Ask not for whom the fly buzzes.

Frog

I typed in “Oops” into the search engine on the page I use to find photos for this blog and the above picture was one of the ones that came up. I realize that this is the second post in a row that is based pretty much solely on photos I thought were interesting and I realize that this is pretty backwards as far as things go but I’ve got a deadline on Thursday, a story that isn’t a story, and I’m basically relying on magic and caffeine to somehow pull everything together for me while I switch off my brain and coast along. So this is what you get.

Really there wasn’t any chance of me doing anything but downloading this picture and throwing it on here once I saw it. I mean, look at that frog. Really look at him. I’ve never seen anything that captures my mindset while trying to work on a story more completely. I am that frog. Thoughtful. Precariously balanced. Green with orange hands.

And when you really think about it, aren’t we all, deep inside, frogs lost in thought sitting on lengths of chain?

I know I am.

Completely Irrelevant

Northern Lights

Not much to say about this story. It’s coming in chunks. It’s almost like I’m interviewing a bunch of different people to learn about this character that’s forming. Only having it broken down into separate pieces doesn’t add anything, I’m pretty sure it actually detracts from the overall story, so I’ll have to sew this all together. Whatevs.

The place I go to get photos to put at the tops these posts always has some pretty cool pics on their main page. One of today’s was of the Northern Lights. Am I the only one who is always completely and utterly stunned by these things? I’m told they form because charged particles from space collide with molecules in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Right. Because that explains it.

Also I bought some Bon Jovi on I-tunes earlier. Somehow a good Jersey boy like me has gone an astoundingly long time without replacing his dubbed cassette tape of Slippery When Wet that was lost years ago. So this marks the first time I’ve listened to Livin’ on a Prayer while not at a bar in about a decade. I find it funny that the song now sounds strange to me if I’m not screaming along to it drunkenly at the top of my lungs.

Salinger Challenger

Catcher in the Rye

I think I’ve got my story.

I’ll rephrase that. I know I’ve got my story I just have no idea how it’s going to all come together. I’m a huge J. D. Salinger fan and a favorite of mine has always been Seymour: An Introduction. Granted, Salinger only has four books out there, so saying that Seymour is one of my favorites doesn’t exactly mean a lot. Even if it was my most hated of all J. D. Salinger works it would still rank fourth.

But that’s not the point. The point is that Seymour is a first person rambling by Buddy Glass about his brother, Seymour Glass. The Glass family appear all over the place in Salinger’s work and by picking over his stories and books you can begin to compile a family portrait that’s one of the more amazing things ever created in literature. But, to return to my initial point, Seymour: An Introduction is a rambling first person narrative where Buddy tries to explain his brother. And that’s where this week’s story is coming from.

I’m not saying I’m trying to channel Salinger by any means, or that I’ll be anywhere near the mood or themes of the Glass family, but writing a character in first person trying to piece together someone close to them sounded interesting, so I thought I’d try it.

Oh, and if you recall, way back when I started writing “Second Choice” I mentioned that I had started out with nothing but a guy at a wedding. Then things took a different turn, but I think if I had turned left instead of right with that story I would have wound up somewhere close to this week’s story. Point being, once again I’m starting with nothing but a guy at a wedding.

Absolutely Scrabulous

 Scrabble

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I signed up for Facebook.  I’m not entirely sure I get it yet.  I mean, I get it, you find friends and send them messages and do other things, but I don’t exactly get it.  Or maybe I do get it and this is all it is.  Now that I think about it I’m not entirely sure what it is that I was expecting to get.

That’s not the point.  The point is that I’ve discovered that you can play Scrabble via Facebook with your friends.   Which is a wonderful option to have right up until the point where you find yourself playing seventeen games simultaneously and you don’t have time to think anymore and all you can see in your waking and sleeping life is tiles tiles and more Scrabble tiles.

Technically you can play at your leisure.  The games can last a few days or even a few weeks as you play a turn then go about your life then check back in a few days later and play your next turn.  Technically.  What’s I’ve found happening is that I’m treating it more like a puzzle than a game.  It’s more fun to try and make words out of my tiles which means that as soon as I get bored I play some crappy word in order to get fresh new tiles that I can then try to make a great word out of.  Basically I’m chasing the huge score instead of playing the game at hand.  Thus I start multiple games so I’ll have more racks of tiles to churn through.  Thus it’s more about getting rid of the boring old tiles I have and getting shiny new tiles that then become boring and that I then have to get rid of.  Some people might say this is somewhat compulsive.  To them I reply, “Oh yeah? (left toe, right toe, light switch on, light switch off) Who are you calling compulsive?”

Or maybe I just have no story and am trying to come up with an excuse as to why I currently losing every game of Scrabble I’m playing.

Because I don’t feel like researching Mahjong and hot flashes, that’s why.

 Mahjong

Things are running much smoother today.   Plus I got to eat Taco Bell for dinner.  I know that doesn’t sound that amazing but for some reason in Manhattan it’s surprisingly hard to do.  It’s like some sort of reverse convenience curse; I can get a Reuben sandwich at four in the morning, but most of the major fast foods are scattered pretty thin.  Except McDonald’s.  That I can get anywhere.  But if I want to eat at one of the other fast food chains I have to wait until I have an errand to run in a far away neighborhood and then plan a meal around it.  That either strikes you as delightfully childish or you threw up six sentences ago when I first mentioned Taco Bell.

