Wed. May 29, 2019: Project Juggles

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not sure at what point this is going up today; if it’s late, I apologize.

Worn out.

Yesterday, I was up early, getting some work done before I had to drop off my car at the shop at 7:30 in the morning. I spent most of the day with a client, working on an event that’s coming up in about three weeks.

The mechanic kept calling and calling and calling while I was in the middle of something that involved other people and couldn’t be interrupted. I was terrified that they’d found something else wrong and I’d be screwed. Plus, they know they’re supposed to text me or email me, not call. I finally got a message — the car was ready earlier than expected!

Once the adrenalin rush dropped, I was toast for the day. I struggled through the rest of the day. They picked me up at the end of my day, I picked up the car. I have to go back later in the week to get a new hubcap they ordered. Thanks to the tariffs, the hubcap has now DOUBLED in price.

Should have stopped at the store, but I was too wiped out.

But I managed to get one of my articles out to the editor, and chased down payment for the radio theatre who still hadn’t paid me — the latter even showed up in PayPal the same day, which was nice. I heard from my editor at Llewellyn. She liked one of my ideas and wants to contract it for 2021. So that’s good news!

Information on an interesting new-to-me company looking for a remote writer landed on my desk, and I’m going to send them an LOI. I like their tone and the philosophy they claim to practice. I’d like to know more about them.

Worked on some ad copy for the “assessment.” I’m doing what I think best serves the work, instead of trying to second-guess what they want to hear. Either they like it or they don’t. I’m happy with what I’ve done on it. Off it goes.

Most of today will be spent on-site with a client, then I have to swing by Trader Joe’s to get some basics. I’ll know by noon whether or not I’m going in to Boston tomorrow or Friday for a meeting with a potential client. I’m sure they will contact me at the end of the day or tomorrow, expecting me to drop everything and rush up there, and then it will be a no-go. The lack of respect for my time and that I put the clients with whom I already have commitments ahead of those who are simply trying to jerk my chain sends up red flags for me.

We’ll see. I read an interesting article on negotiating offers yesterday, which gave me good points to consider.

I need to do a polish on the play, so it can go out tomorrow or Friday (Friday is the last day of the submission period).

I am deeply grateful to everyone who helped with the car repair. I will post information via an update on what information I need, in order to send out the books.

Onward.

Published in: on May 29, 2019 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 29, 2019: Project Juggles  
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Fri. May 10, 2019: Exhaustion

Friday, May 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’ll be asking you to share the Go Fund Me Link for a few more days. I appreciate everything.

Pitched to an editor with whom I’ve worked before; she’s interested in the pitch and will get back to me in a couple of weeks. It wouldn’t pay out until next fall, but at least I’d know it was coming in.

Got out a couple of LOIs. Worked on an article; worked on a couple more pitches that will go out in the next few days.

Mowed the front lawn. Although I didn’t enjoy it, it didn’t take long, and it was much easier with the push mower than with the gas mower. Not to mention the lawn looks much better, too.

Phase One of the car repair is done. I can’t wait very long to get Phase Two done — the next big chunk of it — and I can’t drive very far until it is done. But at least I can get around locally, provided I’m careful, avoiding bumps and potholes. Poor little car. I’m very attached to this car. Not just because I need it to survive out here, but because it’s the car I always wanted.

Got some reading and writing done. I’m behind where I’d like to be on GRAVE REACH, because my focus has to be on short-turn-around, quick-paying pieces. And the money that was marked for any other bills and book marketing and garden and anything else for the next few months all has to go to the car. Thank goodness we could do the repairs in phases.

Still, not having enough of a cushion to cover the repairs makes me feel like a failure.

Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY, which is a good stress reliever. Worked out the outline for the short play I have to draft this weekend. Still struggling with a couple of scenes in “Intrigue of the Aurora Nightingale” — but I need to get them done so that play can go out next week.

“Light Between the Eyes” should start recording in MN today. I hope it goes well.

I’m still waiting for a couple of checks on other gigs I’ve completed. Let’s hope they come sooner rather than later. Every dollar matters right now.

The anti-abortion bill in Georgia is appalling. How any rational human being in the twenty-first century could legislate that is beyond me. But, of course, it has nothing to do with rationality. It has to do with religious extremism and controlling women’s bodies.

