Random thoughts

New fiction editor at The New Yorker. A good thing, I think. The fiction there needs some more crackle.
The Sopranos isn't as good this year. Too many random story threads that don't move along quickly enough.
The West Wing hasn't been stellar either, though the last episode was good. After a while I wish Sorkin would put some flesh and blood in his liberal puppets. Let Seaborn hook up with Leo's daughter. Have Josh fall prey to Donna's charms one late night at the office.
Woody speaks out agains the war. Woody! When I think Woody, I think of Indecent Proposal, where he is holding that brick, giving a lecture on architecture, John Barry's lush score rising to a crest of emotion as Woody proclaims, "Even a brick wants to be more than a brick." Woody?
Any concert with a big name that's worth seeing in Seattle sells out instantly. If you're not ready to redial Ticketmaster on Saturday morning like a spastic 13 year old girl trying to get N'Sync concert tickets, you're totally out of luck. When you get through, you'll be put on hold for about half an hour, at which point some Ticketmaster agent will try to upsell you on four different Ticketmaster magazines and two different overpriced Ticketmaster services before giving you two tickets in a section you don't want to sit, and they'll charge you $8.25 per ticket as a handling charge. Someone break down this handling charge for me--I'm sorry, is Gisele Bundchen going to hand deliver my tickets, because that bored phone rep on the other end of the line sure isn't lifting a finger, judging from the passion in her reading of the sales script in front of her. Dealing with Ticketmaster is like being forced to watch Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood or Riding Cars with Boys in a shitty movie theater with unhinged seats covered in gum from viewers from a few months back. Anyway, back to the point of this whole thing...if Beck brings the Flaming Lips to Benaroya and I miss out, I am moving.
A very sweet Dell customer service representative with a Southern accent agreed to offer me a refund on the RAM which Dell convinced me to purchase and which failed to work in my computer because of some strange limitation in the way Rambus RAM has to be configured. That was the highlight of my day. PCNation.com, on the other hand, still hasn't shipped my photo printer and has no idea where it is. It's been three months now.

A start

Last Saturday afternoon, I dropped my car off for a repair, and they told me they needed to keep it longer than expected. So there I was, stranded without wheels for five hours. I could have taken the shuttle home, but I had my laptop with me, and in a moment which in a movie would be one of those subtle and crucial turning points in a character's development.
I climb into the car dealer shuttle, and the driver asks me where I want to go. Home, I almost say. The office, I should respond. But after weeks of living in Amazon headquarters all day, and after a morning of working through bug lists on e-mail, I need a break. My brain is cooked.
I could head downtown and shop, buy myself something. But it's a habit I distrust, this self-indulgence after spurts of industriousness. Strikes me as weakness--after all, I want the freedom to get something when I need it, whenever that may be.
Take me downtown, I say. I realize I need to take my watch in for a new battery, so I can start with that, deferring my decision for a bit. Besides, I have my laptop with me, and an idea is sprouting in the corner of my mind.
People everywhere downtown. When I first came to Seattle, it was pretty desolate downtown on the weekends for a big city. Now, with Pacific Place's parking lot (the most crucial cog in the revival of Seattle's downtown commerce in all the time I've been here) and all the big shops lining 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th St., people stream up and down the veins of downtown like they do in the heart of any bustling metropolis. Just being outside, everyone all around, gives me energy.
Four hours to kill. I know what I have to do. I've said it before, so I must take some of my own medicine. I find the nearest Starbucks (in Seattle, that means I just turn around), walk in, pop out my laptop and plug it into the wall, pull out my iPod and pop in my headphones, crank up the tunes, and start writing.
I have this germ of an idea for a screenplay, and some source material with me. So I pull that out of my bag and begin jotting out an outline. Three acts. No wait, it feels more like four. Non-conventional, but when you're in draft mode anything goes. I can always pare it back later.
Back in school, I'd do this once a week, or whenever the mood struck. This outlining. That way I always had skeletons or crude sketches of all sorts of stories in my pocket at any point in time. Finish one story, and instead of reading it, I'd move on to some other story skeleton and give it some flesh and guts. Then, later, I'd pull the completed story back out and re-read it with a critical eye.
I can't always write to music, but the the joy of the iPod is that it stores a gazillion songs and provides just enough noise to drown out the sound of the espresso machine and all the strangers around me. Four hours later, I have a 6 page outline. Four acts of about 21 scenes each. Obviously too long, this is more like a two part miniseries, but always better to have a mind pregnant with ideas than to engage in a staring contest with a solid block of whitespace.
It's been a long time since I've written. It feels good. I know I've got a long night ahead at the office, but I'm flush with writer's high, the satisfaction of the artist who has just surfaced from a long swim in the depths of his craft. Maybe that's too florid a description. But then, writing is not always that fluid and enjoyable a process, so those chances I get to romanticize it? I grab them. Later when I'm struggling I can look back and remind myself that good times lie ahead.