Yesterday wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t pleasant. I slept well but didn’t feel completely rested, and we were in ozone advisory for most of the day. The air conditioning at work isn’t functioning properly–it was 76 degrees when I got there in my testing room; 82 when I left–and it was also muggy; it rained late in the afternoon. Muggy and warm are a toxic combination for my sinuses, so that was making me miserable for most of the day. I ran errands after work, and picked up my copy of Beware the Woman, the new Megan Abbott, which is now next on my TBR Pile. Then Ted Lasso dropped later than usual, so I couldn’t stay up late enough to watch it and thus will have to avoid social media all day…which isn’t really a bad thing. I did work some on the book as well, but I am not sure if it was good work or not because I was out of sorts with the day.
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity, as the T-shirts used to say. Do they still sell those in the tourist shops in the Quarter? I wrote about that in the first Scotty book, the French Quarter that used to be, just after the turn of the century. It had already changed and evolved from when we first moved here, some four or five years earlier; perhaps some of it was just me getting older and my own life situation changing. But I do remember how raggedy and dive bar-like Cafe Lafitte in Exile used to be, when that balcony wasn’t the safest place in the world to go out on while drinking. The 90’s were a different time entirely in the French Quarter, although I do wonder sometimes if I am doing the “rose-colored glasses” thing about New Orleans in the 90s. (Writing about that time period–Never Kiss a Stranger–does bring it all back to me in some ways, and I do hope that I’m not simply being nostalgic about the time because I’m writing about it.)
I’ve decided to cancel the cable appointment. The schedule at work this afternoon filled up quite a bit during the day yesterday, and it’s working for now. I know I’ll get irritated when and if the Internet proves to be an issue again, but here’s hoping it will happen when I can schedule them to come out when it won’t interfere with my job. I don’t think I slept very well again last night–surprise–but I can make it through the day. I can come home straight from work and watch Ted Lasso when I get home because Paul’s working from home today to write a grant anyway. (It did occur to me last night that I could just have Paul deal with it since he’d be home, but Paul has no idea how to talk to the cable people and it’s easier just to cancel, with a reschedule planned if needed.)
We also finished watching Chicago Party Aunt, which we really enjoyed. It was surprisingly funny–and the dynamic between the low-rent Chicago sports fan version of Auntie Mame and her gay nephew was surprisingly well done, and also hilarious.
Feeling rather dull this morning, so I am going to bring this to a close and head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again tomorrow.
Tuesday morning of a holiday-shortened work week, which could be much worse. This past holiday weekend seriously seemed to last forever.
The Internet went out again yesterday, and as always, dealing with Cox on-line was just a joy and an overall bundle of laughs, really. The problem now is clearly not the modem, but the line itself. Of course no one can come out until Wednesday between three and five, which is when I am at work. So yay for using some more of my personal time for something it wasn’t designed for. And yes, it’s time to start looking for another Internet provider. I’ve heard horrible things about all of the others, frankly, and while I am very annoyed at Cox right now–this is insane to not have working wifi on a holiday weekend (God forbid we want to, oh, I don’t know, stream something tonight or tomorrow) and I am rather worried about how my data plan is getting burned up on my phone (which I am using as a hotspot), but why would anything work the way it’s supposed to? That apparently is too much to ask for in the United States in the year of our Lord 2023. It was enormously frustrating, to say the least (I am really not pleased about having to leave work early on Wednesday)–and that’s assuming he’ll be able to fix the problem when he gets here that afternoon/evening (odds he won’t arrive until after I would have been home from work?).
I did manage to get some work done yesterday, despite the frustration and anger. I am not as caught up as I would have like to have been this week, but dealing with these Internet issues is so fucking frustrating I could barely stand it. The cable did come back on last night–not sure when, since I switched the Apple TV to run off my phone’s hotspot; I noticed that all the lights were on just before I went to bed. Talk about frustrating!
I wonder if next weekend I can walk by the AT&T store and see if that’s workable? But if it’s indeed the line, switching providers won’t change that. The Internet didn’t even work for twenty-four hours. How fucking irritating is that? Or do I really want to switch providers simply because I’ve had a couple of problems with my carrier over the last week? After over twenty years of nothing to complain about? I don’t know.
