Day 896

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Up at 7 and at Alice's by 8:30.  No writing today...okay, maybe and hour or less, but today I really wanted to take a day off and relax my brain.  Which I did to some extent.  I talked to Jill and Kevin on the phone.  I watched Obama amazing South Carolina eulogy, which will be sen as one of the pivotal moments in American history.  It stems from the act of forgiveness articulated by the families of the murdered church participants last week.  I'm still processing the power of forgiveness, a reaction so profound that the confederate flag is making the transition from flag pole to museum piece.  I need to learn how to forgive and show more grace.  I know all about justice, fairness, punishment and retribution, but forgiveness?  My reaction last week upon hearing the family members speak to that young white racist was disbelief.  It reminded me of a family member who said the same thing to the Green River Killer a number of years ago when he was finally captured and brought to justice.  The serial killer broke down in tears when the family member said he forgave him.  It's a truly disarming and powerful response to such violence and hatred.  Saying it is one thing, but to truly mean it is another.  To truly forgive someone for taking the life of a family church...after spending an hour with them in a bible study...I told my racquetball partner Dorian I need to go to church with him in order to learn forgiveness and grace. 

Day 895

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I spent the whole day writing, from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., with many breaks in between.  Once I'm in the zone, I can't do anything else.  The story takes over and I'm submerged.  I'm at a place in my writing life where I can fully invest in what I'm trying to create and it ends up taking all of me.  It's a strange and wonderful place to be, something that has taken years, actually decades, to develop.  I remember other writers talking about this when I was in my 20s and 30s.  It seemed impossible, this extended time of continuous energy devoted to something as frustrating and challenging as writing, but now I get it.  It's something I've arrived at by simply doing it day in, day out, every day, making it my number one priority.  I can see where I'm going with this new story, but I sure wish it didn't demand so many hundreds of hours when I don't have hundreds to spare.  That's the writer's life I guess, constantly battling for more time when each passing hour offers less and less of it.  

Day 894

Friday, June 26, 2015

Slight issue at ActiveSports in which the best housekeeping worker at the club was let go due to insubordination.  All the morning members were up in arms, so hopefully the issue will be resolved with a second chance and heightened awareness and communication to make sure everyone falls in line.

Wrote from 10-10 today.  No work, which was so nice.  I love full days writing in my apt.  I'm totally in my element doing this.  Today, I drafted No. 6 and came up with the story for No. 7.  All 12 chapters are now in my head.  All I have to do is realize each of them so that they fit into his long coherent string that feels like a story.  A few things that came up in No 6 are interesting.  Mindy's dad is now with a much younger woman who reminds Mindy of Taylor -- a 20-something named Hannah -- but it's hard to hate her because she's so nice and kind of gets Mindy.  My favorite aspect of writing is thinking of all the dynamics at play, how complicated they are and how they often fluctuate.

In the evening, I listened to more TS songs.  I'm familiar with about 80% of them now.  If there is one song I would call a masterpiece, it's "Never Grow Up."  That is a perfect song.  Very touching.

From music videos, I went to Howard Stern interviews and finished out the day with about an hour's worth of Jeff Ross roasts on Youtube.  My God, that guy is funny. 

Jeff Ross Roasting Prisoners.  Brilliant!

Day 893

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Up at 5:30, writing until 7:45, then ready for work.  Work from 9-2.  Home, writing until 8 with dinner.  Another solid writing day.

I'm writing three chapters and now drafting four-six.  About 20k total, maybe more.  Tomorrow is a full writing day.  Can't wait!

Day 892

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Up at 4, racquetball, then to work from 9-2.  Writing No. 2 revisions and No. 3.  Nos. 4 and 5...hmm.  These are going to be tough.  No. 6 should be fun.  No ideas yet for No. 7.  At home after 2:30, and then another afternoon and evening of writing, thinking, staring at the wall.  Almost the end of the month.  Yikes.

Day 891

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Up at 6:26, wrote for an hour before getting ready for work.  Worked from 9-2, then went to Safeway.  Came home at 3 at wrote another three hours before making dinner.  Wrote another two hours, revising No. 2.  Talked to Chris, then Alice, then bed at 9:50. 

Day 890

Monday, June 22, 2015

Up at 4, racquetball from 5-7 with a lively bunch of characters:

The 5 a.m. crew:  Chuck, Ronald, Dorian, Steve, and Glenn

The crew with me!

