Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hell is your family

I got no writing done, yesterday. Not one word. The whole day was spent dealing with mom and trying to get done in time to get something written...and then finally realizing it just wasn't going to happen. We went from Bed, Bath & Beyond to a nursery out on Loop 1604 in the middle of nowhere (20 miles from where I live) to my sister and brother-in-law's out in Spring Branch (a drive of an addition 35 miles) to an HEB Grocery Store to say hello to my niece (whom mom hasn't seen in months) to getting sandwiches to take home...and by the time it was done, I'd put over a hundred miles on my car and sat in some of the worst traffic you can imagine (and I lived in LA and I've been caught in gridlock driving in Dublin, so I KNOW bad traffic) and I was so exhausted, I couldn't think.

I did get in a book I'd ordered with photos of Derry from the early 60's to the late 80's so looked through that as I ate my sandwich and zoned. And I did make notes on how to rework a section I'd already done to make it more realistic and tie it into the rest of the story better. But that was it. The moment I thought I was rested and could start back in on the story, I'd go blank and get sleepy, so finally I gave up.

Hopefully I can make it up today. It's raining and I've already gotten mom her paper (she likes to sit and read the San Antonio Express on Sunday from cover to cover, even though it's really a pathetic excuse for a newspaper) and I've moved the boxes she wanted into our storage room so she should be low-key all day. But it's already 11:20am and she's still fussing about, so I may be clinging to futile hope.

BTW, anyone who tells you San Antonio is a lovely city has only been to the Riverwalk downtown. This city is UGLY, with the worst of urban decay inside and the worst of suburban sprawl outside of Loop 410. The place where I got caught in traffic is a hideous development of widely-spaced strip malls with huge black parking lots and big, blank, cookie-cutter houses on lots barely large enough for them, where the land was clear-cut of all trees to make building these homes and strip malls easier and where NOTHING was done to improve the streets to facilitate the increase in traffic. So even on a Saturday afternoon cars are backed up for miles in both directions trying to get through a series of lights that are anything but timed to help. And what's the city doing about it? "We're considering some maybe a toll road. What do you think? After all, we've been too busy helping the local money people make more money off the city doing projects that mean nothing (except for our vanity) to really take the time to consider the problem."

The deferential patronage system in this town is so completely entrenched, San Antonio belongs in a Third World country.

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