Couple of weeks ago I picked up some inexpensive paperbacks at Half Price Books big headquarters store. I purchased the books as study in the shorter version “three acts” so prominently hawked by all the “how to write (insert genre)” people. One of the books was John D. MacDonald’s The Dreadful Lemon Sky, written in 1974, which killed two birds with one stone. It’s MacDonald storytelling, and being MacDonald the backdrop is a perfect rendering of the cultural era. A timeframe and the years following that I worked in my first return-to-writing project.
None of that was important. It’s called “the setup.” I could have gone directly to the point and filled all that in or left it.
No, this is not a discussion of style.
I opened The Dreadful Lemon Sky in the porcelain upholstered library. I read a few more pages at my desk. Last night I wanted to read more, but was too lazy to retrieve the physical copy of the book. Also, too lazy to two-step an epub into my Kindle. I found the book on my OneDrive and hit “open in another app” on the not-aging-so-gracefully iPad. Worked like a charm.
However. (Cue Twilight Zone theme)
I tapped the book to open it. BAM. It opened.
Not on the credits, publisher, the chapter list or dedication page.
It opened exactly where I left the physical copy open, face down on a shelf in the “library.”
Like the man said when the paint shaker machine shut off. “How do it know?”
I sure as hell don’t know. But I was kinda “all shook up.”
FYI – If you’d like some intellectual writing discussion and advice Google Rod Serling. Find his interview/class discussions with some college kids where he addresses topics and writing issues generally only available from expensive editors. Not only that, he talks the workarounds. From “art” to where ideas come from to soapboxes and unavoidable though unknown plagiarism to how none of us invented the wheel.
In 1938 archeologists in China discovered hundreds of stone disks in caves in the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains. Each one measured 9 inches in diameter and were etched with tiny hieroglyphics that tell a story about aircraft from distant worlds crashing in the mountains. They say the disks are thousands of years old.
I have a feeling that’s all speculation.
They simply haven’t haven’t found the turntable yet.