Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Tues. Aug. 2, 2022: Creative Busy-ness

image courtesy of Hans via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hazy, humid

The weekend was kind of all over the place.

The artists working group that I was told met Friday morning, of course, met Thursday morning. The organizers really need to get their communications cleaned up. Especially since I specifically contacted them to ask for clarification and they still gave me the wrong information.

I picked up a few things at Wild Oats market instead.

I spent Friday revising CREATIVE STIMULUS and THE SERIES BIBLE. I was behind where I wanted to be, but between the humidity and ongoing computer kerflamma, it was exhausting.

Attended an amazing yoga class on Friday night. It was a wonderful restorative class and I slept very, very well after.

Up early Saturday morning. Went to the market. Didn’t buy much. The lines were so long as some of the stalls, which is great for the farmers, but I didn’t have the energy to stand in the sun. Picked up my mom’s prescription at the nearby CVS and came home.

Should have done a lot of stuff, but I was hot and tired and didn’t. We did hang up some of the artwork, although we haven’t found the right spot for oh, too many things. But some digital artwork by a friend went up, and the mosaic by my uncle. I put up the sketch of Paris – which I bought on my first trip to Paris when I was 11 years old for 2 francs – but it’s not in the right spot. When I find the right spot for it, I will move it.

Read in the afternoon and just relaxed.

Up early on Sunday. Charlotte and Tessa were both being pills. Made biscuits. Sent off an LOI. Did some blog work. Finally got the materials for a magical journaling class I’m taking this week with the group with whom I did Expedition to the Soul last year.

Worked on my Llewellyn article and got it done. It took a good portion of the day, since it was 2800 words.

I’m reading the biography of Emily Mann. The first time I met her was when I was working at the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, and she’d just been named the Artistic Director for the McCarter Theatre. I always admired her, and wish I’d gotten the chance to work closely with her.

Played with ideas for my poem, and for the story for the Shakespeare horror anthology. I want to keep my poem short, between a half a page to a page (even though I have a longer slot). I’m learning how to do this, and I’d rather keep it shorter and work on technique and rhythm and performance than use up the whole slot just to use it.

Monday, I was up and at it early. I made the social media rounds to thank those who participated in #31Prompts. Ello, by far, had the highest rate of engagement, both on and offline. Counter Social was second, by quite a big gap. Then, there was another big gap, and it was Twitter and then Facebook. Trailing the pack was Tumblr.

The metrics come from both engagement on the platform, and from contact individuals made with me privately about which prompts they liked and the types of pieces those prompts inspired. Because I don’t want anyone to post the actual work online and blow first rights.

I posted the July wrap up on the GDR site, and you can read it here. I had a pretty creative month.

I rewrote my Llewellyn article pretty extensively, and got it in to my editor. I still haven’t hit the sweet spot with it, except in word count, so I’m eager for her feedback.

I did the marketing content calendar for the CREATIVE STIMULUS Topic Workbook, which dropped yesterday, and got that uploaded and scheduled through the end of September.

Then, I tackled episodes 7-10 of LEGERDEMAIN. Even though I’d done a couple of revisions on them, they needed more. The world count is a little higher than I want for these episodes, but I had to set foundations for a few things, so there we were. The text got two pretty massive revisions, and then tweaks once it was uploaded and previewed. But I got them up and scheduled.

Then, I created episode loglines and episode-specific ads for them. I uploaded and scheduled those around the episode releases. I have to do the big weekend ad schedules, but I’ll do those in a day or two.

After that, I created three more quirky general ads (well, four, because I had an idea for something coming up, but it won’t release for a few more weeks). I got those designed, uploaded, and scheduled around the relevant episodes.

I read the revision of my friend’s radio play and it is wonderful! I love what she’s done. It’s so good, and such fun!

