Friday, March 13, 2015: This N That

Friday, March 13, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy, trying to get posters done and all kinds of other stuff out.

We had a wonderful genealogy program in the afternoon – small turnout, but wow. Hopefully, it will be scheduled again for a larger audience.

Rushed home, bolted some food, changed for tango. Good lesson. I’m always so sore by the end of the class – I need to get in better shape! Also found a lovely gift from a friend.

Up early, paid bills, wrote thank yous, did paperwork. I’ve sent off the deposit for the hotel for vacation.

Already have a migraine.

Will be a busy day here today, but that’s okay.

But that’s okay, because it’s Friday – which means Osterville Fish Market on the way home!

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on” and there’s a program. I also have to run some errands, because, yippy skippy, there’s more snow coming in on Sunday.

Frustrating, since today is the first day my street has been driveable since late January.

Monday, I’m headed north of Boston to pick up the microfilm and microfiche machines. Tuesday, I have two board meetings, and will have to do serious work on the microfilm reels.

Around all of that, I have to work on a screenplay, on Balthazaar, and get the next radio play percolating. And do some promotion for KILLER QUINTET. AND finish a review of a friend’s book (which I loved) and a student manuscript.

I better get busy.

Reading William Goldman’s THE SEASON about a season on Broadway in the late 1960s. I don’t know if the industry’s changed that much, or if, as an outsider writing about it, his experience was so different than mine living it, but his experience and the conclusions he draws are very different than my experience living Broadway. I guess that’s always the difference between watching and doing, and something I have to be aware of when I research my books on subjects about which I know nothing.

Got an idea for a play that won’t work, and another idea for a play that might work if I get cooperation from an organization that is highly unlikely to cooperate.

Off to the trenches.

Devon

Published in: on March 13, 2015 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Friday, March 13, 2015: This N That  
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Wed. Feb. 18, 2015: Sneaking Between Storms

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, snowy, cold
Snow Fatigue

I don’t see how we’ll get the snow melted and gone until sometime in July.

Saturday was fine. It was my Saturday “on” at the library. It wasn’t as hectic as I expected, although it was busy enough for me to spend the bulk of my time on the desk.

Read a couple of books, which were a disappointment, including one highly regarded one which I put down by page 2, because it’s written in the present tense, and I felt like the author kept yelling, “Look at ME! Look at ME!” instead of telling me the story.

Started snowing in the evening, so I tucked in and watched more of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. So much I like about that show, but it did dip and get uneven there for awhile.

Had stopped snowing on Sunday when I woke up at 5:30, and it was that lovely quiet. By 6:30, it started again.

Read Norman Lear’s autobiography, which was interesting. I worked with his daughter Maggie at MCC in the late 80s/early 90s, and we had a retreat up at the place in Vermont. I have very fond memories of it. I was disturbed by the fact that 9/11 was not mentioned in the book at all. He lived through it; he’s a social activist. How could it not even get a mention? Especially when it affected us so deeply?

I finished the galleys for KILLER QUINTET and reformatted the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE to the specific guidelines to which I’m submitting.

Started shovelling; got about 3/4 of the driveway done. Got the rest done on Monday morning — about 8 more inches, total, had fallen over the weekend. Of course, as soon as I jumped in the shower, the plow came by and blocked the bottom of my cleared driveway again. At least the plows showed up this time, and they’ve scraped the ruts down in the street, so it’s about 5 inches of pure ice, with just a little bit of ruttage, and easier to get traction.

Headed to the library. Although we were closed for President’s Day, some of us came in to set up for the book sale. I could only stay for about two hours, because I had a meeting on a potential project. THAT was a total waste of time — the person I met with basically likes to hear himself talk, and it won’t go anywhere. I repeated several times that when there’s money on the table and a contract, we can get into specifics, but this is my business, not my hobby, and I’m not working for free, especially not on something that doesn’t have the pieces in place. I’ve learned the hard way from blowhards like this — you get the pieces in play and THEN I will write something beyond a one-page synopsis.

Ron Perlman’s memoir was a lot of fun. I’ve always liked his work. Tried to read a novel, and it was awful, so I put it down.

