Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde

Snow cheers me up. Even though it’s now melting, coming home last night through the thick, soft flakes was lovely. And I like to watch it at night – the way the flakes dance and meander down through the rays from the streetlights until they hit pavement.

The city was surprisingly empty yesterday. I could stroll to the theatre instead of stride. I could enjoy the journey.

It was busy, of course, with new performers coming into the show that night – rehearsals, hoping the clothes arrive from the shop in time, prepping what was actually in the building, the dressing rooms still being painted during the afternoon. Quite the bustle.

But I got to leave at 5, which made me happy, and come home.

I think I’m at peace with the decision to switch over and only do day work. I think – nothing like surety, is there? I get hired because I’m fast, I’m reliable, and I’m strong. I can think on my feet, cope in an emergency, and actors trust me. They know don’t gossip about them, and I won’t miss a change because I’m busy flirting with the prop man. They know when I’m there, I’m focused on the job and on them. I also learn quickly and retain information well. That makes me a good swing. I can switch tracks – or even shows – within the course of the same day.

One of the things I love about the theatre is that it’s live, something goes kaplooey every performance, and you have to be able to think on your feet. You can’t phone it in. You have to be alert and aware ALL the time.

I never studied costuming in school. Everything I learned about clothing, I learned on the job. Many of the people who specialize in day work are outstanding stitchers, drapers, patternmakers with costume degrees. I can learn anything, but I don’t know it all. I’m very conscientious about the prep, I can sew, and I’ve picked up a bunch of skills along the way. The great thing at Wicked is that, if you don’t know how to do something, you can always ask and someone will teach you. Most shows want the dressers to dress and the day workers to be master stitchers.

Until this show, I always questioned my ability to just do day work, although I’ve done it on every show I’ve ever worked, and rarely run into a problem. But my skills have improved over the years, as I see people do things and ask them to teach me. And with day work, you do the gig and go home. You don’t have to be in the state of high awareness that you need to be when in show mode, and it leaves me the energy I need to write.

Now, I have to choose a date to finalize the switch. Will it be the beginning of the summer, or the end? The financial situation will help decide that. If the writing income climbs enough over the next few months so that I can make the switch at the beginning of summer, I’ll do so. If I need to work shows over the summer to sock away some cash, then that’s what I’ll do.

I would prefer making the switch sooner rather than later.

On the writing front, I outlined a huge chuck of Ransagh yesterday. It’s deep into the book, but it’s the series of events leading up to the denouement. I’ve plotted the first couple of sections – still wondering about two of the middle sections, have this major turning point, and then will see where that leads me for the end. It goes into mythological and archetypical areas and then breaks away. It’s a storytelling challenge. Part of the challenge is an equally matched pair of protagonists journeying together. My female protagonist is the one I originally envisioned – but her match turns out to be someone originally meant to be a peripheral character. In the first few chapters, he’s already grown by leaps and bounds and made himself central to the piece.

So I’m going to go with it.

Once the roads clear up a bit, I’ll get the photos put on CD and mail them to my editor. I want to drive to Valhalla this afternoon to take care of a few things, providing the college is open and not on a snow day; but the majority of the day will be spent with Charlotte and The Widow’s Chamber. I want to finish “Muse” today, also, so that I can send it to a friend to read.

I also got an idea for another short story – a longish short story – for an anthology. I have the beginning, I know the end – I just have to avoid “Middle Sag”.

And, I have the germ of an idea for a long-term project. I want to roll it around and think it through in more detail first. I figure it will take 2-3 years from concept to realization, and I want to make sure I’m thorough with each step of the process.

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