Monday and back to the office with me this morning. Woo-hoo! The excitement never stops, does it? I slept pretty well last night–well enough to not want to get up this morning–and so feel a bit groggy this morning. I’m not certain how busy we’ll be at work today, but I am hoping it will be an easy day. Yesterday wasn’t a bad dat; I managed to make progress on the book, got some things done around the house, and we watched the new Arnold Schwarzenegger Netflix show FUBAR, which was entertaining enough. In some ways, the show almost feels like a sequel to True Lies, in which he played a spy whose wife had no idea what he actually did for a living. This show takes that premise to its next logical conclusion, should the wife never find out she’s married to a spy. It had some funny moments, has a really good cast, and high production values. This week the Vanderpump Rules final reunion episode airs, but some of my shows–Ted Lasso, sob–are completed. Not sure what we will be watching next–I imagine I’ll be watching the Randall scandal documentary (more Vanderpump Rules drama) at some point, but not terribly sure that’s something Paul will want to watch.
I didn’t read a lot this weekend; the little writing I was able to do, along with other miniscule irritations over the course of the weekend, managed to tire out my brain to the point where being able to focus on reading wasn’t likely. Progress is progress, after all, and maybe I’m a bit behind my usual schedule, or the one I was trying to keep with it, but it will get completed on time, methinks.
I have my dates and everything all screwed up again; I keep thinking it’s later in June than it actually is. Part of that has to do with the usual “working on a book so not paying attention to dates” thing I inevitably get caught up in, and I imagine the rest has to do with the year being very off-balance for me thus far. I handed over MWA in the middle of January, whilst in the midst of revising two of my own books while editing another, and then Mom died and then it was the festivals and then Malice and now suddenly it’s June, which doesn’t seem real–and I am going back up north the last week of this month. I’d wanted to take a week off this summer just to work on things around the house–purging the attic, for one, and doing a deep, thorough cleaning for another–but looks like that time is going to be burnt being there for my dad. There are, of course, worse things to burn off your vacation time with; and it’s nice feeling closer to my father. I just hate the reason behind it, you know?
At least the Internet is continuing to work for me at home. (Probably just jinxed that.)
It apparently rained overnight; part of the reason I slept so well, probably, and so today is one of those weird mornings where it feels cool because the humidity hasn’t fully recharged yet from the rain.
I’m also trying to decide what my next Pride month entry should be. I’ve got a couple already going–one about being confronted by homophobia within the mystery publishing community–but I find myself hesitant to post it because of not wanting to be “that gay”, which is stupid. If I don’t call out homophobia where and when I see it, I am contributing to the problem. I guess I should be a little less concerned with hurting people’s feelings, or something? I don’t know. But I am heading into the spice mines this morning, and will check in with you later. Maybe there will be a “homophobia in crime fiction” entry posted later, you never know…but one thing for sure, I will be back tomorrow morning.
Sunday morning and things went about as well as could be expected yesterday. Friday evening I had some items delivered from Sam’s Club, but hadn’t noticed that one of the items ordered actually had to be shipped; it arrived this morning here at the Lost Apartment. And while I was waiting for my Cox cable technician to arrive (I rearranged the entire morning to accommodate their 10-12 am window), I got a text message at 11:30 informing me that my appointment was cancelled; then came the email stating we know things happen! Reach out and reschedule! I reached out, only to be told that the technician arrived, called, got voicemail, and departed DESPITE MY HAVING GIVEN THE SAME INSTRUCTIONS I ALWAYS GIVE: OUR BUZZER DOESN’T WORK SO YOU HAVE TO CALL OR TEXT WHEN YOU ARRIVE.
Also, I had my phone with me all morning, so I wouldn’t miss the call. No one called, I have no recents, and I have no voicemails.
This obviously threw me off my game yesterday for writing, but I did get some done. I am a bit behind on the schedule I’d given myself, but I think it’s going to go relatively easily from now on. I ran some errands, came home, got cleaned up, and dove into the writing. I wasn’t really able to shake off the mood, so after struggling for a few hours to get the chapter done, I called it a day and repaired to my easy chair. Needing to cleanse my soul, I did a rewatch binge of the first episodes of Ted Lasso, which are even more charming on rewatch because you get to see all the callbacks you might have forgotten about later in the run of the show, like Keeley acknowledging that she “dated a 23 year old footballer when she was seventeen, only now I’m thirty and I’m still dating 23 year old footballers” while talking to Rebecca. You can almost see the light come on in her eyes–what the hell am I doing–which kind of opens the door for her breaking up with Jamie later. Even though they don’t know each other well, she recognizes that it’s time for her to grow-up and start thinking about her own future, while talking to Rebecca–which is the first building block in their close friendship. Then later, when Paul was finished working for the day we watched Bama Rush, which was kind of disappointing. Originally focusing on four girls about to go through sorority rush at the University of Alabama–which I guess is this viral thing on TikTok–it got a bit derailed with the director started seeing similarities in behavior of the girls planning to go through rush as she went through being a lifelong alopecia sufferer…which could have been made a lot more interesting, but I always thought the point of a documentary was the director didn’t make themselves a part of the story? I think the point she was trying to make was valid, but the way the documentary was a edited together simply didn’t work. The focus shifted, and it derailed after that.
But Jesus God in heaven, those sorority houses in Tuscaloosa! The fraternity houses! They’re enormous. I had kind of figured Greek life at universities would be declining, given how old-fashioned and restrictive they can be, especially sororities–and this newer younger generation doesn’t seem as interested as preserving traditions and institutions as previous ones were, but Bama Rush showed me things I didn’t know…that “Rush Consultant” is actually a career, for one thing…and the documentary only briefly touched on the Machine, a supposedly secret society made up of representatives from every fraternity and sorority that controls everything at the University. (I kind of love that shit; I’ve long been an admirer of Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline, which kind of touched on that kind of thing.)
