riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


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Class Picture

The owner of the doggie daycare in Johnson, Vermont just sent me this picture of Ruby and her friends. It’s like a doggie “class picture”! Hilarious.

Ruby is front and center. Izzy is near the back, in front of the Great Dane.

photo by Christine Bradley, Mountain Dog Daycare, Johnson, VT

photo by Christine Bradley, Mountain Dog Daycare, Johnson, VT


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Bruised But Not Broken

Riding Bitch is back from Vermont! But like the title says, not exactly in ship-shape. Remember the loose tooth? That manifested into 4-hour oral surgery this past Saturday. I’m now on pain medication, antibiotics and sleeping with an ice pack on my face every night because the right side of my face is swollen. I also have a sinus cold and the puppy is on meds for a skin condition that she developed on our travels (otherwise, she’s good).

I won’t lie. It’s been a tough re-entry back to Los Angeles. At the residency I got to write all day and was responsible for nothing except my laundry. Now, it’s “back to life, back to reality” and I’m struggling to adjust to our old lives and get re-focused. Being under the weather isn’t helping, but as my mother used to say one thing at at a time.

The good news is the residency was fantastic and very productive. I finished a draft of my book, started my pilot, met some incredible artists and writers, all of whom reacted very favorably to the excerpts I read out loud. I also got to know Vermont, which, despite the cold, I totally fell in love with and would move back to in a heartbeat.

Now, there is much to do. I have to tidy up the most recent draft, finish the book proposal, solicite an agent, editor, publisher, and get published. I am also producing a script and directing a play this spring. Just a few little things.

Many thanks to the readers who checked in and left words of encouragement while I was away. I have missed you, missed blogging, and am looking forward to making my way through your posts to catch up.

Here are some images from Vermont. More to follow.

This was the view from my office.

This was the view from my office.

The building where I wrote, called Maverick.

The building where I wrote, called Maverick.

Another view from Maverick, during snow fall.

Another view from Maverick, during snow fall.

One of the many beautiful winter skies

One of the many beautiful winter skies

Another beautiful sky

Another beautiful sky

Winter vista

Winter vista

The Vermont Studio Center's Red Mill Lounge (where we ate all our meals) and the bench where I did most of my thinking

The Vermont Studio Center’s Red Mill Lounge (where we ate all our meals) and the bench where I did most of my thinking

The cemetary I passed every day on my way to visit puppy

The cemetary I passed every day on my way to visit puppy

An inspirational quote that was on a studio wall of a fellow artist in residence

An inspirational quote that was on a studio wall of a fellow artist in residence


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Switching Gears

I miss blogging! Only have 6 more days to go at writer residency. The time has definitely flown. My current dilemma is how to switch gears from writing/editing a deeply personal book to finishing the TV pilot which was due to my manager last week. I think if I can at least outline the rest of the pilot in the next few days, then I’ll be able to finish the draft rather quickly when I get home. It’s just very different mindsets. The book is the passion project. The pilot is work. I should probably stop whining and just do it, right? Right. 

How is everyone out there in the blogosphere doing? I’m going to need a week just to catch up on all your posts!

Here’s a pic of today’s Vermont sky for your enjoyment.

Image


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Mid-Point

Two weeks into writer residency and my front tooth decides to fall out. Well, not exactly fall out, but it’s loose. Does anyone know what a loose tooth signifies? Other than I need to see a dentist ASAP. Could it be related to what I’m writing or to stress? Has anyone written a book with a loose tooth before?

Other than that, residency and Vermont are great. All my fears were completely unnecessary. I am having some structural issues at the moment, but planning to wrestle through them this weekend. If only my tooth would stop wiggling.

Hope everyone is good. Miss blogging to you every day but I’ll have lots of good stuff when I get out of here. 2 more weeks to go!


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Room with a View

Some images from Vermont.

My room is on the corner of the building, so I face the street and the sunrise.

Left window view

Left window view

Right window view

Right window view

The image I woke up to this morning. Icicles and a pink sky.

Icicles at sunrise

Icicles at sunrise

This is the road I drive every day to visit the puppy. It’s less plowed than the other roads.

Mountain road, late afternoon

Mountain road, late afternoon

Mountains w:truck
snow

Still working on getting settled in my office, so pics of that later.

I’m loving the snow and cold so far. It’s bringing back many memories of growing up near Philadelphia, going sledding, shoveling snow, “snow days”. But I’ll save that for another post.

Hope everyone is good. Happy Tuesday!


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First Impressions (aka Got Popsicle?)

So, I’m here. In Vermont. Today is the fist official day of the residency, but I’ve been in the state since Friday night. My mind is mush. Partly because I’m slightly overwhelmed (to put it mildly). Partly because it’s 5am and partly because I’m hungover. They gave us wine last night at the reception, but I also had a bottle of my own (a parting gift from my sister), which I brought to the traditional “first night bonfire.”

I’ve said one phrase more than any other in the past 24 hours: “I’m a writer.” Since VSC accepts people from all disciplines, the first question people ask is “what do you do?” Or “where are you coming from?”

“I’m a writer,” I tell them. “I come from LA.” I might as well say I’m from a distant planet, because that’s how it feels. I’m in another world. A very white world – the ground, the trees, the sky, the people (I’ve seen one person of color in 3 days).

Other impressions:

Everything is made of wood. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I don’t recall seeing a concrete or brick building yet

The rural roads seem to go on forever… long, gently curving two-lane roads with few stop signs and even fewer stop lights. Someone mentioned that I would want to come back and ride a motorcycle in the summer? Absolutely.

People are super friendly, but in a pragmatic, no-bullshit way. I think that’s called  being genuine.

There’s a quirkiness too.  Or a sense of humor. Or both. All I know is I passed a handwritten sign on Route 15 that said “Got Popsicle?” followed by another sign for “Popsicle Contest.”

It’s really quiet. No sirens. No buses or trains (or planes for that matter). No helicopters. The loudest noise so far is the snow plow, which passes by at least once ever 30 minutes. There’s  A LOT of snow.

Perhaps because of the quiet, it feels safe.

It better be safe. Our rooms don’t have locks. Rather, they only lock from the inside, so when we’re away the room is protected only by the moral code of our neighbors. I heard a couple of people quietly fretting about it at dinner. One lady was especially concerned because she has a bunch of computer equipment. I told her, “Well, they’re not going to suddenly put locks on the doors. I think we just have to trust. Maybe that’s the whole point.”

Coming from the person who wrote “Packing for Paranoia-ville”. Ha!

There is definitely an aspect of letting go. The founder of the studio, who wore a tunic and several beaded bracelets, mentioned this in his closing/opening remarks last night after dinner. He encouraged us to not only let go, but forget our past lives and disconnect from all our electronic “lifelines” to fully be present with our mind, body, soul and art during our stay here. He was very eloquent and compelling.

After dinner I asked a couple of others if they were going to heed his advice and turn everything off. One lady said, “I can’t. I have a baby at home.” Another said, “I’d like to, but I’m sort of addicted to that stuff.” A third lady said she was going to compromise by leaving her phone in her room while she’s working in her studio. We all agreed the founder’s suggestion was valid and everyone has to figure out what’s best for him/herself.

I had said I would try to blog daily, but we’ll see. It might be less frequent. If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m zoning out.

Until next time.


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And FYI… (a follow up to Vermont, Buggin’ Out, Mother in Law)

I just found out work has approved my leave of absence request. So, I’m going to Vermont to write for a month at the Vermont Studio Center www.vermontstudiocenter.org and I won’t be unemployed when I get back. Oh, and the puppy’s coming with me. We leave in one week.

I’m so glad the world didn’t end! 🙂