Tues. May 16, 2023: Trying To Balance The Writing Needs

View across the Clark Art Institute Reflecting Pool. Photo by Devon Ellington

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Waning Moon

Mercury Went Direct on Sunday

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and chilly

Busy weekend. Good busy, but still busy. So, I hope you have your favorite beverage handy for our Tuesday catch-up.

Today’s serial episode is Legerdemain.

Episode 85: Attack on Brone

Brone is attacked in the Infirmary. His rescuer is a surprise.

Legerdemain Serial Link

Legerdemain website

Friday, I wrote another episode of Legerdemain. I uploaded and scheduled this coming Thursday’s episode. I puttered on the poem.

Out the door late morning, headed for the Clark Art Institute. It was a gorgeous day, warm and sunny. On the way there, I stopped at the Milne Library in Williamstown, because the lilacs are just starting to bloom, and they have wonderful lilacs. Their lilacs were just beginning, but I got to see their reading garden (a lovely spot in which I hope to spend time this summer) and checked out their book cart, where I found a few things, including a couple of mysteries by Anna Clarke. I met a woman at the cart, an artist who uses discarded books to make collages. She’s currently working on one using prints of old circus posters. She grew up in Bridgeport, CT and used to watch the Ringling Brothers Circus train come in, when they wintered there (before they moved to Florida for winters; PT Barnum Museum is still in Bridgeport).

Anyway, after that, I headed up to the Clark, which was packed. I never even made it inside the museum; I sat in a chair under a linden tree out by the reflecting pool. I worked on the project for a bit, and just enjoyed myself. Okay, I also eavesdropped, rolling my eyes at a few things I overheard, and made notes that will be integrated into future characters.

On the way home, I stopped at Wild Oats and then Stop & Shop, to pick up a few things. In the afternoon, I read Anna Clarke’s LETTER FROM THE DEAD, which was very good, and one of the few mysteries where I didn’t get ahead of it and figure out the murderer.

In the evening, there was a special session at my yoga studio, where they hosted Lama Tashi Norbu, who is both a Tibetan monk and an acclaimed tattoo artist. He is the director of a museum of Tibetan Arts in the Netherlands. It was an interesting session and gave me a lot to ponder.

Home, dinner, and to bed early. Didn’t get much sleep, because it was the night before MCLA’s graduation ceremony, and everyone was doing one last blowout. Considering we live catty corner from the college, it’s amazing there isn’t a lot more loud partying all semester. I can deal with a day here and there. Charlotte sat in the window all night and watched them.

Just before bedtime, I got word that I did not get the August residency I hoped for in upstate New York. It was a very nice letter, but disappointing. I’d hoped to use that time to do the big revision on FALL FOREVER. However, now I can use all of August to do it instead. I still want to do another revision of it between now and then.

The alarm went off at 4:30 AM on Saturday, and we were out of the house a little after 5:30, headed to the Cape for a storage run. It was sunny, but cooler than the previous day.

The drive down wasn’t bad, and there wasn’t too much traffic over the Bourne Bridge. We got to storage, and loaded up a rather eclectic bunch of boxes. I didn’t find the family photos/scrapbooks yet (which should have been on the truck), and I forgot to bring up the blank canvases. This is the last run we can do before autumn, so what we have is what we have.

We headed along the canal to Sagamore to the big Christmas Tree Shop over by the bridge. The chain was sold to a hedge fund, who intentionally ran it into the ground (which is how they make their money; anything a hedge fund touches is destroyed for profit), and this store is closing. It’s been around a good long time; we shopped there well before we moved to the Cape. The vultures were already there, and many shelves empty. We didn’t buy much; it was too sad, and we weren’t going to buy just to buy. I took some pictures, because I bet they tear down the building, including the lovely large windmill.

Back along the canal and off Cape on the Bourne Bridge. The traffic was picking up, especially going on Cape; we missed the worst of it. It was a fairly smooth ride until Worcester, where we were caught up in 12 miles of stop & go traffic, losing the time we’d gained. But once past that, it was a decent ride home.

While driving, I pondered some of the things discussed in Friday’s session with the monk, and got an idea for a story. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but I made some notes, and will let it percolate.

Stopped at Adams Fresh Market for a few things, and then to get takeout. We were home just after 2:30, which was a pretty decent time frame for a roundtrip of a little over 400 miles, plus storage sorting, plus shopping. Ate first, then I unloaded the car.

Saturday was graduation day, but it had pretty much cleared out by the time we returned, and everyone was in that state of stunned exhaustion and adrenaline withdrawal.

We just rested in the afternoon and evening, and read. I read Lina Chern’s PLAY THE FOOL, which was a lot of fun, especially in the way it used tarot cards.

Slept well; up early on Sunday (because the cats figured 4:30 was better than 5:30 for breakfast, per the previous day). Baked biscuits for my mom for Mother’s Day.

We had a quiet Mother’s Day. I unpacked most of the boxes we brought up. I have to do some rearranging to integrate things. Stuff needed to be washed, so we did that. It was fun, finding things we hadn’t seen in a while. Finally found my poodle bookends. I’ve been looking for them since we moved to the Cape, much less than moved here.

