Fri. May 20, 2022: Preparing for a Hot Weekend

image courtesy of SplitShire via pixabay.com

Friday, May 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warmer

Meditation was good yesterday, although it took me a bit of time to settle into it. Charlotte had no such problems. She loves the weekly Zoom meditations with the Concord Public Library.

Got ahead on some blog work, did the social media rounds, caught up on email, did the necessary admin work. Now that I’m figuring out how to use Counter Social, I’m liking it. And I’ll take an anonymous hacker as the leader of it over a spoiled brat billionaire any time. But Twitter is still my main hangout, at least for now.

Freelance Chat was fun, although the pricing/rate suggestions given by the weekly guest don’t suit what I do.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. I’d been requested, which is always nice. A little worried because my queue is empty. I should be pleased; it opens up the weekend. But I’m below my financial goal for the month with them, which concerns me.

However, I read the next book for review in the afternoon/evening, and this morning I will write up the review and send the invoice for the last batch, so there’s that money. But if scripts are available this weekend, I’ll read over the weekend.

Played with the flash fiction I wrote the other day. I will type it up over the weekend and do a couple of revision passes on it, so that it’s in a decent shape for Ko-Fi. The most intriguing part, for me, about this, is the tension in the relationship between the two characters. Is this something I want to explore further?

It rained on and off all day, sometimes intensely, so I was glad to stay in. But I have to swing by the library this morning on my way to the Williamstown Historical Museum to drop off/pick up books. I have about six to return, and there are ten waiting for me.

Started a book that had come highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so, nope.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Some of the kids are finished with their exams. The rest have their last ones this coming week. Only two more sessions, and we will be done, after two and a half years of working together. Definitely bittersweet.

I decided not to do the proposal for the project in autumn. It would have to be indoors, and with numbers rising, new variants, and monkey-fucking-pox, it’s not worth the risk.

This weekend is supposed to be in the 90’s, which just makes me cringe. I will clean the fans later today, so they’re ready in case we need to use them in addition to the ceiling fans. Considering that it’s cold enough for the heat to be on this morning, I don’t want that large temperature swing. It does a number on my body.

The plan is, in the cooler portions of the day, that I can get a lot of writing done, especially on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the first draft of the anthology story. I also want to get back to the revisions of “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks. I realized how to solve a logic problem in “Personal Revolution” by simply changing a character’s job location.

Hopefully, the heat won’t drain every last drop of creativity out of me, and I can get things done, whether or not any script coverage comes through.

Have a good one.

Wed. May 18, 2022: Willa Had a Hard Day

image courtesy of Scott Payne via pixabay.com. This looks very much like Willa, although it is a stock photo.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday had to be re-jiggled a bit, because the cats got upset, poor things.

We did a final house clean early in the morning, and I got the garbage out just as the gas company guy and the maintenance guy arrived. Since the focus was the basement, and then the gas stove in the kitchen, we closed the bedroom doors, the door to the laundry room, etc. We made sure the cats weren’t shut away in any of the rooms, because they hate that. They want to know what’s going on.

They also don’t like closed doors.

Tessa was fine about it. She marched around to check the doors, glared at us, and then settled on the sofa. Her Highness refused to acknowledge our existence until late afternoon.

Charlotte wasn’t too pleased, but she made sure she met the newcomers and they told her she was pretty, and then she went in m office and sat on a chair until everything was finished.

Willa, who is usually the mellow jokester, was the one who nearly fell apart. She thought she was being given away again. She was frantic. When she was moved, all those times before she came to us, the people she was leaving must have shut the doors to the rooms where she usually hung out.

Now, the guys who came in were perfectly nice and cat lovers.

But the closed doors triggered Willa.

They were in and out in less than a half hour. But it took several hours to calm Willa down. She was Velcro kitty, and sat quietly close by, staring as if to say, “If I’m very quiet and good, you won’t give me away, will you?” We kept petting her and telling her she was good and everything was okay, but she didn’t believe us, even after we re-opened all the doors. Charlotte promptly curled up on my bed and passed out until late afternoon, and Tessa refused to have anything to do with us, because her routine was upended without her being consulted. But Willa was absolutely terrified.

It was heartbreaking.

So we took whatever time it took to reassure her. It was late afternoon before she was back to her silly self.

I worked through a ton of email. I sent out a W-9 to the theatre doing my radio play next week, and they are eager for more. As soon as I get the two plays for the NY producer ready, I will go back to work on the dirigible play for them.

I sent off the autopay authorization to Prime Storage. I bet they still screw things up for this next pay period. They are horrid.

I caught up over on Ello. I posted a flash fiction, “Angel Auditions” over on Ko-Fi. I tried to figure out how to maneuver on Counter Social.

I contacted Windsor Lake about getting the season pass and found out I can just get it at the gate house starting Memorial Day Weekend, so I’m delighted.

Edited three more chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Four more to go, and I’m done with this draft. Then, I can start the multi-colored draft. I think it will only need one draft after that, and I can decide what to do with it.

A script landed in my queue that needed immediate turnaround. It was pretty good, and I got it done in good time. I have two more to read today. I’m a little worried by the dearth of scripts lately. Thank goodness I had so many at this time last year, when I was desperate for the money. I still have other paid work to finish this week, so I don’t have to worry about the lack of scripts.

The night blooming jasmine finally arrived (the shippers sent a new one to replace the one which had gone astray). It’s much smaller than I expected, but I had a pot the right size for it, and it’s happy in its new home on the front porch.

The weather was wacky, alternating between sun and rain, sometimes raining while sunny, so I had to take down the hanging baskets so they wouldn’t get battered.

THE DRUID PLANT ORACLE and the ASK THE WITCH TAROT both arrived. The former is absolutely gorgeous, and I look forward to working with it and learning it over the coming months. The latter is much harsher than I expected from the blurbs, but also quite fascinating.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun. Hard to believe next week will be our last.

I have a couple of project proposals to work on, too, and I have to get my profile up on the Creative Ground site. And get back to work on The Big Project. I’m woefully behind where I want to be on that, although it’s in good shape.

But first, this morning, I have to head over to the mechanic to get the car fixed. Hopefully, it will be Really Fixed this time, and we can start our day trips. And run basic errands without holding my breath all the time.

I’m finding THE BONE ORCHARD absolutely fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Off to the mechanic soon. Hold a good thought for me. Hopefully, it won’t take long, and I can get back to start my workday. Have a good one!

Fri. May 13, 2022: Windows11 Sucks, but Plants are Pretty

image courtesy of planet_fox via pixabay.com

Friday, May 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and hot

This is going to be the retrograde of computer malfunctions, I guess. Windows11 is awful. No more autosave – it tries to force you to save to the cloud. I don’t want to save to the cloud, and it should be MY decision. So, when I’m reading on screen and taking notes in a document, I have to save the document any time I switch back to the reading screen, or I lose everything. On top of that, when I opened the computer to start my day, it decided it had to “restart” and then “update” and then, when it asked for my PIN and I put it in, it gave me the gray screen of death. More than once. I shut it down and turned it back on, and it’s glitching.

