Fri. Sept. 23, 2022: Of Words

image couortesy of Daria Glodowksa via pixabay.com

Friday, September 23, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

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

Sunny and cool

I worked on the graphic I need for the Topic Workbooks campaign, and am not satisfied with it. I promoted Episode 18 of LEGERDEMAIN. I worked to look for photos and links for both the Creative Ground profile and to use on my website(s). I put up the Radio Theatre Project’s Sound Cloud links to “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale,” “Horace House Hauntings,” and “Light Behind the Eyes.” If you go on the radio page over at Pages On Stages, you’ll find them, and can listen. I hadn’t heard “Aurora Nightingale” before and it was fun. “Pier-less Crime” should be up soon.Lakes Area Theatre doesn’t have any of my shows uploaded yet, and Post-Meridian Players requires a subscription, so that’s that, at least for now. I found some photos from MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL that I might put up.

I did some work on the newsletter, which will go out next week.

I worked on some other graphic stuff I need. I also copied both LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT folders from the flash drive where I work on them to the hard drive of the computer, backed them up on an external hard drive, and also put them on a drive specific to the serials. Paranoid much? But I want the serials kept separate from the main flash drive I usually work off of, and I want to make sure everything’s backed up multiple times.

I skipped Freelance Chat, because I just wasn’t up to it. I was in too much pain to be able to follow conversations and be appropriately cheerful.

I got more information on an event I’d been invited to participate in, and it’s really not for me, so I will gracefully decline.

I created the logo graphic for ANGEL HUNT. It’s much simpler than I originally envisioned, but I believe it’s more striking.

I worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Didn’t finish as much as I’d hoped, but I’m still well within my deadlines. I grabbed two more, so I will be busy today, and it might spill over into tomorrow. I have to push hard next week. They’re paying us less to do more, and I’m getting a little fed up.

I made Cornish hen with mashed potatoes and peas for our Equinox supper. It was good.

I set the bones to cook down for stock, and headed over to the local indie bookstore for my colleague’s reading. She was someone I met through the Artists Working Group over at MassMOCA. I was interested in her work, plus why be a part of an artist working group if you don’t turn up to support each other?

I got there early and helped set up. The place was backed – a tiny store with about 40 people there. All masked. There was no fuss ever made about it. People simply masked up as they stepped in the door, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. It made me feel good to be part of a community that walks their talk.

The reading was wonderful. The reader was Molly Rideout, and she read from an essay in progress about her experiences relocating to this area, and the concept of being a “good transplant” which provoked interesting discussion. It was nice to be in a group of people who really listen and respond to what is being said, both by the reader and by other audience members, instead of only thinking about the next thing they want to say.

I bought her book TRANSIENT, and she signed it.

It was a fun evening.

Most of the tightly networked artist community meets through various art-related work events. As a writer, mostly solitary, I have to actually make an effort to get out and do things!

Did my Equinox ritual, finished the stock and put it away, and went to sleep. By the end of the night, my ear was in a lot of pain again. It will take time to let the initial trauma heal, and then we’ll find out if there’s permanent damage. I was in pain most of the day, which derailed some of my productivity, too.

Up early this morning. I’m going to write in the morning, on a couple of different projects: LEGERDEMAIN, maybe a couple of short stories. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the radio play “Owe Me” today or wait until Monday.

I hope I won’t have to read all weekend, for script coverage, but that depends on where I am, earnings-wise, at the end of the day. I have A LOT of bills coming up in October. The plan is to write all weekend, but we’ll see how that works out.

The Fresh Grass music festival is in town this weekend (can you say “super-spreader event”?), so I will stay home.

I forgot to switch over the sheets from bamboo to flannel yesterday (I usually do that on the Equinox, and then switch to fleece at Yule). So that, too, is on today’s agenda.

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

Wed. Sept. 21, 2022: Digging in the Archives Of Law

image coourtesy of svklimkin via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Mars is still in effing Gemini

Cloudy and humid

I pushed a little too hard yesterday. I wasn’t as fully recovered from the booster as I hoped.

I was out of the house a little after 8, but had not budgeted enough time for the school busses and the road construction. Mercury Retrograde, even though I gave myself extra time. It just wasn’t enough time.

Then, I went to the wrong building first. I navigated decades through the five boroughs of New York, yet Pittsfield baffles me. It makes no sense.

Anyway, I ended up in the state office building, at the RMV. There was a long line and grumbling when I went to the head of it to talk to the security guard. But when I said, “I need help. I’m lost” everything shifted, and everyone had an opinion to help me get where I was going. Which was basically across the street, but I had to go all the way up the street around the common and back down. Because, you know (gestures). Anyway, I thanked them all and they were smiling when I left.

I texted the librarian to let him know I was on my way, and got there a few minutes later. I had to park waaaaay down the street, because parking in Pittsfield is a nightmare. Plus, the street along which the court buildings sit has the music school and a whole bunch of other buildings with people coming, going, and needing parking. And one has to move the car every three hours. I sincerely hope jurors get their own lot somewhere.

Everyone is funneled through a single doorway in the basement of the building, through the metal detector. The very nice female security guard asked where I was headed, I told her the library, and she asked if I knew where it was. I told her I was lucky I found the building. She laughed and said, “Let me fix that for you” and gave me directions.

The library is on the top floor.

The restrooms are in the basement, which made restroom breaks a hike.

The library is lovely, and so is the librarian. He’d pulled some books for me, showed me how to read the statute indexes and where to find what I needed. I spent the morning going from book to book. I had to go back to the 1932 Statutes to sort of find what I needed.

