I was calling it Hallelujah, but the intended theme turned away from “nothing on my lips but hallelujah: and more to “You’re getting there.” It has a theme about cars, of all things. It’s the Kissie story I talked about, Kissie and her two roommates, and it features Rue Malachi and Samuel Bron. Samuel only gets one direct quote, and it was supposed to encapsulate the Whole Point. I’m not sure it does. It’s about 5000 words, under rather than over I think.
So I have Of Wings and Sapwood (10,000 words), Lethe (about 5000), All My Trials (5000) and the Kissie one, also 5000. That’s about 25,000 words. I don’t think that’s a book. I think I need to do a few more, or, ideally, one more long one. I would like to include 1991, the Vlad story that has Joe the gay hooker drunk, but I wonder how it would fit with the others. Science fiction/fantasy. Especially in a book with a story about angels. Angels and vampires are so 1990s! I’d have to call it Stories From the 1990s. Hmmm. Wait a minute. This is sounding better.
I’ll start with some excerpts from my comments in the C-section of ColbertNation.
4:16 am — I AM FINE! Now. Susan, you are such a kind person.
You might say something happened. I have just returned from a seven-hour odyssey that included, in part, taking the wrong tunnel, getting lost in Manhattan, and going round and round (square and square) in the theatre district and not finding the right block (having left directions at home), getting pulled over, and finally stopping for coffee after the show had been over for an hour and learning from the diner guy that i was right across the street from the West Bank Cafe. i learned a lot-lot-lot about new York City tonight. Oh, and my jaw was swollen and pounding with pain from the extraction I had earlier today. Yesterday.
I am profoundly disappointed CRUSHED to have missed the show. I was looking forward to meeting you, Susan, and whatever other fan girls were to be met. My need to get out of this small apartment and small life are great, and yes, there are toher, closer ways to do it, but there’s nothing like a solo voyage.
Confession for the confession thread: I drove up to 54th St. and blew a kiss to the Colbert Report awning. God, that place is a dump on the outside, but what magic, what charisma, what matchless creative energy (and sexual energy) reside within.
SWJ, I never found out why the cop pulled me, but I suspect I crossed a line, because I had just placed a travel mug on the floor when the lights came on. He just checked everything and asked where I was coming from (I had just left Dan’s, much closer to NYC than home, where I got a coffee for the ride home) and the cop just made astute comments like, “I see you got a new registration — new vehicle?” Duh. the day before yesterday, officer. Also, if they can tell you aren’t drunk, they really don’t like to ticket school bus drivers. My CDL has gotten me out of a lot of moving violations.
Confession! I was glad I did it all by myself instead of with Dan, and I was unnatrurally happy to see him in the middle of the night. It happens that he lives just a couple of miles off the natural route from my home to Manhattan, and on the way THERE I called and told him when i was passing his exit on 78. Most of you would not know this without me saying so, but as a person with an anxiety disorder yesterday happening without the slightest freakout and, indeed, with a spirit of adventure and gratitude, is just a fucking miracle.
Vlad has fed on Stephen one time, when he was ill, and he was charmed. He can’t stop thinking about Stephen, and finally visits him again, successfully seducing him. Stephen’s unenthralled mind, however, is resistant, and he tries to give Dracula walking papers. So the vampire abducts him, locking him in his London residence under the care of vampire Cray, who is living there under the name Kelly Quinn. Vlad continues to try to win Stephen’s heart/allegiance, finally bringing Jon Stewart and threatening his life. Will Stephen become Dracula’s lover to save the man he really loves? Will Cray’s growing attachment to Stephen make him stand up to his Master? Will Jon live through the night, and if so, will he fall under Dracula’s thrall?
Guy/guy erotica, bondage, and light torture.
Her name was given to her by a spirit guide during a meditation. She’s not Native American at all. But this is moot, since, in the story I decided to write, she’s been dead for two years.
The story is going to wind up being about Kissie and her roommates. Rue Malachi has had one line (on the phone) and what’s evolving is that Kissie is preparing to give him a lunch the following day. I need for there to be a crisis of some kind. I already know that Rue is going to Allentown to finish things up with a girl he got involved with behind Samuel’s back. Maybe Rue will become interested in Kissie’s roommate Mona and that will anger Matthew, the gay roommate. I don’t know yet. It’s fifteen hundred words now and I’ve established pretty well what the three of them are like. It there’s tension I think it would have already happened.
Maybe Matthew will use the phone number he got off of Kissie’s phone to harass Rue, out of jealousy. Hmmm. This is getting to be the only way I can see this story developing.
I also wrote an 1800-word fantasy about Vlad and Stephen! It’s great. Why didn’t I write on the Kissie piece instead?
