A month since the last post, I’ve submitted my satirical story on eating the rich to several more publications, thanks to discovering Submittable (a great resource if you're looking to submit your writings). I was able to discover different publications all over the world with current open submissions, and search for the ones that I felt the story would be best suited for. As with the other places I’ve already applied to, it’ll be a while until I hear back from any of them, one way or the other. Fingers crossed!
It was my birthday on Sunday, and my wonderful fiancée Amanda arranged for an evening at The Magic Castle here in Los Angeles. A very exclusive club, we managed to go thanks to a friend of a friend. They have a very strict dress code, so I spent all afternoon getting very nervous, frantic, and overwhelmed trying to figure out what to wear. I never get like this, and I doubt Amanda has ever seen me act so irrational over something so silly. But the thing is, I don’t own an actual suit that fits me. Yes, I own a Tenth Doctor pinstripe suit, but that’s for special cosplay occasions. I also own a black suit, but when wearing it, I look like a 12-year-old wearing a hand-me-down while attending his father’s funeral, it’s so big on me. I would have been mortified if I arrived at the Magic Castle, only to be turned away because I didn’t wear an outfit that they deemed appropriate. The Magic Castle is cool. I’m not cool. The rejection would have been too much.
Thankfully, I was allowed in with the final outfit I threw together. No photography is permitted inside, so the one picture I included in this post is it. Inside, it’s a labyrinth of different rooms that lead to small and large performance spaces. Almost right away we went downstairs to watch the wonderful Simone Turkington in the Parlour of Prestidigitation experimenting with a different take on Three-card Monte, but with knotted scarves. It was the perfect act to get us excited for the rest of the evening. Some magicians were doing sleight-of-hand tricks right at tables nestled into open spaces along the hallways. Our friend gave us a quick tour of the layout, and from there we took our time wandering from one performance to the next before our dinner reservations at 8pm. The food was terrific, and I enjoyed a nice porterhouse steak with garlic mashed potatoes, and a delightful pistachio crème brulee for dessert. With a Scotch in one hand and a glass of complimentary birthday Prosecco in the other, I was having a grand old time.
In the Palace of Mystery, we saw John Carney as Mr. Mysto. He was an absolute hoot, and I was flabbergasted watching him pour all the ingredients to make a cake into an audience member’s shoe, and have it become a cupcake by the end. I was almost selected as the volunteer, but I think he passed on me because I seemed a bit enthusiastic. The main magician was Rubén Vilagrand, a visiting Mime from Spain, and he performed several spellbinding feats throughout his wordless set. The things I love the most about magic aren’t just the tricks, but also the humor and performance of it all. Amanda asked me several times throughout the evening if I helped write the jokes, they were so bad. I loved each and every one of them. I’m forever grateful to her for helping arrange all that. I wish I could go back every weekend! If you know someone who can get you inside for an evening, definitely take them up on the offer. It’s not to be missed!
While I was being hypnotized by the sights inside The Magic Castle, the series finale of Game of Thrones was happening. I have some thoughts on how the last few seasons played out, but I don’t blame George R.R. Martin or HBO. I blame the showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Even from last season, Game of Thrones felt a little rushed. Then this season finally came around, and I tried giving it the benefit of the doubt, but it felt like the showrunners were hitting the fast forward button on the series. Several character arcs fell flat or went completely off the rails, giant plot holes aplenty, and even the traveling makes it seem like everyone can teleport all of a sudden a arrive at their destination in what once felt like took several episodes. Felt incredibly lazy.
And then I found out that Benoiff & Weiss are pegged to tackle the next Star Wars trilogy, and things started making sense. Originally, HBO offered them more episodes for this season, wanting to ride their cash cow as long as they're able, and Benoiff & Weiss said "Pass." Without completed, densely rich books written by Martin to fall back on, Benioff & Weiss floundered, and it showed. Rather than try to put their creative juices into high gear and complete the series in another two seasons, they preferred to end it and move on. And HBO can't do a thing about it because Martin originally sold the rights to the series to Benioff & Weiss directly, not HBO. If HBO had the rights, they could have hired new showrunners without much hassle, and let the series play out to a more fitting conclusion. Hence why the prequel series are a collaboration between HBO and Martin, to make things right. If Benioff & Weiss want to go collect their fat Star Wars paychecks from Disney and desert the sinking ship they helped create, let them. But at the end of the day, like the North, the fans remember.
However, the fans of both the books and show are pretty horrible as well. The toxic fans of the show waste their energies creating a petition (with over 1 million votes, ugh) to remake the entire last season, while the toxic fans of the books keep telling Martin to hurry up and write the final installments before he dies. Classy. In my opinion, Martin has finally been able to reap the rewards from the success of the show, and can afford to enjoy life a bit more. For a lot of authors, success often comes after their deaths, and their families/estates get to be the ones to shop the rights of the works around to profit from it. Or if you’re Stephen King, it feels like everything he writes either becomes adapted for television or film nowadays.
And that’s the dream. I look at those two successful authors, and long to be able to sit and write for a living. Just bring entire worlds to the page, book after book, and keep writing while cashing the checks. One of my stories gets adapted? Great, but that’s not the end goal. The end goal is to sustain a living off my writings, and be able to afford to live a comfortable life, and traveling the world with Amanda. And if we’re lucky, afford a house in France and a house in Scotland. Baby steps.
It’s why I wake up at 5 am every other morning and write for an hour before work. I have little time to write with my schedule, so every minute matters. All it takes it one publisher to take a chance on something I’ve written, then I’m off to the races.