Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the National Novel Writing Month challenge. Wonderful work! You made the commitment and stuck to it. Good for you!

Well, Mercury goes retrograde today, which means three weeks of hell for me – Mercury is the planet of communication, to anything to do with communication can get misinterpreted, plans to awry, electronics go kaplooey, travel is delayed, etc. But the shopping’s great, because people don’t realize the value of what they sell, so it’s time to bargain shop.

My mantra for Merc Ret is: Stay low, be quiet, go shopping.

I will try to voice as few opinions as possible during the Ret because of the chance of both a lack of clarity on my part and misinterpretation on the part of the reader.

Two issues of Widow’s Chamber edited and sent this morning, so far. I have to run a quick errand, and then I want to work on Angel Hunt. I need to catch an earlier train today than my usual Tuesday train. Let’s hope the trains are actually running kinda maybe sorta within the realm of decency on-time.

I really do want a holiday miracle, don’t I?

Errands, Angel Hunt and then the train.

Tapestry is still niggling at me, and the Congress Corners characters have a lot to say about the holidays, so I better start listening.

The tree lighting at Lincoln Center was beauatiful last night. The city always dresses up well for the holidays!

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html


Monday, November 29, 2004

Nov. 29 Part III

Spent far too many hours this afternoon reorganizing and filing. I sort of made a dent, but not enough of one. When I get my Dream Office, I’m going to have to organize my research files by century – 17th Century, 18th Century, etc., or I’ll never find anything. Straight alpha files will only work for so long. They’re barely working as it is.

Reviewed two short stories for the KIC mag slush pile and edited four articles. So I think I’m all caught up.

Snuck in a bit of work on Tapestry.

I wanted to work on notes for Clock, but think I’m too tired. Also playing around with ideas for the next round of short stories, but not sure which way I’ll go yet.

Was half-way through 24 column ideas for a new column proposal when I stopped myself. I’m spread thinly enough now, and the only new projects I can take on right now need to have large dollar signs attached. I managed a wide variety of credits in a wide variety of genres over the past year, and now it’s time to take the next step up the financial ladder with it. I need to think in terms of business and cost-effectiveness for the next few months. Not to the extent I become an asshole, but just enough to be smart.

My eyes hurt too much to continue working on the computer, so I think I’ll call it a night. I have to gear up for dealing with Manhattan tomorrow.

I should have updated the websites before Mercury turns retrograde, and I didn’t. So I don’t know if I dare risk it this week or just let them sit for three more weeks. I don’t want to do something irreparable harm.

Oh, yeah, I nearly set fire to the kitchen curtains, although I had small candles enclosed in jars far away from them. I’m still not sure how that happened, but very grateful I simply have three brown, ragged holes in the sheers, rather than the entire room going up in flames. I’m overly cautious when it comes to the candles, so it’s a mystery. Not only would that have been awful on every conceivable level, the local fire department would never let me live it down. They’re still teasing me about a kitchen fire two years ago.

D.

November 29 Part II


I’m having trouble getting back into the groove with Angel Hunt. I stopped at a crucial point last month. The way I originally wanted to resolve it doesn’t work – it was clichéd, and it’s been done so many times that it didn’t ring true to the story. I simplified it, and will let the situation set the stage for a new set of conflicts – I think, in a few months, I want to move a big section of the story to Paris.

I also did a cross-pollination scene with all three other serials – now I have to keep on track with them to have it truly be a cross and have it work. It will need some serious revision and careful entwining, but it’s an interesting challenge to see if I can pull it off. Maybe I’ll put some sort of contest on KIC about it, if I can figure out how to phrase it.

I only managed an episode and a half of AH, and it was an uphill battle. I did finish an episode of WC, though, and I think I can revise that episode and another and send two WC episodes off tonight.

I’m tired, and Tapestry is still pulling at me. I actually want to skip past the next few episodes, winding up Winter’s arc to raising the stakes between Nina and Tom, but I need the progression of events in order for it to make sense. Just buckle down and do it, I guess. I’m afraid if I wait the entire month to get back to the mystery, I’ll lose this part of the arc.

That’s the hardest thing about switching between the serials – I just get into the groove for one and it’s time to switch to another so I don’t fall behind. I love the growth process of a serial – to see how the story sprouts new tendrils and allows me to go on tangents – but I sometimes think I should have started with more information written so that I wasn’t doing so much on the fly.

Except for some family tensions, it’s really been great to be away from the theatre for a week and truly concentrate on writing full time. This is the way I want to set up my life, and I have to make sure I have a large stack of proposals to send out the first week in January to speed the transition.

Paper Direct offered a one-time credit for the useless template. I’ll take it. And I won’t order templates from them again. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll order anything from them again, but we’ll see how successful the holiday postcard thing is. I’ll have to check out other paper sources as well and see who has the product that best fits my needs. I have to buy ink, paper, and other supplies in bulk, and for some of the paper needs, the regular office supply stores just don’t cut it.

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow and I am not looking forward to the next three weeks – except when it comes to shopping. I have to make sure that I keep my mouth firmly shut until it goes direct, to prevent sticking my foot in it all the way up to my knee.

Colin’s written in his blog about hitting some of the same spots in Edinburgh I like to visit – such as Bannerman’s and Clark’s. I also spend a good deal of time in the Oxford Bar on Young St. – I consider John Gates a good friend, and always love to stop by to spend time with him and his wife, Margaret. I adore them both. The Last Drop on Grassmarket is also known as “my office” when I’m in town – if someone wants to find me or needs to know how to reach me, leaving a message at The Last Drop is the quickest way to catch up. I’m in there every day, usually more than once. On my trip to Edinburgh in 1993, I went in to The Last Drop for the first time, for lunch. I was working on a short story, and ended up writing the whole thing there that rainy afternoon. The staff completely protected me from any interruption and kept refilling my tea and my whiskey. Whenever I have a show in Edinburgh, the staff always recommends it to their customers. I love that place. Some of my best friends in Edinburgh were made in that bar (and it’s rare to actually make real friends in a bar).

I also enjoy the Jolly Judge, when it’s quiet and the fire’s going in the fireplace. I’ve done a good bit of writing there when there aren’t lots of crowds. I also enjoy Deacon Brodie’s Tea Room, which is across the street from the Deacon Brodie Pub (Tavern?) and down a bit of an alley. Their baked goods and sandwiches are great, and it’s another good place to write.

There are plenty of other places I haunt when I visit Edinburgh, but those are always the places to which I HAVE to return.

When I set up my office (whose design will be based on the library in Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk), I want to get an old map of Edinburgh, frame it and hang it where I can see it from my desk. That will prove endlessly inspiring.

D.


Monday, November 29, 2004
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool



NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: One more day – you’ve achieved so much and there’s just one more day!

The cats played with the Christmas ornaments all night long. There were bells ringing, and ribbon undone (yes, they know how to open the plastic bins to get at the ribbon storage). It’s enough to make you think the pixies, elves and snowmen all came to life during the night, because they’ve rearranged themselves.

Usually, the cats just play with the quilted ornaments on the bottom of the tree, and their special holiday toys that are only set out during the season. But this year, they want to explore everything. It’s very cute, and the breakables have been fastened firmly enough so that it’s unlikely they’ll come to harm. I’m glad they’re having fun.

Finished the tarot column – finally – and sent it off. Will work on Angel Hunt and Widow’s Chamber and maybe sneak in another episode of Tapestry, since I’m on a roll with it. I’d like to resolve the mini arc with Winter, and ratchet up the stakes between Nina and Tom some more to set up folding in the New Year’s short story mystery.

And I want to get to work on a couple of short stories.

Today’s a day I need time to “expand to meet need.”

Or maybe I just need some extra vitamins.

The afternoon has to be about reorganizing all the stuff that got stacked on the floor while the decorating happened yesterday. A frightening amount of filing has accumulated over the past few days, and, in all the chaos, I’ve misplaced the teaching contracts. I have to find those, sign them, enter the classes on my big calendar, and send the contracts back. Plus, I have to get started on the cards. I did get all the mail order shopping that has to be delivered done, though. Tomorrow, I have to go back to the theatre, but Wednesday I’m picking up my paint and stencils and starting to work on the painting the glassware for gifts in and around the writing.

I also have a few submissions to go over in the next few days.

So I better sign off here, and get back to work. Once I retrieve the Christmas balls that the cats are using to play soccer in the hallway.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sunday, November 28, 2004
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Stormy


NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: You’ve already achieved beyond what most people ever do. You’ve taken action, not just talked about it.

Well, my halls are decked. And the doors, windows, tables, etc., etc., etc. We worked all day – and we’re not done.

