Tues. August 18, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 90 — Grief To Art Launches

Grief to Art Logo

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Grief to Art
Today is the official launch of Grief to Art: A Site for Collective Mourning, which is my response to the grief from the thousands of deaths from the virus to which our government is indifferent. I hope you will take a look around, share the information, and submit a memory.

Life, Writing, and Other Stuff
Yup, another planet went retrograde. So we’re back in five retrogrades. Sigh.

I gave myself the weekend off. I felt pretty awful both Friday and Saturday, so I just cut off the pressure and let myself rest.

I got some work done on Friday, although I didn’t hit my goals. I didn’t make it to the dump.

Saturday, I had to do an early morning grocery run to Star Market. The staff is slacking off on the masking. I bought more than I planned, including the white cranberry peach juice. Since it’s the only place around here that carries it, occasionally, I will have to venture out for it, but other than that, I guess Star Market is now crossed off my list of places to shop.

Came home, full disinfectant protocols. Laundry, housework.

I made Portuguese Sweet Bread, which always takes at least half a day. But it’s worth it. One of our favorite breads. Also baked chocolate chip cookies.

Didn’t need to water Sunday morning, because it rained all day, a nice, gentle rain. Sat inside, read, wrote, made chocolate mousse.

Reading-wise, I read Patricia Hampl’s THE ART OF THE WASTED DAY. I got it because it talks about the need for leisure and for daydreaming. I liked most of it, although it was also an elegy to her deceased partner. I wish I’d know that going in to it – it would have made it more appropriate to the Grief to Art site than to the project for which I ordered it. I also got annoyed at her, multiple times – here, she has these amazing experiences traveling and meeting people rich with stories – and she complains of boredom. She’s a writer, for fuck’s sake! There is NO place for boredom in a writer’s life.

Read two other mysteries, in a series I had been thoroughly enjoying. Only, in this last one, the writer rants on and on, calling a despicable woman “a witch.” That’s a slur. It’s 2020, we should be better than that, in spite of the MAGATS. This person, who’s supposed to be an ally and inclusive, should know better.

I felt like I’d been slapped in the face by someone I trusted.

The book is several years old. I’m wiling to give the series one more book – if it happens again, she is crossed off my list.

I’m tired of cozy mysteries pandering to the right.

But then, so often, they are about maintaining the status quo, aren’t they?

Not anymore about the misfit recognized for her unique qualities and loved and accepted for who she is, but because she conforms to the status quo to fit in. Cozies that do the former are why I enjoy(ed) the genre. Cozies who do the latter — more and more prevalent since 9/11 – I loathe.

Started re-reading Louise Penny’s Gamache series. We are reading the whole series in order. I love so much about it, although the third person omniscient head-hopping bothers me sometimes. She does it better than most writers, but it’s still noticeable enough, at times, to bother me.

On a writing note, I did some more development. I understand what I want and need from the protagonist and her main love interest. I understand the themes I want to develop. I’m building the ensemble of secondary characters. I know who is murdered and why; I know who the murderer is and how this individual passes under the radar for most of the book. I even came up with a working title.

On Monday, I wrote the first 1200 words. The first 500 or so were difficult, and then I found the rhythm. This morning, I wrote another 750 words. It will be a slower creation process, not just because I’m doing the first draft in longhand, but I’m taking more time to develop every sentence, instead of spitting out the first draft quickly and then taking it apart to put it back together. It’s a different process, and what this particular book needs.

Good thing there’s no deadline.

But it shook things loose so I could go back to this draft of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which is very, very necessary.

I’ve been writing the article for Llewellyn in my head, and now it’s time to put it on paper. I want to get it done and out this week. Or early next week, latest.

I have to get going on the book I have to read for review. I want to get that done this week. I’d planned to do it over the weekend, but wanted to give myself time off from any “have to.”

Went on site to do some client work on Monday. I was on my own for most of it, which is as it should be.

Curbside pickup at the library, home, full disinfectant protocols, LOIs, and work on the Grief to Art site. But every time I have to go on site, it takes me most of the rest of the day to recover, because it’s so stressful. Even when protocols are followed.

Finished STILL LIFE, and went through some other books I used for research.

