clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, May 13, 2013

High Anxiety

Where is Mel Brooks when I need him ?

Tonight's book? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The late Douglas Adams had the grace to share this volume (the first of a five-part trilogy ) with us before hitching a ride with the Vogons.

I had read some subversive literature prior to my encounter with Hitchhiker. My cousin had a copy of The Mason Williams Reading Matter in an old bookcase which I found and read on a hot August afternoon. Mason Williams (songwriter: "Classical Gas") was a comedy writer for The Smothers Brothers on their irreverent television show (created the Pat Paulson for President routines) among others.

The Mason Williams book had an impetuousness about authority which I suspect was the result a truculent soul disguising itself with humor.

The biographical bit on the author jacket listed occupation as "righter."

Hitchhiker is equally enigmatic. Reading it was one of the first times I knew I was not alone in the universe. The absurdities I saw were seen by others. I was part of a group. Unfortunately for me, Douglas Adams was the funniest one in the group and the rest of us are merely disgruntled janitors. It could be worse. We could be telephone sanitizers.

I'm to go to a conference the week after Memorial Day. It's a workshop. It's important to me. I'm nervous.

I'm trying to summon my best Arthur Dent and just embrace the fact that guides to the writing world are a bit like Ford Prefect. I should prepare for that for which I cannot adequately anticipate. I don't know these people - though I read their stuff.

What will workshops with them entail? Nothing I cannot handle with a couple of canned ideas in the back pocket to draw upon if stuck for inspiration. Cheating? Of course. I cheat in every story by rolling it around upstairs before it tumbles out. Why would a workshop be different?

I'm packing a towel. You should pack a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Reading it will help your writing. Seriously.

Well - it won't help you write seriously but it will help you decide if you are just boring the reader or if you are hitting them in the brain with a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.  I think that is the effect I desire. Happy happy, normal normal , then BLAM - a lemon slice wrapped around a brick and the whole world changes.

Read widely. Drink widely. Write often.

Anxiety means I'm not dead yet. Does that mean it's coming soon? Off to write.

See you Thursday.


3 comments:

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

My mother loved that book. My daughter loved that book. I read it because my daughter gave it to me, but i wasn't a huge fan of it. Parts of it make me laugh, (like the depressed robot) but for the most part, it simply wasn't my thing. I guess the gene skipped my generation.

Good luck at that workshop! It'll be a blast.

j welling said...

Thanks Susan !

I'm all excited. I am packing a towel, too. It's a workshop at a summer camp and you never are quite sure about the amenities.

Nigel Mitchell said...

I love Douglas Adams. My all time favorite writer. Great companion. Hope the conference went well