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Howard Hughes and the End of November

There was a time I made entries of substance here. I wrote robust paragraphs many lines, many sentences, long. I'm not sure when or why that changed. I have begun making entries that look like online news articles, that appear to follow that idiot dictate of contemporary journalism – that, ideally, no paragraph ought be more than a single sentence's length. In college, where I spent several years doing an op-ed column, I once had a roaring fight with a new editor who took one of my carefully written pieces and made every sentence a new paragraph. Because that's what the dumb shit had learned in class. Because that's what the style manual said. I won the fight, and he never did it again. But I also never forgot. I'm good about doing that, for better or worse. Good at never forgetting. But I'm drifting. I dislike the short paragraphs that have come to typify this journal, and I especially dislike the absence of substance. However, I've been at this more than twelve years now, and it's difficult to be substantial every day.

Oh, in case you're wondering why that editor chopped up my column that way, I was told it's because "blocks of text intimidate readers." No, seriously. I assume this is what journalism students are still taught, here in our decidedly post-journalism world.

Yesterday, after five days of trying to deal with the Mold Disaster and deciding which books should be discarded and...other stuff...I went back to the book. To Cherry Bomb, I mean. It took me that long to find the next sentence. This is why I suck at being a hack. It is a known fact that hacks are not afforded the luxury of taking five days to find the next sentence. Anyway, after squandering all that time, I found the next sentence and sat down and started writing again. I did 1,033 words on the fourth chapter. Being on the downhill side of the halfway point, you'd think I'd get a gravity assist here. I don't see that happening. I posted this on Facebook yesterday, while trying to find one or another next sentence:

Anyone can come up with the artifice/conceit of a "good story." Story bores me. Which is why critics complain it's the weakest aspect of my work. Because that's essentially purposeful. I have no real interest in plot. Atmosphere, mood, language, character, theme, etc., that's the stuff that fascinates me. Ulysses should have freed writers from plot. Anyway, here I sit, trying, halfway through the novel, to figure out the "story" that gets Cherry Bomb from alpha to omega. And, really, I don't give a shit.

Which is true.

Last night, rather tasty recycled turkey for dinner. We made little turkey "sliders" on leftover dinner rolls, and we ate them with leftover mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce (homemade). Tonight, recycled turkey with roasted asparagus and fresh mashed potatoes. The turkey goes ever, ever on.

Anyway, after dinner we had a "sorta Kid Night." You can't really have a true Kid Night that begins with Thanksgiving leftovers. But we watched the remainder of Series 7.2 of Doctor Who. I was so indifferent to most of Matt Smith's time as the Doctor, to the point I stopped watching the show, that it was a joy seeing him rally at the end, with the appearance of Clara and the end of the stultifying Pond Era. There was one hiccup right towards the end, "Nightmare in Silver." I didn't need those annoying children, and the episode seemed completely out of place, breaking the forward momentum of a grim story arc with an odd bit of whimsy. Then we watched The Day of the Doctor, which was absolutely delightful. John Hurt, wow. And an echo of the Bad Wolf. Christopher Eccleston's absence was, however, palpable. He ought have been there, truly. I respect Eccleston's decision, obviously. But, yes, palpable.

And I should go now, having accomplished my goal of leaving you with intimidating blocks of text.

Later,
Aunt Beast

Comments

( 11 comments — Have your say! )
setsuled
Nov. 30th, 2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
John Hurt, wow.

He made himself at home in the role nice and fast. I loved too how his apparent age compared to the newer Doctors was made part of the issue. It makes Capaldi's casting seem significant to the overall narrative.

Christopher Eccleston's absence was, however, palpable. He ought have been there, truly. I respect Eccleston's decision, obviously. But, yes, palpable.

Yeah. Though if John Hurt's presence was due to Eccleston's refusal to appear then I'd say at least one good thing came out of it. Also, the story of the War Doctor casts an interesting new light on the exuberance with which Eccleston played the role. Now it looks more like he's desperately trying to be himself again.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)

I loved too how his apparent age compared to the newer Doctors was made part of the issue. It makes Capaldi's casting seem significant to the overall narrative.

Yes.

Also, the story of the War Doctor casts an interesting new light on the exuberance with which Eccleston played the role.

Very much so. 9 was the War Doctor, in my opinion.
sovay
Nov. 30th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
And I should go now, having accomplished my goal of leaving you with intimidating blocks of text.

I am thankful for intimidating blocks of text.

I loved John Hurt in "The Day of the Doctor" so deeply.

Edited at 2013-11-30 06:40 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)

I am thankful for intimidating blocks of text.

Then you're welcome.
brienze
Nov. 30th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
About Nightmare in Silver... I suspect that when you ask Neil Gaiman to write an episode, you're not going to NOT use it. Someone might've thought the whimsey made a nice break from the rest of the season. And the bit about the Emperor and why he was hiding from everyone resonated nicely with the Doctor's own guilt.

I'm really looking forward to Peter Capaldi. Hoping we don't get a regeneration show like every other modern-era regeneration show, where the new guy only gets two or three lines of dialogue at the end.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)

About Nightmare in Silver... I suspect that when you ask Neil Gaiman to write an episode, you're not going to NOT use it. Someone might've thought the whimsey made a nice break from the rest of the season. And the bit about the Emperor and why he was hiding from everyone resonated nicely with the Doctor's own guilt.

Yes, but, you do not ever sabotage momentum with a dull aside. Ever. Also, you ought find and read Neil's explanation of how he came to write the episode. And the mess the network made of it afterwards. What you saw was not precisely what Neil wrote. Regardless, had that episode been placed earlier in the second half of the seventh series, it would have only had the chirpy children as a mark against it.

I'm really looking forward to Peter Capaldi. Hoping we don't get a regeneration show like every other modern-era regeneration show, where the new guy only gets two or three lines of dialogue at the end.

We shall see.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2013 07:19 pm (UTC)

When I just want a skeleton, I'll use Twitter.

Well said.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2013 08:47 pm (UTC)

Also, I've never said not, but I love your icon.
martianmooncrab
Nov. 30th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
my goal of leaving you with intimidating blocks of text.

with gravy and a side of something, I will consume it!
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2013 08:47 pm (UTC)

with gravy and a side of something, I will consume it!

Booya!
troublebox
Dec. 1st, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
I finally got around to Sirenia 93, and I loved it, deeply. I’m looking forward to reading more about the Snow twins … wherever they might re-appear.

In the prologue for Cherry Bomb, however … I think Joel Cairo is a character from _The Maltese Falcon_, not _Casablanca_, as your narrator asserts. I wouldn’t point it out (I know you’re not including it in the digest in order to get copy editing), but I know you haven’t submitted the text to your publisher, and if an error like that ever got through … I know it would bug me to no end.
( 11 comments — Have your say! )