The comptroller of New York City..
The comptroller of New York City ought to have all the characteristics of a major corporation's CFO - quiet rigor, obsessive care for detail, incorruptible judgment, an ability to work assiduously behind the scenes with the key stakeholders.
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My personal experience has been that in my 25 years of writing, I have not been asked to do more than four or five commercial one-shot scripts. These were performed on major national hook-ups but produced for me no immediate additional jobs or requests. One script for BBC was done around the world with an all-star cast.
The major poets of New Jersey have all suffered, whether it's Whitman, who lost his job for 'Leaves of Grass,' or William Carlos Williams, who was called a communist, or Ginsberg, whose 'Howl' was prosecuted, or myself. If you practise poetry the way I think it needs to be done, you're going to put yourself in jeopardy.
I think a lot of L.A. is something like USC - this incredible white culture living in the midst of color, and no obvious reaction to it at all. I mean, they have guards at the gate at USC - guards at the gate of a major university! And the guards chase young black boys away - I've seen it, chasing 8-year-old boys.
Some major writers have a huge impact, like Ayn Rand, who to my mind is a lousy fiction writer because her writing has no compassion and virtually no humor. She has a philosophical and economical message that she is passing off as fiction, but it really isn't fiction at all.
I found out about reviews early on. They're mostly written by sad men on bad afternoons. That's probably why I'm less angry than some writers, who are so narcissistic they consider every line of every review, even a thoughtful one, as major treason.
But I still read Shaw on a regular basis. What I love is the nakedness of the polemic and the irresistible good humour. For me, 'Major Barbara' is the greatest of all the plays in that it starts from the rational and proceeds to the ecstatic in a spectacular way, and leaves you very confused if you cling to Euclidean logic.
Even if every major government were to slap huge taxes on carbon fuels - which is not going to happen - it wouldn't do much to halt climate change any time soon. What it would do is cost us hundreds of billions - if not trillions - of dollars, because alternative energy technologies are not yet ready to take up the slack.
I was 21 in 1968, so I'm as much a child of the '60s as is possible to be. In those years the subject of religion had really almost disappeared; the idea that religion was going to be a major force in the life of our societies, in the West anyway, would have seemed absurd in 1968.
As I went to college, I went into radio and television. Now I suppose most people think that's one step ahead of basket weaving as a major in college, but it was part of the journalism department.
What has been forgotten is that there were major intellectual breakthroughs in the 1960s, thanks to North American writers of an older generation. There was a rupture in continuity, since most young people influenced by those breakthroughs did not enter the professions.
Does art have a future? Performance genres like opera, theater, music and dance are thriving all over the world, but the visual arts have been in slow decline for nearly 40 years. No major figure of profound influence has emerged in painting or sculpture since the waning of Pop Art and the birth of Minimalism in the early 1970s.
Look at the Chandra Levy case. It's become a Star Chamber. The major networks, the cable networks, they're being prosecutors. They're judges and jurors and executioners. Well, c'mon, that's ridiculous. But they're doing it.
Human material seems to have one major defect: it does not like to be considered merely as human material. It finds it hard to endure the feeling that it must resign itself to passive acceptance of changes introduced from above.
Most of the time I liked school and got good grades. In junior high, though, I hit a stumbling block with math - I used to come home and cry because of how frustrated I was! But after a few good teachers and a lot of perseverance, I ended up loving math and even choosing it as a major when I got to college.
So somebody told me that if I wasn't a coffee drinker yet, by the end of college I'd have to be, because a math major is so tough I would have to stay up very late. I was going to need coffee to do that. Well, merely because they said that, I never drank coffee in college, never got addicted to it, never needed it.
In high school, a teacher once suggested that I be a math major in college. I thought, 'Me? You've got to be joking!' I mean, in junior high, I used to come home and cry because I was so afraid of my math homework. Seriously, I was terrified of math.
To obfuscate the reconstruction of the effect - when a magician is fooled by another magician doing magic. In my career that's not been the major passion, but it's been the passion of a number of my mentors. The crowning achievement for them would be to create magic good enough to fool other magicians.
The properties of people and the properties of character have almost nothing to do with each other. They really don't. I know it seems like they do because we look alike, but people don't speak in dialogue. Their lives don't unfold in a series of scenes that form a narrative arc.
Let us say in the pocket of one of my old coats I find a movie ticket from many years ago. Once I see the ticket, not only do I remember that I saw this movie, but also scenes from this movie, which I think I have entirely forgotten, come back to me. Objects have this power, and I like it.
Everyone sort of sees his own life and times as being ephemeral. One thinks that everything good or important that happened, happened in the past. But I think that seeing scenes that you are used to, but with the heightening effects of poetry, perhaps makes you value your life and times more than you might otherwise do.
An enthusiastic desire of visiting the Old World haunted me from early childhood. I cherished a presentiment, amounting almost to belief, that I should one day behold the scenes, among which my fancy had so long wandered.
I like it when actors get an opportunity to chew into something. They love scenes with beginnings, middles, and ends - scenes that give an arc to their characters and allow audiences to get to know these people.
I paint mostly from real life. It has to start with that. Real people, real street scenes, behind the curtain scenes, live models, paintings, photographs, staged setups, architecture, grids, graphic design. Whatever it takes to make it work.
Every time one can write a self-deluded song, you are way ahead of the game, way ahead. Self-delusion is the basis of nearly all the great scenes in all the great plays, from 'Oedipus' to 'Hamlet.'
In The Touch, the love scenes are the same as they were in The Thorn Birds or anything else I've ever written. I find a way of saying that either it was heaven or hell but in a way that still leaves room for the reader to use their own imagination.
I am uncomfortable talking about the things that I write. It seems unseemly to me. I have no problem at all when I see anybody else talking about the same project, but I feel my work should speak for itself.