Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm
Memorial Day

The hardest part is warding off depression. That’s what the friction inherent in transitioning from the dual career theatre/writing life into full-time writing causes, if I’m not careful. Implosion or explosion, followed by a bad case of the blues.

I enjoy the show. I enjoy the people. But it’s a chapter of my life that’s closing, and it’s hard to balance them both.

There are things that annoy me at the show. And, most of them, I can’t do anything about. But what I can do is shift my response to the annoyances. And try to soften the friction, whether it’s triggered by annoyances or not.

It was difficult to be there yesterday, in spite of enjoying the people and the show. I wanted to be writing. And nothing I’m currently writing can be written between cues. So I made the choice to be as low-key and pleasant and concentrate as much as necessary to make it a good experience for all concerned. And it was a pleasant matinee.

Which left me feeling drained and exhausted.

There was a bit of renewal, when two friends and I nipped around the corner to Sosa Borella for a quick cocktail – and I even made my train, barely. But I got home feeling dis-jointed and filled with dis-ease – and, more to the point, feeling guilty about it.

The guilt stems from the knowledge that I’ve been lucky enough (and worked hard enough) to have the kind of career on Broadway that many people only dream about, and few get the opportunity to create. And I’ve outgrown it. I’m extremely grateful, I still love the theatre, I still get that jolt of adrenalin when I walk through the stage door. But my life is going in a different direction. It’s not going as quickly as I’d like, and the separation process is more emotionally complex than I thought it would be – or than I’ve allowed such a process to be in the past.

The best thing I can do is drop the guilt (easier said than done) and enjoy whatever time I have left on the show as much as possible, while still keeping my eye on the goal at the end of the transition.

Of course, there are friends and colleagues who genuinely wish me well. And then, there are those I come into contact with who don’t wish me well. Sometimes, with the latter, it’s not even personal – it has to do with whatever they’re dealing with in their own lives, and the misunderstanding that in order for them to have what they want, someone else has to do without. In reality, there’s plenty for all, and the more generous we are on every level – but especially on a human level – the more we all receive – if we allow ourselves to receive as well as give. Because there are those who give too much and then martyr themselves, and those who take too much, whether it’s from greed or fear. And protecting your own heart and your own emotional integrity without shutting down becomes a challenge.

Since The Situation settled down, and I’m not living under constant literal, tangible threat, I’ve managed to open up a bit again as a person, but there are always those who try to put a poisoned arrow in any imagined chink in an armor. And it’s up to each one of us to find our own antidote for it.

Right now, however, I’d just like to curl up in a fetal position for a few days and sleep.

Not an option.

So there are days when I just have to accept the fact that my heart hurts, accept it without judgment or anger or anything like that, accept it, acknowledge it, and keep moving forward. Not take it out on anyone, not be overly self-indulgent, just acknowledge and keep going. It’s part of life. Last night into today is one of those times, and I just have to acknowledge it – which I’m actually doing publicly, a little scary – and keep going. The abyss is avoided, the emotion is what it is, and it will get better – the day will brighten internally and externally. Fortunately, since we’re moving towards the full moon, there’s no need for a Dark Night of the Soul.

Speaking of full moons, Thursday is the Blue Moon, which is the second full moon within a calendar month. Since it doesn’t happen all that often and is a special day – I’ve got tarot clients scheduled up the ying-yang.

I woke up around 5 this morning, feeling much better about things, and the day improved with two good writing sessions.

Excellent session on Good Names this morning, around 1200 words. I can start typing the first five chapters later today. And I wrote another chapter of Tracking Medusa, 2400 words. Not a bad start to the day. I had to research the floor plan of Harrod’s to get it right. I look forward to a strong writing day, which will rebalance me.

Have a great Memorial Day, everyone! And take a moment . . .to remember.


