The Stupid 365 Project, Day 54: Dithering

November 24th, 2010

Should I or shouldn’t I?  Run this story, I mean.

You guys have been patient and supportive through all the dithering of the past 53 days, and more than sweet in wishing Munyin happy birthday. (That really did make the day.)  But I just don’t know about the Thanksgiving story.

It’s so unforgivably dumb.  It’s so dumb it doesn’t even have a title.

You’ve sat through first-draft bits and sample chapters and half-chewed pieces of my subconscious, but this will be the first time I’ve been intentionally, let-it-all-dangle-in-the-breeze dumb.  I’m afraid you won’t like me any more.

And then there are Everett and Gary, continually running the knife-edge over the whetstone.  They’ll eviscerate me.

This feels, I know, like someone attempting to lower expectations.  But it would be literally impossible to get your expectations low enough for this story.

Maybe if I frame it accurately, that’ll help me rewrite it. When in trouble, a writer friend of mine advises, do the TV Guide log listing and see where your book deviates from it.

Okay.  TV Guide log listings begin with a title, so I need a title.  THANKSGIVING WITH ALL THOSE DOUGS.  “Dougs” as in plural of the guy’s name, “Doug.”  Dees that interest you?  I thought not.

Here goes:  THANKSGIVING WITH ALL THOSE DOUGS:  A gritty, noir look at America’s feasting day, told from the perspective of a pen behind the farmhouse, with a view of the chopping block.

Well.  That really lifted my spirits.

Maybe the thing to do is regain some perspective.  In the larger analysis, this is just one blog out of 365, written by just one person out of some 5 billion, a single member of a species whose entire history takes place in a single blink of the cosmic eye, on a small rocky planet that will ultimately be incinerated, just an ash orbiting a black hole in the emptiness of space.

I feel much better.

18 Responses to “The Stupid 365 Project, Day 54: Dithering”

  1. Robb Royer Says:

    I don’t know about no turkeys but… BAPPYHRUTMITTAGDUJOURANNEENAVIDADJOLIEFRUEICHEGUTENGLUCHFRLIZ… uh… Happy Birthday Mun.
    Always late always late.

  2. Suzanna Says:

    Sounds intriguing. Especially the bit about the Dougs. Chopping block? Yikes.

    Don’t worry about the story not being perfect. Your loyal fans will NEVER desert you!

  3. EverettK Says:

    Look at it this way, Tim:

    1) We’re not paying you for this stuff.
    2) You’re doing this for YOUR benefit, not ours.
    3) To tie into my reply to an early blog, follow Richard Feynman’s lead. The title of one of his books was, “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”
    4) Our expectation can’t GET any lower, so you may as well stop trying.
    5) No matter WHAT we think, it WILL fill one of your 365 Days of Hell.

    Of course, you could always give up and write about Junior stealing a Cornish Game Hen…

  4. philip coggan Says:

    Ever notice how much a turkey looks a peacock? A peacock that couldn’t afford the costume and got it’s mum to run one up…

    Happy birthday Mun :).

  5. philip coggan Says:

    Do you think I could get away with a character called Aaron A. G. String?

  6. Munyin Says:

    Hi Robb: Good to see your name on Tim’s blog. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Maddy, and your beautiful children. & thanks for your well wishes for yesterday.
    Hi Philip: Don’t know you but glad you know Tim & me through him. Thank you too. 😀

  7. Laren Bright Says:

    We can’t title a story without reading it. So run the story and then the next day’s blog can be a contest for naming it. Now doesn’t that sound like *fun?!*

  8. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Robb and thanks for the display of polylingual pyrotechnics. Impressivo, as they don’t say in Spain. And whaddya mean, you don’t know about no turkey? You’re the guy with the ranch. You should think about raising poultry, actually — you’d get a much better look at foxes.

    Suzie, I know my loyal fans will stick with me through thick and thin but this is really going to push it. At least I have a title now, even if it does stink.

    Everett, I’ve been thinking about that. About how you’re not paying me, I mean. If I were to send you an SASE would that make it easier? Alternatively, I accept PayPal and empty promises.

    Hey Philip — Very funny. Turkeys are sort of entry-level peacocks, and I never saw that before. Mun says thank you.

    You could probably get away with it, and most people would miss it completely because I don’t think many readers hear words as they read them. I like it, especially the double-barreled middle initial. Maybe a musicologist, someone who authenticates recently discovered musical manuscripts attributed to Mozart and his ilk, if anyone ever was of Mozart’s ilk, which i doubt.

  9. Peg Brantley Says:

    So,Tim . . . anyone can have an off day. (Sorry, still love you. Still waiting to read the Grist stuff on my Kindle. But just sayin’.)

    Munyin, once again, happy belated birthday.

    And okay . . I’m looking at this Captcha crap and wondering if maybe I’ve had too much wine. I don’t think my computer keyboard has these things. . . .

  10. EverettK Says:

    Tim said: Alternatively, I accept PayPal and empty promises.

    Far out! As soon as I finish this comment, I’ll hustle right on over to my Paypal account and send you 100 empty promises!

    (Does that make it A Hundred and One Empty Promises???)

  11. Debbi Says:

    I’m sure your story about the Dougs would have been dark and gritty and wonderful. Anyway, your Thanksgiving post beats the hell out of mine. 🙂

    http://mackthewriter.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/happy-thanksgiving-and-buy-nothing-day/

  12. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Peg — SKIN DEEP is winging itself toward you right now. Captcha looks like that to everyone — what I can’t stand is when one of the words is in Cyrillic or something. Byt that’s what the little arrows-in-a-circle are for: hit them, and you’ll get a new code.

    Everett, What does one more empty promise mean to someone who’s spent 20 years working with mainstream publishers? (Everyone but you, HarperCollins.) Empty promises are the currency of publishing. Isn’t that dramatic?

    Debbi — I like your piece just fine, and it’s a lot shorter than mine. I have to learn to write shorter. Debbi, everyone, just wrote a terrific book called LEAST WANTED that I’m 85% through, in an ARC. It marks the return of her tough but good-hearted (and smart) female lawyer, Sam McRae, first seen in IDENTITY CRISIS, and it’s as good or even better than the first.

  13. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Laren, you got trashed by accident. No, it doesn’t sound like fun, even with quotes around it. I’m putting this story up and behind me simultaneously.

  14. Debbi Says:

    Oh, my gosh! Thank you for the plug, Tim. 🙂

  15. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it, Debbi — both books are first-rate.

  16. Peg Brantley Says:

    Wow, Tim. THANKS! SKIN DEEP is now on my Kindle. Wahoo . . . and very generous of you! Made my day.

  17. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    My pleasure, Peg — I hope you like it, but remember it’s actually the first book I ever wrote for publication. Theoretically, at least, I’ve gotten better since then.

  18. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    It’s my pleasure, Peg — I hope you like it, but remember it’s actually the first book I ever wrote for publication. Theoretically, at least, I’ve gotten better since then.

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