The Writing Life: reflections by a working writer. The Writing Life

Reflections of a working writer, a university screenwriting professor, and the editor of Oregon Literary Review.

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Charles Deemer

Oregon Literary Review

MFA, Playwriting, University of Oregon

Writing faculty, Portland State University (part-time)

Retired playwright and screenwriter.
Active novelist, librettist and teacher.

Email: cdeemer(at)yahoo(dot)com

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Finalist, Oregon Book Award

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"Can We Talk About Me For A Change?"
Playwright Debra Neff Nathans

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, a weblog for writers (resources)

Silliman's Blog
Ron Silliman, contemporary poetry and poetics

Maud Newton
literary links, amusements, politics, rants

Darren Barefoot
Technical and creative writing, theatre, Dublin

Rob's Writing Pains
Journey of a struggling writer.

Mad, Mad World
Cara Swann, fiction writer, journalist, "reflections on humanity, random news & my life."

Random musings on a writer's life and times.

Barbara Flaska's compilation of the best online articles about music and culture.

Write Of Way
Samantha Blackmon's written musings on writing (composition and rhetoric).

Alexander b. Craghead: blog
Writing, photography, and watercolors.

Rodney's Painted Pen
Rodney Bohen's daily commentary "on the wondrous two legged beast we fondly refer to as mankind." His pen runneth over.

Frustrated Writer
This one named Nicole.

scribble, scribble, scribble
Journalist Dale Keiger teaches nonfiction scribbling to undergraduate and graduate students at Johns Hopkins University.

The Unofficial Dave Barry Blog
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The Hive
The official blog of science fiction / horror author Terence West.

William Gibson Blog
Famed author of Neuromancer and Johnny Mnemonic: The Screenplay.

The Word Foundry
Joe Clifford Faust's "blog of a working writer: tracking writing projects, musings on the creative process, occasional side trips into music, media, politics, religion, etc."

A Writer's Diary
By Cynthia Harrison, who has the good sense to quote Virginia Woolf: "The truth is that writing is the profound pleasure and being read the superficial."

Bow. James Bow.
The journal of James Bow and his writing.

Michael Montoure's weblog about writing, primarily horror and speculative fiction.

By David Henry, "a poet's weblog from Aberdeen, Scotland."

Modem Noise
By Adrian Bedford, a "fledgling Pro SF Writer, living in Perth, Australia."

"A wry writerly blog named in honour of a minor character in a minor Shirley Temple film."

Real Writers Bounce
Holly Lisle's blog, "a novelist's roadmap through the art and ordeal of finding the damned words."

2020 Hindsight
By Susan.

downWrite creative
Phil Houtz's notes on the writing life.

Vivid: pieces from a writer's notebook
Blog of Canadian poet Erin Noteboom.

The Literary Saloon
The literary weblog at the complete review.

Rabbit Blog
The rabbit writes on popular culture.

This Girl's Calendar
Momoka writes short stories.

Twists & Turns
Musings by writer Michael Gates.

Plays and Musicals -- A Writer's Introspective
A blog by John D. Nugent - Composer, Playwright, and Artistic Director of the Johnson City Independent Theatre Company

The American Sentimentalist
"Never has any people endured its own tragedy with so little sense of the tragic." Essays by Mark W. Anderson.

Screenwriting By Blog
David C. Daniel writes a screenplay online. "I've decided to publish the process as a way to push myself through it. From concept to completion, it'll be here."
Official site of occult fiction author Sean-Alonzo, exploring symbolism, alternative history, philosophy, secret societies and other areas of the esoteric tradition.

Crafty Screenwriting
Maunderings of Alex Epstein, tv scribe, about life, politics, and the tv show I'm co-creating.

Letters From The Home Front
The life of a writer, 21, home schooled, rural living.

Venal Scene
The blog of bite-sized plays inspired by the news (by Dan Trujillo).

'Plaint of the Playwright
Rob Matsushita, a playwright from Wisconsin, "whines a lot."

I Pity Da Fool!
Glenn's adventures in screenwriting.

Time In Tel-Aviv
Hebrew modern literature at its best, by Corinna Hasofferett.

Big Window
Robin Reagler's poetry blog.

John Baker's Blog
Author of the Sam Turner and Stone Lewis novels.

The Writing Life With Dorothy Thompson
What goes on during a writer's busy day?

The Rebel Housewife
Not just a housewife!

Barry's Personal Blog
A running commentary on writing and the writing life.

Bonnie Blog
Maintained by Bonnie Burton of

Writer's Blog.
By easywriter. "From the walls of caves to cyberspace."

Flogging the Quill
Pursuing the art and craft of compelling storytelling, by an editor, Ray Rhamey.

