Tautological Profundity's Journal|
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|Thursday, August 8th, 2013|
sitting at work, forty-five minutes left to go. i've placed my orders, arranged my shipments for next week, made up all the shipping documents, caught up with my email inbox as much as i need to, and now comes the waiting game. dealing with issues as they arise, but mainly waiting for four o'clock. i've got a football game waiting for me, and a long weekend of camping with the fam.
|Wednesday, August 7th, 2013|
though it hasn't been, and won't be, as busy as some summers past, we are in the midst of the busy summer season. this weekend is the family reunion, so i've got friday off work. kelly has a doctor's appointment that morning early, and then (presuming we've already packed the car by that point, which, come to think of it, is a dubious assumption indeed) we can get the hell out of town.
camping is at dosewallips state park, or something like that, over on the peninsula. i'm looking forward to it, as the only camping we've done so far this year has been at critical, which is a different sort of deal. it'll be good to see the fam damnly, too. it's nice getting to see all those folks once a year. i was talking to an open mic buddy mike simmons recently about that very thing, about how, if you don't have these types of regularly scheduled events getting all the folks together, years can and do pass, and suddenly you realize that you haven't seen your grandparents in a decade. life, it does happen. time, it do pass.
and another cool thing, tomorrow night is the first seahawks preseason game, at 7 pm against the chargers. i've been waiting not-so-terribly-patiently for football season ever since the super bowl, and there are precipitously high hopes for the old home team this year. preseason games, of course, mean basically nothing, but i'm still looking forward to some foots and balls. so it means thursday i get off work looking forward to a ball game, a long weekend, and camping. winning, in other words.
|Tuesday, August 6th, 2013|
this year's critical was probably the best ever. in fact, i'm pretty sure that i'm still decompressing from it, and it was two and a half weeks ago now. it was at a new location, the mason county fairgrounds, one of the clearest advantages of which was being able to dance all night long. the past couple-few years at LARC, the cops had shut down the music at ten or eleven at night, which is/was super lame. but not this year. this year there were three separate dance parties that went into the wee hours, and one that reliably kept going until roughly dawn.
camp cuddle puddle (us) and hot dog camp decided to join forces this year, sort of. we camped next to each other, so while we each had our own unique identities, we were, well, right next to each other, so we were basically camping together. it was a match made in burner heaven, basically, as they had the people lined up for hot dogs at night, and then people would wander over and lay down in one of our pools for some cuddle action. the cuddle puddle really came into its own this year, the second year of its existence. it did pretty well last year, but it really became a thing this year. the last couple nights in particular it was a happenin spot down there at the end of dustville.
friday night i was a dancing machine, just went and went and went. i came home for forty minutes or so around three, maybe four, hung out with kelly and all the folks, and then went back to area 54 to shut that place down as dawn crept over the world. it was fully light, though cloudy, by the time i wandered back home and crawled into the tent. saturday night was equally late, only we came back to camp around 3:30 and spent the next few hours cuddle puddling. it was pretty epic, i gotta say.
rob and i showed up monday around 1pm--we were actually the third car through the gate--so we got the most time in. kelly showed up tuesday, and everyone else trickled in wednesday, thursday, and friday. i'm almost at a loss to explain the fullness of the experience. doing my wandering minstrel bit, dancing, karaoke early in the week with hog doggers, chatting with fellow campers who have become serial acquaintances over the years, if not outright friends, a gay wedding, an impromptu guitar lesson, walking up to the gate with my guitar and starting in on 'the joker' while a guy we remembered from last year whose playa name is space cowboy (no shit) was signing his car in, playing the main stage thursday night, mayhap indulging in an intoxicant on occasion, and generally soaking in the time of a full week in a place like that, a place so removed from the normal world, where the thing to do at any given moment is simply and exactly what the hell you want to do at that given moment.
so, yeah, i guess in retrospect maybe it's not so surprising that i've had difficulty readjusting myself to a more rigid, structured existence, where i have to go to work, and shop for groceries, and prepare food (christ, over and over again, day after day), and take showers. on the plus side i've gotten a lot of reading done, as my soul hides from the world.
