Take a Chance on Me

And it’s done. I turned the manuscript of The Book That Would Never Be Finished last night in to my editor, and now all I have to do is write an essay due by the end of the month whilst I wait on edits on three, count ’em, three, manuscripts. Huzzah! I cannot even begin to express to you, Constant Reader, how absolutely delightful it is to be finished with that. I am torn as to whether it is any good or not–like I am whenever I turn in a manuscript–maybe someday that sense of being an absolute phony who’s managed to fool people into thinking I am a writer will go away…and yet, over thirty books in print later, not so much.

Heavy heaving sigh.

Someday. I keep telling myself that someday I will be more confident about my writing.

Heavy heaving sigh.

I did finish reading Harlan Ellison’s “Grail” last night, and enjoyed it. It’s a very good story; I don’t think it has the emotional impact of his best stories–then again, maybe if I’d had the time to read it all the way through in one sitting, it might have–but it’s quite enjoyable.

Years later, when he was well into young adulthood, Christopher Caperton write about it in the journal he had begun to keep when he turned twenty-one. The entry had everything to do with the incident, though he had totally forgotten it.

What he wrote was this: The great tragedy of my life is that in my search for the Holy Grail everyone calls True Love, I see myself as Zorro, a romantic and mysterious highwayman–and the women I desire see me as Porky Pig.

The incident lost to memory that informed his observation had taken place fourteen years earlier, in 1953 when he was thirteen years old.

During a Halloween party from which chaperoning adults had been banished, it was suggested that the boys and girls play a kissing game called “flashlight.” All the lights were turned off, everyone paired up, and one couple held a flashlight. If you were caught kissing when the flashlight was turned on you, then it became your turn to hold and flash while others had free rein to neck and fondle in the dark.

Aside: does anyone still say ‘neck/necking’ in reference to making out?

“Grail” is just that; Christopher spends the rest of his life looking for the holiest of Holy Grails, True Love–which isn’t, as one might think, about finding the right person, but is actually a thing, an object; he traces it and spends his entire life on the quest for it. It’s an allegory of sorts, but as always, Ellison’s writing and characterization is superb. I do recommend this story; it’s in his collection Stalking the Nightmare.

I also realized last night, in my excited frenzy about finishing the book, that I actually have Laura Lippman’s short story collection, Hardly Knew Her, and even better, I have not read it (although I’ve read some of the stories already, in other collections), and I literally rubbed my hands together in glee. I will be reading one of those stories today, to discuss tomorrow.

Life is good.

And in honor of the quest for True Love depicted in “Grail”, here’s a sexy Cupid for you.

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