Lethe, the story of R. L. Jones and her unremembered odyssey, is finished. I am happy. I played around all day yesterday and finally reopened it this morning and wrote until, suddenly, I realized it was finished. I’ve been editing it since, toying with the idea of writing the letter to the agent or writing one more story before doing so. The last one clocked in at just under 5000 words, and I’d like the next one to be a little longer.
Still Waters? Do I want to follow up on that one? It features Samuel Bron, but only briefly. If I knew more about radio stations I could have the crisis and interview occur farther along in the story; I could still do that if I were willing to have the rest of the story happen in, say Philly or Camden. It’s supposed to be a small radio station with underpaid staff, many of whom can’t do each other’s jobs. The DJ who interviews Bron has never doen it before, but I’m not sure whether she’s a news correspondent (as written so far, in the one paragraph or so that’s done) or whether she’s never been on air at all. I’d like the experience to change her life, but as you know (yes, you, the only person who reads this blog) all three of the other stories have the theme of Starting Over. I need to write at least on story about Not Changing a Thing.
I also need to come up with a reason Still Waters at Even has a Native American-sounding name. I think I’m going to use the other two characters I created awhile back, the ones who have the last names Fells and Hickory, having taken them from their father, Fells a Hickory. As I recall, the sister was an attorney. Why the hell didn’t I write that stuff down. Maybe the main character will change her name to something like Hawk Seer or Tears in the Garden or Throws Pots.
Saturday, June 18, 2011 — No one can complain about this one, I trow.
Jon smelled the milk before pouring it on his cereal. I was still trying to think of a sarcastic comment when he spoke up.
“I didn’t sleep well. Did you sleep?” He set the bowl next to mine, plunked down, and leaned over to smell my hair.
“I slept fine,” I said. “I’m sorry you’re not rested. And there’s nothing wrong with the milk.”
He lifted his face to mine, raising his eyebrows, then squiggling them, then looking sad. There was milk (perfectly good milk) running down his chin and dripping onto the blue terry robe he had wrapped around him. He swallowed, wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and said, “It’s, uh, the milk is good.”
“You didn’t have to sniff it.”
“You smelled it,” I said, annoyed.
“Oh, ah . . . “
“I wouldn’t keep milk that had turned sour.”
“Too bad!” Stephen walked in wearing the twin of Jon’s robe. It was uncanny. “I told him I was going to make sour milk pancakes.” He had his Southern on. “We’ll have to wait. I see you’re eating cereal.”
“Astute of you,” said Jon, drooling more milk.
Stephen proceeded to take over my kitchen, producing coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and real French toast – for one. Jon and I grimly pecked away at our Wheaties. Or maybe it was Heartland. I know it wasn’t Froot Loops, because I haven’t had them in the house since Vlad left. By the time Stephen set his tray down and went to the hall for a vase of flowers I had decided to ignore him. He owed me an apology anyway. Five minutes later we were all reading sections of the paper, and each of us had a cat in his lap.
“Oh, Bentley, listen to this,” said Stephen, folding his paper in half. “Police Log: Unknown actors assaulted a Green Lane man last night and fled in an unknown direction.”
Jon beat me to a reply. “How did they know we were actors?” While he was looking at Stephen, Chloe poked her head up and drank from his bowl. “Oy vey. Get away, cat. Bent, can I drive the car today? I have a job interview.”
Stephen raised one eyebrow. “I thought you were retired.”
“I was,” said Jon. He was wiping his mouth again; the rest of the cereal would be uneaten, unless Chloe ate it. “But this is special.”
“You know where the key is,” I said. “Did you smell the milk because of what Stephen said?”
“Milk again! No! I did it without thinking about it, okay? I haven’t slept in two nights and I’m trying not to step on your toes. Have I offended you in any other way, mine hostess?”
Stephen looked at me with sympathy. “Disregard it. He’s sensitive.”
The real Colbert has once again proven himself a Closet Jones. It starts with humor, it ends with Love and Service. True statements: Dreams change. Accomplishing one does not make me a winner. We serve what we love. I am not the most important person in the improv of life. Maybe NOW you people will believe me! You don’t listen to BENTLEY but you believe COLBERT! Well, I’ll tell you. If I looked at everybody as closely as I’ve looked at Colbert, I would love a lot more people and my life would be richer.
I put cats there to make it sound gool There are no cats, only two men.
