Wed. Oct. 20, 2021: Thoughts on Nano, Inner Work, and Daily Life

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Full Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

image courtesy of Pexels.com

I wanted to share some NaNoWriMo Tips that have served me well in previous years, and I hope will do so this year:

Prep. Even if you don’t do a formal outline, make notes on the story. That way, when you rip the time out of your day to write, you can drop right into the book where you are and not have to wonder what you meant to do when you stopped the previous day. The work I prep always drafts more smoothly than the work I don’t. Plus, the prepped work needs fewer rounds of revision than the uncharted work, although anything I write in Nano needs much, much more revision that work written outside of it.

Set Daily Goals. To write 50K in 30 Days, you need to hit 1667 words EVERY day. For me to feel comfortable, I like to hit 2K/day; for me to feel really good about the work and leave room for the chaos of life, I try to hit 2.5K/day, especially early on. I know I need days off here and there; I like to have 50K by Thanksgiving. This year? I have no idea, since my writing rhythms have been totally thrown off between COVID and last year’s surgeries and job changes and moving. My reason for doing Nano this year is to both reclaim my writing rhythm and, hopefully, find an even better one, that will sustain me long after November is in my rear-view mirror.

Frontload and bank words. The rush of the start and that initial creative wave feel great. If you can go beyond your daily goal early on (or at any point), do so. That way, WHEN something comes up and you have to skip a day or a few days, you won’t fall behind.

Plan breaks. You’ll need to take a day here and there for a break. Or maybe you have family plans for the whole weekend of American Thanksgiving. Plan for that. Include in the planning, working AHEAD on word count, so that when you hit the day off, you already have that day’s words in the bank. It’s harder to catch up than to work ahead.

Know the Difference Between Asking for Encouragement and Being an Energy Vampire. We all hit hard days during the process, and often hit several of them in a row. Week 2 tends to be the rockiest, because the initial rush has worn off, and it’s down to showing up to do the work. It’s healthy to admit you’re struggling and ask for suggestions or encouragement. But don’t expect/demand people to hurt their own work in order to get you back on track with yours. Every year, there are people who try to make the entire experience about THEM, and, if they start to struggle, they try to derail everyone else around them.

Stick It Out, Even if You Don’t Hit 50K. Using Nano to get into the rhythm of daily writing, and also knowing how to PLAN breaks in that daily writing, will serve you well moving forward.

There are all kinds of tips and daily encouragements in my free book 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, available for download here.

I’m extremely disturbed to see how many right-wing and religious-based writing groups have taken over the discussion forums. You can’t tell me they’re working on systems of equality and inclusion, especially since most of the LGBTQ forums have locked down for protection. No thread should have to lock down for protection, if the community is actually run on respect and inclusion.

Now, on to my experience on the soul journey workshop I’m in this week.

I was a little worried, on Monday, that it was for newcomers to this type of work, people with less experience than I have. I was disturbed, in the day’s video, by the talk of one’s spiritual life and one’s mundane life being on parallel paths. It’s often true at the beginning, but isn’t part of the point of the work to integrate the two, so one lives one’s path?

I also reminded myself how important it is to go back to basics, and start with fresh eyes, as though it’s the first time, because there’s always something to learn.

I’ve been doing the work, and learning. Some of it is uncomfortable, but that’s okay, because it’s showing me where I’m stuck in patterns that hurt, and how I can break out of them to stumble along a path that heals.

Five days barely scratches the surface, but it’s giving me ideas on how to build this work into my schedule on a regular basis, and where to go from here. I want to keep doing the work, definitely through the Chiron retrograde, because that’s working with the natural energies rather than against them.

I keep hoping maybe January will give me a period of rest. I’m hoping I can adjust the work schedule without losing money, and that I can give myself a bit of a break on inner work and just rest/be for a few weeks.

Monday’s work was good; I decided that the Journey Tarot, which I received in the last Goddess Provisions box, was a good match for this work, and I was right. I did the work, and felt I got a lot out of it. The live chat was a little frustrating, because, as happened during the prep time, the people yelling excuses about not doing the work, and demanding validation for not doing the work are sucking all the energy out of the collective space. The people who are MAKING the time and DOING the work are getting lost in the noise. There’s no space for those of us doing the work to go deeper and safely share that experience with each other. The people not doing the work are trying to siphon off the collective raised group energy without contributing anything to it. That is something that rubs me the wrong way (to say the least). Everyone is on their own journey and has their challenges; but do NOT expect to be validated and steal the collective energy when you refuse to add anything to it.

I did some additional work during meditation Monday night and the Hermit card kept coming up. Which makes a lot of sense in the context.

Tuesday’s video was good, and so was the additional meditation/visualization. It was very helpful in figuring out a few things. During the live chat, I ignored the chat running down the side (with all the energy vampires), and focused on the group leaders and what they had to say. There was something that really resonated. In thinking about one’s “future self”, focus more on how you want your life to FEEL as you live it then, rather than what you DO. Which is a good point. We are groomed to always work for someone else’s profit. Usually receiving far less than our work is worth. If we visualize our future for the type of life we want to enjoy on an experiential level instead of assuming that if we just have a particular job or live in a particular house we’ll feel good – if we work on the emotional landscape we want, then we can create the physical portions that support it and make it possible.

There was also an emphasis on being “all in” – which translated to me as “do the work.” But, as I said, I ignored most of the chat stream, because there were still too many people on it making noisy excuses, and I’m not engaging with that.

Looking forward to seeing what today’s work is about.

This week is definitely a starting point, but it’s giving me useful tools and ideas of where I want to focus this type of work over the next few months.

Chop Wood, Carry Water, and all that Life Stuff

On the life level, I got some work done in the morning, then had to run errands. I’m telling you, the Post Office is the happening place around here. That’s where I go to keep up with local events. I had a stack of cards and letters to drop off (including another letter trying to get my mom’s insurance straightened out), and buy stamps.

Dropped off a bunch of books at the library (and didn’t get the notification that some of my holds were in until I got home. Oh, well).

Headed off to Wild Oats to stock up on a bunch of stuff, like coffee, wine, lentils, and eggs.

Picked up a few things at Stop & Shop that I needed, and probably snagged the last bag of frozen peas in the Berkshires. Those freezer cases are very bare.

Made red lentil soup for lunch (Moosewood Recipe, of course), which was pretty darn good.

Most of the afternoon was taken up with the soul journey class. When that was done, I attempted to pay the next six months’ worth of car insurance (instead of paying monthly). It shouldn’t take 45 minutes to put through an online payment. But it did. And it was wrong. So I had to contact them and get it sorted out. Which, supposedly, it is.

Grrr.

I’d gotten a great promotion for a Wine Advent Calendar and decided I wanted it. So I go to order it, get through the checkout, and then it says it “can’t” ship in my state. Even though the company is located in my state. Then why send the promotion? You know where I live. And hey, having worked for businesses who send out promotional emails, I know that it’s possible to set up email blasts with different parameters based on location, to focus promotions.

It was sloppy marketing and not using email platform functions well. Which pissed me off as a potential customer (this would have been my first purchase from them), and it is highly, highly unlikely I would do business with them in the future. Anytime I see their logo, I’m going to think, “The assholes who sent me a promotion in which I couldn’t actually participate” and move on to a different vendor.

That ate up the time I’d set aside to write up script coverages, which was frustrating. And I still had two scripts to read after dinner.

Got a question from a client, which I honestly answered, but I worried it would mean they no longer wanted to work with me. Instead, they told me the experience makes me more valuable to them. So why do I do this to myself, set myself up with unnecessary worry? Why do I always expect the worst? I need to stop that. Hopefully, this week’s class will give me tools so to do.

Did some percolating on CAST IRON MURDER, but very little was added to the outline. Will have to make up for that today.

Sent off my workshop proposal to the conference that invited me next summer. Decided to go to an outdoor writing event in Lenox over the upcoming weekend.

Reminded myself that the Hermit card cannot be denied, and I need to do all this slowly, slowly, being careful to marshal my energy.

Pork chops smothered in mushroom-tarragon gravy for dinner, with rice and red cabbage. It was good.

Knowledge Unicorns was good, although, again, we had to put off the virtual tours of Venetian museums because of pressing classwork. But discussing ETHAN FROME, Nancy Drew, and the racism in the required reading considered “canon” was a pretty good way to spend time.

