The Pequod Review:
Matthew Specktor's Always Crashing in the Same Car is an occasionally interesting collection of essays on various creative individuals with connections to Los Angeles — e.g., Thomas McGuane, Renata Adler, Tuesday Weld, Hal Ashby, Warren Zevon (a musician who "fought to romanticize his own experience every step of the way... and who could never outrun his consciousness of guilt"), and Carole Eastman, among many others. It is also about Specktor's friends and family:
My mother was a failure, if that's how you care to view it. Even when she'd managed to commit a significant amount of her time to a practice over the years -- modeling, acting, painting, fiction writing, screenwriting, ballet, and now, classical piano -- she'd shown a tendency to walk away before any real reckoning of her talent could take place. That didn't make her untalented; it simply meant she was afraid to be judged. Many people feel this way, and there is a sense in which the only meaningful metric for "success" is not recognition, or publication, or congratulation; it is perseverance. Talent is merely an invitation to work.