Turn to You

Very tired this morning; a late night of bar testing concluded my twelve hour day yesterday and there is nothing like walking ten blocks on a sultry, steamy New Orleans night to stand in the upstairs of a bar whose a/c is set to “Econo”, and then walking ten blocks back.

I changed my socks three times yesterday.

But I have a short day today; only four hours to put in today, and I don’t have to be at the office until four. Huzzah! I also get to go in a little later tomorrow, and don’t have to work a full eight hour shift then, either. So, I get to sort of ease my way in to the weekend, which is lovely. I am making a Costco run this morning, making a grocery run tomorrow, and then I get to only leave the house to go see Wacky Russian Saturday morning. I do rather have to get motivated, though, which isn’t easy when you’re already tired. But if I have another cup of coffee, do my morning stretching, and then hop in the shower, I will be good.

One can hope, anyway.

My short story continues to putter along, and man, is it all over the place. I am trying very hard not to stop myself and correct the narrative–I’m just trying to get the story down, do the polishing and reorganizing on the next go round, but it’s kind of slow going. I kind of have a vague idea of what the story is and how it’s going to end, and I am writing a lot of chaff that will have to be separated out later, and the voice is all over the place as well. Ah, well, the great joys of being a writer; this constant internal struggle between confidence, over-confidence, and NO confidence. The Three Faces of Greg, as it were.

I’m still reading A Feast of Snakes; it’s very short, and I should be able to finish it soon. But I am going to absolutely reward myself with the latest Rebecca Chance, Killer Affair, when I am finished with this one. (I need a break from the Southern Gothic, frankly, but I’ll be jumping back in right after.) My copies of Barry Hannah’s Airships and Raymond Carver’s Will You Please Be Quiet Please arrived, so I also have more short stories to read, and of course, there are more stories in Faulkner’s Knight’s Gambit to read as well.

I think it’s very important for a writer to read as widely as possible. I read scifi, fantasy, horror, romance, ‘literary’, ‘popular’, and historicals, in addition to social history and commentary, literary criticism, and biographies, as well as history. I also love comic books. But I’ve been reading almost exclusively crime novels for a very long time, and as such, there’s been such a narrow focus in my reading that I need to expand out a bit; I am enjoying the Southern Gothic reading I’ve been doing–some of which could be defined as crime fiction, which makes it all the more fun–and it also makes me realize that reading all these different types and styles of fiction should be helping make me into a better writer.

I am hoping to get back to the serious chore of the final edit of the WIP this weekend; one of the reasons I want to get all this errand running finished over today and tomorrow is so that I won’t be too tired on the weekend to get this accomplished.

And on that note, I need to get the day going.

Here’s a Throwback Thursday hunk for you, Constant Reader:

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Robert Kelker-Kelly, from Another World and Days of Our Lives

The Sunshine After The Rain

It’s actually sunny this morning in New Orleans; mayhap we can get through the day without any rain; although I am not counting on it, of course. I have a late night tonight–bar testing–and as such don’t have to go into the office until later. I am going to get some things done this morning, run to the post office and get groceries, and try to get some revising done before I head to work later this afternoon. I’ve been awake for a little over an hour now and am still shaking off the lethargy; it’s very defeating to get up and have little energy or motivation. I think the energy is there, but the brain fog is the problem.

I think tonight I might try something different when it comes to sleeping.

Anyway.

The kitchen is also a  mess this morning, so I need to empty the dishwasher and refill it. This weekend I need to definitely spend a day cleaning the downstairs and try not to get distracted from doing it (the way I have been the last month or so). I am still reading Dan Chaon’s Ill Will and deeply enjoying it–the writing is so sublime–and it’s triggering (as really well written books always do) some ideas for a book I’ve wanted to write for about thirty years now; I am making notes, just having some trouble coming up with the basic premise for the book–how do I get my main character where he needs to be for the summer? (Of course, the last thing I need is another book idea nagging at me while I am trying to get this one revised and I know I have another to write immediately after–and June is slipping through my fingers. I seriously need to buckle down and get this revision done, so I can move on to the next so I can stay on schedule.) Sigh. All I do is whine, whine, whine. So tiresome.

And on that note, I should probably get moving. I am going to the grocery store today so I need to make a list (already started) as well as go through the fridge to make sure everything in there is organized and whatever needs to be tossed has been tossed. I really hate going to the grocery store, but it’s simply got to be done this morning. (I’ll have to go again on Saturday, which is enormously frustrating, but there you go. I also have two late nights next week, so I’ll wait until then to make the Costco run.)

Life as a famous author is rather thrilling, isn’t it?

Here’s today’s hunk:

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You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Wednesday, and another late night of bar testing. But there is a three day weekend looming, which is an absolutely lovely thought. I do want to get quite a bit finished by Tuesday; I’ve been lazy and lethargic lately–I’ve been sleeping so deeply and well that I remain groggy throughout the next day, which is quite odd and is taking some adjusting. I am still reading The Sympathizer, which is extraordinary, and we are watching a rather frustrating true-crime documentary on Netflix, The Keepers. (It’s enjoyable, but I’m getting a very strong sense of documentarian manipulation; there are some fairly obvious questions no one is asking, and there are only two episodes left; which means it is either entirely possible those questions may not ever be asked–which is unforgivable in a criminal ‘investigation’–and if they are not asked until the last two episodes, well, it’s audience manipulation to stretch it out as long as possible. Either way, #epicfail.)

