Originally Posted to Blogger – Monday, January 22, 2007
My “underground” month continues, though the last two weeks without the benefit of being on vacation. I’ve learned an important lesson in these 14 days: I am not one of those “write my best stuff at 2:00am” nocturnal writers. I am way more productive in the typical 9-to-5, probably as a side effect of working that for years.
Now that I’m back in my daily work routine, I’ve generally been fitting an hour or two in a night, between 8:00pm and midnight. My productivity has gone way down, which was to be expected, but I’ve been rather caught off guard by my penchant for falling asleep at the keyboard around 10:45. (Cory and Amy will have a laugh at that because, as they know, if casual conversation around the house goes that late, I tend to fall asleep on the couch or, sometimes, the floor.)
Despite all that, I’ve gotten some work done. “Pitch” has progressed a little, but I spent a couple of nights scrapping a big chunk of it, removing a character and rewriting a page. It’s starting to feel right, but I think this one is going to see a lot of action on the redraft frontlines.
Late last week, a casual observation on the Metrolink kicked my brain into momentary overdrive. In the three minutes between stepping off the train and Wendy arriving at the station to pick me up, I had a whole new story, beginning, middle, end. I’m never at a loss for ideas, but I don’t often get the whole package delivered at once.
Since I was feeling some strain with “Pitch”, I decided to step aside a bit and explore this new short story. It’s tentatively titled “Mercury People”; I’m 8 pages in, about 4000 words. Which is a lot wordier than I expected it to be (cue snickers from the in-the-know crowd), because I initially envisioned the language and action in a kind of clipped, matter-of-fact fashion. I’m at the end of the second act (of sorts), and the language and situation has become, well, dense. Right now, my plan is to finish it in its present style, redraft it in the same, and then go to town on it with the methaphorical red pen, maybe cut it by half. Perhaps I’ll send different versions to my creative-crit friends, and see how they react to each.
This past Friday, another “train of thought” on the Metro (how it hurts me to pun it that way) stuck with me into my morning Starbucks ritual. I sat to jot down a few notes and turns of phrase. The second stanza was just beginning when I realized I was constructing a poem. Again with the freaking poetry. Perhaps since I’ve not done much in the way of songwriting lately, that part of me manifests in the poetic structure. In any event, this new thing is called “The Kind Man Looks Death”, and it’s not at all like the last one I wrote. Its tone seems fitting for a publication like “Dark Wisdom”. If I don’t have a polished short ready during their next submission period, a sharpened version of “Kind Man” might be worth a shot.
. Friday night, a small handful of Armadians ended up in little, out of the way Trenton, Illinois, at a bar called The Jailhouse Rock. I was highly skeptical of the locale and venue in question, but it turned into a really fun time. The place is really quite large, with a decent bar area, and a whole other section with a big stage, dance floor and game room. The motif is very Elvis, obviously. I imagine it was once a schoolhouse or church, or maybe even one of those tiny concert halls that used to litter the country fifty odd years ago. They had karaoke that night and, as you may know, Armadians are black belts in Karaoke-Fu. The guy running it was really nice and respectful (all too often not the case) and the song selection reasonable. And the Boulevard on tap was dynamite.
. I felt like crap all weekend, something like food poisoning without the vomiting. Might have been my recent flu shot just catching up with me. Watched a bunch of mediocre movies to distract me from whining: Idiocracy, the lost Mike Judge picture with Luke Wilson. Futurama without the sci-fi (and most of the biting wit). Extremely funny at times, with some poignant observations, but overall not a good film; Crank, an all-out actionfest that would have rocked at 30 minutes but lost its edge at 90. Sorta fun, if you’re feeling ADD; and Beerfest, from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe. Actually pretty funny, in that Saturday Night Live spin off movie way, it’ll entertain when you’re holed up on the couch and don’t feel like doing shit.
. I parted ways with my Xbox. The console and all my games made the trip to Slackers today. I picked up the first Clone Wars animated dvd and ordered the first four seasons of Batman: The Animated Series. I’ve been loving the Justice League collections, and feel its time to catch up on the series that got it all going.
. Finally took all the Christmas decorations down. Woo-hoo!
. One of my favorite high school teachers, Connie Brubaker, just published a book of poetry. Connie was always a big proponent of my writing, and shared her work with me as well. She’s doing a sale/signing at a cafe in my hometown which I’m hoping to attend. It is, incidentally, the coffee joint my old friend Jessi runs that I’ve been meaning to visit. Economical use of a stone, that.
. Just finished reading Tim Pratt’s short story collection, Little Gods, a Christmas gift from my wife. This is a wonderful little gathering of fantastical-stories of many flavors and tones. I haven’t enjoyed a new author find like this since I discovered Kate Atkinson. There’s plenty of material to dig into, here, but my two favorite stories from the collection are “Bleeding West”, a gritty piece of mythology in the spaghetti western tradition, and “Behemoth”, a tale of forsaken friendships, unrequited love and the creatures of the apocalypse that left me weeping in a corner at Starbucks.