Wed. Sept. 17, 2014: Between Many Book Worlds

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Very intense few days on the trip. It was great, but it was all very intense.

Saturday was the first meeting of the cozy book club. Small turnout, but enthusiastic. We are moving it to a different day and time for next month, hoping it will work for more people. I was very tired – I’d been up for several days preparing the materials, washing the china, making the food, packing everything. Load in and load out weren’t bad, but it still took time.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. Read Sharon Shinn’s ROYAL AIRS on the deck. I’m a huge fan of her books anyway, and this is in the same series as TROUBLED WATERS. I read the library copy, but I’ll be buying my own.

Packed what I needed for my trip to New York. Decided I was going to try to travel as light as possible.

To bed early. Up early on Sunday. Wrote 1000 words on INITIATE. Packed the car, ate a good breakfast. Hit the road about a half hour later than I wanted – mostly because I wanted to finish the sequence I was writing on INITIATE.

Traffic wasn’t bad, and it was a beautiful day to drive. I listened to MacTalla Mor on the way down. Stopped in Niantic at the Book Barn. Sold some duplicate books I’d accumulated over the years, and some books my mom wanted to get rid of. And then bought books. And books. And books. It was wonderful. I gorged myself on various titles and authors I’d been looking for, and on some I wanted to try.

Stopped in Old Saybrook. Found some silver flatware – some in my pattern and some in a complimentary pattern – and a small painted stool I will varnish to protect the paint and use for plants.

Hit Greenwich Library around 3 PM. Because, of course, if I’m going somewhere, where is my first refuge? The library. Texted my friend to let her know I arrived. Settled in with Sarah Monette’s MELUSINE – and was captivated from the first page.

I was supposed to be writing.

My friend contacted me and wanted me to come out to the small island sanctuary where her family has had a house for generations. So I drove to Rye and parked at the dock and waited for her. Had to jump into the small boat – not sure if it’s a skiff or what. Whatever it was, it was small and low to the water. And I can’t swim. To say I was terrified is an understatement. But I kept my cool outwardly and didn’t moan.

We went out to the island, which is beautiful, and there was a lively group there of people who like to have actual conversation, not just griping or gossip. So that was fun. And one had worked for the Sound Tigers the same year I trotted around with them doing research, yet our paths hadn’t crossed. So it was fun to share stories about our favorite hockey boys. I can’t believe it’s been a dozen years since I spent time with them. They’re all men now, most of them are out of hockey and with families of their own. It feels like months, not years.

We came back later than expected ,on the tiny boat, in the dark. I was scared, but didn’t outwardly panic, even when we hit a piece of driftwood and I was sure we were going to trip over. I was actually more worried about the longhand chapter of INITIATE in my bag than anything else. But it was all good.

It was odd driving around in Rye. I felt absolutely nothing. I spent many years in the town – from first grade through high school. So many experiences that shaped me happened there. And I felt . ..nothing. Not even the basic curiosity I usually feel in a new town. Not anger or resentment or nostalgia or . . . anything. It was like entering a void. Which was weird. I felt like I should feel something, even if it was negative or uncomfortable.

Didn’t sleep well, lots of odd dreams, but was up early and on a train to the city just after 8. Rye is only 25 miles from New York, a much shorter distance than Kingston is from Boston – yet the round trip train ticket is more expensive.

Hit the city early. Walked around. Spent some time writing in Bryant Park, by the main branch of the New York Public Library (see a pattern with my first choice of refuge?). I had, after all, to write my 1K on INITIATE, or I’d be out of sorts all day.

Then, it was to the Morgan Library (patterns much?) for my 10:30 appointment. The Department Head/Curator who took time to speak with me was amazing. Again, it was invigorating to have a real conversation, and it ranged along a wide spectrum of topics. I learned A LOT, and he also gave me confidence that many of my initial instincts in dealing with what I’m dealing with are correct (even if I’m not always toeing the usual library line on some things). We’ve both done a lot of different things in life that brought us to working in libraries and we share a passion for books and learning and information and how we like to handle/acquire/live with books that is often similar. It was a wonderful experience. He’s someone with whom I want to keep in touch, and someone for whom I hope I can be a resource for the weird information I tend to accumulate. His kindness and generosity of spirit towards someone who’s basically making it up as she goes along in this whole library adventure was deeply appreciated.

