Monday, December 31, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good Morning, Joe. Ready for the new year?
JOE: I guess so. I plan to spend today organizing things so I can find them next year rather than tripping over them and having to search for them when I need them.
CALLIOPE: A noble aspiration. Do you plan to do your whole house?
JOE: That would be a bit much for me all at once. I think I will start with my writing room and do another perhaps once a week or so.
CALLIOPE: Sounds manageable. What did you do yesterday?
JOE: I had planned to work on marketing but ended up going to Unity Church in Rochester and having my grandson over to make cookies and watch him play video games.
CALLIOPE: Did you learn anything at Church?
JOE: Steve DeNunzio gave the lesson. He talked about context, stewardship and living in the now. All three topics were good reminders for me. I tend to spin my wheels sometimes.
CALLIOPE: How do his thoughts apply to your writing?
JOE: Sometimes I have to stop to think why I write or why anyone writes. Yesterday was a chance to consider these topics.
CALLIOPE: Why do you write?
JOE: To help people consider their lives. I do this with fiction as well as nonfiction. I thought I should make it part of the introduction to my writing so readers know what to expect and don't waste their time just looking to be entertained.
CALLIOPE: Noble of you. Do you think it is worth making an issue of it?
JOE: Yes. That's who I am. If people read my writing I want them to know they can expect to be invited to look at the human condition and their own lives in the process.
CALLIOPE: I will be interested to see how that works out.
JOE: So will I. On to cleaning and organizing.

(Nineteenth Century Church- Genesee Country Village)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning.
JOE: A tad impatient. I have been waiting for a while for my permissions for The Pastor's Inferno so I can get on with publishing it. So far no word.
CALLIOPE: Do you think it has to do with the time of year?
JOE: I think so. Not much seems to be getting done in publishing or with my Medicare health insurance which I am trying to finalize.
CALLIOPE: So what are you doing in the meantime?
JOE: Forging ahead with other work. Yesterday I got back to work on Marital Property. I realized I was a couple chapters ahead of where I should be and returned to fill in the missing chapters.
CALLIOPE: How did that happen?
JOE: I think I was trying to do too many things at once. I have been reviewing Young Man of the Cloth for revisions and formatting so I can publish it as soon as I get finished with The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: Anything else going on?
JOE: I've been working a little on reading about marketing. I found quite a bit of information and am busy digesting it.
CALLIOPE: What plans do you have for the weekend?
JOE: Today I plan to work first on one of the chapters I overlooked. Then I plan to do a little editing on Young Man of the Cloth and then I will work some more on marketing ideas.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a full plate.
JOE: It is. I'd better get going before the day wastes away.

(Herb and spice market- Vigo, Spain)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Getting back into my routine.
CALLIOPE: What did you do yesterday?
JOE: I started with some work preparing Young Man of the Cloth for the second edition.
CALLIOPE: You haven't talked about that book in a while. What brings it to the forefront?
JOE: Two things. I think I could do better in sales through Booklocker than by myself since I don't have access to credit card processing at my web site.
CALLIOPE: And the other consideration?
JOE: I also think it helps with my platform for The Pastor's Inferno since it chronicles my history in the seminary and monastery.
CALLIOPE: How do you think that helps?
JOE: It gives credence to my novel since I have experienced the same seminary training my protagonist did and gives readers a real insight into seminary training and life.
CALLIOPE: I agree. When will you post it for sale?
JOE: I plan to send it in right after The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: How's that coming?
JOE: I'm still waiting for the permissions from Norton. I sent them an email yesterday asking for an update but have not heard back yet. I guess it's a slow time of year.
CALLIOPE: For everyone except you apparently.
JOE: I guess you're right. I had better bet back to work while I have the momentum.
(Charlotte railroad bridge- Rochester, NY)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Fine. I attended the last of the Christmas parties last night and am ready to get on with the new year.
CALLIOPE: Did you get any writing done yesterday?
JOE: Yes. I did a chapter of Cynthia working on her homework list for the therapist.
CALLIOPE: What about today?
JO: This morning I plan to continue working on marketing and this afternoon another chapter, probably a therapy session.
CALLIOPE: That should be easy for you.
JOE: I expect so. But sometimes I find that scenes which are quite familiar in my own life are not so easy to write in fiction.
CALLIOPE: Why do you suppose that is?
JOE: I think my memory starts competing with my imagination and it is hard to focus on one without the other.
CALLIOPE: Interesting. How do you handle that?
JOE: I try not to worry about it and just write the best I can. I will sort out any conflicts later in my editing.
CALLIOPE: Sounds wise.
JOE: You have taught me something over the years. Well, off to work.

(St Michael's Cave- Gibraltar)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon, Joe. I thought I would hear from you before now.
JOE: I tried sending you a post this morning. Just as I uploaded it, I got an error message and the whole post disappeared. I was not in the mood to try it again right away.
CALLIOPE: Frustrating. I would have been miffed too. How was your Christmas.
JOE: Very nice. I visited everyone who needed to be visited and enjoyed spending time with everyone.
CALLIOPE: Did you get a chance to do any writing.
JOE: As a matter of fact, I did write a family dinner chapter for Marital Property on Christmas Eve. I didn't think I would have time but did not want to go too long without writing.
CALLIOPE: Any word on The Pastor's Inferno?
JOE: No. I am still waiting for permission to use quotes from Norton. Maybe I will contact them tomorrow to see how it's coming.
CALLIOPE:What did you do today?
JOE: I have been working on research to find out more about internet book marketing.
CALLIOPE: Find anything interesting?
JOE: A lot of leads but they will need to be followed up.
CALLIOPE: Do you plan to write today?
JOE: I have a little time now and will at least start my next chapter, Cynthia's homework for her therapist. I had better get going before the sun goes down.

(Fishing boats- Cascais, Portugal)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. I thought you had left early for your cruise.
JOE: I'm waiting for February for that.
CALLIOPE: Where have you been?
JOE: I have been most of my efforts into writing and publishing lately. I had to take some time out to prepare for Christmas.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: Wrapping and sending presents, attending the Rochester Philharmonic Christmas Pops Concert and dining with friends, as well as baking and visiting people and, less interesting, finalizing my Medicare coverage which starts in a few days.
CALLIOPE: Do you have all that out of your system now?
JOE: Not quite. I have family gatherings tonight and tomorrow.
CALLIOPE: What about the rest of today?
JOE: You will be glad to know that my next matter of attention when I finish here is to do some writing in Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: Glad to hear that. I thought it was on the shelf.
JOE: God forbid. I hated to take time off, but I could not find a way to delay Christmas. I'm not quit that fanatical to have to write every day and people be damned.
CALLIOPE:I guess it's good you are keeping some perspective. Better get back to work before the parties start again.
JOE: Agreed. I'm on it.

(Cognac still- Tio Pepe- Herez, Spain)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Good. I have already been busy.
CALLIOPE: Doing what?
JOE: I started working on preparing my earlier book, Young Man of the Cloth for publication with some revisions.
CALLIOPE: What prompted that?
JOE: I wrote it partly for myself and partly as a lead-in to The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: You didn't experience any sexual abuse in the seminary, did you?
JOE: No. But since I had experience as a seminarian, I thought it fit in as a way to demonstrate my understanding of what it was like in writing The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: That makes sense. Did you learn anything this morning?
JOE: Yes. I learned to appreciate how far I have come in preparing for publication, especially in formatting. I also prepared a table of contents which formerly eluded and frustrated me.
CALLIOPE: See what happens with practice?
JOE: I do. Now on to today's activities.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: I am pretty busy with psychology today. I have an evaluation, one regular session and a board meeting to attend today. I would also like to get in some exercise.
CALLIOPE: What about writing?
JOE: I am hoping to have some time. I am in the middle of a chapter right now.
CALLIOPE: Do you think it is a good idea to end your day's writing in the middle of a chapter?
JOE: I do. I find it harder to start on a new section. If I leave off in the middle of a chapter, it is easier to pick up my train of thought and continue without a lot of deliberation. Well, on with the day's activities.

