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Archive for June, 2007

All you touch and all you see/Is all your life will ever be

Went to the Roger Waters show last night.

Oh.  My.  Gawd.

The concert was billed as “An Evening with Roger Waters:  Dark Side of the Moon.”  The first set consisted of tons of Floyd mixed with a smattering of Waters’s solo work.  After the intermission, Waters and his excellent ten-piece band played Dark Side of the Moon from start to finish.  A four-song encore featuring “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” and “Comfortably Numb” closed the festivities.

Going in, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy the show.  I mean, really–it was just Roger Waters, right?  It’s not like the Live 8 reunion of Pink Floyd.  But from the moment of the first chord from “In the Flesh,” accompanied by an image of those unforgettable marching hammers, projected on an enormous video screen behind the stage, I knew I’d come to the right place.

Highlights from the opening set included “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” a fantastic rendition of “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” a stirring and powerful performance of “The Fletcher Memorial Home”–more potent these days, I think, than when it was written–and the set’s closer, “Sheep,” replete with flying pig (you are excused from thinking of Kids in the Hall and giggling at this point).

I suppose it’s possible that Waters’s politics–very much in evidence throughout the show–may have put off some audience members.  We’re in Nebraska, after all.  But if anyone was offended, I certainly saw no evidence of it.

The second set, as I mentioned, was Dark Side in its entirety.  Many of you already know that it remained on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart for an astounding 15 years, or something like that.  The crowd response to hearing this classic was nothing short of phenomenal.  The cheers were deafening.  Even Waters seemed genuinely bowled over by it.  Hell, I was genuinely bowled over by it.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.  By the end of “Eclipse,” we all knew we had witnessed something pretty special.  And the cheers just rolled on and on, even as we were filing out of the arena.

And did I mention the visuals?  Stunning.  Jaw-dropping.  Pyrotechnics and confetti.  Trippy imagery on the video screen.  The aforementioned flying pig.  And the iconic prism from Dark Side, done up in a rainbow of rotating laser light.  The only thing missing, I quipped at the time, was a sync-up with The Wizard of Oz.

Wow.  Just . . . wow.

If this show is coming to your town, you owe it to yourself to be there.

Progress Report, in which I learn the value of the Boy Scout motto

An abbreviated week, owing to my recent travels, so this may be somewhat less than impressive.

I had hoped to make some serious headway on the rewrite of “Gone Black,” but I’m still not ready to move past the note-making stage. An important secondary character is giving me fits. I’ve been trying to get into her head a little more, understand why she reacts the way she does, but so far I haven’t been able to figure her out. If she doesn’t work, then an entire subplot falls apart. I got to the point where I began considering removing the subplot altogether. That would certainly shorten the story, and drastically alter it. I had to think hard to remember why I felt I needed this subplot in the first place. Again, challenging one’s assumptions is a Good Thing, but it sure ain’t fun.

After some soul-searching, I believe I recall why I need that subplot, and I may have gotten a glimpse inside my secondary character’s head. I hope so, anyway. I have no intention of bogging down in this rewite for weeks. I plan to have this thing ready to go by the 4th of July, latest. That should be ample time. Should be.

On the lighter side–here’s something I meant to mention in my last installment:  A few weeks ago,

was in town, as he is wont to do.  After dinner one night, a group of us spent some time tooling about in an attempt to spot his new novel Mainspring in the wild.  We tried a nearby Borders.  Still on order.  We went across the street to a Barnes & Noble.  No joy, but another location had two copies in stock.  So Jay and I rode out to said location and secured them.

On the way back, he and I got to talking about Petra.  And he asked me to pitch it to him.

Gulp.

I had a decent logline ready for it, but I just kinda extemporized the rest.  And it showed.  And Jay so advised me.  (He also gave some wise and helpful tips, for which I’m grateful.  Thanks, Jay!)  He pointed out that you never know when you’ll be asked to pitch.  And I’m here to tell ya, he was dead right.  The last time I’d pitched a novel, I was strolling with an editor through Greenwich Village at 2 a.m. on a Halloween night.

So, yeah.  You really never know when you’ll be asked to pitch.  Best be ready for it.

No updates for Write Club.

And with that, I believe my work here is done.

Progress Report, in which I drag my sorry carcass home

Been in Minneapolis, visiting family, since last Thursday.  Just got back a few hours ago, and I’m beat.  Whipped.  What I’m sayin’ here, I’m dog tired.  So this is gonna be short.

Before departing for the Cities, I managed to cut another 1,000 words from “The Multiplicity Has Arrived.”  This made me quite happy.  I also tweaked a few spots, including the ending. 

While up North, I managed to do another read-through of “Gone Black,” and took another look at

‘s scathing but dead-on critique of it.  He’s right; the damned thing is still way too long.  Much of the first 5K words is still just laborious set up; nothing happens in these opening pages.  Most of this is stuff I think I needed to know in order to write the story, but to readers, it’s just dead time.  So out it goes. 

I’m still not sure quite how to fix the ending. 

had some solid suggestions for it, but I hesitate, largely because of some similarity it would then have to another work of mine.  So I’m wavering there.  But I’ll work it out.

One update for Write Club:  Heliotrope bounced “What Really Happened That Night” with a tier one rejection.  Response time, six days.

The Cities was a fab time, by the way.  Big do at Big Sis’s house, to celebrate a nephew’s graduation (congrats again, Joe!).  Also visited Duluth and the fabled North Shore, including Split Rock.  Many years ago, the wife had done a spectacular painting of the lighthouse based on a picture in a calendar.  Finally, she and I got to see it In The Flesh.  Surrounded by all sorts of mega-cool fog.  Wonderfully surreal.  Also went golfing for the first time in my life (it’s official:  I’m getting old) and went on a roller coaster–well, several of them, actually–for the first time in nearly twenty years (so maybe I’m not as old as all that, not yet).  My only regret was that I couldn’t get to

‘s reading, as I’d hoped.  Really wanted to be there, Dave.  But I was a hundred and fifty miles away at the time, out on the fabled Highway 61.

In all, a whirlwind trip.  Did I mention I was exhausted?

Right.  I’m outta here.