I gave myself permission not to read scripts last night, and just relax. Which would have restored me, except that Charlotte started bothering me at 3 AM, and by 3:43, Tessa was in full voice.

To the laundromat early, and got two loads washed, dried, folded. I change my days and times there, because I’m often the only one there, and I don’t want to set myself up for trouble. I never have my back to the doors/room. I’m hyper aware of anyone even walking past. Because as a woman, I have to worry about these things.

But while I was there, I worked more on the outline notes for CAST IRON MURDER. I created the other possible suspects, their backstories, and why they might have killed the murder victim. Some of those “whys” also make my protagonist an even more likely suspect.

So it was time well spent.

My downstairs neighbors decorated the front porch, and it is delightful! We are going to have so much fun in the coming weeks.

Lots to do today. Previous Me would have piled on the work, insisted on trying to attend the Sundance Collab, immediately flip over to Remote Chat, and then try to juggle Remote Chat while doing the live classwork.

And felt like a failure when it didn’t work.

Current Me doesn’t do the Collab on Wednesdays (just Mondays and Fridays, when I can). I will do the beginning of Remote Chat, and then give myself a few minutes break before joining my class.

This morning, though, I have to make a quick dash to the library to pick up my books. And get coverages/reading done that didn’t happen yesterday.

Onward. Somehow, it will all come together.

Have a good one.

Tues. Oct. 19, 2021: The Good Work of Writing

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Jupiter and Mercury went direct yesterday

Cloudy and cool

Jupiter and Mercury have gone direct, which means maybe we can have some positive forward motion.

You can hop over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the mid-month check-in.

The house we lived in on Cape, which was for sale with a pending sale? Back on the market. Not surprising, considering how much over the assessment valued they asked, and that the new owner will need to redo both bathrooms and replace all the windows. But I’m sure the current owners will somehow justify the fallen through sale as my fault. Whatever.

Used the Sundance Lab time on Friday to work on “A Rare Medium.” It was an excellent session. I got six pages done, the next scene, and I’m happy with the work. Although the breakout networking sessions aren’t what I need right now (although, in a professional sense, what I should attend), using the writing time in company can help me get these plays done.

Wrote up three script coverages. Was requested to read a new draft of a script I’d liked and given notes on a few weeks back, so that will be a good way to start the next workweek.

My mom is still a little tired from the COVID booster, but, overall, there were few side effects.

Worked with Charlotte on her bedmaking anxiety. She loves sleeping on my bed, but she gets anxious when I make it in the morning, or when I change the sheets. Most cats I’ve had love to use bedmaking time to play. They “hide” under the covers as I pile them on, and then either meow, and I flip back the covers to let them out, or they slither to the edge of the bed and drop down to the floor.

Charlotte stays under the covers and panics.

So I make sure not to cover her, because she doesn’t know what to do.

What we did, instead, was make the bed very slowly, giving her a chance to hopscotch on top of each sheet or blanket as I pulled it up. It didn’t take that much longer, and it was a fun game for her. When the bed was made, she rolled over, purring, and waving her feet n the air, happy as can be. Which is nice change from the upset she usually has around making the bed, where she growls and cries as I wrestle the covers from her. This game, she understands, and it makes her happy. I can take three extra minutes in the morning to make the bed in a way that doesn’t scare her.

The weather cleared up enough by mid-day on Saturday so that I could go to The Spruces for the Audubon Nature Walk sponsored by my town’s library. It was a small group, and, even though the adults were vaccinated, there was a young child in the group, so we masked without being asked, and without fussing. The people were nice, the walk was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d hoped to learn more about the history of the actual Spruces community, but that wasn’t the focus. I’m going to have to go to Williamstown and dig for it in the library myself. Which could be a fun project, it’s just scheduling it so I don’t lose income from other assignments.

There’s a book or a play or something related to the history of the Spruces that I need to write, I’m just not sure what yet.

Came home, showered (decontamination protocols, just in case). Fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours.

This was the first in-person event I’ve attended since the pandemic. Although it was small, fun, safe, and enjoyable, I was still exhausted.

To bed early on Saturday night, which meant up early Sunday morning.

Sunday was spent finishing the short almanac articles, fact-checking, and proofing. If I hadn’t faffed about so much and wasted so much time during the day the last couple of weeks, I wouldn’t have had to work all day. But the time mismanagement is on me, so I did it. I’m actually satisfied with the work. I have the knowledge; I’d put in research and experimentation time. It was a case of writing it up succinctly.

To bed fairly early on Sunday, and even got to sleep until 5 on Monday.

Did a final proofread of the short articles, updated my bio, sent them off to my editor, and they were acknowledged. Much as I loved doing those 25 little pieces, it was an even better feeling to send them off. They are for the 2023 Almanac.

I have to spend some serious time in the coming months working on the Cerridwen Iris Shea website, blog, and putting together some of the older material into small eBooks.

Another Big Project for the winter.

Did my Soul Expedition work. The exercises were extremely useful, and I discovered important roots that need to be dealt with.

Had a good conversation with a Twitter pal about Edith Wharton, and about Tolstoy and his wife. So much on Twitter is “in passing” that it’s nice to have substantial interactions sometimes.

Spent some time on Women Write Change, and on the Nano site. I’m over on WWC almost every day, or, at least, every other day, although I don’t always talk about it. It’s a small group, but a good one. On Nano, I spent time on Enchanted Wordsmiths, and also had a conversation with the Writer-Bakers. I’ve gotten two new challah bread recipe recommendations through them.

I started typing up the notes for CAST IRON MURDER, and expanding/arranging them, for my outline.

When it hit noon, and Sundance Collab time, I felt I “should” switch over to work on “A Rare Medium.” However, the flow was going well on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER. I started to dither and then thought, “Why are you doing this to yourself? It’s not a major decision” and kept working on the outline during the Collab time. Got 4 of the 9 handwritten pages typed up, arranged, and expanded. Printed them out, just in case.

Quite a few people mentioned, on Twitter, how much more energized they felt. Yeah, that’s what having Jupiter (the planet of expansion) and Mercury (we all know those connotations) going direct on the same day will do for you.

Attended the live session of the Soul Expedition and was frustrated. I’ll go into that in more detail tomorrow, when I talk more in depth about that and have some Nano tips.

Made brownies from the Moosewood recipe. It turned out well. Might be my favorite brownie recipe to date.

Ordered a bunch of books from the library. I can take out up to 50 books, but can only put on holds up to 20.  Oh, well.

Paid by a client, so I can pay bills this upcoming week. Might give myself a treat, too.

Read two scripts last night.

Had a good evening meditation session. A couple of “aha” moments in there.

Tessa let me sleep until 5:22 this morning. What a luxury! The usual morning routine (feed the cats, make the coffee, write in the journal, 1st 1K of the day, yoga, meditation, shower, dress). I’m changing up my laundromat routine. Since I’m often the first and only one there in the morning, and it’s a little creepy in the dark, I want to make sure I don’t keep a regular schedule. Because, as a woman, I have to worry about things like that.

Onward to the Soul Expedition work, and then more writing and script coverage. I have to do a post office, library, and grocery run today, too.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Oct. 15, 2021: Foggy Weather, Foggy Mind

image courtesy of Tatiana via pexels.com

Friday, October 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

After a foggy start, it was sunny/cloudy in fits and starts yesterday.

Tessa and Charlotte were impossible during meditation. Thank goodness the audio/video were off on my end. I got less than 5 minutes of quiet time. For once, they weren’t fussing at each other; Tessa was pulling items out of boxes in my office and playing with them. Charlotte was trying to get the attention of the Zoom Room, not understanding they couldn’t see her, and therefore couldn’t tell her she was pretty. Charlotte believes Zoom exists so various humans around the world can see her, appreciate how pretty she is, and tell her.

The internet was wonky, which made everything more difficult, too.

By 9 AM, I pretty much accepted the day would be a wash.

I managed to get one script coverage out. I worked on the other two, but have to finish/send them today.

