The Winner Takes It All

All is calm outside my windows this morning. Claudette’s eye has passed–to the east of my neighborhood, leaving us on the dry side–and while there are reports of heavy rainfall and flooding on the north shore and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we remained here pretty unscathed. The flash flood warning for New Orleans has been cancelled, but we remain under a tropical storm warning, with the possibilities of high winds and heavy rainfall still there. Inevitably, it’s always a relief when we are merely struck a glancing blow, but there’s something untoward, for me at least, about being grateful somewhere else got hit instead. But that’s the nature of hurricane season–wishing to be spared means wishing disaster on someone, somewhere, else.

I didn’t get much writing done yesterday after all; perhaps about two or three hundred words on “Festival of the Redeemer”–after I finished my work yesterday I was feeling tired again, both mentally and physically, and was actually rather pleased with that minuscule output, honestly. I slept extremely deeply and well last night–the occasional odd dream was there, but this morning I don’t really remember much of them other than some weird communal living situation Paul and I found ourself in, trying to insist on our privacy as others came in and out of our living space while at the same time allowing their cats access to it, thereby traumatizing poor Scooter. This led me to wake up around six in the morning–I always seem to wake up around that time, thanks to my three-days-per week early mornings–but had no problems whatsoever falling back asleep again for another two hours, which was lovely. Today I intend to make more headway on the Lost Apartment and perhaps make a final push to get this novella’s first draft completed and out of the way; I’d also like to make another strong push to get my story “The Sound of Snow Falling” completed, but I’m not entirely certain what the possibilities of managing both, while getting that web copy written, are.

I also need to get my inbox cleared at some point this weekend as well.

Work, work, work. And perhaps make some time to read; we’ll see how that goes.

Last night I also made a second attempt at making a dirty vodka martini, and was much more successful this time around. I took a co-worker’s advice (she also bartends) and simply swished the dry vermouth around in the glass before dumping it; adding the vodka, shaken with ice and then the olives and juice. I can certainly see why excellent vodka is called for; since the drink is almost entirely vodka (it’s really just a big chilled vodka shot, with garnishes), and I had found an old bottle of Rain, leftover from the days of the Iris parties, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out. I had one in honor of Season 4 of Elité dropping on Netflix, and we binged six episodes last night. There are only two left, and I have to give the show props–they lost nearly half the cast, so had to introduce new characters as well as terminate relationships between characters who remained and those who left; and it would be incredibly easy to simply make the new characters carbons of the old. They didn’t do this, and while these new characters are mostly unlikable, the old characters had three seasons, for the most part, to make us care about them. There is a crime–the show is following the former pattern of the previous seasons–flashing back between the present and the past to show the build up to the crime; but as Paul said, “some of these relationships feel a bit forced.” He’s not wrong–but as I said, this is the most new characters they’ve ever had to add into a season before, and weaving them into what is basically a reboot season isn’t as easy as adding in new characters, scattered amongst the established cast, was in previous seasons. I am enjoying it, and it’s still everything I loved about the previous seasons–sexy, lots of queer representation, high production values, interesting twists and turns; but sadly, characters like Lucrezia and Carla (played brilliantly by Danna Paola and Ester Exposito) are incredibly hard to replace. But, all things considered, they are doing a great job with season four.

I feel, of all things, oddly settled this morning, and calm–like it is outside. I’ve been feeling off-balance for quite some time now; something I hadn’t really noticed until this morning, since I seem to have stopped rocking back-and-forth for now and feel rested. (I think rested is truly the key word in that sentence; I am not feeling tired this morning–physically or emotionally or intellectually–which is quite a marvelous feeling, frankly. I have things to do, as is always the case, but I also feel no stress about any of them; today I feel like I can conquer the world, which is a pleasant feeling and one I’ve not had in quite some time. But really, it’s lovely to be in a good place. I am writing an being very productive at it; I’ve sorted out some issues in my head that have not been easy to get through; and while this year has been a bit tough–writing two books at the beginning; dealing with burnout and some other issues I won’t bore you with–I feel pretty good right now. That may vary– I could wake up tomorrow feeling like something the cat dragged in–but for now, I am doing great and that’s all that really matters right now.

And on that note, tis back to the spice mines with me.

Reach Out I’ll Be There

Hello and good morning to you, Wednesday. We’re still in a severe weather warning or watch or something–a wind advisory and coastal flooding and so forth–but I don’t think it rained overnight and it’s not raining now. it is still grayish outside, though, as I sip at my cappuccino and try to come back to full consciousness–not that I actually went below it at any point over the last three nights.

Yesterday was not one of the better days at the day job; it quite literally was like Mercury went into retrograde for me and my program at the office. Everything that could possibly go wrong and usually never does actually did; plus I was dealing with trying to figure out why my pharmacy and my doctor were not communicating about my prescription refill, with each blaming the other and me stuck between them basically almost to the point of begging them to recognize that *I* was the one who was being mishandled and who was at fault didn’t matter; the important thing was fixing the issue rather than figuring out who was at fault. Somehow through it all I managed to never lose my temper and around two in the afternoon all I could do was laugh about everything. Everything at work managed to be worked out, and almost all of my clients handled the mishaps with good grace (I would like to point out that none of these things at my job were my fault; and usually having to clean up messes made by other people makes me angry but yesterday I somehow managed to keep my cool…which was also why I managed to keep my cool with the nurse at my doctor’s office and the pharmacy; remembering hey your clients handled being mishandled today gracefully, so don’t get mad because that won’t fix anything), so that was nice.

