Tues. March 17, 2020: Finally Some Serious Action Around Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Waning Moon
St. Patrick’s Day

I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed at the cancelled St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. But hey, better safe than dead.

Gotta reach all the way back to last Wednesday to catch up. Wednesday was my birthday. Wrote, got some client work done, and we did the birthday gathering via Skype rather than in-person, for safety’s sake. We each had nibbles and drinks in our own spaces and laughed and talked and lifted our glasses. Virtual party. Not bad.

When I worked for The Interactive Telecommunications Department/Alternate Media Center at NYU as part of my work/study, way back in the 1980’s, we had one of the first virtual videoconferencing holiday parties with our counterparts in China. It was fun — and technology’s come a long way since then!

Read in the evening, got some writing done, did some more cleaning.

Got a fabulous birthday gift from a friend — his original art work! I’m looking forward to finding just the right frames for it and hanging it up.

Thursday was the big cleaning day. I made one quick run to the library to drop off/pick up books, and the rest of the day was spring cleaning. Finished washing the windows, at least inside. Polished furniture, including the front door (which is wood). Scrubbed down everything, including doorknobs. Vacuumed — the two and a half hour detailed vacuuming, not the usual weekly 90-minute vacuuming. Scrubbed floors. It gave us a jump start on the spring cleaning, while also giving us the chance to do some deep cleaning/disinfecting, in light of everything that’s going on.

Friday morning, our landlord arrived early, but stayed out in his truck and/or talked to us from halfway across the yard. The Energy Guy came, complete with gloves, gear, etc. We weren’t sick AND we’d disinfected the whole house the day before, AND we were his first stop of the day, so it was all a pretty decent scenario all the way around.

The guy was really nice. He was pleased that all our bulbs are energy efficient already. He checked the insulation, and wants to add a little in the attic, and more in the unfinished part of the basement. He also said they’re going to replace both the fridge and the washer. The fridge was switched out last summer when the other fridge died — this one is original to the house, which means it’s about 50 years old. The new fridge will have the freezer at the bottom, which is much easier. The washer will be a front-load — my preference. The washer/dryer were replaced about six or seven years ago, and I’d hoped it would be with a front-load, but it wasn’t, and this top loader’s been eating clothes ever since.

I said that since I was just the tenant, the landlord had to be okay with all these choices. The energy guy said, no, since I AM the tenant, I make these choices. The landlord is the one who wants the loan for the new furnace. That means he has to comply with/allow all these upgrades from this company — which are FREE to him — in order to get the loan. On top of that, he can’t raise our rent or sell the house to anyone but us for at least a year after the work is COMPLETE.

Good to know.

Especially since none of this hoopla was necessary, because our rent more than pays for a new furnace.

But again — I have to take off work for the construction. I have to take off work for the appliance deliveries — do they not understand that people here WORK for a living?

Anyway, he was very nice and done in an hour, so it was all good. Left us more light bulbs and a fridge thermometer and all kinds of swag. — emphasizing again, it was for US, not the landlord.

Once he was done, I headed to CVS to pick up my pre-op prescription. Which CVS refused to fill. They shrugged and said, “We don’t like your insurance, it’s not authorized, there’s no way it can be fixed.”

Which, of course, is all B.S. — and it’s not up to them to “like” my insurance. I realize they ate AETNA insurance, but that doesn’t mean we all now have AETNA. Bite me, assholes.

But I was still overwrought and burst into tears in the car.

Pulled myself together, did a little grocery shopping. Trader Joe’s was plague of the locusts. I got the last loaf of multi-grain bread. I only needed about 10 things — everyone else had shopping carts FILLED and the shelves were practically empty. You mean they’re actually starting to take things seriously?

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up. They’re taking precautions, I’m taking precautions. I’m not doing any work there, just switching out books and DVDS. They’re wiping everything down, and so am I when I get them home. They’ve cancelled all programs until the end of April.

Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich closed schools until the end of March. NYPL is closed until the end of March. West Dennis Library is closed for the next few weeks. Broadway is shuttered for awhile — let’s hope the unions are stepping up to help their members out of work right now, because I seriously doubt the producers will.

I keep expecting my surgery to get postponed, but they’re trying to get me through it before it hits crisis point here.

Talked to the office of the specialist doing next week’s surgery about the prescription. They will sort it out. I can pick it up today, supposedly. I’ll believe that when it happens. CVS sucks.

Home, tried to recover, showered, headed back to the first specialist for my follow-up appointment. We all kept safe distances in the waiting room, and the doctor and I spoke across the room.

I didn’t need to go through an exam because all the pathology came back clean, my blood work is good (except for the anemia), my vitals are good, and I’m healing. He’s very pleased. He said he’d only need to see me every 1-2 years from here out, and he doesn’t believe I’ll EVER need the more radical surgery, and that I’ll be healthier for the rest of my life because I didn’t have it. I’m grateful for that.

He believes the pathology from the upcoming surgery will come back clean, too, based on the tests. I hope he’s right.

Relieved. Won’t be time to pop the champagne cork until the pathology results come back from the next surgery, but let’s hope for the best. Had he not fixed the problem that led to the first surgery, there’s a good chance I’d be dead; however, since he was able to fix it and it wasn’t part of a bigger problem, things are looking up.

Provided I don’t get COVID-19.

So that was a happy relief.

Worked on books for review. Also read the first book of a new series, HERE COMES THE BODY by Maria DiRico. Hilarious. Absolutely loved it. Set in Astoria and Manhattan by someone who actually knows the area, with smart, engaging characters, it was a ton of fun.

I’ve ordered the first book in her other series (under a different name). She’s a damn good writer, and I look forward to more of her books, under whatever names.

The cats got me up way too early on Saturday. Fed them, wrote. Made a quick library run to drop off/pick up. Put some gas in the car, just to be safe.

Stayed in and read most of the day. Got some writing done, but not much. It’s tough to concentrate with all this going on. Did laundry.

Hearing from friends and acquaintances who are bored and home and want to talk. Well, honey, that’s lovely, but: A) I have hyperaccusis and the phone is not an option; and B) MY schedule isn’t all that different. I’m still working. Most of my work is remote. My schedule’s still packed, except I’m not going to co-working spaces or working out of the library. Some projects for small businesses are cancelling because they’re closed indefinitely. I need to replace that work and meet the deadlines of the work I still have. Just in case the work dries up. And then there’s C) which is that I have yet more surgery coming up this week, so I have to work ahead (again) and prepare myself both mentally and physically for that. Nattering is not on the menu right now. It adds more stress, not less.

Email me. Most of you haven’t been in touch for a few years anyway. There’s this attitude (again) that your time is more valuable than mine. It’s not. I can’t drop everything because it’s finally convenient for you. We can catch up by email. I’ll answer when I can. But I’m not losing what work I have because you’re home and bored! Nor am I repeating the same information over and over again because you can’t be bothered to check the blog or social media. I’m using technology to keep in touch, here, people! Twenty-first century and all.

Waiting for a payment from one of the radio plays that’s now nearly two months after the fact. Reviewing is remote, and I’m upping the reading to up the income as much as I can, while still being thorough and responsible. Plus, I still have contest entries to work on, which I will focus on more, especially if one client in particular pulls the plug or insists on putting us in danger. I might end up unemployed from that gig, but at least I’d be alive. As would my mom. I’m more worried about her, because she’s in her nineties.

I have some money coming in over the next few months, but I count on the part-time regular gig to make up the difference. And the decent money’s not until at least May, and some in June/July, so that doesn’t help right now. Waiting to hear back on a few article pitches, and prepping a few more. Fingers crossed that they hit the right sweet spots. All of that can be done remotely and safely.

Let’s just say I have no faith that we’d actually get paid sick leave, no matter what the House of Representatives passed. Companies will wiggle out of it, and since McConnell’s priority was a three-day fundraising weekend with Brett Kavanaugh of all people — who, as a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t appear at ANY fundraiser — let’s just say I have my doubts anything will happen.

Universal Basic Income for the next three months would save a lot of jobs and lives, but they’re more interested in giving the money to Wall Street than to anyone who, you know, WORKS for a living.

People are dying because the government is more interested in personal profit. I mean, this is not new. I noticed it during the Reagan years and since. But it’s completely out of control.

Didn’t sleep well on Saturday night. Too worried about everything. I mean, we have plenty of supplies. I might not be able to cook exactly what I want at this very moment, but there’s plenty of food in stock, for us and the cats, and cat litter.

The cats got me up at 4 AM Sunday. Fed them and went back to bed, but they weren’t having it. So I was up early, did some writing, worked on reviews.

Worked ahead on some blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice. I want to schedule them to post over the next few weeks, since who knows what will be going on.

Did a little bit of work in the yard. The yard is big enough so I’m not putting anyone at risk by working out there, especially if no one else is in their yards. Of course, the men who are quarantined/isolating use this as an excuse to destroy everyone’s peace and quiet by using the noisiest leaf blowers and power tools possible. I realize they’re trying to quiet their anxiety, but ruining everyone else’s quiet and upping the anxiety around them isn’t the right choice. Do the work. QUIETLY. Have some respect for your neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually ENJOY my deck and yard this spring and summer? Which I haven’t been able to do for the last few years because it’s AS noisy around here now as it was living on the corner of 42nd St. & 8th Avenue in NYC across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Read, wrote, yard work, pretty typical Sunday.

Up early Monday. Wrote. Got some client work done. Had to go to the grocery store to pick up some pre-op prep (special diet on Thursday). The library has closed until further notice. Home, scrubbed down, rested, read, wrote.

Today, more client work. Hopefully, more books to review come in electronically. Any day the weather’s nice, I’ll also try doing some work in the yard. Will also see if I can lift enough to go back to purging the basement.

It’s more the worry about what’s out of my control. My actual schedule is pretty steady —  after all, most of my work is remote. There are a few things about which I worry, and I’m taking extra precautions. The big worry is the Fox News viewers (of which there are too many) who are deliberately going around putting others at risk. Trying to avoid them can be tricky.

Fingers crossed (and washed) that we get through this.

 

Thurs. March 12, 2020: Sometimes You Outgrow Places

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Waning Moon

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Lots to talk about, lots to think about. Yesterday was my birthday; tomorrow is Friday the 13th (one of my favorite days) which will encompass the pain-in-the-butt Home Energy Assessment in the morning, and then the follow-up appointment with the specialist in the afternoon. Next week is the next surgery.

It’s been a little more than a month since this particular health emergency started. It feels like much longer, because it’s taken up so much of my life, and put me behind in several areas of my life. I’m starting to take control again (and will do more so after the next surgery), make decisions, weigh evidence, and do what I can about moving forward in the areas that need change. I’ve learned a lot. Some of those have been hard lessons, but knowing is always better than not knowing.

I’ve been lucky in the support I’ve had around me from friends and coworkers and some random people I’ve met through different arenas. Seriously, something as simple as “I’m thinking of you. I hope you’re doing well” makes a huge, positive difference.

The silences have been telling, too.

The most disappointing one is from my yoga studio, and I’ve given a lot of thought to that. It has put into perspective and brought into light some things that have bothered me throughout my time at the studio, but I was willing to overlook, because I felt what I gained in terms of deepening my practice outweighed the things that bothered me.

That balance has shifted.

I have attended that particular studio for nearly two years now. Weekly, most of the time. Sometimes more than once a week. The location works. I like the atmosphere most of the time, the teaching style, the flexibility, and the price.

I’d visited the studio, which was under different ownership, when I first moved here. The owner at the time told me that it was useless to go unless I attended class there 2-3x week, and my only option was to be on Auto-pay. I could drop in once to try out a class, but after that, everything had to be booked ahead of time and on Auto-pay. I explained that, as a freelancer, that didn’t work for me. My schedule changes day-to-day, week-to-week. My income fluctuates. I can buy something like a 10-class pass, but I don’t do Auto-pay (not to mention that any Auto-Pay I’ve been on for anything has regularly simply taken whatever sum of money out of the account whenever they wanted, whether or not it was something I actually bought). The owner argued with me. I thanked her for my time, told her this was not the right studio for me, and that was that.

I was with another studio for about a year in another town, about a half hour’s drive. I liked a lot about it, but the teacher started making classes about her instead of about the practice, so I left. The first two summers I was here, I did sunrise yoga on the beach in Chatham, but over the years, with the increased traffic, the hour-long drive turned into nearly two hours each way, even that early in the morning, and it became unfeasible.

It never even occurred to me to go back to that first studio until I started studying with a specific teacher at her special events. I liked her style. She brought flyers in about her regular teaching — and she was at that studio. I mentioned I’d had a bad experience when I first moved here, and she told me the studio had changed owners.

I went back, I liked it for the most part, and I’ve been there for about the past two years. Last spring, there was an incident where I felt my trust had been broken; we sort of worked it out, although the studio did not fulfill a promise it made to help make things right. But I liked the studio, the teacher with whom I studied most often, the other teachers whose classes I tried, most of the other students. Some of the students only want to study with one teacher; I don’t like to get dependent on a teacher in that way. Life means change; teachers leave or go to another profession. I also like learning from teachers with different styles. I feel that enriches my practice. The price worked within my freelance life, and the payment schedule had options — you can have auto-pay, but you don’t HAVE to. Regular drop-ins are fine; if a class has finite room, they let you know. I sometimes felt like the teacher was trying to micro-control a little too much, especially in student interactions, but I thought maybe I was imagining it.

One of the things that has bothered me in all the studios here on Cape is the lack of community. They talk “community” constantly, but it doesn’t really exist. For the most part, we’re respectful and polite to each other in class. There’s some chatting amongst students. But most people are there for a respite from their day, not another social obligation. Some people come with friends, and they only interact with those friends. Some come in and out. But most people go to class and then leave.

In other areas I’ve lived/practiced over the decades, you wind up getting to know the “regulars” pretty well in class. They might not be your best friends, but generally, the chatting before or after class gets longer and longer, and there are usually one or two people with whom you connect and are in contact with outside of the studio. Maybe you’ll have coffee or a cocktail occasionally. Take a walk on the beach. Sign up for a workshop together you might not take on your own. If someone from class is sick, or suffers a loss, or has a crisis, one’s fellow practitioners rally around and offer support. Sometimes it’s in the form of physically doing something for someone (I’ve made casseroles, run errands, walked dogs, done laundry, etc. for fellow practitioners); sometimes it’s sending good thoughts, listening, just letting them know you care. There’s a sense of community.

Not here. People who’ve grown up here tend to stay friends with people they’ve known since childhood and not make new friends. Many of the people around here spend part of the year living elsewhere. They get together with their nearest neighbors when everyone’s home, have their families visit, but that’s it. I’ve tried to make plans with people from class, and they never come to fruition. Which is fine; if someone doesn’t want to hang out, I’d rather not hang out than one or both of us feeling forced and uncomfortable. I make plans once; if they don’t happen because the other person cancels, and the other person then doesn’t take the lead to make future arrangements, I let it go. To me, it means the person doesn’t want to spend time together, and that’s fine.

I also understand that far too many people who aren’t retired and living off investments have to work multiple jobs and are exhausted most of the time. But this attitude that “I don’t want friends” — which is said often in all kinds of contexts, disturbs me.

As a theatre person, where we build families of choice and expand them with every show, where the attitude is, “There’s always room for one more; pull up a chair” that’s an anomaly to me.

But people are who they are, and no one wants to be forced to be around people with whom they don’t want.

However, if you’re going to run around talking about compassion and community and connection in class, shouldn’t you also practice it outside of class?

Otherwise, yoga class serves the same purpose as going to church: you show up once a week and mouth meaningless words, then go back to being a jerk as soon as you walk out the door.

