Fri. Aug. 23, 2019: This N That

Friday, August 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Yesterday was unpleasant, in terms of weather. Got some work done at the library. Took care of a bunch of stuff.

Quiet afternoon reading. I’m reading both Elaine Viets’s Dead End Job series and her Mystery Shopper series. They’re fun and lively. She balances plot and character well.

Started reading the Wendy Wassersetein biography WENDY AND THE LOST BOYS. I knew her from my NYC days, although she was a few years ahead of me on both years and her career. I admired her work enormously, although I didn’t know her well. But it was a reminder of a lot of that off-Broadway world that nurtured new work from the mid-seventies into the nineties. I knew some of the same people and places. Brings back a lot of memories. It’s always interesting to read another perspective about something you’ve lived.

Up early this morning. Out to run errands. What usually takes me 30 minutes took TWO HOURS because of traffic.

Friends coming in tomorrow for a bit, so I will clean the house — and hopefully not re-injure my hand. I had a great session on ELLA this morning, and look forward to working on both GRAVE REACH and my article this afternoon.

And focusing on GRAVE REACH all weekend. Next week will be a roller coaster.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thurs. Aug. 22, 2019: Sometimes You Have to Make the Break

Thursday, August 22, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid, with incoming storms

If my father was still alive, this would have been his birthday.

Yesterday was okay. Had a decent morning’s work on GRAVE REACH before I headed to my client’s. Had a decent morning’s work on ELLA.

Got a good bit done at my client’s.

The Remote Chat was terrific. I always have such fun with that group.

Stopped at the grocery store, then went home.

Set up an interview with a potential new client near end of day next Tuesday. The company is fairly new, and their work interests me, so we’ll see what happens when we talk.

The Narcissistic Sociopath now claims to be “King of Israel” and the “Second Coming of God”? He’s insane. It’s so infuriating that no one will DO anything to hold him accountable.

Decided to end a friendship because the other person is so toxic in my life. I’ve tried to be a good friend over the years; she’s talented, and I know she’s struggling with mental health issues. But she continues to hurt, attack, stand me up, try to manipulate me all the time. I am done. Her position is that she has mental health issues and therefore can’t be held responsible for what she says or does. She needs to do what she needs to do in the moment to take care of herself, and if lashing out is what she needs to do, then she’s going to do that. She considers it my job to stand there and take it without complaint. Even when it’s behavior I have repeatedly told her is harmful to me. I agree that she has the right to do whatever she needs to. I also have the right not to be her whipping post. Not to constantly be expected to accept the poison and hurt she keeps trying to pour on me. I, too, have the right to take care of myself. We’re done. If her therapist is telling her it’s okay to commit deliberate acts of cruelty toward the people in her life, I have problems with that.

The loss of the good times and her potential and her talent will be mourned; her refusal to take any responsibility for toxic behavior will not.

Today is supposed to be brutally hot and humid, then storms that will break it. I hope that’s true.

I am focusing on my article and on GRAVE REACH today. Had an excellent morning on ELLA. The first draft of ELLA is a mess, all over the place, but I’m loving the process. I have a basic idea of the points I want to hit, but I’m not working from a detailed outline the way I often do.

It’s important to change up the process occasionally, and not get into a rut.

My hand is still bothering me. I have a few hours where I feel better, then a bunch of hours where I don’t. One day at a time, I guess.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. Aug. 21, 2019: When Healing is a Set Back/Done With Undervaluing

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Someday it will stop being hot and humid

I had a bad night Monday into Tuesday, due to the infection in my hand. Scared me.

I went back to the doctor on Tuesday. She warned me that I would have a couple more bad days because the antibiotic is doing its job — but the infection will intensity for a bit before it improves.

In other words, type less.

I’m taking a break from Ink-Dipped Advice for a couple of weeks, and from the garden blog. I will still post here, but probably shorter posts.

My focus is on finishing my article and this draft of the book.

Nothing like being ready to walk out the door and the client needs you to create and send out an email blast for an event happening tomorrow that she forgot to mention. Yeah, it got done. On time. I wasn’t even leaving late. Because I’m just that good.

Prepping for a meeting with a potential client, I was told to “low ball” my rates. “Why would I do that?” I asked. I looked at the annual report. There’s plenty of money to pay writers. I know how much the previous person got.

“They don’t want to pay that much.”

Me: “Then I don’t want to work for them.”

I’m tired of being undervalued and undervaluing myself. You don’t want to pay my rates? Go ahead and hire someone cheaper, who doesn’t bring what I do to the table — a unique way to create voice, character, and story that works to engage an audience. Your loss. Not mine.

On site with a client today. I intend to enjoy the next two Lauren Dane books this weekend.

Back to the page (sometimes typing one-handed, sometimes hunt-and-peck).

Published in: on August 21, 2019 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Aug. 20, 2019: Trying to Get Better

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I’m doing on The Reader Expansion Challenge.

It took me a few days to adjust to the antibiotic. I’m coping. I think I’m healing.

I spent far too much time the past few days, gobbling down the first three books in Lauren Dane’s GODDESS WITH A BLADE series. Boy, are they good! I have two more to read, and then book 6 comes out in December. It’s a really, REALLY good series.

Read another book, by that author I mentioned last week, about whom I was on the fence. I’m definitely off the fence now, and it’s crossing her off the list. Her protagonist quit a job that was putting her on the path to an outstanding career because her boyfriend didn’t like that she was working with another man. Sorry, that’s not true love. That’s a toxic relationship. Add the character’s constant “tired” to miss major plot points, whining, crying, and relying on men all the time — not the series for me.

Read another book where the premise was good, but the book dripped with so much white woman Southern privilege & adherence to the status quo that it nauseated me. The author is trying to portray his protagonist as a “tolerant” Southern woman. Honey, she’s not. She has flashes of racism (which means she’s racist), she believes it’s not grafting if you cheat someone with less money than she has (but is horrified if someone wealthy gets cheated), and I got way, way, WAY ahead of the plot. Cross that author off my list.

Got the review off to my editor, worked on my article, worked on GRAVE REACH, ELLA, and a little on DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN.

I was not allowed to read Lauren Dane’s book on Saturday until I’d written my quota for the day!

I also got my first Sephora Play! box. I was surprised by the quality of the samples. They are stuff I actually want to try and use. The lipstick is a color I would have never chosen on my own, and it looks great on me (I love lipsticks). There are also some interesting skin care products that I’m trying.

Sunday, I had to hack away some invasive plants and feed the lawn. We were supposed to get storms and rain, but they were wrong. AGAIN. I went out while it was cloudy, and then the sun came out, and I had problems, in spite of slathering on the sunscreen, because of the antibiotic.

Good writing session Monday morning before I had to go onsite with a client. Which was what it was.

A quick trip to the library, then meditation group. Much-needed. Then some work on the article. It’s due next week, but I’d like to get it in a little early. Gmail was down at the library, so things I needed to get done there couldn’t happen. Plus a bunch of uniformed old white men talking politics and showing their ignorance.

This morning, work on ELLA and GRAVE REACH, then onsite with a client and other appointments.

Head down and back to the page.

Mon. Aug. 19, 2019: Feng Shui for Inspiration — #UpbeatAuthors

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image by silviarita via pixabay.com

Monday, August 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’ve talked about using paintings to inspire us when we’re stuck. So many other art forms can also be used: any of the fine arts (sculpture, textiles, mixed media) or music or dance or anything else.

But sometimes nothing works.

That’s when applying the principles of Feng Shui to our creativity is useful.

There are two parts to this: applying it to the space in which you work, and applying it to the project itself. It might sound weird to Feng Shui a project, but I’ll explain how I do it.

There are multiple schools of Feng Shui. I like the Black Hat School, which Karen Rauch Carter details in her book MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE. In my opinion, this is the best Feng Shui book out there, and makes the most sense to my life.

Feng Shui for Space
Draw a bagua, writing in the nine life areas: career, skills & knowledge, family, prosperity, fame & reputation, relationships & love, creativity & children, helpful people & travel, and health in the appropriate points, per the typical bagua. In this piece, the techniques I talk about are from the Black Hat School. If you use Compass School, or a different technique, you might have to adjust where you stand with your bagua to survey the space.

Holding the bagua in your hand, stand in the doorway of your workspace and look around the room. Look at the placement of furniture, decorations, windows, mirrors, etc., and see what falls into each area of the bagua.

Using advice from the Feng Shui School of choice, start moving around objects so that they fit into the correct area of the bagua. If there’s something that can’t be moved, or something missing, look up the “cures” to balance it out. Even more important, clean your workspace. Tidy things up. Dust. Vacuum. Wash the windows. Water the plants. Rearrange furniture if you can or want to. Change the curtains or tablecloths or throw pillows or pictures. Remove anything that is dead or broken. Remove anything that doesn’t serve you any more.

Look through the rest of the house or things you have packed away to see if you already own something that serves as a “cure.”

You don’t have to throw out items with sentimental value just because they don’t fit the space anymore. Pack them away, with gentleness and compassion. A time will come when you want to freshen your space again, and then it might fit. In lean times and sad times, items I packed away ages ago have come in handy on multiple physical and emotional levels.

I genuinely believe that all these organizers who try to get you to throw out perfectly good “stuff” are just trying to get you to buy more stuff. If it’s still useful and purposeful, even if it isn’t needed right this second, pack it gently away and save it for the future.

Take another look at the space. If something still doesn’t feel quite right, keep tweaking it. But I bet you feel happier just being in the space.

Often cleaning up my writing room helps get me out of the “stuck” place, or the uninspired place.

Additionally, looking at the areas in both my writing room and the overall house, and making adjustments in the relevant areas will help get my creativity moving again.

Stand at your front door, looking at your entire space. Where does your writing space fall within the bagua? Mine is in the Helpful People & Travel sector in this house. So I have power tools in the writing room that serve Helpful People & Travel in respect to the overall house, while also looking at the room itself and seeing where the room itself falls into the bagua. It can get a little confusing sometimes, and I find myself adjusting and readjusting after most big projects. I’m a nester, which means wherever I work — the desk, the reading/writing chair, etc. — I tend to pile up what I’m using.

Feng Shui for Projects
How the heck do you Feng Shui a project?

I bet there’s advice on that out there somewhere. At the time of this writing, I haven’t read any, but writing this piece makes me want to hunt it down, if it exists.

However, I’ve come up with a couple of techniques on my own.

Have Your Character Do Some Feng Shui
See what happens if you write a scene or sequence where your character does some Feng Shui on their own space. Sometimes rearranging the character’s space helps the writer push through. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the sequence in the piece, unless it works. You can always cut it.

Remember that nothing written is ever wasted, even if it’s cut from the final draft. You needed to write it to GET to the final draft.

Use the Bagua on Your Plot
Take a look at the nine areas of the bagua. How do they relate to your protagonist’s journey? What pieces are missing, and how do they serve as a catalyst to the protagonist’s journey? Are any of them healed during the course of the book?

Conversely, when you look at the bagua, is there any area you can think of making more difficult for your character, and upping the stakes on the story? Is anything going a little too well in the character’s life, and needs more complications for a more engaging plot?

The act of cleaning and rearranging gets you out of torpor and into motion. As your body moves, your brain starts to re-engage, and that helps get your creativity flowing. Plus, a beautiful space is a much more welcoming space for your work!

Change Where You Work on the Project
Where does your workspace fall into the bagua of your home? Is there another place that would work better? Perhaps the Creativity & Children sector, or the Career Sector? The Prosperity or the Fame and Reputation Sector? Trying working in a different spot, and see if that rattles the creativity loose again.

This Week’s Task
Read a book on Feng Shui (libraries usually have several). Compare different styles. Pick one area of your home to Feng Shui and work on it.

Have you used Feng Shui in your home or your work? What style do you use? What were the results? Let me know in the comments.

Also, in the comments, talk about your Artist Date, and what kind of paintings or other art you experienced, and how it helped.

Fri. Aug. 16, 2019: The Insolence Never Ceases

Friday, August 16, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I didn’t post on Gratitude and Growth yesterday. Making up for it today, with just a quick post.

I’m on an antibiotic for the infection in my injured finger. It has about 29 possible side effects. Fortunately, I only have three of the minor ones: it makes me a little giddy, I can’t be in direct sunlight (so I’ll just spend 10 days in a dark corner like a vampire), and I’m thirsty all the time. I was shocked at how much direct sunlight HURTS, even with sunscreen.

Other than that, I feel much better.

I always feel odd the first 48 hours on an antibiotic. I don’t take them often, which means when I do, they hit hard. Which is a good thing.

I came home early yesterday and read, rather than tried to do anything else. I finished the book for review (and will work on the review today).

I also read Lauren Dane’s THE GODDESS BLADE. Loved it. I read it straight through in one sitting. I became acquainted with Lauren via Twitter, and we’ve had some good conversations. It was the first chance I had to read something of hers. I’ve already ordered the second book in the series, as my weekend treat! Unfortunately, because Amazon sucks so badly, it won’t download. It’s bought & paid for, it shows up on my screen with an X. And Amazon, of course, is no help. Update: I figured out a workaround, using two computers at the same time, in order to get it on my Kindle. NOT okay, Amazon.

I’ve been having weird, disturbing dreams lately. Which is weird, since that’s what Lesley experiences in GRAVE REACH, although the source of mine are something else.

There’s way too much idiocy online right now, and way too many idiots intentionally running the country into the ground. It has to stop. And the media needs to stop pandering to the Occupant’s hate rallies.

I blocked quite a few people yesterday. I don’t bother arguing with them. My energy needs to be spent working constructively, not destructively.

Oh, and here’s another volume in the Local Insult Directory:

Local: What did you do on Broadway?

Me: I worked in wardrobe. I was a dresser.

Local: Oh! Can you reupholster a chair for me?

Me: Um, what?

Local: You know, put new fabric on it.

Me: That’s props or set design, not wardrobe.

Local: Fabric’s fabric.

Me: It’s not.

Local: Besides, if I get a professional to do it, it’ll cost $750. But people work in theatre for free because they love it.

Me: Professionals work in theatre because they love making a living at it.

Local: No one gets PAID to do theatre.

Me: I did. For decades.

Local: You can’t expect money for things like this! It’s not real work.

Me: Why not? The professional upholsterer expects to be paid. Why shouldn’t a professional dresser or props person be paid?

Local: Well, you’re not very community-spirited, are you?

Me: I have a zero tolerance policy on grifters.

Bitch is lucky I didn’t slap her into the middle of next week. It’s so typical of the attitude around here. Now, this is a woman who’s never worked a day in her life (she lives off her husband’s money in his multi-million dollar oversized house and has a staff). She can afford to hire an upholsterer. But she wants a theatre person to work for free, because if someone in the theatre does it, it’s not “real work.” And why is working for free for a rich white woman who lives in a mansion considered working for the “community”?

Volunteering at the library or the food pantry or the domestic women’s shelter is working for the “community.” Not reupholstering a rich woman’s chair because she feels she’s entitled to free labor, and entitled to decide what constitutes “work.”

Before you say maybe they’re house-rich and cash-poor — no. Not the case. She only buys/wears designer labels and boasts about their trips to St. Bart’s.

I wish this was the exception around here. But it’s not.

Working on the article, GRAVE REACH, and my review this weekend. And, hopefully, getting better.

Have a great weekend. See you next week!

Thurs. Aug. 15, 2019: When You Have To Trust Your Instincts

Thursday, August 15, 2019
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Never a dull moment.

Yesterday was fine with my client. Then, I drove to Eastham to pick up a wonderful little antique sewing chest. It was a nice ride there and back.

Tuesday night, I’d finally watched CAPTAIN MARVEL. There was a lot I loved about it. Too many prolonged fight sequences. But the humor was great, Brie Larson was great, and her scenes with Samuel L. Jackson were the best. Their chemistry was superb.

This morning, after a good session working on ELLA, I gave in and went to urgent care. They were great. It turns out, it was the right choice. My finger is infected, not just bruised. The doctor had to pierce it, drain it, dress it. I’m on antibiotics for the next 10 days. It will drain for a few days. Can’t be out in direct sunlight while I’m on them, either.

They were great, the first actual health care without drama I’ve had since I moved here. They are helping me jump through the insurance hoops. I’m not happy with my weight, but all my other vitals are excellent and much better than I expected. However, I was right to trust my instincts and go today. If I had waited much longer, it would have been worse.

