Sunday, March 31, 2019

WHAT IT IS week ending 3.31.2019

It's really starting to feel like spring, up here in Maine.  The snow is thawing slowly.  Clusters of birds can be seen in the upper branches of many of the trees, filling the air with their chirping.  And everything is turning to mud.  Yup, it's spring all right. 
Anyway.  Another week down.  Another week in review.  Let's get to it.


My wife and I returned to a favorite of ours, the BBC's Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  We started season 4, and it was like slipping into a comfortable pair of shoes [metaphors, the sustenance of pretentious and unpretentious writers alike].  The plotting in these episodes is always fairly tight, but in my opinion the series really thrives on the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Watson and, more specifically, the characterizations infused therein by Cumberbatch and Freeman.  This series really is less about the mystery, for me, and more about the interactions of these two, and the inherent chemistry between the actors.  The humor comes directly from character, as well as the drama, and when, in this particular episode, we finally see Sherlock have a true emotional reaction to a tragedy, it lands with a weight that is earned, made possible by his aloofness in the previous few seasons. 

Ripcord, a play by David Lindsay-Abaire:
Friday night we celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner and then seeing a local production of Ripcord, at the Penobscot Theater in Bangor.  Described as "The Golden Girls meets The Odd Couple," this was a really wonderful show. 
Roommates in a retirement home, Abby and Marilyn do not get along -- or, more to the point, Abby does not get along with Marilyn.  Abby has always wanted a private room and managed to go through a succession of roommates thanks to her cantankerous and off-putting manner.  But Marilyn seems unfazed by Abby's harshness, with a sunny demeanor that feels almost too good to be true.  Through the course of the play, their back and forth provides plenty of laughs, but we also discover the hidden pains both of them harbor, as, through both women's stubbornness, they become far closer than either could imagine. 
The way information about each character was parsed out in this play was rather spectacular.  Lindsay-Abaire's writing allowed the audience to get to know the two women, before it's revealed, through actions that felt natural on both their parts, that each has a hidden tragedy in their past, tragedies that have formed their characters in the present -- both Abby's anger and Marilyn's brightness -- and with this new understanding, the whole play is put into a new and interesting light.


Hemingway and Women:
This book continues to fascinate me.  As I read more from female critics about their perspectives on Hemingway's writing, I find myself anxious to get back and read or re-read many of his stories.  I can't wait to finally bring a more incisive and thoughtful approach to one of my all-time favorite authors.  Highest recommendation.


Chris Staros at Top Shelf Comix:
This past week marked 25 years that Chris Staros has been in comic publishing, from his "Staros Report" to co-creating Top Shelf Publishing, with Brett Warnock, not too long after.  Top Shelf is definitely one of my favorite comic publishers, thanks in no small part to Staros's coup of getting publishing rights for much of Alan Moore's post-superhero, more adult books, such as From Hell and Lost Girls.  The Top Shelf table was always a destination when I attended a convention, and Staros was always very open to talking with me and others of his fans.  And when I started tabling at conventions, he was more than kind to stop and chat, if he was passing by, or to ask how my writing was going, when I stopped at his table.  A truly good human being publishing some of the best comics work of the past quarter-century, this is definitely an anniversary to mark.


Graeme Revell's score for The Crow:
This is an all-time favorite.  Revell's compositions are energetic and moody, and they always energize my writing.  I don't know what more to say.  Watch the film.  Read the comic.  Then listen to the music.  I don't think you'd be disappointed.


Seven chapters in, with 114,000 words to go. 
One thing I struggle with, even though I do manage to cut a lot out when revising, is whether or not I am doing enough when working on later drafts.  Shouldn't I be rearranging full scenes?  Bringing something to the fore to heighten tension?  Shifting a bit to later in the novel because of pacing?  These are things I hear authors speak about when they discuss revising.  But I always seem to keep to the skeleton I've already created.  I tend to be a strong planner, it's just how I am, but is my planning always sound and does it work when I write a first draft of a novel? 
I don't know. 
But, I guess I should just move forward.  An argument could be made that the fact I am conscious of this means I'm thinking about it, and if a structure issue in the novel arose, I would be already prepared to see it and fix it.  So, I continue with the revising, in the hope that I know (enough) of what I'm doing.


No comments: