Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Cloudy and mild

First of all, the flood wasn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone feared, at least not here, although areas around us were pounded. We were told to be on stand-by for evacuation yesterday afternoon, but, depending upon where you were, it was a couple of feet of flooding down to a couple of inches. A few streets around the building were blocked off, the power flickered a bit, but that was it.

I went to the train station at about 9 PM last night to retrieve my car — and it wouldn’t start. Went across the street to the PD, told them about it, got permission to leave the car overnight, called Roadside Assistance to set up an appointment for this morning.

So I didn’t get my run this morning. Partially because it’s too dangerous, with standing water that could be any depth and downed wires, and partially because I had to be up at 5:30 to wait for Roadside Assistance. They arrived at 7:15, gave me a jump, and I drove straight to the dealer in Stamford — having both faxed and emailed them last night to warn them I was coming.

They took me right away, ran a full diagnostic. can’t find anything wrong. There’s no reason the car shouldn’t have started. I did have to buy a new tire to replace the one that went wonky in MA earlier in the month. They also checked ALL the tires, fixed the pressure, and did a realignment. Yeah, I’m paranoid, but the tires haven’t felt right for weeks. And I managed to tweet and check some email from my iPod while there (I didn’t want to lug my computer around, not knowing if I’d have to take the train back). They also switched out the ignition coil, because they just sent a recall notice out for that.

I’m worried that they can’t figure out what went wrong with the battery. I’m not fluent in gearhead, so I’m going to email my cousin — he’s a VP at VW, designs these cars,and races Jaguars in his spare time. Maybe he can at least tell me the right questions to ask. If I have another problem, I’ll just demand a new battery — I’d ASKED for a new battery in my last servicing, since the car is three, and they said it wasn’t necessary. No more asking. So far, every time I thought something was wrong with the car, I was right. I may not have the language, but I know when it feels off.

Had to run errands, including ripping Verizon a new one. They kept giving me robocalls during the flood yesterday, threatening to cut off my service for a bill that was already paid. Bite me, assholes. I told them if they pulled that crap again, I was filing not only federal charges (on several counts), but also a civil suit for reckless endangerment.

I am wiped out. I may try to do a little on the workshop now and then take a nap, or I may nap first. Whichever way it works, I’ll have a lot of catching up to do, workshop wise.

Elsa’s sick again, too. I’m going to see if the vet can just call in a prescription somewhere up here, rather than me taking her on a round-trip two-hour journey. I mean, she likes the ride in the car, but really . . .


Published in: on March 31, 2010 at 9:59 am  Comments (9)  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

The brook taunted us all day yesterday. It stayed level with the banks, inched a little bit into a few yards, dropped down a few feet, and came back up. People started moving their cars back into the parking lot and onto the streets, and the cops sent out another Reverse 9-1-1 call stating it was expected to get worse overnight and to keep the cars on higher ground.

I’ve got my car up at the train station (the highest point in town), with police permission (and the sign on the dash that I keep in the glovebox for these events). The cops also entered my plate info into the database — because of the bombings in Moscow and the heightened level of alert here in the NY area, that radiates out to the suburbs, they want to make sure no one thinks my car is a threat because it’s sitting at the station for a few days. The bomb-sniffing dogs will check it out regularly, just to make sure no one else notices it’s just sitting there and tries to take advantage of it.

This morning, the brook was about a foot lower than it was when I moved the car yesterday, but it’s rained for more than 24 hours and is supposed to rain all day today. The town that suffered badly three years ago is starting to have problems, so it’s only a matter of time before it hits us. And the tide’s coming in.

I hate the waiting. When something happens, you can respond, but when you’re just sitting around waiting. . .

Anyway, yesterday I figured out some more structural stuff for POWER OF WORDS. The positive part of writing the last scene of the book out of chronology is that now I have a definite target to which to aim. The negative is that a part of the creative brain now considers Book I done and is thinking about Book 2.

I was worried the power would go out, so I posted some additional exercises early — I’d rather the students got them early than having to scramble — and pushed to catch up on everything as quickly as possible. By the end of the day I’d caught up with what was posted to that point and posted a Plan B, in case we do lose power – in which case, as soon as things recede enough, I’ll pack the computer and head to Greenwich Library and set up shop there. The wireless is great. But, of course, I have to be able to GET there for it to work.

