Tues. Aug. 23, 2022: Clacking Those Keys

image couresy of Simon via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Mars in Gemini

Cloudy and humid

The weekend was rocky. Friday, I still had a migraine. I dreaded going out to do the necessary errands, but it was sunny and pleasant out, and people were so darned happy about it, that it was fun to do errands. All of us who live there know that the sunny, pleasant days are numbered, and pretty soon, we have to hunker down for the winter.

Although I have to admit, I’m kind of looking forward to hunkering down for the winter.

I did more work on LEGERDEMAIN on Friday, finishing the episode ads, although I have to still work on some general ads. And I had to break up the folders for the episode ads and the general ads. I also did some work on the Legerdemain website. There’s still more to do, but I hope, by early September, I will have enough fun material on it to make it worthwhile to start promoting the link to the website.

Saturday morning, I went to the Farmers’ Market, which was a lot of fun. It wasn’t so hot and humid, which was a big help. I’d worn a dress – nothing fancy, just something simple and fun, and got a lot of compliments. Genuine compliments, not creepy ones. So that was a nice boost to the ego.

Forgot to photograph the produce when I came home. I immediately pulled out the slow cooker and did a slight adaptation of Moosewood’s ratatouille recipe so it would work in the slow cooker. And used the wonderful Carmen peppers instead of regular bell peppers, which made such a huge difference. That went simmering along for most of the day while I worked. We had some of it over couscous for dinner, and the rest made up six packets that I froze.

I did more work on the LEGERDEMAIN website. Because I want portions of it to read like the Chamber of Commerce put it up, there was a big section on public transportation and how to best get there, money, checkpoints, etc. It needs some massaging, but it’s fun.

I put up a bunch of the business-oriented ads, but did not write the information around them.

I really need to sit down with the sketchbook I bought for the project, my dad’s old Faber Castell pencils, and draw maps.

I worked on a new logo for the Coventina Circle Series. The graphic I’m using is too busy. I’m still not fully satisfied with the new logo, but it’s moving in the right direction.

I struggled with the horror story. The version that works, that sings, and makes sense on plot, character, and structure levels leans too far toward humor, which the editor very specifically stated he does not want for this anthology. The version without humor falls apart on plot and structure levels, although some of the character stuff works. So the version that works doesn’t fit the guidelines, and the version that fits the guidelines doesn’t work. The first would be rejected because it doesn’t fit the vision for the anthology; the second would be rightly rejected because it’s not good. I’m not saying that seeking praise; I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something doesn’t work/is bad. The version that fits the guidelines can’t be salvaged before deadline.

So I decided not to submit, because submitting either version wastes the editors’ time and is disrespectful. It kind of broke my heart, because I was so excited about the premise. But that’s the reality.

I’m putting away the more comic version. I think that has the potential to grow into a novella, which might eventually fit some other publisher’s guidelines. But right now, I will let it sit. There’s too much on deadline that needs my attention.

It still meant I was very depressed for the rest of the weekend.

I finished reading the Anita Loos biography. I always wished I lived around the beginning of the film industry, writing scenarios. I’ve always loved reading about it, and how writers used to move smoothly from coast to coast, and between prose, theatre, and film writing.

Sunday, I hit a wall. Or maybe the wall hit me. Not sure. I was exhausted (didn’t sleep well Saturday night). I was worried about a boundaries conversation I had to have with someone. Anyway, I made a late brunch of salmon Eggs Benedict, and spent most of the hot and humid da on the couch, reading Donna Andrews’ latest, ROUND UP THE USUAL PEACOCKS, which is a lot of fun.

The whole Mars in Gemini bit, with Mars being the planet for forceful momentum, and Gemini being quick-thinking and action, is hitting me hard. I have zero patience, and the urge to slap idiots upside the head is overwhelming. Seven months of this? Ick.

At least the migraine abated a little by Sunday.

Sunday night into Monday was rough, too. First, I was awakened by a cat in heat crying outside. All three of mine moved from window to window, worried. Finally fell back to sleep, and Charlotte woke me up a few hours later, because I had a nightmare. Took awhile to get to sleep after that.

But I woke up feeling better on Monday, and it turned out the boundary conversation was unnecessary, because the other party decided to respect the boundaries after all, so all is good. I have some ideas for the next couple of arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, one of the seeds which will be planted in the rewrite.

I’m considering putting all the Legerdemain stuff onto its own flash drive (in addition to backing it up on the external hard drive) instead of just having it on the general writing flash drive. I think the project needs its own. If I do wind up doing more serials (which wouldn’t happen until early next year, because I don’t want to undermine Legerdemain), maybe there would be room to put all of them on that drive. I’m thinking about revising ANGEL HUNT, finishing it, and putting it up as a finite serial, and then maybe revising EARTH BRIDE, and doing the same with that. It would be interesting to see how they stack up against each other. ANGEL HUNT started as a serial back when I wrote for KIC, and was unfinished when the company tanked. EARTH BRIDE was a Nano project way back in 2007 (I think) that wound up growing into a possible trilogy, but it might work as a serial, because it mixes science fiction and fantasy elements. But first, I want to get the first three major arcs of LEGERDEMAIN up and running, let them run, see if it’s worth continuing for several more arcs for the next year or so. Whenever I decide to finish it, I plan to leave it up for several months, up to a year, just to see how it does, and then I’ll decide if that’s it, or if it will have a life in a different format (after a multi-year break).

Readers who wait for an entire series to publish before they start reading are not my audience (and those readers are also why so many book series wind up dropped by their publishers, and no one gets to read the whole thing).

Worked on revisions for Legerdemain’s episodes 30 & 31. The new episode I need is between 31 & 32, and then the rest of the episodes to finish that arc get pushed back a number. I might break some of those last episodes into more than one episode, to keep the word count tight and the pacing strong. I got a few ideas for some general ads, and got to weave in some of what’s on the website into the episode, so each supports the other.

I ran into the landlord on the way out to do errands. The city inspector is coming around next week, and needs to come in and see our place before I have to take my mom to the doctor, which is not a problem. We’ll mop and vacuum Monday afternoon, and good to go. It was never a problem on Cape; it won’t be here, either. The place looks happy and comfortable. I will rearrange a few things between now and then, but it will all look good by the time he gets here, and it lights a fire under my butt to get it done.

Had to pick up more envelopes, staples for the stapler, some flash drives, a couple of small crochet hooks for the new yarn. It’s very delicate, so it needs a smaller hook than what I have here. Drove down to City Hall to drop off my mother’s ballot, and give them a little nudge because I still haven’t received mine. Picked up a couple of things at the grocery store, swung by the post office.

Home, and got the rest of the episode ads uploaded and scheduled through Episode 29, which takes me into November. I plan to revise, edit, proof, upload and schedule the last episodes for this major arc this week, and then get back to work on the next two arcs next week. There’s a character who died in this arc whose spirit is going to come back in the next couple of arcs, I think, and I’ve got a good idea of specifics I want in each of the two upcoming arcs.

