Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Not Make a Commitment to Write At Least One Letter for a Prisoner of Conscience?

Amnesty.org This is Amnesty International's renowned website. You can get news updates on prisoners of conscience and find out what you can do to help someone be released from jail -- because of their political or religious beliefs!

Here is a student that needs your help:

"In April 2003 22-year-old Artur Akhmatkhanov was grabbed by masked soldiers and bundled into an armoured personnel carrier. He has not been seen since." - from Amnesty's website and the story there on Artur.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Feeling the Heat During V Fest Baltimore

Whew! It was over 100 degrees on Saturday, August 4, the first day of the Virgin Festival's return for its sophomore two-day run at Pimlico Race Course.

Two photographers and I had a fun time soaking in (pun intended) all the fest's attractions and stellar musicians: Amy Winehouse, Bad Brains, Modest Mouse, Cheap Trick, Ben Harper, Incubus, Wu-Tang Clan, The Beastie Boys and thirty-five more. Oh, yeah, The Police and Smashing Pumpkins, too. Here is a link to my review of the UK-based event for GLIDE magazine (www.glidemagazine.com).

[Editors: I am looking for other music and culture publications to contribute to, so don't be shy, drop me an e-mail at nelsonwriter[at]verizon[dot]net]

FREE Distraction - V Fest Review

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Creative Inspirations for a Better World

Latest Inspirations: (aka, ways to avoid deadlines and that novel yer writin')

- David Lynch: avant-garde filmmaker

- The Pink Spiders: kick-arse rock

- Gargoyle: invaluable lit mag

- Wolfmother: Aussie rock group (saw them before they hit it big; ain't I cool?)

- The White Stripes: siblings? lovers? aliens?

- Henry Miller: Literary Giant

- Henry Miller vid: a beautifully grumpy Miller as your NYC tour guide

- World Peace & Harmony: rich rockers gather for a good cause: climate in crisis

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Write On! Writers & Editors Connect

On Saturday, May 5, I attended the Conversations and Connections conference at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. It was ginormously fun and informative – even for an outsider like me. Oh, sure, I look conservative and cocksure, but I am a self-consumed artist type that would rather spend time reading, writing, talking about books and film, and playing my guitars. Who wouldn’t?

It was great to see so many writers venture outside of their abodes (or trailers) and commingle. I met some new friends, editors, great journals, and had some excellent stir-fry around the corner from The Center during lunch. A great way to spend a Saturday.

Bought two new (to me) journals while at the conference: BARRELHOUSE and met some of its editors – hip, well-spoken guys, wish I could’ve stayed down in the DC area for their anniversary after party. Maybe next time. Also, got a copy of GARGOYLE. Both contain great art and writing – cracked into them last evening.

This was inspirational, educational, non-habit forming – OK, maybe it was – and, again, a great social gathering of creative souls. Good writing and publishing to all that attended. See you here and on the bookshelves.

- Tim

Today's Quote: "...the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"
- On the Road, Jack Kerouac

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lists to Make You Happy - We Need More Lists

Since it's that time of year (?), here are some LISTS:

Best 80s Bands, according to me:

- Echo and the Bunnymen

- The Clash

- Grandmaster Flash...

- U2 (they're still around, aren't they?)

- The Cult (another Ian fronted band)

- The Cure

- The Smiths

- Van Halen (Eddie ruled)

- The Waterboys

Surreal Movies That Every Film Fan Should See:

- Orphee (Orpheus) by Cocteau

- Blue Velvet

- Wild at Heart by David Lynch

- Brazil

- Being John Malkovich

- Lost in Translation (really just a fine existentialism film)

- The Royal Tenenbaums

Monday, April 09, 2007

For National Poetry Month... for the coterie that reads poetry

I had a request for one of my poems, so here it is - thanks. It's a work-in-progress, of course. Plus, another, older one below this one.

A HOMECOMING

They bring them home
in silence, wrapped in crimson stripes,
Death's import

their last flight across the Atlantic –
its choppy waves far below –
they did not sense

the hum of the plane
is a hollow drone
can they see in their new dark?

Their families –
standing at a base of black –
await their arrival home

Three a.m.
tired eyes cry
never got to say goodbye

~


THE WASTING OF NOW

drifting down the river, most buoyant and free
no fear of snakes or harm, but no reason why
carefree attitude is a free-will choice, embracing life
the wasting of now is most productive in its joy and meaningless
affirmation of breath, skin – mildly cold and defensive – eyes, nose, and ears gathering without judgment, only drinking in
the lavish hues and scents: spectrum of greens and browns; mud, earth, bacterial decay, crisp-sky air, my own breath

arms swaying and waving in the cool water, correcting path
feet pointed downstream, guide for eyes, sight on each gentle apex
a light rain begins and I weep thinking of this return, the cycle of
water

my tears mixing with rain and river

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Links & Thinks

Hello. Thank you for visiting. Surely you are busy saving the world from injustice, corruption, and "poorly designed" websites.

Obviously, you need a break, so get a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy some mind-expanding Internet links to connect you to the light that is filling the voids of darkness. Remember to breathe.

[Also, stay tuned for some exciting news on a publication of my poems. They will be available for "a song" right here from this site. More soon.]