GAH. These things that are supposed to make life easier, right? Sheesh.
At least I slept well last night. I feel rested this morning, which is a lovely change from the way I usually feel when I get up at six. I think maybe my body is finally adjusting to this schedule, after three years of it? That’s not a bad thing, I suppose, and probably the reason it took so long is because of my own stubbornness.
I did start reading Chris Clarkson’s That Summer Night on Frenchmen Street, which is quite marvelous. It’s been a while since I’ve read a young adult novel that was a romance, or romance-based thematically, and it’s nice. I always forget how helpful it is for me as a writer to read outside the genre I usually write in. And I do have an idea for a romance bouncing around in my brain. I don’t know if I’ll ever write one, but I’ve been wondering about it lately. Why not try one? That was the mentality that led to me writing a cozy, and that turned out pretty well for me. I’m never going to have the time to write everything I want to write before I die, anyway. I did start weeding out files this weekend (one benefit of the Internet being down for most of the day yesterday), and realized it was time to start making decisions. There’s something about hoarding ideas for books and stories that I can’t ever seem to quite let go of; but the truth is I have so many interests and so many ideas I know I’ll never get around to writing most of them. It’s weird to start thinking in that way, but it’s also a reality. I continue having more and more ideas almost every day, so it’s not like the well is ever going to run dry. I could spend the rest of the time left to me on this planet writing the ideas I already have on hand and never get to finish them all, let alone all the new ideas I get all the time.
Sigh, depressing thoughts on a Tuesday morning. And on that note perhaps I should head out into the spice mines. You have a great day, Constant Reader, and I’ll be back tomorrow.
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.
Someone asked me once, many years ago, about who I would cast in a movie or television series if the Scotty books were ever adapted. I honestly don’t remember who I originally cast, all those years ago, as Scotty, if given a choice; time has made Swiss cheese out of my memory banks, alas. I do remember thinking Christopher Meloni would be my choice for Frank, even though physically they aren’t alike (Frank is tall and more lean than Meloni) and I know I wanted to cast Pam Grier as Venus (God, what dream casting!), but the rest I don’t remember. Just as well, really, I suppose. If I were to cast them today, I’d probably go with someone like Jake Gyllenhaal as Scotty, or Tom Holland; someone like that. Frank would be a very good role for Alan Ritchson, but he’s not old enough, alas. Maybe Holland as Scotty, Gyllenhaal as Colin, and Ritchson for Frank?
That casting would make for some really amazing sex scenes.
But I don’t waste a lot of my time speculating about movie or television deals. The Scotty series was optioned once for two years, but nothing ever came of it (although I miss those quarterly checks I used to get before the option lapsed) and I don’t really see how one could film one of the Scotty books, anyway. Bourbon Street Blues would require a mob of hot male extras in various stages of undress, for one thing, and then a night shoot in a swamp. Jackson Square Jazz is more internal, and Mardi Gras Mambo would require the recreation of not only Carnival but one of the parades on St. Charles.
It’s fun to think about, but…truth be told I’d just sell the rights and sit back to wait and see how it all turned out. I really don’t have much desire to write for television or film; never have, actually. I also always remember James M. Cain’s response to a question about whether Hollywood had “ruined” his novels; he turned around, pointed to the copies on his bookshelf and said, “They look just fine to me.” (Caveat: at one point in my life I really want to be a writer for soaps. That is the only interest in writing for any type of live action entertainment I’ve ever had.)
Yesterday wound off not being such a great day, I’m afraid. I woke up feeling pretty good and seemed like everything was going to align for a pretty good day. I spent the morning doing touch-ups around the house between reading more of Lori Roy’s marvelous Edgar-winning Let Me Die in His Footsteps; I ran the errands that were needed; and I did some filing. But just when I was getting ready to settle in to work on the book…the Internet went out. Yes, we were having modem problems again, and after an extremely frustrating hour spent dealing with on-line tech assistance (which isn’t very helpful) I remembered something from the last time something went wrong with the Internet and I was able to get a stopgap fix into place, but by then my mood had gone down the toilet and I was feeling a lot of anxiety and frustration on top of anger. So, I sat down again my easy chair and reread the chapters again that I was supposed to be revising to see if the fixes I came up with the other night would actually work, and I believe that to be the case. It was also a reminder than I am still in the process of working through grief, because I really snapped and went down the dark path rather quickly and easily yesterday–so I thought it was probably best to simply go ahead and ride it out. Cox is coming out today to bring a new modem and get it set up, so hopefully this will put an end to this periodic Internet issue. (Our modem is ancient; so ancient they can’t even service them anymore, which is what we found out the last time there was an issue, and even as I type these words I am remembering the last tech advised me to get a new one and I never did because I forgot, of course.)
So today I am going to spend most of my day working on the revision and getting caught up. I have emails to answer but they can wait until Tuesday. I want to spend some more time with Lori Roy’s novel this morning, maybe even finishing it, and get a lot of writing done around other things, like touching shit up and more filing and cleaning the kitchen and so forth. I am pleased I got the errands handled yesterday and some cleaning around here, which was sorely needed. I also found my hearing test results so I can start trying to navigate the world of obtaining and financing hearing aids. There’s a part of me that thinks it will be marvelous to be able to hear at 100% again–if I ever did–and there’s another part of me that thinks it’s kind of nice that I don‘t hear everything. And I am trying to be kinder to. myself. That’s why I walked away from everything and just spent the day yesterday dealing with the negativity the day had introduced into my life. I knew I wouldn’t be able to really write anything because I was in too negative a place, and trying to work would make the darkness even worse (sometimes work can get me through the darkness, but yesterday I could tell–and this wasn’t me trying to be lazy or anything, either–it was one of those times when I would find the work frustrating and aggravating. The downward spiral was such that there was no spiraling up, and anything else would keep the spiral turning on its downward axis. I do know that much about myself–and even knew that I would probably try to beat myself up over losing a day to the moodiness and subconscious grief. But progress in the mental health sector of my life was made–I recognized and diagnosed where I was at yesterday and what would make it worse rather than better, and even this morning I am taking that as a win rather than berating myself for the loss of a day’s work.
And I am really enjoying turning this piece of shit into an actual Scotty book. (I was worried during the completion of the earlier drafts that I didn’t know how to write a Scotty book anymore; those worries were for naught. I just have to always remember that Scotty is there, inside my brain, and I will always find his voice again, even if it takes a while. I should always revisit one of the books before I try writing another one.) I have that sense of who he is again and what the books should be like and I am hearing his voice in my head again, all of which I am counting as wins.
I was also thinking about the next Scotty book–because when I am ever not looking ahead to what’s next on the horizon–as well as a call for submissions for an anthology I want to write something for. Crazy, right?
So, I think I am going to make another cup of coffee, go read for about an hour, and then dive back into the book. Have a lovely Sunday, Constant Reader, and I’ll talk to you again either later today or perhaps not until tomorrow.
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.
Thursday and my final day in the office for the week. It’s been a good week overall–if odd at the office; it was a Mercury-in-retrograde kind of week there, with things not working right and odd situations occurring. Kind of tiring emotionally and intellectually, but not so bad as to drag me down and curl up into a ball in a corner somewhere. I’ve felt rested most of the week and the writing/revising has been going super well (I am so excited to see how much I can get done over the weekend you have no idea); even continued last evening. But I slept well again last night, and I feel pretty good this morning with my coffee, and I made it through almost another week of work.
Last night I watched the first part of the Vanderpump Rules reunion, and just…wow. I’ve never seen anything like that on any reality show reunion. The whole “Scandoval” of it all is just…I don’t know. I watch reality television (anyone who’s read Royal Street Reveillon knows this, of course); not a lot of it, but enough. I find it all fascinating–the way the fans get so deeply involved and vested in these mostly terrible people and what they are doing; the question of what’s real and what isn’t and what is manipulation or over-dramatization for the camera, and so on. The entire “Scandoval” mess? I have so many questions, and there are so many layers. This “scandal” peeled back the fourth wall somewhat, and the viewers got to actually watch as Tom Sandoval, an original cast member for ten seasons, with an assist from his best friend, tried to control the narrative of what we were seeing on screen while keeping his affair off; having the knowledge of what was actually going on while they were filming (and what was being kept out of the camera’s eye) made the attempted manipulation only that much more obvious, and even more fascinating than before. I hadn’t watched the show in years; I got bored, frankly, because it just seemed like the same thing over and over again, but this brought me back (along with a lot of new viewers, plus others who’d given up on it came back; the show is breaking records in the ratings for Bravo and reality shows). As I said to Paul last night, “it’s absolutely amazing how after ten years the show was able to completely flip the script and everything–everything that happened over the past ten years–has been altered as we now see these guys not as lovable goofballs, but dangerously narcissistic monsters manipulating the narrative to make everyone else look worse while making themselves look like heroes.” Future generations of social historians will look at the Scandoval in wonder, trying to puzzle out why this became global news, worthy of being covered in major newspapers, including both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
A cheating scandal on a reality show made worldwide news and has trended every day on Twitter since the news broke months ago. I mean, how fucking insane is that?
I also realized at some point yesterday that the difference I’ve been feeling the last week or so around here means I’ve probably moved into another stage of the grieving process, rather than over it completely. And as I sat there with purring kitty asleep in my lap watching the marathon of the last few episodes of Vanderpump Rules before the reunion episode (part one of three!) aired, I realized you’re in the anger stage. I had noticed myself getting angry much more quickly than usual while scrolling through Twitter, and yesterday I sent some response tweets to assholes trolling friends that were pretty hateful, nasty and cruel (much as their tweets at my friends were). That isn’t like me; usually I’ll start typing the response and delete it unsent, as the actual writing of it vented the spleen and by the time I was finished and ready to send it, would think and how is this improving the public discourse as I deleted it. Not yesterday, so I am going to simply go back to the old “mute/block” trick, or just report them. I do report trolls for hate speech and conduct violations several times a day, with a rather high success rate percentage, if I do say so myself. And honestly, I prefer anger to the sadness, really. Not sure what that says about me, but the sadness paralyzed me and made me unable to write, but since transitioning to the anger stage the book has been flowing and I am enjoying revising it tremendously. Go figure. I wrote more last night, and I have to say, the book is beginning to take shape nicely. It’s amazing how regularly I repeat myself, but that also has a lot to do with my memory issues–oh, I need to explain this and forgetting I’ve already explained it in the preceding chapters…each of them, in fact. So there’s a lot of cutting and rewording and restructuring going on, but Scotty’s voice is starting to really come through and that’s the most important thing.
I was also saddened to hear that Tina Turner passed yesterday. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was a little boy and I saw her perform on some variety show–Dean Martin’s, maybe? I just know it was when we still only had a black-and-white television, which means we were still living in the apartment in the city (sidebar: interesting how television was dominated back then by variety shows and westerns, which are incredibly scarce today…the variety shows were no big loss, and the westerns were ludicrous, racist, and sexist, so no big loss in either case). I think it was “Proud Mary”? When she finally started getting the stardom and accolades and success she’d always deserved (and never quite reached) in the 1980s, I was delighted–and she gave us some truly great music, too. That voice! That power! That stage presence! It saddens me that we no longer have her in this world, but I’m grateful we had a Tina Turner in the first place.
But I will always think of Schitt’s Creek whenever I hear “The Best” now.
I also got the proofs for my short story “Solace in a Dying Hour” to go over prior to the anthology’s release, which is very exciting. I always love when I sell a short story, and love it even more when we get to the later production stages.
And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. May your Friday Eve be as delightful as you are, Constant Reader, and I will see you again tomorrow.
Pay-the-Bills Wednesday has rolled around yet again, Constant Reader, and so later on during my lunch break I’ll take some time away from my food to start paying the bills due between now and the next time we get paid. I am also looking forward to this three-day weekend we have on the horizon; I’d completely forgotten about Memorial Day. Do gays from all over still congregate in Pensacola over Memorial Day weekend, to party on the beach and get sunburnt in places that usually never see the sun? I know there aren’t nearly as many circuit parties today as there used to be, back in the heyday of the 1990’s, when it seemed like there was one every weekend somewhere; Southern Decadence still happens, of course (I’ll be in San Diego for Bouchercon this year) but I don’t know about the others. I know Hotlanta died a long time ago; does the White Party still happen at Vizcaya? In Palm Springs? The Snow Ball? The Winter Ball? The Black and Blue Ball? Cherries in Washington? I suppose the time and need for these parties has passed for the most part–they wouldn’t be dying out, otherwise–but at the same time, it’s all a part of the history of our community, and I do hope it’s been documented somewhere. The circuit parties were easy to condemn and point fingers at, but anything that helped create a sense of community as well as provided a safe space during difficult, repressive times for gay men to be themselves and be as gay as possible deserves to be, and should be, remembered.
