Motel in San Luis Obispo – John Fraim
Still pondering turning my ideas on Coltrane into a screenplay. Some days I want to. Others days not so much. Other projects bark at me. I am reading the best writer I have read in many years in the writing of Denis Johnson. Read Train Dreams and then Jesus’ Son and now reading his latest novel The Laughing Monster (FSG,October 2014). A combination of VS Naipaul and the old crime writer Jim Thompson (The Killer Inside Me). Perhaps the most beautifully juxtaposed metaphors in current literature. Words that don’t just follow in some logical line but rather crash head on head with other words. Like those old bump-n-cars in the amusement parks of the 50s.
Mixed on this is music and now thinking (as you know) of making my book Spirit Catcher into a screenplay. I need to read Lewis Porter’s book on Trane (the definitive one) and then engage him as a consultant on the screenplay. One of the first steps, is contacting Coltrane’s son Ravi Coltrane. This was suggested by Lewsi Porter and I think it is a good idea. He should be one of the first people to come onto a feature film around his father’s life.
I find creativity is up and down during during the days. There is a small demand on my time as head of marketing and PR for the Palm Springs Writers Guild. (I mentioned to you that I turned down the offer to be President of the group). Most of the other time is spent in somewhat of an idle gear right now, wondering which direction to go. When you start a lot of projects but don’t finish them, like I’ve done, then they are always like particular literary “ghosts” from the past in your life that hover around at particular times. I think I can understand Dickens’ Christmas Carol better than most because I understand what it’s like when old creative muses come back, reincarnated from the time they were first an idea than one expressed in words towards some end, but never completed.
There’s a good number of these old literary “ghosts” out there. Not dead by any means. Only forgotten for the time being. An outline for a history on Palm Desert. A novel I co-wrote. A survey on screenwriting books. A screenplay about the politics of the California water crisis. A concept for a pilot television series about life within a gated community. And, the screenplay for a Coltrane film.
In all of this, there is often a piece of music that so much embodies all of this. I don’t know how these particular pieces of music arrive at just the right time in my life. But they do arrive at these times.
And when they arrive, there are times when I think I could write a novel just around one particular song. Such as listening to Horace Silver’s United States of Mind album and the piece called “All.” One could talk about it but much better to listen to it. Any explanation in words doesn’t due it any justice. Reminds me in some ways of what you have always promoted through your conference on books that could change the world.
Mixed into this brew are the occasional brilliant films I see that move me. Few and far between these days but Citizen Four did the trick and got things going again. I wrote a review of it and posted on my site at https://greathousestories.com/2014/11/05/citizen-four/.
Be sure to listen to “All” below from YouTube.
So YouTube (again) proves to be the greates delivery vehicle for music as much as images …