Wed. Sept. 17, 2014: Between Many Book Worlds

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Very intense few days on the trip. It was great, but it was all very intense.

Saturday was the first meeting of the cozy book club. Small turnout, but enthusiastic. We are moving it to a different day and time for next month, hoping it will work for more people. I was very tired – I’d been up for several days preparing the materials, washing the china, making the food, packing everything. Load in and load out weren’t bad, but it still took time.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. Read Sharon Shinn’s ROYAL AIRS on the deck. I’m a huge fan of her books anyway, and this is in the same series as TROUBLED WATERS. I read the library copy, but I’ll be buying my own.

Packed what I needed for my trip to New York. Decided I was going to try to travel as light as possible.

To bed early. Up early on Sunday. Wrote 1000 words on INITIATE. Packed the car, ate a good breakfast. Hit the road about a half hour later than I wanted – mostly because I wanted to finish the sequence I was writing on INITIATE.

Traffic wasn’t bad, and it was a beautiful day to drive. I listened to MacTalla Mor on the way down. Stopped in Niantic at the Book Barn. Sold some duplicate books I’d accumulated over the years, and some books my mom wanted to get rid of. And then bought books. And books. And books. It was wonderful. I gorged myself on various titles and authors I’d been looking for, and on some I wanted to try.

Stopped in Old Saybrook. Found some silver flatware – some in my pattern and some in a complimentary pattern – and a small painted stool I will varnish to protect the paint and use for plants.

Hit Greenwich Library around 3 PM. Because, of course, if I’m going somewhere, where is my first refuge? The library. Texted my friend to let her know I arrived. Settled in with Sarah Monette’s MELUSINE – and was captivated from the first page.

I was supposed to be writing.

My friend contacted me and wanted me to come out to the small island sanctuary where her family has had a house for generations. So I drove to Rye and parked at the dock and waited for her. Had to jump into the small boat – not sure if it’s a skiff or what. Whatever it was, it was small and low to the water. And I can’t swim. To say I was terrified is an understatement. But I kept my cool outwardly and didn’t moan.

We went out to the island, which is beautiful, and there was a lively group there of people who like to have actual conversation, not just griping or gossip. So that was fun. And one had worked for the Sound Tigers the same year I trotted around with them doing research, yet our paths hadn’t crossed. So it was fun to share stories about our favorite hockey boys. I can’t believe it’s been a dozen years since I spent time with them. They’re all men now, most of them are out of hockey and with families of their own. It feels like months, not years.

We came back later than expected ,on the tiny boat, in the dark. I was scared, but didn’t outwardly panic, even when we hit a piece of driftwood and I was sure we were going to trip over. I was actually more worried about the longhand chapter of INITIATE in my bag than anything else. But it was all good.

It was odd driving around in Rye. I felt absolutely nothing. I spent many years in the town – from first grade through high school. So many experiences that shaped me happened there. And I felt . ..nothing. Not even the basic curiosity I usually feel in a new town. Not anger or resentment or nostalgia or . . . anything. It was like entering a void. Which was weird. I felt like I should feel something, even if it was negative or uncomfortable.

Didn’t sleep well, lots of odd dreams, but was up early and on a train to the city just after 8. Rye is only 25 miles from New York, a much shorter distance than Kingston is from Boston – yet the round trip train ticket is more expensive.

Hit the city early. Walked around. Spent some time writing in Bryant Park, by the main branch of the New York Public Library (see a pattern with my first choice of refuge?). I had, after all, to write my 1K on INITIATE, or I’d be out of sorts all day.

Then, it was to the Morgan Library (patterns much?) for my 10:30 appointment. The Department Head/Curator who took time to speak with me was amazing. Again, it was invigorating to have a real conversation, and it ranged along a wide spectrum of topics. I learned A LOT, and he also gave me confidence that many of my initial instincts in dealing with what I’m dealing with are correct (even if I’m not always toeing the usual library line on some things). We’ve both done a lot of different things in life that brought us to working in libraries and we share a passion for books and learning and information and how we like to handle/acquire/live with books that is often similar. It was a wonderful experience. He’s someone with whom I want to keep in touch, and someone for whom I hope I can be a resource for the weird information I tend to accumulate. His kindness and generosity of spirit towards someone who’s basically making it up as she goes along in this whole library adventure was deeply appreciated.

It was later than I expected when I got out of there (I expected he might have 15 or 20 minutes to spare, and we talked for nearly two hours – I felt like I was a time hog). I wanted to see what had changed. New York is still vibrant, and it was nice to be around its diversity. The pace felt slower, which was odd. I felt like I was at my old NYC pace, but people around me weren’t. Maybe I was simply in areas with tourists.

