The fabric stash from the final trip to JoAnn Fabrics.

Published in: on February 15, 2007 at 1:46 pm  Comments (1)  

January 20, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Adventures in Shopping. That was yesterday for me.

Went to the post office; got the package off to Pickles, some bills mailed, and got the stamps for the newsletter.

Walked over to the train station to buy my ticket for the next ten trips to the Big Broad Way.

Brushed off the car (light snow, wrong shoes for ice, had to move carefully) and drove upstate, into the flurries to bid farewell to Jo-Ann’s. Most of the store was already stripped bare, but I found some very nice material. None of it was on my list . . . .but it will all be used someday. Let’s just say I’ll be wearing many variations on blue this spring and summer.

Over 20 yards of fabric for $33. Not too shabby. Especially for a last hurrah at Jo-Ann’s.

Corporate Chickie was walking around, talking in a loud voice to no one in particular about how they’d lost the lease on this store without advance warning; it was given to Michael’s, who offered more money; there was nothing Corporate could do; it takes at least six months to plan a store move . . .

“Not if you’re running an efficient company,” I called back.

She began to huff and puff with more excuses, and then I said, “Oh, just stop LYING to us already. Do you think we’re stupid?”

And the other patrons in the store began to applaud and call out comments of their own.

So she stormed into the office and slammed the door. And the people who worked there started coming up to me and telling me what really happened.

And everyone is really upset that Jo-Ann’s corporate assholes won’t stand up and take the flack. They’re hiding. They turned off the phone, refuse emails, won’t talk to anyone (especially reporters), won’t explain except to send Chickie out for her lie-fest. I mean, come on! If that cock-and-bull lost lease story was real, stand up and say, look, we got screwed, we need time to figure this out, you’ll get another store in the area as soon as we can find space. And, hello, there is a TON of space for rent in the vicinity, and I’m sure it’s a damned sight cheaper than where they are now. But to hide behind closed doors and refuse to acknowledge or deal with people who’ve paid their salaries and made their business a success for decades . . .is revolting.

It was so poorly handled, and Jo-Ann’s shows so much disrespect for both its customers and its workers that I don’t want to give them my money in the future. I’ll hunt down places that treat their people decently.

Why so much attachment to a fabric store? Quilting and sewing and all fiber work are art forms that allow something beautiful, creative, and useful. Fiber arts reach deep into our souls, touch a place that’s often left unnourished. When a gathering space for such work is torn away with such utter disregard of what it supposedly stands for, it leaves deep and bleeding wounds in the community.

Tossed the fabric in the trunk of the car and meandered over to Office Max or Office Depot or whatever it is, in the same complex. I need to design stationery and business cards for Fearless Ink and for the pitches I want to send out this week. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I had such a bad feeling in that store, I had to walk out and leave. No one was being rude or anything; they just went about their business. The store was a mess – stuff tossed every which way off the shelves, in the aisles, in a jumble and no one seemed to think it was his or her job to do anything – but it was more than that. I had a strong feeling to get out. So I did.

Went over to the B&N and found some journal books I needed for 50% off, so grabbed those. Stopped at a Staples down the street and found the letter paper, but not the envelopes or business card stock.

By this time, it was nearly 2 PM. I forgot to eat breakfast and hadn’t eaten lunch (don’t try this at home, people, it is NOT healthy). I knew I was in bad shape when I wondered how the steering wheel would taste with a little seasoning.

I got back on the Taconic and then 287, got off the next town over from me, grabbed a bottle of Medoc and some Chinese food and finally ate my meal a little after three.

The cats unpacked all the fabric and dragged it around, and I had to tell them that the cow-jumps-over-the-moon fabric is NOT for them, but for yoga clothes. (It’s cute and silly and perfect to stay home in and write).

Plenty of whacky people driving on the roads who don’t seem to understand that fishtailing down the highway because you’re driving 90+ mph on a road meant for 45 mph that’s now covered in ice won’t get you there faster, just dead faster.

I printed off the newsletter in the afternoon, and will get the envelopes done today and throw it into the mail tomorrow. I prefer to have it out by the 10th, but I had to wait for some additional information before it could go out, so, oh, well. It’s a January newsletter and still going out in January.

