Fri. Sept. 29, 2017: If You Don’t Respect the Value of Your Work, Why Should Anyone Else?

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Friday, September 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/cool

Yesterday was about sending out pitches and preparing SAVASANA AT SEA to go off to the publisher today.

I can’t believe PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Excited and nervous all at once.

So, fixed the problem in the first chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA (that goes in the back of SAVASANA), fixed a few errors, and SAVASANA goes off today.

Also went over the manuscript of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, which is going to an additional distributor — all the Topic Workbooks will, eventually. I want to get them on Amazon and into libraries.

That goes out today, too.

There’s been an editorial change at one of my regular gigs. I wish the editor himself had told me, instead of sending out a merry message about assignment distribution a few days ago, and then we get another message yesterday that he’s gone. He should have told us himself (unless he was unexpectedly fired).

I people’d yesterday, went out for the first time in too long, to a lecture sponsored by the Writers Center at Hyannis Library. It’s been nearly two years since I did anything with this group — can’t believe how the time has flown! Saw only a handful of familiar faces, met plenty of new and interesting people.

However, there were some annoyances, based in the typical attitude around here that what we do (writing) has no value. Three exchanges.

The first was with a board member, who talked to me about stepping in occasionally to interview authors. She said the interviews take place on Friday afternoons “when most people work.”

Um, what I do isn’t work? I beg to differ.

Second was with another writer. We talked about our writing, and he said, “What do you do for a living?”

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, your day job.

Me: Write.

Man: I mean, how do you make money?

Me: Write.

His incredulity was quite insulting.

Third encounter, I was talking to a lovely woman who happened to be friends with the former partner of someone I knew in New York. We had a great conversation about this, that and the other, and talked about writing. She dismissed the writing she does for companies and non-profits as “not real writing.”

Um, no. It IS real writing, it’s a specific skill, and deserves to be valued.

Until we value our own work, no one else has any reason to value it, either.

I was sitting with a lovely man who lives in New York, near where I grew up, and has a house in Falmouth. He’s writing a book about Ireland, during the famine. It sounds quite wonderful. He didn’t know one could rent from the National Trust, so I gave him the information.

Figures I’d connect with a fellow New Yorker. No insults about day jobs or writing not being work from him!

Anyway, the speaker was quite wonderful — an historian. I got some great ideas for better note-taking when I research, and I’m very excited to read his books. His name is John Cumbler, and the book I’m most interested to read is FROM ABOLITION RIGHTS TO RIGHTS FOR ALL: THE MAKING OF A REFORM COMMUNITY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

All in all, it was a good evening, and I’m glad I went. But those encounters with people who don’t value what they do and what we, as a writing community do, are disturbing. This attitude is one of the biggest disappointments about living in this area. I thought I was moving to a progressive community that supported artists — not just by talking about how much they support arts, but by making it possible for artists to live and work with dignity. That is, unfortunately, not the case. If you come in with money and a best seller, they fall all over you. If you actually want to live here and work, you’re looked at as though something must be wrong with you, or you “couldn’t make it” elsewhere. Which is simply not the case. Writers (and many other types of artists) can and should work anywhere that calls to them.

A community that does not support its artists (and that includes financially) is doomed to ignorance and lack of progress. And, eventually, will fail in all other respects as well. Because artists are visionaries. They not only bear witness to the good and bad of current society, they hold the lessons of history, and they envision what the future can be — both good and bad.

Anyway, today is about errands and then pitches, work on some articles, getting both book manuscripts out, working on prepping the SERIES BIBLE manuscript for this other distributor, working on the books I have to review.

I’m having coffee with an artist friend this afternoon, which should be fun. Yes, I’m peopling two days in a row. It may take me days to recover!

I also have to do a big push on the FIX IT GIRL today, do the sections set in San Simeon, since those books have arrived, and start figuring out how I’m going to structure the Lavinia Fontana play.

I know I want to root it in how the nobles’ wives created the opportunities for her to compete for commissions with the male artists, but I have to figure out the details. I also know she will be pregnant in the play, as she was pregnant for much of her working life. I don’t want to have actual children on stage (not practical), but will use sound effects.

