Blog Mississippi book

The difficult second album

Monday, November 28, 2005

So you might have been wondering what’s happening with the second book, the follow-up to The Accidental Pilgrim. You’re not the only one – I’ve had to tell my Dad to stop asking about it, because it upsets me to have to report every week that I’ve done nothing on it for months.

But I’ve finally sorted out some time to stop being a full-time half-time web designer, and take a look at what I’ve got, and what I want to do with it.

And it’s not a pretty sight. I feel like a rock band settling down to make their second album: the first was well-received, but since then everything’s changed and they’re not sure what the hell’s going on.

First, some back story. I cycled all the way down the Mississippi in the summer of 2003, just before I got married. The decision to go down the river was partly one of expediency, and starting it I was underprepared and less than completely enthused. Cycling across Europe had at least ended up as a sort of a pilgrimmage; this felt like a business trip.

The whole thing was a bit of a slog, and I didn’t enjoy it that much. I saw some interesting stuff, and had a few scrapes and adventures, but my heart wasn’t really in it. So not a great start.

Then back in Dublin after we got married, I never really got down to the writing. I was working 4 days a week, and never found (or wanted to find) the time to devote to it. The Accidental Pilgrim came out around then, so my extra-curricular activities were devoted to going on TV3’s Morning Ireland, or talking to Marian Finucane or whatever.

Moving to Santa Fe finally freed up time to write – while I was waiting for my work permit – and I dashed out a first draft in the summer and autumn of last year. I wasn’t really happy with it, but at least it was a start.

That I promptly ignored for a year – I started Moore Consulting, got busy, and then Fionnuala arrived. Since then, Buendia and I have each been working half-time running our respective businesses, so it’s taken until now to grab some space to think about it.

All of which sounds like a string of excuses and self-justifications for inactivity. Writers write – and even within some pretty tight constraints I could have done a lot more. But my sense of why I didn’t gets to the heart of the problem – I’m just not that excited about the project as it stands.

Expediency is not a great well to draw from if you’re looking fo creativity, and wanting to write another book was more important to me than wanting to write this book. So now I’ve got a first draft I’m not that excited about, on the subject of a trip I wasn’t that excited about in the first place.

But there’s some good stuff there, and I’m keen to turn into something I actually like. So now I’m batting around all sorts of unlikely ideas – fictionalize it, turn it into a performance piece, or a series of essays, or set fire to the whole lot . . .

What’s crucial is that I find a way to turn this amorphous bunch of stuff into something I’m interested in working on. Cranking out the Accidental Pilgrim 2 by rote won’t really cut it. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Posted by David in • Mississippi book

Blog News

Exploring the lesser-known parts of New Mexico

Thursday, November 17, 2005

off the road websiteI don’t normally talk about work stuff over here – there’s plenty of room for that on the Moore Consulting site – but I though you might be interested in the latest site I’ve built for the NM economic development department.

Off the Road is “a transparently opinionated website focusing on shopping and dining in the downtowns of all 21 New Mexico MainStreet communities. Here, we show you where to find bargain collectables, a cute pair of shoes, or a piping-hot plate of green chile enchiladas – all from locally owned businesses found on main streets, town squares, and plazas across New Mexico.”

There are slideshow and a quiz to tell you where you should visit based on your personality, and with the help of my friend Dana, the design has a suitably quirky feel that I couldn’t have managed on my own. 

Posted by David in • News

Arts reviews Blog

‘Arrested Development’ arrested

Monday, November 14, 2005

Say it isn’t so. Fox have cancelled what I have no hesitation in saying is the funniest TV comedy I’ve ever seen – ‘Arrested Development’.

I came late to the party – the show is starting its third season (one that it won’t finish), and we started watching part of the way through the second – but it’s innovative and flat out hilarious.

It’s been honored with Emmys, and lauded by the critics, but it seems the viewing figures at the beginning of this season were poor. I partly blame baseball. Having moved the show from Sundays to Mondays, Fox then broadcast most of the playoff and World Series games, essentially wrecking the schedule for a month.

When things returned to normal last week with 2 back-to-back episodes, the viewing figures were down (unsurprisingly, as no-one knew where to find the show any more).

So to avoid losing viewers for ‘Prison Break’, which follows, they canned Arrested Development.

The only bright spot is that there are 40-odd episodes so I’d recommend doing what we’re doing: working through them at your own pace, and savouring the fantastic scripts and great acting.

Get ‘em while they’re hot (and if you’re in the UK or Ireland, just hope Channel 4 or someone still buys the episodes that did get made):

Posted by David in • Arts reviews

Blog Santa Fe and New Mexico

The day the (gospel) music died

Sunday, November 06, 2005

dining utensilsOne of the problems of living in a tourist town like Santa Fe (and especially having an office downtown) is that there are precious few places for locals to eat in the heart of things.

And this situation has been made worse by the closure of Carlos’ Gosp’l Cafe, a regular stop on our lunctime circuit. No more Miles Standish sandwiches for us, and it’s goodbye to the green chile turkey melt.

Aside from the Subway and the underwhelming and slightly overpriced Plaza Cafe, the pickings are slim for a cheap quick fill up (if you want upscale dining, that’s a different story, and there are enough cafes to keep you in lattes – it’s just the space in the middle we’re lacking).

The good news is that there are excellent locals’ options a little further away from downtown: Harry’s, Dave’s, Counter Culture, Cloudcliff . . . If any of these establishments were magically transported to Dublin, they’d wipe the floor with almost every place you can think of.

But getting to them means driving, and one of the attractions of life here is the smallscale nature of downtown life. Except if you’re hungry.

UPDATE: The Santa Fe Reporter (situated even closer to Carlos’ Gosp’l than our office is) ran a cover story on the subject, entitled ’Requiem for a Sandwich

Posted by David in • Santa Fe and New Mexico