Mon. June 12, 2017: Rev Up for a Creative Week

Monday, June 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

It took me awhile on Friday, to recover from the disappointment of the meeting. I spent the weekend composing my letter withdrawing from consideration. The more I worked on it, the angrier I got. I haven’t worked my way into a strong union, as a labor negotiator, and an advocate for fair pay for work to be told I wouldn’t be paid for hours worked, but only on the whim of the people with whom I dealt. That’s not a job; it’s a scam. I don’t care how they try to wrap it in legitimacy. It was my understanding, as of last December, it was also illegal.

On the upside, the finished, polished article I submitted, was accepted and paid within two hours.

I read a thriller which was, unfortunately, not thrilling. I was 20 chapters ahead of the protagonists by Chapter three.

Saturday was a combination of house-keeping: changing the beds, mowing the meadow, doing laundry, et al — and writing.

I wrote 20 more script pages, and a short story which will go out either today or tomorrow, depending on how much polishing it needs. I also did some outlining on a new script idea — I have a great group of characters, but I haven’t settled on a solid plot/story for them yet.

Tapwrit won the Belmont Stakes, with Irish War Cry second. They were a boxed exacta for me, so good for me. Too bad I didn’t get a chance to bet on the race. I didn’t realize until I moved here how important OTB was to my life — and my income.

Sunday, I gave myself off from writing. I worked on the next book I have to review, and I read some research books that will cover several projects.

I also obtained an exercise bicycle, off of Craigslist. It’s wonderful, and MCA Sport, with a timer and everything. It’s my mom’s favorite form of exercise, but we’re both going to do a session every morning and every night. I’ve lost some weight the last few weeks, but I’m still out of shape, even with a daily yoga practice. I hope adding in the cycling will help.

It was nice enough to eat lunch on the deck all weekend, and also take some of my work out there and work outside, in the nice weather.

Congrats to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winning the Stanley Cup! Second year in a row. Good for them!

And the Tony Awards were last night. Always a great night for the theatre. The producers and the network regard is as one big commercial to draw in ticket sales, but to the rest of us in the business, it’s far more than that.

Upped my meditation practice, too, adding in a night meditation session. I can already feel the difference, after just a few days. So, I will continue.

This morning, I’m drafting some pitches to go out later in the day, paying some bills, working on a couple more articles. I already mowed the lawn.

I hope I can get the “have-tos” done in a reasonable amount of time and switch back to the more creative “want-tos.”

Hope your week’s off to a great start!

Wed. June 15, 2016: Running on Fumes

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Saturday seems like a long time ago. I spent most of the days between Saturday and today writing. Some of it was outlining, because what happens a couple of books down affects how situations and characters are set up in what I’m writing now. I was happy to be deep in the work, but it’s exhausting.

Monday morning, I had a Board meeting in Buzzards Bay, then found a couple of dresses for upcoming events. I’d reached the dress shop early, so I sat in the car and wrote until it was open.

Yesterday, I wrote a complex chapter – it’s a long chapter, it took all day. It wrung out my characters both physically and emotionally, but it sets the stage, especially for one character, for the rest of his life. I was wiped out by the end of the day, too. I think readers will love it – I hope so, anyway.

It was quite the weekend, apart from writing: Creator won the Belmont Stakes, the Pittsburgh Penguins won Lord Stanley’s Cup, and the Tony Awards were on. I got so emotional during the Tonys – this year, in particular, they showed how art can change the world for the better. Especially in wake of the horrific mass shooting in Orlando.

The only reason to purchase the type of weapon currently called “assault” is to kill a human being. You can’t hunt food with it. It is NOT for protection. It is a choice to commit pre-meditated murder, even if the target has not yet been chosen. There is no place for them in a civilized society. But any society that takes Donald Trump seriously isn’t civilized.

A situation I believed was resolved reared its ugly head again. Not only was the wound re-opened (metaphorically), I discovered it festered. It will need to be drained and cauterized. I thought I was at peace with the whole thing, but I’m not.

Not a good start to the week, which will be extremely busy, but I hope I can find blocks of time to descend into the writing and make progress. I’m exhausted, on many levels, and feel like I’m out of resources.

Devon

Published in: on June 15, 2016 at 9:16 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 15, 2016: Running on Fumes  
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Mon. June 9, 2014: Belmont, Tony Awards, and Stomach Virus

Monday, June 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Foggy and muggy

Busy weekend. Busy but good day at the library on Friday. We had a power failure twenty minutes before closing time. Brief, but enough to totally freak the computers out. Came home, cooked, tried to relax a bit, did some work. Agreed to participate in a big local author signing event, which should be fun.

Worked at the library on Saturday. Good day, again busy. Came home and watched Belmont Stakes day. I was disappointed that California Chrome lost, but not particularly surprised. I felt bad for the poor horse. Not only did he come out of it bleeding (he hurt his foot early on), he didn’t understand why his people were upset. He was calm before and during the race, but got anxious when his people were unhappy. He was like, “I ran around really fast in a circle, just like you asked. Why are you mad at me?”

