So I had the German Bomber Channel on for electronic wallpaper a little while ago, and they were showing their Engineering an Empire show on Rome. And I was struck by a wonderful vision. (Thud.)
The scene: a couple years in the future. I’m enrolled in a course at Syracuse University. And the tall, lean, distinguished-looking professor points to some projection or exhibit and in his characteristic deep, slightly nasal, slightly metallic voice asks, “Can anyone tell me what this is?”
Enough whimsy. Okay; like that’s gonna happen.
Yesterday was a good day. Got a lot written. Annja’s current exploit’s really picking up steam, and The Dinosaur Lords are going great guns. Plus I did a lot of necessary world-building on DinoLords, which helped the writing a great deal.
The key there was that I actually wrote story, not just typed notes and drew maps, both of which I also did. I know way too well what kind of a trap that note-making thing can be: a whole novel, The War for America, wandered off into the swamps and bogged down because, in large part, I devoted so much time to writing reams of notes. That and not having an actual synopsis, but rather an idea in my head where I wanted to go. Not so good an idea. It turns out that, while I have a great gift of improvisation, I need a certain amount of structure both to activate it and to direct it usefully. Who’da thunk it? Anyway that’s why I’ve got upwards of 700 pages of novel and am not half done – and have, I judge, upwards of a million words of notes. Seriously.
(Someday I’ll go back and finish that. If events don’t overtake it first. Which is a major possibility.)
Anyway, the key is, I need the notes (and maps) to do the writing; I just can’t let them overwhelm me. And I know why that really happens: note-writing is safe. I went through a real crisis of confidence in my writing ability starting in the early 1990s – to the extent I’ve ever had confidence in it. Only in the last few years have I painstakingly been able to break down those doubts. Of course, I always have to stay vigilant lest I find myself hiding in the safe dark crevices of scribbling descriptions and backstories of characters and cultures that may never see the light of print…
On other fronts … got the north side of the yard scraped clean with my trusty scuffle hoe. Big whoop – it’s roughly 315 square feet. But it needed done, and it’s a start.
Last night it rained, pretty vigorously. That’s cool, of course – quite literally – and also a great boon to my honeysuckle, which seems (two whole days after planting) to thrive, thank you very much. Of course I also noticed some weeds front and back showing suspicious patches of green, despite my having hit them with Round-Up. I had to remind myself that’s fine, if not a Hundred Flowers, I can let a hundred new weeds poke their little heads up, for the same purpose Mao Zedong had in mind: to cut ‘em all off. AFter zapping ‘em thoroughly first to kill the roots, of course.
The rain also made it easier to pull weeds, especially big tumbleweeds, whose thick, woody roots can be a real pain to cut even with the scuffle hoe honed to near-razor sharpness. They also give it up real sweet when the ground isn’t cement. So I did some of that during breaks from writing.
I’ve gotten some good writing done today: feels good. I see from the email I’ve had a new book come into the nearby library branch – Castle, by David Macaulay. Reckon I’ll do a tad more Annja, then harness up Emma and take her for a long-delayed walk – her foot seems to’ve healed up nicely. Somewhere in there I’ll drop off some books I’m finished with and grab the new one. Then come back and write some more!
Tomorrow I suspect I need to head east to pick up some supplies. I’ll probably pack the notebook PC along and have breakfast and write some in my customary VI. I may also check out an afternoon matinee, something I ought to do a whole lot more of (there’s a lengthy list.) I want to catch Forbidden Kingdom on the big screen, although I’m dying to see Iron Man. Still, we’re talking Jet Li and Jackie Chan; and I suspect the formr’s closer the end of its string than the latter…