Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30 Part II

GDR for 2006 – Midyear Review


The first seven questions dealt with 2005, so there was no need to revisit them mid-year. Starting with question 8, we look at 2006.

Blue = original thoughts.
Red == what happened/changes


8. Looking ahead, what are your goals for 2006?

Edit and begin shopping both Clear the Slot and Tapestry
Clear the Slot is 2/3 of the way through the edit; Tapestry is still resting.

Get all three websites up and running and keep them well maintained
I’ve redone the copy for the DE site, and am working on the copy for the other two. I’m behind.

Complete the first draft of three novels (hopefully Fix-It Girl, Shallid, and Periwinkle. Oh, and I wanted all three volumes of Ransagh finished, too, but that’s more than 3).
The first draft of Shallid is done. I’m also 2/3 of the way through the first draft of Real, which took over everything else, and then I need to get back to The Fix-It Girl and Periwinkle.

Finish the unfinished serials.
Haven’t dealt with them at all.

Expand the business writing.
That’s in process. I’ve landed some good, interesting gigs.

Teach more workshops
I couldn’t schedule anything, due to The Situation.

Do as much television work as possible
Check.

Apply what I’ve learned in marketing and business trends to my work
I did some of that, but not enough.

Be steadier in the article and short story work rather than writing them in spurts
I thought I’d been completely unproductive in that arena. However, to date, I’ve published 8 articles and 3 short stories. I have a fourth short story accepted into an anthology, and I’ve written five more as part of the SDR exercises. So, there’s progress, but still not as much as I want.

Continue building both Circadian Poems and The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
Both these projects suffered due to the Situation, but I hope to have them back on track soon.

Build Kemmyrk into something useful, articulate, and unusual
I’m still playing with this. I haven’t found its rhythm yet.

Work on the tarot book
Fell by the wayside.

Continue the Whaling research
That I’ve actually done.

Resolve The Situation in a positive way for all concerned and be in a better place (yes, on this earth) at this time next year.
I’m hopeful, but wary, in spite of seemingly good news.

Not let the Spiritual side of my life fall by the wayside, which happened this year.
Hit and miss. The 100 Days Meditation Group has been a huge help and support.


9. What steps do you plan to get you there?

More self-discipline
More flexibility (no, those are NOT mutually exclusive)
Work harder to learn the HTML stuff
Promote myself in a smarter fashion
Balance the creative work and the business work more, giving each equal weight, instead of see-sawing.
The Situation wiped all of this out.

10. What are your dreams for 2006?
Peaceful and positive resolution of The Situation
Still in question, although it looks more hopeful. So now the dream becomes moving further into the transition to full-time writing.

Help my mother in her recovery
Until the Situation is resolved, she won’t get better.

Prosperity and abundance in all areas of my life.
Working on it.

11. What steps will you take to bring you closer to them?

Do the necessary research, keep a cool head, and realize that the Universe is going to make it happen in ITS time and way, not mine.
That’s been difficult. I don’t like trusting anyone else with my future, even the Universe.

12. What are your resolutions for 2006?

Commit to my yoga practice
Recommit to my spiritual practice
Ratchet up the commitment to my writing

I struggled with the first two, but am closer to the last.

13. How do you plan to get there?

Attend to each aspect carefully and mindfully every day.
You get neck deep in something like the Situation and see how well THAT works! The past months have been about how to survive the day. It’s been about defense rather than attack.


14. What changes has the last year brought to your long-term plan?

I’m squeezed tighter financially, but pushed harder in every other way. The three year plan has to accelerate, but I’m not sure how to get there. I have to focus on the result and remain aware and alert to the opportunities to get me there. I also have to say “no” more often to low or non-paying work.
“No” has become one of my favorite words. I’ve paid off one big debt and two smaller ones, and I’m dealing with what’s left.

15. Where would you like to be one year from now?

Living a more balanced and secure life, dedicated to my true vocation (writing).
That’s the plan, and, perhaps now, some more attention can be devoted to it.

Overall:
There’s too much psychological babble in this and not enough action. The Situation ate seven months of my life. It’s not like I can pretend it didn’t happen, go back and pick up the threads exactly where they broke. I have to refigure the overall plan. Many of the questions keep me in the same rut instead of moving me out of it.

I need to come up with some new questions.

The summer months will be devoted to returning to a human being instead of a defensive machine, healing from the post-Situation stress factor, and re-thinking the details of the writing life I want, and figuring out how to get there. I need to come up with some new questions and challenge myself with answers that are active and internal, not just external.

I need to get out of my own way.

I mentioned above that the three year plan has to accelerate – yet it was on hold for the first half of the year.

I need to step back and look at all of it from a different point of view.

Not sure how or where to do that yet, but it’s necessary, in order to formulate a plan of action that’s relevant to where things are now.

Friday, June 30, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hazy and warm

I was in a haze most of yesterday. I got out some letters and a query. But all the fiction writing I did had to be tossed. It was unsalvageable. Oh, well, sometimes that happens.

The show was fine. The physical demands of it – heavy costumes, moving the racks, working on a raked stage – are starting to take a toll. I simply don’t have the physical stamina to do this full time anymore, and I’m not willing to do it and be miserable, as so many people do. Coming in and swinging is fine; but to take on another full time track would be a huge mistake.

I finished reading Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten, which was a lot of fun. I like the inventiveness and the political satire involved in his writing.

I have absolutely nothing interesting to say today. I’m a little sleepy, but a bit more relaxed than I’ve been in a long time. I have to let the knots untwist slowly.

I managed to pull myself together late in the afternoon yesterday to give the newspaper another interview about the Situation.

I’m going to do some writing, head back to the theatre, and another night of getting home at 1 a.m.

I can look forward to Tuesday as a day off; there was some talk of booking me through next week, but I have a feeling another swing is going to campaign heavily for those days, and, in true fashion, they’ll go with whomever yells the loudest, instead of whomever is the best. I don’t really care – I’ll be happy to do a few more days and have the money, but I can also use the time for writing and healing. Either way, I win.

I’m going to try to do about an hour of yoga this afternoon to loosen the muscles that are bunching up because of the show’s demands.

I started on the research for one of the articles due in August. I also want to get going for September’s Scruffy Dog Review column.

I’ve been working on my GDR Mid-Year Evaluation, and I’ll post it soon. Yes, I think I might actually be able to start again with the GDRs.

Devon

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and hot

The Situation has been resolved. In our favor.

No more living under siege. No more jumping every time there’s a phone call or a step on the stair.

It will take time to stop doing just that, but, eventually, it will happen.

I’m relieved, I’m still uneasy from living for months under siege, I’m weepy, I’m nauseous. I’ve held myself together for months with tension and adrenalin. It will take time to live like a normal human being again. Well, as normal as I get, anyway.

There’s a lot of damage, and it doesn’t just go away because there’s resolution. But the resolution is the first step into the recovery.

I have to take it easy, not rush myself, not push too hard. Just take time to reflect and renew. I want to make decisions based on what I really want for the next cycle of my life, not based as a reaction to what’s happened.

I’m so grateful to everyone who worked to resolve this – our City Councilors, the people at DHCR, the other tenants. We worked hard. We did not allow ourselves to be bullied or victimized. We stood up for what we believed was right, without crossing the line into righteousness, and I think that helped us.

And I’m grateful to all my friends for supporting me over the past months. It’s meant a lot.

I just wish I didn’t feel like I was run over by a truck.

Speaking of being run over by a truck, I nearly was this morning, on my way to the grocery store. I approached a red light. An eighteen wheeler (or more, I didn’t count wheels, but it was a damn big truck) swung wide around the corner at 30 mph, and we were grill to grill. There was nothing I could do – a line of SUVs were behind me – and, of course, talking on cell phones and accelerating at the red light, as they do.

Thank goodness the truck driver was so skilled, and, at speed, could swing all the way around and then back past me without crunching me.

Did I really need this before my first cup of coffee? I don’t think so.

The shows were fine yesterday. It’s a bit surreal to be dressing again. I’ve only done theatre prep work and the television work for the past few months. I got home at nearly 1 AM, so I’m exhausted, but, hey, it’s a week and then I’ll take some time off next week.

My friend A. and I had a luxurious dinner at Maison (can you say “chocolate hazelnut crepes stuffed with bananas” for dessert)?

I stopped at the bookstore to get some backstage reading (it’s too difficult to read diaries or non-fiction or something where I have to concentrate too much). I bought Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten (I’ve read the other three Thursday Next books and loved them); Linda Bloodworth Thomason’s Liberating Paris, and Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club. That should keep me busy this week. My DVDs also arrived, but I won’t get to see them until well into next week.

Back to Real for a couple of hours before I go back to the theatre, and also some research on my articles due Aug. 1. Yeah, it’s not July yet, but they’re complicated.

Also have to get out six more queries for the query challenge in the next two days.

Devon

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy

My article on the NHL draft is here:

http://www.femmefan.com/site/featuredarticles/The%20NHL%20Draft%202006.htm

and Exercise 10 is up on the Scruffy Dog Review Blog. It’s the last of the exercises in the cycle, leaving participants with 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novel ready to market.

