You Cannot Make Sense Of This

The title is your fair warning.

Yes, I am here because I have nowhere else to go. You knew what this was. Do not be petty, just accept me when I randomly appear, and don’t make a big deal about how long I’ve been gone. That’s all I ask.

So, basically I am that dog in a room on fire. Like, outwardly, I am an object completely at rest, and then internally I am that spastic cat on the bed. (I’m apparently Gina Linetti and am unable to express myself without invoking comics, gifs or emojis.)

Serious question, for the writers among us. Why. Why do we do it. Not the writing – that’s life and necessary. I mean the part where we do a month-long marathon where we’re just like creatively bingeing. We know – WE. KNOW. – what comes after.

During binge:

DanceLiv

Moments after you write “The End”:

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I don’t know, I couldn’t really find a picture of Kerry Washington looking ravaged, y’all. Basically she just did a color run, but whatevs. Anyway, my point is I am internally destroyed. And we know this happens. Like, seriously, the come down is the worst because my brain is still circling that story and even though I have another project I’m super obsessed with, I know I’m not there yet.

But no, this time’s different anyway; there’s a new, fun layer. It’s called waiting. LOL, waiting is not new, querying and revising and writing in general is totally all about waiting, but this is waiting for things that are going to be on shelves and sent out for public consumption and it’s oh so quiet, Bjork, but like maybe not in an hour or so? So my brain wants to stay on alert and therefore is ravaged, preparing, plotting other project, listening, stopping suddenly in the middle of conversations and then the other party’s like, ….are you okay? And then I lose my train of thought because what were we talking about?

AND I’m keeping secrets so I can’t even bother you incessantly about the one thing I can occasionally get my brain to run with.

So anyway.

This is fine

 

Speed-Dating With Bethany

As an aside, I considered reusing the blog title “Rando Calrissian” because I just really feel like it didn’t get enough affection and is one of the most underrated of my clever blog titles. Shoulda timed it to coincide with episode VII. The following are equally random tidbits*, in an attempt to reconnect with you, dear reader. The things I do for England.

(1) Yesterday, during our Montreal Sunday Funday – which is what I call our weekly return to the city for church and fellowship…because I’m not great with titles *all the time* – I took a bite of chicken salad and immediately had a full sensory memory of the last time I’d eaten chicken salad. Which was like twenty years ago. I am 33 and feel it is far too early for this sort of phenomenon.

(2) Relatedly, I awoke with the theme to L.A. Law in my head.

So. That’s…

Yeah.

(3) I will be getting cover samples/images any day now for THE LAST LIFE OF AVRILIS, which you should know by now is linked to the Goodreads page where you can add it to your TBR and eventually your eyeballs, and I. Am. Excite.

Beyond excite.

I had a phone conversation with Georgia McBride, you guise. And lemme just sum it up thusly:

(4) This season’s marathon of the original Planet of the Apes franchise has left me with three truths thus far – because full disclosure, Ezra and I haven’t watched #5 yet, but will today! I do not apologize for how much space will now be devoted to talking PotA.

I will never apologize.

(4.1) The 2nd movie – Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the one in which a strange subterranean enclave of telekinetic radioactive humans worships a bomb and which includes an unnecessarily long “church” scene complete with organ and hymnal – which I would have *EASILY* said was my lowest ranking in previous seasons, actually went up in rating, if not ranking. I AM AS SHOCKED AS YOU ARE.

(4.2) The 3rd movie – Escape from the Planet of the Apes, in which Zira and Cornelius come from the future to 1971 and are first the toast of the town and then, well, not – remains the absolute highlight of the franchise. Period. I realize this doesn’t sound like new news, but it was confirmed. Favorite.

(4.3) The 4th movie – Conquest for the Planet of the Apes, in which Caesar begins the revolution in 1991 – tanked in my rating. Just tanked. I think due to the overall comparative strength of the story, I’d given them too great a pass on the complete and utter lunacy. No more.

But, you, beloved…

Yes, you, MacDonald. You were just grand.

(5) They opened a huge Dollarama on Queen Mary as soon as I left Montreal. Thanks a bunch, friends.

(6) There is no Popeye’s in Northcountry New York. The implications of which worked me into a nearly destructive lather at one a.m. Still adjusting to being back in the States, but nowhere near to what I’m accustomed. We’ll get through this together.