After the gym, I wrote from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., using a new organizing technique that worked well, the 5-10-45 plan.  The first five minutes of an hour are spent deciding what to do in the other, the next ten minutes are devoted to total rest, and the remaining 45 minutes are spent focusing on whatever I'm supposed to do.  I did that 10 times today and it worked very well.  I'll have to try it again.

I worked on the end of No. 2, all of No. 3, and drafted the beginning of No. 4.  Nos. 4 and 5 are going to be a challenge to pull off.  As long as I can make them believable and interesting, the story might work.

Ears are still plugged, so I went to Walgreen's for drops.  Hope I don't have to go to the doctor to get them unclogged.  What a drag.

Up until 10:15.  Time for bed.

Day 889

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Woke up at 6:20 and wrote for a few hours, working on No. 2 and No. 3.  I have a very rough draft on paper, so now I'm going through each paragraph, giving them enough attention to make them connect and flow.  This is the most time-consuming part of my process.  This is really the first draft, but what used to take weeks now takes days.

Alice woke up at 8 and we went to get her medical card renewed at 11.  We had lunch at Grapevine on Market and Church around 12, then came home.

I wrote another three hours until dinner.

I left a message for dad on Father's day.  He could be out of the country.  Gwen and Greg are in Hawaii and Jill and Tom are returning from their one-week cruise to the Bahamas out of NYC.  Mom and Craig returned from their trip to New Orleans.  I did speak with her on FaceTime for an hour.

Not much more to say.  No. 2 is finished enough to move onto No. 3 and now I'm about to put together Nos. 4 and 5.  La Stravaganza is moving forward.

Before bed, Alice and I watched a really interesting documentary on HBO called 112 Weddings, about a videographer who revisited some of his favorite couples years after their wedding.  Most couples were unhappy and looked as though life had slapped them silly across the face.  Some couples aged well and gracefully, while others looked tired and defeated.  A few were divorced.  It makes the point that it's easy to be happy on your wedding day, but much more challenging to stay happy throughout your life.  Sustaining happiness takes an incredible amount of work.  Those who know this understand.

Off to bed at 11.

Day 888

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Woke up at 6, wrote for two hours (No. 2), then got ready for the day and helped Alice prepare for her family lunch at noon.  Her parents, aunt and uncle, sister and Elaine's family were there.  We have a very enjoyable afternoon and ate lots of delicious food.

Once they were gone, we cleaned up, then headed to Diamond Heights for steam and jacuzzi.  The water was  104 degrees, two degrees hotter than optimum.  We did our routine, then left and went to Safeway for a few things.  We came back and had leftovers from last night.

We watched another food program on NetFlix called Mind of a Chef narrated by Anthony Bourdain, but I was so tired I fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up until early the next morning.  I must have been really wiped out this week.

Day 887

Friday, June 19, 2015

Up at 4:45, racquetball in the morning, then work from 9-2.  It was quiet, so I was able to get some writing done.  I'm not nearly as productive when I work, but until my situation changes, I have to accept these half-days.  If I can ever reach my dream of being able to write all day every day, I'll be so happy.

Came home after work and cleaned, packed up at headed to SF to pick up Alice.  We ran into traffic when Obama's motorcade left San Francisco when he gave a talk at a mayor's convention.  Finally, we made it home by 6, then left at 6:45 for a dinner Alice had arranged with some longtime friends, including Carol and Wesley, who we cruised with last year on the Oasis of the Seas.  I was chatty the first hour, but after dinner I was dead tired and hardly talked.  We came home around 9:30 and didn't go to bed until 10:45.  

Day 886

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Took care of chores in the morning, then worked from 9-2.  Also finished a book that's due this week, The Gardner Heist, which is necessary research for Botticelli Girl.  Spent time on No. 2 and hope to begin work on Nos. 4 and 5 by Monday.

Met up with a writer who I met at the SCBWI Conference in NY, Anais, who gave me some really great and detailed feedback on True Colors.  I'll incorporate her suggestions into the manuscript next week.

I heard from Marg from Australia, whom Alice and I met on our cruise last month.  She was interested in reading Julia Milan, since one of the characters was from Perth.  She gave me a lot of wonderful compliments about the novel, which was very nice to hear.  Maybe I'll change the title of that novel and get it back in circulation again.  Same with Don't Eat Zombie Cookies, though I do like that title.