Got an idea for an hour-long pilot. Wrote a few opening scenes, and I like it. I have to do some research for it, but I think it will make a solid sample.

Not happy with where I am in the radio play. I have to rethink some of it. I might over-write and then cut — usually that works better than under-writing and then padding.

Watching Season 4 of WEST WING.

Had hoped I could do some errands on Tuesday morning before the snow started, but it started at 8 AM and everything I needed to reach didn’t open until 9, so I stayed home. Did some more tweaking to THE BROWNSTONE pilot — there was one character I’d sorely underwritten, and I added a quick scene that makes it more balanced. Now I have to stop fiddling with it, or I’ll hit the point of diminishing return.

Wrote up the minutes from the last Writers’ Center board meeting, and a press release and a set of guidelines I promised them. I’m missing some information, and the press release has to go out this week, so if the person who is supposed to supply to me doesn’t, we don’t get the information into the magazines. Deadlines are deadlines. It’s very tough to do what I’m assigned to do on time, and then not get the rest. But my term is up in October.

Read a couple of mediocre novels and was disappointed. Got an idea for a screenplay — I’ve been playing with the premise for awhile, but suddenly the missing piece clicked into place. so I can write a synopsis, and then do the script — after I finish the radio plays for Ireland and Paris. The one I want to do for Paris is percolating.

Had a false start on a chapter for BALTHAZAAR. Need to get back to that. I have to get that done and out before doing another pass on CLEAR THE SLOT and getting THAT done and out.

Nice fire in the fireplace last night, and a good glass of wine. Of course, it was wine o’clock by 2:30 — either that or sob into the ice melt.

Today will be a long day at the library, but, hopefully a good one. I’ve got a couple of press releases to write, and some finagling to do on March programs. I’ve got more research books coming in.

The microfiche/film that I thought I was getting from Harvard that was shipped on January 21 and still hasn’t shown up — turns out Harvard didn’t send it after all. They wanted to charge a lot of money — not that money ever came up into the multiple emails going back and forth when I asked if they’d do an interlibrary loan in the first place. Turns out it’s coming in from the University of Indiana — bless ’em! They sent it to the distribution center in Quincy, rather than directly to our library, so it’s in snowbank somewhere. But they’re cool about it, and will give me a month with it once it arrives.

So here’s Harvard only, about 70 miles away, and they’re less cooperative with a fellow citizen of the Commonwealth than both the Library of Congress and a midwestern university. Go figure. Seriously, it would have taken less time and been less frustrating to go to DC for a week.

Hop on over to the GDR site, and see my updates for mid-February. Stay safe and warm — we’re supposed to get more snow today.

Devon

Thurs. Feb. 12, 2015: Here Comes Another One

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Supposed to get more snow today. I salted the street at the bottom of my driveway so I could actually get out onto the street (with my own personal salt), but then fishtailed all the way down the street, because it’s so gutted and slippery my tires can’t get any traction.

Yet the plows keep driving up and down the streets – not plowing. Haven’t seen a sand truck since two days after the initial blizzard.

Yesterday was busy at work. We used eight bags of rock salt on our parking lot first thing in the morning, then had to go out and get more, while also buying salt (separately) for ourselves. One town over says they’re out of salt and sand and the state won’t give them any more.

I’m wondering how many people have to die in crashes because of roads that still haven’t been cleared before anyone does anything. The town’s sending a very clear message to those of us who live on tertiary streets: “You don’t matter.”

Meetings yesterday, and cozy mystery book club. I have to write some material for the library. Got a freelance request from someone to whom I’d pitched over a year ago. We’ll see how that goes, but I have a feeling that my rates – even at the non-profit discount – are too high. Oh, well, then I’m not doing it. I’m sick and tired of the attitude around here that I should do what I do FOR A LIVING for nothing. Um, no.

I have to read over the two television pilots this weekend and decide which one to submit for something – will have to come up with a season synopsis, too. I’m leaning more towards THE BROWNSTONE than to TALENT, because I think the place to which I’m submitting is more likely to respond to THE BROWNSTONE. But I’ll read over both and see which is stronger.

