Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art

Monday, January 9, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cold

Mercury is finally direct, thank goodness! This was a tough one.

It started snowing on Friday; I’d planned ahead, so I didn’t go out. We got about 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow on Friday, which was a pain in the butt to shovel, but knowing another storm was on the way, we did it anyway.

Saturday, the snow started in the morning, and it snowed until well into the evening. Blizzard conditions, white-outs, instructions to stay off the road.

I had to give up my reading slot in the MOBY DICK MARATHON at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, because I couldn’t get there. Disappointing, but not worth risking my life over.

Instead, I stayed home and read and we took down the holiday decorations. It took most of the day Friday and most of the day Saturday. We’d taken in the outdoor decorations on Thursday, before the first storm hit.

I still have to fluff bows before packing them, switch out and wash/iron/fold fabric. I shouldn’t be surprised it took several days to take down — after all, it took a month to put up!

I had a lousy writing week. Last week started like gangbusters, with about half the short story due at the end of the month, and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK, and some other stuff. But every word, later in the week, was a fight, and the ones I wrestled, I don’t like very much.

I’m hoping for a better writing week this week. I NEED a better writing week this week.

It’s tough, because I have no energy. At all.

I had some promising news from my agent over the weekend, which is nice, but nothing is settled until contracts are signed, so I’m not jumping up and down yet. If negotiations work out, great; if not, on to the next.

I also have to do some negotiating on a potential freelance job. We’ll see how that works. Again, until there’s a signed contract and the deposit clears, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve been re-watching all of M*A*S*H lately, and I’m reminded how wonderful Alan Alda’s work is. I remember, during my theatre days, when he was the ultimate intelligent woman’s sex symbol: in addition to looks, he has intelligence, wit, humor, compassion, and courage. Then, I was lucky to work with him on some benefits, and he’s even better in person — interested and engaged, and KIND. His wife, Arlene, is amazing, too, and they’re wonderful together. He continues to be active, writing and advocating for science. We need more Alan Alda and less reality celebutard.

Adding to that, was Meryl Streep’s beautiful speech last night at the Golden Globes. As usual, she was intelligent, thoughtful, precise, insightful, and truthful.

Narcissistic Sociopath is having a hissy fit, but there again, you see the contrast between a genuine talent and a reality celebutard.

And hey, if the Duck Dynasty Dickheads have a right to spout politics — and they do, no matter how much I might disagree with them — then intelligent, talented artists have that same right.

For those who say actors/artists don’t have the right to speak about politics — ALL art is political. Some is overt, some is not. Great art makes the audience better, even for a few moments. Great art inspires us not to stand by and let people stomp on us. The incoming fascist regime is counting on squashing our spirit, by taking away everything that makes it possible to have a dignified life. We have to fight that, and one of the most effective ways so to do is through art.

You want to write narrow-minded formula pieces just to make money? Go ahead. That is your right. Even in those, though, isn’t there a happy ending? Doesn’t LOVE triumph over scheming and hate? That’s a form of political discourse. The most popular YA books in recent years — Hunger Games, Testing, et al — are political. Harry Potter is about overcoming a dictator. In Nora Roberts’s books, love and good overcome evil and destruction. That is political. Instead of just burrowing into these books (and we all need that escape), it’s time to take the principles that touch our souls in art and bring them forward into life. It is time for US to overcome those who want to break our spirits, take away love and hope, and control every aspect of OUR lives for THEIR profit.

We need to start creating the reality we want, both in our art, and then take it forward to turn it into our reality. It is time to defeat those who would crush our hearts, so they can line their own pockets.

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Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art  
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Mon. Jan. 13, 2014: Writing, Clients, Research, Award Shows

Monday, January 13, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy weekend. Still annoyed with two clients. One is now three weeks late in paying me — and this is our first project together. It may well be our last. Being “on vacation” and “out of town on business” is not an excuse. The payment date was not a surprise. It was in our written agreement. Make arrangements for the check to be mailed while you’re gone, or pay me electronically. I fulfilled my part of the contract — now you fulfill yours. The other client, the perpetual random payer — is now over a week late. I’m not delivering the final two articles on the contract until I’m paid, and, once I’m paid for those — I’m done. There’s a reason both these clients have a high writer turnover — they’re unreliable. You want to keep good people? Show them respect, and part of that is paying on time per the contract.

On a happier note, I finished the airship steampunk, revised it, and sent it out. I had enough material for a novel and had to strip/throw out a lot of ideas. I kept notes, in case I ever want to expand it. Hopefully the story doesn’t read as compressed. I’m worried that there’s not enough conflict in the climax, although I invented some interesting gear used in it.

