Every time I create a new class and have blocked it all out, I think I’m incredibly smart planning it out and writing and titling lectures and thinking up assignments and putting together study material and clips. By the time I have the class and lectures and materials outlined and put together I think I’m the cat’s meow, all that figured out and done and done!

But that never works. Not right up front.

It’s just like a script.



I figure it out. I lay it out. I plot it out. I think, THIS TIME, it’s all figured out, THERE WILL BE NO REWRITES!

And then.

After it’s all put together the way I thought it would work, I see ways to make it better. And start tearing things out and switching things out and rewriting and reorganizing…



All of which means I just spent the entire weekend rearranging, rewriting, and reorganizing the new January class The First 30 Pages.

What the Hell, Max?



What’s really annoying is it is better.

Dammit! That is not incentive to not do this again!



I wonder if this happens to architects.

It’s easy — okay it is a royal pain but still easier — for me to rip about changing the order of information and words than it is for someone who has just had a cement mixer pour a foundation.

It’s got to be trickier when someone has poured concrete.



Dear God:

Thank you for making me a writer and not an architect.

Those jackhammers and chisels would be the end of me.


Love and Kisses,

Your Favorite No Concrete Adams Girl



writers are like cats

April 1, 2015


Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 12.53.25 AM


Screen shot 2014-05-14 at 1.31.10 PM


abstract_wing_tsunI was in —

A martial arts class once, and the ancestor master from China was there.

There is a serious hierarchy in martial arts, and this man was THE ancestor of the classroom I was in.

I was a baby in that class. It was Wing Tsun.

Someone showed me how to do a move. I tried it. And got it wrong.

The master tapped me hard on the clavicle and said, “Learn.”


Here’s something I notice about writing instructors in the US.

We don’t tap someone on the clavicle after the first mishap and say, “Learn.”

We repeat ourselves about five times going in in the hopes they’ll get it right the first time and then, we cajole them after they get it wrong and repeat. 


And repeat again.

I wonder sometimes what would happen if I just punched someone in the clavicle and said “Learn.”


I’m pretty sure my students would say I already do this.

But I really don’t.



So if you are wondering —

Why I have been neglecting you, it is because I have been working my ass off sprucing up the AFW site. Last year there was a catastrophe in the forum, right while I was on the road, and the whole forum blew up — with classes in session, and the workshop in full swing. It was totally catastrophic and I built a new forum from scratch for the workshop and classes in about 48 hours, which is scary as fuck when you are on a deadline like that and class has to be up and working in 48 hours no matter what.

And then the forum just kind of stayed that way for a while, just the classes and workshop, with nothing else going on really. And a pasted in theme. And, versions of the forum kept updating and yelling at me to update, but I was like a cat clinging to a piece of wood in a stream, I wasn’t going to update, I was going to cling to my little forum and keep it going with NO MORE BLOWN UP FORUMS THAT IS ALL!

Except you cannot do that forever on the web. Stuff keeps updating and sooner or later will just stop working in newer browsers and whatnot so, the forum is updated and has a new spiffy theme.

And, the blog is updated and has a new spiffy theme — so they sort of complement each other now.

The site has a new spiffy entrance page to go with that.

And new cards and stuff are ordered for AFW that list the new upcoming classes in 2013.

Oh and also I am finalizing the last draft of the updated Screenwriter’s Survival Guide. If all goes as planned that will be ready for purchase in November and for pre-sales in October. [Cross fingers, rarely do things go as planned.]

So. Sorry for the neglect. Go see the new :::blog::: and :::forum::: they are fun.

Your No Forums Blew Up Today Adams Girl


lose the snort

February 3, 2010


When I catch myself —

Making little snorty sighing noises at the keyboard it is time for a break. I know this snort. It is the soft snort a horse makes when it does not agree with your choice of direction — but will do it anyway. The soft snort a dog makes — before stoically stepping into a shower stall. The soft snorty little sigh I make without meaning to — for pretty much the same reasons.

The trick is “break” lately means go continue efforts to seize control of my body back from gravity now the arm is solid enough to work out again.

I do not want to wrestle gravity today.



cloister_iiiI have this student —

Who has this protagonist who is a teacher at a Catholic school and also tends bar on the side.

In my notes I say, I am not sure a religious school will be okay with an instructor tending bar.

My student emails me: Well now I know you are not Catholic.


[clearly i spent way too much time in the bible belt]


where the art work comes from :
that is nun in cloister by doris ulmann

the crest of the wave

May 21, 2009


sheep_benchSo the building manager —

Called yesterday and left a message he needed to come over today.

With most tenants that just means letting someone know you are coming and need access. With me it means I need to be sort of presentable. The time he said he would show was between 10 am and 12 noon. I left him a message, I will be here.

My work is when I have it and when I do it, and when I have and need to do a lot of work I do a lot. [When I have no work I play a lot of Tetrizz. Oops.] Right now I have a lot to do. Enough to do so that I did not actually break off till 8 am. At which point, what was I going to do, sleep 2 hours and stumble up for the manager guy?

So, I just went and did other work. 10 am rolled around. No manager guy. So I went and did other work. 12 noon. No manager guy. At which point I thought maybe I was too brain dead to do more work and I went and spoofed on facebook.

At 1 pm I called and said, Hey manager guy, I just pulled an all nighter and you are an hour late and I am about to keel.

He said, Be there in 5 minutes. And he was. And he and a savvy technician guy showed and did something to the garbage disposal with myriad fancy tools only manager and savvy technican guys with myriad fancy tools can do.

The problem is.

It is now 2 pm. And I am beyond sleep. Insomnicacs know this place. Where you keep going and keep going and hit the sleep wall and if you keep going past that? You are out of luck till the next crest. It is like you just crested a huge wave at sea body surfing head on into that you had no business making it through but somehow you did make it through and now you are on the other side and not going anywhere till another big wave comes?

That crest.

I did two of those crests last night.

And one this morning.

And am not going anywhere till another one hits.

Wow tonight is not going to be pretty.


[also, aj, where is the green curl? damn, no other photo is that good and you pulled it you are in so much trouble]

[also if there are mad cap typos in here i have mad sleep deprivation that is not my fault :::grrr:::]


where the art work comes from :
that is from r and b


glass_appleA fellow teacher —

Masha Hamilton is organizing this and I think it would simplify things if instead of me answering individual questions the information just were all up in one place so here is the info from Masha Hamilton on the Afghanistan Women’s Writing Project :


Hi guys, in response to a real need, I’m starting up the Afghanistan Women’s Writing Project, working with young women in Afghanistan, in some of the most conservative provinces-Farah, Kandahar-as well as in Kabul and Herat,
to develop their writing. These are women who, when permitted to attend school, are often NOT encouraged to seek a higher education. They have such strong voices, [and what a wealth of experiences], and they just need development. Some are young journalists; others have studied briefly in the
states but are now back home, others hope to study here at some point. They all have workable English [sometimes excellent English] and access to a computer.

I’m seeking women writing teachers who might agree to rotating work online for three weeks or so with these young women over the next six to nine months. This is pro bono, but very rewarding. So much is happening in the country. We have no Afghan women writers that I know of, and I think that’s a loss… I was in Afghanistan in November and met some of these women, but most I do not know personally. If you might be interested and willing to work online with, say, six young women-giving them exercises, encouragement
and critiques-send an email to

What it would involve: connecting with the women by giving them your brief bio. [If they have not already filed bios, you will ask them to do the same.] Then once per week, say every Monday, offering a smorgasbord of exercises, maybe five or six for them to choose from — some less formal freewrites, some more formal exercises they might revise before offering.
Then going online once every day or other day to respond to their work. I would ask for a three — or four-week commitment. For scheduling purposes, let me know what weeks or months might work or not work for you. If you would be ready to jump in immediately, let me know.

I’m also seeking blog master who would be willing to set up a blog where we could acknowledge those teachers giving up their free time to be involved, linking to their websites or blogs, but where primarily we could get “out there” the works of these young women. The idea is that teachers who feel
they have student work ready to share could post it on the blog.

I know how busy everyone is; thank you so much for considering giving some time to this woman-to-woman project.


about masha hamilton :

where the art work comes from :
that is from jefg99

quitting time

October 15, 2008


I used to be —

A machine. Seriously. I could go through stacks and stacks of manuscripts, assignments, and, in my spare time, sneak a book or magazine.

I cannot do that anymore. I have time lines. I teach. I review my students’ work. It has to be done in a timely way. They are waiting on me. But sometimes —

Sometimes I will be reading and reviewing and there will come this point where I will just say, That is it, that is quitting time.

I did not used to do that. In the past I did not quit. Ever. I just went. But now? I hit a “this is done leave the rest till tomorrow” point and walk away.

It is not about being too tired. [Though sometimes I am.] Or too dazed. [Though sometimes I am.] Or too overloaded. [Though sometimes I am.] I could keep going. I could do review after review after review. They would all be thoughtful. And thought out. And worthwhile.

But that is not what it is.

I think it is about taking care of me.

So tonight I stop. And just say, That is enough. And just for tonight it is.


where the art work comes from :
that is from wolfgang.foto

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