Monday, May 29, 2023

Whatever It Takes

 The soundtrack for my novel in progress has evolved.


Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A Changing

Bob Dylan - Shelter From The Storm

Bob Dylan - Just Like A Woman

Bob Dylan - Lay Lady Lay

First Aid Kit – Wolf

Cat Stevens - Where Will the Children Play 

Rusted Root - Ecstasy

Rusted Root - Send Me On My Way

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive


Kongos - Come With Me Now

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

Mogli - Road Holes

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine

First Aid Kit – Wolf

Cat Stevens - Where Will the Children Play 

Rusted Root - Ecstasy

Rusted Root - Send Me On My Way

Beck - Loser

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Personal Soundtrack

 Over on Crusie posted the soundtrack for her life right now & asked her commenters to post theirs. 

I went with this:

Cat Stevens- Where Will the Children Play

Mazzy Star- Give You My Loving

Madonna – Ray of Light

Mogli- Waterfall

First Aid Kit- Wolf

Bob Dylan- Shelter From the Storm

This is subject to frequent change. Last week an endless loop of Bittersweet by Big Head Todd and the Monsters was my jam even though the lyrics don't necessarily figure in my life right now.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Discovery Write; Dystopian / Utopian; Session Two - Outside The Box


If you read my discovery write blogpost a couple of weeks ago, I daydreamed about how great life would be if I were married to Elmore Leonard. Seeing only positives and no negatives I recently sought, found and befriended his ghost.

Here's why:

Time out - hold the phone. I think I've broken rule two in Elmore's Ten rules of writing; nix the prologues. Does that sound like a prologue? That sounds like a prologue to me. But it needs to be there. And no one reads my blog. Especially not the ghost of a great writer. Besides I sent him on a quest (more about that later) and he's busy. I'm going to leave it in - for now anyway.

After enjoying several conversations with the ghost of Elmore Leonard, (from now on I'm going to refer to him as ELG) he and I struck a bargain. He will mentor me as I write a novel that is futuristic but neither dystopian nor utopian. (Will discuss what ELG bargained for soon.)

He is intrigued by what life will be like after the climate changes and the surface of the Earth is mostly seawater. He gets the concept of collective cognitive consonance and how it is important that we put something out there that is not negative battle porn or positive sickly sweet. 

That's not entirely true. As evidenced by the television series Justified - he is okay with guns and battles but he empathizes with how earnestly I do not want to live in a Mad Max type world. And he is keen to know how I will get rid of weapons, especially guns. He's kind of a jerk because he doesn't think I can do it without violating his rule nine regarding avoiding tedious detail describing things or places.

Studying his Wikipedia page, Elmore and I have been living parallel lives. Well, except that he was born thirty two years before me. And he has one son whereas I have two daughters. And he is a successful novelist and I am not. Okay - the only thing we really have in common is we were both married and divorced three times. I feel you Elmore.

The thing I love ELG the most for is - he says you should leave out the part readers don't read. I don't read technical shit. If someone is exploring under water, I don't need three pages about the tanks on her back - I flip past those pages because obviously - she is breathing somehow and I don't need to know how. AND I KNOW I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO READS LIKE THIS. (Except, of course for readers who love competence porn - more about those weirdos later.)

That rule is the reason for the quest ELG is on. He is haunting Diana Gabaldon for me. Someone needs to convince her that she needs a REAL editor. Those of us who want the story of Jamie and Claire are tired of sifting through 800 pages for the 400 pages that are actually related to the story. Everything else can be subject for the college classes she teaches. 

When my grandson Jayden was around age ten he asked me why I told stories instead of just answering a question. That is the first time I realized I was a storyteller.

One of the stories I've told several times before is an urban legend about a man with a hook for a hand. A teenage couple parks their car in lover's lane and proceeds to make out. They have the radio on and the music is interrupted by breaking news about an escapee from an insane asylum nearby. The escapee has a hook for a hand and is considered dangerous.

They get scared and he drives her home. When she gets out of the car she starts screaming because there is a hook hand hanging from the door handle of the car. 

An effective story even though I didn't give you details about the car, or the hook or what time it was or what the boy or girl looked like. And I didn't say the words - his hook had come off when he was trying to get in the car. 

About those readers who love competence porn. I'm sure you have a list of writers who make your heart beat faster with their endless details about how to be a beekeeper or what defines a ship vs a boat or how barbed wire was invented. I'm happy for you. And your authors. I'm told Dick Francis does a good job writing competence porn.

For me, I'm going to stick to the skipping thing. Life is too short to write long passages that no one is going to read.


Kongos - Come With Me Now

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

Mogli - Road Holes

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine

First Aid Kit – Wolf

Cat Stevens - Where Will the Children Play 

Rusted Root - Ecstasy

Rusted Root - Send Me On My Way

Beck - Loser

Down By the Sea - Men At Work

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Dystopian / Utopian - I Just Want To Climb A Tree


 Discovery writing for new novel in progress:

 Bob Mayer on kernel idea: "You should be able to tell your idea in one sentence. And repeat it to yourself every morning when you wake up prior to writing. Knowing it will keep you on track."

