Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday, April 30, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Only 9 pages on Real yesterday, which means I need to write, I think, 16 today to hit 100.

The Evil One’s latest antics caused an upsetting distraction, making it hard to pull my focus back and write.

I can’t lose a contract because of this evil son-of-a-bitch.

Yes, I’m swearing on a Sunday, but if any of you had to cope with this, you would, too.

The rare book sale was interesting – especially since I already own at least 30% of the books on offer! It’s the sale of someone’s private collection – guess we have similar tastes. I bought In Quest of Clocks (because I love clocks) by Kenneth Ullyett, and The Fiction Factory, about 100 years of Street & Smith, who turned out story papers, penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and some pretty darned good books over the years. The book is exactly what I need for The Fun Project.

Wrote for a few hours, struggling, but have started the second section of the book (on page 79, thank goodness, not page 100 as I feared). They’re still in Ayr, but by today, I should have them as far as Glencoe.

I had to figure out the details of the film shot within the story, then break that down as any production manager/line producer would to know when and where I had to move everything (since films are shot out of sequence) in order to write chronologically. So, basically, I had to figure out a full screenplay and break it down yesterday into a production schedule in order to write the nine pages of the novel that I managed to write.

Acupuncture was great, although getting there was difficult, due to traffic and badly driven SUVs – I nearly got into an accident when two of them tried to squish me, one on each side, because they were far too busy illegally talking on their cell phones to pay attention to the fact that they couldn’t change lanes right at that moment.

My acupuncturist did a lot of work on the feet. Although they’re healing fairly well, there’s still discomfort and swelling.

Came home and needed to let the treatment settle.

Watched Finding Neverland – again. It’s one of my favorite movies. And I’m always a weepy mess by the end of it. But it’s beautifully done and delicately acted. Put together a good script with a cast more interested in good work than fame or marketing, and you get an excellent product.

I have to write a piece for FemmeFan today about next weekend’s Kentucky Derby (it’s Derby week again already? It seems like just a month or two ago that my friend won the Derby, and it was already a year). And I want to do this week’s writing exercise in preparation for Wednesday’s SDR blog entry (the column is written; the exercise I’m doing along with the columns is not).

So, I better buckle down and get to work. Went to the market this morning to get in some fresh vegetables, so I can cook tonight.

Driving Lessons, with Julie Walters, Laura Linney and Rupert Grint, debuts tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival. I wanted to go, but I have a meeting regarding The Situation.

On this week’s NYT Best Seller list there is nothing on the hard cover list, either fiction or non-fiction that I’m interested in reading, and only one book on the paperback list, The Mermaid Chair.

Guess my tastes are different than the mainstream. Like that’s a surprise. But how does that bode for my own work?


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

19 pages on Real. The story’s still flowing well, but the body’s a bit tired, which slows things down. I’m 74 pages into it, and the characters are still in Ayrshire. I have a feeling the structure of the book will be in thirds – the first third in Ayrshire, the second third at all the locations around the world, the third third where the characters try to integrate what’s happened and build on it. It’s fun to write about life behind-the-scenes – rehearsal process, creative process, etc., in a realistic way. In books, it’s always jokey or melodramatic or fake soap opera because, most of the time, the author only reads People and watches Entertainment Tonight, or maybe, maybe took a walk around a set one day, but hasn’t actually worked on one.

The truth is, if the product is going to be any good, people are working their butts off, and, for the most part, making the effort to get along. There’s just as much drama and conflict in struggling to remain professional and cordial with people getting on your last nerve during a 20-hour workday in snow and sleet and rain with studio morons who lack creative talent but hold the purse strings demanding changes that don’t make sense.

And sometimes, the people working on a production pour in heart, soul, and good intentions, and it still goes off the rails somewhere and doesn’t work.

Did some work on the apartment.

Another development – and not a good one – in The Situation. The Evil One times it carefully, so it happens after business hours on a Friday, when the agencies who make the rules are off for the weekend, and everyone’s weekend is ruined.

Breakfast is ready (bacon and eggs), and then my friend and I are going to the rare book sale down at the library. After that, it’s off to acupuncture. I hope I get back in time to catch a few races and/or the end of the Rangers/Devils game. The Rangers may well be eliminated today. I hope Jagr doesn’t get hurt again, if he insists on playing injured (which I’m sure he will).

Ah, the rare books are calling . . .

And then, it’s more pages on Real. I want to hit page 100 by Sunday night, type (and, well, revise, because it’s me) those pages and get them off by mid-day Monday. I’d rather do several revisions, but if I want to grab this opportunity, I need to step up and cough up good work fast.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

27 pages on Real. I’ve written 55 pages in 3 days and, for the most part, am happy with them.

Not that they won’t need revision along the way, but the book is cooking along well.

Started typing the first three chapters, so I can get them off to my potential editor by Monday, to see if she’s serious about this.

That was my day. In total.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

I love the optimism of the new moon, where it feels like anything and everything is possible!

Sixteen pages on Real yesterday, and a few pages on the mystery as well. All in all, a good writing day.

I split the writing into two sessions – one early in the morning, and one late at night. Both were quite productive. I used music for the second session – Jim Sutherland, Mary J. Blige, Springsteen, Tellu – sounds like a weird mix, but it worked.

In between, I ran errands, went grocery shopping – hard to make an omelet with a single egg, and, heaven forefend, I was nearly out of coffee! Plus, I paid off a massive debt that’s been a monkey on my back for the past few years. Once the confirmation of receipt is received, I’ll truly feel like a weight’s been lifted.

Did some character work on the flash fiction writing exercise from the Dog Blog. Not quite ready to write yet, but I have my characters and I have the thread of the piece. Keeping it to 500 words will be the biggest challenge. It’s inspired by the article I clipped on wounded GIs being billed for their care and the accounts being turned over to collection agencies. Pretty disgusting.

Oh, and the moron that calls himself President thinks that repealing environmental laws will help bring down gas prices and preserve the environment? How can anyone be that out of touch with reality?

If the prices were a true result of supply-and-demand geopolitics, the oil companies would not be raking in profits in the billions. The profits should be going back into the companies to transfer over to renewable energy sources, not into executives’ pockets. In fact, all executive salaries should be slashed down to a ceiling of $85,000 a year until the manipulated “oil crisis” is solved. The only place one can’t live comfortably on $85,000 a year is New York. They can earn back a percentage of their previous salaries dependant on how successful new strategies are implemented that actually help the people buying the product. Yeah, they can’t indulge themselves and spoil their families, but maybe then they’d do some work for a living for a change and come up with solutions, instead of just raping the everyday consumers’ wallets.

I have to admit, I don’t have sympathy with the people in the SUVs whining about high gas prices. Few people need an SUV, most of them drive them badly (if the regulations are the same light ones as those for trucks, the driver should have to get a truck license to drive one, because around here, most people can’t responsibly drive SUVs and 90% of the accidents around here are caused by SUV drivers, mostly talking on their cell phones). And maybe if some of these overindulged suburban brats had to walk to school or bike to after school activities once in awhile, they wouldn’t be obese. I’m sorry, but a 16 year old doesn’t need a Hummer from Mommy and Daddy so he can drive it two blocks to school to impress his friends. He can walk to school, get a job and buy his own car.

(I know I’m going to get an email from a pro athlete I know in his early twenties who drives a Hummer – honey, you bought that with your own money and you drive everyone else around all the time and do the errands for all the elderly neighbors – you’ve earned it. Though I still don’t like Hummers).

Good yoga session this morning. I took my friend’s advice and paid attention during the session. Often, I find my mind wanders to the writing while I’m doing a pose, and that’s just as bad as having the television on. It negates the purpose of the session, which is to bring you in touch with your body, not remove you even farther.

However, writing up until I fell asleep, I slept the book and woke up feeling like I’d been very busy all night.

Back to the page.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Work was fine yesterday.

I had an unofficial conversation with an editor interested in my work and spun out a bit of an idea. The editor’s enthusiastic. I explained that this was only in idea stage, and I was just talking off the top of my head. The editor wants to know how quickly I can cough something up. Since I expect this to run about 300 pages, I need awhile.

Taking a page (pun intended) from Mildred Wirt Benson’s career, with a great deal of discipline and little distraction, I’m shooting for a first draft by the end of May. Whether I can actually do it or not is something else.

I’m going to do a few chapters, polish and send them with an “are you serious about this?” letter and we’ll go from there. I’d like to nail down a contract before committing to the full 300 pages, even though I don’t have the track record yet to make that demand.

The working title of the piece is Real and I can’t talk much about it because it’s still in a delicate stage. The plot moves to several locations around the world; the theme is discerning the difference between real and illusion when you’re in the business of creating illusion.

I wrote a rough writer’s outline yesterday and the first ten pages. I’d have written more, but ran out of arm. My arm was sore from the theatre – in addition to the regular work, there were several principal turnovers.

I also need to finish the first draft of the mystery this week, so I can let it sit, revise it next week and get it off to that editor before she forgets she requested it.

“Writing in my head” while I do the day work seems to work pretty well. I can’t do it on a film set or actually working a show, because that required a good deal of concentration, but while I’m prepping, I work out quite a bit in my head and then it flows easily when I sit down at the page.

I could probably work faster if I sat down at the computer and composed directly on that; however, with my weird schedule, I have to carry the work around with me and work whenever I can. Since I can’t switch out on a project between longhand and computer – I know, weird, but that’s me – I’m doing the first draft in longhand. I prefer first drafts in longhand anyway – the quality tends to be better than on screen, because more thought goes in to every word, even when it flows.