I did some work on the grant proposal. I need photographs. I’m not sure I have photographs of the relevant work, and I’m not sure I have it up here rather than in storage so I can take new photographs. I’ll cross that bridge next week,

I did my Italian lesson. I listened to the first session of a journal workshop on journaling with intent. I was put off by the way she was so condescending to a regular journal practice. As someone who has kept up a journal practice for FIFTY YEARS, and who has found the practice helped me navigate plenty of difficult stuff, I was annoyed by the attitude that a journal practice was “meaningless” and one just writes in a book and puts it away. Nope. Not the way I do it. This after the whole “I’ll never tell you that you HAVE to do something.” Yeah, but you’ll be patronizing when someone does something differently.  I was also annoyed by the whole “Oh, a bunch of us are doing a trip to Salem, so we won’t have live sessions for the next few days, just pre-recorded ones.” I don’t mind pre-recorded sessions, I don’t need to see the running comments in the live sessions. However, it’s kind of insulting when students have put aside the time to attend the workshop to blow them off. Just set it up so it’s “work at your own pace, here are the sessions.” I’m also really irritated at the pressure to download their app. I do not run my life from apps, nor do I want to.

My path is different, especially right now.

I was very tired by the end of the day. Between 2800K in revisions on the article, nearly 8K in the episodes, and then creating the ads, yup, I was tired. I also have 9 scripts in my queue, to read by the end of the week, so I have to push today and tomorrow, so that I’m not overwhelmed at the end of the week, before I teach.

Today’s priority is uploading and scheduling the content calendar for THE SERIES BIBLE Workbook, which drops tomorrow, and finish the revisions on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM. I also want to finish the slideshow for the class I’m teaching Saturday.

I think that’s all I can get in during the morning. In the afternoon/evening, I have to cover 3 scripts, and I’m taking a break in the evening to attend Chef Jeremy’s cooking workshop from Kripalu online. Plus the day’s Italian lesson and journal workshop. But it’s the right kind of busy.

I heard from a grant for which I’d applied that I’d made it to the next round. I’ve heard that from them before. I make it close to the end, then they give the grant to someone who never finishes anything and is never heard from again.  But they tell me to keep applying. I’d already decided that if I don’t get it this year, I’m done with them. Not worth the work putting together the grant, when all they do is string me along, and then give it to someone who doesn’t deliver. In the years I’ve applied, I went from never working in the genre to regularly publishing in it, so I guess I don’t need it. But it would sure give me some breathing room.

Anyway, back to the work that needs to be done. Hope you’re having a good start to the week.

Wed. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms

image courtesy of Brigipix via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a pretty decent workday. Got a nice chunk of The Big Project done in the multi-colored draft over at the laundromat. Got everything washed and dried, and put away as soon as I got home. Dealt with email, did follow up from the networking session (there’s still some more to do today), got some bills mailed, got the box from the mail carrier that was stuck in the slot (because he shouldn’t have put it there in the first place).

Did a good chunk of work on the Topic Workbooks. THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS just needs a final proof, and it’s good to set for release. THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST got a solid revision/update, and also needs a final proof. There’s some formatting wonk, but I hope to fix that today and set that release date, then update across the various websites.

Did a couple of ads for them, too. Also created a style cheat sheet, so I can keep the look/details consistent throughout.

If I meet my own goals, the six revised workbooks will release in the weeks leading up to the conference workshop, and the workbook built around that workshop will release the week after. There’s class material for two more workbooks out of classes I’ve taught, and I have ideas for at least two more.

The Topic Workbooks give clear action steps on their topic, and I intentionally keep them inexpensive so people on a budget can afford them and use them.

Finished the script coverage I’d started last night, and did a second one. I have five more scripts I my queue for this week. I won’t hit the preferred mark for the pay period, but I’ll hit the necessary mark. I have to hope the work comes in steadily in July, although I’ll have to work through some weekends, because I’m taking some time away from the work in some of the midweeks.

I also need to get started on the article for the Llewellyn annual, because that deadline is racing toward me faster than I’d like. And, of course, my editor contracted the most complex topic I pitched!

Heard from another editor about an anthology. I wrote and submitted, because I wanted to work with her, and this anthology gave me a chance to stretch. I was shortlisted for the anthology – not promised acceptance, but made it through the first round of 1K submissions. Then, the publisher ran into difficulties, and it looked like things were off. But now the publisher wants to move forward. The editor has left the project. If we choose to continue under consideration (again, no promises, but we’re the shortlisted group), we have to submit directly to the new editor. I don’t know if I want to. My gut tells me to stay far, far away. My ego encourages me to go for it. The smarter choice is my gut. My ego is just going to have to get over itself. I’ll look at the piece again, and find another possible market.

Thunderstorms and pounding rain did little to break the humidity. The next couple of weeks will be hot and humid. Still not as bad as last year, but the cats, who’ve already grown in their winter fur, are miserable. They are little fur puddles. Charlotte was smart, last night. Instead of sleeping on the bed, she slept on a side table in front of an open window (and only came into my room to wake me up for attention a few times).

Started reading the next book assigned for review. It’s good. Hard to settle in to meditation, but came up with a project title. Not sure if I will use it for something already in the pipeline, or if it’s for something new.

The computer decided to do an upgrade this morning. It only took one hour instead of 4, but then none of the software talks to each other, and it will be a mess to untangle it. There go hours of the workday for which I had other plans. Windows11 Sucks.

Back to work on the Topic Workbooks and The Big Project. I hope to have the official announcement for the latter ready to go next week. And then script coverage.

The Jan. 6 Hearings continue to horrify. And the seditionists continue to get away with it. Very discouraging.

Have a good one.

Published in: on July 13, 2022 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Sept. 23, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 126 — Darkness Lengthens

image by coleur courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and warmer

Yesterday was a fairly productive day. I got client work done, including getting the A/B ads out; got out a big stack of LOIs; managed to renew the car registration online (and it actually worked), backed up the computer with my the Seagate external drive. I have to say, I prefer Time Machine.

I put the new black toner into the big printer. That should give me 3K pages. It was a bit of a battle; I had trouble getting it in. But I managed. The instructions were useless.

Did a nice chunk of work on JUST A DROP, folding in my friend’s notes, and finding a few other things to tweak. I checked with the theatre to whom I plan to send it – yes, they do accept both one-acts and full-lengths. All of a sudden, I worried that they only wanted one acts.

I’m steadily increasing time on the exercise bicycle. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it, either. But I need the exercise. Weight training is back in the mix, on Mondays and Thursdays, too, along with the twice daily yoga and meditation. It’s slow progress, and there’s that voice inside my head that lambasts me for not buckling down during the Stay-At-Home to get fit, but pandemic stress has derailed just about everything for me.

Don’t even get me started on what’s going on in the country. I have plenty of opinions, but nothing of real value to add to the conversation. I’m doing what work I can and not getting drawn in to the stupid.

Using the “unfollow” and “block” buttons a lot on social media. Unfollowed someone who followed me and is supposedly a yoga/wellness person. First interaction – her “publicist” sends me a DM trying to sell me something. Nope. Bye.

Finished the latest book I was reading in the series I liked, but the like is fading. Not only am I insulted by her dislike of theatre and theatre people, and don’t like that the protagonist is getting a self-righteous stick up her ass, the protag is getting weaker as the series progresses and dumber, instead of stronger and smarter. I’m not talking about being more vulnerable – I’m talking situations that she used to handle, she’s now falling apart and expecting a man to come and fix it. She’s scared of everything, she makes stupid decisions, she doesn’t learn from previous dangerous experiences, and she’s no longer getting herself out of bad situations. I also don’t like the trope that’s becoming more and more central where she only “realizes” she has feelings for one or the other of the two men in love with her when some other woman is interested in them. I think that’s toxic. I also predict an arc unfolding in the next few books where a love interest shows up for one of her love interests, and she suddenly “realizes” that he’s actually the one she wants, rather than the other guy who’s also in love with her and does stuff for her all the time, but she only “realizes” how deep her feelings for him still run when she sees another woman interested in him.

Again, like the other series I’ve been reading, where I liked early books and then felt they turned vicious and leaned into white privilege, I’m learning as much from what bothers me about the books, the series, and the genre, as I learn from the books I like. That matters.

The Knowledge Unicorns met last night. With our tiaras. It was fun. Working on assignments, talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and death, and all that she fought for before she was even nominated to the Supreme Court. We really have an awful education system that’s not about learning, It’s unfair to teachers and kids. And, in this context, the flaws come out even further.

