Thursday, April 19, 2012

Just A-Wanderin'

Facing all the books I want to read that are in stacks in my room, I decided that I will not be on the computer if I absolutely do not need to be, and I have stuck to that for the past week. Because of that, I was able to write two DVD reviews yesterday instead of one:

I, Claudius: 35th Anniversary Edition

The Getting of Wisdom

The Getting of Wisdom was posted this morning. The only DVD I have right now to review is the new Titanic miniseries by Julian Fellowes, lately famous for Downton Abbey, which I've not seen yet, though inevitably I will, just not as quickly as others seem to have flocked to it. I know class distinctions were commonplace in that time period, but I'm never fond of people looking down on others. Of course, I could be completely wrong about Downton Abbey in that respect, but still I'll wait. With the books I have going, including my own, as well as the few things I watch on TV such as Jeopardy!, The Big Bang Theory, and occasional episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, it might be nicer to watch Downton Abbey after we've moved to Henderson. Something to check out of my new local library, whichever one it might be, on a weekend.

I originally Tivo'd the Titanic miniseries, but when I learned that it was available for review (though in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack that only has the audio commentary for the first episode on the DVD, which is fine with me because it's less to do), I grabbed it because now I won't have to fast-forward through commercials! I get it all right away.

My decision not to spend so much time on the computer came at just the right moment. The Garden of Happy Endings by Barbara O'Neal was released on Tuesday, and I received my copy today, along with The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. My love of O'Neal's The Secret of Everything, which continues to motivate my intent to travel throughout New Mexico in the years to come, spurs me on to read The Garden of Happy Endings at first, and then I'll read The Presidents Club not only to learn of the relationships between sitting presidents and former presidents (such as Truman and Hoover, which starts off the book), but as research of my own since one of the presidential history books I want to write involves former presidents, though not how Gibbs and Duffy have done it. That they've hit upon this topic shows that I need to get moving on my own because someone else is bound to think of my idea soon enough. I want to write this particular book.

Last night, I wrote what may be the beginning of my novel about the artist with an unusual interest. I'm still not sure what this artist wants, what the reason would be to write this novel. I'm not giving up, though, because I want to follow this guy, to learn about his approach to art, what he gets out of it, what he hopes his art will do for others. I don't see him as the sort who thrives in big cities, who wants their art in as many galleries as possible. He's passionate about what he does, but he's not in constant pursuit of glory. That's all I know so far. I would like to include a few of my favorite places in Southern California as a thank you for helping me keep my sanity during these eight years. I'm not sure if these will be direct tributes or pieces of the places included in other places this guy goes to. I do know that I don't want to use Las Vegas for this novel. First, I'll be spending my time after I arrive exploring every single inch of that valley and ransacking the Nevada history sections. Second, I want to write a book about a certain aspect of Las Vegas history, and would rather keep the novel separate. And third, as I've found out living in the Santa Clarita Valley, it's more of a challenge to create if there's nothing inspiring around you. However, this guy finds inspiration often because he looks where most don't, even if there's nothing remarkable around him. This novel should be about him, not always the city that surrounds him.

Even as I spend less time on the computer and more time reading, I want to listen to more chill music, more than I hear on the XM Radio in our house. I want to listen to more Schubert, more Gershwin, and I want to explore bluegrass music. I've always been curious about it, I've heard a bit on The Bluegrass Mix, but it's not enough. I want to learn its history, the pioneers of it, what it had back then that it retains today and what's different today. I think it stems from the soundtrack I heard waiting in line at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World all those years, and, of course, O Brother Where Art Thou?. I know bluegrass music is more than just that revival, and I want to know. That would involve spending more time on the computer in order to learn. Well then, I'll just keep a book with me if I have nothing to do on the computer and just want to listen.

Once I figure out where I want to go with this novel, then there's all the music I want again. It may even inform my writing.

For now, I've got nothing else to do on here, and The Garden of Happy Endings is sitting on the dining room table. That's not where it should be. I've got reading to do!


  1. I love Downton Abbey. The class distinctions don't upset me. They are and were just a part of life. I particularly enjoy the way the classes are mixing more as the series progresses. The show is a lovely window into history.


  2. The classes mixing makes me look forward to seeing it. And when I do, I'll keep that in mind so I don't get so annoyed at the class distinctions.