#DearMrBradbury

Comic Con came to San Diego last weekend, and I have never been in San Diego during one. As a literary snob I'm not much on pop culture, particularly ad nauseum, but I kept my mind open in the beginning days of the con, enjoying the Greek chorus of Cartoon Network balloons:

And the Batmobile:

And, to be fair, half of these pop references came from literature; Congressional Representative John Lewis's graphic collection March, and handmaids, and pedicabs with chairs a la George RR Martin.

But by Day 4 I wanted the lot of the world gone, and got depressed by so many people, and calmly stayed in my apartment under the A/C fan and read and watched the entire first season of HBO's Insecure. I probably drank too much, which didn't help for the long term, but helped at the time.

I needed a game plan after that week, because if situational depression hits you, you need a game plan to deal with it. I write every day, and every day the writing is more of a drill than a process; sit down with a notebook the size of a bar of soap, spit 6 pages, go home. More of a nervous tick than a process, more of therapy than a process (which isn't bad as an approach to therapy, but still), and I realized there was no process.

So there's a new mission: Saturdays I write short fiction. I write a short story a week, like Mr. Bradbury recommended once, and the editing would come when that fiction muscle hits the wall. When the first drafts no longer become a process, then I build on the process. But there was no fiction before, and there shall be now.

The story came out scared and stilted but it's out, and next week there'll be another. I'll stack 'em up. I was so scared in the Midwest of rotting on the couch in bad winter and summer weather; and I lost all patience after Comic Con. If it's going to be hot and weird humidity, and if I have to struggle viciously with loneliness, then dammit…all this shall be to do what I love. I shall make up facts…and fashion them into stories…and tell all the fake news I want, but in a way revealing more truth than idiots in all the governments.

And, please, Lord, let me tell it "puddle-wonderful." ✨

*****

What I Have Been Reading Lately: So much, because, the library for free, and it's too hot and pricey to go out much, so a LOT of reading…How To Be Human, Lucky You, The Zookeeper's Wife, and, currently, Faithful by Alice Hoffman. I get through a lot of New Yorker issues.

What I Have Been Watching Lately: The Zookeeper's Wife, and, predictably, not as good as the book. Paterson over and over because it soothes me. Moneyball because I miss Aaron Sorkin dialogue. Insecure because it makes me laugh and I love her rhymes. Okja, and a documentary out of the Bay Area called What the Health. Cut back on a LOT of meat, eggs, and dairy because of that movie. No, I'm not vegan (I can't be that disciplined and love tasting as I do), but when I mindlessly snack it's mostly hummus, veggies, and fruit. I feel a lot better but I'm still waiting for my skin to clear.

And baseball…so…much…baseball. If you watch enough baseball nuances start to amaze you or crack you up. I was watching a broadcast of the Blue Jays/A's game in Toronto last Thursday and was having a hard time determining the strike zone by the ump's calls. I thought I was losing my mind until I realized that both batters and pitchers were getting frustrated as well. By the 5th inning the Blue Jays' manager had enough and started heckling the ump from the dugout, and then was promptly ejected. Rattled, the Blue Jays' pitcher started grousing to himself on the mound, so one pitch later the ump tossed him, too. The catcher came unglued because his manager and pitcher were ejected a pitch apart, so…yep, the catcher got tossed, too. The crew chief for the umps had to come over and stand by his home plate ump, but I hope the communication was something to the effect of "Cool it, will ya?"

Weird, but funny as all get-out to watch.

Sometimes a girl needs distractions; sometimes she needs any game plan to get up off the dirt.

Advertisements

#NightstandChronicleNine #Bookworm

  
Since there’s a “No nails in the wall” clause in my sublease at home, I am utilizing my work desk shelves (every cubicle has one) to build a bookworm.  At first I thought I would do it just for the summer, but I got carried away with cutting out the circles out of multi-colored cardstock and now I have no choice but to make a never-ending worm, one that in the wild would rival the lifeforms of the tree groves and mushroom patches in the forest.  I added three more books to the links this month:  “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, “Life After Life” by Karen Atkinson, and a re-read of “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg.  I try to read the Goldberg book every year, and sometimes I succeed.  Reading books on writing helps me to keep the pen moving.

Currently I’m almost invested in three books and the articles in The New Yorker, a sad fact that nothing is probably going to light me up for a while after “All the Light We Cannot See.”  That book is my favorite of all time, a declaration I have never been able to say before, and a distinction I’m still getting used to.  Curse the writer that makes a masterpiece look easy and read easy; now I don’t want to read anything ever again.  Still, I’m trying.  In addition to The New Yorker I am also trying to read:

  • A biography of Flannery O’Connor;
  • “The Book of Unknown Americans”
  • “Some Luck” by Jane Smiley

Smiley is a full-circle read–I saw her latest in the racks at the Carlsbad library, I met her four years ago at Litquake, and I’m going to Litquake this year.  I don’t want to repeat history, but I find joy in seasoning the present with it.

*****

Speaking of writing, I’m steeping in my writing side lately.  I’ve found that I am a better person when I do, like remembering to take vitamins and get enough exercise.  The average human is obligated to perform several bodily functions to keep from breaking down, and writers can add scribbling to their list.  At least, I can add scribbling to my list, or I get crabby and emotionally constipated.  (It’s okay if you say the analogy means I produce shit as a default–enough shit produces flowers and fruits on the farm, so I can take the analogy a step further.)  Since the weather has been hellish, and I am trying to save for a trip to San Francisco in October, I’ve been staying away from the usual San Diego jaunts and writing at an air-conditioned Starbucks on weekends.  So far it’s a lot of organization and sorting, but I’m calmer, and I’ve even got some creativity squeezed in.   

Here’s to expanding on that with the timing of the next post. *raises iced coffee in a toast*

#NightStandChronicleEight #BeachReads

  
San Diego has taken a turn for the worse and exchanged its regularly scheduled dry heat for something from the Midwest.  Drinking water is less of a priority, but the clinging to the preciousness of “it’s a dry heat” as a feel-good option no longer applies.  On Wednesday I went to a game at Petco Park and, despite the fact that the temperature in the seats and on the field never rose above 80, most of us were roasting and sunburned through the haze.

If the beach wasn’t crawling with people (most folks from Arizona, and I don’t blame them, as the dry heat argument never meant much to me either) I would be camped there with an umbrella and my stack of books.  Word on the streets is Penguin is offering a contest with two beach chairs, a blanket, a tote, and books; of course I signed up, but I’m still covered if the prize doesn’t fall into my eager arms.

Yes, Life After Life is still there, and I am back to being distracted by the library–therein lies the reason for the delay.  My little summer bookworm at work is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the library, but I thought I would slow things up a little and I’ve been reminded a lot lately of the segment of Invisible Man called “Battle Royal” when it’s packaged as a short story in the college anthologies, so I checked out the whole book.  It’s killing me to read and speaking to me to read and I know I will never know what it was/is like to live, so I am reading it.  It makes me angry.  I wish it made more people angry and motivated true change.

In the sidelines, too, are Life After Life, All the Light We Cannot See, the latest issue of The New Yorker, and a sample of the Harper Lee book that I am still debating on reading.  I hear it’s poorly written and therefore a fascinating study; part of me would love to know what my university professors thought of it.  If I were to take that whole book to the beach that would probably take me right into the sunset just reading to gobble the probabilities.  

Here’s to cooler climes, and a longer bookworm…*raises Sea Breeze*.