I was disappointed in the owner’s outburst. I understand the anger and disappointment in the heat of the moment, but the Triple Crown is not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be won by the freak horses like Secretariat. Yes, three races in five weeks is hard. Yes, the fact that the people who make the rules allow fresh, rested horses in the race makes it an unfair playing field, to some extent. But then be mad at those who make the rules, not at the horse who wins. To call Tomalist and his people “cowards”? No. Strategists, maybe. Cowards, no. And this guy’s behavior allows the snobs to sniff and say that’s why they don’t like it when “regular” guys think they can enter the race. The owner positioned himself, during the PR madness surrounding the races, to represent more than himself. HE took on and accepted that mantle. That man did not represent me. Of course he’s angry and disappointed, but grace under pressure would have been a better choice.

Sunday, I worked in the yard — mowing (still not done), and got some plants at the garden stores — flowers, veggies, etc. Started putting in them in.

The Tony Awards were last night. Hugh Jackman demonstrated, once again, why he is the most beloved man on Broadway. He was a fantastic host. Great mix of humor, skill, intelligence. It was a fun show, and I was delighted for the winners.

Came down with a nasty stomach virus in the night. I am miserable. I had to cut short the international Skype rehearsal early, early this morning, because I was too sick to function. JUST what you want to happen when you start a new working partnership. But my actor was very sweet and wanted to know if there was someone he could call to come and take care of me.

I have so much that HAS to get done TODAY. Can’t be put off because I’m sick. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’ll have to figure it out. A couple of things I can move, but there’s a list that can’t be moved.

The edits for ELUSIVE PRAYERS also landed on my desk this morning. I have another round of edits to get going on.

Yesterday, I stayed true to my “one day a week unplugged” (except for watching the Tony Awards). I desperately needed it, but it means getting sick today puts me far behind.

I’m going to try to go to bed for a few hours, and then see if I can get back on track.

Bad timing. 😦

Devon

Fri. June 6, 2014: Workshops and Summits and Crows

Friday, June 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day. Got out my next script episode before I headed to the library.

I’m starting to get some ideas on how to make Thursday mornings run more smoothly; hope to be able to implement them in the coming weeks. The printer at work is just — if it wasn’t littering, I’d drop-kick it into the canal. It prints; it doesn’t; it grabs six sheets; it doesn’t grab any sheets. And so forth and so on. Something that should take thirty seconds winds up taking 45 minutes. That has to stop — beyond my situation. How can we walk our talks on sustainability when our only printer options are printers that the companies make disposable, out of cheap-ass plastic parts so we have to replace them every couple of years and they can’t be fully recycled? The technology industry has to change how they manufacture — which means kicking out the overpriced CEOS and top executives who think more about their own pockets than a sustainable future for all of us.

Had to leave just after noon to get to a workshop in Chatham. The weather was awful. Hard to drive. But I got there (almost on time). The library is gorgeous out there, but parking is a nightmare. I wound up parking blocks away in front of some person’s house, and dashing through the rain.

I was NOT happy with the workshop. I’d hoped for a workshop on resources to help hunt down information to answer people’s questions. Let’s face it — librarians are the ultimate detectives. Instead, the presentation focused on how to stand when you talk to a patron and promoted an attitude of indentured servitude rather than being a professional partner in a hunt with a patron. I found it quite insulting to all of our intelligence.

I headed back to my library, finished out the day, dashed home, threw together some mac and cheese, bolted it down, dashed back out to the Community College for the Environmental Summit. I couldn’t attend the full Cape Coastal Conference this year, but I did manage to fit in the summit. I ran into some friends in the parking lot, and caught up with some people I’d met at last year’s conference when we got inside. They served us a full dinner we got in there (hmm, let’s see, did I overeat last night? Uh, yes) and then it was an interesting, interactive discussion with the purpose of getting the 29 non-profits that attended (and some that did not) to work together, sharing information and working towards common purposes, instead of everyone working in isolation. Yes, I signed up to help work on what I do best — create engaging narrative around actual information.

Afterwards, a couple of us went out to the bar at The Dolphin, in Barnstable, to continue the conversation, which was fun. One of my frustrations here is I don’t have a local hangout, so I’m trying places to see which place suits me best.

I rewrote the monologue for the actor this morning — we have several roads we can travel down next. I think the section on the loss of a particular relationship is too ordinary and what he’s usually played, so I have a couple of sections we could replace it with in that that explores loss of parent, sibling, mentor, etc., that might make it more unique. So that’s off.

