Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

It’s definitely autumn, which is fine with me, because it’s my favorite season, but wow, short growing season, early fall, early harsh winter.

No yoga on the beach yesterday. Spent a lot of time with students. Have had to send some exercises back because they aren’t following exercise requirements. There are always a few who seem to think I pull these exercises out of my ass for no reason. Every exercise is constructed to teach them something, to have them look at their work in way, and to teach them something they can use beyond class. They’re not here to free write and do whatever they want. They are here to learn something specific.

That whole “you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink”. Horses usually have a good reason. Some students disregard the purpose of their classes and then wonder why no one will publish them.

Some of them will overcome their resistance (whether it’s in my class or elsewhere) and learn something. Some will chose to just sit and spin.

The majority, though, are great, and they make it all worthwhile. I’ve got some students with whom I’ve now worked for several years, and they’ve made some beautiful growth. I also heard from a former student who just landed a book contract with a book she worked on in several of my classes. I’m delighted for her! I WANT them all to do well and fulfill their dreams.

Baked apple spice bread for the Post-Mermaid Ball meeting. It was lots of fun to see everyone again, celebrate the success of the ball — and start planning next year’s ball! It was one of the best committee experiences I’ve had doing one of these events (and I’ve been doing them since 1999), so that says a lot.

Came home, had dinner, got some work done, wore out the kitten, went to bed early.

This morning, took my mom to the doctor, who is pleased with her progress. I’m spending some time with students, then have some errands to run. The Dialogue class has a deadline today, which means I have approximately 22,500 words to read and comment on today. It if dries up, I’ll mow the front later on. I have company coming in this weekend from NY — first time they see the house. I want the yard to be at least somewhat tidy, and I’m still trying to clean up post-Irene.

The place I used to live in NY flooded AGAIN yesterday morning, so any progress residents made since Irene was destroyed. Again. The elected officials just ignore the problems as long as the developers keep paying them off, and nothing will change until people die. Not acceptable, and glad to be out of there.

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is on Sunday. NY is on high alert, due to “credible threats”. There’s a lot of coverage, most of which I can’t watch. It doesn’t feel like ten years. I think it’s important to keep reminding people of the depth and scope of it (which continues to increase as first responders continue to fall ill). I also think there’s a fine line between remembrance and exploitation, and that each individual who was affected needs to be able to mourn in his/her own way. Within the shared experience, there are also the individual experiences, and those must be honored, too. It’s on a Sunday, and it’s on the day before the full moon, so emotions will be even higher than usual.

I plan a quiet day of remembrance. A lot of people I knew died that day, and they deserve my time and thoughts.


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Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010
Full moon
Rainy and cold

Got up at 5:30 in the morning to run. Misery. Not only have I backslid since Friday, but the driving rain, high wind, and partially flooded streets made it impossible to get in a good session. I was wet, cold, and cranky when I got back. And the brook’s very high — I may need to move the car in an hour or so.

Thank goodness we actually had hot water this morning, so I could take a hot shower when I got home.

I ran some errands on Saturday. I got a book on running. I seem to be doing most things correctly, although my stride is too short. I was worried about leaning forward, which causes all kinds of problems, so I’d shortened the stride, but it turns out that causes all sorts of other problems! I tried lengthening the stride today, without tilting forward — a challenge. But it does feel better, on those strides I manage to hit correctly. Also, I’m already getting up at 5:30 — I am not getting up an hour earlier to have a snack before I run! I am drinking juice as soon as I get up, so I don’t go out there dehydrated.

Bought another book, for fun, by a new-to-me author, and also got to work on the assignment for Confidential Job #1. It’s a challenge, not my favorite type of material, but that makes me better.

Spent a lot of time on the workshop on Saturday. The work that’s progressing progresses very well. But too many of them are ignoring my notes on grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and I find it disrespectful. I’ve also never had to repeat notes so often – with some of them, it’s like talking to wallpaper. By the third time I’ve told you to learn the difference between a possessive and a plural, you damn well better have bothered to do it, especially when I’ve told you where to find the information. And yet others completely absorb and grow. I suspect a good many of the former are simply cutting and pasting from old work, instead of creating new material as required by the class. Some, however, are finding new styles of writing they never thought they’d venture into and are excited at the prospect. What’s exciting for me is watching them grow as writers. Also, as much of a Dragon as I am about structure and as specific as I am in the requirements for the exercise, I don’t tell them what genre in which to write. So I’m getting to read some really interesting work in areas I might not normally read.

