WRITING & SUBMITTING
I’m getting back to submitting The Palace of Winds, but I’m putting Far Nineteen back in the revision queue. I feel like it needs some more time and thought. Of course that means it might also be dead as a topical piece of literature. The new project is coming along slowly, and I’ve been distracted or, rather, I’ve allowed myself to be distracted. It’s hard to keep focus on a fantasy when the world seems to be teetering on a certain, final precipice. Will anyone even be interested in reading anymore? Will there be a social structure that permits publishing?
I’m also thinking about breaking up The Palace of Winds into three short novellas. The entire books is sitting at about 124,000 words and has three distinct parts that are written in slightly different styles. There’s the rather straightforward adventure style of the first section (The Journey Out), the noir inspired style of the second section (Year of the Monkey), the more moody domestic style of the shorter third and forth sections (A Sacrifice, and The Dead) which could easily be combined into one. Not all of sections are exactly the same length, but a good estimate is that at a total fo 380 pages, it could easily be divided into three 120 page novellas.
Finished rereading The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler for a special series of the podcast. That means I’ve not gotten to Michael Ondaatje’s new novel Warlight yet. I’m disappointed about that, but that’s the way life goes. Right now I’m reading Charles Willeford’s The Woman Chaser, along with Megan Abbott’s Die A Little for the next episode of the podcast.
This summer will be full of crime fiction. So, I might not get to Warlight unit the fall – along with all the other books sitting on my shelves.
I’m slowly getting the Ulysses series ready for Bloom’s Day. I think it’ll come out all at once. I’m also in the process of reading books and recording conversations with Todd Robins and Paul Fecteau on mystery, noir, and crime fiction. That series will be out in the fall, probably around the end of October. After that, there may be another little hiatus before I start in on a more regular series on books-to-film.
I’ve been watching movies a lot more these days, influenced, mostly, by all the time I’m spending with Julianne. It’s often hard to find movies she hasn’t seen, but I did share Shohei Imamura’s delightfully silly Warm Water Under a Red Bridge with her and she seemed to like it. That was my introduction to Imamura, and I’ve got two more of his films in digital versions that I’ve not yet watched — A Man Vanishes, and Vengeance is Mine — which are more serious. I’ve also seen his movies, Dr. Akagi, The Eel, and The Pornographers all of which I remember liking and would like to grab copies for my collection.
Saw Deadpool 2 last month. A little disappointed at the ‘fridgeing” bit, especially since I like to see Morena Baccarin, but life goes on. Overall, I liked it, but feel like it wasn’t quite as funny as I’d hoped it would be. Maybe that was because I sat through the first 20 minutes of the movie wondering if the wait staff had forgotten my order (in case you don’t know, the “Warren” Old Town Theatre Grill (now run by Regal) is a theatre/restaurant and usually they bring orders to your seat so fast you’re mostly done before the movie starts). I never did get my drink.
I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story—and they didn’t fuck it up. It was quite good. I suspect there’ll be a sequel even though some are saying Solo is a financial flop. There’s still some unseen Han Solo history to cover and that reappearance of a certain Sith lord once thought dead makes things interesting. I hope you watched the animated series, or you’ll be baffled.
Added a forgotten “classic” to my movie collection recently. I first saw The Blood of Heroes (Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Delroy Lindo, Anna Katarina, and Vincent D’Onofrio) sometime in the early 90s. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since. TBoH falls into the post-apocalyptic dystopian genre of “loose” sci-fi with utterly collapsed civilizations (there are no space ships or advanced tech) and it appeals to me a lot more than the shiny, sleek, space-suited variety. It’s probably because I don’t exactly have any faith that humanity can improve itself. Star Trek is a nice fantasy, even with all the fighting and existential crises that seem to plague the Federation (Star Wars is Space Opera and not, technically “speculative” because it happened “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”) Things like Firefly/Serenity, or Blade Runner are more believable to me as future outcomes of humanity than Star Trek, while I see TBoH as the place we’ll most likely end up. Greed and stupidity, often working together and not recognizing that they are opposite sides of the same wooden nickel (the greedy (i.e.: rich) don’t see their own stupidity, and the stupid think they’re only a single good break away from joining the ranks of the greedy (i.e.: rich)).
The whole of human history is a class war. Why wouldn’t the future be the same?
I was going to write about yet another disappointing run-in with a Wichita writer, but decided against it. For a brief moment, I thought of replacing it with something else, but forgot what that something else was going to be. Something profound, obviously. Tried writing broadly about the disappointing encounter, but after a few hundred words decided to throw it out. The incurious will remain incurious and that’s that.
Instead, I’ll go with this: Why I don’t like going to the gym.
I’ve actually thought about it a lot, trying to sort out the block so I can fully make use of my YMCA membership. I guess the block is this: if I’m going to exert myself while remaining in one place, I’d prefer to exert myself mentally. Weight lifting, stationary bikes, treadmills, aerobics type classes, even yoga and simple in-home activities like push-ups and sit-ups/crunches/planks—or whatever is popular for the abdominals lately—just doing X number of reps or X amount of time doing something—despite the effort put forth—feels kind of like wasted time to me. Running outdoors, biking, and—since I live near a river, I’m considering buying a kayak—kayaking appeal to me a great deal more. The scenery changes. The environmental has variables to be overcome. There’s room for improvisation (I think I’ll take a left here today instead of a right, etc.).
But most of all, there’s a kind of privacy to being outdoors and exercising. I spend 40hrs a week in a cubicle farm. Places like that are . . . inhumane. I have to listen to other people breathe, chew, digest, fart, and blabber about things. It feels like someone is always looking over my shoulder. Hell, I sometimes I even get the impression that people follow me around at work to make sure I’m not fucking off. That paranoia stems directly from that sense of constantly having your personal space invaded that comes from a cubicle farm. The only thing that approaches private time when you work in a cubicle farm is going to the restroom and hoping to get maybe five minutes sitting in a quiet stall with no one around you.
The gym is like the office in that way. Someone is always a bit too close for comfort.
Going for a run, a bike ride, or a paddle, even though you’re outside and publicly visible, you’re in a private space. No one is sprawling their sloppy selves all over the place right next to you. You’re not having to deal with inconsiderate fellow users of shared equipment, their grimy I’ve-got-a-cold-but-I-came-here-anyway-to-touch-everything-around-you carelessness. I’d much rather dodge the piles of goose shit on the sidewalk.