Fri. July 23, 2021: Sunshine!

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Friday, July 23, 2021

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Sunshine! And not too hot and humid. What a nice change. It was, however, cool enough to need a blanket in the night.

I got some work done yesterday morning, and script coverage out. Because the sun was out, we got into the car and drove to Williamstown (which is lovely, even during Festival), and then up to Bennington, VT. Bennington is a lovely town, with lots of great stuff in it (not to mention the college). We also stopped at a thrift store, and bought a lovely little teapot (because all my teapots are in storage, and we have an entire moving box with loose teas), two matching floral cups and saucers, and I found a blue and white Spode cup and saucer that I had to rescue, too.

Because you know how I am about orphaned china.

We drove back on 7 South, towards Pittsfield. It’s pretty, but it’s not a faster drive than Rt. 8. We did, however, find the Target in Lanesborough. I thought they were still building it. Turns out it is the only store in the Berkshire Mall. It’s like they built a mall, and nobody came. Supposedly, there are 22 stores in it, but it looked closed and empty, except for Target.

While I’d much rather buy from independent local stores, I still prefer Target to Walmart. We stocked up on some cleaning supplies, etc., then headed back on Rt. 8, swung by the liquor store, and got home just before another rainstorm hit.

My Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s gorgeous, crystals and a lovely necklace, etc. My contributor copies for the 2022 WITCHES’ COMPANION also arrived. I’m excited to read it. Of course, I checked my article first, and it looks good. I also realized I never read all of this year’s COMPANION (which also has one of my pieces in it), so I’m reading through that, and thoroughly enjoying it.

Fish and chips for dinner, and then wrote up another script coverage. I have one more to write up this morning, and then I’m done for the weekend. I’m going to work on short articles for Llewellyn this morning, and then read the book for review this afternoon.

It might be nice enough to sit on the back balcony to read later, which would be nice. And I want to get some writing done on a fiction project.

The daily yoga is helping, although I’m still far too exhausted and in too much pain for this far past the move. We’re almost finished unpacking the kitchen, and I did a little work in the sewing room. There’s a dearth of electrical outlets (one per room), so it will be interesting to figure out how to run extension cords in a way that doesn’t cause people/cats to trip.

This weekend, I hope to get more unpacking done in my room and in my office. I can function in my office, but I want it to be a lovely, creative space. It has wonderful natural light. And the router is strong enough so I can work from anywhere in the house, so I can change up work spaces as I want.

Have a great weekend, my friends, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Tues. July 20, 2021: Enjoying the Differences

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

I’m starting to wonder if I will ever stop feeling like crap. I’m still achy and fatigued all the time.

It was a good, fairly restful weekend. I got my script coverage done by late Friday afternoon, and didn’t have to worry about it all weekend.

There was a good bit of rain, but I managed to get some errands done Saturday morning, in between storms. I met the husky puppy two doors down, and a lovely, sleek black cat in the parking lot where the car now lives when not in use (who had a lot to tell me). People are better about masking and social distancing here than they were on Cape. No surprise that COVID cases are on the uptake with a cluster around Provincetown, etc.

Read a lot this weekend, including re-reading some Terry Pratchett, and reading a book by a popular author using a trope of which I’m sick. I’m sick of the trope of leaving the city to go back to the hometown and reconnecting with one’s first love. Yes, it’s fantasy. It can also be toxic. It also shows a lack of growth from teen years.

Was assigned another book to review, which I will start this morning, while I’m at the laundromat.

Got some unpacking done (not enough, but rooms are slowly taking shape). Put up a pretty lace curtain at the front door, instead of the broken blinds. Put up most of the wind chimes. Have a nice little reading corner set up in my office.

I hate being separated from so many of my books and dishes. It’s painful. Also, because I have bookcases of varying shapes, heights, and sizes, I can’t store my books by subject, but I have to put them where they fit. At least for the moment.

Trying to find a good routine, one that also works for the cats, because they love their routines.

Sunday night, I was approached by the Cape Cod Writers Center. One of their instructors for their online conference dropped out due to a family emergency, so I was asked to take over the class. I’m happy to do so. It’s on Character, and I have some ideas that hopefully will help the participants. I’m trying to keep it along the lines of the original class blurb, and what they signed up for, although I’ll probably push them a little harder. And they will have handouts, because I am the Queen of Handouts.

I got to work on Monday, playing with ideas for the class. I did a short piece for the Llewellyn Almanac, got some script coverage done. Started rereading Gail Godwin’s QUEEN OF THE UNDERWORLD. There was a point where I loved her writing, until she got so obsessed with religion, and I want to see how I still feel about it, years later. I read two volumes of her journal, which were interesting to a point, but she’s so obsessed with boys (not men, boys) and always puts them ahead of her writing, which gets tedious. I see a glimmer of that in the beginning of this book, the protagonist doing so, and I hope that’s not the case.

I submitted a short story to a call, and several calls for plays landed in my inbox – I might even have relevant plays to submit. I will get to that today and tomorrow. I want to get back to have 13 in Play all the time – always have at least 13 pieces out there, earning their way in the world.

I got through a few hundred emails. Still catching up from the move.

Slowly, slowly easing back into creative life. I want to meet the other artists around here – I have a feeling MassMOCA will be my go-to for that, at least initially. At the same time, with virus numbers going up, I’m not comfortable being around strangers indoors, even though I’m vaccinated, and continue to mask. Most of the writers’ events are still virtual. WordXWord has an event at The Mount, outdoors, the next few nights, but I don’t’ know if I feel up to going. I go to the grocery store, the liquor store, the library (always masked), and that’s about it. I might go to some outdoor events, if the weather ever improves. We’re close to the college, and they require all students, teachers, staff, and vendors to be fully vaccinated, so that makes the neighborhood safer for all of us.

Yesterday afternoon, I could hear a composer, in one of the houses in the neighborhood, working on the latest piece. It was wonderful to hear that creation going on, as I was doing my own work. Creativity fuels creativity.

More writing, script coverage, LOIs today on the agenda. More work on the class, so I can start putting together the PowerPoint for it. More unpacking. Reading. After I get back from the laundromat, I might try to find the Big Y grocery store (supposedly less than a mile away). If the weather is decent, maybe tomorrow, we’ll jaunt over to Williamstown and Bennington. If the weather holds this afternoon, maybe we can go to Windsor Lake, which is supposedly a 3-minute drive.

The cats are getting used to the space and having fun running up and down. It’s a long, narrow space, front to back. Tessa loves running up and down the stairs to the front door, fast as can be, while the other two watch. Charlotte and Tessa still fuss at each other, mostly late at night, but not as badly as before. Hopefully, they are adjusting.

They all love to watch the birds. We have lots of trees around here, sturdy trees, and people aren’t constantly trying to cut them down. We also have two bird houses and a nest up in the rafters of our back balcony. The cats are fascinated. No matter which window they sit in, throughout the house, or the kitchen overlooking the back balcony, or the front porch, overlooking the street, there are birds to watch.

We used to have lots of birds around the house on Cape, until all the neighbors destroyed habitat. I’m sure the owner’s going to cut a bunch of trees down, now that we’re gone.

No longer my problem, although I hurt for the wildlife there, especially Che Guevara Chipmunk and the coyotes.

Meanwhile, I have a new area to learn. Living in the mountains is very different than living by the sea.

Fri. July 16, 2021: Getting Back to the Page

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Partly sunny, hot, humid

Yesterday wound up being a fairly pretty day, although hot. I got some work done in the early morning, and participated in the online meditation group, which was good.

Went to the library to drop off/pick up, stopped at the liquor store. People aren’t in a hurry here, and like to stop and talk, but they do go about their lives without fussing too much. At least so far.

We drove to Pittsfield to pick up a few things at Home Goods, and nipped into the Stop & Shop next door, before heading back.

Got some script coverage done.

Read a book by an author about whose work I have mixed feelings. The writing is beautiful. I loathed the characters, all of them. I thought they were all awful people, and couldn’t believe I spent any time with them. But I couldn’t stop reading.

Participated in one of Creative Capital’s conversations about how the pandemic was a catalyst for using different types of mediums to create. I was only familiar with one of the three participating artists before the session, and am now interested in the work of all of them. They all had commissions and got a lot done during the pandemic, the thought of which just made me tired. I was so unproductive. And the pandemic’s not over yet. But I have to remind myself that I was also sick during that time. I still haven’t processed the surgeries and that whole element/experience yet. One artist focused on the change with her relationship with the audience; another was excited by the new types of collaborations in which she participated; the third talked about the dialogue with the work, and the best format for the work, instead of just trying to make it fit a medium, which really resonated with me.

All three of these artists create and perform their own work, which has been more and more the norm during the pandemic. As someone who does not want to perform my own work, who writes for others to perform, I sometimes wonder if I’m a dinosaur, and if there’s any room for me anymore.

Slept well, although it was uncomfortably hot and sticky. Slept in a bit, wrote in the journal out on the porch in the morning, did my yoga/meditation practice.

And wrote some fiction. Not a lot, not even 1K (a little under). But I played with an idea that’s been tickling for the past few days. It’s both something I want to do, and something focused toward a specific market. Those don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

It felt both weird and good to get back to that type of writing. We will see what happens.

I have a script coverage to write up today, and another to read and then write up, so that I have the weekend free to unpack. It’s supposed to storm again all weekend, so maybe I’ll take a walk around the college at some point today, while it’s still sunny out.

One of these days, I’ll get over to the lake and walk around. It’s supposed to be beautiful.

MassMOCA has a community day tomorrow, where people who live here get in free all day. Part of me wants to go, and part of me doesn’t want to be around that many people yet, even if I’m masked.

Have a good weekend.

Thurs. July 15, 2021: Creating New Routines

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

The rain continues. There was a bit of sunshine yesterday, followed by more thunderstorms.

Got out some LOIs and worked on script coverage yesterday. Participated in Remote Chat, which was fun. I missed everyone there.

Haven’t gotten any unpacking done for a few days, which has to change, but I have to do the work that earns money first, and the unpacking when that is done.

I’ve lost a lot of flexibility through abandoning the yoga practice, so I’m working slowly, slowly to get it back.

Looking at the Topic Workbooks. I need to get back on track with their revisions and re-release. The Topic Workbooks have always sold steadily, and I want each edition to be better than the previous. I’d started the revisions back before I got sick last year, and got sidetracked with, well, being sick.

I also want to revise my Fearless Ink brochure. Once I have it where I want it, I’ll upload a PDF to the website again, and then run off some copies on the laser printer and send them to local businesses with an LOI. The North Adams Chamber hasn’t responded to my outreach (it’s now been two weeks, nearly three), but 1Berkshire, the organization that handles tourism and relocation and business for the whole area, has been more receptive. I’m not ready to attend events yet (it’ll be months before I feel comfortable being in a room with strangers, even though I’m vaccinated).

Starting to make lists: what I need from storage, what I need to replace because I put it in the dumpster and now wish I hadn’t. What I didn’t need at the other place, but need here. I believe trips to Home Goods and Michael’s are in the not-so-distant future. I know where Home Goods is in Pittsfield, but not sure I can find Michael’s.

I’m rejoining the online meditation group out of Concord Library this morning. I’ve missed them, and look forward to it. Later, I have to go to the library to pick up a book that came in, drop off a book I’ve finished; then I’ll swing by the liquor store to pick up some more wine. Maybe some vodka. If it’s hot, I might want martinis on the porch or the balcony.

I have more script coverage to do today, and some more work for Llewellyn. I want to get out some more LOIs.

Getting back into the dailiness of yoga and meditation is helping. The morning journal writing is helping me ease back into a creative headspace. Now, I need to rebuild a work schedule that also works for me, while getting the unpacking done. Living in chaos isn’t helping us get over the exhaustion. Once everything’s put away and we’ve decorated a bit, we’ll feel better.

As I said, the feng shui on this place is difficult. But we’ll get there.

The cats are happy (although they got me up before 5 this morning). That’s the most important, isn’t it?

One step at a time, and we’ll build what we need. Patience has never been my virtue (except working with the cats). But I need patience with myself over this summer.

Wed. July 14, 2021: Allowing Myself Ease

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

By this weekend, we are on track to have as much rain in the state in half a month as we usually get all summer. I’m glad it hasn’t been beastly hot, but it would be nice to see the sun every now and again.

Yesterday morning, I took the laundry down the street to the laundromat. This is the first time in my life I’ve lived in a building without laundry. There’s nothing wrong with the laundromat – it’s clean, it was mostly empty. But I hated it. I also hated that one of the machines ate my money without working. I will invoice the company for that.

The purchase of a stackable washer/dryer to put on the hookups in the laundry room in the apartment is on my list. It will probably be spring before I can afford it, and I can deal with the laundromat until then, but having my own laundry facilities is important.

When I came back, I was wiped out, for no good reason. I don’t understand why I can’t get my feet back under me. All I want to do is sleep.

So that’s what I did, most of the day. Slept. And re-read Terry Pratchett’s THE FIFTH ELEPHANT, which I’d taken with me to the laundromat.

This puts me behind in my work, and I have to make up for it today. But I needed the rest. I feel a little better today, especially after morning yoga and meditation. I found my zafu; I’m sitting in my bedroom for the moment, although I might set up a mediation space elsewhere.

My eyes are bothering me today, but that’s just too bad for me, because I have a lot of computer work to get done. Hopefully, I can participate in Remote Chat this afternoon. I’ve missed that group.

And maybe get a little unpacking done.

Working with Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION and writing in the journal first thing in the morning is helping, creatively. I can’t believe I’ve lost all my confidence in my ability to create anything. The moving stress knocked the stuffing out of me on multiple levels. The months of feeling like a failure because of obstacles in the moving process carried over into everything else. I have to break down those barricades and get back to my creative self. It exists in there, somewhere. I have to find a way to set it free, to give it space, and to get back to the dailiness of it. All of the projects I worked on pre-move seem so far removed, both physically and psychologically. I’ve never felt so disconnected from my creativity, especially the writing. The writing has always been like breathing to me, and it’s like I’ve forgotten how to breathe.

So I’m working on breath in meditation, and hoping that leads me back to the page. It’s frightening to be in this place, but I can’t focus on the fear, but on the healing.

Patience. I have to be patient with myself. Six months’ worth of stress does not resolve in six days. Patience.

Tues. July 13, 2021: Patient Rebuilding

image courtesy of Peter Fischer via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

It certainly rains a lot here. At least it keeps the temperature down. And everything is very green.

The weekend was good. The rain let up a bit on Saturday morning, so we headed to Whitney’s Farm over in Cheshire. Bought a few plants and herbs, and some fruits and vegetables. Boy, are their strawberries amazing! Pretty much everything was delicious.

Rested a bit in the afternoon, and worked on the unpacking. It goes slowly. It’s like a puzzle. Do a bit here, then have to adjust something there. It will take a few weeks to figure out how it all fits, and then feng shui it properly. This place is difficult to feng shui. But we will figure it out.

I finished some script coverage on Friday, so I didn’t take on any more over the weekend. At least for the summer, I will try to keep my weekends work free. We will see what the finances demand in the autumn. I do intend to put my head down and work steadily, taking on as much as possible for as much money as possible, although I have to wait until my head clears a bit before so doing. The exhaustion won’t let up.

Six months of stress won’t melt away in six days.

