Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
New Moon
Total Eclipse
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm


Work was fine yesterday, and then I met my friend at a Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood. He’s a horse racing buddy, plus he’s a town councilor in London, so it was interesting to talk to him about everything going on. He’s also brilliantly clever, and it was good to get a different perspective. We had a good time – it’s always good to see him – and we discussed Derby possibilities, too.

Came home and put together the first of the big bookcases. The directions were non-existent, and they didn’t tell you want to do with all the bits. I have a good deal of hardware left over, yet the bookcase is together and sturdy. I was also a bit ticked because the panel to cover the back is . ..cardboard. You had me pay X dollars for cardboard?

At any rate, it’s up, I’m rearranging all the books, and it looks damn good. The other one, that matches it, was supposed to go in the bedroom, but now I think I’ll put it on the other side of my desk.

And yes, get still another bookcase for the bedroom. One can never have too many bookcases.

I also started pulling stuff away from the South Wall. I want to finish doing that this morning. It’s a completely blank wall, so all I have to do is tape, prime, and put on the two coats of color, and do the baseboard trim. I hope I can get it all done today. Then, if I’m around tomorrow during the day, maybe I can start rearranging all the books that go up on that wall and finish this wall with the other bookcase.

I bought a couple of books on my way home (shouldn’t have, but did), and started The Lighthouse Stevensons, which is a wonderful book.

Edited some newsletter articles; tried to get over the obsession with The Situation so that I can do some “mental writing” in preparation for the physical writing.

It’s difficult to see people you care about suffer and live with the fact that the people who are supposed to be handling the situation aren’t doing it. Hopefully, that will change.

My apology to my colleague was accepted, so all is good again. Just because I’m under a lot of stress doesn’t give me the right to take it out on the people who are trying to ease it, rather than cause it.

It’s complicated being a human on this planet, isn’t it?

Devon

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Dark of the Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm


Very depressed. The Situation continues to worsen. I feel I’ve lost my ability to think logically, and I need to step back to get some perspective. I’m operating on sheer exhaustion and fury now, and that’s not going to help. I did pitch a fit at a bureaucracy that’s supposed to be helping yesterday – after months of dealing with them calmly and logically. So, we’ll see. At least there are a group of us working together – there’s an attempt to divide and conquer, but we’re hanging in there. I snapped at one of the people with whom I’m working, and apologized this morning.

Put back part of the East wall yesterday, rearranging books, and it looks pretty good. The enormous new bookcases were delivered this morning; I hope I can put one of them together when I get home tonight and start filling it.

If I don’t get called in to the television show tomorrow, I’d like to finish preparing the South wall.

On my way to the theatre. Hopefully, I’ll feel better as the day goes on.

Devon

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild


I’m trying to be cheerful on what seems like a lovely spring day, but it’s difficult. The Situation has me down – part of what is frustrating is that the systems that are in place to protect those involved are not being enforced by those elected/paid to do so, and The Other Side blatantly does anything it wishes without retribution. That has to stop. One of the men in our organization is contacting those who are supposed to be handling this; I will be even more frustrated if a man gets a result because he’s a man – I’ve definitely noticed gender differentiation in the handling of this entire situation.

The paint is dry and today will be about moving stuff back on the East Wall and moving stuff away from the South Wall. I doubt I’ll actually get any painting done, but at least I can get things prepped. I’m still not sure of my work week – I know I’m working tomorrow, plus a friend is in from out of town, so we’ll have a drink after. If I’m not on the television show on Wednesday, maybe I can paint.

I have four loads of laundry to do today (two are in, two are waiting), and I want to get some writing done as well. But, on the other hand, I’m so discouraged that going back to bed seems the most attractive idea in the mix.

Devon

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Direct (as of Yesterday)
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The Situation continues to worsen, and that takes a toll on everyone. We are dealing with someone who is, genuinely, one of the definitions of Evil and enjoys inflicting harm on others. Our challenge is not to allow ourselves to be victims, while, at the same time, not descending into mirroring the pattern of evil. It’s a microcosm of what’s going on, in both the country and the world, on a larger scale, and it’s definitely a challenge (to say the least) to meet it, much less surmount it.

Ink in My Paint Can

I worked on the North wall all day on Friday. I had quite a bit of work to do on it. In addition to the repair work it required, it took three coats of primer before I could put on the two coats of color. I managed to do one coat of the trim, but Saturday had to be the rest of the trim.

Saturday meant yet another trip to Home Depot, along with a trip to Target to get the new bookcases. Unfortunately, the ones they had in stock weren’t the ones I wanted, so I didn’t buy them, and that was depressing as hell. Since Mercury went direct, it was a hell-awful day for shopping. I couldn’t find what I wanted, and drifted from store to store in a state of ever-increasing depression. I finally wandered into the bookstore and bought a copy of Alice Hoffman’s Blue Diary simply to comfort myself.

I finished the trim on the North wall and began moving things away from the East Wall. I went through a bunch of boxes from my childhood – it was intense to revisit some of the imaginative worlds of my childhood. I wish I didn’t feel such a time pressure.

And I found some wonderful old books that I wondered about – I’m going to shift them around and put them where I can actually use them.

I looked at Target online and sort of saw the bookcases I wanted – but the shipping cost was ridiculous. I then went to Staples and not only did they have the bookcases I want, they were both on sale and with FREE delivery. I ordered them; they’ll be here on Tuesday. I can put one of them together on Tuesday night and rearrange some of the books.

