A lot of things happening, and I’m feeling buzzy, which makes it difficult to sit and write.

Press releases are being drawn up (and I’m being asked for quotes!), and tickets to see Hamlet in London in September (and we all know how I do love Hamlet) . . . And then the little things in life like trying to recover from pneumonia, and trying to keep the kids busy during spring break . . . Makes for a very unsettled kind of week, in both good ways and bad. I hope the good things continue to happen, but I also hope I can get back to a normal routine and back to work, too. Because the good things can’t happen if I don’t put forth some effort.

I’ll call it a break. I mean, we were going all out through Monday on the film treatment, so a little down time is not uncalled for. But still, kids go back to school on Tuesday, so I need to be ready to get back to work by then. In the meantime, I’ll try to relax, though it’s proving difficult; I’m very restless and keyed up. All this excitement can’t be good for me.

Back from Santa Cruz, and I’m sure Sherl will have plenty to say about it all at some point (in fact, he has a lot to say about a lot of things; he’s been busy but plans to update his blog soon). Meanwhile, feel it’s as good a time as any to say the romantic comedy script I’ve co-written made the preliminary cut in the Creative World Awards. They should announce Quarterfinalists next week, so . . . They gave us really good feedback on the script, but I know competition is fierce. A lot of good writers and good scripts out there. I hope ours is one!

Santa Cruz! And Scripts!

Sad to say, but I’ve never been to a boardwalk. I’ve been to beaches plenty of times, but never to a boardwalk. But this weekend I intend to rectify that.

First, though, sustenance. We drive down tomorrow and will eat, drink, and be merry tomorrow night in order to be ready for a Grand Day Out on Saturday.

And Sunday, before returning home: Mystery Spot. Gravitational anomalies, anyone? Hooray!

(We were going to zip line through the Redwoods, but (a) I wasn’t convinced I could stomach the height, and (b) once I decided to give it a go, it turned out there were no available times anyway. Maybe next visit!)

In other, writing-related news: I’ve begun getting requests for the 20 August script. Fingers crossed it finds the right home! And Adverse Possession has about four more sound editing tweaks, and then it should be ready to send to festivals. It’s hard for me—someone always eager to be moving and making progress—to settle to the slower pace of “the biz,” where deals and the movie-making process take forever and then, all at once, are suddenly finished. In the meantime, I’ve written a couple more short plays, and each of them could potentially be turned into longer plays. That’s the key: stay busy. ‘Cuz if you’re just sitting around and waiting to hear back about something, well . . . Watched pot and all that.

August

Looks to be the busiest month for me this year, at least on weekends. This coming weekend, I’ll be at an A’s game. The following weekend is a trip to Santa Cruz. The weekend after that is my youngest son’s birthday. And after that, a writing retreat to Paso Robles . . . Then the kids start school again and we’ll have to get into a whole new routine. Which means somewhere in all this, we need to shop for clothes and school supplies, too. Should be an interesting, action-packed month.

TBT: My Only World Cup Memory

In 1998 I was traversing Europe largely in the company of a pack of Australians, and we landed in Paris the night of the World Cup match between Brazil and Scotland.

It was an interesting evening to say the least.

If I remember correctly, Scotland lost. But I’m inclined to believe all the Scottish people in the bars would have been pissing drunk either way. Many were in kilts. And yes, I and my friends were treated to glimpses of what was and wasn’t under those kilts. But I decline to elaborate.

The strangest moment came when we were accosted by a group of Brazilians while walking through the city. Four of them threw themselves to their knees at my feet and folded their hands in front of them. They were speaking rapid Portuguese, which luckily one of my group also spoke. My unofficial translator explained they were saying I was an angel, come to grace them and give them good luck, and please would I go with them. One of them tried to pick me up and carry me off. But somehow my friends managed to untangle me, and with many laughing and good-natured regrets we parted ways. (This happens remarkably often; in Mexico two men tried to take me from a market while saying I was “the daughter of the sun god,” and in Greece a man tried to abduct me after calling me “Athene” and saying I would bring him good luck. So if you’re ever wondering where my ideas for The K-Pro come from . . . )

Anyway, as football (aka soccer) festivities get under way in Brazil, I have fond memories of one night in Paris, my only brush with the World Cup.

