Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Cloudy and warm
I have a bad cold and am miserable. Well, I’m well enough to whine again, so it can’t be that bad.
The Memorial Day ceremony on the village green was lovely – a combination of all ages, tributes to soldiers, winning essays on liberty and its responsibilities from high school students, my colleague receiving his award for his community/volunteer work.
I ran a fever, and slipped away as quickly as possible afterwards; I don’t want anyone to get sick because of me.
It also makes me realize how differently people approach community work. I’m not sure how to phrase it, because I don’t want it to sound like criticism – simply different points of view. I think it’s great and well-deserved that my colleague received the award. He does a great deal for the community. And he always makes sure the community knows how much he’s doing. When I do my volunteer work, I strive to remain anonymous. I strive to remain anonymous in many things, but, for me, volunteer work needs to be something freely given, without strings or fanfare. Just a different way of looking at it.
Because I had a fever, my mind wandered in all sorts of interesting ways. I jotted some of them down; whether or not anything will come of the jottings remains to be seen.
Came back, got out of the dressy clothes, back into comfy clothes, and spent a quiet afternoon. I did some work on Real, but not enough. They’re done with Venice and in Rome now. I’m about to write Callie’s bout with the flu, but wasn’t feeling quite well enough to write about her queasiness. To this day, whenever I re-read/try to edit the section where T.J. has a hangover in Clear the Slot, I feel like I’ve got the hangover. Guess I did something right! At any rate, Sam’s experienced the Spanish Steps and the Coliseum, and tossed a coin into the Trevi Fountain to guarantee he returns. He’s fallen in love with Rome, much more so than Venice or Florence.
I researched Prague, trying to find some additional information along with what I’ve got, and the questions I’ve asked people who worked there. And then, I find this great interview given by Heath Ledger regarding The Brothers Grimm, where he goes into detail about the dichotomy and paradoxes he noticed while shooting there. It gave me all sorts of ideas – not about actual events – those I’ve got – but about the emotional context of the city. Another bit of serendipity.
I also wrote eight pages’ worth of notes on a treasure hunt piece. I’ve always wanted to write one of those. I’ve outlined (yes, oh horrors, I’m doing an outline along the lines of Terry Brooks’s suggestions) the first third. I have one set of sheets where I’m making notes of scenes as they come into my head, snippets of dialogue, etc. Then, I go to the other set of notes and put them in order. I’m tired of almost all treasure hunts leading to a pyramid in the desert after a trip through the arctic (and, hey, when they’re all carrying one bag, where do they get all those clothes?). This is a piece that wants to be a screenplay, but needs to be a novel. Which means I have to learn from my friend Chaz’s book, and his eye to sensory detail.
Mapped out a bit more of the ghost story. I’m getting a better feel for the antagonist, although he’s reluctant to reveal much about himself. Normally, I’d just write some pages about what I know. But, this is a short story with a word count – I can’t wait 100 pages to find out enough about him. I need to know earlier so that I can set things up in the first few pages. I’m still trying to settle on a name for the female protagonist. I know all about her, but not her name. I know the male protagonist will be Nate. He’s been the most forthcoming in the entire process. Originally, I wanted to call him Ethan, but he said, “No, my name is Nate.” Okay, then.
Wrote up the next few weeks’ worth of writing exercises for the Dog Blog. I’m getting very excited about them. I cheated and looked back at some of what I’ve written – I didn’t revise it yet, because there’s more to do, but re-read it. I’ve got some interesting stuff. It still needs work, but it’s interesting, and none of it are pieces I might have ever gotten around to writing, had I not had the structure of these exercises.
So, looking back on yesterday, I guess I got quite a bit of writing done. It didn’t feel that way.
Callings is very interesting. It talks about synchronicity, and of, course, there was synchronicity in the sections I read. There was one about dreams, which made sense. And the section I’m still in is the one on illness. It does make sense, but I’m still not satisfied with the solutions (although one of the points in the book is not to be too solution-oriented).
I know why I have a cold. On a practical level, I ride the train with a bunch of rude, spoiled yuppies who sneeze wetly at everyone around them. It’s pretty disgusting. On a metaphorical level, the Situation is making me sick, and has filled me with toxins. A cold is the body’s way of removing toxins. So, while I try (and often fail) to expel the toxins on a spiritual level in my daily meditation (thank you to the love and support of the group over at 100 Days), my body’s taking charge of getting rid of the physical components.
I feel trapped, because I know what I need to do, but I don’t see the way to do it yet. I feel like I’ve done too much re-acting, simply to survive over the past few months, when my instinct is to be pro-active.
Off to the theatre. I just want to get in, do my work, and get back home. I feel a bit better today, although my head is stuffed with cotton wool and my nose runs like a river. I broke down and took Nyquil last night; I’ll take some Sudafed with me today, in case I need it. Sudafed works well for me – I only take it once or twice a year, when I really need it. So, when I do take it, it works. I’ve let the symptoms take their course for two days. Today, I need to cover them so I can function.