Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Cave Phase

I believe I have reached the "cave" portion of the writing process on this book. That's when I don't really want to do anything else. I've skipped watching the news, I decided I could live out of my well-stocked freezer rather than go grocery shopping, and it's going to take an act of supreme will to make myself do my weekly medical radio scripts. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm spending all my time writing, just that I don't want to do anything else. There has been a fair amount of staring into space, but that may just be part of the creative process.

I think I'm excited because I can feel it coming together. This book has two parallel plot lines, and I've always loved one but struggled with the other, so that means in this round of revisions I'm more or less leaving alone the one plot line and totally rewriting the other. But those rewrites seem to be also reinforcing the parts I love in the other plot because they echo the same themes -- and I'm not doing that on purpose. I just notice it when I go back to tweak. I love it when that happens, and the process of discovery is much of the fun of writing.

When I finish the book, though, I'll have to put on my biohazard suit and decontaminate the house. Between the flu and the writing, it's a bit crazy right now. I also have about a month (or more) worth of e-mail to deal with. And, oh yeah, I'm speaking to a writing group this weekend, so I need to plan my speech.

Meanwhile, I watched that new series New Amsterdam last night, and I honestly couldn't say whether or not it was any good because it seemed to hit so many of my buttons that I'd find myself loving it even if it sucked. They seemed to actually be filming in New York, and I hope that lasts beyond the pilot because it helped to have an authentic feel of the city. I'm also a sucker for old New York, the way the city has evolved, and that time lapse stuff where he goes from a wilderness island to standing in the middle of Times Square today was awesome, as was his wall of photos over the years.

Then there's the immortality thing, which I find fascinating, not so much because it's something I'd want (at least, not in this sphere of existence), but because it allows the exploration of so many other themes I find interesting. It provides an automatic sense of perspective on the day-to-day issues of life. It makes you take a look at your priorities in a way that works for me better than the "how would you live if you knew this would be your last year?" theorizing does. I like to think in terms of "what would you try to accomplish or explore if you had unlimited time?" and then think about why I don't do that in my limited time, so it's fun to see how these characters use their long lives. Would you become really, really good at one thing (just imagine what an immortal musician might be able to accomplish with hundreds of years to perfect his art), or would you explore lots of different things to some degree of depth? It also brings up issues of how you deal with relationships, since they're all going to be somewhat transitory. To quote the Doctor, "You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the rest of my life with you." Maybe that theme resonates with me because we moved around a lot when I was a kid (Army brat), and I knew that any friendships I made would only last a year or so, at the most. I never really learned how to sustain a long-term relationship, and that maps somewhat to the idea of an immortal who sees people with normal human lifespans coming and going. It's too early to really see how this guy is coping, but I did like that he doesn't really try to hide it. People just dismiss what he says as sarcasm or exaggeration because the truth is so unbelievable.

Then there's the hot guy. He looks kind of like he could maybe be Nathan Fillion's cousin. In some shots, he could be a brother. And he was shirtless through plenty of scenes. His relationship with his partner reminds me of the show Life, with the quirky, weird guy partnered with the young woman from a family of cops who wants to prove herself.

As a scheduling note public service, the crack-addled squirrels who plan the scheduling for the Fox network got into the crack stash with this one and came up with the brilliant plan for launching a show by premiering it in one timeslot, then showing it in another timeslot, and then finally putting it in its regular timeslot -- with apparently different episodes rather than showing the pilot all over the place. So the next episode will be on Thursday night (after the Idol results), then the regular slot starts next week on Monday night. How do they expect people to find and follow a show when its first three episodes are on totally different days of the week, and the first two aren't on what will be the regular day? I guess they're counting on Tivo being able to find it for people. Because of this stupidity, I'm not letting myself get too involved (maybe the immortality relationship issues also reflect the ephemeral nature of television programming -- after losing so many shows you love, you hesitate to fall in love again), but hey, there's not a lot of scripted stuff on these days, so it's nice to have something to watch.

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