Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Navajo Dog Reflects On Being Free’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB:

An early night of freedom for the Navajo Dog and me after I left L.A. I had never understood the value of having a knowing, loving – albeit impatient as hell teacher – till then.


The Navajo Dog Reflects On Being Free

When Kid Hollywood made his escape from the

Glitz and the glam and the pain

He took the I-Forty and only looked

Back to see if anyone was gaining.

He drove like an Allison or a Petty,

And kept his hands and his heart on the wheel.

In the car with him were some clothes,

And his drums and his cymbals,

And the more precious of his books,

Also a few videotapes of shows he had

Written that he had always intended to see.

The I-Forty runs where Route Sixty-Six did,

But while it’s not as wild, every driver is

More free. By the time Kid Hollywood

Reached Kingman, he had a real feeling

That he’d left the Hollywood hawks behind.

Gliding over the Interstate, though, was

Another hawk, and as Kid Hollywood watched

It swooped down at a smaller bird, a nifty

Meal as is nature’s way.

But the bird escaped, and flew off, and the

Hawk circled, then looked for new prey.

Kid Hollywood, who was looking for portents

And visions anyway, now that he’d found

They were possible again, decided this was a

Sign. He felt like the smaller bird,

Like prey that had successfully escaped.

The next day, just outside Gallup, Kid

Hollywood saw the same thing happen

Once more. Again, a lone hawk swooped

For its supper, and, again, dinner managed

To fly away. Now Kid Hollywood whooped

With the laughter of the newly free,

Secure in this omen of his success.

Some nights later, sitting by a fire beside the

Pecos River with the Navajo Dog,

The two of them shivering

From the desert cold, Kid Hollywood told his friend

This story. The Navajo Dog laughed

A much different laugh than the

Kid had, then dashed away along the riverbank.

When she returned later, while the Kid was

Stirring the ashes of the fire, she carried

A dead hawk with a metal identification band

On its leg. Nothing had yet fed on the bird,

Not even the Navajo Dog, but beneath the feathers

It was only skin and bones.

“Here is the omen you need,”

She said, and Kid Hollywood realized

That the hawk had starved to death.

“One of the major drawbacks,” the Navajo Dog pointed out

As she crunched down on the bones,

“Of being truly free.”


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

LB reads ‘The Shape of Ideas’

by Larry Brody

Speaking of Grant Snider, as we did back on Tuesday, Grant the Greatest has a new book coming out April 18, 2017. I haven’t read it yet – as a book – but I know it’s going to be sensational because I have read or looked at – or whatever words you use when you’re perusing a collection of cartoons – just about everything the man has ever posted on the interwebs, and his entire body of work has been, in a word, wonderful.

The new book, The Shape of Ideas, An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity, is an amazingly beautiful and uncommonly perceptive look at creativity by one of the most creative cartoonists since Thomas Nast. Published by Abrams Books,  the hardcover edition in particular promises to be magical.

And that’s at the very least.

After all, how can it not be? Just as Mr. Snider is my numero uno cartoonist of all time, so is Abrams Books the publishing house I admire most when it comes to illustrated collections of just about any kind of art, but in particular magazine illos and comic strips.

The Shape of Ideas, An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity, will be in bookstores and, of course, on Amazon.Com in the middle of next month. Till then, previews are available at the just-mentioned Amazon link and at Abrams Books.

We’re talking definite Don’t-Miss here so harken unto the proudly partisan Brode and…don’t fucking miss it!

LB: At Last! The Real Differences Between Writing Film, TV & the Printed Word

by Larry Brody

One of my favorite blogs is ComicMix, which quite simply is the most more interesting and best written and edited sources of comics industry information on the net. (You may have noticed that TVWriter™ regularly features columns by two of Comic Mix’s glorious writers, John Ostrander and Dennis O’Neil.)

I admire the blog’s entire staff for its varied comic book work and its amazing insight into creativity as a whole. Today’s case in point is the most recent column by CM’s Marc Alan Fishman, one of the creator-partners at indie comics company Unshaven Comics and a force to be conjured with indeed.

“Game On, Comics Off,” the particular column in question is a look into the relationship between video games and their comic book spin-offs as Marc discusses why the comic book versions of hugely successful games like World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed et al so often end up tanking when it comes to sales.

It’s quite a perceptive analysis, but that’s not a subject that TVWriter™ has much to do with. What knocked me out, as we used to say back in the days of Frank Sinatra and the ratpack, was an absolutely spot on throwaway paragraph that positively screamed, “Epiphany! Epiphany!” and which I think all of us who write TV, film, and prose fiction of any kind should take to heart.

