PAUL LAFARGE, AUTHOR. ACADEMIC (RESPONSIBLE FOR INCORPORATING A HYPERLINK IN HIS NOVEL LUMINOUS AIRPLANES, WHICH TAKES THE READING EXPERIENCE TO A MULTIMEDIA EXPERIENCE) DISCUSSES HIS WORK, HIS GENERATION, AND THE FUTURE OF MILLENNIALS…
For your novel Luminous Airplanes, the immersive text or hyperlink was ingenious as a literary device. How did it initially occur? I think in the age of the Millennials, a more multimedia experience could definitely benefit us. In term of expanding the readership. How do you feel about this?
Throughout your work, I keep coming across a theme of DISAPPEARANCE (e.g. Frank’s parents’ in The Artist of The Missing, Charlie in The Night Ocean) and OPEN CREATION (Like The strong presents Lovecraft plays in The Night Ocean or the painter and Frank Himself in The Artist of The Missing. Not to mention Haussmann in Haussmann or the Distinction, being a sole creator and destroyer and the story setting around the repercussions of such a duality). I mean the examples are numerous. Does this derive from a conscious effort or the stories just unfold how they do? I feel there’s more at play here, subconsciously maybe?
Where do you feel the form of communication in terms of relaying artistic expression will evolve into?
As a GenXer yourself, was there any pieces of literature you felt inspired by growing up, and any that relates today in regards to my generation of millennials?
Where would you say we have gone as a society, from a literary standpoint and in general in the form of what we digest, and where are we going, and how will that effect, either positively or otherwise for Millennials?
Anything you wanna promote?
REX PICKETT author, filmmaker, fellow artist, revealed underlying message in his work, openness of the generations, and bearing one’s own being
I feel in your novel Sideways, Miles is indicative of a passive figure who’s also self-serving in his own right while Jack is more of a dominant, impulsive force. Do you see a parallel from your generation?
There is no question that he is the classic Jungian introverted/thinking type and Jack is his polar opposite: the extraverted/feeling type. I don’t think about this when I’m writing, but I see it after the fact. There is no question that Jack is more of a force of nature.
I see the wineries representing a bliss or a haven if you will. Almost metaphor for relaxation, where you going for this? Also, ironic how that same sampling of wine has a consumption aspect that plays into their bliss, again, done deliberate? By the end of the book, I’m feeling no matter what they’ve consumed, vis-à-vis; wine, women, adventure, it never amounts to much, as the characters themselves still aren’t satiated. Almost like you’re saying we’re never fulfilled no matter how much we take in which is why we just need to be content within ourselves?
“There is no question that Miles — like me at the time — needs to get away. He’s leaving with little or no money, but on a minor high: his book has a chance at publication. Everyone’s dream. Jack is leaving on a high, too, because he’s got one last week of unadulterated freedom to be whomever he wants to be, drink, get down with his friend Miles, maybe get a dose of life lessons from his intellectual — and recently divorced! — friend. Miles is too smart to think that wine, or a one-week trip, is going to be an anodyne to any of his life’s worries. He may want to indulge, he may want to get away from the pressure cooker of his life — different in the book than in the movie, by the way — but his life is always there. No amount of wine will make it go away, even if it appears at time that neither know the meaning of insatiate. Nothing anyone does will ever prevent anyone from expunging the obvious: we’re all going to die. It doesn’t matter how much success you have, or whatever, that fate is inevitable. And Miles is keenly aware of it. Jack doesn’t think like that. Miles wants to get away from his life. And Jack needs an escape before he begins his life.”
Do you feel Jack and Miles’s journey is really a vacation, never an exploration?
What starts out as a vacation, and turns into a disaster of sorts, is really, as I wrote above, in retrospect, a great crimson blot on the trajectory of their lives. And Jack gets this! He says it in the book and the play. Miles will one day write about it and make him and Jack famous, as I did. But at the time, in the moment, it’s Jack who has this revelation. In the movie, it’s in Jack’s wink to Miles at the wedding. But, in the book/play it’s in dialogue, and eloquently expressed by Jack, even with his limited vocabulary. To me, it is an unbelievable exploration of their whole beings, their entire souls. They descend into the proverbial realm of Persephone and make it back, transformed. The comedy maybe undercuts this quasi-hero’s journey and, if viewed only as a comedy, can seem trivial. But, if it were just a comedy, and not a journey of the soul, the film would not have stood the test of time. Okay, maybe they need the wine to disinter those deeper feelings — uninhibiting them, as it were, to get there — but it’s only in going to the dark side that they realize something greater. In that sense it is way more than a vacation, but I never wanted to hammer anyone over the head with some ham-fisted, sausage-fingered message-mongering story. In the end, to sell despair, and psychological growth through despair and desperation and deprivation, I needed the via regia of comedy.
