Monday, June 27, 2011

Finals Tonight Against Steve B.

I play my finals match tonight at 7 against Steve Basham. It seems only fitting that we’re meeting for the Club One title. I’m the no. 1 seed and he’s no. 2. His only loss this season was to me in a tie-breaker. If my backhand is on, Steve will have his hands full. I feel rested and ready. I’m trying a couple of new serves to keep him off balance. We should get a pretty good crowd tonight…

Semi-Final Match with Harry

I played my semi-final match last Thursday against Harry V. and almost lost in the tie-breaker. Harry came out swinging and easily took the game one 9-15. He scored the first five points in-a-row. I missed a few shots early and forced a couple low-percentage overhead drives. He appeared unstoppable in the first game. Luckily, his backhand wasn’t as impenetrable as his forehand, and in the second game I settled down, focused on his backhand and tied the match 15-12. I jumped to an early lead in the tie-breaker 5-2, but Harry came back with some really nice serves, scoring five straight points and taking a 5-8 lead. I took a timeout and dug deep. My Uncle Chris and Alice were watching the match. Afterward, we planned to go to Zachery’s. I had no desire to eat Zachery’s pizza with a loss over my head, so after my timeout I went back into the court and scored six straight points, ending the match 11-8. I was exhausted and relieved. I’d never seen Harry play so well. I think he used up a lot of energy in that first game, as the fatigue factor played a role in the final few points of the match. Chris, Alice and I went to Zachery’s afterward and the pizza was fantastic!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Alice and I took Austin and his friend Alex to Crater Lake last weekend. Alice set up a bus tour for us. It wasn't what she was expecting, but we made the most of the whirlwind tour driving up 101 North to Oregon, and back down through Lake Shasta along I-5. I hope to see Crater Lake again and perhaps spend a night or two at the beautiful lodge overlooking the spectacular view.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chapter 6

I'm revising chapter 6. It's one of my least favorite chapters and I'm not exactly sure why. With so much music going on, it should be one of my favorites, but it's not. Something's missing. There are plenty of details and lots of action toward the end. Perhaps it simply isn't polished enough to hold my interest. Unlike some of the earlier chapters that have been revised to exhaustion, this chapter still feels a bit half-baked and rough. Melinda, Julia's standpartner, could be used more. Also, the atmosphere could be creepier. I'll have to dig a little deeper with this chapter and bring out what I hope will be a tight series of fast-moving scenes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I'd like to officially welcome my first two followers to Reel Writing, Leslie and D.U.O. You two were here at the begining, before the stadium noise, before the egomania and fame rage, before the name dropping and insufferable podium advice those livin' the dream love to give to the aspiring rest of us. After this blog I'm visiting your blogs if you have them and posting something momentarily meaningful.

Tonight I'm in Eureka on a 3-day bus tour Alice arranged because she wants to see Crater Lake. We hit the Oregon tourist site tomorrow. I've never been, but have heard it's worth the six-hour drive to get there. I brought seven chapters to read and revise. If I finish one chapter I'll be impressed.

I read Kirby Larson's blog tonight. Hattie Big Sky is on my list. I listened to two interviews she gave on UTube. She has a pleasant voice and engaging presence.

I don't think I need cable anymore. I never watch television, but I sure love U-verse. I like the idea of recording TV shows I never end up watching. If "Mad Men" were on this summer, I'd keep it no question.

Time for bed...

Friday, June 10, 2011

AA Playoffs

The seeds are set for the Summer 2011 Club One Singles League Finals. I'll play the winner of Harry and Gary, and Tyrone and Steve will battle each other for a spot in the finals. I predict Harry will overcome Gary, though Steve thinks Gary's been hot lately. Gary's tough to pin down so I didn't play him in the regular season. Harry can be dangerous, but makes a lot of mental errors and leaves the ball up too much. Gary is his own worst enemy. I should be able to beat either player and advance to the finals, though anything can happen in the semis. My game plan next weeek is to practice, practice, practice, think through my shots and play Tyrone in a ladder match on Friday (playing as if our Friday match were a semi-final match). I'll have a little more than a week to prepare. I want my 3peat!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Flying By...

