Derby Picks – May 1, 2010

Kentucky Derby Day Picks for May 1, 2010

If you’re looking for the regular “Ink in My Coffee” writing post, it’s below.

Here are my picks for tomorrow’s race card at Churchill Downs:

Race 1:
Rock Hard, Stay Put, Kettle River — across the board and a boxed trifecta

Race 2:
Zimmer and Spicer across the board. If Bold Victory looks good in the paddock, I might toss him into the mix.

Race 3 (Turf):
Beyond Our Reach and Dyani. If it goes off the turf for some reason, I’d flip them and put Dyani on top. My long shot pick for this race is Kathern’s Kitten, although I’ll also take a look at Lemonappeal. If Stormy Tess gets in, I’ll put another longshot bet on that horse.

Race 4:
Wise Dan and Spooky’s Ready are my top picks, although I also want to take a look at Don’t Put it Back and Good Lord.

Race 5 (Turf):
Pickapocket looks interesting here, although I might just skip this one unless I fall in love at the paddock.

Race 6 — Eight Belles Stakes:
Hot Dixie Chick, Visavis, Decelator — probably bet all three across the board, and one trifecta in the order listed above. And I’ll take a moment to mourn the lovely Eight Belles, for whom the race is named.

Race 7 — Churchill Distaff (Turf):
Tizaqueena across the board — I’m a sucker for any of the “Tiz” horses. I’ll probably add Phola and/or Fantasia to the mix, depending upon how they look in the paddock. Less familiar with the GB horse Fantasia, but because this is a mile, her stamina might be more suited.

Race 8 — Humana Distaff:
Informed Decision, Free Flying Soul, Warbling — across the board, and a Trifecta in that order.

Race 9 — Churchill Downs Stakes:
Munnings and Musket Man across the board. I’m kind of surprised that Hull’s odds are so long, so I’ll probably put a Place bet on him. Cool Coal Man and Kensei’s odds also seem a little long to me — I want to take a look and might toss one of them into the mix.

Race 10 — Woodford Reserve Turf Classic:
This is a mile and an eighth, and many horses aren’t bred for this distance, so I’m favoring the British-bred Battle of Hastings and the Irish Loup Breton. I’ll also put Court Vision into the mix here, and maybe use Pop Tarrt at my longshot.

Race 11 — Kentucky Derby:
All my favorites are out of the race, and I’m seriously bummed. So, I’m starting from scratch.

Lookin at Lucky is the favorite here, but in the 1 hole — worried he’ll get squished. I’ll probably toss some money his way, thought. Dean’s Kitten is 50-1 right now, so he’ll probably be my longshot show bet. I’m surprised that Paddy O’Prado’s odds are so long and that Sidney’s Candy’s odds are so short. I kind of like Ice Box — his grandfather is AP Indy — but his style as a closer concerns me in a 20 horse field.
I might toss a few bucks his way. Jackson’s Bend is gorgeous, I like his running style, and the fact he’s got Mike Smith as his jockey. So chances are, he’ll see some of my cash, at least for a place bet. BackTalk is sired by Smarty Jones, which is promising, but the fact that American Lion beat him by 14 lengths just a few weeks ago (and, at this moment, American Lion doesn’t make my cut) worries me. I’m also on the fence about Conveyence. I think he’s talented, but can he keep his head straight in such a busy field?

Devil May Care is the filly in the race. She’s trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Johnny Velazquez, who brought Rags to Riches home as the Belmont Winner a few years back. She will definitely get some of my money (got to support my tribe, after all). The 5th place finish in the Silver Bullet Day worries me a bit, but the Pletcher/JV combo (who would have been on my first choice fave Eskendereya, had he not been injured), can’t be ignored. Her grandfather’s AP Indy and her sire’s Mailibu Moon, so she should have some of that AP Indy grit. If she doesn’t make the top three, I think she’ll be fourth, but I’m hoping she’s in the top three.

If this race was shorter and I thought he could wire it, I’d toss Discreetly Mine into the mix, but the way this is shaking out, I think I’ll pass on him this time out. Homeboykris has one of my all time faves Fusaichi Pegasus as his grandfather, but that horse’s daughters have done better than the sons, so I’ll pass. Mission Impossible is so gorgeous I might have to root for him; the sire as Unbridled worries me a little, because they tend to run a bit recklessly, although they’re damn fast. I’m worried he’ll break down in the race. SuperSaver is sired by Maria’s Mon, and his dam was sired by AP Indy. If, for some reason, it rains, I’ll put him into the mix.

As of today, my picks are:
Lookin at Lucky, Devil May Care, Paddy O’Prado — across the board
Ice Box, Jackson’s Bend — place
Mission Impossible, Dean’s Kitten — show
Boxed exacta — Lookin at Lucky & Sidney’s Candy, Lookin at Lucky & Devil May Care
Still undecided, but may bet if they look good — Backtalk, Conveyence
If it rains — SuperSaver added in across the board

Race 12:
I always like the race after The Big Race because so few people pay attention to it, and you can usually make some $$$.
Flying Pegasus, Thunder Jack, EZ’s Gentleman across the board
Devastator at my long shot show bet (he’s currently 50-1)

Race 13:
Moe Man & Scary Good across the board
Deets & Gallentos to place
Thunder Highway — long shot show

Let’s hope it’s a wonderful day with NO INJURIES.

On today’s card at Churchill, there’s a horse in the 5th race named War Tigress I’ll bet across the board. I’m also betting Rachel Alexandra across the board in the 6th race, the La Troienne, and boxing her in an exacta with Unrivaled Belle. If Cool Coal Man runs today in the 9th instead of tomorrow, I’ll bet him here. I’m betting Setsuko across the board in the 10th race (I think he’s a Belmont contender, and he should have been in the Derby). The Oaks is a challenge today — I guess Blind Luck across the board, with Allalea and Bella Diamante in the mix, and possibly Crisp or Tidal Pool.

Happy racing!

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 8:06 am  Comments (4)  
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Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

They say it’ll be in the 80s all weekend, yet there’s still frost on the ground this morning. Go figure.

I took Valerian last night for the migraine/neck pain and slept in this morning. I’ll do my third run of the week tomorrow. I’ve still got some residual soreness, but, on the whole, I feel a bit better. I go to acupuncture next week, so she’ll fix me.

Yesterday was a long day. I took my mom to her meeting, which took 2 1/2 hours, but I think we’ve got things sorted, and we have the right people representing her to make sure this elder-abuse-by-corporation stops. Then, we had to drive up from the Bronx to South Salem to the vet to drop some more money on tests for Elsa. Hopefully, they will figure something out, because I’m getting a little impatient.

