On Not Being Ernest

I’ll get to the circumstances in a moment, but the part that’s critical to this story is that, yesterday morning I told a former Hollywood producer (he’s legit) that I’ve used the three weeks-plus Trish and I have suffered (her more than me) without internet access, and without a land line, to work on my novel, “Swamis.”

“Four hours a day the past two days,” I said.

“Hemingway worked seven,” he said, “And standing up.”

“Oh,” I said, noticing that Bob was, himself, standing, scanning multiple images from the weekend’s football games on two computer screens (yeah, the internet worked at the Quilcene Community Center where he’s served- and I’ve never quite figured out why- as director for quite a few years); “Hemingway probably didn’t have a… regular job.”

hemingway

OKAY. I’m not Hemingway.

And, just in passing; I’m not standing up to write this.

NOW, the reason I was, on this Monday morning, patrolling Surf Route 101 from my house to downtown Quilcene, checking out the Century Link switching station (no one there), and then cruising farther south to the Community Center, is that, on the previous Friday, doing the same thing, hoping to see some line truck (none), to give myself (and Trish, forced to do Facebook on her phone- Frustrating- tiny type) some hope that the major corporation hadn’t just decided to write off our rural outpost; and, since I was cruising town (which includes going to the Post Office, going to the ATM at the only bank in town to see if we still have money in our accounts, something, along with buoy readings and surf forecast and tide charts, I check several times a day, if we had internet access); I decided to stop in, say ‘Happy New Year’ to Bob, tell him about my novel (“Swamis”); and, to convince Bob that, if he has one last big play to make in Hollywood, it should be to get the story (“Swamis”) produced as, at least, a Netflix, no, Amazon limited-series.

So, yeah, some hope.

SOMETHING ELSE I’ve been unable to do is post on this site (realsurfers.net). Yes, I did, one time, with about ten minutes to do it in, at our son’s house; but waves have been ridden, sessions have been missed, surfers on too-small-for-the-conditions boards have been frustrated by old guys on big (enough) boards. After one session, I ran into a writer, and, more importantly, a professional editor, whose house (former house, with former wife) I painted a few years ago.

Mark, in exchange for some extra painting, edited an overlong piece I was planning on reading (and did) at the FIRST SURF CULTURE ON THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA AND SALISH SEA event.  His editing was totally great.  There were parts where I ignored his advice, and read them as originally written. Mistake.

It turned out that two of my surfing friends (they may deny the friends part), Derrick and Stephen, were working on Mark’s new house, with his new wife.  When I told Mark I was writing a novel, and asked if he could, maybe, please, just read a bit of it, he said he would… BUT it would be better if it was complete.

“I just want to have someone tell me… the style, that’s what I’m…”

“Just let me know… when it’s complete. First draft.”

OH. GREAT. WAIT; WHAT? I’d already googled to discover a novel runs about 60,000 to 90,000 words. WHOA! Moby f’ing Dick! That’s a lot of words.

“It’s not like I’m writing it start-to-finish, then self-editing. I keep going back and…”

“No. I get it. When it’s done… call me.”

Well, winter; long nights (missed sessions), the fact that I can use the laptop as a word processor even without the internet; I’m up to thirty-two thousand words, plus; and I’m thinking about it constantly, getting close to figuring out who did it in my own mystery/surf novel.

TWO THINGS:

ONE: I also ran into Clayton last Friday. Clayton lives between our house and town, has a sort of Christmas tree farm, and, through Trish and Facebook, I knew his internet was, also, out. He was at the Community Center last Friday, using their computers. SO, I found out the outage had been on his property, with an electric line, during one of our more-than-usual number of windstorms, fell onto the phone/DSL lines, frying it, melting all the little lines that go to, well, us and some unknown (and, despite daily long calls to Century Link, they wouldn’t tell me) number of customers.

Still ONE: I was kind of hoping Clayton might be hanging out at the Center. Monday’s Century Link representative de jour (and they’re all over the country- I ask) told me the outage was fixed, and everyone was back on line; but, since our modem was still solid red on the DSL light, I did not believe her. Clayton wasn’t there, but Bob was, in his office.

TWO: I have worked with Bob in the past. In fact, he drafted me to write a column for the Center’s monthly newsletter. “Quite popular” he tells me. I met Bob, as I meet most people, by painting for him when he first retired to the area.  I was still writing a column for the “Port Townsend Leader” at the time, showed him the a copy of the manuscript of my second (the first was never quite finished, this one, “At That Moment” written on computer, word processor, long hand, the first 70 or so pages way more, um, edited than the last 70- or so) novel; and, some months later, I was writing, and he was changing, my first screenplay, “Near-Life.”

Still TWO: It’s a play on ‘near-death,’ and I had one vision; Bob another. He tried to shop it around Hollywood, and we came ‘this close’ to it being purchased by an outfit headed by John Travolta. Almost. Bob was waiting for a phone call. I was waiting (while working) for his phone call after that phone call. It was pretty exciting.  “Almost,” Bob said.

There is a huge difference between ‘almost’ and success.

The story of surf on the Strait is a story of ‘almost.’ Or, maybe it’s a story of ‘sometimes.’

I’m not Ernest Hemingway. Never claimed to be. I looked him up, last night, after I passed two line trucks on their way to Quilcene around eleven; I on my way to Bremerton to work; after I got home around 8pm, and Trish, not nearly caught up on emails and Facebook, let me use the laptop. Hemingway, successful writer, wasn’t writing seven hours a day at 67, standing up. He shot himself at the age of 61.

I wanted to text Bob, mention that to him; but Trish told me (info from Facebook) that yesterday was Bob’s birthday; 82, same age as Jack Nicholson (I got that from Bob).

So, happy birthday, Bob.

I’ve pretty much used up my writing time for this morning. At least it wasn’t used hanging on the automated phone-chase or chasing up and down Surf Route 101. I checked our bank account balances; I can check the buoy readings on my phone.

 

 

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