Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I was such an effing waste of food on Saturday, it wasn’t even funny. Felt unfocused, had the blues (for no good reason; with all the chaos out there in the world, I REALLY have no reason to be personally glum, only existentially so), couldn’t settle into a writing rhythm.

Worried about the weather, so I took the loaner car (now nicknamed the BlueJ, for Blue Jetta) over the Sagamore Bridge to my favorite gas station in Bourne, filled up (bigger gas tank than mine, and they gave it to me with only 1/4 tank of gas), then drove back along the Bourne Bridge and Rt. 28 to see how long it would take. Taking 6 and the Sagamore, it takes 20 minutes to hit the station; it took 50 minutes to get home, and that’s with barely any traffic. Rt. 28 is just bendier.

Took care of a bunch of business/admin stuff, did three loads of laundry, unpacked a couple of boxes, contacted a local writing organization I found via an ad in POETS AND WRITERS — hopefully listing my credentials didn’t come across as egotistical — saw a call for writing teachers in Boston — the proposal will be a pain to put together, but it would be a good gig to land, and fortunately, if you don’t have an MFA in Creative Writing, you can use your track record. They prefer MFAs in writing, but since I earn my living doing this and most MFAs don’t, it should be a point or two in my favor. So that’s on the To Do List for next week.

The essay is almost written in my head (now to get it on paper), and the two reviews I have to write are starting to make sense. Again, next step it to get them on paper and out the door.

More Tower of London research, which, unfortunately, is fuelling the world-building for the serial rather than the book that’s on deadline. And then I got some more information on the serial — the guidelines mean I’d have to do some massive character changes, which won’t work for this piece. So it’ll be a novel, not a serial. The two anthologies by this particular company are still possibilities, if I want to try a different type of writing (and a new pseudonym). I have to look at the schedule, the dollars, and see if the challenge balances it all out. I like to stretch, but I also don’t want to stretch so far in so many directions that it dilutes the work.

We had a cracking good thunderstorm on Saturday night, my first since we moved in. I enjoy thunderstorms when I’m safely tucked away, and the summer storms should be pretty awesome. The cats didn’t like it, though; they burrowed under the covers and stayed there.

The storm woke me around midnight and I had trouble getting back to sleep — mostly the wind. Sat up and read for awhile, cats huddled next to me, went back to sleep around 2.

Sunny and warmer on Sunday morning. Not too much damage — front yard slushy and re-frozen, looking like a poor excuse for a hockey rink. Back yard had a few tree limbs down and the tarp over the bulkhead torn, but still there. Newspapers, etc.

Jeez. Nothing like someone claiming to be an “editor” who can’t comprehend what she reads. Fortunately, I encountered her in a social situation, not a professional one, so all I need to do is remember her name and refuse her if she’s ever assigned to me. It’s highly unlikely, because she doesn’t “edit” for places to which I submit, so hopefully it will never be an issue.

Reminds of the time I was turned down for a teaching job for a fiction workshop. The workshop went to someone who couldn’t get published (not even a letter to the editor) and had zero credentials, because she was sleeping with the President of the Board of Directors for that particular nonprofit. In those cases, you just have to shrug and move on.

Of course, I could create characters based on all three of the above, put them in a story, and kill ‘em all off! I’ve got a mystery short story due in a couple of months. 😉

The play is starting to percolate in my brain — I think it will be fun, a real brain teaser.

And an interesting steampunk opportunity landed in my lap — if I can get it done within a week.

Started work on the instructor proposal. I’m going to have to rewrite it –I sound like a dominatrix.

Struggled with the book, although I’m making progress. It reads well, I know what I want to do with it. Don’t quite understand why I’m having trouble DOING it. When I actually sit down and do it, it goes well. But I have resistance to doing it, which is silly, because it’s a perfectly good story in great locations.

Didn’t care about either of the teams in the SuperBowl, so I figured I could enjoy the game, since I had nothing at stake. However, since I don’t particularly enjoy football, it mattered even less. I didn’t even watch the whole game. I watched part of the Puppy Bowl, though, which always makes me laugh. The kittens in the half time show were too small — they were scared. They need to be just a little older to make the format work. Most of them still had their baby fuzz.

Finished Antonia Frasier’s beautiful memoir MUST YOU GO? Truly lovely. One of life’s funny synchronicities — she speaks warmly of Indira Varma in one of Pinter’s plays. Varma is now valiantly struggling with the less-than-stellar writing she’s given on HUMAN TARGET. I wish I’d seen her in the Pinter.

Reading A NOVEL BOOKSTORE, by Laurence Cosse (should be an accent on that final e), translated by Alison Anderson. Fascinating satire on the hatred of good books & terrorism towards those who write them — the Tea Party would probably love it, not realizing it’s satire. Really well done novel, very European mindset in the way it’s structured, fascinating, horrifying, and funny all at once.

Did not celebrate Reagan’s 100th birthday because I loathed him and thought he was a lousy president. He set into motion what eventually blossomed into the financial meltdown. This revisionist history about how great he was — he wasn’t. I lived through his regime, and it was awful unless you were already rich, and he helped you get richer.

Had weird dreams last night, “working dreams” (in which I was working, on play this time, and on a revival of WOMEN WITH AN EDGE. I was Busy). Meant I woke up feeling like I’d already put in a full day!

Back to the page — lots to do this week to prep for CT and meet a bunch of deadlines that have to be cleared off before I go.

Back to the page.

Devon

February 3, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing

Yep, it’s snowing agian. Just flurries, it’s pretty, but I am over it.

Unfocused day yesterday, although I managed to track down the address of someone I used to work with a long time ago and send him a “hey, how are you” missive. He’s been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I’d reconnect and wish him well.

