Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Franco's Short Story Collection & The Aspiring Author

The other day I posted an excerpt from James Franco's collection of short stories, Palo Alto, due out later this month.

In a way, I say...how great is that for Franco. Instead of just expressing his creativity through films and TV, he is exploring and enhancing his own artistic abilities through attending classes at UCLA, working with established authors (like Mona Simpson), and exposing himself creatively through writing his own stories.

At the same time...inside I find myself critiquing this publication without having read it - perhaps that is why I initially simply posted an expert, allowing the work to speak for itself.

In fact, I like the excerpt that I posted because it speaks to the fact that in the creative process, when writers draw from "what they know" they may quickly find that there experience is rather limited.

I have felt that way before in trying to pen my own screenplays, novels, and short stories.

You hit a block when you realize your experience limits your ability to easily access terms, images, and realism you are longing for in your 18th century morality story that takes place in France or your tale about a detective in Seattle with a spinal condition.

Yet...my critic of James Franco's publication is not on the writing, for which I have not read, it is for the thousands of aspiring authors who dream of seeing their books in print and on shelves.

For Franco to do some college-level creative writing and get it published, be interviewed about his work, and be given all the opportunity authors aspire for based on his established-name (not the merit of his work) is part of the disheartening reality of public art.

Obviously, the same thing happens in all art. Actors, authors, painters, dancers who establish themselves initially off their connections not their work.

Hence Franco's work to me is a symbol of a book that is made at the cost of an unknown who's manuscript was disregarded. Not to mention, I can only imagine how many unpublished short stories are being written all the time without publication being that it is a lesser read genre of fiction.

This is a big year for Franco, with two prestige films, Howl and 127 Hours, and now a short story collection.
Pictured above: James Franco as poet Allen Ginsberg in the film Howl.

1 comment:

Edd Story said...

I enjoy your reviews. They make me decide if I should read a book or not. My first comment.

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