Writing Sex

The feeling came into Dee, a distant tremor, hardly there, and then deep and she held it long, making it straight, more fully inside, her truth in this raw pleasure. She dug into the bull-man’s shoulders, pulled on his arms, incredibly, childishly on that.

She held on and then didn’t, succumbing, sliding off, her chin jutting into her chest, all of that streaming out of her, jerking her hips up, thinking if she stayed still, she might climb back into that perfectness again

Pandemic Accomplishments: Final Edition?

With the pandemic winding down in New York, I thought It time to offer a final list of Pandemic Accomplishments.

Most importantly for me, I completed the final draft of Anori (well, almost).

Soon to be sent off for another professional edit

I applied for 80+ jobs across America (including Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and New York, Europe (London, Lisbon, Salzburg, Rome, Zurich, Paris and Barcelona to name a few) as well as Kathmandu. Still looking. Hmm.

I travelled to Maine, Oregon, California, Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

Sunrise view in Maine

I raised the daily visits for this blog from 30+ views per day to 150+ views per day.

I had both of my knees replaced, had nine Covid-19 tests and was vaccinated.

Those empty train days

I have basically kicked my Fishdom addiction after reaching Level 2865. Although I might check in again one of these days.

Editing the Gangly Bits: Writing Process

I had a scene with some real problems. The background information was heavily front-loaded, and it was repetitious and awkward and gangly and sputtering and bad.

And so I hacked it up, rendered it down, patched it to another equally sputtering bad thing, did some cauterizing and cutting again and thought I was on the way to something new.

Silhouetted rocks on Oregon coast

But it had become a bald thing, nothing in it, the description and progression and dialogue trimmed to nothing, the conclusion non-existent. And so I started to write it all over again.

Exorcising Peach: Writing Process

I was 14 years old and in love with Peach Harper, a divinely beautiful blonde with blue eyes and golden skin. I obsessed over how to express my undying love for her and managed to convince her to come to a tiny log cabin I had built. (This is all true.)

Ahmic Lake cabin built by McPhedran in 1979.

I had lied to get her out there, telling her that I secretly wanted to be her, a painfully stupid ruse. I wanted to kiss her, and that was it. And maybe touch her golden skin and float off into Nirvana, if possible. Anyway, she was actually the one who asked me if I wanted to kiss her. I closed my eyes and leaned into her and kissed her…somewhere on the chin.

My mother chose that moment to arrive in her green tattered bathrobe and escort Peach away. I blubbered and gestured stupidly, realizing the glittering moment had passed. I had completely panicked and missed those velvety lips.

Everything went downhill from there. Peach met another boy who she brought to my party and went off into the woods to make out. I offered my hand to her when she came back and pushed her down the hill. I was furious at her betrayal – even if the truth was that she had wanted to kiss me and I had fucked all of that up.

I invested everything in Peach, had written letter after letter over an entire year and even bought her a Hotel California T-shirt on her birthday. And when the moment came, I was an abject failure. I cannot let that die. This might explain my habit to hide in my words and obfuscate my life. I am afraid to expose myself for the loser that I am. Oh, Peach, where are you now?

The Goldilocks Frequency in The Writing Process

“Thanks much” or “Much thanks“? I go back and forth between what Tony would say. I am never happy with either and continue the fruitless search through “Many thanks”, “So Much Thanks”, “Thanks As Always” or even “Kind of you”, until I end up back where I started. “Thanks much”.

Tony says things to get attention and pretends that he doesn’t. He mutters and stutters, his face forward to be listened to and then acts as if he doesn’t want anyone to hear. It’s a question of not overdoing that about Tony. Too much it’s caricature; not enough it’s obtuse. I need the Goldilocks frequency for this phrase.

The Cx Trilogy: The Book That Will Get Humanity Back On Track

As crazed as it sounds, that my deep-down aim for The Cx Trilogy. I can feel like I am insane not because I am but because of the insanity to which I am subjected. And so it’s not a burden as a release knowing these things, getting them out of my head so that I can help us get on with it and make things as they should have been a long time ago.

Fallen Greek columns in Termessos, Turkey

Get one with what, you ask? Why, treating people like shit because they don’t have power. It’s that simple. And it’s something we should have figured out a while ago, the 9th century at least. (Fuck all those plague/dark age excuses.) Okay, maybe the 15th century. But the 21st?!? Come on! How many chances can we miss? Allowing Hitler on the scene and then Trump and all of the other fuckers in between? Huh? What? And now we think we are close to being on track for what? Acceptance? Understanding? For anything other than obliteration? That’s just dumb and weird.

