Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies

image courtesy of lumix 2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Hot, humid, cloudy

Catch up with the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started out pretty well; The idea for my client’s piece worked, she loved it, it went out into the world to draw in business. That was all good.

But I  found out that a client has been lying to me about something pretty major. So I have to gather facts and documentation and decide what to do about it.

Remote chat was fun.

Got out some LOIs.

Spun out some ideas, and I’ll start storyboarding a marketing campaign today.

Found out a colleague is about to go into hospice. She’s been fighting cancer a long time. I’m so sad, and feel so helpless.

Re-read Louise Penny’s THE BRUTAL TELL. It’s lovely and sad.

The second Jane Darrowfield book by Barbara Ross arrived (an ARC). I’m so happy. I started it last night, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have to do a run to Trader Joe’s, which will eat up a good part of my morning, but it needs to be done. I also need to get a big chunk of writing done over the next few days.

And I need to do some work on Grief to Art.

I did some prep for today’s Knowledge Unicorns session.

Today is also the 2nd anniversary of Freelance chat!

I am not surprised, but I am angry that the person calling himself “president” has murdered nearly 200,000 citizens, continues to murder, and Congress lets him. There have to be severe and long-lasting consequences for this. And the West Coast is burning, and no one does anything about it.

There’s plenty going on that I can’t discuss publicly; I will share what I can when I can. Not much of a post, is it? Let’s hope a productive day can get me back on track.

At least the pistachio mousse I experimented with yesterday came out well! It’s the little things.

Charlotte and Willa are now genuinely happy. It’s taken them nearly a year to settle in, after being bounced around every few weeks for 18 months prior. But now they are settled and happy. Even Tessa is happier lately. I’m hoping in a few more months, they will all hang out together more. Learning they don’t have to compete – for attention, food, toys, anything – has been a big lesson for Charlotte and Willa. There’s enough for everyone and no one gets shut out.

We need to rebuild our society on those principles, too.

Wed. Sept. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 112 — Launch of the Knowledge Unicorns

Logo designed by Gabe T.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yeah, we’re back up to six retrogrades. Having Mars go retrograde right now really sucks – more likely to get into (and lose) arguments, slowing down momentum, making one question one’s own worth. With Jupiter and Saturn turning direct this month, whose forward energy I need right now, then slowed down by the Mars retrograde – yeah, that sucks all the way around. With Mars retrograde, it’s not about overcoming obstacles, but about figuring workarounds.

Yesterday was fine. I was in the client’s office by myself, which is as it should be. Got a lot done.

Headed to the library for drop-off/pickup; then home for decontamination and back to work, remotely this time. The ad campaign still isn’t quite right. I haven’t hit that golden place yet. Then, I was working on another ad for an email blast that has to go out today; came up with something okay, but not brilliant. Got the idea I needed as I was falling asleep, so putting that together early this morning, so it can go out on time.

I invested in an acupressure mat a few weeks back. I’ve been taking a break in the afternoon to use it, especially when I’ve been sitting a lot. It’s amazing how much it helps. 20 minutes restorative time on the mat, and I can get in a few more focused hours in the afternoon.

Reading the next Gamache and enjoying it.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived. This month’s theme is Color Therapy, and it’s great. So much excellent stuff – and stuff I will use. Tessa is thrilled with the large crystal suncatcher. It might never make it to getting hung from the window; she might keep it for her private cat stash, as she did with last month’s crystal pendulum.

Also got an ARC of a colleague’s book that I won in a contest. I’m so excited – it’s the second book in her new series, and it’s such a fun series. I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend, and then writing about it.

Got a little bit of writing done, but not enough (same song, different day). I’m figuring out the shape for the Susanna Centlivre play. I want the focus to be on her relationship with her husband (who was the Queen’s chef), and one of her closest female friends (probably Mary Pix). I found a Very Long Dissertation about female friendship, and another about her work and Aphra Behn’s work that I will need to read through in the coming weeks. I still don’t have the catalyst or the central dramatic event for the play. I’m still researching.

I think I’ll set the Isabella Goodwin play toward the end of her career. Maybe use flashbacks? They often work better on stage than in novels. I like the fact that she married a younger man when she was older and thinking about setting it when she’s thinking about retiring as NYPD’s first female detective. I haven’t figured out how to incorporate that. There’s a lot of fiction out about her that I’m avoiding, because I don’t want it to influence the piece; I also don’t want to use anything that I’m using in THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT pilot and scripts.

But it’s already September and both plays are due in December (and I have surgery in December), so I need to start writing soon.

I  need to remember that they can be short plays – they don’t have to be full-length. I can always expand them in the future. I need to pick an important moment in each of their lives and dramatize it.

I also need to stop berating myself that I didn’t get those additional Kate Warne plays written during the pandemic – they’re not on deadline. The paid and deadlined work must come first, and everything else has to fit around it. Everything takes longer, between the pandemic and retrogrades and the energy it takes to survive. I need to adjust my expectations for myself, or I’ll get stuck in self-loathing mire, and that doesn’t do any good.

I have to go onsite for a client (where we’ll all be in the office at the same time – ick). But we’re only overlapping a short time, so I will deal. Then I’ll come home, decontaminate, and join Remote Chat, which is one of my favorite parts of the week, then more client work.

Knowledge Unicorns

Yesterday was the first meeting of the online homework group, consisting of my godchildren’s kids. They named themselves the Knowledge Unicorns and one of them designed the logo. We’re still tweaking the time, because there are people in all three time zones. Wide range of ages, some a little quieter than others, so I have to make sure everyone is equally heard and no one is overlooked. But bright and fun and good people.

We talked about the structure of the sessions and how they will work, and how, if something isn’t working, we’ll talk about it and change it. The baseline is respect for each other and kindness toward each other. Everyone’s opinion matters, and if there’s a point of disagreement, it’s discussed with respect and compassion, and positions are backed up by facts and resources (not Wikipedia and Fox News).

