Wed. Sept. 14, 2016: Creative Fuel

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy few days! I’ve been trying to balance work along with having company.

Company arrived Saturday, from NY via Megabus, although they changed the Megabus stop, so at first I was at the wrong place. Typical Mercury Retrograde!

But we found each other and got home. I’ve been cooking a lot for the company – good, homecooked, American food. We’ve gone out a few times—we spent Monday going all along the National Seashore, Eastham, Light houses, all the way down to Provincetown, where we had a wonderful lunch at Patio. The food there just gets better and better, and the service is great, too.

I’ve managed to get some writing done, one on a piece I’m calling UNBOUND, at least for now, and the other on an untitled short story that I have a feeling is going to turn into a novella.

The time in Provincetown on Monday gave me some ideas; I’m trying to decide if I want to write a contemporary suspense novel, or if I want to develop some of these ideas into one of the series on which I’m working. I have a feeling a one-off suspense novel will make more sense. So we’ll see. I’m playing with ideas.

Although time is short, the ideas are churning, which is always a good thing.

I helped some visual artists write grants this week, which is always fulfilling. I hope they get what they seek!

Next week, when the company is gone, I will go back into the next round of edits for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’d like to get it submission-ready this fall, and have it start making the rounds.

Saturday, when we take our friend back to the bus in Providence, we will then drive to Newport, where I will do some research for the Victorian mystery, and also meet some other friends en route from Boston to Philadelphia for lunch.

I’m also developing my essays. Essays take me longer than long fiction!

Busy times, but good ones.

Hope you are all well and happy!

Devon

Published in: on September 14, 2016 at 9:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 14, 2016: Creative Fuel  
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Thurs. Oct. 3, 2013: Unexpected Encounters

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Dark Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day yesterday. I got some stuff done in the morning, pitched for some jobs, etc, worked on a review.

Just after noon, I got in the car and drove to Providence. Beautiful day to drive. First stop was at Brown University, where I had a great meeting with my former archaeology professor. She is just as terrific in person as she is in class. Great meeting. And someone with whom I’ll stay in touch on projects.

She also asked if I knew a professor here at Brown — who turned out to be one of the favorite playwrights I worked with off-Broadway in New York nearly twenty years ago! I was thrilled to hear about him again — we’d lost touch over the years.

I went over to the theatre department and he had a few minutes in between appointments, so we got to do some catching up! I’m delighted he’s in such a wonderful environment as Brown — this is one of the smartest, most talented people I ever had the pleasure of working with in New York. And to cross paths again, so unexpectedly was even better!

I had a parking ticket on my windshield –even though I was one space OUTSIDE the designated “don’t park here today zone” — obviously they targeted me because I had out-of-state plates.

Got lost getting back to the Mega bus stop, because the Mapquest directions had very little to do with the actual streets, but I figured it out. I was a half hour earlier than the bus’s scheduled arrival time, but the bus was a half hour early, so it all worked out.

My friend jumped in the car, I zoomed across four lanes of traffic, and off we went, back to the Cape. I haven’t seen her, probably in nearly twelve, thirteen years. But we picked up as though it was a few hours, not a few days. Great fun.

We had a glass of wine on the deck, I cooked dinner, we relaxed with a movie. Well, if the movie had been any good, we would have relaxed. In spite of having one of my favorite actors in it and an interesting premise, it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen IN MY LIFE. And I work in film, so I’ve seen my share of stinkers. It was the first time I ever saw this actor put in a flat performance, too, and I’ve watched his work for about fifteen, twenty years. I’m not going to trash anyone publicly, and hopefully, I will never be asked by this individual what I thought of it. There’s a chance we might land on the same project a couple of years down the line — and I’ll just try to avoid this particular topic! 😉

Have to polish and send off a review this morning. One of the people to whom I pitched yesterday was interested in samples, so I sent that off this morning. Fingers crossed.

Looking forward to having some fun hanging out with my friend.