There was also a meeting about the newest crises in The Situation, and yet another phone call on it today. I have a client who wants a tarot reading and a friend in town from England this week, so I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with all of it, the show, the television show and continuing to paint.

It takes me two days to do each wall, because there’s no place to put anything and I have to keep working around stuff. Instead of the large drop cloths, which aren’t working, I’m turning garbage bags into drop cloths by cutting them to fit, and they ARE working.

Today, I managed to spackle, prime, do two coats of color and one coat of trim on the East Wall. Before bed, I plan to do the second coat, and then move things back into place tomorrow, and maybe move some of the stuff off the South Wall. I doubt I’ll get to do any painting until next weekend.

The Candlelight Ivory is lovely for the living room, and the Snowy Egret trim looks excellent. It’s amazing what a difference a few coats of paint make.

I’m still behind one newsletter article – the rewrite went poorly. My arm is in excruciating pain and I can’t write much. But I’m “writing in my head”, if that makes any sense (and, even if it’s not).

I sorted out a very dramatic sequence for Hearth Phoenix. Although it’s partially based on and very much inspired by The Situation, it’s also taken on quite a different life of its own – as it should. However, I’m superstitious? Worried? Karmically unsure? That if I use this dramatic situation in the story, something equally horrible will happen in the real life of The Situation.

Also, the sheer frustration and rage of The Situation needed an outlet, and I started to plot a murder mystery. At first, I was going to tell those with whom I’m working; however, since they’re not in the business, I don’t think they’ll understand that, while they may have inspired certain characters, if I do my job properly, the actual story characters will have almost no resemblance to the real people involved. Although all of us will get a kick out of the murder victim (that’s a horrible thing to say, but again, it’s using writing as therapy). This may just be a way to let off steam. If it ever becomes a viable piece, I’ll simply dedicate it to the people with whom I’m working who’ve inspired the positive characters.

Colin sent me a brilliant, wonderful book called The Lighthouse Stevensons by Bella Bathurst – I can’t wait to read it. I’m going to start it this week. I’ve heard of it, but not read it, and I’m so excited. Thank you so much, Colin!

And Paris: Biography of a City arrived today – so I think I’m well set with exciting and inspirational reading material for the next few weeks.

Now, a cup of tea, a bit of Tiger’s Balm for the arm, and then – the second coat of Snowy Egret on the trim.

Devon

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday, March 24, 2006
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool


Exhausted and feel like crap. Wednesday, I got home at midnight, had to get up at 5 and go right back; last night I got home at nearly one this morning. I worked B unit, reshooting scenes from episodes 5 & 6 (episode 4 airs tonight). The work wasn’t that hard, but the hours are long, and I’m learning new parts of the system – for instance, for Thursday’s shoot, they taught me how to pull the clothes and work the continuity book. In other words, I’m not just the little background additional anymore, they’re teaching me stuff with – oh, horrors! – responsibility involved! On the one hand, I’m eager to learn as much as they’re willing to teach me; on the other, that means I have to be even more focused and concise.

I was so proud of myself for writing two pages on the train yesterday, but that was about all the writing I’ve done. I did manage one of the pro bono articles – that goes off for editing today. I don’t like the second one, and will have to rewrite it later.

Ink in My Paint Can

What I want to do is crawl back into bed for a few more hours. Everything hurts and I have an excruciating headache. What I need to do is finish moving everything from the living room’s North wall, spackle and prime.

In the ideal world, I’d also get the first coat of color on today, but I think that’s probably pushing it. I’ll do the first coat in the morning, go to Target to pick up the new bookcases, and then, by the time I’m back, hopefully, I can do the second coat. Sunday morning, maybe I can do the trim and then start moving stuff off the East wall and do the East wall on Monday.

We’ll see how much that plan needs amending!

And rewrite that article!

Devon

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Day work was fine yesterday. There are some lovely new costumes in the show and some new actors. I spent most of the afternoon, as I ironed and steamed, visualizing what I need to rearrange in my life over the next few months, so it was quite productive. Principal call is great because I’m up on the third floor all by myself and I can hear myself think as I work. Plus, I’m much more productive if I’m left on my own.

The year-abroad European section of Adele’s story made itself known to me over the course of the day, which was interesting. I’m starting to wonder if each of these flashbacks is actually its own book – however, that ruins the overall structure of the book. I need to not worry about word count, but simply be true to this particular story. This book will be a big one – more than 100K. By the time I finish this piece, though, and it’s ready for submission, I ought to have a couple of other novels under my belt and either published or about to be published, so it should allow me the leeway to do a bigger book.

I scanned the pattern magazine for spring/summer. Didn’t see much, except maybe a wrap top similar to DVF’s styles, which could work with quite a few different pieces. I’m expanding my pattern collection for mostly classical, tailored styles that will remain in fashion throughout time, and then adding in one or two trendy pieces a season. I know what looks good on me by this point, which lines are flattering and which to avoid. I’m lucky because the Vogue patterns fit well, with little or no alteration. I’ve lost 15 pounds due to The Situation – any more will be a problem, but this or even up to ten pounds more than my current weight is okay. What I have to do is make sure any additional weight comes back on as muscle. Working in my line, that shouldn’t be too hard, with all the stairs and carrying. I figured I clock in 6-10 miles on a studio day just walking around.

