I went on one of my regular writer’s retreats and came back with all these ideas. One is a time travel short story. The other is screenplay for a romcom dealing with the power of modern technology.
And, yet, I still have four novels to work on and saving up the money to buy a really good Nikon camera so I can make that my second “creative track.”
So, while I might give myself 24 hours to be somewhat distracted by the short story, unless something big happens, after that, I’m going to throw myself fully back into the novels.
But I definitely feel like if I had someone in my life to kind of manage my creativity, I might be able to knock out a lot more art. And, yet, the only way that’s going to happen to me is, well, if I become a sucess.
Oh boy. Or, should I say…oh girl. Reviewing in my mind the male – female ratio character radio in my mind of these four novels I’m developing and writing and there appear to be a lot more female characters than male characters.
I know why this is.
First, I love women and if I’m going to think about a fictional person as is required to develop a “person” and not a “character,” I’d at least like that person to be a woman. Second, developing a female character is far, far more interesting and challenging.
But this also comes with amount of baggage. You can’t just “write a man then switch the pronouns” as is often suggested. Anyone who believes that is an oblivious idiot. The reason why they say that is so male writers won’t choke when it comes to writing from a female point of view.
And, yet, it gets worse!
Another problem is, by definition, there is a large segment of the female audience that hates the very idea of a man writing from a female point of view, no matter how well meaning they may be.
It’s all so problematic, conflated and annoying that all you can do is just figure out what your story is and press forward.
I hope to return to Seoul before I drop dead. Everything changed when I went to Asia. Or, should I say, everything changed when I met the late Annie Shapiro. I have a very romanticized recollection of those years of my life. I mean, Annie was no saint and I was so crazy that they put me in a book about crazy expats. (That was fun, let me tell you.)
In more than one way, the bolts popped off my sanity while I was in Asia. And I was so kneecapped on an emotional basis by what happened with ROKon Magazine that I pretty much was in neutral for a decade. But I can feel things beginning to change now.
Now that the novel series I’m working on is beginning to take shape and I have my potential “second track” of (fashion) photography, I’m beginning to get my emotional sea legs again. I think back to how I was a man on fire in Seoul and how I was “famous” and overexposed within the expat community for being everywhere and nowhere at once.
A lot — A LOT — could still go wrong. But the reason why photography, specifically is so appealing to me is it makes me the protagonist of my personal story again. Something has to change in my life for me to use the camera I want to buy successfully. I can’t just stay in neutral. I’m going to have to hit the pavement and see if I can crack some doors somewhere.
I remember how exciting it was in Seoul in late 2006 when Annie and I were changing the world with ROKon Magazine. I would do it all different now, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that fashion photography is, like being a rock DJ, a sweetspot in my personality. And it was in Asia that I realized I was not a journalist, but, rather a creative person. In a way, being a DJ and fashion photographer are same same but different in my mind. I’m using a similar part of my mind to tell stories, if you will.
But, as I keep saying, I’m about 20 years too old to start a career in (fashion) photography — or any creative career for that matter. They say “age ain’t nuthing but a number,” but “they” lie. All I can say is I have a native, organic talent with it comes to a few things and photography is one of them.
Getting into photography, if nothing else, elevates my serotonin levels.
So, through Twitter, I got something of a tip about a thriller series much like Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series. I was shocked once I started reading the first book in the series — the author, while obviously influenced greatly by Larsson, has a totally different interpretation of his work.
While I focus on the character aspects of Lisbeth Salander et al, this other author really honed in on the action-thriller part of what he wrote. He’s far more better educated than me and relative to the metrics of normal people, the type of guy who gets invited highfalutin cocktail parties. The closest I would get to such a thing with my current background, is a street urchin with my nose smudging the restaurant’s outside window.
So, I’m taken aback at what a poor artistic interpretation this other author has — in my opinion — of what made the Millennium series a success. Or maybe “poor” is too harsh. Maybe “dramatically different” is a better sentiment. To me, the story of Lisbeth Salander is of a woman who probably would have been pretty normal but for a very surreal and tragic upbringing.
At least, that’s how I see things.
But, I can dig that someone else would look at what I read and see that it’s the action-thriller aspect of the series that kept people reading. The three books in the original series are really action packed (after you get past the first 135 pages of the first book which are dull as dirt.)
Anyway. I wish my “rival” the best. I also want to crush him creatively by being far, far more successful than he is currently. I’m a loser nobody at the moment, yes, but I have a lot of drive and think Ii can pull another rabbit out of a hat before I drop dead.
