A Random Stream

‘Hey Ya’ is playing in my head but otherwise, thoughts are normalized streams of randomness.

  • Eva Lesko Natiello posted a blog about not quitting. I was happy to read it and read it again today because her words summarizes my writing process. Here’s one paragraph.
    • “Yesterday my manuscript was torturing me. I couldn’t move forward. Stuck in my puzzle. I was having trouble with the order of disclosure and who’s POV it should be. Should the dialogue contradict what the character was really thinking? Maybe she wasn’t thinking that at all. What was she thinking? Maybe it wasn’t her place to reveal it. Perhaps we should find out some other way.”
    • I like how she captured this process. Later, she mentions that she becomes frustrated and pushes herself to sit it in her chair and squirm it out. I don’t squirm; I close my eyes and bow my head. But’s it’s the same thing.
  • Earlier in February, Barbara Froman published an interview she conducted with Dr. Harrison Solow in 2013. I read it again this week. I recommend it. I like what Harrison said in this paragraph:
    • “And someone has had the great good sense to leave this book alone. Or if altered, respectfully tuned to perfect pitch by an invisible hand, so that each word has the unmistakable ring of authenticity. The reader perceives nothing enharmonic. A true book and a beautiful one. But although there is no false note, neither is the entire composition a universal symphony. There is vision here — intensely personal, internally arranged.”
    • There is the difficulty, finding the notes so no false notes are played in the novel.
  • Gray, cold air cups the buildings and trees this morning. Walking past a row of apartments, I smell…laundry detergents and fabric softeners being vented out. Nostalgia strikes a chime. This is a day like my Pittsburgh childhood. Smells often transport me.
  • Striding past the cemetery, I acknowledge, again, I like cemeteries but I don’ t like them. The history they represent touches me and prompts questions about the lives beneath the headstones. But I think the land where cemeteries reside could be better used for other things. I’ve never had the interest in visiting them to talk to people who passed on; I just speak to them in my head. But it matters much to others. I guess I’m an unsentimental jerk.
  • Watched  ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ on Friday night. Wasn’t impressed. It seems like, as my wife called it, a movie war, dated and hackneyed. Others obviously think differently, as they nominated it for the Best Picture. Again, it must be me. I do admire Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector (cooperator, he calls himself) at the story’s center. I thought Garfield did a good job, but overall, Mel Gibson as a director seemed heavy handed. I found Hollywood vs History’s details about the differences between the movie and the facts very interesting.
  • Many smart houses, with their smart thermostats, are actually connected to apps that allow you to call it from your phone and change the temperature or turn the lights on or off. That’s not a smart house, but a remote control. A smart house, to me, is one that I don’t have to program and set reminders other than to provide it with some basic operating instructions. For instance, my system is programmed for fifty-eight degrees at night. But if the temperature is dropping into the mid twenties Fahrenheit, like this week, I turn it up to sixty-four at night. Part of this is because the house design; the furnace is mounted on its side in the attic space. It’s not insulated, and the drip line runs through it and down inside a garage wall that also isn’t insulated. That sometimes allows the drip line to freeze. It’s a shortcoming that I’m working on to fix, but meanwhile, a smarter house would be helpful.
  • ‘Nocturnal Animals’ was last night’s household viewing feature. Well done and everything, but not my style of movie.
    • During the movie, my wife turned to me and asked, “Have you ever killed me in a novel?” No, I haven’t.
    • Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Tony Hastings, is a writer. During a conversation, he states, “All writers write about themselves.” I kind of agree; I am the baseline from which I begin, but then it changes according to the character and story’s needs and expectations. Often, though, I model a character on another person and use how I would expect them to behave as my guide.
    • My wife also wondered what I thought of Tony’s revenge. While it’s not something that I would have done, I can see how a writer can end up going there.
    • If you don’t know what I’m writing about, sorry. I don’t mean to be obtuse but didn’t want to reveal too much of the plot.
  • Now time to dip myself back in the imaginary world of an imaginary future, technology and people. In other words, I’m going to write like crazy, at least one more time. I’ll probably do a little squirming, too.
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