Convergences & Connecticutions – Day 193

After too long away, I finally got a chance to get some work on my novel this morning. I’ve been itching, let me tell you. Irritated even, at not being able to work on it.

But the book is never far from my thoughts. Even when I’m not “writing” I’m considering different angles and story lines and hooks. I think that’s just as important as putting pen to paper, though you don’t get nearly as much credit for it.

I did come up with another literary device today. I’ve been trying to find a way to “hyperlink” passages in the printed book so that readers can go off search for more information. Not literally of course — as you know, you can’t hyperlink real books. I’ve tried various things that didn’t feel right, but I’ve hit upon a system that I think will work. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place!

I had a few convergences this week I wanted to share with you. (Maybe coincidences? Not a strong enough word in these cases…)

First, I downloaded Seth Godin’s free ebook called SXSW Pokes and was surprised to see Tara Benwell in there, a Toronto writer whose blog I’ve been following. I sent her a quick note of congrats this morning, only to learn that she wasn’t even aware her entry was included. Glad to be the messenger on that one!

I also found out her new novel, The Proper Order of Things, is being released through Amazon’s Create Space next week, which I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t email her. The story is inspired by “the true life Connecticut circus fire of 1944”. Another convergence here: my sister lives in Connecticut and has been asking me for my book to bring to her book club. (If you’re reading this, here’s a good selection for you — Canadian and Connecticutican (Connecticusion?) content for you!)

Interestingly, I found out about Rex Pickett’s new book Vertical the week before it was published, and purely by coincidence. And, come to think of it, I also found out about Terry Fallis’s second book, The High Road, just before it was officially published.

Another convergence — crashed out on the couch last night watching Mad Men on Netflix. The episode was called “My Old Kentucky Home”, but it had a very Gatsby-esque feel to the writing, like the writers were purposefully channelling Fitzgerald right down to the big party on Long Island, the Jazz-Age music and dancing, and the mention of mint juleps. (I searched around the ‘Net, and found I wasn’t the only one out there who saw the connections.) Of course, given my own post a couple of days ago and the mention of “home” in the title, I took special meaning to it.

There was one line in particular about a woman who remarried a month after her divorce. Someone asks why she did that (Don’s wife, maybe?), and the other person replies simply, “Why, because she loves him.” That exact line does not appear The Great Gatsby (as far as I can remember — it does seem to me there was a similar exchange though), but it is so jarringly simple and pure that is deliberate Fitzgerald in my estimation,  juxtaposing modern convention with what should be empirical truth. Loved it.

Other convergences? Found out earlier this week that Rex Pickett’s Vertical is not for sale at the Mall of America — not sure if that’s a convergence in itself (since I searched it out — that’s cheating!) but it is an interesting point worth noting. I could have ordered it though, they said…

A rather large convergence has to do with the scene I was writing this morning, though it will sound rather hollow given that I can’t give away too many details here… But the upshot is that during my travels, I came across a name that I’m using for one of my characters. Turns out the namesake has a rather strong connection to Thunder Bay as well, which I didn’t know about until afterward. Works out well for the book though!

Just heard of a new publisher opening up in Thunder Bay: http://www.emmersonstreetpress.com/ It’s always nice to hear of a new imprint opening up, and a new Thunder Bay success story to be — especially since I’ll be looking for a publisher myself soon enough.

Lastly, another big convergence — or coincidence — that happened earlier this month. More work-related than novel, but… I did a search for strongwebsites.com, a domain name I’ve been searching out for the website design-side of my day job, and happened to find out it was expired the day before it was coming back on the market. Managed to scoop it within an hour of its release. Thought that was cool (though I won’t be able to do anything with it for a while — too many other websites in production ahead of that one…)

Not sure what all these convergences — or coincidences — mean. But I’m going to take them all as good signs, and run with it.

Until tomorrow…

~Graham

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5 Responses to Convergences & Connecticutions – Day 193

  1. Tara Benwell says:

    Connecticutions! I have a hard enough time spelling Connecticut! Thanks for the mention, Graham. I actually read another post today about “signs from the universe”: http://www.lifeaftercollege.org/blog/2011/03/07/sxsw-stolen-goods-signs/
    I wouldn’t have found it if I wasn’t busy making a twitter list of the 50 people featured in Seth’s ebook. I guess I should dedicate the list to you! Thanks again. I wonder how many others don’t know they were featured in the book. Tara Benwell SXSW Pokers

  2. Graham Strong says:

    lol – yes, Connecticutions is a mouthful. I’m still in the honeymoon period, but I believe it might be one of my most favourite words I ever made up…

    Thanks for the link and the list — I’ll have to check those out! (BTW, the list link wasn’t working — I think the exclamation point was tripping it up — so I redid it with your TinyURL to fix the link…)

    ~Graham

  3. Graham Strong says:

    P.S. – just read the Life After College blog post — are you that “Tara” she mentions? (I’m assuming no — another convergence?)

    ~Graham

  4. Steve Hall says:

    Graham, if I understand what you mean by “hyperlinks” within your book, you might take a look at Far from the Madding Gerund, by two of the Language Log writers, Geoff Pullum and Mark Liberman.

    In this collection of articles from the Language Log blog, they do considerable internal linking (as you would expect from a blog), and the way they expanded each of those links within the book was excellent.

  5. Graham Strong says:

    Hi Steve,

    I played with things like endnotes and footnotes to explain certain concepts. Not that they needed explaining, really, but just to sort of “add value” to the text, for mostly entertainment value.

    Like when I took English in university, the prof would explain a poem and have to explain all the references and allusions, mostly because they were so old. What I wanted to do (in a playful way) was find a way to explain those allusions within the book itself. Except that today, things change so quickly, so I wanted the references to be “refreshed” somehow over time.

    You can’t do that in print obviously, but you can do that via the Internet. If this were an ebook, you could simply link it to a web page somewhere. But how do you “link” the printed book to the Internet, without printing out all those links in the book?

    That was the question I was trying to solve. It had to be relatively easy to use, but unobtrusive to the text. I think I found a solution…

    Thanks for the link — I checked out the blog and I’m surprised I’ve never come across this site before. I’ve read several word- and grammar-related blogs before — I’m one of those 0.00003% in the world that gets excited about grammar debates. Bookmarked!

    ~Graham

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