As usual, Microsoft sucks. Although, from what I hear, Apple has descended to Microsoft’s level of ineptness.

In any case, yesterday was a decent day, although it got hot. I had trouble getting online to the meditation, but got there, and was glad I did. I got some work done in the morning, including slogging through way too much email. I had trouble getting the computer and the printer to talk to each other again after the upgrade, which is frustrating, because I have paperwork that needs to get done. I managed to get the next book for review downloaded, although that was a chore, too.

Once Mercury goes direct, I have to go through my Download file and dump a lot of it. It’s been double downloading things, and taking up space I can better use otherwise.

Headed for the grocery story, which had a special deal on hanging baskets, and we got a couple of lovely baskets of impatiens, one in a dusky pink and one in a bright pink. Headed to another store, where I wound up getting a lovely, soft shirt in organic cotton (on sale – gotta love Mercury Retrograde bargains). Headed back to the other store and got more potting soil, more pots, another patio rug, and three small shelf units that I plan to put together and use in various parts of the house. They’re kind of a dull brown. I will see what they look like put together, and then maybe paint them. Or, at least, stencil them.

The curried chicken salad I made the night before was perfect. We have a great big batch of it to enjoy, and that recipe might be a summer go-to for me. I used the Asian greens in it, almonds, currants, and golden raisins. I’d picked up a ciabatta on our errands, and that went perfectly with it.

After lunch, we set out the new rug on the back balcony – it even matches at the seam to the other rug. Having the two rugs run the length of the space unifies it. We hung the impatiens, and hung and filled the bird bath. We put the cushions on the bench and the bistro chairs. It’s a really nice, shady retreat. When the front porch, with its southern exposure, gets too hot in the afternoons, we can retreat to the back balcony, with its northern exposure.

Charlotte and Willa sat in the kitchen window and watched. I’m sure we will have to take them out sometimes in their playpens. Tessa happily stayed on the front porch.

I turned around a script coverage and cleaned up some other work, then read on the porch. The Ipsy bag arrived with the monthly goodies, and also MOTHER NATURE’S HERBAL by Judy Griffin, which had been recommended by an Instagram pal. It’s a lovely book, and covers a lot of ground. Since most of my herbals are still in storage, this will serve me well, and I look forward to savoring it.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We’re prepping them for finals, and the kids are ready for summer.

Leftovers for dinner, and read. I was achy and tired, so went to bed pretty early. Had a rough night, though. I kept waking up with stress memory of this time last year, when that landlord was pressuring us to get out and we had no idea where we could go yet. I kept having to calm myself down (yoga and meditation came in handy) and get back to sleep.

Woke up with a scratchy throat and sneezing, but the itchy eyes and open windows tipped me it’s more likely to be pollen than plague. I was woken by screaming cats. At first I thought they were mine, but my trio was sitting in a row at the window (together) watching cats fight outside.

A friend’s card arrived yesterday, which made me happy, and another friend signed up for The World’s Largest Poem, so I hope that means she comes up for the performance!

Today, I have more email to get through, paperwork to take care of and get out the door, and work on The Big Project and the radio plays. I also have a script coverage.

This weekend, I have to turn over the linens and the closet from winter to summer, but I also want to get a lot of work done on The Big Project and work on the anthology story.

I need to get more scripts in my queue for next week, because I was well below my nut this pay period, and it was because there weren’t many scripts. I didn’t mind the break, because it gave me time to really focus on finishing the contest entries, and that paid more than I expected. But I have to look ahead, and I have a couple of big bills coming up in June.

It doesn’t help that I can’t trust the computer to power up properly or work properly, either.

Fingers crossed. Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Fri. April 29, 2022: Extricating from Tracfone’s Harassment

image courtesy of Alexander Andrews via Unsplash.com

Friday, April 29, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The Retrogrades are starting, and Pluto goes retrograde today, and stays retrograde until October 8. Pluto’s retrograde works to reveal what’s hidden and force us to face fears, causing long-lasting transformations. Tomorrow is Beltane Eve with a new moon and a solar eclipse, so there’s a lot going on, and if you’re wondering why your emotions are all over the place, take a deep breath and a nap.

I had high hopes for yesterday, which were quickly dashed. I had trouble focusing in meditation. Charlotte had no such issues, spending most of the session quietly on my lap.

Then, Tracfone started again. First, they sent a text saying the phone number transfer was happening. Then, they began a series of phone calls in escalating harassment along the lines of “this is our number and we decide when and if it transfers.” They kept demanding a series of “press this key and that key” – which wasn’t possible, because one of the issues with that smartphone is that the dial pad was dumped and couldn’t be retrieved. Basically making the phone useless. Which has been explained to them, in detail, over a dozen times. Anything that they deemed wasn’t used “often enough” (which, by their definition, is multiple times a day) was removed from the phone. My mom is 97. She doesn’t need to dial her phone every day. So the dial pad was removed and the phone was even more useless than possible. In addition to the whole thing that she doesn’t need a smartphone and it was too difficult for her to learn. They were also trying to force another month’s payment while they ‘considered’ whether or not to release the number.

I turned off the phone, went back to Consumer Cellular, cancelled the transfer and got a new phone number. I was able to end SIX MONTHS of torment and harassment in five minutes.

Tracfone could have solved this issue six months ago in fifteen minutes and kept a customer they’d had for a decade. Instead, they chose harassment, believing if they harassed long and hard enough, we would just cave and pay them whatever they demanded and do whatever they demanded.

As much of a pain in the ass it is to let everyone know her new number, it’s better than Tracfone’s unacceptable harassment. Not to mention the literally thousands of dollars I’ve lost in billable hours/work time because of this.

The service ran out at the end of the day, and we are done with Tracfone. I am filing a formal complaint with the state’s division of public utilities, under which cellphones fall, but at least they’re not getting anymore money out of us, and can’t call anymore.

The new number needs a bit of time to settle down. In the first 12 hours, we had to block 4 scam calls.

At least they’re not like Verizon, which demanded a $4.99 charge every month for every number blocked, so one really couldn’t afford to block numbers.

I was exhausted by the end of that debacle, but also relieved that we’re done. And my mom has a simple flip phone that she can actually use, and that works.

I lost all the time blocked off for writing.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It’s such a great group.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage for something on which I’d been requested, and grabbed another script to read today. I’ll be a little under my nut for this pay period, but I need to focus on the contest entries over the weekend, and possibly into part of next week.

I spent some time on Ello, and put up a tarot post over on Ko-fi.

We did some Monthology brainstorming for a project logo, which we can slap around all over the place on websites and stickers and whatever. I mean, there are 50 of us, we can have an impact and get people interested and excited about the project.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We’ve set our final virtual meeting date for late May, before Memorial Day weekend. More of an online party than anything else, to celebrate what we’ve built over the past two and a half years, and that we survived, at least so far.

