquy that i wrote. this belongs to some of john's thoughts. i will admit that a lot of what is written down here is directly from my own pining over a girl i was really into, yet now can't really remember why i was ever into her. these aren't my exact words, but the feeling is the same. keep in mind that none of this is edited. it's all just initial first thoughts:

I was mezmorized, hypnotized in her. Hands down, she was the cleanest. Everything about her… her eyes, her lips, her skin… Like the saddest songs, she leaves me to wonder. I don’t know if I loved her… but I could have. I was so… close. And I don’t know if that’s what I wanted… if maybe I wanted to feel love more than I wanted her per say… but I was so close. All it would have taken was for her to just… say… yes. I was mezmorized, hypnotized in her. And that’s not the fucked up part. The fucked up part, is that for the life of me… I can’t even remember what she looks like. Her name would blaze through my veins… yet I can’t remember what she looks like anymore.

now this part is just a little blurb I wrote for this scene in a club. the band i reference here is called the koreans. they're a band from the u.k. i have actually only heard one song of theirs, but i liked it enough to reference. the song is called Keep me in your mind and you can hear it by clicking here. referencing pop culture like this is dangerous, because it dates the book, but really, i don't care. i'm not expecting anything i write to be remembered.

The Koreans.
Their single, Keep me in your mind keeps the building hopping. In the belly of the club, she dances in the dark. Her fingers playing with the air above her head, she dances. Between bodies she dances. In the dark. It’s a smooth transition, from the guitars and the electronic, eclectic beat of the song that pounds from the speakers to her slender figure striking a pose in her short, bohemian-patterned dress by Diesel. Shimmering under the low red and orange lights. Burning the candle at both ends, she’s lighting the club afire. Moving her hips slowly to the beat initially, warming up, then bobbing her head, inching her way across the dance floor. Shoulders reacting to the funky U.K. beat. The British know how to keep their shit tight. And tight is how she also keeps it, her skirt bristling about her long legs. There’s not one space that she’s not covering. Exuding all that she is. Emoting through her hips. Bouncing to the groove. And John watches this, in the dim light of the club, through his camera phone. The digital image of her won’t break down even with the poor megapixel quality. He snaps a picture of her and leans back in the micro-sued covered seat with his beer. Across the table from him, Elton sits, watching her intently. John glances at him, then back at Sean dancing. She’s bouncing on her toes through the chorus of the song, tossing her head from side to side, drawing close to the inevitable conclusion of it all. To know every molecule of her wouldn’t be enough. You had to own her.


children of men

children of men looks like a good movie. it's about the near future, where women have lost the ability to concieve. the really interesting thing about this movie, is that it takes a theme that i have long held dear to my writer's heart, that of women and their ability to produce life, and how without women, there really is no future. imagine that: where do you go, what do you do... without women? without their ability to produce? what is the point?

anyway, watch the trailer here in quicktime. notice the music in the beginning of the trailer, a cover of the rolling stones' gimmie shelter done by a string section. also, i think it is absolutely brilliant that the future of mankind depends on a woman of colour. brilliant.


writing with swedish rock!

i am always impressed with the writing process. as frustrating as it is to have your work be realized, it is equally as exciting to see it change. and sometimes these changes happen involuntarily. i supposed you have to keep a sense of openess, a willingness to roll with the punches, to improvise when necessary.

when i wrote desert sessions, it was nothing but improvisations. i just wrote what i felt. i forgot how to do this when i wrote this is hardcore. that book, because it was my attempt at a genre thriller while retaining my political sensibilities, needed to be strictly plotted out. because of the high concept of the lives of three people changing so dramatically in a 24 hour period, and because typical thrillers have typical plot points, i needed to organize it so succinctly or else it would fail. i had to be obsessed with structure. luckily, it turned out okay judging from the responses from friend and collegues who have read it. i dare say, it is better than desert sessions.

i was trying to do the same process with cooler than the millions, which is why it wasn't working. i've realized that each book i write will need a different approach. cooler than the millions broke wide open for me yesterday, when the character of elton overtook john to become the primary male lead in the first half of the book and john de-evolved into more of a selfish individual. also, alot of what i was going to accomplish in 2/3rds of the book has now been put into the first half of the book. i haven't cut anything, and i'm not cramming anything together; it's just that the second half of the book has completely changed.

