So glad to have 2Yellows back.
And his book is good thus far. There’s a really powerful scene early on, and as a reader, I want to know what happens next.
As a professional literary critic I can offer no better advice that this: if you’re writing a story, make me want to know what happens next.
I’m not much of a creative fiction writer. I can’t sustain a plot or create vibrant characters. However, I think I do okay with first lines/openings from time to time.
Like the other day, I thought up this one:
‘How much have you had to drink today?’
‘Not much—couple beers and two sticks of dynamite.’
I don’t know, made me chuckle.
A pretty good article on why teaching grammar is, like, hard, and stuff.
What a great trip. It was a whirlwind—10 hours of flying in 3 days is murder on our backs—but so great.
We arrived Friday afternoon and had lunch at a local brewpub chain, Elysian, in Tangletown. I had their IPA which was great, and local mussels in fantastic broth of garlic, white wine, and parsley. Fantastic. Lovely bread and a great salad too.
Then we tooled around the Capital Hill and Pike Place/Belltown areas. Bustling with people, dogs, life, activity, great smells (and some not so great—it’s a city after all), and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Seattle is so doggy. We hate it there.
We went to Ray’s in Ballard for dinner with our hosts and had simply tremendous Alaskan King salmon and sablefish, gooeyduck and scallops, salads, more local beer, great desert for J’s birthday, and an overall fantastic evening.
Saturday, we went back down to Ballard to see the locks—incredibly engineering and the fish ladder, while lacking in migrating fish, was fascinating. Especially as they have viewing windows below the water level. Very cool. Lunch at the Red Mill with tons of dogs and Ducks and Huskies fans getting ready for the game. Gorgeous day. I said to myself many, many times that Seattle speaks to me. I really love it there.
Saturday night was the main event—one I missed the LSU/Bama game for: The Clarion West Writers’ Group met in a house in Queen Anne that I kid you not had Frazier Crane’s view. The Space Needle was in the foreground and the whole skyline in the background down to Safeco Field. Spectacular. The host is a tremendous baseball fan—Red Sox and Mariners—with quite a collection of signed balls, bobbleheads, etc. Nice fella.
We arrived before the talk and I approached Neal. He’s my height (5’10/11” or so) but slighter. His bald head and goatee are striking. He doesn’t appear to be losing his hair, just shaves his pate; beard has snow in it.
This recent image is very good—he might have had the same jacket on. I didn’t take a picture. Didn’t want to faun.
From my notes, I thought he was thin and mantis like—but with thicker legs than one might guess. Core strength, it seems from his recent forays into western martial arts..
Legs twitching, not happy with the crowd, evasive but forthright. Nice jacket but not clearly bespoke fashion. Not a clotheshorse. Very midwestern—he was dressed well, but not over-dressed for the occasion—Seattle is very casual.
He signed Anathem for a friend of my wife’s. He remembered where I used to teach, and asked if I was still there. He hadn’t see the hardcover of my book on him, but he had seen the soft. He seemed tickled at seeing that someone had really published a book on him and his work. That’s a good reaction, I think.
We talked briefly—I asked about what might be coming next; says he had three ideas that might work—I followed up with question about whether one might be the book on the ’50s and Eisenhower he mentioned once as a possibility—that wasn’t an idea he was thinking about, but remembered saying that and his eyes lit up a little. It was a nice conversation, but I didn’t want to bug him or monopolize his time, so I thanked him for his time and help with the interview we did in 2006 for the book.
Then I talked to a few other people, made a contact with Karen Anderson who runs CWW, drank a beer, and we left. Had dinner at Local 360 in Belltown, that I alone really enjoyed—the pork chop was the Platonic Form of what I try to make when I cook pork, and more good local beers and an overly sweet but promising local whiskey.
Neal is a gentleman, and I know this weekend will be profitable for my work.
By Matt Ufford
1. November 7, 2011.
Bears at Eagles, Monday Night Football. A young man wearing the Army’s digital camouflage holds a young boy in the crook of his left arm. His wife has pale skin and a striking head of magenta hair. She holds their other young son in her arms. The even-toned voice of Mike Tirico urges viewers to donate to the USO. “That just happened here at Lincoln Financial Field. That’s a family reunion, one of our troops who’s come back home – family on the sidelines to see them and surprise them,” Tirico says.
Similar scenes played out in every NFL stadium last weekend. Such gestures have become common practice at pro sporting events of every size and scope, between innings or during TV timeouts: here are some veterans, standing ovation, back to the game. Play ball.
In the three-hour Monday Night Football telecast, the segment dedicated to the USO and troops in uniform lasts 38 seconds.
Damn fine reading here.
Ever since ‘Mailman’ came across my dash, I’ve been on yet another major Soundgarden tear.
Just running through ‘UltraMega OK,’ ‘Superunknown,’ ‘Badmotorfinger/SOMMS,’ and ‘Down on the Upside’ over and over.
As Neal says, it’s ‘relentless and depressing,’ but it helps me write.
This has been a post.
Further, and this is a pattern in nearly all of Stephenson’s works, one of the key questions facing the avout in the novel is whether, in the face of new information like the discovery that a) there are intelligent beings from other worlds orbiting one’s planet, and b) these beings are from not just from different planets, but different cosmii from this one, a dynamic paradigm shift can be prevented from occurring.
It’s a little wordy.
I am a golden god.
I believe Queens of the Stone Age are the best rock band around. I believe in 80s west coast punk. I believe 80s east coast hardcore is better than 80s east coast straight edge, but not by much. I believe Incubus was a better band before Make Yourself, that…
Read this immediately. Or don’t.
And QOTSA rules all.
So what makes people think that the minute you turn 40 you have to hand in your “cool” card and all your metal records and start listening to nothing but Wilco while sitting in your rocker after Matlock reruns? We are older. Not old. We’re still the people who scrawled pentagrams in the margins of our notebooks, who partied in arena parking lots before shows, who waited outside record stores on new release morning. Not only are we still those people but we still want to do those things. It just seems like no one wants us to.
I write about the general misconceptions about older people and music, and have a little conversation with Mike Doughty about it.
Please click, read, share, etc. I am kind of happy with this one.
Great piece, Michelle.
Great take on the Boston sportswriting scene, a sewer that once was a palace.
Grading draft upon draft wears me out, but I have come to the conclusion that it is the only way that my students learn to write better papers.
I was a single-draft college student, and as a result, got Bs where I should have received As. As a result, however, I think I’m a better teacher of writing as I definitely have a “do as I say, not as I did” ethos.
But ye gods, reading the same papers over and over is tedious.