The Beauty of “Genius” & Spring

May 5, 2017 | Movies, Writing

Two men walking side by side down a city street.I wanted to open with this clip from the movie Genius because I love it so much. It’s part of a much larger sequence where Max Perkins helps Thomas Wolfe edit Look Homeward, Angel, and the whole thing is just beautiful. At one point Max wonders if editors “make books better, or just different”, which hit me squarely where I live. How does any outside person not change the work – not necessarily for the worst, but change it in some fundamental way? It can’t help but be a mutation of the original. Again, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. In this case, Look Homeward, Angel was originally FIVE THOUSAND pages. I can’t even imagine.  It consumed both men so thoroughly which is understandable. I am slightly curious to know how the end product differed from the original. But only slightly. As I go through and edit my own work (pre-editing?) before sending it on, I’ve asked myself this same question. Is this change better or just different?  Sometimes it’s either, sometimes it’s both and sometimes it’s just a change for the sake of changing.

Speaking of change, spring is finally here and I think Charleston is at it’s most beautiful this time of year. The humidity is low, the temps are in the low 80’s at the highest, the air is clear, and every growing thing is in their new stage – the greens are bright, the flowers are lively and fresh – all of us not yet bogged down with the summer heat.

My “no complaining” effort for Lent went better than I expected. I still complain, but I believe I complain less. Sometimes I just need to bitch – mostly out of frustration – and I allow myself a few seconds before letting it go and redirecting. If it’s really bad, I reach out to a friend who can talk me down. Overall, I’m claiming it a success in my overall goal to be mindful of my thoughts and cleaning out my mental space.

Back when Coming Darkness was just released, I was asked to write a blog post for another site giving some background on the novel, etc. Since that post never got used I’ve decided to add it as a “From the Author” post. You can read it here.

Dreaming in Shadow, the next book in the series is coming along slowly. Chug, chug.

I’ll leave you with the theatrical trailer for Genius. It’s an excellent movie about the golden age of American publishing, and gorgeous from head to toe. I highly recommend it!


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