I swung by Christie’s, just for the heck of it, and was lucky enough that they were having a viewing of Asian Art. I got to talk to people (more real conversations) about textiles and ceramics. They couldn’t answer all of my questions, so now I have to do some research on my own. Which is just fine, because I didn’t really have the language to ask properly what I wanted to know. But Christie’s has always treated me well and going in there is always a pleasure. I learn a lot and get visual stimulation and the impact of actual valued and valuable art works that one can’t get in many other places. The emotional impact is very different between a photograph of something from the 1700s and the actual object.

Then, of course, I was close to running late. I grabbed some watermelon for lunch on the move as I headed up through Hell’s Kitchen (name it something gentrified all you want, it will ALWAYS be Hell’s Kitchen) to Lincoln Center. Hit the Library for the Performing Arts and had my meeting with the curators from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection.

Again, very generous with time and resources and cautions. They gave me a good baseline for how things are usually done. I saw the archives – so much wonderful history is in there, some of which is history I studied that influenced me; some of which is my personal history, people who actually shaped my career and my vision of a career in theatre. I asked a lot of questions, got a lot of information.

By the time I left, I was on overload. I was going to make another stop, almost made it to the building, and just couldn’t. Spread me with butter and serve me on a plate, because I was toast. I did, however, run into a store and buy a new tote bag for all the information I’d accumulated.

I headed to Sosa Borella (a favorite hangout from my days on WICKED and where I had my first book launch party), had something to eat (because I was ready to pass out) and a glass of wine. Listened to the first world problems of some yuppies nearby, thinking, “wow, if I told you some of my stories, you’d run screaming”, but kept my mouth shut. Costume Imp was the first to join me, and then two other friends. We had a great dinner and catch up, and even caught a train back at a reasonable time.

Caught up with the friend with whom I stayed, made sure I was properly packed. Up early on Tuesday morning, wrote 1K on INITIATE. In the car a little after 8 to head for the Asian grocery store in White Plains – which didn’t open until 10 that day. The traffic was backed up, so I took backroads until I got ahead of the problem, then hit the Merritt and headed back. I was working on potential plot threads for INITIATE, following the threads, deciding which to keep, which to develop, which to toss.

Stopped in Mystic on the way home, at Mystical Elements. I needed to stock up on aquamarines and bloodstones – neither of which they had. But they had some moonstones and a Botswana Agate I needed, so I got those, and some candles. And I got some hematite rings for the thumbs. Then headed over to Silk Road, for a bagua mirror (found a GORGEOUS one), and picked up a necklace and a moonstone ring to replace a ring I’d lost when packing the car at home on Sunday morning. I’ve worn eight rings on my fingers for years – now I have the full ten. Also got a nice pendant.

Back in the car, home around 3. Unpacked, settled in, read the rest of MELUSINE. Obsessed with the book, the gorgeous writing, the world-building. Finished it (all 496 pages) and started in on VIRTU, the next book.

To bed early – exhausted – in spite of all the reading and the plotting and the this and the that.

Up early this morning – 1K on INITIATE, starting a new section, layering in some other stuff I need to put in to widen the world.

To Barnstable Law Library for a meeting of the Reference Committee. It was terrific, great resource, and I applied for a card for our library, so we can access resources. Had some terrific conversations with some of my fellow librarians.

Stopped at Nirvana to treat myself to a Café Mocha and headed to work, where things were a bit in turmoil, and my desk was stacked to the rafters – which is fine, since it’s boxes of books. A couple of things that were promised to be handled while I was gone hadn’t been, which caused a slight case of the crankies on my part, but they’re now handled and nobody died, so it’s really not that big a deal. An annoyance, not a catastrophe. We also had a meeting for a proposal for a project in conjunction with Heritage Garden that I really, really want to do, and the Youth Services Librarian created a beautiful design. I also have to write a proposal for my boss’s presentation for a small libraries’ conference in Sturbridge at the end of October. Plus unpack all the boxes, and go through the books withdrawn via weeding.

It’s almost the end of the work day, so I’ll do what I can do, then descend into VIRTU – although I do need to write more on INITIATE tonight. I didn’t have three eight hour days to devote to it this week, and my characters are annoyed with me, which causes internal stress. I ordered the other two books in the series – there are four and I’d only found two in Niantic, not knowing there were four or realizing how hard I’d fall for these two. I am going to be very protective and possessive of my copies, because I will keep going back to this series for both enjoyment and because, structurally, they are so well done.

