Two To Make It Right

Thursday morning and I am slurping coffee and trying to get awake and ready for an exciting day of data entry and condom packing. I’ve not been terribly successful with my goal of cleaning out my inbox; I am going to try to work on that today after I finish working, after I go to the gym, and after I get today’s writing done.

I’ve identified a problem–a pattern, if you will–with my writing. I will get to a point in a short story where I am kind of stuck, and whereas what I do with a novel (write my way out of it) I won’t do that with the story, instead agonizing over it for a bit before consigning it to the oh well I’ll finish this later at some point folder. This is defeating, and why, ultimately, I have so many unfinished stories languishing around in my files. So, I am determined to solider on with the one I am currently working on, “The Sound of Snow Falling”, and try to get it finished. I am also determined to revise chapter one of Chlorine this weekend, and hopefully get into my next novella–either “Never Kiss a Stranger” or “A Holler Full of Kudzu”–and also get the Lost Apartment back under control at some point.

It’s amazing how little time it takes yet how easy it is for this place to look like a disaster area in need of FEMA assistance.

I also want to get back to reading–oh, how the books pile up!–and maybe it’s something I should do before I go to bed every night. I had tried for a brief while–after that less screen time before going to bed will help you sleep better thing circulated a few years ago–to read before bed every night; I have a non-fiction book on my nightstand that is now coated in dust that I would love to get back to reading–but it also wouldn’t hurt to do some fiction reading downstairs before I go up to bed, risking the getting caught up in the book and not wanting to put it down thing, which all too often happens to me with reading fiction. I am still greatly enjoying Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, by the way; Caro is an exceptional biographer. I also love how he weaves historical context into his biographies–I’ve only read the first volume of the Johnson biographies, and his description for how hard life was for poor rural women has never stopping haunting my mind–and always am blown away. I’ve never read the two biggest biographies of this century–Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton or McCullough’s John Adams, which I need to remedy–but then again my non-fiction reading (outside of necessary research for writing) has been woefully overshadowed this century by my fiction reading.

I also received copies of the MWA anthologies Deadly Anniversaries (edited by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini) and When a Stranger Comes to Town (edited by Michael Koryta), which reminded me of how much I’ve been languishing on the Short Story Project–while continuing to buy anthologies or single-author collections, which are also piling up around me. I also have a lot of short stories to read for my Bouchercon panel in August; I am on, of all things, a short story panel; which kind of caught me off-guard because I don’t consider myself a master of the form–or even half-way decent at it. But I have published quite a few of them, and my goal is to publish more (which means writing more of them) and I figure with the terrific panelists, maybe I can pick up a thing or two from some of them.

We started watching another Spanish language show last night, High Seas (Alta Mar in Spanish), which is a murder mystery set on a luxury liner sometime in the 1940’s, traveling from Spain to Rio de Janeiro. It’s gorgeously shot, the period costumes and decor are first rate, as is the acting. We’re on episode 4 now; there have already been two murders and some mysterious shenanigans, including a fire, and yes, we are completely sucked into it. (We’re taking The Underground Railroad slowly, because it’s not really something to be binged, since it raises so many philosophical and societal questions; you kind of need to absorb each episode. It’s really one of the most literate series I’ve ever watched, in part because the visuals are so incredible and poetic; I think it’s one that needs to be rewatched as well because it’s almost too cerebral–yet compelling–to absorb all at once for someone of such diminished intellectual capabilities as me–it’s also making me want to revisit the novel)

And on that note, I am heading into today’s spice mines. Have a lovely Thursday, Constant Reader, and I will check in with you later.

The Perfect Kiss

And I finally fell asleep last night, and it was glorious.

I feel pretty amazing this morning. I never realize how completely tired I am when I’ve had insomnia for a few days, but I can certainly tell the difference when my body finally feels rested. I feel alert mentally, my muscles feel great, and so do my joints (I’ve been noticing my joints a lot more the older I get). I’m working at home this morning and afternoon–the call of the condom packs must be heeded, always–and the house is also a disaster, as it always seems to be on Thursday mornings. So I’ll probably have to put the dishes in the dishwasher away and do another load once I finish this and before I dive into the condom packing–and there’s also a load of laundry in the dryer in need of folding. Seriously, it never seems to end around here, but that seems to be the case for everyone.

We finished watching The Innocent last night, which was enormously satisfying (if a bit predictable; I saw the resolution coming, but it was still very well done) and I do highly recommend this series. Then we started season one of Who Killed Sara?, a Mexican series that reminds me a lot of Revenge, which also was a retelling, of course, of The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s quite well done; the villain of the piece is quite the monster, and the damaged dynamic of the Lazcano family and their incredible entitlement, which is the primary driving force behind the show’s plot, is complicated and enjoyable. (I would also like to add here that one thing Paul and I have noticed about Mexican and Spanish crime drama series, like this one, are incredibly open and inclusive to queer characters and stories; coming from two deeply conservative Catholic countries, they really shame American productions–which still have a ways to go on this score. Racial diversity, on the other hand, not so much.)

I also think relaxing all night last night with some immersive television programs was an enormous help to me falling asleep last night. I mean, I could have taken care of the kitchen and the laundry last night, but it was also nice to sit in my easy chair and relax.

I also watched the virtual book launch of the new MWA anthology, When a Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta, which was pretty amazing–such an impressive array of talent! One of the great things about the pandemic related switch to virtual events is not only bigger turnout, but also the fact that the events can be recorded, and others can watch them later. I was only able to see about the first half hour, but since it’s archived on-line, can go back and watch the rest while doing the dishes or folding laundry, etc. If you want to watch, here is the link. Speakers included Alafair Burke, Michael Connelly, Tina deBellegarde, Jacqueline Freimor, Steve Hamilton Joe Hill, Tilia Klebenov Jacobs, Smita Harish Jain, Joe Lansdale, Emilya Naymark, Jonathan Stone, Elaine Togneri, and Amanda Witt–as I said, an amazing array of talent.

All right, I think it’s time for me to head back into the spice mines. I’ve got to get this kitchen under control before I start making condom packs, and after work tonight I am going to head to the gym. It doesn’t look like the weather is going to be as shitty today as it has been for the past two days–torrential rain, thunderstorms, and flash flood watches–so that should be okay.

Have a great Thursday, Constant Reader!