Day 352

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I flew home at 7:45 and arrived in Oakland at 10:30.  Richard picked me up from the airport and took me home.  I went right to bed.  I watched the documentary Salinger in the afternoon, then went back to sleep.  I took a shower at 8 and entered some blog entries until it was time to go to sleep.  Being sick is the absolute worst.  I hope this is the last time I get sick like this again.  It's so debilitating.

Day 351

Monday, December 30, 2013

I was supposed to play games at Neal and Karin's but was too sick to do anything.  I stayed at Gwen's and slept all day.  I also searched for something to watch on television and found Oliver Stone's The Untold History of the United States on Showtime.  I watched 7 of 10 episodes.  It's outstanding.  I found each episode riveting.  The editing is amazing and the storytelling is terrific. This is Oliver Stone at the top of his game.  I loved all of it.  I'll have to watch the remaining three episodes and also buy the book.  

 Aside from watching these documentaries, it was another waste of a day.  I can't believe I got sick again.  I'll have to take better precautions when I fly.  Airborne, Vitamin C, whatever it takes.  This is ridiculous.  

Day 350

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I had no voice and felt horrible, but still managed to get up early and go with Gwen to a meeting, then breakfast, then to west Seattle to visit Dad and Sue briefly as they returned from their holiday cruise to the Caribbean.  We met at Mugs and Mary's house.  They live in a beautiful two-story home on the corner of Rose Street.  It was a pleasant visit, but my voice was so gone I didn't add much to the conversation.  Once I returned home to Gwen's, I spent the rest of the day in bed.  I watched the second half of the Seahawks game.  They look great.  I ate dinner with Gwen's family, a delicious Italian meal with fresh home-made pasta.  Wow, was it good.  I fell asleep around 8 and didn't wake up until around 9 the next morning. 

Day 349

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I woke up around 10:30 and felt dreadful.  I had a sore throat and no voice.  I still had the chills from the night before.  Nicole came over around 11 and we were planning to go to lunch together.  I took a shower, which helped me feel better, and we went out to Purple in Woodinville.  We had a great meal and an amazing conversation.  Nicole told me all about her 3.5-week family trip to Europe last summer.  I hadn't really heard any stories from that trip.  All I knew was that it was a very difficult trip for everyone.  Nicole's version of the trip was incredible.  It was like experiencing every Eugene O'Neill play at the same time, with scenes full of crazy, highly dysfunctional behavior, high drama, and lots and lots of drinking.  I listened for about 90 minutes to all the details of that trip.  In a way, Nicole and all her family members are still dealing with effects of Europe.  Relationships have changed and everyone's doing what they can to get back on track and reclaim the clarity of their lives while managing the poison of our family, alcohol.  If all of them banished booze from their lives for good, they'd be in far better shape to confront life's unrelenting problems and issues, but most of the players in Nicole's family aren't there yet.  Gwen may be the only one who truly gets it.  Mathew and Tristan are too young.  Nicole's starting to get it, but she may need another five-to-ten years of life experience to truly see the dangers and consequences of this brutal disease in our family. 

After lunch, we went to Starbuck's and talked about all kinds of things.  It was an incredible afternoon of conversation and bonding.  I'm so proud of my niece and the insights and wisdom she brings to the table.  She's a true survivor.  I guess in a way we all are.

After I came home, we all went to the Bellevue Mall and met Tristan, who was working at Johnson and Murphy.  I bought a really nice vest jacket that was originally $156, but was discounted to $35, thanks to a 70% off promotion that Tristan had through his account.  What a deal.  Afterward, we hit a jewelry store where Mathew went shopping for an engagement ring for Rothna.  Talk about overwhelming.  Poor guy.  I'm not sure what the rush is, but Mathew seems intent on getting married in his early 20s.  Having spent the past week with my two sisters and their children, I can't help but feel as if I'm replaying moment of my life from childhood to my twenties.  My nieces and nephews remind me so much of myself back then.  I want to tell them all to relax and take things slow and show them how not to get into their own way, but I know I can't really do that.  They'll have to learn on their own how to get things where they want them to be.  Too bad it takes so long to get there.  This trip, more than any other, has shown me how much I've changed these past few years.  I'm really no longer available for other people's dramas.  They own it, and I can't do much to help them unless they ask for help.  Thing is, they rarely ever ask.  I'm so glad those days of drama are behind me. 

Day 348

Friday, December 27, 2013

I left Phoenix at 8:50 a.m. and arrived in Seattle by 11:20.  I picked up my rental and drove to Gwen's in Kenmore. I had a sore throat and worried I was coming down with another cold.  I'd already been sick last month and wasn't prepared for about bout of the flu.  I had too many people to visit and too much to do.

I hung out at Gwen's until 5:30, then went to Kathryn and Tom's where the gang was having dinner, everyone except Kevin, Steve and Amanda.  I arrived at 6:15 feeling very sluggish with a sore throat, but I managed to stay until 1:50 a.m.  We had a great dinner and played games and poker.  The dinner conversation was lively and memorable.  Neal's daughter Kara wanted to know if we were as insightful about ourselves when we were her age, even though we weren't asked penetrating questions on our college applications like the ones students were expected to answer today.  It was an interesting question which sparked a lot of discussion.  The most poignant response came from Kathryn, who said the ways in which an adult figures out how to end certain cycles of behavior that cause pain is one of the great benefits of experience and a life fully lived, from which no 17-year-old can yet understand.  Kathryn said she thought she knew so much about herself and the world at 17, but years later realized she knew nothing.  At's part of the grand perspective of life that makes each stage so interesting.  Kathryn and I seemed to be the only two who shared this perspective of figuring out issues later in life, which our teenage years seemed so underdeveloped they no longer seemed relevant.  Karin wanted to know if anyone else felt the way we did.  No one said so.  I liked that moment best.  It was a great evening.  I just wish I felt better. 

We played Celebrities and Wits & Wagers, then poker.  I had no cards until I pushed with AJ, only to be slow-rolled by Neal's AA.  I left at 1:50 and went to bed dead tired at 2:20.  I didn't wake up until 10:30 the next day, sick as a dog.

Day 347

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Alice and I got up around 8, had some breakfast, then went with mom to Kirkland's Home, Old Navy, and Santan Village where we walked around checking out the Boxing Day sales.  We had lunch at Kona Grill and had sushi and salad with a really good butter cake and ice cream for dessert.  We came back at 2.  I took a nap, then went on two adventures with niece Alex and nephew Hayden.  

Day 346

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas began bright and early at 6 a.m.  Jill and mom got things ready and Alice and I crawled out of bed.  Alex and Hayden were in mom's room, wondering if Santa had arrived.  Once everything was ready, the bell rang and the kids ran into the living room.  They each had a massive pile of toys.  I'm not sure Hayden was able to fully process everything in his chair, so he kind of malfunctioned for about 30 seconds.  He was a riot. Alex went to Jill and hugged her. 

They played with their toys and we all opened presents and had an extremely enjoyable Christmas morning.  Mom made an egg bake which was really delicious.  Alice was probably overwhelmed at all the consumer outrage.  I held her hand and told her to plow through the day.  She doesn't like getting gifts, but was bombarded with them. 

