My Blog Week: June 30 to July 6
A Word on the Week
Old, New, Old News
I’ve been watching the HBO series, Chernobyl (which aired a while back, but I just bought the episodes). If you watched too, you probably felt, once you got to the end, that you’d have to see the first episode again—to sort out all the plant workers, where they were going and what they were doing. Let me call attention to a couple of storytelling choices I commend.
First, as mentioned, the taking of the viewer into the middle of the accident, not knowing the sequence of steps that led to it…reflective of the rescuers’ experience, having to make choices (unhappy ones) without enough information. Later, in the trial scene, we see the precursors to the parts shown earlier.
Second, no slow motion effects during the explosion; when the lid popped off the reactor, it happened in real time. Back when I was writing Inimical, and learned the time-span of the Hindenburg’s fall was only 30 seconds, I saw this would be my writing challenge…all the reaction time my character could have, the words needing to match the urgency of the moment.
(Because I have seen slo-mo passages in novels, shootouts and crashes and such, that go on for four pages.)
If you subscribe to the New York Times, and have access to the archives, the May 1, 1986, issue has a nice, exhaustive treatment of all things known to the United States, while the Chernobyl disaster was unfolding. Lots of maps and diagrams, that I found helpful (though this information is broadly available). One thing you may note, reading this 33 year old news story…
We were okay. We would settle for that okayness, as opposed to all the “greatness”, we’ve had charged against our future lately. Nostalgia for the ’80s seems trending. A look back makes clear that the Republican party isn’t just not the party of Lincoln. It’s not the party of Reagan. It’s the party of How Much Can White Men in Suits Embarrass America.
Tear Down That Gate
Cartoons have had a setback or two, Mad magazine going under, a Canadian cartoonist losing his contract over one that commented on immigration. The world is full of artists and writers, with great talent and great things to share…and opinions to suit every ideology. What keeps the majority silenced is not censorship, per se. It’s getting past the editorial desk.
If gatekeepers admitted to a preference for people known to people they know, for established celebrities (reality show and sports figures welcome), graduate program trained speakers of the right catch-phrases, that no doubt would frame the Dream in sobering enough terms, for the rural person, the non-American, and the novice. The gatekeepers ought still to have the courage of their convictions…even of limiting and over-self-congratulatory convictions.
If you look at a cartoon, or a poem, or any other piece of creativity, and it’s your job (it is) to ask yourself, “Will I stand by this, if I choose to publish it?”, then why will you not do at least that? You have the choice of rejecting it. To take things back, after publication, is just extending to someone that tiny, tiny chance, and then making that person bear the onus of villainy when you go weaseling off.
Three days this week, Monday, Friday, and Saturday, were dedicated to the short story from Tourmaline, “Sympathy for the Torturer”, one in which Anton, Herward’s friendship notwithstanding, can’t conform to the G.R.A.’s new society. Tuesday, chapter twelve of Sequence of Events ended, with a better hope for Luberta than she’d looked for; Wednesday, a new poem from the Jumping Off series, “Why Not Let”; Thursday, Catastrophe, two letters transcribed, from a resident of Saint-Pierre.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: June 30 to July 6