I was hoping to write an extra hour after talking with Alice tonight, but instead I zoned on the couch and fell asleep before 9:30.  I'm really feeling the fatigue after 9 these days. 

Day 885

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Up at 4:30, racquetball until 7, then home for another wonderful full day of writing.  Today I went through No. 2, shaping the paragraphs, establishing details and dialogue, giving the chapter shape.  This is really the first draft with about 5,000 words that have already been written to get me started.  My first draft is really my second draft, and the words I use in the first draft are always rewritten.  That's why I've been writing first drafts so quickly.  There's no point in wasting any time on them since I completely rewrite them anyway.  Besides, good things often happen when you type for the sake of typing and just let the mind wander.  All sorts of good ideas have come to me that way.

The day went so quickly.  Before I knew it, 8 p.m. had arrived and my weekly talk with Chris.  We chatted 90 minutes about his novel In the Duff and my La Stravaganza.  Afterward I talked with Alice for a few minutes, then hit the wall and went right to bed.  A day flies by when it's all writing. 

Day 884

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Two weeks into my mad rush to write La Stavaganza, and I've written approximately 20,000 words.  That's not bad.  I have three chapters written out of twelve total.  I don't worry about losing momentum with this story.  It's too interesting to me and with music as its primary language, I feel at home as the story develops.  It's amazing how a good night's sleep will complete energize and weary, tired brain.  Since starting this story, I've been sleeping soundly.  I'm usually fast asleep before ten.

I woke up around 5:45 this morning and wrote until noon, drafting chapter 3, framing the scenes and thinking about all the things I want to include.  No. 3 is School, so I did a little research on Berkeley High.  I imagine the school to be as diverse as the world itself, and will use all the various musical styles and classifications to distinguish one group from another.

Got a haircut at 3, then went to Safeway for root beer and milk (life's necessities).  Richard and Trey came over with a Zachery's pizza to watch game 6 of the NBA finals.  The Warriors were in control all game and won the title.  It was well-deserved and capped a sensation season for them.  The victory parade is on Friday.

Day 883

Monday, June 15, 2015

Up at 4, home at 4:35, then racquetball from 5-7.  Dorian was there and we were in the Warrior spirit, winning most of our a.m. matches.  We were clicking.

Came home and wrote a few thousand words in Nos. 2 and 3, then went to Pixar for lunch with Tony.  I looked over his drawings for a picture book he's putting together, and I really liked it.  We brainstormed a few ideas and I shared with him my new project.  He's one talented guy!

Back at home, I wrote another 1,000 words in No. 3 and listened to about an hour's worth of Taylor Swift songs.  I have about 50-60 songs to learn well enough to apply to certain situations in Mindy's life.  I know about 15-20 pretty well right now.  It certainly captures what being a teen is all about.  I can't think of a better way to write about the music of Vivaldi than to embrace it with the soundtrack of the YA universe.  If I can pull this off and attract a willing team of believers, this novel will be great fun to talk about and promote.

After dinner, I watched the season finale of Game of Thrones.  A lot happened in this episode, but of course a lot of cliffhangers remain.  It's like a very slow "24," only instead of hours, GoT takes years to play out its storylines.  It's so obvious how ridiculous they're stretching out some of these storylines, but they get away with it because the sets and effects are spectacular, and a few of the characters are compelling enough to carry on through the tedium.

I also watched episode 2, season 3 of Hannibal and found myself feeling a little uneasy with this television masterpiece, perhaps because I was expecting a quick-moving procedural after the beautifully shot, but  heavily atmospheric (and somewhat confusing) season premiere.  To have another slow-moving, ethereal, what's-going-on episode back-to-back is a mistake that I certainly hope is corrected in episode 3.  Listen, I love beautifully filmed shots and sequences, but I also really need a story to move forward quickly enough so that I forget I'm watching a story.  That didn't happen in this episode.  Actually, I was more aware of my growing irritation than anything else.  When Will is the focus of an entire episode, things need to move because he's not nearly as interesting as Hannibal.  To be honest, I'm tired of Will and his crazy moodiness and real world/dream world hallucinations.  I hope this series hasn't fallen so in love with it's own stylized storytelling that it's forgotten the basic necessities of how to tell a good story.  Then again, maybe my crankiness was due to watching this episode immediately after watching Game of Thrones.