Good Names — 17,787 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 13,117 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
13 / 90
Published in: on May 28, 2007 at 7:01 am  Comments (6)  

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Most of the day was spent on Tracking Medusa. It’s flowing very well (nearly 6000 words yesterday), and I want to ride the inspirational wave. It’s a fun piece. I’d like to knock it out as fast as possible. I need to revisit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to get some of the geography down, and also the inside of the NYPL on 5th and 42nd. I hate it when writers get geography wrong, and don’t want to fall into that trap. But I’ve got the characters on a plane to London now, so it’s all good.

I did a bunch of internet research on someone I want to interview. Gotta do the homework! Of course, the project about which I want to interview him, I haven’t been able to locate – but I’ll just flat out ask him. First I need to find out if he’s available/interested for the interview – then I’ll ask about that particular project.

Good session on Good Names this morning. I’ve got them settled into the Gramercy Park townhouse, and now I can get in to the meat of the story.

I hope you’re all reading Ian Rankin’s Open Doors, serialized in the NYT Magazine section. It’s terrific.

Off to do the matinee, and then go out for a drink. I don’t want to get in too late, because I want to be fresh for a strong writing day tomorrow.

The friction between the writing life and the theatre life is particularly high today, because I don’t want to lose this creative wave. I’m worried that switching gears to flipping people in and out of their clothes and having to think in technical terms rather than creative ones will hurt.


Good Names – 16,537 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
16 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 10,717 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10 / 90

Devon Needs . . .

This has been travelling around BlogLand and seems kind of fun, but I don’t have photos, just comments.

You put your name and the word “needs” into the search engine.

Devon needs surgery. I hope not!

Devon needs mustard. Sorry, I bought some last week.

Devon needs affordable housing. Got that right! You ever try living in New York?

Devon needs a flag. Um . . .?

Devon needs to build 65,500 homes. Give me the cash, I’ll be happy to do so.

Devon needs you. Especially if you’re about six foot. . . okay, we won’t go there.

Devon needs help with the data insertion. Probably, knowing how technically challenged I am.

Devon needs to celebrate excellence. Which means I need to celebrate all of you!

Devon needs a second brain. Yeah, if that means one can always be writing . . .

Regular daily post below.

Published in: on May 26, 2007 at 3:34 pm  Comments (2)  

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and hot

The migraine won yesterday, and I didn’t get everything done that I needed to do.

Put gas in the car. We’re up to $3.53/gallon, which means it cost me $35 to fill the Rabbit, for crying out loud! Went to CVS, which, as usual, didn’t have everything I needed; went to Trader Joe’s, which, as usual, had everything I needed and more, and I bought it; went to the liquor store to get a nice French rose (can’t get the accent to work on the “e” – have I mentioned how much Microsoft sucks in the last few posts?) that goes with everything I bought.

Read all the rest of the chapters my friend sent me of her manuscript and commented on them. Worked on some pitches, but didn’t send them. I want to re-read them and re-work them if necessary, when I’m migraine-free. Did some work on a short hockey article which has to go out later today.

Had to lie down for part of the afternoon because it was so bad.

Good news – I have the green light to go ahead and write about the America’s Cup Races. Which means I have to learn everything really quickly. I found a book my Dad bought many years ago, after he and my mom attended the races in Newport, RI; I found the notes I took when I covered the HEALTH magazine fair in Newport and skipped out for a few hours to explore Newport and “met” some of the boats from former races; and Strand Books is on it, so I’m sure it’ll be all good. It’s about learning first (as well as fast), and then formulating the interviews, and then watching the live feed from the races – because I really don’t think I’ll be able to hop a plane to Valencia at the end of June. Although wouldn’t it be fun if it worked out and I could?

PERFECTLY PLUM’s release date is June 1, so I better get on the stick and get some PR going. I should have gotten releases out two weeks ago, but if I get them out this week, it’ll still be in the early days of the release. I need to talk to the Ben Bella PR person and see what’s what, so we’re not cross-pollinating and look disorganized. If our lists overlap, I’ll send a friendly note rather than repeat the same information.

I’m also developing a contest where some of you can win a copy! Stay tuned – it’ll probably happen around mid-June.

