clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One Giant Step

The image at left hosted on wikicommons is by Skytouch who allows its use here for merely the attribution. Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (U.K.).

I've had an itch just like all of you. It's more than my constant summer's bout of poison ivy.

I've a series of stories I couldn't quite piece together into a cognitive whole. They've formed parts of a couple of abortive novels but whose plot and revelation lags and fails to knit as a whole.

I've solved that problem this week.

Now, this problem -- challenge? -- has been languishing inside me for almost thirty-six months.

It's been a most troubling aspect of these stories in that I have great joy in them but their integration into something more has failed so desperately. They were more than short-stories to stand alone but less than a novel whose strings could be pulled by a reader into any sort of whole cloth.

I've solved the puzzle of the broken pieces. What's more, I have tens of thousands of words invested in different drafts of the pieces and so making productive use of this effort is extremely gratifying.

I have these little stories with characters like a sheriff wearing snakeskin boots made of rattlesnakes sans rattles left in his mailbox, alive. I have a boy who learns early to play the game beyond the game and kill with words. I have a priest whose conviction is compelled by the association with a demon who drove his father to suicide.

I have unfaithful partners, untrustworthy guardians, duplicitous motives for both, and a confidence in my characters that tomorrow may not be better than today.

I carry a little soul in each abortive story so far and the prospect of resolving them into a work that might be read by somebody - anybody. Well.

You know that joy in a project when you pass from "this is all rubbish no one will ever want to read" to "unworthy as it is, it remains my best work right now." It's an odd sort of transition.

There's always doubt. That in itself is worth the ink.

Spill some on the page soon. You never know when giants will again walk the Earth and scare away all your literary devices.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I Found My Book

Image at left of Shakespeare & Co. as photographed by Christine Zenino of Chicago, IL from 2011.

She hosts the image on wikicommons and allows us to use it here for the attribution. Thanks, Christine! (And thanks to Shakespeare & Co. who in no manner condone or endorse this post, blog, or any materials displayed or referenced herein. They might however endorse some of the Shakespeare quotes if they're asked nicely, I'd guess.)

I found a book tonight I'd misfiled in my library and so thought it gone forever.

It's a simple thing finding a book that one believed had gotten away. Some of my books travel and I'd guess some of yours might as well.

I'm not a good book loaner because I've sometimes been a poor book borrower. I have a volume -- Bogmail by Patrick McGinley -- that I borrowed years ago and have to this day as a precious reminder of a very good friend.

Anyway, I found a book that really is a bit inconsequential on the surface covering various aquatic insects; except, it is inscribed by the author (just a general signing ...doesn't know me from Adam)  and I've come to use it as a nearly unimpeachable reference.

I thought it lost.

Now I have it.

I'm as happy as if it were my birthday and someone made me a cake.

I hope you tonight find something you've been missing and thought gone forever. Maybe a volume. Maybe a set of notes. Perhaps a pen with just the right feel.

Maybe a plot element or even just a word.

Maybe a single, precisely sonorous word which you will now use in the opening sentence of your next work and for that you too will smile, each time you read the sentence, before an audience of enchanted readers.

Yes. Happy finding, you.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Nosing Around

At left, Lou the foxhound helping me with my re-writes. He's an in-close type of writing consultant. Likes to stick his nose right in my coffee, too.

The blog is static ...not dead yet!

It's been a tough summer for the ink. I've been working a story since late June and am now deep in a third re-write. I'm finishing that effort this week and putting together pages for a buddy to read.

This one goes out.

I hope your summer projects are progressing - even at a summer's pace.

They'll hound you for attention so there's no sense ignoring them. I could use a little fall. The weather has finally broken here and the house is open this morning. Highs in the low 70's.

You earn that sort of weather. You earn it roasting like dinner for a couple months.

Add a drop of water to the ink pot and stir. It comes right back to life, just like your writing.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Like Poppies ...

At left, poppy field in Turkey as photographed by Bernard Gagnon and hosted on wikicommons. Bernard allows its use here for only the attribution.

Kate Bush has a line in a song which I frequently play "Like poppies ..."  from the song "And Dream of Sheep." I find Kate Bush's lyrical qualities superb but part of that is due to the equipment I have and how her voice is reproduced.

I have a buddy who undergoes serious back surgery tomorrow. Opiates in the near future. I've lost one buddy to an addicted speech-slurred uselessness to back surgery and so I have concerns about Mike.

I haven't written much about drugs because the outcomes seem short-circuited to me. I knew several folks in the cocaine boom and the end was short and predictable in each case. I'm not sure I can write a story involving the recreational use of serious controlled substances that would hold a reader's attention.

Beto Unit.

If you wonder what the first ring of Hell looks like, read about the Beto Unit for detention in Texas.

I'm doing a re-write. I'm paying special attention to the change in tempo of interactions between people in tense serious conversations. Say, conversations in a room with the local sheriff.

Keep your powder dry and try walking a little more from now on. It helps the back.