Being a kook without any friends, you pay a social tax of sorts. People like me thrash around far, far longer than need be because we simply don’t have anyone to give us any advice. And, yet, there is a specific instance where this is helpful: when you decide to randomly do something because you feel its the best for you.
But given how messy the process of getting to the point where you know what you want to do is, people who are “normal” think you’re an idiot at best and a crank at worst. They just don’t take you seriously because you don’t meet the metrics of the “normal” world.
Or, to put another way, “It’s a creative thing, you wouldn’t understand.”
Anyway, for some time now, I’ve been very publicly and very conspicuously been thrashing around, looking for a second creative “track” to supplement my main track of writing a four novel series. A normal person, say, one with a significant other, would have probably either kept quiet about all this or have far less lofty goals.
But I’m old enough to know who I am. I’m 100% extroverted and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my life. I can’t just “follow the rules” because I have no fucking clue with the fucking rules are. And, gentle reader, the concept of “personal responsibility” to me is bullshit. In general, the phrase in my experience is a code word for being racist. The absolute need for people to take “personal responsibility” doesn’t account for what do you do when there are things out of your control? That aren’t your responsibility? Then what? What are the fucking rules for that?
The net result of all of this is actual, normal adults think I’m a fool. They grow tired of my dreams because it seems like I do a lot of talking and not a lot of hard work. So, when things suddenly change, they are shocked that I actually had it in me.
But back to (fashion) photography.
Photography, along with being a pop-rock DJ, is organic to my personality. The thing that has stopped me from doing anything with my photographic ability has been a lack of, well, equipment. I’ve been so wrapped up in buying books for the novels I’m working on that I’ve not thought much about anything else.
But, recently, as I’ve grown frustrated with the slow pace of the novels, I decided I wanted a second track. I first thought it was going to be screenwriting. And, yet, there’s a problem.
First, the learning curve for screenwriting is so severe that I would have to draw a lot — maybe all — of my energy away from my main track of working on the novels. That’s just not something I’m prepared to do.
So, after a lot of conspicuous thrashing about with different options, I’ve finally settled on photography as my second track because I have an organic ability and I’m using a totally different part of my mind to tell stories in a different way. What’s more I have a real passion for photography.
The only thing standing in my way at the moment is I’m very fucking stubborn and want to buy the best possible camera I can. I don’t really have anything to take pictures of — there’s no rush — so I’m content to bide my time while I save up the money necessary to get the camera I think would be best for me for the type of photography I want to engage in.
But, as I mentioned, the process of getting to this point has left anyone paying attention thinking I’m a (drunk) (bonkers) fool who is all talk and can be safely ignored.
And, yet, as I like to say, I’ll put a move on you.
Oh good God, do I need to wrap something up sooner rather than later. I have four good-to-great novels I’m working on and I keep spinning my wheels when it comes to the specifics.
I think, honestly, that what’s going on is a form of the dreaded writer’s block. But, in this case, it’s not that I don’t know what to write, it’s that I write all this really good copy and…then throw it out because it’s not perfect. It doesn’t fit the exact vision I have in my mind.
And this repeats over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over for months and…gulp…years. So, starting today, I’m going to do something radical — I’m not starting at the beginning anymore.
I have much of the first novel mapped out with an outline. So, I’m going to pick random chapters in the outline and write them out. I may, for the sake of some sort of overall vision, start to write from the midpoint and finish the second half of the novel to force myself to finish the novel.
That’s all I got. That’s the Hail Mary Pass move I’m going to finish this first novel so I can finish all four novels by my birthday in February. I feel so embarrassed that I’ve been talking about these novels for years now and I have nothing to show for it.
But, to be fair, some of that comes from I doubled the project on the fly because I felt it was absolutely necessary.
Anyway. At least I have some sort of strategy as to get myself out of this very annoying hole. Wish me luck.
Hmm. The last few weeks, I’ve felt something shift in the cosmos. It’s as if I feel a ping from Something Big that is going to happen in a few months. I generally don’t believe in such bullshit — I’ve had such feelings before, only for them to pass — but, I dunno.
One thing it could be is I’ve finally figured out what my second creative “track” is going to be — photography — and I’m generally stoked about all the potential things that might flow from it. It’s going to be as late as around my birthday in February for me to get all the equipment I want, but I’m still feeling very pleased.
I finally — finally — know what the other thing I want to do with my life is. Also around my birthday, I’m determined to have four first drafts done of the novels series I’ve been working on. I’m a person who likes a deadline and so I’m determined to give myself a crazy short deadline in hopes of forcing the issue so I finally produce something, anything before I croke.