The state of the world is overwhelming right now.

Have a good weekend. I’m going to try to dig down and write, and hopefully get some rest. I went to bed ridiculously early, and woke up late this morning, still feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. I’m spending a few hours on site with a client this morning, and then stopping for groceries on the way home and, hopefully, being able to get some rest.

 

Published in: on May 10, 2019 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 10, 2019: Exhaustion  
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Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It was a busy weekend. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and none of the busy-ness could be in the yard. I really have to mow on the next sunny day, no matter what else is going on in my schedule.

Along with errands like grocery shopping and filling the car with gas, and taking my mom to get her blood pressure checked, I got out some LOIs and wrote.

I didn’t spend much time on social media, and it was a nice break.

But the bulk of the time was spent finishing up the contest entries. Going back over my top choices, and making decisions. One category is done. All the scoring sheets are entered. The winner and five finalists chosen. I still have to write the review, but it’s percolating in my head. The second category’s choices will be made today, and the final category no later than Thursday. The quality of entrants improves every year, and it’s exciting.

I did a lot of work on the new idea, which I’m calling, at least for the moment, ELLA BY THE BAY. It will need cutting in some parts, expansion (especially sensory) in others. But I like what I’m dealing with in it, and how the characters are expanding.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like, but it’s going, and that’s always a good thing. Once the contest score sheets are all entered, I can pick up the pace on it.

I’m feeling a little better, overall, although still feeling overall burned out. Only I can’t take the time off I need. So I’m trying to find packets of restorative time, so that things don’t come to a nasty breaking point.

The Kentucky Derby was on Saturday. Omaha Beach was scratched due to breathing issues. Maximum Security was by far the best horse in the field, but he was disqualified, and Country House, the 65-1 shot who came in second, named the winner. It was a crap decision and has tainted this race forever. I’m saying that as someone who put money on Country House as my longshot pick. He did better than I expected, but he wasn’t the best horse on the field that day.

The stock market crashed yesterday morning, because the Narcissistic Sociopath threatens more tariffs on goods from China. Hmm, shortly after boasting about a phone conversation with Putin. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Was with a client yesterday. Had to skip meditation group because I had to be in Bourne for their Town Meeting. But car trouble derailed it all.

Came back later than I would have liked, and worked on the contest entries some more.

Today, I’m with a client, then at the library, then I make my decisions on the second category. I need to get some more LOIs out.

I’m deeply disappointed the Vermont gig didn’t work out, but I have to keep it in perspective in the bigger picture. It will make sense in the long run, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I need to keep my head in the game and get focused.

Of course, that meant my engine coolant light went off and I’m totally freaking out.

Left the car at the mechanic this morning. Scared to death it’s something serious. If it happened next week, no worries. I’ll have a big freelance check coming in. This week? It’s an issue. Thus goes the life of a freelancer.

Back to the page.

Published in: on May 7, 2019 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant  
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Fri. Oct. 19, 2018: Conference Lessons

Friday, October 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. Spent most of it in session at the Global Human Rights Conference. Took pages and pages and pages of notes, and gathered contact information. There’s so much information, and it’s relevant on so many different levels.

There’s also a realization that the US has been a disappointment on the world stage. Not just since 2016, although it’s gotten exponentially worse since then. But, as I’ve said for years, it’s devolved since Reagan. The lack of commitment and will to enhance, support, and expand universal human rights because it’s inconvenient for dictatorships and, especially, for multi-national corporations is appalling.

So is this current regime’s willingness to accept money to shrug off the murder and dismemberment of a journalist. I’m not surprised at this administration at all, but it’s revolting. This is the test balloon, to see how much killing they can get away with. They’ll do it overtly, and also by gutting healthcare, taking away earned benefits like Social Security, and the rest, with the intent that those who can’t afford to bribe them will die.

Women Write Change is going well; I’m enjoying the discussions, and I can feel new ideas percolating.

Got another round of copyedits/galleys done on RELICS, and hope the final round will be done this weekend.

Have to step up the work on DHARMA. This draft is behind, which then puts me behind on BALTHAZAAR.

