28 October 2007

More Novel Research

I've been free all weekend, allowing me to do some crucial activities that would not only let me rejuvenate myself, but also become building blocks of the novel - all in town, without having to go to San Francisco or elsewhere.

I spent the evening of Friday the 26th in West Hollywood, club-hopping, starting out at the Palms bar and its Halloween costume-clad lesbians, and continuing on to Club 7969 and its transgender strippers. The Palms was not as great as it was the last time I visited, on a Monday two years ago; it certainly did not help going into a bar without knowing anyone, on a busy night (even though not THAT many people were there for the early hours I was in). I would rather go back on the Monday karaoke nights, when I can get cozy with a smaller crowd. On the other hand, Club 7969, was quite a spectacle, despite being very heavy on the Y chromosome. The transwomen, most of them identifiable only by their low voices, were friendly to me. And even though I wore my double-female-symbol necklace, and my outfit (tunic belted shirt and capri-length tights) screamed more "casual" than "sexy," a few men still dared to hit on me. This was my first visit to Club 7969, a place often used by working girls to pick out their customers; perhaps Martha, Sarah's first girlfriend with a tragic past, could start out doing something similar - work as a stripper at a club, then serve the customers later - before getting a legit job as a flight attendant (with fake references from a customer).

After being exhausted from the hangover (and the antiwar protests of yesterday), I spent today at a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Pasadena. Located next to the famous Gamble House (of the Proctor & Gamble fortune), the sprawling church was crowded with many congregation members. I was warmly welcomed, and able to attend a newcomers' meeting with a church volunteer and two other fairly new members. This built on the Berkeley church visit of last New Year's Eve, by giving me a better peek into the various demographics and programs at the church, including groups for various age brackets, groups for gay families, and so forth. I look forward to the day when I am able to attend this very church on a regular basis, so that I can actually take advantage of these groups. For the novel purposes, I could use Kirsten as a newcomers' guide, so that when Sarah attends church the first time, Kirsten could be the first face she sees, and the two could become friends through groups for young lesbians. (Of course, after Martha dies, this friendship will turn into love, eventually culminating in marriage.)

As I headed home from Pasadena, I was also happy to catch up with my mentor Gayle Brandeis, at a coffee shop in San Dimas where she was doing some poetry reading. We caught up with our life stories, CodePink activism, and more, and of course I updated her on my novel progress and the Masha Hamilton online class.

Now, I need to get back to classwork for Masha's class, where I need to submit an excerpt in 48 hours. I think I will be submitting Sarah's job search frustrations after community college, as she gets rejected over and over, sometimes nicely and sometimes rudely, until she lucks out at United Airlines. I'll see what I can come up with.

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