“I had a chance to do something another time a week or so after that, on the subway again,” Liyuan offered. “A young boy, maybe 10 years old, was performing a dance for a crowded train, with his father watching beside him.”
The boy approached Icarus again, head twisted to the side, humming a tune to himself.
“It was late at night, maybe midnight, and so I said something this time. ‘There’s a reason for child labor laws, you know.’ He glared back as the train pulled into Union Square. The doors opened, and he kicks me, hard, just like that. I was so surprised by that. ‘Mind your own damn business.’ And he storms off the train, pushing his kid ahead of him. It took me days to realize that I had been assaulted.”
“I liked living in New York,” Dee offered. “The people are real.”
Fragments are getting set adrift from Aqaara as I trudge through Draft One:
“Lying to your maker, Em. That won’t get you anywhere.”
“I miss you, Dee. I really do. I look forward to seeing you. I think about coming here. I look forward to coming here to see you and my cat.” Em opened her Bearing, glancing through the images. “And then I don’t.”
“There’s nothing worse than high expectations.”
“I keep mine very low.”
“This is cellular,” Liyuan interjected. “This exchange, all of this is cellular. That’s who is speaking to each other, your cells.”
“Ignore him,”’ Dee replied. “And tell us about your politics. They make you a senator yet?”
“Lai got me an Ethi for a present.”
“What do you get out of it? To do your bidding?”
“Her name’s Emma.”
“I mean, what’s the point of it? Does it tell you how great you are?”
“Dee, why don’t I bring Emma here so you can insult her, like you do with me.”
“Insult you? Em, I only talk to you like you were me.”
A few things I’ve gleaned from the opening 100 pages of Melville’s opus:
Maritime jargon such as “lee of land” and handspike.
Surprisingly non-traditional views espoused by Ishmael: What is worship? To do the will of God. That is worship. And what is the will of God? To do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me. That is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator.
Building a story takes time. Captain Ahab does not appear until page 85, with Moby Dick not even on the horizon.
That said, Mr. Melville also would have benefited from an editor.
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I fell victim to the hype of Stranger Things (Duffer Brothers) which isn’t so much of an homage to the 1980s as a compilation of derivatives. Truth be known it is nothing more than bits of E.T.(Misfit kids on bikes) glued to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Crazy parent who knows the truth), Poltergeist (Portal to monster world) and Minority Report (Innocent conduit in water). To say nothing of Little Shop of Horrors (Man-eating plant-faced monster) and Under the Skin (Pitch black other-world). The worse of all though would have to be setting it in Hawking, Indiana, a tip of the hat to the father of alternate universes? Can the eggs get any more rotten than this? (No.)
I titled my second trilogy All In, long before General Petraeus’ ballyhooed biography, Chris Hayes’ tedious MSN programming or the latest Marvel extravaganza. The first section begins on the Christmas Eve of 2001, a man teetering out of control following the loss of his brother on 9/11:
There’s just these bits of blackness, and that makes it hard to put everything together. I can see the building on fire and the back of the plane melt in, gone, just sucked in like that, like nothing, and the windows down and the glass and water and me. It is all wall and window, nothing below. I am coming up, all of it hard. I want it. This is what I want. I am in hard. I am not half folded. I am not waiting. I am not holding to anything.I am of this wall, and it all comes down on me, not small or big, not anything, all in my head arched back, my whole fucking body out in light, gone through me, gone through everything, high, released, out from her, not for anything, but hard. I don’t know how much I can really take of this. I’m stuck out. Yes, it’s a story, and, yes, he’s here with me, and this is it. I was going to call Robin, and then the phone rang. I wasn’t going to answer. “Hello?”The second section follows the daughter, the third section, the widow, as everyone drifts toward isolation until a Christmas dinner one year later.