I keep talking about how great Ello is, but friends are having trouble signing up. I feel bad about that, since I’ve been hawking the site. But the numbers I get on it are high – well over 100 for most posts, and over 1000 for others. In addition to cross-posting content, I also need to create specific content for that platform. Just not sure what yet.

Speaking of trouble signing up, Prime Storage, which bought the CubeSmart storage facility on Cape, is ignoring my requests for customer service and assistance setting up auto-pay. Their website will not acknowledge me as an existing customer or allow me to sign up as a new customer. It just keeps booting me out. I have no doubt this is intentional – they are trying to make sure there are late payments, so they can charge late fees. So I have to write a check and send it express mail to make sure it gets there on time. And you better believe I’m going to make them sign for it. AND send them the tracking number.

Another hateful company.

Worked on contest entries last night. I’m a little behind where I hoped I’d be, so I have to push hard this weekend. But that’s okay. Everything will get done by deadline, and it’s always exciting to read such a wide range of new work.

Going to hit the page this morning. I need to finish the first draft of the radio play by tomorrow for Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event. I have a seminar with them this afternoon, which should be interesting, on curating one’s archive.

I have to make the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, and the liquor store.

This afternoon, I’ll turn around another script and go back to the contest entries.

Tomorrow, we’re switching out the winter curtains to the lace panels, swapping out some early spring fabric for more summery fabric, and doing other houseworky things that have somehow become part of Saturday’s routine. I also have an online yoga session tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll have to finish the first draft of the radio play and do contest entries.

Saturday is Beltane Eve, the new moon, the eclipse; Sunday is Beltane and the start of May. Another month whizzing past.

April definitely was more chaotic and less productive than I’d hoped, but I’m looking forward to May and spring and plants and all that good stuff.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Fri. April 15, 2022: Piling On

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, April 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was sunny and pleasant. Today is sunny and cooler. By tomorrow night, it will be below freezing. Totally wacky weather.

I had trouble settling into meditation, mostly because I felt so bad, but once I did, it was fine.

I got the next three pages written of “Owe Me” which feels good. I know where I need it to end, but now I have to figure out how to get from where I am now to where I need to be at the end. Not quite sure how to get there yet, but I’ll figure it out. I hate writing in small bits like this. I prefer writing longer sections, but each of these small portions sets up new challenges (which is the point of the piece), but I don’t yet know how to solve them.

Had a late morning video conference with a potential new client. We had a great talk, and he likes my writing a lot. I don’t do much work in his area of specialization, so that might knock me out completely, which is fine. It was definitely worth the conversation, and I sent off additional materials asked for as soon as we finished.

Headed off to the store for round colored lights for the kitchen window, plant stakes, a new small rug for Tessa’s room, and an outdoor rug for the back balcony. We couldn’t find one we liked for the front porch yet.  Came back, took down the winter curtains in the kitchen (no curtains up in summer). Took down the white lights. Got the rest of the spilled wax scraped off the sill and the window (without damaging either). Got the new lights up, which are so pretty, even in daylight, because the light makes them sparkle. The new rug looks great in Tessa’s room. She’s still not sure about it, but Charlotte and Willa both love it.

In the afternoon, I sat on the porch working. First, I finished reading the next book for review (which I will write and send off today). Then, I started reading LEGENDS AND LATTES by Travis Baldree, a cozy fantasy that Deborah Blake recommended. Absolutely loved it. It’s clever and fun and the world building is lovely and the characters are wonderful.

The weather changed (as it does). We are high enough to be able to watch thunderstorms roll around between the mountains, which is really cool. We are even high enough so I got to drive through a raincloud the other day, something I didn’t even know was possible. Which was also really cool.

Part of me felt guilty for taking part of the afternoon off to read a book because I wanted to, but that’s why I freelance: to work my own schedule. I was achy and headachy, and would not do my best work on script coverage, and those writers deserve better from me. So, I adjusted the task to the energy.

Didn’t feel like cooking, so I ordered Chinese, and it was perfect. I felt well enough to run Knowledge Unicorns, and it was a good session. Many schools are either closed or doing half day tomorrow, and April break is next week, so no sessions.

After dinner, I felt much better, and could focus on script coverage. Turned around the two scripts I needed to get done. It meant working until 10 PM, but that was fine. Freelance. Can work any hours I want, and I felt better and working then made sense. The whole point of not working 9-5 is NOT WORKING 9-5.

Once I was done with the coverage, I could settle in and finish LEGENDS AND LATTES, which I did a little before midnight. Charlotte put herself to bed earlier than that, and Tessa was thrilled to have me all to herself.

So this whole Elon Musk/Twitter thing is disconcerting. He is NOT a supporter of free speech – his actions against his own workers prove that. If he ends up buying Twitter, yes, then I will have to leave. I would miss people, but I functioned before social media, and I can function without Twitter. I will start spending more time on ello.co again, which I’ve always liked, but it takes more time and deeper interactions than Twitter, and I’ve neglected it lately.  I spend very little time on FB and the only reason I haven’t cancelled my accounts is because I have some friends who are only on FB and I’d lose regular touch with them. I’m on the fence about Instagram because of all the fake accounts and scams, although I’d hate to lose my “fun” account that has little to do with marketing and promotion, and is just my playground.

We’re all going to be signing up for a lot of newsletters over the next few weeks, aren’t we?

Besides, if Musk destroys Twitter, some other social media platform will start up. I mean, there was a time when MySpace was one of the few choices, and look what’s sprung up since.

Slept well. It’s cooler today, but I could still do my first writing session on the porch. My storage facility on Cape has been sold, and I don’t like the new owners. So, somehow, over the summer, after I get the car fixed, I’ll have to put together the money and find a unit out here and hire movers and get it all brought across the state. Not looking forward to the expense.

Had to set some boundaries with a project. The editor is setting up yet another place to check for information, this time on a platform I loathe. It’s so scattered; I shouldn’t have to check multiple sites/apps to stay up-to-date on where things are. I was ready to burst into tears at the very thought of it. There needs to be ONE central source of information. It’s too damn much. It’s too much “ooh, shiny” and not enough focus. Handling the large group writers involved is huge work, and the editor is doing an amazing job, but things are getting more and more scattered and fractured. Maybe that’s the way it has to process for this particular project, but I am at my outer limits of being able to add any more on. I turned in my lore on my characters and on my organizations, so all I have to do is sit down and write my story (which I’ve blocked time off to do in May). Once I do the roughest of first drafts, I will go back in and layer the details that are affected by what the other collaborators have created that affect what I do, and double-check details (as I’ve made myself available for any of them, if they need information from me). But I can’t spend hours every day making the rounds of multiple sites as things change. We’ve created the world; now we have to inhabit it. And so much that’s been created is color and flavor for the stories, rather than trying to put everything into the stories all at once.

The reason I’ve been able to have a lifelong career in the arts, earning my living at it, instead of creating “on the side” is because I am ruthless about cutting out what interferes with the creative work. I have no regrets. I make no apologies.

