February 18: Another clear day

Today was another exceptionally clear day. It was also an uneventful day save for the lunch get-together with my siblings. That started the day off nicely. I got to hear about what they were reading and about how their book clubs worked, in terms of what kinds of things they talked about.

There was also some chat about our upcoming family reunion in July. Eureka! continues to have Lady Face Blind Ambition for $4 so I couldn’t resist having one (and then another one). These kinds of family outings don’t last too long, no one’s prone to linger or talk about anything too amusing, so I was on my way home by 1:30, just in time for a quick hike.

Like I said, it was very clear day. Lots of folks were heading out at once so I decided to take a connector trail towards El Escorpion. Once there, I picked up a trail that I was pretty sure would link back to the Victory side. I was right, but the last third of the trail was brutally steep. Had it not been for the light, cooling breeze it may have been too much. But I made it and then found my way to Bible Rock before heading back to the main trail and my car.

Those two beers were not my friend on this hike, but I was happy to have made it out for a couple hours.

I’m getting a little antsy about the book. It’s feeling ripe and ready to publish. I’m ready to move on but circumstances won’t let me quite yet. It’s also a time of anticipation. There are always technical issues, most commonly with the EPUB or MOBI files used for the the Amazon Kindle Version.

It’s rather like the feeling of dreading impending traffic that you know you’ll hit, simply because you’re in a hurry. It makes you wonder why you’re in a hurry and then you remember.

There’s time enough but none to waste.

Tonight’s writing soundtrack is another LP. This time it’s an oldie and a scratchy one at that. It’s Paul Desmond’s That’s Jazz. It’s from 1961 and it’s pretty much the epitome of California Cool. Desmond’s playing is impeccable as always. There’s never been anyone better at this kind of stuff. His tone and articulation were effortless and he was rhythmically faultless and nimble to boot. Still, in some strange kind of way this LP reminds me that I really don’t much care for jazz anymore. The best jazz was universally played in the past and if you can’t find a reason to look ahead toward even the possibility of new and better days, a genre can really become mundane. It’s always amazing to me that these straight-laced looking guys like Desmond and Bill Evan were relentless self-abusers, Desmond with booze while Evans favored heroin and later cocaine. It makes their music perfect time capsules of another era when jazz was perfected and before its inevitable entropic decline.

Thanks for reading.

That was Jazz
February 18: Another clear day

January 7: When the writing is done.

You know that I’ve finished writing my second book. I did it in two parts. The first started in late 2018 and the second started at the end of 2019. The parts were separated by an unforeseen event that obviously didn’t scuttle the project though it did affect the way the second part of the book unfolded.

Now it’s done, but it’s not.

I was lucky enough to hear from my loyal formatter today. She got married in the middle of December so I was hoping against hope that she’d still be into her formatting gig once the dust settled. I’m fortunate that she is. I didn’t realize what a superb job she did on my first book until I saw some other self-published books and said, “Hmmm…” sometimes to myself and sometimes out loud. My hope is to format the second so its style (font, spacing, section headings, etc.) matches my first book. I think the second is about 70,000 words longer than the first but I still think its 5×8″ cover will look nice, tidy and unpretentious on a book shelf.

I’ve identified a funny shortcoming. While I’ve spent a good long time editing the book, I’m kind of done with it. I wrote it as well as I could and while there are tons of changes I could make I cannot quite bring myself to make them. Like I said, the essence of it is about as good as I can do though I know I can do better on the next book. The tasks remaining are writing the foreword or the preamble (I haven’t decided which I’ll use), buying and placing the ISBN number and deciding whether I want to acknowledge and identify the cover artist on the back cover itself or somewhere inside. Of course, I’ve avoided the most important thing. I have to print the damn 578 page monster out again and proof it one last time. Only two minor typos managed to slip past on the first book but there’s something about this book that tells me that it could suffer from more, potentially a lot more gremlins.

My mindset reminds me of Roger Modjeski. When he would finish the aspects of a circuit design he called The Study, and by finish I mean he fully verified that the circuit did what he intended it to do, he was pretty much done with the design. Completing The Study cut the umbilical cord for Rog just like finishing the narrative has cut me off from my novel. Roger still wanted to make a salable product mind you, just like I want to make a salable book, but our enthusiasms belonged to another aspect of the process.

This was in no way a limitation on Roger’s ability as a circuit designer. I know few engineers who were his equal. And, I’m not even sure that it undercuts me as a writer. Perhaps it’s merely evidence that writing requires an editor who is not the writer. Now that’s a problem I’m not sure I can solve, though in my own way I am trying.

As the clock approaches 11:30pm I am realizing that even though writing is easier for me the later it gets this kind of journal is going to require daytime writing. So, from tomorrow on I’m going to dedicate myself to writing these entries before the sun goes down.

Finally, today’s soundtrack is Nocturne by Charlie Haden from way back in 2001. One of the main qualifications of my writing soundtracks is that they are instrumentals and relatively devoid of big swings of tempo and dynamics. Most vocals are too distracting. Anyway, it’s a neat record for writing or just some stylish, California-cool chillin.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find time to drop by tomorrow.

January 7: When the writing is done.