New Acquisition

A beauty, no? I got it on ebay for $1.04. This isn’t the actual photo, but a stock image from the net. The ebay photos don’t seem to be jpegs and I haven’t received the item yet. My mother had one of these in the 70’s and I remember they were quite good machines. Maybe not an IBM Selectric level of awesome, but still very good machines.

Last year I had bought a manual Royal Epoch manual typewriter. It seemed to be put out to prove the epoch of the typewriter was dead and you should give up on it. It was pretty crappy, clunk and you needed powerful fingers indeed to get out coherent sentences.

Last Thursday I got off work and went to Staples and purchased one of the last still manufactured electric typewriters, the Royal Scriptor Electric Typewriter. This thing was a hot mess from the start. First the margins couldn’t be set to where the paper was to be inserted, but insisted on starting and inch off paper even though the instructions clearly marked where to insert the paper. Then (and get this) no key hit produced that mark on the paper. You hit ‘Y’ and you would get & or p or ? or anything – M was e or 5 or whatever. Completely scatological. Called Royal and guys says “Yep, defective, return it to store.” Which I did for a refund.

So I await my SC Electra.

I found a Remington Quiet-Riter in good working order at an antique store today, but I am holding out for this baby.

Olivetti was the Lamborghini of typewriters until the retardation of man through computers. I know, I know, I say this from behind a computer screen, and if I didn’t have it you would never read me saying this. I don’t care, I say it anyway.

Regardless, that is a beautiful machine right there. I hope to slowly amass a small fleet of them keeping at least a couple functional for writing until I can’t get away with it anymore. I write a little with a computer, but it simply isn’t the same. I’ve tried for years but I can’t get around it.

I am too Catholic, I require the body as well as the mind. The book, the idea, the spirit is already in my mind. Typing to a computer keyboard is really the experience of it going from spirit to some other spirit. It is like a wish unfulfilled. The thought not made flesh. Yes, you could hit the print button after a session, but it is already too late. None of it is really physical until the printer barfs it out. I seek an immediacy, a physicality like ink from a fountain to a page.

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Writing

I am pretty much done (for now) with the whole moving drama. Next year comes the house. I expect that to be just as much fun as these last four months have been. Yay!

But I sit here right now with my Word open and the clown story up and am rewriting/editing it. Mainly editing, it was pretty much set to go as far as structure. I am just making the words flow better, and making it more coherent. Some of the story simply didn’t make sense because I wrote it flash-style.

I also dug up my Nano project, The Five Deaths of Horace Gumble, and am giving that a look. That was also a piece of flash writing since I didn’t know I was doing Nano until Halloween night. I am not sure if I can use that piece (50,000 words) as a whole. Flash writing a short story is one thing, carrying it on that long? It was tough.

Since I last posted the original clown story (sorry, I still haven’t given it a name) in 2015 (I think) I’ll repost the original here if anyone cares to enjoy it. Also I’ll leave a chunk of Horace Gumble below it was well (a chunk of Horace Gumble… heh, that’s funny given how many times he get carved up in the story).

CLOWN STORY:

Sad Face stood in the middle of the small room surrounded by his peers. The pasty white of his face was smeared with red and his frown was twice turned down. Sad Face stroked a large orange tabby cat sitting upon his protruding diaphragm. His inquisitors made a circle around him at tables too low and chairs too small. It was a classroom, a colorful children’s classroom of rainbows, alphabets, and of bears, bees, flowers and trees; all cut out of construction paper and adorning the four walls.

Grimrole the Peeker, Curly the Cue, Continue reading “Writing”

YOU DON’T MESS WITH SARAH CONNOR!

I still haven’t seen the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. From everything that I have read, I am bound to hate this one more than Mary Sue Awakens. I really started to think about why and then I ran across a conversation on Mr. Wright’s site where people were discussing Sarah Connor from Terminator and Ripley from Alien/Aliens.

Someone came close to differentiating between KTB’s (killer tough babe) and Rey from Star Wars.

The thing that Ripley and Sarah Conner have in common as KTBs, and that most miss, is their motivation.
Ripley and Sarah are mother bears protecting their cubs, and nothing is going to stop them.

While this has some truth in it, it doesn’t go far enough. What is essential is the storytelling. What is crucial is the thing that makes it a principle of character development for both male and female characters.

I call it The Crucible. This idea is not new to me. I am applying a well known concept that is as old as story telling itself. But it is the element that is missing from the character and character development of Rey from the new Star Wars franchise.

What is missing from the new Star Wars series is basic storytelling.

Here is the comment I left at Mr. Wright’s site. I could elaborate, but this should be common knowledge. Note the two KTB’s are both from Cameron. Abrams doesn’t understand character development in general nor female in particular.

I was thinking about the part discussion going on about KTB’s (killer tough babe) here (although it seems to be a dead thread now). The thing that is missing, the thing that distinguishes a Sarah Conner and a Ripley from a Rey is a crucible.

