April 10, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I ended up trying to help my mom with her taxes yesterday, and that ate up most of the day. I have a feeling we’re going to get Turbo Tax and simplify things. It didn’t help that I went through everything, did all the calculations and then realized one of my early numbers was wrong!

Anyone else use Turbo Tax? What’s your experience?

Assignments from both Confidential Jobs arrived yesterday, so I have to put my nose to the grindstone and get those done. Fortunately, I’m excited about both assignments.

I ended up having to rewrite the beginning of Chapter Two of Good Names because they would have traveled from the stepmother’s house to the hotel via horse-drawn hacks – it was still a bit too early for cars to be common just then. After all, Henry Ford sold the first Model A to a Detroit doctor in 1903 – but it may have been later in the year than when the story opens. I’d rather not risk the inaccuracy, and put them in a hack instead. But I can still have them pass streetcars – Chicago had lots of streetcars at that time! But I also went further into the chapter. It makes it stronger.

Got out two freelance pitches and a request for more information to a third company. Printed off some other guidelines for a potential market – I have to look through my pieces and see if there’s anything appropriate.

Did the assignment for Confidential Job #2, wrote the report, and sent it off this morning. Keep your fingers crossed that they like the result and keep using me!

Off to the theatre for day work today, and then I have to rush back and across town for the meeting regarding the flood last month. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to speak – it depends how much I disagree with what’s said!

Devon

Good Names — 3,562 words out of est. 100,000

Kristen King’s Inkthinker Query Challenge 2007 — 27 pitches out of 120 = 22.5%

April 9, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Didn’t post yesterday, because I was busy writing. So I’m posting today.

Check out “Vapid” by Kell E. Harper over on Circadian Poems.

Harmony, of Writer in the Making tagged me back on Friday, so here are my answers:

How do you achieve balance in your life?
I ruthlessly prioritize. I constantly ask myself what’s the most important, and act on that. And, I give myself the day off or change my mind when my intuition tells me so to do. I’m getting better at throwing other people’s agendas back at them instead of feeling I have to acquiesce. Also, running two full-time careers, even though I’m doing the transition, is not easy. It’s been difficult to stay balanced through all the home-and-hearth chaos with the Evil Developers. I’m counting on it being easier once I’ve moved.


What is your biggest challenge in balancing your life?

Other people’s agendas in conflict with mine. Constantly having to weigh where someone fits (or doesn’t) into my life and if that agenda should be taken into consideration.


What are your priorities?

My writing and my extended family hold the top spot together. They are equally important to me. Writing is breathing to me, and I’m no good to anyone, including myself, if I’m not writing. Walking my talk is another priority – I have strong opinions as far as personal conduct (treading lightly on the earth, treating people well, social justice, etc.) – but if I don’t live my life that way, it means nothing.


How have your priorities changed over time and why?

Writing has always been a priority, but there were about 15 years in the middle where working in technical theatre took over, and often the only writing was in my diaries. I lost confidence in my abilities, and I made the mistake of putting other people’s work before my own – thinking it would naturally balance out. Of course, it doesn’t – those people expect and demand to always be put first and never are willing to offer the same kind of support. So, eventually, if you have any self-esteem, you remove yourself from the situation and re-prioritize. At this point, “partnership”, to me, means we both work towards both our goals – not one or the other repressing or putting aside the goals only to work for the other person’s.

What advice can you share to help all of us learn to balance our own lives?
The word “no” is your best friend.
Don’t settle. Always strive.

I’m going to tag: Tammy, Rhian, Colin, Ann, and Tori for this one (and anyone else who wishes, please feel free to join in).

Ink in My Potting Soil
Over the past few days, four little tiny morning glory plants have struggled up through the soil. Nothing else has ventured out yet – but those four determined little shoots are here!

Writing
I spent most of yesterday working on Good Names. I wrote the first draft of Chapter One – slow going, just over 2500 words, but steady progress, and it feels right. I did some research, and embarked on the second chapter. We’re still in Chicago, but Althea has taken Ruby (the character through whose eyes the story is told) and her younger brother and sister (Althea’s brother’s children) away from their cruel stepmother. I’ve decided to lodge them at the Congress Hotel. They will only be in Chicago for another chapter or two before I put them on the Twentieth Century Limited luxury train and send them to New York. I decided that Althea’s New York City home will be in the Grammercy Park area; I’m still not sure in which town in Westchester she will live, although I’m leaning towards Tarrytown. I can’t make it to the Westchester Archives for the next two weeks – but I doubt I’ll be done with the New York city section by then.

I still have to weave Jane Addams and Agnes Nestor into the Chicago section, but I have to do some more research before that will work. I remember reading about Jane Addams when I was in elementary school, as one of The Childhood of Famous Americans series – but that’s not going to be good enough for this.

I did a little bit this morning, just over two pages, but need to do some more research for detail.


Ink in My Kitchen

The blueberry scone recipe went out yesterday. If you didn’t get it, but wanted it, drop me an email with your email and I’ll send it off to you.

I also worked on some other recipes for The Project. I’m being naughty – I should do one batch exactly as written before I make any changes – but when I know something isn’t working, or when I taste and it’s bland – I’m making the changes right away. And notating them.

I baked a few loaves of Swedish Coffee Bread (which doesn’t look like any Swedish recipe I’ve ever seen in a Scandinavian cookbook). Then, I worked on the cottage cheese pie recipe – different crust – and something went wrong in the oven, it started belching black smoke and there were the beginnings of flames, and I was afraid we’d have a kitchen fire (we had one in 2002). I turned everything off, got the cake out of the oven, turned on all the fans, opened the windows. The fire didn’t catch, it went out, fortunately – I didn’t even have to use the fire extinguisher. But it was traumatic. And here I had a partially warmed cottage cheese mess on my hands – so I dashed to a neighbor’s downstairs and used her oven instead. Thank goodness for neighbors.

And, when I move, I’m getting a custom-built oven.

Both the bread and the pie taste pretty darned good, though!

This morning, I tore apart the over and scrubbed everything down – even though it was remarkably clean. I couldn’t find any reason for what happened – which worries me even more. I tested the oven, and it seems to be working fine, but I’m still nervous.

Other Stuff
I went to my friend’s place to do laundry on Saturday. When I tried to leave – the dog jumped into my brand-new car and wouldn’t get out. It took the two of us forty minutes to wrestle him out of the car – and now I’ve got blonde Labrador hair all over the car! I even drove him around the driveway a few times, hoping he’d be satisfied, but no . . .I didn’t dare take him for a longer jaunt because they’ve got an electric fence and I didn’t want him to get shocked. It was funny . . .to a point.

Spooky ate two dishes of kibble Saturday and demanded a good, long cuddle. He’s shedding, too, so I have to get him his own brush (until everyone’s been to the vet I’m not mixing anything they use and I’m washing my hands thoroughly in between touching anyone). AND I’m looking after my neighbor’s enormous cat while she’s away this weekend, and he had to have attention – I’m telling you, Saturday was all about being at the beck and call of critters.

My girls were horrified that I smelled of two other cats AND a dog!

We watched programs on professional cat shows and on doggie day care, and I said to my three, “See, there are owners out here who are even nuttier than I am!” They were truly horrified by the cat show program and the cats yowling, and figured they have a much better deal here. Nothing against cat shows – those owners do adore their cats – but it’s not the kind of life mine want!

One of the cat food cookbooks arrived – vet approved recipes – and there’s a section called “Cooking in Tandem” with quantities for owners and pets together – dual recipes. Um, that might be even too extreme for me.

I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert, of course, hooks up with another guy by the end of the book – god forbid she should actually be comfortable in solitude, which is far more complex than simple celibacy. She goes on and on about how different she is now, after her trip – well, all I see is a woman who went from being in a marriage, rearranging her life for some guy, to being in an affair and rearranging her life with some guy. It seems, to me, she’s in the same situation, but in a different location with a different guy. Change is about more than just a few weeks without sex.

Started reading Daughter of Vermont, about Ella Eaton Hepburn, a young woman who was one of the early classes in the co-educational St. Lawrence University, near the turn of the twentieth century. The book is fascinating and there’s information I can use in Good Names.

I want to get back to Good Names today, do some more work on Circadian and a few other projects. Hopefully, Confidential Job #1 will give me my next assignment and Confidential Job #2 will send me the test assignment, and I can get going on those.

Devon


Good Names
— 3,000 words out of est. 100,000

April 7, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

For crying out loud, it SNOWED yesterday! Not much, but . . .I mean, really!

I can not believe how much time all the paperwork takes in reference to the three regular gigs. I’m not talking about the actual assignments – I’m talking about tracking the assignments, incoming and outgoing deadlines, invoices, and payments, and the various instructions that fly back and forth. But I figure if I take the time now, at the beginning, to set up solid systems, I can just plug in the rest as I go, and keep track. It’s quite different than the one-offs, where you just pitch, negotiate, contract, do it, send it, and get paid, and move on to the next thing.

Thank goodness for Excel!

Worked on the Writer’s Outline for Good Names yesterday morning. Found a few holes to plug, a few character bits to strengthen. In general, it’s coming along well. It feels different than anything else, but it feels right.

Spent the afternoon at the local library, researching turn of the century architecture, etc. in Chicago and New York. I found lots of good information – and two books that I have to hunt down and purchase. There’s one book in particular, on the Mississippi, that not only serves Good Names, but will be a big help in the restructuring of The Widow’s Chamber.

I had to leave the reference room because it was so frigging loud – this is a LIBRARY, people! Shut the fuck up! And, if someone is on the cell phone – they should be excommunicated from the sacred space of the library!!! I long for the days of stern librarians!

I moved upstairs to “the quiet room” and we were all quiet – although, I swear, I ended up on the squeakiest chair known to man and was mortified. And then I got distracted by a biography of Daphne du Maurier (which I now want to own, too) and ended up spending far more time there than I should. On the sale shelf, I found an almost-new copy of Patricia Wells’s Bistro Cooking. It’s one of my favorites, my copy is in storage, this one was only $2 – it is now mine. I can always use it as a contest prize when I get my own copy out of storage, or put it up on BookMooch or something.

On my way home, I stopped at Patisserie Salzburg and treated myself to a chocolate éclair. Not just any chocolate éclair – this one had chocolate filling, not custard! Yum!

Came home and those idiots with their leaf blowers started up as soon as I walked in the door. They had an entire afternoon to be annoying – why did they wait until I got home? Personally, I think leaf blowers should be banned – they’re bad for our ears and nerves, and lousy for the environment, the way they belch exhaust. Use a rake, people!

Did some online research about Chicago – still don’t have the information I need about neighborhoods, but I have some on hotels, restaurants, stores, etc., that I can use. I might pop off an email to the Chicago Historical Society over the weekend for some specifics. I also found some books at Strand – but I have to restrain myself for the moment.

The first chapter of Good Names is starting to bubble up, but I want to have the details of place IN PLACE, in my mind at least, before I start. Place is an additional character in this book.

I’m off to a friend’s for a few hours today, to do laundry and maybe get some work done. And then I need to come home and do more on The Project.

Confidential Job #2 keeps adding more and more things to the confidentiality agreement, which makes me think they are a little paranoid beyond a reasonable scope. I’m a bit skeptical about this gig. We’ll see.

I still don’t have my energy back from this bout of flu. I took most of the evening off yesterday and actually watched television (you know I’m not feeling like myself when that happens).

Oh, and down the street – they’ve started with the effing leaf blowers – already! Um, it’s spring, the leaves aren’t even out yet.

Harmony tagged me – I’ll post the results tomorrow.

Devon

April 6, 2007

Friday, April 6, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I’m a guest blogger today on Deborah Ng’s Freelance Writing Jobs
and the discussion topic is “Why I Don’t Ghostwrite”. It is a discussion, started by my opinion on the subject (and why I don’t ghostwrite). I hope you’ll hop on over and join in the discussion. I’ve gotten some interesting gigs from Deborah’s job listings.

Something that’s come up amongst my circle of freelancers is the topic of “the latte life”. Several so-called writers have published essays about how easy it is, and how they spend their time sipping lattes in coffee shops as they work. It’s set off fury amongst those of us who have to work our butts off to make ends meet. Essays talking about how “easy” freelance writing is are not only inaccurate, and generally written by people who don’t have to make ends meet via their pens – but they also drive down the pay rate for all of us. If it’s so easy, companies who read these pieces figure, why pay what we’re paying? We can get it for less.

A truly good freelancer is worth the money, and should be paid decent dollars. None of this $10 for 50 posts crap. Because a good freelance writer entices and enchants the reader and draws the reader to the company’s product. You get what you pay for.

However – and here is where some of my colleagues are going to get annoyed with me – I disagree with the points they make about having to be available to their clients all the time. I’m simply NOT. That’s the point of freelancing. Yes, I honor my work day. And I get to set the work day however I wish. But I make it very clear to the clients up front that I am almost impossible to reach by phone. I HATE phones anyway, and, to me, one of the points of freelancing is to have large swaths of uninterrupted work time. When I’m working, I’m WORKING. To me, working means NOT TALKING ON THE PHONE – whether it’s to a client or to a family member. I’m WORKING. The phones are OFF.

I have certain times of the day when I check my messages, and then I take the hour or so it takes to return the calls. And, I let the clients know that, if they email me, they’re more likely to get a quick answer, because I tend to hop on and off my email accounts in the short breaks I take in the actual writing.

It keeps my concentration flowing, and it prevents me from being interrupted by something a client calls an “emergency”, but is, in fact, merely an annoyance. If I wanted to be at someone’s beck and call, I’d still be working in an office. To me, the point of being a freelancer is to create my own schedule, so that I’m working with my biorhythms and give the clients excellent work at a reasonable price within the deadline time.

Just don’t try to call me when I’m trying to get the work done! 😉

Rhian honored me in her “Thursday Thirteen” post yesterday by calling me one of the bloggers she wanted to be when she grew up. She even called me a “Renaissance Woman” – which to me, is a high compliment.

A few months ago, at one of the PEN events, I was talking to one of my colleagues. The discussion was about being put into boxes by the publishing industry and marketing people, and my colleague complained that, because she likes and is capable of doing many things in many areas, she’s called “unfocused”. I shot back, “Just tell ‘em you’re a well-rounded Renaissance Woman – that’s what I do!” She laughed and said she would. I got an email from her a few weeks ago, saying that, since she’s started using that line – she’s not hassled as often.

And now Rhian – who was, at that time, still unknown to me – calls me so without prompting. I am honored. I wish I had Rhian’s patience and tolerance when dealing with the world!

Polished the guest blogger article and sent if off. As mentioned above, it will appear later today.

By the way, Devon’s Random Newsletter went out. If you didn’t get your copy, send me an email to let me know; if you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so here.

I’m a member of another blog chain this week – hello to my fellow links! I did my first round of visits yesterday, and look forward to continuing visits for the next week.

I got the packages off to my cousin (nothing like a post office that can’t be bothered to open during hours that are relevant to the community), got my TSA-approved travel locks, and picked up a pound of coffee, since I was almost out. And that just can’t happen.

Dilly-dallied around too much instead of getting down to work. I’m getting in my own way on a couple of projects and have to remove myself as an obstacle.

Chaz’s book singing a siren song at me didn’t help, either. “Don’t you want to lose a few days under my enchantment?”

I got a positive response yesterday from a pitch I’d sent out the day before. They’re going to pay me to do a sample. If we like each other, it’ll be a regular, paying gig – with another confidentiality agreement. It sounds like it would be a ton of fun, so keep your fingers crossed.

I managed to deal with 350 emails, which was progress. The backlog of them, spread amongst the various addresses, is sometimes overwhelming. I try to stay on top of them, but sometimes, it all gets away from me.

Spooky visited up and down several times during the day, demanding I be his butler. In other words, he’d dash up three flights of stairs for a snack and some attention, and then demand I travel DOWN three flights of stairs to let him back out into the courtyard. Um, no. I am many things to cats, but I am NOT a butler. I caught Iris trying to pry one of the hinge pins out of the door frame –she figured she can’t pry the door open with her paw the way she does the other doors because the front door locks – and she KNOWS there’s kibble on the other side of it. So she’s working on the hinge pins. If I hear a big crash in the middle of the night, I’ll know she’s worked both of them out and the door’s fallen down. She’s very stubborn.

Both the twins missed their breakfast this morning. A group of birds were busy on the fire escape, having some sort of spring convention. Iris and Violet were in the window, chattering to them. The birds, well aware that the cats can’t get through the window, completely ignored them, except for one mischievous robin who marched back in forth right outside the window just to tease them. And Elsa ate everybody’s breakfast. You’ve gotta move fast if you want your meals around here!

I spent most of the evening working on the writer’s outline for Good Names. I rearranged some of the earlier notes and embellished, and plugged the holes. I think it’s just about ready for me to begin. Part of me wants to wait until the New Moon to start – a better time, I think. Part of me, of course, wants to begin now. The outline is eight single-spaced pages. It’s quite thorough. I like the way it’s developed. There’s one section, near the climax, where it’s going to be difficult to figure out how to pull off the action – I need the reader to know what’s happening from more than one point of view, but I want to keep the entire book in the first person. I think I’ve found a way to do it – since the entire book is a memory anyway – but it’ll be up to my Trusted Readers to tell me whether or not it works. And that’s about a year down the line or so, so I’m not going to worry about it quite yet. I need to fill in some more peripheral characters – more servants in the NYC townhouse, and the servants in the Westchester house – and decide where in Westchester the house will be. I want it on the Hudson, and might set it in and amongst the fashionable houses in Tarrytown. I have a feeling it’s time for another trip to the Westchester Archives to research. Now, if I could only find my card . . .

If I do Nano again this year – I think I’ll write Amadeus Doe for that one. It’s been percolating for nearly two years now – about time it comes out.

I need to get some work done on The Project, send off the confidentiality agreement for Confidential Job 2, and hopefully get the sample, so I can work on it this weekend.

I have an idea buzzing around my brain for a new short story, based on a botched bank robbery and manhunt that happened around here yesterday, but it’s not quite ready to go on the page yet.

It will be a busy weekend.

Devon

Published in: on April 6, 2007 at 8:27 am  Comments (8)  

April 5, 2007

Thursday, April 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Misty and cold

I decided that Saturn can’t STILL be retrograde, so, even though I can’t find a “direct” on my calendars – I hereby declare it DIRECT! With both Pluto (hidden things) and Jupiter (money, material things) retrograde, I am NOT dealing with a continuing Saturn Retrograde as well. SO THERE!

I could not get the engines fired yesterday. I made it to Old Greenwich to Staples, where I got the binders I needed and a new Staples Rewards card. About time – I’ve had the old one for five years and it’s done me NO good.

At least I have binders to organize the information for Good Names.

Someone asked me the other day if I didn’t think Good Names was too close to Mia King’s title of Good Things. Well, no, and not just because they’re in two different genres and two different time periods. When I speak the title of Mia’s book, I put the emphasis on the first word: GOOD Things. When I speak the title of my book, the emphasis is on the second word: Good NAMES. To me, the inflection keeps the titles from being too similar. Plus, to me, both are the beginnings of phrases with quite different roots and meanings – they take us to different places.

Got out a couple of pitches and spent too much time dilly dallying on the internet. Now that I’ve limited the time spent on various forums (although I’m still having technical difficulties and can’t get in to the freelance forum that’s my absolute lifeline), I’m more focused with my time. But I’m doing some research, and the problem with research is tangents. I love tangents, and some of my best inspiration comes from tangents, but one still has to be careful.

It rained and rained and rained yesterday, so I kept the car on high ground and I’m hoping I don’t get a ticket. I will challenge it if I do.

Spooky stopped by this morning for a snack and a pet. He has absolutely no interest in being an indoor cat. He likes his independence too much. However, he does count on me for regular meals and cuddling. He’s getting the best of this deal, I think, but at least my girls aren’t upset.

I’m enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love more and more. It’s nice to watch her blossom into herself, instead of completely defining herself by men all the time (at the start, she was one of those people who had to be in a relationship all the time – the type of woman with whom I have absolutely NO patience). And her details and asides, especially in the section on Italy, are wonderful, funny, and engaging.

Worked on the guest blogger piece. Will give it a quick polish before I send it out this morning.

Started to sign up for the Freelancers Union – but found some of their questions during the sign-up process intrusive, and, quite frankly, none of their business. I should be able to choose not to answer them. If they keep insisting – I will UN-sign up.

Chaz Brenchley’s new novel, River of the World, arrived last night, and I look forward to reading it.

I prepared chicken and Italian sweet sausage last night, cooked in garlic, onion, tomato, and thyme, served over pasta, with green beans on the side. It was very good.

I have a busy morning ahead of me – the post office may deign to be open for a few hours, and I need to get some packages out to my cousin in Germany. And then I need to sort some more receipts in preparation for taxes. And work on The Project. And write. I want to get some work done on Good Names.

Devon

April 4, 2007

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I have a very personal essay up on The Scruffy Dog Review Blog today entitled “A Taste of Not Writing.”

I thought I was fine yesterday. Took the train in, did some business at the Credit Union (I’m tired of feeling abused by my bank, so I’m taking most of my business to the credit union to which I’m entitled to join as a union member), and went to the theatre. Caught up with everyone, several people had brought treats back from various trips, etc., etc. It was all good, but I was completely wiped out at the end of the call and could hardly haul myself back across town to the train to get home. I guess I’m still lacking in much of the energy drained from being ill. The same flu’s going around and around the building, and company members are falling like dominoes.

I bought my tickets to the PEN events I plan to attend as part of their World Voices Conference at the end of this month. Because of the member discount, I can go to several events AND take guests. I’m pleased. More than that, I’m very excited about the conference.

The new jackets I ordered from The National Wildlife Federation arrived (I ordered them about two days ago). They look terrific and they fold into themselves to make a little 6×9 package with a handle for easy packing. Since it’s raining today and I’m moving the car, I plan to test the jacket and see if it’s up to the upcoming trip.

Chaz Brenchley’s play opened in Newcastle last night, and I’m excited to hear how it went. Plus, I heard from Amazon that his new book shipped – so I have that to look forward to as well.

I tossed out a pitch last night when I got home from work and got an immediate “yes!” – so I’m doing the piece today and sending it off tomorrow. It will appear this weekend and I’ll give you the details, links, etc., as soon as I have them.

Since I have to get in the car anyway to move it out of flood’s way, I might as well drive one state over to the Staples who has what I need and get stuff. The problem with ordering online is that there are certain things I need that I need to handle before I purchase. Plus, I like to wander up and down the abundant aisles and buy far more than I need. Which works out well, because the day I can’t get anywhere is the day I usually need it, and, if I can remember where I stashed it, it’s all good. I am an office supply junkie.

Then, it’s back to do some more work on the receipts for my taxes, do the article for the weekend gig, and work on The Project.

Plus, hopefully, scour some job boards and get out a few more pitches.

I better get going – I overslept this morning, and I’m having a late start!

Devon

Published in: on April 4, 2007 at 9:04 am  Comments (7)  

April 3, 2007

Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Lisa Gates, whose wonderful blog Design Your Writing Life I found through my friend Lori’s wonderful blog Words on the Page gave me a lovely mention in her blog yesterday.

Thank you, Lisa! Her blog’s great, and I’m adding it to my daily blog reads.

Ran a bunch o’errands yesterday morning – tried to get something that was advertised in the Staples circular by going to the store up the street – why do I bother? They NEVER have anything I need and they have absolutely no interest in getting it in the store, even if nicely asked. Which is why I usually go all the way to damn Connecticut for supplies. Nothing against the state, but I shouldn’t have to drive one state over when there’s a branch of the store up the block! I didn’t drive to CT – I simply went without.

Used a coupon at Linens N Things AND took advantage of their buy 2-get-1-free baking pan offer – got two more loaf pans AND the right kind of springform pan for proper cheesecake (no more store bought graham cracker crusts for me)!

And bought a new purse for me for an upcoming trip (more on that at some future date).

April’s turning out much busier and more social than I expected, but it’s all good.

Finished the work for the Confidential Job, wrote up what I needed to, got it out. Goody.

Spent a few hours today sorting receipts, filing, and, in general, taming the Paper Monster. Two of the three piles on my desk are now small. The third – well, we’ll get to that by the turn of the next century. Maybe.

I’m organizing the notes for Good Names, so I can see where there are holes. In this instance, I’m going to plug the holes BEFORE I start – because of the historical time frame, I need to pre-plot pretty tightly, and then I’m going to research specifics as I go. We’ll see how that works. As I’ve said many a time, every project is someone like reinventing the wheel. But you take what you’ve learned before and apply it, so usually the process is quicker than the previous times.

I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and it’s interesting in the best sense of the word. There’s a lot of beautiful writing. There are also plenty of times when I want to slap her silly. However, I also appreciate that she’s not trying to make herself look better, she’s out there, flaws and all. She’s sharing a very personal journey. Part of me applauds her for it and part of me wonders why. Although she’s pretty upfront about why – her publisher accepted the book about her trip before she took it, which gave her the money to take that year off and experience the experiences in the book. There’s some self-obsession with her own drama, at least in these early pages, that sets off warning bells for me, though.

Managed to get out a piece on submission that’s been sitting around, tapping its foot (its binding?) and is finally out the door. Hopefully, I’ve matchmade it to the right home this time.

I have to go into the city early to do some business before I get to the show – I haven’t been at the theatre for nearly two weeks. It will be odd to be back.

Devon

PS. The blueberry scone recipe will go out to those who requested it later this week. It’s based on Brooke Dojny’s cranberry scone recipe, but a little different, from The New England Cookbook, cross referenced with some of the little Scottish cookbooks I picked up when I was in Scotland.

April 2 — Happy Anniversary, Ink!

Monday, April 2, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Happy Anniversary to Ink in My Coffee!

The blog turns 3 today. Who knew I had so much to say?

Yesterday was all about cooking, working on recipes. And doing some of my own cooking. Made blueberry scones for breakfast. Experimented with a bread that was in a handwritten cookbook my grandmother gave me – only the proportions were off, I had to improvise, when the dough rose it nearly took over the entire kitchen like some sort of sticky alien monster – and it turns out the recipe was written by someone else! It tastes good, though, and, in the end, that’s what matters. And then I did a cottage cheese pie from the same book – but this time, I was sure it was my grandmother’s handwriting! I created a good red wine marinade for pork chops and created a nice sauté of eggplant, tomato, and peas with cilantro and basil. So it all worked out just fine – but it was a whole day of cooking. And now I have to make the notations, etc.

I caught up on a bunch of paperwork last night. There’s still a paper monster to tame, but at least I’ve made some progress. I want to get my taxes done on Wednesday, so I have to finish up all my receipts in the next couple of days.

Circadian Poems should return by the end of the day, if all goes well.

I have to run some errands (like getting more loaf pans for the Swedish Coffee Bread that has to be baked today) and finish the work for The Confidential Job. So I guess I’ve got a busy day ahead of me!

Worked on the 1903 piece both last night and this morning – I think I’m almost ready to type up my notes/outline, do some preliminary research, and start. I even have a title for it: Good Names, which will make sense once you know the plot, since it has a lot to do with society and reputation.

I hope, later this week, to read the draft of Assumption of Right and get to work on the revisions.

Had a revelation about the Changeling trilogy. It’s not a trilogy of novellas at all – it’s a novel. So now I can get on with it – and I’m going to call the whole piece Chasing the Changeling. There will still be three distinct sections in the book, but it’s one piece, not three little pieces, and I might as well admit it and do what’s right for the piece, instead of trying to make it what it’s not.

Sometimes you look at your work where you’ve been struggling and suddenly you just go, “Duh.”


Ink in My Potting Soil

The begonia, Christmas cactus, and one of the kalachoe are blooming. I need to repot a lemon tree (grown from seed) that’s as tall as the double window and needs more room, and plant some wheat grass for the cats. Today is another planting day.

Devon

Published in: on April 2, 2007 at 8:29 am  Comments (15)  

April 1, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I caught up on some email yesterday. It was a nice day, so I thought I’d take my work to the beach again, but it was a little too cold. I felt overtired, as though I’d pushed too hard, so took it easy in the afternoon.

Finished the first two volumes of LM Montgomery’s Journals. In many ways, I like them; in many ways, she annoys me. She needed to learn to say “no” much earlier in life, and to stop playing the martyr. Simply saying women didn’t have the choice at that time is not entirely true – the only way, throughout history, any progress has been made, is for individuals (male and female) to flout society and do what they knew was right – or what they had to do in order to protect their calling, be it artistic, scientific, whatever. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, and Clara Barton broke the mold in earlier years. The constant complaining about how boring everyone is around her and the constant crying and illness – honey, you’re a writer. These people are material. Just because they don’t share the same interests you do doesn’t mean they don’t have value. When she finally stood up to the publishers who’d cheated her, I wanted to jump up and cheer. I was also unhappy to find out what a snob she was – constantly calling people coarse and vulgar. It may well have been part of the language of the times, but it wasn’t pleasant to read. At the same time, she did have a rough row to hoe, and there are many beautiful passages in the Journals.

I ordered the third volume out of Canada. I’m simply not patient enough to wait another two or three years until it comes up on eBay. Plus, supposedly, the third volume deals with the Emily books, and I’ve always been fond of them.

I was actually hungry last night, and fixed a meat sauce for the pasta with onion, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, tomato, and a touch of hot sauce. Yum!

This morning, I made blueberry scones, and I have several other recipes with which I need to play in the course of the day.

Got a bit more done on the 1903 outline today. The middle seems to be un-muddling a bit. I have a feeling I’ll be lucky if, when I finally sit down to write it, I can do a page a day. I suspect this piece will have a slow creation process. Each piece has its own rhythm, and I have to trust the rhythm.

Ink in My Potting Soil

Yesterday was a planting day, according to my lunar calendar. I planted some cuttings, plus put in seeds for two kinds of morning glories, moonflower, marigold, a single sweet pea seed I had left, lemon, and some nicotiana. We’ll see if any of it comes up – they are old seeds, and I wanted to use them up. Plus, I only have north-facing windows. Yet the lemon, lime, and tangerine seeds I’ve planted in previous years usually come up pretty well.

I can hope, right?

Devon

Published in: on April 1, 2007 at 8:54 am  Comments (3)