After work I met a friend in from out of town for dinner and drinks; she too had been having a really shitty day and so we were able to sit down at Fat Harry’s and have some liquor–dirty vodka martinis for me, white wine for her–and soon we started laughing about everything and talking and it was marvelous…marvelous to be out in public, marvelous to be hanging out with a friend and eating bar food and drinking, and we were both in really great moods as we bid each other good evening and returned to our domiciles. I’m still feeling the glow of that this morning, and I’ve decided to let things go as far as the prescription is concerned. If they don’t work it out themselves today–I kind of had the impression they were going to get it resolved yesterday, but they didn’t–I can deal with it when I get back from my trip. I’m not calling anyone today or trying to follow up with anyone or anything; I need to get into the proper headspace for the day before a trip and I have to pack and everything tonight too; there’s absolutely no need for me to add any additional stressors to my day today.

I actually don’t feel too bad for not having slept since Saturday night, really. I feel much more relaxed this morning and I do feel rested, even if I never actually went into a deep sleep last night. I think when I get home from my trip I am going to buy some vermouth and good vodka and olives and martini glasses and maybe I’ll have a drink every day when I get home from work just to relax a little bit. I don’t really drink much any more–since the start of the pandemic the only time I have had alcohol was when this same friend has been in town and we’ve had dinner together; and once when another friend was in from out of town. Considering how much I used to drink, that’s pretty amazing–and if anything, I’ve certainly proved to myself that I do not have an alcohol problem in the traditional sense, at least. (I often worry about developing an addiction.) So, having the occasional drink at home shouldn’t really be an issue.

And I really do like martinis–both vodka and gin.

I also really like Bloody Marys, now that I think about it.

I guess I just like liquor….which is why I worry about addiction, now that I think about it.

And on THAT note, I am heading back into the spice mines. Have a lovely Wednesday, Constant Reader.

Slow Ride

Well, I finally finished that fucking Chapter Fourteen, and yes, it’s rough, but it’s not nearly as bad as I feared it would turn out, nor as it was heading last week when I tried to work on it. Today I figured out a way to plough through it, and now I have to figure out how the fuck I am going to get another eleven chapters out of this story–but truth be told, the elements of the plot are pretty much all in place now and now it’s a matter of playing them out. I also recognized that there’s not an emotional stability at the core of the story–there is, I just haven’t been putting it in, so that’s the next thing I need to do in the next draft, or as this one progresses along I can start putting it in.

I keep saying to myself that someday this will get easier, but thirty-odd books later and here I still am, plodding through a manuscript and ready to throw in the goddamned towel.

Sunday morning and I’m on my second cup of coffee. My kitchen is a mess, and I have to figure out how to use a new app on my computer because I’m being interviewed by Eric Beetner and S. W. Lauden for their Writer Types podcast, which is very cool. I was briefly on it when they were interviewing people in the bar at St. Petersburg Bouchercon, but that was also the now notorious Low ‘n’ Slow afternoon, so I only vaguely remember it and still to this day have no idea what I actually said to them. Not good, really, when it’s going to be broadcast. I think I listened to it, and I didn’t embarrass myself too badly; but I’ve been told any number of times that people can’t tell when I’m wasted.

I’ve always thought they were being kind to lessen my own embarrassment. Maybe they were, who knows?

My relationship with alcohol has always been a tricky one. I only had liquor once before I graduated from high school and I got very drunk at a friend’s birthday party my junior year. I didn’t drink again until the night I graduated, and after I recovered from that horrible hangover I pretty much was drunk every night until we moved to California, where the drinking age was 21 and I was still only nineteen. California was also a lot stricter about checking ID’s than Kansas had ever been, so I was totally sober for two years before I came of legal age to drink again….and then was drunk every night for the next six or seven years again, followed by another few years of utter sobriety, and then when I started going out to gay bars, I still remained sober most of the time, drinking only water and finally, gradually, progressing back to beer again. I don’t drink much anymore–there were many years of New Orleans life where Paul and I went out every weekend night, including Sunday Tea Dance–but since I hung up my dancing shoes, I don’t really drink hardly at all anymore. I’ll have a drink or two when I’m out for dinner, or at a party, or during a conference–I am usually wasted every night at Bouchercon–but once the conference is over, I come back home to sobriety. We generally don’t drink at home–I still have a bottle of wine I bought on the notorious Target expedition with Wendy Corsi Staub in St. Petersburg–and we still have bottles of vodka and gin and tequila left over from the Iris parties of old; and we haven’t had an Iris party in about five years or so.

Although I am sure this October in Dallas there will be drunken, sloppy tales of Gregalicious to tell.

I’m probably going to try to get some writing done after the interview, and some cleaning, and I’d like to read more of Black Diamond Fall. I’m not reading as quickly as I used to, and I am sure it has something to do with social media and they need to constantly be checking it–which is a need that absolutely positively has to be reined in because it’s such a waste of time.

And that sounds like the perfect segue back into the spice mines this morning. Have a lovely Sunday, Constant Reader.

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