So tired I could just fall over, but it’ll be a busy day at the library. Hope to come back tonight and relax. Have GOT to mow the meadow tomorrow afternoon when I get back from the library, because the grass is VERY high. While it’s good for the environment, and my grass now definitely had the chance to grow strong roots, I think my neighbors would like me to neaten it up a bit.

My murder of crows who hang out in the yard had a fit about something this morning. One of the smaller ones ended up coming up on the deck and hiding under one of the tables. I think he’d been attacked by something else, and the rest of the conclave was very, very upset. I got their attention (they shut up and listen when I call out to them and clap my hands) so we could get it sorted out — not sure what attacked the crow, but it’s out of the yard for now. He let me get close enough to him to watch him walk. He limped for a few steps, then flew a bit, then walked a little bit more, gaining strength, and flew off. So I guess I don’t have to bundle him up and take him to Cape Wildlife before work. He seems okay.

Off to work.

Final race of the Triple Crown tomorrow — go California Chrome! And Tony Awards on Sunday — my people! 😉

Devon

Published in: on June 6, 2014 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 6, 2014: Workshops and Summits and Crows  
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Thurs. June 5, 2014: Happy Tired and Workshops

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Felt like I’d put in a full day before I even got to the library yesterday. Had a lot of stuff to haul in for the workshop — it was quite comical.

Busy day pre-workshop — got in a lot of books, and it was all the admin that has to happen to get a book out of the box and onto the shelf — setting up the record, putting on barcodes, stamping, spine labels, etc. I’m very excited by some of our new arrivals.

The workshop itself was fun — staff, volunteers, and some people from other libraries, and the one who administers the grant. Lots of info, lively discussion. The great thing about this group is that they were genuinely interested in the CRAFT that goes behind the books on the shelves. So often, especially now, when you speak to a group that’s primarily writers instead of readers, they wriggle impatiently through the craft part and the only questions they’re interested in is how they get an agent and get published without having to bother to learn the actual craft and Write WELL. The dynamic in this discussion was terrific. I might get to do it at other libraries, too.

Came home, exhausted. Tried to work on the script, but I didn’t like what I was doing. Did a rough draft of the monologue.

Booked a fun workshop for the library in August, in which I will be a co-participant. Costume Imp will be here and we’re doing it together. Details to follow!

This morning, I have to finish and send out the script episode and deal with some admin work before heading back to the library. It will be a busy morning — I have some press releases to get out — and then I’m in Chatham for a librarian workshop this afternoon, head back to the library for an hour or so, and then head off to the College to participate in an Environmental Summit. I couldn’t go to the full Cape Coastal Conference this year, because it fell on workdays, but the summit is in the evening, specifically geared to nonprofits working together, so I’m excited. I’m going on behalf of the Marine Life Center.

Pretty soon, the galleys from “Severance” will land on my desk, and my editor’s already working on the edits for “Elusive Prayers.”

I’m excited for both the Belmont Stakes and the Tony Awards this weekend. I want California Chrome to win — the sport needs another Triple Crown winner, it’s been long enough, and this guy has the talent AND the self-possession to do it. However, Belmont is famous for long-shot upsets. I’ve certainly cashed in on enough of them through the years. So we’ll see. I’m cautiously optimistic. Now that I’ve had a few years’ break from the dozen or so years covering the Triple Crown as a journalist, I can really ENJOY it again. And the Tony Award Show is the most fun of the award shows, with the strongest sense of community.

Off we go, to get it all done!

Devon

Mon. June 10, 2013: Head Down, Working

Monday, June 10, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

This cough is annoying me. It’s stuck in my throat (I’m grateful it hasn’t moved into my lungs), but my whole body is sore from coughing. I’m taking medicine, it only works sporadically.

It definitely affected my productivity this weekend, which was bad, because I had to dig down and work on the proposal my agent needs today.

I also finished some material for Confidential Job #1, which I have to write up today, completed my classwork for the Archaeology class and the Climate Literacy Class, took quizzes in both classes, and wrote and turned in my first paper for the Archaeology class.

I read Joelle Charbonneau’s newest release, the YA (or maybe it’s now called “New Adult”) dystopian novel, THE TESTING. In spite of it being written in present tense (which drives me nuts), I couldn’t put it down. She did an outstanding job with it, and I’m looking forward to the other two books in the trilogy.

I managed to get the front lawn mowed before the rain started on Friday. Did a few loads of laundry over the weekend, and yesterday, when it was sunny, I weeded the terraced bed and then hand washed the big living room drapes and hung them out to dry in the sun.

Tried fighting my cough, and fought to keep enough energy going to keep working. I felt like absolute, exhausted crap. But a deadline is a deadline, an opportunity is an opportunity, and I can’t have a shot at a contract if I don’t meet the challenges and opportunities offered.

The Belmont Stakes was on Saturday. Palace Malice, ridden by my pal Mike Smith (I’ve known him since I started covering racing) won, and I was thrilled for them. It was a great race.

The Tony Awards were last night, and the show was terrific. Neil Patrick Harris is a terrific host — his wit is razor-sharp. I was delighted to celebrate the success of many with whom I worked over the years, and it made me proud to be an alum of that community. I worked the Tonys once and attended two other times — not once did I make it home from the parties before dawn! Always great fun.

This morning, I’m polishing up my proposal and getting it onto my agent’s desk. My “Supporting Characters” workshop starts at RWA — I managed to log into the board, but haven’t been able to post anything yet. Also have a review and an article to write, and then it’s back to my writing schedule.
To the page!

Devon

Published in: on June 10, 2013 at 8:37 am  Comments Off on Mon. June 10, 2013: Head Down, Working  
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Fri. June 7, 2013: Coughing Zombie With Lawnmower

IMG_1306
Violet with the “special” dice

Friday, June 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I can’t believe I’ve had to put the big winter quilts back on the bed the last two days. It’s downright chilly!

Yesterday, I went to yoga, and then, had I been an art installation, my title would have been “Coughing Zombie with Lawnmower”. I had to mow the front before this weekend’s rains hit (courtesy of Tropical Storm Andrea), but I felt like utter crap. I got it done, but that was about it for me; managed to work with students and deal with some business stuff, but not much. Nothing in the tank.

Had to cancel out of the evening’s meeting — I knew I wasn’t on my game, nor was I feeling well enough to drive over the bridge and back.

Material for Confidential Job #1 is a slog.

Worked with students. Need to implement a new policy — too many people are booking slots and then flaking out, which wastes my time AND costs me money. So, a nonrefundable deposit will now be due upon the booking. If you flake, you don’t get it back, and I’m not totally financially screwed for the time I put aside that you can’t bother to keep your commitment; if you act like a professional and do what you say you’re going to do, the deposit is credited towards the final payment. I’m done with the irresponsible bullshit from wanna-bes.

That’s one of the things my college mentor and I discussed in NY — I asked him how he can keep up his excitement and joy in the teaching. I’m lucky in my current crop of private students, because they step up, but so often, in the bigger classes, the students just suck the life out of the class, because they can’t be bothered to do the work. My mentor can still find it exciting because of the stringent vetting process NYU has before letting people in to programs — they have to PROVE they DESERVE to be there, not that they just think it might be kinda cool to take that type of class. Plus, because it’s so expensive, they have to really WANT to be there in order to shell out the dough.

Speaking of classes, I’m teaching at RWA for the next two weeks, my “Supporting Characters” class, starting Monday. Here’s the link. If you have problems registering, I CAN’T FIX IT. I AM NOT THE ADMINISTRATOR. Contact them directly.

Had a great conversation with my agent yesterday. Something landed on her desk that she thought I would be perfect for. It’s something I would LOVE to do, so I’m putting together a proposal this weekend, and she’s going to look at it Monday, we’ll make what tweaks are needed, and off it goes to the requesting editor.

Today, I’ve got some correspondence to do, an article to finish, another one to send off, the partial to get to that other requesting editor, a review to write, and schoolwork to finish.

I wrote my archaeology paper in my head yesterday and will get it on paper today. I started the material for the Climate Literacy paper due next week. I also have to get to a couple of libraries to pick up materials on hold for me.

Better get going — the storm is supposed to hit this afternoon and be bad all weekend. I hope the Belmont Stakes isn’t a washout tomorrow, and then the Tony Awards are on Sunday!

Devon

Mon. June 11, 2012: Busy Start to the Week

Monday, June 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, busy, busy weekend. Worked hard all day Friday, trying to stay on top of things, get out all the promo stuff, etc., etc. Working in the garden. It took most of the weekend to get the meadow mowed. We’re still having trouble with trespassers. I’ve got to get out there and confront them and tell them that next time, I’m calling the cops. The lack of respect by these particular neighbors is appalling. But what do you expect from people who tie a sex doll dressed in a bikini to a tree and leave it there for months?

Got a stack of books out of Sturgis Library — what a great place. We are so lucky with our libraries around here.

Anyway, the scratch of I’ll Have Another in the Belmont caused all kinds of chaos. Something about that whole situation feels off to me. On top of that, they had the horse lead the post parade for the race, which was so incredibly unfair to the horse — he didn’t understand why he wasn’t being warmed up and sent to the gate, the way he’s used to. Badly handled all the way around, in my opinion. Union Rags finally had a good day, and paid off for his loyal fans, though.

Stanley Cup game at night — NJ Devils vs. LA Kings. NJ staved off elimination. Let’s see what happens next.

Last night was the Tony Award Presentation. Reminds me of why I went into the business in the first place, and, just a little, made me miss it. There’s nothing like working at or attending the Tony Awards. It’s the most fun of any of them, because it’s truly a community, not just a bunch of strangers preening in front of each other. I watched a lot of people I’ve worked with over the years, and texted with friends on the show. Fun. After the Awards, of course, we all did the party circuit, winding up eating breakfast in a 24-hour diner as the sun came up, still in our fancy clothes. Tons of fun.