 One sentence – yeah right

 I recently beta read the first 94 pages of Lee Summerall / Shayla McBride’s dystopian novel. It was excellent. I hope she finishes it. I would read it as a whole novel.

 But all these dystopian Mad Max or authoritarian regime or battle porn Game of Thrones or whatever Hunger Games classifies as – they scare me in terms of cognitive consonance.

I don’t want the collective cognitive consonance to lead us down these paths. I mostly can’t live in them long enough to read a whole book or watch a whole movie. WTF

So if not dystopian – utopian? I think not.  People who are so determined that everything has to be positive that they can’t see reality annoy me. No way could I live there long enough to write a novel.

- needs to be something between utopian & dystopian

Could it be as simple as  a society of women that live in ancient trees that grew on tiny islands which are all that’s left of land after the climate changes? Their founder could be Julia Butterfly (research her) Men could live on boats in the surrounding water.

***********Bob is right, of course, as usual; need to edit to one concrete sentence later***

- kickass heroine in her 50's; MaryAnne Wyse Sylvain

- loose relationship with a male character who comes and goes; Joe Aquino

What will non-violent anarchists do when the ravages of climate change break down society as we know it?

 Fictionalize a means of eliminating guns

 Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done – going to the pawn shop to look for a present for mom on a Friday night. Couldn’t get near the jewelry counter as it was being crowded by a proudboy looking (man? Doesn’t seem like the right word – he was an immature bully boy worshipping automatic guns) surrounded by 3 wannabees. They were comparing the gun monsters trying to decide which one would be best to add to his collection. Apparently he already has 3 mass shooter type guns & he wants another. Luckily I did not voice the question in my head out loud. He has one for each hand already. Is he hoping to arm his feet?

 A good picture to keep in my head when I think about why I would write a book of this nature.

 I need a plot for this book.

 Why didn’t I marry Elmore Leonard?

At the dinner table with my husband Elmore:

EL: Wendy’s really does  make the best chili. Thanks for picking up supper.

Me, head down looking at bowl: hmmmm

EL: They didn’t send enough crackers, though. Do we have crackers?

Me: hmmm, pantry

EL returns to the table with a box of saltines, picks up his spoon & starts eating again.

Minutes later

EL: You’re quiet tonight. What’s wrong?

Me: I’m having trouble plotting the novel I’m writing

EL: Tell me what you have so far…

I could have walked away from the dinner table with the perfect plot for this book and it would only have cost me a trip to Wendy’s for chili.

I say chili because on Justified they always ate fast food. Maybe I should binge watch it again to see if they ever ate real meals. Oh wait – Ava cooked an old-fashioned chicken and mashed potatoes supper to serve and distract her abusive husband so she could kill him with his hunting rifle while he ate.

No. I. Am. Not. Going. To. Watch. Justified. Again.

Still – I have to be the worst husband picker in the world. A nuclear pharmacist. What was I thinking? That was an interesting lump that grew under his arm overnight that one time, though.

Off topic already. Would a discovery write by JenniferCrusie look like this? LOL Of course it would. She’s crazier than I am.

So – women in trees. Men in boats.

How did we get to this point?

What are the predictions about how hot it will be on the surface of Earth when the climate changes?

Weather? I need a book like Weather For Dummies – strictly for researching realistic weather

Will climate change alter how the Earth revolves around the Sun?

Will the moon be changed? How will the tides be altered when Earth is almost all water? 

What animals are still alive? And no damn cockroaches. I don’t care if realistically they would survive.

Do people eat? If so, what? How? Hydroponics? How do we use the bathroom?

Water to drink – how?

Is there still disease? Healing?

What about movement? Yoga? Qi Gong?

Could clothing be upcycling of clothes from the previous society?

Procreation? How are children raised?

Is there a government? NO!

Religions will have all died. How?

Needs laughter – Ismo-ites? Ismo himself travels in a boat that is followed by people in boats who treat him like the Deadheads treated the Grateful Dead – Instead I could create a character Osmo & the tree women could keep hearing punchlines coming out of the mist when him & his entourage is near

There could be storyteller / library boat convoys. Same concept as above except with first lines from novels – or excerpts

Music boats? Tea room boats?

Single sentence kernel idea is a work in progress.

And no, Bob Mayer, it will not involve zombie pirates – oh wait – men on boats – huh…

Speaking of Bob Mayer – note to self to remember I have all those survival guide type books that Bob wrote on my kindle app. I might actually get to use some of that information in this book.


Kongos - Come With Me Now

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

Mogli - Road Holes

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine

First Aid Kit – Wolf

Cat Stevens - Where Will the Children Play 

Rusted Root - Ecstasy

Rusted Root - Send Me On My Way

Beck - Loser

Kongos - Come With Me Now