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A Different Kind of Busy

Good morning from one of my favorite coffee shops, where I’m glad to report the rumors are true, public safety has improved in Seattle these last few months.

There aren’t any tent cities or piles of broken needles in my neighborhood. Word is that the city government stopped bickering long enough to open additional shelter space, and apparently more laws are actually being enforced. I’m not saying it’s candyland; there’s still drug use here and there, and it’s not like America’s issues have disappeared. But I no longer feel like I’m going to get shanked when I walk down the street. Let’s call that progress?

I’ll take it.

Tourism is back, but business traffic is not. Seattle was always more of a business city than it was a tourist city, so our recovery feels lopsided. If most people continue to work from home we’ll need to rejigger our priorities, I suppose.

More plazas, hotels, and entertainment? It could be nice. Still, the pulsing center of Seattle, for me, has always been commerce. I’m still listening for that familiar heartbeat, hoping it returns.

No Thank You

I’ve decided to stop consuming American news media. It’s easy to criticize Facebook and Twitter for their amplification of misinformation and fear, yet I’ve come to see that the media provides the exact same poison, only in more moderate doses and with a better vocabulary.

I’m out! (Talk to the hand 🤚 )

I’ll use my newfound free time to write get-out-the-vote letters for the November midterms.

On Denoument

Warren Ellis writes:

Thing is: the final episode doesn’t have to be where all the work gets done.

Instead, consider the possibility that your big climax should be planned for the episode before last.

Outwardly, this achieves a couple of things. The big bang happens where it is possibly least expected, which is often good. It also allows you to spend the final episode “wrapping everything up” by getting to spend extra time with the surviving characters, sitting with the aftermath and closing the arcs of their journeys.

I remember when he used this technique in Castlevania season four. After the big battle, there was an entire episode dedicated to the characters and their lives moving forward. It was satisfying!

The word denoument comes from a Latin word which means “to untie the knot.” For me, it represents the pause and the breath we take after the final climax of the story. The battle has been won or lost, and the central question that drove the story has been answered; but what does it all mean to the people who remain?

In long form fiction we have more freedom to untie the knot. It’s an important part of a story, and it’s on my mind.

Probably that’s because today I start revising Hostile Takeover, part three of my espionage trilogy. I’ve tied a lot of knots in the first three books and I want to untie them well.

Hmm… 🤔