More Observations on Writing ‘Archimedes And The Cheerleader’

I recently complained about my novel needing a snappier opening. I thought today that I would find some popular novels and see how their authors threw their opening pitches.
I tried Alice Munro (a recommendation for different reasons from a friend) and John Updike. They were both too far to the ‘literary’ side of the spectrum. I then picked a couple of novels closer to the genre in which I have dropped ‘Archimedes’, James Patterson’s ‘Cross Fire’ and John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’.
I read a Grisham a long time ago. For me, it wasn’t exactly a page-turner. I have never read a Patterson.
I started with the Patterson. Yes, it was vastly different from my own, but I found I was less disappointed with my own.

Observations on Writing ‘Archimedes And The Cheerleader’

The western mystery novel, as is all western jurisprudence, is predicated fundamentally on the notion that all life is valuable. I wonder sometimes if Hinduism were predominant in the west, would Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, and Rex Stout have been either necessary or successful?

The Trish who inspired the novel? Yes, I met her. The Trish as envisioned in the novel? Never met her. The real life Trish? Pretty awesome, as she had been a schoolteacher for quite a number of years. The fictional Trish? Wishful thinking, I guess. I’m of an age and condition that the scenes are no longer possible, but desired, at some levels.

Mitch is a tribute to a bartender at the American Legion in which I spent part of my life as a child. Again, no physical resemblance, but the original holds a fond place in my memories.

I don’t know about any other writers, not having known any personally, but I like giving names to characters that allow the reader to get a notion of their physical attributes without using trite and hackneyed nomenclature. The only exception here is Tiny – which is an actual nickname anyway. He is truly diminutive, but proportional and not a dwarf or midget.
A couple of examples:
Andy (Andrew) in my mental view is someone who is stalwart without being oversized – A man who exemplifies the stable without being stolid.
Trish (Patricia – a thoroughly Latin name, from the noun roughly meaning upper class) has a connotation of elegance without frippery, of gaiety without frivolity.

Another Passing

I’m sitting having a beer, in an attempt at alleviating the pain in my legs and back. The day was spent throwing a few hundred books, and most of my other possessions, into a dustbin. I’ve been summarily evicted and am now homeless as anything.
I’m trying to put as good a face on it as is possible. I guess, at some level, I’m relieved that it has actually come to pass, instead of suffering the depression of being out of work and anticipating the hammer-fall simultaneously. Nonetheless, it is painful to be out of the home I’ve known for around twelve years. It wasn’t the ideal place, but having simple wants, it suited well enough.
There are aspects of it that were less than desirable – notably the neighbors that have accumulated over the past couple of years.

Kate, Peg and Ellen Ryan

Three sisters were interviewed during the Rockies game, which made me think of my three. The Ryan sisters lived together in a house only a decent walk across the city park from where I lived during the early and middle 60s. They were churchy women, who, for whatever reason, took some sort of interest in me when I was in elementary school, probably, in part, because I played organ in church during that period.

What little memory of them I have was that they were in their 60s to 70s. Kate was an effusive sort, Peg was the least interested in me of the three, and Ellen was cordial, but formal. I seem to recall that Peg was more sickly than the other two. They would give me small religious readings or consecrated saint cards when I visited.

To this day, I have no idea why I went to their home. I simply do not recall. I am also somewhat amazed that I remember their last name. It has to be nearly forty years since I’ve seen any of them.

How To Tell Republicans From Democrats (revisiting an old favourite)

Democrats buy most of the books that have been banned somewhere.
Republicans form censorship committees and read them as a group.

Republicans consume three-fourths of all the rutabagas produced in this country. The remainder is thrown out.

Republicans usually wear hats and always clean their paint brushes.

Democrats give their worn-out clothes to those less fortunate.
Republicans wear theirs.

Republicans employ exterminators.
Democrats step on the bugs.

Democrats name their children after currently-popular sports figures, politicians, and entertainers.
Republican children are named after their parents or grandparents, according to where the money is.

Democrats keep trying to cut down on smoking but are not successful.
Neither are Republicans.

Republicans tend to keep their shades drawn, although there is seldom any reason why they should.
Democrats ought to, but don’t.

Republicans study the financial pages of the newspaper.
Democrats put them in the bottom of the bird cage.

Most of the stuff alongside the road has been thrown out of car windows by Democrats.

Republicans raise dahlias, Dalmatians, and eyebrows.
Democrats raise Airedales, kids, and taxes.

Democrats eat the fish they catch.
Republicans hang them on the wall.

Republican boys date Democratic girls. They plan to marry Republican girls, but feel that they’re entitled to a little fun first.

Democrats make plans and then do something else.
Republicans follow the plans their grandfathers made.

Republicans sleep in twin beds – some even in separate rooms.
That is why there are more Democrats.

[Note: I don’t recall who originally composed this – I believe it was introduced as part of the Congressional record in the 1960s]

Nick Thomas

Nick and I were close friends for four years through seventh grade – his family moved to Chicago right before eighth – and he and I always competed for solos for the midnight mass we attended as part of the school choir. He beat me out two of the three times we went head-to-head.

He, Jeff Clawson and I were sort of the three musketeers of our recess playground.

Charles P. Amacher

He was a friend from my college days, and sometimes we’d join up at Java Express for either study, or a rubber of bridge with a couple of other friends, or, if studying flagged, rolling the Amigo pinball game at the next door arcade.

Once his bicycle was stolen (he lived only about four blocks away). I knew his bike fairly well – it, like mine, was a steel-tube English racer. His also had some crude touch-up paint on the frame. One afternoon not long after it was stolen, three kids came ambling down the hill in front of my apartment house, two of whom were walking bikes – and one of them was Charles’ beater.

I confronted them about where they got the bike, and they were naturally evasive. I got someone to call the constabulary and Charles, and he got his ride back.

Gallery

Li’l Buggers

I’ve had a long fascination with order Insectae. I’m not entirely certain what specifically makes them interesting, other than their seeming randomness of motion, and variety of forms and colours. Note the eggs upper right. I especially find order Lepidopterae … Continue reading

On A Friend

Vivaciously verbose
variously vicarious and vituperous
vividly visual and (at times) vacuous.

She is (or at least was, I thought) my friend.
I guess I overstepped my bounds.

Dearly departing diva
disappearing decidedly
dastardly disingenuous decisions.

Love is silliness at best.
With her, it was not only silliness, but ill-advised, and ill-timed.
She got to be the child she could not be when she was a child.

Fond farewell
fleeting facsimiles fading of finery.
Festive future forefront.