(Waiting for the train- London)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Ready to get to work.
CALLIOPE: What's on your agenda today?
JOE: I will be off to Tonawanda shortly to do some police candidate evaluations which I do periodically. I probably won't be back until about noon. I hope to go to the Y for a workout and then work on Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: What about The Pastor's Inferno?
JOE: Glad you asked. Yesterday I completed a final review of the manuscript. I also sent a post to the Library of Congress and learned I was registered to apply for a Library of Congress number for The Pastor's Inferno. I was registered in 2004 and didn't realize my registration was still good.
CALLIOPE: So did you apply for it?
JOE: Not only that. I had my number in hand an hour lately. This is the fastest I have ever seen a government agency do anything.
CALLIOPE: What about the quote permissions?
JOE: I was just about to call Norton for an update when I received an email requesting clarification of my request. At least I know an actual human is working on it. As soon as I get it, I will send in the manuscript.
CALLIOPE: Did you get any writing done on Marital Property?
JOE: I finished the chapter I was working on and started the next one. I think the manuscript is coming along well. Time to head for Tonawanda.
(Book signing at Liftbridge Books, Brockport, NY)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Fine. I was just working on setting up Pagemaker for The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: How is that going?
JOE: I got the page set up fine but am having trouble with the directions for formatting headers and footers as well as the gutter.
CALLIOPE: Sounds frustrating.
JOE: Maybe it's too early in the morning for such fiddling.
CALLIOPE: How did yesterday go?
JOE: Quite well. I did some editing of The Pastor's Inferno and am getting toward the end. I sent an email to the Library of Congress about my LCCN since they did not reply to my request from the end of November. I also finished the chapter I was working on in Marital Property. I also wrote my Christmas column and baked some cookies.
CALLIOPE: Can I see the column?
JOE: I would be happy to show it to you but can't until Saturday when it is published. First serial rights, you know.
CALLIOPE: I understand. I will be looking forward to it. What's on the docket for today.
JOE: Other than beef barley soup for tonight, I will be following my usual routine of editing in the morning and writing in the afternoon.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you have the day planned.
JOE: I do and I am ready to get at it.
Calliope: Don't let me hold you back.
Joe: Okay, I'm at it.

(Main Street bench- Batavia, NY)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe, What's new today?
JOE: Not much new. Just a lot of unfinished business.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: Well, there's the novel I'm writing, the one I'm working on getting published and getting together Christmas presents.
CALLIOPE: Let's start with Marital Property.
JOE: On Saturday I had planned to at least finish the current chapter I'm working on but didn't get to it. It's in my plan for today.
CALLIOPE: Okay, how about The Pastor's Inferno?
JOE: The final edit is coming along well. I am currently debating whether to submit it as a Word or Pagemaker document. Booklocker seems to prefer Word but I think the layout and spacing is better with Pagemaker. My current inclination is to submit it in Pagemaker converted to PDF.
CALLIOPE: You're getting pretty technical.
JOE: When you hang around long enough you learn all sorts of things.
CALLIOPE: Is that all you have in the works?
JOE: I am still waiting for permission from Norton to use the quotes at the beginning of my chapters. Maybe I will call them and see how its coming. I also requested a Library of Congress number a while ago (LCCN) but have not heard from them. I should contact them as well for an update. Then of course are Christmas presents. I have some things gathered but am in the midst of baking cookies as well.
CALLIPE: You sound like you have your hands full. I had better let you get back to work.
JOE: Good idea. Talk with you later.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. What are you up to this morning?
JOE: With some sense of guilt, I have decided to take off a day from writing.
CALLIOPE: Why the day off?
JOE: I have some Christmas gifts and baking to work on, especially for a party Carol and I are having tonight.
CALLIOPE: Okay. Why the guilt?
JOE: I am afraid I will lose momentum. I have been keeping up a steady pace all week.
CALLIOPE: What did you do yesterday?
JOE: I continued working on my fine tooth come final edit for The Pastor's Inferno. I also wrote most of the next chapter for Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: Not finished?
JOE: No. It was about Dennis and Cynthia at the counselor for the first time. It took some thought as well as writing and did not go as fast as I had hoped. However I think this is a pivotal chapter and I wanted to get it right.
CALLIOPE: Are you happy with it?
JOE: So far. Maybe I will try to finish it later today if I have time.
CALLIOPE: Maybe that will assuage your guilt. Any word about permissions for your quotes?
JOE: Not yet. I am a little anxious to have them in hand, but then I might rush the final edit. I guess there is a purpose for everything.
(My grandson Joey making Russian Tea Cakes)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How goes it this morning.
JOE: Pretty good. I read the newspaper, have had breakfast and did a crossword puzzle. I think my mind is coming to life.
CALLIOPE: Good. Tell me about yesterday.
JOE: I worked on the final edit for The Pastor's Inferno, got some exercise and wrote another chapter of Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you are keeping busy. What chapter did you write?
JOE: It was some action following the morning argument, with Dennis tracking down a marriage counselor and discussing it with Cynthia.
CALLIOPE: How did that go?
JOE: I think pretty good. They are both frustrated enough to try about anything. Their lack of ability to communicate is becoming more evident even to them.
CALLIOPE: Did you plan to have them seek counseling?
JOE: Not really. I knew it was a possibility but I let them decide for themselves. Sometimes people are surprised when I talk about letting my characters decide what to do.
CALLIOPE: I don't see why. Trying to force them to act a certain way just makes them more difficult to write about. Sometimes they will just stonewall you and refuse to do anything.
JOE: I'm aware of that, especially with these two headstrong characters. They are going to do what they want to do or nothing at all. I guess I better see what they are up to today.
(Joey and Greg on the bulldozer)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Having my coffee while we converse and ready for another day.
CALLIOPE: How did yesterday go?
JOE: Better than expected. I worked on proofing The Pastor's Inferno in the morning, did my errands in Rochester mid-day and wrote another chapter of Marital Property in the afternoon.
CALLIOPE: Sounds pretty productive.
JOE: It was. I wasn't sure I would get it all done but I did.
CALLIOPE: What did you write about yesterday?
JOE: Dennis and Cynthia had an argument about sex, the one part of their relationship that seemed to be going fairly well.
CALLIOPE: What prompted that?
JOE: The story was going along too smoothly. It is about marital conflict and they were getting a little too chummy.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like the story needed a few sparks.
JOE: I thought so. Now there is more grist for the mill.
CALLIOPE: So what's up today?
JOE: About the same as yesterday: editing in the morning, the Y at noon and writing in the afternoon. I will also attend my last Chamber of Commerce meeting tonight.
JOE: I have retired pretty much from my psychology practice and will not need my chamber membership next year since it will not help with my insurance costs once I switch to Medicare. Another chapter in my life completed.
(Sunset at Sea-St. Lucia)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How did the dinner go last night?
JOE: Both the bread and soup were very well received. I was relieved.
JOE: Last week I couldn't bake to save my life. On Thursday I burned a loaf of bread, in an automatic bread machine no less. On Saturday, my cranberry bread was a flop literally, only two inches high. My attempt at Russian tea cakes yielded a baking pan with one big flat cookie. I must admit the crumbles were good on ice cream, but not what I intended.
CALLIOPE: To what do you attribute the difficulty?
JOE: I think I was so absorbed in the process of getting signed up with Booklocker that I was good for nothing in the kitchen. It's the first time I can remember being good only for writing. I guess there are times when my passion overtakes me. I spent most of yesterday working on various publishing and writing tasks.
CALLIOPE: Did you do any work on Marital Property?
JOE: Cynthia woke up and spent a whole chapter in bed thinking about developments in her marriage.
CALLIOPE: And today?
JOE: I plan to work on a final edit of The Pastor's Inferno this morning. I have to go to Rochester on a couple of errands a little later. I am hoping to be back this afternoon to write another chapter of Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a plan.
JOE: I'm excited about it and ready to get going.

(The attic)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon, Joe. What have you been up to all day?
JOE: Carol and I are entertaining tonight. I volunteered to make beef barley soup and cracked wheat bread. I have been busy with these creations. I also had to renew some prescriptions.
CALLIOPE: Any work on your writing?
JOE: I designed the cover for The Pastor's Inferno. I don't have the specs yet and will have to wait until I have my interior copy ready so I can determine the width of the spine.
CALLIOPE: Sounds complicated.
JOE: It is a little but I have been through it twice before with my other books. It's not as difficult now as it first seemed.
CALLIOPE: What about actual writing?
JOE: Yesterday I did some work finalizing the copy for The Pastor's Inferno but am not finished. Later in the afternoon I wrote another chapter of Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: Is it hard to switch back and forth?
JOE: It probably would be if I were trying to write both at the same time. But it's not so difficult to switch from editing one book to writing another.
CALLIOPE: The day is waning. Do you plan to do any writing today.
JOE: I have just enough time for a chapter of Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: You had better get to it.
JOE: That's where I'm headed.

(Alley's Store- Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good Morning Joe. What have you been up to.
JOE: Yesterday I participated in an Author Extravaganza at Lift Bridge Bookstore in Brockport. Fortunately, I did not have unrealistic expectations about selling vast amounts of books.
CALLIOPE: What did you accomplish?
JOE: I met some new authors and some I knew before and had a chance to talk a little about publishing. I also read a selection from my book, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life.
CALLIOPE: You seem to be running a little late this morning. What have you been doing?
JOE: I called Norton to make sure they held the copyright to passages I want to quote from the Signet verson of Dante's Inferno. They do. I have also been formatting my book for submission to Booklocker. I think the biggest holdup might be permission for the quotes which Norton's website states will be up to six weeks.
CALLIOPE: So you should have it ready for submission by the time you receive the permissions.
JOE: I should.
CALLIOPE: So what about Marital Property?
JOE: Now that I have things figured out for submission of The Pastor's Inferno, my plan is to work on The Pastor's Inferno in the morning and then on Marital Property in the afternoon.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good plan.
JOE: Glad you approve. I better get back to work.
(The Ernestina- New Bedford MA)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good day, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: I guess I will let that slide. It's still the noon hour. What's up?
JOE: I signed a contract with Booklocker for my novel, The Pastor's Inferno. I read through everything and think it is for the best.
CALLIOPE: No more pursuing traditional publishing?
JOE: Not for now anyway. I felt like I was spinning my wheels for quite a while with very little hope on the horizon.
CALLIOPE: What about marketing?
JOE: Therein lies the rub. It will be a big challenge for me but I found quite a bit of information on the Booklocker website regarding internet marketing. I have quite a bit of other information collected as well.
CALLIOPE: Do you think it will work?
JOE: I don't know. But Steven Covey was famous for saying, "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."
CALLIOPE: Good point. So now what?
JOE: I am working on permissions for the quotes I included in the book. Then I will have to format the manuscript for submission.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like another challenge.
JOE: Maybe so, but I think it's more manageable than searching the highways and byways for an agent.

(Traffic light- City Island, New York)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon, Joe. Where have you been all day?
JOE: Getting refocused. Yesterday I finally sent out an agent query I had been working on for some time. Within fifteen minutes I had a rejection.
CALLIOPE: So what did you conclude from that?
JOE: That I am wasting my time with traditional publishing. I worked hard to craft good query letters and took pains to carefully choose and research the agents I approached. Yet not a glimmer of interest from any of them.
CALLIOPE: You sound miffed.
JOE: I am a little. It leaves me wondering what I need to do to get access to the traditional publishing world. I have been speculating that I either need to be famous or have a personal recommendation from someone an agent trusts. Another possibility is that the topic of The Pastor's Inferno is too emotionally charged for them to risk.
CALLIOPE: Have any of them given you any indication why they would not look at your work?
JOE: Not one. It would be nice to know what the reason is and then I could address it. But no dice.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I have decided to further explore print on demand and am looking at a couple POD publishers. I spent the rest of yesterday and today researching them.
CALLIOPE: So no writing yesterday?
JOE: No. I was a bit obsessed with the publishing concerns. I don't know if I will get back to writing today, but I am ready to write the next chapter and will do so tomorrow if I don't get to it today.

(Rocky Mountains- Colorado)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. Glad to see you're up and at 'em early.
JOE: I have been busy. I finished cataloging my photos so I can decide which ones to offer for sale.
CALLIOPE: What about yesterday?
JOE: I worked on the photos and finished another chapter in Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: What was the chapter about?
JOE: Dennis and Cynthia went out for coffee and dessert at a fancy restaurant and for the first time talked about their marriage and what to do about it.
CALLIOPE: Did they resolve anything?
JOE: Of course not. If they did the book would have to end there. But they did decide to get some help with deciding whether to continue their marriage.
CALLIOPE: Good. A new development. What's on the docket for today?
JOE: Exploring ways for them to get help. I also have bread to bake for tonight and some running around to do. I am getting a little low on ink and need to print some more Christmas brochures.
CALLIOPE: What's the bread for?
JOE: Carol and I are going to bring salad and bread to her niece's house to eat before we go to a concert by Bonerama- a group of trombones we missed at the Rochester Jazz Festival last July.
CALLIOPE: Have fun. A little music might inspire you.
JOE: I hope so. I have been listening to light classical music as I work at the computer and think it has made me a little more prolific and focused.
(Aquinnah Lighthouse-Martha's Vineyard)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. What's up today?
JOE: My brain was feeling a little fuzzy this morning. I spent some lazy time with the paper, tried coffee and finally had to resort to a crossword puzzle and a sudoku.
CALLIOPE: Did that wake you up?
JOE: Yes. I think I am finally ready for the day.
CALLIOPE: What did you accomplish yesterday.
JOE: I don't think I told you about my trip to the WC Handyside Art Store in Wyoming. I have two books for sale there on consignment and took some of my Christmas booklets down last week for them to sell. I got to talking with the owner, Diane, and she said she might have a market for some of my digital photos. To make a long story a little longer, I was working on selecting some photos to take to her yesterday. I also wrote my column on life's mysteries and sent it in this morning.
CALLIOPE: I see. Any progress with the novel?
JOE: Yes. I wrote another chapter, this one about the two children having dinner with their father while their mother was still not back home from her visit with her sister in Scituate.
CALLIOPE: You are keeping up a pretty good pace. Do you have a writing goal for today?
JOE: I would like to complete the next chapter which will consist of an awkward conversation between the parents on what to do about their relationship.
CALLIOPE: Do you expect them to come to any conclusion?
JOE: No. Not right away. I want to point out their differences in looking at their problems and how it inhibits their finding a way to approach them.
CALLIOPE: Where is that headed?
JOE: Sooner or later, I think one or both of them will get less stubborn and they will find a way to start talking.
CALLIOPE: How do you expect that to happen?
JOE: That's their problem. I will just keep writing and follow the story. You might want to plant a few hints in their minds.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon, Joe. I was wondering if you would show up today.
JOE: I had full intentions of getting here. I started by shoveling some snow this morning. Then I had to cancel my writers' meeting tonight in light of iffy weather. I also finished my column for Saturday. Now here I am.
CALLIOPE: Better late than never. What about your writing yesterday?
JOE: I finished the chapter between Dennis and his attorney, essentially a business meeting about the business of divorce, befitting both of their personalities.
CALLIOPE: So he is finished with New Bedford and on the way back to Martha's Vineyard?
JOE: He is.
CALLIOPE: What's next?
JOE: I think it's time for a family meeting where everyone can share their points of view and concerns.
CALLIOPE: What do you expect that to accomplish?
JOE: Nothing definite, I want to use it to show how the different personalities each create different perceptions. No one can resolve the issues on their own. They must find a way to bridge their differences.
CALLIOPE: How do you expect that to happen.
JOE: Maneat videri as we used to say in Latin. It remains to be seen. I was hoping you might have some ideas and let me know through my characters.
CALLIOPE: Kind of you to ask. I'll get to work on it and see what I can come up with.
JOE: Good. I'll get to work on the next chapter.

(Hy-Line Ferry)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. What's new?
JOE: First, what's old. On Saturday, I somehow added my ISP homepage to my restricted sites. I fiddled with it and finally got it restored this morning. So I was back where I started.
CALLIOPE: The joys of technology. What about the book?
JOE: I finished the chapter between Cynthia and her sister in Scituate. I also prepared background information for Dennis's meeting with his attorney, although I might need to look up a few more things about the process of divorce in Massechusetts.
CALLIOPE: Is he going to file for divorce?
JOE: I don't really know. I haven't written that far yet. I don't think he is quite at that point but as you know characters tend to tell their own story, perhaps with a little help from you.
CALLIOPE: I do know. I was just wondering if you did.
JOE: I learned that a while ago. There is no point in trying to make characters do anything. The story just grinds to a halt or becomes untenable in some other way.
CALLIOPE: Respect the will of your characters. Anything new on the publishing front?
JOE: Not really. I tell anyone who is willing to listen that I am in search of an agent. I guess it never hurts. I have not heard from either of my contacts. I think I might have a phone number for my publishing friend. I might call him if I can find it and work up the nerve.
CALLIOPE: What's the alternative?
JOE: Keep working on agents on my own and try to be more specific as well as creative in my query letters.
CALLIOPE: Any other possibilities.
JOE: One. I will be at the author extravaganza at Lift Bridge Books in Brockport next Sunday afternoon. There will be a bunch of other authors present and I will seek out their advice and possibly contact information.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you have a plan for this week.
JOE: I do. I also have a column to write on Life's Mysteries. I tried working on it yesterday but it is harder than I thought. Time to get to work.

(Vineyard Haven Harbor- Martha's Vineyard)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. You're up early this morning.
JOE: Don't be sly. You know you woke me up at three this morning.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: When I woke up at that hour, my mind was filled with images for my novel as well as for my column on life's mysteries. More images seemed to be fighting to get into my mind.
CALLIOPE: I thought you were struggling a bit lately to find ideas so I decided you needed a new supply. What do you think we muses do all night?
JOE: I appreciate it but I was a little surprised. What made you realize I needed some help.
CALLIOPE: Watching you struggle to write your current chapter of Marital Property. I saw the research you did on the fast ferry to Hyannis and your description of Cynthia getting across Nantucket Sound only to realize that she wasn't headed for Hyannis and that the sister she planned to visit lived in Scituate even though you did research on Scituate earlier that day. You seemed to be working so hard you confused yourself.
JOE: I'm glad someone noticed. It's hard for anyone to know what happens in my mind sitting here at the computer.
CALLIOPE: In the past, you have sometimes written longhand. Maybe that would be a good idea once in a while to give you a change of pace and get away from the pressure you put on yourself.
JOE: I tink you are right. I will try to pay more attention to my level of stress. I don't feel any this morning and couldn't wait to discuss last night with you.
CALLIOPE: You couldn't?
JOE: A figure of speech. Obviously I didn't bound out of bed in the middle of the night to talk with you although it did occur to me.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad you did this morning. Do you think you have all the ideas still in your head.
JOE: Most of them. I was a bit lazy and should have at least taken some notes last night.
CALLIOPE: You might want to try it next time.
JOE: I might indeed.

(Mill Wharf Restaurant- Scituate, MA)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good Afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: I noticed. Where have you been all day?
JOE: Don't get in a dander. I have other obligations as well. I had an early morning meeting, then I got to work on some research for the book, talked with Royal Caribbean about our cruise in February, and updated my writing group about next Tuesday's meeting. (Gasp) I went to the Y for a workout and swim, delivered some Christmas brochures to the Arts Council for them to sell on consignment, had lunch, did some more research, prepared dinner and here I am.
CALLIOPE: Well at least you weren't loafing. What's for dinner?
JOE: Shrimp stir fry with leeks, mushrooms and green pepper over brown rice and a crab cake with a side of carrot and raisin salad.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good. What's new on the writing front?
JOE: I didn't hear from either of the people I was waiting to have contact me so I think I will proceed with agents again on my own. I did find a few resources on finding agents I might explore a little more as well.
CALLIOPE: How about Marital Property?
JOE: This morning I worked on settings such as the meeting place and restaurant in New Bedford where the husband and his friend meet and the restaurant in Scituate where the wife and her younger sister meet.
CALLIOPE: Have you actually been to these places?
JOE: Yes but it has been a while and my memory gets a little rusty at times. I found some pictures which will help with more realistic settings.
CALLIOPE: And this afternoon?
JOE: I worked on personality characteristics and interaction patterns for Cynthia (wife) and Nancy (sister.) Now I am ready to proceed.
CALLIOPE: Do you have any time to do any actual writing this afternoon?
JOE: A little. At least I can get started on it while I have the chance.
CALLIOPE: Okay, better get to it while the sun shines (sort of.)
JOE: Righto. Talk with you later.
(Sunset at Scituate, Harbor at New Bedford)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. Glad to have you back. What's new this morning?
JOE: Not much. I spent yesterday after being reattached to the internet catching up on e-mail and other sundries. I also wrote a little more of the chapter I was working on in Marital Property about the husband's conversation with his best friend.
CALLIOPE: How's that going?
JOE: Pretty good. I spent some time working on personality patterns for each of the two characters and their interaction on a theoretical level. It helped when it came time to write the dialogue.
CALLIOPE: How does it help?
JOE: I think it makes the characters more alive and well defined as opposed to all sounding the same.
CALLIOPE: That's good. You don't want to bore people. What's on the docket for today?
JOE: I plan to finish the chapter I'm working on. I have been thinking about publishing lately. I tend to get frustrated with the process of traditional publishing and wonder if I will ever attract an agent much less a publisher. For now I'll keep trying. If I can, I would rather not go the route of self publishing again, partly due to my finances and partly due to wanting to keep my efforts directed toward my writing rather than having to take on the whole other worlds of marketing and publicity by myself. But it may come to that anyway.
CALLIOPE: I guess you never know. It's sort of like a lottery. Keep at it a while and see what happens.
JOE: I will for now. I guess it is a challenge to my creativity to come up with an irresistable query letter.
CALLIOPE: Have you done your homework on that?
JOE: Yes. I have read plenty and tried to use what I have read. But so far no success. I will keep at it for a while longer. See you later.

(Metal sculpture- Polar Bears- Peter Langen)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon, Joe. I thought you had abandoned me.
JOE: Perish the thought. My internet connection suddenly died on Sunday afternoon and I lost contact with the electronic world, phone included. But I have not forgotten you.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad. Did you get any writing done in the meantime?
JOE: Yes. I was able to complete two and a half chapters of Martal Property during the cyber-hiatus.
CALLIOPE: At least you didn't sit around twiddling your thumbs. Any other adventures.
JOE: I developed new business cards for my writing and psychology practice which I will limit to marriage counseling and chemical dependency evaluations from now on. I also completed a brochure on my private practice activities.
CALLIOPE: You have been busy. Any word on the publishing front?
JOE: No. I am still waiting to hear from my publisher friend and movie producer. If I don't hear from either of them by the end of the week I will proceed with my efforts to find an agent on my own at least until I tire of it.
CALLIOPE: Then what?
JOE: I will again consider self publishing. I guess I would rather not resort to that but I may have to. That's about it for now.

(Spiral staircase at Charlotte Lighthouse- Rochester, NY)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you yesterday.
JOE: It was quite hectic. On Monday I wandered around Rochester with my brother from Hawaii. In the course of our hegira, I bought a new printer and set it up yesterday morning. At first it would shoot out three pages, eat one and spit it out and print nothing. After two hours on the phone with someone who seemed to be living in India (He wasn't sure how to spell "street,) I was as far as it printing out a jumble of colors, none of which were intended. I ended up exchanging it for one that works.
CALLIOPE: And then?
JOE: My goal yesterday was to write a Thanksgiving column on gratitude. It took me quite a while to get back into the gratitude mood which initially motivated me.
CALLIOPE: So you finally got it done?
JOE: I did, but that was about all.
CALLIOPE: I see. What about today?
JOE: I plan to work on my Christmas booklet this morning and see if I can get it to a draft stage. This afternoon, I will work on the novel.
CALLIOPE: At least you have a plan.
JOE: I do. And I better get going on it before I run out of day again.
CALLIOPE: Have a nice Thanksgiving.
JOE: I will and thanks for being you.
(Sculpture at Charlotte Beach-Rochester, NY)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: Pretty good. I had planned to finish the chapter I was working on Saturday but got involved again in the agent search.
CALLIOPE: How did that go?
JOE: I confirmed my sense about one agent and sent my publisher friend a post about him asking if he knew him and would recommend me to him. I haven't heard from him yet.
CALLIOPE: So what about the writing?
JOE: I didn't get to it. I also had to bake a loaf of bread for my life partner's aunt. I also worked on a Christmas booklet I am developing as gifts and possibly for sale. However I did get to the chapter on Sunday and was able to finish it longhand since I was not near my computer.
CALLIOPE: Have you written your material longhand before?
JOE: I did a while ago. I wrote one whole book longhand and then transposed it to the computer.
CALLIOPE: What was that like?
JOE: I try to just concentrate on the story now and am saving the editing for later. When I write longhand, it is difficult not to edit while I am transposing it. It distracts me somewhat from the story.
CALLIOPE: That is a consideration. How about today?
JOE: My brother is in town from Hawaii and I plan to spend the afternoon and evening with him. I jut got back from breakfast with my daughter. I guess I won't have much time today for writing. I also need to compose a column for Saturday.
CALLIOPE: It looks like another day off from writing.
JOE: It does. But I am hoping that talking with him might give me some writing ideas. I had a talk on the phone last night with his girlfriend who was very positive about The Pastor's Inferno. It was nice to get her feedback. It keeps me going. Well, time to prepare for my journey.

(Sculpture at Charlotte Beach, Rochester,NY

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What have you been up to?
JOE: As I suspected, I did not do any actual writing yesterday. I had photographs to print, work to do on my Christmas booklet and mostly research on agents.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about the Christmas booklet.
JOE: It will consist of selected blogs from before I started conversing with you. They touch briefly on commonsense topics. I am hoping to have enough for a booklet.
CALLIOPE: How is the agent search coming?
JOE: It's getting there. I found an agent who works with children's and adult books, seems interested in a variety of topics, and even represented a book with a theme of Dante. I am thinking he might be a good bet but am doing some research on him and will check with my publishing friend.
CALLIOPE: It sounds promising. Was it much work?
JOE: Quite a bit. I am glad I have the internet. I don't know if I could ever find the information I have without it.
CALLIOPE: Good. Keep at it.
JOE: I will. I plan to finish the chapter I was working on later today and think about the next chapters over the rest of the weekend.
CALLIOPE: It sounds like you are working on getting back into the groove.
JOE: I am. I think next time I go away, I will make sure to do some work on my current project each day so I don't lose touch.

(Ladder- Charlotte Lighthouse- Rochester, NY)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Feeling rather busy. I went for a massage, made a card for Carol for our eleventh anniversary of being together and one for her brother and sister-in-law's recognition dinner tonight. I have also been working on booklets I plan to use as Christmas presents.
CALLIOPE: I guess you are busy. What about yesterday?
JOE: I started the day determined to find some agents who might be appropriate. It's a little complicated but I need agents who handle children's as well as adult books who have worked with my publishing friend.
CALLIOPE: Any luck?
JOE: No. I found some who had worked with him but they only handle children's books.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I sent him an e-mail asking him if he could suggest any agents and that I would determine whether they worked with adult books if necessary.
CALLIOPE: Did you do any writing?
JOE: No. But I did finally call the film producer I know. I had not received a reply to my e-mail.
CALLIOPE: Any better luck with the phone call?
JOE: Yes. I talked with her most pleasant secretary. I should have called in the first place. She gets thousands of e-mails and it would have been better to call. Her secretary will let her know I called and we shall see what develops.
CALLIOPE: Do you have any writing plans for today?
JOE: I'm not sure yet. I have a few more things to do today and then have a party to go to tonight. Maybe it will have to wait until tomorrow.
CALLIOPE: I guess you were right about it being hard to regain momentum.
JOE: Yes. But my plan all along was to interrupt my writing when need be to pursue publication for my last book. Well, back to work.

(Grand Central Station from the roof of the Yale Club- NY)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Off to a rather slow start. Maybe I am still a bit groggy from my recent trip. It seems hard to get started today.
CALLIOPE: What did you accomplish yesterday?
JOE: I started the next chapter of Marital Property but was not quite into it. I guess taking a break for a few days does not help with continuity.
CALLIOPE: No it doesn't. What else did you do?
JOE: I started doing some research to find agents who had worked with my publishing friend so I could ask him for recommendations to specific agents rather than leaving the work of winnowing them to him.
CALLIOPE: Kind of you. Do you think it is time well spent?
JOE: Yes. He is doing me a favor. It can only help to give him a head start if I can.
CALLIOPE: How's it going?
JOE: Rather slow. I found a couple agents but my research on them indicates that they work only with children's books. I plan to work my way down the list today and see if I can find any who might be willing to work with adult fiction.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a plan. Anything else going on today?
JOE: Yes, quite a bit. I signed up to exhibit photos in a show at the arts council and need to drop them off today or tomorrow after I get them framed. I have a whole list of things to do. I better get started.
(Sunrise- Batavia, NY)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How was your trip?
JOE: Great. It's always nice to spend some time in New York, especially with Mike and Joe. The wedding was excellent, about the fanciest I can remember attending. It was at the Yale Club and had a great view of the city from the 24th floor roof in addition to everything else.
CALLIOPE: What else did you do?
JOE: Carol and I were a little more laid back than usual since we had four days to spend this time. We visitited St. John the Divine, or at least what was open after their fire several years ago. It was cavornous and quite interesting although not nearly as old as Westiminster Abbey. We also visitited the Guggenheim Museum which I had not seen since the 1960's. I still did not like it as much as any of the other museums in New York. But there were some good paintings.
CALLIOPE: Anything along creative lines for you?
JOE: Yes. Two things. I always feel energized visiting New York and came back ready to start again. I also ran into my publisher friend on the street who promised to explore some agents for me.
CALLIOPE: That must have been exciting.
JOE: It was. I plan to post him this morning and see what he can find for me. I think I probabaly need a recommendation to find an agent or somehow become instantly famous, which I don't think I can count on.
CALLIOPE: Well, you better get going while you are pumped up.
JOE: I agree. Talk with you later.

