Monday, July 12, 2004
Muggy and rainy
It was nearly impossible to get out of bed yesterday. Everything hurts and I’m exhausted, both physically and mentally.
For some reason, Sunday tends to be a creative day, so it’s doubly frustrating when I have to give up the most creative part of my day in order to commute and do the show.
I did get some good scribbling in on the train platform for Angel Hunt. I’ve answered some of the questions – or, at least, the answers made themselves known – and they are not at all what I expected. But I think the next section is shaping itself, and I’ll be able to write it soon. I have to – I’m on deadline.
Also had an idea for another story – a rather unusual type of revenge story. I have to think about it some more.
The show was fine. Everyone’s on edge because of the very strong possibility of a strike. Some comments were made at the table that got back to the actors and they were, understandably, enraged. Because I didn’t hear them said first hand and I have a dislike for unsubstantiated rumour, I won’t repeat it here. However, if it is accurate, the actors should go out and stay out for a LONG time. The disrespect the producers (as a unit, not necessarily as individuals) have for those who actually do the work and make their profit possible is disgusting.
Also, one of the performers is leaving – not just the show, but New York – and everyone was sad to see him go. In addition to being a talented performer, he’s also a great human being, and it’s a loss to the company. His replacement is very nice – although very young – but, while you can replace a role, you can’t replace an individual.
So, it was a tough day for the performers.
Couldn’t wait to get home. I was ready to go to sleep as soon as I walked in the door.
But I stayed up and watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (for the third time). I never get tired of that movie. It’s so beautifully done. And the three actors who portray Harry, Ron and Hermione are wonderful.
I also realized I’m still in mourning due to the ending of Jane and the Ghosts of Netley Hall. Nice work, Stephanie Barron!
Finished The Sound of Paper. I agree absolutely with her essay on “Creative Equality”. A poet is equal to a composer is equal to a painter is equal to an actor is equal to a novelist. While individuals have different strengths and weaknesses, the art form itself is equal but different.
However, I don’t agree with her insistence on keeping a day job and the over-reliance of structure. I think the over-reliance on structure is a personal choice. Some people need lots of structure in their lives, some don’t. Personally, I hate it. I am much more productive with large stretches of unstructured time.
I agree that, when you’re early in your career and/or have a myriad of responsibilities, you have to work on “stolen time.” But, if this is your profession as well as your passion, you have to make it a priority and demand it be treated with the same respect as any banker or carpenter or teacher. Why should you expect anyone to respect your writing and your time if you don’t? You have to set the standard and the boundaries. And stand firm that it is non-negotiable.
By non-negotiable, I don’t mean it’s okay to become a completely self-centered, irresponsible twerp and say you have the right to do so because you’re an “artist”. But you do have the right to say, “I write in the mornings. I won’t pick up the phone, run errands or be available for anything other than a life and death emergency then” or, “My writing time is Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from noon to three, while the kids are at school. I’ll turn off the phone then, and I’ll do the grocery shopping on my way to pick them up later.”
And then you have to mean it. When the phone rings, don’t pick it up. When someone knocks on the door, or the partner says, “honey, you have to pick up such and such at 11 for me,” you respond with, “I can’t do it then; but I’ll do it at one.”
Very hard to get up today. The knees, the lower back, etc., all hurt. Plus, I’m out of sorts and having trouble getting settled into the day’s writing, which depresses me, which then makes it harder to sit and write. A vicious cycle.
It doesn’t help that one of the members in one of the online writing groups is a Drama Queen. She doesn’t participate in discussions to share information. She doesn’t celebrate anyone else’s success on the board (and our members are having some lovely and well-deserved successes). She repeats back rumours from other forums, attacks those who remind her of the rules of conduct, and then defends herself with claims of victimization on other boards. First of all, when you’re in a bad situation, get out of it, especially on the internet. Secondly, I’ve dealt with stalkers in the past, and, while it’s terrifying, I don’t use it as an excuse to attack anyone else. I’m totally over this person. I stopped replying to her posts several months ago, and, if this pattern continues, I will have to decide if I speak up or if I leave the group.
But even exposing myself for a short time to this unnecessary crap makes me feel discouraged and blue, in addition to being angry.
The continuing and escalating computer problems don’t help, either. I don’t want to waste time and space with the same old moans every day – I’ll just say that it’s getting worse and the MSN e-mail program has basically trashed my system. I need to get a new ISP ASAP, rescue what I can from this, and dump the program.
So, I ran some errands in the morning (since I have an unstructured day, I can mould it to fit my personal rhythms). I got back some of the pictures from Houston and New Orleans earlier this year. It amazes me how, as miserable as I was in Houston, the photos focus on the places of tranquility I sought out, such as the Zen Garden in the park. The photos are truly lovely. Perhaps, with enough time, I can focus on the happy memories.
Got an idea for a young adult novel set in Scotland. Jotted down the notes – it will have to take a number along with everything else.
Jotted down ideas for the Christmas story and did some preliminary research for the calendar article due August 1.
I wish the promised storm would break so it didn’t feel like I’m trying to breathe underwater, and the pre-storm headache would go away.
It’s raining, although not as heavily here as in many other areas.
Wrote three episodes of Angel Hunt.
I had a nice write up in the college newsletter, and a magazine has accepted another review. Have to finish the paperwork and return it so they can process the check. Also received a gift certificate for Amazon – hmm, the possibilities there! Will I buy something I need for research or something fun? Hmmm.
Ordered some cookbooks I need for research from Jessica’s Biscuit. Love that store.
Cooked chicken and herb tortellini in alfredo sauce, with a nice green salad dressed with Silver Palate’s Champagne Honey Mustard Salad Splash. Very simple, but good. I laughed when I first bought the dressing. “Salad splash” seems somewhat pretentious. However, it’s much lighter than most dressings, even lighter than vinaigrettes, so the name fits. And it’s delicious.
Looking forward to watching a movie on tape tonight, and then maybe getting a bit more writing done.
It seems Equity and the producers reached a tentative agreement. I’m glad not to lose any work, but I hope the union hasn’t sold out its members. Well, if the membership finds it unacceptable, they can always vote “no” on the ratification.
I wish I had a few more days off before I had to head back to the theatre. Not due to a strike, just a few more days off. I work so much better on my own schedule than on someone else’s.