In bed by 10.

Day 882

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Up at 6:45 this morning.  I wrote in the morning and began Vivaldi research, going over the books I checked out and looking up resources online.  I came across this great video about Vivaldi's life, called "Vivaldi and the Women of the Pieta."

I never really thought about it before, but perhaps one of the reasons why Vivaldi's music is full vivacious and full of life is he's composing for an entire orchestra of girls and young women who've been abandoned all their lives.  This is his contribution to giving them joy and happiness.  The more I learn about Vivaldi, the more remarkable he becomes.

I wrote about 2,000 words today, all time spent drafting out No. 2 - Mom.  I like the drama and reactions with this family.   They live in Berkeley.  Mindy's mother is a scientist and her father is a profession at Cal.  They were the perfect family and perfect parents until it was disclosed that the father was involved with a graduate student.  Mindy's mom is devastated and Mindy hasn't spoken to her father in weeks.  She's crushed as well.

In the afternoon, I went to the library one last time to check out a few more books, namely this book:

At 5, Game 5 between the Warriors and Cavs began.  It was a must-win for the Warriors and they took care of business!

They lead 3-2 going into Tuesday's match up.  After the game, I read for another 45 minutes before bed.

Day 881

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Woke up at 6:30 and wrote for 90 minutes, tying all of No. 1 together for Chris to take a look at.  Also read through Chris's chapters and gave him comments.  I drove over to Alice's at 9 in time for our line dancing class from 10-12.  We came home and had lunch while watching Real Time with Bill Maher.  I went to the library and checked out two books on Vivaldi.

We went to Alice's condo complex and soaked in the jacuzzi and sauna for 45 minutes, then picked up broccoli beef and shrimp noodle at a place on Noriega.  After dinner, we watched Hundred-Foot Journey on Apple TV.

 Alice loves watching anything that has to do with cooking and Michelin stars.  It was enjoyable enough.  After the film, I went to bed.  I was tired pretty much the entire day, especially after the jacuzzi.  What took a month to write with Julia Milan four years ago can now take a week with La Stravaganza.  That's pretty cool.  I'm using my writing time more efficiently. 

Day 880

Friday, June 12, 2015

I forced myself out of bed at 4:45 and make it to the gym at 5:10.  It was just me and Kirk for the first hour.  We played two singles games, splitting one each, then played doubles with Tiger and Cliff.  Finished up at 6:30, came home by 7:45, had breakfast, then worked from 9-2.  It was slow, so I was able to write a few more hours at work.  Afterward I continued writing at home until 9, trying to finish a readable draft of the first chapter.  I still didn't have all the pieces together by the time I hit the wall.  I went to bed before 10, totally wiped out.  I have another 11 sections to write?  Oh, man, what a life. 

Day 879

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Woke up at 6:15 and wrote until 8.  I was hoping to get the second and third sections of No. 1 completed by today, but there was no way that was going to happen.  I'm still putting together section 1, the first Allegro.  I got ready for work at 8, had breakfast, and worked from 9-2.  I came home afterward and met with David Flack from 4-5 about the funds in our GMAC account and a new fundraising project that's going on in the neighborhood.  From 4-6 I wrote a little and also got ready for the game tonight.  Lisa came over at 6 and Sophie came over a little later.  The Warriors played well tonight, after a slow start and 0-7 score.  The ended up winning by 21 and looked like their old selves...finally!  After the game, I cleaned up, watched Warrior highlights, then went to bed.

Day 878

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A very full day that flew by.  Up at 3:30 (yikes!) for an hour of writing before racquetball at 5.  Left the gym at 6:30, wrote another hour, then worked from 9-2.  Came home at 2:30 and had lunch, then wrote from 3:30 until 10 with a couple of short breaks in between.  I worked on the third section of No. 1 (the second Allegro), putting together paragraphs about Mindy that sound like this:  "Doug was officially still her boyfriend, but as they approached the six-week mark, thoughts of him had already died without the need of a single tissue.  She wanted to break if off last week, but hadn’t gotten around to it, which sort of explained their entire relationship.  The first week was actually fun, even thrilling, but since then dating Doug was like dating no boyfriend at all.  He was cute and cool in his own detached way, and surprisingly witty in those rare moments when Mindy actually saw him face-to-face, but so much of his emotional investment belonged to the World of Warcraft and ceaseless online battles with his geek-to-the-bone friends.  At first she thought something was wrong with her, until she eventually reached a more likely explanation, that he just wasn't ready for all that contact and the fiercely involved feelings that went with it."  It's nuts how long such lines take to write, and still they're not finished.  I watched a few more YouTube videos of teenagers acting like teenagers.  Sometimes it's painful to watch because it reminds me how ridiculous I was back when I was 16.  Thank God the online world didn't exist in 1980.  It's 10:21 and it's bedtime.

