Fri. April 12, 2019: Long Weekend Needs to Be Productive

Friday, April 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Got some yard work done yesterday, which was a good thing. Compared with how much still needs to be done, it doesn’t look like I got a lot done, but every bit of progress is progress. I got rid of a lot of invasives, which was not fun, but necessary.

Took my mother to the doctor. She had to have another biopsy done on her leg. Hopefully, she won’t need more surgery.

Worked on contest entries and some other stuff. Behind where I want to be in the writing, and have to push hard this weekend. Also want to finish the material for my workshop. I’m last on the schedule, about which I have mixed feelings. It’s my lowest energy point of the day. But I’ll pull it off.

I need to start putting together the handouts, too. Because, of course, I am the Queen of Handouts.

I’m still not sure if I should do a Power Point presentation, or visual boards, or a mix. I might do both and be prepared.

Still not happy with those two scenes in “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”

Waiting to hear back on a couple of things, prepping a couple of pitches. In a holding pattern for a few things, because I can’t move forward until I have more information, and, once I have it, I might have to do some negotiating.

I have a meeting at 2 this afternoon, which could also put a few interesting things into play.

Tomorrow morning, Tessa goes to the vet to get her shots updated (Lucy’s are still good). In the afternoon, I have a sound bath workshop. I can’t wait.

In between, I have to write and do yard work (unless it’s raining). And finish my taxes (ick).

Most important errands this morning are to pick up my mother’s prescription and put gas in the car! All the other errands are build around that.

Monday is Patriot’s Day here in MA, but I’m going in to work with a client on a big project.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. May 17, 2012: Recovering Felines, Horse-Loving Writers, and Writers Worth


Violet’s got some ‘tude

Thursday, May 17, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I’m over on The Writers Vineyard today, in my Annabel persona, talking about “The Scent of Lilacs” and how that’s important to writing. Hmm, think I’m a little obsessed with lilacs this year.

Yesterday was all about taking the three cats to the vet. Boxing and stuffing three frightened felines is a feat unto itself. It was definitely a challenge, in spite of setting out the crates the night before. Fortunately, I’m faster than they are, and crate them in a room where there’s no place to hide. Then, it was hauling them into the car. And driving.

Fortunately, the vet is close by. Iris, our little drama queen, howled the entire way. Violet sat there, plotting about all the horrible things she would do once we got home. Tessa was confused.

It was busy when we arrived, mostly dogs, who were very interested in the cats. The cats didn’t pay any attention. Iris did her “woe is me” routine, causing everyone to fuss over her, which is exactly what she wanted. It was pretty hilarious.

The actual vet visit wasn’t bad. They’re all in excellent health, and got all their shots updated. They won’t need rabies shots for another three years. Nobody needed a thermometer shoved up the butt, so they were spared that indignity. The twins were very good, although they were scared. Tessa was fine for the exam, her heart rate remarkably steady (the twins’ rates were elevated). That’s because, as Tessa made it quite clear, the people handling her had FAR more to worry about than she did. She was ferocious during the nail clipping. She lost that battle, but she put up a good fight.

Turns out, by trying to make it fun and non-threatening, I haven’t solved the problem. The vet said some of them just hate it, and they always will. The best thing to do is put a towel over their heads and upper bodies, pin ‘em down, and do it FAST. Good to know.

I also have to use flea and tick medicine on them all summer, thanks to the yard (but it means Tessa can come out on the deck in the puppy training crate, which she loves).

I expected them to be grumpy and lethargic when we got home. I know I was exhausted. Instead, they were all very hungry, ate like baby bears, and then they all wanted attention. It was pretty cute.

Got some work done in the afternoon, although not enough. Wrote press releases. I really enjoy that work, and I should hustle some more of that work from clients. I do a good job, when they pay as they should it’s worth it, and I enjoy it. Hey, momma’s got to make up for all that money spent on brakes and the vet! Unfortunately, a lot of people act like they’re being generous when they offer $20 to write a press release. Um, no, the going rate is about ten times that. More, if you expect me to sit there and do the distribution — which is time-and-labor intensive.

In the evening, I went to the Writers Night Out dinner in Hyannis. Lots of fun. The speaker was the person who suggested I’d be a good fit teaching in Falmouth, and I thanked her for the recommendation. Her presentation was terrific. My dinner companions were horse people (imagine — in a room full of writers, the horse-loving ones find each other — gotta love it). It was a great discussion. I respect this woman a lot because she’s working more than full time, taking care of two horses and MAKES the time to write. She’ll fulfill her writing dreams, because she’s putting in the work, and doesn’t let anything get in the way.

Off to yoga in a bit, then have to put gas in the car, come back, and work flat out all day and into the night. I have to make up for yesterday, when I couldn’t get everything done, catch up with students, get my own writing done, and get out some more pitches.

We had a lot of rain yesterday, and the fog last night was terrifying — for driving, not because I expected Coyote Cujo to emerge and attack or anything. It’s supposed to clear up today. You know what that means, don’t you? I gotta go out there and MOW again! 😉

Hop on over to Words on the Page for Paula Hendrickson’s great article, “Writers are Worth More than We Realize.”

The next section of revisions to tackle will be tricky. I’ve been pondering it, and am not sure I have a viable solution for it yet, but it needs to get done, so I will push through.

Devon

Need help creating an efficient submissions system? Join the one-day online Seminar on June 2, Setting Up Your Submission System, and I’ll walk you through it. Information and registration here.

Published in: on May 17, 2012 at 6:10 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 17, 2012: Recovering Felines, Horse-Loving Writers, and Writers Worth  
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Nov. 22: Writing, Cats, Not Packed for the Holiday


Violet recovers

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Didn’t realize how late it was!

Hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE, and give my colleague, and one of the students in my year-long intensive, Kymber Rowean, some comment love on her newest release!

I don’t even know if I remember yesterday, other than it was busy! I know I dropped off some stuff at the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay.

Today is even busier. I wanted to finish a chapter on the book, and it wound up being nearly 4500 words, and took longer than I expected, because I had to stop and figure out a few things. But I’m really close to finishing book one of the trilogy.

I’ve got tentative names for the book and the trilogy, which I have to roll around a bit before I can share them.

The best news is that Violet is fine. We were in and out of the vet in 15 minutes, got the paw taken care of, and I just have to keep an eye on it. She was so good and everyone fell in love with her. She really took to one of the vet techs, which is great, since she’s so often shy around new people.

New slipcovers arrived for the wing back chairs — a deep red, kind of plushy. The silk damask isn’t pet-friendly enough, so I decided to put washable covers on. They’ve worked out well.

I’m not packed for Maine yet — me, who always packs a week ahead of time. I’ve been writing, people! 😉

Gotta hit the grocery store, then bake two cakes and do the lasagna this afternoon, touch up the hair, back — and write some more!

Devon

Today’s word count: 4,447
Total word count: 91,000

Monday, August 8, 2011


Tessa

Monday, August 8, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Busy weekend. Most of it, of course, revolved around trying to get Tessa situated. She really, really wants to play with the others, but they still hiss at her. We’re only allowed, per our lease, three cats, so even if I wanted to bring in another kitten for her, I couldn’t.

She’s doing very well, though, playful, happy, affectionate. I took her to the vet this morning, and she’s in good health — although she bit him when she didn’t like the way he handled her. This girl does not put up with crap, which is why she’ll fit in well here. I think she was afraid she would be left there, and was quite relieved to be back home. She’s starting to eat better, too — didn’t eat much the first few days. She weighs nearly as much as Violet does, and she’s only 4 months old, so I think she’ll be a big girl.

Got in a good workday on Saturday, which was great, including a nice 1500+ chunk of words on a short story. Sunday, it poured with rain, so no meditation walk. Home with the kitties reading the papers. Also managed to unpack three more boxes from the bedroom and two from the office (with help from little paws). Also excavated my desk and caught up on some of the receipts.

Watched the season finale of FALLING SKIES. Interested to see where they take it next season.

Need to have a productive day today. I’m out tonight, helping put together the basket’s for tomorrow’s Beautification Gala, and I want to get a lot done before that.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 8:51 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, July 11, 2011


Heritage Museum and Gardens

Monday, July 11, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Busy weekend. Saturday, I got some work done, did three loads of laundry, and unpacked about six boxes of books in the basement, slowly, figuring out where they will actually go.

Violet was sick, and I was very worried about her. I managed to reach a nearby vet and set up an appointment for this morning. Of course, once I made the appointment, she had no symptoms for the rest of the weekend! Which is a good thing, but now we have to go to the vet today! I needed to find a new vet and get their shots updated, so it’s not a bad thing. But the negative vet memories connected to Elsa’s illness are still very raw.

Sunday, I was up early, got the papers and read them, and went to over to Armstrong-Kelley Park in Osterville for a meditation walk through the garden. It was lovely. The group was small, but everyone was very welcoming and friendly. The Park itself is gorgeous, and much bigger than I expected.

When I came home, I unpacked some more stuff from the garage, which wound up being three more loads of laundry, some great finds, some things that will be ironed and go to the consignment shop, and some stuff for the donation box.

Put a coat of black gloss paint on the bureau. Dealt with the laundry. Unpacked and put away three more boxes of books downstairs. Spent time with my students.

This morning, Violet and I are off to the vet (think good thoughts for us), and then I have a lot of work to do both on the Mermaid Ball and the book. Also have to get my post written and scheduled for The Writers Vineyard. Both cats are irritated with me right now because there’s no breakfast until after the appointment.

I’m playing with ideas to offer a short story tie-in to go with ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT — something to please those who have read the book and intrigue those who haven’t yet. I’m not sure if I should set it before or after the events in the book, or deal with some of the ghost stories told in the book. Mulling over the possibilities, while other characters from other pieces squawk at me.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and humid
Bastille Day

Bastille Day, and, let me tell you, I have a list of people from whom I’d like to be “liberated.”

Managed a trip to Costco yesterday to stock up. After four trips up and down three flights of stairs to haul everything up, I was done. Got some reading done in the afternoon, but not much else.

Elsa had a bad day and a bad night. I went off at the vet. Two to three week response times are not acceptable; if he’s not there, I need to know who’s covering for him. I’ve been up ‘round the clock trying to help this very sick little cat, and I feel like I’m all alone out here, vet wise. After the amount of money they’ve charged me for doing everything including breathing (just about), I expect someone to respond with advice. When I say “we’re at a critical stage, I think we’re running out of time”, I expect a timely response with ideas and options. Three weeks ago, I said I wanted to start that new medication. Three weeks. I’m away next week — because, you know, I still have to earn a living, in spite of dealing with Elsa around the clock. I need the medicine NOW, I needed it three weeks ago, because I don’t know if she’ll still be alive when I get back. And I can’t back out of the job. If the vet doesn’t think there’s anything more we can do for her except keep her comfortable until the inevitable, he needs to tell me that. If he doesn’t want to have Elsa as a patient because we don’t have unlimited cash reserves, he needs to tell me that. But this passive-aggressive, non-response, stringing me along is not acceptable. I have been patient I have been pleasant, I have been polite, and it has gotten us nowhere. So it changes.

I told them exactly what I thought of their money grubbing ways in the survey. The guy who started this place is supposed to be an integrative care pioneer. And I do support that one’s skills and talent deserve fair payment. But payment is the MOST important thing to this facility. I was very upfront about the financials from the beginning. If they didn’t want Elsa as a patient because of it, they needed to tell us from the beginning, not string us along for months, trying to get whatever cash they can out of us, and then simply not responding.

Speaking of fair pay, when they wanted to hook Elsa up for 32 hours over four days to an IV at the cost of $1500, I would have had to pay an additional $250 (possibly per day) for the vet tech, double that per day if I left her overnight. I wonder how much of that they actually would pay the tech.

I’ve been working really hard to keep Elsa alive, but with a decent quality of life. I don’t want her tortured — whatever time she’s got left, I want it to be pleasant. And I’m out here without any help from the people who are paid to help me. I need actual information so I can make informed decisions for her. She’s made it pretty clear that she doesn’t think it’s her time yet — but I need more help and more information. If I switch vets again, it’s more trauma and more tests and more chaos, and would it be any different anywhere else? Most of the vet clinics around here are just about the money, and the place I was taking her to on Long Island can’t handle this illness.

Elsa’s a little better again this morning, and seems more worried that I’m so upset than anything else.

I’m taking an extra pottery class this morning to make up for the one I miss by being away next week. I’m glad to be out of the apartment for a few hours (my mom’s taking care of Elsa) because the scumbag landlords are turning off the water AGAIN, in the middle of 90 degree heat. They say it’s from “9-1” — which means we’ll be lucky to get it back by 6 or 7 tonight. And I”m sure I’ll have to put in a call to the buildings department and the health department around 4:30 to even get it turned on by 7.

Sorry to vent, but I am frustrated and in despair.

Devon

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot & humid

I went flat out yesterday. Documentation for three workshops and two short story submissions out before breakfast. Enquiry as to anthology deadline — there are three anthologies by the same company for which I think I’d be a great fit. I may have to sit down and write all three stories this week. Quarterly self-employment taxes. Finished reading/commenting on the play. Mailed a stack of stuff — pretty sad that I have to drive 20 minutes to another town when the post office is up the street from me — only it’s never open when I need it, and when it is open, the line is long and the people they’ve got working there now make turtles look like racehorses.

Afternoon spent in the air conditioned room, herding cats (because they hate closed doors), reading, and working on the deconstruction lectures for the fantasy romance. I’m taking lots of notes as I read, and then I’ll type them into the computer, organize them, and figure what’s going to go into each lecture for each of the seven days.

Also took notes for a new booklet of fun writing exercises — it’s one of the things I’ll work on in Philly next week, and maybe it will be ready to release by the beginning of August.

Caught up with friends, talking about preliminary plans to go to the quilt show in Lowell, MA next month, and an exhibit called “The Dressmaker’s Art” one town over, once I get back from Philly. Hey, once a wardrobe gal, always a wardrobe gal.

Ran into the former mayor of this town, who I adore — the one who’s NOT corrupt — and had a good catch-up.

Finally heard back from the vet — but without any information — just a “call me”. Yeah, because I’m charged by the facility for every phone call.

Elsa’s been eating well, and she lets me know when it’s time to turn on the air conditioner. Iris lives up to her nickname of “Princess Hellion”, and Violet is just Very Busy all the time. It was much easier when Felicia, the big tuxedo cat I used to have, was alive. She kept us all organized, both human and feline. No one ever argued with her, she was very gentle, but ruled with an iron paw. And here we are, five or six years later, and still, none of the others want the job.

I was offered a kitten who hasn’t even been born yet. I’m so tempted, but we’re so cramped, and there’s so much chaos going on, trying to pull off the relocation and keep the money coming in and deal with Elsa’s illness, that this is probably not the best time.

I hope to get some writing in today, work on the lecture some more, and it’s time for a Costco run. I’m putting together everything for my trip to Philly next week.

I just don’t do well in this weather, and there’s no end in sight. I perk up a little bit in air conditioning, but even air conditioning saps my energy after awhile.

I’m looking forward to autumn — which is my favorite season anyway.

Oh — I’ve been meaning to share my two cents on some of the shows, old and new, I’ve watched lately.

Eureka: I love this show. Charming, funny, intelligent. I’m so glad it’s back for another season.

Haven: I really want to like it, but I’m on the fence about it. I worked with one of the actors in it, so, for his sake, I hope it does well. But I’ve got reservations about the writing, acting, and directing. Camera work’s pretty, though. Maybe it’ll find its feet.

The Glades: Wanted to like it, but the writing doesn’t have enough snap, and we’re watching the actors work too hard, instead of seeing them “be.” I may skip the show for a few weeks and then go back to see if it’s found its feet — not sure I want to watch the process.

The Closer: Love this show. Worked with some of the actors years ago when we were all off-Broadway. Glad it’s back.

Rizzoli & Isles: I’m a fan of Tess Gerritsen’s books, so, of course, I’d watch. Angie Harmon’s doing her usual thing. Sasha Alexander’s doing her usual thing. They have a great rapport, but neither one of them’s being challenged to stretch yet. Plots are nice and tight. FBI guy was a little passive and hang dog for me. Not sure if he was a one-shot guest spot or will be a semi-regular. His role needs to be better written if it’s the latter. I can’t even remember his name(actor or character), which is not a good thing. I felt bad for the actor, because he had so little to work with, on either a writing or directing level. They let him twist in the wind with no help, and I hate to see that. Right now, the show, as a whole, is serviceable; I’d like to see it shine a little more. I’m willing to try a few more episodes to see if it gets there. I worked with one of the actors who plays a supporting character — on the same show as the actor who’s now in HAVEN, which is pretty funny. Glad they’re both working.

Scumbag landlords are at it again, acting like this is an empty building. Some dick has a ladder up against my window. There was no warning, we have no idea who this is, why he’s here or how long.

Uh, no.

Oh, regarding the pet sitting — I’m paid to do it. I did it as a favor to this neighbor because she’s been unemployed for months, but, for the most part — people pay me to cater to their little darlings. I don’t mind, as long as I can take my writing with me. But it’s a specialized skill, part of my freelance life, and I don’t do it for nothing! 😉 Pet sitting’s a very lucrative business in this area, especially in Manhattan. I don’t charge as much as most people do, and I don’t work for an agency that demands bonding and all the rest — it’s all word of mouth. (I think the animals gossip and tell their owners, who then track me down).

Let’s hope I can be at least a little productive today!

Devon

Published in: on July 13, 2010 at 7:34 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
No idea what the weather is like

I’m scheduling this to post, because I have to take the car in for servicing early. Hopefully, I will have gotten outside early enough to do my run — and not had any trouble with creepy delivery guy.