He suggested that the bank POLICY might be different than the actual LAW, and I’m inclined to agree with him. The law talks about “persons” without regard to gender. So basically, it was bank POLICY to be misogynistic jerks, and no wonder they refused to give me the information.

Just for that, I’ll kill a few bankers over the course of the series.

The information I found will send me back to the historical society to dig through some more of their files.

I left just before noon, a little dizzy from all the concentration. I stopped at Adams Market to pick up some groceries, and then did a few more errands, including the library, before I got home, completely wiped out.

We had a late pizza lunch, and I finished reading A MURDER OF MAGES. I never get tired of that book.

I turned around two scripts in the afternoon and evening (should have been more, but I was too tired). I have to make up the difference today. Spent some time online with a fun group of colleagues on a six-week “marketing game” in which I’m participating.

I haven’t spoken about Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. I’m an American; the monarchy is not part of my heritage, and I have never been a royal watcher/gossiper. It’s always been my position that what the family does is not my business. I don’t take joy in gossiping about them, and when I see Americans being snarky and nasty, I lose respect for them. I have a great deal of empathy for my British friends who mourn her. British subjects and those who’ve been colonized by the British are directly impacted by all this, and I’d rather listen to them than squawk my own meaningless opinions.  The history of the event intrigues me, and her long reign was astonishing. The way the world changed while she was Queen was astounding. When you look at the history that took place under the three major Queens: Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Elizabeth II – it’s quite astounding.

I started re-reading AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE, the next Satrine/Minox book, and love it, too.

Awakened a little after two by coyotes yipping at each other, up on the mountain. This is the first time I’ve heard coyotes since I moved here. I’m only four blocks from downtown, but I figure they’re up by the lake, which is less than ¾ of a mile up the mountain at the end of the street.

I see Joyce Carol Oates has yet again said something unfortunate on social media. I will always admire her work ethic. I keep re-reading her early diaries on process. But the work itself has always been problematic, and the mix of attention-seeking ego/insecurity is exhausting. It was old in the 90s and is still eye-rolling now.

Trouble getting my act together this morning. I need to get some admin. I need to catch up on some stuff that’s come in thanks to my Creative Ground profile up, and do some website updates. Creative Ground is so much more useful to me than LinkedIN. The debit card clusterfuck begins today, and I am not looking forward to it. Plus, I have to argue with Berkshire Fucking Gas about the bill. Do not fuck with me during a Mercury Retrograde when Mars is in Gemini because I will be more like a rabid bear than a feral cat.

I want to finish up the last few chapters of the novel version of ANGEL HUNT, but Shelley has demanded some attention on LEGERDEMAIN, so I have to see how I can move between the two for a few days. And make up the script coverages that I didn’t get done yesterday.

There was a great quote in today’s note in the Mercury Retrograde journal: “Be so committed to creating your own Universe and the Universe will start to form around you.”

Damn right I am forming my own Universe.

I need to prepare for Mabon, too, since it happens tomorrow, whether I am prepared or not.

Tessa and her Scout Crow buddy are still having their morning chat at the living room window. There must be a lot going on out there.

I also need to contact the local community television/radio station about an appointment. I want to check out the facility before the next Artist Impact Coalition Working Group meeting.

I have Ideas.

Be very scared.

Catch you tomorrow, friends, and have a good one!

Tues. Sept. 20, 2022: The Boostered Couch Potato

image courtesy of Agata via Pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Yup, Mars is still in Gemini (until March 2023)

Cloudy and cooler

Anyone else find all these retrogrades exhausting?

This will be short, because it was close to a Lost Weekend. Not due to alcohol (hopefully, I’ve matured beyond that by now). Due to Covid Shot #5, the bivalent booster.

I got it on Friday morning, at good ole Stop & Shop. It hurt. My arm hurt immediately. My mom drove us home. She hasn’t driven much here in the Berkshires since we’ve moved (and her license is good until she’s 101).

I was woozy, but not too bad, for most of the day. I’d blocked it off for rest, so I spent the day on the couch, reading. I read Kwana Jackson’s KNOT AGAIN, the second book in her series about a group of foster brothers who inherit their foster mother’s knitting shop in Harlem and are determined to keep it a community hub. The series is a lot of fun.

I didn’t feel bad until about 12 hours after the shot. Then, it hit. I’d gotten steadily colder during the afternoon, but by 12 hours post shot, I was so cold I was, very literally, shaking. That was a new and different reaction. I piled quilts and cats on the bed, did a hot water bottle, and snuggled in.

That warmed me up, but I was awake most of the night with terrible body aches, headaches, and nausea, but I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed to get the Tylenol.

I finally managed to hoist myself out of bed around 11 AM on Saturday and took Tylenol, which helped, although I continued to feel nauseated. Again, new and different. Usually, I am all kinds of hungry after the shot.

I spent Saturday on the couch, reading and dozing. I read Roselle Lim’s SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB, which was delightful. I do love her books so much.

I barely ate anything all day (just some chicken soup), drank a lot of black-raspberry-flavored water, and hot tea when I started getting cold again. I alternated between a slight fever and chills.

I went to bed at 7:15.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up at 5 AM on Sunday. I had a blazing headache, which makes sense, since I hadn’t had any coffee the day before (just the thought made me queasy, and rarely do I skip coffee). I made coffee, fed everything, retired to the couch.

Where I spent the day.

