Birdman, life and extremes

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BirdmanAlejandro González Iñárritu, director of the film Birdman, recently had some interesting things to say about the movie’s main character, Riggan, played by Michael Keaton… and about all of us.

“He thinks that he is a great fucking artist half the time and half the time he thinks that he is a fucking jellyfish… We want to conquer the world and have 1,000 likes, 1 million likes, but at the same time we are depressed. We are lonely but we have 10,000 followers. We are all bipolar. I’m popular but I’m lonely, I’m an artist but I’m a whore. That’s how this guy [Riggan] operates.”

Great sound byte, that… mainly because it uses absolute extremes to make its point, just as Birdman is a film about a character living at the extremes of behavior.  And it forces readers to pause when considering themselves, making them self-evaluate against similar extremes.  As a writer, I am prompted by the comment to evaluate myself as “an artist… and a whore.” Continue reading

“The two types” of writers?

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Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith

I was just linked to an article by Mary Popova on author Zadie Smith, and her comments on the Psychology of the Two Types of Writers.  It’s a great read, mainly to gain an understanding of how Zadie herself works, and how she sees the authors who work in a different manner than herself, in creating a novel.

Though I enjoyed the article, I must admit to my own subconscious red flags waving as soon as I saw the title of the piece.  Not long after I dived in, I found:

Smith begins by proposing the two psychological profiles into which all writers fall — a dichotomy reminiscent of Italo Calvino’s hedgehog-versus-fox classification system of writerly personalities.

Reading further, I confirmed my own suspicions: That the two psychological profiles that Smith proposes encompasses “all writers”… do not happen to include me.

So, I would respectfully like to submit that there is another, equally valid psychological profile for writers, the profile which does, in fact, encompass writers like me: That of the Craftsman. Continue reading

Does anybody care?

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John Adams (from 1776, Columbia Pictures)

John Adams (from 1776, Columbia Pictures)

Since it’s fairly close to July fourth… and since I happen to be a fan of the movie “1776”… I feel it’s an appropriate time to borrow a question that was posed by John Adams in the dramatic finale of that movie, and which hangs somewhere in the mind of anyone who writes a novel, short story or article.

The question came up when I came across a blog post by Roz Morris, a response in letter form to a fellow writer who’d had a crisis of confidence in starting a book.  In that post’s responses, I commented on something that I felt Roz had missed pointing out: That a writer should consider whether their desire to write is impacted by the possibility that no one will read their work (or, if put on sale, that no one will want to buy it); is it worth the effort if no one touches your work?

This resulted in a second posting by Roz, addressing exactly that question. Continue reading