I have some cleaning and reorganizing to do before I can finish – amazing what you find when you move a piece of furniture that’s just been sitting there for awhile.

The tree looks beautiful. For the first time, we used ribbons streaming down the tree vertically – and looped around the trunk, allowing some interior sparkle. Three cats and dangling ribbons would be a recipe for disaster. As it is, Iris has rearranged my display under the tree about three times so that she can nap the way she wants to under the tree.

The table displays worked – even have one table set up just for Advent. I put up a little Scandinavian church scene I haven’t used in years, and found a Nativity scene I always put up as a kid. It doesn’t look right in the first place I put it, so I have to look around and find it someplace better. I definitely want to use it. I also found the Advent calendars I had when I was a kid – I used them for years, always being very careful with the little doors so they wouldn’t tear. They’re so beautiful – the ones they have now are too cutesy for my taste. And, although I appreciate chocolate Advent calendars, I like the ones that can be used over and over again. I think I might make one out of cloth one year, and make small ornaments for it. There just wasn’t time this year.

I pick up ornaments on my travels all the time, and people always give me new ones. I have quite a collection, and each ornament has a story. That means decorating the tree takes awhile, because each story has to be revisited as the ornament is unwrapped, but it’s worth it.

And I keep finding Halloween decorations I missed when I put them away.

Everything hurts – I was lifting and fetching and carrying and bending and ironing and all sorts of stuff all day. But it was worth it.

And the cats helped. So you can only imagine – I’ll be unwrapping ribbon from chair legs for days.

So, other than the blog, not a word was written today, although there’s plenty whirling through my head. I revised the five episodes of Tapestry last night and sent them off, and started another one.

But tomorrow is the start of Angel Hunt week, and I need to focus on that, while catching up with The Widow’s Chamber. I’d like to do two issues of AH each of the weekdays, plus one of WC. That would be a good rhythm. And give me time to turn around some submissions that came in, finish the tarot column, and work on some short stories. I should hear on my EWW submission soon.

I love this season. I know, people whine about how commercial it is. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m making the majority of the gifts I’m giving this year – it’s a good way to do something personal for the people in my life. Of the gifts I’m buying, most of them are books (always a favorite) and stocking stuffers. Putting together stockings for people is one of my favorite things. I love to find all sorts of tiny oddities and unusual treasures to fill the stocking.

I can’t wait until I have a house with fireplaces and can really go all out. Because I will.

Tired, sore, but satisfied,

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapeestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html


Saturday, November 27, 2004

November 27 Part II


Good ole Microsoft decided, suddenly, not to allow me to insert page numbers, so I had to wrestle with that until I figured out how to do it. Gee, wonder why they even have a “help” key when none of the information is relevant? I lost 1/3 to ½ of each work day due to operating system problems. That’s simply not acceptable.

Worked on Tapestry. Realized that I hadn’t printed out ANY of the chapters (and by the end of the day I hope to be at Episode 69), so I went back and started printing. That’s all I’d need – to lose a few hundred pages of manuscript.

The cats are happy I’m home. All three are in my lap. Which makes typing an, um, interesting challenge.

I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on the writing. I want to decorate for the holidays. But that’s tomorrow, the First of Advent.

And I’ll be able to spend as much time as I want decorating tomorrow with a clear conscience if I get all my work done today.

Got all the way through episode 69 of Tapestry (which means I wrote five episodes). Made notes on the next section, which I don’t have to write for another month, but I may end up writing ahead tonight, depending upon how much more energy I have. Tom Grady is taking a much more central role than I planned – he was supposed to be a one-night stand jerk in her life; instead, he’s someone quite different, and will prove a catalyst for several of Nina’s adventures and part of her growing up. He does have a complicated history, and things will get even more complicated between them. I have no idea where it will ultimately lead. Matt Hathaway’s not going to give up easily, and Charlie Greer is going to stick around, too. A lot will depend on how quickly Nina will mature. Will she continue to have bad judgment, or is she learning from her mistakes? I have to let the story lead me.

I have to bake a ham now, and then, after dinner, I’ll revise the five episodes of Tap and get them off tonight. I have an important section happening in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the beautiful Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche that I love so much. I can’t wait to get up there and see them again this year.

D.

November 27 Part II


Good ole Microsoft decided, suddenly, not to allow me to insert page numbers, so I had to wrestle with that until I figured out how to do it. Gee, wonder why they even have a “help” key when none of the information is relevant? I lose 1/3 to ½ of each work day due to operating system problems. That’s simply not acceptable.

Worked on Tapestry. Realized that I hadn’t printed out ANY of the chapters (and by the end of the day I hope to be at Episode 69), so I went back and started printing. That’s all I’d need – to lose a few hundred pages of manuscript.

The cats are happy I’m home. All three are in my lap. Which makes typing an, um, interesting challenge.

I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on the writing. I want to decorate for the holidays. But that’s tomorrow, the First of Advent.

And I’ll be able to spend as much time as I want decorating tomorrow with a clear conscience if I get all my work done today.

Got all the way through episode 69 of Tapestry (which means I wrote five episodes). Made notes on the next section, which I don’t have to write for another month, but I may end up writing ahead tonight, depending upon how much more energy I have. Tom Grady is taking a much more central role than I planned – he was supposed to be a one-night stand jerk in her life; instead, he’s someone quite different, and will prove a catalyst for several of Nina’s adventures and part of her growing up. He does have a complicated history, and things will get even more complicated between them. I have no idea where it will ultimately lead. Matt Hathaway’s not going to give up easily, and Charlie Greer is going to stick around, too. A lot will depend on how quickly Nina will mature. Will she continue to have bad judgment, or is she learning from her mistakes? I have to let the story lead me.

I have to bake a ham now, and then, after dinner, I’ll revise the five episodes of Tap and get them off tonight. I have an important section happening in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the beautiful Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche that I love so much. I can’t wait to get up there and see them again this year.

D.

November 27 Part II


Good ole Microsoft decided, suddenly, not to allow me to insert page numbers, so I had to wrestle with that until I figured out how to do it. Gee, wonder why they even have a “help” key when none of the information is relevant? I lose 1/3 to ½ of each work day due to operating system problems. That’s simply not acceptable.

Worked on Tapestry. Realized that I hadn’t printed out ANY of the chapters (and by the end of the day I hope to be at Episode 69), so I went back and started printing. That’s all I’d need – to lose a few hundred pages of manuscript.

The cats are happy I’m home. All three are in my lap. Which makes typing an, um, interesting challenge.

I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on the writing. I want to decorate for the holidays. But that’s tomorrow, the First of Advent.

And I’ll be able to spend as much time as I want decorating tomorrow with a clear conscience if I get all my work done today.

Got all the way through episode 69 of Tapestry (which means I wrote five episodes). Made notes on the next section, which I don’t have to write for another month, but I may end up writing ahead tonight, depending upon how much more energy I have. Tom Grady is taking a much more central role than I planned – he was supposed to be a one-night stand jerk in her life; instead, he’s someone quite different, and will prove a catalyst for several of Nina’s adventures and part of her growing up. He does have a complicated history, and things will get even more complicated between them. I have no idea where it will ultimately lead. Matt Hathaway’s not going to give up easily, and Charlie Greer is going to stick around, too. A lot will depend on how quickly Nina will mature. Will she continue to have bad judgment, or is she learning from her mistakes? I have to let the story lead me.

I have to bake a ham now, and then, after dinner, I’ll revise the five episodes of Tap and get them off tonight. I have an important section happening in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the beautiful Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche that I love so much. I can’t wait to get up there and see them again this year.

D.

Saturday, November 27, 2004
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and Cold

NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: You are so, so, so close! Just keep reaching!

I planned to get online once more before we left in order to leave cheers for Wed., Thurs., and Fri. But, with the weather reports as dire as they were, we left early to outrun the storm. My apologies – but hopefully everyone was too busy juggling turkeys and writing implements to notice.

Suicides are up in this area. A man jumped off the Empire State Building yesterday. Another man jumped off a building in the Bronx. A third man threw himself in front of a subway train.

Also, four people were murdered and their bodies left outside of a church.

There was hardly any traffic driving up. It was great. We shot up to the Maine border, and then meandered the rest of the way, stopping wherever we wanted. We did a bit of shopping at the outlets, and we finally got to stop at a thrift store I’ve wanted to stop at for years. I’m not sure if it’s technically in Ogunquit or in York – but it’s great. I got a box full of glassware that I’ll paint and a few other odds and ends – some unusual items that caught my eye, like a few hand carved wooden Christmas decorations and a large pink plush stuffed bat. There is absolutely no reason I need a pink stuffed bat, but he was cute, so there. I got to stop at the Book Barn in Wells and get cookbooks by James Beard and by Alice Waters. I picked up a Vogue sewing book at a Goodwill – for $1.95 in perfect condition. This is a book that would sell for probably about $50 new now. Yeah, it’s from 1970, so the pictures are a bit out of date – but one still alters pants, tailors jackets and finishes seams the same way. It was a major find.

And, it didn’t start raining until we had the luggage out of the car and were safely tucked inside.

I wandered around taking early morning pictures in the mist on Thanksgiving Day. The reflection on the pond, the mist coming through the trees – it’s something I can use in a piece somewhere at some point in time, and I wanted to make sure I captured it on film. There’s a stillness, a mysterious and slightly ominous quality that I liked.

I even managed to get some writing done. I specifically didn’t take anything along for the serials, because I wanted a break from them. I don’t want to get stale, and sometimes a change is necessary to keep from getting bogged down. I did a few pages on “Giving and Thanks” but, even though it’s a Thanksgiving story, I found it difficult to concentrate on it. I’ve got nearly 40 pages of it now. I think I need to type it and finish it with keyboard instead of longhand. I’m starting to lose track of certain themes that I want to tie together by the end of the novella, and I’m already moving ahead to other short stories with the characters. For instance, “Driven to Change”, the piece I submitted to Emerging Women Writers last week, takes place after the events in “Giving and Thanks”, and I’m already thinking about “The Third of Advent”, “Deck the What?” and something to do with New Year’s, all set in Congress Corners.

I’d taken the YA with me, and re-read the chapters I’ve done on that. They’re better than I thought, and the piece holds. But, it’s not really a YA. It’s definitely an adult novel of magical realism that happens to have three of its main characters as teenagers. But where it’s going – and where future stories with these characters are going – are not YA. I do want to keep the YA-ish title, though: Curse of the Moon-Faced Clock, with it distinct homage towards Nancy Drew, Ruth Fielding, Beverly Gray, and all those juvenile mystery series from the turn of the century through the 1940s that I love so much. I’ll have a fight on my hands with marketing people, but tough. A retro, pulp magazine style cover would work for it. I did about four pages on Chapter 3 of Clock, and I don’t want several more months to elapse before I do more.

I will have to keep a running list of things I need to look up – since much of it is set on a fictional island off the southwest coast of Scotland, and Culzean Castle plays an important role, I can e-mail my contacts there and they’ll be able to point me in the right direction.

I’ve made extensive notes on this project – now I need to search through my Fragment Notebooks (the notebooks I always carry with me) and type up all the notes, so that I have them in one place and can refer back to them as the piece grows. The Fragment notebooks tend to fill up quickly, and since I don’t like to rip out pages, I have to keep working my way back through them to sort out the notes.

Unfortunately, by the time it was time to leave for the dinner, I was just about ready to get into the car and go home. The previous evening and much of the morning I was subjected to yet more unrelenting criticism from my grandmother. It wasn’t entirely what was said over those ten, twelve hours – it was the accumulation of the unstopping reproof that’s been going on for decades since I was a small child. I’m not who she wants me to be: I’m not a corporate secretary married to some corporate guy living in a big house with a passel of babies. Therefore, I’m not anything to be proud of. It doesn’t matter that I write more in a week than many people do in a month. It doesn’t matter that I publish regularly, and, in the case of the work I do for the calendars and almanacs, I’m one of the company’s most popular authors. It doesn’t matter that, if her pressure cooker stops working, I hunt another one down on the Internet and send it to her – she spends hours and hours complaining that it isn’t EXACTLY like her old one – which is no longer made. It doesn’t matter that I spend hours doing detailed research on a variety of subjects – if I disagree with her, “you think you know everything. You DON’T.” Then match me, source for source with your information. Don’t just berate me because I can back up my arguments and you can’t.

It doesn’t matter that I have built a life of my own choosing and my own work, that I value my family and friends and fight to protect them. That I stand up for what I believe in. Or that I’m happy with the life I’ve built and am continuing to build. I’m not what she considers a success and she never lets me forget it. Well, what a shame. I chose not to live the same life she led. I chose not to submerge my creative talent because of a relationship because it’s my “duty”. Heck, if my S.O. expects me to stop writing, he’s gone. I’m certainly glad I didn’t bring my S.O. up for the holiday – not only is he not in a line of work she’d understand either, I wouldn’t want to have to put him through having to deal with me while I was trying to regain my footing with all of this. (And, in case regular readers wonder why I don’t discuss him in the blog, it is at his request, which I respect. He says it would make him feel like a “science experiment.”). But it still hurt me deeply made me heart sore.

But, the dinner is not about me – there were 43 other people there. So I pulled it together and got to work as soon as we hit the hall. Fortunately, one of my jobs is mashing the vats of potatoes and sweet potatoes – great way to work out any possible tensions. And it seems like everybody else was genuinely glad to see me.

They’re a good bunch. I don’t get to see them very often, and I think next year I’ll have to ask for a chart so I know who’s related to whom and how. But they’re intelligent and friendly and fun. And I love working in the enormous kitchen, helping to get things ready. I’d worked on shows on Thanksgiving the previous two years and hadn’t had a chance to go up, so I had to make up for lost work! I was asked to say the Grace, which I did off the top of my head – hopefully it was appropriate – I remembered to include the troops fighting overseas.

The dinner itself was wonderful, as always. Everyone pitches in, whether it’s cooking a turkey or a side dish or a dessert – and everything is absolutely, stunningly delicious. This group should put together its own Thanksgiving cookbook – there’s something for everyone! And the conversation is good, the company is lovely – it’s the ideal way to spend Thanksgiving.

And then comes the clean-up. People pitch in to clear the tables, do the dishes, dry and put things away, divide up the leftovers, pack the decorations, and clean up the hall. Did I mention that the family rents the Legion Hall for the dinner? I want a similar stove in my house – I need all those burners and those ovens! The cleaning up is as much fun as the set up and the actual eating. Because we all get to be together and to catch up on the previous year. It’s the only time I get to see everyone. I wish I had more contact throughout the year. I should make more of an effort to keep track of everybody.

I had a genuinely good time, and I think I managed to get through it with enough manners so no one knew anything was wrong. Getting into a discussion of the situation wouldn’t do any good for anyone. She considers everyone else in the family perfect. Oh, well, everyone’s gotta have a black sheep in their family, and I guess I’m it.

Started my research on the times of Henry VIII. I’ve been playing with an idea of a story or a series of stories set in and around that era. I know my two main characters – the woman will be a lady in waiting and her husband will be in the King’s Inner Circle, but not one of those jockeying for power. Actually, originally, I wanted him to be more political, but he has other ideas and is very strong-minded. So the politico will be a brother of one of the two main characters. One of both of them will be from Northumbria and have some connection to the Percys. Love those Percys – they were passionate in everything they did, even when it cost them their lives. But at least they looked after the people of Northumberland, in and around anything else they were up to, which is why they’re still so adored today.

I always think of Henry as a wife-killer and someone who simply partied to excess. I didn’t realize how much he did for the country as a young king, how much he studied and played sports and patronized the arts or how much of his reign he spent with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

It will take at least two years of research before I can put pen to paper on this project. I think I have to go back, possibly as far as Henry V and re-read the history between V and VIII. I’m solid in my history from Richard II to Henry V, but from there through Henry VIII, I’m a little shaky, so getting up to speed on that will make it easier to understand what’s going on in VIII’s time. I need to re-read the material on the War of the Roses. Also, sometimes the nobles are referred to by their given names and sometimes by their titles, and that gets confusing. It will mean lots of charts, timelines, etc. I also want to find books on Margaret Beaufort, Wolsey, More, et al.

The research will lead into and overlap the research on Shakespeare, Marlowe, Kydd and Jonson that I’ve done on and off for years for another project, so it can be one long process. If the notes are organized well enough, I can use them for more than one piece.

I also got an idea for a new short story (either under the Christy Miller name or the Ava Dunne name, I’m not yet sure) that I hope to start this weekend.

Up early Friday morning and packed. I received somewhat of a backhanded apology for what was said, followed by a diatribe about my father. I appreciate the words, but I’d appreciate a change of behavior to back them up even more. If you do something you know hurts someone, stop doing it. “That’s just the way I am” is not an excuse. There is no excuse. Stop inflicting harm.

The temperature dropped to 24 degrees over night. Since it rained the day before, the trunk and the doors of the car were frozen shut, and it was a battle to get them open. We didn’t have to go as far as pouring boiling water over it (which I’ve done in the past), but it was a struggle.

Stopped at the thrift shop to pick up something I regretted not buying on Wed. – but it was closed. Oh, well. Stopped at the NH liquor store – prices are better down here.

