This is an experiment, this post. And a thank you to Benjamin W. Garrison (mapultoid on LJ) for an exquisite, articulate e-mail that helped me close the weekend on a far better note than I'd opened it on. The new Harry Potter movie had a lot to do with that, as well, and, oh yeah, Valium. But I'm getting ahead of myself, and behind myself, too. This is an experiment, as a thank you to Benjamin Garrison. I'll let down the guard for just a minute or two, put aside the writerly persona and all those worries about what agents and editors and marketing twits will think of me and talk honestly about yesterday.
That word that begins most of these posts.
Most of it was spent lying in bed, gazing out the windows at all the greens and the blue, smelling summer leaking in through an open window, drowning in my fear of this next novel. This was after I'd taken Valium, of course. Before that I couldn't have looked directly at the fear, and only busied myself with nothing important in a futile attempt not to catch a glimpse of it, my fear, from the corner of my one good eye. The Valium pushed aside all those make-work distractions and let me stare into the face of That Which Waits To Be Written. My eyes watered, and I cried a little, but I wasn't blinded. I got hungry at some point and wandered into the kitchen, where Spooky (who makes sure I do not hurt myself) fed me a fat, pickled pepper, celery with blue cheese, some sharp cheddar, and a vanilla milk shake (with whey protein). Then I spent a little while drifting from room to room, wondering if I was done, for the day, staring down the book, it staring me down. I speculated that if I hung myself from the living-room ceiling, maybe no one would ever buy this place, and the assholes that are forcing us to move in December would be stuck with it. It could all be very gory and sensational. CNN and everything. Everyone would know: Semi-Famous Midlist Author Hangs Herself in Yuppie Ghetto. Spooky, busy baking hazelnut biscotti but ever practical, reminded me that my ghost would probably be stuck in this place forever, with all those other ghosts, the children and the ominous whisperers and the "cats," and she asked me if that's really what I wanted.
"Well, no," I said.
"Then you'd better not do it."
"You're right, but it's still a nice thought."
"Not nice enough."
"No, not nice enough."
There are lots of places I'd rather haunt, given my druthers.
And so I went back to the bedroom and lay down and stared again at the summer and That Which Waits To Be Written. And it stared back, just like Nietzsche said. I thought too much about too many things, mostly in the past, and how I loathe mirrors, and how tired I am of worrying about money. I drifted in and out of wakefulness, coasting the edges of strange dreams. I drooled a little more than I might have liked. At some point, I managed an entry in my paper journal. You can't say the girl lacks ambition. I listened to passing cars, barking dogs, kids on their bikes, sirens, birds I once could have identified by their songs alone, an angry crack whore, and squirrels. One of the squirrels amused me for a time, hanging precariously from the tiniest branches of the mulberry tree right outside one of the south-facing windows, gobbling the last of this season's berries. Finally, about 6 p.m., I think, but let's just say later and savor the ambiguity, Spooky helped me get dressed, and we left this place. We spent maybe an hour browsing about a local Borders, while the Valium wore off. I remarked how dead short fiction is, pointing to the percentage of the three rows of magazine racks devoted to fiction. I found only four magazines, out of at least a thousand. There were more magazines devoted to collecting toys than to short fiction. I saw two or three books I might actually read, including a history of rats. I stayed out of the CD/DVD side of the store for fear of spending money. I noticed a novelization of Van Helsing and wondered why anyone would bother. Ever noticed how stores don't have clocks anymore? I still remember when they did.
"Bookstores just annoy me," I said at last.
"I know," Spooky said, and then she asked if I wanted to leave.
"Yeah, let's get the hell out of here."
So, we drove over to Candler Park and had pizza and salad at Fellini's. I thought briefly about sitting outside, as the gathering twilight, flecked with the chartreuse language of lightning bugs, was warm and smelled more like night-blooming flowers than car exhaust. But there were way too many people on the patio for my liking, noisy people wielding talk and beer and cigarettes, so we sat inside. Which was okay, too. It smelled almost as nice inside (and without the cigarettes, thank you very much). We watched the pizza dudes twirl their pizza dough through air perfumed by baking and raw garlic and onions and Italian sausages. We talked about moving to Portland and living on the street, where I'd never again have to worry about anything but dying. We talked about Captain Beefheart and how annoyed I am at Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Our food came. We ate. We don't talk much when we eat. We just eat. And then we went to a late showing of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkeban. Which I think I will review in another post, later today. This one's already gone on way too long.
I did take the Ambien last night. It didn't hit me nearly as hard as I'd expected. I lay awake watching Alien: Resurrection on Spooky's iBook, waiting for the sudden unconsciousness I'd been promised.
"There's nothing in the world wrong with this movie," I said to Spooky, who was trying to sleep, "that not having a screenplay written by Joss Whedon couldn't have fixed."
At least that made her laugh. And then sleep came, in dribs and drabs at first, and then all at once. And I slept, though the dreams were there, as always, those alternate lives in alternate worlds, until I awoke about 7 a.m. I think Jennifer had made some noise as she was getting ready to go to work. I tottered off to piss, then came back to bed. But the Ambien seemed to have loosened its grip. And I was afraid, perhaps irrationally, I'd not be able to get back to sleep, so I took a second one. It kept me asleep until about eleven, when the Mexicans arrived with the lawnmowers and leafblowers and weedwhackers, intent on further defoliating and stripping the soil from the drought-stricken lawn. There was no sleeping through that. They are a force of anti-nature, those men and their stinking, roaring machines.
And that was my Sunday, mostly. Nothing important has been left out. It's a pretty fair estimation of Any Given Day I Don't Write. Sometimes they're a lot worse, and sometimes they're a little better.
This morning, I found a fresh crop of stills at Farscape World from the forthcoming Farscape: Peacekeeper War. I shall leave you with this shot of Chi (she's still blind):