introducing readers to writers since 1995

December 04, 2004

Interview Roundup: California Dreaming

by Ron Hogan

Juan Felipe Herrera speaks about poetry with the new online literary journal Dislocate, and gives aspiring authors some mildly head-scratching advice:

"You don't always have to write. You can consider not-writing, because there is something beyond writing, which is where our writing comes from. A poet who does that is Li-Young Lee. Ginsberg did that exploration. I think all indigenous poets make that exploration, that extra step. If you look at the indigenous tradition, their chanting, their singing, their arts, their rituals, but there are other things connected to the universe, or it's called rain or it's called an ocean. The indigenous were non-writers because their systems, their beliefs, were attached to something much bigger than themselves."

Meanwhile, James Ellroy tells the Onion A.V. Club about a restorative technique that's more lucrative than not-writing, namely writing for Hollywood:

"I exploited my reputation as a novelist to take rest periods between novels. A novel is very taxing. To earn money writing movies... I don't disdain the process--I don't condescend to the process--but I know full well that the motion-picture business is largely dysfunctional, and that the majority of all commissioned screenplays fail to be filmed for one reason or another. So I go at it to the best of my ability, but I honestly don't care if any of these screenplays I work on ever get filmed. I don't think about it."

I'm pretty sure, though, that the adaptation of My Dark Places, with David Duchovny as James Ellroy, is probably still on track. Personally, I'd have seen Ellroy as a Stacy Keach type, or maybe a Dennis Franz, but we'll see.

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