The vet called me back as soon as the place opened, and told me to come in at 11:30. Drive up was fine — Elsa likes the car. She’s maintained her weight — a good thing. But he was worried about her upset stomach. The antibiotics over the past year may have damaged the stomach wall in addition to the other damage, and she may have an ulcer. He wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure she doesn’t have a stomach tumor. They prepped her, shaved her tummy, and put on the gel, but she was so distressed, he decided not to force her. She’s always been good about being handled, so he wanted to respect her wishes, in this case. She got two shots, which should keep her in good shape until Monday, and some new medication that is mostly for the stomach problem. Think Pepto Bismol for cats — it’s even pink. If she does well over the weekend, next week, he’ll start a new medication (as in, recently invented) that has gotten good results with some of his other patients. So, Elsa has a naked tummy, which means she’s cooler, but the other cats are teasing her.

She was much better in the afternoon and evening, but still wouldn’t eat. I’m to feed her baby food (good ole Gerber’s Stage 2) for the next few days. She wouldn’t eat any last night (and she usually likes it), so let’s hope I coaxed her to eat some this morning.

We rested most of the afternoon, and I read Weintraub’s book. I need my very own Jerry Weintraub — he’s the perfect type of creative partner, but few of the current agents/managers/promoters work from that model. Unfortunately.

I will post the handicapping of tomorrow’s race card up here later.

If I don’t write before I take the car in, I have a heck of a lot of catching up to when I get back. I must focus on those skits, whether I feel “funny” or not. The job has to get done, no matter what else is going on.

Devon

Published in: on June 4, 2010 at 1:57 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Out the door a little after five this morning for a good run. It felt great.

Drove up to South Salem on Friday and picked up Elsa’s new medications. She responded immediately and positively to the sinus infection medication — I’m wiping her nose like she’s a toddler constantly, but it seems like she’s getting rid of all the gunk, which is a good thing. I mean, have you ever tried to get a cat to blow her nose into a Kleenex? She responds much better to the natural hydrocortisone than to the synthetic steroid, and yesterday we added the olive leaf, so we’ll see how that works. So glad I didn’t just slap her into the other center for radiation treatment.

Got my teaching information off on Saturday morning. Also had a request to a pitch I sent for a writing job a few weeks ago, asking for my portfolio samples. I already like them — they talked contract terms and didn’t expect me to write an audition piece for free. So let’s see if I’m a good fit. It would be a long-term, intermittent gig that sounds like tons of fun. If the pay is even in the ballpark and they like my work, I’d do it. Found another job that sounds fascinating. I’m going to apply for it — getting it would send me in a completely new direction in life, lifting the bulk of what I do out of entertainment and into more academic/preservation/education nonprofit. Which is fine, I’ve done a lot of work in nonprofit, and I am particularly enamored of this organization — but it would still be a huge change. It wouldn’t be 9-5 — I’ve never been able to cope with that — but it would veer quite far from theatre and plays and screenplays. Although I doubt I’d give up playwrighting — the theatre is my emotional home.

Didn’t run on Saturday morning — it was stormy again, although it blossomed into a gorgeous day. So that makes only two runs in last week. Will have to make up for it this week, and, due to the out of town gig next weekend, will run Tues-Thurs-Sat next week.

Had a good morning writing session on the screenplay, SETTLING THE SCORE. I’m honing some of the scenes, rearranging a few beats, putting in some short scenes of the ensemble to break up the former linear structure that made it Lucas’s story. Lucas is supposed to be the catalyst, not the focus. I had to write those early, more linear drafts to meet some of the other characters through his eyes, and now I can work with them on their own terms.

It’s still too long and there’s still a lot of story to happen, but I will deal with that once I’ve put down everything I want to say. Then I can look at it, see what’s unnecessary and remove it,, and tighten the rest of it. Because very often, the actors don’t need three rhythmic beats to get out a piece of information — if they’re good and I give them specific lines with meaning, they can do it in one beat.

I was really, really nervous about the pottery workshop. It’s an introductory workshop, and i wanted to take it to see if I truly like playing with clay, or if I just like the IDEA of playing with clay. The Clay Art Center, which is one town over from where I live, is a place where professionals can rent studio space, where artists-in-residence teach, etc., etc. It’s not like taking a class at the Y. These are serious, full-time artists. I’ve never worked with clay. So I was, to say the least, intimidated.

The class was small — there were only two of us, which was great. The teacher, an artist named Jon McMillan was really terrific. Some people have both the gift of their art and the gift to teach — he’s one of them. He kept it relaxed and fun, taught us basic technique, while giving us a lot of information we needed on both the mechanics and the background of it. I was surprised by how much chemistry goes into the process. Since my dad was a chemist and it makes sense to me, that was something for me to use as a starting point. Also, an example of why mystery writers should keep their mouths shut in pottery class — of course, I started speculating how the tools could be used in a murder, which got me a few odd looks.

Anyway, we learned how to make a pinch pot and made oversized mugs using the slab method. Mine are pretty pathetic — it will take a lot of work to develop technique. I have to think less about it and feel the clay more. I may need to take 101 level classes more than once to develop a decent technique and lay a solid foundation. But it WAS a foundation, and I had fun with it. Since the construction of my pieces was beyond rough and rustic, I felt that very technical and specific painting would make the mistakes in structure stand out even more. So I opted for bright color and exaggerated brush strokes to support the construction. We left them to be fired, and I’ll pick them up in about two weeks. Yes, I’ll post photos. I was way out of my comfort zone for all of this, but that was a good thing.

It whetted my appetite. I want to take a basic pottery class, but the one that makes sense to take runs during dates that don’t work for me. This teacher, who I like so much, is teaching a glazing class that does work for me, time-wise, but I’m wondering if that’s putting the cart before the horse. The chemistry of creating glaze fascinates me, and I’ve spent to much time in wonder at the Edgware pottery glazes, I think it would be interesting. If it’s just experimentation and tile making, I could do it — if it’s creating objects on which to experiment, it’ll be too advanced. However, since Jon’s residency finishes this summer and he won’t be here in fall, this might be my only chance to take it. I also don’t want to take a slot from a professional who might really need the class to progress with a career. I shot him an email to ask him about it. He responded pretty quickly, and my instincts are right — too early for a glazing class at this point for me. Another sign of an excellent teacher — he’s honest while still being supportive!

I’m disappointed I won’t get the chance to take another class he teaches, but very grateful for the opportunity I had to take the workshop with him.

There was a wonderful exhibit in the space, by Marlene Ferrell Parillo, called DREAM CITY. It mixed tapestry (with beautiful stitching), beadwork, crochet, and ceramic. Very striking and inventive.

Anyway, the whole day gave me a lot to think about. Which is a good thing.

Came back in time to watch the live feed from the Preakness — it was weird not to be down at Pimlico this year. The Preakness is my favorite of the Triple Crown because Pimlico isn’t as fussy and celeb-oriented as the Derby and the Belmont, and there are still high hopes — at least at the beginning of the day — for a Triple Crown. I watched the video of all the other races so I could see where my picks landed and write my article.

Sunday, I worked on the Preakness article and actually got it out in the morning — which meant I had the whole rest of the day to read a novel by one of my favorite writers. I was so excited! I’ve read five or six of his books and one of them ranks among the best books I’ve ever read.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them. The premise was interesting, but there was too much espionage and too much religion. It gave me a headache. The characters crossed and recrossed each other so many times I couldn’t keep track. I realize that was part of the point, but it didn’t work for me. I read his author’s note at the back, where he talks about the genesis of the idea and his passion for the material. This is definitely a book of his heart, and I feel guilty that I didn’t like it, but . . .I didn’t. I felt both disappointed, because I’d been looking forward to the book for days and it was my treat, and also guilty for not being able to like something that someone I genuinely respect is passionate about.

Today I have to play hardball with someone who’s being paid to play hardball with someone else and not doing her job. Hate that. Also, am looking over some material for a friend of mine, working on a big job application, and working on the screenplay, and maybe a couple of article pitches. I had some ideas during my meditation this morning — so much for an empty mind!

Okay, some television stuff: Rumor has it HUMAN TARGET has been renewed, but with a different show runner. Interested to see how that changes it, and happy for those involved who still have jobs. Very interested to see how they’ll develop the characters, especially the way Jackie Earle Haley will continue to embody Guerrero. HEROES has been cancelled — finally! I can honestly say that’s one of the worst shows with the worst acting I’ve ever seen in my life (and I’ve been around plenty of atrocious acting over the years), and it was appalling that it was on for as long as it was. LAW & ORDER: THE MOTHERSHIP’s been cancelled after twenty years, which throws a lot of people I know out of work and makes me sad. You know why the show is expensive to produce? Because Dick Wolf values the people who works for him and gives them what they need to put on a quality show. I remember working on the CONVICTION spin-off, and they’d have to change the schedule for whatever reason and put more pressure on the crew. They never said, “This is what we’re doing, tough shit.” It was always, “This is what we need to do, what do you need to make it work?” which is how true professionals behave. I’m irritated that they’re doing an LA production — calling it LOLA ? Really? Ick. We don’t need to see any more shows set in LA. I’m also annoyed on the behalf of an actor whose work I really like, who was very excited about a comedy pilot in which he was cast. The pilot was picked up, but he was fired. I hope the show tanks on its first episode!

By Thursday, I should get my readers’ comments back on POWER OF WORDS, which means i can take them to Philly with me over the weekend to digest them and get back to work on the second section of the book. I’d like to have the draft of SETTLING THE SCORE done by then.

So I better get back to work.

Devon

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury — What the Hell?
Rainy and mild

Today is Writers’ Worth Day, and go check out Lori Widmer’s blog. You should read it anyway, if you want to make your living as a writer, because she knows her stuff. You need to learn how to value your work and yourself, and, most importantly, if you think writing for content mills constitutes a “career” you need to get a clue as to what it means to be a professional.

So I’m in a Mercury muddle. I hadn’t thought it was retrograde, and then an astrologer friend said it’s retrograde until May 18. My calendar does not say that. In the back of my calendar, I just saw that it said Mercury was retrograde from April 18 until May 5. So now I’m completely confused. I think my Mercury is just in perpetual retrograde right now, so I’ll have to sort it out this weekend with some alignment work.

Drove up to Westabrook, CT to the Tanger outlet center. Shopping is not my idea of fun, unless it’s books, but I had a list of things I needed, figured I could knock them all out in one spot, and, since I mistakenly thought Mercury was retrograde – – –

Let’s just say it was not fun. Couldn’t find anything I wanted and/or needed in THE ENTIRE COMPLEX. Since we’d driven an hour and a half and it was only 7 more exits to go to Niantic and The Book Barn, that’s what we did.

Gorgeous day to wander through the books. I’d crafted a detailed list of everything I planned to look for there, but, of course, since we weren’t planning to go, I had it at home. I kinda sorta remembered, and picked up the works of John Donne and the works of William Blake, both of which I need to read over the next few months for various reasons. I also picked up Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD, a book I enjoy, but isn’t on my writing shelf. I got a couple of novels, including Tim Powers’s DECLARE. I am rabidly wild about Tim Powers’s writing — I still think his book LAST CALL is one of the best books I ever read in my life. I’m going to read it over the weekend — it’s too big to take with me when I travel at the end of next week, and, once I sit down and open a Tim Powers book, the world falls away until I’m done. So it’s my Sunday treat, since tomorrow will be caught up in the Preakness and the pottery class. Once I’ve finished and submitted my Preakness wrap article to my editor on Sunday, I get to read the book. How’s that for a carrot? I also picked up an anthology that sounded interesting, and it happens to have a novella by yet another of my favorite writers, Sharon Shinn, in it.

Was in the mood for a burger, and, on the recommendation of the staff, tried The Niantic Diner, which is across the street from The Book Barn. The burger was good and hit the spot. I rarely eat red meat anymore because I feel better when I don’t — but once in awhile, when I crave it, it’s exactly what I need.

Drove back — way too much traffic on both I-95 and the Merritt. Still a lot of infrastructure work going on from the stimulus money. It’s a pain in the ass, but the parts of the road that are finished are wonderful. I’ve been driving these roads for decades, and it’s the first time the bridges feel secure and the pavement doesn’t rip up the tires. Yes, this is one of the few places I want my tax dollars! 😉

Couldn’t find Iris when we got home, and nearly had a fit. She’d made herself a nest tucked down amongst a pile of cushions and ignored us when we called. I should have trusted that, since the other two weren’t worried, there was nothing to worry about.

Heard from the vet. We’re going to add an olive leaf supplement and then a homeopathic nasal treatment, as though she has the feline equivalent of a sinus headache. If she responds well to that, we’ll also switch the cats’ drinking water to an alkaline water because Elsa’s pH is too acidic, and that could also contribute to the problem. We’re switching her from the synthetic steroid to a natural one, and, in about a month, will see if we can wean her off it or if we need to continue. The natural steroid has fewer side effects than the synthetic, so it’ll be better to use long-term, but we’ll eventually want to get her off it. We’re adding and subtracting things one at a time to see how each bit affects her, and kind of breaking new ground here. She’s definitely responding well to the first portion of treatment — she made quite a bit o forward progress just in the last two days — so let’s go with it.

I have to handicap tomorrow’s race card and get that up, then drive up to South Salem to get her additional medication. Hopefully, I can get some writing done, too. Thought of another issue in the screenplay — we know what all the older characters do and what got them where they are — the mainstay caper that broke them apart — but what do Lucas and Jimmy “do”? Are they still in college? Do they have jobs? Are they unemployed due to the bad economy? I need to figure that out, even if it’s not a big deal in the story. Lucas’s girlfriend has a job, so why wouldn’t Lucas? I can add in a line about him having a bit of bereavement leave, but then, what about JImmy? I have to figure it out. It can be solved in a short line, but it needs to be addressed.

I better get going — busy day leading into a busy weekend.

Devon

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The alarm went off early, so I was out by 5 AM for the run.

I’ve been really lax about marketing, because I’ve concentrated so much on fiction and scripts over the past few months, but now that the theatre commissions are winding down (at least until the next round of meetings/commissions), I need to get back on the stick. The job listings have sucked the last few months — the content mills are pulling down a lot of the prices, and I’m not going to write a press release (for years my bread-and-butter) for one-fifth of my normal rate.

I looked at Media Bistro — LOTS of jobs, well over 1000, legitimate jobs at legitimate rates, but very few that interest me. One did, it’s a company I’ve looked at for awhile and something opened up I could definitely do, but the amount of invasive paperwork and “investigative rights” you’re supposed to sign over to even apply for the job pissed me off, and I decided not to. I don’t do drugs, but I’m still not going to pee into a cup on demand, nor am I going to sign paper work to let you delve into my personal life. My personal life’s not particularly interesting or salacious, but IT’S MINE, and it has nothing to do with providing copywriting for your frigging company. I could understand if it was some national-security type job for a government or research or medical or defense firm where people’s lives were on the line, but copywriting for this type of company? Give me a break. And, knowing what I do about this particular organization, at least 70% of the people administering the tests are cokeheads, so I don’t think so. Hypocrites. There was another organization that looks really interesting (and the application process less invasive), but the job offered isn’t really what I want. However, I’m going to do some research and send them a proposal creating the freelance position I want, and we’ll see.

The NYFA job search board has a lot of jobs listed — again, they’re good, solid, legitimate jobs, many with benefits, but not what I’m looking for, too much full-time; but I can pull information and do direct mail pitches. If I can get a mailing out by early June, that would be great. I’ve built an interesting prospect list over the past few months, but it doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s just sitting in a folder.

Got some work done on SETTLING THE SCORE. When I’m done with this sequence, some of these scenes will be darkly funny. The trick is to give the actors and director enough solid, specific text WITHOUT STAGE DIRECTIONS so they can explore and have fun and bring their uniqueness to the material, and yet make it precise enough so the layers of meaning are clear without everything being overly explained.

For some reason, I got very nauseous yesterday. It came and went all day. I have no idea why. I managed to get the grocery shopping done, and took a nap, but it wasn’t the productive day for which I hoped.

Cleaned a bunch of stuff. Literally wiped off all the papers that piled on top of my desk and stuck them in a box. I’m going to sort & file from that box for 15-30 minutes per day to get it all handled. I now have a clean desk, which, to Violet, means a place to perch and watch me while I work. I still have the old behemoth PC because I’m not done transferring the disks — yes, it’s taken over a year and I’m still not done — but there’s a lot more room to work. It’s been a long time since I had a clean desk. It’s a little intimidating, but hopefully, will lead to more productive worktime. Definitely better feng shui. I need to look up in my favorite feng shui book, MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE, how to rearrange the desk.

“Organizers” say you “can’t” have “stuff” on the desk” — well, i can’t work without my “stuff”. It’s my creative fuel. I have my gargoyle and my dragon and my crystals and my Ganesh and other items that have personal creative meaning for me, along wiht the pens and the computer and the Rolodex and whatever I’m working on at the moment. Files are nearby, but not on the desk, and books are stacked in crates beside the desk by project, and office supplies in a bookcase against the wall beside the desk. Photos relevant to various projects are on corkboards, and I put the one I need up on top of the office supply bookcase where I can see it while I work. Works for me, and that’s what matters, right? I’ve yet to meet an “organizer” whose systems had any relevance to my life and work. Julie Morgenstern’s books come the closest, but then, she used to work in theatre, so she gets it.

Still haven’t heard back from the vet and am getting frustrated. I’m trying to hold Elsa steady, but we need to make decisions to move forward. If he needs to see her again (and wants me to dump more money at the facility) TELL me to make an appointment. Don’t just not get back to me.