Another thing that bothers me (along with the lack of diversity) is that only Rich White Republican Ladies have the right to feel safe in class. Again, there’s all this talk about safety and inclusion. But when it comes down to it, Rich White Republican Ladies can say any racist, sexist, homophobic, inappropriate remarks, and we are all just supposed to sit there and put up with it because “it’s just the way they are.” But if anyone calls them on it, or makes a remark that is in opposition to something the Rich White Republican Ladies want to hear, the accusation is about “don’t bring politics into the studio” and making it “unsafe space.” Why are only the Rich White Republican Ladies entitled to a lack of politics and safe space?

And, in the world we’re living in, if you claim to follow yogic teachings, you’re not living your path if you’re not speaking up and acting to change things.

Whether or not it makes Rich White Republican Ladies uncomfortable or not.

This happens in studios all over the Cape, in my experience. I get that these studios are a business, and the Rich White Republican Ladies make up the bulk of the student population. Studios don’t want and can’t afford to lose the money.

But I want to be around people living their practice, not treating it like Religion Lite, where they mouth banalities so they can feel better about themselves and keep acting like entitled jerks.

I’m tired of the Rich White Republican Ladies doing and saying whatever nasty, inappropriate thing they want and getting away with it, but no one else can speak a different truth. It taints the purpose and the practice for me.

Another aspect of studio life around here I think is odd is that there aren’t classes on holidays. I get it on the big family ones, but a lot of these holiday Mondays are time that people who wouldn’t normally be able to attend class could. But classes are usually cancelled. Is it because the teachers need a break, too (which is understandable)? Or because people don’t show up on holiday Mondays here, unlike in other places where I’ve lived, where they flock to class on days off?

Thinking about this all and pulling it apart stemmed from the silence from the studio since I’ve been sick. I’m usually in regular contact with either the teacher or the owner. If I have to miss a class, such as the Monday meditation group to which I’ve gone for two years, I let them know ahead of time instead of just not showing up. The teacher has our emails and lets us know if there will be a sub or if class is cancelled for weather, or she’s sick or something else comes up. If she’s got something going on, I offer support, either by offering to do something tangible or doing energy work.

I thought the teacher and I built up a good relationship. We could talk about various issues, share good news and bad, have exchanged cards and small gifts over the years. Not quite friendship, in that we didn’t hang out away from the studio, but respect and appreciation.

If you’ve been following the bouncing IV needle here for the past few months, you know that when I had the urgent care visit and the first doctor basically told me I was at death’s door, I got in touch with the teacher. I let her know I had a medical emergency and was facing surgery or a series of surgeries and wouldn’t be in for awhile. I said that when it was all done, I would like to book a (paid, full price) healing session with her, but I didn’t know when it would be, because things were changing and getting booked day-to-day. She offered to do distance healing as a “gift” and said she needed some things from me in order to do it, and did I want more information? I said I wanted more information. She sent me a list that was absolutely overwhelming to me at that time while I was trying to deal with a slew of emergency medical appointments and surgery that had to happen within a week or two — AND said I had to book three healing sessions at a specific time at X price.

Now, I’m already frightened and vulnerable and losing work and worried about medical bills I didn’t expect. Everything is in flux and changing day to day; test results determine the next steps and how fast they have to happen. I CAN’T book three sessions. I can’t commit to the time and then cancel out at the last minute — it’s not fair to anyone. I don’t know what my financial situation will be due to missed work and incoming bills, and can’t take on any additional financial commitments, either. A “free” first session doesn’t mean a whole lot when the rest of the REQUIRED sessions (which I’d have to cancel anyway) are out of my reach financially. And the list of stuff she “needed” was overwhelming to me at the time.

I told her I couldn’t commit right now, because everything was in flux, and right now, the list was overwhelming and I couldn’t put it together and send it to her.

She argued with me. It wasn’t “what do you need, how can I help?” It was “Do what I tell you to do on my schedule.” Which rather shocked me, in the context of the past two years, and in the practice in general. She argued that putting together the list would “only take a few minutes” (no, it wouldn’t, and since I could barely even move at the time, it was too damn much), and that I NEEDED to do these sessions. Um, no, I NEEDED to work with the doctors so I wouldn’t die. That was the first priority. I had to not die. Then I get to heal.

I said I could not commit to it right now, with everything happening and changing so fast. She then told me I needed to book the post-surgery healing session now, because she books a few weeks in advance.

At that point, I didn’t know when the first surgery was scheduled or what came next. I told her I couldn’t.

I have never heard from her again. Not one word, since the 10th of February. Not one “how are you doing? I’m thinking of you.” Nothing. I didn’t want or need anyone from the studio to DO anything for me, but some good wishes would have been appreciated. But there was only silence.

Which tells me a great deal.

Compare that to the editor for the big article. We’d never worked together before. I was upfront with her about what was going on, got her the material ahead of deadline, and she worked with me around the surgery for the edits. This is someone who never knew me before, and she gave me more support than someone I’d been in weekly practice with for two years.

Heck, yoga studios into which I’ve dropped in occasionally in both Maine and Central Massachusetts have been in more frequent and more supportive touch than the studio in which I practiced regularly for the past two years.

I haven’t heard from the studio owner, either. Nor from anyone in the class.

Silence.

I am only a source of income to the teacher and the studio owner; I am irrelevant to my fellow practitioners. That’s the reality, no matter how many pretty words and phrases in which they try to wrap up the class experience.

I let myself feel the hurt and anger, because it existed. Silly to pretend it didn’t. No one wants to feel like they don’t matter. And then, I started picking at the threads of things that had bothered me over the time there, the things mentioned above, but that I’d chosen not to make a big deal out of because I felt what I got out of practicing there outweighed what bothered me.

That is no longer true.

I am deeply, deeply grateful for two years of deepening my practice and learning and growing. But I’ve gone as far as I can there. I need something else from practice-in-company and a studio experience. They are who they are, and they do what they do. I need something different.

I seriously doubt I will find it on Cape. I look at the other studios — auto-pay, demands that you attend several times a week (do they not realize that people work? Or are their only students more Rich White Republican Ladies who don’t work)?

I see a lot of the words of “inclusion” and “welcome” and “sanctuary” but I’m not seeing a whole lot of evidence of walking the talk. I may try some open houses that studios often give in early summer to attract the summer people, but I think the bulk of the practice will be home or remote study via online workshops (smarter in this time of virus anyway).

I worked to a place where I’m at peace with that. Acknowledge the hurt and anger, release it instead of letting it fester, realize I can’t get what I now need, and search for it elsewhere, while still growing my practice. I leaned on my practice, especially meditation, a LOT during this entire health crisis, and it was a huge help. I didn’t miss a single day of meditation through the whole thing. No matter how I felt, I sat at least once a day, often twice. I used breathing techniques in various appointments and in the hospital to get me through stressful or painful times. It made a difference.

Then I get an email from the studio on Tuesday. I saw the sender (the owner) and thought maybe she wants to let me know they’re thinking of me and hoping my recovery is going well. Silly me! Obviously I haven’t learned as much as I thought I had from this experience.

It was an email addressing the worries about the Corona virus. Which is a good thing. Talking about policies and practices and how everyone can protect each other. Responsible and necessary.

Then, they slip in the middle of the email that they’re going to start charging a rental fee for the mats in the studio to make sure they get cleaned properly. Um, what? We clean the studio mats after we use them. They claim it’s “temporary” but you know it will simply never get rolled back. Added fees are never rolled back; a new reason is always found for them. But people are “welcome” to bring their own gear to class.

So either rent the disinfected gear or bring in your own germy mat and contaminate the space? Seriously? People bringing in their own gear is MUCH riskier than using disinfected mats in the space. Because you KNOW people aren’t cleaning their mats every time they bring them to class.

It’s a way to get more money out of the students.

The email angered me. And then I laughed. Because it reinforced my decision that this is not the place for me anymore. And that’s okay.

I can still appreciate all I’ve learned and know it’s time for new teachers and new experiences. As a teacher myself, I’m delighted when my students outgrow what I can give them and soar. I’m very proud of former writing students who are out there in the trenches writing and publishing and living the writing life.