We took a few minutes at the beginning to settle in and see how everybody is. None of them are going to in-person learning. They are all learning remotely. This idea that you just sit in front of a screen for 6 hours a day as though it was class is ridiculous, in my opinion. It’s a different kind of school, and needs to evolve for that. Even in school, you’d get up after 50 minutes to go to your locker and get other books and go to the next class.

A colleague and I discussed this the other day – schools have had months to come up with a good way to handle remote learning. They haven’t. They’re not supporting the teachers, they’re not supporting the parents, they’re sure as hell not supporting the kids. Someone I know works for a major online learning company. They did a direct mail campaign (both in print and digital)  to schools all over the country, offering free consults to help them move learning online and talk about the ways it has to be different to be effective. NOT ONE school responded.

Something that came up in the “settling in” talk at the beginning was the external pressures to go to the physical school building and act as though it was all normal. The kids agreed that they miss hanging out with their friends; but they’re more worried about the pressure on their parents. They’re scared and angry that some of their friends’ parents are trying to use the kids’ friendships to bully the parents into forcing the kids back into schools. One of the kids lost a friendship, because the friend’s parents won’t let them be in contact if the kid isn’t physically going to school, because the parents don’t want the remote-learning kid to fill the onsite kid’s head full of “libtard crap.” Because, you know, keeping your kids home and safe is a partisan issue to them. One of my godchildren had her lawyer work to get her temporary full custody of her kids during these months, because her ex-husband thinks the virus is a hoax; during his joint custody, he planned to send them to school. He also doesn’t believe in masks or social distancing, and has his friends over to drink beer and hang out the same as always.  I’m not up on the legal stuff in her state, so I don’t know how that all worked, but she got some sort of order giving her full custody temporarily, and they’re doing fully remote learning (and masking and social distancing).

There’s a lot of pressure on the kids to adapt to remote learning when the school systems haven’t put in the work to support the teachers or parents or kids to make it work (because, let’s face it, most of those believed the myth that the virus would just go away, because it was easier than putting in the work). On top of that, the external partisan pressure to put themselves in danger when their parents are trying to protect them is pretty intense, and that’s something that has to be addressed.

So we talked about that for a portion of our time together, and worked on coping strategies.

We got down to the actual homework – they’re all at different stages of learning and doing different things. If someone was having trouble with an assignment, they could ask a question, and we either figured it out, or figured where to look up the answer, amongst all of us. Some of the older kids remembered some of the stuff the younger kids were learning, and could help (especially in math, because I am useless in math). It was working on the different projects, but having virtual company and online resources at hand. I was either looking for resources to help with different assignments (they have to actually USE the resources, but I can point the way and show them how to research) or working on some stuff of my own that could be interrupted when they had questions or thought of something they wanted to talk about.

Some of the directions that come with the assignments make no sense. We spent time as a group dissecting some of the instructions.

We took regular breaks to stand up and get out the wiggles, and took our dance break (they decided that, at least for the first few weeks, they want me to pick songs from the 80’s for our dance breaks. 80’s music is exotic to them. I officially feel old).

They’d picked the octopus as the animal they want to learn about this month, so we started with the old Audubon Nature Encyclopedia entry from my childhood and will work from there.

Two hours flew by in what seemed like a few heartbeats, but we got a lot done, they got a sense of community and that, although they’re different ages and in different schools in different parts of the country, they’re experiencing a lot of the same stresses and fears, and aren’t alone. They have an adult (?), well, older person, who is not directly related to them, to whom they can talk about things, and, hopefully, they will build a sense that they have each other.

It was a good start, the parents were grateful for the break, and it certainly gave me a view into how broken the educational system is, and how unwilling the administrators are to expand their frame of learning and experience to make it work.

It was a good start, but I admit I was tired by the end of it. A good tired, but still. . .tired.

Have a good one.

Tues. Sept. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 111 — The National Plan is Death

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny, warm, pleasant

image courtesy of Skitterphoto via pixabay.com

The National Strategy is Death

We’ve been thinking that there’s no national plan to fight the virus. But there IS a plan: Let people die. They demonstrate that’s their plan every day. Let people die, and those that are left get whatever scraps the 1% feel like tossing away.

This is not acceptable.

Nor is the dismissal of the massive loss of life.

It was as busy as any Labor Day Weekend here on Cape Cod, with traffic backed up at the bridges for hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Usually it would be Sunday with the 6-hour delays getting off Cape, but because it was a holiday Monday, it was yesterday that the traffic was backed up at least all the way to our exit all day, and at times, even further down.

During a pandemic.

I had a few things I had to go off property over the weekend; I did them as early as possible. Except for inside the stores, NO ONE was masked or social distanced.

So all these people posting photos of themselves “on vacation” on the Cape (or anywhere else this weekend) who also claim they’re doing it safely? I don’t believe you, boo. Because what I saw all weekend was reckless endangerment and irresponsible behavior.

You’re NOT “supporting the local economy” by going out to eat in restaurants. You’re putting people’s lives at risk, especially the servers. You’re adding to the problem  by walking in your packs without masks – putting a mask on when you get within a foot of someone else is too late.

I’m sick of the hypocrites, especially the self-righteous ones, who are claiming they’re doing the right thing when they’re so obviously not.

They are just as much a reason why the virus isn’t under control – and won’t be until well into next year – as the anti-maskers.

Social Media Stuff

I definitely needed the four-day break. Not that it was all rest, but I refused to beat myself up about what I “should” be doing, and that made a huge difference.

Staying off social media more than I was on it was also a good choice. There was way too much stupid. I’m also tired of the faux engagement questions like “do you still wear a mask?” I’m actually a decent human being who is trying to protect my family and keep other people from dying – of COURSE I still wear a mask. I’m tired of the “what’s your day job?” from other so-called “writers” – that’s an insulting question, for a “writer” to assume every other writer they interact with can’t earn a living at it. I’m tired of the “wrong answers only” game (which I’ve never understood or played) and the “what’s your MC’s favorite color?” and that kind of thing.

