Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Sunny and mild
Today’s Circadian Poem: “Intimate” by Lea Drake.
Yesterday was pretty good, in spite of a migraine and the injured feet. I dashed around a bookstore, searching for Girl Sleuth, which I need to read for an article. Of course, I couldn’t find it. God forbid a chain store should actually have a book I need. That’s what I get for going to a chain for convenience.
I was going to pick up the newest Yoga Journal for headache-cure poses, but the line was too long and I ran out of time.
However, I was delighted to see that, in the line, in spite of it being a chain, no one had just one book. There were at least a dozen people in line ahead of me – and they all had an armload. A big stack with corners sticking out at all angles, because it was too big to easily manage. And, eavesdropping-by-sight on the titles, I was delighted to see across how many genres they were.
New Yorkers read. They have all the high tech toys. But they want books to have in their hands in the subways, on the train, on the bus, in a cab, sitting on a park bench during lunch, in the coffee shop . . .you get the picture.
And their interests are diverse.
Work was fine. I didn’t wander much – stayed put and just focused on the prep. They asked me to come back and prep Friday, too, which is good – it means I can go in to the city early and do something fun that I need to do for research before heading up to work. I am so looking forward to it. I hope I don’t have to be on set tomorrow until the wee hours. Although I’d like the money.
I thought a lot about Celestial Summer. Anteann’s comment yesterday started me thinking about essays. I’ve always liked personal essays – reading them, that is. I’m not comfortable - -yet – with writing them. I’d like to get better at it. I especially love travel essays. Susan Allen Toth and Anna Qundlen’s essays on England are my favorites. I want to write about places I love with that depth of reference and love.
However, for the purposes of Celestial Summer, I can’t deal with what I want to deal with unless it’s in fictional form.
As I’m putting together plot, character, theme, and stuff, I also realize that, if I’m going to write about the Cape and the Village, I also have to deal with the emergence of AIDS. In 1979 it wasn’t talked about much, but many people were already in the throes of it. It can’t be ignored – but the theme of Celestial Summer is also not to be an “AIDS novel”, which is how marketing people ghetto anything that even mentions the word. It’s unfair, because novels that deal with AIDS tend to be about love and family and building your own family and how politics allows thousands of people to die, because, let’s face it, the people who run the big corporations don’t give a fuck if thousands of people outside their glass towers die, as long as they themselves can rent a villa in St. Bart’s for the holidays. In that respect, beyond the scope of AIDS even, nothing’s changed.
But AIDS has to be a part of the piece, because it is a part of the fabric of the life in both locations. And awareness was so low in 1979 among the general public, and, certainly outside of New York and San Francisco, that the disease even existed.
I was a junior in high school in 1979, out here in the ‘burbs, and, although I’d heard of it, I didn’t have to deal with it until I started losing friends and colleagues later in the 1980s. 1979 was still a time when most straight people chose to believe it had nothing to do with them. Even that young, I didn’t believe that simply being straight would be enough to protect me from a disease; I seriously doubted germs went through a sexuality checkpoint before they invaded. I remember talking about it with a guy I was dating, who was absolutely convinced we were safe because we were heterosexual. When I asked about all the other STDs that were possible for anyone to get, and didn’t he wonder why this disease would be any different - -he hadn’t heard of any of them.
So much for sex education in the suburbs, right?
Needless to say, we didn’t date much longer. Even in high school, my tolerance for ignorant people was low.
The question becomes how to weave it in to the novel without it taking over the novel. Especially since it’s told through the eyes of a thirteen year old girl, who wouldn’t have had much awareness of it at the time.
When I actually had the godchildren for the summer, it was over a decade later, and there was much more awareness about the disease – except form the two kids whose parents were Evangelical. I’m really looking forward to writing the scene where they see a drag queen for the first time in their lives. That was pretty funny.
Managed to get a page written on Regan Kincaid on my break. It’s not much, but it’s a page more than I had before.
I have errands to run now, some bills to pay, and then I’m hauling 30+ years worth of crap from the South Wall. Hopefully, I can spackle and prime today, then do two coats of color and the trim tomorrow.
Friday and Saturday are busy, so I’ll have to do the West Wall on Sunday. The wall will be a pain to fix, but none of it is a big deal once all the “stuff” and the heavy furniture is moved.
Then it will just be the bathroom. And replacing the carpet in the hall. And making new slipcovers for the kitchen chairs. And a new curtain for the tiny bathroom window – because the big old weirdly geometric one is from when we lived in CHICAGO, in the early 1960s, and my parents had it before then, when my dad was a professor at Elmhurst College.
Speaking of which, one of the books in that bag from the Sandwich, MA library sale on my birthday had a bookmark in it – from Elmhurst College, where my dad used to teach. I love it when the universe does something like that!
Off to attempt productivity today.
Did a lot of thinking yesterday, but am not quite ready to publicly discuss it. Life stuff.