Got the final galleys back for KILLER QUINTET. Managed to proof “Personal Revolution” this morning. One down, four to go.

Watching STUDIO 60 FROM THE SUNSET STRIP on DVD. Forgot how much I enjoyed the show, and how much I related to it.

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the radio play done this weekend, along with the galleys. Fingers crossed.

I have a feeling tango will be cancelled tonight – it’s such a mess that even a little bit more snow will make it dangerous.

Stay safe.

Devon

Fri. Jan. 16, 2016: Gearing up for a Busy Week AND Mercury Retrograde

Friday, January 16, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day at work yesterday, juggling lots of different tasks, writing press releases, booking people, helping with patrons, etc. It was one of those cases where each patron needed a lot of individual time. Which is fine, it just put everything else back.

The weather worsened as the day wore on. Several libraries closed early, due to black ice. As I drove home, the water hit the windshield and froze. I drove home with the heat blasting, but my window rolled down and my head hanging out of the window like a puppy. Not fun.

Watching the British version of HOUSE OF CARDS. Interesting to see the different interpretations. You’d think, though, these women would learn that they won’t be the one who’s different, the one that won’t wind up dead.

Going through a stack of research books I needed to return, I discovered that a book I’d checked out for another project had a chapter relevant to the research on the historical play. Love how that works.

I have both readers for the Burns/Woolf tribute. We do a read-through on Monday afternoon, and we do it next Saturday. I got out the press for the program on weather by the ex-NASA meteorologist that’s happening in two weeks, and today I’ll write the press release for the Valentine’s Day tea. I ordered the DVDs of the Oscar-nominated movies and sorted out some stuff for the book clubs. Helped a patron fill his Kindle for an upcoming vacation, helped another patron learn how to use the copier, helped another patron find several new-to-him authors. Dealt with correspondence and emails, and questions at the front desk. Set up for Tango.

Going back and forth with the Harvard Library. They have copies of the research papers I need (the originals are in the Library of Congress), and they’re available for interlibrary loan, but I have to fill out the right paperwork. They told me to talk to my local library. I pointed out that I AM my local library, and I just needed to know which paperwork they wanted me to fill out. I’ll probably wind up booking a “research appointment” up there at some point, but if I can get those initial reels, that will give me an idea where else to look in the files.

Did some work on the edits for KILLER QUINTET last night. Hope to finish them tonight and get them to my editor tomorrow. Also have to fill out the PR sheet.

Threw a pork roast and some sauce in the slow cooker before I left this morning, so dinner will be just about ready when I get home tonight.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then it’s a cat food run and back to writing. Sunday is all about writing; Monday is about writing and rehearsal. Tuesday, I have a board meeting over the bridge, a program at the library, and another board meeting in Hyannis.

Next week will be hugely busy, AND Mercury goes retrograde. I’m already nervous about it. Fingers crossed.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on January 16, 2015 at 9:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Jan. 14, 2015: The Joy of the Process

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. Most of it was spent writing. I wrote nearly three chapters and did a rough outline of a book so the characters would stop yapping at me; now, that book has to find a place in the queue. There are other books which take precedence.

Most of the weekend was spent on the Burns/Woolf tribute. I tore it apart and re-structured it, and I’m finally content with it. There are piles of books with bookmarks and papers in them, marking quotes I wanted to use, and pages of notes scattered around. It was very satisfying. I love to research and find connections and put things together. Finding the connection from Burns to Emerson and then from Emerson to Woolf delighted me.

I had to cut a lot of material — it simply can’t all fit into a single, short presentation. It’s structured like a conversation; hopefully, I’ve now gotten the flow right.

I got cranky on Friday because someone nagged me. I’m writing a piece — for free — for the site. I was booked months ago. I’m working on the piece. It’s due next week. No problem. Getting an email whining that you haven’t heard from me and you need the materials is not going to get them to you faster. Instead, it puts you at the bottom of the list. I have the deadline. You’ll have the material by the deadline. I’d planned to get it in a few days earlier, but guess what? Not happening now, because you treated me like an incompetent flake. I’m a professional and a grown up. (Even though digging in my heels is an adolescent response — yes, I’m aware of the irony). I don’t need babysitting. Don’t call it “follow up” when it’s nagging. If you wanted it before the deadline, you should have given me an earlier deadline. BACK OFF. Especially since I’m not being paid. Last time I’ll be dealing with those people.

