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J.P. Smith's Blog

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Jun.26.2010
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When I was first starting off as a writer, endings of novels were always a problem with me. For some odd reason, I tended to end all of my novels with the death of the protagonist, to the point where my agent at the time would laugh in despair over this peculiar habit (and spend five years trying...
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Jun.26.2010
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When I was first starting off as a writer, endings of novels were always a problem with me. For some odd reason, I tended to end all of my novels with the death of the protagonist, to the point where my agent at the time would laugh in despair over this peculiar habit (and spend five years trying...
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Jun.09.2010
...and my new essay at The Nervous Breakdown website: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/jpsmith/2010/06/somewhere-else-in-the-universe/
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Jun.09.2010
Here's my latest article at The Millions: http://www.themillions.com/2010/06/the-trick-of-it.html
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May.21.2010
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Please check out my article, just published at Max Magee's themillions.com, on Nicolas Roeg's great film "Don't Look Now": http://www.themillions.com/2010/05/death-in-venice-don’t-look-now.html
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May.08.2010
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The more I write—let’s be frank: the older I get—the more I find myself reaching back into my own life not so much for material to write about, but for the scenery of plot and narrative. For all of my years as a novelist I’ve really never used the materials of my own life, partly out of respect for...
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Apr.17.2010
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In the summer of 1967 (and for part of the summer of ’68) I worked part-time at an East Village store on 10th Street called Paranoia. What had started out as a hangout (a college friend’s cousin owned the place) turned into employment. There were four rooms: the front room, which contained...
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Mar.17.2010
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The time has come once again for a script of mine to go out to producers. This is a script I wrote in just under three weeks, then revised according to notes sent by my manager. But “going out” means it’s finished and ready to be seen by the eyes of Those Who Hold the Pursestrings. You have to be...
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Feb.03.2010
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It began as a river of electricity working its way up his legs, into the pit of his stomach, through his heart and finally settling to simmer in his head, where it would cook and bubble for the next eight hours, wreaking havoc with the primordial life that clung to the corners and corridors of a...
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Dec.17.2009
Macy's Santa
When I was three years old I was looked after by a woman of Welsh extraction, not because my mother was incapable of dealing with the difficult child I must have been, but because back then children of certain social strata had nursemaids; what today we’d more glamorously call governesses or live-...
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Dec.04.2009
The Butcher of Lyon
Some years ago I began work on a novel about a boy growing up in Paraguay with a father who had once been a Nazi and was now in hiding. It was to be called Eldorado, and I recently discovered the mere 37 pages I had written of it tucked away in a folder on my laptop’s hard disk. I had great plans...
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Nov.25.2009
John Murray Ltd.
One of the things I discovered when I first came to England to start my writing career in the late 70s was that many writers there were not limited to, say, being a novelist or a playwright. In fact, I knew this in advance, or at least had a sense of it, and so when we settled in London in our...
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Nov.21.2009
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As I get older I find that I read less and less contemporary fiction and either go to older works I’d overlooked or had simply put off reading, or return to books I’d read years ago. Doing the latter is always enlightening, I think. The person we were when we first read the book is not the same...
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Oct.09.2009
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So a month has nearly passed, and since that time I’ve received and signed a contract to write the script. In fact, I’ve already written a first draft. In a way, this is my second assignment, my first—a much more difficult one—being to adapt my first novel The Man from Marseille as a screenplay; a...
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Sep.12.2009
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I haven’t blogged lately because, frankly, I haven’t had a great deal to say. I notice in reading other people’s blogs elsewhere than on Red Room, that there’s an awful lot of blogging about things such as What I Ate for Breakfast and What Band I like at the Moment. I suppose I could touch upon...
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