writing


Kamala Harris was right in the Democratic debate to bring everything back to Trump each time. He’s the real enemy here. There were Democrats on that stage who I like better than others but any one of those people would be a better president than Donald Trump. But I think I’ve watched my last debate. I’m sure my Twitter timeline will be relieved, as I couldn’t stop live tweeting. I’ve watched all the debates so far and my opinion hasn’t changed much. I have certain people I’d be quite unhappy to vote for but several of the remaining candidates I’d vote for happily. #AnyDem

An interesting side note: I’ve said uncomplimentary things about several of the candidates but the only time trolls have come after me is when I’ve said uncomplimentary things about Tulsi Gabbard. I am not the only one who has had this experience. And I am such small potatoes on Twitter. They must be very well organized. Good thing I don’t respond to trolls. It’s no fun for them if you don’t engage and they stop playing.

Russian bot, Russian bot
Fly away home—
Your pants are on fire
And you’re all Putin owned.
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Yes, there are many tragedies in the world we need to pay attention to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a day to remember the murder of nearly 3000 innocent souls. Politicizing that is pretty reprehensible, no matter which side of the debate it comes from. Especially since 9/11 is an ongoing tragedy. People are still dying as a consequence of what happened that day. In honoring the fallen of 9/11 we are also honoring those who still struggle with illness and death because of it.
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Every act of artistic creation is also an offering to the Universe.
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Dear Everybody Who Needs Money From Me: I’d love to donate to your project/cause/campaign but I’m on a fixed income. Doesn’t mean I won’t donate when I can but if I donate to one thing I probably won’t be able to give to another thing that same month. My sincere best wishes to you.
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Even at my advanced age I can still sing all the lyrics of every Beatles song. You never forget the things you memorized in your youth. Unfortunately, this is also true of every commercial jingle I heard when I was young.
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Whenever I’m doing a piece of art and I say to myself, “I’ll just eyeball it,” every time I hear Louis Gossett Jr. saying, “Don’t be eyeballin’ me, boy.” Every. Fricking. Time.
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I was reading about the psychological theory of behaviorism one afternoon, but each time the notifications rang on my phone I picked it up to look. The irony of this was not lost on me.
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I hit the wall of character motivation on the novel and had a painful slog trying to get through it. I wasn’t believing this character’s reason for acting as he does so I couldn’t expect anyone else would. I did a partial re-read and reorganization to see if that would shake anything loose and after some reworking I came unstuck—at least for that particular problem. I’m not sure that part of the novel works, but it works for now, and I’m moving forward.

But not quickly. I pushed through a major hump a few days ago so at least that section of the story is finished. I’m past the 90k mark and closing in on the end of the book, but I still have a ways to go. I’ve never worked well from outlines. They usually kill an idea dead for me. Part of the problem with the current novel is that I know everything that happens until the end rather than making it up as I go along and that’s turned it into a real slog. However, I feel I have to finish this one, not only because I’ve come so far, but for the sake of my own spirit. I need to finish a substantial piece of work. To prove something to myself, I guess. That I’m still a writer?

I look forward to typing The End and putting this one in the trunk for a while and moving on to something else. It’s not my best work. Most writers I know feel that way at the conclusion of a novel, but in this case I may be write. Er, right.

Until I reread it many months hence, of course, and temporarily suffer from the “this is the best thing I’ve ever done” delusion.
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Euphomet, Jim Perry’s high strangeness podcast, has become my very favoritest. There are many fine podcasts out there, but I love Jim’s sensibility and his openly inquisitive tone. Check it out here.

Random quote of the day:

“The only thing more tormenting than writing is not writing.”

—Cynthia Ozick, The Paris Review, Spring 1987, Iss. 202

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

So I’ve finally fallen under the spell of Mindhunter on Netflix. Riveting. I binged most of season one last weekend, finished the last three episodes yesterday and started on episode one of season two. I’m trying to stretch it out. Besides, for some weird reason I only seem to be in serial killer mode on the weekends.

Oh man, such good acting and writing and directing. It’s just great stuff. And the casting is amazing. So much attention to detail and visuals and the way the characters are blocked into a scene. I also like how they imply incredible violence but they don’t glorify it and they don’t exploit it—something that is not true of every show about murder.
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The ants are on the move. It’s hot and dry so they’ve come inside looking for water and other things. I spray their ant trails with Clorox which kills them but they’re back on a new space the next day. The ants will be here long after I am gone, going about their antly duty.
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My outrage quota varies from day to day, but each day I hit the limit and I’m forced to shut down because I feel my soul leaking out of my ears.
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To me, one of the ultimate sins of the world is to throw away books. There are so many places that need books. Even when the rats got to some of my library and destroyed books (sometimes in disgusting ways) it tore me up to throw them away—even though they really had to go. Other books had suffered minimal damage (i.e., thoroughly chewed covers but otherwise fine) and I couldn’t bring myself to toss them. I still have a few of those. Others—and this is cowardice, I know—I put into recycling bags. I was fairly certain the places I donated them to would throw them away. But the sin would not be on my head, you see?

