March 22, 2014
From pulp writer of westerns Louis L’Amour to composer Stephen Sondheim I hope to find my center somewhere between those two artists. I have a boundless admiration for L’Amour, because he wrote 100 novels, and there is something magical about Sondheim’s input as a theater composer as well. Sondheim is probably the best known figure in modern (and quality) theater, and I ….want to be placed among those two giants. The bitter truth is that I am not as good as those two.
It is not certain at this moment that I will be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, since at this moment and time, I only have one book published and one out-of-print volume of poetry. To my wife and I we feel that alone should guarantee me at least a shot at the big prize. To write in this day and age is only two steps away from total disaster on many fronts. First and the most obvious is the financial aspect of being a writer - which I can only see now is non-existent. I abandoned my job at a bookstore to totally focus on what’s in my head and obsessing how to get those thoughts on a piece of white blank paper. So far, the blank piece of white paper is winning the battle. But alas, there are many battles in a war, and I shall become a victor!
As of now, I live my life like Chico Marx, in that I have to hustle, gamble, and sneak money from every avenue and road that lay in front of me. The one image in my head when I wake up in the morning is the Nobel Prize and the second image is of the same thing when I go to sleep at night.
For inspiration, I often think of the actor Ross Martin who played Artemus Gordon in the great western TV show “The Wild Wild West.” What I loved about him is that he’s the side kick to the James West character, but it strikes me that he is sort of an Iago to Othello, that he’s actually the main character of the narrative, but is hiding in plain sight. Writing to me, is someone who appears to be invisible, but alas, they are there reporting what’s in front of them. The art of the writing is finding out what you should pick out in front of you. Right now, from my angle of the writing table, I see a book of art by Yayoi Kusama, but the color scheme is inappropriate for my sense of aesthetic, even though I do have a great appreciation for her art and focus in life. The ‘visual’ life is of great importance to me, because when I take my daily walks through Tokyo, I often think of the cartoon strip “Little Lulu” which was created by a genius named John Stanley. Her observations on a daily basis saves the day for her and her friends in the strip, and I think to myself “if only I can do that in my life for me and my friends.” Would it be possible to write a work of fiction, and somehow the world will turn out better, and therefore I will win the Nobel Prize for that alone?”
Common sense tells me that I will fail miserably. But failure alone is interesting. I’m one of the very few people on this planet that actually likes the Keith Relf solo recordings more than his band, The Yardbirds. And for sure his solo work was one of the significant failures in 1960s pop music. So my next thought is can I fail, but fail on a grand scale, where people and readers will notice me?