The movers were still finishing up in my friend’s apartment when we got back. They were very nice and quite thorough. I heard them running the vacuum before they left. I will check everything out today and see if there’s anything else to clean up before turning in the key.

I played a wonderful CD while I cooked dinner – Lammas Ladymass, a collection of chants and liturgical music from the 13th and 14th centuries. Very soothing.

Back to the serials – I want to finish the issues for the month for Tapestry and get some more work done on The Widow’s Chamber. Monday is the start of an Angel Hunt week.

The place I had the odd feeling about never answered my questions – which were legitimate, professional questions that any above-board place would find normal. So I guess I’m not sending a package there. Heard that another package had its first reading – only they’ve split up the parts of the package to different readers, which is just ridiculous.

And I’ve got to get the overseas holiday cards done this weekend and start the decorating. Sunday is the First of Advent.

I printed out return address labels for the card and labels with the website address that I’ll put on the business postcards. The template Paper Direct sent to go with the postcards is useless – it has nothing to do with the design of the card, and it’s sized for the jumbo card, not the regular card. I had to pay for the template, which is downloadable – and there’s a “legal agreement” you have to click – you can’t ask for a refund once you download, yet there’s no way of knowing the template is useless until it’s downloaded.

Can you imagine the e-mail I sent to customer service about that one?

I photocopied the cards and made my own template, which took some time and lots of swearing. But it’s done, and I can run the cards and get everything out on time.

And a letter’s going out to the BBB today. Along with an invoice to Paper Direct. That’s right. An invoice. I can’t ask for a refund. Fine. But I had to redo work for which I paid them. So I’m charging them, at my regular hourly rate. It ends up being three times the cost of the cards and template.

For those of you following the dreams that started nearly a month ago, they’re still prevalent, but nothing so unusual that it’s worth writing about.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html




Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: Although the week is crazy, the stability of your daily writing routine will do more for you in the long run than if you claim “you don’t have time”.

Thank you so much to the current administration who allowed the repeal of the ban on assault weapons. We have them to thank for the slaughter in Wisconsin, along with the man who actually pulled the trigger.

No civilian needs to own an assault rifle. There are dozens of ways to exercise one’s Constitutional right to bear arms without said arm being a piece whose only purpose is to kill humans.

“If you want your life to be Hell,
Deal with Dell.”

Yes, lovely Dell is at it again. Last week, I ordered the compact flashcards for my camera to take on the trip to Maine. They were scheduled to be here within 3 days (and usually arrive in 1). They’re still not here and if they’re not here today, I’m screwed. Lots of elderly relatives will be at the dinner, and they might not be around next year. I know when the disks were shipped but can’t get in to my account to track the shipping, because some jerkoff with too much time on his hands decided to change my password – only they won’t tell me what the new password is and won’t accept my password resets.

I don’t/can’t pull off the material on previous flashcards because the lovely CD burner Dell sold me, after telling me in writing that it is compatible with my computer – isn’t compatible and doesn’t work properly. Their response, “It’s not our job to match specs on products.” Um, isn’t that what your sales team is supposed to do when selling these bits and pieces? Help the customer put together a package of compatible components?

And with the way the non-operating system works on this computer, if I simply leave it on my hard drive, I'll lose the photos in the next crash.

When will the law start holding these corporations accountable for their misinformation, mismanagement, and breakage of contracts with their customers?

They’ll keep doing it as long as customers don’t make the time to complain, but instead bend over and say, “screw me again, big business.”

Attendance at food pantries in the area is up by 9%, and most of it is working families. In other words, they’re trying their best, they’re not lazy or looking for handouts and they still can’t feed their families. Meanwhile, funding to these facilities is cut while CEOs lay off thousands more and congratulate themselves by voting themselves six figure raises.

I’m further ahead than I thought I was on Widow’s Chamber. I did about an episode yesterday, and I want to do two episodes of Tapestry before I leave for the theatre.

I don’t want to go in today – I want to stay home and write and bake the pie. I’m almost packed – just have to decide what to wear for the dinner and which notebooks I want to take. That always becomes a bigger dilemma than it needs to be. Just toss in a couple of notebooks and write on whichever project you brought – don’t worry about which one you think will suddenly get “inspired.” Jeez, it’s writing, not brain surgery.

That was probably the biggest thing I proved to myself on Sunday, by pushing through and not only getting the work done on Charlotte, but by most of it being good (except for that one episode that still bothers me). I can sit down and pull out whatever I need to in order to get the work done. I prefer working under the drug of inspiration, but I can get through it with sheer hard work.

One of the best things I learned from the hockey players while researching Clear the Slot was how, when you think you’ve got nothing left, to dig deeper and find it.

Again, it becomes “how badly do you want this?” The “this” in my case, being the writing. If a writer wants it badly enough, he or she will make it happen. Otherwise, the writer will hide behind a million excuses – many of them legitimate – but it boils down to if you want it badly enough, you make it happen. Doesn’t matter what else is going on in your life, you make the time for what’s important.

Love those meteorologists, saying it won’t start raining until tomorrow morning – as the raindrops patter against the windows. Maybe if they only were paid when they were right, they’d at least try for accuracy.

I’m getting into the séance sequence in Widow’s Chamber, and I want to re-read my information on 19th Century spiritualism. It truly blossomed after the Civil War up to the turn of the century, but there was a good bit of it before the war, too.

I can’t wait to get out of town tomorrow. I can’t wait to be away from NYC and its perpetual state of siege, dodging around drawn guns on the way to and from work all the time. Although I appreciate the exhaustive and exhausting work of these men and women, I don’t feel safe.

Safety means not needing them to walk around in packs with drawn weapons.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html

Monday, November 22, 2004

November 22 Part II

Managed to write five new episodes of Tapestry, edit six, and get them sent off. I have five more episodes of Tap to do this week, which shouldn’t be too difficult, because the story arc’s flowing. I ought to be able to complete this arc within the five episodes. Maybe. A new character’s introduced himself who should make things rather interesting for Nina over the next few arcs, and their dynamic will help force her to go looking for the answers in the “Finding Jake” arc.

When I hit the second hand bookstores in Maine this week, I’ll look for guidebooks from Chicago printed ten years ago for the Chicago arc.

Ran some errands. I went over to clean out my neighbor’s fridge (the one who moved) – only when they messed with her door last week, they locked the top lock as well as the bottom lock and none of us have the key. So there was that whole thing of letting her know, she had to call the super, the super had to find the right key . . . .but it got done.

When you see movies supposedly set in New York and the characters have six locks on their doors – that part’s real. The huge size of the apartments is a fantasy, but the row of locks on the doors is real.

The weather on Wednesday is supposed to be bad, but we’re going to leave extra early to try to outrun it. Of course, they said it would be merely cloudy today – yet I’m seeing raindrops out that window. I’d prefer the storm to be here tomorrow – I’d rather slog through it on my way to day work than have to drive in it all the way to Maine.

Trying to decide if I can get a bit done on Widows’ Chamber now or if I should wait until after dinner.

I’m getting Run Time errors every five or six minutes, and it’s getting on my last very thin nerve.

I’d rather have a nap and/or a glass of wine.

D.

Monday, November 22, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Partially sunny and mild

NaNoWriMo: Don’t falter now. You’re so close. Keep working.

Back to Tapestry today. Issue #59 finishes the material that comprised the original version of the novel (that was vastly rewritten as I worked on the serial). For the next thirty or forty issues, I’m going to do three “mini-mysteries” – shorter arcs instead of a novel-length arc. I’m working on a holiday one now that will connect to both the third arc and the arc set at the Edinburgh Fringe. Then comes the New Year’s theatre story, based on a longish short story. Then I’m sending Nina to Chicago in the middle of winter for a mini-story that has a connection to the current one, and then she’ll head to Edinburgh. The Edinburgh arc will probably be novella length – a friend and I are cross-pollinating our serial characters, so there’s brainstorming to be done about aligning storylines, and I want to have Nina spend more time in St. Andrews than she did in the original draft of the story. I also want to have some fun in the Greyfriars Kirkhouse Graveyard and have her visit both The Last Drop and The Oxford Bar – two of my regular hangouts. When she returns from Edinburgh, I’ll get into the “Finding Jake” arc, which will be novel-length again, and which is already in detailed outline.

That should be just over another year’s worth of episodes.

I realized, today, that in three of the four serials, I have a character named Matthew or some variation of Matthew. In Tapestry, it’s Matt Hathaway, Nina’s next door neighbor, a medical student on whom she has a crush; in Cutthroat Charlotte, it’s Mathieu, the male prostitute; and in The Widow’s Chamber, it’s Matthew Darby, one of the most popular characters I’ve ever created. It wasn’t planned that way, and I’m not particularly enamored of the name “Matthew”. These three men just happen to all be named “Matthew”. They’re very distinct from each other.

Violet had an upset stomach this morning, so I gave her baby food to settle her tummy. She prefers to eat it from a spoon, so I tried to spoon feed her while keeping the other swarming beasts from eating more than their share (can’t give something to just one – they have an innate sense of fairness). Iris climbed up my back – ow, I was wearing a tee shirt, not a sweater – to stand on my shoulder and comment as I typed. Just what I need – cat as critic.

Wrote two issues of Tapestry so far this morning. The goal for today is to write two more, and then two issues of Widow’s Chamber, and get them all out tonight. I’d like to get two issues of Tap done tomorrow and one more of WC. I’ll be gone for three days, so I won’t have a chance to work on them again until the weekend.

Oh, yeah, and there are a bunch of errands to do and a pie to bake and packing for the trip . . .and proposals to write and columns to edit.

Like I have time to continue working in the theatre!

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html




Sunday, November 21, 2004

November 21 Part II

Seven issues of Charlotte, written revised, and sent. I’m finally caught up, including the required nine issues ahead. I’m fine until my next Charlotte week, the week of December 13.

I threw out the fight scene and rewrote it completely. I used a lot of Spanish insults (a writer friend directed me to www.insultmonger.com – while I was there I ran off the French insults as well – I’m sure they will come in handy.

I decided that the fight scene between Anne and Maria would be a chance to show how the experience Anne obtained fighting with men like a man came in useful. It changed the whole dynamic of the fight and lifted it out of cliché. And how the fight was the reason she saw past Chidley Bayard’s money to what he really was.

I’m unhappy with the issue where Sebastian Alarico attempts to ambush Woodes, but it doesn’t turn out the way he expected. It does set the stage for the antagonism that will grow between Sebastian and Charlotte over the years.

Part of me worries that it doesn’t make sense to have all these men sniffing around Charlotte, but, within the context of place and time, and with women traded as a commodity the way they were, it makes sense. And it shows the appeal of piracy to so many women – I’m surprised at how many female pirates flourished and how many of them could read and write.

The party scenes work well, and the scenes where James Bonney accuses Calico Jack of stealing his wife – who counts as his property – work, too.

I worked a bit ahead and also saved some fragments for future episodes.

Tapestry week starts tomorrow, and I am STILL eleven episodes behind on The Widow’s Chamber. If I didn’t think my head would explode, I’d try to get some work done on that tonight.

By the way, the marinated chicken turned out very well. Love those Silver Palette cookbooks!

D.

Sunday, November 21, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool


NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: Don’t falter now – you’re almost there!

Today will be a test of professionalism. Am I professional, or am I a dabbler? I don’t feel like writing at all, but I have deadlines and the work has to get done. While it would be nice for the Muse to pay a visit – even to smack me upside the head – today I have to rely on discipline.

We’ll see what happens.

I’m also furious that the Republican Conservatives derailed the bill with the changes recommended with the 9/11 Commission – a bill that both Bush and Cheney urged them to pass. Well, they’re putting our lives back on the line again. Meanwhile, they changed the rules so even if and when Tom DeLay gets indicted, he gets to keep his seat. It’s corrupt and disgusting.

At least I got three loads of laundry done. I may be angry, but I have clean clothes.

Now, to the keyboard.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html

Saturday, November 20, 2004

November 20 Part III


Stopped on my way to the theatre to help some LTs (Lovely Tourists). I took pictures of them with the stone lions outside the NY Public Library, Patience and Fortitude. Pat and Fort had a good scrub recently and are absolutely gleaming.

I adore Patience and Fortitude. It’s to the point where I won’t watch a disaster movie set in NYC if Pat and Fort get destroyed.

Why the nicknames? Well, how would you like to be a male lion named Patience? So I call ‘em Pat and Fort, and to date, neither one has complained. If it changes, you all can visit me in the rubber room at Bellevue. Because if those lions start talking to me, I will have lost what’s left of my mind.

The library is getting decorated for the holidays, and they’re putting up the Fete de Noel in Bryant Park – vendors of handcrafted holiday ornaments, etc. Last year, I didn’t get to go until nearly Christmas Eve. This year, I’ll try to get there early – the Scandinavian and Eastern European ornaments were particularly beautiful, and I’d like to add some to my collection.

I had a blast at Rent. Cast changes are continual, so there were several actors where the first time I met them was in our first change. “Hi, I’m your dresser today. Take your pants off.” In the first very, very, VERY fast change, with one of my new actors, we hit the groove right away and he even had time to say, “You rock!” before running back out on stage.

Bit of backstage lore: A professional actor, no matter how much or little experience the performer has, will always say “thank you” at the end of a change. You can do hundreds of shows together, and it’s a professional courtesy done each time. Any one who doesn’t is an amateur, no matter how famous said person might be, and won’t last long in theatre.

Needless to say, all the actors on Rent and on Wicked say “thank you.” Those who don’t are quickly trained to do so. Those who refuse to learn . . .well, you don’t hear too much about their so-called careers when they leave. The refusal of such a basic courtesy is usually the tip of the iceberg of much bigger problems.

In most (but not all) instances, the bigger and longer lasting the talent, the kinder and more courteous the performer. The smaller the talent, the more insecure the performer, and the ruder the performer. You can get away with much more on film, where you have numerous takes to get it right and much can be hidden with special effects. On theatre – if you can’t cut it, you’re gone. Thank goodness.

One of many reasons I prefer the theatre.

One of the actors with whom I get along really well is back as a swing, and was thrilled to see me. He left to create a role in another show. The show, unfortunately, flopped, so he came back as a swing to this one. When I dressed him previously, we would laugh so much we barely got the changes done. But we always did, and he was always onstage on time. Another one of the leads is back, after a leave of absence so a Famous Pop Star could be in temporarily – who made everyone’s life sheer hell for the brief time she was there.

Came back, did my grocery shopping, and prepared a marinade for chicken. It can marinate all night. It’s based on a recipe in The Silver Palette Cookbook – only I changed a few things. Of course.

I might do some work tonight on Charlotte or I might just bag it and push hard tomorrow.

I had some questions about one of the writing jobs to which I’m applying. The ad reads well, I know I could do an excellent job, but something feels off. So I e-mailed a bunch of questions. The responses will help me decide whether or not I’ll do the proposal.

I have got to decompress for a bit before I try to hit the keyboard again.

D.



Nov. 20 Part II


So much for getting anything done on Charlotte. The show called with an emergency and wanted me to come in for the matinee – only I’m booked at another show and I told them this weeks ago. It’s even on the calendar – my name in today’s slot with “N/A”. But they’re mad at me anyway.

And I need to get over feeling guilty because I couldn’t drop everything and come in. I’m a swing because I don’t want to work eight shows/week with all the writing commitments going on. I’m not on retainer, and I told them this conflict weeks ago. It’s not my fault that they keep hiring swings who aren’t reliable or who can’t physically do the track.

I’ve more than fulfilled my commitment to them, but it’s never enough.

And I need to adjust my own response. I’m doing as much as I can do, which is more than I said I would do, and I’m not on call.

Amazing how you can get them out of a jam 15 times in a row, but the one time you don’t is the only one they remember.

Can’t concentrate on Charlotte. I have three job applications to get out this weekend, for three different, high-paying writing gigs. Maybe I can get some work done on them in the 40 minutes before I catch the train.

Oh, great, now they’ve turned on the leaf blowers. It’s not like they even use it on the leaves. Now that there are leaves, they walk around the leaves and just make noise passing the blowers on the clean pavement.

Not even noon and I’m ready for a cocktail.

At least three of my five horse racing picks at the Big A came in yesterday.

D.


Saturday, November 20, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cold and raining


NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: You are two thirds of the way to the finish line. Way to go!!!

Managed to get an issue and a half of Charlotte done yesterday morning. Woodes Rogers was supposed to be a peripheral character, but he’s as enigmatic and charismatic in this piece as he seems to have been in life, and has placed himself in a much more central position in the plot than I expected – Woodes, you sly dog, you! You know what that means, don’t you? Both Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift may end up making an appearance.

The city is teeming with a particularly disgusting brand of tourist: The SFT – Stupid Fucking Tourist (pardon my language).

It’s great when people who are genuinely excited visit the city. They’re full of enthusiasm, they want to learn everything, they want to experience everything. Even if their questions are slightly off the wall, the questions come from such an excited place within them that it’s a pleasure to ask them. I’ve often been in a subway car when a tourist asked for directions, and the entire car entered a heated discussion on the different ways to get somewhere.

Then, there’s the SFT. They forget that they’re guests in the town. Their behavior is rude, boorish and unacceptable. They shove people so they get a better view of the holiday windows. They cut in lines at the deli, the restrooms and on the bus. They stand in the middle of 7th Avenue taking photographs and wonder why cars are honking at them. They walk down the street talking and waving their arms, hitting people as they walk past and then blaming other people for being rude.

And this: the teenagers from Podunk who dart into traffic, screaming and waving their arms, who think it’s funny to cause accidents.

Yesterday, I witnessed this on the way to work and the teen said, in her typical snotty cheerleader voice: “They have to stop for pedestrians. I can do whatever I want.” I was waiting for her to say this was part of Bush’s mandate – since everyone who behaves badly lately claims Bush’s re-election gives them the right to do so. But she didn’t.

“Actually,” I said. “Drivers don’t have to stop for pedestrians in NY.” All their little jaws dropped to the sidewalk, one by one. “In fact, we give out points, based on the stupidity of the pedestrian. In your case, I’d award 250 to the first cab driver to flatten you.”

They shut up and waited for the light to change before crossing in the crosswalk. Yeah, New Yorkers jaywalk all the time. But we know how to do it, and we don’t dash into traffic because we think it’s “fun.”

Day work was fine. Everything got done. Everyone’s overworked and overtired and we haven’t even gotten into the holiday schedule yet.

Stopped at the book store. Got books on the Bahamas, Barbados, Iceland, Scottish Castles (they have beautiful photos of many of the castles I’ve visited), a mystery, and a book on Venice, which I bought just because it looked pretty. I forgot to get a book on Price Edward Island, gosh darn it.

Two interesting facts about Iceland:
The literacy rate is 100%.
People use only first names. The “surname” is the father’s name + the Icelandic word for son or daughter. When women marry, they keep their birth name because they can’t become someone else’s son or daughter. Interesting. And slightly confusing.

Searched for a book on Vietnamese folktales without luck. I need to find some more specifics for the grant proposal.

Should have written last night, but was too tired.

Will work on Charlotte some more before catching n 11 o’clock train. I’m working the matinee at Rent today.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html







Friday, November 19, 2004

November 19 Part II

The police department called with the description of two suspects who have attempted to abduct several children here in our hometown over the past few days. Physical description and car description.

Since the description is out, I’d expect them to change vehicles, but who knows.

Our residents are quite angry. (Nothing like an understatement). This pair better hope the cops find them before a parent or anyone else does. Because we will not have our children threatened.

D.

Friday, November 19, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: Take a walk, play with the cat, read a book. Don’t let “focus” on your work be confused with “obsession”. A little bit of breathing space will help your work.

I have a horrible migraine today. Unfortunately, I still have to go into the city for day work. I can barely keep my head up. And none of the prescription medications do a damn thing to even take off the edge, so I don’t bother. Once I can eat something, I’ll take some Excedrin Migraine and that will dull it enough to make me fictional -- um, I mean functional. I hate to think I even have a Freudian slip, but that's sized extra large with a great big tear in it!

Yeah, an afternoon in fluorescent lighting. That’ll help.

Didn’t get much more done on Charlotte yesterday. I have to do two issues per day for the next three days and finish the fight scene. And I’m so far behind on Widow’s Chamber that I’m in despair.

Worked on some temporary author pages last night for a shared author site. I’m looking at them as “page holders” until I’m more adept at the skills Colin’s teaching me and then I’ll rebuild them from scratch. The information’s there and looks neat and clean enough so, as I send out pitches, et al, potential employers can link and look, and anything that has to do with the Devon Ellington work goes to my website, so it’ll be fine. For now.

I can’t wait to hit the bookstore on my way back from work and pick up the travel books. I need some armchair adventure over the next few days.

A good friend of mine started a blog as she’s making the transition into a writing career, too. She is an intelligent, talented, terrific person who makes the world a better place by her presence, and as soon as she gives me permission, I’ll post the link.

Gotta force myself to function and concentrate on Charlotte. I have to catch a train soon.

I’d rather go back to bed.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html



Thursday, November 18, 2004

November 18 Part II

Added two blogs to my links – please check them out when you have a chance. They’re excellent:

Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom

And

Daisy in the Snow

The Blogwise link is still there, but, for some reason, the Blogarama link has disappeared – although it’s listed on my template. I do not understand.

Enough research on the flora of the Bahamas to squeak by for now. Will buy those travel books tomorrow when I get to the city.

The more I think about it, the more I think a weekend research trip to the Bahamas is in order at some point this winter.

Wrote three more issues of Charlotte, edited/revised five and sent them off. Still not done with the fight episode. Taking a breather and then tackling a few more episodes. Six more episodes of Charlotte to get done by Sunday (not counting fight episode).

And, still eleven episodes of Widow’s Chamber. That has to get some attention today or I will be woefully behind on it.

Interesting research on Iceland. The necessity of this research will be revealed . . .after the first of the year.

My contracts arrived for the spring courses in Valhalla. I looked at the payments and realized it’s a living wage. I don’t know why that’s a surprise, but it’s also a relief.

Must replenish and then attack the high seas again, before heading for the Mississippi River.

D.

Thursday, November 18, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool



NaNoWriMo Cheer: When it seems like it’s all too much, it’s simply time to dig deeper and go further.


I managed an episode and a half yesterday, in rough draft, of Charlotte, before I had to leave for the theatre. I probably would have accomplished more, but . . .

I’m typing away, dealing with the Bahamas in the 1700s when I hear someone working with a drill next door. In the apartment leased by the friend who got the job in Virginia a few weeks ago. The landlord told her she had to pay through the end of November, and, next week, the movers are coming to pack up her stuff and take it to her new home.

So, other than the place shown to prospective tenants and me checking on it occasionally, it should be quiet.

I opened the door. Some guy’s working on her door with a drill. I asked him what he was doing, and he ignored me. I told him the tenant was out of town right now and I was responsible for the apartment, and would he please tell me what he was doing?

He turned his back on me.

Okay, I wanted to grab him and bang his head against the wall. I do not accept that sort of disrespect. My second instinct was to call the cops and have him tossed in jail for breaking and entering.

But, I proceeded through channels. I found the super and the landlord and asked what was going on. “She’s moved out,” they said.

“No, you made her pay until the end of November. She’s moving out next week. Her door is open and some rude fuck is working up there unsupervised, in violation of the lease agreement. Fix it. Or would you rather I called the cops?”

So they did. I rarely swear at people – I think it’s a lazy use of language – so when I do, the people at whom it’s directed know a line has been crossed and I’m going to start pushing back. And I called my friend and she called them and reminded them, in no uncertain terms her opinion of the situation.

And then I had to run for the train.

Day work was fine. I had fun on the refresher show following one of the leads. Chances are I won’t have to do the track in the next few months, but it’s insurance in case of holiday emergencies. One of the other dressers is really upset that I’ve learned the track instead of her, but that’s between her and the supervisor. I go where I’m slotted, and I’m not taking a job away from her because she has a job. An old friend from another show took over for a dresser who recently left – and he was thrilled to see me. We had a nice reunion. Things will get crazy and intense during the holidays – they always do –and there are so many cast changes going on that it will be in upheaval well into January.

The life of the theatre.

Glad I’m moving on, as fond of these folks as I am.

Russia announced they are developing a new nuclear weapon that will render our missile defense system obsolete. And the world needs this because . . .?

I have to do research into the flora of the Bahamas – gosh, guess I’ll just have to buy some travel books about it tomorrow. And, for other research, I need a book about Iceland and book about Prince Edward Island.

Any excuse to buy travel books.

Heard about the death of a writer with whom I enjoyed corresponding. I don’t have details, but I’m sorry that he’s no longer with us. He was truly a sweet soul.

Did some more work on the grants for the Vietnam project. I actually want to apply for two grants – one for a theatre project and a “travel grant’ that will let me roam around and write. If I get either, then I will take the steps necessary to secure safe travel (as in, hire a guide if I want to travel alone) and get the appropriate paperwork from the government that will allow me to bring in a laptop and actually connect to the internet (my research shows there are restrictions, and I’d have to get special paperwork from the consulate).

If the trip to Paris works next fall, I can do some groundwork in Paris while I’m there that might secure additional funding for the Vietnam project.

Because, without funding, there’s no trip, no matter what the political climate of the world.

The author of the book I’m reading is represented by an agent with whom I’m in contact. Unfortunately, I don’t like the book at all and it makes me rethink whether or not I want to work with the agent. I want to go back and look at the person’s list – I’m pretty sure, before the initial contact, I liked some of the other books represented.

Too much trying to live in my head, and I have to get back to 18th century Bermuda for the rest of the day and write more episodes of Charlotte. Fight scene is improving, but I’m continuing on with other episodes while working on the fight scene.