Inflatable Christmas penguins at The Brooklyn Navy Yard

Anyway, the book, yes, that, getting humanity back on track. It’s actually about leaving this planet on an generational journey to a distant planet to start anew. And it’s got everything in it: sex, exotic cats, epic action and deep fucking thoughts. And I aim to have it out for you by the end of the year. (If we make it.)

The McPhedran Way – A Typical (Bad) Day in My Writing Process

6:30 am Play Fishdom and Words With Friends. No thoughts on writing.

8:30 am Play Fishdom. Read emails, watch YouTube videos and search for “inspiration” by porn surfing. A general malaise dominates thinking.

11:00 am Half think about writing but retreat from that, afraid to start.

12:30 pm Lunch. Watch random bits of film – anything from Battleship to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

2:00 pm Ride stationary bike and listen to intense music (Rage Against the Machine, Cheap Trick, Nine Inch Nails, etc.) in an attempt to get brain moving. Watch birds flying past, beds being changed in hotel rooms across the street and people working in adjoining business. Writing problems do not come to mind.

Entertaining things can occasionally be seen in Artezan Hotel.

3:00 pm Read more emails, watch more videos and porn. Snack.

4:30 pm Open the Anori document. Close it. Play Words with Friends and Fishdom.

8:00 pm Think about what I might do tomorrow

So it goes on a bad day. Which oddly enough can lead to a good day.

U Turn Memory

I have a memory, if it can be called that, a moving image that bubbles up when I’m writing.

It is of a stretch of road called Marine Drive, connecting North and West Vancouver. It’s a thoroughfare, three lanes each way, thick with strip malls and autobody shops on each side.

Nothing happened there that I can remember. I just have to make a U turn. That’s the memory. I have to get back to something. Not a place, but a person, someone I left on the side of the road. And I am waiting to make that turn.

Not Marine Drive, not even close to it.

But I never make the turn because the light doesn’t change. I just wait and look at the orange and white sign for the autobody shop across the way.

“Anori” Extract: A Father’s Death

I’ll tell you what I did when he died. Do you want to hear that misery? I took sleeping pills. I drank, like my father. I shut everything off. And then I was in Grand Central, waiting for the train. I had a beer. I was at the stand at Track 106. There’s a stand there. It’s called Bar Car. I had a can of Budweiser, a 16-ounce can.

I took that 16-ounce can to that old marble counter against the wall, with the brass railing, working guys talking about their wives and installers, checking their phones, and all of these people walking past, old men racing to catch their trains, little trolleys wheeled around with broken wheels, the tabloids arriving in stacks, the shoeshine girl staring out.

I had another beer, another 16-ounce can. I stood and watched. There was this crazed guy with a perfectly trimmed beard and then these lost ladies from Japan, a woman floating by, her portfolio tucked at her breast. I was completely still, drinking my beer. That was it, the moment I knew he wasn’t there. That’s when I understood, or I should say pretended to understand that he wasn’t coming back.

Dark Matter of the Writing Process

The thing about writing is that it draws from nebulous things that live in my head – memories, feelings, images and the words that put those together. But the real thing is they’re not actually things, but unthings, abstract nothing things swirled into a cloud of something, a story as it were, not building blocks but protons and ions, effervescence and frequencies, half like dark matter, a presence that can only be detected by its influence on other things.

My current project, Anori, has the following scene: Dee is driven by her ex-husband Tommy from Newfoundland back to NYC. The scene used to feature Dee’s Uncle Ralph; however the book needed less of Uncle Ralph and more of Tommy. The scene also requires a switch in scene, from California to Maine. The thematic elements will remain (distance from someone once loved) as well as key images, but the voice and setting need a 180 degree shift. And so the scene becomes a mangled corpse that has to be picked.

I could kill it all, wipe the slate clean, but I don’t want to do that. The dark matter of the old scene has an unthing I want to preserve. And scorched earth is stupid. Other things were hacked out. There is no more Dodgers game, no more sexy forest ranger, and no more porno shoot in the Hollywood Hills. (sigh)

I now have Dee and Tommy, still in love, but incompatible, stopping and starting in their conversation, exposing their history and feelings, afraid of saying anything to hurt the other but keen to let the other know what they still mean. There is much to mine from my own life here, long drives with things unsaid, guilt and pain and regret. This is the magic of the process, knowing the characters and direction and now searching out where it is they say what needs to be said.