Wrote a bunch, read a lot this weekend, but most of the weekend was just for ME. I needed that. I’m gearing up for the Tarot Workshop this weekend – hope it goes well. Haven’t done one of those in person in a long time. Tessa was outside with me a lot yesterday, in her crate, enjoying the sun, the fresh air, and the company. Read some disappointing books (those always make you think, “how the hell did they ever find an agent or a publisher?”) and read some good ones, including an interesting book by Nancy Thayer and two unique, charming books by Sarah Addison Allen.

I’ve got a ghost writing quote to get off today, some more PR for a client, and two blog posts to write. Plus, hopefully some of the places to which I’ve pitched will respond positively, and I’ll have to get out some more pitches.

Billy Root’s blog comes up later today, and I’m putting the finishing touches on “Town Crier” for release later this week. Better hop to it!

Devon

Taste of the Tarot is for artists in all media interested in the art and archetype of the cards. Learn how to do basic readings and use the cards for inspiration and to push through blocks. Sat. June 16, 2-5 PM, $60, Three Fish and a Ram Community Art Center, Mashpee. More information here.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard

Monday June 13, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Friday was all about the house. The Fire/Health Dept. inspection took all of ten minutes, and the guy was twenty minutes early. When does that happen? Good thing I was ready!

Right after lunch, the owner came to help me do stuff around the house, and teach me what I didn’t know. We put a washer into the hoses so they don’t sputter. We walked the property lines, so now I actually know what they are! We discussed the downed limbs and the broken limb of what turns out to be an “autumn olive” — it seems to be repairing itself, so we’re not worried. The three windows I couldn’t switch from storm to screen are now done. The two sets of back doors now have the screens in place. The screen door from the front door is bent, so we’re not putting it in. He’s going to schedule a plumber to fix the downstairs toilet, and, at some point this summer, someone’s going to come to clean the furnace. We also worked on the dryer.

So I think we’re set now!

After he left, I planted the petunias, dusty miller, and coleus in the urn — it looks great.

Finished Juliet Blackwell’s HEXES AND HEMLINES, which I really liked, and Laurie R. King’s A GRAVE TALENT, which I liked in a different way. Also read Jennifer Crusie’s TRUST ME ON THIS, which was fun.

Sat on the deck reading for awhile in the evening, wrestled the freshly painted bookcase upstairs, and will fill it today. It looks really good. It’s a little too damp to paint today, I think (rain predicted), so I might have to wait until tomorrow to start painting the bureau and the other two small bookcases.

Writing-wise, I gave myself the weekend off. I start writing with my students on Monday, for Write in Company. I need to read the material for Confidential Job #1 and do some work for the Mermaid Ball.

Saturday, up early, yoga, meditation, tended the garden, and of course it immediately started raining. My neighbor mowed his lawn in the rain. Whatever. I’d rather not rust out my blades. Ran some errands, but spent mostly a quiet afternoon at home. Signed up to bake cookies for an event benefitting the local library & museum. They needed only one more person, and I’d been considering it since I saw the sign-up, so why not? I’m good at baking & it’s for a good cause.

Read Laurie R. King’s THE ART OF DETECTION. It’s from the same series as A GRAVE TALENT, with TALENT being the first book and DETECTION being the most recent. The latter is twelve years later in the characters’ histories from the first, yet I didn’t feel lost. Hopefully, via the various libraries, I can get them all and then read them to fill in. DETECTION is also interesting because the murder victim is a Sherlock Holmes enthusiastic and King’s other series focuses on Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. One doesn’t often get the chance to call crime fiction “elegant”, but I definitely felt that King’s writing was elegant. She tells a good story, her characters have depth, her settings are wonderful, not a word is wasted, and the tone is . . . elegant without being artificial. That’s the only way I can describe it.

Covered the Belmont Stakes via live stream. Just as they’re going to the post, a stranger POUNDS on the door — doesn’t knock, POUNDS. I think there’s something wrong, and the dimwit is there to SELL me something — something about opening a new carpet cleaning business. I take a flyer, explain this is a bad time because I’m covering the horse race. He snatched the flyer back, saying,”I’m taking this, because I only have a limited number” and storms off. NOT the way to get me enthusiastic about your new business you’re trying to build, asshole.

Worked on my Triple Crown article. Did some work for the Mermaid Ball. Dealt with the month’s bills (ick) including my quarterly taxes, which were fine. Had the money put aside, had the paperwork, not a big deal. Some of the other stuff sets my teeth on edge, but the quarterlies are much easier than the once-a-year stuff. Big perk of freelancing.

Rearranged the books in my room — moved the things I want in the freshly painted bookcase there, unpacked two boxes of my grandmother’s leather-bound books for the other bookcase. We’re getting there.

Sunday — up early, yoga, meditation. Since it was pouring with rain, I didn’t have to water the garden! Got in the papers, had a leisurely morning.

Repotted some plants, including the Big King Eggplant and the mints guarding the front door into new pots and got them settled. Managed to plant the sunflowers, but ran out of soil before I could do the zinnias. Another trip for more soil (sigh).

Reading Henning Mannkell’s ONE STEP BEHIND. He definitely inhabits the same Sweden as Larsson, although the tone is a bit quieter and sadder, without that fiery undertone of frustration at lack of social justice, just a weary awareness of it. Amazing how different the different translators make it sound. Larsson’s translator used much more Americanized language, while Mannkell’s is very British. Makes me wish I could read Swedish, so I could read both authors in their native languages.

Watched the Tony Awards, and was delighted by how many of my former colleagues were on stage! And some of them won! I thought the show was well done. Last year, it focused too much on the Hollywood invaders — this year, it was about the theatre people again, and the show was both better and more fun. Neil Patrick Harris was a great host, and his number with Hugh Jackman was hilarious (as were the opening and closing numbers — the latter of which had been written during the show).

The Tony Awards makes me miss the joy of working on Broadway, but really, thinking about it later, I know I made the right decision to leave. To work on Broadway, you need to use all your time and all your heart — I did that for years, and now there are other things I want to do and experience.

Up early this morning. Because of all the rain, I didn’t have to haul out the hose. I’ve got a bunch of business correspondence to get out, work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, two articles, some research for the Ball, a trip to the dump, baking for Wednesday’s event (no one’s given me any information, there’s no information on who to contact — it’s a little late, I’m not going to start baking at midnight). So I’ll bake whatever I damn well please! 😉 At least it won’t be too hot to bake — the heat kicked on. And I’ve got to do laundry and get the house in shape for Costume Imp’s arrival tomorrow.

My class starts this morning, for the next two weeks of intensive writing. I need it as much as the students!

Back to the page.

Devon

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, available from Champagne Books.
Annabel Aidan’s webpage here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Pretty decent weekend, actually. Elsa made solid progress, both Saturday and Sunday. I’m trying to ease up on some of the medications as she steadies. I think part of the reason she backslid was she was being overmedicated. As we clear up certain symptoms (and, hopefully, the causes), I’m changing dosages, stopping cycles, and adding different things to fight the other problems. Eventually, I want her symptom-free, so then we can rebuild her immune system and she won’t get sick again. The antibiotics really caused serious damage to her system. Imagine what it’s doing to humans, all this over=prescribing of antibiotics, if this is what happens to cats! I had a vet in the city who said you could predict human illness by watching which illnesses grew prevalent among the companion animal population.

Saturday sucked as far as being a writing day, but I soldiered on. I watched the US-England World Cup Soccer game on Saturday afternoon, which I thought was kind of “eh” although I think our goalie, Tim Howard, is pretty awesome. I still find ice hockey more exciting. I’m not well enough versed on it all to write intelligently about it, so maybe in four years, if the US gets into it again, I’ll be positioned so to do. This time, I’m just watching to watch. Saturday night, there was nothing on TV and my hip was giving me a lot of trouble, so I did two hours of yoga and a good, long meditation.

Sunday, I spent some time at the farmer’s market, getting in good stuff, and had a much better writing day. The radishes, the cilantro, the strawberries — heaven!

I read a book by someone who’s work I’ve read for more than twenty years. I used to love her writing and her quirky, off-the-wall characters, but hadn’t read anything of hers in a long time. The writing’s still often beautiful, but the characters aren’t as interesting. And, she tried to write a politically astute book without doing the research and getting the solid facts on which to base it, so it didn’t work. If you’re going to write that kind of book, you need to know the facts inside out, whether the point of view condones or refutes those facts. But if there aren’t any facts on which to build it, you just look lazy and ignorant, and that’s how it came across. I was very disappointed, and expected more from her — certainly more intelligence. The characters don’t have to come across as rocket scientists, but the author shouldn’t come across as not very bright. When you want to put across your point of view, you have to have a delicate touch, not ram it down your readers’ throats. When you’re trying to explore an opposing point of view, you have to be even more thorough in research and fact-checking than when it’s a viewpoint with which you’re familiar and support.

Decent writing day yesterday — finished Chapter 14 of POWER OF WORDS. it’s weak, but at least there’s something there to work on.
Elsa was well enough so I could attend a Tony Awards party last night. For the most part, i thought it was well done, although there were sound problems in the first section that were simply unacceptable. The mix was bad, the wrong mics were on and off — either the sound guy really screwed up OR (and this is a strong possibility) the PSM was calling cues wrong, and it was the sound guy who wound looking like the jerk. I was happy to see that, in one of the categories, I had worked with four of the five nominees. I also got to see friends of mine perform a number from a show I hope to see in the coming weeks. I vehemently disagreed with some of the choice of winners, but it’s an exciting night and I’m not going to publicly trash anyone in my industry here, no matter what I think, especially not on a night that’s filled with so much joy. And, every year, the Tony Awards reminds me how proud I am of the work we do on Broadway, and how grateful I am for the years I’ve spent there. And I can say I’m thrilled for all the awards won by RED — it’s a fantastic play.