And the books that I have loved to death by reading and re-reading? I still have all those. I can’t bear to throw them out. I keep thinking I can use them to make sculptures or something. And yet they sit in my shelves, sacrosanct. Because, I admit, that every time I see a picture of someone who has gone down to the thrift store and picked up a bunch of old books to turn them into a piece of furniture, my first instinctive reaction is “You asshole!”

Extreme reverence for books may be a sin, but when throwing out books it’s not just tossing an object, it’s an entire world full of people and stories and feelings. I’m not demon enough to do that.
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Trump/Putin/Helsinki/2018: There are several photos in this sequence that look much the same. This was taken right after their secret meeting where Trump would not allow the translator to take notes. Putin looks like the cat who got into the cream. Meanwhile, Trump displays the face of a man who’s just been told by Putin, “Do everything I say from now on or I’ll call in all those massive loans I gave your and release the peepee tape.” Can anyone reasonably doubt that Trump is a Russian asset?

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One of the reasons I’m having such a hard time with the current part of the current novel (writing anything is like pulling teeth) is that I already know everything that happens. I’ve never been one who wrote well from an outline. Still, I’m close to 89k in and I’m not giving up.
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I still miss my tiny best friend more than I can say. Min, aged 19:

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My Cat’s Death Broke My Brain.
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Both of these men (Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper) are a gift, and an antidote to the times we are currently living through:

I agree with Mr. Colbert because of my own past traumatic experiences. I reached a point in my life where I realized that if I like who I am and I’m grateful for my life then even the bad stuff went into making me who I am. Once I got to that place it brought me great peace. It’s an individual choice, and not something anyone has to do, but that’s where I ended up and I’m very glad for it. I accept with gratitude all of my life as part of who I am, good and bad.
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It amazes me that some of the same people who decry racism and misogyny the loudest think ageism is just fine. Ageism is bullshit, no matter what direction: boomer against millennial, millennial against boomer, Gen X against Gen Z. I call bullshit.
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I absolutely believe that universal healthcare is a fundamental human right. However, I think you should know that Medicare is not a perfect plan and costs me a lot of money. I sincerely believe we can do better than Medicare for everyone.

A reminder to myself: “I can’t afford to hate anyone. I don’t have that kind of time.” —Takashi Shimura, in Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru
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Sometimes when I see the Trumpets waving their Trump 2020 signs I think it says Trump ZoZo. (Demon In-Joke)
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I will vote for Bernie if he’s the one although very reluctantly because I think he’s as much a Russian operative as Trump is. But anything blue is better than Trump.
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Yes, I’m wanting a kitty again, why do you ask? Actually, I’m in the process of making the house kitten safe before I take that action. It’s a slow process, given the arthritic knees, but I am working towards that goal.
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Weird irrelevant fact: Five of the accused Salem witches were executed on my father’s birthday, July 19. Eight were executed on my birthday, September 22. The other five were executed on August 19, and Giles Corey, the other victim of the hysteria, was pressed to death on September 19. I’ve always wanted to go to Salem, not so much for the touristy aspects as to pay my respects, but I doubt that will happen now. I watched an episode of America’s Hidden Stories on the efforts to finally locate the actual execution spot. Turns out the family who owns the property had handed down that knowledge through the generations but because no one in town wanted to talk about it, it had never made it into the history books. When the historians who were investigating it showed up on the property, the owner confirmed their suspicions. They erected a memorial there in 2017. So many secrets in Salem, so much official censorship.
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I will admit that Action Bronson watching Ancient Aliens (Viceland) is infinitely more entertaining than Ancient Aliens. With Action, I don’t usually want to throw anything at the TV even once. Granted, Action Bronson is stupid in his own way, just not Ancient Aliens stupid.
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I think the people in the Swiffer commercials are way the hell too anal.
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Everyone is eager to label other people fools, but everyone has something they’re foolish about. I guess it’s a multiplicity of foolishness that makes a true fool—or maybe it’s a blindness to our own idiocy.
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You never know what will launch someone on a screed. Sometimes it seems innocuous but echoes in the haunted chambers of their mind in ways the rest of us can’t see. Which is why I try not to take screeds too seriously. But sometimes they strike one of my private nerves—and we’re off!
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So strange how one’s taste and appreciation changes over time, sometimes dramatically. Yet it’s necessary. If you’re not changing you’re stagnant and dead inside. I was just reading “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold, a poem that made my young undergrad heart go “blech” back in the day. It seemed so stiff and formal. But today when I read it, it flowed, it spoke to me, I really took it in. How strange and wonderful is the passage of time.
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Bridging scenes are the worst. Going from point A to C in a necessary but difficult scene makes me want to scream. Sometimes it indicates I’m going in the wrong direction, other times it just means it’s boring. And will probably be edited out but I still have to write it first.
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Whenever I hear the word Apologia I think it should be the name of one of Prince’s former backup musicians.
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On Carl Jung’s birthday (July 26), I of course had a very interesting dream (said in a cheesy Austrian accent).

