Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Apple Molecules

The apple just sitting there is not really just sitting there.
There are molecules in it that are moving all the
time, although it seems like it's sitting still.
It's called nuclear physics. Or atomic science.
Molecules, atoms, quarks, quantums, other things.


All the time.

It doesn't look like anything's moving.

That's why it's called nuclear physics. Nuclear means
it's too small to see, and physics means things are moving.

And they use binoculars. I mean--

Microscopes. And even the microscope molecules--

You mean one part of the apple moves over to another
part of the apple while you're not looking?

No. It happens while you're looking. It's happening all
the time, whether you're looking or not. You could have
never been born, but it would still be moving, even though
your eyes swear to God that it's sitting completely still.

Does it makes any noise?

If you could hear good enough. A humming, buzzing, depending
on what kind of molecules, the shape of the atoms, what
season, how cold it is, so on. Thing molecules moving through
space produce sound molecules. And they are attracted to
ear molecules.

So, while I'm looking, this part on this side moves over
here, say, and this part that was here moves over there?

No. It moves inside. It moves within itself, in the little
parts of itself.

So, parts don't move where other parts are, but parts
within parts move?


Well, if no part of the apple is being replaced by another
part of the apple as it moves, then what's being moved around?
I mean, don't something bump into one another in there?

No, because there's space. An apple is mostly space.
Just like we're mostly water. When you touch yourself,
I mean in a normal way, and you're not sweating, then you feel
dry, even though you're 95% water. Same with an apple.
Every apple atom, or apple molecule, is mostly space, giving
the electrons room to fly around in. But if you look at it,
it doesn't look like space, because it's squeezed together
by being so small. But it's all happening within, inside.

Inside the peel?

Inside the molecules.

Are there peel molecules?

Yes, in so many words.

Why can't you see the peel molecules moving around?
They're right there on the outside.

But all motion in a peel happens on the inside side
of the peel. Some molecules are more sensitive to the sun.
Plus, peel molecules are pressed together tighter
than the white part of the apple, because of eating
purposes and letting vitamins from the sun filter
into the inside of the apple, and the seeds.

How do they get pressed together?

Gravity, curiosity, time, and how flat the molecules
are when they're first made, and how much air is in them.
Every molecule of anything, if the pressure could be
released, would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb
explosion. That's why it's called atomic bomb. It's
not really the atom bomb exploding, it's only the
atom bomb atoms. The only thing holding anything together
is neutrons and protons huddled together inside in the
middle of atoms while electrons fly around.

And they're not moving, the protons and neutrons?

Yes, but very little. Huddled type moving.

Well, this is terrible. This whole thing is just terrible.

Not really, because everybody's used to it by now.

Well, I'm not.

You never heard of nuclear physics before?

I heard of it. I just thought it was scientists poking
around in things. I didn't know that everything were
moving around all the time like that. I just thought
it was a real bad idea or something.

Well, don't worry about it. Like I say, it's all happening
way inside the apple. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

How far inside? It can't be that far, an apple's not
that big.

It's not that big only in terms of how your mind is trained
to see something as this big or that little.

What do you mean, "my mind is trained"?

Well, not your mind specifically. Children's minds. You
don't want to tell a bunch of children that you could put
your hand right through everything, because it's moving
and full of space, and your hand, too, and electrons hurtling
around, and protons and neutrons huddled in there looking
at the electrons like we look at shooting stars, and everything
could turn around and put its hands right through you, too, and, in
fact, does, is.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Changing the POV in a Novel.

Which is what I'm in the middle of doing
on an earlier novel, Oranges for Magellan.

For the bulk of the novel this guy Joe Magellan
is living on a 10X10 redwood platform
at the top of a sixty-foot flagpole.
He's trying to set a world record
for his own peculiar obsessive reasons.

I originally had it in omniscient third person,
so I could go to other characters on the ground,
including his wife and son who live and work
in an attached café/apartment at the foot of the pole.

But Joe & his story didn't feel close enough in third person.
It's a simple but strange story that needs to be as close
as possible to get.

So, the problem was how to do first person
when the guy is in one spot for a lot of the book,
and much of that time all by himself?
And still include a bunch of other earthbound characters.

I toyed with but didn't care for him being in first person
and the others in third.

I decided to start off with him in first person, before
he goes up, with his family, stay with him in first
when he is up, but go to first person with other
characters below as well.

I just designate (in parentheses) whose chapter it is
at the start of the chapter. I don't change within chapters.

I also have a couple chapters so far
(I'm about a third done changing the whole thing)
that have remained in the original third person omniscient.
I like the mysterious feel I get out of that.
It wasn't mysterious before, but now, contrasted with
the surrounding first person chapters, the omniscience
has a sort of ominous feel it didn't have when the book
was all third person.

The omniscience & steadiness of third person
made the story too remote, but also made the narrative
too unified & smooth. With changing POVs, the divisions
& conflicts between the characters, and between what's happening
at the top of the pole & on earth below, gets an edge
& an emphasis they didn't have before.

