Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Random Notes

1. Americans carry bottles of water, Brits carry bags of crisps.

2. Recast Gawain and the Green Knight: Instead of the Round Table, the knights are members of a biker band. One day, as they knock back beers in Hollister, CA, an ominous rumble is heard, whereupon a menacing-looking dude arrives on a green Harley soft tail, and challenges the assembled host. The youngest member of our band, looking to count some quick coup, takes the challenge...

3. The Rate of Discovery: The pace at which the Reader learns what the story is about and what the salient details are.

4. Dramatic Defensiveness: a condition where the writer argues that the things within a story are so rather than believing them to be so and writing accordingly.

5. Hemingway said all American literature comes from one book, Huckleberry Finn, one of the better observations he had. He might have added that most noir crime-related writing came from America's least recognized major writer, James M. Cain. He didn't, and so I will.

6. The most dopamine is released when uncertainty is the greatest. The trick to keeping readers invested in story is to produce dopamine within the reader. Ergo, you gotta get inside and keep pushing at the uncertainty. Who will do what to whom and why?

7. Overheard in a Santa Barbara, CA Subway (franchise sandwich shop): "I don't like trying tuna in new places. People can really mess up tuna."

8. In the kitschy poem commemorating the midnight ride of Paul Revere is the line "Hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous day (eighteenth of April )or year ( seventy-five)." The same could be said for those who recall the names Millicent Gunderson, Joel Kupperman, Harve Bennet Fischman, Gerard Darrow, or Claude Brenner. Who remembers The Quiz Kids? Who, indeed, remembers the name of the moderator of The Quiz Kids?

9. Dante is to Beatrice as Ernest Dowson is to Adelaide Folinowicz. Who, you ask, was Ernest Dowson? You don't remember Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regao Cynarae?

10 . You are in the dining room of the Eype's Mouth Hotel at the Dorset Coast. You have just been served a steaming bowl of broccoli and Stilton soup. How wonderful and also how English, right? Now comes the awareness of music, piped in from a sound system with complex nuances (sounds like the description of the wine served with the soup.) But what's this? The music: Cannonball Adderly's solo on Miles Ahead. This is, of course, followed by Miles Davis's solo. And what next in this English countryside? Why, of course: the incredible arpeggio of John Coltrane. After this and the estimable soup have vanished, the chef ventures out of the kitchen. "You like the soup?" "Of course. But the music? How?" He shrugs. "You're American. You tap your foot. Brits don't tap feet." Is there no end to learning?

11. No.

1 comment:

John Eaton said...

A feast for the mind and the heart here, Shelly.

Stilton, with some Branston pickle, and some of that bread that takes two people to pull apart.

Oh, Dorset.

Pints all around,

John :)