I tried to read the second book in a mystery series. I’d read the first a few weeks ago. I hadn’t liked the start, but then liked it better, although I figured out the murderer at least 100 pages before the protagonist. With the second, again, I didn’t like the start. I kept at it for about fifty pages, and then decided no, I don’t want any more of this series. I don’t like the protagonist. She’s not an amusing hot mess – she’s insecure and mean. There wasn’t any growth from the first book to this book. She’s back to doing the same old again, and I’m done.

Fortunately, I don’t own this book, and can take it back to the library. But I’m not ordering any more. I have a whole stack of books waiting for me at the library, and I hope I like most of them more than I liked this one!

It does, however, give me information for my own work, especially when it comes to growth in character arcs.

I’m reading a wonderful book by the essayist Vivian Gornick called THE END OF THE NOVEL OF LOVE, that’s sending me back to books like MRS. DALLOWAY to re-read with new perspectives, and to read the work of George Meredith, who, sadly, I have not yet read.

We did the prep for my mom’s COVID booster. I dropped her off at CVS and went next door to Big Y to pick up a few things while she got the shot and waited her 15 minutes. She was fine when she got home; if anything, more energetic than she was before. I was the one with no energy.

I did my Soul Expedition journaling exercise for the day, about boundaries and energy vampires. There are people in the group stating they want others in the group to “hold” them accountable and keep them on track, “remind” them to do the exercises and the work. No, sweetie, we are working on our own journeys, albeit in community. YOU are responsible for keeping yourself on track, not expecting someone else to take time and energy away from their journey and feed it into yours. The daily online sessions are the “reminders” to do the work.

Not within the group, but outside of it, some twenty-something with less than a year in the Craft contacted me via Instagram message stating she was “strongly drawn” to my name, and did I want a tarot reading (for a large fee, or course). I wrote back, “Hon, I was reading the cards before you were born.” I waited until I was sure she’d read it, and then blocked. Charlatan. I have no problem with experienced, trained readers getting paid for their work, but this is not how to get clients. And do a little due diligence.

I grabbed two scripts to read, and then got a note that the due date was changed on one – to three hours from the time I claimed it. I said I couldn’t turn it around that fast, and requested it removed from my queue. I’m worried that it will cost me points with the company, but my on-time record is 100%, and I knew I couldn’t deliver in 3 hours. I had to take care of my mom and run Knowledge Unicorns.

Made Henhouse Pie for dinner (basically, shepherd’s pie, but with chicken). It was good.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine, although we didn’t get to do the virtual tour of a Venetian museum, because we were working on essays that had been assigned in various classes. We will try again on Tuesday night. Read a script.

Went to bed early, exhausted. My mom woke in the night because her arm hurt, and she took some liquid Tylenol and went back to sleep. I was awake every few hours, not because of the cats this time, but because I had a series of weird dreams, filled with people I knew in the dream, but don’t know outside of it.

Woke up exhausted, but at least it was 5 AM and not earlier. Cats, coffee, writing, yoga, meditation. I have a lot to get done today that hasn’t gotten done yet, and I have a feeling I will be working on the articles through the weekend to get them in shape for Monday’s deadline. I have three script coverages due today.

I also want to work on the outline some more for CAST IRON MURDER. I realized that one of my favorite characters hasn’t been woven through the piece enough. I need to go back and do that in the outline. She will also serve as one of the red herrings, which will help solve that problem.

I just am weary, and feel like I could sleep for a week. Which is frustrating, because, basically, in and around typical Mercury retrograde glitches, things are going in the right direction.

One step at a time. I have to keep reminding myself we’re still in a pandemic. I’m also getting sick and tired of this whole “return to normal” fiction. “Normal” wasn’t great in the first place. I want something different. Better. More fulfilling, on multiple levels.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Am I Really Doing This?

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Saturn went DIRECT on 10/10/2021

Foggy and mild

The weekend turned out quite differently than expected, but I’m doing my work on flow and flexibility, and grateful that my work allows it.

The plan, since it was supposed to be a warm and sunny day, was to go to Holyoke and Hadley (about an hour and a half away) to hit some stores we don’t have around here and stock up on a few things, and check out a few places to see if they’re worth a return visit. It wasn’t that warm, and it alternated between clouds and sun.

But the big thing that jettisoned those plans was that Tessa was limping, badly. Her right front paw was the problem. She wasn’t happy about me checking it, but it wasn’t broken, and she didn’t have anything lodged in it, and it wasn’t an ingrown nail. I figured she landed wrong on one of her jumps, or when she raced up and down the stairs, playing, in the night.

We decided to stay home and watch her, and keep Charlotte away from her, in case I needed to book a vet visit in the next couple of days. She didn’t want me carrying her, and insisted on jumping up and down, even though she still limped. But we managed to keep her quiet most of the day. I stayed next to her on the sofa, and even, sometimes, down on the floor.

Snuck off while she napped to send off my last script coverages for the week, and made my nut and a little over, so I could relax.

Got my book review sent off, but it was too late to get another assignment, so I’m hoping that will come through today. Managed to catch up on a bunch of emails, too, and designed a new ad for Fearless Ink which I will probably launch next week, after both Jupiter and Mercury go retrograde.

Did some research on William Morris Hunt and the female painters and sculptors he trained, in preparation for the steampunk piece.

Over Friday and Saturday, I read WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams. It’s an excellent legal thriller. If Stacy Abrams can be such a purposeful activist to save democracy and still manage her book deadlines, I can shut up and get back on schedule. I enjoy a good legal thriller, and oh, so many fall short, but this exceeded my expectations. Incredible plotting. Just masterful. Along with characters and storytelling and great settings. Top notch in every way.

Friday night, I set up the sofa bed, brought in Tessa’s food, water, and a litter box, and shut everyone else out of the living room. This way, I could be nearby if Tessa needed something, and could make sure she had uninterrupted rest from the others, so her paw could heal. She was pretty happy about it; Charlotte, not so much.

Slept through then night and got up a little before 5 on Saturday. No howling from Tessa, which proves it’s not about food, it’s about loneliness.

Tessa was much better on Saturday, but it was rainy and yucky, so we didn’t go anywhere. We’d hoped to go to Great Barrington, but that will have to wait for a sunnier day. I finished reading WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, and then made vegetable stock, and hunted down the box of Halloween treat bags. I was sure I’d brought it up, but couldn’t find it the last few days, and was worried I’d have to do another storage run between the time Mercury goes direct and Samhain. But I finally found it, so it’s all good.

Unpacked some of the boxes in the sewing room, filling the new dresser with fabric.

Signed up for a weeklong course called “Expedition to the Soul” by The Sisters Enchanted. I figured that would work well with the whole Chiron/healing theme. They give you a workbook to download, and ideas on putting together an “Quest Pack.” At first, I rolled my eyes, but reminded myself that I’m the one who signed up for it, so I should do as they ask, because there are reasons. When I teach a class, one of the rules is that you do all the assignments as asked, even if you decide to never work in that way again. So, as a participant, I need to show the same respect to my instructors.

 Once I started putting it together, I had a lot of fun with it. It contains items from Goddess Provisions and Tamed Wild that didn’t have placements yet, and were just sitting around until I found something for them to do, but they’re perfect for this.

Worked on some notes and background for a couple of writing projects, but nothing too major.

Made a quick mac and cheese lunch from Annie’s Organic in a box. It’s been a few years since I ate it, and I was not impressed. The sauce mix was lumpy and wouldn’t dissolve into the milk and butter, and, overall, it was too salty. In a week or two, I’ll have to make up a big batch of Moosewood’s cheese sauce and do their mac and cheese from scratch, and freeze a few packets. I used a Campbell’s sweet and sour skillet sauce with leftover chicken (and made rice) for dinner. Again, not impressed. Somewhere, I have the really good sweet and sour recipe my mom’s best friend gave me (she grew up in Macao, and we took a Chinese cooking class with her a looong time ago, but I kept all the recipes). Foodwise, Saturday was a bust.

I couldn’t find any photos of my dad for the Ancestor Altar we’re building, which is really frustrating. I was sure the big box with all our photo albums and scrap books went on the truck, but can’t find it. That’s upsetting; it better be in the storage unit and not lost for good.

But I have the box that was sent after my uncle, my father’s younger brother, died. Going through that, I found a great, happy photo of my dad from 1965 in Chicago, so I’ll use that. I also found photos of both his older and younger brothers (both of them were artists in Europe). And found a bunch of letters and ancestry research. Most of it is in that difficult-to-read German script, so it will take some time for my mom and I to interpret it. Most of the letters are typed, so my mom is going to work on the translation.

A Big Project for the Winter.

My mother’s father had done a lot of ancestral research on that side of the family, but I have very little information about my father’s side.

I slept in the living room again with Tessa, and slept through the night until nearly six in the morning. Heaven. By this time, Charlotte’s separation anxiety was in high gear, so it took a couple of hours to get her calmed down.

Tessa was running and playing at top speed, so it was just a bad landing on a jump, and nothing that needs a vet visit. Sometimes she forgets she’s not still a kitten.

Dreary day on Sunday, weather-wise. Spent the morning writing six short almanac articles, which was a lot of fun. Spent some time with the Quest workbook. Unpacked a tiny bit, and found some stuff for the Quest Pack.

In the afternoon, I read three scripts for coverage, which I wrote up on Monday.

Worked on an outline for a piece that is taking shape in my head. Those characters that were in search of a story? Found one for them. I’m starting to think it would make sense to work on it during Nano. Yes, the siren song of Nano calls. On the one hand, it’s a chance to write an entire project in a condensed period of time, and get back into the groove, and to connect with local chapter writers. On the other hand, I have three plays due at the end of the year in New York, and I need to get back on track with the series books, keep up with the script coverage and the copywriting, and other “in progress” things. Also, in previous years, I found those who quit before the end of the month were exhausting. They were always the ones pulling the most energy from everyone else, and then they quit anyway.

I’m worried that if I do Nano, I’m doing it for ego. I realize there’s a certain amount of ego involved in writing any book. But as much as I’m trying to justify that it’s about finding my rhythm again after stalling during the early part of the pandemic and while I was sick, there’s also ego involved.

Because, let’s face it, I regularly write more than 50K in a month, although not necessarily on one project. And I don’t have to interact on forums – in fact, the last time I did Nano, I found the moderators snippy and awful towards professional writers.

And doing Nano simply because of ego is not the right reason for me to start writing a book.

Writing because I’m pulled by the story and characters (which I am, especially if I can craft a tight outline between now and November), and writing a whole book from start to finish (which would spill over past Nano, because this book needs to be at least 70K. I’d need to keep writing it into December, while finishing off the plays. And juggling everything else.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that time and put that energy into something that I SHOUILD be working on?

Or would the WANT TO writing fuel the SHOULD?

If it’s the latter, I can work with the ego elements, ignore the energy vampires, and just write.

I don’t know. I’m having an internal debate. Maybe the Soul Expedition will give me some answers.

I know I CAN write 50K on a project in 30 days; it’s just a case of getting back to doing it, and then continuing it past November 30, to get back to my normal rhythm between 1.5-2K/day on whatever is the “primary” project of the moment. Can I use Nano to fuel it, even with a new project? Or will it just become another obstacle?

I wouldn’t mentor this year; Let 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS take care of that. I’m promoting it all over the place.

Of course, the site’s not letting me sign in, so it might be moot anyway! Update: I managed to get in, under my old password (wrote down the new one, just in case). Updated the profile, set up the novel. Switched regions. Looked at the forums, which gave me a headache. I can still always change my mind.

Then I look at my intent for the week and wonder, is Nano a bad habit I have to break, or is the uneven writing rhythm of the past few months the bad habit I have to break?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

Did some work on the Fearless Ink ad. I might do two ads. I create a tagline and am sourcing the right images, and I found an image and can create a good tagline.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up a little after 4:30, because she was lonely (Charlotte was thrilled I slept back in my own bed and she could snuggle all night).

Good first writing session, good early morning yoga.

Barbara Moore’s THE WIZARD’S TAROT arrived, and it is spectacular. Looking through the deck gave me chills in the right way. I plan to use this deck and her STEAMPUNK TAROT together on Samhain, when I do the year’s monthly action/energy reading. It takes both decks out of regular usage for the upcoming year, but I think I can do a lot of work with them in the coming year with them as that foundational reading.

(This year’s deck were the Pagan Tarot as the action deck and the Sacred Circle tarot as the energy deck. Pretty accurate throughout the year, although not necessarily in the way they were originally interpreted).

Did another pass through the Nano forums. Some very toxic topics like:

–What’s your day job?

–What’s your favorite hobby besides writing?

–Writers are your competition

So, yeah, not participating in those. Whenever “what’s your day job?” comes up on something like Twitter, I respond “writing” and then wait a day or two to block the toxic poster. Or just skip the question and block.

And other writers are NOT my competition. That’s something the industry promotes to keep writers “in their place” and too many of them underpaid, because traditional publishers only have a finite number of slots. But the reality is that you can’t have too many good writers, because humans have an insatiable need for stories.

I admit it; I was tempted to be an asshat and post a snide response. But then I didn’t. Because I’m a grownup, and I don’t have to give in to these impulses. Being snippy is not in the spirit of Nano, which is for everyone to try to find their way to a regular writing rhythm. I can avoid the toxic, the whiny, and the dilettantes, without being mean.

Wrote four more short almanac articles. Wrote up three script coverages. Used the rest of the slow cooker pork to make pork Lo Mein, which was good, but, for some reason, the sauce turned out spicier than I expected. I’ll have to cut back on the red pepper flakes next time I make that sauce. Spent a couple of hours on the prep for the Soul Expedition stuff, using the journal prompts.

Read four scripts last night, which I will cover today.

Tessa let me sleep this morning until just before 5, but she is now insisting that, when I wash her bowl in the morning, I put the food into a WARM bowl. Okay, Tess, whatever you say, you’re the boss.

Headed over to the laundromat first thing, got both loads done and was back by 7:30, which was pretty damn good.

I used my time at the laundromat to work on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, the working title of this piece. I wrote about 5 pages (I already had jotted about 3 pages of notes). I have the characters (the ones who were in search of the plot a few days ago). I have the situation. I know the murderer. I know why the murderer did it. I even have a couple of red herrings, and some good situations as my characters work to solve the mystery. I need more clues and red herrings, and to tighten it all up, which might not happen until the second draft. I need enough in the outline so I can get the first draft down quickly for Nano, and then, starting next spring or so, massage it and hone it and tone it. I want it to be fairly short – around 70K.

I’m finding I have to do some research, like do persimmons grow in the Berkshires? (They do). And about the casinos in Springfield. I really hope I don’t need to do a research trip, because I loathe casinos.

I feel pretty good about the piece and the prep. What I hope is that the energy used to drive this piece in Nano will spill out to the other pieces on which I’m working, and have a ripple effect. So that I’d work on CAST IRON MURDER first thing in the morning (after the longhand session on the other project, so, well, second thing in the morning), and then, later in the day, work on the plays. Maybe I’ll leverage the Sundance Collaborative writing sessions for that.

Anyway, I need to start my day. I have to do a grocery run in the morning for things like oat milk, eggs, wine, and coffee, and then get back to the almanac articles and the script coverage. I’d hoped to get LOIs out today, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. Working on the ad, too, for Fearless Ink, and the blog for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

So it’s a busy day. Might put off the library and the post office until tomorrow.

Most of the students were away for the weekend, it being a long one, so it was nice and quiet. They’re really not bad, and when there’s noise, it’s for about 20 minutes or so. But there is a difference when they’re not around. I like both ways – the energy when they’re around, and the quiet when they’re not.

Hope you have a good week, friends. Peace.

If you want to grab a copy of the free 30 Tips for 30 Days, you can get the download links here. It’s not on Amazon; they blocked it because they don’t allow free downloads that don’t originate/aren’t exclusive to them. If you need a mobi file, contact me through the website, and we’ll set it up.

Fri. Oct. 8, 2021: Promise of a Lovely Autumn Weekend

image courtesy of Yaroslav Shuraev via pexels.com

Friday, October 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Supposed to be sunny and beautiful, after a cloudy start

Yesterday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny, warm day.

Mediation was great.

Errands in the morning. Took my mom with me to the college library when I dropped off some books. She was curious, and she was so impressed with the beautiful space. When I feel comfortable being indoors with vaccinated, masked strangers for extended periods, I will do some work there.