Came up with a new idea called Tracking Medusa, which could be a lot of fun if I can figure it out and slot it in properly. It’s too early to really discuss – but it’s definitely something that will appear under the Ava Dunne name, so that should give you an idea of its direction!

Did the research I need to do for the next section of Good Names. Had a terrific morning session on it, and finished Chapter 5. Now I can type the first chapters, so I don’t get too far behind.

The migraine still lingers, but it’s better than yesterday, so, hopefully, it will be a more productive day. Melissa, I think you’re right. I think I might have a thyroid problem. Unfortunately, since my insurance plan is in name only, I’m having a difficult time getting in to see a doctor without paying out of pocket. And the lab work is too far out of my price range in order to do it all out of pocket. But I’m trying to get tested. In the meantime, I’m doing dietary research, etc., and I’ll talk with my acupuncturist on my next visit to see what I can do to support thyroid health until I can get the medical treatment I need. Thank you for thinking of it.

Sya, you’re right –maybe I should go back to headphones. I didn’t order the earbuds I wanted because the shipping added 50% to the price. Um, considering how small and light they are, that’s unacceptable.


Good Names – 15,412 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15 / 100

Tracking Medusa — 4,123 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4 / 90

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

I really hate being this exhausted. I hope I can rest up this weekend. Plus, I started getting a migraine on the train home last night – by the time I got off at my stop, it felt like someone was stabbing me through the eyes with an ice pick.

The post-Preakness article is getting a HUGE amount of hits – I’m thrilled.

There’s a chance I’ll get to write about the America’s Cup Race coming up in June. Not that I know ANYTHING about sailing – I can’t even swim – but I’ve always been fascinated by them, and when I met some of the former boats in Newport a few years ago (because in Newport, these boats are not considered inanimate objects, but members of the community), I was even more fascinated. So, if my editor agrees – I’ve got some studying to do! Good thing I’ve got a strong learning curve!

Yesterday was busy, but mostly about other people’s work. I caught up on admin work, scoured job boards (now I have to send out pitches), critiqued three chapters of my friend’s new manuscript (it’s good), sent script samples to another friend (and fell in love with one of my plays that needs revision all over again), and just generally played catch up until I couldn’t even see straight anymore. And that was all by one p.m.! I have to set up the links list for Script Frenzy – I’m going to have a specific set of links for that project, much the way I do during Nano. It’ll probably start as a long list, then shorten as people either drop out of Script Frenzy or don’t bother to do the agreed-upon link swap! “Cause if I’m taking the time to visit and it’s not reciprocal . . .I’m going to stop. Got some other work done, gave myself a reading break, cooked dinner, and was on a 4 PM train to get to the city.

Show was fine; it was a lot of fun, actually. And I thought I had the weekend off, but I’m booked for the Sunday matinee. And then B. and I are going out.

But it gives me two solid writing days, which will be nice; I can get Circadian Poems set up for June, and maybe into July 4, when it goes into summer break; I can read and comment the rest of my friend’s chapters (she’s got assignments due today and I gave her an assignment for the weekend. Can you hear that whip crack); I can get a good chunk of work done on the script outline for Script Frenzy (and maybe even come up with a title); I can work on GOOD NAMES; I can get some pitches out; I can finish the assignment for Confidential Job #1, get that off and invoice it; and I can get off two hefty submissions that need to go out by Monday.

I also want to re-read ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, last year’s Nano, this weekend, and get going on the revisions. As I mentioned, since the chapters alternate points of view, I’m going to do all the chapters from one point of view first, and then all the chapters from the other point of view.

Two pieces I’m in the midst of reading use multiple POVs and, while there’s some good writing, there are too many POVs and the voices aren’t distinct enough. So I want to make sure I keep Simon and Morag’s cadences very clear.

I re-read DIXIE DUST RUMORS, I’m going to revise the query a final time, and then, at the top of the week, I’m going to start batching queries on that one. It’s where I want it to be – the kind of book I would have loved to read as a middle grade reader. Let’s hope someone else agrees. It’ll go out under a pseudonym specific to the genre, which I’ll share as soon as I’ve got something contracted under it!

