Of everything that stands

“We can’t bust heads like we used to. But we have our ways. One trick is to tell stories that don’t go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. “Gimme five bees for a quarter,” you’d say. Now where were we… oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have any white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…”

Abraham “Grandpa” Simpson

A while back I read the novel The City We Became by NK Jemisin.  I quite liked it.  Recently I read the follow-up novel, The World We Make and it was a solid “meh” for me.  At least in part probably because I liked the first book because of the novelty of the city avatar premise and the second book while delving more into the lore behind that and expanding the world of city avatarness was just more of the same.  And part of my meh-ness is probably Cthulhu fatigue.  Having R’Lyeh as the enemy is kind of cool but also kind of “ugh more of this?”.

Over the past few years I’ve been watching less TV and seeing less movies and reading less books for a variety of reasons, one of them I think is what happened with the World We Make.  I’m interested in the beginning but then I lose steam.  I’ll watch the first season of some highly touted whatever and I like it a lot but halfway through the second season I can’t care about it anymore.  Possibly because the only thing that lures me in now is a unique premise, and over time that wears off.

On the one hand this shouldn’t bother me much, if at all, because the amount and type of media that I consume should be very low on the scale of things in my life that are important if not the very last.  I  don’t really like the phrase “first world problems” but that’s what it is here.

On the other hand enjoying things less DOES seem like a problem.  I’m 46 and I plan to live at least 100 more years, if I don’t like anything anymore what am I going to do with all that time? 

It makes me think once again about the statement that what makes stories good is that they have endings.  Specifically I was thinking about when someone is telling you a real story in real life about something that really happened one of the things that makes it ineffective is when that person takes too long in telling it.  I think most people have that person in their friend group who may have something interesting to say but they take so long saying it that it loses 80% of its impact. 

Sidenote I know that I have the opposite problem IRL, I skip over too many details when I tell a story with my mouth.  Is that also true of my writing?  Maybe.

I like character development as much as the next person (or maybe not is what I’m finding out as I write this) but maybe the reason why I can’t make it much past season one for a lot of shows is that I know they’re going to go on for 7-18 seasons more so I assume nothing is going to happen for a long time so I don’t care.

Example.  I loved the first season of Severance but I mostly don’t care if a new season comes out.  I liked the ending of the first season.  What happens next doesn’t intrigue me.

I still like writing and playing board games so that’s something. 

Speaking of writing, I’m struggling with something that I have an issue with, namely my main character not doing a lot.  I have a bad habit of stuff just happening around them and they don’t really resolve anything.  I thought “well you need to stop having other characters come in and save the day” but I realized that that’s probably okay IF I build the groundwork first.  Having friends help is probably fine if you put in the work to establish that friendship and why it’s happening.  But is that interesting? 

Does this post have an ending?  Is it going somewhere? 

Yes and no. 

I have several candidates in mind for actress to place Grace when one of those stories gets turned into a premium streaming show and I become super rich because that’s how streaming works for sure.  But I rarely think about an Ela actress.  Does that mean that Grace’s appearance is more important than Ela’s?  Does it mean that I like writing Grace more than Ela?  Does it mean that Grace is a better character and Ela is more of a stereotype?  Does it mean that Grace is more “cinematic” storywise?  Does it mean that I should write a sequel to IT about Pennywise’s cousin Storywise? 

I have a firm picture in my mind of what Grace looks like, Ela not so much, other than obviously she’s super sexy because that’s critically important in literature, and tall and a brunette.  There aren’t a lot of tall lady actresses that can sing though, or tall lady singers that can act.  T-Sizzle is 5’11 I found out, but can she act?  I suppose you’d cast the actor you wanted and then just dub in the singing.  I wonder who I would voice cast as Ela.

In conclusion I saw a click beetle the other day and I was reminded that while the humble beetle is rich in trenchant metaphor for our hopeless existence, there’s also those freaky beetles that remind us that sometimes nature is pretty awesome.


    1. Same thing mostly, there’s less books that I really enjoy and get excited about. Reading hasn’t tapered off as much, it’s easier to engage with a book that is just okay

  1. I think part of it is just the sheer amount of stuff out there these days. There are so many books and shows. It’s harder to commit to spending a lot of time on one thing when you could try something new.

    I also really hate that depressing feeling when a great story keeps going until it’s bad.

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