It has not been an easy journey, navigating these emotions and realizations along with everything else going on. But it’s been important.

Let’s hope I can apply the lessons moving forward.

Tomorrow is busy in all kinds of ways, and Monday is the Intent post, so it’ll be Tuesday before we have a good natter again, and I can fill in on the low-key birthday and whatever else happens over the weekend.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and peace.

 

Published in: on March 12, 2020 at 5:57 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. Aug. 13, 2019: Keep on Keeping On

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter DIRECT (As of Sunday)
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days.

Got some stuff done at the library Friday morning, then went to the yoga studio. Class was packed (I usually can’t take that session). In fact, there was someone I hadn’t seen in about three years there.

I was a little too relaxed when I got out of yoga class. I still had a lot to do that day, and all I wanted to do was nap!

Friday afternoon was about housework and cooking. The downstairs is quite tidy now.

Saturday, I finished up some more food. We had company in the morning, from Greenwich, and a nice catch-up. I drove them to the ferry — they’re on their way to Nantucket. After years of summer rentals, they actually hope to buy something.

Read in the afternoon and evening, and percolated a bit on some stories that want to be told.

Heard about the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide.” Yeah, right. Just way too convenient, especially for the Narcissistic Sociopath. And Barr in charge of the investigation? What a joke. The whole thing is disgusting.

Finished reading a thriller trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book. I got ahead of the story a bit on the second book. It happened even more in the third book, and I anticipated the ending I hoped wouldn’t wind up the way it did. I was disappointed. I feel the author cheated his trio of protagonists (and his readers) from the ending they earned. While the first book was fantastic, the trilogy as a whole left me depressed and unsatisfied. It was a very male ending, meaning that it was what I expected from a male writer, and disappointed when it happened. It was what all those middle-aged male writers trying to be hip do to punish their characters (especially their female characters) and act like they’re creating great fiction. Would a female writer have made the same choices with that plot? Possibly, but most of the women writers in the genre I admire would have done it differently, I believe, and in a more satisfying way.

Also read a book by an author about whose work I have mixed feelings. I’ve read several of her books, and every one leaves me with mixed feelings. They’re a little too cutesy-wootsy for my taste. Her protagonists rely on being rescued by men too much, instead of saving themselves or the partners working together to survive . She’s a writer, but with such a limited vocabulary that she misuses words like “witch” — if you use “witch” to mean a nasty woman instead of a spell-caster, you’re knocked off my reading list. It’s insulting and careless. It’s bad writing. Also, in this particular book, she had characters who were supposedly involved in theatre. She might have gone to one community theatre production in her life, but she sure as hell didn’t do any research. She knows nothing about how theatre works and nothing about actors or tech people. Her tone in writing about them was condescending — along with not having done her research. I have one more book ordered via Commonwealth Catalog that I can’t cancel. I’ll try a few pages before I send it back. But I am DONE with her.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but Saturday night into Sunday, I had a nightmare about a mass shooting. I’m not going to detail the dream here, but it unnerved me for the rest of the weekend. in my personal journal, I wrote about it in detail, and I intend to use bits of it in a new piece I’m developing. But I would have rather never had the dream in the first place. It was too vivid. Too many sensory details.

Worked on the article for Llewellyn. That will go out in a couple of days. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on ELLA. It’s slowed down, and I have to figure out a few things to make this last third of the book work. Played with some ideas for DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN, which has a very broken (female) protagonist who relates to the dead body she trips over a little too much.

Getting some good work done on GRAVE REACH. I need to get this draft done this week and off to the editor, so we can go into galleys.

Playing with the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which has to go into the back of GRAVE REACH.

Worked on the book I’m reviewing. I’m also reading the book for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Need to spend more time on Ello this week.

Working on a couple more article pitches. They’re not quite where I want them in order to go out. But I hope to get them out this week.

I can’t seem to shake this lethargy and exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep, but I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up.

I had terrible allergy problems on Sunday with the ragweed and goldenrod coming into bloom. Constant sneezing, runny eyes. I finally broke down and took a Benedryl, which knocked me out and I slept for 11 hours. Felt a little better on Monday. Even non-drowsy anti-histamines knock me out.

Monday was fine onsite with a client, and I expect today and tomorrow will be challenging.

Monday afternoon’s meditation group was much-needed.

Back to the page.

 

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Cold, rainy day yesterday.

Worked on the adaptation. In this section, I can stay close to the original screenplay; however, I have to add quite a bit later on for it all to make sense and really hold together as a novel. There are quick explanations that one can get away with in a screenplay that simply won’t hold up in the novel. For it to have the emotional impact I want, I have to deepen it, layer it, work out some of the kinks. I’m also deepening the relationship between Zenda and Sam earlier. While, if this was visual and I had three-dimensional actors working the material, a great deal could be left unsaid. Their bodies would do the “speaking” instead of the words. In the novelization, a great deal remains unspoken between them, but it still needs to be on the page. Even if it’s done through action and gesture and behavior rather than narration, it still needs to be there.

Worked on Yuri’s Tale. Actually, I stopped working to make some continuity notes and do some world-building. The problem with that is that I wind up staring at the page. Unlike Earth Bride, where I could do dozens of pages of world-building as I created the outline and THEN write, the participants in Yuri’s Tale want to reveal it to me as it goes along. So I’m doing more note-taking than world-building and letting the characters reveal the world to be in this draft. A little frustrating, but. . .that’s the way it is. Also, I realized I need to start the book with Esmé, not Yuri (yet another reason the title needs to change). At first I thought it could be a prologue, but the more I mull it over, the more I realize no, it needs to be a chapter focused on Esmé before they arrive in Solmer and Yuri’s taven. I’ll set part of it on the ship The Sea Trotter, and part of it . . .well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!

This is the kind of situation where a writer who insists on total control over everything from the get-go would just stop. But, if you trust your characters (i.e., your subconscious) to get you through even the disjointed bits, you’ll push through and have something better at the end than if you tried to control it all so tightly before you set a word on paper. Rewrites are good places to impose structure and logic. First drafts are to trust your characters and your imagination.

Did an extra yoga session yesterday afternoon and it made a big difference.

Commute sucked both ways, and too many SFT’s in the city. Brandy and Melissa, you wouldn’t behave like an SFT, because you naturally think about others. It’s your nature. I don’t mind the tourists who come here and are amazed by all the wonderful things in New York; I mind the ones who are rude, thoughtless (it’s not New Yorkers who are rude, it’s the tourists), and treat those of us who live here as though we’re their personal maids.

Show was fine. I had to tell one of my Dear Hearts this was our last week working together on this show; he’s off to do another show (he’ll be wonderful in it) and I’m covering the Preakness during his last weekend on this show. So we are going to savor every performance together this week! Seriously, working with these actors is always good for me – they’re loving and joyful as well as being talented, and working with them opens my heart a little every time. Which is good, considering how closed and ready for battle I always have to be in my own home.

I have to go and pitch a fit at the credit union this morning. It seems anyone can walk up to any ATM and wipe out my checking and savings, as they did in January, but I can’t get to my own money, and I’m sick of it.

Taped a show last night on which I thought an acquaintance was guest-starring (because he told me so). He’d teased me that he’d call at midnight to see how I liked it (I got home at 11). So I watch the whole darned thing – and he’s not on it! He called, I mentioned it, and he said, “Yeah, that kind of sucks, doesn’t it?” I’m not sure if the episodes got shuffled around or he’s in an upcoming one or what. And it’s not a show I’d watch if he hadn’t told me he had a guest spot! He so owes me! 😉

Very short writing day today; I have two shows and I have to take a train shortly after 10:30. I want to get more writing done before that, so this is a short post.

Devon

Adaptation: 23,460 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23 / 90
(25.6%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Slowly Returning to the World of the Living

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I survived. I feel like hell, battling the second day of a migraine, but I survived.