Tried to make a pizza with all of my mom’s favorite toppings. Unfortunately, I used a commercial dough I hadn’t used before. I knew I wouldn’t be up to making dough from scratch after the storage run. The dough I like and usually use wasn’t available at Big Y, and I found this Birrittella’s dough in Stop & Shop. First of all, they don’t have directions on the package. They force you to their website. I shouldn’t have to watch a video; it should be printed ON THE PACKAGE. There are plenty of times I’m cooking at a residency or retreat or whatever, and there’s no internet. Second, it takes over 2 hours to prepare the dough. I mean, I might as well have made it from scratch. This was supposed to save me time. Third, once in the pan, it doesn’t bake properly. The toppings were starting to burn, but the crust wasn’t baked. It was a disaster. We ended up scraping off the topping and making impromptu garlic bread to eat with it instead. At least the topping was good: sauce, sauteed onions, mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, pancetta, pepperoni, and lots and lots of mozzarella. But at least I know what dough to avoid at all costs. Absolutely awful. Worst pizza dough experience I’ve ever had.

At least I’d gotten my mother a nice cheesecake, her favorite.

Read THE FOXGLOVE KING by Hannah Whitten, which was good.

Relieved that Mercury went direct, and completely exhausted by it at the same time. This Pluto Retrograde won’t be particularly pleasant (lots of squares with other planets, causing tension), but at least we don’t have to worry about Mercury again until August.

Noodled with next week’s poem. It’s not where I want it. I need physical and mental openness/space to make it work, and not sure how I’ll manage it this week.

I was worried I’d get my word for July’s poem while we were on the road, so I packed my poetry notebook as insurance I wouldn’t, and it worked.

Weird dreams overnight, which fled as soon as I woke up on Monday.

Drafted an episode of Legerdemain. Did this week’s episode graphics, uploaded, and scheduled. Polished, uploaded, and scheduled next week’s Legerdemain episodes. Once they were approved, I created the episode graphics and uploaded those promos. Did a temporary graphic for FALL FOREVER, mostly so I could add it to my Creative Ground profile.

Did a dropoff/pickup at the library (and scored three fantastic cookbooks from the discard cart). Picked up my mom’s prescription at the pharmacy. Swung by the bookstore to talk about autumn’s reading, but their hours have changed, and they were closed. I have to go back on Wednesday. Mailed some bills. Deposited some checks at the bank. Swung by another store to pick up a couple of things, which, of course, they did not have. I need to go over to Carr’s Hardware on the other side of town instead, probably at the end of the week.

The siren song of FlexClip was calling again, but I needed to do my work first. I really miss iMovie from my mac. And, much as I want/need to create more enticing visuals for Legerdemain and Angel Hunt, I might start with something simpler like the Topic Workbooks. We’ll see. I need uninterrupted work time for that.

Did the client work. Had time for dinner before soup class, which was fun. We’re almost at the end of our soup class journey. It’s been an amazing few months. I’ve learned a lot, and the sense of community built is fantastic.

Started working on the next draft of FALL FOREVER. Making a lot of internal cuts in the scenes, tightening beats, getting rid of repetitive information, etc. I’m reworking one of the arcs. I need to up a confrontation scene. There’s a bit near the end that I want to move earlier, and turn into a half page or so exchange, and I want the Solstice celebration scene to have more fun and energy, instead of being a little self-conscious and trite, the way it is now. I’m not combining two characters, as a Trusted Reader suggested; the two characters work better separately, because one of them is very much a fulcrum on what the two pairs of relationships balance. I tried writing a few scenes where the characters were merged, and it shifts the themes I want to explore too much. A dynamic like that would work better in a different play. When I read the play, there’s enough of one of the characters, but when I heard the play read, I felt his character should have a little more. That’s partly due to the actor, I’m sure. But I want to layer him a bit more, so his flashes of humor and insight come through the grief better.

My contract for the 2025 Llewellyn Almanac arrived. Woo-hoo! I will sign it and send it back today, and then get started on writing the 25 spells next week, doing 3 per week at minimum, to get them all done and give me time to revise them before the mid-September deadline. And, the rate went up! Very happy.

Weird dreams overnight, that fled when I woke up. I have a feeling they were tied to FALL FOREVER. I did some more work on the play first thing this morning. Worked on the poem for Sunday, too. I started wondering if maybe I was working on the wrong thing/theme. I may do some freewriting later this morning, and see where it leads.

On today’s agenda: Legerdemain, maybe some ANGEL HUNT, work on the poem, work on the flash fiction piece for the artist call. Some new grant opportunities landed on my desk yesterday, for next year. I have to look at the calendar and see what’s what, and then work on those applications. Client work in the afternoon, and then yoga. Maybe after yoga, I’ll feel like I can focus on the poem better. Social media rounds to promote today’s serial episode. One last look at tomorrow’s Process Muse post. I’d like to do some work on FALL FOREVER, REP, and the Heist Romance Script, but I don’t see that happening today.

Have a good one!

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reading how much you accomplish is a daily inspiration to me! I wish I could stay half as focused right now. I did get a lot of yard work done yesterday. The new house is on a third of an acre, with pine trees, so we are constantly picking up pine cones before we can do anything like mow or weed whack. But I got them picked up in the three areas I mowed/edged. I also got some tomatoes and flowers planted, watched a thunderstorm, and got some errands run. I was going to run all that yard waste to the dump today, but it’s raining! Guess that means I’m freed of yard work obligations for the day, so can dive into working on novel, with a little bit of box unpacking/moving stuff.

    • When I lived on Cape, we were on a third of an acre. I loved it, but the yard work was killer. It was great to grow my own vegetables. They didn’t do well here last year, so I’m focusng on herbs and flowers for this year’s porch and balcony container gardens. The moving stuff takes time, although I must say I enjoy the unpacking portion more than the packing!

  2. Sorry to see you didn’t get the residency, but glad to see you managed to do everything you hoped to do at the weekend.

    • I’m pretty bummed about that residency, but I do have one in late September/early October, which I’m looking forward to.


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