Thurs. Aug. 28, 2014: Jamaican Night

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day at the library yesterday. Good day, mostly, too. The new computer is in, and the IT guy came and loaded in everything I need and things are configured to the right printers and seem to work. After two months of bouncing from pillar to post, I can actually sit at my desk and do my work. I have two months’ worth of cataloging to catch up on, not to mention the 500+ CDs that were donated earlier that I couldn’t even get started on, but now I can actually dig down and DO IT.

Big relief.

After work, I buzzed on over to Falmouth to Connemessett Farm for Jamaican night. Met a group of friends there and we had a GOOD time. The food was outstanding, and so was the company. And it was great to do something because we WANTED to, not because we needed to.

Came home, read a little, went to sleep.

Up early this morning, worked on INITIATE. I’ve got a couple more “episodic” sequences to write before I get back into the main plot that will drive us to the climax of the book.

Some interesting decisions will have to be made in the next few months on a lot of different fronts in preparation for next year. I have to decide what I really want and where I see the next few years going, and then work from that.

Meanwhile, Silly Season is almost over!

Devon

Published in: on August 28, 2014 at 8:32 am  Comments (1)  

WEd. Aug. 27, 2014: Trying to Get Back into A Routine

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy, busy times. I needed disconnect time yesterday. Especially since, at 4:25 AM, the phone woke me up, wanting to be charged. Honey, a piece of machinery does not have the right to wake me up at that hour because it wants to be PLUGGED in. I turned it off and threw it across the room. Tessa had to find it in the morning.

I managed to get quite a bit of writing done on INITIATE these past couple of days. A character I thought was a minor antagonist is actually the major antagonist who’s camouflaging himself as a minor antagonist, and I had to insert the scenes to set up his story arc. About 40 pages’ worth of material.

Monday, it was off to Just Picked in Yarmouth, Optimist Café for lunch, and then the Cape Cod Lavender Farm. Yesterday, it was off to Plymouth, so Costume Imp could use the gift card he won in the costume contest, and we had lunch at a terrific place on Water St.

This morning, up early, writing, off to a day at the library, and then to Coonnemessett Farm for Jamaican night.

Looking forward to a lot of writing this weekend.

Devon

Published in: on August 27, 2014 at 8:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Mon. Aug. 25, 2014: Surviving the Mermaid Ball

Monday, August 25, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Recovering. Slowly.

Friday was a looong day. A 14 hour Mermaid Ball day. We hit the venue (Waverly Oaks in Plymouth) by 10 AM. And they wouldn’t let us unload. They expected us to park in the lots and haul all the lighting equipment and everything else a half a mile to the venue. Even though there was an area perfectly fine in which to unload. But, you know, the GOLFERS might not like to SEE a car with an open hatch. Even though we paid for the venue. I told them what they could do with their golf carts. They’re lucky I didn’t drive my VW right up the stairs and onto the second floor porch.

Unloaded, started setting up. They kept the venue open – even though WE PAID FOR IT – so people were wandering through all day. And the golfers made sexually inappropriate comments – not necessarily to directly to us or the female interns, but loud enough for us to hear. Hmm, let’s see, if you’re such a strapping ,virile man you wouldn’t need to spend your spare time swinging around an oversized phallic symbol. Just sayin’.

Lunch was not brought in as had been promised to those of us working the 14 hour day. So, if we were half dead on our feet, we had to pay the overpriced clubhouse rates in order to eat. Not acceptable. On top of that, the banquet manager claimed not to know we were bringing in lighting equipment or needed the shower facilities. Which was complete and utter bullshit, because I was in on that conversation AND I HAVE THE NOTES.

We managed to get dressed – I wasn’t about to take an ice cold shower, so I settled for a whore’s bath in the women’s restroom sink. Dressed, got my hair and make-up done.

The ball itself went well. The venue was beautiful. The food was good. People had a good time. Hopefully, they spent lots of money.

I’d set up the packing room so that, as soon as auction sections closed, we could pack and wrap and everything would be ready for pick up. Of course, the banquet manager and the staff took over our packing room, moved everything, and left the table dirty and sticky, which would have damaged the auction items. All she had to say, at any point in the day was that the staff was going to use a table in the room for their dinner break AND I WOULD HAVE SET ONE UP. But to just come in and move what was obviously a careful set up and then leave the space dirty – not acceptable.

Packing went all right, although there were a few flurries. Load out wasn’t too bad, but we were tired. We got home at 12:30 – not 2 AM, which I expected. We collapsed into bed.

Costume Imp slept until 6:30 PM on Saturday. I was up early, fed the cats, went back to bed at 10:30, got up at 1. Too tired to eat, so ordered in food from Pizza Wave. Read a bit, but that was all I was up for.

I got up early on Sunday. Wrote about nine pages on INITIATE. Costume Imp got up in the late morning, we had eggs benedict, then headed to Heritage Gardens, which was lovely. Spent the afternoon reading on the deck.

This morning, up early. My day’s quota on INITIATE. Dropped off Heritage Garden pass at the library, and about to drop off the borrowed easels at the writer’s center. Later, we’ll head to Cape Cod Lavender Farm. Maybe get some more work done in INITIATE.

Glad the events for August are over. Can’t wait for a quiet Labor Day weekend.

Silly season is almost over! Woo-hoo!

Published in: on August 25, 2014 at 8:49 am  Comments (1)  

Thurs. Aug. 21, 2014: In Between Events

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday was a whirlwind — up early, trying to write, going to work, preparing for the event, plus helping wherever I could to get the ARIS report finished. It was a steadily busy day, but good busy.

Swung by the house — Costume Imp had slept all day until about an hour before I came to pick him up — we loaded the car, headed back to the library, we set up, talked through a few things, and then just went with the energy of the room. We had a good crowd, more kids than we expected. We told war stories, explained how some of the mechanics work backstage, etc. The audience seemed to really enjoy it, and we had fun presenting.

Home, unloaded the car, martinis and stories on the deck. I collapsed into bed about midnight.

Up early this morning, wrote about 1500 words on INITIATE (making up for the slow day yesterday morning). Very tired, have a pounding headache, and am losing my voice.

Just have to make it through today and the Mermaid Ball tomorrow — which will be a long day — and I can sleep in on Saturday.

Fingers crossed. It should be a beautiful event tomorrow, but the Crazy Train seems to think I’m a station stop on the route today.

Devon

Published in: on August 21, 2014 at 10:03 am  Comments (1)  

Wed. Aug. 20, 2014: You’d Think Mercury Was Retrograde

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

You’d think Mercury was retrograde, the way things have been going!

To add to yesterday’s post: Someone emailed me to ask me if I defined myself as a “good person.” No, I do not. I am good AT certain things, I try to cause as little harm as possible — unless you hurt someone I care about, then I will respond strongly. I try to remain true to my beliefs and walk my talk — and don’t always get there. I try to weigh as many points of view when I don’t have the information, when proven wrong, I try to adjust, and I often fall short of my expectations for myself. So, no, I do not define myself as “good”, certainly not on the level that’s set as a standard when most people talk about what we’re trying to work towards on a spiritual level. I don’t define myself as “bad”, either — although I make mistakes, I try to make right the wrongs I do, and I definitely don’t behave the way others want me to behave, or respond the way that’s expected. Hopefully, I’m not “mediocre” either — that would be worse than either extreme.

I try not to define myself at all, although I do believe that I am a work in progress, the way my books are. I’m constantly trying to get to the core of emotional truths. We each have our own truths. The agreed-upon truths amongst a group is how we manage to live in groups.

But, no, I do not define myself as “good” in the way it’s bandied about, nor do I believe I am “better” than people around me. Different, yes. Better — no. I may be better at certain skills, but everyone has such strengths and weaknesses.

Speaking of which — yesterday. Wrote a bit in the morning, worked on pulling things for today’s workshop. Costume Imp was supposed to be on a noon bus from New York, but there was a problem with the NYC subway and he was stuck at 14th St. He missed the bus. He had to rebook and re-pay to get on the 2:45 bus, which was supposed to get him in to Providence at 7 PM.

I left at 4 PM, and it took me until 5:30 to get as far as Falmouth. He’d only hit New Haven by 6 PM. Get the idea? I managed to hit Providence by 7 PM (and it didn’t even hit back). His bus arrived a little after 8. We bolted back onto the highway — once we were back on I-195, it wasn’t a bad ride back, although by the time we hit Mattapoisset, there was fog.

We stopped in Buzzards Bay for gas, then hit KFC for a late (as in 10 PM) dinner. I ate way too much way too late, and I’m paying for it today!

We were up until midnight pulling costumes for tonight’s workshop and catching up. The visiting dog was all excited (hey, there was chicken involved) and the cats are all in a kerfuffle again, but it was all good.

Up early, worked on INITIATE, got ready for the library. Today will be a long day, but, hopefully, we’ll make people happy with the program tonight.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on August 20, 2014 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Tues. Aug. 19, 2014: Exploring Themes in Life and Work

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was spent mostly in the car — after I wrote my first 1000 words on INITIATE. I spent the day doing pick-ups for the Mermaid Ball. It was fine, there was nothing wrong with it, except for traffic. Which is why I’d basically blocked off the whole day to do it. I’m glad that the Cape is having such a positive, busy season, but I am sick to death of the stupid, ignorant, and the disrespectful. You are guests here. Get over your sense of entitlement. It is a privilege to visit a place as beautiful and unique as this. You should leave it better than you found it, not toss your trash out of the window and cut off other travellers so you can move ahead a single car length in a traffic jam. You’re not that important. Seriously, checkpoints shouldn’t be for passports, but for IQ.

The people from whom I picked up donations were uniformly lovely. They deserve better than the stereotypical Ugly Tourists that are flooding the place.

Next August, I’m putting an “out of office” message in my email for the whole damned month. I was tempted to put up an outgoing message saying, “If it’s not about the Mermaid Ball this week fuck you”, but that was a little harsh even for me. That is, however, the subtext of the outgoing message I WILL put up today. For months I have said that this week is ONLY about Mermaid Ball (the same way that the first week is ONLY about the conference). The exception to that is the program and ARIS stuff at the library that also falls this week. And everyone at the library is being totally cool and supportive of the Mermaid Ball. However, people not connected to either of those are making demands and ignoring me when I say, “I am not dealing with you until next week.” Well, guess what? I AM NOT DEALING WITH YOU UNTIL NEXT WEEK.

I cleared off my deadlines. I am caught up with everything I said I would do up until this point. It was a little dicey there for a few days, but I dug in and it got done. Disorganization on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

On a more humorous note: Of course, when I’m a total mess, wearing surgical gloves, and have a car full of garbage is when I run into the cute guy I’d run into a few weeks back. Of course, he recognized me, even out of context. Asked me if I was disposing of bodies (the trash bags in the car). Offered to help! ;)

Had an “aha” moment as I was working out the next sequence in INITIATE. I’m exploring several themes in the piece — complexity of types of love, loyalty, taboos, but also, one of the things I’m discovering is the characters are often faced with choices they feel obligated to make that are in conflict with their core integrity.

I’m thoroughly angered by the spate of psychobabble bullshit books coming out soothing morons who are in jobs and pretend that the job is in conflict with their core integrity. If your boss tells you to do something you KNOW is wrong — be it on a legal or an ethical level — and you DO it — you are wrong. You are behaving unethically, and you don’t get to hide behind “it’s company policy” or “I’m just doing my job.” If you don’t have the courage and integrity to stand up for what you know is wrong, you deserve every bit of nasty karmic pushback you get. It being your job is not an excuse for intentionally and knowingly causing harm. You may think you’re getting away with it, but somewhere down the line, the universe is going to put things back in balance, and in a very interesting and unexpected way. Standing by and doing nothing out of fear or apathy or “company policy” is why Kitty Genovese died. It’s how genocide happens. If you do it and go along with it and don’t stand up for it, you don’t HAVE that core integrity you pretend to have. No, you’re not a “good person”. So either walk your talk or own the fact that you put money and security and position over integrity and ethics. It can’t be both simultaneously. You’re not a “good person” if you sign off on a form denying someone medical treatment they need to live because “it’s your job”. You’re not a “good person” if you take away someone’s house because they were downsized or got sick and have medical bills because “it’s your job.” So stop pretending you are good and own it.

As a writer, it’s interesting to explore how different individuals handle these types of inner conflicts (many of which are actually outer conflicts, because the character wants to appear “good” without actually performing the action that would mitigate harm. They want to be PERCEIVED as “good” without actually BEING “good”). It’s interesting to see how they try to work around it, or how they don’t compromise and what steep price that has, as well.

Being ethical in an unethical society — be it our current society, which, thanks to special interests and cowardly and/or greedy elected officials and a Supreme Court that regularly betrays its populace, grows more unethical every day — has a steep price. Is it worth it? Is the reason so many people refuse to behave in alignment with their supposed core integrity because they believe the price is too high? Do people who behave in alignment with their core integrity and pay a horrible price believe it was worth it?

There’s also a huge price paid if one is “good” and is outwardly ethical while the inner core wants something else. That’s the flip side of the coin, and also causes interesting stresses. You do what is considered “right” and “good” to the outer world, you take actions to avoid harm, yet your inner being rages against it. Eventually, that type of repression will find an expression — whether it is the pious pillar of the community with the murderous double life or one’s soul just starts to fracture.

None of it is easy. It is, however, an interesting challenge to genuinely get into the skin of characters whose core integrity I disagree with and exploring the whys and wherefores of what makes them tick.

I’m not talking about anti-heroes, who are simply heroes who break silly rules but get the result that society considers “good” anyway. I’m talking about people who believe that causing harm is okay, for a variety of reasons.

And sometimes the most self-less SEEMING actions are really the most self-ISH.

To create drama, of course, what the characters want has to be in conflict with each other, and, in many of the best dramas, the characters become each other’s obstacles (sometimes even when they are allies), and, in even more complex drama, there is another layer of conflict within the self.

Psychobabble bullshit is how one justifies behavior to the self and to the people one wants to impress to get by on a daily basis. But what happens when that is all stripped away?

I find I can do a deeper exploration of that in, say, a mystery or a paranormal or, like I’m attempting in INITIATE, in fantasy. That includes digging deeply into characters whose ethics I disagree with. Making sure they are complex individual, not ciphers for ideas.

The trick is to keep the conflicts in balance, and the characters pushing against each other and themselves equally, not preach either point of view, and keep the plot moving swiftly.

I don’t always succeed, especially not in early drafts, but the journey is interesting. And there’s always something I can take out of the journey and apply to my own life — even when I discover during the journey that I was wrong about something. Because there are plenty of times I’m wrong about something and the writing journey of exploration gives me a better understanding of facets of a situation.

But every exploration so far has intensified that individuals should not be allowed to hide behind “company policy” and, if our society is going to be one of “justice for all”, individuals who cause harm under company banners must be held accountable as individuals, along with the individuals in the company and on the Board who created the policies in the first place. Right now, anyone can get away with anything, as long as the company is willing to make a payoff.

On to other things: I still have to finish pulling pieces for tomorrow’s quick change workshop. I’ve pulled a bunch of stuff for Friday’s Mermaid Ball, still have to put my dress and accessories into a bag, and label the easels I borrowed from the Writers’ Center, find some more tape guns, etc.

I leave in a few hours to drive to Providence to pick up Costume Imp.

Tomorrow is the workshop at the library. Supposedly, my fried computer has been fixed, so I should be able to pull the info we still need for the ARIS report — which is due Friday. And I won’t be there on Friday, so anything I need to do for it needs to happen tomorrow and/or Thursday.

I hate August on the Cape. Just sayin’. There’s too much stacked in to too short a time frame. This year was inevitable in certain respects, but I have to rethink how I want to handle next year and make some decisions.

Too often, in the past months, I have been pushed into doing something that I am unhappy with, uncomfortable with, and goes against what I want and need for myself, presented to me that it is “for the good of the organization” (and it’s happened with more than one organization). None of it has caused harm to anyone else, but, in some cases, it has caused harm to ME, on several levels, and I need to reassert some boundaries in the coming months.

People need to remember that I never bluff. But I do keep my word. And if I say, “if X is the choice, then Y is my response” and they don’t believe that I WILL carry out Y, they are in for a shock. Because my days of misplaced loyalty are DONE, and that is something I need to do for my own core integrity.

Interesting what you find out when you thought you were writing about something completely different.

Devon

Published in: on August 19, 2014 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. Aug. 15, 2014: Levelling Out

Friday, August 15, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hopefully, this will actually POST today. Don’t know what’s up with WordPress lately.

Yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to work on INITIATE, and it threw off my internal rhythm for the whole day. I was frustrated and out of sorts. But Wed. had been a rough and bad weather day, and I overslept on Thursday, and it was just all a muddle.

Yesterday was a better day, although off to a rocky start. I was out of coffee at home, the milk turned sour, I missed the turn to my usual Dunkin Donuts. I went to a different one, where I had to wait 20 minutes for a simple cup of coffee with milk AFTER I’d paid, because they made the fancy coffees for the patrons behind me and kept pushing my cup to the side. No, they weren’t making a fresh pot. A simple cup of coffee wasn’t worth bothering about. Won’t be going back to that one.

I’m excited to go to an Historical Writers Retreat in Woodstock, CT in early October, run by a friend I met at NECRWA this past spring. That should be tons of fun. I’m so excited.

I’m also delighted to announce that I will be leading the discussion at the Marstons Mills Public Library’s first meeting of their new cozy mystery club, called Muffins, Mittens, and Murder. The book choice is Amanda Cooper’s TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT, the first book in her new series, comparing it to the longer-running Laura Childs Teashop Mysteries. The first meeting is on Sept. 13 here at the library, at 12:30. I’ll be leading the first several months’ worth of discussions.

The writing on INITIATE is going well. I’m in the middle section, where the male protagonist is learning and growing – he’s had a big turning point, and these chapters prepare him for the next big turning point and the black moment. The research for BALTHAZAAR is also going well, and I hope to get into the serious writing of that again post-Mermaid Ball.

Yup, the Mermaid Ball is NEXT FRIDAY! If you can’t come in person, I hope you’ll consider making a donation, so we can continue caring for the lovely Belmont, Barclay, Rose, and Mary Arnold, and the new seals and turtles that are coming in. Information here.

Have a great weekend, people!

Devon

Published in: on August 15, 2014 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Thurs. Aug. 14, 2014: Dragging With Exhaustion

I wrote a big, long post about everything and the damn system ate it.

Too tired, too cranky, and too over it to write it again.

Published in: on August 14, 2014 at 8:18 am  Comments (2)  

Wed. Aug. 13, 2014: Trying to Get Things Done

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’ve been trying now, for three hours, to get this to actually post, with no luck. The computer keeps eating the post.

Yesterday was busy. Got a lot done on INITIATE. I’ve written 161 pages in longhand since I started work on it two weeks ago. That’s a pretty good pace. There will be a lot of layering and shaping and then cutting, but I’m happy with the themes I explore in the piece. I’m exploring them because they interest me, and I want to see where the searches lead.

Six loads of laundry, trying to catch up from the time at the conference and prep for the Mermaid Ball. So tired I can barely stand up.

Back to the library at 5:30 to help set up for the Michael Blanding event. It was enormous fun, and we had a great time both at the presentation and after. Terrific guy.

Home late, trouble getting to sleep. I’ve been having a series of progressively darker and more intense nightmares over the past few weeks, all on the same theme. I thought they were just anxiety dreams, but there’s something off about them. They are too realistic to be symbolic, if that makes any sense.

Up early. Only got 500 words of INITIATE done. Headed in to work. There were a few people I wanted to slap silly. I’m also frustrated because there’s been another delay in the computer arrival. But I’m trying to get through everything that needs to get done, and follow up on program stuff and prep for today’s program meeting.

I want to support friends doing a library program tonight, but the weather is so bad and the roads are supposedly flooding, so I don’t know if I will get there.

A good night’s sleep, and I’ll be in much better shape. Just not sure when that’s going to happen.

Devon

Published in: on August 13, 2014 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Tues. Aug. 12, 2014: Meetings and Programs and Balls, oh My!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Five meetings yesterday. It was a lot. Plus trying to reschedule some Writers Center stuff.

Stopped in at the library to discuss stuff that happened at the conference in relation to booking our programs. Went over to Books By the Sea — they are carrying copies of TRACKING MEDUSA, HEX BREAKER, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT.

Home, grabbed some food, headed to Hyannis to Common Ground to meet with a student I’ll be working with in fall. I’ve accepted one in person and one on line — my private student slots for fall are FULL. Had a good meeting, we came up with a lesson plan.

Returned materials from the conference to Cotuit Library. Headed over the bridge to the Mermaid Ball meeting. The ball is next week — can’t believe it’s coming up so fast.

Home, worked on a review I have to write, fell into bed early.

Up early this morning, I have about 6 loads of laundry to get done. Wrote my first 1K of the day, and I’ll have to get some more done later on, along with pulling stuff for next week’s actor/dresser workshop and pulling materials for Mermaid Ball.

Back to the library this evening — Michael Blanding talks about his book, THE MAP THIEF!

Sad about Robin Williams. It’s always sad when a talent like that makes such a choice.

Devon

Mon. Aug. 11, 2014: Excited by The Wonderful Conference!

Monday, August 11, 2014
Last Day of Full Moon
Sunny and cool

Wow. The last few days have been intense.

Thursday, I worked at the library until 2 PM. It was busy — I wanted to make sure I got everything done (since I’m not back “in the office” until this Wed.) and not leave anyone holding the bag or cleaning up a mess I left. So I worked ahead on anything that I could think of being needed, such as the report for tonight’s Board meeting. I also processed a big stack of books that arrived from Ingram. Another box from Ingram arrived as soon as I was done, but I pretended it wasn’t there — and it might not have been mine, anyway. I also processed some videos that arrived from Amazon. I wanted to make sure as much as possible could get on the shelves while I was gone.

I left at 2 PM and headed for the Conference center. I checked in and found out that a fellow board member had a family emergency, so I agreed to cover the things he was supposed to take care of. I unloaded the car, got the library exhibit table set up, then got my own books checked in to the bookshop, then helped out at the cocktail reception.

As usual, we started at a table with two people and kept expanding. My rule of thumb is, “pull up a chair, join us; there’s always room for one more.” That way, no one feels left out, excluded, and people who are there for the first time and don’t know anyone get to meet people, and people who know other people get to meet new people. So that was fun.

My boss from the library joined us for the introduction ceremony upstairs. I announced the writing contest winners (one of them was even there, which was great), and all the instructors were introduced. We ran into someone with whom we’re going to put together a great panel for the library, and a group of us headed downstairs to the bar to catch up. It was fun and noisy, and we got out of there late.

Up early on Friday. Wrote a bit of 1000 words on INITIATE. Cooked for the incoming guests. Finished cleaning up. Ran to the store for the last few things.

Did a roundtable with my friend, Kevin Symmons, at the conference on inspiration –we had a good time with it, and the participants seemed to enjoy it, too. Then came the class I was taking, a screenwriting class. Since it covered the basics, I was worried that I might not be pushed hard enough. But the teacher was good (Chantalle Aimee Osman — if you ever get a chance to study with her, jump at it) and I found points where, because I move from format to format, I’ve gotten sloppy. There are certain areas where I need to sharpen what I do when I’m in screenplay format, in order to take it to the next level.

I’m also going to have to bite the bullet and invest in either Final Draft or Movie Magic, once I have the new Macbook. I’m very anti-formatting software, because I think it makes people rely on the software instead of learning the craft, but it is now the industry standard, and if I want to work in the industry, I need to suck up and deal.

Ran home after class to deal with a few things and get my company settled. Part of the company is a very old yellow lab that my Mom has taken care of since he was a puppy. He’s sweet, but not very bright.

The cats are horrified.

Raced back to the conference. Had rehearsal with the executive director for a skit I stepped into. Had a drink in the bar with some fellow panelists and the terrific novelist Gary Braver. I was on a panel moderated by Arlene Kay, along with Kevin Symmons and David Litwack. What a pleasure! We were talking about our journeys and how we keep writing on tough days, and things like that. It was a lot of fun. We then kicked off the reading sessions.

I knew about two paragraphs in that I picked the wrong scene — you can feel the energy in the room. But I was stuck by then, so I pushed through. Live and learn, right? Should have stuck to the scenes in the media kit! The readings were good — quite varied, and a better quality, overall, than some of the other years.

Went back down to the bar, had a drink with friends and colleagues, got in a bit after midnight. Chatted with the company. Fell into bed, trying to learn lines. Got a text from an actor for whom I just wrote a monologue — he’s on set for a new film and was in between set-ups.

Actor: What are you doing?
Me: Learning lines for Gutenberg.
Actor: Who’s Gutenberg?
Me: Use Google.
Few minutes silence, then another text.
Actor: How are you going to play a guy from the 1400s?
Me: I have no fucking idea.

Up early on Saturday. Wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. Tessa is still furious with me because there’s a DOG in the house. Got the company safely off to the Nantucket ferry — although the dog stays with us. Tessa puffed up so big that she couldn’t dive under the bed, and had to deflate before she could fit. The cats were just starting to calm down, and then my neighbor decided to cut down a tree next door. Of course, that was my fault, too, as far as the cats were concerned. A DOG and all that NOISE. I’m unhappy, because I don’t think perfectly healthy trees should be cut down, but it’s not on my property, so I have no say in the matter.

Called the joke shop, talked to Chris –sounded like they had what I needed. Drove in to Hyannis, Chris got me all set up with the beard.

Back to the conference. Picked up my costume. Another excellent screenwriting session. Home. Tried on the costume, complete with beard. Cats took one look and dived under the bed. Ran lines a few times. Got out of costume. Took a nap.

Woke up, showered, dressed in a killer blue silk sheath dress, fishnets, and heels, pinning up my hair. If I’m going to play I bearded guy from the fifteenth century in an academic robe, I am going to look HOT for the banquet!

Got caught in Craigville beach traffic on the way back to the conference. Had my window down, had the music on. This shirtless surfer dude leans into the open window, sees the fishnets and says, “So, what’re you doin’ tonight?”

Me: Playing Gutenberg.
Dude: Huh?
Me: What, you don’t get into a little role playing sometime?

He had no idea how to respond to that!

The keynote was a roundtable with author Rishi Reddi and Alicia Anstead, who’s the editor of THE WRITER magazine. We all read Rishi’s story “Karma” and it was a discussion, led by Alicia. It was interesting, and a lot of fun. At times, I worried that over-analyzing it might take away some of the power and emotional beauty of the story, but Alicia is very good at what she does and knew how to keep it from getting pretentious or ponderous. Rishi’s writing is just gorgeous. The piece was the “One Story” that was read last year by the entire city of Boston as part of the Boston Book Festival.

Then, we paraded into dinner. I was lucky enough to be at the table with Rishi, Alicia, Michelle Hoover, and Karen Day (two more wonderful authors), along with others. We had a lively, fun discussion that ran the gamut of topics. I can’t wait for the new novels by Rishi, Michelle, and Karen.

Between the main course and dessert, I disappeared, and, with the help of Matthew, one of our scholarship students (whose work I really liked, and who already knew, from the previous days, that I am completely out of my mind), got into costume. Nancy and I did the skit. I couldn’t let my dislike of performance inhibit me. Nancy wrote an arrogant, self-assured character, and I had to go with it and over it — so I went for it, over the top, high camp. The audience loved it. I still wish Jim had been able to do it — he’s such a good actor, he would have brought a lot to the role. But I managed to get away with it. However, it was a prime example of why I spent my life BACKstage, instead of ONstage.

Scrambled out of costume, let my hair down (literally this time, not just figuratively), and had dessert. Stopped at the beach on the way home because it was such a beautiful night, hung out with some people playing music and dancing. Got home about one.

From silk sheath to panda pajamas in a matter of minutes.

Up early on Sunday, wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. At the conference a little before 10 AM to help at the desk. At noon, I broke down the library exhibit table, loaded the car. As classes ended, I loaded the easels into the car, since we will use them for Mermaid Ball. Got the unsold books back from the bookstore — I sold some, and people kept asking me to sign copies, which was nice. Had a rash from the fake beard around my nose and my upper lip, though.

Took my final screenwriting session. We wrote tag lines and log lines. I created a tagline and used the logline from STALEMATE DEATH. Fortunately, the teacher liked both, although she thought I should put back a line I’d cut from the logline, so I did. If I hadn’t been able to walk my talk, in the experiences I’d shared in class, it would have been bad!

Bolted down a tuna melt in the bar, and came back to help break down the rest of the conference and load it into the truck. They had enough people to unload, so I got to go straight home. Drinks on the deck, dinner. Repacked the books that will go to Books by the Sea today, read a bit, but was too tired to concentrate, so I went to bed early.