I’m re-reading Writers at Work, Sixth Edition. I love those books, and try to hunt them down in second hand stores whenever I can. One of the quotes in Bernard Malamud’s interview is particularly telling – he advises to “make time” to write rather than “steal time”. That hit home, because, over the past few weeks, I’ve been stealing time in and around The Situation.

So I need to make time, even if I’m tired, and it’s only a half hour or so late at night. I prefer to write in the morning, when I’m fresh; but, let’s face it, if I have to be up at 4 to catch a 5 AM train, I’m not going to get up at 3 to write – especially if I got home at 11. I’ll write on the train or on my break, and I’ll try to write when I get home – but usually I fall back into bed to start it all up again.

At any rate, when I’m this tired, I find it almost impossible to work on the computer, so the projects that begin life in longhand are the ones that get the attention. When I’m tired, the screen hurts my eyes.

I wanted to see if I had any capacity for creativity left last night. I sat down, meaning to write a page of Adele’s story, just to see. I ended up writing three. Her tone is much dryer and funnier than I expected – a bit on the brittle side, but not too much. I knew I’d do the story in the first person, but I didn’t expect the tone to be what it’s turned out to be. It’s interesting.

I don’t want to start yet something else – I have too many unfinished projects hanging over me, draining me – but it was an interesting exercise, and I’m writing in a voice that’s utterly new and completely true to the character. I like it.

Off to revise and post the SDR blog and then work on the articles due Friday. I have to leave for set at 10 AM – which means I probably won’t be back until at least 11 or 12 tonight.

I’m slowly moving stuff from the North wall, so it will be ready to prime on Friday. I was so out of it yesterday that I left for the train an entire hour early. When I realized it, I came home, measured, refigured a few furniture configurations for after the paint job, wrote everything down, moved a bunch of stuff, and then went back to the train.

Might as well make use of the time, right?

Devon

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I took it easy on myself yesterday. I worked on my articles. I did some work on both the notes for Adele’s story and the notes for Max’s. I read a bit. I read and commented on new submissions for The Scruffy Dog Review. I put more stuff back in my mother’s kitchen and started figuring out how I’m going to stash the stuff from the North wall in the living room this week. I’m only going to move it bit by bit, so that, on Friday morning, I will only have to move the plants, tape the ceiling, and then I can prime.

Also, since these are the last few days of Mercury Retrograde, I shopped. I went to a favorite little store a few towns down and got deep discounts on a few pieces of clothing that will work well both transitioning into summer and then back out of it. Plus, I bought a new purse – my “winter purse” is tired and needs a rest. The new one is stylish, on sale, and in my favorite color, blue. It doesn’t look too big, but it fits an awful lot, without getting too heavy.

Just when it seemed things were quieting down, there was another development in The Situation. I’m sick of it. It’s depressing.

I visited, for lunch, a friend who’s dog-sitting at one of the McMansions in CT. It’s an enormous house – five bedrooms, six bathrooms, three living rooms, etc., etc. The kitchen was just redone to the tune of well over a hundred grand. It looks beautiful, but trying to cook in it – the spices are across the room from the stove (the kitchen is the size of my mother’s apartment, so it gives you an idea of the sprint), there’s not a cutting board to be found (but the counter tops would show if you tried to cut on them), the microwave is in the bottom of the island, so you have to sit on the floor to use it, the lights are stylish but don’t actually illuminate what you’re doing, and the water in the prep sink doesn’t work. It’s decorated right out of a magazine. And it feels soulless.

Give me an old, slightly funky place any time. A home with some character in it, where people really lived, instead of showing an idea of a life.

I’m so exhausted, both physically and emotionally. The truth is, I’m getting too old to do what I do in theatre and television. The physical demands are becoming more than I can do regularly for sixteen hour stretches indefinitely.

Even though, technically, I had the whole weekend “off”, Saturday was about painting, Sunday was about a migraine, and yesterday was the day I transitioned back into feeling like a writer again. I had the opportunity to create my own day. I had mental putter time as well as physical putter time. I could start listening to characters, figuring out storylines. Clear the Slot is calling to me again, and I’m wondering when I’ll be able to finish the edit – can I slip in a few hours here and there as I paint? The upcoming 5 chapters are the difficult ones – I basically have to rip them down to the foundation and rebuild them, because what I’ve used for the past few drafts simply does not work. I want to reconnect with The Fix-It Girl and Periwinkle. I want to start typing Shallid and get back to work on the adaptation of Glamorous Hearts.

How to fit that in and around the painting and the very strenuous theatre and television work is the current challenge. Making a list doesn’t help, because each day has so much fluctuation in it that it is impossible to plan.

I’ve come to grips with the fact that the GDRS are out the window until The Situation is resolved, once and for all. I’m working on whatever I can in the meantime, and trying to keep on top of things. Both Circadian and 13 Journals need attention this weekend, and, yes, I have to do my taxes. March was wonky for Circadian because so many poems had to be pulled – because the contributors were getting published elsewhere (and usually for money), and the other publishers didn’t yet want the poems anthologized. Which is fine, but there were days when I simply couldn’t hunt down replacement poems for the days because I wasn’t home and when I finally got home, I wasn’t coherent. I hope to get April sorted out over the next few days, and maybe enough into May so that if someone has to pull something, I can publish a May poem earlier. A part of Mercury Retrograde I didn’t expect – but I’m thrilled so many poets are getting published!

Off to the theatre. I have a lot to do when I get home tonight, and then, tomorrow, television world begins again.

Devon

Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Spring Equinox (Ostara)
Cold and snowing!

Here it is, the Spring Equinox, and there are snow flurries! Too funny!

The migraine kept me down yesterday for a good part of the day. I managed to put the cookbooks and some of the other stuff back on the shelves in the kitchen, but, for the most part, I had to take it easy.

I retired for a few hours to bed, with the copy I picked up on the Cape of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (my copy is in storage). It’s been quite a few years since I read it, and it’s always good to remind oneself a bit.

Also in that big bag of books was a wonderful needlework book – written by Rose Wilder Lane. Isn’t that the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote the Little House on the Prairie books? And a book about Christmas handcrafts. I love those books. I pick them up on thrift stores whenever possible, because there are always one or two patterns out of the dozens that I actually like.

I picked up one book which I thought would help with the maritime research. It’s called Come Wind or Weather by Claire Francis, and it’s about a sailboat race around the world. She and a team of 11 others were part of a round-the-world sailboat race in the late 1970s. The book is fascinating and well-written. But, to me, it simply doesn’t sound like fun! It’s an enormous accomplishment, but my idea of fun is less likely to kill a person (most of the time). I’ll have to do some research on Francis and see what she’s done in the interim – I’m sure she stayed on the seas, and she’s a good writer. I’d like to read more of her work.

I worked on the notes for the Adele St. Ruchin piece. I tried, really I did, to convince Adele and Max to inhabit the same world, but they won’t. Their stories take place in two very distinct realms from each other. Adele’s is set – well, all over the world, really, but primarily in suburban New York. Max’s world is on Boston’s south shore. Their stories have nothing to do with each other, so they can’t inhabit the same book or books. Darn it. Here I hoped I could mix and match characters, and, this time out, it just won’t happen.

Her piece will be interesting because the structure is so important to the theme. The sections in the present will take up about 60 page chunks at a time; they will compare/contrast to several incidents in the past, which also will take up 60 page chunks (approximately), but will have to read almost as stand-alone novellas within the bigger structure. It’s a different way of working, and I’m excited about it. When I’ll actually get to do it is something else, but making the detailed notes helps.

I met with my friend J. about our newsletter articles last night – I need to knock out my two today, along with the SDR blog, work on my column, and run some errands. Hopefully, I can get some creative work done as well.

Over the course of the week, I’m going to slowly move things from the North wall in my mother’s living room, so that, by Friday, I can spackle and prime it, and, on Saturday, do my painting/color coats. Sunday, I can move stuff back, and Monday, start moving stuff from the next wall. And so it goes. A looong process, no doubt. But it will all be worth it, in the end.

I need to get my hair cut this week, too. It’s a mess!

Ordered Paris: Biography of a City from Strand. I love Strand Books, and plan to continue doing business with them no matter where I land. They’re too important to my creative and research life.

One of these days, I have to sit down and do my taxes. I have my receipts – I just need to sit down and figure everything out.

Devon

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday, March 19, 2006
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I am so tired I can barely sit upright, and I have a massive migraine.

It’s been quite a week – one day at the theatre and three long days on the television show. On Thursday, we had 65 background and they were the dumbest group of individuals with whom I’ve ever had to deal. Plus, we were block shooting – which means every scene is done from one camera position, then you move the camera and shoot all the scenes from the next position – so we had to keep flipping people in and out of clothes and try to match shots – with people too stupid to get into a complete costume they were previously in. Don’t argue with me when I’m standing in front of you with the photo. That’s why we take photos.

Friday was much better – fewer of them, and smarter ones – and we shot in a really nice restaurant in the early afternoon. But Thursday was an absolute nightmare.

And Wednesday, we had a woman who kept sneaking jewelry onto her costume – although she was specifically forbidden to wear it by me, the designer, and the supervisor – so we had a PA take it away from her and give it back at the end of the day. She’s BACKGROUND, for crying out loud, she’s not supposed to show up. And the jewelry was flashing and causing camera problems.

This week, I’m booked one day in the theatre and two on the television show.

What people don’t understand – and what is, frankly, getting on my last nerve – is that when you’re working in television, you don’t get to check your email or make phone calls or whatever. You’re working damn 16+ hours a day, plus for me, there’s a two hour commute, which means I’m out of touch for 20 hours. And you know what? I’m going to sleep during those four hours I’m home.

It’s not like damn office jobs, where you can run your personal life while you’re being paid by the company. I’m paid to be on the ball and pay attention for all those hours except the lunch break and the commute. If I screw up, it costs the production company $30,000 and I’m gone – permanently. There is no room for error. And I’m usually trying to write on my breaks, or deal with whatever crises has come up during the day.

So, when I tell someone, “No, I can’t do such-and-such, read such-and-such this week”, it doesn’t meant I can fit it in during work hours. It means I can’t do it. Period.

Frankly, by the time I get back on the train to get home, I’m so tired my eyes can’t focus and I can’t read on the train.

Working in entertainment takes EVERYTHING. It’s not like other jobs, where you can use half a brain and half your energy. If you don’t put 200% in, you don’t get hired again.

And, while I’m in the process of transitioning out, I’m still, for the moment, in it.

Most of my writing friends get it at this point (since they’re involved in a constant juggling act), but the non-writing, non-entertainment people I know are just driving me nuts.

