Some major writers have a huge..
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.
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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.
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.
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.
I am truly at my happiest not when I am writing an aria for an actor or making a grand political or social point. I am at my happiest when I've figured out a fun way for somebody to slip on a banana peel.
The rules are all in a sixty-four-page pamphlet by Aristotle called 'Poetics.' It was written almost three thousand years ago, but I promise you, if something is wrong with what you're writing, you've probably broken one of Aristotle's rules.
I can't complain that I've had a public all through my writing life, but people don't quite know what I've written. People don't read you too closely. Perhaps, after I've died, they'll look at my stuff, and read it through, and find there's more in it. That may be wrong, but that's what I comfort myself with.
I'm more comfortable writing traditional protagonists. But 'Steve Jobs' and 'The Social Network' have antiheroes. I like to write antiheroes as if they're making their case to God about why they should be allowed into heaven. I have to find something in that character that is like me and write to that.
I've never written anything that I haven't wanted to write again. I want to, and still am, writing 'A Few Good Men' again. I didn't know what I was doing then, and I'm still trying to get it right. I would write 'The Social Network' again if they would let me, I'd write 'Moneyball' again. I would write 'The West Wing' again.
Sometimes, particularly in summers in New York, I have tried to write in shorts or with no shirt on and found myself unable to do so, the reason being, I take it, that writing, even of the most impersonal sort, is for me a divestment, a striptease, even, so that if I start off undressed, I have nowhere to go.
I'm very physical. When I'm writing, I'm playing all the parts; I'm saying the lines out loud, and if I get excited about something - which doesn't happen very often when I'm writing, but it's the greatest feeling when it does - I'll be out of the chair and walking around, and if I'm at home, I'll find myself two blocks from my house.
When I wrote 'The West Wing,' the juice behind it was that in popular culture, our leaders in government are generally portrayed as Machiavellian, or as idiots. I thought, well, how about writing about a group of hyper-competent people?
You have an absolute freedom in Mexican writing today in which you don't necessarily have to deal with the Mexican identity. You know why? Because we have an identity... We know who we are. We know what it means to be a Mexican.
I am a morning writer; I am writing at eight-thirty in longhand and I keep at it until twelve-thirty, when I go for a swim. Then I come back, have lunch, and read in the afternoon until I take my walk for the next day's writing.
Diplomacy in a sense is the opposite of writing. You have to disperse yourself so much: the lady who comes in crying because she's had a fight with the secretary; exports and imports; students in trouble; thumbtacks for the embassy.
I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white, and it says, 'You may have fooled some of the people some of the time, but those days are over, giftless. I'm not your agent, and I'm not your mommy; I'm a white piece of paper. You wanna dance with me?' and I really, really don't. I'll go peaceable-like.