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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Sunday, May 15, 2005

bookshelves and Six Feet Under

Heavy rain through the night and on into morning. I found myself a bit depressed this morning--not sure why. I keyed notes from True Believer and A History of the Jewish People.

Kimmie made us poached eggs for breakfast. We talked about doing housework--she'd volunteered to help me clean my office today. But the book problem needs to be resolved before serious neat-making can happen. Kimmie whipped out her Ikea catalogue. We zoomed in on a promising set of bookshelves, and decided forthwith to make an expedition to the Coquitlam Ikea.

It's been years since I was in an Ikea. The place is colossal. It could be a spaceport in some science-fiction saga. Few people shop solo at Ikea; it's all couples or pairs or families. We got our 2 Billy bookshelves (had to have the larger one delivered--an extra $39, but it just wouldn't fit in or on our 2001 Corolla) and came home. Total bill: $205.

We relocated the pine shelves in the living-room up to our bedroom, to join the two pine shelves Kimmie was already using there. We shunted my collection of paperback novels up to join hers on the new, higher stack. I assembled the smaller Billy unit that we'd brought home with us, and we transferred a few books into it. When the big Billy arrives tomorrow, I'll be able to bring some volumes up from my office, and clear the growing stacks. Then I hope I can make meaningful progress on cleaning my office.

So what sent me into my mini-depression? I'm wondering whether it grew out of a comment that Kimmie made last night. We've been watching season 1 of Six Feet Under, borrowing the DVDs from the library. It's the first time we've seen it and we're really enjoying it. After episode 9 ended, I pointed at the screen and said, "That's the proper way to make television. I know how hard it is, and I appreciate their efforts."

"Aw," said Kimmie. "You didn't get much recognition for your show."

"No," I said, "I didn't."

I did get some. For one thing, Warren and I were nominated for a Gemini for best screenplay in 1994 (didn't win). And my favorite recognition came from a fellow writer--a guy I didn't know--who faxed me to say that he thought the show was great, and to make sure we knew that he thought it was worthwhile to create something of that quality. It was inspiring to him as a writer. That meant a lot to me.

Well, I'm on my own track now. I'm not supposed to be letting myself get distracted by side-issues such as sales and fame. Now quality is my sole concern.

Meanwhile: Six Feet Under. I watch how they unfold their characterizations, and am filled with admiration. Could I do as well? I think. I'd like to believe so, but I'm not sure. I'll give this my best and let the chips fall where they may.


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