Whenever I’m on one of these odd solo visionquest sorts of extended weekends (where The Wife and kids are left safely at home and I stumble around in-country somewhere), I tend to squeeze more time from the daily grind by eschewing certain luxuries.
Food. Sleep. Sensibility.
As a result, sometimes the margins grow fuzzy, and memories of one day bleed into one another, or run off the edges of the page entirely, or sometimes don’t get logged at all.
I spent the early morning having coffee, the late-morning driving around Hollywood to Pasadena, noon hour barnstorming tourists at Universal, and early afternoon at Big Boy.
I now look up and realize that somewhere in there Suze drove me all the hell around Hollywood.
Including The Farmer’s Market, where we wandered around the stalls while sipping heavily caffeinated coffee drink until finally we wound up at the big shiny Barnes&Noble store at the rear of the fancy shopping area attached to the market. Barnes&Noble is not such a novel experience for me (as I had to explain more than a few times to wide-eyed LA friends, contrary to their mental images, the Houston area does actually have such cutting edge niceties as paving, and indoor plumbing, and cable TV), but what was kinda cool and different was a Barnes&Noble where the “movies and screenwriting” section was not really just half a shelf worth of random oddball trade paperbacks from geeks you’d never heard of. It wasn’t really a surprise—this is Hollywood, after all—but it was cool to see half a wall’s worth of books on and about movies and moviemaking. Several shelves worth of published scripts and screenplays. Pretty much every screenwriting book I’ve ever heard anyone reference online was in evidence that day.
I poked around and skimmed books (bought nothing), and then Suze excused herself for a potty break (it had been twelve minutes since her previous such break, after all...). I wandered over to the fiction area and looked around.
A table out front pimped “New Titles,” and I just scanned the table quickly while passing by. I’m not normally a big reader of thrillers, but for two reasons I just had to stop and give the table a minute or three of my time:
1) I actually know the author of one of the prominently displaysd books I see on the table
2) standing there also looking at titles is a shit-hot brunette who looks like Jamie Gertz’s younger less frumpy sister.
Sitting front and center on the table was A Field Of Darkness, a new novel from Cornelia Readan old and dear e-pal of mine. I’ve “known” (in the online banter sense) Cousin Cornelia for something like 5 years now, and I remember her sharing news of every major milestone in the development, pitching, and eventual publication of this debut novel. For that reason the book remains a hugely thrilling thing for me: it’s not my book on display at a major vendor’s endcap display, but dammit that book is proof that normal regular civilians can and do transmute from lead to gold, can move from “struggling aspirant” to “actual By God professional” through the proper application of talent, tenacity, and dumb luck.
Which is all fine and dandy, but I already have my own autographed copy of the book, and I’ve already had a nice fuzzy wuzzy emotional scene over the book before when I met Cornelia at a Houston-area bookstore and we both got a little misty-eyed and hugged and shared that ”one of us actually made it off the island!” struggling artists experience whenever one of their peer group breaks through to real commercial success.
Congrats to Cornelia, blah blah blah... I’m hanging around that table for the Gertzian Brunette Babe. “Yowza.”
I make a good show out of pretending to skim the book jacket notes of a few books. She does the same. I check out Cornelia’s bio. I check out Brunette Babe.
“Cornelia Read,” I say aloud, reading the cover of the book. Brunette Babe glances over at me. I smile. “I know her, you know.”
Brunette Babe stares at me for approximately 1.2 seconds, displaying exactly the proper degree of soul-withering “I so do not give a fuck” ‘tude that my masculine bits are ready to pull the EJECT handle and punch out for parts unknown.
MAYDAY! MAYDAY! WE ARE GOING DOWN!
Brunette Babe gives the tiniest hint of a shrug. I watch her as she heads over the New Age Philosophy.
"Obviously not into guys..." I note to myself.