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

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 45
(44.4%)

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%)

January 27, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

But at least the heat is working again.

I gave myself a day off from writing, because there was a lot to do, not much time, and there was no point in driving myself crazy, or it wouldn’t all get done. I ran most of my errands, cut the ones that could be put off without disruption to anyone else’s schedule.

I went over to help my mom with the dog. He’s much better – the problem was that he literally made himself sick with terror and worry. My mom is very good with animals (which is why she’s a professional pet sitter), and, between us, we reassured him, and he was much, much better by the end of the day. He was back on his paws enough in an hour or two so he didn’t need to go to the vet, after all. My mom winds up the job she’s currently on today and will be with him full-time until his people return – although we have no idea when that will be. He’s a very sweet dog, but doesn’t know many words, and that lack of comprehension makes him even more scared of what’s going on. He’s never been left before, or around strangers, so the past month of being shuffled from pillar to post without his main human has been devastating for him. At least my mom can provide some stability for him over the next week or so. He already adores her, and he even brought me his favorite stuffed toy as soon as I walked in the door.

I spent most of the day with the dog next to me, reading Philip R. Craig’s Off Season. Craig’s series is set on Martha’s Vineyard, and it’s well done. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in it.

One of the things I like best about “discovering” a previously unknown-to-me author who has a lot of books to his (or her) name is the lovely anticipation of having a whole list of books to work my way down. I have that now, with both Philip Craig and Archie Mayor, and it means lots to which to look forward.

Rearranging parts of “The Man on the Yoga Mat” and it works better this way.

Did some work on Changeling this morning. Had trouble getting back into it. I’m in a complicated section that needs a large swath of uninterrupted time, which I don’t have, so it’s a mere skeleton with lots of squiggles here and there as I remember bits and pieces necessary to the puzzle.

Off to shower and then to the theatre for 2 shows/14 hour day. On a train just after ten; will return around one a.m., grab a few hours’ sleep and then go back for the matinee. It’ll be the last time for awhile I do this particular track (the heavy coat track) because the new permanent person starts on Tuesday, and hopefully, the actors will have some stability for a bit. As stable as anything can be in the transient world of theatre.

Monday, I have to be very, very focused to get out a whole bunch of paperwork stuff that MUST go out before the end of the month.

So I won’t have recovery time. But, then, this entire week will have to be about supreme organization of time, with no excuses.

Oh, yeah, and in The Sequel: Building’s under contract, so who knows what fresh hells await?

Devon

Chasing the Changeling – 17,967 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 45
(37.8%)