Today I am going to get shit done. Later this morning I am going to make a very brief and short grocery run to the Rouse’s in the CBD, and then I am coming home to spend the rest of the day writing and reading. I didn’t read yesterday, which was a bit disappointing; I’d hoped to finish reading my current book this weekend so I could move along to Megan Abbott’s new one; but anticipation is always lovely, and perhaps I can get along to that next week. One can always hope, can’t one?
But I feel rested and awake this morning. My back and legs are a bit tight and sore, so I think I’m to use that massage roller thing for my back and maybe do some stretching (which I should do every day) to see how it feels. I am planning on getting a chapter finished, maybe doing some reading, and then making my grocery run so I can come back and do more writing. I need to write most of the day, to make up for the last couple of days of irritation and aggravation that kept me out of the proper mindset.
My mind has been all over the place this week, which is weird, but also kind of normal for me. Whenever I am in the weeds with a book my mind goes off in all kinds of directions and produces all manner of thoughts and ideas. I started writing several other entries yesterday, specifically for Pride Month and specifically about being gay–sometimes about being a gay author and what that’s like; I always forget that people never really quite grasp or understand what it’s like to be a queer writer in an intolerant country, of what it feels like to be othered by every community in which you try to find a place where you belong. I’ve never wanted to be THAT gay; the one constantly having to remind people of what is and isn’t homophobia, and is always having to point it out and teach straight people about what it’s like. It’s exhausting, frankly, and sometimes the well-meaning ignorance is highly offensive, but you know they don’t mean it that way so you push down the offense and ignore it while calmly trying to explain to the person why they can’t say or do that…while also not trying to hurt their feelings (although had they put even the tiniest bit of thought into it, would have never said anything offensive in the first place). It’s exhausting having to see trash equate your sexuality with pedophilia and grooming on a daily basis. It’s exhausting having to constantly have to defend your right to exist, having to constantly prove you’re a human being worthy of being treated the same as everyone else…
The mental health of queer people is always under constant assault.
And on that note, I am going to get some more coffee and start working. Either on the book, or on one of these Pride entries. I can’t decide which. We’ll see. Anyway, enjoy your Sunday, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again tomorrow.
Every gay man of a certain age knows all the lyrics to that song–and can (and will) belt it out while on the dance floor. The minute that piano intro begins coming through the speakers is one of those moments when everyone in the bar pauses and makes the “wooooo” sound as the dance floor fills. One year during Southern Decadence we stopped into the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen for lunch. Every table had a rainbow flag on it, which was cool. One of my friends picked up the flag and started raising it while singing “I Will Survive” because it was, in his words, “the gay national anthem.” I laughed really hard–we all did–but it also stuck in my head. That was in 1995, and almost thirty years later I always hear the opening piano riff and think ah, the gay national anthem! All rise!
I also always smile when I remember it.
Being queer in America means surviving, adapting a protective coloring, as it were, so that you could pass without question during your work life (or people might question it, but not to your face). The one nice thing about being a gay man is the fact that, in theory, we can navigate through the world and “pass”; there are very few of us that someone can look at and think, definitively and definitely, without question oh he’s a homo. I have never thought i presented as particularly masculine; certainly when I was a child other kids sniffed it out about me. I don’t know if that means they had some sort of “bullying gaydar” operating at a high level, or if I was so obviously gay that it was noticeable. (I’ve always wondered.) The way we think other people see us is so vastly different from how they actually do see us; none of my friends were either surprised or shocked when I came out to them at long last. I think that’s part of the reason “I Will Survive” is a gay anthem; for one thing it’s extremely adaptable, for another it’s defiant–oh no, bitch, YOU’RE not bringing me and my life down–(has anyone ever done a study about why gay men are drawn to Black women singers with powerful voices?) and that’s a message all gay men can easily identify with: survival. Back in the day we used to have to develop powerful camouflage (no, I never did) and keep the gay personal life and the non-gay professional life divided by a clear line of demarcation.
That’s why going to gay bars was so important for so many of us; the ability to have a place where you could unabashedly be yourself amongst other people like you was so freeing, so life affirming. After I left the travel industry, I was tired of working for straight businesses and having to play down who I was. I was tired of two separate lives, so after I made the decision to leave that job, start working as a personal trainer and focus my energies on writing, I also made the conscious choice to not ever work in a straight office environment ever again. The gyms I worked at were different, despite being owned and operated by straight people, because I never spent a lot of time there. I came in, trained my clients or did my own workout, and then bailed to come home to write. I have not really had a job in the straight world ever since, managing to work in queer spaces most of my life since.
With the community so hatefully under attack again, it takes me back to those olden days before Lawrence v. Texas was decided; when our sex lives made us criminals. I cannot emphasize this enough–before Lawrence, any time any member of my community indulged in sexual relations, they were breaking the law. Our very existence was outlawed. Legally, it was okay to be gay so long as you never acted on it. Which was very similar to the “don’t ask don’t tell” thing, or the strictures passed along by religious hierarchies to their memberships about being queer–it’s okay, as long as you never act on it. Hate the sin, love the sinner–that whole nonsensical thing that automatically relegates all queer people to a lower level existence in society.
