Sunday, July 04, 2004

Saturday, July 3, 2004
Last Day of the Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and beautiful

Yesterday’s train ride in was awful. People had to stand, teenagers had their feet on seats, refusing to let anyone use them, the conductors let it go – come on, they’re charging us obscene fares, the last raise was over 33%. Nothing less than perfection is acceptable. And the Stamford line is the worst line of Metro North. Trains show up randomly (sorry, I don’t accept a train being twenty minutes late as being “on or close to schedule), the trains are dirty, people are rude, they’re often short cars or the heating or air conditioning doesn’t work. With the thousands of people commuting each day, there is enough money to make the trains work properly.

I saw the new trains that are running on the other lines, and I’m jealous. They’re gorgeous. Only, because this line runs into Connecticut, and they said no, we don’t get them. Not only that, but the Connecticut commuters didn’t have to pay ANY fare increase. Only the New York commuters on this line had to pay them.

My solution: Have the new trains run from Grand Central to Port Chester. At Port Chester, make everyone going to Connecticut get off and get onto one of the old trains. Enough already.

Anyway, out of sheer frustration, once I got to the city, I went shopping. Which isn’t usually my drug of choice, but today I used it, and bought a designer shirt on sale. I stopped at the bookstore, but couldn’t find what I wanted. I was looking for a good Paris book. None of the books on the rack filled the bill. I want a combination of anecdote and travel guide. The straight out travel guides don’t have what I want (although there’s an entire bookcase of them) and the straight travelogues are either about buying an old house somewhere and renovating and finally winning over eccentric local characters, or about getting over a failed love affair in Paris by screwing anything that moves. Neither is what I’m looking for right now. I really don’t need any more books for awhile – I’ve got plenty, especially for research. And they’re wonderful.

I was upstairs again. I had a rough night getting the poor actor out of the Tin Man costume – basically, anything that could have gone wrong, did. Fortunately, we have time in that change, but I felt so badly for the actor. He was very sweet about it.

A colleague is miserable and is punishing everyone else, and it needs to stop. There is a complete refusal to accept that any other points of view have validity, that anyone knows anything, and that the boundaries set which are complained as crossed are totally disregarded when it comes to anyone else. It needs to stop. It’s difficult to deal with, since it is a person I like and respect a great deal. I know this colleague is dealing with some immensely difficult personal issues, and that has allowed me to cut more slack than usual, but it’s getting out of control.

I’m reading EM Forster’s Aspects of the Novel. It’s fascinating, but not a book to read backstage or on the train. I have to immerse myself in his novels without distraction. This book is the same way.

I think I’ll take the book of garden letters with me today instead.

The writing magazines are frustrating because everything is geared to the writer at the beginning of the career, and there’s very little for the intermediate writer. The needs and concerns of someone in the process of building a career, but past the initial stages of doubt, lack of pay and lack of clips are different than someone trying to figure out if this is the way to go. And I haven’t found anything that speaks to those needs. I know, I know, that means I should do it, but I’m not quite sure what “it” is.

Got some ideas for Angel Hunt. Now, if I can just get them together . . .

What’s going on with Angel Hunt is a prime example of blank paging biting the writer in the butt. Personally, I love blank paging, and it’s been my preferred format for years. The first hockey book was the first time I really had to sit down and plot ahead of time, make charts, etc., etc. to keep everything straight. Because of the complexity of Angel Hunt and the fact that I’ve been learning this form as I write (horror is a new experience for me, and this piece roots its discomfort in upending belief systems rather than flat out slice-and-dice), I haven’t spent enough time answering certain questions that I need to answer in order to drive the piece forward. I’ve hit a point where those questions need to be answered in order to move forward. Although Lianna is most definitely NOT me, some of the issues raised in this piece are questions I have about the order of the universe, and part of the avoidance of answering the questions up until now has to do with my own dis-ease at poking at them. But part of this cycle of retrogrades is handling unresolved issues, so I might as well roll up my sleeves (even though today’s shirt is sleeveless – can you roll up your arms?) and get to work. Since I’m so unfamiliar with this genre, I started with “what scares me?” And, of course, probing those questions is uncomfortable. Probing them publicly even more so. Dealing with fear is always a challenge. My instinct is to fight. However, because this is a piece of fiction and the different characters actually have to cope with these fears, I have to approach it from a more intellectual and fully rounded standpoint than if I was merely reacting to one of my own fears. Plus, because this is supposed to be entertaining, it can’t be about me.

I have some “who” and “why” issues to take care of before I can get the next section to genuinely work. Unfortunately, Drogo’s become far too interested in domestic bliss, and I have to get him back on track as well.

In addition, I have to write a zippy commercial for the July 19 radio spot, and I’m feeling anything but zippy.

I felt a bit odd today, off, sort of sick, but not sure of the cause. When I made my daily deli stop on the way to the theatre, I discovered that, for the past week, they mislabeled their “Berry Lemonade” as “Raspberry Iced Tea.”

I am allergic to citrus.

No wonder I haven’t been feeling well. Obviously, there wasn’t much lemonade in it or I would be in the hospital by now. But there was enough to get me a little off. When I spoke to the manager, the response was, “Well, we’ve changed the signs so you can’t prove anything.” Gee, thanks for the concern. Won’t be using that deli again.

Upstairs for the matinee, and no problems with the tin man costume. The actor hadn’t even remembered we had a problem yesterday, which was kind of him.

Dinner with friends. One is from this show, one subbing on Hairspray, and one is over on The Producers. We ate at Little Saigon, a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant on Ninth Avenue at 46th St. Not only is the food excellent and reasonably priced, the staff is lovely. And, for me, that’s a deal breaker. Even if the food is great, if the staff is rude (the way they are at Thalia), I won’t eat there. We had a good time and discussed the possibility of getting together a big group to take a trip to Vietnam. Some of them want to do it this fall, but I can’t get it together by then – plus, I’m already scheduled to teach. So, I may not get to go with them. But I’d still like to. The country is such an important part of my personal history – growing up during the Vietnam work, working as a volunteer with Vietnam vets as a teenager, getting hired on the Vietnam plays when I was a stage manager, and then, of course, working on Miss Saigon. I’d like to experience the country.

The dinner was relaxing and invigorating. It’s nice to be with a bunch of people who are moving forward in their lives, and excited about the great big world out there.

Downstairs for the evening show. It was fine and low key, for once. I still have trouble with the monkey wings occasionally. I get frustrated because I’ve been working the show long enough now so I shouldn’t, but they’re bizarre concoctions, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

Too tired to concentrate on Forster today, so I started reading the book of garden letters. The only frustrating thing is that they usually use the proper Latin names instead of common names, and since I don’t know them, I can’t always visualize the plant they’re discussing. So I’m making a list and looking them up.

Happy to receive a check for a review I did a few months ago, and also a check for the newspaper articles that is more than I expected.

The full moon is lovely, but I’m a little tired of getting home at 1 AM.



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