Thursday, June 14, 2012


As you may know, I am a writer, and for many years I tried to make a living writing novels. Came close, but no cigar. Oh, well.

My theory was that if you wrote well enough, and put out engaging and meaningful stories, you might have a chance.

But now I see a society overwhelmed with stories, a popular culture that has a glut of narrative.

Today, the LA Times has a section called "The Envelope" which is full of stories and ads about TV dramas. Lordy, there are a million of them, or so it seems. I counted ads for 24 dramatic TV series. And that doesn't count the 300-400 movies that come out every year, plus thousands of novels and nonfiction books. Some 180,000 books are published in the USA annually, according to some estimates.

How does a writer compete in this environment? It's like prescribing drugs to a society that is already over-medicated.

Here, folks, is yet another story. Why should anyone care? Because mine has more depth and better writing? Do people honestly give a big hairy rat's derriere?

I wonder. I used to believe that if you wrote well enough, you could float the pages out the window, and they would find an audience.

Ha! It is a lot more complicated than that. It involves agents and editors and corporate conglomerates. Most of what is published, at least in fiction, seems less than stellar. How do you compete against bestselling literary junk food?

I don't know, but I will keep at it--because this is what I seem wired to do, and this is what I want to do--and we shall see what happens.

My philosophy has always been simple: Go after what you want in life. If you don't, you know you aren't going to get it. If you do, at least you have a fighting chance.

Wish me luck. I will surely need it. Big time.

Meanwhile, I have to say I do love it. Win or lose.

- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I was appalled the other day to read this opening line of an article in the June 3, 2012, issue of Los Angeles Times Magazine:

"The world is obsessed with Blake Lively."

Really? Who the hell is Blake Lively? I never heard of it or him or her.

The article's headline is "Blake Lively." Then the teaser lines say she is "at the center of Oliver Stone's crime thriller Savages." I never heard of it either.

I hate this kind of journalistic crap.

How are we supposed to believe anything in this article? Why would anyone read further? I didn't, and I won't.

I tried to find an e-mail address for the bylined writer, Leslie Gornstein, but couldn't find one. I was going to gently and politely point out that she is a purveyor of journalistic bullsh**. Of course, it could be that her editor added that stupid line. Such things happen.

You can see why some people have lost respect for newspapers and magazines.

I have to point out that the news pages of the LA Times are enormously more respectable than those of this cheesy magazine. And there are still great newspapers and magazines out there. I rely on The New Yorker and The New York Times. The latter's weekly magazine is good, I think.

The problem is that a lot of people have no quick and easy guide to what is junk journalism and what is reliable.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Good article about mediocrity, which is everywhere in the good old USA:,0,672709.story#tugs_story_display

People are afraid to be too creative, too original, too inventive, at least in culture and the arts. It's OK to be bad, if you are bad like everyone else.

The same thing is true in popular and not-so-popular literature. Most fiction in the USA today is unbearable crap. But few venture outside the norms.

This is true of all kinds of fiction, from so-called literary fiction, which is not usually very literary at all, to the most blatant of genres, mystery fiction.

The famous mystery writer Raymond Chandler said, toward the end of his career, “As I look back on my own stories it would be absurd if I did not wish they had been better. But if they had been much better they would not have been published.”

Maybe this also accounts for the preponderance of crap in the art world.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I was thinking today about the worst boss I ever had. He was controlling, no trust, no confidence in anyone but himself. No respect for anyone. He was the opposite of a good manager.

The famous manager and management guru Jack Welch famously said that being a manager is like being a gardener. Your job is to water the flowers and get rid of the weeds.

My old boss, Brian, was just the opposite. He treated everyone like weeds. He treated everyone like dirt. He didn't trust anyone. Everyone who worked there was physically sick. All 15 people separately and individually woke up at 4:00 in the morning with diarrhea. When it started to happen to me, I quit. Told him to go make whoopee with himself, only not in those words.

A terrible gardener. A black thumb. I hope he is broke and poor and miserable somewhere. Maybe even in jail. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  

I don't know if other people wish their bad bosses would burn in hell. I sure do.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle