We’re On the Spectrum Between Ed Wood and Orson Welles

Ed Wood

Great piece by Andrew Bloom at Consequence of Sound that expresses  a notion I’ve been mulling since I first saw Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. Bloom drills down into the scene between Johnny Depp’s titular character and Vincent D’Onofrio as Orson Welles as the filmmakers discuss keeping to one’s artistic vision:

Burton and his collaborators sketch an unexpected parallel between the two unlikely “visionaries” here. The scene suggests that there’s a beauty in artistic purity, whether it comes from one of cinema’s most venerated artists or from its most deluded-if-earnest creators of crap. The film posits that all art contains a piece of the author’s soul, from cinema’s highest highs to its lowest lows, and that fact connects everyone with the foolhardy impulse to try to make good on the impulse to create.

Source: Ed Wood and Who Art Really Belongs To | Consequence of Sound

This kinship in creation, the idea that “everyone with the foolhardy impulse to try to make good on the impulse to create” are connected in a community of creativity is a marvelous notion. Especially for those of us making art who like to believe we’re on the spectrum somewhere between Welles and Wood, as with our art film project Pill Head. In the end, we’re part of a community, perhaps even a tradition and the esprit de corps this engenders is the fuel one needs when launching over such Quixotic humps like, you know, reality.

Though it’s technically easier than ever to make a movie, it’s still an act of outrageous will that gets them done. Moreover, per Bloom, when making work that contains “a piece of the author’s soul,”  you need to A) have a soul and B) believe you’re carrying a torch lit by a common flame. The connectivity of which Bloom writes is that flame — whether it’s (spoiler alert) Rosebud heaped into the fireplace  or the crackpot fire burning in Wood’s eyes — that connection, in spirit, is what ultimately helps our work connect with its audience and them to each other.

’Tis a strange serpent – Drinking in Literature

Drinking in literature.

From Viking magical mead poetry to Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall, here’s how writers have encapsulated an eternal boozy truth

Source: ’Tis a strange serpent – 10 of the most entertaining drinking bouts in literature | Books | The Guardian

I’ve written a few drunk scenes — pretty much any action in Quantum Deadline is preceded by a bout of booze. For that matter, I’ve written while drunk and might have even accidentally written literature once or twice but the combo of these efforts is weak sauce next to the depictions of drinking in literature by my forebears. Some intoxicating examples are included  in this brilliant sampling culled from A Short History of Drunkenness in the Guardian. My favorite from this lot is Byron’s:

Like other parties of the kind, it was first silent, then talky, then argumentative, then disputatious, then unintelligible, then altogethery, then inarticulate, and then drunk.

First off, why aren’t we using the term “altogethery?” And, second — damn, do I miss the kind of writerly roundtables Byron recounts. I seem to recall that some days at Aram’s Cafe in Petaluma were downright Algonquin but I might be looking back with rosé-tinted glasses in lieu of hindsight. Regardless, I’ve been daydreaming about ginning up my own private press club to be fueled by booze, banter and bylines.  Who’s in?

I admit this is a bit sentimental for my usual temperament. As I’ve written before, I’m more of a lone wolf hip to hang in a lone wolf pack and vacillate between being the alpha and omega dog. But people can change, right? Especially if there’s alcohol involved. And drinking and literature is almost as good as drinking in literature, which is the logical next step. If anyone can remember anything worth recounting. As Byron summed at end of one of epic evenings:

I carried away much wine, and the wine had previously carried away my memory; so that all was hiccup and happiness for the last hour or so, and I am not impregnated with any of the conversation.

Cheers to that, mate.