On Monday morning, I was up at 3 AM. I did a good hour and a half of yoga, fed the cats, and did the last minute stuff to prepare for the window crew. By 6:30, I was totally ready for them and just sitting around. I managed to capture and crate the cats by 7:30 (took the opportunity when I could), and took them to a neighbor’s shortly thereafter.

The felines were NOT amused. Iris screamed in her crate for THREE HOURS without stopping. I had someone sit with the crate on the lap, trying to keep her quiet. No go. That cat is a drama queen. Elsa complained once or twice, but she was pretty calm. Violet was angry. She didn’t scream, but she was determined to find a way out. There was a point where she was upside down in the crate, trying to chew her way through the bars. She managed to work part of the door out of its fastening, but I found out and tied it shut.

The window crew arrived at 8:30. The windows were all out in the blink of an eye. It took 3 guys to get out the air conditioner that had been put in in 1973, and it’s still in the middle of the bedroom, because the building can’t be bothered to send anyone to get it out, and I can’t even slide it anywhere. It’s that heavy. The new windows went in fairly quickly, but this apartment is an anomaly – each window is a different size, but only by between ¼ and ¾ of an inch. Just enough to really screw everyone up. Especially since the team was told that all the windows on this side of the building are the same size, and heaven forbid our management company should set up appropriate measuring appointments. And there was some rotted wood around some of the frames. So they had to build some new somethings or others in order to have something on which to fasten the new window frames. I was the only one who actually cleared back the requested five feet of workspace, so they had the room to work.

In spite of it all, they were completely finished within only two hours. Three weeks of prep work and schlepping for two damn hours. But the crew was terrific – fast, efficient, and really, really nice. The windows let in a lot more light (hey, they’re clean for one thing, and, again, it’s not like management ever cleaned the windows, and we couldn’t clean them from the outside.) These we can.

I spent the afternoon sanding the sills. The window crew hadn’t damaged them; they’d been damaged in the bad weather around the flooding this time last year, because the old windows weren’t securely sealed. So I sanded, primed and did two coats of paint (I still had the Snowy Egret left over from when I painted the place in ’06). We put back a few things, but until these old air conditioners are out of here, we’re at a stopping point. Kind of frustrating.

The cats ran around and screamed a lot. Violet was completely over-stimulated and wouldn’t sleep. She was hissing and fretting all evening. Elsa and Iris settled down as soon as they saw their bowls were back in the kitchen.

Yesterday, I woke up with a migraine. I managed to drag myself out of bed. I worked on the screenplay – up to p. 113, past the re-creation of lost material and on to new material. I also turned around a piece for Confidential Job #2, and worked on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, which is due today, so as soon as I post this, I’m back to working on that.

They turned off the heat on Monday at 9 AM and it wasn’t back on until 6:30 this morning, in spite of the fact that Monday night and last night it was in the 30s here. And, because we were without windows for a couple of hours, the apartment got really cold on Monday. If you want to learn how to spell scumbag, just look up our landlords. Totally illegal and they totally don’t care.

I’ll have a couple of new articles appearing soon, one in a magazine for writers called Vision. I’ll put up the link when it runs.

The next few days will be spent putting together writing samples promised to a few people, drafting a monologue for a friend, working on the screenplay, hustling for work, and, of course, trying to figure out what to bring back from storage and what to leave in. I am NOT bringing it all back. I’ll have to figure out when I can head to Maine to see my grandmother – maybe by midweek next week. I also have to watch a bunch of video as research for some interviews I’m doing. It’s impossible to concentrate with a pounding head. Excedrin Migraine takes off the edge, but that’s all.

I need to get the pre-Derby article done as well. The Derby is a-coming – and my first choice horse is out, due to injury, and my next two choices haven’t done well in the past few weeks. So I have to look over the entire field again and re-shuffle my Derby deck.

And the hockey playoffs are happening, so I have to pay attention.

I’m hoping, in a few days, as I slowly put the apartment back to rights, it will be easier to concentrate. I’m re-arranging stuff, too. Just because I don’t plan to be here much longer doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look good while I’m here.

I bought pansies yesterday – they’re such a cheerful flower, and now that the apartment is so much lighter, they’ll be able to thrive.

I did my taxes on Sunday. I had all my receipts done and collected throughout the year, so it was a case of sitting down with the folders and adding up the numbers. It took about an hour. This is the first time I had to file a Schedule E because of royalties – pain in the butt to fill it out, but a good feeling that I finally have to declare royalties on my taxes!

Back to work. Someday my head will stop pounding and I’ll feel human again.

Devon

Script Frenzy – 113 pages out of 100 pages (113%).

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 8:26 am  Comments (8)  

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was gray and gloomy. I never left the apartment. I wrote, read, did some yoga, and slept all day. Emphasis on the sleeping. I’m just worn out. I’m both bone weary and soul weary.

I’m reading Sharon Shinn’s THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE and really enjoying it.

Got some writing done, but not as much as I wanted. Felt very disconnected from everything, including my characters.

Interesting article in the NYT about how some bloggers are basically blogging themselves to death trying to post continually and get scoops.

I rarely pitch for blogging jobs. I was in negotiations for one a few years ago that I was excited about, but it didn’t pan out, and, looking back, I’m now glad. One, I don’t want to be that tied down — I travel too much, and I have too much on my plate to only sit home and scan the internet and blog. I actually have a life in the real world. Second, I’m not going to blog for $10/post. I’d have to have the guarantee of a couple of hundred dollars per week and then, MAYBE revenue share on top of it. Otherwise, my time is better spent on articles, business writing, and fiction. There are people who make a great living at it, and good for them. But that life is not for me.

Tried to watch PSYCH last night because I sort of half-remembered that someone emailed me about doing a guest spot, only I couldn’t remember who or when and didn’t recognize anyone, so THAT was a waste of an hour. Sigh.

Had a restless night filled with odd dreams, mostly rehashing past events I want to put behind me. Maybe it’s part of the whole letting go thing.

You know when I was woken up by freaking construction noise? Six thirty in the morning! Totally unacceptable. I’m complaining to the tourism board, which is patting itself on the back for all its national and international campaigns. I have a list of things that tourists should know before coming here that the board is shoving under the rug and I, as a travel writer, will NOT.

Did my yoga, went to the patissereie, worked on the screenplay. I’m going to do some more writing this morning, and then meet a friend for lunch. Can’t wait.

Back to the page. I want to get back to Old-Fashioned Detective Work soon. Wyatt wants some attention, and I think I’m ready to respond.

Devon

Published in: on April 7, 2008 at 8:10 am  Comments (7)  

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

“Racing Ink”, the results of yesterday’s picks, is towards the end of this post.

Not much on the writing front today; mostly home-and-hearth kerflamma. A few writing bits sprinkled in, but if you’re here to read about writing process – not much was processing today. Sorry.

My apartment looks like a bookstore after an earthquake. I mean it. I even got three carloads of stuff into storage yesterday, and I’m not seeing a whole lot of headway here. Other than putting books into stacks so that when I get my hands on more book boxes, I can pack by project and actually get at them.

The kitchen altar and main altar area packed, the crystals and prayer flags and all that stuff are packed. That makes me feel very exposed. Oh, horrors, I have to count on my own energy and not external symbols, imagine that. I can hear my friend Gayle right now, “Buck up, bunny!” Okay, okay, I’m bucking up. Plus, it’s not going into storage, jut stacked on top of bookcases away from the windows so I can put it all back as soon as the new windows are in.

So, I’m looking for this DVD of a movie called A Dog’s Breakfast I figured I’d have to order it, but hoped maybe it would be at one of the video stores around here, so on my return trips from the forays to storage, I investigated places in Westchester where one can purchase DVDs. Not such a good selection. At one place, the guy was arguing with me that he’d order it for me if I agreed to purchase a membership and rent it. I said, no, I need to BUY it. He wanted to know why I’d buy a DVD. Not that it was any of his business but: A) I want to support someone whose work I like and respect, so dammit, I’m buying the effing DVD (sort of like buying my friends’ books as they come out in hardcover instead of waiting for the paperback), and B) I know I’m going to have to watch it multiple times for research. A return date is not going to work. I reminded this guy, hello, I’m the CUSTOMER, you’re supposed to SERVE me, not ARGUE with me.

