Tues. Aug. 24, 2021: What’s Best For the Work Isn’t Always Best for the Career

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Foggy and humid

Hop on over to the GDR site for a post on realignment.

Gad, enough retrogrades, already? And we’ve got another Mercury Retrograde to pile in on top, before things start going direct again. NOT looking forward to it.

We were not walloped with as much rain by Henri as feared; that was a good thing, although my pre-storm headache on Sunday was awful. There was a point where it was raining at the back of the house, but not at the front (and it’s not like the building is THAT long).

Friday was overwhelming with work, and I got most of it done, although I finished up a coverage writeup Saturday morning (still within deadline). Did a quick run to the Co-op and the grocery store. Shelves full, no one worried. I asked at the co-op if anyone was stressed about Henri and the clerk said, “We live in a place of changeable weather. We do a big storm prep when we first move in, and check/replace supplies regularly. We’re ALWAYS storm prepped.”

I wasn’t sure if people were chill because they knew what to expect and were prepared, or everyone’s just smoking a lot of weed (they smoke A LOT of weed on the porches in this neighborhood).

Home, unpacked, worked on some more unpacking/getting things set up, along with the usual Saturday chores like changing out the bed linens, etc.  But really, just didn’t feel like doing much, especially in the heat and humidity. But slowly, slowly, we’re getting there, arranging and rearranging so things feel good and right.

Seeing what we need, and will slowly add, as we find just the right pieces. Beachy/cottage doesn’t really work here, although we keep some shells and ocean items out. Deco/Nouveau works better. The items we love, ones with special meaning, of course, work everywhere. There’s stuff in storage that we kept from NY, which never worked in the Cape house, but will work here, so we’ll retrieve them on storage runs. If we’d listened to the crap from “organizational/clutter experts” we’d have thrown it out, and we’d be bereft. They can shove their ”expertise” right up their collective, mercenary asses.

Finished a book I’d been struggling to read for pleasure Saturday night. Beautiful writing, but I have rarely loathed a protagonist as much as I’ve loathed this one.

Sunday, I was flattened by the pre-storm migraine until the rain started mid-day. I then managed to finish unpacking the rest of the boxes waiting in the living room, except for the box of CDs, which I will unpack this week, when I can take time to enjoy the process. I read the fifth Wonky Inn book, which was fun. I started reading the next book for review, which isn’t working for me.

Much as I would have liked Sunday to be a “day of disconnect” I needed to keep track of the storm. Sat on the porch for a bit to watch the rain, which was soothing.

Yesterday, we had some more bands of rain, some of it serious downpours. I was worried about the river overflowing, but it didn’t. I caught up on email. Did some research, but didn’t find anywhere to send an LOI. A recruiter contacted me about a two-week fill-in gig mid-September. I set my price; I doubt anything will come of it.

Sundance sent a link to their online Writers’ Café, which meets three times a week for an hour. I figured I might check them out and use them as the occasional break in other people’s work to spend more focused time on my own work. If it’s an atmosphere that works for me, maybe I can work on the plays during that time. I don’t think Wednesdays will work very often for me, but maybe I can make use of the Monday/Friday sessions. We’ll see. Right now, everything seems like just too much work.

I spent a good portion of the morning refreshing myself on the research for “A Rare Medium”, the next Kate Warne play. I hopped onto the Sundance zoom meeting at noon – which was a PITA to sign into – and they were showing a scene from FLEABAG to demonstrate subtext in dialogue. The scene was great, it’s great, but my head was full of Chicago in 1859, and the Pinkerton undercover fortune-telling operation. So it was jarring. There was all this discussion about dividing us up into “breakout rooms” after the writing session to talk about what we’ve written and network.

I signed off Zoom and wrote for the hour. I drafted six pages on the play, the first two scenes. I tossed out my original first scene, where I had Captain Sumner coming to Pinkerton for help. I started, instead, with the operation already set up. Miss Seaton, who was trained by Kate, was vital to this operation. Her name has been lost to history (and I can’t get the Pinkerton microfilm again, because my machine is in storage). I researched names that would have been giving to girls at the time she was born (not the time she was an adult, working), and settled on Cristia.

By the time the hour was up, and we were supposed to go back into “breakout rooms”, I decided I couldn’t. I can’t talk about what I’ve just written. It needs to settle for a few hours. I can’t talk about what I’m going to write next in any detail, because if I talk it, I can’t write it properly.

And I didn’t have the patience for small talk. My head was still full of the play, and I needed to pace and mutter and percolate.

In other words, the way this Café is set up doesn’t work for me. Which is frustrating, because it’s Sundance, for crying out loud, it’s an amazing opportunity, but if I participate, it will hurt the work, and the work has to be protected at all costs. I can’t switch back and forth out of social/networking mode. If I sacrifice the work for the networking, it won’t be a positive, either, because I won’t have the work with which to back up the networking.

So I will continue in my obscurity.

There’s a part of me that feels like a failure for not being adaptable enough, but the work must be protected. That is the priority. And talking about it in an early stage sabotages it for me. It’s one of many reasons why I don’t “share” WIPs by splashing bits of them on social media (in addition to the whole blowing-first-rights thing).

I can talk about the work and around the work hours after I do it (as I do here, where I talk about process and research and some of the ideas around the work). But I can’t talk the actual work instead of doing it, or it stays in the “instead” mode.

I already know I’m going to have to work straight through next weekend if I hope to take the time off over Labor Day weekend when my friend visits. But that’ll be worth it. I’ll just grumble a lot next weekend, and have to get over myself!

I read two and a half scripts yesterday, and will have to finish the “half” and write up all three today. That’s another reason I’m slower in my own writing – I’m writing 3-5K in script coverage every day.

I did an extra long meditation last night, which meant I slept better.

I made some notes on a piece that’s rolling around in my head (along with that other piece that’s rolling around in my head). They’re both fantasies, but set in very different worlds, with very different rules.  A couple of chunks of dialogue showed up in my brain for DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE, so I scribbled them down before I lost them. I have to make sure I keep all my notes organized, so I have them when I need them, unlike on Cape, where I took notes and they kept vanishing.

When one piece gets going, it fuels the other pieces percolating, and I have to be able to take notes as ideas come up, while still focusing on the main piece that needs to be written.

The novel is going slowly, and it’s often hard to show up at the page, but I’m always glad when I do. I have to block off some larger blocks of time for it. By the time I hit 1K and need to move on with the rest of my day, I’m just warmed up.

I have a bunch of admin work to do today, along with the script coverage, and getting back to the Almanac articles; I’m behind where I want to be on those.

I thought it was going to clear up today, and I’d get some errands done, but it’s about to rain again, so I’ll hunker down and work, then run out when there’s a break in the weather.

Daily life here is at the mercy of the weather even more than it was on Cape Cod.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on August 24, 2021 at 8:22 am  Comments (2)  


  1. I could probably deal with the socialize/write/socialize model for a one- or two-day writing workshop, but not three times a week. Sounds as if it’s more for writers who need constant feedback because they don’t trust their own ideas.

    • Good point. I mean, I know it’s a great opportunity to get to know people connected to Sundance, but when I’m drafting, feedback too early in the process derails the piece. And feedback from strangers, when I don’t know their frame of reference, or their body of work, isn’t always helpful. In fact, it can be the opposite.

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