Day 929

Friday, July 31, 2015

I played racquetball in the morning and left early to write.  I came home, did a few things, then worked from 9-2.  I came home afterward and continued writing, working on 5 and 6.  Alice and Austin left for Mexico today.  They're there with two other families until Tuesday.  I have the whole weekend to write.  Looking forward to getting a lot done.

Day 928

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I had to come into work at 8 to set up a meeting that took place at 9.  I stayed until 3:30, preparing contracts, letters and informational packets that needed to be sent out.  I came home at 4 and wrote for two hours, drafting scenes for chapters 7-9.  I'll work on chapters 5 and 6 over the weekend.  

Day 927

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Racquetball in the morning, home for breakfast, then work from 9-2.  I went to Costco after work for gas, then came home and napped for 30 minutes.  I wrote for an hour or two, thinking of ideas for chapters 7 and 8.  I need to put on paper all of chapters 5 and 6 first.  I've struggled with my enthusiasm this week and hope it will return by tomorrow.

Day 926

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I spent the day with Alice in San Francisco, accompanying her to two doctor appointments, the first for her sore shoulder that has bothered her since January, and the second for the pain in her groin that shoots down to her leg, affecting her for over ten years.  The first doctor diagnosed her with a frozen shoulder and prescribed Advil and physical therapy.  We came home for a few hours until mid-afternoon for her second appointment at the same facility on California and Jordan.  The surgeon Alice met with reviewed her history and all the imaging she's gathered.  Alice wondered if she had a small hole, a hidden hernia, inside her muscle where fat had collected and pressed against a nerve. Her surgeon ordered a CT scan which Alice went for later that afternoon.  We were there until 5, then came home and relaxed the rest of the evening.  Poor Alice.  Her shoulder will take care of itself with proper physical therapy and time, but her groin issue is a mystery.       

Day 925

Monday, July 27, 2015

Up at 4, racquetball from 5-7, then a full day of writing until 8 p.m.  Sent 4 to Chris and working on 5 and 6.  Drafting 7.  The day went so quickly though.  I remember when a full day of writing felt like a large chunk of time.  Not anymore.  It goes by so quickly, too quickly, even when I'm doing nothing else.  I tried squeezing in an hour or so of other tasks, but I couldn't do it.  I had too much to do before leaving for SF.

After 8:30, I drove to Alice's.  I'm accompanying her to two appointments, one for her shoulder and the other for her groin pain that has lasted so many years. 

Day 924

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Up at 6:30 and wrote until 8.  Alice and I went out for popovers at the Cliff House, then went to Safeway, then home by 9.  I wrote from 9-4, the took a break and relaxed with Alice until 5.  We went to dinner on Geary Street with Alice's family.  Very good.  We came home at 7 and I wrote another two hours.  I spent almost all day on No. 4...still!  I've revised this chapter a few times now and will most likely revise it again.  I think the book really gets going in 4.  1-3 are setup, 4 and 5 reposition the direction, and 6-12 go go go.  I really like working on this story but I can't wait to finish with it. 

Day 923

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Up at 6:30 and had breakfast with Alice.  We left to shop in the early a.m., then I wrote for a few hours, working until around 4.  There's a lot to this novel.  I stopped before dinner.  We ate, watched a documentary and before I knew it the day was over.

Day 922

Friday, July 24, 2015

Up at 4:40, but had to wait until 5:30 for the doors to open.  Now two employees have keys so that won't happen again (hopefully!).  Came home, ate breakfast, worked from 9-2, then came back home, had lunch, packed and headed to SF to pick up Alice.  Got my new book in the mail... our current middle grade Salinger Sara Nickerson. 

The plan is to plow through the book and write a tight review before the end of the month.  I've got a lot going on, but this is a top priority!

Reading my Venice book by Peter Ackroyd and I love it and love Venice.  I need to return to that magical city and soon!  I'm seeing Venice in a whole new light. 

