recent musings

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. A few highlights:

  • attending a lecture by Jennifer Egan at UCSB, in which she spoke with Pico Iyer about nostalgia (“We all want what we just missed,”), journalism and writing fiction as the means to be delivered out of one’s life (“I don’t need to be who I am all the time,”), and fiction as the only true storytelling form that allows you inside a character, (“If you’re looking at an image, you’re on the outside,”).
  • going to a screening of Oliver Hermanus’s Living, a remake of Kurosawa’s Ikiru (one of my favorites). The screening included a Q&A session with Hermanus, screenwriter Kazuo Ishiguro (who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017), and actor Bill Nighy, in which the three filmmakers discussed auditioning hedonism in the face of tragic news, using time period as a means of creative constraint, and institutions facilitating procrastination.
  • continuing through the Team Deakins podcast, with discussions including Sam Mendes (who talks the distinction between film and theater, with some brilliatn example’s from Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day) and Ed Solomon (who discusses multitasking various writing projects, using one screenplay to “take a vacation” from another).
  • finishing Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way with a group of fellow artists, writers, and musicians, which has been a wonderful voyage these last few months. While I generally think of myself as creatively healthy, there were plenty of readings and exercises in this book to further open me up.
  • revisiting a few classics, including Rodman Philbrick’s The Last Book in the Universe and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. As I continue work on my novel about high school students and banned books, I’m having a blast revisiting the books that made me love reading in the first place. Another highlight from this year: going back to Neal Shusterman’s The Shadow Club and its sequel, The Shadow Club Rising.