Day 441

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I woke up at 6:30 and wrote until 10.  I finished a new ending and put all my revisions into the manuscript.  I looked over all the scenes I had changed, revamped, and deleted, making sure what was left made sense. The ending is better now.  I sent the manuscript to Sharon by noon with an explanation and history of the story.  Hopefully, she'll like it.  Now I'm to finish True Colors.  It's all I have to complete before our trip in June on the Allure of the Seas.

The rest of the day I read, napped, and took care of chores for Alice.  

Day 440

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I got up at 7 and wrote the entire day.  I reviewed the final five chapters of Julia Milan and realized my ending was all wrong.  It needed to end with Julia saying goodbye to her grandmother, without anything new entering the picture.  It needed to end on a much more definitive note.  I made all the changes I wrote on the manuscript up through the middle of chapter 13.  Alice was ready for me to stop for the day by 7 p.m., so we ended up watching HBO on Apple TV.  Somehow, we started watching Annie Hall, which she had never seen.  It's another Woody Allen film I hadn't seen in years.  It holds up so well.  Alice loves saying La-di-da,  I think she will start saying that all the time now.  She's so cute!

Bed by 10.  What an oldie!

Day 439

Friday, March 28, 2014

Woke up at 4:45, played several games of racquetball from 5-7, then came home, ate breakfast, and wrote from 7:45-8:45.  Worked from 9-2, managing to read about 50 pages of JM.  Home at 2:15, read 20 more pages, tidied up, had lunch, then picked up Alice at 5:00.  We had sushi on Irving & 16th for dinner.  It's 8:30 and I'm calling it a night.  Tomorrow, I plan to write all day, finishing my quick review of JM.  Then back to True Colors. 

Day 438

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I stayed home this morning and wrote for two hours before work.  I went to the office from 9-2, then came home and wrote for 30 minutes until it was time to meet Ari and Trey for coffee at Monkey Forrest on Grand Ave.  We hung out for about two hours.  It was nice.  I've known both of them all their lives.  I love hearing their family stories and trips to Utah.  They've had such an amazing childhood living in our neighborhood.

Once I was home, I had dinner, then Miles came over to edit a couple of essays he was writing for an elite program at Oakland Tech.  We knocked out a strong draft in about 90 minutes.  He should have no problem getting in.

By the time Miles left, it was time to call it a day. I'm up to chapter 7 on Julia Milan.  I have three scenes circled that need revising.  Other than that, it's a word here, a comma there, a detail eliminated and a clause crossed out.  Simple stuff, but time consuming.

I started watching Hello Ladies on HBO.  Man, that show makes me laugh!

Day 437

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I woke up at 3 and started editing Julia Milan.  It's interesting reading something I wrote a few years ago.  I can see how I've improved as a writer, not so much in the words I've used, but in the words I no longer need.  I'm mainly eliminating words rather than adding anything new.  There's a lot going on in the story, maybe too much.  I remember wanting to throw everything at this book, but I think I may have gone overboard on the storyline.  It's too tied up in detail.  That's what I like about Zombie Cookies.  It's pretty straightforward.

I'm about four chapters in.

I worked from 9-2, then wrote the rest of the day.  I went to bed early, around 9 or so.

Day 436

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I went to the gym today, ran a mile or two, practiced for about 25 minutes, then hit the weights.  I'm getting slow and heavy.  Ugh.

I saw Michael off with one last crib game.  I had his number all week.  I worked until 2, then wrote for three hours before heading over to Richard & Lisa's for dinner.  Ari and Trey were home, so it was a fullhouse.  Rosanna was there, so it was like old times.  It was a really nice evening.

I came home at 10 and went right to bed.  I'd like to read through Julia Milan this week and get back to True Colors by the weekend.

Day 435

Monday, March 24, 2014

This is Michael Bell's last full day with me.  After racquetball, we grabbed a coffee/tea down the street.  He went to SF for the day while I worked from 9-2.  I was able to write for a few hours until he returned at 5.  We went to Star Pizza for dinner.  So good.

I received a rejection from an editor at Random House which included a list of books she likes, along with a wish list for Sharon of other projects she's looking for.  Chris thought it was time to send Sharon Julia Milan, which I haven't read in over two years.  He may be right.  My plan was to look over that manuscript after True Colors is finished, but since True Colors will be finished within a month, it might be good timing to take a look at this forgotten manuscript and see if I can't breathe some new life into it.  Once Michael leaves tomorrow, I'll print out a new draft and see what I have to work with.

Day 434

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No writing today.

