Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

If we were having coffee, I’d first say that since Starbucks is raising its prices, I’m going to lessen the number of times I go there. I’m branching out to Dunkin Donuts to economize. I realize prices go up but Starbucks doesn’t offer as nice a service in the US as you get overseas so I already felt that I was paying the same, but getting less than when I went to their outlets in Asia.

I’d mention that we had a big storm last night and when I woke up we had no electricity. So much depends on electricity. It was too gray to read. There was no cooking, internet, or laundry.  What was I going to do with my day? Luckily power was restored.

I’d also say I’m delighted with my new job. I’m working at a library and have only done orientation tasks, but it was a positive week. One highlight was a tour of the community. It’s a diverse village with a nice sculpture park, a new technology center for start ups, several synagogues, churches and mosques. There are a few Jewish schools and an Islamic school. Lots of business and industry add to the generous funding to this library. New week I’ll roll up my sleeves and begin to develop an online learning course.

I’m reading too many books, and need to finish a few. I am reading a biography of François Truffaut. It’s heartbreaking how tough his childhood was. His mother didn’t want him and did the minimum for him. It’s amazing how he was able to contribute so much to the world of film. I’m also chugging through Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove, which I’m going to discuss online with a friend who lives in Washington. We read and discuss novels online and are proceeding chronologically. It’s slow going and partly because James has a reputation, well-earned I’d say, for dense prose. I’m also reading a graphic memoir of a trip to North Korea and the novel Radium Girls. More on those another time.

 

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

It’s a bit late for coffee, but I got mine because on this gray day, I’m feeling drowsy though I want to perk up and do some reading. I’ve just started The Wings of the Dove and it’s making me doze off. My friend Bill, who lives in Washington state, and I have been reading classic novels and discussing them online. Bill’s insights any book I read and I hope mine are at least half as good as his. We choose books more or less chronologically. Last time we read Germinal, which was my choice and now it’s his. I have heard that Henry James is rather dense and that reputation makes it harder to get into the story. By next week I do hope I report that I’ve gotten to say page 60.

Tuesday I found time for lunch with a friend from high school that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. She discovered she had breast cancer in September and I’m in awe of her strength and commitment to stay positive. She’s now almost done with all the treatments. So happy that she’s out of the woods.

On Wednesday I was stunned to learn that WordPress was suddenly quitting their popular Daily Post prompts. I would think they’d at least keep the Weekly Photo Challenge going, but despite the community’s sadness, they’ve dropped it.

I spent much of the week writing. Last week I mentioned that a theater agreed to read my play. I thought I could quickly polish a couple scenes and send it off, but one thing led to another between new ideas and more in depth editing. Anyhow, it was submitted on Tuesday. Then yesterday right before midnight was the deadline for the Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship program. I had one pilot done and polished (though it’s envisioned as a two hour special so that may not be taken well) and then I had to finish two act of a spec script. (A spec script is when you write an episode of an existing TV show as an example of your ability.) I chose to write a Madam Secretary as if there’s nothing good on PBS (like Poldark or Victoria) then I’ll watch that. I have quite a bit of experience working overseas and try to keep up on world events that aren’t widely reported. I did get my entry submitted in time. Hooray! However, I realize this is a super-competitive. I think only 8 or 10 writers are chosen.

I’m also glad to report that my mom’s back home after two weeks in rehab after knee replacement surgery. She’s still got a ways to go to be as good as new, but I’m thankful for the good care she received.

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Writing Progress

I’m on page 72 of what I plan to be a 100 page play. If it’s a bit longer, great, but it should have at least 90 pages and I think that’s attainable.

At this stage I’ve struggled. I’d hoped to get to page 85 last week, but the characters are eluding me. I’ve hopped around from Act I to Act II waiting for inspiration for scenes that belong in the middle of Act I. I do hope to get to page 80 today, but I’m already procrastinating by blogging, though I hoped writing a blog post could get my juices flowing.

Time to stop blogging and start writing. Wish me luck.

My Writing

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I’m vowing to really get going with my writing. I want to push my career as a writer forward. I’ve gotten several television and film scripts in good shape. Now it’s a matter of getting them out into the world in spite of the Catch-22 that producers don’t want to read material from writers who don’t have an agent and agents don’t want to read material from writers who haven’t produced any work yet.

Yikes! What’s an aspiring writer to do?

In the past I wrote lots of letters and made lots of cold calls. I had some success because I did get a few agents to read my work and did get invited to pitch for a top sitcom, but that was years ago in the ’90s pre-Internet and pre-social media. Things are different now the Catch 22 remains.

I have gotten invited to pitch to producers via Act One’s Upfront program and will submit again once they open up submissions.

I’ve also entered contests, but there are few for television writers. I’ve written some producers and sometimes it’s hard to find the addresses of producers, who do want to limit submissions. One thing I’m glad I did was use my local library to get some addresses. They were able in a few hours to get the address for Reese Witherspoon’s company, Hello Sunshine, and to PBS. Their help saved me from wasting further time. Hello Sunshine, while incorporated, just didn’t show up in any business directories I had access to. So I’m grateful for the librarian who found something I couldn’t.

In addition to writing to producers who seem like a good match, I’m going to start writing a play. Tonight I’ll start an online course on Playwriting given by the Chicago Dramatists’ Workshop. My subject is a vibrant character from Chicago’s 19th century history.