Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gross Professional Misconduct (Draft 3.8)

Mark the date: It's March 2006, and I finally completed my first limited-public draft of my short crime story, Gross Professional Misconduct. I've been sharing the piece with close friends and colleagues and the reviewers over at Online Writing Workshop, asking for impressions about what's working for them and what's not.

The feedback I've gotten so far has been very instructive, and within the next number of weeks I'll be reviewing that feedback and making a final set of revisions to the story. Then I'll try to submit the piece for publication. And then I'll try to figure out what to do next, career-wise.

Actually, it's probably not such a mystery. Several feasible writing projects abound, and I've also been toying with the idea of starting a copywriter-for-hire business. Ideas I have; a specific direction to move towards, not so much.

Here's the opening to Gross Professional Misconduct. This excerpt is copyright 2006, Dustin LindenSmith. Please direct any movie-optioning requests to dustin at lindensmith.com.

In September of last year, Jack Robinson received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. After collapsing at work and being taken to hospital, a large mass was discovered at the back of his throat. It was identified as a rare and deadly subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was in its advanced stages, and he was told not to expect to survive longer than several weeks or a couple months.

He learned that no fully effective means of treatment had yet been found for this rare lymphoma; especially for one which had reached such a late stage as his. However, in the odd path of progression that some cancers take, Jack was not yet acutely ill. And so it was that he was released from the hospital the next day with an appointment to see his new cancer specialist the following week.

By the time he got home from the hospital, Jack had made up his mind. Before he became too sick to do it, he was going to kill his boss, Janet Brownlow.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

prospective opening for new crime short

short story opening (1710 words)
This is one of several openings I've experimented with for my current fiction project. My intent is to write a short murder story that takes place in an office setting. The protagonist is an employee of this company who is ultimately driven to kill his boss.

I've tried various POVs with this piece, but the first person keeps feeling the most natural to me. I think this is partly due to my motivation for writing this story. Without writing a full-length novel, I want to explore fairly deeply the relationship between the protagonist and his boss. I also want the reader to feel empathy for the protagonist as he feels increasingly compelled to cause serious harm to this boss.

If this opening is effective, you'll want to keep reading to find out what he did that night and to learn more about this woman. Do you? Be honest, now.

In retrospect, I know that I should have acted differently that night. For starters, I shouldn't have stayed late at work to do that "assignment" she gave me. I should have just said to hell with her and just gone home at the end of the workday. At the very least, I should have gone home when I finally did finish her damn assignment so that she couldn't pull me into another argument. Dammit, if she just hadn't started in on me that one last time, I wouldn't be in here now.

God, that woman -- incredible. Incredible! Even now, after 18 months of the drudgery of this place, I can remember every detail of her face and all of our arguments word for word. Every day for the past 18 months, I've gone over in my mind every e-mail, every meeting, and every confrontation I ever had with her. And it's weird, because I've almost developed an awe for her technique. It's definitely something, how quickly she buggered my life into such total hell. It only took her nine weeks! Within nine weeks of her meeting me, she started the complete unravelling of everything that was good in my life.

Thinking back, it's not like she didn't get what she deserved in the end. And still, she barely suffered. Certainly she didn't suffer as much as she made us all suffer. But even so, she sure isn't the one sitting in a 12-by-6 cell for 18 hours a day. No, that would be me.

I also think it's weird how when she was first hired just over two months before that night, we hit it off right away. She became my direct boss, but we shared a serious jones for fast cars, of all things. It was a true passion for both of us. She had even fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine to take a racecar driving course and to race semi-pro on the weekends. We spent the entirety of our first meetings together swapping specs about our favourite cars and telling bullshit stories about how fast we'd driven on city streets. At the end of her first day at work, she even let me take her black-on-black Impreza WRX-Sti for a spin. I remember winding those 300 horses up to 190 kph on a ten-block stretch with no lights. Man, what a sweet ride. I remember that I tried to respect her for a bit longer just because of that car. That feeling didn't last long, though.

I had been roped into sitting on her hiring committee so that let me in on her job interview. My first impression of her was that she was a serious tomboy. In fact, she could easily have passed for man at a distance, if not up close. She was short -- maybe five-one -- but she wasn't petite. Nor would I call her stocky, though: it was more in the way she stood, on the balls of her feet with her knees slightly bent and bouncing as though she were prepping for a fight that might break out any second. Through that stance of hers, she managed to convey a certain physical strength.

