Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brandy makes it to Dublin!


When I arrived at the airport the genial, white-haired customs official asked me why I was in Dublin. When I told him I was a writer doing a bit of research for a book he quickly stamped my passport and wrote something in it. What? No one ever wrote something in my passport so, of course, I was anxious to read his note. It said: “30 days. Business.” I feel so…blush…validated! Here I am in Ireland, the home of how many? famous writers, and I am here on a 30 day business visa. One of my fellow hostelers was complaining that they had written “six days” on her passport because that was the date of her return ticket. Not moi!

Speaking of hostels…deciding to stay at at a hostel was one of my better travel decisions (we won’t even BEGIN to compare this to the “Belize incident”!) This is one of the best trips ever! Traveling alone can be such a drag...especially in hotels or resorts where everyone is family or coupled up. I have gone DAYS without so much as a hello from anyone, all in their own world. I'm not saying I blame them, of course, just stating a fact that doesn’t suit me. Well, last night I had dinner with two gals in their twenties (both named Rachel) and it was a RIOT! I'll e mail post the silly photos on Facebook when I get home. (I forgot to upload the software for the new camera on this pc.) I had my first glass of Guinness and loved it but the waiter said it didn't count because I took someone's suggestion and tried it with black currant. He said: “Your first Guinness should be plain, in a pint, and served by a cheeky waiter.” I told him: "Well, I've got the cheeky waiter part right!" It was fun to banter with him. I'll be visiting the brewery tomorrow so that should be my first “real” Guinness.

I am really enjoying staying at Abigail's. I'm sure it's noisy as hell in the summer with the windows open but now it's doable. All my roommates so far have been fellow teachers. I guess some of us take the job at least in part because of the vacation time! I’ve met people from New Zealand, Australia, California, and Hong Kong. Although I’m still on my own, I get the feeling that most of the people here would be approachable if I wanted or needed to speak with someone. And last night the two Rachels and myself had an inane, mostly one-sided conversation with a quasi insane resident named Charlotte. Suffice it to say that speaking with her made me feel as if it were the 60s again. Things like this certainly add color to the experience of travel!

Right now I'm in a bright, populated lounge. The tv is on, people are ambling in and out, and one of the Rachels I had dinner with last night chatted with me a bit. I’ve accomplished some work on Brandy. This trip definitely resolved a few questions about the direction of the story and has added some authenticity to Brandy’s experience.

Tonight I had dinner in a French place - Leon's on Exchequer Street - recommended by a friend of a friend who lives in the area and she was spot on. The food was amazing and they even had La Religieuse Choclat! My very favorite French pastry in the world. I really enjoyed it and, since I’m on a business trip, it might even be tax deductible! ;-)

Happy New Year to all! I will be spending New Year's Day in the Irish countryside on a tour.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowed In

I can eat myself into oblivion on days like this! Too much snow to go out, cold weather perfect for cookie baking. I feel as if I should be writing but I'm taking a holiday week retreat. Besides, I really must bake - I have enough nuts in the fridge to make baklava for the entire middle east!

Happy Holidays all! I am looking forward to writing in Ireland.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You have a friend in Ireland...


I recently became interested in the provenance of a particular stained glass window. It was supposed to be the image of Mary but the iconography was blatantly pagan. I wrote to the professor in Virginia who took the picture in order to uncover some information about it but the man didn't recall exactly where he shot the photo. He thought it was taken in a Catholic church in Kilrush, Ireland and he attributed it to Harry Clarke. I know that the images in some of Clarke's church windows caused controversy (the eroticism in the Geneva windows a case in point) and that the clergy were onto Clarke's dark side...how could they possibly have overlooked this?

In order to crack the mystery of the window I joined a forum about Irish architecture and contacted a man who was a prominent poster. He is going to Kilrush this week and he is going to take some photos for me. How nice is that? I'm hoping that he finds an answer.

I am still doing minor tweaking on the novella, The Darkest Book on the Shelf, for which I did a bit of research on alchemy, Yeats, and stained glass iconography. That is how I came across this puzzling gem. I'm obsessed with it now and plan on working it into a story even if it is only the briefest mention. TOO interesting!

I will tell you more WHEN I find out and IF the telling doesn't constitute a spoiler to my story!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yeats, Harry Clarke, and banshees...


Serendipity and kismet...

I begin with going to Ireland to finish my book and now, thanks to the internet, I am corresponding with a few Dubliners. The connections between my works are also forming like a steadily growing web... banshees led to fairies and Tir Nan n'Og which led to ancient Latin alchemical symbols and Yeats' symbolist stories about Irish mythology and alchemy all discovered in the darkest corners of a musty old library. Then an image search on Google for a mystical piece of stained glass in said library turns up information about one of Yeats' contemporaries, Harry Clarke, and an amazing piece of iconography in glass that is already growing into another idea. All the while, Faleen of the spider crystal and rose wings traipses through my mind in a perlucid green meadow.

My life as a writer seems to be taking on the rambling quality of my dreams which, most likely due to my incessant reading in the YA fantasy genre this year, are populated with demonistic dogs, walls that crumble as I enter the room, and terror filled ocean scapes where I am threatened by tsunami-like waves. I'm juggling too much, working too hard, and writing like a fiend.

I'd "take it down a notch"....

....but only if I could quit work and write full time.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Catching My Breath...

Right now the only piece I haven't completed is Brandy's book (if I had enough followers to this blog I'd start a "Name This Book" contest because, unlike most of my works, the title is coming LAST on this one). I'm sort of catching my breath for a week until I go to Ireland to finish the writing.

Someone told me the latitude in Ireland creates very short days this time of year...that will give me a LOT of time to write since I'm not all that thrilled about going out to enjoy night life alone. I'm really looking forward to the writing. Travel always motivates me if I feel stalled about something. When I went to Florida to research some details for Nym's Tail it was really a booster shot. I think Dublin will do that for Brandy. Just THINKING about the trip has given me some ideas about how I'm going to procede. Temple Bar is supposed to be crazy, gypsies abound...

Now I have to face the realization that I'm STALLING on pitching my pieces and finding an AGENT!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nyquil and the Muse

Aaaachoo! AAAAchoo! Ahhhh...ahhh...aaachOO!

Yes, I had a cold this week. Did nothing but write and drink tea. Write and sleep. Write and go to work (sneezing and coughing but...hey!...you gotta eat!) I was so sick I actually took Nyquil - something I never do - and quickly discovered that it interefered with everything except passing out.

FINISHED THE NOVELLA TODAY. 22000+ words. I'm going back to tweak the final chapter but, basically, I'm done. It could easily go to full length novel but I'm just going to do the tweaking and then get back to Brandy when I go to Ireland.

When I get back I have to start a serious search for an agent...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who Can Blog in a Turkey Coma?

Blog, shmog. I have to WRITE! I have a 20-40,000 word novella that I MUST finish by December 31st. I started it about a week or two ago and I've become OBSESSED. On Thursday I posted that I had completed 7000 words. Today I'm up to 15000 in spite of all the holiday activities because one of my friends from my writer's group gave me a lead about someone looking for novellas. The title of the collection has something to do with alchemy. Guess what my novella is about?


This is so beshert.

Love you,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Alchemy of Writing and Turkey

The "little" short story I decided to write to keep the juices flowing until I go to Ireland has taken on a life of it's own! It's 7000+ words and I've gotten wrapped up in a complex business involving lock picking, alchemy and William Butler Yeats! I haven't forgotten about Brandy by any means, I've just left her at JFK, waiting for me to join her in December where we will have the adventures and experiences necessary to finish her story in Dublin.