I have to work on the apartment today, so I’ll write in my head for a bit, then get it on the page, then write in my head as I work on the apartment, then put it on the page. Hopefully, it will be a productive day.

I also have a stack of letters to write and some more proposals to go out.

The Evil One was slithering around the building yesterday, so I hear. He better not become a distraction again – I don’t want to lose this opportunity.

The Circadian Poem will be up later today – I’m having trouble with posting on that site. I haven’t tried Dog Blog yet – Part II of the Exercise goes up today. I hope you’ll do these exercises with me over the next few weeks. Because yes, even with this other writing, I’m going to do the exercises. It will be a good break.

Happy Writing!


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Yesterday was a reasonably productive day. I should have spent it putting the apartment back together. Instead, I spent it writing. Which is my preference, anyway.

I worked on some samples so that, when I need to send them with pitches, they’re ready. It never ceases to amaze me how much time that takes – you’d think, with cutting and pasting and copying, it should b easy. But there’s heading it properly and getting the credit and the copyright on and all the rest. Did a bit of reworking on the resumes, but not finished. I prefer bio paragraphs to resumes anyway.

Did 13 pages on the mystery story. I figure I’m close to half way through – maybe just under. I figure it’ll run 25-30 pages, handwritten. I’ve wanted to use this character for years, and in a mystery, but couldn’t figure out the context. Moving the location from Florida to New Hampshire made it flow. Setting tends to be an additional character in my work, and New Hampshire had something to say in this story.

Finished Girl Sleuth. Very, very interesting. Finally, someone who’s balanced Harriet Adams’ love for the characters of the syndicate with Mildred Wirt Benson’s. Usually, whoever writes about it decides that one or the other is the “real” creator and takes a side. This book shows how and why both women felt so strongly about the creations. I highly recommend it to writers – it has some fascinating insight into process and balancing work and family life.

Last night, watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which I’d never bothered to see in the theatre. I found it quite interesting – an okay movie that had the potential to be a GREAT movie and fell short. The characters had some lovely moments, but, unfortunately, the action sequences were overly long and focused on violence for violence’s sake instead of using it to further the story. In the sequence where the League tries to prevent the sinking of Venice, yes, I can see stretching it out. You’re going to rebuild miniature Venice and an alternate Venice in Prague and then show it collapsing, you want all that damn work to show up on screen! And it was quite well done. But the sequences inside the fortress, near the end – they didn’t work. And they sacrificed character for violence in the editing. A deleted scene was shown – it’s after Jekyll/Hyde has accepted both sides of himself and saved the overly ostentatious submarine and everyone in it, and Tom Sawyer’s talking about Huck Finn and M’s mistake bringing them together. The dialogue was not brilliant by any means, but the information in that particular scene was important to the rest of the story – and it was cut, which was a mistake. Plus, Shane West, who played Tom Sawyer, managed to do it simply and with that special light touch that only an actor can achieve in the right moment to make it work. I’d watch the movie again just for that one scene – yet it was deleted in the movie.

It was obviously meant to be the first of a series, and, had it just set the bar a bit higher for itself, it could have been very successful. I would have gone on more journeys with these characters – although I didn’t see why the 20th century inventions plunked into the 19th century had to be so over scale (other than the car). You don’t need a submarine the size of a city – yes, some of the visuals were great in the scene between Jekyll and Nemo, but let the actors do their thing and rely less on the sets. Um, I think someone would have noticed that enormous sub that’s bigger than the Intrepid both in the Thames and in the Venice canals.

The filmmakers needed to convince me to make the leaps with them, instead of letting me sit back and go, “well, that almost worked.”

The reason comic book characters are popular is because the audience relates to them. Too often, when transferred to screen, the filmmakers get caught up in the spectacle – which often pushes the audience away – and forgets that the hook is the character.

Let’s face it – putting together Alan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Ishmael (boy, did I laugh), the Invisible Man, Tom Sawyer, Mina Harker, Dorian Gray, and Jekyll/Hyde – there’s so much room for character dynamic there. Thanks to the actors, we saw some of it. But it needed to take the next step. Shane West definitely pulled off his work the most convincingly, with Jason Flemyng a close second. Had Tony Curran been given more screen time (as the Invisible Man, I know, I know), he’d have been right up there, too.

And there was too much all-out fighting without enough individual opportunity to show each character’s extra-ordinariness.

It’s more frustrating when a movie just misses than when it misses by a mile. And this was close. But still missed.

Off to the theatre.

Hopefully, I can work more on the mystery on my break. I still have to come up with a title.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Raining and cool

Today’s Circadian Poem: “Compassion?” by Wren Fallon.

The migraine knocked me out yesterday, along with a slight fever. So, I gave myself the day off. It’s still bothering me today, but I have too much to do.

Found my article for the writing exercises. This week has been frustrating, because there are so few oddly interesting articles in the papers. I had two large Sunday papers yesterday, and it was a struggle to find anything even remotely interesting.

Watched the Red Wings-Oilers playoff game in the afternoon. It was excellent. Edmonton pulled off a surprising win. Raffi Torres, a player I’ve watched since his AHL days in Bridgeport, was, as usual, out there giving 3000%. JD called him “Tornado Torres”, which I thought was pretty funny. And accurate. Jason Stoll, another Oiler, blocked a puck with his foot. The first time, when asked how he was, he said, “It’s numb. It’s okay.” The second time he got hit, he said, “You know, I hope I don’t get hit again.” The third time a puck hit the same foot, he limped back to the bench and didn’t say anything.

If something like that happens in baseball, they have to stop the game and get the guy off on a stretcher.

The Red Wings are one of my favorite teams, so I was sorry to see them lose. However, I’m one of those people who wishes each round of the playoffs would go a full seven games, because I don’t want the hockey to stop.

I made some notes for something I’m calling “The Fun Project” which will take a few months to put together, but should be fun for lots of people, if it works.

Girl Sleuth is excellent. I always thought Mildred Wirt Benson wrote the Penny Parker series before she wrote Nancy Drew, and that she only did a few ND’s. I didn’t realize that she also wrote Kay Tracey (which I also enjoy) and the Dana Girls, not to mention some of the Ruth Fielding books and something called Doris Force.

Her productivity puts me to shame. But then, it was during the Depression, her husband was ill, she had a small child to raise, and she was out in Ohio. She was paid $85 for all rights to each manuscript. Sometimes it was as much as $125, but once the depression hit, it was $85. She was usually working on four or five books from different series at a time, turning them around in approximately three weeks or less.

I love the picture in the book of her at eighty-two, going up in a propeller plane in order to research one of her columns! Way to go, Mildred!

We had nearly four inches of rain yesterday; there’s a pause now, and then severe thunderstorms are being expected. My head’s ready to burst, so I wish they’d hit soon.

The story’s back out on its next submission, and I want to figure out what to send AHMM in response to their request. Time to go through everything, see if I’ve got anything appropriate, and, if I don’t . . .write something.

And there are certainly plenty of writing projects waiting not-so-patiently for attention.

I also have to redo a couple of resumes and send out some pitches today.

If the power goes out, I’ll work by candlelight.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

April 23 Part II

I’ve been thinking about what my acquaintance said about designing a personal fitness program – with the understanding that it will need to be redesigned every three to six months, because that’s how one progresses.

In order to do that, since I’m not a professional athlete and don’t even want to pretend to get up to that level, but do want more than “Daily Minimum Requirement” I have to answer some questions:

Q: What is the purpose of this program?

A: To improve the overall health and quality of life without going overboard at the beginning and getting discouraged. I want to build up strength gradually.

Q: Where’s the focus?

A: Strength and stamina.

Q: How do you get there?

A: Working on breath and strengthening the core will allow me to move on from there. If I start with where I want to finish – such as regaining the upper body strength I’ve lost via injury, I’m only sabotaging myself. That needs the strong core on which to build.

Specifically, I need the strength and stamina to haul clothes around; to stay at the desk writing for long periods of time; and to be on my feet for long days on set or long days of research.

I don’t do treadmills and I don’t do stationary bikes, period. If I’m going to work that hard, I want to end up somewhere else. I don’t like to run, but I do walk quite a bit. Here, I no longer bicycle, but, once I’ve relocated, I should think about investing in a bike and cycling again. Yoga helps with breath, posture, and core strength. When my posture is correct, my breath and my stamina improve.

I’m going to call or email my acquaintance and see if we can craft something together that’s not as extreme as something he’d live by, but something that helps me achieve, over time, my goals without burning myself out along the way.

Sunday, April 23, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Raining heavily and cool

We had a good group of cleaner-uppers yesterday and were done in less than two hours. Boy, did we “discover” a great many hubcaps and flip top cans and even a mattress! Everything was hauled down, sorted, and set nicely aside so it can be picked up by the DPW.

At one point, there was an egret standing on the rocks of the brook. He let me get pretty close to him to photograph, before flying off.

And yes, he’s the same color as the “snowy egret” trim I’m using in the apartment – the color is true to the bird! Absolutely lovely.

Took a bit of a break, and then the Tenants’ Organization had its picnic at the local recreation center. Plenty of food, lots of good times. The Rangers – Devils playoff game was on in one room, and I kept sneaking off to watch bits. The Devils pounded the Rangers 6-1. I’m sorry, but not surprised. The Rangers fought back from the last few seasons of hell quite well this year, and I’d hoped they’d have a good shot at least through the second round. But they’re tired. Too much has been placed on the now-injured body of Jagr and the recently injured Lundqvist.