Most of it, I just scroll past, but I’m at the point now where I’m unfollowing and/or blocking people when they really annoy me. It’s their timeline; they get to put whatever they want on it. If I don’t want it to irritate my day, it’s up to me to remove them from my feed.

The whole James Woods-Travis Tritt thing? I just shake my head. I’d liked James Woods’s acting years ago, until we both were on different shows at an off-Broadway company in NY, and I heard/witnessed the level of crazy and mean. I got over my disappointment in him as a human  and excommunicated him from my universe a long time ago (and decided I wouldn’t accept work on anything in which he was cast). That he supports the Sociopath isn’t really a surprise. I had to look up Travis Tritt, and then remember that I didn’t like his work even back when I knew who he was.

I’d rather interact with people I like, have a chance at learning something or actual conversation, and post IG photos of food, cats, and the garden (which is the only reason for my Instagram account – fun stuff as a break from everything else).

Getting Stuff Done

Got December’s surgery scheduled, early enough so that I will have enjoyed Thanksgiving and can enjoy the Winter Holidays. That’s a relief.

Had to mail something certified mail. Everyone at our little post office is so nice.

Saturday was almost a normal non-pandemic weekend day: grocery shopping (very early, masked, to avoid the Covidiot tourists), full decontamination procedure (yes, in “business” journals they’re saying it’s not necessary; they can go fuck themselves, I’m still doing it), changed the beds, did 5 loads of laundry, baked bread, made carrot-ginger soup from scratch, used up the fading vegetables in the fridge to make vegetable stock, backed a brown butter honey cake, roasted a chicken, made chicken stock, read, and wrote.

In other words, a productive day that was almost on par with my pre-pandemic productivity.

I didn’t write much, and it was only what I wanted to, not what I “had” to. I wanted to make sure I actually took a break this weekend.

Unfortunately, my mom had a bad reaction to her new medication, and my lactose intolerance seems to be rearing again, so Saturday night, we were both up most of the night feeling awful.

Sunday, we really took it easy, lots of reading, light meals. We spent a good bit of time out on the deck all weekend, in spite of the neighbors’ constant heavy machinery/power tools/mowers/leaf blowers. We had to take Saturday night’s dinner back inside because the noise and the dust from the property behind (we’re on a third of an acre) was so bad, we couldn’t sit out there.

Once in awhile yesterday, I considered hopping online to do this or that, and then reminded myself that I was Taking Time Off. Time I needed.

The hummingbird visited again, fascinating Willa and Charlotte. Bratty Bird misses Tessa and has figured out that Tessa spends most of her time in my room now. So she comes up to the bedroom window in the morning and they chatter at each other. It’s cute. The bunnies are getting pretty bold and hanging out even when we’re out there; last night, I heard the coyotes run through the yard, so I hope the bunnies were well in hiding. We have some beautiful Tiger Moths, too.

Worked with the cats a lot. Willa is a little dickens, always coming up with something new to try. Charlotte has settled down, and is happy, for the most part. She and Tessa still don’t get along too well, but Willa is really trying to make friends with Tessa. Tessa thinks she’s a loony tune most of the time (and she does often act like a cartoon character), but they are better with each other.

I had weird, disturbing dreams all weekend, but couldn’t grasp enough of any of them to figure them out when I woke up.

Lots of yoga and meditation, which is a good thing. By Sunday night, I was feeling like I’d made progress with everything, only to wake up worrying again at 3:30 on Monday morning.

I meant to clean just one thing on the kitchen counter on Monday, and wound up reorganizing and cleaning everything in the L-shaped counter between the sink and the stove. It was necessary, and now it’s much easier to get at what I need when I cook, but it took up much more time than I planned.

I also wrote some cards for people, and have a letter that needs to go out today to set up RMV appointments in October.

Reading

Lots and lots of reading. Another Gamache book – I’m getting so much more out of the series this time, reading it in order. The head-hopping bothers me, but Penny does it better than most authors, so I can live with it. It’s more like being in one character’s POV, sliding into neutral ground, and sliding into the next POV than “hopping” and is less jarring than the typical head-hopping which can leave one as nauseated as on a badly-run amusement park ride.

I’m officially done with the author whose books I liked, then disliked. I’m tired of her protagonist being a doormat, and she keeps using slurs. The same slur three times in 20 pages in the latest book I tried. I stopped, pulled the other books in that series from the library pile, and they go back today. Done. Read three books in her other series, which I liked better. She used the slur once in one of the books. But they’re a little too cutesy and there are exclamation points all over the place, which give me a headache. Between that and the commitment to white privilege and conformity in both series, her protag being afraid of characters who are smart and unusual because they’re different and that being upheld as positive, no thanks. So yeah, officially done with all of her work. She’s crossed off the list.

Read more in the other series by a different author, where I liked the fourth book, but was upset at the slur used in the first book. I read the other books I’d ordered (it ended up being the first five books in the series) and she didn’t use it again, so I am cautiously optimistic.

I’m curious to see how cozy mysteries will deal or not deal with the pandemic in upcoming years.  I think there will be strong definition between the books that continue to uphold white privilege and conformity and support the anti-maskers, the ones who try to walk the line not to offend anyone on either side of the masking or vaccination spectrum, and those authors who will actually deal with it in a realistic and responsible fashion. There might even be authors who have contemporary series who choose to ignore it.

But then, I’ve become even more aware of the restrictions and fear and white privilege in the genre, especially since I was told to whiten up the characters and their names in the Nautical Namaste series because “white readers won’t understand these people.” Then they can skip the books. I can’t believe editors and agents are still spouting that crap — some of the same ones who claim they want more diverse characters in books. But they get them and try to whiten them up. Too many cozy mysteries have devolved into white people upholding their privilege and not having sex. I just don’t see how this is interesting or comforting. The genre used to be my comfort/brain candy books, but many of them just annoy me now. Yes, they’re fantasy, but they’re not fantasies that satisfy me. There are series that don’t do this, that are trying to be more diverse, inclusive, and intelligent, but there are plenty of series who aren’t.

Continuing to read Volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. There are so many things I dislike about Philip Roth’s work, but when he talks craft, I always learn something. Maya Angelou’s interview was beautiful, and her quote “creativity is greater than the sum of its parts” resonated with me.

I finally got to see BIRDS OF PREY (yeah, not reading, but it fits in here). Mostly, I liked it. There are some clever bits like “how she’d have time for a shoe change?” and giving Black Canary the scrunchy in the middle of the fight – details that were terrific. The scene where she goes in and shoots all the cops felt off-tone, because it was such casual violence. The other violence was rooted in character or situation, but this felt off to me and bothered me.

Few of the comic book movies really satisfy me – probably because I haven’t invested in the characters before they transferred to film. But I thought there were lots of clever bits in it. I thought the chemistry between the five women was great. The whole roller skating angle was fun, too.

Looking Ahead

Trying to knock out some writing this morning. I’m going onsite for a few hours (I should be on my own, thank goodness) for a client to take care of some things, then home and do more client work remotely.

I need to focus on a lot of writing this week, while also getting some things organized and dealing with purging stuff from the basement. That needs to get back on track.

I should get assigned the next book for review, which is good, and get out a bunch of LOIs. Someone gave me a good lead on a gig that I want to follow up on today or tomorrow.

I have to prep a play to send off to a company and finish another short play to send to Trusted Readers before submitting it.

I should have the final notes on BARD’S LAMENT this week, and then can start turning that around again.

I have to work on the Topic Workbooks, and also do more PR for Grief to Art. Please share the site’s details with those who might find it a comfort.

A networking group whose events I’ve occasionally attended is starting their monthly meetings live in-person indoors at a restaurant again. Are they out of their freaking minds? Totally irresponsible. No, thanks. Bye. Not joining your organization when you’d rather put your members’ lives in danger than, you know, support them and help them through this.

Hope you had a great weekend.

I need to focus and clear off a few things before Mars goes retrograde tomorrow. Really? Now? Jupiter and Saturn are getting ready to go direct. I don’t need Mars getting in my way right now.

But all I can do is the best I can do. I have a feeling I’ll be cutting a lot of deadwood from my life in the next few weeks.

Mon. Sept. 7, 2020: Labor Day Weekend

image courtesy of Miriams-Fotos via pixabay.com

Yes, I was serious about taking time off.

We’ll catch up tomorrow!

Published in: on September 7, 2020 at 5:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. Sept. 4, 2020: Weekend Plans

image courtesy of CandiceP via pxabay.com

The photo captures my plans for the weekend. Have a good one!

Published in: on September 4, 2020 at 5:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Thurs. Sept. 3, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 106 — Grumpy Start

image courtesy of Manfredrichter via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus Retrograde

Foggy and humid

I HATE this new forced WordPress Block editing SOOOOO DAMN MUCH!!!!! I hate it, hate it, hate it.

I guess I’ll have to look into other blogging platforms. At least the websites offer the option to get back into the classic HTML editing.

This forced format does not work for how I want the site to look.

I HATE IT!!!!!

There’s a new post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. Sadly, it’s in this new HATEFUL format that DOES NOT WORK AT ALL.

Yesterday was fine, whatever at the client’s. Not as stressful as I expected. And I got the green light on a kind of wacky, fun marketing idea that I’ll play with and hopefully have ready next week.

Remote chat was fun.

A colleague sent me a video of an actor with whom I worked doing a really fun piece. We’d worked together on Broadway, briefly, at the start of his career, which has really taken off. Since he’s supremely talented and funny and professional and KIND, I’m so glad so many good things are happening for him, and the video was a delight.

A third party is trying to get me together to do some work for an “agency.” I took a look at the site – since they boast how they provide cheap content, we are not a fit. They can’t afford me, they won’t have the kind of assignments I want, and they’re basically one step up from a content mill (maybe a half step), so no, thanks.

I was awakened far too early by an international friend texting, and then wondering why I didn’t respond. I finally texted back “It’s 5 AM & I’m SLEEPING.” For once. I’ve been getting up at 4 lately, and I was so happy to finally sleep through the night and maybe sleep in until 6, but that didn’t happen.

So that was a grumpy start to the day. Hopefully coffee will help.

I’m going to polish the article, then run to the pharmacy to get my mom’s adjusted medication, then decontaminate, proof the article, get it off, and do the rest of the stuff on my plate.

Today I’m buckling down to clear off as much as possible because I intend to take off both Friday and Monday and give myself a long holiday weekend, wherein I shall do exactly as I please each day and rest up.

We’ve got a fight ahead of us this autumn on multiple fronts, so I need to refuel for it.

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

Wed. Sept. 2, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 105 — Keep on Keeping On

flower-3876195_1920
image courtesy of MabelAmber via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Yesterday’s oil change was a nightmare in a place that didn’t follow ANY safety protocols – only I couldn’t get out once the car was in the bay until they were done. I am furious. The company lies and the employees are a bunch of anti-mask COVIDIOTS. I will not go back there unless I have no other choice.

It wouldn’t surprise me if they sabotaged the car because I was wearing a mask. We will see, over the next few days.

Home, extra disinfectant protocols (to scrub off the scum),

Admin work, client work, article work, getting out press releases for Grief to Art.

Grief to Art Logo

The allergies are really, really bad. Sneezing like crazy, runny nose, itchy eyes. Finally broke down last night and took anti-allergy medicine, which knocked me out so I could sleep.

Some decent writing yesterday; not sure what today will bring. I have to go onsite for a client, which is always more stressful than it needs to be. I need to replace this client, and I’m working on it.

Read the first book in a series where I’d read the fourth book a week or so ago and really liked it. Unfortunately, this book uses a slur like it’s something common and normal – which, even if people do it, we should know better by now and it shouldn’t be accepted. I felt slapped in the face and so disappointed. I’d gotten other books by this author out of the library; not sure if I’ll read them. I was annoyed by the slur, and the character seemed a little weak to me – although, since I liked this character so much in book 4, maybe it was simply the starting point for growth.

Those “share the first sentence of your WIP” or “give us an excerpt of your WIP” are running around again. No. Just no. First of all, my publisher is very specific about not sharing unedited work on anything that’s contracted, and that’s something I respect. Second, why would I blow first rights on a social media game? Third, why would I “share” unedited work? WIPs are just that – working drafts. As a reader if someone splatters their unedited work out there, it immediately defines them, to me, as unprofessional. Self-published or not. And reading an excerpt that’s a hot, unedited mess is more likely to turn me off an author than be a marketing tool that works on me.

I’m all for sharing work privately with Trusted Readers for feedback — but not splattering it on the internet. Some random read-by opinion is not going to help me shape/fix/hone the work.

Excerpts are great – of edited material that’s about to be or has just been published. But I skip the WIP splatters. Not for me, as a writer OR a reader.

On a happier process note, I figured out how to fix a problem I’ve been having in one of my own manuscripts. I wanted the title to be a pun on a show title. I realized I could do that by simply changing the murder victim’s name, and have his new name be the pun in the title. A simple fix that makes all the difference. Why it took me several months to figure out, who knows? I’d like to blame pandemic brain, but that’s too easy.

A call for submission landed on my desk for a nine-month script development project. I think I will submit one of the pieces I did for the 365 Women clearing house – either the play on Giulia Tofana or Lavinia Fontana. The Tofana piece needs more work; it might not get chosen for just that reason, but the stated reason is to work and develop the piece over nine months, and that’s the piece of mine which would benefit most from a long development process, so I think I will risk it. I’ll do another pass on it this weekend, before I submit.

If I don’t try, there’s not chance at all, right?

Pulling together material for the next few weeks of the Knowledge Unicorns homework group (they came up with the name and a logo and want to study the Octopus as a special project for September). The group officially starts next week.

I wanted to participate in the virtual Spark by the Freelancers Union tonight. The closest meeting is the Brooklyn chapter and that’s full (how can a virtual meeting be full?) and I feel strange about signing up for the DC meeting, so I guess I’m not doing it this time around. Oh, well.

At least there’s Remote Chat today. Then, I need to polish my article to send off on deadline tomorrow, and work on my review.

The weather’s been lovely the past few days. Perfect temperature, low humidity. I’ve enjoyed working out on the deck in the afternoons. Yes, taking the cats out in their playpens.

I have to put in another Chewy order this week. Those little dickenses eat a lot!

Results are coming in from yesterday’s primary. So far, so good. Let’s hope the ballots for the general election arrive on time.

Tomorrow, I have to set up a bunch of medical appointments, and also set an appointment so my mom can renew her driver’s license next month and we can renew the car’s registration. Good thing I have the Llewellyn money coming in to cover it.

Back to the page for me, and I hope you have a lovely Wednesday.

Tues. Sept. 1, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 104 – Can I Regain Any Balance?

seesaw-41961_1280
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pleasant and cool

Primary elections, here in MA. My replacement ballot (carefully coded, to prevent voter fraud) finally turned up in Friday afternoon’s mail. I filled it out immediately and ran it down to the secure ballot box on Saturday morning.

Everyone in this house has voted, and the ballots delivered.

I’m glad the situation was resolved; but so much stress would have been removed from my life if someone in the office had taken 30 seconds to shoot me an email to let me know it was being dealt with rather than ignoring my multiple contacts. This is not a major city.

Rough weekend, which is all I’m going to say about it.

Bad time with allergies, exhausted, achy, mentally exhausted, too.

I’m finding affirmations/quotes that are supposed to make me feel better are annoying me. They’re unrealistic and privileged. Some of us don’t have the luxury that fulfilling these quotes requires. We’re down here fighting for our survival and don’t want to be placated. We want tools. We want justice. We want suggestions on actions that WORK.

Pleased to see that Main St. Hyannis is enforcing and people are respecting it as a masked zone. Disheartened when I ran to Star Market early Sunday (we were low on white cranberry-peach juice). Except for the store, NOT ONE person I passed in the miles to and from the store was masked.

And our numbers are climbing.

Designing a garden for a project – yes, I eschewed the software that wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, and I’ve been drawing it with pen and paper. Playing, too, with the idea of the idea inspired by the auction of Green Mountain College in Vermont, and having fun with that.

The series I was reading, where I was up and down with it depending on the book – down with it again. The protag has turned into a doormat, and she doesn’t grow from book to book, she gets weaker and dumber. So disappointed. But there are only three more books at this point, so I’m going to read them and learn. See how the structure of those dozen or so books did NOT satisfy me, even if they supposedly met the tropes of the genre. I read another book in a different series by the same author, and it was delightful.

So I’m learning.

Ink arrived for the big printer (I was getting low on black – this tank will give me 3K pages). Did a bunch of research. Read Louise Penny’s A FATAL GRACE, which was sadder than I remembered. The two other bread/soup cookbooks that I need for a project arrived, and they make me happy.

Reworked my article completely. Read the book for review, working on the review.

Switched out some of the summery fabric to fall tones; switched the front door décor this morning; have some transitional decorations over the fireplace. September is transition month. October is when the spiderweb curtains go up and the real decorating starts.

Wondering if we’ll have trick-or-treating this year. I figure I’ll plan as though we do – get treat bags and prepare to set up tables with bags full of treats instead of individual rummaging, and set it in the yard or at the bottom of the driveway. If it’s cancelled because of the re-emergence of the virus, then so be it, but at least I’ll be prepared.

Already deciding what changes I need to make for the winter holiday baking gifts I always do – instead of platters, have everything in tins, with each kind of cookie wrapped separately. No platters; no centerpiece cakes/cupcakes that will get bad quickly. Everything something that can survive quarantine and still be fresh. I’ll mask up when I bake.

In the next month or so, I want to experiment with a chocolate crackle cookie and a maple cookie, to see if either can replace the centerpiece cakes.

Forgot the cream for the mousses I plan to make this week when I went to the store on Sunday, so I had to get it on my way back from my client’s yesterday. Also did a curbside pickup at the library.

I was on my own in the client’s office, which is as it should be, and got a lot done. I managed to time it to miss a negative colleague, and that lightened the stress on my day.

Some slimy people are trying to DM me on Instagram. No. I don’t know you, and your profile picture indicates you’re not contacting me for anything worthwhile.

One of the curbside pickup books was the latest by Donna Andrews, THE FALCON ALWAYS WINGS TWICE. It was delightful and smart and wonderful. I laughed out loud reading page after page. The way the series—and the characters – have grown in book after book is wonderful. This is one of the best, smartest, and most fun series out there.

Compare this series to the series where I have mixed feelings about the protagonist’s growth – or lack thereof. Huge, huge, huge difference.

Had the cats out on the deck in their playpens while I read. They love watching the bunnies eat the dandelions. I haven’t seen Che Guevara Chipmunk in awhile again. I hope he’s okay.

The tree cutting and the chemicals neighbors use on their lawns have hurt the bee, butterfly, and hummingbird populations. They are much smaller this year.

Today, I’m going to make another attempt at an oil change. Hopefully, they are masked this time, and I can get it done. Then it’s client work and more writing. I’m trying to get an ad campaign nailed down for a client, and not happy with what I’ve come up with so far. It doesn’t sparkle in the way I want.

Had hoped to put together a proposal to join a team on an exciting project in an area that interests me; however, the person heading the project is a Republican, so it’s a no-go for me.
I like a lot of what this guy has done, but if he’s supporting the sociopath, we’re not a fit.

Let’s hope this is a fairly calm week, going into Labor Day Weekend, because I am just Not In The Mood.

Decent writing sessions yesterday and today, but they need to carry over and inspire the rest of the days’ work.

I’m hoping to take both Friday and Monday off for a long holiday weekend of reading and rest, but I have no idea what the week will bring.

Hope your week’s off to a good start.

Please share the information for Grief to Art.

Grief to Art Logo

Mon. Aug. 31, 2020: Intent for the Week — Get Out of My Way

woman-1959982_1920
image by SilviaP via pixabay.com

I am not having it this week, so get out of my way.

Published in: on August 31, 2020 at 5:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. Aug. 28, 2020: Day 100 of Dying for Tourist Dollars

wave-3473335_1920
image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas1969 via pixabay.com

Friday, August 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

The 100th day since the demand was made to die for our employers/die for tourist dollars. The number of infections is going back up, and people are running around pretending it’s over. Disgusting.

Yesterday was a hit-and-miss day. I worked remotely all day, thank goodness, because the weather was wonky.

I read and gave notes on a friend’s series overview. It’s excellent, and I was delighted to read it.

I worked on the article, hated everything I wrote, and will start over today.

I noodled a bit on my client’s ad campaign. I’ve considered and rejected at least a half a dozen storylines. None of them are quite right.

I printed out all the information I could find about the now-defunct Green Mountain College, whose property was recently auctioned off and will, no doubt, be destroyed. Since that whole situation gave me the idea for a piece, I wanted to get as much research printed out before everything online vanishes.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Read Jenn McKinlay’s PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA, which is a lovely escape. Read a bit on the book for NYU book club, and a bit of Pico Iyer’s THE ART OF STILLNESS.

Got out a couple of LOIs, did some follow-up on a few things. Did some research. It was a reasonably productive day, but as usual, didn’t feel that way.

Ordered more ink for the printer.

Still no mail-in ballot for me. Still no response from repeated requests to the Town Clerk.

I skipped the Hate Rally and all the Hatch violations.

Awake at 3:30 this morning, fretting.

Got in a decent first writing session, once I got up around 5. About 5 pages written.

Out early to drop off my mom’s ballot at the ballot box outside Town Hall. They claim it’s “secure” but it did not strike me as such. But at least HER ballot will be counted.

Went to get an oil change. The website extolls all their safety protocols. However, only one staff member was masked. The unmasked staff member was wandering around the cars (people have to stay in their vehicles), chomping on his breakfast sandwich, drinking his coffee and chatting.

No. Just no.

I reversed right out of there.

I’ll try again tomorrow morning, when they hopefully have a different crew. If they, too, are unmasked, I’ll find another place for an oil change.

It’s not masking OR social distancing. It’s masking AND social distancing. Masks are required in MA. I’m tired of these fucking dumbasses who won’t do it, and I’m tired of the lack of enforcement, and I’m tired of business LYING about following protocols when they’re not.

LOIs and client work for the next couple of hours, then I’ll run down to the library for a curbside pickup, then more writing and article work.

Hopefully, I can actually get the oil change tomorrow. The rest of the day is the usual laundry and housework, writing, reviewing a book, and finishing my article. Sunday, hopefully, will be a full day off.

I will put together my proof of voter registration and proof I completed the Census (someone was denied a ballot, supposedly, because of that) to take with me when I gear up and go vote in person on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend.

Please share the information for Grief To Art.

Grief to Art Logo

Thurs. Aug. 27, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 99 — Virtual Inspirations

woman-1283009_1920
image courtesy of pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cooler

I talk about the garden and the garden-planning software experiments over on today’s Gratitude and Growth post.