|Monday, June 24th, 2013|
|just checkin in
busy busy, haven't been by in a while. tons of stuff to post about, but no time to do so. let's see, i officially published my book, 'summertime', (again), this time in softcover hard copy, and ordered twenty copies for myself. i've sold four or five of them so far, and have a bunch of other people who say they want one. so that's cool. i have a vague plan to try to do a reading/signing at a book store, but now that i actually have a pile of copies i find myself faced up against a terrible cringing sense of inadequacy and fear. not too shocking i suppose, but i am afraid i'll let it all slip away and just never do another thing about it. this particular book, anyways. no danger of me stopping writing in general. i don't know, i'll probably sack up at some point.
i'm still writing songs, but having a bitch of a time collecting musicians. there's this beat boxer i made plans with a couple few times who flaked out on me every time, and that i've pretty much given up on, which is a damn shame, because he's seriously talented. and another guy who's also really good who talked to me for a long time one day because i surprised him on the phone, but who has not answered calls or texts ever since. so, sigh. yet more grist for the inadequacy mill. i am liking the songs i'm writing, though, so that's cool. and i had a gig recently, solo acoustic at my local bar. had a bunch of friends and family come out, and even got some great feedback. it was a lot of fun. what i really need to do is meet people at open mic, since it's the perfect collection of musicians looking to do something serious, but i'm terribly shy about this kind of thing.
anyways, moving on, time to go home from work. ta for now.
|Friday, April 12th, 2013|
|secret window, secret garden/fight club
i'm currently rereading stephen king's collection of four novellas, four past midnight
. the first time i read it i was in seattle visiting my dad from illinois. i remember sitting on the floor in the bus tunnel going between his place in west seattle and my other parents' house on 65th. i may have read it again since then, not sure, but that would undoubtedly have been the first time. that would have put it somewhere around '92, '93. the book was published in 1990. chuck palahniuk published fight club
in 1996. all these dates are relevant for various reasons.( continued...Collapse )
|Tuesday, March 26th, 2013|
|Saturday, March 9th, 2013|
|it's the new style
i'm wondering if i'm jumping plateaux with my playing. i've been playing a lot lately, writing songs, doing open mic once or even twice a week, and today when i was playing i felt a new-dawning mastery of the elements of my playing: the beat, the chord fingering, the dynamic variation, as well as my voice. it's as if i was doing all of those things all along, but was never quite able to give them all my attention at the same time. like a heisenberg uncertainty principle of musical performance, increased attention in any one dimension necessarily implied decreased attention elsewhere. but just earlier i was stretching myself, playing a song in a completely different rhythm than i'd ever tried before, and once i'd synced into it, basically performed the whole song in a completely new way, with fully fleshed out dynamic variation. it felt like i was in the saddle, in control, making artistic decisions with open eyes.
it was really cool. i'm sure it'll all fall apart tomorrow.
also: plateaux. lol.
|Sunday, February 24th, 2013|
i did a really cool thing last night, something i've never done before. i attended and then performed at a book signing, at this anarchist book shop downtown at pike place. left bank books is the place, and alanna, the bartender and booker at conor byrne, invited me to do it. it started at 7, and since i knew there would be cocktails involved, and that parking in that neighborhood is such a pain in the butt, i hurried home from work and took the bus down there. brought my guitar, obviously, and my book. since ricky works across the street from the market, and gets off at 5:30, which was almost exactly when i was to get down there, i called him up to see if he wanted to get a drink beforehand. we met up and had a few beers, talked about music (he came over last weekend to work on songs), talked about my record a bit, and the fact that wes probably won't work out as far as playing on it since he's so busy with being an opera singer and a daddy, and how cool it would be if dan yost put together a motown-type thing with a house band for his recording studio, and then about a book i could write about a murder mystery where a guy kills himself on skype in such a way as to make it ambiguous whether it was suicide or homicide, and leaves a trail of evidence to implicate someone he wanted to fuck over, and how all the details might play out, and how i'd have to have a love story in there, 'cause that's just how i roll.( moreCollapse )
|Wednesday, February 20th, 2013|
i just had the oddest thought, with respect to how i want to portray the books that i've written to the world at large. my most common wont is to call them trashy romantic thrillers, which is almost over the top in the way of naked self-deprecation. someday i will aspire to a more uniformly modest and well-regulated address, but in the meantime i can at least, now, after an of-the-moment revolution of thought, presume to think of a different, infinitely more complimentary, and only lacking in being thought perhaps too self-serving, category under which to classify my own works of fiction: as being of the kind of a jane austen novel.