*If perchance you followed the link to Rando… you would know that my Planet of the Apes ….fixation, shall we say, is inescapable.

You Are Hearing Me Talk

There are things over which an author has no control. This is never more easily understood then when you are the author. Lately, there’s been at least one dust-up over something the author of a very popular series could not really be expected to change. Because, the “not in control” thing. But I guess some people think we’re just kidding.

Expectation:

Reality:

(But she looks comfy, tho.)

And so anyway, the point of all this is who knows what will be, but IF I were to see an audio rendition of The Last Life of Avrilis (guess where that links to… guess!), I have but one request. That the narrator be one of the following:

Pictures

To be fair, I think everything should be narrated by one or both of them. No. Not both. We would not survive it.

While, on deeper meditation, it seems strange to have a grown man narrate a novel with a young female protagonist written by a woman… I don’t know how to finish that sentence. Have you heard them speak?! Was your soul not awakened?! (Apparently I have no convictions and stand for nothing. Because I think this could still work.)

But on the off chance that either selection would be off-putting, I will also benevolently accept another superstar narrator, in the form of Meagan Good.

 

And Start Again At Your Beginnings

New book, new process. That is the apparent fact of my life as a writer. So despite that I’m writing a “sequel” – and you’re all, Bethany, why would you put that in quotations, and I’m all, Friend, I can’t really go into that – writing Avrilis 2.0 is another exercise in learning to write the book. And that’s not a bad or hard thing.

It’s exciting to me to figure out what I need and what I need to know to really start a project. Once I had my grid process for Avrilis 1.0 (whose Goodreads page I SHAN’T neglect to foist upon you from here on in, get used to it!), I thought that would be the key to all future projects.

Shuttup.

Anyway.

So I still have the chapter grid, altho the column functions are different now because I graduated from needing all of them (YAY improvement!) and also identified which ones I don’t really rely on (like “dialogue” became “highlights”), but I have disabused myself of “pantser” or even “plotter” in the sense that I often see it used.

Hello-My-Name-Is-Label-LB-1992

I have accepted how very much happens on the page. I imagine the writer who can completely plot out a novel and know down which rabbit holes her mind will go, and I think, how nice for her. Or something less committal and equally uninvested. The thing is, go, her. Do you, everybody. But I am very aware that anything I plot will end up sounding super boring or will be so far-fetched that I’d never get there organically once pen goes to paper. Or I’ll summarize a conflict in one sentence and be like, this is gonna bloom once I’m actually writing it! And either, nope, that was it, wasn’t as deep as you thought, or yep, there’s no logic to that. Too intentional.

SO! What worked/is working with this one: I wrote down the major things I knew would happen and estimated where in the book they would occur. (That’s something I’ve never done, btw, tho it feels closely related to word-count segmenting, which I did for This Is Not Heaven.) And then I worked my way back from the first such thing (I mean, the first chapter inciting incident notwithstanding), and voila. First five chapter outline, give or take.

But to be honest, this time the thing that made everything pop-pop! (isn’t it cuuuute how Magnitude went on to be Sid in Galavant, d’awwwwwwwwww)

– wait, where were we?

YES! So the thing that ended up being the MEAT? Totes not the list of big things or whatever the devil I was talking about here. It’s what happened off-camera (Bethany, you’re talking about a book. I know, shuttup.) and how people feel about it. Seems so DUH once it’s decided. But something was missing and trying to just plot out a book and think about the things that would happen and even KNOWING the things that would happen didn’t make it WORK.

All of which is to say, that column I didn’t need on a grid anymore… is basically what I just circuitously defined as being the thing I needed to know.

What Is Life

Today I have been tested by way of:

(1) Letting the landlord and a worker into my bathroom only to realize that my dog had apparently gotten into the trash and strewn all its contents throughout. And so, yes, humiliated that in their minds I live in a constant state of abject squalor, I locked myself in my bedroom for the duration.

(2) Literally feeling my pulse in an eyelid vein set to twitching by the torturously simple and redundant song of what I can only assume was a mentally enfeebled bird directly outside my window.

(3) (In a return to abject squalor:) Tugging the garbage bag out only to find that said bag is decidedly NOT Hefty so when I had adequately stretched out the top and momentarily set it down to get a second bag in which to encase it, this happened.

Cartoon approximation.

Ewwwww, garbage water!

All of which threatened to lead me here:

Because I am but flesh and blood.

