Saturday, January 5, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Working on those articles nearly killed me yesterday. And not because the content, research, fact-checking, or writing is difficult; but because I didn’t want to do it. I wrote a sentence. I got up and wandered around. I wrote a half a sentence. I puttered in the kitchen. I wrote three words. I played with the cats.

No self-discipline at all. Meanwhile, I got more and more frustrated, because I want this monkey off my back. And if I’d just sat down and concentrated, it would have been done a lot faster. Learn from my mistakes, my friends. It was nearly midnight by the time I got them sent out.

Thanks to a friend of Chaz’s, I think I’ve found a way to keep my Canon limping along for a few more months. I went printer shopping yesterday, and my head was spinning. The two top choices so far are the Canon Pixma830 – but I worry that I’m just digging myself into the same hole by sticking with Canon. The other printer that does everything I want and need and with which I fell into printer-lust is the HP Photosmart C7200. I also looked a few small printers that I could just use for manuscript printing. I might go ahead and indulge in one of those now and then try to coax my current Canon along for a few more months until I’m sure what I really want.

For once, I don’t want to make a panic buy. I want to get the best printer for my needs. Unfortunately, because technology isn’t my strong suit, and the people in the stores are out to make a sale, not look out for my best interests, I need to learn as much as I can so I make a smart decision.

I’m also trying to figure out if the SanDisk Multi-Use SD card will work with my camera BEFORE I rip open the packaging. They don’t seem to make the exact same SD flashcard I always used with the camera. This looks almost the same, but it’s marked “multi-use”. The website doesn’t even list my camera so I can check compatibility (and my camera’s not that old), and their Customer Disservice can’t be bothered to answer the email I sent asking them about it over a week ago. If I haven’t heard back by Monday, I’ll rip open the package, test it, and, if it doesn’t work, sell it on eBay. I also emailed Canon to ask them. In spite of the Printer Kerflamma, their customer service is usually good.

And, of course, Hex Breaker called to me all day long, wanting attention. But I needed to distance myself, even for a day.

I went to the bookstore and didn’t buy anything. You know it’s a cranky day when I do that. I had my heart set on one particular book, which they didn’t have. I didn’t want to order it – I wanted to walk out of the store with it in my hand. It’s a new release – there’s no reason it shouldn’t be there, except they haven’t gotten around to unpacking it yet.

And Strand Books sent me a batch of books for a project – they always take such good care of me. I was expecting them to be medium-condition paperbacks, and they’re brand new hard covers. I have to put them in the acknowledgments of almost everything I write. Because they’re very, very good to me.

Lyd, in regard to your comment on the gift card, you’re suggesting I commit fraud, which I believe is a felony. Besides the fact that I am not willing to do that, I believe that making public one’s medical records so an insurance company can enter one into a contest is twisted and wrong. I prefer to file a complaint against them and have the proper authorities kick their greedy, twisted, disgusting little asses. I hope you keep commenting – I do appreciate them, even when I don’t always agree with them! 😉

I wrote a new chapter for the revision of Tracking Medusa this morning. It’s Harry’s funeral, which happened away from the readers’ gaze in the first draft. It introduces Jonathan Alden, Gwen’s ex-husband. Although it doesn’t specify that’s what he is, it’s clear he’s an ex something. I kind of like the reader discovering the husband part later in the book, when Justin discovers it. It also sets up more of the love-hate dynamic between Gwen and Karl, and has Tom Albright doing his detective work. Kitty is also introduced here, instead of waiting until they reach the Earl’s house in Scotland. It helps strengthen what comes later in the book. I’ve stuck the pages between the current Chapters Two and Three – since it had to happen before the chase sequence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I had to get Karl out of there early so he and Justin could have their confrontation at the Library BEFORE Justin went to the Met. It needs work, deepening, detailing, but the character set-ups work, and placing it here strengthens what happens when it all comes together at the end.

I’m on my way to my friend’s place in CT. I’m taking Hex Breaker with me, and that will be my focus today. I’ve got more articles to work on tomorrow, and I need to finish up the work for next week’s blog tour hosting on A Biblio Paradise. But right now, as far as I’m concerned, Hex Breaker is the priority.

Devon

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

First and foremost, Happy Birthday to Chaz Brenchley! Not only is he a brilliant writer, he’s a wonderful friend. Many happy returns of the day and the year for you.

Lyd, all is good between us. I think where we got our wires crossed is that you assumed I was blogging and making lists INSTEAD of writing, when I do it in ADDITION to writing. When I get tired (because the creative energy does flag after awhile), the blogs and the lists help me get back on track. Also, because of the amount of projects I have to juggle as a freelancer, if I didn’t track them with lists and spread sheets, I wouldn’t be able to stay on top of deadlines, outgoing invoices, and know when the chase down the money from clients that are slow payers and won’t be getting my services again!

My printer died yesterday morning, right as I’m in the midst of trying to get out all my work. The “ink waste tank” is nearly full. It will cost me $100 to fix it, which does me no good between now and the time I have to leave; it costs $279 to get a new printer that seems to do everything I need it to do. I contacted Canon – I’ve had trouble with this printer since the first week I had it, and for four years, they promised to replace it and never did. I at least want a partial credit towards a new printer.

