Fri. Aug. 9, 2013: Wrapping Up the Conference

Friday, August 9, 2013
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a whirlwind, with a very stressful appointment in the morning, and then headed to Mystic, CT, to hand my mom off for her two-week jaunt in Greenwich, then driving back.

I was so tired that I was afraid I would fall asleep at the wheel, but I made it safely, in both directions.

Hop on over to the Writers Vineyard, where, in my Annabel Aidan persona, I talk about “The Joys of Conferences.”

Wednesday was great at the conference. I got to get some work done in the morning, and then had a great chat out by the pool with a new colleague. Then, it was off to read on the agents’ “Conference Idol”. The participants that day were more vocal and defensive than those the previous day, which I thought was interesting, since the set-up allowed participants to remain anonymous.

My agent and I talked about where to send the book — I gave her my “A” list of dream publishers. So, we’re getting the last few tweaks done so that can go out next week.

Had dinner with several conference people, including that night’s keynote speaker, Meg Wolitzer. I really like her books, and her mother’s book on writing is on my Recommended Reading list for my classes (and in the topic workbooks). In person, she’s even more delightful than she is on the page, something that is always a joy to discover! We had a great time talking about theatre and Edinburgh and Reykjavik. Her keynote address was wonderful, and I’m excited to read her newest release, THE INTERESTINGS.

She had some friends meeting her and they were headed to dinner in Hyannis, so I had them follow me to the restaurant (rather than trying to explain it, with the one-way streets, or having them go down a wrong one due to GPS), and then headed home.

Mermaid Ball stuff is coming together; I’ll have some running around to do next week, and I have to finish the costume.

The house is quiet. Iris misses my mom a lot, and Tessa just hates the fact that I’m not home much right now. Violet doesn’t really care, one way or another, as long as there’s kibble in the dish.

Got a lot to do today, so I better get going. I have to write two reviews and two articles this weekend, and prep some interview questions.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on August 9, 2013 at 7:46 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 9, 2013: Wrapping Up the Conference  
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Wed. Aug. 7, 2013: Conference Flow

Wednesday, August 6, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

I had the first of my tomatoes yesterday!!! Very exciting. They are delicious. Nothing like eating from one’s own garden to brighten the day.

The day was pretty bright anyway — got some work done in the morning (basically it was scrambling to catch up on stuff non-conference-related) and got the recycling to the dump.

Headed over to the conference to work the desk. We had a good group and it was fun — got to catch up with some people, welcome some new faces, all that. There are always a few who are determined to be unpleasant out of a misguided sense of entitlement, but we’re lucky at this conference that they are few and far between. The majority of those there are wonderful.

This week is, however, giving me ideas for several articles which I will pitch to the writing magazines. Always a good thing.

I had a bit of a break in the afternoon and sat out by the pool doing some work on a new piece. I’ve written nearly 20 pages and it’s turning into something I didn’t expect — something that needs a very strong structure in order to work. Therefore, it’s time to sit down and answer all the layers of questions and secrets, because it’s not something I can discover in the drafting. I need to be able to aim for those points as I draft in order for the piece to work.

I got about eight pages of notes done, and jotted down ideas and possibilities. I can’t really write any more on the piece itself until I answer those questions, but at least I now know the questions.

I was the reader for “Conference Idol” with three agents (including mine). People put the first page of their piece into a box, I pulled one out and read it. Their hands went up when the piece hit the point where they would stop reading, had this been a traditional submission, and then they spoke about what worked and what didn’t. Everyone was a very good sport, and I was even asked to speak when someone submitted a screenplay and none of them felt comfortable commenting on a screenplay, but my agent knew I have extensive screenplay experience. So, that was fun. Everyone thought I read well, and I worked hard to make each piece sound as good as positive, as clear as possible, without going over the top.

Dashed home for a quick dinner and then back to hear Jaimy Gordon give another keynote. She has a very unique perspective and way of communicating it, and her love of working the backstretch at race tracks is something to which I can relate.

After, my agent, one of the other agents, and I all went to listen to the prose reading session. Always interesting to hear what the other people in the community are doing.

Came home, exhausted, but had to give the cats some quality time.

Up early, had to switch mattresses (don’t ask), catching up with email and other stuff that needs to be done. I have to pick up some stuff for the Mermaid Ball on my way in to the conference today, but I also have to prep some paperwork for something that came up tomorrow that can’t be moved.

I’ll have to catch up with my Modern/Post-Modern class on Saturday.

Off to it!


Published in: on August 7, 2013 at 7:21 am  Comments (3)  
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Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013: Conference Rhythms

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
New Moon
Sunny and cool

It’s Old Home Week in Centerville, and we have our annual auction tonight here.

Yesterday at the Cape Cod Writers Conference was so much fun! I actually enjoyed working the desk (me, who isn’t good with people). But the conference attendees are so happy to be there, and it’s fun to talk with them. Each attendee and presenter is very interesting in his or her own unique way. It’s also fun to spend time with fellow Writers Center Members and get to know them better.

I agreed to be the reader for the presentation, today and tomorrow, of “Conference Idol.” A panel of three agents (including mine) listens to someone (me) read the first page of an entrant’s manuscript — when the judges have had enough, they ring a bell and explain WHY they would or would not read more. I’ll rely on my theatre training to give each piece the best possible reading, since I don’t get to look at the material ahead of time.

