Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Haunting

”No story has a happy ending, unless you stop telling it before it’s over.”

– Orson Welles

Good Lines (Part 2)

” It’s not just that no matter how often you sort and pick through the story, alongside your parents and your sister and everyone else, you can’t help but find yourself, against your better nature, feeling the big sway and spin of the cosmos—the dark eternal matter of the stars, which, however isotropic or evenly balanced, seem, when you think of him, to be moving in a circular pattern that reminds you that the nurse explained, each time, during each pre-visit orientation, that part of the healing process was to step off the merry-go-round and never step back on.”

– David Means

Good Lines (Part 1)

“Booker Langston Whitehouse sat in his overheated office and wiped the flop sweat stinging his eyes. Or was it tears? He couldn’t be sure.”

– This one’s mine, looking for a home

I Like Words

Look, I’m going to put one here. And another one here.

This one’s funny. This one’s sad. Whee!

I can put them wherever I like. Not saying there’re great, mind you.

But they’re fucking mine.

So yeah, there’s that.

Predictive Modeling

So if our brain makes predictions based on a model created from prior experience, would it not stand to reason that if the model is faulty, the prediction would be faulty as well?

On a deeply personal level, this would explain a lot.

Red Letter Day

I just completed the second draft of my first novel. That is to say: I just rewrote my 90,000 word first draft, one word at a time.

It’s a brutal way to get your second draft. Not for the faint-hearted. One of those pieces of writing advice you didn’t want to hear, and when you did wished to God it wasn’t really a thing. But it is, so there you are.

What did I learn? Well, I think it works, at least for me. I actually got a little choked up at the end, but that might’ve been from relief. Could it be better? Absolutely. How so? Not sure, right now I’m too close to see.

But I’m very fortunate to have four people who agreed to be beta readers (five including my beautiful wife). And let me be clear: her comments are gold. Doesn’t pull punches. It’s like sparring with Mike Tyson; you’re going to get hit. Hard.

So on to the next step! Meanwhile, I’ve got other shit to write.

Check Point

60,000 words into the second draft of my novel.

Meaning, I’ve rewritten it, word for word, to this point (maybe in some future post I’ll elaborate on that).

I guess this my way of explaining, at least to myself, why I haven’t been posting. There are only so many hours in the day, and I have to prioritize.

My bandwidth, like all of us, is finite.

The writing has to come first.

Remember Faces?

Yeah, me too. I really miss ’em. Like, a lot.

See, there’s no real answer to this question. I guess it’s more of a rhetorical statement – you know, just venting.

Venting is good.

Anyway, here’s where I’m supposed to say, ”Fuck the pandemic.”

Only I’m not going to do that. Because I think it’s misdirected.

No – I think the proper thing to say is: Fuck us.

‘Cuz we deserve everything we get.

Dial M For Murder

“This is 911 – what’s your emergency?”

“Please send help! I’m at 312 Fulton Street, apartment 6F. Hurry!”

“OK, sir. I need you to calm down. What is the nature of your emergency?”

“My body’s trying to kill me! Please, for God’s sake, come quickly!”

“Could you repeat that?”

“My body, Goddamnit – it’s been trying to kill me all along. It thinks I’m not on to it, but dear God, it’s all so clear now. I’m not safe anywhere!”

Sound of furniture being knocked over, then panicked crying

“Oh, God help me! I can’t get away! It’s here!”

We hear a body hit the floor, then gasping

“My chest!” Voice trailing off, then silence

“Sir! Sir! Can you hear me? Help is on the way!”


Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who feels like this?

The Relentless Grind of Making Art

When you’re flipping channels and you come across a “Seinfeld” rerun, do you flip right past it or do you linger? 

Right past it. I think there’s a level of focus you need to get something to a certain point creatively, and you pay a price for that, which is you can’t ever look at it again.”

– Dan Amira interviewing Jerry Seinfeld for the New York Times

Hiatus

Deep into editing the second draft of my first novel.

The good news? I like it. A lot.

The bad news? Not much bandwidth for anything else.

Gotta prioritize.

Unintended Consequences

“But the bulk of Facebook and Twitter users are more centrist. They aren’t particularly interested in the latest partisan wrangle. For these users, “posting online about politics simply carries more risk than it’s worth,” Bail argues. By absenting themselves from online political discussions, moderates allow the extremists to dominate, and this, Bail says, promotes a “profound form of distortion.” Extrapolating from the arguments they encounter, social-media users on either side conclude that those on the other are more extreme than they actually are. This phenomenon has become known as false polarization. “Social media has sent false polarization into hyperdrive,” Bail observes.”

– From the December 27, 2021 New York Times article “POLES APART: Can American politics survive an era of hyperpartisanship?” By Elizabeth Kolbert 

A Black Hole of Need

Sometimes, this is how the ER feels

There is simply more need than I can fill

Everywhere I turn, faces calling out

Nurse! Nurse! Nurse!

I’m just one person trying desperately to serve the needs of so many

Until eventually my reservoir runs dry

Hopefully not until the end of my shift

When I can go home and recharge

So I can come back and do it all over again

Perfect Films (Part 1): Let the Right One In

This 2008 masterpiece by Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson is one of those movies that transcends genre. Although marketed as a horror film, it’s really a love story, but trust me — it’s not like any love story you’ve ever seen.

Films like this are a mystery — it doesn’t seem possible to plan this kind of magic out. No, there is some kind of alchemy going on here, it’s as if the movie gods smiled down on the production, giving it their full blessing. It shouldn’t work, and yet it’s undeniable.

Impossible road block number one? The leads are two twelve-year-olds. Yeah — the film lives or dies by the performances of two children. What the fuck?! How is it possible to get performances like this out of kids, much less capture it on film?

No spoiler alert needed since the film is marketed as a vampire movie, which it kind of is, but not really. What we have here is an impossibly charismatic, lonely, androgenous pre-pubescent boy who is constantly bullied meet and fall in love with a 12-year-old vampire of unknown gender who has lived centuries.

The actors are mesmerizing — the boy’s longing is painfully heartbreaking. It’s impossible not to be moved by the innocence and purity of his love.

The girl is other-worldly; her performance must be seen to be believed. Together they each provide precisely what the other one needs.

The Swedish location only heightens the sense of loneliness — always snowing and cold, the sun never seems to shine, and there is no warmth anywhere.

Just an endless night of existential loneliness, assuaged by the love of a creature doomed to live forever.

First Place Fiction Prizewinner – Oh Boy!

We never go to bed thinking; Tomorrow will be the day I die, do we? And yet, this is how life works. Here one minute, gone the next.

This is a story about the consequences of missed opportunities and the burden of dealing with death on a daily basis.

It’s a story about life.

Enjoy!