Today is a day for dealing with scumbag landlords who are coming in to “make repairs”, but, in reality, coming in to snoop to see how they can continue to make lives miserable. Will also get on their case about the heat.

LOST just annoyed me yesterday, and that’s all I have to say about it. At this point in the story, I don’t care to learn backstory of anyone we’ve haven’t lived with a lot unless it takes 3 (short) scenes or less. Even if I did go to college with one of those guys. Again, no surprises, just the order in which they’re revealing stuff, and the length of time they’re taking to jerk the audience around.

I am looking forward to the day being over.

Hey, whaddaya know? 6:14 AM and the heaters are clanking. What do you figure, three, four minutes of heat this morning before they turn it off again?

Devon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Up early, out the door by 5:15 for my run. It’s getting lighter and lighter earlier and earlier, and it’s interesting to watch the moon’s progress. Also, it’s interesting to see how many more people are up early on a Wednesday than a Monday. I don’t know why I find it interesting, but I do.

There’s an interview with me in my Jenny Storm persona, for DIXIE DUST RUMORS here, on Katie Hines’s blog. I hope you hop over and drop a comment. Thanks to Katie for including me in her blog.

I got some work done on the urban fantasy yesterday. I’m almost done with the scene with which I’m having trouble. I’m re-thinking the end of the first scene in BEHIND THE MAN. Because of production constraints, I had Max and Sally Sweet retreat to his office offstage and that what gets Ida out of her good-girl persona and start some actual detecting on her own, instead of being the “sweet office girl”. In the adaptation, I think I’m going to have Max’s office on stage, and what Ida overhears them do in the office serve as additional impetus. I think I could get into some funny and farcical elements.

I have a really difficult section to tackle on POWER OF WORDS — because of the changes I did in part one of the book, it completely changes this section. I have to expand it and develop a lot of different themes and weave in character arcs without losing sight of the ones I feel are the center of the book.

I spent far too much time fighting with 1and1 yesterday. I feel like they’re holding my webmail files hostage — I haven’t been able to download them through a file manager, and I can’t move hosts until I have my old mail, contracts, etc. It’s fat too much for me to be able to print them out. And, I’m discovering that a good many of my work-related emails aren’t getting through, and I’m not receiving a lot. I need the professional address for work. I can’t have some other non-site-related address. As it is, I’m having to send and receive a good portion of email by pulling it through mail2web, because most of the time I can’t get into the webmail, and, if I can get into it, I can’t actually get any work done in it. Plus, with their fucking “upgrade”, not only are my address books useless, but now I can’t even read some of the email that comes in. It’s so frustrating. I’m paying them and losing work — some of which can never be replaced.

In better news, I got an email from the vet this morning. There’s no tumor in Elsa’s nasal passages, just inflammation. One of the lab tests still isn’t back, but the other indicates more of a fungal infection than cancer. That’s a relief. It’s not definitive yet, but it gives us another place to work from. He doesn’t think she needs a CT scan (thank goodness). I’m weaning her off the steriod and have her on the supplement and, in a week, we’ll see how she is and see what other course of treatment to start her on to fight the inflammation that won’t trigger the rest of the infection — the antibiotics and steriod helped with the inflammation, but triggered the infection. It’s good news, but there’s still a long road ahead for the little kitty. She was doing great yesterday and has backslid a bit today, so I hope she steadies.

I have some sort of irritation on my little finger of my left hand. I’d originally hurt it during the Prague trip and didn’t think much about it, but it’s been bothering me on and off since. I took a good look at it yesterday, and something’s wrong. Of course, I can’t go to a doctor, because I don’t have insurance, and a basic out-of-pocket 5 minute consultation starts at $285 around here — that’s just for a doctor to open the door, and only at places where they’d actually agree to see someone without insurance. I’m not going to the emergency room unless I think the damn thing’s ready to explode or fall off or something.

I’m going to acupuncture today, so I’ll have her treat it and then do some homeopathic/herbal treatments and see where we go from there. But it makes typing difficult.

I’m reading an autobiography of a Very Famous Actor. I’ve never worked with the guy, but we’ve worked at some of the same places and with a lot of the same people over the years. I thought it would be interesting, and give me a good idea of the atmosphere of the era on Broadway just before I came up in the ranks. Because, of course, we always think the years just before us were so much better. In addition to the book being appallingly badly written, this guy spent so much time drinking and screwing around that it’s amazing he ever found the stage door on any given night, much less managed to get his lines out. Drunks just aren’t that interesting to anyone but themselves or fellow drunks. A bit of a disappointment, and he comes across as not a particularly nice person or loyal friend at all. Maybe that’s part of the point — confessional? Or that presenting himself as a total ass would sell more books? In any case, it’s certainly made me glad I’ve never worked with him! There’s some good atmospheric detail in a couple of the anecdotes that may be useful should I ever set something backstage during that era, but, overall, far too much I-love-my-drink-and-constant-sex and not enough approach to character or sense of fun in the overall process. Maybe part of the point is that he wasn’t having fun? I don’t know. It’s fun to read his opinion on some of the people I’ve worked with over the years, though, and anecdotes I’ve heard from them backstage told from a different point of view. Interesting, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wasn’t doing specific research.

I need to get back to the page. I’ve got a truncated writing day today, because I’m heading off to acupuncture in the late morning, and, when I return, I’ll have to let it set.

Back to the page.

Devon

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde (say what)

I was up for 22 hours yesterday, from 3:30 in the morning until nearly 1:30 this morning. Feel like a truck rolled over me. I’m not used to that kind of schedule anymore, especially when I’m not paid television rate!

So it seems Mercury went retrograde over a week ago — why wasn’t it in my calendar? That calendar’s starting to get sloppy. It also explains oh, so much.

I struggled with the writing yesterday. I don’t know how I’m going to get this done. I’m happy with the bones of it, the first few chapters thrum along well, but I’ve lost the rhythm of it, and trying to force it back isn’t working. I’m considering doing an all-nighter to finish, but it still wouldn’t be polished. My time should have been planned better, I should have front-loaded it more rather than getting derailed by events I couldn’t forsee, but that’s not what happened.