It snowed yesterday. The forecast was for flurries. It flurried all day. I had to rush out to Sturgis library to pick up two Virginia Woolf books. I know I’ve got them packed away somewhere, but couldn’t easily put my hands on them. I figured Sturgis was the most likely to have them on the shelf, and they did, exactly where I needed them. In and out in a few minutes. Love that!

In spite of not having those two particular books, I managed to use quite a few books I’ve picked up over the years — the ones that people always say, “Why did you buy those? You’ll never use them!” Well, I used 17 of them. So there! The fact that I didn’t need them for a dozen years is beside the point.

The whole concept of “if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out” is a bullshit promotion advertisers and “life coaches” use to get people to get rid of things so that they have to buy more. Yes, you should clean out clutter, stuff that’s broken, that you’re SURE you’ll never use again. But when you’re a writer and you accumulate a lot of books — especially non-fiction — almost every nonfiction book I’ve ever bought has served more than one project. It may be years between those projects — and no, you CAN’T find “everything” on the internet or even in libraries. My personal library is worthwhile.

I have to go back and finish the edits on KILLER QUINTET today and tomorrow and get that back to my editor. I have to rewrite a few passages, and I’ve been percolating on them as I do things like dishes and laundry.

Then, I start the radio drama, while I’m researching the historical play and getting back into the groove on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

I’ve started the research on the historical. I read what I could about my main character — not much information. I found out she’s buried in her former employer’s family plot near Chicago, and that the base of operations for the company was in Chicago. The email I sent to the cemetery bounced back, so I’ll have to try again. Maybe I’ll do an old-fashioned letter!

But, I found out that the company’s papers were donated to the Library of Congress. So I dug around on the Library’s website, and found the catalog of what I need. I contacted the reference librarian to see if I could get permission to come down and access the files on site. I can (which means a trip down there in the near future); however, some of what I need can be accessed through Interlibrary Loan and some of the micofiche has copies at Harvard Library. I don’t know if any of the Cape libraries even HAVE microfiche readers any more, but if they do, I can get the materials through ILL and use them here. That will make my time in the actual Library of Congress more efficient.

Additionally, I found some books that might be helpful, and the Circulation Director and I are using them to test out the state’s updated interlibrary loan system. AND I found some books on the subject at my beloved Strand Bookstore, ordered them, and they’ve shipped. I’ m very excited!!!

I’ll detail the experience of discovering and gathering the information and how I’m using it in the play over the next few months. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I’m looking forward to it.

Devon

Wed. Jan. 7, 2015: Tales from the Hurting Lower Back

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Terribly cold and cloudy

Winter has hit; although we haven’t had a lot of snow yet, thank goodness, the temperatures are plummeting.

Yesterday, I got out a couple of press releases and did some admin work. Then, it was all about taking down the tree, the decorations, putting everything away, working on the Burns/Woolf script. It’s still not where I want it. I’m just going to keep at it for a few more days and get it right.

The edits for KILLER QUINTET arrived — that was fast! I’ll turn those around this weekend.

My back went out last night — so not fun. I’m going to have to adjust my fitness routine — already adjusted for this year to include weight training — to include work that will strengthen my lower back. I’m not willing to be in this kind of pain or loss of movement.

Watched GOSFORD PARK last night. I remember what a huge impact it had on me when I saw it in the theatre originally. It had a different impact on me last night — I spent more time on character nuances.

Today will be a long day at the library. And I have a lot to do when I get home tonight, including finishing up a press release. I also have to send out a pitch today to what could be an interesting project, but I’m not sure if I’m the right person for it.

The radio drama is percolating, and I have to come up with a three minute piece to read at the end of the month. I’m under deadline pressure, and I wish I felt more creative.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on January 7, 2015 at 5:31 pm  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 7, 2015: Tales from the Hurting Lower Back  
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