Introspection, which DOES happen while writing

Pinterest keeps sending me suggestions for pins of woodworking projects.  Sometimes, I find this funny:  Is even Pinterest prone to confusing me with my characters?  🙂  (OTOH, it is totally useless when it comes to finding images of old Victorian houses in Cincinnati, which I need so I can form a clear image in my mind of that house that JG had put so much work into fixing up just a few years ago… )  The latest batch does contain some cool stuff, like a desk with sawhorse-style supports, which would go well with my coffee table made of vintage ammo crates (shut up — I like it, and that’s all that matters), but the tutorial for laying a brick patio just makes me want to tell them, “Stop nagging, already!  I can’t even work on the wires until she figures out scale…”  (Ninth brick, fourth row.  I have waaaaayyy too much trivial trivia in my head.)

What’s even funnier is that I started to write a blog post earlier titled “blue and red and black and grey.”  Some of you may recognize that as being from the lyrics to a song called “Mr. Jones,” by Counting Crows.  Reasons for thinking of those lyrics today:  Opening line, “I was down at the New Amsterdam…”  Um, yeah.  In the song, it’s the name of a bar, but, y’see, there used to be this television series (which, damnit, was ended early just like half the really interesting ones) called New Amsterdam.  Google it; be amused (and annoyed that it was cancelled after something like maybe eight episodes, damnit, right when the story was getting more complex).  My memory of this show is not terribly accurate (how appropriate), even though I only saw it about three years ago myself, but I think it was the first episode where the main character, John Amsterdam, tells a friend that he’s going into his workshop, and I knew, before anything else was said shown, what kind of workshop he meant (’cause flash-precogging unimportant things is my superpower), and for some reason I was amused instead of annoyed that he earned a living making furniture (hey, it’s a valid career choice, and from inside their respective stories, at least, JA has been doing it longer than JG, who only took up woodworking in the 1880s, and in Boston, not NYC — and yes, that’s meant to be information overload, O Loyal Reader), but it’s one thing to earn a living making fine wooden furniture ’cause it’s something you’re good at (having done it for a century or so), and another to forge your own work so you can sell it as “antique” instead of a really good copy (of your own work from an earlier time).  Dude, everybody knows about “aging” the wood by lightly charring it with a blowtorch; antiques dealers will be on the lookout for signs of it and know you’re trying to sell them a “fake.”  So don’t do it.

And that’s why the lyrics of “Mr. Jones” stuck in my head.

If you think that the name of the group, Counting Crows, is also part of this… mix of trivia bits that make an interesting composition of images… You may be right.  I’m not going there.  (Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.  Trust me, it’s better if I leave this line of thought alone before I say something to, y’know, embarrass myself further.)

I also tried to write a bit more backstory for “that novel” — this time a scene that is almost certain to get used in the novel, which is a nice change of pace.  (We’ve talked about doing a section of the story that’s flashback showing what happened with the Excalibur from the viewpoint of the characters who were there, because this telling about it after the fact thing is not working.  There are times when I think my clone reads too much stuff by David Weber, or allows the style in which the Safehold novels are written to influence his own style too much, or something.)  Anyway.  I tried writing a scene set before the Excalibur mission, from the PoV of that ship’s captain… And I realized that I was doing the one thing that I must never do with that character (’cause he doesn’t like it, and a rebellious character makes for a very hard time writing):  I was allowing him to become a metaphor for something in real life.  Or at least sound like one.  I actually caught myself typing the words exchanging identity for safety.

Um… Yeah.  Works perfectly in the story, y’know.  Guy has to change his appearance (my clone is so clever:  he said “It’s not officially approved for use on humans yet, but obsidian is used for surgical scalpels, and it’s so sharp that there’s never any scarring.”) because there are people who’d kill him if they found him (and the bit about hiring an actor to pretend to be him for public appearances… I decided this actor was Canadian, because Pinky and the Brain), but changing his appearance, although necessary, feels like he’s losing what little he has left of who he is.

And here I am not using my full legal name online (or elsewhere, when I have the option), because I don’t want to be bothered by people who used to know me.

Yeah.  That person I’ve complained about recently, the one who thinks that writing is bad for me because it causes me to “avoid introspection” or whatever?  That person is an idiot.

But JG is still “not a goddamn metaphor.”

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About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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2 Responses to Introspection, which DOES happen while writing

  1. Anna Tan says:

    I think introspection happens all the time when writing.
    And… you’ve just reminded me that I should probably check in to pinterest some time soon.

    anna
    Have a theme for A to Z? Reveal it with us on March 21 during the #atozreveal!

    Like

  2. Pingback: WIP update, plus dramatic irony and television and stuff | North of Andover

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