Most places around here are taking this as a four-day weekend, or starting their weekend after a half day. Monday is a state holiday here (Patriots’ Day) and the Boston Marathon. I’m thinking of taking it as a holiday from client work, and focusing on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the CAST IRON MURDER edits. I also want to get through a lot of contest entries this weekend. I have a pretty good idea in two categories of who’s shaping up to be finalists, but need to hone it down some more, and then I can focus on the third category.

I also want to rest a lot. While I’m starting to get back on my feet, I still have lingering effects from Shot 4, which are not fun. Part of it, too, is accepting that I am not twenty anymore, and can’t push the way I used to. And that I don’t WANT to be in a constant state of overwork and hustle. We were sold that bill of goods, and it was false. It’s time to learn from that and create something better.

Anyway, have a lovely Whatever You Celebrate, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Wed. April 13, 2022: The Lack of Professionalism is Frustrating

image courtesy of Andrea Piaquadio via pexels.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cool

Well, yesterday was a frustrating day. In spite of still feeling lousy, I pulled myself together and took the car to the mechanic on time. Only to have them refuse to fix the problem because it would “take too long.” WTF? So now I have the phone number of some sketchy guy who “specializes in foreign cars” (my car may be a VW, but it was built in a plant in Tennessee). The guy doesn’t even have a website, and I’m supposed to trust a very expensive repair to him? Because the repair I need is going to cost about a grand. Not happy about that at all. Also displeased with a mechanic who only wants to do quick repairs.

So I am not a happy camper.

Felt like crap when I got home. I still had a dull headache, body aches, and the brain fog was bad. The Tylenol nauseated me, but I took more anyway to clear up the brain fog enough to turn around a script.

Haven’t been able to do any creative work, though, which is frustrating. One of the parents handled Knowledge Unicorns last night, because I wasn’t up to it.

I listened to the first episode of the series in which the NY-based radio producer is interested in having me write. The production quality is outstanding.  It’s definitely a darker, more dystopian tone than my comic noir pieces – mine lean a little too much in the direction of froth and farce. But “Owe Me” and the comic horror piece are more in tone with it, and I’m pretty sure “The Collector” would work (which he already has), although I’ll probably have to do some revisions. The Mr. Ding-A-Ling creepy ice cream truck has been around again lately, and that’s getting something percolating. And maybe a haunted amusement park. We’ll see.

Plants went out onto the porch when the sun finally came out. It’s a lot of pots to haul in and out. Hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to leave them on the porch, and, soon after that, move the ones we want onto the back balcony.

Today I need to do library and grocery runs. And figure out what to do about the fucking car.

But first, I’m going to spend some quality time on the page, since it’s been several days. And I have two scripts to turn around this afternoon, and a book to review, and I have to get back to contest entries. No matter how I feel, I have to get back to work, because heaven forbid we have a society that gives us room to, you know, be human.

Published in: on April 13, 2022 at 6:32 am  Comments (4)  
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Wed. April 6, 2022: Room For the Writing I Love

image courtesy of Adina Voicu via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy/Rainy/Chilly

It was supposed to rain yesterday. Instead it was sunny, so people ran around enjoying it! I did a large grocery shop in the morning, to get us set up for the next couple of weeks. I also bought a pot of multi-colored pansies and a bunch of lavender tulips. Flowers for spring. I love pansies, because they’re so cheerful.

All the seedlings were moved out onto the porch, so they could enjoy the day, along with the cats (who moved themselves).

I finished the set of bios for Monthology celebrities tied to the Playhouse, the Gorgons, and the Valkyrie. I’d promised them to the collaborators, as fodder for the City’s tabloid. If none of this makes any sense, you can read about the shared world anthology here. It was fun, and these characters are for everyone to play with and have fun with. They are, at best, tertiary characters in my story. I felt bad that I was so late getting it in, although everyone in the group is great.

I wrote four pages of the radio play tentatively titled “Owe Me” that’s part of the Dramatists Guild project, with an eye toward sending it to the producer with whom I’ve been negotiating. It’s different from the comic horror; it’s more of a psychological ghost story. That went well. I’m letting the dialogue/plot flow, and then I’ll go back in and layer more sound cues (in radio, you have to figure a sound cue about every 30 seconds, approximately one cue every half page or so). I sometimes have clumps of sound cues to drive the plot, but then I have to layer in other cues when they get to talking, that either underline the dialogue or contradict it.

I’m percolating on the comic horror play that went off the rails. I think I will draft “Owe Me” first, and then go back to it, once I figure out how to get it back on track.

I pitched for a radio writing job that would run from May through August, and pays well. I’m sure the competition is fierce, but nothing tried, no chance at all. Plus, it was fun to include the new Pages on Stages website. I have to add in my bio page today.

The Conference wants me to take on some mentoring slots, and I’m not sure if I can take that on. A lot depends on how the upcoming negotiations for a couple of gigs go.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I started reading Deanna Raybourn’s newest Veronica Speedwell, AN IMPOSSIBLE IMPOSTER, which is a lot of fun. Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun, although everyone is eager for Easter break.

I signed up for a Buddhist series of seminars for the next five days, based on the work of Pema Chödrön, whose work I like and respect a lot. The rage I feel at fellow humans for allowing the slaughter in Ukraine to continue, and allowing the radical right to overtake this country, combined with the sense memory of the stress I underwent during this period last year, desperately searching for a place to live and organizing the move, is interfering with my ability to function well, and I’m hoping to learn some techniques that will help. Passivity is not an option, and there are so many people for whom I’m losing all respect. And yes, I am fully within my rights to judge those who allow genocide through inaction, or because the images make them uncomfortable. They are a threat to ALL our safety.

Had nightmares again last night, but I am privileged to only have them as nightmares, and not have to live them. Yet. If the GOP regains control, it’s game over for anyone with a brain and a heart.

I have to go and pick up one of my mother’s prescriptions today. It would have been nice if I’d known about it yesterday, when I was at the grocery store right next to the pharmacy, but that’s the way it goes.

More work on the radio plays, work on The Big Project, hopefully, more editing on CAST IRON MURDER, script coverage and contest entries are all on the agenda for today. Along with some admin. I need to clean out the Inbox.

Have fun, people!

Tues. April 5, 2022: Curl Up & Catch Up

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cloudy, and chilly

I hope you all had a good few days. Grab a favorite beverage and curl up for the catch-up.

Thursday wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I got the most important things done. I got a wonderful email from a producer to whom I’d submitted some radio plays. I wasn’t sure if what I submitted was dark enough for what he was looking for, but he said he loved the pieces, and wanted to read the comic noir mystery plays, too. In other words, he’s willing to expand his original guidelines because he enjoys the writing. Which thrills me. He sent me the link to the first broadcast. I have it on today’s agenda to listen to, because that gives me more of an idea of material to pitch to him, too. Yes, he pays. And he said he’s planning to make me an offer.

It also made me wonder if maybe I should try to write a comic horror play as my Dramatists Guild project this month. Then, of course, some characters started wandering into my brain. . .

