Living in America

So, I sent two more stories out into the submission wilderness yesterday. I also had lunch with a friend at the Company Burger and got caught in the rain on the way there from where I parked the car. And for once I actually had an umbrella in the car.

I know, right?

What are the odds?

I slept late this morning; part of that I believe is resistance to having to leave the house. I need to get the mail and I need to make groceries–not much, just a little bit–and at some point I should go to the gym. But I am feeling rather lackadaisical this morning; I ‘d like to start rereading the Scotty manuscript as well as taking notes on it (I was taking notes last night, just from my memories of it) and  I also want to get back to reading  (Lou Berney’s November Road is calling my name and I should get back to the Short Story Project), but I am also thinking about other short stories that are in progress that I’d like to get done…but if I focus, I can also get Scotty finished by the end of this month and then turned in.

Decisions, decisions. I also have two full days left of my staycation. so there is that, as well. And the apartment looks kind of slovenly, again. I don’t know, sigh. It is what it is, I suppose, and the more coffee I swill the more awake and lively I feel. This second cup is really hitting me marvelously, I must say.

We watched A Very British Scandal  last night, the limited series about the Jeremy Thorpe scandal in the 1970’s, where an MP tried to have a former gay lover murdered. It was very well done, the acting was top notch–High Grant was properly narcissistic and monstrous–and the young man who starred in London Spy was also quite marvelous as the young man who had a years’ long affair with Thorpe only to wind up the target of a murder plot. I also have to say, as I watched, I remembered how just twenty years ago being in the closet and wanting to stay there was made someone a terrific suspect in a crime novel, and also an excellent thread to hang the plot of an entire novel on (Murder in the Rue Dauphine comes to mind). I suppose it would still work, but the stakes have to be higher than embarrassment and/or losing one’s family unit–it would have to be a politician on the right, or a church leader, or an anti-gay crusader, or some such; which has also kind of become a tired cliche.

Progress of a sort, I suppose.

Just a quick glance around the workspace is also letting me know that I need to seriously file and organize….so perhaps I should return to Le Spice Mines.

The next story in Promises in Every Star and Other Stories is”Will You Love Me in September?”:

“Will you love me in September?”

Kevin’s voice, his words, echo in his head even after he hangs up the telephone, placing the receiver back into its cradle. He gets out of the bed slowly, gently, not jarring the mattress, and walks over to the patio windows, turning the cord that opens the blinds so that the sunlight spills into the room. The heat of a summer morning in Tampa comes in with the sunlight, and he turns and looks back at the bed, where he could see the smooth outline of—

Sean? Scott? Steve? Sean, that was it, wasn’t it? Did it really matter?

–sleeping, snoring softly, and he feels it then, what he knew would feel last night in the barr when Sean? Scott? Steve? came over and started talking to him, flirting with him, knowing full well that he should not be responsing, but he was nice looking, had a nice body, and he was so obviously interested, and he felt the interest stirring in his groin, and he knew if Sean wanted him, he would bring him home.

“Will you love me in September?”

It had been so long since he had seen Kevin, almost a month, that month stretching into eternity, a bottomless abyss that cannot be conquered, and the phone calls, each one at least an hour in duration, making him think that he should buy stock in AT&T and maybe that way he could get some of the money back they were spending on long distance, the phone calls were nice and made me feel warm and reassured and loved, but he could not curl up with the phone in bed at night, he could not get a hug from the phone after a particilarly bad day, Kevin was two thousand miles away in Minneapolis, the phone calls were just not enough. But I do love him, he thinks again, looking at Sean? Scott? Steve?’s form and feeling like a whore, feeling unworthy of Kevin’s love, undeserving of anyone’s devotion.

“Will you love me in September?”

And Sean? Scott? Steve? began to make the unmistakable signs of interest, the gay mating ritual, the occasional touches, brushing up against him, and he knew that Sean wanted him, it wasn’t just his imagination, he was being cruised and he was being cruised hard, it was not going to be a relationship, it was just a one night stand, it had nothing to do with Kevin, or how he felt about Kevin, it was just a fucking one night stand and he didn’t have to tell Kevin about it. Kevin didn’t have to know, he was two thousand miles away, Kevin knew no one in Tampa except for him, so how woulod Kevin ever know? Only if I tell him, he thought, and he wanted Sean? Scott? Steve?, he wanted to be kissed and hugged and held, and loved, even if love had nothing to do with it. It was just a one night stand. It meant nothing.

“Will you love me in September?”

I wrote this story when Paul and I were first seeing each other and starting to think this was the real thing, but we hadn’t committed completely to each other absolutely yet (I always say we met in person on July 20th, which we celebrate as our anniversary, and add we’ve been together ever since but it wasn’t that simple or that easy; there were steps and issues to be deal with and so forth along the way; mostly because, in the interest of total honesty, I couldn’t believe someone as kind and loving and lovely as Paul could actually care about me. Like I said, issues) and so I was still, you know, going out to clubs and occasionally hooking up with people. One day in mid-August, right before my birthday, we were planning on me coming to Minneapolis to see him in September and he asked me will you still love me in September?

It was such a lovely sentence, really, and it moved me; and I sat down and wrote the story. It languished in my files for years before I dug it out and rewrote it and revised it and included it in this collection; it has a personal feel to for me, especially now that our twenty-third anniversary looms.

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Reelin’ in the Years

It’s raining again on this first morning of June; gray and slick and wet outside my condensation-veiled windows as I sip my second cup of coffee. It’s Thursday; there’s only tomorrow to get through before the weekend, and I still am feeling a bit off, as I often do during short work weeks. But I am still feeling rested and like I am getting good sleep, even if I am not sleeping all the way through the night–I wake up once or twice, but am able to fall back asleep, which is a lovely change. (Plus, every morning around five Scooter turns into a purr machine, along with the kneading with claws extended. Sigh.)

