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Blessings from TPP!

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I just found out that my story, THE SPIRIT THAT REMEMBERS, is featured on TPP this month!  This was a very special piece for me in several ways.  First, it was my opportunity to explore the whole subject of memory---how what we remember makes us who we are and how memory preserves the past (and how Snape's memories informed who he was and could make a difference in his personal legacy).  It also gave me the opportunity to use some poetry I have always loved and to discover more.

It was also the work that made me realize I could write something longer.  I began writing original fiction and have been fortunate enough to have my work published, as well as getting to know other SSHG writers who have done the same.  I publish under my real name, Wendy Worthington.  I have most recently had a murder mystery appear in DEATH AND A CUP OF TEA, published by Elm Books, and will have two more stories in IMMANENCE, a collection about demons manifest in the world, which will be published later this year by Story Spring Publishing.

So thank you, TPP, for all your help in launching my writing career.  I couldn't have done it without you!

Home for the Holidays

I am home for the holidays, trying (and not completely succeeding) to balance the desire to stay at my brother's (lovely place in the woods, lots of places to walk to, comfortable and easy) with the obligation to also spend as much time as possible at my mother's (40 minutes away by the car I don't have here, nobody else but her, not lots of places to walk to, large but still a little claustrophobic, at least psychologically, and can't easily get between them without bringing her along, which crowds my brother, SIL, and niece, who would rather keep the distance most of the time).  And trying to keep from being a pain or a mooch anywhere.  Tricky.  Dealing with the guilties, which may be as much my own projections as anything, though that doesn't make them any less real.  Just two more days, then back home on Friday (I do miss my kitties! hope they will still speak to me!).






HAPPY BIRTJDAY, STORY SPRING PUBLISHING!

LJ tells me you've got a birthday today.  Cake all 'round!!

Wistful Thinking

John Scalzi writes on his blog today, "It's all beautiful, and nothing lasts."  He surrounds it with assurances that this does not spring from any great, impending tragedy, but instead from the recognition that everything is fleeting and that recognizing the beauty in that impermanence is important.  And this resonates with me today, in the cool, fall morning, sitting with a lapful of purring cat, and catching my breath for the first time in a week.

I haven't been posting mainly because my tablet, the device I use when I am out and about, inserts carriage returns after every two letters (on posts only, not on comments), and that is frustrating enough not to bother writing to you at all from the outside world.  But I am home now on the big computer, and the new day is beautiful, and nothing lasts, so let me tell you, while technology cooperates, how much I appreciate all the slices of lives well lived that LJ affords me glimpses of.  I think of each of my flisters warmly and revel in your triumphs, laugh at your wit, empathize with your frustrations, and thoroughly enjoy all the accounts of your ongoing adventures Out There.  I comment when I have something to say, but I read as much as I can.

My own adventures continue--auditions and performances and writing and routines, moments of Almost and Oh-By-the-Way, frustrations and little victories and the continuing battles that sometimes feel pointless and occasionally reward, but that most often have to be measured in increments: checking off one more item on the to-do list and finding satisfaction in that.  Some days, that is quite enough.  Some days, it has to be.

But it is all beautiful, indeed, and none of it lasts.  There is comfort in both parts of that concept.

I have to stop typing now and hug the cat while she is still purring and wanting to be hugged.  At the moment, she is my surrogate for all of you.      

A Question for My Beloved Grammarians...

I was reading an article today in the LA Times about the "crisis" in television comedies (i.e., there aren't very many of them that are succeeding right now).  The author made reference to "the so-called 'single-camera' comedies."  They are "so-called" because are shot with a single camera instead of with multiple cameras.

And it got me thinking about that phrase, "so-called."  Is that really the correct way to use this?  Having just talked about multiple-camera comedies shot in front of live studio audences, shouldn't the next paragraph's discussion of single-camera comedies have made the use of that phrase self-explanatory?  And in that context is "so-called" really called for?  Doesn't it imply that the term "single-camera comedies" is jargon and needs to be acknowledged as such?  Or am I just being picky?

And, incidentally, couldn't the writer have then explained the economic or even the stylistic differences between the genres, aside from just noting that single-camera shows are generally shot "on location" (not always true, actually) and give the shows "a more cinematic feel" (also not always true, but not a bad shorthand description)?

(Interview me, dear writer, and find out why I want the multiple-camera shows to have a comeback!)

Brutal But Not Fatal

I am in rehearsal for a site-specific show that takes place in a mortuary (an actual, working mortuary---gardens, halls, a chapel, a two-story mural hallway, offices, a gallery, and, across the street, a large cemetary).  The audience gathers to participate in a framing show that sets this up as taking place on a night when the dead can commune with the living, then gets separated into three groups to be led around the grounds to experience three different short plays.  This means that I get to perform my piece three times a night, and that the whole event has to be coordinated so groups don't cross paths and so that the screaming from the graveyard doesn't interfere too much with the shrieking in the garden and the moaning in the mural hall.

Yesterday was what they call the "orchestration rehearsal," when all three pieces get done three times in order to work out timing and kinks and overlap.  It was held during the day, as the lighting and special effects and sound (and, thankfully, costumes and gory effects) haven't been folded in yet.

