best of 2023

dear imaginary readers,

it’ll be good to see the end of 2023. it’s been a challenging year, good and not so good challenges, but here i am, writing a few words to sum up my year. it’s life. i definitely read good books, listened to good music, and watched good TV, you know?


i’ve done a lot of writing this year and i’m thankful for having a busy desk. i wrote out my screenplay and continued on with the screenwriting certificate program out of UCLA. lotsa work, screenplays. the last act will be workshopped in the new year and then i’ll submit.

i worked on my novel ms this year and rearranged things and it’s still not working, i need to write another draft. that said, i’ve made progress. one thing i did was take a section of the novel and construct a short story out of it–i’m pleased with how it turned out. it’s good to try the story in a new form. anyway, i’m currently constructing another short story out of the second section of the novel and will see how that works out.

i have a feeling that flexibility with story is part of a good writing practice, and i’ve read many authors who employ this technique: write a story as a short story, then as a novel, then as a screenplay. the story will reveal its true form. so says alex chee, duncan birmingham, garth greenwell, and so on.

i believe it.

certainly it’s a way to explore.



i’m picking one book from my pile and it has personal meaning to me: THE OBSERVER by Marina Endicott. it’s about family life in the RCMP.

i was raised in the RCMP and there are consequences when you’re inside a system you didn’t choose. as a child, you are expected to move from town to town, to fit in wherever you move, to get along. complaining isn’t part of the protocol. “don’t them get to you, just ignore it,” was a common refrain when i returned home from the first day of school, scrapes on my elbows and knees from being pushed down in the school yard.

the consequences? stuffing down feelings, being too agreeable in questionable/bad situations, moving to the next posting too easily. my childhood relationships were superficial and unhealthy, TBH.

so, this book, written from the perspective of an RCMP spouse is an eye opener for me. the worries, the lack of detail shared because of confidentiality, the trauma. i have to say that i never heard my dad say a word about his work, nor the effects it had on him, although he smoked a lot, and suffered migraine headaches.

there was a culture of silence in my family home and my mom screened the outside world. “dad needs peace and quiet,” was a common refrain. my friends were vetted by my parents, concerned that people in the community would poke into our privacy. i was taught to keep a quiet home.

readers, there are consequences.

why am i telling you all this?


as i’m a student in a screenwriting course, i watch lotsa TV and movies and the highlight of my screen time was SLOW HORSES, a terrific series available on apple tv, about a degenerate group of MI5 members at sloughhouse. the fuck-ups and drug users, the ineffective, and the impulsive. rules are not followed and there are consequences.

the series has problems but it’s charming, and funny.

currently, i’m working my way through THE WIRE and, man, the writing is good.


also hard to pick. i think i’ll stick with ANATOMY OF A FALL. i wish i kept better track of the movies i watch/screenplays i read.



PS this entire post is about consequences