Last night we watched the Amazon Prime documentary series on the Duggar family and their entire religious cult (not based in anything scriptural or Christian, really), Shiny Happy People, and it’s actually very chilling. I never watched their show, but it was during the time that TLC went from The Learning Channel to Touching Little Children; the Duggars anchored the channel’s reality program about abusive religious cults that demeaned women and celebrated over-fertility; it was around this same time TLC began promoting and broadcasting shows about beauty pageants for little girls–essentially, the sexualization of little girls for trophies and checks and tiaras. So, on the one hand they had shows with the Duggars and other families like them–abusive cults where children are often molested and it’s covered up–while also promoting and publicizing the sexualization of little girls in shows like Toddlers and Tiaras. Add in the fact that Josh Duggar–the predator groomed by his parents to be a predator–was going to work for the religious zealots known as the American Family Association (long known for it’s homophobia and misogyny) and pursuing a career in politics as a right-wing zealot and homophobe with direct ties to the Huckabee family, including Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (An unholy alliance forged in hell that no one talks about at all anymore. I’d ask that bitch at every press conference if she and her father condoned the Duggars covering up their son’s molestation of children, including his sisters, and why they never spoke out against the Duggars, and just how close were the two families?)
The sheer misogyny of their beliefs and values–women have no value outside of the home and bearing children; if a male molests girls he is to be protected and the girls sacrificed–and women must obey their husband who is also their Lord and Master.
And they call queers perverts?
Take the sty from thy own eye, evangelicals. Seriously. But thank you, Amazon Prime, for releasing this documentary during Pride Month; let’s remind everyone of how foul homophobes are on every level.
The Internet saga continues. It was out when I got home from the office yesterday, and so Cox is coming out again this morning. If this continues to be an issue, we are definitely going to switch providers. There’s a local company our landlady uses that works well, and of course, since they’re local they are a lot easier to deal with–no text or on-line conversations with “support staff” needed. It eventually came back on after a couple of hours, but I am really getting terribly sick of this shit, you know? I have things to do today and messing with Cox isn’t helpful. Ah, well, there are worse things. I want to work on the book today, I need to run some errands, and I want to get some reading done–I want to finish the book I am reading and enjoying so I can move on to the new Megan Abbott, which I cannot wait to read.
And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely Saturday and I’ll check back in with you later.
Thursday and my last day in the office for the week. Huzzah? Huzzah. I do have to go into the office ungodly early for a department meeting, but that’s okay. I may just have to swing by Five Guys on my way home as a weekend treat. WHY NOT? Why not indeed.
Yesterday was similar to the day before; I didn’t feel tired but I also didn’t feel rested. We were busy at work all day, too, which was cool; the day always passes faster if we’re busy. I was very tired when I got home, worked on the book and knocked off another chapter, then we settled in to watch the finale of Ted Lasso, which was simply marvelous; I am going to watch it again (I cried a lot of the way through it, not ashamed to admit it) and was enormously satisfied with the ending. There will be another, more in depth conversation about the show to come at some point, when I’ve had more of a chance to digest it. I see that there are some people who aren’t happy with it–but it hit every note for me perfectly. Did I get everything I wanted in the end? Of course not, but that was never going to happen, and I am very grateful I found the show (thanks again to Alafair Burke, who told me I’d love it in the first place and she was right). I’ll miss AFC Richmond, but…am grateful that I got to know them all. It was simply magic.
We also watched a George Michael documentary–not the one Paul wanted to watch, alas; we’ll watch that one tonight–and then I had to catch up on the Vanderpump Rules reunion, which was hilarious and fun and reality gold. I also loved that almost every commercial break featured a commercial with Ariana Madix, who is having probably the best revenge tour in the history of reality television.
I slept well last night, and this morning I feel rested and awake and ready to go; first time this week, alas, but what can you do? The book is progressing nicely; I may even have time to revise it one more time before it’s due to be turned in. I have a big weekend coming; a weekend of writing and reading (I want to finish Chris Clarkson’s marvelous That Summer Night on Frenchmen Street so I can move on to the new Megan Abbott) and cleaning. I want to get the car washed this weekend and vacuumed out, I need to get moving on the scanning project, and I should get another box down from the attic to go through. I need to drop books off at the library sale on Saturday, too. Sounds like I am going to need a to-do list specific for the weekend, doesn’t it? I’m also going to have some things delivered, I think, on Saturday.
I feel good this morning, about everything, which is lovely. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when I sleep well, isn’t it? And on that note, I am heading back into the spice mines. Have a lovely Friday Eve, everyone!
Memorial Day Monday, and here we are. Ordinarily I would already be at the office and working, instead I find myself resting and at home and up later than usual swilling coffee. Ironically, after having such a terrible day on Saturday, I rallied for a marvelous Sunday. The Cox guy was much earlier than scheduled (and we now have a modern, working, full strength and much faster modem; our old one was the one we got when we moved back into this apartment in 2006, I think? We must have had wireless because there was no way to get a line up to Paul’s computer, right?), and even before he arrive I managed to get back on track with the book and tear through a significant section. I am feeling a bit more confident about the book as I go; it’s taking shape nicely and it’s super nice to be cutting out extraneous bits. It’s also interesting to see how often I repeat myself, or explain the same thing repeatedly in chapter after chapter. I also finished reading Lori Roy’s Let Me Die in His Footsteps, which was marvelous (more on that later) and I picked out my next read (more on that later). It was a nice day, really, over all, and I couldn’t have been more smug and self-satisfied as I took myself up to bed last night had I tried. I also managed to relax some. We finished watching a true crime documentary called How to Create a Sex Scandal, which was utterly horrifying, moved on to the new Shazam movie (which was terrible, really terrible) and then started watching this insanely funny animated series called Chicago Party Aunt, which is so much funnier than I ever could have dared to dream. I slept well and woke up earlier than expected this morning, but I decided to go ahead and get up anyway.