Water’s boiled and bottled, batteries ready, blankets stacked, car on high ground, tub filled with water, so we’re as prepared as we can be. I tweeted about preparations yesterday, and an actor friend texted back, “When the apocalypse comes, I want to be in YOUR compound.”

My morning routine was out of whack because of flood preparations, so it’s taking me awhile to settle. But I’ve got some work to do, and then I’ll hop on and off the workshop to respond to as much as I can for as long as I can.


Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 7:42 am  Comments (7)  
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We are AT flood stage. I’ve moved the car.

Last time it flooded, it looked like this:

Let’s hope it’s not as bad this time.

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 9:26 am  Comments (4)  

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010
Full moon
Rainy and cold

Got up at 5:30 in the morning to run. Misery. Not only have I backslid since Friday, but the driving rain, high wind, and partially flooded streets made it impossible to get in a good session. I was wet, cold, and cranky when I got back. And the brook’s very high — I may need to move the car in an hour or so.

Thank goodness we actually had hot water this morning, so I could take a hot shower when I got home.

I ran some errands on Saturday. I got a book on running. I seem to be doing most things correctly, although my stride is too short. I was worried about leaning forward, which causes all kinds of problems, so I’d shortened the stride, but it turns out that causes all sorts of other problems! I tried lengthening the stride today, without tilting forward — a challenge. But it does feel better, on those strides I manage to hit correctly. Also, I’m already getting up at 5:30 — I am not getting up an hour earlier to have a snack before I run! I am drinking juice as soon as I get up, so I don’t go out there dehydrated.

Bought another book, for fun, by a new-to-me author, and also got to work on the assignment for Confidential Job #1. It’s a challenge, not my favorite type of material, but that makes me better.

Spent a lot of time on the workshop on Saturday. The work that’s progressing progresses very well. But too many of them are ignoring my notes on grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and I find it disrespectful. I’ve also never had to repeat notes so often – with some of them, it’s like talking to wallpaper. By the third time I’ve told you to learn the difference between a possessive and a plural, you damn well better have bothered to do it, especially when I’ve told you where to find the information. And yet others completely absorb and grow. I suspect a good many of the former are simply cutting and pasting from old work, instead of creating new material as required by the class. Some, however, are finding new styles of writing they never thought they’d venture into and are excited at the prospect. What’s exciting for me is watching them grow as writers. Also, as much of a Dragon as I am about structure and as specific as I am in the requirements for the exercise, I don’t tell them what genre in which to write. So I’m getting to read some really interesting work in areas I might not normally read.

Sunday morning was lost. I got out some queries and a requested proposal packet. Then, when I switched to the little printer to print manuscript pages, it threw a hissy fit. MacGeorge responded by dumping the software for BOTH printers, and I couldn’t reload them.

Frantic call to Apple Care. My tech was a really nice woman. Even though it was another of “I’ve never seen this type of incident before”, she stuck with me, and together we figured it out. We figured where the big printer was hidden, and got it back where it was supposed to be. Turns out MacGeorge was suspicious that the little printer’s hissy fit might endanger the system as a whole, booted it out, and won’t let it reinstall because something is seriously wrong with the printer.

I’ll have to get on the phone with Canon. It will probably cost more to repair the small printer than to dump it. But I don’t think they have an equivalent of a Baby Bubble anymore, and that’s what I need for travel and for manuscript printing. I don’t believe that the MX860 is sturdy enough to cough up the amount of manuscript printing I do on a daily basis. It’s great for the submitted work, faxing, scanning, photos, copying. But I need something little I can cart around to do simple print jobs, and, at home, to just print manuscript pages. I’ve had bad experiences with HP, Lexmark, and Epson. I want to figure out what my options are with Canon. Also, I’m going to have to upgrade my OS to Snow Leopard soon, and the little printer isn’t compatible. The big one is — it came out the same weekend Snow Leopard did, the week I bought MacGeorge (who does not have Snow Leopard).

Spent many hours catching up with the workshop material. I’d planned to split it into a couple of shorter sessions throughout the day, but because of Printer Kerflamma, I couldn’t. And I’m not going to punish my students because I had technical difficulties. I expect them to be on time. I will also be on time.