Circadian Poems will be updated later today.

Hermione Lee’s Edith Wharton biography is fantastic, and I’m carving out reading time for it this weekend. I want several uninterrupted hours to sink into it and enjoy it. It also inspires me to read her work straight through. I’ve read some of it, and, while the writing is beautiful, my memory of the work is that her protagonists frustrate me. I am not one who believes that, because a character is a woman, she is “trapped by society”. That’s a choice, in my opinion. The only way progress has ever been made in this world is when people have flaunted society and followed their passion. Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, Jane Addams, Julia Ward Howe, heck our own Founding Fathers . . .the list goes on and on. You don’t get anything done by being complacent and conformist. I don’t sympathize with characters who are; I get impatient with them.

But Wharton wrote much more than the few pieces I’ve read, and it sounds like her work is much farther-reaching. I also want to re-read and read more of Henry James.

Off to Trader Joe’s. I opened the last cat of cat food this morning (it’s been tested and is safe). When I opened the cupboard a box of graham crackers fell on Elsa’s head and broke open. She didn’t mind; she would have eaten them, given the option (I took them away). She is a dog living in a cat’s body.

And I’m ordering new ear buds for my MP3 player. I’m tired of them either falling out all the time or hurting. Why have a player if I can’t listen to it?

Off to get things done and defeat the migraine. I refuse to lose an entire day of writing. Brandy, I answered your question in the post below this one.

Have a great holiday weekend!


Oooooh . . .

. . .I soooo need a looooong yoga session when I get up!

Everything hurts.

To answer your question, Brandy, feeling jumpy in that pose in the early/intermediate part of your practice process is normal, because you’re not just letting yourself be.  It’s as though there’s a part of you that doesn’t think you DESERVE rest and relaxation.

In fact, I have a whole sequence I’m implementing into my practice where the POINT is to sit through the uncomfortable jumpiness in order to regain balance.

You don’t want to hold the poses through pain — but the discomfort you’re talking about is mental that’s manifesting physically, and you can work through it by staying with the pose.

But it takes a few months!  😉

Published in: on May 24, 2007 at 11:45 pm  Comments (2)  

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Late start today, but I didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m., so I’m entitled.

My article on the Preakness: “Post Preakness: When Eight Does NOT Mean Infinity” is up on Femmefan here:

It is the top feature article in this week’s issue – I’m pretty excited!

Hop over here to The Scruffy Dog Review Blog to read my next installment on “Crafting Your Writing Life”. Yesterday’s column (yes, I had to rewrite it – the disk’s gone AWOL) is about craft.

And then, since you’re jumping around, there’s a new post up at The Tactile Muse.

Getting to the city was a nightmare yesterday. For some reason (downed power lines, I later found out), trains running in both directions were running on the same track. I felt like I was in the middle of a third grade math problem. Remember those? “If one train goes at 48 miles an hour and the other train goes 60 miles an hour . . .when will they meet?” I used to get into trouble because I said, “If the dispatchers were competent, they never would meet, because they’d be switched to different tracks, a crash could be avoided, and no one would get hurt.” And I’d get detention.

Anyway, since the people running Metro North don’t have the sense of your average five year old who plays with trains, it was all about which train had to back up to the switchback, etc., etc. Two hours to travel 25 miles on a daily basis is simply not acceptable.

And, on top of it, the conductors are rude to customers. They wouldn’t need to put up the signs saying it’s a felony to assault a conductor if the conductors didn’t behave in such a way so the commuters wanted to assault them!

Two shows yesterday. They went well. I enjoy working with the actress a lot. We have many of the same interests – holistic health, meditation, connection to animals, crystals, etc., so we have a lot to talk about.

I’m still struggling, though, because part of me just isn’t there anymore – my heart’s not in my work. Even though I enjoy it. So I have to use even more energy to focus so that I don’t make careless mistakes.

Four of us went out to eat between shows – back to the New World Grill at World Wide Plaza. It was nice, so we ate outside and had a good chat. It’s so important to take the time to get out of the building and truly relax on those two show days.

