For some reason I expected my proofs to be perfect, which might be why I didn’t look at them until tonight, the day before they wanted them back. Might have been because I hold this magazine in such high regard (they did pick ME, after all), or because when I first clicked on it the font was the same as the draft I had sent them and thus I had intuited more of a copy-and-paste procedure than a complete retyping into HTML.
But there were a few things to be fixed, two my errors (including the over-embarrassing double “the,” which had been split between two lines in the draft I’d been sending out, I fucking hate that), and a couple theirs.
While I’ve been waiting on that train to come in, another screenplay was completed in first-draft form, which to me always feels like the final draft until somebody smart points out something I didn’t see, or asks the right question, and after even a single legitimate challenge of this nature an entire rewrite is usually necessary, if only to make sure the new or altered portion is properly foreshadowed, or the new idea filters through to the end, or a deleted idea is completely wiped off the entire landscape. At least this is how it works in story writing. But since this is a more collaborative project, given that I do want this one to actually get on film, I’m way open to how the other people involved see the project, which means if they only think it needs minor tweaking before its ready, well then I won’t worry about napalming it to its core, and we can just roll with the thing. I’m only here until July.
Opening day, today, I got to go see my Reds shut out the Marlins, a two-hour drive away from me. The whole car ride was a Q-bert pyramid of small talk topics, given that I don’t really know the person I went with very well, and I’m no good at conversation, so I would hop to this topic, then to that one, none of them deeper or more interesting than the rest. In the downtime between, while I dreamed up the next one-minute interaction, I stared out the window at the frustrating landscape of Ohio, its factory farms, its well-funded churches (and church billboards), its discount motel chains, its off-ramp gas stations, its never-ending bridge construction projects, and behind it all, the bustling, teaming throngs of lower-class people trying to drive faster, work harder, get higher, or otherwise escape the sensation of time passing.
I guess, though, that if Ohio inspires its citizens to strive to forget the duration of anything, that would make it a good place to write. If you buy into the Alan Shapiro mode of Why I Write. Which I do. Not for fame or publication or the respect of others, not for money or a feeling of self-worth or self-esteem, not for the sake of discovery or innovation, I write instead because when that level of concentration reaches its peak, I disappear from this world, I poof away into another dimension, I am gone, and time can’t touch me.
Not that this benefit of living in Ohio, the added motivation to forget myself, will ever come to my mind as a benefit during regular musings out a car window. Instead I was missing Texas, or rather missing living in Texas in a town where I didn’t have to ride in a car, hardly ever, if I didn’t want to. Because the highway landscape of Texas offers me not much more hope for humanity or this country in particular than Ohio does, with its cattle farms and oil derricks and dusty flora and fences, but at least it didn’t make me drive very much. Riding a bike down any road is completely different from driving. The pace affords you the chance to see the stuff that is not completely depressing. Sometimes a deer family, just strolling around. A pleasant discord to the way we like to pretend the world is what we make of it. A deer on a sidewalk. Deer on a front porch. Incongruous, like a 1967 Pontiac GTO Turbo with the front disc brakes swapped out from a ‘71 Cutlass parked in the middle of a river of molten lava.
To me there is something very satisfying in the idea that all this effort for perfection in design, architecture, ergonomics, is ultimately futile. A deer can’t ring a doorbell, after all, so in the grand scheme of things, what good is it?
The doorbell, I mean. I’m working under the assumption that deer are not, in and of themselves, worthless. But I guess I can’t rule that out, either.