I wrote a new episode, which I’m calling “31.5” in the first draft, but will eventually be Episode 32. It introduced a character who’s important to the murder arc, and sets him up for being central to the next big arc. I then did the multi-colored draft of the last batch of episodes in this arc, which are now ending with Episode 41. Actually, Episode 41 is a bridge episode winding up the last few details of this first large arc and launching the second arc. I’ve broken down episodes where I think it makes sense, structurally, to keep the pace and rhythm. I’ll work on those later this week, to get that whole arc finished and uploaded this week, which gets me through mid-December, as far as episode releases.

I read the next book for review, and need to discuss a few things with my editor before I submit the actual review. To say the book is problematic is an understatement. It was well over 400 pages of awful, and needs multiple content warnings. The content warnings section will be longer than the review itself.

But I was up until 2 AM with that atrocity, hoping at least the ending would make sense. But it doesn’t actually end. Just stops in the middle of a scene and promises a “next book.”

The cats got me up at 6 AM. While 6 hours of sleep is my sweet spot, 4 hours no longer works. However, I do not have the luxury of naps or taking the day off, so I just have to dig in and get things done.

I’d hoped to ease off the final two weeks of August and have some time to recharge, but that’s not happening. I still  hope to take the holiday, though.

Episode 9 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today!

Hope your week starts well and gets better.

Published in: on August 23, 2022 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 23, 2022: Clacking Those Keys  
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Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension

image courtesy of Kerbstone via pixabay.com

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I had a migraine yesterday, but not the option to lie down until it passed. You can yammer about self-care and health all you want, but the reality, for many of us, is that we can’t just stop whatever we’re doing. Fortunately, since I work remotely, I could at least be grumpy and miserable at home.

The major need was to get the next batch of LEGERDEMAIN episodes edited, uploaded, and scheduled, and get the ads done. Although I’m still behind in the general ads from the last batch.

I’d hoped to get episodes 21-30 done. I got through episode 29. 30 really launches that last act of this first large arc, and it makes more sense to do it with the last batch of episodes. That last batch needs a lot of revision, and will probably wind up broken down into shorter episodes with more drive, which then puts the first major arc over 40 episodes. Which means the initial offering will go over 100. So much for that pretty 90 number! Oh, well. Needs must.

I changed the episode title of one of them. I’m overusing “Welcome” in episode titles.

Anyway, in spite of numerous computer crashes, one of which messed up the dashboard badly and I had to do a lot of work to get it untangled, I got all nine episodes revised. That was nearly 11K words, and I did about 3 drafts on each episode.

I wrote the episode loglines for the nine new episodes, and got to work on the episode ads. I only got five done before I ran out of steam.

Freelance Chat was fun, although I was distracted and a little grumpy. I had rehearsal stuff to deal with for a radio play. I worked on the Shakespeare horror story which has to get out the door this weekend. I’m struggling, because it keeps taking a comic turn, and they were very clear about not wanting comic horror, but horror-horror.

I got some admin done, but not enough. I got a little more done this morning. The Chewy order arrived, so there’s cat food for the next six weeks. And I ordered the tulip bulbs we’re going to try to plant in troughs overwinter and leave on the porch, and then put out on the balcony in spring.

Berkshire Gas hit me with an enormous “settle up” bill for the end of the balanced billing year, and raised my monthly rate yet again. Which is going to make the next few months difficult. So much for thinking I could ever get ahead or get any time off. They also shouldn’t be allowed to double the price per unit IN THE SUMMER, and then probably double it again in the fall, making sure they screw us all to the wall.

Today, I have to run errands. I meant to run some of them yesterday, but never left the desk, so they all have to happen today. It’s supposed to get very hot again during the day, but cool off at night, so we’ll see if I stay here all day to work, or pack up and go somewhere cool.

I need to get the ads done and finish a draft of the horror story. I should turn around a script or two, since I only read two days this week so far, and I have that big ass gas bill to pay. And I need to get the cats to the vet to get their shots updated. And, you know, establish with a vet here.

So I’m feeling stressed and overburdened right now. It will right itself, especially if I make the time over the weekend to get some rest.  But once I get this first big arc uploaded and scheduled, I can focus on writing the next arc. Episode 29 takes me through November 1, releasing twice a week, and the last episodes will get me into December. So that gives me some breathing room to do the next arc, but I also can’t drag my feet.

I also need to do some more work on the Legerdemain website this weekend. I want to be able to start promoting it, but I can’t do so unless there’s fun content on it, not just the episode releases and loglines.

I also need to read the next book for review, so I can send off the review on Monday.

The Topic Workbooks are chugging along nicely, and doing the content calendar/scheduling the ads has taken a lot of pressure off me. Being able to upload some of the Legerdemain ads has also been a help.

I need to get back to work on the next three radio plays, too. One has to go out by the end of the month, and the other two are due in September.

One thing at a time, right? All I can do is the best I can do. But it all has to get done, and I have to be ferociously protective of my time and energy right now.

I’m also not going to chase people down for stuff. I said I could do X within a specific time frame, and needed Y by Z. You don’t get it to me, it’s not happening. You’re not paying me. I said I could help out, but only within a specific time frame. I am not nagging or begging or “sending reminders.”  Be a fucking adult and do what you said you would do when you said you would, or communicate so we can adjust the schedule. Don’t just not do it or makes excuses or  ghost, and then expect me to jump when you get back in touch. I have paying work that takes priority. We set dates. Cough up or shut up. I am moving on to people and projects where any other parties involved step up and supply what’s needed with in the time frame. And pay.

Obviously, I need to make some serious meditation time this weekend.

Back to the page (and later, to the library). Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on August 19, 2022 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension  
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Fri. Aug. 5, 2022: Ebbs and Flows

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Friday, August 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hazy and humid

Definitely tired and feeling the effects of the week. But I’ll do a big push this weekend, and, hopefully, next week will be a little easier.

Had a story rejected by a publication (I wasn’t sure it was the right fit, but gave it a shot, so it wasn’t a complete surprise). Got a rejection on a big grant application I put in earlier this year – again, not a surprise, because it was a stretch. They were encouraging and made suggestions on where to beef up certain sections of the application, and to reapply next year, so that is what I will do.

Got the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook uploaded and out, but there’s a problem with a couple of things. The issue with the cover I understand – I think I uploaded the wrong version, so I’ll fix that. I don’t understand the other note, about “mentioning competitive markets in conflict with the distributors.” It’s about how to set up a submission system. I don’t mention any publisher or distributor by name. I do have links to resources, so I wonder if that’s the problem. I have questions in, and we’ll see.

Did a run to Wild Oats for a few things in the late morning. The heat and humidity were oppressive. I managed to turn around two scripts, and also to finish a book for review, but I was wiped out by the end of the day.

We had a cracking good thunderstorm with bucketing rain, so I spent a good portion of the evening lying on the sofa, watching the storm.

It didn’t get comfortable enough to sleep until about 3 AM, so I’m a little slow today. But I had good coffee, which makes a big difference.

I worked on the latest draft of the radio play with the producer, and finalized virtually attending Tuesday’s rehearsal, which will be fun.