I am so relieved about the new modem, you have no idea. And because the cords are longer, it no longer has to sit on the end table; it can reach to sit on top of the bookcase behind my easy chair, so Scooter won’t be knocking it off the table anymore. (Yes, not only was our modem old as dirt, it was regularly knocked off the table by Scooter. That thing really took a beating, and it’s a miracle it lasted as long as it did). My computer and the Apple TV do seem to be much faster, which is also always a lovely plus. And being up this early means I can get this finished and spend some time in my easy chair reading That Summer Night on Frenchmen Street by Chris Clarkson, which I am really looking forward to enjoying before I start work for the day. There’s also a bit of a mess in the apartment from things having to get moved around and so forth, so I will need to do some touching up around here today while I work on the book. And of course, tomorrow it’s back to the spice mines for a shorter than normal work week, which is cool.
I also feel a slight bit out of sorts this morning. I’m not sure what it is; if it’s getting up early or what, but nothing a shower and a shave can’t take care of, I am sure. I also need to start archiving files to make more room for new files. I suppose a lot of stuff in the filing cabinet can be moved into an archive of sorts; I am beginning to wonder if I really do need to keep all this shit. Of course, I could just scan old contracts and so forth and dispose of the physical copies at some point. Do I really need to keep short story contracts from twenty years ago? Probably not, and likewise, I don’t think I need tax returns that are over seven years old, either. I’ve become such a pack rat, which is really not in my best interests or the best interests of the apartment, for that matter. Maybe the goal for the rest of the year is to slowly but surely get rid of all this paper. And of course I can always stand to shed more books.
Last night I was scrolling through my Kindle app on my iPad and realizing what a plethora of treasures are there in my app. I am a sucker for those ninety-nine cent or dollar ninety-nine sales on ebooks; I generally will buy the ebook copy of something I have in a print copy so I can happily donate the print copy once I’ve finished reading it (I still prefer to read in a physical form). There’s also all kinds of great research materials in there, too. At least ebooks don’t take up a lot of room in the Lost Apartment, you know? I also, through cleaning more thoroughly, have come across a lot of my COVID masks–I’d been wondering where they’d all gone; and I only found like five of them; I had many many more. I suppose I can throw the majority of them away, although I may take to wearing one again during cold/flu season in the clinic. I’ve only gotten a cold/flu once during the past three years, and it was kind of nice, you know? That was due to the masking and constant hand-washing, and I’ve allowed myself to go slack on that.
All right, on that note I am going to bring this to a close so I can head into the spice mines for today. Have a lovely Memorial Day, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again later.
Saturday morning of a three day weekend and how lovely is that? Thank you, whoever made the effort to give us Memorial Day as a national holiday; this lowly worker is eternally grateful for any extra paid time off. I intend to work this entire weekend; nose firmly affixed to grindstone and butt glued to shabby and disheveled desk chair whilst fingers move rapidly over the keyboard. Yesterday after work I was too tired–more on that later–to do much of anything other than mindless chores, and while doing those mindless chores another integral part of how to improve the book came to me; shortly thereafter, while putting away clean dishes another tumbril fell into place; so my entire weekend’s worth of writing just popped into my head. How incredibly lucky am I? Terribly, shockingly so.
Paul and I watched the Being Mary Tyler Moore documentary on MAX (which always makes me think of Carol Burnett doing Nora Desmond on her old variety show) last night and it was quite interesting. We forget how recently it was that The Mary Tyler Moore Show was breaking new ground; it was during my lifetime. Saturday night television on CBS when I was a kid was the ultimate must-see television; a three hour block of comedy of such high quality it may never have been equaled since. I loved her show; I loved the cast, and it still holds up today, despite how much things have changed, culturally and socially, in the decades since it went off the air after seven glorious seasons. There was a time when Paul was between jobs here in New Orleans when he became addicted to reruns of both it and Rhoda (when I was a kid I didn’t much care for Rhoda, despite having loved her character on the original show. As an adult, I found it much funnier than I ever had as a kid; not sure why that made a difference other than that it did), and I was amazed at how well the show held up.
It’s also interesting thinking about that period of my life (the 1970s) again–because it’s been on my mind. There’s an idea formulating in the back of my head; a crime novel told from a twelve year old’s perspective set in the suburbs in 1975. I’ve thought about it a lot lately. I had the original idea sometime back early in the pandemic, when I was going through my true crime documentary phase of condom-packing back in the day. It comes back to me now and again, and lately it’s been coming to me with more and more regularity, which means it will probably be the next book after the ones already in progress are completed and out of my hair. I have no idea when that might actually be, but I have a great title for it, and images keep dancing in and out of my head. I know the crime and how my POV character becomes involved in it, but I am not sure of much else of the rest–the flashes are bits and pieces of story and scene that I start filling in, in a journal or in a notebook. I already have the file for it made, too.
I have so many files. I am swimming in files. Buried in files, to the point where between the computer files and the physical files I may never ever be able to organize or get rid of any of them. It seems like I am constantly having to find room for more files in places. Heavy heaving sigh.