Printed out the 86 or so pages of POWER OF WORDS. Sorted out some more logistical issues. Figured out how to break the overall piece down into several shorter books covering the lifespan of the story I want to tell, but each being a reasonable length and able to stand on its own. That takes a lot of pressure off — I was trying to compress events, but that left holes. Now I can tell each part of the story, and structure it in a way that’s not overwhelming. It is kind of unwieldy because of the sheer number of individual characters necessary to present the piece believably, and it’s written in a far more cinematic style than I usually use. I’m still head-jumping too much in the early sections. I need to pick a POV for each section and stick to it. That’s a note to myself for revisions. I’m not yet sure how many POVs I will use in the course of the piece — so far, there are three. I don’t want it to be too many, or it will get confusing, even if each section is clearly delineated. So I know I have to fix that, but the head-jumping is in sections in which I haven’t yet decided whose POV serves that section best. I have to see the overall balance, and then tweak as necessary, so it’s not skewed. It always throws me when I read a book and 85% is from one POV, with only a chapter or two from others.

The scene I wrote today is about 200 pages beyond where I am in the current draft, but it was fully formed, and I didn’t want to lose it. I suspect it’s the last scene in this particular book, so now I have something to write towards. I already have much of what will be book 2 outlined (since I thought it would be part of this volume).

There’s definitely an audience for this story, although selling it will be tough. I can’t get so wrapped up in it that I let other, more easily marketable (not to mention deadlined) projects fall by the wayside. Yet more restructuring of my time in the future.

I booked a part-week gig in mid-April at my favorite site. I love being there, because I’m in more of an oversight capacity and can do my own writing, as long as I’m physically present.

And no, I did not even look at my taxes this weekend. Oh, well.


PS The only comments I have to make regarding all these celebrity infidelities eating up media time are:
–if you’re going to mess with skanks and hos, don’t be surprised when they turn on you for profit.
–if you like sleeping with lots of different people, don’t get married.

Saturday, March 26, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

16 degrees F overnight and they barely gave us any heat. Typical scumbag landlords. Thank goodness for hot water bottles and LL Bean sleeping bags that can be used in temperatures down to 20 below! (with little cat heads peeping out, because they were cold, too).

First half of the day sucked, but then it got better. The suckage had nothing to do with the workshops, but with other stuff going on.

Some good stuff in the workshop. Sent back a batch of exercises for the motion exercise. A “walk AND talk” does not mean “tell us the characters walked somewhere, THEN stop to have a conversation, THEN tell us they walked somewhere else.”

Yes, I am the Evil Dialogue Dominatrix.

And yet, there’s a lot of really great work going on, and a good many of the students are blossoming. Quite a few of them relish the fact that the exercises are challenging and I don’t cut slack. Some of them have told me this is the first time they’ve ever gotten specific feedback — previously, it was always, “that’s bad” or “that’s not it”, but never WHY. I do get extremely specific with each individual’s exercise, because, to me, that’s the point. Vagueries don’t help anyone. A vague comment is me not doing my job, and doesn’t help the student focus the idea. The more focused every element is in a scene, the better the overall story works. For them to learn specificity, I must be specific.

Several dozen of my previous students have now sold work developed in my classes, so I’m doing something right.

An intriguing relocation possibility reopened yesterday and needs to be explored further. I’d written it off because of high cost of living and economic problems in the area. But not only does it seem to be making a solid recovery, the laws mean that I would literally have access to health care the minute I stepped off the plane (since they actually are a civilized country that respects its citizens), I would be considered an asset to the nation because I’m a writer with a track record, and I’d have access to programs to learn the language. It’s early talks yet — the offer would have to be solid and financially viable in the long term, and the cats would have to come.

Next assignment came in for Confidential Job #1, and pointed up my current mess — I’m paid the same for this one assignment, which takes a few hours spread over a few days, as I’m being paid for a 2 week workshop with 60 students. That’s just so wrong on so many levels. Well, at least I learn from my mistakes.

Good season finale on CAPRICA last night. Hope it’s renewed.

Lots to do — ugh, I have to face my taxes this weekend, among other things.


Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 8:56 am  Comments (4)  
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Got up at 5:30 and ran in the rain. Only did one circuit, not two, because conditions deteriorated so badly it was dangerous. But ran most of it, so it evened out. It was supposed to snow, so I guess we got off easy.

Tough day yesterday, enough said.

Got some decent work done on POWER OF WORDS, both yesterday and this morning. I’m still kind of mired in a logistics mess, but I’m trying to wade through it.

Off to get my car inspected for the annual sticker (so I’m not driving around illegally) and take care of a few other things, before I get back and try to catch up on the workshop.

