Wed. April 16, 2014: From One to The Other

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Last Day of Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing and cold

Yup. It’s snowing. Again.

Yesterday, I was up by 5:30 (which will be the norm for the coming weeks). Did some client work and other work and correspondence that had to go out. By 8:30, I was on the road for errands, thinking they would take until 10 or 10:30.

They took until nearly 3. No one’s fault, just everything took longer than expected. But it got done, and it means I don’t have to worry about errands for the rest of the week.

That put me behind on everything else, but I did some work on client projects, the storyboard for the script job, and interviewed potential stage managers/understudies. Worked on the next book that’s going to be reviewed and went over information sent to me about the upcoming days at the library. Worked on designing the prop I still have to build.

Woke up at 4:30 this morning, after weird theatre dreams. Yoga, meditation, the usual morning routine.

Got some work done this morning re: the play, the script job, and preparation for the day at the library. The car is packed for all the different tasks that need to be completed. Could not believe it is snowing again — glad I pulled in the plants last night.

The next round of edits on “Lake Justice” landed in my inbox this morning, so I’ll have to figure those in to the schedule over the next few days, too.

Going straight from a full day at the library today to rehearsal, and then back home to work on edits and client projects.

Busy day. Good busy, but I have to focus on the task at hand, and not get distracted by other demands.

If you can’t attend the production of SEAL TIDES next week here on the Cape, I hope you’ll consider supporting it via our indiegogo campaign. Even $10 makes a huge difference. Information here.


Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 7:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. March 31, 2014: Inspiration and Directions

Monday, March 31, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Can’t believe this is the last day of March. I’ll have a wrap up on the GDR site later today.

Busy weekend. Worked flat out on Friday, with students, on a client project, on stuff for the NMLC, on contest entries, on a proposal that’s in negotiation that would be both exciting and lucrative, met with a client and that gig will start in two weeks, and then headed to the Marine Life Center about mid-afternoon.

Worked in the office there for a few hours, set up, and we had a good rehearsal. A cold one — the heat’s not working in the building — but a good one. I am going to have to cut a beat out of the play, though — it belongs in a different play.

Exhausted by the time I got home, and feeling like I was coming down with something. Woke up on Saturday feeling AWFUL, although it was a beautiful day out. I think the stress of the week caught up with me and started manifesting physically.

Deeply, deeply disappointed and hurt that I didn’t hear back on a long-term gig who promised me an answer last Thursday. I’m assuming I didn’t get it. I’m sure six months or a year from now, it will make sense and I’ll understand the WHY of it, and why I wound up somewhere else I was supposed to be, but it’s still bitter right now.

Had to run one errand, and also took Tessa out in her enclosure for awhile, because the weather was mild enough. Then, I bundled up and spent the rest of the weekend resting, and working on contest entries. Some were really good; others didn’t quite make the mark. Some of them were so poorly constructed that one couldn’t even get to the story through all the mess.

Finished an interesting book for my reviews editor. Will write that up and send it off today.

Had a big aha! moment on a story idea I’ve been playing with for years. It’s been probably over ten years since I first came up with this character, but I couldn’t quite find the way in. Now, I’ve found it. I’ve done a solid 1K on the piece this morning — even though it’s not either of the pieces I SHOULD be working on. It’s a difficult, emotional opening, but it’s what this piece wants and needs. It’s starting down in Florida, but the bulk of the book –and the series — will take place in New Bedford. Guess I’ll be spending some quality time there when the weather gets better.

So much on my plate today, I better get to it!


Published in: on March 31, 2014 at 7:53 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. March 11, 2013: New Moon Birthday!

Monday, March 11, 2013
New Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

I have now outlived my father. He never made it to the age I turn today.

Yup, it’s my birthday. I’m keeping it low-key and quiet — I need some rest. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still work to do — the next chapter on the new book, working with students, preparing for tomorrow night’s rehearsal. But I’m trying to keep it mellow and pleasant.

Weekend was busy. I’m reading the books for one of the contests I’m judging — wide range of topics and quality, which makes it interesting. I’m back in the groove on the new book, and pretty happy with it, and got an important research book for it that the Sandwich Library tracked down for me. I’ve been devouring that book, too, and already seeing where I need to make adjustments in past chapters.

I agreed to teach a two-part workshop the final two weeks of March on adapting a short story to the stage, and a short play into a short story. One can choose to take one or both sections, but there is an application process — no lurkers are allowed, and anyone who does not complete the daily assignment for ANY reason will be dropped without a refund. The application process closes on March 13 — this Wednesday — and the class runs from the 18-31 (with no class on either Palm Sunday or Easter), so get in your applications! Instructions for the application are here.

Don’t forget the Query Clinic on Sat. March 23, where you can bring in query letters for line-by-line critique and strengthening, and also learn how to make the process of writing future queries easier. Information here.

Yesterday’s rehearsal was good, although filled with Mercury Retrograde-type mishaps. I’m very happy with the cast, though. It may have been a rocky road to find them, but they are each and every one of them worth it!

I need to contact some more client prospects today, but I’m hoping for a light day online — and that some of these late checks that are supposedly “in the mail” — and have been for nearly a month now — actually show up. Wouldn’t that be a nice treat for my birthday?

Back to the page.


OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus Adventure is now available. Excerpt and Buy Link here.

Fri. March 1, 2013: Stress and Prep

Friday, March 1, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Not feeling well. Managed to get some work done yesterday and go to my meeting, but feeling pretty bad. A lot of it is stress-induced.

Managed to write another article. I wanted to let it sit overnight, before editing and sending it out.

I’m supposed to be on Nadia Kim’s blog today — I checked this morning and don’t see it up yet, so I will check back later on and post the link.

Tonight, my play SEVEN OF SWORDS will be read as part of the Play With Your Food series at Tilden Arts Center. I’m looking forward to it, and to the other plays with whom I’m on the bill!

I’ve got a minor rewrite to do on MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL and a lot of writing to do today and tomorrow, along with prepping for Sunday’s rehearsal and doing a final polish on Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series. Registration closes today at 5 PM, and it’s the only time the course will be offered this year, so don’t miss it! March 4-8. Full information here.

Colin — you’re right — it’s wonderful to see actors bring the words to life, and the characters evolve.

Lots to do today, and not much time, so I better get going!


Wed. Feb. 27, 2013: Migraine & Frustration

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs and frustrations — I’m having a rough Saturn retrograde and a rough Mercury retrograde. I’ll have to ride it out. Hopefully, I won’t have this migraine stabbing me through the left eye the whole time, either.

Didn’t get enough of my own work done. Can’t really discuss the frustrations in detail, because there’s no way I can be diplomatic about them — I’m better off venting privately and getting on with it.

Made chicken and dumplings for dinner last night — needed comfort food!

Meeting last night was good — lots of laughter and fun.

Have a stack of books on Impressionism for research, and rejuggling the priorities of the longer project.

I can take on one more critique/editing client this week — if it’s booked this week. So email fearlessinkworkshops-at-gmail-dot-com if you’ve got something you need edited or critiqued.

Also, these are the last days to sign up for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”. Information and registration here.

Rehearsal is here tonight, so I’ve got to rearrange the furniture in the living room and set up the props. Should be fun!


Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 8:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I am ready for a new moon, baby! 😉

I was in “gastric distress” yesterday for most of the day, the aftermath of the previous evening. And, I was tired. So I wasn’t particularly productive. However, I found that radishes helped enormously. Unfortunately, I then baked cookies and ate raw dough, so we were back to square one. By dinnertime, the sight/smell of food didn’t make me want to curl up into a fetal position and wail. An improvement.

Managed to get the grocery shopping done – that rocked, I shopped very well on my budget, including the food I need to bring with me on the site job this weekend.

Several people asked me what it feels like to see my work on stage. There’s always a bit of strangeness to the process, because you’re seeing something that ran two-dimensionally in your head (even if you see actual people speak your words as you imagine them) and then it’s three dimensional in front of you. Also, because I was not part of the rehearsal process in this particular case (I often am part of it – I love being in the rehearsal room with actors), there’s a lot that’s out of my control, and you just have to roll with it, as far as beats, rhythm, choices, etc. Mostly, when it’s a good production, it feels good. Good actors and good direction will take it to heights you couldn’t imagine when you wrote it.

