Thursday, May 16, 2013

I should check Wikipedia...

A Lexus hugs the side of the road where I am walking my dog and skims way too close to my liking. The Lexus slows, as if it reacts to my yanking my collie's leash from the road; but no. The driver doesn't notice me for she croons from her leather seat to stare into her right side mirror and, seemingly without even looking forward, guides her Lexus to a noiseless stop at the deserted park my dog and I were happily about to explore. Is Lexus still doing well? How do they rank in Consumer Reports?

She is a rather pretty young lady. Early 30s? Will that still be considered young? People in the future will live much longer than now. What do insurance stats predict? Something is unusual; something in the world of this woman is unsettling. Is it how she straightened in her seat, her eyes glued to the side mirror as if she were escaping something? Or that she just now slammed the door and is staring over the hood of her Lexus, leaning against the car and her arms half-folded? 

Her beauty, too; it adds to the mystery. And her supposed wealth. Ah; she's walking across the dry field now, towards the woods. Yes, of course I loosen my dog's leash and I start to follow her. I am a writer, after all. Better check on that Lexus. Might not be considered a luxury car any longer.

So, what would cause a woman in her early 30s to drive her H2 Lexus to a Rails-to-Trails park and venture through the dust-plagued woods in full business attire and stand, cross-armed, at a creek embankment roiled in the toxic steam of dead fish and baked algae? Hydrogen is still considered the ultimate resource for energy. Well, that’s what Wikipedia says… And this article in Nature. Better make sure. Apparently…there is a Japanese Hydrogen project in the Pacific that is busy splitting water. Damn it. The link is dead. And why is she peering over the edge as if she is contemplating a three foot jump to her death? We will be using metrics in the future. How many meters in three feet? Find an online calculator.

She reaches into her pocket and takes out her holographic iPhone 12, rolls it in her hand as if it was a ball.  Did she just…? Yes, she did! She just tossed her iPhone over the edge; over the stilled, sweaty mud pools of a late August drought and watched it tumble across the sun-bleached stones. I almost call out to her…something like, “Hey!” But, what business is it of mine? I just look up a hundred year old sycamore like I see something more interesting. No need. If drought frequencies caused by Global Warming continue at the current rate, then Indy may not have living sycamores thirty years from now. May have to change this. The woman walks by me, incognizant of the fact that I am but 3 feet one yard! away from the trail. Surely, she would guess that I saw the whole phone throwing thing? Wait a minute… It says here tree survival is dependent on how deep the roots are: the older the tree, the deeper the roots, the better it can survive the climate swings. Look for that U.N. Climate pdf I downloaded last week and verify.

I go to the embankment to search for the iPhone. It was easy to find. A loud commercial for Chase-WellsFargo stretches sideways from the phone's holograph pad and reassures Americans “We were there for the citizens of South Florida when the Canary Island Tsunami washed away homes and dreams”. “America’s Next 10 Big Disasters” from Discovery Channel predicts the Atlantic Tsunami is number 3, just behind Yellowstone blowing its top. But wouldn’t that hit North Carolina the hardest? Confirm this!!!

Wait a second. Do even I know sci-fi well enough to even tamper with it? What if I’m…wrong? ‘Time’ to revise. And I need more action…more tension. Yes, tension. I will have her arguing in the car just before she screeches into the park and slams her door hard enough to finesse an echo among the towering sycamores. Or not. I might have her toss a bottle of pain pills out of her car window as she gently pulls into the park…have her smile at a young woman carrying her slumbering two year old boy…walk to the creek and...Well, you know what she does there. Pain pills? Will there still be pills in the future? Vaporizers, more likely. Or implanted chips. Now, how in the hell do I research that?!
 I don't.

Some writers have issues with writer’s block. I don’t. Some writers run out of ideas of what to write. Never me. However, I DO have a serious dysfunction with research, as in I DON’T KNOW WHEN TO STOP. Research brings validity and accuracy to any fiction and can connect the writer with the reader, no matter how a reader might like or dislike a story or a particular scene. Not all readers and critical reviewers will enjoy what I write, to be certain. And not all readers will agree with how a particular story of mine will end, or how I might characterize a historical subject or even a futuristic world. But what I can do is gain a reader's trust by writing my stories honestly and professionally through good research and getting the story reviewed and revised extensively before it sprouts a Kindle link.

I just need to learn when the process of researching has killed the writing. Rest in Peace, iPhone 12. 


  1. Yes, yes. While I'm writing, I usually open tons of windows, different google searches for random things that I'm looking at while I'm writing. What did writers do before Google?
    I've been writing mostly during this time of the Internets, this webbing. Before it caught us all up (I'm not really a luddite or a technophobe), but I suspect it was easier to write fiction in a world in which you really could make everything up.

  2. I think that's why goddess made libraries! And archival collections! Oh, and microfiche...anybody remember that stuff? Of course that was also in the days before best selling authors and their staffs of flying monkeys churned out two or three poorly crafted page turners a year...

  3. Interesting you should say this because I'm taking applications for flying monkeys now.
    Traditional research is certainly dying. I remember the card catalogs and microfilms, but more importantly, I remember the satisfaction of finding information after searching for it for hours. It's like a treasure hunt certainly.
    Those movies like Indiana Jones and--to a lesser extent--National Treasure glorify and romanticize that quest for knowledge as a literal treasure hunt. I love this idea, but will the movies with a rugged professor running through a library looking for pieces to a puzzle become obsolete?

  4. I'm afraid the days of library sleuthing is over, Heather. Old documents, paintings, and even textiles and stone relics are getting transferred digitally once they are discovered or reexamined. We now conduct extensive research all over the world in our pajamas.

  5. What is this "technology" you speak of? Although, I suppose even a clay tablet with a wooden stylus was considered revolutionary in it's time. Technically, I suppose you could say we're still using the same tech. It's just a great deal more shiny now.