Thurs. July 21, 2022: Trying To Keep It Organized

image courtesy of Andreas Lischka via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Hazy, hot, humid

There’s a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

We’re in typical summer weather. We haven’t been hit as hard as a lot of other places, but without air conditioning, it’s still a challenge. It’s supposed to break on Sunday, though, and be down in the 80’s next week, so there’s that to look forward to.

Of course, Word X Word is Saturday, in the heat.

We’ll see, by next week, if I calculated that risk properly. We are outside. We are all vaccinated. We are kept a safe distance from the audience. The organizers are taking steps to protect us. But the event still involves people.  So, we’ll see.

I’m supposed to go and visit a friend next week in upstate New York. You can be sure I’ll test the morning before I go, to make sure I’m not putting her at risk.

Other than the library and taking my mom to the doctor, I haven’t gone anywhere this week. I cancelled out of everything, because I wanted Word X Word to be the only risk, and not go in there having taken other risks. I’d like to get my hair cut before Saturday, because it’s back to being pandemic hair, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to, both because places are booked, and, if they’re not masking, I’m not going to be inside with them.

I’m skipping the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, which I will miss, but I want to make sure I’m not exposed there and then expose anyone at the event.

When I get home, I’ll do the decontamination protocols. I mean, I’d be so sweaty and gross after performing four shows outside that I’d hose off anyway. And I’m putting a bottle of prosecco in the fridge before I leave!

In the meantime, I need to rehearse my lines, few as they are. Performance is not natural to me, and I want to hold up my tiny little end of it.

Yesterday seems far away, somehow, probably because it’s so hot. ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE got proofed and is headed for release on July 29. I got about 75% of CREATIVE STIMULUS rewritten. I’m still stalling on SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM, but I’ll get there.

I discovered I have to resize all the ads I did for LEGERDEMAIN so they work on Instagram, which is a PITA, but necessary.

I will have some interesting metrics to share in early August about the 31 Prompts, and the responses to them on various social media channels.

I’m keeping up the Italian lessons. I’m retaining the vocabulary, although most of it is understanding what I see, not necessarily what I hear. But I don’t understand the declensions, although I can usually figure them out through process of elimination.

Had to run the repair twice on Word yesterday, because I’m having problems with it, mostly the keyboard. I’m so frustrated.

Also, gave the computer a rest during the hottest part of the afternoon, because it was overheating.

I did a bunch of work on the Legerdemain website. There’s still plenty more to do, but I’m getting there, and will share the link when it’s ready.

Turned around a script. I wanted to turn around two, but I was too damn tired. I’m still well within the deadlines, I just wanted to get ahead a little for myself.

The cats are little fur puddles. I’m not much better. I am not a heat-and-humidity person.

The chair I usually sit on in the kitchen came apart, so it’s in pieces in the sewing room to be fixed. I’m a little garden chair, making me feel like a toddler at the Grown-Up table.

I’ve got the online meditation group this morning. I need to upload the content calendar promoting ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE, and then get back to revising STIMULUS. I also have to start the article for Llewellyn. I want to get that out to my editor early, next week, before I go away, so it’s not hanging over my head when I come back.

A local arts organization sent me information on a paid residency they thought I would be interested in, so I will start the proposal. The process is simple, but the proposal has to be strong. I also need to photograph some of my work. I hope the pieces I need are here, and not in storage.

Saturday is all about Word X Word, but I’m working on Sunday, so that I can truly enjoy visiting my friend next week, without worrying about deadlines. I just have to space out my work in the heat and stay hydrated.

I keep thinking today is Friday, but it’s Thursday, so I better make full use of the day!

Published in: on July 21, 2022 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 21, 2022: Trying To Keep It Organized  
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Fri. July 15, 2022: Of Books and Cheese

collage by Devon Ellington from stock photos

Friday, July 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, and pleasant

Meditation was good yesterday morning. Charlotte enjoyed it, too!

Got the ads for THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST scheduled to post/run through the end of September. Created the ads for the other five workbooks, so as soon as I have buy links going live, I can add them into the content calendar, and we’re good to go through August and September. In early September, I’ll decide what I want to do through the end of the year.

I might put some of those ads and some of the ads for The Big Project into an updated marketing portfolio, because they are fun. The ads for the Big Project, in particular, have a rather wacky sense of humor to them, which I think will engage readers.

Did a library run, and dashed into the grocery store to grab some Lysol spray since I can’t find ours. Really excited about some of the novels that arrived. I’m looking forward to reading them.

Spiro Squirrel climbed the kitchen window screen, trying to get in this morning. Willa chased him off. We’ve started closing the kitchen window at night. All we need is for him to figure out how to remove the screen and get inside.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon.

Skipped Open Studios as MASSMoCA. I needed to focus on my work. Also, the though of getting dressed, putting on makeup, and pretending I wasn’t feral for a couple of hours was overwhelming yesterday. I’m not sure if masking is still required (the email was unclear), and if it’s not, I would have had to leave anyway, because they get crowded. I’m going to have to play each month by ear, and see how what they’re doing fits in with what I’m doing, and with what I need to do to keep us safe.

I’ve done more content calendars than I can count for clients over the years, but doing one for my own work has been invigorating. Having it all there on the calendar inspires me to get it done. It also helps to track the ebb and flow of projects, so I can see where I have room to do more, and where I can pull back a little and not overdo.

Buckle up, my lovely buttercups: The last week of July and the first week of August are going to have a lot of promotion going on!

A Twitter pal and her husband is taking their first ever trip to NYC for 5 days, and I sent them a boatload of suggestions for weird little fun stuff. I really love New York, and I’m so grateful I lived there the years I did. Even though it’s not where I need to be right now, I do love it.

The sentence about the children’s screams cut out from the Uvalde videos released will haunt me the rest of my days. For the parents, who are going through more pain than any of us can imagine, I hope this helps them (rather than insults them, and different parents will feel differently). For those who stood around and did NOTHING while those children were slaughtered, may they never be free from the screaming. May they be haunted the rest of their miserable lives for this, and may they suffer in eternity beyond their own deaths. May they never, ever rest in peace.

I intentionally cleared off the script reading early this week, because I wanted to have three days without it. I’m headed to Pittsfield to a book sale at the library this morning, then taking my mom over to Wild Oats, where the Von Trapp Farmstead is doing an event around their cheese. I never thought I would build time into my schedule focused on cheese, but there you have it. My mom loves cheese, so we are going.

Then it’s back to work, on The Topic Workbooks, and finished the first big arc of The Big Project, so that the next parts of the process can hum along on time, and I can actually make the Big Announcement and The Big Reveal next week, and all of this will make sense.

Then comes the Big Marketing Campaign, which will last for months, so. . .be warned!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side! The weather has been just gorgeous here, and I hope it is where you are, too.

Wed. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms

image courtesy of Brigipix via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a pretty decent workday. Got a nice chunk of The Big Project done in the multi-colored draft over at the laundromat. Got everything washed and dried, and put away as soon as I got home. Dealt with email, did follow up from the networking session (there’s still some more to do today), got some bills mailed, got the box from the mail carrier that was stuck in the slot (because he shouldn’t have put it there in the first place).

Did a good chunk of work on the Topic Workbooks. THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS just needs a final proof, and it’s good to set for release. THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST got a solid revision/update, and also needs a final proof. There’s some formatting wonk, but I hope to fix that today and set that release date, then update across the various websites.

Did a couple of ads for them, too. Also created a style cheat sheet, so I can keep the look/details consistent throughout.

If I meet my own goals, the six revised workbooks will release in the weeks leading up to the conference workshop, and the workbook built around that workshop will release the week after. There’s class material for two more workbooks out of classes I’ve taught, and I have ideas for at least two more.

The Topic Workbooks give clear action steps on their topic, and I intentionally keep them inexpensive so people on a budget can afford them and use them.

Finished the script coverage I’d started last night, and did a second one. I have five more scripts I my queue for this week. I won’t hit the preferred mark for the pay period, but I’ll hit the necessary mark. I have to hope the work comes in steadily in July, although I’ll have to work through some weekends, because I’m taking some time away from the work in some of the midweeks.

I also need to get started on the article for the Llewellyn annual, because that deadline is racing toward me faster than I’d like. And, of course, my editor contracted the most complex topic I pitched!

