Writer’s Desk: Be a Vampire of Raging Love

How do you live a good life in a fallen world? What can writers, or really any breed of creative, do to find something worth writing, imagining, making when surrounded by so much chaos and things seemingly designed to make you give up hope?

A 13-year-old who wants to find a life in some kind of artistic field asked that question of Nick Cave. The onetime gothic troubadour, and more recently advice writer, was asked “How do I live life to its absolute fullest, and not waste my potential?”

Cave had thoughts:

Read as much as possible. Read the big stuff, the challenging stuff, the confronting stuff, and read the fun stuff too. Visit galleries and look at paintings, watch movies, listen to music, go to concerts –  be a little vampire running around the place sucking up all the art and ideas you can. Fill yourself with the beautiful stuff of the world. Have fun. Get amazed. Get astonished. Get awed on a regular basis, so that getting awed is habitual and becomes a state of being…

Cave goes on:

A little smart vampire full of raging love, amazed by the world – that will be you, my young friend, the earth shaking at your feet…

We should be little smart vampires raging with love every single day. Take in everything the world has to offer. Use that to create but also to live.

(h/t: The Marginalian)

Writer’s Desk: Be Prepared

Nick Cave in ‘20,000 Days on Earth’ (Drafthouse Films)

Nick Cave, onetime prince of the gothic rock dark arts via his time with the Birthday Party and that killer Wings of Desire cameo, might still be releasing albums and touring with his band but he now fashions himself more writer than rock star.

His process seems positively disciplined these days. As he says in the beautiful documentary 20,000 Days on Earth, “I wake, I write, I eat, I write, I watch TV.” And when he writes, he doesn’t just sit down and wait for inspiration. He gets ready:

Well, as anyone who actually writes knows, if you sit down and are prepared, then the ideas come. There’s a lot of different ways people explain that, but, you know, I find that if I sit down and I prepare myself, generally things get done…

And if nothing comes, then have a sandwich. Watch a little TV. But get back to work.

New in Theaters: Nick Cave is Still Alive in ‘20,000 Days on Earth’

Nick Cave drives to parts unknown with Kylie Minogue in '20,000 Days on Earth' (Drafthouse Films)
Nick Cave drives to parts unknown with Kylie Minogue in ‘20,000 Days on Earth’ (Drafthouse Films)

20,000 Days on Earth is a meta-fictional documentary about Nick Cave, art, life, death, and above all writing. It’s beautiful and transfixing and is opening in limited release this Wednesday.

My review is at Film Journal International:

The last thing that audiences need is another documentary about the greatness of another band or artist of the past. It’s all too easy once artists have their glory days behind them to lock all that rough chaos up into a neatly packaged movie, maybe a box set filled with B-sides and rarities. That doesn’t mean that the likes of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, Finding Fela and A Band Called Death aren’t worthy films. But today’s documentary audiences could be forgiven for thinking that to be a music fan today is akin to being an archivist. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s new documentary about Australian Goth-poet Nick Cave is a long overdue reversal of that nostalgic trend…

You can see the trailer here: