Clarendon has just become heaven, hasn’t it?

This brand new shopping center opened up there. Looks like Oz. I’m not sure, but I think it even has a yellow brick road. There’s a Pottery Barn, there’s a Zany Brains, there’s a container store…it’s yuppy hell, man, and I’m telling you, the setting is much too regal for it all.

My night starts at the Galaxy Hut. This is the coolest little hovel ever at this point to me because it encompasses all the things about a bar that I really need. Goddam, tonight was perfect. I sat in that bar and drank and ate and read a book about markets in writing science fiction.

Then I went to Oz.

Because you know what anchored the Oz in Clarendon, don’t you? The biggest, newest, most beautiful Barnes and Noble I’ve ever seen in my lifetimes. I’m trying to do market research, see. That’s what aspiring writers call “wasting several hours in a Barnes and Noble.” And tonight’s mission is to find a copy of the following periodicals: Issac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Omni, Analog, The Magazine of Fanasy and Science Fiction, Aboriginal SF, and Amazing Stories. All I found was Analog, the only one I’ve ever received a rejection from. (I shoudl clarify, it’s also the only fiction submission I’ve ever made.)

With mission accomplished, it was time for recess. Music, baby! And I poured through the CDs. And I looked here for the passion I once felt. Where is the glory? Where is the day when I first found the magick in Jimi, felt the fog and lush foliage in Led Zeppelin, or even fel the mighty hammer of Nothing’s Shocking? I want the sense of discovery back, the strong but pock-marked notion that music matters, that if love never stomps me into bliss, at least music will tide me over to death, that if I don’t believe in Christ, at least I have Jimmy Page to fall back on. I want war, I want rage, peace, and love, and I’m not finding it in the Barnes and Noble cutting bin. Goddammit. No impluse buy in the music section tonight. So I buy my Analog and my Orson Scott Card novel, and my gift for a loved one, and I pass on the Merrill Markoe novel and figure I might get G.D. Gearino to send me a copy of the book for Vegas, and I check out of there and I leave.

And as I’m leaving, there are these outdoor speakers that I guess are meant to keep you, the exalted consumer, in a blissful happy place from shop to next impulse buy to car. And for me, it works, it ends my little panic bubble about not finding passion in the music anymore.

Stevie Wonder is all you need, baby.