Beautiful Child

GEAUX TIGERS!

It is insanely early to have a kickoff in Tiger Stadium at eleven in the morning–I think I actually went to a game that started this early; I remember we had to get up at eight to get ready and barely managed to get into the stadium and into our seats as the band took the field for Pre-game (always one of the highlights of a game there; if you don’t know what LSU’s Pregame is, it’s that song the band plays that has those four notes–bah, BAH bah bah! (to me it always sounds like Hold That Ti-ger!)–and the entire stadium erupts. I mean, it really does. If you ever have a moment to kill, go to Youtube and search for LSU Marching Band Pre-game–you should immediately recognize the music. But having the game so early for me means I’ll most likely be emotionally and physically drained after it ends, and I’ll probably get sucked into the chair watching games all day (I mean, I should watch the Georgia-Auburn game, even if it is going to be a bloodbath), but hopefully I’ll find some time to make notes and do some reading as well.

I slept very well last night (again), which was really super nice, and we finished Your Honor last night–didn’t see that ending coming, apparently it’s been renewed for a second season–and also started watched this past week’s episode of Bad Sisters–God, how I hate John-Paul–and also caught this weeks Queer for Fear, which focused primarily on James Whale and Alfred Hitchcock, with a lovely section on Anthony Perkins (my God, what a beautiful man he was) and how Psycho essentially ended his career–to this day his failure to even be nominated for an Oscar for that performance is a crime; he should have won; it’s one of the best screen performances of all time–which both Paul and I enjoyed tremendously; I’m also looking forward to more of this documentary series. Yesterday I got my work done and ordered groceries to pick up tomorrow morning; I’m beginning to see this as a marvelous convenience rather than as simple laziness now and I kind of like this because it also keeps me from making impulse buys, which always drives the price up. I did pick up the mail and make a quick stop for a few things at the Fresh Market (they carry Clearly Canadian, which I used to love back in the day, but they never have strawberry, just cherry and blackberry–I always get blackberry), and I made Shrimp Creole for the first time in a very long time; I’d forgotten how marvelous that is. There’s plenty left over for me to take to work this week as well, which is even nicer. Huzzah!

I’m hoping for a lovely, restful, relaxing day today. I’ll probably do some cleaning and organizing during the games–have to do something with all that nervous energy, after all–and tomorrow is going to be a massive work day. I am going to finish Chapter Five tomorrow if it kills me, and possibly do Chapter Six; I have some other things to do as well that I need to add to the list so I don’t forget and wind up fucked. I’m also getting my booster shot on Monday; hope that doesn’t make me feel unwell. If it does, or is anything like the last one, I should just feeling mildly unwell for a day and be over it at that time.

I also picked up Interview with the Vampire to reread again, since it’s Halloween season and all, and the show is airing. I’ve not read Mrs. Rice’s work in a long time–I kind of want to go back and finish reading The Feast of All Saints, although I am sure it’s problematic now, as it is about the Free People of Color before the Civil War–and I’d forgotten how lushly stylized her writing is; I am also probably going to want to revisit The Witching Hour as well before it’s television adaptation starts airing in January. I rather famously didn’t care for this novel the first two times I read it; I finally was enthralled with it upon my third reading, in Hawaii. I read all of her work after that until she switched to Jesus and angels; I never really came back to her when she turned to werewolves before finally coming back to Lestat and vampires. At some point I intend to read the final Lestat novels, and I should probably read The Mummy sequels she co-authored with her son.

I’ve not been feeling terribly creative this past week, despite the need to work on the book as well as the little work I have done on the book, and I am hoping that changing my work schedule will help me to feel somewhat less off-kilter in my life than I’ve been feeling since I started coming in on Fridays and staying home on Mondays. I’ve never really adjusted to it, honestly, and this feels so right, you know? I feel like my life has sort of gotten back on track since this switch was made again. I could be completely wrong; who knows? By Tuesday it’s entirely possible that I might be so tired and exhausted I won’t be able to function the way I should be able to when I get home from the office. But I am hoping that won’t indeed be the case, obviously, and thus far it has made a significant difference in how rested I feel.

Which is a good thing, really.

And on that note, I am going to head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Saturday, Constant Reader–I may be back later, you never know; if not, I’ll chat with you tomorrow.

Love in Store

Friday and my dream has come true: I have switched my work-at-home day from Monday back to Friday,. effective today, and I am so pleased. I’ve never adjusted to not being in the office on Mondays (I’ve always, no matter what, come into the office for regular workdays the entire time I’ve worked here unless it’s a holiday or I was on vacation), and now I can finally get a handle on what goddamned day of the week it is from now on.