Day 877

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Up at 5:25 and wrote until 10.  Then showered and went to Trader Joe's and Safeway for curry chicken tonight.  Continued writing from 11-2, then made dinner from 2-3.  I cleaned up at from 3-3:30, then rested until 4.  From 4-5 I doing chores (and catching up with this), then from 5-6 I'll hopefully be able to write another hour before Game 3 tonight at 6.  Richard and Lisa are coming over again for the game.  Should be fun!

So about 7-8 hours of writing today.  I revised what I wrote yesterday and sketched out No. 2 and Mindy's story with her mom.  This is a fun novel with a lot going on.  As Mindy's world develops, I see all kinds of potential.  I can't wait to write No. 12.  I like the payoff there.  This story is voice heavy, so that should satisfy the voice addicts.  I'm still thinking about the vlogs I watched yesterday from random teenagers who are big time Swiftie fans.  They're so naturally hilarious.  There's an energy to teenagers that I remember so well.  Can't say I miss it, but I know it and respect it.  It's like they can't dial down the restlessness. 

If I can finish this book by the end of July and get Botticelli Girl written by the end of the year, I'll consider my first 1,000 days of writing a job well done.  That would equal four novels in 1,000 days. 

My weakest link used to be filling up empty pages with something, anything.  Now it's organizing my thoughts once a few thousand words are written and staying focused as I assemble all the nonsense into something that resembles a coherent, continuous sequence.  If I can streamline that aspect of my writing more efficiently, I'd be in a far better position to crank out material quickly.  

Day 876

Monday, June 8, 2015

Up at 4, at the gym at 5, finished at 6:15.  I came home early and had the entire day to write, a first in a long while.  I took advantage of the moment by writing and researching from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., a full 15 hours of work.  The scary thing is I can't wait to go at it again tomorrow.  I really like this new novel, even though it's admittedly insane. 

I have the first half of the novel plotted out:

1. Swifties
2. Mom
3. School
4. Vivaldi
5. Biondi
6. Dad

The second half is 2/3s there:

7. ???
8. Reckless
9. Remorse
10. Vote
11. ???
12. Taylor

I spent 10 hours writing, 4 hours researching, 1 hour for lunch and Game of Thrones, which was back to being so-so, and 30 minutes for dinner and Silicon Valley, which is absolutely brilliant.  I have to say, researching Swifties is the best way imaginable to tap into the mindset of a modern teen girl.  It's all there on the internet, in tweets, vlogs, tumbr feeds, Facebook posts.  I'm "Taylurking," which was what Taylor Swift did when searching for her Secret Sessions participants.  Some of this real stuff is so over-the-top crazy that I couldn't make it up if I tried.  It's like watching Beatlemania, stadium revival meetings and emotional teen euphoria all rolled into a musical act that is a far far cry from Bob Dylan but apparently speaks to nearly everyone born after 1995.  And I'm combing this with music that was written over 300 years ago?  Oh, dear.  If I can put it off, I deserve a book deal and then some. At least it's being written quickly and will get me in shape for the real prize, Botticelli Girl.

Day 875

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Up at 6:45 and wrote until noon.  I sketched out a lot of No. 1 and wrote a bunch of brainstorming paragraphs that may or may not be used. 

In the afternoon, I walked to the library and checked out a few books I didn't have time to read last month.  I doubt I'll have any time for them this month, but if I do I have them.

Alice bike gang came over for dinner, May, Chester, Rose, Cecilia and Jay.  Alice cooked up a storm, inspired by Chef's Table and Anthony Bourdain, though she denies it.  The Warriors game started at 6, so we watched a little basketball before dinner. 