Heard from another editor about an anthology. I wrote and submitted, because I wanted to work with her, and this anthology gave me a chance to stretch. I was shortlisted for the anthology – not promised acceptance, but made it through the first round of 1K submissions. Then, the publisher ran into difficulties, and it looked like things were off. But now the publisher wants to move forward. The editor has left the project. If we choose to continue under consideration (again, no promises, but we’re the shortlisted group), we have to submit directly to the new editor. I don’t know if I want to. My gut tells me to stay far, far away. My ego encourages me to go for it. The smarter choice is my gut. My ego is just going to have to get over itself. I’ll look at the piece again, and find another possible market.

Thunderstorms and pounding rain did little to break the humidity. The next couple of weeks will be hot and humid. Still not as bad as last year, but the cats, who’ve already grown in their winter fur, are miserable. They are little fur puddles. Charlotte was smart, last night. Instead of sleeping on the bed, she slept on a side table in front of an open window (and only came into my room to wake me up for attention a few times).

Started reading the next book assigned for review. It’s good. Hard to settle in to meditation, but came up with a project title. Not sure if I will use it for something already in the pipeline, or if it’s for something new.

The computer decided to do an upgrade this morning. It only took one hour instead of 4, but then none of the software talks to each other, and it will be a mess to untangle it. There go hours of the workday for which I had other plans. Windows11 Sucks.

Back to work on the Topic Workbooks and The Big Project. I hope to have the official announcement for the latter ready to go next week. And then script coverage.

The Jan. 6 Hearings continue to horrify. And the seditionists continue to get away with it. Very discouraging.

Have a good one.

Published in: on July 13, 2022 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms  
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Tues. July 12, 2022: Building a Sense of Creative Community

image courtesy of ds_30 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, humid

There’s a quick post over on the GDR site about how too many prompts, etc. can be counterproductive.

Friday was actually pretty fun. I wrote the first draft of the one act in the morning. I did my errands: gas station, couple of stores to get hardware and more pots, library, wine store. Ran into my friend the baker at the library, and made plans to get together at the Farmers’ Market Saturday.

Home, and got everything unpacked.

Did my first Duolingo Italian assignment. I’m keeping my expectations low, just 10 minutes per day. The first lesson breezed right past. Having a little bit of French definitely helped. I could see correlations. What I’m not sure about is if I’m actually learning the vocabulary, because a lot of “writing the sentences” was about choosing the words that made the most sense. But am I really learning them? Still, it was fun, and if I feel comfortable with the Italian lessons in a few months, I might see if I can level up my French with them, too.

I kept up with the Duolingo assignments every day all weekend. I enjoy them, but I also need an Italian textbook to understand some of the “whys” behind the choices.

Saturday was Farmers’ Market Day. The weather was gorgeous, the stalls filled to bursting with glorious offerings. I stocked up on large tomatoes, cucumbers, baby red potatoes, fennel, sugar snap peas, lemon basil, eggs, espresso coffee cake muffins, banana bread – just wonderful. It’s as much as social/community experience as a shopping one. The regulars chat with each other, it’s full of friendly dogs making friends, everyone is cheerful and happy to be there. I look forward to going there every week.

I talked to my friend the baker about commissioning her to make the cheesecake for my mom’s 98th birthday in October. Cheesecake is my mom’s favorite, and she should have a good one. I always buy one (because I am terrible at making cheesecake), and I’d rather the money go to a local, small business, really talented baker.

I popped into the grocery store to build around the FM finds, then headed off to Wild Oats, the co-op, to fill in a couple of other things, and then to another grocery store on the way home to pick up something I knew they carried.

The stores have put the signs back up “recommending” and “requesting” people masks again, regardless of vaccination status. Locals have been good about it throughout, but it’s tourist season, and while it’s nowhere near as whackadoodle here as it was on Cape, there are still germy nasties roaming around.

At one of the grocery stores, a white (of course) woman whined to the manager, “I’m on vacation. I don’t want to wear a mask, and I shouldn’t have to look at anyone else wearing a mask. Maybe I’ll just take my tourist dollars and go home.”

I stopped my masked ass the requisite social distance from her and said, “You’re gone, we’re alive, sounds like a win to me.”

She did that guppy face thing, and the manager cracked up.

Because fucking tourists.

The Cape’s COVID numbers have gone way up (of course). Makes me glad I’m not there anymore; makes me worry about friends and colleagues living/visiting/working there.

We were considering taking our two-day autumn break at the tip of the Cape, on the beach, but my mom said, “No way am I going to Cape Cod when they continue to behave like selfish idiots.” And then I got an email from the state health whatever about how the highest rate of monkeypox in the state is in Provincetown, so yeah, we’ll skip it.

So we will go elsewhere. Maybe the coast of Maine or to Newport. I just want to sit somewhere overlooking ocean and read books for two days. No sightseeing (which is why it makes sense to go somewhere familiar). No indoor dining. A room/cottage with a deck, an ocean view, and books. A room with a fridge, and we’ll do takeout. If there’s a kitchen, I can cook. Although, hey, vacation, maybe I’ll stick with takeout. If the virus numbers keep going up, we aren’t going anywhere.

Speaking of cooking (note the segue way), I used the lemon basil from the market and made pesto, because I do love pesto, and I love Full Well Farm’s lemon basil, so lemon basil pesto it is.

I made vegetable stock in the crockpot, which worked well. I’ll freeze one jar and keep the other two in the fridge to use up.

Saturday afternoon, I could not put it off any longer, and finished the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Because the directions are so bad, I had to take something apart, do the next step, then do the thing I had to take apart, because if I did it in the order of the directions, I could get at the bit that needed to be done next. But by flipping the order, I could do both. Also, they kept instructing work done on it when it was sideways on the floor, when it made more sense to work on the bottom when it was upside down, and I could use my bodyweight. It was impossible to tighten the top the way the instructions ordered – there was no way to get in a tool to do it in that space. I’m trusting gravity, and, if need be, later on, Gorilla glue. The piece for the back wasn’t cut square, but I managed to nudge it to at least cover what needs to be covered. The doors splintered when the hardware was fastened. So they are put aside. I found one of my old tension rods, and I’m using the sewing mouse café curtains that always adorned my offstage workstation off-Broadway at theatres like the Variety Arts. They’re a little long and wrong, but until I can make other curtains (I have good fabric in my stash), they will do. I will also get some fabric for the back of the cart, because it’s so darn ugly I can’t stand to look at it. I will trim it and Velcro it onto the back, so that I can wash it when needed.

But the drawer (I built a drawer; I’m so proud) and the shelves  and the top are fine. The Tupperware is in the bottom, and the baking pans I had stacked over the cabinets nearest the kitchen window all fit. Now I have room, on that cabinet top, for the teapots I’m bringing up from the next storage run. The top is a good workspace, and I always need more workspace.

But I was achy and tired by the end of the day.

Sunday was another beautiful, sunny, temperate day. The wreath we bought the weekend after Thanksgiving, hung on the door for the Winter Yule season, then stripped of ornaments and hung on the living room since, just started drying up. So I stripped the wreath. I have one jar of small needles/twigs for Winter Solstice. I have 5 jars of pine needles stripped from the rest of it.

What would you use pine needles for? Glad you asked. Incense, sachets, charms, bath mixtures, and potpourri. For instance, for this holiday season, I’ll pour pine needles in a bowl, take an orange, stud it with whole cloves, toss in some cinnamon sticks, and there’s a holiday scent without anything perfumy. I can take a cheesecloth or linen bag, put in pine needles, rosemary, and orange or lemon peel, and put it in the bathwater. (Trust me, you want it a bag you can soak and then dump, not loose in the water. Learn from my missteps. There are places on the human body in which pine needles should never venture).

I’ll keep the frame, in case I want to build some other kind of wreath using it.

Tessa helped. She loves anything scented (and I think she misses my stillroom as much as I do). Willa watched from a safe distance. Charlotte slept through the whole thing.

But most of Sunday was mellow, enjoying reading, being on the porch, playing with the cats, etc. The neighborhood was quiet, because people took advantage of the nice weather to go out and do things Elsewhere. Which meant Here was quiet.

I finished the Shirley Jackson biography and read Thomas Lynch’s wonderful poems WALKING PAPERS. He is a poet who is also an undertaker. I have several of his books to read.

