Thurs. March 9, 2023: Headed for The Book Sale

image courtesy of Lynn Greyling via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

The latest garden post is up over here.

Yesterday, the skies were grey and there was a sense of waiting. For what, I don’t know. Just waiting.

I slogged through way too much email and dealt with a bunch of stuff. I still have some unpleasant admin to get through today. One of those companies where they know they’re in the wrong, so they try to bombard me with meaningless paper, and yet, I have chapter and verse and law number of the laws they broke, so they can bite me. But it takes time and attention to put together the documentation, both of which would be better served elsewhere. I have a feeling I’ll have to get the AG and the regulators involved, but these asshats need a good smack.

They get away with it because too many people WON’T take the time to put together the documentation and tell them to fuck off.

Someone with whom I’ve lost patience online talked the other day about the importance of boxing oneself in a niche, writing-wise. As an example, they said if they were asked for a reference, they’d refer the person with the niche. Which made me laugh, because there’s nothing this individual could recommend me for that I’d accept. What’s the point of freelancing if you’re going to remain in a corporate mindset? But hey, it works for thee, not for me, and more power to them.

Did the social media rounds to promote Angel Hunt and The Process Muse. Played with some ideas. I’m looking for notes on a project that I put in a Very Safe Place and can’t find right now. I had some ideas to make it more viable, and want to write them down before I forget.

Did the library run – lots of books, yay. Swung by the liquor store to pick up Prosecco for the weekend.

Afternoon was all about script coverage. I finished the coverage I started and turned around the two coverages for which I’d been requested.

And then, technically, my weekend started!

These first few days of the week definitely felt out of balance, because I focused so much on client work and not enough on my own. But it got done, and now I have the next four days to do the fun stuff I have planned (and do some of my own work, too, but I’m not On A Schedule).

I was invited to participate in the gigantic collaborative poem experience again this year with Word X Word. I sent in my interest, and hopefully will get a confirmation back that I can participate. This year, it will be done in multiple languages, so once I get my starting word (which is the last word of the previous poem), I will see if I can create a piece that incorporates French and German as well as English, because those are the languages to which I’m most closely connected. Of course, I will only have 24 hours to write my section, so I might not be able to pull it off. It depends on my catalyst word. But, should I be a participant, it will be fun. And I have the date down, in ink, in my calendar.

I started reading the next book for review, and also worked on contest entries.

Tessa and Charlotte started bothering me at 2:30. By the time I got up at 5:30, I was a wreck.

Meditation this morning, then writing and some admin work. Social media rounds to promote Episode 66 of Legerdemain, which drops today. This afternoon, I’m headed to the Berkshire Atheneum in Pittsfield, for their big book sale. I’m joining as a member of the Friends of the Library, and going to the Member preview. They have 55,000 books at this sale, specializing in detective fiction, cookbooks, art books, and Berkshire history. My kind of sale.

Have a good one, my friends!

Tues. March 7, 2023: Working on the Balance

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Full Moon

Partly cloudy and cold

Time for our Tuesday catch up. Pull up a beverage and let’s get to it.

The bright sun on Friday meant everyone was cheerful as they ran around getting things done before the storm. I dashed down to Big Y to get coffee. Really, that was in the interest of public service, because being around me if I’m without coffee causes unnecessary pain to all. I grabbed a few other things, just in case they were right about 14 inches of snow and I couldn’t dig out by Sunday to do the early month Big Grocery Shop.

Did the social media rounds to promote the day’s episode of Angel Hunt, and to visit the blogs that are, once again, part of my regular rounds. Those of us who’ve never believed the blog is dead and steadily kept at it have built steady readership. I was amazed when a stat report came in, at how many people follow the various blogs, even if they don’t often comment. Thank you! I am grateful for the support, and I hope my mistakes save you pain, and that sharing my experiences make you feel less alone.

I struggled to settle into the page in the morning. The piece I was noodling with yesterday will work; I just have to figure out some of the points so that the structure fits its chosen genre. The piece (meaning my subconscious) chose the genre; I did not intentionally aim for it. But the structure is tight and unforgiving, and I want to make sure I hit the necessary points so I don’t just dive in and flail.

The Heist Romance script was calling me and demanding attention. I knew I had to re-read what I’ve done so far to get back into the voice, and I didn’t want to start that until I’d finished the deadlined work for the week.

I didn’t want to do script coverage in the morning, because then it would be too hard to switch my headspace back into the creative landscape, rather than the critical one. I managed to do a polish, upload, and schedule on the next couple of weeks’ worth of Process Muse posts.

I checked the plants out on the front porch, and it was so nice I sat out there reading the latest issue of THE NEW YORKER, joined by Tessa and Charlotte. There’s a great satiric piece on the pay-for-checkmarks at Twitter in the issue.

I did the necessary coverages and was done for the week, which was nice, I could relax in the evening.

Busy dreams, Friday into Saturday. Not bad, just busy.

It had started snowing late on Friday night. By Saturday morning, we had about a foot of snow, and it kept coming down until about noon. It was very pretty, and the power held, so I enjoyed watching the snow from the living room couch and reading.

I noodled with some ideas for poems. I have themes, ideas, image that I want to explore, although I’m not sure yet how. I have a notebook just for this type of noodling. Part of the notebook is similar to a commonplace book in that I write down quotes which resonate.

I finished reading POEM CRAZY, and started reading Mary Oliver’s book about the craft of poetry.

I was thrilled, on Saturday, to be offered a slot in this autumn’s Boiler House Poets Collective’s residency program at MASSMoCA. A weeklong intensive in the museum’s studios, with the other poets in the collective. It’s such an unexpected honor. I accepted, of course, and I am thrilled and slightly terrified. I will learn a lot and grow in new directions. It also gives me time to figure out what I want to work on. I think I want to write about shattered dreams around the Cape Cod experience (and Chiron will be in retrograde, so it makes sense); at the same time, it has to be more than catharsis, and stand on its own wordy feet. But I can play with themes and ideas and forms, and have something to actually bring in and work on with the Collective, while also creating new work while I’m there.

I started reading Tara Laskhowski’s ONE NIGHT GONE. Author Greg Herren had recommended it over on his blog, and it sounded interesting. It is. It’s very well done.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was lovely, as usual.

In the early afternoon, I went out to dig out the car. I was highly irritated because the guys who have the spots on either side of me – who are half my age – shoveled the snow behind their cars and dumped it behind my car instead of walking the five steps across the lot to put it where it was supposed to go. So instead of having a foot to shovel, I had three feet. Not a happy camper. They can bite me.

I don’t expect them to shovel my car clear. But it’s unacceptable to add more work to my slot because they’re lazy.

I used to always conscientiously shovel the space between the cars on both sides, but I don’t do it anymore, because I was the only one who ever did it and neither of these guys – young, strong, strapping guys – can ever be bothered.

I grabbed scripts for the week, and then was requested for a coverage, so now I have too many scripts for the beginning of the week (I’m only reading the first three days). But I’ll get it done.

Heard from the extended family up in Maine. They are all down with COVID (because they stopped being careful). They’re annoyed that we haven’t had it yet. Annoyed because we keep following protocols to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. No time for that. Makes me glad I started keeping a distance after the whole issue around the move, before we found this place, when they told us I’d have to put my mother in a nursing home, get rid of the cats, get rid of my books, and rent a room and work a minimum wage job. Nope. That’s not my life.

More busy dreams Saturday into Sunday. The good thing about having Tessa sleep on the bed is that she lets me sleep through the night, while Charlotte wakes me up every two hours.