Sunday morning was lost. I got out some queries and a requested proposal packet. Then, when I switched to the little printer to print manuscript pages, it threw a hissy fit. MacGeorge responded by dumping the software for BOTH printers, and I couldn’t reload them.

Frantic call to Apple Care. My tech was a really nice woman. Even though it was another of “I’ve never seen this type of incident before”, she stuck with me, and together we figured it out. We figured where the big printer was hidden, and got it back where it was supposed to be. Turns out MacGeorge was suspicious that the little printer’s hissy fit might endanger the system as a whole, booted it out, and won’t let it reinstall because something is seriously wrong with the printer.

I’ll have to get on the phone with Canon. It will probably cost more to repair the small printer than to dump it. But I don’t think they have an equivalent of a Baby Bubble anymore, and that’s what I need for travel and for manuscript printing. I don’t believe that the MX860 is sturdy enough to cough up the amount of manuscript printing I do on a daily basis. It’s great for the submitted work, faxing, scanning, photos, copying. But I need something little I can cart around to do simple print jobs, and, at home, to just print manuscript pages. I’ve had bad experiences with HP, Lexmark, and Epson. I want to figure out what my options are with Canon. Also, I’m going to have to upgrade my OS to Snow Leopard soon, and the little printer isn’t compatible. The big one is — it came out the same weekend Snow Leopard did, the week I bought MacGeorge (who does not have Snow Leopard).

Spent many hours catching up with the workshop material. I’d planned to split it into a couple of shorter sessions throughout the day, but because of Printer Kerflamma, I couldn’t. And I’m not going to punish my students because I had technical difficulties. I expect them to be on time. I will also be on time.

Printed out the 86 or so pages of POWER OF WORDS. Sorted out some more logistical issues. Figured out how to break the overall piece down into several shorter books covering the lifespan of the story I want to tell, but each being a reasonable length and able to stand on its own. That takes a lot of pressure off — I was trying to compress events, but that left holes. Now I can tell each part of the story, and structure it in a way that’s not overwhelming. It is kind of unwieldy because of the sheer number of individual characters necessary to present the piece believably, and it’s written in a far more cinematic style than I usually use. I’m still head-jumping too much in the early sections. I need to pick a POV for each section and stick to it. That’s a note to myself for revisions. I’m not yet sure how many POVs I will use in the course of the piece — so far, there are three. I don’t want it to be too many, or it will get confusing, even if each section is clearly delineated. So I know I have to fix that, but the head-jumping is in sections in which I haven’t yet decided whose POV serves that section best. I have to see the overall balance, and then tweak as necessary, so it’s not skewed. It always throws me when I read a book and 85% is from one POV, with only a chapter or two from others.

The scene I wrote today is about 200 pages beyond where I am in the current draft, but it was fully formed, and I didn’t want to lose it. I suspect it’s the last scene in this particular book, so now I have something to write towards. I already have much of what will be book 2 outlined (since I thought it would be part of this volume).

There’s definitely an audience for this story, although selling it will be tough. I can’t get so wrapped up in it that I let other, more easily marketable (not to mention deadlined) projects fall by the wayside. Yet more restructuring of my time in the future.

I booked a part-week gig in mid-April at my favorite site. I love being there, because I’m in more of an oversight capacity and can do my own writing, as long as I’m physically present.

And no, I did not even look at my taxes this weekend. Oh, well.


PS The only comments I have to make regarding all these celebrity infidelities eating up media time are:
–if you’re going to mess with skanks and hos, don’t be surprised when they turn on you for profit.
–if you like sleeping with lots of different people, don’t get married.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Dark Moon
Rainy and mild

So far, the brook’s holding. It’s got about another two feet before it goes over the banks. I’m keeping my car up on the hill and hoping they won’t give me a ticket. Under the previous mayor, during flood times, no one was ticketed for trying to save their cars, but this new mayor only cares about dollars, not citizens, so we’ll see. The flood watch was supposed to expire this morning, but now it’s been expanded to Tuesday morning.

