A Deft Thought

My name is Ivory. This is a collection of stories and thoughts from a twenty-something writer trying to find my identity as a man of prose.
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ICONS: Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier in an outtake from their February 4, 1966 LIFE magazine cover. Thank you Reggie Hudlin! Photo: Philippe Halsman/Magnum Photos.

This is too fantastic.


It’s common for creatives to pour a cup of coffee before sitting down to work every day, but how does caffeine actually affect creative thinking?

In a nutshell: caffeine blocks the chemical receptors in your body (known as adenosine receptors) that tell it to rest or sleep. With those…

Soon after the start of this Fall semester, I could feel myself lapsing into an old buzz: Caffeine. Tea has always been a steady go to and a welcome alternative to coffee. But in the spring, coffee became a part of my daily ritual. Now I’m trying not to head back down that road!

This is an interesting article about the perceived creative benefits of caffeine. A good read about wake-up fuel!


You know, for about 75% of the queries that come in about writing on the ask line, this really is the answer.

An idea is only about as good as it is seen through from start to finish. It may not end where you expect it to but you have to at least try.


Dear HONY,

I needed a metro card to get to work, but my credit card was not working in any of the machines. I went into a convenience store and asked if I could purchase anyone’s food/drink in exchange for cash, and one man took me up on it. So I got $2.25.

But when I went down to the machine, I found that I was still a quarter short. I went into a Starbucks and asked 15 people if I could buy their coffee. Nobody answered. At this point I was getting frantic. I desperately approached a coffee cart vendor, and explained my situation.

The man smiles and says, “Here, take a dollar.”
“Thanks,” I told him, “but I only need a quarter. My credit card works everywhere except the subway. But thank you.”
“Wait,” he told me. “Since you have no money, take $10. You can pay me back tomorrow, or not at all. It’s not a big deal.”

This guy gave me $11 even though I’ve never met the guy, seen him before, or bought even a coffee from the cart… and after I’ve been searching for 25 cents for almost an hour. 

You can find him right outside the Bowling Green 4/5 stop. Near the Starbucks. He works until Noon.


Good people doing good things.

So yesterday we held auditions for a few roles and it went great.

It was a little tedious by hour 4 but it was a great experience for everyone involved. Today I’m going go to go back to the tapes to review each performance so we can see who our Mr. Brown and other characters will be.

A HUGE thanks to my friends Ivory, Paul and Liz for helping out all night with everything.

We’ll be making decisions very soon!

My buddy Matt is pulling his film together and funding it via Kickstarter (you can see him awkwardly discuss the film in the video). There are only 4 more days left to meet the goal and he’s damn close. So I’m using my tumblr to reach further out into the wide and wonderful internet. Jump on it, world!

After a long night of Auditions, we took a picture for posterity.


I think I need a more organized way of writing story outlines.


What do you do after Chris Nolan’s trilogy? ART DECO BATMAN, of course!  This is somewhat of a film retooling of my previous Rebooting Batman post.

Warner Bros. is already working on Batman film series separate from Nolan’s trilogy, and from a creative perspective it’s in their best interest to avoid retreading what Nolan did successfully with his version of Batman.  There’s never just one interpretation of an iconic character like this, and there are lots of other directions to take it.  While I break down my ideas on this, keep in mind that I think Batman: Death by Design is almost a gold standard for making Batman Art Deco.

  1. Don’t focus on Bat-logistics - Nolan’s version of Batman has a large focus on the details of how he does everything as Batman. This was really fun, so don’t do it again. We’ve seen it, time to move on. It’s lazy to retread that.
  2. Don’t make it hypermodern - Nolan’s Gotham is a mishmash of modern cities and shot in a quasi-Michael Mann style. This was great, but you’re not going to outdo him on this, so avoid it.
  3. Don’t retell Batman’s origin - Everyone knows Batman’s origin, and spending another entire film on it is lazy. You can have flashbacks if you like (Burton did this to decent effect), but starting the film with a Batman in costume is a smarter way to go.
  4. Make it Stylish - With the stark realism of Nolan’s interpretation, a way to distinguish your Batman film is to try a more visually stylish interpretation of the characters and setting. Don’t be afraid to dress the Joker up in a bright purple suit, etc.
  5. Make it Timeless - Nolan’s Batman is very much set in the early-to-mid 2000s. The next Batman would benefit from a retro/deco approach combined with modern elements, similar to Batman: the Animated Series. My personal take is grounded very much in the earliest depictions of Batman, in the pre-code Bob Cane era of the late 30s, early 40s.
  6. Make it Fun - Nolan’s films are extremely serious and its target audience skews toward 20-somethings. A tone shift toward an all-ages crowd (like Star Wars or Indiana Jones) would be a breath of fresh air while totally staying true to the caped crusader.

My take on these characters for the big screen are largely based on stylings from the 

Batman - I want to hearken back to the earliest visuals of Batman, before he got goofy in the 1950s but before he became super-gritty in the 1980s.  I went with a more slender, gymnast build than the Frank Miller “brick house” look, as this is a guy who spends his time mostly climbing buildings and using theatrical tricks to spook criminals.

Robin/Tim Drake - I’m picturing Robin as functioning more as a detective on the ground, someone to play good cop to Batman’s bad cop.  He’s a brilliant kid, but also not as enamored with Batman’s theatrics as his partners.  His design is inspired by Golden Age pulp detectives like the Shadow and Sandman.

Nightwing/Stephanie Brown - In my earlier reboot I had Stephanie as Batgirl, but I’ve changed it to Nightwing here because I don’t like the idea of a female lead being seen as just the “girl” variant on a male hero.  Her design’s based mostly on Mignola’s Lobster Johnson, with a little bit of Rocketeer and the Equalists from Legend of Korra. She fights with electric batons!


