Sunday, November 27
Saturn Retrograde (as of the 22nd)
Cloudy and chilly
Intense few days. And it doesn’t promise to let up any time soon.
On Wednesday, up at 4:30 AM, out of the house before six. Hit Kittery, Maine by 10 AM, which was great. The drive up was smooth, and not a lot of traffic. Did some shopping at the outlets – including my purchase of a pair of Timberland boots. My last pair of Timberlands lasted ten years, with almost every day wear. I figured it was worth the investment. The pair I fell in love with – that felt as though they were custom-made, were originally $179. And on sale for $44. They were MINE. That’s what I love about Mercury Retrograde.
Found some other gifts. So now, I need only one more gift (which I think I’m getting at the museum next week) and I’m DONE.
My wrist is bothering me. Whatever I did at the show is aggravated by the driving and the rest.
We meandered through the Yorks, Wells, and Ogunquit, making our favorite stops. One of my favorites is always the Book Barn in Wells, Maine. This time, I found three treasures: A biography of Samuel Goldwyn that I can use as background research for The Fix-It Girl; a book about the history of the Boston Post Road, which runs right through my town; and a book of journals and letters from the early 1800s by a group of articulate, intelligent, well-educated daughters of the president of Harvard University called The Articulate Sisters.
We stopped at the Maine Diner in Wells for lunch. How often have we driven past it and not found it? And they’ve been there since 1983. The place was packed, and I think we were the only ones who weren’t local, since the people running it greeted everyone by name. The food is wonderful – we had lobster club sandwiches – just delicious.
By the time we hit Kennebunk, it was snowing lightly; by the time we hit Portland, it was more serious. We were happy to reach Gray and tuck in to a nice, warm house.
After a nap, we all went out to Cole’s Farms for dinner – our usual arrival day dinner stop. Cole’s Farms has been around for a good long time – simple, no-fuss food that’s good.
Conversation is sometimes difficult at dinner because my Great Uncle and my Mom don’t hear too well – and my Grandmother doesn’t listen.
Scenes and dialogue for the Nothumbrian suspense piece flashed through my mind. A good section of the piece will be set on the train between King’s Cross London and Edinburgh Waverly. I want to set a few scenes in Newcastle, too – I’ll have to check with my friend, the wonderful writer Chaz Brenchley, to remind me of the correct geography. It’s been awhile since I was in Newcastle.
The snow is beautiful. I took photos. I have a series of photos of the small pond beside the house as it changes through the seasons.
I skipped Lost. I’m perfectly happy in the midst of a snowstorm in Maine. I have no need to escape into someone else’s life, even if it is in Hawaii.
Instead, I wrote six pages on the Northumbrian suspense story. It focused on the train ride from King’s Cross immediately after departure. I have to refresh myself on the stops on that line. I wrote the first confrontation where Tamryn steps in to prevent 11 year-old Dustin’s abduction. The next section will take place on the train between York and Newcastle.
Got an idea for another piece, isnpired by The Articulate Sisters, about three bright, educated, articulate, ahead-of-their-time young Victorian ladies who accompany their widowed father on a Grand Tour. I want to set it later than the journals of the actual sisters because I want to make use of evolving modes of transportation.
Woke up to the snow Thanksgiving morning absolutely convinced it was Christmas morning! I’m a little confused!
It snowed steadily all morning, and I wrote until it was time to leave for the Hall. I wrote a little over five pages on Never Too Late. Elise finally received her first real kiss and now I can get on with the rest of the story. That sentence makes it sound like a romance, but it’s most certainly not. Now I know I really have to change the title! I also did three pages of the Northumbiran suspense story. I got them out of Newcastle, through Berwick-on-Tweed, and they’re now eating steak dinners at the Buttery Restaurant in the Hotspur Hotel in Alnwick.
I could sit here in Maine for days, perfectly happy to read and write while it snows outside. If the cats were here, it would be perfect. This is how I want to live – in New England, writing.
We had 57 people for dinner this year. It was a lot of fun. It’s the only time I ever see most of them, and one day, someone needs to sit down and write out the family tree chart. I can never keep straight how they’re all connected. But there’s a lot of pitching in and laughter and great food and stuffing a year’s worth of conversations into a couple of hours.
The driving was treacherous, but it was only a couple of miles, so we got there safely and back safely.
Everything was plowed and clear by Friday morning; we got a good start and made it back by mid-afternoon.
The cats wanted nothing to do with me.
Sorted through mail, unpacked, tried to catch up on some email. Colin’s disk of wonderful stuff arrived – now I have to learn how to use it – and also a copy of the new Louella Parsons biography – another reference for The Fix-It Girl.
Hit the ground running at six a.m. on Saturday; did laundry, etc., and drove up to Mohegan Lake and was at JoAnn Fabrics by 9. Picked up some pieces I need for the decorations. By the time I returned, BOTH shows had called with emergencies. One called for day work – someone hadn’t shown up – well, they called a half hour AFTER the call started, and it takes me an hour and a half from the next train, not the call – in other words, by the time I got there, the call would have been over.
Plus, the other show called first.
The other show needed me to work shows, and I could actually make the half hour. They did the prep for me; I did my preset. My friend A. had to go to the hospital unexpectedly, so he was out and his swing was on the way in, so that rack had to be done by the people already on site, too. But it all got done.
Matinee was smooth, in spite of a different girl in a different complicated ball gown who showed up WAAAAY too late. We got her in it and onstage. I’ve been booked for the Holiday Hell Weeks before Christmas Eve, which consists of 16 shows without a break, instead of the usual 8. Yeah, I’ll do it, but I’m not sure how I’ll get through it.
Ran around on dinner break, doing errands.
Second show was a bit rocky. A lot was missing from the boy rack, so I had to run around and find things for preset. I dropped a glove in the first change – fortunately someone retrieved it and gave it to me. Had a problem with the regular girl in the regular ball gown. The girl got on stage, but she was bitching and moaning about it. Such is life. Sometimes you just have to move a little faster. Lately, the dressers have to make up for actors not getting to the change on time, and they need to get their butts in gear.
I’m going to have to practice yogic detachment during Holiday Hell or it will be ho-ho-smack!
Speaking of which, I finally had a good long yoga session this morning. Went to the store, got the newspapers, have biscuits baking in the oven.
Lots to do today, including work on The Fix-It Girl, catching up with emails, etc., and setting up the December pages for Circadian so I can simply upload them.
I’m tired, and I can’t even imagine the state of perpetual exhaustion in which I’ll be for most of December due to the shows. But it will pay January’s bills. And, if I can pace myself properly, it gives me the month of December to launch my GDRs for 2006.
I’ll repost the questions soon.
The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
The Scruffy Dog Review