Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Day after Lunar Eclipse
Snowy and cold

I don’t often post on a Saturday; let’s see if I can today, or if nothing’s working.

We had a blizzard on Thursday. Basically, the Cape shut down. The Governor told people to stay home. Although it didn’t hit the Cape until around noon, people paid attention — schools, libraries, lots of businesses closed. Most things were closed yesterday, although it wasn’t as bad as predicted.

During the blizzard, I looked out of the window, and there was something flapping in one of the snow banks. It looked like a person in distress. I bundled up and dashed out, wondering if I was going to have to call my lovely firemen. But it wasn’t a person — it was my neighbor’s flag, whose line had snapped. The way it landed in the snow bank looked like a body (it’s a big flag). I managed to grab it before it ever technically hit the ground (it was above the ground on the snow bank) and took it in. I hung it in the bathroom to let it dry off, then folded it up and gave it back yesterday, when he came over to help us dig out the bottom of the driveway. He was glad to get it back — and glad it hadn’t touched the ground.

I wrote, although not on what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m back working on what was originally called POWER OF WORDS. Now that I know what I want to do with it, once it’s all done and goes through a massive editing process, I’m inspired again. Yesterday, I finished what will eventually be Book 2 of the series and started Book 3. Yesterday I got about 40 pages done. I’m first-drafting right now, so it’s fast. It’s the basic plot and character drives, and then, in the second draft, I fill it out and deepen it. I’d already done the second draft for book 1 and part of book 2. The tandem drafting is a little odd, but every project requires its own process.

I studied Constitutional Law. It’s depressing to see how the GOP have turned into such oathbreakers. The level of corruption in the current administration is appalling. The courts are our last line of defense, and the administration is bound and determined to shred them, too. But I’m learning a lot in the class. My professor is terrific, and the course is very well done. My professor is much more optimistic than I am, that’s for sure!

I’ve been researching the Italian Renaissance, which is such a pleasure. It’s also relevant — in terms of the development of humanism and the need for art. It’s interesting how the wealthy of that time were determined to make the world better, not just for themselves, but for everyone, becoming patrons of the arts to create things that were both beautiful and challenging. The present-day rich only want to take more from themselves and hurt others. They want to shut down beauty, challenge, and, especially, education.

That is why art is always political and always important. It can also be entertaining and a relief from the strife of daily life, but, for it to connect to people, there’s got to be something meaningful there. Otherwise, it’s just empty calories. Sometimes one needs that as a stress relief valve, but genuine art always challenges and always makes the world better, even when it’s uncomfortable.

I’ve got a stack of books out of the various libraries in the network, and I’ve also checked out “Great Courses” in both art and in history. The lectures are interesting, although dense, and it’s interesting to see how connected everything is. Both professors are committed to context, and that is so important.

In other words, I’m making good use of my snowed-in time!

I have to venture out today to return some books, send off some material, and run some errands. We had more snow overnight — which means more shoveling — and expect another storm tomorrow into Monday, which could wipe out most of Monday.

Last year, the wood lasted all winter. I’m already running low. Might have to restock the wood next week.

Back to the page — things are rolling with this piece, and I want to keep up the momentum. SONGBOUND SISTERS also is starting to pull again, as is NOT BY THE BOOK, so I’m hoping I can give them some attention soon, too.

However, the bulk of the day and tomorrow morning must be about studying for the Constitutional Law quiz. If I can even take it, depending on the power situation.

Power issues all week have put me behind in getting stuff out.

At least I can write in longhand by candlelight, if necessary! 😉

Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art

Monday, January 9, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cold

Mercury is finally direct, thank goodness! This was a tough one.

It started snowing on Friday; I’d planned ahead, so I didn’t go out. We got about 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow on Friday, which was a pain in the butt to shovel, but knowing another storm was on the way, we did it anyway.

Saturday, the snow started in the morning, and it snowed until well into the evening. Blizzard conditions, white-outs, instructions to stay off the road.

I had to give up my reading slot in the MOBY DICK MARATHON at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, because I couldn’t get there. Disappointing, but not worth risking my life over.

Instead, I stayed home and read and we took down the holiday decorations. It took most of the day Friday and most of the day Saturday. We’d taken in the outdoor decorations on Thursday, before the first storm hit.

