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Of Northeastern Islands

Fire Island Lighthouse, Robert Moses Beach, NY

Fire Island Lighthouse before Sunset by Jim Dohms

We arrived on Mount Desert Island, Maine (close to Somes Pond on the map) last night after leaving Long Island, New York yesterday morning.

“The Island” is home to my Uncle Eddie, who collects and sells books on ebay. As we left he hooked us up with a box of books including Cervantes’ Don Quixote,  an omnibus of the Bronte Sisters’ work, a Mark Twain reader, and a heap more. Paper Gold!

We took the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry to Connecticut and motored north. The trip was fairly uneventful, especially after our traffic extravaganza heading on to Long Island Sunday night.

I’ve always enjoyed boats and all things related to sea/river/lake travel. I have a feeling there will be some water based stuff surfacing in my writing sooner rather than later.

I was able to write a bit on the way up to Long Island while my lovely wife drove and my daughter nodded off to sleep for a little bit. I took one more day off than I had intended, but I just finished up a session of about 1300 words. Hopefully some of them make sense.

Plate I of Gustave Dorés illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote. From Chapter I.

Plate I of Gustave Doré's illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. From Chapter I.

I think it’s time for a Come to Jesus Meeting with the manuscript. I’m a bit adrift right now because story lines are at the point where they are beginning to join. I need to make some decisions on major story arcs and turning points, but still maintain flexibility with the whole deal. Good times.
It’s definitely harder for me to maintain continuity while on the road, but at least I’m getting my writing in. For me, that’s huge.

Of Pop and Posters

by Jonathan 2 Comments

June 25. The day bits and pieces of my youth fell away like so much old paint on a sun-beaten windowsill. Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, both of them gone. I didn’t think much of it at first. Just more in a long line of famous people coming and going.

The King of Pop

The King of Pop

But it’s more than that. Those personalities were fused to my childhood like knee patches in my Toughskins. I wasn’t a huge fan of either celebrity or the knee patches, but both offered some sort of buffer. The celebrities softened the edges of the pains of growing up. The knee patches, well, they were indestructible barriers between my knees and grass stains. (It was odd how the Toughskins would break down around the everlasting patches.)

I remember listening to Michael Jackson’s She’s Out of My Life on Casey Kasem’s Top 40 while playing in the backyard. He broke down with a sob at the end. For some reason I can’t forget that. I remember watching the Jackson 5ive cartoon. I remember sleeping over at my friend’s house, a bunch of eighth graders listening to Thriller in the dark when it came out.

I remember Farrah’s famous poster (though I didn’t know it at the time) hanging in my brother’s room. I remember seeing that poster at the Glen Rock Firemen’s Carnival, just waiting to be won by some kid who could pop the right balloons or knock over the milk cans.

Farah Fawcett

Farah Fawcett

I remember playing Charlie’s Angels into the twilight during summer. I never wanted to be Farrah, only because everyone wanted to be Farrah. Sure, I was a boy, but I loved the way those ladies broke bad on the villains. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?

More recently, a friend of mine got a gig as the sound guy for Michael Jackson’s latest tour. He said that if he did his job well, it would give him the leverage to name his price for future sound jobs. Michael Jackson was still a big deal.  “Before his death, Jackson had announced a 50 date sell-out This Is It comeback tour, in London, England (Wikipedia). Not too shabby. Michael Jackson still did it for millions of people throughout the world.

I don’t know that there is some deeper meaning here; I just was amazed that people I took for granted in their heyday, people I didn’t follow inentionally, could leave such a lasting imprint on my memories.

Two days of Mediocrity…

by Jonathan 6 Comments
Claytor Lake Virginia

Claytor Lake Virginia

…or one of Good?

I spent the day at my dad’s helping him repair some vinyl floating stuff and taking a short boat ride on Claytor Lake. It’s a 5 hour round trip. It was good to see dad and do some stuff together. I woke up with a little cold or allergy-type thing – not a big deal, but enough to cast a weird floating feeling on the day (It wasn’t the boat ride, I swear). I’m home now and we just got our daughter down for the night (maybe). I had originally planned to get to some writing tonight, but I don’t know that I have the attention span to churn out something serviceable. Also, if I stay up late struggling, I don’t get the rest I need and go into tomorrow in a similar state. I thought I might concentrate on getting some good rest and hit it hard in the AM, my normal writing time. That’s my plan.

Would you go for quality or quantity if you were in my shoes? All two of you who read this blog, I’m asking you. I think I can get both tomorrow with good rest tonight.

Stephenson's Quicksilver

I just started reading Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. I’m only about 30-some pages into it, but I’m loving it. I love the heft of the thing. I love the words packed onto each page. I love that there are two more volumes of The Baroque Cycle. I have to confess that I bought it for my mother for Christmas, hoping she would dig it. But, I was also hoping I’d get to read it as well. I got Anathem for my brother. Neither have completed their books as of yet. If I can read both and give them the big thumbs up, perhaps they’ll reconsider.

Neal Stephensons Quicksilver

Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver

The only other work of his I’ve read (book on tape) is Snow Crash. I found that to be okay, but definitely zoned out during the Librarian explanations. Because of his style, I am definitely leery of a similar situation in Quicksilver.

On the flap there is a review quote that likens it to the erudition of The Name of the Rose, which I read this Spring.  I think I can hang with that. I like learning a little something (or a lot of something) whilst I enjoy a good tale.

I’ll update this post upon completion, but if you have any thoughts on this or any of Mr. Stephenson’s offerings, feel free to comment.

Update 6/26/09

I’m now about 115 pages in. It’s still captivating. If you like the idea of the great minds of the natural sciences running around, making trouble, challenging the known world, this is pretty cool. From young Ben Franklin, Sir Isaac Newton, and Christopher Wren to John Wilkins and Robert Boyle, and Robert Hooke, this book seems to include them all in a very human light. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Society for a little background on the Royal Society that features so prominently in Stephenson’s book.

Father's Day

by Jonathan 0 Comments
Me and my girl.

Me and my girl.

Happy Father’s Day to all the pops, dads, fathers, daddies, old men, etc. I’ve only been at it for 3+ years, but there is nothing like it on earth. I can thank my daughter’s birth in 2005 for a change in perspective, a rearranging of priorities

Later on today, I’ll be heading to the writing shed a see what I can do. For now, it’s family time.