Tues. Jan. 17, 2017: Reading, Figuring, Negotiation

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and take a look at “The Joy of Re-Reading.” Maybe it will inspire you to re-read some of your favorites.

Well, the weekend wasn’t as relaxing or productive as I hoped.

There was news happening, such as Swamp Thing Elect’s attack on John Lewis — right before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Typical of a self-centered Swamp Thing to attack someone vital to this country’s civil rights.

Not to mention that Biloxi, MS is now calling it “Great Americans Day”. That is not the name of the holiday, and you don’t get to change its name just because you’re a racist representing other racists.

Ringling Brothers’ Circus is closing after 146 years. Feld blames animal rights activists, and I call bullslhit on that. There are circuses without animal acts (such as Big Apple) who are doing fine without them. As someone who pitched to them several years ago to be part of their marketing department, I had a plan that would have brought them into the 21st Century while still paying tribute to their history and the history of “circus.” (Regular readers know I have several circus-themed projects in development — I have a good handle on the history). They weren’t interested. To their credit, they also didn’t start hiring third-rate reality celebutards to get them more attention. Am I saying that if they’d hired me they’d still be viable? No, because I’m sure other people pitched even better plans. But they weren’t willing to take big enough risks.

Sent off some material to a theatre that seems interested in working with me. We’ll see.

Did some more research for a pitch to a different theatre. I’d like to do the particular project I’ve been researching, so I sent off the pitch. Fingers crossed. It would mean six months of immersion in a period of time I’m interested in, but don’t know much about except peripherally. It would mean six months of immersion in beauty (as well as drama), which I could use right now.

I also re-thought another long-term project, which means one of my deadlines that was at the end of this month is now at the beginning of March, and then the next at the beginning of June, and so forth, every 12 weeks for the next two years, instead of every 6 weeks for a year. That will allow each of those pieces to be more in depth and more polished.

Because the point of honing one’s craft is that every piece one writes is better than the earlier ones.

Read Gail Godwin’s PUBLISHING: A MEMOIR, and recommended it to a friend who’s been going through a rough time. I didn’t realize how many publishers and editors she had — although she found the right agent early on and they stuck by each other. The right agent is so important. And difficult to find.

I used to read a lot of Godwin’s work, and really liked it. Until the religion overshadowed things like plot, character, and story, and then she lost me. I haven’t read the last few books, but I think I will try them. I also want to find the early ones, the ones I liked so much, that are packed away somewhere downstairs, and re-read them.

I don’t trust people who say they never re-read. A good book gives you fresh gifts every time you enter it. The “don’t have time” argument is just another bullshit excuse. There’s no such thing as “having” time for anything. You make the time for things that matter, and you ignore the rest.

Playing with a few things writing-wise, but it wasn’t anywhere near the productive writing weekend I needed it to be. I’m way, way behind where I need to be and frustrated.

I managed to write 14 pages on a piece on Saturday, but it wasn’t one of the pieces I should be working on. However, it was important in its own way, and I learned from it.

Read Miles Morland’s MILES AWAY: A WALK ACROSS FRANCE, which was fun.

There was an absolutely amazing event on Sunday at the New York Public Library, hosted by PEN America. It was the Louder Together Event, for writers to express the importance of protecting and fighting for free speech. There were people I knew there; people I didn’t know before but admired; new-to-me people who I now know. Writers of all kinds: novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, translators, journalists (I’m talking REAL journalists who work stories, not news readers), and, most importantly to me, perhaps: playwrights. Because live theatre is a huge arena of change, because it is experiential rather than theoretical. Heroines of mine such as Anna Devere Smith and Eve Ensler spoke. I have always felt a great honor and a great responsibility as a member of PEN — it was strengthened on Sunday.

I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces from where I now live — Cape Cod. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they went to the sister rally held in Boston. However, I seriously doubt it. May I be proven wrong!

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and a holiday. I took it as such. A contract offer came through — why it was sent to me instead of to my agent puzzles me. Negotiations will start this week, and it will be settled one way or the other.