I didn’t post in the garden journal because “It’s snowing again” just didn’t seem worth a post.

I found some of the really intense, handwritten writer’s rough for CRAVE THE HUNT — thank goodness. I was worried I’d lost it. I still have to find the rest of it, which somehow got separated in the move, but at least I have this in hand, which will help with the next sections, and, if I have to, I can always rewrite the rest of the outline, because I remember where I was going with it. Once the first draft is written, I’ll probably have to do some massive cuts, but I’m just following all the threads here until I see what I have. It’s a complex story, and Billy Root’s fans will be thrilled with the way his character grows — plus there are great arcs for Jain and Wyatt, both as individuals and with their relationship.

Water coming into the basement via the bulkhead, so I had to put a tarp over the top of it, use the wet vac (which the owner left, fortunately), and check every few hours. Had to weight the tarp with the new planters — nice to know they can multi-task.

Found POWER OF WORDS, and re-read the parts of that I’ve written so far. It holds up better than I remembered, although it needs tweaking and cutting. Unfortunately, in the move, the 200+ pages of notes I’d written for it — which CAN’T be recreated — got separated — I’d gone as far as to mapping and the series arc of the piece they’re filming within the piece, and even production schedules, all of which I need handy in order to keep writing. So I can’t do much more on that until I find it in the boxes.

Got out a couple of queries yesterday, which was good, and got paid for an article (day after I sent the invoice — love that) and a workshop. That means I’ll be able to pay some bills before I leave on the site gigs.

Finished the reading for Confidential Job #1 (it’s wonderful); just have to do the write-up, send it off, and send off the invoice.

Decided that the exercises I created for the Setting as Character Workshop aren’t challenging enough, so I’m working on a new set.

Did some Tower of London research,and am finding ways to integrate some of the “fun facts” that even I didn’t know into the scene of the WIP.

My back is getting worse instead of better, which is worrisome. It’s annoying to be limited in what I can do, and being in pain drains away energy that needs to be used for writing. I might have to book an acupuncture appointment here and not wait until I see my regular acupuncturist in NY at the end of the month.

Watched HUMAN TARGET to get my Jackie Earle Haley fix. In spite of the problems with the series, he finds the core of his character, adds specific details, and stays true to the integrity of the character. He can do more with a tilt of the head or an inflection of a word than most people do with a whole page of dialogue, and in a way that enhances everyone’s performance around him, so it’s always worth tuning in for him. The show itself, though, is struggling, and it wouldn’t surprise me if next week’s season finale is also the series finale. The vision feels unclear, like there are too many notes coming in from too many different directions. Now that they’ve added two female series regulars, the writing for them is much weaker than the writing for the female guest stars last season (who were given stronger and more interesting characters to play–even on Monday’s episode, the female guest star had a better-written role than the series regulars, and her chemistry with Mark Valley was off the charts), the creators are not developing them, the creators are diluting the wonderful chemistry between the three male leads, and there’s a lack of balance between the A & B episode storylines and the overall series arcs. Last season definitely had its problems, but it also had an element of fun and a lot of potential; this season just feels unfocused and panicked from the creative aspect of it. I hurt for the people working on it — I’ve worked on shows that are struggling, and it is hard. You want it to work, you have a loyalty to it, you care about what you’re doing, but the people making the decisions and supplying the cash aren’t capable of making the types of decisions that would actually help the show. Every day you go in to work hoping there’s a breakthrough; every day, you get your heart broken. I certainly hope this experience doesn’t turn JEH off from doing television ever again.

My fun lunch was cancelled — the weather’s caused a domino effect, but I’ll have to get out when the roads de-ice a bit to get ink at Staples and print off those manuscripts. They need to go out the door tomorrow.

I’m going to try for a few really focused days at the page — I want the first draft of this book done before I head for CT, so I can spend time down there on revisions.

Back to the page — with an icepack against my back.

Devon

February 1, 2011


More views from the deck

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Imbolc Eve
Snowing

Yep, it’s snowing. AGAIN. I’m a Winter Girl, and even I’m over it! We’re supposed to get two storms back-to-back, pounding us until tomorrow night, so I’m just sitting tight with a stack of good books, some wine, my writing, and the cats!

Yesterday, I ran some errands, had to go to both my little local library and the Cotuit Library to return books. I could have returned them all locally, but I wanted to see if Cotuit had a book on the Tower Of London, because all mine are still packed. They did, so I can use it to jog my memory of my own visit and write the scene for the book due at the end of February there.

Spent most of the day re-reading what I’ve got written on the third Jain Lazarus, CRAVE THE HUNT, and making some continuity notes on OLD-FASHIONED DETCTIVE WORK. They’re both holding up pretty well as far as character, dialogue, setting, plot, stand-alone arcs and series arcs. I need to smooth out some logisitics and get rid of some sloppy writing.

POWER OF WORDS is also giving its siren call, and wants some attention, but I have deadlines, and have to put CRAVE THE HUNT aside until the WIP and the upcoming play are done and out the door. OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK needs to be prepped and ready in the next few weeks, just in case.

I’m kind of using the Jain Lazarus books as my carrot — once I’ve finished my quota for the day, I get to work on them for a couple of hours.

Got some correspondence out and have another big pile on my desk to tackle. Have the possibility of an essay — if I can write it and get it out of the door by Feb. 15, it might be an interesting opportunity.

Did some marketing research for another project yesterday.

Read Susan Wittig Albert’s HOLLY BLUES yesterday, which was pretty good.

I’m hoping the snow will be light enough so I can use the electric shovel every few hours and save my back.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions — I’ve got my February To-Do List up there!

Back to the page.

Devon