Sauteed fresh trout from the local fishmonger in butter, with salt and pepper, boiled fresh red potatoes (from Red Shirt Farm) and served them with butter, and blanched sugar snap peas (from Full Well Farm) in boiling water, then tossed them with sesame oil and parsley. Absolute bliss, tasting real flavors.

I’m enjoying the kitchen island cart. The additional workspace is wonderful.

Went to bed ridiculously early. Woke up at 1:30, but went back to sleep, until Tessa and Charlotte rousted me out of bed around 5:30.

Got the email box down from over 700 emails to 67. Worked on my day’s Italian lesson. Created interview questions for a project. Did a run to the library and the grocery store to pick up something forgotten over the weekend. Worked out a visit in a few weeks to a friend I haven’t seen since before I moved to the Cape (although we always kept in touch).

I’m having trouble with my keyboard. It’s only working on the top half of the screen. More Windows 11-HP-McAfee miscommunication, no doubt.

The dickhead postal carrier AGAIN put my box in the mail slot, where I can’t get it out because the residence side is 1” smaller than the postal slot. Seven fucking months this has gone on. So I wrote it all out in a formal letter to the postmaster. If it continues, I’ll file the complaint through the main USPS system. I was polite in the letter and asked for better training, even though I know, after seven months of conversations and notes with this guy, he’s just being a dick.

Read a script in the afternoon, but didn’t finish the analysis. I will do that today, and read another script that came up in the queue, only the file was corrupted, so I had to request a new copy. That came through, so all good.

In the early evening, I went over to Greylock Works, the converted mill, that’s a really cool space now. The Northern Berkshire Artist Meetup was there, coordinated by several groups. It was a mixed experience. Cool space. But indoors, and not everyone was masking (I, of course, did). With food and drink, even those masking had to remove them sometimes. More people in the space than I was comfortable with, although the fans and ventilation system was strong.

Some very cool people. I met an older artist who calls works in “oversized political origami” and married to a guy who was a Madison Avenue adman in 1960’s NYC. I met a filmmaker/sculptor/teacher. I met a guy who moved up here from DC with his poet boyfriend (I told him about the World’s Largest Poem). And, in passing, a bunch of other people. One chick announced, “Oh, my husband just tested positive for COVID. Maybe I should wear a mask?” and started giggling. No, hon, you should LEAVE.

Everyone near by stepped back, and those who weren’t masking scrambled to put theirs on. Fortunately, she was way more than 6 feet away (more like 12 or 16, but hey, airborne). I stayed away.

The new director of MASSMoCA, Kristy Edmunds, was the guest speaker, sharing her views on sustainable creative practice, and her vision to help artists shape and live sustainably creative lives (in other words, paid for their work and supported). She takes the time to get to know people in the community as individuals, not just the big donors. That makes a huge difference. She was really interested in talking to us, and in continued conversation. Several other organizations/agencies distributed information and resources. There’s a lot to tap into, and a lot of sharing of resources going on.

I left soon after the talk and those conversations. I would have liked to stay and listen to the music, but too many people indoors and, I’m not yet comfortable with that. As it is, I’m going to be a paranoid hypochondriac for the next 10 days, watching for symptoms. But, as the friend who worked on the vaccine pointed out, I’m probably exposed to just as much virus every time I got into the grocery store. I need to keep masking, remain cautious, and let the vaccines do their job.

I was masked. Let’s hope this wasn’t a miscalculation. I’ll know soon enough, right? When I came home, I went through the old, pre-vaccine decontamination protocols, just in case.

I didn’t get much sleep, thanks to Charlotte and Tessa hurling furballs all night. The cats have shed their summer coats already, and are growing in thick winter coats. The squirrels are putting things away for winter (destroying a lot of the plants on the balcony). It bodes for a tough winter.

Up early this morning (because it’s hard to sleep through hurling furballs). Off to the laundromat. Worked on the multi-colored draft of The Big Project. I’d like to work on revisions for the one acts, but I have to get the Big Project where it needs to be, so the announcement can go out next week, and the marketing push can begin. I will also follow up on the cards/postcards/contacts I collected yesterday.

I may, however, need to take a nap somewhere in there. The cats, of course, are all fast asleep.

I have some bills to drop in the box at the bottom of the road, but I’m going to spend the morning on Topic Workbooks and The Big Project, and the afternoon on script coverage. This evening, I will start reading the next book for review.

That’s the catch up. Hope you’re having a great week.

Tues. July 5, 2022: New Week, New Play

image courtesy of Kohji Asakawa

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto. Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Why, yes, I started the week by writing a full draft of a new one-act play this morning.

Friday morning, I got the review and invoice out. I was paid my month-end fee by the biggest client. I got some information on something for which I want to apply in autumn. Sent a marketing idea to my shared world anthology editor.

I set up all #31Prompts to release via Tweetdeck at 11 AM each day. They will be consistent on Tweetdeck, and hit all the other social media channels whenever I can get them up. But at least, if you follow along on Twitter, it will be consistent.

Made a logo for #31Prompts, and also for the Friday Journal Prompts which are exclusive to my Ello page.

Turned around a script coverage in the afternoon, and received two scripts I will turn around today.

Got the information for The World’s (Possibly) Largest Poem event on the 23rd – when to get there, how we’ll be set up, etc. They’re giving us a travel stipend for gas, which will help. Thankfully, gas prices have gone down 34 cents in the last week or so. Which is good, since I need to top up this week (I always refill the tank when I hit half).

Spent the late afternoon on the front porch with an ice-cold martini, reading THE NEW YORKER and VANITY FAIR. It was hot, but not unbearable.

An article I read in VANITY FAIR gave me an idea to layer into GAMBIT COLONY, so I started doing that. Yeah, I’ve been working on that series for years. Eventually, I will finish it! But it’s always a comfort for me to work on it, even though it’s large and unwieldy. It has a very specific target audience. Anyway, I wrote about six pages of new material, to layer in another character’s story. At some point (probably over the autumn and winter), I will go back to finish Book 5 and write Book 6, then do another pass, because those first 6 books encompass the major story arcs and hopefully will release fairly close together.

But GAMBIT COLONY can’t be the main focus right now, just a stress release valve. The Big Project needs my primary focus.

A thunderstorm with lightning woke me a little after midnight, going into Saturday. Tessa and Charlotte were scared, so I stayed up with them for a bit. Willa yawned and went back to sleep. Not a lot bothers her.

It was still drizzling when I went to the Farmers’ Market, but I made my rounds, and then went to the grocery store to fill in.

Saturday was a bit of A Day: woke with a migraine, stepped on glass later in the afternoon and cut my foot, choked on a vegetable at night. Survived, but let’s hope that’s my quota for the month!

Dived into the world of GAMBIT COLONY and stayed there most of the weekend, tweaking, making notes on additional scenes, making cuts. The years of work put into it need to eventually add up to something. I wrote about 20 pages of new material.

A friend is working a show at an historical playhouse on Cape where I worked  a few years back. I had a very mixed experience (slanting to the negative) when I worked there. I’m glad I got to be a part of its history, but it’s highly unlikely I’d work there again. I hope she has a better experience.

Salmon with fresh dill and lemon basil on Saturday night, which was good. Coq Au Vin in the crockpot Sunday, which was okay, but now that I have the base recipe, I need to work on it to deepen the flavors.

We were so lucky for most of the weekend. There were some controlled fireworks for about an hour or so every night, but not the constant shelling, danger, and noise that we had on Cape. So much healthier for us and for the cats. I heard from colleagues still living on Cape that it was absolutely packed and awful all weekend. Hard to get into the grocery store; lines to get to the beaches; and so forth.

I wonder how high the Covid numbers coming out of there will be in two weeks?

The weather’s been warm, but not unbearably hot, which has been nice. I haven’t taken advantage of Windsor Lake yet, but that’s on this week’s schedule! Spending regular time at the lake.

Monday, I was paid by a client and received my next assignment.

I intentionally stayed fairly quiet this weekend, in spite of the nice weather. My body demanded it, with all the sense memory stress. Here’s hoping that I pull out to the other side in the next few days.

I took Willa out on the back balcony on Monday afternoon. Tessa and Charlotte set up a Big Fuss. So everyone got a turn, each in her own playpen, for about a half hour each. That allowed for harmony in the afternoon.

There were some fireworks, but not dickheads setting them off in the streets. Around 10 PM, down past the end of our street, there was a professional fireworks display that ran 20-30 minutes, setting the starbursts over our street. It was beautiful, well-choreographed, and not very loud. Very pretty. We sat on the front porch and watched it. Well, Tessa didn’t like it and hid in the bathroom, but the rest of us watched it from the front porch, and some of the neighbors came out into the street to watch. It was fun.

Unlike feeling like one was being bombed 24/7 for days and having to worry about the roof catching fire, like on Cape Cod.

The shooting in Highland, IL was atrocious, especially since the cops were right there, “couldn’t” catch the shooter, but later took him “without incident.” This, after a black man in Akron was shot 60 times for a traffic stop and his dead body handcuffed. This is not acceptable.

And the Dems just shrug, tell us to “vote harder” and try to fundraise off it.

No. Just no. Do your fucking jobs.

When I finally did get to bed, I had a huge sense memory flashback to this time last year, when I was in the almost empty house, with the last few loads of boxes going to storage, hoping the roof wouldn’t catch fire from the illegal fireworks, because I’d given the hose away. On the 5th last year, was the day of my final storage runs, cleaning the house, and finally getting the hell out, so maybe, just maybe by 9 PM tonight, when I’d hit my favorite hotel in Sturbridge last year, exhausted and in tears, and they upgraded me to a fancy room, I will finally be done with the sense memory stress. I just have to ride out today.

It already started better than this day last year. I woke up with an idea for a short play, sat down before breakfast, took a quick breakfast break, and had the first draft written by 8:30 AM. It’s short, a one-act, but it was a place to put my rage, with a character who comes up with a solution. I mean, it needs work, it’s a first draft, but I said what I wanted to say. Once it’s polished, it’ll go out on submission. It’s called “The Little Woman” so you can guess the context and content.

A colleague on the Monthology anthology, who is helping the editor decide the order of the stories, said she read mine last night and it was so beautiful it made her cry. I’m delighted! I hoped it would have that power.

Today, I catch up on a lot of admin, and start writing my Llewellyn article, which is due by the end of the month. I’ll go back and wrestle with the formatting on the SUBMISSIONS Topic Workbook, and start putting in the edits to the first big arc of The Big Project, so that I can have clean copy to submit by early next week. I have some scripts in my queue, including one for which I was specifically requested. This week, I’ll also do some work on a couple of the other Topic Workbooks, and work on the slides for my class. If you haven’t yet signed up for it at the CCWC, the class is about “Developing the Series” and you can sign up here. It’s in the late afternoon of Aug. 6.

I hope your long weekend wasn’t too chaotic, and you were able to have both rest and pleasure.

Peace, my friends. We have to go to war for it (again), but we can get there.

Wed. June 29, 2022: Creativity, Cats, and Yoga

image courtesy of Tamba Budiarsana via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I’m happy with the work I did on The Big Project yesterday, and that will probably be the biggest focus for the upcoming weekend: getting the edits on the first large section done while working on the second large section (this will all make sense when I reveal what this project actually is). It’s bizarre not to finish the entire thing and then edit the entire thing, but since there’s technically not and “end” (although there are options to impose one), that’s how this needs to be done.

The editor confirmed that I am in the first volume of The Monthology shared world anthology. I’m very excited, and I’m excited about my fellow contributors. There are still contracts to sign and edits to complete and all of that, but I’m happy. I’ve wanted to be part of a shared world anthology since Thieves’ World first showed up in the 1980’s, and now I am. Always nice when a creative dream comes true!

Played with the horror short story. If I don’t choose the right way to tell it, it will read voyeuristic and exploitative, instead of terrifying. I think I’ve got the right angle on it now; we’ll see as more words go on the page.

Spent a lot of time in the morning updating the links for the “Personal Revolution” re-release, and putting up the ad for it every damn where I could think to put it. Scheduled a bunch of tweets with the ad through next Wednesday on Tweetdeck, one per day. Don’t want to do overkill; at the same time, it needs promotion. Even with a list, I’m sure I missed a few places that will come to mind over the next few days.

Hopped down to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription.

Willa wanted to come out on the back balcony when I watered all the plants yesterday morning. I told her she couldn’t, and she was unhappy. I promised her that I’d take her out after lunch, in her playpen, and I did. At first she was happy, but then she was restless, so I brought her back in. Charlotte, who was upset that she couldn’t come, too, had given up by then and fallen asleep. But Tessa insisted that she wanted to go out. I told her it had to be in the playpen, and she let me put her in her playpen (each of the three cats has her own playpen) without trying to rip my lungs out, the way she usually does.

I took her out and she had a good time. She was interested in everything, especially all the different birds we have. There are a lot of different kinds of trees and tree-like shrubs nearby, with a large variety of birds. I need to look them up in the bird book. I don’t know what some of them are.

When we came back in, Willa kept running into the laundry room and trying to drag out her now folded up playpen, to go back outside.

I’m glad Tessa enjoyed herself. She always loved going out on the deck at the other house, although I didn’t need to put her in the playpen. She knew the boundaries and stayed on the deck. But the back balcony isn’t safe unless they’re in their playpens.

The computer was being wonky and frustrating. Again. And my phone is limping alone, just about done.

Something I ordered way back at the start of the month arrived, and was a big disappointment. The photo of the piece was highly stylized. Had I known what it really was, I wouldn’t have bought it. It was also presented as something created and made by an individual artisan (which is why I paid what I paid for it), but it is poorly mass-manufactured. It’s not worth returning, but I am unlikely to order from that company again. I will take some time with it and fix it up to be unique and what I want it to be, but it should have arrived that way.

I tried to concentrate on client work in the afternoon, but with the January 6 Hearings, I just couldn’t. Every seditionist and supporter needs to be removed from power any and every way necessary and prosecuted. The way nothing is happening is disgusting.

SCOTUS upholding gerrymandering in Louisiana to disenfranchise black voters doesn’t help, either. Dems need to stop telling us to “vote harder” and THEY need to fight smarter.

I went to my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years yesterday. Local place, in walking distance, should I choose. Loved the vibe of the place, liked the way the teacher teaches, enjoyed the other members of the class. The vaccination requirement is strictly enforced, some of the students still choose to mask, there’s plenty of room for everyone, and great ventilation.  I felt safe within the space (although I’ll still test in three days, then six days), along with feeling renewed after class. I definitely would like to take more classes there. It’s a little late in the game to buy the unlimited summer pass (maybe I’ll do that next year). I’m going to see about buying the 10-class pass in a week or two, once the bills are paid – and once I know how much the new phone will run me.

The place in Pittsfield doesn’t have the phone I want (and is unlikely to help me switch everything over if I order it online). I might switch carriers. A different carrier with a store a few blocks away has a similar phone (but one step up) that may be a little more expensive, or it may be on sale and around the same price. The monthly no-contract plan is less than what I’m paying now, for about double the capacity. I’ll go down and talk to them today, after I do my library run. If they can’t/won’t do what I need, I’ll stick with my carrier, get the phone I want online, and see if I can do the transfer myself (urgh). But let’s hope I don’t have to.

This morning, though, before I run my errands, I want to get the horror story drafted (it’s short), and maybe work on some of the format wonk in the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. This afternoon has to focus on client work.

The kitchen island cart is still in pieces all over the place. It’ll be the weekend before I can deal with that, too.

For the moment, though, now, it’s back to the page.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022: Release Day for “Personal Revolution”

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

The re-release of the short mystery “Personal Revolution” is out today! I’m in the process of updating all the links. It’s a Delectable Digital Delight, a short story set in a fictional town tucked near Lexington and Concord, MA.  Since Independence Day weekend is coming up, it was a good chance to re-release it. Only 99 cents. Universal buy link is here.

When a man is hanged from the oak tree in a Redcoat uniform at an historic house just before the Independence Day program, Glenda vows to both solve the murder and protect the newly-opened museum. What she finds is much darker — and more personal — than she bargained.

There’s information on the other Delectable Digital Delights here.

Back to our regularly scheduled natter.

Neptune has joined Pluto and Saturn in the retrograde lineup. Neptune has strong influences over me, so it’s a reminder to be cautious until it goes direct in December. It’s good for revealing phonies, though.