So anyway that’s my take on it. I just think it’s better to try something new, as Chris Nolan did, than try to copy something that worked once.

Once again, I’m very impressed with Aaron Diaz’s concepts for character overhauls (if you haven’t checked them out, Aaron did a series of DC character reboots on his Tumblr starting with Rebooting the Justice League).

Preserving the identity of a character in the comic medium is pursued with an incredible amount of tenacity. Over time, heroes and villains become iconic and their brand stays with readers. It’s a lot easier to sell a branded hero (just flash that Batman symbol or show Captain America’s shield to a crowd of people and most will know who they belong to) and repackage them for future iterations whenever there’s some cataclysmic reshuffling of plot lines and a desire to make some cash (see: Marvel 2099 and Ultimates or Infinite Crisis and 52). But its also boring.

By rooting creativity within iconic images, characters become doomed to echo whatever identity has been established for them. You can’t be all that adventurous with Batman and Bruce Wayne without rethinking the way Batman works.

Now maybe this isn’t the easiest selling point to grab all those movie-goers high on Nolan’s rendition of Batman. Still, what I love about Aaron Diaz’s stylistic choice is that it embraces the idea of Batman without simply regurgitating the identity that’s gripped the character since Miller took a gritty route for the caped crusader.


5 Ways To Get Motivated and Get Creative Work Done!

I’m starting to work through some of these great post ideas that you have all been submitting! This one caught my eye:

idea-obscura answered: how about “how to focus”? i feel like that’s the first step to any creativeprocess but i have yet to expert in it.

Focus is tough, but for me, focus is a question of motivation.

I intentionally monitor my motivation because it makes or breaks my day.

Here are 5 ways to stay motivated:

1. Have a mantra about getting things done! (or steal one!)
Changing your thinking about getting things done really helps you stay motivated to ‘do’. It helps me to remember these types of things:

“One finished project is better than a thousand great ideas”

- Nathan Johnson, Composer of the Brick Soundtrack

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”

- Thomas Edison

Also visit,http://99u.com/ , a great place to find motivation!

2. Do nothing motivation neutral
I want to do things that are either storing up motivation and energy or using my motivation / energy productively. I try to avoid doing anything neutral.
If I am depleted of energy, instead of being unaware that I feel empty and being unproductive, i.e. youtube, facebook, ‘surfing’ etc. I try to take notice when I feel drained and start doing the things that motivate me. Then while I’m doing the downtime stuff that motivates me, I don’t feel guilty for wasted time either (see number 4.)
I try to take notice of when I am motivated too and take advantage of it as much as I can by doing things that take the most motivation (intense creative demands and demands I really don’t want to do).

3. Find what motivates you, repeat
When I started thinking this way, I kind of mentally flagged when I was feeling motivated. I have a huge mental list now, and when I am depleted I choose one based on time I have and how I feel. Examples of these: buy a coffee or nice drink, take a bath (embarrassing, but don’t worry it’s not my only sanitizing solution, I shower every morning!), get some time alone and read and think, spend some one on one time with the select few people who energize me, etc.

4. Don’t waste time with guilt!
I work for myself so guilt is a struggle! You always feel like you have to be working, and as a husband and father, I really shouldn’t be always working! If I get up later than I hoped for sometimes I’ll let guilt get the best of me, but what I have realized is, it’s actually completely counterproductive! When I get up too late I feel guilty for wasted time, then I waste my time by being unmotivated due to guilt. Nowadays I try to notice my guilt and actively seek to end that line of thought.

5. To Do lists (duh!)
This is a no brainer but my dad still has to remind me when I’m getting stressed. I spend a lot of lunches with him going through my troubles, and so many of them end with, “Well maybe you should just make a list…” It’s obvious but in the moment easy to forget. When everything you need to do is swirling in your brain it’s so much more overwhelming than when you get it out on paper. Nothing motivates me more than crossing things off that list which I have been dreading doing.

What keeps you motivated?

I’ve been consumed these last two weeks. Downright frantic. Between apartment hunting (for college) and job hunting, my mental resources have been eaten up like Halal cart food at 2 AM (Ruthlessly, for those of you who’ve never been hungry and drunk in Brooklyn). All my scrambling managed to produce several prospects though, sadly, unrelated to writing. I managed to get a job and several people contacted me about possible apartments. These are good things!

My inner cynic wants me to reserve any excitement until I start. Which is tomorrow morning. Mostly I’ve felt good doses of apprehension and fear. Maybe some excitement will come up next. Same deal with apartment hunting. Since I can’t travel frequently, I’ve been hard pressed to look thoroughly for a place to live come the Fall. Being in a college town, many of the landlords rent out run-down homes for hiked up prices knowing there are few alternatives. But I have found a couple of rooms that will work out. Hopefully.

So much of my attention has been on everything but writing, which sucks. It doesn’t help that I’m agitated by all this hustle up either. Still, I’m longing to put words on pages. Even given my new schedule, the prompts are back on.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, computer trouble prevents me from using my laptop to write. I’ll have to commit to typing on my phone. I’ve got catching up to do with the last handful of prompts.

I’ll be up to date by the end of the week.

So here’s the scoop. I have an overheating laptop. My system fan has been running very high but isn’t adequately cooling down the laptop. As a result I get daily crashes. A restart tends to fix the issue but only temporarily.

I’m trying to remedy this situation. The big problem is the hard-drive. Shutting down as frequently as the computer does, unprompted, is starting to cause memory issues.

In the short term I’m occupied apartment hunting and job searching. My access to a computer is all work related, which gas held up prompts. So, as I expected, I’ll have to update via cellphone. At least I can do updates from this thing. Let’s see how it plays out!