note the marked absence of any judgment with respect to its relative merit with respect to any jane austen novel. this is crucial. the claim is merely to the kind
of thing each is. but how much more respectable a name? how much more pleasing a demarcation? and without the necessity of playing at 'how do i measure up?', leaving that fruitless and unnecessary consideration by the wayside, leaving my book (my intention would be) to stand on its own merits. wow, this is really hard to talk about. it helps, somehow, to know that hardly anyone ever reads this. i wouldn't be making any claim to be achieving the heights austen did, but only, rather, to be playing at the foothills of the same country.
i like that. it's a little high-flown, but it's nice. this is what i miss about livejournal, the opportunity to stretch out, take your time about making a point. not be worried about crystallizing something into 140 characters or less. there is something to be said for facebook and twitter, and the respective opportunities to express oneself therein, the pith, the concision required. but, and especially speaking as a novelist, the sprawling horizons of livejournal, with respect to allowable word count, are positively profligate.
so can i really justify it, is what it boils down to. can i feel comfortable making such a bold claim? and am i even right in considering it such a bold claim? qualify it as i may, with all my talk of eschewing relative value judgments, can i even feel justified in proclaiming a kinship of kind? this is the question that grips me, that won't let me go. a part, a strong part, of me cries out that of course i can feel justified, that the question barely deserves notice, that the request involved is negligible. but there is another part of me that retires in solemnity, and withholds license. it doesn't have much to say, this latter part of me, but its opinion is clear, and forbidding.
and so how am i to feel, as the sum of these various parts? would i rather persist in the almost confrontationally self-deprecating self-applied label of 'trashy romantic thriller'? or venture out (however far being up for dispute) onto the limb of associating my stories with jane austen?
i will hopefully keep you updated, because i seem to be coming back here lately.
|Monday, February 18th, 2013|
|what does your life mean?
earlier tonight, after checking out the newly remodeled fred meyer we used to live across the street from, and dropping a bunch of cash, we passed a karate studio, and somehow i was inspired to think that i don't really want to be doing my job for too many more years. my company sells steel and iron castings to major equipment manufacturers, which is cool, if you're into that sort of thing, but what it really boils down to is money. i mean, duh, kinda obvious, business in general is about money, that's the whole point, but i feel like the corner of industry i've found myself in is particularly devoid of any kind of... redeeming value or meaning. i would like to work, if not at something i directly like as an end in itself, like playing music or writing novels (making a living at either of which endeavors being unlikely), at least at something i can believe in in some way. like a non-profit that houses and cares for abused women, or a company that brings music to inner cities, or a yoga studio where people come to make their lives better.
pure business is so mercenary. and honestly, the examples i give above are going further in the other direction than i need. i don't know what i want to do, but i would really like it if the company i worked for was involved in an endeavor i could buy into in some meaningful way. kelly has suggested buying mae's restaurant on phinney ridge a couple times, and that is somewhat appealing. working for myself would be cool, and feeding people is a lot more obviously beneficial than selling counterweights.
i have to tell myself, while i think down these lines, that i do make music, and write books, and read a lot, and spend time with family and friends, all of which give my life meaning. there's a lot to be said for that. but i just can't get beyond the fact that my occupation takes up half my waking life most days. half my waking life. and i find myself robbing myself of sleep to stretch out the other half rather more than i should. so i find myself at work after a late night at open mic or writing, exhausted, staring at a towering pile of data entry and spreadsheet manipulation, all of which is strictly in service to making a buck.
bah. maybe i'm being ridiculous. what's wrong with making a buck, after all? i like bucks. the more the better, really, when you get right down to it. maybe part of my dissatisfaction is that my labor is making somebody else
a lot more bucks than it's making me. but shit, what the fuck else would i be doing with my time? probably not making as much money as i am now. this post is not very well arranged. i'm gonna go to bed and read some more mansfield park
. and in related news i continue to adore jane austen. in the past month or so i've reread emma
and now mansfield park
. i just love her. her command of the english language was formidable. not to mention her perspicacity and insight. she was a fuckin mad sav, not to put too fine a point on it.
|Saturday, February 9th, 2013|
i love this game. in college, freshman year in the dorms, i played dozens of hours of minesweeper. literally dozens. and i got to the point where i could reason out two or three or four squares quickly, basically in real time, and be able to just cruise over the board, marking bombs and clearing other tiles steadily. but the really fun ones are the ones where it looks almost like you reach out by magic and know that that one right there
was one, or wasn't one. tyler would occasionally play (jezzball was his game), and every once in a while he'd call me over when he got stuck. 'dave. come look at this. is there anything i can do?' because it's lame to just guess. the beauty of the game is when you don't have
to guess. you can know with certainty that this or that tile either does or does not have a bomb. so i'd get up and go over and lean down and stare at the screen for a minute or three, and then i'd either say something like 'okay, this one right here has to be a bomb, because the number one over here means there can't be both of this two's bombs in these two spots here, which means that one of them has to be right here.' which sort of thing he would either follow or not quite follow, as the case may be. or i'd say 'no, you're fucked.' and he would have to guess.
