Good Writing Day

Today was a good writing day. I was very fortunate to suddenly -yes!- getting immersed. Most important was a transition where the emotional weight of one chapter empowered the next, a chapter where there was next to no set up, almost entirely dependent on dialogue, and yet, the feeling had been set. I was sad for this poor girl…and I was almost happy about that.

I don’t know if this is such a great blog, but there is only so much you can say about a good writing day without sounding like an ass. And so I will fill it out by adding pictures of three interesting animals, all of which are briefly mentioned in the book:

Caracal, Kalahari Desert

Red-footed Booby, Genovese Island

Babirusa, Sulawesi

One Month After Sandy – Closed for Business

It’s one month after Hurricane Sandy, and much of downtown Manhattan seems to be getting back to normal…except for the stores near the East River. The water damage has yet to be resolved for many of the businesses on the last three blocks of Maiden Lane (below Gold Street). Some of the signs are professionally printed.

Flowers of the World

Others are not.

First Republic Bank

Others have no sign at all…but the message is still clear.

Au Bon Pain

One business is open because of major external support.It is a little sad with so much shut down like this. Hopefully the city will do what it can to get things back to normal.

Holiday Star at the Federal Reserve.

At least that’s a start.

How many ‘Suddenlys’ are too many ‘Suddenlys’?

I’ve suddenly realized that I’ve developed an obsession with ‘suddenly’. There’s too much suddenly happening in the book: He turned too suddenly. She moved across the room suddenly.  It was suddenly dark. Suddenly, I realized. I felt that very suddenly. It’s a good word and everything – it really is – but my relationship with it has degenerated into something rather unhealthy. It’s a dependency, a crutch. And so I’ve put myself through a mini-intervention, used the dreaded search function and deleted and replaced. Now I’m suddenly down – damn it! – just down to, just down – no suddenly! – down to 21 for the book. I think that’s a good number. I mean, how many suddenlys do I really need? I suppose I could get it down to 15 or even 10, but what’s the point? It’s not like I have to go cold turkey on this. Right? (It suddenly got very quiet.)

Prius and the Wolf

The Wolf of Wall Street has arrived at Maiden Lane. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey, moved dressing rooms and trucks onto Maiden Lane early Tuesday morning.

Wolf of Wall Street trailers on Maiden Lane.

This spelled doom for the Prius – documented in my previous blogs – which has been parked on Maiden Lane at Pearl Street since Hurricane Sandy.

Prius staying close to curb, November 27 – four weeks after Hurricane Sandy

And yet…it remains. Did the Wolf of Wall Street production crew take mercy on the smashed-up vehicle? Or did they adapt to the fact that the exterior generators are also still there and just move their trailers up the block? Or did Mr. Scorsese say, “You know what? I like that car there! Leave it! It’s perfect!” And everyone else agreed.

State Birds and Naked Ladies

The writing has moved along today: 17 pages and maybe another 10 tonight. I spent a good deal of time tweaking a conversation in which state birds are discussed:

“California’s state bird.”

“That’s the Meadowlark, isn’t it?”

“California Quail.”

“I should have known that.” He opened the door. “You know Maine’s?”

“I know Rhode Island is the chicken.”

”The Rhode Island Red Chicken.” He placed Apollo’s cage beside the bed.

…and another scene in which Dee, only 11 years old, discovers a Playboy magazine hidden at her uncle’s house:There was a magazine on top with a picture of a woman standing in a white see-through top. She had thick blond hair, long legs and silvery high heels; she looked at me over her shoulder. I opened it to the center; she was completely naked there, shiny brown skin and crazy big breasts. I couldn’t understand how she was like that, standing there so naked. 

I also got rid of a ‘crazy-legged’ bird and changed a sweater into a pink hoodie from Las Vegas.Onward! Ho!

Blogging Interference

There might be those of you who are wondering, “What exactly is this damn blog about?” While I may have titled this “a writer’s blog”, I seem to be blogging on everything – music, films, sports, Hurricane Sandy – but the actual writing.

Tatzu Nishi’s “Discovering Columbus”

The idea of this blog is to document my writing process, and that process does come through moments – cultural, disastrous and otherwise. I believe that it can be very effective to focus on what is in these moments – the details and nuances – and build them toward something else related directly to the writing process, along the lines of what might be coming out of the “Prius” posts.

Prius on Maiden: 26 days after Hurricane Sandy

However I have also come to realize that a blog takes on a life of its own. It has certain demands, such as its daily appetite for something new – like now – and this has shifted my focus from my writing to writing for my blog. (I should blog about that. Oh, I guess I already am.)

Flower bulbs ready for November plant

I must also admit to using the blog to get out of the work of writing my book. The drafting process is a slippery one, full of detours and excuses, and I’m pretty good at using them all. This blog is probably the best.

Nick Cave artwork

But that’s about to come to an end. I have given myself eight days to finish my fourth draft. Yes, eight days. I will allow myself to blog, but I can’t blog instead of writing.

Wall Street subway

The writing has to be first and the blogging second. I have to set that straight. Right now. No more blogging. I’m getting back to the book. I am. I mean it. The clock is on.

Primate Exhibit, American History Museum

Okay, that’s it. I’m done. Really. I am.

Sufjan Stevens on Christmas Tour

Sufjan Stevens began his month-long Christmas tour last night at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia.The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Pageant On Ice is a night of scattered merriment, featuring a Wheel of Fortune style carousel of songs – “The Wheel of Christmas!” – for audience sing-a-longs and a haphazardly wardrobed Yuletide band. While much of the performance had a wild and unrehearsed aspect, Sufjan Steven’s musical talent remains a wonder to behold. Sufjan Stevens might claim to be just goofing around on stage – “How much more stupid can I look?” He asked when he strapped a unicorn horn to his head. – but once he settled into a ‘serious’ song, his prodigious talent hypnotized the boisterous audience again and again. His voice fragile, his notes tenuous, almost lost, he sounds like he is calling us from another world.

Sufjan Stevens concludes his tour in New York on December 21 & 22. Tickets go on sale two days before the performance to avoid ticket brokers from taking advantage of the $20 ticket price. I hope to get back in.