Jesus.

I slept really well last night, which was marvelous. We watched more of Your Honor last night (which is one of the longest limited series I’ve ever encountered, every time I think well, this episode must be the finale it will end and queue up yet another episode. It turns out (I just looked) that there are ten in total, so I think we have two more, and it’s apparently been renewed for a second season, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I mean, it’s an interesting show–I also love that the local crime family’s name is Baxter, which for some reason just cracks me the hell up–but it doesn’t really hold my interest the way it should; I often find myself scrolling through social media apps on my iPad while the show is on, so I miss things that could probably help it make more sense than it does; but as Paul said last night, “they really make New Orleans look beautiful,” which the show does quite well.

Then again, New Orleans is beautiful, so they are starting from a very good place there. (One of the only reasons I could bear watching Southern Charm: New Orleans was because the city was shot so beautifully)

Today, as I already mentioned, I am back to working at home. I got my second monkeypox vaccine this week, and my body’s reaction to the second shot has been a lot more interesting than the first. The first just left me with a small pinkish red circle on my arm, maybe about a half-inch in diameter. The second left an enormous angry red circle on my other arm with a large bump in the middle so that it kind of looks like a massive spider-bite. This morning its size has receded a little bit, but I imagine I am going to end up with the same thing on this arm as I have on the other; a small slightly reddish circle around the injection spot. (When I show it to people, they can always pick out where it is but you have to actually look to see it, if that makes sense? It’s not noticeable unless you’re looking for it.) I am getting my next COVID booster on Monday, and I am really thinking that as cold/flu season is upon us again I may start masking everywhere again because it’s really been lovely not getting either a cold or the flu the last couple of years. Are masks a pain in the ass sometimes? Absolutely. But so is getting sick, and I don’t understand how putting yourself at risk of catching any illness is some kind of power statement. I don’t care if I am nauseous and feverish and can’t keep food down for a few days! FREEDOM!

I was exhausted when I got home again last night–I am kind of hoping the change in “work-at-home” days will help me with that–and so I pretty much just vegetated for the majority of the evening. Scooter demanded a lap to sleep in and I was only too happy to oblige. How did I pass the evening before Paul came home? Lost in thought about my book and mindlessly, effortlessly scrolling through social media feeds until Paul came home. The exhaustion is problematic, to be sure; when my brain is too tired to actually focus enough to read a book–which is and has always been one of the great pleasures of my life–to escape reality and allow my brain to relax, well, there’s something wrong and I don’t like it. Am I just getting older? I am sleeping better–more deeply and longer–than I have in a very long time, and yet…

But I did think about the book last night while I idled away my early evening, which isn’t a bad thing. The plot is a bit complicated, and as always, I worry about straying away and creating subplots and misdirections that I’ll forget to tie up and/or resolve by the end of the books, and since I’m not Raymond Chandler, my plots have to make sense. Sigh. It must have been nice being Chandler and getting away with having plots that didn’t make sense; I’ve not read all of Chandler’s work and right now I have The Long Goodbye sitting in my TBR pile–and as much as I want to get to it, I need to finish reading my current book and read some horror for the month of October. I want to find my copy of Interview with the Vampire for one thing–maybe during the LSU-Tennessee game I can do some work on the books, with the intent to find my copy of that as well as clear out some more for donations–so I can reread it and ‘salem’s Lot back to back, and maybe even revisit a Peter Straub before moving on to new writers and new books I’ve not read. I also recognize how ambitious that sounds, given how much trouble I’ve been having focusing on reading, but rereads aren’t the same as new reads–and it was rereads that got me back into reading again after the Shutdown in 2020.

Sighs happily. That was when I revisited Mary Stewart, and how delightful was that?

All right, I should head into the spice mines now. Have a lovely day, Constant Reader–and I’ll talk to you again tomorrow before the game.

Never Forget

And now it’s Thursday, which always sort of feels like we’re on a greased slide heading into the weekend. Hurray! I slept really well last night, which was really nice, and was awake (as usual) before the alarm went off. Yesterday wasn’t a complete waste–the primary thing when I am mentally fatigued, as I was yesterday, is that it’s very hard for me to focus and incredibly easy for me to get distracted.

Not that it’s ever difficult to distract me from anything. I should have been voted most distracted when I was in high school.