I have to finish typing my notes on Chaz’s play and get it out to him, then go to Trader Joe’s before the winds kick in (gale force winds predicted today). There’s only one can of cat food left in the cupboard, and the felines are distressed!

Hung out with a friend last night (told you I had to stop the hermitage lifestyle), and had a good time.

Lots of admin work to do today, but got a few solid pages done on Changeling this morning.

Was tempted to skip the yoga because I overslept, but that would mean disrespecting the commitment I made to myself on Yule, and I’m not willing to do so. Once I got into it, I was glad I had.


Chasing the Changeling – 12,467 words out of est. 45,000

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12 / 45

January 19, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

New poem over on Circadian: “Water Diamonds of Joy” by Danielle Frézier.

I’m researching markets, trying to find the most likely fit for some pieces of which I’m extremely fond, but which aren’t easily categorized. I often feel like I’m banging my head against a wall – especially if a publication pays well, and then I read it and can’t stand any of the writing in it.

And then I realized: genre boxes. At this point, it’s almost genre-within-genre boxes.

For instance: female-centric fiction is now shelved in romance if it has so much as a kiss in it. It can be urban fantasy (Hell’s Belles) or action adventure or paranormal or whatever cross-genre imaginative, wonderful creation it is – but it’s “romance”.

While, if it’s male-centric, it’s fantasy or sci/fi.

It’s as though if the sex has any sort of positive emotion behind it, it’s shoved into the romance category, even if that isn’t the main focus of the story. If the sex is clinical, unemotional, or used simply for power, then it’s sci/fi or fantasy or magical realism shelved with fantasy.

There are exceptions, of course: Mercedes Lackey, CJ Cherryh, Diana Paxson, et al. But they broke away from the pack, no matter where the book was shelved (as Jackie Kessler will do with Hell’s Belles, and, before people start having hissies at me, I do NOT think romance is a ghetto genre; I just think HB is more urban fantasy/magical realism that straight-up romance novel).

Side note on Hells’ Belles – I went to a chain for it because I could not wait ONE MORE MINUTE – but I couldn’t find it. So I asked at the desk, and the clerk searched for it and walked me to the romance section, yanked it out and said, “Who was the dumbass who decided it should go here? I HATE working for a chain!” – and yes, she’d read the book! And loved it! (The woman obviously has taste).

What we need are more fantasy/magical realism publishing houses run by women, who won’t stringently categorize their submissions. I think both Samhain Publishing and Freya’s Bower/Wild Child Publishing are working to fill that niche nicely, but we need more.

So, who’s going to step up to the plate?

Speaking of genres, I realized, sadly, yesterday, that there isn’t any one magazine that is fully relevant to my life. I cancelled a bunch of subscriptions recently, and the subscriptions I have only address pieces of the life: Yoga Journal, Health, Writer’s Digest (which will not be renewed – it’s the same material recycled every few months for newbies – I need information for mid-career working writer), Elle, Vogue (I’m in wardrobe, remember? Clothes are part of my job), Organic Gardening (yes, I’m dreaming), National Wildlife (I’m an NWF member) PEN Journal (I’m a PEN member), most issues of Vogue Patterns (I sew), and, well, New Jersey’s stud handbook (horses, not men, and I have no idea why they send it to me).

There are tons of magazines aimed at married women or women whose sole purpose in life is to marry. But there’s nothing for an intelligent, single, in-her-prime working artist.

Step up, people! Go create the magazine of my dreams. I’m not the only one of my kind out there!!!

It was brought home even more clearly when I read the draft of my friend’s new play. It’s wonderful and touching and disturbing and heart-rending all at once. I knew he’d draw me in – he always does. He’s one of those writers who defies genre – call him “boxless” or “unboxed” or, what he truly is, brilliant.