I did a lot of ironing on Sunday, on various fabric that I’ve handwashed over the past few weeks and that has stacked up. It stores better when it’s ironed. I set out the board and plugged in the Rowenta and got to work. I enjoy ironing. It was part of the prep as a wardrobe person I found soothing.

Did some tidying up, broke down some boxes. Got some paperwork done.  The chop wood, carry water part of artistic life is just as important as the rest of it. It keeps one grounded.

Worked on contest entries. I’ll have to do that every day for the next two months, to make sure I give the entries their due.

I re-read what I have of the Heist Romance Script. It holds up, in spite of knowing it needs work. Back to the research on Corsica and Sardinia, so I can sneak work on the next sections in around other work.

Sunday night into Monday, I dreamed about creating art pieces out of layered tissue paper that resembled stained glass (my uncle used to work in actual stained glass). It made sense in the dream, and looked pretty darn good, but I have no idea how to pull it off on this side of the Dreamscape.

Monday was sunny. Yeah!

Did the social media rounds early, took care of administrative stuff, then it was off to the library and the grocery store. Of course, as soon as I got home, another slew of books showed up at the library; I’ll pick them up tomorrow or so.

Did the big early-in-the-month grocery shop, hauled everything home and put it away.

Turned around three coverages and started on a fourth before I ran out of steam. Got requested for another that has to be done this week, so now I’m really overscheduled. However, I’m also grateful that writers find the feedback helpful and get excited to create more, and that they want my take on it. So I will get it all done.

Soup class was fun.

Worked on contest entries after.

Cancelled my subscription to Tamed Wild. I’ve gotten some beautiful things from them the past few years. But last year, they upped the shipping cost, so it’s an extra 40% on top of the cost of the box. They claimed it was “temporary” but we all knew that was a crock. However, since then, the shipping has gotten completely erratic. They can blame the post office all they want, but the post office can’t forward what hasn’t been given to them. The box that arrived yesterday was paid for on 13 Feb and supposed to ship by the 18. It shipped last Friday, 3 March. So much for a ritual meant to be specific to February.  On top of that, the quality of the box contents has gone down and become repetitive. And, for instance, with the jewelry, now the pendants and chains aren’t put together, and when one tries to put the pendant on the chain – it doesn’t fit. Which means I have to go out and buy findings to adjust it and spend time trying to make it work. I’m not a jewelry artist. I don’t know how to do it and I shouldn’t have to for something I’ve purchased. Now they’re talking about going quarterly with a bigger box at more than double the cost with the shipping being an additional 25% on top of the cost of the box. No. Just no. So I cancelled.  I’m grateful for the good months, but the direction they’re taking isn’t working for me.

Goddess Provisions has much more consistent quality, pricing, and on-time delivery.

But a new moonstone was part of yesterday’s box. Tessa loves moonstones, and she’s kept it close.

Slept decently, although the feline shift change at 4 AM woke me. I had trouble getting back to sleep after, going down negative spirals. I kept reminding myself, that’s not reality. I can choose that not to be reality. On a couple of points I realized the irritant was either none of my business or a situation I could choose to remove myself from, so why fret?

Today I have at least three coverages to turn around, and I will try to at least get started on a fourth. I have yoga this evening, so that will help me reset.

I have some pain-in-the-ass-but-necessary admin work (again, cleaning up the mess of the inept), but I’ll get that done, and hopefully write a bit, too. I took the writing pressure off myself early in the week because I knew I was only doing client work M-T-W, so I’ll gear back up on writing Thursday and Friday, along with the other stuff planned, and get back to a more stable writing-in-the-morning-client-work-in-the-afternoon schedule next week. I’m still writing in longhand first thing in the morning, so I’m still writing every day, and that keeps me on an even keel.

I had an epiphany about another layer for the play FALL FOREVER that will be written in April, so I’ll jot those notes down in my outline. It gives deeper motivations to several of the characters, and makes it more nuanced.

I also realized I haven’t scheduled the promos for this week’s episodes of LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT, so I’ll have to do that first thing. Hint: Episode 65 of Legerdemain drops today!

I better get going, huh? Have a good one!

Thurs. Feb. 9, 2023: Cracked Patience

image courtesy of OpenClipart-Vectors via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

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

Two things I didn’t talk about yesterday, which I will talk about here: The first is the horrible earthquake in Turkey and Syria. 11,000 dead last I heard, and growing fatalities. The scope of the devastation is horrifying. I hope the world steps up and helps.

The second is the State of the Union address that happened on Tuesday. Biden handled himself well, although I didn’t agree with everything he had to say. But that’s okay, I don’t have to. Other than handling the pandemic, he’s doing a good job, in my opinion. It sent quite the message that only Bernie Sanders cared enough to mask, and made it clear that both parties don’t give a flying fuck how many citizens are killed by COVID. That is not acceptable.

The Republicans behaved badly, because that’s all that’s in their wheelhouse. Sinema (who is a Repub embedded as a Dem) craves attention and dressed like an extra from a Chiquita Banana parody. Her pathetic bids for attention are so inappropriate for her job. MTG behaved like the trailer trash she is, and SHS had a “rebuttal” that continues to show what a lying grifter she, her family, and the whole party are.

Yesterday morning was frustrating, doing all kinds of paperwork and contracts. I lost nearly an hour putting the new ink in the inkjet printer, because the color printhead wouldn’t align properly. I want my laser printer fixed!

Went down to the post office, got everything mailed, including the contract for the big project. Sent everything certified, so I can be sure it gets there. As I’ve mentioned before, the post office around here is the happening place, where everyone exchanges information, suggests people for projects, etc. There was a man at the post office mailing two large boxes to Florida. His son died a few months ago, and was a huge Miami Dolphins fan. He had season tickets, and went down to see them play home games several times a year. He became close friends with someone who had tickets near him. The Miami friend flew up for the man’s funeral, which was the first time the family met him. He said he’d love something to remember his friend by. His parents couldn’t deal with it at the moment, but have since cleaned out their son’s belongings. They boxed up all the Miami Dolphin paraphernalia and shipped it to his son’s friend. It’s a story both sad and lovely.

Did the social media rounds for Process Muse, Angel Hunt, and 28 Prompts. Submitted four plays and two radio plays. The radio plays were immediately rejected, because the submission “closed early.” Well, boo, THEN PULL DOWN THE NOTICE. Don’t waste people’s time. Treat people well.

Turned around two coverages. Finished the second book for review. I’ll write up both reviews and send them in today, and, hopefully, get assigned my next books.

Made a green bean and fennel ragout for dinner, from Moosewood’s recipe, and it was very good. Leftovers, too, which are yummy. I’m trying to figure out if I want to join a CSA next year, or just keep going to the market every Saturday. Because my schedule is kind of up in the air, market is a safer choice, because I may be out of town here and there on pickup days.

Two of the big boxes from the Target order arrived (although one of the boxes was so flimsy, it fell apart as I was taking it into the house. So no giant box for the cats to play in). But we are stocked up on basics and cleaning supplies, and toilet paper, and the like. I got new file folders, pattern coded for this year, so I can finish filing 2022 and set up the 2023 files. I have to rework where I keep the files I use most often. The space that worked best for me, to the right of my desk, now has the second printer on it, and the file rack is on the floor, which isn’t really working.

Jumping onto Twitter to check it in the evening was a huge mistake. People whining about not seeing posts from their “friends.” People whining about other stuff. Faux engagements questions. People demanding others do free administrative labor on their accounts. Right wing crap. Bullying. The block button is my best tool lately. I may lock my account as of March. I don’t want to do so while 28 Prompts is running, but, if I can hold out until March, that’s probably a good time to lock down.

On a happier note, I re-read SAD CYPRESS by Agatha Christie. It was the January read for the Read Christie! challenge, but my copy is in storage, so I had to get it from the library, and it just arrived. I’d forgotten how interesting it was.

Weird dreams about buying long strands of large Christmas lights at a garden center. Only I wasn’t me in the dream. I was embodying a person, but it was a different woman than the one I am. Which is a weird sensation, all the way around. It wasn’t a bad dream, it was ordinary. It was just strange to be someone else.

Today’s agenda: meditation. Drafting more Legerdemain. Uploading/scheduling more Angel Hunt. Doing the graphics for the upcoming Legerdemain scheduled episodes. Working on a residency proposal. Checking the guidelines for something I wanted to do, figured I couldn’t, but maybe I can (if I can use a particular piece). Writing two book reviews and submitting them. Filing. Two script coverages. Contest entries. Social media rounds for the next Legerdemain episode and 28 Prompts.

To my pleasure and surprise, Post drives traffic to my sites. At first it was as much traffic as Twitter. As Twitter’s fallen off, now it’s more. And I do truly enjoy my time on Spoutible.

Off to meditation. I need to start sitting again in the mornings, as well as at night before I go to bed. Then, it’s back to the page.

Tues. Feb. 7, 2023: Variety as Spice and Obstacle

image courtesy of Reimund Bertrams via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Last Day of Full Moon

Sunny and cold

Well, that was quite the weekend. Let’s sit down and have a catch-up, shall we?

Friday, I did the blogging. I drafted two episodes of Legerdemain. That felt good, and the arcs I have intersecting and weaving in this second big arc are coming together. I’ve adjusted the outline slightly. I know where I’m headed; I’m just not sure how many episodes it will take to get there. I’m also using Legerdemain in the Writing Wonders game over on Mastodon, which is fun.

I took care of a bunch of admin. I finished a script coverage and did a scoring sheet on another project. I did some research on some residencies, and there’s one for which I’d like to pitch, but I have to decide which of my projects makes the most sense to apply there.

I finished reading a book in the late afternoon/evening that was recommended, but I lost patience with the self-sabotaging protagonist who wasn’t very bright and didn’t grow. She wasn’t someone I wanted to spend that much time with, and she wasn’t interesting enough to hold my attention once she lost my respect.

Started re-reading Anne Truitt’s DAYBOOK. If you’re not familiar with Anne Truitt’s work, she was a visual artist/sculptor/painter/writer. I was first introduced to her work through her books, published diaries and musings about her relationship to her art in the 1990s, when working on a collaborative theatre piece about women’s diaries. I re-read her books DAYBOOK, TURN, and PROSPECT regularly. If you do any type of creative work or enjoy others’ creative work, I recommend these books. They will give you a lot of insight into process.

On a trip to Washington, DC, a few years before moving to Cape Cod, there just happened to be a retrospective of her work at one of the museums along the Mall, and I was thrilled to spend quality time within the physical pieces about which I’d read over the years.

It was -10 when I went to bed on Friday night and -17 when I got up. The power held overnight, but the internet fluctuated (which was fine, because I slept through the whole thing).

I made vegetable stock on Saturday morning. I did the rounds putting up the day’s prompt, and then I sat down and drafted a couple of first drafts of short stories inspired by the prompts. Most under a thousand words.

I had three ideas for the first one, at the airport bar. The first two worked pretty well (especially the second one, set in the TWA Sunken Lounge). The third, I literally lost the plot. I had an idea Friday night, and lost it, although I remember the opening. The story for the second prompt used a character from one of the first stories, and had a unique twist, but I haven’t yet decided where I want to do with it. The third prompt was a lot of fun, kind of a sweet story, and the 4th is okay, but needs more of a climax. But that’s what first drafts are for, for me. To figure out what I’m trying to say.

I don’t know if I’ll use all the prompts, but these were fun. If I can take the character in the middle story I wrote for Prompt 1 and used in Prompt 2 and come up with fun interlinked stories all month (aside from whatever else I do), that would be a good challenge.

A lot of paying markets now want speculative and horror, and, of course, none of these so far are that. Oh, well, it just means looking at the markets. The linked stories are action/thriller; the others are contemporary women’s fiction.  They’re under three different bylines, at this point, because the tones of the pieces fit those bylines.

I’m writing all month, then going back to rewriting, and not even thinking about submitting until later in the spring. I doubt I’ll do something for every prompt, but it’s a nice warmup.

Turned around three coverages on Saturday. Read one of the books for review.

Went to bed early, because I was tired. Slept decently, and up at the usual time on Sunday. I went out a did a big grocery shop in the morning, restocking staples we’ve used up, and getting stuff for recipes I want to try this week. Five overflowing bags. That should keep us going for a while.

I read up on Corsica, which is where the next section of the Heist Romance script takes place, with the focus on the romance portion, rather than the heist portion. I realized  that they can’t take the ferry out of Nice, it has to be Toulon. Researching Toulon, I found out about Mont Faron and the cable car ride, and used that as a setting for a couple of scenes. Wrote 8 pages, and they’re on the ferry to Corsica now.

I have more research to do on Corsica (and I watched a bunch of great videos) before I can write this section. I came up with a way to tie it in to the main plot at two points, too, and I might even send them across to Sardinia for a day or two.

Obviously, I am doing this script as high-concept, big budget and not limiting my parameters at all. Which is kind of fun.

Turned around three coverages. Spent some time on Spoutible. When it runs, I have to say I enjoy it. It’s like Twitter without all the screaming and trolling, although I suspect that will change when it opens up to the general public this week. There are still some glitches, and it’s clunky moving between screens, but they fix problems and listen when people bring something up. So we’ll see. And I’m having a lot of fun on the Writing Wonders game over on Mastodon.

As I’ve said before, Twitter mostly makes me sad now. The algorithm hides followers from each other, unless they pay the monthly fee. There are a few people I regularly interact with, and I just go to their feed and see what they’re up to, but it’s even making that more difficult. Of the “writers” that are still there, most of them are posting either faux engagement questions they got off a clickbait list,  or expecting other writers to do their work for them. I’ll have the data by May or June to see if the promotional posts are even driving traffic anymore (I doubt they are), and then I’ll make my decision.

Because, for me, social media can’t just be about hanging out. It’s part of my business. It needs to drive traffic back to the websites, and translate into purchases or other forms of mutual support. Sites that don’t do that need to fall off the daily rounds, because my time and energy needs to be spent elsewhere. I love hanging out and chatting with people on a wide variety of topics, but when it’s all one-sided (as in chatting, and I’m supporting their projects, but they’re not supporting mine), it becomes an unbalanced relationship. Since I”m being far more careful to avoid those in real life, I also need to avoid them virtually.

Started reading the next book for review.

Honored the full moon.

Slept reasonably well, was up earlier than usual on Monday, and had to override the automatic start time on the coffeemaker because I couldn’t wait that long.

Drafted an episode of Legerdemain.

Revised/edited the next four episodes of Legerdemain, with the multi-colored draft, followed by two more rounds of revision and a polish. Uploaded those four episodes, which gets me to the beginning of March. Now I can draft a bigger batch of episodes, and that will help, if, in revisions, I have to plant something earlier than I thought.

Put in a couple of big orders for things I need (cleaning supplies, etc.) shipped. Still waiting for the Midnight City Tarot that should have arrived last week, but the “tracking” doesn’t show where it is; just says “moving through network.”

