Thurs. July 2, 2015: Tornado Warning Aftermath and Intensive Writing Prep

Thursday, July 2, 2015
Last Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday morning was definitely stressful, with the tornado warnings and all. When I got to work – only four miles away – they’d just noticed it got dark and was raining a lot! ;)

Then, someone sent me a photograph of a “rotation” from my town – and it was right over my neighbor’s garage! To say I freaked out when I saw the photo was an understatement.

Workday was stressful and seemed 85 hours long instead of 8 hours long. I got some stuff done, and I’m trying to do all the year-end wrap ups and pull together material needed for the ARIS reports, etc. I’m working on some book and DVD orders.

I did some of my own ordering for research purposes, and also for stuff I’m putting together for the Mermaid Ball.

I’m looking forward to the next six days away from work, focusing on my writing. Yes, I’ll have gardening to do and Canal Fest for the Marine Life Center on Saturday morning. But I can really focus on the writing.

The contemporary play is the priority – I’ve got to get a draft with which I’m happy done, since I’ll hear back on the proposal by the end of the month. Hopefully, that will get me back in the swing of the historical play, too.

I have house guests arriving at some point, but I’m not exactly sure when.

I started reading a cozy mystery last night, but put it down after ten pages. I wanted to slap the protagonist after three. When the protagonist is a self-righteous, rightwing ignoramous who dislikes and disrespects artists – you lose me as a reader, and I cross that author off my list.

Finished up some other research books, including a collection of Edmund Wilson’s essays that had an interesting piece on Dawn Powell.

There’s a lot to get done today, since it will be next Thursday before I’m back. So I better get to it!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend and a wonderful start to next week.

Devon

Published in: on July 2, 2015 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 1, 2015: Writing, Good Conversation, and Tornado Warnings

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and tornado warnings

I cut myself a break over the past few days and gave myself a chance to refill the creative well.

Saturday, I worked my four-hour stint. It was busy, and we were happy to lock the door and get out of there. There was an event at the building next door, and even though there were clear signs where to park, the attendees took our patrons’ half dozen spots, even when asked not to.

Relaxed on the deck Saturday afternoon. Sunday, I was wiped out. Read, relaxed, let the stories percolate. I tried to write a bit, but it was ready to be on the page yet; it was still forming.

Sunday night, headed back to Liberty Hall to pick up the Chicken BBQ dinners (they’re good to us, I’ll buy their chicken dinners a few times a year — give-and-take). It was great, but I overate! It was weird to walk into the Hall and know every person sitting down to the meal, and everyone in the kitchen. I’m used to far more anonymity. But it will be useful to use in a story one day.

The weather was vile on Sunday, so I couldn’t work outside.

Read two mediocre mysteries and started one so poorly written that I stopped reading it. Read another novel, THE FORGOTTEN SEAMSTRESS, by Liz Trenow, which was quite lovely.

Did a good bit of research on several projects. It’s going to feed in nicely to them, enrich the environment in which these stories and characters take place.

I was disappointed at the viciousness people displayed toward EL James in her Twitter chat. Her books don’t work for me, for a variety of reasons (as a writer, as a woman, as a feminist). However, plenty of people enjoy them, she’s successful, good for her. It’s hard to make a living in this business. While in the abstract, some of the snarky questions had elements of humor, the overall nastiness of the whole endeavor was disheartening. I was especially disappointed that other writers — most of whom have nowhere near her sales numbers — were positively gleeful that she’d been attacked. If you don’t like someone’s writing, don’t read it, don’t spend your money n it. If you’re a reviewer and it’s your job to comment on it, and you dislike it, that’s one thing (although there are so few qualified reviewers at this point, even that’s in question). But this envy, the jealousy of her success is truly unfortunate. I’m sure she will recover and continue laughing all the way to the bank, and I realize it says more about those who attacked her than about her, but it was disappointing. For people to defend it by saying, “Well, that’s what you get for going on Twitter”, um, no. I’ve found plenty of classy, supportive, intelligent people on Twitter, and landed some of my best freelance assignments on Twitter. I choose not to deal with the stupid, the ignorant, and the nasty on Twitter, much as I cut as many as possible out from my life in general.

The episode was definitely food for thought as I consider how I want to reshape the way I position my work and myself in the world. Not because I’m worried about the same kind of attack (although I’d sure love those dollars), but because I’ve always believed, especially for writers, that the work is public, but the individual is private. In fact, I believe a certain amount of privacy is necessary in order to incubate the work properly.

Speaking of writing, the past few days’ work on BALTHAZAAR is sub-par, and I’m very disappointed in myself. I have to get past this obstacle and move forward on the piece as a whole. Knowing that my editor (whom I adore) is retiring is part of what interfered with the work –suffering from separation anxiety. Now, I need to get over it, and get back to work.

I got some work done for the Marine Life Center and for the Writers Center, too, over the past few days, so things are firing on several cylinders. And I got the grocery shopping done, which was of vital importance! ;)

Tuesday was a lovely, sunny, warm day. The kind of summer day that reminds you why you put up with the summer people on Cape Cod.

I got the last part of the meadow mowed in the morning. It was looking more like an African savannah rather than a Cape Cod backyard, but now it’s under control. The yarrow’s coming in nicely. The chamomile I planted in the front several years ago is now coming up by the back stairs, waving at me. I’ll be moving that to the border in the terrace. The clematis and morning glories are in bloom, as are the geraniums and the gloxinia and the Stella D’oro llilies, with the shasta daisies getting ready to pop. Herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, et al, all doing well. The cherry bush I though was dead and stuck in a bucket has recovered. I’ve given away its pot, so I have to figure how to plant the poor thing. Its twin, who is in the ground, has also recovered.

Lunch with a colleague who is also a friend, over in Sandwich. We got some chatting done, sorting out life stuff, and also some business done.

Home, hung out on the deck in the sun with books and cats, enjoying the reason I live on Cape Cod and not somewhere else.

Out to the Artist HobNob. This month, it was at Pain D’Avignon, out by the airport. We were at tables outside, in the lovely weather, and, if you’re from New York or lived near Westchester Airport (as I am/did), the planes going over weren’t much of a distraction. We had a great, lively table of people. What I love about these monthly nights is that it’s all about working artists inspiring each other (instead of some other events, where wanna-be artists whine and make excuses about why they’re not creating). I knew one person at the table, and everyone at the table is someone I hope to spend more time with, and continue sharing information and inspiration with. The food was great, the wine was good, the company wonderful. A truly lovely evening.

It was nice to have actual conversations with people.

It also seems to have moved me past the obstacles in BALTHAZAAR. This morning’s writing session was better.

I’d promised dinner for a friend, trying a new-to-me recipe for chicken and zucchini, in a sauce out of onion, garlic, celery, white wine, sage, bay leaf, clove, and cinnamon. It was excellent.

It’s summer, which means I’m making batches of lime-and-cilantro mayonnaise (which also contains sour cream). I quadruple the recipe whenever I make it, because it’s so good and I use it for oh, so many things.

It will be a long day at work (and the weather’s supposed to be awful today). Full moon, so ritual tonight. We’ll have another full moon on July 31, just before one of the most important days in my personal calendar. Tomorrow will also be a long day, but no tango tomorrow night. I will come home and sit on the deck with my feet up!

Update: In the time between writing this and being able to post it, we got an emergency alert to get into the basement, because there was rotation in Falmouth (although nothing touched down). We grabbed the cats, cat food, important papers, some water, the radio, and went into the basement. It was awful. We could feel the house shaking from the thunderstorms and the rain was torrential. Once we got the all clear, we came up, but were asked to stay off the roads for another fifteen/twenty minutes. I’d texted work, but no one got it and, even though work is only four miles from home, the storm hadn’t been anywhere near as bad there. So I’m trying t recover from that. Hoping I don’t have to do that anytime soon again. Not fun.

After tomorrow, due to a combination of the holiday, my work schedule, and painting being done at work, I’m away from the library for six days. It’ll be a good, well-needed break for me. I have yard work to do on nice days, and Canal Fest in Buzzards Bay on the Fourth. I know, oh horrors, I have to go over the bridge on a WEEKEND!

But I’m hoping to spend the bulk of the time writing — the historical play, the contemporary play, BALTHAZAAR being the main focus, but I may jot down the short stories just to make space in my head. The vintage theatre piece is taking shape nicely, too. Getting that first chapter down helped enormously. Researching 1938 makes me realize that was a good choice as a starting point for the book and the series. I also realized that, in the theatre piece set in Maine, where my characters have to go to Mobile to retrieve some other characters, I’m going to take them to New Orleans to catch their collective breaths. That’s still several chapters down the road in that piece, but it solves some of the logistical problems (both physical and emotional) that keeping them in Mobile over that adjustment period caused.

So, after tomorrow, I will be offline until July 9th, which will be good for everyone involved! I’ll have plenty to say when I get back, I’m sure!

Hop over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site — I’ve got my mid-year assessment up.

If we don’t get our “morning coffee” chat tomorrow, I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend (my American friends) and just a darn wonderful weekend (for everyone else).

Devon

Published in: on July 1, 2015 at 10:10 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. June 24, 2015: Blasting Through the Solstice

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy few days. By Friday afternoon, I was cooked. We moved books over to Liberty Hall for the book sale. We were short handed, so in between, I had to handle the desk myself in the afternoon. By the time I locked up on Friday afternoon, I was wiped out.

Tried to relax on the deck, but it was hard. Got some reading done — I’ve read a few books of a fairly well done cozy series, except the female protagonist of the pair makes really stupid mistakes. It’s one thing for an intelligent character to make a mistake based on mis-information or mis-interpretation of information. It’s quite different to make a mistake when you know better — and keep making that type of mistake, more than once per book and in multiple books. It shows a character who doesn’t learn, and that’s not someone with whom I choose to spend time. Even though a lot of the writing is lively, that is such a huge character flaw and shows a lack of growth that I can’t accept in characters I spend time with.

Next!

Cats loved having house guests. They got even more spoiled than before.

Prepped for the wedding Friday night and some of Saturday morning. Also got some research done on Saturday morning, and spent time with houseguests.

The day was gorgeous and the wedding was wonderful. It was at a church in Cotuit –the place was packed. The wedding was full of joy and laughter and beauty — the best of what one of those public rituals should be.

The party was fun, although I only stayed a couple of hours. I was worn out.