I was in CVS waiting for the prescription (which was called in before the doctor started the drain) longer than the procedure at urgent care. Typical. But I got it. They are horse pills, not fun, but I manage.

If you haven’t read the latest Chapter of Fred’s saga over on Ink-Dipped Advice, you can do so here. I’d love your comments.

I have some LOIs to get out today, and then I’m turning my attention back to GRAVE REACH. In and around GRAVE REACH this weekend, I’ll be refinishing a table and the little sewing cabinet. And finishing up my article. AND finishing up a review.

It’s a relief to actually get something done about the injury. I don’t have much else of interest to say.

Although I had a great time in the #remotechat. We always exchange such wonderful ideas and resources. I’m so grateful for that group.

Back to the page. Looking forward to it.

Published in: on August 15, 2019 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Aug. 14, 2019: Feeling Stuck

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Day before Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Bizarre few days.

Woke up in the middle of the night Monday, with my ring finger on my left hand swollen and throbbing. I’d bumped it a couple of times over the weekend, cleaning and moving things, but didn’t think much about it.

But it was bad enough to wake me up.

Then, I was dumb enough to look it up on the Internet and worry I needed to go to the ER.

THEN, I had to worry about insurance, because here in MA we have Romney-care, which means insurance in name only most of the time.

I iced it, took ibuprofen, used tea tree oil, kept it elevated, and managed to get back to sleep for a couple of hours around four.

It was better when I woke up. I’ll nurse it for a day or two and see. It doesn’t help that I have to use that poor finger to type. If it doesn’t get better, I’ll go to Urgent Care and see what they can do. At least I can afford that, if they decide to decline my insurance card.

Tuesday was a challenge with my client. Then, I was supposed to drive to Eastham to pick up an antique sewing cabinet (a craigslist find) — but with incoming storms, I wasn’t sure and thought I should push it to today. So I’ll head out there this afternoon.

Read my friend’s radio play and gave feedback. The play is good, but the formatting needs some work. Radio is driven by aural cues, and they have to drive the plot and characters, not just be there to be there. Visual cues have to be translated into aural cues.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” and on my article.

I’m off my game right now, mostly because I don’t feel well, and I have to get my act together. I feel stuck. Everything feels like it’s moving, and part of me feels like things are moving, and the changes I’m taking action to make WILL happen, but they’re not happening yet, and I’m getting impatient. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Working with the singing bowl. I ordered some books on working with them from the Commonwealth Catalog via the library.

Big push this weekend to finish this draft of GRAVE REACH and get it to my editor.

Think good thoughts for me.

 

Published in: on August 14, 2019 at 6:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Tues. Aug. 13, 2019: Keep on Keeping On

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter DIRECT (As of Sunday)
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days.

Got some stuff done at the library Friday morning, then went to the yoga studio. Class was packed (I usually can’t take that session). In fact, there was someone I hadn’t seen in about three years there.

I was a little too relaxed when I got out of yoga class. I still had a lot to do that day, and all I wanted to do was nap!

Friday afternoon was about housework and cooking. The downstairs is quite tidy now.

Saturday, I finished up some more food. We had company in the morning, from Greenwich, and a nice catch-up. I drove them to the ferry — they’re on their way to Nantucket. After years of summer rentals, they actually hope to buy something.

Read in the afternoon and evening, and percolated a bit on some stories that want to be told.

Heard about the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide.” Yeah, right. Just way too convenient, especially for the Narcissistic Sociopath. And Barr in charge of the investigation? What a joke. The whole thing is disgusting.

Finished reading a thriller trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book. I got ahead of the story a bit on the second book. It happened even more in the third book, and I anticipated the ending I hoped wouldn’t wind up the way it did. I was disappointed. I feel the author cheated his trio of protagonists (and his readers) from the ending they earned. While the first book was fantastic, the trilogy as a whole left me depressed and unsatisfied. It was a very male ending, meaning that it was what I expected from a male writer, and disappointed when it happened. It was what all those middle-aged male writers trying to be hip do to punish their characters (especially their female characters) and act like they’re creating great fiction. Would a female writer have made the same choices with that plot? Possibly, but most of the women writers in the genre I admire would have done it differently, I believe, and in a more satisfying way.

Also read a book by an author about whose work I have mixed feelings. I’ve read several of her books, and every one leaves me with mixed feelings. They’re a little too cutesy-wootsy for my taste. Her protagonists rely on being rescued by men too much, instead of saving themselves or the partners working together to survive . She’s a writer, but with such a limited vocabulary that she misuses words like “witch” — if you use “witch” to mean a nasty woman instead of a spell-caster, you’re knocked off my reading list. It’s insulting and careless. It’s bad writing. Also, in this particular book, she had characters who were supposedly involved in theatre. She might have gone to one community theatre production in her life, but she sure as hell didn’t do any research. She knows nothing about how theatre works and nothing about actors or tech people. Her tone in writing about them was condescending — along with not having done her research. I have one more book ordered via Commonwealth Catalog that I can’t cancel. I’ll try a few pages before I send it back. But I am DONE with her.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but Saturday night into Sunday, I had a nightmare about a mass shooting. I’m not going to detail the dream here, but it unnerved me for the rest of the weekend. in my personal journal, I wrote about it in detail, and I intend to use bits of it in a new piece I’m developing. But I would have rather never had the dream in the first place. It was too vivid. Too many sensory details.

Worked on the article for Llewellyn. That will go out in a couple of days. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on ELLA. It’s slowed down, and I have to figure out a few things to make this last third of the book work. Played with some ideas for DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN, which has a very broken (female) protagonist who relates to the dead body she trips over a little too much.

Getting some good work done on GRAVE REACH. I need to get this draft done this week and off to the editor, so we can go into galleys.

Playing with the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which has to go into the back of GRAVE REACH.

Worked on the book I’m reviewing. I’m also reading the book for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Need to spend more time on Ello this week.

Working on a couple more article pitches. They’re not quite where I want them in order to go out. But I hope to get them out this week.

I can’t seem to shake this lethargy and exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep, but I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up.

I had terrible allergy problems on Sunday with the ragweed and goldenrod coming into bloom. Constant sneezing, runny eyes. I finally broke down and took a Benedryl, which knocked me out and I slept for 11 hours. Felt a little better on Monday. Even non-drowsy anti-histamines knock me out.

Monday was fine onsite with a client, and I expect today and tomorrow will be challenging.

Monday afternoon’s meditation group was much-needed.

Back to the page.

 

Mon. Aug. 12, 2019: Paintings as Inspiration – #UpbeatAuthors

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image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Monday, August 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter DIRECT (as of yesterday)
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Last Week:
Last week , we talked about Still Lifes and taking an object in your home to use as inspiration.

What did you use? What kind of piece came out of it? A story? A play? A song? A painting? A dance? Something else? Leave your answer in the comments (mine will be there as well). I’ll also post the title of the book I looked at with Still Lifes in it. I tend to gravitate to the Dutch painters for that.

Paintings as Inspiration
I love to use paintings as a jumping off point for a new piece. If I’m feeling stuck or un-creative or like any of the various fragments and outlines and Ideas I’ve jotted down are worthless, I go to a museum and look at paintings (I always prefer to do it in person) or I get a book out of the library and look, or a DVD on a great museum.

I find Edward Hopper’s work particularly inspiring. New York Movie is one of my favorite pieces, and it inspired what may wind up as a long short story or a novella (I’ve been working on it, on and off, around other projects, for several years).

I love wandering into a museum and letting the pictures and sculptures “speak” to me. I may not get the story the painter intended to tell; but I always come away with something. I always come away feeling brighter and fuller and excited.

Details
One of the things I like to do in paintings is to look closely at what is not central to the action. For instance, in Canaletto’s “Rio dei Mendicanti: looking South” (1723?), I’m less interested in the men on the sunny side of the canal in conversation than in the darker, right side of the painting, with the laundry lines hanging out of the window, the woman shaking her broom, and the man perched on the edge of the building, nearly in the canal, cleaning the side of the building. To me, there’s something furtive about the man. Is he observing the place in order to rob it? Although it’s a not a rich area, filled with working people. Are the acoustics in that position good, allowing him to eavesdrop on the conversation of the burghers across the water from him? That’s a possibility. Or does he not want them to recognize him? Does he have a dispute with one of them? Or is he simply going about his day, doing his work, and has to adjust his position so as not to get hit with the debris from the broom shaken out above him? (Aside: I’m writing a play about Canaletto’s sisters, so I’m looking at a lot of his paintings these past months).