But I slept deeply and well and even later than yesterday morning, so that’s a very good thing. I have to run a couple of errands today and I have all kinds of writing to get done today, which should go easier this morning because of all the thinking I did last night. We’ll see, I suppose, is the best way to look at it. But as I mentioned, I have to get the mail and stop at the grocery store for a few things (so irritating, really), and so I am hoping after that to be able to dive headfirst into the book so I can reach my daily goal for the weekend. Paul will probably be out most of the afternoon, as usual on Saturdays (he meets his trainer at noon, and then either goes to the office or rides the bike for another few hours) so I have no excuse for not being productive today. Once I finish this I am going to go sit in my chair for a little while and read (I want to finish Lori Roy’s marvelous Let Me Die in His Footsteps at long last this weekend; I cannot believe how long it’s taken me to finish something that I really am enjoying and have been itching to get back to. Lori is one of my favorite writers of the last ten years; not one of her novels have ever disappointed me…but more on that when I finish the book and talk about it on here), and then will head out to the errands around noonish. I want to read for about an hour or so before writing, and then running the errands in order to come back home and write for a while. I may even pick up grocery store sushi (don’t judge me) so I don’t have to be concerned about lunch, either. I may make shrimp creole for dinner, too; I need to do something with that leftover celery. I also cleaned out the refrigerator a bit yesterday as well–should finish that over the weekend, too.
The reason I was so fatigued and drained yesterday was because I got to do that ZOOM interview with Margot Douaihy yesterday, and so I spent a good hour researching her on-line, digging through the book for references, and of course trying to come up with good questions for her. I don’t know that I actually managed to come up with good questions, but when you’re working with someone as smart and talented and layered as Margot, it’s very easy for forty-five minutes to shoot by. I didn’t even get to all the questions I had for her; I looked at the time on my computer and realized we’d been going for three quarters of an hour, and had i continued asking questions we could have been there for the rest of the afternoon. That has always been my issue with interviews, really; whether ZOOM recordings or written ones, you can never get everything in that you want and there’s never enough space to be as thorough. I would love to do in-depth pieces on people like in Vanity Fair or Rolling Stone; I remember Ann Patchett telling Paul and I about having to fly to London on GQ’s dime to interview Liam Neeson or someone like that, and thinking man I would love to have that kind of opportunity. But it exhausted me mentally and physically, so I was very glad I had gotten all my work-at-home chores completed before it started because I was unable to do much of anything when it was finished. I did some chores–the dishes, finished laundering the bed linens, but other than that I was just in my chair letting my mind wander as I watched documentaries about history on Youtube.
And on that note, I think I’m going to make another cup of coffee and repair to the living room to read while my mind continues waking up. Have a lovely Saturday, Constant Reader, and I’ll talk to you again tomorrow or maybe even later today; one can never be certain.
And we have cycled around once again to work-at-home Friday. Huzzah? Huzzah.
I will be taking a short break from my work-at-home duties today to interview Margot Douaihy today for S&S’ Pride Month extravaganza. Ah, the terror of not sounding stupid when interviewing someone really smart and talented. Heavy heaving sigh. I will of course post a link to it when it goes live, so you can hear how smart she is and how much I fumble in interviews. Her Scorched Grace is probably the best debut novel you’re going to read this year, and I highly recommend it. It’s not too late to get a copy, either. (You can order it https://bookshop.org/p/books/scorched-grace-a-sister-holiday-mystery-margot-douaihy/18283014?ean=9781638930242–I don’t understand why this stupid site won’t let me do short hyperlinks like it used to, but it’s fucking annoying. Anyway, buy the book. It’s terrific.)
And it’s a three day weekend! Huzzah! I am looking forward to getting some rest, getting a lot of editing and revising done, and hopefully some cleaning and reading.
I was terribly tired yesterday, the way I inevitably am on Thursdays, and really didn’t want to run errands when I got off work, but I put on my big boy pants and did it anyway. I decided my brain was too mushy to work on the book–I went ahead and read the next few chapters I’ll be editing after work today, so I did do something, at any rate–while relaxing with a purring cat in my lap after I did some chores. I had to unload the dishwasher and reload it, plus fold the clothes in the dryer before moving the load in the washer (I started this on Wednesday night but completely forgot once I was in the clutches of Vanderpump Rules), and tried to do some things to straighten up the kitchen before the energy flagged and I was forced back to the easy chair by mental and physical fatigue. There are, after all, worse things. But I can get a lot of revising done this weekend, which is terrific. It would be great if I can get the whole thing finished by next weekend, wouldn’t that be marvelous? I slept deeply and well last night, too–and managed to sleep in all the way until seven thirty, which is when I usually get to the office. I was exhausted last night when I crawled up the stairs to bed, but as Paul noted, “it’s not that you’re old, you just get up really early every morning now” which is true. Funny how I managed to go almost my entire life without having a 9 to 5 job for very long, and now my body clock is adjusting to it at this late stage of my life. My body is now used to it; I just have to retrain my brain to stop thinking in terms of losing time by going to bed earlier since I get up earlier and thus have more time during the day.
We started watching Platonic these last few nights, a new Apple Plus show starring Rose Byrne and Seth Rogan. I do like Seth Rogan and think he’s funny, and of course love Rose Byrne since her days on Damages, which I feel doesn’t get nearly enough credit for how fucking good of a show it was, and its amazing cast, led by GLENN CLOSE, who was phenomenal as Patty Hewes, super attorney and all around horrible person. Platonic is quite funny, and the chemistry between the two as platonic former best friends who come together again after Rogan’s character gets divorced (the Byrne character didn’t like the woman he married) like no time has passed. Luke McFarlane is beautiful as always as her gorgeous husband, essentially the Ricky to her Lucy. I do recommend it, it’s clever and funny and well written, and, like all Apple shows, very high production values.