And, frankly, once I do have a few minutes to myself, my own writing is going to come before ANYTHING I do for anyone outside my immediate family. Period. End of story. Yes, I’m a selfish bitch. But my writing is THE most important thing, and everyone else can go jump off a bridge.

Can you tell I’ve had a stressful week?

I have managed to get some writing done – dribs and drabs, here and there. Some characters are talking to me incessantly, so I’m taking plenty of notes, and then going back to what needs to be worked on (Clear the Slot, Fix-it Girl, Periwinkle, Angel Hunt) -- the list goes on and on.

I have to get to Staples this week, because I’m out of paper. And I just ordered more ink and another compact flashcard online for my camera. I’m doing before-and-after photos of the painting.

Ink in My Paint Can

The kitchen and dining area are, finally, done. I didn’t have a chance to do the trim and the built-ins until yesterday, and it took all day. They’re done in a colour called “Snowy Egret”, which flows very well into the Clear Moon.

It was very exciting on Tuesday night, night of the full moon, to go outside, look up at the sky and see that the moon was the exact colour of the paint. Or, I should say, the paint was the exact colour of the moon! My mom’s very happy with it.

We’re starting to move stuff back in. One corner of the dining area is going to house all the paint for the process, and some of the stuff that was up on the walls, we think we’re going to pack away for the moment.

I can’t even start on the living room until the kitchen is put back together. There’s no room to store anything while I’m working, so the rest of the place has to be done wall-by-wall.

Move everything out. Spackle, prime, paint, do the trim. Make sure it’s COMPLETELY dry. Move it back. Move everything away from the next wall and do the whole thing again.

Slow going.

I definitely won’t win awards for the work, but it’s much better than the previous painters’ work. And the “design element” I created to cover the mistake I made on the ceiling works (phew).

I actually enjoy it. I just wish I had more time and more room in which to work.

Somehow, it will all get done.

Now, if I can only get this migraine under control, I might be able to be slightly productive today. I have two articles to write for a tenants’ organization newsletter, three other pieces on deadline, and I have to write the SDR blog piece for Wed., because I’ll have an early call and there’s no way I can write it either Tues. or Wed.

A thought that was actually semi-interesting floated through my brain, but I lost it before I could write it down. Oh, well.

I may plan ahead and try to attend the Maui Writers’ Conference in 2007. I know I can’t go this September – things are still to tentative on the home front. But, it will give me something to look forward to next year, and I’ll take off a few extra days to explore Hawaii. I’ve never been to Hawaii, and I’d like to go.

Now, to try to get this migraine under control . . .

Devon

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Day after full moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The Ides of March.

It’s supposed to have some relevance to my life, but damned if I can remember what.

A couple of days ago, I dreamed of an albino poisonous snake shedding its skin (yeah, I get it), and last night, it was all about real estate law. Thus goes my life.

The show was fine; caught up with people. Came home, taped my mother’s kitchen some more in preparation for trim work.

Got a call to do the TV show today and one other day this week (not sure which one). So I’m on my way there. Painting has to wait, yet again.

Tenants’ meeting was good last night. Lots of good info. The Other Side sent representatives (since it was a public meeting), and the tenants behaved very well. The Mayor and a City Councilor checked in on the meeting, and, while things have a way to go until quiet, as long as we’re vigilant, I think the next few months may settle down a bit – at least long enough for me to finish fixing up my mom’s place.

And then I have to rethink my own goals and get back towards working on those.

Everything in its time, right?

SDR blog will be late today – I’ll post it when I get back.

Worked on the outline for the Max series yesterday. The first book is unfolding quite well. It’ll be about two years before I get to write it, but the notes are going well.

I’m off.

Devon

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Warm and rainy

With the Equinox only about a week away, I love lying in bed early in the morning, with a purry cat beside me, listening to the chatter of the birds outside. They’re coming back from their winter travels, and exchanging news. I’ve never been much of a birdwatcher, although I enjoy trying to figure out different varieties.

One I haven’t seen before landed on the tree outside the window the other morning, driving the cats nuts. His head and breast are cobalt blue, with his wings varied shades of brown. He’s not quite as big as a blue jay – more in size like a cardinal. I hope my ROGER TORY PETERSEN’S GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA is around here somewhere and not in storage – maybe I can look him up.

There are, of course, far too many sparrows and wrens and chickadees and pigeons and seagulls and grackles. Blue jays love it around here – they get to scream at the silly humans. Occasionally, I’ve seen a cardinal or a red-winged blackbird or an oriole in the courtyard. I can hear the phoebes, but they’re pretty shy and I don’t see them often.

Boy, those of you who’ve done a lot of house painting in your time must have laughed yourselves silly at my optimistic plan to write as coats of paint dried.

Ink In My Paint Can

I spent the entire day painting the kitchen and dining area. Spackle is my best friend, and the guys at the Home Depot paint counter are the new objects of my affection. They certainly saw me often enough – good thing Home Depot’s only a mile away.

After the spackle was smooth and dried (no need to sand with that particular brand), I taped everything I needed to off and then primed. By the time I worked my way around the two rooms (clockwise, working with the rotation of the earth, beginning in the North and ending in the North), the first wall was dry and ready for its paint.

The color my mother chose for the two rooms is called “Clear Moon” (by Behr). I am not a fan of white paint by any means. Give me color! But it’s her apartment and she should have whatever color she wants. She wanted “a white”, but not a harsh white, so after a few days’ of debate, we settled on Clear Moon.

Clear Moon on the full moon.

And that’s exactly what the color looks like. It’s a clear, soft white. Even I like it.

After a few glitches, I found the rollers and brushes that work best for both me and the space, and I could move around (clockwise again) pretty smoothly. I would have liked to do one more coat than what I did, but my mother started moving stuff back in as soon as the coats were dry, so that’s that, then. There’s only so far you can argue with an eighty-one year old woman before you give up out of sheer exhaustion. And, it’s her home. If these coats are the exact shade she wants, then so be it.

Of course, I see various imperfections I want to fix; things I should have done differently, bits that aren’t exactly the way they should be. But she thinks it’s wonderful.

I made a mistake on the ceiling, which I plan to transform into a “design element”, and then I think I can get away with it.

It was hard work and absolutely everything hurts today. I made the mistake of working barefoot, so now I have to scrape paint off my feet.

And keeping the cats out – they are so nosy!

But it looks good (in spite of the flaws I see). And it feels fantastic. Both in terms of actual touch – I keep touching the walls because the satin finish feels like satin – and the atmosphere. The energy of the room is totally transformed. Everything that was stuck has been released.

I’m working today, but tomorrow I hope to perform the ceiling magic and do the trim – which will be done in a color called “Snowy Egret”.

And, as I painted, I spent some of my time focusing on a positive future for the apartment and its inhabitants, and also let my mind meander to the Max series. I’m trying to figure out where I want to set it. As the characters reveal their histories to me, some of the assumptions I made early on have to be thrown out. It will shift the focus of the series a good deal, and make it completely unique in the way it builds from book to book – more along the way I wish series would build, instead of the formula they usually follow.

Off to the theatre.

Devon

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006
Day before the full moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Warm and rainy


Many thanks for all the warm and wonderful birthday wishes for my big day on the 11th. I have to say that this is the first birthday in a long time where I didn’t have the notorious “Birthday Blues”. Perhaps it’s because the past few weeks have been so difficult, but I feel optimistic about the future, and not at all upset about what I didn’t get done this past year.

Thursday and Friday were tough – new developments in the situation kind of put us in limbo yet again; however, they also give us hope that The Other Side may be in a worse position than we thought.

On Friday, I did some grocery shopping and had a few meetings. I played around with a few ideas – a series is persistently bothering me. The characters have an awful lot to say, and the series would build very differently than the way series are currently building. It would be middle-grade mystery, something I collect (from the 40s and earlier) and always wanted to write. I’ve been playing with a few different types of stories in this genre; basically, I’m just going to hone as many as I can, throw them out there into the world like spaghetti onto the wall, and see what sticks.

But it has to wait its turn, as much as I love the characters.

The inspiration for the lead came to me in a restaurant. My mom and I went out to lunch at the Town Dock, one of my favorite local restaurants. A few tables down was a kid of about eleven, with a shock of blonde hair, very smart, but not too pleased at the way his mother was pushing him to give a speech about some experience he had and talk positively about it, when the truth was he had had a really bad time and wished he’d never applied to the program. He didn’t want to lie about it. And his grandparents kept pinching his cheeks and talking about how cute he was and how grown up he was getting; he just wanted the floor to swallow him up.

So a character based on that bit of observation is my main character.

Saturday, my actual birthday, was a beautiful day, and we drove to the Cape. Sandwich was our first stop. We get into town and the first building we see is the public library. And a sign for a book sale.

So, we stop. Turns out we were there just before the sale commenced. They hand you a grocery bag. You fill it –f or $3.50. I managed to fit 17 books into my bag – most of them big, heavy hardcovers. I pack well.

What a fabulous way to start the day!

We walked around town a bit, which is lovely. As I pumped gas, I looked up and there was an herb store across the street. I replenished my stock, talked to the woman who owns it, and she gave me her mother’s card. Her mother’s been a realtor in the area for years.

Then, up to Plymouth, to have lunch at my favorite restaurant, Carmen’s Café Nicole, right on the water. Some of the best food you’ll find anywhere.

Plymouth’s new library is enormous. I thought it was a new school when I drove by, but it’s the library.

Visited some of my favorite stores, and bought a silk blouse. Walked around at the water and up and down some of the other small streets. Plymouth feels very much like home to me. It has for years. I love the town, I love the vibe, I love the way the residents are friendly, but also get on with their lives.

To talk about yesterday, I introduce a new feature that will appear sporadically over the next few months:

Ink In My Paint Can

Yes, I am repainting my mother’s apartment, which needs it badly. The people from the building who did it too many years ago not only did a lousy job, but made her (a senior citizen even at the time) move all her heavy stuff herself with no help (I was on the west coast).

So I have permission from the owner to do it, and that’s what I’m doing.

Yesterday, we stripped the kitchen, washed all the teapots, vases, et al that gathered grease on top of the cabinets, took everything off the walls, the cookbooks (mostly mine) out of the shelves, and washed down the walls.

It took six hours.

She’s lived there for 33 years. Things tend to accumulate.

Today, it’s off to Home Depot for paint and supplies. My plan is to spackle the cracks, tape it all and prime the kitchen/dining area.

The apartment is small, but I need to work room-by-room, wall-by-wall, slowly, so as to cause the least amount of disruption, and I figure it will take me, on the short side, six weeks, depending how much theatre and television work I juggle at the same time.

We found some very cool stuff, including a bud vase that is actually three tiny bud vases with their little arms entwined. I soaked it and scrubbed it and found out, to my surprise, that its actual color is white.

It will be on the table to celebrate the Equinox.

And I plan to write as I wait for the coats of paint to dry.

Off to Home Depot!

Devon

Thursday, March 09, 2006

March 9, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Just when you think there’s a breather, another twist in The Situation. Talk about truth being stranger than fiction. That’s all I can say for now.

But so much for being able to get back to my life.

D.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The rumor is that what we braced for today regarding The Situation has been postponed for three weeks. I don’t know if I trust said rumor, but it’s out there. While, on the one hand, it prolongs the uncertainty yet again, it also gives us time to find out new information that will be quite helpful.

Yesterday, I managed to work on Clear the Slot. I’ve almost got the revised Chapter 14 done (it used to be Chapter 19 and a bit of Chapter 20). These last six chapters from the fifth draft are tough because so much has to be rewritten and reconstructed. But it was good to spend time with these characters again. If I could slip into any of my own fictional worlds, I think that the world of Clear the Slot would be my first choice. The different story lines are coming to a head. And, while some of them – and the main plotline – won’t be resolved until the end of Sweep Check (the second book), some of them will be resolved in the next chapters.

And then it will be time to perfect the outline/synopsis, the logline, and the single paragraph description, so that it can be queried.

I had an idea for two more stories. One I managed to outline; the other, I have the protagonist and the first line of the piece. I’m not yet sure where it will lead – it hints at a bit of noir, but that simply could be the opening.

I did some research on the Orkney Islands and their Selkie legends for a piece that’s been kicking around in my head for a few months. I have a potential publisher in mind – if I can get a few thousand words down and a solid outline, I can pitch it to this publisher and possibly get an advance.

Other good news – I finally cracked Espresso Fiction! I’ve been trying to get something accepted by them for nearly two years. And now, there’s “Time and Place” (under the Christy Miller name). They will publish it on April 11 – which means the Devon Ellington website with the Christy Miller page needs to be done by then. So I better get to work. I have to fill out their interview page. It’s a paying market, so that’s also a good thing.

If I can keep a cool head about me and keep working – don’t lose the creative voice because the logical voice has to so often speak – I think I can get things back in balance. I have to make a lot of plans, make them quickly, and keep them, for the moment, a bit close to the vest, but I’m starting to feel a glimmer of hope in everything.

In the next few days, I need to restock on paper, ink, et al – my supplies are running low, and that always makes me nervous.

I’m chasing an idea for tomorrow’s SDR blog. I had an idea. It raced away. I think I see it in the distance. I’m trying to catch up with it.

I’m at the theatre today, but should be home at a reasonable hour, and then, perhaps, I can get some writing done. No perhaps about it. I will get some writing done.

Devon
The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
Circadian Poems
The Scruffy Dog Review

Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday, March 6, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Not much writing done yesterday. Everything was fragmented and I couldn’t hit the creative voice I need for the fiction.

However, today, some characters are starting to talk, and I plan to make this a short entry so that I can try to get some creative work done. The characters speaking are from pieces that have been in a holding pattern – my hope is that if I can converse with them for a bit, then I can slide back into my other work, the work that’s now a month behind.

My column, “The Literary Athlete” is in the new issue of The Scruffy Dog Review with “Showing Up is Half the Battle”:

http://www.thescruffydogreview.com/wst_page9.html

and it’s about time I take some of my own advice.

In the same issue, as Christy Miller, I have the conclusion of “The Purchase” called “Love and Letters”:

http://www.thescruffydogreview.com/uploads/The%20Purchase%20March.mht

I struggled with the rewrite on it, and am still not entirely happy with it. Toby and Clea are two of my favorite characters and two of my readers’ favorite characters, and I just feel that, with everything I’ve had to handle lately, I didn’t do them justice.

Times like this are when I’m grateful to have an editor as solid as BK Birch – if she believes it’s on the right track, my own insecurities about it are just that – my own “stuff”. I feel very fortunate to have Birch as one of my editors, and I’m sure I don’t express it often enough! Because of the crisis of the past months, I simply lost my objectivity, especially when it comes to my own work.

Hopefully, after tomorrow’s conflict, we’ll have more information and maybe, just maybe I can start wrestling some of my own life back. And it is wrestling, because the majority of people with whom I’ve banded together to deal with The Situation (because they, too, are affected), work regular jobs. They have no clue as to what I do. And they don’t grasp in the actual (even if they do in the intellectual) that I am here to support and protect my mother in The Situation and once it’s settled, I go back to my own life.

After tomorrow, either we will have a short respite or things will get much worse much more quickly.

So, I will grasp today and fill it with as much creativity as possible. I need it to renew me, so that, whatever tomorrow brings, I’m ready for it. It reminds me of the tarot card, the Nine of Wands – a battle well-fought, but braced for more.

Devon
The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
Circadian Poems
The Scruffy Dog Review

Sunday, March 05, 2006

March 5 Part II

I’m struggling.

I’m stuck in the very dry, logical voice I’ve used for the past weeks to impart information regarding The Situation.

The creative flow of the other pseudonyms is hidden. I’ve started several of the columns currently due, but I’m still stuck in that other voice. I’m going to try to drop back into the well of Clear the Slot and hope I can get back there, but I just don’t know.

