Transmedia storyteller & novelist J.C. Hutchins chats with creatives, and provides updates about his own creative work, in this podcast.
March 23, 2017
I finished listening to Missing Richard Simmons yesterday. It was pretty good. Check it out.Back when I was a newspaper reporter, I interviewed Richard Simmons. Predictably, he was a hoot. During the interview, I asked him for, like, "5 tips for living healthy" or something like that for a sidebar. One of them stuck with me:"Don't walk among your ruins," he warned. Meaning, don't ruminate over past failures. Experience them, acknowledge them, learn from them, and then move on. Don't stay there. Take the lesson and mosey. Don't stay trapped in the past.The older I get, the more I find myself wanting to walk among my ruins. I often think of Simmons' advice.You know what? It works.
March 17, 2017
My new personal mantra when it comes to writing:Potato chips, not pearls.Meaning: Nearly everything I write will be consumed quickly and compulsively. It's disposable. I must move fast to keep pace. Be less precious. Make it peppy, hit my goal, drop the mic and GTFO. Do it all over again.I'm realizing the greatest sin I've probably committed as a writer—for both my non-fiction and fiction work—is obsessing about craft. Only I (and wanker writers like me) see the seams, the stitch-marks, the misplaced commas.Nearly everyone else just wants yummy potato chips.
March 8, 2017
WOW! A special package was delivered to my home last night, sent from an ALTERNATE 1960s. In this alt-world, the fascists won the war, and America ain't what it oughta be. (Sound familiar?)This is brilliant work from my dear friends at Campfire. It's a bona fide artifact from another world. It looks and feels absolutely authentic. And there's a story here—a "tangible narrative," as I call this stuff.Take a peek at these unboxing pictures. See the story. On the surface, this looks like something sent from a governmental agency. But a member of the Resistance has slipped a subversive record into the sleeve of an "approved music" album. They've given instructions on how to play the record, should you not have an record player. And there's more, lurking in puzzles hiding in plain sight.It's a meticulously, lovingly crafted piece of fiction. And it's a love letter to "The Man in the High Castle," the TV show it elegantly promotes. So is the incredible Resistance Radio website, also created by Campfire. It's a must-visit: http://resistanceradio.com .What a terrific experience. In particular, the surprise and delight of finding a "banned" record inside a "legit" record sleeve was a wonderful moment I'll remember for a long time.
Feb. 20, 2017
The media is stepping into Trump's bear trap. When Trump declares that the media is full of shit (as he has been doing for weeks now), the media gaps, breathlessly covers it, and then spends thousands of words on news and op-ed pages asking itself, Are we full of shit?This arguably undermines the press' authority, and is undoubtedly catnip for Trump's supporters.I absolutely understand the need to cover what the president says, and I absolutely understand the need to have public, gut-check conversations to maintain transparency, and foster fairness.But this is just another Trump game. Just another swindle. Just another gaslighting, sleight-of-hand dick move. Extensively covering such sidelining rhetoric imbues it with power, and yanks the spotlight away from dark corners, where corruption and secrets live.Remain aggressive in your reporting, wordherders and radio folk. Keep your eyes on the stories worth covering—not on the stories the crass carnival barker wants you to cover.
Feb. 16, 2017
So. Three paragraphs into this 2,500-word feature story about an icon in the video games biz, and the reporter injects himself into the story. A brief skimming of the piece suggests he will do this again and again and again.Video game journalists—and indeed, many online writers who never went to J-school—do this all the time. It's like catnip. They can't help themselves. They cannot fathom the concept that the narrative is not, in fact, about them.Yes, I'm grousing about this again. (I whine about this often on Facebook.) Maybe it's an age thing; a practice that undisciplined young writers, overseen by undisciplined editors, can't help but do. Maybe it's a generational narrative trend. Maybe it's a games-industry thing. Maybe it's a lack of formal editorial training. (Or alternately, a kind of formal editorial training that I deeply disapprove of.)I'm totally get-off-my-lawning here, I know. I remind myself that my thinking must represent the ossified, arthritic perspective of someone who learned journalism before the Internet. (See? Right there. I capitalized Internet, per the AP Stylebook circa 1998.) I must be out of touch. I'm a tone-deaf geezer.Unless I'm not. I flail and fail at most things I do. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. But I know good storytelling—non-fiction narrative in particular. It's the only thing I've ever been really good at. I know how that house is built. And where I come from, good journalists don't talk about themselves in their stories. They are observers. Facilitators. They are the radio through which the song is played. They are never the stars.
Oct. 26, 2014
Over on his blog today, Warren Ellis was talking about how Britain was going off British Summer Time and back on Greenwich Mean Time."Greenwich Mean Time, which is Zulu Time and generally Coordinated Universal Time, which means that the British invented time across the universe," Ellis writes. "Don’t argue. The British invented time and you have to just sit there and like it. We also invented sleep. Previous to our invention of time, sleep in Britain was generally sectional."And then I learned about segmented sleep. Some researchers believe sleep as we know it is a modern invention. Zounds.
Oct. 17, 2014
From Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, an exchange between protagonist Gil Pender (an unpublished writer) and Ernest Hemingway:PENDER: Would you read it?HEMINGWAY: Your novel?PENDER: Yeah, it's about 400 pages long, and I'm just looking for an opinion.HEMINGWAY: My opinion is I hate it.PENDER: Well, you haven't even read it yet.HEMINGWAY: If it's bad, I'll hate it because I hate bad writing, and if it's good, I'll be envious and hate all the more. You don't want the opinion of another writer.
Oct. 16, 2014
I've been mainlining news headlines / topics of the 2000s lately, for a freelance creative project. I'm reminded again and again by how violent and dangerous this world is, and how rotten people can be to one another.I am so very grateful to live in a country where I can type this update onto a magic sheet of glass that talks to the sky (which you can then read on your own magic sheet of glass that talks to the sky), and not have to worry about being a victim of a car bomb. Or a famine. Or toxic water. Or radiation. Or mutilation. Or enslavement. Or...
Oct. 14, 2014
It's been around 10 years since I opened this guy; I think it's about time for a re-read. Do you own a copy? Want to dive back in with me?