I spent the morning researching, usually not my favorite part of the writing process, and had a pretty good time for a change. Kept running across things I wanted to investigate more, and each thing seemed to lead to something else. This afternoon I was able to sit down and wrestle it all into a reasonably coherent outline. I'm not really satisfied with it yet but I can let it sit over the weekend and go back next week for some revisions. Also, although I came up with a title, I've decided I hate it and will have to figure out another one. The weekend is going to be spent working on the next series Western. (The outline is for the book after that, a bigger Western novel, although still part of a series.)
Terrill Lankford, he of the kind comment a couple of posts below, has written an excellent piece about CHINATOWN, John Alonzo, and Hollywood in general, which can be found on Ed's Place today. I saw CHINATOWN the day it opened in Fort Worth back in the Seventies, loved it then, and have thoroughly enjoyed it every time I've seen it since then. Haven't watched it in a while, though, so it might be time again. That's about as beautifully constructed a film as you're ever going to see. As for John Alonzo, I was familiar with his work in a film buff sort of way, and it's nice to read Terrill's comments about actually knowing and working with him. There was a time I was planning to write and direct films rather than writing books, but that would have meant going to Hollywood, and of course I'm much too big a hermit for that. I still enjoy the occasional piece of a screenplay I write, though. I seldom finish them and usually turn the fragments into books, but it's nice using different writing muscles now and then.
On top of everything else, I'm also going to spend the weekend worrying about my oldest daughter, who was working on a chemistry experiment at college today and wound up breathing some potentially hazardous fumes (nitrogen dioxide, for you chemistry majors out there). The TA said she didn't get near enough of it to be dangerous, but I looked it up on the Internet and found that 100 PPM of the stuff is dangerous and 200 PPM is lethal, only it takes a couple of days for the reaction to manifest itself. So naturally I'm going to worry. I'm a dad. It's what I do.