Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Tuesday, August 31
Waning Moon
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, sticky, hot

Sometimes, one gets the nicest, most unexpected surprises. I completely forgot to get the mail yesterday until about midnight. When I picked it up, I found an unfamiliar envelope. Opening it, I found a lovely letter from N2Arts.com about my articles – and a check! Love that!

I looked at the site, and one of the two articles I wrote for them is up, called “Auditions From Behind the Table”:

http://www.n2arts.com/index.php/theatre/storypage/auditions_from_behind_the_table/

The site is beautiful and the article came out well. I’m very pleased and ran off several copies for my clip file.

The letter also stated that they would like to work with me again. So, this morning, I sent a thank you and pitched a few more article ideas. I’ll send the editor a handwritten thank you later today. Gotta strike while he still remembers me! Plus, it’s a quality site and I’d like to build a long-term relationship.

I had to turn off the RNC speeches last night. The party platform is so appallingly against anyone except the rich having rights that it literally made me nauseous to listen to them. The speakers stood up there, smirking smugly and using 9/11 as a marketing tool to sway people who didn’t live through the event on site. Many of the families of 9/11 victims are feeling exploited, and that’s exactly what’s happening. The tragedy is being exploited. Our pain and suffering is being exploited, and the actual events are being re-written and re-told in a way that puts the party in a positive light – when what actually happened here is quite different that what’s being said. I’m disappointed that Guiliani is stumping for Bush – although RG is a Republican, and loyal to his party, even though he does not toe the party line. His anti-Kerry speech was full of fire and brimstone, but little fact, and I expect better from him. One delegate interviewed admitted that the only way to push forward the party’s ultraconservative agenda was to say whatever was necessary to get the party was in, and then take the action they believed was right. In other words, it’s okay to lie, as long as your party gets in, and then you can overturn our constitutional rights.

This blog is not supposed to be about politics, but with it right in my face right now, I can’t avoid it. And it affects and will affect my future. Which means it’s affecting my writing.

It’s not even 8 AM, and I’ve pitched a series of articles, caught up on e-mail, done yoga and morning chores, and am drinking my coffee. I still need to shower, go to the bank, and do some work on both Angel Hunt and Cutthroat Charlotte before I catch the 10 AM train in to the theatre. I have a full eight show week, and a slew of both fiction and non-fiction to complete this week.

A “To Do” list will only depress me.

I have to simply DO.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
Coming soon: Cutthroat Charlotte, an action/adventure pirate saga on the high seas!



Monday, August 30, 2004

Monday, August 30, 2004
Last day of the full moon
PLUTO DIRECT!!!
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy



We’re getting some of the leftover rains from Tropical Storm Gaston and, I think, a bit of Hermine. We’re supposed to have storms for the next few days.

I had trouble getting back into the groove of Angel Hunt yesterday, so I switched over and worked on Tapestry. In re-reading the last episode I did, I found holes large enough to drive trucks of watermelons through. I rewrote the episode, and six more flowed easily. That pretty much wore me out for the day.

One of the travel writing sites to which I subscribe had a list of 500 travel markets. I printed it off, needless to say. I can use that in my work. Also, as I scrolled through the press releases it sends me, I saw an advertisement for mushroom hunting that gave me an idea for a new story – not sure if it’s a short story or a novel, and it’s about mushrooms, but not in the way they’re usually used in the story! You never know where you’ll find the next bit of inspiration.

Working on the Playland article and on the Olympics article. It always happens – I book a full week in the theatre, think I’ve gotten all the writing under my belt, and get fresh opportunities. So, this week will be a balancing act.

More like a juggling act, with the RNC in town. The protests are huge – I’m pleasantly surprised – and fairly peaceful. I think the statement is much stronger when it is peaceful. At this point, violence only sets people against the perpetrator, and stops one from listening to the message. The police seem to be handling everything well. Ray Kelly remains calm, cool, and collected, and refuses to let the gleeful news reporters put words in his mouth. They tried to tell him he’s saying he’ll arrest protestors. He corrected them and asked, “Why would we arrest them when they’re not breaking the laws?” The reporter began gibbering like the right wing idiot he is.

So far, the delegates who have been interviewed sound like self-righteous pricks with a sense of entitlement, using God as their excuse for their behavior. I wonder how much of that is actually them and how much of that is media editing?

It’ll be an interesting week, and I will put my blow-by-blow accounts of the experiences here. I still hope they have a good time and see that New York is not some wicked, vicious place, the way it’s often portrayed – The Big Bad City. Even though our ideologies are very different, I still want them to get a chance to experience how great the city is. I still appreciate New York City’s greatness, even though I am personally burned out on it and need to be somewhere else.

Dropped off the master for the bookmarks for FenCon. They’ll be ready tomorrow. And then I can ship them off. Ran some errands. I got two large wild salmon for a great price – cut it up and now I have a freezer full of salmon. Since I seem to have developed an allergy to farmed fish and seafood, when I see a good deal on wild, I jump on it.

Closing ceremonies at the Olympics were interesting, but a bit too much. Athens did a beautiful job, and the historical value of having the Olympics there can’t be underestimated. I was also impressed by the beauty of the designs. I’m looking forward to seeing what Beijing does in 2008 – they’ve already started building!

It will be an intense week, but, hopefully a good one. As soon as Mercury turns direct, I have a writing contract to sign, and I’ll order my new printer. And then I get buckle down and truly get more productive.

Back to Angel Hunt and to see how much I can get done between now and when I have to catch a train at 10 AM tomorrow.

Later:
Kinko’s doesn’t think the bookmark will read properly, but there’s no way I’m paying triple for full colour. I told them to just go ahead and do it. Hopefully, there will be enough shades of gray so it’ll be okay. Otherwise, it’s back to Square One for me, design-wise.

The GREAT NEWS!!

Keep It Coming accepted the pirate serial, Cutthroat Charlotte! I’m thrilled, because I’ve been playing with this idea for several months now, and gotten very attached to it.

I sent the first three episodes, and as soon as there’s a new link, it’ll be posted, plus a new publicity blitz. I’m going to sign a nine-month contract, which will take me through next June.

I’m going to structure my time so that I do a full month’s episodes for each serial in a week, concentrating only on one serial that week. This week is an exception – I need to catch up on six issues of Angel Hunt and do the next six issues of Cutthroat Charlotte to be completely up to speed.

My readership is growing on the serials – I just need to find a marketing trick to make the readership grow . . .faster. Now that I’ve covered western, mystery, horror and action/adventure, there should be enough for a variety of tastes.

Time to get back to writing, and also run off some flyers for a new mailing. As soon as Charlotte’s up on the site, I’ll do a follow-up mailing just about that.

It never stops.

I need to have my head examined, taking all this on. A minimum commitment of 8000 words per week, plus the other articles I’m contracting to do.

I figure I’ll be raising my weekly minimum to somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 words. Some of those words need to be focused on my novels so that they’ll be finished and ready to market.

I’ll have to make good use of my dinner breaks this week!

But I’m so, so, so happy!

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
Coming soon: Cutthroat Charlotte, an action/adventure tale of pirates on the high sea!




Sunday, August 29, 2004

Sunday, August 29, 2004
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, steamy, humid

What a glorious day in Newport yesterday! The weather was great – although it was hot and humid, there was a nice breeze. HEALTH magazine did a terrific job with the fair – the booths had terrific vendors, the event staff was nice, everyone was into being there. I got some terrific ideas on nutrition, fitness, and beauty. I had one of the best massages I’ve ever had in my life from a guy named Mark Pawlak – everything he did was completely in tune with the work my acupuncturist does.

There were cooking demonstrations, yoga classes, nutritional consultations, Pilates, rock climbing, hair colorists, manicures, brow shaping, massage, wine tasting, face painting, stuff for kids to do. I had interesting conversations with representatives from both Carnation and Kellogg’s.