I also have to prepare for tomorrow morning’s Marine Life Center Board Meeting and set up for Short Story Group here before I go, since I will be late coming in.

It will take a few days to settle in again. I kind of feel like I’m floating between worlds right now. I’m surprised how easily I slipped back into New York mode, and I’m glad I could genuinely enjoy New York City, without feeling like I was missing anything, and still being convinced that leaving when I did was the right thing to do.

I am, however, being faced with other decisions and more change in the coming months. I’d like to sit and plan, but every time I do that, it backfires, so I will just have to trust my instincts.

Devon

Mon. Aug. 26, 2013: Stressful weekend

Monday, August 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

Quite a weekend. I left early on Friday morning to drive to CT. Obviously, not early enough, because I was stuck in traffic for the entire length of the state of CT. What a nightmare. And there was no good reason for it, other than most of the people driving were idiots. It’s a highWAY, not a highSTAND, so keep moving and stay off your frigging cell phones, because you’re not smart enough to talk and drive at the same time!

I was an exhausted wreck by the time I arrived, hours later than I should have.

Didn’t get much done, other than checking on a few things and doing some work on Confidential Job #1. I managed to plot out a suspense novel in the car — not sure how or where I’ll fit it in, but I like the premise. It would be a quick, down and dirty 50-60K thriller. Lean writing, tight plotting.

Didn’t sleep particularly well–the dog kept waking me up.

Up early Saturday morning, got some work done. Costume Imp was heading out from Brooklyn, and he ran into a few obstacles — he was a bit later than hoped, but not as late as he feared, so it all worked out. He had a swim in the pool, we had lunch, packed the car, and headed back.

Into another nightmare across the state of CT. It took longer to get from Greenwich to Niantic (1/3 of the way) than the entire rest of the way up. Unacceptable.

The Book Barn in Niantic was a great place of refuge. And, once we got past Mystic, it was pretty smooth sailing all the way back to the Cape.

We stopped at KFC and had a very late dinner (the trip took twice as long as it should have), along with some prosecco. The cats were delighted to see us — Iris, in particular, was very feisty and playful, and wrestled with Imp for his chicken.

I was up early yesterday, puttered around on the deck, did the laundry, got a bit of grocery shopping done, and read CARNIEPUNK, the anthology. Liked most of the stories in it. Unfortunately, two of them were in present tense — I LOATHE prose in present tense. To me, it the author going, “Look at ME!!!! Look at what a cool stylist I am!!!” instead of letting the story speak. I’d flip through longer works by both these authors, but put them down if they were in present tense. Unless I am paid so to do, I will not read prose in present tense. I hate it, it irritates me, it completely destroys my suspension of disbelief and pushes me irrevocably out of the story.

However, some of my favorite authors (Kevin Hearne and Nicole Peeler) were in the anthology, and so were some new-to-me authors whose work I will now track down and read.

Speaking of Kevin Hearne, he posted a list of titles that were rejected by his editor for a new piece. I fell in love with one of the titles. First, begging his pardon, I asked him to write a story that goes with one of the titles (I apologized, because I know how much I hate it when someone tells me what I “should” write). Then, I asked him if I could take the title and run with it. He said yes. I promised that if the piece turned out well, I would dedicate it to him, and if it didn’t work, I’d keep my mouth shut!

I’m playing with it and having fun. It’s a comic ghost story.

I have another idea that’s getting ready to manifest. It’s just out of reach. It’s been hovering on the fringes for awhile. I have the opening paragraph, and a strong image from about 2/3 of the way through it. Now, I have to figure out the rest.

Have to get a lot of work done today, including composing a sending a letter of resignation to an organization I’m leaving. It’s just not working out — too much work is being dumped on me (without pay), and I spend all my time being angry and resentful. We are not a good fit, and it’s time to part ways. It’s good for them to have me clean up the mess, but detrimental to me on many levels to remain. So, I won’t.

Time to see how much I can get done today! Especially on the fantasy trilogy.

Devon

Tues. Feb. 18: Hard Work & Frustration with Corporate Morons

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Before we get into it all, hop on over for Anne Lange’s outstanding post on “Quality in Writing” over at A Biblio Paradise. Anne took several classes with me, and was a joy as a student. I’m delighted she’s doing so well.

Tough weekend. Got as much done as possible on Friday, despite many obstacles. Between the morons in customer disservice at N-Star and Verizon Wireless, far too much time is being wasted. Individuals who break the law and/or cause harm to customers CANNOT be allowed to hide behind so-called “company policy”, especially when those policies clearly violate state and federal laws. The companies need to be held accountable, but so must the individuals who implement such policies. If you’re too stupid or too cowardly to refuse when someone tells you to do something wrong, you are a danger to society and should be treated as such.