Yesterday was a lost day, writing wise. The power flickered, so I didn’t want to use the computer. I couldn’t concentrate, and didn’t write in longhand. The cats were upset and stuck to me like Velcro. The wind howled like professional mourners keening at a funeral. Imagine that for hours and hours and hours. It rained hard, it rained horizontally.

I read Deanna Raybourn’s THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST. It was very different than I expected, but in a good way. I enjoyed it. I finished the biography of artist NC Wyeth, which was interesting. It didn’t change me into a Wyeth fan from a Hopper fan (not that those are mutually exclusive). Hopper’s work just speaks to me more strongly. But it gave me a deeper understanding of his life and motivations and content.

I’ll be going up and down to check the brook throughout the day; hopefully, it will only drizzle, and we can avoid a flood. I have to find some focus and get back to the page — I’ve got deadlines looming and I just don’t feel like working on anything I should work on. So I better get over it, if I expect to be able to pay bills this month.

Back to the page. Today’s a day I rely solely on craft.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010
Day Before Dark Moon
Rainy, windy, flood watch

The way the weather forecasters talked the past few days, I was looking up “Ark Rental” on the way home, because that’s what it sounded like I’d need. For the record, you can’t rent one — it’s a strictly build-your-own enterprise.

We left the Cape much earlier than we wanted to yesterday, after a lovely, but somewhat rainy birthday Thursday all the way out at the tip of the Cape, the Province Lands, and visiting old haunts of mine from the last 1960’s, early 1970’s. Provincetown seems to have lost its sense of fun. It’s not as openly hostile towards straight people as it was a few years ago, but it’s lost its sense of individuality and freewheeling, artistic fun because it’s trying to promote itself as supporting individualism, when, in reality, it supports a different type of conformity. The Province Lands themselves are still gorgeous, especially around Race Point, the ranger station (I took some almost Edward Hopper-esque photos out there), and the sea lions are finally coming back. There was also a major dolphin rescue going on in one of the Wellfleet Coves — a pod of 16 dolphins got stuck in almost quick-sand like mud, and they were trying to get them out. Not all of them survived, and it was still in progress when we left.

The birthday dinner was at The Beehive in Sandwich, always fun. We saw a wonderful Victorian house in Eastham — perfect size for the house, above the budget, and not enough land. The lot size was too small for me even to have a tiny garden, and I want a BIG garden. I want to have an herb patch, a vegetable patch, create a labyrinth walk, and have open space, as well, so that needs some land.

We’d be happy anywhere on the bay side of the Cape, in any of the towns stretching from Sandwich to Eastham, with Sandwich, Barnstable, and Brewster being our top choices. Everything we need, shopping-wise, is located on Rt. 132 in Hyannis and easy to reach, and the small, independent shops scattered throughout are pretty wonderful,too.

We were back home a little after noon yesterday, having skipped our planned stops in CT at the Book Barn, etc., because we were worried about the weather. The rain was pretty light all afternoon and evening. It picked up overnight. I boiled gallons of water, everything’s charged, we have batteries. The wind is hurricane-force. I got up at 5 AM and moved the car up to the hill, so if/when the brook regurgitates, the car will be safe. I’m going down to check on the brook every few hours, and it’s rising steadily, moving swiftly, and has the muddy brown color that usually bodes ill. The drains and gutters are already all full, with water pooling in the streets. The worst is supposed to hit us at 10 PM tonight, with unusually high tides.

Read Laura Resnick’s DOPPELGANGSTER, which was a lot of fun. I got a little ahead of it towards the middle, and figured out who did it about a hundred pages or so ahead of the heroine, but the way it escalated towards the end more than made up for it. I’d definitely read more books in the series.

One of the books I mooched arrived yesterday, CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE: POET AND SPY, which goes in the crate with the books for the Shakespeare project. It looks fabulous.

I did some follow-ups on submissions and have a list of things to get out the door this week, and I need to get back to the plays, but it’s difficult to concentrate with the storm. I hope it’s not going to be as bad as they predict, I hope it doesn’t flood, and I hope we don’t lose power. I’m ready in case we do, though. Just battening down the hatches.