In the afternoon, Alex and Hayden went outside with their Razor scooters.  I accompanied them and we had two adventures, one regular adventure and one safari.  We covered quite a bit of the neighborhood.  It took Hayden a little while to get the hand of scooting, but once he found his balance, he looked like a pro in no time. He's a good athlete.  Alex took to her scooter immediately.

Jill's boyfriend Tom and his daughter Jordan came over in the afternoon.  We had a fabulous dinner around 6.  By 8 I was exhausted from eating so much.  Jill's kids were in meltdown mode by 8:30.  It's a wonder they didn't malfunction earlier.  Once they were in bed, we were able to enjoy some adult time.  It was one of the most enjoyable and peaceful Christmases on record!

Day 345

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Alice and I got up at 4 and caught a taxi to the airport at 4:45.  Our flight was on time and uneventful.  We arrived in Phoenix around 10:20 or so, then went to the Rental Car facility and picked up our car at Hertz.  We drove 45 minutes to Chandler and arrived at mom's a little after noon.  Mom is amazing at putting together a house steeped in Christmas.  She, Jill and the kids were all there.  Seeing Alex and Hayden together reminds me of myself and Jill at their age.  Alex looks so much like Jill at 8 and Grandma Hagan when she was a young girl.  Hayden looks a lot like his dad and my dad when he was young.

A had a few gifts to wrap, so once that was taken care of I went out to the playground and played with Alex and Hayden for about an hour.  We ended up going to that park every day we were there.  The weather was perfect.  I had a great time playing with them.

We had clam chowder for dinner and the kids were in bed by 8.  It took me about two hours to place all the stickers on a fire engine transformer Jill got for Hayden.  Good thing I like doing projects like that.  It was such a relaxing, easy-going Christmas Eve.  We went to bed around 11 or so and woke up bright at early at 6 on Christmas Day.

Day 344

Monday, December 23, 2013

I worked three hours today, the did some last-minute shopping in preparation for my trip to Phoenix and Seattle for the next week.  Packed up and ready to go.  Alice came over in the evening and we went to bed early.  Looking forward to a wonderful Christmas!

Day 343

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I had two parties to attend today.  The first was at Alice's.  Her family came over around 11 for lunch.  We had tons of food and played Winning Ticket afterward.  The party ended at 4, and I headed over to my house where a special Eerie Street Theater showing of Troll Hunter was slated for the gang.

It was good!  We only watched one film because everyone was so tired and had a lot to do in preparation for Christmas. 

I went to bed around 10:30.

Day 342

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Alice and I went shopping at the Westfield Shopping Mall in San Francisco.  We walked around, window shopped, and hung out at the VIP United Airlines Chase Visa Lounge for 20 minutes.  After lunch, we watched Saving Mr. Banks.

This was a very enjoyable, well-made film.  The storyline about the author of Mary Poppins being very disagreeable and difficult in the film adaptation of her story unfolded nicely.  Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are always so good.  Alice enjoyed the film very much.

We went home and ordered our favorite chicken wings from San Tung.  Yummy!

We went to bed around 11.

Day 341

Friday, December 20, 2013

Another morning of laundry, shopping, to-do lists, baking, and racquetball, all before noon.

Played Steve twice and took both.  My shots were better today, but I ran out of gas after 6 and barely moved during doubles.

Almost caught up with the blog and my 2013 entries.  Picking up where I left off on True Colors.  It's time to wrap that book up.

Day 340

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Most of the day was spent taking care of all the year-end items I never have time to take care of.  I also did one last power-shop on Amazon Prime, taking care of Gwen's family and a few old friends.  It's nice to have that behind me. 

I'm still feeling sluggish and not quite 100% healthy.  That cold a few weeks ago really knocked me out. 

I watched two episodes of Alpha House on Amazon Videos.  I like it.  It's funny.

Day 339

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Today ended up being busy, starting first with several games of racquetball from 5-7.  Steve got me a couple of times, which was great but also frustrating.  I seemed a step behind in everything.

After racquetball, I made butter tarts for Rhonda and Biff and wrapped Christmas gifts.  Work was slow, so I was able to leave early.  I went to Best Buy and bought mom this:

I bought one for myself last week, and it's a great little wireless speaker with incredible sound.  I use it to connect to my ipod nano.

In the evening I went to Richard & Lisa's for dinner.  The whole gang was there, Ari, Trey, everyone.  We had Chao Thai, which I haven't had in a while.  Very good.

I went to bed around 10:30.

Day 338

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Taking care of chores and getting ready for next week's holiday trips to AZ and WA.  Still a bunch of stuff to do.

I had my third match of the season tonight against Harry, who's slowing down a bit.  I beat him handily, which I've never done before, 15-6, 15-5. 

Once my Christmas shopping and wrapping is done, it's back to True Colors, then Intervention Island.

Day 337

Monday, December 16, 2013

Woke up at 4:05, drove back to Oakland, played racquetball until 6:30, then went about my day.  Still slow going as I try to get back to my routine.

Day 336

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Alice stayed over and we slept in until 8.  We went to Starbuck's and Arizmendi.  It was a very relaxing morning.  After breakfast, we went to Ranch 99 and Costco, then headed over to her house.  I strung a racquet in the afternoon.  That was about it for the day.  Went to bed early.  A nice Sunday.

Day 335

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I spent the morning cleaning.  Some corners needed a deep cleaning, so I got out the vacuum and blew threw all that dusty bunny nonsense.  Alice came over at 3 and we went to Rhonda and Biff's for dinner at 7.  We brought over the cab we had purchased at Trahan Wineries and bought a chocolate cake from the bakery at Grand Ave. next to Primrose. 

Rhonda presented a wonderful spread of pan-fried chicken, an orange salad, couscous, and vegetables.  It was a great evening.  We have to get together with them more often. 

Day 334

Friday, December 13, 2013

Played racquetball in the a.m. for the first time in over a week.  My energy is still shot.  Afterward, I had breakfast with Rhonda.  It was great catching up with her.  I told her the story of the hostess with the leastest and she was appalled.  Work was slow which was nice, so I shopped on Amazon.  I love Amazon.  I stayed at my place tonight and continued taking care of small tasks here and there.

Day 333

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No writing today.  Just shopping.

Day 332

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Still lacking in energy and recovering from last week's flu. I've been using Amazon Prime for most of my Christmas shopping.  It's so convenient.  Work is slow, so I have some time to take care of chores I've neglected, like stringing all my racquets.  I have three racquets that need to be re-strung.  It takes about 90 minutes per racquet.

Day 331

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Another lazy day for me that included no writing.  I bought some gifts online, and in the evening I went over to Richard and Lisa's to celebrate the revision of Zombie Cookies. I read the last four chapters to them, which was fun. We had Star Pizza, root beer, wine, and port.  Yum.  Went home at 11 wiped out. 

Day 330

Monday, December 9, 2013

Slept in until 6 this morning, then went home from Alice's and prepared for a morning of jury duty.  Thankfully, I wasn't called and was dismissed by noon.  I walked home from the court house, a clear, cold morning that brought out all the beauty of Oakland around Lake Merritt.  The rest of the day was quiet. Still recovering from last week's flu, but certainly feeling better.  Now it's time to tackle a few Christmas gifts and holiday plans at mom's and Gwen's.

