Balance…focus on the s#%t you LOVE!

I blog, therefore I am. And on the good news front, my hits are steadily climbing. That makes me happy. Which is a good thing, because it’s all about balance and, well, I’ve that genetic predisposition toward dwelling on the lugubrious day-to-day bullshit; that stuff where you feel like someone (or something or some circumstance) has left you exposed as the worthless asshole you REALLY are. Since I feel – almost always – as if I’m shuffling on a ledge, deciding whether to climb inside or jump – I have to make a real effort to focus on the shit I love; like, coincidentally, this new video by Jake Wilson featuring Alysha Umphress – my new diva goddess – called, yep, “SHIT I LOVE.” Watch.

Happiness making, right?

Which balances out that I still haven’t heard from the latest agent I queried about “Libertytown: The Novel.”  Haven’t heard long enough to inspire that nagging voice, “Did she get the e-mail?” Then I found this Tumblr: SlushPile Hell.   It’s a collection of ridiculous queries and follow-ups and imaginary responses, like this:

QUERY: Please. Please turn my novels into money. I possess a supreme talent. And I am no fool; I see how this has to be. With the right team behind me I could revolutionize literature and show consumers how there is still such a thing as soul in this soulless nation.

            RESPONSE: I, too, possess a supreme talent. I am able to read dozens of  ill-conceived query letters each week without my head bursting into flames.

Cool. I get it. Keep in control. Maintain balance, Charles. So, I keep working on what is tentatively titled “Asses to Ashes” – the first in my cozy-mysteries series featuring – well, no, I don’t want to say too much about it. But, the point is (as much as there is ever a point) that writing can be kind of lonely and I miss feedback.

That’s why I re-booted this blog after I lost my gig doing a weekly column and theatre reviews. Like I said, my Quixotic pursuit of literary success (which does NOT involve outlandish dreams of bestseller-dom, nope, I just want my book published by a REAL publisher) requires that I spend a lot of time alone in my batcave, toiling at prose and plot-lines which – realistically – might never be read by anyone. So, in between the queries to literary agents and the shuffling, collaging and re-tessellation of the tornado of colored index cards and sticky-notes and notebooks and scraps of paper meant to help me order the universes of my various characters and their maneuverings into the always morphing mosaic of what I think the book is TODAY, it is nice to spend time shaping sentences someone might actually read.

A-boys-own-story edmund whiteImagine my chagrin, late last night, to come upon this article quoting one of my literary icons, idols, and role models, Edmund White, who wrote “A Boy’s Own Story” the first “gay” novel I ever read, and one that shone like a beacon to the isolated young man in the hinterlands I once was. He has also written lovely, concise biographies of Genet and  Proust and Rimbaud, not to mention a glorious memoir of not just his life, but of the New York City in which I always dreamed I’d live and its now, mostly absent atmosphere of excitement and creativity, called “City Boy”, and one of the best novels of 2012, “Jack Holmes & His Friend.” So when he says:

“All authors, their revenue streams are being reduced. Young writers’ chances of starting out in journalism are also slimmer. The Internet’s impact is immense. My students can’t imagine ever jack holmes and his friend - edmund whitepaying for a book. I always say to writers who complain about the publishing industry, ‘Just shut up! Say everything’s hunky dory!’ There is a whole industry in America of people who want to write, and those who teach it. Even if the students don’t end up writing, what’s good about them taking the courses is, they become great readers, learning to appreciate the writing. Everyone’s writing, it seems, but no one’s reading,” he says, pointing to the huge number of submissions to literary magazines, versus their minuscule subscriber base.

city boy edmund white“He adds: “For 50 years, people have been talking about the end of fiction. But I think it really is happening now.”

– obviously it upsets me. I haven’t even published my first novel yet. DON’T LET FICTION DIE!

Balance, people. Speaking of which, in order that I might see daylight more often than Lestat, I went out to lunch yesterday with my fellow writer and BestBloggerFriend, Cody (or CSW) of OPEN LETTERS. After we ate, we coffee-d at a local bookstore where, coincidentally, my sister and Mom showed up.

Momma loves to read and had a gift certificate burning a hole in her purse with which she meant to buy a new large-print novel (Please god, not that I believe in you, but should you exist, do NOT let my PLEASE LET IT GET PUBLISHED bildungsroman of a novel EVER make it into large print – I’m pretty sure it would kill her.) after which purchase they were, they told me, heading to Sports Authority. My family heads to Sports Authority with about the same regularity that we vote Republican, so I was a little shocked to hear this.

“I’m getting a titanium bracelet.” Well then, of course you are. Turns out, in the halls of Momma’s senior-living complex where being dizzy is almost as common as being a widow, the latest fad is the titanium bracelet and its miraculous ability to help one keep one’s balance.titanium bracelet

Well then, hey, I have bouts of vertigo myself, and, too, this writing and waiting around for replies to queries, like I said, hard to maintain a balanced, optimistic outlook. I determined that when I got home, I would research this magical titanium. Turns out it’s probably just another snake-oil-y gimmick, but, even so, for some people it seems to produce a placebo effect – even after they KNOW there is evidence it does nothing. Hmm. Sounds like me and my hopeless relationships. What difference does a little proof make? And, since I don’t have my search engine set to “safe” – what should come up (so to speak)? Turns out that for men of a certain age or proclivities, they now have titanium rings for that other appendage. It’s true. Look:

titanium cock rings

Okay, well, here’s the first thing (so to speak); these “extra heavy-duty rainbow cock rings” cost $29.99 A PIECE . . . and here’s the second thing, were I ever to order one (which I never would – I’m not much a fan of be-jeweling my wrists and necks and fingers let alone my – never mind) uhmmm…there are no instructions about sizing!? I mean, how do you know? And, too, who in the world wants to find out that the one that fits is the smallest size they offer? Not me. Like I said, I need to maintain balance, and measuring myself for genital jewelry is SURE to depress me. So, back to the novel . . . and the waiting . . . and . . .

…good day, my friends, for now, here I am . . . going.