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

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Friday, September 9, 2022

First day of Full Moon

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

Sunny and pleasant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurs. Sept. 8, 2022: Prioritizing Projects

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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Mercury goes retrograde TOMORROW

Cloudy and cooler

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

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

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

Those oughta keep you busy for a bit, right?

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

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

I turned around two scripts.

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

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

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

Speaking of which, Episode 14 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

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

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

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

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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, humid, cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t wait to see my friends.

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

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

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

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

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

Lots to do, so better get to it.

Published in: on September 7, 2022 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. Sept. 5, 2022: Intent for the Week: Keep the Inner Work Going

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It’s a holiday Monday here in the US. While the weekend wasn’t the home-based retreat for which I’d hoped, I managed to get a lot of inner work done (along with a good bit of outer work, such as unpacking more boxes).

The week after labor day is, traditionally, busy with everything starting up again after summer. Only with all these retrogrades weighing us down, and Mercury Retrograde looming over us (starting on Friday), maybe we shouldn’t just jump back in and race around. Maybe we need to approach autumn more slowly this time around.

I’m attempting to do that — get my work done, but not overbook myself. I have friends coming at the end of next weekend into the following week, which makes me happy, and I have to prepare for that, too. I have to figure out when to book the fifth Covid boosters, for myself and my mom.

My intent is to take things slowly, and pay attention. Maybe even enjoy them!

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on September 5, 2022 at 6:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. Sept. 2, 2022: Hello, Mr. Fireman

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Friday, Sept. 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Sunny and cool

Finally, some cooler weather! Although it doesn’t smell like autumn yet.

I read a friend’s rewrite of her play yesterday and it was wonderful! I’m so excited for her. And I got my ballot down to City Hall and left it in the ballot box. So we’ve both voted in next week’s primaries.

Well, we had some excitement here yesterday. Yes, that was sarcasm.

I was working on the computer when I smelled something like burned toast. I got up to see if one of the burners was on, or if the toaster or the microwave or the coffee machine was doing something funky. Nope.

Then I wondered if I was having a stroke.

But I felt fine. Ish.

The fire alarms started going off, with their beeping, and the weird, robotic voice going, “Fire! Fire! Fire!”

They do that pretty regularly, but we could smell smoke.

A minute later, the next-door neighbor pounded on the door saying, “Get out! It’s real! The old lady downstairs has a kitchen fire!”

We grabbed the cats and stuffed them into their crates. Willa ran and hid, but when my mom called for her, she came out, and I grabbed her and popped her into her crate. I grabbed the computer, my bag of flash drives, and my purse, forgetting my passport and my phone. My  mom had the backpack where we keep the important papers, her phone, her purse. She took Willa. I had Tessa and Charlotte, and we went downstairs and sat on the curb.

The firemen were there by then, and the neighbor had gotten the woman and her walker out of the apartment, his roommates had gotten out with the dog, and the other downstairs neighbor had evacuated along with her kid (the other kid was in school).

It wasn’t bad; the woman had put something in the microwave to heat up, and, for some reason, it caught fire. It was mostly smoke. The firemen brought in big fans to clear everything out. No one was hurt. Nothing was destroyed except the microwave and the poor woman’s lunch. She was so embarrassed. I told her not to worry; it was more important that she was okay.

Tessa Was Not Amused. She sat in her crate with her back to the world, mumbling and threatening revenge. Charlotte and Willa, however, reveled in the extra attention. Everyone stopped by to tell them how pretty they were (Charlotte was purring by then). People driving by actually stopped and got out of their cars to admire them.

The firemen did a walkthrough of the apartments to make sure everything was fine, and up we went. The apartment smelled a little rank, but the windows were open, and I’d just gotten new incense in cedarwood and jasmine, so that went right on the burner, and soon it was back to rights.

We let the cats out of their crates and they ran around checking on everything. Tessa Was in A Mood, hissing and swiping at everyone, eating a whole bowl of food, and then not having anything to do with anyone until this morning.

The adrenalin crash wasn’t pretty, but I managed to cover two scripts (I needed to do three, but I’m still okay, deadline-wise. But not  a whole lot got done.

It was a good test run. We’re going to have to run drills to pack the cats faster. Willa and Charlotte’s crates were handy, but Tessa’s had been stored in a place that took too much time to reach, so that will be adjusted. We have to be efficient about packing up what we need and getting out in under three minutes. I think this time, we took six, and that’s too long. We were lucky; it could have been a lot worse, and now we know what we need to adjust for future emergencies.

I started the next book for review, which is kind of meh. Calls itself a thriller, but the pace is slow and the male protagonist falls into the Too Stupid To Live category. Never a good sign when I’m rooting for the protagonist to get murdered.

Started panicking in the evening when I had a sore throat, worrying I’d come down with the plague, and then remembered we’d had a fire and the apartment was filled with smoke. Took some slippery elm and felt better.

Slept well until about 3 AM, then had trouble falling back to sleep. I was restless, even though I wasn’t fretting. But I did fall asleep, and didn’t wake up until after 7, so it’s been a slow start.

I have to run some errands this morning. We didn’t have a chance to swap out to September fabrics (everything is still very summery) or change the wreath on the door, so that has to happen today. And I have to cover three scripts. I’d hoped to start my holiday weekend today, but no such luck.

At least it should be a good weekend. I plan to spend a lot of time resting and doing inner work. Maybe some work on LEGERDEMAIN. Maybe start recovering the kitchen chairs (which is the next project on the list).

Have a good one, and enjoy the holiday!

Published in: on September 2, 2022 at 8:16 am  Comments (2)  

Thurs. Sept 1, 2022: A New Month

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Thursday, September 1, 2022

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

Sunny and pleasant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. Aug. 31, 2022: Inspection Day

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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Partly sunny, still humid, a little cooler

I was up early yesterday morning, doing the final wipe on the granite countertops, on the stainless steel fridge and dishwasher, wiping the mirrors. The cats trailed along after me, letting me know when I missed a spot.

The inspector and the landlord were here promptly, and the landlord said he was delighted by what we’d done with the place (it was the first time he’d been inside since we moved in). The inspector seemed surprised that I actually talked to him and was glad to see him. So I’m glad about that. Charlotte captivated them both, and had them wrapped around her dainty paw in seconds. Tessa and Willa ignored them.

The inspection of the whole place just took about 15 minutes. I mean, we keep it in good shape, the landlord had it in good shape when we moved in. There are a few little things he’s going to take care of, but nothing major.

For some reason, we were exhausted after (maybe because we spent four days getting the place ready, rearranging things we’d planned to take care of for months).

The doctor’s office phoned and asked if my mom could come in earlier for her appointment than originally scheduled, so we got in the car and drove over, and she had her appointment.

I spent the afternoon writing up the analysis of the novel-with-and-eye-to-adaptation and sent it off.

I put a hand-stitched double wedding ring quilt on the bed that I bought in Plymouth, MA years ago, but haven’t really used. However, Charlotte just adores it. She knows she looks gorgeous on it, and takes full advantage.

But that was pretty much the day. This morning, they are fixing something downstairs and the water if off (not fun, especially since there was no warning).

We might head out to the fabric store this morning. I have ideas for a lap quilt I want to make for the winter, and there’s a sale. I have several scripts to turn around today (end of the month, always busy), some promotion to do on the LEGERDEMAIN episode that dropped yesterday, but most of today will be about script coverage. Tomorrow, I get back to work on the LEGERDEMAIN revisions, so the last episodes in the first large arc can be uploaded and scheduled before the holiday weekend. I’m also working on the Fearless Ink postcard that needs to go out a week or two after the holiday.

Next week, I’m also going to do a social media clear out, going through the following/followers and getting rid of the non-reciprocal accounts.

Busy few days preparing for the long holiday weekend, but I’m looking forward to having a few days off.

As I was planning the upcoming errands (be they today or in the next few days), I thought about where I would buy mulch. Then, I realized I’d dreamed I needed mulch for a garden last night. I don’t actually NEED mulch for what we have.

I’m looking forward to the weather taking a cooler turn, though. Between the humidity and the ragweed, it’s a challenge. Of course, the morons using leaf blowers only make the ragweed worse.

Have a good one.

Published in: on August 31, 2022 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Tues. Aug. 30, 2022: That New Moon in Virgo Energy

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Sunny and humid

This will be short, partly because there isn’t much to say about the weekend, and partly because today is overly busy.

Most of the weekend was spent getting the apartment ready for the inspection. I cleared out the pantry and rearranged it (which makes it work better). I pulled everything out of the laundry room, reorganized it, and built shelves out of crates, so it’s usable space and we can get at everything. I rearranged my room quite a bit. There’s more to do to make it the sanctuary I want, but at least it’s neat. Reorganized a bunch of things in the office and the sewing room and the living room. We hung up some more pictures and other art things. I cleaned off/out the rolltop desk (which lives in the sewing room in this place), and now it’s usable workspace again. I want to paint the filing cabinets teal and do the handles in a really pretty silver, but that couldn’t happen this weekend.

I also sewed the new curtain panel from The Kitchen Island Cart from Hell, a nice, bright sunflower fabric. All handstitched, because setting up the sewing machine seemed like too much work. It only took a couple of hours by hand, and the natural light was excellent this weekend. I sewed the back panel (coral and fishes) and velcro’d it on, so I can take it off and wash it as needed (I mean, kitchen. Things spill). Someone wondered why I hadn’t just stapled it on, and, frankly, it never occurred to me.

I read the book for review. I was assigned a novel to read for analysis as a something for potential adaptation, which I did. It was by an author whose work I know well, and for a company who has a script in production that I read a few months ago (and really liked).

I got out a couple of LOIs, including one to teach for a writers’ organization.

And, around all the organizing and unpacking boxes and getting rid of stuff that we don’t need, there was also lots of vacuuming and scrubbing floors and cleaning mirrors, and all the rest.

In other words, a good portion of our fall cleaning is done early. Which is great. On September 1, I’ll swap out the fabrics on the tables, etc. Oct. 1 is when the spiderweb curtains go up, and we put up the Samhain decorations.

But I’m tired and achy from moving stuff around and climbing up on stepstools and all the rest. And I’m worried, because I didn’t get in as much script coverage as I hoped these last two weeks – a combination of burnout, and that there just wasn’t all that much out there, and much of what was paid way too little.

That Virgo new moon is a hard taskmaster! But I went very Virgo-y, with all the organization, and things do look good. I even put the handmade double wedding ring quilt on my bed, which I bought in Plymouth a couple of years before we even moved to the Cape, and I’ve never used. It’s a gorgeous piece of usable art. Charlotte adores it. She better not puke on it.

But all of that physical work also gave me time to think. I am happiest when I focus on the work. I get grumpy and frustrated when people try to pull me off my work to serve their agendas (especially when they try to get me to work for free).

Why have I been able to make a living in the arts since I was 18? Because I didn’t let other people derail the work. Because I didn’t let them force their agenda into my priorities and syphon off my energy and creativity to serve them. I allowed it far too often on the Cape, because I was trying to figure out how to navigate civilian life, and let people take advantage. And it was always to my detriment.

My joy is in the work. I am a writer who loves the actual writing. So I need to get back to the work and focus on the work, and let the rest fall away. That way, I’m doing the work that keeps a roof over our heads AND doing the work I love to do.

Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries.

Which fits in well with this new moon Virgo energy.

Of course, now we’ve moved into Libra, and we have a fuckton of retrogrades, with the Mercury Retrograde looming over us, but focusing on the work is the key.

And there’s still a pandemic going on, so it’s not like it even makes sense for a sane person to get on a plane, be It for a vacation or a conference) and go dancing around unmasked. I got five emails over the weekend canceling events due to “unexpected circumstances.” When I asked what those were, they were all COVID. Stop fucking gaslighting. COVID is not an “unexpected circumstance” when you haven’t followed protocols. It’s a given. Stop lying. I mean, I wasn’t planning on attending any of those events anyway, due to lack of safety protocols. But the lying  really bothers me.

Anyway, I have to finish my analysis for the book’s potential for adaptation. I’m waiting for the inspector. I have to take my mom to the doctor. I have another script to turn around this afternoon. And it’s hot and humid, still.