I did pull some teeth, er, work on the book yesterday; it wasn’t easy and was incredibly difficult to get those words on the page, but that happens sometimes. It happened earlier this week and I wrote some shitty words and then turned around and revised them and finished the chapter, remarkably easily; I hope that will be the case when I get home tonight and sit down to the computer to start writing. I am still behind as ever on everything, but I am slowly starting to make some progress. I think Saturday this weekend is going to be a completely lost day for me–that eleven a.m. start time for the LSU-Tennessee game is perfectly timed to pretty much spoil the entire day; I may order groceries for pick-up after the game is over. I don’t know, I’ll probably play it by ear and see how the day goes, but I doubt very seriously I’ll get any writing done on Saturday–so maybe I can just sit in my chair and edit, I don’t know. The games stress me out so much; it’s insane that this is something I enjoy but I also need to remind myself, regularly: it’s just a game and it doesn’t really impact your life one way or the other; obviously it’s better to win than to lose, but in either case it doesn’t change anything in my day-to-day existence so why waste the energy getting so worked up over a game? There’s a reason that “fan” is derived from “fanatic”…which is something I remind myself every time I am watching a game and starting to get worked up. So incredibly crazy to get worked up over a college football game that really doesn’t matter in the overall scheme of things…

Which of course means I’ll be screaming at the television before the first quarter is half over.

I don’t think I am going to make the deadline for next year’s Bouchercon anthology; I have a story but I am not pleased with it nor am I sure what the right way to fix it could be–it’s been languishing in my files for quite some time, I think I originally got the idea for it watching the true crime docuseries I’ll Be Gone in the Dark–how the rapist/killer would access his victims, through drainage ditches and canals running behind properties (which is yet another reason my parents always wanted a fenced yard) made me start thinking about that very thing; what if a gay couple came home after a night at a gala fundraiser, arguing all the way home in the car, come home to find their adopted daughter tied up in the house and she says he’s still in the house…it’s the end I am, as always, having trouble sticking the landing with. I think maybe I should print it out again and reread it at some point over the weekend (because I have so little else to do), and maybe something will come to me. I like the ending but I don’t think it necessarily works, which is the primary problem; I think everything works right up until the end–and then it kind of falls apart. But if I clean up some of the earlier stuff…you never know.

And who knows? Maybe I am being overly critical, and should just submit the story and see what happens.

We watched some more of Your Honor last night, which keeps going even further and further astray, but I am also starting to understand the casting of Bryan Cranston even more (he’s a very charismatic and talented actor) because this series has a bit of a Breaking Bad, noir feeling to it: you do something wrong–bend a law, perhaps–and then it continues snowballing and you’ve already lost your moral compass and when do you say “enough” to lies and cover-ups and crimes? Do you keep digging your own grave? The fun part about it is there’s not really anyway to foresee how this is going to go, which makes watching it all the more fun. We also watched Andor, which I am loving. Seriously, I love what Disney is doing with the Star Wars universe with the television shows.

And on that note, tis off to the spice mines with me. Have a lovely day, Constant Reader and remember–it’s Friday Eve!

Walk a Thin Line

Tuesday morning with dark pressing against the windows. When does this hateful Daylight Savings Time shit happen this year, anyway? The extra hour of sleep in the fall is always lovely and nice; it’s the paying it back in the spring that totally sucks. Ah, well. I slept well last night and feel fairly wide awake (I actually wrote wild first; wild awake sounds like it should be a thing, really) and am looking forward to another exciting day at work. I recently had my job changed a bit–I got a substantial raise and a new job description, that I have to sign today at the office–and the new stuff goes into effect with the start of the new pay period on Friday. It was very nice–it was the meeting I had yesterday–to have years of dedication to my employer acknowledged and appreciated (I knew I was appreciated, but it’s nice to get financial and employee level recognition as well). It will help me get these bills paid off faster as well, which is kind of nice. I’ve not made enough progress on that front as I would like this year, but it looks like I’ll get further ahead by the end of the year.

I also wrote about 1677 words yesterday; the first work on the Scotty book in weeks, and yes, it was literally along the lines of pulling teeth. The gears had rusted and were most definitely creaking as I tried to get them moving yesterday. It wasn’t easy, but I am hoping that getting started will help grease the wheels somewhat and will help me get more done, bit by bit, day by day, until it is finally finished. I always, every time, forget that things don’t have to be perfect the first time through–even though time is running out already–and I am trying to not to let the impending deadline make me crazy.