Cora (the friend who went with me) and I took the Spirit of Newport boat tour and that was great, too. It got me all excited again about America’s Cup races – even though they haven’t been held in Newport since 1983. I want to learn more about them. To see some of the boats used in the races that are still used – it’s so great to know they weren’t simply built for the race and then destroyed. The boats are spoken of with such affection, as members of the community, and I really like it.

There’s a lighthouse called the Rose Island Lighthouse where you can book a week and be the guest lighthouse keeper – I want to learn more about that. And Fort Adams. And the Yachting Museum. We visited one of the local churches, St. Mary’s, and there was an organ recital in progress. I don’t know much about sacred music, but even I could hear the proficiency of the players.

We were going to lunch at The Black Pearl, but the staff was so rude, we left. We ended up at the Wharf Deli and Pub. Not only was the staff terrific, the food was outstanding. I had a fried clam strip role and Blue Moon ale – Blue Moon is one of my favorite beers. Cora had a seafood salad that looked just divine (and tasted even better). We bought beautifully scented candles at Newport Candle Company (at astonishingly good prices), and, at Macey Blue, I bought some batik clothing. Batik designs actually look good on me, and, at these prices, I couldn’t resist. They feel terrific on the body (especially with my sunburn).

Yes, although I slathered on the sunscreen, I still resemble a cooked lobster.

The Newport Library has a great bookstore run by Friends of the Newport Library – I bought five books for a total of $2.93, including tax! A worthwhile place to visit. I have to visit every bookstore and library I pass anyway. We investigated another second hand bookstore on the way back, and searched for a farmer’s market we’d seen driving in, but it mysteriously vanished by the time we headed out.

I gathered enough material for at least ten articles, not to mention a shopping bag full of information on other sights in Rhode Island that could be fodder for more – both fiction and non-fiction. It was a good month’s worth of research packed into one relaxed and beautiful day.

As we drove southbound on I-95, heading home, northbound looked like the scene of a mass evacuation. The entire state of Connecticut was backed up – and the majority of the cars had NY plates. Everyone who can is fleeing the Republican convention.

I am not looking forward to a full week of work in that mess. I don’t want the RNC here. My life, and the lives of most around me, have been terribly hurt by the policies of the Republican Party over the past four years. I don’t – and won’t – belong to a political party. I vote for the candidate who convinces me he or she has a viable plan to make the lives of the constituents better. And then follows through. The current administration has done the opposite.

And the delegates better remember they are guests in the city. I will certainly be polite and helpful to anyone who approaches me, but they better not march around with a sense that because they’re delegates, their desires supersede mine.

So today I will rest, relax, and write as much as possible. Tomorrow is about writing and running the errands I can’t run the rest of the week. Then, it’s getting to and from the theatre every day, and trying to keep a positive attitude.

The life I want is the life I’ve experienced over the past week or so – traveling around, doing what interests me, asking questions, meeting people, finding out what makes them tick. And now, I have to communicate it interestingly and well, so that I’m paid to live a life doing just that – traveling, learning, and communicating people’s interests to other people around the world.

So I know what I want. Now I have to build it.

That’s the purpose of a Chiron retrograde – to teach one the soul’s purpose. Hopefully, I’m learning that lesson properly.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html


Friday, August 27, 2004

Friday, August 27, 2004
Almost Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid



Well, I did it. I submitted a proposal for a fourth serial, the pirate story. I’ve done enough research and written enough episodes so that I’m confident I can take it on.

I’m a basket case until I hear. Even if it’s rejected, I still have something I could shape into a special piece. But if it gets rejected, I’ll have to put it aside in favor of contracted work, and that would make me sad.

The city is already crazy and the Republican Convention hasn’t even started yet. The city was madness yesterday. Bank of America already tore down their Olympic Viewing Center at Rockefeller Center. I guess they figured it was a security risk. A group of ESUs, complete with automatic weapons, were climbing out a van as I passed. A yuppie woman with bottle blonde hair and too much plastic surgery stalked up to them and said, “I’d really feel better if you weren’t here.” They’re trained to be stoic, but you could see it hurt. So I walked up and said, “Funny, and I feel better because you are here.” Do I like walking around in a place full of guys carrying guns, the way it used to be in East Berlin when the Wall was still up? No. Do I appreciate these guys doing their jobs so I don’t get blown up? Of course I do. Besides, most of them are really good guys.

Daywork was fine yesterday. A colleague just switched everything over to Mac, and is very happy, so I need to look into it.

During the dinner break, I treated myself to some sushi and a beer at my favorite Japanese restaurant on Ninth Avenue. It was lovely and quiet. I managed to do a good bit of work on the pirate serial. I also figured out the outline of a story for a character whose name came to me a few weeks ago, but I didn’t know who she was or why I should write about her. I do now, although it will have to wait until I clear my plate a bit. I also outlined a slew of articles. Went back to the theatre to pick up my paycheck. Managed to catch the 8:10 back out here.

My compact flashcard arrived, so I’ll be able to take pictures in Rhode Island this weekend. And the discount coupon arrived via e-mail, so hopefully I can order the new printer.

One of my neighbors is moving. She’s a pastor in a local church, and has accepted a new job in Oregon. She’s tired of it here. I don’t blame her.

Went on a recon drive with a friend who has a job interview in Stamford on Monday. The place is easy to find, and it’s always good to do a test run so there’s no extra nervousness on interview day.

I’ve been house hunting, and most of what I like is up near Poughkeepsie. That’s a heck of a commute, but with commitments in Valhalla next semester, I can’t up and move to Plymouth just yet.

Got to run some errands and prepare for tomorrow.

And I want to get some more writing done today – especially on The Widow’s Chamber and Angel Hunt.

Later:
Errands done, bag packed for tomorrow – except I have to find the right notebook – dinner dishes done, and two more episodes of Widow’s Chamber written, polished, and sent. I’m done through the end of next week.

I want to relax tonight, since I have to be out of the house early tomorrow for the Rhode Island gig.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html



Thursday, August 26, 2004

Thursday, August 26, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and beautiful


Dell’s got me all upset again and I haven’t been able to concentrate on my writing. I wish I could just block them out, but they jeopardize my livelihood. Not only does it cause work-related problems, but the stress is taking its toll and manifesting in physical problems – dizziness, disturbed sleep patterns, loss of appetite, shortness of breath and more.

Finally, someone from the executive office called and the conversation would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. A verbal apology and, “This is not the experience we want a customer to have.” Well, a customer had it and what are you going to do to fix it? No offer for policy review, no offer to do ANYTHING to fix the problem. As far as they’re concerned, it’s over. As far as the printer goes, it’s outmoded (two years old), they can’t/won’t fix it, and there’s nothing they can do.

The woman FINALLY offered to give me a discount coupon towards a new printer, but said that the account I have with Dell is a different company (what?) and they wouldn’t allow me to use it. In other words, they’ll give me a discount coupon towards a new printer if I pay them upfront. But to feel free to call the financial services company.

When she asked if there was anything else she could do (since she’d done NOTHING), I nearly told her she could jump into the Gulf, but I restrained myself.

Why am I still running customer service errands? It’s so insulting. They are supposed to be fixing the problems caused by their personnel not living up to the pre-paid service agreement – and selling me a lemon of a printer.

I talked to the financial services and they said they don’t care; they have nothing to do with that type of decision. It’s up to the Executive office to give me a code the order department understands.

So I called Miss Executive Office back and told her what I’d been told and to send me the damn coupon. I am so over them.

On top of that, the order I placed for a new compact flashcard, photo paper, etc. went through. Everything arrived by air express EXCEPT for the one item I really needed, which is the compact flashcard. I need it for the gig on Saturday.

Dell is so fucking useless. While I realize I will be forced to deal with them for the life of this computer, I want my next computer to be something completely different.

Tuesday was okay at the theatre. It was only daywork, and I didn’t particularly want to be there, but I did it. I have to go back today, again for daywork. I’m going to stay until the evening to pick up my paycheck, small as this one will be. I don’t want to be there anymore.

I guess this is part of the Chiron Retrograde – Chiron is about finding and staying true to your soul’s purpose. And my soul is no longer in the theatre.