I feel like at the heart of Sideways you’re conveying human connection, in various forms, was that the underlying statement?
Was the Sideways trilogy a conscious work against the backdrop of the society you know and the culture you live in?
I take from real life, from the era I’m writing in, and then I fictionalize for my narrative needs. If that answers your question. It’s not so much about where society is at. It’s where Miles is at. Writing is not an avocation; it’s a life. If you aren’t prepared to give it your life, then you’ll probably never make it.
Life is not a meritocracy. Sadly, with wealth inequality, nepotism — which is rampant in Hollywood — not everyone has the same shot. I hate it when people say that if you work harder than others, or you’re more talented, that you’ll find a way to make it. Bullshit. I’ve seen so many people who were mediocre talents who went on to have great careers because they got more than one chance. I’m not going to name the names, but everyone knows them. There’s no question that desire and the need to want to say something, as opposed to people who have the need to say something so they can live the lifestyle, will get you further than not having any talent, but there’s no question that having people believe in you is important.
People often will say to me that I must live a charmed life. To which I always reply: You wouldn’t want to live the life I’ve lived in order to live the ostensibly charmed life I’m currently living.
If you want to write you have to read, read, and read. And write. I’m of the school that you should just vomit it out and fix it in revisions. I’m also of the belief that you should have the story adumbrated in your head all the way to the end — yes, all the way to the end — before you begin. 2017 Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro wrote his legacy work The Remains of the Day in 4 weeks!! Sure, he spent half a year researching and ideating it, but he wrote the book in 4 weeks. He’s my hero. But, everyone’s process is different.
Furthermore, do you feel an Artist has a duty to the world in which they occupy or only to themselves?
This is a very deep question. Well, if you’re a published writer you’re going to be judged — presumably — for all time — because your work’s in print. Artists — the good ones — don’t ask for a lot from the world. They’re not in high demand. True artists. Most people I meet who want to be “artists,” really just want to live the lifestyle — agent, high-level meetings … they want all the superficial, materialistic trappings of the life, and don’t want to do the hard work, suffer — like Miles — the rejections, the hardships, the abandonment of family and friends when you persevere and they’ve given up on you, as they inevitably do. So, first, you have a responsibility for your own welfare, I guess, but you would be inhuman if you didn’t believe that your art could move somebody in the world that maybe helped them see their own predicament in it in a brighter, more brilliant light. My greatest moments aren’t when I get a royalty check. They’re when somebody writes me and says how much my work has moved them. So, I don’t think the artist has a duty, per se, to the world, but they do have a duty, I believe, to be honest to their characters, to their story. But, it’s harder and harder in this sell-out world of sensationalist garbage.
Finally, my generation of Millennials are up against a lot, no doubt, what would you offer in terms of us gaining footing in the world, in general?
“The Internet is a dark road to infinity potholed with links. Just as the tobacco industry did everything they could to keep your addicted to their horrible product — ditto for the sugar industry; Big Pharma — remember, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, only want one thing from you: your endless, mindless engagement. They see your brain as an ATM machine, the same way Big Pharma does, Big Sugar, the medical professions. Your mind, your body, is the last frontier of exploitative, colonialist capitalism. I hope to God your generation understands that you are being conned by this technology. And that comes from someone writing this on a MBP in an email browser. I hope to God your generation realizes that they control their minds and their bodies and not these venal capitalistic interests, driven by insanely powerful computers, competing for you very soul. Resist.”
Rex Pickett is currently writing The Archivist, a novel for Blackstone Publishing. And he will soon be working on the libretto for Sideways the musical comedy with composer Anthony Adams
Amongst THE BOTTLE ROTTERS WE FIND ONE OF THE MOST HARD WORKING GENERATIONS where elitism is foreign and hard work is ever present. Apparent as the results are in!
81% have donated money, goods or services, (ACCORDING TO Walden University and Harris Interactive). Considering the sparse job market and fact that they are the most in debt generation in modern age it is inspiring how they give very generously.
Outdoing Generation X in the largest amount of contributors in the American workforce. (Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.)
FACINGTHE STRUGGLE OF A STILL SUFFERING, STAGNANT ECONOMY, THEIR VAST PLANS NEVERTHELESS ARE UNDERWAY TO BRANCH OUT INDEPENDENTLY.
Unfortunately the days of living free is a hurdle, as 18- to 34-year olds are considerate to be homeward found (pew reports). No doubt in large part to the student debt crisis in what Bloomberg reports $1 trillion in student debt.