In looks, she totally lived up to her name of Janet Brown. She was uber-Plain Jane, to a fault. Her straight walnut hair was newly cut almost as though with a bowl: her bangs formed a straight line across her forehead and the hairline continued around her head in a perfect helmet. On the sides her hair was just long enough to cover the tops of her ears, and in the back it was cut to a length just above where a man's collar would sit. She wore a shapeless tan cotton sweater that betrayed no feminine features at all, and her sleeves were rolled up to the elbow to reveal heavily-veined, dark-haired forearms and no polish on her short-clipped nails. Her pleated men's chinos ended in a folded cuff above thick-soled brown walking shoes with a rounded toe. She had no jewelry on at all, not even earrings. Her only hint of colour came from a Timex digital watch with a bright green streak on the strap.

Her appearance would have been totally forgettable had it not been for those eyes. They were such a dark brown that the iris couldn't be distinguished from the pupil. Looking into those eyes was like looking into nothingness. Those eyes were lifeless black holes. No matter what her facial expression, the eyes were always empty. As I got to know her better, that gaze of hers felt like two cold steel rods pressing into me. They were at once penetrating and invasive; never animated, and never bright.

She gripped my hand firmly when I first introduced myself at that interview and she gave me what I think she thought was a winning smile. I found it cold and affected, and she only smiled when the discussion absolutely warranted it. She gave concise, intelligent answers to all of our questions, making it obvious that she had extensive technical experience. She also seemed to be a tough enough cookie to manage the unruly team of 20 programmers at our software company. Her job wouldn't be easy.

It only took the committee ten minutes to make its decision. While she was out of the room, someone made a joke that sure was nobody gonna wanna get involved with her. Someone else said, "You mean romantically?" and the room dissolved into guffaws. We invited her back in, offered her the position and she treated us all to another round of her tough handshakes. She started with us the following Monday.

Her official title was Vice President of Operational Design and Integration. (I later learned that she had come up with that job title herself.) Her number-one objective was clear: she was here to clean up our operation. Our revenues weren't bad (the bulk of our business being generated by a small but loyal and busy list of clients), but we weren't turning a real profit and there was a general feeling that things were run too fast and loose. We still had a few throwbacks to the 90s Internet boom around like the free pop fridge and the foosball table, and some of us still drove the cars we had won through aggressive bonuses at the time.

Janet's job was basically to give us all a big reality check and to implement a set of policies and procedures that would "improve operational efficiency and improve the bottom line." That's what our management consultant told us we needed, anyway. It only took a week of informal one-on-one meetings with all of our staff for Janet to form her hard opinion of the company. She made it clearly known that she found each of us to be lazy, wasteful, inefficient employees with no regard for the company's long-term stability or profitability. She warned us that big changes were ahead, and the company president gave her his "unwavering support as we negotiated the stormy seas ahead of us." His words.

Miraculously, nobody was fired. At least, not right away. But Janet didn't take long to set the tone for her reign. At the outset of week two, she distributed a new Employee Policy Guide that contained a rigid set of rules and restrictions for all employees. No stone was left unturned and no opportunity for mismanagement was allowed. We were now to be governed by a new internal communications protocol that prevented certain levels of staff to contact each other during business hours. Her new guide covered all possible aspects of human and business interaction during the workday. It even prescribed specific time frames for washroom and lunch breaks, and it mandated that all employees must pay a fine for lateness (which, benevolently, would go into our Company Social Fund).

It would be a huge understatement to say that her Policy Guide and subsequent reforms were met with opposition. There was literally an uproar at every staff meeting from indignant team leaders and project managers (myself included) who were being made to feel by her that their opinions and their work were completely worthless. Janet unilaterally forced us to change completely the way we did even the most mundane tasks of our day, and if we didn't follow her instructions, a note went immediately into our Personnel File and demerit points were added to our public record.

In the beginning, I'll admit that her reforms and new policies were fodder for jokes at home and to my friends. The stuff she came up with seemed so bloody ridiculous sometimes, it just made you laugh out loud to think that she was taking herself seriously. But it only took three or four weeks for all the novelty and amusement to wear off. By that point, most of us had been browbeaten into submission.