Here’s The Paragraph To Always Remember:

When a book becomes a movie, the movie must drop nuance and backstory for increases in action and visual exploration of settings. When a movie becomes a TV show, it drops the quality of the settings, and becomes stifled by commercial breaks interrupting story. When a TV show becomes a movie, it loses the ability to explore nuanced characterizations afforded to longer interactions across multiple episodes.

Got that? Read it again. And again. The bottom line here is that Marc has answered, clearly, succinctly, and incredibly accurately, the age old fan question: “But why isn’t the [film] [TV show] [book] more like the [book] [TV show] [movie]?” in a way that not only is easy to explain to fans but also clarifies the adaptation process for everyone involved in writing said adaptations.

In other words, if you let Marc’s words roll around in your head and become fully absorbed, the odds are very, very good that the next time you attack an adaptation project the writing is going to be not only better but easier because you’ll have a finer grasp on what it is you have to do.

And anything that makes the world’s most difficult creative endeavor (AKA writing) easier is to me as important and sacred as the most revered pronouncementfrom, yeah, God.

Thank you, Marc Alan Fishman, from the bottom of my creative soul.

And as long as we’re talking about it, why not check out the full column HERE ?

LB: ‘Moonlight’ Writer Shuts Down the Hollywood Bullshit

by Larry Brody

As I said on Twitter last week, my Oscar favorite for this year is Moonlight. I’m rooting for it for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, you name it.

In other words, I’m absolutely recommending that everyone reading this post run out and see the film. But if you need further incentive (oh hell, even if you don’t), you should watch this interview with Tarell Alvin McCraney, the writer whose play of the same name is the basis for the film.

McCraney’s been there. He knows.

LB: Fox’s New Show – ‘APB’

Have you seen this video? The show looks genuinely promising to me. And I say that as a guy who doesn’t know any of the writers or producers.

At least, I don’t think I do. Truth is, I have no idea who’s on the show.

I’m going to watch it anyway, when it premieres February 6th. Hey, from me, that’s a big endorsement.

UPDATE! Okay, I just IMDB’d the staff of APB. I do know someone on it, Matt Nix. But he’s just an acquaintance and hasn’t talked to me since another show he did, a little thing called Burn Notice, hit it big. Hmm…looks like this is an even bigger endorsement now.

Spidey Memories

Posted on Facebook by bestselling mystery author Robert Gregory Browne, a frequent collaborator back in my TV animation writing days and still an occasional contributor to TVWriter™.

Let’s hear it for Spider-Man Unlimited!

Weirdly, SMU, which has become a cult fave, was a show I ran at pretty much the end of my career, not at the beginning, which was a more usual route for TV writers back in the day. Now it’s a highly respected arena all its own, a niche where top writers can have long and rewarding careers…as it should be.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Live in a Haunted House’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

I’ve decided to move on from Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog to the next, equally unsuccessful book in the series, called, not so oddly, The Return of the Navajo Dog. The picture above is, in fact, that dog, about halfway through the lifetime she spent with me.

We’re in Colorado there, and Dineh – the Navajo name for Navajo, which was the only name Dineh would respond to – had just growled the kind of growl that would terrify any being, alive or dead, sending a poor, out-meaned, full-blooded coyote slinking away from its kill.

The following poem is about events a bit earlier in our time together, and Dineh doesn’t figure into it. But she lived in the house I’m talking about, and I wish she lived in the one I’m sitting in now. 


I Live In A Haunted House

I live in a haunted house in New Mexico,

On the east side of Santa Fe.

It’s an adobe so old that none of

The old-timers in the neighborhood can’t remember

When it wasn’t here. The last structure

I heard of with that same

Timeless past was Tintagel, in Cornwall,

Although I don’t believe my house is in the

Same league. No Merlin to abduct no baby

Arthur here, although there is a story about

Billy the Kid. This house, I’m told, is where

He stayed when he came to meet with

The governor, Lew Wallace, for a pardon.

But Billy’s not my ghost. Why would Billy the Kid

Open locked windows, light candles, turn

Pictures, and move knickknacks around?

That takes a different kind of mind.

All my life I’ve been haunted, but not like

This, and while it has its picturesque side,

I miss my privacy. Ghosts know no boundaries,

No walls, no locked doors,

And no matter how much I open myself,

I keep finding there’s more to hide.

I live in a haunted house in Santa Fe.

What do you suppose my ghost

Will do when I move away?


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.