Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Ankle thing

I went to another set of doctors yesterday about this ankle thing. They think that it’s an attack of gout, and not a sprain. The more I think about it, maybe that’s true. I was sick for a week and severely dehydrated; there was a cold snap the night it happened; it’s red; I’ve had gout before. What is differrent about this is that it’s up in the joint of the ankle, and not in a toe. )

Anyway, they didn’t shoot the ankle full of cortisone, which is what I’d prefer, but I guess it’s not easy to do. Instead, they put me on Prednisone for the next ten days. At first, I thought they were going to put me on it forever, which I would not want to do at all. I guess ten days is fine, although the second I can jump up and down and walk with no braces or crutches, I’m stopping. I’ve heard nothing but horror stories about pred, and I don’t want to gain 200 pounds on a starvation diet or whatever else. The good news is that the swelling in the foot went down like 75% overnight. The bad news is that I slept about 75% less last night, even after taking sleeping pills. So this could become problematic. I’m also going through all of the usual gout cures – ate a bowl of cherries, drinking cherry juice and a shitload of water, putting on an icepack now and again. My goal is to be somewhat functional by the weekend, or at least on just a cane.

Yesterday was my first good writing day in a while. This weekend I totally figured out how the second and third thirds of the books could happen – it all came to me in the shower, so I hobbled out, dried off, and wrote about eight pages of notes. (I always get my best ideas in the shower. Probably over half of Rumored to Exist was thought up in the shower. I need a waterproof computer in there.) So Monday was a day of not much progress, but a lot of shuffling and moving and outlining and that sort of thing. Yesterday was my first 2000-word day on this book since New York. And today was a quick 2000 words. If I could write 2000 words a day, five days a week, I would be much happier in life.

The only weird thing about my plot is that I totally thought of it and wrote it, and then that night I saw The Departed and some of the plot was similar. I mean, the story, the characters, the setting, all different. But just the outline, the way the pieces come together, bore some vague resemblance to what I was doing. This didn’t piss me off – I take it as a good omen. Truthfully, I rip off so many little things from other books and movies here, it’s not even funny. Like I rip off the idea from Total Recall that in the very beginning, a character tells the protagonist exactly what’s going to happen for the rest of the movie/book, and then you forget all about it, and then at the end, you realize, “Hey, that dude at Recall tells the whole story five minutes in!”

I actually watched Total Recall yesterday, just because I haven’t seen it in a while. It’s weird how it is both really good and really bad. I mean, Ahnold can’t act, and he always makes that same “AAAAGH” sound constantly. All of the characters are very stereotypical, and some of the sets and effects are very hokey. On the other hand, this was like the last big-action movie to be done without any CGI, which makes it one of those weird delineating marks. It’s like the last Ford car with a flathead engine, or the last year of the Harley with the Shovelhead engine. So it looks shitty, but it’s nostalgic. And I guess the thing about the movie is that it has this really twisting plot, and even after you watch it, you say “wait, was it all a dream?”

Anyway, I should get back to it…

P.S. Random Colorado observation of the day: often, a sealed package of food or condiment or whatever will somehow become super-pressurized by the time it gets to 5280 feet. Like, I have this little package of carrots and ranch sauce, and the thing of ranch sauce is bulging at the seams. Typically, I don’t think of this and open it, and ranch sauce explodes all over me. I think this also happens on airplanes, or maybe they package the salad dressing at a lower temperature or whatever.