See, I've really never met anyone before or since that could rival her style of personal attack. Not even anyone in here, to be honest. She had a lot of weapons in her arsenal, but she used an artful combination of sarcasm and contempt to her greatest destructive credit. Those qualities inspired her approach to all of her subordinates. She made it her point to devastate them frequently. I used to think that cutting down her staff in front of their peers must have been a big motivation for her to get out of bed each morning. It affected practically all of her interactions with us every day.

Her casualties started piling up between Weeks 4 and 6. Three people left for other jobs, one just quit outright with no other job to go to, and two were written off indefinitely due to excessive stress in the workplace. At the end of Week 7, she summarily fired one of our most senior programmers "with cause, for gross insubordination." Her words. Through the grapevine, we heard that he was fired because he refused to obey his orders to suspend the pay of one of his junior programmers for an error they had made.

The atmosphere at work was downright poisonous. Employees who had worked successfully together for years were suddenly adversaries, pitted against each other by compartmentalized tasks, blazing productivity targets and stringent deadlines. All small talk, indeed any conversation at all that was not related to a project, simply disappeared. After everyone had experienced a few of Janet's frequent strifing runs through the offices, it was just easier to sit down meekly at our computers and to get our work done as fast as possible. Especially now that our very jobs were on the line.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005


a short crime story by Dustin LindenSmith (1032 words)

This was my very first attempt at a piece of short crime fiction in November, 2004. I've since had it extensively critted and see a number of places where the story should be expanded and more detail added. But I also like it as it stands, as a short sketch and the inspiration for me to get something published in this genre.

Title suggestions are welcome, as well as other comments.

Killing appears to have come naturally to me. My first murder, if you could call it that, was executed without preparation. When I left the house that afternoon, I didn't know that I would end up killing someone so dispassionately by the end of the night. But when I returned to the house early the next morning, I wore my regular personality like a comfortable shirt. I spent the morning with my wife and our only son uneventfully: made them each their favourite breakfasts, sent them off to work and to school with their lunch bags. I even made love to my wife the next night to prove to myself that I could act normally after taking someone's life. Once the days turned into weeks without her suspecting that anything was different about me, I realized that I was prepared to do it again. And again, and again, and again. Like a good scotch, it's hard to stop at just one.

To be honest, I think what I do is practically a public service. I don't kill anyone who isn't already on the road to killing someone else at some point. Since these jerks seem incapable of preventing their actions ahead of time, I figure I need to do a pre-emptive defense strike, like what we did in Iraq. I need to do my part to remove these guys from circulation before they do some real harm to somebody innocent.

I own a bar on a secondary highway near the airport. I haven't had it for too long. It used to be part of a motel that catered to motorists passing through, but after they built a four-lane express highway that bypasses this road, the motel was foreclosed and I bought the place for a song. I had long been itching for a change of pace, uninspired to do very much since losing my daughter Amelia two years previous. The bar became a perfect place for me to pursue my new career goals. Plus, I've always been a night owl who enjoyed entertaining people. I was never interested in re-opening the motel.

Business is certainly not brisk -- downright dead, actually -- but my wife's income as a partner in a firm downtown helps considerably to offset my operating costs. Actually, I find it ironic that the place hasn't gone belly-up, since I've already killed several of my customers and I'm likely to kill several more.

Like any bar, mine has its regulars. In my case, mainly men who work on the ground and maintenance crews at the nearby airport. But I also get an assortment of plaid shirts from the country who don't appreciate the atmosphere of the bars downtown. The first one I killed was one of these. So was the second, and also the third.

The fourth one though, was different. He was a sales executive for the makers of Choco-Delite candy bars who really thought he was the cat's ass. He arrived just after I opened the bar at four o'clock one Tuesday, and by the time the six o'clock news was on he had already demonstrated his considerable prowess as a drinker and all-round bullshit artist. I was considering my options when he suddenly left for a dinner meeting. A part of me wondered if I’d ever see him again. A deeper part of me hoped that I would.

So I wasn't unpleasantly surprised when he returned around eleven o'clock that night to pick up where he had left off. Like the previous three customers I'd killed, this one was a career drinker who obviously felt that he couldn't function properly without several drinks on board. He carried himself a bit more carefully than the others, but every time he headed for the can I could detect the telltale signs. The stumble-and-recover, the too-loud and too-friendly greetings to the other customers. He was too impaired for most activities, including driving or carrying on an intelligent conversation. And while that latter impairment may not have been induced by alcohol, I was beginning to see clearly what would come later.

