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!

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.

Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

Wed. Feb. 23, 2022: Mix and Match Creativity

image courtesy of Leolo212 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Waning Moon

Rainy and mild

I forgot to mention the post over on the GDR site about one’s practice; and later today, there will be a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about being “Invited to apply.” The latter was supposed to post last week and didn’t. There’s a glitch with the scheduling tool, but I think it’s fixed.

I haven’t talked about the Ukraine situation because there’s nothing of value I can add to the conversation. Of course I’m upset at another war, especially one started by Russia. And I think the Congresspeople who pander to Putin (especially those who visited him on July 4th a few years ago) should be prosecuted for treason and face the ultimate penalty for it. Nothing short of that will stop them. That’s all they understand.

The entrepreneur meetup was interesting. Cool project, I’m looking forward to trying it. I didn’t say much, because there wasn’t anything to say; the presentation was clear, it’s an interesting piece, and now I need to interact directly with it. Any speaking I did would have been for the sound of my own voice, and that’s not necessary.

Part of the difficulty with networking (apart from the whole pandemic/isolation bit) is that I have to balance the need/ability to network with protecting the work. The work has to always come first, the writing. Things like The Big Project and the plays and writing/editing the books. Everything else has to build around it and feed into it, being “in addition to” not “instead of.” Sometimes that’s a difficult balance to strike. At other times, it’s impossible.

Headed to the library to drop off/pick up books. By the time I got home, it was raining, and kept raining, harder and harder, all day and into the night.

I renewed my Boston Public Library eCard, so that I have access to all their digital resources, which includes access to work via the British Public Library. That will help in my research.

Spun out some ideas for two grant proposals (one for one of my projects, one for a friend who’s got a big project). Did some brainstorming on the anthology. Covered a script for which I was requested (although I have to finish writing it up this morning).

In the evening, I attended a virtual author talk between Nina de Gramont and Wiley Cash about THE CHRISTIE AFFAIR. It was sponsored by Titcomb’s Bookshop. It was a lovely event. She’s a gracious and interesting speaker. Wiley Cash was lively and asked great questions, and I want to read his new book, too (I haven’t read any of his work before). There was a discussion about themes built around the different marriages in the book, and how unwed mothers were treated in Ireland at the time, which was very interesting, since so much of the press around the book focuses on Christie’s disappearance, and on the mystery side of it (and there are mysteries within mysteries in the book, too).

I started reading THE DECAGON HOUSE MURDERS by Japanese author Yukito Ayatsuji, translated by Ho-Ling Wong. It’s inspired by Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. It’s very clever and well done.

Although not a lot of words got onto paper, it was still a creative and interesting day, which is always a good thing.

Charlotte woke me up at 2, wanting attention. By 2:30, Tessa was howling, because Charlotte was getting attention and Tessa wasn’t. I moved to the couch, but couldn’t get comfortable. I finally dozed off and woke up around 6:30, completely disoriented.

But I have to “pull up my socks” as they say, and get moving. Lots to do today. Too messy out to hump the laundry to the laundromat, but I may go over to the college library and hunt down some research materials for various projects. And then, of course, more script coverage.

Have a good one!

Wed. Jan. 12, 2022: Writing In My Head

image courtesy of Chriszwettler via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Yesterday was another day that was kind of all over the place. But I got some good stuff done.

Plowed through a bunch of emails, got out an LOI. There were some interesting submission calls in my inbox. One, I really wanted to do, but I don’t have anything suitable. It’s for a one-act play, 30-40 minutes, 4 characters. All my plays of the correct length have more characters; the ones with four or fewer are too short. I started to adapt a short story into a stage play, but that’s going to be too short, too. I don’t have time to write a new play from scratch, and have it in anywhere near decent shape by deadline.

There’s another call for a short story that got my wheels turning. It only needs to be about 1500 words, so if I can actually sit down and do a rough draft today, and it’s strong enough, I could revise it and have it in by deadline. I started writing it in my head. If it goes on the page as well as it’s unfolding in my brain, I’ve got a shot.

We’ll see.

Wrote a little bit on The Big Project. Not as much as I wanted to, but it was a comic scene that had to be properly structured. The joke lands, so I think it will be okay.

Worked on script coverage and on contest entries.

Charlotte sat down on my keyboard, causing all kinds of chaos, but now the “Editor” function is back in Word. Go figure.

Thank goodness there are plenty of leftovers.

Put in the Chewy order for cat litter. Packed away the boxes of holiday decorations. One box was dripping. I opened it—it contained large, outdoor balls I hadn’t used this year. They were full of water. A small hole in the top, where the hanging loop was put in, meant that, being outside, they could accumulate water inside.

I drained them and have left them on the counter to thoroughly dry. Don’t want them getting moldy inside.

That was weird. Just weird.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. Because everyone’s still remote, the kids don’t have to spend most of their day worrying about active shooters and whether the person next to them will expose them to a deadly virus, they can actually learn. Let’s face it, none of this insistence about forcing in-person learning is actually for the well-being of the kids. It’s all about making sure their parents go back out to Die for Their Employers. It’s disgusting.

I woke up on my own around 5:30 this morning, no feline choir. I’m writing this morning. Then, late morning, I will bundle up, load up as many library books as I can carry, and do a drop off/pick up.

Script coverage, book reviews, and contest entries this afternoon.

Onward.

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

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Jupiter and Mercury went direct yesterday

Cloudy and cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte stays under the covers and panics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Big Project for the winter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read two scripts last night.

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

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

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

Have a good one, friends.

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

image courtesy of Tatiana via pexels.com

Friday, October 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurs. Oct. 7, 2021: Cat-aversaries

Willa, photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Foggy and mild

I talk more about foliage and farmer’s markets over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was a quiet day. I worked through some emails, wrote up four coverages, participated in Remote Chat, sent out some LOIs. Read three more scripts. Steady workday, although not as varied as some.

The longer morning yoga session helped counteract all the sitting, and I did another yoga session before bedtime. I want to get back into doing that. I sleep better when I have that transition time of yoga and the night meditation, especially if I’ve been reading scripts all the way up until bedtime.

I’d bundled the chicken carcass into the fridge because I was tired the previouos night, but made the stock yesterday. That will be good for the rest of the week’s cooking.

Yesterday was Willa’s 3rd anniversary with us, and tomorrow is Charlotte’s 3rd anniversary. Although they are litter mates, and were raised by the same guy, they’d been separated by the time we adopted them. Their original owner got the pair of them as kittens. He had a lot of health problems, and needed a service dog. The cats and the dog didn’t get along, so he had to give up the cats. For eighteen months, they were moved around to different relatives about every two weeks, sometimes together, sometimes separated because they fought (of course they did, they were stressed). By the time we adopted them, they were both very traumatized. It’s been a lot of daily work, but they’ve both shown a lot of improvement. They are healthy, curious, funny, and loving. Willa is the goofier one; Charlotte is more of a princess. Charlotte still has some behavioral issues, especially when it comes to sharing space and humans; she and Tessa have attained peaceful co-existence most of the time, but usually fuss at each other once or twice a day. Willa and Tessa are sort of friends, although they don’t really understand each other. But they hang out together and sort of play in the same space, but at a safe distance from each other. They were six when we got them, so they are about nine now, and Tessa’s going on eleven.

Charlotte, photo by Devon Ellington

We love all three of our furry critters, and are glad they are part of the family.

Tessa let me sleep until 4:46 this morning, which is just perfect. Got up, and had a good morning routine, finally. Coffee, first writing session (which went well), the extended yoga session, a good meditation session. I have meditation with the online group in a little bit.

I have four script coverages to write up today, and two more scripts to read (which I will write up tomorrow), and then I’m done for the week. I have to write up the book review today and send that off, so I can get my next assignment. Errands today: both libraries and the bank.

I hope to catch up on some more email, and get out some more LOIs.

I’m hoping for a few quiet weeks to get settled into a solid remote work routine, and also finish unpacking!

I managed to book my mom’s Covid booster shot for next Thursday, just down the road at the local CVS. They’re so much nicer and, you know, actually work with their customers instead of against them here.

Have a great day, friends!