Had to dash home for a bit in the afternoon, because the owner came by to take some measurements so we can get the new washer and dryer in next week. Yes, we’re getting a new SET! As an ex-wardrobe person, the mere thought of a NEW washer and dryer makes me drool.

Early in the morning, I mowed the front, and then moved a forsythia bush that planted itself in front of the bulkhead (where they will need to load in the washer and dryer) to a new spot. Hopefully, it will like it there. That gosh darned shrub nearly defeated me, but eventually, I won. Those roots are complicated! I was singing “Me and My Shovel” rather than “Me and My Shadow” — sounds like the opening to a mystery novel.

I also found two old friends with whom I’d lost touch — via Facebook! We have been looking for each other (and in the wrong places, obviously) and found each other through a mutual friend’s page. Yeehah!

I’d been invited to join a group for dinner back at Bogie’s, the restaurant in the Conference Center. There were nine of us for dinner, and it was such fun. I sat between Brian Feinblum, the keynote speaker for the night, and Jeff Herman — yes, THAT Jeff Herman, who puts together the wonderful guide for writers. It was a lively, fun dinner. Really good conversation, and not all shop talk.

Upstairs to listen to Brian speak (got me thinking in some new directions, always good), and then headed home. Nope, I’m not closing the bar every night this year. Too much to stay on top of outside the conference this year. I had to comment on a student’s short story, take care of some emails, and get some other work done.

This morning, I’m doing some stuff for the Mermaid Ball, taking the recycling to the dump, writing a bit, and prepping for the day. I’m working the desk again for a few hours, then a quick break (I’m going to stay at the facility, find a quiet corner,and write), then Conference Idol and tonight’s keynote speaker. I was going to stay for some of the readings, but not sure I can. Will play that by ear.

What I love about this conference is how it refreshes the creative spirit.


PS It was so cold this morning I had to wear socks for my morning writing/thinking session on the deck!

PSS The cats (especially Tessa) are unhappy that I am not home much this week. They alternate between being sulky and being needy. I will have to make sure I give them quality play time at night when I get home.

Monday, Aug. 5, 2013: Cape Cod Writers Conference Begins!

Monday, August 5, 2013
Dark Moon
Sunny and cool

Yup, it definitely feels like autumn!

I can’t even remember all the way back to Friday. Isn’t that ridiculous? It seems like ages ago. I know it wasn’t the easiest day on the planet for me for whatever reason, but damned if I can remember why. I do know that everything is hitting this week, when I specifically tried to keep this week as open as possible because of the conference.

Still waiting for the check from the place that’s a month late, but promised I’d be “paid within the week.”

I’m working on purging the basement. There are still too many unpacked boxes, and I just don’t need a lot of the crap. I’m trying to sort it out, rebox what I need (especially the files) and get rid of the rest. We got about 1/5th of the basement done this weekend, clearing the way for the new washer/dryer to be delivered in the near future. I plan to keep going. Even doing a couple of boxes a day will get things handled.

Almost had to step in to take over a class for the conference when someone got sick, but they got someone else. Phew!

Did two assignments for Confidential Job #1. Have to do the write ups and get them out in the next few days. They’re not due for awhile, but I’d rather get them out than sit on them.

The writing’s been going well, a nice, steady pace of about 1500 words/day on the fiction, and switching between other projects as needed. 1500 words/day is a nice, steady pace for me. About 6 pages. Comfortable.

Saturday morning, I headed over to Osterville to help them load up for the Conference. Six of us showed up, and we had the truck loaded in about 20 minutes, headed to the Conference Center, unloaded in even less time, and were done before noon. Efficient crew!

Sunday was about more basement purging, writing, and prepping for the conference. I had a bunch of stuff to take care of during the day, so I was late getting to the reception, but it was an awful lot of fun. My agent is there, and we had a great talk. Fingers crossed!

This morning, I have to take care of some stuff for the Mermaid Ball and do some other pesky admin-type stuff. I also have to mow and move a shrub. Then, I’m helping out at the desk at the conference, and tonight is the keynote speaker.

This will be a busy week, but, hopefully, a good one!


Published in: on August 5, 2013 at 6:47 am  Comments (5)  

Fri. Aug. 2, 2013: Juggling Act

Friday, August 2, 2013
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

I needed yesterday off desperately, and it was a great day. My hands still hurt from all the computer work I’ve done lately, but I spent the day doing things that were important to me on a significant 20th Anniversary for me, and it was great.

Wednesday night, I managed to attend Green Drink, which was hosted by the National Marine Life Center this month, and it was great. Really interesting people. I hope to go to the next one, in August.

The dryer repair guy was here first thing in the morning. The dryer can’t be fixed, so the owners are going to get us a new one. Of course, I’m at the conference all week, and getting my mom ready for her trip. Never a dull moment!

Working on a story I’m excited about, and getting ready for the conference. Wish I could just take the whole weekend off!

My archaeology paper on ship’s figureheads got the highest possible score. Woo-hoo!


Published in: on August 2, 2013 at 8:12 am  Comments (12)  

Happy First Harvest! August 1

August 1 is always a big day in my personal calendar. I am offline today and celebrating.

Back soon!

Published in: on August 1, 2013 at 12:42 am  Comments Off on Happy First Harvest! August 1