How Far is Too Far?

My inbox has been filling with e-mails from names that I haven’t heard in years.  As always, I will maintain anonymity, but we had all belonged to a club in college and the elder statesman of the group has been putting together a history for the web-site.  I got to read a rough draft and I thought that it was hilarious, but it was scathing.  There were parts about personal rivalries, club rivalries, people coming and going, and even references to how much or little they contributed.  This information is pertinent to me, I did eat, sleep, and breath the club for almost 2 years of my life and it was like a loving hating dysfunctional family to me, but is it relevant to the clubs web site?

My answer was no and I told him just that, but my objections were apparently unfounded.  How much is too much information in this case?  Does the catty nature of all of the squabbles make a club more appealing to someone?  I can only assume that this is the site that people will be directed to if they want scheduling information, contact information, and other such fun and I have this nightmare scenario floating through my mind of people suing the club and the school for defamation.  Maybe I’m being alarmist, maybe not, but that’s what I’ve got on my mind at this moment.

The Story is Finally Coming Out

Maybe it’s just that I’ve been able to focus more or maybe it’s that the voices in my head have become more open to divulging their many secrets, but the story of James and Anca is FINALLY coming together.  I’ve said it many time, though not in public, I should have listened to Mrs. Batty sooner.  She nailed the fact that the action of the story is with the James/Anca relationship and the Shawn/Celeste investigation very early on, but I just love Celeste and James so much that I wanted to tell too much of their story.  It was pretty boring.  So, the mission for this week was set at 20 pages.  This doesn’t seem like a lot for a 7 day span, but there is so much time spent staring off into the distance that sometimes 20 pages seems like Mt. Everest.

We are going down a less is more route and that seems to be making more sense.  There may still be more to it, but James isn’t talking.  He is being wonderfully tight lipped about his own short comings so I’ve had to wait on Anca to tell me the whole story.  She is hesitant because she’s feeling a little idiotic for not seeing right through his obvious deceptions.  On the other hand, Celeste has been extremely shy about her role in all of this.  She is the key stone, but just like in a building, she is hidden behind the entire structure and she seems happy to stay that way.  Shawn is still Shawn, which means that he won’t talk at all and I’ve had to rely on Brennan recounting things to me second hand, so you can see how that doesn’t work so well.  Either way- I’m slowly but surely getting to the heart of this story and I’m feeling good about the multitude of changes that have been made so far.  Mrs. Batty and I will sit down tomorrow and work through the opening scene and my new timeline, in synopsis form (gonna pat myself on the back)!  Hopefully she doesn’t say anything insightful that makes me do a face-palm and scream D’Oh!

Book Review: Jude in London by Julian Gough

This book is a steadily paced and hilarious romp through the tomes of literature and economic theory.  I have been following Mr. Gough (pronounced like cough) on Twitter and was honestly very curious to read this book after it had been described along the lines of Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminati!  I can only remember that I got the distinct impression Mr. Wilson had been tripping his proverbial balls off while he wrote this and was quite curious about the spin that Jude in London would have.  That being said, I was very happy that I had finally gotten my hands on the Trust Edition of Jude in London and have spent the past week reading in short controlled bursts about the randomness that is Judes’ journey.  At one point, I even laughed so loud that I woke the dog and the dog snores like an asthmatic with a cold.

Within the for 100 pages, the hero has saved the world, lost his true love to a monkey, and made a suit from paper bags and rabbit skills gathered from road kill.  Being a student of International Relations, I was actually more taken by the building of the wall by the successful Irish lads and it’s description of how and why Hedge Funds may have been a not so good idea.  Jude struck me as the single most idiotic and anachronistic man on the planet, while also being an idiot savant with the intelligence of Albert Einstein.  The way that his thoughts force a breakdown of all the double speak around the situations he is being thrown into is really refreshing.  As you read, you can see yourself say- well, DUH!

The walk throws a nod to Thoreau as the hero lives off that land and claims a traffic median as his own untouched land, while as he’s entering the city Jude is graced with a fantastic comparison of the creation and collapse of the housing market to that of a goat exchange (stock market-esk) in a fictitious Solalia.  I can only say that this was the best explanation I have heard to date and am wishing that it could find it’s way on to CNN so that everyone who is confused as hell might be able to understand the issue.  The journey that we follow is classical, he’s on a quest to find Angela, but along the way, there is a ton of commentary about the state of literature, art, art and literature prizes, the pretension of the aristocracy, and the ego of the film industry.

I loved that London was wonderland.  Jude roams through the great big city with the eyes of a simpleton viewing things that we make exceptionally convoluted and the fact that Mr. Gough has an entirely X-rated scene, roughly 10 pages long in which he uses not one pornographic term.  I do wonder whether a person unfamiliar with a top 100 list of classical literature and authors would understand some of the names used, but it was very amusing.  After Jude wins the Turner of Turner Prize for doing absolutely nothing the quest to uncover the secret of his origin continues as well as a quest for his new true love who has been sent back to America.  The whole journey in the olive oil I can only compare to a birthing experience.  It just seems a bit, well, oily to me 😉

As a whole, I laughed, I cried (not really), and I enjoyed reading Jude in London.  I may just have to download Jude in Ireland now!

The Block Is Back!

I have been on such a role while trying to avoid studying!  The story line and characters were just rocking and I was producing pages, maybe not good, but pages of written material and now….. Dangit.  I have been staring at a blinking cursor for a few hours trying to figure out what comes next and nothing is popping to mind.  Maybe it’s just the fact that in my brilliance, I’ve drastically altered one of the characters story lines, thereby opening up a large portion of the story to more action and apparently stumping myself 😦

I hesitate to ask for advice because that typically results in many writing prompt suggestions and I’m really not in the mood to write a short story about a time when something or other happened.  I have already taken a trip down memory lane and gone through my music library looking for inspiration and I’ve also taken a nice drive hoping to nudge the creativity along, to no success. Poo.  Where is Tinkerbell when you need her?

Blame it on Chris Brewer

Maybe it’s just the barrage of Footloose trailers that are floating around on TV, Radio, and Internet, but I’m having a moment of nostalgic longing.  Oddly, there are no Backstreet Boys or N’Sync involved for me.  When I have a remembrance moment it looks like a flash to the late 80’s on Cold Case, with that fuzzy wash on all of the colors and I’m back in Connecticut.  I mean, of all places to remember, Connecticut?  Anyway, I always think about the movie Pump Up the Volume.  I had such a little girl crush on Christian Slate back then!  I was also in love with Patrick Swayze and, I kid you not, wore out at least 2 VHS copies of Dirty Dancing by watching it soo many times.  The soundtrack to those years was Guns and Roses, Def Leopard, Aerosmith, Dan Fogelberg, Billy Joel, and Cat Stevens.  A few of those have stayed solidly in the musical rotation over the years, though not all.

What is my point?  I’m honestly not sure.  While thinking about Pump Up the Volume, I ran through some old Leonard Cohen classics and it struck me that they are still quite timely.  Everybody Knows has been one of my favorite songs since I heard it in the movie and then that thought leads to a tangent where I think about all of the songs of my youth that I would never have heard and loved unless they had been in a movie.

The entire soundtrack to Fame runs through nearly a year of my life in St. Louis because my mother would not stop playing it.  Flashdance still brings back traumatic memories of having to ride in the back seat of an early 80’s Mazda RX7- and no, that’s not a mistake and yes, that car has no backseat.  Crosby, Stills, and Nash will forever make me crave yuppie style cheese, wine, and crackers.  And, of course, Phantom of the Opera!  Not the movie, we only cared about one recording of Phantom in my home and that was the Original London Cast with Patty Lapone as Christine.  That overture would be my alarm clock every Saturday morning from the time that I was 12 until I left my home for college at 18.

I now sit, watching the Princess Bride for the millionth time, remembering all of the music of my youth and wonder how many young people are going to see this version of Footloose and fall in love with it?  For all of the bitching and moaning you can do about whether or not it’s a crappy movie, people should think back to how many of the movies that they’ve loved throughout the years that were honestly- crappy!  Every movie is not Oscar worthy, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthy.  Most of the films that I will re-watch are critical flops, but I love them.  Hell, just watch the movie Black Sheep, filmed in New Zealand and tell me that it wasn’t AWESOME!

So, in closing, I blame this nostalgia tirade on Footloose director Craig Brewer for bringing this classic back to the big screen, music and all.  Sir, I hope that you are awoken by the overture to Phantom of the Opera on Saturday morning at 6am.

Sail by the Stars and The Spin Room

I’m no Bob Lefsetz, but I have come across the millions of musicians promoting themselves and their new albums on twitter since finally creating an account earlier this summer.  The award for self promotion is going to go to these two guys- Josh from Sail by the Stars and Nick Miley from The Spin Room (listed alphabetically by band name….).  Not only did they follow me, but when I returned their follow, they didn’t UNfollow me 🙂  I appreciated that.

The one thing that I noticed while listening to the songs that they’ve just released is the feeling I had of being back in middle school when bootleg demos of local bands were all the rage.  I’m not making a comparison of these bands to Black Flag or anything, but the production of the music gave me that feeling.  It’s not overly synthesized or auto-tuned or whatever- I feel like I could be in a bar on a Thursday local’s only night and I like it!  Without further ado, here you go.  If you enjoy the music, please go to iTunes and support these guys by buying their new albums.

Dagnable Plot Issues

Now that the tests are taken, I’ve got very little in the way of excuses not to focus on writing.  That being said, I have determined that I need to take out approximately 50 pages and drastically edit another 50.  I am feeling very frustrated with my plot right now and my character, James, is just not cooperating.  His entire storyline needed to be revamped because, quite frankly, it was crap.  I’m now toiling with the level of jerkitude, yes I just made that word up, to bestow upon him.

If I turn my character into an 80’s prick, then how can I redeem him?  James does play a role in the grander plot that is larger than this first story and I need him to be a part of the team, but does that mean that I need all of the characters to like him?  I am thinking that he may just end up being that guy the main characters put up with because they need his abilities.  That does sound a little superficial for the good guys, but being shallow is sometimes not a bad or good trait- it just is.  I am realizing that my good and bad meter is blurred to a lovely shade of gray with yellow hues, almost like a sepia tone.

The bad guys are turning out to be a little flat, my good guys aren’t so good, and I’m becoming an exceptionally sadistic God by putting these poor fictional characters through hell at my own little whims.  One of these days, I will be able to say that all of their traumas were worth it, but today is not that day!