Saturday, April 17, 2010


The nominations for the 2009 Shirley Jackson awards (for "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic") were announced last week and Midnight Picnic is nominated for best novella of 2009.  ("Novel" is 40,000 words or over... Midnight Picnic is around 39,000 words.)  Also nominated but in the Novel category are the estimable Helen Oyeyemi, Victor LaValle (who blurbed Fires), and Brian Evenson


I've been back in L.A. about 36 hours.  Yesterday I dealt with the police, moved into my new studio, and met a TV writer/producer who's like an idol to me.  You wouldn't know his name offhand, but he wrote and executive-produced my favorite episode of my favorite TV show of all time.  Now he's making the show I'm most excited to see later this year--more on that eventually.


I finally got my car back from the police.  What a nightmare.  I got pulled over last Friday by a weird Russian (?) cop who looked like Ivan Drago with a mustache.  This was, unfortunately, the kind of cop who greets you not with "License and registration please" but with "What's wrong witchoo?"  Apparently I hadn't pulled over fast enough, but considering that I was barely even moving when he flashed his lights at me--I was sitting in caterpillar traffic on sunset, not doing anything--it wasn't possible to pull over instantaneously.  Anyway, this cop said he had pulled me over because I didn't have plates on my car.  Actually, I had dealer plates--and a temporary registration posted in the window--which is, of course, completely legal.  Then he ran the registration and found that it wasn't complete--obviously--and managed to find a typo on my temporary registration ("2010" looked like "2011"... "You gettna time machine and go into duh future to buy dis car?  Didjoo??"), and said that since the DMV is closed on Friday, he couldn't verify anything, so he had to tow my car.  So he did.  No citation, not ticket--this lumbering civil servant just stole my car.  Then, of course, I had to fly to New York a few hours later.  So they keep my car and charge by the day.  I dealt with several cops over the phone who told me completely different things ("Yeah, you can have one of your friends come pick up the car if you send them a copy of your license and written authorization to pick up the car," ... "No, I don't know who told you that, we can't release the car to anybody but you, in person, no matter what.  We're trying to protect you sir, from identity theft.  I don't know who I'm talking to right now on the phone, sir.  You could be a thief trying to impersonate you!"  The idiot who said that to me was truly the worst cop I interacted with during the whole experience.  I later met him in person... a sour, obstructive, fake-polite example of human crab lice.  I don't know his name--I suppose I was too annoyed to even look at his ID--but he was short and nasal and he had a perfectly hairless head that looked like a glazed brown gumball, or maybe the kind of shiny nut that would be particularly satisfying to crack.  Gumball Skull did everything he could to stop me from getting my car back, including pretending he didn't know and had never talked to other deputies I'd dealt with.)  At last, yesterday morning, I went into the station and it was like all the officers had been replaced by bizarro good cop versions of the other officers.  The guy at the desk was friendly, chatty, open.  A deputy who was polite, expeditious, and helpful looked at my documentation and quickly gave me a release--and, perhaps because he could see that the whole thing was ridiculous, waived the towing fee.  Then I went to the towing yard to get the car and the guy there gave me a couple days of storage free, saying the cop who took my car must've been in a bad mood or just mean because there seemed to be no reason for it to have been taken in the first place.  He was right... there was something wrong with that cop... I do appreciate the waiver and discount from the reasonable people involved... means I'm only out around $400 from the whole thing.  I like L.A. a lot and I'm happy to be here... too bad the worst people I've met have been cops.


Ken Baumann said...

Congratulations on the nomination! And getting the car back. Christ.

Ben Spivey said...

Congratulations on the nomination.

Michael said...

Way to go on the nomination! That is very much deserved and a nice cosmic reprieve from all of the crazy shit you've been going through with your car.

N A said...

Ken, Ben, & Michael -- thanks for the congratulations!