I am also enjoying American Gods. It’s been years since I read the book–which I remember enjoying, but none of the details; I do remember the over-all concept of the book, which the show is illustrating very nicely. I probably won’t reread the book–my TBR pile is still absolutely insane, and I feel completely defeated every time I see it, considering it’s most of the living room AND the laundry room–but I do want to reread Good Omens, which I think IS getting filmed as well. I read it a million years ago, and all I remember about it was that it was about the Apocalypse yet was hysterically funny. I am also enjoying my current non-fiction read, The Affair of the Poisons, which is giving me such a clear picture of what life was like at the French court in the seventeenth century that I may even be able to begin sketching out the plot/structure of a secret project I’ve been wanting to write for over twelve years.

I’m also getting a much clearer picture of how to write/restructure Crescent City Charade–walking away from it to work on the secret project was probably the smartest thing I could have ever done; the book is becoming much clearer in my head, and I think it’s going to be maybe one of the funniest and best Scottys ever. Once I get finished with the revision of the secret project, I am going to be able to dive head-first into the Scotty, and am betting I’ll be able to get through it rather quickly (always a plus). I have another book I want to write this year, so am thinking if I can get the secret project revised/rewritten by the end of June, I can spend the summer doing the Scotty and can spend the fall writing the other book, Muscles, which will be my first straight-up noir.

I am itching to get started on it…but time. Patience, Gregalicious, patience.

Okay, I need to get my errands done and some clean-up work around the house as well.

Here’s a Hump Day Hunk for you.

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Sugar Sugar

So, I finally watched the season finale of Riverdale last night, and I have to say, well done! I went into Riverdale not sure what to expect–and worried I’d be disappointed–but the show really worked on many levels The writing was strong, if a bit uneven at times; the way it was shot–the production values, cinematography, use of color, etc–was always on point; but the biggest strength of the show was the cast. The young actors playing the Gang were appealing and imminently likable; and following the lead of Pretty Little Liars, the older members of the cast were former teen heartthrobs (Jason Gedrick, Luke Perry) or had become successful as young stars (Madchen Amick, Robin Givens). I am really looking forward to the second season.

Well done, Riverdale!

I slept really late this morning, which kind of felt good. I need to finish going over my editorial notes, and making those corrections–I intend to spend tomorrow polishing the book from beginning to end, and I also have to go into the office for a few hours today, as well as make groceries. I’d thought about doing the groceries this morning, but oversleeping took care of that, as well as wiping out my plan to finish the editorial notes. I’ll now have to do that when I get home from the office/making groceries. That’s fine, too; this morning before work I can organize/clean the kitchen and finish the laundry and do all those other lovely chores before running to get the mail and heading in to the office. Hurray! (There really needs to be a sarcasm font.)

I also started reading John Colapinto’s About the Author last night. It was recommended to me by a friend when I told them the basic premise behind my short story “Quiet Desperation”. I am only a few pages in but I am enjoying it so far. When I finish, I think I am going to read either The Sympathizer (won both Pulitzer Prize and Edgar) or Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (recently won the Edgar). Definitely some good reading in my future! Huzzah!

I also, for the first time in a while, looked at Mardi Gras Mambo, aka Scotty Three, and was more than a little startled by how much the tone, how much the character, had changed since then. People change, of course–things that happen affect who you are, affect how you react to things, change your perspective–but in just reading the introduction and the first three chapters, the change was so dramatic it was startling. Should I go back to Scotty–when I go back to Scotty–it only makes sense to read the series over again, from start to finish. Maybe it’s too late to get that sense of the earlier Scotty back now, I don’t know. But some things I’d been feeling make sense now; maybe in rereading the entire series I can figure out how to do the new one.

I have to say, I am starting to enjoy myself again with writing and editing. I think the break from deadlines was precisely what I needed.

And now, back to the spice mines.

Here’s a Saturday hunk for you:

 

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Love Is All Around

Thunderstorms are in the forecast for today–of course, it’s the first weekend of Jazz Fest, and it always rains for Jazz Fest–and I have to make a grocery store run. I’m going to have another cup of coffee while I write this and then make a dash for the store. I slept fairly well last night, despite waking up around four in the morning but it only took me about another fifteen minutes before I fell back asleep. I have a lot of things I want to get done today, so hopefully the thunder and rain will help motivate me. Either that, or I’ll curl up with Cleopatra’s Shadows, which I am enjoying. And really, going to the store early on Sunday morning is the smart thing to do–because everyone is either getting ready for church or already there.

Paul and I watched the first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale last night, and my God, was it chilling. I finally read the book a few years ago, and like so many others, thought it was exquisitely written and thematically terrifying. I wasn’t sure how they would do it as a series, though, and I have to say, it’s riveting and terrifying, and not really hard to see how something like the repressive world of Gilead could happen in reality. Elisabeth Moss is definitely shaping up to be one of the best actresses of her generation, and her choices of roles–from Mad Men to Top of the Lake to this–certainly capture her range. We’ll keep watching, of course.

