Thoughts

Writer Crisis #7258

How do you answer an existential question in your plot that you haven’t answered for yourself?

I’m doing some basic outlining on a story & have found the root of my conflict.  I’m working through the characters’ reasoning.  But then I hit a point where I’m thinking, “Wait, is that really the answer?  Is that the right answer?  Is that the answer I’m committing to?  Is that what I really think?  That’s what this struggle is & I’m going to try to sum it up in this way?”

If this was nonfiction, I would feel much more comfortable showing these insecurities, because the nonfiction I love the most touches on uncertainties in subtle, interesting ways & I want to emulate that.  But with this fictional piece, containing things I’ve thought about & carried around with me since I was a kid. . . I feel much more uncertain, unprepared, like, at nearly 37 I should have all these answers by now.  That some things shouldn’t still haunt me at this age, although I logically know better.

I really just need to finish this story so I can stop carrying it around & worrying over it.  This is not some great cultural epic—hell, it probably won’t make it into the world much past my friends.  Oy.

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Fog (Losing Christina #1)

Fog (Losing Christina, #1)Fog by Caroline B. Cooney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Christina is leaving her island home off the coast of Maine for mainland school. But she has hard lessons to learn when she discovers her headmasters have a singular focus on isolating & emotionally breaking down her friend Anya.

I loved this series as a kid & I picked it back up from my library after recently having a couple of sick days where I didn’t leave my bed. Cooney is fantastic with atmosphere & dramatic details that kept younger me reading. But the thing that was enjoyable to rediscover this time around was how horrifying certain parts of the story really were. I don’t mean the weird pain vampires & the spookies that accompany them; the process that Christina goes through having her world change as she grows up is heartbreaking. This protected kid who thinks her life has been full of wonder & adventure learns very quickly about poverty, group-think, conformity, & adult manipulation. It is easy to substitute the Shevvingtons’ supernatural motives into some other kind of exploitation or sociopathy & get thoroughly creeped-out as a result. Some of the usual rules of teenage love triangles & simplified prose style still apply, but there are some fascinating parts here.

Recommended for readers who like classic YA horror & those who’ve read the story before & are curious if it still holds up.

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Thoughts

My Eclipse Song

Everyone else is listening to Total Eclipse of the Heart today, but I’ve got another one for you.  What about some amazingly anachronistic synth-driven ballad-hybridized music from Alan Parsons for a movie about a medieval knight & his lady & their true love?

That’s right, the soundtrack to the one & only LadyHawke!  Enjoy it & wonder why you haven’t watched this crazy thing yet!

Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Bassoon King

The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and IdiocyThe Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A memoir by Rainn Wilson about art & personal experience in the vein of Yes Please, Scrappy Little Nobody, or Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living.

It’s 2017 & I’m just now getting around to watching the American adaptation of The Office. But as I’ve made it through the first two seasons, I was reminded of how much I loved the character Arthur in Six Feet Under & oh, yeah, that actor guy wrote a book awhile back. There are some interesting stories here that I really got into, especially when it touched on topics like growing up religious with conflicted parents or being anxious about pursuing an artistic life. There was also lots of cool anecdotes that I wanted to hear more about. (Dude, tell me more about Arthur, I think it’s awesome you love that character too but why?)

There were some curmudgeonly asides that grated, but at its core King is more about Wilson’s interests in the intersection of art & faith & he has plenty of room here to talk about his search for understanding these parallels. Overall, the book walks the line between being quirky & being philosophical & it doesn’t always work. But, I still think it would be cool to compare weird religious upbringing stories with him.

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