What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly hop/meme with four simple headings. Anyone can write a post and add the link to Jaime’s blog.
What I’m Reading
Not really much, since I have so much editing to focus on.
What I’m Writing
Well into editing Part IV of Little Ragdoll and down to 383,000 words. The frontal matter (table of contents, dedication, title pages for each Part, etc.), the list of characters, and the names of the chapters are about 3,000 words, so I just subtract 3,000 when I hit the word count bar to see what’s up.
The completed first draft was 397,000, and eventually brought down to 387,000. I actually did take out more than 10,000 words, but some words were added in since I needed to write in left-handedness for many characters. I’m embarrassed that detail completely slipped my mind the first time around.
It’s so special to fall in love with a story and characters all over again, and once more go on the journey of seeing them all grow up, going from children or teenagers to adults. Even little Justine goes from six months to fifteen years old. I also still get the feeling that I’m really in Manhattan during the Sixties and early Seventies, with the city like another character. The Troys and their friends are probably the last old Manhattan generation, with family roots there for generations and strong native accents, instead of being recent transplants who don’t talk like native New Yorkers.
My release of Little Ragdoll is 20 June, the 50th anniversary of the release of The Four Seasons’ song “Rag Doll.” It’s such a special, auspicious day. I’m hoping to donate some of my proceeds to the Bowery Mission, which features several times.
What Inspires Me
I never really thought about this before, but given I’m using the same soundtrack for editing Little Ragdoll as I used for writing it, it dawned on me that I’ve fallen for a lot of bands who’ve been skewered in the press or written off as insubstantial, not serious enough. And yet, the press has always been proven wrong with enough time.
There are still people who bash The Monkees, and it’s hardly a secret that that pompous, élitist ass Jann Wenner is keeping them out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yet they’ve proven themselves over the decades as more than meaningless pop for teenyboppers. The Four Seasons were largely ignored and mocked when serious scholarship of Sixties music began, yet they’ve held up and been vindicated by the critics, enough so to merit a popular Broadway musical.
The Hollies were often bashed as too clean-cut, not as cool or deep as The Beatles or other bands. Jann Wenner kept them out of the Hall of Fame until 2010, which was a huge insult and oversight. (And yes, it was really embarrassing when Terry Sylvester drunkenly crashed the stage and grabbed the microphone from the guest vocalist.) But anyone who listens to their music knows they weren’t some band of pansies, and had a lot of really deep, mature, hard-rocking, psychedelic stuff.
I’m a Herman’s Hermits fan too; in fact, the second part of my pen name came from their song “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.” Believe it or not, they were a real band, in spite of all the screaming teen girls. Anyone who’s listened to their later albums There’s a Kind of Hush and Blaze knows they weren’t just a flimsy pop act for the teenies. And until I became a Duranie three years ago, I really thought they were just a bunch of prettyboys who were only around in the Eighties, not an actual band who never broke up, with lots of really deep, mature, poetic, dark songs, like “Secret Oktober,” “Out of My Mind,” “Friends of Mine,” “The Seventh Stranger,” “To the Shore,” “Sin of the City.”
I guess I’m drawn to underdogs, dark horses, through an unconscious force, recognising them on a deeper level.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
My computer has been dying for awhile now, and I’ve been thinking about a new one. Going back to a desktop would save a lot of money, and force me out of the habit of writing in bed, but I’ve gotten used to using a laptop and being able to take it everywhere. It’s nice to be able to use it at the library, in class, or on holiday. It’s probably going to be a new MacBook Pro.
I have a 30-year relationship with the Mac. Using anything else would be blasphemy, a psychological leap I could never make. Macs may be a bit more expensive, but they’re higher-quality and more user-friendly than PCs. The basics of finding one’s way around haven’t changed much since 1984.