Saturday morning in the Lost Apartment and I finally slept well last night, and I even slept in for an extra two hours this morning. I could have easily (and gladly) stayed in bed for even longer, but I have too much to get done this weekend to allow myself to slovenly lay in bed for the entire morning, so once Scooter’s outrage about not being fed at six a.m. manifested itself into non-stop yowling, I got up and fed him. I feel very rested today, which is lovely. I was tired and dragging all day yesterday, and when I finished work I had things to get done. Paul and I ran out to Costco for a restocking (I hate that sometimes they have stuff and sometimes they don’t; they didn’t have several key things I always get when I go) and then I picked up the mail and a prescription. I need to get gas this weekend as well as make groceries, and the tires need to be aired up as well (the low pressure light came on in Alabama last weekend, but only one tire was low and it wasn’t officially low; it was simply lower than the other three tires), and there’s all kinds of other things I need to get done this weekend. I am editing a manuscript which needs to get finished this weekend; I’d like to do a little more work on my own manuscript; and I would absolutely love to finish reading Lori Roy’s brilliant Let Me Die in His Footsteps this weekend as well. It’s seem rather daunting when it’s put that way, but I am confident that not only can I get all of it completed but without driving myself insane, either.
Always a plus!
We watched The Boston Strangler film on Hulu last night (after an episode of Somebody Somewhere, which I am really growing fond of), and it was quite good. It focused on the two women reporters who figured out there was an actual serial killer and did all the pursuing of the case, all the while tweaking the police who were falling down on the job and forcing them to actually do their work. I wasn’t old enough when the killings were actually happening, but my dad had a copy of Gerold Frank’s The Boston Strangler and I did read that, as well as watched the Tony Curtis film version of the story when it was released to the television networks after its theatrical run. I don’t really remember much of reading the book, other than one landlady who was certain one of her tenants was the Strangler, and the story kept coming back to her and her suspicions. That always stayed with me over the years (what if your tenant/neighbor was a serial killer and you started to suspect? which became my story “The Carriage House”–yes, Virginia, that story gestated in my head for nearly fifty years before I wrote it) and to this day I still remember how chilling that was and how much I worried for the landlady. (It’s also the plot of the ancient Hitchcock film The Lodger, in which the landlady suspected her tenant was Jack the Ripper.)
I was thinking yesterday about the entry I wrote yesterday morning and the way I was/have been feeling for quite some time, and I realized that I’ve been a very passive participant in life; I’ve been kind of letting it happen to me for a while now rather than living my life actively. I don’t know if it’s exhaustion, both physical and emotional, or a reaction to trauma; or maybe, perhaps, even both. The last few years have been rough on everyone; I don’t think we’ll ever know the full extent of the trauma we all experienced as a result of that paradigm shift back in March of 2020; the shutdown, the battles over what was responsible and what was irresponsible; the insanity of the anti-vaxxer movement and everything else that was just plain wrong over the last few years. I suppose for some of us the trauma goes back even further, to the 2016 election. But it’s kind of true. I think I was very active in my own life and the pursuance of goals before 2016, and ever since 2016 I’ve just been kind of coasting along, letting things happen instead of making them. As a general rule I don’t like coasting through life; it was the recognition that was what I was doing in my early thirties that led to the big changes in my life, which was followed by the achieving goals I had always dreamed about, since I was a little boy.
But roadblocks and speed bumps encountered aside, I think had I been able to look ahead twenty-one years when my first book was released to see where I am today, I’d have been pleased and thrilled and more than a little bit smug about what I’d accomplished. A character trait I’ve never wanted to have is arrogance, and I am always afraid of sounding arrogant when talking about myself and my career. I never want to sound arrogant or smug (well, unless I am dealing with haters, in which case I love giving rein to smug condescending arrogance), but over forty novels? Over twenty anthologies? Over fifty short stories? Fifteen Lambda nominations, and seven Anthonys in total? Nominations for the Macavity, the Shirley Jackson, the Lefty, and the Agatha? How could I not be satisfied and proud of myself?
As I was making room for the Costco purchases once we got home, I was putting some things up in the storage attic and needed to move a box, so I looked inside of it to see what it was. Clippings and things from my career, it turned out–once I carried the box down the ladder to the laundry room I could see I’d written Career Memorabilia on it in Sharpie–and inside was all kinds of things. Back issues of Lambda Book Report from the days when I was either its editor or did some writing for them (or when they were reviewing my work), and back issues of Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, too, along with Insightoutbook catalogues (what a serious blast from the past). Of course I had to bring that box down and keep it for sorting through and scanning purposes (I am serious about cleaning shit out of the storage attic this year), and hilariously found the September 2000 issue of Lambda Book Report, with Michael Thomas Ford on the cover. (Peering inside, I saw that Paul actually was the one who interviewed him!) Scanning all of this stuff will be a huge undertaking, and I do actually hate the thought of throwing it all out once it’s done; I don’t know if Lambda ever archived the back issues or not, so this may be all that’s left of it out there. Same with Insightoutbooks; it was very important and crucial to queer publishing between 2000 and when it went under sometime around 2009 or 2010 (that may be wrong; I also found an issue of LBR from 2008 or 2009, and I would have sworn under oath that LBR stopped publishing a print edition long before that. (You see why I no longer trust my memory? Mnemosyne no longer comes to my aid anymore these days, which is most unfortunate–and yes, the reason the goddess of memory comes to mind is because of Carol Goodman’s marvelous The Ghost Orchid–more to come on that score.)
But I also did some cleaning up and filing around here while I was making dinner (ravioli) last night, so this morning the office doesn’t look as bad as it usually does on Saturday morning; the sink is filled with dirty dishes and there’s a load in the dishwasher to put away, but more of the things I generally wind up doing Saturday morning are already done, so there’s no excuse for me not to be highly productive today other than malaise and laziness.
And on that note, I am going to get these minor chores handled while I keep drinking coffee and my mind finishes awakenening.