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

image courtesy of MrGajowy3 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy and cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooked a salmon Eggs Benedict for breakfast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good one!

Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors

image courtesy of Yerson Retamal via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, rainy, humid

I have a new post up over on Gratitude and Growth about differences in air and earth between the Berkshires and the Cape.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that the Knowledge Unicorns are back up and running. Since none of us believe any in-person learning in this country is safe at this point, and all the kids are being taught at home (be it online learning through their school or home schooling), the homework group is back. Most of the kids stayed in touch with each other over our summer break. Two of the families went camping together, and strengthened those bonds. So that is all good. Some of the kids are sad; friends of theirs have died, thanks to the anti-vaxxers. All of the kids are angry, and rightly so, that the systems and people who are supposed to have their best interests at heart are willing to let them die by trying to force them into in-person learning when it’s not safe.

Tuesday’s session was mostly about dealing with all these realities and emotions. Today, we will actually start on their homework.

Yesterday, I was up at 4:30 (so that I had time for yoga), and we were out of the house by 6 AM to do a storage run down to the Cape. In spite of the traffic, we arrived a little before 10 AM, and, even with switching stuff out of the units, unpacking and repacking the car, we were back on the road by 10:14 and home by 2 PM. It was a good day to drive, in spite of the traffic.

Unloaded the car, got everything upstairs, and got us late lunch/early dinner from Burger King, which I knew I would regret, but it was good while I ate it.

We got the new checks from the bank – hand-delivered, no less. So now, I can go about what I need to do to get the old account at the other bank closed. The checks written have to clear, and a refund has to show up. Then, I can go over to Williamstown and shut down the account. The bills I’m paying today will start coming out of the new account. All of this was way more chaotic than it needed to be.

I started the next book assigned for review, and, so far, I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

We were back in time for me to attend the virtual Straw Dogs Writers Guild Annual Author Showcase. They are based in Pioneer Valley, and it was in partnership with Forbes Library in Northampton. So probably too far to get regularly involved, once it’s safe so do to in person. But I was curious to hear local authors read, and there were a dozen authors scheduled, a mix of poets and prose writers and memoirists.

They were wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed each reading. These writers are professional, recognize that this is valuable work, and take the craft as seriously as the art. They don’t shy away from the political implications and responsibilities of their work, either (unlike the right-wing panderers who claim they “don’t do politics” which, in itself, is political by supporting the inequity of the status quo). One author read from one of her older books, a scene depicting an illegal abortion in the days before Roe. She, too, is old enough to remember it, and we are frustrated that here we are again.

Craft matters to all of them. They take time and pride in the craft of their work, along with theme and art and entertainment. They understand that excellent work combines all of these.

I now have a dozen new-to-me authors, whose books I will get out of the library and/or purchase (as much as my budget will allow). I’m very excited to delve more deeply into their work, and I will attend more online events in which any of them are involved.

I’m so glad I attended.

Charlotte and Willa were impossible. Charlotte is always difficult during Zoom, because she wants everyone to tell her she’s pretty. Willa was fascinated every time a poet read. She loved the rhythm of it. So I guess I’ll be reading poetry to the cats!

I didn’t want to read any scripts after the event was over, because I was so filled with beautiful writing that I wanted to bask in it, rather than put myself into the “critical” headspace in which I need to be for the coverage reading.

Read passages in the published journal I’m reading, where the actor worked with someone I knew quite well. It was nice to read affectionate anecdotes about someone I know and worked with!

Got an idea for a difficult short story about a woman who makes a choice out of exhaustion and despair that turns out to be a relief, even though she is supposed to feel guilty about it. No, not abortion, something else.  It needs development and I’m playing with it. It’s one of those that will probably need a dozen or so rewrites to hit exactly what I want with it, and I have to write at least one draft before I can even start making it work. I’m hoping it will be between 3-5K. The premise is enough for a novel, but I really want to telescope the emotion and time frame into that of a short story.

The cats were impossible this morning, and would not let me sleep past 5. Nor would they let me go back to bed after I fed them.

Fortunately, writing in the morning works for me. I got some decent work done on the novel.

