Day Three: It’s about time, sort of

I used to watch Family Ties as if it were some type of religious experience. My world centered around my day of worship with the Keaton clan. I read from the Book of Alex P. Keaton, citing passages to any who would listen for the week to come. I could probably come up with a communion reference, but I’m too stumped on what to do with hymns to make it that far. Actually, I’m a cup of coffee short of anything useful at this point. Do run if that frightens you. I’ll understand. For the rest of you, I’ll just state the show was a profound cornerstone of my television watching youth, and get on with it.

There was an episode in which the immense pressure to succeed drove young Alex to a product called No Doze. I want to explain what it did, but I feel as though doing so would undermine the whole ten seconds it probably took the writers to come up with that one. I think you get it. I hope you get it, because if you don’t you likely don’t understand much of anything I say.

No Doze apparently transforms one into the Fonz.

No Doze apparently transforms one into the Fonz.

I thought of this episode yesterday as I worked through what I could of Chapter Two in the oppressive bubble of time I squeezed it into. I think most people imagine writers carving out long periods of the day, hunched over a screen, snack drawer askew, ringlets of drinks past scarred along the desk surface, the absolute presence of silence draped like a canopy of protection against potential distraction. For the record, this isn’t a real thing. At least not to those of us who like to keep the companies we owe money to happy. For the marginal few who have lovely wonderful delightful people who pay them to write–bless them so–this still isn’t a real thing. They just don’t have to deal with bubbles of time. Bubbles of children, perhaps. But they did that to themselves.

I managed 425 words yesterday. 425 words that represent 0.0047222% of the total projected length of 90,000 words. For those of you who don’t like to math, that’s less than 1%. It took me just under an hour to present the universe with these 425 words. I have no idea how many of those 425 words will survive. If we go by the standard that 1 in 1,000 baby sea turtles survive into adulthood, then you get a fair approximation as to how many words of my 425 children will emerge from a first draft and survive into a published book. There’s a high degree of attrition with words.

If I had No Doze, I could probably knock a book out fairly fast. I’d have time. Time in which there would be no bubble, no oppressive need to hurry, no disruption. Then again, in the 80’s, researchers at the University of Chicago determined that mice who were deprived sleep over a period of two weeks began to have their bodies break down and literally draw them to death. So, I guess sleep is important. Even Alex eventually learned that. Science found the whole Let Sleepless Mice Die experiment odd enough that they tried it again two decades later. No Doze. No such a great idea. Back to my bubble it is then.

What made me ponder the whole No Doze story was no so much the little writing I did in the little time I had available. No. It was the pesky story that popped up a few hours later to say, Hey, maybe you should have started that chapter this way…

Ugh. What a bastard. And it might be right. Probably is. Maybe. Likely.

Damn it.

Regardless the plan is the plan. Write the book. Edit it later.

For now, Chapter Two introduces us to Judy Christie Christie Blume Agatha Blume in a way that I find fitting enough not to make any changes. The story wants me to lay out exactly what is going on in the first sentence. I get that. I may actually agree. But I’m still trying to understand who Agatha is and what to do with her. I’m not ready to toss her in the deep end yet. I want her to sit with me on the steps and observe for a while. Get acclimated to the temperature. Build up the courage to make the leap.

And with that, my bubble of time has elapsed. The second one arrives later. I need that for Chapter Two. In the meantime, here’s the completely unedited 425 sea turtles trying to make it to the ocean. Adulthood is another matter altogether.

Chapter Two

            Agatha Blume paused mid-stroke, brush locked in a battle with a tuft of brown curl, and waited for the knock. The three-beat wake-up call arrived on time, precise, pointed, her mother’s voice muffled through the door. Same as every morning.

“Agatha, sweetie, time to wake up.”

The door opened, as if her words were all the invitation she needed, her mother’s slim face wedging into view. Once upon a time, Agatha had complained about the invasion of her privacy. That the least her mother could do is wait for an answer. That had lasted a week, until Hurricane Betty tore her apart, leaving a trail of verbal debris that included bills paid, meals cooked, clothes washed and general momness employed over her time on this Earth. Agatha had realized then that arguing with her mother accomplished nothing.

