Wed. April 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 340 — Unsustainable Stress Levels

image courtesy of kalhh via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Today is a rough day. It is the second of the hoped-for moving dates I’d wanted when we were deep in this process. To say I feel like a complete failure on personal and professional levels because this isn’t our moving day is an understatement.

Yesterday was rough, too. The recruiter who’d claimed to want the morning appointment blew me off. No contact, no response when I followed up. Just skipped the appointment. Not a surprise, but any time I see that “staffing agency” listed, I know to avoid it.

The property manager who had the afternoon phone appointment didn’t call, either, although I did get an apology email in the evening, and we’re going to try to set up something for tomorrow. I’m hoping we can go up and take a look at it over the weekend.

I thought I’d found another, really cute house in Nashua for rent. At first it didn’t come up in any realtor searches, but digging a bit deeper, it did –yup, another scam. So I reported it.

In the afternoon, I heard back from one of the LOIs stating they wanted to “get to know me better” and sent me a link – to write an unpaid, 250-word piece.

I responded with a cordial email and the contract/rates for that.

I got an almost immediate snarky email back from the entitled white boy who runs the company, stating that they paid for test pieces further in the process, but a 250-word piece about something I knew about “shouldn’t take much time.”

Talk about a red flag right there. How would he know how much time something took? Short pieces need a great deal of care, to make sure that every word carries more than its weight.

I shot back, again, politely but firmly, that a good 250-word piece, even on a topic well within my wheelhouse, takes time, skill, and care, and deserves compensation. Our work styles are obviously incompatible.

Entitled white boy mansplaining his attempt to get free labor. No, thank you. So sick of it.

Because of the two meetings (which ended up not happening), I couldn’t deep dive into any project. It was a frustrating day.

I did get out a bunch of LOIs, including to a really cool project that would be long-term, steady, and in one of my favorite arenas.

I did some research into the KY Derby for Saturday.

Got some reading done. I’m close to the end of the third category of entries (although I still have a lot of paperwork to enter). I hope to have my decision by either Friday or Saturday. I’m reading a magical realism book that I waver between liking because it’s clever and getting frustrated with for jumping around too much.

Made Chicken Chow Mein for dinner – that’s turning into a major comfort food for me.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s ready for the school year to be over.

The mask mandate is being lifted for being in outdoor spaces as of Friday. Which means the Covidiots will be even dumber inside.

We watched some DOC MARTIN, and I went to bed early.  Of course, that meant I work up a little after 2 AM, fretting, and couldn’t go back to sleep.

I made myself write this morning, at least a few pages. I was tempted to punish myself and not do it, but I needed to, and it helped. I still have two pieces that I need to finish this week.

Living at this level of stress and uncertainty is unsustainable. But I just don’t know what to do. I’m at the end of my rope.

Today, I have a stressful day onsite with a client, but at least there’s Remote Chat to which to look forward.

Keep a good thought for me, okay? Thanks.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Nothing like waking up on Derby Day with a migraine. And I mean the Anytime-you-want-to-stop-jabbing-that-icepick-in-my-eye-
would-be-great migraine.

Skipping out was not an option.

To backtrack a bit: The show was fine Friday night. I said my farewells to the actor who’s leaving the show (while I’m covering the Preakness). I was surprised he remembered that it was our last show together, but he did. Hopefully, our paths will cross again – he’s one of the good ones, both on and off stage. I’ll probably send something over to his opening night this summer.

Finished The Summoner. It follows high fantasy quest tradition, and it does so well. There’s some wonderfully imaginative and inventive stuff in there. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. There were a few lapses of logic I found difficult to roll with, but perhaps they were set deliberately in order to set up something in a future book. And the copy editor should be fired. It is inexcusable that a book on the store shelves should mix up “where” and “were” AND have such a high rate of typos. I was furious, especially on behalf of the author, who I am sure pointed all of these out in the galleys. Obviously, the manuscript was only run through spell check and a copy editor didn’t actually sit there and read it. The amount of mistakes in books lately is truly, truly appalling. When I pay full price for a book, I expect all the steps in the production process to be taken, and I expect the book to be free of typos.

Yesterday morning, I had to go grocery shopping before the race card began because I needed cat food and had to make the stuff for the party.

