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January 19, 2021:

FINISHING THE BOOK 21

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I have finished writing my twenty-first book. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, I, BK, have finished my twenty-first book. I still have to futz and finesse the final ten pages, and I’m sure there will be a lot of that, as there has been for all the pages in this book, but it’s done. It’s fiction, which is all you’re gettin’ out of me, baby. I wrote its final sentence around four o’clock. Of course, Muse Margaret still needs the final seventy pages of the book and she’ll either get those on Wednesday or Thursday. That was the big news of yesterday. Otherwise, I have been listening to music and I finished Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin, which I really enjoyed, and I do love Mirella Freni, who was on this recording conducted by James Levine.  The sound was very good, too. And now I’m listening to Bernard Herrmann’s opera of Wuthering Heights, the live French recording (in English). I was hard on this when it came out in 2010. I’d just listened to Herrmann’s own recording of it and that’s what was in my head. But the fact is, Herrmann’s recording is not well recorded, and it’s horribly mastered at a low level and not from first generation tapes. It’s muddy sounding and on top of that the singers are simply not up to the demands of the opera. When I heard this newer recording, I just thought it wasn’t great, but ten years later and having heard the Herrmann recording, I’m actually really liking this a whole lot. First off, it sounds so much better than the Herrmann CD. Second off, the singers are better. So, I don’t really know what my problem was ten years ago, but I’m really quite happy with it and probably prefer it to Herrmann’s own. I’d highly recommend it except you won’t be able to find it. It disappeared almost immediately and if copies show up, they tend to go for a lot of dough. Amazon has no copies for sale at all. eBay has no copies for sale.

Yesterday was a fine day, mostly because I finished a book. I only got six hours of sleep and was up at eleven. I answered e-mails and did a few things, then at noon o’clock I began futzing and finessing the previous day’s seventeen pages. I spent a whopping two hours doing that – additions, subtractions, smoothing, moving things around – and I think I helped everything that needed help. I then wrote one new page.

I went to the mail place and picked up one package. It was a mail holiday, and yet the usual Amazon returns idiots were there causing a line out the door – it’s sooooo tiresome. Then I came right home and made two count them two tuna sandwiches on onion bagels and ate them both and both were very good. And then I began writing and wrote straight through to the end. I know I’ll want to futz and finesse the final two paragraphs, but the idea of them is right. I celebrated with a bagel and cream cheese. I was actually pretty exhausted. At this point in time, the manuscript is 270 pages, but that may go up by a page or two when I finish futzing and finessing.

After that, I listened to Eugen Onegin, after which I watched a motion picture on Amazon Prime entitled The Vast of Night, a sci-fi film that takes place in the late 1950s. This got excellent reviews from everyone, but the kind you discount immediately, or at least I do. The minute anyone calls a first-time feature director “visionary” I know that critic is an idiot. But that’s the cliché, I’m afraid. So many visionary filmmakers who make ordinary films. Where was I? Oh, yes, and the other critic who called the performances of the two young leads “iconic.” Um, no. The film was shot in 2016, didn’t play any festivals until 2019 and then was picked up by Amazon in 2020. No film should have to wait four YEARS to see a release, but that seems to be the new normal. Anyway, it’s a weird little film. The director is a little too cutesy for my taste, with the faux Twilight Zone opening, as if we were watching a faux Twilight Zone episode (called Paradox Theater) right down to the Rod Serling impression). Sierra Crocker is very good in her role and Jake Horowitz is very good in his. The other actors are all fine. It doesn’t add up to much – a UFO story set in New Mexico. The high school is called Cayuga High – another winky-winky nod to Rod Serling, whose production company was named Cayuga. Several sequences are well-directed and there’s nice atmosphere and at 89-minutes it certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. And it looks very good and is very impressively done on a $700,000 budget. It’s free on Amazon Prime.

After that, I had a good conversation about project two and that’s now progressing apace. I’m hoping we can have a casting session for it in the next couple of weeks. I had an egg and cheese tortilla thing, began listening to Wuthering Heights, and relaxed. The rest you know.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll futz and finesse, then implement the few little things for Muse Margaret that I hadn’t gotten around to, and I have a few adjustments I need to make in some early chapters, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll have a celebratory meal that’s fun and then it’s back on the diet, and then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow will finally be the beginning of real light and sanity and I hope we’re all looking forward to that. I’ll print out pages and Xerox pages and get them to Muse Margaret and if she’s okay with them, then we’ll start the editing process, and I’m hoping to see the first cut of project one on Friday. We’ve figured out when it’s going to air – not an exact day, but the week, and that will be in February. We were trying for the final few days of January, but I think that’s rushing it in terms of publicizing and getting the word out. I’m hoping all dear readers will watch it. It is not going to be available for more than a week or two, so I want everyone to be able to see it, especially if it’s only a week.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, futz and finesse, implement, adjust, hopefully pick up packages, have a celebratory meal, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite Bernard Herrmann scores? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have the twenty-first finishing the book moment.

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