|Friday, February 8th, 2013|
|this past year
for the sake of my friends, few though they may be, whose walls will necessarily be overcrowded by the following if i do not do as follows, i am doing something i never wanted to do before, for odd and complicated reasons that at first blush don't bode well for deeper inspection, at least with respect to my motivations therein: i am hiding the following under a ( Read more...Collapse )
|Thursday, February 7th, 2013|
|publishing a novel
i don't know if anyone i know or am friends with still checks this site, but eight years ago this would have been the first place i'd go with this news, and i'm just nostalgic enough to be incapable of now doing so. i put up a novel i've been working on revising for the past many months on amazon's kindle page. it has been self-published. i am now, officially, a self-published author. this is disingenuous, i'll be perfectly honest, since i published my first novel on lulu.com years ago, but yet this feels different. this one i just put up is much more of a legitimate novel, has undergone much more extensive (read: any at all) revision, with the benefit of thorough input from relatively objective outside eyes, and now resides in a much more public venue.
so anyways, there it is. the link is here
. the book is called summertime
. i'm also working on making it available in paperback, maybe i'll even make it back here to put up that link, too.
|Wednesday, July 4th, 2012|
i re-read the stand
again recently, for the first time since i was a teenager, and had a radically different experience of the book than i had the first two (or possibly three) times i read it, all in early to mid-adolescence. i've been meaning to write a livejournal post about it ever since, and am finally just now getting down to it. but anyways.the stand
was originally published in 1978, in the early midst of a very productive string of years of publishing by himself, meaning it surely was written sometime in the mid-seventies, probably after 1975, but obviously before 1978. it was then re-released, in an uncut, unabridged edition, in 1990, also set in 1990, where the original was set in 1980. it was this later, unabridged version that i read. what happened was that four hundred pages of story had been left out of the original 1978 edition, and king finally had a chance (after a phenomenally successful decade of publishing) to finally put out the book in the form he'd originally intended. (in short, his publisher strong-armed him into cutting out 400 pages, back in 1978, because they said it was basically too damn long, because back then he wasn't yet stephen king in terms of attendant splendor where publishers are concerned, and thus without ultimate fuck-you-this-is-how-we're-doin-it veto power w/r/t said publishers.) the crux of the thing, be all this as it may, is that when he put those 400 pages back in, sitting there at his computer twelve years later, he didn't just put them back in and call it good. instead, he pushed the whole story out ten years further in time, changing all sorts of little things along the way to make it all jibe.
in other words, he went through the story from top to bottom, changing it fundamentally (howsoever subtly), painstakingly, thoroughly. --and yet not completely. one of the most striking aspects of my experience of reading the book was the oddest sense of disjoint in it between attitudes just a few years this side of the high tide mark of the sixties, when he first wrote it, versus attitudes in the late eighties, when he was doing the revision. frannie, in the beginning, as she deals with unwed pregnancy, and the guy responsible for same, her parents, her town, the feeling of it all was very comfortable-sixties, moral-context-wise. and stu struck me as a man out of the fifties, whatever that may mean. and the constant reference to the recession, and how terrible the economy was, makes way more sense in the mid-seventies that it does in the late eighties. or glen bateman standing up in the first (or one of the first) community meetings, town meetings, whatever the hell they called them, standing up to go speak and flashing a peace sign, and everybody in the crowd goes spontaneously wild. no one would have gone wild about a peace sign in 1990, but they might have in 1975.
