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 21, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold
Ash Wednesday

Wren Fallon’s poem “Simple”, an homage to poets Sharon Olds and Jackie Kay, is up on Circadian.

Hopefully, there will be a new post on the SDR blog later this morning, or early afternoon.

I tried to comment on the Blogger blogs yesterday and was told I wasn’t “allowed” to. So, sorry, my friends, I tried. Blogger seems not to want anyone to read/comment on blogs unless you upgrade/give your firstborn/only bow to Blogger.

Much happier with Firefox than with IE7. I changed the look of it so the tool bar is made out of red and green cats. I guess you had to be there. But it makes me happy.

I’ve managed to pick up an ear infection on top of everything else, so my left ear is blocked, I can’t hear and my balance is off. Last time I was in Edinburgh (with an ear infection), I stumbled into the wonderful Napier’s, they took a look at me, sold me a bottle of drops, I put some in my ear and – two hours later, I was fine. I’m going to see if I have anything left in that bottle.

I got in to the city early enough to shoot across 42nd St. and drop down 9th Avenue to 40th Street to Empire Coffee and Tea to get some more fresh coffee – and I met Artie on the street on the way – he was on his way to pick up cat food and cat litter! So we did my errand, we hung out at Metropets – where I acquired Elsa twelve years ago! – and then I shot back up to 51st St. and the theatre.

I was terribly unfocused during day work. Everything got done, mind you – but thank goodness there wasn’t a quiz!

Back on the train home and found an awesome backpack from the Sierra Club waiting for me – along with an enormous box containing two teeny tiny ink cartridges for my printer and an enormous box containing the even smaller flashcard for the camera.

I know, I know – “They have to put them in big boxes or the delivery services lose them” – hell, then SWITCH damn delivery services! You’re PAYING them to PAY ATTENTION to each and every package, for crying out loud! If it’s the size of an earring, they shouldn’t lose it! The amount of waste just appalls me. However, I use the boxes over and over and OVER again, so I guess I’m doing my part to make up for it.

A colleague of mine is raising money for two wonderful-sounding dance projects – one will take place in Pennsylvania and one is a special commission either in or from Findhorn, Scotland. I can’t contribute much, but I can throw a little bit of money her way – and I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel. Instead of donating to a “cause”, where you never really know where your money goes, and always worry it’s going to someone’s expense account rather than the purpose of the organization – this money goes directly into the project. There will be a choreographed piece of dance/art resulting from it – and that prospect just thrills me.

I’ll ask her if there’s some sort of web link or something, so you guys can see the result!

Searched the job boards. Found a local writing job that might be interesting – I’ll send them a query and see if we’re a good match.

Did some prep work on The Project, but it was one of those evenings where there was a definite law of diminishing return.

So I gave up by 9:30 and decided to read a book instead (Noel Coward’s diaries), wrapped up in bed, with cats, hot water bottle, earache, and all. Sometimes, you just want to read about someone else’s life in the theatre.

I overslept this morning, much to the cats’ dismay. I have to re-read the 100+ pages I have on Changeling. By not working on it for over a week while I was sick, I completely lost the thread of the story. The only way I can get it back is to re-read what I’ve got and get back into the world. It’s quite discouraging. But that’s what happens when one breaks rhythm – the umbilical cord between writer and Muse is fragile, and if the Muse feels neglected (even for a good reason), sometimes she snaps the thread.

Rescheduled meeting with potential client for this afternoon, so I hope it goes well. I need to get some work done on the Tumble re-vision and also read over Assumption of Right in preparation for the revisions. AND, I was asked to review two e-books, so I have to read them this week so that I can review them properly next week. AND, a friend showed me some exquisite books she found at an antiques store in Wisconsin, and I want to write about them for Biblio Paradise. AND finish up the next Lit Athlete column.

And here I am, frittering away a good portion of the morning with sleep! 😉 Well, I needed it.

Have a happy day! I’m glad I don’t have to go into the city today – my train line is down, and there’s no way I’d drive in.

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

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

January 21, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and COLD

The problem with doing admin work all day is I feel so unproductive. That sounds silly – I should be glad it’s done, right? But because it’s a bunch of little bits that take longer than it seems they should, I always feel like I’ve gotten very little accomplished.

Regarding the question on Saturn Retrograde: Better than Mercury Retrograde? Not so sure about that. During a Mercury Retrograde, travel is delayed; communication is hard and misunderstandings abound; electronics go klaplooey; but it’s a great time to go bargain shopping. You want to stay away from big ticket items: houses, cars, computers, plasma TVs – but go to thrift shops, flea markets, or hit sales.

My mantra for a Mercury Retrograde: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

Safest thing to do.

Saturn is the planet of life lessons. If you haven’t learned –and made the changes – since the previous Saturn Retrograde – the Universe is going to kick your ass and you’ll have a hard time.