Home late, up early, out for a run a little after five. It was so humid I had a tough time. Oh, well, at least I was out and moving. Now, it’s back to the page. I want to start Chapter 15 of POWER OF WORDS, finish an article, and work on transforming Act I of BEHIND THE MAN from interactive to proscenium. I also need to figure out where to put the act break. As an interactive piece, it’s a three act. For proscenium production, it needs to be a two act. Which means I have to create a cliffhanger somewhere in what is currently the middle of the second act.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 14, 2010 at 5:03 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I was up and out the door so early that I’m back at my desk by 5:30 this morning, showered and all! If I keep getting out there earlier and earlier, I will have run the night before!

But it was great — no one around, a periwinkle sky. Lovely.

After the Solstice, when the days start getting shorter, I’ll have to adjust, because I have no intention of running in full dark. And Solstice is not the “start of summer” — it’s midsummer.

Elsa showed some real improvement yesterday. I hope it’s solid progress, not just momentary. She’s eating well again, and there’s a minimum of sniffling. She’s back on the Candida cleanse and the hydrocortisone, along with the ParaClenz I found for her and the digestive enzyme, but that’s it. If she continues to progress for about a week, I’ll try to add the olive leaf back in as a liquid, and ask the vet what we should do next about the nasal infection. But first, I want to build up her strength and make sure she’s not getting nauseous. All the BHI medications make her nauseous, including the anti-nausea, so I’m not forcing them on her.

Worked on POWER OF WORDS yesterday, and napped most of the afternoon. Went to my friend’s place for dinner — she lives upcounty on the Hudson River. We haven’t actually seen each other in awhile, and there was a lot of catching up, including on the backstage goings on. So that’s all good.

Driving back on the Taconic Parkway at night is a nightmare, though. Lack of visibility plus a high rate of crazy people makes it a challenge. Got home safely, though. Elsa had taught my mom the routine — let her know what she was supposed to do when while I was gone, and was all perky and happy when I got back. We both slept through the night well, and she’s eating well this morning. I’m trying a gluten-free organic cat food, and she seems to respond well. I wonder if part of the problem is she’s developed a sensitivity to wheat?

Going to do some writing, and then, maybe nap this afternoon, if the construction noise isn’t too bad.

I’m hoping for a quiet weekend, and that Elsa is well enough on Sunday so I can go to a Tony Awards party.

Devon

Published in: on June 11, 2010 at 4:51 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warm

I don’t know how I’m ever going to get my act together today. I’m overtired and unfocused. But I have to — lots to do.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the praise you’ve showered on me for “The Retriever” in Books for Monsters. And for the suggestions to expand it into a book. I just may do that. If you want to see more of my work there, let the editor know!

Friday was reasonably productive. I cleared a bunch of stuff off my desk, got some writing done, worked on redesigning the ebooks — there are two possible ways to do it, and I’m going to see which one is more efficient and use that method. I finally got to start my friend Kim Smith’s book AVENGING ANGEL, which is a really fun mystery.

There were actually a half a dozen jobs on the boards Friday that I thought were worth pitching. And I’m working on a residency proposal. I don’t think I’m quite “literary” enough a writer for them, so I’m trying to play my other strengths. There’s also a contest I might enter — it seems fun.

Not much sleep Friday night into Saturday morning. A domestic disturbance in another apartment woke me around 1 AM — it settled down quickly; I don’t know if someone called the cops or what. Then, around 4:30, the cats and I were woken up by snarling and growling, but it sure didn’t sound like anything we’d ever heard before. The creature was in the tree outside the window — I couldn’t see what it was, but the cats believed it was a threat. Their eyes were enormous, the fur bristled, backs arched, tails low and waving, and they were growling and hissing right back. I shut the window, because a screen felt way too flimsy between us. It wasn’t a cat, it wasn’t a dog (obviously — it was in a tree), it wasn’t a skunk or a raccoon. I don’t know if possums make noise — we occasionally have them around here. I HOPE it’s not a fisher. If fishers have invaded the neighborhood, we’re all screwed. If I can get a good look at it and it IS a fisher, I’ll have to call some nature authority to come and deal with it, or no cat, small dog, squirrel, chipmunk, skunk, or small child is safe. The ones in Maine are VICIOUS. I didn’t smell the odor I normally associate with fishers, so I hope it’s not one of those.

