- Don’t recall any dreams from last night. Odd. Frees up about an hour of time spent thinking about my dreams. Has my dream reservoir gone dry?
- Went out on a shopping expedition yesterday, Albertsons and Bi-Mart. Our prey was cat food and fresh fruits and veggies. All saved one was masked up, although several wore their masks with their noses exposed. Do you not get it, man? Yes, I know, there’s psychology, perceptions, fears, and lies at work there. Just ask Herman Caine. Sorry, cheap shot. Ask Rep. Gohmert (Crazy-TX) instead. He’s the latest flag-bearer for the nonsense brigade.
- Florida friends tell us that people there don’t act like there’s a pandemic going on except to put on masks to enter stores, because the stores require them. Then I read an article about a study that said, yes, as expected, young adults and teens are working and clubbing, then going home and infecting more vulnerable people. It’s trending up everywhere.
- Going to have social-distancing brunch outside at friends’ house this AM. Just the two couples will be present. I’m ambivalent about it. Like them, but do we need the risk? I am resentful, too, as my wife (with perceived mocking tone) said to friend on phone, “Oh, he’s not doing anything.” Hello? Writing? WTF. She then said, “Oh, don’t tell me I’m interfering with your schedule.” I’m sounding bitter, so I’ll stop.
- Okay, I am bitter.
- Our fire warnings were raised to extreme today. Humidity has dropped to 15% and we’ve had several days of triple digit highs. We’re in a mild trough today, with an overnight low of 58 and a forecast high of 94 for today. Worrisome as dozens of wildfires are already burning.
- Stay safe, everyone. Wear masks and distance.
- Gonna get some coffee now and try to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Friday’s Theme Music
Yeah, a free association flow today ended up with this song. It started with writing.
Yesterday morning…stalled on writing a scene. Overthinking it, my home-grown inner writing coach screamed. “Do it!”
Despite that exhortation, I resisted and fiddled. Knowing self, though, finally opened doc, went to scene, started reading and fiddling with words. Then, ah…sweet relief as sentences flowed in and out.
Then, pop: revelation. Surprise. Unseen connections and directions illuminated. Go: write like crazy.
Done with the one-handed writing for the day, the writing continued in my gray space — the brain, yeah, but also those nano vacancies visited while watching TV, petting a cat, searching the sky, scrolling the news — and new nuances proliferated. As it happened (continuing in dream material), it came at last as another piece in the characters’ stained- glass personae: desire.
Who they think they are, claim to be, try to be, fail to be, are seen to be, were before, dream to be, and are said to be punched together.
So, today’s theme music is U2’s “Desire” from 1988.
Saturday: Four Things
There has to be four things today because it’s the Fourth of July, Independence Day in the U.S., right?
- Best fourth of July celebration for me is the first one with my wife. She wasn’t my wife or girlfriend yet. I was fifteen and she was fourteen, and she was just a girl I’d just met a few days before. Yep, just a smart, long-haired girl who captured my attention from the first time I saw her. Fortunately, I had the same impact on her, she claims. Guess it was fate.
- I subscribe to the Hulu service with commercial breaks. I don’t like spending money on streaming services. They’re an indulgence, so I try to minimize the cost. I’m watching two shows on Hulu, “Cardinal” and “Justified” (again), so I don’t think it’s worth paying more for it. They’re like an awkward, gamboling puppy with their commercial breaks, erupting in odd points in a scene (butchering the tension or mood). They usually show two or three commercials, and they usually cut off , and then cutting off the last twelve seconds of the final commercial. If I was that advertiser, I’d be demanding better service. My cynical aspect (which occupies about ninety percent of my mind) suggest Hulu does their breaks deliberately to motivate me to pay a few more dollars a month to avoid commercial breaks.
- Watched Hamilton on Disney Plus last night. Had the captions on, and it’s a good thing. It’s a continuous flow of life, song, revelations, and relationships, and worth every damn piece of praise that I’ve read or heard. I recommend it to you so you can witness for yourself.
- Gonna be a mellow day in spirit. I’m going for a walk in a little while…after I write. A pair of jets did a flyby to mark the moment when the parade would’ve begun but there are no parades in town, although our friend and state rep did a singleton parade. Pam Marsh wears the Statue of Liberty outfit every year, has for years. The mask is new…so is the Black Lives Matter sign…and the coronavirus on a chain… We’ve watched the town parade from her front year for the past ten years. It’s a potluck where everyone attending brings a food or drink. We’ll miss the parade but Pam is carrying the torch for it (yeah, get it?). We’re fortunate to have such an intelligent, energetic, and concerned person as our friend and rep. Did I mention her sense of humor?
Yeah, got my coffee. Yes, it’s a holiday, and it’s time to write like crazy, at least one more time…
Bang Bang Bang
I had three agents interested in April Showers 1921. Bang, bang, bang, all three came back yesterday and this morning, and said, “Thanks, I’m passing.”
Conspiracy, I thought. They’re all conspiring against me. Then —
Check on the other places where I’ve submitted. Remember that three out of the original twenty (which later turned out to be eighteen) were interested, not a great percentage (let’s not do the math, okay?), but still, somebody. Hey, I’m a writer. I’m required to be moody, temperamental, pessimistic, optimistic, and stubborn. At least, that’s what my muses insist.
Meanwhile, there are other agents. I’ll submit to them.
Meanwhile, there’s another novel being written, and it’s a lot of damn fun.
Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Friends were renting a house in Waldport, Oregon, three bedrooms, three baths. They’d invited their family. Their family couldn’t make it. Would we like to come?
Twist our arms, ouch, ouch, okay, we give, we give, we’ll come! The house wasn’t on the beach, but on a bluff that overlooks the beach, less than a quarter mile to the beach. Topology and beach access rules and agreements made it a ten minute walk to the beach. Not a problem.
We drove through pouring rain to reach Waldport. The sky ratcheted down to a gray sunshine the first night, permitting a walk on the beach. Waldport has fine, sandy beaches, flat, wide, and unpopulated by many others in September. Rain drenched the area that night. We awoke to a misty gray day, but that burned off. Sunshine and blue skies arrived and hung out with us for the next few days, a very welcome guest. Temperatures jumped into the high sixties, flirting with seventy-one inland.
Waldport is a small, comfortable town. Not many eateries called to us but Yachats ten miles to the south and Newport fifteen miles to the north were easy drives up Highway 101. Down in Yachats, we returned to Luna Sea Food twice, and also visited the Green Salmon for some excellent coffee and food. Once again, we struck out when we tried to visit Bread and Roses, as it was closed for the week! Dinner on Tuesday was at the Adobe restaurant in Yachats, where the dining room presented us with an excellent seat to watch the sunset as we ate and drank.
I walked on the beach at least twice a day, in addition to our daily hiking. For the week, I ended up with sixty-five miles on my Fitbit, which was the same as the previous two weeks. I often walked barefoot in the shallows, enjoying the sun-warmed waters churning over my feet.
Meanwhile, we had terrific companions, Marcia, Art, and Lucy. The owners’ net situation kept us off computers except to check email once in a while. We traveled the local coastline, hiking, and visiting the sights. We also walked the Alsea Bay Bridge. Just three quarters of a mile long, the bay’s water were fantastically clear and often shallow. Seals sunned and swum below us, entertaining us with their pastimes (yes, we’re easily entertained). Amanda’s trail in Yachats offered a more challenging walk, giving us fifty flights of steps on our Fitbits, and offering terrific views of the Pacific. Signs warned us about a mama bear and her cubs in the area, so we stayed on guard.
Amanda’s head has been washed away, and has been replaced by a smaller, carved statue of her. Her sad history, shared too many times with other people across America, remains to remind us how inhumane and barbaric Americans and Europeans often treat others.
A return visit to Cape Perpetua was in order, with its short hike to the CCC era stone shelter.
When we were back at the house, time was passed reading, chatting, eating, cooking, drinking wine, and gazing out at the ocean. The moon was waxing and was almost a full moon by the week’s end, splashing its gorgeous glow over the calm, rolling ocean. Not much writing was done, but batteries were drained and recharged.
Got my coffee, and my ass is in the chair. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Hold breath. Release.
Relax. It’s okay.
Sure. Yes. It’ll be okay.
So it went on Monday. My wife and I left on a car-cation. Just a road trip to Yachats. I wanted to write, of course, but I knew she was jealous of that. She wanted to break out of our regular structure of existence, hence the trip to the coast.
So, with reluctance, I agreed without speaking to her unspoken concern. It’s the kind of thing that works after being married through a few ice ages.
I worried, though, oh, I worried that I’d forgotten what I’d written, where I was in the ms., and what I was about to write or change. It helped that I was on draft number seven of April Showers 1921. It’s probably ninety percent written, with changes being made to sculpt the story, structure the plot, polish the prose, and exercise the pace. Still, I worried that the muses might decide to teach me a lesson because I’d ignored them for four days.
A more rational aspect of me reassured me that all would be well. That piece of me proved correct. I sat down with my computer and cuppa coffee today, opened the doc, and said, “Oh, that’s right. This part is wordy and awkward and needs some lovin’.”
Then I was off. Good day of writing — and editing — like crazy. Good to be back. Time to go on to other things.
Butt’s asleep, ya’ know? Yeah, writer’s butt; it’s the worse. They never warned you about writer’s butt when you told them you wanted to be a writer, did they?
The Muses and Me
Some days, I require a word count because the muses are behaving like children. The words won’t come. A thousand pounds of pressure is required to press the computer keys. It is exhausting. Computer games call, sunshine beckons, books that I want to read whisper, “Come here,” and to-do lists acquire enormous importance. The word count is necessary to get some frigging work done. That’s in the writing process stage.
In the editing and revising stage, the muses are generally mute. Their work, they tell me, is done. Chapters are the masters. X number of chapters must be completed today. Sometimes the muses show up and start talking about another project. Other projects, with the glorious feeling of creation that they impart, are always seductive. I beat the muses back with sticks. “Not today, damn it. You know that I need to finish this first.” They don’t care. Muses are self-centered. They run with their own agendas.
There’s always a stick for the days when it’s needed. But some days, the muses are waiting, tapping their little feet or fingers, eager to begin. Just give them a sip of coffee, and off we go. I don’t always know if I’m going in the right direction and harbor this terrible fantasy that I’m a football player in a tight game, running with the ball toward the wrong goal.
A table full of muses are here today. Each is learning forward, ready to feed me their input. Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Showered, Briyen applied his Shaving roll-on and considered the next roll-ons as nanos removed his beard. Moving roll-on sticks like chess pieces, he set Youth and Charm up front but equivocated over his skin color. His natural color was an unflattering Flesh White, according to the consultants. He’d been Black once this week and Ebony twice. None of the Rainbow offerings appealed to him. His eyes roved over Teak, Latina, Hispanic, and Southern Europe, but his mind didn’t latch onto any until he saw SoCal Tan. That would work.
The Shaving done and enough time passed, he immediately put on Youth. A full body roll, that would would take longer to process. Sliding the Charm forward, he pondered Courage, Creativity, Confidence, and Imagination, and then decided, screw it, why not? He’d put them all on. It was dangerous because he was applying…one, two, three…five…eight?
Eight. Shit. Last two times he’d applied eight roll-ons, he’d suffered the aptly-labeled crash, complete with scaly plaque psoriasis and an all-conquering headache. He’d been forced to apply the First Aid roll-on all friggin’ night. The next day had been endured without roll-ons. His hideous reflection had to be avoided. He’d been ravenous but mostly fasted, fearing side-effects. Naturally, he’d stayed inside and off cameras.
Not wanting to take those paths again, he put Courage and Imagination back. Six roll-ons would be good enough because even seven sometimes made him queasy, especially when it was supposed to be hot, as it was today, which meant, shit…he also needed Sun Protection & Cooling. Grimacing, he pulled the SP&C roll-on out and pushed the SoCal back. No tan today.
The Youth had already completed its work. Sagging and wrinkles were vanquished. His skin was tight, and his hair was fuller, thicker, and darker. Damn, he looked good. Humming, he finished up with the other roll-ons and set his timer for ten minutes. Couldn’t dress until enough time had been permitted – shit, didn’t wan to do that again, chuckling with rueful memory of how he turned out when he put clothes on too soon after the roll-ons. Never again, right? Right.
Finally, he was dressed and ready to roll. He took a few seconds to admire himself in the mirror and agreed with his private assessment that he looked damn fine for one hundred twenty-two years old. Hell, he didn’t look a day over twenty-two.
After favoring himself with a final approving grin, he headed for the door. Time to go write like crazy, at least one more time.
Don’t Anger the Muses
I love it when I get in here to write, and I seem to know exactly where to begin and what to type. Little thinking is demanded; it’s just go, go, go.
I know it’s not from ‘nowhere’ or some mysterious regions of my brain, or a gift from the muses. Truthfully, I’m agnostic. I’m not going to be categorical and say that it isn’t the muses. Maybe it is. Don’t want to outrage them by denigrating their contribution, you know. If it is due to the muses and they cut me off, I’d be bereft.
In my defense, I know that I stopped in the middle of a scene yesterday. I was following a trend. Once I’d shut down and was walking, thoughts arrived about what to do. Walking frequently acts as a laxative on my thinking, out there, going somewhere that only requires me to think, left, right, left, right — which out for the bus — permits to me to think.
I’d not been planning my thoughts and wasn’t actively thinking about the novel in specific ways. It was more a part of multi-streaming that I often do, especially while walking, surfing a little of one before jumping to another. This idea popped up, found its roots, and grew. More grew, developing new angles, as I showered and shaved this morning.
I guess it’s probable that I was thinking, but the muses were directing the streams and deciding what came to what. How’s that for a compromise?
Got my hot coffee. I’m in my chair. Time to write again, at least one more time.