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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Leeches and Jars of Mustard

Altman as you know made the film Short Cuts - based loosely on some of Ray Carver's short stories.

Well Dead Beat who used to hunt and fish quite a bit with Ray Carver and Carver's old buddy Richard Ford, asked him one time while warming up a leech in his mouth:

"So Way temm me abow the stawting point fow yaw stowies."

"What's that Dead Beat?" Ray asks pulling in a big one.

Dead Beat takes the leech from his mouth, checks to see it is now wiggling just fine and puts it on his hook.

"So Ray, tell me about the starting point for your stories."

"Well Dead Beat, I never start with an idea. I always see something. I start with an image, a cigarette being put out in a jar of mustard, for instance, or the remains, the wreckage of a dinner left on the table. Pop cans in the fireplace, that sort of thing. And a feeling goes with that. And that feeling seems to transport me back to that particular time and place, and the ambiance of the time. But it is the image, and the emotion that goes with that image – that's what's important."

"How about a leech in someone's mouth?"

"That's good, Dead Beat. Now where did I leave my notebook?"

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