Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jack of All Media, Master of None

For those of you who simply can't get enough of me, I should warn both of you that I'm everywhere lately (or at least more full of myself lately than usual).

My recent appearance in a Los Angeles Times profile by journalist Scott Timberg, where he grilled me on on LA crime writer Robert Crais, was evidently just a warm-up act.

This week, an interview I did with Shannon Clute and Richard Edwards, the creators of the popular and most excellent OUT OF THE PAST and BEHIND THE BLACK MASK shows, was podcast. THE NOIRCAST SPECIAL #2: ALTERNATIVE NOIR PUBLICATIONS featured interviews with the creators of three alternative noir publications: Tee Morris, founder of podiobooks and author of the fantasy-hardboiled podiobook "Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword and Seth Harwood, author of the podiobook "Jack Wakes Up" starring movie-star one-hit-wonder and ex-drug-addict Jack Palms.

And me.

They introduced me as the "creator of the superlative THRILLING DETECTIVE website and ezine" but I still think I was there mostly to cleanse the palate. I dunno... I don't think it's my finest moment (Does anyone really like listening to themselves talk? Do I really mumble and um and er that much? Do I always sound that obtuse and full of crap?) but it was fun chatting with Shannon and Richard.

And this week, more or less, also saw the release of THE ROCKFORD FILES, SEASON FOUR. Which is good enough news for discerning fans of quality private eyes. But what makes it even cooler (for me, at least) is that, tucked away as a back-up feature, is my "television debut " from that Sleuth Network thing I did last year, featuring me and several other talking heads expounding on some of the most popular detectives in TV and film. It turns out this back-up feature is also included on a few other recent sets, including Columbo and Murder, She Wrote, but it's being included on the Rockford package that I'm most proud of. As everyone knows, I'm a stone-cold fan.

I mean, come on. Jimbo, Angel, Rocky, Beth, Dennis... and me? How cool is that?

I only wish my mom was still alive -- she'd get a real kick out of THAT one. She was my Rockford buddy.

Oh, and just because I'm stinkin' up the internet and television and newspapers and DVDs doesn't mean I've neglected my roots. Dave White's upcoming novel (his first), WHEN ONE MAN DIES, mentions me in the acknowledgements, and blames me and my THRILLING DETECTIVE partners in crime, Victoria and Gerald, for getting him into "this mess." Like, it's OUR fault the little bugger can write?

But I tell ya, all this attention is definitely going to my head. I may have to invest in a larger tuque...

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

All They Have to Do is Dream...

Damn, I keep forgetting to post something here. It's been (yet) another of those months.

But anyway, our topic today is dream sequences, eh?

I don't like 'em. People who talk all the time about their dreams and their significance are usually far more fascinating to themselves than anybody else.

Dreams are essentially mental farts, nothing more and nothing less. A sign of emotional indigestion. They're not some great spiritual revelation or psychic foreshadowing -- they're just your brain passing some excess gas.

And like farts of a more earthy origin, yours never smell quite as bad to yourself as they do to everyone else.

And dreams in books, particularly mysteries, are even worse.

I dunno. Unless they're an integral part of the character's emotions or psyche, dream sequences are more often just a wet fish in the face of narrative drive.

I just find most of them boring and hackneyed and pretentious, a short cut to cover up a lazy writer's expository sins of omission; a band-aid disguised as a hoary literary device.

In real life, dreams don't usually make much sense, yet they're tossed to the reader as the key to narrative enlightenment.

Like, "Let's summarize for readers what's happened so far -- or pave over a few parts I left out -- by having the character suddenly, out of the blue, dream up a recap."

Even worse are the dreams that help crack the case. Or the ones that foretell the future.

"Look! Look! She's driving away in a red car. Just like in the dream!!!!"


It may work for the suckers who line up like sheep to buy THE SECRET or whatever spiritual snake oil is popular this week, or devoutly "believe" in UFOs or crystals or astrology or werewolves or psychics or whatever, but it doesn't work for me.

Maybe I'm just too much a skeptic.

Or maybe I've just read too many dream sequences that stink up the joint..