Robert Forster’s “Grant & I” will surely figure amongst my best nonfiction books of 2016. A paean to rock music full of sublime writing, a testament to creative friendship, a tragedy retold . . . and possessing an honesty I seek (unsuccessfully) in my own words. I scribbled on a piece of paper: “If ever there is a call to keep questing for fine music, this is it.”
A flickering desire to reinstate my love of music ignites like a pilot light for the future . . .
This Big Year has floundered before and flounders yet again. It’s no great success, that’s for sure. But I’m moving on the book and faster than ever, and still aimed to hammer out a draft (20 chapters) over this Big Year and the 2017 Writing Big Year. We’re not travelling overseas next year and that will help immeasurably. Targets: 5 chapters by the end of this year; Volume 1 (Chapter 8) by March; Volume 2 (Chapter 12) by the middle of 2017; and the end, Volume 3, by December 31, 2017. Wish me luck!
I’m “working well,” “putting in the hours,” “making progress” . . . but in truth I’ve “lost my way” on the focus to “write the damned thing.” Research for future chapters, all too necessary, has swamped drafting, this writer’s core task. All those clichés in quotation marks hide the fact that this Big Year, wonderful as it has been in spurring book momentum, is no Hollywood “fairytale success story.”
So . . . I renew this Big Year, right here, right now. Clearly I need to institute a new plan for this year (and next year), but first, let me write.
Somehow this advice – from a fine Heleo interview: “Daniel Pink and Anders Ericsson: The Secrets of Top Performers and What It Takes to Be Truly Great” – makes me uncomfortable.
Daniel Pink: “I’m sure people come to you for advice. What do you tell people when they say, ‘I’ve seen your work. I really want to get better’?”
Anders Ericsson: “Try to find a teacher who has trained individuals like yourself to achieve the level of performance that you want to achieve.”
Some more gold from this Heleo interview: “Daniel Pink and Anders Ericsson: The Secrets of Top Performers and What It Takes to Be Truly Great.”
Daniel Pink asks: “Does deliberate practice mean doing something every single day?” To which Anders Ericsson responds: “If you can make practice a habit, that’s going to make it a lot easier to engage in.” Enough said?
He goes on to caution: “It’s also important that, when you start out, you don’t try to do four or five hours. Anybody who wants to do a marathon and then goes out and runs for four or five hours is going to lie in bed for a week. You need to accept gradual change.”
Ah, just watch. Understated, wise, could well be the doco to change my life. That sounds ludicrous and it could be the vino talking but hey, just watch. It saddens. Waves of anger. But also somehow diCaprio manages to infuse hope into the narrative. Best of all, it’s freely streaming on YouTube until election day, so you’ve got four days.
A Climate Change Big Year? Anyone who has read The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, now four years old, must be inspired to act (though I say that as someone who has not acted). A real hero, author Michael Mann, interviewed in the brand new doco The Doubt Machine, says: “There were people who were putting out bounties for those who could destroy me.” The stakes are high
This Consequence of Sound article – “Where have all the indie rock bands gone?” – concludes:
We are quickly heading toward a cultural moment in which the archetypal “band” is no longer the driving force behind indie rock.
I don’t believe it. Won’t believe it. Cannot believe it.
A climate action Big Year, pitching in somehow (how?) to better our world? The current crop of US docos, targeted for election season, does motivate that drive. Here’s a 30-minute expose of something we’ve observed with dismay over the last decade (The Doubt Machine: Inside The Koch Brothers’ War on Climate Science). Perhaps there’s nothing overwhelmingly fresh in it but this movie is stylish and to the point. A must-watch.