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Author Updates

Friday, June 15, 2007

Went to IKEA for very first time this week. Reaction similar to first visit to sex club/bathhouse in San Francisco decades ago. Sense of eager anticipation and mild anxiety mounting whilst approaching the building. Incredible excitement upon entering: Look at all this stuff! Most available. How to choose? I want it ALL. Right now! Enthusiasm and energy reach fever pitch. Five minutes later, reality begins to set in. What initially looked so good is, on closer inspection, actually kind of tacky, poorly constructed, lumpy, not the sort of thing you’d want to spend time with. Enthusiasm gives way to disorientation, disappointment, mild disgust. Walk, walk, walk, walk. What the hell was I looking for anyway? Looks ok in here, but can you imagine bringing it home? Stop for coffee and a cookie. More shopping. End up leaving feeling depleted and in need of a shower, vowing never to return. That was two days ago. Faint urge to return beginning to percolate.

Posted by Stephen @ 10:20 PM EST

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Reading last Friday night at bookstore in historic Salem. Am wary of Friday night readings in general and especially of one so long after initial publication of ATS. But was convinced by storeowner good crowds the rule. Drove up from Boston at height of rush hour, listening to dire-sounding traffic reports. For once, had left enough time for slow-downs and disasters. Traffic jam on highway relaxing with 5-mile-per-hour flow and beautiful sunset brewing in the west. Cell phone conversation with C about madly passionate and ill-advised trip to California with his married man (what else?) sometimes-lover. Any jealousy overridden by pleasure of being a confidant, more enduring and gratifying role than most, and beside, you never know when one form of intimacy will lead to another.

Arrival in Salem always surprising with beautiful architecture and odd assortment of tourist traps related to witch trials. Lilacs long gone, but flowering trees and gardens beginning to bloom. Was met outside bookstore by G, acquaintance from years ago, and K, friend of his he’d coerced to come. Immediate sense of doom upon entering bookstore. Pretty place, but tumbleweeds practically rolling down the aisles. Trying to be helpful, store owner rubbed salt in wounds with: “We usually get a lot of people.” Third person showed up and was convinced to go through with dog and pony show, mostly because not doing so would have seemed churlish and unprofessional. Turned out to be fun, despite loud music and ringing phone.

Afterwards, went to dinner at Thai restaurant with G and K, new best friends. Restaurant oozing seedy glamour atmosphere and faint threat of ptomaine. Stiff drinks gave way to sodden confessions, my favorite listening material. Drove to Rockport to spend night in friends’ house, empty while they drive through Midwest. Rain on windows and foghorns in distance. 2nd gin and tonic helped.

Learned next day that homeowners’ dog had been killed by a car. Have sad job of putting away all dog-related articles before their arrival home. Stray dog rescued from streets of Puerto Rico. Watchful amber eyes and penchant for singing along with classical music. Endearingly eccentric, appealingly neurotic eater. Excellent habit of sleeping until noon. Touching desire to always stay at home. Amusing lack of interest in “walks” and other dog things. All lost to sudden madcap urge to wander away from cookout and (apparently) annoying larger dogs. Oh well.

Posted by Stephen @ 09:03 PM EST

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Play reading on Sunday exceeded expectations in terms of audience response. Much laughter from them. Minimal sweating on my part. Reading held in former theater now converted to Golf Academy. Indoor driving range sort of thing with netting hanging from ceiling and golf balls trapped in little pockets above. Floor covered in slick green carpeting that mimics the color of…well, not real grass but Astroturf. So several times removed from nature. Added much appreciated note of artificiality.

Professional actors read with enthusiasm. My favorite style of comic acting is stand-and-deliver kind of deal where the actor looks directly out at the audience and embraces the silliness artifice and just lets it rip. Too much kitchen-sink reality drains the energy.

Producer seems confident of October opening, but am committed to lowered expectations in anticipation of last-minute disappointments. Lesson learned from Object of My Affection adaptation. “Starts filming next week” went on for 11 years. Hopefully this will take less time. (9?)

Agreed to write essay or story for anthology of racy or dirty words being edited and organized by well-known (and frequently racy) novelist. Given a list of terms and asked to choose one to write about. Chose “anal sex” just because it seemed appropriately racy and because I expected anthology idea might never be taken up by publisher and would have far-off deadline if it were accepted. Wrong on both accounts. Publisher snapped at well-known and frequently racy novelist’s idea. Piece due in three weeks. Considering options. 1000-word limit helps. Reading Thomas Hardy (The Woodlanders) and, for French class, Marivaux (Le Jeu de l'amour et du Hasard), neither one especially enlightening for this assignment.

Posted by Stephen @ 09:32 AM EST

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