Online meditation group was good this morning. There was discussion on ways to break out of the self-criticism cycle, which is something I need to do, since that severely worsened during the entire moving thing.

I have a lot of work to do today, but I’m not planning on going anywhere, so I can focus on the work, and on doing some more unpacking. I put some of the stuff we brought back yesterday away (most of the carload consisted of holiday decorations). But there’s more to figure out where to put, which means more rearranging. Not that I’ve finished unpacking everything else, either.

Back to the page, and to the library and local bookstores, to find the work by these writers.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 9, 2021 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors  
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Fri. Aug. 27, 2021: Weekend Work

image courtesy of sujo-foto via pixabay.com

Friday, August 27, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on August 27, 2021 at 7:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 27, 2021: Weekend Work  
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Tues. Nov. 10, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 174 — Alternating Hope and Chaos

image courtesy of Valiphotos via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Day Before Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Foggy and mild

I have a new post up on A BIBLIO PARADISE about a book I missed the first time it was published, that I really enjoyed.

The roller coaster continues.

Friday was more about practicalities and keeping on keeping on than anything else. Library drop-off/curbside pickup. Paying bills. Ordering cat litter from Chewy. Some clothes I ordered online arrived – pants. Three pairs fit perfectly; one does a weird pouchy thing along the front of the legs, and needs to be returned.

In the evening, there was a talk session with the meditation group from Concord Library, “Vent with Intent.” It was small, but everyone got to talk and Lara, the leader, led us in some meditation and Qi Gong.

That led to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Votes were still being counted when I woke up. I left at 7:15 to go grocery shopping and wasn’t done until nearly 11. I went to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop first (they follow protocols, where the one closer to me does not). I did a BIG shop there, but also noticed that prices have gone up 25% since two weeks ago.

I took things back, decontaminated and put away, then jumped back in the car to go to Trader Joe’s, in the other direction. I did a medium shop there. So we’re pretty well stocked until I have to get the fixings for Thanksgiving. While I was in that plaza, I nipped next door to Christmas Tree shops to get things like parchment paper, and they finally had the tins out that I will use for the cookies this  year, instead of doing platters. I bought a stack of them. Plus a boot tray, so I can put disinfectant in it and we can leave our shoes steeped in disinfectant in the garage.

When there was an outbreak of equine herpes a few years back in the racing community, the tracks had disinfectant one had to walk through at various points. They also have that at the NMLC hospital. People bitch and moan (like they do about masks), but it makes a huge difference in the health and safety of the animals.

Biden and Harris were finally declared the winners. They have enough of a lead in the states still counting for it to make sense (and the lead is growing). It’s such a relief. People danced in the streets; world leaders congratulated him.

The Sociopath, of course, was on brand, playing golf and ranting. His sycophants thought they’d booked the Four Seasons Hotel in PA, but in reality, it was the parking lot of Four Seasons Landscaping, next to a sex shop and across the street from a crematorium.

Which just is on brand for this whole Administration.

Biden gave a speech in the evening. It was nice to hear a grownup talk, and no insults hurled. However, there was too much religion in it for me, and this talk about co-operating with Republicans? They will see it as weakness. For Republicans, there is no co-operation, only capitulation, and we elected Biden and Harris NOT to do that.

We still have to flip the two Senate seats in Georgia. I will be looking to Stacey Abrams for leadership on that, and NOT the Lincoln Project. I don’t believe they delivered. The fact that they are officially going 501c3 means it’s just another Republican machine. They can’t be trusted. They might want the Sociopath gone, but they also don’t want the Democratic platform to happen.

Sat on the deck to enjoy the lovely weather. This is the last chance we have on this deck, so we want to enjoy it.

I made a vegetable stroganoff that turned out very, very well. I expected to think it was okay, and a decent experiment, but it was excellent, and goes into the repertoire.

Chewy delivered the 66 pounds of cat litter I ordered yesterday, which is rather extraordinary.

Sunday, I spent a good portion of the day cleaning out the annuals that are spent, washing pots, putting things away, tidying up the deck. I’m leaving out the big pots for a little longer, until the weather turns. I took my time to do the work, so that I could actually enjoy it. Cut back some stuff in the beds, put things away.