On today’s docket is finalizing the PowerPoint for tomorrow’s Developing the Series class, and getting both versions of the Workbook proofed. Class attendees will get a copy of the workbook as part of the class; it will release for sale next Wednesday.

If there’s time, I need to start uploading/scheduling the next set of episodes for LEGERDEMAIN, but that might happen on Monday.

Tomorrow morning, it’s Farmers’ Market Day, and then I teach in the late afternoon (at the worst possible time for me biorhythmically, but I’m prepared, so it will work). Sunday is a day of fun for me. I have two events at the Edith Wharton manse – I’m going to see a play by a local theatre (stage managed by a fellow poet from a few weeks ago), and, after that, there’s a poetry event inspired by the sculptures in the garden. It should be a fun day.

Next weekend will be busy, between script coverage and LEGERDEMAIN and a cooking class and the radio play rehearsal and participating in Poets in Conversation, but it should be fun, too.

Have a good one, friends, and we’ll catch up on the other side.

Tues. July 26, 2022: Protocols, Performance, Persistence

garden sculputre installation at The Mount

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny, cooler, less humidity

Hot, busy weekend.

Friday wasn’t quite as hot as Thursday, mostly because there was cloud cover, but the humidity was oppressive. Once the plants were watered on the front porch, we closed it off and let it be a greenhouse for the day, which helped keep the rest of the house cooler. And we kept the blinds closed on the east side of the house, and the lace curtains drawn on the south side. The lace lets in enough light, but blocks some of the heat.

I did some admin/organizational stuff, noodled on my article, and then turned around the script I had in the late morning/early afternoon. I made a pasta salad in the morning that could cool in the fridge for dinner, so we didn’t have to think about cooking or preparing anything.

I rehearsed my portion of the poem, working on rhythm and voice placement. What made me smile is that we just moved into Leo season – a season to shine, to share, to perform – and here’s the performance date.

I finished reading the next book for review.

The request for mail-in ballots arrived, and we filled them out and returned them. The mail-in option makes it easier (and safer) for this year’s voting.

I was invited to an artists’ resource meeting, but the day and the date didn’t match up. I emailed them for clarification. If the day of the week is correct, I can’t make it this month. If the date is correct, I can. At any rate, it’s a group with which I’d like to work, and if I can’t do it this month, I hope I can next month. They even are meeting outside this month, to make it safer.

It was tough to get to sleep Friday night because of the humidity, but I managed,

I should have worked on the Topic Workbooks, but I was too hot and tired and grumpy. I am very much a Winter Girl, not a Summer Girl.

Started feeling all kinds of doubt and uncertainty on Saturday morning again. Part of it was stage nerves for that afternoon’s performance. I am not a performer; I write for performers. I am a behind-the-scenes person. But there are enough of us in this event (50) that it’s about collective creation and collective experience, and there isn’t pressure on me to do more than be in the moment (and get my first & last words right, to keep the flow going).

Another part is also with the Topic Workbook and the serial launching in the upcoming weeks, there’s the whole pressure of now it’s out in the world, and no longer in my control. It’s 50-50. Some people are going to love these pieces & find them helpful or interesting; others won’t. There will always be those who are condescending and make nasty comments. Not that they ever create anything themselves; but they talk about what they’ll do some day while slam others. That’s the reality of the business.

I remind myself: They are not my target audience.

I remind myself: The previous negative reality is not my current positive reality. I am building something new here. That means taking risks, creatively and personally. Not all of them are going to work the way I want them to. But I still need to do it.

Because the alternative is a day job outside of my field, and that is the ultimate last resort.

I cut out a rant from this post about wanna-be writers who think they know more than those of us earning our living in the industry,  because I don’t feel like focusing on them today.

Saturday morning, I had to run out and get a hat. Early, when it was easy to stay ten or more feet away from anyone else in the store. There’s no way I could make it through the event without a hat. I have a whole collection of wonderful hats – in storage. So I ran out to a store that was likely to have workable hats. I couldn’t decide between two in the store, they were both affordable, so I bought both.

I did not go to the Farmers’ Market. I knew the heat would wear me out; I also didn’t want to risk exposure to anyone who might be sluffing off virus, and then bringing it to the event. I missed it, though. I missed the beautiful produce and the friendly, engaging farmers, and the other market regulars I chat with every week.

Took the rest of the morning to rest, read, rehearse. Packed my bag for the event. Took a shower, slathered on sunscreen, braided my hair that I wasn’t able to get cut in time, the whole thing.

I was proud of myself for breaking the usual pattern, which would have been to work myself into the ground all morning, and then feel frantic and unsettled when it was time to go. I gave myself time and rest. I knew it would be hot and humid and challenging, so I made sure, for once, not to sabotage myself.

I left around 2:30, to give myself time in case I hit tourist traffic. I did vocal exercises in the car, and rehearsed my little bit (all those years working musicals have application in the real world). I made decent time to get to The Mount, and got there around 3:30. Walked through the gardens to get to the house, where we were meeting. The sun dappled through the trees in nuanced light that was both beautiful and spooky. The phone’s camera made it look lighter than it was.

We assembled. They had us on chairs on either side of the path that wound down around the side of the house, odds and evens. We lobbed our parts of the poem back and forth across the path, with the audience on the path. I was number 9 (being one of the early poets to sign up and create my bit). So Number 7 was next to me. He lobbed the final word of his poem to Number 8, across the path, who started with the last word of his poem as the first word of her poem. She lobbed back across to me. The last word of her poem was the first word of my poem. I lobbed to number 10, across the path, whose first word of her poem was the last word of my poem, who lobbed it to Number 11, next to me, whose first word was the last word of the previous poem, and so forth and so on.

The audience moved through us as we spoke. They moved through us in waves, so when the first group reached the bend (about half way through), the next group started with the first poet again, so there were multiple vocals happening at any given time, and we had to be present to the poets around us, while aware of what was going on above and below us on the path.

There were a few poets who couldn’t be there. The agreement was that, if someone couldn’t be there, that individual was responsible for sending a proxy. There were several who did so, and that was great. There were a couple of people who didn’t, and a couple who didn’t show up or let anyone know, and that put unnecessary pressure on the poets who were there. Someone early in the poem couldn’t run down and cover for someone late in the poem, because by that point, the next wave of audience was coming through. So the organizers had to work out who could move a few chairs to read a missing poet’s bit, and then get back to their original chair to perform their own bit again in time.

It worked, mostly because there were enough experienced performers to flow, and the first-timers like me, who were trying to get a handle on what was going on and feel the rhythm, weren’t put under that additional pressure.

In other words, the organizers took care of the performers, instead of expecting the performers to fix things that happened at the last minute.

And the overall poem did build a flow and a rhythm. It was amazing. Somehow, even though we didn’t know anything about the poets and their poems on either side while we wrote, it all came together.

