Saturday, March 31, 2007
Cloudy and cool
I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself. I ran my errands in the morning, which included hitting a bookstore to pick up a belated birthday present for a colleague, replacing my atlas that was lost with the car in the flood, and picking up yet another book for myself. I’ve been on a book-buying frenzy lately, and it really needs to stop.
Came back, ate lunch (major victory), and then packed up the work for the Confidential Job and took it to the beach. I got a little over a third of it done there during the afternoon, which was great. It’s an interesting assignment, which always helps.
It was such a gorgeous day, and lovely to be outside. Very restorative.
I wanted to shake one lady, though. She’s there with her two kids, and all she does is talk to people and tell them what an angel her older son is and what a problem her younger son is, right in front of them. Talk about a way to screw up the kids! My vibe was that the older “angel” just knew how not to get caught, and the younger one bore the brunt of everything. Idiots like that woman are why the issue of licensing parents comes up.
Plenty of dogs playing in the park (they are, after all, the inspiration for the “Dogs on Beach” stories).
Came back and was ravenously hungry, so I made chicken in a wine sauce with mushrooms, rosemary, onion, olives, and tomatoes, based on a Marcella Hazen recipe, but a little different. It turned out pretty well. Along with the baked potatoes.
Also got out three more pitches – but one has an address that’s “undeliverable”. I’ve checked the address three times, and it’s right, so there was a mistake in the ad. Oh, well.
And it’s always the lowest paying gigs with the biggest egos, isn’t it? There’s a little Podunk publication paying below minimum asking for pitches for short articles (200 words). I have the research, it seemed like something relatively painless, maybe even a bit fun. I send them some detailed pitches, and they write back asking me to “develop” the pitches so they get a sense of my voice. All with plenty of exclamation points and smilies in the email, of course. My voice is blatantly obvious in the pitch and cover letter, and you have to be kind of an idiot not to get a sense of it. Or aren’t actually reading what’s in front of you. Uh, any more developed and you’ll have the entire article, and, babycakes, I’m not doing it without a contract, since I’ve never heard of you before and it’s unlikely I will again. Had they asked for samples, no problem. I’ve got a portfolio of samples, ready to go out upon request, which give solid indications of style, voice, and range. But, basically, here, they’re asking me to write on spec, and they’re just not worth it to me. If the article is 200 words, the pitch isn’t going to be 199. Buh-bye.
I’m not going to do a March Wrap-Up because March was basically a lost month, between the flood, the lost car, the new car, and getting sick. So I’m rolling over the bulk of the March GDRs to April and seeing what I can get done. I totally blew a deadline for an anthology, but it was requested, not contracted, so I don’t feel as bad as I might otherwise feel. All the contracted work was completed on time. The rest – take a number and I’ll get to it when I can.
Today I need to do a bunch of admin work, finish the assignment for the Confidential Job, and work on The Project. And maybe do some of that at the beach, if it’s another nice day. I managed about an hour this morning, outlining the Turn of the Century project. I’ve got a strong beginning and a strong ending plotted. As usual, I’m suffering in the middle. I’m also keeping a running list of what I need to research as I plot.
PS Brandy – thanks for the tip on the dry food. I feed mine Purina Naturals or Purina Indoor formula. I emailed Newman’s Own yesterday, asking them where their food is prepared and how. I received a quick, very nice response that still got on my nerves. They have a “confidentiality agreement” with the plant, and can’t tell me where, but assured me they have their own quality control people checking the site regularly and that the gentleman who responded feeds his animals NOO in clear conscience. My retort was that, if he couldn’t tell me it was NOT prepared at Menu Foods, I wasn’t about to risk it. I ordered a cat food cookbook yesterday, and found another one which I plan to order – and I’m going to go back to preparing their food myself. I’ll ask the vet if I need to add vitamin supplements to the mixes.