As of today, I’ve completed a dozen chapters of Justine Grown Up and am at approximately 60,580 words. It’s now early 1980, and Justine, Aoife, and David are back at SUNY after spending winter vacation in Adicia and Ernestine’s house, which is also right next door to Allen and Lenore’s house. Justine and David finally have some privacy again, and are free of the catty, overbearing, and dismissive comments they had to endure over the vacation.

In the next chapter, “Crossing the Point of No Return,” Justine and David are going to say “I love you” for the first time, and on Justine’s 21st birthday, 2 March, they’re going to make love for the first time. Right now David still assumes (falsely) that Justine has had prior lovers, since she came of age in the wake of the sexual revolution, and most women her age in the late Seventies and early Eighties aren’t exactly virgins. He’s already been shocked to discover his younger sisters Aoife and Fiona are still virgins, since in the modern era, it’s not portrayed as common to find a person past 18 who’s still a virgin (even if reality is a lot different than the popular image and the shameful taboo against people who are virgins past a certain age).

I also went back to do some looking over at my Russian novel, and found some stuff I was able to delete, stuff I hadn’t even thought about taking out during any of my numerous previous editing jobs and sweep-throughs. This time the excised stuff came from the bits I wrote out longhand and then added in later on, I can’t remember exactly when, either during my second major writing phase or sometime midway between the first and second phases. They were just bits of dialogue that sound extremely artificial and silly, were written when I wasn’t the most mature writer yet, and don’t ring true to these characters and their stories. So the word count for that is down to around 347,000 now. I’m going to look and see if there’s anything else I might’ve missed in the original sections of the first six chapters, but I’m pretty sure even bringing it down to 345,000 words would be a bit of a stretch. That’s just the length that works with the wide story arc and plot trajectory.

And because today, 6 December, is my 11-year anniversary with my fifth Who album, the wonderful yet underrated The Who Sell Out (a 1967 concept album that’s a spoof on the era’s radio stations), here are some of my favorite songs from that record:

A lot of guy fans rag on this song, but many female fans (the so-called Who Rottweilers) love it. I can’t believe there was ever a point in my early teens when I thought The Who were way more of a bad boy band than The Rolling Stones.

I love John’s twisted, dark sense of humor.

My first Who song I heard with the conscious understanding it was a Who song. Since they were still putting out albums when I was a little kid, I’m sure I must’ve heard their stuff on the radio and stuff, but I have no memory of it, and I wouldn’t have known I was listening to The Who anyway at that age. I’m so glad this was my first real Who song when I was thirteen.

I named my fifth journal after this song. I had her from 8 December 200o (John Lennon’s 20th Jahrzeit) to 28 February 2002. I’m far from the only person who interprets the song as being about IsRAEL, due to many of the lyrics in the song and how 1967 was the year of the Six-Day War. Lyrics like “my heritage is threatened,” “like a goldfish being swallowed by a whale,” “country of my fathers, a proud land of old order,” and “Rael, the home of my religion;/To me the center of the Earth.”

This is the final track on the CD reissue, and was originally featured on their 1974 hodegpodge album Odds and Sods (which I have on both vinyl and CD). It’s so beautiful how a song about a fiery plane crash ends with hope, with reincarnation and the genesis of Tommy.

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