Let's Speak The Same Language

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I know. This entry's long overdue. Writing going well the past couple of weeks. Had some bad days too. Some days, I feverishly hated writing. In the past that was never the case. Character-driven novels were easier to write. The writer can follow his characters along until they reach some  state of stasis, whereas plotting a mystery is difficult. When I feel I'm losing control of the plot is when I feel the most fear and want to quit. I'm haunted by the thought my brain will give out before I finish the novel. I'll feel the book is escaping me, and it's so damn clever, really. I truly want to complete it, see it made into a movie too, take the money and live out my final years in a condo by the Willamette River in Portland. 

Today, Mertie and I went to see Depp's Transcendence, an interesting film about neuroscience and the merging of neurology and computers. Imperfectly plotted and slow in places, at least it was better than all the Marvel Films full of bang-bang, crash and thunder with religious, choral music in the background they thundered at us in "Previews of Coming Attractions". Comic book action films are so out of date. Supposedly futuristic, their themes are as old as a cave man's brain with good and evil battling and choral music to stimulate feeling in the dull witted comic book brains of  illiterate youths. Nothing new. Nothing to learn that Fellini didn't teach us a way out of many decades ago. 

Life is ambivalent, ambiguous and paradoxical. Seriously, if we allow movie people to keep making bucks by playing on the good versus evil synaptic connections in our brains, we'll never escape duality into the technicolor world, the real world of human experience. At least, Tanscendence tried to escape the duality trap. Huzzah for Johnny Depp!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Grandma Gymnast Johanna Quass
I can't say it often enough. The question Who Knows What? is one of the most important questions when writing a whodunit. Repeatedly, I find myself having to make readjustments and plot alterations in order to keep myself and the story honest. What reader wants to find out at the end of a whodunit that they've been lied to by the writer and misled by certain dishonest details in the plot. It's getting tricky for an old brain like mine to keep things straight, in that Charley Manning, the PI in my tale, at this point seems not to know who he's working for. Neither does the reader. This plot complication is interesting to me, but keeping the question of Who Know What? straight in my head gets pretty twisty as I strive to achieve it. Read it when it comes out. You'll see what I mean. If that 87 year old grandma gymnast, Johanna Quass, can keep working the parallel bars at her age, I've got no excuse for not making my novel consistent and honest for those readers who read the novel that someone other than myself will publish. Then comes the movie. 

Nasty old guy that I am, I wonder if Johanna still has an active sex life? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Sitting at Torque Coffee in Vancouver, knowing I must put an entry in here before everyone forgets to come looking to see what's going on with the writer and his attempt to get someone other than himself to publish a book of his. Just finished Chapter 29. Also, not too far back, Mr. Charley Manning lost a little finger on his left hand to the henchmen of a ne·far·i·ous mystery man. Keep such events in mind when you wonder whether or not you'll buy the novel when someone [other than myself] publishes it. 

I'm reaching a point where I can't keep the reader in suspense about some of the mysterious goings on of the characters in the novel. We're reaching the first of the revealing incidents.

Nice thought is that last night I made vegetable soup for dinner tonight. I can stay away from home until dinner when my wife comes home from work. This ability to stay out as long as I want to is one of the reasons I've not been in favor of keeping a dog in a domicile without a lawn. Someone has to come home midday to let the little creatures out to do their duty to god and their country as they understand and are moved by that duty. 

Nothing to do with writing was my feeling, yesterday, during my daily walk that, being now 20 years with Mertie, I felt this powerful feeling of being an old married man and, instead of hating the thought, I was overcome with a positive and tear-making gush of glad feeling. So this is what 20 years together [Feburary, 2014] feels like? 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I'm writing this moment at the Cascade Park Public Library after putting in two hours of writing at the Torque coffee shop and getting my third parking ticket in downtown Vancouver. See photo of Van. library over my shoulder.

Three nights in a row, I slept 8 to 10 hours yet still woke tired and discouraged. I wasn't able to write those three days, and all that ton of self-despising I carry around, waiting for me to tire and drop my guard, came crashing down, and I nearly gave up on writing for the tenth or hundredth time? I can't tell you how hard it's been during much of my life to get out from under the self-hatred and take a breath of air. It's there even when it's not there. If you understand me, you understand a lot. 

