Wordstock Oct 2011
(Image borrowed from the 2011 Wordstock Festival.)

This morning I had a job interview and this afternoon I worked onsite for a freelance client. In one day I went from health care to lubrication analysis to trains in the mountains in 1947. You have to be flexible if you want to survive in the novel-writing game.

Today I followed William Stafford’s direction to “lower your standards and keep on writing.” I’ll never type “The End” if I simultaneously move forward and return to rewrite. I’ll return later. So I forced myself to finish Chapter 5 already, even though the ending is lame, and plowed ahead in Chapter 6. In Chapter 6 we get somewhere, literally, and I’ll have some real scenery-chewing. I have to agree with Ms. Mukherjee:

“I remembered loving Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady when I studied it for my Ph.D. comps,” Bharati Mukherjee said. “This summer I tried to reread it. I soon abandoned the book, screaming, ‘Enough complex interiority, just give me a couple of big head-butting scenes!’ ” (“Read It Again, Sam,” The New York Times Book Review, 4 December 2011)

In real life, I’m too well-behaved for big head-butting, but in fiction I can be someone else (a big head-butter). I’m warming up the exclamation points right now!

Box score
– I’ve written for five days out of five
– 6.5 total hours
– Here’s the Clarion West Write-a-thon
– Here’s my first post on the Write-a-thon

Random Pick of the Day
Charles Earland, Black Talk! (1968)
If you love jazz and particularly the organ, you’ll dig Black Talk!. The title track is supposedly a variation on “Eleanor Rigby.” I can’t hear the dots connect, but nevermind. Charles Earland and his sextet transform the pop music of their era into something fresh and new. The standouts are their reworkings of “Aquarius” and “More Today Than Yesterday.” The latter is particularly astonishing, a soulful, funky romp that’s as light and joyous as Charles Mingus’ “Haitian Fight Song” (1957) is dark and murderous. They’re even about the same length, 11:13 for Earland, 11:57 for Mingus. 

Random Pick of the Day 2.0
Foghat, “Take Me to the River,” Night Shift (1976)
And now a band that needs no introduction, probably because no one wants to meet them. Foghat sucks the phone, and yet detractors such as myself are unable to explain “Slow Ride” (1975), which I can occasionally listen to (if I’m in a car), or their stellar version of “Take Me to the River,” which is in the same league as the versions turned in by The Commitments and Talking Heads. Bachman-Turner Overdrive could only dream of rocking this hard.

Comments
  1. Verlierer says:

    Yes, Foghat loves to do covers. The French (who lovingly refer to them as VaporChapeau) appreciates their Slow Rider treatment of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Myself, I give a mascaraed wink and thumbs up for matching tastes with Alice Cooper in covering the rockabilly standard “Ubangi Stomp.”

    Do you take the weekends off from your Clarion writing?

  2. Go Steve!!!!! Go, go Steve!!!!!!! I can use exclamation points with the best of them!
    Having fun reading your blogs about the Write-a-thon. I’m participating too. Having a blast, when I’m not trying to wake up and write.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Good for you! I’m happy to hear that you’re writing along with the rest of us. That “waking up” part is crucial — I know, I struggle there, too!

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