Devon

Published in: on October 3, 2013 at 6:48 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. Sept. 3, 2013: Hellish Weekend & Jeremy Renner Saves This Writer’s Bacon in a Dream

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and humid

A Hell of a weekend. A good lesson in not letting the b.s. get you down.

Friday, I had a fairly light workday. I was waiting for what I’d been assured was good news on a big contract that would take up most of my time in the upcoming months. I was clearing things off my desk, preparing to actually HAVE a holiday weekend.

A little after 5 PM, the news came — I did not get that contract. I’ve been jerked around all summer with assurances about how much they love my work while they went and hired someone with no practical experience, no track record of meeting deadlines, but with more degrees.

To say I was devastated and heartbroken is an understatement. First of all, I am the best person for the job. Period. End of story. I have the skills, the creativity, the ability to meet deadlines; they even said my proposal was so perfect they didn’t need to change even a comma. Yet they gave the contract – -which means the MONEY — to someone who has no practical experience, but a string of letters after the name.

That throws the rest of my year out of whack — I’ve got to scramble financially and find work to replace this. It wasn’t something that could be layered onto anything else — it would need my full attention, so I held back on long-term projects that would conflict. That was MY stupidity, and I’m paying for it dearly now.

Hurt, angry, frantic. That was my Friday night.

I didn’t get any sleep. I was too upset. I couldn’t pretend it was okay, because it wasn’t okay, not on any level. And I will NEVER believe them again until the check has cleared – -this is a big name house with a solid reputation. The fact that they fucked me over in this way means my price just went WAAAAY up in anything related to them in the future. I already know the person who beat me out for the gig can’t meet the deadlines or deliver solid work — they’ll find it out. Cold comfort to me, who has to find a way to pay the bills over the next few months, but, ultimately, I have to trust that the universe will find a far more interesting way to sort this out than I ever could.

Also, pretending it doesn’t bother me when it does would just make me sick. And I’m angry at myself for trusting them — although I trusted the person who set me up with them in the first place, because that’s what she’s paid to do. Don’t bullshit me with the talk of future projects. I need something NOW.

I was up before 5 AM on Saturday, and between 6:30 in the morning and about 4 in the afternoon, I wrote another book proposal and sample chapters. This is a book that I want to write, a book I’ve wanted to write for awhile, but was put aside for the moment when this other project came up. So I sat down and powered through it.

I was exhausted by the end of the day, but happy with it. It’s something I know well, something about which I love to write, and very practical.

I could have spent the weekend wallowing in my anger and self-pity, but I decided to take the frantic momentum and turn it around. I wrote something important to ME, something I want to do, and that also has huge market potential, so it has the best of both worlds, for the right partner.

I put it aside on Sunday, and made some notes on an idea I’ve been playing with for awhile. An idea that is FAR out of my wheelhouse, a huge stretch/leap for me in my work. But I’ve found the voice and it feels right.

I did 994 words on it Monday morning. I like where I’m going with it. It’s so far out of what I usually do, and in a POV I rarely use, but it’s working, and I love it.

And I pitched some article ideas — got to jump right back into the water, get back on the horse, all those cliches, right?

I had to stop then, because I had to drive Costume Imp back to Providence, so he could get his bus back to New York. The bus, was, of course, delayed, but I’m glad we got off Cape early, because by the time we returned, there were backups coming over both bridges that looked interminable. Plus, on the way home, we took a detour to Target.

Over the weekend, we gorged ourselves watching TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY on demand. I can never get enough of John Barrowman and Eve Myles anyway, and their chemistry is terrific. But this show is one of the most terrifying, relevant, and best written shows I’ve ever seen. It was wonderful to be able to watch the entire season in just a couple of days.

NEWSROOM wasn’t on this Sunday, so I wound up watching the end of THE BOURNE LEGACY. I’ve seen bits and pieces over the past weeks, but still haven’t sat down and watched the whole thing from start to finish. I should — it’s got Jeremy Renner in it, and he’s one of my favorite actors. I liked his work well before HURT LOCKER and most people even knew who he was.