when i was blocked, i just started to force myself to write, which eventually became more of a natural process until thoughts and words and sentences were just spilling out, to the point where i have been writing pretty much non stop, every moment i get, even during work, for 3 or 4 days straight. the end result is a book which is now going to be longer than intended, with a first half that is intense in its short number of pages, filled with dirty politics and violence. and now the second half, which will be more of a mystery novel. that is what i decided: that cooler than the millions, while sharing the same characters and while still fitting together, will almost be like two different books. it's interesting anyway. i have just written a great little section that involves two people having sex in the backseat of a car, a bridge, and a tank. trust me, they go together once you read it!

any rate, i have been listening to some good music while writing. one of the bands i've been listening to is the sounds. the only band since rammstein to show that playing keyboards can be cool. enjoy the sweet, swedish rock of the anthem, "living in america" and their david letterman performance a while back for "seven days a week." (forgive the choppy video. you may have to let the video play through all the way once, then on the replay it runs much smoother).

p.s.: what is it with pixie blond girls in the music industry and their ability to perform well? gotta appreciate a girl that can hold her own amongst a group of guys. at any rate, these guys look fun live.


war mongers

war in lebanon.

war in afghanistan.

war in iraq.

the middle east is erupting again.

the far east is about to erupt.

the world's only superpower, being either directly or indirectly responsible for most of these wars, is handicapped by a short-sighted, heartless, ignorant governent with a people blindsided by fear. all show and tell, this superpower is trapped in a war it cannot win. defeated, because it has betrayed its own ideals for the quick, bloody dollar. it is now unable to stop what is responsible for, and too weak to prevent what is coming.

today is a shameful day to be a part of the human race. it is even worse for the human beings who are actually being bombed. it is a good day if you are an employee of lockheed martin or shell.

yet tonight, on the way home, a woman was watering some plants. she saw me coming and turned off the hose, letting me pass. and as i did, she smiled at me. and i smiled back. and now i wonder how that's all supposed to fit. because maybe it's not supposed to fit at all. maybe it's just a moment, and i'm supposed to be grateful.

it's an interesting life when monsters live amongst you.


return of the soliloquy

i used to be quite fond of soliloquies. i used to write them all the time, but for some reason or other, i dropped them after writing zero sum. i find that i've returned to them and i have been sprinkling these speaches throughout cooler than the millions. here is one given by elton, a character who acts as a go-between for the main character, john, and the more radical characters of sean and norm. here's his soliloquy; it is a rehashing of a previous speach i had written, and i think it works much better here than it did in zero sum. (the great thing about ditching old work, is that you can go back and mine it for some of the better jems and reuse them in newer works):

I saw a woman standing on the Lions Gate Bridge today. She’d been standing out there for half an hour. Completely stopped traffic in both directions. People were delayed. People were angry. Because it was one giant inconvenience. It’s like, if she was going to kill herself, why couldn’t she just do it at home? Take some pills, use a razor, get a gun. Most people don’t have guns, but then, Curt Kobain sang he didn’t have a gun and look what happened to him. But it’s not glorious enough, it’s not a spectacle. You had a bridge closed down with crowds of people milling about, trying to get a better look in a sea of cars like some sort of R.E.M. video. This woman wasn’t going to jump and everyone knew it. ‘Cause if she was going to she would have done it by then. So some moron, some de-evolved degenerate in the crowd started chanting, “Jump bitch, jump!” And the pack of wolves start taking up the chant. Jump bitch, jump. Mob stupidity is as infectious as laughter. Or S.A.R.S. And it’s then I got angry. Do you know why I got angry? Because I wanted to see blood. I wanted this to be done by. I wanted all this non-stop bullshit posturing to just… rot. Away. So I started chanting too. Jump bitch, jump. It’s like… she… we… are all just living for the sake of living. Hanging on just because.

so that's that. i have also completely fleshed out the plot for cooler than the millions. the first half of the book relies heavily on sean and her interaction with elton and john, and domestic terrorism that is inspired from the october crisis of 1970, when civil liberties were suspended and tanks roamed up and down the city streets in canada. yeah, canada, i know, sounds kind of funny, but this was a serious thing back then. prime minister pierre elliott trudeau invoked the war measure's act after the flq (front de ibération du québec) kidnapped a british diplomat and a quebec minister. in one of the most memorable quotes ever given by a canadian prime minister, trudeau responded to critics asking him how far he would go by saying, "just watch me."

the second act of the book will focus primarily on the character of john as he tries to deal with his own failures, as well as trying to come to terms with what it means to be a good person, and to find some sort of worth to himself. now, how this ties in with domestic terrorism and sean's sexuality lies in an overall general theme of men and their insecurities.