I still have to fluff bows before packing them, switch out and wash/iron/fold fabric. I shouldn’t be surprised it took several days to take down — after all, it took a month to put up!

I had a lousy writing week. Last week started like gangbusters, with about half the short story due at the end of the month, and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK, and some other stuff. But every word, later in the week, was a fight, and the ones I wrestled, I don’t like very much.

I’m hoping for a better writing week this week. I NEED a better writing week this week.

It’s tough, because I have no energy. At all.

I had some promising news from my agent over the weekend, which is nice, but nothing is settled until contracts are signed, so I’m not jumping up and down yet. If negotiations work out, great; if not, on to the next.

I also have to do some negotiating on a potential freelance job. We’ll see how that works. Again, until there’s a signed contract and the deposit clears, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve been re-watching all of M*A*S*H lately, and I’m reminded how wonderful Alan Alda’s work is. I remember, during my theatre days, when he was the ultimate intelligent woman’s sex symbol: in addition to looks, he has intelligence, wit, humor, compassion, and courage. Then, I was lucky to work with him on some benefits, and he’s even better in person — interested and engaged, and KIND. His wife, Arlene, is amazing, too, and they’re wonderful together. He continues to be active, writing and advocating for science. We need more Alan Alda and less reality celebutard.

Adding to that, was Meryl Streep’s beautiful speech last night at the Golden Globes. As usual, she was intelligent, thoughtful, precise, insightful, and truthful.

Narcissistic Sociopath is having a hissy fit, but there again, you see the contrast between a genuine talent and a reality celebutard.

And hey, if the Duck Dynasty Dickheads have a right to spout politics — and they do, no matter how much I might disagree with them — then intelligent, talented artists have that same right.

For those who say actors/artists don’t have the right to speak about politics — ALL art is political. Some is overt, some is not. Great art makes the audience better, even for a few moments. Great art inspires us not to stand by and let people stomp on us. The incoming fascist regime is counting on squashing our spirit, by taking away everything that makes it possible to have a dignified life. We have to fight that, and one of the most effective ways so to do is through art.

You want to write narrow-minded formula pieces just to make money? Go ahead. That is your right. Even in those, though, isn’t there a happy ending? Doesn’t LOVE triumph over scheming and hate? That’s a form of political discourse. The most popular YA books in recent years — Hunger Games, Testing, et al — are political. Harry Potter is about overcoming a dictator. In Nora Roberts’s books, love and good overcome evil and destruction. That is political. Instead of just burrowing into these books (and we all need that escape), it’s time to take the principles that touch our souls in art and bring them forward into life. It is time for US to overcome those who want to break our spirits, take away love and hope, and control every aspect of OUR lives for THEIR profit.

We need to start creating the reality we want, both in our art, and then take it forward to turn it into our reality. It is time to defeat those who would crush our hearts, so they can line their own pockets.

Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art  
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Research and Reading

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

A blizzard during a full moon Mercury retrograde. What could go wrong? Yes, that was sarcasm.

Meeting all morning yesterday. Lots of information, good group of people, which is always helpful. My computer at work still isn’t working properly (the guy was out again — it worked for fifteen minutes after he left, and then — same old). Worked on some programming stuff, caught up on email, had to work the desk in the afternoon.

I have most of the research books I need to start the play set in 17th century Italy — I will dive into them and start note taking this weekend. I also plan to finish reading my friend’s manuscript and type up the notes. Plus, of course, finish the radio play, and keep working on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, to meet my self-imposed deadline.

I’m gathering research for another project, set in the Berkshires. Actually, I might be able to use the research for more than one project, which is always good. I’ve got some submissions to prepare over the weekend — I might even get one or two of them out before the weekend, if everything works. With Mercury retrograde, I doubt it, but fingers crossed.

I also need to work on a potential submission for an art exhibit. I have to think about it. I’m not sure I can get my hands on what I want and need for the visual element, but I’m going to try. Again, it’s a stretch, and my piece might not be accepted — but I need to stretch. I’ve been avoiding it, on the one hand, since I heard about it last week; on the other, it’s been percolating. So we’ll see.