Day 329

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Having those revisions behind me is like having a one-month prison sentence behind me.  I'm still wiped out from the last month of craziness.  That was a brutal rewrite, but I think the results were worth it.  This book is much stronger now, with a very solid ending.  Solid endings = solid stories.

Day 328

Saturday, December 7, 2013

 I finished the revisions to Zombie Cookies and emailed them to Sharon at 8:30 this evening.  What a job.  I like what I came up with.  I really like what I came up with.  Yolanda's edits were terrific.  Now I can go Christmas shopping and vacuum my apt.

Day 327

Friday, December 6, 2013

I need that extra push to wrap up the re-writes and ship these revs off.  I have chapter 38 and 39 to write.  I'm reading over the last 15 chapters now.  Slow going, but it will be done.

I'm feeling better but still very tired.

Day 326

Thursday, December 6, 2013

Now that I'm not playing in the Fremont Open, I can relax a little bit, knowing I have the weekend to revise.  I hope I won't need the entire weekend.  Maybe just Saturday.

I'm still sluggish and have little energy.  This flu really knocked me out.  I'm sleeping the rest of the evening.  I can't do much tonight and it's only 7:30 p.m.

Day 325

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Not a good day.  I barely got any sleep last night and my body aches.  I'm sick.  Dang.  How could this happen?  I already cancelled my matches in the Fremont Open.  What horrible timing.  I was worried I was vulnerable to something.  I've been putting in too many hours and getting too little sleep. 

Day 324

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Around 2:30 in the afternoon, I felt a tickle in my throat that let me know I might be coming down with something. Sure enough, my throat became sore a few hours later.  This is exactly the wrong time to get sick.  I still have so much left to revise.  This can't be happening.  This is not good.

Day 323

Monday, December 2, 2013

I played Mike Cota this morning and took care of business 15-8, 15-7.  I played well. 

Left for home and hit the rewrites.  So much to do.  I was hoping to finish today, but that was an impossible deadline.  By the end of the week should be fine.

Day 322

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Came home from Alice's and have been writing all day.  I like being in this space but also can't wait for it to end.  It's hard for me to do anything else.  Can't wait for the rewrites to be over.

Day 321

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Got up at 7 and wrote until 9 p.m.  Up to chapter 29.  The 20s took longer than I thought they would.  I've actually changed a lot, but the story's still the same.  My head is scrambled right now.

Day 320

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wrote all day.  Alice left at 8 after we went to Starbuck's and Noah's.  Richard, Ari, Trey and Miles came over at 8:30 p.m. for a little Eerie St. Theater.  We watched two movies on Netflix:

Both films satisfied the Eerie Street viewers.  Grave Encounters was super spooky! 

Day 319

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Alice came over at 10 and we went over to Richard and Lisa's at 12:30.  We went on a very nice 4-mile walk up in the Oakland Hills. 

Dinner was 6.  It was just the Youngs, me and Lisa and Rossana.  Very nice. 

We played Winning Ticket after our post-TG nap.  A wonderful time was had by all.

Day 318

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More revising, more changes.  A quiet day at work. 

Day 317

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm up to chapter 19 in my revisions.  Chapter 18 is going to need some changes that I hadn't anticipated.  The first half of ZC moves along.  Most of the changes will be in the second half.

These next few weeks are loaded with activities.  The Fremont Open Racquetball Tournament is in two weeks.  I'm signed up for singles and doubles.  It will be fun to participate in this.

Day 316

Monday, November 25, 2013

Went through my regular day, revising all day.  Work was long and hard.  Ended up staying until 7:30.  Up to chapter 12.

Day 315

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Went home early and started revising from beginning to end.  Slow going.  Finished six chapters.   Stopped at 9 pm.

Day 314

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I wrote a little in the morning, then headed to Alice's at 10:30.  We did some chores in the afternoon, then attended a birthday/potluck in the evening.  The hostess, who shall remain nameless, had the audacity to not prepare anything for her own potluck, yet told her guests to bring something.  Alice and I arrived 30 minutes late, but we were the second couple to arrive.  We brought a green bean dish.  Alice asked, "What did you cook?" and the hostess said, "Oh, nothing.  I'll order a pizza if you need to."  Alice said, "Order a pizza," and the hostess said, "Oh, are you hungry?  We have leftover Chinese in the fridge."  What planet is that person on to host a party and provide nothing for her guests?  That just blows my mind.  Alice said, "I am speechless.  Hagan, let's leave and get some noodles."  I love Alice!

Day 313

Friday, November 22, 2013

Up at 4, writing for 30 minutes before racquetball at 5.  At the gym until 7:30.  Wrote from 8-10:30, then went to Barns & Noble to get a gift for Rodney (his birthday is tomorrow).

Work was very busy today.  After dinner, I tried to write another 90 minutes or so, but it was really hard to keep my eyes open, so I called it a night before 9.  I did watch an American Experience documentary on Annie Oakley on my PBS app.  Very interesting and inspiring.

Day 312

Friday, November 22, 2013

Up at 4, writing for 30 minutes before racquetball at 5.

Day 311

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Up at 4:30, gym at 5.  Ran for 30 minutes and practiced backhand and forehand.  I've been feeling good on the racquetball court this week, moving better and hitting with more accuracy.  I hope I can keep it up.

Wrote from 7:30-11.  There are five strategies I'm weaving into Zombie Cookies:  1) be your own best friend, 2) find power in numbers, 3) use able adults as backup, 4) make yourself unavailable for bullying, and 5) set firm boundaries. 

The angle I can see talking about at schools involves the voice in a student's head that can at times be very critical and abusive, especially when someone's having a bad day.  That voice sometimes acts like a bully instead of a best friend.  It's important to pay attention to that voice and make sure it is being encouraging and supportive rather than aggressively critical and mean.  Too often, people become their own bully, which sets up an unconscious dynamic for outsiders to join in and undermine their self-esteem.  Some of the extreme bully stories I've been reading about are very sad.  I can only imagine what these kids who took their own life were saying to themselves as they bought into the propaganda of their own self worth. 

Day 310

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Up at 4, racquetball from 5-6:30, grocery shopping at 7, writing by 8.  Now that Zombie Cookies is a stand alone novel, the storyline will focus more on Jimmy's ability to remove himself from bullying situations and become less available as a target.  I'm thinking more about strategies kids can use when confronted by an aggressive bully who has targeted an individual for abuse.  There are a few strategies that can be effective.  I'm weaving those into the story without being too heavy handed and also taking a lot of the spy stuff toward the end of the book and pushing it more to the background.  I hope to have everything finished by the Monday after Thanksgiving, but that means working every day until then.  The days still fly by.

Day 309

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Busy day today.  Woke up at 5 and wrote until 8.  Saw Ziegler at 9 to touch base and follow up on our last session in which we talked about swimming amidst all the noise of life.  He and Howard V. know each other.  It would be great to see them in the same room together. 

At 11:30 I had lunch at La Cheval with Lillian and Murry.  It was great catching up with them and hearing about life at Wendel.  I arrived at work at 1 and stayed until 5, then came home and wrote for another few hours.  The last three chapters of Zombie Cookies will be completely redone.  I'm still putting a few of the pieces together.

In bed by 9. 

Day 308

Monday, November 18, 2013

Up at 4, gym at 5, writing at 7:30, work at noon, writing at 5:30, bed at 9.