Lots of good conversation – real conversation, not just party chatter. Two of the city councilors stopped by. I offered to help one with some proposal ideas on a project that’s close to his heart. He helped the tenants a lot in the past few months, and it’s my way of saying thank you.

On a sad note, I heard about a little ten year old boy struck down and killed by a van while riding his bicycle the other day. It turns out that the boy was a son of a classmate of mine in elementary school and high school. He’d never, in a million years, remember me, but I want to send my condolences anyway. It was a truly tragic accident.

Girl Sleuth arrived from Strand, and I’m enjoying it very much.

A migraine woke me up early this morning. I tried some of the yoga poses designed to relieve headache in the latest Yoga Journal. They’ve definitely helped, but it’s not completely gone yet.

Recently, I spoke to an acquaintance of mine who is a professional athlete. I told him how I wanted to go back to my daily yoga practice once the moon turns back to new (starting something during waning moon usually means you won’t finish it) and also, I think my arm is healed enough so I can start working out again. We had an interesting discussion about working out.

His belief is that most people are only interested in “Minimum Daily Requirement of Fitness”. They’re only working out because the doctor told them and/or because it’s trendy. He is insistent that one can’t seriously make progress if you’re working out while watching TV or reading a magazine. The point of working out is to be completely aware of your body during the entire process – only then will you become aware of how your individual rhythms work. Only then can you make the daily adjustments that are necessary to a truly successful, life-changing fitness program. His belief is that if someone is bored working out, there are several reasons: a) it’s the wrong work out for the individual, which he believes is the case at least 90% of the time; b) the person is simply a boring individual and believes it is the world’s job to entertain him because he’s incapable of the creativity and awareness of living an interesting life; c) the person is not serious about fitness and is only doing a workout due to pressure from someone else. That’s when one can’t stick to a fitness regimen. When you’re doing it because someone else – whether it’s a doctor or a lover – is trying to “make” you do it. It has to matter to the person working out, on much more than just a surface level.

I hadn’t thought it through to that extant, but I do agree. One reason I no longer go to health clubs is because I hate the televisions blaring on all the time. If I want to watch television, I sit down and watch television. I can’t stand having it on just as background noise to my life. When I work out, I’m concentrating on the work out. I don’t think it’s boring. That’s why I’m working out. I have a goal in mind – strengthening certain parts of my body, developing stamina, etc. I’m not like one of my neighbors in the building, who trains and competes in triathlons all over the country. I admire him, but just talking to him wears me out – he trained for eight hours yesterday in the rain! I want good health, and I don’t think you can attain it if the workout is an afterthought because you’re “multi-tasking” in your training.

I joke about it, calling it “mindful workout”, but hadn’t realized that yes, most professional athletes do believe in focusing on your body while you’re working out. It also minimizes injury, both in and out of the workout, because you’re in tune with your body. And, for a pro, the only way he or she can succeed is to be completely in sync, both mentally and physically.

The television show will wrap in a few weeks, and I have to figure out what to do next. Do I want to do television or film over the summer – good money, but being outside in all weathers, probably for a long, hot, humid summer? Do I want to go back to eight shows/week, getting home after 1 a.m., only one day off a week, but it’s air conditioned? Can I get the websites up and running (I’ve been working on them, and, with the painting done, I can spend more time on them) and use them to get enough freelance work? How do I finance a sabbatical – short or long – which I so desperately need?

All these questions must be answered between now and June.

I got a rejection a few days from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, which was a disappointment. However, one of the editors wrote me a lovely note on the letter, saying that, although they couldn’t use that story, did I have anything else to send them?

I’m so out of sync with my submissions that I don’t know. So, this week, I go back through everything and figure it out. Do I have any other mystery short stories that are unpublished? I honestly don’t know.

And, if I don’t, I better sit down and write one. KM Farnesworth, a character with whom I’ve wanted to do something for years, now wonders if maybe it’s her turn to come forward.

And this story goes into another envelope and goes out again on Monday.

I’m looking forward to the writing exercises I’m posting on the SDR blog over the next few weeks. I’ve been diligently clipping the articles, and wondering what the final products will be. Even though I know the exercises, and I’m doing them along with whomever wishes to participate, the point of them is to try new creative things, and I just never know what’s going to come up.

House-and-home stuff on the agenda today. It’s rainy and I don’t want to wander too far. There’s still a lot of stuff moved around for the painting that doesn’t have a place to be right now, and I have to figure out what gets packed away and where.

And then, writing. I want to work on Celestial Summer and maybe get back to Clear the Slot.

Boy, is it raining out there! The brook was almost at its banks yesterday. I hope it doesn’t overflow today.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Raining and cool
Earth day

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

What are YOU doing to tend to the planet?

It’s great to have this day for awareness and celebration, but we need to think in terms of everyday stewardship. I’m trying to make changes in what I do each day – it’s a slow process, but by implementing one change, then another, than another, I hope I can do my part.

Because yes, it does affect you, and saying “you don’t have time” is a cop out.

One big transition is eco-friendly cleaning products. That’s a combination of want-to and have-to because I’ve developed allergies to many of them. In fact, I can’t walk down the aisle with the cleaning products in it anymore, because inhaling the scents of that many products concentrated in a small space makes me ill.

I haven’t given up Comet, but only use it about once a month for the most severe work.

What I’m wrestling with right now is the advice to transform light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent light bulbs. I hate fluorescent lighting and it gives me headaches. Plus, I can’t see to work either in writing or sewing under fluorescent lighting. Everything is flattened out and begins to blur. I have to investigate more and see if these are a different kind of fluorescent lighting or what. I want to save energy, but I also have to save my eyes. So that’s a big dilemma for me right now.

The easiest switch was to fair trade organic coffee.

This morning, at eight, a big group of people from the town has volunteered to clean up the public spaces, parks, the brook, etc., as part of Earth Day. Think of me in the rain. I’m well dressed. As in old jeans and a Belmont Park sweatshirt with the rain slicker from Cornwall over it, and Timberlands. And heavy work gloves.

So we’ve got all these people working in the rain today (3 inches expected), and the DPW “can’t” give us garbage bags. We have to supply our own.

And they wonder why more people don’t volunteer! Go out to CVS, guys, buy a bunch of bags, and hand them out. I seriously doubt anyone would question $20 from petty cash for garbage bags.

So that's what we've done. Gone to somewhere to buy bags ourselves. The bag buyer was out looking for eco-friendly bags.

Yoga Journal has a great series of poses to relieve headaches, which I will begin to implement. They also have a “meditation for reconciliation” which sounds fantastic. I’m going to try it during my “100 Days” sit today.

Yes, we’re sitting for another 100 Days, and it’s wonderful. I feel like I broke through quite a bit last round, and this round I’m actually finding some peace.

Not much peace on my day yesterday, though.

Note to parents of badly behaved children: it is NOT cute for your four year old to take the gum out of her mouth and stick it in the well-dressed woman’s hair in the seat in front of her. And it is completely inappropriate for you to yell at the woman who now has to go get the gum cut out her hair before her important meeting, because YOU think she’s making too big a deal out of YOUR badly-behaved daughter’s behavior. You should be begging to pay for her haircut. AND apologizing profusely.

And you better believe I told the stupid cow just that.

If your kids can’t behave like decent human beings in public, leave them home. Or, when they misbehave, let them know it’s not acceptable.

The poor woman with the gum! I felt so badly for her. She was practically in tears.

I went down to the Village. It was tempting to walk around Nina’s haunts (Tapestry), but I didn’t. I stuck to Celeste’s world.

With a pit stop at the Ash Building (now the Brown Building) on Washington Place where 146 people died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911, because the owners locked the doors to the fire escape. 146 people dead in 18 minutes. Most of them women. Who weren’t considered “citizens” because they did not have the right to vote, and the court basically shrugged off the wrongful death suit brought against the owners. A candlelight vigil was held for the dead, through Washington Square Park and up Fifth Avenue. The police were ordered to break it up, because there were fears of union organization. Instead, the police joined the silent march. Too many of them had watched people die that day.

August Belmont, of Belmont Park Race Track, went to Washington, DC after that, and helped craft our Workers’ Compensation law, which reads much the same today as it did then. He believed if an owner made a profit from the sweat of a worker, he had a moral and must have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment.

It is one of the reasons I am so pro-union. Read about the abuses these women lived through in New York, Fall River, etc. at the turn of the 20th century. And never buy a Wal-Mart blouse again. Because it’s still going on. In fact, several sweat shops in New York City were closed a couple of years ago for the exact same reasons. Fortunately, the city inspectors found them and shut them down before another fire.

I’ve been playing with the idea to write play about it for at least five years. However, last year, I realized that it’s far too vast a scope for a play (from a cost point of view), and needs to be a novel.

So I’m thinking of all this, I turn to avoid a sawhorse, my eyes are still full of the sky and the architecture at the top of the building, and I trip. The sawhorse is partially down, not up, but I couldn’t see it from around the corner, and I fell. Camera went flying, I went flying. New jeans torn, knees and hands bloody. Camera fine, though (thank you, Canon, for such excellent products).

I picked myself up and continued my walk, feeling a bit shaken, and pretty angry at NYU for just leaving that crap there because they’re too lazy to clean it up. Believe me, the barricade wasn’t doing anything except sitting there in the way; it had obviously been just pushed aside and left because it wasn’t used. So put it away already? Were you brought up with servants or something?

