I’m back from a road trip to Seattle. We left while it was still dark on Saturday morning and I arrived home a little while ago. Driving long distances is good for me. It wakes up my brain and calms my natural restlessness. I’m on break through the rest of the week. I’m looking forward to long walks and people-watching.
But enough about that. I hit a roadblock with “Win” last week, so instead I wrote six pages of another story. I do this sometimes. I’m wrestling with one story when another creeps up behind me and hits me on the back of the head with a blackjack. This story started swishing around my skull as I took my morning shower. I don’t know exactly where it came from, but I kind of like it. Last summer I spent my first 4th of July in Portland. In addition to the usual hot dogs and hamburgers and vegetables, my friends butchered and grilled a whole squid. This story is a little about that. That’s why it is called “The Fourth”. It is also about being a stranger in a strange land, finding other strange strangers against the odds, being a low-level grunt in a larger organization, and learning how to be kind. It plays with certain noirish ideas. (See: “Nova“) Eccentric criminals and crime that’s petty in every sense of the word.
Like “Goodbye, Invisible Man”, this story is coming together very quickly. I should have a draft for you later in the week. I think that what makes me write is more anticipation than reflection. I have to be nervous/excited about the things that are going to happen in the story.
I tend to consume a strange media salad while I’m writing. Some of it is legitimate research, while the rest of it is only vaguely related but somehow inspires the right mood.
If you’re curious, here’s what I’ve been looking at while working on “The Fourth”.
- a moment from David Foster Wallace’s story “Little Expressionless Animals”
- visual representations of the Fastball Special
- Soviet military photos from WWII, including the one above.
- Kosher and Halal methods of animal slaughter
- Guy Davis‘ work on The Zombies That Ate The World
- “You Light Up My Life” scene from Todd Solondz’ Happiness (NSFW)
- certain scenes of The Maltese Falcon
- maps of Portland
- Wikipedia article on the Chernobyl disaster