Write-a-thon, Day 3: This is not my beautiful plot

Posted: June 25, 2013 in music, Record reviews, Writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

Yanking the page

I’ve written about typewriters before, particularly how you had to cut your manuscript with scissors and tape it back together if you had a big idea in the late innings and wanted to rearrange your plot.

These days, of course, rearranging your writing is so simple and quick that you can do it at the merest flick of an idea and then change it again and save your file and then doubt what you did and get lost in your changes until the Undo command is no longer helpful. What technology gives us with one hand it subverts with the other.

So it was today with Chapter 5, in which a group of my characters (and you, the reader) take a ride on my railroad. This is my setting and I want to make sure readers can follow the action as my book lurches forward. But Chapter 5 was beginning to extend itself as if Ken Burns was making an award-winning series about trains, minus the awards.

Using the power vested in me by cut and paste, I broke the chapter up and suddenly found myself in the middle of Chapter 6. Then I broke it again and found myself in the middle of Chapter 6 with the beginning of Chapter 7. I then asked myself, well, how did I get here?

I don’t know, but I decided, for the purpose of this Write-a-thon, to give up on my desire to get everything right the first time and just write the damn story. I can go back six weeks from now and create cliff-hanging chapter endings involving snakes at the bottom of a pit or the wrong people in the same bunk. My guess is that I have 25 chapters to write and I’d dearly love to break into double digits soon.

That’s today’s report on the Clarion West Write-a-thon. (Here’s the link if you’re interested in who’s teaching at Clarion this year. The Class of 2013 is in the middle of their first week.)

Random Pick of the Day
Get the Blessing, Oc Dc (2011)
This jazz album is so-so, to my ears, although lots of it sounds like old-school soul or early-’70s funk. Know who would be right at home on this disc? Classic Rock instrumental dude Dennis Coffey (“Scorpio,” “Taurus”).

I’m recommending this album solely for the title track. I’ve played “Oc Dc” every day for a week! I love hand-clapping. If you don’t love dissonance, you’ll exit at 1:39.

Random Pan of the Day
Orpheus, Orpheus (1968)
The two male singers in Orpheus weren’t The Righteous Brothers, Jan and Dean, or even Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. This never stopped non-singers like Sonny and Cher, and sure enough, Orpheus produced one chart success, “I Can’t Find the Time to Tell You,” a barely passable mix of psychedelia and bubblegum.

The rest of Orpheus ain’t much. Their assault on The Left Banke’s “Walk Away, Renee” cannot be forgiven. But I liked how they almost turned The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” into a lounge act, particularly the drumming and the bass solo underneath the nonsense syllables. I rated Oc Dc as a Pick based on one song, but Orpheus, based on one song, didn’t charm me.

  1. Barb says:

    “…the wrong people in the same bunk…” Now *there’s* a plot worth pursuing! Ever since I heard a story on This American Life on NPR about summer camps, I have known I should write about my adventures in Girl Scout camp (passionate preteen girls in northern Michigan) and Baptist camp (passionate teenagers in itchy Indiana). Let alone the plot twists of college dormitory bunkbeds (no passion-o-meter needed). Or the time Arlene and I were playing “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and I tied her up in the spy’s penthouse (top bunk) and she fell off with a thundering crash that brought my sister, scolding. Oh my. But I didn’t sign up for writer’s camp, you did!

  2. Accused of Lurking says:

    Wow. Orpheus’ Can’t Find the Time. I haven’t thought of that in decades. I LOVE that song. I want to hear that song.

    Off to my 147 GB folder of MP3s. I don’t have it? That’s IMPOSSIBLE. I have every 60s and 70s Top 40 hit, especially the ballads and one-hit wonders.

    Off to the bookshelf. Oh WOW! According to Billboard’s Book of Top 40 Hits, Can’t Find the Time WASN’T a Top 40 Hit.

    Off to Wikipedia. Wow! Orpheus was a Worcester, MA band and they played with Cream, Led Zeppelin, and The Who.

    Off to YouTube. There it is. Sounds great. Video not so good. And LOOK, Hootie and the Blowfish did a cover. Not bad. HEY, there’s The Association doing Never My Love. WAIT, there’s…

    Run-DMSteve, my coffee’s cold and I want my morning back.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Your first two sentences are vintage Accused of Lurking. Of course you love that song. Of course you have every Top 40s hit of your youth.

      “Can’t Find the Time” broke the Top 100, which I consider a raging success for this rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest to find a shining planet known as Earth.

      I remember hearing Orpheus on WAAF-FM, the Worcester station, which I could get in Boston. They weren’t as good as Orpheus, the musical charmer from Greek mythology.

      Hootie’s cover is from a Jim Carrey movie, I think. I’ll let you look it up.

      I warned you about distractions!!

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