Fortunately, she found another way to deal with it. Her mother couldn’t annoy her if she had nothing to annoy her about. No annoyance, no arguing, no yelling, no grounding, no problem. From her thirteenth birthday on peace had reigned, and she had no desire to break the unspoken truce.

She just needed to be careful about it. A toe in the water here and there. Enough to stay ahead of the arguments. Too much and her mother would be the least of her problems.

“I’m up.” She set to brushing her hair, fighting through a new tangle. Some days she thought it would be best just to chop it all off and be done with it. But she didn’t have that kind of face. The kind without freckles. The kind that didn’t require hair to make it worth looking at. She wasn’t that kind of pretty. Truthfully, she wasn’t sure she was any kind of pretty. The hair, frustrating though it could be, at least framed her face well. Made her blue eyes pop. Or so she’d been told by Justin.

Granted, that was before Friday had happened. She’d had the whole weekend to come to terms with the fact that Justin’s opinions no longer mattered.

“Oh. So you are. I didn’t hear you. I’m beginning to think you don’t need me anymore.”

She was across the room in a few quick steps, staring at Agatha’s reflection in the mirror, taking the brush from her hand. The curls obeyed her sweeping strokes in a way Agatha could never manage.

“You’re growing up so fast. Where has the time gone?”

Agatha stared into her mother’s reflection, fighting a smile. “Nowhere as far as I can tell.”

I Don’t Wanna Wait For This Show to Be Over

My mother once referred to this as a blob.

I don’t think she entirely missed the mark.

After all, I’m not sure that what I do here is any different than unleashing the congealed thoughts of my mind, watching them dribble onto the electronic page at a speed one might delicately refer to as “methodical”. The Blob was methodical. It works. So, welcome to my blob. Let’s move on.

The Moss and I are very much routine-oriented. There is a period of time, generally an hour or two before sleep comes knockin’, in which we wind down by watching television. Used to be this involved watching episodes of Income Property, or getting yelled at by Guy Fieri, or marveling over the brazen stupidity of the contestants on Chopped. Then came the infamous day she asked me if I had ever watched Buffy. Which I had not. Which left her amazed I had somehow survived without it. Which made me question my ability to keep my heart beating Buffy-free. I was hooked by the theme song, destined to live another day. And so, thus began the nightly routine of working through shows we’ve always wanted to watch, or were amazed the other had missed. From Buffy to Angel (Right? Because you can’t watch one without immediately watching the other, and also because David Boreanaz.) to Dead Like Me to Lie to Me, we engaged in an episode or two each night, unable to break away to the Live World of Programming, deeply disappointed when any evening’s events (generally involving Baseball and the West Coast) prevented another round.

Then this happened:

This Is James Van der Beek, which is a silly name, a.k.a Dawson Leery, which is less silly unless he's attempting to cry.

This is James Van der Beek, which is a silly name, a.k.a Dawson Leery, which is less silly unless he’s attempting to cry or being Dawson.

Okay, so before I get started, let me just head off all the Dawson’s Creek fanatical outcry by saying this: I didn’t hate the show. But I would have loved it a lot more if it had been called Pacey Witter’s Whiny Distraction, or perhaps My Best Friend is an Annoying Unlikable Know-it-all: The Pacey Witter Story. Because, let’s face it: This show would have tanked without Pacey. We not only liked him, but unlike the rest of the crew, HE ACTUALLY DID STUFF. He even went so far as to evolve naturally, and much to the dismay of ever other character not named Joey, grow up. Better yet, my burgeoning man-crush on the cheeky Joshua Jackson aside, Pacey led us to Fringe, which is better saved for another blob because my one-thousand word review is somewhere around a manuscript at this point. It needs edits. And more pictures.

Here’s a picture:

Will someone please tell me who I am?

Will someone please tell me who I am?