Totally cooked by Friday night — I wrote synopses for three different scripts. And another teleplay comes up in the editing/revision queue today. Gotta get that packet ready for February!

Had a meeting with a fellow writer and friend –we’re going to encourage each other along writing our novels. She’s outlined what she wants to work on — I have to decide which of three possibilities I want to work on with her.

I also have to get back to work on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I hope my new publisher will like. I have to find the full writer’s rough I did a few years ago.

I have some admin work to do today, and I also have a client meeting about an hour off-Cape. My materials are all together for that; I just have to give myself enough time to find the place and feel settled before the meeting starts.

Read a supposed thriller over the weekend which did not thrill me. Started another novel, whose premise excited me, but the author was one of those pretentious ones who uses dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue AND writes in present tense. I lasted for ten pages and had to put it down. The structure did not support the novel. Since I wasn’t being paid to read it, I didn’t have to fight my way through it.

Found the letters from George Eliot to Harriet Beecher Stowe that I looked for in reference to the Charlotte Bronte conversation in a collection of Eliot’s letters. Copied out the relevant passages. Now, I want to read Harriet’s letters to see her side of it. So that project is developing.

Worked with students — I’m lucky to have a dedicated, committed batch this semester. They want it, and they’re willing to work for it, rather than making excuses.

Watched the Golden Globes last night, both for fun, and as background for a couple of projects that use award show scenes. Glad AMERICAN HUSTLE did well, but I feel that Jeremy Renner’s work is being unfairly overlooked. He went in a completely new direction for him, and I don’t feel the work is being properly appreciated.

Really pleased by the positive response to my short story “Catch Your Breath”. It encourages me to play more with contemporary literary fiction.

Off to get some writing done and then to the meeting.

Devon

Mon. Jan. 14, 2013: NMLC’s Successful Seal Release!

IMG_0892

Monday, January 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Foggy and mild

The weekend here was very mild, but it was foggy. Sunday was a brilliant day, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Worked hard on Friday and Saturday, a lot of hours at the desk, not feeling a lot of accomplishment, unfortunately. I’m still struggling to get the right tone on the sample with the proposal, and getting discouraged. Worked with students. I need to figure out how to promote the small books more effectively — both the fiction shorts and the non-fiction Topic Workbooks. I also need to figure out how to enlarge the covers — that’s the only obstacle right now to getting into the premium catalogue — their system says my covers are “too small”. Yet, when I check the pixels, the jpg has what they ask for. I don’t get it. I’m frustrated.

I’m also not happy with “That Man in Tights”. It needs more work than I originally thought. I’m not going to release it until it’s the best it can be, but right now, that’s farther away than I would like.

The details are up for the workshop “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects.” It only runs three days, it’s only $30. You bring in abandoned projects and we take a second look; we see what has potential, and what needs to be put to rest for good, and then we come up with a way to get them onto your schedule and get them done. Info and registration here.

Sunday was release day for Major Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan, the NMLC’s seal patient that came in and was so badly injured. I was at the Center before nine, photographed MM’s final feeding and playtime with Townsend, the other seal patient. Then, she was loaded into her crate and into the animal ambulance. We had a caravan to Scusset Beach, where about 150 people gathered to see her off. Her crate was carried over the dunes to the beach, a pathway cleared to the water, and the door opened.

She was a bit hesitant at first, especially with so many humans around. The waves grew larger and more insistent, as though they called her home. She lit up when she realized what it was, and paddled herself down the sand and into the surf. She was truly HAPPY, joyful, to be back in the surf, and it was so wonderful to see an animal who’d been so critically injured back in her habitat.

It was a beautiful experience.

And it was great how many kids and families. et al, were all there, excited and supportive.

After we were done at the beach and cleared up, we headed back to the hospital; did some rearranging in the kitchen, a lot of scrubbing (there’s always a lot of scrubbing involved). We cleaned Townsend’s tank and refilled it — he was completely befuddled about what had gone on. I think yesterday was more stressful for him than for Major Margaret. But even the turtles in the other tank were sticking their heads up, wondering what was going on.

The other volunteers and staff kept working in the hospital and I headed to Osterville Library where Kathy Zagzebski, the Executive Director of NMLC, was giving a talk. Osterville built themselves a new library and it is GORGEOUS. Beautiful space, and we were in a terrific meeting room. Kathy’s presentation was great, and there were some wonderful questions, especially from the kids. I helped Kathy clean up, came home, uploaded my photos, and then collapsed in front of the TV to watch the Golden Globes. The cats were delighted, because I still smelled like herring.

