Fri. May 17, 2019: Inspiration & Focus

Friday, May 17, 2019
First day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

I got some work done at the library. Sent out notes to the person who organized the panel and my fellow panelists, thanking them for including me. Worked on articles.

My brain needed a break in the afternoon. I did a little bit of trimming and pruning in the yard, but, most of the day, I just read.

SHELL GAME, by Sara Paretsky, is one of the best books I’ve read lately. A social justice mystery, she reminds us how to seamlessly integrate what’s happening in the world with a heart-pounding mystery around great characters. I’ve always liked her work, but this is probably my favorite of all the books.

Doing some research on a couple of different projects. Working on articles, working on pitches. My main focus this weekend will be GRAVE REACH, the new play, and polishing “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” so it can go out next week. If the weather is decent, I’ll do more yard work.

Yoga was good yesterday; I’m glad I went.

Next week will be stressful on several fronts. I’m hoping a strong, productive writing weekend will counteract some of the stress.

The Go Fund Me is still on for a few more days; I’m hoping next stage car repair can happen next week.

Ran some errands, got out some pitches. I’m ready for a nap.

But first, I write.

Thursday, May 9, 2019: Phases of Stress

Thursday, May 09, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Well, I just feel beat up six ways from Sunday.

If you get a chance, I’d appreciate if you could share my Go Fund Me link for the car repair.

With no car, and public transportation less than wonderful in this area, I switched around my day on site with a client. I’ll go in tomorrow instead. I walked down to the library (only about a mile and a third); it was a pleasant day, I didn’t mind.

Got some work done there. One of the volunteers was kind enough to drive me home when she left (and it meant I could take home the heavy books that came in).

I brought out some of the big pots onto the deck and did some pruning. I should have done more, but I was exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Got a pitch out to a high-paying consumer magazine. Got out a couple of other pitches and LOIs.

Trying not to let the stress of the situation incapacitate me, because that won’t solve anything.

Cooked a lovely dinner of chicken in garlic and wine, served with mashed potatoes and spinach. A friend gave me an amazing bottle of Blood Orange Rose – one of the best wines I’ve ever drunk.

Up early this morning. Got some good work in on ELLA BY THE BAY, and will put in some work on GRAVE REACH later today.

The driver was over an hour late to pick me up, but I got there. Phase One of the car repair is done. I can drive it short distances, but I have to be careful on construction, bad roads, etc., until Phase Two is done. Then, there will be Phase Three and Four, but at least we’ve broken up the repairs over time. And I can get to my local client, although I can’t visit any long distance clients or go over the bridge until it’s all done.

Getting out a couple more pitches this morning. I’ll have to mow the front yard this afternoon (it’s supposed to rain tomorrow). I’m onsite with my client tomorrow for a few hours, then have a lot of local errands to run. Saturday I’ll have to take the garbage to the dump; we’re at capacity.

I have a book to read for review, and I also want to do a push on finishing “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and the first draft of a short play that’s due in NYC at the end of the month. I’m trying to pick up some extra one-and-done high-paying assignments.

I can’t go away for Memorial Day, but I’m going to take some time off and decompress. Memorial Day isn’t that far away!

Sent in the winners and finalists on the contest; invoiced today.

The worst part of this experience is it makes me feel worthless as a human being. I realize that most people don’t have a spare $2300 sitting around, and it’s not unusual to be panicked by something like this. But it still makes me feel like a failure.

That ridiculous USA today article that accused “most people” of “typically” spending $1800 month “they don’t need” – by the way, lunch and personal grooming was included in that – enraged me.

First of all, I don’t know many people who have $1800 they can spend on non-essentials. Second, “essentials” has a wide range. Plus, we need some joy in our lives or we can’t survive. Who is this study to decide what is “essential” and not? And, if one more person does the whole, “For a cup of coffee, you can . . .” or “just don’t buy your $5 cup of coffee and you’ll be financially solvent in six months.”

Total B.S.

