It's nice out in Chicago tonight.
Why am I in Chicago?
Where I work, it's "summer." So I'm taking a short vacation...visiting my cousin. Just for the weekend.
Earlier tonight I ate here. It was good.
But I miss Los Angeles. I always miss it more than I anticipate.
I've only been gone 11 hours. Four of them were spent on a plane, on which I read magazines and newspapers, filling my head with facts. I read a long New Yorker article about this guy. I read some reviews of the new Don Delillo book. I think I'll read it. He wrote Underworld so he gets the benefit of the doubt.
I want to personally thank United Airlines for airing the "Dwight Works at Staples" episode of The Office. That one never gets old.
I just realized I was in Chicago exactly one-year-minus-two-days ago. That visit set in motion a crazy May and June. Good crazy, some bad crazy (there was Memorial Day, you see...) I have a feeling that this May and June (and July and August and so on) are more subdued, only a little crazy, inspiring, amazing, and a lot of fun.
I need to write fiction again. I've been in a non-blog-writing slump for 13 months or so. It'll pass. It always does.
Does everyone know that I wrote a late-90s-style rap about myself? It's called (My Name) Is (Ali).
I miss Seymour and Lily. I hope they keep cool.
Back to last year in Chicago, when I was here for the conference. I stayed downtown then, in a giant hotel, overlooking a majestic river, close to other massive buildings and streets. The whole trip was "big." Tonight, I'm on the south side. The windows are open, the ceiling fan is on, I'm getting sleepy, and things seem smaller. And better.
I remember one night in particular during last year's visit. It was my first night here. I had had a full day - flying, dinner, bookstores, reunions. It was 3:00am here. I couldn't sleep. I went down to the hotel lobby, with a book and some magazines. I wanted to relax. I wanted to slow down my racing mind by sitting down in one of those overstuffed lobby love seats by myself.
I remember reading an article about the literary life of Phillip Roth and falling asleep, only to wake up when the sun came up along the Chicago River, the sun shining through the massive majestic windows of the hotel, the hotel my employer was paying $150+ a night to put me up in, only to have me sleep in the lobby.
I slept better the next 3 nights.
I went home missing Los Angeles. Like I do tonight.
But I'm in Chicago. I'm going to sleep in Chicago. In a medium-sized room, with a small weight on my shoulder. It's okay. I'm good. The weight will go away in the night. I'll have a good Friday. I'll be one day closer to flying home.
I blog better in the daytime, don't I?
I miss the new desk in the corner. I miss the chair by the desk.
I miss this.
I have a big story in mind for my next fiction piece. It's almost too big, as if it's a novel.