Too tired to cook, so tossed a pizza in the oven and vegged out in front of the TV. I’ve had trouble getting into FRINGE, but really enjoyed last night’s 40’s noir episode. Mixing the modern gadgets in with the 40s gave it the equivalent of “steampunk noir”, but I liked it.

I decided to expand the novella back into my original vision and, when it’s actually finished and polished, submit it elsewhere. I mean, I’ve been working on it off and on for about four months, I’ll send it elsewhere. I won’t be limited by the 30K word count (I think it’ll come in around 50 or 60), I can explore the characters and themes in more depth. I was trying to streamline everything to keep the action in under the word count, which meant I violated the integrity of the piece. That would have weakened it overall. Believe me, I respect guidelines. It is MY job to meet the guidelines, not their job to bend them to suit me. And, if the piece can’t be manhandled into fitting the guidelines, then it needs to go elsewhere.

In this draft, I’ll keep moving forward, without worrying about word count. I cut some characters early on. If it makes sense to re-integrate them in the second draft (especially some that bring comic relief), I will bring them back; if it suits the piece to keep them out, that’s what I’ll do. My goal, always, is to realize each character as vividly and memorably as possible, even if the character makes a brief appearance. The river rat snitch in the first chapter is one of the most fun characters, even though he’s only in that one scene. But, believe me, people will remember him!

The scene I wrote day-before-yesterday, the capture of our group of heroes by the villains, happened too quickly. In fact, the last few chapters happened to quickly, because I was worried about word count, and will have to be fleshed out a bit in the second draft. I also want to do some work on the first love scene between Annabeth and Dustin. I originally envisioned it as both comic an sexy, but because of word count and the target anthology, had to push the sexy and cut the comic, which dimmed the unique flavor of the scene. Now, I can put it all back.

See why I was struggling?

This morning, I will go back in and fix it, then really explore the villains’ lair. Since the whole next section of the book takes place there — only the final wrap-up chapter will take place back in DC — I have to really make sure the description, logic, and geography work.

Good think I bought all those book and maps about the development and building of DC!

On today’s agenda: Do at least 1K on the novella. Handicap and post tomorrow’s Derby card; work on ANGEL HUNT. I need to check the job listings — i’ve got to land some short turn-around, quick-pay jobs in the next few weeks. I’ve been focusing on long-term projects, and I need a quick infusion of cash, especially with Elsa’s medical bills mounting up.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 6:06 am  Comments (3)  
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde (say what)

I was up for 22 hours yesterday, from 3:30 in the morning until nearly 1:30 this morning. Feel like a truck rolled over me. I’m not used to that kind of schedule anymore, especially when I’m not paid television rate!

So it seems Mercury went retrograde over a week ago — why wasn’t it in my calendar? That calendar’s starting to get sloppy. It also explains oh, so much.

I struggled with the writing yesterday. I don’t know how I’m going to get this done. I’m happy with the bones of it, the first few chapters thrum along well, but I’ve lost the rhythm of it, and trying to force it back isn’t working. I’m considering doing an all-nighter to finish, but it still wouldn’t be polished. My time should have been planned better, I should have front-loaded it more rather than getting derailed by events I couldn’t forsee, but that’s not what happened.

I also have serious reservations about the place that put out the call for submissions. They haven’t liked my work before, and, frankly, when I’ve read anthologies of theirs from which I’ve been rejected, I’ve felt relieved not to be included, because I thought the stuff chosen was AWFUL. Not just, “oh, it’s to someone else’s taste”, but downright poor writing, storytelling, and cliched characters. If that’s their “house style” — I don’t want to write to that style, so why am I even submitting?

The call to submission sounded unique and fun, and as soon as I read it, I had ideas, that’s why. But it’s silly to think “this time will be different, this time we’ll be a good match.” We’re not. It’s been proven. Either I change to their “house style” — which goes against what I like to read and write — or I don’t submit. I’m not “their” type of writer. And, other than a few pieces written by a friend of mine, which contain good characters and storytelling, everything I’ve read from their house has been a disappointment.

The characters and situations I’ve set up here are really fun and lively and different from anything I’ve ever seen before. I don’t want to give them the short shrift for an on spec deadline. I’ve already changed storylines simply on the basis of word count, rather than what serves the story best. I think part of the reason I’m struggling is that I know this is not a good match for me. Sort of like when I struggled to meet the deadline for OLD FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, knowing I needed to pull the Jain Lazarus series from its original publisher. So I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. If, suddenly, it catches fire later today, hooray for me, and I might get it out the door tomorrow with notes for changes should it come back. Otherwise, I’ll just plug along, and, when it’s really ready, send it to a different publisher.

It would be horribly ironic, though, if I sent out something I felt was weak, and that’s the piece they liked, rather than polished pieces I sent previously!

I have to see how today goes — I’ve got to take my mom on an appointment and do battle – I am sick and tired of corporations who hire individuals taking delight in hurting Senior Citizens, thinking they can take advantage of them because they’re old. Today is a day when it’s a damned good thing I don’t own a gun or have a carry permit, because today I’d use it inappropriately and without remorse.

Last night was wonderful. The trip into the city wasn’t particularly torturous, for once. Read my book, had my music on. Caught the shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square, walked over to the 1,2,3 line. The 2 & 3 Express trains were jam packed and I didn’t want to be squished, so I took the local 1 instead. Much roomier. And I got out a stop early, walking the last 10 blocks up Broadway. I haven’t been in that neighborhood for years. It’s been gentrified, and, on one hand, it’s cleaner, but they’ve taken down quite a few graceful old buildings and replaced them with ugly ones, and the neighborhood’s character isn’t as much fun.

Symphony Space itself is beautiful. My friend was the very first in line, and we had our pick of seats. We sat about 8 rows back, in the middle. The celebration was the 50th Anniversary of Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD — held on her 84th birthday. The panel consisted of Kurt Anderson, Libba Bray, Stephen Colbert, Oskar Eustis, Mary McDonagh Murphy, Jayne Anne Phillips, and Isiah Sheffer. Excerpts of the book were read, and themes and meanings — both personal and universal, were discussed, along with some audience discussion. Unfortunately, several of the audience members had a different agenda — not discussing the book, but trying to get Colbert’s attention. He was very skillful and graceful in diffusing such greed and awkwardness and getting the discussion back on track. Everyone on the panel was interesting and engaging and the opinions and discussion were fascinating.

I’d crossed paths with Oskar Eustis back in San Francisco, when he was running the Eureka Theatre. I’d moved to SF to work at the Eureka, which had burned down when I got there. I got a job, instead, at the One Act, where I remained for the duration of my life in SF. But the community at that time was fairly small, and Oskar and I crossed paths a few times. I thought the world of him then, and I was thrilled when he took over the Public Theatre here. He was wonderful last night — I didn’t talk to him after, it was inappropriate with so many people in the building — but I’m going to drop him a note. He’s one of those intelligent, funny, warm, incredibly perceptive people, and the Public’s lucky to have him.

