Fri. Aug. 12, 2022: Art and Poetry

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, August 12, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I had trouble settling into meditation yesterday, but it was still good.

The script changes for the radio play were approved by all involved. Thank goodness for rehearsals, where one can find out where something doesn’t work and change it.

I converted the PowerPoint I used for Saturday’s class into a PDF. I proofed the Developing the Series Topic Workbook, made some necessary changes, and that is up for pre-order and ready to release next Wednesday, the 17th. I then added in some information to another version of the manuscript – I’m not allowed to actually discuss any platform or the distributors reject it, saying I’m listing “competing markets.” Well, part of the class had to do with markets, so I went back and listed them in the version for class participants. I then converted that version to PDF. I sent it to the list of students and to the conference organizers for their archives.

Episode 6 of LEGERDEMAIN dropped, so I did some promo on the channels where I couldn’t schedule posts. I need to get back to work on that website next week. I’m behind where I want to be on the website. It’s live, it’s just not where it needs to be so I can promote it well.

Freelance Chat was fun. The guy behind the Hectic App was the guest. The talk was about getting paid and automated invoicing, but the app itself looks like it takes the best of platforms like Asana and Slack, and also adds accounting stuff. I asked if there was a way to plug in royalty payments and the like. There’s a huge gap in the working artists market, and if Hectic could somehow include them and what they need in there, it’s a big market. Anyway, I might play with the app and see how it works and build on it.

So far, I like Asana, mostly, but it’s still not doing everything the way I want and need to do it. But at least it doesn’t tell me to vacuum my house, the way Todoist did!

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and then rehearsed the poem.

I’d sent my friend the draft of “Inspired By” and she had great notes. I’m looking forward to making those changes, and they gave me an idea on how to expand a beat that feels rushed and truncated (it’s a one act, so it’s all, technically, one scene, but the beats and dynamics shift).

I showered and dressed. Since the event was in an art museum, and the topic was “landscape” I wore a top and skirt that looked like brushstrokes in blue and red and black. Because, you know, once in theatre, always in theatre.  Drove to the Berkshire Museum down in Pittsfield. Took the back way behind the library, rather than having to drive past the museum and find a place to turn around, since one can’t turn left into the museum from the main road. And it worked! I actually found my way. I even found a legal parking spot in front of the museum.

I was early (of course), so I helped set up. The woman from the museum turns out to have done her master’s in Shakespeare, so I’m sending her information today on the Shakespeare horror anthology.

It was a small group, the first time the poets have met inside since the start of the pandemic. There were eight poets reading, and a smattering of audience members. The different takes on the theme of “landscape” were wonderful. And then, after we were done, one woman shyly asked if she could read something. The answer was, of course, yes, and that’s what this is all about. And it was nice to talk to the other people after.

When we came down the steps of the museum, the sky was an amazing array of pinks and grays, and we all just stood there and enjoyed it for a few minutes.

Anyway, I’ve been invited to do more with them. Some of their upcoming events, I think I will be there to listen, as an audience member, rather than read.

It’s such a different experience to read my own work than it is to have actors perform it. Because I am not an actress creating my own work to carve a place for myself, it’s very different. As the event’s leader points out, it works best when you learn something about both the poet and the topic through the poem. So, although I worked on story, rhythm, image, and told the story through a character, there were still revelations about me as a person. And, as someone who prefers to stay in the background, that’s a challenge.

Anyway, came home, and was reminded that my night vision sucks. Which, as the days get shorter, will also limit what and where I do things. Talked to the across-the-street neighbor for a bit. Gathered up the mail, which included THE NEW YORKER (I’m about four issues behind), and the check for teaching at the conference. Caught up with Chef Jeremy’s video chat, and signed up for his class Monday night in honor of Julia Child’s birthday. This weekend, I’m going to write him a letter, telling him how much his classes and just, in general, his being a kind, caring person have meant to me these last few years.

Didn’t sleep particularly well, but the cats got me up early. My cousin’s funeral is today. Workwise, I have to focus on LEGERDEMAIN and get caught up with that. I’m behind where I hoped to be uploading the next set of episodes, and I need to get to work on writing the next arc, too.

I need to go to the bank and the post office and the library and pick up a prescription for my mom. I’d planned to go to the laundromat to wash the fabric I’ll use this weekend, but I can’t find the laundry bag. I used it, last trip. I remember emptying it and folding the bad into quarters. But it’s not where I usually put it, and I am baffled. I might just wash things here at home, and, if I need to tomorrow morning, throw them in the laundromat’s dryer. Downside of not having washer/dryer in the house.

This weekend is house-and-hearth stuff. If there’s not another deluge of rain, I may go to the Mount Sunday afternoon and listen to the poets read poems in the sculpture installation. But that’s all up in the air.

And, I want to get some rest. The last few weeks have tired me, and I want to recalibrate a little.

Have a good one, and catch you on the other side.

Thurs. Aug. 11, 2022: Plans and Poetry

image courtesy of Adriano Gadini via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

Prepped for my meeting yesterday morning. The meeting ran longer than expected, and there’s a follow-up here at my place next Tuesday afternoon, so I can help my friend apply for some grants.

I was much later getting back in the afternoon than I expected, which meant a later start on the scripts. I had three to turn around, which I did, two before dinner, one after. The radio play rehearsal was moved to last night, but I didn’t find out about it until too late. This morning, I have to do some rewrites from what came up in rehearsal.

I finished and polished the poem after all that, and spent some time rehearsing. I have a three-minute slot, and the piece consistently comes in at 2:11 or 2:15, so I’m fine. Even though this is way out of my wheelhouse, I worked on story, image, and rhythm, and it’s doing what I want. So, we’ll see. Every time I get nervous, I remind myself that it is about the work, not about me. The focus is on making sure the work lands with the impact I want, not tying myself in knots about being the one to read it.

I’ll miss Chef Jeremy’s special session tonight, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. He knows he aways has my utmost respect, support, and affection.

The 6th episode of LEGERDEMAIN drops today, so there will be all kinds of promotion.

After meditation this morning, I will do the final proofread on the Topic Workbook, so I can send it and the PDF from the class out, and move the release date of the Workbook to next week. I have to see if I made an ad for it; if not, then that’s on the agenda, because once the links go live, I need to be able to upload and schedule the marketing content calendar for it.

September’s not that far away, so I’m already playing with marketing ideas for the Topic Workbooks from October through December.

And I need to get the next 10 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN uploaded and scheduled. And cover a script.

I’m tired. I feel as though I could sleep for about a week. I’ll get a chance to rest a bit this weekend, but there’s also a lot of home-and-hearth stuff that needs to be done. I want to fix the chairs and make the new chair covers and do the curtains and the back panel for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Maybe I’ll even get to unpack a few more boxes, and rearrange some stuff in the pantry and the laundry room.

But I also want and need some rest.

Have a good one!

Wed. Aug. 9, 2022: Just Chugging Along

images courtesy of Wikilimages via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was another hot day, although the temperature started going down later in the day. But I hadn’t slept well, which was not a good way to start.

I had trouble getting going in the morning. I had to deal with stuff on the personal front, of course, with everything going on. I managed to get the book review written and out, and was assigned my next two books for review. I worked on catching up with emails, and handling a bunch of admin. I pushed back the release date for DEVELOPING THE SERIES so that I can finish proofreading it and make sure the students really get it well before it goes into general release. I did the promotion for Episode 5 of LEGERDEMAIN that dropped yesterday, “The Luminous Lady.” The ad I made for it is one of my favorites.

I worked on the poem a little.

I let myself grieve when I needed.

There was a thunderstorm in the late morning, which helped break some of the heat and humidity. But then, it was warm and sunny again.

We headed back to the quilt shop in Williamstown. And ran into a detour, because there was a gas leak, and a big chunk of Rt. 2 was blocked off by the fire department. So I had to take back roads. The fact I knew which backroads to take pleased me.

Anyway, we went to the quilt shop, and I picked up some fabric to make holiday-themed curtains for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Because this weekend, when I’m working on seat covers and kitchen island curtains, I might as well do all of them at once.

A big guy working the lines came into the quilt shop, curious because his grandmother used to quilt, and he was interested in looking at the quilts. That, of course, triggered a story idea for me, so those characters are percolating. Now, the question becomes are they their own set of characters in their own world, or do I fold them into one of my other worlds?

On the way back, we did a stop at Wild Oats for a few things, and I paid my next year’s membership. I got to introduce my mom to the general manager, who is a sweet, smart, wonderful guy, and that was good.

Did a script coverage in the afternoon. Then, it was cool enough to prepare the rest of the Farmers’ Market vegetables as roasted vegetables, and served it over couscous. The rest of this week will be leftovers from the past few days of crockpot, primavera pasta, and roasted veggies.

Right after I finished, it was time for the cooking class with Chef Jeremy over at Kripalu (via Zoom). He’s moving into a full-time faculty position, after being the Executive Chef there for 12 years (which, as he said, is “like 187 Chef years”). He’s such a brilliant teacher, and he loves it so much, I’m glad he has the opportunity. And I’m excited to, at some point, study with him again in person.

Anyway, class was tons of fun. As usual, I learned a lot (like the difference between a tian and a gratin).

After class, I had another script to cover, but I got everything done.

It was the first night in weeks where it was cool enough to sleep, and I slept. Although I had a nightmare, and Charlotte woke me up at 3 AM. But I managed to fall back to sleep, and got up a little after six.

The damn computer took nearly an hour to do an update, and then none of the programs talked to any of the other programs, so I had to go in and wiggle things around until it worked again. I am not an IT person, and I shouldn’t have to fake being one just to get the computer up and running every morning. Especially since it’s still under warranty (although no one has any interest in honoring the warranty). And I’m only using 25% of the computer’s capacity.

I did not have these problems with my Mac.

Anyway, I have a meeting to prepare for this morning, the workbook to finish proofing, the poem to polish, and then three scripts to cover this afternoon, so it’s another busy day. But good busy.

Spiro Squirrel tried to remove the kitchen window screen again yesterday afternoon and Willa was right there, letting him know that was not an option. When I heard her scampering down the hallway early this morning, I was sure he’d somehow managed to get in and she was chasing him around the house, but she was just running up and down the hall because it was cool enough to run again. All the cats were perky this morning, because it was cool enough to feel like themselves again.

Hope you’re having a good one.

Tues. Aug. 9. 2022: Grief Intrudes

image courtesy of Tumisu via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hot and humid

Friday feels so far away, I’m not even sure what I did. Fixed SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, and it released. Polished my presentation. Uploaded DEVELOPING THE SERIES for the final proof.

It was so damn hot, that’s all I could do.

I was up early Saturday morning, to go to the Farmers’ Market before my class. It was so hot and humid that I nearly passed out. I got to the air-conditioned grocery store and it took me awhile to cool down enough so that I could think enough to shop.

Home, hauled everything up the stairs, put it away, and had to lie down.

I joined the Zoom for the conference’s keynote speech (with my video off), and it was good. Showered and dressed for my own class. Went over the class materials.

I had the worst possible slot for me (and for everyone else) – 2:45 – 4:45 on a hot Saturday afternoon. But I dug down and found the energy. The participants were enthusiastic and jumped into the exercises and had good questions, so it was a good class.

I was wiped out afterwards, though. Made tacos for dinner. That’s become a go-to for me.

Went to bed early, but it was too hot to sleep. I moved to the sofa in the living room halfway through the night, because there was a breeze.

Thank goodness we have good water pressure, because I’m taking multiple showers a day, just to hose down.

Sunday, I read in the morning (DAVA SHASTRI’S LAST DAY, which is a wonderful novel). A little after noon, I got in the car and headed back to the Edith Wharton homestead, where I went to see a play reading by a local professional company that interests me.

I was there early enough to take a photo of my favorite sculpture in this installation, a dragon.

The play was in the converted stable. The chairs were too close together, and, although it was a requirement to stay masked while inside, too many of the audience members kept slipping their masks down around their chins constantly, when they thought no one was looking. Only white audience members, of course, with their fucking sense of self-entitlement.

The play itself was wonderful, Caryl Churchill’s ESCAPED ALONE. The four actresses were amazing (and all of 70). Truly a professional performance, even as a reading, that gripped the audience and didn’t let go. The stage manager was one of the poets from The World’s Largest Poem, and how I found out about it, and I thanked her for letting me know. She was delighted that I actually followed through and showed up.

There was a really interesting talk back after the reading. Although it was not lost on me that one of the (white) women who talked about how important it was for the community of women to look after and connect and care for each other was one of the ones who’d kept sneaking her mask down during the show. Fucking hypocrite. Don’t give an impassioned speech about the importance of caring in community when you refuse to wear your fucking mask properly for seventy fucking minutes, showing that you actually do not give a fuck about anyone around you. I truly wanted to punch her in the throat, but I refrained.

As we exited the theatre, the skies opened and we were caught up in a downpour. In the few hundred yards to the car, I was completely drenched.

The original plan had been to stay through for a poetry event that started in the same location at 5. It was now just a few minutes after 3. I’d hoped the Terrace Café was still open, to get a drink and a snack, but they closed at 3. It was pouring, so wandering the gardens was not an option. I could sit in my car and be wet for an hour and a half, but then I’d be miserable and couldn’t enjoy the event.

So, I started up the car and drove home. There were times, driving through Lenox and parts of Pittsfield, I thought I would have to pull over, because the rain was so intense, I couldn’t see beyond the hood of the car. By the time I hit Cheshire, I needed my sunglasses again.

It had never even rained at home.

I got out of the car and wrung out my dress as best I could while still wearing it. Yes, I was truly that drenched, even after an hour’s ride in the car. When I got upstairs, I peeled the clothes off, toweled off, and put on other clothes. I’d done a crockpot chicken, so at least I didn’t have to worry about cooking.

Again, to bed early. Again, too hot to sleep well.

Up early on Monday, feeling exhausted. Did a run to the library to drop off/pick up books, mailed some stuff at the post office and got more stamps, and then we headed over to the quilt shop in Williamstown. It is amazing. Truly a fabric wonderland.

I got the fabric I will attach to the back of the Kitchen Island Cart From Hell, and for the new curtains. Because let’s face it, cute little blue curtains with mice who are sewing don’t really work in the kitchen.

Home, lunch, and just could not move through the humidity to work in the afternoon. The computer was glitching. I couldn’t concentrate.

I finally (after a Twitter poll – yes, I was so desperate and in such cognitive dissonance, I asked TWITTER what to do), packed everything up and headed back out to Williamstown to the library there.

Because most people mask.

I’m not sure what they’re doing across the street at the college library. The public library four blocks away no longer requires masks and asks that patrons respect those who choose to wear them (which shouldn’t need to be said). The library in Williamstown “recommends” them, and 98% of the patrons are respectful enough to do so.

So I set up in their hipster lounge and did my script coverage work. I was only there for the last hour and a half of their open hours, but I did more than I usually get done in 4 hours of home heat and humidity.

When I came back out, it was sunny as all get out, with 98% humidity, and puddles everywhere. There’d been a downpour while I was inside.

Drove home, and made a pasta primavera with produce from Saturday’s shopping.

Found out that the extended family member who went into hospice a couple of weeks ago died. I was planning to finish and send off the materials to Saturday’s students, but family stuff needed attention, to I let the conference organizers know it would be a few more days.

The family member who died was elderly. He’d been vaxxed and boosted, but had to go into the hospital and then rehab for non-COVID-related issues. But he’d caught COVID in rehab, and never recovered. He was a quiet, thoughtful, kind, sweet man. He and his wife had been together for 65 years, and have three great sons, all of whom are married, and a passel of terrific grandchildren. He was my grandmother’s brother’s stepson — yeah, I don’t know what that means, either, but we called each other “cousin.”

He could fix anything and was always the first to offer help when someone needed a driveway plowed or a lawn mowed.

The service itself is being kept small, because we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Instead of flowers, I’m going to respect the family’s wishes and give a donation to their local public library.

I have kept somewhat of a distance from that extended family since the move. When we were stressed and frightened about having to move out, without any idea how to pull it off, the advice from that quarter (though not this particular cousin) was that I should put my mother in a home (because “she’s old, she only needs one room”), get rid of the cats, get rid of all my books and everything else, rent a room in someone’s house, and get a minimum wage job in the hospitality industry. Um, no. While we did not want nor ask for financial help, some emotional support would have been appreciated.

But then, even when I worked on Broadway, that section of the family has always considered me a loafer who should buckle down and get a “real job.”

When we managed to pull off the move (thanks to my theatre friends and writing friends, to whom I will be forever grateful), they were surprised. My mother kept in touch with them, but I really have not, other than Christmas and birthday cards.

However, there’s still a sense of grief and loss. There were lots of good times, since we started going to the big, 60+ people Thanksgiving dinners at the Legion Hall, starting way back in 1972, right after my dad died.

Emotions are layered and messy and more than one thing.

They’re also exhausting.

It’s still terribly hot and humid, and I have a lot to get done today. I’ve written a ritual for a friend who needs some help navigating a difficult situation, so that goes off this morning. I need to write and send off a review for a book I disliked. I need to finish proofing the workbook, so one version can release tomorrow, and the slightly different version can go out to the students.

I need to upload the next episodes for Legerdemain (and promote the episode that drops today).

I have a cooking class tonight with Chef Jeremy (which I love), and the radio play rehearsal was cancelled, so there’s one less thing.

I have to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting with a local baker, where I’m going to help her with some grant possibilities.

I need to polish my poem for Thursday night, and work on the Shakespeare horror story.

I have two scripts and some follow up questions in today’s queue.

I have to make another run to the quilt shop, because there were a few things there we kept thinking about, so we’re just going to go back and get them.

I may pack up this afternoon and work in the library again. I’m not sure yet.

I also need to give myself room to grieve. There were plenty of things the Victorians were overzealous and controlling about, but at least they has a process for mourning, instead of expecting it to be compartmentalized into a day or two.

Hopefully, you are not suffering in the heat, and things are going well for you.

Mon. Aug. 8, 2022: Intent for the Week — Slow, but Steady

image courtesy of Ralph via pixabay.com

The last two weeks have caught up with me, and I am tired. I got all six Topic Workbooks re-released, and the 7th is just about ready to go. LEGERDEMAIN launched. A radio drama I wrote is in rehearsal. I’m taking Italian lessons and a cooking class, and I’m working on another poem to read this week for Poets in Conversation. I taught a class and attended a play.

I need a nap!

Seriously, though, this week still has a lot that has to get done. And the heat and humidty are slowing me down.

So I will work slowly and steadily. I will listen to my body when it needs rest. I will get things done, but without driving myself into illness.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on August 8, 2022 at 7:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. Aug. 5, 2022: Ebbs and Flows

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Friday, August 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hazy and humid

Definitely tired and feeling the effects of the week. But I’ll do a big push this weekend, and, hopefully, next week will be a little easier.

Had a story rejected by a publication (I wasn’t sure it was the right fit, but gave it a shot, so it wasn’t a complete surprise). Got a rejection on a big grant application I put in earlier this year – again, not a surprise, because it was a stretch. They were encouraging and made suggestions on where to beef up certain sections of the application, and to reapply next year, so that is what I will do.

Got the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook uploaded and out, but there’s a problem with a couple of things. The issue with the cover I understand – I think I uploaded the wrong version, so I’ll fix that. I don’t understand the other note, about “mentioning competitive markets in conflict with the distributors.” It’s about how to set up a submission system. I don’t mention any publisher or distributor by name. I do have links to resources, so I wonder if that’s the problem. I have questions in, and we’ll see.

Did a run to Wild Oats for a few things in the late morning. The heat and humidity were oppressive. I managed to turn around two scripts, and also to finish a book for review, but I was wiped out by the end of the day.

We had a cracking good thunderstorm with bucketing rain, so I spent a good portion of the evening lying on the sofa, watching the storm.

It didn’t get comfortable enough to sleep until about 3 AM, so I’m a little slow today. But I had good coffee, which makes a big difference.

I worked on the latest draft of the radio play with the producer, and finalized virtually attending Tuesday’s rehearsal, which will be fun.

