News for the New Year

Since I began posting here at Uncle Bardie’s Stories & Such, I have posted more than once a week. In the past year, it’s been three times a week. Beginning tomorrow, January 1, I will cut down to once a week.

Why am I cutting back? It is not for lack of material. I have material up the wahzoo. And no, that is not a river in Florida. It is the lack of time. I have a forty-hour a week day job. I usually spend an hour or two a day six days a week writing.

The reason for cutting back: I am editing an 80,000-word novel, Adam at the Window.  I hope to have it ready to send out to an agent by the end of 2023. I am using the editing process I posted in And Now What: My Editing Process.

Adam at the Window is the story of what happens to the Janssam family when the father does not return home from World War II. It is loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey. Adam, my main character and the youngest son, is the Telemachus figure. He is a talented young artist who finds he can’t paint. In order to become the artist he was meant to be, he has to find out what happened to his father. First, he tries to run away to Paris. But Paris is not the answer.

Over the years, I have written six or seven novels, using the National Novel Writing. This is the first one I feel confident enough to want to publish. It is a story that is, in some ways, autobiographical. So there are some personal issues I have in common with the Main Character. How can a child come to terms with the abandonment by a parent?

Because I am a Virgo, I am a bit of a perfectionist. Perfectionism is the road to shooting myself in the foot.. Nothing gets completed. So I have learned when to stop. Unlike James Joyce, I am not up to putting a comma in a sentence, then taking it out again and again. Once I take out a comma, I don’t put it back in. I try to find another place to put the darn thing in. Just kidding. But sometimes it feels like that.

Some parts of my novel are ready for the Show. I want the completed novel to be all dressed up in its Sunday best. I want it to be something I can be proud of when I send it out. But it won’t be perfect.

Creating a novel is as much an odyssey the novelist must make as it was for Odysseus to get back home. But it shouldn’t take me twenty years.Three, four, five years maybe, but not twenty.

So here’s to wishing all of you a very Happy New Year. And may God’s blessings be with ye.


Five for Friday: The Many Moods of Winter

Gloomy Winter’s Noo Away by Dougie  Maclean

The Original Frosty the Snowman

Footprints in the Snow by Emerson Lake & Palmer

Song for a Winter’s Night by Gordon Lightfoot

Steven Speilberg does it agan

Instead of Kansas, Steven Spielberg gives us New Jersey in his latest film, The Fabelmans. Instead of Dorothy, he gives us Sammy Fabelman. Instead of Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, he gives us Burt and Mitzi Fabelman. And there’s a Wizard in the movie too. That’s Uncle Bennie. Instead of a tornado, it’s a train wreck that will transport Sammy to Oz. And not just any train wreck. It’s the circus train wreck in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth. And it won’t be the Yellow Brick Road that will get young Sammy to Hollywood, but making home movies.

It’s 1952, and Burt and Mitzi Fabelman are trying to convince young Sammy that he’s going to love The Greatest Show on Earth. When he sees the train wreck on the big screen, he is hypnotized. Not by the movie or the train, but by the train wreck. He’s got to see that again.

When his father gives Sammy a toy train for Hanukkah, Sammy wrecks it the way they did in the movie. The train isn’t wrecked but his father tells him he needs to be more responsible.

Now we know that when a parent tells a kid in a movie to be more responsible, there’s going to be trouble. And sure enough Sammy sneaks around and does it again. Only this time, his villainy is aided by his mother. Mitzi Fabelman has turned into Glenda the Good Witch. Instead of a pair of red slippers, Mitzi gives the hero of this tale a camera. “If you film the train wreck, you can see it over and over again.”

And that is how Steven Spielberg begins his autobiographical film. Movie making is Sammy’s Yellow Brick Road to the Oz of the 20th Century and those childhood fantasies of wonder, JawsClose Encounters of the Tihird Kind,  E.T., Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

But things aren’t all peaches and cream in the Family Fabelman. It’s like Professor Harold Hill sang in The Music Man. “There’s trouble right here in River City.” But the one thing that keeps Sammy going is making movies. It’s something that will lead him straight to a legendary filmmaker’s office.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed The Fabelmans. Enough to see it twice. And want to see it again. It reminds me of why I love movies the way Cinema Paradise did. When we can stream whatever movie or tv series we want, there is something that is missing for me. And that’s the WOW experience. The kind of experience I got when I first saw No Time for SergeantsBen HurPsychoIt’s a Mad Mad Mad World, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and The Color Purple, and so many others on the big screen in movie theaters.

The Fabelmans gave me that rare experience.

Five for Friday: Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas by the McKenzie Brothers

Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey

Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson

O Holy Night by Nat King Cole