I had trouble getting going, though. I was overtired, which meant I couldn’t retain body heat, so I was freezing and shivering. Rethought my clothing and opted for something warmer, but still spent most of the day wrapped in a horse’s blanket (don’t ask, really, my on-site colleagues are going to be teasing me about it until I’m ninety).

I got some potentially positive responses to some ads I recently answered, so that’s sorted. Llewellyn’s hired me for a 2010 calendar piece. That’s sorted. I may be working for a travel site. I’m up for a script job. All good.

I was late getting to the races because I received bad news from a friend that another close friend’s father died last night. So I wanted to see what I could do.

The races were quite interesting, for the most part, and, prediction-wise, I did pretty well.

Although I had Big Brown in my picks as a safety, I honestly didn’t think he’d keep his head together enough to win. The fact that he did indicates he could very well be one of the “freak” horses.

The tragedy of the day was the death of Eight Belles. As the day progressed, I fell more and more in love with her: Her beauty, her poise, her intelligence. She was radiant. I went from thinking she’d finish ninth or tenth in the Derby to believing she could be in the top three.

She came in second – then fell, breaking both front ankles, and had to be euthanized on the track. Completely heartbreaking. But, it’s about time the general public see the dark side of horse racing, with both Barbaro’s accident two years ago and this one. Positive change will not come in this sport, and certainly not quickly enough, unless tens of thousands of people realize what’s going on.

Banning horse racing is not, in my opinion, the answer. Banning the sport would result in tens of thousands of horses going to the slaughterhouse, which is certainly worse than what’s happening now. The price of dog food would go down, but it would be an equine holocaust.

But changes need to be made over a period of months, not decades, which is how long it’s been taking. The well-being of both horses and jockeys needs to be taken more seriously by the industry as a whole. Individual trainers and owners are doing what they can do, but until the rules change – and they haven’t, for the most part, since the 1800’s – the mortality rate will continue to rise.

Unfortunately, it’s corporations making the profits in the sport, not the individual owners, trainers, and jockeys who actually take the risk. And, as in the rest of our society, the corporate executives don’t care as long as they can make obscene amounts of money to pay off their wives and sustain their mistresses.

Until the corporate culture is destroyed, our society, as a whole, is going down the road of Rome. And we all see how well that turned out.

Only our ruins won’t last for centuries.

I was not in the mood for a party after the races. I came home and was in bed by 8:30. I stayed in bed for nearly twelve hours. Not always asleep – I was plagued by bad dreams. But exhausted. And I don’t feel much better today.

I’m sad: sad for Eight Belles; sad for the deaths of my friends’ parents over the last few weeks; sad because my grandmother is getting worse.

I have an article and a review to write. And then I have to finish packing for Maine. The next few weeks are going to be busy, some good, some difficult.

On a positive side, as I was driving to and from the grocery store yesterday, I got an aha! moment as far as Yuri’s Tale: Gunslinger Cole Larkin’s backstory was revealed to me, and I’m starting to figure out the structure. This book is certainly a challenge. Not in a bad way, but a challenge.

All I want to go is to go back to bed, but I’ve got work to do before I leave for Maine.

Devon

May 10, 207

Wednesday, May 10
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

I overslept (happens when you get in after midnight and can’t get to sleep right away) and am having a slow start. Don’t have an update on Good Names yet, so tomorrow’s entry will probably combine today’s and tomorrow’s work.

The “Egg-on-Face Post-Derby Wrap-Up” article is up on Femmefan here.

No, Brandy, I haven’t received any replies to my adoption question. I think I’ll have to email my contact at NYPL and see if he can point me in the right direction.

And, Brandy, my thoughts are with you that everything works out. Most important thing to know – no matter how difficult it is for you, do NOT let the doctors, etc., push you around. You need to be Chris’s advocate right now. If someone’s not forthcoming with information or not doing what you believe needs to be done, be polite but FIRM and DON’T BACK DOWN. Unfortunately, hospitals tend to prioritize by who advocates and who rolls over. This, in my opinion, is due to pressure from insurance companies, and not necessarily the fault of the health care providers. My mantra when dealing with that is, “That’s not acceptable. Try again.” Hysterics won’t get you want you need, but firm, immovable determination will. You’re going to have to move out of your comfort zone to protect Chris’s health.

Mini-rant – I’m getting a little tired of celebrities jumping on the eco-conscious bandwagon. You want me to take you seriously? Stop riding in limos, using private jets, and get rid of your SUVs. More walking the talk, fewer photo ops.

Our show is one of several Broadway companies involved in helping the post-Katrina kids in this organization, (After the Storm Foundation) bring their production up to NYC and see other shows. They’re coming up in mid-June — it’s going to be exciting for all of us! I’m honored to be a contributor.

Shows were fine yesterday. I took allergy medication for the first show and it made me dizzy; didn’t want to take it for the second and was congested. Can’t win!

The weather was so gorgeous that my friend B. and I went over to World Wide Plaza and ate outside at the New World Grill in between shows. We had some wine and split several plates of appetizers and enjoyed a lovely, sunny New York experience.

I’m reading one of the novels I brought back from Iceland, called 101 Reykjavik by Hallgrimur Helgason. It’s my understanding this book (published in the mid-90’s) was so popular it was turned into a movie or TV thing or something. It’s sort of an existential slacker novel. Unfortunately, I hate it. It’s well-written, mind you; but I loathe the navel-gazing, self-involved, dull protagonist who’s as obsessed with his own genitalia as any Philip Roth character (but without the literary technique). Someone said that I “should’ like it because it’s Icelandic, and not liking it shows I’m a small-minded American – well, you know, the novel could be happening in New York (parts of it remind me of some of Jay McInerny’s work – not parts I like) or Los Angeles or London or Paris or anywhere – I’d still dislike the protagonist. He’s just the type of guy for whom I have no use and no sympathy. If I met him in a bar, I’d walk away within the first three minutes. There’s way too much going on in the world and that needs to be done in the world for me to have any patience with passive/aggressive apathetic morons.

“But isn’t it because it’s a pre-9/11 novel and you’re reading it post-9/11?” My questioner persisted.

I considered this, and decided that no, even before 9/11, I had no time for passive/aggressive apathetic morons. They are simply not people with whom I choose to spend my time, whether it’s on the page or in real life.

So my friend Jack lent me Christopher Moore’s Practical Demon-keeping instead, which he thinks I’ll really like.

I need to work on Good Names, get caught up on a bunch of paperwork, get out the report for Confidential Job #1, etc., etc., and then it’s back to the show tonight.

Let’s hope Lara has her baby today. I already told her I’m going to laugh like crazy if it turns out to be twins! That happened to an acquaintance of mine a few years ago, even though she had the ultrasounds and everything else. No one noticed it was twins until the kids were born. She kind of suspected (she said, “I’ve been big as a house in previous pregnancies, but never as big as a barn”), so she was less surprised than the folk in the delivery room. In fact, she was rather relieved that it wasn’t triplets!

I’m vamping now, avoiding getting down to work. Here are more Iceland pictures, top and bottom. Eventually, I’ll get around to actually writing about the trip. I had colleagues howling with laughter upon hearing some of our adventures.

Have a great day!

Devon

May 7, 2007

Monday, May 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Hop on to Circadian Poems – we’ve started up again, with Wren Fallon’s “Desire in Passing” and, barring any more natural disasters/downed power lines/ illness/other acts of disruption – we should be up and running on the usual schedule until July 4.

My weekly Dog Blog ramblings should start up again this week, too. And Devon’s Random Newsletter for May will go out in the next day or two. If you’re not on the list, you can sign up here. Just make sure you put “subscribe” or “newsletter” in the subject line so I can pull you out from the spam.

Yesterday, I was basically a waste of food. The exhaustion of two floods, a lingering flu, trips to Plymouth, Portland, and Iceland – all caught up. All I wanted to do was curl up and read. Plus, I’m having some sort of respiratory problem – coming back into the pollution of New York just didn’t agree with me.

But I can’t afford that luxury – baby doesn’t write, baby can’t pay the rent or the food bill or anything else. So baby wrote. And scoured last week’s job listings to send out pitches. And went grocery shopping, did some hand laundry, balanced (well, you could call it that) the bank statement, etc., etc., etc. Roasted a chicken for dinner.

And was happy to find checks from both Confidential Jobs waiting for me in the stack of mail.

Two things I missed terribly in Iceland were cooking and reading the newspaper. Although I managed to understand some (very basic) Icelandic while I was there, I couldn’t grasp enough to read the newspaper. And English language newspapers were simply out of my price range on this trip. So I did without, and devoured The New York Times as an oasis of ink. It’s a shame I can’t read Icelandic – Iceland publishes five – or maybe it’s six, depending upon whom you ask – daily newspapers, and I would have loved to be able to read them and compare points of view. And, while every meal was luscious, I still missed the physical act of cooking.

