Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Show #45: The Advantages of the Well-Read Gentleman

Saturday Show #45

We—my mom, brother, sister, and I—were enjoying a rare family meal at China New Star Restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. I was trying to explain to them what was so great about Paolo Coehlo’s international bestselling novel, THE ALCHEMIST, which I’d recently read. As I was going through a litany of praises, my sister, the devoted New Kids on the Block fan, sighed as only little sisters can sigh, and said, “If it has this great message about life and stuff, why not just tell us what it is?”

After expressing the exasperation of a big brother exhausted from 30+ years of being exasperated with his younger siblings, I said, “It’s not the same. You can’t just tell someone what the meaning of a great book is. Doesn’t work like that.”

“Why not?” my sister said.

“Because, that’s why,” I said, big-bro brilliant.

The embarrassing fact is, I didn’t know why on that day. But my little sister’s line of questioning stuck with me. As I started thinking more and more about my little sister’s question, I started thinking about the role of fiction in our society, and how it seems that there’s a perception “out there” that fiction is for entertainment purposes only—that it’s not useful for helping us solve the many problems we face.

And that is DEAD WRONG.

Robert Bly says:

“The knowledge of how to build a nest in a bare tree, how to fly to the wintering place, how to perform the mating dance—all of this information is stored in the reservoirs of the bird’s instinctual brain. But human beings, sensing how much flexibility they might need in meeting new situations, decided to store this sort of knowledge outside the instinctual system; they stored it in stories. Stories, then—fairy stories, legends, myths, hearth stories—amount to a reservoir where we keep new ways of responding that we can adopt when the conventional and current ways wear out.”

Once it became clear that great fiction could have a distinctly useful purpose, I sought to find out what some of those purposes could be...

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Saturday Show #44: The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls (Part 2)

Saturday Show Podcast #44, with Frank Marcopolos

In this episode of the show, Frank discusses the enigmatic nature of the J.D. Salinger estate. The estate has been silent since the death of the famous author in 2010, even as documentaries come out about him, and some of his unpublished stories are leaked online. Through all of this, the estate remains completely silent, like a straightjacketed mummy with duct tape over its mouth. Discussed as well are the Story Magazine collection at the Princeton University library, Friedrich Nietzsche's influence on modern philosophy, two members' stories from the Real Writers' Group in Austin, TX, and the movie "Being John Malkovich."

Relevant links and show notes:

J.D. Salinger - Nine Stories

Princeton University

Whit Burnett's Story Magazine

Saving Private Ryan

Band of Brothers

Wolfgang Borchert

The Art of the Tale - Daniel Halpern

Being John Malkovich


Friedrich Nietzsche


Almost Home: The New Paltz Novel

A Car Crash of Sorts

The Whirligig

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Saturday Show #43: The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls

Saturday Show #43: The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls

Wake up wake up wake up: Your five senses are extremely limited in what they can perceive. Therefore, there's no way to tell (yet) what reality actually IS. Why does this matter? Frank delves into this philosophical matter due to the storyteller issues derived from the movie "The Truman Show," starring Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti, and Ed Harris. What are the themes of the film, and how do they have meaning for our lives?

Also, something about J.D. Salinger.

Relevant Links and Show Notes:

The Truman Show

Italo Calvino

Being There

William Shakespeare

Bill Hicks

John Lennon

Terence McKenna

The Matrix

J.D. Salinger (Books)

J.D. Salinger (Documentary)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday Show #42 - Fuck the Authors Guild Edition

Saturday Show #42 - with Frank Marcopolos

In this edition, Frank delves into the world of personal revelation, revealing facts about his romantic life that you never wanted to know. Since no one asked for it, Frank delivers! And with such aplumb you'll find yourself marveling at his shocking lack of romantic skills. Plus, news about the latest lawsuit filed by Big Publishing Luddites, the Authors Guild, this time against Google Books, and the launch of the super-awesome Tim Ferriss Book Club! It's a laughfest, a crybonanza, and chock full (as always) of literary fiction techniques and philosophy gleaned from the "Real Writers Critique Group" in sunny Austin, Texas. (New members always welcome -- if you can handle honest criticism!) Relevant show notes and linkages: The Authors Guild The Authors Guild's Beef Against The Authors Guild Loses Latest Lawsuit Against a Tech-Giant, This Time vs. Google The Authors Guild on Why Everyone Should be Afraid--Very Afraid!!!--of The Tim Ferriss Book Club Launches! (Pure Awesomesauce.) Richard Ford Nick Mamatas - Love is the LAW Staying in "Writing Shape" The Brain and Its Tricky Tricks Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind The Long Island Railroad Jim Carey Charlie Kaufman Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Web Design, Ebook Covers, and MORE: Dandy Lion Studio - Affordable prices, incredible quality, and responsive customer service

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Saturday Show #41 (CIA Weaponization of Culture Edition)

Saturday Show #41, with Frank Marcopolos

In this exciting episode, Frank discusses the revelations that the C.I.A. has been in control of American "culture" since the beginning. This includes the funding of The Paris Review and other literary magazines, as well as the global promotion of American Abstract Expressionism in an effort to defeat Communism through the triumph of American (presumably freedom-oriented) art.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Show #39 (No Caffeine Edition)

Frank does the unthinkable for this podcast. He goes for 7 days without any caffeine, and then not only functions, not only attends his normal writing group, but he somehow manages to also speak coherently into the recorder in order to bring you this podcast. He should be lauded, he should be commended, he should be regarded as a hero. Or something.

Saturday Show 39 - The One without Caffeine

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Saturday Show #38 (Austin City Limits Edition)

Saturday Show #38 with Frank Marcopolos

In episode 38 of Saturday Show Podcast, Frank whimsically muses about ACLs and ACL, the people painting the parking spaces all around him, Austin traffic, and literary fiction techniques galore! The literary fiction discussion includes information on awkward word usage, the importance of details and knowing how specific to get with them, South American literature, and problems with plotting. Also, "Two Gentle People" by former Nazi spy Graham Greene is discussed. Greene's story is Hemingwayesque in its ability to capture a slice of life, albeit one without an adventurous plot of any kind. Theme and message (as always) are discussed. Briefly mentioned is the movie "Identity," starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and some other people. Saturday Show Podcast is the only podcast that comes at you from inside a vehicle, namely, the jet black jet stream Jetta.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Saturday Show #35 (Reviewing Salinger Edition - Part 1)

Saturday Show Podcast #35 - Reviewing Salinger, Part 1 with Frank Marcopolos

"There was never a way, even back in the beginning, that a man could condition himself against the lethal size and shape and melody of beauty by chance." ~ J.D. Salinger, "The Stranger"

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Show #32 (Mark Twain vs. Teddy Roosevelt Edition)

Mark Twain vs. Theodore Roosevelt, the waning influence of novelists on American culture, and the ability of a short story to make you feel grateful for your wife or husband ... all on Saturday Show Podcast #32! Saturday Show #32 with Frank Marcopolos on