My friend and I went to a local bar for a glass of expensive but mediocre wine and to listen to some mediocre music. The musicians in the jazz trio were good, but the first singer couldn’t discern that “loud” does not equate with “good” and had no finesse in handling the microphone. The second singer, “in from Vegas” — was just that — a third rate lounge singer. My friend and I got the giggles. There was a production meeting from a small theatre production across the bar from us — people who’d once had their shot, but couldn’t quite make it, but still love the theatre. They have day jobs and do small theatre at night, and, as much as they love what they do at night, there’s still a little voice inside that tells them they failed. They didn’t fail — they’re still doing theatre — but the fear rolls off them like a pungent sweat.

Beside us at the bar were a man and woman. He was in his 50’s — an actor whose name I can’t remember, but who I recognize from small supporting roles on TV shows that shoot in NY. I think he was in some of the stuff I worked on a few years back. I was kind of shocked — he looks good, he’s aging well, except he had Botox only in his forehead, so the rest of his face looks normal, while his forehead looks like a shiny baby’s bottom. The woman with him was in her 40’s, and he obviously Had Plans for Her that night. But she was more interested in the conversation my friend and I were having.

Caught the #1 back downtown. The Shuttle didn’t show up and didn’t show up and didn’t show up at Times Square, because, really, to have it work would mean there was some level of competence on the part of the MTA and there is none. So I popped up and walked back to Grand Central, across 42nd St. Caught the 11:10. got home by 12, was in bed around 1:30.

Elsa was relentless, starting at about 4 AM. I finally couldn’t take it anymore, fed them at 6, and went back to bed, but, by 7:30, it was no use. I had to get up. I have a terrible headache, probably from the bad wine (even one glass?).

I’ve got to help my mom today and then run some MORE money up to the vet. I’m getting a little tired of the constant demands for money. They want a credit card number, but the way they’re constantly adding charges, I don’t want to open my bill one day and suddenly see a few thousand dollars’ worth of charges they “put through” without a thorough discussion.

Will try to get some writing done, too, but the leafblowers are on. Ick.

Devon

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I am exhausted. I feel like there’s too much going on, and I just can’t keep up.

There was frost on the ground when I went for a run this morning!

Woke up at 3:30 with full-blown anxiety, which is very unusual for me. Couldn’t get back to sleep. Got up when the alarm went off at 4:45, did my yoga, was out the door for the run by 5:15. Did okay on my double circuit. Feel like I’m making a little progress. Great time to run on Wednesdays — very few people out.

Had to make a detour on the way home. A mallard drake was lost, and I was worried he’d get hit by a car, so I shooed him carefully across the road and through someone’s backyard back to the brook. If the people who live in the house woke up and saw me herding a duck before they had their first cup of coffee — poor things! But at least the duck is safe.

Didn’t get as much writing done as I wanted/needed to yesterday, which was very frustrating. Got the grocery shopping. Ran around to health food stores, trying to find the stuff I need for Elsa — ended up having to order it online.

The vet thinks Elsa’s blood work indicates a pretty serious infection. What we don’t know is the cause, which affects how it’s treated. I’m to stop the antibiotics and wean her off the steriod over the next couple of weeks, adding in a supplement. The antibiotics are treating the symptoms but not the cause and weakening her overall system, so when they’re stopped, she gets sicker faster and doesn’t respond to the next round of treatment. It still could be cancer — or it could be other things. But the steriod is buying her time, not solving the problem, and we need to root out the cause. She is a very sick little cat, in spite of seeming improvement.

On better health news, my mom is doing pretty well. Her bloodwork came back in good shape, and her doctor said I’m doing well feeding her with organic, healthy, whole foods, etc., and she’s in great shape for someone who’s 86. (I do all the cooking for her, and, when I’m not around, prepare meals she can just heat up). My cousin in Maine finished his chemo treatments last week. He’s tired, but he’s hanging in here. Hopefully, Elsa will be well enough soon so I can get up there for a few days. I’d take her with me, but the trip would be too much for her.

Today and tomorrow are do-it-or-lose-it days for the novella. Either I get it done and polished and out the door on Friday, or I lose this opportunity, and it will weigh me down as an unfinished project draining creativity. I really want to get back to ANGEL HUNT and CRAVE THE HUNT next week, so I better get in gear.

I got Elsa to sneeze on one swab, and will keep trying this morning, and then run the swabs up to the vet, and take care of paying for that, yesterday’s phone consult, and the radiology consult that still needs to happen with Cornell. While I certainly feel better about Smith Ridge than many of the other vet establishments around here, there’s still an emphasis on money that turns me off. Yes, they deserve to be paid, but I’m getting a little sick and tired of health care in this country, being people or pets, only going to those who have a lot of cash.

Since so many of our heath problems are caused by the actions of corporations who’ve created environmental and other health risks that make it necessary for so much health care in the first place, those corporations need to kick in.

Speaking of corrupt corporations, while I appreciate Congress posturing and scolding Goldman Sachs yesterday, unless there are actual consequences for the actions of these executives, and they are made an example of what will no longer be tolerated by either Congress or the public on any level, it’s all a lot of hot air. Executives who are found guilty of these frauds (no matter what the company) need to be incarcerated for a looooong time, banned from working in the financial industry ever again, and the profits they made stripped from them and put back into the budget deficits caused by their corruption. Anything less makes the Congressional hearings a joke. A slap on the wrist instead of strong action gives Wall Street the permission to do the same thing again. And they can’t be dealt with as entities. Individuals made these decisions and those INDIVIDUALS must be held responsible, and must make amends for the lives they destroyed.

This evening, I attend the 50th Anniversary celebration for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Stephen Colbert will read, and there will be a discussion. I think it will be wonderful.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 5:16 am  Comments (5)  
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Ranger Station, Race Point Beach, Provincetown, MA

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was a good writing day, finally. I got about 2500 words done on the novella — which has to go out at the end of the week. I’m well into Chapter Eight, have streamlined it, and can bring it in under the word count, I do believe. I think another 6K and I’m there. It’s thrumming along pretty well. I’m upset, though — I outlined the whole piece, and only the first two pages of the outline saved. Which makes my life complicated, because the climax of the piece was pretty intricate, and I outlined it in January or something.