stephen king has admitted that he is a writer of the moment, historically speaking. when he writes something, it is steeped in his own current conception of the world, at that time. that's one of the reasons his writing has such rich immediacy, such honesty. but what this means in the current context is that when the book was originally written, back in the mid-seventies, it was laid out to exist in that world, and with someone as contentful as king (hello, thousand page books), that's a lot of laying out, a lot of pages of narrative imbued with a given era, and if for some reason you want to change that era, that point of perspective, that ultimate context underneath every surface contingency, you almost need to subtly change the very character of every scene, every relationship, every attitude. when he went back and changed the date, it was a hell of a lot more complicated than simply going through and making sure blatant references to the actual year are changed. larry's band is referenced as having opened for van halen, who were certainly a band when the book came out originally, but certainly weren't a band with the kind of status that would make it a big deal merely to open for them, which the scene in the book clearly indicated it had been. (however, larry also ruminates at one point that he'd once hoped he could be the next elton john, and that, too, makes a lot more sense in 1975 than it does in 1990.) stu redman has memories of the movietone announcer guy at the movies when he was a kid, which, hello, that's totally the fifties, and no way could he be thirty in 1990.
none of this is to say that i lost an inch of either respect for or appreciation of the book. in fact i enjoyed reading it immensely, at least as much as i had as a kid, and in further fact it has probably taken its place as my second favorite king book. if anything, as a writer, i found that the experience of reading a story, and being able to glean these little rays of (assumed) understanding of the work that must have gone on in the background to delicately pick up the millions of strands that make up an enormous novel like this and then artfully drape it over the world ten or fifteen years later, was scintillating. i felt camaraderie with him, as a writer, as i imagined trying to tackle a project like that, and caught (what i took to be) artifacts of the change, like the ones above, which, let's be perfectly honest, might look like a hefty pile when they're piled up one by one, but within the context of that story, that huge, enormous, sprawling, epic, somebody get a thesaurus, book, the three or four things i just mentioned are like...something that's really small and insignificant. all but lost in the whole.
it's a great book, and i will be reading it again one of these days. it's one of those few that merit the repeated re-read.
|Saturday, June 30th, 2012|
i don't have time to do a big, true post, but maybe i'll surprise myself. (ed. note: he surprised himself) it's the greenwood car show today in my neighborhood, so it's crazypants outside. we're heading out to maple valley to see kelly's mom today, somewhat later than now. kelly's in the kitchen embarking on a baking project, so i can't imagine we're leaving anytime in the immediate future. life has been interesting and full lately. we went to italy toward the end of may, me and kelly and jen and erik and kris. kelly and kris and i flew in to venice, we spent three nights there, then a train to spend two nights in florence, and another train to spend three (or possible four) nights in rome. it was pretty fantastic, all around. more than worthy of its very own post, but yeah.
shortly before that i took a trip (i've spent a lot of time on planes recently) down to phoenix to meet my dad, and drive with him in his motor home back up here to the northwest. his wife, my step-mom, died on may 2nd of a fall from a cliff when they were out hiking. there are many dimensions and layers of reaction and emotion and speculation and expectation of consequence involved in this state of affairs. i had a really good time driving back here with my dad, whom i haven't seen too terribly much of in recent years, primarily due to the influence of the deceased. lots of hours of idle chat, serious chat, companionable silence, etc. it was very nice.
fascination street had its last and final [sic] show a couple weeks ago, at the tractor, one of the venues in seattle that has always been on my list of places i want to play someday. it sold out, the place was packed and jumpin, we made more money than ever before, and in general it was a great coup de grace. sean is moving to chicago, is wherefore the endingness, finality, etc. all of which leaves a band-shaped hole in my life, and one i've been craving for some time, if truth be told, the hole that is. the appeal of that band had palled for me, to a large extent, and was becoming more than anything an impediment to me feeling comfortable moving on in any substantive way. as i've written here numerous times in the past, i have yearnings toward starting/joining a band that lies closer to the axis of my own personal musical interests and tastes, yearnings that have continually butted up against my own shyness, my own a priori
armchair determination that the genre or direction in which i wish to creatively flounder is of a kind rendering the likelihood of finding like-minded folks, band mates, aural compatriots, if you will, somewhat less than likely. however, i did meet with a couple musicians recently, andrew the bass player and gem the singer, who are interested in putting together a sort of early jazz, americana, blues thing. sigh. this subject makes me tired. i was also thinking this morning that i would like to have a songwriting partner, someone to suggest harmonic departures, lyrics, melodic ideas, all of the above, but primarily harmonic ideas. my harmonic instincts are most distressingly pedestrian, it pains and humbles me to admit. overall this area of my life remains in a shambles. i still do open mic, though not terribly frequently recently, what with flying hither and yon, etc.
