A Succession of Nows: The Writing Craft of James Balestrieri (Part 2)

In the last entry, we learned a bit about James Balestrieri, his likes and dislikes, and how he approaches the craft of writing.  In this post we'll learn a bit more about The Ballard of Ethan Burns, what it means to craft a work in the "Western" genre, and what the Romantic era still has to do with modern writing. The work contains modern references to YouTube and yet Ethan Burns doesn’t feel dated or outdated in any way.  When you were writing this book, what did you have in mind when you decided upon how to convey time, timeliness, and the Western genre?  "I wanted the audience to be sure the story was rooted in the present, though when I first conceived it, there was no YouTube—there was barely an Internet! My experience of the American West stems from my day job at J. N. Bartfield Galleries in New York. We sell original works of art by the greats—Remington, Russell, etc....
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A Succession of Nows: The Writing Craft of James Balestrieri

Crafting a believable story is no small feat. Character, plot, subtext, conflict, dialogue, setting, detail: these are just a few of the elements that make up a believable but fictitious world. The art and craft of writing can, at times, be a slow and painstaking process—and at other times a seemingly channeled slew of words that come as an outpouring so quickly that fingers and pen can hardly keep up. Each writer has their own personal process, perhaps by way of a schedule or series of rituals, an unplanned meet-cute with the muse, or a deliberate pairing of pen and paper in an intimate way that draws forth word after word. If ever you've had a conversation with a writer who truly knows their craft (or you yourself are a writer), you already know that writing is a delicate process. That craft is essential for the work to convey what it intends to convey is unquestionable. And art, then, becomes the specific...
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Integrating the Shadow: The Light and The Darkness in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan

In the early twentieth-century, when Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung parted ways, the future of psychoanalysis was unclear. Sure, Jung had presented academic papers to his peers and had volumes of journals and research, but his interest in the esoteric, astrology, the “occult,” the invisible, was well beyond his peers’ understanding of such subjects and how these subjects may relate to the study of clinical psychology. Darren Aronofsky has always been one of my favorite directors since his early beginnings with Pi and Requiem for a Dream.  The Fountain remains one of my favorite films of all time for many reasons, but when Black Swan debuted at the theater, I didn’t rush out to see it.  It came and left the big screen, won an Oscar, and still I had made no attempt to view the film. I knew that it would require attention, I knew it would have a profound effect upon its viewers, including me. I knew it would be intense and...
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