2020 Hindsight Commentary: Eight Days a Week, Drivin’ on 9, 10 A.M. Automatic

I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Today’s look at yesterday’s chapters is brought to you by The Beatles, Ed’s Redeeming Qualities, and The Black Keys.

Eight Days A Week

Sorted/sort word choice is a little awkward.

The narrator’s logic of tackling his attempts at saving his sister in reverse chronology still makes sense to me, but his logic of making a completely unrelated and self serving time trip right after explaining this plan is a head scratcher.

His sister “turning fifteen” during the cribbage scene is a neat bit of phrasing that I wish I could say was planned, but I’m pretty sure was a happy accident.

If I could go back, I’d drop the motherf@#$er inside joke and have the Dad yell without the cuss.

Drivin’ On 9

I never noticed the “Drivin’ on 9” vs 9/11 parallel in the chapter title before now.

A barhopping memory is a better anchor point to blink to than a library, but it should have been about a song playing at a bar (if not a bar band…)

“Discarded dumpster discoveries” is a pretty good line, even with author bias in play.

Conversely, “the office I worked in as a bitch” is cringeworthy now.

Nowadays I criticize stories that reference times ending with :00. :15, :30, :45 as being unrealistic, but my past self had no problem with it. (My current self also picked up a habit of setting alarm clocks and oven temperatures to palindromic numbers, which feels like something the narrator might do. Who made who?)

Using italics before he realizes he spoke aloud are not a mistake. Both selves were tuned in to each other (and other others) telepathically, making it feel like he spoke aloud when he didn’t.

The logistics of how he would pin himself down on the couch, have that conversation, and then stand up are a little fuzzy. (Plus the “I’m stoned and half out of it so I won’t question the fact that my future self is here” doesn’t play quite as well as I remembered/intended.)

I still like the bulk of this chapter, but the end falls flat/fizzles fairly fast.

10 A.M. Automatic

Kudos to Bryan Davidson for convincing me to “officially” make AM/PM a different size font like you’re supposed to throughout, which looks especially good in the paperback chapter title.

I’m still torn on whether the lyrical Tourette’s should be obvious or subtle. Which works better?

The odds were in my favor that I’d still be able to at least observe from a few feet above or below. Easy come, easy go, little high, little low.

OR

The odds were in my favor that I’d still be able to at least observe from a little high/little low.

Probably could have handled the elevation foreshadowing better or as a surprise.

That Beach Boys reference is so well placed it makes me lean towards subtle. Same with Pearl Jam a little later. You barely realize it’s a reference.

Reading the transition to the creepy hospital still gives me the same surge of giddy adrenaline it did when my past self went off-outline and that scene wrote itself in the first draft.

There is no way I didn’t check if “straightjacket” was one word or two. Two words seems wrong. I wonder if my younger self misunderstood what a dot in the middle of a dictionary word really meant (it’s syllables, right?)

If he blinked back to the day of the plane ride, he hasn’t told himself what to do yet so his other self shouldn’t be committed. Unless he kept going back and we’re seeing the aftermath of many blinks. But I don’t remember my intent. (Other changes “catch up to you” when you go back to real time, so could be his older self still meddling — or lying.)

I sooo wish it said “she stood me up” instead of “she stood him up”

Check out the original 2008 commentary for these chapters:

Eight Days a Week  |  Drivin’ on 9  |  10 A.M. Automatic

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