This painting could inspire an historical piece (probably a mystery) tying those three elements together. Or a short radio play. Or I could take the ideas and sensations it provokes and set them somewhere completely different: A New York tenement or a created world in a fantasy novel.

In Poussin’s “Summer”, the woman with the bowls beside the tree and the man in the background handling the horses are more interesting to me than the central figure of a man kneeling before the other man. Is the woman going about her business, ignoring what is going on? I don’t think so. She may be related to the kneeling man, or perhaps he is her lover. Or perhaps her lover is the man on the other side of the tree, drinking, out of the sight line of the man in charge. What’s going on in the woman’s mind? There are so many wonderful possibilities.

Even a portrait can inspire. Several years ago, I wrote a play about Lavinia Fontana, the first woman painter in the Renaissance who took in commissions like the men. One of my favorites of her paintings is the portrait “Portrait of a Lady of the Court.” This woman looks like she has a secret. She and Lavinia share it. But we must guess. My research into the extensive network of powerful Bolognese women at the time reinforces that idea, and the research helps me look at the painting with more knowledge.

This Week’s Challenge:
This week, give yourself an Artist’s Date (thanks to Julia Cameron for encouraging us to do that) to go to a museum or a gallery and look at paintings. Pick one that inspires you and write something about it.

You can leave information about it in the comments below, or wait until next week.

Fri. Aug. 9, 2019: Just A Quick Post

Friday, August 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was a bit blue yesterday, especially after an interaction with a potential new client that was a total waste of time. When you’re going to hire me for a marketing position, don’t expect me to fill out the form and answer the questions for a minimum wage customer facing position. They have nothing to do with each other. Not doing it. Not working for you.

Didn’t get enough writing done. Dashed around getting other stuff done.

But there are a few new ideas that are demanding attention and must be worked in and around the contracted stuff. Plus, the Llewellyn article needs to be finished this weekend.

Spent some time with a writer pal. He’s tired (back from Canada, headed to Japan, than the Yucatan, all on assignments AND prepping for the release of his new novel). But he’s doing well, and we always have fun together.

Did a Skype session with a playwright friend. Brainstormed some ideas with another friend. I’d hoped to lump them all into one piece, but, as my friend pointed out, there are two very distinctive sets of characters, and while some of the themes overlap, others don’t.

This morning, ran around doing errands. My mom got scared while I was out, because she heard a passel of police sirens and was sure there was a mass shooting at the grocery store. There wasn’t, but why are we agreeing to live in fear like that? We need to get all these corrupt politicians out, and then make sure this stops happening. It CAN be stopped. Every other civilized nation in the world manages.

Going to a late morning yoga class, then cleaning the house and preparing the food for our guests tomorrow morning.

Then, it’s back to the page.

Have a great weekend! Another inspiration post on Monday.

Namaste!

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Aug. 8, 2019: Writing or Not Writing

Thursday, August 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

If you haven’t hopped over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read the post on Fred’s Interviews, as part of the ongoing freelance parable, hop on over.

There’s also an update on the garden.

Plodding along on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH. I’m happy with what’s happening in both of them; it’s just not happening in the latter quickly enough.

Onsite with a client was fine yesterday. Got a lot done.

The #RemoteChat was excellent. I have such fun with that group.

Two of the research books I ordered arrived (from two different sources). Unfortunately, one of them was the wrong book. I’d ordered a Caribbean cookbook and they sent a library discard Secret Service memoir. Alibris was a nightmare to deal with. I’m more annoyed with them than the actual bookstore, because Alibris kept trying to get me to create a new account in order to report it. No. Don’t force me to create a new account to report a mistake on an existing order. No. I contacted the bookstore directly, too. Mistakes happen, but don’t make me jump through hoops in order to fix them. We’ll see IF they respond, either one of them.