Got home at a reasonable hour and stayed up reading SEEING A LARGE CAT. Lots of plot. I did figure out the answers, but the way the ending came about was a surprise. As I said, I want to get the whole series and read them in order.

I have to leave about an hour earlier than usual this afternoon to get a few things done in the room, and then, blessedly, this should be my last show for the week. I’ve loved working with this actress, but I’m ready for a few days of focused writing time.

I have to do some business and admin work this morning, and then I hope to get back to GOOD NAMES, and also finish the outline for the play. I figured out the ending, but, as usual, I have to sort out the middle. And come up with a title. It could easily open out into a screenplay, but, for now, I want to keep it a stage play.


I’m flattered . . .

Your Score: Katharine Hepburn

You scored 16% grit, 23% wit, 57% flair, and 11% class!

You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you’d make by taking the
Classic Leading Man Test.

Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
Published in: on May 23, 2007 at 8:18 am  Comments (6)  

May 23, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Well, I WAS going to post my Dog Blog this morning, but the disk is missing from my desk. So, either I’ll find it and post it, or I’ll have to re-write it and post it tomorrow. So much for writing ahead.

I was annoyed at Starbucks, where I stopped for an iced tea. Here I’ve gone and bought commuter cups in both hot and cold, and now they tell me they don’t fill the cold with any tea drinks because “it’s a health code violation.” Huh? Excuse me, I bring in a CLEAN cup, and I assume you put the cup under the spout and aren’t stirring it with your bare hands, so how is this a health code violation? It used to be that they gave you a discount (like, ten cents, but still) if you bought in a commuter cup. Now, here people are trying to be eco-friendly, and Starbucks refuses. So I have to buy the drink in a disposable cup and create more waste in order to fill my commuter cup. Doesn’t make any sense at all. But it’s Starbucks, so why am I surprised? They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Like all the advertising they do about fair trade coffee, when, in reality, they only use it one week per month unless the customer specifically requests it.

Yesterday was fine. Day work was, well, day work. It all got done. I nipped out, got a quick bite of Chinese food, came back, set up for the show. I’d dressed this actress before, on another Broadway show, so she at least knew me.

The show went fine. I had a few little hesitations, but nothing major, and the actress felt it was “seamless”, which made me happy. So I felt much better coming OUT of the show than I felt going IN to it. But a 14 hour day is still tiring.

Another delightful delivery from Strand waited for me when I got home with more books for Good Names. I’m thrilled. Strand takes such good care of me!

And not so delightful news from Verizon. When I told them to credit me for the seventeen days of no landline and seven days of no DSL last month, two people from Corporate called me and told me I was getting a $75 credit. Great. So what’s actually on the bill? $13 and change for DSL (which is fine) and 18 CENTS for the landline. Now, math is not my best subject, but even to me, that doesn’t add up to $75. So I’ll be talking to these people.

It’s ridiculous. All these companies are on the grift.

Some interesting info from my alma mater, NYU, with a list of resources and networking of which I think I’ll make use. My mother went to lunch with her best friend yesterday and it turns out her friend’s daughter has gone freelance as a graphic designer. And she lives close by, so I’m going to contact her and see if she’s interested in potentially teaming up on projects. I remember her when she was little – she’s always been very talented and creative. So, hopefully, we can meet in the next couple of weeks, share information and styles, and maybe get some work together. At any rate, I can point her in the direction of some good resources.

Got to turn around and go back in for another 14 hour day. Actually, today is more like 16 hours, because I have to do extra hours on this track. But it’s all good. Hopefully, I can avoid second show-itis, and do a good job on both shows today and on the show tomorrow. You never know. After all, it’s live theatre.

The Edith Wharton biography is fabulous. I want to sit in a gazebo somewhere on a lovely summer’s day and read it while drinking iced tea.

My commuting book is Elizabeth Peters’s SEEING A LARGE CAT, which is, interestingly enough, set in 1903, when GOOD NAMES is set, although mine is set in Chicago and New York, not in Egypt. I’ve read Amelia Peabody mysteries here and there and always enjoyed them, but this book – especially now, read so close to the Tut visit on Monday – makes me want to sit down and read the entire series in order.

