Adventures in time and imagination

time and imagination

I watched the series finale of Jessica Jones the other day, and it was as satisfying as any series finale I’ve ever seen. After three seasons of angst and despair, our hero had come to terms with her demons and was ready to take on the world. It would be nice to see what happens next, but that might be redundant: The story of her triumph over those demons was complete.

A day later in another venue (my car versus my living room), I finished listening to the audiobook of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. After 135 chapters and an epilogue, Ishmael’s journey also was complete. And in a third venue (my favorite blue chair by the window), I am slightly more than halfway through a book called Fractured Stars by Lindsay Buroker.

The three experiences are similar, in terms of an investment of time.

Jessica Jones: Season 3 was 12-13 hours long. Moby-Dick was about 21 hours. Fractured Stars is shorter, but will still have taken quite a few hours by the time I finish it.

Binge-watching, in other words, is starting to infringe on time that in a previous lifetime might have been spent with a good novel. Now that we’re able to view it all at once if we wish, one season of a TV show takes about as much time to digest as the average novel.

This is where I might go on a rant about how much healthier it is to read a good book, but I’m not in any mood to spit into the wind today. And frankly, Jessica Jones was as satisfying a story as many of my favorite novels, so I’m not going there either. I’m just pointing out the similar time investment.

I will say this: I feel a lot closer to Mr. Melville and Ms. Buroker for experiencing their books than I do to Melissa Rosenberg, the show runner for Jessica Jones. The novel writers shared their personal vision in their own words, opening up the sea and outer space inside my head behind my eyes. Rosenberg led a group of hundreds of collaborators and showed me a story that may have started as her personal vision but was refined through the contributions of actors, cinematographers, and a whole slew of other people adding their seasoning to the mix. One way brings a story inside my head, another way sets the story before my eyes.

Both are valid ways to tell a story; one is a lot simpler than the other but demands a greater personal investment from me, not in terms of time but in imagination. I have been to sea on the Pequod and to unknown worlds with the Star Surfer – not as literally as I have been in the office of Alias Investigations, but in some ways more vividly because I had to help create them myself.

I had way too much fun watching Jessica Jones’ journey to criticize that experience. I just hope people always understand the power of words to do the work that otherwise require hundreds of collaborators. Reading is a miraculous experience and worth the endeavor. Never let it go.

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What a Little Mermaid looks like

A happy girl in a mermaid costume lies in the water among the stones on the beach and looks at the mermaid tail. Portrait. Vertical orientation

In my first book, The Imaginary Bomb, I wrote that what the characters looked like was up to you, the reader:

As long as this is a story about the power of imagination, I’m letting you decide what color Bob and Pete’s hair and eyes are, or how tall they are, or the shape of their chins. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for the movie — and even then it’ll be the casting director’s opinion of what these guys should look like.

I thought about that passage as I read some of the reactions to the announcement that Halle Bailey has been cast to play the part of Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of the animated film The Little Mermaid. Continue reading “What a Little Mermaid looks like”

Of course you can

doubtful dejah

Of course you can.

Did somebody just say it couldn’t be done?

Or worse, did somebody just say you couldn’t do it – it’s beyond your capabilities or something you shouldn’t be doing, maybe when you have more experience or you’re older or something?

People always have reasons why you can’t do something.

But of course you can. Those other people aren’t inside you. They can’t know what you’re capable of. They can’t know how much it means for you to do this. They can’t know because they literally are not you.

Of course you can. You know what it takes, or if not, you know how to find out. And you want this enough to do the research, get started and do the work.

So all those voices who say you can’t do it – especially that tiny little voice inside yourself that wonders if everyone else is right?

Ignore them.

Of course you can.

So go get started.

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P.S. A Bridge at Crossroads is now on sale. Buy the ebook or Buy the paperback and get the ebook free.

My next book is out

bridge crop

A Bridge at Crossroads

When you are sad – for there will come a time when you are sad – remember a time you were so happy you wished this moment would last forever – because it does last forever as long as you remember.

When you are afraid – for there will come a time when you are afraid – remember a time when you felt so safe and comfortable you knew nothing could shake your world. Continue reading “My next book is out”

Which 30 books would you keep?

Vintage library with shelves of old books.

There was quite a stir earlier this year when the demons of social media got hold of Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up and now the host of a Netflix series. She was quoted as saying that nobody needs to own more than 30 books.

To book lovers like me, such a statement is madness. And, in fact, if you dig a little deeper, you find that what Kondo actually said is that her personal preference is to have no more than 30 books – in part because books deteriorate more quickly in the humid air of Japan – but she is not about imposing her personal preference on other people. Continue reading “Which 30 books would you keep?”

Trust the wild flower

little pink flowers

Years ago, when all we had was three acres of canvas and long before we built our home in 2012, I wanted to have wildflowers, so I bought an $8 box of seed that promised to cover 100 square feet with wildflowers, dug a 10 by 10 foot square in the field and scattered the box’s contents.

For the rest of that summer, the square of dirt mostly remained a hapless square of dirt, with a handful of scraggly plants that did not cover 100 square feet with much of anything. It was not a success by any means. Continue reading “Trust the wild flower”

On seeing

on seeing

Sitting with a vast vista of water in front of me and looking at Facebook. As an article loaded, I looked up and saw. What was I thinking? Powering down now.

(Facebook post of June 24, 2013.)