Editor’s Note

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 16 May.

I spoke with Nikki about this over the phone. She loved the idea of Schuler hallucinating about the real enemy far before it actually shows up on the Homeland’s doorstep. She says that Schuler, while homeless, should have one prized posession – a battery operated radio. That first day, after the TV and radio signals went away, when the cities were getting hit, Schuler was scanning the dial, just like Jason was, and “got lucky”. He picked up Diane’s broadcast.

He would obsessively tune into it, listening to all of the rebroadcasts. He’d learn about the meteors that had wiped out (or very nearly so) the major cities all over the world. He would learn about the Locusts, and what survivors were learning about them as they fought back. He would learn about how cunning and nearly insurmountable of an enemy they were, and their seeming need to wipe out humanity. Here was an enemy worse than the VC! Here was an enemy worth fighting!

Editor’s Note

I’ve decided to split up my Writing Journal entries into two parts. Part the first, where I write about my own writing thoughts, will still be called Writing Journal. Part the second, where I react to something that Nikki has brought up as an issue in my writing, will be called Editor’s Note.

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 13 May

If a scouting party is easily defeated, or, I guess, defeated at all by Schuler alone, it’s not much of a threat. Even if he had the help of a hastily-assembled crack commando team, civilians would dismiss the threat as defeatable – nothing to worry about. After all, if they can be defeated once, they can be defeated again. There would be no cause to rally together as a community, no “Them” to define an “Us” against.  Okay, if the “Them” isn’t the Locusts, who could it be?

Reality shifting is a possibility. It’s come up a great deal in the first two chapters. Could Schuler – the entire Homeland – be formed by the fever dreams of a drunk, homeless Vietnam veteran?

If Schuler is a way to express teenage angst about father figures (don’t ask), it’s important to consider who he is to be now, because changing how he came about will change who he is at a fundamental level. His motivations will change. Perhaps his reactions will change as well.

If Schuler modified reality, there would be plenty of justified paranoia. A threat would lurk around every corner, just waiting to strike. People would be being followed by lurkers in bushes, behind corners, on rooftops. Lives would constantly be in danger; the civilians would need to be protected at all costs. Only with his demented fantasy made flesh, given reality, will Schuler be able to regain his agency and interact with the world around him constructively.

Who should the enemy be? Viet Cong? Urban gangs? Corrupted military pencil-pushers and those who were gullible enough to be led by them? Could the Locusts figure in? Could he hallucinate about the real, actual enemy? How would that work?

Editor’s Note

I’ve decided to split up my Writing Journal entries into two parts. Part the first, where I write about my own writing thoughts, will still be called Writing Journal. Part the second, where I react to something that Nikki has brought up as an issue in my writing, will be called Editor’s Note.

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 04 May.

In Chapter 3, shortly after the caravan of survivors battles its way through the advancing line of Locusts, they stumble on the Homeland. Nikki raised the point that since we had shortened the timeline, she wasn’t sure if they now had enough time to be as organized as they are written to be.

I went back through it, skimming for the battle and the Homeland. I was relieved to find that I at least had it in the right order. The Caravan wanders into the Homeland directly after the battle, which means that the line of Locusts had been through only hours before. My first read through had me thinking it was fine. The barricade was hastily constructed, Schuler was just setting up his command and control in the TV shop, so they hadn’t had much time to put together any sort of infrastructure. They were just using what still existed from before.

Right?

For everything to still be functional, the Locusts can’t have made it inside. For the Locusts not to have made it inside, several things need to happen. There have to be borders to be guarded and patrolled. That means that in the week since the meteors landed, the Homeland must have come together as a like-minded community, in reaction to some outside force. Even then, to have enough defenders gathered to keep the locusts entirely at bay is a tall order.

Schuler has to have his wake-up call. Before, his wartime experiences burst through the years of alcoholism, depression, and homelessness when the Locusts attacked the suburb he was wandering through. He can’t have rallied and protected the Homeland in the hour since the wave went through. Even saying that an advance scouting party of Locusts had come through and triggered Schuler feels half-ass, and unlikely to produce the desired result.

Talking to Myself

  • Don’t gorge on carbohydrate-heavy food. You will be depressed a half hour later. Rice, noodles, bread, whatever. You’re just going to make the people around you suffer, not to mention how you’ll feel. You’ve tested this, seen that it’s true, now stop.
  • Do not ignore that you have seen both Gil and Ani in person this week.
  • Stop panicking about school administrative drama. Either the school will be open or it won’t. You will do what needs to be done for your children if and when something happens. It wouldn’t hurt to take a look at options, though.
  • Editing sucks, but it doesn’t have to take the joy out of writing. Don’t let it. Embrace the story.
  • Like the Bloggess says, depression lies. Don’t listen to it.

My Summer Vacation

Two years ago, I was able to get away from Lansing and take my family to a house in Caseville, MI on Lake Huron. It was amazing, it was relaxing, and it was just what I needed. I wrote two posts about it:

Last month, we had the opportunity to go back to this amazing little beach house – Better at the Beach. It was just as perfect. Well, almost. The polar vortex was going to drive summer temperatures down for just two days that week – the days we would be vacationing. We couldn’t swim, we couldn’t have bonfires at night, but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

Dad had procured a growler of locally brewed beer from Thumb Brewery; I’m told it was delicious. My brother and his fiancee arrived, and flew a training kite for kite surfing to the cheers of the kids inside. Steve and Jo of Pumpkinfest fame came by with good food and great company.

The next day, the wind had died down enough for the kids to fly the kites Dad had gotten them. I don’t need to mention how jealous I was of Aidan’s kite (above), but I didn’t need to, because he shared. When it came time for the kids to have quiet time, Nikki, Killian, and I were kicked out of the house to do some shopping, just like two years earlier.

This year, we toured more places than last. Cottage Outfitters had an extensive selection of things made in Michigan and in Caseville. The upstairs was a gallery of restored, found, and modified furniture. Nikki very nearly picked up a beautiful small table made of woven branches, but it was not to be.

We’d stopped by Caseville Gifts & Books two years earlier, and had picked up some treasures from their enormous selection of used books. We snagged even more this year, along with some for the kids. Killian bought the first Caramon and Raistlin trilogy from the old Dragonlance books, and finished it in a few days. Geek points!

Of course, we couldn’t miss Brew Moon. Because coffee. And macaroons. And no-bake cookies. And coffee.

When it was time to go, we swung by Lefty’s Diner & Drive-In for lunch. This place is FUN. The foot-long coney dog gave me pause, and the jalapeno burger made Killian sweat. If I remember correctly, breakfast there two years earlier had been just as fun.

If you get a chance to go, I recommend it. So do my kids!

More photographic evidence here.