Working Wednesday, September 7, 2022

I’m working at loving autumn which, while not quite here yet, is heading our way in the northern hemisphere. Aside from raining constantly for the past three days, it’s been glorious here. Also cooking again–for awhile there all I did was type and sleep–so making stir fry and spaghetti was a real thrill (not exaggerating). I bought an egg bite maker–I was intrigued, okay?–and I’ll be playing with that. And I’m hauling trash out of here like there’s no tomorrow. While typing a lot.

So what did you do this week?

Happiness is a Rewatch

We talk about rereading all the time in here, but this past two weeks I’ve been rewatching. For some reason, I stopped watching TV and movies the past couple of years. It wasn’t a decision, I didn’t decide I was too good for film, I just lost interested in that kind of story. But this past two weeks I’ve been catching up on things I’d watched before, mystery (The Art of Crime), fantasy (Doctor Who), home improvement (Love It or List It), just a catch all of comfort re-viewing. I’m looking at Legends of Tomorrow, Person of Interest, Leverage, all kinds of favorites along with suspiciously eyeing new shows that I might possibly consider while I’m writing the series-that-will-never-end (we’re contemplating a fourth book maybe). But mostly I am finding a great deal of happiness in revising old favorites. Doctor Who, in particular, is hitting all my pleasure points because when that show was good, it was spectacular. Anybody here remember the one about Van Gogh? Bill Nighy at the end of that one still makes me weep. Incredible TV. And then there “Blink.” Or the first Matt Smith, an almost perfect hour of narrative. But I digress.

What made you happy again this week? Or for the first time?

Give Each Character the Best Lines

There’s an NYT article by Eleanor Stanford about her favorite line from “When Harry Met Sally . . .” that’s my favorite, too: “You’re right, you’re right, I know you’re right.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that (and thank you, Nora Ephron). The essay analyzes why, and it made me think about some of my other favorites. Like . . .

“That escalated quickly.”

“There’s no crying in baseball.” (Bob hit me with a variation on that one yesterday.)

“And someday you’ll die, and I’ll come to your funeral in a red dress!”

I was thinking about the reason some lines stick around and I think it’s because they reflect some universal feeling, encapsulate that feeling in few words–surprise, fear, rage–while recalling a moment in a film that just nailed that complex emotion. The way “I miscalculated” is not nearly as effective as “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Or “I’m done here” is not nearly as delicious “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Or “I love you madly for all time” is not nearly as knee-weakening as “I know.”

Your turn: What lines from books, movies, songs, whatever do you use because they shorthand the moment for you? Or for whatever reason?

This is a Good Book Thursday, September 1, 2022

So here we are in the first month of the new year. I know a lot of people foolishly believe the year starts on January 1, but anybody who has ever been to school knows that it starts the day after Labor Day with new pens and fresh paper and a great backpack, probably with candy hidden in it somewhere (although that may just have been me). And also books. Books are a big part of education. We should stop banning them. Just saying.

So what are you reading to start the new year?

This is a Good Book Thursday, August 25, 2022

I finally re-read Boyfriend Material, every bit as good as the first read, and started on Husband Material. Same great voice and characters but no push. I think it’s because the protagonist Luc isn’t in trouble and his goal–so far, to get a wedding venue for his best friend–is not pressing. He was so damaged in Boyfriend Material, and so was the Boyfriend, that I desperately wanted them to get together and take care of each other, which they did; wonderful book. Husband Material is more . . . pleasant. Luc’s voice continues to charm, but we’re losing the plot. It is entirely possible that this will pick up soon, but for right now, it reads more like fan service–yes, Luc and Oliver are still together and taking care of each other and moving toward Serious Actions–than like an important conflict for Luc. Luc appears to be safe and happy (YAY!) and suffering for others now (meh). I’d rather see Oliver’s Awful Parents get their comeuppance or Luc finally level his awful father (mom rocks, however) than watch Luc chase all over England to get Bridget a nice garden to get married in. Key requirement for fiction: the reader has to care a lot about what’s happening.

And lecture over. I’m still gonna finish that book.

What did you read this week?

Happiness is Somebody Else Coming in With a Brilliant Fix

I am basically a loner. I like doing things on my own, no help. But I’d been writing this book for years, trying to get a grasp on it, giving up and then trying again until finally I invited a collaborator in. Yesterday, that guy said, “You know this opening isn’t working”–of course I know, I just don’t know how to fix it–“so maybe we could try this . . .” and then he laid out this obvious although complicated solution. I have been trying to fix that damn opening for years, no exaggeration, and he just figures it out, writes an outline rejiggering scenes, and in one e-mail makes the book 100% better. I’m so happy I could sing, but that would be bad, so I’ll just sit here and chortle.

It’s good to work with other people. Must remember that.

So what made you chortle with happiness this week?