Especially since I don’t go out and buy $5 coffees every day. Most of the time, I make coffee at home – that tastes better. A coffee at a coffeehouse? A great treat. I might do it once every few months, meeting a friend or colleague. I hardly ever eat out. I bring my lunch with me when I work onsite – both because of cost and because it’s too isolated to effectively go out to lunch. I don’t take taxis or rideshares; I don’t need them.

Nor do I feel deprived by not doing those things. I LIKE the coffee I make at home (and it keeps the experience of coffee out as a treat). I’m a cook. I like it and I’m good at it. I like cooking at home and eating at home, and cooking for friends. I don’t keep a standing appointment to get my hair cut mostly because I don’t like the way most of the salons do it here.

It’s a bogus study meant to economically shame people who are barely getting by, and who might indulge themselves in a meal out or a treat once in awhile. It’s ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll have a decent weekend of writing, gardening, and reading. And I’ll do extra yoga and meditation to de-stress.

I’m reading Emily Nagoski’s Burnout. Every two or three pages I burst into tears because it’s so relevant to what I’m going through right now. Hopefully, I can learn some good coping techniques.

In any case, for me, today, it’s back to the page.

Mon. May 6, 2019: Inner Peace – What Does That Mean? #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, May 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

I’m interested in exploring this topic with you over the month. Because I’m stymied.

“Inner Peace” is something amorphous to me. We hear a lot about it, but what does it feel like?

I honestly can think of moments when I felt it. When I felt content and calm, and happy to be in that moment.

But then life continued, and that “inner peace” fled.

I’ve read dozens of books on how to achieve it. None of them worked. Most of them were so far removed from the realities of my life that they left me more unsettled than when I started.

My conclusion from this is that I’m going to have to come up with both my own definition, and find ways to attempt it. If any of my attempts help you, I’m glad of it. If you have suggestions, feel free to drop a comment. I’m happy to hear them.

My idea of Inner Peace is to find that place in my core where I can meet the world with grace and serenity, even when I’m battened by exterior forces on all sides.

Yeah, I don’t see achieving that any time soon.

The moments I can feel it and recognize it are valuable, though. But how do I get there?

I realize that the world is not all about me. But, quite frankly, I sometimes feel that not enough of it IS about me. Constant demands are made on me to accommodate everyone around me, yet too often, they are not willing to offer me even a fraction of the same.

It’s something I’ve found increasingly frustrating over the past few years. Non-reciprocity.

No interaction will be exactly even, because we each have our own value system. But when things get too far out of balance, it causes distress, illness, and unhappiness.

There has to be at least some reciprocity, be it tangible or emotional.

Far too many people intone, in sonorous voices, about detachment and lowering expectations. I’m going to write an entire post on detachment. We will get to that. But lowering expectations? That’s part of the reason we’re in such a global societal mess in the first place. We’ve devalued intelligence and lowered expectations. The bar for basic decency is so low that it’s buried.

It’s important to remember that, whenever possible, you need to disengage from the toxic. I’m more pro-active about that now on social media. Every time I unfollow or block someone toxic, I feel like a burden has been lifted. Not just from my shoulders, but my heart.

Disengaging from toxic emotional vampires helps with inner peace.

I think of “peace” as being a quiet place, whereas “happiness” is more active.

But in order to find peace, I have to define what makes me happy.

Sometimes that means recognizing that people, situations, things I assumed were givens make me unhappy, and doing what I can to eliminate or change them. Sometimes, I don’t even realize that something or someone made me unhappy until that thing or person is no longer part of my life.

So for me, the first steps to inner peace mean recognizing what makes me happy. Naming those things and deciding how to appreciate them more in the moment, and give myself more moments with them.

Being aware of those moments of happiness while I’m IN those moments, taking what I call an “emotional snapshot” and holding the moment with gratitude makes me more aware of when they come up, and they give me a sense memory to draw on in more difficult times –and in my writing.

Writing makes me happy, even on the tough days. For me, when I need to come to center, to where it all starts for me, it always takes me back to the writing. It’s how I make sense of the world. How I make sense of myself.

For me, inner peace starts with a steady writing schedule, and a constant creation process. It starts with not allowing anyone to sabotage that process (including myself). It starts with recognizing that I am a writer to my bones and my soul, and working forward from there.

 

Fri. May 3, 2019: The Slow Climb Back to Productivity

Friday, May 3, 2019
Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Feeling a little better. Physically tired, but the emotional exhaustion is starting to level off. I’ll take whatever progress I can get.

Wrote yesterday morning, then got some work done at the library. Got some LOIs out. Yoga. Afternoon and evening spent on contest entries. I plan to finish them this weekend, so I can make my final decisions early next week. I’m delighted that there are so many strong contenders, but the final decision will be difficult for the same reason. I can’t give all the deserving books an award. I have to pick the best for the limited slots.

This morning, wrote some more into the new project. It feels good, although it’s taking some unusual twists. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Figured out an important catalyst in THE BARD’S LAMENT, which is Sylvie’s book, the fifth Coventina Circle.

Working on an article about Coventina. Working on my other article. Working on a letter of support for an organization with which I used to work closely.

Some errands today, and then I’m focused on writing and contest entries all weekend. If the weather allows, I’ll sneak in some yard work.

May you have a beautiful weekend!

Thurs. May 2, 2019: Trying to Get Back in The Groove

Thursday, May 2, 2019
Day Before Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

I’m still struggling to get my energy back. Still feeling burned to a crisp. I’m going to take a little extra time around Memorial Day Weekend and just relax. But that’s still four weeks away. I have to find pockets of rest in there, or I won’t make it.

Onsite work with a client was fine. I played with some ideas for a new marketing campaign. Threw out most of them, because I couldn’t see how we’d get a worthwhile return. There were a couple of minor irritants, but nothing that was a big deal. The long term picture is getting sharper, and I’m more aware of the pieces I have to rearrange to achieve what I need and want.

Picked up a few groceries. I was so tired in the store that I stood holding a can of tuna wondering why the label made no sense — until I realized it was cat food, not people food.

Came home, worked on contest entries, made dinner, re-watched THE NEWSROOM. Played with some ideas.

Woke up around 3 AM, managed to get back to sleep for a few hours. Wrote 1K of a new project. I’m going to write about four chapters to see if it’s viable. Then my 1K on GRAVE REACH. I actually have to up the 1K/day on GRAVE REACH this month, in order to get everything done.

Headed for the library to get some work done, bring back some books, pick up some books. Then, there’s yoga. I might swing by a client’s quickly in the afternoon to take care of one thing so it’s not hanging over me.

Then, it’s back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push on them this weekend, so I can start making my final decisions next week. They’re due on the 10th, and I want to make sure everything is in good shape. I’m also starting to fill out the electronic scoring sheets. It’s a process.

I’m working on the Tip Sheet for the panel discussion for the event I’m doing on the 15th.

At some point in the next few days, I have to make multiple dump runs for the household garbage, recycling, and yard waste. Don’t like doing it in the rain, though.

Doing more Caribbean research, and continuing with classic ocean liner research.

Need to get some LOIs out, and work on an article, and an article pitch. Also have to make requests for a couple more article quotes. I have to finish and send off some letters in support of an organization with which I used to be affiliated, and also prepare some interview questions for a writer who’s guesting on the blog.

Never a dull moment. Which is a good thing. If I can beat this fatigue, I’ll be fine. It’s hard to think straight when I’m so tired, and I’m making stupid mistakes.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. May 1, 2019: Recalibration Time

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool
Beltane

Blessed Beltane, for those who celebrate!

The May To Do list is up on the GDR site. I have to re-think a few things, so it’s subject to change.

I can’t shake this overwhelming fatigue. Je suis très fatigue.

Because even exhaustion sounds better in French!

Worked with a client. Started working on the thanks yous and follow ups for the conference, but I’m behind. Started sending requests for quotes on an article on which I’m working. I have to craft a letter for the Bourne Town Council, which is giving a local organization for which I have great respect a hard time, thanks to a damned developer.

Working on contest entries.

Trying to recalibrate what I want and need from my work and how to get it.

It’s hard to think straight when I’m so tired I can barely sit up.

Plugging along with the book. Have to get back to the play this weekend. Have some new web content to write and get up, and I want to write ahead on a few posts for Upbeat Authors and for Ink-Dipped Advice.

I’m having trouble with A2 Hosting and their insistence that I can only access my websites from a single, fixed IP address. That simply is not my life. I travel. I work from different machines in different locations. I need to get on when I need to from where I need to. They don’t protect from hackers, but they prevent me from accessing the sites for which I pay. That’s wrong on so many levels.
So I guess I’ll be moving hosts again when this contract is up. Which is a shame, because I like everything else about them.

Meanwhile, I’m as happy as can be with my registrations over on Name Silo. No drama. Great customer service.

The weather isn’t letting me do yard work. The grass is growing nicely (a good thing), but it needs mowing. However, unlike some of my neighbors, I don’t believe it’s useful to mow in the rain.

I desperately need some time off, but I don’t know when I’ll get it. I need a few days with no demands of any kind made on me, where I can just create each day as it unfolds.

Some of the research books came for the Caribbean. That’s where I’m setting this Shiny New Project — and they also serve two other projects on which I’m working.

I’m also working on the forensic psychology books I have for GRAVE REACH.

All interesting stuff.

I need more energy, so I can make better use of my time.

Onward.

Published in: on May 1, 2019 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. April 23, 2019: Just Trying to Keep Juggling

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Yesterday was Earth Day. It was kind of rainy and gloomy here. One of these days, my time off and the weather will align. It wasn’t yesterday.

The weekend was busy, yet there isn’t much of interest to write about. I spent the bulk of it polishing my presentation for the weekend, and putting together the handout packets.

Time not spent on the presentation was spent working on contest entries. I’m in good shape with them, and there are some exciting books to consider as finalists.

Did some percolating on a few ideas; did some percolating on GRAVE REACH, but not much writing on it. Wrestled with “Aurora Nightingale” — but still not satisfied.

I like the way GRAVE REACH is working — I’m kind of a little bit in love with Sam, my male protagonist, which is a good thing!

Re-read what I have of THE TIE-CUTTER yesterday. It’s good, and is a book I’d like to get back to, once my contracted deadlines are cleared out.

I pitched an article on Friday; if it’s accepted, I can turn it around pretty fast. The editor requested an outline. For a 600 word article, that seems a little much (especially since I’ve written for this publication a half a dozen times), but hey, that’s what the editor wants, so that’s what the editor gets.

Didn’t make it to meditation yesterday; 4 PM just doesn’t work for me on many a Monday. I still sit at home, though. Every day. And I’ve packed my travel yoga mat for the conference. I’ll keep to my yoga and meditation practice there, too.

Client work will be stressful this week, because my client is going on a big trip and we have to get everything ready and out ahead of time. I’m trying to keep myself prepared both mentally and physically for this week’s challenges.

And keep writing.

 

Wed. April 3, 2019: Rolling With It

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Day Before Dark Moon
Rainy and stormy

This is always the lowest energy day of the month for me, the day before the dark moon. But there’s a lot I need to get done today.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, for a post on the importance of seizing opportunity.

I forgot to mention that, on Monday morning, as I pulled out of the driveway, a flock of wild turkeys were roaming around my neighbor’s yard. Yesterday morning, a little before 6 AM, they were having another party. It’s pretty funny.

Got some information Monday that changed my entire week’s schedule. For the better. I’d already figured I wasn’t going to make it to meditation Monday afternoon; nor will I make it to my regular yoga class tomorrow.

Was up very late on Monday, working on a project that had to be finished by Tuesday (because of the rest of the week’s schedule shifts, I had to finish it earlier than I planned).

