Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gloom in LA

Arrived at LAX last night in pouring rain. Good for this desert everybody seems to treat like an oasis -- a solid inch of rain fell downtown yesterday. Bad for Ted who ended up driving my holiday rental car through rush hour, dark and rain. Angelenos are not particularly good at driving on wet pavement; it was nervewracking, especially on that stretch of 405 between the airport and the Harbor Freeway. Lucky me, nightblind and tending toward hysteria, to have a steady LA driver to pilot me home.

It's always discombobulating to be here at first, despite the advantage of being on Eastern Time in buzzy Pacific Time. At Von's, the local grocery chain, I bought two bright red cyclamen plants in green ceramic pots and walked right off without them, so after getting back to 26th Street, parking the Saturn Ion in a cherished convenient spot on Peck and carting in my sacks of provisions, I had to give it up and shoot right back again. Praise be, I made it back before anybody else could snap up the spot.

I hear "positive psychology" is the new thing, so I'll cite the benefits. The drive along Paseo del Mar is as spectacular as always -- the route we take just to pick up a loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese, a jug of wine, etc. etc. Today the bottom half of Catalina was boldly etched on the horizon, purple mountains' majesty doncha know, thick clouds obscuring the top half. Saw two pelicans right off the bat. I am alive and so is Ted. Beneficent universe, a big Yes.

And I'm also jet-lag grumpy, end-of-semester grumpy, just-got-a-brutal-rejection grumpy, tired-of-Huckabee grumpy, week-before-Christmas-grumpy, tired-of-people-throwing-tantrums grumpy, homesick-for-fresh-Jon-Stewart grumpy. Haven't had a period in 11 (count 'em) e-l-e-v-e-n months, which means I'm 30 mere days short of being officially "through" menopause. Almost-through-menopause grumpy and don't say anything smartass or I'll slap ya upside the head.

After the last rejection, by some blunt and tactless folks at a new lit mag in Ann Arbor I will never submit to again, and will discourage my students from sending to, I'm wondering why I even bother. It's hard to convince oneself to submit when the judgement process opens one up so wildly to potentially hurtful feedback. No wonder blogs and indie publishing efforts are proliferating. Meanwhile, back to doing whatever it is that I think I have to say. I hate the doubts that have to be exorcised after this kind of setback.

And speaking of that, I'm grateful to East Village Magazine which has granted me its back page for the past eight months. There's one unadulterated pleasure.

So, here's to the coming Solstice, and a bit more light.

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