Thursday, December 27, 2012

Passive Voice

I've been informed by my editor that I need to be more vigilant about using the passive voice in my writing. Oh no, I did it again. Lol

Monday, December 17, 2012

Creatively Inspiring Weekend

Following in the footsteps of Harry Lesser in Bernard Malamud's The TenantsI had a very creatively inspiring weekend. I saw Edvard Munch's The Scream at the MoMA on Friday, I saw the Picasso Black and White exhibit at the Guggenheim on Saturday, and I saw Bani Sharif's MUSLIM DIALOGUE IN MIRRORS CRACKED play at the Theater for the New City on Sunday; however, with all that viewing of art, I got very little writing done.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Brooklyn College Reading

I was suppose to read from Katie at Brooklyn College. I thought the reading was on a Friday, but it was on a Wednesday. قَدَرُ اللّهِ ، وَ مَاشَاءَ فَعَلَ Enough said...

Monday, October 8, 2012

THE TENANTS Inanimate Art Project

The first painting below is from a screenshot that I took from the film The Tenants. I'm always looking for interesting abstract art or art that only has inanimate objects in it. The painting didn't play a significant role in the film, but it must have had some significance to the director, because the actor intentionally stood next to it in a scene. Does anyone know the name of the artist or painting? The second piece is mine. I call it Behind the American Gothic, and it is the first piece in my Behind the Art project.

By the way, this is my review of the novel on Amazon.

5.0 out of 5 stars For Writers Who Need Motivation, August 21, 2012
By Mo Ibrahim "The Writer" (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase (What's this?)
This review is from: The Tenants (Paperback)

If you're a writer and you're having trouble being motivated, focused or being interrupted by selfish people who don't take your writing time seriously, this is the book for you. If you want examples of two writers who take their writing seriously and puts it first, then read this book. It's a page turner, I've read it several times, and the movie, very ironically starring Snoop Dog, is just as good.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Roth vs. Wikipedia New Yorker Comment

My issue of New York magazine came today and after analyzing an interesting article on the Topland Etiquette Checker vs. a wife, I read the following in the Highbrow/Brilliant section of The Approval Matrix: Philip Roth vs. Wikipedia. Weirdly, they're both right. That entry lead me to read a very long Open Letter to Wikipedia by Roth posted on The New Yorker's website. But I found this comment left by batesdon1 even more interesting than Roth's issue with Wikipedia and his Open Letter:

Clearly, Roth's letter is an example of what Blaise Pascal said in Lettres provinciales, 1656-7, Number 16, written December 4, 1656: "Je n’ai fait /cette lettre-ci/ plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte." Roughly: "I made this letter so long (lit.: longer) only because I didn’t have the time to make it shorter." I would add -- or to edit it appropriately.


And if you haven't read any of Roth's books, here's an excerpt from my next book The Allure of Nymphets, From Charlie Chaplin to Mark Sanchez, Man’s Fascination with Young Women:

In Philip Roth's The Breast, Professor David Kepesh said, “I want twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls. I want them three, four, five, and six at a time. I want them licking at my nipple all at once. I want them naked and giggling, stroking and sucking me for days on end.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One Meal Per Day

After I read that some extremely focused individuals like Nikola Tesla and James Franco ate only one meal per day, I unsuccessfully tried to emulate their diets; however, I recently figured out a way to do it. It turns out that if one drinks immediately after eating, the drink causes a "valve" in the stomach to open that releases the food into the intestines before the body has time to extract the nutrients from the food; consequently, some physicians recommend that one should wait approximately fifteen minutes to eat after drinking and about thirty minutes to drink after eating (i.e. The 15/30 rule).

I discovered that if I followed the 15/30 rule, I could go for hours without having the urge to eat anything and more specifically, I found that I could write without taking a break every forty-five minutes to go to the refrigerator to look for a snack; thus, like Tesla and Franco, I was more focused.

Here's a general example of how I've been eating for the past two weeks and as you'll see, I'm not literally eating once per day, but eating one full meal per day.:

  • Seven small  dates for breakfast
  • At least thirty minutes later - a small coffee
  • A banana for lunch
  • At least thirty minutes later - water
  • An apple for a snack
  • At least thirty minutes later -water
  • Dinner including a salad
  • At least thirty minutes later - tea
  • Popcorn
  • At least thirty minutes later - herbal tea

Following one aspect of the 4-Hour Body Slow-Carb diet, I take every Friday as a "pig-out" day while maintaining the waiting time before and after eating and drinking. I believe that Telsa was in a more Csikszentmihalyi-like flow, and was not waiting thirty minutes to drink after eating, but until I can reach that level of focus, I will avoid alternating between eating and drinking during meals. Now I just need to figure out how to sleep only three hours per day without precariously falling asleep while standing on the subway and in class.

Update: There is one exception to this rule. It is acceptable to sip on a drink immediately after a meal. I would recommend that the drink be hot tea or coffee. That way you will not be tempted to gulp down your drink. Have you ever seen an elderly person order a soda with their lunch or dinner? I haven't. I usually see them order a coffee. Does that mean that if you're in the habit of ordering sodas with your lunch and dinner that you will not make it to old age?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Book?!

I'm shocked by the fact that every time I reluctantly tell someone that I'm working on a second book, they're even more surprised than when I informed them about my first book. Furthermore, I'm shocked by someone who only writes one book - even if the author's subsequent books were unpublished. I can completely understand how one could have a single book published and have a stack on unpublished manuscripts, but to literally only write one book is surprising to me. However, I can understand how someone could fall into a trap and cease writing to avoid "rejection".

