Well, we’ve made it to my last day in the office of the week, Constant Reader, and isn’t that simply marvelous?
I knocked out another chapter after work and running a couple of errands (mail, needed something from the grocery store), and am starting to feel a lot more relaxed about how this is turning out. I think I’m catching all the discrepancies and errors. At least one can hope at any rate. I’d like to make this as easy as possible for my (long-suffering) editor. But huzzah, there’s an end in sight. I also paid the bills yesterday and am not completely (or morally) bankrupt…but sheesh, I have a lot of bills. Ah, well. Such is life.
With the end of the book closing in–if I focus and work really hard, I could even finish it this weekend (gasp!), but at the same time I don’t want to kill myself, either. But as long as I can stay focused and not get distracted by any of the annoying hateful minutiae that always derails everything, I should be able to make some really good progress. I am also getting excited because finishing this means I can finally work on something else again for the first time in what feels like years. Don’t get me wrong; writing this Scotty book wasn’t as bad as writing some of them have been. It just feels like it’s taken forever, and there are times when it’s felt like my own personal invasion of Afghanistan. But I’m looking forward to spending the rest of June working on “Never Kiss a Stranger,” so I can focus on Chlorine for July. It would be so great to have a viable, working first draft of that completely by the end of July…and then I will try to find an agent. At last. Surely there’s someone out there interested in repping me, right?
So what if I haven’t found anyone in over twenty years? Optimism! That’s the key.
I slept super great last night and feel much better this morning than I have all week, and I didn’t think I’d not slept well. I don’t know what the deal is, quite frankly, but I am just going to roll with it today and see how everything goes. I may hit a wall and be exhausted by noon, who knows? But I do feel like this morning is showing the potential to be a great day. I will need to probably swing by the mail today–it could wait until tomorrow, in fairness; and I’ve ordered a prescription refill…so perhaps I should wait until I can pick up both on the same trip uptown? (My life is so endlessly fascinating, isn’t it?) I spent last evening (after I finished writing; Paul was working on a grant) watching the third part of the Vanderpump Rules reunion, during which I was constantly having to pick my jaw up off the ground. Now that it’s all over, I’m not really sure I want to do a deep dive into as much as I was thinking I might; I had started doing one after the last season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but maybe I could do a compare and contrast of the two together? One is a spin-off of the other, after all–it all comes back to Brandi Glanville, doesn’t it? Which only makes it all the more bizarre, not to mention how current day reality television owes to the OJ trial–without it, we’d have no Kardashians, no Faye Resnick, and that was actually how the Hiltons got involved with the former…and Paris Hilton was one of the original reality stars, let’s not forget that. Maybe once I am finished with this revision…I have so many blog draft entries to finish at some point!
And on that note I am heading into the spice mines. Have a terrific day Constant Reader, and I will check back in with you again tomorrow.
Wednesday Pay-the-Bills day, and I am awake and slurping coffee, which is truly hitting the spot this morning. I slept well last night, and I think I am actually getting used to getting up at this ungodly, abhorrent hour. When I sleep well, I have no problem getting up in the morning (although I always long to stay in bed longer) and I am pretty well conscious, for the most part. (The coffee will do it’s job indubitably before I have to leave the house for the office, which is lovely, as always.) Yesterday wasn’t too bad. I did run uptown to get the mail on the way home (there was exactly one letter; my copy of All the Sinners Bleed, the new S. A. Cosby, won’t arrive until tomorrow), and I wasn’t terribly tired when I got home. I unloaded the dishwasher and cleaned out the sink, revised another chapter, and just chilled out for the rest of the evening. I’ve got a couple of nonfiction reads going at the same time (Hi Honey I’m Homo by Matt Baume and The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen by Robert Hofler–I do love books about the making of movies! And of course I am still reading The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough) so I finished the Hofler last night (cannot reiterate how much I love books about the making of classic films. The Way We Were, however flawed it may be, it probably my favorite Barbra Streisand movie–either that or What’s Up Doc.
I have a ZOOM meeting tonight as well, so I’ll probably come straight home from the office today after work. The excitement never stops, does it?
I was also thinking some more about my Pride writings, and whether or not I really want to talk about the homophobia I’ve experienced in my career. I do think these things need to be addressed–absolutely no one should have the false impression this kind of shit doesn’t still go on, isn’t still happening–but at the same time, it’s hard to write about those things without getting angry, or becoming THAT Gay Man (similar in some ways to the Angry Black Woman, I think; a trope that is easily dismissed by the dominant culture rather than examined in the ways it should be; if a Black woman is angry, why not find out why rather than being dismissive?) who people can easily stop listening to. Homophobia sucks, and being on the receiving end of it is no pleasure for anyone. It’s even less pleasant to experience and write about. But these things happen, and not shining a light on these unacceptable behaviors allows them to fester and grow. I like to believe sometimes (when feeling more charitable than usual) that people aren’t aware sometimes that what they are saying or writing is homophobic because that shit is baked so deeply into our society and culture; if you never examine yourself, you never learn and grow.
It amazes me how many people think they already “know enough” and don’t need to continue learning and growing. I always want to keep learning, keep modifying myself into the best version of myself that I can be (thank you, Ted Lasso), and growing into a more compassionate, empathetic person. It would be nice to talk about gay joy, you know?