The journey ahead is fierce but the movement never stops for a millennials/bottle rotter!
Name: Christopher Coop
Location: Lived all over island, but graduated in Centereach
Favorite Quote: “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership” – Harvey Firestone
Overview: Graduated with an MBA in 2010, gave my life to The Lord a year later. Attempting to figure out God’s plan
Current Job: Ops Manager
Dream Job: Serving The Lord in all ways
Hope for the generation: That people would turn away from idolatry and lean toward The Lord
Promoting: The World race. God can use you to build his Kingdom for 11 months
Adam Shepard, Author (Scratch Beginnings, One Year Lived) Public Speaker, and all around Cooool Dude, shares his thoughts on AMERICA, MILLEINAILS, and HIS OWN MESSAGE on improving where we are and where we’re currently going, as a GENERATION as well as a NATION in general.
When you set out to embark on this social experiment that became Scratch Beginnings you had stated initially that you didn’t know if it was a book, you just wanted to shed new light on what you felt was already confirmed, that of, The American Dream was still very much alive for anyone who wanted it, which had in subsequent years been more grimly portrayed, motivating your experiment in the first place. Do you believe since writing it that The American Dream has been more stifled or just as obtainable?
The American Dream is just as obtainable now as always. The American Dream is not a time period or a particular economy or good luck and bad luck. And it’s most certainly not a woe-is-me-in-these-circumstances scenario. The American Dream is an attitude that exists here, as it does in other free and democratic countries, that if you wake up in the morning and decide that you are going to kick your day in the ass, you can. And if you want to sleep until 11am, well, you can do that, too.
Out of the Great Depression emerged a great generation of workers and entrepreneurs and thinkers. And the same has been true since this country was founded as it was during our most recent recession, that the economy will always ebb and flow, but the attitude of the American Dream remains constant.
Do you feel it’s a particularly challenging time for Millennials as of now? If so, what can they do to utilize what’s available to them in terms of breaking through?
The challenge for Millennials now is to break through a sense of entitlement that has been ingrained in us from the compilation of our parents, our teachers, television, and social media. Society has dictated that we are special, or different from any other generation, and the fact is that we are not. Once we recognize that, we recognize that we have the capacity to be good or bad, lazy or hardworking, kind or mean, frugal or spendthrift, greedy or selfless. And once we recognize that capacity, we can recognize that Millennials have the power to break through and make a positive impact on this world. It’s up to us whether we want to exercise that power. Or sleep ’til 11am.
In just the last decade we have seen a major shift in the country; politically, economically, socially, etc. Where do you see the vast, unique landscape of America currently going?
If I knew that, I would be writing to you from one of my many homes, this one on Barbados, and I would shortly be boarding my private jet to go have dinner with my wife in Paris for the evening. I guess the excitement, though, and what keeps me getting up in the morning, is that we don’t know where it’s going. That what we have today could be gone tomorrow, and that is a very exciting challenge, and one that we can control with our effort and our spending habits and how we treat people.
Do I interest myself in political candidates and interest rates and who my friends are? Sure, but I only do so to the extent that I recognize there are things that I can and cannot change, and regardless of the swirl or calm around me, I’m going to keep plowing forward with the same conviction.
Technology, essentially for Millennials, seems to have even affected our sensibilities, as no one has to deal with real conflict or engagement, when a majority of us are on our phones, on our computers, completely disengaged. How can we redirect this in a more positive fashion?
Take time to step away. It’s simple. Technology is a beneficial component of all of our lives, but it also has the dark side, and much like gambling or alcohol or hashish, it can be abused. So use it to your benefit for an hour or two (technology, not hashish), and then walk away and realize how beautiful it is to cuddle up and read a book, to meet a friend for coffee and dive into some heavy issues, to take a moment to engage a stranger with a smile or a nod or a wave.
When you give your lectures, what are some of the main focal points you try to instill amongst your audience to lend themselfs to a more fulfilling way of life?
My talk isn’t so much centralized in seeking to help someone fulfill their life as much as it is to say, “Hey buddy. Life is tough. And awesome. And when you get kicked in the teeth, you either get back up or you lie there whimpering. And when you win, you either call and tell everybody how fantastic you are or you work to capitalize on that win.”
Dealing with failure, maintaining a positive attitude, setting goals, getting after it…every speaker’s messages–including mine–are commonplace but if they are wrapped around entertaining stories, they can be packaged in such a way that those messages become very real and relatable.
Can you tell us about shepardspeaks.com?