We’re definitely Michelle Williams fans. How can you not be? But what the hell was the deal with Jen Lindley? It’s as if the writers carried her forward as if she were a cup of hot coffee that may, or may not, have too much sugar and/or cream, or might not have even been coffee at all but merely an empty cup that was neither hot nor cold nor just right. She crushed on Dawson until he wanted her, then bailed (rinse and repeat a few seasons later, then once more for good measure), was a cheerleader for a minute, went from bad girl to wanna-be-good-girl to bad girl so frequently and efficiently that watching Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan is a rather tame affair, pined for a gay guy, had some weird Dawson-esque love/run/don’t love/love thing with a weepy eyed kid named Henry, befriended every most hated character on the show and wondered why no one understood her, was an on-again off-again alcoholic weirdo, was a music dj out of nowhere who did her thing and then suddenly just didn’t, tried to have sex with pretty much every character willing (or even unwilling, actually), and had the most inconsistent, indecisive, and outright awful hair of the entire show.

And why didn’t anyone on this show ever get carded? I mean, sure, they all looked like they were pushing thirty, but somewhere, someone had to have had their doubts, yeah? Or at least a love for keeping their business open?

Then there was Andie, whose endearing fast-talking, brainiac, neurosis somehow morphed into a psychopathic raging mental breakdown out of nowhere, despite the fact that she was dating Pacey, who, as mentioned, was the gold in this pawn shop classic. Before we could come to grips with this surprising about face, she was carted off to an institution, to be locked up with Michael Meyers I presume, and fell in love with some random crazy guy who couldn’t at all have been as snarky as Pacey and his I Call Everyone By Their Last Name wit. Which would have been fine if they hadn’t brought her back, because I suddenly didn’t care. She just became another character on the Let’s Annoy Pacey Because He’s the Heart of the Show dog pile.

Grams was cool. I liked her. She’s my defacto Ms. Ruth in The Storyteller.

Dawson’s parents were weird. Not in that, Every Kid’s Parents way. Just in that I Feel Sticky Because You’re There kind of way.

Audrey waffled between annoying and acceptable. As with every other female on the show, she was only acceptable while dating Pacey. Anyone notice how crazy these girls got without Pacey in their lives?

I liked Jack when he played football. College Jack made me want to pull ears off bunnies.

Oh, Doug. Pacey knew all along, didn’t he?

Some chick shows up, named Eve, right? Looking for her mother, or something. Gets Dawson all worked up, because, well, because he’s Dawson. Makes herself a nuisance. Seems loony. Then she’s all I’m So Sad Because Family, and we’re supposed to like her. Then she leaves. We find out who her mother is. Then it’s never mentioned again. Right. That.

Katie Lee Holmes married Tom Cruise. I mean, is it possible to look past that? And can anyone remember Joey’s profession? I don’t think she can either.

Interestingly, there are several more characters, plot points (what’s that? Dawson’s dad had a contract dispute? KILL HIM DEAD NOW AND HAVE DAWSON BECOME EVEN MORE INSUFFERABLE THAN EVER AMEN PLEASE.), blah blah blah I could ramble on about, but it only now occurs to me I have not even mentioned this:

Dawson, what's the deal with you hair?

Dawson, what’s the deal with your hair?

No, seriously. Your hair is just ... it's just awful.

No, seriously. Your hair is just … it’s just awful.

I mean, it hurts just to look at it. This is why I can't be with you.

I mean, it hurts just to look at it. This is why I can’t be with you. I know you don’t understand, on account of being Dawson and all.

Holy hell, you hair is so awesome. I totally love you.

Holy hell, you hair is so awesome. I totally love you.

What have you done, Dawson? His hair! You messed ... oh, wait. Never mind.

What have you done, Dawson? His hair! You messed … oh, wait. Never mind. Jealous.

I think that sums it up. I mean, sure there were a few instances where we were worried about Pacey hair (the goatee comes to mind) and whether or not Joey would choose it over Dawson’s weird feathered 80’s locks, but dude had a boat, became a chef, slept with his teacher, dated a psychopath, traded stocks like a boss, and never once did his hair look out of place. What did your hair do, Dawson? Nothing. NOTHING. Maybe How Pacey’s Hair Won the Internet would have been a better title.

As mentioned, I didn’t hate this show. The first three seasons were pretty okay. After that, the show just annoyed me. There are reasons I don’t want to be a teenager again. Dawson’s Creek nailed all of them, and added a few for good measure. It’s the only show we’ve thus far watched that I could not wait to finish. I just wanted it to end. And it haunts me still.

Of course, I can wash some of it away with this:

If not, I can just watch Dawson cry.