A couple of entertainment news stories sparked an idea and I wrote an insert into the audition chapter of POWER OF WORDS, about how bringing politics inappropriately into the workplace can poison a project. Most people in the business have a pretty live-and-let-live attitude — you kind of have to, because the arts are for people who see the world differently and don’t really fit anywhere else. Plus, for actors, you have to find a point of empathy when you’re playing a character whose views you disagree with. You don’t have to agree with the views of a serial killer to play one effectively. Most of the time, people will discuss current issues or share information and resources, but it’s not a big deal. Fourteen to eighteen hour days of intense concentration means you generally shut the rest of the world out for whatever period of weeks and months you’re working, or you couldn’t get the work done. But, every once in awhile, someone comes in who tries to force everyone else into their views and starts haranguing and harassing relentlessly. I’ve seen religious and political harassment cause more trouble backstage than anything sexual. That sounds weird, but if you’re manhandled in the wrong way, you can slap the person away and report them, and there are procedures. There’s nothing for political or religious harassment. But it usually hits the point very quickly where management has to get involved in something that should remain personal. And it’s poison. It can destroy the project on every level.

I’ve never explored that in a story before, and, because of the diverse group of characters in this piece, I thought it would be the appropriate piece. What makes it harder on everyone is that the perpetrator is really good in the production.

I have to weave it into the next few chapters as I put them into the computer, but I think it will add an interesting dynamic and conflict to the piece. I have to decide how long I want to keep this character in — through the rehearsal process, through part of the rehearsal process, do they cut her in final callbacks? I’ll see how it develops as I work on these upcoming chapters.

I may also cut someone I had as a major character in the early chapters, but, as the piece has evolved, there’s really no room for him. He’s referred to in some of the best dialogue scenes, but he doesn’t served the overall purpose of the story anymore, so I think he’s going to have to go. I think he belongs in another story, and wandered in here by mistake.

In addition to the writing, I’ve got to go grocery shopping. Cupboards are bare. And I talk to the vet today to see how Elsa’s bloodwork came out, and where we go from here.

Fingers crossed.

Devon

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 6:05 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday, April 26, 2010


Cornelia St., NYC

Monday, April 26, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Got up at 4:45 this morning so I could start my run at 5:20 instead of 6. Better, but I don’t know if I can get up that early 3x a week. I like running when it’s just starting to get light, though, and most people aren’t out yet. First circuit went well, but second circuit, my knee hurt and I limped most of it.

But I’m at my desk, ready to write, a little after 6 AM instead of after 7. Let’s hope I make good use of it.

Because I was a waste of food all weekend. Saturday, I went to my friend’s place, did laundry, had lunch, hung out on the deck. And came home early because I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Took a nap with the cats, got up, cooked and ate dinner. Zoned in front of the TV, but couldn’t tell you what was on. Went to bed early.

Up early Sunday for yoga, etc. Thought I’d get in a good writing day, but was incoherent on the page. Read a bit, but couldn’t settle on anything. I got out a few queries, but that was it.

Elsa is much better, but won’t sneeze. She’s ravenously hungry, though, eating about twice as much as usual. Since she lost a pound in a short period of time, I’m letting her eat as much as she wants. Iris — who’s on the verge of being overweight — is not amused that Elsa gets to eat so much and she doesn’t. I’m letting Violet eat more, too, since Violet is underweight. And Elsa’s lively and playful again, too, and getting into everything like a two year old. In other words, back to normal Elsa behaviour.

We’re done with the Baytril, thank goodness, because we both hate it. It bubbles when you give it to her, so it looks like she’s frothing at the mouth. Another week of Zenequin, and 3 more weeks of the steriod, unless the vet tells us something different tomorrow.

Have some ideas for some short stories. They’re in an interesting new direction for me, and very dark. Have to let them percolate for a bit. I might write one and switch it with something in progress for the deadline at the end of this week. We’ll see.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 5:18 am  Comments (7)  
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Saturday, April 24, 2010


Elsa and Iris

Saturday, April 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was an adventure, but, ultimately, a good one. Got Elsa packed up early to the vet, had a nice drive up there. The facility is gorgeous, and everyone is very, very nice. When the animals come in, they’re happy to see their friends. There are treats and big play spaces and everything for them. Elsa made friends quickly, as she always does, and everyone fell in love with her. She was really well-behaved through the whole two hours and change of the visit.

The doctor is great. He’s the son of an acupuncturist/homeopath, so we’re on the same page as far as exploring non-invasive options first. Elsa really liked him, which helped, too. She was very cooperative in the exam. The doctor went over the blood tests that were done in January and showed me where red flags were raised — and, of course, not followed up. He thinks cancer is a possibility, but not a probability. He’s leaning more towards an infection that was triggered perhaps by environmental factors (such as the materials the scumbag landlords are using in construction, since the problems originate with their take-over of the building and “improvements” they’ve done), and then the infection worsened by overuse of antibiotics over the past year and change only covered the symptoms, not the cause, and weakened Elsa’s overall system. The same way humans shouldn’t take more than two cycles of antibiotics in a calendar year because it depresses the immune system and you get sick more and more often, with antibiotics doing less and less– works similarly in cats. Only because they’re smaller and their systems are different, the results show up more quickly.

First, we have to isolate the CAUSE. Then, we have to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. Then, we have to rebuild her system so it doesn’t recur. She had to have more bloodwork run, and a couple of X-rays. The doctor apologized for the X-rays — he hates using them, but he felt it was the next logical step. She behaved beautifully through all of it, and the roomful of technicians just fell in love with her, too.

Elsa’s been around theatre her whole life — I used to take her in and leave her in the wardrobe room — she knows how to play to an audience!

The X-ray showed there’s some swelling in the nasal cavity and what looks like a bone abnormality, but he didn’t see a tumor. He’s sending it to a top radiographer at Cornell for a second opinion, just to make sure. Not quite a giant sinus headache, but definitely causing a problem.

We needed to get a mucous culture, but, of course, she didn’t sneeze. Can you imagine five people sitting around trying to get a cat to sneeze? It was pretty funny. And she just purred and played and didn’t. So I took a swab kit with me, and, if she starts the wet sneezes again, I’ll take a culture (they taught me how), seal it, and drive it back up.

Yes, it was a big chunk of change to drop. Still, it was one-fourth of what the first visit to the center recommended by the other vet was, and it was less invasive. Elsa actually had fun instead of being scared and hurt. AND I have a vet who believes in setting out all the options and supports my views on non-invasive treatment. He was concerned — as i was — at a cancer diagnosis without any cultures or X-rays. And he felt jumping to radical treatment was missing a few steps. Kind of like shooting a bug with an elephant gun.

Is it possible it’s something terminal? Of course. But there are other possibilities.

We’re going to talk on Tuesday, when he’ll have results back from the blood work. For the moment, I’m keeping Elsa on the medications given thus far, since she’s improved so much, and then we’ll change treatment once we have the cause.

Elsa and I both took a nap when we got home.

Hauled a carload of stuff to storage in the afternoon. Had to give Iris and Violet a lot of extra attention, because they’re feeling left out. Caught up on some business.

