Where Ideas Come From

In a 1970 interview with Rod Serling by sci-fi author James Gunn, Serling recalls…

…99% of the writing that arrives on the desk of a mass media guy is pretty therapeutic writing. These are people who generally preface by saying, “I ain’t such a good writer but I got this real good idea in my dream after eating the rancid mayonaise…”

It’s about 8’59” in…

Don’s Big Score

Got back from Ithacon, the local comic show. Once again, I failed to connect with local great Roger Stern because of my perpetual shyness, but I just had to go and shake the hand of guest Bob “The Answer Man” Rozakis! I used to live for his “Ask the Answer Man” columns in the back of DC’s comics when I was a kid. Thanks to him, I learned the secret identities of most of the Legion of Super Heroes and in what issue the Batman of Earth-2 died.

I would’ve loved to have had an “Ask the Answer Man” column for him to sign, but I didn’t. Felt bad. He was a swell guy, too. I bought a boatload of 2/$1 books from him and accidentally left one, which he walked over to me. I ran into him again at another dealer’s table as I was flipping through old issues of Detective Comics. I pulled out one with an interesting cover (Issue 467, from Feb. 1977) when I heard someone next to me saying, “I wrote that.” What happened next was a no-brainer…

Other things I picked up…

  • The six-issue run of DC: The New Frontier
  • Jonathan Lethem’s Omega the Unknown, #1
  • Four issues of Steve Edmond’s Emo Boy
  • The first 8 (of 9) issues of Captain Atom: Armageddon (a DC/Wildstorm crossover)
  • A metric crapload of Bendis’ & Oeming’s Powers from Image Comics
  • A discounted copy of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics

Oddly enough, none of these items were on my list!

I should also mention a pleasant conversation I had with artist Jime Alena Grabowski! The Wife bought a print from her a couple of years ago of “a chick” as Grabowski put it. Her drawings nowadays are completely different. There’s a print I’m interested in, so I gotta get to emailing if I want it.

Some Catching Up

Happenings on the “life outside writing/blogging/anything artistic” front have been flying. News on those if/when things germinate. For now, here’re some things I’ve been meaning to post for the past month…

Now what am I supposed to watch on Sunday mornings?

[Michael] Chabon defends mass entertainment against the accusation that it is merely a formulaic product. At times it is; yet commercial culture’s focus on deadlines and profits can also act as a “quickening force” on an artist’s imagination. He demonstrates this with discerning essays on Arthur Conan Doyle, Will Eisner and Howard Chaykin, all of whom, like Chabon himself, attained the ultimate goal of the “pop artisan”: a delicate balance between “the unashamedly commercial and the purely aesthetic”. He disagrees with those who equate literary entertainment with mindless escapism, passive consumption or unproductive activity (“guilty pleasures” is “a phrase I loathe”). Instead, he finds that different forms of writing offer distinct satisfactions to an alert reader.

It’ll probably still be a while before you can neurointerface directly with the internet or your friends and lovers, but psychologists are testing implantable brain ‘pacemakers’ that regulate brain activity and so far appear really useful for treating the most stubborn forms of depression.

But we can dream, can’t we?

Some people may think that a monk is somewhat reclusive — kind of isolated, in a bubble, meditating all day. But it’s quite the opposite. I’m on the computer, e-mailing. I’m driving, using cell phones and using Facebook. I have my own Web site.

Maybe becoming a monk isn’t so bad after all.

Before Battlestar

Much as I love both incarnations of Doctor Who, there’s one show I will always like better, and that’s Blake’s 7.

Moral ambiguity, a corrupt galactic Federation, terrorists-as-heroes, story and character arcs. Unfortunately, a lot of those episodes were visually comparable to the Doctor Who episodes of the time. Plus, some episodes were stinkers, too. If someone new to the show caught the wrong episode, he’d probably swear it off for life.

Luckily, the folks at io9 have put together How To Get Into Rebel Space Opera Blake's 7