(Skylight- Guggenheim Museum, New York)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Feeling pretty much back to normal. Yesterday was a busy one.
CALLIOPE: What did you do?
JOE: First, I finished the chapter I was working on: dinner with the family. I don't write very many scenes with a bunch of people, so it was different.
CALLIOPE: What makes it so hard?
JOE: I don't like using "he said" or "she said" tags. So I have to make it clear who is talking in other ways. It's not so hard with two people, but a little more complicated with a group of people.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a challenge.
JOE: It is. Yesterday I wrote and sent out a column on keeping law and order in balance. I also worked on revising my private practice web site. I decided I need to earn a little money to pay for some of my writing projects. It was quite a project since I could not find my original files and had to reconstruct them before making changes. If you are interested it is at
CALLIOPE: You're not getting wealthy writing?
JOE: Not yet. It would be nice, but that's still down the road, or at least I hope it is. In the mean time, I have enough money for basics but not for things like extensive travel or up-front money for projects like self publishing if it comes to that.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you're looking ahead a bit.
JOE: I am. No point waiting until everything comes to a standstill before deciding what to do. I believe in being at least a little prepared.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good idea. No starving artist life for you?
JOE: No thanks. I have to be careful with my money now but I'm not in the poor house. Well, back to work.

(Railroad tracks- Batavia, NY)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Better. I am ready for a return to my usual self after dragging around for a couple days.
CALLIOPE: Did it slow you down?
JOE: Not really. I finished composing The Pastor's Inferno in Pagemaker. It is ready to convert to a PDF if I decide to pursue self publishing.
CALLIOPE: Good. How about Marital Property?
JOE: I did some work on that as well. My main characters are set for further get-togethers with best friends and siblings. The children are also trying to figure out how to manage what is going on.
CALLIOPE: Is that going smoothly?
JOE: Yes, but a little slow. I am working on incorporating Vineyard details and have realized I don't know quite as much about the place as I thought.
CALLIOPE: Accuracy does take some doing. Anything new on the publishing front?
JOE: Not yet. I am trying to be patient but nothing seems to be happening so far. I am wondering if I should approach more agents and if so, what I could do differently.
CALLIOPE: You seem to have done what you can on your own. The only other option seems to arrange an introduction.
JOE: Easier said than done. But I will keep my eyes and ears open for oipportunities.
CALLIOPE: What's on the docket for today?
JOE: More work on Marital Property. I also have a column to write for Saturday's Daily News.
CALLIOPE: You better get on it.
JOE: I am. I think I might write about the challenge of law and order.
CALLIOPE: Sounds interesting.
JOE: I hope so. And so to work.

(Alley's Store- Chilmark, MA)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you feeling today?
JOE: Better I think whatever I had bugging me is receding.
CALLIOPE: Did you do any writing yesterday?
JOE: Yes. I worked on Marital Property but it was slow going.
JOE: For some reason I was working on a chapter which involved a great deal of geographical and historical detail such as the Vineyard, Cape Cod and New Bedford.
CALLIOPE: It is extra work, but it should make the story more interesting.
JOE: I hope so. I finished a chapter of the husband's reflections which I had not even planned to write. Sometimes characters have a mind of their own.
CALLIOPE: Well, I must admit, I give them ideas sometimes. Did you do anything else yesterday?
JOE: I thought more about self publication and worked on putting the manuscript of The Pastor's Inferno into press ready format. I think I am getting better at using Pagemaker.
CALLIOPE: Have you given up on traditional publication?
JOE: No, but I haven't heard from anyone who could help me and I think I am getting prepared just in case.
CALLIOPE: I guess it's good to be prepared.
JOE: I guess the key to satisfaction in wirting is being flexible. Back to work.

(Beach rose- Nantucket)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How have you been?
JOE: A little under the weather the last couple days. I thought I was getting a cold but it seems to be passing.
CALLIOPE: The immune system wins again.
JOE: I hope. I received two rejections from agents and am still waiting for the third reply. I put in quite a bit of efffort to choose appropriate agents but not a nibble from my efforts so far.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I am still waiting to hear from the third agent and from my film producer friend. I also sent a post to my publishing contact asking him if he knew any agents I could approach. I have pretty much reached the conclusion that in order to retain agents, one must be among the already famous or be referred by someone they trust.
CALLIOPE: If anything comes of these efforts, I assume you will continue with the traditional publishing route.
JOE: Of course. If not, I will probably try a few more agents on my own but at the same time look more seriously at self publishing. I have already started brushing up on my PageMaker skills.
CALLIOPE: Anything different from the last two books?
JOE: I don't have the funds to just use a printer and am considering POD publishing. I have the skills to produce print-ready copy and a cover. So it would not be too expensive. In that case I will need to get serious about marketing and publicity.
CALLIOPE: Are you looking forward to this?
JOE: No. But I think it might be the only way I can sell any books. When I just get them printed, I tend to give them away.
CALLIOPE: You won't get rich that way.
JOE: I know it. But that's not my primary reason for writing anyway. Maybe I need to find another source of income.
CALLIOPE: Well, do what you have to.
JOE: I will give it some thought.
(View of Rocky Mountains- Estes Park, CO)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. What's new with your writing?
JOE: I don't know if anything is new but I am continuing to work on my novel.
CALLIOPE: In what way?
JOE: I did a little writing, but mostly spent my time yesterday doing research on divorce in Massachusetts.
CALLIOPE: What about your own experience?
JOE: I got out my divorce file. It was depressing to even open it. I was not sure I wanted to wade back into my own divorce and become mired. Besides, I thought things might be different in Massachusetts where my story takes place.
CALLIOPE: I understand. You do have some distance from your own experience, but still the memories remain or can at least be stirred up adding unpleasantness. Are things that different in Massachusetts?
JOE: As a matter of fact they are. They are a little easier on grounds for divorce and have no-fault which they don't here in New York. On the other hand, they don't have any such thing as legal separation or using a year's separation as grounds for divorce.
CALLIOPE: I guess it's good you looked. Do you feel ready to proceed with your new found information?
JOE: I do. I think I can now write the next two chapters on meetings of each spouse with their respective attorneys.
CALLIOPE: Okay. On with it.
JOE: I'm ready.

(Beach near Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are things today?
JOE: Fine. I started a chapter yesterday on my wife's meeting with her attorney. I got as far as the office when I realized I had some research to do.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: First, I needed to document personality characteristics of her attorney and how the two of them might interact.
CALLIOPE: Anything else?
JOE: I thought I might as well do the same for the husband's attorney and the interaction between the two of them. Both sets are finished.
CALLIOPE: Now are you ready to proceed?
JOE: Not quite. I need to do some research on the divorce process and legal aspects of the proceedings. I am familiar with what happens in New York, but not in Massachusetts where my story takes place.
CALLIOPE: Do you think it will be hard to find what you need?
JOE: I don't think so. I have had good luck with internet research and also know a couple lawyers I can consult if need be.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you will be busy today.
JOE: Yes. I'm ready to get going.