Headed to the bank to do a deposit. Then to the public library to get our cards updated from “temporary” three-month probation to permanent. The staff is starting to get to know me, which is nice. Took my mom around to all the beautiful rooms in the library; again, when it’s safe to work indoors offsite, I will sometimes work in there. Maybe next spring or summer.

We parked on Main Street to take a walk around. Only a quarter for an hour, which is a good deal. Found the RMV office, so when we finally change over our driver’s licenses and car registration, we know where to go. Checked out a few stores and picked up something from a local bakery to try it.

Nipped around the corner to Bear and Bee Bookshop. I found a copy of Deborah Madison’s LOCAL FLAVORS, recipes built around farmers’ markets, for only fifty cents! Grabbed it. I love her cookbooks. Felt like I couldn’t just spend 50 cents at a local store, so I bought another book, too, a suspense novel.

We came home, ate our bakery treats. They were kind of bland; at the risk of sounding egotistical, my baking is better. I think sometimes businesses scale back on taste because they assume people’s palates are bland.

Looked through the cookbook. I want to try at least 60% of the recipes.

Spent the afternoon writing up script coverages. Got all four done.

Instructions arrived for my mom’s COVID booster next week. Quite a list of prep. More so than the original shots. But then, they’ve learned since they started.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re in a groove.

Used leftover BBQ pork from the slow cooker to make pork and black bean enchiladas, which were really good.

Read three scripts last night, which I will write up today, and then I’ve met my nut for the week, and can start the weekend. Once the mist clears, and it’s really as sunny and beautiful as promised, we are going out to enjoy it, so I’m going to get the coverage done earlier, rather than later, and also get my review out.

I may do some article work this weekend, but I want most of it focused on finishing the Samhain decorating and unpacking some more, especially in my office and in the sewing room.

The cats didn’t wake me this morning, but I was woken around 4:30 by college students having noisy sex in a car out front. So the cats were like, well, you’re awake, so. . .so I fed them. I guess it’s the students’ turn to be a cliché at this point in their lives.

I like the extended yoga practice I’ve started. The extra sequencing has some challenging stretches that are a good counterpoint to all the sitting.

I’m on several “alert” lists for copywriting gigs. So it made no sense that I was sent a listing for a bomb technician for the U.S. Navy. Whatever. . .

Have a great weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side. Holiday Monday, although I plan on working on short articles and script coverage anyway.

Tues. Sept. 28, 2021: Goldenrod Season (Achoo)!

image courtesy of MrGajowy3 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy and cool

Yup, Mercury went retrograde yesterday, and will go direct on October 18. So buckle up, buttercups, we have seven retrogrades until October 6, when the planets start turning direct again, and we get some relief.

Yesterday’s post on the GDR site is about how I’m trying to form a better perspective on things.

The weekend was pretty good. I had to finish one last script coverage early Saturday morning. Once that was done, I attempted to put together the shelving unit. But that was defective, too. So I returned those units. Only got a partial refund, because they’d given me a gift card as part of the last purchase. I offered to return the gift card, but that was “too hard.” So, in other words, I paid for the gift card. To a store in which I don’t shop often.

Headed to a thrift store nearby, just in case, to see if they had shelving. They didn’t, but they did have a train case. In blue. It’s a Featherlite, sold by Sears back in the day. I have wanted one of these for decades. It was only $7. Because they were having a sale on certain items, it was only a little under $4.

The same style of case sells for $58 on eBay.

It’s a lovely condition. I was so happy, and it more than made up for the shelving issues.

I went through some of the art books from the college library. There was more good Canaletto information; I may be done with the play about his sisters, but I’m interested in writing something about his family and the Bibiena family and their stage designs.

I paged through a volume of AMERICANS IN FLORENCE, about the ex-pat artists community in Florence around the time of the Impressionists. That got me going on a few different ideas: the Fabbri family interests me, and I might pitch a play about Ernestine and Cora to 365 Women at some point. I was also interested in William Morris Hunt, and the female students he took on, called “Huntites.” That gave me an idea for a steampunk piece, and I spent some time writing a few pages of notes.

While I was doing that, an idea that’s been niggling at me for quite a few years decided it was time to spew forth enough information for a few pages of notes on that, too. It takes place starting after WWII, and running as long as it wants to run, about a couple who marries right after the war, the husband remaining in the military, and how they have to navigate their relationship through the huge changes that came after the war. Originally, I was going to have the wife be a quiet, smart, dedicated homebody, making her home a work of art wherever they live. I’m keep those aspects, but adding in that she was a ferry girl during the war, flying planes within the US. And that she misses flying.

A chance sentence in a book inspired an idea for a short story set in the afterlife. Made a few notes on that, too.

It feels good to be creative again. It’s nice that the Idea Fountain is turned back on again.

I needed to relax, so in the afternoon, I started reading CASE HISTORIES by Kate Atkinson, which was recommended to me. It’s a very different type of mystery, stylistically, and I enjoyed it, because it was so different.

Puttered around and managed to put away some more Winter Holiday decorations. I need the shelves in place before I can really rearrange things. But I also have to take my time and find the right shelves. Or, possibly, build them, if I can get the lumber at a reasonable price.

I’m getting a little tired of the cats getting me up at 4. 5 is fine, I like starting my day at 5, but 4 is just too damn early.

But I was up way too damn early on Sunday. I got in an excellent first writing session the novel. Saturday’s was okay, steady progress, but Sunday’s was actually good.

Cooked a salmon Eggs Benedict for breakfast.

I opened the train case to give it a good clean, inside and out. To my surprise, I discovered three decks of cards and a hunk of modelling clay inside it. All of which had price tags on it. I wondered if someone had put everything together and meant to come back for it. But wouldn’t they have left the case behind the cashier’s desk?

I went through the decks of cards. One deck has all but one card; but there are several cards that have been marked, so that deck was used, somewhere, to cheat. The other two decks were intact.

The modelling clay was something I had planned on buying over the next few weeks, so it made sense.

I contacted the store, when it opened, to tell them what I found and offer to pay, but they said it was their mistake for not checking when I paid, and I shouldn’t worry about it. Which was kind of them.

I gave the case a good cleaning, and am using it to store the extra Ipsy bags I’ve accumulated. When I travel, you can be darned sure I will use it; and I’m sure it will turn up in some of my writing.

I decided to pack away the summer dresses and shirts from my closet, so that I had some room for fall/winter stuff. I ended up unpacking six boxes still in my room. I found a bunch of stuff, including winter shoes and boots.

In other words, I don’t need to shop for clothes this autumn. Which is a good thing, considering how many carloads of stuff I donated before the move. I have plenty of pieces I like, that look good on me, in which I feel comfortable.

I rearranged some stuff in my room, too. I’m keeping some of my summer shoes in the moving boxes, until I can either bring up the shoe rack, or find a pretty bin for them. I still have two boxes of stuff to unpack, and then the bedroom is basically unpacked. I still have to figure out how to fit two more large suitcases in the room. They were in the closet in the sewing room, but I removed them so I could put in the decorations, and now I need to figure out where to stash them.

I’m adding one Samhain decoration to the porch/living room windows every day this week; then, on Friday, October 1, I’ll do the big decoration for the season.

I’ve been having a terrible time getting my tablet to charge. It’s my preferred way to read the scripts for coverage, because it’s easy to enlarge the font; with the amount of reading I’m doing at the moment, my eyes get tired. But the tablet wasn’t charging beyond 53%, even when I had it plugged in all day.

Just for the heck of it, I plugged it into my phone charger, and it charged. We’ll see how long that lasts, but every day helps. Never buy a Linsey tablet; it’s crap.

Yesterday, I was up again, way too early. I couldn’t get as much done as I wanted on the novel, because I have to do some research that will directly affect the structure and information in the scene. Can’t use placeholders.

The coffeemaker had a hissy fit. Every Mercury Retrograde, there’s an issue with the coffeemaker. Maybe I’ll stick to the French press during the retrograde.

I had to go to the college library across the street to drop off books. I looked for information on William Morris Hunt, but didn’t see anything. I did get a book of some of Bernard Berenson’s diaries, which should be interesting. My allergies were acting up, so I didn’t stay to search the academic network library catalogues.