the writing portion of my life is also on something of a hiatus, due probably equally to being busy a lot lately and to kelly not being in an esoterics project right now, meaning that she's home on tuesday nights, meaning that skedaddling for the entire evening on a random school night (namely tuesdays) becomes much more of a negotiation-heavy, fraught-with-emotional-implication-type undertaking. however, i am poised to make my entrance into the world of publishing (self-publishing, that is) with one of my novels in particular. this spring i got extensive notes from both larry and akiva on 'summertime', took a major break in working on my current new project, re-wrote the ending almost entirely, did a line-by-line read-through/revision, and have since resubmitted the manuscript to them (larry and akiva and mom and dad, that is) for, hopefully, one more round of notes. the idea is that, as soon as i get those notes and make any changes i feel necessary therefrom, i will use the cover art lara so kindly made up for me and pop that bitch up on amazon for sale. at which point i will, i suppose, embark on some sort of marketing push (and herein lies an entire world of worry and impotence, but one thing at a time) and see if i can sell two or three of them. after that i have two more completed novels that could do with a serious looking-at, but that could then follow into the jaws of (something cleverly daunting and judgment-ridden).
fortunately i have all this free time in which to do all of these things. <--rather obvious attempt at take-pity-on-me/gosh-aren't-i-interestin
g, self-deprecating/aggrandizing sarcasm, presumably with accompanying aw-shucks arm movement heavy on the elbow.
this was fun. we should do this more often.
|Thursday, March 22nd, 2012|
|clan of the cave bear
i just finished reading cormac mccarthy's border trilogy recently, which i both enjoyed and had deep and intractable issues with. he seemed to delight in having numerous, repeated, egregiously frequent dialogues in spanish, a language i do not, unfortunately, speak. it was the first time i've come across a piece of fiction that either a) assumed the reader spoke a different language than that in which the story was put forth, or b) didn't give a shit if the reader couldn't understand large portions of the books. it's true, i've read a number of books written in england in the past couple hundred years that have little bits of french here and there, and it's possible that, since i took french in school and thus have a passing familiarity with it, these instances haven't stood out to me in the same way, but yet and still i feel very comfortable stating that none of them (the english books, that is) have come anywhere near the pervasiveness of portions of dialogue in a foreign language that mccarthy indulges in in the border trilogy. there actually came a point in the middle of the second book, 'the crossing', when i thought seriously about abandoning them altogether. i didn't, for which i am thankful, but it's saying a lot that i thought about it. i very, very rarely do not finish a book. it takes extenuating circumstances, and these were they. i can say that i was able to understand and enjoy the books even without having understood the many (christ, fucking many) passages of spanish therein, but it bothered me a great deal, a very great deal, in fact i'm having trouble even articulating this to my own satisfaction, to have to pass over sections of a book without understanding them
. it angered me, it left me feeling helpless and displeased, and wondering why the hell the author thought it necessary to be so cavalier with something that, one would think, is rather fundamental to the making of a piece of fiction: ensuring your reader knows what the hell you are writing. fah!! end rant.
what i really wanted to write about was the book i started after i finished 'cities on the plain', namely 'clan of the cave bear'. i had an interesting reaction to this book as i started reading it, with respect to her characterization of neanderthals, in light of the subsequent thirty plus years of scientific work that has come to light since she (the author) wrote her book. she takes certain firm stances about the status of neanderthals (and i have to say that i'm only assuming she is intending 'the clan' to be neanderthals, and ayla to be a representative of our own forebears, homo sapiens sapiens) that are crucial to the narrative tension of the novel as a whole and that i find dubious in the extreme. for one, that the clan is a race doomed to extinction even then, during the last ice age (or whenever the book is set): that the clan as a people, as a race, has already peaked, evolutionarily speaking, and is inevitably due to decline. in support of this is a lot of (if you'll forgive the atrocious lack of sympathy) mumbo-jumbo about their brains only containing memories, and racial memories at that (with an associated stipulation that the accumulation of memory at that point in their history had made their babies' heads so large as to make birth difficult), a physical inability to engage in complex verbalization, and an innate mental inability to engage in 'forward thinking'.
now, just to be clear, i am not an anthropologist, nor indeed any kind of scientist, but i do read up on this kind of thing whenever i come across it, and my distinct (though, obviously, perhaps false) impression is that her take on neanderthals, back when she wrote this book at the tail end of the 1970's, has since been debunked. in fact, the impression i have of science's current take on neanderthals is that they weren't all that different from their homo sapiens contemporaries. there were physical differences, certainly, but there is (i believe) evidence that the races interbred, and that the reason for why one survived in place of the other (which very supposition, if they did indeed interbreed, is already called into at least some question) isn't nearly as clear-cut as the novel presupposes. indeed, the novel portrays the clan as a stale race, at the tail end of its relevance, and with ayla's kind as being anointed by nature as the clear and inevitable successor. this attitude about the difference in their races imbues the entire story, and is crucial to the narrative tension, and this very attitude i personally disagree with. my impression from what i've read is that the neanderthals were doing just fine in a lot of ways, and indeed shared far more functional characteristics with homo sapiens than 'clan of the cave bear' portrays.