It’s still raining this morning, so I’m going to wait to go to the dump until Thursday; same with Trader Joe’s. I’m grateful for the rain. We need it. However, I don’t want to get soaked taking in the garbage and recycling, or standing in line waiting to get into the grocery store.

Michelle Obama’s speech last night was articulate, intelligent, direct, and sharp. We are so lucky she is a part of the world right now.

Today, there will be a lot of focus on the Grief to Art launch, some client work, LOIs, admin work, article work, work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and, hopefully, cleaning out another box. The goldenrod is blooming, and I’m sneezing like crazy, my nose is running, and my eyes are swollen. Lovely. Yes, that was sarcasm.

So I better get going, hadn’t I? Have a great day.

Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges

Friday, May 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Sorry this is up late; I had errands to run this morning before the tourons descend on Cape Cod and make our lives hell for the next three months.

The relief I feel at getting out both requested partials to the interested editors ahead of deadline leaves me exhausted. HEART THEFT went out nine days before deadline; NOT BY THE BOOK went out four days before deadline. Neither one were dumped on the editor during a holiday weekend (although I cut it close with NBTB). I lived up to my own expectations for myself AND I’m happy with the quality of work I turned in.

I tried mowing yesterday. The reel mower doesn’t really mow much. It massages, and the grass snaps right back up. I bought a rolling blade. It should damn well cut whatever vegetation over which I roll it. Not happy AT ALL. When it cuts, it does a decent job of it, but there’s too much it’s not cutting.

I’m getting annoyed by the part-time writers who have non-writing day jobs to pay the bills attacking full-time writers who earn our living at it for “writing every day.” This is my profession, not my hobby. If I don’t show up and do the work every day, I can’t pay the bills. Getting paid for my writing doesn’t make me love it any less or make me any less of a writer. Stop attacking people who achieve what you can’t.

And, you know what? Go ahead and DON’T write regularly. Only write “when the muse strikes.” You’ll still be a cubicle slave. I’ll still be earning my living doing what I love — because I show up and do the work.

Spent some time outside, both reading and working on the maps for THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I’m moving forward as though my first choice market passed, and not writing it with an eye to their parameters. I’m back to writing it because I really love the piece and want to create this world. It will have to be done in and around other projects, but not having a deadline means less pressure. I’m getting more and more ideas about the world, and making more and more notes. The chapters I’ve written so far have a strong energy and drive, and I like the sprawl. I like weaving the characters, situations, and storylines together, to see where they converge and where they part.

This morning, I worked out a plot and character arc involving one of my five central protagonists with one of the minor characters who’s more complex than I expected. In my first putterings with this arc, it would have derailed the main drive of the piece. But now, I’ve figured out a way to adjust it so it supports the central plot instead of serving as a tangent. It will drive plot, illuminate character, enrich the world. In other words, serve its purpose.

However, this morning, I’m going back to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, whose deadline is coming up quickly. I’ll be looking at cover choices next week from my publisher and cover designer — hopefully, there will be a cover reveal soon.

I’d also like to sit down with the market list this weekend and come up with some more article pitches to go out next week.

I finished reading Marshall Ryan Maresca’s AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE. I like this series a lot. A MURDER OF MAGES remains as one of my Top Twelve Books across genre. The choices made as the series develops surprise me. I often think, “I wouldn’t do it that way — but I’m really glad HE did!” I enjoy his world building, and I enjoy the way he breaks genre clichés.

There’s such a big difference between turning a trope (I hate that word) inside out and ignoring it. Tropes set up expectations. A talented writer (like Maresca) knows them intimately and knows how to use them beyond the expectations and take the reader somewhere new and exciting. A careless writer would toss it in and not follow through or defy it without providing expansion and payoff.

I admit it, I read Maresca as much for craft as for story and character. I learn a lot about the way he structures his books, about the paths his characters take. There’s always the sense of discovery there, but he’s got such good craft, I’m willing to leap with him wherever he goes, because I know it will be a satisfying, exciting experience. He was also kind enough to point me in the right direction when I had questions about mapping that have been useful.

