Real horrorshow post, droogie.
What do you think of characters speaking in a foreign language and the ways in which that can be put to use? For example, in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ during the opening scene on Omaha beach, towards the end of the battle there are two approaching soldiers with their hands up in surrender talking in a foreign language. They get shot by a soldier. It turns out what they were saying was something to the effect of: “Please don’t shoot! I’m not German, I’m Czech! I didn’t kill anyone!” It’s a detail that— like the soldier who shot them— is likely to be missed by the audience but adds a level or tragedy when discovered.
Hey Chuck, you brought up Gordon Lish. One of his students heard him say, "Seduce the whole fucking world." What did he mean by that?
I'm currently reading JOSEPH ANDREWS by Henry Fielding, a/k/a THE HISTORY OF THE ADVENTURES OF JOSEPH ANDREWS AND HIS FRIEND MR ABRAHAM ADAMS ... and I'm the Type of Reader who does read every Word without ever, ever skimming Anything. I'm struck by Henry Fielding's use of his then-current English (1742), as well as some Words that were already archaic by 1742, as well as his Use of made-up Words that likely don't appear in any Dictionary or anyone else's Novels, as well as his Habit of capitalizing every Noun (which perhaps was a Convention of the Day, but he uses it to extraordinary Effect). This is not a Novel that one could ever skim and still enjoy, but I'm amazed at the huge Bounty of Rewards to be granted the careful Reader who trusts the Author and follows along with the greatest Interest. One of the funnest and funniest Novels I've ever read. If ever a modern-day "Editor" had tried to get hold of this Manuscript, they would absolutely have ruined it. So follow Henry Fielding and retain your Eccentricity. THANK YOU, Chuck P, for your wonderful Post. This absolutely made my Day!!!
I loved this and made me think of the theatrical release of Clue. I have always thought it would be such a fabulous thing to have a book like that - with a few different endings (only not announced), and watch the buzz of it generate organically.
I have to admit now that you mention it, I did feel slightly superior for a split second. Then I remembered that I tested post High School for everything in 8th grade except spelling - I tested 7th grade level. Then I didn't feel superior anymore.
Ugh.. ain’t it the truth.
Identifying an ‘error’, in an otherwise perfect story only has me refilling the oil and leaning in earnest.
Bastards get me every tiem.
I went to school in ancient old buildings where the classrooms had coat closets, and they were used as isolative punishment for ill-behaved students. Unfortunately, I spent a LOT of time alone in those small rooms full of lunchboxes, puffy jackets, and dictionaries. Stacks of Thorndike-Barnharts, Merriam-Websters, and New Oxfords. I took my first spelling bee trophy home in third grade and reigned supreme until high school, when I decided spelling bees weren't cool anymore. It may have done something horrible to me. I have to write in pencil because I write very quickly but can't stomach mistakes. Erasers don't last as long as the pencils do. I think I'll try this if for nothing else than to loosen the hell up. I know it's not wise to overuse informality in dialogue, so is this something that's best used internally? Like Tom uses differnt? (I think he only says it aloud once) As an aside, is his last name pronounced phonetically, like an "ah" sound? My brain wants to say SPAYN-bauer.
This is giving me flashbacks to my full-time proofreading days, including the time I was so upset over a missed typo that my boss told me about his own experience with a Macy's newspaper ad that included "Plaid shits - 50% off."
Have to say I could very well be one of the worst spellers in the world. I am always amazed when I notice typos. I figure if I saw it how in the world did it ever make it past an editor?
"Once realism and clarity are automated, fiction will have to become more intuitive and abstract, no?" Maybe this is only tangentially related but I had this thought that now that every aspect of everyone's private life is being recorded in some way (the internet and phone records are forever) then this might change the way that writers harvest their own lives and the lives of those around them for story fodder. Never mind basing a character on someone--any event or conversation a writer took part in will be out there for the world to see. So I can see writers developing a new kind of self-awareness that takes this into account, and either write autofic or memoir that acknowledges the author's own subjectivity (relative to the nature of the information being logged about them in the form of texts, pics/videos, travel records, etc), or else go the other way as you've suggested, more abstract.
Re: “Don’t give teh writer in your life anothr pear of socks.”
A couple of episodes before you were on Joe Rogan he had Jewel on the show. In one part of the interview she was telling about her experience of being homeless before getting a big record contract. She said something to the effect of “I had to grow a pear before I could grow a tree”. She meant growing as a person; having thicker skin. But, in the moment, my immediate impression was that she had misunderstood the expression “grow a pair” (as in balls) and instead understood it to be “grow a pear”… I could be wrong. Maybe I misheard it. But regardless it made me love Jewel that much more for how pure and wholesome she came across as being. Now I wish the real phrase was “grow a pear” — or maybe it is and I’m the one who’s been wrong the entire time.
“Standing on a baloney” or “balcony.” Same thing. Hehehe. Thanks, Tiff.
Singing run through Auto-tune causes me overwhelming anxiety. Imperfection is natural. Perfection cannot be real.
Coming from a Montessori background, this whole post gives me hope. We weren't encouraged to spell correctly but instead just write, even if the sentence was all wonky and weird. So as a kid I always wrote my name BLQKQ only because I thought the letter Q looked better than the letters 'A' and 'E.' I also always wrote 'said' as 'saed' and could never figure out 'to,' 'two,' 'too,' and '2.'
And I remember fuming for minutes trying to remember the letter in the alphabet that made the "sh" sound. I had no idea "sh" was how you wrote that sound, I kept staring at "fi--" trying to write "fish" but was convinced I'd completely forgotten a whole letter. I cried and cried reciting the ABC's over and over and over, not finding the "sh."
Also, I once drew a picture of two stick figures on some grass in front of a simple line drawn house. I captioned the picture "a cuple gays on the front lawn." My mom kept it, and I think it's still somewhere in my childhood closet.
On this topic, funniest joke I ever experienced (don't worry, this won't be that funny to you and thus won't crowd out your own funniest jokes). Freshman year of college and my roommate gathers a few of us together for a joke that he is going to tell. I've heard it already but encourage him because it is a decent joke even if maybe a little obvious. He begins:. Man walks into a bar and orders a beer. Bartender pours the beer and notices that the man has by far the tiniest head he has ever seen. Really, really small. So he says, "I hope you don't mind me asking, but why is your head so small?". The man, at first is embarrassed but then says, "Well, it's a bit of a story. I used to be a sailor. Sailed for years. Never had a problem. One summer though, the boat was caught in a storm and it was wrecked. I made it to an island but the rest of the crew drowned. The island had coconuts, a lot of crab, so I survived. Days, months, several years, stuck on that stupid island alone, barely surviving. One day I came across a lantern half buried in the sand. I rubbed it and out appeared a genie. I know it sounds ridiculous. But s beautiful, hot genie appeared. (At this point a few people start to groan and are told to shut up). So, this hot, sexy genie says 'You are entitled to three wishes'. This was awesome. I blurted out 'get me off this Island.' Poof, we were off the island and back home. She says I have two more wishes. I then say I want 100 million dollars. Poof, 100 million dollars appears in front of me. I'm rich. I can buy anything I want. She says 'You have one more wish'. I look at her.. I already have everything I need. I'm home. I haven't had sex in years. So I say, 'How about a really small head'.
One of the poems that we studied in grade school was ‘Jabberwocky’. All those nonsensical words left an impact and I still recall that poem after all these years (over 40yrs). ‘Twas brillig and the slithy…..’