Exhaustion always carries with it negative thinking, and negative thoughts are like magnets. One negative thought attracts another. They collect together inside my all too human head and, collectively, they weigh tons. I'll feel that unrewarded writing is useless and worthless. I'll feel foolish and tell myself I'm too old to still be pecking away on a computer keyboard, trying to produce something that'll make me a little money. "After all these years, stupid," I tell myself, "if money for your writing was going to happen, it would have happened by now." To try to explain this to someone, other than my wife, also feels foolish. No one can imagine how much needless suffering I've felt over this obsession with writing and lack of monetary reward for it. I've carried it around most of my life. It sounds stupid to some more happily adjusted people I have not a doubt. I must add, that the angst is much reduced and doesn't appear half so often as it did in the past. Sobriety and much psychological work helps, but it waits, there, in the darkness, for its chances to return.

Then, last night I put in another 9 hours of sleep and, this morning, woke magically refreshed. The cloud of doubt and self-despising lifted for no good reason I can think of, and the sunshine of good spirits filled me. So today, I'm back at it, looking at Manning and trying to figure out "what happens next"—the constant voice that leads the novelist within me on the haphazard process of plotting a novel. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I've been struggling again with the futuristic novel, and this morning, my frustrated gaze fell upon this short story, "The Pickup", whose first page is to the left. It's been sent out wandering 7 times over the years, but it's been a long time between the last time and now. So I went through it again, the third full revision, calked the holes in it, I hope, and put a fresh coat of paint on the old structure, w/o altering it's hidden naughtiness. I don't count as revisions all the times I've skimmed it for language. The tale's now on its merry way through the application, Submittable, to a large West Coast literary magazine in a transcendental city named after a Saint. These Spring days aren't the most favorable for sending to literary magazines supported by state institutions because most are shutting down for the Summer and won't be accepting again till in the Fall. However, I keep an eye on that detail and hope not to waste my time. Another publication would get my novelistic engine firing again, I'd think. I've got high hopes for it, then, again, I always do until it's been rejected several times more and comes back home with its tale [sic] between its legs.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Still working on Chapter 26 of Manning novel, but when that's finished, Chapter 27 is already completed. Before I move on to Chapter (or segment) 28, I'll capsulize those two chapters, and when I capsulize segments of my work for outline, I always feel completed, the sense of something accomplished. 

Found photo here:
Wow! You heard me. Wow! Sixty-six degrees today for my afternoon walk. The first day of sunny Spring, I calculate, because the breeze carried no chill with it. First time for that since last Fall. What a wonderful walk. Trees budding their angry red penes, and pink and white flowers on other trees.

Gabby Hayes
Now, dadblast* it, I still have to leave the house and go to Costco. Old age attack. I meant to go to Costco after my daily walk, before I came home from Black Rock where I spent several hours writing this morning, but I was daydreaming all the way home about this marvelous Spring day. 

*Thanks to Gabby Hayes for the friendly curse word. Also dad-gum, gol-durn and shucks. Or must we credit the cowardly, tail-wringing Lion in The Wizard of Oz for shucks? Or will just any old super-religious person in the past do?

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Me happily at work in the moment
In the Van Mall where I'll walk soon. Took half a morning here to download my "Silent Boomer" blog site on Blogger. A great morning. Broke through a month of writer's block. You readers may have caught a whiff of blockage in all my posts before this one. Lots of gaseous farting around with quavering "chin up and muster on" from the British films of my past. 

The way now opens into the next third—or more—of Manning—the secrets I'm keeping from the reader, the revelations and twisty turns of plot laid out before me in a rough order. It's congealing, the plot is. See many chapters ahead. My interest freshens. 

I may have mentioned this, but it bares repeating. By jotting down brief statements about Charley Manning's actions and thoughts and discoveries, the plot, as it comes to me, can be laid out in short statements through my main character:

1. Manning discovers that [   ] is not really on his side.
2. Manning learns that [   ] was killed by [   ]. [   ] does not know this, but [   ] does. 

That plotting device helps me remember and structure the book. I'm not revealing more. You won't buy the book when it comes out if you know all the surprises and twists. 

Today, I worked on Manning at the downtown Vancouver library, one of the three places I like most to write in when home feels too confining. The other two are Black Rock Coffee on 164th where I worked on Tuesday and Torque in downtown Vancouver where I worked yesterday morning.