I went to the public library to drop off/pick up a book. The book came highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so it goes back unread. I loathe present tense in novels, and will only force myself to read it if I’m being paid so to do.

Contacted Berkshire Health Systems to see if I could take my mom up the street for her Pfizer booster. The woman I spoke to was very nice; they were having their meeting that day to figure out how to manage the boosters along with the regular vaccinations. She asked me to call back by the end of the week. I thanked her and said I would; she was surprised that I didn’t argue. Why argue? They’re doing the best they can.

By this time, my allergies were out of control. I’m not usually a mucus machine, but this was bad. For a few minutes, I wondered if I had a cold, or, heaven forbid, the plague (COVID). But I could smell and taste, and, if anything, my appetite had increased, so I figured I was okay.

I took some Benadryl (that I bought in Europe, not any of the milquetoast US stuff). It started drying me up. I wrote up the two script coverages due, and went back to reading the book for review before the Benadryl knocked me out. I took a nap for about an hour and a half, then staggered into the kitchen to reheat some pasta. I felt dopey from the nap, but definitely better.

The Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s lovely. It also has a booklet of herbs used in medicine, which is good, since all my herbals are still packed in storage.

Read two scripts after dinner, then went to bed early. Slept through the night, although Tessa woke me at 4 again. Fed them all, tried to go back to bed, but they weren’t having it, so I took the featherbed and moved to the couch, and everybody settled down.

By breakfast, Tessa and Charlotte were both on the couch, buffered by the featherbed, in temporary peaceful co-existence.

We’ve started closing the door to the porch, so it doesn’t get so cold at night. Pretty soon, we’ll have to put on the heat.

Decent morning’s writing session on the novel. I realized I hadn’t done the research I needed to do for the next scene, but the conversation took an unexpected turn, so I bought myself some time (even if I cut that conversation in a future draft).

Lots to do today, especially since I’m behind on emails, and on the short articles. The allergies are starting to act up again; let’s hope it’s not as bad as yesterday. Benadryl knocks me out, and I can’t afford to lose a few workday hours again.

I had planned to do laundry this morning, but didn’t feel up to going to the laundromat, so that’s been pushed off until tomorrow. I’m hoping to play a little with ideas on the short story, too.

Have a good one!

Fri. Sept. 24, 2021: Apples, Books, Learning

image courtesy of Michal Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

Friday, September 24, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Rainy and warm

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Meditation was great, of course.

Then, I hauled the heavy, flawed bookcases down the stairs and got them loaded into the car. We drove to Target in Lanesborough, and the return was drama-free, thank goodness.

Since we were almost in Pittsfield, we continued on to Re-store, looking for bookcases/shelving. As we entered, the manager was yelling at someone to get out and off the property, for being inappropriate with a female employee. The manager later came around to apologize for the ruckus. While I’m grateful he stood up for her and kicked the guy out, it was still unsettling.

But there wasn’t anything that was what we were looking for, so that was that.

We went to some of the box stores on Hubbard Street – I popped into Barnes & Noble to take a look, we got a small picture frame at Michael’s, and we did some shopping at Price Chopper. I’d never been in a Price Chopper before. Some stuff is good, but most of the low prices are for their generic store brand. Otherwise, prices are similar to Big Y and Stop & Shop here, although Price Chopper has Stonewall Kitchen products. I got a Rewards Card to use there, just in case.

Home, unloaded. In the afternoon, I wrote up some coverages. I still have a lot to write up today, the thought of which is a bit overwhelming. But I will just work my way through them. Read scripts later in the day; one was a stage play that was quite good.

It started raining in the evening, and poured all night. I’d like to run a few errands today, but don’t want to be out if it’s bucketing.

I do, however, like to lie in bed or on the couch and listen to the rain. It’s soothing.

Charlotte was the catalyst of being up way too early this morning, setting Tessa off. So I fed them at 4:30, and then curled up on the couch to doze for an hour or so, before starting my day.

Good first writing session, and spinning some ideas for what to teach at the conference next summer.

There are times when I skip scenes as I write the novel. Not because I’m working out of order, but because the reader doesn’t need them. Normally, I’d write them, and then cut them; in this particular book, I think them through, so I know what happened, but the reader doesn’t need the scene, so I move on to write the next scene the reader needs, and then integrate any information necessary from the unwritten scenes into the upcoming scenes, but without info dumping.

Knowledge Unicorns went well last night. We’re going to do some work with virtual museum tours around the world, to discuss the art and then create stories, poems, dance, etc., inspired by various paintings.

The kids who are now homeschooled are much calmer and more focused than the ones who are doing online learning with their schools. As one of the homeschooled kids said, “I don’t have to worry about dying from the virus because some classmate has a stupid, selfish, anti-vaxx relative. I don’t have to worry about being shot at school. I can actually LEARN.”

The kids who are doing virtual learning through their school are under a bit more pressure, both to return in person, and because the hours are set for schooling, whereas the homeschooled kids have a more flexible schedule based on the day, and on the remote work their parents are doing. Every style of learning has its challenges, but I’m glad we’re all sticking to the decision that NONE of them are going back in person this year.

I should be able to get my mom set up for her third Pfizer shot right up the street soon.

I hope I can get a bunch of unpacking done this weekend. I’m getting a little tired of my bedroom and my office being stacked with so many unpacked boxes.

I want to do some more world building and work on the outline for the piece I’ve been developing. It really wants to start spilling out.

If the weather’s nice over the weekend, I hope to spend some time at the lake, too. Take a book, take a notebook in which to do some writing.

I got a nice big bag of apples yesterday, so I’ll probably make an apple cake, too, this weekend. And I’d like to make bread.

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

Tues. Sept. 14, 2021: Getting Back on Track

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday’s post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is about compassionate pondering.

Busy weekend, but it felt like I’m getting back on track.

Friday, I worked on script coverage, and then my mom wanted to come on the big grocery run, so that’s what we did: Big Y, Wild Oats, Stop & Shop. People are masked in the stores, no one is fussing, and it takes so much pressure off shopping.

My reward for all that was to read Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, the first in her new Catskills Pet Rescue series. The book is an absolute delight! She takes all the best of the cozy mystery genre, and leaves out the annoying, overused tropes. I’m so excited for the next one, which comes out in November.

Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As a former New Yorker, who knew a lot of people who died, the anniversary hits me hard every year. It was helpful to see the Bidens, VP Harris and her husband, The Obamas, and the Clintons offer dignified, respectful mourning.

I watched The 9/11 Table of Silence Project. It is performed at the fountain at Lincoln Center, and this year, there was even a limited audience. It was beautiful and powerful. If you’ve never seen one of the performances, I suggest following the link to watch. I love the way they entwine dance, music, spoken word. The way the musicians move through and with the dancers during the performance.

After the piece was over, I had to sit quietly with it for about another half hour, because it was as filling as a wonderful meal, only for the soul.

Worked on script coverage. Dashed to Big Y to get cashews and butter. Made the Moosewood Recipe for White Bean and Kale soup. It also has fennel, potatoes, carrots, and sundried tomatoes in it. I don’t often use fennel (or kale) so it was an adventure. It turned out really well, and the leftovers will provide lunch for a few days. I’ve made a similar Portuguese version with sausage, and a slightly different version with ham hocks. This was my first foray into the vegetarian version.

I had hoped to go to a gem and mineral show that was in walking distance from me on Sunday. However, when I drove by on Saturday, no one was wearing masks to enter. It was inside, and nothing in the promotional materials spoke to any COVID protocols. There were kids going in. So I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. It’s one of the few reckless, irresponsible events I’ve seen since I’ve been here; people are usually more responsible than that. But why spend money at an even that could kill me? No, thanks.

In the afternoon, I read the next book for review. It was wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down. I rarely give a full 5 stars, but this one gets it.

Read three scripts for coverage in the evening. The college students are out getting drunk and coming home late, being loud again. But it’s only for a few minutes on a Friday or Saturday night, so it wasn’t bad. There was live music somewhere nearby. I’m not sure if it was at the lake, or at the pub down the street. There’s definitely a sense of life around here!

Eggs Benedict again on Sunday morning, and then I made our favorite orange rye bread. The recipe makes a loaf of bread and rolls. I like the way the rolls come out better, so next time I make it, I think I will do the entire batch as rolls.