There were poets of all ages and from all over the place. I walked in with a poet from Northampton (who used to be a production coordinator for the Boston Ballet, so we had a good talk about backstage). The woman next to me and her daughter (numbers 11 & 13) were from Gloucester, MA, and each wrote a segment as something fun to do together. There was a family of six – wife, husband, two teen daughters, and their dogs – who each did a segment (they were spread out amongst everyone. And only the humans created poems, although the dogs performed with their humans). I think they’re from upstate NY. They told me they love to “poem together” and grab any opportunity to be part of public art events like this. There was a woman across and down a few who’s stage managing a show with a theatre company with whom I had contact awhile back, and I hope I get to see the show. The guy who led the playwrights’ workshop I attended a few weeks ago wasn’t in it (he’d planned to, but dropped out when he couldn’t be there, so another poet could step in and take his place with their own work, instead of someone reading as a proxy). But one of my fellow playwrights was there, and we had a good catch-up natter. There was another woman who’s a part of a poetry group that creates and performs social justice public art.

It was great to be part of a group that had NO Trumpers in it, and no both-siders and right-wing apologists. No one pursing their thin little lips claiming they “don’t do politics” when in reality, they support extremists.  In fact, a good deal of the poetry was political. Quite a few of the older poets, men and women, a few years ahead of me in age and experience, were talking about how they’d fought/marched/voted/protested for Civil Rights and Roe the first time around, and here we are again.

It was a dog, kid, family inclusive event. Several poets brought partners or family members who set up camp chairs nearby and watched/listened or read a book or worked on their own writing.

No one was told to tone down their language, and the audience was warned of the possibility of strong language. As far as I know, no one complained.

They’d put out a buffet for us up at the Terrace Café (it’s a spectacular view). They’d told us they’d have snacks for us, but there was real food to make sandwiches (and gluten free options) and salads and fruit and lemonade and raspberry tea and all that. They watered us well throughout, to make sure we were hydrated and didn’t faint. The chairs were in the shade. The audience was kept in the front courtyard until showtimes, with lemonade and cookies.

Originally, we were supposed to do the full poem 4 times through. However, so many people signed up that, for both vocal projection’s sake and safety’s sake, they split up the audience for the first couple of shows; hence the waves of audience members. So what were originally scheduled as the first two performances turned into four performances.

Each performance built a unique rhythm and flow. As the poets got more comfortable with each other, we could try different inflections with the same words, and lob the bits back and forth more easily.

We poets also kept moving our chairs back. We knew we were all fully vaccinated and had tested negative that day before showing up, but there was no way to trust that the audience was the same. Since the audience didn’t pay attention to the social distancing, we made it happen by enlarging the distance.

After the first four shows, we had a break to eat. One of the poets was bored with saying the same thing over and over, so he rewrote his poem in the break (keeping the first and last word, per the agreement). A couple of people joked that they’d never remember everyone’s name, but they could remember everyone’s content. For instance, I became “Lilac” because I had lilacs in my poem, and the image of “frothy lilacs” stuck in people’s heads. So, you know, any event I do from here on in, I’ll be “Lilac.” I can live with that.

After the break, we had two more shows. Because of time, the groups couldn’t be split up this time around. They were larger; we pulled our chairs back farther from the path and projected more. The heat and humidity were taking a toll, even with all the precautions.

During the final performance, as we completed our bits, we folded in behind the audience (at a safe distance), so that we were all together at the end and could celebrate.

We were all pretty much hurting by then (even the puppies were tired), but we celebrated each other, and were invited to a couple more of these creations, given our travel stipends, and then headed out.

The walk back to the parking lot seemed to take forever. I managed to get home in only 40 minutes (not much traffic), but as the adrenalin wore off, it was a challenge.

Dashed up the stairs, ordered Chinese food for delivery, and jumped in the shower to hose down and decontaminate. Even with some protocols in place, there were still a lot of people involved in the day. My throat was raw and everything hurt, and I knew I’d put myself at risk.

Popped the prosecco, though, and sucked down a couple of glasses along with the Chinese food. It took awhile to unwind. As a non-performer, and also as someone who’s used to writing by myself and then it either goes into the world, or, in the case of a play, it goes into rehearsal with a finite group before going out into the world, it was quite a new experience. But that sense of excitement, creating with others, trusting in them, and then INVITING the audience to experience it with us instead of PRESENTING TO the audience as pretty incredible.

Even if I don’t participate in the next couple of events (one of them, a haiku contest where content is created in the moment, is not something I could even consider doing), I might go as an audience member and support my fellow poets.

I finally collapsed into bed. I woke up around midnight and drank a bottle of water. My throat felt awful. I woke up again at 3 and did the same. Sunday, I rested. I drank tea and water. I took Slippery Elm (which I should have taken before I left, but I didn’t think of it). I’m not used to talking that much, or projecting outdoors. Of course it’s going to leave my throat and voice raw. I read.

Again, the usual pattern would have been to push myself and run myself down even more, probably winding up sick with a cold, if I managed to avoid the plague. At the very least, running myself down would give any exposure to the virus more traction.

So I rested.

I had to run out mid-day for a few errands – pick up my mother’s prescription and get her a new blood pressure monitor, get in some groceries, since I didn’t go to the market on Saturday. Just that little bit wore me out. The heat and humidity were oppressive.

I managed to do another read-through of the next chapters I have to upload for LEGERDEMAIN. I did some work on my article on Saturday morning, but didn’t do any work on Sunday. I put some hooks up in my mom’s closet, hung up some of the copper molds in the kitchen, and hung a quilt on the living room wall.

That was it.

Went to bed at the normal time. Tessa got me up early on Monday. I was still a little tired, but overall felt decent. Still just not loving the heat and humidity.

There’s a post on the GDR site about enjoying the week. There’s a lot going on, and I want to enjoy it.

THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS released on Monday. I’m proud of all the Topic Workbooks, but I think this one will help a lot of people who get scattered among too many projects.

A ridiculous amount of email piled up over the weekend, so I slogged my way through that. Did the postings of the daily prompt on the site where I couldn’t schedule the posts. Wrote the thank-yous for the event. Signed up for a yoga class. Signed up for an online cooking class at Kripalu, with my beloved Chef Jeremy, and even received a scholarship to attend. Checked in with my friend about my upcoming visit, provided I test negative the morning I’m supposed to leave. Packed for the trip.

Kept track to see if I’m showing any symptoms, or if I felt bad. I mean, I was grumpy in the heat and humidity, and I was tired (hey, I’m not 20 anymore), but overall, I feel fine. My throat was a little raw for a couple of days, but steadily felt better. My voice is still a little scratchy, but I don’t talk much during the course of the day, so that’s to be expected.

Turned around a script and some questions on a previous script I’d covered. Grabbed some shorts to turn around today. I’ve been steadily working on the Italian every day. I’m definitely learning vocabulary, but I’m not understanding sentence construction.

Did some work on a grant proposal, and noodled around with my article and with an idea tossed out by Word X Word.

It was hot and humid when I went to bed, but much better upon getting up this morning. I feel like I can be much more productive today, and I kind of have to be. There are a slew of errands to run late this morning, after I get some work done on the article, the Topic Workbooks, and getting the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes uploaded.

This afternoon, I turn around the three shorts. In the late afternoon, I head out to Greylock Works for a 1Berkshires Entrepreneur meeting at Berkshire Cider. It’s inside, so yes, I’ll be masked.

Someone contacted me about a content writing position. I have to take a look at the details. On the surface, the money looks outstanding, but I need to know more about it.

Hope you had a good weekend, and let’s work toward a good week!

Wed. June 22, 2022: A Day at the Desk

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy, rainy, mild

I expected rain yesterday, so didn’t get up early enough to go to the laundromat.  But it didn’t rain until the evening. That’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s raining today, so I have an excuse not to go.

Plowed through a lot of emails. Got annoyed at a job listing that landed in my Inbox, claiming to be remote – only requiring 2 days/week in the office. Boo, that ain’t remote. It’s hybrid. Stop lying in the listings. Plus, it didn’t pay enough. Big red flag.

Tracked down some information I needed for a couple of different decisions. Worked on the anthology story. Percolated the other anthology story.

Most of the day was taken up with rewriting/updating the Topic Workbook for the Developing the Series class, which I’m teaching in August. I put in more resources, especially for indie authors, and talked about responsibilities when on a contract schedule vs. on one’s own schedule. I took out references to an author I no longer want to include, because I’ve lost respect for that individual. I’ve kept in references to another author whose work had a lot of impact on me, but about whom I’ve learned some disturbing things. I might leave those in, and discuss the way learning more about who an author is impacts the relationship with the work. Or, I might take it all out, and not have that tangent in the class. Because that discussion could be a class all on its own, and there are people whose input and experiences would be valuable. It feels wrong to open that discussion, but not include them.

I have a few days to make that decision.

I still have to check/update/remove resource links, which will take a bit of time. There are a few awkward passages that I need to smooth out. And I have to extract the material and exercises for the slides I want to use in class.

There’s still work to do, but at least it’s well under way, and I’m not leaving it until the last darn minute.

More January 6 hearings and more corruption from the enablers of the Narcissistic Sociopath. That Ginni Thomas, who tried to overthrow the government, gets extra protection, while election poll workers are threatened, is simply not acceptable.

And then SCOTUS telling Maine that taxpayer dollars have to be used to fund religious schools. They only mean faux Christian schools, but, in any event, it’s yet another corrupt decision from them.

And all this crap about “voting harder” doesn’t matter when voting rights aren’t protected.

Texas is talking about seceding. Again. They’ve been yapping about that my entire life. They were an independent country for a few days in the 1840’s (or whenever, I’m too lazy to look it up) and want to go back to that. It’s all performative, for their extremist base. It’s far more complicated, in this day and age, to detach, than it was a couple of centuries ago. Plus, they don’t want to lose the government funding. The blue states carry the red states with funding. It’s all hot air.

The atrocities around the Uvalde shooting get worse and worse. They need to get rid of the entire city government and the police force and start over. May those who stood by and did nothing be haunted into their graves. Which is doubtful, because if they had a conscience or ethics in the first place, they wouldn’t have behaved the way they did. It’s not like they will suddenly sprout a conscience now. Therefore, there must be harsh consequences for all of them.

On a happier note, Summer Solstice was fine, even though the weather was yucky. A CounterSocial pal shared a tarot spread that worked really well. I used my new Ask the Witch deck. When it first arrived, I was worried it wouldn’t read well for me, but working with it, I find it does.

This same pal also told me about the Druidcraft Tarot Deck, by the same team that did the Druid Animal Oracle and the Druid Plant Oracle, two decks I really like. Hmmm. . .like I don’t have a couple of bookcases full of decks!

I put up a new flash fiction piece on Ko-fi, “Discoveries” which is under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name. The dynamic of the marriage between the two characters interests me. I’m not sure if the piece will stand as it is, or if it will lead to more exploration with these characters.

I wrote and turned in my book review, and received my next assignment. I have a script in my queue, which I will turn around either today, or, more likely, tomorrow. There hasn’t been much this week, and I will probably end up doing script coverage over the weekend, if more comes in. Urgh. I was trying to avoid that this summer. But that’s the ebb and flow.

I need to work on the anthology story today, and more on The Big Project. The thing that slows down the writing on The Big Project is that each section of it has to basically be at the stage I usually would be at the third or fourth revision before I can move on to the next section. Even though the basic plot is outlined. It’s a learning curve. But then, each piece has its own  innate rhythm. This one sure as heck does.

This afternoon, I have to put on Real People Pants and makeup and go down to Pittsfield. I’m in a playwrighting workshop hosted by the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Although I’ve been writing prose and radio scripts, the stage play part of my brain feels stale lately, and I’m hoping this will shake things up. It has very strict COVID protocols in place, and I know the venue, so I’m hoping I’ve calculated the risk correctly. I’ll know in 2-5 days, won’t I?

A year ago today, the movers actually showed up on Cape and loaded the truck.

Have a good one, friends. Despite the marketing, yesterday was not the “beginning of summer.” It’s Midsummer. Starting today, the days get shorter.

Enjoy them while you can.

Fri. June 17, 2022: Project Juggling

image courtesy of Theodore Moise via pixabay.com

Friday, June 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy, foggy, humid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 9, 2022: Unpacking Teapots

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Yesterday started rainy, then cleared up and was beautiful. I have a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

I didn’t get much writing done, which was frustrating. My brain decided it was Friday. So I focused on the client work first, after I’d gotten through all the email that stacked up while we were gone on Tuesday.

I turned around three scripts, in and around unpacking most of what we brought back up on Tuesday, and figuring out where to put it.

The box of Johnson Brothers china came up. I adore Johnson Brothers china, and I have a combination of it from my grandmother and that I’ve picked up in thrift stores and yard sales over the years. I can spot a Johnson Brothers design at 50 paces. Some of it is original, and had to be handwashed. Some of it is reproduction and can go in the dishwasher.

I also brought up my Pyrex and corning ware dishes (that are from the 60’s and 70’s), because we needed more of those dishes.

Two boxes of teapots came up. I unpacked one box and washed it, reminding myself of the story behind each pot. There are three more boxes of teapots which will need to come up in the autumn. They have to be all handwashed. Also in the box was a ceramic decanter and a pair of goblets that I picked up in a thrift shop and just love. I’m not sure yet where to put them, but I love them.

I might post the stories behind each teapot on my Ko-fi page.

I ordered an island cart for the kitchen. I need more counter/storage space. I wasn’t going to spend the money right now, but it was on sale right now, so I did. It will arrive on Monday. Not looking forward to putting it together, but the extra prep space and storage space are much needed. It’s on wheels, so I can stash it in front of the cookbook bookcases when it’s not in use.

I’m designing the way the new seat covers are going to work on the kitchen chairs, because traditional recovering isn’t going to work. Originally, I was going to staple the fabric to the frame, and then re-screw the seats into the chair frames. We’ve had problems with those screws since we got the chairs. Instead, I’m going to make like the quick change theatre wardrobe person I am and put snaps on the covers and the seat bottom, so I can remove these and wash them as needed. Then, I’m going to Velcro down the seats to the frames, allowing more stability and the flexibility to remove the seats as needed.