My guest Michael and I walked around Lake Merritt in the morning, then went to Lin & Lou's for breakfast. It was a great morning of lively conversation and perfect weather.  Before noon, we drove to Alice's for the afternoon.  She made a great good.  We played cribbage and watched a couple of NCAA March Madness games.  We arrived home around 9 p.m. then it was off to bed.

Day 433

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Went to Arizmendi with Michael Bell this a.m. and had sweet sallies over three games of cribbage.  The crib gods were with me today and I wasn't a very nice host, taking all three games from him.  He met up with friends in the City for a hike in Marin while I wrote the day away, which I did from 10-6.  I now have at least 500 words written in every chapter from 41-64.  Now I'm going over each chapter and putting the scenes together and ordering the action just right.  When that's finished, I'll review the chapters once more before printing them out and editing them one last time.  I hope to send them to Chris by next weekend.

Chris sent me a short story which I really liked.  The ending isn't there yet, but it will come.  Most likely going out for sushi tonight.  Yum!

Came up with a nice little device for Lauren to piece together the final story of True Colors.  The red metal heart-shaped pet tag.  That's a nice detail that will solidify the final story I think.

Day 432

Friday, March 21, 2014

Michael Bell and I had a leisurely morning that included mochas/coffees, oatmeal, and a walk around Lake Merritt.  He went to Napa at 12:30 to visit friends for the evening and I stayed home and wrote until about 8.  I didn't have the most productive day today, but thought about the entire novel and saw how the storyline shaped up.  Should be finished in 3-4 weeks I'm guessing.

Day 431

Thursday, March 20, 2014

No writing today.

Michael Bell is in town for a few days, which breaks up my writing rhythm somewhat, but that's okay.  We had a great day catching up while walking around Lake Merritt.  Michael and I met in Copenhagen, 1985.  We've known each other almost 30 years.  That's crazy!  He's a great guy, very successful and smart and one of the hardest workers I know.  We hung out until late afternoon when I headed to Club One for some racquetball and poker afterward at Mark S's house.  Didn't get to bed until midnight.  Ouch.

Day 430

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Up at 4:45, racquetball until 7:00, then some shopping, cleaning, and writing until Michael Bell arrived later in the evening.  I'm hoping to knock out chapters 41-64 while he's here.  I don't expect I'll get much done, but even a little each day is better than no writing at all.  We'll see how it goes.  He has other friends and business folks to meet with, so there will be time to do my thing.   

Day 429

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I finally gathered enough energy to hit the gym on a Tuesday.  I woke up at 4:50 and made it to Club One by 5:10.  I ran around the track for 30 minutes, then hit balls for another 30 while listening to Beethoven on my nano.  I finished off the workout with 30 minutes of weights.  I was out the door by 7:15 and back home at 7:30.

I worked on chapter 41, 43 and 45 today.  Tonight I'll work on 47.  Chapters 41-64 make up the middle section of True Colors and I have no idea who well they'll come off.  This novel has been a very good exercise in solving problems.  There are lots of them in the book and how well I deal with the issues will determine how strong the story will be.

I watched an episode of Game of Thrones over dinner, episode 3, season 3.  Lots of storylines going on. Chris and I talk tonight at 8.  We'll brainstorm revision ideas for TC 1-40.  I hope to see some of his writing.

Day 428

Monday, March 17, 2014

Up at 4, drive home, gym at 5, all games won (nice), writing from 8:30-11:15.  I've outlined the next 20+ chapters to revise, 41-64.  They've all been written, but I'm rewriting all of it.  That seems to be how it works...the first draft is thrown away and the second draft is really the first draft.

Had lunch at Wendel Rosen today in celebration of St. Paddy's Day.  It's always great catching up with Murry and Lillian.  Karen was off for the day, but I saw most of the folks on 19.  It was very enjoyable.

I came back home and hit the writing until about 8 or so, then had dinner, read for 30 minutes and was out by 9:30.  I can't seem to stay up until 10 anymore.

Watched episode two of

...which was fabulous!  

Day 427

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Alice and I got up around 7.  We went to Costco at 9:30, then came back around 11.  I wrote from noon until around 6 and sent off chapters 25-40 to Chris.  They're very rough, but the pages give him an idea where the story's headed.

We watched 60 Minutes at 7 and Resurrection at 9.  Oh my God, how do people stand watching TV shows with so many ridiculous commercials?  Alice likes the show, but I don't need to watch anymore of it.  I've heard the original Returned is better.  Resurrection is emotionally contrived.  Having watched years of shows on HBO, Showtime and other cable channels, it's nearly impossible to watch a network drama for obvious reasons.  They're silly and lack any sense of believability.

Day 426

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I spent most of the day writing at Alice's dining table.  I worked on chapters 25-40, revising them one last time so that Chris could take a look.  Some chapters are good and others are weak.  It's easy to tell which is which.  The hours fly by when I'm writing.  At 4, Alice and I went for a nice 2-mile walk.  The weather was perfect.  At 5:30 I went to the library to pick up The Spectacular Now, which Chris told me to see.  Alice called and said her friends Amy, Patrick, Katherine and Patrick, Jr. were heading over to Alice's for dinner.  The were actually supposed to come Sunday, but we made due.  It was a great evening, though Patrick had allergies and was out of it the entire visit.  We had Sun Tong chicken wings which are so good!

Day 425

Friday, March 14, 2014

"You are who you are raised by."
Sarah Paulson on her character Mrs. Epps

I fight that quote every day.  Richard Y and I are going to lunch and I'm really looking forward to hanging out with someone.  I've been in my cave all week, writing, revising, and trying to figure out how a book like this gets written.  TC is quite an involved, layered little book with so many balls in the air.  As much as I'd like it to be something NY is used to, I have a feeling this is just another weird mg novel they won't know what to do with, other than pass it on to someone else.  I'm reading a book right now that is all about the top storytelling influences of the past ten years of my life.

I checked it out of the library and can't stop reading it.  It's so well written and tells a great story of all the great HBO, Showtime and other cable shows of the past 14 years, TV's latest golden age.  From The Wire to Mad Men to Dexter, the pacing of these shows and the different layers of meaning and action that keep the story moving forward have really influenced my storytelling sensibilities.

"The show [the Sopranos] had hit the rare sweet spot of mass appeal and critical respect.  It could, as the cliched analysis had it, be enjoyed on "two different levels": for its visceral pleasures (the plot twists, the malapropisms, the blood, the sex) or for its literary ones.  More accurately, it could be enjoyed in both ways simultaneously, the pleasure residing in the tension between reveling in the culture and the artistry of the critique.  The result was an out-and-out phenomenon."

Day 424

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I wrote from 9-8 today, 11 hours revising chapters 31-36.  They were so rough that two chapters were completely rewritten.  And in all likelihood, they'll need to be rewritten again.  I'm at a turning point in the story where the first half ends and the middle section takes over.  This is the section I'm most worried about.  Not sure if it will work.  After 8, I made dinner and watched an episode of season 3 of Game of Thrones.  Love the fact that I have HBO for a year.  So nice.

Day 423

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Up at 4:45, racquetball until 7, writing from 8-8.  Some old thing, revisions, more revisions and sometimes entire chapters rewritten.  My head is spinning.

Day 422

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I woke up at 7:30 and started writing at 8:30.  I continued revising chapters that were weak.  I kept going until my brain was frazzled at 6 or 7.  I'm moving forward, but I'm on top of a tortoise.  

Day 421

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Everybody judges, all the time.  Now, you got a problem with that, you're living wrong."
Rust Cohle, True Detective

Watched the final episode of this intriguing series.  Very good, extremely well acted.  

Day 420

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I wrote all day, from 7:15 until 6:30, with an hour break for a one-mile walk around the reservoir with Alice. I revised 12 chapters today, 13 yesterday, for a total of 25 chapters over the weekend, about 15,000 words total.  I'll send the first 25 chapters to Chris tomorrow and the next 13 chapters to him on Tuesday.  With the first 40 chapters on paper and somewhat readable, I have the next 60 chapters to deal with before my friend Michael Bell flies over to visit.  He'll be here in two weeks.  If I can get the manuscript in decent shape before he arrives, I might actually be able to relax while he's here.

Now that Downton Abbey is done for the season, Alice and I will need to find a new show to get into.

Day 419

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I revised 12 chapters today, about 7k words total.  I started at 8 and finished around 6.  I write in Alice's dining room on the weekend while she does her thing and watches her shows.  She so accommodating.  I really appreciate that.

My brain feels like a noodle.  Speaking of noodles, we went to a really great noodle house for dinner tonight with Austin and two of his friends.

Very good!

Alice and I watched the first 20 minutes of a Bruce Willis's A Good Day to Die Hard, which I heard was a disaster.  The action effects were amazing, but the beginning was confusing and the storyline was absolutely ridiculous.  Willis was probably in agreement as he seemed totally bored in each shot.  Alice fell asleep, so I watched about 50 minutes of Hannah and Her Sisters.  It's been ages since I've seen this film, still one of my favorites.  It's hard to believe the film is 28 years old.  Wow.

Day 418

Friday, March 7, 2014

I didn't have to work today, so I stayed home and wrote scenes up through chapter 40.  I hope to revise the first 40 chapters so I can send them to Chris.  I should have a draft of True Colors finished this month.

