Monday, October 4, 2010

If you want to write a screenplay...

Graham Greene, whose works include The Third Man and The fallen Idol, speaks in his memoirs of how for him "it is impossible to write a film play without first writing a story. A film depends on more than plot; it depends on a certain measure of characterization, on mood and atmosphere, and these seem impossible to capture for the first time in the full shorthand of a conventional treatment... The Third Man, therefore, had to start as a story rather than a treatment before I began working on what seemed the interminable transformations from one screenplay to another... The film in fact is better than the story because it is in this case the finished state of the story."

Monday, August 30, 2010


Beware anyone presuming to teach memoir writing who says of their own memoir work "There are places I just will not go."

Monday, July 19, 2010


Amazing writing events already this summer. The latest running of the Memoir Festival that Marta and I created. And also the running of the Authentic Writing Solo Show Workshop that I did with Suzanne Bachner and Bob Brader. And on Sunday July 25 Marta at the famous KGB Bar! And now back in our regular workshops, and what seems to be the downhill stretch of my memoir The Aqua Mustang - which can be seen in developing stages at

Monday, January 11, 2010


I all too frequently hear some wimpy novelist, whether of the thriller or nice-nice variety, talking on public radio about how he or she lets the characters take over, and it is just so surprising, these fools say, what they see these mostly made-up characters do in their mostly made-up situations.

And the fawning interviewer often says that this nonsense proves the conventional novelist is brave. The novelist who plays it safe by running fast from anything real.

Recently, as our Paris trip comes closer, we have been moving back to Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Sometimes they get into literary fantasy too, but this is rare, for it is so clear that they – in the manner not so much of novelists as of the best of today’s memoir writers – work hard to find out what is in the concrete reality of their own lives – not some fantasy thing that disturbs no one and makes professors of literature and conventional writing teachers feel safe.