A line I read in a book sounded like a wonderful title of a play, and I wound up outlining a new play.

A friend of mine has tickets on Wednesday to the 50th anniversary celebration of Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Stephen Colbert (whose work I adore — he’s one of the most brilliant satirists of our generation) will do a reading, and then there will be a discussion. It sounds fantastic, and I can’t wait. I’m so pleased to be invited!

And this morning, another friend called and coaxed me to pack up my computer and come write at his place — everything’s blooming. So I’m about to do that. I’ve got a short story and a novella to get out this week, and Colin just sent me a great call of submissions for an anthology. I immediately knew what I’m going to write!

Elsa’s got a long road ahead, but at least we’ve found a place that treats her as an individual and wants to treat the whole cat, not just one symptom — and isn’t just trying to get as much money out of me as possible.

I’m going to try to enjoy the day.

And maybe tonight, Elsa will sneeze. ;)

Devon

Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 7:16 am  Comments (6)  
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde (I knew something had to be!)
Cloudy and cool

I got up early to run (well, limp). I was out the door by 5:45 this morning, and it was still far too busy out there — recycling trucks, scavengers, lost drivers, etc., etc. Friday is just a lousy day to run. I either have to run on Saturday, and get out the door a little earlier, or, if I keep to Fridays, get out the door by 5:15 Which I seriously doubt will happen. Did a figure eight instead of a double circuit this morning.

Spent most of yesterday spring cleaning. Purged a bunch of stuff, restacked the books for projects and the TBR pile into crates near my desk, packed 8 boxes to go to storage later today.

Made notes on a few projects, but didn’t do any serious writing.

About to pack up Elsa to head to the integrated vet center. Think good thoughts for us.

Devon

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 5:58 am  Comments (5)  
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Thursday, April 22, 2010


City Hall Park, NYC

Thursday, April 22, 2010
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and warm
Earth Day

Yesterday, I was pretty much a waste of food. Sore from the walking the previous day, exhausted and overwhelmed by everything going on. Didn’t get much done, other than the grocery shopping, some business, and getting a few things packed up to go to storage.

A box of books arrived from Strand — the research books I needed to add to my library, after all that research in CT last week. Now I’ve got the books at my fingertips as I write — makes things so much easier. One of them — which I didn’t see at the library, but looks fascinating — is about the use of biological weapons such as poison arrows and scorpion poison, in ancient times. That opens all kinds of possibilities for fiction — maybe I can even weave some of it into the steampunk.

They also included a biography of Anne Sexton, by Diane Middlebrook. Fascinating. However, when one is exhausted and dealing with serious illness in the family, perhaps reading the life of a suicidal poet is not the best choice.

Elsa seems to improve with all these drugs, although she’s still sneezing a lot and has some bloody discharge. She’s lively and engaged, keeping to her schedule. Both vets said the medicine would cause lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Instead, she’s livelier than she’s been in weeks, and eating ravenously. Hopefully, tomorrow, we can get an accurate diagnosis and find a way to keep her steady WITHOUT so many prescription drugs. I am not a fan of the pharmaceutical industry — I want to find the cause of the problem and deal with it, not just mask symptoms. I think carefully managed medicines are fine to use as a means to an end — but there has to be an ending where the drugs are no longer used. Whether it’s a person or an animal.

I need to see if Strand has the book I didn’t buy at the museum the other day — if not, I’ll call the museum and have them ship it.

Hopefully, I can get some writing done and clear other business out of the way. I need to prepare for tomorrow — to get to the appointment on time, I have to have Elsa packed into the car before 9 AM.

The President is in NYC today, to talk about financial reform. Glad I’m not trying to get around downtown today — I couldn’t! i’ve only read the first 600 pages of the bill. First of all, I don’t think it goes anywhere near far enough. Second, as usual, the Republicans are misrepresenting the bill — or maybe they simply are incapable of cognitive reading, which means they shouldn’t be in office — there’s certainly nothing in the first 600 pages to indicate future bailouts — in fact, it seems to be trying to prevent that. I skimmed the rest of the bill and don’t see anything even remotely as a euphemism for “bailout”. There’s either deliberate misrepresentation going on (par for the course) or these politicians are too stupid to actually comprehend what they read, which opens up a whole other Pandora’s box. Or perhaps they’re having staff members read the bill and give a report — and the staff members can’t comprehend what they read. Is the bill badly written? They’re not going to make the bestseller lists anytime soon, let’s put it that way, but it’s certainly easy to understand if you have the most basic comprehension skills. It’s written in typical legislative-ese, which means I’m itching to take the red pen and rewrite whole chunks of it to be clearer. Honestly, I think it could say the same thing and say it better in half the words. But that’s not my job. It is my job, as a citizen, to know what the hell is in there — and know it firsthand, not second hand from pundits or press with other agendas, so I can tell my senators my position on it, where I think it needs to be strengthened, and how, ultimately, I’d like them to vote on it. But it’s not a good beach read, y’know?

My mom’s doctor’s office is all screwed up — they demand that she have a bloodtest before her next appointment on Tuesday, but they “can’t get around” to putting the order in for the bloodwork, and the lab won’t do a blood draw without the order. I used to temp in doctors’ offices, all over the country, dealing with front desk, appointments, and paperwork — you stay until whatever needs to get done for the day is done. This is people’s health at stake. There’s no such thing as “can’t get around to it” — especially at an establishment like that one, which has steadily lost patients over the last few years because they’re so disorganized. The doctor herself is great, and my mom, who is 86 and doesn’t like change, doesn’t want to change doctors, but the admin staff totally sucks. And today, they will have to deal with ME, and they will wish they’d gotten it right the first three times.

Trying to get stuff done,

Devon

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 6:48 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The park by City Hall, NYC

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

I did some research yesterday morning on options for holistic/integrative care, then packed up and headed for the train station. I panicked when I realized I’d left the iPod at home, but, hey, deal, right?

Ride in was fine. I took a few photos of Grand Central station — I’ve walked through it thousands of times over the years, but never photographed it. Got a metro card, played with one of the bomb-sniffing dogs, got on the subway.

It’s been so long since I spent any time in the city that I got all confused about the subways. I took the #6 to Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall, which was fine. Realized that I got One Centre Street confused with the Old Customs House — the building I wanted. Took some photos around the courthouses, the old locations where we shot the LAW & ORDER spin-off CONVICTION. Walked down Broadway, a few blocks east of Ground Zero, to Bowling Green and the old Customs House, which is now the Native American Museum.

Graveyard at Trinity Church

Passed St. Paul’s, where they did a lot of the ministry, took the bodies, and fed the workers right after 9/11. By the way, they’ve recently reopened the search for remains AND ARE FINDING THEM in the debris stacked in Fresh Kills from 9/1l. Also passed Trinity Church, in whose graveyard I did camerawork for a fellow student’s project while in film school.

