How to Tell The Damn Story – Book Recommendations

So, this short video recommends two books I am hot on right now, one about writing fiction, the other about writing comics.

I hope you find this helpful. Let me know in the comments section.

Posted in comics, digital publishing, ebook publishing, education, fiction, independent publishing, Marvel, pop culture, Pulp fiction, self-publishing, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

150 Words on The Daily Show: an Oral History

Jon Stewart changed television, and possibly the country, with his 16 years on The Daily Show. Love him or hate him, his impact persists. And this engaging book demonstrates why.  

Retold almost entirely in quotes from the participants, the book chronicles the program from just prior to Stewart’s arrival to a bit after his final show, and in the telling reveals Stewart as a mensch who was dedicated to the honesty of the performances, recruiting the highest caliber talents available onscreen and off, and, most importantly, challenging all (including himself) to engage in the national discussion. Each of these have had lasting impact, with the first two creating a legacy of voices, some still on the show, others (Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and many others) who are still challenging authority, and the latter arguably expressing itself in among the largest demonstrations in American history.

Highly recommended, especially now.

Posted in #POTUS, America, politics, pop culture, writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

100 Words In Defense of Hannah Baker?

Some commenters are claiming that while they cannot stop watching 13 Reasons Why, they hate Hannah Baker and believe all the characters are “privileged assholes”.

I suspect this the point. In this country of immense wealth and power, where many are well-fed and indulge whims easily, the sad truth is that suicide is the second highest cause of teen death.

That only makes sense when viewed as existing in a deeply flawed society, one that produces the traumatized thinking of a Hannah Baker too often. 

Our society needs to rediscover its humanity.  13 Reasons Why seeks to start that process.

Posted in America, fiction, film, High school, pop culture, teenagers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

100 Words on 13 Reasons Why

The highest praise that can be properly placed on the Netflix hit “13 Reasons Why” is that it lets no one off the hook. Not the characters. Not the writers. Not the producers or directors or anyone else behind the camera. And definitely not the audience. 

And that is to be praised highly. 

This 13-part show (with a must-see 14th part) takes risks, keeps its eyes – and ours – wide open, and pulls no punches. The result is an experience that stays with you long after the show is over. 

Very highly recommended. Might be mandatory viewing for high school students. 

Posted in America, education, fiction, film, High school, pop culture, teenagers, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

100 Words on Colassal

Anne Hathaway and Jason Sedekeis take on an interesting mash-up of film styles with “Colassal” — an apt title in many ways. What starts off as the break-up section of a rom-com quickly morphs through a “can’t go home again” stage to an “Iron Giant” light comedy before doing a simultaneous plunge into dark comedy and darker drama concerned with mass destruction, relationship abuse, and a hero’s rise, all with an indie feel.

Pretty impressive.

And like some indies, a moment or two are a slightly off, but overall, this outrageously far fetched premise works better than you might expect. 


Posted in fiction, film, Independent film, pop culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Short Words: Did Lady Gaga Move America Toward a Serious Third Party?

I’ve held this post for a week thinking I may be suffering from incurable Washingtonitis, but … 

Did Lady Gaga actually role model the foundational concept for a new political party during the opening of her Super Bowl performance? 

Hear me out before you claim that yes I have, in fact, had a politics-induced breakdown. 

Gaga opened metaphorically on top of America’s passion, sang a calmly gorgeous mash-up of positivity: “America the Beautiful”, Woody Guthrie’s subtle protest song “This Land is Your Land” and then recited an excerpt from the embattled “Pledge of Allegiance” simply stating, “One nation. Under God. Indivisible. With liberty and justice … For all.” 

She did this in front of patriotically lit drones (we mostly use drones for war) invoking our flag, and then leapt into the heart of Americana … all while wearing purple, the color that results from a true blend of red, white, and blue.

The Gaga then went on to both sing of LBGTQ rights and say hello to Mom and Dad.

And for the past week I have been thinking that, in a very real way, she may be the answer to the question, “What ultimately emerges from all these protests and marches and calls to elected officials?”

Perhaps this entire, historic movement is the birth of a new party, a Purple Party, one that actively recruits and supports centrist Democrats and Republicans who demonstrably and reasonably discuss and support “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice … For all.” 

Perhaps we are seeing the birth of a party which shuns politicians who subsist on smear campaigns and fear mongering, who instead embrace realistic, reasonable progress of the glorious tapestry that is America. 

Maybe we are seeing the formation of a party which runs a blended ticket of those who were Democrats and Republicans but now opt to be Reasonables, a party that supports only those politicians and businesses who promote down-the-middle, reasonable American ideals. 

And Gaga may have given that party its foundational philosophy. 

Is this where this New American Revolution is heading? I don’t know, but the marches and protests in front of the homes of elected officials from both parties, and The Gaga American Prayer… all of that gives me hope.

Whatever the answer, I remain awed that we live in such a great country. Right here, right now. No matter what others say.

Let’s move forward.

Posted in #POTUS, #Trump, America, politics, pop culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

100 Words: On Five Ways to Cope With the Trump Tsunami

It has been a fast paced few days since Trump took office. Many feel an unease unparalleled in our lives.

More people are posting about stress, depression, and/or anxiety.

So how do we cope? Here are a few ideas:

1) Don’t OD on News- hours of watching changes nothing.

2) Choose your issues- focusing on one or two is more efficient

3) Call your legislators, often- it makes a bigger impact than email

4) Pursue other passions- geek out on what you love; it helps balance you

5) eat, sleep, move- your health is your first defense

Above all, remember you are not alone.

Posted in #POTUS, #Trump, America, politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment