Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We had no heat yesterday, and none again this morning, although it’s down in the 20’s. I was bundled in sweats, cashmere socks, and a hot water bottle all day. Lori, the city council no longer has anyone left on it who’s sympathetic — all the ones who got us the ETPA protection are gone, and only economic segregationists remain. We file the paperwork with DHCR, but that all takes time. The Health Dept. usually steps in pretty quickly, so I don’t know what the excuse is this time.

Not a good writing day yesterday. I was obsessively checking email to hear back from the vet — nothing yet. I’m struggling with the next sequence of scenes for SETTLING THE SCORE. Now that I have Elizabeth and Chris in the same room, it has to be handled delicately. These two had a passion on the scale of Heathcliff and Cathy, without the self-indulgent melodrama. They’re pragmatists. They made the decision to stay apart to keep someone else they both cared about safe. It didn’t work. So not only do they have to deal with the fact that they made a wrong life-or-death decision, they denied themselves years of happiness together. So it’s using spare language and still getting across that tsunami of emotion that they’re trying to deal with. Challenging. I’ll get there, but it’s taking a few tries.

Cleaned out some more stuff. Slowly but surely, I’m getting more room in this tiny space, tossing or giving away what I don’t need, getting books out on BookMooch, packing stuff I need, but don’t need right now and getting it to storage.

I’m going to try and tackle a bit of the urban fantasy this morning, and then head off to Trader Joe’s for cat food and other groceries. The cat food cupboard has enough room in it to make the cats anxious, and we can’t have that! 😉 Elsa’s steadying, still sneezing quite a bit, but livelier than she’s been. She’s also jumping up and down onto surfaces — mostly where she shouldn’t, but the point is, for months, she’s climbed, not jumped, and she’s back to jumping, which is a good sign. She’s still sneezing a lot, but she’s in less distress. We really need to make a decision about what’s next in the treatment regime, and I can’t do that until I hear back from the vet. There’s now room in the living room for Iris and Violet to get a good hockey game going with a toy mouse, so that’s what going on behind me as I type. Hey, it’s better than those balls with the bells in them that they like to play with in the middle of the night! Never a dull moment.

I also need to work on a new type of cover letter for the script meeting materials. I’ve got to figure out when I can see FEMME FATALE — not too many chances left. Since it’s the last show the company’s doing before relocating to Florida, and the producer’s playing the lead, I have to get my butt over there to see it. And I have to finish the paperwork for the class schedule.

A site called Divine Caroline’s picked up the Derby article, which is pretty exciting, and gets it to an even wider audience. Pretty exciting!

Friday, May 14 is the annual Writer’s Worth day. Go check out Lori Widmer’s blog to get more information. I haven’t been able to get the icon to post here, but she’s got great information on creating your freelance career without selling yourself short.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on May 11, 2010 at 5:56 am  Comments (7)  
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

My post-Derby article is up on FemmeFan here. My editor loved it, even though I felt it lacked sparkle. Motivates me to make the Preakness article this week twice as good!

Exceptionally cold all weekend, frost on the ground this morning, and the scumbag landlords had the heat off until 6 AM today. Typical.

The alarm didn’t go off this morning, but Elsa is better than any alarm clock, so I went out for my run by 5:15. It’s quite light out, with just a sliver of waning moon, singing birds, corporate types scurrying to the train station . . .

So, where do I start? Didn’t write on Saturday at all — on purpose. Needed to refill creative well. Did my errands, sorted, purged a bunch of junk, took stuff to storage. Read. Cooked.

Got some good ideas for the next section of the urban fantasy.

Was about to order a great futon couch. It looks good, the price is good, and it will fit through the doorway — since they put in the new doors, I can’t bring in my sofabed. the doorway is now too narrow. Not to mention the doors suck. Anyway, I was trying to figure out the shipping costs, and, when I read the fine print, it clearly states that they don’t deliver the couch to the house. They deliver it TO THE CURB. If you want it taken into the house (or, in my case, the third floor apartment), you negotiate with the delivery guy when he arrives and you pay him cash on the spot. Sounds like extortion to me — no price quotes, no regulations. So I’m not ordering the futon. Bite me, assholes. You think I’m really that stupid? I wonder how many people were stuck with furniture left on the curb and wound up paying a couple of times more than they paid for the pieces themselves just to get them inside the house?

Elsa was up and down on Saturday — much better than she was on Friday, but still not doing as well as last week. I got up early on Sunday to give her the medicine, went back to bed, and had a weird dream.

