Monthly Archives: March 2011

Do over

I got to 14,000 words on a story I’m working on when I realized, quite suddenly and certainly, that I had gotten it wrong, all wrong.  Ipso facto, I am starting over.

This happens to me a lot.  I’m starting to think that if I were a better writer, I’d more often get it right the first time.

Back to The Hobbit

I read the Lord of the Rings, I don’t know, three or four times when I was in third or fourth grade.  I read it three or four more times by the time I got to high school.  A sort of touchstone, you might say.

When the movies came out, I watched them as eagerly as anyone else (loved them).  I went to the midnight premiere of all three in Thailand.  But I didn’t go back to the books.  I’d read them enough times, I figured.  Also, I was being a book snob.  I think I’m over that now.  (Which does not mean I’m going to reading Ayn Rand again anytime soon, thanks for asking.)

Our TV company recently gave us 6 free months of free movie channels to try and sucker us into paying for them, and, like a good sucker, I’ve indulged by watching some movies.  The other day I caught part of The Fellowship of the Ring, and I began wondering at a few plot points.  For instance, how could the dwarves have built such an ornate door at the entrance of the Mines of the Moria with this thing living in the pond right beside it, which is apparently disturbed by pebble-skipping?

And when they are actually in the mines, how come Gandalf just stands there on the bridge?  If he’s going to destroy it, how come he doesn’t just get on with it and make a clean getaway with the rest of the Fellows?

At this point, both the three year-old and the four-month old had simultaneous meltdowns, so I didn’t get any further into the movie.

But it occurred to me that these scenes were just Hollywood shorthand; surely old master Tolkien devised better scenes.  I thought I better found out.  So I got on Amazon and ordered up a copy of the trilogy.  It will arrive tomorrow.  I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, yesterday I was out at the farmhouse where I grew up and found on a dusty shelf the copy of the trilogy + The Hobbit that I grew up on.  The trilogy is pretty mangled and missing pages, which is unfortunate, because this Silver Jubilee edition, copyright 1984, goes for $114 online. The Hobbit was in decent shape, though, so I’m reading back through it.

I’m surprised at how much it reads like a kid’s tale (guess I didn’t notice that when I was, you know, a kid).  It is rather a strange headspace to be in, reading this kid’s book where half the pages and references remind me of some place I was when I was a kid, reading it.

Another milestone

Today I sent a package that had no address on it.  Just a barcode.  It was very strange.  I was (still am) a little afraid that it won’t get there, but the friendly folks at the post office assured me, yep, the barcode was all that was needed.

Maybe this is old hat to you snail mail regulars, but a cursory google image search turned up nothing of the kind, so I think this is a relatively new phenomenon.

A minor milestone, to be sure, but I haven’t marked any of the other similar ones, like reading my first e-book (July 2008), my first text message (August 1999), my first email (September 1994).   I remember each of those events as clearly as a childhood Christmas morning.  So I thought I should mark this one.

decomP aims for a print issue

decomP, which published my story “The Haymaker’s,” is aiming to create a print issue, decomP onE.

There’s a great video featuring audio recordings of some of the contributors. Unfortunately WordPress won’t let me embed the video but do go see the Kickstarter page, and contribute, and read it when it comes out.

QB Stephen Garcia goes on pre-Chick-Fil-A Bowl reading binge

God, but Every Day Should Be Saturday is funny:

The QB in question - note book in hand.

Responding to unfounded rumors he went on a massive bender before the Chick-Fil-A Bowl involving naked women, alcohol, and a midnight treadmill punishment session with South Carolina coaches, Stephen Garciasought to clear the air on Friday. According to the fifth-year senior he was not drinking or partying with ladies, but simply lost track of time reading late into the night.

“It got out of hand, I’ll admit,” Garcia said in an exclusive interview Thursday evening. “I mean I know I’m behind on this by like a decade, but all I wanted at first was to finish A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius before bed, you know? And yeah, I guess I was disappointed because of Eggers’ use of deliberate irony to undercut the emotion, which is so tired and post-post-modern. Just overplating, as a chef would say.”

Garcia then said the binge began in earnest.


“Then I went through Water for Elephants, and like, Jesus, do you really want one more circus book in your life? I don’t care how pretty the prose is, man. I just end up thinking about creepy carnies and the smell of zebra shit the whole time. So that was around one o’clock, I guess, but I thought, “I don’t have to be down there until 9, so I’ve got a little more time.”

Full post.