Thursday, February 10, 2011
Cloudy and cold
I was trying to clear some admin work off my desk when the phone rang. It was the VW place — my car was ready a week early! I was so excited that I dropped everything and dashed over. I’ve got my Blue Bunny back, working pretty well, and they even washed it! So that’s a relief.
It also means that I can do the whole stretch of the different jobs down in CT, while my mom stays up here with the cats.
Again, time to adjust the mental focus.
It means missing some stuff I hoped to do up here next week, including the writers’ group dinner, and I’ll have to pack some more books, but it will give me a nice block of isolated writing time (even though I’m moving between two sites). I’ll be car-less for five days, and not in walking distance of anything, so I have to plan carefully, but it’s all good.
It also means I have to repack the clothes. I need 11 days’ worth instead of 3.
Dealt with trying to get my own health insurance before the window closes and it was nothing short of a nightmare. I’d been given the incorrect information about how to apply back in December, and the window may close before I’m processed. If that’s the case, they can go (you get the idea). I’m not paying a fine for being misinformed.
Anyway, I filled out the paperwork — my life does not fit into their forms.
On a positive side, I ordered seeds and plants last night. Finally, something to write about in the garden journal other than “it snowed again”. So I’ll have to get on that.
More brainstorming on a neat project with a writer friend, and Savvy Authors booked the workshop I tossed at them for March: “Unstick Your Book.” Participants get to bring in a WIP (usually I make them write fresh material for class), and, in very individual terms, we are going to find out where they’re stuck, why they’re stuck,and get it unstuck, so they can finish. Because that’s the point — not to get them to write the same stuff the same way, but to make them look at the individual work in a new way, from a fresh angle, and make it the best it can be. It’s not about writing it as I would write it, but how to make it work best within their own visions. Because it’s not about me — it’s about the work. Details are here. The need for something like this came up in discussions in other workshops, so I thought, why not create it? People are already signing up, and it gives me some work for March, which is a relief. The Dialogue Workshop, in September, is also filling up, which is great. It’s an Advanced Workshop, different from the two week one I’m teaching for RWA in April, and builds on what we’ve done in other dialogue workshops at Savvy.
So that’s all good, and bills will be paid, but I didn’t get much writing done.
Watched the season finale of HUMAN TARGET last night, which may be the series finale. Got my Jackie Earle Haley fix, which is always a good thing, and last night was a shining example of how good actors can find ways to make scenes and moments work, even in a big mess. The first third angered me so much, my reaction was, “Did this show even HAVE a showrunner this season?” But again, I’m not in there, the poor showrunner might have been browbeaten and undercut by producers and/or network execs who are running around trying to justify their salaries. I don’t want to pin it on the wrong person. But the first third of the piece was a giant mess — the lapses of logic were as big as black holes in the Universe, the writing and situation was untrue to the characters without reason — if they’re going to be that sloppy, there needs to be a reason. They’re not stupid or careless, and that’s how they were portrayed without a foundation. The way the first third was structured was disrespectful to the actors, who’ve busted their asses for two seasons getting the audience to care, and to the audience. Julia could have never tracked down Guerrero unless he wanted to be found, (and, if that’s what he did to bring her out into the open, it needed to be addressed) and he’s way too smart to have been conned by her. The way the show’s misused the character of Ames as the season progressed is just pathetic — she started out as strong, smart, funny, and a real potential protege for Guerrero, and, as the season progressed, they turned her into a shallow, self-absorbed, whiny creature who’s WEAK. She couldn’t survive the life she had or with these guys if she was weak. The scenes in the car with Guerrero weren’t comic relief – they were painful, although Haley was valiant about trying to pull something out of the mess, and he gave his scene partner much more than many other actors would in that situation. The boxes of files brought in marked “Guerrero”, where the villains learned about his pressure point? Make no sense in what’s been set up over the past two seasons — the point has been made more than once that he shifts identities and stays under the radar. He’s got a reputation, well-earned, but he doesn’t leave a paper trail. There wouldn’t BE any files, other than a page or two of unconnected police reports on mysterious deaths or disappearances in far-reaching areas (And yes, I have a way that they could have gotten the same piece of information they needed for the plot point — that would have fit the logic of the world that was set up the past two seasons).
Fortunately, it got better and tighter as the hour progressed (felt like that part was written by a different person or people). It was nice to see Ilsa more active, the rooftop scene was good and set groundwork for the Julia character to return at some point (she did a good job, she’d be worth a return). It was good to see Guerrero do what we’ve come to believe he does best — move like smoke, while taking out an entire team of opponents, and the choice of making most of the violence off-screen makes him even stronger and scarier. His final scene in the episode was beautifully done, perfectly played, fairly well-staged, effective. We hear how often he’s taken no prisoners — now we saw it. It was important to the overall character arc, because there have been times this season when they’ve tried to dilute his character, and it’s only been Haley’s abilities that have kept the character’s integrity intact.
If this is the series finale, it ended on a good breath of hope for all the characters (except Ames, of course, who never got a final scene, but she’s been an afterthought for most of the season). If the show gets picked up next season (with some different people in charge, I hope), it gives them a good jumping off point.
Shooting a one-hour drama — especially with action scenes — is a huge undertaking, I’ve been there, I know. Everyone’s pushed past their limit, especially towards the end of the season, and especially when ratings aren’t what one hoped, with enormous detail, scheduling, budget, etc. They could have kept the overall structure, the action, the locations, etc. — all they had to do was inject some more logic into the writing — logic supported by what they established over two seasons, and it would have been outstanding instead of just “okay, this is a serviceable finale.”
Again, this is just my personal response to the material and the way it’s handled. It’s ONE opinion, not THE opinion.
Continued reading AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. What a beautiful book. I’m putting together the reading list for my year-long intensive, and that book will definitely be on the list.
Did not sleep well. The cats were impossible last night. Kicked them out of the bedroom, and then they tried to dig a hole in the carpet under the door. Had to let them back in — I don’t know why they were in such a tizzy, but there was no sleep to be had. Roadkill is in better shape than I am this morning.
Lots to do today, including going to the dump — ahem, “transfer station” — I don’t want garbage sitting around the house while I’m working out of town. Gotta make room for the new garbage! Seriously, we don’t generate much garbage, about 80% of it is recycling, and only have to go to the dump once a month or once every six weeks.
Hoping I can catch a nap this afternoon for a bit. Almost all packed — a few things need to get into the writing bag, but clothes and books are all packed. 12 books for 10 days — that should be about right. Gives “book bag” a whole new meaning!
Got to get some info to one of my editors so she can arrange a press pass for me at some local hockey games. Errands, etc. Still haven’t found those 200+ pages of notes for POWER OF WORDS, which is disconcerting. It took me weeks to sort out the character arcs, the arcs that the actor characters play, the show-within-the-book arcs, the plot arcs, and all the scheduling. I’d hate to have to start from scratch. It’s just odd that the notes wouldn’t be with the manuscript. I’m usually more careful than that — but then, it was an unusual situation. It’s got to be here somewhere, and it won’t be unearthed until I return.
The book, essay, and short story need to take center stage — especially since the latter two are due on the 15th.
Back to the page.