The Sociopath refuses to concede, the Republicans are rude to the incoming administration, refusing to acknowledge them, and then call for “civility” and that we should consider their “feelings.” I keep repeating this: I am not required to be nice to people who are actively trying to kill me.

And I won’t.

Watched a DVD of the Broadway production of SWEENEY TODD starring Angela Lansbury and George Hearn, directed by Hal Prince. It was amazing. I’m lucky enough to have worked with all of them: I dressed Angela Lansbury in the staged reading of ALL ABOUT EVE, the last Broadway piece I did before leaving New York and she was a delight; I worked with George Hearn when he did a stint on WICKED as the Wizard, and he was gracious, classy, funny, and wonderful; I worked with Hal Prince on THE PETRIFIED PRINCE at the Public, and kept in touch with him after, for years. I learned so much from all of them. I also worked with Sondheim (who wrote the SWEENEY score) on the revival of FOLLIES, and liked him a lot, too.

Sondheim’s scores are complex – the chorus singers need almost as huge a range as the leads. The role of Sweeney is stunningly demanding. The whole production took my breath away.

Slept reasonably well again on Sunday into Monday, although I’m still having weird dreams. Up early on Monday. I went in to a client’s, where I worked on my own. I noticed that the colleague with whom I split time hasn’t been in at all last week – she must still be sick, and I hope it’s not COVID.

I worked flat out all morning. Then, I had to brave a store to return the pants that didn’t fit (because sending them back would have cost more than the pants – shipping prices have all gone waaaay up). I couldn’t believe how many people were out shopping. I stood in line for 45 minutes to do the return. The woman in front of me touched every single item on the display shelves that were on either side of us as we stood in the line. It was kind of gross. At least everyone was masked, although most weren’t distancing properly. Believe me, I kept people FAR away from me.

But the return went smoothly, and then I headed over to the library for a drop-off/curbside pickup. They have book carts with books for sale out front, and the dumb fucks were taking off their masks to READ THE TITLES. What part of “airborne virus” are they too stupid  to understand?

Supposedly tougher mask mandates are in place. Yeah, right. Not ONE man wore a mask as I drove around to do my errands, except while inside a store. Older white women are not wearing masks. Masks are required in all public spaces. Parking lots are public spaces. Streets are public spaces. What part of “airborne virus” is above their level of understanding?

I’ve never had a high tolerance for the stupid. The stupid has risen around here so sharply in the past few years, as many of the smart with whom I interacted when I first moved here have left.

The air purifier arrived, and it’s already helping. Imagine – I lived a block from 42nd Street in NYC, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, but on CAPE COD I need an air purifier. That’s how much destruction and overbuilding has happened around here in the past ten years.

Wrote and submitted the review for the book I really liked. Submitted the invoice, was paid in less than five minutes, received the next book to review. That’s the way I like to work!

Have to finish a pitch to send to a new-to-me magazine, and received a query to hire me to freelance that smells a little fishy, but it’s a high-paying market, so I want more information.

Ordered the cookie sleeves for the holiday baking. I should have ordered them the first day I saw them. The price is now double for half of what it was then.

The Republicans are still being assholes and traitors, which is to be expected. They’re still trying to pull off a coup and deny the duly elected next Administration.

Today, I have a lot of work to do, in spite of my landlord putting around for the entire morning “pruning” – meaning he’s going to destroy the habitat I’ve built for the local wildlife – as we wait for the gas inspector to come. The guy at the furnace company is going to call the inspector this morning to tell him that no one in this house has COVID. How would he know that, since he has refused to ever deal with me directly or acknowledge my existence during this entire process? All he’s done is demand and bully. I’m so sick of the unrelenting misogyny in getting a furnace installed. It’s disgusting.

But then it will be done. We have a ton of leaves here, and Roger will come soon to take care of them. I’m so sick of the neighbors who can’t stand to see a single leaf on their astro-turfs. Then don’t live in New England.

I’m sick of them all.

I wish it was the end of January, and the new administration was sworn in. The next few months will be hell, and we will have to fight like crazy to make sure nothing happens to derail it.