And, I can always write in longhand by candlelight, which is what I usually wind up doing when it floods.

Fingers crossed.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde

Ran errands, went grocery shopping, caught up on email, etc., caught up on conference work, etc.

Managed to start one of the plays, MRS. TILLER’S (DEADLY) STORYTIME, when BLOOD SOUP didn’t cooperate, and jotted notes down for another play. One way or another, I will have two comic mysteries to my producer by the middle of the month!

Had a migraine, which slowed me down. It’s a little better today, but there’s still the residual soreness. Good yoga session last night, which helped.

Today’s focus is conference work, Confidential Job #1, and the play I don’t have anything particularly exciting to report. I’m just digging in to get the work done. With any luck, I can get a proposal or two out today, or a few queries, as well. Had a good writing session this morning on a short story — it’s coming along slowly, but it’s coming along. This draft is really the bare bones skeleton — I’ll have to flesh out quite a bit in the next one. But I wanted to get down the plot and character and action sequences, and then I’ll fill in texture and detail in the next draft. I’d like to keep the story in the 20 page range (approx. 5K). That’ll serve the markets on which I have my eye.

Back to the page. Sorry there’s nothing more exciting to report. We’re supposed to get another 3 inches of snow today. Right now it’s rain, so I have to hop up and down, checking the brook every few hours. Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of the first of two floods in 6 weeks that crippled this area, in which I lost my old car. And, since our new (Republican) mayor has put the almighty dollar ahead of the lives of the town’s citizens, allowing a developer to build condos in a spot guaranteed to worsen the flooding in this area, I’m even more cautious.

Back to the page.


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I think I’m fighting the beginnings of a cold or something, which totally sucks. I’m hoping to catch it before it fully develops. I’m right on that edge. I feel better this morning, but if it floods and I have to be in and out in the muck, I doubt I can stave it off.

One of the things I’m playing with in “Be The Monster” is handling relationships/conversations that are often handled in a rather cliched fashion in the fantasy genre a little differently. Only my Trusted Readers will be able to tell me if it works. It’s fun to write, though, because I’m turning all sorts of conversations we’ve read a hundred times on their heads.

“Lake Justice” or “Justice Lake” or whatever the hell I’m calling the other story today is simply fast, scary, and funny. That’s all it needs to be. It’s also a hoot to write.

I dreamed about one of the residencies last night — I hope that’s a good omen!

I’m going to shed some projects in the coming weeks that don’t fit in with my overall vision and path over the next few years. There are a couple of projects that would be fine if I was still where i was when I started them, or because I liked the IDEA of them, but when I sit down with the scheduling and responsibilities, I realize it’s not something that works in the long term. There are other people who are better qualified and more excited — I’d rather be a worker bee for one of them than the one responsible.

I moved the car, checked the brook, waited for the Big Bad Storm, hoped I wouldn’t get a ticket. I probably wouldn’t have moved the car until late at night, since it was dry around here, but a friend called me from the town marina to tell me that all the roads around there were filling up, even though the tide was going OUT.

I figured I’d risk a $25 ticket rather than losing my car.

The brook here stayed low all night, and, when I recently checked it (along with a dozen or so of the neighborhood folks), we don’t understand why the brook is still so low, when areas that don’t often flood are under water. According to the news, the tide never went out last night, so today we’ve got tidewater coming in on top of the water that’s already there, so by noon, basically, we should be screwed.

The desecrated courtyard is just one large mud puddle.

I can’t go out to buy bread in this weather, and we ran out, so I’m baking some this morning and hoping the power holds until it’s done.

Hopefully, I can finish out my commitment at the conference today without everything going kerplooey, but I have to take it one hour at a time.

Two of my really good friends are starting new jobs tomorrow and I’m thrilled for them. Always great when friends get opportunities that make them happy! I salute you!

The cats woke me up at 4 AM, and then I overslept. If they’d just let me sleep until 5;30, I’d be willing to get up and stay up! All of our lives would be easier, but I can’t seem to make them understand that.

I better get the bread kneaded so it can rise, and then I can get it in the oven. Fingers crossed that everyone is erring on the side of caution rather than a repeat of 2007.


Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 7:04 am  Comments (3)  
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