I read Michelle Sagara’s CAST IN SHADOW, which I really liked. It was published in 2005, and there are 16 books in the series, so I have a lot of pleasurable reading ahead of me. Not sure how I missed it back then, but I’ve found it now, and am happy about it.

In one of my half-dozed states, I figured out the climactic sequence and resolution for ANGEL HUNT. It’s quite different than I originally planned (I am sure), but I’m using what I’ve learned about craft and character in the ensuing years, so I believe it’s stronger.

I also worked out a few threads for LEGERDEMAIN. Let’s hope they haven’t fled when I sit down to write!

I decided that I’m not going to the Authors Guild Festival in Lenox next weekend due to lack of COVID protocols. They’re taking the cowardly “Masks recommended but not required” which means having high numbers means more to them than having healthy attendees. Nope. Not doing it. To say I am disappointed in them is an understatement. I emailed them on Monday, releasing my tickets (so someone else can take the risk) and telling them why. Rather than going there, getting upset, and leaving, I will withdraw now. Because, fuck you, you CANNOT be in a seminar claiming you give two shits about equality and justice when you can’t be bothered to wear a piece of cloth over your face for an hour. That’s hypocrisy. I won’t condone it or be around it. At least 500 people are dying a DAY. That calls for stricter protocols, not fewer, and I have zero tolerance for cowards.

I started re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES by Marshall Ryan Maresca, which remains one of my favorite books ever. I’m re-reading the whole Maradine Constabulary series, and then probably all his Maradine books. They hold up.

Monday, I woke up feeling semi-human. Still not great. Fed the cats, caught up on the journal, went back to the page. Typed up the notes for ANGEL HUNT’S climactic sequence. The notes were 2K, so the sequence will be long, and then cut. I made a placeholder for the resolution saying “figure it out” which will bite me in the butt, but hey.

I was saddened by an email that the yoga studio is closed for a couple of weeks, because the owner came down with COVID. This is the one place I felt safe indoors, because everyone had to have proof of vaccination. And still . . .just proves there’s no safe place outside of home.

Wednesday, we have to “activate” our new debit cards with Greylock Federal Credit Union. Having the entire base activate their debit cards on the same day during Mercury Retrograde would be a clusterfuck even if they didn’t always get everything wrong the first time. Not looking forward to it.

I was going to run some errands, but I had a slight fever, so I decided to stay home.

After typing up and printing out my notes for the rest of ANGEL HUNT, I went back and adapted chapters two and three of the third draft into Episodes 9-15 of the serial. The pace is good, it works structurally. I mean, it was designed to be a serial, then adapted into a novel, so adapting back isn’t all that much of a stretch. These episodes are shorter than the original episodes. So far, they are all under 1K, except for one of them, and shorter than LEGERDEMAIN’s episodes. I want to look at the contrasting metrics for the two serials, especially during the stretch they run concurrently.

I should have switched over to script coverage, although I am fine with my deadlines. Instead, I went back and re-read all of ANGEL HUNT. It holds together, I’m happy to say, but I can see why I stopped where I did. I spun out multiple arcs when it looked like the serial would continue indefinitely. When it was clear the company was in decline, I tried to tie things up before the company collapsed, but was not able to do so. When I adapted, I had some good ideas, but didn’t know how to pull it all together without cheating an arc or going on for too long.

Hopefully, in the intervening years, I’ve developed the craft to fix that. We’ll see, won’t we?

I was starting to think, between the climactic sequence and the resolution, I might have as much as 8K left to write, but I think I can keep it within the original 5K vision.

So I guess that’s what I’m doing later this week, when I’m not doing client work.

Shelley, over at LEGERDEMAIN, is tapping her foot with impatience.

I stayed up way too late re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES. I have no regrets.

This morning, I am up and out of the house early, headed to the Berkshire Law Library in Pittsfield, where their librarian will point me toward the books on banking law in 1957 for the retro mystery. I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

On my way back, I’m getting in some groceries, doing the errands I didn’t do yesterday, and getting in some cash, in case the whole banking think goes cattywampus tomorrow, as is inevitable.

Speaking of LEGERDEMAIN, Episode 17 drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Fri. Sept. 16, 2022: Creativity and Connection

image courtesy of GLady via pixabay.com

Friday, September 16, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy and cool

I think we’re going to have to bring in some of the plants. And I had to close (or at least lower) some of the windows).

Meditation group was good yesterday (but then, it always is).

After breakfast, I wrote up the two book reviews, sent them off, invoiced, and was paid within 10 minutes. That’s the way I like it! Also got the next two assignments for review.

Ran errands: picked up books at the library, picked up my mother’s prescription, mailed a bunch of stuff at the post office (including my quarterly taxes – ouch), deposited a couple of checks into the bank. Everyone was in a good mood, because it was sunny and cooler than it’s been, so running errands was a pleasure.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon.

Was invited to the virtual launch party for the improved Creative Ground site (to which I’d created my profile yesterday). There was a lot of good information. I have to find some photos of my work to upload. My profile rates pretty high, but needs a couple more points for it to be “featured.” Hopefully, being up on the site will help with connections and opportunities.

It’s definitely worth more than my LinkedIn profile, already!

I’m already searching through actor profiles, in preparation for a project I plan to pitch locally.

It was exciting to start my weekend a little early. I cleared the decks for today through the weekend because I’m getting my bivalent booster this morning. My mom had no side effects, except her arm was a little sore for about a half an hour yesterday morning. She’s worried she got a placebo! But if she had no effects (and she usually has few effects), maybe I won’t be down for the count for a week.