At least the new Biden-Harris Corona Task Force is in place, with actual doctors and scientists, there’s hope for a working vaccine from Pfizer, who did not participate in the Federal Too-Fast-Who-Cares-If-It-Kills-People-As-Long-As-There’s-A-Photo-Op program. The stock market went up 1200 points.

But we still have to fight the Sociopath, Barr, and Moscow Mitch. Not such fun times.

Onward.

Tues. Oct. 27, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 160 — Creative Evolution, Unacceptable Slurs, and Soulless Ghouls

image courtesy of josemdelaa via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and cold

It’s been a challenging few days, but before we get into that, hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Barbara Ross’s newest release (today is release day), JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE MADWOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s wonderful.

I like Barbara’s writing anyway, but her new series is one of my favorites. When she sent me the ARC, I sat down and read it in one go.

Back? Liked it? Ordered it? Okay, great, we can go on.

I only managed the first few sessions on the NetZero Climate Change Conference on Friday. I was so sick, I couldn’t even lie down on the floor of my office and listen (with Charlotte in the chair, well, not taking notes, but interested in the speakers). I had to get to the bathroom every few minutes.

So I gave up, took some medicine, and called it a day. The migraine was awful, and, after awhile, I couldn’t even read.

I did manage to read a thriller by a popular author. The action was good, and I liked the characters, although I thought a lot about them strained credibility. But then, she used the witch slur toward the end and it’s 2020, authors, especially those who claim they advocate equality and inclusion, should know better. She is crossed off my list and I won’t read her anymore unless I’m paid to review her.

Read more Louise Penny over the weekend, and enjoyed it.

Saturday, the migraine came and went. It was worse in the morning, and let up a bit later in the day. I had to do a dash to Star Market for, well, more than I expected, but with the virus case load rising daily, I’m trying to stock up. We both seem to be having food sensitivity to pork lately – not surprising with the rolled-back food regulations and people forced to come to work sick at the processing plants. The pancetta from TJ seems to be okay, but we’re steering clear of other pork for now. We haven’t eaten beef since probably January or February for the same reason – we feel awful whenever we eat it.

The Crystal Bar soap order actually arrived, so I have a present for my mom’s 96th birthday on Thursday. I’m grateful that they got it here in time, but I still hesitate to do holiday shopping with them. Maybe after the holidays, when it can arrive whenever, and a month to ship won’t be an issue.

Laundry and housework, usual Saturday stuff. Managed to bake challah bread, which turned out really well. I masked up and packed the Halloween treat bags, so they can quarantine and be safe by Saturday.

Migraine receded enough so that I could read. I read a romance novel (I don’t read many of those), which I enjoyed – until the end, when she used the witch slur. It’s an older one, and I don’t remember her using it in other books. If I read a more contemporary book and she uses it again – yup, she’ll be crossed off the list, too. Don’t care if she’s a NYT Bestseller. Started reading another book, set at Walden Pond, by a different author – same slur. Closed the book, put it in the stack to go back to the library, crossed that author off my list.

You can’t claim to support female friendship and empowerment and call another woman a slur that could have literally killed her in the past – and, with the current Supreme Court, very likely will be a danger in the years ahead – and have me believe you are anything but a hypocrite.

If you use “witch” to define a woman as nasty and cruel instead of as a spellcasting badass improving the world, you are NOT inclusive, you are NOT empowering, you’re spitting in MY face, and I will not support your work.

Write whatever and however you want, but I am not your audience.

It is 2020. Slurs like that are no longer acceptable. Well, they were NEVER acceptable, but finally, people are being called out on the “but everyone uses it.” That doesn’t make it okay. In the same way people who actually give a damn stop using the term “gypsy” they – and we – need to stop using “witch”. Even Broadway has moved away from calling chorus dancers “gypsies” and, within the community, that’s always been a term of affection because the chorus is the backbone of the musical. They even changed the GYPSY OF THE YEAR event back in 2018 because theatre people actually walk their talk. That’s now the RED BUCKET FOLLIES, and the Gypsy Robe, which has a beautiful, amazing tradition, is now called the Legacy Robe.

Because theatre people give a damn.

