Archive | August, 2009

Dog days

15 Aug

I confess to doing no work today. It has been such an emotional drain.

I took Bridget to the vet this morning for her surgery. She was in high spirits (although frustrated that I didn’t give her breakfast – she had to fast from midnight the night before), I on the other hand was a wreck and cried in the vet’s office. He was so sweet he told me he would telephone as soon as her surgery was over so that I could come and wait for her while she was still under. That way when she woke up I’d be the first person she saw.

I got the call at 12:15 p.m. – after trying to spend a couple of hours working in a cafe because I just didn’t want to be home in my house without Bridget. She came through the surgery fine. It took her about an hour to wake up fully before I could take her home, though. She has a huge set of stitches and her bum is all shaved. Poor baby. And she looked, well, stoned!

Vet said that he got the whole mass out and it looked to be contained and didn’t appear to have spread, but we won’t know anything for certain till the lab comes back with the biopsy results – hopefully Monday or Tuesday next week. I brought her home with pain meds and one of those god-awful plastic cones that she has to wear when I’m not supervising her.

She refused to drink for five hours and didn’t move, was clearly in pain. But when the pain killers kicked in, she finally got up and was wagging her tail, drank and ate and seemed to be herself, if not slow, stiff and groggy. She’s now lying on the floor with the silly cone because I’m off to bed shortly and don’t want to risk her going for her stitches. Vet says he will call tomorrow morning to see how she is doing.

I was supposed to go to the premiere of Legally Blonde – the musical tonight and review the show, but had to abandon that plan following Bridget’s surgery. There’s no way I’m leaving her side at all this whole weekend. My friend Sally and her boyfriend were going to take the tix and write the review but that fell through too after she was left dealing with the aftermath of being hit by a car (luckily she’s physically fine, just a little bruised). Wow.

I plan to catch up on the writing bent over the weekend. Dog surgery took over everything today though.

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Fear, faith and finally… some work

14 Aug

Apologies for falling off the radar for a couple of days. Truth be told I’ve been busy. I finally landed a copy editing gig – phew and will be starting tomorrow (it’s online and I still get to work from home). I’m plodding away at my web site, getting great help from Jane Boursaw through her course and feeling “up”….

That is until today. I’ve been distracted the last couple of days. My 12 and a half year old Golden Retriever – Bridget – whom I’ve had since she was six weeks old needs surgery! I discovered a small bump/lump on her flank the other day and took her to the vet. She has two large lipomas which are just fat deposits that older dogs get and they’ve been fine for years. I was hoping this one was more of the same. It wasn’t. The vet aspirated the lump and said it needed to be sent to the lab. It took two days for the results to come back. She has a soft tissue sarcoma and is going in to have it surgically removed tomorrow. Only once it’s removed will they know how bad it is and be able to assign it a “grade”. I hope they get the whole thing and that she’s fine, but who knows? It’s very distressing and I’ve been crying a lot this afternoon. I can’t imagine my life without her.  I have no idea how much this is going to cost and given that I have ZERO money I don’t care. That’s why God invented credit cards, right? It may take 10 years to pay it off but right now Bridget’s health is the most important.

So, I haven’t been able to focus on much else since getting this news. Her surgery is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. Please pray for her.

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Another article, another dollar (or two, three maybe?)

11 Aug

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LoveFest article  is up! Good thing too, because it proves I could actually read my notes and turn the scrawl into real words.

Am back working on my site now and about to undertake Jane Boursaw’s Blogging for Passion and Profit course. I think it will help with my new web site immensely. I already have the passion, let’s bring on the profit! Tentative launch for THE SITE is September 1.

Creative writing a la Monday

10 Aug

Okay,

Who stole the weekend when I wasn’t looking? I am in serious brain drain mode after a great great weekend. As promised, I attended Judy Reeves marathon creative writing workshop. 10 a.m  to 5 p.m. Which for me was more like 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (this includes the shlep to San Diego and the not-so-pleasant traffic on the way back). But TOTALLY worth it.

A great room, full of great women (and two guys). I think there were about 15 or so of us, all of whom seemed either impressed that I’d come from LA or considered I was quite barmy. Or perhaps a harmonious combination of both? Either way I had a blast.

Judy is great – inspiring, fun, focusing on the theme of Summer this summery day. We wrote for three minutes, five minutes, 12 minutes, 17 minutes – depending on the prompt. We worked on poems together, wrote alone, read our work out loud, drew inspiration from sights sounds and smells in the street, postacards handed out, little slips of coloured paper.. AND we received cute party favours – a plastic cup with a crazy straw, a cute fan. There were beautiful sunflowers on the table, along with much needed sugar fortification – red vines, M&M’s, trail mix, cherries, little cup cakes. Yum!

But best of all was the writing. Lots of fun, an amazing array of voices in the class – some funny, some sad. Truly incredible how you can come up with vastly different stories from the same prompt. ‘Twas fun, if not a little exhausting.

Here is just ONE piece I wrote in that class. Judy read out three separate prompts at three minute intervals, and we just had to keep writing and incorporate the next prompt into our writing.

The first prompt was: On the inside. We wrote for three minutes and then she threw out the second prompt: a recurring dream. Another three minutes of writing and the final prompt: someone is playing the piano

HERE’S MY STORY

This is  hallowed space. Here where we prep, wash and cleanse your body. Here is where we will wipe away the scars of your smashed remains and make you beautiful once more so we can send you pristine and perfect into the next world. Back, back, back you go. Sweat soaked, crying uncontrollably, you cannot breathe.  They’ve come to get you; blow you to smithereens, blow you out of this world and steal your birthright. You were born to play the piano but the walls are way too thin. The neighbours complain. You can hear them:

“What do I have to do to get some peace and quiet around here? Those bloody scales. Up and down, up and down. Why don’t they just let the kid take drawing classes?”