ANYWAYS, the point of this is not to quibble with the author (and sorry i don't have her name in front of me right now) about what a bunch of people thousands and thousands of years ago were really like, but more merely to say that i was fortunate enough to make a mental switch in myself in my early reading of the book into treating it more as a fantasy novel than as a historical fiction, which allowed me to simply accept the stipulations she was making and sink into the characters and the story line, to stop being a fussbudget and follow where she was leading. and since i was able to do that i have been enjoying the book immensely. i have to give her credit for endowing her neanderthals (or whatever) with a impressive and touching array of human qualities, for making them be people. and i have to further give her credit for spinning an engaging tale, for sucking me into the story and making me want to know what happens next. it's really a very good book so far.
|Saturday, February 11th, 2012|
i'm currently sitting on a bench in the nordstrom's in pacific place while kelly shops, so please forgive any typos or lapses in hipster formatting. my phone has a tendency to capitalize at will and the mobile web portal for livejournal is lame. I should probably look again for an app someday, I find it crazy no one has created one yet. maybe they have by now; there wasn't one a year and a half ago. anywho, proof-reading in this stingy little window is a bitch, so, again, sorry for any unsightly blemishes.
I was thinking the other night, and have thought much before, how I like to read fiction with an eye to which character or characters are closest to the author's heart. or, more accurately, with whom the author identifies most strongly. for an easy example, Jo in 'little women' is pretty clearly the character old Louisa may identified with most. it might seem like cheating to say so, since the afterword always seems to tell you so, regardless of the printing, but it seems to me the fact cries out its own truth loud and clear. I've tried to articulate to myself what exactly are the attributes of a character that can serve as markers of this phenomenon, how one might, for instance, explain to someone else just *why* they thought a given character represented the author's closest conception of him- or herself.
for one, this kind of avatar, if you'll forgive the term, is never a blameless or even completely sympathetic type, at least at first blush. in little women Meg is the pretty loving one, Amy is the incipient lady, and Beth is simply Christian goodness incarnate, where Jo is all elbows and sharp edges. to be fair, Alcott gives them all enough flaws to make them believable, interesting, real, but I think she is rather hardest on poor Jo, and certainly in the looks department. it seems to me that a writer with an unalloyed positive view of him- or herself would render up a work either despicable in its conceit or unbearable in its insipidity.
but there is something deeper at work here, I'm convinced. I'm tempted to say that the avatar (ug, I wish I could think of a different word for that) participates in the deepest complexity of humanity of any character in a given piece. the philosopher in me cringes to offer up such a vague, flashy, unsubstantiated claim, but nevertheless that captures my intuition. they aren't necessarily the main character, though they often are, nor, no doubt, must they even invariably be one of the 'good guys', but I think they will reliably be among the most interesting.
anyways, kelly's done shopping and I gotta go. more later.
|Sunday, December 25th, 2011|
it's 9:48 in the am, and kris still hasn't gotten up to open his stocking. psssh, kids today. that's okay though, i've got christmas music playing on the big speakers and i'm cruising around the internets. thought i'd put up a quick lj post. we had a holiday party the other night, had way too much fun. troy and lindsey and sylwia were all in town from cali, as was matt from new york, so it was great to have all those people in one place getting drunk. i took a ton of pictures and got to relive the night the next morning by going through them. put up a good selection of the non-risque ones up on the facebook last night and got to wake up to a whole stream of 'x likes your photo' notifications. always like those.
last night was christmas at jen and erik's with mom and larry. excellent roast, i made a really good salad, we even went for a walk, which was nice. today we're heading up to bellingham for more fambly time. not sure if we're staying up there tonight or not, but either way i have tomorrow off work, so i'm good. love those four day weekends.
aw, here's eartha kitt singing santa baby. it's a tough toss-up for me between this one and madonna's version. each has a place in my heart.
anyways, merry christmas, 2011.
