Sunday, May 28, 2006
Partly sunny and mild
Did not sleep well. Someone did a series of calls and hang-ups around one a.m,, and that disrupted the sleep pattern, and I couldn’t get back. Also, more depressing news about The Situation.
Fractured day, yesterday, but interesting.
Put in an email request to the Arizona Department of Tourism for information to research the setting for the ghost story. Time given to expect delivery: 5 weeks. First of all, that’s ridiculous – pull off the request from the internet and scrawl it on already-prepared packets. Second of all, five weeks does me no good. My deadline is in two.
Trip to a small local branch of a chain to look for Arizona books. Not only did they have nothing I needed, the clerk was incredibly rude to an elderly man looking for an art book as a graduation gift. She motioned him to the back of the store. When he returned and asked for help, her response was, “I’m on the phone.” Since she’d been speaking loudly on the phone, I knew for a fact it wasn’t a business call. Damn bitch is being paid to help customers, not discuss her personal life during business hours on the phone.
I walked out.
I won’t be shopping there again.
Got some info at the library – plus found a plethora of fascinating books on other topics on nearby shelves. Good thing I didn’t have my library card with me or I’d have come home with at least 30 large hardbacks.
Stopped at the local independent bookstore because the owner’s been sighing that business is slow. Well, it looked pretty brisk to me. I was there for less than a half hour, and a dozen purchases were rung up. I bought The Mermaid Chair, a book I’ve wanted for a while, and a book called Callings, about doing what you’re meant to do in life, rather than what you think you ought to do.
I’m doing it, for the most part, anyway, but I need a bit more motivation and inspiration right now, with The Situation bearing down on me.
Ran into a neighbor who’d locked his keys in the vestibule – I unlocked the door for him to retrieve them – and found out he went to college in the area of Arizona about which I’m to write! He’s putting together some pictures and history for me to look at while I write.
Nothing like serendipity!
Tossed out some more pitches for writing jobs, read a bit, paced a bit, played some music. I can’t quite find the right music for Real. Capercaillie worked well the previous day. (even though I wasn’t writing about Scotland). Drum music is too rhythmic and makes me want to pace, rather than sit down and write. Mozart’s putting me to sleep. Patty Larkin always gives me ideas for other short stories. I tried Clannad, Iron Horse, and Old Blind Dogs. They were okay, but nothing’s quite right. Maybe jazz? Or jazz funk?
Typed some of the earlier sections of Real to get back into its earlier rhythm. I’m pleased to see how far Sam’s come over the course of 100 pages. By opening himself up to a genuine creative process, experiencing it rather than talking about it, and being removed from the intricacies of being a young, hot twenty-something actor in California, he’s forced to discover what his creative process actually is. And having to play scenes with classically trained actors from the US and Britain, it forces him to either be better or get fired.
Ordered some of the books I saw in the library from Strand. I’ll need them in the long term, so I might as well buy them.
I wrote about 11 new pages on Real. They’re almost finished in Venice, with the nasty person they fired for drugging Sam trying to cause scandal. Prague’s next.
I admit I envy Callie, one of the protagonists of Real. She’s scheduling her projects and signing her contracts and talking about creative process and actually getting to do it. I write about the next project she plans to work on, and I think, “Hey! I want to do that one!”
And so it goes.
Callings is an interesting book. I need to work through it slowly. I’m not sure I agree with all of its points, but it brings up interesting questions. What I want to know is, does it simply bring up questions, or does it also offer tools towards solutions? Anyone can ask questions. It’s solving them that’s the real challenge. Too many so-called mental health “specialists” bring up all the questions, leave the patients out to dry without the tools to solve them, write a prescription, encourage the patient’s dependency, and make sure enough people keep coming back at $180 a pop to put the kids through college, buy a bigger house, take those Hamptons vacations, etc. In my opinion, the sign of a true healer in this profession is someone whose patients actually get well and move on; not those who stay for 15 years. I can think of one well-known entertainment person with whom I’ve worked who’s been in therapy for over 30 years. Let me tell you: he should get a refund.
Today, I want to read my friend Chaz’s book, Bridge of Dreams.
I’ve roughed out the ghost story in my head. I have a clear vision of the two protagonists. The antagonist is still in the shadows, and I need to know him better before I write. Maybe he’ll stop by for coffee and deign to reveal something I can use in the story. I can always threaten to kill him off if he doesn’t behave.
Off to a friend’s in Connecticut today, for a day of reading and writing on the deck of an enormous house.