Dithering about whether or not to submit a proposal to a conference that has a small chance of conflicting with another proposal I’m waiting to hear back on, at a different event. Not sure if submitting means I’m hedging my bets, or if it means I assume I won’t get the first, and have given up.

I gave my speech early this morning, video-conferencing in. Nothing like having to be camera-ready at 4:30 AM, due to time zones. It went well. We’ll see what the reaction is. I was definitely intimidated by the scope of the other contributors. I’m worried that mine was too simplistic: Basic human decency leading into holding individuals accountable AS individuals who commit human rights violations leading into the power and necessity of art to both bear witness and provoke change.

I’m glad it’s over, and immediately changed into fuzzy, comfort clothes when I was done. Since I won’t be on camera for sessions today, I can wear what I want!

Writing and edits and yard work and the last of the conference are on the agenda for today. I HAVE to get back on track for DHARMA.

And I have to get groceries into the house, or I will be very unhappy.

The car feels fantastic after the oil change. What a relief. I still have to get the hatch fixed, but one thing at a time.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on October 19, 2018 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 19, 2018: Conference Lessons  
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Thurs. May 2, 2013: Car Massage

Thursday, May 2, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and gorgeous

Yesterday was certainly a day of challenges. Someone flaked on me — someone with whom the “no flake discussion” had been held. The writing on the novel went badly.
I sent in the proofreading test and got an auto response that I failed and didn’t make it to the next round — um, there’s no way an auto response can indicate the test was actually looked at. Since I had the manual they claimed to use open on my lap when taking the test (which was allowed) — I know I got things right, per the manual. I checked the website, which said all positions were filled. Now, if you tell people they have 3 days to take the test, don’t tell them they “failed”, when, in reality, you filled the position and didn’t have the courtesy to tell the rest of us. Red flags all over that one, so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get in!

Put stuff together for the Beltane festivities, drove out to Brewster — and the car died. Ignition locked. I was at the site, fortunately, not somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. The celebration itself was great, a lovely bunch of people.

Tried the car again after — no deal. Lost it and was sobbing in the kitchen. Nothing like having a nervous breakdown in one’s first meeting with a bunch of strangers. But everyone was very kind. Called the VW Roadside Assistance program — I have too many miles on the car, so now they charge. They arranged for a tow truck. I calmed down with a cup of tea and went out to wait. I played with the car, massaged it, basically Reiki’d it — and it started. I drove it around the neighborhood, stopping and starting a few times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t.

I cancelled the tow truck, got to hang out with some of the other celebrants, and then drove home. No problems, except I was exhausted and wrung out. Called Roadside Assistance and told them to return the money they’d charged me, since I fixed the damn problem myself.

Two years ago, the ignition coil was replaced when the same thing happened in Shaw’s parking lot in Hyannis. An ignition coil should damn well last more than two years, so this better not be an indicator this will be an on-going problem!

Fell into bed, exhausted. Woke up late this morning, but got to yoga on time. Good class. Stopped at Covell Beach on the way back — gorgeous.

Finished painting the plant rack. Forgot to mention that, last weekend, I oiled all the porch furniture – those of you that have teak furniture and teak oil know what I’m talking about! It’s time-consuming, but well worth it.

Now, I have to dig in and get everything done today that didn’t get done yesterday. All I really want is a nap, but I have to catch up on the book and a few other things.

Exhausted, but relieved that the car is okay.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on May 2, 2013 at 10:12 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. April 17, 2013: Picking Up Pieces and Moving Forward

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was sunny, but much colder and windier than predicted.

It was a sad day, with the aftermath of the Marathon attack. I was weepy on and off all day.

That didn’t mean I couldn’t deal with life. Commitments still had to be met, no matter what I was feeling. I took in the car for its check-up — all good — phew! Went grocery shopping, switched out books at the library. Came home and did some reading.

I’d given myself the day off writing, knowing I was in no state to do it well. I managed to get out two LOIs and work with students.

I read an absolutely brilliant book that I encourage anyone who has a passion for what they do or what they want to do to read. It’s Twyla Tharp’s THE CREATIVE HABIT. Tharp is an icon of a choreographer. Her commitment and her techniques to not only make creative starts but creative finishes are fantastic. This is an extraordinary book, one of the best I’ve read in a long time.

I have an article up on Beth Barany’s blog about Jain Lazarus as the Personification of Karmic Return. Monday’s violence opens up a whole new discussion about the use of violence in fiction. Can’t say I love the timing on the post going live, but maybe it will provoke some interesting discussions. Is violence ever acceptable? is one of the things that I struggle with in fiction. My characters kick ass, and sometimes take violent action. Is that ever okay? The way expectations are set up, it’s expected. But again, is that okay? I don’t have a definitive answer; it’s something I keep exploring.

Excellent first writing session on the new book: just over 2300 words, wrote Chapter 10. Percolating along, and very glad I have a synopsis. This was a case where I had to have a polished synopsis ready for the agent before I’d even done the writer’s rough, working a little backwards for me, but that’s the way it goes. At least I’m back on track, and can see finishing this draft, having a few days to let it rest before ripping it apart for edits, and getting it to my agent on time.

Lots to do today, and I have a massive headache, so I better get going.

Devon

Mon. June 18, 2012: Busy Weekend Leads into Busy Week

Penniman House, Eastham, MA (taken Memorial Day Weekend)

Monday, June 18, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Dark Moon

Okay, so where’d the weekend go, again?

Granted, there were technical difficulties, so I hit the ground running behind a bit this morning, but the weekend itself was busy.

Going all the way back to Thursday, yoga was great. I got home, turned on the computer, and found out I was included in a meeting starting in 20 minutes. Warned them I was showing up in yoga clothes and headed out. It was a good meeting, longer than I expected (got home in the early afternoon), and only had an hour or so before I had to head out to friends to pick up a butterfly bush and share some laughs and wine.

Friday, the technical difficulties started, and I wasn’t able to get “Town Crier” up — I hope to get those sorted out by today. I managed to get out the manuscript critique swaps, take care of some other business, but that was kind of it.

Put the butterfly bush in, and moved a few hostas. They now line the driveway, which means I have no room for error getting in and out of the garage! 😉

Saturday’s class was cancelled (long story). We headed out and bought plants instead — a hanging basket of dark purple petunias, some more marigolds, some pink and white impatiens, red and white geraniums (pelagorums), red salvia, yellow petunias, and some herbs for the round bed (since nothing I planted from seed has come up). Put all that in the various beds. Tried to fix the technical difficulties, without luck.

What was funny was that, on Saturday, I had on my Rabbit shirt (I drive a VW Rabbit) and I go into the garden, and there are a pair of bunnies! You know if there are two rabbits now, there are bound to be more by the end of the summer. Too cute! I should be worried about the garden more, but I’m not. There’s plenty for them to eat. This morning, one of them was exploring the front yard, too! The cats are fascinated.

The right daytime running light has gone out (I just had the left one replaced a couple of months ago). Very depressing. Which means I have to drive to Plymouth at some point in the next few days to get that fixed. Another unexpected expense, although I know these guys will offer me a fair price.

Read an Archer Mayor novel and a Ruth Rendell novel. Always terrific to learn from the best. Now, let’s hope I can effectively apply what I’ve learned!

Sunday was my day off anyway, and it was a lazy one. Reading, writing (worked on both House Magic and the first Bellini Girls story). Tried to get geared up for the coming next few weeks, which will be very busy.

This morning, managed to get back on line, so far. Got the critiques from my swap partners — I’m very excited; their comments are SO helpful, and now I can clarify where I confused myself. Back to work on that today, along with a bunch of other stuff.

I’ve landed a six-week contract for a few articles, one due per week, for a site, so I’ll tackle that, too, and there’s promo that needs to be done for HEX BREAKER. And things, like. oh, getting back to finish CRAVE THE HUNT.

And it’s time to put the flea/tick medicine on the cats again. THAT’ll be an adventure.

Better get going, it’ll be a long week.

Devon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Out the door before 6:30 in the morning yesterday and off to Stamford, to get the car serviced. Nothing like having a happy car!

Read Stefanie Pintoff’s crime novel THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM, set in 1905 New York. I did figure out who did it pretty early on, but it was constructed well enough so I was okay with the characters catching up. I’m interested in the next one, which takes place in the theatre of the time!