Day 2 of a Migraine. I’m grumpy.

I’m also angry. We have a catastrophic hurricane about to hit the gulf, and the people who are supposed to be helping their citizens are holding Hate Rallies instead. Not that this is new and different from anything in the past four years, but it’s revolting.

Not to mention angry about the Kenosha shooting and how the white boy terrorist is being celebrated, while a black man was shot seven times in the back. This is unacceptable.

My mom wasn’t feeling well yesterday, so that took up a lot of the day. She’s better today, thank goodness. It seems to be a medication issue.

I went in to the client’s for a couple of hours, but left to come home and deal with my mother and doctors, barely overlapping with other colleagues, which meant avoiding dealing with their ever-laxening safety protocols.

Remote chat was fun.

Got some solid client work done. Not enough done on my article. Have to buckle down today with it. Curbside pickup at the library. Follow-up on a few things.

Signed up for an online meditation session with NYU Alumni chapter in LA for mid-September. I like that there area virtual events we can participate in all over the world. I wanted to attend a talk done by NYU Shanghai, but I couldn’t figure out the time difference. Too much math for me. And the international dateline. So I’ll skip it for now.

Got out a couple of LOIs.

I’m playing with a wacky marketing idea for one of my clients. It combines product and micro fiction. I have to use photos we already have, because we don’t have the resources to get more, and build a story around them. I need to get it storyboarded in the next couple of days and out to the client early next week. It’s fun, but definitely a challenge.

My friend sent me the overview for the series she’s developing. I’ll take a look at that today.

I have to get an oil change either today or tomorrow – not looking forward to that stress.

I will take in my mother’s ballot to the secure ballot box. I still have not received mine, and the Town Clerk, who is supposed to handle these things, is refusing to respond. If I owned a mansion in Hyannisport or Osterville, I would have gotten an answer the same day the first time I contacted the office. But that’s the way Barnstable runs. Unless you’re rich or a tourist, you don’t matter.

I was delighted to attend theMetropolitan Museum of Art’s virtual event last night. Yes, it was a giant, hour-long commercial to encourage people back to the museum in person when it re-opens this weekend. At the same time, I was impressed at their planning and implementation, both during the pandemic, and moving into the phase of re-opening where people can come back to the museum. If our national government had bothered to sit down and come up with a plan, we’d be going about our lives, and without 180,000 dead. But then, the museum has leadership, intelligence, and creativity, which our government does not.

I was also very excited by the five artists in residence as part of the Civic Practice Partnership Artist in Residence program. I want to know more about the work of all five artists, took notes, and will be connecting with their work however possible.

I was a little worried that the Met was getting staid and stuck in the past, but with Max Hollein coming in as director, it looks like it’s moving forward. I hope they continue online programs, because I would love to keep participating and experiencing the museum virtually, since I can’t visit. It would be worth buying a membership.

Their educational programs are also exciting, and I’m going to see if I can incorporate them into my online homework group that starts September 8. That made me decide to check out educational programs offered by the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History, too. I’ll go even further afield, and see if I can find online programs at organizations that are relevant to what the kids are studying.

My main focus today has to be my article and the micro fiction marketing project.

An article I read in YANKEE magazine yesterday about Green Mountain College closing sparked an idea for a story. I’m going to take some notes and then put it aside. I’m juggling enough pieces.

I also want to do more work on the book for NYU’s book club, and finish the book for review.

So I’d better get to it, hadn’t I, and hope the migraine eases?

Please share the information for Grief to Art. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Grief to Art Logo

 

Wed. Aug. 26, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 98 — Mail-in Ballot Issues

survey-1594962_1920
image courtesy of andibreit via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

The Ink-Dipped Advice post will go up later today. I’m still working on it.

Had a fun Zoom meeting yesterday morning. We made it work, in spite of my idiot neighbor across the street deciding he had to start using his bulldozer before 8 AM, making enough noise and vibration to rattle the windows. I’m also tired of the view out of my front windows now being piles of gravel and dirt. If I wanted to live in an industrial area, I would have moved to a city that’s transitioning from mills to living space, shops, restaurants, etc. I shouldn’t have to be subjected to heavy machinery in a residential area 7 days a week.

The rest of the morning was given over to client work and LOIs. I got a lot more done in the space of a few hours than I expected, which was a good thing.

It got progressively hotter and more humid. Even with the fans on, we sweltered. And it’s not like we could keep the windows open with the idiots leafblowing dirt all over the place. I tried to work on the back deck, but then the people on the property behind us had TWO leafblowers going – on dirt, not leaves – sending up clouds of dirt. Plus, whatever fuel they used smelled so strong it reached across 1/3 of an acre and made me so nauseated I had to go inside, and thought I would vomit.

I’d woken up around 3 in the morning, yesterday, thanks to pandemic brain. So by 2:30 in the afternoon, I was wiped out. I tried to take a bit of a nap. It was more of a doze.

Reading a book by a new-to-me author that I like so far, but am not completely won over, because she’s using clichés for theatre people instead of treating them as, you know, real people. It’s not too bad, yet, but we’ll see where it goes. I like the protagonist and the situation and the relationships.

Will finish the book for review in the next couple of days to get that out, and also have a book to read for NYU’s virtual book club (which is fun). The book is very serious, but the virtual club is fun.

I’m not watching the RNC Hate Rally. It’s sickening, but then, the whole administration is sickening.

I still don’t have my ballot, the Town Clerk can’t be bothered to respond to any of my requests (no surprise there), and I’m not showing up as registered on the state’s website. But then, our Village doesn’t show up on the state’s website. The list of towns comes up very specifically (we are one of seven villages as part of the town) with the way it has to be entered in the search (village/town/county), but the village/town doesn’t come up as an option and I can’t type it in, and when I go for the town itself, it comes up as an error. I’ve been a registered voter for 10 years, I’ve voted in every single election, I checked my registration a few weeks ago, and I got the paperwork as a registered voter to request the ballot. What the fuck is going on? And why won’t anyone answer any questions? It’s unacceptable. The state site says I have to contact the Town Clerk – WHO WON’T GIVE ME THE COURTESY OF A RESPONSE!!!!

