Thursday, March 31, 2005

March 31 Part II

Took a walk on the beach this morning. It was a bit chilly – too cold to do much except keep moving. I found some interesting shells – too bad my shell guide, which I’ve had since childhood is in storage! And there were quite a few stones with large flecks of pyrite in them.

It was a good way to clear my head.

Worked on Widow’s Chamber. The ball sequence will probably take up at least ten issues, and it’s quite complex. It’s rather driving me nuts. I think I have to step back and outline the whole sequence. Maybe I’ll write the whole thing, and then break it down into episodes. Thinking about it in small chunks isn’t working.

Spent far too much time filing today, but it needed to be done. Things had piled up too high, and if I don’t stay on top of the various projects, things will slip through the cracks.

I’m starting to get frustrated about the event on April 29 – the people running it are stingy with information. It’s not like I can find out about it two days ahead of time. I need to know what they need from me NOW so that I can plan appropriately. And they just don’t seem to have it together.

Honed the prospect list and wrote my letter. It’s good, it hits the right tone, it’s jazzy and hopefully enticing. I’ll print up some new business cards tomorrow and send out the first batch.

I want to do more radio, so I researched programs here and up in the Boston area. Since that’s where I want to live, I should start setting some groundwork. Plus, Boston has excellent radio. I found a good general listing of stations, and I got about a third of the way down the list, researching station by stations. There are a few stations that are right wing propaganda b.s. and there’s no reason to even contact them – our positions on the simplest things in life are so far apart it would not be a good time for anyone.

I’ll work on the radio letter and get it out this weekend.

Did some research for a couple of magazine queries I want to do. Article ideas are starting to spin in my head again, which is a good thing.

The quarterly newsletter is done. I think I can get it out before April 10.

I want to work on Vince and Annie, but think I’m too tired to get anymore done tonight. I feel all hunched up – think perhaps I should do a few yoga poses before I try to sleep.

Rest in peace, Terri Schiavo.

D.

Thursday, March 31, 2005
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The last day of March. Boy, this year is flying by!

The loss of the moderator for the freelance writing group and the migration of the professional writers from the board are difficult. I relied on that group quite a bit lately, because of my forays into business writing. It’ll take awhile for the new forum to get set up, and I miss the “coffee chatter” about contracts and job leads and ways to set up newsletters, etc. The majority of the people left in the old forum are new to the business, ask questions that have been answered ad nauseum, and it’s becoming a newbie board. So, I need to bow out of that one and just wait for the new one to get set up. One of the things I liked best about it was a strong balance between the freelancers who do this full time and the ones just breaking in to it.

Went for a walk on the beach yesterday. Watched the dogs playing, got more ideas for the characters for the “Dogs on Beach” stories (the first one is up on Emerging Women Writers now).

On impulse, went over to Larchmont to a favorite store; it had a sale, and I bought three shirts and a dress for summer. Drove around a bit, just enjoying the day. I might go back to the beach again today. It’s still a little too cold to sit out there and write, but hopefully, in a few weeks, I’ll be able to do that – take my coffee and my notebook and spend a few hours there. I live close to the beach – why not enjoy it?

Lost was hit and miss for me last night. There was a lot I liked; some I didn’t. Again, I got ahead of the story in the flashback, which was annoying. I was pleased that Jack was finally given something to do which showed his humour, his compassion, and his intelligence. The scenes between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, used as the B storyline and comic relief tonight, worked beautifully. The A storyline’s walking a tightrope right now. I’m interested to see where it goes.

West Wing was good, although the repetition of Josh advising Santos to do one thing and Santos doing something else, which turns out to be the right thing, has gotten old. The reason Santos hired Josh is because he’s innovative, and the writers haven’t allowed that for this arc. Once or twice makes sense, but it’s happened too often this season. The scene between Josh and Leo, where Josh stood up to pressure from the White House was good and I hope that the next episode and into next season, the writers let Josh fly again.

Time to assess March:

Completed:
Serials
60+ pages Ransagh
Ink in My Potting Soil
Worked on both non-fiction proposals
Worked on the marketing plan
Updated Devon Ellington site (thanks, Colin!)
Worked on Cerridwen’s Cottage Site

In Progress:
Articles
Periwinkle
Library Letters
Copywriting direct mail

Not done:
New short story
Re-read Clear the Slot
Query letters for Elsa’s Sweater
Ink in My Kitchen

More than expected:
Finished Book I of Ransagh
Started Book II of Ransagh
Submitted reprint to new publisher with whom I’d like to work
Sent out at least a dozen job pitches from job boards
PR for music co.
Worked on Quick Sell novella
Started Vince/Annie piece

Disappointments:
Tough time personally
Too much illness
The pulled article and the editor’s snotty response
KIC mag folded
Internet problems
Class cancelled at Valhalla
GCE’s ridiculous, disrespectful machinations
Forum frustrations

Achievements:
Working for friend’s music co.
“Creative Roadmap” reprinted in Celtic Hearts
The slavery argument section of Widow’s Chamber
Llewellyn contracted 2 new articles
Finished Book I of Ransagh
“Dogs on Beach” published by Emerging WomItalicen Writers
Worked on Prospect List
Meeting my glorious fellow writers at the Botanical Garden

Reading:
The House on the Point by Benjamin Hoff. Wonderful tribute to Franklin W. Dixon and the juvenile series fiction I love so much.

The Prize Game by Donald A. Petrie. Interesting look at the privateering side of piracy.

Bread Alone by Judi Hendricks. Lovely, sweet, warm novel.

Spirited Bones by Carolyn Haines. Liked most of it; had a few problems.

Dinner at Antoine’s by Frances Parkinson Keyes. Interesting New Orleans novel by a popular novelist who split her time between New Orleans and Massachusetts. Her life seems very much like the life to which I aspire.

Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser. Charming book with good recipes.

Stations of Solitude by Alice Koller. Had to put it down because the pages dripped with such venom and justification for the venom that I couldn’t stand it.

Death on Beacon Hill by P.B. Ryan. I love this series, and it’s hard to wait a year for each new book to come out! Her research, her detail, her characters, her story – all are terrific.

With an eye towards what did not get done this month, I need to focus more on the business writing and stop dithering. I am nowhere near the financial goals I’ve set for myself, and that’s because I’m dragging my feet on the business writing. To make up for it, I’m taking more theatre work, which leaves me less time for writing, and it becomes a spiral in a direction I don’t want to take. I need to get off my ass and re-read Clear the Slot, do another draft, and start querying. It’s been sitting too long, and it’s cowardice that keeps me from pursuing it. I need to get off my duff with the query letters for the children’s books – it’s inexcusable that I’ve let it slide for three months. I can yap about the need to streamline the query process all I want, but I just need to sit down and do it. Ink in My Kitchen needs to be expanded for all cooking. I cook a great deal, but do not have the time right now for serious recipe experimentation.

At the end of April, I will go back to reassess my GDR and see how I need to refocus.
But for the beginning of April, I need to get off my duff and be smarter in a business sense. I also need to be more aggressive about finishing Periwinkle and figuring out how to build in the Quick Sell Novel – 55,000 extra words is not something to be taken lightly.

Some of the serials need to come to an end at the end of my contract. I’m not sure yet which ones. I have to look at the long view of the stories and see what’s going on. I hate to lose any of them, but I have to stop thinking of it as “losing” them. Once the rights revert back to me, I can rewrite them as novels and market them to print publishers. And I can always start new serials. Four is a huge commitment, and more than is sensible to take on. I don’t regret doing it, but this November will be my second anniversary and I need to think about putting some of them to bed, unless I get another huge bump in subscriptions over the next few months.

I was invited to be part of an editing service. I asked about the money and was told that they didn’t know yet. I made it clear that if the money was not comparable to my regular rates for critiques/coaching, I wouldn’t do it. So what do they do? Send me tests. I sent them back notification that I would hold on to the tests, but, until we talked money, I wasn’t taking them. I don’t have that kind of time to waste.

Booked some dates for Rent in mid-April, which will be fun.

And now, I have to focus on the writing. I have deadlines to meet, and I came across a publication for which I’d like to become a regular contributor. So, I need to figure out the proposal.

And, maybe later, I’ll go to the beach.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Yesterday was a long day, with a myriad of errands that had to happen before I took off for the theatre at 10 AM. And, since I didn’t get home until after midnight . . .