Ran some errands, drove by my old place, which looks really sad. I can’t imagine how people can go back and live there again.

It bucketed down rain all day. It was nice to be inside, watching and reading. Didn’t feel very well, so took it easy in the afternoon. I think the stress of the past weeks has caught up with me.

Started the Advanced Dialogue class, and spent time with my Year Long Students. Tried to do some work on my own books, but wasn’t feeling well enough to be too coherent. Mostly playing with ideas. Try a few, see if they work, toss the ones that don’t, try again. That sort of thing.

I’m working this morning, then off to acupuncture and heading home later this afternoon. I’m sure it will be late by the time I get through my own door, but it will be good to be HOME.

Devon

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 7:17 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Busy day yesterday, but mostly writing, which is as it should be. I managed 5K on, completing three chapters and starting a fourth on a piece. Unfortunately, it’s not the piece I should be working on, so I need to figure out a balance to work on the two simultaneously. I need to work on the piece pulling at me hard, demanding to be written; I need to work on the piece that’s on deadline. And I need to up the ante on the PR for ASSUMPTION, since I have four weeks less to do it than I expected.

The problem with the new, as-yet untitled piece (it’s an urban fantasy) is that the first chapter wants to be written in third person omniscient as a prologue, but, in order to serve the rest of the book, it needs to be written in third person through the POV of one of the protagonists.

But it’s flowing well, and I’m not about to get in my own way this early in the process.

Got my hair cut — it hasn’t been this short in about fifteen years. Took books back to the library.

Got to spend some time commenting on student work, but a storm created power issues, and I couldn’t get everything done that needed to get done. Must make up for that today. Of course, we were told there would be intermittent showers, and then we had a cracking good thunderstorm with a downpour.

Even more mystery plants are coming in to fill the back bed. I have a feeling I can use that as a cutting garden this summer, which might be nice.

To the page, and then, in an hour or so, I’ve got to take the car in for servicing.

Devon

Published in: on May 5, 2011 at 6:27 am  Comments (6)  
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I was trying to clear some admin work off my desk when the phone rang. It was the VW place — my car was ready a week early! I was so excited that I dropped everything and dashed over. I’ve got my Blue Bunny back, working pretty well, and they even washed it! So that’s a relief.

It also means that I can do the whole stretch of the different jobs down in CT, while my mom stays up here with the cats.

Again, time to adjust the mental focus.

It means missing some stuff I hoped to do up here next week, including the writers’ group dinner, and I’ll have to pack some more books, but it will give me a nice block of isolated writing time (even though I’m moving between two sites). I’ll be car-less for five days, and not in walking distance of anything, so I have to plan carefully, but it’s all good.

It also means I have to repack the clothes. I need 11 days’ worth instead of 3.

Dealt with trying to get my own health insurance before the window closes and it was nothing short of a nightmare. I’d been given the incorrect information about how to apply back in December, and the window may close before I’m processed. If that’s the case, they can go (you get the idea). I’m not paying a fine for being misinformed.

Anyway, I filled out the paperwork — my life does not fit into their forms.

On a positive side, I ordered seeds and plants last night. Finally, something to write about in the garden journal other than “it snowed again”. So I’ll have to get on that.

More brainstorming on a neat project with a writer friend, and Savvy Authors booked the workshop I tossed at them for March: “Unstick Your Book.” Participants get to bring in a WIP (usually I make them write fresh material for class), and, in very individual terms, we are going to find out where they’re stuck, why they’re stuck,and get it unstuck, so they can finish. Because that’s the point — not to get them to write the same stuff the same way, but to make them look at the individual work in a new way, from a fresh angle, and make it the best it can be. It’s not about writing it as I would write it, but how to make it work best within their own visions. Because it’s not about me — it’s about the work. Details are here. The need for something like this came up in discussions in other workshops, so I thought, why not create it? People are already signing up, and it gives me some work for March, which is a relief. The Dialogue Workshop, in September, is also filling up, which is great. It’s an Advanced Workshop, different from the two week one I’m teaching for RWA in April, and builds on what we’ve done in other dialogue workshops at Savvy.

So that’s all good, and bills will be paid, but I didn’t get much writing done.