I hate DeJoy and he should be in prison, not running the post office.

Picked up the stack of books waiting for me at the library.

I got a coverage turned around and was almost through the second when I was hit with a bunch of admin stuff that had to be done immediately. Some of it is tax-focused (a company for whom I’ve freelanced a lot this past year is screwing me on the 1099 – I really need to find a replacement for that client). And there’s other paperwork that’s come through for a big project, and I’ll share details as soon as I’m allowed and everything is signed.

Of course, the printer ran out of ink during all of this.

I was too out of sorts to go back to coverage. I made Eggplant Mykonos for dinner (from Moosewood, of course), using graffiti eggplant rather than the usual dark eggplant, because that’s all that was in the store. I really liked it.

I read more of the book for review in the evening. I couldn’t settle back into coverage, and I’ll pay for that today. It means I have 5 coverages that HAVE to be turned around today, AND I have soup class tonight.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s wonderful.

Slept well until Charlotte woke me at 1, then had trouble getting back to sleep, and had stress dreams until the coffee started. Hauled the laundry over to the laundromat and got that done. I did some work in longhand on a project – I’m a little over 50 pages in to that one. I need to type it up and then outline, because I’m flailing, and it needs an outline. Also read some of Victoria Glendenning’s biography of Edith Sitwell.

I have to give tomorrow’s Process Muse post a polish and get it up, work on Legerdemain, and do the social media rounds. Then, I’ll spend the rest of the day on script coverage, and finish the admin work tomorrow.

Hope you had a good weekend, and are having a good start to the week.

Newest episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)

image courtesy of Christian Dorn via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

The last week of Mercury Retrograde is always crushing, but with all these other retrogrades piled on, it’s rough going.

I did admin and marketing in the morning, and did not get another episode of Legerdemain written, and that threw my day out of synch.

I left early for the meeting at the television station, in case I got lost. Of course I did, but I eventually found it. They are a very small staff, but very nice. The studio is far better equipped than I expected – even with green screen capabilities, and there’s a lot of flexibility within the space. The radio component is smaller, but also quite good.

It gave me fuel for several different projects. They need to percolate, and then I can write up proposals if any of them are viable. I also have to look into sources of funding, especially for the radio plays. Maybe that’s something I can hit up the cultural council for next year.

I made notes on Ink-Dipped Advice posts into the beginning of December. Now, to sit down and actually write them!

I meant to sit down and do the script coverage. Really, I did. But I decided to take a look at my Play Script Tracker sheet in Excel, and update it with “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By.” That led me to looking at calls for submission, which led me back to some of the earlier plays which are actually ready to go out, and I wound up submitting 5 plays. Which took much longer than it should have, mostly because I realized how few plays have synopses ready to go. I broke one of my own Submission Systems rules, and I paid for it.

Another thing to go on the list: Make sure every play has a blurb AND a synopsis. The blurbs are already up on the Pages on Stages site, but I need the synopsis ready for when it’s called.

A friend contacted me about a collaboration over the winter, which sounds like a ton of fun. I was in touch with another friend, who has both a new novel and a new screenplay he’d love some feedback on, so we’ll get that set up.

By that time, The Authors Guild Seminar on serials started. I did not realize that an author whose work both my mom and I have read extensively was the pseudonym for the chair of English at a major university (and a Board member). So, that was fun. There were two Vella authors, one Substack fiction author, and heads of Vella and Substack. 

I knew most of the information about structuring a serial, etc. I mean, I’ve written serials for decades, off and on. I was interested that Vella has more flexibility with driving readers to other sites (it says, in the guidelines, one can’t). Yet the authors are listing their websites and Facebook groups and other work in their author notes.

So I will start doing that, too. If they send it back for removal, so be it, but at least I’ll try.

The information on gaining traction was too vague for my taste. Great, success stories about tens of thousands of hits and people making the serial their day job. But what are the nuts and bolts of gaining traction? Especially if the price of Amazon ads is out of reach? That was not answered to my satisfaction.

Substack’s pitch interested me. I had not looked at it in terms of fiction. The pitch was very strong, and the author chosen to speak was a ton of fun, and I am definitely signing up for her material. I think I will poke around the site and sign up for a few things and see what it’s about. I might put EARTH BRIDE and REP serials up there, and have LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT on Vella and do a comparison study.

The Substack people also offered more nuts-and-bolts information on growing audience, which was helpful.

Also, Substack is international. A strong portion of my readership is international, and therefore shut out of all things Vella. Having work on Substack  would give them entry.

After all that, it was time to make dinner. I did colcannon tricked out with leek, pancetta, and lots of shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful.

I should have done script coverage after, but by then, it was 9 PM, and I was too damn tired.

So today will be a long day. I have to do follow-up on yesterday, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and catch up on script coverage. There’s more I should do – maybe I’ll sneak in a post or two of Ink-Dipped – but LEGERDEMAIN and script coverage need to be the main focus.

The television/radio stuff can percolate for a few days, before I actually write up those proposals and contact those I want involved, but I will send the thank you out today.

I’m worried about my friends and colleagues in Florida, in the path of Hurricane Ian. Let’s hope the storm decreases in intensity and/or veers into the sea.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 28, 2022 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)  
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Fri. June 24, 2022: Summer Rain

image courtesy of jackieLouDL via pixabay.com

Friday, June 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Rainy and warmer

Temperatures are going back up this weekend, but at least we had some rain to wash away the pollen.

Got some blogging done yesterday, and a bunch of admin work. Meditation was good, although it was hard to get settled.

After breakfast, I sorted out the book donations I’m making to the local library sale, packed them up, and took them on the library run where I dropped off/picked up books. Mailed some bills, picked up some wine.

Set up folders for each of the ideas generated by Wednesday’s workshop, and also for the new radio play idea I had yesterday morning as I put the coffee on. Notes, etc., all set up, so as soon as I’m ready to work on any of those ideas, I can drop right down. I expanded the notes a little on the three projects calling me with the most strength.

Freelance Chat was fun, as usual.

Gave the newsletter a couple more proofreads and caught typos each time. Hopefully, I got them all before the newsletter went out. Already had to open a new document for September’s newsletter, so I don’t forget what I want to tell people.

The newsletter reveals information on what I’ve been called “The Big Project” over the past few months. I will not be revealing that information for a couple more weeks on the blog and, generally, online and on social media. The project is going to get its own website, too, although that can’t go live until the project goes live, so, stay tuned.

Like you already don’t!

And I appreciate it.

The Friday Journal prompt will go up on my Ello page later this morning.

The Supreme Court continues its right-wing extremist stripping of rights. The Narcissistic Sociopath needs to be charged with treason and every decision and appointment made during that regime voided.

I turned around a script coverage. There’s been very little in the queue, and I’m behind where I need to be, financially for this pay period. Hoping more shows up over the weekend and into next week.

In the meantime, I’m putting my time, focus, and energy on other projects, and also into LOIs.

I have to do a grocery run today (almost out of coffee), but, other than that, the primary focus is on the anthology story. We were given two separate deadlines – one today and one on Sunday. Since I tossed a lot of what I did and started over, I will probably get it in by Sunday, although ideally, it would be today, or, splitting the difference, tomorrow. I  need to get it off my desk and onto the editor’s desk for both of us, and so I can focus on other projects until I get the editing notes back.

I also need to spend time on The Big Project (having to finish a major section by early next week, so it can go through editing while I move on to the next big section), and the Topic Workbooks.

I’m getting contradictory information about a residency that I was interested in, and an organization is giving me one set of information, encouraging me to apply, but the actual application says something else. It’s a little frustrating. I may put that aside until at least next week.