Rewrites are coming along.  I have 39 chapters to go over in two weeks.  No problem.  I have at least four new scenes to write.  No sweat.  I have lots of other things to take care of.  Ah, that's going to be a problem.  Everything else falls by the wayside when I have a deadline.

Day 307

Sunday, November 17, 2013

 At Alice's.  Revising.  Thinking of revising.  I have about a month of edits in front of me.  Hmm.

Day 306

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Alice and I spent the day in Napa and joined a few of my racquetball buddies at Aaron & Melanie's house for some great food and fabulous company.  We visited Trahan Wineries, where I picked up some Port for Richard.

Day 305

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thinking about my edits right now.  Lots to think about.  Lots to change.  The next month is going to be brutal.

Day 304

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Up at 5:05, ran for 20 minutes, practiced pinch shots for 30 minutes, then hit the weight room.  I really need to lift weights more.

Once home, I spent my morning reading ZC.  I think I know what I need to change.  I'd like to get the revisions completed before Thanksgiving.  I'll have the next two weekends to really hit the manuscript hard.

Day 303

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Up at 4:40, racquetball until 6:30, writing from 7:30-11.  Printed off Zombie Cookies and will revise for the next two weeks while still trying to squeak in 1,000 words each day on True Colors to get the first draft numbers to 50,000.

Rereading Zombie Cookies is interesting.  There are many things I like, but a lot of sentences that can be better and tighter.  The first two chapters are good, but the chapters three and four feel clunky. 

I listened to the commentary of Up in the Air with Jason Reitman.  What great commentary!  He's a natural storyteller.  I may have to get Juno and Thank You for Smoking just to listen to his thoughts on filmmaking.

In bed by 9:30 tonight.  Wiped out. 

Day 302

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm still processing what I need to change in Zombie Cookies.  Whenever I'm about to launch into a rewrite, I think about what I'm going to change for a day or so without looking at the manuscript.  I just take a yellow pad and start writing notes.

My go-to film to clear my head and get motivated about good storytelling is this:

It's one of those perfect quiet movies that gets everything right.  I've seen it maybe five or six times now and still haven't gotten tired of it.  It destined to be a classic.  Maybe it already is.  I love the tone of this film.  Tone is so important.

Played my first racquetball match of the fall season and barely squeaked by with a victory against Ramon, a new member at Club One.  He's a super nice guy with a very strong drive serve.  It's only a matter of time before he clobbers me on the court.

Gearing myself for the ZC rewrite.  I begin tomorrow.  I'm hoping it won't take too long.  I really want to get TC done before Christmas.

Day 301

Monday, November 11, 2013

An editor at an independent children's book publishing house has asked to see revisions to Zombie Cookies.  She liked the characters but has issues with some of the plotlines and other minor details that can be easily fixed.  Anyway, I'm set to revise ZC and put TC on the back burner for the next few weeks.  I'm guessing it will take about two-to-three weeks to complete the requested revisions.  I like this editor and hope to work with her.  She seems real to me and fun.

I checked out a movie from 1981 that I hadn't seen in almost 30 years. 

I get a kick out of watching impressionable films of my 20s.  How different they seem to me now.  This film felt so real to me, and yet looking at it now, I'm struck by all the unnecessary drama that the Albert Finney character brings to his wife and children.  What a mess of a man he is, but also very believable for that kind of personality.  The really something seeing how old and dated everything looks.  There are some great moments in this film.  It holds up well.


Day 300

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gwen's birthday today.  I spoke to her on FaceTime for 30 minutes.  It was good to catch up with her.  She's had a rough year this year, but I think she's making positive steps in her life.  She'll do well for the rest of the year; at least I'm hoping she will.

I wrote for a few hours, helped Alice with her 401k situation (she's planning to make changes this year as she's unhappy with her present portfolio) and helped Austin with one final personal statement for his UC applications.  Austin's applied to ten schools total, all instate.  She should do well with his choices.

For dinner, we attended a potluck for one of Alice's group of friends.  We stayed until 9:30.  I went to bed at 10:15.

I'm really going to push True Colors these next few months.  I have so much left to do before this project is finished.  The important thing is to stay focused and keep moving forward.

I can't believe I've been at my routine for 300 days in-a-row.  This was without question the fastest 300 days I've ever experienced.  During this time, I wrote a new novel, got a new agent, revised Martin Martinez, began two new novels, went on a cruise to Alaska with Alice and helped my mom move to Arizona. I'm sure the next 300 days will go just as fast.

Day 299

Saturday, November 9, 2013

No writing today.  Visited my friend Jim Watts as his artist studio at Hunter's Point in San Francisco.  Hadn't seen Jim in a while.  He's still writing screenplays.  He's written nine now, but also paints and sculpts.  A true artist.  It was great catching up with him. 

Jim Watts at Sandra Lee Gallery
Alice's family gathered for their traditional Thanksgiving Family Dinner tonight.  This was the only Saturday everyone got together.  I ate so much food I thought I was going to burst.  So delicious.  What a great family!

Day 298

Friday, November 8, 2013

Up at 4:00, at the gym at 5, only played a few games.  Brian showed up for the first time in months.  Steve and I played against Brian and Glenn.  We were ahead 9-3, but then Brian's serve kicked in and we ended up losing 13-15.  I then played with Tiger and lost badly.

After racquetball, I wrote for only an hour, then went to work early.  I'll leave today at 3 and continue writing.  Howard and the gang are back east and Cheryl is off today, so I have the whole building to myself.  Very quiet and relaxing.  I cleaned up some corners and sent a few emails.  Much different from my days at Wendel Rosen!

I'm determined to reach 50k words in True Colors by next week.  That should be enough of a first draft to really work each section of the book.  I have no idea how publishable this novel is.  I like the story and the kids are neat, but I will need to really study the marketplace in a different way so that I can figure out what editors are looking.  I can do all that, but it takes time to read their blogs and books.  I enjoy doing that, but to be honest, I'd rather work on a new novel.

Day 297

Thursday, November 7, 2013

No gym today.  Wrote for three hours in the morning before heading over to Emeryville for my five-hour part-time gig at Howard V's office.  Approaching 40k on True Colors.  Hope to reach 50k by next week.

Day 296

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another fatigued day.  Very little energy.  Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself and not relaxing as much as I need to.  After racquetball, I went back to sleep for an hour.  I couldn't think.  I also went to bed at 9 tonight.  Very little writing today.

Day 295

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Woke up at 5 and wrote for several hours.  Work was reasonably busy.  At 5:30 I wrote a little more, then started reading a book I checked out of the library last Saturday.

It's really good.  I'm using some of the techniques I learned in the speed reading book I checked out as well.  Not a lot of happiness in these pages.  The estimate is now up to around 45 million who perished from 1958-1962 due to policies that make up the Great Leap Forward.  Alice's parents lived through these times.  I'm sure I'll have many questions to ask when I'm finished with this book.

Day 294

Monday, November 4, 2013

Up at 4, gym at 5, writing at 7:30, work at noon, writing at 5:45, reading at 8:30.

That pretty much sums up my day.  I'm putting the last third of the novel on paper right now, chapters 67-100.  I'm up to chapter 70.  I have about 13k words left to write before I reach 50k words.  I should be able to reach that in two weeks or less.

I checked out this from the library and it's good!

Day 293

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Alice and I woke up early and took a walk through Golden Gate Park.  We also hung out at Irving & 9th in front of Arizmendi for 30 minutes or so.  It was a beautiful morning.

I wrote from 10-2 and from 4-6.  I still have so much left on True Colors, but I'm determined to bang out as much as I can this month.

Austin completed two more college applications.  All he has left are his applications to UC schools.

Alice and I watched 60 Minutes.  The Guantanamo piece was particularly disturbing, but not surprising, given the decisions made in the past 13 years.  Nonetheless, it's such an obvious kangaroo court down there.

We watched The Invention of Lying before bed, or half of it, actually.  It has it's moments, but on the whole the film feels a little bit off, and maybe miscast?

Onto the new week...

Day 292

Saturday, November 2, 2013

No writing today.

I played in our Club One doubles racquetball tournament this morning from 8-2.  Tracy Leever was my partner, a very good player and super nice guy from Livermore.  I won a few games and lost a few games, squeaking into the playoffs before losing to Steve and EJ 10-15.  The finals came down to Harry & Carlos versus Steve Rojas and Mike Lippitt.  Harry and Carlos were up 18-6 in one game to 21, but but somehow managed to lose 20-21 in an epic come-from-behind win for Steve and Mike.  It was very exciting.  Lunch was at La Cheval.  It was a great morning and afternoon.

Harry, Steve, Mike, Carlos - Club One Doubles Tournament
 From Oakland, I drove to SF and stayed with Alice the rest of the day.  She hadn't seen The Hunger Games, so we watched it on Netflix.  The film was really well done.  I don't know if I need to see the other two films.  There are so many other films I haven't seen.

Alice and I both went to bed early, before ten.

Day 291

Friday, November 1, 2013

I slept in after a long Halloween night.  I woke up at 7 and started writing around 8:30.  Gwen called around 10 and we talked for about 30 minutes.  It has been a difficult year for Gwen and Greg, but Gwen's going back to counseling and working on her issues.  One day at a time.

Because of my doubles tournament tomorrow, I'm staying here tonight.  It will be nice to relax for a few hours in the evening and read.

Day 290

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

This year's skit was lifted from a page of Tales From the Crypt and featured Richard, Rick, me and Rossana.  The story turned out well and the special effect of the magic arm was good.  Richard really nailed the sound this was fantastic. I'm awaiting cast photos to post! 

2013 Halloween Cast

Day 289

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Came in early to work this morning, so I wasn't able to write much.  After work, Alice and I went to Benihana in San Francisco.  Alice had a $30 birthday coupon and really wanted to use it.  I'd never been to Benihana before.  We had a great chef named Hugo.  It was fun.  The atmosphere was a kick.  Here's the picture our waitress took of us.  Alice doesn't like this picture of her, but I think she's adorable.  Luckily, she doesn't read this, so I can get away with saying that!

After Benihana, I drove back to the East Bay and checked out the Halloween special effects our mad genius of Halloween Richard Y was putting together.  He and Rick were working on the magic arm effect.  Should be a great show tomorrow night.  I'm playing Maestro Zamboni, the great virtuoso violinst/harmonica player.  My one night as an actor...I love it!

Day 288

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I headed to the gym at 5:45, but stopped my workout at 6:20 because I felt a cold coming on.  I went home early and took one of Alice's can't-fail Chinese teas "Ha-lo-die" that I've sworn by in the past.  I drank the nasty stuff and within an hour I felt better.

I took it easy the rest of the day and felt fine before bed.  That stuff really works!

Day 287

Monday, October 28, 2013

Up at 4:30, at the gym at 5:10, played three games with Steve against Glenn and Tiger and we lost all three.  Ouch.  Glenn's been playing well, hitting the weight room and making good shots.  Tiger played well, too.  Steve and I missed a lot of shots.  I'm not sure why.

I wrote from 7:30 to 10:45.  Did my part-time thing in the afternoon and hit the writing again from 5:30-8.  This will be my weekday routine for the next little while.  At least I like working for Howard, Chad and Paulette.  They're very pleasant people and the work is simple.  I also like having the office to myself from 3-5.

Day 286

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Alice and I woke up at 7:30.  We went to Starbuck's and Arizmendi before Alice left for her Excel class.  I was able to stay home and take advantage of an entire day of writing and cleaning.  I love these days.  I took care of two loads of wash, ironed shirts, and spent about four hours on True Colors. 

In the evening, I went over to Richard and Lisa's to check out the sets for Halloween and go over script stuff.  It's another cool story this year.  Richard is a man possessed! 

Gave Rossana a lift home and returned to my place by 8.  Wrote for another hour, then read, then went to bed. 

Day 285

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Today is Alice's birthday.  She came over after going to breakfast with Cecilia.  We walked around the lake for an hour, then went to see Gravity in 3-D at the IMax theater on Bay Street.

Gravity is stunning.  I loved it.  If The Artist can win Best Picture, so might this film.  It's incredible and so extremely well done.  That's what I found so amazing about The Artist a few years ago.  It was so well done.

Sandra Bullock has never been my favorite actress, but she's so good here.  She's incredible.  Simple story, poignantly told with over-the-top, jaw-dropping special effects.  Truly wonderful.

The film might have been a little too intense for Alice, but I think she was glad we saw it. 

After the move, we came back to my place and relaxed for a few hours, then went out to dinner at Commis.  Really good, fancy seven-course fair.  I loved everything, especially the dessert.

We both crashed by 10:30. It was a super day with a super incredible woman!

Day 284

Friday, October 25, 2013

I was in a funky, short mood today for really no reason.  It was weird.  It was Friday and my writing was going well, but for some reason I was off and wanted to be alone when I was at work.  I reigned in my mood, but I definitely felt short and out of sorts.  Strange.

Rather than head over to Alice's, I stayed home and cleaned my apt., which was long overdue.  Tomorrow is Alice's birthday.  It should be a wonderful day!

Day 283

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slept in until 7:30.  Wow.

Wrote until 11:30. 


Wrote maybe 30 minutes in the evening.  The days are moving too quickly for me.  Stop this high speed nuttiness now!

Day 282

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Up at 4:45, gym, home, writing, work, dinner, writing, bed.

What a life.

Day 281

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Woke up at 6:40 and didn't go to the gym today.  Too tired, plus I'm playing racquetball tonight at Club One and putting on an informal E-Force demo.  My doubles partner for the Oakland tournament, Tracy Leever, will be there.  He's a lot of fun to play with!

Wrote for a few hours today before heading off the Emeryville.  I like the idea of writing 500-word chapters.  They make the book move.  Things really take off after the end of part 1.

Downloaded Backgammon on my iPad.  Haven't played in years.  Fun!

Day 280

Monday, October 21, 2013

Woke up at 3:30, drove home, slept for 20 minutes, then hit the courts at 5.  Steve and I played against Glenn and Tiger and we whooped some a$$.  Then Aaron Kennedy played two games, which was great to see.  He didn't miss a beat.

Went home, tidied up and hit the writing for a few hours.  Now that I'm working for Varinsky Associates for a few hours each day, my productivity has really taken a hit, but I'm determined to get True Colors on paper by November.  The story is coming along.  I'm trying to keep the thing moving quickly and kid-friendly.   I'm also eager to get the book done so I can work on Intervention Island again.

I've been thinking of a new novel for young adult readers that focuses on Hillary Clinton's presidential run in 2016.  I'm kicking around some ideas.  Martin Martinez may have been something of a background book for another novel.  Clinton's run, which I believe is inevitable, will gather momentum in the summer and fall of 2015.  It would be great to have a novel ready to go for submission by the summer of 2014.

My Brother Laser printer arrived tonight.  I love it.  I'm putting all my novels and screenplays and putting them in white binders.  I've been meaning to do that but haven't gotten around to it until now.  I don't have hard copies of anything, but it's nice to see a shelf of work.  Things like that motivate me.  I need to find it wherever I can.

Day 279

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I was able to write for a few hours in the morning.  In the afternoon, I helped Austin send out three college applications to state universities and edited his personal statement, which has improved quite a bit from last week's draft.  I think he'll be just fine next year.  He has a strong portfolio.  I know his first choice is Santa Clara University.

In the evening, Alice and I played cribbage and relaxed. 

Day 278

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I wrote in the morning, then left Oakland at 1:30 and met up with Jeff Parcher, who was participating in a leadership conference in San Francisco.  We hung for a few hours at the Hyatt Regency SFO then picked up Alice and went to dinner at Bambino's.  It was great hanging out with him.  We talked about putting together a weekly chat session with the boys to stay connected and perhaps talk stocks.

Day 277

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wrote for a few hours in the morning and evening.  My new schedule is zapping my energy, but it's far better than the schedule I had last year.

Day 276

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I slept in until 6:30, then got up and wrote until 11.   After 5, I wrote a little more but had to take care of some E-Force emails that took up too much time.  I had to deal with some passive-aggressive nonsense that frustrates me, but I think I was about to address some of the issues without actively engaging in unnecessary drama.  Watched an episode of Monk before bed.  Monk is becoming a TV influence in true colors.  It's a quirky show.  I like it.

Day 275

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today was exactly the same as yesterday, except I played racquetball instead of 40 minutes of insanity.  I worked on two chapters and revised a couple of early chapters.  I'm doing all I can to maintain momentum, but the truth is I'm getting tired more quickly.  The daily grind of a writing life is made worse when there are no successes to report.

Day 274

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Woke up at 4:50, did my insanity at Club One, came home at 6:30, ate my oatmeal, then got to work.  Same old routine.  I wrote until 11, then headed to Emeryville until 5.  Returned home at 5:30, had dinner, and wrote a few hours more before bed.

True Colors is moving along, but progress is slower than I'd like.  The first third is taking shape.  I still have about 34k words in the draft and about 20k words in my leftover file. 

Day 273

Monday, October 14, 2013

Steve Basham is back in action on the racquetball court, so we had some fun doubles games today with Glenn, Mike Coda and Tiger.  Played until 6:30, then came home and started writing at 8.  I have about 60  chapters on paper and another 40 left to write.  The new book's taking shape.

Worked from noon - 5, then wrote another two hours.  It's 9 now and I'm about ready for bed.

 Looks like BART is going on strike tomorrow.  That really makes no sense to me, considering the four-year deal they are being offered is very reasonable.  Hmmm.


Day 272

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alice and I got up at 7 and ate Noah's Bagels and tea at Starbuck's until 8.  Alice drove back to the city and I wrote for a few hours in the morning, then hit Costco early and filled the car with gas.  Headed back home and wrote another couple of hours until 3:30.  Drove to Alice's, picked up some books from the library, had dinner, watched 60 Minutes, then helped Austin with his personal statement for college apps for an hour.  Poor kid.  He experienced firsthand what I have to experience every day, a sheet full of scribbles, deletions, and general mayhem while searching for the right way to say something memorable.  He's on his way.  He wrote a few killer lines that make the whole piece.  With a strong beginning and ending, his application will certainly stand out.

In bed by ten and ready for another week of nonstop work.

Day 271

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Alice and I had breakfast in Santa Cruz, then drove to SF and Oakland.  We spent the afternoon in the Grand Lake neighborhood before joining a few of Alice's co-workers at a barbecue in Montclair hosted by Ethan and Sierra.  It was a very friendly gathering.

We left around 8:30 and went to bed at 10.  I cannot stay up past 10 anymore.  It's really sad.

Day 270

Friday, October 11, 2013

 Alice and I had breakfast at Irving & 9th, then drove to Santa Cruz around 10.  We walked around downtown and ate all kinds of delicious food.  We split a hot chicken and pesto sandwich from Zoccolli's Deli that was killer good! 

We stayed the night at the beautiful Hilton Santa Cruz in Scotts Valley.  We've stayed there before.  It's such a nice place to get away and relax.  We had sushi for dinner in Scotts Valley and cake and ice cream for dessert. 

It was a perfect day with Alice!

Day 269

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Alice Munro wins the Nobel Prize! So wonderful, deserving and inspiring!

I wrote in celebration for three hours this morning, then headed off to work, then to Alice's for the night.  Tomorrow, we'll spend the day in Santa Cruz, eating, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine and walks along the beach.

Day 268

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A typical racquetball/writing/work/writing/sleep kind of day.  Maybe three hours of writing, all of it grueling.  No magic today.

Day 267

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Up at 4:30, Insanity from 5:15-6, writing from 7:45-10:30.  I have 32k words written on TC.  Today, I worked on two chapters near the end of section 1.  Now that the first section is organized and on paper, I may draft section 3 next week, or at least write out all the scenes. 

I'm not sure if this storyline works.  I'll have to wait for early readers to let me know.

Ted Cruz has been getting a lot of press lately.  His behavior reminds me of classic borderline/narcissist behavior in which he's generating a lot of energy toward manufacturing chaos and conflict.  This is how folks like Ted Cruz operate.  They're all about being the center of attention and generating as much momentum and noise as possible.  He can't cooperate if his life (or career) depended on it.  That's why he has no game plan, other than to stay at the center of whatever storm he has manufactured.  It's really something to see a person like this affect so many people and shut down the federal government.  It doesn't say much about our present standing in the world when one junior senator with a personality disorder can wield so much chaos.  Pathetic!


Day 266

Monday, October 7, 2013

Up at 4, gym from 5-6:30, grocery shopping, breakfast, writing from 8-10:30.  An hour for chores/emails/etc, then off to Emeryville from noon-5 for the part-time gig I'm doing for a few months, working for trial consultants right next to Pixar Studios.  The setting is terrific and the people are friendly.  It's a no-stress job that requires little brain power (my favorite kind of job).  It takes ten minutes to drive there and twenty minutes to drive home.  With my afternoon hours no longer available for writing, I'm forced to write in the evenings, which was difficult last week, but should be much better from now on.  TC is falling in place.  The voice is growing and the pieces are taking shape.  The chapters are short, between 500-1000 words in length.  I'm really trying to make this sound like a traditional middle-grade book, though I can't seem to break away from that somewhat limited sound. I really like Lauren and Lani.  They make me laugh.

Day 265

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Woke up at 6, wrote for an hour or so, then headed to Alice's and made it by 9.  Austin and I went out for breakfast at Park Chow.  We don't get much time to hang out without Alice, so it was nice to catch up and hear all about his life.  He's such a great kid who has so much to look forward to.  Any educated Chinese-American who speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese has the world in the palm of their hand, I'm thinking.  The next century is made for them.  Let's just hope we don't get to crazy with our religious ideologies, silly politics and longstanding grievances.  The range of goodness and badness that human beings aspire to is truly mindblowing.