Thinking through my Swiftie research and ready to face a few of them headon as a way of learning Tumblr.  I'll go as Vivaldi13, unless it's already taken, which it won't be.  I'm excited about that and about this book.  The final chapter, Concerto 12, is simply over the top.  Sort of like this country. 

Off to SF!

Day 921

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Worked all day on Chapter 5, my Tumblr chapter in which Mindy shows readers what makes her such a powerhouse fangirl.  Of course, knowing nothing about Tumblr, I had to spend several hours lurking at some real-life Swiftie bloggers and I have to say, I'm real impressed with their mad (sick?) skills.  Yes, I'm now thoroughly versed on the entire Taylor/Nicki Minaj incident that occurred yesterday, or was it Tuesday.  Anyway, it was a massively huge situation in the life of all true Swifties that even brought man-stealer Camilla Bell into the fray.  Nicki sent a tweet bemoaning her MTV VMA snub, and Taylor thought the tweet was meant for her, and Taylor tweeted back "hey girl, I give you nothing but love, so why the hate?" and Nicki tweeted "why on earth do you think I'm talking about you," to which Catty Katy Perry chimed in, "isn't it ironic...don'tcha think?" to which Camilla Bell, who I actually know, thanks to some Swiftie research two weeks ago about a certain song of a certain actress who stole Taylor's Joe a couple of winters ago, yes even Camilla got into it with her "couldn't have said it better..."  Thank God Taylor showed the maturity, gracious wherewithal and deep-in-the-pocket class to tweet an apology earlier today to stop the madness and allow Swifties around the world a moment to reflect upon the true meaning of higher ground.

Oh, good lord I need to finish this novel soon before it swallows me whole!  Thankfully, Vivaldi has his own section in Chapter 5.  Can't wait for Chapter 6 and the real music to start. 

Day 920

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I wrote all day, working on one more pass at chapter 4 before moving on to chapter 5.  Went to the gym in the early a.m., then stayed home all day and wrote, read, napped, read, wrote, ate, napped...until 9 or so.

Day 919

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wrote all day today.  Back into it, though it took a while to get going.

Day 918

Monday, July 20, 2015

Went to the gym from 5-7, came home, worked from 9-2, then came back home and slept three hours in the afternoon, then dinner, then more sleep starting at 10.  The weekend wore me out.

Day 917

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Up at 7, a little breakfast and cribbage with Kevin and Alice (waffles with strawberries), then Kevin and I headed off to North Beach for some time at City Lights Bookstore, cribbage, and hanging out in cafes.

It doesn't get much better than this!

We stayed until 4, then headed over to Market & Church to one of my favorite used bookstores, Aardvark Books.  I found a book on Venice and gave Kevin a book on Cities and Civilizations.  At 5, Alice ordered chicken wings at San Tung and we picked them up, waiting 20 minutes in line.  That place is always crazy.  We had dinner at 6:30, then played a few more games of cribbage.  It was fun seeing Alice beat Kevin!  We left Alice's at 9:20 and I was in bed at 10:15. 

Day 916

Saturday, July 16, 2015

Kevin and I woke up at 7:30 after a long, predictable night at the Oaks.  Some things never change!  We headed to Arizmendi and 8:45 or thereabouts, where we met Kristi, played cribbage, gabbed for 20 minutes or so, then I hit the Farmers' Market for tomatoes and salad.

Sweet Sallie...yum!

With Kristi and Kevin
Kevin and I headed over to SF around 9:45, where he finally got to meet Alice.  Alice and Kevin are a lot alike.  They're both thoroughly engaging, charming, witty personalities and so much fun to be with.  Having them together in the same space is Fun in stereo.

We took some dumplings to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park then walked around the perimeter on an absolutely gorgeous summer day.

After our walk, we went home.  Alice got dinner ready and Kevin made a delicious cherry cobbler.  Neil and his date for the weekend Dalia arrived and we had a wonderful dinner together with great conversation.  It was so much fun.  Neil and Dalia left around 9:30 and Kevin, Alice and I stayed up another hour.  What a great day!