I have been fortunate over the last 8 years to travel the country addressing these very same issues with high school and college audiences around the country. I love it. Storytelling is what I do, and when I speak to an audience, and then I get an email that says that I touched someone in the audience, and inspired them to action, it makes my life a little bit more worthwhile than it already is.
Is there a main source toward where your inspiration lies in terms of your natural desire to explore the uncharted, like putting yourself in places you haven’t’ been, encounters you wouldn’t normally have, people you wouldn’t normally meet?
The inspiration comes from my parents, and it is the belief that experience trumps income.
In the middle of it all, a few years ago, I took a year to travel around the world. I volunteered in Central America, I worked on a cattle station in Australia, I rode elephants in Thailand, and I spent a couple of months traveling around Europe with my future in-laws. (Oh yeah, and I fought bulls.) And all along the way, as my eyes continued to widen, I gathered this sense that as long as we remain curious, it is incredible what we can learn about the world around us.
And even more exciting is how those teachings, while enriching our lives, allow us to then give back to the world in a very purposeful way.
Finally, What’s on the horizon for Adam, in what direction does your journey currently take you?
I just finished working on a second feature-length documentary (with a really skilled and passionate group of Millennials!), and now I have another really big project in my sights (that I can’t quite discuss at the moment).
I just moved to Orange County, California for my lovely wife Ivana to go to grad school, and we’re loving it out here.
Well, I wanna personally thank Adam, and know he’ll be fulfilled as he continues on his journey.
By. Izzy B. Rael
They say that insanity is the action of desired change, yet doing the doing nothing to actually change the current results. Well, I guess to some degree we are all insane. We wait and pray for new jobs, new spouses, and sometimes even a new life. We are human and with being human we are fickle at times. Not really understanding that our actions have an uncompromising consequence. We are creatures of habit, and even in the moments of our knowing disasters, we seemingly choose to blame the universe. Life in my opinion is about the deeds, not the amount of material items we can account for in a closet or a bank account. This ideology is not something new or profound. But I find that life is more about the people we impact. Money makes the world go around is a phrase that I have found to be completely idiotic. Money only has the value that we put on it. So, why don’t we put this same importance on people as we do on money? I believe that it is easier to love something that you do not have to give patience to or have to allow into the depths of our dark realities. Our dark realities really consist of our ability to lie to ourselves. We will lie to our lives about everything. From the people we love to the dreams we tell ourselves that we still desire to achieve. Love is about as insane of thing to lie to yourself about, yet we do it anyway.
I remember telling my mother once that love changed, and she quickly replied, “love never changes but people’s perception of love changes.” I have seen marriages fail and relationship falter like the fall of Roman aqueducts after a few hundred years. The aqueducts were a great idea and were inventive for the day, and just like these relationships they collapsed. Not because they were not meant but it was like all great things, they age and the next invention improves on the last. We are blinded by our desire to fight our ability to look in the mirror and deal with the monsters in our inner being. Some of are afraid what we might find, and afraid once we find the monster are afraid what maybe told to us by this monster. We all have demons, so why do we judge others regarding their demands. I think it is the main-state of psychologist. We all have the ability see ours problems and can provide a detailed path of how to escape the issues, but that ability seems to escape us in our relationship issues. I guess, it’s like seeing a storm from miles away, you can tell those in the village how to get out, but the villages can only see the flooded areas. You cannot love someone else if you do not love who are at that moment. If you do not know what being loved feels like how can you show love to someone else. At that moment love is only a theory, a concept of ideas and it is not real. Can you watch a movie a alone or do you need the breathing of others to quite your thoughts. Wanting the best for yourself starts with the inner-self.
Personal Growth is something that we seem smirk at when one mentions it today. The statement “I want to find myself”, seems have an undercurrent that one is lost and does not no know they are or their place in the world. I seem to think the opposite, I think that it inner-being knowing that they are capable of more than what the world is offering them at that time. It knows there is a higher plane of existence in the physical that their inner-being is craving. Many old world religions and practices speak of it; it’s the connection of the physical and the spiritual. Or simple put, the avatar state from ‘The Last Airbender’. It’s a scary journey walking in the spiritual realm for the first time but fear is an illusion. It is what stops us from ascending to our true self. Some may need to travel, some may need to suffer (emotional, mentally), and some may never understand or experience the feeling all together. But I believe every human at sometime or another needs to ask the all-important question when he or she are alone, “What am I worth?” The next question is “what is my time worth?” Time is the only currency that cannot be replenished. ‘What are you worth?’ Every moment is not like the last, don’t allowing the world to make you believe differently. Carpe Diem!