I apologize — i have nothing to say today that’s worth listening to. The weekend is about writing, commenting on workshop exercises, and doing my taxes. Hopefully, I can get back to some deadlined work, but it’s not looking good.


Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 6:45 am  Comments (5)  
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and mild

The good news is that most of the exercises sent back to students for revision came back and were awesome. They not only took the notes but went even farther and raised the scenes another level. I”m proud of them.

The bad news is that students are still pouring in, in spite of a supposedly “full” and locked class, some are late with assignments, not paying any attention to the requirements and whining that they “don’t have time”. Now, I’m pulling 18 hour days to keep up with three times more students than expected PLUS deadlines PLUS being the only breadwinner in the family/one who runs the house PLUS caring for an elderly relative PLUS dealing with scumbag landlords PLUS dealing with the relative going through chemo. I am not sympathetic to their lack of time management skills, not to mention the huge level of disrespect that type of a whine shows towards both me and the wonderful students who are busting their asses with commitment and dedication.

We seem to be settling in a bit, so I hope the ones who don’t care enough and want to wander in and out at will and pick and choose which bits of the class to participate in will leave.

I only watched one hour of TV last night because my eyes hurt so badly from the workshop. It was my guilty pleasure, HUMAN TARGET, which, unfortunately, didn’t give me what I needed last night. The backdrop was against elite fighting, which is not something I enjoy or am interested in. I found it too geared to the show’s male audience, and placing a female sports handicapper in there just wasn’t enough to include me. It’s the first time since the show debuted that I really felt excluded from the piece. Even though there’s no regular female series character, I never felt unwelcome as an audience member before, and I did with this episode. The psychology B story line was well done, the fight scenes were shot well, but some of the other camera angles bothered me, and overall, it wasn’t what I needed as a distraction, which is on me rather than on them. Jackie Earle Haley played well off one of the guest stars, some lovely light touches in most of his scenes, but I wasn’t satisfied by how that whole aspect was set up. And I kept getting ahead of the script.

I couldn’t even read because my eyes were so tired. I put on the iPod and listened to music, which helped. My eyes still hurt today — I guess I’ll be using the rest of the Magic Eye Drops I got in Prague.

Good morning’s work on POWER OF WORDS. I’ve smoothed out some rough patches, made the adjustments that the earlier changes required. Can’t put it in the computer because my eyes hurt too much. So I’m continuing in longhand. I’ll have to back up using Time Machine today — it’s been too long since I did that — and maybe start printing out what I’ve got so far.

I have deadlined work that should receive attention, but the workshop is just weighing too heavily on me. I’ve learned some safeguards to put into the teaching contracts moving forward. The other side has not reneged on anything — I simply did not ask for the right things. I know better now, but I still have to keep this commitment as it was made, although for me, the consequences are negative. Live and learn, right?


Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 8:41 am  Comments (6)  
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

I spent NINE HOURS correcting exercises yesterday. I had nothing left in the tank for my own work, which simply can’t happen. I have more than double (close to triple) the amount of students I expected. I’m glad people are so enthusiastic, but with so many of them and only one of me, and each one submitting 2-3 pages for an exercise, it’s a lot.

The frustration is partially my fault. I don’t like to have things hanging over me. I wanted to comment on the exercises so they could apply the comments moving forward and to give them as much time for the next exercise as possible. I can switch from creation mode to comment mode, but I can’t switch back. So, not only did I spent nine hours commenting, but I couldn’t get back to my own work.

Therefore, I’m restructuring my day. I’ll write myself out on my deadline work first, and then switch gears into comments. It takes a whole different side of the brain, in a way, but a lot of energy. And people do put work into this, so they deserve my full attention on the posted piece.

The other workshop I’m going to teach for them is moved from August to January, which is what I’d originally asked for, and it works much better for me. There’s some amazing work being submitted in the class, and I honor the work and creativity that those people put in. But I’m spending way too much time dealing with grammar and punctuation issues (not just here, but in all the workshops in general) that are taught in the third grade. A pre-requisite of the course is to have a solid foundation in grammar, spelling, and structure. It is part of a writer’s JOB to get up to speed in these areas, and there’s plenty of material out there to help one do that. Although, frankly, if one can’t pass third grade level English requirements, one shouldn’t have been allowed to get to fourth grade, much less graduate from high school. A few mistakes are fine, but sometimes the student hasn’t bothered to proofread, which also drives me nuts. When the grammar, punctuation, and spelling make it impossible for me to follow the scene, there’s a problem. And when I say, “Go back and work on this, clean it up, here are the resources/books/links that will help you” and the next exercise contains all the same mistakes and it’s obvious that my notes were ignored and the person hasn’t bothered to learn the basics, I’m irate. I’m seriously considering making it a requirement to pass a structure test before taking a workshop. Because really, I’m not here to teach grammar school. I may institute a policy where I send it back if I find more than five errors. I get really angry when sloppy work is submitted. I find it disrespectful. I don’t want to hear whines about a lack of time — the student committed to the class. The student’s time management skills or lack thereof are not up to me, they are up to the student.