I also managed to proof my short story “Solace in a Dying Hour,” forthcoming in an Australian anthology titled This Fresh Hell yesterday, as well as reviewed a book contract for signing–and emailed the corrections necessary to the contract in order for me to sign it. I also spent some time doing research for this afternoon’s interview; I’ll spend some time reviewing the research and coming up with great questions for her, or at least ones that won’t embarrass me by being too stupid and the kind of thing she’s been asked a million times. We also started watching the Hillsong documentary, which is interesting because I really don’t know much of anything about that church; but it’s a megachurch which probably means the heresy of the prosperity gospel, and yes, it’s a heresy. Jesus was not about “believe in Me and you’ll get earthly treasures”; the promise was supposed to be about a wonderful afterlife. (It always has amused and saddened me that so many people miss that Christianity isn’t about life but death and the afterlife; the point is to be the best possible person in your human life to earn a good afterlife, so yes, the prosperity gospel is heresy–“it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven”–does that ring any bells? At some point I am going to have to talk about religion and how it’s been perverted from a guide to life to so many things that it isn’t supposed to be…)
I also rewatched the first part of the Vanderpump Rules reunion in its longer, no commercials version on Peacock, and that version is by far the best of the two. It flows better, is edited better, and the extra seventeen minutes of public shaming for the Toms (Sandoval and Schwartz) was worth every second. I really need to spend some time on that blog entry about reality television I started after the wrap of the last season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; because those two shows are entwined; Rules was initially a spin-off of Beverly Hills, with Lisa Vanderpump going back and forth between the two shows (until she quit Housewives). So much has already been written about the Scandoval that what new or interesting thing can I find to say about it, or the layers to levels of cheating and adultery being laid out on the show by its cast? I am sure none of the players involved in this had the slightest idea how explosively this would go viral, turning the three players (Sandoval, his mistress, his enabling best friend) into pariahs. Not even Camille Grammer in her legendarily villainous first season on Beverly Hills got this kind of publicity or exposure–she did get the cover of People magazine–and of course, the legal troubles of Erica Girardi/Beverly Hills cast drama got some coverage in major papers because of the massive frauds perpetrated by her husband (and get the fuck out of here with the “she didn’t know” bullshit), but still–nothing in reality television prepared anyone, let alone Bravo, with how this affair within the cast would explode and become a worldwide fascination…while Andy Cohen and the network count their cash as the money keeps rolling in. The reunion episode got over two million viewers, which is huge for a reality show. The question is, do I finish my entry about reality shows and their appeal before the reunion episodes finish airing, or can I go ahead and do it now?
Always the question, really.
And on that note, I am going to make another cup of coffee and head into the spice mines. Have a lovely morning, Constant Reader, and I’ll be back with you again tomorrow.
Well, I managed to survive not only getting up at five yesterday morning to be at Superior Honda (they simply ARE superior; I love my car dealership) but the almost six hundred dollars it cost me to visit. But I got my new tire, got new windshield wipers, and had the brakes flushed (it was one of this things marked “will need on next visit” the last time I had my car serviced) but overall, it could have been so much worse than it was. I’m grateful that I not only had the ability to absorb the cost, but without really having to plan it out or dip into savings. It was nice to authorize the work and not have to freak about the cost, or whether I had enough credit available, or needed to get cash out–all those things. It was kind of nice to have a financial situation that wasn’t a crisis of some sort (other than the flat tire, of course), and to just handle it. I guess that’s what other people do, I suppose. Is this what being an adult feels like? At almost sixty-two I finally know? I also got an email from Social Security yesterday, letting me know I’d completed all my requirements to qualify for both it and Medicare, along with a statement breaking down what I can expect from them monthly depending on what age I decide to retire.
Hmmm. That kind of just puts it right there in your face, doesn’t it?
But despite getting up early and despite the annoyance of the expense–both of which made the day kind of feel off-balance, slightly skewed on its axis– I wasn’t terribly tired after work. I made groceries, picked up the mail, came home and did a load of laundry and a load of dishes before sitting down to revise…and yes, doing it the way I usually do it does work better. Revisiting the openings of several of the later books helped as well–helped me plug into his voice, which is so crucial; Scotty’s voice is what makes these books work–and it went well. I feel confident again in my writing, which is a lovely feeling, and I feel like I am back in Scotty’s headspace, which is always a very pleasant and positive place to be. Life never gives you anything you can’t handle, it’s how you handle it that matters. I really wish I could be more like him in my real life as opposed to what I put onto the page. Ah, well.
We also watched the Donna Summer documentary on HBO; Love To Love You, Donna Summer, which was entertaining enough. The music was the most interesting thing about it, of course, and I don’t think it really had anything new to say about fame, or the public persona vs. the private person, but it was interesting enough. She was very intelligent, particularly when it came to what she was doing as opposed to who the real person actually was; the quote was something like “everything’s choices, not limitations” i.e. she was doing what she was doing musically because that was what she was choosing to do at that time, and she wasn’t limited to that type or style of music or singing. She certainly recorded some amazing dance music, and given what I have always thought were some of the stupidest lyrics ever written, she made “MacArthur Park” actually work. (“I Feel Love” is also one of the greatest recordings of all time, without question.) So, that was a fun and pleasant way to spend the evening as I wound down to go to bed.
I checked in on social media–the unpleasant doom scroll before bed–and saw that the Dodgers had apologized, and made amends with promises to learn and do better in the future. This brought out the usual ‘phobes everywhere, foaming at the mouth and swearing eternal hatred for the Dodgers, baseball, and of course, queer people–because our existence ruins everything for these people. I actually enjoy that aspect of homophobia, quite frankly. I don’t know these people, I’ve never met these people, and I don’t ever want to know these people. But the fact that they just hate me, want me outlawed if not outright publicly executed, for the crime of existing instead makes me relish the fact that my existence enrages them and spoils everything they in which they might find joy (Bud Lite, baseball) in their pitiful, meaningless, empty and sad little lives. I mean, imagine how miserable you have to be, in every aspect of your life, that you spend so much time and expend so much energy on hating people you don’t even know, letting them ruin the few pleasures you have (including, many times by now, your childhood), instead of focusing that energy on actually making your own life better for you and your family? I used to pity them, for their narrow-minded and heretical interpretation of Christianity and perversion of the actual teachings of the man they claim is their Lord and Savior. I am not a practicing Christian, but I was raised as one and I still remember what the message actually was. In fact, the reason I do not consider myself to be a Christian is because it is impossible to love Christ while having hate in your heart, and I carry hate in my heart.
For the people who laughed while my community suffered and died. For the people who think people like me don’t deserve a right to be happy, to work and live and embrace everything life and the world have to offer. Who think my relationship with Paul isn’t a real relationship, despite being together for going on twenty-eight years in July. Who don’t think I deserve equal rights under the law like every other American, simply because of who I love…which really isn’t anyone’s business but my own. For the people who don’t think I have a right to be happy and flourish. For the people who think they somehow have the right to say horrific, insulting shit to me, about me, and my community; vile despicable slanders that are nothing new but just the same recycled talking points and slurs and dehumanizations, lather rinse repeat, over and over and over again.
But thank you, Dodgers, for not bowing to the people with braces on their brains and blinders on their hearts, recognizing slander for what it was despite all of its hideous, pseudo-religious pearl-clutching dressing.
Overall, not a bad day yesterday. I hope that today follows suit. I am slowly but surely digging out from under the piles of everything around my desk here at home, the emails in my inbox, direct messages everywhere that are unreplied to, and of course I am so behind on my reading! But this is a three-day weekend coming up, which is a pleasant surprise I’d forgotten, and that should make book writing that much easier, which is a very lovely thing. I should also be able to get some good rest over the course of the weekend, and I am not going to beat myself up if my ambitions for said weekend aren’t met or matched by performance. I do want to finish reading my book this weekend–I’ve really got to get back into that reading for an hour to unwind after writing thing I was doing, that worked nicely–but in some ways I am still getting past everything. I feel good this morning, too–like my brain isn’t foggy, and I am alive and awake and rested and alert, which is a very pleasant change from the way things have been for months–so I feel like maybe, just maybe, I am going to have a good day today.
One can hope, at any rate. Hope you do the same, Constant Reader!
Sunday morning and I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Not much–and of course it’s probably the head light of a speeding bullet train–but some light, nonetheless. I dove deeply into a manuscript I am editing yesterday, and need to get more of it done today. I also have to make groceries as well as find time to see a friend in from out of town, and it’s also Mother’s Day; everywhere I turn today it’s Mother’s Day this and Mother’s Day that. So far I’ve not had a breakdown of any kind, so that’s a good thing, but there’s also no telling how much or how rough it’s going to weigh on me once reality sets in? Who knows, maybe it never will. I’ve always thought of these days as manufactured holidays to sell cards, flowers and chocolates; I was going to send my sister flowers but decided it was weird and might upset her so I didn’t. Navigating this within the family is weird. We all have to find our own ways with these sorts of things, and there’s no road map or instructions to follow because everyone is different and everyone grieves differently. I don’t think I’ll ever not be aware of the loss, no matter how busy I get or how focused I can be on things; the compartmentalization that I have used consistently since childhood probably won’t work as well here, or at least it hasn’t so far. It’s also weird because I think I’ll be doing better and then I’ll have a bad day that I can’t snap out of with any success. Last night wasn’t good, for example; I lost the whole evening and don’t even remember what I was doing or what I did. I kept falling asleep while watching documentaries (Paul was working upstairs and then went out to meet a friend for a drink, leaving me to my own devices and I just wound up going to bed relatively early. I did sleep really well, though, which was quite marvelous. I feel very rested and relaxed today; no idea how long that’s going to last, but hopefully long enough for me to get a lot accomplished and done today around everything else I have to get done before returning to the office tomorrow.
But just looking around at the kitchen/office, it looks like I did indeed get things done yesterday, I just don’t remember doing them. There’s a load of dishes in the dishwasher that needs putting away and I also need to check everything to see what all is needed from the grocery store today. It’ll be nice to get out of the house, even into the heat and humidity which has returned in all of its hideous nastiness; but getting things out of the way is always a pleasure and then I can look forward to easier weekends in the future, right? I’ve been lethargic too much this year already, methinks. Even as I typed that I thought you’re being too hard on yourself again which is one of those things I was talking about earlier in this post; I don’t know how I am supposed to be. Should I be pushing myself to get things done and working hard, or should I be gentle and easy with myself because I am not myself and pushing myself, bring rough on myself, could be more damaging than giving into in to the sadness, the depression, the lethargy that comes with mourning. Reminding myself how much harder this is on Dad than it is on me doesn’t help, either, because then I start worrying about him and being almost eight hundred miles away and…you see how it all begins to spiral? So when the spiraling starts I have to medicate, and medicate means the easy chair and something mindless and distracting that doesn’t require too much focus, hence documentaries and such on the television. I watched a really fascinating one last night about the American-Philippines war; in which during the Spanish-American War we sent the Navy to seize the Philippines, which were in the midst of their own struggle to free themselves from the Spanish. They were looking for independence; we were looking for empire and territory; so once we defeated and drove out the Spanish we took over, and the revolutionaries continued fighting for freedom against the United States, which didn’t come until 1946. (Barbara Tuchman titled her section about the Vietnam War in her March of Folly “America Loses Herself in Vietnam”; but I think we actually originally lost ourselves–along with our ideals, morals, and principles–in the Philippines.)