While that all started percolating, I went to the online meditation group I attend on Thursday mornings. The regular leader wasn’t there; the sub kept using computer lingo, like “downloading inspiration” which really annoyed me. I am not a computer. I am a human being. One of the reasons I attend meditation is for a break from technology. I believe tech-speak in the space is destructive, not “relatable.”

By the time breakfast was over and I’d gotten some admin done, it was time to take my mom for her 4th vaccination. We left early enough so I could dop off and pick up books at the library. We were early to the pharmacy, and I felt bad, because CVS corporate cut staff there, and they were run off their feet. They are the best CVS staff we’ve ever known, and it’s so unfair to them (so yes, I will complain to corporate that an excellent staff is being punished for their skills). The pharmacist who gave her the shot was lovely.

While my mom was under her 15 minutes of observation, I dashed next door to Big Y to pick up a few groceries, including a Boston cream pie that I couldn’t resist.

Took my mom home. She barely had any side effects. Her arm was a little achy, starting about 7 hours after the shot. If anything, it was more like I had the side effects, while she had the shot. I felt like absolute crap all day.

However, I pulled myself together and did a script coverage. I have a nice long list of scripts in my queue, so after a couple of months of worrying and not making my projected income from this client, I think the first pay period in April will be close. March’s second pay period is lower than I’d hoped, but still a decent number. And it means my quarterly taxes won’t be so high.

Participated in Freelance Chat, which was fun.

I polished the materials for the first round of the major grant proposal. I was actually pretty happy with the quality of the materials. I also added the three missing productions to my theatre resume (will have to add them to my writing resume soon).

Of course, the actual application asked for additional materials that weren’t in the informational handout, so I had to take time to create and polish those, which meant the application timed out and I had to start all over again, even though I’d saved it as I went. Which was frustrating.

But I finally got it all entered, and submitted it. I got the confirmation.

By then, I was completely wiped out. I have to remember how much writing a good grant application takes out of me. As in a good piece of writing or performance, I leave it all out there and am spent. If I leave out the passion and commitment behind, under, and around the words, then the energy of the piece is lost, and there’s no way it can get funded. The language is clean and professional, but the subtext has to have energy.

Ordered pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I’d also expected my mom wouldn’t feel like eating, as neither of us have the day of the shot, but she was in good appetite, and I hadn’t planned anything except maybe scrambled eggs. So I ordered pizza. We’re lucky in that we have three excellent pizza parlors within 5 blocks. We ordered what I call the “comfort pizza” from the place about 3 blocks away.

Read a little in the evening, but was wiped out. Knowledge Unicorns was fine; even though it takes plenty of energy, so much energy is created and exchanged, that it’s worth it.

Was awakened about an hour after I went to bed by an enormous crash. At first, I thought it was thunder, since there was an intense rainstorm happening. But there was only one clap and no lightening. Then, I was worried part of the building had collapsed (not that there’s any reason for it). But everything seemed fine. No idea what that was all about.

Tessa got me up early on Friday. I stayed off social media most of the day, because I hate the way cruelty is dressed up to look like humor on April Fool’s Day.

What I did instead was build the Pages on Stages website, for the scripts I write. It took all day, with only one 20-minute break for lunch. It took 9 templates until I found one that I could make do what I wanted and needed. I hunted down as much information on the older productions as I could. A lot of it is in storage, not digitized, and I don’t have access to it right now. But there’s enough on the sites to point grant makers and producers toward it. It’s not a site I plan to heavily promote, the way I do the fiction sites. It serves a specific purpose for the scriptwriting.

I still have to add bio information on the “About” page and add contact information, but I will do that next week.

I managed to start the comic horror radio play for the Dramatists Guild End of Play event, and wrote about a page and a half. It’s out there, even more me. But the beats are building and the jokes are landing the way I want them to, so we’ll see how it goes.

The only side effect my mom had from her second booster was some fatigue toward the end of the day. She’s never had particularly strong reactions to the shots, but this was the lightest yet.

I missed going to the art opening Friday night. By the time it started, I’d just finished the day’s work on the website and hadn’t even showered yet, much less put myself together mentally or physically. The exhibit runs for about a month, so I’ll stop by later in April. I hadn’t promised anyone to attend, so at least I didn’t let anyone down.

Tessa woke me up before 5 this morning out of dreams about Greek myths and peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving with one of my cousins. The brain is a weird instrument.

Caught up on some of the 500+ emails which had come in on Friday.

I walked down to the Farmers’ Market in the morning. It’s still on winter hours, which means that it’s only the first Saturday of the month still for April and May, and it’s indoors, with a limited number of vendors. But such wonderful vendors! I wish I could have bought from everyone.

I bought from three of them, had conversations with several, and next time I go, I have to carry business cards, because they were interested in my books (which came up in conversation when I signed up for the various mailing lists).

I was thrilled with the bounty from the market. We immediately ate the espresso coffee cake muffins from Bohemian Nouveau Bakery, which were outstanding. For lunch, we had slices of baguette with butter, fresh spinach, and sliced radishes (with just a hint of salt and pepper). I don’t know the name of the artisan who baked the baguette, but it was the best I’ve ever had – perfect crumb, lovely crust, and there was a little bit of salt in the crust that was exquisite. The spinach and radishes came from Red Shirt Farm.

For dinner, I added some spinach to the sausage pasta I made, and we finished the rest of the baguette. Because baguettes only last a day.

I took it easy on Saturday. I needed to rest. I did a little bit of noodling on the comic horror radio play, mostly planning rather than writing. I read books I wanted to read, and didn’t worry about any sort of work for anyone else.

There’s so much atrocity happening in Ukraine. The Russians are behaving just as badly as they did in WWII to the citizens. The world stands by and allows the slaughter. And these spoiled brats on social media, who’ve never experienced anything worse than a hangnail, are whining about being “triggered.” They have the privilege to look away, and they are part of the reason this is happening. We need to be riding our elected officials every day about doing more to stop the atrocities AND remove all the Russian assets in Congress. World War III started when The Narcissistic Sociopath was installed as the GOP nominee. The war has a different trajectory than previous wars, but we are deeply, deeply in it. What is happening to citizens in Ukraine WILL happen here if the GOP is allowed to continue. Remember people in cages? Migrants chased on horseback and whipped? Rapists given control of their victims’ bodies? All of that is part of the same playbook.  ANYONE who has the privilege to look away contributes to the problem. We have to look. We have to feel the horror. And then we have to do something about it.

Tessa woke me around 5 AM on Sunday. I got my act together and was out to run errands early, including getting more potting soil and pots. And the tomato cages.

We repotted the peace lily. My friend and I bought the peace lily at Stop & Shop on the Cape in a 4” pot for the very first party in the Cape House, way back in 2011. I just repotted it into a 14” pot. Let’s hope it can thrive in this pot for the next few years!

In the afternoon, I read for pleasure, and did a little bit of research for a couple of different projects. I took a break from the comic horror play, and the other writing. I read THE VANISHING MUSEUM ON THE RUE MISTRAL by M.L. Longworth, set in Provence, which I really enjoyed.