Watched the season finale of HUMAN TARGET last night, which may be the series finale. Got my Jackie Earle Haley fix, which is always a good thing, and last night was a shining example of how good actors can find ways to make scenes and moments work, even in a big mess. The first third angered me so much, my reaction was, “Did this show even HAVE a showrunner this season?” But again, I’m not in there, the poor showrunner might have been browbeaten and undercut by producers and/or network execs who are running around trying to justify their salaries. I don’t want to pin it on the wrong person. But the first third of the piece was a giant mess — the lapses of logic were as big as black holes in the Universe, the writing and situation was untrue to the characters without reason — if they’re going to be that sloppy, there needs to be a reason. They’re not stupid or careless, and that’s how they were portrayed without a foundation. The way the first third was structured was disrespectful to the actors, who’ve busted their asses for two seasons getting the audience to care, and to the audience. Julia could have never tracked down Guerrero unless he wanted to be found, (and, if that’s what he did to bring her out into the open, it needed to be addressed) and he’s way too smart to have been conned by her. The way the show’s misused the character of Ames as the season progressed is just pathetic — she started out as strong, smart, funny, and a real potential protege for Guerrero, and, as the season progressed, they turned her into a shallow, self-absorbed, whiny creature who’s WEAK. She couldn’t survive the life she had or with these guys if she was weak. The scenes in the car with Guerrero weren’t comic relief – they were painful, although Haley was valiant about trying to pull something out of the mess, and he gave his scene partner much more than many other actors would in that situation. The boxes of files brought in marked “Guerrero”, where the villains learned about his pressure point? Make no sense in what’s been set up over the past two seasons — the point has been made more than once that he shifts identities and stays under the radar. He’s got a reputation, well-earned, but he doesn’t leave a paper trail. There wouldn’t BE any files, other than a page or two of unconnected police reports on mysterious deaths or disappearances in far-reaching areas (And yes, I have a way that they could have gotten the same piece of information they needed for the plot point — that would have fit the logic of the world that was set up the past two seasons).

Fortunately, it got better and tighter as the hour progressed (felt like that part was written by a different person or people). It was nice to see Ilsa more active, the rooftop scene was good and set groundwork for the Julia character to return at some point (she did a good job, she’d be worth a return). It was good to see Guerrero do what we’ve come to believe he does best — move like smoke, while taking out an entire team of opponents, and the choice of making most of the violence off-screen makes him even stronger and scarier. His final scene in the episode was beautifully done, perfectly played, fairly well-staged, effective. We hear how often he’s taken no prisoners — now we saw it. It was important to the overall character arc, because there have been times this season when they’ve tried to dilute his character, and it’s only been Haley’s abilities that have kept the character’s integrity intact.

If this is the series finale, it ended on a good breath of hope for all the characters (except Ames, of course, who never got a final scene, but she’s been an afterthought for most of the season). If the show gets picked up next season (with some different people in charge, I hope), it gives them a good jumping off point.

Shooting a one-hour drama — especially with action scenes — is a huge undertaking, I’ve been there, I know. Everyone’s pushed past their limit, especially towards the end of the season, and especially when ratings aren’t what one hoped, with enormous detail, scheduling, budget, etc. They could have kept the overall structure, the action, the locations, etc. — all they had to do was inject some more logic into the writing — logic supported by what they established over two seasons, and it would have been outstanding instead of just “okay, this is a serviceable finale.”

Again, this is just my personal response to the material and the way it’s handled. It’s ONE opinion, not THE opinion.

Continued reading AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. What a beautiful book. I’m putting together the reading list for my year-long intensive, and that book will definitely be on the list.

Did not sleep well. The cats were impossible last night. Kicked them out of the bedroom, and then they tried to dig a hole in the carpet under the door. Had to let them back in — I don’t know why they were in such a tizzy, but there was no sleep to be had. Roadkill is in better shape than I am this morning.

Lots to do today, including going to the dump — ahem, “transfer station” — I don’t want garbage sitting around the house while I’m working out of town. Gotta make room for the new garbage! 😉 Seriously, we don’t generate much garbage, about 80% of it is recycling, and only have to go to the dump once a month or once every six weeks.