Because I was thoroughly ass-kicked last time around (still have the bruises), I’m being especially careful this time. Every time I find myself falling into a pattern, I stop and ask if this is really the most positive way to deal with it.

Got the links and thank yous out to the interviewees for the Lit Athlete article.

Cleaned out a bunch of email accounts that had way too much spam in them. But managed to retrieve some non-spam that nearly got lost.

Worked on Circadian.

You know what’s cool about Valentine’s Day, Circadian-wise, this year? Many of the really good submissions are from men. And it’s lovely writing. Loving and clear and unsentimental, but with deep feeling.

So Mia and several others are encouraging this new magazine idea. I’m definitely open to brainstorming for a few months, and to getting it started once I’ve relocated. That’s the big thing – I don’t want to commit to something this big until I’m settled. The other thing is to write a business plan/proposal and get financing, because I want to pay all the writers. It might not be a lot, especially at first, but I want to pay everyone. I’m still waiting for a grant to come through for another project that will allow me to pay some writers for some stuff. I’d hoped THAT would get off the ground by May, but it now looks like October.

I also don’t want to exclude either men or married people. I have plenty of friends who are both, and I’d hate for them to feel left out of the mix, as either writers or readers.

So – writers, artists, readers – what’s missing from the magazines, in your opinion? What cravings are not being fulfilled? Let’s brainstorm over the next few months.

Regarding the advice of putting advertisements on the blogs and the websites: I appreciate your expertise, but I’ve decided not to do so right now. I’m happy that it works for others. I tend to ignore the ads on other people’s sites, unless the ad is for the new book or a friend’s book or something. I feel battered by everything being advertising/marketing all the time. I’d rather my pages weren’t that – which sounds like a contradiction since both Fearless Ink and Cerridwen’s Cottage are there to market my work. But people are coming there because they want to learn more about my work, not read ads for a casino cruise or erectile dysfunction or something. I’m going to put up Links pages in a few weeks on both sites to lead readers to other sites I think they might find interesting, but, at least for now . . .I’m skipping the ads.

Errands: Put gas in the car; went to Trader Joe’s; went to the drug store (hey, lipstick was buy one, get one free, I am there). Trader Joe’s was enormously busy – that’ll teach me to go on Saturday at mid-day, right?

The poor guy in front of me – he had two items and a woman with a cart ready to burst at the seams shoved him with it in the back of the knee so she could go ahead of him in the line. He had two things – she could have let him go first. But he doesn’t say a word, lets her go ahead of him. She’s digging through her purse, she’s bitching about her life (chick’s wearing a full length fur coat AND dangling a Lexus key – oh, here are the violins, you’re the one who married someone who gives you STUFF instead of love, don’t tell me you didn’t know what you were getting into — and get a better colorist, you can afford it), anyway, on and on, and on. The poor guy is totally uncomfortable and she does everything she can to make him more uncomfortable. I’m starting to wonder if maybe she’s naked under the coat and flashing him. She’s muttering something to him and, even though I’m behind him, I can see he’s turning all shades of red. I really thought he was going to crawl into the produce display and pull the lettuce over himself. Anyway, she finally leaves, he places his two things on the checkout, pulls out his wallet and change flies everywhere. I pick up the change and hand it to him and he’s beet red, very grateful, and looks like he’s going to burst into tears at any moment. And he can’t be more than 20. He’s about six feet four, but he’s YOUNG. Poor kid.

So he pays, and leaves. And I whip all my stuff through the checkout (I bring my own bags and can pack MUCH faster than they can). I take everything outside, pull the bags out of the cart to leave it where it needs to be – and the guy’s waiting for me – to carry my bags to the car because I helped pick up his change. It was so cute! I thanked him and told him that was his good deed for the day, but tolerating Lexus Bitch scored him angel points for at least six months.

Nice to know there are still some sweet guys growing up. His parents did a good job!

On today’s agenda is picking up groceries at the OTHER store (I love having six grocery stores in a five mile radius, I am such a spoiled grocery brat), and going over to my friend’s place to do laundry and cook a nice meal. This’ll be a busy week theatre-wise. I got a lot done in the fussy admin quarter, but not nearly enough writing.

You’re right, Brandy – it’s so important to eat properly. I’m usually pretty good about it, but I’ve woken up later than usual lately, and the food is what’s getting cut from the schedule, which it can’t.

And congrats to my friend J. from the UK, who just bought a place in Saratoga!!! We go to horse races together all over the world. He loves Saratoga and spends so much time there, especially over the summer, that it makes complete sense to own a place there.

Nice morning’s work on Changeling, but I need to get a lot more writing done today and tomorrow in preparation for the week.

Wrote a blurb for my friend’s book, which is always fun.

Devon
Chasing the Changeling – 14.092 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

14 / 45
(31.1%)