Art, Current Events

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – A Book Review

Steve Jobs died 3 years ago today.

I had in mind to give my review of Steve’s official biography by Walter Isaacson and today seems like the right day to do that.*

I decided early in the Steve Jobs biography that I did not like him.

What was there to like? He abandoned his pregnant girlfriend and daughter, was a jerk to his parents and cried to get his way. He was a LSD freak in his younger days which, in my opinion, gave him that infamous bio-chemical personality – in other words he was a classic A-hole most of the time and he had no regard for how his A-hole-ness landed in the receiver’s universe. In fact, many times throughout the first 60% of the book I found myself saying out loud, “What an A-hole!” I almost stopped reading it a few times, but Walter Isaacson kept me on board by stringing changes of viewpoints with clever shifts in timeline which made the book interesting enough for me to stay with it.

I’m so glad I did because as the story unfolded, and I continued to learn of the life of Steve Jobs I became more and more enlightened on the subjects of business in general, the computer industry, Steve’s long-term love/hate relationship with Bill Gates, his affair with Joan Baez, his connection to Bill Clinton, his brotherhood with Steve Wozniak, and his wonderful wife and kids. But the most fascinating part was the person Steve Jobs evolved into.



At the end I cried, and by the time I finally logged off my Kindle, I felt a deep love for the man who was nothing short of an innovative and creative artist who set out to change the world.

And actually did.

And in the end, as it turned out, he cared deeply for many.

I highly recommend Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson.

Christina Moss

*I met a movie producer in July who suggested I read this book, so I did. (He also suggested I write a screen play for INTWINE. I insisted I couldn’t as I didn’t know how. He insisted I could because, as he put it, anyone who can write 300 page novels can and should write a screenplay. So I probably will — but that’s beside the point.)


The Live Art Experience

Self Portrait at Age of 34

I’ll forever remember the first time I saw a real Rembrandt — live.  I’d seen the same self portrait many times in different places.  But nothing compared to that moment when I walked into The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in London.  I rounded a corner and found myself face-to-face with Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at Age of 34.  It was right there, just a few feet away, hanging on the wall.  There was nothing but air between it and me.  It was the first time I had the experience and understood at the same time, what the phrase “take my breath away” really meant.

At first I was stunned, and then surprised at my own reaction.  (I would probably have had the same reaction if I had rounded a corner and found myself face-to-face with Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day.)  But the real question I had to ruminate on was, why would I suddenly feel star-struck in the presence of a painting?  I’d seen that painting so many times on high quality posters and book plates — the very same image.

Maybe it was because I considered him a superstar and I was standing where he had stood, in relation to that same painting, hundreds of years prior to that moment.  I suppose that made me feel closer to him.  But I don’t think that’s it — not entirely.

Here’s another example of live art.  I saw a live band a few nights ago in Hollywood. It was a small and intimate venue and my spot was front and center. There were perhaps 150 people in the audience.  The band consisted of two female singers (lead and backup), a keyboardist, a guy on stand-up bass and a drummer.

They were, each one, amazingly talented. Not only did they sound great individually, they complimented each other beautifully. It was obvious that they enjoyed playing AND they were enjoying each other at the same time.  I loved that part of it as well as the music.

I love recorded music and I listen to it all the time, but I get an entirely different feeling when they’re in front of me playing LIVE.

It’s the same thing if I compare the experience of seeing a movie at the theater vs. on television.  There’s something more special about going to a place with a lot of other people and seeing it on the big screen — the way it was meant to be shown.

I’d much rather have a real painting hanging in my home.  A painting that’s been painted by hand by an artist.  I’m just not a fan of Kinkade’s cottage scenes.  They’re reproductions that are touched up with a little more paint after they come off an assembly line.  Don’t get me wrong — I think he’s very talented and I’m happy for him that he figured out a way to make mega-bucks.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  And I know some people who really love his reproductions — I’m just saying they are not for me.  For me, that’s not the live art experience.

Sure, I know, a book is reproduced through the use of machines, but there’s always been something special about an actual book.  For that reason, I have a difficult time accepting the electronic books.  There’s nothing like holding a real book in my hands and reading it, turning down the corner of a page and referring back and forth to characters and situations and so forth.  There’s even something about the smell of a book that I love.

I love the digital media, but isn’t a CD, a picture of a painting, a DVD that’s watched on a TV, more like a calling card — a piece of promotion inviting us to see, hear, experience the real thing?

Seems like nothing compares to the quality that goes into the thing the artist actually produced and that special quality can not be completely reproduced mechanically.  Something is missing from the mechanical reproduction.  Only when it’s live do I experience that quality — The Live Art Experience.

But that’s just me.  I would love to hear what you think.

© 2010 Christina Moss


Good Parenting

When I was little, and I tried anything artistic, my mother would pretty much light up and tell me how great it was. (By the way, if you have kids, I highly recommend you do that. But don’t fake it. Kids know when you’re lying.)

Anyway, my mother meant it and it was very validating. I knew she meant it because I’d tried other things that had nothing to do with art, and she wouldn’t really discourage me from doing those things, she just didn’t light up the same way.

About twelve years ago I began painting and then took art classes and I got pretty good at it. When I sent samples to my mother, she flipped out and wanted to see more.

More recently when I called her and told her that I was almost done writing a novel, I could hear her breath catch and she said, almost in a whisper, “Oh, I’d love to read it. You’ll send me a copy, won’t you? Oh, this is so exciting. You know how much I love to read! And to think, we’ll have a writer in the family!”

I hadn’t even finished writing my first novel and she envisioned me hitting the best-sellers list.

And that right there is what I call good parenting.

© 2010 Christina Moss

Art, Random

Hollywood Undead

My first trilogy involves art of all kinds so I’ve had the extreme pleasure of interviewing artists of all kinds.

I really love this part of my job.

Now it just so happens that my main character’s love interest is a rock star. I love rock, especially post-punk, alternative rock. Edgy stuff. In fact, the edgier, the better!

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Deuce, the master-mind singer, musician and songwriter for Hollywood Undead, an internationally successful rock band. His music and lyrics are about as edgy as you can get without getting arrested. And I love it.

If you’re  familiar with Hollywood Undead you undoubtedly know how big they are. If you’ve not heard of them you’re probably wondering what I mean by “big”.  Answer: their first album went gold and is heading for platinum!  You can read about them in CNN’s article here:

Anyway, Deuce has an interest in my writing so I’m bringing my first manuscript to him today.

If you’re over 30, you probably don’t know Deuce but here’s a video.

© 2010 Christina Moss