Saturday in the Lost Apartment, let’s goooooo!!!!!
I slept really well last night and feel good this morning. I had decided already–yesterday morning–that I was going to not do any writing after work yesterday and to take today off as well, and it feels nice. Finishing projects is always lovely, because once you’ve finished them the release of pressure is pretty marvelous. I also had a ZOOM meeting with my Scotty editor yesterday to get the book back on track, and I felt pretty good after that as well. It’s interesting how pressure and stress can affect your brain and your thinking when you are juggling things. But I have no doubt I can get the book done in time for it’s November release (moved back from September) and the release of that particular pressure valve was marvelous. I’m actually looking forward to diving back into the book again headfirst. Today I have a ZOOM thing for Queer Crime Writers at one, and so I am planning on heading out on errands around eleven; so I have time to also make groceries and get back home in time for the ZOOM meeting. After that I am going to probably finish reading Lori Roy’s marvelous Let Me Die in His Footsteps at last, and then I get to choose my next read, which is kind of exciting. I also have to prepare to interview Margot Douaihy for Saints and Sinners’ Pride Month celebration, which I want to do a very good job on because she’s amazing and so is her book.
I also need to take today away from the computer a bit so I can figure out what loose ends are dangling out there that I need to tie up. Not to mention what a mess the Lost Apartment is. I did get caught up on the dishes last night, and the laundry. The kitchen isn’t the mess it was developing into but could use some touching up, which I should try to do today or tomorrow morning. I also need to start brainstorming on some other things that I want to do. I’d like to take the rest of this year (once this one is finished) actually finishing things I’ve not been able to get done and thus off my plate: the short story collection, the novellas, and two in-progress books that I already have started. That’s what I would like to spend the rest of the year doing, frankly; getting that stuff off my plate and out of my hands into the world, so I can start 2024 with a fresh slate and figure out what I want to write that year. Of course, things always change; an opportunity you can’t pass up can come along at any minute, throwing off your plans and schedule (this happens to me a lot more than one might think); I also have some short stories to write and other short stories that need finishing. I’d like to get some more short stories out there in the world, so if anyone reading this is doing an anthology and needs a crime story (preferably queer) let me know because I can always find something for you. It is very rare that I pass up an opportunity to get a story in an anthology or publication of some sort.
It’s really nice to be busy, you know? I complain about it all the time–my freakish productivity and the pressure to keep it up–but I do like accomplishing things. I do need to be kinder to myself and perhaps not be quite so hard on myself as I am used to being; it’s nice to be able to sit around and take stock of your life and your career without it being deemed arrogant. And when I look at things from an outside perspective–someone whose thinking isn’t cluttered up with all my neuroses and self-loathing–it does look kind of impressive. I think I’ve been nominated for a Lammy fourteen or fifteen times? I don’t have the most nominations–that would be Michael Thomas Ford, Ellen Hart, and Lawrence Schimel, and not in that order–but hey, I’m in the top five of most nominations, which isn’t bad. This year’s three Anthony nominations brings me to a total of seven nods there from the Bouchercon membership, which is a lovely pat on the back for a queer author most of them hadn’t heard of even five years ago. I can add Agatha and Lefty finalist to the other awards I’ve gotten a single nomination for–the Shirley Jackson and the Macavity. I won some young adult independent press medals, too, along the way, which was lovely. (I am very happy Sleeping Angel and Lake Thirteen won those medals; I was very proud of both books, frankly.) Forty-three novels, twenty-two anthologies, over fifty short stories, two short story collections, and two novellas–and countless articles, interviews, book reviews and blog posts.
Not bad for someone told by his first creative writing teacher in college he would never be a published author.
There have been plenty of slings and arrows along the way, of course; things that happened so long ago that no one today who knows me and my work may even know about–the Virginia incident, Paul’s bashing, my service with the National Stonewall Democrats–so the rollercoaster of my life has certainly had its highs and lows. It’s been an interesting life, I guess; I’ve certainly met and knew a lot of interesting people and celebrities and authors. I’ve also learned over the years that there’s nothing wrong with ambition; I always am so busy and behind on everything that I forget that sometimes it’s nice to take a break, step away from everything, evaluate the situation as it is currently and make plans on where to go and what to do next. I’m feeling very content this morning, which is a very pleasant (and unusual) thing for me to feel; this brief reflection on my career and where it is now has, for once, brought a sense of satisfaction and pleasure instead of you still have so much more to accomplish! It’s not like I’m going to rest on my accomplishments, take my ball and go home, of course–but it’s very nice to think if my career ended now–for whatever reason–I could walk away from it and be proud.
I’ll never stop writing, of course. I will write until the day I die or can’t sit at the computer or hold a laptop or iPad; as long as I can still scribble in a journal I’ll be writing. I love creating, I love writing, I love telling stories. I love exploring character. I love taking a situation and thinking okay, what has to happen for this to happen, and where is the true starting place for the story? Who are these people and how did they come to be involved in this?
But it is nice every once in a while to stop, take a step back, and see things as they really are, or at least trying to take a look and see what other people see since they aren’t wrapped up in my neuroses.
And there’s nothing wrong with being proud of yourself, which I am. It feels weird, but I am proud of myself. I’m proud of my career and what all I’ve accomplished since moving to New Orleans in 1996.
And on that note, I am heading back into the spice mines. Have a lovely Saturday, Constant Reader–take the day off and rest–and I’ll be back later.