On today’s docket is finalizing the PowerPoint for tomorrow’s Developing the Series class, and getting both versions of the Workbook proofed. Class attendees will get a copy of the workbook as part of the class; it will release for sale next Wednesday.

If there’s time, I need to start uploading/scheduling the next set of episodes for LEGERDEMAIN, but that might happen on Monday.

Tomorrow morning, it’s Farmers’ Market Day, and then I teach in the late afternoon (at the worst possible time for me biorhythmically, but I’m prepared, so it will work). Sunday is a day of fun for me. I have two events at the Edith Wharton manse – I’m going to see a play by a local theatre (stage managed by a fellow poet from a few weeks ago), and, after that, there’s a poetry event inspired by the sculptures in the garden. It should be a fun day.

Next weekend will be busy, between script coverage and LEGERDEMAIN and a cooking class and the radio play rehearsal and participating in Poets in Conversation, but it should be fun, too.

Have a good one, friends, and we’ll catch up on the other side.

Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Different Paths

image courtesy of succo via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

There’s a post on the garden news over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday wasn’t as hot as expected, although today is supposed to be brutal. I managed to get the revision done on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. I had to do the sample pages in Publisher then save them as JPGs  to insert them, and some of them still aren’t right. I think I will print sheets, scan them, see if I can save them as JPGs and insert them, and see if that fixes the problem. Then I’ll do the final proofread, so it can release on time tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I turned around 4 scripts. It was a lot, but it takes pressure off me for the rest of the week.

This morning, I have meditation. Then, I have to dash out to Wild Oats for a few things (like coffee. I’m out of coffee after making this morning’s batch). Proofread the workbook. Work on the PowerPoint for class. Answer some questions on the radio script that’s in rehearsal. I have only two scripts to turn around this afternoon, which is good.

The workshop leader for the journaling workshop, after dissing daily journal practice as meaningless, offered techniques that have been used since the journaling explosion back in the nineties. I’m not going to comment other than to say, once again, my path is different from this group. There are other practices they have in place that I disagree with and find exclusionary rather than inclusionary, especially since it’s all based on money, but that’s a different conversation.

My path is different.

Back to the page. Plenty that needs to happen today. I’m enjoying it all, even while being tired. I hope it doesn’t get as hot as it threatens today, and I hope it starts cooling off at night soon; it’s hard to sleep in the humidity.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity

image courtesy of Darkmoon Art via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and hot

The SERIES BIBLE Topic Workbook releases today. This edition has information on the use of Tracking Sheets and Style Sheets. I hope you like it.

I uploaded and scheduled the content calendar for it yesterday. I updated the websites with the individual buy links across a bunch of the Topic Workbooks, and will have to do so for the next few weeks, as more links, international links, and library links go live. I haven’t yet updated the Topic Workbook page on this blog site, but I will next week.

Then I did the rounds of the channels where I couldn’t schedule content, to push Episode 3 of LEGERDEMAIN, which dropped yesterday.

Once that was all taken care of, I started converting the most important points and exercises for the upcoming DEVELOPING THE SERIES Workbook for Saturday’s class.

By that time, I had to do a library run, and I picked up bagels and smoked salmon for lunch. I had a great converation about poetry, Thomas Lynch, and John Milton with one of my favorite librarians.

After lunch, it was time to turn my attention to the script coverage. I only got one script covered in the afternoon (it was a longer coverage than I expected). I took a shower and then participated via Zoom with Chef Jeremy’s cooking class at Kripalu. It was wonderful. He’s such a great teacher, and he’s so much about encouraging people to make substitutions in recipes based on what they like, and learn from it. He also encourages people to try new things, like unusual vegetables at the market, and just play. He’s very much about playing and learning and expanding. It was a great class, and I learned a lot.

I’ve been invited to attend the rehearsal of one of my radio plays next week via Zoom, right after the next class with Chef Jeremy, so that’s great. I’m looking forward to that.

Turned around another coverage after dinner, and then I was too tired to get the third one in, so that means I have to turn around 4 today, not three.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat when I opened. I got a good chunk of edits done on upcoming LEGERDEMAIN episodes while I was there.

When I came back, I found that Tessa had pulled the pants I’d worn to my friend’s place out of the laundry and was dragging them around (because they smelled of Ben, no doubt). We had some plant kerflamma on the front porch – something made several of the plants sick. We cut them back and isolated them; hopefully, we’ve stopped it from spreading to everything out there. I would be sad to lose all the plants. I don’t think we can save the impatiens. I think they’re gone. Anyway, that, and the hole the squirrel tore in the kitchen screen before Willa chased him away will be detailed in tomorrow’s garden post.

I was so pleased that Jon Stewart managed to shame the Republicans into mostly voting for the PACT Act to provide veterans with health care. It takes a lot to shame Republicans – basically they can’t be shamed; they can only be afraid their wallets get thinner. And Kansas voted to protect abortion rights. Good.

I’m tired, but there’s a lot to do this morning. I have to work on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook, and finish the slides for the class. I have to do a run out to the market for coffee and oat milk. I hope to do a little bit of work on my poem, but that might have to wait until Friday.

This afternoon is all about script coverage.

