The Circle of Drama

Back on Wednesday AMC began running every episode of Breaking Bad, with a intermission here and there to keep people from jumping out windows because they were depressed, I suppose.  Because there are so many things going on with me over the last few years I haven’t been able to watch the show, but I’ve known of it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to catch the last eight weeks of the series, which comes to an end this coming Sunday, 29 September.

Because of this show we now have ever high school chemistry teacher in the country being asked if they know how to cook meth, which is probably not a good thing, but it’s better than no questions at all, I suppose.  And it would appear that Albuquerque is one of the major drug capitals of the country, and a good place to buy up some bankrupt fried chicken shacks.

The one thing it has done is bring drama, and that’s because the writing is just so damn good.

Getting home from work I was able to catch the last four episodes of Season Two:  Over, Mandala, Phoenix, and ABQ.  Two of these episodes made up a grouping of four that foreshadowed an event that closed out Season Two, and the last scene in ABQ foreshadows an event that will close out Season Four.  It’s all there:  life, death, getting hope, loosing it all . . . and watching people turn into monsters before your very eyes.  (And those four episodes were Seven-Thirty-Seven, Down, Over, ABQ.  Now you know how the season ends.)

I love great writing.  One of the reasons I don’t watch a lot of television is I’m not much for the product dealt.  Think of it along the lines of the Sky Blue that’s cooked on Breaking Bad:  you get the normal crap that’s all over the place, and then there’s the crank that’s ninety-five percent pure.  Finding that Sky Blue drama is rare, but when you do, you sit on that stuff and love the ride until it takes you down.

One of the reasons I decided to take a creative writing course in the late 1980’s was due to hating what passed for good story telling on TV and at the movies.  My ego was just enough then that I thought, “I can write better than most of these hacks,” and I still have that personal belief that if you work at your craft long and hard enough, and you’re willing to learn from the crap you first churn out, then you’ll end up producing something good, maybe even some great stuff.  Work at it long enough, and you’ll produce a few lines of Sky Blue quality stories.

If you’re luckier, you’ll do that for a while and end up feeling guilty about what you’re going to do with all the money you make.

None of us start out being true artists of our craft; it takes time to get there, it takes work.  It’s rare that any of us are gonna drive the RV out into the desert and produce some totally pure produce the first time out, and do it wearing only our underwear.  But if we work at it long enough, we may just become artists of our craft.

Or we can get wasted on our own product.  That’s always an option.

The Emptiness of False Dreams

The last couple of days I’ve been running on little sleep, but not really feeling it.  Well, not much, that is.  I felt it last night when I was writing.  Or, should I say, struggling to write.

I had stuff to do yesterday, then there was time spent trying to get a fire going in the outdoor pit–note to self:  you need an hour to get that sucker going–then, about eight PM, it was time to write.

Maybe it was the moon coming out of newness, or my hormones are freaking on me, or I’m just cold.  I don’t know.  But last night, I was really down.  I didn’t want to write.  I felt like I was spending this enormous amount of time cranking out words, then I’d do a check of my progress, and discover I’d written maybe two hundred words.

I had to look stuff up.  As prepared as I was, I’m still finding things to research, and for about twenty minutes I was looking for one damn acronym so I could use it for a line in a chapter.  I needed a date, and I couldn’t find the sucker.  I needed the name of a town . . . screw it.  This is what comes from working in the real world:  you have to use real things from time to time.  So not fair.

Then I got caught up in some social media drama.  Someone posted something that they did a, “Oh, is this real?” then when you say it is, the comeback is misquoting something you said weeks before, and that they aren’t going to debate anything with me, ’cause obviously I’m a bad person.  You keep thinkin’ that, love, and, just like last night, I’ll walk away because–wait, what’s that quote?


Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

Mark Twain.


Yeah, that one.

It seems like that quote has been coming to bear a lot of late.  Not just from “things”–whatever those things may be–but from people I know in the writing biz.  It seems as NaNoWriMo drags on, you begin to get a very good feel for those who are writing because they are serious about being writers, and those who are writing because they think it makes them writers.

I was telling someone the other night that in the run-up to NaNo, I received a bit of–shall we say, shit, about all the work I’d put into getting ready to write.  It seemed there was a palatable poo-pooing hanging in the air before me from people who were aghast that I was doing something like–research!  For a novel!  Oh, heavens above, where is the fainting couch?

So bad had it become that a couple of people were insinuating–nay, insisting!–that if you had to plan things out in advance, you were some kind of formulaic hack, and damned if they’d go that route!  And that’s fine if you want to do that; far be it from me to say my way of writing is far better than yours.  And if you want to say your way of writing is far superior to my puny human efforts, Loki, that’s cool.  Though don’t expect me to give you mad props any time soon, because your mind is a bag of cats, and despite the hype you’re yappin’, I ain’t seeing the end result.

There seem to be a goodly number of people who, while some seem to be trying to walk the walk, they spend more time wiping up drama about their very comfortable walking shoes.  They go on an on about needing to sprint with people, when they could have been, you know, writing during the three hours they bitched about not having people around who can sprint.

Writing is hard, and last night it was very hard for me.  But, around eleven PM, something kicked in.  Something made the fingers fly.  Something made what I was writing make a hell of a lot more sense than it had before, and when it was all said and done, I made my NaNo Count, I made my Personal Daily Count, and I was about thirty-five words short of forty-four thousand.

You don’t own me, Novel:  your ass is mine.  So saith the Muse and Me.

Keep talking things up, and keep living those empty dreams.  I have other plans.  When you’re bitching about not getting in quality sprinting time, I’m struggling through my two thousand words, but I’m finishing that total before I head off to bed.  And just as a heads up:  a few of the folks who sort of turned their nose up at my prep work–they’ve crashed and burned their Air NaNo plane, and I’m still here.

And this story will be published.

You can count on that.