Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Hail, Road Trip Sountracks and Barking Cargo

I'm on the road again, with three dogs and a Kindle in tow. Ran into some huge summer hail in Virginia. Through which I could see a rainbow. Sounds like some important sign. Anyone care to interpret?

A rat terrier and a min pin take full advantage of a rest stop.
Although I praised diversions yesterday, I was accused of placing too much emphasis on making good time, and not enough on the journey. Sounds like another message being sent...


So what do writers/readers listen to on road trips? 

I've driven cross-country with loud-music-the-whole-way, which probably cost me some hearing. Won't do that again.

I like the idea of audiobooks, but have trouble following them, especially fiction.

I've played radio roulette, trying to catch local radio stations at each stop. Perhaps valuable as a sociological experiment, but probably just brain deadening if practiced too long.

I like college-type courses on tape, and have listened to a solid day of lectures before. I felt pretty enlightened, though I'm not sure there was much retention.

Now I usually use podcasts, since they're free, widely available and come in enough topics to keep things interesting.

Any magic secrets to the perfect road trip soundtrack?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Driving a Blog Off a Cliff. Poetically.

Writer's Digest lists ways to "lose blog traffic and alienate readers." Among them:
Wax poetic about just anything.
I used to fall into this trap—I’d talk about whatever came to mind. After all, it was my blog, right? But readers were confused by this. If they don’t know what to expect when they visit, they might not visit at all.

Monday, August 15, 2011

When It Got Quiet, It Got Loud

I've praised the sounds of summer, from lightning to fireworks to parties to barking to cheering. All stake claim to our memories, enhance our memories, recall our memories. Old sounds brings new nostalgia, which takes the place of new thoughts.

There's no silence in the city. The only silence in the crowd is momentary anticipation. There's no need to take on difficult thoughts, when we can just move on to the next one.

Silence, like boredom, can be symptom of both good and bad. But a flee from silence is a flee from creativity. Silence challenges us to create better. It forces us to live with our creations, which forces us to improve our creations. Bad sentences and bad plots haunt the silence, like friendly roaches. An inconvenient sign of health.

Isolation can lead to integration. Revision requires vision, and silence develops vision.

The rest is silence. The silence is rest. But not a soothing rest. In silence we must be willing to descend. We must listen to things not yet said. And then we must say them.


Do we need silence, or is this just a leftover idea from looked-over Romantic poets?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Unnamed Syndromes, Bad Rebellions, Drunk Hellions and Stuff I've Been Reading

I seem to have developed an odd condition in which the more a book is recommended to me, the longer it takes me to finish. Thus I still haven't finished Divergent. I also still haven't finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Water for Elephants and many other beloved books that will remain unnamed to prevent rabid fan bases from descending on me.

I bet either the Germans or Dostoevsky has a good term for this condition... It seems like a pretty lame form of psychological rebellion. I also need a term for lame forms of psychological rebellion.

But I have still been reading, so all is not lost...

The List

1. Bad Dog - Martin Kihn. I came upon this author via a recommendation from The Chipper Muse. My library didn't have the specific book she mentioned, but it had this one, which fit perfectly into my summer of dogs projects. I recommend it to those who are disappointed that I didn't write the post "How Writing is Like a Dog Pissing on Your Floor."

The book has more of an edge to it than a typical volume in the 'incompetent dog owner' genre. I got some weird looks across the room for laughing out loud on a few occasions. It also deals with a marriage that fell apart and recovery from years as a high-functioning alcoholic.

2. The Princess Bride - William Goldman. We had a lively discussion about this one earlier in the week, so I'm revisiting. Read the comments for a range of opinions from 'a favorite' to 'hated it.'

3. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN - James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales. An oral history, which is basically a carefully structured collection of interview excerpts. It's a fascinating approach in theory, though I've found it tough to read straight through, so I'm diving in and out.

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