Struggled to get some writing done in the evening; kept getting distracted by research. And pleased because this time next week, I am working onsite, out of town, for a few days, and I can’t wait to get away from the stress for even a short time. I’m putting as many safety mechanisms in place before I go as possible. I’m seriously thinking about using the time to go to ground and just write, read, do yoga, do the work that’s paying me to go out of town and onsite, and not deal with human beings any more than absolutely necessary.

I visited a friend, kind of sprawling on the couch for awhile, and he’s giving me a hard time – in fun, but still a hard time – about something, and I finally said, “If I had the energy, I’d get up and kick your ass”, to which he responded, “Why do you think I picked now to bust your chops about this?” And he wonders why I won’t date him! 😉

I felt I made progress in a different situation with a different person today, when, instead of reacting to something that provoked me, I realized, hey, that’s not this person’s problem, it’s MY problem, and it doesn’t have to be a big deal if I don’t let it. Not only that, if I wasn’t under so much house-and-home stress, it’s not something that would normally bother me. So I let it go, and avoided what could have blown into unnecessary drama. Pick the battle, know when to hold the line or give ground, don’t be a doormat, but don’t look for trouble, either. Because there are just times it’s better to keep one’s mouth shut. This was one of them.

I got a bit of work done on the erotic fairy tale – not easy when I, personally, feel about as sexy as wilted lettuce, and I’m at a point of fatigue where it’s hard to throw the switch into the genre part of my writing brain. I’m sure there are many erotic possibilities in wilted lettuce, but right now, I really don’t want to hear about them. Good thing the men in my life are out of town this week – I’m not a fun date!

I had a few moments of panic when I realized the research books I need for the next two Gwen/Justin adventures (The Balthazaar Treasure and Sandoval’s Secret) went to storage, but they’re in the box marked “priority books”, so they’ll come back the day after the windows go in. I kept telling myself, it’s only for a few weeks, and if I need them THAT badly before, I can open the box and bring them back early. It’s not like the storage units in the city, where I can’t actually GET at anything. In case you’re wondering why I haven’t talked about Tracking Medusa lately, that’s because it’s out in the world, and once I have a signed contract, there will be something to say.

Oh, someone asked what the price was for the new windows – our sanity, of course! What we NEED is flood mitigation. What the scumbags are doing is putting in a few cosmetic touches (and handling them in a way to guarantee the most disruption in our lives as possible) – so that they can flip the building. They have no intention of being around long enough to pay up when the wheels of justice roll in our favor (and they will).

I hope I can resume the house hunting soon. Brandy’s right: I am frustrated; I am angry; I’ve been living under siege for three years, and I’m sick of it. What they want is for us to be scared; I won’t give them that. I’m angry, and I’ll use that anger as a weapon. If it was as simple as renting a truck, packing up and taking off, that’s what I’d do. Unfortunately, this time around, it’s more complicated.

Today’s agenda: more packing and hauling stuff to storage; work on the essay and on the erotic fairy tale. Maybe, just maybe, finish the outline for the piece that has to be started April 1.

My grandmother’s worse again, so somewhere in all of this, I have to figure out a time to get to Maine.

Here’s some Racing Ink:
Eva Maria let me down in Race 2—she came in 5th. But that was nowhere near as disappointing as Moon Catcher in the 5th race, who came in last. Made me glad I tossed some money at Baroness Thatcher just because of Johnny V—they came in 2nd, that’s what I wanted, good for us.

Highest Class came in third and Backseat Rhythm came in fourth in the Bonnie Miss S, so that was also a disappointment.

However, I more than made up for all of it in the Florida Derby. In the post parade, I reshuffled my deck. I liked BB Frank, didn’t think he had it in him today – out. I was on the fence with Face the Cat, in spite of Johnny, so – out. I tossed Fierce Wind, much to the dismay of several colleagues. I liked Elysium Fields and wanted to see Majestic Warrior do well, so I waved some show money at them. That didn’t work so well – Elysium Fields came in second to last, which makes me thinks there’s an injury, and Majestic Warrior was a disappointing sixth.

BUT – Big Brown looked great in the paddock, so I tossed money at him. I got worried in the post parade, because I was afraid he used himself up, but wow! With a great break from the gate, he took control of the race, and never let go. I feared he’d wear down, especially since he did the first quarter in 22 seconds and change, but no – this big brown boy won by 4 ½ lengths. Very impressive.

He’s not yet my top pick for the Derby – he tends towards foot problems, and Churchill’s track is less forgiving than Gulfstream’s. (But then, Point Given also had foot problems, and he was a fantastic horse). War Pass, Pyro, and Georgie Boy still top my list. But he’s worth another look. We’ll see how he comes out of this – and he is 3 for 3.

Arkansas Derby is April 12 – it’ll be interesting to see which, if any horses in that have an impact on the Derby.

I caught up pretty well today for someone who hasn’t been paying attention since November! 😉

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
St. Patrick’s Day
Sunny and mild

Quick post, as I’m running out the door.

Happy Birthday Barbara and Fran!

Hop on over to Mystic Lit to read the first of my three guest blogs on research in writing. They’ll run for three consecutive Mondays. And drop a comment by, so I know you’ve visited!

Weekend was good. Unproductive, but good. Gave myself time off from writing, for the most part. Managed to polish the query letter and I’m finally happy with it.

Worked out like crazy – it felt wonderful, but I’m sore.

Was feeling better about life, the universe, and everything until I came back to the apartment, saw everything that needs to be done, and the battles still to fight and got soul-crushingly depressed.

An extra-long yoga session this morning helped.

The crane accident in NYC is very upsetting. Not only did 4 people die, over a dozen injured, and three are missing, but an entire brownstone was crushed and those people lost everything. For the Mayor of NYC to shrug and say 13 open violation is “usual” for a project of this size is unacceptable. A three-strikes-you’re-out policy must be implemented against these greedy developers. Three strikes and you forfeit the right to develop the property. Period. Let’s face it – none of these people are in it to “better” a neighborhood. They’re in it to make obscene amounts of money off the backs of others. Developers need to start “paying for their sins” because that’s pretty much all they do – hurt people and neighborhoods for personal profit.

Working on-site today instead of from home. Hopefully, I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure I passed 50K over the weekend for the March Literary Challenge, but I won’t have actual numbers until tomorrow.

Devon

b>Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 6:48 am  Comments (6)  

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday started out well and ended horribly.

I had a fairly quiet morning; even got some work done. I went to Greenwich to have lunch with a friend. We walked around a bit, window shopping, and I got to use gift card at a book store, picking up a mystery in a series I enjoy and a fantasy from a writer new-to-me. I can’t stand reading any more paranormal/vampire/werewolf right now. There’s just too much out there, and it’s overkill (no pun intended). We had a lovely time, walking in the sunshine and catching up. It was, literally, a breath of fresh air.

Came back to a very upsetting notice from the scumbag landlords which I can’t get into here, but things are getting much, much worse. Plus, they were scraping around my door all afternoon (which they did last week – why don’t these dumb asses actually FINISH anything?). There’s so much dust it’s hard to breathe. The cats and I are choking. So I have to lose most of the day filing more paperwork with the state.

I can’t leave to go house hunting because I have to be here to prevent illegal entry and possibly harm to the cats. I can’t move without being able to house hunt. So, for the moment, I am ROYALLY SCREWED.