Washington Square Park was lovely and in bloom. Took a picture of the arch looking up Fifth Avenue – the arch that low-budget productions try to pass off as Paris in oh, so many film and television productions.

Traipsed around the West Village. I’m trying to decide if I want to set Celeste’s apartment on Minetta St. or on Grove St. I think I found the perfect building on Grove St., with a tiny, fenced in garden to the side.

Le Figaro Café, where I wrote most of my college papers, is still there. All the other corner bistros have changed. I ate at Caffe Del Marre, which used to be the MacDougal and serve great burgers and beers. I had smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, and a rather weak coffee. The food was good, the coffee left a lot to be desired. Part of me thought I should have just gone to my old faithful.

Washed out my wounds with soap and water. I regret that, the first time out in the new LL Bean jeans, I’ve ruined them.

Took the subway up to work – missed the E at W. 4th, caught the C express and caught up with the same E at 42nd to go to 50th. That’s NYC subway travel!

Work was fine. My supervisor had some magic ointment (which turned out to be Duane Reade store brand) and the scrapes felt better immediately. Wanted to stop off for a glass of wine on the way home, then remembered it was Friday, and the office workers would be desperately combing the bars trying to hook up for the weekend. So I skipped it. All I wanted was a quiet glass of wine in solitude. I can do that at home and not have to fend off talkative hopefuls who are talking about things that don’t matter to me.

Calgary won Game 1 against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs. Go, Calgary!

Emailed LL Bean to ask for a fabric swatch so I could patch the jeans. They emailed me back within an hour – they couldn’t send a swatch, so they sent me a replacement pair of jeans! Now THAT is customer service. You can be sure I’ll order a few more pairs from them in the coming weeks. Not only are the look, fit, and price right, they actually provide customer service.

LL Bean rocks!

Off to pick garbage out of the brook in the pouring rain.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Today’s Circadian Poem: “Town Without Pretty” by Pisces Iscariot.

The weather report swears it won’t rain today; however, since I’m going to be wandering the Village early in the day, I better take an umbrella.

If meteorologists were only paid when they were right, maybe they’d be right a little more often.

Finally decided on an article from yesterday’s paper for the writing exercise. It’s a bigger article than I’d ordinarily use for something like this, but it pissed me off royally, and I think I can do something with it. It’s about idiot 20-somethings calling their doorman to change a light bulb. If you can’t change your own light bulb, dumbass, you deserve to sit in the dark. I mean, come on! This is a case of spoiled child entitlement. “I never paid attention when my mom showed me how to do this,” the kid whines, “because I knew if I didn’t bother to do it, someone else would.”

This is why, when someone does not do his/her share of the housework, chores, whatever, I don’t do it. I’ll leave their mess for three or four months. You’re too damn lazy to put the clothes in the hamper? You have to put them on the floor next to the hamper? Guess what? They’ll stay right there until they rot. I’ll step over them every day if I have to. I’ll do all the laundry in the hamper. But I’m not picking up after anyone but myself.

Obviously, that doesn’t apply to a toddler, but once a kid is old enough to pick up toys by him or herself, turning “putting the toys to bed” into a fun time sets a precedent sand saves everyone a lot of grief in the long run.

So now I have to figure out the article from today’s paper!

Having trouble with Blogger, which pisses me off, because today’s Circadian Poem is excellent.

I did the South Wall yesterday, pushing hard, and started shoving the furniture back last night. Hopefully the baseboards were dry enough. We’ll see the next time we move it. It seemed dry, and I couldn’t stand the chaos anymore.

I’m rearranging a lot of stuff, and I want to put a lot of stuff away. There’s some purging to be done, but most of the purging has been done. And it’s complete and utter crap that if you haven’t worn something in a year, you should toss it. Classic styles always come back in fashion. I have an original Chanel suit my mother wore in the 1950s. It’s pretty much always in fashion. But I don’t wear it every year. But I’m sure as hell not giving it up!

These “organizational experts” encourage one of the biggest problems we face as a society: making everything disposable. Everything is NOT disposable. Think before you buy; if it no longer fits your life, give it away, sell it, put it up on Freecycle. Or, pack it away and rediscover it a few years later. Shift around the artwork. Rearrange the knick-knacks. Go shopping in your attic.

I’m very excited because I’m going in early and wandering the village with my camera before work. Yes, I have to haul my kit around, which is a pain. (My “kit” is the pack of tools I need for my wardrobe work). But I’m so excited about walking the streets of the West Village, reacquainting myself with some of the geography, taking photographs, and then using it in Celestial Summer.

I have a new flashcard in case I use up my disc, and I just put new batteries in, but I’ll get some more in the Village.

I must avoid Strand Books at all costs, or I’ll never get farther than that. Plus, they just shipped my book, so it should be here in a couple of days.

Got to try to get this up on Blogger, and then move some more stuff around before catching my train.

Wish me a happy day!


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Late to the blog today. I spent all day painting the West Wall. I’m waiting for the second coat of color to dry now, and then I’ll do the baseboards. It was arduous, to say the least. Especially since the cracks ate paste, spackle and caulk – I think I may have fixed apartments three across through that one crack. I’d fill it; it would disappear. I’d fill it; it would disappear.

However, the entire room both looks and feels much lighter. Once the trim is done and I can start moving things back – well, let’s just say there’s plenty to be packed or purged.

Diana – thanks for the information on the essays. I’ll be sure to pick up those volumes.

Another meeting regarding The Situation. Just sick of the whole thing.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I think, I hope, I’ll get in to the city early enough to do something really fun before I head to the theatre.

It’s kept me going for the past few days, let me tell you.

Tired and sore, but glad that West Wall is almost done. I’ll do the bathroom next weekend, and then the apartment is done!

That will open the door to the next home improvement step.

I started, on yesterday’s SDR blog entry, a series of writing exercises over the next few weeks. I hope people will hop on and do them with me.

Yesterday, I found my relevant article right away. Today, I’ve been through the newspaper three times with no luck. So I’m back to try number 4.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Today’s Circadian Poem: “Intimate” by Lea Drake.

Yesterday was pretty good, in spite of a migraine and the injured feet. I dashed around a bookstore, searching for Girl Sleuth, which I need to read for an article. Of course, I couldn’t find it. God forbid a chain store should actually have a book I need. That’s what I get for going to a chain for convenience.

I was going to pick up the newest Yoga Journal for headache-cure poses, but the line was too long and I ran out of time.

However, I was delighted to see that, in the line, in spite of it being a chain, no one had just one book. There were at least a dozen people in line ahead of me – and they all had an armload. A big stack with corners sticking out at all angles, because it was too big to easily manage. And, eavesdropping-by-sight on the titles, I was delighted to see across how many genres they were.

New Yorkers read. They have all the high tech toys. But they want books to have in their hands in the subways, on the train, on the bus, in a cab, sitting on a park bench during lunch, in the coffee shop . . .you get the picture.

And their interests are diverse.

Work was fine. I didn’t wander much – stayed put and just focused on the prep. They asked me to come back and prep Friday, too, which is good – it means I can go in to the city early and do something fun that I need to do for research before heading up to work. I am so looking forward to it. I hope I don’t have to be on set tomorrow until the wee hours. Although I’d like the money.

I thought a lot about Celestial Summer. Anteann’s comment yesterday started me thinking about essays. I’ve always liked personal essays – reading them, that is. I’m not comfortable - -yet – with writing them. I’d like to get better at it. I especially love travel essays. Susan Allen Toth and Anna Qundlen’s essays on England are my favorites. I want to write about places I love with that depth of reference and love.

However, for the purposes of Celestial Summer, I can’t deal with what I want to deal with unless it’s in fictional form.

As I’m putting together plot, character, theme, and stuff, I also realize that, if I’m going to write about the Cape and the Village, I also have to deal with the emergence of AIDS. In 1979 it wasn’t talked about much, but many people were already in the throes of it. It can’t be ignored – but the theme of Celestial Summer is also not to be an “AIDS novel”, which is how marketing people ghetto anything that even mentions the word. It’s unfair, because novels that deal with AIDS tend to be about love and family and building your own family and how politics allows thousands of people to die, because, let’s face it, the people who run the big corporations don’t give a fuck if thousands of people outside their glass towers die, as long as they themselves can rent a villa in St. Bart’s for the holidays. In that respect, beyond the scope of AIDS even, nothing’s changed.

But AIDS has to be a part of the piece, because it is a part of the fabric of the life in both locations. And awareness was so low in 1979 among the general public, and, certainly outside of New York and San Francisco, that the disease even existed.

I was a junior in high school in 1979, out here in the ‘burbs, and, although I’d heard of it, I didn’t have to deal with it until I started losing friends and colleagues later in the 1980s. 1979 was still a time when most straight people chose to believe it had nothing to do with them. Even that young, I didn’t believe that simply being straight would be enough to protect me from a disease; I seriously doubted germs went through a sexuality checkpoint before they invaded. I remember talking about it with a guy I was dating, who was absolutely convinced we were safe because we were heterosexual. When I asked about all the other STDs that were possible for anyone to get, and didn’t he wonder why this disease would be any different - -he hadn’t heard of any of them.

So much for sex education in the suburbs, right?

Needless to say, we didn’t date much longer. Even in high school, my tolerance for ignorant people was low.

The question becomes how to weave it in to the novel without it taking over the novel. Especially since it’s told through the eyes of a thirteen year old girl, who wouldn’t have had much awareness of it at the time.

When I actually had the godchildren for the summer, it was over a decade later, and there was much more awareness about the disease – except form the two kids whose parents were Evangelical. I’m really looking forward to writing the scene where they see a drag queen for the first time in their lives. That was pretty funny.