Saturday night, watched PAJAMA GAME, the 1957 version with Doris Day. I’d never seen the film before, although I knew the score. Stanley Donen co-directed with George Abbott. Bob Fosse was the choreographer, in one of his early jobs.

It was fascinating, in the big picnic scene, to watch the transition from the Donen-Kelly style of choreography, which is very up on the toes, perky, over-the-top comic and cheerful to the more down and earthy beginnings of the Fosse style. In that one number, you could watch choreography evolve. It was fascinating.

I enjoyed the premise of labor relations, although it was fluffied up to be a 1957 movie musical. I did think the Sid character was creepy and inappropriate, demanding a relationship with Babe. Other than his looks, he didn’t have much going for him on the positive side, and way too much on the creepy, predatory side.

Carol Haney was great at Gladys. I’m so glad she won a Tony for the Broadway production, got to play the role in the movie, and then won three more Tonys as a choreographer.

Sunday, still struggling with the headache. The landlord dropped off the extended lease. The clock has started, and we have to be out of here by April 30, 2021.

I have no idea where we’ll end up, but it will have been 10 and a half years in this house by then, as a renter, and it’s time to go.

Roasted a chicken (with garlic and rosemary), made mashed potatoes, and my carrot-leek-parsley concoction in mushroom sauce. Of course, I saved the vegetable bits for stock later this week, and made chicken stock from the bones.

Stocking up for a tough winter.

Watched the film version of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Elizabeth Taylor, Len Cariou, Diana Rigg,  Lesley-Anne Down. Directed by Hal Prince (with whom I’ve worked), music & lyrics by Sondheim (with whom I’ve worked). Choreographed by Patricia Birch (with whom I’ve worked). Again, I knew the score, but hadn’t seen the film. There was an undercurrent of meanness I didn’t like, although there was also some sly humor.  I still loathe “Send in the Clowns” although in context, it made more sense.

The White House admitted they’re not even going to try to do anything about the pandemic. They’re gleeful just to let as many people die as possible. They are mass murderers and ALL of them need to be destroyed, not land in cushy corporate jobs after this.

The Democrats failed us – AGAIN – and let the nomination go through. There is ALWAYS a way to stop something like this. Republicans have done it for my entire life. But the Dems don’t have the cojones to do what needs to be done.

Part of me believes, too, that it’s deliberate, because it was useful as a fundraiser. Sorry, no one who allowed this to happen gets another penny from me unless and until they remove both Kavanaugh and Barrett from the Court.

The Republican ghouls drinking champagne as 225,000 Americans died from their neglect is unacceptable. This is not a time for the dead to rest in peace. This is a time for the dead to howl and haunt and drive every single one of those sycophants to an early grave. The Republicans don’t have souls – they sold them – but I want them to burn in the eternal hell they keep talking about for the rest of us.

Yesterday, I managed to get some client work done. Got home, did extra decontamination because the damn postal carrier kept coming in to the office to talk to me WITHOUT A MASK – why is this allowed? The state has a mask mandate. He “didn’t have it with him” and I kept telling him to step outside and keep an even greater distance, or, better yet, GO AWAY UNTIL HE HAD HIS MASK. Fucking dumbass.

I was masked, but still. Unacceptable.

Our virus numbers are back to where they were in May, and we’ve had three consecutive days back over 1000 new cases each day. This is not acceptable.

Tried to watch a documentary on Quebec last night, but the disc wouldn’t play properly. Oh, well, at least we got to see the segment on Montreal.

If I’m ever in a position to buy a second home/apartment, I want it to be in Montreal. Of course, I need to own my first home first!

The migraine is threatening to come forward again, and it’s already been an annoying day, and it’s not even 9 AM. I have to run an errand this morning, and then I have to buckle down and get things done, no matter how bad I feel.

Knowledge Unicorns tonight, which will be fun. But I’m already tired, and it’s early in the day. Of course, I was awake at least three times, from the same nightmare. I kept falling asleep, landing where I was when I’d woken up previously, and continuing on. It was about  being trapped in a cult using electro-shock on its members until they either behaved, lost their cognitive ability, or died.

Nothing subtle about that one, is there?

Have a good one, people.