We finished watching London Spy last night, and wow, absolutely amazing how that went completely off the rails in the final two episodes. I was enormously disappointed, obviously. The show had such an amazing premise, and would have worked beautifully had they simply put as much thought into how to end it as they did in how to set up the premise. And there were so many wonderful, brilliant options! I will still chalk the show up as a win on several levels: 1. Beautifully realized, realistic gay characters; 2. Probably the most honest approach to gay sexuality I’ve seen in any film or television series, or at least one of the most honest; 3. An excellent, absolutely powerful depiction of what it is like to get an HIV test; 4. Excellent job of taking a crime trope–innocent person caught up in something far beyond their scope to deal with, including the inability to trust anyone while caught in a trap which includes rabid paranoia. It went off the rails, alas, and became completely unbelievable in its final two episodes, which is a pity.

But at least they tried, which is more than I can say for most television/film/production companies.

And remember–twenty years ago such a show would have been unfathomable. Twenty years ago we were embracing horrible Hollywood films like Philadelphia and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar,  which had queer characters (although Wong Foo’s drag queens, with the exception of John Leguizamo’s Chi Chi, were completely sexless; no lust or love or even desire for Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes!) which was something we could embrace, but both films had that false Hollywood veneer that rendered them inauthentic and castrated. (Don’t even get me started on In and Out.) Then again, it’s not like Hollywood is exactly churning out films with queer characters front and center, unless someone (straight) is gunning for an Oscar.

Ah, well.

Not sure what we’re going to watch next; either The Night Manager or The Magicians, most likely.

And now, back to revising.

For Throwback Thursday, here’s gorgeous young Richard Chamberlain.

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Deacon Blues

Hump day. I am trying to adjust to being rested; I had no idea before how tired I was all the time. This new sleep-assisting pillow spray is da bomb, yo. I’ve not yet reached the point where I am brave enough to try to sleep only using the pillow spray as an aid, but the day when I am going to try it is rapidly approaching. I’ve been weaning myself off everything else gradually–last night I only took melatonin, which would have never been enough to help me sleep before–and only woke up twice, but was able to fall back asleep without a problem within a matter of minutes.

Game changer, seriously.

The problem with short weeks after three day holiday weekends, for me at least, is readjusting. I keep thinking it’s Tuesday, for example, but it’s not, and this is sort of one of those things like trying to adjust to walking on dry land again after being at sea for a while; something just seems off. I need to get some revising done this week; I am due for the final read-through of a pseudonymous manuscript after final edit, which has to be turned quickly–in less than twenty-four hours–so I don’t want to get myself too wound up going into that, because I will need to focus in order to get it finished on time so we can get the production of the book back on schedule (and yes, I turned the manuscript in late…this is what happens, people, when you turn your work in late: you fuck up the production schedule.) Heavy sigh.

We watched another episode of London Spy last night, which is amazing. (Bar testing was canceled.) It’s just so smart about being gay; I need to look up to see if the writers/producers are gay because if they aren’t, they did an amazing job about dealing with and looking at not just gay life, but gay sexuality: the scene where Danny tells Alex’s mother that ‘you can’t fake being a virgin’ was so fucking spot-on I almost gave it a standing ovation. Last night’s episode had probably the most horrifying–and accurate–depiction of getting an HIV test and having it come back reactive that I’ve ever seen; particularly when you know you’ve been safe, not been at rest, and your test comes back reactive. (They used an INSTI test, which is our back-up test at the day job–although I called shenanigans on some of the things in the scene–but then, the London protocol for HIV testing could simply be different than ours in Louisiana; though I find it really odd that ours would be more stringent than London’s…)

Okay, I should probably get back to the spice mines. Spice, after all, will not mine itself.

Today’s Hump Day Hunk is fitness trainer/model Danny Jones–whom I discovered randomly yesterday by scrolling thru Instagram.

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Set the Night to Music

It rained all night; a wonderful downpour punctuated with lightning and rolling thunder that seemed to last forever. This morning everything is still gray outside, the windows covered with condensation and everything outside slick and dripping. It’s a short work week, and I don’t even have to go in until later this afternoon; I am bar testing tonight. I have some errands to run this morning, and also some things to do around the house that I kind of blew off and didn’t do over the course of the three day weekend, which is sort of shameful but I refuse to feel guilty about. I feel very well-rested this morning, and that really was the point of the weekend; the most important thing was for me to feel rested again once it was time to return to the office.

So, over all, the weekend was a win. I didn’t finish reading The Sympathizer, but have only a hundred or so pages left to read. I am really enjoying it. We finished watching Sherlock last night, got caught up with Veep, and then moved on to London Spy, which we are also enjoying; it’s nothing like I expected. I kind of knew the premise; everyone on Facebook was talking about it when it was originally airing, and of course, lots of people told me I should watch it–gay main character, gay romance at the heart of the story, and a mystery the main character has to solve. We’re two episodes in, and I have to say I am rather pleased with how it’s depicting Danny, the main character. It’s very Hitchcockian in that the main character is just an ordinary guy who gets caught up in something beyond his scope quite by accident; which is also something I rather enjoy. I’m looking forward to getting further into it–alas, tonight I have to work late, but there’s always tomorrow. (It also got me thinking about Colin, and what I kind of want to do with the next Scotty book.)

And before I run my errands and get things done around the Lost Apartment, I am going to get through some work on the WIP as well.

It is very lovely to feel rested.

And on that note, it’s time to get back to the spice mines.

Here’s a hunk to get you into your week.

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