Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s so sad that the tornado hit a Boy Scout camp in Iowa, killing four of the boys. Really, a horrible tragedy. I was pretty annoyed, though, the one of the morning news shows put on a traumatized 14-year-old boy with haunted eyes. His parents stood next to him and THEY were in full Scout regalia, including medals, grinning, simpering, and making it all about THEM and how much THEY loved the organization. I wanted to slap them silly. One would think they’d be grateful their son wasn’t killed, and they’d be taking care of HIS needs, not going on national television trying to make it about them and their own feelings for the Scouts.

I’m in the process of sorting out the details of my workshop and my online chat for The Muse Online Writers’ Conference this fall. I taught and participated in it last year and LOVED it. I developed EARTH BRIDE there, which ended up being my Nano, and may develop this year’s Nano in it as well. Once I have everything finalized, I will let you know and post relevant links.

I’m considering skipping Nano this year. I’m doing J-WAT in July, where I hope to get a good start on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, the second Gwen/Justin book. It might make sense to write the first draft of the third one, SANDOVAL’S SECRET, during Nano, but I’m not sure. If I do it, this year I’m going to limit my mentoring to 4 or 5. It nearly hit 30 last year, and, while it was fun, it’s a little too much right now.

On the downside, I’m dealing with one of those life lessons in the land of television. About six years ago, I spent a large chunk of time with a group of people researching what was supposed to be material for a cable series. The producers and I parted company because I wanted to show an inside view of that entire world, the good, the bad, the wonderful, the heart-breaking, whereas the producers wanted to focus on the sex lives of three characters. I retained the rights to my research and characters; they retained the rights to develop their view of the concept. No problem. I simply felt that, if I followed what they wanted to do, I was betraying the trust and openness that those people showed me over an extended period of time, and that I wasn’t doing right by any of them. I felt I was compromising my integrity to stay on the project. It was a perfectly amiable split, and my material became the basis for several novels, one which was making the rounds, but which I pulled out of circulation a couple of years ago because it is a difficult sell, and I wanted to get some more credits and clout to insure I could stay true to my vision and the people who’d been so kind to me.

Well, now the show is about to launch. I saw the promo and I felt like I had to take shower after it. Truly, truly awful. Horrifyingly scumbag television.

And yet, I’m upset. I’m glad I left the project; I’m not sorry I gave up the money or the credit. And yet, I’m very unsettled and very upset, as though I’m tainted simply because I’m involved in the same industry. It’s not logical; it’s emotional. I’m not personally responsible for representing all writers everywhere (thank goodness, or we’d all be in trouble). I just wanted to do something to show how incredible these people are, and now someone’s taken a similar concept and turned it into trash TV. It has nothing to do with me, there’s no logical reason for me to be upset . . .but I am.

My friends who helped me with the research think it’s funny and think we should watch it as a group. “It’ll be just like watching SHOWGIRLS,” one of them said. I’m glad they can laugh about it, and hope that, one day soon, so can I.

That day’s not quite here yet, though.

One of the people who’d been kind and helpful, and with whom I’ve stayed in touch asked why, exactly, I was so upset. It took me awhile to pinpoint it, but then I said, “Because I feel as though I’ve failed everyone who took so much time with me and showed me so much kindness by not getting my project out first.” He helped me realize that no one else (as far as he knows) feels like I’ve failed them, and they’re all confident that when my project DOES get out there, it will do them all proud.

Again, like I said, I’m having an emotional response, not a logical one.

Finished the first act of SIDEKICK and need to get the other two done. Did a detailed pitch/proposal for what could become a long-running gig with a lot of potential that also sounds like fun.

A friend and I went out last night – first to a new-ish local restaurant called Eurasian, which was fantastic. I had sushi – yellowtail with scallion, eel with avocado, and, something I never had before, spicy crunchy scallops. It was exquisite.

After that, we went to see INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Warning: spoilers! I had so much fun! I truly enjoyed it. It’s not quite as good as the first one, but leagues better than the second (it would take a lot to be worse than the second) and better than the third. There were similarities in story line between this one and NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS, but where NT2 failed, this one succeeded. And, for me, it was keeping my trust early in the film (yes, in spite of the whole nuclear explosion thing — a much more overtly political comment than I expected) because of the way it laid the foundation for the research (i.e., when Indy is figuring out the riddle Ox left) in a way that made sense (unlike NT2, which insulted the audience’s intelligence by using the wrong Mesoamerican language and thinking no one would notice). So, because the foundation was laid before it went into the absurd and fantastical, I was willing to go along with them on that journey into the absurd and the fantastical. I thought it was pretty funny that they both dealt with extinct Mesoamerican languages, but one did it in a way that made sense, and one did it in a way that was simply sloppy. Loved Karen Allen (always do). Thought Cate Blanchett was pretty good, even though there were too many too-wide-open-eye shots. I wanted to see real SCENES between Allen and Blanchett – that would have been fun, rather than that one quick bit in the chase scene. I’d heard a lot of negatives about Shia Labeouf, but I thought he was pretty good, and certainly far better than a lot of other choices for the role. He had a great scene where he realizes what’s happened to Ox, good chemistry with Ford and Allen, did the chase scenes well, and the fight scene with Blanchett was good. His entrance, the homage to James Dean, was in the same vein as Ford’s first entrance in RAIDERS, which was nod to Bogart in TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (if you’ve never seen that, rent it). The whloe ant thing was too long. Didn’t buy Hawaii as a stand-in for Peru, but thought the scenery was gorgeous enough so I didn’t really care after the initial, “That is so NOT Peru.” I also thought it was interesting how George Lucas took the old CHARIOTS OF THE GODS theory and worked it into the storyline. When I was approaching adolescence, and Lucas must have been in his late teens/early twenties, that was a big deal, with the ground carvings that could only be seen from the sky, and the theory that aliens landed to teach people agriculture, architecture, astronomy, etc. There was a lot of buzz about that in the 1970’s. And I’d pretty much forgotten about it until I saw it woven in here.

I had a great time, I’m glad I saw it on the big screen, I’ll get the DVD when it comes out, and it was an uplifting night out.

I really need to borrow a small child so I can legitimately go see KUNG FU PANDA. And HANCOCK looks like it’s going to be twisted in the best possible way. The movie I was most excited about this summer, INKHEART, had its release pushed back to January 2009, which is disappointing.

Did some decent work on the adaptation; still playing with titles.

The migraine lifted for a few hours yesterday, but is in full force today. The best description is dwarves tap-dancing in cleats waving pick-axes inside my skull.

Back to the page.


Devon’s Bookstore:

5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Adaptation: 51,954 words out of est. 90,000