November 30th, 2013


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.

Aunt Beast