It’s supposed to be brutally hot today, and, especially tomorrow. We may have to move camp to the Williamstown Library for the afternoon on both days.

Stay well and happy, my friends.

Tues. Aug. 2, 2022: Creative Busy-ness

image courtesy of Hans via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hazy, humid

The weekend was kind of all over the place.

The artists working group that I was told met Friday morning, of course, met Thursday morning. The organizers really need to get their communications cleaned up. Especially since I specifically contacted them to ask for clarification and they still gave me the wrong information.

I picked up a few things at Wild Oats market instead.

I spent Friday revising CREATIVE STIMULUS and THE SERIES BIBLE. I was behind where I wanted to be, but between the humidity and ongoing computer kerflamma, it was exhausting.

Attended an amazing yoga class on Friday night. It was a wonderful restorative class and I slept very, very well after.

Up early Saturday morning. Went to the market. Didn’t buy much. The lines were so long as some of the stalls, which is great for the farmers, but I didn’t have the energy to stand in the sun. Picked up my mom’s prescription at the nearby CVS and came home.

Should have done a lot of stuff, but I was hot and tired and didn’t. We did hang up some of the artwork, although we haven’t found the right spot for oh, too many things. But some digital artwork by a friend went up, and the mosaic by my uncle. I put up the sketch of Paris – which I bought on my first trip to Paris when I was 11 years old for 2 francs – but it’s not in the right spot. When I find the right spot for it, I will move it.

Read in the afternoon and just relaxed.

Up early on Sunday. Charlotte and Tessa were both being pills. Made biscuits. Sent off an LOI. Did some blog work. Finally got the materials for a magical journaling class I’m taking this week with the group with whom I did Expedition to the Soul last year.

Worked on my Llewellyn article and got it done. It took a good portion of the day, since it was 2800 words.

I’m reading the biography of Emily Mann. The first time I met her was when I was working at the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, and she’d just been named the Artistic Director for the McCarter Theatre. I always admired her, and wish I’d gotten the chance to work closely with her.

Played with ideas for my poem, and for the story for the Shakespeare horror anthology. I want to keep my poem short, between a half a page to a page (even though I have a longer slot). I’m learning how to do this, and I’d rather keep it shorter and work on technique and rhythm and performance than use up the whole slot just to use it.

Monday, I was up and at it early. I made the social media rounds to thank those who participated in #31Prompts. Ello, by far, had the highest rate of engagement, both on and offline. Counter Social was second, by quite a big gap. Then, there was another big gap, and it was Twitter and then Facebook. Trailing the pack was Tumblr.

The metrics come from both engagement on the platform, and from contact individuals made with me privately about which prompts they liked and the types of pieces those prompts inspired. Because I don’t want anyone to post the actual work online and blow first rights.

I posted the July wrap up on the GDR site, and you can read it here. I had a pretty creative month.

I rewrote my Llewellyn article pretty extensively, and got it in to my editor. I still haven’t hit the sweet spot with it, except in word count, so I’m eager for her feedback.

I did the marketing content calendar for the CREATIVE STIMULUS Topic Workbook, which dropped yesterday, and got that uploaded and scheduled through the end of September.

Then, I tackled episodes 7-10 of LEGERDEMAIN. Even though I’d done a couple of revisions on them, they needed more. The world count is a little higher than I want for these episodes, but I had to set foundations for a few things, so there we were. The text got two pretty massive revisions, and then tweaks once it was uploaded and previewed. But I got them up and scheduled.

Then, I created episode loglines and episode-specific ads for them. I uploaded and scheduled those around the episode releases. I have to do the big weekend ad schedules, but I’ll do those in a day or two.

After that, I created three more quirky general ads (well, four, because I had an idea for something coming up, but it won’t release for a few more weeks). I got those designed, uploaded, and scheduled around the relevant episodes.

I read the revision of my friend’s radio play and it is wonderful! I love what she’s done. It’s so good, and such fun!

I did some work on the grant proposal. I need photographs. I’m not sure I have photographs of the relevant work, and I’m not sure I have it up here rather than in storage so I can take new photographs. I’ll cross that bridge next week,

I did my Italian lesson. I listened to the first session of a journal workshop on journaling with intent. I was put off by the way she was so condescending to a regular journal practice. As someone who has kept up a journal practice for FIFTY YEARS, and who has found the practice helped me navigate plenty of difficult stuff, I was annoyed by the attitude that a journal practice was “meaningless” and one just writes in a book and puts it away. Nope. Not the way I do it. This after the whole “I’ll never tell you that you HAVE to do something.” Yeah, but you’ll be patronizing when someone does something differently.  I was also annoyed by the whole “Oh, a bunch of us are doing a trip to Salem, so we won’t have live sessions for the next few days, just pre-recorded ones.” I don’t mind pre-recorded sessions, I don’t need to see the running comments in the live sessions. However, it’s kind of insulting when students have put aside the time to attend the workshop to blow them off. Just set it up so it’s “work at your own pace, here are the sessions.” I’m also really irritated at the pressure to download their app. I do not run my life from apps, nor do I want to.

My path is different, especially right now.