It was later than I expected when I got out of there (I expected he might have 15 or 20 minutes to spare, and we talked for nearly two hours – I felt like I was a time hog). I wanted to see what had changed. New York is still vibrant, and it was nice to be around its diversity. The pace felt slower, which was odd. I felt like I was at my old NYC pace, but people around me weren’t. Maybe I was simply in areas with tourists.

I swung by Christie’s, just for the heck of it, and was lucky enough that they were having a viewing of Asian Art. I got to talk to people (more real conversations) about textiles and ceramics. They couldn’t answer all of my questions, so now I have to do some research on my own. Which is just fine, because I didn’t really have the language to ask properly what I wanted to know. But Christie’s has always treated me well and going in there is always a pleasure. I learn a lot and get visual stimulation and the impact of actual valued and valuable art works that one can’t get in many other places. The emotional impact is very different between a photograph of something from the 1700s and the actual object.

Then, of course, I was close to running late. I grabbed some watermelon for lunch on the move as I headed up through Hell’s Kitchen (name it something gentrified all you want, it will ALWAYS be Hell’s Kitchen) to Lincoln Center. Hit the Library for the Performing Arts and had my meeting with the curators from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection.

Again, very generous with time and resources and cautions. They gave me a good baseline for how things are usually done. I saw the archives – so much wonderful history is in there, some of which is history I studied that influenced me; some of which is my personal history, people who actually shaped my career and my vision of a career in theatre. I asked a lot of questions, got a lot of information.

By the time I left, I was on overload. I was going to make another stop, almost made it to the building, and just couldn’t. Spread me with butter and serve me on a plate, because I was toast. I did, however, run into a store and buy a new tote bag for all the information I’d accumulated.

I headed to Sosa Borella (a favorite hangout from my days on WICKED and where I had my first book launch party), had something to eat (because I was ready to pass out) and a glass of wine. Listened to the first world problems of some yuppies nearby, thinking, “wow, if I told you some of my stories, you’d run screaming”, but kept my mouth shut. Costume Imp was the first to join me, and then two other friends. We had a great dinner and catch up, and even caught a train back at a reasonable time.

Caught up with the friend with whom I stayed, made sure I was properly packed. Up early on Tuesday morning, wrote 1K on INITIATE. In the car a little after 8 to head for the Asian grocery store in White Plains – which didn’t open until 10 that day. The traffic was backed up, so I took backroads until I got ahead of the problem, then hit the Merritt and headed back. I was working on potential plot threads for INITIATE, following the threads, deciding which to keep, which to develop, which to toss.

Stopped in Mystic on the way home, at Mystical Elements. I needed to stock up on aquamarines and bloodstones – neither of which they had. But they had some moonstones and a Botswana Agate I needed, so I got those, and some candles. And I got some hematite rings for the thumbs. Then headed over to Silk Road, for a bagua mirror (found a GORGEOUS one), and picked up a necklace and a moonstone ring to replace a ring I’d lost when packing the car at home on Sunday morning. I’ve worn eight rings on my fingers for years – now I have the full ten. Also got a nice pendant.

Back in the car, home around 3. Unpacked, settled in, read the rest of MELUSINE. Obsessed with the book, the gorgeous writing, the world-building. Finished it (all 496 pages) and started in on VIRTU, the next book.

To bed early – exhausted – in spite of all the reading and the plotting and the this and the that.

Up early this morning – 1K on INITIATE, starting a new section, layering in some other stuff I need to put in to widen the world.

To Barnstable Law Library for a meeting of the Reference Committee. It was terrific, great resource, and I applied for a card for our library, so we can access resources. Had some terrific conversations with some of my fellow librarians.

Stopped at Nirvana to treat myself to a Café Mocha and headed to work, where things were a bit in turmoil, and my desk was stacked to the rafters – which is fine, since it’s boxes of books. A couple of things that were promised to be handled while I was gone hadn’t been, which caused a slight case of the crankies on my part, but they’re now handled and nobody died, so it’s really not that big a deal. An annoyance, not a catastrophe. We also had a meeting for a proposal for a project in conjunction with Heritage Garden that I really, really want to do, and the Youth Services Librarian created a beautiful design. I also have to write a proposal for my boss’s presentation for a small libraries’ conference in Sturbridge at the end of October. Plus unpack all the boxes, and go through the books withdrawn via weeding.