Mabon ritual was good. It steadied me, somewhat. The Mars Retrograde is kicking my ass, especially paired with Saturn retrograde. The next six days will be rough, until Saturn goes direct. I mean, the entire Mars retrograde will be rough, but once Saturn is out of the mix, it will ease up a little. Of course, we have Mercury going retrograde in a few weeks to look forward to, so it’s just going to suck all the way around for awhile.

Today I have to go onsite for a few hours, overlapping with other people (ick). Then, it’s Remote Chat, and more client work, and more work on JUST A DROP, plus whatever else I can fit into the afternoon. More writing. I have to get back on track and get more writing in every day, whether I feel like it or not. Because I don’t have the luxury of not getting it done.

The dark is longer than the light from now until Winter Solstice. I actually enjoy this time of year, but I suspect a lot of people will struggle with longer dark paired with pandemic pressure. I’m looking forward to cozy sweaters and comfort food and hot cocoa and good books, carving out a few hours of nested solitude every night to help me keep equilibrium.

Published in: on September 23, 2020 at 5:29 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 23, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 126 — Darkness Lengthens  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Aug. 20, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 92 — Fairly Godmother Becomes Homework Fairy

child-1845975_1920
image courtesy of Pexels vis pixabay.com

Thursday, August 20, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Lots to share today, and most of it good. Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Work and Loneliness
Client work was okay yesterday. The client came in early, just to chat. She’s lonely. And truly doesn’t get that going out golfing in groups, hanging out at the beach club, attending a funeral, and going to a ladies’ lunch isn’t “doing nothing and staying at home” which is what she claims she’s doing.

I’m doing an A/B test of a new ad – first a few days in the NY/LA market, which is where I suspect it will do well. Early next week, I’m going to send it national.

I did research on virtual reality/augmented reality platforms to see if that’s something we could try. But the expense and the amount of coding/maintenance is beyond us right now.

It did, however, give me another idea for a story. It might be a novel, it might be a novella. And it has to wait its turn.

We talked about loneliness during Remote Chat, too. I pointed out that I’ve often felt lonelier in a room full of people than when I’m actually alone. I’m someone who needs a lot of solitude. I joke a lot about being a professional recluse, but it’s not really a joke.

I’m also thinking of building a screen to put behind the chair for all these Zoom meetings, so I don’t have to worry about what the rest of the room looks like. The frame and hinges won’t be too hard, and then cover it with a pretty fabric that’s not distracting. The fabric would be the most expensive, unless I can get a good price on it, but it would be something useful.

I’d have to actually GO OUT (oh, horrors) and probably get the lumber and hinges at Home Depot (hate giving them even a penny; only shop there as a last resort). Not sure where I’d get the fabric. Maybe I could venture out to Tumbleweeds and see what’s on sale. This is when I miss being able to go in and browse in thrift stores. I’ve found some great fabrics there. I don’t think I have enough (I need 12 yards) in my stash. Doing each panel in a different fabric (4 yards per panel) won’t work. (Update: No, I do NOT need 12 yards — I was thinking only in terms of length, not width. I can get more than one panel with the width. Time for, darn it, MATH).

My landlord is coming by today to talk about an historical article he’s writing. I get the feeling he’s lonely, too. He’s bringing his own folding chair, and we’re wearing masks.

Slow work on the developing novel, but every day a little bit adds to big bits. I hope that translates later today to another good session on BARD’S LAMENT.

Grief to Art Logo
Grief to Art
If you haven’t visited the site, I hope you do so. And, please share. I want to start posting memories on the Walls of Remembrance, and then getting the word out, so it can help more people.

Wellness and Not So Well
I took my mom in to see her regular doctor (we’d been putting it off). They’re pleased with her progress, although her blood pressure is still too high and they’re changing the medication. But she’s put some weight back on, the exercise is good for her (30 mins/day, 7 days/week on the exercise bicycle), and I’m to be praised for the nutritious meals I create.

That’s the good news.

On the flip side of that, I tripped over Willa going down the stairs to the laundry room and wrenched my ankle. Definitely not broken. I wasn’t sure if it was a sprain or a twist last night, because of the pain and swelling. I have some pain pills left over from February’s surgery. I finally broke down and took one. I slept through the night. It’s uncomfortable this morning, but the swelling is down and I can walk on it. So a twist, not a sprain, thank goodness. I just have to be careful for the next few days.