Sunday was about unpacking. Most of the kitchen is now unpacked. I was rather horrified by how dirty the pieces that were inside a glass-fronted cabinet had gotten. Granted, last year, when I was sick, I didn’t do the all-out spring and fall cleanings we usually do, but still, things shouldn’t be that filthy after a year. Inside a closed cabinet. It’s an indication of how the pollution has increased on Cape since we’ve moved there – with the constant chainsaws and mowers and leaf blowers and other tools, there’s no clean air any more. One used to smell the salt air of the sea; no more.

We are only a few blocks from downtown in the new neighborhood, but we are surrounded by trees and greenery. There’s the occasional mower or leaf blower for 10 or 15 minutes once a week or so, during business hours. It’s not the constant cacophony of destruction it was on Cape.

Read a book on the Kindle for the first time since I moved here. Bought something on a whim, that sounded fun. It was. Fun and didn’t strain my brain too much. Not brilliant, not terrible, just decent brain candy. Sometimes, we need brain candy.

Grabbed a couple of scripts to cover on Monday. Slid back into sending out LOIs, trying to catch up on emails. Paid some bills. The check arrived from TD Ameritrade on Friday afternoon – by UPS, not Fed Ex, so no wonder I couldn’t track it. Because, you know, it would be too much to expect them to know the difference between two different companies.

Also got a lovely housewarming gift from friends who live in Kentucky, from a company called Grandma’s Chicken Soup: chicken soup, mac and cheese, challah bread, chocolate cake. Yummy!

The food from the farm was so delicious. What a taste bouquet!

Mixed feelings about the Branson “space” flight over the weekend. On the one hand, I’m of the generation who adored the Apollo missions; however, there’s plenty the billionaires should be doing to help THIS planet before feeding their space egos. Like paying taxes, for one. Yes, I want more space exploration. No, I don’t want it by billionaires.

I have to get to work on the Llewellyn pieces – I have 25 short pieces due in October, so I’m going to do 3-4/week over the summer.

Monday, I also re-started my yoga practice, after weeks away from it. I may have gained some strength, but I’ve lost flexibility. So I will work, daily, to get it back. It’s a shame that years of building strength and flexibility were all lost over a couple of months, but time to build back up.

My meditation practice suffered, although I did at least a few minutes every day. I want to figure out where I can set up a meditation space and get back into longer daily meditations. Maybe I can rejoin the online group in Concord on Thursday mornings.

Got some work done in the morning. I feel as though I’ve lost all my creative skills. The tank is empty, and everything is a struggle. I feel horribly uncreative and untalented. The reality is exhaustion and warped perception, and I have to be kind to myself as I ease back in. I’d hoped to jump in, but don’t have the resources.

At ten, we headed to the library to get our new library cards. I’m a little disappointed that we’re on a sort of probation for three months, and can only take out two books at a time, before we are considered full library patrons. From someone who regularly checked out 50 books at a time, it’s a difficult adjustment. But I got out a book on local history, and the reference librarian is eager to help me find more, so I will go back and do some research in the lovely room.

Swung by the post office to drop off letters and bills.

My Ipsy bag arrived (it’s lovely, as always), along with Goddess Provisions, and the Chewy order.

Got started on the pieces for Llewellyn. Amazing how writing even one short piece helped.

Tessa got me up early this morning, because the cats were hungry. I can ignore Willa and Charlotte when they are a pain, but then they bring in Tessa, the Big Gun. Tessa is She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

I started re-reading Christina Baldwin’s LIFE’S COMPANION, about journal writing. I’m using my personal, handwritten journal, first thing in the morning (after I feed the cats) to try to reconnect with my own creativity, so I can get back to my daily 1K first thing in the morning again.

My bad shoulder hurts today (the one that was dislocated and has rotator cuff problems). This morning, I have to take the laundry down the street to the laundromat. That should be an adventure. I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have laundry in the building before. I’m taking work with me. More script coverage, more LOIs, more short pieces for the almanac. Slowly, slowly, building back my creative life.

Slowly, slowly, figure things out. Make sure it works for life as it is now, not doing things because it’s the way I did them before. I don’t want to get stuck, the way I did before.

Onward.