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review 2014-12-09 00:00
Joseph Chaikin & Sam Shepard: Letters and Texts, 1972-1984
Joseph Chaikin & Sam Shepard: Letters an... Joseph Chaikin & Sam Shepard: Letters and Texts, 1972-1984 - Barry Daniels Quite a fascinating inside look at creating art from the perspective of playwright/actor/director. The letters are the most revealing and prove (once again) the warmth and thoughtfulness of the reclusive, and sometimes off-putting, Sam Shepard.
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review 2014-12-01 00:00
Rolling Thunder Logbook
Rolling Thunder Logbook - Sam Shepard,Ben Schafer Only Sam shepard could have written this logbook covering his experience traveling with the film crew of The Rolling Thunder Revue. I had no idea this book was even out there and as good as it was. For any Bob Dylan fans, artists, creative persons, and just about anybody looking for a very good time. Precious cargo here. And not to be missed. The photographs also add so much to this fine text.
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review 2014-11-29 00:00
Day Out of Days
Day Out of Days - Sam Shepard http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/103882147253/day-out-of-days-by-sam-shepard

It is unlikely that the evolution of Sam Shepard as an accomplished writer of short fiction comes as any great surprise to those of us who read him. Each book throughout the course of his life ages right along beside him. By 2010 his voice has become wizened and mature, and with it he acknowledges his own frailties as a human being in his attempts at getting along in the world and with others. His personal relationships, though long, are somewhat disruptive and not without a revolving wheel of baggage that certainly seems the cause of all his repeating issues. But Sam is such a comfort for me to read. I can relate to almost all he has to write about, and even his wildest imaginations on the page seem to carry me places I have always been willing and perhaps subconsciously intending to go.

It is possible that Sam Shepard will have much more to say as he continues to practice his craft by his doing it almost constantly. Unlike myself, who manages to find writing time in longish spurts when I block out the time to commit myself to a serious attempt at forging something of consequence, Sam takes his notebook along with him wherever he goes and jots down what he sees and thinks about things, it seems, relentlessly. He appears to never rest from this literary labor. I am so envious. I wish I were a different sort of man who might conduct this same practice and discipline in my own life. But then, that would presume I had something to say of note and matter. I am afraid I am more of a listener who then enjoys reporting on things he has learned from mistakes he and others have made. I am not good at making things up from scratch, nor do I think Sam is either. But thank goodness for his notebook and journals.

After viewing the documentary Shepard and Dark and then reading their selected letters to each other I like to think I have come to know these two guys intimately. When I came upon the story early in this collection titled San Juan Bautista (Highway 90 West) I immediately already knew the three characters involved in the tale. Sam Shepard, Johnny Dark, and Dennis Ludlow had all been previously introduced to me in other writings I have read. The story was so much fun as I could see and hear Sam and Johnny throughout. Of course a few of the earlier stories in this collection were in their way preparing me for this more personal take on friendship and aging. Grief, sadness, and despair never take a back seat in any of these short tales. A person in his own state and age for reflecting back on a life and what it has meant would be best served by being prepared, well-rested, and warmly fed before taking on the reading of these texts. The absolute certainty of embarking on a long haul with Shepard is not for the feint of heart, nor somebody having weak knees.

One of the most memorable shorts came nearer to the end. It was a more longish piece detailing a trip the family made to their favorite winter destination. Land of the Living portends the trouble and eventual breakup between partners and parents. It was all too real, and still, I miss it. Having finished reading this book I feel a bit out of sorts, as my Sam Shepard fest has come too near to its close. But I am not sure I would have appreciated the stories of Sam Shepard as much had I not first seen the film and read the letters between Johnny and Sam. Their back story is more important than anything I have read, and with some luck, it just might continue.
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review 2014-11-27 00:00
Motel Chronicles
Motel Chronicles - Sam Shepard The story, and the longest in the collection, tells about the injury to the brain of his mother-in-law Scarlett, Johnny Dark's wife, and their family alliance for all chipping in, bringing her home after surgery, and helping to bring her back into the world. A wonderful story. And one of several well-worth reading in this collection.
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review 2014-11-19 00:00
Great Dream of Heaven: Stories
Great Dream of Heaven: Stories - Sam Shepard http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/103088095778/great-dream-of-heaven-by-sam-shepard

Sam Shepard is a natural storyteller.  And I do have my doubts over where he might have learned his craft.  In other words, I think he may be self-taught.  Comparisons have been made to Raymond Carver, but Shepard hasn’t had the sharp blade of editor Lish cutting on his page as Carver did.  Shepard simply tells his short story.  He sidesteps all the fancy adjectives, and he even tends to avoid unnecessary adverbs. He is succinct and never wordy.  Rarely do his stories ever run above ten pages.  He writes over a wide range of rugged individualist and portrays stereotypes in order to carefully make fun of them.  There are always plenty of lonely people in a Sam Shepard story.  And characters are generally in the business of looking for something they cannot find, or have. In these tales it is always better to be a self sufficient independent than a person who might be in need of something.  It is also advised to keep in constant motion so as to keep the sea legs from collapsing.  

I came to this book directly from his first, but that being the result of reading Shepard’s letters back and forth to his ex father-in-law Johnny Dark.  I had already seen some of his plays including [b:True West|206893|True West|Sam Shepard|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388256474s/206893.jpg|200243] and [b:The Late Henry Moss|974387|The Late Henry Moss|Sam Shepard|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1179931923s/974387.jpg|959284] back in 2000-2001.  I had also seen him act in several films. So I was familiar with his work in the arts. I had no doubt the man could write. And where I have read some criticism that Shepard fails at prose I had rejected these stupid comments as most likely made by some idiot who hadn’t a clue about truth and what a bit of honesty reveals in your fiction. Shepard is certainly unpretentious in his writing, but I would assume he is rather particular about who he keeps company with.  Not surprisingly, the more writing I read by Shepard the more I wanted.  That is a good problem to have as it appears he never tires of having something he will someday have get entered onto the page.

Shepard is an American treasure. A homegrown and homespun hero to me. A person more at ease with horses, dogs, and cattle in bucolic settings.  Unspoiled. Unchained.
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