Saturday, October 17, 2009
Cloudy and cold
The storm didn’t hit us too badly yesterday; today’s is supposed to be worse, so I’ll keep an eye on the brook. I didn’t even have to move the car yesterday because the brook was several feet LOWER than usual, not higher.
We had heat, although I wound up being locked out of the building, and walked right through the construction, scaring the heck of the workers when they tried to stop me and I went off. Heaven forbid the locks work properly — oh, and there’s NO lock on the front door now for nearly a week. AND, when I went to the parking lot to run my errands, the workmen are pissing in the parking lot between the cars. In addition to being inappropriate, isn’t the employer required to provide adequate sanitary facilities for the workmen?
Yesterday was all about the conference. I spent most of my time commenting on exercises and answering questions. I put up a really hard exercise for them today — hardest I’ve ever thrown at a group of students. I warned them I’d be sending material back to them for multiple rewrites, and this was the one exercise on which I could read multiple rewrites (with 81 people signed up, I had to set a boundary of reading ONE rewrite per person per exercise, or I’d never catch up).
I’m not taking many workshops in this go-round. For one thing, I don’t want to be pulled into the tangent of new material. I’ve got stuff on deadline, I’ve got outlines stacked up. I tried to participate in some of the more business-oriented and practical workshops, but a lot of the information was stuff I already figured out, or stuff I’d tried and knew doesn’t work for me. Because I usually take workshops that involve more actual writing than I have this year, I feel less engagement from the instructors in the workshops I’m taking than usual, and it could be simply because it’s not as necessary as in this kind of workshop. Also, because I’m at a different place in my work this year, my needs are a little different, and it’s harder to find a workshop that meets them.
I’m sort of in that weird limbo of earning my living doing this, without being a recognizable bookstore name. My needs are different from someone starting out and trying to get published, and also different from someone with a multi-book contract. For over 20 years, I was in the Tribe of Theatre Professionals (and, thanks to the plays, I still am, in spite of the withdrawal from the wardrobe union). I was in the Tribe of Writers Starting Out. I don’t really fit into the Tribe of Secure Lit Fiction Writers (but then, is that ever really secure?). I’m a Working Writer, but it’s hard to find others doing what I do in physical proximity — they’re either only doing business writing or only working on their Great Novel while working a day job. That’s not a judgment, but it’s a different set of challenges and issues. I’ve got great writing friends as all levels of their careers via the internet, but I’d also like more in-person contact. A Nano group’s not going to give it to me; there’s no Meet-up Group around here that can — and I’m not sure I have the energy and commitment to start one.
I’m pretty sure I need to just sit tight until I relocate — in the areas I’m looking, they are more oriented to freelancing and flexible time management than they are around here. I’m in a typical suburb — it’s very rigid. In addition to missing the cultural diversity I had living in the city, I miss the emotional and artistic diversity. I feel more of that multi-levelled diversity when I go farther into New England.
One of the issues we face in the upcoming local elections is whether we keep in the current administration (of which I’m very supportive) that is working on the practicalities of infrastructure issues while meeting the needs of a growing, changing population. The opponents are running on a platform of union-busting (they’re saying our police, firefighters, and teachers aren’t worth the money, when, in reality, we get a return on our investment several hundred times over) and keeping the city affordable for those they deem worthy of living here, while cutting out others — a rise in economic snobbery and segregation that’s been on the rise in the community for the past few years. There’s a segment of the population that wants to run the whole town kind of like a co-op apartment complex, where you have to get permission that you’re “the right sort” to live here, which breaks all kinds of laws.
Honestly, I’d rather live next door to a small organic farmer than a slimy hedge fund manager any day.
Since “Be the Monster” is too big to be an anthology story, I’m plugging along on that while starting the story that’s due, “Lake Justice” — which is going to be both scary and funny.
Working on the grant applications, defining and redefining the work I’d do if I got the grant.
I want to go back to New Mexico to write for awhile, so I looked into residencies. One I found charges a grand to attend. AND expects the visiting artist to lecture. Uh, no. If I’m going to pay, I’ll just rent an apartment for about a third of what this particular organization charges (I found a really sweet one I bookmarked for the future) and be completely on my own schedule. And if I’m going to do work FOR the organization instead of just working ON the grounds — the organization will pay ME, not the other way around. I could have sworn there were a couple of others out there, but haven’t yet tracked them down.
Back to work. Elsa was on medication again for most of the week, but she seems much better. The twins are running around, playing. They just turned nine, but they still act like kittens.