A Beautiful Morning

I belong to a Facebook group devoted to collectors and fans of children’s mysteries, either the series (i.e. Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Three Investigators, etc.) and the ones that stood alone, like Phyllis A. Whitney’s and Mary C. Jane. The stand alones you generally got from either the public library, the school library, or the Scholastic book catalogue. The subject of the Scholastic catalogue came up on that thread, with some of the collectors posting their copies of the books. I recently ordered, from ebay, some of the ones I remembered from my childhood–The Ghost of Dibble Hollow, The Ghost Rock Mystery, and some other Mary C. Janes–because the one thing I am sentimental about is books/TV shows/comic books/movies that I loved when I was a kid. My favorite day of school at Eli Whitney Elementary was the day the Scholastic catalogue came, and I got to go home and my parents would let me pick out two or three books to order. Remembering that also made me remember how my mom used to always deposit my sister and I at the Tomen Branch of the Chicago Public Library while she ran errands, like to Walgreens and other places, like going to the dentist, and would retrieve us when she was finished with my big stack of books. The first Phyllis Whitney book I read was checked out of the library–The Mystery of the Hidden Hand–which was set in Greece and had to do with a long lost statue of Apollo, thus combining my love of mysteries, mythology, and history. I loved to read when I was a kid because the world was such a strange place to me, and I didn’t really fit into it. I didn’t like to do the things that boys supposedly were into–baseball and other sports, playing outside, fishing, etc. All I ever really wanted to do was curl up somewhere with a book, or make up my own stories.

I’ve been questioning my writing lately, more along the lines of my career rather than the actual writing. Yesterday was quite a lovely day; I slept late and Paul went into the office, and I started cleaning the kitchen while listening to music on my iPod. (I still haven’t done the windows yet.) I started reading Finders Keepers, am about a chapter in, and am enjoying it. I’ll get back to it today, of course, at some point. Paul’s going to run errands with our friend Lisa today–they like to haunt second hand stores, and he wants to get another individual small dresser and small bookcase–which means I’ll pretty much be home alone again for most of the day. I intend to finish the living room today, run to the grocery store and post office, and then maybe work on the upstairs. I also want to get another three to four chapters of the secret manuscript reread and outlined; I am very pleased with the quality of it, for a first draft, and I think I can really turn it into something good. Letting it sit for so long the way I did has really helped me with it; I now have the proper distance to get back to it and read it/edit it/revise it, rather than being so deeply immersed in it. I am, Constant Reader, rather excited about this turn of events–and it’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited about something I’m writing. I am also going to critique some short stories I’ve written today, see if I can whip them into submission shape….the market for short stories is, alas, so limited these days.

I may even go to the gym today. We’ll see how the day plays out. I am kind of planning out the day, while accepting that it may not go the way I am planning, and I am also fine with that. Yesterday was such a lovely day–I got to have drinks with my friend Laura, who is in town for the weekend, and we had a lovely chat about books and writing–and it was perfectly timed; sometimes the things I think or even write about on here, need to be SAID ALOUD TO SOMEONE to attain their full power.

There’s something about saying things out loud. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but there you have it. Bearing this in mind, I’ve come with some daily affirmations to say to myself in the bathroom mirror every morning. Feel free to mock me for this; I did it this morning and saying the words aloud, I don’t know, made it seem real, made it seem possible.

A lack of belief in myself has often been my downfall throughout my life. It’s the one piece of the puzzle that’s missing, so I am going to work on that.

And now, off to the spice mines. Here’s a hunk for Easter Eve for you, Constant Reader.

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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:

Everyday People

I am sore this morning, but it’s the good sore–the one where you’re aware that you worked out but not so much that moving is a challenge. Tonight I am going to go see Colson Whitehead speak, which is going to be amazing. I also realized yesterday that TWFest and Saints & Sinners are literally in two weeks. GAH. Where did this year go?

I am really looking forward to this weekend, I must say. I am hoping to get to the gym on Saturday to do some cardio and maybe even some light weights. The St. Patrick’s Day parade is Saturday, which means all of Uptown will be pretty much a traffic snarl for most of the day, so running errands is completely out of the question–I will have to do that on Sunday (hello, Costco!) so Saturday will be a ‘clean the house/go to the gym/write’ day.

Oh, and SLEEP IN.

I also need to make a to-do list. I’ve kind of been floating through this week in a daze; I’ve done some reading and a very little bit of writing, and of course I’ve paid the bills and done all the adulting stuff one always has to do no matter how badly you don’t want to. I also just noticed that this weekend is when we lose the hour for Daylight Savings, which means I am going to be out of it next week too. Sigh. Hurray.

Heavy heaving sigh.

I also have to go shopping to buy some pants and maybe a new dress shirt for the Williams Fest. I have these amazing, snazzy shoes I never get to wear because of course everything formal or dressy I own is black and red (black pants, red shirts) and so I need something tan and pale blue to go with my cool shoes. I am going to go to the outlet mall at Riverwalk Mall and see what they have. I also need to get some every day wear and workout shoes. Sigh. It never seems to end.

And on that dull, boring note I am going to get back to the spice mines.

Here’s a shot of Michael Fassbender for you.