I love how they give directions to the museum: “It’s behind the bull.”

And so it is.

Some writer I admired once worked here, when it was really a customs house, but damned if I can remember which one.

I LOVE being a member of the Smithsonian. This museum is one of their museums, and the quality of curation and the quality of personnel at the Smithsonians are always fantastic.

The building is beautiful. The exhibit about the Horse in Native American culture was wonderful. Of course, as a wardrobe person, I was especially fascinated by the beadwork on leggings, dresses, saddles, and saddle blankets.

There was a very disturbing art exhibit called “Skin as Metaphor” — hadn’t heard about it. It’s certainly disturbing and controversial — using hides and skin for art, whether it’s something like tattooing — or other things. It was so disturbing I didn’t spend much time in it, but I wonder why it hasn’t gotten more coverage in the media — it’s certainly provocative in the RIGHT way — not provocation just to create controversy, but it has something to say and makes you think and reconsider perspectives — which is what good art should do.

Picked up a Dakota-English dictionary that was 75% off, and about $7 — I have a weakness for dictionaries — I use them in world-building. So I bought that, although I knew it would be a pain to cart a dictionary around all day. Also bought a magnet of a turtle sand painting that spoke to me. I picked up another book I really wanted — and then remembered picking it up in the museum in DC, but couldn’t remember whether or not I bought it. I felt like a moron. So I put it back. They said I could call them and they’d ship it to me. Which is exactly what I have to do, since it turns out that I picked it up and put it back in DC instead of buying it!

Headed back up Broadway. Was thirsty, but didn’t want Starbucks, because, well, it’s Starbucks. Found Bean on Bean, a small, organic cafe, and got an iced coffee — fantastic. Walked north, skirting LIttle Italy and Chinatown, walking figure eights through Tribeca and Soho.

I’m glad I walked this area for the urban fantasy. It looks really close on the maps, but when you walk it, it’s much more complex getting from Point A to Point B in that area. And, since most of the streets are one-way — I would have made some awful mistakes if I hadn’t walked it — the kind of mistakes that cause me to stop reading/buying an author’s work.

I passed the location trucks of whatever shooting’s near Federal Plaza — probably one of the current LAW & ORDERS — in the spot we always parked the vans for our location shoots, and where I’ve set the fictional location shoot in the urban fantasy.

I was looking for an alley where I could set the bar for the urban fantasy. Problem is, New York City doesn’t have many alleys anymore — as stuff’s been pulled down and built back up, the alleys have been destroyed. I think there are some on the Lower East Side, around the Tenement Museum, but that location doesn’t work for me. It has to be in walking distance of the courts/federal buildings. I found one — and I think I’ll expand on it somehow. Otherwise, there are hints of a couple of them along the Soho/Little Italy fringes. I’m going to have to do some vamping, stretch a little geography, rework those chapters in a way that makes them believable. I think I’ll have the alleys be a labyrinth in the dreams, with specific architectural landmarks that show up in the truncated alley that is believable and more similar to the ones I really found.

I found a couple of possible contenders for the building Louis lives in. I prefer the location of the first building, but I like the arched windows of the second. I found them in Tribeca, the neighborhood in which I want him to live. He’s a television actor — he’d live in an expensive place in Tribeca.

Headed back east, and then north over Houston, into my old stomping grounds on the eastern fringes of NYU. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be an NYU alum, because they are such poor caretakers of Greenwich Village, tearing down gorgeous buildings to put up chunky, ugly behemoths reminiscent of the bad 1960’s and 1970’s architecture. Anyway, headed across E. 9th Street to Whiskers, one of the premiere holistic pet stores in the country.

Talked to one of the owners about Elsa. He gave me a referral to an integrated care center that specializes in cancer treatment with holistic options. He also said anything I needed as far as diets and supplements that I couldn’t get near me, they’d ship, no problem. Whiskers has never steered me wrong, and any time I didn’t take their advice, I regretted it. He agreed that multiple procedures under anesthesia culminating in radiation may not be the best choice, and is certainly not the only choice.

I felt much better after talking to them.

Considered eating a Cloisters Cafe, one of my former hangouts (I’ve got a scene from the TAPESTRY serial set there). Was in the mood for a burger, but they don’t come with fries, and the fries cost nearly as much as the burger. Uh, no. Plus, they’re now also a hookah bar, and I just wasn’t in the mood to be around that.

Crossed back to the West Village. Some dumb-ass tried to sell me a nickel bag of heroin on Waverly Place (hey, I paid attention all those weeks on Grand Jury listening to narcotics cases). I said to the guy, “Don’t you know how bad that shit is for you?” and kept walking. Cut through Washington Square Park. No easy feat, with all the construction. Headed across W. 4th, then down Cornelia Street, over to Aphrodesia to stock up on herbs.

Aphrodesia is gone.

I was in shock. The store, at which I’ve shopped for over 20 years, is gone. All my sources for loose herbs are now closed.

Headed back to Cornelia Street and had lunch at the Cornelia Street Cafe, another one of my old favorites. Had their Eggs Benedict and a glass of Pinot Grigio. Decided that Edwina, in the urban fantasy, will live on this tiny street, instead of putting her in the building on Grove Street. I have so many of my characters living in the same building on Grove Street, it’s amazing they don’t trip over each other.

Headed over to 6th Avenue, took the subway back uptown. My knee was hurting pretty badly by then, from all the miles walked today. Worse, I took THE WRONG SUBWAY — the A/C/E line when the 1/2/3 line would have made more sense. But I got off at 42nd, walked the block underground, popped up like a prairie dog in Times Square, and walked east to Grand Central. Caught the train home.

Tired, but I got a lot done.

And I came home to find a beautiful floral arrangement from Lara, Michelle, Brenda, and Colin. Thanks so much for your love and support, this quartet and all the rest of you. It means a lot to me. I tried to get Elsa to pose with the flowers, but she wanted her supper.

Over the past few days, I’ve read Ann Aguirre’s BLUE DIABLO. Absolutely loved it. Great paranormal. Eager to read more of her work.

Researched the recommended vet center. Called them up. They were absolutely lovely on the phone, sent me the paperwork, and we set up an appointment for Friday morning. The initial consult is an hour long. On their web page alone, they have almost a half a dozen possible courses of treatment for cancer that are NOT radiation or require multiple anethesias.

Also, I’m wondering how the vet could have diagnosed cancer without running tests? How can you look at an animal who has no exterior growths of anything and say, “cancer”? It just doesn’t feel right.

Elsa took her medicine without complaint. The vets said it would cause nausea and appetite loss. Instead, she’s eating more than ever. Which is good, since she lost so much weight lately.