After all, that was the world that kind of spawned Scotty.
Hmmm, perhaps a future-Greg project? Yay! Because that’s just what I need, another project.
But the revision continues to progress quite marvelously, if I do say so myself. I should probably write more Scotty books because it’s so lovely to get back into his mind-space, you know? He’s so cheerful, and always so upbeat and positive…and even when he gets down because of whatever problem he’s gotten himself into, he doesn’t moan or whine, he just rolls up his sleeves and figures it all out. That’s why I like him, and why his readers do. I wish I could have that reaction to things…I don’t. I always have to curl up into a ball for a while before I can even consider getting on with things. Maybe someday that will change and I can absorb and handle shocks and surprises with Scotty’s flair and aplomb. I’m not holding my breath until that happens, either.
I slept really well last night–yet another good night’s sleep in the books, I think I am on a record streak now of sleeping well–and feel pretty rested this morning. I was awake before the alarm went off this morning, and then hit snooze a couple of times to give my mind and body the opportunity to wake up slowly. We watched the new Ted Lasso last night, which was more of a Jamie Tartt-centered episode, and my word, seriously: how did Jamie Tartt become one of my most beloved characters on the show? Last night he made me laugh and he made me cry; and I love his friendships with Roy and Keeley, who are also slowly (hopefully) inching towards a reconciliation. There’s only one episode left–after which I may have to do a complete binge rewatch, from start to finish. It really is quite a marvelous show, and I do love that the gay storyline ruined the show for the homophobes. The mark of a truly good show is you aren’t sure how you feel at the end of the episode, despite having enjoyed it. Was it good? Did the stories make sense? Were the performances good? How was the writing? It’s one of the reasons I watch every episode twice; once to enjoy and go along for the ride, the second to appreciate the acting and the writing and connect even further with the episode. This season I’ve noticed some bashing of the show on Twitter (and not just from homophobes), which was why I started rewatching; to see if the haters were right and I’d overlooked something out of my deep affection for the show (I can also watch more critically the second time). I am pleased to report that the haters are, indeed, always wrong. I am really going to miss this show, but I get the sense that the season finale will be incredibly sad yet satisfying. They have a long way to catch Schitt’s Creek for best series finale, but I suspect they will be able to do it.
I’m curious to see what spin-offs might twirl out of the show. I’m really hoping Jamie gets his own show; I’ve really developed a huge crush on Phil Dunster, who might just pry the supporting actor Emmy out of the death grip Brett Goldstein’s had on it these last two years. The development of his character arc has just been phenomenal–all of the characters, really, but Phil Dunster has really been given the chance to shine this season (and some of last) and I do sometimes think he might not be taken as seriously as an actor because–well, because he’s damned good looking.
Since Monday was an odd day, I am having trouble this week keeping track of days. I keep thinking today is either Tuesday (which makes no sense) or Thursday (which kind of does). I’m looking forward to getting some more good work done on the book tonight–and if Paul is late getting home, I am so watching the Vanderpump Rules reunion’s first part. I need to devote an entire entry to the insanity this reality show–which I actually stopped watching years (and I do mean years) ago–has spawned. I had started writing about Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after its season completed; I think I can easily do both shows in one entry since both have spawned scandals that became news (a sad commentary on the state of our news media, frankly), which brings up the question of audience enablement–if the ratings go up when people are really despicable on a reality show, aren’t we just encouraging more of the same?
And on that note I am off to the spice mines. Have a lovely middle of the week, Constant Reader, and I will be back 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!