The quintessential example (for me) is Sarah Connor. In the beginning Connor is just young waitress living the mostly carefree life of a single woman who goes out with friends. And if it were not for the intervention of Reese, the first Terminator would have been a short 2 minute clip of a woman getting her head blown off by a time traveling cyborg – The End, please exit theater. She’d have struggled to defend herself from a drunken Seth Green let alone a heavy metal alloy Arnold.

James Cameron knows how to tell a story (most of the time) through character. By the time we get near the end of the first movie when she is screaming to Reese after he sustains a debilitating injury “on your feet, soldier!” Sarah Conner the KTB is almost forged. When we meet her in the second film, lean and mean and menacing, and overpowering other human men, we buy it. We saw her transformed, we were given the evidence (it also helped that Cameron was smart enough to show her working out vigorously in the beginning of the second film).

Sarah Connor had a killer cyborg come back in time to kill her and she lived to tell about it – don’t F*** with Sarah Connor.

The same goes for Ripley in Alien/Aliens.

But the real point is that it applies to men as well as to women. The fault in the Rey character is not that she is a woman. The fault is terrible storytelling. Luke gets his clock cleaned in his first bout with Darth Vader even though he had at least some training with a Jedi Master. Mary-Sue-Rey takes on and bests proto-Sith Ren having just touched a lightsaber for the first time. Luke’s defeat at the hands of Vader is the crucible that forges him into the Jedi (almost) that he appears as in The Return of the Jedi.

In the first Star Wars we learn early on the Luke has piloting experience and thus we buy his being able to pilot an X-Wing, and we are able to buy his destroying the Death Star because he had Obi-Wan as force mentor in the cockpit. Rey “just knows” how to handle the Falcon, she “just knows” stuff about fixing it somehow. She goes through nothing, faces no crucible, is forged in no fire, suffers nothing for her powers.

I don’t think the character follows from the dictates of feminist ideology so much as it follows the pipe dreams of a slacker generation that doesn’t know anything about what character takes, just as they know nothing about man. It is the “safe-space” view of human development. That if you give someone a pillow, fast food, endless pep-talks on how good they are, this is what leads to success.

Abrams had an inkling (perhaps subconscious) that this wouldn’t totally fly which is why Rey lived alone and orphaned and traded imperial scraps for food. But that coin is not enough to buy the power needed that she displayed. Just as Sarah Conner growing up in foster care wouldn’t have been enough.

Finally Decided on a Bible and Those Clowns! Clowns!

For awhile now I have been seeking to acquire a reading Bible that I could call my own. I say a reading Bible as opposed to the Douay-Rheims & Clementina Vulgata edition, an old 70’s family bible (it has wonderful script in it and art) and the numerous other versions I have through Verbum software. The first two are large sized books and thick. The others are digital and I usually use them for reference. And a couple of them are not even in English.

Part of the search was easy because you can disregard a large number of modern versions that make for terrible reading. And while the KJV (with apocrypha, of course) sounds the most impressive, it is really only because of the arcane language.

I had spent some time trying to find a nice old one with the nice leather but usually those found were from individual churches from Nebraska in 1846 and they usually smelled like mildew. That, and they are usually written in, “To Martha, God Bless.” Well, I’m not Martha.

It turns out the people who published my DR-Clementina Vulgata, Baronius Press, also put out a nice pocket size Douay-Rheims in leather, smythe sewn, head and tail bands, gilded pages, decorative endpages and satin ribbon markers. I chose the burgundy. Because I like it.

Another important feature that I required was the artwork inside. I had bought a pocket sized NAB translation (not my first choice, btw) about a year ago. If it had not been sealed, I would have seen the “artwork” inside and not purchased it. It looked like the hokey artwork I remember from bible camp as a child. It shouldn’t look like those nutty comics that used to circulate in the 70’s for children with the cheesy Jesus in artwork that was borderline cartoon.

I like the black and white sketch work in this one. Here’s a sample. You have to click on it to see (I don’t know why).

That book only cost me $10 and its quality showed. My new one is $40 – and I think it’s a steal.

I had to sacrifice a little. I prefer some wording more than others. I never liked 2 Timothy 4:1 stated “the living and the dead” when “the quick and the dead” is simply better. I mean come on, people, get a dictionary. But the Douay-Rheims is still a good translation.

CLOWNS!

On the writing front I’ve been revamping my clown story from 2015. Those wascally clowns are going to cause a little more mayhem than we anticipated! The actual writing for that is scheduled for tomorrow.

I also went through all my past unfinished writing projects and came up with ways to get them to the finish line. Funny thing is, almost all of them had potential for further work. If I shrink the amount of time I leave them in the drawer by 7 or 13 years, I could get some regular stuff out the door. However, The Five Deaths of Horace Gumble still has several months to wait in the brine.

NaNo Day 28

Did 2093 today. I am at 48,782 (although the website says 48,998 – I don’t know what sort of calculator they are using…). I will probably finish tomorrow quite early and then post it for my non-prize.