Monday was not a particularly productive writing day, and I got annoyed at an editor. I’d sent her a bunch of deadlined material on Thursday, before she left for the holiday weekend, and asked her to let me know if anything didn’t come through. She said it was all fine. I e-mailed again first thing Monday morning, to double-check, because I knew Monday afternoon would be crazy. She said it was fine.

After midnight on Monday, suddenly I get a frantic message that she needs something to publish Tuesday. Why couldn’t she have told me this on Thursday, when I actually had time to resend? Very frustrating.

And the moderator of my freelance group – who’s great – was fired by her company. Fortunately, she’s striking out on her own – and I’m going with her! She’s professional, compassionate, knowledgeable, diplomatic – anyone would be lucky to have her work for them!

The brook hit the top of its banks in the early afternoon, but I got the car out in time. We didn’t have major flooding, thank goodness – not like last fall. But it was right there, hovering at the edge. I ran my errands, had company over for dinner, and ordered The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Windows XP, which hopefully can help with some troubleshooting.

Yesterday was all about Wicked – daywork and the show. Both were fine. It was fun to be with the actors again and catch up with everyone. It’s a good group of people. I’m in for a full week next week, so I need to be productive this week. I dropped a hairbrush during a quickchange and had to crawl around the booth looking for it. I felt like an idiot. But everything was done in time, and we all laughed.

GCE is turning Saturday’s workshop into a nightmare. I will fulfill my commitment to them – I refuse to descend to their level. And that’s it. They have no respect for my time or my experience. And, after Saturday, I can’t be bothered, unless there’s an ironclad contract with non-negotiable five figures in it. You want me to teach? Fine. But from now on, my price has just gone WAAAAAAY up to make it worth my while on any level. Since I know they won’t pay it the kind of money I will ask, I won’t have to worry about it.

Rent called me for some weekend dates – I can do some of them, and hopefully, it will work out.

I’m saddened by the earthquake in Indonesia, and hope that, finally, a warning system will be put into place. People shouldn’t have to die for that to happen, but it’s always the case, isn’t it? Even with something as simple as installing a traffic light, lives have to be lost before it’s taken seriously.

The Terri Schiavo situation continues to divide the country. I’m sickened by the way it’s been turned into partisan politics and religious fundamentalism. Part of the Republican Party Platform is for there to be less government in our daily lives, and yet now they’re involved in this. I think it’s even divided the party itself, with those holding to the line that the party can’t get involved in the individual logistics of this, and those who feel that they have to in order to save a life. The Democrats are more interested in not offending anyone, and, by standing there with their thumbs up their collective asses, have offended everyone.

There are many things I do not understand about the situation. I wish I had the medical knowledge to actually form an educated opinion about the medical aspect of the case. But I don’t. I understand someone not wanting to be kept alive on machines – hence, a living will. I don’t understand how starving someone to death is road to a dignified death.

Most of all – and I’ve said this before – is that I don’t understand why a man who’s chosen not to fulfill his marriage vows is allowed legal control over his wife. He has another life with another woman and two children – out of wedlock. I don’t mean to sound like a prissy moralist. He has the right to a life. But how can he possibly put his sick wife ahead of his healthy family? The minute he embarked on a new relationship with children, he should have relinquished control. And, if he didn’t, it should have been removed by the courts. That’s where the court needed to step in.

And now there’s talk that he won’t even allow her parents to give her the burial they want. Again, the graceful thing to do would have been, since he won the case on removing her feeding tube, to allow her parents the comfort of a burial –whether she had said she wanted to be cremated or not. Again, he demonstrated that his control is the most important issue to him in the situation. The woman was bulimic – obviously there were control issues in her life that we know nothing about (and are none of our business).

The government can yap all they want about the right to life – yet they demonstrate it is still more important to them for a man to retain control over his wife. There are issues here in addition to the religious ones – the issues of gender control. Basically, this man owns his wife and therefore can make the decision whether she can live or die. To me, it appears that the government is supporting, even advocating, ownership of another human being, which is something that was exorcised by the Emancipation Proclamation.

So much for the political party built around Lincoln.

And, stepping back from the politics and the media spin, there is a family in a lot of pain, and, no matter what the courts decide, how can that pain ever heal? The personal, individual sadness of the individuals involved seem to be overshadowed by political and media agendas. I hope, no matter how difficult it is, that whatever side of the issue people stand on, they remember the pain of the families involved and retain some compassion for them – whether they agree with them or not.

Back to Widow’s Chamber, Periwinkle, Ransagh and the Vince/Annie piece. I sent out a few queries from job listing this morning, and I need to get out some letters. I’d like to go back to sleep, but that’s not an option right now.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cuththroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, click the appropriate link and download.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Monday, March 28, 2005
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I may have to go down and check the brook later; I’m hoping we won’t have flooding today.

We had the best time at the Botanical Garden! The three of us found each other immediately, and started chatting as though we’d known each other forever. We wandered through the Orchid Show – the detail in those flowers is exquisite! Some of them look like pointillist paintings. Nature truly is astonishing, and it was good for us to wander through the plants and remember it.

We ate lunch in the Garden Café and sat there talking for a couple of hours. We wandered in search of the Herb Garden – we found the Herbarium, but that’s not open to the public, and had to wander back to the Conservatory (we got our exercise). The Herb Garden itself is a tiny square near the Conservatory. I’m sure it’s delightful in the summer, but yesterday, except for the hydrangea, which somehow managed to stay intact through the harsh winter, the garden had not yet began its spring replenishment. I’m sure it is gorgeous in the summer, and it must smell divine, with all those kinds of mint and sage and rosemary. We sat in the garden and talked some more. We wandered through the shop and then over to another café where we got some hot cocoa and talked some more.

What a joy to have hours of conversation, rather than the small talk one usually shares with people! We could talk about everything – writing, politics, family. These two women are intelligent, articulate, questioning – how inspiring to be around such inspirational people! And, even better, they don’t just talk about it – they are out there making the world a better place.

What a terrific way to spend Easter Sunday, which is a day of renewal.

There was one point, where we were chatting in the parking lot, reluctant to go back to our cars and end the afternoon, when the trunk of the car we stood in front of suddenly popped open! The three of us moved away, not quite sure what was coming next – but it turned out the owners of the car approached and they’d popped the trunk with their remote. We all got a good laugh out of that one!

I was surprised by how heavy the traffic was all day, both coming and going. And the Garden itself was packed.

Finished reading the Sunday papers when I came home. I’d treated myself to the Sunday New York Times, which I rarely read anymore. Not only is it overpriced, the quality of the paper has, in my opinion, severely fallen over the past few years. I used to look up to the Times because I felt I could count on them to present both sides of an issue. Not anymore. They are far too concerned with not offending who they see as the majority of their readers and presenting a single, conservative viewpoint than in challenging the readers and making them think by presenting multiple possibilities and points of view. So, I buy it once every few months, because the only part I really miss is the Book Review. I’m glad I took a look at it all yesterday, but I’m not missing anything.

I should have tried to write, but I was so high from the day that I wanted to simply enjoy it. Today is about The Widow’s Chamber and whatever else I can get done on Periwinkle and Ransagh. I’ve got errands to run in the afternoon.

Watched the premiere of Grey’s Anatomy last night on TV. I liked it a lot. While I don’t trust ABC to dole out more than a few episodes at a time, I’ll catch the show when I can. The writing and acting are both excellent.

Slept in this morning – actually, the cats woke me early and I shooed them away and went back to sleep – so I have a slow start. But it’s a cold, rainy day, and I want to allow myself a leisurely pace. Next week will be chaos, so I want to enjoy some quiet while I can.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sunday, March 27, 2005
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it.

Yesterday ended up being a pretty good writing day. I felt as though I was losing the Vince/Annie piece, so I decided to do some work on that first. I ended up writing twelve pages of Chapter One – about half of it. The rest of Chapter One and all of Chapter Two involves fact checking sites in Edinburgh, so I’m putting that aside for awhile – the dialogue is so wrapped in their roaming – basically, if this was a film it would be a walk-and-talk – that I can’t do any of it without the info. But I started Chapter Three. And someday, it will actually have a name.

Once I’d written myself out on that one, I pulled out Periwinkle. I got it back on track. There’s a lot of good stuff in it, and I just have to stay focused on the main storyline. Again, the place is as much of a character in this one (Montauk, in this instance) as Edinburgh is in the first section of the Vince/Annie piece. I fixed what wasn’t working in the first six chapters of Periwinkle and finished the first draft of Chapter Seven. I don’t think I’ll get as much done on it as I had hoped this month, but it’s back on track, and I think I’ll be able to start querying it in the summer. There’s already an agent who’s asked for the first look, so that person will get the first shot; if it doesn’t work out, I’ve got my list (and I even know where it is) to send further queries.

And Charlie Zablowski seems to be coping with the fact that he can’t be the main character in this book, but I will give him his own story.

I did some work on Ransagh. It was tough. The South is just going to be a problem. But I can’t jump ahead and write the west first and come back, because of the way the characters evolve through each direction. It has to be written in chronological order.

A friend came over for dinner, and while driving home after dropping my friend back off at home, listening to the radio, I came up with more Vince/Annie material.

Watched some bad television last night. I saw some really bad sci-fi – I think it was meant to be clever and funny, but it didn’t quite get there. But it gave me a good idea for yet another section of the Vince/Annie piece.

Worked on the handouts for next weekend’s class. Picked up a week of work on Wicked for the second week of April – it’s far enough in advance so if I push hard on the writing this week, I can focus on simply doing the show and sleeping the following week. Because a full eight shows will leave me with next to nothing for the writing.

I’m about to leave for the Botanical Garden – I’m meeting two friends from a writers’ group and I can hardly wait! The Bronx may never be the same, once we’re done there!

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Saturday, March 26, 2005
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and mild

It looks like we finally have a spring day!

I’ve gotten three of the four serials sorted out. I’m in good shape and know where I need to be on everything except Widow’s Chamber. I’ll work on that today.

Periwinkle is a mess and needs lots of work. There’s some good dialogue in there, but I’m trying to cover too many directions. I need to do some cutting and focusing. I don’t want to be trapped in a formula, but I do need it to be coherent.

A pet peeve of mine is protagonists in books who are supposedly writers – only, for the entire course of the book, you never see them write. For a writer, writing is as much a part of the person as hair or fingers or eyes or whatever. Writers are always writing, even when they’re not at the keyboard. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any novel that successfully portrays it. I’m sure such a novel exists – I simply can’t think of it.

Periwinkle’s protagonist is not a writer, but she is very involved in her career, and I want to make sure I include it in the piece in a way that’s realistic without taking away from the rest of the story.

Wrote a few new pages of the second book of Ransagh yesterday. It’s going more slowly than I would like. I knew I would struggle with the section set in the South, and that ‘s exactly what’s happening. The West is very full and fleshed out in my imagination, but the South – I’m still trying to figure out how all the characters need to evolve though it.

Typed Chapter Seven of Book I, and did some fixes on Chapters Six and Seven.

Worked on my Prospect List for business clients and found a handful to which I will send introductory materials. If I can get a few of those letters out per week, and follow up in order to land some business, I’ll be okay. The phone book is amazing – just look at all those businesses! I have to convince enough of them that they need me and my skills so that I have enough money coming in to pay the bills and then some. Time to put Peter Bowerman’s techniques to work. I’ve used them in fiction – now it’s time to put them into play in the area for which he created them. And by researching thoroughly just a handful every week and sending out letters, I’m not overwhelming myself. If I set a goal of 60 or 100 a week – yeah, the return rate will be higher, but there’s no way I can sanely achieve that. I haven’t even been able to send out ten query letters for the children’s book lately!

I get so tired of balancing!

There also seems to be an influx, in the forums, of wanna-be writers who feel that they shouldn’t have to do any of their own research, editors should kiss their toes because they deigned to submit, they don’t need to know how to spell or punctuate, and, basically, they’re God’s gift and we should all fall over in awe.

Um, no.

Not only that, don’t waste my time.

I’m happy to help people become the best writers they can be. Heck, that’s a good part of my business. But I am NOT going to do their work FOR them. And I’m certainly not going to put up with the attitude that they know everything – without a single published credit to their names – and those of us who are actually surviving in the trenches don’t.

Not to mention the person who’s been absolutely vile to me for the past few weeks and now wants a favor! An expensive favor. You’ve gotta laugh with something like that. I said no. I got over the doormat stage years ago, thank goodness.

And today is a beautiful day. I want to spend some of it outside. Maybe I’ll take my notebook and go to a local café for a bit, sit by the window and enjoy.

I should do laundry, but hey, those clothes aren’t going anywhere on their own, so they can just sit for a bit.

Back to writing.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Friday, March 25, 2005
Full Moon (Storm Moon)
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Ever notice how it’s always the ones without the credits to back it up who have the most inappropriate, unprofessional and self-involved comments on someone else’s work or job trajectory? There are a few people who are getting on my last nerve. In the bigger perspective, they have very little to do with my overall life, so it’s best simply to shake my head and move on.

Two hours’ worth of ironing yesterday (on my neighbor’s borrowed board) gave me not only a stack of pressed clothing, but plenty of time to work out plot points for various pieces. I actually enjoy ironing – it gives me time to think and you have something tangible at the end of it to show for your work.

Worked on Angel Hunt. Realized that I’m closer to wrapping up this arc than I thought, which is a good thing. What they are about to do will trigger a series of confrontations that will wrap this up. Then I can go into the Donal arc, and then into the Paris arc. Six more months might just do it.

It felt good to work on AH again. I slipped right back into it.

Did a bit of work on Ransagh, but not enough.

I did some good work with The Tarot of the Four Elements. It’s a beautiful deck and the information is very pointed (in a good way). It’s a deck that works well for both meditation and reading. I’ll be able to write a thorough, positive review of it soon. I always like to work with a deck or an oracle for at least a month before I try to review it.

The primary focus today needs to be the serials – to make sure it’s all sorted properly and I’m back on track. I have a few more deadlines to enter into the big calendar – Llewellyn contracted me for two articles that are due June 1 (I won’t actually sign the contracts until Mercury goes direct) and on May 1 I have to pitch my ideas for the other annuals and calendars. This is my ten year anniversary with them. I need to build the tarot book into the schedule.

I need to work on a proposal for a company that, should they like me, would both toss me regular business writing work and pay well. I’d like to get the proposal out this weekend. It’s the second time they’ve run this ad in a month – with the guidelines changed slightly – so I’m pretty sure they’re not getting the kind of script writers they want. Hopefully, I am what they want.

And I want to spend some time on Periwinkle.

So I better get moving.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Thursday, March 24, 2005
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold


Correction: For the past few days, I’ve said in my header that Saturn was retrograde. Saturn actually went direct on Monday, the 21st. My apologies for misreading my calendar (a typically Mercury-retrograde thing to do)!

I lost one of my rings yesterday, doing errands. I generally wear six silver rings – three on each hand. Yesterday, at some point during the errands, one of them fell off. I don’t know when or where. It’s a small silver ring, a coiled snake, which I bought at a street fair in Greenwich Village over a dozen years ago while working off-Broadway. It had personal meaning to me, and I will miss it. But, sometimes, it’s time for these items to move on. Hopefully, someone will find it and it will bring the meaning to them that it brought to me.

At the same time, I received a lovely gift from my friend Michelle – a book mark decorated with silver and amethyst. Amethyst is one of my favorite stones – I use it all the time, and have it all over the house. Thanks, MIK!

Ten pages of Ransagh Book II done. They had the first encounter with the werewolves and are also pursued by the Markiagh Keeir Annym (get out those Manx dictionaries, boys and girls). Actually, I should say that many of the names are Manx-inspired, not properly-used Manx. I’m behind where I want to be on it, but it’s moving along.

Submitted a magazine article – keeping my fingers crossed on that one. I need to prepare a proposal for a job that I think would pay decently and might be fun, but I don’t like the spin they want on the test piece. However, they’re the ones paying, so I need to shut up and do it. Worked on text for the second website. I want to get all the text ready before I code it, so I can then code it and load it. If I manage that successfully, I’ll have to figure out how to add pages to the devonellingonwork site. It needs some additional pages.