Ah. Monday. I am up even earlier than usual, so I can head to the West Bank to be there when my dealership opens. It’s too much to hope that they’ll be able to sell me a new tire and put it on my car in time for me to be there for our first client at nine, but fingers are crossed; this is what I am hoping against hope to be my reality today. Yesterday I went out and looked at the tire again, and saw that it had gone flat again overnight–or almost completely flat, the way it was yesterday before the air and the tape were applied. Heavy sigh. Have it towed in the morning, then take an Uber to the office and then an Uber to the dealership when it was ready? And of course, I couldn’t contact the dealership because they aren’t open on Sundays. And then I remembered…
Moron, you had to get full coverage insurance when you financed this car. And you never scaled the insurance back since you paid it off…so, full coverage insurance comes with roadside assistance.
So I went into the app, and ordered roadside service to change the tire for me. He took ten minutes to get here, another ten to change the tire; and he even aired up the donut, which had lost air the last time I used it (back in January). It was so easy. I could have done that yesterday morning (had I known) and spent my morning on the West Bank replacing the tire. But I didn’t run errands yesterday until later in the day–after everything was closed. And usually I run the errands around noon, because the mail has been delivered and put out at the post office by then. So, clearly doing things the way you’ve always done them isn’t necessarily a rut; sometimes it’s a good thing and it’s changing things up that turns out to be the real problem. Heavy sigh. Maybe I should stick to the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to, instead of chasing waterfalls.
But at least buying a new tire (and knowing I’ll need two more at some point; I think I’ll go ahead and start planning on that for around my birthday, or after I get back from Bouchercon in San Diego) isn’t going to break the bank nor require me to dip into our savings. I can actually absorb the cost without having to worry about it too much, so that’s a really good thing, and one that makes me rather happy. I am feeling much better about life in general these days, which is a good thing. I don’t feel like I have a weight pressing down on my spine anymore, and the brain fog I’d been experiencing a lot of since Mom died seems to have lifted; even if it’s temporary, I am very grateful for this brief respite I’ve had for the last few days.
I also decided to reread the prologues to the Scotty books before digging back into the new one, and along with the distance gained since the last time I reviewed and/or looked at this has been an enormous help. I now know what’s been missing from this manuscript, and it’s Scotty and his sense of humor; his way of looking at everything as a challenge to be handled rather than a blow to his life. And what I put him through in Royal Street Reveillon was a lot…so it would be normal for him to not be his usual self at this time…but the whole point of him is that nothing gets him down; “life doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle; it’s how you handle it that matters” is his motto. So yes, what happened during the course of the last book could have shaken him up a bit, but he’s not the type to stay down for long. It’s the joy that is missing from the book; that sense of “we can handle anything and still stay positive” is what connects readers to him. I guess it’s not a surprise that at the time I was writing the book it wasn’t easy for me to channel joy, given the real life situation(s) I was dealing with at the time; be kinder to yourself is a mantra I need to keep reminding myself of, and yes, writing a Scotty book in the midst of crushing depression and trying to revise it while grieving wasn’t really the smart thing to do.
So here we are, with me up before the crack of dawn with the dark pressing up against my windows and knowing I am going to be exhausted by the time this day ends. Not an auspicious start to the week, eh? But that was the flat (I kept going outside yesterday after the tire was changed to see if the spare had gone flat, and the last time I looked it was fine. Those little spares always make me terribly nervous.) I am taking a couple of Scottys, crammed into my back pack, with me to reread the beginnings to try to get the voice and mentality right for this final revision. I hate burning some of my paid time off this way, but what choice do I have, other than driving around on the spare until Friday or Saturday morning? That’s one of the things that has always mystified me about the work day, you know? Everyone works the same hours, basically, or close to them; which means workers always have to take time off from work to do anything–dentist, doctor, car repair, etc. I also get that everyone has the goal of working nine to five or an approximation thereof; but doesn’t it seem like it would make sense for some doctors or dentists or whomever would work later hours? We used to always have evening testing hours at the office to accommodate people’s work shifts; you could come get tested after work on your way home, or on your way out to dinner to meet friends. We also had weekend hours, and tested in bars or places of business–wherever people at high risk of infection gathered. We brought the testing to them….and of course I have always preferred non-traditional hours. Heavy sigh. I used to be able to do this kind of thing in the morning before my shift; now I have to take time off.
And on that note, I am going to go get cleaned up and prepared to head to the dealership for the start of a lengthy, incredibly tiresome day. Have a great Monday, Constant Reader, and I will see you again tomorrow.