Brace yourself for transformation and enlightenment:

Charity/Stewardship: Get rid of your loose change here, dig deep...

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

RiverKeeper - a non-profit overseen by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmental lawyer busy suing the pants off of illegal polluters so our children can breathe and maybe actually eat the fish from our waterways.

Inspiration:

INLAND EMPIRE by David Lynch - his latest surreal offering is winning over more fans of his artistic, inspirational "nightmares."

New age guru, and a grounded, powerful writer, Gary Zukav will be despised by gun-slinging deer hunters and right-wing extremists -- that's a good thing. Keeps the world in balance.

So will Dr. Wayne Dyer. The author of Pulling Your Own Strings and The Sky's the Limit is still going strong. Another wise soul who advises that happiness and "the light" are within, if we intend to do the work to mine it. Will be despised by most entertainment-hungry, externally centered souls. But that's OK, all in good time.

[Editorial Note: Yes, the editors of this site risk readership by adopting the east coast, and literary, tradition of sarcasm. We think it works. Send cards, e-mails, or letters to the editors, which will be recycled, blocked as spam, or folded into paper airplanes... just kidding. Agents, producers, folks with an interest in supporting the arts: the writers of this blog are highly employable, respectable, trustworthy, and caring individuals (OK, it's just me), so please e-mail us (me) with inquiries.

Other Inspiration:

Music - Modest Mouse has a new release. The band also has a new member, Johnny Marr of The Smiths fame. This should be an exciting chapter in the band's career. We'll keep watching and listening.

Well, thanks for visiting. Hope you visit again for a bit of inspiration.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Novels, scripts, struggle, podcasts

Ever since Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month challenge - try it next November!), I have been struggling a bit to stay focused on this evolving-novel project; up to 19,000 words, and there are some good ones, if I can be cocky. This motivator helped me set a daily writing goal, which I found very helpful.

Other writing: I write a few poems per week, usually during lunch breaks. I like to get away from my job, walk to the high school football field nearby, and write down some thoughts and observations, trying to match the most powerful, eloquent language to describe whatever it is that I am going for in the poem.

Podcast recommendations: I've been listening to a few regular podcasts and would recommend them - Creative Screenwriting magazine's podcasts (avail. through iTunes for free) and Barbara Demarco-Barrett's Writers on Writing podcast (see also http://penonfire.blogspot.com/ for more).

Polishing up a screenplay I wrote several years ago and received positive feedback on from a few people that work in the film industry. It's a drama centered on divorce -- yes, it's life affirming. Agents and producers, e-mail me and I will send you some pages.

Three courses (four at most) left on my master's degree ... yee ha!

Reading:
Until next time, happy reading and writing,

- Tim

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Resurgence of Excellence in Hollyweird (Commercial) Films: Can't Break His Will

Having worked nearly eight years in film production, I watch films with a hypercritical eye. Especially having read numerous books on film and visual imagery, e.g. Ways of Seeing by Berger, Story by Robert McKee, and In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch, my expectations are high when offering up eight to ten dollars for a film experience. Also, I should share that my film interests are wide: classic, Film Noir, films by John Hughes, David Lynch, Tim Burton (most of them), Alex Cox, Spike Jonze, and films written by Charles Kaufman, among others.

So recently I saw The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith and his son. I entered the film house with little expectation of what it would be like other than the general media buzz that it was good. Being critical of the media, I knew that this was not a guarantee of finding it satisfying, but I went to see a drama about a working-class man who confronts the many challenges encountered when “climbing the ladder” of success or “pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps.” The film engaged me and brought forth emotion. That being said, I consider it a successful film.

Visually, the city of San Francisco is stunning and a stark contrast against Smith’s character’s humble apartment and hotel rooms in which his family lives. Without giving away too much plot, in case you have not yet seen this film, I will keep the discussion general. Again, being a veteran of filmmaking and its techniques, I was happily engrossed in the storytelling enough to forget that a crew was hovering outside of each frame – a difficult thing for me to accomplish usually. This is not innovative, earth-shattering movie making – as some on rottentomatoes.com apparently expected – but an engaging, heartfelt story of struggle in our often heartless economic system. Yes, some of the characters are stereotypical and thinly written. Overall, the viewer witnesses a moving tale of one family’s survival and disappointments, which either strengthens their determination or breaks their will. The son – Smith’s actual son – is a brilliant, believable actor. Personally, I have never seen Will Smith in a better film or performance – one forgets all about the radically opposite role he played in Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He deserves awards and recognition for Happyness. He will get it.

So, in review, here is how the film “roped me in”:

- Strong characters and narrative (traditionally linear in fashion)
- A believable story with drama and conflict building in tension
- A classic release of tension in the story’s resolution, however, one might decide it is too predictable; I did not – the actual scenes and dialogue making up the resolution were fresh and consistent with the story arc.

If you, as I often am, are looking for non-traditional forms of storytelling and filmmaking – Big Fish, Brazil, Magnolia, Being John Malkovich… – then this is not going to satisfy. However, if you are seeking a life-affirming human story of struggle and success, even more convincing or at least as heartfelt as Rudy, then Happyness is that sort of film. - Tim J. Nelson