Alice served delicious squash soup, salmon, green vegetables, stir fry shrimp, rice and curry chicken.  She loves cooking several dishes for her guests.  It was a wonderful evening with her friends. 

Unfortunately, the Warriors lost in overtime.  They were so cold, especially Curry.  Even the best have bad games. 

Alice's friend left around 8.  We cleaned up the kitchen and dining room, then tried to watch one final episode of Chef's Table, but we were too tired.  We both went to bed before 10.

Day 874

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Woke up at 6 and wrote until 8:30-9.  Got ready for the day, then Alice and I went line dancing for two hours at a community church about 10 blocks from her house.  I'm an atrocious dancer, but it's good for my brain to move and learn steps at the same time.  It's fun making a fool of myself.  Alice had fun, too.  We'll do it again next week.  We came home and watched Bill Maher's Real Time (thank God he's back!), then watched an episode of Chef's Table on NetFlix.

It's well done.  Wonderfully produced with some great foodie shots.  I like the clipped, hyper interpretation of Vivaldi Winter.  I'm so glad I'm not a chef.  I looks like nothing but total grunt work from morning till night.  Sort of like writing. 

Later in the afternoon, we went to Safeway for tomorrow's dinner, then spent 30 minutes in the jacuzzi and sauna at Diamond Heights.  The jacuzzi was 3 degrees too hot, so we only stayed in 10 minutes. 

When we came back home we had a great dinner, then watched the Vancouver episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.  Great episode!  In bed by 10:30.

Day 873

Friday, June 5, 2015

Spent two hours on La Stravaganza this morning, laying out the structure, thinking through the elements I want woven into the fabric.  I'm combining marketing elements (stuff that resonates with readers) and me elements (stuff only I would be into).  As long as it's commercial.  The foundation is music and the sub-elements are everything else...fandom, obsession, fantasy, emotional extremism, teen angst, romance, staying power, rivalries, friendship, betrayal, history, musicianship, etc.  Like Op. 4, the book is in twelve parts with each "story" reflective of each Vivaldi Concerto. I have to say, it's been a kick imaging how I could possibly bring the 21st Century (Taylor Swift) and the 18th Century (Vivaldi) together.  I have the ending (Fabio Biondi) and I like how ridiculous it is.  Now I only need to realize everything.  I want to make it happen with the right energy, voice, and delivery. 

A few ideas have emerged after listening to every Taylor Swift song and studying the lyrics and performances.  There is so much out there to digest and absorb, and so much of it is hilarious and sweet.  She is something.  I admire her energy and drive.  Watching her wrap presents for her fans and packaging them is like something out of a sci-fi film.  I can barely get one package wrapped and mailed to family members, let along strangers.  That video in particular has really left an impression on me. 

So far, there seem to be three types of songs in the TS oeuvre:  love songs, revenge songs, and nostalgia for the recent past.  Some of the tunes are very catchy, some are fine enough, and some are downright touching. 

It's the obsession that I find interesting though, the desire to lose oneself in someone else, like a million online biographers writing, shaping, and crafting lore for each other. 

Hannibal is back!  Hannibal is back!  Oh my goodness gracious, the best show on TV is back and it's intoxicating.  Truly brilliant to watch and the reason why going to movies isn't all that necessary anymore.  TV is just as good as the best movies out there.  Hannibal is the best.  Brilliant.  A work of genius and good motivation for Botticelli Girl. 

Day 872

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Up at 5:50, wrote for a few hours before getting reading for Maxine Silva's memorial service at the Chapel of the Chimes.  Maxine was in her 90s when she passed away.  I hope I live that long.  I was privileged enough to say a few words about my interactions with her.  She was instrumental in providing me with wonderful details about Oakland in the 1930s and some of the details I captured in my Julia Milan novel.  She was a wonderful, timeless woman with amazing elegance and charm.  She's a real inspiration to me.

After the service, we all met at Fat Lady in Jack London Square for some excellent food, drink and company.  Good times until 3 p.m.

At memorial/reception for Biff's mom, Maxine Silva

With Rhonda

Afterward, I cleaned my place (I always seem to be cleaning, but my place always seems to be messy) in time for the Warriors/Cavs game.  Richard, Lisa and Sophie came over for Star Pizza, salad, root beer, beer, and chocolate chip cookies.  The game was tight all the way and the last 2 minutes of regulation were soooo stressful, but the Warriors managed to pull it out in overtime with a 108-100 win.  The Cavs are tough!  Should be a great series.