There is measuring and math involved, but needs must.

Somehow, in all of this, I managed to bruise the index finger of my right hand. I’m not sure if this is fallout from the bruising to that hand when I broke the bowl on Monday, of if I hurt it some more in the storage unit or unpacking. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s badly discolored, and definitely gets worse when I type. I’m keeping an eye on it and treating it with arnica cream. It’s not like I bang hard on the keys when I type. If anything, I have a light touch. (I worked with someone a few years back in the office, and she always pounded on the computer keyboard, and I’d think, “what has that keyboard ever done to you?”).

Anyway, meditation this morning, then work on The Big Project and the monthology story, then over to client work.

“The Collector” radio play has been accepted by the producer in New York, so we are talking contract terms. I’m very excited.

I have to do a library run today (books waiting). I’d planned a quick run to Pittsfield, but I think I’ll wait for better weather, tomorrow or over the weekend.

Ellen Byron’s newest release, THE BAYOU BOOK THIEF, is supposed to arrive today, the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook series. That is my treat for the weekend, along with finishing Helen Whistberry’s THE MELODY OF TREES, which is just wonderful. I also have a book to turn around for review, which I will try to do this afternoon.

This time last year, I was in moving hell, and it was so hot and humid, it was difficult to function. I am grateful  to be where I am now.

Have a good one, my friends.

Thurs. June 2, 2022: No Use Crying Over Spilled Pork Chops

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday morning was chaotic, due to all the traffic barreling down our street in the wrong direction. I contacted my City councilor, who, according to the city government website lives. . .next door! We had a good exchange about it. He’d done some investigating on the cause when he saw what was going on, and, with my statement, had additional information to take to the Mayor so this can get resolved.

Did I mention that my BookBub account was approved, under the Devon Ellington name? I’m @devonelllington there. I’m not yet sure how to build up the account; I will have to spend some time poking around. Once the Devon account is established, I’ll apply for another under the Ava Dunne name (each name has to be approved/set up separately).

I was also approved to join the PaganSpace community, and I’m over there under the Cerridwen Iris Shea moniker. The Cerridwen Iris Shea website will get some updating/redesigning/et al this summer, too, since more is happening under that name.

Got some more scripts in my queue, so that takes me into the weekend. I have quarterly taxes looming, and it’s start-of-the-month bills, so the more work I can get, the better right now.

I went down the rabbit hole of the new covers for the Topic Workbooks, but I’m glad I have it all sorted out. Now it’s about taking down the old editions and putting up fresh ones. I think I’ll do a Topic Workbook for my CCWC class in August, and give it to them as part of the class, scheduling it for general release the week after. I need to make sure, at the very least, the Submission and the Series Bible Workbooks are released before then.

I got 7 new scripts in my coverage queue, and turned around two of them yesterday afternoon. It will get me to almost where I need to be this week, and, if I have enough scripts next week, I’ll be okay.

I looked at some graphics software, such as Pixlr, Paint.NET, Blender, and Inkscape, and I’m looking at Storyboarder for when I need to storyboard. I’m trying to get up to speed on GIMP, but the logic on that program is very different from the way my logic works, so finding the places where they cross is a challenge.

I wrote and sent off the book review, and received my next assignment.

I got very few new words written, and only about 25 pages or so on the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER, so I have to do better today. This weekend, I’ll need to dig into The Big Project, because the first of the three arcs needs to be done, and I need to be well into the second arc. I have to be able to announce the project in my newsletter later this month, and then it has to go live early in July. Which is already later than I’d hoped, but needs must.

I had a stupid, clumsy accident last night at dinner. As I turned with the plate of hot, sauce-covered pork chops, I hit against something, the plate flew out of my hand and landed, face down, on the floor. On the way, it splattered both me and the kitchen chairs. It burned the tops of my feet (yeah, I know, chefs always warn not to be barefoot in the kitchen, yet I usually am). Thank goodness I have an aloe plant again.  Changed into fresh pants and soaked the stained ones, cleaned everything up, washed the floor.  I’ll wash it again this morning with a vinegar concoction.

Thank goodness there was enough food in the pantry so ruining dinner didn’t mean going without. There have definitely been stretches in my life where that would have been the case, but not last night, and for that I am grateful. I had some vegetable curry to heat up and put over the rice, so it all worked out.

But I felt like an idiot.

I’ve been meaning to recover the kitchen chairs for years. I guess it has to happen now.

Meditation this morning, then I’m making French toast with the leftover ciabatta. Then some writing before Freelance Chat, and script coverage in the afternoon.

There’s the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Have a good one!

Tues. May 31, 2022: Finally, A Good Writing Day

image courtesy of Markus Winkler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Hazy and hot

We were out of the house before 9 AM on Friday, headed down to Pittsfield. Got some great book deals at their lobby sale, and had a closer look around the Atheneum itself. Again, lots of great reading and working spaces. They even have musical instruments to check out.

A quick stop at Home Goods on the way back to replace the glass that broke this morning. Got a couple of glasses off the clearance shelf that are pretty, and close to the broken one. Swung by Staples to drop off the toner cartridges and get the credit on my account. Did a quick stop into the (reasonably priced) grocery store there to pick up a few final things for the weekend.

We were home before noon, as the traffic started to get heavier. I mean, compared to the Cape in-season, it’s still light, but it’s heavier than it usually is around here.

In the afternoon, we watched the video on the early history of the Spruces. It was interesting, but I had already found all that information in my research.

Read Kellye Garrett’s HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE, which was good.

I’d written and submitted my book review early in the morning, before we left, and was assigned my next book.

Lunch was light: an assortment of cheeses, salami, the trout spread, and a fig/orange spread with crackers.  The two cheeses bought at the overpriced market were mediocre, and the salami, also bought there, was greasy. Fortunately, the trout and the fig/orange were delicious.

Yeah, not shopping at that market again.

Dinner was salmon with sweet Thai chili sauce, rice, and peas. Delicious. I’m so lucky we have a good fish monger here. It’s ironic that I can get Cape-caught fish at a better price than I could on Cape.

I realized, on Friday, that it was exactly a year ago that day when we put down the deposit on this place. Definitely the right move. Although my body is going into sense-memory stress again, and I’m constantly trying to soothe and reset. The next few weeks may be rough, as I teach my body it doesn’t have to go into survival mode all the time, the way it did last year during this stretch.

The Narcissistic Sociopath read the list of names of the children murdered in Uvalde and then DANCED on the stage. The SOB was dancing with glee at the death. He really is sickening, and anyone who supports him is just as bad as he is.

I am so sick and tired of these corrupt, monstrous, disgusting individuals continuing to get away with everything, because Democrats are too weak to get down in the trenches and fight in a way that wins. You cannot take the high road with people determined to kill you. You eliminate them. You destroy them. Or you are exterminated.

The fact that Congress went ahead and took vacation instead of staying in town and getting the work done is further proof that the Dems are weak. We need actual progressive leaders. Or we will all wind up dead, be it from pandemics or gun violence, or every right being removed.

