The Thriller Week festivities continue here at XOXO After Dark!

How many times have you heard someone say, “When I retire, I’m going to write a book”? Here’s a brief reflection on the creative process from one such writer who might surprise you: Academy Award-winning actor Gene Hackman! In recent years, Gene has turned his attention from Hollywood to the library, writing a number of gripping novels in a variety of genres. What keeps him driven to create? Read on to find out…

Once, a hundred years ago, when I was a very young man, a salesman I had been working for explained to me the mysteries of direct sales.

“House to house, door to door.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s like shaving,” he said.  “If you miss one day, you’re a bum.”

Writing is like that.  After finishing Pursuit, I took a couple months off, thinking the rest would do me good.  It didn’t.  To the contrary. Why?  Creation.  We all need it, a way to exercise the old and getting greyer grey-matter.

Reading great literature hasn’t changed me, I’m sorry to say.  Potboilers and pop literature hasn’t touched me.  But putting pen to paper (some of us still do it that way) has revitalized my “Being Alive” moments.  (Had to get in that little Broadway bit.)

All of us need that striving for mystery, wanderlust, expectation.  We do it each day, waking up with a “What will the day hold” thought.  Maybe trivial, maybe magical, but always the unexpected.

Life.  What a jiffy thing she is.  Dainty and lyrical one moment, daunting the next.  The wistful secretive vamp.  Sometimes she’s the girl next door, other times a hard nosed bitch.

When I write, it’s similar in many ways to my old job.  Not the door to door salesman but that other thing I did– the making faces and funny sounds called dialogue.  The early morning calls and the all night attempts at trying to capture . . . the moment.  It gets us, drives us, becomes who we are.

I’ll stop voicing now.  I just thought of something that might be unusual, or perhaps even commonplace, but alive.  A moment.