I picked up Alice from work at 4:55 and we came home to her place for the weekend.  I went to bed early, around 9:50 or so.

Day 417

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I got a call from Cheryl just before I was about to leave for work, saying I didn't need to come in today or tomorrow because our weekend focus group had been canceled.  That was a surprise.  Anyway, it was nice staying home and writing all day.  I continued work on the first 40 chapters, plugging holes and working on transitions.  I wrote the entire day.  I love staying home and writing.  I remember starting Zombie Cookies about this time last year.

Day 416

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I woke up at 4:30 and played racquetball until 7:15.  I wrote from 8:30-11:45, then went to work from noon-3.  In the evening, I wrote a few hours more until I was done.  It's coming along.

Day 415

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I didn't go into the gym this morning, which ended up being a good thing.  The gym was closed for the day.  Apparently, the club was sold to new owners and details of the lease were still left in the air, so the gym was closed in order for the power brokers to make a deal.  Even Governor Jerry Brown, who goes to Club One, made a call to ensure the club would be open soon.  The club opened by 5 p.m. and everything is good again.

Work is slow, but I managed to put in three hours in Emeryville.  The come is progressing slowly.  I can't write it any faster than I am.  I'm using all the little tricks and tool I used when writing Zombie Cookies.  Those tricks work, especially my little five-minute drill, in which I write a couple paragraphs in five minutes.  I can usually write around 150-200 words in five minutes.  My chapters are 500-1000 words long, so I have a chapter that's only 300 words long, I set my timer for five minutes.  Ten minutes later, the chapter is finished.  Without the timer, it would take me maybe 30 minutes to compose 200 words.

Day 414

Monday, March 3, 2014

Okay, time to get serious.  I hope to send the first 20 chapters of True Colors to Chris tomorrow.  He's not expecting it, but I feel I need his advice.  I have a visitor coming in three weeks, so I need to shift to overdrive to finish this book.

Downloaded 12 Years a Slave on my Kindle.  I'm also reading this masterpiece from 1978...

and remembering how brilliant this genius writer truly is.  Every single sentence serves a purpose and states itself with a flair for language that is masterful and hilarious.  What a joy to read this book!

Day 413

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It was a strange but ultimately enjoyable Oscar telecast, though it dragged on forever toward the end, and those commercials...damn, there were so many of them.  How does anyone watch commercial television anymore.  It's such overkill.  Ellen is Ellen.  I thought her monologue was fine.  She's no Ricky Gervais, who I would have preferred, but then I'm not a big star who can't take a joke.  Ellen was safe and bland and the opposite of last year's Family Guy.  A few of the acceptance speeches were terrific this year.  And 12 Years a Slave as Best Picture.  I'm downloading the book on my Kindle tomorrow.

My regular cast of neighborhood characters joined me over pizza, lasagna, salad, popcorn, Ben & Jerry's et al.  A splendid time for sure, with Rhonda taking top prize for most correct Oscar picks [only because the host disqualified himself : ) ]

The selfie above, however, was in a weird sort of way my favorite moment, especially after learning Twitter crashed.  I love how silly people are, even big stars.  Silliness never gets old.

Day 412

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I made the switch from AT&T U-Verse to Comcast, only because Comcast has this incredible deal for "cable cutters," consisting of basic cable, HBO and internet at 27 mbps all for $39.99.  With U-Verse, I was getting basic cable, no HBO and internet at 6 mbps for over $70 with tax and everything.  It was a no brainer to make the switch, even though I thought I'd never go back to Comcast again.  Their customer service has improved a lot, and the security suite that comes with the internet package is good.  So far so good, though the quality of the picture on basic cable is very poor.  I guess that's okay.  I don't really watch TV anymore, except through Netflix or Amazon Prime.

I plowed through five episodes of True Detective tonight.  I couldn't help myself.  The acting here is simply superb.  Story's great, too.

Day 411

Friday, February 28, 2014

Up at 4:00 from Alice's, drove home, played racquetball until 7:30, then hit the writing.  I have 50k words written, most of the chapters on paper, and enough material now to wrap it up.  I'm going through the whole novel now and piecing together the storylines, making things interesting, and also keeping from getting too bogged down in the details.  As long as the story moves, the rest should take care of itself.

Day 410

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alice and I went to see Heather D's feature film premier of Mom, Murder & Me.  It was campy, ridiculous fun, featuring Alice's living room and house exterior near the end of the film.  Katy Garver, Sissy from Family Affair, played the mom.  What a hoot.  The film was shown at the Balboa Theater.  It was great to be part of such a special night for Heather.