Random quote of the day:

“How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words.”

—David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Storytelling trumps beautiful writing every time.”

—Lisa Cron, Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not young enough to be absolutely certain I know the truth. The shades of grey multiply with each year. But that’s okay. The things that important are beyond those kinds of thought processes. We can feel around their edges, if we try real hard and remember they’re always changing shape anyway.

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I’ve been sick for the last few months, all sorts of unusual gastrointestinal and stomach issues, about every two weeks, interspersed with bouts of feeling absolutely fine. I finally went to the doctor last Friday. He thought it might be pancreatitis brought on by a medication he prescribed just about two months ago, because that’s one of the rare possible side effects. I’m not sure about that because people are usually hospitalized for pancreatitis and he didn’t suggest that. True, I resisted going to the doctor all that time–because that’s just what I do. I finally took myself off that medicine in late June. I’ve been gradually improving, sort of, although I’ve been sick again for the last 4 days. Each bout of this is milder than the last, but I am definitely sick of being sick. I think doc was mostly baffled by my symptoms but agreed with my decision to take myself off the medicine. He is having blood and other tests done, but no results yet.

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Today’s Google doodle is quite wonderful–and quite emotional for me. Maybe it’s because the moon landing was one of the seminal events of my young life; maybe it’s because we had hope then that the world might come together now that we could see how tiny and fragile our Earth was. I’ve never had that kind of hope again–well, maybe for a short time when the Berlin wall came down. Hope is as fragile as our Earth suspended in the immense blackness of space.

I should also add that I had that kind of crazy hope again when President Obama was elected. But.

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I bet the phone answering system in Heaven is Hell.

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Great article by Maria Popova at Brainpickings: The Banality of Evil: Hannah Arendt on the Normalization of Human Wickedness and Our Only Effective Antidote to It

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Best fortune cookie fortune I ever got? After a long dinner conversation with my artist friend about whether we should continue to pursue our art or give up: “Art is your fate, don’t debate.” My friend got the same fortune. We told a mutual artist friend about it and went back to the same restaurant, partially because of the food but partially because of the fortune. We got the usual run-of-the-mill fortunes but our other friend, who had also been questioning whether to give up the art, got “Art is your fate, don’t debate.” #Synchronicity

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That feeling when you listen to a piece of music you loved in your youth that you haven’t listened to for a long time…but it no longer works. #NotOdeToJoy

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The Universe is infinite, yet small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

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SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: Someone on Twitter posted, “If you come across this tweet, reply with the grade you were in when you had your first nonwhite teacher.” Oh God. I can’t remember even one, even in college. THIS IS SO BAD.

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People are surprised that a large segment of the public are credulous and strenuously resist logic. Even a casual reading of history shows this has always been so. The difference now is that we have entire news outlets and social media sites promoting the lack of critical thinking.

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Everyone is a conflicted human being. We have to admit that to ourselves or risk getting ourselves into a lot of trouble.

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It’s interesting: Because I just write and push through without editing to get words on the page, my first drafts always have a lot more of my working class origins in them. I leave some of that language in if it suits the character, refine it if not.

Random quote of the day:

“When you start any book you don’t know what, ultimately, your issues are. You try to write to find them. You’re fiddling with the stuff, hoping to make sense, whatever kind of sense you can make.”

—Robert Penn Warren, The Paris Review, Spring-Summer 1957, No. 16

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.”

—Jules Renard, Journal, 10 April 1895

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Every novelist ought to invent his own technique, that is the fact of the matter. Every novel worthy of the name is like another planet, whether large or small, which has its own laws just as it has its own flora and fauna. Thus, Faulkner’s technique is certainly the best one with which to paint Faulkner’s world, and Kafka’s nightmare has produced its own myths that make it communicable. . . . The work of art itself. . . is the solution to the problem of technique.”

—François Mauriac, La Table Ronde magazine, August 1949

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

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