I mean, I can’t, I have to be at the law library Tuesday morning!

We’re playing with book titles for the retro mystery. Between the Women Write Change group and my friends who visited last weekend (who tromped around the location with me), we’ve come up with enough for the whole series!

An intriguing opportunity landed on my desk for next spring. Hmm. I have to think about it. Out of my wheelhouse, a stretch for me, but intrigues me. So I’ll play with some ideas to see if it’s viable.

I’m going to try to get some work done this morning before we head over for the shot. We’re going early again, because I bet they claim they “didn’t get’ the fuckton of paperwork I filled out when I made the appointment, and I have to fill it out again.

I’ve blocked off the weekend, so if I feel bad, I will stay in bed and ride it out. Or stay on the couch and read, if I feel up to it. If I feel better than I expect, I can do things like go to the library book sale, turn my closet over for winter, and write.

Because I’m behind where I want to be on the next two arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, and have to get that going. Plus noodle on the short stories, and decide which one to write. I’m almost ready to start putting one of them on paper.

I also want to start re-reading Anne Truitt’s diaries. If you don’t know her work, it’s pretty interesting (I saw a retrospective at the Smithsonian a few years ago). If you’ve never read her diaries, they are absolutely fascinating, especially if you are interested in process.

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

Thurs. Sept. 15, 2022: Organization is Key

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowka via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Sunny and cooler

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn. Doesn’t quite smell like it, though. There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

We went over early to Stop & Shop for my mother’s bivalent booster. Good thing we did, because they claimed they “only got the first page of the paperwork” and we had to fill it all out again. So sick of filling out forms.

While my mom got her shot, I picked up a few things we needed. She didn’t have to sit and wait for 15 minutes, like we had to for the other shots. It was stab and go.

She had zero side effects yesterday at all, to the point where she worried she’d gotten a placebo. This morning, she has a little soreness n the arm. That’s it.

I finished reading a second book for review. I will write and submit both reviews today, submit my invoice, and ask for my next assignment.

I spent way too much time building my profile on Creative Ground, but it needed to get done, since the launch party is tonight (virtually), and I’m invited.

I set up an appointment at the law library next Tuesday to do the research on banking laws here in MA in 1957, for the retro mystery that will be drafted during Nano this year. The librarian is looking forward to it (and so am I). Since the state banking association and the banks themselves refuse to answer my questions. I’m batting around potential titles with some trusted friends, and realizing just how much I need to get back to the outline, so it’s ready to go before November 1. I have character sketches, locations, situations, but I need to, you know, actually plot the murders and the rest of the book.

Did some research on local radio stations, and on the community television/radio station that’s here in North Adams. I might need to make an appointment to go and check out the facilities.

Got my instructions for next week’s conference sessions down in Lenox. I’m worried that people won’t be responsible about masking; if that is the case, I will get up and leave the session. Not taking the risks.

WAM’s next show is in October, and tickets are available. I’m not going in person, since their audience already proven they won’t keep up their end of the masking bargain (even though a caveat of ticket purchase is to remain masked). I may buy a ticket for the virtual performance. At least they have that option, and I know their work is excellent.

Starting to figure out the autumn into winter schedule, which looks to be intense. I have 4 radio plays to write, for specific producers; I have to write the next 2 arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, polish them, and get them up; I need to revise “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By” so they can go out the door when appropriate calls open up; I have a handful of short stories with which I’m noodling; I need to outline the retro mystery so it’s set to go for Nano; once the first draft of that is finished, I need to draft THE KRINGLE CALAMITY and then the third book of the Hearthstone Mysteries, so that all three of those are ready to go out the door by early summer. And I need to do the first draft of the full-length play FALL FOREVER. I’d like to get ANGEL HUNT finished and broken down into episodes, so that can launch in January.

Which of course means having to keep up the content calendar on LEGERDEMAIN, the Topic Workbooks, and, if ANGEL HUNT goes live, the ANGEL HUNT content calendar, and it’s a lot.

Plus, you know, client work and script coverage, and next year’s contest entries will start arriving before the end of the year.

So I guess it can snow, because there’s plenty to do at home!

But it’s nice to feel creative again. In late winter, early spring, decisions will be made on the current series, as to whether I feel up to starting up again, and if my publisher wants to keep carrying them.

I haven’t spent the time on the Cerridwen’s Cottage website that it needs, so that has to be folded in there somehow, too. Plus organizing the almanac articles whose rights have reverted, so I can turn those into eBooks and sell them.

I might need a larger desk blotter calendar!

Anyway, I have meditation this morning, and then getting the reviews done and out, and invoicing. I have to pay my quarterly taxes today (argh), get everything to the post office, pick up my mom’s prescriptions, take a couple of checks to the bank. This afternoon, I have two more scripts to cover, finishing out the pay period, not terribly, but still below what I’d hoped.

What I do hope is that my bivalent booster tomorrow won’t take me out. I’ve blocked off the weekend to rest. If I feel up to it, I’ll do some work on LEGERDEMAIN, and maybe turn over the closet from summer to winter. Otherwise, I’ll stay in bed, or read on the couch.

Episode 16 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

The next two weeks are busy, but filled with good stuff.

Peace my friends, and enjoy!

Wed. Sept. 14, 2022: I’ll Just Be Here in the Pillow Fort

image courtesy of ambermb via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy and cool

My friends got back on the road by 8:30, during a break in the weather. About 10 minutes after they left, Willa came bouncing into the living room with one of her toys, looking for them. She ran around to their rooms and the porch and everywhere else. She was very disappointed they were gone. Tessa looked around; I think she missed the Mutual Annoyance Society she has with one of them. Charlotte finally came out to take a look around.