I drove up to Ponchatoula yesterday to pick Paul up; he’d gone up there on Thursday to visit our friends the Marshalls on the train. His birthday was Friday, so we weren’t together on his birthday, but really, after twenty-one years together (twenty-two on July 20th), things like birthdays don’t matter as much to us as they did when we were newly coupled. I know that probably sounds terrible, but my own birthday never mattered much to me–my family wasn’t big on things like that when I was a kid, and I learned early on that caring about my birthday and making a fuss about it always ended in disappointment, so I got over it very young–and I inevitably end up hurting people’s feelings because I just don’t see what a big deal it is. I also realize that makes me sound awful and uncaring, but I really do think birthdays are for kids.

Although it’s really interesting to reflect back on my life and see how I’ve learned to lower my expectations in order to avoid disappointments. It’s very self-defeating in some ways; I’m trying to learn not to be so self-deprecating about myself. There really is something to be said for daily affirmations, which I’ve started doing. Plus not having deadline pressure is helping me relax, and it’s nice being able to take the time to really evaluate and assess everything about my writing and my career and where I want to go with it in the  future. I was so busy writing for so long I never took the time to actually sit back and think about things, make plans, set goals, and figure out how to get there.

All right, I’d best get to the grocery store before the storms start.

Here’s a hunk to start your week:

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Angel of the Morning

Last night was a late night of bar testing at the Pub, so this morning I am a little groggy. I also haven’t yet had my second cup of coffee, either, so there is that. I am feeling a little out of sorts emotionally, too–nothing major, just some sincere dissatisfaction with a lot of things–and while I can, of course, blame that on Mercury being in retrograde, I am also choosing to look at it as a good thing: it’s time to shake things up a bit.

I decided to stop reading The Nest last night. I am about a little over a third into the book, and with no disrespect intended to the author, I am not her intended audience because none of it was resonating with me. I am going to move on to something else; I shall, once I am finished here, go peruse the stacks and shelves to find something juicy I can really sink my teeth into and get lost in the story. I’m not really sure what I am in the mood for reading right now, to be honest, and may make a false start on a novel or two until I find something that sweeps me away–although I am thinking I may read Stephen King’s Finders Keepers next; I loved Mr. Mercedes, and King so rarely disappoints…that might be just the thing for me tomorrow around running errands and cleaning this filthy, filthy apartment.

I’ve also decided to focus on editing and writing the second draft of the secret manuscript. Trying to edit/rewrite it while writing another Scotty and other short stories as well is scattering my creativity and my energy; and I’m just not feeling the Scotty novel right now, so it’s time to put it aside and move on. If the revisions go as easily as the writing of the first draft does, I’ll be finished with it in a month or two anyway. I don’t, however, want to go through it quickly, though; I want to take my time and really do a good job on it. The most important thing now is to go through and edit, while also writing up an outline and making a list of characters and so forth. Yes, that sounds like a plan, and to accomplish everything I want to get done this weekend once I’m showered and fully awake I am going to make a to-do list. (At least my taxes are done and filed; I also owed Louisiana state tax–BASTARDS–but have already paid it.)

And on that note, I am going to get ready for work.

For Throwback Thursday, here’s a hunk from the past: Steve Bond, from his days as Jimmy Lee Holt, the bastard Quartermaine, on General Hospital.

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Midnight Confessions

Friday morning, and another week done on my slow descent into the grave. Wacky Russian was thinking about turning forty during our training session the other day, and along with it came the horrifying realization that I will reach sixty before he reaches forty. YIKES, right?

But I really don’t mind getting older. I miss the energy and the way my body used to bounce right back from exertion (of any kind) but other than that, I don’t mind. I don’t even think about myself being the age I am; it’s always a bit of a shock to realize I think of myself as being younger that I really am. But other than that surprise, I’m fine with it. I’ve certainly lived longer than I ever thought I would–being of the generation of gay men that I belong to, I never thought I would live to see forty, let alone get so close to sixty and still be going.

I’d thought about going to Costco this morning but I think I am going to wait until tomorrow. I may change my mind–it’s not even ten yet and I don’t have to be at the office until two, so there’s a window–but right now I’m not feeling it.

I didn’t finish “Quiet Desperation” yesterday, but am hopeful for today. I had every intention of getting it done yesterday, but I just wasn’t there mentally. Maybe I was being lazy; it’s always possible. But I am most pleased about having survived the post-Festival week, quite frankly. That’s always tough; not just TWFest/S&S, but after any book event, readjusting to regular life again the next week, while trying to get rested and back to normality, it always difficult. The first few days you’re mournful, wishing you could spend every day in the company of writers and readers; then comes the adjustment period. But it usually only takes a week–and is there anything more pointedly ‘back to reality’ than going to Costco?

I think not.

I also want to finish reading The Underground Railroad this weekend.

And on that note, perhaps I should get back to the spice mines. There’s a load of laundry to fold and a dishwasher to empty.

The glamorous life.

Here’s a hunk to slide you into the weekend: