Friday, July 25, 2014

Child’s Play

I’ve had another article published on the Girls That Roam site, again on Orlando. It’s not my very favorite of the Orlando series, but I’m happy enough with it considering the challenges I faced writing it.

The first challenge was the subject matter: Kids in Orlando. You’d think that would practically write itself, and it’s true that there is a lot to say on that matter. But I’m about the least likely person in the world to say it. I don’t have kids, and while I did travel to Orlando and see lots of children having fun, the week I spent in Florida was actually one of the least kid-friendly experiences I’ve had since my early 20s. Of all the articles I’ve written this year, this is the one that required the most post-trip research.

None of us in the group I was traveling with have any children, which is good, because if we had, Child Protective Services would have taken them away in the first 24 hours. We spent our first evening seeing a John Waters one-man show, and then we drank with him, and then we went out for tacos in the middle of the night. And it only got less wholesome from there. We closed bars three times in one week, and at least two out of the eight of us hooked up with each other. (No, I wasn’t one of them; I just caught them making out in the back of the van.)

As for hookups outside of the group, I can’t begin to guess how many happened, facilitated by the modern marvel that is Grindr. Grindr is something that I almost thought was a myth, but whoa, Nellie, is it real in the world of young gay men. I got little enough sleep, but the guys…I don’t know how they’re still alive.

The second challenge I faced is the simple fact that I have written about 18,000 words so far on Orlando, and before I sat down to write this, I was starting to worry that I didn’t have many left in me. (For comparison, a respectable novel is 100,000 words.) But somehow another 1,800 found their way into a Word document, and arranged themselves in some kind of comprehensible order. I’ve been writing one article a week since mid-May, and now I get a little bit of a break, which is kind of nice. I’ve only got two more Orlando articles left, and they’re short, so I’ll make them happen somehow.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Cringe. C-R-I-N-G-E. Cringe

I am not an extroverted person by nature, and I don’t normally like to be the center of attention. I kind of freeze up when all eyes are on me and it’s not a situation I like to seek out.

My writing, though, is something I do like to put out in front of people. I’m oddly unselfconscious about my work and always quietly proud to see it out in the world. I don’t think I’m delusional about the quality of what I do, but I have not yet outgrown the kick I get out of seeing my name in print. I’m always pleased when an editor decides that something I produced is strong enough to survive out there. I suspect I feel about an article the way a parent feels about watching a child in a spelling bee. Maybe the kid isn’t going to be a winner, but I’m proud to see him up on the stage competing.

Occasionally, though, something happens that makes me feel more like my kid’s up on stage all right, but maybe with his hair sticking up oddly, or ketchup stains on his shirt.

Something like that occurred recently with one of my Orlando articles. This one was on the city’s lesbian scene. I’m happy with how it turned out, and was very pleased to see the publisher, Girls That Roam online magazine, promoting it.

I was a little taken aback, though, when I saw the lead photo used to promote the article. The shot was taken at a lesbian pool party that I’m sure really happened, but not in any universe I’ve ever occupied. In the foreground of the photo is a striking looking woman in a bikini. She is tall with chiseled features and an envious mane of hair—she looks something like the product of a union between Laura Dern and Barbarella.

Behind her is a baby butch in Ray Bans and a backwards baseball cap—this is the kind of lesbian who looks like Justin Beiber. She appears to be about to grope the amazon woman, and she has an expression on her face that looks a little like she’s thinking impure thoughts and a little like she can’t believe her luck. (It’s exactly the expression I would be wearing if I had even been invited to this party.) Behind them is a soft-focus sea of Sapphic debauchery, scores of wet, oiled, drunken 21- to 25-year-old women on the make.

It’s awesome.

And it would all be fine, except that the day the article hit the Girls That Roam social media pages is the very day my 93-year-old grandmother decided to find out what this Facebook thing is all about.

I accepted her request immediately—I was her first friend--and then went to my page, curious what impression it was conveying that day. Because I’d been tagged in a Girls That Roam post about my article, it appeared at the top of my page along with the photo.

This is not an awkward outing situation—my Grandma has known the score for years and treats Pipi like a fifth grandchild. So no real harm done. I am still quite proud of my kid, and we will all get past the fact that he chose to wear his raunchiest t-shirt on his big day before an audience.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Killing Me Softly

Girls That Roam online magazine has published another of my Orlando series. This one is about soft adventure in the Orlando area. Candidly, I like this one. It was fun to research and fun to write. Some articles are only pinned down on the page after a struggle. Sometimes it takes a while for me to decide what my point is. Sometimes structure is hard, and sometimes it’s just hard to find more than a few words to say about things I’m expected to go on about for paragraph after paragraph. But none of those problems came up here. There is so much fun stuff to do in and around the city, and learning this was such a pleasant surprise, that this article practically wrote itself. This week, though, I have to start an Orlando family travel article. This may be a different story. Anyway, the link to the outdoors article is here: http://girlsthatroam.com/killing-softly-orlandos-outdoorsy-adventurous-side/.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blue is the Funniest Color

And here’s one more Orlando article I’ve just had published. This isn’t even the end of it, but it is all for now. I’ve written so many Orlando articles in the last 6 months that there’s a little bit of a backlog on the Girls That Roam site—they’d have to call it the Girls That Spend a Lot of Time in Central Florida site if they all went up as quickly as they’re written. So I expect that a few more will go up in the coming months, but I can’t be sure of the schedule. This article is on my first Blue Man Group experience.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More Orlando

I just noticed that another of my Orlando articles has gone up on the Girls That Roam site. It has actually been up for quite some time; I just happened to notice a link to it in an online newsletter that the site sends out every so often. Here’s the article--it’s a review of an excellent restaurant called Prato in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Where Were We?

There was a time when I had a goal of writing one blog post per day. Lately, though, I haven’t quite been checking in that often. In fact, I haven’t even hit one per year in a while. Mostly that’s because I have been doing more editing than writing lately—although, I’m not going to lie; there was also a part of me that got tired of giving away my work. In the last few weeks, though, a couple of things have changed. One is that I did recently get commissioned to write some articles about Orlando, the first of which was recently published. And I wanted you to know about it. The second thing is that I realized I missed this. Writing a blog is really a great gig. It doesn’t pay much (did I mention that already?), but I’m my own boss and editor and publisher, so I always get my way. I assign the topics, write them any way I please, and get them done when I get them done—no deadline worries. You, in turn, read my work, or you don’t, as suits you. I’m free to follow my muse down whatever weird rabbit hole I choose, you’re free to ignore me…everybody wins, is what I’m saying. So I will try to do this more often, and keep a good attitude about it. It’s good to have you back.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fearless Travel

Pipi and I like to think of ourselves as brave, independent travelers but sometimes we break the faith. For instance, when we went to Cuba, not only did we do it completely legally, we also went as part of a tour group. And recently, we booked a cruise. So I’ve been worrying lately that while I may feel like a youthful backpacker at heart, my vacations may be entering middle age.

So imagine my relief when I opened the travel section of the San Francisco Chronicle last Sunday and found an article about traveling safely in Mexico. Part of the article was a graph suggesting Mexican destinations based on the reader’s preferred level of activity and required level of safety. “Totally Spooked” travelers who self-identify as “Sun & Sand Seekers,” for example, were directed toward the heavily guarded havens of Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. And “Objective But Cautious” vacationers who might be described as “Culture Vultures” were urged to visit places like Guadalajara and the nicer neighborhoods of Mexico City.

I myself have been to Mexico three times in my life. The first two visits were short stops in Ensenada while on weekend-long cruises out of Southern California. Ensenada is not even mentioned in the travel article, probably because there was no room for a category of traveler called “Chronically Inebriated” whose interests include “Eating Anything with Cheese on It.” Both times, the ship only docked for a few hours in port, and I can only assume that this stop in the itinerary was an archaic throw-back to the days when sailing ships could not make a three-day loop out of San Pedro without running dangerously low on viruses and tequila. I was onshore just long enough to ingest quite a bit of both, apparently, and both times spent the rest of the trip in a miserable gringo heap on my bunk, cursing agave and wondering if the seas were really heaving or just me.

So that barely counts as travel to Mexico, but the third time, I was with Pipi and we saw a lot more of the country. We did some whale-watching at San Ignacio, and then flew to the mainland where we boarded a train that took us through Copper Canyon, in the states of Sinaola and Chihuahua.

I’m perversely intrigued to report that the Chronicle not only used the word “deadly” to describe these two very states, but that they also prescribe a Copper Canyon visit to those who fall under the “Fearless” heading. And it’s not just for “Fearless” travelers; it’s for “Fearless” travelers whose tastes run toward the “Adventure Lover” end of the interest spectrum.

So I guess there’s no need for me to worry. Nearly 41 years wise and still traveling like an American idiot.