Sunday, August 30, 2009

IMG_0472
New York Botanical Garden

Sunday, August 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

It’s starting to smell like autumn.

Danny passed us by without much impact, which is a good thing. And I can use all that boiled water!

The CNN website hit a new low yesterday. They’ve lost my trust anyway over the past few years, as far as not finding them a reliable resource. Yesterday, however, they took tasteless and tacky to a new level.

They’ve got the coverage of the Senator Edward Kennedy funeral streaming, and, under it, an ad from a life insurance company picturing a casket and saying, “Don’t wait until it’s too late!”

Yes, I emailed them and told them what I thought.

I didn’t spend the day glued to the funeral. I honored the Senator (who, even though I didn’t always agree with him, had a huge, direct, and personal impact on my life, mostly positive) in my own way. I saw a bit of the end, at Arlington. As usual, the Kennedys handled things with grace and panache.

Let’s hope the right wing-nut lie-mongers shut up for at least a few days. Not that they’re capable of respecting anything other than the dollars for which they shill paid by large corporations masquerading as citizens.

Now, as everyone walks away from Arlington, is where the real sense of missing begins. I remember when my father died — there was a sense of unreality from the news through the funeral arrangements through the wake and even the service. It wasn’t until walking away from the grave site that it really began to sink in. All the preparations and the people kept him immediate. The emptiness came later.

I’m re-reading a book called CALLINGS by Gregg Levoy. A friend recommended it a few years ago — it’s about creating an authentic life, doing what you’re meant to do, and recognizing the false call from the true call, and most importantly, taking action rather than making excuses. I read it quickly that first time. I’m reading it more slowly this time, and enjoying even the parts I don’t necessarily agree with.

I love his reference to TS Eliot’s quote about measuring our lives in coffee spoons (very relevant, in my case). I also agree with the way he says that one has to plunge fully into one’s calling: “A part-time effort, a sorta-kinda commitment, an untested promise, won’t suffice.” (p. 11). That’s how I feel about my writing.

It’s a very interesting book. If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels at the moment, I recommend it. Even the parts that don’t necessarily work for you will get you thinking in new ways, and help you find what does work.

Ordered holiday cards from the National Wildlife Federation yesterday — special sale. I hope National Geographic offers some cards soon, and then I’ll be all set. I’m percolating another holiday story — a couple of them actually. If I’m going to do them WELL, they need to be written now, so I have time to revise them, design them, and print them in time to go out with the cards.

Got some good work done on AMENDS. It’s got an interesting shape. I couldn’t figure out where to set it for the longest time. The incident that inspired the book’s murder and the location of that incident took place here, but suburban NY didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to stick it on the Cape, and I just set stories in VT and around Concord, MA.

So I thought about putting it in Western MA, farther west even than Wyatt East’s domain in the Jain Lazarus Adventures, all the way in the Berkshires. I’ve got another piece percolating that I want to set in that region, but I don’t think they’ll conflict.

So that’s where AMENDS is set.

I figure it will run somewhere between 65K and 90K.

Had a lot of trouble with 1and1 again. I looked at some other hosts; everyone seems to get mixed reviews. I don’t know if I’m better off staying with the devil I know. At least until I get the computer stuff sorted out and don’t lose all my iWeb files again.

My contacts and client lists vanished from my Address Book — AGAIN — which means I have to re-enter them. Over it! I want Apple to stop wasting everyone’s time and actually DO something.

Finished reading the material for Confidential Job #1 and will write it up today, send it off tomorrow,and find a computer from which I can invoice them.

Did some notes on one of the holiday stories. Figured out what I want to try to make for the holidays. I will do a few prototypes in early October. If it works, I can get everything made and wrapped early; if not, it gives me time to come up with something else, so I’m not scrambling, like I did last year.

I figured out that I’ve saved $1200 so far this year by shopping as Costco on items I would have had to buy in that time period anyway.

A site on which I’d like to be a contributor is not going to work out. I’d be willing to compromise on the money (or lack thereof) to a point, but the insistence on running a photograph, not the icon, makes it a no-go. What I do or don’t look like has NOTHING to do with the quality of my writing, and, as someone who publishes under multiple names, a photograph hurts me rather than helps me. If clients who pay a ton of money have no problem with the no-photographs clause, clients who don’t should be even more flexible. Obviously, it’s not the right fit, and there are better fits for both of us somewhere else.

Need to get deeper into Prague Prep — the trip is coming up awfully quickly. It would be nice if those who were invited to guest blog and didn’t want to/couldn’t at least had the courtesy to decline and respond to my follow-up emails instead of ignoring them. Oh, well, the sooner you learn about someone discourteous, the sooner you can remove them from your life, right? I’m seriously starting to think everyone should be required to pass an etiquette class before they’re allowed out in the world! 😉

Devon

AMENDS, first draft: 13,750 words out of est. 75,000
18.33%

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and humid

Yesterday was so much fun! I really enjoyed it.

Got a few things done in the morning, then went to a CT site for a few hours to make sure things were moving along as they should be.

Headed up to Ossining in the late morning. Picked up my friend and we headed back down-county to the NY Botanical Garden. Can I say that the directions on the website suck? The directions had very little to do with the roads we needed to get there. They had some of the big stretches right, but there were small stretches on other roads that they didn’t bother to include. And, since you need the smaller roads to connect to the bigger roads — it was frustrating.

But we got there It was hot, it was humid, but the Edible Garden exhibit was pretty wonderful. Things are in bloom now, everything’s lush and gorgeous. We walked around, took a lot of pictures, and pretty much had the whole garden to ourselves. My favorites were the pools with the lotus and lily pads. (No, that wasn’t part of the Edible exhibit).

We had lunch n the garden cafe and browsed the store, and, all in all, had a nice afternoon.

My friend headed to her Broadway gig. I was stuck in traffic part of the way home. Once I cleared the Bronx, it wasn’t too bad, but getting out of the Bronx was a challenge.

I had dinner back in CT, then headed home. The heat really took a lot out of me. I managed a light weight training session last night, but not much else.

The temperature numbers are lower, but the humidity is stuck between the front moving in from the West, the Great Lakes, and Hurricane Bill, moving in from the East. So it’s oppressive and nothing moves.

I had a great morning’s writing session on “Amends”. I’m really happy with the way it’s developing. The humor’s a little off-beat, but there’s also action and character development and conflict, so I like the way it’s growing.

I’ve got some errands to run this morning, and then I have to print out postcards and get some mailings done.

Hopefully, the Apple personnel and I will talk this afternoon and we’ll actually have some sort of solution. I know I’ve been hard to reach, but I have to make up for the clients and work lost last week due to the computer problems. I want information, not just phone tag.

I’m quite angry about the release of the only man convicted in the Lockerbie bombing by Scotland on “compassionate grounds.” Especially since Libya then slapped the US in the face by staging a hero’s welcome. This man was CONVICTED — it’s not like maybe someone thought he had something to do with it. He was CONVICTED of participating in the murder of 270 people. I was in Lockerbie on September 9, 2001 — two days before 9/11 — it was an incredibly moving experience.

I am deeply disappointed in the Scottish government, and I’m sure there were plenty of political machinations we’ll never know about that had absolutely nothing to do with “compassion”. Some mucky-muck, somewhere, is receiving a personal gain at the expense of those who died.

Devon

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

The computer and I are limping along. Bits of programs fall out; I figure out how to get them back and bits fall out of other programs, but I managed to get some work done. I have no idea how long the computer can last, and I have no confidence in any of it, but at least I’m working day-to-day getting work done. It adds unnecessary stress to my life, but there you have it. Every time the programs and files have been reloaded, they run differently, and I have to re-learn how to maneuver within them. Since it’s the same files and the same software, it doesn’t make sense. It’s frustrating and a time-waster. I’m also tired of having to use a password on my own computer every time I want to do something. That’s a minor irritant, but I still get offended when my own computer won’t recognize me. It used to.

I’m back to writing first drafts in longhand.

Apple called — the woman with whom I spoke last week. She said she has a “resolution” for the problem. I wasn’t home to take the call, so I left a message and we’ll probably talk tomorrow. If the “resolution” means going back for another round of repairs, I’m not doing it.

They need to earn my trust back, and the way to do that is to come up with a solution so my computer runs well for a sustainable period of time, especially with me doing all the backups and maintenance it’s supposed to have.

Got some client work done, caught up on a few things. I’m having difficulties with 1and1 (gee, what a surprise), so the “out of office” is still up, because I can’t get it down. Hopefully, that will change today, and then something else won’t work. Gee, what fun.

I started playing with a story idea and wrote some notes and an outline. It deals with belief and non-belief. I doubt it will ever be publishable, but it’s something I want to play with and explore, and maybe it will come in handy in something down the road. Both of the protagonists and the antagonists have very different belief systems from each other and from me, and I wanted to explore what it was like to be inside those different psyches. Then, of course, a secondary character came in for what was supposed to be one scene, and now he’s an important part of the overall story. It’s intriguing, it’s different, it’s out of my comfort zone, so I want to try it.

I didn’t work out last night — didn’t feel up to it. I noticed that, if I don’t do my evening yoga practice, I’m much less limber in the morning. So I need to be more committed to the evening practice again, whether I feel like it or not.

I had a great 1500 word session on “Amends” today. I think it’s going to turn out to be a novella, not a short story. It’s developing in a very interesting way. It’s a mystery with elements of comedy and the paranormal in it. So, we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve got to take care of some business in the morning, then go to the grocery store. I’ve got some work to do in CT this afternoon — let’s hope the computer holds up for that.

I have meditation group tonight — I look forward to it.

Devon

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