I’m tired and achy and it’s not going to get better. In a fit of guilt, I agreed to work fulltime on the show between now and July 4th. Yeah, not too many days, but enough of them will be 14 hours +, including commuting, so I’m going to be exhausted. Especially since I already am exhausted by The Situation.

Many believe it’s been resolved; until I see the legal papers, I’m not going to be convinced. We haven’t been dealt with honestly or within the law since the beginning. Why would it suddenly change?

I picked up the wrong folder and didn’t have any writing with me yesterday. For the rest of the week, I have to be more careful, since most of my writing time has to happen on the train or in breaks.

I want to get some author quotes for an article I have due on August 1, so I need to do some research and formulate some questions to make that happen.

Finished Leaving A Trace, which is good, but it doesn’t deal with the process of using one’s journals to formulate a novel. It touches on it, but mostly discusses how to use it to create memoir. I use my journals as help in the novels, too. Especially when I travel – I try to take lots of photographs as well as writing entries far more detailed than on a usual day, with much more description. I couldn’t have worked on Tapestry the way I did without my journals from the time in which it’s set. The East Village of New York has changed too much.

I was too tired to start Sir Walter Scott’s journals last night. They’re too heavy to cart to and from the city, so I’ve got Kate Stone’s diary instead. She was a young woman in Louisiana at the start of the Civil War. I hadn’t bought it last time I was in New Orleans, although I’d looked at it; and regretted not buying it. When I found it at Strand a few weeks ago, I grabbed it.

I have some business correspondence to get out, some bills to pay, and a trip to the post office to get out the newsletter, all before the 10 AM train to the city. If I’m lucky, I’ll be home by 1 AM tomorrow.

Devon

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and sticky

Unpleasant turn in the Situation in the morning, but, seemingly good news by the end of the day. We’ll see. We’ve been lied to so much over the past eight months that I’m skeptical of everything.

Five pages on Real. It’s chugging along, not quickly, but it’s going.

Did a few more drafts of the newsletter, printed it, printed the envelopes, stuffed them – it’s all set to mail, once I get stamps from the post office.

Went out in the evening to see an old friend from high school. It was great to see him again – he’s doing what he loves to do, and that’s terrific. It was nice to reconnect.

Also ran into the brother of another classmate – and that reminded me why I left the town in the first place!

If the good news regarding the Situation is true, I’ll be able to feel a sense of hope again, and maybe even make a few plans.

Right now, I’m simply exhausted and overwhelmed, on every level.

Off to the theatre.

Devon

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday, June 26, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid


Whirlwind of a weekend, but I’ll try to sort it out.

The Situation continues to twist and turn, leaving us twisting in the wind. On top of that, on Friday, someone I considered a friend over the past months broke my trust. Fortunately, in the scheme of things, it wasn’t anything that needs damage control; however, in the scheme of my universe, it was upsetting.

It made me realize how much the group over at the 100 Days meditation has helped. Normally, it would have been hours of tears followed by weeks or months of depression. With the work I’ve done at 100 Days, I could recognize, acknowledge, and, to an extent, let go. People are going to do what they’re going to do; this person did something he felt was right – even though it ended up being awkward and hurtful. There was no malice involved.

The short-term effect, of course, when someone breaks my trust, is doubt, especially about self-worth – I must not be worth keeping the trust, or it wouldn’t have been broken. Which is complete and utter crap on a rational level, but we’re not always rational when emotion is involved. Then that, of course, becomes doubt about the writing, and it gets ugly.

Too damn bad. I’m a writer, and that’s it.

Managed to get seven pages done on Real. They’re still in Tahiti. But at least they’re developing the way they’re supposed to. I’m almost at the two thirds point of the book. The last third certainly won’t gallop, but since I have an idea of where I’m headed, it’s all good.

Also did a four page newsletter – a complicated one – that has to go out this week.

And I managed to get through and deal with 473 non-spam emails.

Nothing like dinner where you have to be charming with a bunch of people you don’t know – and some of whom, once you know them, you’d rather not know. Instead of a little black dress, I wore a little green dress. It was a large, mixed group. Some of the women annoyed me: Very impressed with themselves, thinking themselves big-city glam (believe me, they’re not), and looking down their brand new noses at some of the other women in the group, just because those women came from little teeny towns. Can you guess who I hung out with? The good ones, with a great sense of humour, from the small towns, who are comfortable in their own skins, but excited to see a place to which they’d never traveled.

I love hotel rooms. To me, they represent both anonymity and possibility.

I’m lugging Rebecca West’s enormous volume of collected letters around, because I’m deep into it, and didn’t want to leave it behind. It’s a good way to unwind. Plus, I have Alexandra Johnson’s Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal, which is wonderful, and may need to be added to my required reading for the journal class, along with her other book, The Hidden Writer.

I managed to catch the first of the PBS series Faith and Reason. Salman Rushdie was interviewed. It got me back on track, as far as self-belief. He talked a great deal about the artist’s responsibility to tell the artist’s truth, and about dreaming and imagination and the need for cultures to understand each other, and how all oppression against writers needs to be stopped. I agree. As Eileen pointed out in her response to my Thursday entry, in this country, writers are, once again, getting oppressed for disagreement with the government. Rushdie points out that it is no accident that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are covered in the same amendment. I hadn’t thought about it that way before. And any fundamentalism doesn’t want free speech or free thought, because then, the fundamentalists lose control.

Rushdie’s words made me realize that yes, I am on the right path. It makes sense that something like my trust getting broken would happen along the way. I spoke a truth that raises a possibility that frightened the other person, and he responded the only way he could, because his world can’t encompass that possibility. It’s too overwhelming.

(Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with romance – this was strictly on another topic).

The series promises to be fascinating – Mary Gordon is interviewed next week. I may have to clear the next few Friday evenings at nine pm to watch this series. It certainly came into my life at the best possible time.

Saturday morning, I woke up having dreamed about this year’s National Novel Writing Month. I’d pretty much decided not to do it – as much as I loved the community last year, the process frustrated me. And I still haven’t finished The Fix-It Girl – I burned out in the first 50,000 words and lost track of it. But I’ve been thinking about all the notes I did for Amadeus Doe, and how that story has stayed on the edges of my consciousness since last fall. If I do sign up this year, I need to drop my competitiveness with myself about the 50,000 words, and simply use it as a place to write my piece within a community of other writers.

I saw a job listing for an editing job in Paris that I really, really want. The work part, I could handle. The language – my French just isn’t good enough. Oh, well. Plus, I don’t think they’d hire an American even with fluent French – it’s a very Euro-centric publication.

I thought my busy-ness for Saturday would begin at one, but it began much, much later, so I had the bulk of the day to write – thank goodness.

12 pages on Real. They’re back in the UK, but I had a heck of a time figuring out where the two protagonists were going to stay for the six week studio shoot at Shepperton. It’s close enough to London to commute (which is what many actors do), but Callie needs to be closer than that type of commute, and she wants some peace and quiet. So I hunted around and found a self-catering cottage in Old Windsor. I can’t use the actual cottage in the book, but at least I know they exist there, and I could use it as an inspiration.

Also roughed out the next few months’ work of the Dog Blog, so I don’t fall behind, and roughed out the outlines for three e-books.

The draft started later than I expected, and can I just say the first round was torture? Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap. Each team is supposed to have three minutes from when the name is announced to come up to the podium and pick their kid. However, they use those three minutes to make last minute trades and deals. Too much posturing, not enough attention on the kids – for them it’s a milestone moment in their lives. I was disgusted. I strongly believe the draft should not be changed in order to cater to an audience, but yesterday’s posturing and big dick-ism was out of control. It didn’t come across at all as a bunch of professionals working hard to build the best team possible. It came across that they didn’t know what the hell they were doing, and hadn’t done their homework.

“My” top eight – Peter Mueller (who I think is the best of the players to be drafted this year), Derrick Brassard, Michael Frolik, Semen Varlamov, Cory Emmerton, David Fischer, Mike Forney, and Michael Grabner were all drafted, along with my additional picks Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux, Logan Pyett, Nick Dodge, and Hugo Carpentier.

You’ll just have to read my article on FemmeFan to find out more!

All seven rounds were done in one day, instead of spreading them out over two.

I rarely criticize hockey – except for Bettman, who’s a regular metaphorical punching bag for me ever since his disgusting anti-labor comments at the Nashville ’03 draft – but yesterday, I found a lot to criticize.

I was ready to hit the bar by the fourth pick.

Sunday morning, I got my article written and off to FemmeFan, early in the morning. Instead of having to muck around waiting for the final rounds, I could wind it all up and get back to my other work.

Almost worth moving to Rhode Island: a billboard on the side if I-95 that reads: “Do your patriotic duty. Impeach Bush.”

Right on!

To think that someone cared enough to buy a billboard for that! Way to go, Person from Rhode Island!

It’s so rainy and humid I feel damp all the time and as though everything around me is getting moldy. Ick.

I caught up on my clip files – I hadn’t printed out anything I’ve published all year. I was under the impression I hadn’t published much, but it turns out there are seven articles on FemmeFan, three columns, and three short stories, so it wasn’t as unproductive as I thought.