I also may have to think about limiting class size. That’s the norm for in-person workshops, but rarely done when teaching online. Either I have to limit class size, or jack my fee way up, which automatically limits class size, but then you lose some of your best students, because often the best ones are the ones scraping together their pennies to take the class. They’ve had to sacrifice the most to take the class, they want it the most, and they’re the most dedicated. I don’t want to deny them the opportunity because of cost. Having faced economic discrimination so often over the years (especially during Republican-run regimes), I don’t want to practice it. My time and work are worth a fee, but that balance has to be hit between people feeling that, because they’ve paid they better take it seriously and keeping it in reach of people who are struggling financially, but also talented and dedicated.

There’s definitely a learning process involved, especially when it comes to online teaching. On site is much easier, because the safeguards are already in place.

I got up at 5:30 this morning to run. I doubled my circuit from Monday and still wound up doing the loop twice. It was nice to be out that early, although a little eerie first time around. Down one particular block, the streetlights winked out as I passed, even though it was still dark. I felt like something out of a HARRY POTTER movie before Something Really Bad happens.

Lara, I have lots of trouble with my knees, especially the left one, which was permanently injured while hauling heavy clothes up and down stairs backstage on Broadway over the years. It’s one of the reasons I was so hesitant to start running, and I’m keeping an eye on it. I can’t do any type of squat exercises because that knee gives out. It’s another reason why I’m trying to pace myself and not overdo, especially at the beginning.

Hit the desk a little before 7, got some work done on POWER OF WORDS. The fixes I made in the sections up until now muck up the next bit, so I have to untangle it. I also have to do some research on the legalities of a teenager who emancipates from inept parents. Hopefully, I’ll also get to the library to do the research for the short story, and I have to go grocery shopping at some point, because right now, the cats’ cupboard is the only one that’s full.

Strand Books found some research books for two of my projects and they arrived yesterday. They take such good care of me. I truly treasure my relationship with them.

I have A LOT of exercises still to comment on — it looks like even more students are pouring into the class.

But first, I need to get back to the page.


Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 7:48 am  Comments (11)  
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Waxing Moon

Positives about the aftermath of the first day of running: More energy, better appetite.

Negative: Everything hurts.

The weird thing is that I wanted to run at the end of the writing day, and I wanted to run when I woke up this morning. However, I think that’s overdoing it, too much too fast, so I’ll stick to the three times/week for now.

Got out some more submissions (snail mail) and sent off a mooched book to Japan. Driving to Purchase was still scary — although the roads are open, there are still a lot of downed trees and power wires. It took NINE DAYS for my friends in CT to get back their power and water.

Pitched for a YA for-hire job. I’m sure they want to go with someone cheaper, but if they want quality, and it’s a one-time fee, not a royalty, it’s gonna cost. They’ll probably hire someone who’s willing to work at $1/page — and that the low quality they’ll get.

Started working through my students’ exercises, and that’s where my focus is this morning. There are a lot of them. Reading and commenting on 30+ exercises is time-consuming, especially if you give it the proper attention. I was a little worried because early questions were about things that were answered in the initial course materials — so I sent them back to those materials. Comprehension and following guidelines is vital to getting published, and I’m not going to cut them slack or repeat myself. Make the time to read the materials. But they seem to have settled, and are getting down to work without excuses.

I did a lot of work on POWER OF WORDS yesterday and seem to have sorted out the muddle in the first section. It’s in the computer, it’s making sense, I might even be able to print out those initial 80 pages in a day or two. I’ve hit a snag on the short story that can’t be fixed until I spend some time at the library, which will probably happen tomorrow.