“Hey,” you hear him say in his deep baritone. “It could be worse. The brat could be learning to play the violin.”

“I don’t care,” she shoots back. “I just wish he were dead.”

And now you are.

Okay, so it’s not particularly sunny, but then again, I’m not the sunniest person in the world either. Blame my subconscious!

Alright, here’s a happier one. The prompt was: A summer storm

Hail! Hail!

The bullets rain down thick and fast heralding another smashing Sydney summer.

Spitting and cursing on the prefabricted roofs of the box-like classrooms,  inside the children suffer and squirm, waiting, waiting for the bell to toll. And they don’t even know who John Donne is.

But it doesn’t matter. The break, the fault line that runs between the slow, languid build up of dark musky humidity — sometimes days in the making — and the heavens’ release, pushed to breaking point, puffing out their cheeks and holding their breath until they can no longer contain themselves or sustain their glee.

imagesThe gumball-sized icicles devolve into the pavement, scattering rainbow puddles, bouncing along like marbles in a penny arcade. They peel down the hill as the bell peals for recess and 35 chairs scrape back in unision; tiny feet head for the door and tumble into the courtyard.

“Wait!” the teacher cries. “Take your raincoats.”

But they don’t hear. They don’t care. All they want is to fling off their lace-up shoes, twirl their socks in the air and skip between those delicious, icy, dancing, donuts.

We wrote much more on lots of different things, but that’s enough for now I think.

It’s Monday again, and I’m scrounging for work. Thrilled that I got two articles out (nope, three) last week. My latest can be viewed here: It’s the story on Max Said Yes about Woodstock (mentioned in an earlier post).

Now I must dredge up some more pitches for other papers, magazines etc. And now I’m excited to write some more fiction.

How’s the website you ask? Coming along, coming along…. All will be revealed soon,

Happy Monday everyone!

Cheating on a writing site

6 Aug

Mea Culpa,

I have discovered the glory that is Duotrope – a brilliantly organised site full of all kinds of wonderful lists including writing comps,  that also has a fantastic submissions tracker. And so, alas, I am abandoning my listings at Luminary Writer’s Database (please forgive me). You have served me well, but I definitely prefer Duotrope and hope the literary gods are sympathetic and understanding.

Last night I was forced back into old school techniques when my tape recorder failed me as I was interviewing people at LoveFest. My super duper digital DS-30 voice recorder that has never failed me kept demanding “memory full” and yet there were no files on the recorder. Ah, technology glitches, you’ve got to love them. And so, I pulled out ye olde pen and paper, which is fine, but difficult to write when you are interviewing people in a loud, dimly lit bar with lots of noise, music and alcohol (and not necessarily in that order). I must type up my scribbled notes before they just become a garbled mess on the page.

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This morning a call to the tech centre revealed that apparently I needed to reformat my recorder, which is easy peasy to do WHEN you know how. I didn’t. But the operator did. And now I am ready to record the ramblings of happy drinking people everywhere.

Sadly, I did not meet the love of my life at LoveFest last night, but there’s a good chance I met the love of someone else’s.

It’s a glorious day in Los Angeles and I’m doing a lot of procrastinating and faffing around. Sigh… I must eat lunch as it is 4 p.m. and I haven’t done so yet. Hmm..

STS100-LAUNCH1The website is sucking me dry right now, BUT I’m becoming more and more proficient. Can’t wait till we launch! Watch this space…(no pun intended, okay maybe a little one).

Treading Water

6 Aug

Hmm…

Well the week two schedule is definitely more difficult to keep than the week one schedule. Surprise surprise. I have been spending SO much time on my new website and am finally figuring out how to do the design elements on this thing (with some long-distance skype help from my brother). But I’ve definitely been spending way too much time on this and need to get back on track.

Tomorrow I must finish a difficult article I am writing. It will be good to get that off my plate, and then I will be doing some more fiction exercises. HOLD ME TO THAT!

Tonight I’m off to cover an event called Tu B’Av – the Jewish equivalent of Valentine’s Day. Run by JConnect LA – it looks like it could be fairly fun, no? See the poster below. Not feeling particularly lovey-dovey myself right now, however hopefully it will be a fun event and I’ll get some great quotes.

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Onwards and upwards!

Caught in the writing web

3 Aug

Wow,

Don’t know where the weekend went, and had zero time to post. Actually, I do know where the weekend went. I was working on my big “light bulb” idea I mentioned in an earlier post. I can tell you that it will be a very unique website. I did a lot of research and am excited because there is NOTHING like it on the web. I will let you know only that it naturally has a writing/literary bent, but you’ll have to wait until the site is up and running to see what it’s all about. In the meantime, I’ve chosen the name, signed up with a web hosting company and chosen my WordPress theme for my site and uploaded it. This is all VERY time consuming.

neologoAlas, I also discovered that despite being mildly techie and fairly geeky, I need massive doses of extra techiness and geekiness to customize this site. Luckily my very good friend Jim Bursch (who created WestLAOnline and its’ subsidiaries) is going to help me separate my CSS from my Widgets and I can’t wait! If you need his services, he’s amazing. Check out his Websites for Non Techies here. Mention my name too, I’m sure he’ll give you a discount.