I’m talking, of course, of Chaz Brenchley, who understands what makes humans (and other beings) tick better than we do ourselves, and is brave enough to expose it. If you’ve never read a Chaz Brenchley book, go order one right this minute – and if you’re in the U.S., Bridge of Dreams is a good place to start. He’s lyrical; compelling; a stunning linguist; understands the heights and depths of love, passion, turmoil, manipulation, loyalty, and pain; and helps the reader see the world (any world about which he writes) in a new way. Sometimes the beauty of his prose literally takes my breath away.

His work is beyond genre. It’s too expansive and too honest to fit in a box. Plus, he can write in any genre – mystery, fantasy, or, as in this play, naturalism/realism.

And he certainly does not get the acclaim he deserves. There’s another writer out there selling millions of books out there, who’s at a point of hiring people to co-write/ghostwrite because “he has too many ideas” – yeah, make me gag – whose, writing makes me want to go beyond gag and downright throw up, it’s so damn sloppy and formulaic. That’s one of the writers I sometimes joke about, who I think uses “global replace” for the character name and the location.

There’s nothing wrong with selling well. More power to anyone who earns the right to do so (Janet Evanovich and Tess Gerritsen immediately come to mind in that category).

And Chaz should be right up there with them.

(stepping down off soapbox, polishing it, putting it away).

I also realized (hey, it was snowing, I had lots of “realizing” time) how many married women with whom I’m acquainted, or meet in my travels, who live away from major cities – don’t have friends. It’s like when they signed the marriage certificate, they signed away their right to have people around them not related to them whose company they enjoy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, kids. You know what? The damn husband can take the kids one night a week or whatever so you can do something fun. You work just as hard. Because any time you wrap up your entire life in another individual, you are asking the Fates to kick your ass.

And it’s not the guys who EVER give up their friends.

Nor should they. But neither should the wives. Everyone needs a group of people around them whose company they enjoy on a regular basis. People who don’t have ego-centric agendas, but are just trying to struggle along on the journey, and are companions, not competitors.

It doesn’t seem to be so bad in cities – I guess there are so many people in such a small space, you have enough regular contact with some of the same people that you become friends in spite of yourself.

Speaking of friends, if I don’t get out of “hermit mode”, I’m going to be in big trouble. My friends are getting cranky. “We know you’re writing, but we need to see you ONCE in awhile –and the blue moon’s in May! We don’t want to wait that long!”

So I better book some social engagements! 😉

Did some good work on Changeling this morning. Pieces are fitting into place nicely. They surprise me, but it’s working.

Gave myself the night off last night to read Janet Evanovich’s Plum Love, the between-the-numbers Valentine book. It’s fun and cute and sweet in a good way. And very short – I read it cover to cover in an hour and a half.

I’m on my way to the post office to mail Pickles’s toy and get stamps and mail some bills. Then, if the roads clear up enough, I want to drive up to Mohegan Lake. The Jo-Ann’s is about to close. People are furious – the next closest one is over the Tappan Zee Bridge in a hateful mega-mall – the money you save on the fabric is spent on gas and tolls, and the frustration factor is so high, why bother? What really makes me angry is that the company refuses to acknowledge or respond to the community’s upset. They won’t respond to calls, emails, or reporters. They have so little respect for the people who shop at their store and are such COWARDS, they won’t step up and deal.

So I’m going to Mohegan Lake to say good-bye to the workers who’ve been so good to me over the last few years (who are NOT being shifted to other stores, but simply fired), and then. . .no more Jo-Ann’s for me. Why should my money go to a company that disregards the needs of its customers? I’ve gotten too sensitive of voting with my wallet when it comes to things like that. I don’t know where I’m going to get reasonably priced quilting fabric around here – to me, $11/yard, as one of the other county stores sells is not reasonable for calico. So I’ll have to figure something out. Ordering online is not an option. Fabric is tangible and textural. I need to see it and feel it before I buy it.

If the roads remain icky, I’ll go tomorrow. But we’re supposed to have gale force winds, and I don’t want to be hit by a tree.

Pulled a stack of job leads off the internet yesterday, and will send out the pitches this weekend.

And I have to print off the quarterly newsletter and get it in the mail. No point in writing the damned thing if I don’t mail it.

And then . . .back to the page.


Chasing the Changeling – 11,467 words out of est. 45,000

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11 / 45