I was very tired by the end of the day. Between 2800K in revisions on the article, nearly 8K in the episodes, and then creating the ads, yup, I was tired. I also have 9 scripts in my queue, to read by the end of the week, so I have to push today and tomorrow, so that I’m not overwhelmed at the end of the week, before I teach.

Today’s priority is uploading and scheduling the content calendar for THE SERIES BIBLE Workbook, which drops tomorrow, and finish the revisions on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM. I also want to finish the slideshow for the class I’m teaching Saturday.

I think that’s all I can get in during the morning. In the afternoon/evening, I have to cover 3 scripts, and I’m taking a break in the evening to attend Chef Jeremy’s cooking workshop from Kripalu online. Plus the day’s Italian lesson and journal workshop. But it’s the right kind of busy.

I heard from a grant for which I’d applied that I’d made it to the next round. I’ve heard that from them before. I make it close to the end, then they give the grant to someone who never finishes anything and is never heard from again.  But they tell me to keep applying. I’d already decided that if I don’t get it this year, I’m done with them. Not worth the work putting together the grant, when all they do is string me along, and then give it to someone who doesn’t deliver. In the years I’ve applied, I went from never working in the genre to regularly publishing in it, so I guess I don’t need it. But it would sure give me some breathing room.

Anyway, back to the work that needs to be done. Hope you’re having a good start to the week.

Mon. Aug. 1, 2022: Intent for the Week — Stay Focused

image courtesy of Jonas Svidras via pixabay.com

Today is Lammas, a big day in my personal calendar.

Much as I would like to take today off, there are things that need attention. I need to focus on each task, and give it my full attention while I do it, complete it, and do the next thing. While keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

That is what this week needs, leading up to my teaching gig on Saturday.

I don’t like multi-tasking anyway — I believe it’s a capitalist tool to keep labor overwhelmed so they don’t actually stand up for themselves and improve society.

One can be aware of the big picture and all that needs to be done, while keeping attention and working mindfully on one task at a time.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on August 1, 2022 at 7:04 am  Comments (4)  

Fri. July 29, 2022: A Good Friend With a Beautiful Garden

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Friday, July 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE has released, in its new edition. It helps get and keep projects on track, and teaches techniques to build a calendar that works. You can learn more about it here.

LEGERDEMAIN launched yesterday. The first two episodes are free on Kindle Vella. The story link itself is here.

It would be helpful if you like the free episodes, if you can upvote them and also leave a short, positive review. And, of course, tell everyone you know. If it’s not your thing, spreading the word to those who might like it would be really helpful.

My father died on this day in 1972. He’s been out of my life longer than he was in it. But the day still has its challenges.

I had a great time with my friend in upstate NY. The ride there on Wednesday was okay, up until the last stretch on I-84, which was rather chaotic. But it was a short stretch, and I found her place just fine. She lives in a town that’s similar to where I live here in the Berkshires, in that it’s a former factory town now populated with artists.

We know each other from working in theatre, film, and television production. There are several studios popping up in upstate NY, because of the demand for streamed programs, so she doesn’t even have to commute to the city for everything, which is great.

Doesn’t make me want to start up in production again, though. Those days are done for me, except for script  coverage and creating budget estimates.

We had iced tea in the wonderful, naturalized pollinator garden she’s built, then when into town to a taproom, where we ate outside. First time I’ve eaten at a restaurant since COVID. The tables were far enough apart that it was comfortable. It was delicious, and I had a local beer called “Marlowe” that was pretty good.

We went to the gallery where she’s part of a group show. Her piece was wonderful, and there were all kinds of interesting pieces in the show. We visited a friend of hers who has a fabric store, and there are terrific pieces there. The museum we planned to visit was closed on Wednesdays, so we went to a shop called Notions and Potions where I picked up some incense and a few crystals.

My friend is a cat person, and she has a group of rescued cats living with her. Many of them are old and had spent years either on the streets or in shelters. Bob even has his own Instagram account. I bonded with Ben, a lovely 15-year-old cat who loves the other cats (especially Bob), but doesn’t like to be touched by humans. Once he realized I would respect that boundary, he stayed close for most of my visit. He investigated all my bags, and left messages for my cats. He hung around. Griddle is a lovely black cat, who is very social and liked to come and be petted. There’s a kitten in search of a name who’s very smart and friendly, and looks like my Willa’s baby brother. One-Eyed George is kind of shy (because he can’t see much), but he was around. The tortie, Star, got more and more curious, the longer I was there, but not close enough to be petted. She kept walking through the room and staring, as though she was on her way to some other appointment. Calamity Joon was shy, although she peered at me from a safe distance. I didn’t meet Bertie, who stayed in my friend’s room, and I didn’t see Slick, the outdoor cat, although his empty bowls assured us he was around.

Anyway, my friend and I had a good catch up, and then got pizza for dinner we ate at home. I slept well, although Tessa has me so well trained, I woke up at 5 anyway. I’d woken up a couple of times in the night because I Was Being Stared At, but whomever did the staring fled as soon as I looked at them. Anyway, once Griddle realized I was up, she came for a petting session. George came to check things out, and then fled. I dozed off again for a bit.

When I woke up later, and went to take my shower, I found Bob stretched out in the doorway to the room, with the other cats looking at me hopefully from a distance.