Managed to get a page written on Regan Kincaid on my break. It’s not much, but it’s a page more than I had before.

I have errands to run now, some bills to pay, and then I’m hauling 30+ years worth of crap from the South Wall. Hopefully, I can spackle and prime today, then do two coats of color and the trim tomorrow.

Friday and Saturday are busy, so I’ll have to do the West Wall on Sunday. The wall will be a pain to fix, but none of it is a big deal once all the “stuff” and the heavy furniture is moved.

Then it will just be the bathroom. And replacing the carpet in the hall. And making new slipcovers for the kitchen chairs. And a new curtain for the tiny bathroom window – because the big old weirdly geometric one is from when we lived in CHICAGO, in the early 1960s, and my parents had it before then, when my dad was a professor at Elmhurst College.

Speaking of which, one of the books in that bag from the Sandwich, MA library sale on my birthday had a bookmark in it – from Elmhurst College, where my dad used to teach. I love it when the universe does something like that!

Off to attempt productivity today.

Did a lot of thinking yesterday, but am not quite ready to publicly discuss it. Life stuff.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

I keep feeling like there’s something important about today; but I can’t remember what it is.

I was too tired after limping out to get the newspaper and go to the post office to do much about moving stuff from the South Wall. I never realized how hard it is to limp when you need to favor both feet!

However, I was able to kneel down and give the tub a good scrub! It needed it.

I worked on the proposal. Very frustrating. I typed up several parts of the outline and am unhappy with it. It’s supposed to be clever and light-hearted; right now it reads like sitcom cliché crap. Very disappointing, because I thought this project had lots of potential.

I’m going to try to play with a few thousand words and see if there’s anything to be salvaged, or if the project needs to be scrapped. It was a pretty sure sale, so I’d hate to lose it, but crap is crap, and right now, this is crap.

This is why I usually write a few drafts first and then do the outline. My Writer’s Outline makes no sense to anyone but me – and I certainly can’t use it as the proposal. Until I have the actual material, I can’t craft a good outline, because there are too many holes.

My hope is that I write a few chapters and get the rhythm of it, and then go ahead and craft an outline that truly captures its uniqueness -- something I can actually send to the waiting editors. Fortunately, my deadline’s elastic – as long as it doesn’t snap back and hit me in the face, I should be okay. But it won’t write itself, and I can’t just sit around and expect it to do so. I have to actually get a few thousand words on paper to see if it’s viable. My freelancer friends will cringe at this (so many never put paper to pen without contract and advance), but I’m trying something new here, and it needs to be right. Maybe I can align and hone my process once I have a better, clearer idea of what I’m doing.

Or maybe I’ll have to scrap the project and regretfully decline.

On the other hand, Celestial Summer flows well. Slowly, but well. 17 pages. It’s turning into very much its own beast, not merely a fictional memoir. Remember the writers who talk about being a bit of every character? This piece does that. There’s a lot of personal history in each of the characters without this being autobiographical. Sounds like a paradox, but that’s the way it is.

The opening chapter (chapters?) in Greenwich Village may need to be trimmed in the future, but for now, I have to let the narrator talk it all out. And, reading over it, there are places where I feel it needs to be expanded in order to work properly. It needs to be on paper where I can see it and have actual physical chunks to move around.

And I need to go down to the Village and walk the streets a bit again. Even though a lot has changed since 1979, the structure of those little streets is still there. I’m not sure if I want to set Celeste’s building on Minetta Street (not Minetta Lane, where I worked in a theatre), Minetta Lane near the theatre, Barrow Street or Cherry Lane. Or maybe, Cornelia Street, but that takes it to the other side of Sixth Avenue and changes things a bit. I love the West Village – for years, I fantasized about being a writer living there. Now, many of the writers have had to move out because it’s too expensive. Fortunately, some of the ones who lived there in the 60s and 70s managed to buy their apartments and can stay.

There’s no place like Greenwich Village in the world. The students can change with every class at NYU, but the vibe of creativity continues. It’s like an Art Vortex or a Creativity Vortex – the concentration of creative energy and inspiration is high. That’s why it’s entranced and enticed artists for well over a hundred years.

I want to get some dribs and drabs done on a few other projects and excavate my desk, but, for now, I’ll write myself out on Celestial Summer.

Off to the theatre.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Part II

Today's Circadian Poem is up -- "Alone" by Patricia Gallant.

Monday, April 17, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Spent the first part of yesterday at a friend’s place, doing laundry, sitting on the deck reading, cooking, etc.

Came back and did some rearranging of books, et al. The person working with me dropped a heavy book, spine first, on the good foot. It hit the arch at such an angle that not only is there swelling on the arch, but the footpad/ball of the foot is bruised and swollen on the bottom. Not quite sure how that happened, but, for the rest of the day, I couldn’t put my weight on either foot.

Getting a little tired of this.

Forgot to mention that I read The Jane Austen Book Club the other day. I wanted to love it, but only kind of liked it. I enjoyed the actual discussion of the Austen books. Unfortunately, I did not like the characters who were reading the books. I felt that the incidents in their pasts used to explain why they were flawed were presented as excuses rather than reasons, and I did not feel empathetic or connected to any of them. It was a disappointment. I’d heard such hype about the book and I was really looking forward to it.

Yesterday, when bedridden, I began reading Elizabeth Berg’s A Year of Pleasures and I love it. Her books always touch me, and this is no exception. I just sink in to her world and believe, for a few hours, maybe there’s a bit of hope for humanity after all.

I decided to call the fictional-memoir-of-summer-with-godchildren Celestial Summer for now. I did about a half a page yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, and wrote nearly four pages this morning. I’m telling it through the point of view of one of the kids, who is thirteen at the time of the summer, but remembering it as an adult. It’s an interesting voice to work from. I’m having fun with the memories, and then fictionalizing them to make a good, yet warm story. And I’m making a list of all the details I have to look up, to make sure they’re accurate to 1979 – from which roads were already built then to which songs were out and playing on the radio.

Worked on the proposal. Got a few pages of it roughed out. I think I need to do a chunk of the actual material in order to see if the proposal is viable. I’d like to set a daily word count for it, but with all the chaos of The Situation not going away any time soon, I think I’d only frustrate myself. So I cart it around and work on it a bit here and there. The outline portion of the proposal is halfway done – I need to figure out the other half in order to write it. I wonder if writing the first chunk of it will help me get the rest of it sorted.

I’d like to start typing Shallid, but I’ve put it in a very safe place and can’t quite remember where that is.

Must go to the Post office now to mail my state taxes (federal went out already) and do a few other things. I’d like to get some more writing done today, but wonder if perhaps I’ve already written myself out. I feel as though my writing muscle as atrophied lately, and I’m trying to get it back.

Today’s Circadian poem will go up in a few hours.

If my foot feels up to it, I need to do some more work on the bedroom. If I’m not on set on Wednesday, I’d like to get started on the South Wall.

The North and East walls look wonderful, if I do say so myself. In spite of a few mistakes.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday, April 16, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Partly sunny and mild
Easter Sunday

How I Woke Up on Easter Morn
By Devon Ellington

Fresh sheets. A breeze coming through the window. The fantasy was to sleep in, awaken slowly, do some yoga, have a gentle start to the day.

Instead . . .

One of the cats dumped a cup of cold tea over my head and she scrambled to undo a bag containing yarn. (How did she know there was yarn in there?)

Shot out of bed like a bullet out of a gun.

Ink in My Paint Can

Second coat of color and trim done yesterday. I started putting things back on the East Wall last night. It looks pretty damn good, if I say so myself.

Two more walls in that room, and then the bathroom. It’ll probably take me three more weekends. The bunk beds, which are now filled with stuff instead of people (and sometimes cats), have to be emptied and moved away from the corner so I can work on the final two walls.

The West Wall needs a lot of work, but the moving stuff around is the most time consuming. There’s also a lot of purging going on, which is good.

Eventually, everything will be put together and be neat. I’ve rearranged a lot of pictures, and I’m not sure what I’ll do with the ones I took down. Several need reframing, and it’s good for art to “rest” occasionally.

I’ll need plenty of wall space in the house for everything – and for everything that’s still in storage!

This project has given me the confidence so that now I can go into a house that needs a bit more work and know I can do it.

Plus, I find painting time good time to plot, outline, and work out stuck places in the stories. Functional AND creative use for time – right up my alley!

Off to hang out with friends and give myself a day off . . .


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Ink in My Paint Can

That East Wall was a pain yesterday. I managed to get the trim done on the North Wall (also a pain, because of the different molding on each side of each window), spackled, primed, and got one coat of color on the East Wall.

I got the second coat of color on the East Wall this morning, and hope to get the trim done this afternoon.

It will take the rest of the week to move everything back on the East Wall and take everything off the South Wall. The South Wall has its own door molding complications, but I don’t think I need to spackle too much.

The West Wall is going to be a major pain.

But, after that room is done, there’s only the tiny bathroom – which will be a pain, but hey, it’s still SMALL.

And then the apartment is done.

Back to writing;

Unfortunately, my arm hurts like crazy.

Yesterday, I made some notes on a summer I spent with all ten godchildren a few years back. Their parents deposited them with me for the summer. It was quite, um, interesting. They thought I was going to be a pushover; in reality, I’m much stricter than the parents. I have no problem saying no to a kid. I’m the adult, I make the rules. Whining simply means you lose all privileges. Yes, you get to do a ton of stuff you don’t get to do at home – but there’s a huge price of responsibility involved.

