Archive for April 11th, 2007


I have mentioned in a number of places that my current favorite TV show is NCIS, which is on on Tuesday evenings. The medical details of autopsy gross me out, but I absolutely love the interplay among all the characters, especially the Mark Harmon and David McCallum characters (i.e., my generation) with their four much younger colleagues.

Last night’s episode was about one of the younger characters who leads a shadow life as a writer. He has already published one novel, and is working on a second; and someone was going around bumping off real-life people who were the models for characters in his second book. What was unnerving to him was that no one, he thought, had yet seen any drafts for the second book — it turned out he had an obsessed fan who was going through his trash and reading his typewriter ribbons to get an idea of what the second book would be about, and was trying to “protect” the main character, based on Agent McGee, from anyone he thought was trying to “off” him. (Slight anomaly here: The character, McGee, creates his books on a manual typewriter. Anyone who has used manual typewriters, which is what I learned on, knows that those ribbons were used over and over and over — there’s no way you could read anything off those puppies. Apparently the scriptwriters were thinking of old electric typewriters that used to have single-use ribbons!)

Anyway, what was so interesting to me was listening to McGee describe his creative process, the way the characters took over his life, the way he couldn’t predict the end of his novel because he didn’t know what it was yet, the way the characters tell their own story, and he just writes it down. Then there were the little quirks, the manual typewriter, the jazz he uses to jump-start his writing (I have to write by hand in a certain size notebook, for crying out loud). I found myself nodding like a bobble-head at everything McGee was saying, and I thought: Yes, that’s exactly what happens to me! I guess I am a writer, after all! 😀

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