Fretting about the Quick Sell dilemma. How do I schedule in a major project that I know will sell, but takes too much time to do for it to be worthwhile bumping other projects? Set myself a two-page per day goal? Or a one-scene per day goal? How long will it take to get where I need to go? I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

I still haven’t put any time and attention on to Periwinkle, which is a necessity.

My serial schedule is completely screwed up and I have to sit down and figure out where I am and what I still need on my schedule. I’m behind again on Widow’s Chamber – it seems no matter how much work I do on it, I’m always behind. Urgh. Frankly, I’m feeling trapped by the serials right now. I know this is a passing feeling – I’ve invested too much physically and emotionally in them to abandon them. But I’m trying to figure out how to rebalance everything. I have to spend less physical time on them, because the return is too small for the amount of work put in to it right now. There has to be more time built into my life for business projects, because that’s what brings in the money in a reasonable amount of time.

I also miss working on a play. I miss the writing process of a play – which, for me, is to get the first draft down in one fell swoop, even if it means staying up for a couple of days straight. I miss the rehearsal process – finding the right actors. Working with them in the rehearsal room. Experiencing the way they bring the script to life. Cutting the unnecessary words, because once you have a three-dimensional human there, you can get rid of extraneous words.

I’m not yet ready to take up the Triangle Factory Fire play again, although I hope I can at some point this year. I put it aside after 9/11 and have not been able to recommit to it. There’s another play, that has its seeds in a collaborative project I did years ago called “The Father/Daughter Project”. It was a single, slightly surreal section of a naturalistic project. I always wanted to do more with it and turn it into its own project – the first act dealing with the Iphegenia story, the second act bringing it into modern day. I re-read some of my notes. I wish I had the original pages of the piece – there was some excellent dialogue between Clytemnestra and Agememnon that I want to use, but I have a feeling I have to start from scratch. I looked back at my notes. There’s some promise in them – I have to let it percolate.

There’s quite a bit percolating in the Creativity Cauldron, and I have to see which spews out as a geyser first. While still meeting all my deadlines. In the best of all possible worlds, I can spend the next few days as a hermit, working only on the writing and get some of these tangled threads sorted out.

Sunday, the plan is to meet with some of my writer friends, and we can talk about life, work, and anything else that comes up. I am so looking forward to it! And if I have a few productive days ahead of time, I’ll be able to enjoy it even more!

I also miss Scotland terribly right now. It’s been too long since my last visit. Although on a practical level, I need to go to Paris in the fall for research, on an emotional level, I need to go to Scotland. So, toss that out to the universe and see what comes back!

Slow start this morning, but at least I went out and got my haircut. I was starting to feel like an abandoned sheepdog, and now I feel more like a professional human.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, click the appropriate link and download.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold

From spring back to winter. It hasn’t quite started snowing yet, but it’s seriously considering it. The prediction is six inches by tomorrow. Don’t know if I believe it, but I’m going to the store anyway – the cupboards are a bit bare, and I need to restock.

Day work was fine. It was a day for sewing lots of buttons and snaps back on that came off in quick changes. Note that I left for the dresser: “J’s legs are downstairs.” Now, in the real world, that’s a piece of bad writing. But in the theatre world, it makes perfect sense and gets to the point quicker than actor/costume/explanation. In case you’re wondering what it means, the Tin Man legs needed repair – one actually left the building to get a new knee put in, and I took down the other so they could decide whether or not to replace that knee, too (they are). The repairs weren’t complete by the end of the call, and I left the dresser a note so she’d know something wasn’t in the place it should be and has the time to retrieve the legs. There is not time during the show – preset is where everything has to be checked. Ideally, the day worker has everything ready to go, and the dresser sets the changes, brings up the laundry, does any little detail work he/she preferred to take herself rather than leaving to day work, etc. But sometimes, things aren’t done and are still in the wardrobe room for repair, or have been taken for a fitting, etc. So I leave a note. There’s nothing I hate more than coming in to do a track, checking over my pieces, finding that something’s missing, with no idea of where it might be. Of course, on days when there’s no day work, it’s up to the dresser to touch up whatever needs it along with the preset.

Came home and got into a spring cleaning fever. There’s a day bed that’s accumulated far too much stuff over the past months. I cleared everything off and sorted it all out. I have two 50 gallon bins of fabric now. It’s all sorted and I know what’s where, which is good, because I have several projects that either need finishing or are set to start. I resorted the t-shirt bin – I tend to accumulate tee shirts from my travels, and I like to keep them and actually wear them. I put aside a stack of clothes to donate – some of them are close to new – I wore them once for something work-related and will never wear them again. So off they go. I have a stack of ironing to do – and a broken board, so I’ll borrow one from my neighbor. I threw out what’s beyond repair and can’t be salvaged for fabric, and I found accumulated paper that either had to be filed or tossed. So that one small area is redone and it inspires more such cleaning.

It took two hours to resend the issues needed for Charlotte, Angel Hunt, and Tapestry last night. I have to reformat Widow’s Chamber today. Hopefully, that will hold us for awhile. I’m getting behind on the actual writing, and I want to stockpile, so when the system is back up, they’re ready to go.

I heard from the Quick Sell editor – she wants the 55,000 word novel before the novella. Sigh. I have to rethink my schedule, etc., now. I don’t know if I can take on a project of that dimension right now and do it well, especially something that is so rigidly structured. But it would sell, and it would sell before the end of the year. I have to mull it over.

The story I submitted on Tuesday night, “Dogs on Beach” (as Christy Miller) was already accepted and put up on Emerging Women Writers:

http://www.emergingwomenwriters.com/emerge/index.php?cat=15

I’m fond of the piece, and it’s set on a local beach. I got the idea one spring, when I spent every nice day walking on the beach watching the dogs playing and making friends.

I wonder if the exterminator shows up today, or it will be another Godot morning. I need to get the groceries in and then settle down for a long afternoon of writing.

During the spring cleaning, I came across Alice Koller’s Stations of Solitude. As someone who needs a great deal of solitude, the title must have intrigued me at some point. But I’ve read less than ten pages, and I’m arguing with the book. Once I’ve read the whole thing, I’ll discuss it in more detail. I understand her point of view, but I disagree with the extremity of it.

I require enormous stretches of solitude. A few years ago, I refused to marry a man I truly loved because he couldn’t be alone for more than thirty seconds. Literally. He could never just sit and be. The house always had to be full of friends, there always had to be plans to go out, there was never time for quiet. We tried to find a compromise – he could go out more than I did, whatever. It didn’t work. He can’t handle any solitude and couldn’t comprehend how it could be a necessity to anyone else. So that was the end of that. We are still genuinely friends and keep in close touch, but I would have had a nervous breakdown within the first year. Not to mention the fact that I couldn’t get any writing done.

Thank goodness I’m now with someone who revels in quiet as well as enjoys periods of sociability.

Off to try and outrun the storm.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cuthtroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, click the appropriate link and download.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Today looks like it might actually be a spring day. I plan to enjoy as much of it as I can, in spite of being in day work most of the day, because it’s supposed to rain for the rest of the week.

I’ve been reluctant to say anything about the Terry Schiavo case. I don’t have a medical background and I’m not a family member. But I’m disturbed by several things. I’m disturbed by the media spin. I’m disturbed by the Republican Party spin on how they’re going to save her life. What I’m the most disturbed by is that her husband, who, as far as I can tell, is still legally married to her, yet lives with another woman and has had two children with her, still has legal rights to decide her care. Why is this allowed? He broke his marriage vows. Of course he should be able to have a life beyond her care. But then he should free himself of his legal commitment to her first – not run two relationships in tandem. How can a man put his sick wife’s best interests first when he’s living with a mistress and two children? Their interests have to be taken in to consideration. How can that not be a conflict? Those are the questions I want answered. The Republicans are spinning the issue of life while still allowing an adulterous husband to control the future of his sick wife. Why? In my opinion, legal control over her should have been removed from him as soon as he began living with another woman, much less having children with her.

It certainly demonstrates the necessity of thinking through possible worst-case scenarios and setting up legal documentation for them while still healthy.

I wrote the first chapter and began the second of the Quick Sell Novella yesterday. It’s more technically involved than I thought it would be. So, while it may be a quick sell, it has to be carefully structured.

I did a few pages on Ransagh Book II yesterday.

And that was pretty much it. Between DSL problems and complete and utter exhaustion and coaching a few people on proposals, I was worn out.

I have many episodes to resend to my editor to fulfill the serial subscriptions – replacing issues lost in her computer crash. I figure it will take me at least two hours once I get home tonight – provided the DSL is up.

So I’m not sure how much writing I’ll get done. I need to keep on top of the serial episodes that I need to write ahead, stockpiling, so that when her system is restored, I’m not suddenly behind on all four serials. I think Tapestry and Angel Hunt will extend six more months in the fall, and then I’ll be ready to end them both. But who knows? I could change my mind sixteen more times between now and then. I’ll have to let the story lead me.

I submitted a short story yesterday, “Dogs on Beach”. I’m quite fond of it, but could never figure out exactly where it fit. I have several stories with these characters, and it may eventually work its way into a collection of connected stories. So I thought I’d submit the first one and see what sort of response it receives.

March is closing out, and I need to get to work on the quarterly newsletter, which has to go out by April 10. I don’t have all that much to say. It’s been a good writing period, but a slow publishing period.

And I need to get to work on the horse racing article.

Colin coached me through the site update. I’m very proud of myself for comprehending enough to make it work. Actually, he gets the most credit, for being such a good teacher.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, click the appropriate link and download.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Monday, March 21, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The fucking DSL isn’t working properly AGAIN. This time, the e-mail function went down – in the middle of transmitting a proposal to a new editor with whom I really want to work.

Can’t get a tech support person. All I get is a recorded message saying they are aware of the problem and are working on it.

Not good enough. I’ve had DSL one week today and it’s been down more than it’s been up.

Wrote a complaint for the BBB. Will re-read it tonight and send it off in the morning.

If I have any more problems this week, I should cancel service and try something else. Major pain in the ass as I’ve now switched over EVERYTHING to the DSL.

I slept in and am still absolutely exhausted. I had a great time at the show over the weekend. It’s an amazing group of people. The company is a real pleasure to work with.

I helped two people with non-fiction book proposals today, one with a fiction query, and I’m reading over Colin’s wonderful web manual. I don’t understand all of it, but most of it even I can comprehend. And if I can understand it . . .anyone can.

I really want to take a nap, but I have to get some of my own writing done. Book II of Ransagh calls – plus I want to do steady work on typing Book I. I’ve already typed 7 chapters of it, and started to work on edits. I also want to work on the Vince/Annie piece, which is more complicated than I thought it would be – I wish the damn thing would shut up, but scenes keep rolling through my head and I’m jotting them down in the outline, and do the first chapter of the Quick Sell Novella.

Plus, I need to do some research for this week’s horse racing article.

Scrubbed the floors this morning, so spring cleaning’s begun.

Just wish I wasn’t so tired. But doing shows – even when you’re loving it – requires an enormous amount of both physical and emotional energy.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com

March 20 Part II

The wonderful thing about working at Rent is the opportunity to work with a group of people with an extraordinary capacity for unconditional love.

It’s a good way to spend twelve hours.

D.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sunday, March 20, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Spring Equinox/Ostara.
May the renewal of the Earth symbolize our own renewal and our own commitment to the Earth, peace, and each other.

I had a rocky show last night. The regular dresser has changed, and the new person’s notes don’t make sense to me. It was nothing major, but there were a few glitches that probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d been able to comprehend the notes.

I get to redeem myself today, because the show called this morning and needs me to cover both shows today.

It means a lost day of writing, including the first chapter of the Quick Sell project, but I need immediate cash – beginning of the month bills are coming – so that’s the tradeoff. Especially with the bank sitting on my payment for the script for eight weeks.

I’m going to try to do a couple of pages on Book II of Ransagh before I go. I’ve set a saner schedule for myself with books II & III than I had for I. If I can stick to it, I estimate the first draft of Book II will be done by June 25 and Book III by Oct. 3. Of course, now that I’ve put that out there, the Universe will do its best to throw obstacles in my way.

I outlined the Annie/Vince piece last night on the train. I expanded a section that I originally saw as tighter. The more I look at it, the more I think it should be tighter, and I want to go back to my original idea for it. It definitely doesn’t fall into the Quick Sell category, which annoys me, because the last thing I need right now is yet another major project.

I’m thinking about taking a break from several forums while Mercury is in retrograde. Some of the comments posted the last few days are more irritating to me than is logical – especially in cases where they have nothing to do with me. There seems to be a lot of cross chatter and certain people don’t seem to read and respond to what’s actually there. There’s a knee-jerk reaction to a word or a phrase instead of context. I find myself biting back short-tempered and irritable comments, both because that style of response is inappropriate, and, ultimately, some of it has nothing to do with me. I think breathing room on my part is called for, to get some perspective and remember why I enjoy and respect these people so much in the first place.

Exterior pressures in my life are starting to affect my responses to people who don’t deserve to be vented at because of other issues pressing down on me. So my best bet is to simply step back and be quiet for awhile. The risk is that I will feel more isolated than I already feel right now, but that’s preferable to lashing out at someone who doesn’t deserve it. My coping skills just aren’t up to par right now.

Eventually, it will all work itself out in the work, but right now I have to figure out how to keep the work going while still working out these other aspects of my life that are demanding attention right now. Something’s got to give, and I plan to protect the writing as much as I can.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, click the appropriate link and download.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

March 19 Part II

Woo-hooo!

I finished Draft 1 of Book I of the Ransagh trilogy just a few minutes ago. And it ends on a cliffhanger!

It took nearly twenty pages longhand, but I was so close, I had to push through and finish.

I want to dive right in to Book II, but I have to eat and do a show tonight, so I’ll celebrate a bit and start on Book II tomorrow.

It needs a lot of work, but the essence of the piece feels very, very good!

D.

Saturday, March 19, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yes good ole Mercury’s gone retrograde again. That means: problems in communication, with electronic equipment and travel. But great bargain shopping.

Mantra: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

I recently re-ran my chart, and it says that Mercury was retrograde when I was born – which means a Merc Ret should be positive for me.

Maybe this time I can make some improvements? Who knows. Take it day by day, moment by moment.

Did some work on Charlotte. I’m doing “snapshot episodes”. That means every episode or two I’m moving ahead in time, instead of doing each chronological event in their lives. It’s supposed to be action/adventure – I want to highlight those parts of their stories. Charlotte’s met the legendary chickcharnies of Andros, and just gave birth to twins. Now I need to get them back on the sea. I’ve done the research for Anne, Mary, and Calico Jack’s trial, and that will start about ten or twelve episodes down the line. I have no idea how long that arc will take.

Got out all the episodes for all the serials that my editor needs for next week. With four serials at various stages of subscription, it got a little confusing. I nearly sent something out as The Widow’s Tapestry at one point. Not a bad title, but it would be a bit confusing for my editor.

Stuck on Ransagh, although it’s calling to me today. Shawndor, Raisa and Kenelm have more to say, and yet I insist on shifting the focus back to Tom and Jory for a few pages.

I have two pieces rolling around in my head (guess there’s a lot of room right now) for the opportunity I call The Quick Sells. One I’m plotting in my head, and I think by tomorrow I can start putting words on paper. 15,000 words means approximately 60 pages. That’s 10 chapters of 6 pages each or 6 chapters of 10 pages each. I think I’ll structure it into 10 chapters of 6 pages each. If I could do a chapter a day, I could have the first draft done in ten days, and something that could be sent out done in about a month.

I have a few more other ideas for this company, that would be Quick Sells, but I think some of them are longer, and I’d like to start on a shorter one first, to see if I still have the chops for this genre.

And I have to stay on top of my other commitments, too.

The other piece I thought would be a Quick Sell, which is as yet untitled, is turning out to be an actual complex relationship novel. Darn it. It starts in Edinburgh and will take place in several locations around the world. I did about six pages last night. This is yet another slow, long-term project, which I don’t need right now, but the characters won’t shut up. If I don’t pay attention, they’ll pack up their toys and go home, the way it happened with the Boston Tea Party play and the Assassin story. So I’m going to listen and figure out how to juggle all of this without my head exploding.

If life would simply stay out of the way, I could get it all done.

I don’t believe it! The idiots are walking around under the window with leaf blowers. There’s snow! Beyond snow, it’s ice. It’s not like they’re going to get it anywhere. They just figure if they walk around all day making noise, they get paid. Of course, these are the same jerks who, when it snowed last week, brushed the fresh snow off the sidewalk and left the ice.

And they always wait until I’m trying to work to do it. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night I sit down at the desk – as soon as I start getting involved in work, some ass turns on a machine. The town has noise control policies but never enforces them. It’s ludicrous.

I’m putting the headphones on and trying to get some work done before I have to leave for the theatre later. It started as a good, positive day!

On a happier note, I managed to update the website all by myself yesterday. I only made one mistake, and Colin’s coaching me on how to fix it. That might not be a big deal to anyone else, but it is to technologically challenged me.

I am determined to learn how to do this.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http:///www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click on the appropriate link and download.

Friday, March 18, 2005

March 18 Part II


On a working front, I got some errands done and got some writing done on Charlotte. My editor gave me the list of issues she needs for next week (instead of prepping them a month in advance, because of her server problems, we’re going week to week again). So I resent what she needs for next week. The only one that’s a pain to resend is Widow’s Chamber, because I don’t write it in the serial format. I write it in regular manuscript format.

I caught up on a lot of filing – now if I only had someplace to put all these lovely folders.

I read an interview with an actor I’ve admired for a long time and noticed what a chameleon he can be. He’s usually quite well-spoken, great sense of humour, opinionated (I don’t always agree with him, but I like the way he presents his point of view). However, this interview was quite different. It was oblivious that the so-called journalist considered himself a Hip Young Writer for this publication that caters to a primarily upscale male audience. Well, the so-called journalist didn’t sound hip at all – merely like an ass. Unfortunately, the actor mirrored him in the responses. It wasn’t hip, it wasn’t amusing, it wasn’t ironic – it sounded like a couple of boisterous jerk offs making size comparisons.

Now, there are several possibilities here: 1) That the actor knew the interviewer was an inept jerk and was satirizing what was going on by mimicking his tone; 2) that the interviewer twisted the interview to sound like that because he thought it would be cool; 3) that the actor simply wanted to “fit in” with the publication and shifted his persona accordingly.

I hope it’s #1. If it’s #3, I lose most of my respect for him. I know, from personal experience that interviews are part of the work and you do put on a persona for them, even if that persona is close to your own. But this was just crossing the line, as far as I was concerned.

It also gives me something interesting to use in one of the pieces I have in process – that chameleon-like shift that can cause one character to betray another.

So, while the person interviewed may be falling lower on my personal Performer Totem, it gave me something good I can use in my work.

Many people might think, “Well, why does it matter?”

As someone who works with actors, it matters to me. If I’m dressing a performer, I don’t particularly have to like the person, as long as we can set some ground rules for mutual consideration and respect. Let’s face it – the relationship between an actor and a dresser can’t help but have a level of emotional intensity and intimacy, because you’re dealing with the performer changing clothes. You’re handling them – literally – when they are half-dressed or undressed. There’s the professionalism of handling the person gently, firmly, in a way that does not make the performer feel uncomfortable, and a high level of discretion involved. There’s also the emotional aspect – the dresser is in the closest contact with the performer. The dresser is the one who takes the emotional temperature in the room every night or in the wings during cues and adjusts so that the performer feels comforted and supported. If something goes wrong on stage or off stage, if the performer feels insecure or attacked that night, the dresser has to provide the equilibrium and pull the performer through the show. It requires as much skill in psychology as in sewing.

One of the reasons I keep getting hired and am in some actors’ contracts before they even agree to do a show is because I’m very good at both the physical and emotional aspects of the job. I also don’t gossip – any backstage anecdotes I share here, especially if I name a name, has been discussed with the person in question before I post. I protect my performer from intrusions at times when the performer needs to concentrate – yeah, you want the person when you shouldn’t be back there, you’re going to have to go through ME and let me tell you, one of us is going down and it WILL be you. And I’m also very straight forward with the performer. Ask me a question, I’ll tell you what I really think. I don’t ass kiss. I don’t get hired by actors who need ass kissers in the dressing room. I get hired to work with actors who want someone to keep them grounded in reality so they can fly when they hit the stage.

And if I can’t respect an actor, I can’t work with that person. I have a very short list of performers with whom I would not work again, no matter how much money I was offered. Because it simply isn’t worth it.

As a writer, I tend to work on small, independent projects. Whenever possible, my contract includes casting approval – unless I trust the producer and/or director so much I let it fly, or unless I’m simply brought in as a for-hire. I tend to be quite involved in the rehearsal process, which I love, and again, there’s a level of intimacy achieved with the actors. In the best of all possible worlds, the director is not threatened by it, and the work can go to new heights. You’re dealing with each other’s psyches as much as the psyches of the characters on the page. There has to be an enormous level of trust in order for it to work.

When you’re finished with a production, hopefully everyone involved is changed for the better, because you’ve shared parts of yourself with your fellow creative people (and that includes the crew) and no one else on this planet has had the same experience as this particular group of people.

Every project changes the participants.

Every actor goes in to every first rehearsal hoping that this experience will be something like Lord of the Rings was to its cast or Lost is to its cast or Rent is to its cast. You want it all to mesh so that you are all the best you can be and create, together, something bigger than all of you, that is a gift to the audience that makes them see, feel, and experience the world differently.

That’s why we do this.

And that’s why I pay close attention to performers not only in performances, but in interview situations. I have the list in my head of actors I’ve worked with and would love to work with again; of actors with whom I haven’t worked, but am interested in working; and actors that I’d prefer stay over there and I’ll just go about my creative life over here, thank you very much.

There are many, many creative people out there, and we’re all looking for our perfect matches. With film, you find the right match and it’s saved forever. With theatre, it changes every night, and once the show is closed, it’s gone forever. But the connection, even if you never see or work with the people again, is always there. There is a type of love and affection that develops between a creative group working together that can’t ever be mimicked. It’s new and fresh and exciting every time.

It’s the exhilaration of the creative process.

D.

Friday, March 18, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Thanks to my friends and readers for all their support these past few days. It means a great deal to me. I’m better today – still have a migraine, but am more functional and also there’s a tiny spark of hope again.

When I need to call up the feelings of despair for my writing, I’ll have plenty of first hand experience!

I think the Congressional hearings on baseball are ridiculous. Not ridiculous in that they’re happening, but ridiculous in that, if I understand the information presented correctly, the players’ union negotiated into contracts what amounts to protections for the use of illegal substances in the first place. The new “tougher” policies imposed by the League are a joke. There's whining that the government shouldn't interfere -- well, if the sport itself turns a blind eye or merely gives a slap on the wrist for illegal usage, which is how it appears, the government has to interfere. Baseball has had plenty of time to police itself. Why wasn't a no-tolereance policy put into place as soon as the evidence of the dangers of using steriods was discovered? Because too many people earned a profit, that's why.

Yesterday was not particularly productive. I did some work in the morning. Going out and about helped a bit, but by lunch time the migraine crippled me. I spent most of the afternoon in a haze, half-dozing.

I’d read about an opportunity with a company that has a solid reputation. Several ideas started percolating during my haze. It would mean adding a great deal more to the writing schedule, but the profit should be pretty good. I simply don’t know if I have the stamina right now. I will play with some ideas – if they start flowing well, I’ll press on.

It would mean returning to a genre in which I haven’t written for quite a few years, because I felt the genre was getting dried up and redundant. It would mean either dusting off the name I used before, or creating a new one – I’m leaning towards creating a new one, making a fresh start. And it means deciding if I’m going to market that name/genre or keep relatively quiet about it. Obviously, I’m not going to keep absolutely quiet, because I’m mulling it over here.

It’s got to be written before any marketing decisions can be made, right? I’m tempted to try a 15,000 word novella, because that seems do-able, I love the novella format, and one of the ideas I have lends itself to that length. The company markets aggressively, so it might be an area where I could sit back a bit.

I wish I could untwist my head from my neck, release all the pressure, and then stick it back on. The tension in my neck is causing enormous pain. I hope to try some new yoga positions later today, and maybe those will release it.

Did some work on Ransagh last night. It’s always a relief to return to it. Shawndor surprised me, which is not a bad thing. I’m worried that I’m spending too much time on the Shawndor/Raisa/Kenelm dynamic and getting it out of balance with the Tom/Jory dynamic. But Shawndor – who was originally supposed to turn up for about three scenes and get killed – has put himself into a position of authority and importance in the piece that I couldn’t have imagined when I first invited him in. It’s interesting the way it works.

