As it turned out, I was able to check e-mail while at Lisette's, but not telnet in to my journal files. I might have been able to figure out something with ftp if I'd put my mind to it, but I decided to just take a break and not worry about it.
It was a good trip -- I haven't seen her in a while, so spending time was wonderful, though she's been kinda bummed with relationship stuff (the impetus for the trip), so it wasn't all high spirits. Stil, was nice meeting her friends, introducing her to Ingrid (who also lives down there), watching her do some filming (for a grad student film; Lisette's an actress), and just generally catching up. We also had a really fun afternoon walking up and down Venice Beach, trying to resist buying stuff (I got a belly chain :-), and watching the bodybuilders at Muscle Beach. An outdoor gym -- how weird. They were kinda purty, though -- we sat and watched them for a while. Rippling muscles.
I also got a tattoo.
Don't faint. It's not a real tattoo -- it's henna, which means it's basically a stain. It's supposed to last a month, but it's significantly faded already, so I have my doubts. My skin seems to be absorbing it. But it's still pretty cool -- imagine a dragon hanging below my throat, with rather Indian-looking viney bits leading up from it towards my shoulders, as if it were a necklace. I'm wearing a chained dragon. :-) I'll get a picture up here sometime if I get a chance.
The most interesting thing about being in L.A. (this was effectively my first trip, since I was ten the last time I was there and don't remember it at all) was how saturated the area is with movie-talk. All of Lisette's friends (and mine) there are in the industry in one capacity or another, and it seemed like all anyone talked about was movies or actors or directors or screenwriting or television...intense. I admit I caught it too -- I started a screenplay on Sunday (wrote 9 pages)! We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll even finish it...
I came home to humonogous credit card bills in my mailbox, which were depressing for a few minutes until I opened the piece of mail from Circlet Press. Cecelia wants to buy a story of mine! Huzzah! Any day I sell something is a red-letter day -- never mind that's she'll probably pay me less than $30 for it. :-) This one teaches the value of patience -- I submitted this story to her in 1997! I wouldn't leave a story with anyone else that long, but she constantly apologizes to her authors for being so backlogged, and she was the first editor to buy a story of mine, and she's just so darn cute and cool anyway... -- and look, it paid off!
She wants me to add some more to the ending, actually, which should be interesting. I see what she means; it's the first time an editor has suggested a major change like that (as opposed to little word choice things), and it's nice that I think she's right. So tomorrow's tasks: redo the ending of this story ("Will You Live For Me?", a vampire tale to appear in _A Taste of Midnight_), do some more writing on "The Fall" for Puritan (which is due at the end of April, and has a good five hours of work left on it), and do some eHow work. Last week I pushed it to the last minute; I don't want to do that again. Finish that stuff up by 5-ish; dinner, then off to the airport to go to Salt Lake. Busy busy. :-)
Quite a bit of good news today, actually. Alex (boss) called from Kaplan -- looks like there'll be work, starting next week. Not absolutely definite, but I'll know for sure Monday when I get back from Salt Lake. That plus the eHow might even be enough to keep me afloat, which would be 26 hrs per week...and anything extra such as temp day jobs or writing for Puritan can go directly to paying off the huge bills. It's not as stable as working full-time for one place...but I think I'll stay a lot more sane, and I'll have a little time to write!
And the last exciting thing I actually heard about this weekend -- two stories from Clean Sheets have been selected for Best American Erotica 2000! I, of course, would be even more excited if a story of mine had been selected...but this is the next best thing, and in many ways, probably better in the long run. It lends a great deal of legitimacy to Clean Sheets, and will hopefully bring us even more good stories in the future. And, of course, these happen to be two stories that were donated to us, so I'm exceedingly pleased that these authors are getting paid for these pieces, at least partly due to us. Good deeds *are* rewarded. :-)
Book and movie update: Watched _Priscilla, Queen of the Desert_ again (Lisette hadn't seen it), and it was funnier than I remembered. Watched _Breaking Up_ (not with Lisette!) and really enjoyed it; taught me some stuff about how to handle a movie with essentially only two characters, about a relationship. Also made me weepy at points, but in a good way, because it was so painfully true. Parts of it were very reminiscent of me and Kevin; parts weren't. I kept thinking -- "Oh, I should tell Kevin to rent this"...and then thinking -- "Maybe not." :-)
Reread _Tigana_, which I've been meaning to do for just forever, and I'm glad I did. It remains one of my favorite fantasy novels ever; very solid all the way through. Tight plotting. Good characterization. Go read it! (author: Guy Gavriel Kay) I probably should have gotten lots of other novels read, but instead worked through about six Foxtrot compilations and a Baby Blues book. Lisette has lots of funny books, and I think I really needed the mental break. I love Foxtrot.
Currently reading David Lodge's _The Art of Fiction_, which I'll recommend to anyone interested in small doses of literary criticism, clearly explained and illustrated with short passages from good novels. It's a compilation (extension) of his newspaper columns on the subject, and eminently readable. Lodge is the author of several novels as well as a fair bit of literary criticism -- his novel _Small World_ is the funniest academia book I've ever read. One of the funniest books, in fact, though you may need to know academia to properly appreciate it.
That's probably long enough. Back to more e-mail catch-up -- and thanks to all of you who sent in music suggestions, btw. (It always fascinates me what subjects elicit responses from y'all :-) Next time I have some money to spare, I'll probably be picking up one of the Bach Cello Suites, and I'll keep the other suggestions on a list...