But anyway, note to self: don’t watch THE BOURNE LEGACY right before bedtime unless you want it to invade your dreams. Actually, it was the actor AS an actor, not as one of his characters who invaded my dreams. I dreamed that I wrote another show for the National Marine Life Center, but the actors didn’t show up for rehearsal, and I couldn’t find them for the performance. Which was sold out. For some reason, Jeremy Renner wandered past as I was running around looking for my actors, stepped in and cold-read all the roles in the entire script, bringing down the house.

Which he is totally talented enough to do, but since we’ve never worked together, I don’t know why he would! Even though it was a dream, I’m terribly grateful to him, and woke up with some solutions. I spent so many years working with actors, I don’t usually dream about them. Too much of a busman’s holiday. But if my subconscious wants to personify itself as Jeremy Renner, who am I to argue? 😉

I’m sure other people have dreams about Jeremy Renner in quite a different context!

Obviously, I’ve got some anxieties about remounting the play.

Upon coming back home yesterday, another idea blazed across the brain (because Ideas come in batches, always). I wrote an outline, and this morning wrote 4707 words (18 pages) of this project.

So, I’ve got two priority projects to juggle, plus the fantasy trilogy, plus getting the play up again, plus finding enough work to pay the bills for the next few months.

Which means I better get back to it, huh? I’ve got two book reviews to finish today, some contracts to resend, work on the play, work on the grant for the next play, invoicing for previous articles, and a final polish on the proposal I wrote on Saturday (that I still love) that I intend to have on my agent’s desk by the end of the day.

Power on.

Devon

Fri. April 12, 2013: Renewal and Writing

Friday, April 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sleet and cold

Drove to Providence and dropped off Costume Imp. We just missed the really bad traffic in, thank goodness. Lunch at Cooke’s on the way back, always fun.

Tried to get my new phone at Best Buy — y’know, because they advertise “all the phones and all the plans” — liars! They didn’t have the phone I want, only phones that cost 4X more. So I went online to get the whole bundle I wanted, and I can get the phone, but not the cards. Makes me re-think the new carrier I’d chosen.

Stopped at B&N to use the rest of my gift card, and stocked up on some fun books! Went to the various libraries to drop off/pick up books.

Came home and did some work, but also relaxed a bit, refilling the well from the past few draining weeks. Read Sharon Shinn’s latest Shifting Circle novel, STILL LIFE WITH SHAPE-SHIFTER. It’s sad, and I sobbed my way through the second half of it!

Went to bed early, slept in this morning. The weather is nasty, but I have to take care of a few things and get some planting done, then focus on taxes and the book.

Worked with students this morning. Will also polish my presentation for the NECRWA conference this weekend, work on the materials I need to bring with me, and wrap up the paperwork for the play. I’ve been invited to pitch a proposal for another big project internationally, and I’ve also been invited to submit a play for an award, so I have to think about those over the weekend, to see if I can fit them in and what to do for them.

Onward! Have a great weekend.

Devon

Wed. Dec. 5, 2012: Home and into the Fray

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

I am back!

It was quite the trip. I am exhausted and stumbling around, and will be for another day or two. The roofers are starting tomorrow, so that should be, um, interesting. The guy heading it up is really nice, so, other than my usual horror of noise, I doubt it’ll be a problem.

Sunday, I managed to get the newsletter out (It will be up on the Devon Ellington site later today). Then, off we went to Providence to pick up the Megabus. The streets we needed were closed due to some sort of road race, but I got out and walked the few blocks to the bus stop, and off I went.

Bus ride was smooth, no problems. They let us out in front of FIT, and I hauled my luggage over to Penn Station for the subway kerflamma. Yes, I realize I should be grateful there’s even subway service to Brooklyn post-Sandy, but it was a lot of unnecessary chaos.

I got on the C train. Suddenly, we were told that the C line wasn’t running, so we’d have to take an F train, that would run on the local C stops in Brooklyn — only not the stop I needed. I was instructed to get off at W. 4th Street and take the B. I get off at W. 4th, haul the luggage down to the level where the B train is — only to find that the B does not run on weekends. The sign on the platform said take the D to Atlantic Avenue and pick up the Q. I had multiple sets of directions to the house, but the D didn’t figure in any of them. However, I jumped on the D train. When it stopped at DeKalb, I thought, “well, DeKalb is on my list of stops for the B or the Q. I’ll get off the platform and if I see a B or Q sign, I’ll know I’m in the right place; if I don’t, I’ll find a cop and ask him how to get to where I’m going.”

I got off, it was the right stop, all good. I hauled everything up too many flights of stairs, and walked down DeKalb until I hit my friends’ street, and there was the brownstone on the corner. I got in, hauled my luggage up to the third floor, and played with Costume Imp’s cats until he got back from work.

We went to a local diner for diner, really good food, and all got to know each other, friends and family from different phases in his life. Late to bed, up early, did my yoga, read a bit while I waited for everyone else to get up.

Monday, we set up for the party, cleaning and decorating, and all the rest. The party itself ran from about 1 PM to 8 PM (technically), although it was closer to 10 by the time everyone cleared out. It was a great celebration of Costume Imp, and old and new friends met and melded well. The food was amazing. We cleaned up and got to bed a bit after midnight. The house’s owner (also a friend) has a very old husky who’s blind and not very well. I think the party overstimulated her, because she paced and was upset all night. Since I slept downstairs in the parlor on an air mattress, I was up with the dog all night. I finally got her settled around 4:30, but I had to be up at 6, so it wasn’t really worth going to sleep. Poor baby. The other husky is a young male, lively and friendly, and there was also a little, lively dog, and another cat. Busy household. But it’s a household filled with love and laughter, the very best kind.

And I met an actor-musician at the party with whom I had an interesting conversation that got a dormant idea for a play percolating again. So that’s all good.

Out the door by 9:30, couldn’t find the subway I was supposed to take, found a different one, got directions from the very nice woman in the booth, switched trains one stop in and got an express to Penn. Exited Penn Station and headed all the way to the Hudson on 34th St. The Megabus now leaves from 34th St. between 11th and 12th Avenues. I got there waaaay too early and had to stand for over an hour, but finally the bus bothered to show up and we could get on it.

We left on time, and it was a smooth ride, although I couldn’t get comfortable, and wanted to doze, but couldn’t. Got in the driver’s seat of the car in Providence, drove back to the Cape, stopped for gas, unloaded the car, greeted the cats, popped something in the microwave, scarfed it down, and headed back to the Sandwich Library for the Cape Cod Writers Center Board meeting.

The businesses on Rt. 6A have a series of glorious, over-sized light sculptures up along the route. So beautiful! What a treat to drive it, tired as I was.

Meeting was good. Interesting. Learning the people and learning the dynamics. I was practically falling over with exhaustion by then, so limited myself to asking questions. I have to understand the foundation of what we HAVE before I can make useful suggestions of how to build on it.

Home, showered, fell into bed. Staggering around this morning. Already had to deal with the roofers, and have to call the plumber, because I can’t get the front spigot for the hose to shut off. All I want to do is go back to bed!

But there’s a ton of email waiting to be dealt with, and I have to hustle some quick turnaround, quick pay jobs in the next few days.

To the page.

Devon

Last two days to sign up for Flash 7 — write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days. Dec 7-16. Sign up here.

Published in: on December 5, 2012 at 10:05 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Oct 24, 2012: Wide Feedback and Wacky Road Conditions

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was about cleaning, yard work, trying to get information I needed in order to get it to someone else, waiting to hear word on a project, working with my students, making lasagna, etc. One of my editors fought for me and got $$ for something the publisher wants me to do, but didn’t want to pay me for. Love this editor.