I spent several hours rewriting the text for the Devon Ellington site, and then 5 ½ hours coding it. You see, I couldn’t close anything in Notepad until it was all done – because my computer won’t open Notepad. I can create something in Notepad, but I can’t save it as a .txt file if I ever want to get into it again. And I can’t edit when I save as HTML. So all my mistakes will have to be edited once it goes live. Ick. And, believe me, I made a LOT of mistakes, and some of them were pretty stupid. Oh, well.

It hurts behind the shoulder blade, my arm and shoulder are sore, and my eyes are tired. But I wrote and coded twelve pages!

Once the kinks are worked out with the DE site, hopefully the Fearless Ink site will at least seem easier!

I’m still behind in correspondence, and only got ½ page of Real done yesterday. I also have a stack of work to do on Circadian, 13 Journals, et al. And a couple of press releases to write and . . .

Better hop to it.

Someone tried to open an old wound. So I stepped out of reach. Wish I’d figured that one out years ago!

Devon

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006
Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Still have that migraine. Even the Excedrin doesn’t take the edge off.

Frustrating morning yesterday, due to more tangles in The Situation.

The meeting in the City went better than expected, which was good. The meeting was down near Ground Zero – I’m just never going to get over 9/11. I’m learning to live with it, but it can’t be gotten over. The person with whom I was meeting was two doors down from the Towers on that day – it’s something that will always stay with New Yorkers. Yes, it affected everyone in the country; but watching it on television, even with enormous shock and empathy, is different than living it.

The person with whom I met is an admirer of Teddy Roosevelt and his writing; he shared with me something Roosevelt wrote (I had no idea the man wrote newspaper articles on top of everything else). It’s about the patriotic duty of citizens to criticize the President, and how patriotism is shown towards a country, not a person in a job. In this day and age, where Bush claims that anyone who disagrees with him is unpatriotic, I think it’s important to remember that Roosevelt – who was 100 times the President that the current person claiming the job could ever hope to be – believed it was the patriotic duty of citizens to criticize the President.

Did my research for the weekend – it will be a whirlwind.

Now, off to force the characters in Real off Bora Bora. They don’t want to go. Can’t say I blame them.

I also have a stack of correspondence to get through, some more queries to get out, and a few newsletters to complete.

Devon

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Today, the days already begin to get shorter. The Solstice is touted as “the first day of summer”, but actually it’s Midsummer. Beltane (May 1) is the first day of summer and Lammas (Aug. 1) is the first harvest.

It was a nice drive up to Mohegan Lake to the fabric store. I didn’t find everything I wanted, but I stocked up on zippers, and I found fabric for a dress and two shirts. I didn’t find fabric with the right drape for some of the projects I need to do, I didn’t find the fabric I wanted to recover the chairs, and I didn’t find fabric I liked for fall, but, oh, well. I’ll go up to Hartsdale for the upholstery fabric, and pay a visit to my favorite store in the garment district for the rest.

We had a nice lunch in a big, retro-y diner in Bardonia – excellent food and enormous portions. I had to bring half of mine home, and I didn’t want any dinner.

Writing-wise, yesterday was a bust. I can’t make heads or tails out of the story from Alexandra’s point of view. I have no idea what my intent was in writing the story. It’s incoherent mush. The first line’s good and it goes downhill from there. And my characters in Real are balking – they don’t want to leave Tahiti. Since I’ve left them there for a few weeks, they find that they like it. However, I need to get them back to England pretty soon, and then some of them have to come back to the US. Okay, so one of the protagonists is going to Mexico for a bit, but still . . .they can’t be lounging around in Bora Bora indefinitely! They’ve got a plot to follow!

I have a meeting in the city this afternoon, so I need to prepare for that – I better be productive this morning.

I’m reading Peter Bowerman’s book The Well Fed Writer: Back for Seconds. It’s every bit as good as the first one. I’ve taken pages and pages of notes, and it’s helping me re-think my GDRs. I’m at a half way point in the year, and I might actually be able to start making plans again in the next few weeks. I want to be ready.

I also found a Canadian magazine to which I’d like to submit, but the guidelines I found on one site are different than on their own, so I emailed them, asking for clarification. No point in sending them something if they’re only interested in Canadian writers.

I’ll be glad when today’s meeting is over. I have a lot to do, and I need to get back on track with my life in general. Or, at least, try to.

The weekend will be all about the NHL draft and writing about it, and trying to squeeze in work on Real in and around everything else. Plus catch up on mountains of email regarding other projects, work on the websites, follow up on previous queries/pitches and create some fresh prospect lists.

Devon

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde (as of Monday)
Hazy and warm
Summer Solstice

Today is the summer solstice! Enjoy!

Work was okay yesterday, although I got a call that the Situation is nowhere near resolved. I seem to be the only one not surprised by this. Looks like I was right not to get my hopes up past a glimmer.

So we dig in.

Got some organizational work done, and a lot of writing in my head, but very little on paper. There’s a set of well-paying anthologies I found, seeking submissions – the themes are way out of what I usually do – especially one of them, which, I’m sure, is part of the allure.

Exercise IX is up on the Scruffy Dog Review Blog.

The positive outcome of these exercises is that I have a set of five new stories that I never would have written (since the newspaper articles I randomly clipped were the jumping off point), and an idea in how to use the exercises in the future.

In general, I’m feeling trapped and frustrated. The Situation’s obviously a major part of it, but it goes beyond The Situation. It’s tied in to the work. I’m ready to make the next leap, and I’m not feeling challenged enough, both by my work (the writing) and my environment. So I have to sit down and figure out what that means on a practical level, and then make the changes I need to make. There’s no reason to be vile to people around me because I’m the one frustrated, and that’s pretty much where I am right now.

Having a migraine doesn’t help, either.

I’m taking a ride about 20 miles upstate, past the reservoir, later this morning, to the fabric store. I think a break dealing with something tangible and practical will help. I need to find fabric to recover two chairs, get some zippers (because, for goodness’ sake, it’s nearly impossible to get a zipper in this part of the county, can you believe it? Twenty miles to buy a zipper. Insane), and look at some fabric. I want to make some more dresses for summer going into fall, and I want to look at some suit fabric. I need to make a few suits for fall and winter. My wardrobe consists of jeans for backstage, yoga clothes for writing, play clothes for playing or formal evening wear for events. I need to have clothes for meetings as I expand the writing business. I can look bohemian when I’m teaching, or like I just got off the motorcycle – but it won’t do if I’m trying to convince a small museum or a cancer institute that I’m the best possible writer for their new campaigns. The suit I wore to speak to the City Council last week is great – and it’s the one I bought to work the hockey draft in Nashville in 2003. Fortunately, it’s a classic cut and still works. Since I’m not happy with what’s in the stores, I’ll make my own. A few styles of skirt, a few pairs of different pants, some jackets – they can mix and match, and I’m done.

The writing goal today is to work on the revisions of the unnamed first person story, the unnamed longer story linking the three odd articles, and 5 pages of Real. Of course, ideas for one of the anthologies – the story that would be a horror story – is poking at me. But it needs more of what Terry Brooks calls “dream time”.

Devon

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

I had terrible dreams about the Situation last night, obviously anxiety dreams, and woke up feeling as though I didn’t get any sleep.

Congratulations to the Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Stanley Cup! I’m so proud of Cam Ward, anchoring in goal for the series and the Final, and winning it, at only 22. It’s an excellent team – and guys like Rod Brind’Amour, Glen Wesley, et al – veterans who give everything every night – they deserve it!

I still felt badly for the Oilers, especially Torres, Peca, and Pronger. I miss having Torres and Peca here in the East, where I can go see them play regularly, but they’re doing so well in Edmonton, I have to be happy for them.

It was a fantastic game, and either team truly could have won. Carolina kept digging in and digging in – Edmonton took too many bad penalties, but, to give them credit, they never caved.

The ghost story that I sent out yesterday was accepted by the evening, along with the contract/financials. Filled everything out and will send it this morning. I’m absolutely delighted. The anthology will be released in August.

I gave up on Elizabeth Bowen’s A World of Love. I hated all the characters and didn’t care what happened to them. I read Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey's A Woman of Independent Means. Although I often felt the protagonist was mean and a bit controlling, the book was still fascinating.

Somehow, I have to drag myself to Manhattan today to the show. I’m so exhausted. I just want to curl up and stay in bed all day.

D.

Monday, June 19, 2006

June 19 Part II

Five more drafts of “Knowing” this morning, but I got the final out before the noon deadline. Some of it was fun – the rediscovery that choosing a word with a different shade of meaning suddenly makes it click. Some of it was not fun—how could I keep missing some of the same typos? And some logistics needed to be fixed. But at least I got to cut out extraneous dialogue. I always love to cut.

I tried to get going on the edits for another story, but, well, after five drafts this morning, ick. I don’t want to do any more editing today. I’m going to have a good lunch, do a bit of reading, and then do some fresh writing.

D.

Monday, June 19, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and sticky

Worked almost all day on revisions of “Knowing”, which is what I finally decided to title the ghost story. I’d tried and tried and tried to hook a title into a theme of the piece, which has a lot to do with intuition and sense of place. Once I hit on the title, it helped me set up certain events and fix it.