I had another idea for a piece I think might work well – then didn’t write it down and forgot it. I worried it was gone for good, but it floated back. I just don’t know if I can even create coherent notes for it at this point.

I managed to submit a short story, and I’ve got two that are in need of homes, so I have to figure out where to send them. But I look at my list of publications and none of them seem right.

I’m wondering if perhaps doing some work on Hearth Phoenix – since it is so connected to the Situation, albeit in fiction – would help get me back into the creative voice.

I’ve already blown the anthology deadline, but I think I can work up the Epic Fantasy into something for another publisher who caught my attention – it would have to be at least 3000 words longer than originally planned, but I think I can do it.

Basically, I feel like a dog chasing its tail right now.

Devon

Sunday, March 5, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Not much to say. I did not get much writing done yesterday. I’m still too anxious about The Situation. Tuesday will be another big milestone, one way or the other. We’re hoping it goes our way. We’ve got some protection on the state level now, but that doesn’t mean our lives still won’t be made hell in the coming months.

Every time I think I can take time and dive back into the well of the work, the phone rings. This week, I’m going to have to turn off the phone for chunks of time. I need uninterrupted work time and, crisis or no, I have to make that happen.

I’m drained, physically and emotionally. I’m tired. I want to sleep, but I can’t quiet the brain enough to actually rest. I got a bit of research done yesterday and designed a thank-you card for those on the City Council who helped us so much over the past few months. I turned over a few more rocks to see what would wiggle.

One of the people with whom I’ve been working to resolve The Situation stopped by yesterday and said being in the apartment was like being on a set out of Harry Potter – with all the books and mirrors and statues and wands and tarot cards. It was pretty funny.

And I still haven’t bought those zippers I need. I keep forgetting to pick them up when I’m in the city. I think there’s a store a couple of towns over that carries them – hopefully, I can get to it this week. Although the pieces for which I need the zippers are more fall than spring, so maybe I should wait --- never mind, I’ll figure it out.

I’m going to try to excavate my desk a bit today and maybe get some work done on Clear the Slot. I need to get some more queries out, work on a couple of columns, and get back into the rhythm of the writing life. Too much has fallen by the wayside in the past weeks. I need to get back on track, because otherwise I’ll never be able to.

I don’t feel particularly creative today, so maybe if I do some work on the practicalities, I can ease back in. I don’t know how people who don’t write survive. I feel completely lost without the writing, completely disconnected. I feel hope-less. Writing gives me hope that there’s a possibility for a better world. Because right now, things seem pretty grim.

Devon
The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
Circadian Poems
The Scruffy Dog Review

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday, March 3, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I am back, somewhat, online. The Situation isn’t over, although the City Council passed a resolution to protect us on the state level. Now, we’re bracing for the retaliation. The next few months won’t be pretty, at all.

We take a moment to savor the fact that our elected officials actually give a damn about us in this town – a nice contrast to much of what’s going on at a national level.

On other fronts, I’ve worked on the television show for the past three days. It’s been wacky. Someday, we’re going to have to stop doing re-shoots for episode 2 – it airs next week. The premiere is on tonight. I’m very excited to see how it all fits together. Since scenes are shot in fragments and out of sequence, it’s impossible to know how it all fits together.

We had some strange people in the background over the past few days. Three days ago, casting hadn’t given us the correct information and we were dressing them on set right before the shots. Very stressful. Two days ago, they all brought the wrong stuff and it took us two hours to dress forty background. Yesterday, a background went up to the BG PA and said, “My agent told me this would be a lead. I want to go home.” And he left. (PS – Agents don’t send their clients on background – did he think we don’t know that?)

Wednesday night, the fire alarm went off in the studio, and we all had to evacuate. I guess they weren’t pleased with the way we did so, because yesterday we got a “safety memo” stating we needed to hustle a bit more.

I haven’t written anything except material for The Situation in two weeks. I’ve done a good deal of writing preparing information regarding The Situation so that those in the decision-making positions have as many facts as clearly laid out as possible.

How do people who don’t write survive? It’s been torture. I feel completely disconnected not only from my own life, but from life. I’m out of balance. The Situation has sucked up every bit of energy and creativity, and I’m longing to get back to the world of Clear the Slot, the world of The Fix-It Girl, the world of Periwinkle.

February’s GDRs are completely trashed, and I’m not even going to make a list for March until I know what’s going on. I’m going to have to steal moments and make the best of whatever time I can put together and try to generate some creative energy. Not writing makes me feel stifled, fractured, disjointed and, pardon the expression, creatively constipated.

I hope I get some quiet time this weekend – time without any sort of crisis, so that I can think and be and write.

My comfort book through all of this has been yet another re-read of May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude. Although she gets on my last nerve often, there is also so much rich information about the creative process and the constant conflict to balance the inner and outer worlds.

The level of emotional exhaustion as well as physical is quite deep in my life now. I hope that, by fiercely wrestling some time for myself this weekend, I can start feeling like myself again.
The Situation has opened a Pandora’s box of life issues – typical Saturn Retrograde – that need to be examined and handled. I can’t do it all at once – I have to break it down into do-able bits.
But it has to start sooner rather than later. I can’t plan the future without taking care of the past and present.

I don’t know what sort of shift that will cause in this year’s GDRs, but perhaps March is the month in which to explore that issue.

Thanks to everyone for their love and support through all of this.

Devon