It’s almost the end of the work day, so I’ll do what I can do, then descend into VIRTU – although I do need to write more on INITIATE tonight. I didn’t have three eight hour days to devote to it this week, and my characters are annoyed with me, which causes internal stress. I ordered the other two books in the series – there are four and I’d only found two in Niantic, not knowing there were four or realizing how hard I’d fall for these two. I am going to be very protective and possessive of my copies, because I will keep going back to this series for both enjoyment and because, structurally, they are so well done.

I also have to prepare for tomorrow morning’s Marine Life Center Board Meeting and set up for Short Story Group here before I go, since I will be late coming in.

It will take a few days to settle in again. I kind of feel like I’m floating between worlds right now. I’m surprised how easily I slipped back into New York mode, and I’m glad I could genuinely enjoy New York City, without feeling like I was missing anything, and still being convinced that leaving when I did was the right thing to do.

I am, however, being faced with other decisions and more change in the coming months. I’d like to sit and plan, but every time I do that, it backfires, so I will just have to trust my instincts.

Devon

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Had a good afternoon’s work at the Greenwich Library. Found both what I needed and what I wanted, which is a good thing.

Only television I watched last night was HUMAN TARGET, which, I’m happy to say, I think is starting to hit its stride (spoiler alert). The supporting characters were interesting and well-written, the villain was more fleshed out than in the past episodes– and played by William Mapother, who’s probably best-known for his role as Ethan on LOST. I don’t mind knowing who the villain is from the get-go as long as the conflict between protags and villain is an interesting journey. I still would have liked to see more development in Mapother’s character — they’re able to reveal a lot in a few words for the other characters, they need to do it with the villains — but at least this time, there was a sense of actual threat in it all. No scenes with the three leads physically together this time, but the paths they were each on were interesting enough so it didn’t matter. As usual, Jackie Earle Haley’s work was outstanding — the details about where he chooses to put emphasis — the way he tossed the phone aside, or dumped the cassette to put in the other cassette,or how he leans against the car waiting for a meeting — all those details reveal a lot about character. Loved Guerrero’s tough love scene with Winston on the phone disarming the bomb — I don’t for one second believe he didn’t know which wire to cut, he simply knew how to push Winston into making the right choice. My only issue was when Guerrero shot a character first in the back near the end. Of course, actor and/or character might well retort, “I’ll shoot him anywhere I damn well need to in order to get the job done”, but to me, that was the only thing that rang a little false in the episode — although I really liked the last shot from the downed character’s POV. I’m enjoying watching the piece develop, both character-wise and structurally. I keep doing production breakdowns in my head as I watch, though, “Oh, he only had to be on set two days, tops, to do that” — that kind of thing. I find it a fun, instructive hour. Especially since I’m pitching and in meetings for various scripting jobs right now, I’m getting back into that mindset. Hmm, I wonder if that make my cable bill a tax deduction? 😉

I had weird dreams last night that woke me up, but they fled before I could get a handle on them. I did, however, have other dreams that helped me in both POWER OF WORDS and REDEMPTION KILL. I did the pages I figured out — managing to solve two plot/logicial problems in a single short scene, yay me — and am about to spend some time on REDEMPTION KILL before I go and take care of mundane things like grocery shopping.

I’m not going to be abe to attend the art opening I was invited to tomorrow night because of the weather — I hear Philly’s set to get nearly a foot of snow, and they’re waffling on how much we’re going to get, just saying it’ll be more than we got earlier in the week. Well, my larder will be full, I’ll have gotten more paper from Staples, so I can stay cozy and writing all weekend.

Sounds good to me.

Devon

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

IMG_0447
New York Botanical Garden

Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Apple’s “solution” is that I HAVE to spend (waste) hours on the phone today with one of their Super-Techs. Right. That’s gonna help. I’ll play along, to show that I’m being “cooperative”. And if/when it doesn’t work, I will rip them a new one. And turn the matter over to the Attorney General. It’s been over a month since I started having problems. Enough, already!

I’m restating — if I was a man, this would have been solved properly the first time, and I would not be forced to jump through all these hoops.

And if that was our “next step” — why wasn’t I told that when the phone messages started TWO WEEKS AGO, and why wasn’t it set up then? Two weeks of “let’s talk” messages when all they were going to to do is make me sit through another useless tech session.

Unbelievable bullshit (pardon my language).