Several people on social media who call themselves “writers” are talking about how they’re not writing and how much freer they feel. We all need breaks, and I’m all for vacations, even when it comes to writing. But if you keep making excuses not to write, if you feel better when you’re not writing — maybe you’re not a writer. Maybe that’s not the creative outlet for you (or the profession for you). Maybe it’s time to hang up the keyboard and spend your time doing something you ENJOY. Maybe it’s time to stop wasting professionals’ time and expecting them to create your career FOR you (these individuals have also made unfair demands of professional, published writers in the past).

Friends of ours are visiting Saturday morning, on their way to Nantucket. They’re planning to buy a house there (after visiting for decades) and will spend more time in this neck of the woods. I’m looking forward to seeing them and catching up.

Decent morning’s writing this morning, on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH. Working on my article for Llewellyn, getting out a couple of article pitches and LOIs.

Spending some time this afternoon with a travel writer friend, catching up on his recent trip to Calgary, before he takes off for Japan. Then, I’ll take a look at another friend’s radio play, and work on some reading for review pieces.

Tomorrow, I plan to get some work done at the library in the morning, then yoga, then house cleaning and cooking in anticipation for our friends.

I also have some dealings with my elected officials this week into next week, to discuss the chaos and corruption and let them know how I feel about it and what I’d like to see done. Our elected officials can’t represent us if we don’t’ tell them where we stand on things.

A lot of the work I’m doing now is internal, which is not particularly interesting to write about or read about. Things will ramp up in the coming weeks, I’m sure.

In the meantime, stay safe, keep doing your creative work, stay kind, and don’t stay silent in the face of inhumanity.

 

Wed. Aug. 7, 2019: Ups and Irritations

Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Who Know What the Weather Will Be Like?

I scheduled yesterday’s post on Monday afternoon, when we were promised a nice but humid day on Tuesday, and thunderstorms today. Of course, Tuesday morning by 8 AM, it was bucketing down. Hence, the weather line this morning (I’m scheduling this to post Tuesday afternoon).

Yes, I am once of those people who uses “hence” in everyday speech.

I was so excited by my Goddess Provisions box that arrived on Monday afternoon! It contained a singing bowl. I’ve wanted one for years. It’s small, but with a lovely tone. Now, of course, I have to learn how to work with it, but my friend is adept with them, and she will guide me. Spending time with it, practicing, like one would with any instrument, is part of it, I’m sure. Eventually, I want a whole set (and a set of crystal bowls), but I’m taking it slowly.

Meditation was great on Monday afternoon. We have such a great group. Got lots of compliments on the hair cut, too, at meditation, from my clients, at the library.

Had a typical local encounter at the library on Monday afternoon. I was telling the librarians how great UNMARRIAGEABLE is, and how much I loved the book. They hadn’t yet read it, but were interested.

An Old White Woman butted into the conversation. She looked at the cover and said, “Why would I want to read about dirty Pakistanis?”

“This book is beautiful and brilliant and clever and universal,” I said. “If you like Jane Austen, you’ll love it.”

She sniffed and said, “Jane Austen is overrated.”

“I can’t help that you’re both a racist and a barbarian,” I replied.

She stomped off. After all, how could she deny she was a racist after her initial remark? I’m sick and tired of the racism, and I’m sick and tired that the racists think it’s okay to behave this way — of course, they’re getting it from the Occupant.

Who, by the way, delivered a bland, meaningless, teleprompted speech on Monday, and then didn’t even have the basic decency to name the right town where the mass shooting happened in Ohio.

Mitch McConnell won’t call the Senate back from recess to pass legislation. He claims it’s because he fell and broke his shoulder. He was home in the same day. Wearing a sling for the shoulder doesn’t mean his brain can’t work and he can’t lead a vote. It’s all an excuse. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the shootings, his campaign staff built a graveyard for programs like Social Security and for his opponent. Disgusting. Young white boys, of course. Boys, not men. Doesn’t matter how old they are chronologically, they will never grow beyond ill-behaved boys, especially with this type of encouragement.

Client work was challenging. Appointments after were fine.

Slowing down on ELLA — only two pages a day instead of four. But that’s okay, because the pace is picked up on GRAVE REACH, and that’s the one under serious deadline.

Client work today, then errands. Hoping for a productive upcoming four days.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see the latest chapter, where Fred interviews the potential writer candidates.

I’ve been doing an extra yoga session every night before bed, and that’s helping my back.