I heard the radio play went well earlier this week. The cast, crew, and audience had fun with it — that’s music to a playwright’s ears! I’m looking forward to hearing it.

I’m playing with ideas for the new gun violence play that came out of the conversation I had with an actress friend. I’d set out a cast of characters, but they started feeling too much like representations than individuals. So I stripped it back and narrowed the focus. Now, I have something to work with, something to develop. I usually don’t mention the physical characteristics or race of characters in a cast breakdown. With my work, I find that when the actor who connects best with the work is cast, we have an array of physical types, races, ethnicities.

However, in this case, race is part of what the play deals with. Which means I need to specify which characters are black, white, etc. We’re dealing with things people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, but which have to be acknowledged. This will be a challenging piece to work on, and I’m pulling in advice from all kinds of actors and creatives with whom I’ve worked on Broadway, to make sure it’s not just a banal “I’m presenting a message” piece, but a piece that digs deep in search of the cause of the problem, and also offers more than one solution. The development process will take a looong time. But it will be worth it, if something valuable comes out of it, for those of us in the creation and the experience of the final piece. Flippant responses out of emotion, fear, anger, aren’t necessarily ones that will help. Yet they will also need to be a part of this, as they are a step on the journey to a solution, and sometimes a tangent.

I hope I’m up to the challenge.

In the meantime, I have to tackle the challenge of the Lawn that Refused to Bow to the Mower.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on May 25, 2018 at 9:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges  
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Mon. Nov. 18, 2013: Health Wins & Screenplays

Monday, November 18, 2013
Last Day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Stormy and rainy

Busy weekend. I had to knock off early on Friday, because I was coming down with the flu — fever, chills, aches, headache. I dosed myself with my herbal brews, rested, and I think I kicked it before it got a chance to really put me out for a week or more. Fingers crossed.

I got about 40 pages done on a new screenplay, and am spinning another idea — got the initial scenes done. Got some work done in the development notebook. Got out a book review, and read most of the next book I need to review. Worked with students. Pitched for jobs.

Over two unreliable clients, especially since I gave one of them a special deal. Deposit and materials aren’t in today, as booked, and the price goes up. Sick and tired of these asshats who want professional services but don’t want to pay. Grow the fuck up, people –no one owes you anything. You want a professional, you HIRE one. There’s a fee involved, the same way you pay the plumber and the lawyer. Was also approached by a publisher who wanted me to give a “publisher’s discount” to hire me as an editor — meaning he would pay me less than the individual author clients. I never heard such stupid shit — -publishers pay MORE than individuals for professional editors, not less. Needless to say, I refused.

Big critique project arrived over the weekend; will get that turned around as fast as I can.

Finished watching THE UNUSUALS on DVD. I wish that I’d worked on it (but I was already committed to another show), and I wish that it ran more than 10 episodes. It was created by Peter Tolan, so of course it was good, but I’d forgotten HOW good until I sat down and binge-watched the episodes. The balance it kept amongst the characters, the character development, the episode-specific balance versus the overall balance of arcs, the writing, the acting — fantastic. Also watched SWAT — I’d forgotten how it jumps right in from moment one — I kept thinking I missed the beginning — and I would have liked to see a little bit more character development amongst the team. The action and pace were good, but I think some of the character development suffered with so much focus on Colin Farrell’s character at the expense of the others. You wouldn’t have to give Street any less time — just give more detail to the other characters; the strokes were too broad, in some cases.

Don’t forget to sign up for “Organize Your Writing Life” on December 7. We’re getting a lively group in there, and it should be enormous fun.

Got a lot of writing to do today, so I better get going!

Devon

Wed. Nov. 13, 2013: Submission Catch-Up

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

It snowed most of the day yesterday, so I stayed home and worked. Glad I got so much yard work done the previous day!

Didn’t get enough of my own work done, although I did some work in the development notebook, got out a few submissions, and found a few interesting submission calls. I’ve been focused so much on other people’s work that I feel drained when it comes to my own, and that has to change. My own work must always come first.

Got paid for a piece by someone I’d written off; always a good thing. Still waiting for a project that was promised nearly a month ago — no communication, no project. This is why I’ve started to ask for a non-refundable booking deposit.

