Novelizing: Diary 6/13 to 6/14/21

Ernest Hemingway at work

[Added to the end of {6/13/21}:]  “I thought I’d find you here” is sort of a paradigm for me of a good writing prompt.  It suggests much:  who is talking to whom, where “here” is, and why the speaker should think such a thing.  But I see that this can be a form or type for other sentences, such as:

  • What are you doing here?
  • Have you fallen so low, to be in such a hovel?
  • I’d never expect to see you here.”

And so on.  And “here” could be swapped for “looking like that,” i.e., referring to whom’s appearance; or “doing that,” referring to their activity, or “with her,” et cetera.

So, one writing prompt becomes half a dozen or more.

“A small notebook lay in the gutter” is another prompt from my 100 Ideas notebook; clearly, the nouns can be changed to suit.  Enough.

{6/14/21}  Weight 215.0 at 5:55 am.

Denis Donoghue quotes E. M. Cioran, a Romanian philosopher, deceased, who sounds like someone I would like to read:  “The indigence of language renders the universe intelligible.”  The Donoghue is The Arts without Mystery (see CQ).  The link is to Wikipedia.

The quote seems to me a succinct statement of both the usefulness and the limitations of language.  I’ve sometimes said that words are the blunt instruments of thought.  But I can expand on that and say that blunt instruments are all we have; which is not strictly true when one considers quantum mechanics, which apparently is a very sharp instrument indeed, though “nobody understands it.”  Seems to me that epistemology is all about this relationship between words and reality.  I could pile on more quotes, but, nah.  I’ve likely done it better elsewhere, like in my Bleak Philosophy essay.

So I wrote the first two pages of the HC novel this morning, and subsequently read them to Pablo.  He seemed enthusiastic but said something about the smallness of the potential audience; that’s irrelevant, but I pointed out rather too enthusiastically the enviable success of Sophie’s World [by Jostein Gaarder].  I read the reviews and statistics from Amazon, and now he wants to read it.  I tried it once, I think while I was in prison, and didn’t get very far.  This time (reading from Amazon’s “Look Inside”), I was critical of how page one was written.  I am averse to reading it, perhaps in part because I plan to include some philosophizing in the HC novel.  More useful might be something like The Joy Luck Club.

Writing the two pages this morning was a rather disturbing experience—by the time I got to page 2, I had already forgotten the name of a character on page 1.  I don’t know if my failing memory will even allow me to write a novel, or the writing will be so inefficient that I won’t be able to stand it.  No way to know except by trying; but I think also I want to start exercising, daily, as the most likely thing I can do to improve my memory.

Last night I watched Blade: Trinity, and before that, I suppose on Saturday, I watched Beowulf:  The Director’s CutB:T was passable but unnecessary, and actually was a turnoff for me.  I thought it gross, sadistic, and unrewarding.  Videohound informs me that Blade was a satire; I suppose this third chapter should also be considered a satire, and there were traces of such an approach here and there, but that just made it even more pukey, I thought.

Beowulf was a CG-motion-capture excrescence in which all the characters seemed to me ugly because they’re just “good simulations” of real people; that complaint aside, the movie seemed gross and stupid by turns.  Early on, Beowulf takes off all his clothes, and the movie spends the next twenty minutes playing hide-and-seek with his penis—it struck me as wildly ridiculous in a totally unfunny way.  Just as disturbing was how female breasts were simulated; the way nudity was handled could be viewed as a satire or commentary on American prudishness, but I prefer to think it was just gross.  After a while I started fast forwarding through the crap, and never really watched any more of it.  Good actors wasted, including Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie.

After the brilliant Sybil, these dogs made me want to swear off ever watching a movie again.  But I exaggerate.

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