Up early this morning. Wrote 1000 words on INITIATE. Tessa is getting braver, and even coming downstairs to be with me when I write, but she is still not happy there’s a dog in the house. Violet just stares at the dog, and he stares back, totally intimidated. Iris sidles by him. It’s funny.

Long day today — have to go in to the library to settle some dates; have to drop stuff off at Cotuit Library. Have to get my books to Books By the Sea. Have an appointment in Hyannis with a new student (we’re meeting at Uncommon Ground). Have a Mermaid Ball meeting tonight. Need to do follow-up on the conference (already had to do some business this morning). Need to finish two book reviews, and prep the cozy mystery group and do more research for BALTHAZAAR.

Busy day much?

All I want to do is sleep! No chance for that, not until tonight.

It was a great week. I’m glad I stuck to my guns and wrote every day, or I’d be feeling lousy today.

I hope the momentum carries the students into new work. Too often, the members are all excited during the conference, and by the time the Writers Night Out sessions start again, most of them sit around the table making excuses about why they’re not writing.

Which just drives me nuts. Which, I realize, is often a very short drive.

Back to the book reviews, and then I’m on the road for pretty much the rest of the day. I’ve already drunk a whole pot of coffee. It’s not helping.

But it was a great conference. In spite of the exhaustion, I want to use the energy and the momentum positively into the coming months, on a writing level, on a Board-Member-of-the-Center level, and on a programming level for the library.

After today, however, full focus MUST shift to the Mermaid Ball, which is at the end of next week.

Devon

Thurs. Aug. 7, 2014: Doors and Laundry and Prep

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day at the library; training session in the morning, meeting in the afternoon, unpacking boxes of books I ordered.

As we were leaving, we had interesting times with the door. And that’s all I’m going to say about it, other than we were able to fix it so we could lock it (because I wasn’t about to sleep overnight to guard the place), and we have to get a door repair person in today.

Cleaned the house some more, wrote a few more pages on INITIATE, finished prepping the materials I need to take to the conference today.

When I write a book, the materials I start with is what I have to use all through the first draft. It’s one of my weird eccentricities. For instance, I’m drafting INITIATE on lined yellow pads with a specific type of blue ink gel pen (I usually write in black ink). I had to go out and buy more legal pads and another pack of the same pens, because I was worried I would run out before finishing the draft and it stressed me out. No logic to it, just an eccentricity.

Up early enough this morning to do four loads of laundry before work and write my first 1000 words for the day on INITIATE. It’s a difficult section right now, the suicide of a character and its effect on the other characters. Too often death is used as a momentary shock and then forgotten — this character’s death will have repercussions — many of them unexpected — throughout the rest of the book. But it’s a tricky section to write.

Half day at the library. Then I go help at the conference, set up the exhibit table for the libraries, and deposit my own books.

It will be a busy week. It is already.

Devon

Published in: on August 7, 2014 at 7:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Wed. Aug. 6, 2014: Torn in Multiple Directions

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Incredibly busy few days. The biggest demand on my focus and attention is the new fantasy novel, INITIATE. Since I started writing it last Wednesday, I’ve written 125 pages (a third of the book) in longhand. It feels like the only reality — the stories and characters are real; everything else feels like a dream state. Any hours I am not working at the library, I am writing the book. I am incredibly grateful for this creative fire, but it makes navigating day-to-day life difficult, especially right now with so much going on. But the writing itself is good and solid and feels really, really right.

Saturday I worked at the library,and Sunday I came back to help out with a program/book launch, in and around working on INITIATE. On Monday I woke up convinced it was Sunday, so I forgot to send off some stuff I meant to get out.

We also have company coming at the end of this week (yes, during the conference), so we’re trying to get ready.

Yesterday was about running errands, going to Falmouth, getting the phone card, etc. And working on the book

This morning, I managed to get 1000 words done on the book, fight off an ant infestation, and mow the lawn before going to work.

It’s all good, just busy, and everything not connected to the book feels like it’s happening in a haze.

I’ll be at the Cape Cod Writers Conference this week — I’m on a panel on Friday night and, after, reading from TRACKING MEDUSA.

Devon

Published in: on August 6, 2014 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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