You also have to put aside your own ego and accept it for what it is – it’s live, and sometimes an actor will go up on a line or paraphrase or whatever. Mistakes happen. When they’ve simply miscast, that’s when it becomes an issue. When I’m more closely involved in the day-to-day process of a show, I try to get in on the casting, and in theatre, it’s far more likely to include the playwright than in film (the screenwriter is rarely involved in casting unless the screenwriter is also directing and/or producing). Most actors pull from the same pool of monologues, material that most of us on the other side of the table have heard a zillion times – and, after the 15th time you’ve heard it in the same day’s casting session, you’re ready to tear your hair out. One of the reasons that actors who use my monologues usually land a callback and the role is that the material is fresh and that alone makes the casting folks perk up. That and the fact that the monologues roll easily off the tongue. Anyway, when you know the material the actor performs, you know if the actor paraphrases. It’s a warning bell. If you bring him back for a cold reading (he’s handed pages from the script and has to read them with a reader provided in the casting session – I always pay an actual actor to sit and read in the casting sessions, it’s only fair to those auditioning). Some actors are awful at cold readings, some are great at them, and you have to hope that being good in a cold reading isn’t their best, or it will be a long road ahead. Because it’s a cold reading, the words won’t be spoken exactly as written. But, again, if there’s too much paraphrasing, the actor is not going to respect the script in the rehearsal or performance process, and my vote is “no.” Also, in a callback, you get a chance to work the actor in a scene and then give direction – if the actor can’t take direction, it’s a “no.”

Of course, there are some actors who do their best work in auditions and go steadily downhill during rehearsal, and then you have to make the decision to fire them.

As a writer, I love being in the rehearsal room with the actors (provided the director isn’t a control freak). Yes, the director is in charge, but there are some directors who don’t want the writer to talk to the actor AT ALL, which is ridiculous. It’s something the director, writer, and producer need to thrash out before starting rehearsals. What’s the protocol? Who says what? When I have a good relationship with the director, we discuss the day’s work ahead of time, go in to the rehearsal on the same page, and we can both interact easily without contradicting each other. We check in with each other, but we don’t defy each other. I think it makes everyone in the room uncomfortable when the writer and director debate a point in front of the actors, or, every time the writer has an idea, the writer pulls the director into the corner and there’s a lot of whispering. I find that very counterproductive. It’s one thing to turn to the director and say, “Hey, I have an idea! Wanna hear it?” And then the director either takes you out of the room or says, “yeah, sure” and you present it (best scenario, when there’s a real collaboration). Again, there has to be a lot of communication before the production starts. You want to provide a creative and stable environment in the rehearsal room so that the actors can fly and contribute to the creation process.

You still discuss notes ahead of time with the director, and the director’s the one who gives the notes (although I’ve been in a room where suddenly the director turned to me and said, “Do you have any comments?” – I prefer to discuss them with the director ahead of time, and, if it’s something controversial, I’ll say that’s what I want to do, but if it’s little tweaks, I’ll say them). Also, I’m big on cutting in rehearsal – when you have a three-dimensional actor, you can cut out the unnecessary words. So there are often sessions at the top of the rehearsal, after I’ve discussed it with the director, I’ll sit and give cuts. And usually terrify the actors, because the act of cutting often frightens them, although once they run it on its feet, they love it. Or, if a scene doesn’t work, I either rewrite it that night, or go off during the rehearsal for an hour, re-write it, hand it to the director. The director and I talk about it, I make some tweaks, the production stage manager runs a clean copy and makes copies for everyone in the company who needs it, and off we go.

I wasn’t involved with the day-to-day of this particular play, but we’d discussed it ahead of time and I was fine with it. I knew the circumstances, I knew the nomadic nature of the company, all of that. If the circumstances were different, I would have written into the contract provisions for casting and rehearsals. So, things that might have bothered me had I had a different relationship to the day-to-day running of the show simply weren’t an issue here. As I watched it, I saw a couple of places I would have cut a line here and there to even tighten the rhythms further (although it was hard to tell with two new people ad-libbing whenever they got insecure, which was a lot).

As a stage manager and production manager, I’ve worked with playwrights so in love with every syllable that they refuse to cut anything, and it’s detrimental to a production. You’ve got to be willing to cut anything you don’t need.

I had a strange dream last night. I dreamed I was reading a book. What was strange about it was that, in the dream, I was reading the actual text of the book, the story, and simultaneously seeing it unfurl behind my eyes the way one does when one reads. And I suddenly knew that the book hadn’t yet been written. So I wonder if I’m supposed to write it? Well, if so, take a number!

I have some client projects to work on today, the two anthology stories, the plays, and an article. I’ve also got some errands to run (in the rain) and I have to pack for the weekend’s site job.

Busy day; better get going.


Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 7:33 am  Comments (6)  
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