However, I found short-term apartments for rent in a section of town in which I’m comfortable, so that’s an option for the next trip. Actually, the next trip will probably be a quick stop on the way back from Scotland – but the trip after that, I’d like to plan for two weeks, rent the apartment, and do it as a self-imposed writing retreat.

Caught up on most of the blog readings. Brandy, Kristen, ME Ellis, etc: If you don’t have the option in your comment section for me to choose another identity, I can’t comment, because Blogger swears I no longer exist. Some of the blogs HAVE this option, but, for some reason, won’t accept what I type in. So, my friends, I am reading your blogs, but can’t always comment. Brandy, I especially wanted to let you know, because I enjoy your blog so much and feel like I’m being a bad friend by not commenting.

Segueing from the guilt of being a bad friend to the topic of bad neighbors – Idiot Neighbor, who behaved so badly in the flood, does not accept that I am done with her. I mean, of course she misses the fact that Devon’s General Store (which is how she treated my apartment) is now closed to her. And she wrote me a note with a lame “I apologize, it’s all my teenage daughter’s bad behaviour” note which doesn’t address the issue, just makes excuses. I don’t know about you, but a 17 year old does NOT make the decisions in any household in which I participate. It’s up to parents to actually parent. Anyway, she was annoyed right before the trip to Maine that I wasn’t willing to take her laundry up to Maine, too, and do it for her (lady, I’m not even speaking to you – what makes you think I’m going to drive your laundry 600 miles and then do it for you)? And now, she’s moaning because she was in a car accident this week, “got hurt” (she looks pretty mobile to me) and her car’s been totaled. She stood there, waiting for me to offer my car, and I simply said, “I’m sorry to hear that. I hope it all works out for you.” I’m not obligated to lend her my car any more than I’m obligated to let her use my computer when I’m not home (an argument we had a few months ago – this is a woman who breaks absolutely everything she touches – no way am I going to imperil either my computer or my car). She still believes that she suffered more than anyone else in the flood, and that the emergency service people were unjustified in prioritizing the evacuation of the elderly and the woman who was eight months pregnant over her. She’s never going to get it. She’s in love with being a victim. And every time she’s presented with an opportunity to stop being a victim, she gets hostile. Enough already. It’s been four or five years of this type of behaviour. I am not obligated to be anything more than a polite neighbor in passing.

I must admit, the nasty side of my personality thought, “Wow! The Cat Goddess certainly worked fast to call up the Karma Dogs.”

Got the post-Derby article done and out. One makes mistakes in horse racing. I’m not going to back pedal, make excuses or pretend. I backed the horse I liked best, but another horse was better on that day and in that race. He was terrific, in fact, and absolutely deserved to win.

You’ll all be terribly disappointed in me – I didn’t photograph any of the Icelandic men! When I was interacting, I completely forgot. Those I saw in passing – well, I felt it would be rude to just whip out the camera and objectify them! You’ll just have to read some of the upcoming fiction to find out what they looked like! Seriously, if I don’t want to be objectified, I have to show the same respect to those around me. I can joke around about the good-looking and interesting men I met, but I wouldn’t trot them out publicly. This blog touches my personal life only in how it affects my writing life. Those who were my muses on this trip know who they are, and hopefully, they’ll be flattered by the way the characters they inspired morph into fiction.

And since I have a strict “no photo” policy when it comes to myself (what’s the point of publishing under multiple names if the same photo’s up?), I certainly would not put up anyone else’s photo without specific permission.