Alice came home from her Excel class at 12:30 and we hung out with each other for the rest of the day.  We visited the Ortega branch of the San Francisco library.  I checked out three books by Laurence Yep (Chinatown mysteries 1, 2 and 3) and the Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty.  Should make for some good middle grade reading.

Day 264

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Stayed in Oakland today and wrote all day.  So nice!  Making progress slowly but surely.

Day 263

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five hours of solid writing today.  Not bad at all, considering I also worked from noon-5.

Day 262

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I wrote for three hours in the morning, then worked from noon - five.  Wrote another two hours from 6-8, then finished off what was available on Netflix from season 5 of

Breaking Bad was never my favorite show (I've never cared from drug-related stories), but the storytelling and acting are first-rate and the camera work is extraordinary.  Very creative production!

Stayed up way too late finishing episode 8, season 5 of BB.

Day 261

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wrote from 6:45-11.  Outlined the entire novel and worked on a scene from section 1, Lauren & Lani's interview of Claudia re her rabbit.

Day 260

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Still writing section 1.  Wrote from 5-11 and 8-10.

Day 259

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wrote from 6:30-11 and 7-8.  I began part-time work for a jury consulting company.  A former co-worker of mine called about a position for a few hours in the afternoon each day.  The location, people and work involved all seem like a great fit.  It's in Emeryville right next to Pixar.  Job's a piece of cake and office is very quiet. It's a temporary gig to get through the holidays, but I won't be as productive as I've been these past few months.

Still writing section 1.

Day 258

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wrote from 8:30-4 at Alice's

Still plotting and working on section 1.  The book has three major sections.  The first section is by far the most difficult.  The second section has already been written.  The third section hasn't been written at all, but shouldn't be too difficult.  The first section, it's a struggle.

Day 257

Saturday, September 28, 2013

No writing today.

Alice and I went to Half Moon Bay in the a.m. and walked for 4 miles, then had a great lunch at Barbara's Fishtrap (delicious!). 

In the evening, we watched Manhattan.  Alice had never seen it, and it's been a couple of decades since I'd seen this gem.  She liked it.  Very touching, thought it's weird seeing folks use pay phones to make calls.  A few scenes also felt too long.  Scenes are so much shorter and snappier these days.

Day 256

Friday, September 27, 2013

Up at 4:40, gym, home, breakfast, then finished reading a novel by my neighbor Rex for two hours before our meeting in the afternoon.  It's a light-hearted satire on wealthy San Franciscans in Pacific Heights and very well written.  Rex's only problem is the book might not be commercial enough in this market.  It's certainly good enough.  He has a deft comedic hand and a way with language.  I was impressed.

At noon, I met with a small jury consulting company to work about 10-20 hours a week to generate some income while my books get off the ground.  This will eat away at my writing time, but if I can squeeze in a few more hours after dinner, I should be fine and stay on track.

In the evening, I played pinball with Richard and 6th grader Sophie.  There may be a novel in my future about a 6th grade pinball wizard who navigates the choppy waters of middle school. 

Loved playing Spin Out and Pin Bot!


Day 255

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Up at 4:30, at the gym at 5:15, Insanity, home at 6:45.  Wrote from 7:15 until 6.  Got a lot done today.  It's coming together, slowly but surely.  I'd really like this book finished by early November.  That may be unrealistic, but that seems to be how I roll.

Day 254

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Up at 4:40, gym from 5-6:30, writing from 7:30 until 4. Up to 30k words in True Colors.  With most of the storyline on paper, I'm filling in the empty spots and continuing with Lauren and Lani's voice.  I'm trying to keep things simple, but also keep the story moving and interesting.  I have a list of differences between the two girls:  East/West, Special power but nothing special/No special power but special, cerebral/visual, quiet/loud, plain/pretty, lyrical language/slangy language, comfortable with struggle/hates struggle, family first/individual first, lots of little things that keeps them linked but different.  There will be a lot more East/West books written that combine various cultures.  Lots of stuff to write about.

Picked up Alice in SF and attended a College Application meeting with her at 7.  She's freaking out about Austin's applications, but he has plenty of time and everything will be fine. It's no different than when I applied, only everything's online now.  The school Austin attends has organized everything nicely, so it's not too overwhelming.  Hope to read through his statement of purpose next week.

Day 253

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Up at 4:50, Insanity from 5:20-6:05, back home at 6:30.  Wrote from 7:45-7.

I spent most of my day on the first three chapters.  It's getting there, but still not quite right.  I like the differences between Lauren and Lani.  I like how the detective angle and made to seem all cute and innocent, when in reality detective stories are nothing more than walking down a path toward bad people doing ugly things.  Maybe that's why there aren't too many detective novels featuring 11-year-old detectives.  I'm trying not to make this story too outside the mainstream, but I may be failing.  It's not coming out like a normal novel.

Day 252

Monday, September 23, 2013

Up at 4, gym at 5.  Tyrone and Brian were there, so I got in some great singles games.  Back home at 7:20.

Wrote from 8-6.  Revised chapters 17-25.  I'll continued again on Wednesday. Tomorrow, I may need to work on the opening chapters and nail down the right voice.

Day 251

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A wonderful day spent with Alice.

Wrote for two hours from 2-4 pm, but that was it.

Day 250

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I woke up early this morning.  Wrote from 5-8, then cleaned my apartment.  Alice came over at 9:30 and we went to Berkeley Bowl for breakfast.  We walked and lounged the rest of the day.  I went over to Richards at 6 for his bi-annual poker fundraiser.  Stayed up until midnight, which is late for me. 

Day 249

Friday, September 21, 2013

Car issues ate up much of the afternoon.  In the end, I needed a new battery for my Mini.  It runs well now, but down the road more work will need to be done.  Later in the evening, a cable to my garage door snapped, so the car is trapped inside until a repairman can fix the door.  It's just been one of those days.

Luckily, I managed to get in a few hours of writing in the early morning.  Each novel is tackled differently and with True Colors I seem to be focusing on the middle of the book first.  My plan is to just write it and not analyze things too much.  If it works, great.  If it's too intense or dark or complicated, then on to the next story.

The characters are growing, which is nice to see. 

Day 248

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I wrote from 6-3 and 8-10, with the middle of the day gobbled up with family issues.  The voice in True Colors is coming but still not there.  I'm writing chapters in the middle of the book where action overrides everything.  If I chip away at the opening chapters every day, eventually the feel and tone of the novel will fall into place.  That's how it's worked in the past.

Right now, Jill is the only clear, grounded member of my family.  She's the only person I can really have a conversation with.  The others are simply lost in their addiction.  They have no idea how limited they are in their ability to communicate and offer any kind of thoughtful advice or counsel.  Right now, it's just Jill. 

Day 247

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I had a "tune-up" session with Zeigler today, my first in many months.  It's always so good to see him.  I'm at a place in life where I'm really good at standing on a river bank while the noise of life flows down the river.  I don't engage with it, and if any of the spray hits me in the face, I've learned how to carry on without getting derailed.  In order to reach the next level, I now have to learn how to swim in all that gunk that has formed the stressful pieces of the life I've chosen for myself.  If I can actually swim in it and still keep doing what I'm doing and stay focused, that will be a very powerful skill.  I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.