And I’m not sure how or where I can get my printing done, but maybe I can run downstairs to my friend’s place once a day or once every few days and print.

According to one of my forums, where they’d know this kind of thing, it’s good to have a small, inexpensive printer just to print manuscripts AND the all-in-one. I used to do that – you could drop-kick my Baby Bubble and drive a truck over it and it would still churn out the pages – but I’ve stuck to one printer for the last few years. Maybe I should go back to using two. I wonder if I can keep both plugged in all the time.

I just cried. It always, ALWAYS happens when I’m on deadline. I HATE technology. It’s built to fail, especially when you need it not to, and it’s created that way on purpose to get the maximum amount of money out of the consumer.

I’m telling you, I’m ready to go back to quill pens and ink, and keep a couple of pigeons around to transport manuscripts. Okay, maybe I need a bird that‘s a little bigger than a PIGEON to carry a 400 page manuscript, but you get my drift . . .

Instead of doing what I was supposed to do, I worked on Hex Breaker all day, finishing the second draft in the late afternoon. I’m going to let it sit today, and not look at it, as much as I want to, and then revise it, print it at my friend’s place, and get it out before I leave. I love these characters, even though I know the piece needs more work. Hopefully, my editor will love them, too!

Exhausted, and still trying to figure out a way to make the last bit of this assignment with Problem Client work so it doesn’t cost me, literally, hundreds of dollars in wasted time for which they won’t compensate me. Yes, the Saturn retrograde is kicking my ass, and I damned well better learn this time around. I learned the show stuff since last time, but this go-round I’ve got a whole new set of life lessons to face, gosh darn it!

I was lousy company last evening for one of the men in my life (yes, there are more than one; one just can’t keep up at this point), but, fortunately, it all worked out and my, ahem, mood improved as the evening wore on. He knows how to distract me! 😉

So, the insurance company who’s dumped me sent me a letter offering me a $100 gift card if I had a mastectomy last year. WTF????? That is just twisted. Not only is it sick that they’re trying to make it a game to publicize the results of one’s mammogram (isn’t that illegal?), they’re offering a chance to win a gift card if you have a mastectomy. It is so inappropriate and so twisted. I’m furious. I’m calling the union today with a few choice words, let me tell you! I think I also might file a protest with the state.

It felt odd this morning to wake up and not jump into fiction right after my morning yoga. I still need to do the cheat sheet before I can get back to EARTH BRIDE. I’ve got the characters worked out for the time travel novella, but the plot is still too shaky to start. It would be nice to get that in well ahead of the deadline. Last night, I worked on a short story for a bit.

But, of course, I’m chomping at the bit to get back to Hex Breaker. I did some tweaks last night, but I’m determined to let it rest for at least a day so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

Off to work on articles and run my Friday errands – which, today, unfortunately, includes printer shopping!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 4, 2008 at 8:54 am  Comments (7)  

April 5, 2007

Thursday, April 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Misty and cold

I decided that Saturn can’t STILL be retrograde, so, even though I can’t find a “direct” on my calendars – I hereby declare it DIRECT! With both Pluto (hidden things) and Jupiter (money, material things) retrograde, I am NOT dealing with a continuing Saturn Retrograde as well. SO THERE!

I could not get the engines fired yesterday. I made it to Old Greenwich to Staples, where I got the binders I needed and a new Staples Rewards card. About time – I’ve had the old one for five years and it’s done me NO good.

At least I have binders to organize the information for Good Names.

Someone asked me the other day if I didn’t think Good Names was too close to Mia King’s title of Good Things. Well, no, and not just because they’re in two different genres and two different time periods. When I speak the title of Mia’s book, I put the emphasis on the first word: GOOD Things. When I speak the title of my book, the emphasis is on the second word: Good NAMES. To me, the inflection keeps the titles from being too similar. Plus, to me, both are the beginnings of phrases with quite different roots and meanings – they take us to different places.

Got out a couple of pitches and spent too much time dilly dallying on the internet. Now that I’ve limited the time spent on various forums (although I’m still having technical difficulties and can’t get in to the freelance forum that’s my absolute lifeline), I’m more focused with my time. But I’m doing some research, and the problem with research is tangents. I love tangents, and some of my best inspiration comes from tangents, but one still has to be careful.

It rained and rained and rained yesterday, so I kept the car on high ground and I’m hoping I don’t get a ticket. I will challenge it if I do.

Spooky stopped by this morning for a snack and a pet. He has absolutely no interest in being an indoor cat. He likes his independence too much. However, he does count on me for regular meals and cuddling. He’s getting the best of this deal, I think, but at least my girls aren’t upset.

I’m enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love more and more. It’s nice to watch her blossom into herself, instead of completely defining herself by men all the time (at the start, she was one of those people who had to be in a relationship all the time – the type of woman with whom I have absolutely NO patience). And her details and asides, especially in the section on Italy, are wonderful, funny, and engaging.

Worked on the guest blogger piece. Will give it a quick polish before I send it out this morning.

Started to sign up for the Freelancers Union – but found some of their questions during the sign-up process intrusive, and, quite frankly, none of their business. I should be able to choose not to answer them. If they keep insisting – I will UN-sign up.

