Friday, March 21, 2014

The Perfect Song - #fridayflash

The author finds the perfect song. The search is laborious, infinite, and instantly forgotten in a melody inspirational and nonintrusive. Whatever muse sprang these rhythms into our world gave them merit without demanding attention, and thus the author can work to it.

The author puts the perfect song on loop and begins to type what will surely be the greatest opening paragraph in the history of the novel.

The author’s web browser blinks with an IM. GChat is never truly closed in publishing. Or perhaps it’s a tweet, or a new Like on a half-clever Facebook post from a few hours ago, the last dying gasp of approval for memes past. The author checks the trivial interruption, which ought to take only a few seconds, and the end of the key sentence is still in his mind. Somehow, by no fault of his own, he has soon opened Tumblr, Reddit, and least defensibly, Youtube, chasing links that ask for so little of his time. All with that perfect song on loop in the background, reminding him to work. Eventually he may pause the perfect song to better hear the funny cat video his second college roommate posted, though he’ll unpause it out of guilt shortly later.

The author screws around for so long that, once he realizes his errors, his mind now associates the perfect song with screwing around. Perhaps it was never perfect. Perhaps he was never perfect, but that matters not, for the song is no longer the anthem of victorious words. It causes him only to dwell in how he let lunch time get here without meeting his morning word count.

And so the author opens his music folder and searches for another perfect song.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rough Draft Done Two Days Early, Let's Go Read Books

At 1:10 last night, I wrote the final chapter of We Don't Always Drown. It's 60 chapters long, about 97,000 words, and as in dire need of editing as I am of a bath.

Like always, I'll post a breakdown of the entire process. Right now I have to make a run to the library - finishing writing means it's time to read.

But I wanted to share a sheet of paper I've kept floating around my desk since the end of February. It assisted my temporal reasoning with the dates when people might visit, or when I'd be traveling, which is a handy way to not rationalize against productivity. At the end of every writing day, I'd mark down the roundest version of my word count.

The 22nd is marked "Godot" because I'm headed off to NYC to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Waiting for Godot. A pair of wonderful friends got me a ticket to go with them, and I'm equally excited about spending Saturday night with them. I've got something to celebrate now.

Monday, March 17, 2014

7 Chapters in 5 Days

Those pixel-stained technopeasant wretches. Wait, what?
After Thursday, the plan was to write eleven chapters in seven days.

After Friday, the plan was to write nine chapters in six days.

After Saturday, the plan was to write seven chapters in five days.

Thursday was a very difficult day physically, but I managed to make pace that took me through the weekend, and at the urging of friends, took Sunday off as a breather. That’s reasonable because I’m at pace and over the tricky denouement. The remaining seven chapters are mostly shorter and all the composition has gotten me into the groove where I’m terrifically excited to write them. Some of the best bits of the book are about to spill out of my fingertips.

On Saturday night I went out to celebrate by watching The Wind Rises. It’s a wonderful film and a very interesting piece of art if it’s truly Hayao Miyazaki’s last. It’s about the life of a boy who dreams of building airplanes, living myopically towards his goal which lands him a job in pre-World War II Japan. I couldn’t help wondering if I was projecting things onto it, knowing it might be the end of his career, with its ominous treatment of earthquakes, the frequent shots of exhausted engineers smoking to relieve stress, and the finality of so many elements, even the love story that is stricken by tuberculosis we seldom pretend we can beat. It’s certainly the only anime I’ve seen that’s referenced Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain.

Then, midway through the film, the engineer’s hero mentions that he’s retiring because an artist only ever has ten years in which he’s creative. That sort of line doesn’t make it into this sort of film by accident. Too funny after a career that touched five decades.

I was the only one in the cinema with a scrap of paper. As immersed as I was in The Wind Rises’s humanoid sound designs of planes and curious depiction of a country at war, I kept drifting back to my novel. Am I passed that ten year period already? I don’t know, but I kept having ideas for what I’d just written and what I’ll be writing next. I tainted my own mind by writing so close to seeing the movie, though it’s a testament to how much The Wind Rises gives that it still caught my attention every time I pocketed my scrap of paper.

Now it’s back to work for me. How’s everyone doing?
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