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so much to react to out there. The war. The Oscars. The impending Hulk Hogan match at Wrestlemania. The world is full of conflict and triumph. It’s a wonderful time to be alive. I haven’t ranted about writing for a while. This is where I am: I’m working on finishing up a screenplay so that I’ll have something to sell out here. I’ve shipped my book off to a few competitions, and I have some plays circulating… so who knows? One production would be nice. Hell, anything would be nice right now. I’m here to write and I need to do more of it.

The war: What’s strange to me about the war is the amount of information we’re not getting. It’s starting to feel a bit 1984 over here. There have been many civilian casualties, but our media has not shown them. Our troops have been captured and harassed on TV… but our media has not shown it. Oil fields have been lit on fire, possibly by Americans (according to Iranian journalists, anyway). There were reports of 8000 troops surrendering… but that didn’t happen. There were reports that we’d captured Basra, and then we hadn’t, and then we had, and then we almost had, and then we were near Baghdad, and then we weren’t, and then we were approaching… The situation only seems to change when bad things happen to the U.S.

Troops die, and then a good progress report comes out. The whole thing is starting to smell like a big stinky coverup. Don’t get me wrong. I support the troops and am quite happy to see Saddam deposed. But he’s one tough bastard. I wish it could happen through coalition instead of US aggression. The worst part is, winning the war will be bad for US foreign policy. Pulling out will be disastrous. So we’re in a no win situation, and it’s all because we decided not to wait one extra month. Iraqi children will see their fathers killed, creating a new generation of strong US resentment, anger, and possibly the next Osama bin Laden.

Yet again, part of me feels this war is justified, if not necessary. Weird. I’m kind of on the fence here. If Iraq uses the weapons we claim they have, then that will make up my mind one way. If Don convinces Georgie to push the big red button, well… not that there’ll be much world left afterwards, but I would certainly have a bone to pick with that.

You know what’s fun?

War. Isn’t this whole war thing great? I mean, really. I oppose this approach to foreign policy. But I don’t oppose the war. I just think it would be better if Bush would get on TV and say “Look people, this guy pissed my Dad off, and I want revenge. And oil. And some other things, like a foothold in the Middle East that will allow us to invade other countries”. Honesty is the best policy. So, since we’re on the eve of what will probably be the re-invasion of Iraq, and since we’ll be involved in a fight where many troops will suffer from Gulf War syndrome and worse, let’s all just think about what’s going on. Can we do something better than get on the streets and light candles? War has actually solved many problems. There has been no great movement for change in the world that did not come through violence. You can’t name one successful peace movement that changed the world. Violence, in the end, is always the thing that causes the change. Jesus got beaten and stabbed and left to die. Gandhi and King were beaten and jailed. Peaceful resistance only works when the collective conscience of the bystanders kicks in and makes them see the horror of the world around them. No amount of hand-holding and singing has ever changed anything. I mean, I think we’re all in agreeance that violence is not preferable, but change comes through pain, right? And further, it seems we’re in for a great deal of change, because there looks to be a whole lot of pain on the horizon. So we need to get together and stop with the violence and find the love. You know? The best thing I’ve ever heard? Rap artists are uniting to create a song against war. Interesting. I think Hank Williams should write a song against alcohol. Kid Rock should write a song promoting abstinence. Why not? These crazy times. It’s very late and I’m tired, and I’m trying to sound as Hollywood as possible here. Plus, the Oscars are setting up about half a mile from my apartment, and traffic sucks because of it, and frankly, I’m thinking I should buy some rotten tomatoes to chuck at the red carpet. Except, there is extreme security in the whole area. I mean, thank God. The knowledge that Joan Rivers is safe in these troubled times to critique people’s fashion… phew. God Bless America.

Boobies and vomit and the smell of urine…

Ahhh, Mardi Gras. What an amazingly fun time for a person who doesn’t drink. I have just returned from a whirlwind three day tour of New Orleans, hence the looooong absence from the journal (okay,okay I had to work some long hours too.) But the good news is, you get to hear about debauchery and nudity. New ORleans was fun. You can wander the French Quarter for hours and not get lost. How? Landmarks. Landmarks like the pinkish pale of stomach chunks in the Subway entrance. Or the street that smells like the men’s room at Yankee Stadium on Free beer night. Mmmm. Not even the odor of Funnel Cakes could overpower it. In fact, I may never be able to eat funnel cakes again, lest my mind awake a sense memory of bile/urine freshness. But aside from that, here are some fun things I saw: Boobies. Old boobies, small boobies, fat boobies, fake boobies, athletic boobies, possibly underage boobies, male boobies, and artificial souvenir plastic boobies. Don’t say I didn’t take anything away from this trip. There were crazy costumes, crazy people, really good food, and more. We wandered out of the rain into a restaurant called … well, something, I forget. They were understaffed due to exhaustion, so they only had four people working. But the service was still great and the food was amazing. Turns out it was a four star fancy-pants restaurant in the midst of a casual run during Mardi Gras. They will be highly recommended here, as soon as I remember the name. Aleks, help me. We also saw the oldest cemetary, and a voodoo queen’s grave, and a slightly rambling ceremony from a voodoo priestess, and we saw Armstrong Park, the hotel overcharged, and we ate a king cake that was missing the king. Or perhaps one of us ate a tiny plastic baby Jesus, which is somehow poetically symbolic of the entire idea of Mardi GRas. From the Tutu wearing “French Special Forces” who roamed Bourbon street surrendering to the couple wearing strategically placed construction safety tape, it was a time I will always treasure. Plus, I got monkey beads. I am still a bit travel lagged from the whole thing, but I plan to fill in the foggy details as they come back.

In other news, I have sent some plays off to contests, and am getting the Totem ready for another run at publishers and contests. Cross your fingers for me.

