Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Stormy and cold and foggy
Busy few days. I’m a little under the weather — nothing contagious, as far as I can tell, but run down and trying to prevent myself from getting sick. I should do a yoga sequence to boost immunity — maybe I’ll incorporate that into the routine over the next few days. I’d hoped to leave work an hour or so early on Friday because I wasn’t feeling well, but that wasn’t possible, and by the time 4 PM rolled around, I might as well stay until 5. Saturday was busy, especially since the computers were kicking in and out, we had 35 people in for a meeting first thing, and someone made arrangements for proctoring a test without the information getting to where it needed to go. But it all got sorted out and was fine. But, by the end of it, I was worn out. However, I had to restock the cat food cabinet, or I would have had angry kitties.
Got some reading, writing, research, and student work done on Saturday afternoon and evening.
Sunday morning, up early and headed to Newport for Christmas at the mansions. Ride wasn’t bad, but the directions from Google maps were wrong. Gee, there’s a surprise. Our ticket gave us access to three mansions: The Breakers, Marble House, and the Elms. They were all beautiful, and beautifully decorated. My mom felt that they didn’t decorate enough in the houses for the scale of the house. The scales WERE quite grand — I can’t imagine actually living amongst all that gilt. However, it’s lovely to look at, and great research for several upcoming projects. Elm House was my favorite –the smallest and least ostentatious. I believe they’re still researching a good deal of it. I bought a lovely beaded ornament, which looks beautiful on our tree.
The decorations in all these houses were beautiful (especially the poinsettia tree at the Breakers), but it was all impersonal. What I love about the decorations at home is that every piece has a story, so when we decorate each year, we revisit our history. Every item is very personal. That’s what makes it special. But then, we decorate for our own happiness, not to impress anyone, and these big houses were all about showing off.
Home by mid-afternoon. Rested. Enjoyed the Second of Advent. Planned the menu for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Still not sure about New Year’s Day.
Monday morning, my mother woke up ill. She rarely goes to the doctor, so when she says she needs a doctor, I pay attention. I cancelled out of the training session to which I was supposed to attend and tried to reach her doctor. The doctor’s answering service needs to learn about compassion — they have none. I remembered one of my colleagues at work spoke highly of an urgent care center in Sandwich, so I called my colleague, got the information, called them, and brought her in. They were very kind and helpful, and my mom is much better. We finally got back around 2:30 in the afternoon, and then I had a meeting for the Writers’ Center at 3:30, which went well.
Came home, exhausted, cooked dinner. We’ve been watching DOWNTON ABBEY episodes every night. There’s a lot I like about it, and one can see the difference in having ONE writer write all the scripts instead of a “writing room” doing the scripts. The flow and character details/consistency is much stronger. However, it does get a bit soap-opery for me sometimes.
Yesterday, we had a terrible storm with heavy rain. I had to cancel out of my appointments because the roads were flooded. We managed to get down to the post office to get most of the overseas cards out. I still have a few to write.
Writing-wise, I’m playing with a few different things, in addition to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and trying to get the problems in RED WIDOW fixed so I can move forward on it. The next piece with the characters from “Lake Justice” is almost set in my mind. I’ve got the characters and basic premise of a strange pseudo-thriller — I have to decide on some details, because it won’t work if it’s “pseudo” — it either needs to be a thriller, or it needs to be something else. Otherwise it’ll be half-assed and won’t work. I’ve got a Christmas-themed piece where I’m exploring some interesting tension between overlaying loneliness with acts that seems joyful during the season, but it’s not quite where I want it. There’s another piece where I have the characters and I know what I want to explore character-wise, but I haven’t figured out the plot that will support it. Also, I didn’t form the opening scene well enough, and that’s causing problems moving forward. I have to redo that and have a strong opening, and then I can write my way in and figure it out before I outline.
I’ve got a short piece to knock out for the Marine Life Center, and more student work to take care of in the next few days. I’m feeling really run down and exhausted, and there’s still a lot to do.
Last night, the lovely Arlene Kay came to the library to do a presentation on “Creating Compelling Characters in Mystery Fiction”. It was a small turnout, but still fun. I’m sure the weather was to blame, but I also think it’s hard to get people out during the holidays, unless it’s some sort of program that ties in with their holiday preparations.
I’m writing a piece to be presented in January — will share the details when it’s settled. I have the materials for it, but it means a good deal of research and filtering. Figuring what to use, etc.
My author copy of the NEW LEGENDS anthology arrived. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to reading the contributions by my fellow authors.
Have a wonderful week, everyone! I can’t believe nearly another year is gone!