It might be fun to set a book–a thriller, with international intrigue and so forth–in Manila in 1940. (It also makes me think of the television series rip-off of Indiana Jones, Tales of the Gold Monkey, which I loved loved loved back in the day, and am still bitter that it only lasted one season.)
Yes, Greg, what you need is more book ideas.
And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. May your Mother’s Day be lovely, Constant Reader, and give your mom a big hug (or at least give her a call) for me, okay?
Sunday morning rolling around like a marble in the Mousetrapgame–do they still sell that? We never had that game when we were kids–I remember having Clue, Monopoly, Life, and Chinese checkers, but never Mousetrap. We were a game family, often playing cards–Rook, Hearts, Spades, and Pinochle were enormous favorites within the family–and much later adding Uno and Trivial Pursuit (although no one will pay Trivial Pursuit anymore because I always win; and have even won on my first turn). Yesterday was kind of a lovely day, overall; I slept deeply and late, got up and did some things around the apartment; soaked my toe and slathered topical gel over it all day; read Bobby Mathews’ quite marvelous Living the Gimmick for a while, and worked. (Bobby’s book is really good, y’all) The work wasn’t easy but it also wasn’t difficult; in fact, I was kind of enjoying myself, which for me is lovely and encouraging. I do have to run out to the grocery store at some point today, but I’m not going to get terribly worked up and/or upset about it. I slept decently last night; I feel rested this morning but managed to get up early and am hoping that today will be a good, productive one.
The Lefty Awards were given out last night in Tucson: I lost Best Humorous to Ellen Byron and her delightful Bayou Book Thief; Kellye Garrett won Best Novel for Like a Sister; Wanda Morris won Best Historical for Anywhere You Run; and Ramona Emerson won Best Debut for Shutter. Congratulations to everyone! It was both a thrill and a surprise to be nominated in the first place, completely unexpected, and just a bit sad that the “race” is over. I can’t imagine being nominated another time, to be honest, but am very grateful for everyone who included A Streetcar Named Murder.
I still get to enjoy being an Agatha nominee for another month, though.
Yesterday was pretty good, over all. I did get a lot done, and I was pleased with the work I got done. I’m feeling a lot better these days about everything, really; it’s hard for me to explain but it feels like I’ve been operating on autopilot since even before the pandemic started; like there was a dark cloud inside my head that I somehow managed to get things done, but it was harder than it used to be. I don’t feel like that dark cloud is there anymore, at least not since last weekend, and it’s delightful to be free of that whatever-it-was. Depression and anxiety, most likely; I know I’ve been worrying about Mom in the back of my mind for years now, and I still kind of tense up when I get a text message alert from my phone. I guess a lot of that worry has now transferred over to Dad, but he’s healthy–or at least has been so far. The grief comes and goes still–far less frequently than before–but it still happens from time to time that I’ll get a bit overwhelmed and have to go withdraw from the world for a while.
While I was waiting for Paul to get home and after I had finished working for the day, I decided to watch a movie instead of just endless scrolling through social media and looking for things on Youtube to watch. I couldn’t remember if I had seen Uncharted or not; I like Tom Holland and still kind of enjoy Mark Wahlberg (while admitting that he’s probably not a great person–it’s complicated), so I queued it up and started watching. As I watched, I began remembering things from it, so I had seen it before, just didn’t remember it. It didn’t take long for me to start punching holes in the plot/story, and I remembered that it became so far-fetched that I didn’t enjoy it. I was about forty-three minutes into it when I gave up; the entire premise that Magellan had a fortune in gold that somehow got lost (he didn’t; he didn’t stay anywhere long enough to amass such a treasure) was simply taken for granted without explanation; that’s the legend so we just don’t question it. Props for using an actual historical figure to give it more authenticity, but…it also lost me. We watched the SEC Gymnastics championships (LSU came in third, but it really was a matter of tenths of points), then finished watching Servant, which was interesting and different and strange and very well done before catching this week’s The Mandalorian, which wasn’t a particularly good one. I’m not feeling this season, to be honest; and of course the best part–Baby Yoda–hasn’t really had much to do except just kind of be there.
Such a shame about Uncharted, really. I love treasure hunts, but they are so rarely (outside of Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone) featured in good movies that I’m always a little hesitant to watch one. I still want to do my Colin treasure hunt book sometime, but God only knows when. The Festivals are this week, so Paul will be moving into the Monteleone Hotel on Wednesday, most likely, and I’ll probably go down there on Friday. I’m going to have to commute, which isn’t going to be easy–the limping toe, for example–so we don’t have to board Scooter, and means I will probably be exhausted by the end of the weekend. So be it, seriously. I definitely need to make a to-do list today; I’ve been operating without one for quite some time and I think it’s necessary for me going forward to stay on track with everything,
And on that note, I am going to read some more Bobby Mathews while my coffee continues to warm me up. I have some chores to do around the house (as always) and I am going to run over to the Fresh Market at some point to get some things (not entirely sure what is needed, to be honest, with Paul going away on Wednesday), and so I must be busy and productive today. Have a lovely Sunday, Constant Reader, and I will check in with you again tomorrow.