Thursday, September 29, 2005
in related news...how to escape quicksand
Monday, September 26, 2005
it is different
here's the latest tim o'brien story/assignment. a one-pager written in a voice not my own, creating a sort of world not my own.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
well, the hurricane hit
if by hurricane, you mean the combined power of the magnuson soccer all-stars! both thomas and william had games today and they both scored goals which helped put their teams ahead. we're not supposed to keep score at william's level, but we smoked the other team 6-2. william bulldogged the ball from midfield and kicked the goal in from at least fifty feet away. ok, maybe not fifty feet. forty feet! thomas' team won 3-2. in thomas' case he went toe to toe with a much taller player. they crashed into each other when going at the ball, thomas' doing a pretty cool flip over the kids head, recovering himself and driving the ball into the goal with a spinning backflip kick a la pele in victory. it was a sports illustrated moment if there ever was one. ok, he didn't do the spinning backflip, but i think he was even amazed at the play. i was screaming and hollering with the other tard parents. i wanted to pick him up on my shoulders and run around the field like i've seen the europeans do. or is it the latins? on a slightly separate note: if i get another lecture on "americans don't know how to play soccer" from the pale brit in my office, i'm going to shove a soccer ball in his mouth. a soccer ball signed by thomas and william!
since it's a music festival weekend
i was watching almodovar's talk to her last night (which is a great movie) and there's that one scene at the seaside cafe where the guy is singing that haunting song...just a beautiful song. anyway, i looked him up off the soundtrack. his name is caetano veloso. if you like that getz/gilberto sound or anything close to it, you'd love this guy. he's not necessarily the same. more of a crooner in a way. but, damn.
(ok, i'm not going to start going to the one world theatre or listening to world music exclusively. he's not that good. but listen to that one song cucurrucucu paloma. you don't get much more longing out of 4 min. of any other sound.)
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
- man, i suck.
- listening to Andrew Bird. anyone heard this kid? good stuff. kyle gave me podworks, so now i can grab stuff off other people's ipods. between nathan and kyle, i have a year's worth of music. i admit to feeling overwhelmed.
- latest tim o'brien assignments: basically rework the dialogue (i've done that), revise my story (turned in yesterday...awaiting feedback) and (for next week) write a one page "voice" piece. "pick somebody you have no experience with...something you have no idea about." he wants to get us out of the familiar, the stories that tend to get told in workshop (bathtubs, ex-lovers, dorm rooms, psycho-active drug experiences, lame biography, etc.). i think i've already done this to some extent, but it is solid reinforcement. this is somewhat contrary to the "write what you know" school. after a few lame-ass stories, you don't want to read anything that most of these people know. i know what you know. "make shit up!" the truth is somewhere in-between. you take from what you know and create something different, something unexpected. you challenge the stories you tell yourself and others.
- william's team is 0-1 and thomas' team is 0-1, but they both played their hearts out. william has a tendency to stand by and cheer his team on while playing. "go davis! kick it!" he's like the team cheerleader. except he's supposed to be chasing the ball. you can't knock his enthusiasm. he even applauds the other team. "they scored a goalie!"
- work, school, work, school. it takes it out of you. i feel like i'm cheating death; as if, at any minute, i might collapse. uncle. give it up. i've never wanted out so badly. i want out. i want the options to pay off. i want a sack of money so i can sit at home and do this shit full time. what's that line? once you know what you want to do with your life...you want it to start right now. i remember my dad used to say he didn't want to work. "what do you want to do?" i'd ask. "sit around and watch t.v. smoke cigars." he said. of course, he couldn't do that for very long, either. i don't feel like that, but i can relate in a strange way. it's the type of work. this writing bit is work, but it feels worth it. maybe it's not worth spit. maybe it is. that's what i think while i'm on the trail of these stories. maybe, just maybe.
- cat 5. lonanne was at the store today and they'd sold out of water. we're 250 miles (unsurprisingly, this will be the thing that gets commented on...no, josh, we're 175 miles...) inland and people are acting as if the second coming will hit on friday. i understand. be prepared. but, still, does it strike anyone else as strange how freaked out people get about disasters? i mean how preparedly unprepared we all are? don't drive on the roads. stock up. batteries. escape routes. yes, yes, fine, fine. but there's a tenor to the talk and speculation and warnings. it's a wonder we don't walk around in armor, plate our houses in titanium, stick buttons on our shirts with the fema numbers. i remember alicia hitting houston when i was a kid. we were without electricity for a week. a tree fell into our roof and poked a hole through the ceiling. we filled the bathtub with water and cooked pork & beans on sterno cans. i was a kid so it was fun. the world turned upside down. people wandering outside as if outside were mars. i don't know if my parents were terrified or not. it was a different time. i wonder if people didn't acknowledge some daily terror as part and parcel. now we do everything in our power to avoid this. no more superdomes. no more life intruding on life. no more catching us sideways. we'll be prepared. until the next time we're not.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
watch and learn.
home on the range.