Hoping I can catch a nap this afternoon for a bit. Almost all packed — a few things need to get into the writing bag, but clothes and books are all packed. 12 books for 10 days — that should be about right. Gives “book bag” a whole new meaning!

Got to get some info to one of my editors so she can arrange a press pass for me at some local hockey games. Errands, etc. Still haven’t found those 200+ pages of notes for POWER OF WORDS, which is disconcerting. It took me weeks to sort out the character arcs, the arcs that the actor characters play, the show-within-the-book arcs, the plot arcs, and all the scheduling. I’d hate to have to start from scratch. It’s just odd that the notes wouldn’t be with the manuscript. I’m usually more careful than that — but then, it was an unusual situation. It’s got to be here somewhere, and it won’t be unearthed until I return.

The book, essay, and short story need to take center stage — especially since the latter two are due on the 15th.

Back to the page.

Devon

Monday, January 17, 2011


View over Plymouth Harbor

Monday, January 17, 2011
Waxing Moon
Martin Luther King Day

This is scheduled to post, because I had to get my butt out of bed and get on the road far too early in order to get the car to Plymouth for its spa day. Hopefully it means that, by the time most of you read this, I’ll be back. My car gets a spa day and I get to freeze my ass off in Plymouth before any of the stores open. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Plymouth, but here’s hoping I find a nice, warm coffee joint and can do some writing!

I have a dilemma with the Samantha LIght piece. I originally wanted it to be speculative fiction in either a created world or a parallel world. But I keep making familiar references. I don’t know if that means I should set it in a somewhat futuristic NY/Scotland/Paris or just use those references in the first draft, and then change them substantially into a created/imagined version of similar cities in revisions. Stopping to world build right now will make me lose the dynamic between the characters. But, in the ultimate piece, the setting will be very, very important.

Regarding my protag, Samantha, I’m not having trouble with her. I thought it would be a challenge, because, on the surface, she seems like the kind of woman I can’t stand, and yet, she’s very much her own person without being the sort of cliche we see of this type of woman on tv, in the tabloids, or in fiction. So, I’m having fun with her.

Costume Imp moves today, leaving Queens to go up to Washington Heights. New situation, new roommates, the whole thing. He brought his delightful beasts up on Friday night — yowling all the way. They can give Iris a run for the money when it comes to feline opera performances.

I certainly learned how far some students will go to bend the rules in class. In the historical/western assignment, we had more than one person have a character “tell a story” about an historical time to another character. I had to let it go since I hadn’t expressly forbidden it, but now I know, and I’ve tweaked the exercise for future classes. When I say “set your characters in an historical or western piece”, having them tell each other a story about someone else doesn’t cut it. Even when it’s cleverly done and good as a piece in its own right. But again, I guess I have to expressly forbid just about any place they have wiggle room.


Can you find the hawk hidden in the tree?

The raptor release at Long Pasture Sanctuary was magnificent. First of all, the place is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to spend more time walking around there when the weather is a little warmer. I learned a bit about identifying hawks — I’ll have to practice a lot more before I can actually do it. Two hawks were released — both females. The first one, who recovered from a broken wing, was still a little overweight. She flew to a nearby tree and stayed. Hey, I don’t blame her — she was used to room service! Two other hawks circled near by, wanting to know what was going on. The second hawk, also a female, nearly tore the carrier apart. When the door opened, she backed to the rear, took a few steps, and soared out. She paused on top of a nearby tree to get her bearings, and then she was outta there! Absolutely gorgeous.

Again, the kids who attended the event were bright, engaged, enthusiastic, asked some of the best questions and made some of the best comments. No crying or whining.

I like how the parents here actually engage in conversation with their kids when they’re off doing something, whether it’s at an event or going to the grocery store. They talk to them like actual human beings, unlike in the suburbs of NY, where parents are on the cell phone all the time talking about stupid gossip and just pause long enough to yell at the kid. Here, when parents take their kids grocery shopping, one kid has the list, and another kid scouts the aisle, and they learn how to tell if a piece of fruit or a vegetable is a good choice, etc., etc. Just a much healthier dynamic, and you can see the difference in the kids. They’re not as brittle and wounded and desperate for attention and filled with the sense of entitlement they see from their parents as suburban NY children.