Tiny Fay and Amy Poehler were GREAT as hosts. And there was a minimum of stupid banter, either from hosts or presenters. It always sounds fake anyway, so just skip it, people.

I started Sunday feeling very blue about a lot of things — and then had a good laugh, because the songs playing on the radio as I headed for the bridge were “This Girl is on Fire” and “Don’t Stop Believing”, which felt like they were a direct response to what was going through my mind.

It would up being a wonderful, wonderful day!

I have a LOT to do today, especially getting the play organized and start the writing — the title’s set, MURDER SEALS THE DEAL, with the play on words for “seal” — that I better get going. I also have a budget meeting for the Beautification Committee this afternoon, and have to get some material together for that.

Finished all my Cosmology homework on Saturday, but am still behind on Astronomy. It’s all fascinating, I just can’t keep up with sometimes 15 lectures per week that run 40 minutes or more. Thank goodness I’m only auditing, and have a little extra time.

Devon

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


/View towards Sandy Neck from Long Pasture Sanctuary

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Waxing Moon
Stormy and cold

Well, let’s hope the scolding i gave the students Sunday night into Monday means they’re actually going to step up. We’re halfway through the workshop, have only been working for two weeks, and there are certain members of the group who are regularly posting days late, some of them are getting sloppy in their construction. Instead of using the workshop to learn how to make the best of each genre, they’re slapping up whatever. The lack of respect for my time and the time of the students who are keeping up is just appalling. You can make all the excuses you want about what’s going on in your life, but we all have life stuff and we all have to keep commitments in spite of it.

It’s one reason I’ve sat on the longer-term proposals. If they can’t commit to a month and sustain it, how will the commit to longer?

Didn’t watch much of the Golden Globes on Sunday. Just wasn’t interested. Am pleased for Steve Buscemi, Laura Linney, Melissa Leo — about time their work was recognized.

Drank herbal tea that was supposedly calming before bed on Sunday, because I had to be up at five a.m.

Couldn’t sleep.

Sort of drifted in and out, but got up like a bear with a sore head when the alarm went off on Monday morning, and even yoga and meditation didn’t help much.

Battled through my first 1K of the day on the Samantha Light piece and realized I have to research yachts. Not necessarily a negative, but I have to research yachts. I need to know how they’re built, what they look like, etc. Time for another trip to the library.
The opening takes place on a yacht. Even if I make this a created world instead of a real one, I need to understand yacht construction. I know I have some books on it from my America’s Cup research, but they’re not yet unpacked.

Believe me, it was a battle. I did not feel like writing. But butt went into chair, and I fought my way to nearly 1K.

And then, while eating breakfast, I had a breakthrough on the piece due at the end of February, the one with which I’ve been struggling: I started with the wrong opening and set the wrong tone — no wonder I was lost! I changed the opening line, and suddenly, the book opened out before me.

Drove to Plymouth, found the garage, checked in, was given a ride to Main St. Unfortunately the coffee shop I wanted to hang out in didn’t open until 9:30 (really? are you freaking kidding me? 9:30?) and it was 8. Found another one open, further down the street, which was like walking into a Land of Lost Souls. They were mostly regulars, but they were lost. Settled in with coffee and a wonderful blueberry muffin. Tried not to let the Really Loud Guy Desperate for Attention work my last nerve too much. Got some good outlining done on the book. Now, I have to write my way into it a bit before I can finish the rest of the outline. I also need to get a couple of books out of the library on the Tower of London, since I don’t know where mine are. And I have to tweak the beginning, because one of the rules for this book (by the publisher) is that it has to be set in Scotland. So I have to make sure it opens in Scotland and have the few short scenes as JFK airport and in London as flashbacks.

When I got as far with that as I could go, I switched to working on the material for Confidential Job #1 that’s due this week.

Left the coffee shop earlier than planned because the guy sitting next to me was tunelessly whistling. I’m like a cat when it comes to whistling — I don’t like it. And TUNELESS whistling sends me right over the edge. However, people whistle out of happiness or for comfort, and I don’t have the right to interfere with that, much less rip anyone’s throat out over it, or give them Dark Looks.

So I left and started walking back to the garage.

In 13 degree weather. Windy. Without a scarf.

Not one of my more brilliant moments, by a long shot. Add to that the fact that 90% of Plymouth’s sidewalks hadn’t been cleared — even if a lame attempt was made to push a little of the snow to one side occasionally, it was pure ice underneath. And it’s a state law that walkways are to be cleared 2 hours after a storm ends. Guess no one sent the memo to the whole damn town. Even in front of town hall it was a mess. Only the churches and museums paid any attention. And Rt. 44 is far too dangerous to walk on.