Friday was a hellscape, wasn’t it, with the corrupt, extremist SCOTUS striking down Roe. I’m glad I got a good chunk of work done on The Big Project, because the rest of the day was lost. The Dems had the heads up on this months ago. What do they do? Stand on a few steps singing a song and send out fundraising emails. They are pathetic.

Don’t start with “they don’t have the votes” or “don’t criticize Dems.” We gave them enough votes to get it done and it is THEIR JOB to keep their people in line, the way the Republicans do. The Republicans get whatever they want no matter who is in office, because they fight, and they don’t stop. The Dems throw up their hands, say they “don’t have the votes’ and ask for more money. Pathetic. They just let the extremists roll right over top of them, no matter what.

I had to hop out to the grocery store shortly after the announcement came down. What was hopeful was that there were growing groups of women of all ages, at both the grocery store, and the post office, talking. Those of us who are old enough to remember life pre-Roe, and who’ve been activists since before the Internet know how to harness the power of memory and communication that’s not based on technology, so we can help set up less traceable networks (nothing is untraceable if more than one person knows about it). Use the best of modern advances with old school.

There is plenty I will not be discussing publicly.

I tried to write in the afternoon, but everything came out incoherent.

I gave up on the Balzac biography, and I’m trying to figure out why I liked his work so much, back in the year I lived in Seattle. But I was a walking disaster that year, so my judgment was undoubtedly questionable.

Read Donna Leon’s latest Brunetti mystery, GIVE UNTO OTHERS, which is quieter and sadder than many others in the series. At least she deals with the pandemic. I don’t trust authors setting their books as “contemporary” who act like the pandemic never existed. I’m giving some a pass, who had books that stalled in the pipeline during the pandemic, but going forward, it’s a big red flag for me.

Saturday morning, I was up early.  I took a home COVID test, because there’s the regular question of “Is it pollen or the plague?” and because of last week’s playwrighting workshop. Even though we were masked and vaccinated, there was still risk, and I felt questionable a few days after, so I wanted to make sure.

The negative test meant I could go to the Farmers’ Market (that and the fact that I felt fine, other than scraping pollen off my skin every few hours). I bought from my friend at Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery, I bought tomatoes and fennel and carrots and eggs from various other farmers, and told the maple syrup place how amazing their syrup is. I chatted with all kinds of people and dogs lined up to get attention (often thoroughly confusing their owners). I left before it got too crowded, but the market is as much about the social aspect as the culinary one.

Felt the need to rest, so I did, pushing away all the “should haves.”

Made a big salad for lunch, then put Willa in her playpen and took her out on the back balcony, so I could read and she could enjoy being outside. It’s nice and shady, and the humidity wasn’t too bad.

Finished the Donna Leon book and started FROM BAD TO CURSED by Lana Harper, which was a lot of fun.

Dinner was leftovers, and then I switched to a biography of Shirley Jackson. It didn’t get as hot as I feared, but I was too wiped out to move. My body remembers the exhaustion from last year, the move, going back and filling the two dumpsters, the difficulty getting things sorted to either the dumpster or into storage. So this week, I have to focus on building new, lighter, happier, more relaxed memories here over those other memories, even with all the crap going on, and even as I have to focus on deadlines and making a living.

So that will be. . .something or other.

Had weird dreams Saturday into Sunday, where I lived in a condominium. My next-door neighbors had theirs on the market. For some reason, the wall between our apartments served as a one-way mirror for me, so I could see everyone coming through to look at their apartment. I have no idea what the hell that could mean.

Sunday was even hotter than Saturday. It was also the day before the dark moon, my lowest energy day of the month, but all the stuff I’d put off for Friday and Saturday had to be dealt with.

I worked on the SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook. That should be ready to go for final formatting and proofing this week, and maybe release next week. The workbook for class is nearly done. I took down two more workbooks that I want to re-release in July, so that they are down long enough for me to revise them and get them back up.

I worked on the anthology story and it wasn’t working. I’m percolating an idea for a different anthology that is genuinely creepy and twisted and, if I pull if off, will need trigger warnings.

The yoga studio here sent out a wonderful email blast about processing what’s going on, poses to help, and where they stand on the issues. Unlike the yoga studio on Cape Cod, who only allowed right-wingers to voice opinions and have safe space. If anyone spoke up to stand up to the right-wing crap spouted by class members, they were told to stop being political. Yet those right-wingers could say whatever they wanted and it was their right to express an opinion. Which meant it wasn’t safe space for anyone else. Huge difference, and the attitude here is much more what I want and need out of my yoga studio.

The meditation group also set up something virtual for Sunday night. I’d hoped to go, but Charlotte got her claw stuck on something in the kitty condo and panicked. By the time I got her safely extracted and calmed down, the mediation was nearly over. She wasn’t hurt, thank goodness, but was very vocal in her upset. Both Tessa and Willa were worried. Once Charlotte was free, and hiding, Tessa sat nearby, so that Charlotte wouldn’t be alone. I was worried Charlotte would get aggressive in her panic, but she didn’t. It was very sweet of Tessa, since they still don’t always get along.

Could not get going on Monday. Everything was a struggle. Managed to get the SUBMISSIONS Topic Workbook smoothed out and uploaded, but there is a lot of formatting wonk, so I will have to go back through and figure it out. I might have to push back the release date.

Lost way too much of the day trying to get my mother’s new doctor situation sorted out. It shouldn’t take us a damn year, pandemic or not, to find a doctor. I’m lucky she’s in reasonably good health for 97, and the paramedics aren’t here every couple of weeks, the way they are for several other residents on the block. I think we’ve found someone decent. We’ll see, after her appointment in mid-July.

Finally managed to shake loose what wasn’t working in the Monthology anthology story, and got it done. It wasn’t just that the originally planned A and B storylines flipped, causing restructuring – the heart of the piece was somewhere else. Once I found its heart, I could build the story properly. I did a few revision passes (some of them major), and wound up with a draft I felt good enough about to send to my editor. Hopefully, she likes it. I’m a little worried that the story is too quiet, without the harder urban fantasy edge. But I was careful about fact-checking the shared world details and the details of anyone else’s monsters, so I think we’re okay.

There’s a lot less about the workday of the protagonist, which I thought would ground the piece, and would have called for more inter-monster interaction. But there’s room to do more if there’s another volume, and if I’m invited to contribute again. This story stands on its own, but also leaves the door open for more stories with these characters.

Fingers crossed it fits the shared vision.

I let the horror story percolate. I actually have two ideas. The more gruesome one is the one I’m going to draft first.

While there weren’t scripts assigned in my cue, I got a stack of manuscripts to cover, where I have to read the first fifty pages and comment, so there’s the week’s work from that. I’ll still be under where I wanted to be this pay period, but not as badly. And, with the review invoice I’m sending, I should be okay. Bills are covered, and as long as I’m not extravagant, I don’t have to feel like a miser.

Started reading the new book for review. It’s pretty good.

Up early this morning to go to the laundromat. It’s usually kept up quite well, but it was filthy today. The machines were fine, but the rest of it was yucky. I brought the laundry back unfolded, because I didn’t want it on the folding table.

I managed to get a good bit of the multi-colored draft of first big section of The Big Project done. The good thing about the slow and careful attention it needs to catch passives, adverbs, and qualifiers is that a lot of other errors show up, too.

I’ll do some writing this morning, and promotion of “Personal Revolution”. Later, I have to pick up my mom’s prescription. This afternoon, I’ll take a home COVID test, not because I’m feeling terrible, but because tonight I’m going to my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years, and, even though they have strict protocols, I want to make sure once and for all I’m clear post-workshop and Farmers’ Market. I have my vaccination card tucked into my purse. I still have to clean my mat and fix my mat bag before tonight. The buckle on the strap broke during the move.

I’m hoping to get a tarot spread up on the Ko-fi page later today, too. I was going to head down to Pittsfield to try and get a new phone (my phone’s giving me trouble, but hey, it lasted four years, a record for me), but I think I’ll wait until later in the week.

Plenty to do, so better get to it, right? Overlay the NOW over the sense memory stress of the final clear-out last year.

Have a good one.

Tues. June 21, 2022: Creativity in Multiple Directions

image courtesy of Chris Martin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)

Cloudy and pleasant

Friday turned out to be an up and down workday. I spent some time working the class I’m teaching in August, preparing both the Topic Workbook for it and the PowerPoint. Some of my examples have not aged well over the past couple of years, so I’m switching them out.

I hopped onto Pages on Stages to do some updates, and it was an absolute mess. The posts page had somehow detached from News & Updates. Most of the time, I got the white screen of death when I tried to get on or switch pages.

I was lucky to land some excellent techs at A2Hosting, and together, we spent a couple of hours sorting it out. I am very grateful, and told them directly, and on social media. Hey, if I’m going to moan on social media when a company is awful, I have the obligation to praise when a company comes through.

I need to put up a media room page on that site eventually, with links to productions.

I did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It started raining when I left (on foot). I almost turned back, but it stopped within two minutes, so I continued.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. My Llewellyn contract came through, so I’m good to go on that article after 4th of July weekend.

I’m playing with a very dark idea for an anthology call edited by a friend. I don’t know if I can pull it off within word count by deadline, but I will try.

Reading an article in THE NEW YORKER about a new production of HAMLET spawned an idea for a new project that mashes up two genres that seem weird, but just might work. I have to finish what I’m working on first, though, before I hie off on anything else. I made some notes, to capture characters and energy, and now that project has to wait its turn.

Tessa started howling at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday. I moved to the sewing room, but she was not mollified. We no longer leave her food down at night for her 2 AM snack, because the others are eating it, and Willa is putting on too much weight. However, Madame Tessa Is Not Amused. She wants her 2 AM snack.

Got the proof done on “Personal Revolution”, fixed a couple of formatting things, and it is out. The re-release happens June 28. Once I get links and stuff, there will be a push for it.

Now, I have to decide what’s the next Digital Delight to come off Smashwords and switch over to D2D. Probably “Severance.” I want a new cover for that, too. Or maybe I’ll take down “Plot Bunnies” and put it up with the next Twinkle Tavern piece that hasn’t yet released, “Labor Intensive.”

Headed to the Farmers’ Market. I didn’t need much, but made the rounds to chat with the vendors; ran into people I knew from other spaces, such as the library, and we were chatting as to how it’s often hard to place people out of context. You know that you know them from somewhere. . .

Quick grocery shop from the store. Didn’t need much. Home, put it all away, lugged 66 pounds of cat litter up the stairs (Chewy delivery).

Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to put together the kitchen island cart I ordered. I wasn’t even close to finishing after 6 hours (it’s supposed to take 2 people 70 minutes). The directions were incomplete, so I had to hunt for another set online. The drawings aren’t detailed enough with some of the pieces, so then I had to find various videos of similar pieces to figure out the details, so I wouldn’t put something on incorrectly and have to take it apart again.  And the design is so poor that, by following the directions, I had no room to maneuver the tools needed to tighten the next thing in the directions. Very frustrating.

If I ever get it put together, I think it will be a decent piece, though.

Used bounty from the Farmers’ Market to make a pasta primavera in Alfredo sauce (and used our own basil for it).

Started reading a biography of Balzac, before I go and re-read some of the novels.

By evening, every damn thing hurt and I went to bed ridiculously early. I slept well, dreaming of various gardens, which was rather nice.

Worked on an ad and other promotional materials for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” on Sunday. Started getting the pre-order buy links. I’m adding them onto the various websites as I get them. The release is holding to June 28.

Played with some other graphic tools to try to get comfortable. Since I can’t seem to do all of what I need with any single tool, I’m learning how to mix and match bits of what I want to do in different programs to get to the whole. It’s actually less irritating that trying to figure out a single program.

Made a logo for the project inspired by the article yesterday. If THAT’s not putting the cart before the horse and all, right? But it gave me an excuse to play with learning something new.

Worked on the newsletter. If you haven’t yet signed up for it, you can do so here. It will go out later this week. And, hint – in the newsletter, I reveal what The Big Project is really all about! So if you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been yapping about for months, calling it “the Big Project” you will find out before the hoi-polloi.

I created a bunch of ads for the Big Project, too, and they are really cool. I’m having way too much fun creating these ads. I’m trying to capture the voice of the piece in the ads.

One of the best things I started doing is opening a new document for the upcoming newsletter and adding information on projects over the course of the quarter. That way, I don’t have to scramble to remember what I did, and what I want to talk about.

Made more vegetable stock. Because buying all these vegetables from the market means I have lots of bits and bobs left over for stock. Not at a zero waste kitchen yet, but working on it.

Most of the day was spent on working on things around The Big Project, which will save me time and effort once it launches in July. It was a lot of fun.

I couldn’t face the kitchen island cart on Sunday. I needed the time away.

Slept well Sunday into Monday. Got caught up on some blogging, and blogged ahead. There’s a post on healing over on the GDR site, if you’re interested.

Planted some of the borage seeds and more cat grass. Got through nearly 400 emails. Sent out two LOIs. Worked on an anthology story.

The Authors Guild is doing a Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival this September over in Lenox, which is close by. Well, okay, about an hour, but just about everything is at least an hour away. They sent me an invite to attend, and I accepted. It’s in the calendar. I mean, if the COVID numbers are way up again at that point, I’ll cancel, but I know the venue, and they have good protocols in place. I’m hoping it will be safe to attend. I’m sure I’ll be masked, no matter what.

Since I didn’t have any scripts in my queue, I spent the afternoon on the porch, reading the next book for review. This morning, I will send off the review, and hopefully get assigned the next book before my editor goes on vacation.

Made a sausage pasta for dinner, and it was yummy. We have plenty of leftovers for the week (most of them pasta).

The B plotline has switched with the A plotline in the anthology story. It makes it a quieter story, and I hope the editor doesn’t feel it no longer fits the tone of the overall anthology. We’ll see. It’s for a created world, so it’s not like I could use it anywhere else if it’s rejected, not without major, major re-envisioning. But trying to force it the other way wasn’t working. All I can do is send in the best piece I can to this point, and then get notes on it, and apply them.

The other anthology story I need to get out by the end of the month is percolating in the back of my brain. I’ll be making the bed or chopping onions, sorting through plot possibilities: If I do A, with D work, or should I go with E? That type of thing. Hopefully, once the shared world story is out, I will have figured out enough of the other piece to just sit down and draft.

Slept well last night, although I woke up about every two hours (similar to what I was doing last year at this time). By 3 AM, Charlotte and Tessa were fussing. They woke me from a dream where I was temping at a company. I’d brought in blueberry muffins. Their kitchen/breakroom was stacked high with empty/used takeout containers and dirty dishes. They told me to clean the kitchen. I told them I was there to type, not be the maid. They laughed and said they couldn’t get any of the wives to come in and clean. I told them maybe they should stop being sexist and  learn to clean up after their own damn selves.

That definitely happened to me more than once in my temping years, but I didn’t recognize this company or these people. Something about the dream made me think it took place in Chicago, and I never temped in Chicago. New York, Westchester, San Francisco, Seattle, yeah. Chicago, no.

I moved to the couch. Charlotte settled on top of me, Tessa rummaged. I dozed off and dreamed about more boxes (echoes of the move, no doubt). Willa woke me around 5:30, telling me she was Very Hungry, so I got up and fed them.

Plenty to do today, even without scripts in the queue, although I hope some more show up, so I can make my goal this pay period.

Last year today was the day the movers were supposed to show up and did not. I am glad we are where we are (and that it isn’t as hot as it was at this point last year, either).

I have every intention of enjoying the Summer Solstice, even though it’s supposed to rain.

Have a good one.

Fri. June 17, 2022: Project Juggling

image courtesy of Theodore Moise via pixabay.com

Friday, June 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy, foggy, humid

Meditation was fine yesterday, and Charlotte really enjoyed it, too. Managed to get through some email after breakfast, get out an LOI, and get some other admin work done. Wrote and submitted my book review; got another assignment. Freelance Chat was fun.

“Personal Revolution” is in pretty good shape. There are a couple of formatting things I need to tweak, and then a final proof, and it should be ready to go by the end of the day (or, latest, tomorrow), and release on time on June 28.

Time to turn some attention to the Topic Workbooks, and to the PowerPoint presentation for my class in August.  I’ve also roughed the outline for the Llewellyn almanac article in my head, and I should be able to start writing it just after Independence day. So at least all that is on track.

I need to do a big push to finish and polish the Monthology story this weekend, so I can get it out next week.

There are some red flags coming up on a project; I will fulfill my commitment to it, and then not take on any more.