For me, coming out was like a rebirth of sorts. I was absolutely miserable before I started living out loud as a gay man; I kind of led two different lives in which I had two different sets of friends that knew nothing about the others. But the real life was the closeted one, even though hanging out with other gays and going to gay bars was like a breath of fresh air after being stuck in a smoke-filled room for hours. I was keeping so much from either set of friends that I never really felt super-close to any of them; I loved them all dearly, but felt disconnected from them because they didn’t really know me. I was thirty when I started merging my two lives together, and believe me, coming out didn’t solve much for me, either. I felt freer, but I also had to start learning how to navigate being gay all of the time instead of having a few brief hours of freedom every week. I didn’t make many gay friends, and most of the gay people I knew were my co-workers…and the last thing I ever wanted to do was get physically and emotionally involved with a co-worker. There was still a lifetime of self-loathing and self-flagellation stuffed into my head as I started to reeducate and reevaluate myself and my life. The lovely thing about coming out at thirty meant I wiped the slate clean and had to start really figuring out who I actually was. It also makes sense that my writing never went anywhere while I was closeted; I wasn’t a complete person,. so how could I write and create compelling characters that are fully rounded when I was still under construction?
The weird thing is that thirty-one years later, I still feel like I’m figuring out who I am and what I want from my life…as the sands in the hourglass continue to run out. But while there have certainly been difficult times since I waltzed out of the closet, I’ve also been happier and more content and at peace than I ever was before. It might be age and experience, I don’t know, but I believe that I could have never reached that point while living in the closet. Had I continued to deny my true self, how miserable would my life have turned out? It was already going down a dark path already; the 1980’s and HIV/AIDS still cast a long shadow over my life.
But I’ve also known joy in the second half of my life; joy I never experienced or felt in the first half of it. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything…I’ve never regretted it, not once, not even when all the forces of the religious right and their useful idiots in elected office have arrayed themselves against people like me.
On that note, I think I am going to head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I’ll talk to you again soon.
Tuesday morning in the Lost Apartment and I feel daunted. I know we have a busy schedule at the office today and I am mentally preparing myself for all those interactions. I love my job (I don’t love getting up at six, never will), and I love that I am helping people (not quite the urgency of the olden days, but still–new HIV infections need treatment and care else it can still prove fatal), but lots of clients have a tendency to wear me out some and thus I am exhausted when I come home at the end of the day. I have to run errands after work today–mail, mostly–and hopefully won’t be so drained by the time I get home that I’ll be able to carve out some revising time. I managed to get through another chapter last night, and I do believe the book is starting to take its final, publishable form, and I should be able to get it in on time.
Last night after writing Paul and I started watching a new bilingual show on Apple Plus called Now and Then. It’s set in Miami, so some of the characters speak Spanish, some speak English, and some speak both. Twenty years ago after a college graduation, six friends partied on a beach; one of them died, and as they were rushing him to the hospital (driving under the influence) there was an accident. The other driver was killed, and to protect themselves they moved the by-now dead friend into the driver’s seat and fled the scene. Twenty years later (there’s a dual time line, which can be a bit confusing at first) the now adult kids are being blackmailed, and of course the same cops are investigating the new murder of one of them…it’s interesting, if a bit confusing, and it took me a while to get used to the characters (as well as figuring out who they all were in each timeline) but it was intriguing and we will most likely continue watching. I am really looking forward to their new Tom Holland show, The Crowded Room, which also looks interesting. Apple is doing interesting things with their television service.
I have some other Pride entries that I’ve started and haven’t quite finished yet. I am hesitant to post them because–well, I don’t really know why. Writing about homophobic treatment within the publishing community, and my experiences with it, shouldn’t make me feel reticent and squirmy. It gets tiring calling this shit out, then having to defend yourself against straight people who question whether or not this stuff happened. It’s a form of gaslighting the mainstream has perfected when it comes to the non-majority; is it homophobia, or is he just an asshole? Why should i feel uncomfortable talking about how I’ve been treated by certain members of the community, when I didn’t do anything wrong? It’s why women who are sexually harassed and/or assaulted at conventions don’t say anything–because for some reason people always want to protect an institution instead of the individual. You become the problem, instead of the person who actually did something wrong in the first place. The casual homophobia at events at Bouchercon etc. always leave you wondering, should I have laughed that off? Should I have said something? There are some straight male writers who’ve made it abundantly clear to me they want nothing to do with me–and can’t even be bothered to be professionally polite. There’s one in particular who’s been especially rude to me at several events. He’s friends with friends of mine, so he will inevitably drift over and join us–pointedly ignoring me. He actually refused to be introduced to me at Sleuthfest one year.
And of course, when I mention this to my straight writer friends, they are very quick to “oh, you must have misunderstood he’s such a great guy” and I always have to bite my tongue to not say, “Great to straight people, sure.” I was a little taken aback when he refused to be introduced to me at Sleuthfest, but I have started being amused by the fact that my existence clearly shakes him to the very core of his being, to the point that now he turns his back to me if we’re in the same area. How can I not be amused by that level of childishness I’ve not experienced since grammar school and the playground? Sure, dude, you’re really punishing me by not meeting me and engaging with me. It keeps me up at night (sarcasm). Sorry about your penis being so small, homophobe.
And of course, there are the lovely ones who think making a joke about diversity concerns along the lines of “I let a guy suck my dick once for drugs, does that count?” Ha ha ha ha, such wit, I can see why you became a writer with that kind of sharp thinking and clever turns of phrase coming so naturally to you that it just rolls off your tongue.
I also wish I had a dollar for every time a straight person has explained to me how someone else saying something horribly homophobic is actually okay because he/she is “nice” and I must have misunderstood. Um, after sixty-one years of dealing with it, I’m pretty fucking sure I know homophobia when I see and hear it, but please, O Wise and Wonderful Straight Person, please explain what is and isn’t homophobic to the gay man from your vast wealth of experience of dealing with it every day, I would never tell a woman something isn’t sexist, nor a person of color what is and isn’t racism.
Sigh. And on that note, back to the spice mines with me.
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!
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.
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.