Thursday, June 17, 2004
Exhausted. And angry. Never a good combination.
Yesterday’s two show day was rough. It’s frustrating when there is so much inconsistency in a show that it feels like starting from scratch every time you enter the room. In twenty plus years of theatre, I’ve never felt that on any other show.
On top of that, I told them I didn’t want to do two separate tracks on Saturday – it’s too much and will be a big mess. Have me do one or the other. However, they are having me do exactly what I told them would be detrimental to the show to do, because it’s easier for them than picking up the telephone. They trained 85 damn swings in these tracks. It’s not my fault they’re incompetent and the good ones are unavailable.
I’m not one of the lazy ones. There are plenty of times I’ve done two different tracks in a show on the same day, sometimes two different shows in two different buildings. I know what I can do. When I make a request like that, it’s with a solid basis. And I expect my request to be respected. If it was a well-run, well set-up, consistent show – which it should be, nine months into the run – it wouldn’t be a problem. This one is a problem. Every show comes up with a rhythm. Because it’s live, there’s variation every performance, but there’s still an internal rhythm. This show has none, and it’s inexcusable. And unnecessary.
And this happens ONCE. I do not stay somewhere where I am not respected.
The important thing is to still do my show with my level of professionalism – to hell with the people who run around talking about how much they don’t care. If they don’t care, they shouldn’t be working on the show. It’s unfair to take out my anger on either the actors or anyone else working the show, so I make sure not to do so. The situation has been set, and I need to respond to it in the way that works the best for me. Every time I’ve tried to be cooperative and flexible with them, they push farther. I have a line, and once that line is crossed, there’s no turning back. I’ve given fair warning. What they don’t realize is that I don’t go back on my word. And when I’m done, I’m DONE. I’m like a cat. The ears go back, the hackles rise, and if you don’t heed the warning, you will get slashed.
Enough about the show.
I revised chapter 68 of The Widow’s Chamber before I left yesterday morning. I caught an error I made in an earlier episode and decided to refer to that earlier mistake (calling another character by the wrong name) as a character choice.
My cell phone battery died and won’t recharge. So I’ll have to buy a new one, at some point.
Highlights for Children didn’t give me the prize for a short story that I forgot I submitted. At least there’s no ego involved there, because I forgot about the submission. I think it’s in my submission log – will have to check when I have the five minutes to update the log. So now I can submit it elsewhere and take longer to write the story for next year’s contest. Considering I wrote the piece in two hours, I’d say taking extra time might be a good thing. (I found out about the deadline the day of the deadline). Looking at the story, I want to rework it a bit. I made cuts in it to fit word count, and I want to put back some of what I cut out, because the point of the story is the character’s anxiety at the gift she’s bringing to a classmate’s birthday party not being expensive enough, and I cut some of the sections that build that tension.
Candlewick rejected a query, but I have to look up for what. I think I queried them on two different projects, and since they simply jammed a form letter into the envelope, I have to look up for what.
An agent sent a rejection – must have been for the hockey book – which means they’ve had the query for over a year! I stopped querying agents on the book last fall, and had started that January. Not a big loss on my part, I’d say. If it takes a year to answer a query letter, that business practice does not give me confidence in their representational (not to mention organizational) abilities. It’s rather amusing.
I left the notebook with the notes for Ellie Jamieson on my desk, instead of carrying it with me. In other words, that notebook has now become the “Ellie Jamieson” notebook instead of one of the notebooks I carry with me at all times to jot down ideas (called the “Fragment” notebooks). Did some character work on Ellie’s two children, Zack and Zoë, and on Ellie’s ex-husband and his new wife, Belinda.
Standing on the train platform waiting for the NY train and watching the Acela race by (okay, it’s six hours late, but it’s racing to maybe make up the time?), makes me want to take a trip via said train down to Washington DC, haunt the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian for a few days, then head to Boston for a few days. Now, if I could find someone to pay me to take the trip, even better.
I want a garden with butterflies and lightening bugs.
Character work on the BTP. I want the British solider to have Scottish origins, which means I have to research the way the British military was set up in 1773 as far as allowing Scotsmen to hold rank. Or did they remain completely within their own brigades? Or are they called regiments? Time to use the dictionary. Were any Scottish regiments here in 1773? I know that there was a regiment of Scottish Highlanders in the Battle of New Orleans, but what about pre-Revolution? Maybe it’s actually a history of the Scottish military I need to research.
Maybe this time I should start with the encyclopedia.
I’m reading a biography of Andrew Jackson that’s giving me inspiration for The Widow’s Chamber in spite of being earlier than my time frame. I think I will have Cam Murdoch’s father a veteran of the Battle of New Orleans. His experience of the carnage changed him forever, and Cam’s outlook is definitely influenced by his father’s experience there.
It’s interesting that Jackson prosecuted whites who broke treaties with the Indians, yet also sat in Congress and spoke about the Indian problem.
The Legislators who met to discuss creating Tennessee as a state were offered a $2.50 per diem. They voted themselves a reduction to $1.50 in order to pay three positions not covered in the original set-up. If only we still had politicians like that, instead of Congress voting itself a hefty pay raise every year while everything else goes to hell without even the hand basket. Congress should not get a pay raise until NO ONE in this country is unemployed, homeless, or hungry.
I had to look up “bicameral legislature” – I was unfamiliar with the term. It means “having two legislative chambers” (Webster’s Seventh, p. 82). That’s what it sounded like in context, but I wanted to be sure. Not a term I think I’ll use – it wouldn’t slide trippingly off my tongue – or in this case, my pen.
Since the 1796 legislative session was not recorded, I wonder if I could read about it in personal letters of the time. Hmm. More research.
Nice Mexican dinner between shows, and did some work on a business plan to move into writing full time. The short version: over a three year period, I’d like the first year to earn 33% of my income from writing, the second year 66% of my income from writing, and the third year, 100% from writing, and I’ve picked what I want that 100% figure to be. I wanted a comfortable number, but not an unreachable goal. Now I have to go back and fill in some of the steps along the way, without trapping myself into timelines for publishing x or y project that will discourage me if they take longer to come to pass.
Worked a bit this morning on the next article for FemmeFan – I haven’t even had the chance to see if the other article went up on Tuesday. I can’t revise the next episodes of The Widow’s Chamber until I’ve completed today’s research. With any luck, over the weekend I can revise the remaining three episodes – which I think will stretch out to a couple more, and I’ll be set through next week. Then I’ll have to go back to Angel Hunt and Tapestry.
Monday, I have to figure out how to do the recording for Tapestry. July 13 is coming up quickly.
I want to find a lovely leather-bound set of the works of Jane Austen – including Sandition – to own and re-read frequently.
That’s really all I need to put myself in a better mood – a full day at Strand Books with about a $200 book budget.
But a few hours’ research at the library before the Union meeting and then the show should be a nice stopgap measure.
10 AM comes awfully quickly when you’ve gone to bed at 2 and there were chores to do, and the train is 10:26, so I better get going.