Capitol Reef National Park

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Just Like Starting Over...

There's this part in Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning (maybe it's Recollections) where he talks about how the Nazis took his life's psychological work from him and he vowed to redo it if he ever made it out of the series of concentration camps he was forced to endure. Well, he made it out, and that reason to live gave the world the great book Man's Search for Meaning.

I was thinking about that the other day when my flash drive took a crap dive, and I lost 8 pages of the story that was to become Charles "Chuck" Jones' life leading up to Blackrock Canyon (as well as his reflections on the day). Quite simply, I thought to myself, if Frankl can buckle up under his extreme conditions, I can quit my whining and put it together for my inconvenience.

I don't say this to trivialize his circumstances or add un-necessary drama to my own. I say them as I know that we can learn from history about how to be better. It's the same way I once felt teaching a tough substitute class for 3 hours with people who would have just as soon shiv-ed me as learned remedial English. I still had another day to go back there, and I was dreading it, which left me consumed in worry. Then I realized that if Jackie Robinson and his family could endure hate and death threats for him to rebreak the color line in baseball, I could put his picture up in front of me and "do what I needed to do."

And do that's what I do.

So today, I restart Chuck (formerly Chuckie): The History. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes as the chapter explains the origin of his name, his military history, his time in Spearfish with Crash (his band, which is named after Kevin Costner's character in Bull Durham, who just so happens to be associated with that town), and his early and in between days through a series of flashbacks (yes, I've gone with this technique quite a bit).

When the flash drive crashed, I had the military and pre-military history written. I had a game plan going forward, and the man in the story was still "Chuckie." This had to change. It was too playful a name, and it was meant for him when he was a more annoying earlier incarnation that was earmarked for death (as was Henriette Fressineau). However, when he left the canyon with Tony Lucas and came to meet his end, I couldn't face killing him (or Henriette) when the time came.

So he lived on.

To be honest, the killing scenes were the hardest to write. Even when the characters weren't defined, it was hard, but there is a character who was defined who was very tough to write. I won't spoil that. I actually hit a snag in writing after the 3/4 point of writing through because of how violent that death was. Yep... you'll have to read the whole book to find that out.

Anyway, with Chuck, I came to write him more sympathetically for larger purposes in the series, and in some ways, he became my Darryl Dixon (though Chuck is cleaned up and not near as rough). He's just someone who can't go or people will riot (or can he). For this, I've come to realize that he's kind of a shaggier version of Vince Vaughn (like in Into the Wild). I think Vince Vaughn and I would be great friends... just saying (so why not see him as the guy from Dodgeball, Swingers, and Old School?

So anyway, that got me thinking about who to envision when you see other characters, and I went with Kevin James for Dave Robinson. I think he could play a part seriously, and Here Comes the Boom showed that he could play a tough (well, at least strong) guy even if he was chubby and kind of self-effacing with a funny side. Dave's character seems to represent those things (or I want him to). This also leaves him with an ability to see Suzie connect to him and at the same time for him to realize that he's way out of her league while working through the confusion about what exactly she wants with him (while trying to stay faithful as his characters seem to be) to Charlotte.

And if he's someone I'm confused for, then I guess it's OK to have him play someone who is in a small part based on me (though as I said previously, is not a persona of me - just certain interests / experiences I've had).
As for Charlotte, I went with Malin Akerman, who does have a quirky side (the whole Couples Retreat thing) and a middle aged attractiveness. She'd fit in good as an office manager, and she would definitely be someone that Dave would be happy with in the way that he would be smitten by her. Her charm also leaves her free to flow with the next books. With where her character is meant to go, she would definitely be able to showcase these things.

Anyway, that's the update of where I am now as I think about going more into the Intersections update after finishing Dead Mouths revisions up until the end of Chapter 10.