Since I’m on a bunch of mailing lists around here, so I can keep up with what’s going on and where I want to participate, I’m also starting to get invitations to gala events. The liberation I feel from realizing I never HAVE to attend another one of those again is delightful.

I need to update the Pages on Stages website with the latest information on the radio plays. I hope to get ahead on some blog pieces.

I turned around two scripts yesterday and have one to do today, and then I’m done for the weekend. Hopefully, enough come through next week and the following week, so I can make my earnings goal for the end of June.

Still struggling with the sense memory stress from last year’s move. Lots of emotional flashbacks as to where I was at this point last year. The Pluto/Saturn retrogrades add even more weight to those emotions. I’m acknowledging, releasing, and trying to focus on the reality of where I am now.

There’s some cool stuff going on at MassMOCA this weekend. However, doing the risk assessment, it looks like too many people in too small a space for me to feel comfortable, and too high a risk for me to take right now. I will, regretfully, pass. I already have the Farmers’ Market and grocery shopping on Saturday. They’re fairly low risk, but any interactions around people involve risk.

Today is supposed to be the hottest day for a stretch, but it’s still much cooler than it was last year at this time, and for that I am grateful. I have to do a library run to drop off/pick up books. I didn’t get the borage planted yesterday, so now I have to wait until Sunday, the next planting day. For those wondering what I mean by “planting day”, I have a calendar marking which days are planting days and which days are harvesting days on any given week.

The January 6 hearings were not all that surprising, while still emphasizing just how corrupt and awful that sociopath’s entire administration was and is. The fact that the wife of a Supreme Court Justice is part of it is unacceptable. Even more so that she is getting extra security, paid by my tax dollars. She could afford to finance the coup attempt. Let her pay for her own damn security. Better yet, put her in prison, where she should be.

Keep an eye on the people both-siding through all of this, or telling us we should make more efforts to “understand” and “communicate” with Republicans. I understand them just fine. They want to destroy anyone who doesn’t agree with them. And I also understand that the both siders are those who will stand by and let atrocities happen and then be surprised when it happens to them. Gotta watch your back around both siders even more than the blatantly extremist.

Today is Starhawk’s birthday! I am deeply grateful for all I’ve learned from her over the decades, and for her commitment to education and community building.

Better get going. Lots to get done today, and I also plan on plenty of enjoyment throughout the weekend.

Have a good one, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Wed. June 16, 2022: Work Day

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a reasonably quiet day, especially as to where we were last year at this time. It wasn’t without its disappointments. A grant opportunity landed on my desk, and looked promising. But it’s one of those where they didn’t let the applicant read through the entire application nor did they list all the requirements. So after spending too much time filling out the application, I hit a requirement that was not mentioned in the guidelines that required unpaid labor to create something they would keep for their archives, whether they gave me the grant or not.

No. Just no. That’s exploiting grant applicants.

There’s a post on Creativity is a Business over on Ink-Dipped Advice. The profits that the arts have made, even in the year after the shutdowns, is astonishing. And too damn small a portion goes to the actual artists.

There’s also a post on Gratitude and Growth that goes into more detail about Tuesday’s visit to Berkshire Botanical Garden, and about the other garden stuff happening here.

Had to make another bank deposit, mailed my quarterly taxes (ouch), and attempted, yet again, to check out the new coffee place that opened a couple of blocks away. They were still closed a half hour after their posted opening times. This is the second time this has happened. Just proves that you can’t trust a “business” that only has a Facebook page and not an actual, professional website.

Got some writing done, wasn’t happy about any of it. Handled a bunch of email. I’m still at nearly 500 emails in the inbox, which will have to be addressed today. Turned around a script coverage. The pay period ended yesterday, and I nearly made my goal. Let’s hope I can hit it in the second half of the month.

The guy coordinating the World’s Largest Poem sent me information on a playwrighting workshop offered by a playwright from this year’s Williamstown Theatre  Festival. I took a look, and signed up. I’m feeling a little stuck in the stage play aspect of my career right now, as far as writing, and it would be good to shake that up a little. There are COVID protocols, and it’s at the Berkshire Atheneum down in Pittsfield, a space in which I feel comfortable and know that they have protocols in place, too, so it is a calculated risk that tips in my favor, rather than the virus’s favor.

Spent some time on BookBub. I’m adding authors to follow and recommending books I like. I think I will have to work my way author-by-author, because it takes time. I need to do it slowly.

But that’s how one builds sustainable accounts anyway, slowly and organically.

Had a bad night. First the fire alarm went off, for no discernible reason. I got it quiet, checked everything and double checked it, just to make sure. Had trouble going back to sleep, and then woke up every hour. Charlotte had her paws full, trying to look after me (and she is exhausted this morning). At four, I gave up, and moved to the sewing room, so Tessa could keep an eye on me. Charlotte joined me. Tessa forgot I was in the sewing room, and went back to my bedroom to wake me up, astonished I wasn’t there.

I gave up and fed them a little before 5.

After my first writing session in longhand, I was excited to hit my desk and do my second writing session on the computer. Only Windows11 decided to do one of its long updates, and then I had to “set up” the computer as though I’d never used it before, even though I set it up exactly the way I wanted it when I bought it two years ago. It was a ridiculous waste of time. On top of that, it’s trying to force me to synch with my phone. No. I don’t run my life from my phone, I resent the fact that I’m forced to HAVE a phone, and I don’t want my devices synched to the phone. No.

Not the start for which I’d hoped this morning. But still better than last year at this point, when we were in moving hell, and doing our second round trip to drop off stuff here.

But I have meditation group coming up, and then it’s back to the page. There’s plenty to do, and I need to get it done: working on The Big Project, finishing the anthology story, proofreading “Personal Revolution” so the re-release can happen on time, working on the Topic Workbooks, writing and submitting the book review so I can get my next assignment, turning around a couple of scripts.

Better get going then, huh?

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. June 14, 2022: An Enjoyable Weekend

image courtesy of Rustu Bozkus via pixabayc.om

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Busy weekend, but a good one. Headed down to Pittsfield for a quick jaunt to pick up a few things I couldn’t source elsewhere. Turned around a script coverage. Got showered, dressed, and put on makeup to go to the art opening. It was close enough to walk, and the weather was good enough, so I did, even risking walking in cute shoes. I mean, I couldn’t wear sneakers with the dress. I could, but I didn’t want to.

The opening was artist Conrad Egyir’s solo show, after a year of teaching as an artist-in-residence here at the college. The work is wonderful. The way he captures eyes is compelling. There’s so much life in them. He’s also a really nice guy. We had a good conversation. The exhibit runs until September 1, so I can bring visitors to it.

One of the things Egyir mentioned echoed what the artists in the Open Studios at MassMOCA said: that being here gave them a sense of freedom and liberation to experiment and try new work. They didn’t feel the commercial pressure and expectations they felt at home. People are busy doing and creating here. Instead of putting newcomers through tests to join various inner circles, they open up, include, and encourage, and that’s a nice atmosphere to be around.

Attending these events makes me think more about my own work. How can I take more chances? How can I mix disciplines to tell stronger stories?

Came home, got into comfy clothes, and made dinner, then worked on the next review assignment.

Signed up for a yoga class – again, in walking distance (although I will drive). It’s one of the few studios in the area with strict COVID protocols. I’ll take the class, see if I like the teaching style and feel comfortable at an indoor class, and go from there. It will be my first in-person class in nearly three years. It’s at the end of the month, a special new moon yin class.

Going to the art opening tonight and going to class in a couple of weeks are both calculated risks. If I’m wrong, I’ll pay the price.

Actually slept well on Friday night, although the cats got me up early. I was at the Farmers’ Market just after they opened, and so excited to gather the week’s bounty (and talk to the farmers and other shoppers). Farmers’ Market is as much as social experience as a shopping experience.

After the Farmers’ Market foray, I went to the grocery store and built the week’s meals around what I bought at the market.

When I came home and put things away, I had to make another batch of vegetable stock, because my “odds & ends” bag in the fridge was full. I’ll need to rearrange the freezer as I freeze lots of stock, so that we have it in the winter. I used a lot of cilantro stems in this batch, so the whole house smelled like cilantro (which is a smell I enjoy).