And one of the first things that needs to happen is to take action against those financing the fascists.

Went to bed way too early on Friday, exhausted and broken hearted. Woke up around 2:30 AM, from a dream of being in the NYC subway and seeing a couple of guys carrying guns, so I left. It even smelled like the subway. I realized, when I woke up, that someone was outside, in between the houses, smoking, and the cigarette had that stale nicotine quality that is in the subway.

Dozed off again, and the cats rousted me out of bed a little before five.

Saturday morning was about turning over the closet from winter to summer. That took a long time. I had to rearrange quite a bit, and decide how to pack up a lot of the winter stuff. My closet here is much smaller than the one in the Cape house. I had a walk-in closet there, which meant I didn’t really have to turn over the closet seasonally.

Found a bunch of stuff, got distracted with finding cool stuff. Washed a few things. Have a pile to mend, and a pile to iron.

Sunday was cool enough to cook. So I baked biscuits in the morning, made potato salad, made egg salad, made another batch of vegetable stock, threw pork chops into the slow cooker with honey teriyaki sauce.

Read a lot, and rested as much as I could. I was emotionally exhausted, as much as physically.

Started a new blank book for the handwritten journal on Monday morning. The third of this year. Also wrote 1000 words (before 7 AM, no less) on the piece inspired by the ghost stories/auto accidents.

We had planned to go out on a fun day trip on Monday, but then I checked the event calendars around us, and all the towns were having parades for Memorial Day. We’d have gotten stuck several times on the way down, and not been able to enjoy ourselves. So we’ve rescheduled.

I started putting my Monthology story on paper (well, computer screen). Word dumped the first half page I wrote (because one can’t autosave until one manually autosaves to the cloud, and I DON’T WANT TO SAVE ON THE CLOUD). I couldn’t find it in the recovery file or anywhere else. I’m so sick of Windows11 being awful.

I nearly gave up for the day, but I wanted to get the opening that’s been crowding my head down properly, so I started over, and wrote about 600 words (the opening scene). I had to stop and ask some questions to other contributors so that I can integrate their monsters properly, but I have the next couple of scenes almost ready to write. And I know how it ends, so there’s just a bit to get to the climactic sequence that I have to work out.

Wrote a little over 1000 words on The Big Project. I have a feeling I’ll have to layer multiple edits onto the next draft, so it can go out by deadline.

Took a look at the radio play, “Owe Me” and am completely baffled as to how I get from where I am to where I need to be at the end. That still has to percolate.

Finished the revision of “Personal Revolution.” It needs a proofread, but it should be ready to re-release at the end of June, as planned. Now to get back to new editions of the Topic Workbooks.

Grabbed a script and turned it around. It was a good one, so it was a pleasure. But I am way, way under what I usually make with this company. If this continues, I may have to look elsewhere for coverage work, and add another couple of freelance writing clients to the mix.

Made turkey burgers for dinner, which were good. Read the next book for review, which was also good. I will write up the review later today, and send it off tomorrow, asking for the next one. Built in some time to work with the Druid Plant Oracle cards.

Up early this morning, after some strange dreams.  Hitting the page first, and then the plans we had yesterday and moved due to parade routes are back in play today. So today is my “holiday” while yesterday was a workday, and a productive one! May I have a string of them. I wrote 1K in longhand, writing my way still into a project, so that was a decent start.

Four more days until Mercury goes direct. The last week usually heaps additional challenges on. The day after Mercury goes direct, Saturn, the planet of life lessons, goes retrograde. Ick.

I did not post on Ko-fi last week, because it felt disrespectful, in light of the shootings. Of course, over Memorial Day weekend, there were 14 more mass shootings in this country. I loathe our politicians.

Hope you had a good weekend, and have a good week.

Fri. May 27, 2022: Shattered

image courtesy of Marcela Bolivar via pixabay.com

Friday, May 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and warmer

I was awakened just before 5 AM by crashing glass.

And cats running in all directions.

I must have left an empty glass on the table in my reading corner. I’m usually conscientious about putting the glass into the dishwasher as soon as I’ve finished with it, to prevent just such an occurrence. I must have been distracted.

It was 5 AM, so it’s not like I could turn on the vacuum without disturbing the neighbors (wouldn’t’ have had to worry about that in the previous house). So I picked up the larger fragments, and used the dustpan and broom on the room. Then a damp paper towel to get any tiny fragments. Then, I had to catch each of the cats and check/wipe their paws for any glass shards before they licked said paws. There was a good bit of howling and carrying on, but no blood.

So much for not disturbing the neighbors.

But the shattered glass represents how I feel right now.

The almost daily gun violence, on top of the over a million dead in the pandemic, are soul-shattering.

As more and more information about Uvalde comes out, and the incompetence of the police response is brought to light, it gets even worse. When I see the photos, I see white men who are unfit, both physically and psychologically, for a job to “protect and serve.” They use the uniform to bully. Like all bullies, when faced with a situation requiring intelligence, ethics, skill, and courage, they fail.

The mayor’s bloviating to aid in the coverup doesn’t help, either.

Congress continues to fail us. Their holiday weekend is more important than staying in their offices and working on ways to fix this. Except, of course, for Republicans, who are speaking at NRA and right-wing conferences. They’re busy fulfilling the agenda of more death. More blood. Because that is what turns them on.

There is a way to hit the NRA, and that’s through filing a complaint with the IRS that they’ve violating the terms of their status. I’ve posted the link multiple times, but I bet you, dollars to doughnuts, that I’m the only one who actually files the complaint.

I’m just sick of everybody right now.

I wrote and submitted the book review yesterday, and have been assigned another book, which I plan to read over the weekend. No scripts in the queue, so I will look at it as a gift of time. Got out a couple of half-hearted LOIs. Did a trip to the library to drop off/pick up books, and then to the grocery store to shop for the weekend. We do have some plans, although we intend to avoid people (especially unmasked tourists) as much as possible. Much of it depends on the weather.

I took Charlotte out on the back balcony in her playpen. She was very good.

Willa, however, carried on in the kitchen like she’d been abandoned. She screamed and cried at the kitchen window, and then tried to pry the screen out of its frame.

She won, of course. Because the cat always wins.

I went inside, put her in her playpen, and took her out, too. There’s barely room for both playpens, but it was better than the screaming, and she settled down.

Freelance Chat was fun. Some good tips, as usual.

Made a smoked trout spread. By accident, I used a recipe different than the one I usually use (both are in FOOD & WINE cookbooks). It’s good, it just wasn’t what I expected. Cooked pasta for dinner.

Last night was the final meeting of the Knowledge Unicorns, at least in present form. What should have been a joyous time was, instead, one filled with anger and grief. Some of the kids are the same age as those who were slaughtered. Others are going on to college, or taking a gap year, or are in other grades. There has to be another discussion, in July, about whether the parents want to risk sending those still in school back to school next year, or if all of them will switch to homeschooling, for gun violence reasons as much as for virus reasons. But right now, we all need a break. And it’s time for me to step back.

I feel shattered, heartbroken, and out of sorts today. How could I not?