so far, the first half of the book has shaped up quite nicely. the book is slick, easy to read, heavy on dialogue and light on the narrative (which is a new thing for me, considering usually i write heavy narrative with most of the dialogue being internalized into the actual prose). the plot moves quickly, from one brief moment to the next. within a span of a half dozen pages, a character has been introduced, expanded, and changed all in a blink of an eye. overall, it should be about 60 pages, which is the length of this is hardcore, so that means in print, it will be about 200 pages or shorter.

at any rate, click on this link for a clip of prime minister trudeau and the interview he gave which led to his "just watch me" quote. it's an interesting impromptu interview dealing with civil liberties, police states, bleeding hearts and government duty to the public. this clip is just a mine of interesting quotes, like when trudeau mentions bleeding hearts who don't like the sight of troops with guns, he says "go on and bleed." say what you want about trudeau, but the guy had balls. as a side note, at the time, 85 percent of canadians agreed with invoking the war measure's act. just goes to show you what fear can do to people.


cooler than the millions

writing this book, cooler than the millions, has become such a pain in the ass. it has become an albatross to me. everything i have written is just on the cusp of perfection, yet completely disasterous at the same time because of this inability to reach that plateau.

so my options are to give up or to attack it head on. i have set an arbitrary deadline for the first draft and that is the end of august. the last time i finished a book in two months, it was a 500 page piece of shit that made no sense, but hey, i've gotten to the point where i just don't care. i want this over with. and if it turns out that i can't finish a draft by the end of august, i will abandon the book and start on something completely different. a harlequin romance, perhaps.

i will eat, sleep and breathe this book untill i hammer out a draft. one way or another, something is going to happen.

oh... i almost forgot. this is post #100. jesus.

***update*** things are moving ahead of plans. since posting this yesterday, i have written lots and am about 40% done the book. i should be at the halfway point by the end of this week hopefully. everything has actually just fallen into place. it's amazing what can happen once you finally get fed up with things.


writing under the influence

i never used to write under the influence. usually this is not a good thing. i have trouble concentrating the longer i write because the longer i sit there, the more i drink. and the more i drink, well, the stranger the writing gets.

at least that's how it used to be. i have, as of late, been writing under the influence. it usually starts out with a glass of wine or scotch or a beer, and then by the end of the night, i am too drunk to see the computer screen. don't get me wrong, i'm not falling into alcoholism, but i have been re-reading what little i manage to write (usually it's no more than a few sentances or paragraphs), and it isn't altogether too horrible. not great, but not terrible like the third year politics paper i once wrote after a night of drinking at university. i mean, who knew that trying to draw parallels between the fall of the soviet union and the fall of the roman empire was a stupid thing? i guess i would have known had i been sober.

when did this start? well, this started about a month ago. i was getting frustrated with how cooler than the millions was developing, or lack there of. so what do all good writers do in times of stress? go to the bottle. it's easy. of course it is. but the quality of writing is nowhere near as good as it can be. for me anyway. you hear of stories of writers creating masterpieces while drunk or high or both, and i find this just amazing. how one can release creativity through inebriation is something that is beyond me.

because i find everything tends to lose focus when i lose actual focus. i find i write the best when i have pent up energy inside me, energy that cannot stay pent up when i drink to relax. usually, this energy is pent up anger or depression or frustration. it's interesting, because i have now become one of those writers who cannot write happy. something has to be off-center with me in order for me to be creative. i suppose this is part of the reason why most of my books, if not all, tend to be real downers, even when i'm trying to write a happy ending.

for example, when i wrote desert sessions: an anticorporate love story, i wrote the ending to be pretty much neutral. neither happy or depressing, but depending on how people read it, they got different views on it. and most people found it depressing. disgustingly so. then came this is hardcore, which was intended to be depressing, but some people just shrugged when they finished the book. strange. fucking perceptions. cooler than the millions is supposed to be an uplifting book. we'll see where that goes.

in terms of progress, there isn't much on cooler than the millions. except for the fact that the protagonist is now becoming more of a side character, and Sean, the obligatory love interest, is becoming more and more unstable, resembling a lot of the women that i know in my life. meaning, she doesn't know what she wants, she doesn't know who she is, and more importantly, she can't find happiness in herself and looks for others to make her happy; but when she finds someone that makes her happy, of course she's afraid of it. this is not some sort of indictment against women; this is just the reality of the women i've known in my life. the strong women in my life are just boring to write about, that's all. let's face it: dysfunction can be tedious and annoying, but it grabs your attention better than the straight and narrow.

at any rate, you're probably wondering if i am under the influence right now, as i type this. i can tell you, no, i am not, because i am actually writing this from work on my lunch break. if i were doing this at home, then yeah, i probably would be half-cut by now. just kidding. i don't start my drinking until at least four p.m.