I’m still dealing with sense memory stress from last year. The next 10 days will be rough, since I have to shake off what this time last year was about: travelling back and forth, trying to finish the cleanout in the Cape house, people being hired/paid and not showing up to do the work, the physical impossibilities of doing it all myself, some of the poor decisions I made in getting rid of things, the destruction of the dream of living on the Cape, and the landlord’s incessant fussing. All in extensive heat and humidity. But it got done and we are here, not there, in a better situation all around, and I keep reminding myself of that, and working to layer positive memories over the rough ones. Definitely a process. And last year, I had to suppress a lot of the emotion in order to get it done and just survive. So that’s come back to bite me in the butt, but at least I understand what’s happening and why, so I can take steps to deal with it.

The weekend will focus on the anthology story, The Big Project, and the Topic Workbooks. And, finally, maybe finishing the kitchen island cart that’s still in pieces all over the house.

See you on the other side. Have a good one!

Published in: on June 24, 2022 at 5:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 24, 2022: Summer Rain  
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Fri. June 17, 2022: Project Juggling

image courtesy of Theodore Moise via pixabay.com

Friday, June 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy, foggy, humid

Meditation was fine yesterday, and Charlotte really enjoyed it, too. Managed to get through some email after breakfast, get out an LOI, and get some other admin work done. Wrote and submitted my book review; got another assignment. Freelance Chat was fun.

“Personal Revolution” is in pretty good shape. There are a couple of formatting things I need to tweak, and then a final proof, and it should be ready to go by the end of the day (or, latest, tomorrow), and release on time on June 28.

Time to turn some attention to the Topic Workbooks, and to the PowerPoint presentation for my class in August.  I’ve also roughed the outline for the Llewellyn almanac article in my head, and I should be able to start writing it just after Independence day. So at least all that is on track.

I need to do a big push to finish and polish the Monthology story this weekend, so I can get it out next week.

There are some red flags coming up on a project; I will fulfill my commitment to it, and then not take on any more.

Since I’m on a bunch of mailing lists around here, so I can keep up with what’s going on and where I want to participate, I’m also starting to get invitations to gala events. The liberation I feel from realizing I never HAVE to attend another one of those again is delightful.

I need to update the Pages on Stages website with the latest information on the radio plays. I hope to get ahead on some blog pieces.

I turned around two scripts yesterday and have one to do today, and then I’m done for the weekend. Hopefully, enough come through next week and the following week, so I can make my earnings goal for the end of June.

Still struggling with the sense memory stress from last year’s move. Lots of emotional flashbacks as to where I was at this point last year. The Pluto/Saturn retrogrades add even more weight to those emotions. I’m acknowledging, releasing, and trying to focus on the reality of where I am now.

There’s some cool stuff going on at MassMOCA this weekend. However, doing the risk assessment, it looks like too many people in too small a space for me to feel comfortable, and too high a risk for me to take right now. I will, regretfully, pass. I already have the Farmers’ Market and grocery shopping on Saturday. They’re fairly low risk, but any interactions around people involve risk.

Today is supposed to be the hottest day for a stretch, but it’s still much cooler than it was last year at this time, and for that I am grateful. I have to do a library run to drop off/pick up books. I didn’t get the borage planted yesterday, so now I have to wait until Sunday, the next planting day. For those wondering what I mean by “planting day”, I have a calendar marking which days are planting days and which days are harvesting days on any given week.

The January 6 hearings were not all that surprising, while still emphasizing just how corrupt and awful that sociopath’s entire administration was and is. The fact that the wife of a Supreme Court Justice is part of it is unacceptable. Even more so that she is getting extra security, paid by my tax dollars. She could afford to finance the coup attempt. Let her pay for her own damn security. Better yet, put her in prison, where she should be.

Keep an eye on the people both-siding through all of this, or telling us we should make more efforts to “understand” and “communicate” with Republicans. I understand them just fine. They want to destroy anyone who doesn’t agree with them. And I also understand that the both siders are those who will stand by and let atrocities happen and then be surprised when it happens to them. Gotta watch your back around both siders even more than the blatantly extremist.

Today is Starhawk’s birthday! I am deeply grateful for all I’ve learned from her over the decades, and for her commitment to education and community building.

Better get going. Lots to get done today, and I also plan on plenty of enjoyment throughout the weekend.

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

Fri. May 6, 2022: In the Midst of Creativity, Loss

image courtesy of strikers via pixabay.com

Friday, May 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a rollercoaster.

It was a beautiful spring day here in the mountains. Just gorgeous.

Charlotte sat with me for the regular Zoom meditation group,

I got some admin work done. I need to spend some time over on Ello this week; I’ve been lax about that.

I pitched myself for a large creative project that will happen in July.

I did some brainstorming on the Monthology with fellow creatives who wanted to know if they could use something in one of the organizations I created, and we figured out how to make it work.

I did a drop off/pickup at the library – there were nine books waiting for me! I had to pick up a few things as the pharmacy. They had aloe plants there, so I grabbed one of those, two. The aloe plant we had in the kitchen on Cape died about two years ago, and I’d never replaced it. We’d bought it when we first moved there, so it had a long life. I did a big grocery shop (five bags’ worth). I stopped at the liquor store, because I was out of red. I got another bottle of red, found a bottle of interesting rosé on the sale shelf, and, in the back of a shelf, another bottle of the Pomelo sauvignon Blanc I like so much.

Getting everything upstairs and put away was a bit of a chore, but I got it done. The latest NEW YORKER has graphic photos of the Russian atrocities in Ukraine. I was worried it would bring back nightmares for my mom, after what she went through with the Russians in WWII, but she wanted to see the magazine anyway. The fact that the world hasn’t banded together to stop this is despicable.

I turned around two scripts in the afternoon, and went back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push today and tomorrow, and hopefully can make my final decisions by tomorrow.

I was accepted for the creative project and can even say what it is: I’m participating in Word X Word’s “World’s Largest Poem” event. 50 of us will write an ongoing poem (we get the last word of the previous writer’s poem, we write 3-5 lines, and the next poet starts with our last word) over the next two months, and we perform it at Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount, in Lenox, on July 23rd. I’m very excited. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but something I wanted to try. We each have 24 hours to write our lines, once we received the prompt from the previous person’s poem.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun, with a lot of laughter. We are enjoying our remaining time together.

Then, I had some shocking and heartbreaking news. I found out that my friend, Thalia Proctor, had died on April 2nd of cancer, and her memorial service was on May 4th. I found out on Facebook. I hadn’t even known she was sick. We’d exchanged cards at Christmas, and I was planning to spend time with her in London next spring, provided it was safe enough to risk the trip. In additional to being a wonderful editor, Thalia was one of the kindest people I know. We met in Nottingham, at one of the first mystery conventions I ever attended, back when I was just starting to get my feet wet in the convention scene. We hung out together at conferences (including the year Bouchercon was in Omaha, of all places) on both sides of the pond. When I was in the UK, we visited. She visited me in 2013 on Cape, which was the last time I actually saw her, although we kept in touch for birthdays and Christmases. She was a steadfast friend during one of the worst romantic relationships of my life, and had a mix of kindness, humor, and common sense that was a joy to be around. We’d been friends for nearly thirty years. In addition to the heartbreak of the loss, I feel guilty that I didn’t know she was sick, and hadn’t supported her more during her illness. But mostly, I’m devastated that the world has lost such a beautiful and graceful person.