I have a lot of lost ground to make up on both NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS, although I’m feeling more confident in SONGBOUND SISTERS. Its natural rhythm is a bit slower than I’m used to; since it is yet to be contracted, I have the luxury of working with the book’s natural rhythm.

I started reading ITALIAN WAYS: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks. He says something that resonates even more strongly in 2017 than in 2013, when the book was written: “In America the lack of investment in train travel speaks eloquently of a country always ready to appear righteous but pathologically averse to surrendering car and plane for a more eco-friendly, community-conscious form of mobility.” (p. viii, Preface).

Today, in addition to catching up on writing, I have a Very Long List of administrative tasks. Gotta keep up with them or they become overwhelming.

If the contract negotiations end positively later this week or early next week, there will be press releases to get out. Ditto if the play set in the Renaissance I pitched is commissioned. So, I have to be ready to jump on either of those instantly, should they come to pass.

I’m also working on a new marketing plan for the Topic Workbooks.

It’s always feast or famine; if even a handful of the opportunism work out, I’m entering a feast cycle, which will be good. I’ll need to step up to the plate and deliver. And adjust the uncontracted work so it still moves forward (because today’s uncontracted work is tomorrow’s contracted work) without sabotaging the contracted work.

It’s all about protecting the work while keeping one’s commitments, and knowing how to shift. And being able to work on more than one thing. Very few writers have the luxury any more, of being able to work on one project at a time. They should honor their agents and editors when they do.

Have a great week!

Mon. Feb. 25, 2013: Rehearsals Begin on a Full Moon

NMLC_Murder_Seals_the_Deal_LR-1

Monday, February 25, 2013
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold

We had more snow overnight, but it was a coating, no big deal. I like snow a lot, but even I am getting a little weary of it.

Busy weekend working on casting the final role in the show and setting up the rehearsal schedule. I met some really interesting people during this process, and I think it is opening up some doors for collaborative projects down the road. We have our first meeting/read-through tonight.

Read the materials for the next assignment from Confidential Job #1 and have to do the write-up today. Drafted an article last night, which I will type up and edit today, and hopefully get out the door. Turned around a client project in 24 hours — much faster than I thought, but a block of time opened, and I seized it. The client had paid me FULLY in advance, not just half, so it was worth it to quicken the promised turnaround time.

Creative Stimulus Cover

CREATIVE STIMULUS has released — a new workbook a little more comprehensive than the regular “Topic Workbooks” — this one combines updated material and exercises from the “5 in 10” workshop, the “Sensory Perceptions” Workbook, the “Writing Rituals” booklet and the infamous Tip Sheets, all in one place. It’s $6.99, over on Smashwords.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK drops next Monday — I’m looking forward to it, and am doing quite a few guest blogs in the coming weeks to promote the release.

This is the last week to sign up for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”. Putting together the materials for this class has been terrific. I’m very excited about it. More information on how to register here.

Read Anna Devere Smith’s LETTERS TO A YOUNG ARTIST. Terrific book for artists at any stages of their careers. Developing an idea based on some of Manet’s Paris cafe paintings. Reading a book called CREATIVE TIME AND SPACE: MAKING ROOM FOR MAKING ART, which is also very interesting.

I can take on one more full manuscript critique and/or edit or 3-5 short projects for a slot, but it must be booked this week. Please contact fearlessinkworkshops at gmail dot com for more information on rates and to set it up. Once I get deep into rehearsal, I cannot take on any more projects until the show is done.

My other show, SEVEN OF SWORDS, will be read this Friday at Tilden Art Center. That should be interesting. It’s definitely not a comedy, and it’s a raw piece that could go in several different directions.

I have to get a proposal for an arts festival out today or tomorrow — I have to figure out what I want to do for it.

Great morning’s session on the Dickensian steampunk.

That’s kind of where things stand, going into this week. I hope you have a good one!

Devon