I glanced over at my book shelf the other day and my eye fell on a book my wife gave me many years ago, If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland: probably the best work on the art and craft of writing it’s ever been my pleasure to read. I grabbed IYWTW off the shelf and started flipping through it, instantly remembering the delight I felt when I first devoured it. Ueland, who passed away in 1985, was the kind of teacher we all wish we’d had in school: she didn’t teach through criticism or tearing down, but through inspiration, enthusiasm and encouragement. Her belief was that “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” In short, anyone can be a writer—or an artist or an actor or whatever creative expression the heart cries for—if we'd just put aside fear and limitation (both society’s and our own) and embrace the naked joy of the creative act. If You Want to Write is the kind of book that will inspire someone who’s never written a word and do the same for someone (like me) who’s been at this game for decades. If you have any interest in following the Writer’s Path, do yourself a favor and buy this book. I plan on re-reading it immediately.
Google Alerts recently led me to a music site that, without my knowledge or permission, is offering one of the songs from my CD, How Many Lifetimes?, as a free download. No, I’m not upset: I’m delighted. If you’re interested, click here and take a listen to “Baba Rain.” If you like the song you might want to head over to the iTunes Store or CD Baby and check out the rest of the album. And, no, I won’t complain if you buy it.
They say you can’t go home again, but, recently, I have. Home to Justice League International: the series Keith Giffen and I launched—with inestimable contributions from editorial genius Andy Helfer and the amazing Kevin Maguire—for DC Comics twenty-three years ago. My first reunion with the JLI came a few weeks back when I was working on an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold that featured Bats and the DCAU (that’s DC Animated Universe, in case you don’t know) incarnation of our League. Okay, so they’re not exactly our team—the new Blue Beetle has replaced Ted Kord—but they’re awfully close and it was tremendous fun writing that script, which also features one of my all-time favorite characters, Jack Kirby’s classic monster, the Demon.
My second reunion with the old gang came this week, co-writing an upcoming issue of the monthly Booster Gold series that finds BG traveling back in time to the heyday of the JLI. Giffen’s plot was pitch-perfect (so what else is new?) and I couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to slip into the old rhythms, filling up the pages with an endless stream of banter and (alleged) witticisms. The good news is that there’ll be more JLI in upcoming BG stories—with a focus on Booster’s relationship with the Blue Beetle—and, frankly, I can’t wait. Writing these characters is so much fun I’d do it for free. But don’t tell DC, okay?
I’m going to be journeying through an Internet-free Zone for the next week, so if you post a comment here and don’t get a reply, be sure that I’ll catch up with everyone once I emerge from the I-F Z. And in case I don’t get a chance to do that catching-up before next weekend, let me wish you all a happy Easter. It's been my experience that a little resurrection—creative and spiritual, personal and cosmic—is very good for the soul.
© copyright 2010 J.M. DeMatteis