Tried to sleep in a bit on Sunday, fed the guests, got them on their way. The weather was dreadful — storms, thunder, lightening, pelting rain. Caught rainwater to use for plants. Spent most of the day doing research.

I’ve got two plays to work on, and I don’t want to lose momentum for BALTHAZAAR. There’s another idea percolating — I’m working with characters and situations, but I don’t quite have it yet. It would be contemporary.

And there’s another idea that’s taking shape, form, character, that would start in 1938. If it works, it has the potential to go all the way to present day. The backdrop is, of course, theatre, and it combines some of the other ideas and research I’ve done over several years, trying to find the right format.

Believe it or not, Agnes DeMille’s biography of Martha Graham provided the missing piece of inspiration to pull those years of playing with ideas together, and I did ten pages of notes for the overview and, specifically, for the first story.

Something else that is interesting about DeMille’s biography of Graham is that it is as much about DeMille as Graham! It shouldn’t be titled MARTHA GRAHAM, it should be MARTHA GRAHAM FROM AGNES DEMILLE’S PERSPECTIVE.

Read SPINSTER: MAKING A LIFE OF ONE’S OWN by Kate Bolick. The writing is good, and while there is a lot I like about it, I disagree that she’s “making a life of one’s own.” Yes, she remains unmarried. But she’s a serial dater, always involved in a relationship, always dating frenetically, as though she has to prove that, although she remains unmarried, she is still attractive and desired. She has no idea what it means to be alone — especially since she’s always running to her therapist. She’s unmarried, yes, but solitude is something she avoids. Being home alone one night to read a book and enjoying it is not “being alone”. It’s having a night off.

Read MUSE by Jonathan Galassi. Liked a lot of it, loved a lot of the writing and phrasing. However, stylistically, it was too narrative for my taste. It was like reading a book-long profile in THE NEW YORKER. I don’t want to hear ABOUT all these interesting people — I want to learn about them through active scenes. So, while I enjoyed the book and the writing a lot, I didn’t love it.

Lovely Summer Solstice celebration that will hopefully ground me well for the next cycle. I can’t believe the days are starting to get shorter! In a week or so, we’ll really notice.

Monday was an excellent writing day: 16 pages (just over one chapter ) of the mystery set on Cape Cod in 1938. The reading I’d done over the weekend fed the story and characters. While this mystery follows formula in some ways, it unfolds a little differently and a little more slowly than the current fashion. The title tells you the type of character who will meet a bad end, but, for the first couple of chapters, there are several possibilities. Also, setting the book in this time period, while Europe is in turmoil and America tried to stay out of it, sets up interesting conflicts between the more insular world the characters inhabit and how world events affect it — and how they try to fight it. It’s also a good way to explore various prejudices. I’d originally planned to start the book in the Midwest (my protagonist is from a small town outside Chicago) and have her receive a letter that is the catalyst to moving to New York. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to start building the relationships during a summer stock season on Cape Cod to set the stage (so to speak) for her break with her hometown and childhood sweetheart in active scenes. In other words, this first book will be here, on Cape Cod, before she makes the move to New York. She’ll move to New York in Book Two. I’m also taking some time to develop the first murder victim. I want the reader to know the individual and feel genuine sorrow at the death. It fits more the formula of some of the books written in the actual era, instead of starting in the midst of everything or giving us background we don’t need. Every scene has relevance to the plot, even the ones that won’t seem to until the murderer is revealed.

When I’d written myself out, I got gas for the car and the mower (prices have gone up AGAIN — I’m tired of the way gas prices are manipulated). I mowed the side yard and part of the front, although a big new crop of dandelions sprang up almost immediately.

The cats missed the house guests.

Read Barbara Delinsky’s LAKE NEWS last night. I enjoy her writing.

Up early Tuesday. I have more mowing and repotting to do today, hopefully before the next storm hits, but I also want to get some work done on both BALTHAZAAR and the 1938 mystery.

I’ve also been doing background reading for the one hour pilot. The research reinforces the more jaded view that people basically suck.

However, it was an excellent writing day on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, a total of 22 pages, finishing up one chapter and writing another completely. I was exhausted by the end of it, but it was worth it. I have the research books spread out all around me, and I keep referring back and forth. The constant fact-checking slowed me down, and I still have some more to do when I do the next draft, but I was able to at least make this first one work.

Bad storms came through, with both tornado watches and warnings. The cats were upset and all sat in my lap. We were lucky here, though: thunder, lightening, heavy rain (which we needed). But no tornadoes.

Tried to read a mystery on the Kindle with an interesting premise, but the author or copyeditor didn’t know the difference between a regular plural and a possessive plural, so, after four pages’ worth of mistakes, I gave up. That’s third grade level English, and there’s no excuse for those types of errors in a published book. Read another book on Kindle that was pleasant, but no great shakes. Needed brain candy, but, ultimately, that one left me unsatisfied, too.

Upped the yoga practice to more intensity. I want to try adding another yoga session at night. I used to do that, when I first moved here, and yoga twice a day was great — in the morning, it focuses me and gets me ready for the day; at night, it unwinds me.

Today will be a very long day at the library. We’re short-handed today, and there’s something that needs my full attention that HAS to get done (I started it, but the rest of the information won’t have arrived until today). That means I’ll be putting in extra hours, after the building is closed. I’m working tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, and then I have Sunday and Monday for intense writing. Tuesday, next week, I have appointments.

Worked on BALTHAZAAR again this morning, before I left for the library, but after the intensity of the past few days, it didn’t feel like enough. It was a solid 1500 words, though, so I shouldn’t kick myself about it. There are so many great stories-within-the-story in BALTHAZAAR that I’m tempted to do some chapters set back in pirate days. However, as a reader, I don’t like that convention — having the reader get far ahead of the protagonists — and it doesn’t fit with the way I’ve set up the structure of chapters in the series. Maybe a tie-in novel set there in the future? Or would it be too much like CUTTHROAT CHARLOTTE? I don’t think so, but one never knows. We’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll do a book with Balthazaar, Sybilla, and Charity as the focus, rather than the catalyst, at some point in the future.

The weather, however, is gorgeous, and a wonderful reminder of why I live here.

I have a bad headache which I hope won’t develop into a migraine.

Have a great week!

Devon

Wed. June 10, 2015: Finding a Writing Groove

Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I will be very glad when Mercury goes direct tomorrow. The last few days were tough.

On the positive, delightful side, though, horse racing has a new Triple Crown winner, American Pharoh. What a terrific horse! Not only is it great that there’s a winner, it’s great that it’s this particular horse, because he’s friendly and mellow, as well as being talented, and he makes a great ambassador for the sport. It was a beautiful race. My other pick, Frosted, who I hoped would come in second, did.

Got some gardening done over the weekend, but not enough. Felt exhausted and burned out. Read a lot. After reading a spate of disappointing novels, I was delighted to read some good ones, my favorite being THE HAWLEY BOOK OF THE DEAD by Chryslar Szarlan, which is a wonderful work of magical realism. I also really liked THE GONE DEAD TRAIN by Lisa Turner and THE DRESS SHOP OF DREAMS by Menna Van Park. Read some memoirs and essays, too — mixed bag, those. I got frustrated with the ones justifying bad choices and hurting others.

I’m also reading an amazing non-fiction book, Tina Packer’s THE WOMEN OF WILL, about Shakespeare’s female characters. It makes me realize how much I miss working on Shakespeare.

I let the executive board of the Writers Center know that I will be rotating off the board at the end of my term in October.

I read over what I’ve got on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, INITIATE, TRUE HOME, and even HEART SNATCHER. Did a bit of work on the third draft of HEART SNATCHER. This revision is more complex than the last, because I’m breaking things apart and rearranging them.

I also broke through the difficulties I’ve had on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and I’ve gotten it back on track again, writing twenty seven new pages on Monday and yesterday.

Monday is usually my day off, but I went in to work for a meeting for an event we’re doing at the end of August, came home for a few hours, and then went in to help out with Milbilly Idol. I was drafted to be the third judge, and I’d arranged for the other two judges and hired in another friend to do lights and sound. We had fewer kids than the previous year, but they were cute and it was a good event. My friend and I had a beer at Saga Fusion before heading home.

Yesterday, I wrote all morning, working on BALTHAZAAR, and then headed to the Marine Life Center for a meeting on Canalfest. It went better than I expected. Saw the seals, including the new seal pups (they are so darn cute, it just about breaks your heart). It was too late to make the Spectacle of Trees meeting (which I’m doing with TWO organizations this year), so I waited until the NMLC rep got back to get filled in on that for that tree, and then went home.

Up at 5 today, baked for tomorrow’s author event. Then wrote for awhile. It will be a long day at work today — in fact, I have a long days all week, with tomorrow’s author event and this being my Saturday “on”, and then going to a tango intensive in Wellfleet all weekend.

And, of course, keeping up the pace of the writing. So it’s good, but I have to marshall my energy, and not allow selfish people to drain me.

Having Saturn, Pluto, and Mercury retrograde and dealing with a full moon in Sagittarius wore me out.

Hope everyone is having a great week.

Devon

Fri. June 5, 2015: Planning a Busy Weekend

Friday, June 5, 2015
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Tired. Mentally even more than physically.

Busy day at work yesterday, which is not a bad thing, just busy. Some cataloging, a lot of PR.

Tango was fun – nice teacher and learned some basics in a real step-by-step way (no pun intended), along with stuff to work on between this week and next week.

It was light enough after Tango to go to the beach and see the last of the light fade into twilight. Beautiful. Hard to imagine that in two weeks, it will be the Solstice and then the days get shorter again.

Home, exhausted, to bed reasonably early. Overslept this morning. Couldn’t get any work done on the play, which was frustrating. I know, in my head, where I want the scene to go, but won’t know if I’ll get there until it’s on paper.

I’m absolutely tied in knots about the Belmont Stakes tomorrow. I want American Pharoh to win the Triple Crown. The horse is not only talented, he’s a delightful ambassador for the sport. I’m also worried he won’t.

I need to get a lot of writing and a lot of yard work done this weekend. While I normally have Monday and Tuesday away from work, I’ll be in on Monday morning for a meeting and Monday afternoon for a program. Tuesday, I have to be in two places at once, something I’m not quite sure how I’ll manage. Next week will be exhausting, with programs and the Saturday “on”.

But I just need to look at one thing at a time.

The circus piece is started to form in my head.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Devon

Published in: on June 5, 2015 at 8:34 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. May 1, 2015: A Raw Beltane

Friday, May 1, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and Raw
Beltane

Busy day yesterday, but good busy.

Got the rewritten short story out, on deadline, and got an acknowledgement. I won’t hear back on the status of either story until autumn, so I’m not going to worry about them; I’ll just move on to the contemporary play.

Work was fine.

After work, headed to Cotuit Center for the Arts, for the Mid-Cape Cultural Council grantee reception. I received a grant last year from them for SEAL TIDES; this year, I’d been invited to cheer on the next round of recipients. So that was fun.

Stopped by tango to help clean up.

Read a bit when I got home, went over my final list again for the Indie Next Generation Book Awards – I am solid in my choices, I believe I picked the strongest entries in each category. They go off today.

Overslept a bit, ran errands this morning. Will be a long day, and there’s a lot to get done. I’m working tomorrow, because the person who would normally be “on” is on vacation. The rest of my days off will be about writing and about a major spring house cleaning and yard work.

I’ll celebrate Beltane when I get home tonight.

Have a wonderful start to May!

Devon

Published in: on May 1, 2015 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 1, 2015: A Raw Beltane  
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Thurs. April 30, 2015: Deadlines Met

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, but good day yesterday. Got a lot done.

Came home, worked on the contest entries and the short story. I feel confident about my choices for the Awards. These are the books that stand out from the pack.

At 5 AM this morning, I bolted up and rewrote the short story. I decided that I wasn’t being true to my characters, and trying to force them into a physical, violent solution instead of a more intellectual one that was more in alignment with who they are. So I rewrote it, I’m much happier with it, and it’s off. On time.

So, both short stories and contest materials are done on time. Now, my focus changes to the contemporary play due on June 1, the historical play I want to finish by July first, and the next radio play.

Tonight, I’m going to the Grant Reception for the new recipients of the Mid-Cape Cultural Grants (since I got one last year, they invited me to this year’s reception). Then, I’ll swing by Liberty Hall to help clean up after tango (I won’t be able to participate this week). I’ve got some more research to do tonight for books that are due back into the ComCat system tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be busy, as will the weekend, but I’m looking forward to reading whatever catches my fancy this weekend.

Have a great day!

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2015 at 9:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 30, 2015: Deadlines Met  
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Wed. April 29, 2015: Excellent Writing Days

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy, but good weekend. Excellent writing time.

Saturday, I came back from work, read a bit, cooked dinner, worked on contest entries.

Sunday, I wrote. I wrote nearly two chapters on a book, and I finished the edits on one of the short stories. I realized that the other short story I’m working on has a slower innate pace than what is needed for the intended venue — I can tighten the pace and hurt the story, or I can trust the pace and find a different home for it. I got an idea for a replacement story with a faster pace and more of a noir feel that is more natural to the intended market, so I worked on that.

Sunday night, I was invited to a tango practica in Cotuit — the couple who invited us transformed their basement into a dance studio. It’s magnificent. I learned a lot, and I have some specifics on which to work over the next few weeks. I’ll miss the Thursday lessons and the Sunday practicas, but I’ll also be able to work on a few techniques. If I really put in the work, I won’t fall too far behind.

Monday, I wrote all morning. I proofread the edited story and found some typos. That’s why it’s so important to wait before proofreading — if you proofread as soon as you finish, your brain fixes the typos instead of finding them. Wrote some more on the book. Percolated on the new story.

In the afternoon, I dug into contest entries. My final decisions are due this week, and I want to make sure I give each submission a fair shot. They were created out of love and hard work, and deserve to be given respect, even when the craft is weak. What irks me is when it’s obvious the printed books haven’t been proofread.

Monday night, watched DEATH AT PEMBERLEY. Well done, but the actress who played Elizabeth had poor posture, very modern, and even being in a corset didn’t help. It bothered me. The Empire style of dress shows the shoulder blades and emphasizes the shoulder, so perfect posture is important.

Yesterday, I sent off the completed short stories (typos corrected), ran some errands, and worked on contest entries.

In the evening, I went to an event at the Naked Oyster in Hyannis called “Hobnob”, which was great fun — artists in all disciplines getting together to talk about what they do. I met some very interesting people.

Stopped at the beach on the way home — just love our beaches. I love being near ocean. It’s soothing. In spite of rising sea levels!

Home, am almost finished with the contest entries. I want to go over my top choices one more time tonight.

Also have to finish the noir story tonight and get it out tomorrow.

Today will be a busy day at work, as will tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. I was lazy when it came to yard work this weekend — the broadcast kept saying it would rain, but it was nicer than suspected. Hopefully, this weekend, I can dig in (literally and figuratively) to the yard, and also do a solid houseclean, in preparation for the upcoming vacation and house guests.

Hope you’re having a GREAT week.

Devon

Published in: on April 29, 2015 at 8:47 am  Comments (2)  
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Sat. April 25, 2015: In Support of Shondra Rhimes

Saturday, April 25, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy. Mostly good busy, but busy. Got some cataloging done and some periodicals processed. Worked on programming stuff and book orders and PR. All that good stuff.

