Mon. Jan. 16, 2012: Productive Weekend

Monday, January 16, 2012
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold
Martin Luther King Day

Boy, has it been cold the past few days! Truly winter, but at least no snow that stuck (a few flurries).

The lunch on Friday was good — quite illuminating, lots of good conversation. Got me thinking in some interesting directions.

Busy weekend. Got a lot of work done on Saturday, including more work reading a friend’s manuscript. I’m taking longer than I should with it — I’m enjoying it, but it’s hard to get uninterrupted time to really sit down and focus on it. It deserves my FULL attention — it’s an interesting piece. Got some other work done, worked on the book, and sketched out some short stories that have to get done this week.

Re-read Margaret Atwood’s NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD, her fascinating book on writing. Re-read OLD BOOKS, RARE FRIENDS for research on a project. Started Paul Fisher’s HOUSE OF WITS, about the James Family (background for something else). Worked with my students.

Sunday was a quiet day. I’m taking one day a week (usually Sundays) where I’m unplugged — no internet at all. I find it’s helping me both physically (the problems of too many hours at the desk) and creatively. I’ve always liked working in longhand — the result is more thoughtful and needs less revision. AND it gives me a chance to percolate in a different way than sitting in front of a screen does.

I cooked over the weekend, nice and relaxing. I haven’t done much cooking in the past week. So that was fun. And got three loads of laundry done. Need to get the vacuuming done today.

In spite of it technically being a holiday, I’ve got a lot to get done today. Lots of work to clear off the desk, some proposals to write, time with students, etc. I actually have to do more than I planned, because the hole in the wall (from my mom’s fall) will be fixed tomorrow morning, which means I lose my prime writing hours. So I have to get double done today. I also have to dash out into the cold to get milk and coffee. Can’t run out of those!

Struggling with the current sequence in the book. I’m not happy with the logic.

I’m behind in reading blogs, so that’s on my list this week. I want to catch up with everybody. For the most part, it should be a quieter week than last week, which is greatly welcomed. But you never know what might happen!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn in CT

Monday, October 26, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Still Dark Outside — hopefully good weather

I’m off on a commitment upstate today, so I’m scheduling this to post and hoping for the best.

I’ve got a piece up on Kemmyrk about the importance of careful notation as you work.

If you didn’t read my encounter about the guy freaked out about my car full of brooms, hop on over here — it’s pretty funny.

The weekend was pretty good, albeit rainy and raw. I was out of the house early on Saturday, complete with luggage, writing bag, yoga bag, food bag, and arrived at the site just after 7 AM. The drive through the foggy morning was delightfully, appropriately, seasonally spooky.

Got in, got set up, got to work (after reading the newspapers).

I had a hard time concentrating. The goal was to focus the bulk of the weekend on “Lake Justice”, but a bunch of other stories kept leaking in. And, I was worried about the word count for LJ, so that got in my way. I figured out a way to stop worrying about it — if I can’t keep the word count in check, then “Lake Justice” won’t go to the anthology either, and I thought of a half a dozen other potential markets for it, and used the experience as the basis for my next SDR blog post the first Wednesday of November. Take away that pressure, and “Lake Justice” started to flow again. I’m still not where I want to be with it, and now I have to figure out yet a third possible story for the anthology — and get it out this week.

I also realized something else. I was constantly trying to keep on a normal/theatre (which is different from most people’s “normal”) schedule, just in case I got called for a show. Now that I’ve taken the honorable withdrawal, my body is urging me to move back into its natural rhythm, which is more nocturnal. In other words, I’d stay up all night into the morning (because morning is always my most productive time), go to bed in the late morning, sleep all afternoon, get up in the early evening and start over. I wasn’t planning on reverting to this until after I relocated, but I can feel my body moving towards that now. Unfortunately, that makes the business writing more difficult because a lot of those deadlines and meetings need to happen within regular business hours.

So, while I’m not making that schedule switch yet, at least I’m aware of it.

I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD: A WRITER ON WRITING. It’s fabulous. It’s not a how-to book; it’s a why-do book. She brings up very interesting points about internal splits, responsibility, society, and the writer-reader symbiotic. Absolutely fascinating. Atwood’s perceptions of humanity in general are always fascinating. Her conversation with Bill Moyers in his series FAITH AND REASON is one of the main reasons I joined PEN.

I did a lot of work on my NYFA samples. The playwrighting samples are almost set (I need to find the flash drive with GLAMOROUS HEARTS in it and add that) and just need to be printed. I need to do a final polish on all my “statements” that go along with the work, file the application online, and then get my number to enclose with the hard copies that must be mailed this week. I have to check one piece of information for the fiction samples, and then that’s the same. The chances of getting awarded either grant are infinitesimal, but, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I think it’s been about ten years since I even considered applying, and my work has certainly matured during that time. It’s wroth a shot, and it may well be the last time I can apply for a state grant in New York – once I relocate, I’ll have to fulfill whatever residency requirements those states have for grants.

When I woke up on Sunday, I realized that I’d woken up at the same time I arrived the day before! I don’t know why I found that amusing, but I did. Sunday was a cold, crisp autumn day, lovely after the rain and tumult of the previous one.

Due to the weather, I might go off on my adventure tomorrow rather than on Wednesday. That means two truncated writing days in a row with deadlines coming up, but I’ll just have to somehow make it all work. I’ve got two short story deadlines (one the elusive anthology) and the NYFA applications to get out by the end of the week. Plus, Confidential Jobs #1 & 3 need some attention. And I’m basically away from my desk for two days. AND it’s Samhain on Saturday, which knocks that day out completely.

I might need to pack everything up and head to the library for a day or two, if it’s too noisy here.

I read an absolutely delightful mystery yesterday called HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER, the first of a new series by Kate Carlisle. It’s really delightful — melds the intricacies of book restoration with a lively mystery featuring a smart, engaging heroine and develops fantastic relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and handsome men! The title worried me a bit –the alliteration made me worry it would be one of those gimmick mysteries, where a single trait is substituted for a well-rounded character, but that was not the case at all. I highly recommend it. DruAnn, Lara, and Brandy — I thought of all three of you immediately as I read it.

Hopefully, I can track down the author and feature her on A BIBLIO PARADISE.

Got home early enough Sunday to do four loads of laundry and puzzle out the next Merry’s Dalliance story — this one damn well better be the right one for the anthology. Worked on it (and “Lake Justice”) a bit before I left this morning.

Yeah, I was up early.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Ghostie Garland

Saturday, October 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
No idea the weather — supposed to rain

This is scheduled to post while I”m on the road, so, hopefully, it does.

Yesterday was, um, interesting.

I got reamed by someone I barely know for “not doing enough charity work.” This was, of course, after I turned down working for her for free on something that not only was I completely wrong for, but not interested in. I let her rant and then said, “Really, that’s not the way to entice people to volunteer or donate to your organization.” And I walked away.

First of all, I get to choose volunteer work — call it charity, pro bono, whatever. I don’t get bullied or guilted into it. Second, I work with some organizations about which I’m passionate — I’m just not running around talking about how much I do. I’m doing the work, and if I get the chance to appropriately mention the organization somewhere, I do. But the work isn’t about me or about promoting myself. It’s about the organization. Third, it’s none of her damned business how I spend my time unless she’s buying some of it! 😉

Second, I had to run out to get some traditional, birch=handled twig brooms (oh gosh, they’re gorgeous). Bought the brooms, they don’t fit in my trunk (hey, I drive a Rabbit), so I wrestled them into the back seat of the car at an angle. I’m driving home, getting ready to make a right turn. There’s a red light, and the guy in the car in front of me is riding both lanes. There’s not enough room for me to squeeze into the right lane and make my right on red. I’m not in a hurry, no problem. But the guy behind me starts honking at me and screaming at me and waving his fist. He can see the car in front of me and he can see that there’s no room. But he’s still honking and screaming and swearing.

He gets out of his car and stomps up to mine, screaming, “You stupid bitch! There’s a right on red. Who do you think you, holding up traffic?”

Of course, he’s ignoring the MAN in the very expensive car ahead of us who’s the one ACTUALLY holding up the traffic And the guy in that front car is trying to edge over without moving into the intersection and getting hit by turning traffic so I can hit the gas and get away from Psycho Bastard. The chivalrous thing to do would have been to get out of his car and take responsibility for a situation he created, but hey . . .

So, Psycho Bastard comes up and starts pounding on my window. And suddenly he seems the back seat full of brooms. He stops, fist in mid-air, and turns absolutely chalk white

I roll down my window and say, “Is there a problem?”

PsychoBastard: “Why do you have a car full of brooms?”

Me; “Why do you think I’d have a car full of brooms on a late October morning?”


PsychoBastard: “I’m in deep s–t, aren’t I?”

Me: (smiling): “You have no idea.”

The light changed, and I drove off, leaving him standing in the middle of the street, because now HE’s the one holding up all the traffic.

It was pretty funny.

It will definitely show up, modified, in a piece of fiction someday.

We definitely have gremlins or something hiding things in the apartment, because stuff is disappearing, and it’s way too heavy for the cats. My Timberland boots are missing, along with four boxes of holiday-themed ribbon. That’s just weird. I can understand maybe misplacing the boots over the summer, when I didn’t need them, but the ribbon has been stored with the rest of the decorations for six years. All the boxes of decorations are there, but no ribbon.

i pretty much gave myself the day off yesterday, since I’m working all weekend. Morons all up and down the street had leaf blowers going all day, from 8 AM to 4:30, so it’s not like I could concentrate.

The next assignment came in for Confidential Job #1, and it looks really cool.

My beloved Strand Books sent me two fabulous-looking books: Margaret Atwood’s NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD: A WRITER ON WRITING and AMERICAN AUSTEN: THE FORGOTTEN WRITING OF AGNES REPPLIER, edited by John Lukacs.

I’m not blogging tomorrow, and I’m back on the road for an upstate booking early Monday, but I’ll schedule a post for Monday, so come on back!

Have a great weekend, everyone!