We watched a few more episodes of Your Honor last night, which completely changed course and direction in a completely unexpected way in last night’s two episodes; I’m not really sure what is going on with the show–it’s almost like they took on a new show-runner and writers after episode 4. It was a significant change in tone and direction, and a new character was added out of nowhere in a weird transitional method of getting to the new direction/new story. It’s clever enough–although we did have to laugh because (and yes, it’s a New Orleans thing) that he was trying to drop off the extortion/blackmail money during the Red Dress Run, which is always on a Saturday in August which means it’s hellish outside, temperature wise…but on the show, it was clearly a weekday for some reason because he went to the bank first to remove the money, and no one was hot or sweating and it looked kind of chilly out, to be honest. (For the record, I put the Red Dress Run into Garden District Gothic as the opening sequence; Scotty taking Taylor to his first Red Dress Run.) But it’s entertaining enough, and yes, I am aware how snooty we who live here are about shows and movies set and filmed here but not in a bad way; I personally just get amused by the bizarre geography they use for them. But like I said yesterday, it’s about shots that reflect New Orleans to the viewers, and to do that sometimes you have to create a new geography that makes no sense to us, but works for everyone else.

There has been an endless on-going thing on social media over the last few days about Billy Eichner’s tweets about his disappointment in his new film Bros not performing as well at the box office as he had hoped and the studio had projected; basically, it boiled to him saying straight people didn’t show up for a gay movie. I get his frustration as a queer artist; queer authors could all easily say we would be more successful if straight readers bought our books, too; it’s not like a lot of straights show up for us, either. But…I don’t know how true that is. I don’t know who reads my books or who my core audience is; I assume it’s gay men, with a smattering of lesbians and straight women thrown in for good measure, based on social media interactions and responses to my blog posts. (And yes, I know I am being heterophobic in assuming there are very few, if any, straight male readers of my work. I am okay with this completely because I really don’t write with straight men in mind, to be honest.) Again, I get the disappointment–and some people on Twitter do miss the point entirely; Bros was the first major studio film release about gay men starring gay men and employing almost entirely queer people behind the scenes, which does make the movie groundbreaking in some ways (bringing up the success of other gay films from big studios is an apples to oranges thing; since most of those were straight written, straight produced and starred straight people in a queer film targeting to straight people). So, yeah, I get why Billy Eichner is disappointed…I don’t know that I would have taken the disappointment to social media, though. (Oh, I know the answer to that, who am I fooling? You never take disappointment to social media unless you enjoy feeling like a carcass being picked apart by vultures.) I’m not a particular fan of his; as someone whose persona also is drily funny sarcastic bitch, he always seems angry to me, and anger makes me uncomfortable rather than amused. I’ll watch the movie when it’s streaming, but I do think the lower box office than predicted might have to do with people not being comfortable going back to a movie theater just yet; and while I recognize this as an assumption, I feel pretty safe in concluding that the Venn diagram of people who would tend (or be interested potentially) to see a gay rom-com in the theater and those who are still taking COVID precautions seriously is pretty much one big circle, you know? I think Fire Island did really well for Hulu over the summer, and we don’t know that Bros is a flop yet, either. I don’t see the underperformance of Bros as necessarily the death knell of queer cinema from the major studios, either; yes, it won’t help the next film get produced but I don’t think it will stop the next one from being produced. And for the last time, it’s impossible for any queer film to represent every queer experience in the world because every queer person has a different experience. No one film (or television show, for that matter) can adequately represent the entire community, and we need to get past that kind of thinking–was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? representative of all straight married couples?

I don’t know why we hold queer films (and television series, for that matter) to higher standards than we do straight films and series, but probably because there are fewer of them, and less still that are written, produced and star actual queer people. My usual issues with queer film isn’t that they aren’t representative, but mainly because they just aren’t very good (the few that are good are quite marvelous, actually–I will always hold that the best gay movie is Beautiful Thing)…but that’s a discussion for another time.

And on that note, I am going to head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Tuesday, Constant Reader!

Tusk

Monday and a work-at-home day, for data entry and other things. I also have a meeting at one (yay) and I am hoping to get some things delivered today so I don’t have to leave the house. Yesterday started out well; I wrote my entry and did some writing planning and then repaired to my easy chair to read; but then Paul got up and came downstairs and I decided that as long as I kept my notebook/journal handy, I could make notes while thinking and watching television. We missed the Saints game; I’d forgotten it was in London and by the time I checked what time it was starting it was already over so I can’t even blame the Saints for my complete (well, pointed, at any rate) failure to get as much done yesterday as I had wanted to–which means it’s entirely my fault.

