Monday, February 14, 2005
Rainy/snowy and cold
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Well, I’m back from a few days’ retreat. Actually, I need about a week for it to do any good.
As is true with many people who suffer from migraines, there are certain things that trigger them and cause incapacitation. Unlike many, if I cut out coffee, red wine and chocolate, the headaches get worse. Which is a good thing, since I’m not willing to eliminate those three items from my life. If I have them in moderation, I have fewer migraines.
However, repetitive machine noise (a sander, a jackhammer, a leaf blower) will send me over the edge and incapacitate me for days. It literally feels like someone beating up on me.
While I’m not hypersensitive to light – if anything, I crave it more with a headache, which is unusual -- I’m also hypersensitive to certain scents.
Since not only did they sand floors in the empty apartments in our building, but painted and polyurethened, by the time I went on retreat, I was a basket case. The workers had no care for the impact they had on the building – either noise-wise or air-wise. They took no safety precautions either for themselves or the tenants in the building. The air was so thick with dust that it was like walking through a brownish fog to go up and down the stairs. Even now, there is a good ¼ inch of dust settled on steps, rails, sills, everything. It literally felt like breathing glass shards.
Now, I don’t expect the world to stop because of me. But I’ve asked over and over and over again in writing that they let me know when something like this is happening so that I can make arrangements to be elsewhere. Just communicate so I can make an informed decision. That way, people do what they need to do and I remove myself from situations that make me seriously ill.
In other words, had I known they were going to do this on Friday, I would have rescheduled and left on Thursday night. As it was, I lost all of Friday and all of Saturday. I don’t have that time to lose. I’m on deadline.
Saturday I was a complete and utter basket case. I couldn’t do much yoga, I couldn’t do breath work, I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t do anything.
I also had to move retreat locations because the place in which I was staying . . .was doing renovations. Now, why would a retreat center accept reservations in the middle of renovations? And then act like my desire for quiet – which is why you go to a retreat center in the first place – was silly? I made them refund my money and booked in someplace else.
And I wasn’t very inspirational in Friday’s class. I’ve switched the reading matter around so that we’re reading The Hidden Writer first. The chapters were the Prologue, the chapter on Marjory Fleming and Isabella Keith, and the chapter on Sophia Tolstoy.
I’ve mentioned before how reading the both of the Tolstoys’ diaries has made it impossible for me to read Leo Tolstoy’s work because the diaries cause me to loathe him in the extreme.
Which of course, brings up the question – does Genius have the right to behave however it wants and mistreat people? The Younger Me said, “Yes.” Where I am in my life now, I say, “No.”
No one has the right to chew people up and spit people out and defend it as fueling for the person’s “genius.”
And usually, the ones who treat people the worst don’t even have the most talent. It’s certainly true in theatre. The best actors tend to be the best with which to work. The more difficult an actor is to work with, the more mundane the talent. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between, and none of the exceptions I’ve encountered are blazing talents.
What about those who choose to be muses, discarded muses, and get into these passive/aggressive or dominant/submissive relationships? Well, that is their choice.
I no longer make that choice. As I will not subvert my own work in order to pour all my energy and attention into someone else’s work, nor do I expect someone else to do the same for me.
To communicate the human experience accurately, we need to be able to both fly with the angels and get the laundry done. Women have always done it. With more women choosing to go into the workplace and more men choosing to stay home, it’s gotten less gender specific. But, in a relationship, too often one party is looked as the Important One – be it the Creative One or the Breadwinner or whatever – and the other party is looked upon as the Drudge. Oh, excuse me, Helpmeet.
In the Twenty-First Century, the work needs to be split more evenly. Gee, I’m real sorry you had a hard day at the office, honey. But guess what? I put in 14 hours here at home as well with my writing – which is just as important as your job. And I cooked dinner, which means you do the dishes. And I did the laundry, which means you take out the garbage. So sorry you’re tired. So am I. Tomorrow we’ll get take out.
And anyone who doesn’t pull his weight will find the locks changed and his belongings on the porch so fast his head’ll spin. I will do 50% of the chores. Not 51% and certainly not 80 – 100%. And you damn well knew that going in, so don’t think I’ll get all dewy and misty eyed because we’re now living in the same space and you can slack off. Not going to happen on my watch. You want a housekeeper? Hire one!
Isn’t that a lovely thought for Valentine’s Day? :)
I cheated and went online over the weekend. I checked some e-mail but tried to keep out of discussions, etc., unless it was an emergency. I did catch up on some of the blogs I read regularly. It’s like having tea with a friend, and I don’t want to give it up. I spent too much time looking at real estate listings, but then, I’ve got a major house hunting weekend coming up, so I wanted to get a few more ideas.
Although I also spent far too much time looking at listings in New Orleans, I’ve come to the conclusion that, realistically, I simply don’t spend enough time there to buy a place. It makes more sense for me to do short-term furnished rentals. The Garden District has some good ones. As much as I love my time in Vieux Carre, if I’m going down there for a few months to write, it makes more sense for me to be in the slower-paced, quieter Garden District.
Once I was able to focus again, most of my time was spent on revising Glamourous Hearts. Harriet’s got two good monologues in the piece, and Leonard’s got a good one, too. I still need to smooth out some bridge scenes (scenes between sections, not scenes set on or about actual bridges, in case anyone wondered) and I might rearrange bits of it. In a couple of days, I think I will have gone as far as I can without input from my producer and my editor.
I’ve thrown scenes out and written new ones. I’ve moved scenes around. I’ve setup jokes that run through a few scenes and come back. The characters are witty and intelligent, and it’s a gentle comedy. It’s not a sturm and drung emotional wring-out. Hopefully, the producer will like it for what it is and not try to make it fit the traditional “romance” category. I like the piece. It still needs polish, but that’s what the next few days are for. But it’s a piece that will entertain with interesting characters and they use references contemporary to their time without making a big deal out of it, yet not being too obscure. I think I’ve struck a decent balance.
The site itself is set to launch today with their first piece (written by someone else):
So check it out if you get a chance.
I did some work on Ransagh, although not as much as I’d like. I couldn’t flip between the world of Ransagh and 1921 very easily, and the script has to be the first priority. Worked on the tarot column and on Charlotte – I hope to whip a group of episodes into shape and send them off this morning. Tapestry week starts today, but I want to get the monkeys marked Charlotte and Widow’s Chamber off my back first. Then I’ll focus on Nina, et al. If I remember correctly, I’m about to start a new arc – I’ve got the benefit arc and the Chicago arc, and then we’re off to Edinburgh. I want the Benefit arc and the Chicago arc to each run about 10-12 episodes.
My dear, sweet S.O. who is working out of town right now is distressed because his gift hasn’t arrived. I told him not to worry – I have no insecurities that need to be bought off, and it’ll get here when it gets here. The important stuff in our relationship can’t be delivered by the postman. There have been relationships were not receiving a gift on this day would have made me insecure, but not this time around. And, sometimes, the gift makes the insecurities worse, because, deep down, you know it’s coming from the wrong place. As in, it’s an obligation, not something freely given. And who wants that? This time around, we treat each other well all the time, and it makes a big difference.
The idiots doing the apartment renovations have already set off the smoke alarm once this morning, with all the additional dust they are stirring up. Yes, that’s how much debris they put into the air – enough to set off a smoke alarm. I have a wet towel stuffed across the bottom of the door to keep the dust from getting in here.
At least they’re being quiet.
Back to work. I wish I had a full week on retreat. A weekend wasn’t enough.
For some stupid reason, the entry no longer lets me return and start a new paragraph.