So I don’t want to write the first sex scene between Nick and Nita. I need to know if I’m just being lazy/a coward/prudish (the last is not likely), or if it’s really unnecessary. Plus this first scene is not very good even for a discovery draft. Actually the second one isn’t very good, either. ARGH. So the first of the scenes below happens after the nightclub stuff I posted months ago. Then Nita takes the dog out in the next scene, omitted here, and Bad Things Happen, and then she talks to Max in the bar before she goes back up and falls asleep, also omitted here. She does not mention the sex in either scene nor does she think about it because both of those scenes are in Max’s POV. The second scene below is the fourth scene in that sequence, when she goes downstairs the next morning and runs into Rab. The question is, does skipping the sex feel like a copout? Tell me no. Also tell me why the first scene is so awful. And the second. Well, you know, the usual.
I’m almost done with a ridiculous hat and scarf that nobody will wear but that makes me happy. Also I wrote several thousand words that are mostly Nita screaming, “WTF?” and fixing things that go bump on the island What did you make this week?
Continuing my foraging through 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, #36 is “Laugh.” (Title reference is here, for non Banzai fans.) Evidently, the act of laughing makes you happy or at least happier. Since I already knew that laughing out loud reduces stress and boosts the immune system, I am not surprised about this happiness thing. I think the key is the difference between being amused and actually laughing out loud so that you can hear yourself. I’ve been amused by a lot of what I’ve read this morning but I didn’t laugh out loud until I hit the comments on the Alex Jones piece on the AV Club, where the commenters took up Jones’s deranged scream about liberals ending the world on Oct. 6 and began to organize the pot luck, worrying about buses, and thanking Jones for reminding them that the New Zealand he was speaking of was in the Pacific (to differentiate it from all the other New Zealands . . . ). Also, the Illuminati bring their own crystal, the bastards. Other sure fire laugh-out-louds for me are most of the farce Airplane!, the spit-take in Spaceballs (it’s at the 3:20 mark), and Mildred Natwick rolling down the stoop stairs in the otherwise awful Barefoot in the Park. See also Bob Newhart’s psychiatrist and Tommy Smother’s pumas.
So what made you laugh out loud this week? Or just made you happy? We do those moments, too.
Today is Iguana Awareness Day. Iguanas are aggressive reptiles that bite and lash with their strong tails. They’re evidently very cute as babies (what isn’t cute as a baby?) but then they grow to be six feet long. Which made me think of all the other things that I’ve brought home because they were cute/beautiful/desirable in some way and that then metaphorically grew to be six feet long and not desirable. Like the book I’m working on which was supposed to be a simple story about a small town girl who fell for the Devil and is now Game of Thrones in New Jersey. Or the storage benches I bought to store my yarn before I remembered I don’t have any place to put storage benches (two are at my front door right now). Or possibly my ex-husband. I do not count the amazingly cute dogs I rescued because they did not grow to be six feet long and are still cute, but I think my yarn stash counts. Now that I’m aware of it, I’m calling it my Yarn Iguana. Perhaps you also have a situation at your house that you were not aware was an iguana, something you liked that you brought home and now are looking at with hopeless horror as it takes up way too much space and metaphorically bites you on the butt. I understand some children are like that.
Krissie and I have been e-mailing about sex in our current WiPs (I know, you’re not surprised). She’s dealing with button flies and I’m trying to figure out plot arcs, which tells you all you need to know about how we write. But underneath that and the place the conversation eventually went is the role that sex plays in story. Krissie, if I’m understanding her correctly, feels it’s central to life in general and therefore central to story (not the most important thing in life, but crucial). I feel it’s an action and therefore illustrative of character and relationship arc, but not central to anything, even story (unless you’re writing erotica, in which case, yes, central). Add to that, I really hate writing sex scenes which is why I think of them of scenes during which sex happens. And yet here I am with four sex scenes (maybe0 in Nita’s book. Argh.
I’m getting burned out on mysteries, so of course that’s when the NYT publishes an anonymous op ed explaining why the USA is going down the tubes. The big mystery is who wrote it? I don’t care. If you’re going to hide under a bush shouting bad things, you have no credibility, and this opinion is from somebody who believes everything in the op ed. Anonymous accusations: I hate ’em. So I re-read Pratchett’s The Truth and felt better when William defeated his treacherous old father, the narcissistic and arrogant traitor. Good does triumph over evil, I’m sure of it. I just wish Good wasn’t taking the long route. And then I wrote some more of Nita’s story, and let’s face it, I’m brilliant. (This conviction comes and goes, so I’m enjoying it while it’s here. Stay tuned for “I Suck At Writing and Should Eat Worms and Die.”)
So what did you read this week? (Something you wrote counts.)
How can it be September already? And how can it be September and still be this hot? I’m confused. Still September is September so this week I am embracing fall cleaning and once more diving into the mess that is my home plus the mess that is my book. After a splendid Monday writing–3500 words by the time I went to bed–Tuesday was nada because I suddenly had Qualms about the whole story. I find that Qualms are not conducive to getting any kind of real work done, so my goal for today is to become Qualm Free. And also clean house and write.
Our Melissa Yi has a thriller coming out Sept 6, and it sounds like a nail-biter.
A Killer Flight With No Way Out
When Dr. Hope Sze flies to Los Angeles to reunite with her soul mate, she expects Botoxed blondes with Brazilian wax jobs, not terror at 35,000 feet in the air. Yet on their way home, with 1000 miles to go and nowhere to land, she and Dr. John Tucker must strive to save one man’s life.
Hope and Tucker have no surgical equipment. No surgeon on board. And, as first year family medicine residents, almost no experience. But right this second, they’ll try anything.
Especially Hope, because minutes before, she might have accidentally helped to kill the man gasping at her feet.
One of my favorite truisms is “Perception is reality.” That is, how we perceive something becomes Truth in our minds, even though the person standing next to us perceives the same thing differently and therefore is standing in a different reality from us. In the same way–according to this happiness book I’m paging through– perception is happiness or misery. Or as the book put it, “It’s not what happened, it’s how you think about what happened.” I can look back at all the mistakes I made, all the people who treated me badly when I was younger and think, “What a gormless victim I was, shame on me,” or I can look back and think, “Damn, that girl was a survivor who never quit fighting. Go, Young Jenny.” The first one makes me resentful and ashamed and miserable. The second one makes me want to go back and high five that kid and tell her how proud I am of her. I like the second one; it makes me happy. I can look out at the meadow that is now my lawn and be ashamed because I haven’t mowed it in months, or I can look out at it and see the butterflies and the bees and the bright yellow wildflowers that have taken over my hedge and think how much more beautiful it is than lawn. I’m going with the butterflies. I can look at Nita and think about how weird it is and my editor is going to freak and my career is probably over, or I can look at it and think it’s more than half done and it has some of the best writing I’ve ever done and it’s a good book, damn it. Yeah, I’m going with “It’s a good book, damn it.” Perception is happiness.