I wrote up the coverages for the scripts I’d read the night before, and wrote and submitted the review for the book.

Because I lost two days last week (one for the holiday, one for the storage run) and will lose another day before the end of the pay period, I had to work through the weekend. But it was a steady pace, not a crazymaking one, so it was all good.

I made curried red lentil burgers for dinner. Not as bad as I feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I felt good after eating them, though. My body responded well to the ingredients. I liked using chutney on them.

Yesterday was back to the “regular” workday, so there was script coverage and working on the short Llewellyn articles and LOIs and catching up on email. That deadline is coming up, and I’m behind where I’d like to be.

I’m working steadily on the novel, and, next week, will have a conversation with my publisher about getting the series books back on track. As soon as I’ve made more progress on the short Llewellyn articles, I will go back to steady work on the plays.

Last night, I had to miss the playwrights’ virtual circle I’d hoped to attend, because of script coverage stuff. I hope to make it there next month.

I read the script for which I’d been requested. It was a script I’d really liked, but had a few minor notes. The writer made the changes, and asked that I be the reader again, with comments on the advised changes. It was excellent.

I got behind in the coverage because I got so caught up reading Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek, and I couldn’t put it down. Which is a good thing, but it meant I had to work longer into the evening to make my deadlines.

I need to set up my weeks so I’m not doing script coverage 7 days/week, because that just burns me out. Even with holidays or storage run days, I still usually read, and I just need a break for a couple of days every week. So I have to structure, as often as possible, not to do coverage on weekends. Whatever days I choose as my “weekend.”

But I made chicken chow Mein in the wok, and it was yummy and that made me happy!

 The waxing moon was absolutely gorgeous. I could sit on the front porch and enjoy it.

A busy day ahead, so I’ll get to it. Have a good one.

Fri. Sept. 10, 2021: Clarity Clears The Way

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Friday, Sept. 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Partly cloudy and cool

If you’ve never experienced the 9/11 Table of Silence Project, I strongly recommend you watch it tomorrow. Last year’s performance was breathtaking, and I have no doubt this year’s will be equal or surpass it.

Yesterday contained a lot of work, but felt scattered. I had to do some admin and some research, and get through a lot of stacked up emails from Wednesday, while still trying to finish going through the email that stacked up over the holiday weekend.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun, and I finished reading a rather delightful book for review in the afternoon. I didn’t do the script coverage I should have done, so I have to make up for that today.

This weekend is the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, which is a mix of honor and sorrow for me. I plan to spend most of the weekend away from social media. I’m not up for those who need to publicly share their grief, and I’m definitely not up for those who hypocritically moan about 9/11 while being douches in daily life. The people who lived and lost directly from it will always have a different experience than those who were farther removed. Everyone’s experience matters, but for my own mourning, I need to be away from the more public mourners. So the best choice for me is to stay off social media, watch The Table of Silence Project, see what the weather is like and maybe go to the lake.

There are errands I should run over the weekend, but I might not.

Straw Dogs Writers Guild has an open mic event on Zoom on the 12th, but I’m really trying to stay offline all day on Sundays again, so I don’t think I’ll do it. Plus, I have a Playwrights Circle with LAVA on Monday night. I’m trying not to over-Zoom.

I do have to work through the weekend, since I lost 2 days this week, and will lose a day next week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th to pay the bills in the second half of the month.

The Crow Tarot arrived yesterday afternoon and it is wonderful. I’m so excited to start working with it. I also received Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, and I’m excited to read it this weekend.

Last night, I virtually attended an NYU alumni event with a psychotherapist about mental health, especially around the pandemic. He said a few things that made certain things for me click into place, like lock cylinders or a Rubik’s cube.  Suddenly, connections were made to root causes of various emotions and situations with which I’ve been struggling for far too long. Now that I have a clearer understanding, I can actually take steps to heal and to make more positive decisions moving forward. I feel more hopeful than I have in a long time, in spite of everything going on.

I have errands to run today, and lots of work to get done, so I will just put my head down and do it. Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on September 10, 2021 at 6:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 10, 2021: Clarity Clears The Way  
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Wed. Sept. 8, 2021: I Have a Lovely Postman

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Partly cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday was busy, but it was a good busy, not a nasty busy.

I had a good first writing session, I got out some LOIs. Still have a lot of email to catch up on which came in over the weekend. Got some administrative work done.

It was a pleasant day, so I walked to the post office to mail bills. More people are wearing masks even outside again, and the laundromat, which was busy, was full of the masked. Which is a good thing, not a complaint. But I’m a little sad we’re back that. However, I’m grateful that people are being considerate, and not fussing.

Mailed the bills, dropped off/picked up books at the library. Found some books on the free cart which looked kind of fun, and also found a bunch of information on local farms/growers/markets and local, independent newspapers, including one that has a lot of arts information and bookstore information for upstate New York, Vermont, and the Berkshires. I am relieved to see how many arts organizations are requiring proof of vaccination AND masking to attend events.

Walked back along Church Street, which is always a joy, because of the beautiful architecture and yards. Ran into my lovely postman, who introduced me to the woman who lives in one of my favorite houses on the street. She is as lovely as her house.

I’m reading the published journals of an actor with whom I was acquainted, back years ago in New York. He died, quite a few years ago now (although it seems recent). I was shaken by his death, because I had respected his work and enjoyed our conversations when we crossed paths. I kind of wish I wasn’t reading his journals, because, bluntly, he’s a selfish shit who treated people (especially the women in his life) badly. He was a parasite in his relationships, finding a woman to be the “backbone” of his career, at the detriment to her own. Yes, it was her choice, but still, that’s not my idea of a partnership. Goodness knows, enough have tried to drain me that way, having me “handle” their careers and their work at the detriment to my own. They got kicked to the curb pretty quickly, because that is not the kind of partnership in which I want to participate.

I think far less of him than I did, and yet, I can’t stop reading. Which shows what a compelling person/writer he was, in spite of it all.

It gave me the idea for a short story, for which I jotted some notes, so I wouldn’t lose it.

Got out some script coverage, read some more scripts.

I have a day out and about today, and will catch up tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be back in time to attend the Straw Dog Authors’ Showcase via Zoom tonight. I’m looking forward to hearing local authors read, although I’m sad I’ll miss Remote Chat.

Have a good one, people. We’re supposed to have some yucky weather tomorrow.

Published in: on September 8, 2021 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 8, 2021: I Have a Lovely Postman  
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Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021: So Ready For a Long Weekend

image courtesy of Daria Nepriakhina via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Partly cloudy, mostly sunny, and cool

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth of garden-y type things.

Why is anyone surprised that SCOTUS allows Texas to get away with destroying Roe vs. Wade? That’s what this court wants, that is why those inept, corrupt “justices” like Kavanaugh, and Barret were pushed through. Those of us who’ve been working for reproductive rights since the goddamned EIGHTIES have been predicting this, and we were called alarmists. All of this, and most of the COVID deaths, could have been prevented if the fucking Democrats would stop acting like Republicans will EVER be reasonable. We voted the Democrats in to FIGHT, and they’re letting Republicans walk all over them as they always do.

Got some decent writing done yesterday morning. Caught up on email; sent out one LOI. The company is interesting, but I don’t think they can afford me.

Got paid by a client earlier than I expected, which is great, and takes a lot of pressure off me for the weekend.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun. I also participated in MassCreative’s WPA Town Hall about the Arts Recovery in the state. It was a really good conversation, with participation from the US Dept. of Arts and Culture. Will anything come of it? Who knows? But it’s making me seriously consider joining the Town Committee on Public Art.

Worked on script coverage, on and off, most of the day. Have to finish up my last few pieces, and then I’m done for the weekend. My friend arrives from NY tomorrow afternoon (I’m picking her up in Albany, at the train station), and she’ll be here until Monday afternoon. We are going to have some fun. I hope the weather cooperates enough so we can spend some of it outside, but I also want to go to MassMOCA.

I was invited to an online tarot class today which I’m looking forward to – in and around the cleaning and the baking and the last-minute runs to the stores.

I have meditation this morning; then I’ll prep the breads. I’ll do one script coverage, then the grocery run, then the class, then cleaning and finishing the baking, while doing the rest of the script coverage. I also have a book to write up for review. It’s a lot to get done, but it will take as long as it takes, and that’s all there is to it.

