Last week I walked into the room we call at various times the Family Room, TV Room, Computer Room, Back Room, Living Room, Room Near the Small Bathroom (we just cannot figure out what to call this damn room), and my kids were watching Dr. Who.
I could have done a dozen things. Run to the Small Bathroom and read Woman’s Day Magazine, The Smithsonian, or Granta, all tucked into a basket on the counter. Gone through the room and out the door into The Backyard of Nonna’s Mismatched Tables to watch the squirrels run along the fence like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible scene. Grabbed cans of garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes and artichoke hearts that live on the shelves we added to the walls along the stairway to the basement (an area we officially call The Side Going Down), run back into the kitchen (which we thankfully call The Kitchen) and cook some kind of one pot vegetarian thing that everyone will try but only I will eat the next day (and the next) (and the next) until it’s gone.
But no. I sat down.
And that was it. I am hooked.
1) I thought the protagonist’s name was Dr. Who, not The Doctor (so common, but it still makes you feel lame).
2) The Weeping Angels episode scared me so much I couldn’t go down to the freezer in the basement and get a Klondike Bar to calm me during the next episode. So I made my kids do it, but they went together because they were scared too.
3) I found out hipsters watch Dr. Who, having learned only last year what a hipster is (from my 13 year-old no less), but it depends on the degree of fan that you are. I think true Dr. Who fans are not hipsters, but I’m not completely clear on this.
4) After watching all of Season 3 I will now go back and watch Season 1 & 2. Luckily, a friend of my 17 year-old owns the DVD’s and is more than happy to share his passion for the show with all of us (he has a Dr. Who belt, and looks a lot like David Tennant).
5) I can’t help but think, Damn, these BBC dudes can write!
So now you know. Don’t think less of me. I find it’s a fabulous summer distraction from the day job, cleaning the house, washing the dogs, cooking dinner, showering, paying the bills, and most importantly, writing. Except that I find myself watching it now for the writing. How do they build the suspense, set up the scene, develop the character, use dialogue, tell the back story? Where are they brilliant? Where do they fall flat? What makes a scene work? (It’s certainly not the special effects.) Why does one episode work more that another?
See that. Even in the great and embarrassing escape of Dr. Who I am thinking about the writing. Always thinking about the writing.
I have the week off. Just staying home, hanging with the kids, probably a lot of Dr. Who and Klondike Bars involved. But I’m going out on a limb here. I’m editing a short story that I pulled together from a couple of chapters in a wannabe novel that sits in a drawer, and I’m going to finish it by week’s end. Then I’m going to figure out where the hell I can send it to see if someone will take a chance on a nobody and publish it. If I’m feel really brave, I’ll post the first paragraph. Nothing like setting myself up for a fall. But at least it’s something. It’s like walking into the TARDIS, not knowing where you’ll travel to or what you’ll face when you get there.
Anybody got a sonic screwdriver I can borrow?