Chaz Brenchley’s new novel, River of the World, arrived last night, and I look forward to reading it.

I prepared chicken and Italian sweet sausage last night, cooked in garlic, onion, tomato, and thyme, served over pasta, with green beans on the side. It was very good.

I have a busy morning ahead of me – the post office may deign to be open for a few hours, and I need to get some packages out to my cousin in Germany. And then I need to sort some more receipts in preparation for taxes. And work on The Project. And write. I want to get some work done on Good Names.

Devon

March 1, 2007

Thursday, March 1, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cold and Rainy

I finally managed to get up the article “Other People’s Careers” on the Dog Blog yesterday. Can I just say how much I hate the new Blogger?

By the end of the day, you should be able to catch up on the past few days’ worth of Circadian Poems¸ finally up (I had Microsoft problems, it had nothing to do with WordPress), and the latest poetry news, and to check out Kemmyrk – and, if you have tarot questions, next Monday’s column is going to answer a few. Send them here.

Blogger’s newest annoyance, when I’m visiting friends’ blogs, is that it won’t give me the actual letters for visual verification. It simply says “visual verification” and the blank box, but not the letters I’m supposed to verify. So it takes five or six attempts to get the letters, then it tells me I didn’t enter them properly (which is total b.s.) and so on and so forth.

Why shouldn’t the spammers go through the hoops, not the legitimate readers?

Both shows were fine yesterday. Artie and I went to Whym, a fairly new eatery a little farther up Ninth Avenue than we planned to go. Décor nice. Artie chose the pork tenderloin with fig sauce, which was very good. Unfortunately, I had a quite mediocre chicken pot pie (I should have gone for the Mahi Mahi). Dessert, however, was excellent: warm chocolate cake for me and pear cobbler with cinnamon ice cream for Artie.

Chaz finally received the package (in Newcastle) with the filled Christmas stocking for his cat, Barry. Artie made the stocking and together we’d put in all kinds of things for cats to enjoy – and, according to Chaz, Barry’s enjoying it! The Royal Mail screwed up and sent it back when I’d sent it over for Christmas, but this time it got over there in only four days.

I’m reading In the Devil’s Garden, a book about food taboos arranged according to the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s fascinating, but it also makes me angry – the cruelties and the fact that so many people (and animals) have to suffer because of mentally ill rulers. It’s not a read-straight-through book or a good backstage book. I have to be able to pick it up and put it down.

Managed to catch an earlier train, which got me home at midnight instead of at 12:30. That meant I was able to get out two pitches before I went to bed last night. Keep your fingers crossed.

I can’t believe it’s already March. Here’s February’s Wrap-Up:

Done:
Query Challenge (12 queries out)
Circadian Poems
Kemmyrk
2 full weeks on the show

In Progress:
13-in-Play
Finish Chasing the Changeling
Biblio Paradise Newsletter out – Microsoft problems set this back; will go out by Mon.
Finish next Lit Athlete column – almost there
Real – did a bit of work, and then stopped
Tumble revision
“Illuminated Nude”
“The Man on the Yoga Mat”

Dropped/Postponed:
Work on DE site – I’m going to stick with this one for the moment
Revisions on Assumption of Right – I carried it around a lot, but didn’t actually start yet.
Fix-It Girl – although we talked about it at the show, and my colleagues got me excited about it again.
Typing Shallid – no time
Typing Token and Affections – no time
Restructure Thirteen Traveling Journals – ran out of time
Dixie Dust Rumors queries out – I focused on other queries instead

Additional:
The Project accepted and prep work begun
Tarot story for anthology discussed

Disappointments:
Getting sick and working on the show fulltime set everything back.

Successes:
Landing The Project
Article accepted by Notes in the Margin
Landing another steady gig

Reading:
The Tin Box by Holly Kennedy. Very good.
Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. (re-read). Excellent.
Martha Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead (unfinished). Excellent.
Bride and Groom by Susan Conant. Good.
Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim Powers (unfinished). Excellent, but pushes a lot of buttons.
Natural Enemy by Jane Langton. Very good.
Ivy Days by Susan Allen Toth. Excellent
In the Devil’s Garden by Stewart Lee Allen (unfinished). Excellent, but not an easy read.
The Easy Way to Be Brilliant at Business Writing by Suzan St. Maur (unifinished). Very good.
Noel Coward’s Diaries. Excellent.

March To-Do List:

Circadian Poems

Kemmyrk

The Scruffy Dog Review Blog

Finish Lit Athlete Article

Prep The Project

Press Release for Ink in My Coffee Third Anniversary

Biblio Paradise Newsletter out

Restructure Thirteen Traveling Journals

Craig’s List Ads for Fearless Ink

Query Challenge

13-in-Play

Write anthology story due March 31

Finish Chasing the Changeling

Finish Tumble re-vision

Type Token and Affections

Type Shallid

Start revisions on Assumption of Right

Work on The Fix-it Girl

Work on Real

Finish “Illuminated Nude”

Finish “The Man on the Yoga Mat”

Get out Dixie Dust Rumors queries

Two and a half full-time weeks on the show

Good thing March is a long month!

Devon

February 23, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and stormy simultaneously

I just realized I hadn’t actually posted this – just written it!