Just found out before bed that Season 3 premier of Hannibal is Tonight!  So excited!

Day 871

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

At the gym at 5, home at 7, work from 9-2, then home and writing until 9 or so.  I don't know if mirroring the structure of La Stravaganza to the novel is a good idea, but I think it might be fun to at least try it out.  So it'll be 12 chapters long and typically have a fast-slow-fast makeup. Each chapter can serve as its own little concerto or story.  We'll see how that goes.  Drawing up the cast now. Still trying out different names.  I want movement and visuals but not so much detail that the voice feels heavy.  Lots of work ahead, but the project sounds like so much fun!

Day 870

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Today was a big step in the right direction for privacy rights when Congress agreed to send a bill to the President that reformed some of NSA's nefarious surveillance powers.  There aren't many individuals who can say the singlehandedly affected change by taking a stand.  Edward Snowden can.  Hurry for him and for the right thing winning out.  I hope one day he's given a pardon.  Without him, the Patriot Act would have been renewed and all our data would have been secretly collected and stored by the government.  It probably still is, but at least there's a rule of law protecting us from mass surveillance.  At least there's a hoop the NSA has to jump through.

So I've started a new novel, La Stravaganza, which I hope to write as quickly as possible so that I can begin the long hard task of writing Botticelli Girl.  I have two novels on my plate, a one-two punch to get things going.  I refuse to let the disappointments of the past discourage me.  Actually, La Stravaganza is therapeutic in a strange sort of way.  It will either work or it won't.  We'll see.

Worked from 9-2:30, then came home and banged out 2k words.  Talked to Chris from 8-9:30, then Alice, then to bed. 

Day 869

Monday, June 1, 2015

Another new month to look forward to.  This one will be very busy.

Left Alice's at 4, hit the gym at 5, came home at 6:30, took care of a few things, worked from 9-2, then came home and wrote a few thousand words.  Responded to emails, had dinner, then watched last night's episode of Game of Thrones.

A week or so ago I railed against the series, bemoaning the slowness of episodes and storylines, wanting things to move so much faster, but knowing that every fourth episode or so I would see something so extraordinary that it would blow my mind and force me to carry on with this series.  Well, that moment happened during the last 20-minutes of last night's episode with a sequence that was so extraordinary that it’s hard to believe it came from the land of television.  In what can only be described as an epic moment in television, the storming of the Wildlings compound by the White Walkers was something out of Lord of the Rings, something so amazing and jaw dropping in its brilliance that I actually watched the entire sequence twice and may even watch it a third time.  Everything about it was amazing.  It was one of the most magnificently choreographed battle sequences I've ever seen.  It was also done with such speed and agility and emotional brilliance. It was epic and memorable.  The downside is I now have to slog through another inevitable series of slow scenes again, but at least there are only two episodes left this season, and I'm sure there will be one last payoff before the season finale.  I was at my wit's end these past few episodes, but after last night's glorious battle sequence and CGI masterpiece, all is forgiven.

I went online to see what the experts had to say about this episode, and found this:

A Director's Response to Last Night's Game of Thrones 

Day 868

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spent the day at Alice's reading, planning, catching up on stuff and hanging out in the foggy Sunset District. 

I checked to see if there was any followup to the Seymour Hersh story about the truth about the Bin Laden raid and found nothing.  The story has been buried.  How interesting.  I did find this blog entry though that essentially uncovered the same details.  The thing is, though, this entry was posted back in August, 2011 by a former national security analyst named R.J. Hillhouse. 

August 7, 2011 blog entry detailing actual events of Bin Laden Raid

Both Seymour Hersh and R.J. Hillhouse came to similar conclusions using different sources, but the national news doesn't seem interested in this blockbuster story.  I think that's amazing.  The blog, The Spy Who Billed Me, has more entries and details about the Bin Laden raid. 

 More Questions Raised about Bin Laden Raid...from 2011!

I guess if anyone wants to know the truth about certain stories, they have to look hard for it because you won't find it on the evening news, or even the New York Times.  Maybe that's why I go to The Intercept to see what's really going on.  

Anyway, I caught up with emails, etc., read most of the evening then called it a night around 10.