But then, the cats decided that, since we were up anyway, it must be time for breakfast. Uh, no. But they are extraordinarily persistent, and it was well before six when they won. I’m seriously outnumbered.

I was in NO mood for a big day of racing. I managed to get a polish done on a submission and got it off before I had to turn my attention to the horses. The weather was gorgeous — low seventies with a breeze, unlike last year, when it was in the 90’s and disgustingly humid. It was a hit and miss day for me in my picks. I’m not quite sure how I wound up ahead by a little, but I did. I did not pick Summer Bird, the winner. He ran a great race, but I’m still not getting on his band wagon. What interests me in the whole thing is how this year’s Triple Crown affects the trainers of Mine That Bird and Summer Bird (half-brothers, sired by Birdstone). Both trainers weren’t well-known outside of their home tracks, and I’m interested in following their careers.

I also got a ton of inspiration for DEAD MAN’S STALL.

Sunday, I gave myself most of the day off. Did some catch-up. I have to make a decision about 1 and 1 before the end of the summer. They gave me a credit for the problems, as I asked, but the problem isn’t being solved. I missed a job opportunity yesterday because it was time sensitive, created in the email (because I didn’t have time to do it elsewhere and cut and paste), and the server error not only didn’t send it, but dumped the email without saving it as a draft or anything else. I now have a reliable computer. I need to expand that to a reliable web host. I understand that there are sometimes problems, but every day for the past two months and change? And at least three times a week for the four to five months prior. I love the components in the package and the price point, but if it doesn’t work when I need it to, it’s useless.

I finished some half-read books that needed attention — two that were quite disappointing — but learned from both of them. I finished my friend Kim’s book and sent off the interview questions for her appearance on A BIBLIO PARADISE. I bought my friend Colin’s book STELLA, and spent some time congratulating him on the Eternal Press loop.

Some new client projects came in, which I will start today.

I went to the Tony Award viewing party in the evening and it was great. I thought Neil Patrick Harris did a good job as a host, although they had the announcer on the God mike too often at times where he should have handled duties. I’m thrilled that HAIR won Best Revival, although I expected WEST SIDE STORY to win. The three “Billys” in Billy Elliot shared the award, which was great, and, in general, it was a delightful evening. I thought they showcased some great numbers, although the sound problems and the sound mix drove me nuts. In the course of a live show, everyone deals with each other much more constantly and intimately than in film or television, so everyone who works on a production is much more fully and emotionally invested. I think last night’s production communicated that investment better than many prior years. Tony Award night always makes me remember why I got into the business in the first place, and grateful for the long career I’ve had there. I don’t miss being backstage every night anymore, but I’m very grateful for the years I had back there.

The cats got me up early (big surprise). Nice morning’s work on the Matty book. Need to get back to the serial and to DEAD MAN’S STALL, and to finish, polish, and send the Belmont wrap-up article. Must do some stuff for my mom, design another postcard for a giveaway, do some work for the Prague trip, and the client work.

Busy day — better get to it!

Devon

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, humid, warm

The roller coaster just continues. Word came yesterday that my grandmother’s worse again, and back in the hospital. She’s very weak, and we’re in waiting mode to see when we need to head back up there. I’m so sad . . .she’s been so ill for so long, and at the same time I can’t bear the thought of losing her. So I have no idea what the coming weeks will demand. I can just go day by day and try to do what she needs.

Didn’t get any writing done yesterday. I simply couldn’t focus.

Drove into the city; got a carload of stuff, mostly books, up to the storage unit up here. Pulled a few of them that I needed for current projects, but most of it went directly in.

Managed to go to the Tony party and enjoy myself. The awards themselves were well done this year, although I felt that the spoof done by my show was cut unfairly short and stuck in a poor spot in the show. Let me be clear: The show on which I’m currently working was not eligible for any awards; it won quite a few last year, when it opened. The only year a show can win a Tony is the season (not calendar year) in which it opens. But the Tonys are now also showing a few seconds here and there on shows still running during the broadcast in order to boost ticket sales.

I was surprised by how many of the people I’d worked with over the years were involved – and pleased, too, especially when they won! I’m really pleased that IN THE HEIGHTS did so well. I think it’s an extraordinarily unique piece. The orchestrations were done by someone with whom I’d worked on the previous show to the one on which I currently work, and I remember how excited he was by the development process. I’m so pleased he won, and I’ll have to drop him a note. I’ll drop notes to several of the other winners, too, people with whom I’ve worked in the past, and I’m delighted their commitment and their talent is recognized.

That was basically it for me. I’m preparing for my meeting with my producer. I’ve got some articles to work on, and the monologue. I’d like to get back to the adaptation and the revision of THE MATILDA MURDERS. And the ebook is so far behind – it needs to be done this week.

There’s plenty to do; it’s a case of being able to focus between m worry about my grandmother and the escalating chaos in the building.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 7:49 am  Comments (10)  
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