In the dream, I was brought in to script doctor some piece or other rehearsing in Greenwich Village. I’m assuming it was a film, but maybe it was a play. That was unclear. It starred an actor who tops the list of people I still want to work with. He looked completely dazed at the disorganized chaos. No one seemed to be in charge. There were far too many producers floating around (as usual), saying, “I’ll take care of it” when something was brought to their attention and then doing nothing (as usual). We had to fill out huge packets of information we were told were “for tax purposes” but read like psych evaluations. I told the actor I was excited to work with him, just not sure it should be on this. He laughed. Some other guy asked me to watch his stuff because “You’re the amateur.” I said, “No, I’m the writer” and he replied, “Same thing.” I did NOT watch his stuff. I knew a lot of the actors in the project in the dream and had worked with them before, although in life, I’d only worked with one actress in a big musical. She kept trying to match-make me with this one and that one, whether I was interested or not (which she tried when we worked together). I was about to pitch a fit and either take over or walk out (in spite of the actor I really, really wanted to work with) when Elsa sneezed in my face and woke me up.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about production a lot lately, since POWER OF WORDS takes place behind-the-scenes on one. This dream is a warning, the the specific actor representing not just himself, but everyone that’s still on that list of people I hope to work with (poor guy). Knowing how my dreams work, it may also be a caution– an opportunity may present itself and it may not be what it initially seems. I shouldn’t accept simply because there’s someone involved who’s on my list. So I stand warned. The nasty comment from the guy who wanted me to do PA duties represents the way writers are often treated in this business.

Made some cuts in SETTLING THE SCORE on Sunday, wrote twenty more pages, made more cuts, wrote eight more pages. Printed it all out (now that I have ink and paper again) and saw a huge, huge, HUGE logistics gap. There’s no way that character could have that piece of information vital to the plot machinations at that point in time the way I’ve got it laid out. I wrote some notes — I want to complete the draft before making any more fixes and running any more copies — and will move forward. Also, in the final draft, I’ll have to fix some formatting things. When I write scripts, I triple space between dialogue bits instead of double space. And the default font on this machine is Helvetica, which is fabulous to work in, but for script purposes, I have to change it to Courier (I loathe Courier). That will also drop the page count, which is good, because I’m up there now, and there’s still another good third of the movie to go. My goal is to have it run just over 2 hours, but feel like about 85 minutes.

On today’s agenda: pack more stuff for storage, work on SETTLING THE SCORE, maybe work on the adaptation of BEHIND THE MAN. I need to get my scripts sorted and synopsised and loglined over the next few weeks for some upcoming meetings. I may take WOMEN WITH AN EDGE out of retirement briefly just for the meetings, even. I should also take a look at my spec TV scripts — I don’t even know what one is “supposed” to have in one’s portfolio this season. I don’t know if I can still even use the BUFFY sample or the STARGATE ATLANTIS sample. If I need to come up with new ones, it would make sense to do one for HUMAN TARGET, since I spent so much time dissecting the show, but I don’t think that’s on “the list.” Of course, I might do one anyway, just to prove to myself that I can.

I’ll check with some acquaintances and find out what this season’s “list” is, and then figure out if I should even do a set of specs, or just stick to the plays for the moment, and this next round of meetings. I’m not angling for a series slot anyway — there are, literally, thousands of scriptwriters more qualified, in line ahead of me, and in LA so to do. But sometimes, even if you’re not up for the job, that’s the kind of sample someone wants to see in a meeting.

I’ll pack extra Excedrin, too. The meetings aren’t for a few months, but it takes time to put everything together, write any new material necessary, and have it be good, so I’m looking ahead. That way, instead of scrambling, everything is ready, I can just pull what i need for that meeting out of the file, and it’s much less stressful.

I’d like to get back to the urban fantasy this week, since I figured out how to overcome it’s obstacle, and, of course, ANGEL HUNT. My worry with ANGEL HUNT is that, once I go down the rabbit hole with that, I won’t come out for weeks, because of the intensity of the project. With the Preakness AND a pottery workshop this week, AND paperwork to complete for next year’s teaching schedule (yes, I’ve already got some major bookings for 2011), I don’t know if I can go down that rabbit hole right now. However, I want to get the book out on submission by the end of the month, so I need to get cracking.