(Fisherman's Monument- Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Good. I sat down to write a chapter of Marital Property yesterday and ended up writing two instead.
CALLIOPE: How do you suppose that happened?
JOE: I was planning to write a dinner scene with the family next but had also thought about a scene in bed with the parents. Once I started I just kept going. I was surprised how easily they both emerged.
CALLIOPE: Sometimes it happens that way. Maybe you were just anxious to write a sex scene.
JOE: Could be. It's the first time I wrote about sexual intercourse between two people.
CALLIOPE: What have you been waiting for?
JOE: A relationship where such a scene would be expected. I guess I could have put one in my last novel, but my protagonist was more drawn to boys.
CALLIOPE: I see. What was it like to write it?
JOE: I discovered that sex is not so easy to put into words. But then, many people don't talk about their encounters in detail.
CALLIOPE: Were you satisfied with what you wrote?
JOE: I'm glad I got it written. But I won't know if I am satisfied with it until I get to the revision stage and look at it from several different angles.
CALLIOPE: Will you wait until you finish the first draft?
JOE: Yes. I have learned from experience that it interrupts the flow of the story if I stop to edit what I have written before the story is finished.
CALLIOPE: Good thinking. I guess we will revisit this topic again.
JOE: I guess so. TTFN
(World War II Navajo Code Talkers)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Quite good. I finally received the e-mail address of the film producer I met a couple years ago.
CALLIOPE: And what are your intentions with her?
JOE: She has produced some films with meaning and not "high concept." I think she might be interested in considering The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: Did you approach her?
JOE: Yes. I sent her an e-mail introducing my novel accompanied by a synopsis.
CALLIOPE: What do you think the chances are of her being interested?
JOE: I can't say. But if I don't try I will never know.
CALLIOPE: Well put. Any other developments?
JOE: Yes. I found an agent who handles books with spiritual connotations. I will query him today. I was planning to expand my agent search anyway but I think he might have some promise for me.
CALLIOPE: And your writing?
JOE: I wrote another chapter involving the children considering what they could do to help and how they might approach their parents.
CALLIOPE: Are you happy with your progress?
JOE: I am resigned to it coming in short bursts as far as the novel. I tend to think about each chapter for about a day before I write it. This also worked well with The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad you found an approach that works. On with the the show.
JOE: Okay, I'm ready for today.

(Church stove heater- Genesee Country Village)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. What's up this morning?
JOE: I had to struggle to meet my writing goal on Saturday.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: I planned to at least finish the chapter with my wife and her sister on the beach. I put it off all day until I had barely enough time to finish it. I knew I would be mad at myself if I didn't and just set down and wrote. At first I said I would at least write a little but once I got going I was compelled to finish the chapter.
CALLIOPE: How did that feel?
JOE: Like an accomplishment. Sometimes I have to wrestle with myself to get going but once I do, I enjoy writing.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like an inertia problem. I guess you just have to push yourself to get going sometimes.
JOE: It reminds me of my Uncle Dick's Model T. Most of the time he had to get it rolling down a hill and kick it into gear.
CALLIOPE: I guess times have not changed all that much. How about today?
JOE: I have been working on ideas for several chapters. Cynthia's sister suggested consulting a lawyer which I had not considered but now I think both spouses had better see one. I also have more to do about the children and a supper scene with the whole family.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like it is moving along pretty well.
JOE: It is. I just have to make sure I get my fingers moving every day.
CALLIOPE: Well, don't let me get in your way.
JOE: I won't. Talk with you later.
(Nineteenth century printing press-Genesee Country Village)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are we this morning?
JOE: I can't speak for you, but I'm doing pretty well.
CALLIOPE: What news?
JOE: In this morning's paper, the column above mine was a rant about the war and its cost financially and in human life. Right under it was mine about finding ways to get along with people.
CALLIOPE: Did you think they fit together?
JOE: To some extent. They are opposite sides of the same coin. The problem is that getting more angry does not usually incline us to find ways to get along.
CALLIOPE: Agreed. So where does that leave you?
JOE: With parallel approaches. But I guess that's okay. I will keep doing what I am doing.
CALLIOPE: And how about the book?
JOE: I'm making some progress. I started the next chapter but found I needed to do some research.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: Such as where my wife's shop is located in Edgartown. I was in one just like the one I use in the novel. I also had to scout out a restaurant for my wife and her sister to lunch at before going out to Chappaquiddick for the afternoon.
CALLIOPE: So you did get some writing done?
JOE: Yes, but not as much as I would have liked. It seems things such as arrangements for my writers group keep cropping up.
CALLIOPE: That's life unless you want to be a hermit. At least you are moving in the right direction and got something done.
JOE: I plan to do some writing today and feel in the mood to at least finish this chapter and then think over the weekend about where to head next.
CALLIOPE: Be patient with yourself. It doesn't all have to be written at once.
JOE: That's sometimes hard to remember. I guess I need to learn how to slow down and enjoy the process more. There is really no rush.
CALLIOPE: Agreed. Besides you don't want to tax your muse too much.
(Lighthouse- Nantucket)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How goes it today.
JOE: Good. I learned what I needed to about Medicare supplement plans yesterday for the moment. I also weathered a board meeting.
CALLIOPE: Do you find all this distracting from your writing?
JOE: Yes and no. It takes time away from my writing but it does give me some other things to think about. I met several people in various stages of dealing with Medicare and got to know a little about their lives. I also got a sense of all the things lacking in our mental health system.
CALLIOPE: So what do you do with all that information?
JOE: File it in case I need it at some point. I have come to realize I can't save the world but knowing its ills helps me focus on things I can address through my writing.
CALLIOPE: How do you see your role?
JOE: To help people think about ways to envision their lives and also to realize that there might be other ways to view things and to interact with people.
CALLIOPE: Do you feel you are accomplishing anything?
JOE: Sometimes I do. I receive favorable comments from people I meet in my wanderings. But sometimes I am overwhelmed with the problems in the world and wonder if anything can make a difference.
CALLIOPE: I guess all you can do is your part.
JOE: I agree. I am trying to stay focused on that rather than all that needs to be done. If I do my part, maybe others will do theirs.
CALLIOPE: So how about the book?
JOE: I finally finished the chapter between my husband and his brother. It took a while, but the writing came easier yesterday. I guess it varies from day to day.
CALLIOPE: Yes it does. How about today?
JOE: I have fewer distractions. All I have on my schedule besides writing is a trip to the farmer's market, working out at the Y and doing some laundry.
CALLIOPE: So what's the writing plan for today?
JOE: I will focus on my wife meeting with her sister and finding a conducive spot on Chappaquiddick for their conversation.
CALLIOPE: Have you been there?
JOE:Once I drove out to the end of it with Carol stopping to look at Ted Kennedy's famous bridge spot. It is about as far from civilization as you can get on the Vineyard, but should be a good spot for a heart to heart.
CALLIOPE: I am looking forward to seeing what develops.
JOE: So am I. I guess it is time to get on with it.
(Ferry from Nantucket to Oak Bluffs)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Feeling a little discombobulated.
JOE: I expected to get a fair amount of writing done yesterday, but didn't manage to do much at all.
CALLIOPE: What happened?
JOE: I started out with good intentions. However I was waylaid by work for my writers' group, baking cracked wheat bread, working out at the Y, two appointments and the soup crisis.
CALLIOPE: What appointments?
JOE: I still see a few people now and then for a little extra income until I make it big with my writing.
CALLIOPE: Is that why you write?
JOE: No. I write because it is exciting and I think I have something to say to the world about how to live and how to do it constructively with others.
CALLIOPE: Lofty goal. What about the soup crisis?
JOE: I planned on making pea soup and had all the ingredients. I found I had a little too much for my crock pot and decided to make it in a large stew pot instead. While it was cooking, I went to the Y for some exercise. When I returned, the house smelled terrible. I discovered the water had been boiled away and the peas burned to the bottom of the pot. As I say, a mess. And I had promised to provide Carol with bread and soup for dinner.
CALLIOPE: Then what?
JOE: I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up and airing out the house. I also found ingredients for borscht and decided to make that instead. Fortunately it turned out fine and was something Carol had never tried. She liked it.
CALLIOPE: Did you get any writing done?
JOE: A little. My husband and his brother finished breakfast, walked out to the lighthouse and headed for Menemsha. All in all a meager output.
CALLIOPE: Do you think you will get more done today?
JOE: If I get right to it. I am meeting with the powers that be this afternoon about Medicare and its finer points. Later I have a board meeting at Mental Health.
CALLIOPE: Sometimes it goes like that and only dribs and drabs end up on paper in a given day. But just think about what one or two pages a day adds up to in a year. Okay, lets not waste any more time. On with the show.
JOE: Agreed. See you at the manuscript.