See, it's the thought of these guys driving away drunk that makes me do what I do. And it's not like I don't come by it honestly. Ever since that drunk driver Harold MacManus killed my Amanda two years ago on the freeway leading into town, I've never really given these killings a second thought. Except, perhaps, to savour them afterwards. And you know if anything, they make me feel a little better about myself each time.

Conveniently, the sales exec was my last customer as I prepared to close the bar at 1:00 AM. He was so impaired now that he swayed back and forth when he stood. I would have cut off many of my regulars long before they reached this stage, but I had let this guy continue drinking to see what his travel plans were at the end of the night. When he turned down my offer for a free taxi ride and assured me that he was fine to drive on his own, I felt a familiar shiver of excitement flutter through me. It intensified as I prepared what would be his very last, very poisonous, drink.

Just like the others, that shiver of excitement had almost completely worn off a couple hours later; especially once I’d lugged his dead body to the abandoned municipal airfield a few miles from the bar and dumped it in that swampy patch behind the second airstrip. Also like the others, a sense of calm pervaded my awareness as I drove home, thinking about my Amanda.

I slept dreamlessly with my arms around my wife until her alarm went off two hours later and I rose to prepare breakfast for her and my only son. In their lunch bags that day, they each found a Choco-Delite candy bar wrapped with a note telling them that I loved them. And then at four o'clock that afternoon, I opened the bar to receive my next customer. And of course, it was as usual my secret hope that one day Harold MacManus would grace me with his presence as a customer in my bar.


nonduality and music: focus on coltrane

a book chapter by Dustin LindenSmith (2048 words)

This is a chapter I've submitted for consideration for an anthology-style book on the modern spiritual tradition of nonduality. If the final manuscript is accepted by the publisher (who has requested it to be developed), the book could be published as early as 2006. If I'm lucky, the following chapter will be included in the book.

Before discussing Coltrane's spiritual quest through music, I begin this piece with a sort of prayer that leads to a general statement of terms regarding music in all its forms.


OM, the primal sound

the foundational vibrational energy from which ALL the notes come

all music arises directly from OM

all music is in one form or another an expression of THAT


music is the most fundamental form of communication and connection
between human beings

it precedes words; it is the very first physical vibration of OM that humans can sense

when we share music with each other, we share in a direct experience of THE SELF

the essence of music

music reflects nature back to itself in a sonorous way:
it doesn't use images or colours, it just uses SOUND

sound, vibration -- the original causation of our physical world

when we enjoy and experience music, we are enjoying and experiencing our very aural and physical ESSENCE

when we share music with one another, there arises the opportunity to make meaningful connections with one another

through music, we can share in the experience of enlightenment and of first direct contact with THE SELF or I AM

the beat

Most music can be rendered down to its beat: its beat, its rhythm, are how we identify it as music. All good music, in whatever outward form it takes, has a beat that connects with us personally. Something in the rhythm, tone or melody of a piece will reach out to us and make us react. Make us move.

Good music inevitably leads you to move your body or your mind. If the beat really connects with you, you might nod your head in time to it. If it's really kickin', you might get into it a little with your shoulders, too. And then sometimes, when you're really lucky, the groove hits you right in the chest with a low bass KAZAM! and that's when you know that everything's chillin' and you're plugged into the source.


I am a jazz musician, a writer, an artist, and a philosopher. I play the tenor saxophone, and like one of my idols, John Coltrane, music is a mainstay of my spiritual practice. I connect with nature and I understand my self by playing and composing music. Jazz music and the history of jazz music have been important to me since childhood. I grew up in an enlightened household where my first books were on slavery, the civil rights movement and feminist activism. I understood and appreciated early on that jazz music was an authentic art form and a mode of free expression for an oppressed people. I understood and appreciated the trials that black people experienced by immersing myself in jazz music and black literature.

