I broke ten thousand words on a new novel this week. Still not certain it’s The Next One, but it’s looking promising. I’ll see what my editor thinks in another month or so.
Meanwhile, five things make a post:
* As part of the research for the new book, I spent some time earlier this summer poking through back issues of the Chicago Defender. The Defender archives are available digitally through ProQuest, which the University of Washington library subscribes to. If I were a UW student or faculty member I could access the archives from home, but because I’m not, I had to physically travel to the campus and use a guest computer. Which had me wishing, on more than one occasion, that I could subscribe to ProQuest directly. Unfortunately, they don’t sell database access to individuals, only to institutions. I’m sure with enough money there’s a workaround for this—e.g., get the home office accredited as a research library—but it’d be simpler if one of you Internet startup wiz-kids would just create a Rhapsody for newspaper and magazines. (I know a lot of publications, including the Defender, actually do sell individual access to their online archives, but it’d be great to be able to do one-stop shopping.) ETA: The always helpful Lee Drake notes in comments that ProQuest now does offer a service for individuals, called Udini. Thanks, Lee!
* In a weird bit of synchronicity, the night before Neil Armstrong died, I rewatched Capricorn One, a 1977 movie about a faked Mars landing. There are some serious plot holes and plausibility issues (one of the most glaring being the use of an Apollo-style command module and lander for the months-long Mars mission) but if you can suspend your disbelief it’s a fun ride with some great character moments. I loved the banter between Elliott Gould and Karen Black, and David Doyle (Bosley from Charlie’s Angels) has a nice snarky turn as Gould’s boss.
* Along with the Neil Armstrong obituary, today’s New York Times breaks the news that dancer, artist, and writer Remy Charlip has died. Charlip was the author of one of my favorite (and most surreal) children’s books, Arm in Arm: A Collection of Connections, Endless Tales, Reiterations, and Other Echolalia. He also wrote and illustrated many other baby boomer classics.
* Speaking of surreal things, the mystery of the floating feet has been solved. (It’s been solved for a while, actually, but I was on book tour when the news broke.)