I was so furious I nearly melted the snow with every step. Or maybe I should say “stomp.” 😉

At least it kept me from realizing how cold it was.

Got there, read a little more as they finished up the car. Car’s in great shape, just needed some basic servicing and a few filters changed. I liked them there a lot — they were nice, they’re knowledgeable, they’re ethical, they’re busy as all get out with people they know by name. I think I found the right place for the car.

And the car feels great. Unlike the previous place, where I asked them to check tire pressure and brakes and they didn’t but lied, I could feel the difference here. I hadn’t even asked them about the brakes, and they adjusted them for me. And the tires feel better. If they’d just hosed her off, they’d be perfect!

Unfortunately, it’s too cold out for me to sponge her down, even with warm water. I’m going to have to wait a bit.

Ran some errands because the storm is supposed to hit this morning, not this evening as originally predicted. Got a new flashdrive for the more current work. I’m a little worried about my hard drive. I’m being vigilant about backing up/printing out, but . . .I’m hoping it’s a Comcast issue, since it’s only being cranky when I get online.

Came back to the cats racing around with brush-like tails. No idea why.

Wrote and read in the afternoon. Discussed workshop proposals with the person to whom they were pitched.

No request to the response for press credentials for the new, local pro hockey team (I went through proper channels and had my editor request and everything). So I stayed home! I’m interested in following them from Day One, but I also have deadlines coming up, and, if I can’t slot it into “work”, I can’t do it right now.

Watched some TV. (spoilers) What can I say? Brandy and I were right about the Orwell character in THE CAPE. 😉 Seriously, there’s some good stuff in the show, I understand some of the snarky criticism that’s come in, and I still feel there are a bit too many cooks in it. I’m hoping it’ll find its feet in the next few episodes, and that it gets time so to do. My biggest problem with it is that the character of Peter Fleming is not a strong enough or interesting enough antagonist. All he’s got is money and ego. The “Villain of the Week” concept would work better if Fleming was more dynamic and pulling more strings. Also, I’m annoyed at the “Submit your Villain and we might use it!” campaign. You want me to CREATE a character and HAND him over to you? No WGA contract, no licensing fees? I’m supposed to just be happy you picked my character? Bite me!

Woke up with the “pre-storm headache” and wish it would start already so the storm would hit.

Figured out how I re-injured the bad shoulder, the one where I tore the rotator cuff a few years ago. When I go down to the basement, I twist my arm behind me at a weird angle to shut the door. That’s causing problems. I have to stop a few steps down, turn around to face the door, and then shut it. Great. Another few seconds for the cats to sneak down! 😉 But it will take the strain off the shoulder.

Going to see if I can put to use some of that outlining I did yesterday, and then, this afternoon, maybe I can make a good dent in the work for Confidential Job #1. Also, my students have a new exercise due today, and I have to post the one due Friday. We only have two more weeks/three more exercises! It’s gone very quickly.

I better get going. There’s a lot of writing to be done!

Devon

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
Martin Luther King Day
National Thesaurus Day

Wave your thesauruses proudly, my friends, and use them as we gather together to heed Dr. King’s words and make the world a better place!

Late getting online today. I was writing, and it was going well (I wrote about 10 pages, longhand), so I wasn’t about to stop until I HAD to stop.

Everything got done yesterday, before the worst of the weather hit. And I did a thorough apartment cleaning in the afternoon, while percolating on various projects. I wrote this morning, got the arrangements for the weekend gig done, am on line for a brief, shining moment.

I have to drop some stuff off at storage, pick up some stuff at the grocery store, drop off some stuff for my mom, maybe today’s the day I buy my new phone? It would be a good idea to get it all settled before I travel. Since I’ll only be gone four days instead of a week, I don’t need to take nearly as much stuff. Writing-wise, I’ll focus on the steampunk and the piece on which I was working this morning. Everything else can wait until I get back. I have to be really organized this week, and clear off a bunch of things on my desk before i leave.

And, of course, I want to clear today’s errands out of the way so I can get back to the page! When I’m on a roll, I hate to stop for ANYTHING.

Congrats to the cast of GLEE for winning a Golden Globe for best comedy or musical series last night. Having worked with two of the actresses while we were all on Broadway, the honor is well-deserved.

I’ve got an iWeb workshop tonight — don’t want to forget about it in all the fray!

Devon

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 11:35 am  Comments (5)  
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