Block, Critique, Doubt, Fiction, Novel, Television, Writing

AWAKE, but not writing

Well, I missed a blogging day, but for once, when I had nothing worth saying I didn’t say anything. I also didn’t get much house cleaning done. I did some laundry, repotted a few plants, worked on the sprinkler system in the yard, and organized some craft supplies. I also started reading a NY Times best-selling novel, but the subpar writing and editing makes me question whether I should continue.

What I’d hoped would happen during my writing break hasn’t. Not really. What did occur to me, at one point while my hands were covered in soil, is once again I’ve fallen into the trap of worrying about what others will think of the story in my next novel. Is that why I’m stalled?

I said at the beginning that I wanted to write this novel without any outside input, so I wouldn’t submit chapters to any critique group until they were all written, but it seems I’m critiquing it myself. I’m censoring before I’ve even written it. If only I could write without knowing what I’m writing. *sigh*

Speaking of writing, as I usually am, there’s some good writing on the new NBC series Awake. I’ve blogged before about some of my favorite well-written shows like Treme and Mad Men. This new one promises to be another. The premise of reality vs. dream intrigues me; in fact, I touched on it in a short story I wrote last summer.

Police detective Michael Britten, played by Jason Isaacs, has returned to work after an auto accident with his wife and teen-aged son. The problem is each day he wakes up in one of two “realities”. In one, his son died in the crash, Britten is in department-ordered therapy with a male psychiatrist, and he has a rookie partner at work. In the other, his wife has died, he has a female therapist, and his long-time partner at work.

A further confusion happens when clues from a case in one reality helps him solve his case in the other. Each therapist tells him he’s confusing dream and reality because he hasn’t coped with his loss. Britten doesn’t want their help because he doesn’t want to lose either of his “realities”.

I’m anxious to see how this plays out. When the end credits rolled on the first episode, I said, “Wow!” My husband said, “It was okay.” That’s typical for us. 🙂 Then again, he’s not a writer. If you’re not watching the show, but think it sounds interesting, you can watch full episodes online here: http://www.nbc.com/awake/


Awake promo photo ©NBC

Opinion, Real Life, Television

I’m not ashamed to admit it

As long as I’m in this drop the pretenses mood, I might as well confess to something else. I watch television. Yes, I know some circles consider television to be for low-brows. I’ve picked up this disdain from some writers—serious literary sorts. Ah well. I never claimed to be an intellectual.

Okay, okay. I’ve been known to watch a few documentaries. And I might have caught a PBS and/or BBC mini-series or two.

Really, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t watch a lot of television. I spend a lot more time in front of this computer. A lot. But there are a few shows I try to catch.

I’ve mentioned The Sopranos, The Wire, Big Love and Lost as some of my past faves. I also enjoyed Men of a Certain Age, before they cancelled it. I can’t wait for the next seasons of the top-notch series Treme and Mad Men.

Currently, I’m watching Boardwalk Empire, but this season it’s become too fascinated with the bloody and gruesome, and that’s annoying me. Two new shows I’m watching this season are Person of Interest and American Horror Story. Those two, The Mentalist and Harry’s Law I’ll classify as guilty pleasures.

I’ve learned aspects of story structure and characterization from the excellent writing of some programs. They teach while they entertain. The others mostly just entertain, but what’s wrong with that? Say what you will. My forehead is still pretty high.

So. I have to ask. Do you watch television?

Humor, Life, Musings, Reflections

When did I quit laughing?

All right, I haven’t quit laughing totally, but as far as television viewing I laugh a lot less than I used to. That fact occurred to me recently when I saw a candy bar commercial featuring Abe Vigoda and Betty White. Of course, Barney Miller and Golden Girls popped into my mind. Then I started thinking of all the sitcoms I used to watch, from The Dick Van Dyke show to Jerry Seinfeld, which was probably the last one I made a point to watch weekly.

Is it my age? It’s a sobering thought to think I might reach an age where I no longer have a sense of humor. But that’s not the case now. I can laugh. I like to laugh. And especially late at night as I drink a glass of wine while watching reruns, I do laugh—unless I’ve tuned in Law & Order. That’s the problem really: somewhere along the line I switched my viewing preference to drama.

Is there a TV aficionado out there? Did the ratio of TV drama to sitcom used to be different than now? While I was busy watching M*A*S*H and Cheers and The Cosby Show, what dramas did I ignore?

I believe at one time I watched at least one sitcom a night. Sometime during the 90’s I even got hooked on British sitcoms. Now, I regularly watch none … from any country. And now that I think of it, I don’t see many movies that are comedies either. Wow! I might be turning into a real sourpuss. I think I’d better order Spinal Tap from Netflix.

Do you watch less comedy than you used to?

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Photo credit: Jaxxon