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Scathing Book Review by Denise Matthews/Vanity

Denise Matthews (Vanity)

When my novel, Katie, was published, I sent an email to everyone in my address book and I mistakenly sent one to Denise Matthews [Stage name: Vanity] who played Laura Charles in the cult classic film The Last Dragon. I forgot that I had sent her some fan (e)mail a few years back. This is her scathing reply to my email:


But she didn’t even read my book!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Make NYC Your Gym Advertisement

I saw this advertisement on the crosstown L train in Manhattan last week and I thought that maybe it was a bit misleading, because I read that almost 80% of New Yorkers don't own cars (I can't remember the source, but it was probably New York Magazine.); therefore, it seems to me that it would have been better for the advertisement to encourage people to get off one or two stops ahead of their normal subway stop and walk the additional blocks.

there's a Lunch Hour NYC exhibit at the New York Public Library (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Gottesman Exhibition Hall) that mentions that prior to the 19th century, lunch hours didn't exist in New York City and that most people had a snack for "lunch", so maybe the advertisement should discourage people from having lunch and encourage them to have a snack (e.g. a banana) instead.

But I have to commend that advertisement for encouraging people to take the stairs - at least take the stairs down people.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Old Office in Chelsea

This is a photograph of my old office in Chelsea. The black book in the top right-hand corner is a copy of Tropic of Capricorn or Tropic of Cancer ( I don't remember.) that was stolen from my desk. Janitor? In the bottom right-hand corner is a stack of query letters and envelopes for a children's book that I was trying to sell. That book (i.e. idea) was stolen too. I never got around to trying to sue, but I will eventually.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ray Bradbury: What It Takes To Be A Writer

Sadie Stein embedded the short documentary, Ray Bradbury Story of a Writer (1963), on The Paris Review's blog. Bradbury shared some excellent advice on what it takes to be a sustained writer. I highly recommend that writers, from novel to seasoned, take a look.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

James Franco and Laurel Nakadate @ Strand

I went to the James Franco talk, book signing and performance art exhibit at Strand last Friday for his new art book James Franco: Dangerous Book Four Boys. I saw the actual exhibit at Clocktower Gallery in Chinatown/TriBeCa and I have to say that it seemed somewhat like a homesexual horror movie.

I realized that night that I'm actually not a fan of Franco's work, although I'm anticipating his novel, which he spoke about on Friday night. He wrote the novel at Columbia and a professor at Columbia is currently helping him edit it. It's being published by Amazon. However, I am a huge fan of Franco's work ethic. And it looked like he was going on about three hours of sleep at the talk. For the first 30 minutes of the talk, he spoke with his eyes closed i.e. half-sleep. 

Laurel Nakadate was there too and it was a little awkward seeing her in person after seeing her in the nude in her MoMA P.S.1 exhibit last summer. I realized while I was there that I can use Laurel's exhibit in my new book as evidence of the attraction between older men and younger women. The working title is -

The Allure of Nymphets
From Charlie Chaplin to Silvio Berlusconi
Men’s Fascination with Young Women

Lastly, one had to buy the book ($50!) to get into the talk, but I took it back the next day for a full refund. 

Update 5/5/2014 - I recently read Franco's Directing Herbert White: Poems and I benefited from the book of prose. Based on that book Franco has become one of my favorite poets along with Frederick SeidelCharles Bukowski and Nabokov. And I'm anticipating benefiting from Franco's Palo Alto - the film and the book of short stories .

Neil Goldberg @ The Museum of the City of New York

I recently went to the Museum of the City of New York to see the Stories the City Tells Itself: The Video Art and Photography of Neil Goldberg exhibit and I have to say that Goldberg's show was a testament to how everyday inanimate objects can be used to create engaging art e.g. Truck Drivers' Elbows and the Subway Trapezoid.And his videos gave me a great idea for a video art project, which I plan to develop this summer.I highly recommend the exhibit. It ends May 28.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nabokov Wrote from 9A.M. to 2 A.M.

I'm proud to say that I had enough discipline to work on Katie for over 10 hours a day during the summer of 2010, which was prompted by examples of amazing feats of discipline that I read about in Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity as Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi, but I was further amazed when I read the following quote on The Paris Review's website from Vladimir Nabokov:

"For two months in Cambridge I did nothing (from 9A.M. to 2 A.M.) but work on my commentaries to EO [Eugene Onegin]."

That comes to over 17 hours per day! That pales in comparison to my measly 10 hours per day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Writing vs. Typing

The screen on my laptop broke, so I went old school for a bit and wrote on paper, which is obviously something writers did before the invention of the typewriter and computer. Even Nabokov wrote on note cards, despite the fact that he could have used a typewriter. I even considered getting a typewriter and going Woody Allen style, but editing on a typewriter compared to Open Office or Google docs would have been a nightmare. And if you've seen Woody's editing technique in Woody Allen: A Documentary it does look like a nightmare.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

de Kooning at the MoMA

I went to the MoMA on Friday to see the de Kooning retrospective, which ends tomorrow, and I kept thinking to myself, "Art is so subjective."  Besides four abstract pieces that I unsuccessfully tried to sneak a photo of, I thought about the thousands of other artists that were and are just as good as the outstanding de Kooning. Furthermore, the retrospective reminded me how important it is for artists, of all types, to be persistent through The Dip.