I’ve been reading Edmund Crispin–I’m going through a British mystery binge–and I’d forgotten how wonderfully off-the-wall Glimpses of the Moon is. The detective, Gervase Fen, wanders about an English village with his friend the Major and a confused journalist, idly questioning colorful locals about a murder that’s already been solved, carrying a pig’s head in a bag at all times, until he finally, on page 51, arrives home alone, and looks in the mirror: Continue reading
It’s the day after Memorial Day, which means it’s summer in America. It’s definitely balmy enough to be summer, even muggy, which bodes ill for August around here. My weeds are growing lustily, and my latest order from the plant people is sitting by my front door, so that’s my plan of attack for this week, along with unearthing my writing couch that’s been buried for over a year, making dog cookies, giving Mona and Veronica their baths and new collars (Milton got his yesterday), and finishing Nita.
What’re you working on?
ABC just canceled Roseanne after Roseanne Barr tweeted some truly despicable things, and I expect the free speech and censorship accusations to start shortly. So just to be clear, they didn’t quell her free speech, she can still say anything she wants. And they didn’t censor her show’s content, they canceled it because the show’s figurehead had become too toxic to support. They can do that. The idea that anybody can say anything and if there’s any blowback it’s censorship is not only ridiculous, it’s not even logical. You have the right to say anything you want. And then you have the responsibility to accept the consequences. The problem around here lately is that there hasn’t been much consequence to blatant racism and sexism since so much of it is coming from the White House. But they just arrested Weinstein and Barr lost her platform and I’m starting to feel better about my country.
ABC has done some dumb things in the past (they canceled The Middleman, the idiots) but this one is a smart thing.
I watched Justice League last month to see what all the DC/Marvel movie hoo-ra was about. For those of you not plugged into superhero-internet spasms, DC has all the truly Golden Age iconic heroes—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman—and is flailing at the box office, while Marvel has less universally known heroes—Ironman, Captain America, the Hulk—and is making money so fast it’s giving the industry a headrush. I don’t care about box office, I care about story, but I do think there’s often (not always) a strong correlation between good story and good profit, so I decided to do a compare-and-contrast, to look at Marvel’s big superhero team-up, The Avengers (2012) and DC’s team-up, Justice League (2017), to see why DC keeps falling on its face and Marvel usually (not always) kicks box office butt.
My thesis going in: It’s the story, stupid. My thesis after watching Justice League twice last month and The Avengers at least half a dozen times in the past six years: They’re the same damn plot, so it’s something beyond that.
Uh, that would be the writing.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say happiness is action-based, but I do think that what you do with your body has a huge impact on how you feel in your mind. I love stopping to cherish a moment, but making something also floods me with joy. As much as I complain about writing, when I finally get it right, it fills me with happiness, the same joy I get drawing, or watching crochet produce beautiful fabric, or even finally getting a room in this house cleaned out. There’s a lot to be said about the happiness of accomplishment, and it’s even happier if the process is joyful, too.
How did you make happiness this week?
Today is Dracula Day. The idea of the vampire has been around for thousands of years, but we can thank Bram Stoker in 1897 for this particular bloodsucker. A German Expressionist filmmaker tried to rip off Stoker by making a Dracula movie about “Count Orlok” ( (that’s Max Schrek looking a little pale in the photo to the left), but since all they did was change the name of the vampire and the term “vampire” to “nosferatu,” they lost in court and all copies of the movie were ordered destroyed. Yeah, sure, it was a movie about Dracula. Did you put a stake through its heart? No? You can watch it on Amazon Prime right now. And then, of course, there’s the flood of stage and film bloodsuckers that followed, not to mention tragic romantic heroes, some of whom sparkle. My favorite vampire hunter is Buffy, of course, and she does meet Dracula and does a fan squee before she stakes him (several times, he’s tough to put down, but she’s persistent, so he eventually gives up and goes away). But for Favorite Bad Dracula movie, you cannot beat: Continue reading
Today is Towel Day, in honor of Douglas Adams’ injunction in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to never forget your towel (also, don’t panic). It is also Wear the Lilac Day, in honor of Terry Pratchett’s Watch tradition and to support Alzheimer’s Research, Pratchett’s cause.. Mostly it’s just to remember Adams and Practchett, two very smart men who looked at reality with skepticism and wit and decided the worlds inside their heads were better. They were right.
. I am grateful for their books because, as one of Pratchett’s characters (and my personal fave) Susan Sto Helit once thought, “. . . this she knew was a far more accurate way of looking at it — the book was true and reality was lying.”
Wear the Lilac Towel today and read Adams and Pratchett; what’s reality ever done for you?
How I managed to get to my advanced age without reading Colin Watson’s Flaxborough mysteries is beyond me; I even did my first master’s thesis on mysteries (“‘A Spirit More Capable of Looking Up To Him’: Women’s Roles in Mystery Fiction from 1845 to 1920,” don’t look it up, it’s terrible). Then the first one showed up as a Book Bub special and I was hooked. Just finished the seventh one, lovely real old-fashioned British murder mystery, not at all stodgy, in fact pretty wry while still being comfortably cozy. It’s been a drizzly week today, perfect for reading about quirky death in quirky small villages. Then I went to download the seventh and found out it’s not in e-book form until the 31st, and the publication of the rest is being strung out even longer, into July. You know, these are old books. Why not put them all out at once? Annoying, but Watson is worth the wait.
So what are you reading?
I’m still slowly digging out the side yard. The front yard is a meadow which I like but which gives my very nice neighbor across the street pain (he has miles of carpet-like grass), so I ordered a mounding daisy and some lithodora for there. And then there’s the house and the breakfast scene (ARGH).
So what have you been doing?
I just got my four-week report from Grammarly. It said I wrote 344,940 words this month. A novel (according to my contracts) is 100,000 words. I wrote three and a half novels this month, evidently mostly in rewrites of the first part of Nita’s Act One (the only doc I’d uploaded), e-mails, texts, blog posts, and comments. What’s really weird is that I deleted the Grammarly app, so it’s become an invasive app, like butterfly bush, sneaking in everywhere. Continue reading