And a Writer Shall Lead Them...
Funny how writing leads you places. You thought you were headed - here - but instead you meander over - there. Or vice versa. For example I thought I might write a piece on the new X-Box and how Bill Gates has designs (no Pun intended) on harnessing the whole consumer entertainment market and fashioning said market into something Microsoft refers to as a "Digital Entertainment Lifestyle". Though this topic is very interesting, and actually brings out my inner conspiracy theorist, I will have to wait on that idea. [Hint, code name - Furby Factor].
So, here I am pondering something entirely different. I mentioned the process of writing, how it can be surprising in it's exploratory little way. Is it the essence of art itself to get lost in a project, and let the work be the guide? Well...Duh. Ask anyone who dances, writes, sculpts or jams. Artists move with the grace of God and to the music of the muse. And they sometimes move from one medium to another, and I don't mean from water colors to oils. Models try acting. Dancers leap to KungFu Fighting. Portrait photographers change focus to painting. And Rockers write. And write! Bob Dylan, David Navarro, Niki Sixx, etc. Whew!
But what about the ones who started out writing? That is, after they were teachers, waiters, students, moms, but you get the picture. Someone like sci fi writer Marc Laidlaw. [ Dad's Nuke, Kalifornia, The Orchid Eater]. This dude was publishing novels and earning money, something that sounds like success. But it wasn't until he was writing game reviews for Wired that he got a glimpse of a new career. He then ended up at a little company in Seattle called Valve. You might know him better as one of the creators behind the outrageously successful PC game, "Half-Life".
Another well established writer got a taste of acting when his novel was sold to Hollywood. High Crimes [Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Jim Caviezel] author Joseph Finder not only had a hit book on his hands, he was going to the show, literally. Not that having a book made into a movie is the 'be all and end all' in a writer's life, but it's pretty damn cool. And the very 'wicked cool' thing (my Boston roots are showing) is that Finder was cast in the film as a JAG officer. No lines but perhaps some emoting? Now I'll have to see the movie again to find Finder.
Stephen King is another writer who does the cameo thing. He's famous for appearing in the film versions of his books (Pizza anyone?) No, he won't be quitting his day job for acting, nor for rocking. Oh yeah, not only can Stephen King scare the pants of his readers, he's a closet rocker. King is a member of the Rock Bottom Remainders , a garage band of sorts. This group plays fundraiser concerts and is made of up other literary/creative heavy hitters such as Scott Turrow, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Matt Groening, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, and a few others. The Remainders raise pulse rates, decibels, spirits and money. It's all good, except for perhaps the music. Bruce Springsteen was quoted as saying, "Your band's not too bad. It's not too good either. Don't let it get any better, otherwise you'll just be another lousy band."
Of course, if you're going to consider the interesting lives that writers lead, don't forget George Plimpton. This man was a genius at really getting into his subjects. He played professional football, baseball and hockey; he's boxed and tried circus high wire stunts. All for being able to write about the experiences. Amazing.
Where will writing lead me? I don't know but what a trip it'll be.