Decades of living with cats, and this is the first time I actually got hurt from tripping over one.

A Day of Packages
The yoga bolster arrived (via Fed Ex). It’s a narrow one, not the typical wide one. It’s covered in teal, and absolutely perfect. I’m delighted with it.

The baguette pan arrived (via UPS). It’s smaller than I expected, and I’m not sure. But I’ll know once I make the baguettes, right? I hope to make the first set of baguettes tomorrow. I can make three at a time.

The ribbons I ordered from Ribbon Bazaar arrived (USPS) – the red and green I need for the winter holidays, and the black I wanted for Samhain. Organza, and lovely.

My 2021 calendars arrived yesterday (calendar and datebook). They give me hope we might actually have a 2021.

Fairly Godmother Becomes the Homework Fairy
I chose not to have children of my own, but I have 13 godchildren. I’m old enough so that THEY’RE old enough to have kids of their own. I’m not even friends with some of their parents anymore (the friends who originally asked me to be a godparent) because of political and religious divides. Although there were periods when I’ve lost touch with some here and there, at this point in the game, the godchildren and I are in contact (some of them have broken with their parents for the same reasons I did).

We had a Zoom meeting yesterday about schools re-opening. The godkids (and their kids – are they great-gods?) are scattered all over the country, in both blue and red states. We had a long, vehement discussion about school. By the end of it, everyone in the meeting agreed that NONE of the kids are going back in person this year, and they refuse to be forced. It is simply not worth risking the lives of the kids and the rest of the families because of this ridiculous insistence that kids have to be physically in a classroom, even though it’s dangerous.

Since I was one of the most strident about not sending the kids back to school at this point in the pandemic, I offered to host homework sessions. Twice a week, for 2 hours at a time, starting after Labor Day, I’m going to host a Zoom session. The Great-Gods will log in and we’ll do homework in company. I’ll help them however I can if they have trouble with something. If I don’t know the answer, we will research it together. I’m putting together activities that are fun and tie in to learning, such as how plants and baking tie into science; cooking can tie into math, too (fractions, etc.). Sewing ties into math and geometry. Set design ties into geometry (I never understood geometry until I started building sets in theatre – then it made sense). Music has math in it, as well as art. We’ll study paintings and history and literature and, more importantly, the people behind those things, to make it real and relevant. I’m putting together a lesson plan (which is a roadmap, not a prison). The parents are sending me information about the school and the curriculum, so I can pick eras and people and events relevant to what they’re studying. There’s room for what they’re interested in, and I hope they will inspire each other and help each other, too.

Most of the Great-Gods don’t know each other yet, so it will be a chance to meet other kids of different ages from all over the place, even though it’s online. I’m applying for a grant to help with the Zoom fees.

I’m going to encourage them to participate in online programs at places like the National Marine Life Center, and at libraries (our library is doing a lot of great programs online) and museums that will supplement their coursework.

The parents (my godkids and their spouses/partners) and I reminisced about the years (decades) we’ve known each other. Some of them used to call me the “Fairly Godmother” because we talked so much about treating people decently and fairly.  I still have my Karma Fairy Wand built for the Moon Tribe Tales project that I will wave around. We also told stories about way back, years and years and YEARS ago, when all 13 of them were unceremoniously dumped on me in NYC without warning because all the parents had meltdowns at the same time. So there I am, a single woman working in theatre, living a block from Times Square, with 13 kids ranging in age from 1 to 16. In a small NYC apartment.

Within 48 hours, I’d taken off two weeks from my show (thank goodness for swings and understanding management), rented one of those old, panelled station wagons with bench seats (car seats were not required then for kids), and rented a wonky, old house here on Cape, all that I could afford. It was right on the beach, though, and it was in the years before the prices were so out of control. We piled into the car at 5 AM, drove to the Cape, and spent two weeks on the beach, playing and reading and hanging out. We had a jimble jamble of books (we read aloud to each other), there were a bunch of board games and puzzles with missing pieces for rainy days.

