There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Guilt Stack

Well, many things have happened. One, I finished “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. Very good book. It helped that a couple of summers ago I took the second vacation of my adult life, my wife and sister-in-law kidnapped me and we traveled over Southern and Western Pennsylvania. We spent a few days at Gettysburg, knowing the ground was a great help. I could never understand the order of battle for the first day, until I saw the ground myself.

And speaking of seeing the ground myself, you have to check out where Pickett’s charge came over the corner. Stand on the Union side and look out over the field. It looks like a smartish jog, a bit long to go with the cannon from Little Round Top (to your right) plowing through, but not to bad.

Now cross over the wall and look at it from the South’s side, see what they saw. Oh Mother of God! St. Francis on a pogo-stick, they had to charge up there, clamber over the wall, and then start attacking? No wonder they lost over sixty percent of their troops.

You have to see it to believe it.

Then I read a current war book, “The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell” by John Crawford. Just wanted to make sure I still had the voice for my “War Stories” short. Yes, soldiers still talk the same as I remember, just different slang words, “hajji”, “battle rattle”, etc.

Now I’m reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “A Man Without a Country.” Always liked Vonnegut. Kilgore Trout makes an appearance. Vonnegut also bemoans that we don’t have any modern Mark Twains. I always though of Vonnegut as a Twain, but that’s me. I’ve sometimes had that delusion that I could be a modern Twain, but them something shiny catches my attention and that’s that.

Monday, April 3, 2006

The Grind - War Stories

The current burning project, besides rewriting Crow Boy to be longer and include more info, is a short story I call “My Favorite War Stories.” Five guys in a legion hall telling some stories, one is real, one is really off the dark cliff. The story came out in a rush and I spent this past weekend putting phrases and paragraphs in order so that it makes sense. I killed a couple of darlings (those phrases that as a writer you just love) and rewrote part of it. I hit an interesting block where the characters wanted me to say something and I didn’t. Well, the characters win. It’s their story after all. Now to keep molding and rewriting to get it to work. I know I have to turn the heat in some parts. Where the characters should be in jeopardy, there’s no tension. Time to cook with gas.

Probably will be about 6000 words, horror, Cthulu genre. Not sure where and how I’ll sell it, but first I need to get it finished.