Tessa was such a drama queen on Monday. I didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. My mom finally got up to feed all of the feline monsters. Tessa wrestled the bowl away from her in the pantry and insisted on eating right there (instead of on her little Sherlock Holmes pub towel in her room). She was So Hungry she could not wait one more second. It was hilarious. Like they’re not fed regularly twice a day.

Did some admin work and paid some bills. Headed to the bank (never fun) to make a deposit. Let’s see how long they keep this one. On to the post office to mail the bills and a birthday card for a friend. On the way back, stopped at the liquor store. Dropped everything off, picked up the two bags of books that had to go back to the library, and drove there. Dropped off/picked up books. Home. Moved the seedlings out to the porch. It was sunny/cloudy every few minutes, but at least they’d get more light out there.

Elon Musk bought a stake in Twitter, so my time there is probably drawing to a close. Which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. But it’s already gone vastly downhill in the last few weeks, pushing right-wing crazy posts from people I don’t follow into my timeline (which I immediately block). And I’m finding way too much emotional labor on there, thanks to a lot of the privileged spoiled brats. Cutting back my time there is necessary anyway. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out and what changes happen. I highly doubt they will be positive. I’ve cut back my FB time; I’m only still on it because of a few people with whom that’s the main way we stay in touch. Instagram is my playground, but there are so many creeps on there lately that I’ve considered changing how I use it, or leaving entirely.

We’ll see what happens. If it becomes only a work-related set of interactions, then so be it.

As corporate greed destroys what is good about social media platforms, new ones will spring up.

Covered two scripts in the afternoon. Read for pleasure. Wrote a few pages on the comic horror play and tossed them, because they don’t work. No, it’s not a case of temporary insecurity. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something like that doesn’t work. It took a turn that’s not appropriate for the genre or the other parameters needed in the script to fit the target market. Therefore, it has to go.

Got another idea for another radio script, more psychological ghost story. I might alternate between the two pieces and see which one flies.

We’re still eating the fresh spinach from the market, because it was a lot of damn spinach. But it’s good.

Charlotte woke me out of nightmares around 1:30. Around 3, as I was finally getting back to sleep, Tessa started in. I moved to the bed in the sewing room so that she would quiet down, and then had a series of dreams set backstage, in a hair salon, and in a pet salon. Go figure. But at least they were positive.

Hitting the page first thing, then a big grocery run, then back to the page, and more script coverage and contest entries in the afternoon. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun is peeking out, so maybe I’ll put the plants out on the porch. I need to oil the teak furniture soon, and keep going with the spring cleaning, which moves forward erratically. I have to spend some quality time with the inbox, too. It’s well over 600 emails again that didn’t have to be answered quickly, and I have to get it down.

My experience moving the newsletter to MailerLite has been positive so far. They sent me a report on the mailing – good open rate, good click rate, and they’re not micromanaging contacts. So that’s all good. I’ve started the document for June, so I can add information as it comes up, and then rewrite it so it’s pretty when it’s time to send it out.

That’s what’s going on in this neck of the woods. We’re in that between-times of seasonal change, where it’s too warm for the heat to kick on regularly, but too chilly to be really comfortable without layers. I’m excited for my first Berkshires spring.

I hope there are lilacs.

Wed. March 30, 2022: This & That

image courtesy of Bongkarn Thankyakij via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Partly cloudy and milder

I spend a good portion of each day fussing over the seedlings. It’s a little much, but I enjoy it. It was too cold to put them out on the porch yesterday, even with the sun. Hopefully, it will be warm enough today.

Once I got the laundry back and settled yesterday, I did another section of The Big Project, about 1400 words, which was good. I did a bunch of admin. Now that the 4th vaccination shots have been approved, I have to get that sorted out, and hope our insurance covers them.

I covered a script in the afternoon, which took longer than I expected. Some people are already submitting their Monthology stories (the deadline isn’t until the end of June), which means they probably started writing them during the brainstorming. Good for them, and I can’t let what works for them put me under more pressure.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. They’re already looking forward to Easter break. They’re working hard, and deserve to play.

I have no idea what I’ll write about for the play I’m signed up to write in April. I have a character and an idea tickling at me, but I have no idea if they will work. Well, I can always start and then switch course. Or, I could do another Kate Warne play. I have at least two more one-acts planned (that will then be adapted with some of the other one acts to make a full-length) and one more full-length, although I have to do more research for that one. Frankly, I don’t think I have the time for the research.

Didn’t manage to get in any work on the CAST IRON MURDER revisions, but I hope to do so today.

I need to buy a sketchbook so that I can draw maps of various areas in The Big Project, and keep things consistent.

I fell down a retro research rabbit hole trying to find the banking information I need. I finally contacted a local bank and the MA Bankers’ Association, so see if they know of any banking historians who could answer the specific questions. Everything I’m finding online is too vague. There’s a law library in Pittsfield. Once the car is fixed, I can set up a day and time to go and research in there, if needed.

I was worried about not having enough scripts, but I have two in today’s queue and two for tomorrow. I’m still under what I’d hoped to earn this pay period, but I’m climbing toward where I need to be again.

I’ve been invited to two local art happenings over the next couple of weeks. On the one hand, I want to go, because I’m interested in the work, and I want to get more involved in the local arts community. On the other hand, the very thought of being around other people, especially if they are unmasked indoors, is overwhelming and exhausting. I don’t know if I’m ever going to feel like I can safely socialize again. When I think of how often I was out and about in the NYC years, even working full-time in theatre, taking advantage of everything on offer, it’s quite the contrast. I wonder if we, as introverts, only have a certain amount of energy available for social situations, and when it’s used up, that’s it? There isn’t any more social energy left? Would I have rationed it out, had I known? I doubt it. And I’ve never been that social anyway. Part of it, I think, is because so often I felt forced into social situations on Cape that I didn’t want and that made me miserable, and part of my current exhaustion is backlash from that.

Or maybe it’s because the social contract of trust and community care has been so broken during the pandemic.

Anyway, I haven’t committed to any of the invitations. I will make the decision closer to the events themselves. If I decide to go, yes, I will mask.

I caught up on this week’s issue of THE NEW YORKER (I started up my subscription again). There was an interesting article by Nick Paumgarten about the Margaritaville retirement communities in Florida that serves as additional color to my research on things up here for the retro mystery. The sheer sociability of these communities is exhausting. But it does give me ideas on how to structure social activities in the fictional community. He admitted to running around down there without a mask and then caught COVID. Um, what did he think would happen? I also didn’t find mention of diversity in the communities, which makes me figure there isn’t much. I could be wrong about that, and I’ll go through the article again with a research eye instead of a reading-for-pleasure eye to make sure. But if the claim is they don’t “pay attention” to politics, it indicates they lean right and uphold the white supremacy status quo, so I doubt there’d be much diversity within the community. Again, this echoes the research for the retro mystery; it is highly unlikely that the fictional community would have been diverse. I came across a report on diversity in the area earlier in the research process; I have to look at it again. It was part of a bigger study. I might get in touch with those who created the study to see if there was any way I could have some sort of diversity in my fictional community, or if that just wouldn’t happen in the area in 1957.

The Big Project, revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, a final polish on the newsletter to send it out the door, and a final polish on the grant proposal to send it out the door. Then, it’ll be time to cover two scripts. That’s today’s agenda.

I also have to update my website, and work on new business cards. And do the quarterly postcard, although I might put that off until next week.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. March 25, 2022: It’s All About the Writing

image courtesy of Ciker Free Vector Images via pixabay.com

Friday, March 25, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Another solid, creative morning, which was very welcome.

I wrote two sections on The Big Project (a little over 2K). Once I updated my tracking sheets, I put that aside and switched back over to the edits for CAST IRON MURDER. I edited three chapters, around 9K worth. This was a section where I had to rip out the subplot that wasn’t working and replace it with new material from the fresh subplot which will result in another body drop. So that took some time. As in, the rest of the morning.

After I revised, proofed, and printed those sheets, I had to update the tracking sheets for that project, too. Being conscientious about keeping up with tracking sheets now saves a lot of time and pain later on. An accurate series bible is a necessity, especially when juggling projects.

In the afternoon, I wrote and submitted a book review, and turned around a script coverage. In the evening, I read most of another book for review, which I will finish and write up today.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We discussed, in detail, the travesty by the Republicans in the SCOTUS hearings this week, the overt racism and misogyny shown to one of the most qualified judges we’ve ever seen. And how Justice Clarence Thomas needs to be removed from power because his wife is an insurrectionist, and should be in prison. When the heck is Merrick Garland going to step up and do his job?

I received an internal promotion from one of my big freelance clients, along with a pay bump, which is welcome. I should be delighted, and yet, I’m not, and not sure why. I have to figure it out.

Today, I need to do a grocery run, probably in the late morning. First, though, I want to do more on The Big Project, and then the next three chapters of edits for CAST IRON MURDER. I need to finish the book for review and submit it, and turn around two script coverages.

This weekend, it’s supposed to go back down into the 20s. I’ll hunker down and work on the grant application, taxes, and some information I promised for Monthology. I have admin work and cleaning to do, and I might have to run out and buy a couple of tomato cages, since the cucumbers are growing so quickly. I hope to maintain my momentum on The Big Project, but I’m not sure if I’ll take a break on the CAST IRON MURDER edits, or keep going, since I’m in the flow.

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

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Wed. March 23, 2022: Edits and A$$hats

image courtesy of Memed Nurrohmad via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Waning Moon

Partly sunny and cold

Yesterday was a mixed day. I did a bunch of admin work once I got back from the laundromat. Then, I headed out to the library. I got the file again on The Spruces and photocopied a bunch of information out of their original brochure that I will use as research/background information for the retro mystery. They also had six books waiting for me.

Planted the tansy seeds into two pots, so I can have one pot in front and one in back. Planted some saved seeds, and did some repotting. All will be discussed in detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

In the afternoon, I covered a script. There wasn’t anything in the queue when I was finished, so I switched to working on contest entries (but later, got two more scripts in the queue, that I will start today). I worked on the porch, because it was so beautiful. I’m having weird pains in my left ear. I hope I don’t get another ear infection.

Got an email from my Monthology editor. It’s time to start writing, and we have a deadline of June 24 for the first round. People with multiple monsters can either write 1 story of up to 5K with one monster and save the other for the future, integrate the monsters into a single story that fits the wordcount, or write two shorter stories. At this point, I’m going to integrate the monsters into one story, with the Gorgon being the primary protagonist and the Valkyrie being the secondary protagonist, and then, if there are future anthologies, I can shift them. The Gorgon story is almost fully formed in my head, and the Valkyrie was going to be a secondary character in it anyway, so this choice supports what I’ve been spinning, and also sets the foundation for future stories, should I have that opportunity. I think it’s a stronger choice than to have them crossing back and forth between two shorter pieces. It will also support what I hope will be a moving subplot.

If you want to learn more about this shared world anthology, you can explore it here.

Started reading Ngaio Marsh’s ARTISTS IN CRIME. I haven’t read her books for years, and I forgot how good they are.

The bank has marked the check they accused me of scamming by depositing it as “doubt collectability.” Mofos. They were dumb enough to send me a “customer experience survey” and I did not hold back. I tried to enter the virtual annual meeting – but they didn’t send a link for it, one had to access it via typing in my social security number. No. Just no. Yet more proof that NONE of this is about security and everything is about misogyny and economic discrimination.

The Republicans aren’t even pretending they’re not all paid up members of the KKK anymore. Their behavior at the SCOTUS confirmation hearings is disgusting. Of course they fear an intelligent, ethical Black woman after ramming through a Handmaiden and a sexual predator beer bro.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are so smart and engaged and compassionate. Amazing how not going to a place where they have to worry about being shot or getting COVID enchances the ability to learn.

Tessa woke me up at 4:10 AM this morning. I will be wrecked by noon. Since I had to be out the door early to go to the laundromat again, I didn’t dare go back to sleep.

Took another trip to the laundromat on foot this morning. Moon up when I left, and it was only 26F. Brrr. But I had sheets and comforters to wash, since the linens are moving toward spring, and I wanted to get caught up.

I’m starting to really enjoy my sessions at the laundromat. I get a lot done. I finished the first editing pass on the draft of CAST IRON MURDER. I went back and made notes where I want to layer in other information. Since I cut out one subplot, that would not work unless it was a central plot, I dropped another body, and I have to set up the conflict and layer it in. There were also some references that needed to start earlier.

So this means I’m ready to start the second draft of the book! I hope to work in sections of 3-5 chapters at a time. I want to say “a day” but I’m not sure I can commit to that. I hope that will also give me the momentum to get back to the first draft of THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, which has to get back on track.

After breakfast this morning, I will work on the first three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER, then take a quick break and switch to The Big Project. The afternoon is about script coverage and, if there’s still time in the workday, contest entries.

It’s supposed to rain the rest of the week, and then plunge back into the twenties over the weekend. At some point in the next few days, I’ll do a grocery run, but, for the most part, I’m going to stay home and work, with breaks to spring clean. And try to get an appointment with the mechanic. The internet was down for a little while this morning, but it seems to be sort of working again.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. March 18, 2022: A Foggy Start

image courtesy of LUM3N

Friday, March 18, 2022

Full Moon

Foggy and mild

It’s supposed to get up to 69 degrees F today, which is just silly, at this point. But this morning, it’s foggy. Hope it clears up before I have to go to the mechanic, since I can’t use my windshield wipers with the broken blade.

Yes, I got an appointment at the mechanic’s. Let’s hope this repair doesn’t wipe me out.

After meditation yesterday morning (and breakfast), I took my notification and headed down to the post office to pick up the package. Which, of course, wasn’t there, because they’d put it back on the truck.

Did some banking business. The credit union now has a lending library in the front lobby, kind of like a little free library, which is fun.

Picked up a few things at Cumberland Farms.

