Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Update: Ghosts

En descendant la Rue St-Jean, J'ai rencontré mon père....

It was three years ago today that my father died.  It's funny, but since he died the song "La Rue St-Jean" by Gilles Vigneault had haunted me.  I don't speak French well enough (and certainly don't hear Québeqois well enough) to really understand the words.

But as I listen closer, I think it's about exactly what it means to me personally.

Plains of Abraham, not far from La Rue St-Jean, 1967
The Rue St-Jean is the oldest street in Québec City.  It's an active busy popular street, and a place where people meet.  But it's also an historic street where the past meets the present.  And Gilles Vigneault is a poet whose songs are always filled with metaphor and meaning about Québec and its people and history.

In this case the first line is; "On walking down the Rue St-Jean, I met my father again.  He was walking along his dirt road and I was walking on a cement road...."  The narrator raises his hand to stop and talk, but his father doesn't see him.  Later in the song he uses phrases like "each his own time/age". He talks about running into other people who seem to be there at a different time: an old lover with an umbrella as though she's there on a rainy day, even though it's a fair day.  And he sings about how the road remains when the people have worn out.

I'm pretty sure this is a song about ghosts.  Real ghosts, ghosts of memory.  Which is kinda how it felt to me even before I looked beyond that first line.

I'd like to wave and get my dad to stop and tell me what the rest of the words mean.

But he doesn't see me.

So he keeps going on his chemin de terre....

("La Rue St-Jean" on YouTube)

On a less melancholy note: What I'm Up To

I haven't kept up on the blogging goal.  Well, I guess I sorta did. I wrote a bunch of blog posts.  Unfortunately, they were mostly the same post, over and over again.  I kept pitching it out and trying again, thinking "This time for sure!" like Bullwinkle.

And like Bullwinkle, I'm thinking maybe I need to get another hat.

Specifically, I think I've lost my enthusiasm for all the wrangling that is going on in the self-publishing community.  In particular, I thought I was going to have something profound to say about the sudden controversy about whether "Write More" is good advice or bad.  But instead, I'm finding that such overblown, irrational debates really just annoy me.

All I really want to say is to quote William Goldman: "Nobody knows anything."  (And then add: "So chill out, will ya?")

So there may or may not be an Artisan Writers post on Monday.  That may go on hiatus for a while.  Instead I might start up with the Tuesday Passion Posts again.  Not a long series, but I have a number of topics I want to talk about.

*French Scenes -- a different way of looking at how to define scenes: doing it in terms of character dynamics.  This is actually how I "beat out" a sequence or chapter before writing (when I feel the need to). It's more about entrances and exits than locations.

*A look back at half-forgotten books (ghosts of books, if you will) that I'd like to capture some tropes from and maybe create my own genre to play with. (Or "series" for you genre puritans.) Think of this, right now, as the Nostalgia Project.

I don't know if I'll post about either of these this week. I'll probably wait until I have posts in hand.

I'm also back to writing fiction.  Just now I'm playing with a story I generated purely from the game this week.  (Part of my interest in French Scenes is because that's what I was doing today.)  I think it's going to be a novella.  Although I rolled the words "Secret" and "Journey" -- which led partly to developing the story, the working title is now "In Flight."

Youl could say there are ghosts in that story, since it is about a heroine who is haunted by very dimly remembered events of her early childhood.

And More Ghosts

In the meantime, I just finished listening to the audio podcast of The Uninvited on Forgotten Classics. (The link it to the library of all past episodes.  The Uninvited starts around #98.) It's a classic ghost story (not a horror story).  It was made into a great movie, but I think the book is even better.

I'm now listening to some Edith Nesbit stories from Librivox. (Right now: The Railway Children.)  This seems to fit into my Nostalgia Project, since I'm reallyu interested right now in children (or innocents) on Journeys and in Changed Life Circumstances

I listen to these while I draw. It's a good excuse to do art on a specific schedule -- maybe an hour to an hour and a half a day.  I've been doing a lot of individual parts of artworks -- figures running, ornamental dingbats, "clip art" sorts of things -- but not that much on finished art works. I'm going to work a little on my fine art too now.  I want to expand my options on how things look.

This week, I might post something any or every day -- or I might just post on the Friday Story Game.  In any case....

See you in the funny papers.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds as if he were a great dad and that you had a nice long time with him...although there's never really enough time. I was feeling cheated when my grandmother died at 94 (she and I were very close).

I don't have the time or energy for those tempests in teapots in the self-pub community. Not interested in theory, either...only in results. And those may vary from person to person. So I track my own results and adjust accordingly. :) Think you do the same.

The Daring Novelist said...

I _am_ interested in theory... but the discussions on the internet (especially when everybody is feeling so threatened) get so insane.

One example: a guy posted some highly manipulated figures about how his sales had gone down as he wrote more and more books. And there were people who said: "That's terrible! You write such wonderful books! But you know, your experience proves that the faster you write the worse your books are."

("Wait, what? I thought you said his books were great." -- "They are!" -- "But then you said his experience proves his books are bad." -- "Not his books. It proves other people shouldn't do what he did because their books will be bad.")

I don't even want to think about those kinds of discussions any more.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Camille--Ugh. Haven't read that one sure it will be an upcoming treat in my Feedly reader.

I *should* be interested in theory. :) I believe I burn out. I read so very much info on these types of topics (for sharing). I usually decide the quickest way to find what works is to run mini-experiments.

The Daring Novelist said...

I've been thinking that I've got to stop hanging out in forums and go back to reading and commenting on more blogs.