Okay, how’s this for more evidence of our administration’s incompetence? At Congressional hearings recently, there are over EIGHT BILLION dollars IN CASH that was flown to Iraq that’s unaccounted for out of the TWELVE BILLION IN CASH sent over.

How did they send it over, do you ask? They packed it in bricks, mostly made up of $100 bills, each brick worth $400,000, loaded it onto palettes, and fork-lifted it onto planes headed for Iraq. It was approximately 363 TONS of CASH.

For which they can’t account.

I’ll tell you where it’s gone – funding the people who are killing our troops every day. Who are now using chlorine gas to kill children.

Meanwhile, at Building 18 of Walter Reed Medical Center, the injured vets are living in conditions worse than slumlords keep in urban areas. And the Pentagon “doesn’t know about it”. Yeah, right. And whose pocketing that cash, I’d like to know?

They can’t rebuild New Orleans – they can’t even distribute the money regular citizens contributed to help after Hurricane Katrina – but they can airlift 363 tons of CASH to Iraq and lose two thirds of it, while leaving troops in a military hospital on American soil in sub-human conditions, while allowing credit agencies to repossess the veterans’ houses, cars, etc.

Completely unacceptable.

You don’t believe me? CNN and The Times UK both have articles on this debacle. Brian Williams of NBC News has followed the Walter Reed story all week, and there have been dozens of stories over the past months about veterans losing everything because they came back injured and the government is CHARGING them for their medical care and then turning everything over to collection agencies that seize their homes and belongings. This kind of treatment after they’ve fought for the US. Those stories inspired my short story “Not My Vote”, which is currently making the rounds.

Prince Harry of the UK is going to fight in Iraq. The Bush twins –and every other child of age belonging to anyone in Congress – should have to go over there as well. It was correctly spoken a few weeks ago in that Congressional hearing – the majority of the people making the decisions about troops have no personal stake in it – none of their loved ones are going. If they believe so much in this war, their children should have to go and fight in it.

Worked on The Project for a bit, and on Changeling, and on some notes for a few other things, but I’m not really in a creative groove. I’m terrified I’ll lose what little ground I gain this week by being on the show full-time for nearly three weeks. I just have to tackle it one day at a time, and not worry so much. Bit by bit, word by word, right?

Read the Coward diaries, which, from a craft standpoint, are really fascinating. When I’d originally read them, back in the 1980’s, it was from a backstage standpoint, because working backstage was the focus of my life. Now, with the shift to the writing, I’m noticing both his process and his productivity, which are fascinating.

The Fred Stone lithograph of John Henry arrived (an early birthday present) and it’s beautiful! I’m so glad to have it. And the three books I ordered from Strand for The Project – I think they’ll make good train and backstage reading, even though I’ll have to take notes sometimes.

Of course, I’ve come up with another few I need from them.

I started the books I’m set to review, and, thankfully, they’re good. That’s always a concern – that someone asks you to read something and review it and then you don’t like it.

Had a phone meeting with a potential client on the coast far too late in the day for me, which meant my head was spinning with ideas and I couldn’t get to sleep. That’ll teach me!

Had a slow start this morning, although I hauled myself out of bed at a reasonable hour. Had plenty of errands to run – banking; post office (always a chore, since it’s only open at random hours now); bill paying; driving over to Larchmont to a store to get some shirts; hitting Pier 1 for a particular china pattern they no longer carry; getting on I-95 and driving 30 minutes to CT to the Staples there because the one a mere mile from my house never has anything I need; stopping at Greenwich Library to find some Large Print mysteries on the discard shelves that I can send to my grandmother (I found five); the pet store to get apple bitter for a friend and dry food for my little bossy ones; back home, unpacking everything; putting together Chaz’s package to go to Newcastle and two packages of books for my grandmother; going BACK to the post office and getting them all out; going to the drug store to pick up some essentials; finally coming home and saying, “enough already!”

I want to finish reading the books I’m reviewing, work on The Project some more, and get started on a proposal for the potential client. And I haven’t even checked the job boards yet.

Not to mention the fact that zero creative work was done today. So I’ll have to make up for that tomorrow. First thing.

I have to do my creative writing first thing in the morning. Anything else, and I’m ruined for the day.

I have an idea for a new play babbling around my brain, and a completely weird newspaper article about murdered clowns is starting something else percolating. We’ll see.

Today’s house-hunting trip was postponed because of predicted bad weather. Of course, the weather was barely spitting snow down here, but, from reports, it’s pretty bad up near the Cape, so I’m glad I didn’t head out. I have a feeling I won’t be able to do any house-hunting until my next three-week stint at the show is over.

Oxford sent their weekly letter about what else they’re cutting from the health plan. I swear, they’re beyond inadequate; they’re practically non-existent. It’s a health plan in name only.

I’m going to have a cup of tea and read a bit before getting back to work.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Devon

January 31, 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and snowy

I can’t believe January is over. I need another two weeks, please. Not quite ready for February.

“Blue” by Brenda Braene is up on Circadian.

A new essay on supporting living writers is up on the Dog Blog.

The train was late, big surprise, but frustrating because I had three errands that HAD to be run on the way to the theatre. First two, knocked right off. Third was all the way across on the West Side, almost to the river, and, of course, took longer than I wanted, but I still made it to the theatre just a hair late. Amazing how quickly you can walk if you have to.