Errands to run today, and tomorrow I’m out the door very early for an NMLC Board meeting.

I need a vacation, but there’s no chance of one anytime soon.

Devon

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 8:26 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. Nov. 12: A Development Epiphany

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Jupiter Retrograde
Sleeting and cold
sc

Busy weekend. Took some time off to read and gorge myself on episodes of the television series THE UNUSUALS on DVD. Outstanding writing and acting. Wish the show had lasted more than ten episodes.

A request for a partial of a novel I wasn’t expecting to send out until after the first of the year landed on my desk, so I rewrote and polished the chapters and wrote the synopsis (which was on the schedule for December) and got it out. When the request comes it, it has to go out within 48 hours, so if the materials aren’t ready, you do what you need to do to get them there.

Did some work in the development notebook, and fleshed out some of it as I typed. I figured out how to prevent my very charismatic supporting character from taking over Book 1 — his primary partner doesn’t get introduced until his book, which is Book 3. I’d planned to introduce her in this book, but it pulls too much focus of the characters I want to be the primary pair for this book. He still has an important role to play in this book and book two, but he doesn’t come front and center until book 3.

VISCERAL INVISIBLES, the screenplay, comes out of marination this week and goes into rewrites.

Worked with students, did some pitches, did yard work. So many bags of leaves in the garage I can’t get the car out. I’ll take them to the dump tomorrow. Rubbed teak oil onto the porch furniture, took it in, took in the last of the plants. Still a lot to do, but it’s getting done, slowly but surely.

Don’t forget to sign up for Organize Your Writing Life in 2014, by signing up here. It’s only 10 bucks and three hours on December 7, and gives you a year’s worth of organization, and tools to use well beyond.

Off to work.

Devon

Mon. Nov. 4, 2013: Writing, THOR, & ROCKY HORROR

Monday, November 4, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend. Working on the project that I’m developing. Trying to type up the material for the first three chapters I did in the development notebook, but layering in the details so it makes sense. Amazing how much detail I need to HAVE in order to pick the right details.

Bad storms and high winds on Friday made it difficult to get things done in a timely manner, with power wonkiness and all, but I got out a project, eventually, and then had to school the so-called “editor” who questioned the correct punctuation usage. Honey, if you are actually an editor, you should either know it or have a shelf full of style guides to look it up. If you can’t do either one, you don’t belong in an editor’s chair. So glad to be done with that client. Lowest paying client, biggest pain in the ass, insults me on a regular basis — um, no. If you were paying me six figures, I might put up with some of your shit, but for these rates . . .no.

Lots of reading — I’m reading a best selling author’s interconnected novels to deconstruct them — and I watched, finally THOR. My response was, “that’s it?” Seriously, with all the hype, I expected so much more. Chris Hemsworth does his Chris Hemsworth thing (which he does very well), Tom Hiddleston is terrific, Jeremy Renner has a sequence-stealing cameo, but for the most part, I was disappointed. The first 45 minutes could have bee handled in 17, and given us more of the growing relationship between Thor and Jane. It happened too fast and there wasn’t enough there. Thor has his big realization too quickly without enough to back it up. I would have liked more character interactions and less fighting. The character interactions that were there were good (Kenneth Brannagh directed, of course they were), but the film, as a whole, was out of balance. There was a lack of development in too many of the supporting characters that made them far too interchangeable. I should know why someone is there by what they say and do, not have only the costume as the scorecard.

Saturday, I got some work done in the morning, and then, in the evening, met friends at Lindsey’s in Wareham for drinks, and on to see the husband of one friend in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. The friend’s husband was very good, and there was a lot of good stuff in the piece, but it was also rather uneven, and the tech needed work. Scene changes too long and awkward, sound mix weak. The band, however, was great I’m glad I went, it was a fun night out.

Sunday, I stayed offline all day, which was wonderful. Did exactly what I wanted. And did home-and-hearth stuff like taking the garbage to the dump, taking the leaves to the dump, grocery shopping, taking down the Samhain decorations, and doing laundry.

Today, it’s back to work, on a variety of projects. Some errands, over to Osterville Library to do a drop off/pick up. It will be a busy week.

Devon