Inscrutable | Rock Candy

Inscrutable

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That's my take on the first episode of David Milch's new HBO drama, "John From Cincinnati." It was almost willfully hard to follow. But for the surfing and because of my deep, abiding love of "Deadwood," I'll probably give it another couple of shots.

For a exhaustive profile on Milch, who also created "Deadwood" and "NYPD Blue," the New Yorker recently unarchived Mark Singer's 2005 article.

One of the most fascinating parts:

Milch relies on a computer but never touches the mouse or the keyboard himself, because, he’s learned, such mechanical tasks offer too many opportunities for obsessive-compulsive distraction. During production, each morning a driver would deliver him from his home in Santa Monica to Melody Ranch Studios, where a half-dozen or so people would be waiting to join him in the living room of a trailer. While the others sat on a sofa or chairs, Milch reclined on the floor in the center of the room, a few feet from a microphone and a twenty-inch computer monitor, on the other side of which was a desk where an amanuensis, seated in front of a computer and another monitor, was poised to type whatever he dictated. Liz Sarnoff and Jody Welch, two staff writers, were always present, along with three or four young aspiring writers, interns whom Milch paid out of his own pocket to learn by silently observing. (Another writer, a Milch contemporary named Ted Mann, chose to stay away. “Thirteen people sitting in a windowless room watching one person talk to a screen—no, thanks,” Mann told me. “I don’t think I would’ve wanted to watch William Faulkner write, either.”)

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