I lost all of yesterday morning waiting for the exterminator who had an appointment and never showed up. Two months in a row. And he can’t call and tell me he’s not coming because . . .?

Anyway, then I went back to Valhalla to fill out paperwork for the spring semester. Because it’s affiliated with the government – being part of SUNY – I had to fill out all this other paperwork. Now, my life does not fit into those little boxes, and I have an image of some bureaucrat who hates the fact I have a life denying me the right to work there.

I e-mailed the woman who hired me and asked her to coach me through that one set of paperwork. Everything else I could pretty much figure out.

The rest of the afternoon was spent printing out six months’ work of photos from my digital camera. One 256 MB (or is it MIB?) compact flashcard took 148 photos. Not too shabby! If my new card comes, I’ll be able to take plenty of photos over the weekend.

The photos have also inspired several travel pieces. Now, I need to sit down and write them.

Roughed out two more course proposals for next summer.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to apply to the MacDowell Colony, because my 2005 dance card looks pretty full. Which is good, but . . .

I did some serious work on the business plan. I want to see if I can find examples of other business plans online (didn’t I see one a few weeks ago?) for more ideas. I think I have next year’s goals pretty well figured out, and I’m breaking down the steps to reach those goals. Taking a few months to set up those goals and ways to reach them will enable me to put the plan into action as the calendar turns to January 1.

One Story rejected “Pauvre Bob” which is okay, because I have another market waiting for it. I need to do two more short stories for that market and send them off next week. Plus, I found another story I recently reworked a bit, and of which I’m overly fond, that I want to send to One Story.

Check out my friend and colleague Michelle Miles! Her interview is on Keep It Coming’s “Meet The Author” series this week:

http://www.keepitcoming.net/meetauthor.html

The interview is really great – wouldn’t expect less, since she’s both a great author and a great person!

Still working on reorganizing my space. It’s a long process, but it’s starting to look a little bit better.

As usual, I’m running for a train.

I still have not been able to properly grieve my colleague’s death. I’m trying to perform one small act of random kindness each day in his honor, but it never feels like enough.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html


Monday, August 23, 2004

Monday, August 23, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny, cool, beautiful


I managed two more episodes of The Widow’s Chamber last night. That catches me up through this week. I want to make sure that I write two more, and then I’m set through next week, which is an eight show week for me. Then, just as I’m in the western groove, I flip back to Angel Hunt. But I think I only need to do six episodes to write ahead through next week. I have to check back on Tapestry as well. I was pretty far ahead, but I may be getting close to the danger zone.

Up reasonably early, prepared for my interview with the college. I left in plenty of time, since I am directionally challenged, and found it without a problem.

What a beautiful campus! It’s in a town called Valhalla, and the campus certainly lives up to its name. There were a lot of geese on the grounds, which can be kind of messy, but they minded their own business and I minded mine.

I had a great interview. We even brainstormed some possible courses for next year, and she walked me through the details of the rest of the paperwork. I’ll go back on Wednesday to fill everything out. Getting it done months ahead will prevent screw-ups – we hope. Never know. At least I won’t have to sign a contract during the Merc Ret, and I can start marketing the weekend intensives elsewhere for spring. I can also start putting pen to paper for other courses for the summer.

Since I want to go away in the fall, I don’t know if I’ll submit any course ideas for fall. Maybe an intensive or two.

If the teaching experience is anywhere near as good as today’s experience, I can see myself working there for a good, long time. That wasn’t my intent when I submitted – I figured once and done – but you never know.

Now, the publicity machine has to start for both the class this fall and the classes in spring. The marketing just never stops.

Ran some errands, returned some phone calls, and worked more on the reorganizing.

Plan to write the two episodes of Widow’s Chamber, get going on Angel Hunt, and do some more work on the Playland article and the gambling fiction. I also need to get going on the almanac articles that are due at the end of September.

Plus, I want to do some more work on the business plan.

And there’s a stack of paperwork on my desk that still needs attention. Slowly but surely, it’s getting smaller. But it still exists.

I can’t wait to start teaching! I’ve always had such good experiences.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html



Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sunday, August 22, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny, cool, gorgeous


Today would have been my father’s 83rd birthday, were he still alive.

The morning was taken up with the newspapers, writing three episodes of The Widow’s Chamber, roughing out the first Playland article, working on the Olympics piece, and wanting to work on the business plan. Of course, since everything is in chaos with the re-organization of the space, I can’t find the original plan.

Widow’s Chamber is taking some interesting twists and turns. I like having them all aboard the packet and the interpersonal dynamics that forces. Aspasia Sundine is turning into quite the villainness. She’s growing from a silly, ambitious, conniving girl into a truly scheming woman only out for herself. It’s an interesting journey. And Aeneas Cabriolet is every bit the malevolent force I hoped he’d be.

Tensions I didn’t expect sprung between Nora’s brothers Frank and Luther. Daisy Montagu will play a part in that escalation.

Some of the plot points may end up sounding a bit melodramatic, but, hopefully, I have the skill with which to pull them off. Once they hit New Orleans, the tone will be much, much darker, until I wrap up the story arc of James’s troubles. If the serial continues to inspire interest, I already have the next couple of arcs determined.

It also means I have to order the book on the history of the Ursulines in New Orleans this week.

I spent most of the afternoon re-organizing my space. There’s still a long way to go – how could I possibly accumulate so much paperwork? But at least I feel as though I am finally making some progress. It’ll take awhile to get everything sorted out. But sorted it will be. And then I’ll be able to get my hands on everything.

So often, “professional” organizers tell you not to keep papers. That it’s stored on the Internet or on microfiche or whatever and you can always re-access it. But much of my research is highly specialized. For instance, I have ten years’ worth of research on Hotspur Percy in storage. Most of that is not readily available on microfilm. It was researched by digging and searching and many wild goose chases. Many of the sources are out of print and no longer available in libraries – now that libraries cry that they have no room and actually pulp books they don’t feel are useful. Well, if a book is useful to anyone, even if it’s only once in every thirty five years, it should be kept. I’m not going to toss out years of research materials that would take me years to re-research – even if I could re-research them – when all I have to do is walk over to the appropriate file box and pull the folder.

I’m salivating over my new potential printers. Although the Canon MP390 has everything I need, the MP730 has everything of which I ever dreamed. It’s a tough decision.

And I keep daydreaming about plot twists and turns for Widow’s Chamber. I need to write four more episodes and then switch back to Angel Hunt.

Is it wise to try to add a fourth serial to the mix? I guess that’s why I want to write 200 pages of the pirate story first – to make sure I have enough material and that there’s enough potential to go with it. Nora, her six brothers and her sister offer plenty of material for The Widow’s Chamber; Nina’s adventures in theatre and art make Tapestry ongoing; Angel Hunt has to be finite, but I don’t know when or where that end could be – I very well might be able to run it until the end of next year.

I also need to get those bookmarks run off at Kinko’s and sent to FenCon. They received my ad copy – I’m looking forward to seeing what the program book looks like.

And, maybe I’ll get to spend some time playing in the kitchen today.

Over the past few days, I’ve read two of Margaret Frazer’s novels. One is one of her Dame Frevisse mysteries, The Bastard’s Tale, and the other one is A Play Of Isaac, where she’s spun off a peripheral character who appears in both The Servant’s Tale and The Bastard’s Tale, Joliffe. These books are the best of historical mysteries – wonderful period detail, strong characters, tight plots, surprises that don’t cheat the reader. Now I want to read everything of hers.

And I don’t miss the show at all.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html








Saturday, August 21, 2004

Saturday, August 21, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, stormy, humid


I can’t seem to shake the exhaustion. No matter how much I sleep, I wake up just as exhausted and dizzy as I was before I went to bed.

Worked on a few more episodes of The Widow’s Chamber and polished the ones I’ve worked on earlier in the week. Sent four episodes to my editor – and that was a trip. The AOL server wasn’t working properly. Why do I need to keep two paid subscriptions to the internet because one of the servers is constantly down? Why can’t these companies do the jobs for which they are paid?

