In a continuing effort to entertain the visitors to my website that Google Analytics insists I’m getting, I have spent the better part of the last four days wracking my brain for something to put in a blog post.
What I got right now is that it’s hot. 95ºF in NYC today. I just turned on my AC for the first time this year. (I forgot that it takes a couple of hours before it really starts cooling the apartment, so I probably should have turned it on before I left for work. Instead, I have a hot apartment and a phenomenon I like to refer to as “droopy cat.” This mostly involves my feline roommate draping herself over furniture or else laying splayed out on the floor.) Summer in New York is something else. On the one hand, I work in an industry that slows down some in the summer, so I have more free time. On the other, it’s sticky and dirty and unpleasant at times. A woman from Florida worked in my office last summer and spent a great amount of time complaining about the heat. When I pointed out that she’d lived her whole life in, you know, Florida, where it is hot, she made the valid argument that everything in Florida has central air, and also you drive in an air-conditioned car to get there. I think my whole block was constructed before central air was even a spark in the eye of its inventor, and I do not own a car, so I was sympathetic.
On the plus side, some of the rose bushes I walked by today were really gorgeous. There’s a brownstone a block away from my office that has this massive rose bush with bright fuchsia blossoms. I would have taken a photo, but the owner was watering said rose bush, and that felt tacky.
Bad segue! Today, I listened to the podcast of last Friday’s Fresh Air (the NPR show). They did a tribute to Law & Order that consisted mostly of clips of Terry Gross’s interviews with the creator and various cast members. I haven’t watched the show in a while, but, as you know, I love police procedurals, and L&O in particular, so I’m sad the Original Flavor version was canceled after 20 years with so little fanfare.
One thing that stuck out, aside from clips of Jerry Orbach singing in a number of Broadway productions, was something S. Epatha Merkerson said. She plays Lt. Van Buren on the show. She said first that she was cast primarily because NBC was going to cancel the show if the producers didn’t put some women on it. And not even in the titillating sense; they just needed some female characters for balance. Merkerson said that, when she started on the show (in the early 90s), there were only 5 female police lieutenants in Manhattan. Something about that blew my mind a little. Merkerson said she met with a few of them to get some tips for how to play her character, and she went on to say that women had to change the way they behaved in front of certain groups of people and that they had to work hard to be taken seriously.
I like the idea of a straight-shooting female police officer as a character in a book. I have been tinkering with a sequel to In Hot Pursuit that’s not quite off the ground yet, but if I’m revisiting my gay cop character, and the novel will be set in New York, it might be an interesting opportunity to explore that through a character. (I’m just thinking aloud.) Deb Ruiz is kind of a prototype of that. I came to really love Ruiz while I was writing the novel; I like that she’s smart, capable, and doesn’t take shit from anybody. I am, generally, a fan of strong female characters in books, so it was fun to write her. (And to have an actually strong female cop. In a lot of novels I’ve read, “strong female characters,” especially those in law enforcement, tend to demonstrate their strength by, like, not being into fashion and cursing a lot. So often, they have mushy centers and crumble when the going gets tough. Not so Ruiz.
Well, the AC is chugging away and my living room is marginally less hot now. Plus, hey, blog post!