Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fawlty Towers Information Specialist


We've been watching Fawlty Towers on DVD. Hilarious acting. I didn't know that the character John Cleese played was based on a rude innkeeper that he met while still with Monty Python.

Basil Fawlty is a piece of work. And i believe i met a soulmate via phone with a local police department a few moments ago. I wanted the technical name for what, after pulling several teeth, I learned was a Tactical Radio. I spoke with an Information Specialist, who was tight lipped, somewhat snarky and not really interested in giving out information. Reminded of Basil Fawlty, and many bankers.

Information Specialist? What might this prune have said, if she were merely a generalist?


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Current Project


Awhile back I began reading various publishing industry-related blogs. I recommend that anyone with any interest whatsoever in publishing read these blogs as much as you can. There are professionals who are willing to share. Take advantage.

For instance, you never know when a phrase might trigger an idea. In my case, I was reading Barabara Poelle's entries on Dead Guy, and found an account of a scene in her office when one of Barbara's colleagues got off the phone with an editor, who had said about a work of fiction, "it's great writing, but it has to be more than great writing."

The notion that even fiction should have platform is not at all pleasant, particularly to those of us who like to make things up.

Now, I'm 20,000 words into a story about a dreadful writer (DW) who receives by mistake an email from a literary agent that says, "this is great writing. But there has to be more than great writing."

At first, DW believes he will gain the notoriety he thinks he needs by becoming a serial arsonist on Long Island, who sets off an explosion and then shoots 6 firefighters in their legs. That's his signature.

Part of DW's "plan" is to send notes that announce his intentions to a writer at an Islip newspaper, which DW believes will be revealed in the paper, and, in essence, begin his publicity campaign because of its local angle and then be picked up by the bigger markets. The Suffolk County Police Department, though, puts a lid on those notes, as to not create panic.

Meanwhile the newspaper writer (NW) goes to Southside Hospital to interview the firefighters, one of whom will not likely walk again. The injured firefighter's young son asks NW if he will find out who shot his dad, and NW says that he will, and realizes that he's telling the truth. He will do whatever it takes to bring the arsonist/shooter to justice.

When the use of the notes fails to introduce his "signature,"  the DW turns serial arsonist/killer, targeting various celebrities on Long Island. One of those celebrities happens to be the newspaper writer's ex-wife,  an author of a best-selling cozy, who is also dating the literary agent who inadvertently sent the wrong email to DW.

NW discovers that his ex-wife, whom he still loves, is on the hit list, and so is he, for not publishing the notes. Now, NW is not just morally involved, he's in danger, as is his ex-wife, the literary agent, and the other famous people on the list.

20G is in first person. This project is in third person, and I'm really enjoying the freedom in regard to different locations without the lead character having to be in every scene, and even better, that the point of view can change, which I believe enhances this project.


Still Alive


Carolina scored in the final second to advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT. Thrilled for the players, who were animated and happy.  Nice to see something really good happen for that group.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

On the outside


Reality shoved its nose and ass into prime time. It can't be avoided.  The "real" basketball tournament begins today, and so do the metaphors.

The NIT is like one of those inflatable rubber dolls that sailors have been known to take to sea. The one they sent me is royal blue. As Hammer would say, "Can't touch this."

The NCAA, on the other hand, is a Vogue model, and like Orbison's fantasy ... "she's walking back to me." It's all about hope, and the dream of dancing until balloons fall from a light blue sky.

When you wake the next morning, it wasn't a dream. It's real. You've got a smile, a throbber and and an ex-Vogue model. You read the first of 987 newspaper stories about the Tar Heels and their march to the trophy. Stacks of papers from all across the country on the floor. Your new pal brings coffee. Emails, Faxes. Magazines. TV is blaring. The happiest of all happy days. Fonzie on meth and opium. Not quite up, nowhere near down. Perfect.

This year?  Fuck this year. It feels like we're trapped on the other side, looking through the wire. No passport. No ID. No chance to get across. I can see America, but I just can't get in.

The one time I drove through El Paso, Texas, it was just before dawn on I-10 heading west to Phoenix. I had seen lights to my left in the distance for many miles, and when it became bright enough to see, I saw the fence. Past the fence there were shacks that reminded me of mining villages in Clint Eastwood films. There's an Embassy Suites that's perched right on the edge, looking over the fence. And finally, I realized I was looking at Mexico. 

It was the third world over there, with a view of paradise just past the wire. Not that the Embassy Suites is the promised land, far from it, but if you're in a shack without power, that hotel is definitely an upgrade.

This year it feels like I'm sitting in that fucking hut, gazing through the fence at the college girls in the Embassy Suites pool. They look good, too.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's going on?


March is wide open this year for UNC basketball fans. Big trouble in that locker room.

Major sigh.

Have almost finished the 12th Jack Reacher novel, and I've inhaled this series in the past few weeks. Have read them in sequence and have the 13th ready to go, and will probably pay big bucks for the brand new one. It's nice to catch up.  Where are the movies? ????? The films should have happened.

Reacher is the luckiest man on the planet.  EVERY female cop he meets is in her late 20s/early 30s. How does he do it?

Obviously, it's a fascinating series, and, really, the most important thing is: Don't piss Reacher offEver.

I saw a post on Barbara Poelle's blog about "great writing not being enough." That nugget has sparked an idea for a project, which I am happy to say is starting to take some shape.