Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Photo Prompts

For my writing workshop today, we were assigned to bring in photo prompts for some free writing.  I have a folder on my phone of a couple hundred photos I use as prompts for drawing and painting.  These are images I don't know that much about, but I thought they looked cool.  I can write about that.  

Then I started thinking about maybe photographs where I do know the backstory.  Maybe those would be an even better writing prompt.  I chose two; one is of Bob Addams in front of the observatory.   I honestly could write an entire book about the observatory and the things that went on there, but if I did, there are people who wouldn't speak to me afterward.   Lately, though, I've been thinking it might be shocking if their children found out their parents did these things, so I shouldn't write about that, but their grandchildren will soon be old enough to think it was pretty cool.   I also really love Bob Addams.  

The other is a fairly famous picture of Ed King at the Woolworth sit-ins.  I picked that because I was born a month later.  Less than two years later, some thugs would run Rev. King off the road and forever change his face.  I never knew him before the accident.  He was quite handsome.  I don't remember a time when Ed King wasn't around somewhere.  He didn't rest after the sixties.  He stayed involved in everything, particularly everything I was involved in.  When I was an undergraduate, I'd see Ed show up at Millsaps, and I knew somebody was going to get a dressing down.  He didn't make many social calls, but when he felt like there was something going on, he addressed it.  A lot of guys from the Civil Rights Era were punished for it in the 70s and 80s.  Mississippi wanted very much to separate itself from its racist past, but Ed King was made chaplain of the University Medical Center, the biggest gem in the Mississippi higher education system.  I'm not really privy to how that decision was made, but it sent a very clear message.  

If my free writing is any good, I'll post it here.  I can produce words like mini muffins as long as I can type, but they're not all worth reading.  

Saturday, July 15, 2023

The Quiet Crisis

Every coeducational college in the world secretly has a problem with rape.  They do a much better job now of educating the community about the problem, and that makes a considerable improvement, but it still happens.

It happens because you have a population of young people who are almost all away from home for the first time in their lives and living with almost no supervision for the first time in their lives.  Add to that lots of people using drugs and alcohol (sometimes for the first time) and lots of small enclosed spaces where couples can be alone, and it's a tinderbox.

There's also a problem in that sexual experiences can become social currency.  It's worse for boys, but girls do it too.  There also becomes a pretty serious problem where the accused is very popular, and the accuser is not.   That by itself can lead to serious problems with achieving a just outcome.

Even now, most rapes go unreported.  Girls blame themselves or don't want their private lives exposed, or for any number of other reasons, they choose to swallow this trauma rather than deal with it.  

George Harmon had an unwritten rule that if you were accused, you were gone.  It didn't matter if the boy was legally charged or convicted; he considered them a liability and didn't want them around.  If he considered a student to be a threat to the institution, he could be ruthless at getting rid of them.  Sometimes, the accused's lawyer would force his hand, and the school had to accept back a student who was accused but not charged or convicted.  

Another reason he wanted these people out of the community was that if somebody is accused of rape and then returns, there's a pretty good chance that somebody is going to take the girl's side and take a poke at the guy's chin.  That actually happened once.  I had to break it up.  

I'm thinking, more and more, that this sort of event might be the climax of my book.  I cover a lot of these issues, particularly that of the accused being very popular and the accuser being very unpopular.  I can write that kind of action pretty well, I think.  A fight can be an exciting thing to read.  It might also give the reader some sense that justice was served, even if it's really hard to tell if it actually was or wasn't.

Donna Tartt's first book dealt with a murder on campus.  Mine has a crime too, but considerably less dramatic.  I'm hoping that makes it feel more real.  

Friday, July 14, 2023

Journal July 14

I'm trying something different with my journal.  I can tell how many people read, so if nobody reads these, I'll go back to just keeping them to myself.

I went adventuring in Fondren tonight, using my motorized scooter.  I'm still hoping to eventually get to where I don't need assistance getting around, but that's proving slower than I had hoped.  

