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Gnarl All Around

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I’ve accumulated a backlog of photos to blog, but I don’t have any long essay-type thoughts today. All my energy is going into The Big Aha, which is about 80% done. I’m pushing pretty hard on it. During the closing phase of a finishing the first draft of a novel, I sometimes think of a predator who’s wounded his or her prey, and is now crashing through the underbrush, frantic to finish the hunt. Blood-lust writing frenzy.

I got a new wide-angle lens the other day, a Canon 24 mm. I’d been making do with an old Leica lens on my Canon body, but the old lens didn’t have autofocus, nor image stabilization, nor did the automatic metering work with it. I will say that the Leica glass has a certain creamy warm quality that I like. But the Canon lens in incredibly sharp.

So I walk around my house photographing pieces of it. Like this banister. Not that every photo I’m running today is shot with the wideangle lens.

My usual morning regimen, is to do yoga on a mat in the back yard and correct a printout. At full resolution, this text is readable, thanks the new lens’s image stabilization, but maybe not readable in this shrunken rez. Lying in the back yard on a nice morning while crafting some prose is about my favorite activity.

This photo’s taken with the Leica lens, and it has the creamy texture. Every hat is a UFO.

I’m writing all day, and in the evenings I like to get away from the printed word, so we’ve been watching more Netflix than usual, a mixture of streaming and DVD. Finished off the second season of The Hour, a nice BBC show, although I have to turn on subtitles for shows like this, otherwise I miss about 30% of the dialogue. The Lillyhammer series isn’t bad either.

Switched over to a 100 mm zoom lens for this photo last night. As spring rolls on, there’s different cadres of bugs that turn up, all of them hatching at the same time. These guys were on the globes of our street lamp, making me think of astronauts on a moon.

The 100 mm lens is, for reasons I don’t quite understand, categorized as a “macro” lens, meaning you can do super close-ups. Hard to go wrong when you’re shooting a rosebud, although the depth of field is only a few millimeters deep and I have to click at the right moment to catch the image I want, given that my body is never quite still. Love the “bokeh” here, that is, the out-of-focus quality of the background.

The sun comes up really bright these days, blasting flat across Silicon Valley into my garage and bounces great caustic curve light splashes off my car. I looked up how bright the sun is, viewed as a lightbulb, and it’s said to be about 300 or 400 septillion watts. The prefix for septillion is “yotta,” in the same sense that “tera” means trillion. There’s an official committee that decides these things. So the sun is a 300 yottawatt bulb. Or, as a waggish friend commented, one might shop for a energy-saver 60 yottawatt sun.

I try to get out into the hills every couple of days, I never get enough of nature. Free gnarl. I think this is a eucalyptus trunk, they grow with a spiral grain, which makes them stronger I think. Last night it was really windy here, and the eucs were waving like seaweed. Always nice to be reminded that we live at the bottom of an ocean of air.

Sometimes I go hiking with my neighbor Gunnar. He’s originally from Norway and still has quite an accent—you have to know him for awhile in order to easily understand what he’s saying. He’s close to eighty, and is livelier and fitter than me. He never goes to what I could call “a real doctor,” preferring various kinds of Indian or Chinese healers. Seems to be working for him.

Gunnar and I were down at the foot of a waterfall in Castle Rock park, which is only about s twenty minute drive from my house. Incredible that I only go there once every year or two. It’s such a great place. What do I have to do that’s more important than being in the woods?

Oh, yeah, I have to be at home running my machines.

Converting my gauzy N-dimensional dreams into 2D art.

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2 Responses to “Gnarl All Around”

  1. emilio Says:

    So is writing like software, the first 80% takes 80% of the time, and the rest takes 80% of the time?

    Not to compare my skills to yours, but I think the editing process is one of the things that keeps me from doing more writing. Even when I print it out and make edits I still find more edits I want to make when I go back to the computer. It feels like an endlessly iterative process where halting means giving up.

  2. Rudy Says:

    Emilio, writing isn’t like software in the aspect of the last 10% taking as long as the first 90%. The hardest part of a novel is the first draft…when you figure everything out. After that, any remaining “bugs” tend to be fairly manageable, although once in a while, you decide (or get told) that the first draft needs a really massive rewrite, with large parts of the book being jettisoned, and so on.

    As for the endless edits issue, there is something to that. At times it feels like every time I read something I find more things to fix. But it does tend to settle down after, say, the sixth or the tenth go-through. Not entirely, but at some point, you just have to say that’s enough. There’s also a fear of over-editing, over-smoothing, and removing some of the cruft and gnarl that made a piece interesting in the first place.

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