Monday, September 12, 2005
"don't tell me you have ideas for stories"
a guy tape records people typing at a coffee shop and reproduces the notes, memos, papers and manuscripts via a special audio decoding machine which can interpret keystroke noises. he recompiles love notes, rants, emails, boring term papers. then he discovers a plot to kill the president using one of da vinci's flying contraptions and a recipe for an airborn virus hidden in the painting of the sistene chapel!
a nice, boring couple move in next door to another nice, boring couple and they never actually see each other for three years until one day, the wife of boring couple A trips over the New York Times meant for boring couple B while boring wife B watches her through her bedroom window. boring wife A picks it up and takes it inside and feels guilty. later, boring couple B commits double suicide.
a writer thinks about writerly stuff and how he/she can't write while sitting in the bed/bathroom and wittily replaying their writerly conversations with an imaginary Goethe. a cat licks the water/bed cover.
an aide to a supreme court justice finds a stash of cash and untold treasures in the supreme court basement and realizes that not only has the supreme court been bribed on nearly every one of its major decisions, but, also, they've been holding secret orgiastic "mock trials" where strippers are forced to argue seminal court cases while smearing whipped cream all over their bodies.
a girl breaks up with another girl in order to move in with this one girl who was actually dating her twin brother. the girl who moves in with the girl then falls in love with the girl's brother because he reminds her of the girl, only better. then they discover a plot to kill the pope while staring at monet's waterlilies after a big pot party.
this week was a bye. we basically just had to revise our dialogues after the copious notes we all took. so i revised it a little. tried to take out the unnecessary bits. i don't know that it's all that changed really.
thomas and william had fun at the ranch retreat. we played in the llano and fished (caught a little perch) and shot rifles (!) and saw some wild pigs (that were already shot) and played scrabble and watched u.t. crawl out of a hole and drank lone star and hollered at the sky. thomas handled the .22 like a pro, esp. considering it was his first time. i'll have to post a pic up here.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
so we've gone from 10,000 to 118 for all of louisiana. more people were killed in mississippi. that is tragic, but surprisingly low considering the numbers being thrown around by public officials and journalists. by comparison, the galveston hurricane killed 6,000 people.
after william's first soccer game this morning, we're off to this ranch/retreat. i hope to bag my first buck and swim deep in the rivers of its blood. afterwards, we'll play board games.
Monday, September 05, 2005
at least it's not first person
tim o'brien gave us an assignment for the next class (tomorrow night). he said he was going to give us little assignments like this every week to focus on a different aspect of writing. in the hands of another professor, this might turn into a lame pedantic exercise (and it still might), but i think he's on to something (plus he's tim "motherfucking" o'brien and if he told me to shit in my starbuck's cup i'd have to seriously consider it as something of the "doesn't kill me" variety). anyway, the first assignment we got (aside from turning in our regular stories for workshop) was to write a a two page story with just dialogue about two people falling in love. he'd allow two lines of action, but otherwise, pure dialogue. "i want them to not be in love at the beginning and then, by the end, they're in love. that's it." i love writing dialogue as much as the next guy (or gal), but two pages seemed kind of pushing it. i figured i may as well post the stuff i'm doing, however, in an attempt to push myself (you can turn in all sorts of suck-ass writing if you think it's just for a grade and you think nobody will see it).
so, here's my two-page-dialogue-only-except-for-two-sentences love story
(and yes, i realize the whole wide world is spinning and my feeble writing exercises are piss in the pail of human tragedy and people dying, lost, starving. don't make assumptions in this regard about what i've done/not done or how i feel. the world is spinning and there are a million reasons not to write. i'm sticking with it come hell or...well, you know.)
three cheers for price gougers or a lesson in simple economics.
- via geekpress
Friday, September 02, 2005
these are some of the most heartbreaking and astonishing pictures i've seen of the new orleans flood.