I needed a ghost town, and did some research on http://www.ghosttowns.com, which is a fascinating site. Hop over and visit, if you get a chance. The player piano music will haunt you. For hours. Until you have to play something else at full blast just to drive it out of your head.

Anyway, there wasn’t a legit ghost town where I needed one, so I made one up based on the research and stuffed it in where I needed it, and made up its story for “Knowing” and now I may need to revisit it in its heyday for other stories because I’ve completely fallen in love with it.

It’s a minor point in the overall ghost story, which is a bit heavier on the action/adventure bit than the ghost bit sometimes, but it’s taking on a life of its own.

I sent a draft with far too many typos to Chaz (sorry, darling) for his opinion because I couldn’t look at it anymore. And Chaz sent me his draft of his ghost story, which he’s reading on Midsummer Night in Newcastle.

It’s fucking brilliant.

In addition to strong story and characters, he’s used subtlety in a way we’re no longer used to in ghost stories. I sat there at the end thinking, “Wow!”

I had one minor suggestion in case it’s useful, but boy, oh boy, do I envy those within striking distance of Newcastle on Wednesday night!

Hot damn!

As a reader, I love reading something that good, because it’s that good. As a writer, I love reading something that good because that sort of storytelling is one of the reasons I write, and it makes me work harder.

Worked on the rewrite of “Suppositions” which is now re-titled “Apriorism”. Yeah, I had to look it up, too, but it’s closer to my intended meaning. However, I think I’m still in search of the right title. Also did some work on the as-yet-and-in-revisions-untitled story from Alexandra’s point of view – she appears as a character in “Apriorism”, in conflict with Mitch Keegan, the politician from “Not My Vote”. Alexandra’s off on another jaunt in the untitled story, and it’s told in the first person through her eyes. India Burke, Alexandra’s friend, who also had a few words in “Apriorism”, is the central character in the other untitled story, the longer one combining the return of a Roman statue’s head, a 40-year-old fruitcake, and a runaway police horse.

I have to say, this set of exercises has me thinking in ways I never thought I’d have to!

First thing I need to do is another revision of “Knowing” – especially fixing all the typos. I’m going to send that out around noon.

I’ve got some correspondence to catch up on, and a cover letter to draft – I’ve got some resumes to send out this week. I’ve watched the job boards, but haven’t seen too many enticing offers – they seem to be mostly along the lines of “ghostwrite my novel and I’ll pay you $50” and “write 200 keyword articles at $1 each and you’ll jumpstart your career!” Uh, I don’t think so. But I have found a few interesting companies and I’m drafting a letter basically creating a telecommuting position for myself.

I think I’ll work on my stories, spend some time with the Real characters in Tahiti, and maybe I can carve out a chunk of time this week to finish up the new web copy and get the Devon Ellington site back up. I’ve got a bunch of it done, but need to finish and add a few different coding bits to it. There are a couple of pages where I think I packed too much unconnected information, and I’m going to break them down into separate pages. And then switch my focus to getting the Fearless Ink site up. I think the web host has fixed the problem so I can get into the 13 Journals box and actually contact my people and give them the next stop on their journals’ journeys this week.

Lots to do and limited time, so I better get moving.

Let’s hope the Situation doesn’t rear its ugly head and derail me yet again.

Devon

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Finally “finished” the ghost story at 7:30 this morning. I still have more rewrites. But the handwritten draft – with plenty of cross outs and revisions as I went along – is done, and now I have to frantically revised it a half dozen times today so I can send it off tomorrow. I changed the ending three times, and I finally have something I can live with. I hope. I’m not sure about it. I like it, I like a lot of it, but it’s not necessarily formula. However, it is a ghost story, and a bit of an unusual one, so we’ll see how it’s received.

Made notes for something else as well, that I want to eventually set in Northumberland. It’s going to have to take a number.

Finished The Mermaid Chair. Although I think the writing is beautiful and powerful, I had trouble keeping my disbelief suspended. I don’t believe the hospital would have allowed the mother to store her dismembered finger(s) in a jar without trying to reattach them. Maybe in 1960 – but not in the twenty-first century, with modern technology. I don’t believe the mother’s friends would withhold the information when it was obvious to all of them why she performed these acts of dismemberment. I don’t believe that characters as intelligent and caring as these are would make the decision – they would have the insight to know it could prove fatal. It bothered me enough to keep taking me out of the book. And yet, it is beautiful writing.

Started Elizabeth Bowen’s A World of Love and am struggling with it. The style removes me from the action of the book instead of including me. Again, on a technical level, it’s well done. But I don’t like being pushed away from the characters. I like to be drawn in.

Still wondering if the rumoured resolution to The Situation is real. I hope so. I want my life back. I can’t go back on the exact course I had before The Situation began, or before my mother’s accident last fall. Too much has changed, including me. I have to think.

I signed four contracts for the 2008 annuals – two due on Aug. 1, two due Sept. 1. Got my check from the March annual. Still waiting to hear from one more editor.

Got a “not now, but maybe later” back from another pitch. Which is fine, and it was nice of them to let me know. I’m tired of the rude people who post an ad and never respond one way or the other. So you get 5000 responses. At least show you’re a professional by answering them.

Did more grocery shopping this morning, got in the papers, put in my mother’s air conditioner. We’ll head to the farmer’s market in a bit to see what’s fresh and looks interesting.

Then it’s more revisions on the ghost story – I still don’t have a title, which is worrisome – and on the two other short stories that need to be revised by Wednesday in order to discuss in the Dog Blog.

I’d also like to get back to Real, although my characters are quite content to stay in their Tahitian digs until I return. They don’t mind at all – and I don’t blame them. I could use a bit of time in Bora Bora myself!

One thing that does need to get back on track is my own relocation plans. At least, if the Situation truly has been resolved in our favor, it will be on my own terms.

Edmonton was awesome last night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Carolina, winning 4-0. I was so proud of Raffi Torres! Not only did he live up to his press nickname of “the human wrecking ball”, but he scored the second of the four goals. In Bridgeport, he was one of the leading goal scorers. Because he’s so physical in his play, people tend to forget what a good scoring touch he’s got.

I felt badly for Carolina goalie Cam Ward (after all, he is another one of “mine”).

And I have no idea for whom to root in Game 7. I wanted 7 games – I got ‘em!

I ignored one of my own rules yesterday at the race track and missed betting on Seek Gold, a 91-1 shot who took the Stephen Foster at Churchill yesterday. However, I did bet my old buddy Perfect Drift across the board, and he came in second, and I had the exacta of Happy Ticket and Oona Mccool in the Fleur de Lis. So it wasn’t entirely a loss.

Devon

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Tiring few days.

Thursday was a loss, in every sense of the word. I was waiting for confirmation of the supposed resolution of the Situation – although people are celebrating, I feel it’s jumping the gun until we have proof. The Other Side has done nothing but lie and misrepresent since Day 1 – they are not going to pack up their tents and go away without a final, heaving volley. Letting our guard too soon could be fatal.

Friday morning, I left early for New Bedford, MA, for a research trip. I’d been to the Whaling Museum in the late 1960s – early 1970s with my parents. Since then, it’s expanded a great deal, and the entire Historic District is trying to make a comeback. They aren’t letting the big, amoral developers in – they’re keeping tight rein on everything, to make sure it all contains mixed income housing and people aren’t priced out. There’s a lot of empty space still for rent as part of all this, which is worrisome, but, since the aim is restoration, not gentrification, although it’s taking longer, I think the ultimate outcome will be more positive for the community in the long run. It’s right on the cusp now, and I hope they continue in the direction they visualize.

I also hadn’t realized how predominantly Quaker the town’s history is, nor what enormous import it had as one of the main stops on the Underground Railroad. Not only did the population speak abolitionism, they lived it – it had one of the largest communities of both free blacks and rescued slaves in the country. Even now, when you see five locals walk down the street together, they’re diverse. Shops, restaurants, museums, art collectives – diversity is a way of life, not something that’s being strained to achieve. It simply IS. The harbor continues to be a working harbor instead of an outdoor theme park. The mix of history and present life is a fact of daily existence. The town is struggling and working hard to achieve its dreams, but it’s doing the work to achieve those dreams.

I took a lot of pictures, bought some books, and we ate the best lobster salad I’ve ever had at Firestone’s Grill. It was packed with almost all locals (always a good sign), everyone was friendly, and the food is outstanding. The wine list is pretty terrific, too, and the beer list contains quite a few local microbreweries.

I got a ton of information for the whaling saga, and, when I need to, the Whaling Museum has its own research library to which I can request access, which will be a big help. Between that and Mystic and some of the smaller historical societies on the Cape, I think I’ll be in good shape.

For the whaling saga, I find that I’m going to have to write up a family history before I can work on the book, along with an historical timeline. The heyday of whaling was relatively short – once petroleum was discovered and the oceans had been over-fished, the industry died the death for which it set itself up by destroying its natural resource – the whale. Granted, the global awareness didn’t exist to the extent it exists in most moral people today, but that two-pronged pitchfork is the main reason the industry died. Had petroleum not come into use, the whaling industry would have caused the extinction of the whales and caused its own extinction anyway.

