Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Misty Morning Hop

...and as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls....

The only constructive thing I did all yesterday was take a walk, come home, eat dinner, eat Benadryl, and crash early.

I got up with my wife’s alarm at 6:45 a.m. I thought about sleeping in some more, but, no, this was a golden opportunity to get all my Internet reading done before 9 a.m. and maybe get some work done on Grace Among the Dead

I downloaded a sweet pic of Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz in bed, a scene from the cinematic weirdness that is the Ridley Scott/Cormac McCarthy collaboration The Counselor. A writer for Variety wrote a game defense of a movie that, by most accounts, is overwritten, overwrought, and all-around atrocious. Which means I’ll have to see it eventually, if only to watch Cameron Diaz hump that Ferrari.

What else did I learn? Nothing, really. Not much going on in the news. We’re waiting on a late October storm here in the foothills of the Pikes Peak region. The temperature was 32 degrees with fog when I stepped out to take some photos with the PowerShot. Calm and gorgeous, it proved a cool balm for my overheated sensibilities.

The view from my backyard. We’re supposed to have strong winds with this coming storm, so this is likely the last chance I’ll have to get some happy snaps of my favorites aspens in their autumn wardrobe.
I came back down to the office and realized, hey, I did get some work done yesterday. I cut a lot of wasted words, deleted much extraneous exposition. The hell of it is, I need to keep my character of Deacon Sparks consistent. As in consistently slippery—he’s my Big Bad, and I want a sweet Satanic vibe to him. “Sweet Satanic” means he’s a tempter who shows us how wonderful and ordered and capital-R Right things could be, if we only go his way. I’d like to show how he has a lot in common with Derek Grace, save for the usual key details.

David Bowie reminded me of something important,
so I wrote it down.
This means work slows down. And what on earth am I doing inserting literary tropes into a zombie apocalypse e-pulp? Making Derek Grace a full-blooded human being with a point of view has earned me a lot of negative reviews. It turns out that simply making observations about the differences in behavior and attitude between the salaried professional and wage-slave working classes makes me guilty of “class warfare.” I should’ve known better. So I dial it back in Grace Among the Dead—but only because we’re at a point in the overall Saga of the Dead Silencer  where such distinctions hardly matter.  

It’s often said you can say things in science fiction in fantasy that you can’t say in real life. False. Any drama, in any setting or genre, will allow observations about touchy subjects. The challenge is that the Unspeakable Issue must be recognized in the allegory if the allegory is to be successful—and that success depends on how cleverly one constructs the narrative.

It turns out you have to be really clever to point out that which people vehemently refuse to accept: that our beloved United States of America, that Great Shining City on the Hill, Land of Opportunity™, etc., not only has social classes, but a caste system.

Fear not, Gentle Reader. We’re a month along into the zombie apocalypse in Grace Among the Dead. No one’s looking for a job, so that troublesome notion has no reason to show up and piss in anyone’s punchbowls. 

Meanwhile, the fog is burning away. The morning is almost gone. Time for another round of pushups and crunches. Then it’s brunch, and I can finally get started. I insist on distinct personalities among my characters. They will not speak alike. They will have distinctive worldviews. I insist.

Why? Not for art’s sake or any of that happy horse-hockey. I like working with (imaginary) people; that’s all. It’s what keeps the gig interesting. 

Soothe your own overheated sensibilities with these shots from around 9 a.m. local time, north Colorado Springs. Freezing temps, chilly fog, calm. Qualities I should make my own:

The cherry tree in our yard is changing with its usual blood-spatter of color.
Pikes Peak is behind that wall of white.

I feel better already just looking at this. 

I could stand here and stare down at my next door neighbor’s yard all day. The aspens are always more golden on the other side, blah-blah. Look, it’s just pretty, all right?  Time to go inside, anyway.