But tomorrow, I can go back to the work.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on August 30, 2022 at 8:55 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 30, 2022: That New Moon in Virgo Energy  

Mon. Aug. 29, 2022: Intent for the Week — It’s About the Work

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Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time (around as I was working on other things) thinking about the root of my frustrations lately.

When am I happiest? When I focus on the work.

When do I get frustrated? When other people demand that I put their work (espcially unpaid) ahead of my own.

How have I been able to make a living in the arts since I was 18, rather than doing hated “day jobs” and only writing/working in theatre “on the side”? Because I haven’t let other people sabotage me when they didn’t have the courage to follow their dreams and resent that I follow mine.

So this week is about getting back to the work. Less other people, more myself.

I mentioned last week that I’ve peopled too much over the past weeks, and I’m ready to batten down the hatches for autumn and winter. I have tentative plans with several old friends for the autumn, which I hope come to pass, but I don’t want to get pulled into anything around here that requires much, if anything from me. That’s true not just because of COVID, but because too many people want to benefit from others’ labor without doing their part in their own work.

I’m focusing on the work this week, and that will help reset the equilibrium. I have my work; I have client work. I’m tired and burned out, but there is a holiday weekend coming up and I have every intention of taking it, and probably not dealing with anyone (or many people, other than, say, the grocery store or the library).

I keep joking that I don’t even plan to get out of my pajamas all next weekend, but it might not be a joke!

However, today, tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday — those are about the work. The rental inspector comes by tomorrow, so there is last minute tidying up to do. I have a book to read and analyze for possible adaptation for television for a client today, too, along with my own work.

Have a good one!

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on August 29, 2022 at 9:16 am  Comments Off on Mon. Aug. 29, 2022: Intent for the Week — It’s About the Work  

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

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, August 26, 2022

Dark Moon

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

Sunny and warm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on August 26, 2022 at 8:41 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. Aug. 25, 2022: Scattered

image courtesy of Brett Hondow via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 24, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

Read the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was not as productive as I hoped. I decided to wait and go to the library today, and work in the morning. I got the review off to my editor, was late getting the post up here. It was a slow start. It was also noisy around here, everyone working on stuff, because the rental inspector comes through next week, and the new students are also moving in. So it’s a little chaotic around here right now. Considering how quiet it usually is, it’s not a big deal.

I managed to get the next two episodes of LEGERDEMAIN revised. Four more to go, hopefully today and tomorrow, and then upload them next week, do the episode ads and get those uploaded and scheduled, and start the next arc. I’m spending some time just thinking and spinning on the details of the next arc. I have its general shape; I just need to break down the plot points and figure how to spread them out over the episodes. There are a couple of arcs I’m going to push further down; I don’t want to start too much in this next one; I want to keep it reasonably simple.

My meeting got pushed back a half hour, which was fine, but also frustrating, because I couldn’t actually do much in that time. It wasn’t enough to drop deeply down into a project. But the meeting went well, so there’s that. And then another meeting in the evening, which was fun, because I got to hang out with some neighbors I’d known from a distance, but now got to chat with.

This morning, I have an Artists Impact Coalition Working Group meeting at MassMOCA. After that, I need to swing by the library for drop-off/pick up, and after that head to Pittsfield for errands. Some of which may involve office supplies (shhh).  And, of course, script coverage. Not sure I’ll get any LEGERDEMAIN episodes done today, but hope to make up for it tomorrow, and then do some more work on the LEGERDEMAIN website.

Reading MUDDLED THROUGH by Barbara Ross and enjoying it.

No meditation group this morning, which I miss, but I’m being steady about my own daily practice again, and that makes a huge difference.

It’s the day before the dark moon, my lowest energy day of the month, but I will push through. I kind of feel like a truck rolled over me, but I will get it together.

Have a good one!

Published in: on August 25, 2022 at 6:59 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 25, 2022: Scattered  
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Wed. Aug. 23, 2022: Real Calendars Are Still Best

image courtesy of Open ClipArt Vectors via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy, warm, humid

Uranus goes retrograde today, so now we’ve got six retrogrades, with the next Mercury Retrograde looming over us.

