I so love “I Use Commas Like Ninja Stars.” What would you like to say about it?
The story is about language and about people both foreign and familiar. It uses language to convey meaning through semantics, grammar, and flow. The story is less of an experience and more of an examination. I enjoy stories that are fun, conceptual, and require the reader’s participation. I want the reader to build connections in my story. I want the reader to fill in the blanks, nod her head, and say, “Right on. I get that. ” In this way, the reader becomes my co-writer and takes ownership in the tale. I think this works for my story because it’s about how language connects us.
It ends with “promise.” Did you always know it would end there?
I knew the story would end like the beginning—stripped of proper grammar. I also anticipated the story ending without a period; I wanted the story open forever. As for the actual word “promise, ” it came to me toward the end. A promise is a contract, a bond. It seemed fitting to end on that word.
“Words like razor blades.” What (else?) do words mean to you?
Quite a bit. If we woke up one day and all the words in the world had vanished, think of how cataclysmic that would be. It would be the end of civilization. So I can’t really say what words mean other than everything.
What can you tell us of your recently completed first novel? (Congrats!)
Thanks, although there’s not much to tell yet. The novel is completed, but not necessarily done. (I’m not even sure if the term “done” can ever be applied to an unpublished manuscript.) I haven’t decided yet on when I should start marketing my novel. All I know is that I never took prose writing seriously until I started writing this novel, so even if no one ever reads it, it was one of the best things to have happened to me because I am in love with writing all over again.
What of your Hollywood life? Give us the E! Entertainment Hollywood Story of Samuel Lee.
You know those comedies about Hollywood that depict power plays, slick deals, and crazy money? My life in the film business was just like that except I wasn’t the guy in the Bentley; I was the guy off-screen getting cussed out. I also had a promising screenwriting career that almost took off in a major way, but thankfully it didn’t pan out. I was never happy writing screenplays, and I hated every script I ever wrote. Conversely, I’m newly married to prose, and every day I look forward to future keystrokes.