I.T. Crowd courtesy of imgur
I.T. Crowd courtesy of imgur

Summer Travels

It appears I’ll be doing a fair share of traveling this summer. Since I love to travel, this makes me pretty happy.

First off, in a couple weeks we fly down to Houston to see my parents. One day will be spent in Austin to visit friends. Then there will be a drive out to the New Orleans area for a family reunion. I haven’t seen some of these people in 10–15 years.

Then, the second weekend in August is Santa Cruz. I’ve always wanted to visit a boardwalk but never have.

And later in August (22–24) a writing retreat! With two dear friends down at Bianchi Winery in Paso Robles. Not sure if I’ll do more writing or tasting, but either way it will be a blast.

Anyone else have fun stuff planned for summer?

The Monuments of Highgate

I’ve always taken pleasure in cemeteries.

That seems like an odd way to start, but I come from a place where “cities of the dead” are a source of pride, respect, fear, and tourist income. And I grew up in a small town where the cemetery was the one place you could take your telescope at night and get a really good look at the Milky Way.

So when I visit London, I generally try to swing by Highgate. I like walking around in there. And I like seeing each time how far the Friends of Highgate have come along on fixing things up.

My kids have a certain amount of interest in hearing about Highgate and seeing the pictures. Recently, my 4-year-old son Robert has been especially interested. He’s made me tell him all about the East and West sides and he’s looked at all the photos. And when I’d run out of stories about and pictures of Highgate as I’ve actually experienced it, his continued to demands forced me into fiction.

So I told him that at night, all the statues on the monuments in Highgate come to life. That Marx’s giant head talks (but can’t move), that the angels fly free, that Nero (the lion) stalks the overgrown graves. It’s been such a hit with him—he asks to hear about it again and again—that I think I should make a children’s book. I could throw in some of my photos and send the proceeds to Friends of Highgate. Yes?

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Nero

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Robert tells me he very much wants to visit Highgate. But not at night.

Places to Write

I have a home office. It’s really quite nice and works well for my needs, at least most of the time. But not always. Sometimes there are people in the house, and I have trouble writing when people are around (yes, even family, even when they’re in other rooms; I’m sensitive to my environment that way). Sometimes I just need a change of scene, a fresh perspective. On those occasions, I go somewhere else.

I’ve tried cafés, which are known to be J.K. Rowling’s preferred writing spots. Indeed, isn’t that the old joke, the cliché? Writers with laptops in Starbucks? I’ll admit I do enjoy a nice chai, but I still have trouble writing in most cafés because they tend to be very busy around here. The constant in and out of people is not conducive to my work.

The library, too, I’ve discovered has drawbacks. Again, people wandering by, and not always quiet despite the fact it’s a library. There is a café in our library that is sometimes empty and quiet enough, though.

But sometimes I really just need to get away to write. I like to go to London, but that’s not always something I have the time and money for. I’ve been known to take long weekends in hotels with nice views. Places I can go out and walk for a bit between writing. Because although I need to be alone, and I need the quiet, I also don’t like being so far away from everything and everyone. I need to places to wander . . . and also eat.

Where else have I gone to write? New York, naturally, which was okay. The Mount Washington Resort up in New Hampshire was pretty great for my muse, too. Alas, I found Half Moon Bay lacking; even though it was nice there, I just didn’t feel it. Whatever “it” is.

So. A place I can stay on my own but where I’m not wholly isolated. Someplace picturesque. Walkable. And close to food sources. Which is why London works so fabulously well for me (also because I write a lot of British characters and enjoy soaking up that vibe). But I was thinking I might try someplace like Savannah or Key West next. I’ve been to both on vacations and like them each immensely, can picture writing in either place.

Anyone else have favorite places to write? Suggestions? Are you as picky as I am, or is it just me? I’d love to hear.