Day 915

Friday, July 17, 2015

Up at 6:30, but no racquetball today.  Went to Arizmendi with Kevin after a poker session at Mark S.'s that lasted until 2 a.m.  It was a moral victory for both of us, considering the cards weren't that cooperative.  I won $50 and Kevin was about $10 down, not bad.  We celebrated with some Sweet Sallies and cribbage.

I worked from 9-2 while Kevin hung out with Kristi until mid-afternoon.  By 2:30, I was home for more cribbage and burgers, fries and a Coke at Flipside.  We then headed to the Oaks Card Club from 7-1.  I hadn't played cards at the Oaks in over four years, but it was like going to my home away from home.  So many familiar faces are still there.  We both ended up winning for the night.  

Day 914

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Woke up at 6:30, a little too late to write before work.  I wanted to wake up at 4, but just couldn't do it.  I needed the extra two hours.  Worked from 9-2, then cleaned up my place for three hours in anticipation of my friend Kevin's arrival for the weekend.  Should be good times, starting tonight with a little poker at the Thursday night neighborhood game at Mark's. 

Kristi popped over for Kevin's arrival, a six-hour drive from Pasadena.  We hit the Avenue for burritos for dinner and caught up for an hour or so before heading over to Mark's for his no limit cash game.  We were there until 2 a.m., a long but enjoyable night, complete with several hours of one of the craziest shows I've ever seen.

Day 913

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Up at 4:30, racquetball, work from 9-2, then home where I wrote for three hours on No. 4.  It may be the toughest chapter, but it's coming along.

Day 912

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Up at 6, work from 9-2, then a few hours of writing before talking with Chris at 8.  Still writing No. 4.

Day 911

Monday, July 13, 2015

Up at 4, then racquetball from 5-7.  Home for breakfast, then work from 9-2.  Came home at 2:15, had lunch, then wrote only three hours, working on No. 4 part 3, the scene with Mindy and her mom on the couch.  It's been a challenge getting this part right.  I fell asleep on the couch around 9:15. 

Day 910

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wrote in the morning and afternoon for about five hours, then went with Alice to a wedding in the evening, from 5-10.  Alice's contractor's daughter was married in South San Francisco.  It was long but enjoyable with plenty of delicious food.  I liked some of the traditions, like seeing the bride and groom visit every table so that everyone could toast to their good fortune and happiness.  We didn't get home until 11 or so.  Time for bed.

Day 909

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Up at 7, wrote from 8-1, then Alice came over for the afternoon.  We picked up Lillian in Oakland and went to Concord to visit Murry for the evening.  It was a great evening catching up.  We dropped Lillian off around 10 and drove to SF.  Didn't go to bed until 11:30 or so.

Day 908

Friday, July 10, 2015

Up at 4:30, racquetball until 6:50, home for breakfast, then work from 9-2.  Writing from 3-6, then went over to Richard and Lisa's for the evening, hanging out in their back yard.  Good times!