Ordered one more ink cartridge for the current printer – I plan to order a new printer – a Canon – in a few weeks. Ordered more photo cartridges and a new compact flashcard for the camera.

Printed some of the photos from my digital camera with my photo card printer.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. My friend – who’s asked to be referred to as “Curly Sue” – came out from Queens. I gave her the tour of Rye – including many of my childhood and teen haunts – and we ended up at Playland.

Playland is the most wonderful amusement park I’ve ever experienced. I hadn’t gone there as a regular person in a long time – I have to write articles about it. The original rides are still wonderful – our favorites were The Old Mill and The Derby Racer.

The Derby Racer is one of two such rides left in this country. It is sort of like a carousel, but the horses are meant to represent race horses. In addition to going up and down, without the poles, the ride is slanted so that you’re tilted in towards the center. You have to have one leg on a high stirrup peg and one leg on a low stirrup peg and lean. The ride itself runs at 25 mph at its fastest – and it feels like you’re on a galloping horse. My instinct is to behave as I do on a live horse – which is communicate with pressure from my legs and thighs – but, since the horse is out of whatever material it is, he can’t respond. Still, it’s a brilliant ride, and I want to talk to those who know the history of it about some of the whys and wherefores.

The Old Mill is an old animatronics ride with every bad Scandinavian mining/troll cliché you can imagine – and it’s funny as hell. We were laughing hysterically throughout – in addition to getting water dumped, sprayed, and splashed at us. It is not politically correct at all, but ever so funny, and even pokes fun at itself. We laughed like crazy!

We also went onto the Flying Witch, which I remembered from being a kid – our favorite animatronics was the female ghost who shimmied. We went into the Zombie House, which was okay, and the Hall of Mirrors. I didn’t realize that, in order for the distortion to really work, it had to be set so that it reflected at an angle a mirror behind you as well. We went on the regular carousel – gorgeous horses and a beautiful calliope. Although if I had to listen to that all day, I think I’d turn into a homicidal maniac. I’ve discovered that I like a calliope – for two minutes or less. We rode the Ferris wheel – called “The Gondola” – and I took some lovely photos from the top.

Kiddyland has gotten cuter and cuter, with a ride for the kids in little boats shaped like seals, and a ride called “Jungle Jam” where they sit as though they’re being hugged by a gorilla and get jiggled around for a few minutes.

We visited the Boardwalk museum. I took pictures of the women prop painters that I’ve been trying to research – and I’m right – there are FIVE women in the photographs, although I’ve only found a record for four. I’m not crazy – at least not as far as remembering how many women were in the photograph.

I feel like I owe it to these women to write about them – both non-fiction articles and a novel.

I do want to write articles and some fiction set in Playland. It is a truly magical place. The thought that it might be in danger from developers upsets me greatly. It is an historical landmark – but can that save it indefinitely?

I also had “dipping dots” pseudo-ice cream for the first time. It’s good! Although, in my case, it should be called “dripping dots” because I got it all over myself.

My only complaint about Playland is why do they have to blast such lame music over the speakers? I’m not talking about fun or clichéd stuff, set to period – I’m talking about broadcasting music from some lousy radio station that plays lousy seventies and eighties music – at least play the good stuff!

We walked over the park to Seaside Johnnie’s restaurant for a nice dinner overlooking the water. The food and the service were excellent – I had wonderful baked scallops, and Curly Sue had fried clam strips. The portions were generous, the décor is simple – and I still thought it was rather overpriced for being where it is.

In the time it took us to eat our entire dinner, the guys at the next table had about six beers apiece. I hope they weren’t driving.

It was a good day. Although I have a lot of writing ahead of me, a day like this makes me happy to be around, and living where I’m living.

And more determined than ever to set up my life so I can get paid to have fun like this and write about it.

Got a response from a query with a request for the manuscript of Jill Moves. Will send that out on Monday. Also have to work on a short story for a new website for “intelligent gamblers.” About time someone figured out you have to have a brain to win playing the ponies.

Cleaned and scrubbed the apartment today while the thunderstorm was on and I couldn’t be on the computer.

Received a message from the Executive Office at Dell. I’ll call them back on Monday and see how they’re going to try – or not try – to fix this situation.

I need to get to work on the Olympic article.

So much to do. And so little energy.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html



Friday, August 20, 2004

Friday, August 20, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky



Well, I have my week on the show back. None of the people they trained worked out – I could have told them that. So they asked to rebook me.

If I hadn’t lost the money from the computer problems, I could have and would have said no. As it was, I’m forced, financially, to say yes.

But I’m still pursuing other swing work.

The situation should have never happened in the first place. If a booking doesn’t mean a booking, then I have to work someplace where it does. It’s a shame, because it would have worked out for both parties to have me in part time over the next year or two. But, that’s the way it is.

My computer seems to be working, although I am still cautious. And not optimistic.

I overslept this morning and have been walking around, totally exhausted, not really getting back on my feet. I’m redoing m filing system and organizing. Nothing like spending four hours organizing and the room doesn’t look any better.

Helped a friend wrestle her cover off her futon so she could wash it, and then wrestle it back on. I want her to go to Newport with me next weekend to experience the health fair. Hopefully, she will. I think it’ll be fun to have someone to experience it with.

Caught up on e-mails, checked out the job boards and sent off a few queries.

I need to prep the episodes of Widow’s Chamber and get them off, write some more this weekend, and then switch back to Angel Hunt. I’ve lost my writing rhythm with the stresses of the past week.

It’s amazing that I’m not in a rubber room somewhere, under serious medication.

Hopefully, I can spend a couple of days in the library next week doing seventeenth century research for the pirate piece.

I’ve given up trying to have a full first draft of Periwinkle done by the time I go to Montauk at the end of the month. Perhaps I’ll use my time there as inspiration for the rest of the novel.

The afternoon will be spent with a friend at Playland Amusement Park. She’s never been, and I haven’t gone to it for fun since I was a kid. I want to write some articles about it. Even though it’s hot and so humid it’s like breathing underwater, I’m looking forward to a play day. I’m taking the digital camera, extra batteries, and off we go!!!

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Friday, August 20, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky



Well, I have my week on the show back. None of the people they trained worked out – I could have told them that. So they asked to rebook me.

If I hadn’t lost the money from the computer problems, I could have and would have said no. As it was, I’m forced, financially, to say yes.

But I’m still pursuing other swing work.

The situation should have never happened in the first place. If a booking doesn’t mean a booking, then I have to work someplace where it does. It’s a shame, because it would have worked out for both parties to have me in part time over the next year or two. But, that’s the way it is.

My computer seems to be working, although I am still cautious. And not optimistic.

I overslept this morning and have been walking around, totally exhausted, not really getting back on my feet. I’m redoing m filing system and organizing. Nothing like spending four hours organizing and the room doesn’t look any better.

Helped a friend wrestle her cover off her futon so she could wash it, and then wrestle it back on. I want her to go to Newport with me next weekend to experience the health fair. Hopefully, she will. I think it’ll be fun to have someone to experience it with.

Caught up on e-mails, checked out the job boards and sent off a few queries.

I need to prep the episodes of Widow’s Chamber and get them off, write some more this weekend, and then switch back to Angel Hunt. I’ve lost my writing rhythm with the stresses of the past week.

It’s amazing that I’m not in a rubber room somewhere, under serious medication.

Hopefully, I can spend a couple of days in the library next week doing seventeenth century research for the pirate piece.

I’ve given up trying to have a full first draft of Periwinkle done by the time I go to Montauk at the end of the month. Perhaps I’ll use my time there as inspiration for the rest of the novel.

The afternoon will be spent with a friend at Playland Amusement Park. She’s never been, and I haven’t gone to it for fun since I was a kid. I want to write some articles about it. Even though it’s hot and so humid it’s like breathing underwater, I’m looking forward to a play day. I’m taking the digital camera, extra batteries, and off we go!!!

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Friday, August 20, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky



Well, I have my week on the show back. None of the people they trained worked out – I could have told them that. So they asked to rebook me.

If I hadn’t lost the money from the computer problems, I could have and would have said no. As it was, I’m forced, financially, to say yes.

But I’m still pursuing other swing work.

The situation should have never happened in the first place. If a booking doesn’t mean a booking, then I have to work someplace where it does. It’s a shame, because it would have worked out for both parties to have me in part time over the next year or two. But, that’s the way it is.

My computer seems to be working, although I am still cautious. And not optimistic.

I overslept this morning and have been walking around, totally exhausted, not really getting back on my feet. I’m redoing m filing system and organizing. Nothing like spending four hours organizing and the room doesn’t look any better.

Helped a friend wrestle her cover off her futon so she could wash it, and then wrestle it back on. I want her to go to Newport with me next weekend to experience the health fair. Hopefully, she will. I think it’ll be fun to have someone to experience it with.

Caught up on e-mails, checked out the job boards and sent off a few queries.

I need to prep the episodes of Widow’s Chamber and get them off, write some more this weekend, and then switch back to Angel Hunt. I’ve lost my writing rhythm with the stresses of the past week.

It’s amazing that I’m not in a rubber room somewhere, under serious medication.

Hopefully, I can spend a couple of days in the library next week doing seventeenth century research for the pirate piece.

I’ve given up trying to have a full first draft of Periwinkle done by the time I go to Montauk at the end of the month. Perhaps I’ll use my time there as inspiration for the rest of the novel.

The afternoon will be spent with a friend at Playland Amusement Park. She’s never been, and I haven’t gone to it for fun since I was a kid. I want to write some articles about it. Even though it’s hot and so humid it’s like breathing underwater, I’m looking forward to a play day. I’m taking the digital camera, extra batteries, and off we go!!!

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Thursday, August 19, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde


I managed to get three episodes of Widow’s Chamber written yesterday before yet another argument with Dell Tech Non-Support.

The manager had me take apart my computer so that it was in pieces all over the living room floor as a “troubleshooting” technique, and told me he was not allowed to put in a service call until we’d tried every possibility. Obviously, the past week of working with Tech Non-Support didn’t count.

By this point, sitting amongst a bunch of computer parts I don’t understand, I became completely hysterical. I am not a computer technician. If I was qualified to take the machine apart and put it back together, I wouldn’t have needed to BUY a service contract.

Finally, he agreed to put in a call to a service technician.

Why did I have to go through week of pain and suffering and AT LEAST $2000 of lost income? When I had a paid contract in place?

The executive office refuses phone calls, so I got the fax number of the CEO of Dell, borrowed a friend’s computer, typed a five page letter detailing what happened – and faxed it off.

Nothing.

Not even a phone call to say “We’re looking into the situation.’

Today, the service technician showed up, put in a new modem and the problem was solved within TWENTY MINUTES.

Why was I put through eight days of hell for a problem that was what I originally thought it was that was fixed in 20 minutes?

I am in the process of filing with every consumer protection agency I can come across.

This is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

And, I’m afraid to log off to head for the show.

I can’t even believe I have to do a show tonight. I’m completely spent, both physically and emotionally. Between this, the death of my colleague and what’s been going on at the show, I am wrecked.

What I want to do is sit down and drink an entire bottle of wine.

What I have to do is pull it together to do the track on the show in which I am least comfortable.

I’m a hair’s breadth from a complete nervous breakdown. And I’m not someone to have breakdowns.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde


It’s been a week of turmoil, in every sense of the word. I’ve been out of touch because my computer died and my modem is down. Dell refuses to send a technician, although I have a pre-paid service contract where they send someone to the house. My friend Jane lent me her laptop, and, for whatever reason, it’s not connecting to the internet either.

So, basically, I’ve lost several thousand dollars of income, with no way to get it back. And I’m furious. It’s not income I can afford to lose.

The biggest, most important, and saddest event is that, last Thursday night, our colleague on the show passed away. While it’s always a blessing for his pain to be over, those who are left miss the warmth, gentleness, and joy he brought to all of our lives. We celebrate his place in our lives. We will always regret the conversations and interactions that will never happen. We are in mourning. I want to write more, but there’s nothing else to say. He is missed. He lives on in our hearts, and his contribution to so many lives is enormous. And, at least people had the chance to let him know how much he meant in this world. And very often, people don’t get to know the positive impact they have on the world. His life was a gift to us, and at least we got a chance to give something back before it was over.

On a more unpleasant note, a situation has come up at the show that makes me rethink whether or not I should stay. I have more than proven my dedication to the piece, and made myself available and on call all summer. I was booked to cover a vacation for the first week of September. Suddenly, the supervisor decides she wants to book someone else who can do a few additional days (I’ll be away for those days). So, she cancels me – which means I’m out a week’s pay, no small fee. On top of that, she has ME train the person who will be taking the money out of my pocket. On top of all of that, she has me train the new person on a day when I have a new understudy going on who’s never done the show, and we’re making it all up anyway. It’s a slap in the face. If I am not going to be respected, if a booking doesn’t mean a booking, then I will have to find work elsewhere. Unlike most of the people on that show, I do not stay in a situation that is bad for me.

We’ll see how it works out.

In the meantime, I can’t get online to send out any of my work or find out if I have any new work. I’ll have to go to Kinko’s or something to get online. Which costs money. Which I can’t afford right now.

I HATE MERCURY RETROGRADE!!!

Did anything good happen over the past week? I had dinner with friends in between shows on several nights, and it was nice to catch up. I read some decent books. I tried to write, but didn’t get much done. The union had a wardrobe party on Sunday night after the matinee. Good food, good wine, gifts, and it was terrific to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

The idea for the pirate story is chugging along nicely. It’s time for me to do some serious research and start working on the first two hundred pages, to see if I have something viable.

I also have another idea, for something set during the time of Hotspur, in Northumbria. I’ve wanted to write about him for years. While many teenagers were crazy about rock stars, I was obsessed with Hotspur Percy and Northumbrian history. I’ve never been quite sure what I wanted to write. And, finally, some characters and situations are starting to form.

Mostly, though, this past week, I’ve been trying to get through it. I’ve attempted to be pleasant and professional at the show. I’ve been grieving. And I’ve tried to deal with my hurt and anger at the way my boss treated me. I’ve put my cards on the table with them. They know how I feel. I doubt it will change anything, but I’d rather say it to their faces than simply bitch and moan with other crew members and pretend everything is okay. Everything is NOT okay.

In turmoil,

Devon

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

In true Mercury Retrograde fashion, the computer is having fits. I keep getting a message that my “Fire Daemon” is having problems. And that the “file extractor” could not complete its work. First of all, I don’t know what a Fire Daemon is. Secondly, I don’t want anyone or anything extracting files – unless they’re corrupt – without my permission. And I have to leave for the train and can’t call a tech to find out what the hell is going on.

I am so sick of constant computer problems. Why didn’t I go MAC in the beginning and save myself years of torture?

I managed to make some notes for the next arc in Widow’s Chamber yesterday. I had hoped to write an episode this morning, but the computer problems don’t allow it.

Day work was okay. Instead of writing on the break, I had a long talk with a friend who recently started to work on the show. It was nice to catch up. She’s in a very similar place as far is transition as I am, so it was good to chat.

Show was okay. There are little things I find irritating, but it’s not worth getting upset about.

Couldn’t find the book I wanted on Bora Bora so I didn’t buy anything.

Since Jasper Fforde’s writing requires complete concentration (in other words, he’s not a train or a backstage read), I’m reading a mystery set in NYC in the 1950s. It’s cute and fun and the period detail is lovely, but it’s not holding me the way I’d like it to. How much of that is my own distraction, who knows? I’ll probably read at least one more book by this author before making a final decision.

Hopefully, I can find a QUIET place to work during the dinner break and get some writing done. There are articles that need to be written as well as the fiction.

I’m in a holding pattern on the pirate piece until I do more period research. A timeline would be a good start – the political and social events of the particular era in which I want to set it. I want it to intersect with several historical figures, and I need to plot it all out.

I also need, next week, to sit down and do a major chart of the Widow’s Chamber characters and interactions. The structure is complex, and I need something I can look at quickly to keep on track.

A couple of new subscriptions came in for Tapestry and The Widow’s Chamber. Yippee! Always feels good to have the subscription base grow. I’d like it to take a real leap in the next few months.

Which means relentless publicity.

On top of everything else.

Must catch the train and put in another 14 hour theatre day.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Warm and sunny



I woke up this morning, full of anxiety about all that needed to be done before I left for the theatre at 10 AM. I’d been dreaming – a cross between Jasper Fforde’s world and my own. I know I lost something very important when I woke up, and I only hope I can retrieve it sometime.

I proofread for about the twelfth time the ad for the FenCon program, prepared the package, and sent it off certified mail. I think I’ll get the bookmarks done early next week, when I’m not dashing to the theatre first thing in the morning and working 14 hour days. I checked with the head of FenCon, who said it would be fine to send them at the end of next week. So that’s that. What a pleasure they are to deal with!

Polished episodes 80, 81 and 82 of Widow’s Chamber -- including some fact checking about nineteenth century card games – and sent them off. I realized that the cards used in the Met exhibit were actually 19th century decks, not 18th century decks. They used the Giocosa deck, I believe. Perhaps I should e-mail them and ask? Not to see if they made a mistake, or had to use them because they couldn’t get reproductions of 18th century decks, but because the cards were so beautiful I’d like to know what deck they actually represent.

I need to make sure I have everything I need in my bag and dash for the train. I want to stay home and write today, but no such luck.

Well, bills need to be paid, and, until I can implement the new business plan, I need to continue with one foot in both worlds. I do feel like I have a car strapped to the bottom of each foot, we’re traveling down the highway, and they’re about to take exits in the opposite direction from each other.

Maybe I’ll get some writing done on the train.

Mantra for Mercury Retrograde: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Monday, August 09, 2004

Monday, August 9, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury goes Retrograde tonight
Gorgeous, sunny, breezy, pleasant


Yesterday’s show went past in a fog. It was okay, other than the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing and always felt I was in the wrong place. But everyone got on stage in the correct costumes without any major flubs, so it was fine. I had friends attending the show, who were very excited. We drove back together and then went out for dinner. So it was a pleasant day.

And I don’t know how I’m going to face eight shows and two days of day work this week. I’m so exhausted and feel so out of sorts from just one show. The emotional energy it requires at this point is more than I want to give.

Somehow, I have to regain the balance between the writing and the theatre again for this week.

I read a friend’s short story, sent to me for critique. I like it very much, and had only minor suggestions.

I finished Jasper Fforde’s Lost in A Good Book. I love the way his mind works, and the jumps he makes – in every sense of the word. It’s the perfect blend of enjoyment and making me think.

Reading a good book energizes me in a way few other things can. I am not one of those self-involved gits who gets depressed every time I read a good book, moaning, “Why can’t I write like that? Why do I think I’m a writer?” A good book only makes me happier for all of us. Human beings have an insatiable need for stories. There are as room for as many good writers as there are good writers. And, because people’s needs, points of reference and opinions are so different, there is room for many types of writing. I think that’s invigorating, not depressing.

It’s such a lovely day that I hope to take my notebook and go out to a park somewhere and write outside this afternoon. I don’t want to be stuck inside. I’ll be stuck inside the theatre all week – I want to relish my moments of freedom.

Mercury goes retrograde tonight. Since I’ve felt retrograde since the last retrograde and felt like nothing got sorted out, maybe this retrograde will cancel out the last one and I’ll be back on track again.

Yeah, that didn’t make any sense to me, either.

FenCon, a new, fan-run conference, came to my attention through one of the writers’ lists to which I subscribe. I contacted them. I’m going to take an ad out in their program, and send them bookmarks from Angel Hunt for the conference. I can’t go this year – it’s the same weekend I’m covering the fair Health magazine is doing in Newport – but it sounds great. They are terrific to deal with and I hope this is the beginning of a long and productive series for them.

The link is:

www.fencon.org

in case anyone reading the blog is interested. It’s located in Dallas, Texas.

Yosemite Writers’ Conference, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with me. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Good thing there are so many different types of writers and fans around.

Wrote an episode of Widow’s Chamber.

Worked on the ad for the FenCon program and the bookmarks. My KIC editor/publisher will let me do a special deal for subscribers that come in via the program ad. So it’s all good.

Dinner at a friend’s house, then back and two more episodes of The Widow’s Chamber. There are some interesting interpersonal dynamics happening on the packet. I’m juggling a lot of characters, but, hopefully, each is distinct enough to stay clear in the reader’s mind. And interesting.

I can’t believe I have to spend an entire week in the theatre. I’m so worried I’ll loose my writing groove again. I don’t know how to adjust my attitude so I can enjoy my time there this week. Most importantly, I don’t want to take out any of my frustration on anyone else.

Did some work on the business plan. I haven’t decided whether or not I will post it here on the blog, or keep it to myself but share bits of hits and misses in the blog. I want to take a few months to perfect the plan.

Got an idea for a story set in Bora Bora. Of course, since I’ve never been to Bora Bora, I can’t really set anything there. Guess I’ll just have to figure out a way to go to Bora Bora to do some research.

Ah, the life of a writer!

Best one there is. The only limitations are the ones you put on yourself.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Sunday, August 8, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cool


I dread going to the theatre today.

And I feel guilty about dreading it.

But I’m finally not perpetually exhausted, and I’m getting back into the writing groove. I even found some potential job listings to which I want to send pitches.

Losing an entire day – and, looking ahead, an entire week – depresses me beyond measure. I can feel myself getting tense and edgy.

And I want to be able to go into the show and enjoy being with people I like.

Again, I feel like a wishbone being pulled in two directions.

Perhaps I should be grateful that it’s only two?

A contract arrived from Llewellyn for four articles for the 2006 almanac, due at the end of September. I’ve done most of the research on one already, and, if I pace myself properly, I can do one a week and be ahead of the deadline.

I did some great planning notes on Angel Hunt. I’m very excited about the next couple of story arcs – I would say I have enough for about the next thirty episodes, and there’s some fun – and scary – stuff.

I wanted to get out a couple of episodes of Widow’s Chamber this morning, but I don’t think I can finish them before I have to dash for the train.

I want to pace myself today so I don’t wear out and lose tomorrow for writing. I need to be able to write tomorrow.

I also need to adjust my attitude before I leave for the show.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming/tapestry.html


Saturday, August 07, 2004

Saturday, August 7, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool


As it usually happens after a strong writing day, I’m not getting much writing done the day after. But I’m fairly caught up, and can keep my attention on the show without deadline pressure.

I had fun hanging out with my friend last night. We talked about options for her job search. Instead of just packing it in, she’s going to take a week in Maine to think about what she really wants to do. We found an interesting ad and I will fax her resume off today. And look after her cats while she’s gone.

I caught up on e-mail this morning and ran errands. While I was driving, a call came in. I didn’t take it, but, when I listened to the message later, I was annoyed. A friend wanted me to drop everything and go into the city to entertain relatives of hers. Not that she’s working, mind you. She just wanted to hand them off for a day. Without any sort of planning, as usual.

My reaction was out of proportion to the situation. I was truly furious. Then I wondered why I was so angry. After all, in a hundred years, no one will know or care about it. I figured out it was because she only calls me when she wants something. So, I instinctively tense up whenever I hear her voice. And I also realized that she sails around, doing whatever she pleases, calling it “spontaneity” when, in reality, there’s always a cadre of people cleaning up the mess behind her.

And I realized that I can choose not to be part of that cadre.

So I returned the call and simply said, “I’m sorry, I can’t.” No justification. No explanation. No defense. Just a plain, polite no.

And that was that.

And I didn’t have to walk around all day in an utter rage.

Important lesson.

I’m reading Edain McCoy’s new book, and I’m surprised at how many of the theories she talks about are situations that Lianna finds herself in during the course of Angel Hunt. It’s pretty funny. We’re exploring parallel tracks. And it reinforces that I’m working along the right lines with the piece – these are questions that people actually are trying to answer. So offering some suggestions within a fictional context can only be useful. My answers aren’t the only way. But they are one possibility.

I need to figure out what I’m going to feed my characters during their dinner at the Captain’s table in Widow’s Chamber. And then write it.

YA is progressing nicely, although I still haven’t figured out a name for the series.

Did a bit of handicapping for my friend who’s going to Saratoga to the races tomorrow and Monday. Hope I haven’t steered her wrong.

I’m going to list some of the blogs I enjoy. I plan to add links to them once I figure out how to do it, but, until then, here they are:

http://celticdreamer.blogspot.com

http://freedomfromthemundane.blogspot.com

http://puregrace.blogspot.com

http://rosesandbrambles.blogspot.com

My writer friend Angela sent me the directions to link these to my site – permanently.

Let’s see if I can do it properly.

And then, more Widow’s Chamber and YA and the Christmas story and . . .

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Friday, August 06, 2004

Friday, August 6, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

What a gorgeous day! It almost feels like the beginning of fall – and I love fall!

The shoulder is still sore, but I managed to finish off the Angel Hunt episodes through next week and get them off. I’ll turn my attention to Widow’s Chamber now and work on that for the next few days. Since I’m doing a full week at the show next week, I don’t want any deadlines hanging over me.

Heard from one of my editors who “forgot” to include me in two of the annuals and told me to contact him again next May. Now, I’ve e-mailed him every couple of weeks asking if they’d decided to do them again or not next year. I get a hugely positive response from my work in those annuals, and I’m quite annoyed that he “forgot.”

I intend to take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

More to follow, when the plan has been launched.

A friend of mine has quit her job and has had it with NY. We are going out for pizza and wine tonight to talk about it. I’ll be sorry to lose her proximity, but when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. At least she’s taking action.

I’m reading Jasper Fforde’s Lost in a Good Book. I’m a big fan of The Eyre Affair. I love his wit and dexterity. I know most of the books his characters careen through, and the few I don’t know . . .well, it makes me determined to read them!

Four episodes of Widow’s Chamber. I didn’t realize how far behind I’d fallen on that one. At least I’ve gotten them on the damn packet to start the journey down the Mississippi. I’m stretching some of the facts of steamboat travel at that time to fit the story. Good thing I don’t belong to a steamboat society or I’d be tossed out. I’ll point out the stretches in the facts on the website, and give links to correct information. But I need to push disbelief to do what I need to do. And I think – I hope – only steamboat aficionados will find it totally out of line. I’m trying to make the stretches gentle enough that’s it’s not too farfetched. The boat they’re on is more like the boats in 1857 than in 1853. And I do mention that it is an unusually elegant packet, ahead of its time.


Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Thursday, August 5, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool


The shoulder is a little better, but still sore.

Tweaked some of the dates for the college courses. If they are accepted (and they said they’d let me know by Sept. 1), I’ll be teaching four days per week in February. That will really be the only time I can’t work in the theatre at all. I’ll be able to work most of January, and after about the middle of March again.

I’m annoyed that I succumbed to road rage yesterday. What I did is certainly not the best choice. But I did what I did, I was lucky no one got hurt, and I’m sure I’ll use it in a story somewhere.

The morning was about business. I sent out five more queries for Jill Moves. I finally figured out that if I code the return envelope, I’ll know for which piece it is when the generic rejections slips come in. I caught up on business correspondence, including the confusion in my voter change of residence. If there’s one thing I want to make sure I can do this November, it’s vote! I worked out some more dates with the college, and we have an appointment to meet in two weeks. I finished the mountain of paperwork Greenwich High School needs me to fill out for this fall’s teaching gig. I printed off the calendar article and sent the hard copy to my editor, along with a better bio. I put in requests for some review copies. I did my receipts. I did some work on the mailing list. Threw out a lot of junk that came in which I don’t need. The pile on my desk is actually lower, although nowhere near gone. I’ve even started to tackle the pile next to the desk. Well, there are several piles next to the desk, but this is the most urgent.

Filing is my biggest obstacle. I have a good filing system. Unfortunately, because so much comes in that needs to be filed every day, it backs up. If I filed every single day, it would take a couple of hours. Filing once a week takes an entire day. Nights that I’m not in the theatre and not on a writing roll, I try to do some filing while I watch television. But I usually end up turning off the television to read or quilt or do something productive. So I’m not quite sure how to get this done. I can’t hire a part-time person in this space because there’s no place to put anyone and it’s unfair to bring in a person without a designated workspace. I’ve certainly been in that situation enough to know how it makes it impossible to be efficient. Just try to keep on top of it and not drown in the paperwork.

So much for a paperless office. And a zip drive, saving everything on computer doesn’t work for me. Inevitably, the backups are eaten or dumped and I’m screwed. No, I need it where I can put my hands on it when I need it.

I was slowed down by my lemon of a printer. Today’s tactic was to only print out every OTHER envelope, with the ones in between being chewed up. So tired of this.

I haven’t been searching the job board for more work the way I should be; I haven’t sent out enough query letters in the past months; I certainly haven’t gotten enough done on the various projects. I’m barely keeping up with my deadlines. And I have plenty of ideas and things I want and need to work on. But spending so many hours in the theatre has made it impossible. I haven’t hit the right balance yet in the transition process.

I’m going to take a break now, and the plan is to be creative this afternoon. Work on Angel Hunt, Widow’s Chamber, the Christmas story, the YA and Periwinkle. I wonder how much will actually get done?

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and humid



Today is one of those days when I feel like I can’t cope with anything. I don’t know if it’s residual stress from the heightened terror alerts or what. I just feel totally useless. And I’m not very good at being useless.

I didn’t sleep well on Monday night because of the struggles with the calendar article. I got up very early on Tuesday morning and did a rewrite which basically ended up with me tossing most of the article and starting over. The outcome was much better, although the direction surprised me. I sent it off to my editor, who liked it – she’s so good about getting back to me. She knows I fret, I think, although I try not to fret to her.

The 2005 calendar and almanac arrived yesterday – nice irony! My September article looks good in the calendar and I want to send a thank-you note to the artist. She did such a lovely job. The almanac pieces read well, too. I also need to send a note to that illustrator – two of the four pieces have lovely illustrations.

I’m sad that I wasn’t included in the Spell-a-Day or the tarot almanacs for 2005. I shot off an e-mail to the editor of those annuals to ask to be included in the 2006. My pieces in the Spell-a-Day generate a lot of positive feedback, and they’re tons of fun to do. And my tarot background is strong enough to warrant inclusion. However, Llewellyn seems to have their designated tarot people and I don’t seem to be one of them. We’ll see. If they don’t want to include tarot pieces, there are other places to which I could pitch. I’m not on exclusive contract with Llewellyn, after all.

One of my reviews is in the new issue of PanGaia. I wrote it almost a year ago, on a labyrinth book. I’m glad they used it, because I like the book, and I’m happy to give it a boost.

The train into New York was almost empty and absolutely silent yesterday morning. The streets had people in them, but very subdued. I felt perfectly safe once I was in the theatre, but I’m definitely edgy, and I view every truck or van that passes with suspicion. In a busy urban area, that’s a lot of suspicion. It’s a ridiculous way to live. I have high regard for the NYPD, though. Not only are they doing a good job on the protection front, there’s plenty of positive interaction. They truly want to make people feel safe, not threatened. I’ve said it over and over again – with all my traveling all over the world, the New York City Police Department is the best.

Day work was fine. It was hard to go in, not because I don’t like the people or the situation, but because I need to focus on the writing. I don’t know how I will manage a full week next week. But, somehow, I will. That’s the way it goes.