She had a rough night, which meant I had a rough night. She took her medicine this morning and is now sleeping peacefully.

The alarm went off at 5:30. She’s just settled down, so I was going to ignore it, but she heard it and poked me with her paw until I got up. My knee was too sore to run, so I limped around my double circuit. Lots of people running with their dogs, now that it’s light by 6 AM.

Today, I’ve got writing and business to deal with, and must pack some boxes for storage. I am exhausted, but I feel better that I’m getting a second opinion at a place recommended by someone I trust.

Onward. All you can do, right? Again, thanks for all the support.

Devon

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 7:01 am  Comments (8)  
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Bad News

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

The news about Elsa is very bad. I called the vet, told them what was going on, and they made room in the schedule, saying I had to bring her in immediately. I packed her back in the crate (she was all happy to go on another car trip), and we headed out. The traffic on the LIE was a nightmare as usual, especially the 18 wheelers who think crushing a VW Rabbit is a sport.

We got there –early — and had to wait for an hour (I was early). I sat there with Elsa, reading my book and making sure she was comfortable. She was the only cat there — the room was full of about a dozen rambunctious puppies in for their shots.

When we came in, the vet took one look at her, read the paperwork from the previous night (which, although it was faxed over, was nowhere to be found; however, I made a copy and brought it). She took one look at Elsa and said, “it’s a nasal tumor. It’s growing and will disfigure her and cause her a lot of pain.” She told me I had to go to a state-of-the-art facility in Yonkers where they’d do a series of biopsies and CT scans (under anesthesia) and then a course of radiation therapy. The oncologist won’t even TALK to me until the previous series of procedures are done, which I think is total bullshit. She said her cat had the same thing, and it bought years. I was worried about two things — the cost, and the fact that Elsa is fourteen years old, and that’s an awful lot to put an old cat through. She said Elsa’s age didn’t matter, and that I should sell my car or get a loan or something because “that’s how it’s done.” I felt the latter comment was especially inappropriate. She kept looking at Elsa, shaking her head and saying, “What a shame.”

I admit at that point, I wanted to slap her.

I refrained. I was too shocked and upset. She kept giving me the spiel for this center in Yonkers, ramming it down my throat. Elsa, who went into the exam the way she always does, assuming she’s making a new friend, suddenly bristled — the doc made her person cry and she didn’t like this doctor anymore.

I asked about other options and was told I had none.

I got two kinds of medication, one a 30-day supply of a steriod that should shrink the tumor in her nose and make it easier, at least in the short term, for her to eat and breathe. I was told that the antibiotic she was given at the emergency clinic was dangerous to give for more than 7 days (the vet there told me she’d need to be on it for 3-4 weeks).

I left the clinic in a daze, had a meltdown in the car, sent texts to Costume Imp and my friend G. G. called back almost immediately, and we talked for a bit, so I was able to pull it together and drive home (in horrible traffic and not get squished by trucks).

I kind of feel both stunned and railroaded. First of all, I’m not a fan of invasive procedures. I want to know what my options are, and a timeline. Second, when I was faced with being told that my “only” choice for myself were radiation and chemo, I refused, and here I am, over 20 years later. And I even had insurance at that point, so I would have had a chance at actual treatment — if I got a similar diagnosis now, I couldn’t have treatment, even if I wanted it, because our lack of a health-care system is built on only serving and saving those who are rich, or those who provide a good photo op. I feel that Elsa is 14 years old, she’s never done well under anesthesia, and to put her through nearly a half a dozen procedures under anesthesia before they even got to the radiation concerns me. According to research I did amongst friends, family members and colleagues who’ve been through this, the MOST it ever bought their cat was three extra MONTHS, not years, and the cat always looked at them during the process like, “why are you torturing me?” I don’t want Elsa to suffer, either from the disease or the “cure”.

All of that is separate from the cost, which is also a huge issue. The doctor said the least it could possibly cost was $5K, and it would probably be a lot more. $5K for procedures that will hurt her and frighten her and only buy her three months. If I wouldn’t choose that route for myself, even when I could, should I choose it for my cat? What is the BEST thing to do for HER?

I don’t have the answer to that yet.

What I want to do is do what I’d do for a human member of my family — get a second opinion. I researched holistic/integrative vets for an article a few months ago — I’ll probably pick one of those and set up an appointment in the next few days to see what that doctor says and talk about other options. I’d also like to have a vet close by, rather than hauling Elsa to a clinic that’s an hour and a half away, and where I keep getting a round robin of doctors. If she’s really this sick, she needs a steady medical presence. I’m tempted to go back to the vet who looked after Felicia during her last year of CRF, but their front desk has gotten so rude and the prices skyrocketed so much, that’s why I stopped going. I don’t even know if the vet we all liked so much is still there. And, since they’re not holistically integrated, I don’t think that’s the right choice. If that vet recommends a biopsy, then I’ll take that step and work from there. I’m also going to talk to my acupuncturist (the one who works on racehorses) and a Reiki practitioner who specializes in pets and was on my interview list for the article. A friend and I got rid of Felicia’s tumor with Reiki in 48 hours — to the point where, when I brought her back to the vet two days later and he compared Xrays and the scan, he said if he wasn’t looking right at her and knew it was the same cat, he’d think he was treating two different cats.

What I want are options and information. As I said, I feel I’m being pushed towards something that’s not only hugely expensive, but may not be in Elsa’s best interests. The steriods buy us a little time, as long as I don’t procrastinate.

She’s happy and friendly and purring. The medications seem to make her feel better, although she still sneezes and keeps pawing at her nose. But there’s no bloody discharge any more. She played a little yesterday evening, and wanted to cuddle. She’s eating better, especially if I spoon feed her. The vet said that one reason she’s been eating smaller, more frequent meals is that the tumor makes it impossible for her to breathe while she eats. I discovered that if I spoon-feed her, she can keep her head up, breathe better, and eat more.

I feel I need more information before I can make a good choice for her.

I’m devastated. Elsa jumped into my arms when she was seven weeks old — I had no intention of adopting her, but she’d been rescued by the organization working out of the place around the corner from me in the city where I bought my pet food. She saw me walk past and banged on the window. When I walked into the store, she leapt over the fence into my arms. The proprietor just said, “Obviously, she’s yours. We know you; we don’t need to go through the whole adoption rigamarole. Here’s her vaccination record.” And that was it. We soon found out she was a “special needs” cat with a neurological problem that made it impossible to land on her feet. Five vets told me to put her down, because she’d get worse and worse as she got older. She got cuter and cuter. Elsa and I have been through a lot for the last fourteen years. I want to do the right thing for her.