Work was fine. Not too many sewing repairs, but I had to re-glue some bits of the tin man that were peeling away from the frame.

I heard some of the music from the new musical version of Legally Blonde, which is coming to Broadway sometime soon. It’s REALLY good. I was pleasantly surprised. The kind of music that sticks with you and that you can walk out of the theatre still humming.

I’m writing an article on Barbaro that needs to go out the end of this week, and I need to clear off my desk some more. I don’t know why I’m so sore – I’m going to try to work out some kinks later today with an extra yoga session.

So many of the performers have dashed to Target to get those humidifiers meant for kids in the shape of animals. They’re all over the place. They’re so damn cute, I might have to get one for my apartment.

My first check arrived for the anthology – woo-hoo! It’s always nice when someone pays on time.

The computer decided to upload the newest version of IE (don’t I get a say in these things?) and I had a bit of a fit when everything was rearranged. I found where it hid most of the stuff and put it back where I want it, but I’m not sure.

And this new Microsoft Vista? For which some people paid over $600? That only runs on computers less than two years old, only they don’t bother to tell you BEFORE you plunk down the money?

Typical effing Microsoft.

Chaz’s package returned from the UK, with all sorts of paperwork. Nothing seems too major – maybe I’ll rewrap the toys with bells so they won’t ring and upset postal workers – and then I’m going to try sending it again. At least it wasn’t stolen.

People need to back off from the jawing about Daniel Radcliffe doing Equus. Especially since most of these idiotic gossipy bastards haven’t bothered to learn about the play.

Equus is a modern classic, written by the astounding good playwright, Peter Shaffer. It’s extremely disturbing. However, the young man is not the main character —the psychiatrist treating him is. I saw the play on Broadway years ago, when it first became a phenomenon. It’s dark. It’s disturbing. You leave the theatre viewing the world differently than you viewed it when you entered it, which is what a good play is supposed to do. Although the kid was shirtless for a good portion of it, I only remember one full frontal scene. It was completely organic to the piece and necessary, brief, and not a big deal at all. It didn’t feel shocking or out of place. Plus, you’re in a big darned theatre, so, except for the voyeurs with the opera glasses, you’re not seeing a whole lot.

And believe me, there are plenty of plays that put nudity on stage just to sell tickets. I attended a production at a well-known off-Broadway company a few years back. Can’t remember if I knew one of the actors or one of the crew or why the heck I went. Maybe we just got on the list for one of the previews or something. At any rate, it was a tiny theatre. I was in the third row, and if I’d stretched, I could have touched the bed on the stage.

In the second act, one of the actors is completely naked, sprawled backwards, doing a monologue as part of a 12 minute scene. There was no organic reason in the text for him to be nude in that scene. He had the body, and the company knew it would sell tickets. Good thing he HAD the body, because he sure couldn’t act.

That was exploitation. And, believe me, I know what they pay off-Broadway, and he should have demanded a much higher salary.

Equus is different. The publicity photos that are being blasted around the world are pushing the nudity angle to sell tickets, which annoys me. There’s a shot of Radcliffe and the actress nude together. Now, I don’t remember, in the production I saw, the actress ever actually getting naked with the boy, but maybe that’s something they decided to do for this production. And the house staff will have its hands full taking away cameras.

Photographs are not allowed in ANY professional theatre – it’s a violation of the performers’ right to their image. You purchase a ticket, which is the right to see the live performance IN THE MOMENT, something that can never be exactly replicated again – not to photograph it and sell it or show it to others. Also, using a flash can disorient the actor and cause serious injury onstage. Especially if the actor is trying to maneuver on or off stage, is disoriented by a flash and is run over by a two ton piece of scenery. By being a selfish bastard and taking a photograph, you could maim or kill someone involved with the production. And let’s face it, people are going to try to sell photos of Radcliffe’s genitalia on eBay. I used to work front of house and remove film from cameras – it’s in the program, on the ticket, announced before the show, so if you’re going to violate it, you deserve to get your camera taken away. Personally, I think there should be a list, and if someone violates the no-photograph rule in one theatre, they should be banned for three years or more from all of them.

Regarding Radcliffe and Equus, I’m curious as to how a 17-year-old young man can handle this role. Working on it is bound to change his view of the world not just as an actor, but as a person. It’s an awfully young age to work on the material.

With the whole Harry Potter thing – look, Radcliffe is an actor. His job and responsibility to the audience is to show up on the HP set when he’s contracted and do a terrific job. Which he does. When he’s not on contract, it’s his job to make me believe in any character he plays. That’s what he’s trying to do.

I’d much rather see him doing Equus than go around drinking and doing drugs because the pressure of being HP has become uncomfortable.

I came to the HP movies as a fan of the books. When Rowling writes other books, I plan to read her work, because she’s a damn good writer. With the movies, I was a fan of the body of work of several actors whose work I’d known for years (Rickman, Thewlis, Smith, Shaw, etc.). And I’m interested to see what Radcliffe, Watson, Grint, et al do away from the HP movies.