Got some work done on the new Episode 32 and on Episode 33, along with some admin. Made a curried chicken salad, and used the leftover cilantro to make cilantro pesto, using the method Jeremy Rock Smith taught us a few weeks back.

My 1 PM meeting cancelled, so I then kept working on LEGERDEMAIN, revising episodes 34 & 35, and working on script coverage. I also put in a slide show on the landing page of the Legerdemain site, with the ads for all the episodes released so far, and will update that slide show with the new episode ads every few weeks. I started a slideshow on the businesses and the fun little quirky ads, which I will do on the business page, but ran out of time.

Had a good conversation with an editor about something I was worried about, and wanted to run past her before submitting. It’s all set now, and I can do that this morning.

Ordered pizza for dinner, kept working on the script coverage. The script I read last night is good, but it’s a 1400-word coverage, and I didn’t get it finished last night. I will finish it this morning (I’m fine, deadline-wise).

Yesterday’s meeting is moved to this afternoon, which is fine, but I have to spend less time on it. I have another coverage to turn around today/tonight, but the report is shorter.

Six more episodes to revise on LEGERDEMAIN, and this first big arc will be uploaded and scheduled. These are tricky episodes to revise and structure, because there are certain plotlines that have to be resolved, while others that were planted for future arcs have to be brought forward, so it’s clear where things are headed.

I did some promo on the episode that dropped yesterday, in addition to the promos already scheduled. I’m considering doing a giveaway package of weird, fun little stuff connected to LEGERDEMAIN in late September or early October, and playing with ideas for that. I may do it on Google Docs, but I put out a question to see how complicated it is. It’s always been easy as a contestant, but I want to hear from people on the other side of the table. So far, I have ideas for three little fun pieces; I want to come up with six or seven, put in a nice presentation, and then use it as a way to drive traffic to the Kindle Vella page. Contestants have to answer questions that are tied to details in each of the first three episodes (which will then get those numbers up, and help my algorithm. Amazon, of course, makes it as difficult as possible to actually market the serial. But I’m trying. I wanted to buy a bunch of tokens and add them to the giveaway, but Amazon doesn’t allow tokens as a gift. Gift cards can’t be used, either. Both of which suck, but hey, it’s Amazon, not at all unexpected.

I sent an email off to the artists’ working group, to make sure they are actually meeting tomorrow, and find out where. I have a few ideas (because, of course I do).

I actually slept pretty well, in spite of the humidity. I’m doing some work on LEGERDEMAIN this morning, and do a few other things before the afternoon meeting. Then, it’s script coverage. The next few days will be a mix of errands, LEGERDEMAIN, script coverage, and rearranging a few things in the house with the inspector coming next week.

Next week is crazy busy, and then, I am looking forward to the holiday weekend.

I also have to get ahead on some of the blogs that are starting up again after the long holiday weekend. I want to brainstorm topics, and always try to stay a little ahead.

The content calendar – the print version – is saving my ass daily. I’m finding the online project management tools, like Asana, Todoist, ClickUp and more, add several extra steps to everything, instead of streamlining. So I might delete Asana. Still on the fence about trying Hectic.

With my paper calendar, I write it down once, it’s there, I look at it, I do it. With an online project management tool, I have to:

Set up every project

Put in all the different steps

Tie them into the main calendar

Go back in every day after I’ve completed what’s to be done on that day’s list and mark it complete

Move the task to the complete column, because the platform doesn’t move it once it’s complete

With my big desktop blotter calendar, I just look at the calendar and know where I am. Much more efficient.

None of the “systems” out there have the flexibility I need for the range of projects, services, and mediums in which I work.

I do want to look into a social media scheduling tool that isn’t a kazillion dollars that lets me upload my content once and then schedule it across multiple platforms, not have to upload/schedule each day separately. I want to upload the content and be able to set different dates/times AND different platforms, all in one go, not separately.

Old-school desk blotter calendar works better! So be it. I need more ink for the printer; maybe I’ll go down to Staples tomorrow in person to pick up the ink, get more notebooks for the back-to-school sale, and get next year’s desk blotter calendar.

Have a good one!