Need to work on the serials some more today. My editor’s server went down and she has to redo all the subscriptions by hand on her old computer. So, I resent what she needs, I’m waiting to see what she needs next week, and I’m staying current with the issues I’m working on, so that when she’s ready to send them, I can. I feel so badly for her – I know how devastating computer problems are!

Hopefully, today will be a productive day, and I can keep the migraine pain managed. Tomorrow night, I go into the city to do Rent. The actors are such a pleasure that it’s always fun to be there.

For today – take a few ibuprofen and hope for the best.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I think the Fire Commissioner’s edict that the firefighters can’t wear the traditional green berets in the Parade is ridiculous. These guys put their lives on the line every day – allow them a tradition that matters so much to them. They are not disrespecting the uniform by it. How about focusing the energy on getting them fair contracts?

I had problems with the DSL line already. Three days and it’s already down. I explained to them that if it wasn’t fixed today, I’d have to cancel service. I need reliability. That is my number one priority with internet service. More and more of my livelihood depends on internet capability. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the service for which I pay.

I’m not the only one with ISP problems – my editor is also suffering. So, I keep working on my serial issues, and once she gives the go-ahead, the poor woman will have quite a stack.

I think I’ve solved the problem of the formatting going askew by using the e-mail program via Outlook Express rather than through the Verizon web-based mail. So far, that seems to work.

I am just wrung out. I can’t simply shrug and go, “oh, the internet is down; guess I just have to wait until somebody gets around to fixing it.” It has to work. All the time.

The DSL seems to work this morning, but for how long? Did we just get off to a rough start, or is this a portent for what’s to come?

And why do I have to waste so much time on this stuff that I pay a monthly fee for other people to take care of and now have no time or energy left for my work?

I’ve literally made myself sick from the stress, between the computer problems and the rest of what’s going on in my life. I’m on the second day of a migraine with no relief in sight, and my neck and shoulders are just knots on top of knots. Yoga doesn’t work; meditation doesn’t work; medication doesn’t work; hot baths don’t work. I am at the end of my rope.

Despair is a destructive emotion because you either end up imploding or exploding and neither one solves the actual problems. It’s like being sucked into a vortex. But how to get out?

I managed to polish a few more episodes of Charlotte yesterday and hopefully, will get some more done today. As soon as I get the okay, I can send episodes. I have to do more work on Widow’s Chamber and Tapestry.

I played with some characters who talked to me over the past few days. I was in too much pain from the migraine to get more than a couple of pages done, and I’m not exactly sure what it is.

Worked a bit on the backup materials for Non-fiction Proposal A. I thought I had more than I do – so I guess I’ve got more research before I can send it off. The proposal itself reads well. I’m debating whether or not to include a projected budget. I’ll have to research some other non-fiction proposals and see.

Haven’t been able to focus enough to work on the articles. I’m in too much pain, both physical and other. I hope that focusing on the work will pull me through the other stuff, although if the migraine doesn’t subside, I won’t be good for much of anything today.

I’d go back to bed for a few hours to see if I could sleep it off – but, of course, the damn renovators are hammering away.

With any luck, I won’t get called in to the theatre today. I hate going in to the city on St. Patrick’s Day – coming back home late at night on a train full of people so drunk they’re either screaming, falling, or vomiting all over the other passengers is not my idea of a good time. The singing is pretty funny, but the rest of it I can skip.

Let’s hope this day improves.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, please click the appropriate link and download.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold


I polished and sent two issues of Charlotte yesterday before heading for the theatre.

Unfortunately, Verizon DSL does not respect formatting and they came through as mush.
I have a message in to them – if I can’t send cut-and-paste documents, I’ll have to drop them. It’s a deal breaker. Most publications do not allow attachments.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Got a tiny bit of work done on Ransagh, but it’s choppy. I need a chunk of time to let things flow.

Day work was fine yesterday, in spite of getting hit with a migraine. A friend gave me a trio of gardenias for my birthday – they’re lovely! I have them floating in a bowl on the table. This friend is the epitomy of kindness and selflessness. Her birthday is tomorrow, and I left her gift at the theatre for her.

I have some other matters that can’t be discussed on the blog that are weighing me down heavily. I hope to get them resolved within the next few days/weeks, but the toll they take, both physically and emotionally is pretty high. And with Mercury going retrograde in the next few days – let’s just say I wish I could spend the next few weeks in bed not dealing with anything. Unfortunately, that is not an option.

And the drain leaves me little energy or creativity left for my work. It’s a bad spiral. I’m fighting to remain as balanced as possible in order to handle the situation and to not be overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness.

On top of that, last night, suddenly, my eyes got very red and swelled until they were nearly shut. I have no idea what set it off. I scrambled in the kitchen and put together a tea containing herbal antihistamines (since I didn’t have any over-the-counter stuff here). It helped a lot, but there’s still some swelling today, and I have no idea what triggered it.

While I frantically dug through the cupboard, I guess I pulled out a plastic bag of catnip. I woke up in the middle of the night, hearing rummaging in the kitchen. I discovered that the entire kitchen floor was covered in catnip, and the cats were rolling around in it, stoned out of their minds. The bag was stuffed in a bowl with some teas, and I hadn’t put it away because I focused on making the tea and relieving the allergic reactions. So I ended up with a household of stoned cats, rolling around, paws waving, tongues lolling. It was very cute. I cleaned it all up and threw it out. They don’t seem to be any worse for wear – I was afraid there might be a bad reaction since there was so much of it.

That’s what I get for being careless!

Hopefully, I can get some work done this morning, and keep the migraine enough at bay to be productive and to get the necessary errands done this afternoon.

And, hopefully, I can get the online situation sorted out. So far, I’m not impressed with their online help – the directions they have posted are not accurate.

It never ends, does it?

Sorry to post such a downer today, but some days are just kind of rough. However, it’s sunny and beautiful outside, so I’ll try to let that lift my mood.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The Ides of March.

Didn’t get much done on Charlotte last night and hope to fix that now, before I have to leave for the theatre.

Got nearly ten pages done on Ransagh. It felt good to slide back into that piece. I hope it’s something that will bring the readers as much pleasure in the reading as it is bringing me in the writing. I look forward to adding more texture to subsequent drafts.

The DSL seems to be working, although Blogger still takes more than one time to load entries, and I often have to go back and fix what didn’t load properly. But, on the whole, the DSL seems to be something that will work better for what I need to do – at least it doesn’t dump in the middle of transmission, the way AOL did. I hope to clear out everything from AOL and dump that account soon.

Why is it, when you send off an e-mail announcing an address change, people use the e-mail you just told them is no longer valid instead of the new one? Well, stuff starts bouncing back, maybe they’ll pay attention. It’s only a small annoyance, but still . . .

Last Dialogue Workshop last night, until I teach the one in Greenwich in April (they just contacted me to assure me that it IS going). Again, my students gave me a great deal and I wish them well in the future.

We’ll see if One Story, Many Voices is a go next week. If not, and we don’t decide to move off-campus, it will solidify my decision not to work with that organization again.

I’m also going to start putting cancellation fees into the contracts. These contracts have to be two-way deals. If I make the commitment to put aside the time to teach, I expect it fulfilled. It means I am turning down paid work elsewhere. If they cancel, they have to pay. Otherwise, I won’t sign the contract in the first place. Enough with the institution getting all the protection and the freelancer getting nothing. I was fortunate to have motivated students who took matters into their own hands, and learned an important lesson about protecting my income for the future. This is my business, not my hobby.

Now, to try and get at least a couple of issues polished enough to get out before I leave on the train.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, click the appropriate link and download.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Monday, March 14 Part II

Exhausting day and no worthwhile writing done yet. That has to change in the next few hours, because I have deadlines.

Most of the day was dedicated to switching over to DSL. I finally reached a tech support person who was very nice and helpful. Turns out the stuff that refused to load is stuff I don’t need anyway. Only the directions won’t tell you that. Nor do the directions give you the secret word you need to get past the automatic message that tells you to call back during business hours in order to reach the 24/7 support line.

In other words, this could have all been fixed over the weekend.

Urgh!