The writing group has begun, and we are off to a slightly wobbly start, myself included, but I am sure everyone who promised to write will write, and those who promised to respond will respond.

Speaking of, I must go now to respnd and send out the next assignment…

Stay tuned y’all…

Things are rolling merrily along here. I have almost finished another rewrite of the book, which got some interest in the first round of query letters to agents but no bites. Self-publishing is always an option. So I’m almost finished giving it a rewrite and have cut over 40 pages and thousands of words. Which can only serve to better the story. Those of you who are in the know, you know now… the writer’s group launched today, along with the most exciting monkeywright feature ever… MONKU! That’s the freestylin’ haiku page open to all. These are the rules: Rhyming is allowed and neither encouraged nor discouraged. Classic form (5-7-5) or simple form (3-5-3) are the ONLY kinds of acceptable haiku. Anything else will be removed. So there. Because I said so. If you’re all interested in any other kind of poetry page, write me and perhaps I’ll implement it. Hollywood is fun and the weather is fabulous and what else can I say?

Okay. So we’re back on the air. Here are the two things I think are of utmost importance right now.

No, okay three.

One of the cool things about living in Los Angeles: you know those horrible pre-paid half hour television shows for such products as the BowFlex and the Perfect Pancake, and anything by RonCo? Well, during the awards season, L.A. TV gets half hour shows begging you to consider movies for nomination. Fun. You get stuff that is buried on Disc Two of a DVD set thrown at you for a movie that you may or may not care about. You get to hear deep insights like “The moment I heard so and so read, I just knew nobody else could play the part”.

Blah Blah Blah.

SOAP PLANT WACKO LA LUZ DE JESUS.

The full name of the coolest store near my neighborhood. Why are they cool? Imagine a store that carries only fun toys and weird books. Now combine it with a store that promotes underground concerts and counterculture doodahs. NOW combine it with an art gallery, and you start to get the idea of what this place is about. You can find more out at soapplant.com They have an entire section devoted to Monkeys! Monkey bookends, Monkey Candleholders, Monkey garden statues, Monkey Head nodders, a Japanese book about a claymation-like monkey.

Phew. What a day. This is a store that you have to visit.

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL…

Here at Monkeywright.com, we’re about to get proactive on yo’ ass. No, nothing about politics or social issues. It’s about writing. My writing. Your writing. The writing on the wall. (Well, if you write on the walls and later type it into your computer, it will be about the writing on the wall. Never mind.) Here’s the deal. There will be two new sections forthcoming:

1. Post a haiku (self explanatory)

a.Okay, a brief explanation. The haiku is not a self explanatory haiku. Nothing like:

I can’t stop eating.

Five hundred Twinkies and Spam.

Like Anna Nicole.

b.The preceding was a haiku explaining a bit of self-loathing with a not-so-veiled allusion to publicity (and all around) hog, Anna Nicole Smith. Nay. I want you to write your own haikus about whatever you want. And tell a friend. And it will be fun.

2. The writer’s group is coming.

a. On top of everything else, I want some dedicated people who are interested in furthering their writing to write to me. We’ll coordinate, have online readings and reviews (CONSTRUCTIVE criticism), and generally push each other to keep going when all is darkest. So if you’re interested, drop me a line via the contact page.

b. There is no b.

I think that’s enough for tonight. PREPARE!

Further musings…

Well. I have run out of excuses. I am just slacking off when it comes to updating the website. But the good news is, it’s because I’m busy rewriting some things to get ready for publication, as well as setting up an online writer’s group. One that I will offer to many many people, as a way of keeping thoughts moving from brain to page. I figure it might also prompt me to keep up with the journaling. I need to get some cheap website software too. It would be great if I knew HTML. It would also be great if I had a million dollars. How about it? If you have a million dollars, please conatct me via this website and I will give you details on where to transfer the money. You’d be helping a starving artist, you’d give me more time to write, and you’d make the world a safer place. Think about it. You would have 1 million fewer dollars, so maybe the millionaire next door will get robbed instead of you. I’m just thinking of you here, really. I am going to dedicate Monday nights to journaling on here Keep it fresh. Keep it real.

Bargain Clown Mart, the subject of some past musings, may well be a bar.

There is also a marvelous place called Soap Plant Wacko Jesus.

This is what makes LA grow on you after a while.

That and the weather.

And the fungus. The fungus grows on you too. But only if you sit still for too long.

I don’t have the fungus.

I think I should implement a daily haiku feature here. Or maybe a message board where people can stick their haikus.

That would be tremendous fun.

Ta for now. Must go rewrite.

Blogs are fun because they can be the equivalent of mental purging to break writer’s block.

Broken.

Whee!

Finally! A new apartment! A new place! Etc! I am taking the rest of this weekend to get organized, and then monkeywright.com will be back online and up and running with as much new content as I can throw at you. Moving is very stressful. Moving in Hollywood with an occasionally unreliable car is even more stressful. But I think everything’s gonna be OK now… yeah… stay tuned!

Well, things are getting about as exciting here as watching paint dry. But the good news is, an apartment has been acquired! So, on Monday the 16th of December, the ol’ monkeywright will be moving along to his very own Hollywood Studio apartment. In the interim, I leave you this paltry message. I know, I know. I’ve been a bit like an alcoholic stepfather lately, eh? Not paying attention to the kids, just kind of patting you on the head as I walk by. I am a righ Bastard.

I apologize.

How about this? I’ll give you an all new short story by the end of next week? Or maybe an essay? or both?

In the meantime, I recommend going out to read the following books if ou haven’t already:

Bones of the Moon by Jonathon Carroll

It by Stephen King

You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling.

So there. At least you have something to do.

Now go back to your rooms. Daddy’s having his alone time with the bottle.

I kid, I kid. Drinking is awful.