I’ve got some research for the novel within the MARRIAGE GARDEN, and I need to use those books and get them back.

Have a great weekend!

Don’t forget — PLAYING THE ANGLES releases on Monday! Woo-hooo!

 

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Thurs. Jan. 19, 2012: Even the Cat is Busy


Tessa

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Waning Moon
Still dark out

It’s supposed to be pretty stormy tonight into tomorrow, some snow, but not a lot. I’ll know what today’s weather is like in a bit when I leave for yoga.

Owner came to work on the wall yesterday. I got as much done as I could — a lecture on the writer’s need to remember he is a business person AND an artist, and that the two don’t cancel each other out, plus critiquing the latest 5 in 10 stories. With 32 in the class, and the lengths now in the just over 1K range, that’s 32K minimum for me to read, twice a week, which takes awhile.

Worked on my short stories. Not happy with the progress on either novel these past two weeks.

Went to a library one town over. Got out a book I need as research for the current assignment for Confidential Job #1, and some books that just looked interesting. Happens when I’m around books. On the sale shelf was an enormous, brand-new Monet book. The sign said $1 for sale shelf items, but I figured this book must have been left there by mistake. Nope. It was for sale and it was $1. I bought it. When I got home, the flap was still on — original price $75. Now THAT’s a sale! I’d love to do a collection of short stories inspired by his paintings of women by the sea or walking through gardens. There’s an optional assignment for the class next month to do a short story based on a painting — I’m going to use Hopper’s painting of a woman in a theatre lobby — but the plates in these books give me more ideas. I’d love to do a collection of short stories based on the work of each painter. A few years ago, a poet put out a volume of poems inspired by Hopper’s work. I’ve got it here somewhere — not unpacked yet.

I’ve got two sets of interview questions to get out for future guests on the book blog.

Last night was the Writers’ Night Out dinner. It was at a nice restaurant in Yarmouth. Sat with a memoirist I’d met at an earlier event, and met some new-to-me people who were very interesting, too. I like that the conversations at these events is always wide-ranging. So often at these types of events, conversation focuses on desperation of not being published (and that’s usually because the ones who want to be published aren’t actually using the butt glue and getting any writing done). Here, writers are writing, but they’re also doing all kinds of interesting things and can talk about them. The balance is better and the attitude is healthier.

The speaker was interesting, and I got to toss a few ideas around with him after the event. I also got to talk to my friend, who wants to get together for our next meeting on the theatre piece, and the Center’s director, who’s interested in having me speak at one of the breakfast meetings, which I think would be tons of fun.

When I came back, I discovered that Miss Tessa Houdini, the kitten, had not only found a way to get the dishwasher door open, she’d filled up the dishwasher. And not with dishes, but with pieces of paper and cat toys. Well, she sees me filling it up, so she figured she should “help out”. It was hilarious. The papers were in the slots for dishes and the cat toys were in the cutlery holders. She is extremely organized. And she was very, very proud of herself. The other two cats were running around howling. Typical evening, in other words. Tessa has Stuff To Do, while the other two act like the sky is falling.

Trouble getting up this morning — wanted to stay in bed. But I hauled myself out, and I’m trying to get a bit of writing done before I head to yoga. More work on the wall later this morning, must push through the student work, get further on Confidential Job #1’s assignment, get some paperwork filed, mail a signed copy of a book for a friend, and then, tonight, I’m attending a women’s health lecture.

Holiday Hocus Pocus will be a fun class. Even though it only runs a week, students will have a year’s worth of resources by the end of it, and notes that will serve them, probably, for the next five to ten.

I gave some students advice yesterday about “batch outlining” — outlining several projects in the space of a few days, and then working one’s way through, project by project. I think I might need to take some of my own advice. I’m a little derailed in my own schedule of the projects that need to get done and out this year, and I need to get back on track.

You know the drill: 1000 words a day, at least 5 days a week. Such is the life of a working writer. And most of the time, you damn well better be doing more than 1K/day, and it better be on more than one project, if you expect to keep a roof over your head.

To the page, and then to yoga.

Devon