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 9, 2007

Friday, February 9, 2007
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Check out the poem “Ski” on Circadian.

I do appreciate your comments of concern regarding the work schedule and the stress level. What I’m trying to communicate via this blog is how, if you work in the entertainment industry, it’s not what’s shown in the magazines and gossip shows. Because of the choices I made in my career, my passion, my vocation, I’ve eliminated many of the choices that are part and parcel of most people’s routines. To make a living in this industry is darned hard work, and you don’t have the luxury of taking time when you need it. You get time between gigs. If you’re any good, there’s not a whole lot of time between the gigs.

The incompetents we all have to deal with in our work day tend to be in the admin end of this business, not backstage or on set. Incompetence will only be tolerated for short periods of time in most cases. There’s too much work, and producers rarely hire enough people to comfortably cover it. And, because it’s concentrated work – it has to happen within the hours of the show or the filming – it’s not like you can let something slide and get to it the next day. There’s no inbox where something can sit. You’ve got to get the clothes prepped, repaired, preset, and toss those actors in and out of them on time or the show doesn’t happen.

Personally, my next day off is February 19, and I don’t intend to do a whole lot that day.

Yes, actors work hard in extreme conditions, but crews work double the hours and don’t get the pampering and coddling that actors get. Theatre actors get a heck of a lot less of the coddling than film actors, and have to be pretty smart and self-sufficient if they’re going to make it on stage. Which is why so few film actors do well on stage and so many theatre actors can make the transition to film or television.

Next time you watch an hour-long drama on television, know that it took AT LEAST 200 people that you never see, working 8 days of AT LEAST 12 hour days, usually 14-18 hour days, turning around and coming right back at the crack of whenever, usually in extremes of temperature, especially if it’s on location, in order for you to sit on your couches in your safe houses and watch. A feature film shoots about two pages (approximately two minutes) per day. A television drama has to shoot around 10 pages. Basically, an hour-long drama does a mini-movie every week. Remember when I worked that series last summer? On the hottest day of the year, temperatures over 100 degrees? And we had to match shots that were originally filmed in March, so I had to put my actors in overcoats? And very often, when the actors are wearing skimpy clothes, it’s about 20 degrees. That’s the way it goes. You can’t always schedule to season. You have to schedule when the network tells you to shoot it.

And frankly, my dear, the suits that make the decisions don’t give a damn, as long as they get their advertising dollars. If something creative and wonderful comes out of it (which is why every creative team goes into a project), goody, but as long as they can sell it, they don’t care.

Which is why you have crap like “reality” television. It’s not reality. If it was reality, it would be a documentary. It’s merely exhibitionists showing their worst selves. And it’s cheaper than properly scripted, well-produced shows.

Also remember that, for film or TV, most actors aren’t scheduled every day. The crew is, though. On a one-hour drama, an actor might get to shoot all his scenes in two or three days (if he’s lucky – some weeks, he will be in every day for the whole 14 hours). The crew is there for several hours before the actors arrive, and several hours after they leave. Every day.

On a theatre show, the actor has to be there every performance. Yes, there are swings and people call out and all that, but, basically, the performer has to be there, eight times a week, with no end in sight (and none desired) unless it’s a limited run.

When you go to see a Broadway show, there are over 100 people you never see (if they’re good at their jobs) making it all happen. And they only get one day off a week. And they work nights, weekends, and holidays. And many of them are working parents, just like you, only they don’t have the luxury of a 9-5 lifestyle. A friend of mine in the theatre raised her son as a single parent, working on a Broadway schedule. I don’t know how she did it. Imagine doing all the things you have to do as a parent AND work eight shows a week, nights, weekends, and holidays. How many of you could do it? And tech people don’t have child care. Successful actors hire in nannies, but most crew people don’t.

If you’re on a regular gig, and have an understanding boss, occasionally, you MIGHT be able to take a day off for your wedding anniversary or a birthday or your kid’s play. But that’s the exception, not the norm. Most of the time, you don’t get to participate in the normal family events, or you have to reschedule celebrations around the work schedule. And holidays? One of my friends on the show hasn’t had the chance to celebrate Christmas yet with her sister.

And yet, ask most stressed out, overworked persons in the industry if they’d rather do the 9-5 gig, and they’d say no. Who wants to be stuck in a cubicle when you can be part of a creative process? There’s a high price to be paid, but most people are happy to pay it for 20 years or so, and then try to move into another career (as I’m doing).

Backstage yesterday, we discussed the un-reality show You’re the One That I Want, that’s casting the next Broadway production of Grease, and how we, as a community, are insulted by the show. Yes, we’ve all watched parts of it. And we HATE it. It does not present an accurate casting process; it does not document the creative process that goes into putting on a show. It is an insult to the integrity of everyone who busts their butts eight times a week. But the producers don’t care, because they got an amazing advance sale out of it. There are some great documentaries out there about the “making of” various shows – go watch them instead, if you really want an idea of the process.

Anyway, back to yesterday. The phone kept ringing, but I finally got out of the apartment around 11. Took the R train (also known as the “Rarely”) down to Prince Street, rather than Canal, because Pearl River Mart recently moved from Chinatown up to Soho. Their new location is HUGE, quite a difference from their space on Canal Street. Full of tourists, now, too, but, oh well. I dug around in the back and downstairs and got the stuff I need for Chinese New Year next week (yes, I know, the Token White Girl shops for Chinese New Year – what can I say, I’ve worked on many Asian shows and am often teased as the “token white girl” or the “honorary Asian”).

I passed some boutiques – in addition to the regulars like Armani, you also have places like theory and Elie Tahari, who have some excellent stuff. A couple of the television shows I worked dressed most of the women with their lines. Many of those in the real lines of work represented by the characters really can’t afford to shop at theory, but hey, it’s fantasy, right? But after all the time it took me to wrap up to be outside, there was no way I was going to go into a store, unwrap, and try on clothes.

By then, I was really hungry, so I figured I’d eat down in Soho. Well, easier said than done. I checked out a few restaurants, but they had tapas-sized portions at banquet prices; no thanks. I wanted civilized, not trendy. I ended up wandering back up into the West Village. I think I might move the house location in Token and Affections from Perry Street over to 10th and Waverly. I found some wonderful buildings, which I photographed. I thought I’d try a Vietnamese restaurant on Bleecker I’ve wanted to try for ages, but it was already something else. Restaurants change like underwear. I nearly went to my old hangout, Le Figaro Café, but they’ve changed the menu, and didn’t have anything I really wanted. So, I wandered across W. 4th and over to Sheridan Square, and then on up 7th Avenue South to Riviera Café, a place to which I’ve gone for years. They had a glassed in porch-type section, right in the sun, so that’s where I parked, for a lunch of grilled salmon on julienned vegetables and arugula-type greens. Delicious.

Then, I wandered over to Avenue of the Americas and up to 23rd Street, to a store my friend Barbara told me about yesterday, called Reminiscence. She told me they had kitschy Nancy Drew stuff there, amongst all the various jokey and vintage stuff, so I HAD to go. I got several Nancy Drew journals and notepads. One of the journals has the cover for The Secret in the Old Attic, which was my very first Nancy Drew book and still one of my favorites.

By then, I was cold, and there was a subway stop right there, so I hopped the V (Voyeur) train and came back up to midtown. I crawled through the Fashion Week madness around Bryant Park and got back to Artie’s in the early afternoon.

The only stuff I’ve liked in this Fashion Week has been Michael Kors’s lines for both men and women, and some of Betsey Johnson’s hats. The rest – I’m sorry, I do NOT want to see most of the men around here wearing leggings come fall, and these short, A-line capes for men that hit about mid-thigh look stupid on them. These guys look like they’re wearing wool replicas of ski chalets. Um, why? If they look bad on the models, how are they going to look on regular guys? Ick.

Grabbed a nap with the cats, did some project work, made a quick pasta dinner, and off to the theatre. Morale tends to be good there on Thursday nights because it’s pay day. Show was fine; relatively smooth. It’s live, so there’s always something unusual happening.

The Tin Box is a lovely book; it’s difficult to read backstage in between cues because it deserves more than just a few minutes at a time.

This morning, I’m going to get some food in to prepare a meal for Artie’s return. He gets in Sunday night, and I want to make sure all he has to do is heat it up. Most of the day will be spent quietly, writing, and then I have dinner with a friend at 4 PM. I got a late start, so I’m going to do my banking and errands first, and then have about five or six hours for the writing. I plan to work on Changeling and Tumble today, and on whatever price quotes, etc., have come in for the business writing. I also need to do a couple of ads for the Fearless Ink site, a few press releases, and get those prepped to go out next week.

I’m truly surprised at how big a difference it makes NOT to commute 3 hours each day. I knew it had some effect, but it’s astonishing. Not only am I less exhausted, but I also have more hours in which to write. However, because I’m not on the train, I have much less time to read. I can’t believe I haven’t even finished a single book this week. I usually read one every two days or so.

I managed to start the Martha Gellhorn biography last night, when I had trouble settling down after the show, and wasn’t in the mood for fiction. It’s a wonderful book, and I’m excited to read more.

The Barbaro article was passed around backstage last night, and reduced most of the people who read it to tears. I admit — I was pleased. Means my words hit home, and I did the beautiful horse justice.

Devon

February 7, 2007

Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and still cold

“Quiet Church“ by Caleigh Frayne is today’s Circadian Poem.

I can’t sign in to post on the SDR blog, so there’s nothing up today. I spent the time writing the damn essay, but God forbid Blogger should let me have access to that blog. I can access all my other blogs that USED to be on Blogger, but not SDR.

I discovered that I can’t print from Artie’s computer. He kindly set me up access to the word processing programs and internet and everything else I need, but only an administrator can print! So, as a precaution, I’m emailing everything to myself as well as backing up my disks. It’s not a big deal. As far as I know, I don’t have to send out hard copy of anything; if I do, I’ll take it to a copy shop and print it out.

The heat comes on and off in spurts here – it’s warm for awhile; shuts off and gets cold; gets warm. So I have to get used to it. The cats, meanwhile, took possession of the hot water bottle, so too bad for me.

Did a bunch of organizational work on Changeling yesterday morning. It’s work I should have done earlier or before I started it, but I didn’t because I was getting character and dialogue down. Now, I’ve hit a spot where it needs to be all sorted and logical or the rest of the novella won’t make sense. So I sat down and did it. I’ll have to modify some of the names, which are too complicated, but the basic structure is there.

Also, got through a ton of email and found a couple of new markets for material – that is sitting on disks back home. Well, nothing’s on a tight deadline, so it can wait and I’ll send it off next week. I’m keeping a running list of the week, so I know what needs to be handled when I return.

The trade-off this week is dealing with the noise, but not having to deal with a three-hour round trip commute to get to and from the theatre.

Day work was fine. Plenty to do. Grabbed a quick dinner (take-out from Thalia) of lasagna. Just enough to be satisfying, while still being a small portion.

Started reading Holly Kennedy’s The Tin Box, which is a beautiful book.

Show was interesting. Two people were out; one more called in after we set the costume racks, so we had to rearrange things; someone else got sick, so we had to rearrange more; another costume hadn’t been rigged properly, and it wasn’t discovered until the quick change; someone didn’t show up for her cue, so I did it, and then, instead of helping move the heavy rack as she’s supposed to, she just stood there, but I didn’t know she wasn’t guiding it, and we knocked over a bunch of folding chairs. Whatever. And one of the guys had to leave partway through the first act because he had food poisoning, poof thing.

Got some work done on character notes for a new piece. I’m after particular psychological interaction between the characters and how their work together as a group influences their lives outside of the group. So I have to figure out their stories and the different permutations before I get into the plot.

Started work on the revision of Tumble, as well.

Decent morning’s work on Changeling.

I’m sore from the physical demands of heavy costumes and the racks filled with heavy costumes that have to be moved hither and yon in the course of the show.

Thanks for all the suggestions regarding noise. However, I lived in Manhattan, in Times Square for 13 years. Nothing works. Nor do I get used to it, in the sense of not noticing it, although I can usually manage my response to some degree. It’s tied to a medical condition, it’s not just that I find noise annoying. And it’s the vibration of repetitive machine noise combined with the actual sound that’s the problem. Hence, I can’t be exposed to it for long periods of time. And no, medication is not an option, because anything that hides/blocks the noise rather than dealing with the source makes the medical condition worse.

Two shows today. Sigh.

Devon

Chasing the Changeling – 25,092 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

25 / 45
(55.6%)

Published in: on February 7, 2007 at 9:25 am  Comments (7)  

February 3, 2007

Saturday, February 3, 2007
Last Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and COLD

Most of yesterday was spent going through my desk, item by item, to clear it off. As you may remember (not worth bothering), I had four stacks on the desk, and had gotten through two.

Yesterday, it took me the bulk of the day to get through HALF of the third stack. Very depressing.

But I managed to get out another submission and two more pitches, so not all was lost. Although one of the pitches bounced back because the mailbox was full, and I have to try to resend it.

And I cleared about 1200 legitimate emails out of the various accounts, and even more spam.

Remembered Saturn Retrograde in time to keep from repeating a mistake, while trying to be helpful. An acquaintance is in an unfulfilling relationship and is asking for “opinions.” What she’s really asking for is reassurance that staying in a relationship that borders on abusive is the right thing to do. I don’t think it is, but telling her so only gets her back up, not to mention the fact that most of her circle are also in negative/borderline abusive relationships because none of them want to go out there and earn their own livings. They’d rather be told they’re fat and ugly and get cheated on and still have an AmEx card without a limit so they can spend money they haven’t earned than go out and do it on their own. When questioned as to why they stay in the relationships and the answer is “Who would pay for my spa treatments?” “What would I do if I couldn’t shop at Bergdorf’s whenever I wanted?” — sorry, nothing I can say is going to help.

All I’m doing by stating my opinion is inviting more aggravation for myself. We’ve had this conversation numerous times; she knows my opinion. I’m not going to suddenly tell her everything she’s doing is good and okay when I don’t think it is. It’s fine to choose not to take someone’s advice; but then don’t keep coming back and asking the same questions.

Formerly, I would have continued trying to help someone who doesn’t want help, but wants enabling. Now, I just said, “You know my position on it. I’m not having this conversation again. It’s your life, and, ultimately, your choice.”

And that’s that. Much less stress for me, and she has to take responsibility for her own damn life.

The Situation: The Sequel is getting worse again here. Of course it is, because I’m going to be unable to do anything about it for the next couple of weeks. So someone else will have to step up.

Picked the books I’m going to take to the city: a biography of Martha Gellhorn, The Tin Box by Holly Kennedy, Dark Side of the Moon by Sherilyn Kenyon (it looks really good and I’ve never read anything of hers before), Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim Powers, and Natural Enemy by Jane Langton.

I received the final version of the Plum essay and need to do a final proofing this weekend.

Yesterday, I raved on Wordish Wanderings from the editor’s side of the table about unprofessional writers who can’t be bothered with guidelines. Now, I’m going to vent for myself and other professional writers towards editors who change their minds midstream.

A story of mine was rejected yesterday, because “you sent us story type X. We’re looking for story type Y. I don’t know why everyone is sending us story type X.”

You want to know why? Because a call for submissions went out on several of the job lists stating you wanted story type X AND when I double-checked the guidelines on your website, that’s what they said. If you want story type Y, don’t ask for story type X. If you’re getting too many story type Xes and you want more Y’s, then SAY so on the guidelines. Don’t punish the writers because you got the type of story for which you asked in the Call for Submissions you sent out.

Finding the right placement for one’s work truly is like dating, and one has to kiss a lot of frogs first.

Got some work done on Changeling this morning, but not enough to update the word count.

I’m on my way into the city now to drop off some of my stuff at Artie’s, feed the cats, and then head down to Aphrodesia to stock up on some necessary herbs.

Then, it’s back to the desk and back to the page. I want to polish the Barbaro article before it goes off and get some other stuff done, before working my way farther down the stacks on the desk.

Devon

January 28, 2007

January 28, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The Capercaillie Beautiful Wasteland CD finally arrived (I ordered it in November). So I loaded it onto the Zen V. It’s one of my favorite CDs.

I only load music I completely love to the Zen V – the tried-and-true – Capercaillie, Texas, Tellu, Hedingarna, Ani DiFranco, Elvendrums, Pat Benatar, Springsteen, etc. That way, I can just play all the tracks in any order and be happy.

It helps a lot when the train gets frustrating, or there’s too much construction noise, or I’m off by myself doing day work.

Managed to get out a submission before I left for work.

Very sore from dragging around the heavy coats on two shows yesterday. This morning’s yoga got a lot of the major kinks out, but I’m still sore. And I get to turn around and do it all over again.

The cats hate the feeling of the sticky mat under their paws. However, Elsa figured out that if she stands next to it and rolls onto it, her paws never have to touch the mat!

My mom said the dog is like a different animal – he’s happy and peppy and playing. So, all he needed was company and reassurance.

Yesterday, my mom had to come over while I was at work – because I couldn’t get the front door to close, and I had to make the train for work. Even with the keylock chain on the door to keep intruders OUT, I couldn’t risk the door being cracked open for fourteen hours – it was wide enough for nosy felines to slip through. So, the door’s been fixed. And cats corralled.

What sort of omen is that, eh?

Artie treated me to dinner last night at eatery. It’s been around for quite a few years – since Miss Saigon was running, and that was back in 2000 – but I’d never eaten there. A group of us from that show had gone in when it first opened, but they were so rude, we walked right back out. But I’d heard good things in the interim. The food was very good – Artie had farmer’s pasta and I had a duck tostada – and the service was also good.

And, there are three new restaurants in the neighborhood that we have to try in the coming weeks.

I wandered up to the Time Warner Center after (actually, I was thinking of something else and wandered all the way up to Lincoln Center before I realized I overshot it). I went to Borders and got books by two of this blog’s visitors: Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis, and The Tin Box by Holly Kennedy. I look forward to reading both of them.

I’m reading Philip R. Craig’s Death on a Vineyard Beach. One of the things I like about his books is how he weaves daily life into the mystery. In most books of the genre, the mystery IS it. It drops in, rips the fabric of life, and first people have to get through it, then they have to cope, and we often don’t see them doing so. In both of the Craig novels I’ve read, the mystery is there, but so is the daily life. Yes, JW investigates – but he also keeps to his unfettered schedule of fishing and drinking Sam Adams and spending time with his wife, and generally, having a life. I like that style a lot. It breaks the rules one is taught in mystery writing workshops – but, to me, it allows me a deeper connection to the characters, and lets me suspend my disbelief and live in the world of the book more thoroughly.

Did a bit of work on Changeling this morning, but am not happy with it. I can’t quite put my finger on what’s not working, but it doesn’t feel right.

Back to the show for a matinee. This will be the last time I do this track for quite awhile. The way it was originally set up, it was my favorite track. Some of the permutations make sense, but some were made to stoke the various dressers’ egos, and I have no patience for that. Changes should make the track run more efficiently, not be made just so the dresser can mark territory.

The shower beckons, and then I need to eat and catch a train . . .

Devon

Chasing the Changeling – 18,717 out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
18 / 45
(40.0%)