Man Bytes Hollywood
Sharing tools, strategies and resources for the screenwriter's journey.

Mad for the smell of paper
A writing journal.

The Writing Life
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It Beats Working 9-5
A screenwriting blog by a young Canadian screenwriter.

Stealing Heaven From The Lips Of God
Writer & Artist, Dee Rimbaud reflects upon politics, religion, art, poetry, the meaning of life, the nature of God and why toast always lands butter side down on carpets.

Robert Peake
Heart and Mind, Fully Engage ... a poet's website.

Sidestepping Real
By Ren Powell, poet, children’s writer, essayist and editor.

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plagiarism blog

The Writing Life...
"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's."
J.D. Salinger

"All my best friends are writers and are dead."
A friend over beer, Berkeley, winter, 1959

"And it came to pass that all the stars in the firmament had ceased to shine. But how was anyone to know?"
The Half-Life Conspiracy

After October 31, 2006,
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The Writing Life II

(Posts archived here are from 01/10/03 - 10/31/06)

Wednesday, May 28, 2003  
The Bunkhouse
[from a memoir in progress, which began on 4/13/03]
Dick Crooks knew about my marital problems step by step from my letters and phone calls. When I decided to return west, he invited me to stay in “the bunkhouse” at his ranch in Central Oregon. He’d been doing very well in the real estate business in the Bend area. He was a millionaire on paper. He, Bev and the boys lived on a ranch out of town, and Crooks said I could stay there as long as I liked while I got my shit together.

On the flight west, it occurred to me that for the first time in my adult life I didn’t possess a key to anything. No apartment key, no car key, no office key, not even a padlock or bike key. I felt like a man without a country. When I told Dick this story after my arrival, he surprised me the following night with a present: a key chain filled with all the unknown keys he could round up.

The bunkhouse was perfect, a separate building with its own toilet, a small house behind the big house on the ranch. I figured I’d stay there for a month or two, check out the job market in Portland, and try to get a little writing done.

Bev apparently had other plans for me. She knew the influence Dick and I had on one another: together, we’d both be partying more heavily than either would alone, and I can’t blame her for making sure my visit ended up being short and sweet. Or maybe she was just trying to be helpful. At any rate, on my first Sunday morning there she passed me the want ads of the paper and pointed out a job advertisement, saying, “This looks right up your alley.”

In fact, it was. A movie producer in Portland was looking for a scriptwriter and assistant director to help with a kid’s film about to go into production at Mt. Hood. I knew nothing about making movies, but I was a decent playwright. I really wasn’t eager to go to work this soon, especially with the opportunity to finish a play I’d started in Maryland, but to please Bev I threw together a letter, added my resume, and mailed both to the movie producer in Portland.

To my utter shock, I received a phone call from him only a few days later. He must have read my letter and called me immediately. Later I would learn that what he loved in my letter was the way I closed it: “Have typewriter, will travel.”

The producer was Tom Shaw, and he wanted me to drive to Portland immediately and meet with him. He actually meant that night! I got off the phone a minute and brought Dick up to speed. I didn’t have wheels, but Dick said I could borrow his pickup the next day. I made an appointment to meet Mr. Shaw in Portland for lunch.

Our lunch date was in the basement of his house, which was a combination business office, bar and pool hall. Shaw gave me the details of what he was looking for. He had a script for an hour-long children’s video about the encounter between some kids and two criminals, which he wanted to be along the lines of an Our Gang comedy. He didn’t like the script he’d hired a woman to write. He was looking for a writer who could rewrite it, then act as an assistant in the production while they cast the kids and shot the film in a cabin they would rent on nearby Mt. Hood.

Shaw asked for no writing samples. My M.F.A. in playwriting apparently was credentials enough. When lunch and the interview was over, I assumed he was going to tell me he’d be in touch. I assumed he had other writers to interview. Instead he told me what he’d pay me and asked me if I could start tomorrow. I didn’t know what to say. The money was decent but I wasn’t mentally prepared to start a job so soon. Shaw sensed my hesitation and said, okay, how about you do a couple things for me this afternoon, then spend a few days in Bend to settle your affairs, and we’ll start on Friday and work through the weekend.

He waited for my decision. I finally told him it’s a deal.

Shaw took out his wallet and handed me one thousand dollars in cash. He told me to go to such-and-such a bank at such-and-such a location and deposit this into an account called Tom Shaw Productions.

Back in the pickup, driving away with one thousand dollars in my pocket, I realized I was working for a very interesting and eccentric man indeed. Later I learned this was Tom’s way of testing if I was honest.

5/28/2003 06:44:00 AM | 0 comments

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