Sunday, January 25, 2015

Terrifying Astronomy, Writing is Re-Writing, A Trip to the Zoo

For reasons I can only dimly recall, this week Mr. Typist and I decided it would be a great idea to watch the Nova documentary, “The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or Multiverse?", smack in the middle of the day like it was a common talk show or something. It was all about the theory of an exponentially expanding universe. There were a lot of pretty-colored orbs flying at me hypnotically, incomprehensible animated math wriggling across the screen, and terribly-performed re-enactments of physicists in oversized glasses being nerd-bitchy to each other. Mr. Typist assured me it was “geared towards layman” and that I’d have a clear understanding of…whatever after watching it. But I do not have a clear understanding, and I'm very upset now. I have no idea what's going on. I didn’t understand their wriggly animated math, but apparently we’re just flying apart. I'm panicked at the idea of non-stop expansion. I can barely handle my own life, and now I'm part of some weird anomalous particle field speeding untethered through the space/time continuum? I am so not down with that.

Mr. Typist has this recurring condition he calls “insignifi-phobia” which is invoked in him whenever he spends too much time contemplating the vastness of the universe. It’s a sort of overwhelming existential crisis in which the tininess and irrelevance of his being in the scope of the galaxy is brought home to bear in no uncertain terms. I already spend too much time obsessing over things I can’t control, so I try not to add the size of the universe to that list. But I have to say, I now understand exactly how he feels. Thanks for nothing, Nova!

This weekend, I spent some time tinkering around with my dud novel character, Lye, trying to spice him up a little. It was an interesting experiment. I have been agonizing over that character ever since I started the re-write. I found myself simply unable to do the “right” thing and hammer out a character study for him. The only way I was able to work with him was to actually re-write each of his dialogue scenes verbatim. I realized in this process that I truly am a “seat-of-the-pants” writer. I have a very hard time planning. My writing happens during the writing; I’m just not able to do it any other way. I will never be someone who can create and write from an elaborate outline, and I’ve come to peace with that. At any rate, Lye has a more definitive personality now. Not perhaps a more tolerable one, but a more definitive one.

Today, Mr. Typist and I, in an attempt to escape our mutual insignifi-phobia, took a spontaneous trip to the Point Defiance Zoo!  After I got over my initial shock that there were children there, at the zoo, on a Sunday, I started to enjoy myself. I was especially excited to encounter Gibbon monkeys, which I’ve had a special affinity for since writing “The Gibbon Remedy”. I saw breathtaking Bengal tigers, two pure white arctic foxes (I also have an affinity for white animals, which show up often in my dreams), hypnotic jellyfish, and a motley assortment of other critters, all in various stages of boredom or ennui, because, you know, they're in a zoo. Pics are below. I’m off to bathe, as I smell like a zoo.

--Kristen McHenry

Jelly Jelly!

Hello, Handsome

Bored Yak is Bored

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