True Detective

So look.  Everybody and their grandmother is talking about HBO’s True Detective; which, having aired its final episode tonight, has firmly cemented itself as a work of television perfection.  But I’m not interested in doing that dance*.  I don’t feel like recapping the premise (it’s great), or the visual direction (it’s stellar), the genius of the dialogue (it’s genius), or the performance of Matthew McConaughey (which, holy fucking shit).  I have ZERO fucking interest in one of those abominable “recap” articles, which serve no purpose I can identify.

What I want to talk about is purely story-structural.  It’s something I need to get off my chest about True Detective, as a writer, which I’ve not seen anybody else express.  I want to talk about how True Detective is an act of genre- sleight-of-hand, which exists within the framework of one kind of story, while carefully being another.

(If you’ve not finished the show, bla bla bla spoilers etcetera.)

(And if you haven’t seen True Detective, you’re a jerk, and this post will mean nothing to you.)

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A Father’s Gift

About a week ago, I took a trip to New Hampshire, to climb Mount Washington for the eighth or ninth time in my life.  It’s a yearly ritual for my family, and it’s one that never fails to get me all nostalgic and sentimental.

This week, in preparation for fall, I set myself to the long-put-off task of cleaning up my horrid fox-warren of a room, the nooks and crannies of which look like an episode of Hoarder’s.  In the process, I found a letter I haven’t seen in almost ten years, since just after my dad died.

It feels surreal to type that.  To think that it’s been almost ten years since he went.  Almost half my life I’ve now lived without him, and yet he looms in my memory as large as the mountains he taught me to climb.

It’s odd, then, that I barely remember this letter.  I read it yesterday as though for the first time; a message from beyond the grave.

There are parts of this letter I don’t care for.  There are parts of it that hurt to read.  But it’s a beautiful, direct communication from him, and the writing is surprisingly strong.  Or maybe not so surprisingly — after all, he did always want to be a novelist.

Perhaps it can serve as a kind of closure.  I wrote last year that I was standing at a kind of crossroads in my life, and I don’t feel less at a crossroads now, but I suppose I must be.  The next chapter of my life is fast approaching: as an artist, as a craftsman, and as a man.

I can think of no better send-off.

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What I’m Working On

crying dwarfs

Deep Sounding Volume 2 is going on indefinite hold.  It’s not for lack of trying, but I have almost fifty thousand words of…well, to be frank, crap.  And I don’t mean “typical first draft” crap; this book’s a total wreck, the literary equivalent of shooting half a movie and then realizing you left the lense-cap on.  D’oh. Continue reading