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Blog Archive July 2010

TALKING TO A BANGKOK MOTORCYCLE DRIVER

To understand hardships from the inside, you need to be patient. People who suffer either complain all the time or stay silent. In both cases, the nature of suffering is communicated. It is in the crucible of anguish that defines the person in later life. Withstanding adversity in the face of overwhelming odds is difficult as it is rare. But people do arise above their hardships and we call that ability to keep going a virtue.

Our eyes are wide open to our own injuries, despairs, and insults but we are often blind when others around us have the same inflicted on their lives. We walk passed the beggar. We don’t notice the blind lottery seller. Or the old man selling baked bananas wrapped in banana leaves.

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Posted: 8/5/2010 10:57:54 PM 

 

No Need to Remove Your Shoes

Red light means stop; green light means go; and yellow light is proceed with caution. Except Thai drivers have a way of blurring the meaning of traffic lights. Signaling what is expected, what is wanted, or what one can get away with are mentally built from the cultural bricks of education, family, friends and neighbors. Simple signals such as yes, and no, like traffic signals aren’t always to be relied upon.

In Thai culture, it is a well-established tradition that before you enter the house of a Thai, you first remove your shoes. The feet, according to local custom, are the lowest part of the body. Walking on streets and pavements makes for dirty shoes. There are a couple of levels at work. First, your feet (and everybody else’s) occupy the lowest realm (pointing with your foot at someone is a major cultural gaff). Second, there are some practical health issues packaged with living in the tropics. Dog shit is one. Along with various parasites and bacteria which have been known to hitch a ride on people’s shoes and into their houses.

Read more: http://www.internationalcrimeauthors.com/

Posted: 7/30/2010 5:41:33 AM 

 

Making Pictures out of Words

Writing a novel is the end product of a long creative journey. Much the same conclusion can be said about writing and directing a film. Since Monday I have been guiding Hollywood screenwriter Chase Palmer through Vincent Calvino’s world. Chase is writing the script play for Spirit House. During the past couple of days, I have been thinking about how a novelist transfers and shares his world with a screenwriter.

The Vincent Calvino series—soon to have 12 novels—is over a million words spanning nearly twenty years. A screenplay runs about 120 pages in length. The film going audience will never read it. Instead they will watch the film. Their experience is what they see on the screen; not what is put on paper for the director, producer and actors. People who watch a movie (unless they are in the industry or writers) don’t understand or much care about the screenplay. Why should they? It is like the building you live in. How often to you think about the blueprints that were labored over, changed, revised in order to realize the physical structure. I suspect not often.

Read more: http://www.internationalcrimeauthors.com/

Posted: 7/22/2010 10:26:10 PM 

 

GETTING THINGS WRONG

Experts are people we rely on when we are ill, build a house, buy a car, board an airplane, or invest in equities or bonds. We also buy books written by an ‘expert’ because we trust that this person’s knowledge, experience and wisdom will shed a light on a subject that is of interest.

Crime fiction also has increasingly become the domain of authors who have developed expertise about police procedures, investigations, police department culture, as well as psychology, justice systems, politics, and language.

Read more: http://www.internationalcrimeauthors.com/

Posted: 7/9/2010 12:18:42 AM 

 

 

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