Got lost in the rabbit hole of research about The Spruces, which was a lot of fun. It also solidified that I want to create a fictional community, whose owner/visionary feels in competition with The Spruces, because there are things I want to change to fit what I need to happen in the series.

I also have to decide the year in which I want to start it (probably 1957), and a lot of period details, including things like a widow’s finances, etc. Because women weren’t allowed to have credit cards in their name until 1974. And yes, I’m old enough to remember when that happened. They didn’t have the right to open their own banking account until the 1960’s, so I’m thinking my character’s adult son would be a co-signer on the account in the 1950’s. But I will have to check that detail.

Sent out some LOIs, did some client work, turned around a script coverage. Did some work on The Big Project.

I have to draft the next newsletter, because it needs to go out next week.

Worked on contest entries in the evening.

Charlotte woke me up a few times in the night, wanting attention, and now has decided she likes to sleep against my back, instead of down at the bottom of the bed. Tessa woke me a little after 5, which was fine, because it gave me the chance for a longer yoga/meditation session.

I wrote up a bunch of background on my protagonist for the series inspired by The Spruces. The first book starts after a lot of this happened in her life, and bits and pieces of the back story can be woven in. But it’s revealing itself now, so I want to write up the notes, and then I have it.

St. Patrick’s Day was not a big deal here yesterday, which is a nice change after decades of dealing with drunks by 10 AM in both New York and on Cape Cod. I’m sure the fact that the college is on spring break helped.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We have a good rhythm going with the work, and the flexibility to explore all kinds of interests, and see how things relate to each other in a way traditional school environments don’t allow.

If I don’t have to leave the car to be repaired, I will stop at the grocery store on the way back and restock. So much of the rest of the day’s schedule hinges on what happens at the mechanic. I will, of course, bring CAST IRON MURDER with me to work on more revisions as I wait.

Since I’m behind on spring cleaning, the bulk of the weekend will center around that. If the car is fixed, I’ll also do a run to get more pots and potting soil. I want to finish up the planting.

Speaking of which, the tansy seeds, which have been sitting in Springfield, an hour away from me, since last Saturday, somehow are now in Chicago. Not a happy camper.

I had the hiccups last night for over an hour. While it wasn’t the worst bout I ever had, it was still exhausting.

Fingers crossed for the car repair being simple and in my budget.

Have a good weekend, and catch you on the other side.

Wed. March 16, 2022: Research Day

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Waxing Moon

Mild and cloudy, supposed to turn sunny and gorgeous

In spite of a rocky start to the day, yesterday morning went well. I dealt with some email. I worked on the next section of The Big Project.

I headed up to the library to do some research in the local archives on The Spruces, a self-governed community in Williamstown begun in the 1950’s that has fascinated me since we moved here. It took a bit to track down the material, but once I had it, I sat and took plenty of notes. I have some names to research further. I have physical details of the layout, looked at photos.

I think I will use it as the inspiration for what I want to write based on a place very much like it, set in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. I need to do more research, but as I walked back from the library, the core ensemble of characters, and the two protagonists who will drive the piece and/or series became clear.

Some of the names, and that people in positions of authority were married couples holding multiple positions in the community cause questions. And also open opportunities for the kind of conflict I want to create here.

I also want plenty of cocktails, chain smoking, and cool clothes.

I’ve set up the physical file folder to keep the notes as they evolve, and any additional research I come up with.

The sweet pea and mallow seeds arrived. I need more pots and soil in order to plant them. I need at least a half a dozen more pots, and probably three more bags of soil. Hopefully, the tansy seeds will show up today.

Ordered more ink for the printer. Then I’ll have a full complement of color tanks. I think I can wait to order more black ink for about another month or so. The tanks are good for about 1300 pages; while I go through a lot with the black tanks (and tend to order the ones that can run more pages, when I can afford to), the color tanks last me nearly a year.

In the afternoon, I went down another rabbit hole of research on The Spruces, thanks to the Williamstown Historical Society’s online archives. I found some wonderful photographs and got some more names to research. The Society has a DVD about the place, which, once the car is fixed (again), I will make arrangements to go over and view.

The characters are telling me their stories, and I am taking notes. Out of this will come the conflicts that I need to create the mystery, and then I can outline. I need to do some more research, especially in newspaper archives. I have to find out if The Berkshire Eagle’s morgue is online, or if I have to go and visit them in person.

Reading newspaper files will also help me decide in what year I want to start the series. It will be sometime between 1957-1960.

I also found out (again, thanks to the Berkshire Eagle, who will be thanked in the acknowledgements, no doubt), that there used to be a horserace track over in Hancock, Berkshire Downs, in the 1960’s. I will have to find a way to incorporate that, if I can.

I got my script coverage done, and I worked on a grant proposal. I also worked on contest entries.

It was a pretty good day, all around.

Charlotte woke me up at 4 this morning. I refused to get up, but then I overslept until 5:30, which meant I had to scramble to get out the door to the laundromat. I went on foot, with the rolly cart. It was open on time, and the machines worked, but they didn’t have the lights over the washing machines calibrated to the time change, so I had to use the flashlight on my phone. Why yes, I will be getting in touch. It was a little creepy.

But I got 60 pages of CAST IRON MURDER revised.

If it’s as mild as they predict, I’ll put the seedlings out on the porch for the day. I need to go over to the college library to get some art books out I need for the series of short projects. I plan to work on The Big Project, maybe put in some of the fixes I caught on CAST IRON MURDER, and do more research, in and around script reading and going to the library.

I’m watching the news on Ukraine, and donating what I can to World Central Kitchen, which, for me, is the best place to put my funds right now. One of the most important things we have to do NOW, not months down the line, is to remove the Russian assets in Congress and prosecute them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The seniors are already talking about how this would be spring break for them next year. I wonder how fast the new cases will rise in the next two weeks? Since we’re not getting real numbers. Supposedly, the transmission rate in the Berkshires is down to 1-1/2%, and new cases have gone down by 34% in the past two weeks, but with free testing stopped, who knows how accurate that is? I am still masking indoors in public spaces (like the library, the grocery store, etc.).

The Ipsy bag arrived, full of great stuff for a fun spring look, including lipstick from one of my favorite brands. I started cleaning, by giving the copper molds a good scrub in the kitchen, because I’ve decided I want to hang them up around the stove. If you’ve ever been to the Cape house, they were on the wall by the door to the garage, next to one of the cookbook bookcases (yes, I have two tall bookcases full of cookbooks in my kitchen, and two shelves of a bookcase in my office are also full of cookbooks. And there are more in storage). Hanging up the molds and tidying up the now three bookcases in the kitchen (two with cookbooks, one with bins of different flours, etc.) is on today’s list. I have to figure out how to get the red wax off the window (long story). Looks like someone met with a fatal accident in the kitchen.

If you’re curious about the shared world anthology I keep mentioning, the Monthology website is now live here. You’ll find my Valkyries in the District of the Dearly Departed, and my Gorgons running a theatre in The Amalgamate. There will be lots of fun blurbs and ads and all kinds of information coming out about it in the coming months.

Have a good day, my friends.