One of my characters from POWER OF WORDS “sat me down” and took issue with one of his character arcs. He says he wouldn’t behave in the way I want him to behave to move the plot along. The more I’m working with the character, the more I think that’s true, but it screws up the whole last third of the book I’m hoping that, as the first two thirds evolve, that last third will get clearer. If I force the character to perform the plot device, it will feel false, and the book won’t work. So it’s back to the drawing board on that bit.

During the two weeks of the workshop, I can’t let the worry that I have so many writing exercises to comment on intrude on my own writing time, which is what happened this morning. I need to get my writing done first, and then do batches of exercises. If I try to do them all at once, I get tired and muddy, so I break them down into batches. I do a batch, I post comments, I take a break. That way, I can return to the next batch with fresh eyes.

Good weight training workout last night. But I need to clear off these workshop exercises and get back to the novella. A deadline looms.

Mike Bloomberg’s totally misrepresenting the health care bill (in typical Republican fashion), whining that the tri-state area will pay 20% of the entire country’s bills and that means it won’t be spent locally. Talk about total bullshit. First of all, those taxes will be on those rich banker bastards who crashed the economy, took our tax dollars as bailouts, and paid themselves multi-million dollar bonuses. Most of them should be in jail; a few should probably be executed, based on the numbers of lives they’ve destroyed. They can damn well pay taxes on money they stole from the rest of us in the first place. Second, the money that goes to DC winds up coming back here in the various program budgets. Whereas if the money goest directly to Albany, it goes directly into state politicians’ pockets, they scream that there’s a budget deficit, and they cut services. This way, it’s harder for them to pocket our cash. And it creates more jobs here in the healthcare industry. Really, I expect more integrity from that man. He usually does proper research instead of parroting the party line.

Back to the page.


Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 9:12 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010
Waxing Moon

It wasn’t foggy when I got up at 5:30 this morning and went out to run. In fact, it was really nice out.

Yes, I went running this morning. Pick yourselves up from the floor and stop laughing. I know it’s absolutely ludicrous, but I did it.

It’s a fact that I’m not as active as I was when I worked 8 shows/week on Broadway, and therefore not as fit. Yes, I do daily morning yoga, and some evening yoga, but that’s more for flexibility and serenity — I need more cardio. Twice a week with weights isn’t enough. I don’t have room for a treadmill or an exercise bike, and I wouldn’t use them, even if I did. I’m not going to go somewhere else to a gym. I”m not going to join a team and play sports. Running is the only thing that makes sense.

Even though I hate it.

So I’m going to try it, three times a week, for three months. If the effects are overall more positive than negative, I’ll continue. If not, I’ll have to come up with something else.

Honestly, I didn’t hate this morning as much as I thought I would. I did my time outside, a combination of running and walking and realizing how much fitness I’ve lost in the past year. But it was nice to be outside. I’d done a more active yoga routine as a warm-up, had a hot shower when I came home, and the coffee was ready, and hit the desk by 7 AM, which is when I like to start writing.

We’ll see how it goes.

Saturday was pretty productive, in spite of the news about the theatre company. I managed to get out 10 queries and a submission. A lot of them were via post rather than email, so there was a lot of additional work involved. I’m getting spoiled regarding email queries, and definitely prefer them. I’m definitely worried about the blow to the income that the loss of those commissions means, and I have to find ways to make up for it.

Posted the information for my Dialogue workshop, and today, the workshop officially starts. So the next two weeks will be busy.

Yesterday, I freaked out and worried about how I’m going to replace the income from the plays. Yes, I have until autumn, so at least I have some time to get a few things in the works, but it was steady monthly income in fall and then again in spring. And now it’s not there and has to be replaced by something else, and I have no idea what that is

Did a bunch of research (I just love it when I can count YouTube as “research”), and worked on POWER OF WORDS.

Worked on the short story this morning. Will hop on and off the workshop all day, and also focus on the steampunk, which can take front and center priority this week. I want to get it out the door next week, and go back to ANGEL HUNT, because I’d like to get that out the door by the end of April and turn my attention back to CRAVE THE HUNT.

I’ve got to pay some bills and get to the post office this morning. And get to work on my column. It would be nice to get out some more queries and submissions this week, too. I’ve let a backlog stack up, work I’ve written, but not sent out. It can’t earn money if it’s sitting in the computer.