This is not a major city. This is a small town with very little going on – ever, except developers screwing over residents – and completely incompetent town government.

My mother isn’t feeling well. I think the change in medication she got last week was the wrong one. We have a call in to the doctor.

I’d like to just go back to bed, but that is not an option.

At least I have Remote Chat to look forward to. I have to go onsite to a client’s, which I am NOT looking forward to, as they’re laxer every day in following safety protocols.

Please share the information on Grief to Art with those who might need it. The death toll from the virus continues to climb, and no one in the administration gives a damn. We’re all collateral damage to their profit.

Grief to Art Logo

Tues. Aug. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 97 — Rest & Prep

sunset-174276_1920
image courtesy of danigeza via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and Humid

I gave myself the weekend off. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, and I’m sick of trying to keep on keeping on. The laptop stayed off; I was on social media a little bit here and there; I ignored emails.

Saturday morning was busy: watered the yard, took garbage and recycling to the dump (way too many Sliding Mask Skanks at recycling), a trip to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop (where I got things I can’t get at Trader Joe’s), home, full disinfectant protocols, beds changed, 5 loads of laundry, made chocolate mousse. All by 10 AM. Well, laundry took pretty much all day, but the first load was in before 10! Then, around 10:30, I made another curbside pickup at the library.

Sunday, I had to brave a trip into Christmas Tree Shops to pick up some things I knew they carry and haven’t been able to source elsewhere. I was there when they opened, and there weren’t a lot of Covidiots in there yet, so I could zoom around the store, grab what I needed, get out, and do a full disinfectant protocol when I got home.

It was too hot to make baguettes or do any other baking.

I read all weekend, instead. I wrote a little bit, but not anywhere near what I “should” have, and, frankly, I didn’t give a damn. I had the cats out on the deck in their playpens. I read. I napped. I was out on the deck. I stayed away from the chaos as much as possible.

I decided, in that series that started so well, then three books disappointed and angered me, but I’d already ordered the rest from the library – that I would read into each book until I hit a slur or something else stupid, and then skim/stop the rest. After three books that I didn’t like (which is more than I’d give most authors), the next book is back on track. No slurs; the protag was weaker than she was at the start of the series, which I don’t really like; the author got rid of the really great love interest the previous book in a way I didn’t like, without any real resolution, and brought in a new one here – who is basically out of the same mold as the previous one, only in a different profession and with more romance-hero looks. So I’m on the fence about that. But many of the things I’d liked in the earlier books were back in force here.

So we’ll see. And I’m learning a lot, even from that which I don’t like.

Also re-read THE CRUELEST MONTH by Louise Penny. I’m getting a lot more out of the series this time through.

And started reading ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB, a memoir by Harlequin editor Patience Bloom, which was recommended by a friend of mine, and enjoyed it (finished it yesterday).

I cooked a little, snacked too much (I’m not usually a snacker, but I was this weekend). The cats were happy with lots of extra playtime.

Illegal fireworks in the street again on Saturday night, but at least not right in front of our house. But, you know, no one will do anything because “it’s just innocent fun.” No, assholes, it’s not. Do your jobs and shut this down. Someone in the neighborhood has a horde of tens of thousands of dollars of illegal fireworks, and it’s going to take out half the neighborhood when they do something else stupid and their house explodes.

Monday, I had to go onsite for a client for a few hours. I was on my own for most of it, which is how it should be. I had to contact the Town Clerk because I still haven’t received my mail-in ballot (my mother received hers over a week ago). I suspect it’s because I’m named for my mother, and they assumed it was a duplicate –even though we have different middle initials, different signatures, different registrations,  it’s clear we are two separate people, and we’ve both voted in every election for 10 years. But it’s not a prerequisite to have intelligence or common sense if you work for the town. I contacted via fax AND via certified mail, since I’m still waiting for the town to respond to an email I sent in March, and another sent in June. Because they can’t be fucking bothered. No, it didn’t go astray, and it’s not because of the pandemic, and they’re not “doing the best they can.” This is their pattern.  If I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow, I will have to contact the Secretary of State. Mail-in ballots have to be dropped off by Sept. 1. This is not a big city with tons and tons of work and no staff. This is a small town. Who ignores their residents whenever possible.

And how sexist! Plenty of sons are names for their fathers, especially around here, and no one thinks twice. But because I am named for my mother, there’s confusion?

Setting up a quarantine area in the laundry room on the rolling rack. We’re getting into weather where clothing is not all easy-to-wash cottons. When I strip down in the laundry room for disinfectant protocols, I can toss what I need to in the machine, and put the less-often-washables on the rack in quarantine.

Finally used my Phin filter to make Vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk. Lovely.

Re: The Conways. How stupid are the people who are cutting them a break with all of this? This is one of the biggest grifts of the administration – husband and wife playing two sides against the middle, and now bowing out citing “family” issues. Husband and wife have been playing the population since Day 1 and laughing all the way to the bank. Corrupt to the core. Roped in their kid as part of the scheme. I don’t believe anything coming out of any of their mouths. It’s all orchestrated, scripted, and planned, for profit.

Prepped for this morning’s meeting yesterday – it’s at 8:30 this morning, via ZOOM. Nothing like being professionally dressed and in full makeup again that early!

The rest of the day will be a mix of client work and writing. I need to cover a lot of ground on the Llewellyn piece today, get out an email blast for a client, and upload some more pieces to her online shop.

Hope your week is starting well. We’re supposed to get storms today to break the heat and humidity. The last few days have been miserable with it.

And please share the information about Grief to Art. Thanks – greatly appreciated.

Grief to Art Logo