Day 907

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Worked from 9-2, then wrote until 9 with 30 minutes for dinner. I'm now fully into No. 4, one of the more challenging chapters in this new book.  This is where the shift comes in, the exposure of all things Italian and the introduction of Fabio Biondi playing Vivaldi.  Here is the great selling point of the novel.  Vivaldi.  As I read more about this amazing composer, my love and affection for him continue to grow.  No one that I'm aware of has positioned Vivaldi as a composer for teenagers, and yet throughout most of his composing career, he wrote concertos specifically for abandoned and orphaned teenage girls.  That's who played his music every day from the early 1700s through the 1740s.   You can actually hear the optimism, vitality for life, and joy of music woven into his phrases and melodic lines.  He's constantly reinforcing a positive, happy sensation onto his performers and listeners.  He suffered form asthma all his life and by all accounts was unorthodox and unusual, yet he was a genius who overcame whatever emotional issues he suffered to write music that is so happy and sublime, and always different, even though the Vivaldi sound is evident within every movement of every concerto.  Nowhere is this on display more powerfully than in La Stravaganza.  Every movement feels exact and perfect.  It's a wonderfully free antidepressant that most teenagers know nothing about.  I've always known that listening to Vivaldi puts me in a good mood, no matter how grumpy I might be.  He's a wonderful stabilizer of extreme emotions.  The emotional extremes were surely over-the-top inside the orphanage of the Ospedale della pieta, but the excitement of playing such lively music and listening to it must have been incredible.  I wonder if the girls realized how amazing his music actually was, or whether he was just like all the other baroque composers of the day.  He certainly wasn't.  There's something so clean and exact about his concertos at his best.  So joyous.  Truly remarkable and something worth sharing.  

Day 906

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Racquetball from 5-7:30, then another full day of writing until 5.  Into 4 and 5, outlining and drafting the first 5,000 words of each chapter.  I'm always moving from specific paragraph to overall storyline, specific word choice to the larger arch.  Back and forth, that's really what writing these things is about.  Some things can't be rushed.  I need to remember that.

Made chili after 5 and spoke with Chris at 8.  I read for an hour after dinner, but it's hard to focus for more than a ten minutes because my mind wanders back to the book.  Hmm. Not sure what to do about that.

Talked with Alice at 9, then went to bed at 9:30.  

Day 905

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Up at 6 a.m. and a full day of writing until 9 p.m. with two hours to watch A Room With a View, a film I haven't seen in while but will be writing about in Chapter 4.  Sent off chapter 3 to Chris and will now focus on 4 and 5, probably the two hardest chapters in the novel.  A draft of chapter 6 is on paper.  Once those chapters are done I'll be halfway home. 

Day 904

Monday, July 6, 2015

Up at 4, racquetball until 7:30, then home for breakfast, work from 9-2, then home at 2:30 for a few hours of writing and organizing.  Wrapping up No. 3 and revising No. 1.  Gearing up for 4 and 5. 

Day 903

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Went to downtown SF early in the morning to switch computers at Alice's desk on California Street.  We then hit the Farmer's Market at Civic Center across from the public library.  We bought squash, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and peaches.  So good!

We then hit Market Street near Church.  While Alice got her pain medication, I popped into Aardvark Books and found an excellent biography of Vivaldi.

We had a bite to eat at Whole Foods, then spent 90 minutes or so at the de Young Museum.  It was free this weekend for Bank of America cardholders, which is kind of cool!

We came home around 1:30 and I wrote and read my Vivaldi book the rest of the day.  Yummy dinner with all our fresh vegetables.  Alice's squash soup was so delicious.  I read some more and didn't go to bed until 11. 

Day 902

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wrote in the morning while Austin practiced his driving with Alice.  In the afternoon, we watched two documentaries that were both very good, about the sheer determination of the participants and their relentless drive to complete their goal, four involving wine and one involving a trip around the world. 

Somm is about four wine connoisseurs studying to become Master Sommielers and what is involved to pass what is arguably the most difficult exam in the world.  Maidentrip is Laura Decker's journey around the world on a sail boat at 14-15, becoming the youngest ever to circumnavigate the globe.  Both films were inspiring and amazing.  

Day 901

Friday, July 3, 2015

No writing today.  I drove over to Alice's at 9:45 and we left for Point Reyes Station at 10.  Alice wanted to check out the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, so we headed down Highway 1, cutting through thick traffic before reaching the open road near Stinson Beach.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.  Once we reached Point Reyes Station we were hungry, so we put in our names at the Station House Cafe and were seated in 20 minutes.  The food was good and the atmosphere comfortable. 

The Tomales Bay Oyster Company wasn't so inviting, though there were several people picnicking and eating oysters.  I'm glad we ate at the Station House Cafe.