I remember what happened in Seoul in the late 2006 – early 2007 timeframe and I feel I can do it again: be famous for at least two major creative endeavors. For a long time, I thought it was going to be four novels and and writing screenplays…but now, it may be four novels and some sort of career in (fashion) photography.
But, lulz, I know, I know, I’m too old and I’m probably too big of a kook for anyone to take me seriously, even if I can consistently produce excellent photos. And, yet, this is my dream and I’m wasting my time with it, so leave me alone, ok?
It will be interesting to see if I can pull this rabbit out of a hat or if a year from now I’m essentially in exactly the same place, saying exactly the same things. That’s my fear, at least.
Things are going really well with these four novels that I’m developing and writing all at the same time. And, yet, there’s a problem — I’m lingering a little too long on the beginning of the first novel.
I keep revising and revising the exact sequence of scenes to a ridiculous extent.
I’m giving myself an astonishingly tight turn around timeframe. I want to finish the first draft of the last novel no later than around my birthday in February. I’ve done a back-of-the-envelope schedule for myself and to fit into it I need to break this bad habit of mulling the beginning of the first book so much.
As such, I’m moving on. Leaving scenes blank beyond their description in the outline. I can come back to the scenes I haven’t finished at some point later in the process. I know what I’m going to write in them, it’s just something doing so causes me to tinker with everything over and over again to the point that I don’t get past the first three chapters.
This is not, in the long run, sustainable.
So, instead of fucking with chapters 1, 2, 3, of the first novel, I’m going to delve into its chapters 4, 5, 6, 7. As it stands, the first act ends around Chapter 10 (the exact number keeps bouncing around between 7,8,9 & 10). But these four novels are so good, so interesting and I have the looming prospect of buying a Nikon 780 in the next few months in front of me that I’m feeling a huge amount of self-generated pressure to put up or shut up.
My writing and storytelling ability is so much better than it was when I started this process. Time to rock.
“You’re a delusional jerk with a good heart,” the late Annie Shapiro about me, circa 2007.
by Shelt Garner @sheltgarner
Oh, Jesus. One thing that really annoys me is when people won’t give me the benefit of the doubt and assume the absolute worst about me and my intentions. I’m WELL AWARE that I can across as an Internet crank to people who are paying attention. The worst thing ever said about me (above), however, was by the late Annie Shapiro while we were emotionally at war over the late, great ROKon Magazine in Seoul.
Annie called me, essentially, an asshole, when I was extremely unhappy with her for bringing back the magazine we started behind my back. It was probably one of the worst experiences in my life, seeing my “baby” back in print without me being involved. I was, on an emotional level, so kneecapped that I didn’t really have any motivation to do anything for ten years.
But, just in the last few weeks, something has changed. I feel the pressure of a milestone birthday looming on the horizon and I want to do something interesting with my life again. This are finally going well with these four novels I’m working on and I feel as though finally, after much trial and error I’ve figured out what my second tract will be — fashion photography.
I’ve always been a late bloomer, why change now?
I totally understand if you’re someone who’s been paying attention to my ranting online over the years and you think I’m nothing more than yet another deranged Internet crank. First, I think you’re full of shit and second you’re totally oblivious to what happened in Seoul.
In fact, I would go so far as to say now that I have both motivation and ambition, there’s a pretty good chance that I may re-create the situation I had in Seoul at my height where I “famous” for more than one thing. In that case, I was an expat pop-rock DJ AND the publisher of the monthly English magazine in the city. So, lulz and fuck you. (Wink.)
It’d kind of wild it’s taken me THIS long to make fashion photography my second creative “track.” I thought it was going to be screenwriting — I went so far as to buy Final Draft — but something weird began to happen recently. For some reason, I was really hyper-sensitive to any reference to professional photography that happened around me.
Things came to a tipping point where I realized that like being a pop-rock DJ, I am a good enough photographer on an organic basis that I probably could do it professionally with the right equipment and some study. So, here we are.
Now, I’m just waiting to save up the funds to buy a REALLY GOOD Nikon camera so I can begin to work my way towards breaking into the fashion photography business. I’m being rather — even extremely — delusional to think I can pull such a think off, but it’s better than just lying in bed and staring into space.
Hope is what keeps us alive.
As I grow older, I really appricate that life is precious. We’re given a limited amount of time on earth and it’s our responsibility to use what native talents we have to the absolute best of our ability.