A new physical therapist is supposed to see me not next week but the next and work with me to figure out safe ways for me to use the leg press and the leg extension machine at Meridian Apartments.  If a leg press doesn't resolve my leg strength issues, I don't know what will.   Doing laps around my apartment in the wheelchair does a pretty good job of elevating my heart rate for aerobic fitness until I can use a stepper or something similar. 

My goal tonight was to find ramped access to everything I might be interested in entering in Fondren.  I found ramps to everything but Saltine.  I'm sure they have one; I just haven't found it yet. 

I've run thousands of bar tabs in my life, just not any in quite a while.  Getting a bourbon and branch at Fondren Public felt very comfortable and very familiar.    My doctor says I can have only one.  That's ok by me.  I exceeded my maximum allowance for spending the night obliterated long ago.  One slow one is just fine by me.

Rowan Taylor tried to teach me about really good whiskeys and bourbon.  My mother drank Cutty Sark, which I can't stand.   My dad drank Stolichnaya out of the freezer, sometimes with grapefruit juice if he was on a diet.

Eudora Welty drank either Maker's Mark or Old Crow.  That's fine by me.  If I'm just gonna have one, I'd like to have one with some local history to it.  

Fondren Public has a strong Cherokee Inn in the 80s kind of vibe to it.  From what I understand, it gets pretty lively after ten o'clock.  I, however, do not get very lively after ten o'clock, so I'll probably miss that.   There are three or four bars in Fondren, but this one's a pretty good fit.

I'm probably gonna have to haunt Hal and Mal's bar some.  I've spent many nights there with great music, sometimes commiserating with the local journalists and politicians.

A lot of my life was spent in bars, then after my divorce, I cut it off cold.  Part of it was that I knew my wife really liked bars as well, and I didn't want to make it awkward for her.  I can't spend my life avoiding exes, though.  There are too many of them.    

It took me a couple of weeks to adjust to living here, but I feel very at home now.  I'm still progressing, but it's a struggle to figure out what the pace is.  

I spent about six hours writing today, producing a little over 2,100 words.  Ray Bradbury says to aim for a thousand, so I figure I'm in the good.  Most of today was a conversation between my two main characters, discussing their positions on the main action.  At this point, they don't agree on the best way forward, which will become more of an issue as we go along.  

Even though that's not the point of the novel, I kind of want people to "ship" the two of them.  I don't think they'll end up together, but it'd be nice if people wanted them to if they were invested enough in these imaginary people I created to hope they find happiness.  

The thing about fiction is that all the characters are basically just the writer wearing different hats.  That's probably why most people think they're crazy and why so many of them spend their lives in a bottle.  I don't want to spend my life in a bottle.  I've known some really talented people who did, and I don't want to live that way.  Hopefully, I can create without lubrication.

I've spent a lot of time in bars with a lot of you.  I guess the point of today's journal entry is that those days are back, I guess, maybe in a measured sort of way.  I think that was inevitable.  

Product Review Skinny Pasta

In my quest to cut down on carbs and calories, I decided to try Skinny Pasta.  It comes in a bag, pre-cooked that you strain, then heat in the microwave for two minutes.  

A bag comes with a really generous portion. Boasting just 4.5 calories and 2g of carbs per serving, a bag has two servings or one big one.  Just add your favorite sauce and protein for a meal.  

It started to sound almost too good to be true.  At under $5.00 per serving, it really sounded much too good to be true.  It had good reviews, so I ordered the sampler pack of six bags to try.

It needed a little salt, but after that, the taste was really good. The texture is a little different from regular semolina pasta.  It's soft and has a good bite to it, but it's still a different texture that's different from al dente.  It's not bad, just different.  It doesn't have that almost airy texture that perfectly prepared al denta semolina pasta has.  

Its basic ingredient is Konjac, an Asian plant with a tubular root that is cooked to create a type of gelatin that can be shaped into different kinds of pasta.  

A same-size serving of traditional semolina pasta is 200 calories and 42g of carbs, so Skinny Pasta's 5 calories and 2g of carbs is quite a difference.  For me, it's worth the difference in texture.

Available at Amazon using the link below.  


Official Ted Lasso