I’ve cancelled trips to Maine, Seneca Falls, and Canada over the next couple of months, until I know what’s what. I still kept a couple of gigs booked in Philadelphia. I was going to cancel today’s research trip to the city, but my mom’s staying with her, and she’s better today, so why not get everything I need in case I can’t go in a few weeks because Elsa is worse?

Day by day. That’s it. Day by day.

That’s all we can do.

Devon

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 5:54 am  Comments (10)  
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Something must be retrograde, but darned if I know what it is

I am a wreck. Tough weekend.

First, I came back from the site job on Saturday afternoon with a sore throat and a fever. I took to my bed, with a book, and the cats, and plenty of fluids. The book was okay — I didn’t have to think too much, it was pleasant and poignant. But it set a section among actors, and, while it was obvious the author reads tabloids, it was equally obvious the author’s never spent any time around actual actors, and that spoiled the book for me. You could still get the fairy-tale quality the author strove for if you based it a little bit more on the way actors actually behave in those situations.

Fever broke in the early evening, returned later that night, broke again in the night. Sore throat faded the next day.

I wrote on Sunday, working on a short story that I want to get out in the next couple of weeks, getting out a few short stories, following up on a few pieces that have been twisting in the wind for far too long, and getting out a few queries.

I tried to watch — and like RIVERWORLD last night. I really did.

Uh, no.

It took me awhile to figure out why I didn’t like it — there were the elements there for a cracking good story. And it just didn’t work for me. The first forty minutes, I kept saying to myself, “Okay, just roll with it. Roll with it.” But, after a certain point, if you have to keep TELLING yourself to roll with it, there’s a problem. And then the Conquistadors came in, and it went south for me. There was too much right wing-nuttism trying to masquerade as social enlightenment. If they really meant the latter, not the former, they did a poor choice of showing it, because it came across that they supported the former. There were a lot of good actors in it; some performances worked for me, and some didn’t. The character of Jessie didn’t work for me — mostly, I think, due to the directing, which Made. Every. Moment. Equally. Important. instead of working with ebb and flow. But if Jessie’s our hope for humanity, we are all damned screwed — too much Twinkie, not enough substance.

Again, to be fair — I only suffered through the first two and a half hours, and missed the last hour and a half.

Because I had to rush Elsa to the emergency vet.

She’d been getting worse all day, more and more mucous-y, and when she sneezed blood, that was it. I packed her up and drove to the emergency vet in White Plains. They were very nice. She behaved very well. They have her a very strong antibiotic, faxed the info over to my regular vet at North Short Animal League, and I have to call them to day and get an appointment in the next few days. The BEST case scenario is that she may have pneumonia. The worst is, well, much worse. So please keep a good thought for her.

Got home well after midnight. Couldn’t sleep at first. It was pretty late (or early) depending upon how you look at it, when I finally got to bed. I didn’t set the alarm for 5:30 to run this morning, but Elsa woke me at six anyway, patting me with her paw and saying, “Hey? Aren’t you usually up by now?”

Tried to work on the short story this morning. Hard to concentrate. I have to choreograph a fight scene using a welding torch, which is a challenge, and, hopefully, will wind up being a welcome distraction.

I was sad to read that one of the Derby-pointed horses I was interested in broke down and had to be euthanized over the weekend. That always makes me cry.

Weird tax fact: You can write off a racehorse, but not a hearse.

The Doubt Demons attacked in force this morning, since I am overtired and worried. I have to juggle a few things around re: the vet bills, and, of course, there’s the little voice saying, “Who do you think you are, thinking you can make it as a full-time writer? If you’d stayed on Broadway, you wouldn’t have to worry.” Which is, of course, a crock, because Broadway’s a hard place to make a living, too, due to the limited amount of work available. But it’s a familiar challenge, where the writing is a fresh challenge each day. The fresh challenges are one of the reasons I like it, but at times of great stress, it makes it harder.

I was going to write an essay/post about the remake of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and how Jackie Earle Haley must be kicking ass as Freddy Krueger, because the movie’s not even out yet, and I”m getting a lot of people contacting me (well, Cerridwen Iris) about dream stalking. So the post was going to discuss dream stalking, and how important it is to separate the actor from the role. You may think Freddy Krueger’s stalking you in your dreams, but remember it’s the character and not the actor. I think it’s safe to say that Haley’s way too busy working and living his life to go around stalking individual viewer’s dreams, even if he was trained in the way so to do, not just the way the movie (a piece of fiction) depicts it. The man’s working a lot right now (thank goodness) and has a life. Tip of the hat to him, though — it must be one hell of a performance. But that post is going to have to wait.

Must light candles today — 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t believe it’s been 15 years. It still seems very fresh.

I have all sorts of business and admin stuff to deal with today, I have to take care of a very sick cat and see what we can do to get a full diagnosis and treatment, and I’ve got to find a club big enough to effectively beat back the Doubt Demons.

Devon

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

No running for me today, between the weather and the fact that walking is a challenge, much less running. Hopefully, it’ll be better for Monday.

Yesterday was an intense writing day. Most of it was spent on REDEMPTION KILL. Eddie’s been complaining that I’ve ignored him the past few weeks, and when a character as dark and complex as Eddie starts making noise, one better listen!

Did some work on the Chet Grey story, too. Nothing on what I was supposed to work on — I wonder why I’m having such trouble getting it out the door? I like the stories and the characters. I think part of me knows that the original submission call is not the right place, ultimately, for it. But I want to get it finished and out the door on time. If things don’t work out, it’ll go somewhere else. But just spinning in nearly-finished mode just drains energy from everything else.

I get to go home today, and I’m kind of looking forward to it, being in my own space, chaotic as it is. Elsa is worse again, so hopefully, I can get her to the vet this week.

I’ve got a busy week coming up — having to do a lot of busywork/admin work, deal with paperwork, get the novella out, get a couple of carloads of stuff to storage, make a research trip to the city for the urban fantasy, and have a flurry of meetings for “let’s work together someday” projects.

The meetings are fun, I totally don’t mind doing them. They result from crossing paths, either in person or online with someone who seems like a good creative partner, and you have a few meetings to see if you actually think you could work together — whether it’s on a play or an indie film or a web series or whatever. You brainstorm, you find out how you each work, and where it’s compatible and where it’s not.

Until there’s a contract in place and dates set for the actual project, I don’t take it too seriously or invest too much either creatively or emotionally, because about 90% of these never actually happen.

The meetings can be fun or frustrating, and I definitely like the testing-the-waters bit, but, until there’s a signed contract and money on the table, none of it is real, and I have to focus on the projects that actually pay the bills.

Which, by the way, I have to land a few more of the short turn-around ones in the coming weeks.

So, yeah, busy week coming up. It keeps feeling like Sunday, not Saturday, but it’s Saturday.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 8:17 am  Comments Off  
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