I searched online. I found some stock photos, but they don’t do the men justice. Hair color was pale blond to dark brown. Eyes from blue to brown and everything in between. They tended to be in good shape – some long and lean, some shorter and broader. And, almost every single one I met was nice. Even when they’re flirting, they’re not sleazy. You can have an actual conversation with them. I read some travel blogs where the bloggers (I swear, one of them should have been called “Around the World in 80 Men”) complained that the men were too dumb or too shy to flirt – I didn’t find that at all. I didn’t find them aggressive or spouting lousy pick up lines, which is such a relief. Most of the men I met (and there are always exceptions) were interesting AND interested, could hold up a conversation, had actual opinions and points of view, and a wonderfully dry sense of humor – which is something to which I really respond. I noticed a definite tendency, in some instances, toward the melancholic (understandable, in light of the weather), a strong work ethic in almost everyone, and a very different sense of time and lack of information up front, which sometimes drove me close to the edge. But, in general, I found the majority of the people (regardless of gender) genuinely nice. You’ll be reading about some of the exceptions as well as some of the good ones. Of course, this is a generalization. I was there for a short span of time, in a heavily touristed area. I only got a sampling – I’m sure there are as many diverse personalities and agendas and everything else going on there as anywhere else. Anywhere you have more than two people, there are going to be competing and sometimes conflicting agendas. I was lucky in that I had, people-wise, except for one restaurant experience, positive interactions.

I think, in every instance, you get out what you put in. As a writer, when I travel, I tend to be interested in almost everything. Shy myself, I try to move past that by asking lots of questions, and people respond. I attempt to be respectful, unless I’m pushed past my limits, and try to be a considerate guest in any country I visit. Most people I’ve encountered in Scotland are extremely gregarious hosts. Icelanders are more reserved, but if you make the effort, they tend to respond positively.

Printed out 240 of the photos (all the paper I had), the photo index, and attempted to copy the photos to CD for safekeeping. I’ll start loading some of them into the computer so I can post them – it’ll be hard to choose!

Today’s work is all about finishing the photo print, catching up on things, doing a few more pitches, and preparing for the week. I’m full-time on the show this week, back on the Big Broadway, and I have to re-adjust. I need to focus on the work there without letting any of the freelance work or the creative work slide.

In other words, warning – I’m going to be one tired and cranky bitch all week long! 😉 Consider yourself warned!

Devon

Good Names — 6,312 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 100
(6.0%)

April 30, 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Derby article went out yesterday morning. Short, sweet, and to the point. It will be up on Femmefan either Tuesday or Wednesday, so look for it. It’s called “Kentucky Derby 2007: The Horse.” I think this year’s field is much less wide open than the past few years.

I took the train in around 10 AM yesterday. A woman accompanied by three boys under the age of ten was on the train. One was her son, who was in a wheelchair; the other two were in her care for some reason, the smallest barely beyond toddler. I helped her get them on the train. We all sat together in facing seats and I made up a story to keep them entertained, giving each of them a magical power. I included the tattooed guy sitting beside us because he was so obviously listening. I may well use it as the basis for one of the train stories.

I wasn’t pleased with having to stand in line for 40 minutes outside the NYPL, and then having to walk the length of the library on a broken foot and down several flights of stairs to the PEN event.

One Neil Gaiman wanna-be (but without the intelligence, the humor, or the gentleness), in full black regalia asked me why I wasn’t in black (I was one of the few in line who was actually wearing a color). My response was, “I’m secure enough in my intellect not to need the uniform.”

However the even itself, “Voyage & Voyeur: Travel and Travel Writing” was magnificent. Moderated by Paul Holdengraber (there should be an umlaut over the “a”, but I can’t get the key code to work), the panel consisted of Alain de Botton, Ma Jian, and Illija Trojanow. The discussion (sometimes a debate) was what travel writing really IS – which is not, necessarily, a list of good deals and sightseeing. Inner and outer landscapes, getting to the depths of a place and the self, etc., etc. I agreed with much of it, disagreed with some of it, was fascinated by all of it. De Botton made a point about many people who are disappointed with travel experience because one always brings oneself. I agree, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I rather enjoy bringing myself along when I travel. The exterior cacophony is quieted, being out of my – well, I don’t exactly have a routine as a freelancer, but the usual daily chaos – and I can hear the inner voices. I can recharge the well.

Of course, the trip tomorrow is flat-out running away from the stresses of the past months – I want to pretend they don’t exist for a few days. It’s simply escape. Plus research for a Sean/Elle story and probably a backdrop for a novel, sometime in the future.

There was a lot of pushing and shoving at the book table, but I managed to purchase Ma Jian’s The Noodle Maker and de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy. I didn’t get to the stack of Trojanow’s books, and will have to hunt them down later. De Botton was kind enough to sign the book for me, and then I limped out. By now, it was far too late to cross over to the east side and up to the seminar I wanted to attend on Exile – but I was still to full of this seminar to be able to concentrate properly anyway. There were so many points to think about – far too many for a blog entry – that I decided to take the afternoon to enjoy them.

