Not sleeping so much these days.
Still working on "Nova," though the past two nights I've felt a little like I was spinning my wheels. It's... odd, to put time into something, to lose sleep over something, only to have it in fairly the same condition when the morning finally comes. Through re-writes and scene sweating I've gotten "Nova" down to a svelte 26 pages, just one page over what it needs to be, and that last page and I have been squaring off for two or three days now.
And I'll delete this, or I'll delete that, or I'll try and work out X thing completely, and usually end up going right back to the old draft, and overwriting whatever it is I just came up with. I've mentioned it before, but I delete a lot when I write -- I have tendencies to get talky, to write overly-specific dialogue [not for the story, but overly-specific in a referential sense], to latch on to certain digressions and follow tangents that don't really go anywhere. I try and save the best stuff, but the honest fact is a lot/most of it is the same thing in different forms or colors, and likely will show up once more when I sit down to try again later.
All of that... process, I'll guess we can call it, that's what I've been doing with "Nova" the past few nights. And about the time the sun is coming up or "Angel" is coming on, I've decided what I had before was better, and reverted back to it. I mean, I've even tried re-writing the ending, which either doesn't make as much sense as I thought it did, or does and I've just been looking at it too hard. The new thing I did for the ending struck me as cheesy -- or rather, I couldn't decide if it was cheesy or not, so I chucked it just on the outside chance that it was. Which would probably seem like absolute stupidity, if not for the fact the new ending I wrote? It was a half a page longer than the existing one, instead of being one page shorter like it needed to be.
And what, may you ask, is all the point to all this melodramatic bitching on my part? Well, nothing really. Just one of those rare moments to document how maddening it can be to see the finish line, but not actually be crossing it yet. It vaguely reminds me of trying to hold my breath through those god-awful-long highway tunnels, so sure if I could make the air in my outstretched cheeks last that I'd be granted some sort of wish for my voluntary apnea -- but it never failed, no matter how long or short the forsaken man made asshole of whatever West Virginia hill we'd decided to go straight through, as soon as I could see that light at the end of the tunnel my face would get sore, and my lungs would start screaming, and there's be this drum beat in temples for the world's slowest conga line.
Which is what all this pissing and moaning is. I'd like to breathe. But I also want "Nova" to be good. I want my wish, I guess, to carry the metaphor.
Of course, I'm lucky. I'm getting some help, as I've had a few friends volunteer to look at the latest draft, and let me know what they think, and hopefully -hopefully!- something brilliant will shake loose between me and them. Sometimes the smallest comment or question can bring something bigger to life, which actually happened when Julia wrote me back after looking at a [slightly] longer version, and reminded me of the Steven Bach edict on screenwriting that we don't know what our characters are thinking, only what they do, and what they say. She used that to point out one error, in one line, but overall it helped me clip down almost a whole page.
So that could happen. Or maybe I'll just unclench and realize on my own that something is expendable, or would sound better in a more succinct way.
To keep this from being completely about me, I thought might toss everyone a few links of some newer blogs I've been reading online, a few which have popped up in the old "Following" box, and a few who are fellow Bennington alumni.
First up is my friend J'aime Chatfield -- she's a photographer I went to school with, who I've only recently reconnected with online, and you can see some of the wonderful pictures she takes on her Flickr account. I'm a pretty big of fan. She's about to embark on this big trip overseas, where she'll be living in Paris and just generally being more glamorous than the rest of us, and she's writing about the experience on her own blog, "In Transito." I will admit, I bug the piss out of her to keep her posting over there [yes, she hasn't even left yet], but only because what she's doing is so incredibly ballsy and I want to keep up with every minute of it.
Speaking of being far, far off the beaten path, another Bennington alum, Maggie Duffy, has a blog up called BurAnTipodes, which I've only recently found [I think it may have only been recently started as well], where she chronicles her time in Indonesia, of all places, where she is, by her own account, teaching and traveling, and watching as Jakarta goes crazy. There are always lots of pictures in her posts, and considering Indonesia is a place I know absolutely nothing about, I am always impressed with something I've never seen before.
Finishing out the trifecta of Bennington Bloggers [Stan Lee-like alliteration, I'm rocking now] is the NYC girl Jessica Condyles, who we almost lost to tumblr, and who even though I didn't know terribly well at Bennington, I'm getting to know now, through her writing at Lotus Blossom Pond. She's very straightforward and introspective [pity knows why I'd enjoy a blog like that], and willing to share personal things about herself in a public forum. My own writing here has an aspect of getting to know myself by sharing myself, and I see some of that same vibe, just more focused by Jessica at LBP.
And finally... not a Bennington person, not even someone I know all that well, though I am starting to feel like I do from their comics -- that's right, I'm plugging the work of John Kinhart, over at Sorry Comics, whose art I just love, and who I encourage everyone to sink a few hours into his archives of autobiographical comic strips. They're simple, at least in color scheme [blue was a good choice], but always seem to nail exactly the melancholy they seem set on portraying, and though updates are sporadic it's always worth wait. I have no idea why he started following me -- probably a courtesy gesture, for me publicly subscribing to his website, but I'm flattered to even have a fleeting connection to comic work I enjoy so much.
Just ask the guys over at Modern Mythology Press.