Today is about writing and working on contest entries. Tomorrow is the farmer’s market, and finishing contest entries, and making the decisions in the final category. Tessa woke me at three. I moved to the sewing room and dreamed I was at a luncheon with Senator Elizabeth Warren, and she decided to introduce me to Kathy Griffin, because she thought we should know each other. Which is very much like Senator Warren. She got me involved with the Small Business Administration when I first moved to MA, and involved with the state arts organization who advocates for arts funding.

But, throughout, I will take the time to mourn the loss of my friend.

Tues. March 29, 2022: Washer Woes

image courtesy of Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Fairly quiet weekend. There’s a March wrap up over on the GDR site, posted early, even though we still have a few days left in the month, and I’m just trying to steadily do the work.

It wasn’t a good writing day on Friday, sadly. Oversleeping threw off the morning for me. But I did write and turn in another book review, and cover a script. Did a bunch of admin work. Put the seedlings out on the porch. It’s still too cold at night to leave them. I received an internal promotion and a pay bump from a big client.

Tessa woke me early on Saturday. I moved to the couch and overslept. The sun overcame the clouds, so we could put the seedlings on the porch, at least for a few hours. More seeds are germinating (more on that in Thursday’s garden post.

Had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription. Because the weather was good, I went on foot, and then I took a different route from there to the library, to learn more about the town. I found some interesting restaurants and stores that I will visit at leisure in the future.

Dropped off/picked up books at the library.

In the afternoon, I tried reading a book that was supposed to be an exciting, twisty thriller getting a lot of buzz. I figured it out less than a third of the way through, and lost patience with the characters for not catching on. Checked the ending, to make sure I was right (yes, I was). That’s back in the return pile. Tried another book that came highly recommended, but it’s written in present tense, which I loathe, and, since I’m not being paid to read it, it goes back in the return pile.

Returned to reading contest entries, which was fun. It started raining in the late afternoon, so we brought the seedlings in. Crockpot chicken was a good choice.

Up early on Sunday, baked biscuits. Charlotte, or maybe Willa, chomped on some of the cucumber seedlings, so I’m trying to recuse them. A member of the extended family in Maine is very ill. I’ve kept a distance since the lack of support around the move last year, but I don’t want this person to be ill.

It snowed off and on all day. Sometimes flurries, sometimes intensely. In a break between it, I did a run to the liquor store and to get burgers. Bad choice on the burgers, and I was miserable all afternoon. Red meat and I are no longer friends. And yet, every few months, I crave it. But fresh trout for dinner was a better choice.

I covered a script in the afternoon, and then returned to working on contest entries. I ordered snapdragon seeds and marigold seeds. That means I have to go out and get more pots and soil next week, when I go to get the tomato cages. I set up the acknowledgements file for CAST IRON MURDER and for the retro mystery. Starting a document for acknowledgements early in the process saves a lot of panic later on.

Tessa woke me on Monday at 5:30, which is a perfect time. The usual early morning routine of writing in longhand, yoga, meditation. Blogged.

It started sunny, but too cold to put the seedlings out. More seedlings are sprouting, which is lovely. I got through some admin work. Didn’t get much done on The Big Project. Revised the next three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Worked on the grant proposal. I need to flesh it out some more today, and put material connected to the proposal up on one of my websites. I don’t have information on the stage and radio plays up on a website, and I should.

I also played with the MailerLite site, and worked on the newsletter, which will go out in a day or so (since it’s the end of the quarter and all). If you haven’t yet signed up and would like to, newsletter signup is here.

Received the next book for review. Started a script coverage. There’s not much in the queue, which worries me a bit, but also takes off some of the pressure. Worked on contest entries.

Noodled with some ideas for the play I have to start on Friday as part of the Dramatists Guild project. Noodled with some ideas for the Monthology story.

The Tamed Wild box arrived. In it, was a Rose of Jericho plant. I’ve put it in water, and it’s unfurling. Fascinating. It’s not a plant with which I have much familiarity.

Up early this morning, before Tessa even got started. Was out of the house and on the way to the laundromat early. Ended up spending more time there than planned, because the machine I used was stuck on “rinse” for 15 minutes, and then didn’t spin out properly, so the wash was soaking wet (no sink in the building, no techs). I had to have it in the dryer on high for an hour. I put a note on the machine, so that no one else has to go through this.

I brought the pages done so far on The Big Project with me, and worked on them while at the laundromat. I got a lot done.

Home to find more seeds are sprouting. It’s very exciting.

Today’s list items include work on The Big Project, revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, another revision of the grant proposal, putting information up on the website, a polish on the newsletter, and a script coverage. I might do some more contest entries, if I get the chance.

It’s supposed to start warming up again over the next few days. Let’s hope this was winter’s last gasp, and I can get the seedlings out on the front porch, and set up the enchanted garden on the back balcony sooner rather than later.

Have a good one.

Thurs. March 24: Digging into the Creative Work

image courtesy of prettysleepy via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Rain/sleet/snow

Wacky weather this morning. It keeps switching from rain to sleet to snow and circling back through. The grass and rooftops have a glaze of white, while the streets are shiny and wet.

There’s a longer than usual post up on Gratitude and Growth, because I was very busy with soil and seeds this week. And here is the corrected link for Ink-Dipped Advice.

After returning from the laundromat yesterday, I sat down and started the second draft of CAST IRON MURDER. I rewrote the first three chapters and printed them out. Of course, I found errors when I read them over to update the tracking sheets that will become the Series Bible. But it’s a good start.

I used that momentum to do a bit of work on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I thought I’d written 50 pages on it. I wrote 5. I guess what I remember is the outline I wrote. So I have to get back on the stick with that.

I did a little work on The Big Project, but nowhere near enough.

Still, it was a solid, creative morning, and for that I was grateful.

I did some admin in the afternoon. I was delighted that the cat grass seeds arrived. I think this time, I’ve ordered enough to get us through the summer.

Moved seedlings back and forth from the porch as needed. I took the laptop out on the porch and did script coverage out there, because it was so pleasant. Pleasant surroundings mean a higher quality of work.

I signed up for the Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event in April. The last thing I need is to add another deadline to my plate. However, this is when the opportunity came up, and I don’t want to pass on an opportunity to work in company with other playwrights via the Dramatists Guild. I have no idea what I will write yet; be it a stage play or a radio play. I could write the next Kate Warne play; If I read the research material on Squire and Marie Bancroft between now and April 1, I could write that play (which I’d hoped to write for 365 Women this year). Or I might write something completely different. I wasn’t planning any playwrighting in April, so I need to adjust my mindset.

Again, as with Nano, I already know I can write a play in a month. I do so regularly. But this broadens my network of colleagues, and makes me sit down and write it. Whatever “it” will turn out to be.

I still have to balance The Big Project, the rewrite of CAST IRON MURDER, the draft of THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, the research for the retro mystery, and the first draft of the anthology story. Along with the client and script work that’s paying the bills.

It should make for an interesting April. I will have to be ruthless and brutal about protecting my time. Fortunately, that’s easier as a remote worker.

I also have to get my initial grant materials out early next week. The grant application and my taxes need to be my primary focus this weekend.

I spent some time trying to learn a graphics program last night. I know how to create the visuals, but I have trouble understanding how to use the program. The way it’s set up doesn’t make any sense to me.

Tessa let me sleep until a quarter to six this morning, which is a luxury.

I wrote two sections on The Big Project this morning, and now have to update my tracking sheets.

Meditation was great. This morning, I will revise the next section of CAST IRON MURDER, write a book review, enter some contest scores, and work on some information for the shared world anthology. In the afternoon, script coverage and client work. I need to do a grocery run, but will probably leave it until tomorrow.