I’m working my way through the contest entries. The first batch of ebooks is coming in now, to supplement the print. I’m nearly through the stack of print mysteries, and then I will turn my attention to novella, then to fantasy, then to ebooks, and by then, the second deadline will have passed, and the final batch should be in. There aren’t a lot of “maybes” this year so far — they are either fully in the “yes” pile that will need to be winnowed down or the “no” pile, because the craft and storytelling just isn’t there. Previous years have had more that were right on the cusp — some problems, but, depending on the entire batch of submissions, a stronger possibility to move into the “yes” pile. This year’s strong entries are STRONG, and those winnowed out will be so by a point or two on the scale. Truly enjoyable reading. Several new-to-me authors that I plan to keep reading.

Once I’ve read everything, each entry gets a second look. Then the weighing and comparison starts. I want to make sure each entry gets full attention and a fair deal.

Washington DC and New York are hunkering down for a blizzard. Local weather people are just dithering, which is highly annoying. I’d like to at least have an idea of range of possibility. “I dunno” two days before the storm is NOT acceptable.

Today will be a long day — big upgrade to the system used for books. I’m sure it will take most of the morning to get everything back online.

I’m almost looking forward to the possibility of being snowed in. Not the shoveling part, but the can’t-go-anywhere-so-stay-home-read-and-write part.

Have a great day!

Devon

Published in: on January 21, 2016 at 10:39 am  Comments Off on Research and Reading  
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Fri. March 28: The Mid-Cape Cultural Council ROCKS!

Friday, March 28, 2014
Day Before Dark Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and milder

Wednesday was intense, due to the storm, and yesterday was intense for other reasons. In fact, yesterday was so wild, I didn’t blog, and didn’t realize it until the end of the day; my apologies.

The blizzard was, truly, a blizzard here on the Cape, whereas Boston barely got a few flakes of snow. Unfortunately, there was a nine-alarm fire in Boston, driven by the winds, and two firefighters died, which is always heart-breaking.

I stayed tucked in, trying to get work done, reading the materials for the press kit I’ve been hired to do, going over contest entries, getting some writing done, starting the next book for my editor, and pitching for jobs.

By noon, when the blizzard warning was extended, I cancelled rehearsal. On Broadway, they always pulled us out in dangerous conditions. Less “the show must go on” than “we don’t want to refund tickets by cancelling the show”. I promised myself that when I was in a position to make decisions, I wouldn’t do to others what I resented so much done to me. So I walked my talk and cancelled rehearsal, trusting I had good actors with common sense who could do it.

That meant we went into last night with one rehearsal.

Yesterday, I had an early morning board meeting with the Marine Life Center, which was a little difficult.

Then, my new publisher needed materials turned around ASAP — there’d been some sort of communication breakdown, and the production people hadn’t realized the contracts were finalized, so cover art/author information was behind. I spent the rest of the morning turning around the materials for all four books, so both the most pressing and the ones for later this summer are done. We had good communication and got it all figured out, so it was all good. I like working with them, because we can figure things out and get it done. They communicate, and don’t make excuses, or dump blame/punish me when something happens. They let me know something’s up, and then we solve it in a positive way, which is the type of relationship I like.

Did some work on the press kit. Got hired by a magazine out of Canada to write some gardening articles, so I’ll get to work on those — first deadline on May 1 — I like the editor, the pay’s decent.

Waiting to hear on a long-term job that told me I’d hear by yesterday, but haven’t. I don’t know whether to be hopeful or discouraged. Have another client meeting this morning, which would be in a totally different direction, but also fun. Had to move another meeting tentatively scheduled for this afternoon to next week.

Headed to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis for the Mid-Cape Cultural Council’s Grantee Reception. It was so much fun! The Council itself is an amazing group — energetic, committed to creating a community between the artists and the rest of the community. They communicate beautifully, and are very inclusive. They’re excited and energized by the work of the artists.

It was also exciting to see the work of other artists who received grants, and makes me want to support what they do even more.

Our little section went well — I was very proud of my actors. We got laughs where I hoped, and people were excited and energized by the mix of art and science. NMLC was represented by the Executive Director (who’s also a friend), and she was pleased, too.

Came home, cooked a late dinner, and prepped for today’s work.

Client meetings, work on the press kit, work with students, starting on the articles, and prepping for rehearsal. I’m also meeting with potential stage manager/understudies over the next few days. Fingers crossed.

This should be an exciting spring!

Devon

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 6:16 am  Comments (2)  
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014: Decisions and Dithering

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Supposedly, we’re getting hit with a blizzard tonight into tomorrow. The very thought of it makes me want to stay in bed.

Busy day yesterday. Wrote/rewrote the first chapter of the ferry girl novel yesterday and sent it off to my critique partner. Always scary. Went to work with students, but they hadn’t posted. Pitched for some jobs. Got the information on the film press kit job — it looks wonderful, and I’m so excited about working on it. Finished the next book for my editor, and have to write the review today. Worked on contest entries. Worked on a rewrite of a script. Moved an interview for a gig I’m excited about from tomorrow’s snowstorm to Friday morning. Nervous about whether or not things will be cleared up enough for tomorrow night’s rehearsal — we really need it before the presentation at the Grant Reception on Thursday.

Had to run errands in Falmouth and Sandwich, which took up most of the afternoon.

Dithering about whether or not to accept a job as a stopgap for the next few months at a lower rate, but would be steady money. I can already tell that the time/money ratio will be frustrating, but it would help pay off some bills. I have to make a decision today, even though I won’t hear about a couple of other things until later in the week. Saying yes means I’m making a decision out of fear, and that’s usually a bad thing. I have to dither for a few more hours, and then either suck it up and say yes, knowing it’s not a good choice, or say no and take yet another risk. I’m trying to figure out possible repercussions of each choice, and there are positives and negatives on both roads. I’m usually a decisive person, so when I dither, I get annoyed with myself.

I really want to spend time on the ferry girl novel and BALTHAZAAR today, but don’t know if I’ll get the chance. The rewrites on the script have to go out first.

Devon

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 7:54 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Jan. 3, 2014: Blizzard

Tuesday, January 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Blizzard

We’ve got about two feet of snow so far, and it’s still coming down (I should have some cool photos eventually). Can’t open any of the doors — hopefully can get out through the garage to shovel.

Yesterday, did some pitches, caught up with students, typed up Chapter Five of TRUE HOME, did some work on a teleplay, and did some work on a script revision. Still reading CUCKOO’S CALLING.

Today, as soon as the snow stops, I’ll be shovelling! Hopefully, I can get in a lot of writing first.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2014 at 8:17 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 3, 2014: Blizzard  
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Jan. 2, 2014: Hit the Ground Writing!

Thursday, January 2, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cold, snowstorm, preparing for blizzard

Yup, we’re supposed to have a blizzard over the next 30 hours. Batten down the hatches!

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog to see the To-Do List for January. Quite a bit on my plate, but I’m optimistic.

It was nice to sign off early on New Year’s Eve and do a mini yoga/meditation retreat. I also got to read Val McDermid’s book CROSS AND BURN — excellent.

Salmon pasta with broccoli for dinner, and then a quiet New Year’s Eve, welcoming in 2014. I’m ready for a fresh start!

Up early on the Day, yoga, meditation, and some other rituals that make the start of the new year fun.

Polished and uploaded the first two weeks’ worth of assignments for the Editing Intensive, which starts on Monday, watched the Tournament of Roses Parade, started the JK Rowling book under her pseudonym, THE CUCKOO’S CALLING. It’s quite good. I didn’t like CASUAL VACANCY, her other adult novel. It was well-written, but I didn’t like or respect any of the characters. This book is both well-written, and there are characters to whom I can connect. Makes all the difference.

Started reading George Eliot’s ADAM BEDE. I’m reading the Estes and Lautier edition, published in 1887 (that is not a typo, that’s the edition). I’m turning pages very carefully and feel almost as though I should wear white gloves when I read.

Also did a nice chunk of work on TRUE HOME, about ten pages’ worth, finishing chapter five (from Ella’s POV) and starting chapter six (from Garrett’s).

I have some interesting offers in my inbox. I have to mull over the pros and cons and check some dates. I’ll have to say no to several of them, but I want to make sure I pick the opportunities that are most in alignment with what I want long-term and truest to myself.

Lots to do today, before the storm hits, so I better hop to it!

Happy New Year, all!

Devon