But beyond all that, I've always understood simply that jazz moves me. It grooves me. Jazz is within my soul, within my core, and playing and appreciating jazz music is how I commune with what is eternal within me.

spiritual expansion in jazz music

Certain musicians (or perhaps, all of the greatest ones) have used music as a means for genuine introspection, spiritual growth, or to develop a higher state of consciousness. In the jazz realm, these names spring immediately to mind:
john coltrane | miles davis | duke ellington | louis armstrong | charlie parker | ray charles | thelonious monk | count basie | keith jarrett | wayne shorter | quincy jones | ornette coleman | herbie hancock | prince | stevie wonder

These are genuine artists in the profoundest sense of the term. They were and are concerned with using music to express an essential part of who they are.

They use jazz music to connect with their soul, with their essential self.

Some of them have integrated their own spiritual quests into their music.

And John Coltrane stands alone among jazz musicians as one who completely entrenched his spiritual journey into his music.

John Coltrane

The great John Coltrane was a jazz tenor saxophone player who lived from 1926 to 1967. He devoted his whole life to playing jazz music, performing most notably with the bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk before launching his own full-time quartet in 1959. Jazz musicians and fans call him "Coltrane" or just "Trane".

Coltrane was always known as an intense and highly-skilled saxophonist. He worked out hard on his instrument -- there's no doubt about that. No saxophone player had ever before developed such a complete technical command of the instrument as him; not even one of his major influences, the great Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Fellow saxophonist and composer Jimmy Heath first worked with Coltrane in 1947, upon Trane's release from the Navy. Of the intensity of Trane's practice regimen, he said:
he was a person that attacked his problems;
wherein some people would lay back on what they'd
already learned to play,
if there was a specific problem that bothered him,
Coltrane could zoom in on that problem until he solved it.

he wanted to know everything that was possible

Rashied Ali played the drums in Coltrane's later groups. He recalls Trane's boxing-style warmups for their gigs and the endless energy he would put into his performances:
Trane… would ALWAYS be playing. He'd be playing in his dressing room -- just like a fighter would warm up in his dressing room and would come out into the ring and be sweating, warming up…

He would do the same thing in the dressing room, he would just play and play and play. He would break a sweat in the dressing room, and then he'd come out on the bandstand…

I don't know where he got that energy from. He was relentless, he was always pressuring the music, trying to get as much out of it as he could.

Jazz isn't jazz without improvisation, and Coltrane was a master improviser. The solos he recorded early in his career as a sideman with Thelonious Monk are impressive; those he did with Miles Davis in the late '50s are truly exceptional. But Coltrane first set himself apart as a master soloist when he released the seminal jazz recording Giant Steps in 1959. The title track contains a very complex harmonic progression of Trane's invention which is exceedingly difficult to improvise over. Indeed, the tune has become a rite of passage for all jazz musicians to master at some point in their training.

sidebar on the making of Giant Steps
It is said that Coltrane originally invented the Giant Steps progression as a technical exercise to practice improvising over the bridge to the popular jazz standard, Have You Met Miss Jones?. Whatever his inspiration, Coltrane's solos over that progression are literally wonders to behold. The sidemen who accompanied Coltrane on that recording such as Tommy Flanagan on piano have also been immortalized in the jazz community.

a visionary producer

The famous Turkish-born American Ahmet Ertegun produced that record for his label Atlantic around the same time that he introduced protegé Ray Charles to the world (Ertegun's role as one of Charles' early supporters and producers is portrayed by actor Curtis Armstrong in the 2004 film Ray, starring Jamie Foxx).

a music in transition

In the 1960s, jazz got thrown into the cultural blender along with all the other crazy stuff that was happening. In an interview for the 2004 documentary Miles Electric, virtuoso guitar legend Carlos Santana characterized the period like so:
The 60s was probably the most important decade in the 20th century.
Because it gave birth to questioning authority if it's not enlightened by GOD

Coltrane questioned all authority in jazz; in fact, he wrote a new textbook for it. This started in the early 1960s when he moved away from technically complex pieces like Giant Steps to experiment with simpler and more open song structures. He stretched out on modal music in the vein of the famous Miles Davis tune So What (Coltrane's composition Impressions is the gold standard from this era). He went on to deconstruct his compositions even further by working only with simple melodic and rhythmic fragments. Known in the jazz world as "vamps" or "grooves", Trane would play extended improvised solos over these song forms for upwards of 15 minutes.