I know, at least they keep calling back, which is more than Dell would ever deign to do (although the NY State Class Action Suit against Dell may force them to actually honor their service contracts). But I still don’t have a solution — which, to me, the only acceptable solution is a computer that runs properly.

What did I do yesterday? I went grocery shopping (just about my favorite thing in the world), I did more Prague prep, I wrote, I did some research for an international proposal that has to go out when I get back from Prague, I drove to Greenwich to use their library computers so I could invoice Confidential Job #1 (and picked up a few books from their book sale while I was there), looked over the NYFA site. This year’s grant cycle includes both fiction and playwriting. The deadline is the beginning of November, and the applications aren’t available yet, but should be in about a week.

The big thing was that Stop&Shop sent out new membership cards and an offer for a discount if we signed up online. However, when you go to the website, it’s hijacked by someone or other who claims that you have a Trojan in your computer (because it’s put one there) and the only way you can get off the site is to BUY their anti-virus software.

Fortunately, I have an Apple, even a limping one, so my computer was not infected, the Trojan didn’t gain access, I could simply quit Safari, run the proper function to make sure everything was healthy and move on. I called the head office, who shrugged it off and said,”That’s out of our control.” Bite me, you bastards; I was lucky, because I had a Mac, albeit it a flawed one. But if I was still on the PC, I would have lost everything. YOU are responsible for the security on your site, especially when you have a marketing campaign out there falsely offering a discount when all that really happens is a computer virus. That is absolutely unacceptable, and hopefully anyone whose computer was infected won’t just roll over and take it.

I did some more work on AMENDS, got some reading in for Prague. I did a favor for a neighbor, which, unfortunately took longer than it should have, and I missed my meditation group. Fortunately, the nature of the group is that you’re there and they’re glad to see you, you’re not and they don’t make you feel guilty, so it’s not that big a deal.

Had a slow start on this morning’s session with AMENDS, but once I got into it, it went pretty well. I’m about to write a scene with my protag and a character with Alzheimer’s — another difficult scene, but vital to the plot.

I hope to get out a bit of correspondence before the tech session. This afternoon, I have to go through some boxes in storage to find some papers and send off copies for something that was resolved five years ago and has come back to haunt me because of either the other party’s incompetence or corruption.

The results of the Bush Administration: Incompetence and corruption without consequences.

So, we’ll see how today goes. I don’t want to go into the session with a completely negative attitude, but I’m very skeptical it’s anything but another waste of time and vamping on Apple’s part, hoping that if they drag it out long enough, I’ll just give up. If it DOES work, and the computer actually runs the way it’s supposed to, I will go back to being a happy camper, but still be highly skeptical of Apple’s integrity because of the way it was handled to date.

I really want to pack, but if everything sits in a suitcase for 12 days, it will be horribly wrinkled. My carry-on’s mostly packed, though. I’m trying to put as little as possible in it: Books for the plane, yoga mat, journal, camera.

I’m going to print out the luggage specs, so when the airline tries to overcharge or tell me that the luggage is the wrong size, I have the correct specs in writing. I haven’t flown British Air in years, but, in general, the international carriers are often more committed to customer service than the US carriers, so I’m hoping there won’t be too much hassle. Air France is my favorite carrier. I liked Icelandair once we were actually on the plane, but getting on it was a little disorganized.

The weather’s gorgeous and I need to get a lot done today, because I’m headed out to CT to check out a site tomorrow.

Let’s hope my Super-Tech session doesn’t take hours and solves the problems.

Devon

AMENDS: First draft: 18,875 words out of est. 75,000
25.16%
IMG_0001
Eastham, MA

I could use a few hours staring at a peaceful view like this right now!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to the Scruffy Dog Review blog for my article, “Don’t Assume You Know My Contract” and leave a comment.

I’m so tired of everything being damp and clammy all the time. Ick!

After a day as good as Tuesday, of course, yesterday was filled with interruptions and frustrations. I had a heck of a time getting out the door to storage, and it wasn’t fun hauling the crap to storage. My wrist and I are not on speaking terms.

I swung by the site where I needed to get some paperwork signed and took care of that, had lunch with a friend, and installed myself at the Greenwich Library to get some work done.

I wound up finding some very interesting material and going off on a tangent, but that’s okay, because it will come in useful further down the road. It just means working some additional hours today and tomorrow to get everything done.