We headed home around 4 and relaxed the rest of the evening. 

Day 900

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Up at 5:30, wrote until 7:45, then got ready for work.  Worked from 9-2, then came home and tidied up for Seth Donnelly, who visited from 5-9.  Seth and I hadn't seen each other in over five years...way too long.  It was great reconnecting and sharing a few stories while walking around Lake Merritt.  We at at the Mexican restaurant on Grand Ave. across from the park.  It was good and filling.  It's always a treat to spend time with old friends. 

With Seth Donnelly

Day 899

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Up at 2:30, wrote for 90 minutes before heading off to the gym.  There was an excellent turnout this morning and we all got some great games in.  I had a chance to play singles with Steve and that was fun.  We split two and by the end of our play I was done.

I worked from 9-2 and business has started to pick up with a mini focus group scheduled for mid-July.  After work, I went to ActiveSports and spoke with our club manager David about some of the issues facing our gym, both in housekeeping and capital improvements that haven't been addressed in years.  I like David and look forward to seeing these issues addressed.  Our meeting lasted 80 minutes.

Once I was home, I spent another two hours revising the middle movement of No. 3.  As these early chapters are being composed, I'm developing my ideas for the story and seeing how to establish a clear need for Mindy to seek out other music beyond her Swiftie universe.   What's great about Vivaldi is how nicely it compliments contemporary pop music, but at the same time it's so other-worldly and foreign to the pop ear.  Tinging La Stravaganza with an emotional mysticism, a natural anti-depressant that generates happiness, is another way to build up the notion that Mindy has incorporated these pieces into her life.  For me, these pieces always make me happy and I never get bored with them.  I can only listen to the Brandenburg Concertos and Handel's Op. 6 for so long before I need to move on, but with Vivaldi's La Stravaganza, I can listen indefinitely, a distinction that I find powerful and meaningful.

Any tool to numb the pain of high school is a tool worth promoting.  Vivaldi is one of the best tools out there and so few teenagers are aware of it.  The thing about Vivaldi is he wrote for teenage girls. Not just any teenage girl, but orphans.  This is something I've never fully appreciated in his music until now.  He was the Taylor Swift of his day, and 300 years later, his magic still works.

Day 898

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Up at 6:30 and wrote until 4, working on chapters 2 and 3.  Sent 2 to Chris and was going to send 3 but got caught up in putting together a petition and cover letter for tomorrow's united front at the gym.  With housekeeping now contracted out to a firm in San Diego, I'm gathering signatures to ensure management is 100% committed to member happiness and well-being.  I'm not interested in going through the kind of drama and conflict that unfolded last week, and I'm not at all happy that an outside contractor from as far away as San Diego has any say what goes on in our gym in Oakland.  That was a bad move, but we'll see how it all plays out. 

Spoke with Chris from 8-10, then Alice, then went to bed.

Tomorrow I'll send 3 to Chris, then draft 4 and 5, which are tricky chapters.  6 is written but needs revising.  If I can have the first half written by the end of the weekend and start 7-12 next week, I should be on target to finish the novel by early August.

Day 897

Monday, June 29, 2015

Up at 4, home at 4:35, gym at 5:05, and a fun morning of racquetball.  Afterward, I spent the entire day writing from morning till night.  The day flew by as I broke the day down into one-hour intervals (five minutes to plan the hour, ten minutes to nap, and 45 minutes to focus/write/stay busy).  I did this twelve times with about 30 minutes for lunch and one hour for chores.  I didn't even really eat dinner tonight, just an apple and toast.  I wish this process were faster, but it's not.  It takes hours and hours and hours just to get a sense of each chapter, where it's going, what's involved, and many of those hours feel like wasted time down dead ends and stray streets that lead nowhere.  But miraculously, no matter how lost I sometimes feel, I always manage to find a road that leads to exciting territory.  Every time this happens, though getting there is sometimes so full of frustration.  In bed by 10:30.