I had to spend way too much time dealing with stupid people, all across the board. How do these people even leave the house or tie their shoes, much less earn a living, when they can’t comprehend the simplest of instructions? I have no patience with them.

Worked Saturday, too, not sure if the power would stay on with the storm coming, and wanted to clear off a few things from my desk, including material for Confidential Job #1 and starting to work on some essays I need to get out this week. They’ve both been percolating for awhile, and since they are based on my own emotional experience (hence the “essay” bit), they take longer to develop.

Had an idea for the Dickensian steampunk that I want to play with, although I’m worried that the cast is getting too big. I think I have to do some work on individual arcs. I hadn’t looked on it as a series, but the way I’m building the characters and arcs, it sure seems that way. Which means I have to settle on a book-specific arc for this one to make it satisfying to stand alone, while still being a part of a series.

Which brings me to my course, “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”, running from March 4-8, which will help you develop your own series. Sign up here.
And please do NOT send administrative questions to my personal email — they go to the Administrator of Fearless Ink Workshops, which is why we have one.

I had a fabulous audition with the actress to whom I’ve offered the role of Joye in MURDER ‘SEALS’ THE DEAL, and I’m working on Teri casting today. I’ve got to get some tweaks into the latest draft, and then send it out later today. We go into rehearsals next Monday.

Sunday, we had another 8 inches of snow here. I wasn’t feeling well, so I spent most of the day on the couch, reading. I needed to replenish. I read a couple of John Dunning novels.

The opening to THE BOOKWOMAN’S LAST FLING is brilliant: “The morning was angry but I was cool.” What an awesome opening line! I’m going to use that as an example in classes. Now THAT is a line that keeps me reading.

Monday, I woke up at 4 AM, thinking it was 6 AM(don’t ask) and was on the road earlier than I expected. There wasn’t much traffic, at least until Providence, and it being a holiday Monday helped. I made great time to CT, picked up my mom, we turned right around to get back, stopping for gas, to eat, and to sell some books at the Book Barn in Niantic. Yup, as I’m going through some of these 250 boxes of books in the basement, I’m culling some to sell. I’m keeping most of the non-fiction and reference books, but the fiction — especially if it’s something I don’t really like or find memorable — is going out, so that someone who’s really enthusiastic about it can enjoy it.

Back to work today — I am not looking forward to what the day holds, but when it’s done, I will feel better.

Devon

Published in: on February 19, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 18: Hard Work & Frustration with Corporate Morons  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Jan. 10, 2012: Recovering from the Party

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Last Day of Full Moon
Cloudy and cold

I’m back! Good to be home! I’m fighting a cold, but, that’s the way it goes.

Got a lot of work done on Friday, and then it was party prep.

Friday night’s party was a ton of fun. Eighteen people in the little house, lots of food, drink, and laughter. Everyone talked to everyone, and got along. The food was good, the decorations looked good, we’d set up the buffet tables to work with the natural flow of the house — one could basically graze one’s way through the house. Turns out one of my colleagues at the Marine Life Center is the niece of the owner of the house!

Tessa Houdini slipped her harness twenty minutes in, but was much happier roaming and playing extra hostess. She never tried to dash out the door as people came and went. She had a blast, because everyone adored her. The other two hid.

We cleaned up after it was over and pulled down the boxes for the holiday decorations before going to bed.

I woke up feeling like I could sleep for a week. But we started taking down the decorations. It took all day, but they’re packed and put away. And a trip to the dump to get all the party debris out.

Then it was packing for the trip and leftovers, which was all we had the energy to heat up.

Up early Sunday morning, loaded the car, on the road a little after eight. Stopped in Niantic for some books (always a treat) and in Old Saybrook, where I found a few little things, then on to Greenwich. Dropped Costume Imp off at the train and my mom at her site.

Found out I the site has now locked wireless access, so I couldn’t use my own computer. I HAD to get online, so I borrowed a computer and caught up with students. Some of them are pushing boundaries — I am not on call 24/7, nor am I required to explain where I am, AND I’m allowed to take off a day here and there, just like anyone else. At the same time, I appreciate that they want to make sure I’m not lying in a ditch somewhere. One of the students, however, pulled an absolutely unacceptable manipulation move. To say I hit the roof is an understatement. The passive aggression and constant turmoil this individual causes must stop NOW. Line crossed. Unacceptable.

I thought I was shaking because I was so angry — turns out I was also running a fever and had chills. Broke it with good, ole-fashioned aspirin.