Off to research the fragrant flowers of the Bahamas.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html



Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold


NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: Think of this is a workout, daily training for the rest of your career.

Didn’t sleep much last night – too tired to get up and do anything, too restless to sleep. When I finally got to sleep, I found myself, at one point, on the battlements of Alnwick Castle. I’ve spent a great deal of time roaming the grounds, I’ve been in the castle itself, but I was never way up there. It was a relief to be somewhere familiar, though.

This does not bode well for day work and a show for me today. The regular Wednesday schedule of two shows changed. Someone bought out the house for an additional performance this Sunday night, so the matinee was cancelled. The Gershwin is one of the bigger theatres on B’way, and with tickets at nearly $100 a pop – even with a group discount – wow!

I wonder who it was.

Amusing story in the newspaper: In Louisiana, beavers used discarded money from a bank heist to build their dams. The cops found the bills intact when they took the dams apart.

I cut out the story. I’ve got to use it somewhere, someday.

The internal resistance is building. I need to figure out away to speed up the career transition. I’m having a hard time going in to the theatre. I got all the work done, and I had pleasant chats with my co-workers, who I genuinely enjoy. I just don’t want to be there any more. I keep reminding myself what a small percentage of people actually get to work on Broadway, and the even smaller percentage of workers that are in a good situation.

But this is no longer my life.

And it makes me sad.

As I came out of Grand Central Station yesterday, a group of MTA police ran in, one of them shouting, “Did they call SWAT?” No idea what it was about and nothing on the news.

The crystal star was lifted by crane and placed on top of the tree at Rockefeller Centre, with carolers “singing it up” from the ice. It’s beautiful. I’d never seen it placed on the tree before – just the results. Even the most jaded 30 Rock worker with whom I spoke is excited about decorating the tree.

Gotham Book Mart reopened on E. 46th Street!!!! This is outstanding news – it is an amazing independent bookseller with a rich history.

Unfortunately, B&N is moving from its Rock Centre location to the corner of 46th and 5th, and will be direct competition.

Except for the remainder table, I’ll keep my shopping at Gotham and Coliseum.

Did some work on “Giving and Thanks” yesterday. Looked over notes for several short stories. They are pedestrian and I don’t have a new, interesting point of view on them, so they are put aside. Not worth taking the time to write them out.

The fight scene for Charlotte is better. The physicality is getting there, and then I have to construct dialogue that is interesting, but also makes sense within the context of the situation.

Before 11 AM today, when I have to catch the train.

I might do some work on the scene, move ahead to other episodes and then go back.

I’d rather go back to bed, but that’s not an option until after 1 AM tomorrow morning, when I get back from the theatre.

Got my holiday cards, my labels (which I need to print), and my holiday postcards are ordered and on the way. The overseas cards need to go out right after Thanksgiving and the in-country cards need to be out by December 12. Although I pared down my list last year, this year it’s ballooned again with business contacts in this career-transition thing. If I let these early deadlines slide on cards, I never get them out, so I have to be strict with myself.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.cutthroat-charlotte.html

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Nov. 16 Part II

The first draft of the fight scene sucks. I’m not talking about fixing it with some minor edits and tweaking. I’m talking it falls into every rotten girl fight cliché and is laughably bad.

I’m not tossing it – I’m saving it to share with my writing workshops about how NOT to do something.

But I am starting over again as far as what I’ll submit to the editor.

Sometimes things just don’t work. So you break it down and start over.

Will try to restart it before running for the train.

Gosh darn it.

D.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold


NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: You’ve had the time to reflect on your progress; now’s the time to pick up your pen and push on.


My writers’ group is helping me come up with intense Spanish insults for the fight between Anne and Maria. There is some documentation of the fight in history. I haven’t been able to find that much, so most of the actual episode will come from imagination. Both women were brutal in their own way – Anne stabbed a maid back in Charleston as a teenager, right before she ran away with James Bonney. Maria is reputed to have beheaded a child who accidentally got the hem of her dress dirty. In spite of the fact that both women were not exactly who you’d want to have over with your great-grandmother’s best china, those who wrote the histories definitely favor Anne. Maria seems to be have truly been despised, where Anne could inspire loyalty in people.

And Childley Bayard? Other than having money, there doesn’t seem to be much to recommend him. I have a pretty low opinion of anyone that women fight over anyway – the guy usually isn’t worth it, and all it does is feed his ego. If he was worth it, he would find a way around the violence. I realize that, in that day and age, catching a rich man meant a decent livelihood, which puts the fight into a different context than it would be today – although there are still plenty of women who hunt men so they don’t have to work. I went to college with plenty of women who were only there for their “MRS” degree and admitted it.

When I was on the road with Flower Drum Song in Houston this January, I was in the ladies’ room of an elegant restaurant one night. A woman in there told her friend that the most important thing she could teach her daughter was to give good head so that the girl would never have to worry about getting a job.

Things haven’t changed much over the centuries and some parents still prostitute their children, or teach them to prostitute themselves, calling it marriage.

I find that an insult to all the marriages that are built on love, respect, and a desire to build a good life for the parties involved and their children.

Managed to catch up on fan mail last night and this morning, which is a relief. Goodness, the words look so pretentious on the page! It’s not like I’m famous or anything, and I intend to keep it that way. But I get some pretty interesting mail from people who read my work, and I believe most of them deserve the courtesy of a response. Sometimes it takes me awhile, but eventually, I get there. If they can take the time to read my work, think about it and respond, I can take the time to acknowledge that I read the response and that I’m grateful for their interest.

I’ve been in the habit, for several years now, of dropping writers a quick line when I enjoy something he or she wrote. I’m expanding it now to also let the editor and/or publisher know. It’s important that the places which hire writers know the work is read and appreciated, so the writers can continue working.

Yes, it takes time, and no one damn better whine at me about time. I am well aware of the dearth of time and the breadth of our responsibilities.

But it is a priority to me and I choose to spend a few minutes supporting my fellow writers. I might not be able to do much, but the least I can do is let them and the people who hire them know that someone out there responds to the work.

I printed off the Montauk photos yesterday. The moonrise series came out better than I expected. I was concerned because I only had the digital with me and not a camera like my dad’s 1952 Leica (my favorite) where I can really play with f-stops, etc. The digital goes with me on research trips, to snap many photos that I can put up around me when I write. The film cameras are when I want to play with light, texture, and illusion. But the digital (Canon, OF COURSE), did a beautiful job. There’s also a great shot of a beach road disappearing into the twilight with the sun setting on the far end – mysterious and quiet and both inviting and ominous. I’m going to use it for something, although I don’t yet know what.

I used to do a lot of photography and I miss it.

I’ve fallen behind on marketing this week. I need to carve out some time for it later in the week, or I will be very, very, very sorry come the first of the year.

Whatever I dreamed last night wore me out and I woke up exhausted, but not remembering much, except a feeling of being trapped. Now, that’s a directly symbolic dream connected to not wanting to go into the theatre this week. And I just have to get over it and maintain a positive attitude.

However, before that, I want to cough up a few episodes of Charlotte. This is her week, after all.


Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html

Monday, November 15, 2004

November 15, Part II

It was such a gorgeous day I decided to take advantage of being a “free lance” on my own schedule and stop at the beach for awhile on my way home from Staples. I can always make it up by working later tonight. Okay, so Staples is in a town in the opposite direction from the beach, but it was a beautiful day to drive around singing along to the radio.

It was beautiful and quiet on the boardwalk, and a chance to give my head a much-needed clearing.

After awhile, another car drove up and someone sat down a on the next bench. I turned around and saw that the car parked beside my silver one was an oddly painted hearse. Beautiful artwork on the side, but unusual.

The driver was an interesting looking guy (wearing black, of course), who rather resembled Johnny Depp on one of the days where he doesn’t care what anybody thinks. This guy was unkempt, but clean. Good bone structure, great eyes, could have been anywhere from twenty five to close to fifty. Very calm, gentle energy, but also a quick wit. We sat in companionable silence for awhile, but eventually had some casual conversation. He’s more of a bird person and I’m more of a cat person, but Owl is one of my totems and we had a lively discussion about the different types of owls on display at the Museum of Natural History. He assessed some things about me that might have surprised some, but any observant person could have figured it out. I wear four silver rings on my left hand, three silver rings on my right and three silver necklaces with pendants. Every piece of jewelry I wear has a specific design and a specific meaning. Anyone who actually paid attention could figure out the information. Heck, I do it all the time when I get a new tarot client.

His license plates were blank, and I teased him that they’d read whatever they were supposed to, depending upon where he was.

It will be interesting to see if our paths cross again, and, if so, under what circumstances. In any event, he’s definitely the inspiration for a character in something somewhere along the line.

