Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Latest Notes From Sea Level

{Poster's Note: The following was taken from a longhand journal entry during a Meetup "Shut Up and Write" session on Sunday, March 28th, 2010.}

I miss writing when I don't get to do it. I love everything about it. I am even enamored by the materials--papers in different weights, different bindings on cahiers, different pens (the only thing I won't write with is a ballpoint pen, blech), different coffee shops, differing light, the music that gets me started. Then there is the font when the second draft is typed, whether it is generated on paper or on-line, the package, the typeface, the binding. Pages--even or uneven, and the texture of the paper. Everything creating a tome thrills me.

I thought about such things last night during Earth Hour. During Earth Hour I had shut off the lights, the computer, the phone, the iPod, the Kindle--anything electronic or electric. I lit candles and sat next to their light with a glass of wine and started to read from a paper book, Isabel Allende's "My Invented Country." Soon, however, the lowering wax and untrimmed wicks created some very active flame in the candles, and the flickering was too hard on my eyes. I closed the book and did some stretches on the floor, breathing evenly to inspire meditation, but couldn't get in the zone. I blamed the wine and moved back to the couch with said wine and had a dialogue with God about what I love about writing.

I have been writing a long time--in one form or another since I was six years old. I even love the psychology and sociology of writers. Where they write, how they write, how alike and how different they are within countries and continents. I love the ironic fact that I love Dostoyevsky and hate Tolstoy, but that I think both Allende and Garcia Marquez are magical. I love any history of writing. I love any language, even though the only two that I understand are English and some French. Every moment that I reached an answer God came back with a deeper question.

What would be better, that was the ultimate one.

Most of the authors I can name are classic authors--I know very few up-and-comers. That is something I would like to change. I would like to be more well-versed in publishing. I would like more structure in my blogs. {Poster's Note: I'm sure my readers would like more structure in my blogs as well.} I would like more consistency in my postings. I would like the writing to improve. I want to be better at editing. I want to say more of what I mean rather than just get the idea down on the blog and then walk away from it.

That question of what would better stumped me last night during Earth Hour, and I'm finally answering it the next day. I was afraid to answer it last night for fear that I wouldn't get or give the right answer. Now I realize that any answer is a better one than waiting. The answer may change, and I have to be ready for the answer to change--that's adaptability in motion.

Now, to act on it. I want a blog. Seriously. One with a continuous line of plot, you might say. And so here we go, with a line. Creating a continual line in a long-term blog strikes me as the same kind of challenge that the Apollo 13 astronauts had in keeping to course when they used the moon's gravity to slingshot themselves back to Earth. Most of the course is determined by that gravity, but at one point they had to correct the trajectory so that they stayed in within the narrow window of re-entry without bouncing off the atmosphere when they return. The astronauts couldn't fire up the instrumentation due to a power shortage, so they had to find a fixed horizon point--in their case, keep the moon within a certain window. Trouble is, when they fired up the boosters the thrust pushed them all over the place, and not just in a straight line to the course. They knew this would happen, but they knew that they could get the correction needed if they could manage to straighten it out in the last ten seconds of the thrust and keep the moon in that window for the last ten seconds. So the first ten seconds of the thrust were quickly learning stabilization--the last ten were for the actual correction. It was a harrowing 20 seconds, but they accomplished it, and made their narrow window.

To give you an idea of how narrow the window was at that time, newscasters of the event described it as trying to put a basketball through a space the thickness of a sheet of paper.

That's the kind of narrow focus that I have to get myself to. Sooner or later, I have to master the 20 second booster power.

The moon's gravity I already have.

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