The Goddess Provisions box arrived and it’s wonderful, built around the sun, and summer solstice.  Ellen Byron’s book, BAYOU BOOK THIEF, the first in her new series, arrived. After lunch, and answering some follow-up questions on a script coverage, I started reading it, and finished it on Sunday. It inspired me to see if The Pump Room in Chicago ever put out a cookbook or cocktail book in its heyday. I have one of their drinks carts and some glassware, which an extended family member who worked there gave my parents when the restaurant underwent one of its renovations. I’d like to see what they cooked. One of the later chefs, when it was part of the Ambassador Hotel, has out a cookbook, but I want something from the early days.

It was supposed to rain on Saturday all day, but it didn’t, so people went out and enjoyed the day. In the evening, people had their drinks out on their porches and balconies and called out conversation from safe social distances. It was fun.

A Twitter pal was talking about how there should be magicians at funerals, and now I must write a short story “The Funeral Magician.”

Up early on Sunday, thanks to the cats.

Discussed airlines and airports between LA & NY with Dianne Dotson, in preparation for her upcoming trip. Liana Brooks and her family fly out of Seattle Sunday, to live in Korea for two years.

There’s a lot of transition in the city where I live now, especially among artists coming and going in various residencies. I always lived that way in theatre, too. And it makes me realize how stuck I’d gotten on Cape, not actively pursuing more residencies and opportunities, even before the pandemic made it unsafe to travel. Sometimes it was financial; but other times, it was almost as though I felt I didn’t have the right to it, because I have everything set up the way I want/need it in my home office. There’s got to be a middle ground between living in transient situations and getting overly stuck. I want to be grounded and put down roots and feel like the place I live is my wonderful home. But I also don’t want to feel like I “shouldn’t” go for residencies and other short-term opportunities.

Granted, they’d have to be short, since I am the breadwinner and the caretaker of an elderly parent. But I still should do some of them.  I have a few ideas, for the next couple of years.

I’m not yet comfortable attending conferences in person. Too many people. Too few COVID protocols. But residencies with small groups and protocols in place should be do-able. I’m not yet ready to fly again, with the airlines being irresponsible dickheads turning planes into spreader events, but maybe something in driving distance now and again, until I feel comfortable enough to try, would be a good thing.

There were plenty of things I “should” have done, but I chose rest instead. I did, however, wash the inside of the large kitchen window, and re-set the fun little items along the sill that I took down when we decorated for the winter holidays. The outside of the window needs a good scrub, too, but it was supposed to rain, so I decided to wait.

I read THE SACRED BRIDGE by Anne Hillerman, which was good (although I figured out the murderer the first time the character appeared on the page).

Had a restful afternoon/evening using various products from the Ipsy and Goddess Provisions boxes. Made scallop-and-vegetable pasta for dinner.

Every once in a while, I get sense memory stress from this time last year (the next two weeks could be particularly rough). As I mentioned yesterday, I use meditation techniques to bring myself back into the actual moment, and remind myself I’m not going through that right NOW. That was the past. NOW is different, better, and what’s important.

The TONY Awards were on Sunday night. I was delighted that Matt Doyle won for his work in COMPANY. I worked with him on SPRING AWAKENING, and enjoyed it. Patti LuPone won for her work in COMPANY as well (of course she did, she’s Patti LuPone). I was happy to see Shoshana Bean nominated for MR. SATURDAY NIGHT (we worked together on WICKED). The tribute Bernadette Peters did for Stephen Sondheim was lovely. I’m lucky to have worked with both of them.

Slept well on Sunday into Monday, which was nice. Tessa had a fit because it was nearly 5:45 by the time I got up to feed them.

Got some writing done, caught up on email. Went to re-order checks, and discovered when the account was set up at the bank, they’d mis-spelled the address, even though they copied it from the lease. So I went to change it, and, as usual, it was Big Drama. I am so sick of being treated like a criminal instead of a customer every time there’s something to be addressed. The thought of moving banks again is overwhelming, or I’d do it as soon as my “year” is up in August (here, you can’t switch banks until you’ve been with a bank for a year). NONE of this is about security, as they claim. It’s all about control. None of the systems are to actually serve the customers.

Because it was a beautiful day, I walked to the library to drop off/pick up books, mailed some bills at the Post Office, and stopped at the bank to make a deposit and leave the letter with all the details in writing for the manager. Of course, there was still Big Drama all afternoon, and I am sick of it.

We had squirrel hilarity at lunch (which I will write about in the garden blog on Thursday), and then I took Willa out after lunch in her playpen. Charlotte ran away when I tried to put her in her playpen, so I only took Willa out, and then Charlotte pouted. Her own fault. Tessa would rather be on the front porch, on one of the Adirondack chairs, and not limited by a playpen.

Started reading a book which I sort of like, sort of don’t. It’s set in Cornwall, which I like. The plot reminds me an awful lot of the first season of BROADCHURCH. And the author uses third person omniscient. Not as badly as many authors do, but not all that well, either.

Got the Mystic Mondays booklet of New Moon and Full Moon Spreads – I will use one tonight, for the full moon. Ordered a couple of things online, including putting in a new Chewy order. They’d never contacted me, as I requested, when the cats’ preferred food came in stock. It is now $4/bag more expensive than it was. So we’re sticking to the less expensive food, which they are eating just fine, which is $8/bag less than the original food.

Started a script coverage, but kept getting distracted. I have plenty of time until it’s due, and I grabbed some more for this week, so all is good. Sent off a couple of radio plays to a producer with whom I’ve worked before. They’re darker than he usually uses, so they might not work for the company, but I want to keep everything out there, earning its keep!

The kitchen island I ordered arrived, ready to assemble. I’m sure it will take the rest of the week, but, once it’s done, it will be great. The box was 70 pounds, but I managed to get it up the stairs.

Enjoying the long evenings, where we can sit on the porch or the balcony, reading or just being. Next week is the Summer Solstice, and then the days start getting shorter. So I will enjoy as much as possible. That is one of my goals this summer – to actually enjoy it.

Busy day today, so better get to it. Hope you are well, happy, and having a good one.

Fri. June 10, 2022: At The Desk

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Friday, June 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy/sunny and pleasant

Boy, did it rain yesterday! We needed it, and hey, no more pollen on the car. But there were intense bands of it.

Meditation was good, and Charlotte was right there with me. Got some admin work done. Did a library run to drop off/pick up books. The librarians are stressed by the unmasked patrons. They’re all still masking.

Unpacked and washed the second box of teapots. It feels good to have some of them back, and I’m eager to bring the others back up in autumn.

Freelance Chat was good. Lively conversations, with lots of resource-sharing. I feel very lucky to be a part of the group.

I also enjoy CounterSocial a lot. I’m finding so much kindness and in-depth conversation over there.

I started on a script coverage, then put it aside to negotiate a radio script contract. We came to an agreement, I signed, I did requested revisions on “The Collector” and I was paid before I’d even sent off the revision. That’s the way I like to work! It’s not a ton of money, but it was handled with professionalism and integrity, and I’ll choose that every time. This producer has the first look/licensing option on the next three radio plays (and then I have to finish the dirigible radio play for the other producer).

So this writer has to get busy at the page! Monthology draft first, though.

Started reading the next book for review. I read the first book in this series, and this one is the second. Zero character growth, which is a shame. There was a lot of potential here.

Ellen Byron’s book didn’t get delivered today; now it’s been promised for tomorrow. As long as I have it for the weekend. That’s my treat for finishing my work.

The public hearings about January 6th are powerful. What happened that day is horrifying. Every single insurrectionist needs to be in prison. Those who are elected officials need to go to prison for life, or be exiled from this US and ever allowed to return (or profit).

This is what happens when you allow yahoos to romanticize the Confederate flag for decades, and allow white supremacy to flourish.

 My short story “The Ramsey Chase” has an alternate history future for the US, where the Confederate States seceded again and the US is a series of smaller countries. That doesn’t look far off the horizon right now, even though it was written back more years than I like to think about.

Slept reasonably well, for the first time in a long time.

On today’s agenda: writing, script coverage, a quick trip to Pittsfield for a couple of things. I hope to finish everything by a reasonable hour, so that I can enjoy the start of my weekend.

I will have a journal prompt over on my Ello page later this morning.

I plan to write through the weekend – the Monthology story, work on the Big Project, work on the radio plays – but I also plan to enjoy myself. And, you know, Farmers’ Market tomorrow, which is my big social event of the week!

Enjoy your weekend!