Monthly Archives: November 2010

How I kicked drugs by writing

(I’m guest-blogging today on Bookaddict4real. I thought I’d share it here as well.)

http://www.bookaddict4real.com/

People who know me know my consumption of chemicals was pretty robust at one time. Shooting crystal meth (1 ½ years), dropping acid (200+ times), smoking pot (daily, for years), drinking alcohol (daily, for many, many years). I had a nice mind-mess going, and despite a little time in jail for sale of the some of the above-named substances, I had no intention of stopping.

At one point during these early years I decided I wanted to direct movies and videos, so I went to NYU Film School. One of the mandatory courses was Screenwriting 101. I begged to get out of it—I had no talent for telling stories—but mandatory is mandatory.

If you write, especially if you write fiction, you probably know what happened the first time I tried to create something. Even if you just read fiction, you know what I experienced—a kind of mesmerizing dream-state, a kind of alchemical, mind-melting trance. The blogger Laurel Marshfield has a good post on writing as entrancement (http://tinyurl.com/2ehv6ng), and I think entrancement is a good word for describing what happens. Even if you write and read non-fiction, when you’re deeply into a text, you feel as if your head is turning to butter like it did when a story was read to you as a child.

In other words, I was getting high on writing. Just like I’d get high on drugs. In terms of finding that entranced, lightly hypnotic, taken-away feeling, the writing high and the drug high have a lot in common.

Right away this presented a problem. I liked the writing high, I liked the drug high. Trouble was, I couldn’t do both at the same time. The writing high is a controlled state. The drug high is an uncontrolled and often wildly unpredictable state. Whenever I tried to write when I was stoned I’d get a serious case of entrancement-clash.

So I had to decide between the two. The choice might sound ridiculous now, but it was soul-searchingly serious at the time. Eventually I went with writing—it was free, it was legal, and you didn’t have to carry a gun to cop it.

I think I reached the right decision. Once I made up my mind, I never did drugs again. I loved writing too much to let any bizarre drug static interfere. A lot of times in recovery they tell you to get addicted to something that won’t kill you. For me it was writing. Not only did the word-high get me clean, in time it gave me the tools I needed to make a living as a magazine writer and editor.

The alcohol? That took a lot longer to kick. The entrancement level of booze is nowhere near as powerful as the drugs, so there was no competition with the writing and I had to use rehab and 12-steps to find my freedom. But that’s a different story, a different drug. Still, I think my battle with the bottle was helped by my fight with the needle. I’d chosen writing, and I’d saved my life.

Advertisements

Is it just me…

…or in the future stories of international politics and diplomacy, will today go down in history?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29cables.html?_r=1&hp


Self-Conscious About Writing?

Within the past few hours I’ve talked to two friends who are trying to write and have ideas, but they get blocked by self-consciousness. It’s a common problem–and it’s a killer for creativity. Don’t try to write something that’s going to please other people. Try to write something that’s only going to please your harshest critic–yourself. 

And surely don’t try to write something that will appeal to everyone. There’s never been a book, story or article that’s had universal appeal. I mean the best-selling book in the world is the Bible, and there are LOTS of people who don’t like that. So if God can’t write a book with universal appeal, who the hell are we to try? Relax. The more you can have fun writing, the better your writing will be.


A New Interview with Yours Truly

http://dlcacmp.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-richard-sanders-author.html


Can’t think of the right word?

Try the OneLook Reverse Dictionary.
http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/use-the-reverse-dictionary-nanowrimo-tip-18_b17225#disqus_thread


Amazon has picked Tell No Lie, We Watched Her Die…

…for one of its new marketing programs. Just go to the book link below and you’ll see a GREEN BOX in the right-hand column that says “Read first chapter free.” Click that and you’ll get said chapter on your PC, Mac, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Droid, Blackberry—pretty much anything outside of chisel-ready stone. The chapter will appear in a Kindle-like window complete with Kindle-like navigation. There’s even a button that allows you (if I may be so bold) to buy the complete book.

Give it a shot. It’ll only take a couple of minutes of your time to read.  You have nothing to lose—and you might gain a few laughs at my expense.  Many thanks.

TELL NO LIE, WE WATCHED HER DIE

The lit-crit take: A character-driven thriller, centering on themes of celebrity, addiction and survival.

The pure plot pitch: The sex tape of a famous actress suddenly turns up on the internet, showing her on the last night of her life. The full version is being offered for sale, and the reason for its high price goes way beyond celeb voyeurism. The video also contains a clue to who killed her. That’s why everyone is—literally—dying to see it.


Amazon has picked one of my books…

namely, SEX DEATH DREAM TALK, for its new marketing program. The link below will take you to the book’s page, where you’ll see a GREEN BOX in the right-hand column that says “Read first chapter free.” Click that and you’ll get said chapter on your PC, Mac, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Droid, Blackberry—pretty much anything outside of chisel-ready stone. The chapter will appear in a Kindle-like window complete with Kindle-like navigation. There’s even a button that allows you (if I may be so bold) to buy the complete book.

Give it a shot. It’ll only take a couple of minutes of your time to read.  You have nothing to lose–and you might gain a few laughs at my expense.  Many thanks.

SEX DEATH DREAM TALK

The lit-crit take: A character-driven thriller, centering on themes of redemption, revelation and the power of the unknown.

The pure plot pitch: What do you do when clues to an unsolved murder have been coded in a stolen $50 million painting? You try to steal it back. Only you have to deal with corrupt collectors, crazy thieves, lust-powered women, shootouts, betrayals, double-crosses and surprises. And a psychic dog named Hillary. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Dream-Talk-Richard-Sanders/dp/1451522223/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_6