We finished stripping the beds and getting things ready for laundry, etc.

It felt like I did nothing all day except lounge on the couch, but when I look back, I did quite a bit. It just didn’t feel that way. I dealt with over 600 emails that had stacked up over the weekend. I finished and submitted a residency proposal. I sent out a couple of LOIs. I noodled with ideas for about four or five new short stories, aimed at particular magazines. I finished reading a book for review.

It was just a quiet day, not a lost day.

I heard back from a recruiter about an LOI I’d sent (didn’t know it would get routed to a recruiter or I wouldn’t have sent it). She wanted to “talk” about a short-term copywriting gig for a month, which would be fine, IF they meet my rate. I suggested a few times for today. She wanted to talk at 7 PM my time last night (4 PM her time). Nope. She knows I’m on the east coast. I’m not doing PST hours. I work asynchronously among time zones, not within other time zones.

Went to bed early. Charlotte woke me up early. We had a battle. I kicked her out of the bedroom. I didn’t close the door all the way, but she couldn’t figure out how to push it open again and fussed, until Tessa shouldered it open. Now, Charlotte wants Tessa to open all the closed doors, and Tessa’s disgusted, giving her the “I am not the butler. We have humans with thumbs for that” look.

I moved to the couch and tried to sleep again, but Tessa started pushing my shoes down the stairs. So I gave up and fed them at 5:30.

I had stuff to do on computer this morning. We are about to leave to get my mom’s bivalent booster.

So, of course, the computer “updated”.

Mercury Retrograde.

We’re off, and I have a lot to do when we get back.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on September 14, 2022 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. Sept. 9, 2022: Prepping For House Guests

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Friday, September 9, 2022

First day of Full Moon

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

Sunny and pleasant

Yup, Mercury’s gone retrograde today, until October 2, piled up on top of all these other retrogrades. Ick.

Yesterday morning, the online meditation group met again, and Charlotte was so happy! She’s missed these weekly mornings on Zoom (so have I).

I re-read the first chapter of the 3rd draft of the novel version of ANGEL HUNT (yeah, it’s confusing). I did some good work on it. I broke it down into serial episodes again (I think it was originally 3 or 4 episodes). This time, it broke down to 8 short episodes, most of which are 600-700 words, one just over 1K. Hmm. Interesting. Since it was originally written to be a serial, it’s easier to break down again, even though I’d expanded/smoothed over some things when I adapted it back to a novel. I went back and re-read the last chapters I’d done of the 2nd draft of the novel version, which stopped just before the climactic sequence (I’d continued writing it as a novel well after the company that hired me to write the serial went under). Definitely intense. I read a couple of chapters backwards in chronology. There’s good material there, but it needs the climactic sequence and resolution written. If I decide to adapt it back to a serial, I  have to write that and figure it out first. In the 2nd draft, I’d already planted some of the new material’s arcs in the very first chapter. Hopefully, what I’ve learned about craft since this first went live in 2003/4 will help me structure it better, while still keeping the passionate voice and narrative drive that works so well.

That has to be fit in around the other projects that get priority.

But it was hard to get out of the headspace of that world. As I said, it’s pretty intense.

I did some promotion for LEGERDEMAIN’s Episode 14 which dropped yesterday, and did two general ads: one for the Tower Rescue attraction (which is much simpler than my original concept, which was too busy to work) and one for Legerdemain’s equivalent of the monthly “Art Walks” with the tagline “eat, drink, and shapeshift your way through the district.”

Freelance Chat was fun. Paula and I recommended each other as featured guests. I’m never going to be invited as a featured guest; my focus is too much on the fiction/scriptwriting and not enough business-y. Which is fine, because I learn a lot from them that I can apply to both fiction and nonfiction writing.

The news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death came out shortly after the chat. I was surprised that I felt sad, not being a royal watcher. My mother is upset; being older than the Queen, she is surprised she outlived her. So Prince Charles in now king.

I’ve often wondered, had Charles been King and Al Gore President, if we’d be in a better position vis a vis climate change than we are. I think we would be. But then, so many things would be better, had the Supreme Court actually allowed the votes counted, and not just handed the election to Bush. We wouldn’t be in this mess now with the Narcissistic Sociopath.

Anyway, Twitter got ugly and cruel, which shouldn’t surprise me. People whose identities are part of the colonization by the British Empire? Of course there’s going to be anger and continued calls for reparations. That makes complete sense. But it’s the entitled white people (most of whom aren’t even part of the British Commonwealth) being deliberately cruel and snarky with whom I have no patience. They’re just showing that they’re trash individuals. Of course, when you dig a little bit, even though they claim to be tolerant and inclusive and about equality and community – these are the same ones who’ve stopped masking and are posting photos of them gallivanting around recklessly. Or using slurs against others because “it’s just an expression.” Actions speak louder than words. Trash humans are trash humans, and it always shows, eventually.

There are plenty of people who have all kinds of mixed emotions and are surprised by them. That, too, makes perfect sense. The Queen reigned for 70 years. She was a witness and a participant to an enormous swath of history. And plenty of people in genuine mourning.

I have to say, CounterSocial wasn’t full of trash humans. There were some interesting and enlightening discussions about the whole situation and the wide range of emotions and responses.

Tried to book our Covid boosters (shot #5) at CVS. There’s not a CVS taking appointments in the entire Berkshires. Walgreen’s  had something open in Pittsfield, which isn’t too bad, but still a trek.

On impulse, I tried the Stop & Shop over by the airport and got us both in. It took an hour to get everything sorted for the two of us, because I had to upload all the paperwork from the previous four shots for each of us. But my mom’s appointment is next Wednesday morning, and mine is a week from today. So that’s all good. And it’s new bivalent formula, which is what I wanted.

Yes, friends, we are getting our boosters at the grocery store.

Hey, my mom got her first two shots at the dump. We get them where we can. The US “Healthcare” system is trash.

I’m ignoring as many Bouchercon posts as possible, since people learned nothing from Malice Domestic being a super-spreader event in May, and some of the same people are dancing around indoors in groups unmasked and flying when there’s no reason to get on a plane right now. Don’t come to me for sympathy when you get sick AGAIN.

Turned around two scripts. I’m now clear of script coverage until Tuesday, which is good, since there’s a lot to do. I have to recover the chairs, knock out at least one new episode of LEGERDEMAIN,  make up the beds for my guests, clean the carpet. I’m doing another run to the store this morning to get in some of the fresh veggies, and I’m making potato salad and curried chicken salad today. Tomorrow, I’ll do the baking and make the soup, and vacuum, mop, and dust. Sunday morning, I’ll pick up some fresh bread, the berries to go on the lemon tart, my favorite local coffee that I want to share with my friends, and flowers.

And then my friends will be here, and we will have some Serious Fun (those of you who were in NYC during Lincoln Center’s years of the Serious Fun Festival will get the reference).

Have a great weekend, my friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side of it!

Thurs. Sept. 8, 2022: Prioritizing Projects

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Mercury goes retrograde TOMORROW

Cloudy and cooler

I kept thinking yesterday was Thursday, but it was only Wednesday, and I was all mixed up. I am so NOT looking forward to Mercury retrograde piled on top of all these other retrogrades. My preference is to stay in bed for the next three weeks, but the Universe would laugh and have the bedroom ceiling collapse on me, so I better just deal with what needs to be dealt with, and stay away from traps.

There’s a post on the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

There’s a post about creating and using content calendars over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Those oughta keep you busy for a bit, right?

I did a big grocery shop yesterday. You can tell the tourists are clearing out, because the majority of people in the grocery stores are masked again. I’m trying to get us scheduled for our Shot #5, but I’m hearing nightmare stories about CVS cancelling appointments when insurance doesn’t cover it, and refusing to accept payment out of pocket. It looks like we can get them at the Stop & Shop Pharmacy otherwise, so at least we have a backup, but the timing is the problem. We’ll see what we can come up with. And I want to make sure it’s the correct formula.

I sent some info out to a friend for her business, and I answered an email from a friend of a friend who is relocating to the area. At least I got that all caught up.  I spent more time than I should experimenting with text-to-art AI technology. I don’t think I’ll be able to use anything (or very little) of the experiments, but I learned a lot, so I don’t feel that it was wasted time.

I turned around two scripts.

Roast chicken for dinner, which meant the house smelled wonderful, and then I made chicken stock. So we are well-stocked (pun intended) on both vegetable stock and chicken stock. Bring on soup season!

An acquaintance on Twitter posted a thread of open submission class with paying markets for short stories. I made notes on some of them, and will look into them in more detail over the next few days. I got one idea for one of them and made some notes; hopefully I can do a rough draft today. I may have a couple of stories ready to go on some of the calls. We’ll see. The work on those has to fit around the work that has to get done, and that is stacking up something fierce.

I need to get back to the radio plays, and I’m just not in that headspace right now. So I better figure out how to get into it. I have to spit out four radio plays pretty darn quickly. And I have to get back on track with the next arc of LEGERDEMAIN, while promoting what’s dropping. I also have a short play that’s been squawking at me, a comedy, and I need to get that drafted, plus go back and revise the two one-acts I wrote a few weeks ago, where my friend Paula gave such great feedback. They need to be prepped and ready to go out the door for appropriate submission calls.

Speaking of which, Episode 14 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

Meditation group starts meeting again online this morning, and I’m looking forward to it. I also have to nip down to the post office later to mail some bills that I forgot to mail on Tuesday. Oops.

I better get going then, hadn’t I? Have a good one.

Wed. Sept. 7, 2022: Meal Planning for the Weekend

image courtesy of Thorsten Blank via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, humid, cool

It was pouring for most of the day yesterday. I was worried about floods, but, fortunately, it didn’t happen.

I did some work on Ink-Dipped Advice (the post will go live later this morning), and work on the Legerdemain site. I hope to start promoting it next week, but it might take longer, because there’s still a lot of information that needs to go in. Promoted the episode that dropped yesterday (along with the scheduled promos that are running). I have to look at the budget and see where to place paid ads.

The Topic Workbooks are selling well. The money that came in from those yesterday pays the electric bill. May they continue to sell steadily.

I went out in the rain to the library (by car) to drop off a big stack of books. Nothing’s come in for me in the last few weeks (I’m on waiting lists for books), so I have to order some more older books. I’m nearly caught up with everything I have out.

The cats are much perkier now that it’s cooler. Tessa has decided that the catnip turnip (which was originally Charlotte’s toy) is now her favorite, and she tosses it up in the air and chases it around. So that’s all good. Charlotte doesn’t care. Except for her catnip banana (which we can’t find right now), she doesn’t play often with toys. Willa is racing around like a kook.