I also got to do plenty of people watching as I wandered about.  It’s getting cold and it’s getting dark and that makes sitting on a bench and watching people more difficult.  Nobody walks and talks in the winter; they huddle and run.  I might have to start hanging out in bars by myself.  Or there’s the bus.  The bus is wonderful people watching.  And it doesn’t make me hungover.

At any rate, I saw one girl, her hair was moppishly short and she was somewhat elfish around the ears and nose with a Burberry collar on a camel hair jacket.   She looked sort of like what the lead in romantic comedies looks like when the lead in a romantic comedy is supposed to be a mousy librarian, even though I’ve never seen a librarian who was a day under eight hundred.  I’m not sure what, but I think there’s something there.  I need to bat her around in my head for awhile and see what pops out.  That probably didn’t come out right.

And then, on the bus, there were these two older women.  I think they were eighty.  Maybe they were fifty.  I’m not real good at guessing ages, but they were clearly old friends and had planned on meeting on the bus and one accidentally got on the wrong bus and they laughed and talked and poked fun at each the whole ride.  It was nice.

Completely unwritable by me, but nice.

Probably won’t be winning any awards for this riveting post.

Galaxy

I’ll be honest.  I’ve got nothing.  I’ve got nothing as far as the current story goes.  I’ve got nothing interesting to say about my day.  And I’ve certainly got nothing interesting happening to me today that relates in any way to the current story.  Today was simply a blank spot in the space time continuum.  I’m just sitting here with nothing inside my head slowly working my way through my DVR.  I can’t even remember what I had for dinner.

Actually, this is starting to sound a little weird.  I think maybe I need a weekend off.  Two weekends ago was a bachelor party, last weekend was the marathon and I also accidentally wound up playing beer pong.  Also it was Clock Day, so it’s starting to get dark out at like three in the afternoon.

Basically I think my own mental clock has yet to reset.  Until then I’ll just be wandering through the stratosphere, rather lost, without a story to tell.  Thank god my deadline isn’t for another ten days.  Or nine days.  Or whatever it is.

Boy, they just keep coming, don’t they.

Drowning

That didn’t last too long. I was riding a pretty nice wave there for a few days. As I mentioned, I managed to pull that last story together on nothing but two nights and a prayer. It felt good. It gave me a huge boost and made me feel like the next few stories would have to be absolute cake walks by comparison.

Only now the days are starting to tick by and I’m realizing…just barely…that I’ve got another deadline coming up on me and that I’ve got nothing whatsoever in the way of an idea for a story. And, ironically enough, I’m finding that because that last story was such a wing and a prayer sort of arrival, that I’m sort of lost as to how to go about forming this current one. These things keep coming one after the other and I tend to look back at the previous story for clues as to how on earth I do this. Anything farther back than that and it gets too blurry to be of use. Which means that part of me thinks that waiting until next Tuesday night and then deciding to completely revamp everything I’ve come up with until that point is the best way to go about writing a story. Which is not something I want to go through again.

So, yeah, I’ve got nothing. But at least I know I’ve got nothing and I’m not floating around in the ether under the impression that this will all magically come together. Back to work I suppose.

The stories are coming alive!

Marathon

Today (Sunday) was the New York City Marathon. I love this day. I’m not sure what it is but it combines perfect fall weather with shouting at strangers and walking around Manhattan. Also, for reasons I still don’t understand, the bars are always full. I seriously don’t get it. Then again, I didn’t understand why watching a marathon would be the slightest bit interesting until the first time I did it. Since then I’ve been hooked. I don’t know if it’s the crowds or the large scale spectator sport aspect or if it’s just the novelty of the whole thing or what but this is one of my favorite Manhattan days of the year.

That was why it was so much fun to write one of my stories with today as the setting. Sometimes I know when I’ve got a good idea and sometimes I can get a notion of whether or not I’ve written well and executed my stories the way I wanted to. But then there are times when you get to just lovingly play around with something that you know is special and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Sometimes it’s a character you can’t get enough of or a bit of research you stumbled onto that you couldn’t wait to put into a story and sometimes it’s a setting. New York City Marathon was an example of the latter and it was a novel experience today to walk around that actual setting and ponder what things I had captured well and what things I had messed up.

Not sure what my point is here. Just that this project continues to provide surprising ways of entertaining me.

Number 10

Ten

That last one took a lot out of me.  Sort of.  Actually, to tell the truth, it added a lot to me.  Or something.  Basically between the bachelor party and the three day hangover and the anxiety that I wasn’t going to meet my deadline things got a little rough there towards the end.  At one point I thought it was time to call it quits on this whole project.  This seems bad, but the odd result is that since I did manage to finish the story I’m actually feeling ridiculous amounts of hubris.  For now.  This might just be the normal level of high I get after meeting my deadline.  I can’t tell.  I know that meeting these deadlines is a very good feeling but it’s sort of hard to compare the post-deadline feelings for the various stories since I don’t have a post-deadline-feelingometer handy.

Anyways, I’m curious to know how this last one turned out.  As you may have noticed, I attempted to lump the Matthew and Epp stories together over on the category list.  They will now be labeled as “Part 1,” “Part 2,” etc.  This, as far as the whole site goes, I’m pretty sure does nothing but add to the overall confusion, but the alternative was just to have random stories in the category list be part of a this larger story and I think this just seemed better.   With the addition of this third story it’s pretty safe to say I’ll be revisiting them again and again with a larger overarching story in mind so it’s probably best to just start sticking them all together now.

I had something witty and insightful to say here but I can’t remember what.  Nor will I try very hard to remember.  It’s my night off.