– Until we speak again
“Load up on guns, bring your friends It’s fun to lose and to pretend. She’s over bored and self assured. Oh no, I know a dirty word.”
Those are the introductory lyrics to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, off of Nirvana’s sophomore, acclaimed album, Nevermind, solidifying their stance as Grudge royalty, and propelling its frontman, Kurt Cobain, as its King.
The music video, reading like a f*ck you statement to young adult conformity, set in a rundown auditorium, where an almost zombify cheerleading squad, with classic high school stereotypes, preps, stoners, slackers, wastoids, among others, scattered throughout in the bleachers, and flashes of a withered janitor, perhaps hearing the sound of the music, which in turns ignites his own nostalgia for a younger time but now long behind him. The sentiment in the song of true distain for tainting our youth with phony conventions, rang true then as it does today.
Their Songs, deeper, darker, probing, with perhaps an emphasis on examination of youth culture. Their Style, plain, worn, carefree. Their Attitude, much like their style, while throwing it all out there to be heard. This struck a cord with the music psyche at the time, when an infusion for something different was very much needed, with the more conventional sounds of rock and roll, needing an interjection, for a different kinda sound, style, and attitude, and through Nirvana, they certainly got it.
Cobain, a solemn, somewhat even reserved, introspective man, piercing eyes, scruffy face, and long hair draped in his eyes was certainly probing for questions.
His own adolescence marred in early disillusionment, parents divorce, high school dropout, where a young Kurt struggled to find his place, seeking solace in the creation of those hard hitting sounds, that would become the impetus for his band, and a source of refuge for all he sought against and embraced in one cycle. It more than likely lent itself to not only the frustration of his own inner demons, tragically taking his own life in ’94 at only 27 (self inflected gunshot wound) but also spoke to that same generation he grew up in, known as GenXers.
For as Bleak as the band could get and the unfortunate demise of its leader, they posed questions, raised awareness, and above all, made us think, while at the same time delivering it to us in that aggressive sound, penetrating lyrics, aware, but smart enough to deliver it abrupt, in your face way, to emphasis their point, in the age of immediacy they knew to deliver it intensely and timely, to truly reach the masses of young people, speaking to their inner self, what was at their inner core, well, whatever, nevermind…
By: Louis Falcinelli
Interviews for anyone can be quite nerve-racking, especially in today’s shaky economy, many-a-times you seem to be bobbing and weaving, when it comes across more like a force-field or interrogation than it does an actual interview.
So what is a bottle rotter to do?
I can recall being at an interview, where I was so fine tuned, so perfectly prepped, I thought, there isn’t any question I can’t answer.
Q: What would you say are your strengths?
A: Efficiency. (I feel like this one covers it all.) To be efficient is to be on time, hardworking, and devoted.
Q: Where do you see yourself within the company?
A: Continuing to advance and progress. (They always love this one, cause it means you’re not going to flee.)
Then, the powerhouse question hit:
Q: What would you say are you weaknesses?
What?!?! Weaknesses? But I have no weaknesses, I thought. How can they ask such a question?! How do they expect me to answer this?!?!
Stumped, I quickly answered, something to the effect of ah… I… I would say, sometimes it’s hard for me to focus (inside voice: worst possible thing to say! cover!! quickly cover!!!) Not that I’m not focus, I can just sometimes I… um.. Too much of something can hinder someone’s ability to stay focused and not work as productive (inside voice: greeeattt! that just made it worse!)
They nodded and smiled, and needless to say, I didn’t get the job. It was after, as in…
during the ride home.. later on my bed, pondering… waking up in cold sweats reliving it.. where I finally figured out what was going on.
I got it now! This was a trick question, a wild card that they throw into the mix to see how well you fair. Obviously I hadn’t really faired. The whole point of the exercise was to be aware and ready, efficient, in the purest of forms, instead of just saying the word as a clever façade. It was to demonstrate it. I had learned a valuable lesson, something of “practicing what you preach,” and no that’s not just a Madonna song.
If given the opportunity to answer it again, I would combine what I had learned and build on it from the question, for instance, in the interview do over (if ever such an incredible thing existed) and that question came again:
Q: What would you say are you weaknesses?
Here would be my genuine answer:
A: I would say that sometimes, for all my strengths of being an efficient employee, I may overwork myself in the process, and need to take a moment, as to not lose track at the task at hand.
Blam! I aced it! I provided the essentials as to what I can offer as a good employee and in the process admitted that I am not a robot and may need a moment to recharge just so I can go full force again. Something any respectable employer can surely understand.
Unfortunately, there are no interview do overs, or life do overs at that. Instead, I have to take what I’ve leaned and apply it the next time. So, until then…