Monday, August 22, 2011

Couldn't cope when she cried, wrote a letter, told a lie.

I've known David Reid for years. I met him long ago when Reagan was still president, the Russians were sure to invade at any moment and the very notion that Haley's Comet was on its way baffled us daily. I love David Reid as much now, if not more, as I did when we were kids. From David, I have learned what it means to be a good friend, a good person and that's says so much. It's a funny thing to have a role model who is a friend, and someone of your own age.
I've been writing letters to Freesia Bradley (Now Freesia Bradley-Modica) since 1986. That's a really long time. Postage stamps have double in price since then. In the early days, my postmarks were from Colorado and hers were from Alaska. Today, we both live in Oregon, and the letters continue.
Katie Albers is wonderful. I think she's lovely. I always have. For a spell we had band practice on Tuesday nights. Now, we write letters. The distance between us is too far.
I've swapped three thousand sentences with Mendy Evans over the years via postcards. The postcards began during the days when we were together everyday. I just read a postcard from her on Friday.
I recall a time, and it doesn't feel all that long ago, when we all wrote letters. It was a joyous task that I engaged in each night before sleep. My days then were the long days of war during my time in the middle east. Later came to days of Scout camp when I wrote letters to friends. I wrote silly letters, letters about the weather and letters of love.
Janice and I corresponded for a good ten years across oceans and state lines. Janice is a wonderful letter writer, and I can say this despite not receiving a letter with postage from her in years. We still write love notes and leave them around our small Portland apartment. I still get a thrill when I read them.
But, who cares? I am just another rambling old man now. I have nothing wise to say about it. I'm merely recollecting a world that has gone away.
It has gone away.
With it has gone away the letter carrier. We have 35 post office closures in Oregon this summer. Soon, all the P.O.s will close. Where is David Brin now?
I write letters to only a few people now. I do it out of love. I do it out of nostalgia. It's my handwriting on white paper. The envelopes are small. The postage? I do even know how much it costs, it costs: forever.
I bring it up today because I recycled almost twenty years of old letters last September. Letters from people who no longer live. Letters from people who I no longer remember. I did it in a moment of purge. It was time to say goodbye to a great many things. I do not regret doing it. But here we are. And here I am. I'm still writing letters. I hope to continue to write letters. Even if it's David, Freesia, Katie and Mendy, here we are. It's 2011, and we're keeping the P.O. ALIVE one stamp at a time.
When was the last time you wrote a letter? I know you're writing email and text message. When was the last time you wrote a genuine letter? And what was the thrill you had when you received the last letter? Staggering thought, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cold Fried Chicken Chapter Five: Sugarhouse

Some amazing things began to happen for me at the end of my Rocket House days. I got a paying gig writing infomercial scripts for a pharmaceutical marketing firm.
Up to this point, I had never endeavored to write for “the man.” After all, I am a creative type, the kind of writer who functions partly in the vacuum and partly with community. When I was approached by the marketing firm, it gave me new thoughts. New thoughts? That's right. I had never seen infomercials, nor had I ever thought about them. There is no TV in our house, and I have almost always been at work in the late night hours when the programing turns to entertainment stylized advertising.
But this gig paid. Moreover than paying, they treated me in such a way that lead me to feel like a professional writer or advertisement copy writer. I got the job because the gentlemen who hired me had seen Pastrami on Rye and knew someone, Gio I think, over at Rocket House Studio.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cold Fried Chicken Chapter Four: Brotherhood at World's End

As the animators at Rocket House developed and improved their craft, I was doing the same thing with the writing for the short screenplay.
After the first three screenplays, I wanted to recapture the thrill I had during the creation of Pastrami on Rye. To see the simplicity of Pastrami on Rye, I looked at the scene and the characters. I thought, here we go again. I want two characters and one scene. So what, right? Two characters and one scene doesn't seem so bad. If we could do it in Belgium 1945, why couldn't I do it all over again?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cold Fried Chicken Chapter Three: Resort to Ice

Resort to Ice started out as a spoof on the high society, organized crime syndicated and spy movies of the 1960s. At least that's what I wanted to think as I sat down to write it. I sat down to write it with one line in mind: “The last man standing proves to be a woman.” I didn't know why she'd say that. I knew she was a tough as nails, ass-kicking super bad-ass. I named her Linda, which is my mother's name. My mom is a ass-kick super bad-ass.
I also knew that an organized crime caper would need more than a great line delivered by a great character. These types of stories need plot.