And, of course, a few at the top made the money while lives were regularly lost so they could make those obscene profits. Some things never change.

One of the books I picked up is called Sail Away Ladies, by a Cape historian named Jim Coogan, who began the imprint Harvest Home Books with another local man. The book is excellent, drawing on journals, letters, and other documents written by and about Cape Cod women who went on these multi-year voyages with their sea captain husbands. It was so fascinating, I devoured it in one day.

I’m sad to hear Inara Press is shutting down – I’d hoped to work with them. But I’m glad they shut down before I’d put too much time and effort into the projects geared for their press. Those stories aren’t particularly pulling at me, so I can put them aside and concentrate on those that are.

I’m working on the ghost story. I realized I’d switched POVs at one point, and it didn’t work, so I’m fixing it. Also, one of the big conflicts was too easy and not conflicted enough, so I have to ratchet that up. I’m also revising two other stories as part of the Dog Blog exercises.

I ordered yet another stack of books from Strand, and I’m looking around, wondering where I can squeeze in yet another bookcase. The books are starting to stack up on the floor. Again.

Jotted down ideas for some more short stories. I like working on short stories in tandem with longer pieces. I find that they feed each other.

Lots of time spent running to this store and that store grocery shopping this morning – trying to find the freshest, most organic food (since I’ve developed allergies to many non-organic foods) at the best price I can. I tried to do laundry, but the machines aren’t working properly, so that was a bust.

I’ve got a deliciously scented pine creativity candle burning, and I hope that gears me up. I’m trying to push the Situation to the background, at least for now, so I can concentrate on the work. I was quoted in the local newspaper discussing it. They didn’t get the quotes exactly right, but close enough so I don’t need to pitch a fit. I just want things resolved, one way or the other. We’ve been living under torturous (in the literal, psychological sense of the word) for seven months now, and I’ve had enough. I’m also not willing to back down and allow myself to be a victim.

Devon

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Entering the third day of the migraine. Not my idea of a good time.

Last night’s speech to the City Council had a positive impact, on them, and the Mayor asked me to come down to City Hall today with some additional documentation. Public speaking ranks right up there with root canal work, as far as I’m concerned; however, in this case it was necessary, everyone paid attention, and several people afterwards told me it had gone well. I had no idea – I was up there making my points, editing my comments as I went, and presenting the proof.

The team was split last night, with two meetings running in two different towns, and our representatives at each meeting.

I got home in time to see the third period and the overtime of the Edmonton-Carolina game – and Edmonton won! In Carolina, no less! I was thrilled for Edmonton’s Raffi Torres, but felt badly for Carolina’ Cam Ward.

Ah, for the days where I felt loyalty to a team brand instead of individual players! :)

Off to City Hall now, and then . . .to sink into the ghost story. I’m not looking at it as wrestling it to the finish – I’m looking at it as welcome relief from the stress of the past week.

Because, after all, tomorrow IS Friday, and I have no doubt the Other Side will fire their next volley.

Devon

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Partly sunny and muggy

Yesterday, I hit 1000 posts here on Ink in My Coffee. Who knew I had so much to say?

Here’s my article wrapping up the Belmont:

http://www.femmefan.com/site/featuredarticles/Dazzling%20Jazil%20Wins%20the%20Belmont.htm

And check out Week 8 of the Exercises at The Scruffy Dog Review Blog.

I have to say, I’m delighted by the results of the exercises. I’ve got some good stuff. I think “Not My Vote” is one of the best things I’ve ever written.

I have a horrible migraine today, and I have to work through it. Yesterday, there were more twists and turns in The Situation, and tonight I have to speak at the City Council meeting, while other members of the organization have to speak at another public meeting in White Plains. Plus, I gave a twenty minute interview to a local newspaper regarding the Situation, which will appear on Friday. Yes, I took off the gloves. I’m tired of tip-toeing around. They’re not going to go away easily, and we’ve got to stand our ground.

I agreed to work five performances on my least favorite track in the show in July. My supervisor’s cut me a lot of slack over the last few months, and I feel that I owe it to her, since she asked me a month in advance and needs my help. So, I’m going to grit my teeth and bring, at least on the outside, a positive attitude.

Hopefully, we get some good news today. I have to run around doing errands mid-day, and then have a lunch meeting, and then, in and around all this, have to finish up my remarks for the Council, organize the back-up (I have to be able to hold up proof of everything I say) and work on the ghost story. My lovely characters in Real are being quite patient – I’ve left them in Tahiti, and I don’t think they mind one bit!

Devon

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was a tough day. Plenty to do, but hard to focus.

The Evil One slithered around yesterday, and the Situation is getting worse. Someone is going to get hurt if this isn’t resolved.

I struggled with the ghost story, and I don’t understand why. I know what has to be written; but I’m having trouble with the writing of it.

I polished tomorrow’s exercise. I revised the short stories “Not My Vote”, “Need”, and “Suppositions.” The latter needs a new title – it sounds like something you stick up your butt on a bad day.

I frittered away far too much time on the internet, but I left seven “Calling Cards” on blogs I’d never visited before. I enjoy doing that – looking down the links of blogs to which I link, and visiting blogs I haven’t visited before. Sometimes, I become a regular visitor and they end up on my links list for our daily visit; sometimes, they don’t.

The lemon cake came out perfectly, and was a hit at the meeting, where we figured out how to split up what needs to be said Tonight, when I come home, I have to work on that.

The Edmonton-Carolina game was good, but Carolina won, giving them a series lead of 3-1. Edmonton could be eliminated on Wednesday. Although I’m delighted for the 22-year-old goalie, Cam Ward, who was amazing, I felt bad for my Edmonton fave, Raffi Torres. But, it’s not over yet, and I have hopes that Edmonton can get it together and stay alive.

Off to the theatre today, and dealing with The Situation via distance, I guess.

I’m only taking the ghost story with me, so I can work on the train and in my break.

I got an extension on the deadline, but it still means I have to get going.

My editor tracked down my missing check – it hadn’t been written yet – and supposedly, it went out last night. I should have it in a few days. Out of 45 contributors to this publication, I’m the only one who noticed the check hadn’t arrived. What is with these people? Don’t they pay attention? I’m talking about the other writers, here! We did a job, we signed a contract to be paid, put the date in your calendar and make sure it happens. Apathy equals condonement, and that’s why so much in this country is in such a mess. It starts with the little things and grows.

Devon

Monday, June 12, 2006

June 12 Part II

Today is one of those torturuous days where every word is a struggle. I don’t have writer’s block – I know what needs to be written. But I can’t concentrate on getting it done.

Part of it is more trouble with The Situation.

Part of it is – I don’t know. Mental exhaustion as well as physical.

The story’s fine – although, since I know who will be my Trusted Reader, I’m slipping into his cadence instead of my own and already had to rewrite two chunks of it.

I usually do well under deadline, but today – every word is a struggle.

It’s a day when I have to completely rely on craft and discipline, because there’s no art, no Muse, nothing but finding a way to make it work.

I prefer the free-flowing days that leave you feeling tired but high.

D.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warming up

Busy day yesterday. Nice trip out to acupuncture, and boy, do I feel better! Lots of traffic, but, for the most part, it kept moving.

Worked on the racing article, which goes out first thing this morning. I roughed the hockey article, but by the time it goes to press, another game will have been played, so it will already be out of date. I think I’m going to skip that one. It was more commentary than reportage, anyway. You want serious hockey reportage – read Damien Cox!

The Tony Awards party was fun. I’m glad that History Boys won best play and Jersey Boys won best musical. Now I wonder which shows will put up their closing notices, and how many more people will be thrown out of work for the summer.

I have to do some correspondence regarding the Situation, and will probably have to get the cops involved before the day is through. I also need to bake a lemon cake for tonight’s meeting, work on what I’m going to say at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, work on Wednesday’s exercise, and, most importantly, finish the ghost story.

Debra (Pendrifter) tagged me the other day to write six weird things about me (only six?):

--Punctuality is very important. As far as I’m concerned, if someone is chronically late, they are showing disrespect. I don’t put up with that. If I’m not enough of a priority for you to be on time, why should I waste any of my precious time on you, when I could be writing? My rule is not to wait more than 15 minutes. It’s one thing if someone is genuinely caught in traffic or the train breaks down, or whatever – and then calls. It’s another to breeze in, chronically late, and act like it’s okay, because it’s not. I don’t spend time on people who don’t respect my time. Period.

--Noise. I am hypersensitive to repetitive machine noise, like leaf-blowers, jackhammers, etc. It’s actually a diagnosed condition with lots of consonants in it – a jackhammer can trigger a heart attack if I’m around it for a prolonged period of time. The sound is painful –I literally feel like my skin is being peeled off, and I start to hyperventilate, and get aggressive (because, in fight-or-flight responses, I tend to stand and fight).

--I need to be around books. All the time. I’m always carrying a book. I have lots of books around me. I seek out bookstores, libraries, etc. If I visit someone (such as a weekend guest) and there aren’t any books in the house, I don’t go back. Needless to say, there are plenty of places in LA to which I’ll never return!

--I put up with much more from my animals than I would with people. I would never tolerate a child pulling the kind of stunts some of the cats do.

--A part of me is writing all the time. Terry Brooks touches on this in Sometimes the Magic Works, admitting he’s not all “here”, wherever “here” is. Most writers always have a part of themselves standing separate, digesting information to be used later on in the work. It doesn’t make me experience things any less – if anything, I probably experience them more – but there’s always a part of me writing.

--I hate the telephone. Loathe it. Use it as little as possible. I’d much rather communicate in writing or in person. It’s not my idea of a good time to spend an hour chatting on the phone. Most of the time, I have all the phones turned off, and check my machine/voice mail at regular intervals. I refuse to be at anyone’s beck and call. These machines are created to help me manage my time and protect my writing time. Not to make me available to all idiots at all times. If I’m out with someone and they’re on the phone all the time, or text messaging, I leave. Either the present moment is the priority, or go take care of your emergency. It goes back to the respect factor mentioned above. I won’t be treated that way. Period.

So, those are my six biggest eccentricities.

Oh, I have a seventh BIG one that I have to mention – my car is always clean. It is not a moving garbage can, and anyone who leaves trash in my car is never allowed in it again. I can’t stand it when cars are full of empty soda cans and old hamburger wrappers, etc. I think it’s inexcusable. Yes, even kids. They’re never too young to pick up a hamburger wrapper and put it in the proper bin.

Now, off to the bank, and then – to write.

Devon


PS -- I'm tagging Colin to list his six eccentricities.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I have a sports hangover. Between the Belmont Stakes, the third game of the Stanley Cup Final, the World Cup Soccer and the Men’s Finals of the French Open – I’m exhausted! :)

Yesterday morning was caught up more in the Situation – it’s going to get uglier over the next few weeks before it gets better.

I went grocery shopping and went to the Farmer’s Market in Greenwich, where I paid far too much for fresh produce (because, hey, it’s Greenwich, and people will pay it). So now I’ve experienced their market and can find another one. But the broccoli actually had taste, and the tomatoes look good enough to paint before eating, so it was all worth it.

I was late to the Belmont party, and only got to watch from the sixth race onwards. It was a pretty good day – you’ll get to read about it in my next article for FemmeFan.

And then, after the races were complete, we continued the party with Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, Edmonton vs. Carolina. Now, Cam Ward, the 22 year –old Carolina goalie, is one of “mine” – at his draft in 02, I predicted he’d be in the playoffs within three years, and he is, anchoring the Final, in four. And Raffi Torres, of Edmonton, has been one of my biggest inspirations in the hockey books since 2002 when he was a Bridgeport Sound Tiger. But, hey, since when do Raffi and I have the same hair color? ;) When I first met him, I’d given up being a blonde after more than twenty years and was a redhead (much more suited to my temperament). Raffi was a platinum blonde. Now we’re both redheads. Go figure.

I’ve got two articles to complete today, the ghost story to work on (my friend, the magnificent writer Chaz Brenchley, just wrote a ghost story and we’re going to swap – we wrote a radio play together a few years ago that was performed at the writers’ conference in Nottingham, much to the delight of Sarah Caudwell (I miss her). Having Chaz’s expert eye on it will improve it immensely.

I emailed one of my editors. The new contracts are arriving – but they still owe me a payment. All bets are off until I get my check. The lag time gets longer and longer every year. That’s the only downside to working with this particular company, but it’s a big one – because this is a HUGE company and they can afford to send out the checks on time!

Acupuncture out by the racetrack this afternoon, then the Tony Awards party. Another busy day, with two articles to write (I’m writing about both the races and the hockey game) and finishing the short story.

I still need a name for the damned thing!

Angela du Maurier’s memoir has some excellent information about what it was like to be a part of successful theatrical productions in 1920’s London – that alone makes the book valuable. And she talks a lot about what it was like in Cornwall during WWII, which could be useful in the idea that began formulating yesterday.

I’m now reading Poemcrazy by Susan Wooldridge, and it’s triggering so many thoughts I think I’ll have to do an essay for Circadian Poems.

More info on Circadian tomorrow.

Now – I have articles to write. And a steak to marinade. And a navy blue silk dress to prepare for tonight. And a shower to take so I’m in a fit state to appear at the acupuncturist’s!

Devon

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday, June 10
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday, was, once again, lost to the Situation, which is so frustrating. But, we can’t back down now – if we continue to press forward, maybe we can resolve it by early July.
I’m just so wrung out, physically and emotionally, that I need the equivalent of a Victorian “rest cure.”

Maybe a day at the Crystal Spa in Saratoga?

I forgot, in yesterday’s entry to relate a dog story from Thursday’s train trip home:

As usual, Metro North had trouble. We were, supposedly, an express Peak hour train back to the ‘burbs. We ground to a halt. There was a stalled train in front of us. So they sent us backwards until there was a changeover track, to put us on another train (in rush hour, probably facing some other train head on like a those third grade math problems).

I didn’t care, particularly. I sat in my seat, reading Pen to Paper, chuckling that Pamela Frankau’s book, published the year before I was born, sounds so much like my own writing eccentricities.

Suddenly, something is licking my hand.

I look down and there are two small, very fluffy white dogs with their little paws on the rim of the seat, wagging little white tails, happy to see me. They clamber up onto the seat and into my lap, wriggling with joy at finding a new friend, sending the book sprawling. After a few minutes of utter devotion, they scamper down and begin running up and down the train car.

We finally figure out they belong to the sleeping woman in the seat opposite me. She had a mesh carrying bag for the two little fluffballs that velcroed on the top. When she fell asleep, the two little dickenses got it open, wiggled out, and used the train as their playpen.

One passenger woke up the woman, who was mortified. I got into the aisle, and called the dogs, who raced each other to jump back into my arms. We maneuvered them back into their carrying case, closed the top, and that was that.

So we thought.

I went back to my book; the woman dozed off. Less than five minutes later, little paws tapped me and little pink tongues were licking my cheek.

So I let them sit in my lap until we reached my stop. Because they were so darned cute, who could resist?

There’s a lot of interesting information in Frankau’s book. However, her method of destroying her process notebooks and all her notes and her rough draft once she’s written a smooth draft makes my skin crawl. I keep everything, because I always go back to it at some point.

Yes, I went through a stage of burning bad poetry in the sink, but when you’re in your twenties living a life that’s not really who you are, you do stuff like that.

I did a bit of research on Frankau, because I’d never heard of her or read her work. She wrote about twenty or thirty books, with her first novel published at age twenty. Her father was a novelist and her grandmother a satirist. Her biographical entries talk more about her personal life than her writing, which I think is – sad? Inappropriate? A bit of both, I guess. She was involved with a married male poet for years, then stopped writing, then spent twenty or so years in a relationship with a female theatre director. Well, I hope she was happy and found what she wanted, but why isn’t there information about her writing, other than a list of books? Her book about writing was quite interesting, although I don’t agree with all of it. And the memoir bit in the back read like fiction trying to pose as non-fiction. She protested too much, if you know what I mean – five times a page stating how much she loved her father, when the actual actions related showed how difficult their relationship was.

I started reading Angela du Maurier’s memoir, It’s Only the Sister, which was published in 1951. She spends a great deal of time name dropping and talking about how witty the parties were – only they sound deadly dull on paper. Sometimes, in theatrical situations, you really do have to be there – no matter how faithfully you transcribe the event, it doesn’t translate. And, often, at these parties, the attendees aren’t anywhere near as clever as they think they are.

I need to get some writing done, in and around the errands and the Belmont.

Hope Clark has wonderful advice this week in her Funds for Writers newsletter about creating writing time when you’re juggling a family. As usual, her advice is clear-sighted and practical, without being judgmental. I think there are many writers (of both genders) who use their families as an excuse not to succeed as writers. Hey, if they’re tied up in family stuff all the time and “don’t have time” to write, then they’ll never fail, right? There are plenty (my friends among them), who are genuinely striving to juggle family time and writing time. But I constantly see those who won’t make the commitment. Which is fine, if you don’t want to. But then stop pretending that you want to. For instance, in the-forum-in-which-I’m-absent, there are two other published writers and thirty people who daily whine that “they don’t have time” or rail that the ONE place they sent their (badly spelled, poorly formatted) query rejected them and how dare anyone reject them?

An acquaintance of mine, who is an often-published writer and a marketing genius, told me I should just jettison the lazies. Don’t even respond to them on the forums anymore – he’s right, at this point, I can smell it in the first sentence if this is someone who’s serious about writing or just another whining dilettante. And his theory is, hey, the more wanna-bes there are who don’t get around to the work, the more of the pie is left for those who do. Save the “tough love” energy for the students who are paying me for my time and experience.

In and around all the Situational interruptions, I got ideas for a few more stories. I’m not sure what any of them will turn out to be – although one, I suspect, will be a novel to be written somewhere down the line. It makes the most sense to set in 1940, with one of the last passenger lines coming to New York from the UK with some children on it visiting a family friend to get them out of Britain during the war. However, my American characters seem to want to live 20 years earlier, during WWI. The English children on the ship don’t care which decade they live in, as long as they don’t have to stay on the ship indefinitely. I need to research some details about both eras more closely and then decide what fits the story best. Because the war (whichever war it turns out to be) is a backdrop, not a focus. Its shadow will affect the daily lives of these children, but there are other reasons the group of them are together at this point in this place.

I also had the idea for another piece, a romantic comedy about the new craze of hiring male nannies (mannies). I figured, oh, I can dash this off in a few weeks. And then I started outlining, and it breaks formula (while still a romantic comedy) and has much more to do with current social issues than chick lit is supposed to. So we’ll see what to do about that.

And then, there are two stories where I met the characters, but don’t know what they’re doing yet.

So I took my notes, put them in my folders, mused about the treasure hunt piece, and, working in these dribs and drabs, the day wasn’t a total loss, although I couldn’t get done what I wanted to.

Another of the queries I sent out yesterday came back as a yes, which is also good news.

Enough musings. I need to get some work done. There’s a ghost in the Arizona rim country waiting for me to finish telling his story. On my way, Nate!

Devon

Friday, June 09, 2006

June 9, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

When my friend J. and I parted yesterday, he said, “May the glimmer of hope turn into a ray turn into a rainbow.”

Hold that thought, everyone.

I’m afraid to even start wondering what getting my life back would mean.

Sent off three queries in the morning, and by noon, got one affirmative. That’s the way I like it!

Finished, polished, and sent my column in the SDR.

The tourist information from Arizona came – I have the photos I need from Mogollan Rim to finish the story.

I was very restrained yesterday at Strand Books. I only bought four. I spent almost all my time in the “literary” section – the biographies and diaries of writers. I wanted to buy a new set of Virginia Woolf’s diaries, and they had some of them in nice hardcovers – but a bit out of my price range right now. I want to get a full set of her diaries and a full set of her letters hardbound. I think I’ll wait until I have the space and the income to get a really good set and have a bookseller hunt them down and buy them all together.

Books I bought: Pen to Paper by Pamela Frankau; It’s Only The Sister by Angela du Maurier (yes, that du Maurier); Poemcrazy by Susan Wooldbridge; and Lady Tennyson’s Journal. I looked for Sir Walter Scott’s journals. They had an entire shelf full of biographies about him, but not his journals. They are available for download on the Guttenberg Project, but I’d rather have a volume I can cart around with me.

Came up with two excellent book titles – no I’m not sharing yet. Now I have to figure out the books that go with them.

J. and I went to my favorite hangout in the neighborhood, Cedar Tavern on University Place, for a good lunch, and then we wandered around the Village for a bit and walked back up to midtown.

I was so tired last night that I went to bed at 9:30. Even the faint hope that all the misery could be over in a month makes me realize how close to breakdown I’ve been for the past weeks.

If things truly are resolved, then I can start making plans. But first, I need to take some time of, thinking about everything and nothing.

I have to get my hair cut today -- with all the events this weekend, I can’t go looking like a scarecrow.

And, today, I want to finish the ghost story, so I can revise it over the weekend, and send it off on Monday.

The wonderful freelancer Kristen King (inkthinker) tagged me, so here goes:

Four jobs I’ve had:
--administrator for a non-profit
--wardrobe on Broadway
--stage manager off-Broadway
--playwright

Four Movies I can watch over and over:
--Finding Neverland
--The Maltese Falcon
--Casablanca
--Star Wars (the original)

Four Places I’ve lived:
--New York, NY
--Tallahassee, FL
--San Francisco, CA
--Seattle, WA
There are more, but I’m only allowed to list four.

Four TV shows I love:
--Rescue Me
--The West Wing
--Grey’s Anatomy

--whatever I’m working on at the moment

Four Highly Recommended Shows I Haven’t Seen Much of:
--um, I usually work nights at the theatre, so it doesn’t really matter.
Let’s see:
--House
--ER
--Deadwood
( I really want to see this one, but don’t have HBO)


Four Places I’ve Vacationed:
--Scotland
--Cannes
--Lake Como, Italy
--New Mexico

Four of my favorite dishes:
--mashed potatoes
--warm banana pudding
--scallop fettucine
--steak au poivre


Four Sites I visit daily:
--About Freelance Writing
--The Daily Racing Form
--The Hollywood Reporter
--all the blogs linked to the right

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now:
--Scotland
--Montreal
--Iceland
--Cape Cod

Four Bloggers I’m tagging:
--Sagie (Granny Grumbles)
--Lorianne (Hoarded Ordinaries)
--Angela Miller
--Debra Young (Pendrifter)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thursday, June 8, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

There is a glimmer of hope in The Situation. I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m afraid to be genuinely happy, but there’s hope. We’ll know more in a few days, and after June 30. But there’s hope.

Yesterday grew better as the day wore on. I received an email from an editor hiring me for a series of short articles (I hadn’t even queried yet), and requests from two other editors for pitches, all of which are due tomorrow.

I plan to finish my column today and send it to SDR tomorrow at the latest.

No work done on the ghost story or Real, because, again, the entire day was caught up in The Situation. Looking over the work I’ve had to turn down over the past six months, I estimate I lost $30,000 in income because of The Situation. At least.

On the editor front regarding Real: called the editor at her office; was re-routed to the front desk. Turns out the editor quit unexpectedly due to some personal crisis, leaving everything all topsy turvy, around Memorial Day Weekend. The receptionist connected me to the editorial assistant who’s been given the job of cleaning out the office and trying to figure out what’s going on with various projects. Some manuscripts the editor took with her when she left, but there are piles and piles and piles of them all over the office. I talked to the EA for a few minutes – I’ve had to do what she’s doing, and it’s no fun. Since we agreed that if I told her the name of the book, she’d write it on a sticky note and it would get lost, I suggested writing a formal letter to her (the EA), with the short version of my initial contact to the editor and our discussion, and a list of materials. If it’s still in the office, the EA will take a look at it, and, if it passes her first read, will pass it on; if not, she’ll send me a formal rejection. If it’s not in the office and the query sounds like something they’d like to take a look at, they’ll request a partial. Since there’s no way of knowing how long this process will take, it’s not on exclusive read, and I will submit queries/manuscripts anywhere I wish in the interim. It takes pressure off them, but doesn’t prevent me from selling it elsewhere, if I choose. If the original editor has the manuscript and decides she wants to do something with it, it’s up to her to contact me and make a firm offer – no one is sure if she’s going to another job, taking time off, or striking out on her own. I’m also writing a formal letter to her that the company will forward to the home address they have for her, stating that, in light of her situation, she’s still welcome to read and comment on the partials, but it is not an exclusive.

Of course, I skipped the bit about it being a first draft and it’ll be awhile before I feel comfortable shopping it anywhere! The original editor pushed me to submit material and I met that commitment; since I do not have an answer from her within the agreed-upon time frame, all bets are off in the original agreement, but all this paperwork covers everyone. It gives me the freedom to keep working on the book and make it the best it can be, and keeps the doors open to two potential editors without locking myself into something that could drag on for months or years.

So, yesterday was about dealing with the business end of things instead of the creative end, although I did work on some of the pitches due tomorrow.

I’m going back to work on the column now, and then I’m going to meet my friend J, in from London, down at Strand Books for the afternoon. I can just picture the staff: “Come here, little girl . . .” only instead of candy, they’re seducing me with books.

Regarding Ann Coulter: stop giving her the attention she craves. She’s completely insane. And, if you watch her talk – her surface may be attractive, but, as she speaks, her eyes mush up and get small and seed-like, her face twists up – it’s really like demon possession out of The Exorcist. Her ugly, mutilated soul comes through. There’s a reason her new book came out on The Day of the Beast.

June 8: years ago, I worked on the wonderful playwright Anna Cascio’s play June 8, 1968 . . .set against the backdrop of the Robert Kennedy assassination. Every June 8, I remember what a lovely experience it was to work on that play.

Devon

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I did not want to get out of bed this morning. There just doesn’t seem to be a point.

The Situation is getting, if possible, even more complicated, and the Other Side does nothing but mock the justice system. You know what? I’d like to know why the so-called justice system allows it.

As soon as I got home last night, I had to do five more hours’ worth of work on things in regard to it. 5-7 hours per day, almost every day. It’s ridiculous.

A friend is in town from London, and I have to figure out when to see him.

I should be running errands this morning, but I don’t feel like it.

I have to finish the first draft of the ghost story today, and come up with some pitches that area due no later than Friday.

I have to call the potential editor and find out what’s wrong with her email and what the status is of Real, in regards to her interest.

May and Amy is a fascinating book, and I’m having trouble putting it down. I would much rather spend the day in bed reading it than doing any of the things I’m supposed to do.

Just ick today. That’s all. Ick.

One positive note: My pre-Belmont article, here on FemmeFan:

http://www.femmefan.com/site/featuredarticles/Betting%20This%20Years%20Belmont.htm

So that’s a positive.

And, as soon as I’m done here, I’ll post this week’s exercise on the Scruffy Dog Review Blog. It is Wednesday, and I am having fun with the exercises. Maybe that’ll get me inspired to get back to the page.

