Here’s a story I wrote for the Ventura County Reporter on the Skull and Roses festival coming up next week at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Let me post the published version (below) and add some color, for those who like a little extra. From the VCR: At the end of 1995 the much beloved jamContinue reading “The Eternal Return of the Grateful Dead”
Category Archives: culture
Orwell and the earth
When [the critic] Woodcock compared Orwell to Antaeus, who draws his strength from the earth, he might have also meant that he drew his intellectual strength from the specific and the tangible and from firsthand experience. It set him at odds with an era in which ideologies led many astray, not least as doctrines defendingContinue reading “Orwell and the earth”
“Radical Distraction” by Saul Bellow
From Saul Bellow, in an essay from 1975, published in Critical Inquiry: “We are in a state of radical distraction,” he writes in “A World Too Much with Us,” an essay for the journal Critical Inquiry, in 1975, the same year Humboldt’s Gift appears. “I don’t see how we can be blind to the politicalContinue reading ““Radical Distraction” by Saul Bellow”
How Yoko turned on John’s imagination
A charming piece via the BBC, drawn from a new book, reveals how Yoko’s idealism turned on John’s imagination and — pretty directly it seems — inspired the creation of his most iconic song: Imagine. Specifically, Yoko’s book Grapefruit. Lennon said: “There’s a lot of pieces in it saying like ‘imagine this’ or ‘imagine that’,”Continue reading “How Yoko turned on John’s imagination”
What’s wrong with reality? (Red Desert)
It’s not a coincidence, surely, that Monica Vitti in the Italian movie poster for Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic Red Desert, from l964, assumes the position of the tormented man on the bridge in The Scream by Edvard Munch. Most of Antonioni’s movies seem to begin with a beautiful woman, usually Monica Vitti, rushing from the social sceneContinue reading “What’s wrong with reality? (Red Desert)”
The Not-Quite-Sober John Muir (review)
Here’s a book review/essay I wrote a while back for a journal called Wild Earth, that I repost here on A Change in the Wind because I want it to be Google-able. Below the fold I’ll put it the remainder of the review in a standard font. For Muir admirers, please let me say itContinue reading “The Not-Quite-Sober John Muir (review)”
Want success as a writer? Get rejected.
So argues Kim Liao, persuasively, in Lit Hub. She said she managed 43 rejections last year — a personal best. Last year, I got rejected 43 times by literary magazines, residencies, and fellowships—my best record since I started shooting for getting 100 rejections per year. It’s harder than it sounds, but also more gratifying. In late 2011, aContinue reading “Want success as a writer? Get rejected.”
The Lost Brother — Latterly strikes again
To encourage interest and subscription, Latterly magazine, an on-line journal of stories from around the world, run by the wizardly editor Ben Wolford, released as a “single” a marvelously rich and well-written, well-edited, and well-composed story about life north of the Arctic Circle, on an island off the coast of Iceland. It’s called The LostContinue reading “The Lost Brother — Latterly strikes again”
Visiting Larry McMurtry at Booked Up
A few years ago, back in the days when the LATimes had a stand-alone Sunday magazine, Scott Kraft wrote a tremendous story about visiting Larry McMurtry, the writer, author of "The Last Picture Show," "Lonesome Dove," and "Terms of Endearment," among many other great stories, at his bookstore in tiny Archer City Texas. It's called The Loner.
A couple of noteworthy lines:
McMurtry lives in a majestic three-story home a few doors down from the single-story house where he grew up and not far from the high school where he graduated in 1954 among a senior class of 19. He moved back to Archer City, population 1,848, just five years ago.
He keeps mostly to himself, and locals know better than to try to engage him in chitchat. "He's a very conservative-type feller," says Max Wood, the town's 68-year-old mayor. Wood has known McMurtry since high school but doesn't consider himself a close friend. "Larry was always the type of person who was more of a loner."
Here's a picture of McMurtry, from a photo posted in one of his bookstores in Booked Up:
Well, to put it simply, to learn that one of this nation's greatest writers has a bookstore — a monster bookstore — in a famous (from "The Last Picture Show") little town in Texas, and what's more hangs out at his store, and can be talked to — well, I had to visit. So yesterday, after attending a reporting workshop that gave me the chance to visit Dallas, two hours away, I did.
Stupid F*!’&ing Bird: To wake Chekhov from the dead
The big winner this week in theater awards for 2014 in Los Angeles was a Russian playwright who's been dead for over a century. Well, not exactly, but writer Aaron Posner's brilliantly free adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull did win the L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards for best ensemble, direction, and writing. It's just spectacular,Continue reading “Stupid F*!’&ing Bird: To wake Chekhov from the dead”