Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hotel California

I miss having my guitar along on this trip. It's been almost 2 weeks and my fingers are growing soft and dumb. I bought a new case so I could take it along on this trip but at the last minute I decided that both laptop and guitar were too much to keep track of on trains, buses, cars, hotels and all. So I chose the laptop. Next time I will leave the laptop at home.

One night in Las Vegas, a Hawiian/Ragae band was playing on one of the Freemont St. stages. I'm not a big fan of Regae  but these guys did mostly their own stuff and it was a nice mix. One song they did very well was "Hotel California" by the Eagles. It struck me that I should learn that. But since I didn't have my guitar, I'd have to wait. Meanwhile I tightened up the lyrics.

The thing about learning lyrics to an old classic that we've heard a million times (and sung along with nearly as many) is that the words are there but not the articles that hold them together;  the 'bricks' but not the 'mortar'. So I'm working on remembering whether it's a 'the' or an 'an' and all that. It does make a difference; each little word was chosen for a reason: "There she stood in the doorway...." could as easily be sung "As she stood..." but it wouldn't mean the same thing or fit as well with the rest of the thought.  So each brick has to be placed an each mortar has to hold it together and form the overall shape.

I look forward to getting my fingers on the strings. This will be a challenge. I don't think it will sound great with only one guitar but it might sound good - if I can manage. If not, at least I'll learn something by trying and then maybe use some of this to make something of my own.

Seems appropriate that this song was on my mind when we arrived in Laughlin. Our plans had us staying one night and traveling for 3 days to visit relatives - and 'impose' upon their hospitality. We learned that they were ill so we extended our hotel for one night. The next day they were still ill so we extended our hotel another night. ".... you can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave." [solo on the 'air' guitar for now - you know it, it's in your head now isn't it].

Monday, March 9, 2015

On revising the first draft - of 'so far'

The deep freeze has broken here in Wisconsin. The snow will all go this week and I'll be able to ride again. I am still walking to coffee because the bike lanes are still icy from the daily thaw and freeze at night.

I have all 33 chapters/parts of Jack Pynesapp and Red moved into Scriviner manuscript editor. I have done some reorganizing and a lot of repairing - things like grammar, voice, flow, etc. I am still troubled with how slowly the story starts. I think there's too much talking and not enough action. This is understandable since this project started as an exercise in writing dialog. But now that I have a better idea of where  the story is going, I can do some things early that start it moving that way.  This may be as easy as giving Jack some more back story. Like, who is this guy? We now know that Billy has been busy since the 'first' train ride; did Jack just blow that whole thing off? It is kind of implied that there is more to it but it may be way too subtle. Another Dream? Perhaps. Maybe Marge can help.

I am on schedule so far. I am caught up with getting what I have into manuscript form (and learning how that is done - and what it is, even) before we take our cross country train trip (leaving this week) where I hope to get more ideas about what this "ghost" train looks like and perhaps follow our characters on one, of more, of their trips  - once they figure out how to get a ride.

I am also thinking about a title. The one I have been using is too weak, I think. 

For now, I'd better start packing.