Wow, has it actually been a week since I posted anything here? Sorry: there are, after all, people who read this -- a couple of hundred, from the statistics I get -- and I apologize to one and all.
The excuse I offer, however, is the best one possible; work has been coming in like crazy, and I'm bashing it out as fast as I can. There's rent to pay, bills to pay, groceries to buy...I'm living like a human being again.
And I'm planning my trip to France at the end of the month. I'll be taking the train to Paris on the 24th, staying overnight and meeting some friends from the Well for dinner, and taking the train to Montpellier (check the nifty webcam there, and click on "Visites Virtuelles" here) the next morning. A friend-of-a-friend, who teaches English and American Studies at the university there, has kindly offered me his teenage daughter's room while she visits her mother in Paris, so I won't even have to get a hotel room, and I intend to spend Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday researching such dull stuff as the neighborhoods, the rents, the cost of living, cultural and social resources, and the like; fantasizing that I'm actually moving and taking down numbers to crunch.
I'm pretty sure those numbers will be daunting, at least as far as my current projected income is concerned, but the place is totally an abstraction to me and it's absolutely necessary to gather some reality-based information at this point. I'm sure I'll be discouraged in some ways, and encouraged in others, but the aim is to consider how I might fit into the life of a new place, and I've got to do it.
As I've said (probably even said here), just getting out of town tends to jump-start my brain, and it could well be that this trip does nothing but shake up the fragments of stuff lying around doing nothing and rearrange them in new and more useful ways which might well lead to my coming up with an idea that could wind up financing a move, or at least bring me closer to making one. I had one scare this week when the author of a not very good book asked me if I'd help him do some revisions for the paperback edition -- which were due tomorrow -- and I offered to do it for $15,000, based on an insubstantial rumor about the advance he'd gotten and the fact that several major sections would have to be rewritten from the ground up. He gulped and said no, but I have to be ready for the possibility that a similar project could come along at any moment.
I've also been busy with some business for SXSW '05, which is coming up in just a few weeks, and which I'll be attending. Last year's was a total disaster for me, but it was also the first time I pulled the handle on it and it came up all lemons; this year's could be completely different. I'll be warier of preppies with rock magazines that don't pay their bills, and editors of big magazines who get off on making promises they have no intention of keeping. I'd love to take a side trip to San Francisco and/or New York and/or Montreal, too, but I think keeping the ambitions modest and keeping focused might be a better idea.
Anyway, postings here might be quite sporadic over the next couple of weeks, although I do have one or two pieces I want to write and photograph that I just haven't had time to do. Stay tuned, and I'll be back just as quickly as I can.