It will be interesting to see the changes in my writing as I work toward this new level of clarity and peace.

I wrote about 1,500 words today, none of it very satisfying.  I'm getting this book written, but I'm still feeling a bit sluggish this week.  It will pass, as it always does.

Day 246

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Up at 5:30, played two very uninspired games of racquetball, then came home.  

Wrote from 9-6.  All True Colors, the opening five chapters and chapters 13-15.  The opening chapters are going to take some time until I get the voice right.  It's written in third person, so it's not coming out as quickly.

Day 245

Monday, September 16, 2013

I was sluggish today.  I woke up at 4, hit the gym at 5, worked out, then came home and crashed for an hour.  I wrote throughout the day, but didn't feel much of anything, so I went to one of my old standbys for a little inspiration.

All better now!

Day 244

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Up at 7, at Alice's Excel class from 9-11:30, where I half-listened while jotting down notes for True Colors.

At home, had lunch and finished my three Mark Burnett books so that I can turn them in today without racking up more library fines.

Spent two hours plotting True Colors and drafting more scenes.  I know what the book looks like. Now I just have to get it down on paper.

Part 2 of Halifax tonight, along with the Seahawks/49ers game.  Go Hawks!

Day 243

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Went on a really nice 5 mile walk with Alice in the morning from her house to the Cliff House and back.  We ate an order of pop overs at the Cliff House bar.  The weather was breezy and overcast but the sun came out by the time we returned home. 

The rest of the afternoon I read this helpful book in preparation for part 2 of Intervention Island:

After reading this book, I outlined my week's scenes for True Colors.

Alice made a couple of delicious gourmet dishes which were so good.  After dinner we watch this:

It's always amusing watching 20-somethings play high school students.  Emma Stone was the stand-out star in this hip, nicely detailed but weakly plotted update on the Scarlett Letter (Clueless on crack is what it felt like).  But I can see why the film succeeded.  In a word (or a name), Emma.  She's brilliant, a naturally winning protagonist.  I loved her in Zombieland and loved her in this.  Alice enjoyed it, too.

In bed early, before 10:30.

Day 242

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hit the snooze one too many time and woke up at 5:15.  Made it to the gym at 5:35, and was back home at 7:45.  Wrote from 8-4.

I have most of my major scenes for True Colors and wrote five scenes totaling 2000 words before calling it a day  All-in-all, a productive week of writing.  True Colors and II are going to take up all my time between now and January.  The trick will be to manage everything and still have a life.

Off to Alice's for the weekend.


Day 241

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Woke up at 6, no gym today, started writing at 7:15. 

What was supposed to be a one-hour rewrite of chapter 9 in Intervention Island ended up being a 5-hour revision-fest.  I lost total track of time.  I wrote notes for True Colors afterward. 

Day 240

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Up at 4:45, gym, writing at 7:30.  Spent the day on True Colors.  Up to 18,000 words.  Added a couple more plot lines.  I have a good idea what the story's about.  Now I have to put a complete first draft down, then go through from beginning to end, then do it again.  I'm estimating the job will take about six weeks, maybe more.  I'd love to have it finished by October. 

Went over to Rhonda's for dinner.  She made a spectacular series of dishes, starting with gazpacho, followed by mozzarella, basil and heirloom tomatoes with pistachios, the Panko-herb encrusted chicken with lemon parsley sauce, arugula with olive oil and meyer lemon, and finally fruit crisps for dessert.  It was all so delicious!

Came home and talked with Alice on FaceTime for 30 minutes, then finished a very disturbing but well-made film. 

I enjoy these kinds of innovative independent movies, but the subject matter here was hard to watch.  Glad I saw it though.

Day 239

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Up at 4:30, gym at 5, Insanity until 5:45, weights, back home at 6:30, breakfast, writing at 7.

Today I worked on chapters 7 and 9 of Intervention Island from 7-5:30.  Talked with Chris at 8:30.  Still have about two hours left on chapter 9.  the first section of II is on paper.  It needs a lot of work and revising, but the be essentials are there.

More on TC tomorrow.

Day 238

Monday, September 9, 2013

Up at 4, gym at 5, writing from 8-5:30.  I wrote over 10,000 words today, a personal best, all going toward middle chapters of True Colors Detective Agency.  I drafted about 14 chapters, from Lani's abduction to Lani and Lauren's reunion.  Still working out in my mind the entire scope and arch of the book, but so far it feels good.  We'll see how it plays out when it's finished.  I plan to keep at it at this pace, so perhaps by mid-to-late October a draft will be ready.

After 5:30, I watched about 45 minutes of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland while eating dinner.

What a strange interpretation.  It's a visual delight, but the story...hmmm.

Spent the last few hours of the evening organizing and reading.  I wouldn't mind writing 10,000 words of Intervention Island tomorrow.  I'd like everything up until Caroline's departure for the island writing by the end of September.  October and November can be the show.  December the finale and revisions. 

Day 237

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Alice and I attended our Excel class in the morning, then went home with R&G lunch boxes.  I wrote for a few hours in the afternoon, plotting True Colors. 

In the evening, we watched the first installment of Last Tango in Halifax.  Fun. 

Day 236

Saturday, September 7, 2013

No writing today.

Alice and I walked through Irving Street's Autumn Moon fair and festival.  We hung out at Golden Gate park and ate dumplings by a duck pond.  So nice.

We saw this movie in the evening, which we both really enjoyed.  Jessica Biel was wonderful.

Day 235

Friday, September 6, 2013

Up at 4:45, gym until 7, wrote from 7:30 until 4, then headed over to Alice's for the weekend.

Spent all day on True Colors, the middle great detective story I've been kicking around since last year.  I have the whole thing plotted out and now it's time to write all the scenes.  I have the first 5,000 words written. I'm projecting the book will be about 45,000 words or so. 

I may write the middle section first.  The main character Lani is an 11-year-old adopted girl from China living on Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland with her parents.  Her mom's a teacher and her dad's a detective with the Oakland Police Department.

Lani's best friend is Lauren, a young entrepreneur who run a business called True Colors Detective Agency.  For anywhere from $5-15, they help solve little mysteries around the neighborhood.  As long as I keep the writing lively and simple, it should be a fun book for young readers.

Headed over to Alice's after work and went out for sushi in the evening.  So good!


Day 234

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wrote from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., chapters 7 and 9 and a bunch of research for upcoming mid-story chapters.  Wow, am I wiped out right now.  But I sure like this new book.  I was hoping to spend a few hours on True Colors this afternoon, but I was on too much of a role with II.  It's past 10 and I'm too tired to continue.  More tomorrow.

Day 233

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Woke up at 4:45, at the gym at 5:15.  I was very lethargic this morning.  It wasn't until 7:30 or so when I felt like myself and had energy.

I spent the morning on True Colors, writing from 8-9 and 10:30-noon.  From 9-10 completed an hour's worth of chores, then wrote another hour's worth of TC.

From 12:30-5, I worked on II, drafting chapter 5 and outlining chapter 7.  Thought of a couple interesting ideas for Connie's pitch to the netxec (network executive).

Had an E-Force player meeting in Fremont, so I rode with Steve B. at 6.  Back home at 9, talked to Alice, and in bed by 10.