Today consisted of looking for gaps in information and trying to perform not too unsightly info-dumps. I should rename this A Load of Disconnected, Contradicting Scenes.

I am always disappointed (just a little) whenever chapters are just called Chapter Six and there are no titles but the book’s title. I like chapters and even sections labeled. And when I wrote this, every section had to have a title. Some of them (if I ever give it the rewrite) will change. But I thought it would be cool to share them since they don’t belong to anything in your mind as pertains this story, reader, maybe they would be at least entertaining.

The Spaniard

On the Run

End of the Line

Riders Outside the Storm

The Asylum of the Betrothed

The Courtyard

The Cabin in the Woods of Fable

The Story of Elischk

Strait of Ambiguity

Gangia

Out of Time

Death Revisited

A Violation of the Third Order

Man Without a Path

Marking His Territory

Confession

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Didn’t Think It Would Be That Long

Warning From Above

The Three Moments of His Life that Mattered

This Time by Stealth

Tabitha

The Deepest Depravity

Ovidious Station 709-W

NaNo Day 27

I did 3388 words today. Total now is 46,689.

I will have to fall deathly ill not to reach 50,000 now.

Problem is I already finished the story!

Perhaps I could change the title to The Six Deaths of Horace Gumble and add an additional death. Or The Many Deaths of Horace Gumble.

Whatever. I will spend the next couple of days putting some stuffing into this turkey.

And a turkey it is! I had to totally fake the resolution of the story by firing all kinds of gins that were not revealed in the first act. Well, not that bad. But it is like someone writing a mystery story who forgot to leave the clues by which the detective solves the crime and so uses whatever incidentals were already there as if they gave an indication of the culprit.

It was a sort of mystery (although I had no idea it was until nearly the end). It was up to Horace, when he started to gain memory of his past lives, to put together the pieces that would resolve his endless loop of deaths at the hands of the demon.

The whole process of writing something this long was so overwhelming and mentally over my comfort level I think my hind brain was feeding me ideas my fore brain couldn’t recognize. The longest story I wrote before this was maybe ten pages in length.

Actually one of the means of story resolution here had some legitimacy, there was some foundation for it established in a part o the book. The other means of resolution I pulled straight out of my butt (pardon the expression but it fits) it is completely unfounded in the rules as I set them up in the book.

I say – so what? I can change that. At least I see it. I can’t count how many stories I’ve read, or movies and shows I’ve watched where this is blatantly perpetrated by so-called professional writers. And, apparently, no one from writer(s) producers, editors, actors, and even legions of fans seem to notice or care.

I give myself a pass. Hell. I literally didn’t know what was going to happen next until it was coming out of my fingers. I counted it as a good day if I knew the next few actions let alone the next paragraph.

NaNo days 25 & 26

While I have had fun, I realize this is certainly no way to regularly write. This story is probably completely senseless. And the words! Where the hell does the vocabulary go when writing? I can’t bring forth a word beyond the reading comprehension of a sixth grader when I’m writing. [A sixth grader from the 80’s, I have no idea what it is now].

Show don’t tell is out the door as a rule when you have no structure planned out at all.

Oi, I will be glad to get to the end as much as anyone who reads this blog will be glad of these posts demise (if there is anyone reading this blog).

Not to say that I am not having fun. But after twenty-six days of writing with absolutely no idea where the next word is coming from nor what the next scene, character or event is until it flies off the keyboard, I am a little tired.

Because of this the writing is bland. Two of my favorite writers are G.K. Chesterton and R.A. Lafferty, I don’t want bland to be an ascription of my writing. And this piece, as written, lacks the verve, the daring and the color that I so like in their work. It was in my work on the clowns, Sad Face. But it is largely missing here. There are some moments of flair, but I find it very hard to maintain at such a pace – such a blind, groping fast pace.

Anyway. Saturday’s numbers were 683 (boo, but I had to be at work early for the stupid Apple Cup) and Sunday 2550 (yay!). For a total of 43,517. A little more than six thousand words to go. And then I will file this novel in a drawer for a time and do a lot of shorter work before I revisit it.

NaNo Day 23 and Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry I post at the end of my day. It is actually Friday the day after Thanksgiving.

Happy buy a bunch of discounted stuff while you fight and curse your fellow man day!

Word count today 2290 for a total of 38,609

Speaking of black friday, I saw a funny meme that said the following:

Did I say funny? Sad perhaps is better.

In the spirit of the holiday season, you may ask. Mr. Wizard are you going to rip on and make fun of Leonard Peikoff’s CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE MORE COMMERCIAL again this year. Answer dear reader: I sure hope to have the time because I never tire of ripping that absurd essay!

I may also, if time permits, rip on another Objectivist theme, thanksgiving as the original American secular holiday – despite the obvious fact that it never was. They have several of these, but I think I may pick on THANKSGIVING: THE PRODUCER’S HOLIDAY

Sometimes I read these things and I can’t believe I once nodded my head in agreement to these arguments!