Sunday, April 5, 2015

What It Is – Easter Edition [2015]

With apologies to Dave the Thune (as well as Mike Baron & Steve Rude).

Every day.  1000 words.  That’s the goal.

I missed last week because I had to keep writing on the novel.  All along, I’ve know how it would end and had a handful of landmarks I was always moving toward, but most of the middle was just “made up” as I went along.  Last week, though, I hit the point where I knew I had only three chapters left and exactly what needed to occur in those three chapters.  So, I pressed on.  And this past Friday I wrapped it up with the last couple thousand words.  426 manuscript pages, 114,300 words, and roughly six months of work (though there were short breaks to write pieces for W27, as well as those few weeks in December where I focused on preparing for Christmas, including writing letters from Santa to my three boys).   It feels really good to have arrived at the end. 

The year before, I wrote a draft of a YA novel, but about halfway into that, I realized it was far too visual to be a novel and would work better as a television series.  But I pressed on to prove to myself that I could complete a novel—something I’d begun three times prior without success, often stopping around 100 pages into the manuscript—and in finishing that, I knew this story was something I could also complete.  This narrative is far stronger than last year’s, and I look forward to getting it “up to snuff” for submission.  But that’s months away.  Time to let it sit and percolate.  I’ll return to it in October for my first revision, and depending on how long that takes and how long it takes to write the next novel (a crime story), maybe the following summer for a third pass to finalize it.  For now, I need to work on polishing up a science fiction comic proposal I have sitting on the hard drive, because Oni will be opening up for submissions in May, and plan on being ready for that.

Finished reading Ghettoside by Jill Leovy.  Looking at the epidemic of the murder of young black man, particularly black-on-black murder, through the lens of a single L.A. murder of a police detective’s son and the southern district detective who brings his killers to justice, this is a fascinating, heart-wrenching, anger-inducing book that will make you think.  It also posits the idea that this is a catastrophe that could be turned around, relatively easily.  If less emphasis were placed on prevention over a proper and quick reaction, if homicide detectives weren’t shunted to the side lacking necessary resources, IF BLACK LIVES WEREN’T SACRIFICED behind utter bullshit “explanations,” this would not be the tragedy it has become and continues to be. 

The focus, in many departments, is on bumping up the stats—solving the easily solved crimes, creating crimes where none may be when they stop-and-frisk or focus on the jaywalking rather than the killing—rather than on the more deadly, more heinous, more important crime of murder.  Overtime is cut (this is not a 9-5 job), resources are misappropriated (detectives get promotions in L.A. to high-profile districts where the murders are few and far between, but involve glitzy white people), and they focus on being “tough on crime,” a euphemism for making the punishments more stringent rather than making the punishment swifter. 

There are many common sense points made in this book—the swiftness of justice trumps the harshness of the punishment, when a people already on the fringes of society feel as if the law does not care about them they take justice into their own hands, and others—all borne out by the truths we see on America’s urban streets as well as the truths seen in historical texts, that it makes you question what the hell those in charge are thinking.  The answer is that, either they don’t know how to think critically, or they only know how to think with their wallet. 

Watched The Signal, based on recommendations and an interview with one of the writers from the ITMODcast, and I loved it.  A fairly simple science fiction story that was crafted with a lot of intelligence and skill, Laurence Fishburne is great in it.  The setting and scenario feel fresh, the acting and directing was all good to great, and the effects were superb.  The creators manage to make it all feel grounded, with the few twists and revelations perfectly paced so that they surprise without feeling out of place.  And they nailed the ending, giving us a heartfelt, emotional conclusion while opening things up for possible sequels.  I’d like to return to this world and hope another film might come from these guys.  Might be interesting to jump way ahead, a couple of decades or more, and see what’s what.  We’ll see.  Check it out.

Opening Day! 

This is my religion, though, like my lapsed Christianity, I don’t find the time to worship as often as I’d like.  But that doesn’t matter. Baseball’s back, and that is something for which there should be much rejoicing.  Go Sox!

As always, check out my friends – Brad& Matt and Don McMillan, as well as Dan’s foray into podcastdom, the Potato League Podcast, for their own weekly recaps on things comic-y and geeky, and we'll see what's what in seven.  


1 comment:

Paul S said...

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game!"