- Go for a run and listen to Chopin. Listening to Chopin doesn’t generally make you run faster, but for me, running is about survival, not speed.
- Sit on your deck, drink a Little Sumpin’ ale, and read Middlemarch. This ale is the perfect complement to a long Victorian novel. Middlemarch doesn’t have the humor and passages of stupendous genius that mark a Dickens novel, but it also doesn’t have the absurd coincidences and simpering female characters. Reading the novel, though, is taking me about as long as writing my own.
- Watch The Two Mrs. Carrolls, an entertaining but incredibly bad 1947 thriller starring Humphrey Bogart (a tad out of character playing an insanely murderous artist) and Barbara Stanwyck, who only gradually comes to the realization that the artist she married is also insanely murderous. It features a ridiculously primitive application of Chekhov’s gun — “Here, I happen to have this gun. Why don’t I leave it with you in case the Yorkshire strangler happens by?” It also features what I’ll call the principle of “Barbara Stanwyck’s gun” — in a movie of a certain era, if the female lead is pointing a gun at the villain at the climax, she will find herself unable to shoot the guy, for no apparent reason. The villain will easily disarm her, but the hero will arrive in the nick of time to save her from certain death.
- Go to the beach and complete the Sunday Sudoku. I am man enough to admit that I am often unable to complete the Sunday Sudoku. However, I’m here to tell you that I completed it in near-record time today. Was it the salty air? Or the knowledge that I didn’t have an unfinished novel to return to?
- Read the two-page open-letter to Amazon in the New York Times signed by a bazillion famous authors, telling Amazon to basically quit using them as leverage in their negotiations with Hachette. Color me unimpressed. Here is one response to it, via The Passive Voice.
- Come up with a couple more ideas for your novel. Well, yes, that can happen, too.