I’m taking off tomorrow and Monday from regular work, although I’ll probably do my first 1K of the day in longhand. My friend from NY arrives tomorrow for the weekend, the first guest in the new apartment, and the first time I’ve spent fun time with any friends in person since before the pandemic. I hope the weather is nice enough so we can do stuff outside, for at least part of the weekend.

Have a good one. Let’s hope we can find solutions to the world burning down. I do not believe there are any peaceful solutions left. That train left the station a long time ago, thanks to Democrats refusing to fight, and constantly cutting slack to right wing extremists.

I hope all the suffering and death Susan Collins has caused torments her for every moment of her natural life, and that the souls of those she’s wronged chase her into the hell she deserves. Same with the Court Justices who betrayed their oath to the country, putting their right-wing ideology first.

And to say I’m disappointed in Merrick Garland is an understatement. We need action and leadership, not milquetoast nothingness.

Published in: on September 2, 2021 at 7:15 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021: So Ready For a Long Weekend  
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Tues. Aug. 31, 2021: This and That

image coourtesy of Goumbik via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy, foggy, humid, but cooler

Good weekend, although busy. I worked straight through the weekend on script coverage. I kept my promise to myself not to whine, either in person or on social media, and I didn’t. it wasn’t that bad; I paced myself, it wasn’t as hot and humid as it’s been, and I got it done. Since I didn’t take the time to whine, there was nothing to whine about. The pay period ends today, and I want to be able to enjoy taking four days off for the holiday weekend while my friend visits. Without worry or guilt. So I shut up and worked, and it was fine.

Ran some errands Friday. Didn’t get enough admin work done Friday, so that meant a lot of extra yesterday.

The students were checking in/moving into the college across the street on Saturday, so it was a little chaotic out there. It was nice to be able to sit on my second-floor porch above the fray! Everyone has to be vaccinated and wear masks indoors, so this neighborhood is safer than most (since those of us already here are already vaccinated).

Got some more unpacking done, especially the sewing room, which doubles as a guest room, and is where my friend will sleep. I don’t have the sewing machine up yet, but once it is, the room will be a good workspace. Ran some extension cords to lamps, and got them bulbed. I still have to invest in a few more household extension cords, but things are coming together.

Basically, there’s just my office and my bedroom to finish unpacking, and that doesn’t have to happen before my friend gets here.

As boxes are unpacked and things are put away, the space looks nice and big. The high ceilings help. There are still some pieces I’m slowly looking to add:  bookcases, always bookcases, but different shapes and sizes than at the other house; a nouveau-style cathedral mirror to go over the fireplace; a cabinet/island on wheels for the kitchen; new slipcovers for the wingback chairs; maybe a glass-fronted, curved low cabinet with shelves to store a mix of knick-knacks and fabric. Rugs. I know what I want, rug-wise, but haven’t found them in my price range yet.  It would be nice if the couch cover I ordered nearly a month ago would show up. It’s been stuck at the Edison, NJ Fed Ex facility since the 19th, and they deny that it’s there. And the place from which I ordered doesn’t give a damn about finding it, replacing it, or giving me a refund.

Unpacking decorations, and seeing where they fit. I’m sure I will keep moving things around. Frustrated at how dirty everything is coming out of the box, when I washed the pieces before they were packed. It’s as though that weird grit absorbed into the pieces, and the pieces are now expelling it. So everything’s being washed again, and cleansed on multiple levels before it’s placed.

My Yoga Frogs are out, which makes me happy.

Worried about Hurricane Ida, and colleagues in that area. There are still people with whom I lost contact because of Katrina with whom I’ve never managed to reconnect. But glad that we have a president who at least gets emergency help in place early on. I’m sick of the privileged sniffing how people deserve it if they didn’t evacuate – most of them can’t afford it, have no transportation, and have nowhere to go. Oh and the people making nasty comments about how we shouldn’t give aid to red states. The Republicans who keep systems in place that kill people need to be removed (permanently, from all walks of life), but fellow citizens deserve help. Even if I don’t agree with them. I’m sick of Democrats bringing a cupcake to a gunfight, but that doesn’t mean I want to see people indiscriminately drown. The hurricane doesn’t care how anybody voted. The hurricane is going to wreak havoc on everything and everyone in its path.

While I am glad that we are officially “out” of Afghanistan, and thankful for the amazing amount of people evacuated out, I am angry at the DOD for ignoring Kabul Small Animal Rescue, although they had the funds and resources in place to leave, but couldn’t get the paperwork signed. It was only 100 small animals and some staff; it wouldn’t have prevented any humans from evacuating. Their staff and Puppy Rescue Mission and everyone who worked flat out to get it done are devastated. All because some bureaucratic fucktard wouldn’t sign the paperwork. I hope every one of those horrible, disgusting individuals who refused to sign those papers meets an awful end. Because that’s what those poor animals, and some of the staff left behind, face now.

The human race is a failed experiment.

I haven’t been sleeping well. All that script reading is making it noisy in my head, and interfering with the ability to hear my own work.

Out of the house early this morning to go to the laundromat. I was the first one there, and had my pick of the machines. Three loads in and out in an hour and 15 minutes. Not bad.

I have a LOT of paperwork to do today on various issues, plus script reading, plus writing up coverage. Tomorrow, I need to get back to the short almanac articles for a few days. I’m still ahead of where I need to be, but behind where I want to be.

I used the time at the laundromat to outline a project that has been percolating, a kind of weird, cross-genre thing. And here I made all this fuss about keeping my notes organized, and I can’t find another set of notes I wrote up on a different project, about which I have some more ideas. It’s very frustrating. Even though I have specific places I’m putting things, they’re not there when I go back for them. It doesn’t make sense.

Covid numbers in the Berkshires have risen 61% in the past 2 weeks. That’s with most people vaccinated, and is still one of the lowest area numbers in the state, but still too much.

I also have to get to the store and get a bunch of other stuff done. Today and tomorrow are big pushes on the work front. On Thursday, there’s a lot of baking and cleaning on the agenda, and on Friday my friend arrives, and I have a weekend off.

I need it.

Have a good one.

Published in: on August 31, 2021 at 8:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 31, 2021: This and That  
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Fri. Aug. 27, 2021: Weekend Work

image courtesy of sujo-foto via pixabay.com

Friday, August 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

Yesterday was kind of a mixed day. I managed to write up three script coverages, so I’m on track where I want to be with that. I have two more to write up today; for the weekend, I’ll only do one per day.

I forgot to mention yesterday that, the day before, my book arrived from the UK, the one on Squire and Marie Bancroft. It’s a 1909 copy published by John Murray, and not in the best shape, but definitely usable and readable. I’m excited. And delighted it was published by John Murray. I am friendly with the current John Murray (yes, an actual man and descendant of the founder), and fond of that house’s long legacy.

Drove to the TD Bank ATM in a Williamstown parking lot to deposit a check, only to arrive and discover I’d left my wallet at home. Drove back, retrieved the wallet, drove to the ATM – only to discover it didn’t accept checks. TD is the worst. I will be so happy when I am permanently done with them.

I will take the check and deposit it at Greylock this morning, instead.

We did a Target run. Got most of what we needed. I was so excited by some of their hardcover Mead notebooks that I forgot to get the yellow pads I use for my script coverage notes, and I forgot to look for the extension cords I need. The old extension cords don’t work in these sockets, or with the newer lamps. And I don’t want to use the thick outdoor cords inside for a basic lamp.

It was terribly humid, which made everything yesterday a chore. It’s still humid today, but not quite as hot, and the humidity is supposed to break by tomorrow. I have to go to the bank and the library this morning, and then I’ll do a run to Job Lot to see if they have the yellow pads and the extension cords.

Didn’t get in much writing this morning, although I worked on the novel, and I did some re-reading/edits on GAMBIT COLONY, whose siren song has been calling. I hope to get some work done on A RARE MEDIUM later this morning.

I’ll be working through the weekend, along with unpacking and preparing for my friend’s visit next week. I want to get ahead on a few things, so I can thoroughly enjoy taking next weekend off.

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

Published in: on August 27, 2021 at 7:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 27, 2021: Weekend Work  
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