Saturday, November 25, 2006

Greetings from Fly Creek

Hi, all...

We're here. The Saint, the boys and I arrived in Fly Creek Wednesday night (Daughter was already here). We'd planned to do run the Thanksgiving traffic gauntlet on Thursday morning, mostly because everybody else is on the road on Wednesday.

But the weather forecast all along the Mass. Pike for Thursday morning was terrible. We piled into the van and drove Wednesday night.

Thursday: Dinner at my Mother's house for 28. The great Jim Atwell sat on one side of me, the Saint sat on the other. Too much good food to list here, but my mother's oysters once again proved God exists.

Last night, post dinner, the Saint and I had drinks, venison jerky and wasabi pickles with Lt. Ed Novak, his wife, and another couple, up on a hill in an area that makes Fly Creek seem like Manhattan. Tonight, in a little over an hour, actually, the six of us are joining another couple for dinner in Cooperstown.

I've been meaning to work on the manuscript all weekend, but I only managed a hundred words today. We've been doing things with the kids instead. Today we took Daughter to see Santa.

At the end of this post from last Christmas, I mentioned that Daughter is terrified of Santa. My mother took Daughter to see Santa earlier in the week. Daughter shook hands with the Big Dude, but didn't sit in his lap. Today, even with another Big Dude there to protect her, she wouldn't sit, either. But I did snap a decent picture with my cell phone camera.

Tomorrow, we rejoin the rat race back to Boston. The batteries aren't recharged yet, but we're close.


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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Three More Must-Reads

So, I'm over the 50,000 word barrier on the novel, and cruising. Actually, I had focus groups at work last night, so I'm dragging tonight. Plus, the Saint, Oldest Child (the newly-minted teenager) and Middle Child are out. I'm home with Daughter.

But that's not why I'm writing.

I mentioned my friend Seth Gitell in a recent post. Seth has three posts you need to read. One deals with food, but the two about politics are fabulous. Particularly the post about his relatives who served in the military. It's currently the third post down his blog.

Unfortunately, Anti-Semitism is alive and well in the United States. I won't talk about the abhorrence of the comment on Seth's blog. Seth more than defends himself.

I will say that I'm proud Seth is my friend. Take a look at that particular post. You'll see why.



Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Saint Returneth

The Saint is home. All is well. I didn't lose any of the kids.

Best Man and Godfather (a Republican well to the right of Attila the Hun) is giving me a hard time because I'm a former Democratic political consultant but I'm not gloating over our election results. I think he's having trouble with gracious winners.

I'm trying not to blog about politics up here because this is my writing blog. I'm trying to keep my writing career separate from the other work I do. Sorry, BMAG. This blog would be a lot more interesting if I unloaded once in a while. And I have. Once in a while.

But there's too much work to be done. I don't have time to gloat. Plus, the new House Speaker and new Senate Majority Leader said we shouldn't gloat. So I won't.

Right now, I'm just glad the Saint is home.


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Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's Hard to be a Saint in the City

Tomorrow, the Saint heads to New York for a weekend with her sisters. Instead of Weekend at Bernie's, this is Weekend in Brooklyn.

The Saint's sister is with child, you see. Very, very much with child. But the Saint's brother in law has to go back to Seattle because his sister is getting married, and he's in the wedding, which of course was planned long ago, before this whole baby thing happened. How do those baby things happen, anyway?

So the Saint is taking Amtrak to Penn Station tomorrow. The Saint's other sister is taking Amtrak up from Washington. Hopefully they'll meet in the middle of Penn Station, find their pregnant sister in the mob, and spend a weekend doing whatever three married sisters do without their husbands.

The good news: I get an entire weekend with Oldest Child (the newly minted teenager), Middle Child and Daughter. I have everything planned, and I'm also ready to toss the plans out the window.

On the playlist: Bruce, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., and Merle Haggard, with some Bob Seger thrown in. Not one song recorded after 1984 shall be heard at my house this weekend!

On the TV: Oldest Child has requested ample time for PS2. Middle Child has requested time to watch wrestling. Daughter has requested time for Hi-5.

I have requested football. But I'd rather hang with the kids, and when they're asleep, I'll write.

If the weather's crappy, they can watch what they want, and I'll referee. If it's nice outside, the park beckons.

I've promised the Saint that we won't order out for every meal (have I mentioned that my mother reads this blog?), but I need to be flexible. I have Sunday Dinner planned already, and I'm making that myself, so technically, I'll honor my promise even if we order out tomorrow and Saturday. Which is not a bad idea, now that I've hung it out there.

And my novel continues to... percolate. Or a better analogy: It's like bourbon in the barrel, absorbing the sugars from the oak, aging, mellowing... letting the story condense and come together.

This weekend will be strange. I'll miss the Saint, but I'll have a great time with the kids, and I'll be able to put a ton of words onto the hard drive.

Happy Weekend. It's almost upon us.


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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Citizen Soldiers

I've known Seth Gitell for more than eight years. We met when I was representing politicians at a PR firm and Seth was a Washington-based political reporter for the Forward, a Jewish weekly in New York. Seth, who went to Harvard, then NYU Law School, came back to Boston to work with the Boston Phoenix as I was starting my own consulting business. One of the best political reporters in New England, he eventually crossed over to the dark side-- my side of the fence-- when he became press secretary for Boston Mayor Tom Menino.

Seth and I have been known to sit for long lunches together at some of the best spots in Boston. Over the years, we've become good friends.

Seth recently left the Mayor's Office to start writing again. He has a first-rate political mind and though he's a terrific reporter and writer, I'm a little sad that he's neutral again. It was a lot of fun to have him in our camp for three years.

Among Seth's current efforts, he's contributing to the New York Sun. This week's column on Ivy League-educated soldiers is spectacular. His political analysis and his writing skills are on full display here.

Pop over there and give it a read. It's well worth your time.



Sunday, November 05, 2006

Violence in Fiction

I wrote a particularly brutal scene this evening. I've cranked out some violent stuff in this manuscript, and a lot of the earlier scenes are gorier than this one.

This one was... well choreographed.

To make the passage believable, I had to map it in my head. Which meant I needed to rehearse it a little. I think it worked.

My goal for today's session was a thousand words. I wrote 2,000.

I'm still behind schedule, but I made up a chunk of time with that. Maybe I'll move it along with another violent scene.

I hope your writing is moving along, too.