Had a discussion with someone with whom I might work for a few sessions after the holidays to choreograph some of the combat scenes in the various work. A 21st century woman will handle a sword differently than an Arthurian Knight or an 18th century pirate. The context of the time and situation and the frame of reference of the fighter has a great deal to do with the fight. Not to mention that the weapons are all different as weaponry evolved. It’s been years since I fenced, and with so many upcoming projects requiring different types of fighting, I’m going to pay for a few sessions, one-on-one, with a professional and work out the choreography.

The physical workouts over the past months paid off. Whereas several years ago, I could barely lift a Highland Claymore, not only can I lift it, I can maneuver it. Look like a rank amateur doing so, but it’ll improve. At 55”, with a 46” blade, it’s pretty impressive. The 15th century two-handed sword, at almost 60” is still a challenge. The Black Prince Sword, nearly 44”, felt the best, both in size and heft.

I’ve never been much of a foil gal. I admire the beauty and precision, but it’s too dainty for me. I used to be fairly decent with rapier and dagger, but I’m sure any skill I had in that arena has severely atrophied.

Eventually, I'll have to find someone to choreograph some fights on horseback with me, but that's a way down the line.

Got an issue of WC done and am working on Charlotte. This week, I need to write nine more episodes of WC and twelve issues of Charlotte. That’s a big order. Did some more research. I’m wondering how much of Blackbeard’s death I should use or if that strays too far from Charlotte herself. Charles Vane’s story directly affects that of Anne, Jack, Mary and therefore Charlotte, so I can dip into that freely. The episode where she loses her virginity doesn’t work in the context of the rest of the piece. I tossed it. I’m going to sprinkle in some of the information in other episodes where this initial experience influences later escapades – that seems a better way to go. Otherwise, it reads like a gratuitous interlude instead of setting up an important story arc, which is what it’s supposed to do. I suppose I could rework the episode with different characters and sell it to an erotic market – if they paid well enough. It used to be you could make $3000 from a good piece of erotica. Now they offer $25 and act like they’re doing the author a favor. I think not.

On the dream front, I took valerian root last night for muscle pain, and don’t remember much more than fragments which felt like I viewed them through mist. So, any archetype trying to communicate was frustrated with my valerian-induced daze. But I got some sleep.

By accident, in search of other info, I stumbled across photos of an actor who embodies the physical characteristics of Connor in Intricacies. No, I’m not going to post the name – that’s unfair to the actor, and he’ll never know he’s part of the physical representation/inspiration of the character anyway. It’s not anyone with whom I’ve worked. So I know nothing about the man’s personality and can simply use the image as I would a picture of a place I wrote about, such as Alnwick or Ayreshire or whatever. It’s completely different from my casting process. When I cast a project, I toss all my pre-conceived notions of what the character should look like and hire the person who connects best to the material.

Needless to say, I work in the independent realm, not the studio one!

Got an issue of Charlotte done. I have Theolonius Monk on the CD player and it’s all good. The conversation between Anne and Charlotte the day after Charlotte’s sexual initiation drives the story much better than the tossed incident itself. I’m now working on the flashback of Anne’s fight to the death with Maria Reynaldi over Childley Bayard and must hunt down some pithy Spanish insults.

D.



Monday, November 15, 2004
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold



NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: You’ve reached the halfway point. You can see your finish line. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on what you’ve done so far before setting off to reach your goal.

Premarin. I wonder how many women realize how this hormone is created? From the urine of pregnant mares. The mares are kept cooped up and pregnant in stalls, their urine is collected, and that is the main ingredient of premarin. They are turned out into the fields only to foal and the majority of the foals are sent to the slaughterhouse. The mares are impregnated again and the whole cycle continues.

50,000 foals per year.

Now that it’s been discovered that synthetic premarin is safer than natural, the “farms” are going out of business and both foals and mares are sent to slaughter.

I find the entire practice revolting and irresponsible.

My favorite charity, New York Horse Rescue, buys up as many of the mares and foals as they can afford and keeps them on their farm in Manorville until they can be adopted out. If you’d like to find out more information or work with one of the charities, please visit the sites for New York Horse Rescue and The Exceller Fund.

There are many worthy charities around the world. We can’t all support all of them. We need to find a charity that we care about and that puts the majority of the money back into the organization. Both of the above fit those qualifications for me.

I am annoyed by several charities that mail me on at least a weekly basis with slick brochures and catchy “gifts” asking me for money because I supported friends who participated in events. I write those types of brochures – I know how much it costs to pay the writer, the graphic designer and the printer. I know how much these “gifts” cost, and how much continuous mailings are, even with a bulk permit.

I, for one, would much rather see the money go into the work of the organization rather than weekly mailings. Hit me up once a year and you’ll get money. Hit me up every week, and I don’t think you’re managing the organization’s funds well, and I’ll put my money into an organization that I feel does.

Another pet peeve about charities: All these celebrities and socialites who spend every free moment posing for cameras at charity events. If they paid more for their clothing worn to the event than they gave to the charity, I’m not interested. Yeah, some of them borrow, but I’d much rather see a celebrity find a vintage dress in a thrift shop for $25 and give the charity the $10,000 some of these gowns cost than wear the gown.

I’d rather do what I can for an organization in which I believe and remain anonymous. No one outside needs to know what I’m doing. The recipients of the charity’s work need to receive help. That’s the bottom line.

Hmm. Can you tell I received way too many demands for money over the weekend? :)

In any event, “Driven to Change” was revised yesterday and submitted. I caught some careless mistakes, tightened up a few things, rearranged a few things. I like it. These stories have a different feel to most of the rest of my work, although quick dialogue and sharp minds on the part of my protagonists remain. So, we’ll see what happens with it.

I want to finish “Giving and Thanks” by Thanksgiving so I can revise it and submit it with an eye to publication around next Thanksgiving.

I did good work on Widow’s Chamber. Not as much as I wanted, but the work that was done was satisfying. I’m going to edit and submit the episodes today, work on Charlotte, and maybe do another WC if I can. I’m still quite far behind where I should be on that, and I don’t want to keep falling farther and farther back.

Researching three articles for FemmeFan, but don’t have enough info back on any of them in order to actually write the pieces yet. That’s the problem with having to ask others for information – you have to wait for them to get back to you.

I’ve found references to both Sir Alymere and Sir Alynore at the Round Table. I’m not sure if they are the same person or two different knights. I found a representation of the banner for Sir Alynore – it looks remarkably like the Percy banner. I’ll have to pull out their banner and compare them. The lions are quite similar. Alynore is also Sir Perceval’s brother.

And, yes, I am aware that Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur is fiction, but the text is a jumping off point for much that has been written about Arthur for centuries. Archaeologists, anthropologists and historians all go back to that text. It’s rather like Arthurian base camp.

Tintagel, reputedly Arthur’s castle in Cornwall, was featured in a documentary aired last night. I went up to the top of Tintagel when we were in Cornwall a few years ago. It was a stormy, awful day, and once I’d got up to the top, it was so bad I was nearly blown off. Everyone else had left the premises. I was up there in a typical Cornish storm all by myself. Due to my own stupid stubbornness, I might add. As the weather turned and people came down, I insisted on going up, because I was damned if I’d traveled three thousand miles to Tintagel and then not get up there and take a look around!

Anyway, I found a bit of shelter next to the remains of one of the towers, and prepared to sit out the storm. Hell, it was my own damn fault; I wasn’t going to whine about it. But the guy in the admissions booth sent up some men with climbing gear. We got into safety harnesses and had to clip to the railings in order to make it down the steps in the high winds and heavy rain. I told them it was my own damn fault for getting stuck up there and I fully expected to be left; they just laughed, said no problem, and I bought them a few pints at the pub.

I couldn’t get down to Merlin’s Cave, or I’d have probably gotten stuck in there, too.

Another favorite experience in Cornwall was drinking brandy by the fire at Jamaica Inn (yet another day of rain). Someday I want to go back to Jamaica Inn and stay there for a few days – even though it’s pretty touristy. The lake belonging to The Lady of the Lake of Arthurian myth is a few miles’ walk from the Inn – when I was there, the path was ankle-deep in mud and closed. Had I thought to bring boots to Cornwall, I would have walked it anyway, but in sneakers – no.

I spent most of my days in Cornwall soaking wet.

Okay, back to Widow’s Chamber and Charlotte. I have to figure out how I want to handle breaking the betrothal between Mercy and Frederick so she can marry Walter and Frederick marries . . .well, you’ll just have to subscribe to the damn serial, won’t you? I have a long day of writing ahead of me. And I dread going back to the theatre tomorrow, which is not a good sign.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html