I’m much more interested in a body of work than seeing someone do the same thing over and over and over again. Part of that is because theatre/film/television is my profession in tandem with the writing. But part of it is because I’m not an ignoramus. There’s enough information on the inner workings of the industry now that only a moron isn’t going to allow growth and change in the performers of which they claim to be “fans”.

As I said in the Dog Blog essay about writers, which makes sense in this situation, too: Decide if you’re a fan of the actor or of the character; own it, and take responsibility for it. If you’re a fan of Harry and only Harry – don’t go see anything else. If you’re a fan of Radcliffe, go with an open mind and give him a chance.

He’s 17. With any luck, he’ll be around for a long time, with a large body of work. Look over Johnny Depp’s body of work. He started young, had early success with Jump Street, made his own way in unusual (to say the least) work, and now he’s got the over-the-top success as Jack Sparrow. Why can’t Daniel Radcliffe find his way, too?

Okay, here’s the January wrap-up for the GDRS:

January 2007 Wrap-Up

Done:
Devon’s Random Newsletter
Finished 1st draft of Token and Affection
Plum essay revisions completed and essay accepted for anthology
Started Chasing the Changeling
Quarterly Newsletter
Occasional (but more frequent than last year) entries on Biblio Paradise and Wordish Wanderings.
Circadian Poems
SDR blog every Wednesday
Kemmyrk Mondays and Thursdays
Devon Ellington temporary site up

In Progress:
Typing Token and Affections
Working to finish 1st draft of Real
Pitches
13-in-Play
Reading research books for the Assumption of Right rewrite
Requested revision for Tumble
3 short stories – I’m going for quality over speed

Postponed/Dropped:
Work on Fix-It Girl
Dixie Dust Rumors queries out
Typing Shallid
Next SDR column begun

Additional:
Unknown Journey outlined
Knockabout Kingdom outlined
Marching Band stories outlined
“New Year’s Resolutions for Sports Fans” article (pub. By Femme Fan)
“Submission Log and Pitch Tracker” article written and submitted
Two interlinked paranormal comedy stories outlined
“Ink in My Coffee” moved to WordPress
“A Biblio Paradise” moved to WordPress
“Kemmyrk” moved to WordPress
“13 Traveling Journals” moved to WordPress
“Place and Space” moved to WordPress
Joined Kristen King’s Query Challenge 2007
Novel idea: Turn of 20th Century
Novel idea: Contemporary action/psychological
Designed and put up Fearless Ink site
Designed and put up Cerridwen’s Cottage site
Joined a blog chain
Devon’s Random Newsletter for February

Disappointments:
Rejection of The Merry’s Dalliance
The death of Barbaro

Successes:
First article of the year published on Jan. 4 (by FemmeFan)
Plum essay accepted
Token and Affections first draft done
Negotiations for possible regular writing gig (not signed, sealed and delivered, but I’m hopeful)

Reading:
Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner. Very good; lots of fun.
Death by Station Wagon by Jon Katz. Excellent. (Actually, I read this in December and forgot to list it).
Hell’s Belles by Jackie Kessler. Wonderful! Excellent!
Dorothy and Agatha by Gaylord Larsen. Liked the plot; struggled with characterizations. Okay.
Diaries by Lavinia Riker Davis. Lovely.
The Ragman’s Memory by Archie Mayor. Excellent.
Off Season by Philip R. Craig. Very good.
Death on a Vineyard Beach by Philip R. Craig. Very good.
Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis. Very good.

Devon

Chasing the Changeling — 20,842 words out of est. 45,000

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20 / 45
(44.4%)

January 20, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Adventures in Shopping. That was yesterday for me.

Went to the post office; got the package off to Pickles, some bills mailed, and got the stamps for the newsletter.

Walked over to the train station to buy my ticket for the next ten trips to the Big Broad Way.

Brushed off the car (light snow, wrong shoes for ice, had to move carefully) and drove upstate, into the flurries to bid farewell to Jo-Ann’s. Most of the store was already stripped bare, but I found some very nice material. None of it was on my list . . . .but it will all be used someday. Let’s just say I’ll be wearing many variations on blue this spring and summer.

Over 20 yards of fabric for $33. Not too shabby. Especially for a last hurrah at Jo-Ann’s.

Corporate Chickie was walking around, talking in a loud voice to no one in particular about how they’d lost the lease on this store without advance warning; it was given to Michael’s, who offered more money; there was nothing Corporate could do; it takes at least six months to plan a store move . . .

“Not if you’re running an efficient company,” I called back.

She began to huff and puff with more excuses, and then I said, “Oh, just stop LYING to us already. Do you think we’re stupid?”

And the other patrons in the store began to applaud and call out comments of their own.

So she stormed into the office and slammed the door. And the people who worked there started coming up to me and telling me what really happened.

And everyone is really upset that Jo-Ann’s corporate assholes won’t stand up and take the flack. They’re hiding. They turned off the phone, refuse emails, won’t talk to anyone (especially reporters), won’t explain except to send Chickie out for her lie-fest. I mean, come on! If that cock-and-bull lost lease story was real, stand up and say, look, we got screwed, we need time to figure this out, you’ll get another store in the area as soon as we can find space. And, hello, there is a TON of space for rent in the vicinity, and I’m sure it’s a damned sight cheaper than where they are now. But to hide behind closed doors and refuse to acknowledge or deal with people who’ve paid their salaries and made their business a success for decades . . .is revolting.

It was so poorly handled, and Jo-Ann’s shows so much disrespect for both its customers and its workers that I don’t want to give them my money in the future. I’ll hunt down places that treat their people decently.

Why so much attachment to a fabric store? Quilting and sewing and all fiber work are art forms that allow something beautiful, creative, and useful. Fiber arts reach deep into our souls, touch a place that’s often left unnourished. When a gathering space for such work is torn away with such utter disregard of what it supposedly stands for, it leaves deep and bleeding wounds in the community.

Tossed the fabric in the trunk of the car and meandered over to Office Max or Office Depot or whatever it is, in the same complex. I need to design stationery and business cards for Fearless Ink and for the pitches I want to send out this week. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I had such a bad feeling in that store, I had to walk out and leave. No one was being rude or anything; they just went about their business. The store was a mess – stuff tossed every which way off the shelves, in the aisles, in a jumble and no one seemed to think it was his or her job to do anything – but it was more than that. I had a strong feeling to get out. So I did.

Went over to the B&N and found some journal books I needed for 50% off, so grabbed those. Stopped at a Staples down the street and found the letter paper, but not the envelopes or business card stock.

By this time, it was nearly 2 PM. I forgot to eat breakfast and hadn’t eaten lunch (don’t try this at home, people, it is NOT healthy). I knew I was in bad shape when I wondered how the steering wheel would taste with a little seasoning.

I got back on the Taconic and then 287, got off the next town over from me, grabbed a bottle of Medoc and some Chinese food and finally ate my meal a little after three.

The cats unpacked all the fabric and dragged it around, and I had to tell them that the cow-jumps-over-the-moon fabric is NOT for them, but for yoga clothes. (It’s cute and silly and perfect to stay home in and write).

Plenty of whacky people driving on the roads who don’t seem to understand that fishtailing down the highway because you’re driving 90+ mph on a road meant for 45 mph that’s now covered in ice won’t get you there faster, just dead faster.

I printed off the newsletter in the afternoon, and will get the envelopes done today and throw it into the mail tomorrow. I prefer to have it out by the 10th, but I had to wait for some additional information before it could go out, so, oh, well. It’s a January newsletter and still going out in January.

I have to finish typing my notes on Chaz’s play and get it out to him, then go to Trader Joe’s before the winds kick in (gale force winds predicted today). There’s only one can of cat food left in the cupboard, and the felines are distressed!

Hung out with a friend last night (told you I had to stop the hermitage lifestyle), and had a good time.

Lots of admin work to do today, but got a few solid pages done on Changeling this morning.

Was tempted to skip the yoga because I overslept, but that would mean disrespecting the commitment I made to myself on Yule, and I’m not willing to do so. Once I got into it, I was glad I had.

Devon

Chasing the Changeling – 12,467 words out of est. 45,000

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12 / 45
(26.7%)

January 19, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

New poem over on Circadian: “Water Diamonds of Joy” by Danielle Frézier.

I’m researching markets, trying to find the most likely fit for some pieces of which I’m extremely fond, but which aren’t easily categorized. I often feel like I’m banging my head against a wall – especially if a publication pays well, and then I read it and can’t stand any of the writing in it.

And then I realized: genre boxes. At this point, it’s almost genre-within-genre boxes.

For instance: female-centric fiction is now shelved in romance if it has so much as a kiss in it. It can be urban fantasy (Hell’s Belles) or action adventure or paranormal or whatever cross-genre imaginative, wonderful creation it is – but it’s “romance”.

While, if it’s male-centric, it’s fantasy or sci/fi.

It’s as though if the sex has any sort of positive emotion behind it, it’s shoved into the romance category, even if that isn’t the main focus of the story. If the sex is clinical, unemotional, or used simply for power, then it’s sci/fi or fantasy or magical realism shelved with fantasy.

There are exceptions, of course: Mercedes Lackey, CJ Cherryh, Diana Paxson, et al. But they broke away from the pack, no matter where the book was shelved (as Jackie Kessler will do with Hell’s Belles, and, before people start having hissies at me, I do NOT think romance is a ghetto genre; I just think HB is more urban fantasy/magical realism that straight-up romance novel).

Side note on Hells’ Belles – I went to a chain for it because I could not wait ONE MORE MINUTE – but I couldn’t find it. So I asked at the desk, and the clerk searched for it and walked me to the romance section, yanked it out and said, “Who was the dumbass who decided it should go here? I HATE working for a chain!” – and yes, she’d read the book! And loved it! (The woman obviously has taste).

What we need are more fantasy/magical realism publishing houses run by women, who won’t stringently categorize their submissions. I think both Samhain Publishing and Freya’s Bower/Wild Child Publishing are working to fill that niche nicely, but we need more.

So, who’s going to step up to the plate?

