Communion Of Dreams

“It’s . . . really complicated.”
May 28, 2010, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Babylon 5, Writing stuff

There’s a scene in season four of Babylon 5 where Dr Stephen Franklin is feeling flummoxed by a medical problem. Brilliant as he is, he is just not up to resolving the complex task before him, and which he has been struggling with for weeks.

He gets a phone call from his superior officer, who wants to know the status of his work. Clearly frustrated, Franklin says “It’s . . . really complicated right now. I’m trying to keep it all in my head at once . . .”

I feel a little bit like that.

I’ve mentioned working on the care-giving book, and how that is progressing. Right now I’m at the stage where I am going through, attempting to find the natural ‘dialog’ which emerges from the multiple entries by my co-author and I and our spouses. As I’ve noted elsewhere, it’s very much like trying to solve a puzzle of thousands of pieces when you don’t know what the picture is supposed to be. I’m working with a rolling window of three months at a time, shuffling individual entries back and forth until things ‘gel’ into a form that makes the most sense. At present, I’m in August, September, and October – three of the largest months for entries. I’ve got individual entries printed out, clipped into sections, and laid out physically in my bindery – covering the table of my large board shear, my 5’x5′ layoff table, and in four of my large flat file drawers. It’s something like 120 individual entries all together, and like 40,000 words.

And I am trying to juggle all of these in my head at the same time, so I can relate the different entries and find that natural conversation between them. It’s like trying to do some kind of relational database in my head.

I was not trained for this. Writing a novel is tough because you have to constantly juggle all the little bits and pieces so that the plot points come out right and when you want them, the characters are consistent, and no one accuses you of pulling a fast one with some deus ex machina stunt. But at least there I was the one who made up everything, and could tweak it so things would fit. Here I am working with individual entries from four different people, over a period of about five years time. Sheesh.

And then there’s the complicating factor of how emotional this stuff is. Even being somewhat distanced from it, it triggers certain responses – pushes certain buttons.

Well, my lunch break is over. Back to it.

Jim Downey

3 Comments so far
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I can also go back through those months, and try to see if there are things that I pick up on that I can add to comments…but I’m concerned it could blow out any of the sublayers of mental processing you’ve already got wrapped ’round it all.

Comment by John Bourke

Nah, hold off – it’s probably best to just let me slog through it and then we’ll came back in after and tweak. It *is* working, it’s just really a mental challenge.

That, and I like to bitch. 😉

Jim D.

Comment by James Downey

It still strikes me as being a very courageous undertaking. I look forward to reading it.

Comment by Karen

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