Up early on Sunday, back in the car. Drove straight through to the Cape — well, I had to stop for gas, but that’s it. The cats were glad I was home — it looks so bare without all the decorations! I have to do laundry and convert the big buffet table in my office back into the low workspace table and get back to the routine.

I was congested and feeling icky. Broke down and took a Sudafed, which has always been my go-to. Nothing but an upset stomach from it. So, when its term was done, I fired up the oil burner and mixed eucalyptus, tangerine, and pine oils, letting it burn for a few hours. I could breathe all night without distress.

My throat is a little scratchy, but, other than that, I seem in decent shape. Will hit the page for a few hours. I’ve also got to finish a review and type up the minutes for tonight’s meeting. Then, it’s checking in with the students in both classes. The Year-Longs are soldiering along (5 out of 12 have completed the first draft that has to be done by the end of the month). The 5-in 10-ers have their first flash fiction piece due today. Of the four pieces I’ve read so far, all four are excellent. They took the found inspiration and ran with it, kept their unique voices, and kept within the word count limits. The stories are lively and pack a punch. Good stuff! My new private student’s doing really, really well, too. I’ve got some polishing to do for tomorrow’s Webinar — I hope some of you will join me. It’ll be fun.

I’ve got a busy week ahead of me. It’ll be fun, but demanding. I’m also looking forward to next week, which I’m trying to keep very quiet.

Devon

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Iris is tired.

Saturday, March 19, 2011
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We are here! Tonight is supposed to be one of the fullest, most beautiful moons in 18 years, so we’re going to view it from the open expanse of back yard, the lake, and the beach.

I’ve got a post about the Flower Show up at Gratitude and Growth. I didn’t capture the wonder of it, but some of the pictures are fun.

Yesterday was fun. I was out of the house a little after 10 here on the Cape; Imp had left his place in the city shortly before, heading down to Grand Central. By the time he hit Westport, I was in Niantic; we converged in Old Saybrook.

We drove around the corner from the station to one of my favorite stores; no Adirondack chairs, but I found a pair of sweet matching flower pots, another pretty flower pot, unique brass bowl and pewter spoon, and a lovely lantern for the deck.

We hopped up I-95 a few exits to the Book Barn. We wandered around the main facility for a bit — I got a stack of books for my mom and a few books for myself. Then, we had lunch across the street at the diner, and headed to the Downtown and Midtown branches, where we found more lovely books.

Back on the highway. Traffic was bad around Providence (for no discernible reason, but hey, it’s Providence). We got home a bit after 7, had dinner, got Costume Imp settled, and visited. As we crossed the bridge and drove on the Cape, we watched the temperature drop steadily. It was 68 in CT, but in the 40s here.

The cats still aren’t sure about him, although Violet is much braver than her sister.

I caught up with some stuff online, and will spend time with student work today, once I’ve got a good chunk of work done on the play, and do some work for the tele-seminar. Costume Imp and I are going out later to the farmer’s market and maybe some bookstores.

For now, though, it’s back to work, so I can play with a clear conscience later.

Devon
Violet likes the sun

Published in: on March 19, 2011 at 7:27 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
A Dark and Stormy Morning

It’s raining like crazy, and there’s a flood watch on — let’s hope they’re wrong. I need to get to the acupuncturist today — if I cancel, I can’t get another appointment until May, and I can’t wait that long for treatment. I’m in too much constant pain, which negatively affects my work, and my movements are too limited. Although, this morning, I managed to get the back to release completely in pigeon pose and child pose — finally! First time since the injury. However, because I’ve been working the long muscles on my back so much, now the hip flexors are tightening, so I have to add hip openers back in, although they hurt my back a lot. But the tightening hip flexors are negatively affecting my walking and sitting. I’ll have to get that looked at today, too.

Traffic was bad yesterday, but I had a good time at the Book Barn in Niantic. Visited with their many cats, who like to follow me around and point out books I need (they’re usually right). They didn’t have the third book i need for my May class, but they had a copy of the Tower of London book I keep renewing from the library for HISTORICAL INFLUENCES, and another London book I can use, along with a theatrical diary from the early 1800’s, and a memoir by Sybille Bedford. I’ve heard of Sybille Bedford, of course, but I haven’t read any of her work. The memoir is fascinating. The way it meanders — it’s supposed to appear artless, but, in reality, the tangents are meticulously planned — get irritating after awhile, because I feel like she’s trying to manipulate me, and I don’t like that. One can argue that all writing is a form of manipulation — if you want to take that tactic, fine, then I say I prefer it to be more subtle.

The memoir is very much a reflection of the literary mores and beliefs of its time (from World War I until the turn of the 21st century), and it’s fascinating to have a first person account — even in memoir form, which is, of course, filtered through the present — of the time, in case I ever want to set anything then.

The year-long class is filling up quickly, which is good, and I have no doubt we’ll have a waiting list. A lot can happen between now and September, so I want to make sure that we have a full contingent for the year. I’m working and re-working my other workshops for the coming year, and I also want to put together another booklet.

The play is starting to take shape in my brain, which will be helpful when I sit down on Monday to actually start writing it.

For now — I’m going to get some work done on HISTORICAL INFLUENCES this morning, with one eye on the weather and traffic reports. I’m going to rest after treatment this afternoon, and maybe read some more.

Devon

Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 7:08 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 4, 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2010
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sun still down, and it’s cold!

New Year’s Day was an exercise in frustration — the Command Hook I moved tore a chunk out of the wall — “damage free hanging” my ass. However, they responded to the complaint with in 24 hours, so kudos for response time, and we’re at least trying to figure out a solution. In the meantime, I stuck the hook back up to cover the missing paint and will hang something festive from it. But now I’m worried about all the other Command hooks I hung up so blithely during the holiday season. Will I be able to remove them without doing damage?

I’ll probably hang seasonal festivities upon them instead.

And the shelves I was so excited about for the basement? The Geelong shelves are crap. The directions have nothing to do with what’s in the box, and the drawings are so unclear you can’t tell which way the pieces go together. K-Mart’s response was ridiculous –thanking me for feedback and then sending me a survey asking if the customer service rep fixed the problem — I had a few choice words! And the head office of Geelong in Hong Kong has, of course, ignored the complaint. If you say “easy to assemble” and that all I need is a mallet, I should be able to do it by myself in twenty minutes or less. The directions should be relevant and the drawings should be clear. Period.

Up at 4:30 Sunday morning, on the road by 6, to CT by 10. Unloaded, got my mom settled, headed to Costco, stocked up on a few things, back to CT. Spent the afternoon reading magazines and doing some writing. Shopping at stores I’ve shopped for years felt like I’d never left.

Up early on Monday, yoga, meditation, etc. Packed up what I needed to. Costume Imp texted me when he was on the train, off I went to my old hometown. It was on time (oh joy, oh rapture). Picked him up at the station, we swung by Salzburg Patisserie to get coffee and chocolate croissants, hit the road.

We had to drive by my former building so to do. It looks even sadder and in more disrepair than when we left. It made me sad — I grew up there, and it used to be a charming, late 1920’s Art Deco building. Now, it’s just being “improved” to its detriment, making it look like a cheap Queens hotel that rents by the hour.

We hit the Book Barn in Niantic hard. I bought so much at the main branch that they packed it in boxes and helped me get it to the car. Yeah. That much. A LOT of gardening books, but some writing books, critical essays, biographies, etc., etc. The colony of cats was happy to see us, played with us, and nudged us to shelves where we’d find what we needed — and they were always right. The big black cat who hangs out in the “Haunted Bookshop” where the mysteries are kept is particularly bossy. But he’s always right.

Of course, their big sale happens later this month when neither Imp nor I can get there!

We hopped across the street and had a lovely lunch at the Niantic Diner, then visited the two downtown branches of the Barn to peruse more fiction. Yeah, we both bought a lot again, but at least this time we could get it to the car ourselves!

Back on the road, feeling the weight of the books in the back every time we tootled up a hill. We drove to Mystic and popped in to Mystical Elements to pick up a few things. Deciding which few is always the challenge.

We figured if we got stopped by the cops for speeding or whatever, we could attempt to bribe with books or a nice amethyst. 😉 Actually, I was pretty careful. I have to remember that I no longer have NY plates and can’t act like I’m driving a yellow cab!

Back on the road. Stopped in Rhode Island where I always do for gas, then it was a straight shot back home. Of course, a 4 hour trip took eight, but stopping at book stores is always worth it.

It was dark when we got back, but we put on the trees at the front, he got the tour of the house and got settled. We had beef stroganoff and a nice bottle of Washington State wine. I’m not that familiar with the state’s wine, but this Pine and Post bottle of cab sab is very nice. Hung out by the tree with a variety of desserts and Vandermint-flavored coffee, chatting and catching up.

The cats are horrified — first that they were left alone overnight with no bedtime snacks, then that this STRANGER is walking around the place, and he smells of other cats! They stare at him, then flee and hide. They’ll get used to him.

Up early today, back to teaching. I thought Tuesday’s lecture took last night, but it doesn’t seem to be posted, so I’ll go re-post.

Most of the snow’s melted in the yard (and, more importantly, the street). Imp can take a good look at the yard today and we can talk about possibilities. We also plan to head to Sandwich and Plymouth for awhile — he came all this way, he has to see Plymouth Pebble.

But first — my students.

Devon

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pleasant and warm

Wednesday we travelled to Plymouth and to the Cape, just for the day. There was a very specific agenda, which I can’t yet talk about for fear of jinxing it, but it was productive and great fun. We also picked up a few things in Hyannis, which means that I didn’t have to go running around here yesterday. Pretty much everything we need is on Rt. 132. Plus, there are plenty of small, independent businesses we like to frequent. I also managed to replace the wine glass I broke with two very pretty ones, and found a set of 100% cotton aqua-colored sheets.

Plymouth was a little disappointing — both in our agenda, and that some of the stores we planned to visit where, for some reason, closed. On a Wednesday? Really? Maybe in preparation for a long holiday weekend? One of my favorite stores there only seems to open whenever someone decides to show up. And they weren’t there that day!

Yarmouth, Sandwich, Barnstable, Dennis, Masphee — all as pretty and friendly as ever. What a great region. We had several stops to make — and EVERY set of directions was wrong. I thought Google Maps was supposed to be better than Mapquest? They both pretty much suck.

We stopped in Niantic on the way home in the evening. First stop was the Niantic Diner, where I had one of the best linguini with clam sauce dishes I’ve ever had in my life — clams served in the shells, perfect sauce with white wine, garlic, oil, and chopped tomatoes. Then, it was a hop across the street to the Book Barn, where I got a stack of books on various topics and played with several of their cats. Their little black cat followed me from shelf to shelf, telling me all about it.

Driving back was tough. I love the Merritt Parkway — no trucks and it’s pretty. And the Recovery Act construction projects have turned roads into a pleasure around New England that have been a nightmare to drive since the late 1960’s. I approve of the way those of my tax dollars are at work! However, whenever there’s work on the Merritt Parkway, it seems deliberately scheduled to be as incompetent and to create the most amount of inconvenience for drivers as possible. Whoever’s making the decisions about structuring the work on the Merritt either is a dingbat and shouldn’t have the job, has never driven the Merritt and doesn’t realize the problems he’s causing (and therefore shouldn’t have the job), or is trying to get revenge on people who drive there. And shouldn’t have the job.

We got home around nine. I tended to the cats and the cat next door. On the one hand, Elsa was happy to have a quiet day and not get poked all the time and get medicine shoved down her throat. On the other hand, I think she missed us.

Anyway, it was a great day, although driving to the Cape and back in a single day is a bit of a haul. Usually we stay at least one night. But at least now we know we can do it. and we’ll probably have to do it that way a few more times in the upcoming months.

Yesterday, I slept in, then dashed around getting stuff ready for class and taking care of the cat next door.

Pottery class was great. It took me awhile to adjust to this teacher’s teaching style, so different from the last teacher with whom there was instant rapport. But, by the end of the class, one was building. She’s really good. And I’m trying to learn how to think visually instead of verbally. There are six people in the class — five women and one fifteen year old boy. He’s very sweet and talented, but, poor thing, it’s gotta be hard to be fifteen and in a class with a bunch of women old enough to be his mother! But it’s a nice group.

We worked on pressed-mold bottle vases yesterday. We have to finish them next week. And I finished early enough to make a pressed mold bowl, which is a little wonky, but I sent it for firing anyway. I’m going to try to take advantage of some open studio hours in the coming weeks to do some work on my own, and actually have a technique. Because I have no technique yet, everything is very rough. It’s a little better than the original pieces I did in May, but there’s still a long way to go.

I’ve already used half my 25 lbs of clay in just the first class, so I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up buying more. We’re working in stoneware rather than earthenware this time, and the clay looks similar to what I worked with last time, but feels different. I’m still heavy-handed and don’t really have the feel of it yet. That’s why I need the open studio hours — to just be able to sit and work with it, squish it if it doesn’t work, and start again.

I’d like to take another class in the fall, but I don’t know if I can afford it or make the 14-week time commitment. It depends how much work I land over the summer, and what else is going on in the fall.

In more disturbing news, two little kids in this town were attacked by coyotes — in the kids’ own yards — within four days. One kid is six, and one kid is three. Both will be okay, but still . . .it’s disturbing. And the coyotes are way smarter than the people trying to hunt them down. In this area, that is not at all a surprise. People are being cautioned not to let their kids play unattended in the yard (how sad is that?) and not to run, especially not alone. I was supposed to start running again on Monday, but I may put it off for awhile. While I’m used to dealing with coyotes, that doesn’t mean I should set myself up as potential prey.