Better get going. Those clothes aren’t going to iron themselves — although wouldn’t it be fun if they did?


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Quick post today – I’m running late and have to get to the theatre for a long day.

Philly was great yesterday. The quartet that traveled traveled well together, which is always fun. The bus ride was smooth – in spite of stopping for gas on the way and the scary bus bathroom – but relatively empty, so we had plenty of room. It’s a commuter bus that leaves outside of Penn Station, and much cheaper than the regular bus.

We got to 30th Street Station in Philly to find it a warm, beautiful day. We expected to have to taxi about – but it turns out that our restaurant was only two blocks over the bridge! Too funny.

The restaurant was St. Tropez Bistro. It’s in a design building, with lots of furniture showrooms. The restaurant itself is on the fourth floor, with a lovely view of the Schuykill River. The décor was hit and miss – most of it worked, except for the runched silver lame curtains at the windows and between some of the rooms. The food was excellent – they just revised their menu, and things were about half the price that they were on the online menu I’d printed out. I had the grilled salmon, L. had a vegetable platter, A. had the crab omlette, and C. had the saucisson. The table split a basket of Triples Frites and pate, and we had a nice Beaujolais wine. All of it was excellent. The service was better than I’ve usually had in Philadelphia – but still not quite at New York City standards.

We expected a long wander to the Franklin Institute, but it took about ten minutes. Ten minutes through beautiful streets with lovingly-cared for row houses. The four of us were ready to move to Philly! Later, I read in the paper that there have been 156 murders there this year so far, which kind of put a damper on it for me (I think New York’s had about 34 in the same time period).

But Philadelphia is, in many ways, a much more livable city than in New York. That sense of franticness is missing, which is a welcome relief.

We wandered around the Institute for a bit, enjoying it, and enjoying the shops. We did our preliminary shopping and then went into the King Tut exhibit. They herded us in and shoved us together as though we were in boxcars on our way to slaughter, which I did NOT appreciate – we paid a decent price for these tickets, we don’t need to be neck-to-nose with everyone else in the room. The video we were herded in to see had no new information for anyone past the third grade, which was annoying.

However, the exhibit was beautifully curated. They got quite a bit in too small a space, and it was very crowded. Those taking the audio tour were especially rude, shoving and elbowing everyone out of the way constantly. Well, honey, we’re New Yorkers, and we don’t put up with that kind of crap, so we shoved and elbowed right back!

It’s always fascinating to see objects which one has seen photos of throughout the year, and to see how much more vivid the actual colors are than they are in the photographs. It amazes me how the colors have held over thousands of years, when a newspaper begins to yellow in a matter of days.

About half of the exhibit was devoted to Tut’s predecessor, who tried to shift Egypt into monotheism with himself as the central figure. Tut returned to polytheism and managed to get quite a bit done in his short, ten year reign. How much was his doing and how much that of his advisor, Aye – who knows? In any case, someone in that reign seemed to have a fairly level head and re-stabilize the region.

I’d hoped to get a book on Henry Carter’s discovery of the tomb, but the only volume was out of my price range right now – I’ll have to see what I can track down elsewhere. A. bought several beautiful objects for his apartment, including a free-standing winged scareb mirror and a lovely Bastet statue with a votive holder. I bought a hand mirror and a few other little things.

We stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way back to the station. I bought just a few snacks, but L. and C. did some serious shopping –it’s much larger than the one on 14th Street in Manhattan, and the prices are better.

We had a quick dinner snack at the 30th Street station and caught the 6:30 bus back to New York. C. and I walked back from Penn to Grand Central together – the Empire State Building looked beautiful against the deepening evening sky, decked out in Mets colors! C. spoke of it being one of those days when she’s so happy to live in New York. It was funny, because I was thinking about how tired I am of New York, in spite of all its good qualities, and how I’m ready to leave – but I didn’t want to tarnish her happy thoughts.

