Let’s Forget Shopping Today!!

Wow. The first headline I saw on my phone this morning at 5am was that the heavy rains will continue and that one person drowned in the flood yesterday…

I was planning to drive into town to get the groceries today but after seeing that headline, and looking out at the still dark, rainy world outside my bedroom window — I decided that I have enough food around here to last me until tomorrow.

So I guess I’m just gonna plant myself here inside all day today and continue to work on editing the novel (The Guitar Hero Goes Home).

Mostly, I’m looking at the structure of it — and not necessarily the story structure, but the layout.  For whatever reason, the four books I currently have in progress (2 memoirs, 2 novels), have all come out of me in much shorter chapters,or segments — whatever you want to call it. I wouldn’t call it flash — except for perhaps In the Shadow of Narcissa; that one is flash (nonfiction/memoir). But I do really love the whole flash genre of literature, so perhaps on some level, I am creating now in that briefer way.

Even though The Guitar Hero Goes Home already has really short chapters and sub-chapters, I’m still breaking a lot of it up into even smaller sections — or themes, really.

There’s not a ton of sex in the book, but what is in there is usually explicit sex, so part of the structure involves sort of “roping those scenes off” so that they are set up, visually, to feel different, and maybe won’t feel quite as jarring as they have felt to me by not setting them apart. Meaning, the guy is talking about something and then suddenly he’s either talking about or having explicit sex. It feels strange to me. So I think that by giving the reader’s eye a cue that something is changing, it will help the sex stuff feel less out of place.

So that’s what I’m working on around here. When I’m not trying to breathe, that is.

Even though I’m still taking the large doses of Vitamin D, which are definitely helping, I am still having issues with catching my breath and it is making me completely insane. So I began wondering if maybe that specific problem stems strictly from stress and not from the COVID 19. I had the same problem back during 9/11 in NYC — when my C-PTSD was off the charts for several weeks and it was affecting my ability to breathe. Back then, in order to get through the day, I would take one Tylenol PM caplet every few hours in order to calm down, and it would work and then I could breathe.

So yesterday, I started taking one-quarter of one caplet throughout the day, to see if maybe that little bit could calm me down and stop the constant feeling of needing to catch my breath — and it worked, without actually putting me to sleep.

I tell you, though, I am going to be really, really happy when this part of reality is over and something else is going on. (That, hopefully, won’t impair my breathing.) I’m really, really sick of this.

So, this comment doesn’t really have anything to do with what I’ve just written, but I think it’s completely insane that Hollywood is doing a remake of the movie Scarface. I realize that Pacino’s film from 1983 is a remake of the 1932 version, but still. Pacino’s Scarface is simply too legendary for words. Why on Earth remake it? You know how Hollywood has this reputation now of having no original ideas left? Well, hmmm. Can’t imagine why…

For me, it feels sort of like when Bas Lurhmann, for some reason, needed to make a version of The Great Gatsby (2013) that would just jump right into your face. This is a film that had been made first in 1926, then famously redone in 1974, with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. And even while it might not have been a complete critical success, it was a legendary version of The Great Gatsby, and it kept to Fitzgerald’s gentle pacing of the book.

Fitzgerald was never a “jump into your face” kind of writer — he crafted every sentence with grace, and beauty, and emotional power. So, rather than turning Fitzgerald’s masterpiece into a bunch of noise, what would have been the harm in writing a whole new story about the Jazz Age that had never been written before, that maybe felt perfectly suited to jumping in our faces?  I guess the harm resides in it being too risky; the resulting story might not have been good enough.

Well, anyway. So a new version of Scarface is getting underway… I’m just glad that cable and streaming platforms helped break television writing wide open because we at least have all of that great (often exceptionally original) writing to turn to now.

And on that lofty note!! I better get started here today. I hope you have a nice (dry) Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang!! I leave you with a track from Mark Lanegan’s new album, Straight Songs of Sorrow. The track is “Churchbells, Ghosts.” This album was my listening music from last night. Definitely not cheery, but still really good. So listen and enjoy. (Oh, and hey — maybe even purchase a download at a music streaming platform near you??) Okay. I love you guys. See ya!

 

“Churchbells, Ghosts”

Strange things happen in the city
Strange things happen in the street
Here I am, here I am out here walking
Walkin’ in wilderness so deep
In every passing car I hear her calling
In every one she speeds away
Lord, help me now because I’m bleeding
And I don’t want to fall away

All my life I’ve held this hammer
Hammered boulders into stones
Now I choke on tears of anger
And I am quickly growing cold
Lord, I wish that you could see me

I stagger now a wounded Atlas
Nothing else but blood and bone
Lord, help me now because I’m drowning
My boat don’t know the way to shore

Now I find myself in Kansas
Here I am, here I am, an aging hustler
Born without a mother, born without a soul
I’d ask somebody for a quarter
If there were someone for me to phone
Lord, don’t you hear me? I am calling
Lord, help me now, don’t let me fall

I find myself in Charlotte, find myself in Jacksonville
Here I am, I’m disappearing
There’s nothing left for me to kill
In every train that’s running by me
I hear her singin’ in the wheels
Lord, help me now, I’m going over
Lord, help me now, I’m going down

Lord, don’t you hear me crying?
Don’t you hear me saying goodbye?

© – 2020 Mark Lanegan

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