- I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org). As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia! Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton. I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times. I also wrote the liner notes for the three THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me? My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored. Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.
Friday, February 10, 2017
THE NOTEBOOK NOTIONS: Notebook Gnashings
Since beginning Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) last year, I've made occasional references to The Notebook Notions, the incomplete writing ideas (if one could even call them ideas) that I used to jot down in notebooks when I was a young would-be writer. I recently found a big stack of the original notebooks, and I've begun going through them in search of worthy blog topics.
"Worthy" might be too much to ask, but I tell ya: there's a lot of stuff here. I had intended to start by serializing the entries from the Creative Writing journal I kept as a college freshman in the fall of 1977. But even a cursory glance at the very first entry there was enough to convince me to abandon that plan. At seventeen, I was a lonely, outta-place square peg, and my journal from that period reflects my sense of oh-woe-is-me isolation. I say thee yechh. I may still go through the damned thing looking for items that are more fun to read than my teen complaints about how miserable I was; I'll spare you most of the teen drama. I'd like to go back in time and spare myself most of the teen drama.
More interesting, I think, are the half-baked writing ideas I preserved in these notebooks when I was a teen, and even into my twenties. I had a ton of ideas; the will (and the ability) to execute them took a little longer to arrive. But there's quite an array of notions here, including a kinda cute one-off Batman story, the handwritten scripts to my hypothetical Justice Society of America radio show and Further Adventures Of Captain Marvel movie serial (both discussed from faulty memory here), and notes for my original (if derivative) comic-book creations Captain Infinity, Lawman, The Predators, Rock Lobster, Jack Mystery, and more.
There are notes for Hornet Enterprises, the multi-million dollar heroic pulp fiction publishing empire I intended to build, including a step-by-step plan (Step One: Buy Conde Nast) that just maybe mighta possibly been an eensy bit preposterous. There are notes 'n' notations for articles I could write for Starlog and Trouser Press. There are crudely-drawn covers for an imaginary revival of DC's All-Star Comics, and for fictitious hardcover collections of Golden Age comic book stories. And there is the journal I kept for the Fantasy And Science-Fiction class I took as a college senior in 1979; that looks to be somewhat less embarrassing than my freshman writing journal, so that will likely be shared here, in extended serial form.
Ideas don't have a predetermined shelf life. Some ideas are, y'know, just loopy to begin with; some ideas are flawed, and perhaps impractical, but could still be worth re-visiting from a later, fresher perspective. My initial space-opera ideas for Captain Infinity evolved into a time travel story, which I much, much later merged with concepts in The Further Adventures Of Captain Marvel to create Eternity Man. A Notebook Notion for a Superman-Aquaman team-up called "The Undersea Crimes Of Mr. Freeze" became The Undersea World Of Mr. Freeze, a Batman and Aquaman pulp short that I'm proud to have concocted. Even that embryonic notion for a Trouser Press article turned into notes for a Ramones retrospective, which I subsequently used as part of my Ramones article and interview for Goldmine in 1994 (and maybe eventually in a book about The Ramones). Recycling is evergreen!
So, with a stack of dusty, fading notebooks at my side, we will return anon to The Notebook Notions: "The Day I Met The Batman!" Hornet Enterprises. Captain Infinity. Jack Mystery. Some teen artwork. And we'll start with that Fantasy And Science Fiction journal from 1979. All systems go. Prepare for liftoff. And no teen drama allowed!
Well...maybe a little teen drama. Only the notebooks know for sure.
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