And I have to figure out what to wear to the Belmont party on Saturday and the Tony Awards party on Sunday. Men have it so easy. They can slap on a tux and are good to go.

Devon

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

June 6, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and Pleasant.

6-6-06.

Instead of quivering on this date, I hope to use its energy against The Evil One, who’s supposed to win in the Situation today. Let’s hope that he doesn’t. It’s about time the Karma Dogs paid him a little visit. So why be afraid when the energy millions of people are projecting on to the day can be useful?

I lost yesterday, writing-wise, completely, due to the Situation, and it pisses me off.

Especially since, today, I’m at the theatre.

On a positive note, I’m doing a query challenge with a friend. We committed to sending out twelve queries during the month of June.

I sent out my first one yesterday morning, and by noon, I was hired. I’ve got an article due August 1, 2500 words. It won’t go to print until next summer, but it’s for one of the annuals. The editor also asked me for pitches for another annual he’s doing. I’ll have those to him by tomorrow.

Later in the day, I saw another job on Craig’s List, located near Boston, but where I can telecommute, that sounds like tons of fun. So I queried. Hopefully, I’ll hear back from them positively, too.

So I did two little tiny writing things. The rest of the writing (and there was plenty of it) was in dealing with The Situation.

I managed to cook pork chops for dinner last night, with a nice, thick sage gravy, so it wasn’t a total loss. I’m finally getting re-interested in food. I’m still congested and my throat hurts, but, if I’m hungry again, it’s a step in the right direction.

Another box of books from Strand arrived: Venice: Lion City by Gary Wills; The City of Florence: Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings by RWB Lewis; and May and Amy: A True Story of Family, Forbidden Love ,and the Secret Lives of May Gaskell, Her Daughter Amy, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones by May’s granddaughter, a cookbook writer named Josceline Dimbleby.

I’ll read the first two for the revisions of Real. I’m already reading the latter, and it is fascinating.

Off to the theatre today. I’m carting Real along (it’s getting more difficult, since the manuscript is now 249 pages), hoping to work on it either on the train or on my break.

I spent far too much time trying to get my PrimoPDF converter to work. I thought I’d try it out – I’m looking at that, NitroPDF and Docudesk, to see what’s going to serve me best as an interim PDF secure converter until I can afford to go all out with the Adobe Creative Suite. I did everything the Primo manual said, and it still won’t save/convert into PDF. It just sits there and stares at me.

When I’m pretty sure I have a few free days, I’ll download the trial version of Nitro, and see if that works. Open Office has a GREAT PDF converter, but no security feature, and, for what I need to do in PDF, I have to be able to lock the file.

I’ll give Primo one more try tomorrow morning; if it doesn’t do what I need it to do, it’s time to Uninstall. I have no time for this crap. It either does what I’ve hired it to do, or it’s gone.

I’m also REALLY sick of Microsoft reshuffling my files whenever it feels like it. If I want to place a document in a specific path to go into a specific file, save it THERE, dammit, don’t change it during the “save as” function.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: the dumbest thing I ever did was not go Mac in the beginning.

Oh -- the email I sent to the potential editor of Real bounced back yesterday; I'm going to call her office tomorrow and see what's going on.

Devon

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday, June 5, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy


Interesting experience yesterday. I’m trying to figure it out myself, so I will try to present it without commenting on it too much.

As I slogged through the over-indulgence of Sunday newspapers – a bad habit of mine – I read through various book reviews from various sources. I always do, I like to see what’s out there. The reviews themselves do little to convince me to buy a book – if something looks interesting, I’ll buy it no matter what.

Amongst all the piles of reviews were reviews of two books by writers I can’t stand, either as writers or human beings. I find both of their writings mediocre or worse. And as people – in my opinion, one of them is a drama queen narcissist who manufacturers crises to make herself a heroine/get attention, and the other is a dilettante who’s never had to earn a living and likes the idea of being a writer more than the actual writing.

However, when I read both of the negative reviews, I found myself wanting to defend both of these writers whom I don’t particularly like or respect on any level.

This is the reason: thousands of people claim they love to write, want to be a writer, will write when they “have time” or “get around to it.” I’d say maybe 5% of that group every actually sticks a butt on a chair and makes the attempt, and maybe a half a percent of that 5% ever finishes something.

These two writers finished. They both wrote something they cared deeply about, something important to them, and they stuck it out. Right there, they deserve a parade. Okay, so I won’t go and I won’t be flinging confetti, but they finished their books. And that’s commendable and important.

I was deeply surprised by my response. I thought I’d dance with glee at their bad reviews. Because I’m not a nice enough person not to do that. Yet I didn’t feel happy at all. And I kept trying to, really, I did. But, I felt as though I should defend them.

Perhaps the writing family works on the same level as any dysfunctional family – we can have our problems with each other, but if an outsider attacks, watch out.

It was . . .interesting.

Felt lousy all day. The cold, instead of packing its bags and leaving, has decided to unpack once again and extend its vacation. I don’t like being a resort for germs.

Almost useless writing day. I managed to get out the pre-Belmont Stakes article – fortunately, I knew what I was talking about.

I’m dancing around this next sequence of Real instead of dealing with it, because it’s hard. However, until I actually put something down on paper, I have nothing to fix.

I have an idea for another way to attack the other proposal, but don’t know if I can pull it off.

And I have several pitches that have to go out to editors today.

Also, the beginning of the morning will be taken up in errands and paperwork for The Situation.

I need to make serious progress on the ghost story, because I still need time to revise. It needs to go out next Monday, and the upcoming weekend is the Belmont Stakes.

Of course, the only thing I feel like doing is crawling back in to bed.

Public Television stations in New York, Boston, and LA have come to new contract terms with the WGA. Good. Some of the best and most precisely researched programs are written for public television. Writers deserve to be paid at a good rate for that work. Producers need to stop putting the bulk of a film’s budget into actor perks like entourages and luxury accommodations, and onto the screen. Without the writer, there wouldn’t be a blueprint from which to shoot.

I should be angling to work on the Spiderman 3 shoot here in New York over the next five weeks. However, the lead actor’s entourage is reported to be 50. 50 extra people hanging around on set, getting in the way. I’m not talking about him bringing in his own hair and make-up people and an assistant (although he probably has). I’m talking that he needs a posse of 50 around him on set, which is, in my opinion, ridiculous. It doesn’t show he’s important – it shows he lacks self-esteem and the ability to entertain himself. Not only is that unnecessary, it’s detrimental to the work. It would set my teeth on edge, so why put myself in that situation? I’ll skip it.

People wonder why their ticket prices skyrocket. It’s not because, as management claims, the union cameramen, soundmen, propmen, wardrobe crew are asking for ridiculous raises. They want a living wage for working inhuman hours. It’s because producers are paying for that type of actor perk, which translates into feeding 50 extra people, transporting 50 extra people, etc., etc., etc., who aren’t contributing to the work. Not to mention outfitting the trailers with whatever perks the actors managed to get into their contract.

Yet another reason why I want to make the transition out of this work and into full time writing.


Devon

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sunday, June 4 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I was awakened at 5:30 by a crash outside. Someone was hanging around the building, when they shouldn’t, especially in light of everything that’s been going on. I watched the erratic behavior for awhile (staring at the building, trying car door handles, pissing in the bushes), got dressed and went down, but, by the time I got there, he was gone. With The Situation escalating, we can’t take any chances. He might have been a drunk kid on his way home from a busy Saturday night. Or not.

Yes, The Situation got worse again yesterday, which threw a wrench into my writing day.

But it wasn’t all lost. I got six pages done on Real. They’re done with Prague and now they’re in Tahiti. In Tahiti comes the major plot/character development to which the book has been building since early in the Scottish section. It has to be handled carefully, which means I’ll work more slowly for the next few days. If it’s heavy-handed or clichéd, it cheats both the audience and the characters. And, since the last third of the book rests on this axis, it’s important to get it right.

The proposal I’m working on isn’t working at all, which is frustrating.

I did five pages on the ghost story. As the character relationship develops between Caitlin and Nate mostly through dialogue, it’s taking longer than I anticipated. I thought the story would run ten pages; now it’s more likely to run twenty.

Read more in Callings, and there was a chapter that seemed to speak to the situation a friend of mine currently experiences. So I emailed her and told her to go out and get the book! I’m also trying to finish David Leavitt’s memoir on Florence.

I have to do more paperwork for the Situation today, because it has to be faxed first thing in the morning.

I want to work on Real. It’s nice to write about the beauty of French Polynesia when it’s so rainy and dreary here! Although a rainstorm is part of the catalyst for this next section. And I want to do more work on the ghost story.

The cold, which was getting better, has gotten worse again, so I’m still not feeling completely myself.

And The Situation doesn’t help, either.

Devon

PS Yesterday, I shot out of bed at 6 AM, cats flying everywhere, because the downstairs neighbor turned on his jazz music full blast; this morning, I was up before he was because of the loiterer, but when I got home, he’d started the organ music (in honor of Sunday, I guess). I like his choice of music; I just wish it was on a bit more quietly, especially during extremes of the day.