However, I’ve gotten more done in an afternoon than I got done in a month the last time I switched ISP’s, so it’s a good thing.

Now, if I can only get some deadlined work done . . .


D.

Monday, March 14, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hopefully I can track down a technician and get the DSL crap fixed today. I am sick of NONE of these companies EVER fulfilling the promises they initially make to get their customers. I want to know who’s being paid off in order to allow them to continue like this. And I want that person removed from whatever position of responsibility he or she is in.

A lot is also the fault of the consumer. Every time a consumer fails to report when a company backs out on a promise, the consumer is telling the company that this behavior is acceptable and should continue. So the company continues screwing customers. Why not, when the customer allows it? And the customer is not only too lazy to do anything, but doesn’t care that his/her compliance is setting up the next person to be screwed as well.

EVERYONE has fifteen minutes to shoot off a letter when something doesn’t work properly. EVERYONE. Watch 15 minutes less TV or write it during the commercial breaks. There are 15 minutes of commercials in every hour of shows (actually more).

And while we’re on the topic of TV, I’m sick of drug ads being the prevalent type of ad on television. Why are drug companies allowed to push their pills? They are still drugs, even if they are available by prescription. The misuse of so-called legal drugs causes just as many problems as any other kind of drugs and I’m tired of drug pushers allowed to promote their products on television. You know what? If I need a prescription for something, that’s up to my doctor. Not up to me because of some ad I saw on TV. It’s one thing for me to go and research if and when I have a medical problem. It’s something entirely different when the pills are being pushed down my throat.

Bizarre set of dreams last night. One was about siblings fighting and making up – direct correlation to yesterday’s events. And the other was about trying to reprogram computerized signs in Las Vegas. Huh? I’ve never been to Las Vegas, much less written copy for those crawler things. It must be related to my DSL problems.

Anyway, errands this a.m., then must get the DSL situation straightened out, then polish a month’s worth of episodes of Charlotte and get them off. Tapestry week starts this week.

Ransagh has been dreadfully neglected lately. Raisa’s saying to me, “Are you ever going to get me out of this mess? I have a kingdom to reunite!” And, with the Thursday night class done, I have to make sure it doesn’t languish. “Time and Space to Write” was a pleasure, and I thank my students for a wonderful experience. I think some of them will continue on in their own writing group. I wish them well!

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above, click the appropriate link and download.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

March 13 Part II

In order to install Verizon DSL, I had to uninstall AOL, because the AOL won’t let the Verizon load.

So I do that.

Then I crawl around under tables and bookcases to set up the filter, modems, etc. All good. In spite of it being difficult to get around under there, I’m actually good at understanding how wires connect and what goes to what and why. Even when it’s not numbered or color-coded or idiot-proofed, I usually get it right the first time.

But the certificate won’t take. It said it “failed to verify” and could not load the software. This is AFTER Verizon called yesterday to say the service was ready.

It better not be Microsoft causing sabotage.

Now, when I called to order this crap, Verizon told me:

1. There was no conflict with the AOL software and there would be no loading problems; I could even keep both accounts, if I wanted, for only $5 extra;

2. They have a 24/7 help line if there’s a problem.

We all know #1 was already a lie.

As for #2 – I call the number and get a recording telling me to call during regular business hours.

First thing in the morning, I rip them six new a-holes (at least) on my way to reporting them to the BBB.

NOT ACCEPTABLE.

D.

PS The happy news is that my friend accepted my apology, so it’s okay.

Lesson to self: Save your anger for consumer advocacy and spare the friends.

Sunday, March 13, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Just what I wanted – to be on a train at 9 o’clock in the morning as an emergency fill-in for day work at Rent. And, of course, the train was late, so I was late. But it all worked out, and it was a pleasant morning. Part of the call was out running errands, which was great because it’s such a beautiful day outside.

I didn’t get much writing done yesterday – roughed out some episodes of Charlotte, got quotes for the music releases and rewrote them, batted ideas back and forth with my producer in Canada. The music producer is thrilled with the press releases. He’s got what he needs for the conference and I racked up another credit.

I also sent out about a half a dozen queries via e-mail yesterday. Hopefully, I’ll get some bites. If that check’s not going to clear for another six weeks, I have to make up the cash.

I also read Amanda Hesser’s book Cooking for Mr. Latte, which I truly enjoyed (so much that I read it all the way through yesterday). I want to try some of the recipes in the book. I use her book The Cook and the Gardener and like it a lot.

If I was to absorb anyone else’s style, I’d like to write about travel the way Susan Allen Toth does and about food the way Amanda Hesser does. Since I have to write like myself (no matter what name I use at the time), that won’t happen. I guess I should say I aspire to write about travel and food as well as they do, but in my own voice.

My friend’s husband upended our plans to get together again. I found out at about eight this morning, which was not the best time for me to respond, but I did rather heatedly anyway. I fussed and fumed at my very rational, very clear-eyed S.O., who brought up some important points: 1) Some of what I’m fussing about are issues between the two of them and none of my business; 2) No one outside the lines of work that my SO and I are in understands what it means to ask for and gain time off on a weekend or holiday and how it jeopardizes future employment. It’s not maliciousness, it’s simply incomprehensible to anyone in a nine-to-five world who draws a secure salary; 3) I am not a priority and have no right to think I should be. That’s not a judgment. It’s a fact. Cancel once – it can happen, heck, life happens. Cancel twice – that’s a statement. My SO said, “Take your metaphorical slap in the face like a man and apply the lesson to the future.” Well, since I’m not a man, I’m not going to take it like a man, but I do need to be a bit more philosophical about it. It is what it is.

I value my friend and her friendship in spite of being upset by this, and that’s more important than my feelings being hurt and worried that I’ve put my job in jeopardy. Besides, I now have that time off for the first time in twenty years, other people are involved in the day who are still committed to it, and everything happens for a reason. Friends are not going to always agree. Nor can they always accommodate each other. No one else lives in our skins; no one else can make our choices. We’re all muddling along doing the best we can and sometimes it causes conflict. The best we can hope for is that we can be kind and compassionate towards each other. I didn’t achieve that this morning, but hopefully she’ll accept an apology.

I’m about to attempt to install my DSL line. Hopefully, I won’t end up screwing everything up.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Saturday, March 12, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowing!

I survived my birthday yesterday. Actually, it was quite nice. There was enough attention to let me know I’m thought of and appreciated, but it was low key enough not to make me uncomfortable. So it was all good.

Popped into the city briefly, took care of business, did more work on the releases for the music producer.

And that was the extent of my writing. I should have worked on many things, but I simply did not feel like it.

Instead, I read Frances Parkinson Keyes’s novel Dinner At Antoine’s, which was published in 1948. She was a popular writer at the time, a Massachusetts woman who ended up in New Orleans. The Beauregard-Keyes House is an historical site in New Orleans, across the street from the Urusline convent. I have a stack of her books I picked up on eBay about a year or so ago, but I’d never gotten around to reading any of them. This book is 422 pages. I have about another 100 pages to go. I'm enjoying it a lot -- I didn't want to put it down all day, which is always a good thing! I like to read books set in places I’ve visited, where I recognize landmarks. I like to read books set in New York City, too – as long as the writer’s bothered to do the research and gets the geography right. There’s a difference between mentioning a store or restaurant that’s since closed and simply rearranging the streets because one feels like it. That annoys me.

Among the gifts received (books, candy, flowers, etc.) was a set of Tibetan prayer flags and The Enchanted Astrologer, so I played with them, too. You never get too old to play with new toys!

I need to do laundry and get a lot of writing done. The bank decided that, since they couldn’t keep 40% of my check from Canada like they did last time because this one is in US dollars, that they will sit on it for EIGHT WEEKS. How can this be legal? I’m disgusted and upset. And I’m researching my options. I’m a freelancer. I have bills to pay. You can bet these a-holes don’t have to wait eight weeks for their pay.

I wanted to go to the grocery store, but the weather’s so miserable that I’d rather stay home and go tomorrow. Needless to say, my trip to Plymouth to house hunt was cancelled due to weather. This has been a harsh winter. I mind it less than many people because I am inside and I like snow. But I feel for those who have to trot around in it.

I need to spend the next week aggressively seeking highly paid freelance work with quick payment.

I’d rather just go back to bed.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cuthtroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.