1. Dan Dan Dan Dan Dan!
See the difference? It’s all aboout Dan. The whole week would have sucked without him. First, he came to pick me up last Sunday when my car broke down on I-78 near Phillipsburg. Poor Harley had to wait for the tow truck and come back to PA, then find a way to work for the week. Dan and I made it back to Green Brook, NJ in time for the 50th Birthday Dinner and Family Bash that honored Kenny, who was in from California with Nancy and the girls. Bruce was here from Prague and Zinnia and Verbie from NY state. Then there was Marcy and one of her three kids, Lail, who brought his girlfriend. I knew everybody and talked to everybody, as far as I know not having any memory lapses. Andrea and her husband Bob arrived a few days later. A retaining wall was built, utilizing the labor of several of the guys.
Bruce (shirtless) and Kenny
But the point of the week was Stephen Colbert. I had tickets to a taping on Monday, June 13, and tickets to the opening of the movie Stephen Sondheim’s Company on Wednesday, June 15.
I’m supposed to write a taping report for ColbertNation, but I’ve talked about it so much I feel like I’m finished.
I was given very special treatment because of my disability. That included being let in to wait before anyone else, and being seated after everybody else, and they saved us two front row seats closest to the entrance. There was an opening act, a young stand-up guy whose name we both forgot and who addressed Dan, telling him he looked like a man with his own show on PBS — about building structures with Lego. The guest was Henry Kissinger; I was pretty close; I could have conversed with him without shouting. And Stephen was — Stephen! Shreeeeek! There’s nobody like him. He came out before the taping, running around the studio and slapping hands and answering questions, and Dan’s observation was the he seemed pretty much like the Character. I was able to catch his eye, waving my hand at the corner there, and he called on me, addressing me as, “Young lady.” I said, “Young!” which did not elicit any laughter. On thinking about it, it’s pretty silly to expect anybody to find you funny in the same room as Colbert. Anyway, I asked if he liked Salinger. He lit up and said that he certainly did, that he had quoted him on the show and wished he could have gotten him to come for an appearance. My impression (and this is probably a judgment) was that he was surprised I didn’t know these things; his body language took on something it didn’t in any of the other replies. Its possible that I am just looking for something to point at and say, “You see? I distinguished myself to him.” A shot from that night.
The One. The Only. No, not the guy with the towel!
When it was over, outside, I waited for Dan (he was parked five blocks away) on the steps that led to the offices (there was no other place to sit) and said, “Watch your step” to everybody that came down. I wanted Stephen to emerge so bad I could taste it. I could just see the jeans and the baseball cap and the care in stepping around my oxygen tank and avoiding the tubes. I wondered what I’d say and settled on Thank you. I also prayed while I was sitting there, thanking God over and over for such a wonderful day and a wonderful Dan who loves me so much no matter who I am currently obsessed with, and for the cool weather and for the ginger ale I had on the way in to Manhattan and for the driver of the sedan across the street, pacing, and for being sober, that more than anything, being able to participate in the day because I was sober.
So Danny picked me up and we drove around the corner to 11th Ave and had dinner at a Turkish restaurant. I wanted to remember the names of dishes for the Istanbul scenes in Walking Among the Dead, but then I decided I could just as easily find them online. I didn’t photograph Dan in that restaurant, so here’s a screencap from the bad ten-second video I took.
So much of life is making the best of situations you can’t change. But there are times I insist on the impossible, and that’s what this past week was. I wish I could thank Stephen for that.
Wednesday night we had dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant in Montclair, NJ, down the street from the Claridge 6, where we saw Stephen in the film version of Sondheim’s Company.
Dan enjoys an Ethiopian dinner.
I chose that cinema from several, partly because of the restaurant and partly because Montclair is Stephen’s home, and I wanted to feel close to him. I knew he’d be in NY taping, so there was no ulterior motive. I was blessed with a “sighting” of part of his family, his wife and daughter who climbed over some people and sat almost right in front of us. So I blessed them! I asked God to help them enjoy the show and have a safe trip home. And when I left the theater during the movie to powder my nose, I crossed paths with the daughter and asked her where the ladies’ room was. (It was way up a long hall and across the lobby.) After the movie, when I was waiting for the last people to ascend the steps and exit, I perceived that those two were fiddling around with some money (the girl dropped some when she came in with popcorn), and I said, “Do y’all need any help?” and the mom said No. Here’s a cute shot I found on the Internet, showing the whole family. You can see that the daughter is of an age to be embarrassed by her father’s behavior.
After the movie we walked the long block and considered whether to go get in the car across the street and look for a place to have coffee. Dan was the one who saw the Starbucks. Good old Starbucks. After we were there for half an hour or so, the fire alarm went off and everybody got evacuated. That was a bit of excitement.
Montclair, NJ has a Starbucks.
Oh, and Wednesday we stayed in a hotel room. One night only, but that was all we needed. Andrea and Bob came the day before the Kenny family left, so there was nowhere for Danny and me to sleep. It worked out well. There was even a free continental breakfast, though Dan said he’d rather have slept through it. Here he is in the room.