I also have serious reservations about the place that put out the call for submissions. They haven’t liked my work before, and, frankly, when I’ve read anthologies of theirs from which I’ve been rejected, I’ve felt relieved not to be included, because I thought the stuff chosen was AWFUL. Not just, “oh, it’s to someone else’s taste”, but downright poor writing, storytelling, and cliched characters. If that’s their “house style” — I don’t want to write to that style, so why am I even submitting?

The call to submission sounded unique and fun, and as soon as I read it, I had ideas, that’s why. But it’s silly to think “this time will be different, this time we’ll be a good match.” We’re not. It’s been proven. Either I change to their “house style” — which goes against what I like to read and write — or I don’t submit. I’m not “their” type of writer. And, other than a few pieces written by a friend of mine, which contain good characters and storytelling, everything I’ve read from their house has been a disappointment.

The characters and situations I’ve set up here are really fun and lively and different from anything I’ve ever seen before. I don’t want to give them the short shrift for an on spec deadline. I’ve already changed storylines simply on the basis of word count, rather than what serves the story best. I think part of the reason I’m struggling is that I know this is not a good match for me. Sort of like when I struggled to meet the deadline for OLD FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, knowing I needed to pull the Jain Lazarus series from its original publisher. So I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. If, suddenly, it catches fire later today, hooray for me, and I might get it out the door tomorrow with notes for changes should it come back. Otherwise, I’ll just plug along, and, when it’s really ready, send it to a different publisher.

It would be horribly ironic, though, if I sent out something I felt was weak, and that’s the piece they liked, rather than polished pieces I sent previously!

I have to see how today goes — I’ve got to take my mom on an appointment and do battle – I am sick and tired of corporations who hire individuals taking delight in hurting Senior Citizens, thinking they can take advantage of them because they’re old. Today is a day when it’s a damned good thing I don’t own a gun or have a carry permit, because today I’d use it inappropriately and without remorse.

Last night was wonderful. The trip into the city wasn’t particularly torturous, for once. Read my book, had my music on. Caught the shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square, walked over to the 1,2,3 line. The 2 & 3 Express trains were jam packed and I didn’t want to be squished, so I took the local 1 instead. Much roomier. And I got out a stop early, walking the last 10 blocks up Broadway. I haven’t been in that neighborhood for years. It’s been gentrified, and, on one hand, it’s cleaner, but they’ve taken down quite a few graceful old buildings and replaced them with ugly ones, and the neighborhood’s character isn’t as much fun.

Symphony Space itself is beautiful. My friend was the very first in line, and we had our pick of seats. We sat about 8 rows back, in the middle. The celebration was the 50th Anniversary of Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD — held on her 84th birthday. The panel consisted of Kurt Anderson, Libba Bray, Stephen Colbert, Oskar Eustis, Mary McDonagh Murphy, Jayne Anne Phillips, and Isiah Sheffer. Excerpts of the book were read, and themes and meanings — both personal and universal, were discussed, along with some audience discussion. Unfortunately, several of the audience members had a different agenda — not discussing the book, but trying to get Colbert’s attention. He was very skillful and graceful in diffusing such greed and awkwardness and getting the discussion back on track. Everyone on the panel was interesting and engaging and the opinions and discussion were fascinating.

I’d crossed paths with Oskar Eustis back in San Francisco, when he was running the Eureka Theatre. I’d moved to SF to work at the Eureka, which had burned down when I got there. I got a job, instead, at the One Act, where I remained for the duration of my life in SF. But the community at that time was fairly small, and Oskar and I crossed paths a few times. I thought the world of him then, and I was thrilled when he took over the Public Theatre here. He was wonderful last night — I didn’t talk to him after, it was inappropriate with so many people in the building — but I’m going to drop him a note. He’s one of those intelligent, funny, warm, incredibly perceptive people, and the Public’s lucky to have him.

My friend and I went to a local bar for a glass of expensive but mediocre wine and to listen to some mediocre music. The musicians in the jazz trio were good, but the first singer couldn’t discern that “loud” does not equate with “good” and had no finesse in handling the microphone. The second singer, “in from Vegas” — was just that — a third rate lounge singer. My friend and I got the giggles. There was a production meeting from a small theatre production across the bar from us — people who’d once had their shot, but couldn’t quite make it, but still love the theatre. They have day jobs and do small theatre at night, and, as much as they love what they do at night, there’s still a little voice inside that tells them they failed. They didn’t fail — they’re still doing theatre — but the fear rolls off them like a pungent sweat.

Beside us at the bar were a man and woman. He was in his 50’s — an actor whose name I can’t remember, but who I recognize from small supporting roles on TV shows that shoot in NY. I think he was in some of the stuff I worked on a few years back. I was kind of shocked — he looks good, he’s aging well, except he had Botox only in his forehead, so the rest of his face looks normal, while his forehead looks like a shiny baby’s bottom. The woman with him was in her 40’s, and he obviously Had Plans for Her that night. But she was more interested in the conversation my friend and I were having.

Caught the #1 back downtown. The Shuttle didn’t show up and didn’t show up and didn’t show up at Times Square, because, really, to have it work would mean there was some level of competence on the part of the MTA and there is none. So I popped up and walked back to Grand Central, across 42nd St. Caught the 11:10. got home by 12, was in bed around 1:30.

Elsa was relentless, starting at about 4 AM. I finally couldn’t take it anymore, fed them at 6, and went back to bed, but, by 7:30, it was no use. I had to get up. I have a terrible headache, probably from the bad wine (even one glass?).

I’ve got to help my mom today and then run some MORE money up to the vet. I’m getting a little tired of the constant demands for money. They want a credit card number, but the way they’re constantly adding charges, I don’t want to open my bill one day and suddenly see a few thousand dollars’ worth of charges they “put through” without a thorough discussion.

Will try to get some writing done, too, but the leafblowers are on. Ick.

Devon