The most visionary artists were pushing the harmonic and structural boundaries of jazz in the 60s to such extreme limits as to make the music almost unrecognizable. Jimmy Heath:
some of the younger musicians were more daring
and they had no complete ties to the harmonies
and they were freer

...he chose that direction to go in

Trane experimented widely with all forms of music and improvisation. He never stopped expanding his musical horizons, such that by the mid-1960s, he was studying native spiritual music from several sources. After reconnecting with his African roots, he released a record called Africa/Brass. After studying Indian classical music and undertaking a consistent meditation practice, he began recording works of serious spiritual introspection and exploration such as OM, A Love Supreme, and First Meditations. He ultimately abandoned almost all harmonic and structural ties to jazz by late 1965 and his music underwent a profound shift from that point forward.

Thankfully, he was prodigiously recorded from 1960 until his untimely death from liver disease seven years later. Recordings on the Impulse label (easily identified in jazz musicians' collections by their bright orange covers) are generally considered to be his most avant garde, and in his later years these records strayed quite far from his traditional jazz roots. Wife Alice Coltrane:
when he became avant garde
he lost many people, many followers
they didn't like it
they didn't approve of it
they didn't appreciate it
but there was no way he could go back

coltrane's ascent

It's clear that music was always a passion for Coltrane. But beyond that, the practice and study of music -- the process of perfecting yourself through your music was key in his life. Recordings from his later period are remarkable for their intensity, ferocity, and beauty. Late in his career, music would become indistinguishable from his own personal spiritual quest.

The singularity of focus in his quest to discover and conquer all there was about his instrument and his music calls to mind the austerity required of the most serious spiritual aspirant. Even a study of his song titles underlines the progress of his spiritual quest: songs like Acknowledgement, Attaining, Ascension, Cosmos, Evolution, Compassion, Resolutions, Serenity, and Amen.

Alice Coltrane was Trane's wife for the latter part of his life, and she also played piano in many of his last groups until he died in 1967. She intimately understood the spiritual nature of Coltrane's music.
when i heard a record by him
i remember upon listening
that i felt something beyond the music realm somehow
it was like a feeling that was beyond the musical experience

...it was like an inner experience

as he developed himself more spiritually
we were seeing the results of it musically
and if you recall such albums as OM
(which is the beginning of every mantra)
and from A Love Supreme onward,
we were seeing a progression toward:
higher spiritual realization
higher spiritual development

if it's possible through sound
to realize truth...
to me, that is the essence of his search

tributes to trane's legacy

Composer LaMonte Young spoke of the quality of Coltrane's contribution to the oeuvre in this way:
he was one of those types of geniuses
who had the ability to project immediately

and what was interesting about this
was that he was able to project
right out into the world
without any sense of commerciality

This is how I reflect on Coltrane's contribution to jazz, the tenor saxophone, and to using music as a means for profound spiritual awakening:

he had a totally commanding physical presence on the stage
this was so throughout his career, but most utterly at the end of it

when given the privilege of observing footage of
his playing from this late period
(i even know some cats who saw him play live in the mid 60s)
it's immediately apparent that he's striving for
something unknowable through his playing

watching him play is like watching a volcano erupt

the period leading up to his death marks
the most intense, soul-searching time of his life

the quality and character of his playing were simply ferocious
at the very least, audacious

in late life his music became dense:
at times impenetrable and even unlistenable

like the most enlightened sage whose insights are unknowable to the layperson,
his mode of musical expression reached a state that was just beyond

just beyond



I've played the jazz tenor saxophone since I was 9 years old and I've always loved to read good books and to write. I have a music degree and I play as often as I can with my band, but I've also worked in the marketing research and software industries throughout the past 8 years.

Currently I'm practicing to become a professional fiction writer. I only started to consider this seriously in the fall of 2004, after I was diagnosed with a deadly form of lymphoma that was expected to kill me within 2 years. But rumours of my impending death were indeed greatly exaggerated, because that diagnosis was ultimately found to be untrue and I was given a clean bill of health.

When faced with various career options after that experience, I decided to pursue my dream to become a writer anyway. Even without the prospect of my certain near death looming over me, writing is something that I've always wanted to do as a profession.

Huge props are also due to my beautiful wife Jorin and our daughter Zoë. Without their love and support, I probably couldn't engage in this, the world's most self-indulgent vocation. I hope to make them proud of my efforts as well as rich beyond their wildest dreams with my first Oscar-winning screenplay.