September 29, 2009

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Iris gave us a scare

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Thank goodness Mercury goes direct today. I’m drained.

The next Prague essay, “The Hotel” is down below.

The day was tiring, but I actually got quite a bit done, much to my surprise. I caught up on most of the email. I worked on the Prague essays. I got out the necessary correspondence, including a certified letter to the scumbag landlord. I pitched to a local school. I tweaked the two residency proposals, printed them out, printed the work samples, put it all together, wrote the checks, and sent it off. I got started on the NYFA grant proposal. I pulled some information for a job pitch I want to put together.

It’s always more stressful to submit residency or grant proposals than a regular submission. When a regular submission is rejected, they’re rejecting the piece — it doesn’t fit the issue, the vision, they’re done too much like it recently, the reader’s got a migraine, whatever. They’re rejecting the piece. But, when it comes to grants and residencies, they’re rejecting YOU. They’re saying, “We don’t think your creative vision is worth the support. We don’t think you fit in with us.”

When I worked in a lot in theatre, I couldn’t even apply for many of them, because of my schedule. I did a good but odd one in Dorset one year, and I did a fabulous one at Palenville Interarts very early in my writing career, which was one of the best experiences of my life.

So I found these two very different residencies for next year, at different times, and applied. I think I have a pretty good shot at one of them — I’ve spoken to the guy in charge a few times, and we seem compatible. It’s a very no-muss, no-fuss, do-your-thing kind of place, and that’s where I do best. The other one is a bigger name, and I may not be “literary” enough in their eyes — although I bet you I’m one of the few people applying who actually make a living doing this! We’ll see — I won’t hear back from one until February and the other until April, so all I can do is not fret about it and move on.

The NYFA grant is something I haven’t tried for in years, and, when I tried for it, I didn’t have a lot of credits, but then, neither do a lot of people who get funded. I looked back on the list of people who’ve received the grants in the past ten years, and I’ve only ever heard of two of them. Which isn’t a bad thing (I mean, let’s face it, how many people have heard of me, right?), but I wonder how many of the recipients make a living at their art, and how many still have day jobs? Does the grant give them a year’s relief, or does it help vault them to the next level? For my purposes, I want it to do the latter, but that’s going to depend on me more than anything else. I’ll give it a shot again this year; either I’ll get it or I won’t. If I relocate before the decisions are made, I’ll probably have to pull out — although I will have been a resident for the years they demand. If I move before the decisions, I will let them know and let them make the call. Their decisions don’t come out until next May.

William Zinsser’s WRITING PLACES is a fantastic book. It makes me want to re-read ON WRITING WELL — which I’m pretty sure I have in storage, and should probably have on my reference shelf. Since I’m writing a lot of non-fiction lately, I bet re-reading it will help clean up some of the prose. Or maybe I should just by the 30th Anniversary Edition!

My book on Rudolf of Bohemia and his Magic Circle arrived from Strand yesterday — very excited. It’s about Prague in the Renaissance, during the time of astrology and alchemy.

Iris gave us a scare last night. All of a sudden, she couldn’t walk properly. Her back legs gave out. She was shocked. We settled her down and kept her quiet for a bit. We checked to make sure nothing was broken. She seemed fine, so we thought maybe she landed badly when she jumped off something. But, about 45 minutes, it happened again, and she got agitated, looking around as though she was watching a fly none of us could see.

I found a 24-hour Emergency vet in White Plains, packed her into the carrier, and we drove off, through the rain and the fog, with Iris screaming like a banshee the whole way.

They saw us right away — and Iris seemed perfectly fine. She jumped off the examining table, wandered around the room, climbed into the space where they keep the wastebasket, stood on her hind legs to peek into things. The vet checked all her signs and they were good. Her heart’s strong, her circulation’s good, there’ a steady pulse in both legs, her color’s good, she’s responsive (especially when you scratch her under the chin). She was a little wary at first, but by the end of the session, she was curled up, content as could be, in the vet’s lap.

It’s not a stroke, which was my first concern. The vet told me to keep her under observation for a few days — they could do it at the hospital, but it would be better at home, because she wasn’t showing signs of anything, and it would be worse for her to be stuck in a cage in a strange place. The vet’s two top concerns were an inner ear infection (she said I’d know if that was the case, because Iris would start to roll over when she walked), or that she’d licked or eaten something toxic and had a mild seizure. The final possibility, remote as it is, is that she’s going to start having seizures for some reason, and that’s not predictable. If it happens again, I’ll need to bring her in for a full blood and all-over work up — but as of right now, she seems perfectly healthy and exceptionally adaptable. The doctor said she’d be available by phone any time I needed her, and said, even though she’s doing well now, it was the right choice to bring her in.

So I left with both my wallet and my heart lighter — although they charge rates far more reasonable than a lot of places around here.

We got lost coming home — Iris was not amused. But she was back to her normal self when we got home and seemed fine, and rather proud of herself for having an adventure the other two didn’t. Elsa was puzzled and Violet was beside herself. Iris and Violet have NEVER been separated since they were a month old. The longest they weren’t in the same space was when they were spayed.

The only thing I can think of that caused the problem is food. I’d brought back Happy Tails cat food from the trip, because they like it and one can’t get it here. For some reason, Violet wouldn’t touch it. Elsa ate and promptly threw up twice yesterday morning. And Iris had a seizure. That’s the only thing that was different in the routine. I’m going to contact Shaw’s — where I bought it — and Happy Tails, to ask them to run tests. I contacted Shaw’s, but can’t find information for Happy Tails. Of course, I don’t have the can anymore –I cleaned it and recycled it right after I fed them.

I caught the end of CASTLE, too exhausted and worried to really pay attention. The chemistry between the actors was great, but I couldn’t tell you anything about the plot — which is MY lack of ability to pay attention, not anything having to do with the show.

This morning, everyone was back on the Trader Joe’s food, and seems fine. Let’s hope it stays that way.

I’m going to check the car’s tire again — it was fine driving last night, but I want to make sure. I’ll spend most of the day at the Greenwich Library, working on the rewrite of the essay.

Devon