And this is not how you treat a Thane of Whiterun!!!!!!!!!

Everything She Wants

It’s about that time, no?

::5 days pass::

::and then literally 3 weeks::

So yes, Jelena, the blogging got away from me. It would be easier if…. wow, that gif quickly becomes distracting… as I was saying: if I were an open book and could just tell you everything I’m doing, writing, et cetera, because the source material never ends. Mais alors. Instead, lemme tell you about the wonderfully random and completely inconsequential minutia of life.

So Josh and I are sitting in a doctor’s wait room this week and people-watching, as one does. First of all, I love the number of people who have a translator with them – and I mean that. I love living in culturally diverse places and what is more interesting to watch than the translator her/himself, navigating two cultures at once? I’ll tell you what. The obligatory old woman pretending to be slightly senile because she is here to win, kids.

Old Woman (OW) has arrived for her appointment.

Receptionist requests her medical card.

OW does not have.

Receptionist says she’ll reschedule her appointment.

OW will see doctor now.

Receptionist like, whu? Gimme the card then.

OW left the card at home. She sees doctor now.

Receptionist is tryna keep the bite out of her voice because the whole wait room can hear whether we want to or not and OW got salty immediatement. Receptionist insists that cards must be proffered.

OW: (verbatim) I don’t have it with me, what can we do? (Rhetorical) I’ll see doctor now.

OW steps. toward. hall.

Reception door opens, refusals are stated strongly.

OW does not understand what you are not understanding. She should’ve brought her card. She didn’t. She is not going home, y’all. She will see the doctor now. She will.

It’s at this point that 2nd receptionist decides to help out because perhaps his being a dude will change something?

It doesn’t.

OW figures out how to grease this wheel. Pulls out OPUS card. That one uses to ride public transportation.

Receptionists are silent. Because what?

OW: (verbatim) Visa. (Shows credit card… and then immediately puts it back in wallet.)

Receptionists are silent. Because where are we. What’s happening.

You guys I cannot wait to get to this age. Head full of white hair – seriously, her tress game was crushing it – and using a cane while simultaneously holding a huge parka, a purse, several bags and clearly this woman has her faculties is what I’m saying.

OW will TALK to the doctor. Final offer.

When the receptionists tell her the doctor is leaving for the day very soon they should really have anticipated her attempt to break for the hall again. They really should’ve. I did.

Receptionist AGAIN insists that OW will be rescheduled. At this point, OW’s indiscernible muttering is her strength. That and she clearly has nowhere else to be. She will stand at this counter all day.

Receptionist, loudly, because she knows that we know that she has been bested: Just have a seat.

I mean. Better luck next time, baby girl. OW knew what she came to do.

Two Things.

First this:

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You have to know your story and – if they’re separate – your concept. Otherwise, yes, belabored, it will be. So I’m finding that if I’m writing in short 50 to 100 word spurts (if you can call it that) and then needing space, there aren’t very many words allotted. As in, each one counts and the story is trying to be captured in few. Which is happening with the new story, which means adjusting the expectations and because I’m me and excel is my lifeblood, noting the day and change in tracking. What once I gauged at 4k is looking more and more like 1200, 1500 at the most. Feels right. And to this point, never have I thought a story would be shorter and it ended up longer.

Pretend that’s the first time I’ve posted that. Because GAH.

Second thiiiiiing.

What if there were a movie… for real fans?

[Distant stadium cheers]

What if – finally – it wasn’t just about the love of the game? But the love…of the people in the office, on the phone, talking about the people who might potentially play the game?

[Distant, slight confusion]

Now there is.

 

It’s not about playing or watching or even commentating on the game …anymore.

*Totally gonna watch it.

 

I Keep Saying I’ll Blog

Three Things Which Are True:

(1) I’ll never stop badmouthing George Orwell. *

(2) Never.**

(3) I’ve got work to do. (Wonderful, wonderful work.)

*I’m not saying my sentiments are new to you or this blog. I’m not even saying that’s the best article on the matter, it’s just the easiest one to find that refers to Orwell having reviewed Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. And I’m still indignant.

**As long as 1984 is on required reading lists and any list of well-received, impacting novels, I will continue to do so.

 

When I Come Around

Ezra was eating a banana. Whilst peeling it, he observed, “Peeling a banana is like saving the banana. It’s like something eated it and I’m saving it from the guy who ate it.” ~ Feb 1st, 2011

That was my peace offering. An Ezra-ism from two years ago. Poor little language-confused seven year old that he was. Adorabeezle.

So it feels like I owe you guys some big announcement. Or diatribe or rant, at least. And I have a few in mind – I watched After Earth and the super hainty attempt at covering up its M.Night connection was misplaced effort. The movie told on itself, IMMEDIATEMENT – but those are for another day. Just like, possibly, my ideas on Sleepy Hollow, Nicole Beharie’s apparent distrust of hair that originates in her own follicles (I’m increasingly judgey about this, given the alternatives she chooses/allows to be chosen), and the Ichabod Holmes attempt. Or the life being sucked from the Mindy Project and the way they almost lost me with that ridonkulously offensive “Christian pastor” boyfriend. I can’t even.

Come to think of, what have I been *doing*, people?? We need to talk, f’real, f’real.

For now, I leave you with a bit of wisdom from last night’s seriously serious dreams: You cannot quit at parenting; you can only fail.

O_O

Huh. I wonder if last night’s Nashville had anything to do with my dream’s subject matter.

Good questions, all.

In Face of Certain Defeat

Perhaps you haven’t discovered your favorite author until you feel – after reading their work – like you have nothing to say. Or nothing worth saying. In written word. Which is the vehicle said author used and therefore one that you could not possibly wield to any estimation of success.

I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

All I know is, I thought I couldn’t love someone as much as or more than Toni Morrison. I lay awake at night, struggling with my love for Orson Scott Card in fact, trying to make sense of them both in this hierarchical world we’ve created. But all of that was before. Not before I started Invisible Man – I take a notoriously long time to either read amazing books or else to move beyond them…which is why this is also before I was able to wean myself off of Ender’s Game enough to read Speaker…and I can’t even …..try to….

I’m sorry. Where were we. So no, not before I started Invisible Man, but before I was WRECKED by it. It stopped everything. Half my life came to a screeching halt somewhere around the union of factory workers. I’d known it was going to happen back when the man had him read the letters he’d been handing out. I knew it was coming, even though it had never happened before. That’s the power of this narrative. The narrative.

[Total sidebar because that was meant to be a complete sentence but then Twelfth Night overtook it and it became, “The narrative itself til seven years heat shall not behold her face at ample view but like a cloistress she will veiled walk and water once a day her chamber round allthistoseasonabrothersdeadlovethatshewouldkeepfreshandlastinginhersadremembrance!” And somehow it totally works. Ahem.]

The narrative carried me, that’s the only way to explain it. I didn’t want to read ever again. It’s like eating something and being in ecstasy which is dampened all the while by the fact that you know this won’t be the last thing you ever taste. And that’s only dealing with the LANGUAGE.

SERIOUSLY. I can’t stress that enough. It’s written down on a stark, pale screen, so you couldn’t possibly understand me, but try, my pet. Because I remember the way a man walks down the street, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done. I remember the air at a party, the darkness interrupted in a bedroom. And we haven’t even gotten to what cannot even be considered commentary because it is too authentically encapsulated in this farce of a world he reveals to us to be something as trite as “commentary”. (Commentary is now trite, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done.)

No. I did not just read the book. But I wish I had. Although nothing I’ve written since would’ve happened, because why bother.

It does make me love ToMo more, as well, because her voice is her own and there’s room for her genius. I’ll admit I’ve read others and all I could think was they’ve read Ralph and it wrecked them.

So, why now. When I couldn’t even talk about this book in complete sentences for what seemed forever. Oh, no reason really, except that SOME DUDE CLAIMED IT HAD NO LITERARY MERIT. And usually, I wouldn’t mind. But someone printed his words because they apparently had something to do with this novel being BANNED in North Carolina.

We’re not gonna discuss banning books or the way it is sometimes for better or worse “understandable” – because you don’t need to discuss the controversy of banning to discuss that RALPH ELLISON’S INVISIBLE MAN IS BANNED SOMEWHERE. That is enough. No commentary or context needed. But just in case you want some:

Ralph Ellison BannedAnd aside from the fact that it was the 50s not the 40s: You get me. I want that man publicly shamed.

*By the by, click the pic to see the NPR link. Only the first paragraph is about RayRay, but read the second one too because WHUT!

*P.S. I read this last night. Today I am sick. Coincidence? I think not.