I didn’t have much money for all of this (went into debt on it, actually), so it wasn’t like we could go out and go shopping for anything other than cheap souvenirs. But we visited the National Seashore (the rangers were so nice), and wandered through galleries in P-town, and went to the drive-in movie in Wellfleet. We ate a lot of hamburgers and hot dogs and mac & cheese and fried clams those two weeks, and lots of ice cream. But we had a lot of fun, and it’s something everyone involved remembers fondly.

The big rules were: no whining, be kind, don’t wander off. Everyone old enough pitched in to help each other, and help cook and clean up. There were lots of sleeping bags on floors and on the screened-in porch (we used to call them “sleeping porches”). We met painters and musicians and there were bonfires on the beach. I had some rules and structure, but there was also freedom within it.

I admit to being exhausted by the time I handed them all back to their parents, but we had fun. Some of the parents felt there was too much freedom, and I cut them right off. They all dumped their kids on me without warning, without discussion, without any kind of support. I kept them fed, happy, and alive. So the parents could shut the hell up. One father complained I’d turned his kids into “lefty feminists.” I’m rather proud of that.

Anyway, I have a lot on my agenda today, and I better get to it. Or someone will have to hand me a “round tuit.”

Peace, friends, Be kind.

Tues. May 22, 2012: Roller Coaster Day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was such and up-and-down day! Managed to revised six chapters of HEART SNATCHER, which was a great note on which to start. Got some other work done, spent time with students.

Had a few hours of alternating fury and misery when I discovered that some individuals on a job in whom I invested hundreds of hours of time and trust just threw it back in my face. Well, what are you going to do? I already knew the situation was not one in which I wanted to stay past the current commitments — but at least I FULFILL my commitments. It’s about fear, power, manipulation, done via passive aggression — you know how well THAT goes over with me! You don’t get your own way all the time, Pickle, especially when you’re wrong and doing something destructive to yourself and others. Imagining how to fictionally kill them off in a story made me realize just how ridiculous it all is, and how it’s not worth my time and energy. New doors are opening for me; I have no reason not to take fresh risks. Especially not out of misplaced loyalty.

The Writers Center wants to put me on their regular roster for Tomorrow’s Writers Today — they thought I did well, the kids responded positively, and they want me back. Good! I can take what I learned from this go-round, switch up a few things, focus it differently, and make it better.

I got some more good news — a piece one of my private students worked on under guidance has been offered a contract! I’m thrilled for her. She worked hard on it, and it was a case of taking a good idea and going deeper, that’s all.

I got my next assignment for Confidential Job #1 — a double this time! Can’t wait to do it. Didn’t manage to finish the article (still waiting for quotes). Managed, however, to do a good deal of press for my upcoming workshops — putting them up in local events calendars, etc. — and got some ads for business services out there. Got a negative response back on a pitch — but the content of the refusal had nothing to do with what I actually pitched, so I think they might have sent me someone else’s letter. In other words, I dodged a bullet!

Very tired, but that’s just the way it is right now. Looking forward to the holiday weekend break. I’ll be writing, but not interacting.

The West Dennis Library is doing a benefit on June 10. They asked me to donate a signed copy of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT for the Book Basket they’re auctioning off. I’m delighted! More information here.

A few things to think about/remember/check out:

On Saturday, May 26, from 10 AM to Midnight EST, please click over to 100carsforgood.com with your Facebook account and vote for the National Marine Life Center — we’re a finalist in the program, and have the chance to win a Highlander in order to transport wildlife to and from the hospital. It would make a huge difference to the center, so please stop by and give us a vote!

Writers Worth Week continues with Kimberly Ben’s article on Flexing Your Confidence Muscle.

Don’t forget to sign up for Setting Up Your Submissions System online seminar on June 2. I’ll walk you through bios, loglines, submission packets, clip files, the types of ways to prepare your files so all you have to do is attach, and more. The resource guide is worth the price. More information and registration here.

If you’re in and around the Cape area in June and July, I’m teaching in person at Three Fish and A Ram Community Art Center in Mashpee. There’s a tarot class for artists in all media, a writer/performer collaborative, and a writing workshop to stretch technique. I’ve got a page with details set up here.

I’m off to mediation now — I need it! Then, it’s back to work.

Devon