Bossy Girl moved! I heard her screaming yesterday afternoon and looked out the window. Her human had her in a harness, she was yelling and tossing her cookies, and then was stashed in the front seat of a U-Haul van. She was a pretty cat, and a smart one. I will miss her — but at least she won’t be coyote dinner. It’s way too dangerous to let one’s cats out around here, between the highway, the train, and the coyotes. Yet people do. And then they wonder when their cats are torn to shreds or hit by a car.

Today is the start of the holiday weekend — yay! It’s still supposed to be nice today and tomorrow, and then a heat wave well into the 90s all next week. Ick.

I have an appointment at 11:30 about a possible new gig at the end of the summer — hope it works out, it would pay for the fall pottery class! And I’ve got a bunch of writing to do today, too, on several projects. I go back to working on other people’s projects next Tuesday; an acquaintance sent me a play to read, which I’m happy to do, but it will have to be early next week.

Elsa’s hanging in there. I’m still waiting for the information about the new medication from the vet. Violet now sits in my lap on next to the computer on the desk whenever I’m working. Iris spends most of her time looking out of the window and complaining about the workmen.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Devon

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 5:50 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010
Day Before Dark Moon
Rainy, windy, flood watch

The way the weather forecasters talked the past few days, I was looking up “Ark Rental” on the way home, because that’s what it sounded like I’d need. For the record, you can’t rent one — it’s a strictly build-your-own enterprise.

We left the Cape much earlier than we wanted to yesterday, after a lovely, but somewhat rainy birthday Thursday all the way out at the tip of the Cape, the Province Lands, and visiting old haunts of mine from the last 1960’s, early 1970’s. Provincetown seems to have lost its sense of fun. It’s not as openly hostile towards straight people as it was a few years ago, but it’s lost its sense of individuality and freewheeling, artistic fun because it’s trying to promote itself as supporting individualism, when, in reality, it supports a different type of conformity. The Province Lands themselves are still gorgeous, especially around Race Point, the ranger station (I took some almost Edward Hopper-esque photos out there), and the sea lions are finally coming back. There was also a major dolphin rescue going on in one of the Wellfleet Coves — a pod of 16 dolphins got stuck in almost quick-sand like mud, and they were trying to get them out. Not all of them survived, and it was still in progress when we left.

The birthday dinner was at The Beehive in Sandwich, always fun. We saw a wonderful Victorian house in Eastham — perfect size for the house, above the budget, and not enough land. The lot size was too small for me even to have a tiny garden, and I want a BIG garden. I want to have an herb patch, a vegetable patch, create a labyrinth walk, and have open space, as well, so that needs some land.

We’d be happy anywhere on the bay side of the Cape, in any of the towns stretching from Sandwich to Eastham, with Sandwich, Barnstable, and Brewster being our top choices. Everything we need, shopping-wise, is located on Rt. 132 in Hyannis and easy to reach, and the small, independent shops scattered throughout are pretty wonderful,too.

We were back home a little after noon yesterday, having skipped our planned stops in CT at the Book Barn, etc., because we were worried about the weather. The rain was pretty light all afternoon and evening. It picked up overnight. I boiled gallons of water, everything’s charged, we have batteries. The wind is hurricane-force. I got up at 5 AM and moved the car up to the hill, so if/when the brook regurgitates, the car will be safe. I’m going down to check on the brook every few hours, and it’s rising steadily, moving swiftly, and has the muddy brown color that usually bodes ill. The drains and gutters are already all full, with water pooling in the streets. The worst is supposed to hit us at 10 PM tonight, with unusually high tides.

Read Laura Resnick’s DOPPELGANGSTER, which was a lot of fun. I got a little ahead of it towards the middle, and figured out who did it about a hundred pages or so ahead of the heroine, but the way it escalated towards the end more than made up for it. I’d definitely read more books in the series.

One of the books I mooched arrived yesterday, CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE: POET AND SPY, which goes in the crate with the books for the Shakespeare project. It looks fabulous.

I did some follow-ups on submissions and have a list of things to get out the door this week, and I need to get back to the plays, but it’s difficult to concentrate with the storm. I hope it’s not going to be as bad as they predict, I hope it doesn’t flood, and I hope we don’t lose power. I’m ready in case we do, though. Just battening down the hatches.

And, I can always write in longhand by candlelight, which is what I usually wind up doing when it floods.

Fingers crossed.

Devon