I looked up about halfway through the afternoon and saw the storm moved in, so I gathered my belongings and headed home. I tried to get some more work done, and managed to write two articles and get some editing work done before the storm was bad enough for me to shut down all the electronics (since surge protectors are basically useless).

I tried to read a mystery I picked up. It lost me in the first sentence. I felt I was being unfair, so I struggled along. Most of the writing is far too precious — the writer is in love with the sound of her own voice and wants to sound “literary”, but doesn’t have the skill level to pull it off. And, while she writes well about the conceit of the protag’s profession, the mystery part of the tale falls apart. The protag makes such stupid choices that, should she become the killer’s next victim, it wouldn’t bother me too much. This is the third book of a series. I won’t be going back to read the first two, and I won’t read the books that follow. These are hours of my life better spent reading GOOD writing.

Well, at least I learned valuable lessons about what NOT to do in this type of book!

I packed up some more stuff — this has to be stacked in a corner until the furniture swap happens, and I can put it away in the furniture coming in. The new couch shipped, and, after using Safari to push the site link (it spun and wouldn’t connect in Firefox) and discovered that it left California on Tuesday (huh?), so I don’t think I have to worry about it showing up until the original Monday – Wednesday time frame.

I had a good writing morning on the mystery short story. I’ll have to rearrange a bit of the dialogue for logistical reasons, but I think I can finish it this weekend and let it sit for a week or so while I write the second story, and then go back, edit this one, edit the other one, and get them in on deadline.

I’ve got to vacuum (here we go, Jupiter Retrograde influence). I’m going to write in a local coffee shop for awhile, then I have a lunch date, then I’ve got a site job in CT this afternoon.

It also looks like I’ll land a gig down in DC for a few days in November, which will be really cool! IF all the contract details work out.

Of course, if I go down, I will build in time to visit my Senators and Congressional Reps. Can’t let any opportunity slip by. My Congresswoman wants me to be part of a Telephone Town Hall on health care tonight — only I’ll still be onsite at the time it starts. I’ve sent her my cell phone and also some thoughts on it, in general.

Devon

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and humid

First, and most important, I want to wish Gerard Canonico — actor, musician, songwriter, and friend — an enormous HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are awesome, and I hope today ushers in the best year yet for you, and many more to come.

Got the Trader Joe’s errand done yesterday morning — I just love their ice cream! The cats are happy that the food cupboard is restocked. Got another load of boxes to storage.

Spent the afternoon researching at the Greenwich Library. Some of it was frustrating, since the information is so contradictory, and I’ll have to sort things out. But at least I have a starting point for the article. Since I was there, I also did research on a couple of other projects, took lots of notes which I’ll have to organize and then implement. The library was busy, but the desks are scattered well enough so that it’s easy to find a quiet corner where one can work undisturbed. It was a great and productive afternoon.

Came home, dealt with some correspondence. Had a lovely email exchange with a couple of potential new editors that allows me to return to one of my WIPs with renewed vigor. What a relief!

Decent writing session this morning — not brilliant, not terrible.

Somehow, I’ve managed to wrench my wrist. Doing things like turning the key in the ignition or lifting the coffee pot are excruciating. Unfortunately, I still have to haul boxes to storage, so I’ll wrap it and hope for the best. Just when the insect bite was healing well, too. I’d treated it earlier in the week, when it was red and irritated. I put one of my herbal concoctions on it — it actually bubbled and icky stuff drained out. Then I washed it and put neosporin on it, and it’s healed well. I don’t even think there’ll be a scar. But there was definitely venom in it. And it hurt like crazy when the concoction did its work. But it got rid of both the venom and the infection, so it’s all good.

Off to get stuff to storage, pick up a few things I forgot at the store earlier this week, and then client projects. I want to get the newest one turned around right away, because I plan to do a writing retreat this weekend starting tomorrow, and want to get everything cleared away before then.

An acquaintance of an acquaintance is offended because I won’t do a freebie. Too bad. I’d actually considered doing it as a favor until said person claimed to be getting an “error” message on the email, when it was an auto-responder, because the person (who was supposed to contact me four months ago and “never got around to it”) contacted me while I was away and is mad because I didn’t respond within a couple of hours. Sorry, buddy. Being a jerk costs extra.

Devon

Published in: on July 23, 2009 at 8:00 am  Comments (3)  
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