I've broken down my manuscript into 70 scenes in a Word table. This will help visualize where I'm at in the latest revision. I'm reworking all the scenes with Julia and Grandma. There are approximately seven phone conversations total after Esther's death. As they currently stand, these conversations have no dramatic arc and feel emotionally stagnant. An agent who read the book offered some suggestions that I'll incorporate into these passages. Kubler-Ross's DABDA model is an effective tool to generate the kind of emotional variety I hope to achieve.

The days are flying by. I'd like to have my revisions complete by the end of July, but that may be pushing it. I haven't received Sam's line notes yet and am in no hurry. Many of the more mechanical lines and details throughout the story are given more refinement so they don't sound so clunky. Last week, Chris said it best: good writing disappears.

I have 200 pages left on my Richard Yates biography. I also downloaded Alexandra Styron's "Reading My Father' on my Kindle.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tristan's Graduation Party

I'm in Seattle for Tristan's graduation celebration. The party last night was very enjoyable. About 30 people were at Gwen's. I played some bridge and pinochle with Neal and his kids Ryan and Kara. That was a treat. Earlier in the day, I went over to Neal's for breakfast. I ended up staying there for six hours. We played a great game called Dominion. I really like this game!

Tristan brought a few of his friends over and it was really nice to have everyone share stories and celebrate his considerable accomplishments. I hope he thrives at Chapman.

This morning I read through chapter four. I won't make any substantial changes to any of the scenes; however, I can sure see bringing the smoothness of the writing up another level. The diary entries are good. Thank you, Anne Frank!

Match with T

I beat Tyrone 15-6, 15-8, setting up what should be an undefeated season going into the playoffs. T made a horrible call when it was 7-2 in the second game. He swung at a ball, then called a hinder after the play. He'll do things like that and insist he's right in calling such a play. I shouldn't engage in such behavior, even though those types of egregious calls really bother me.

I play Rod and Gary Thursday night and after that it's the playoffs. I'll have two weeks to prepare for my semi-final match, which will either be against Tyrone or Harry. I hope it's against T because we've faced each other twice in the finals and my slow, lob serve strategy is such that the match is probably a little boring to watch.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In the Fast Lane

Dad and I had dinner at Mezze last night. He’s in town for a few days helping out a new startup company by reviewing their risk analysis setups. He enjoys what he does and brings almost 40 years of experience into his assessments. I appreciate how analytical and meticulous he can be. I tend to lean that way as well. Our dinner was very good. I had salmon and he a steak. We meet again next Tuesday with Alice. Should be fun.

This morning I’m wrapping up my review of chapter 3 and looking over chapter 4. I’m wondering how much time I’ll have to hit the library and do more research. There are so many hidden treasures in the files of the Oakland History Room that I haven’t even opened. I don’t have a lot of time over the summer, so I’ll have to prioritize appropriately.

I’m outlining future talks I’ll give at schools and assisted living centers. I’ll visit both in the Bay Area. I have a general idea what I’d like to share, but as I write down ideas I can tell I’ll have way more material than I’ll possible fit in. The SCBWI presentations were wonderful models. They were so good. I’m sorry I’ll miss this year’s conference, but I’ll be there in 2012.

I have my league match with T tonight and I’ve done zero preparation for it. I don’t really deserve to win tonight, but I’ll bring what I have. He’s always tough.

I leave for Seattle tomorrow and will be there through Monday morning. This is a really busy time for me and the best thing to do is take things one hour at a time. Breathing also helps.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I'm revising chapter 3 today. There are two scenes I'll overhaul. I can probably condense Julia and Audrey's arrival at Audrey's house and the ice cream paragraphs by turning some of the unnecessary dialogue into a short narrative sentence. The opening scene with Julia and her grandma can use a tighter edit.

I'm also reading more Julia Morgan material. My two big sequences with Julia Morgan will include more details on Julia's gifts, especially in chapter 4. What I'd originally intended with early Chimes scenes are quite different from where the the book eventually ended. Some early details are no longer necessary.

My dad's in town this week, so we're going out to dinner tonight. I haven't seen him in a while. Should be a fun evening.