Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pepper in my Nose

I just put pepper in my nose.
Am I four? Am I drunk? No. I am auditioning to sneeze for a radio commercial. They want real sneezes.
Smelling pepper didn’t work. Sniffing it. . .nope. So I put some up my nose.
My nose burns. My eyes water. Yet I’ve only produced two useable sneezes.
Hmm. Can I copy and paste those two so it looks and sounds like more?
Supposedly this pays very well.

Yesterday I auditioned for a speaking role for the same commercial. So there is a chance I could get both parts and get paid twice.

Another insertion of pepper into one nostril. Then the other. More burning. More eye watering. No more sneezes. Not even close. Hmmm.
How long will my nose hurt?
The sacrifices I make for my art.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jerry Hadley

Jerry Hadley died yesterday, at 55. He'd shot himself in the head.

If you haven't heard of him, today's Los Angeles Times describes him as "one the most versatile and important U.S. opera singers." He sang at the Met and other major opera houses, made many CDs and won three Grammy Awards. He was gifted and acclaimed. Yet reports say he was filing for bankruptcy and was being treated for depression.

Why do I care? Because I've been a Jerry Hadley fan for years and have some of his CDs. His recording of Candide is one of my favorites.

Because in 2000, Jerry Hadley was Gatsby in the Lyric Opera's production of The Great Gatsby. And I was the waitress at his two parties. For several weeks, as a non-singing actor, I had the privilege of standing on stage within feet of him. I got to watch and hear him rehearse and give 9 performances. This was as amazing to me as it would be for an avid sports fan to dribble with Michael Jordan or toss a few with a Superbowl veteran.

I have always been in awe of the musically gifted. For many years I wished I were talented enough to make singing my career. I couldn't understand why incredibly gifted singers I'd met and heard had no interest in pursuing their gifts beyond a hobby.

So for me, just being permitted to stand with my tray of fake hors d' ouevres amidst so much talent was incredible. To get paid to be surrounded by and intermingle with such a high caliber of singers was icing on the cake.

Jerry was as nice and friendly as he could be. No star attitude. I remember these moments in particular:

1. Once during rehearsal, the director yelled at me. In front of the entire cast. Jerry made a point of coming over to me and soothing my nerves.
2. Jerry held a champagne glass that a waiter was supposed to take from him at a certain point. During one rehearsal, the waiter didn't remember. I happened to be standing nearby so I just went and got it. He thanked me, and asked the director if I could take the glass from now on. (No, the director wanted Gatsby to have a personal waiter.)
3.We were talking about his career and all he'd accomplished. Yet he said he was just grateful for the work. Even a talented, successful performer such as he didn't always know where his next gig or paycheck was coming from.

Of course I don't know the circumstances that led him down this sad path at such a young age. Maybe the burden of fading talent after reaching such heights is harder to bear than not having enough in the first place.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's in a Name Take 2

So I sent 10 new titles to my agent for my new book, in order of my preference. Unfortunately, she only liked the last one but not enough.
Back to the drawing board. Already have a brainstorming list of more than 50 possibilities...I like some of them a lot. Will she? Plan to ponder a few more days and then send another Top 10 list.

As to the pen name, no revelations on that front yet.

Attended the national Romance Writers of America conference in Dallas last week. Caught up with a bunch of friends and got 52 free books. Some days events began at 7:00AM and continued to the wee hours...1950 published (from household name famous to those who've just made their first sale) and unpublished authors from as far away as Australia and dozens of editors and agents. Lots of booksignings, more than 10 workshops every hour, meetings/networking, and fancy parties (many invitation only). And a booksigning with over 400 authors that raised almost $60,000 for literacy in TWO hours!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The End

How many movies and books have you read that had disappointing endings? You were caught up in the characters, engaged by the story until the very last minute, but weren't satisfied when the credits rolled or you closed the book.

As I neared completion of my 9th manuscript, I faced this problem. How best to resolve all that had gone before? When writing a romance, there are usually2 main characters: the hero and heroine. They have to end up together. The only question is how. My work in progress is not a romance. It has 5 main characters, each of whom deserve a satisfying conclusion. Three people seemed to work themselves out fairly easily, thanks to a brainstorming session with my sister. That left two. I knew where they would be in the final scene, what they would be doing. But not what they would say. Or what the final sentence would be.

Though usually don't have writer's block, for several days I stared at a blank page. The characters stared at each other because I had no words for them.

Then, this morning, inspiration struck. I knew exactly what I wanted to happen and what they needed to say.

I have now completed NINE manuscripts...