Worried Novelist Walks Through Hitchin

Almost there. Actually, “there” is one of my multitude of tiny problems. 130,000 words and at the point where major changes are essentially impossible, I’m fussing now over single words and individual – but not quite exactly what I wished they were – sentences.

It is that maddening creative moment when you the writer are down to the level of anguishing over the likes of “I’ve used ‘there’ too often in those two paragraphs.” Or “Rather than three sentences, perhaps make it one sentence joined together with semi-colons?” Or “That is supposed to be ‘at’ not ‘as’. Spell-check missed it! Ugh!”

As you get “there,” you also need to pause, breathe, take an extra-moment or two, and maybe see some ducks:

Because it is difficult not to think “Eh, there be monsters out there…” I find I am increasingly consumed with worry. As I correct issues of “as” that should be “at,” I confess even to having moments of despair. “All of this effort,” my mind races as I look yet again at the screen, “and what if it stinks? I may have to jump into that water in Hitchin town center. But I suspect it may not be deep enough…”

To be a writer is to be forever in some self-doubt.

The last thing I’ve been doing is daydreaming about conquering the universe…

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“There’s The Girl”

A bit of an “unserious” post at times. It’s Wednesday. A brief change of pace.

We sat through Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, on Sunday night.

I like science fiction. I like superheroes. I like being entertained.

But while watching too often I found myself asking: What the heck is going on?

The film is based on the characters from the famous comics, of course. As I watched, it dawned on me as well that lots of books today are also rooted in the supernatural or the essentially “unbelievable.” The number of indie authors alone who write fantasy – and often really good stuff, too – is enormous.

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The Most Serious Action Of All

Our Christmas house guests have returned to London. They landed at Heathrow several hours ago. Fortunately, they got on the upstate New York roads and down to Newark Airport yesterday before…the snow hit:

So we’re not really going anywhere today. And we have a few days of “peace” ahead here before we too have to return to England. Time to get into some presents:

Back on Monday we headed to the small Windham cinema and saw Rogue One with one of those house guests – my youngest nephew. He’s 14 and a Star Wars fanatic. I thought it was a better film overall, in my humble opinion, than Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

On Tuesday night, eight of us sitting in front of the tele, we happened to catch Bogart in The Maltese Falcon on TCM. I told that nephew that Falcon is THE detective film of all time. Every detective film since then pretty much owes its existence to The Maltese Falcon.

The Maltese Falcon on DVD. [Photo by me, 2016.]
The Maltese Falcon on DVD. [Photo by me, 2016.]

Unsurprisingly, he’d never seen the film. Afterwards, on another channel we watched a much more recently made Marvel Captain America. I don’t recall which film it was exactly; I admit I lose track. One scene I recall saw Scarlett Johansson running around on a bridge, guns in both hands, spraying bullets at bad guys amidst bystanders’ cars crashing and bursting into flame and people running for cover.

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The Holiday (Film)

What a ludicrous hour to be awake on a Sunday. We’re going to church early. Like many of you, we’ve been spending the weekend preparing for Christmas:

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“Why are you all saying ‘Casablanca’ so funny?”

While I’m here in the Catskills, Mrs. Nello is on a short trip to Morocco on airline business. She’d never been to the country before; and I’ve never been either. Based on what she’s seen of it so far, she told me by Facetime last night, she thought I’d like it.

The destination for her and several colleagues (they are all British, or working in the UK; none are American) was Rabat. To get there, they landed at Casablanca’s airport. The humor voiced all day among them about that fact was of the predictable sort, including knowing asides that every adult gets, of course.

Right? Surely every adult gets them? Don’t they?

“Our plane is landing in… Casa-blanca.”

“Here we are in… Cahsa-blanca.”

“We are leaving this… Cahsa-blan-ka.”

Finally one of the group, Lynn (name changed to protect the innocent), gave in. She didn’t understand. She asked, “Why are you all saying ‘Casablanca’ so funny?”

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“A black statue of a bird”

Yesterday was, I know, not the type of post you expect here. It’s Saturday. Let’s smile.

Okay, I want you to name a classic film….

In the hallway, outside my office. A writing inspiration. [Photo by me, 2016.]
In the hallway, outside my home office. A writing motivation. [Photo by me, 2016.]

…No, no, hang on, not that one. Come on, I mean the title is right there! What kind of “challenge” is that?

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From The 17th Century Roof Space

Well, I got through sorting out all of the major furniture. Everything makes some “sense” now in the new house. All that remains are boxes here and there – and there are still quite a few.

But the weekend is approaching, and it is starting to look like our home. Having again had enough of unpacking late yesterday (and while the Mrs. was once more away in Lisbon on business for two nights), I decided to pull out the DVD of all DVDs: Casablanca. (I know, I’m a devil when home alone!)

Photo of a scene in Casablanca on DVD. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Photo of a scene in Casablanca on DVD. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Password Change “Specialist” Arrives

Like you, we’ve heard about the horrors in Brussels. We were sitting at London’s Gatwick Airport early on Tuesday when we read on the net what was happening in Belgium – minutes before boarding a flight of our own. However, since our departure, except for flashes courtesy of the expensive data on our phones, we had been without the Internet until late yesterday afternoon (UK time).

So in that respect I was not unhappy we were unable to access much news. Like in Paris last November. Like in London in July 2005 (when the Tube line we use regularly – the Piccadilly – was attacked). Like in Madrid in March 2004. Like four passenger planes being suicide-hijacked and crashed into skyscrapers by “religious” maniacs in September 2001, it’s too upsetting….

I’ve been to Brussels a couple of times and liked the city a lot. There’s nothing I can say someone else hasn’t already said, or won’t say better. So we’ll leave it and talk about something else here.

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Let’s Not Forget The Balcony Scene

We seem beset lately with academics being funded to study high-profile, fantasist entertainment. We’ve recently been informed that “Disney Princesses” are dangerous to young girls. Now, for older ones, it’s being widely reported that so are the likes of Love, Actually:

Screen capture of the Telegraph.
Screen capture of the Telegraph.

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“Disney Princesses”: An Existential Threat?

Whenever I see reports like this, I sit up and take notice. I wonder: how I am doing? I have quite a few women characters, so I take my portrayal of them seriously:

Screen capture of the Washington Post.
Screen capture of the Washington Post.

Its main argument is:

….The plot of “The Little Mermaid,” of course, involves Ariel literally losing her voice โ€” but in the five Disney princess movies that followed, the women speak even less. On average in those films, men have three times as many lines as women.

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