Saturday, May 14, 2011

Freedom Horizon, Crime Fiction

Friday, May 13, 2011—Long Beach, CA

Freedom nearing. For the first time in several months I have nothing I have to do for work. In other words, I can write and think and feel and dream guilt free. I’m not quite done with the semester; I still have finals next week. But everything else is done, which means it will be a quick slide home. By next Friday afternoon I should be totally finished and can finally concentrate on getting ready for Greece and all the other aspects of my life I’ve neglected (and have been forced to neglect) for so long …

Right now I’m just sitting around listening to the Angels’ game (they’re playing the Texas Rangers in a Texas), while sipping a Samuel Adams Imperial Stout (a dangerous, high alcohol butt-kicker of a beer that tastes oh so good). My plans for the evening (besides the Angels’ game)? Relaxation. I’m in the middle of the massive and massively ambitious Sci-Fi classic Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner, and I plan on working my way a bit more into it. Good old Star Trek comes on at ten. Man, I’m boring—and I love it! After being forced to stand up in front of people, being forced to be around people every day for months on end all I want to do is wallow in the universe of my little apartment. I just want to be Rob by myself for a while. Until Greece, where I hopefully will be meeting new people galore, people like me, who travel, who like do not and never will accept the damned work-a-day world …  

Before then, though, I’ve got some things important things I’ve got to do. First off, I want to begin the process of finding an agent for the Backwaters books (I’ve got a line on one—more about that later). I also want to see if I can line up some freelance work. Specifically I want to see if I can find paying outlets for a few pieces on Greece. Besides being a nice way to make some extra money for the trip these pieces will give me a little foot in the door when it comes to travel writing, which could help me find a publisher for the Greece book I plan on writing.

Speaking of books, I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading lately. In addition to the Sci-Fi thing I mentioned earlier, I’ve continued my crime fiction survey with three books by Ross MacDonald: The Underground Man, The Instant Enemy, and The Blue Hammer. They’ve all been really good. MacDonald basically takes the Hammett/Chandler tradition and extends it into the 1970s. Reading these books right after reading so much Chandler has been really interesting. MacDonald’s Archer is a lot more world weary and accepting than Chandler’s Marlowe. He’s also calmer. Marlowe is an angry man, a very self-aware man at war with the world. This contrast is makes for a fascinating transition. Also, since both writers set their stories in Southern California it’s also interesting to compare the atmosphere the two writers create and the two periods they cover differ and converge.

OK, that’s enough for today. Starting around this time next week I can start hitting this diary seriously. For now I just want to enjoy my night off and dive into my lazy night of Sci-Fi happiness and high-alcohol beer. So Adios.

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