I don’t want to write a memoir about it, but I would like to write, someday, a novel based on the experience. I want to set it early – I was thinking 1979 would be a good year. I’d have to re-research the Cape – I don’t think my diaries from 1979 have enough about the Events of The Day – only the events of my days.

I made some character notes. The characters, as they do when a writer does the work properly, are taking on lives of their own separate from the actual people on which they were based. But conflicts like that between the god-daughter who was a suburban brat with pretensions of political vegetarianism versus the actual hippie god-daughter with parents who self-sustained on land in Vermont, and the conflicts between them and the two kids raised by Evangelical Southern Baptists (I don’t know if there is such a sect, but that’s how I remember it – and isn’t is amazing that their parents would actually send them to someone like ME?) and how we all found a way to semi-peacefully co-exist and have a hell of a good time – might make interesting reading.

Or it might not.

It’s one of those ideas which will need possibly years to marinate. I’ll just make notes whenever the mood strikes me, go back over the old diaries, and see what happens.

I have to run some errands today, including getting some more Clear Moon mixed up to finish the room, and another can of primer, and then add the Snowy Egret trim to the East Wall.

But I want a fairly leisurely pace today, with plenty of reading and writing interspersed among the painting.

Unlike oh, so many of my fellow citizens, my taxes are DONE, and I don’t have to spend the weekend screaming and swearing. I already did my screaming and swearing. And, now that the IRS taught me how to prepare my own taxes instead of me paying someone to do them and do them incorrectly and then it takes years to untangle, it’s much less painful. Plus, my refunds are better.

Oh, to have a six month or year long sabbatical!

Oh, to find a way to fund it!


Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2005
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Happy Birthday, Gayle!

Today’s Circadian Poem: “Good Friday” by Brenda Braene.

Some friends and I kidded around yesterday. They said I’ve gotten so good at painting walls and repairing, et al, that I should hire myself out.

I said, “Yeah, I’ll call it Paints N Poems – I’ll paint your wall and write a poem about it, too!”

I don’t think so.

Painting was not easy, as the temperature and humidty rose during the morning. It slowed the drying process and made the paint sticky and gloopy. But I got on the two coats (Clear Moon) and today’s all about the Snowy Egret Trim on the two windows.

Ever notice I keep using Clear Moon on the full moon?

In between coats, I wrote five pages on the outline of The Fight for Lilac Circle – mostly character notes. It’s supposed to be a short story, but if the notes are five pages long . . .in any case, it’s also inspired by The Situation, but from a different point of view and with a twist.

At the very least, in spite of the emotional fatigue it causes, I’m also trying to write my way out of it.

And . . .I bought another bookcase. I had these wire things in the bedroom which held a lot of books, but I hated. So I hunted online. Nothing I wanted. I hunted through stores. Nothing I wanted. On impulse, I went to the big Salvation Army next town over – even though it’s not Mercury Retrograde. I just had this feeling.

Walked in. First thing I saw was a dark, sturdy wooden bookcase that was exactly the specs I wanted. For $24.

We had a fun ole time making it fit into the Ford Escort, but it’s here, I gave it a little TLC and scraped gum off one shelf, the cats approve, and, once the East Wall is finished, it’s going in.

Because, you see, there are THIRTEEN bookcases in the living room, and I simply can’t fit any more.

Also at the Salvation Army was a beautiful two piece hutch – seven feet tall with glass doors and cabinets and stuff and six and a half feet long with drawers. For $75. Unfortunately, I have no place to store it out here (storage is in the city – it would cost more than that to haul it down there, and, frankly, it’s bigger than unit. And I am NOT renting it its own unit.

It’s painted an ugly black and chipped now, but the lines are wonderful, and with some stripping and restoring, it would be a stunning piece.

I hope it finds a good home.

I wish it would be MY home.

Spilled coffee all over my desk this morning. I was in the midst of scolding a cat for something, and the cat was sure she’d be blamed for this, too, but it was all my fault.

I’d like to take a six month sabbatical, where I simply don’t have to worry about anything and can structure each day as I please. As a freelancer, I can often do so, but I want to take the worry factor out. I’d still get a lot done, but maybe I wouldn’t be so tired. Although, with the B-complex adjustment, I’m already feeling MUCH better.

Reading Edmund White’s book about Paris, I realize that I often wandered New Orleans with that same lack of purpose as his title. I simply walked the streets, for hours and hours, to see where I would end up, stopping to enjoy anything that caught my attention. However, unlike White’s muser, I wasn’t melancholy, nor did I feel lonely. I was stimulated, and I felt as though I belonged. I didn’t forget to eat, and I wasn’t shy about entering cafes or restaurants where I was unknown. I wasn’t unknown for long. And, since I am a relatively shy person, that’s because New Orleans is so New Orleans. Although, I have to say, I have much the same experience in Edinburgh. I spend hours wandering, but I don’t feel lonely or melancholy. I feel connected. I like wandering, or, as an author whose name escapes me at the moment put it, “yondering.”

One of the reasons The Last Drop is also known as “my office” when I’m in Edinburgh has to do with the very first time I was there, in January 1994, checking out theatres for the production that would travel there in August. I wandered in to The Last Drop for lunch, on a dreary, rainy day. I ordered lunch and coffee, and began to write. Next thing I knew, the dinner crowd was coming in, I’d written the bulk of a new play, and the staff had completely cocooned my writing space. They were happy to have a writer take up residence in a booth and stay.

I stayed and chatted with the staff, and from then on, The Last Drop was my Edinburgh home. Later in the same trip, as I got to know John Gates of the Oxford (thanks to Ian Rankin, who suggested I go there), that became my other touchstone in town. I know if I ever have an emergency while in Edinburgh, my pals at both The Last Drop and the Oxford will help me out. And now that I’ve spent a good deal of time there and built a network of friends and acquaintances, I feel even more comfortable roaming around, day or night.

Off to do the trim on the North Wall and get started on the East Wall.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and warm

I finally remembered to post my entry for “Stretching Geography” on yesterday’s SDR blog. That’s what I get for writing it the weekend before. Jeez. Totally forgot until about 8 PM. It was sitting there, all written and revised, ready to go up, like a loyal Irish setter.

Congrats to BK Birch, for her story’s acceptance in Solander magazine. It only accepts two stories per year – now that they’ve shown some good taste by taking her work, I’ll start taking them more seriously!

And congrats to Michelle Miles, for Seron’s publication of her serial Ransom and Fortune.

The B-complex vitamins made a HUGE difference. As in, within twenty minutes I started to feel like myself again.

Okay, the Dumbass Award for yesterday goes to . . .Me.

I broke my toe.


The same toe the jerkoff broke last summer rolling over it with his suitcase on the train platform.

Stepped off the chair as I spackled the ceiling and snapped it on the metal bed frame. Nice, hearty keerrraaaack!


I screamed and swore and jumped around on the good leg a bit. Iced it. Taped it. Climbed back up on the chair and returned to spackling the ceiling. What else could I do?

The Evil One was skanking around the building, with his sidekick, a Wal-Mart class knockoff version of Elvira. Only that’s an insult to Elvira, who’s a pretty savvy lady. This guy was determined to ruin Christmas/Hanukah/Solstice/Kwanzaa for everyone in the building back in December, and I guess he’s bound and determined to ruin Holy Week. Whatever the Universe has planned for him, I hope they do it soon.

Not enough writing done. All I could think of was “Ode to the Broken Toe” and let’s face it, no one’s gonna wanna read that one!

Ink in My Paint Can

It took all day to fix the North Wall and then prime it. I packed up a bunch of the bookcases along the East Wall while the North Wall dried. And had to catch and wash all three kitties at various times because, for the first time in this process, they climbed onto the freshly primed windowsill, leaving little paw prints and walking away with prime white paws, tails, butts . . .you get the idea. There was much screaming and howling and gnashing of little kitty fangs as they were thoroughly washed.

The door to that room does not close due to the years of doors badly painted by previous workmen, so there’s no way to keep them out.

Two coats of color is the agenda for today. I doubt I can get more done – with the rain, it’ll take forever to dry. As coats are drying, I’ll limp to the errands.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

“Time and Place” is on the front page at Espresso Fiction.

Today’s Circadian Poem: “The Misuse of Laughter” by Adele Swift.

Work was fine yesterday. My colleague had a great time down in West Virginia checking out her new career opportunity. It’s along the lines of what she wants, and I think she should go for it.

I went to Coliseum Books. I bought the two books I had had my eye on over the weekend: Honeymooning With My Brother by Franz Wisner and The Flaneur by Edmund White (there’s supposed to be a little hat over the “a”, but my keyboard shortcuts aren’t doing what they’re supposed to). I also bought Letters from New Orleans by Rob Walker, a NYC writer who moved there in 2000.

I feel guilty about not going down this month to help build houses there, but with things so uncertain here at home, I can’t leave. Well, as the person I spoke to about it said, “We’ll be building down there for a good long time. We’re going to need you just as much in six months or a year as we do now.”

Work was fine, and then I came straight back out. I don’t know why I’m so tired all the time – the accumulation of stress, probably. I went out and bought some vitamin supplements this morning, to see if that helps.

I read Honeymooning With My Brother last night. It’s a clever, well-written travel essay book. However, the author was a Republican press secretary who later worked for a major development corporation in California against environmentalists. In other words, money and power are his gods, and, much as he tries to present himself as redefining priorities and becoming somewhat “enlightened” (quotes intended), there’s still enough of the moneyed arrogance under his words for me not to buy it. I enjoyed reading the book, but he’s not someone I feel I’d like to get to know. And I’m sure he’d feel the same about me! Glad he’s making a living now as a travel writer, and here’s to our paths never crossing!