|Thursday, December 8th, 2011|
fer reals? i don't believe it. i just commented on someone's livejournal post and it got me all nostalgic for the good old days. i think somebody said one time that nostalgia is an unattractive sentiment. my dad just wrote me that he finished my fourth book. liked it. he only started it a week ago or so, so he whipped through it pretty quick. sent a few notes in the meantime about how he was enjoying it. said the ending kinda snuck up on him, though, which is something i've heard before, and gets me doubting. did i precipitate the big final conflagration to abruptly? or am i reading too much into that? do i want, in general, to err on the side of a full, fleshy climactic portion, such that you wouldn't be able to miss the fact that you're coming up on the end? or should i be pleased that the reader is left with the sensation is wanting more, provided, of course, the ending doesn't at the same time feel unfinished? the lazy asshole in me leans towards the latter, naturally.
all of this reminds me that i should put together a stock query letter based on this fourth book and do another round of sending it out to literary agents. i need an agent to find me an agent. can you imagine being a novelist for a living? shit. or how about quitting this job? man, how would that feel?
|Wednesday, December 7th, 2011|
this place. well, work is crazy insane right now. as in like lots to do and stuff. meh. we've got an intern right now that will (hopefully) be taking this one big huge thing off my plate that was added to my plate a few months ago and has since metastasized, and indeed just recently exploded in my, and by extension the company's, face because it turned out i wasn't staying as on top of things as it turns out one ought. lesson learned and all that, but fortunately those above me in the old hierarchy didn't lose faith in my awesomeness so much as come to grips with the fact that it's ridiculous to expect me to be able to handle this new big huge thing while at the same time
doing all those other things that used to comprise my job, all of which are still, you know, my job. so that makes me feel good, and this new person is even occupying a position analogous to an assistant to yours truly, which nudges me in the direction of what is my ultimate career goal, depressing as this may be, namely corporate management.
unfortunately, at the moment, the new person is only half-time, and wouldn't be starting full time until the beginning of the year, and even that is only if both the company and this person decide the fit is good, which is no guarantee. and the learning curve for this stuff is kinda ridiculous, especially given the fact that i'm having to create a system by which to track everything on the fly, if you will, and half of it still lives in my head at this point, so while the promise (okay promise is a little strong) of help in the somewhat near future is heartening, and the show of faith by management is reassuring, and the prospects for my occupational future job-title-wise are looking up, i'm still having to do a whole shitty ass-ton of work, so, you know, the phrase 'cold comfort' does spring to mind, if you know what i mean.
sigh, what else. i'm working on a new novel, and this one is taking a decidedly different direction than any of the previous four. i kinda feel like the last one, or perhaps more the last two, were me achieving the genre i was shooting for sufficiently for me to move on. like i went there, tried to do it, fumbled around a few times, finally nailed it to a greater or lesser degree, and now want to try something new. also i was reading 'infinite jest' (yes, again) when i started this latest project, and david foster wallace's style makes rather more of a contribution to what i've got going than i really feel comfortable with. i'm trying not to worry about this too much, since (i tell myself) there is something i want to do, writing-wise, that lives on the other side of me aping dfw, and (i pray to myself), i'm actually already more than halfway past said aping, howeversomuch the usual capering demons of doubt and self-derision dance their merry way about me. i'm now reading 'the satanic verses', and rushdie indulges himself in similar orgies of clause-heavy sentences and brow-wrinkling circumlocutions, so i can reassure myself that it is not only dfw my language in this latest project is taking after. the drugs and alcohol are harder to explain, except insofar as i've limited myself thus far to squeaky clean characters in a lot of ways, which is in itself a refusal to face reality. but, again, i feel like i need to travel this path to sort of push out the boundaries of the space in which i can work. (truly, i haven't even pushed them as far as i secretly know i will ultimately need to push them. i'm not exactly sure what i mean by this, and don't even want to think about it very much, but it feels true.)
anyways, i'm itchy to write. last night kelly didn't have rehearsal so i didn't do my usual tuesday night go-to-the-tin-hat-and-write thing, instead we got a christmas tree and lights and stuff and watched some tv, which was good. it was nice to have a little family time/date night. but i really do feel the hole that's a result of not having had a chance to write in over a week now. i keep having ideas of things the characters can do, ways their relationships with each other can change, and in fact, for christ's sake, tintillating anticipatorinesses of the fact that two of the main characters are just about to meet, as in that's where i left the story last time, they're just about to meet and have their first interaction with each other and christ i wish that was what i was doing tonight.