Got the dietary preferences for the friends coming this weekend, so I can cook stuff they actually like. This morning, I’m going to do a big grocery shop (I haven’t done that in at least two weeks, and we are down on lots of stuff, not just what I need for the visit). Friday and Saturday I’ll pick up some stuff that needs to be fresh. Sunday, I’ll pick up a couple of things at Wild Oats, and we’ll be good to go. Planned the menu, made the shopping list. I’ll prepare some of the desserts on Saturday.

I still have to finish recovering the kitchen chairs, and fix that one chair, so we have enough chairs to eat around the table.

Everything’s still pretty tidy from the rental inspection, so it’s only a case of making up the beds with fresh sheets, vacuuming, mopping floors, dusting, and doing the regular upkeep.

I can’t wait to see my friends.

I decided to skip Open Studios at MassMOCA on Thursday night, because I don’t want to risk being exposed to the virus right before they arrive.

I basically have been isolating since late last week (mostly because I didn’t want to be around people on a holiday weekend), and didn’t mind at all. I’m looking forward to hunkering down for the winter.

This morning is big grocery shopping, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and turn around two scripts. I have two more to turn around tomorrow; I’m still waiting on a replacement from an incomplete script. I will probably just read one on Friday and none on Saturday. I’ve pushed hard enough early in the week so taking off Monday and even possibly Tuesday is not going to be an issue.

Closing some of the windows, at least partially, at night, and boy, does that block out a lot of sound. It’s not that noisy anyway, but the first weeks of a new semester are always a little louder, because the students are settling in. The idiot who moved into the house next store and is always yelling in the afternoons and evenings – honestly, I can’t tell if he’s jerking off or gaming and yelling at the computer – is annoying, but I yelled out my own window yesterday to shut up, and he did, so that’s progress. He can yell all he wants if he closes his windows and I don’t have to hear him. There are quite a few guys coming into the school this semester who are aggressive about taking up more than their space and they will have to be knocked back.

There’s a jay yelling outside my window, so I better go see what’s gotten him so upset.

Lots to do, so better get to it.

Published in: on September 7, 2022 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Sept 1, 2022: A New Month

image courtesy of tigerlily713 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 1, 2022

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

Sunny and pleasant

I’m so delighted the humidity broke. Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

We headed out for errands in the morning. Fabric store first. I want to make a book-themed quilt for winter. I’d seen the fabric online, but, of course, they didn’t have it in the store. One of the women who worked there said she had some at home, and offered to sell it to me; she said she would email me with the details. But I didn’t hear from her, so I assume she didn’t find it, or she changed her mind. Which is fine. I’ll keep looking. I want it to be the leather-bound, fancy covers, not something cutesy.

I did find, however, a lovely fleece with constellations on purple, that will make a lovely winter throw. So I bought that instead.

Dropped off the ink cartridge at Staples – not that it will matter. I planned to walk out of there immediately, but notebooks were on sale. I don’t need more notebooks. I have an entire shelf of blank notebooks. But I bought 16 notebooks. Because I hoard notebooks.

Since we were down there anyway, we went over to Restore, just to check, but there was nothing we wanted or needed.

Then, we stopped at Target on the way home, because the mop I bought during the clearing out chaos on the Cape last summer, when the old mop died is just awful. We bought a fancy new cotton-headed wringing mop that looks like it will be wonderful.

I managed to get out of Target only buying what I went in to get.

The water was back on by the time we got home. I turned around four scripts after lunch, getting them in before the payment deadline. I still haven’t earned as much as I hoped this pay period, and I have bills looming over me, so let’s hope I do better next pay period (which starts today), and some of the LOIs I’ve sent out bear fruit. I also have to finish my postcard to do my autumn mailing to prospects.

I got my next two book assignments to review, so I’ll download one today, and the other one they’re mailing to me.

The mail carrier put the Goddess Provisions box in the mail slot AGAIN instead of at the door. So, obviously, telling the postmaster about it meant nothing, and I have to go to his boss. Because at this point, eight months in? It’s not the carrier being thoughtless. It’s the carrier deliberately being a jerk. I took a photograph and will include in my next letter to the postmaster, which will be cc’d to the postmaster’s boss.

This morning, I will swing by City Hall and drop off my mail-in ballot. I need to do a bunch of admin and write some cards. I don’t think I’ve mentioned, on the blog, that over last weekend, I learned that Bobby LuPone died. I was part of MCC for several years early in my theatre career, first as a stage manager, and later as an assistant production manager, before I was hired by The Vineyard, Manhattan Theatre Company, and the Public, and then made the leap to Broadway. I worked on a lot of productions with MCC in those early years on 42nd Street, including one act festivals. That was a huge part of my early career. Bobby was a force of nature. It’s a huge loss for the theatrical community.

I have two scripts to read today and one tomorrow. I’m taking the holiday weekend to rest and recharge. And probably work on LEGERDEMAIN, unless I got a lot of work done on it today.

Episode 12 drops today – I hope you’re following it and enjoy it.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Aug. 26, 2022: The Intersection of Burnout, Exhaustion, and the Blues

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, August 26, 2022

Dark Moon

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

Sunny and warm

Yesterday was a frustrating day. I went down to the artists working group. Interesting group of people, perfectly nice, and in a variety of disciplines. It was a lot of need and few resources. One individual was trying to get other members of the group to volunteer to do the job for which she is paid. Nope. I’m not doing that. I also realized that every other person in the group had a salaried job with regular pay from the organization they represented. I was the only one where the art is my day job. Yet every time something was brought up to be done as free labor, the undercurrent was that I should jump in and volunteer. Nope. Not doing it.