I did watch the first two episodes of the new Interview with the Vampire series, and it put a lot of thoughts into my head. I thought it was remarkably well done and well-cast–I would have gone for a Skargaard for Lestat, but that could be True Blood’s fault as well–and it was beautifully filmed. The changes made to the original book (I liked that it’s structured as a follow-up interview to the original interview) and story were barely noticeable. It’s also amazing how different Jacob Anderson looks as Louis as opposed to Greyworm from Game of Thrones. It also made me start thinking about vampires and how/why they are so popular with queers–this show has no gay subtext, it’s right there in your face–and also remembered how incredibly disappointed I’d been when I first read the book, as a teenager. At that point in time, I’d forgotten that Dark Shadows had turned a vampire into a romantic leading man–my thoughts about vampires were entirely shaped at that time by Dracula and ‘salem’s Lot, and that was what I was expecting from Interview…and that is most definitely not what the book was. I read it again about ten years or so later, and still didn’t care for it much; I didn’t come into an appreciation of Anne Rice’s work until the 1990’s–a friend told me to read The Mummy so I did and enjoyed it, and then I read and loved The Witching Hour, so I took the first three volumes of The Vampire Chronicles with me to Hawaii on a vacation and that time…well, that time I got into the books and enjoyed them. Mrs. Rice soon became a “buy in hardcover on release” author for me, and remained that way for a very long time. I do think there’s a line from Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows to Lestat/Louis to True Blood/the Sookie Stackhouse books; I once described True Blood as “Dark Shadows with sex, violence, nudity and blood.”

We then watched the first episode of Queer for Fear, a documentary series on Shudder about queer themes and subtexts in horror films, which was fun and certainly fit the theme of the day, but then we moved on to Your Honor starring Bryan Cranston, filmed and set in New Orleans (again, we marveled a lot about the geography–“oh, look, they’re transporting him from the courthouse to OPP but for some reason are coming in from I-10 which means they somehow detoured through Metairie”–and we can’t quite figure out where Cranston and his son live; they are always taking the bridge across the river, but Cranston can go jogging from his front door down St. Charles Avenue down to the lower 9th ward (clearly, training for a marathon of some sort) and back, so I am not sure why they have the need to go back and forth to the West Bank (Paul: this would only make sense if they lived in Algiers, but why would he cross the river to go jogging?). I know, I know, it’s fiction and make-believe and has everything to do with shots and visuals that remind the viewer it’s New Orleans; both the Crescent City Connection and the Huey P. Long bridges will do that, as will the drawbridge over the Industrial Canal, and nothing says New Orleans quite like the streetcar. I also know it’s being nit-picky and “more New Orleanian than thou”, but I can’t help it when I watch something filmed here (I was also identifying where scenes were shot in Interview with the Vampire as well). I’m sure New Yorkers do this a lot, too. We also watched this week’s House of the Dragon, which I am enjoying–there’s really no good characters to root for in this one; they are essentially all terrible people; at least in Game of Thrones we could root for the Starks as the only decent people in Westeros. We also watched the new episode of The Serpent Queen, as Catherine is now slowly coming into her own. I really am enjoying this series; I hope it doesn’t go off the rails at some point.

But now it’s October already–yikes; it seems as though this year has sped past but on the other hand January also seems like it was a million years ago already–and I’ve really got to start getting things done.

As I’ve been doing my entries about writing my books, it’s been a fun journey down memory lane, as I remember things I wanted to do and plans I had that somehow were either forgotten or pushed aside as other things crowded them out of my brain. Watching Interview and Queer for Fear reminded me of my own world of the supernatural I was trying to create with some of my horror writing (I don’t really consider my vampire writing as horror; yes, vampires, but the primary focus of them was the eroticism), and somehow I’ve managed to stick to the rules of that weird world of the supernatural I was creating through short fiction that spilled over into the erotica; so far I’ve done vampires and witches, rougaroux and le feu follet, all tied around parishes on the other side of the river and west/south of New Orleans. I have a couple of short stories to write still, and a book to get done–and I want to read more. I want to finish reading my current book and I think the first book for Horror Month will be a reread of Interview with the Vampire, perhaps followed by a reread of ‘salem’s Lot; why not explore the vampires?

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely first Monday in October, Constant Reader, and I will be checking in with you again tomorrow morning before the sun comes up. Yay.