Tired when I got home. Cooked dinner, tried to relax a bit. Read until late, but it was worth it. Got some work done on what I hope will be a short story that test drives some characters for a book.

The new play is exciting. I won’t be able to devote full attention to it until next weekend, after I finish the contest entries and short stories due this week, but I feel like I’m actually SAYING something that’s been on my mind for awhile, in an entertaining fashion through interesting characters in a unique situation. I hope I’m right and it’s not just falling too much in love with the piece! ;) That’s due June 1, so I have time to play with it.

Just shaking my head with the inane reaction people are having because Patrick Dempsey left GRAY’S ANATOMY and the hate-mongering towards Shondra Rhimes. Some of it by people who claim to be writers – but, of course, have never worked on a television production or been in a WGA writer’s room. He’d been on the show for ten years. If it was time to move on, it was time to move on, and it’s not like anyone who isn’t directly involved with the show is ever going to know the full, true story. There are multiple points of view and possibilities, and this gossip mongering by people who aren’t in the business and haven’t even set foot on a set just shows how stupid and ignorant the gossips are. The fact that so-called “writers” are trashing one of their own without knowing the story is disgusting.

I stopped watching the show several years ago for lots of reasons. But I respect Shondra Rhimes enormously, and hey, any show that can survive into its 11th season has a lot going for it. Good for all of them. It launched a lot of careers, and supported others in shorter arcs. They worked hard and have something to show for it. Whether or not I personally watch it every week doesn’t matter. Shondra Rhimes is a fellow writer, and I support her. Not that she needs it; she’s doing just fine without me! ;)

If some of the rumors are true and she writes people out when they become a pain in the ass, good for her. One works too long and too hard on a production to put up with crap from anyone, and I have a lot more respect for someone who cuts the deadwood than who allows anyone – be it an actor or a producer or a crew member – get away with treating people badly. I’m actually doing that in my backstage piece — an actor thinks he’s more than he is and becomes a PIA — and he’s gone. Written out. Sayonara, baby, and good riddance to you. If you’ve got that kind of control on your own show — use it.

But the rumors might be just that – rumors. I’m not on the show. I don’t know. I don’t even care that much. I do care that people who work hard are being trashed by those who don’t know anything about the profession and trashed by people who have a hard time finding their own asses with both hands.

Everyone has a right to an opinion on the quality of the show, and whether or not they choose to watch it. But to pass judgment on people they don’t know working in a profession they also know nothing about — a clip of a backstage interview is QUITE different than actually working on set, and I know, because I spent my life working backstage in theatre, film, and television — if you don’t know what you’re talking about, shut the fuck up. Who do you think you are, a Republican political candidate? They’re the ones who think because it drips from their poisoned lips, it’s a fact, even though most of them wouldn’t recognize a fact if it hit them with a two by four.

Up early this morning. Got some work done. Have a breakthrough in the edits of one of the stories. I have to cut one of the scenes I really like, and integrate some of the information into the previous scene. That will get me in under the word count AND serve the piece, so it’s all good.

Headed to CVS – they got my mother’s prescriptions wrong AGAIN. Third month in a row. They used to be great, and would be helpful in fixing a problem – back when we first moved here. And there were rarely problems. The last year and a half or so, there are constant errors and they have no interest in fixing the problems. Seems to me it’s time to switch pharmacies.

Working today, then going back to CVS, hoping they’ve sorted things out, then home to do some yard work and then work on contest entries. I want to get them done by Wednesday.

I also have lots of writing and editing to do.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on April 25, 2015 at 9:34 am  Comments Off on Sat. April 25, 2015: In Support of Shondra Rhimes  
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Thurs. April 9: Life Sorting

Thursday, April 9, 2015
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was a busy, but good day at the library. Got a lot of nuts-and-bolts work done in the morning and brainstorming work in the afternoon.

With my relative’s death overseas, not only am I dealing with the paperwork in a foreign language, but, because she was the widow of another relative who was an artist (who died a year ago), there are further layers. It will take some sorting out, especially since I’m not sure exactly what’s expected of me. So I’ve got a few months of a learning curve.

Came home, exhausted. Ate, got some work done, watched GRANTCHESTER, went to bed early.

I was up before 5 AM this morning, baking for Saturday’s program. By 7, I was ready to go back to bed.

No such luck, though, I’ll be going until about 10 or 11 tonight.

The second story I need to write for the month-end deadline is almost ready for the page. Another story idea popped up early this morning, but, as I’m sorting through it, I realize it’s a novel-length idea. Trying to fit it into 5K will strip it of a great deal of what will make it work for the reader – the character’s journey through the plot obstacles. The premise won’t work for the form – it’s not a “lift the veil on a moment of change” piece, which is what a short story needs to be. It’s “here’s a catalyst and look at the journey” piece.

I have to manage my time very well over the next few days, because there’s a lot competing for my attention, and a lot I need to complete.

Devon

Published in: on April 9, 2015 at 8:31 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 9: Life Sorting  
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Wed. April 8: Lost Weekend — Writing, Not Liquor!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter DIRECT
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. Thursday and Friday were rough at work. Less said, the better. Really frustrated with the group that bought the CAPE COD TIMES newspaper. Not only did they dump all the calendar entries for April’s programs that took me several hours to load — and they dumped them AFTER they’d confirmed them — now, every calendar entry has to be approved by someone sitting in an office in Tennessee. That is simply not acceptable. Someone in Tennessee should not have the authority to approve or refuse a calendar entry about a local event on Cape Cod. Who ever is sitting there probably has never even visited, much less has any idea what’s important to residents. It’s WRONG on so many levels. Local calendar entries for the newspaper need to be handled LOCALLY.

So, I had to lose more hours re-entering everything into a new system, and now I have to wait for approval. From Tennessee. Especially with these crap “religious freedom” laws (which are, in actuality, laws to allow bigotry and discrimination to anyone the passers deem they want to discriminate against), it makes even less sense. If someone in the TN office decides a Cape Cod program is “against” his so-called “religious beliefs”, does that give him the right to refuse publication?

Finished watching the second season of MISS FISHER over the weekend. The energy and pace were off in a few of the early episodes, and then it picked up steam again as the season progressed. Read the first three books, too. Very different from the series. Since each is a completely different format, each works in its own way. The Phryne-Jack relationship is vital to the series, as is the Dot-Hugh relationship, in a way that isn’t in the books (Hugh isn’t even in the three I’ve read so far). Those relationships are what connect the viewer and make the episodes work within the time framework of each one, whereas the prose canvas is broader, and there’s more room for the other elements. Very interesting to see the differences, and how each works in its own format.

Scriptwriting isn’t “just dialogue” as so many prose writers who want to adapt their novels think. Scriptwriting is visual storytelling. Yes, dialogue is important, but so is choosing what the audience sees, and putting it on the page in such a way that the director and the creative team can fulfill the vision, without dictating every detail.
It’s a completely different way of telling the story.

Worked through quite a few contest entries. The disparity between what works and what doesn’t is far larger this year than in previous years. I finished all the print entries in one of the categories (I still have a few on Kindle), and I’m diving into the second category. The third category has only a few entries, so that won’t take long.

Watched THE IMITATION GAME over the weekend. It was well done, but Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance was a little too mannered for me. I like his intensity, I like his work, but he rarely surprises me any more. Keira Knightley was terrific. Also watched INTO THE WOODS. I’m a big Sondheim fan, and I loved the Broadway production. This one was clever, but I still think it works better on stage than on screen. Meryl Streep was wonderful. The actors playing Jack and Red Riding Hood reminded me of typical Broadway belter kids. There were lots of great moments by everyone throughout, although I thought Johnny Depp’s work was too close to his work in both ALICE IN WONDERLAND and WILLIE WONKA.

We got news of the death of a family member in Europe. It wasn’t someone I knew well, but it still leaves a hole, and there’s paperwork, and lots of other things to take care of.

Sunday was Easter. Since it didn’t rain, I did quite a bit of yard work. Not that it’s visible yet. There’s still plenty more to do. Monday it was supposed to rain, but didn’t, so I did even more yard work, including starting to clean out the front beds. There’s a little progress there, but I still have a lot more work to do, and I can’t do any of it until next weekend. Took a carload full of leaf bags to the dump. Replanted all eighteen heads of lettuce and six Brussels sprout plants. Started two kinds of tomato seeds, borage, feverfew, basil, parsley, and bok choy. Moved some of the potted trees and shrubs out of the garage and back onto the deck.

Tuesday, I was supposed to do taxes and finish the microfilm reels. Instead, I wrote a 5691 draft of a new short story. I have two short stories due at the end of the month. I’d been thinking, percolating, on some ideas, and this one burst forth. I thought I was only going to write 1 or 2K, but I was on a roll, and just kept going. Wrote the whole first draft in one day (practically one sitting, although I got up to pace and mutter fairly frequently).

It felt good, I got to figure out some stuff that was bothering me, and push it to its ridiculous limits and enjoy it. I like the characters, I like the premise. It’s 691 words above the limit, so there’s some serious cutting in its future. Either that, or I need to expand it by about 2K for a different market, and that leaves me still having to write two stories by the end of the month. So I’ll try to cut first. There’s a little too much of my Freudian slip showing in this one, so I’ll have to smooth this out. Great to have catharsis in writing, but therapy is not interesting to readers. Time to cut the navel-gazing and layer in the craft.

Far too many “writers”, when faced with a word count limit (especially in class assignments), ignore it. When called out about it, they go, “ha, ha, ha, I had too much story to fit.” Well, bunny boo, the limit is the limit. Either cut it down to fit, OR WRITE ANOTHER DAMN STORY THAT DOES. It’s called “craft.”

I was exhausted and out of words by the end of the day, although the next story is poking up from the subconscious to the conscious. I’m worried that, if I start it, I’ll lose all track of everything again.

Because, last night, I screwed up. I was supposed to attend a town meeting having to do with changes in parking and sidewalks that will adversely affect the library. I looked at the clock and had plenty of time. I started to do “one more thing.” The next time I looked at the clock, it was 9 PM, and I’m sure the meeting was winding up. I tried to justify it by reminding myself that it was my day off, and I put in far too many hours above and beyond my scheduled work time, but I still felt badly. There’s no excuse, no matter how I try to make myself feel better. I should have been there, and I wasn’t.

I had odd dreams all weekend. One night, I dreamed I moved back to San Francisco. Another night, I dreamed about genealogy. I don’t know WHOSE genealogy I was working on — it sure wasn’t my own family’s.

The upcoming week will be stressful, as will next week. Today is a basic, long workday. Tomorrow is pretty basic, with tango at night. Friday, I have a Chamber breakfast in Hyannis before work, then the work day, then a program that will probably last until 10 PM. I have to be in first thing on Saturday, and then there’s another program on Saturday afternoon, so I’m pulling a 10-5 day instead of a 10-2 day. I have Sunday and Monday to finish taxes and microfilm. Tuesday, I have a meeting in the afternoon (where I’m there for two different organizations), and then a program at the library at night. A week from today is another big program at the library, and so on and so forth.

I was up at 5:30 this morning, because I have so much to do before I go to work, including paperwork that has to go off to Germany. Somewhere in all this, I have to figure out where I’m going to bake and prepare “the light refreshments” we’re serving Saturday afternoon.

Thirty-two days until my vacation. I desperately need it. BEFORE that, I have to finish the contest entries, two stories, do the final edit on the radio play, and get it out. Plus all the programs at work. Plus put together some materials for the Marine Life Center.

It’s a busy month.

Devon

Published in: on April 8, 2015 at 9:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 8: Lost Weekend — Writing, Not Liquor!  
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Sat. March 28, 2105: After Effects of World Theatre Day

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

At least it’s not snow – yet! Modified to, it started snowing as I wrote this!

Yesterday was a day that was both exhilarating and exhausting. It was busy at work.

Plus, it was World Theatre Day. Few places in the US did anything for it – at least as far as I know. I had the radio plays running all day – people came in to listen to them, and enjoyed them. One person even admitted that he was named for a lead character in one of the old radio shows!

I got quite a few emails from people and theatre in the international community, which was great. Although a lot of them were in French. I took French in school. I can read it. I comprehend most of what’s said to me. But I have trouble speaking it – I’m not fluent. At least it was email, so I could take my time and look things up. Hopefully, I didn’t make too many mistakes! But it was fun to have so many people so excited about theatre’s importance and impact on the world. It’s not regarded as highly in the US as it is elsewhere; nor are writers and the power of words given the same respect in the US as elsewhere. So it was wonderful and intense all at once. I just wasn’t quite expecting it!

I did a Skype talk in the evening with a group that was doing a 24 hour marathon of readings and talks. That was fun. I had an interpreter, thank goodness, because, with my poor French, I would have said something inappropriate!

Later, to decompress, I started watching the first season of an Australian TV series called MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES, set in Melbourne in the 1920s. I liked it a LOT – Essie Davis, Nathan Page, and Hugo Johnstone-Burt are outstanding. They’re very clever, and the costumes! Marion Bryce is my hero!

This morning, I’m tired. I feel like I’m out of words. Had to go out to the store early to pick up some things and put gas in the car. Did some rewrites on the Prague section of COLLABORATIVE BIRTH.

Library this morning, then home (with a quick stop at the wine store). Then, it’s an intense weekend of writing and research.

Devon

Fri. March 27, 2015: Inspiration and World Theatre Day

Friday, March 27, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold
WORLD THEATRE DAY

Busy day yesterday, with PubServe meeting in the morning. Everyone liked the baked goods, which is always satisfying!

Busy afternoon at the library, trying to catch up on everything on the desk that didn’t get done in the morning! Also, prepping for World Theatre Day – getting posters made, doing a display, etc. Interacting with international theatres – who seem more involved than US theatres. Good thing I can get by even in my ill-used, high school French! ;) Seriously, it’s been a joy to interact with other theatres all over the world, who have a passion through creating positive change in performance. Theatre is given a much higher purpose of place in other countries.

Why do we need theatre? Why is it so different from prose or film? Because nothing can replace the live experience, the exchange of energy between performer and audience. You can do a show eight times a week for years, but every single performance is different and can never be exactly replicated because it is LIVE. There is a deep satisfaction, from the soul, in a good piece of theatre, both on a performance and an audience level. Nothing else comes close. I

Ran home, ate too much, and then headed back for Tango. I had fun, but I also had trouble catching on during the lesson. I don’t know why I was having trouble – I overcomplicated things, and I was fighting years of dance training. Instead of a simple pivot, my legs wanted to go into fourth position. It was hard to listen to the leader’s body, rather than relying on a count. I have to think of this as a different style rather than thinking of it as “unlearning” and relearning”.

Came home, and had an idea, inspired by World Theatre Day, to rewrite one of the Prague chapters in COLLABORATIVE BIRTH. Up too late, but it was worth it.

Dreamed additional rewrites (hopefully, I won’t lose the thread). Overslept, and had to scramble to get ready for work.

Today will be busy at the library. I’m going to write tonight. Tomorrow’s my day “on”, so I’ll be working in the mid-day.

The rest of the days will be tied up in writing, doing the last pass on the radio play (which goes out next week), and do the microfilm research. I also have to do some basic things, like laundry and getting in cat food and cat litter.

Today, during World Theatre Day, we’ve got radio plays running all day (I brought in my CDs). Hoping that having the radio play rhythms running in the background will keep me on track for the next radio plays coming up.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on March 27, 2015 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 27, 2015: Inspiration and World Theatre Day  
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