#suspense

Hopefully loyal readers have not been clicking the Long Beach bookmark every morning in April or continually refreshing a browser hoping for updated content. I know how you must be full of anticipation for whatever will next fill this space. It is much easier to string together a bunch of words when there are happenings worth documentation. It was not my intention to build any suspense for that handful of folks who choose to distract from monotonous cubicle hours by reading Long Beach from Home.

[suhspens]; noun; 1. a state or condition of mental uncertainty or excitement, as in awaiting a decision or outcome, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety; 2. a state of mental indecision; 3. undecided or doubtful condition, as of affairs; 4. the state or condition of being suspended;
Suspense may be sitting on the edge of the sofa waiting for the next diabolical turn of events on a favorite television show. The seasons of Justified and The Americans have both showcased their fair share of these moments. Perhaps suspense is the non-scripted drama of being at the ballpark and watching a dramatic late-inning showdown between pitcher and batter, or a professional golfer’s knees knocking together when standing over a short putt. It could be the anticipation of trying a highly recommended restaurant for the first time. Maybe suspense is as simple as awaiting the verbiage of the next text message as the dot-dot-dot icon flutters to tease on your iPhone.
Thus far California has not featured an overwhelming number of high-leverage situations. Most anything I have decided to do has been of my own volition. I maintain a tidy calendar but most of those events charted are those that may be repeated on my own another time. I have no fear in choosing to attend a random baseball game on my own, or order the three meat BBQ platter without wearing a bib, or make a wrong turn in hopes of getting a better view of the sunset. I haven’t yet broken the habit of being perpetually late, because ultimately who I am trying to impress by being punctual? I am on my own schedule and floating through this California lifestyle. I’m doing my best to combine a lifetime of Midwestern living with the casual, west coast way of thinking… To somehow fit in this bizarre foreign place. But what my new situation may lack in stress, it makes up for in anticipation.
Its been touched on here before, but every single thing here is new and discovering each thing has meant a variety of different feelings. It may be a sense of accomplishment for achieving auto repair without losing my shirt. It may be wonder while stumbling into a small storefront that features a chalk board chock full of craft beer from around the corner or around the world. I have tried bouncing around all of Long Beach to dine out at as many different taverns and restaurants as possible, so as to not be spotted as a “regular” too often. After catching grief for a lack of greenery in my diet, I dined out for Thai and Mediterranean food to break the cycle of smoked meat and mac and cheese. I celebrated Easter by playing golf. There was no sign of the Easter bunny on the links, and both courses on Good Friday and Easter Sunday were not up to par.
There have been memorable victories. And there certainly have been frustrating defeats. Despite what the visitors bureau may advertise, not all of California is Palm Trees and Ocean Breezes. The sunshine and proximity to the water were enough to distract/convince me to make the move, and there will be plenty more bumps in the road before achieving comfort. Right now I’m still hoping to play the “new in town” card as often as possible as I aimlessly try to navigate on my own. In the meantime, I will aim to be more diligent in updating this space and won’t let life’s suspense interfere with my corner of the internet.

Elmore John Leonard, Jr. (October 11, 1925 – August 20, 2013) was an American novelist and screenwriter. His earliest novels, published in the 1950s, were Westerns, but Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into motion pictures.

Among his best-known works are Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk, and Rum Punch (adapted for the movie Jackie Brown). Leonard’s writings include short stories that became the films 3:10 to Yuma and The Tall T, as well as the FX television series Justified.

Commended by critics for his gritty realism and strong dialogue, Leonard sometimes took liberties with grammar in the interest of speeding the story along. In his essay “Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing” he said: “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” He also hinted: “I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.”

Elmore Leonard has been called “the Dickens of Detroit” because of his intimate portraits of people from that city; however, Leonard had said, “If I lived in Buffalo, I’d write about Buffalo.”His ear for dialogue has been praised by writers such as Saul Bellow, Martin Amis, and Stephen King.

Leonard often cited Ernest Hemingway as perhaps his single most important influence, but at the same time criticized Hemingway for his lack of humor and for taking himself too seriously. It was because of Leonard’s affection for Hemingway, as well as George V. Higgins, that he chose the University of South Carolina, where many of Hemingway’s and Higgin’s papers are archived, as the home for his personal papers. Leonard’s archives reside at the University of South Carolina’s Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns, then turned his talents to crime fiction. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, he’s written about two dozen novels, most of them bestsellers, such as Glitz, Get Shorty,Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch.  Unlike most genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously by the literary crowd.

What’s Leonard’s secret to being both popular and respectable? Perhaps you’ll find some clues in his 10 tricks for good writing:

  1.  Never open a book with weather.
  2.  Avoid prologues.
  3.  Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4.  Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
  5.  Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6.  Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7.  Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8.  Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9.  Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10.  Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

via Wikipedia

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