Came home, unpacked my loot, and fell into bed.

Not much done this morning. I have to head to the theatre for day work and a show, and do some errands on the way. On the bus trip back last night, I started working on the latest assignment from Confidential Job #1. This one is not easy – I don’t like the material. Oh, well, not every one can be wonderful.

Llewellyn hired me for a calendar and an almanac (for 2009!) with deadlines of the end of August and the end of September, so I can get going on those. I think those are the only annuals for which I’ll pitch this year – I overdid it the past two years and am feeling a bit burned out.

I do the principal track for the next few days – it means a level of concentration which I’m simply not feeling right now, so I have to get into the right frame of mind.

I’d rather be outside. Writing.


Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 8:43 am  Comments (7)  

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Late post today and no photos. Oh, well. It took awhile to get back and get back into the swing of things.

Preakness Day was lovely – except for the horrible accident in the undercard, ending in the euthanasia of one of my picks, Mending Fences, and the fact that it rained for the 11th race and the Preakness itself. I’m sorry Street Sense lost by a nose – I like him, as a horse, better than Curlin. Quite a few of my other horses came in on the undercard – I hope Diabolical makes it to the Breeders’ Cup this fall. I like that horse!

I’m working on my Preakness wrap-up article, which I have to submit tonight in order for it to go up in the coming week’s issue of Femmefan.

To answer Julia’s question, my very first Kentucky Derby and my very first Kentucky Derby win was in 1969 with Majestic Prince. I was seven. I adore racing. I’ve been writing about it since the late 1990s. I think this is the fourth or fifth year I’ve covered the Triple Crown for FemmeFan. The majority of trainers, jockeys, groomspeople, hotwalkers, etc., truly love the horses and treat them very well, as do the owners that are in it for love of the sport, not love of prestige. And those who truly love horses are trying to change the sport in positive ways to make it a more compassionate sport and take care of the horses beyond their racing lives. Horse-related charities are a big thing with me – they’re the focus of my charity work. If I could, I’d have a farm for retired racehorses and premarin foals, but, as I can’t, I do what I can for the chartable organizations that help them.

Managed to get a nice chunk of work done on Good Names – just over 3000 words over the past few days. Also realized that I have to go back and insert a chapter between my current chapters 3 and 4 – there’s a hole there. I have to do the research for it before I can write it.

After I finish chapter 5, I’m going to type up the first chapters; working in longhand, it gets intimidating to have to type the whole thing when I’m done, so I figure if I type every five chapters as I go – without stopping to revise – it should help.

A chance remark of Colin’s a few days ago gave me the inspiration I need for the stage play I’m going to write for Script Frenzy – part ghost story, part treasure hunt, starting in Reykjavik. No title yet, but I’ve got most of the first act plotted.

To answer Michele’s question – the weather changed moment-to-moment when we were in Iceland. There’s be hail and five minutes later, bright sunshine. And a few minutes later, dark clouds, high winds, and pouring rain again. Also, it was daylight most of the day – I’m sure there were hours of darkness during a 24-hour period, but we didn’t see them.

Got Hermione Lee’s new biography of Edith Wharton today – can’t wait to read it. Her work is always so meticulous.

A friend sent me some chapters of her WIP to read – looking forward to that – and Confidential Job #1 sent me my next assignment, which I will start work on tomorrow morning, while in transit.

Probably won’t blog tomorrow morning – I’m off to Philly for the day, and then I start in on the principal track of the show for the middle portion of the week. I hope I’m free for the weekend, so I can dig it and get some solid work done on Good Names. It was so nice not to HAVE to stop after 1000 or 1500 words and get on with the rest of the day, but to have four to six hour stretches to actually work. I hate writing in little bits – I like large swaths of uninterrupted work time. I’m much more productive that way, and the quality of the work is much stronger.

Off to finish my article and get some pitches out.


Good Names -14,412 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14 / 100
Published in: on May 20, 2007 at 2:53 pm  Comments (8)  

Racing Ink — Preakness Day Undercard

If you’re looking for the regular entry of “Ink in My Coffee” and the photos from Iceland, keep scrolling – they’re the entry below this one.