Have a lovely day!

Published in: on March 24, 2022 at 8:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 24: Digging into the Creative Work  
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Tues. March 8, 2022: The Car Is Home!

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny/Cloudy/Cold (more snow coming in)

International Women’s Day

(Note: I haven’t had a Beetle for years, but the last one I had was red).

Every International Women’s Day, I take some time to honor Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They are major reasons I became a writer. I first learned about them through library books about them, in the Childhood of Famous Americans Series. I read all the books about women when I was in elementary school. I keep taking out the books about Harriet and Louisa, re-reading them, until my parents bought me my own copies. As I got older, I read what they’d written, and read more about their lives and work. Both were strong, flawed, smart, funny women, and are still, in many ways, my guiding lights.

If you missed yesterday’s post over on the GDR site about how to dream your ideal life, the link is here.

Friday was the first day in a long time I felt like I was back to myself, working professionally, and balancing the different work elements.

I slogged through a bunch of emails. I wrote about 3K on The Big Project. I updated the tracking sheets for the project. I ran errands. I did a script coverage. I finished a book for review. The second shipment of contest entries arrived, so that was all sorted and checked in, and I went back to working on contest entries this weekend, too. I figured out the grocery list for Saturday’s shopping, although I had to do it again on foot.

For fun, I’m reading THE SHARPER THE KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY by Kathleen Flinn, about her time studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It’s such a well-written book, and definitely makes me want to avoid cooking school. But then, I’ve never wanted to work in a professional kitchen. I just want to hone good cooking techniques for my own cooking, and not be under all that pressure, especially not at my age.

Charlotte and Tessa woke me around 5:30 on Saturday morning, which was fine. 5:30 is a good time to start my day.

I did the 3+ mile round trip to the grocery store, with the rolly cart, and restocked our pantry and fridge. The scallops looked good, so I grabbed a pound, which made for sauteed scallops in white wine, butter, and rosemary on Saturday night, and a scallop alfredo on Monday. Hmm. I was going to order scallops from the restaurant for my birthday, but I’ll have had them already twice in the same week, so I’ll need to order something else.

Polished the pieces for the one bookshelf I hadn’t yet put up, put it together, and rearranged some books, which made room on other shelves. I hate having so many books in storage. I keep trying to find a book to look something up and it’s not here, it’s in storage.

Finished reading the book for review and got back to work on reading contest entries. Took the day off from script coverage.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and, as usual, it has some cool stuff in it. I had to chase down the new postman to get it out of the box. I talked to him last week, at length, and showed him how much smaller the slot is on the resident side, and asked him to please NOT shove the boxes in on the USPS side, but leave them at the door. When he puts the subscription boxes in the mail slot, I can’t get them out. He promised he would put them on the stairs – and then put the GP box in the slot. I ran downstairs and asked him, nicely again, to PLEASE not to do that, and hand it to me or leave it at the door. He said, “But this box is small.” I repeated, “It’s still too big to get out of the slot on the resident side.” My front door is six steps from the neighborhood mailbox. It’s not like it’s a long walk out of his way. He’s either extremely dumb or he’s doing this on purpose.

I miss our former, lovely postman, who I think has retired.

I realize, in the scheme of everything going on, it’s not much, but it’s a basic courtesy with common sense. Math, geometry, physics.

Sunday, it rained. I stayed in. I unpacked another box of books and shelved them. I unpacked the box that held my blank notebooks, and arranged them on a shelf so I can get at them as I need for projects. It was sunny and mild in the afternoon, so I moved the seedlings out to the porch for a bit, and also planted the lemon balm and the black-eyed Susan vine (more on that in Thursday’s Gratitude and Growth post).

The cat grass has grown well, so I put it on an overturned box so that Willa and Charlotte feel like they have to work a bit to get at it. They both love chomping on it (but won’t, if the pot sits on the floor). Tessa is not interested. Tessa is interested in taking over the sewing room. That’s her latest conquest – the guest bed that has Charlotte’s pink blanky and Charlotte’s catnip banana. They also had huge fun getting into the bag of potatoes I got from the store, rolling them up and down our long hallway. A couple went down the stairs, too, which they watched from the top.

I turned around a script coverage, and then worked on contest entries. One of them was so good, I was up way too late, reading.

Up around 6 on Monday, reasonable. It has rained overnight, and most of the snow is gone.

Wrote up the book review, sent it, along with the invoice. Was paid in a couple of hours, and assigned the next two books for review.

Entered in the scores of the contest entries I read over the weekend. Did a bunch of admin work.

The rain briefly let up, so I did a circuit, on foot, to drop off/pick up library books, mail the bills. Stopped in at Cumberland Farms for eggs, but they were sold out.

When I returned home, there was a message from the garage that the car was ready! I took a cab over, paid the bill (which was even in my budget), thanked them profusely, and drove home. I was practically in tears of happiness and relief. And, of course, the aftermath was exhaustion. But I’m so happy to have the car back and that it works.

That means we can do something fun for my birthday this weekend. I usually try to ignore my birthday, but this is a Big Number, and this year, it’s important to me to Do Something.

In the afternoon, I did a script coverage, finished the book I really liked for the contest, and read a few more contest entries.

A local organization for whom I was preparing an LOI packet, because I thought they’d be interesting to work for has not only dropped masking requirements indoors, but also dropped proof of vaccination requirements for those entering. So, nope, cross them off the list and move on.

Found out that one of my editors is just over one third of my age, which makes me feel even older. However, she’s an excellent editor, and I enjoy working with her; since we’re not being mutually ageist, but respecting each other’s work, it’s all good.

Had a restful sleep for once (now that the car stress is done). Still have lease renewal stress, but fingers crossed I’ll hear good news on that front soon.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me a little before 5. Completed the morning routine, and was out the door just before six. I was able to drive to the laundromat, instead of walking, which felt like the height of luxury.

While the laundry washed and dried, I worked on the revisions for CAST IRON MURDER. I had to re-revise the pages on which I’d worked at the mechanic’s last week. Caught a bunch of errors. I also marked a couple of places where I need to look something up and change a name, because it’s too similar to another name in the book. There are a few habits/routines that establish too late in the book, and I need to make initial references to them in the first or second chapter, or they look like they come out of nowhere. But I’ve got about the first third of the book done in first pass revisions, which is pretty good, considering I do most of it at the laundromat.

Getting some work done at the desk, then running errands (for which I need the car). It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so I’ll stay in. Thursday, I have to pick up my birthday cake (I have a thing about not making my own cake for my birthday). I’m going to dig into the work today, tomorrow, and Thursday, so that I can take a three day weekend without guilt.

Anything I have to say about Ukraine and the Russian-owned GOP is repetitive at this point. Indict and prosecute the mo-fos already. It will only get worse from here.

Have a good one, friends! I’m headed back to the page.

Tues. Feb. 22, 2022: Creative Trajectories

image courtesy of SpaceX-imagery via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and mild

2/22/22 – Pretty cool, eh?

Friday was kind of a disjointed day. A client issue that was supposedly resolved came up again, as though the initial conversation never happened. This is why I do everything in writing.

But, hopefully, it’s all actually handled now.

Got some admin done. The weather was nasty, but I managed to get out the garbage and go down to the end of the street to mail some necessary letters.

Finished reading the book for book club, and spent some time in the online forum discussing it, which was lots of fun. This book has inspired several new projects, about which I’m excited. They are all long-term, non-deadlined projects at this point, things I can work on as palate-cleansers in between other projects.