Got a bit of writing done on the proposal yesterday, but not enough. I’m beside myself with frustration with my web host – going on six months and I still can’t get my sites up because they won’t give me the information I need to connect the FTP. The information they send me has no relevance to what appears on the screen. And they simply repeat it, over and over again, instead of actually responding to what I ask. I might as well change hosts again, because these people have been useless. USELESS.

And now, I get thousands of spam emails, PRETENDING TO BE FROM ONE OF MY OWN ACCOUNTS. Um, excuse me, I don’t send myself emails entitled “Sexy” or “XQUR!!” with attachments.

So, if any of you are getting emails that pretend to be from me with attachments, delete them. If I have to send you something with an attachment, we’ll discuss it ahead of time.

And the host’s response? First of all, not dealing with the pretending-it’s-me-addresses at all. And then telling me I have to send them the list of spam addresses – um, excuse me, first of all, I don’t open spasm, and second of all I’m supposed to compile a list of (as of yesterday) 3700 addresses? I don’t think so.

Useless. Totally useless.

I’m looking at another host that costs about double, but was just ranked internationally as the #2 best web host. Changing over all the emails will be a major pain in the ---, but it might be worth it to actually get customer service.

I want to congratulate a few political breakthroughs:

The State of Massachusetts for passing legislation regarding universal healthcare. That’s not what they’re calling it, but that’s what it is.

Nantucket Island, in Mass., for passing a ban on chain stores. The ban was crafted by independent bookseller Wendy Hudson of Nantucket Bookworks. The only chain store allowed is Ralph Lauren, grandfathered in because it’s already there. Good for them. And you know where I’ll be spending my money next time I go to Nantucket.

The State of Maine for passing legislation to include pets in protection orders in domestic violence cases.

At least there are a few politicians who have brains and are actually working for the people they purport to represent.

Off to spackle the bedroom.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Some good news:

“Time and Place” (as Christy Miller) is the feature story this week on Espresso Fiction.

It took me two years to crack that market – it’s one of the three markets in my GDR list that I really wanted to achieve – and now I have. I’m very excited.

I’ll be even happier when the check arrives.

I think one of the reasons I’m so cranky, unusually cranky, even for me, is because I’m fighting some sort of bug. Something’s just not right and I feel off.

Well, there’s nothing I can do about it, except shut up and deal.

Unfortunately, the way our country’s lack of health conscience care system is set up, when you’re actually sick, you don’t get to take off work and get well. Instead, you are forced to go out into the world, for financial and other reasons, to get worse and make other people sick, too. A sensible sick day program would help companies keep more employees actually healthy and productive.

Gas prices are up to $2.85 a gallon in my area for regular, and bound to hit $3 soon. Yet the oil companies continue to make their billions, and Congress does nothing. Of course, there are plenty of people who can get rid of their gas guzzlers in the first place. A family with four kids in sports needs an SUV – that family needs a locker room on wheels. People who live in areas of rough terrain need vehicles that can handle it. But I know, in my area, there are plenty of pampered suburban housewives who have fulltime nannies and cleaning people and trainers and shoppers and everything else. Yet, they drive around in their SUVs all day, talking (illegally) on their cell phones. Of course, it’s not like they actually have to pay – their husbands who actually work for a living do.

It’s the mothers who actually take care of their own kids and who are often working as well as raising kids who suffer. And these are the families who so desperately need to take a vacation who have to give it up – all so some fat cat oil exec can build another McMansion, fill it with gaudy faux antiques, and indulge his wife, his drug-addled kids, and his mistresses.

And Bush just nods and smiles and lets it happen.

I miss the 100 Days already; I’m trying to still do meditation anyway. Today, I’m feeling out of sorts, cranky, in pain, angry, and off, so the whole sitting thing didn’t work so well. Maybe I can do “train meditation”.

Yes, I found I can actually use the time to meditate on the train. Especially if it’s an express and not stopping every three or four minutes. If it gets into a regular rhythm (i.e., when we have a driver who doesn’t surge ahead and then hit the brakes constantly – hate that), the train’s rhythm underscores the meditation and becomes soothing.

Off to the theatre today. I’m going in early, so I can hit Coliseum when I get off the train, and get those books which have gnawed at me since Sunday.

Tomorrow, if I’m not on set, it’s back to painting. No matter how I feel.

And today, let’s try to write a few sentences, shall we?


Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde?
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Still thoroughly exhausted. It’s the accumulation of work and stress. Someday I’ll feel rested. But I just don’t know when that is.

Last night I dreamed of architectural drawings, so again, it was another night of work instead of sleep.

Still can’t find my calendar.

Finished, revised, and submitted my next column for May’s SDR Review (about damn time) and wrote Wednesday’s column for the blog. Proofed and suggested some changes on the newsletter. I have several newsletters of my own to get out this week.

I thought I did some other writing yesterday, but can’t remember what it was.

Circadian Poems is back up. There are some new contributors as well as familiar voices in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I can get it back on track.

13 Journals needs some attention, too.

Piece by piece, right? Get a little bit done every day and eventually, the little bits merge in to big bits.

As I walked out the door yesterday afternoon to get back to the city, I was called about an emergency meeting for The Situation. Well, they had to hold it without me, especially if they weren’t going to discuss this emergency on the phone.

My friend’s baby shower was at the lovely Le Madeleine restaurant on W. 43 St. On my way there, I stopped a Coliseum Books. I bought two novels by Elizabeth Berg (I’m a bit behind on her work) and the diaries of Adrienne Monnier, who had the French bookstore opposite Sylvia Beach’s English bookstore in Paris in the 20’s. I also saw two more books which I have to go back and get tomorrow.

The shower was lovely --- great people. The restaurant is lovely – terrific food and a gracious staff. I remember them in the early 80s, before they had their liquor license. We had a party there after a play festival, and we had to keep running down the street to the liquor store to get bottles of wine.

I had a mesculin salad, wild salmon prepared on a bed of whipped potatoes, and a chocolate caramel mousse. All of it was perfect.

The happy couple was beaming, and the gifts were delightful. So many handmade things – when you know a lot of wardrobe people, they’re going to knit and quilt and create for the kid! It was a joyous evening in the best sense of the word.

Today, there were errands to be run in White Plains, stops at two bookstores looking in vain for the books I wanted yesterday (just have to go back to Coliseum tomorrow, that’s all), and more errands.

I’m going to spend some time on my taxes this afternoon, and try to write more. My arm is bothering me so much, I can’t spackle or paint. Maybe I can get started on the bedroom later in the week.

Or maybe, I’ll take a nap after lunch before tackling taxes.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday, April 9, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde?
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Still exhausted. It takes me longer than it used to in order to recover from extra-long working days.

I’m giving myself today off from painting, too, and getting back to it tomorrow. I’m going to do the bedroom next and leave the bathroom for last. That simply makes more sense.

Today is Day 99 of the 100 Days – the meditation commitment made by a group of us to sit every day for 100 days. It’s truly been a transforming experience, and helped me a great deal during the current stressful Situation. I’m starting to read blogs kept by several of my compatriot sitters, and I’m sure I’ll list the ones I read regularly here.

I’m experiencing separation anxiety from the 100 Days group – guess I’ll just have to be a grownup and continue sitting on my own.

There’s some talk of starting another 100 Days in about a week or so – I hope it happens. And I want to keep the commitment to myself in the interim.

I’ve misplaced my calendar in the painting chaos. I think Saturn turns direct shortly or has just turned direct, but am not sure. Jupiter, however, continues in retrograde for several more months.

I’m going to work on my column and some other writing for a few hours, and then head back into the city for a friend’s baby shower.

Two of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Berg and Elinor Lipman, have new novels out. I’m looking forward to buying them and reading them.

And my friend Michelle’s serial, Ransom and Fortune, will be re-released on the 12th of April by Seron. In the next day or so, I’m going to order it – I’m so looking forward to it.

My own story, “Time and Place” is the feature on Tuesday’s edition of Espresso Fiction (as Christy Miller).

Someday, I will stop feeling so completely exhausted and depleted. But, I think that’s a few months down the line. In the meantime, I’m just focusing on doing what needs to be done for sheer survival and writing as much as I can in and around the survival mechanics.

I dreamed about painting last night, so I feel as though I worked all night, instead of refreshing myself with rest.

Oh, well.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Saturday, April 8, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I was up for 21 hours yesterday. I got up around 6 AM and got to bed around 3 AM this morning.

It was quite a day.

Got out to the studio. Yesterday was the last day of shooting on Episode 10 – and, for some reason, they decided to overlap and shoot the first day of Episode 11. AND, they’d been on location for the previous two days. That meant we had to offload the costumes from the truck that we needed for the day – but since they’re going out again on Monday, stuff like the Court Officers – I got their sizes and just worked from the truck. No point in taking all the pieces off the truck and reloading. It was easier to write down the sizes for both units, get the pieces from the truck and bring them inside. At the end of the night, we had to load everything they needed for Monday back ON the truck, so that they’re ready to roll before the crack of dawn. I was mostly working the unit shooting Episode 10, but nipped over to help on 11 when they needed it.

I was wrapped at midnight, and they were still shooting. The van got stuck on the 59th Street Bridge, so it was well after one a.m. before I got back to the city from the studio.

