Faire et se taire

The precious few paragraphs I carved out for the book today will get deleted. Or perhaps massively overhauled. I got up at 5:00, made a press of coffee and sat down to write. But it was not clean and did not flow from the pen. Then, at 7:00, I quit and walked the hound and mentally worked through a much better approach for that little part of the story. 

So I think I must change up my routine. Now I will walk the dog first thing in the morning and think through that day’s effort. Get my thoughts organized and sort out the scene and the dialogue. Pops gets no vote. He will simply get up at 5:00 with me now.

Dialogue is the worst. It’s very hard to write good dialogue without sounding stiff and unnatural. Or at least it is for me. And staying in the correct point of view. And this part of the story is set in Ireland, so I am constantly getting on Google maps or Google Earth or just searching the Internet for informant about the sights and details of the environment I need to re-create. 

What the fuck was I thinking really? Selling a book is about as common as winning the lottery. So these thousands of hours for what is mostly likely to be a mediocre result, will be for what? Personal pride? To say I wrote a book? I’ve already done that. 

Good personal satisfaction I suppose, but non-fiction is a walk in the park compared to fiction. And critical review of non-fiction is fairly binary. Your facts are correct or they are not. The writing is bad, decent or good. But in a novel, there is so much more to evaluate. The telling of the story, the story itself, the characters with all their flaws and nuances and the dialogue and the visual descriptions of the surroundings. Some of this exists in non-fiction of course. But I think the expectations and standards are just higher in fiction. 

Anyway. Quit whining. Write. Right. 

On the way in from walking the pooch every morning I grab the mail. Today, as in yesterday and the day before, I rifle through the 8 or 10 adverts and mailers and take them straight to the garbage. I’ve had this routine now in one form or another for decades. Is this really the best we can do as a society? What is the cost in environmental damage for this shotgun approach of sending every swinging dick in the country mounds and mounds of junk mail. They go straight to landfill or recycle what? 80% of the time? 90%? Does the 5 or 10% of people who find them useful warrant this excessive waste of our precious resources. 

It’s probably no exaggeration to say that the junk mail I have received over the last 40 years would fill 2 large dump trucks. Tons and tons of wasted paper. Multiply that by 300 million souls in the United States, and we get a glimpse of the magnitude of the problem we face in trying to save our planet from ourselves.

Imagine the trees cut down—the labor and environmental destruction of building the roads in forests to access the trees. Then the labor and fuel and heavy equipment used and the trucks to haul them to the paper mill and the electric and water and dyes used to make the paper and the energy to run the presses and printers to develop the final product and then the gallons of fuel to drive around and hand deliver them to every household in the country. Then, within around an hour of being touched by the recipient, around 80%+ goes straight into the garbage.

I ordered some bit of jewelry or something for September from Sundance organization around 2007. Not a thing since then. But I still get a 40 page full color magazine of goods from them several times a year. And this is Redford’s organization. A guy who is supposed to care about the planet. 

Painting on the house continues. Traditionally I move every 2-3 years and I’ve been here two years. So painting in preparation for possibly renting or selling. I actually tend to keep cars longer than houses. It’s tiresome, but I’ve always been attracted to movement.

I hired a lady to help me with the painting. She is good but has a bad memory. She asks me every day what color goes where and I repeat the instructions from the day before. She is also a bit slow, but I am not really in a hurry. It is priced by the room and not by the hour. She is easily distracted. Mostly on her phone. But her son comes along with her and he must be watched over for his on-line schooling. 

He’s a nice kid. 5th grade so I suppose about 10 or so? I joke that he is like a wild animal who must have been raised by wolves in the forest. He likes to go with me when I walk the dog. But he doesn’t wear a coat or shoes no matter the weather. He runs and stops and starts and dances around spritely. And he climbs everything that is vertical. Stanchions, brick walls, trees. The gates of the mansions on Lakeshore. He climbed an iron gate tonight and straddled the fence. I assumed the hounds would soon be released to chase him off, or perhaps some sunglasses wearing private security geek with an ear-piece would drive up in a black suburban to shoo him away. 

But like I said, a nice kid. Gentle. Perhaps an older soul. He comes around and asks me questions. Hangs around a bit now and again. But I don’t want to encourage attachment. The painting job will not last long. 

I hired her to ‘help’ because work has suddenly gotten much more intense and I am trying to get more writing in. But also, mostly, because what free time I do have I prefer to be doing just about anything besides painting. Like now, while I am reading and writing at a pub while having a drink and bite to eat. Beats painting all day every day.

Besides, I assume that she needs the money. And time is my more precious capital at the moment. A classic capitalist scenario. Supply and demand. 

I’ve been told that some people enjoy painting. While I agree that some labors can be rewarding, even spiritual in a way, such as sanding a fine wooden boat, I personally do not find painting walls gratifying.

Pops got a new pirate themed named tag that says ‘Pops is my name. Roaming’s my game. Am I lost?’ The old man had a little go at the neighbor’s dog yesterday so that sort of pissed me off. I am told that dogs on leashes sometimes are more aggressive because they somehow think they are in protection mode. Makes no sense to me—neither does this business that has cropped up of people speculating about animal behavior and pretending they understand what makes a dog tick. I don’t buy it. Fuck the Dog Whisperer.

No other news of note.

Humbly submitted.

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