From the messy desk of Paul Levine...
A PICTURE'S WORTH A GAZILLION WORDS: I use still photos when writing descriptions of people, places, and things. When I needed to describe Mexicali in ILLEGAL, I scattered photos I took of the city across my desk. When I wrote a script set in the 1940's in Japan, I used a photo (below) of a young Japanese woman to help me create a particular character. The life and death of gangster Ben (Bugsy) Siegel play a role in the backstory of my new Jake Lassiter novel. Here are the photos I'm using to inform that character. Does anyone else find this helpful in writing?
AND SPEAKING OF BUGSY: Sunday night, I was having dinner with friends at Il Postaio in Beverly Hills when Annette Bening and Warren Beaty walk in. Notwitstanding the fact that we're neighbors, they didn't stop by to say hello. Okay, so they live on top of the mountain next to Jack Nicholson and I live at the bottom next to a den (or nest or condo or whatever) of coyotes. And we've never actually met. But I've seen all their movies, starting with "Splendor in the Grass."
AND SPEAKING OF PHOTOGRAPHS: Julius Shulman, famed architecture photographer, just died at 98. I first saw his photograph, Koenig's Case Study House Number 22 (below) as a high school student. It's the cantilevered house in the Hollywood Hills, the perfect spot for a modern ("Mad Men" era) cocktail party. The photo made me want to become an architect. Then I discovered I had no spatial abilities and was lousy at math, drawing, and virtually every other talent needed to conceptualize and express designs. Having no other discernible talents, I became a lawyer. Any readers wish they had an ability they lack?
TODAY'S HEALTH FOOD NOTE: I've always thought gyros were basically compressed wads of meat scraps, sort of like sausages without the skin. This New York Times story, about mass producing "lamb and beef trimmings" into frozen popsicles, confirms it. Now, be honest. Doesn't gyro meat look like roadkill? And who, besides Jim Born, eats them on a regular basis?