Sorry this is late going up – it took longer to handicap the undercard than I expected!

First Race:
The first race of a day is rarely this interesting. We have progeny from Real Quiet, Monarchos, Victory Gallop and Lemon Drop Kid here – wow! My choices are Leagelnote (Notebook’s colt), and Brandon’s Oboe (sired by Lemon Drop Kid) in an exacta with Cherokee Spirit across the board due to Mario Pino being his jockey.

Second Race:
I like Colonial Silver – the sire is Silver Deputy and the jockey is Mario Pino. I also like Magical Gem, who I think will be a pleasant surprise here, with Stormatic to round out the top three.

Third Race:
At 1 1/16 miles, this is a good endurance test. Alphabet Storm, sired by Alphabet Soup is my top pick here – unless it rains. My second choice is Pay Off Time (sired by Touch Gold and ridden by Ryan Fogelsonger). Grey Dorian’s not getting much respect; I’m hoping for a bounce off his last effort.

Fourth Race:
Roth Ticket (also sired by Touch Gold) and Suave Jazz are my top choices. If Musician’s Pride looks good in the saddling ring, I’ll toss him in at the last minute.

Fifth Race: — Baltimore City Turf Sprint:
Unbridled Sidney is entered on Friday’s card; if she doesn’t run there, I’d love to see her beat the boys here. Bingobear gets Gomez as his jockey, which can only help an already good horse.

Sixth Race – Hirsch Jacobs Grade III
Street Magician, sired by Street Cry, is my pick. He’s a good horse who’s kept the same jockey for his last few races. After a less than stellar showing last time, he’s due for a positive bounce.

Seventh Race – The Gallorette Handicap (Turf)
The Irish horse Grigorieva is my top pick in this race – good record, Graham Motion as trainer, Ramon Dominguez as jockey. Precious Kitten and High Moment are my other two picks.

Eighth race – Emirates Airlines Maryland Breeders’ Cup Spring Handicap
This has four horses worth a wheel – Talent Search, Diabolical (sired by Artax), Celtic Innis, and Semphore Man.

Ninth Race – Barbaro 100K
Much as I adored Barbaro, they should have renamed some other race for him and left this as the Sir Barton. Chelokee, one of my Preakness picks, moved to this race instead and he is my top choice, trained by Michael Matz. Zephyr Cat and Soaring By are my other choices. If Stonehouse looks good while saddling, I’ll toss him in at the last minute.

Tenth Race – Dixie G2 (Turf)
The field is large here. My choices are Cosmonaut (another Lemon Drop Kid progeny), Einstein, and Mending Fences. My hope is that Mending Fences wins – he’s improved so much over the past year.

Eleventh Race – William Donald Schaefer Handicap Grade III
Both Sunriver and Flashy Bull look good here. I like Smelling Salts, but would feel more confident if Aaron Gryder made the trip east to remain the jockey.

Twelfth Race – Preakness – Grade I
There were some roster changes in the race since my article in FemmeFan earlier this week. Chelokee is now in the 9th race instead and Circular Quay is here. I’ll take Street Sense across the board; Mint Slewlep and Flying First Class to place and show; and Circular Quay to show.

Thirteenth Race
Fire House, Misty County, and Moon Bean.

Other interesting Races:

Belmont Race 1: Theatrical Glory
Belmont Race 6: Black Adonis

Delaware Race 1: Plagiarize
Delaware Race 5: Miss Classy Trash

Hollywood Park Race 2: Fortunate Victory, Moteado
Hollywood Park Race 4: Flying Bearcat
Hollywood Park Race 5: Flip the Penny (if he gets in)

Happy Racing! Look for my Preakness Day Wrap-Up article in next week’s issue of FemmeFan.

Published in: on May 18, 2007 at 2:10 pm  Comments (1)  


Geysers at Geysir.

Published in: on May 18, 2007 at 9:09 am  Comments (2)