With Continual Reference to Justin Kahn.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How to Be a Well Writer: Part Two of What Could be An Infinite Series But Will Only Be a Two Part Series, This Week.

Yesterday, I suggested that you write about life. This is definitely important. So many young writers come to me and just looking at them I can tell they haven't lived life. But I am not here to critisize people who suck. I am here to help you be a less bad writer. As promised here are some rough drafts, that show how ultimately I am guided by life.

From Justin Kahn's The Story of Jeff the Director
Jeff was a very good director. But he had big ambitions that he felt weren't being fulfilled. Jeff realized that he was doing a series of very short movies, but he wanted to do something bigger. Like a two part series. But once he got to the second part, he couldn't think of anything to do.

Justin's Commentary: This is a great example of what I am talking about. Life totally feeds into, at least at the subconscious level. To begin with I have a fascinating character (What Aristotle called Catharsis.) I'm not really a director, but I've seen movies, so I know what a director is. If I hadn't really experienced life, than I wouldn't know what a director is. Anothe superb element is the creative conflict to be overcome. Obviously, I've never had a creative struggle, but I've lived life so I know other people have.

From Justin Kahn’s The Dishwasher.
When John woke up he felt terrible. He had spent more than a week at his sister's house. There he could use seperate dishes for each meal. But now he was back to living in his dishwasherless dump and felt sad that he would have to use the same plasticware for, at least, the next three meals. As if it weren't bad enough that Jeff didn't have anything to say for the second installlment of his movie.

Justin's Commentary: This is an interesting piece to look at because it shows a character with a kind of negative environmental consciousness, where he doesn't think about the waste he is causing. That is something that I could have only gained by experiencing life--specifically falling asleep during that Al Gore movie.

But beyond that deep philosophical perspective, it is largely constructed out of my experience of people I know who live in dishwasherless dumps. If I confined myself to the life in my penthouse I would never be able to write this moving tale. That's why I force myself to get out there and experience life as it is lived by all kinds of people. Like the ones without dishwashers. Losers.


Jenn said...

How do you do it?

Talk about having nothing to say while turning that into the central theme of a blog post?

You know another thing that good writers do? Have their own style so people can point to it and say, that's so Justin.

That is sooooooo Justin!

part-time buddha said...

Is it soooooooooo Justin? To me it felt more like Jeff, with just a hint of John.

Jenn said...

As I said!


A Justin by any other name would smell just as quirky.

bitingblondewit said...

Aristotle + Seinfeld = Justin? Hmmm.

dragonlady474 said...


Finding Fair Hope said...

These profound works you use as examples are complete in themselves. As a critic of movies and other high art I don't think you need to do anything with them. Both stories would make excellent two-hour feature films. You'd need an actor with a certain amount of aethetic weight, if not indeed duende to attempt to play the leading roles, however. Keep that in mind.

QuillDancer said...

Justin -- I am now mourning all those years and dollars wasted in college writing courses. I could have just come here and learned all I needed to know in a matter of moments.

Incidently, yesterday when you sent me out to experience life beyond my own four walls, I inadvertantly entered a Wal-Mart store.....

Writers Wanted said...

You should join our writing competition . . . they are no big prizes, but you can get some feedback on your writing and have a chance to chat with other writers.


Come check it out and feel free to join this month’s challenge!

fried_blue said...

Dear Justin,

What is the sole cause of man's unhappiness?

A dishwasherless young writer