Regarding Spitzer’s hooker chick being offered all this cash for interviews: she better be prosecuted. Living in a $5,000/month apartment is not being a victim. Someone who’s brought over via human trafficking and never sees the money from the use of her body is a victim. A chick making two grand an hour is not a victim. If she was really serious about her music AND ANY GOOD AT IT, she’d do what thousands of other struggling musicians in this town do – live in a reasonably (for New York) priced apartment with roommates, work a bunch of legitimate part time jobs, and pay her dues in the industry. She is not a victim. She is a high-level professional sex worker in an area of the industry that is still illegal. No one’s forcing her to live this life. She chose it. So now it’s time for her to pay the consequences, not make an even bigger profit from it. Our culture really needs to stop glorifying prostitution. It’s not a sweet, pretty profession full of good girls gone astray. There are just as many predators among prostitutes as there are victims. It’s about power over/power under and money. And, in this country, it’s illegal. If the $10/trick hooker outside of the convention center gets busted and tossed into jail, so should this girl. The only difference between them is the price. And the fact this one charges more per hour shouldn’t put her above the law.

I’m working out of town all weekend – swinging by to check on the place and feed the cats each day. No internet access, but that’s probably a good thing for a few days. I am toast.

Rough night, too. I woke up around 3:30 this morning, no idea why. Elsa and Violet were asleep on the bed. Suddenly, Iris, in the living room, starts growling and screaming. I don’t know if she thought someone was trying to break in or she had a nightmare of what – she was beside herself with fear. It took me an hour to calm her down, and then another hour to get back to sleep myself. I should have just gotten up and had a few hours of writing before the chaos all began again. And then this morning, a friend of mine calls me and says his dog freaked out at about the same time. So I wonder what was going on. He’s in a different town. The two cats that were with me were fine; the one in another room, freaked. His dog was on a separate floor and freaked. I wonder if there was something going on in the night sky that went wonky.

Didn’t get a lot of work done on the thriller, but I’m happy with what I have. I hope to get a chunk of work done on the sci-fi horror western – I might even have a name by the end of the day. And then, it’s gathering up the clothes, the writing bag, the yoga bag, the food bag, and heading out the door – using all my safety locks behind me.

On a positive note, although I’m not working out every single night, I’m back to my twice weekly weight workouts. Although I drag my feet starting them, once I do them, it feels great. I’m trying to add the core workouts back in slowly, and I’m good about the morning yoga. In fact, when I look back to how I struggled with the sun salutations six months ago and how easily they flowed this morning, I feel like I’m making real progress. The place I’m working this weekend has a good fitness room, so I’ll be able to take advantage of that. And I can finally use my new jump rope!

What can I say? You gotta find the good in all this chaos somewhere. Right?

I hope to break 50K before I leave this afternoon.

Devon

March Writing Challenge: 46,300 words out of 50,000 (92.6%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on March 14, 2008 at 8:04 am  Comments (9)  

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mercury DIRECT
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and warm
President’s Day

Mercury goes direct tonight, so expect the day to be wonky. Just stay patient and keep a sense of humor.

The weekend was good. I didn’t do a lot of writing as in word count, but I did a lot of outlining on several projects and sorted out directions and plots, etc. Once I prioritize them, I can figure out which to focus the bulk of my attention on, and then I should be able to cough out the first drafts reasonably efficiently.

I read my friend’s novel and loved it, except for one scene, which I will talk to her about. I have very few comments overall, which I will get to her this morning.

I did a lot of yoga. Not as much as I planned to, but a lot.

It was QUIET there and it was nice to be able to hear myself think for a bit.

I did a lot of research for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I need to re-think a lot of the mechanics. The basic plot and character arcs still work, but how and why they get where they get – the logistical details – need to be amended. I’m also not sure if I want to keep it in the Caribbean (the release of FOOL’S GOLD makes me want to set it elsewhere, even though the two pieces aren’t remotely similar, or even in the same genre). I’m worried that setting it off Cape Cod makes it too similar to my research materials, but at least I could get there and look around. Plus, I’ve been fascinated by shipwrecks off Cape Cod since I started going there when I was a little girl. I won’t be able to fly to the Bahamas any time soon. Or maybe move it farther up the coast, near Nova Scotia? Any of those three shipping routes make it possible – I just have to figure out which is the best for the story. Since I don’t need any of my characters wafting around in bikinis to sell movie tickets, but will actually have them in the right gear for the job, it gives me the freedom to set it where I wish. I also have to expand the time frame – I’m having them try to do too much in a single dive season. Of course, if I have it in warmer waters, such as the Caribbean, the dive season is longer. So there’s lots to consider. Jim – watch out! I’ll be emailing you some questions in the next few weeks!

The research materials also inspired me for at least two other stories (that have nothing to do with Gwen and Justin).

I’ve tracked down all the Anita Blake books that I need for the essay, and I should have everything within the next two weeks. I’m going to read them and take notes as they come in, as close to in order as possible. If my notes are clear enough, I should be able to understand the character arcs, and maybe I’ll write sections of the essay every few books, and then tweak as I go. This one will be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to rising to it.

I’m giving myself the day off from “work”, since it’s President’s Day. Plus, I have acupuncture (yay). If I feel like writing, I will. Otherwise, I’ll read or do whatever I wish. It’s a holiday, after all, and part of freelancing is to be able to call one’s holidays one’s own.

Oh, yeah, and I’m ordering ink again. Now there’s a surprise. Lori, my good printer that needs fixing is a Canon MP730 all-in-one. When it works, it does everything except cut my meat for me, and I can get nearly 700 pages per tiny ink tank. The “Manuscript Printer” that I bought JUST to print manuscripts that is supposed to be this great thing is an HP Deskjet D1455. The quality’s not as good as the Canon and it’s an ink hog. I get 100-150 pages out of each tank – and the tanks are larger than the Canon’s. I wish Canon still made Baby Bubbles – you could run over it with a tractor and it would still print perfectly. I’m very glad I didn’t buy an HP all-in-one to replace the Canon. I’m getting my Canon fixed! The fact that, after six weeks, HP’s Customer Non-Service couldn’t be bothered to answer my questions doesn’t sit well with me, either. Canon answers in 48 hours. I don’t always LIKE the answer, but at least I get one!

Devon

Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 9:50 am  Comments (5)  

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Whew! Busy day yesterday. I polished and sent off three guest blog posts; did a fact sheet for a client; did some internet research; negotiated with a few publications; trolled the job sites and actually found a few potential clients; worked on the synopsis and outline; started reading my friend’s novel; enjoyed a Valentine’s afternoon distraction; went in to work a show on a track I’ve never run or followed.

I am on my last ink tank. Again! I’ve already spent more on ink for the new printer than it would have cost to fix the old one.

My shoulder hurt like hell and was a major problem. Not quite sure why.

Saw a call for submissions, for an anthology for charity. Every once in awhile, I do one of these, especially if it’s a cause in which I believe. I liked this one’s purpose. However, a condition of SUBMISSION (not acceptance, submission) was to promote the anthology and buy a copy. Um, no. When I’m willing to do an in-kind donation that’s worth several hundred dollars, you don’t expect me to do your marketing and be one of your customers, charity or not. Next!

The show was fine. I dressed the men and one of the principal men; they’re all very sweet. I enjoy them both as actors and people, which is always fun. The notes were clear, a friend who’s done the track was there to answer questions, so it was all good.

Came home, had a snack, checked my email, and was exhausted, so I went to bed around 1 AM.

I have to go to the bank this morning and then finish packing my writing bag. I’m working out of town this weekend – what’s great is that there’s no cell service, no internet access, nothing – in and around what I need to do for the job, I have nearly three days to write, read, do yoga, and meditate.

I plan to finish Old-Fashioned Detective Work, get a big chunk of work done on the sci-fi horror novella, work on the next ebook, sort out some other projects, and finish reading my friend’s novel (which I love). Before I go, I have to write the fix for the logic lapse in Medusa and get that out. And I’d like to get out a couple of other pitches and submissions.

Not much to say — part of me’s already left!

“Talk” when I get back – have a good holiday weekend, everyone!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 9:14 am  Comments (8)  

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

The errands turned out to be Fool’s Errands – I’m trying to track down some material for a project, but no luck yet. I haven’t exhausted all my resources yet, so it’s no big deal, and it was good to be out and around.

