We went out to Kansas yesterday to celebrate the second birthday of some twin boys. Josh and I sat in the back of a truck with our knees to our chests like we were hiding under a table. There were more birds sitting in roadside trees than I have ever seen at once. My friend was identifying them with the savant focus you get from people obsessed with math. She was calling out birds like they were numbers flying in front of her face. Starlings, mostly, but also grackles, geese, gulls, and hawks. Bird + bird + bird. It was fascinating. With the smaller birds, all I see is a ball with wings, but my friend knows them every which way.
The birthday party was at a church, but in an adjacent fellowship hall, not the actual church. I'm told the church is precious inside, like a Catholic cathedral in miniature. It's in the middle of the country like it fell from the sky. We couldn't go in because there was an afternoon mass. I wanted to see the painted statues, but maybe some other time.
I met a ginger man at a bar this weekend who was...opposite to me in every way. By the end of the night, he had a crush on me in the way straight guys sometimes do with gay guys. I fought most of what he said, from beer on down to pop music. That seemed to surprise and irritate him. The first thing he did was push me out of the way because he didn't realize we were with the same party. I knew I was in for an obnoxious and delightful evening. When he left, he shot me with finger guns and a wink. So.
My first rejection of the year was pleasant and painless. No acceptances yet. I'm mostly working on the book. I can't tell you how hard it is. I mean, physically, I can't. When I talk to people about the book, I act like it's a weekend of knitting. I belittle the process to get the attention off of me. You wouldn't know I take it seriously at all. But I am terrified. People ask what the book's about, and the only thing I can muster is, "It's about a guy."
I don't think I ever told my parents this, but when I was in college, some people with guns came on campus and stole computers. No one made better art because of it. Also while I was in school, some of my friends were mugged. The first time it happened, one of my friends laughed at the mugger because she thought he was joking. Our studio building was near a gas station and we used to walk down there and buy vodka for the long nights at the end of the semester. Vodka and Fritos and Twizzlers. I went in a gas station recently with some of those friends. One of them bought a bag of Doritos. No one else bought anything. My friend said, "What? No one eats shit anymore?"