The House passed the health care reform bill with some fixes that don’t make it as vile as the Senate’s bill. So at least I can stay in the country for the next two years, although I may still have to expatriate in 2012. It was also literally vital as to whether or not I was going to be around/alive long enough to have to worry about replacing fall and spring’s income. I need to get back on the house hunt this spring – Wall Street and special interests own New York, especially Albany, where the decisions are made, and it doesn’t make sense to live here any more. If the bill had failed, I would have had to leave the country by the end of the year latest, and probably by summer; now, perhaps I can actually live in the country where I was born. And where I’ve paid far too many taxes over the years that are wasted on bailing out banks, who then turn around and screw their customers. Since I’m not bound to the Broadway theatres, I don’t have to live in NY anymore. I can live out in the woods somewhere, as long as I have a good internet connection. That’s the plus side of technology.

So Hank Paulson has a book out? That SOB should be in jail for treason; instead, he got a book contract. Go figure.

We’re back on flood watch tomorrow; the down side of spring around here. When I move, I want to make sure it’s not to another flood plain. Enough already! I’m tired of having to worry every time a raindrop falls.

Back to the page.


Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 6:47 am  Comments (9)  
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

I adapted my tipsheet as an article. When it goes up, I’ll post the link. I also researched, wrote, and sent the questions for my next Biblio Paradise guest. That should be fun. I did some email admin, cleaning up accounts, catching up on old mail that fell through the cracks or needed follow-up, and making sure that things were properly entered into the Submission and Pitch Logs. I wrote a guest blog post as promised.

I had problems with a client trying to pull a manipulative power play. I dug in, although it stressed me out and pretty much ruined the afternoon’s work. I had a lousy session on POWER OF WORDS, I beat back the Doubt Demons with the Karma Fairy Wand (a prop from a show I co-wrote a few years ago — it’s out of foam, one end spiked, the other end with a star and glitter), and I did a dream analysis as a favor for an acquaintance of a colleague.

No wonder I’ve been feeling resistance on finishing the plays! My producer contacted me and told me that, after FEMME FATALE closes, she and her husband and closing up shop and moving to Florida. They hope to start another company there. If it happens, and she wants more from me, great. If not, that’s life. But somehow, somewhere, I knew, and that’s why I was struggling. At least she told me before I nearly killed myself trying to finish two plays for her next week while I’m teaching. It’s a big hit to my income as of next season — but it also gives me time to find something that hopefully pays better to replace them. I can put aside these partial plays for the moment, concentrate on other work, and even the drama, VINDICATION. I can still market the plays whose rights reverted back to me — and now I can market them in this area as well, since there won’t be any conflict of interest. In the short term, it’s a disappointment; in the long-term, it will all be good. After a few months, I can go back to the partials and write them with more freedom, since I”m not bound by the interactive and flexible staging elements I’ve had to use when writing for her.

I’m starting to get into CAPRICA and enjoy it more. I love the way they’ve built the world. Tamara and Sam are my favorite characters (and actors) in it. However, if Zoe actually killed the dog in last night’s episode, I would have turned it off permanently. I don’t care how many people are killed in a piece, but you start murdering pets and I’m gone. That’s my line, and once it’s crossed, that’s it for me.

I came up with some good ideas for POWER OF WORDS in the shower this morning, had a great morning’s work on the short story, and am eager to get back to the steampunk, since I can now put aside the stress of the plays.

Today, it’s about getting out some queries, working on POWER OF WORDS and the steampunk, and doing some more admin work. Already this morning, I wrote about 1500 words on the short story, tweaked an author bio for a friend, and answered some questions about the workshop that starts on Monday.

Today will be a GOOD day.

And happy Ostara!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and lovely

The talk with the middle schoolers went well yesterday morning. There were three rather rambunctious boys in the back row, but I shut them up with The Look (and I had the ass-kicking black boots on — they’re not stupid). Actually, they asked the most interesting questions, so in spite of their inability to sit still, they were absolutely paying attention.

Finished up at the school, picked up a couple of things at the store, did some admin work, took a walk on the beach. It’s in the high 60’s, low 70’s here and sunny, which is lovely, although they’re predicting more snow for Monday.

Read and did some research in the afternoon. Did some more work on POWER OF WORDS — I’m starting to find its rhythm again and get excited about the possibilities.

I’m struggling badly with the play, so, instead of trying to force it, I’m not going to let myself work on it for the next couple of days and hope it starts percolating again. I’ve got the novella to work on, and if I can make good progress on that this weekend, maybe I can switch back to the play with fresh eyes on Monday.