To be fair, some of that might have been projection on my part, because the demand made of me in the previous location was always, “You don’t have a real job. You have the time to take this on. You owe it to us, because you think you’re all that being a full-time writer.” Which is, of course, bullshit, because writing IS my real job, and I’m not putting aside my own work to do other people’s unpaid labor because they resent that my art is my real job. Again, that was in the previous location. No one said that in the meeting yesterday, so I might have projected the undercurrent due to previous experience. I don’t want to be unfair to anyone here, and what’s been so refreshing here is that they do respect art as a real job.

I will give the group one more shot next month, and then I’m pretty sure I will withdraw. And I guarantee that not one of them will have bothered to check out my work at all between now and then. And I will have checked out all of them.

I’m not getting sucked into another non-reciprocal environment.

I’m looking for an artists’ working group where working artists actually go out and about supporting each other’s work, and, as they get to know it, find ways to expand everyone’s work  to a broader audience. Not a group where people whine, but those being paid by exterior sources except free labor from the rest of us.

It’s noisy in the neighborhood, between renovations happening and students moving in and not understanding how their voices carry yet. When some random stranger brings up something intimate they said that they didn’t realize carried over the whole neighborhood, they’ll learn to quiet down. I mean, if we have to listen to their lives, at least live an interesting life. So far, it’s all eye-rollingly banal. But this is the way it happens, the first few weeks, when people are anxious and lonely and unsettled, and then they start feeling better and it all calms down. If I wasn’t so burned out, I would barely notice.

I was exhausted, burned out, and had a bad case of the blues all day. It didn’t help when the book I read, the newest in a series by an author whose work I have supported for years, used “witch” as a slur against other women. I notice that one particular publsiher, in particular, has taken a hard turn right in the content of their cozies, and this slur is turning up more and more frequently, in books where authors haven’t used it before, and where it’s not organic in the way the characters have been established. It’s another example of traditional publishing moving right.

I felt slapped in the face and spit on by this particular author, who is someone, like I said, whose work I’ve supported for years, whose events I’ve supported, and who I’ve interviewed for articles several times. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.

Writers can and should write whatever they want. But readers don’t have to engage when it crosses lines unacceptable to them.

Was further frustrated by Staples. I went to order ink and pick it up down at the Pittsfield store. Only it’s not in stock. And they’re not willing to get it into the store for pick up. I could drive to ANOTHER STATE to pick it up, which is unacceptable. I had to order it for delivery. Not only did they charge a shipping fee on an order over $75 (I’ve never paid shipping with anything over $50 before) AND the ink won’t be here until Monday, they refused to honor the ink rebate coupon they’d sent me.

So I guess I have to find another resource for printer supplies. I don’t want to put my money in either Amazon or Walmart. I have to see where else I can order the ink, if I should get it directly from Brother or elsewhere. The prices seem pretty stable wherever the source. It will come down to shipping and other costs. And then other office supplies will need to be sourced elsewhere. I see mentions of indie office supply stores in towns around here; I will start checking them out, and put my money there instead.

So yeah, it was a depressing day, all around. I ended up ordering in Chinese food, because even the thought of heating up leftovers was too much. And two cookbooks I ordered arrived, so that made me happy.

Today, I need to read a friend’s play and give feedback. I have to finish the two script coverages that have been lingering (I’m still fine, deadline-wise). I accepted reading a novel with an eye to adaptation over the weekend that pays well. I read so little last week that it makes sense to read over the weekend. I also have to do some work on the house, so that everything is joyful and sparkling when the inspector comes next week.

I talked to a friend online yesterday, who is also feeling burned out, exhausted, and blue. Part of it could be the weird weather, feeling like it’s in limbo. It’s the end of summer, but hasn’t turned the corner into fall, but doesn’t really feel like either season. Plus, ragweed’s out, which means that goldenrod is soon to follow.

But for me, I think, it goes beyond weather. I think I’ve peopled too much too quickly in the last few weeks. I’m very grateful for the opportunities and invitations and the chance to get to know new people around here. Some opportunities will work out, some will not, but I’ll never know until I take the chance. But I think I stacked up too much too fast. Even though most people are still taking COVID precautions or, at the very least, respecting the precautions, I also feel like I’ve been rolling the dice a few times too often, and I need to back off before I come up snake eyes.

I’m looking forward to the fact that the weather here in the winter is bad, and I won’t be able to do anything beyond the library and the grocery store. I’m ready to hunker down and just focus on the work, with limited socializing (unless it’s old friends). Both for health reasons and for work reasons.

When I said I needed to be re-socialized like a feral cat, I wasn’t kidding.

Ben, my feral cat friend, I am right there with you.

The house next door is getting a new roof. The company is run by a woman, who’s right up there on top of the roof doing the work with her crew. It’s awesome.

I’m frustrated that Amazon doesn’t make it possible to use gift cards or gift tokens for the serial. I have ideas for three small things for the giveaway package that are kind of fun. I’m also working on a couple of designs for bookmarks, that I plan to use to promote the serial. There are a couple of places that print bookmarks reasonably. I may try different designs in small quantities with different companies and see what works best in a quality: price ratio. While I ponder what else to put in the giveaway package.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side. For all the pressure I’m under through the end of this month and into next month, I really need the long weekend next week.

Published in: on August 26, 2022 at 8:41 am  Comments (2)  
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