And it was 104 degrees outside.

Thank god for icewater, and sunglasses. and sunblock, and whatever bits of shade we could find along the way, because it was pretty brutal.  No one passed out, but I am VERY glad that I am not in one of the fight scenes, don't have to dance or run, and wasn't in costume (a full nun's habit---which they tell me I will be very grateful for later in the run when the nights start getting cold).

Ah, the glamorous life!!!
I would explain that if my computer would cooperate but it won't, so never mind.

Returning

The one good thing about a long return journey is the way it mitigates the sadness of parting and the feeling that time together with kindred spirits, working in a convivial and inspiring atmosphere simply flies by.  Our time in the same rooms is too short, but it is, alas, what we can all spare, and so it has to do.

This week, I suspended work on the novel I have been puttering away at steadily for these many months to focus on some other projects.  I have been finding some success with various short stories (three have now been published, and a fourth is slotted for the fall), so I decided to spend this week focusing on the backlog of first drafts and fragments of new stories that have been sitting in my hard drive, to see what I have amassed and what I might do with them.  I polished two into better shape and got some excellent feedback on the one that is slated to be part of a larger collection.  (Most of the feedback was consistent, and what was not was interesting in its divergence.  I shall ponder it all and then return to this one shortly.)  The second story I decided was ready to send out into the world, and so I submitted it electronically to an established magazine and will see what happens.  I intend it to be the first of many to send to these sources.

I also worked on two stories I had begun quite awhile ago.  One of them seems to be turning in a straightforward little murder mystery, but the other has the potential to become something else.  There is an anthology in early discussion that it might become right for.  I will keep playing with it and see where it goes.  And there is another anthology that is seeking entries that I may develop one of the other pieces for (or possibly come up with something new to submit).

I also reestablished contact with my literary agent and will be continuing to renew that connection in the next few months.

At the start of the week, we each talked about our journeys over the last year, many filled with challenges and stresses and demands on our time and attention, as well as some of the joys and successes each of us has met along the way.  It reminded me that I need to spell out as many of my accomplishments as possible for myself, because it is too easy to feel that there haven't been many.  I spent this morning compiling my own annual report of what I have actually achieved over the past year in my ongoing quests, and it is a strong reminder that I have, in fact, made significant headway on many fronts.  I keep a brief record of some of these accomplishments (principally my daily writing and my auditions and bookings), but I need to be more thorough in order to recognize how much I really have been able to do.  The end results are important, but the work getting there matters as well, and I intend to make a much better effort at tracking and acknowledging ALL the work, not simply what ends up being published, broadcast, or shared with wider audiences in other ways.

I stated at the start of this week that I primarily wanted to use it to recharge my creative batteries and find renewed inspiration, and I have certainly accomplished that.  I salute all my fellow brilliant travelers.  Our time together is too brief, but it flows from a deep wellspring that we have managed to establish together, and it is fed by so many others on my flist.  I am grateful to have all of you in my life and to be reminded of how many truly marvelous, talented, gracious people I am fortunate enough to know.  Bless you all.
 

Stuck Indoors Monday Night?

(For those of you in the USA.  International Flisters, ignore, please.)  If you're home this coming Monday night, look for the cranky lady in the diner on "2 Broke Girls" at 8:30pm on CBS.  http://www.cbs.com/shows/2_broke_girls/ She might look a little familiar....

I Would Have Spent My Life in Jail

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ga-student-suspended-for-year-after-hugging-teacher/
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/10/first-grade-kiss-suspension/3963813/

On the one hand, I do get that the line needs to be drawn and attention needs to be paid.  On the other hand, though, do we really need a society where honest affection is always suspect and criminalized?

Mock Punctuation All You Like

But even when making fun of the way the signmaker at the police department misuses (OVER uses, actually) "quotation" "marks," it is still a good idea to pay attention to the underlying message.

The LAPD (and probably other police departments around the country) has been running a campaign called "LOCK IT" "HIDE IT" "KEEP IT" in an effort to cut down on theft and vandalism.  A lighted sign I see regularly, for instance, flashes the instructions to me to "LOCK" my home and vehicle, "HIDE" my valuables, and "KEEP" my possessions.

And while it was all well and good to mock their overenthusiastic use of quotation marks, I should have also heeded the basic message.

Instead, on Monday afternoon, I parked in broad daylight in what looked like a nice, quiet suburban neighborhood to go into one of the smaller Hollywood studios for an audition.  Being too lazy to bother simply taking in my brand-new backpack, which contained the better part of my life (laptop, camera, internet connector, wallet, cash, credit cards, checks ready to be deposited, bills ready to be mailed, etc., etc., ETC.), I simply shoved my driver's license and cellphone into a pocket and stashed the bag on the floor of the car, surrounded by trash and empty reusable bags and partially hidden by a jacket on a hanger suspended in the passenger-seat window behind the driver's seat, but still visible if you looked in the window.  Dumb.  Stupid.  Careless.

When I returned to my car (not having booked the job, by the way), the first thing I saw was a smattering of glass all over the ground next to the car.