Speaking of genres, I realized, sadly, yesterday, that there isn’t any one magazine that is fully relevant to my life. I cancelled a bunch of subscriptions recently, and the subscriptions I have only address pieces of the life: Yoga Journal, Health, Writer’s Digest (which will not be renewed – it’s the same material recycled every few months for newbies – I need information for mid-career working writer), Elle, Vogue (I’m in wardrobe, remember? Clothes are part of my job), Organic Gardening (yes, I’m dreaming), National Wildlife (I’m an NWF member) PEN Journal (I’m a PEN member), most issues of Vogue Patterns (I sew), and, well, New Jersey’s stud handbook (horses, not men, and I have no idea why they send it to me).

There are tons of magazines aimed at married women or women whose sole purpose in life is to marry. But there’s nothing for an intelligent, single, in-her-prime working artist.

Step up, people! Go create the magazine of my dreams. I’m not the only one of my kind out there!!!

It was brought home even more clearly when I read the draft of my friend’s new play. It’s wonderful and touching and disturbing and heart-rending all at once. I knew he’d draw me in – he always does. He’s one of those writers who defies genre – call him “boxless” or “unboxed” or, what he truly is, brilliant.

I’m talking, of course, of Chaz Brenchley, who understands what makes humans (and other beings) tick better than we do ourselves, and is brave enough to expose it. If you’ve never read a Chaz Brenchley book, go order one right this minute – and if you’re in the U.S., Bridge of Dreams is a good place to start. He’s lyrical; compelling; a stunning linguist; understands the heights and depths of love, passion, turmoil, manipulation, loyalty, and pain; and helps the reader see the world (any world about which he writes) in a new way. Sometimes the beauty of his prose literally takes my breath away.

His work is beyond genre. It’s too expansive and too honest to fit in a box. Plus, he can write in any genre – mystery, fantasy, or, as in this play, naturalism/realism.

And he certainly does not get the acclaim he deserves. There’s another writer out there selling millions of books out there, who’s at a point of hiring people to co-write/ghostwrite because “he has too many ideas” – yeah, make me gag – whose, writing makes me want to go beyond gag and downright throw up, it’s so damn sloppy and formulaic. That’s one of the writers I sometimes joke about, who I think uses “global replace” for the character name and the location.

There’s nothing wrong with selling well. More power to anyone who earns the right to do so (Janet Evanovich and Tess Gerritsen immediately come to mind in that category).

And Chaz should be right up there with them.

(stepping down off soapbox, polishing it, putting it away).

I also realized (hey, it was snowing, I had lots of “realizing” time) how many married women with whom I’m acquainted, or meet in my travels, who live away from major cities – don’t have friends. It’s like when they signed the marriage certificate, they signed away their right to have people around them not related to them whose company they enjoy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, kids. You know what? The damn husband can take the kids one night a week or whatever so you can do something fun. You work just as hard. Because any time you wrap up your entire life in another individual, you are asking the Fates to kick your ass.

And it’s not the guys who EVER give up their friends.

Nor should they. But neither should the wives. Everyone needs a group of people around them whose company they enjoy on a regular basis. People who don’t have ego-centric agendas, but are just trying to struggle along on the journey, and are companions, not competitors.

It doesn’t seem to be so bad in cities – I guess there are so many people in such a small space, you have enough regular contact with some of the same people that you become friends in spite of yourself.

Speaking of friends, if I don’t get out of “hermit mode”, I’m going to be in big trouble. My friends are getting cranky. “We know you’re writing, but we need to see you ONCE in awhile –and the blue moon’s in May! We don’t want to wait that long!”

So I better book some social engagements! 😉

Did some good work on Changeling this morning. Pieces are fitting into place nicely. They surprise me, but it’s working.

Gave myself the night off last night to read Janet Evanovich’s Plum Love, the between-the-numbers Valentine book. It’s fun and cute and sweet in a good way. And very short – I read it cover to cover in an hour and a half.

I’m on my way to the post office to mail Pickles’s toy and get stamps and mail some bills. Then, if the roads clear up enough, I want to drive up to Mohegan Lake. The Jo-Ann’s is about to close. People are furious – the next closest one is over the Tappan Zee Bridge in a hateful mega-mall – the money you save on the fabric is spent on gas and tolls, and the frustration factor is so high, why bother? What really makes me angry is that the company refuses to acknowledge or respond to the community’s upset. They won’t respond to calls, emails, or reporters. They have so little respect for the people who shop at their store and are such COWARDS, they won’t step up and deal.

So I’m going to Mohegan Lake to say good-bye to the workers who’ve been so good to me over the last few years (who are NOT being shifted to other stores, but simply fired), and then. . .no more Jo-Ann’s for me. Why should my money go to a company that disregards the needs of its customers? I’ve gotten too sensitive of voting with my wallet when it comes to things like that. I don’t know where I’m going to get reasonably priced quilting fabric around here – to me, $11/yard, as one of the other county stores sells is not reasonable for calico. So I’ll have to figure something out. Ordering online is not an option. Fabric is tangible and textural. I need to see it and feel it before I buy it.

If the roads remain icky, I’ll go tomorrow. But we’re supposed to have gale force winds, and I don’t want to be hit by a tree.

Pulled a stack of job leads off the internet yesterday, and will send out the pitches this weekend.

And I have to print off the quarterly newsletter and get it in the mail. No point in writing the damned thing if I don’t mail it.

And then . . .back to the page.

Devon

Chasing the Changeling – 11,467 words out of est. 45,000

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11 / 45
(24.4%)