I had a relaxing afternoon at my friend’s place in CT, reading, doing laundry, etc.

Returned home to more building crap. This is halfway civilized building crap, which will take place on Monday – when Mercury turns retrograde, with Mars and Saturn still retrograde – just shoot me now, okay? ‘Cause if the gun’s still loaded by Monday, I might just use it on someone else. Metaphorically speaking.

The whole thing flattened me with a migraine of the jabbing-the-icepick-through-my-eye variety.

Forgot to mention yesterday that I watched both episodes of Chuck the other and thought, for the most part, they were clever. They made me laugh a bunch of times, and that’s always a good thing.

I have to finish the material for Confidential Job #1 today – I forgot that it’s due on Monday. I wrote about 2K this morning on a fun little project that’s just for me, to blow off some steam, and now I’m ready to get back to Tracking Medusa. I’ve come up with a possible log line — in the shower, where some of my best material emerges. Either there or in Corpse Position after yoga. Because if I try to turn my brain into a void, it fills with stories.

The comment from the guy who says I watch too much TV made me laugh. I spent over twenty years on an eight show/week schedule and maybe got to watch 1-2 hours of television a week. So now, I actually watched about fifteen or twenty hours in the past month — and for once, I’m just flipping around channels instead of trying to catch up frantically on my own or my colleagues’ work — and some stranger’s telling me I watch too much TV! Too funny. (Eye roll).

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 10:27 am  Comments (3)  

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
VERY cold

Yesterday turned out quite differently than expected. For one, I was under the weather. It felt sort of like an almost-stomach bug but not quite. I wonder if our water’s contaminated again, the way it was after the floods last spring. I’m going to look for a locally-based lab and find out how much it would cost to test some samples. I’m better today, but I’m double-boiling all the water I use, even to brush my teeth.

Of course the CATS get purified water, so they’re fine. I’ve been careless and used tap water for far too much lately.

It’s also a shame, because I had an excellent weight training session on Friday night, and finally felt like I was getting back on track. And yesterday, I didn’t feel well enough to do more than an abbreviated core workout, because my core wasn’t having it.

I need a jump rope, and I’m kind of horrified at how difficult it is to track down a jump rope in this county. Why can’t I just walk into a store and get one? If it’s a piece of equipment that costs 5 grand, you can get it at the corner store, but if it’s a jump rope, you have to drive 50 miles. No common sense around here at all.

I decided that I’m going to do something on my OWN for Yoga Day USA – just because none of the studios around here are participating, it doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate, right? Haven’t figured out what, yet. Maybe try a different type of yoga via live stream video or something.

Went to my friend’s place and spent the day (in between loads of laundry, because they still haven’t replaced the machines in the building since the floods) working on outlines. I feel a little stuck on Balthazaar, and, while part of it is about research, part of it is that it’s not outlined. I outlined Medusa, and, even when I deviated, I had a jumping off point. So I sat down to do some work on the Balthazaar outline. I found out where I went off-track all the way in Chapter One, for crying out loud – this book starts too soft. The Prologue works really well, because it leaves you with a feeling of dread as in, “What has Justin messed up here?” but then it gets into the story too quietly. I need to jump into the middle of a melee with them, and then go back to them trying to figure out their lives and juggling careers and the illness in Justin’s family and all of those distractions before they head for the Carribbean and the treasure.

I also realized I have to outline the third book before I can figure out the second book, even though each of the three books stands alone. That sounds like it’s a conflict, but it’s not. The characters grow from book to book, but the plots stand alone. There are references to the other books, but done (I hope) in such a way that anyone can pick up any book and not feel like they’ve missed anything, while those who stuck with it from the beginning won’t feel like there’s too much explanation.

I’ve got a good chunk of the third book outlined, and, my goodness, Justin is in a really dark place for a good portion of it. And I’m not sure he’s going to make it out. I knew there was going to be conflict, especially for him, beginning midway through book 2 and the consequences (but not the plot) running into book 3, but I was always optimistic about the outcome. Now, I’m not so sure. The first portion of the book, Gwen and Justin’s stories are running on separate tracks, and then, it should be a third of the way through the book, but it’s eight pages into the outline, they’re in the same space at the same time.

The evolution of Karl really surprised me. Originally, I visualized him as the villain/antagonist. As I wrote Medusa, it turned out he was an antagonist, but with a long history with Gwen, and the more I wrote, the more I realized he wasn’t a villain at all, just that there were issues (to say the least) that he and Gwen couldn’t get past, which kept them on opposite sides of a job very often. Karl’s journey in the second book is quite scary and sad, but it definitely makes Gwen re-think a lot of things, and drives Justin up the wall. And in the third book, at least early on, he’s the one person you don’t want to smack upside the head.

I spent about ten hours on the outline, but don’t have a whole lot of tangible pages to show for it. I needed the thinking time. And, all of a sudden, it was midnight, and I hadn’t finished the outline for Balthazaar or for the Sci-Fi Horror Western!

I do have a good idea how I need to restructure the beginning of Balthazaar, though. The Prologue is still Justin leaving for Rome on his own, but Chapter One becomes a very interesting, action-filled flashback in Paris.

I’ve also decided that, if some disorganized client expects me to give up my weekend to do business writing simply because I am a freelancer, I’m charging time and a half. You want me to give up my weekends (which, I’ve decided, I want to be fiction-centric)? It’s gonna cost you big time.

I’m also getting really sick of the bitching and moaning of freelancers who pay sites for the “opportunity” to bid on piddly-ass jobs and then complain. If you’re going to agree to the ridiculous terms these sites set up, what do you expect? Professionalism? We are professionals. People pay US to work, not the other way around. The only way I’d pay either a fee or a percentage to a site is if an individual from the site/company brokered a deal the way an agent would, and the job paid at least 10 Grand. That’s right, $10,000. Anything less than that, I can get my own damn work without paying a “bidding site”. My hourly is more than most of those sites offer per job.

In fact, I’ve stopped visiting some of the job listing sites, even the free ones, because of the abundance of jobs that pay crap and the dearth of jobs that pay at a professional level. I do better creating my own job niches for companies that interest me. Yes, it takes more work upfront, but the payoff – in every sense of the word – is better.

It reminds me, when I read the police logs in the paper of the dumbasses who leave their purses, briefcases, computers, cell phones, etc. in open view in their cars (often unlocked) and then are surprised when they’re stolen. We live in an era of predators. Since the corporate predators don’t have to take responsibility or answer to anyone, thanks to the Pretender in the White House, the street predators are getting bolder, too. If you make it easy for someone to steal from you, they’ll do it. Is it wrong? Of course it is. But pretending it isn’t reality is simply going to turn you into a victim. There are going to be times when you’re going to get nailed no matter how careful you are; there are times you’re going to be tired or distracted or have a lapse of judgment. But let those be the exceptions; don’t make it easy, like the idiot in the white BMW convertible down the street who jumps out of his car every morning LEAVING THE ENGINE RUNNING while he goes into the store to pick up his bagel and coffee. Not only is he causing needless air pollution, he’s inviting the car to be stolen. Even I’ve been tempted to give it a spin around the block. I haven’t – not because of the possible consequences, but because, in spite of my annoyance at the guy’s arrogance and ego, it would just be mean in a way that’s unacceptable to me. But someday, someone’s going to jump in and take it – farther than around the block.

Off to work on Wyatt, read a manuscript, do some outlining on the Gwen/Justin books, and also get back to work on the cheat sheet for Earth Bride. I need to get that draft done, and I can’t move any farther forward until I do the cheat sheet.

I read an article that stated most American have sex an average of 57 minutes per week, which is under the European average. Per WEEK? Are they KIDDING? If that’s all the sex I had PER WEEK, I’d be even crankier than I am now!

It’s COLD today. I’m making pillow and quilt nests for the cats in their favorite spots and nestling hot water bottles in them.

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2008 at 8:48 am  Comments (3)