Hard to sort out when so much has equal value and equal importance. But, I’ll figure it out. And I have to talk to the vet. Elsa is steadying again, but it doesn’t look like we can wean her off the steroid just yet. So we need to discuss next steps.

Back to the page.

Devon

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Detail of the cat garland over the doorway to the kitchen

Thursday, December 17, 2009
New Moon
Sunny and cold

The platters are delivered! Woo-hoo! Three hours to assemble, five hours to deliver. I have one platter and two tins to deliver in the building — but since they’ve changed the locks on everything, I can’t just slip into other sections and drop them at the door, the way I used to, so it’s gotten a little more complicated.

Thank goodness for hats, because after 5 days with no hot water and having to pour kettles of warmed water over my head to wash my hair, I was not a pretty girl.

I picked up some Chinese food on the way home, because there was no way in heck I was going to COOK after all that. Still no hot water. So I called the Health Department again, and they told me to call the city’s Buildings Dept. I haven’t been too happy with them in the past dealings, but what the heck. I got a really nice woman on the phone, explained the situation — five days without hot water — and she said she’d give the owners a call. Fifteen minutes later, she got back to me– they claim they’re “waiting for a part” and hope to have the boiler fixed tonight. I said, “Haven’t they ever heard of overnight delivery? Even the Post office does that.” And she said, “Yeah, I pointed that out.” But now it’s officially on the record, and they can ride the owners.

I get off the phone and the heat’s shut off. It’s 35 degrees outside. Typical — someone complains, so they punish us. The cats climbed under the featherbed and I prepared some hot water bottles. A friend had offered her shower once she got home for work, so I packed a bag in preparation.

About 3 hours later or so, the heat and the hot water came on. I took a long, hot, ecologically unfriendly shower and no longer smell like a sweaty sugar cookie sprinkled with orange zest.

And I had a big glass of wine and dipped into some of the goodies friends sent over for the holidays. I love all those packages of little goodies like cheeses and summer sausage and the like. They’re so much fun!

I tackled the cards and they won, so I’ll have to get back to them today. Had a really good yoga session and a really good writing session this morning. I’ve got to pick up one more gift for my mom and then do the rest of the grocery shopping for next week.

I think I’ve got everything I need for the Solstice Dinner on Monday. I may do the Trifle for the Solstice. I’ve got a plum pudding for Christmas Eve, and a pannetone for Christmas Day. I’m not going to deal with New Year’s until after I make it through this set of holidays!

I’m not a big New Year’s fan anyway — too much enforced, desperate joviality. When I lived overlooking Times Square and the big ball in NYC for all those years, I gave a huge party every year and we’d watch the ball drop. As the years progressed, it got to the point where, if you didn’t get there by 6 PM, you couldn’t get in, and I wasn’t allowed home after a show, even though I lived there. So I had to make other arrangements after whatever show I worked, because I couldn’t get home until at least 1 AM.

After a few years of working as a swing (substitute), I stopped accepting work on New Year’s Eve — just too insane. A lot of shows no longer have performances at night — it’s too hard for the audience to get there, not to mention actors and crew.

For several years I did a yoga retreat, and, occasionally, I’ll go to a small gathering out here. This year, I’m either going to do another retreat (this time in CT rather than upstate NY) or go to a friend’s, where there will be just a handful of us. And yes, of course, I’m in charge of the food, always! 😉

Better get gong – I need to eat something (I skipped lunch yesterday and that was really stupid — I was ready to gnaw on the steering wheel by the time I got home). And then it’s off to the store and back to writing cards. If I can get those done this morning, I’ll set up Ornament Hospital this afternoon, and maybe get some more decorating done.

And some more writing. It’s hard to write about the impending Apocalypse during the holidays!

Devon

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 8:33 am  Comments (10)  
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I had to really work yesterday not to be a whiny pain in the ass. I was cranky and cold all day.

Workshops were fine; you can see where some people took on too much for the course of the week and are rushing through. Nothing they can’t sit down and flesh out when they sit down and breathe for a minute. But part of my job is to be a taskmaster, and that’s what I’m doing.

Got the fans to storage. Got my cappuccino maker out — it needs a good, solid cleaning AND I have to replace the pot that broke, but I’m glad to have it home.

Had my headphones on nearly all day because of the noise. They’ve redone the front steps with a slippery fake slate and removed the handrails. Won’t that be fun in ice and snow, especially since they don’t shovel and/or sand properly? They’re redoing the pavement with brick pavers, which doesn’t make any sense in bad weather, or for professional women who wear heels, the brick looks like crap with the slate steps up to the sections (in addition to being a completely different color and texture from the brick of the building), AND there was no need to cut down all the trees to do any of this.

