Friday, January 6, 2012

Raymond Chandler Weather

Wednesday, January 04, 2012—Long Beach, CA

Another beautiful day here in Southern California. According to the weather report it’s made it up to eighty-two today, and that feels pretty accurate. It’s also bright and sunny with little in the way of wind. It’s days like this that remind me why I’m willing to live here, why I’m willing to deal with all the bullshit this place lays down on a daily basis. There aren’t too many places in the world where summer days are slipped into the middle of the winter. It’s probably gotten to the point where the weather is no longer enough to hold me here, but I have to admit it’s still a strong pull.

I’m having a kind of lazy day today. I couldn’t sleep last night and was probably up till around four, so I wasn’t able to pull myself out of bed until eleven thirty. After eating some breakfast, I worked on a lecture for an hour or so and then headed over to the my library branch on 3rd Street to pick up a book they had waiting for me (The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler). Now I’m sitting at Portfolio coffee shop tapping away on my netbook. Later I’ll head home and finish the lecture I was working on earlier, put in an hour or so studying Greek, and then put some work in on the short story I'm tackling. Throw a naked girl in there somewhere and it would pretty much be a perfect day.

This little bit of time off I’ve had is again really making me see how misplaced I am teaching anthropology. The discipline has given me a lot and I’m glad I got those degrees, but I’m feeling more than ever that I’ve come to the end of the part of my life. This of course means I’m up for a big decision very soon because I’m supposed to be applying for the full-time teaching position at Irvine. Now that I’ve started writing again (and gotten my head out of anthropology long enough to gulp a little literary air) I’m realizing how much I’m missing that world, my true world—I’m also once more realizing how my next move in life is to dedicate myself to a life of letters. I’m also now seriously thinking about trying to get a job teaching English in Greece as my first move in that direction. This issue is how to do that and still run BSP. I’ve got some ideas on that, but their pretty sketchy. What it all comes down to is that I’m not happy when I’m not writing and anthropology pulls me away from the muse. If I were to apply for that full-time job it would mostly be for the check. No, my future lies with my books and maybe BSP—I think I’ve already made my decision.

Still trying to figure out what I’m doing, reading wise. I know I need more fiction in my life, more stories, but I’m having trouble figuring out what writers I should be reading. I’ve abandoned Paul Bowles yet again—he’s just not working for me right now (there must be something there, though, or I wouldn’t keep going back to him). As I mentioned, I picked up Chandler’s The Long Goodbye today, so I guess I’m back to my study of crime fiction. With him, though, it’s of course more than that—he’s just a great writer period. While I was at the library I also grabbed The John Fante Reader. I’ve long since read everything in it, but I thought it might be interesting to see how his writing works in that format, in collage. Plus, since so much of Fante’s career parallels Chandler’s time wise, and because they both write about Southern California, I thought mixing Fante’s stuff in with The Long Goodbye might be interesting. I also checked out a novel by Isabel Allende, A Portrait in Sepia. I know little about her work, but I read the first few pages and it felt like something I might get into.

OK, that’s it—back to work. I’ve got to keep the boring anthropology beast at bay (as well as the Greek gods, who now apparently expect something from me).

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