Up far too early on Tuesday, making sure two pieces I had to get out that morning (again, early, because of the schedule changes) were ready to go.

Had to go in early to the client’s, to deal with an issue that came up, and then had a session there that was, by turns, challenging and fun. But exhausting.

Had another appointment after that, plus errands to run (again, due to the schedule change; normally, I would have done those later in the week).

I’ll be rather quiet on the blog until next week. I can’t discuss the details of what I’m up to right now, but it’s a combination of good things, and I’ll have a lot to share next week. Plus, I’ll be talking about going up to see my show performed.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on April 3, 2019 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 3, 2019: Rolling With It  
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Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Only a few more days until Mercury goes direct. The last week of it is always difficult for me. I’m just trying to keep my head down and keep going.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my essay on how the wonderful book SCRATCH, essays and interviews where writers talk about money, had a strong impace.

If you ever dream of writing for film or television, I hope you’ve kept up with how the WGA is fighting to make sure agents avoid conflicts of interest with their “packaging”. I’ve always hated it. Michael Ovitz talks about how he came up with the idea in his memoir. Agents are supposed to represent their clients, not act like additional producers. If they want to produce and create art, then they should switch jobs. But representing both sides of a negotiation — no. We’ll never know how many mediocre projects could have been stellar if the best people for the job had been hired instead of the project “packaged.” There’s a balanced post with both sides of the argument here. I’m also sharing a post by David Simon, who created Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire, who has a great piece about his personal experience with  the practice here.

Friday was about running errands, getting some writing done, working on books for review, and reading contest entries.

We had some snow on Friday night into Saturday, just enough to look like someone dumped powdered sugar over everything. I wrote in the morning, then we took the recycling in to the dump and ran more errands, then wrote more.

Sunday, more writing. Which was upset by the jackasses using leaf blowers. Leaf blowers should be banned on Sundays. Period. Unless it’s clean up after a hurricane or something.

I took a social media break for most of the weekend. I checked in now and then, mostly due to the Mueller Report. But there were too many early-career writers having the same questions, refusing to do any homework, the same arguments over and over and over again.

Everyone needs to start somewhere, to find community, to find encouragement, to learn. But all this repetition shows that people AREN’T learning from each other or researching answers. They can’t be bothered. They’re too in love with the sound of their own tweets, obsessing on how many thousands of followers they can accumulate, or why they lose followers.

But they expect and demand writers with more experience to take away time from their own work to answer questions easily answered by a Google search or by picking up any of the writing magazines. And then, instead of thanking the experienced writer for the time — they start arguing.

Shut the hell up. Say thank you. If you choose not to use the advice, fine. But don’t waste our time and throw our generosity back in our faces by arguing. Every minute spent answering a newbie question is a minute spent away from our own work. Time we can NEVER get back. Most of the time, we are happy to help. Hey, if we can spare someone pain from our own experience, of course we’ll do it. We don’t expect groveling. We don’t expect everything we suggest to work for you. But we expect basic courtesy. Act like the professional you claim you want to grow into. Learn the protocols of your industry, and behave with grace. Because professionals in any industry talk to each other, and remember the asshats. Don’t be a creative vampire.

Sunday into Monday was a challenge. Bad dreams, lonely coyote howls, strange night-calling birds. Awake by 3:30, couldn’t get back to sleep before the alarm went off.

Monday was mostly onsite with a client. A big marketing package I worked on was approved and will now go out. I’m getting us on some additional influencer channels. Meditation group was a much-needed relief.

Monday night was the performance/broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” in Florida. I look forward to hearing how it went.

Today and tomorrow will be with clients, and then it’s down to another few days of intense writing.

April is going to be a busy month, and I have to work to make sure it’s a good busy.

 

Published in: on March 26, 2019 at 5:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires  
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Fri. March 15, 2019: The Ides of March & Need for Focus

Friday, March 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
The Ides of March

I’ll be re-visiting Shakepeare’s JULIUS CAESAR today. If you don’t understand why, look up the Ides of March.

We’re supposed to get a big rain storm later today; I’m trying to get everything done ahead of time.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the mid-March check-in.

Didn’t get as much writing done yesterday as I’d hoped. Same song, different day, right? I got some blog posts done, and I started putting together the ideas to help hungry kids for the resource sheet. I’m going to have to research some of the suggestions and put useful links in there, too. It’ll take awhile.

Some additional mansplainers jumped in to defend the mansplainer. Really? I can’t be bothered with any of them. Not worth the time or energy for engagement.

The next book for review arrived. So I have two. I want to turn them around fairly quickly (while still giving them my full attention).

Working on the monologues. I’ll start rehearsing them this weekend, and see which ones I want to read.

Working on the pitches. I didn’t think they’d take this long to craft, but I want to do them well. I’d like to start solid relationships with these trade journals, so it’s not just one-and-done.

April is shaping up to be a hugely busy month. I will have very little downtime. I have to be organized, keep my head screwed on straight, and stay focused. It’s all the right kind of busy, but it doesn’t stop it from being damn busy.

I’m determined to make it a happy month.

Saddened and angered by the terrorist attack in New Zealand. Especially since the terrorists were inspired by the Narcissistic Sociopath and his enablers. Truly disgusting how his poison spreads around the world.

A few more things to do out and about today. Got the grocery shopping out of the way first thing. It took me 5 minutes to make a right turn out of my little street. The snow birds are back. Urgh.

Then back to the page, both as a writer and a reader.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on March 15, 2019 at 9:11 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 15, 2019: The Ides of March & Need for Focus  
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Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
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Wed. Feb. 20, 2019: Middle Day

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Expecting another storm

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the weekly take on business.

Client work was fine yesterday.

Sent off the comic ghost story radio play. Dug into the Straw Hat Circuit mystery radio drama. Worked on the monologue, but we’re supposed to get another storm tonight, so I might not be able to go and test it.

I had to order a copy of a book I know I own, that I need as background, from the library, because I don’t know where my copy is packed. I need to live somewhere with enough space to unpack all my books!

Prepping for a meeting with a potential new client on Friday.

Ridiculously excited that the leek and scallion seeds have already started to sprout.

That’s pretty much the deal. I’m writing and reading and working a lot. It’s a typical middle day in a busy week, but a least it’s the good kind of busy.

With all the chaos going on, I’m going to grab as many moments of happiness, or a least contentment, as I can!

Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 6:28 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 20, 2019: Middle Day  
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Thurs. Feb. 14 , 2019: It’s the Work

valentines-day-2057745_1920

Thursday, February 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Once I decided to celebrate the holiday in the way I want, rather than the way advertisers told me I should, I was much happier.

Yesterday’s Ink-Dipped Advice post hit a nerve for a lot of people. I’m glad it helped. If you haven’t yet read it, you can find it here.

I’m finally free of 1&1.com. I am so happy I wish I’d had the knowledge, the courage, and the determination to leave them years ago.

Client work was fine. Stopped at the grocery store, and some dumbass white dude thought it would be “funny” to scare me in the parking lot by grabbing me from behind. I used to live on the Deuce, 42nd Street, in NYC. You don’t grab me from behind and scare me. I react. He’s lucky he didn’t need stitches. It’s not funny to go up behind a woman you’ve never met (or even one you have) and grab her from behind. It is not “funny” to deliberately scare someone like that.

Since the 2016 election, this happens more and more and more. And I’m in this little town on Cape Cod. It shouldn’t be happening anywhere, but it definitely shouldn’t be happening here. And it’s always white guys. Of all ages.

Finished reading the book for review. I’m polishing the review and sending it off this morning.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have some LOIs to get out, and some article pitches to prepare. I need to finish the polish on the short comic ghost story radio play, work on the novels, work on the monologues.

So, for me, it’s back to the page.

 

Published in: on February 14, 2019 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 14 , 2019: It’s the Work  
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