The director took us on a short walk on the sanctuary — he showed us how to recognize rabbit tracks and otter tracks and we saw the pond where the otters like to come and fish. The otters were to smart enough not to let us see them, but it was fun to see where they played and slid.

It was just a great couple of hours, even though I’d lost all feeling in my toes before the end of it! I need to start dressing for these things like I did on the days I spent outside on location for television shows. And, Diane, I couldn’t find my silk thermals. I was not happy. I also need to find my fleece-lined jeans for the next event, and slip some toe warmers into my boots and hand warmers into my gloves. I will also pre-heat by drinking ginger tea before I go (learned from the Great Cape Herbs seminar last week).

I drank quite a bit of ginger tea when I got home, and that helped a lot.

‘Cause there’s no reason to attend these events if I don’t apply what I learn, right? 😉

The mail brought a box of books containing the second volume of Gail Godwin’s journal and Antonia Frasier’s memoir of her life with Harold Pinter, so I was a happy camper. Wrapped myself in a blanket, put on some jazz, and started the Godwin memoir.

I read a lot of her books in the late 80’s, early -mid 90’s and really enjoyed her writing. I haven’t read her lately, and I’m interested, once I unpack them, to re-read some of the books I read and see if my perceptions have changed. The writing on the page remains the same, it is fixed once it’s published, but do I respond to it differently?

I remembered getting impatient with the first volume of journals, but couldn’t remember why. I’m not very far into this volume of journals, and I get impatient again. Yes, it was the early 1960’s, and women had a different frame of reference. But if she spent even an eighth of the energy she wastes on pursuing toxic relationships with men on her writing, she would have gotten a whole lot further a whole lot faster.

The diary can help you see patterns and break them. I look at my diaries from my twenties and self-indulgent thirties and cringe. But writing it all down and looking back also helped me break negative patterns and realize how I was getting in my own way, both personally and professionally. That person helped form who I am now, but I wish she’d gotten her act together earlier. Maybe that’s why I get impatient with Godwin’s journals — I see too much similarity. The qualities I didn’t like in myself at that age, I see in those journals.

When she details observations on the world around her, and how her writing process evolves, it’s very interesting.

Also got a lovely CD mixed by a good friend that is a joy to play. I was just casting around for some new music, and it appeared in the post! Thanks, Colin!

Went to bed pretty early. Got up on Sunday pretty early, having dreamed I was working on location in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and I was as tired as if I’d actually spent the night doing just that. These “busy dreams” take it out of me! 😉

Morning routine, out to get the papers, read the papers. The papers here are better written, have fewer typos, and are more balanced that most other papers I’ve read across the country. They poke at multiple sides of an issue, so you get a broad spectrum of both information and opinion — each of which is clearly defined, so that biased opinion isn’t presented as journalism. It makes it easier to get a more complete picture of an issue to figure out one’s own stand on it. I read more than one paper, and each paper contains multiple points of view on different issues, so one really gets a good cross-section of information.

Decided that Sunday was going to be my day off from writing this week. I kind of feel that all of my life since I’ve moved is a bit of refilling the creative well, which I desperately need. I’m trying a lot of new things and trying to open myself up to a lot of new experiences I didn’t/couldn’t in NY, and seeing what I learn.

Read a lot. Caught up on some emails. Caught up on filing and receipts. Played with the cats.

Got frustrated with the workshop because so many people seem to think that the date an assignment due is a suggestion. Far too many of them post their assignment days late, the day before or the day the next assignment is due. Some people are skipping exercises, which they were told UP FRONT they can’t do. I had to resort to keeping a tracking sheet so I can track, as I jump back and forth between the assignments, who’s keeping up and who isn’t. It’s just so disrespectful. We all have life stuff. If you expect to have a career in anything, you learn how to deal with life and your career. You can’t wait until you’re earning a paycheck to behave that way or you’ll never earn a paycheck.

Enough. I had to get up at five frigging a.m. in the freezing cold to get in the yoga, meditation, and my first 1K of the day before I left for the garage. So I don’t want to hear about anyone’s conflicts when they have a half a week to get a 1300 word assignment done. In four days, I have to do AT LEAST 4000 words. Usually a heck of a lot more. AND run my life.

Devon