I meandered down Fifth Avenue, from the library on 42nd Street to Union Square, down on 14th Street. For some reason, standing on the broken foot hurts, but if I walk carefully, I’m okay. Good to know, since I’ll be doing some hiking on Thursday.

Once at Union Square, there was some sort of performance chaos going on within the park, and I needed some solitude, so I ducked into the B&N (not the best choice). It was packed and noisy. I found another book of de Botton’s, The Art of Travel, which I picked up (the one relevant to the seminar). I also picked up Bernard-Henri Lévy’s book American Vertigo, which I’ve wanted since it was first published, and Jeremy Mercer’s memoir of his time at Paris’s Shakespeare & Co., Time Was Soft There.

Laden down with far too many books (now THERE’s a surprise), I continued wandering down to Cloisters on E. 9th St. and had a café au lait and cappuccino cheesecake in the garden.

I set part of Tapestry in that restaurant, and it was nice to re-visit it. It’s where Nina is first introduced to Tom.

I started reading The Art of Travel, and I will forever associate it with the scent of dill wafting over from various brunch dishes. It’s an excellent book, and I found myself having a conversation with it – agreeing with parts of it, disagreeing with others. I think I travel differently than most people – which is probably why I’m not being hired by the slick travel mags! I’m not that interested in the spa at the Hilton – I’m interested in what’s available at the market and how people use it.

Wandered back to the B&N on Astor Place – big mistake. Packed, a pick-up joint, and people shouting at each other across the floors like we were in some sort of carnival. Ick. Kept wandering westward to Washington Square Park, where jazz played and magnolia blossoms wafted on the wind.

I sat and read there for awhile, until it got too cold. I’d hoped to stop in to Posman’s books, but it’s no longer just off Washington Square. Kept on going to 8th Street, headed east again. Stopped at Cosi for a coffee, and then it was time to pick up my tickets and get in line over at Cooper Union.

I left B’s ticket at the box office, got in line with my ticket, and continued reading, which was a much pleasanter way to wait. I got a good seat and saved one for B. She arrived soon after, having jumped a cab after getting out of work on the show. We settled in, and listened to the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, which was given by David Grossman, who was then joined by Nadine Gordimer in conversation.

Again, it was astonishingly inspiring. He talks how the stress of daily trauma affects the life and the work, and how the desire is to someday return to something “normal.” Gordimer strongly believes that, no matter what, the social/political/daily traumas must infect and affect the characters. And Grossman spoke of the responsibility of the writer to show people that there IS another way, that there ARE other choices.

Again, the emphasis is on craft and content and responsibility to humanity, not on marketing. Salman Rushdie came on stage towards the end, to close the festival, and the emphasize that there’s room for all kinds and genres of writing, and there’s NEED for all kinds and genres of writing, but how important it is to keep these international connections and discussions going beyond the festival. And he’s absolutely right.

I was reminded again of working with the Core Freedoms/Freedom To Write program just before the holidays, writing cards to imprisoned writers all over the world. I remember the shock I felt writing an address to a labor camp in Vietnam. I’m grateful that I’m not in that situation, but I’m also aware of how spoiled I am in this life, and my responsibility to try to make the world a better place through my writing. That doesn’t mean everything has to be serious and with a Greater Purpose. But it means emphasis on content rather than market.

During the “Voyage and Voyeur” discussion, the point was made, several times, how it’s easier to tell truth in the context of fiction, which is something I’ve believed for years. People connect when it’s part of a story and part of a character about which they care.

These past days gave me a lot to think about as far as how I want to shape my work, my career, and my literary life.

B. and I wandered over to a favorite haunt of ours, Telephone Bar and Grill, on 2nd Avenue and 10th Street, to get something to eat and discuss all the ideas.

I managed to catch the 10:40 out of Grand Central. However, it was well after midnight when I got home. God forbid Metro North actually run a train. First, the excuse was that the bridge was up and we couldn’t get off Manhattan, so we sat for 15 minutes or so at 125th St. Once we got over the bridge, we stopped in the middle of nowhere for who-knows-how long. I called the Customer Service line to complain and got, “Oh, there’s a train broken down ahead of you. We don’t know how long you’ll be there.” I told them I was sick of something going wrong EVERY day, and this was the fourth time in six months something like this happened. It’s not acceptable. .

