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!