After the shower, Ben came in to help me pack, and to make sure I put everything in properly.

I brought my bags downstairs, and most of the pride trotted down hopefully with me to the kitchen, and then were very disappointed when I failed Breakfast 101. I don’t know the medicine/food routine.

Bob forgave me and sat on my foot, with Ben right next to him, and Griddle came in to get some extra petting action, and my friend came down soon after, so all was not lost.

Morning feeding happened; we went out to get bagels with everything on them, and came back to the house to eat. Real New York bagels! I mean, the Berkshire bagels are better than the Cape bagels, but nothing beats a real New York bagel.

My friend gave me a small lilac, and a tansy plant to replace the tansy that Spiro Squirrel destroyed. She also gave me some mugwort slips and some cut mugwort. And she gave me some small pink flamingos who will dance in the pots on the back balcony.

Driving back was smooth. I got caught up in the horse trailer traffic going north on I-87, because the Belmont/Aqueduct barns are sending them up to Saratoga for the big races this weekend. But it was really a smooth ride back. Much less traffic than going down the day before. And it was so nice to spend time with my friend in her amazing house and yard and with those wonderful cats.

Unloaded the car. The lilac will be okay in its pot for now. I repotted the tansy and the mugwort.

I did some promotion for LEGERDEMAIN, did my Italian lesson. I’m learning random words, and I can figure out the phrases by process of elimination, but I’m not learning structure. And that frustrates me. There’s no context for anything.

Had a quiet afternoon. It was hot.

My mom had been sick the night before (she ate too many hotdogs in my absence). I have threatened her with kale smoothies. But the cats took good care of her.

Tessa was fine. She was very interested in all Ben’s messages, and told me everything that happened while I was gone. Willa was chill, as usual. Charlotte was upset because I had the scent of other cats on me. It took her hours to calm down.

Slept decently, although Charlotte woke me around 4:30 wanting attention, and then Tessa chimed in. So I was up at the usual 5 AM to feed everyone and start the routine.

I’m getting ready to go down to MASSMoCA to attend the artist working group to which I was invited. When I get back, I have to get a lot done this afternoon, and then there’s yoga tonight. Tomorrow morning is the farmers’ market, and then I have to finish my Llewellyn article and get it off to my editor. I’ll probably work on Sunday, too. There’s something I want to go to at The Mount in the late afternoon, but if I can’t get my work done, I can’t go.

Monday is Lammas, a big holiday in my personal calendar. And then we’re in both another week and another month.

Have a good one! See you on the other side.

Thurs. July 28, 2022: Quick Vacay

image courtesy of Zigmrs Berzins via pixabay.com

I’m on a quick vacation to visit a friend in upstate NY.

Catch up when I get back!

Published in: on July 28, 2022 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Wed. July 27, 2022: Clearing The Desk

image courtesy of donterasse via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST releases today. I’m excited to have these Topic Workbooks going back out into the world.

Yesterday was busy, although I didn’t get as much done as I hoped.

Worked on CREATIVE STIMULUS in the morning. It needed more rewriting than I’d hoped. Wondering if I should move the release date.

Got rid of a massive amount of email.

Ran an errand at Wild Oats, dropped off/picked up at the library, mailed some stuff at the post office, went to the bank,  put gas in the car, and hit up Cinnamon Girl Apothecary for a few necessary crystals.

Turned around three coverages. Wrote and sent in a book review. Found out the artist working group to which I was invited is Friday, not Thursday, which means I can go! I’m delighted. And it’s outside, even better. It means being up very early on Friday, to write before I leave, and getting a lot of work done in the afternoon, before I head off to yoga that evening.

I’m playing with an idea for a short story submission to a Shakespeare horror anthology, which is right up my alley. I sent them an email, because I would like to try something that might push the guidelines a little too far. I’ve got a handful of ideas, so if they don’t want me to do that which I’m asking permission, I have some others to play with. I want to work with some of my favorites, who aren’t as well-known as, say, the characters from MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. I’m sure there will be many entries tied to that. But no. . .I have other ideas! (And those of you who know me well are laughing, because you know exactly who it’s going to center around).

It’s due in mid-August, so I want to get it drafted next week, as soon as I get my article off to Llewellyn.

The producer who’s doing “The Collector” radio play let me know they’re going into casting for it, which is very exciting.

I’m playing with an idea for a poem for one of the upcoming Word X Word events. Not sure I’ll get in, but I pitched. That’s also in mid-August. I’d actually started playing with the idea driving back from Saturday’s event. If they don’t have room for me, I can massage it into flash fiction.

We’re eating leftovers out of the freezer right now until I can get to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday. I’m looking forward to weather cool enough to I can do up another batch of Moosewood’s mac and cheese and Moosewood’ ratatouille, two of our standbys around here.

Chef Jeremy at Kripalu posted a recipe for a watermelon gazpacho that I just might have to try. I’m excited to be in his class again next week. In addition to being a magnificent human, he’s a wonderful teacher.

Finished packing/repacking my bags in the evening. This morning, I did a few things out and about online, like the prompts and my Italian lesson. And now, I am on the road!

We’ll catch up when I get back!