My mom’s new smart phone arrived. It’s a good one, a Samsung, much fancier than mine. But the “one step” setup/transfer from her old phone to the new phone took well over 100 steps and wasn’t complete until well into Saturday. And Tracfone’s “customer service” was, as usual, useless. But I think we might be able to unlock/take the phone to a different company, if things continue to be nasty.

I had a bad night Friday into Saturday, waking up every couple of hours, and then having trouble getting back to sleep. I think some of it is sense memory trauma – two years ago, I had the first of the cancer surgeries; last year I was stressed about the upcoming move. My body and psyche are reverting, because they believe they’ve been trained to do so at this point in the year.

Which means I have to do mindful work to disconnect the cycle of the year from previous cycles of stress and trauma, and build something positive.

Just what I need right now. More work.

But, in the long run, it will make for a more positive life experience, so I better dig in and do it.

On Saturday, I was supposed to head to the grocery store for N95 masks. They’d sent an email the previous day, saying they were giving them out. Only good thing I checked and found out that they weren’t do so at the one within walking distance. Because the next snowstorm came roaring through just as I would have had to leave, and I would have been stuck out on foot in whiteout conditions – and no masks.

I stayed inside instead, enjoying watching the snow fall. I read, mostly a biography of Ottoline Morrell. I’d read about her via diaries and letters of Bloomsbury folks, and I was annoyed then by the way they accepted her generosity and then trash-talked her. Reading her biography (the one by Miranda Seymour) made me even more annoyed. But then, talented as they were, hypocrisy and gossip were the standards of that group.

Allowed myself the day to rest and read and enjoy the snow. Other than changing the beds, I didn’t do much in the way of housework, although I did a bit of unpacking and rearranging. I am going to have to set aside a few half-days in the not-too-distant future to rearrange the filing. And I need more bookcases.

Did an online yoga/meditation session with a group I joined that’s for professional women who chose not to have children. It’s a solid group of people, and the session was good.

Did some research and pre-planning for a research trip I want to take in the spring of 2023. Figured out about how much money I need for it, how much time, breaking down the travel so it won’t be overwhelming. I’m hoping to build in a couple of days to see friends on the way, if it works for all our schedules. Both money and the curve of the virus will be key factors. I figured out how much I have to put aside every month between now and then to afford the trip and have a bit of a cushion. I want to make sure I enjoy the actual travel, not just push through to get to various destinations, and then am so worn out I can’t enjoy them. I’m not 20 anymore, and I can’t travel as though I was, just because that would be cheaper.

I also might be able to get a grant to fund at least part of the trip, so I will look into that and apply this year so the funds would be available next year, too.

It was a pleasant way to while away some time.

Did some collaborative work on the anthology. Grabbed a script to cover, and was also requested to cover another script, so that starts the week out well.

We got about six inches or so of snow, in a couple of bands. Not too bad, but the car’s all covered up again. I made a big pan of chicken enchiladas for dinner, with leftover chicken from the roast I did the other night.

Weird dreams again, Saturday into Sunday. One set of dreams was family-oriented, and not appropriate to discuss publicly, since the dreams aren’t just about me. In the other set, I was working at a conference, and trying to convince a speaker named Susan to let the sound tech wire her for her presentation (the mic pack freaked her out). Not sure what all that’s about.

Sunday was cold and sunny. Charlotte woke me around 6:30, tapping my face with her paw and head-butting me. Made scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and chives from our own plants.

Had a good, long, deep morning meditation session.

I updated the tracking sheets and Series Bible for The Big Project. That takes time, because the details are so important, but it’s necessary, especially if the project sprawls in the directions in which it’s possible (i.e., it’s a success, and goes beyond the first projected phase).

I unpacked two more boxes of books. These actually held books for current projects, and I was delighted that they made it up, and now I have them accessible on the shelves. Baby steps, right?

I did some brainstorming on the anthology, and sent an updated sheet of bullet points for the article on the theatre I created for that world.

I heard from the conference at which I’m teaching in August. They have decided to remain virtual this year. I’m perfectly happy with that. Even though they would have paid for hotel and most meals, I would have had travel expense, had to worry about clothes and makeup for four days (now I just have to look good for the Zoom session), and interacting/being “on” all the time for four days. Much as I would have liked to dip my toe back into the realm of in-person, virtual is a better choice for me personally this year, and for safety reasons for all of us. Plus, now I’m only teaching 2 hours (or maybe 4, if they want both courses) instead of 10. I’m perfectly happy about it, although I bet there will be grumblers. It also means more people from all over the country and world, who wouldn’t have been able to come in person, or would have worried about safety issues, can attend. I think it’s a positive all across the board.

I took most of the day, however, to rest and recharge. I needed it.

Yesterday was President’s Day and a holiday. Tessa got me up at 5:30. She has also decided she wants to hang out for morning yoga (which she always did at the other house), but Charlotte, who hangs out with me here, is not sure if there’s room for both of them. Believe me, there’s plenty of physical room. They just have to learn to give each other enough psychological room.

I worked on preliminary information for a large grant application for which I want to try. I need to figure out what I want to do with it.

It was sunny and mild out, and I took the opportunity to run errands: get the garbage out, pick up a few things at Cumberland Farms, Big Y, CVS, the liquor store, and check out some other stores I could get to on foot, in the hopes of finding cute little plant pots. No luck. The ones I found don’t drain, and that’s not an option.

Did some brainstorming on the anthology. Covered a script. It was sunny and mild enough to sit on the front porch in the afternoon and read there. The cats were as thrilled as the people.

I’m reading a book that’s supposedly a diary by the author, but is actually more of creative nonfiction. The headings have dates, but she admits they were written over the course of two years and change, not a single year. Because no one could travel back and forth across Europe and the country for month-long or semester-long residencies and be in different, far-flung locations so often. She uses something that happens in the day to trigger an essay built around it, and it’s well-written and engaging for the most part. But she’s one of those women who always has to have a man in her life and can’t be alone for five minutes. I have trouble respecting that kind of dependence. On top of that, most of the time, she’s a jerk to everyone around her, including the men. One would hope, in the process of writing the diary (or writing the essays that compromise the diary), that she would realize how badly she treats people around her, and try to be kinder. Learn from it. But she doesn’t. She just wallows in being a jerk. I mean, the diary is the best possible place to be a jerk, but hopefully, through the writing, you realize it and choose the path of non-jerkdom. Or at least attempt the path of being kinder. Not this woman.

I’m tempted to try reading some of her fiction, but I don’t like the “her” I’ve met on the page (which, since this is a journal for publication, is another created “her” rather than the actual person). I’m nearly finished with this book; but do I ever want to spend time with any of the “hers” again?

Highly doubtful. Although I’ve learned some good craft lessons for creative nonfiction by reading this book.

Woke up to a great article about a local entrepreneur I met last October. I’m thrilled for her! Looking forward to being able to support her business later this spring and into summer.

This morning, I have a Zoom session with fellow local entrepreneurs, which should be fun, and tonight, I’m signed up for a Zoom session via Titcomb’s Books (one of my favorite bookshops on Cape) for an author event with Nina de Gramont, the author of THE CHRISTIE AFFAIR. Two Zooms in one day! And a Zoom on Thursday for meditation! That fills my limit of not doing more than 3 Zoom sessions a week, whenever possible.

After the first Zoom, I need to head up to the library, to drop off and pick up books. Then it’s back to the page, and after that, another script coverage. It’s supposed to be mild for the next few days (although rain coming in tomorrow), but then another storm at the weekend.

One day, one step at a time, right? After all, I have books to unpack and projects to create!