Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart, Last Bookstore

I read a delightful book in three sittings over the last week and a half: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. There was so much to like about it that I can't even explain. A specific positive thing: for a large portion of the book we heard directly from Bernadette, and then for a while we didn't. When her voice came back toward the end, it felt like I was hearing again from an old friend whose mannerisms and quirks I'd somewhat forgotten, and I was instantly familiar with them again as soon as I heard her voice. That's how much Semple brought these characters to life.

One of Bernadette's main character traits is how bothered she is by the hassles of daily life. Long lines, philistines, chitchat, not being able to dig her keys out from the bottom of her purse. This type of thing has occupied my mind almost without fail in the recent past - how much trouble everything is, from daily hygiene to getting downtown. Like Bernadette, I too understand how impossible it is to Create when there's so much of this stupid stuff dragging you down.

Yes, I'm making excuses. I should've been writing lately but I haven't.

Yesterday morning I revised one story a little bit and another story heavily, and I gave genuine, actual thought to starting a new story, one about a journalist and a bad person (two separate characters). I also did five loads of laundry and started the process of eating all the bits and pieces of leftovers that stuff our fridge from the holiday bacchanal. (BTW, I have a new favorite drink: the Hotel California. Matt found it for me after I wailed "Isn't there a drink with champagne AND tequila in it?" whilst beached on the couch. Turns out, there is, and it is perfect.)

Another thing that happened over the holiday: one of my stories appeared. The publication is Wilde Magazine, the story is "The Hands of Men," and it's the second piece of fiction in the issue. You can find it here, although unfortunately the magazine is not free to read. (Trigger warning for sexual violence.)

And I got a few "we liked it, but it's not for us" rejections. Sigh.

I finally made a pilgrimage to The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A., and it's really not to be missed. The music, the smell, the art collective. I had this full, trembly sensation in my heart about halfway through exploring the space. It was the feeling of being moved profoundly by the wonderfulness of a place, how it was created and nurtured and believed in, but it was also the feeling of heartbreak, because no matter where I wander, no matter where I roam, no other place in the world will ever be so perfectly suited to me.

Picture from the LA Times
Oh, well. At least I found it, right?

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