So I stayed at my friend A’s place. He’s just repainted his apartment and it is AMAZING. Oh, my gosh, you’ve never seen such a great space in your life. The bedroom is such a gorgeous sanctuary I didn’t want to leave.

And, we were up talking until past three in the morning.

Hey, I can’t go home and go straight to sleep, no matter HOW many hours I’ve been working.

On Thursday, I managed to finish the trim in the vestibule. It looks decent. I couldn’t fix all the problems created by the prior workmen (they sure as hell weren’t craftsmen), but it looks better.

Also, on Thursday, I wrote a page on Regan Kincaid and yesterday, on my dinner break, a page and a half. Plus, during another break, I got about three pages done on an outline for a proposal packet that needs to go out soon.

It’s frustrating, because I’m used to being able to do 5-10 pages per day on whatever. And now, due to physical problems (my arm) and psychological stress (the Situation) which causes the need for action that has nothing to do with writing, it’s tough to get any writing done.

So I look at each page as a victory, and I’ve stopped berating myself for only doing one page instead of six. One page is still one more page than I had the previous day.

And, because Regan Kincaid is being structured on character, plot and theme simultaneously instead of character first and figuring out the rest of it in subsequent drafts, the crafting of it is bound to be slower.

I’m moving from being a blank pager to an outliner. One reason I find this helpful is that, when I have to put the work down for a period of time, it’s easier not to lose the thread of it when I go back to it. Basic notes are there. And, on the days when I feel about as inspired as wilted lettuce, the notes give me a structure. And as I force the words across the page, they begin to flow more easily.

The first three sentences are always the hardest. Getting back in. Once I get past that, it gains momentum and I can keep going until the arm gives out. Which, unfortunately, right now, is sooner rather than later.

The Lighthouse Stevensons continues to fascinate me. As does the development of the way England and Scotland developed their lights. It’s also interesting to me that, although the UK lighthouse system was begun far earlier than the US (heck, there wasn’t even a US at the time), the Montauk light, decreed by George Washington and built in 1792, was far more organized and supported than the lights in the UK. Comparing the timelines of the development is fascinating. I want to go back through my Montauk notes --- I think it was built more along the lines of the Scottish ideas than the English.

Guess when George Washington wanted to get something done, it got done.

Woke up just before 8, reluctantly left the lovely boudoir, caught the 8:37 and was home by 9:30. Went shopping for a shower gift for a friend, came back and crashed.

In other words, today, I have been a waste of food.

I read a biography of Doris Lessing. I appreciate her as a stylist, but I can’t say I enjoy her work The biography was interesting and reinforces what I feel when I try to read her – the dispassion and coldness just don’t work for me. I applaud what she’s achieved as a writer, but she’s not on my list of “must buys” or “must reads”.

I gave myself the day off from painting. I’ll just have to deal.

I slept a bit, and watched coverage of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and whatever prep race it was out at Santa Anita. Bob and John, a horse to whom I’ve paid absolutely no attention, won the Wood. And won it nicely. Brother Derek, who’s expected to be the favorite in the Derby next month, won at Santa Anita. He did a great job, but I adore the horse who came in second, Point Determined. His daddy’s one of my favorite horses of all time, Point Given. Point Determined closed well, and I think he can go longer. Belmont, perhaps? I hope he runs in the Derby, but I think he’d really shine in the Belmont.

I cleaned up my blog links, to the right. I got rid of quite a list. Some of the blogs have been discontinued; some of them I just don’t read anymore. Several people on the list I started reading during NaNo last year; however, their writing has waned and we have little in common. I’m really not interested in kid-centric blogs, unless they’re by friends of mine (like Mik or Colin or BK or Lara or Angela, et al where I both care about their kids AND they write well about them) or written so brilliantly that I’m enthralled every time I read them and must have my fix (Lara, in particular, writes brilliantly about her kids – she reminds me of Jean Kerr, and yes, that is a compliment).

If you don’t know who Jean Kerr is, go look her up. And while you’re at it, look up her husband, Walter Kerr.

I’ve added a bunch. Adrian’s blog, which used to be “Quantum View” is now “Chronicling the Novel . . .” and Anne’s freelance writing blog is now “The Golden Pencil”.

And I’ve added

Lori’s Words on the Page;

two of Kristen’s -- ::inkthinker:: and Editing for Everyone

and two of my friend Sagie’s – From the Observation Deck and Granny Grumbles.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Off to make popcorn and enjoy a quiet evening.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thursday, April 6, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The Situation continues to twist, and to twist us. We thought we’d gained some breathing space until early June; my gut instinct is that things will get much, much worse tomorrow.

I managed to write two pages on Regan Kincaid yesterday. The opening scene reveals, actively, the dynamic of the family at the center of the piece. I think one learns as much from what the characters choose not to say as from what they actually do say. I’m getting ready to transition to the next scene, which is just between the three kids, and sets up the major plot road. It’s an interesting change to work, consciously, from plot and theme along with (rather than instead of) character so early in the piece.

I finished Anna Quindlen’s Imagining London. It made me laugh and think and say, “that’s how I felt when I went there” and gave me inspiration to read some of the books she mentions I have yet to read.

However, Scotland is my paradise, and I may well write a book someday entitled just that!

I’m also reading Sue Bender’s Attitudes of Gratitude, because I want to get back to the positive emotions. The Situation feeds, feeds from, and encourages negativity. I’m literally afraid to have a really good day because, each time that’s happened in the past few months, the most Evil of those on the Other Side has come up with yet a new way to inflict pain and suffering.

Well, there’s got to be a better way to fight it than either becoming it or simply standing there and reacting. And I’m going to find it.

Believe me, “evil” is not a term I use lightly. I think it’s a word in the language which has, in recent years, suffered from overuse, and therefore lost much of its impact. But, the point person against us in The Situation epitomizes evil in the true, old-fashioned sense.

The book is interesting, although at times I find it a bit vague and peppy. I want nuts-and-bolts actions, not vague notions. I want tangibles.

Ink in My Paint Can

I spackled, primed, and put two coats of color on the vestibule. Today’s project is the trim – which, considering how much molding and how many doors are involved, will likely take the rest of the day.

Tomorrow, I’m on set for a long day (I’m expecting 16+ hours), so the bathroom will have to wait until Saturday/Sunday. And I’m hoping, hoping that maybe I can spackle the North wall in the bedroom on Monday. I expect the bedroom will take about three weeks to complete, with all the moving, removing, etc. to do.

The rest of the place is coming together nicely, though there’s still a bunch of “stuff” that’s in limbo until we finish. Then we’ll decide what we want where, and what needs to be packed away, for the moment.

While the work is far from perfect, the general atmosphere is much lighter and clearer. The colors work well, and the rearranging of the “stuff’ is good.

Also, some of the books are better sorted – so I can find things and maybe won’t buy extra copies so often because I think something’s in storage when it’s really only fallen behind the sofa.

Off to be the Snowy Egret Queen of Trim.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Very tired. More chaos here on the home front. I’m sick of it. I want it to stop. I want peace and quiet. But we’re dealing with people who enjoy inflicting pain, so we have to hold firm.

Work was fine yesterday. A colleague of mine has an exciting opportunity in a field she really wants to enter – she’s off to West Virginia for the rest of this week to test it out. I can’t wait to hear all about it when she returns. I’m so thrilled for her!

More insistent characters are clamoring for attention, and I’m trying to get them sorted out. Can any of them inhabit the same books? That would help. Sort them out, stand them in line, see who fits in where.

I’d like to work on some short pieces in the upcoming months, as The Situation continues to put so much stress and despair in my life. I think – I hope – the short pieces will keep me writing (not writing only increases the stress and despair) and also give me the opportunity of finishing. The long pieces – which are really what I want to work on – need stretches of concentrated time and energy. Not only do I not have the time in this fight, but I have very little energy. Being able to focus for a few hundred words a day and then, in a shorter period of days, having an actual completed first draft will help me regain my momentum.

Right now, I’m fighting day to day. I can’t think in terms of length, in any area of my life. By adjusting the writing to fit that, I can still get writing done.

The Dog Blog is up today – my topic is writing to writers.

I worked out some plot sequencing yesterday and jotted notes down on my break in day work.

My tarot client was very nice – she’d never had her cards read before, but she is open and eager for active change, so it was a good reading.

The Lighthouse Stevensons is a delightful and fascinating book. However, I find that I need to read it in smaller bits, and then put it down and digest it. There’s ever so much information, densely and cleverly packed. I learned a lot about lighthouses when I wrote about the one out at Montauk a couple of years ago, and the information in the book fits interestingly in with the information I learned out there. So I read a chapter and then I think about it for a few hours, and then I read the next one.

In the meantime, I’m also reading a wonderful, wonderful book by Anna Quindlen called Imagining London, detailing how she fell in love with London via books, and then, in her forties, finally visited the actual city.

Now, I need to take a deep breath, start taping and putting down drop cloths, and begin the spackle work on the vestibule. The work won’t do itself, unfortunately. And I guess I’m just not interesting enough for fairies, pixies, elves and brownies to come in during the night and take care of it for me. Perhaps, because, in fairy tales, those who get the help sit there and are victims (the “moral” of a fairy tale being if you allow yourself to be a doormat, you’ll eventually be “rescued” by a prince – yet most of the princes in these tales, to me, just seem so self-righteous, boring, and filled with sensations of entitlement that I just want to throw up), you prove you’re “good” and someone will come and help you.

Come to think of it, breaking it down like that – I’d rather do it myself.