Got my feedback on my final project for the Sustainability class — which was the first three chapters of the mystery novel. Two people thought it was a great idea, and, although I didn’t encompass every idea in the first three chapters, they could see where I was setting the seeds, and how it could grow. They loved the idea of subtly melding these ideas in a work of fiction, rather than standing on a soap box. The third peer reviewer HATED it. Hated everything about it, said I didn’t understand what a “class” was and what it meant to write a paper — now, considering how many of us were doing non-traditional, art-based projects and HAD PERMISSION to pursue them, that was inappropriate. The funniest comment was, “There’s no room for Nancy Drew in sustainability” and the individual was mad that there was a dead body in the first chapter instead of a treatise on conservation. Um, it’s a murder mystery — you need the dead body to set things into motion! Ouch, and yet I couldn’t help laughing, because the vitriol came from such a place of narrow-mindedness and self-righteousness, all one could do is shrug. You could say, “I see what the person is trying to do; I don’t think it’s effective” rather than people don’t have a right to express sustainability concerns in terms of art. I knew it wasn’t going to please everyone, but the response from the other two reviewers at least let me know I’m on the right track. They had some excellent suggestions to keep it on track and raise the stakes.

Got on the road a little after one. Dropped off the minutes for tonight’s meeting with the president of that organization, returned books at Sandwich library — one was overdue and I had to pay a fine. 2 cents. TWO CENTS. Seriously. I handed over two shiny pennies. Hilarious.

Drive to Providence wasn’t bad, although there was construction around New Bedford and the dipshits who cut around cars and force their way back in, in a single lane, because they think they’re so important they can’t be behind another car drive me nuts.

Didn’t get lost this time, found the bus drop-off, and there was Costume Imp! Drive back was fine, we got settled, heated up the lasagna, opened a bottle of cabernet, and had a good dinner.

Lots to do today, and then tonight, is the Writers Night Out Dinner and Annual Meeting.

I have papers to read, work to do with students, and edits to which to attend.

Devon

Published in: on October 24, 2012 at 6:51 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. Oct. 23, 2012: Good Meetings & Busy Times

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Morning meeting yesterday was at The Bay Pointe Club, and it was good. I like the facility — the space has a lot of natural light, it’s beautiful without being pretentious, it’s flexible, and the people running it listen and respond to what one says and help come up with ideas so it works for everybody. That’s the experience I’ve always had working with the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga, but has been the exception, rather than the norm in many other venues over the years, including here on the Cape. So, to find a venue where they both get it (in terms of an individual organization and what they do) and offer ideas that are better than what one thinks one needs to fix a concern — that, to me, is a good place to be. They’re also interested in participating in the community, rather than being separate from it, which gains them big points from me.

I’m glad that it looks like two organizations with whom I work like the venue as much as I do, and we’ll do events there.

Came back, did some follow-up, caught up on what came in while I was gone. Deadbeat client finally paid, so did that paperwork. That’s over and done, we parted civilly and I can take a deep breath and move on.

Three loads of laundry, cleaning the house for Costume Imp’s arrival, grocery shopping, checking to see if any notes came back from the agent re: the proposal that had to be turned around instantly. Didn’t hear, so I’m hoping that means the revision works. Spoke to my other editor, and I need to get on the ball with the book edits — I’m behind.

The owner came by with his wife to stake where the forsythias will move, and what else needs to be cut back and done. Flowering daphne will replace the forsythia in front of the garage — once it’s painted. Someday, the landscaper will deign to show up and it will actually get done! 😉

I’ve got a lot to finish up this morning, before heading to Providence to pick up Costume Imp from the Megabus. I’m going to have some long-ass days this week, but it will be worth it!

Iris is almost back to normal. We’re keeping close watch on her, and probably taking her in for a blood test soon. If she needs anti-seizure medication, I’d rather she had it sooner rather than later.

Devon