The train began to move.

Then, at two of the stops, they had bridge plates up, couldn’t line up the car to the plates, only opened one door – AND NEVER TOLD THE PASSENGERS. So we had to wait for 15 minutes at each stop while passengers scrambled to find the single open door.

The level of incompetence grows exponentially week to week. I’m sick of it. Why should we pay them? They should pay us to ride the damn train. It should not take 2 ½ hours to go 25 miles!

Today, I’m finishing my packing, doing last minute errands, getting the report off for CJ #1, and getting set for the rest of the week.

I think I’ll blog early tomorrow morning before I leave, but we’ll see.

Hope this is a great start to a great week!

Devon

April 25, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

So, some self-righteous, sanctimonious, smug woman on a writing forum made a comment about how an agent must not be married and have kids and therefore has time to blog. I’m so sick and tired of married women with kids acting like they are the ONLY ones with busy lives. Honey, you aren’t. You’re not that important, and the world does not revolve around you and your kids, although YOUR world might. Get over yourself. There are plenty of people who are unmarried and childless who are making the world a better place, and to give you a world in which to raise your kids.

Mia King is a mother and a writer, and has one of the most balanced outlooks on her writing and family life that I’ve ever come across. It’s so refreshing to hear a writer who is a woman and a mother not use her kids as an excuse not to write. Men rarely make that excuse – although, when they do, it’s “my wife won’t let me” – which makes me want to barf. Are you over 21? An adult? There’s no such thing as a spouse “letting” or “not letting” unless you’re a major wimp or in an abusive situation that you should leave. Again, this is an example of a person refusing to take responsibility for his or her own life.

Mia TAKES responsibility. She balances. She knows that a career she loves does not have to endanger the family she loves. Go, Mia! May your success grow book to book, because you certainly deserve it! Jill Shalvis is another writer who keeps the balance going well – and also has a sense of humor about it.

Mothers who say they want to write should look to those two women as examples of positive ways to balance the writing life with the family life.

Work was fine yesterday. New York was unpleasant – too many people in too small a space, everyone trying to get somewhere. The usual. I’m booked for a couple of weeks when I get back from my trips in May – so that’s good. Pay some bills, replace some money used for the car.

Good thing I don’t have to go in until tonight – Metro North is down – again! Tonight, I’m taking my friend J. to one of the events at the PEN World Voices conference. We’re going early enough to stop at the Algonquin for drinks first (provided the trains run properly).

Verizon came to fix the landline yesterday and screwed up the DSL. When I called to complain, they said it was not possible for me to have working DSL without a dial tone. Then what have I been doing since last Friday? IMAGINING my time on line?

I’m so tired of idiots.

No response from Icelandiar. I am even less impressed with them than I was 24 hours ago.

Trying to get some writing done, after I scour the job boards and see if there are pitches to get out.

I’m offline for the next few days – planned. I’m going to Maine to visit my grandmother –and to do laundry – because who knows when the laundry rooms will be fixed in the building? Not a complaint, mind you – they are working their butts off to get the building back to rights. And they have to scour everything with bleach, because the smells have traveled up the old dumbwaiter shafts (one of those round stick-to-the-wall closet things helps). I checked out a few Laundromats in the area – they’re kind of dirty, and I’m not too happy with them. My friend, at whose house I often do laundry, lost his whole laundry room in the flood and has to rip everything out a renovate, too. I can’t take it to work, because there’s too much show laundry (and I don’t REALLY want to haul laundry on a three hour round trip commute on the train). I’ll hand wash as much as I can here at home, and we’ll play the rest by ear.

I’m doing my pre-Derby article that will appear next week on FemmeFan. Finally, I can reveal my Derby horse – I promised I’d stay quiet until Derby week, so the horse could do its work and mature without additional pressure.

The Plum essays were sent out for a final proof. It looks good, and I’m excited about the book’s release in June. Perfectly Plum – you can pre-order it from Amazon.

Have a great rest-of-the-week, all, and, hopefully, both landline and DSL will be working when I return.

Devon

PS  There are a lot of great moms and writing moms who read this blog.  Needless to say, I do not mean YOU — although you’re probably the ones who then worry you’re being too self-centered when you’re not.  I’m fortunate enough to have attracted a group of generous spirits here.