I've never liked innovation for innovation's sake,
but this variation I decided on was more a necessity
to boost the intimacy with the characters
the book was crying out for. Joe's being stuck
up there called for the mother of invention.
Though I'm poorly-read, I was aware that variations
of this POV set-up existed, and have been informed
of others. Which is not quite the same as doing it yourself
& by necessity rather than whim.

It feels simple & appealing to me,
once I overcame the
"Oh you cant do that it's not permitted &
people will complain & get confused!"
state of mind. Somebody said,
Don't underestimate the intelligence of your readers.
I have to remember that not all readers are as slow
to catch on as me.

It feels right because it almost changes itself as I go,
because the book has come alive to me on wavelengths
it was half-drowsing in before, and because it's
easier to follow & less jarring or fragmented
than I thought it might be.

I like to make a book easy on the reader to get into,
inviting, accessible, so I was concerned just a tiny little bit
that this arrangement would be like rocks on the path, or
too sudden lefts & rights on the path. But I believe
it's not difficult to go with, and in fact fun, so
those rocks turn into playthings to kick and throw
instead of trip over, and those zigzags become exciting
& enlivening. I'm happy that this change has renewed my
love for the book.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Paragraph a Day Keeps the Boogeyman Away

I put the radio on soft. All the way home I was thinking about things that were happy and lonesome at the same time. The snow fell light and the moon kept turning on and off in the clouds. My animal and my sister snored away beside me, with the heater clanking but working pretty good, and Sam Cooke crooning "You Send Me" on KWDS.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009


I wonder why, so often, when I walk out the door
into the world (except to go to "work" in the garden),
I am unable, or forget, to be the same easy free child
of delight, mystery, and wonder I am when I'm writing.

My music is best understood by children and animals.
- Igor Stravinsky

You cannot write for children. They're much too complicated.
You can only write books that are of interest to them.
- Maurice Sendak

Only child life is real life.
- George Orwell

It takes a long time to become young.
- Pablo Picasso

I don't know who I am or who I was. I know it less
than ever. I do and I don't identify myself with
myself. Everything is totally contradictory but
maybe I have remained exactly as I was as a small
boy of twelve.
- Albert Giacometti

I detest a child that is wise too soon.
- Erasmus

I decided to make a circus just for the fun of it.
- Alexander Calder

Because of my willingness to play on the surface,
the work underneath could then take place.
- Joseph Chilton Pearce

The thing is to become a master and in your old age
to acquire the courage to do what children did when
they knew nothing.
- Henry Miller

A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I remember when I was very young and I saw the circus.
I thought, "How can life be like that? Can you live
that way and always pay attention to the absurd?"
I try to create my art with this in mind.
- Pat Oleszko

Genius is childhood recaptured at will.
- Charles Baudelaire

Some day you will be old enough to start reading
fairy tales again.
- C.S. Lewis

Not to expose your true feelings to an adult seems to be
instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards.
- George Orwell

In the lost childhood of Judas,
Christ was betrayed.
- George William Russell

Childhood decides.
- Jean Paul Sartre

If we do not keep on speaking terms with children,
we cease to be men, and become merely machines for
eating and earning money.
- John Updike

The best way to give advice to your children is to
find out what they want and advise them to do it.
- Harry Truman

That great Cathedral space which was childhood.
- Virginia Woolf

Don't give a child a knife.
- Greek proverb

What can I say to you? I am perhaps the oldest musician
in the world. I am an old man, but in many senses a very
young man. And this is what I want you to be, young, young
all your life, and to say things to the world that are true.
- Pablo Casals

White childhood moving like a sigh
Through the green woods.
- W.H. Auden

(Click on the title of the post to go to the book
these quotes came from.)

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Are You Closer to God than Somebody Else? Closer than EVERYBODY else?

How do you know?
What good does it do you?
Why would you be?
Why should you be?
How could you be?
What did you do to be closer?
What didn't you do?
How do you know?
What good does it do you?
Could you help it?

I relaxed when I realized how often I think I am
closer to God than somebody else
(or maybe even sometimes everybody else)
(and there are many many many many ways to think
I'm closer to God than somebody else,
when I'm thinking like that),

and I let go of thinking I'm closer than you
when I realized that's what I like to do,
(I relaxed just in the realizing)

and in relaxing I gave up the idea of thinking
I could get closer at all, because in thinking I could
get closer, even closer than I was myself
just a minute ago, or last week,
that thinking grows like bricks
in a wall between everything.

And, in seeing all that, and relaxing,
I felt like I had become a little
closer to God than I was before I realized
how often I think I am,
or saw that I had been closer all along,
because I couldn't help myself,
but no closer than you.

(Somebody once went so far to say
you're most closest to God when
you feel you're most farthest
away. Imagine that.)

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