(West Chop Lighthouse- Vineyard Haven)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.

CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are things this morning.

JOE: Good. I had hoped to write another chapter yesterday but got waylaid by the need to write a newspaper column. I did manage to at least start the chapter.

CALLIOPE: Did you write about commonsense and the cowboy mentality?

JOE: Indeed I did. I was afraid it would be too political but I managed to keep it focused on the individual person rather than our current country leaders. After all, almost half of us elected the current leadership.

CALLIOPE: A tad sarcastic. But you are right. Our national leaders and local ones for that matter can only lead us if we let them.

JOE: I focused on my frustration about trying to stay positive and seeing such negative news suggesting we are becoming a nation of gunslingers (literally or figuratively.)

CALLIOPE: So, with that out of your system, what about your book.

JOE: I reviewed my enneagram typings for my husband and his brother and had them meet at the Martha's Vineyard ferry dock in Vineyard Haven. As we speak they are suspended in mid conversation while they wait for their omelets at the Black Dog Restaurant.

CALLIOPE: I hope they get a little farther today.

JOE: I hope so too. They are planning a walk out to West Chop Lighthouse and then a drive on to Menemsha and a walk on the beach.

CALLIOPE: Walking seems to be a fairly prominent theme.

JOE: Yes it does. I plan to incorporate what they encounter on their walk as reinforcing what they discuss.

CALLIOPE: Good idea. How will you accomplish it?

JOE: I was hoping you would help.

CALLIOPE: I'll keep my eyes open. Let's get going.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. What's new today?
JOE: I spent a fair amount of time working on enneagrams for the two children.
CALLIOPE: Did you end up using what you developed?
JOE: Later in the day I did. I wrote about another conversation between the children after school and felt I had a better sense of how they would both react to things.
CALLIOPE: Good. What's next?
JOE: Today I will work on enneagrams for the husband's brother and wife's best friend, both of whom are appearing in chapters soon.
CALLIOPE: Sound's like it's moving along. Did you ever come up with an overall plan for the plot?
JOE: As a matter of fact I did. It just came to me a little while ago.
CALLIOPE: Are you going to share?
JOE: Of course. I plan to heighten the conflict through conversations and receiving conflicting advice on how to handle the problem. Then there will be some false starts with each trying to solve the problem in a ways which antagonizes the other. As they finally realize they are working at cross purposes, they might find a way to work together and both get at least some of what they want.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good. Any thoughts about the ending yet?
JOE: I have been considering the possibilities, the main ones being divorce, resolution or the promise of resolution without actually getting there.
CALLIOPE: Are you leaning toward one or the other?
JOE: No. I thought I would let my characters lead me to the conclusion, with your kind assistance of course.
CALLIOPE: I would be glad to provide any help I can.
JOE: Thanks, I appreciate it.
(Mayan Road- Cozumel)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good Morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good Morning, Joe. What's going on in your mind this morning?
JOE: I was just planning my day. I was bragging last week about being so organized and then could not find four books I had to return to the library.
CALLIOPE: Did you finally find them?
JOE: Yes. I was trying to be so good at organization that I put the books in a row with some others rather than leaving them in a pile. There were still where I put them.
CALLIOPE: I guess organization can be overdone. How about your novel?
JOE: First, I contacted the sister of the producer I met and am waiting for her e-mail address to send her a friendly query. The screenplay business is quite a mystery to me. But I think it helps to have a contact.
CALLIOPE: I agree. Did you do any actual writing over the weekend?
JOE: I did another chapter of Marital Property. Both spouses now have appointments to meet with advisors. He will be meeting his brother, and she her best friend.
CALLIOPE: Do you plan to write about those meetings today?
JOE: Probably not. I have some research to do on their personalities and interactions first. I also have a chapter to write about the two children talking after school.
CALLIOPE: Anything else going on today?
JOE: Yes. I have a column pending and plan to do it on Commonsense Wisdom and the Cowboy Mentality.
CALLIOPE: Sounds interesting. What is it about?
JOE: Mainly my frustration with positive writing all these years and feeling like people in our country are descending back into frontier diplomacy or what I call the gunslinger approach.
CALLIOPE: Let me know how it goes.
JOE: I will.
(Cannon- siege tunnel- Gibralter)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Have you been busy already this morning?
JOE: Yes, but not entirely with my writing. I have been wrestling with my computer to get it to play movies from Netflix. It's a long story with as yet no satisfactory conclusion.
CALLIOPE: So what about the writing?
JOE: Yesterday was very busy wit a great deal of running around. In late afternoon, I finally got a chance to do some writing. I wrote another chapter with my husband contacting his brother to set up a meeting.
CALLIOPE: Are you ready to write about it?
JOE: Not quite. I have to go back to the ennagrams and find out more about the brother and decide how the two should interact.
CALLIOPE: Any other news.
JOE: I have been thinking of contacting a producer I know in Hollywood to see if she might be interested in The Pastor's Inferno. I gave her card to someone and now it seems to be among the missing. I called her sister for her e-mail and am waiting to hear from her.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you are going in a number of directions. Does it get confusing?
JOE: Not yet. I think I am keeping everything straight. I must be developing some new skills. In the past I would have been overwhelmed.
CALLIOPE: Good. I'm glad you are getting more organized. It does make life easier.
JOE: I will try to write another chapter today about the wife contacting her sister.
CALLIOPE: The plot thickens.
JOE: Well it should if the story is to stay interesting. See you on Monday.

(Rails near Cedar Street- Batavia, NY)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. Did you get any writing done yesterday.
JOE: Of course. But I had to do it early. After our conversation, I got down to work and wrote a chapter about my wife in her kayak and thoughts she had about the marriage.
CALLIOPE: And that was all you had time for?
JOE: Not exactly. I took my son to Wyoming, a gaslight village about twenty miles from here. It was an artist colony at one time and is making a minor resurgence in that direction. Anyway, Pete had arranged to deliver some of his prints on consignment to the W.G. Handyside Gallery of Fine Arts.
CALLIOPE: So where did your writing come in?
JOE: While he was negotiating, I looked around the shop and found that she sold books as well, but mostly about art. I asked her whether she sold other books and she was open to the idea. Flash. I just looked outside and found the most beautiful sunrise I can remember seeing. Wow!
CALLIOPE: Glad you enjoyed it. Sunrises are in a different department from mine but I enjoy them too. You were telling me about the gallery.
JOE: Anyway, I got to talking to the owner, Dianne Burnham, about my books and she took several copies of both of them on consignment.
CALLIOPE: Congratulations. Did you talk with her about your art as well?
JOE: Yes, somewhat hesitantly. I am less sure of my painting and drawing than of my writing and have trouble evaluating it.
CALLIOPE: Most artists do.
JOE: I remembered the old sayings, "Chacun a son gue" and "De gustibus non est disputandum" and talked with her about the relativity of impression of art on different people.
CALLIOPE: So are you going to show her some of your work?
JOE: Yes, I am. I might also put together a set of photos similar to the one I am preparing for the Christmas show at the Arts Council.
CALLIOPE: My, you are getting bold. Good luck with it. Well, back to the writing.
JOE: Yes, Ma'am.

(Main Street in winter)