Still negotiating with the college. We worked on a few points, and now it has to go in “for review”. I asked how long that would take. I’m already getting offers for projects into 2006 – I can’t hold open an entire semester indefinitely while a bunch of administrators hem and haw. Either they want me to teach there, or they don’t. They asked for modifications to several courses, which is fine – they know their audience. But I’m starting to regret ever pitching to them. Hopefully, if it works out, it will be a good experience for everyone involved.

More notes on the pirate piece. I have enough of an outline for the basic story – this is a serial that could continue for years, should it catch on. Now I need to do the historical and nautical research. All of that needs to be done before – this is not the kind of piece where I can research on the fly, the way I’m doing with Widow’s Chamber.

The whaling family saga is definitely a different piece than the pirate story. And it will have to wait its turn. But, when I’m in Montauk in September, I can pick up a few whaling books, too, and maybe visit the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum.

I devoured P.B. Ryan’s Murder in a Milltown yesterday. It was difficult to put it down for the hours I had to dedicate to day work. Not only are her historical details fascinating, but the complexity of her characters and the delicacy of their interactions is enthralling. I realize that I have to wait and watch the series grow one book at a time, year to year, but each time I finish a book, I’m impatient for the next. I also find her books wonderful to re-read. I keep discovering new details each time I go through them. It’s great to be able to get that excited about a series of books. I want to track down her writing in other genres as well. She doesn’t put in too much detail – she puts in just enough.

Tried to catch up on e-mail, which left me more depressed than ever. I wonder if I’ll ever get on top of it and stay on top of it. I’m frustrated with the web sites – they’re not holding the information, and I’ve been paying the host for a year without getting the help for which I’m paying. I haven’t even been able to get the sites up yet. If I can find another provider to which to switch – that has a site builder I can figure out – I’ll jump. Both sites need to get up before this fall – there’s too much of my work swirling around and the sites are an important tool.

I slept wrong and have a great big knot in my shoulder – the one that was injured a few years back – that hours on the computer only aggravate. I’m trying to stretch it out with yoga, etc., but so far, no luck.

Well, back to the (late) Christmas story and more Angel Hunt. I need to focus on Widow’s Chamber shortly, too.

I stopped keeping a “to do” list because the length of it intimidated me so much I couldn’t get anything done.

I need more solitary time, more time to percolate.

Later:
Some work on the Christmas story, worked on Episode 46 of Angel Hunt and started episode 47.

When the shoulder got too painful to work any more, I decided to stop at the store and then go over to a friend’s for lunch. As I drove to the store, a woman driving a Lexus while talking on a cell phone took a wide turn onto the wrong side of the road and came barreling down in my lane directly at me.

I accelerated.

Bitch screamed, dropped the phone, and swerved.

Not the smartest thing to do on my part, but I was the ruling chicken player in the county in my teenage years. And I’m sick and tired of Lexus drivers thinking they are above the law around here. I have yet to encounter a single one who drives with any respect for anyone else on the road. And 90% of them are illegally talking on their cell phones. Hope she wet her designer pants. Even though she was in the wrong lane, she assumed I would give way to her because she was in a Lexus.

If I’d been able to get her license plate number, I’d have filed charges.

Anyway, I had a nice afternoon at my friend’s, returned, and did some more paperwork. I’m so tired of paperwork.

There is actually a reality show I watch: Amish in the City. The people chosen actually are multi-faceted, and it doesn’t only show people at their worst, the way every other reality show I’ve ever sampled does. And a jockey friend of mine was on it tonight, when the group visited Hollywood Park. He does what he does best – make everyone feel good about themselves. He is the kindest person I know.

And I’m going to have to bust his chops teasing him when I talk to him next.

Used arnica on the shoulder and took a valerian to try to get it to release.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Monday, August 02, 2004

Monday, August 2, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and sunny


It’s been one of those days. Not particularly productive, although I ran around in a dress like a professional.

Tarot client in the morning, lunch with a friend, meeting for a possible freelance writing assignment in the early afternoon.

Stopped at a nearby bookstore that was having a buy-3-paperbacks-get-the-fourth-free. How could I possibly pass up a deal like that, especially since P.B. Ryan’s newest Gilded Age mystery just came out? So I have a stack of four mysteries to read on the train next week when I’m in the city fulltime on the show. Came back to find that someone, somewhere had signed for a package from Amazon.com – the books from the gift certificate – and had to track down the package, which I finally found outside the vestibule of the building. Once recovered, I was happy to anticipate the books-- two Jasper Fforde books and a novel about Clara Shuman. So my stack grows to seven.

Books equal security to me. I will not feel entirely secure in life until I have built a library room with hand-crafted floor to ceiling bookcases much like the library at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk, England.

Two writer friends have kindly added links to this blog to their blog, and, later this week, I’ll return the favor, once I can figure out how to work the links. The blogs are definitely worth reading. I just have to figure out how to do it. The techs at Blogspot must be getting tired of me – but they are lovely and helpful.

I am having an awful fight with the revision on the calendar article – which was due yesterday. Each word feels like wrestling an alligator. Right now, I’m dinner. I know what I want to say, but I’m not saying it effectively. And, because I’m very good at turning in work on time, I’m berating myself for having trouble, which is slowing me down even more.

Talked to the college about scheduling classes – it sounds like they want four of them. That could work out well – although it knocks me out of doing any swing work in theatre for a good three months, except for the odd day here and there. But, overall, I think it would be worth it. If I can book some of my weekend seminars around the other dates, I think I can do it, financially. And boost subscriptions on the serials.

Did more pirate research – I’m starting to think I have something there, and that early next year will find me with four serials running. I want to make sure I’ve got enough material to keep it going for a good while before I even pitch it. But there are some tales of piracy and the reasons for it and the way they set up their society that I think would make a good read, along with all the swordplay. As usual, I’m starting from character, and I’m mixing historical with fictional characters. I have to do a great deal more research about both the clothing of the time and ships, but, hey, I live on the eastern seaboard, there’s plenty of information around. I’m sure I’ll find a lot at Black Cat Books in Sag Harbor in September.

In other words, I untangled the scrap yarn bag of characters about which I’ve been fretting. I’ve got my pirates lined up over here, swilling ale, playing cards and planning their next attack; my political/fantasy figures sorted out in manipulating who will marry whom for which land and how to dispose of the mistresses; and the YA kids figuring out how to get what they want when they legally shouldn’t have it.

Plus, I know where the next few episodes of Angel Hunt are going and then I can focus on Widow’s Chamber for awhile.

In other words, although I’m struggling with the calendar article, I’m not a total creative loss.

Found a food writing seminar at the New School I’d like to take in the fall, along with a discussion between John Sayles and Barbara Kingslover. It’ll be fun to actually take a class once in awhile.

I switched my New Orleans dates to earlier in January to fit the semester schedule, and discover that, not only can I get better flight rates, but book a better hotel. So that’s all good. The trip is a bit shorter than I’d have liked, but it’ll be fun anyway.

An eight show week until the end of time is too constricting for me at this point.

Okay, time to get back in the alligator pit. Perhaps sautéed with a bit of garlic?

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Sunday, August 1, 2004
Last Day of the Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Muggy and rainy


Yesterday was a Blue Moon! The second full moon within a calendar month! I enjoy blue moons! They make everything seem possible. No wonder I was in such good spirits.

Spent too much time fretting on the business plan and not enough time actually doing anything about it. I wasn’t worrying – I was fretting. Fretting is more frustrating than worrying – it uses more energy, with fewer results.

But I wrote two episodes of Angel Hunt, worked on the calendar article and the short story, and critiqued a manuscript, so it wasn’t completely a lost day.

The ideas for the YA, the pirate story and the political/fantasy novel were getting all intertwined as I thought about them today. In other words, muddled. I have to untangle them rather as one untangles a basket full of yarn scraps.

Will revise the calendar article tomorrow and send it off by the end of the day, then finish up the Christmas story.

A friend from writers’ group got a contract with KIC – hooray for her! I’m very excited. And my friend B. called to tell me we won on the horses on Friday.

So, in spite of the useless fretting, a few things got accomplished.

Devon
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html