I have spent the rest of this week trying to reconstruct, replace, repair, and restore the damage and loss...not to mention trying to deal with the feeling of utter stupidity on my part.

Glad I still had my phone and license, glad I had a different credit card in my lockbox at home along with a bit of cash, glad I wasn't there to be smashed in along with my car window, glad it all wasn't worse.

But still.  Will no longer "mock" the signmakers.  Oy, oy, and oy vey.

A Succinct Summary of Cats

While sitting at the neighborhood cafe this afternoon, I happened to overhear a fragment of conversation between two middle-aged men at a nearby table.

Man One:  I never had cats.  What do they do?

Man Two:  They lie around.  They ask for things.

Neither of them laughed, and I heard no more of the conversation.  But I think they nailed it.

As I type this, one of mine is lying on the tiny portable desk that barely holds my laptop, doing her level best to nudge it into my lap so there's more room for her.

She sends you all her love.

A Lovely Review!

Just read a lovely review for the play I'm doing right now - http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-theater-review-the-guardsman-at-a-noise-within-20131008,0,1285115.story  I'm quite proud of this project.  We're performing in rep with two other shows, so the schedule is very spread out, but if you're in the LA area, come and see (and tell me you'll be there, so I can come out after and hug you!).
http://www.anoisewithin.org/play/the-guardsman/

And for those in the US but not near Pasadena, you can catch a glimpse of me tomorrow night on ABC-TV's "The Neighbors."

And for anyone else needing a Wendy Fix, there's always my two stories in THOROUGHLY MODERN MONSTERS.....
http://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Monsters-J-Aldis/dp/194069910X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380634465&sr=1-2&keywords=thoroughly+modern+monsters
(It's also available as an ebook, for you who are more technologically advanced than I.  Which is everyone.  The bonus is that you get a whole bunch of other wonderful work by some amazing writers.)

*smooches to all!*

IT'S HERE!!

I am now in possession of the beautiful paperback edition of THOROUGHLY MODERN MONSTERS, fresh from Amazon's stores!  It's beautiful!!  And now to indulge....  I feel like I've opened a very large box of exquisite chocolates!  Yummy!!!

Thoroughly Modern Monsters coverhttp://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Monsters-J-Aldis/dp/194069910X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380634465&sr=1-2&keywords=thoroughly+modern+monsters

Do you have YOUR monsters yet?
Thoroughly Modern Monsters coverHere is the Amazon link for the print version!


Here is the Amazon link for the Kindle version!

I've ordered a bunch of print versions (hey, family, guess what you're gettin' for Christmas!), and I can't wait to read the whole collection!

It's been an emotional day, so I'm glad I have this to brighten it (or darken it, but in a GOOD way!).  Yahoo!!!

A Wildly Exciting Week!

The anthology including two of my short stories, THOROUGHLY MODERN MONSTERS, arrives in the world tomorrow!
http://www.storyspringpublishing.com/blog
I've given birth to two very different tales of monstrosity--can't wait to read the whole, glorious collection!

And THE GUARDSMAN, the play I've been rehearsing at A Noise Within in Pasadena, CA for the last few weeks finishes its preview run and opens officially on Saturday, and the website now offers just a few glimpses of its sumptuous splendor!
http://www.anoisewithin.org/play/the-guardsman/#top

Not sure I can stand all this happening at once...but I'll certainly try!!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

"Morrigan Mine" is MINE!

Today's sneak peek from Story Spring Publishing's just-about-to-be-published anthology, Thoroughly Modern Monsters, is one of mine!

Go, read, be intrigued....

http://www.storyspringpublishing.com/blog/thoroughlymodernmonsters-sneakpeek

I Am Amazingly Murderous!

I have two stories in the about-to-be-published THOROUGHLY MODERN MONSTERS at Story Spring Publishing and, if you give their little guessing game a shot, I'm not even sure how many bodies I have contributed to the great heap of corpses---but I've given Dexter and the Ripper a bit of a run for their money, I think!  Can't wait to read the whole collection, by some of my favorite LJ authors, carefully and lovingly edited by one of our very best, with another set of brilliant eyes taking a second, um, stab at cleaning up the horrifying little worlds created here, and all produced by the ever-brilliant minds behind Story Spring, who have enabled us all to dig deeply into our obviously troubled psyches and bring forward some monstrous visions indeed!

Come and play the quiz, then read the final results...and you tell ME how many deaths we have brought about, much less how many different monstrous creatures we have let loose on an unsuspecting world!

*laughing maniacally in Starbucks as I type this...*

On Stage in Pasadena (for my LA buds!)

I'm about to go into tech rehearsals at A Noise Within's spectacular new space in Pasadena for Ferenc Molnar's complicated, romantic, gloriously funny play THE GUARDSMAN.  If you happen to be in the LA area and want a grand night at the theatre, please join me (and tell me you're coming, so I can come out after and give you a hug!).

http://www.anoisewithin.org/play/the-guardsman/

(Note that next week, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, our first preview, is Pay-What-You-Can night, but you have to buy tix after 2pm that day at the theatre.)

I'll post pictures as soon as they're available.  I am having a BLAST!