Monday, July 26, 2004
Sunny and cool
It’s been a tumultuous and exhausting week, mentally and physically.
Thank you so much to everyone who’s e-mailed me, concerned that I haven’t updated the blog, and worried that I was sick. I’m exhausted, but I’m trying to stave off actual illness. I appreciate the concern.
Monday’s radio interview went well with Artist First, although they called me up just prior, claiming they hadn’t received my materials. I begged to differ, since I had delivery confirmation. And, they called on my cell phone, although I sent them the request to call on the landline, with the correct number, in writing, THREE TIMES. The interviewer also hadn’t prepared at all prior to the interview.
But it was fine, and, hopefully, generated some interest in my work. I got wonderful positive responses from it all day – with the only criticism being that the interviewer was unseasoned and unprepared.
But it wore me out.
Tuesday, I got up early to get some work done. I started typing the YA, and, of course, fell into the trap of editing as I go, which I don’t want to do until the first draft is complete. But it’s easier to refer to what’s happened and continue to plot if it’s typed out rather than written. So I’m calling the typed draft “1A”.
The Pirate Saga is percolating. If I can pull it together and get 150-200 pages written by January or February of next year, I may pitch it to KIC.
I’m transferring ISP stuff. It’s a long and painful progress. I hadn’t realized how much I kept stored in the account over the course of the years. I have to stay on top of the e-mail more, printing and filing what’s relevant, instead of keeping it all on the computer – yes, so much for a “paperless office.” Not in my life.
I worked on the Christmas story.
I had a lovely lunch at Prêt a Manger – organic, healthy food that gave me lots of energy for the afternoon of daywork. Which was a good thing, because everything was much more difficult than it needed to be. Dinner at Cosi – not so good.
I stopped at the French Tourist Board on the way to work to pick up information, especially about Corsica. I hadn’t realized that Brussels is only an hour and a half from Paris. I’ll have to spend a day in Brussels and research the ancestor who lived there.
The new cast members started tonight, and gave the show fresh energy. George Hearn, in particular, is a delight.
Fell into bed, exhausted, when I got home.
Wednesday, I worked more on the ISP conversion and the e-mail.
I’m so far behind on Angel Hunt that it’s upsetting.
There were train problems – we sat without moving for an hour. Metro North makes the trains in undeveloped countries look reliable. It’s simply disgusting.
But I used the time to write. I worked on the Christmas story and the YA novel. So at least I didn’t feel as though I’d wasted the time.
I barely made it to the show, but did. Both shows were fine, although I’m exhausted, everyone else is exhausted, and the entire atmosphere is sad due to the illness of our colleague. He’s been moved to the hospice wing of the hospital now. In a few days, he may be able to have visitors, and, once that happens, people are encouraged not to wait.
It’s so sad, that the world has to lose such a lovely person so soon.
And everyone grieves differently. We’re all trying to give each other room to grieve; unfortunately, some people grieve by striking out, and then it becomes difficult to balance compassion with boundaries.
Thursday was a lovely, special day. I got up early enough to write an episode of Angel Hunt (which made me feel better). And I traveled in to the city early in order to spend the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
My friend and colleague B. met me at the museum. We started with the Egyptian exhibit, so I could do the research for my article. Whenever I go to the museum, I make sure that I visit the room with Hatshepsut’s statues. She named herself King during Dynasty 18, c. 1503-1482 BC. Her statues in particular interest me because the faces are so expressive. Most statues, especially sphinx statues, have a mystery to them stemming from the lack of expression in the face. Her statues contain expression – even the empty eyes communicate, if that makes any sense. I want to do more research on her. I think an entire section of my article will be devoted to her.
The colour and texture of the artifacts are so magnificent. And the craftsmanship is so beautiful – the alabaster jars, the buttons, the scarabs, the carved whip handles, the small toys. It’s breathtaking.
We moved on to the “Dangerous Liaisons” exhibit. Pieces from the costume institute were placed on mannequins and set in the furniture collection to create scenes. The scenes were cleverly portrayed, and, again, the craftsmanship was stunning. I hadn’t realized how large those hairdos were (hairdressers sometimes had to use stepladders), and how much decoration and ornamentation was used in hair. It was fascinating.
“The Broken Vase” amused me because the man and the woman are embracing and have knocked a precious vase to the floor, shattering it. A dog hides under the desk, knowing he will be blamed.
I want to research 18th century card games. The cards on the various tables looked fascinating. And I love the small writing desks that traveled with their owners – all the little compartments and ways pieces could expand.
Thursday was, fortunately, a sunny day. We had lunch upstairs in the roof garden. It made me laugh – an expanse of concrete and beehive-like structures out of twigs, along with a hot dog cart serving daiquiris and sandwiches. We had tuna sandwiches and white wine – surprisingly good wine, considering it was served in plastic cups. The view over the city was magnificent.
We returned to the interior of the museum to wander amongst the paintings. Our specific destination was the Childe Hassam exhibit, but many other artists distracted us along the way. I hadn’t realized how starved I was for art until this visit. Usually, I visit museums regularly, but it’s been far too long. My soul drunk in the work as though parched.
While Hassam may not have been as polished as some of the other Impressionists, his work shows an interesting range of interests and topics. He didn’t paint the same thing over and over. He kept trying new things. My favorite was “A City in Fairyland” from 1886. I’d like to get a poster of that one. “Winter, Midnight” from 1894 was also lovely. In general, most of his winter scenes are lovely, although one or two were rather flat. I’m still trying to decide whether or not I want to purchase the catalogue from the exhibit.
We also wandered through a photography exhibit. B. is a wonderful photographer, and I hope she starts selling her work soon. She’s able to capture the interior life of her subject in a way that’s both whimsical and thoughtful.
We shopped for postcards, books, and a gift for a friend who couldn’t join us because she was at the hospital with our colleague.
We took a cab to the West Side and picked up some decorations for the person who’s handling the decorating for our supervisor’s birthday tomorrow. Then, we stopped an outdoor café and had our dinner. I had Eggs Benedict. It was good, but not brilliant. But then, I’m very fussy about my Eggs Benedict. I’ll order them anywhere I see them on the menu, looking for the Ultimate Eggs Benedict. I have rarely found it.
Another cab to the theatre. Tired but happy, we walked into an environment of grief. Again, it became the intricate balance of compassion versus not letting the person who is having trouble with the grief attack.
Very, very tired by the time I got home.
Difficult to get out of bed on Friday, but I managed to do so. I even managed to write another episode of Angel Hunt.
It was pouring today – a true deluge. I had to go into the city early for another daywork call. On the way, I stopped at the Italian Tourist office. They were very nice and had very little helpful information. I ended up with a large magazine about Sardinia – in German. I’m not sure my German is good enough to read it. But the pictures are pretty.
I stopped in at the grand opening of the new Sephora. Too many people and too much chaos. But I can get my favorite lipstick matched by the company who manufactured it (a French company, of course) if I bring it in.
Day work was fine. Show was okay, but everyone’s exhausted. A friend on the show who returned from a trip to Italy lent me his information on Sardinia. It’s very helpful.
Marseilles is starting to intrigue me. The rambunctiousness of the city’s history draws me. I think it would be a good backdrop for . . .something. And, of course, the more people tell me it’s dangerous, the more I want to go. There are plenty of dangerous places where I wouldn’t travel on my own, but Marseilles is calling me.
Some characters started talking to me. I wrote down their information, and they’ll have to wait their turn.
I wonder if I want to write a pirate story or the saga of a whaling family? I think these are two separate ideas, and I’m not sure which one draws me more steadily. They need time to percolate.
It was nearly impossible to get up on Saturday, but I managed. I got to the show. I was in a different track in the women’s ensemble, covering for someone else today. The first show was a little confused, but okay. The second show was rough. For some reason, there were certain costume pieces with which I had problems. I felt badly for the actors. No one missed an entrance, but I still felt badly.
Read an interesting mystery set in Thailand. I loved the historical and travel descriptions, but parts of the mystery just didn’t quite work for me. The juxtaposition with an historical tale foreshadowed the upcoming chapter to such a degree that I got too far ahead of the piece in order to be satisfied. I want some surprises at least.
Ate dinner at one of my favorite sushi places on Ninth Avenue, then treated myself to coffee and dessert at the Coffee Pot. I scribbled down some more ideas for characters that squawked at me, and made some outline notes for a story that’s been coalescing for awhile, and may be ready to take shape. It’s a rather unusual fantasy tale, both explicit and political. We’ll see where it leads. It has to wait for awhile, in any case.
As I work on the YA, I wonder how much of what I know about the characters’ futures will colour their present. I have to make choices about where to plant the seeds for their future, and where to place a crossroads where they make a definitive choice that’s different from what I’m setting up. It’s fascinating, and I hope I can pull off these people growing up. It will be interesting to see how the piece – because, even though it’s a series, I think of it as a piece – will grow and change. Further along, I think there will be books where only some of the main characters appear – as they grow and their lives take different directions. Rather than trying to keep track of each of them through every book, I’ll let them branch out and be the center of their own once in awhile. The early books will be very balanced amongst the three – Lizzie, Jonas, and Peter – but as their paths diverge, so must the books.
Sunday, I was back in the other slot, and more confused than ever. But the show was fine. I bought orchids and hydrangea on the way home and had dinner with friends. Actually watched a bit of television before going to bed early.
Today, I feel about as creative as wilted lettuce. I spent the morning catching up on business – e-mails, ISP conversion, contacting editors on outstanding or ongoing projects with my new information, making out new rolodex cards, filing the information appropriately. It’s a lot of paperwork and when I don’t keep up on it every day – which I can’t, or I’d never get any writing done – when it piles up, it turns into mountains.
After lunch, I hope to do some creative work, as well as French and Latin lessons. I need to do some more work on Angel Hunt, I want to do work on the YA and Widow’s Chamber, and I have to take another look at Periwinkle. I’m going to Montauk for a few days at the end of September, and I’d like to take a first draft with me so I can do revisions as I sit on my balcony overlooking the beach.
Of course, I’d like to be there right now.
Tomorrow, another radio show: KIC’s show at 7 PM. I’m looking forward to it.