As I already mentioned, the jaunt to Ireland now serves two purposes - seeking Brandy's banshees and learning more about W.B Yeats. I read his life story awhile back but I want VISUALS! I want to see the letters and the first editions. Last week I read Rosa Alchemica and I must say - it is no wonder that man had several nervous breakdowns! If that story was not inspired by massive quantities of hallucinogens then Timothy Leary is indeed dead. And, although I hate to admit it, I have a great deal of difficulty following the convoluted phrasing and complex sentence structure. Listen, I will admit to being able to drag out a sentence with the best of them but reading a sentence THREE TIMES just to get the meaning leaves me with the desire to take a ride to the GWB and throw my Mensa pin in the Hudson River!

It's THANKSGIVING DAY and I am most grateful for one thing - my writing. After all those years in a band, singing, songwriting, acting, doing voiceovers in Manhattan (Hungarian poodles for dog food commercials!) - after poverty, single motherhood, abandonment and drama - after Thailand and California and France, Italy, Monaco, Spain and the Caribbean - I have finally returned full circle to the place I began. When I was a naive teen, slobbering over a broken heart and writing poetry, seeing a therapist because of abuse and setting myself up for abuse-yet-to-come because I just wasn't getting it, something inside told me "You ain't seen nothin' yet, kid!". I knew if I wanted to be a writer I had to LIVE first, to have memories, knowledge and experience to draw from that would put the early pain into perspective and, more importantly, carve new depths. Well, life carved so deep I had to crawl out with Prozac but now the worst is long behind me and the best is yet to come. And THE BEST THING - the sense of humor that carried me through all the tough times has not only stayed with me, it's made it's way INTO MY WRITING.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Current Writing Projects

Ah yes...a good day is a day when you stay home and write. Still waiting to finish Brandy's banshee book but the trip to Ireland will bring both of us through the adventures needed to sew up that package. While I'm there, I'm going to visit the National Library of Ireland's exhibit on William Butler Yeats. Some of his work with mythology, alchemy and the occult are already firing up a new idea. So here's the tally:

One book nearly completed with a sequel laid out and the idea for the final book of the trilogy.

Brandy's book (working title White Noise) - six chapters completed. All the rest waiting for details that I will acquire in Ireland. This will be completed quickly once I get back, perhaps even in Ireland where I should have many evenings to write since I will be alone and I don't drink beer!

The Darkest Book On the Shelf. Short story status thus far. I don't want to work on this much now but it keeps calling me and, today, I answered.

So...that's the tally. The house looks like a war zone but I have decided that my two greatest priorities are eating (my job) and getting out of my job and find a way to eat that makes me happy (writing).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Musings, dreams, nightmares, fantasies

And a dash of reality.

First, let's get the dash of reality out of the way......

I went to the SFWA reception tonight. It was an excellent exercise for ocular muscles. All the name tags were color coded. Everyone who passed through the room glanced first at your face then immediately down to your name tag and then, all too often for those of us wearing author red, away. Are you my new agent, blue? Can you help me publish my book, purple? Maybe you can do my cover, green? Awww...you're red like me.

The predominance of red did not work for some I spoke with ("I haven't spoken with one agent tonight!") but I felt the energy of being with writers exhilarating. Isn't this my future? Isn't this where I belong? I could be at my grad class instead of trashing my average with this ONE more absence. (Oh! You wicked, wicked girl!) But I'd rather be in a room full of writers.

Actually, what I'd really rather be doing is writing so that the next time I'm in a room full of writers someone will want to look back at my face after they read my name.

On to nightmares, etc.

I feel the pain of the dog's weight pinning me flat on my back. His huge black paws press into the tender depressions over my breasts, just below my collarbones. Teeth bared over my face, hot saliva in my eyes.

Mermaids flash irridescent tails; their cupped hands offer pink lotus, plait my hair with pearls and seaweed. I swim with Blue Tang and Emperor fish. A flash of gold, a shoal of silver with yellow tails.

I'm on the top floor of a dingy white clapboard house. The wall of the room I am standing in crumbles, falls away like dust to reveal the night sky, jagged rocks along a distant shore. White waves scrape the moon, rush toward the empty, broken room, engulf me.

I wake in the sand at the edge of the ocean. Another wall of water roars towards the shore. Everyone is running but I am naked and wounded.

Where are the dreams of flying?