A former student asked me to adapt one of my resource sheets into an article for her website, and I’m preparing questions to host someone else on BIBLIO PARADISE. I’ve got to do a blog post for one of my publishers, and I need to work on the next Literary Athlete column. I’m rewriting a query, because I want to re-slant the angle. I’ve got to use a more commonly used marketing term in order to push its uniqueness, I think, and get another batch of queries out on this particular project. I also am trying to figure out where to place a couple of other pieces — I want to get them out the door this weekend. They can’t pay the bills if they’re sitting on the desk.

I had a great morning’s writing session on the short story — nice, tight, tense scene. It’s coming together well, although I have no clue where I’m going to market it. Well, it can’t be sold anywhere if it’s not written and polished, so that’s the first priority.

I need to put in a long day’s work, so I better get back to the page.


Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 7:41 am  Comments (5)  
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and beautiful

I spent most of the morning putting together pitches for two script writing jobs. Even with all my clips at hand, it still takes longer than I’d like to fashion a strong pitch individual to each opening. We’ll see. I have my doubts they’d hire a woman for either of them, but it was worth a shot. One would be steady and fun, and even at my regular rate. The other’s a little more ambiguous, and would be a one-off. We’ll see. At least I tried.

Went to my local library to pick up state tax forms, since they no longer mail them — and, of course, they only have the basic forms, not the schedules I need. Hopefully, can get them online. And they didn’t have any of the research books I need for the short story. I can’t wait to get back to Greenwich next week.

Wasted too much time on stupid stuff in the afternoon, but got another good section of POWER OF WORDS into the computer, fleshing it out, filling out my tracking sheets, solving logistical problems, adding scenes were necessary.

Prepped for the talk at my old middle school today.

Finished Louise Erdich’s SHADOW TAG. While it was fascinating, in many ways, I had some trouble with it structurally. She doesn’t use quotation marks to set off dialogue. Granted, she’s published 13 books that sell well and earned that right. But it kept pushing me out of the narrative constantly instead of making me experience what the characters experienced. I was constantly shoved out and reminded that I was a voyeur instead of a character, and disconnected from the experience. So, overall, it didn’t work for me. The only other two books of hers I’ve read are LOVE MEDICINE and THE BEET QUEEN. I don’t remember if she made that stylistic choice in those. i do know that, if I pick up another book of hers and the stylistic choices are the same, it goes back on the shelf. I respect what she’s achieved enormously, but, as a reader, I need to feel that I am within the narrative, not outside it until I’m interrupted or put the book down. With this book, I was excluded from the characters’ experiences.

The only show I watched last night was HUMAN TARGET. They put so much backstory into this episode that they’re taking the fact they’re on the bubble pretty seriously and giving the audience answers for some of the questions posed in earlier episodes. They should have just about finished filming the initial series order by now, and, in the next few weeks, should know whether or not they’re coming back. They brought back my two favorite female guest stars from earlier episodes. I liked the structure and the pace of this episode. There was a revelation of a piece of information in Guerrero’s backstory that I initially felt I didn’t believe/didn’t work for me. However, the creative team has kept its contract with the audience thus far, intriguing, challenging, but not screwing us, so I’ll trust them for now on it and see where it goes. I also felt Jackie Earle Haley was being reined in during a few scenes and he was having to overcome the direction, instead of the direction supporting his work, especially towards the end. I’d like to see the show renewed, and see where they take it in the next season. They fulfill the requirements of the genre formula, but also move beyond it in certain aspects, and I think, if given the chance, the show could blossom. It’s come a long way, just in the episodes aired so far. I started watching the show because of Haley, but I keep watching it because I’m interested to see how it grows, and I’m learning a lot about structure, and what does and doesn’t work for me as far as weaving multiple strands in and out over time.

Wrote a few more pages on the short story last night after HT. Much better use of my time than just having the TV on because it’s there.

In the middle of the night, Elsa hooked her claw into my eyelid. Not the eye Iris injured a few months back, the other one. It didn’t get all the way through the lid to the eyeball, but the lid is pretty torn up. It was an accident, I iced it and put antiseptic on it, but . . .ow. And no eye makeup for me for awhile. Not that I wear it that often anyway, but I am in public today, so . . .

I’m running late. Off to the school. I don’t know why I agree to do these things. I’m always tied up in knots beforehand. The kids really get excited, though, because I talk to them like they’re people, not “kids” and I don’t censor myself at all. In other words, I’m really surprised the teachers want me back!


Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 7:37 am  Comments (6)  
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