Quite a few people in the building have filed complaints with the Health Department about the lack of heat. Since today is the 15th, where they are even MORE required by law to keep the temperature reasonable, today I start my log and file it with DHCR on the first of every month. Dates, times, temperature, when it went up because I cooked, when they actually bothered to put heat on. And state clearly that I will NOT allow anyone to enter and plant a “sensor.”

We had a little heat over night, but they turned if off at 9 AM, as they do every weekday morning all winter.

Speaking of which, so many people talked about banana bread on Twitter that I had to bake some. Yummy.

I got some good work done on redesigning the websites — especially the Jain Lazarus site, which will be simply awesome. I’m having trouble settling on a graphic for Fearless Ink. I’m trying to balance something that really speaks to the purpose of the site and is very much “me” with something that looks professional without being corporate. I know what I want for Devon and I even found something I can use for Cerridwen — but the Fearless Ink is a challenge. Mostly because I need to design a logo, and I can’t seem to settle on what I want.

I posted a question in a conference forum and was told to buy a book to figure out my “mission.” I KNOW my frigging mission — I make a living at it, for eff’s sake –I’m a freelance writer who can write anything that needs to be written, for a decent price. What I need is help brainstorming a graphic! I can’t use anything from iStock because it’s a logo (and I didn’t find what I wanted there anyway). I can’t use anything from clip art, because it’s a logo. I’ve either got to draw it myself or take a photograph and see what I can do in “effects” — but if I don’t know what I want, I don’t know what to shoot.

Hey, I warned you I was cranky! Seriously, when I ask for advice and someone tries to part me from money instead of answering the question, I get annoyed. Recommend the book all you want IN ADDITION to answering the question, but answer the question!

Today, I plan to just sit tight and alternate between working on my own writing and teach the workshop. I have GOT to get back to that NYFA application. The good thing about working on the application and the residency applications is that it’s making me articulate focus on specific projects next year, instead of working on whatever catches my interest.

The first Nor’easter of the season is supposed to hit, starting with severe rain tonight, and we’re under flood watch again. I’m boiling water and checked the batteries, so, in case power goes out and everything goes kerplooey, we can hang in there. I’ll move the car up the hill later in the day.

I just had to delete a whole paragraph Violet typed when I got up for a minute. I don’t know what it said — it was in some mysterious feline dialect — but she is highly offended that I deleted it.

Devon

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

That puff of heat is just a memory. It’s in the 40s today, and, you guessed it, no heat. Good thing I cooked yesterday and had the oven on. And I’m planning to bake an apple spice cake today.

I pretty much gave myself the day off yesterday. I finished the reading for Confidential Job #1 — now I have to write it up. I treated myself to the rest of Richelle Mead’s THORN QUEEN, which I thought was really well done.

Still having trouble with 1and1. We’re now into Day 5. And they just can’t be bothered to fix it. I can’t just pull everything to another host because first I have to go in and get what I need. So, this will be a process. But, much as I hoped to be able to work things out with them and remain a customer, their only interest it to keep taking my money without providing service. I can’t earn a living if my sites don’t work. It’s ridiculous not to be able to access them between 11 AM and 3 PM almost every day.

With the online conference coming up this week, I need access 24-7.

I decided to rearrange the exercises for the coming week — the one starting the conference is too complicated right now, and we need to build up to it. So I’ll do some tweaking this morning, and then put it up to give people plenty of time to get to work.

I’m also going to attack the essay today with the red machete — I’d like to be able to turn around a revision by Tuesday morning for my editor.

I did just over 1000 words this morning on a new story for an anthology. I have two ideas, one of which is a Merry’s Dalliance story, but I don’t know if I can get both done in time and out.

I’ve also got to get focused on the NYFA grants this week, in and around everything else. I want to get them out before the deadline.

This is also the busy time for me — with Samhain coming up, I get a lot of calls for house blessings, readings, etc., and that’s all got to get sorted. The plans for the DC trip are moving along well, and I’ve got to schedule in another day trip to Lenox and one to Concord, although the latter will probably be in early December, weather-permitting.

I’m not going to the Morgan Horse event in CT today — I just don’t feel up to it. I’d rather just head to the farmer’s market and see how much I can clear off my desk when I get back.

Devon