I’m trying to get in a run down to Pittsfield for a few things early this morning, so that we’re home by noon, before people start converging for the holiday weekend. I doubt it will be the chaos that usually happened on Cape – for one thing, there’s no bridge to back up traffic for hours, and multiple roads. But I’d still rather be home, up on my second-floor porch, watching the mountains, and above it all.

I’m not sure if I will rest or try to write this weekend. I do have to turn my closet from winter to summer; that will take some time. But I need time to grieve the destruction of the country in which I was born and where I’ve spent my entire life, that has been taken over by Christofascists who find murder sexually gratifying and lucrative.

I need to give myself time to grieve, and then I can start making practical decisions.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Thurs. May 26, 2022: When The Day Evaporates

image courtesy of Christoph via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy and pleasant

There’s a garden update on Gratitude and Growth here.

As I mentioned yesterday, while I was at the laundromat, I did 26 pages of the multi-colored draft on CAST IRON MURDER. Yeah, that will take some time, to clean up the sloppy language. I’m keeping some of it as a cadence choice for a particular character, because it supports/reveals who she is, but will fix it in plenty of other places. So much for being happy with the book!

Had a terrific conversation with my Llewellyn editor about the article I’ll write for them in 2024. Which will be contracted in the next couple of weeks, and due in August. Because almanacs work two years in advance. The material I wrote last year for next year will release in August.

It’s also a reminder to put reworking the Cerridwen iris Shea website into the schedule for this summer, as well as sorting through the twenty-six plus years’ worth of material I’ve written for Llewellyn annuals, where the rights have reverted back to me, and I can publish them elsewhere. That’s kind of a major project, since there were years where I had multiple articles in multiple annuals, which is part of the reason I burned out.

Another thing on the list, right?

And then, the rest of the day just sort of evaporated. Much of it was due to the combination of grief and rage against the elected officials for allowing continued gun violence and refusing to do anything about this. I’m tired of my government’s determination to kill me and those about whom I care (and even those about whom I care, who I don’t know). I’m tired that we are expected to pay to be murdered. It has to change. Part of that is that Democratic leadership has to change. They need to be as ruthless, no, MORE ruthless than Republicans.

I did some research, and found out that one can file a petition with the IRS is a tax-exempt organization has broken the rules. I looked at the checklist, and the NRA has broken many of them. Gathering supporting documentation won’t be difficult. I posted the link multiple times, but I doubt anyone else will do anything. I also worked on a letter to Chuck Schumer demanding Joe Manchin be removed from all committee assignments. Stop pandering to someone who stabs us all in the back at every opportunity. The carrot hasn’t worked. Used the stick and beat the SOB into submission until he’s voted out. I’ve worked with Senator Schumer. I like and respect him a great deal. But he’s not ruthless enough. If McConnell can always get everything he wants, Schumer needs to be just as much of a dirty fighter.

We took Willa out on the back balcony in her playpen in the afternoon. She was fascinated by the sights and smells. So different from being out on the deck on Cape. I will have to take the cats out in the playpens by turns – there isn’t room for all the playpens at once, like there was on our deck. So each day, one of them gets to go out. I have a feeling Tessa won’t like it, but I at least want to give her the option. Charlotte definitely wants to go out. And she’s very good in her playpen.

Put in a Chewy order. The food Tessa likes is out of stock; I’m trying one bag of a similar one, and ordered treats and the cactus scratching post. Because the 100% response to the Twitter poll was that I should get it (like I wasn’t going to, anyway). I had to buy a toy, too, to get it up to the level for free shipping.

I’m trying to look at the lack of script coverage work as a gift of time, to heal from burnout, and enjoy it, rather than worrying.

I read the next book for review, and will write up/submit that today, and hopefully get assigned a new one before the holiday.

Meditation this morning, then some work on the Big Project. I have to do a library and grocery run, and then it’s back to the page to work on the Monthology story, some more edits on CAST IRON MURDER, and the radio plays.

There’s plenty to do, I just have to stop frittering away time.

Have a good one!

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Fri. May 20, 2022: Preparing for a Hot Weekend

image courtesy of SplitShire via pixabay.com

Friday, May 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warmer

Meditation was good yesterday, although it took me a bit of time to settle into it. Charlotte had no such problems. She loves the weekly Zoom meditations with the Concord Public Library.

Got ahead on some blog work, did the social media rounds, caught up on email, did the necessary admin work. Now that I’m figuring out how to use Counter Social, I’m liking it. And I’ll take an anonymous hacker as the leader of it over a spoiled brat billionaire any time. But Twitter is still my main hangout, at least for now.

Freelance Chat was fun, although the pricing/rate suggestions given by the weekly guest don’t suit what I do.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. I’d been requested, which is always nice. A little worried because my queue is empty. I should be pleased; it opens up the weekend. But I’m below my financial goal for the month with them, which concerns me.

However, I read the next book for review in the afternoon/evening, and this morning I will write up the review and send the invoice for the last batch, so there’s that money. But if scripts are available this weekend, I’ll read over the weekend.

Played with the flash fiction I wrote the other day. I will type it up over the weekend and do a couple of revision passes on it, so that it’s in a decent shape for Ko-Fi. The most intriguing part, for me, about this, is the tension in the relationship between the two characters. Is this something I want to explore further?

It rained on and off all day, sometimes intensely, so I was glad to stay in. But I have to swing by the library this morning on my way to the Williamstown Historical Museum to drop off/pick up books. I have about six to return, and there are ten waiting for me.

Started a book that had come highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so, nope.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Some of the kids are finished with their exams. The rest have their last ones this coming week. Only two more sessions, and we will be done, after two and a half years of working together. Definitely bittersweet.

I decided not to do the proposal for the project in autumn. It would have to be indoors, and with numbers rising, new variants, and monkey-fucking-pox, it’s not worth the risk.

This weekend is supposed to be in the 90’s, which just makes me cringe. I will clean the fans later today, so they’re ready in case we need to use them in addition to the ceiling fans. Considering that it’s cold enough for the heat to be on this morning, I don’t want that large temperature swing. It does a number on my body.

The plan is, in the cooler portions of the day, that I can get a lot of writing done, especially on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the first draft of the anthology story. I also want to get back to the revisions of “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks. I realized how to solve a logic problem in “Personal Revolution” by simply changing a character’s job location.

Hopefully, the heat won’t drain every last drop of creativity out of me, and I can get things done, whether or not any script coverage comes through.

Have a good one.

Wed. April 20, 2022: Pizza Woes

image courtesy of zuzana gazdikova via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment, all around. I started fairly strong: pitched my Llewellyn editor, got a new book for review, reviewed the agency contract and asked necessary questions, had yet another positive interaction with the NYC radio producer. I caught up on some emails with friends.

I was getting ready to work on the radio play when I was hit with a wave of nausea. Out of nowhere. Just felt awful. And my injection site from the vaccine started hurting again, too, but it’s been over a week since the vaccine, so that didn’t make sense.

I dosed myself with ginger tea, which helped, but the energy was gone. I had to fight my way through the rain and the wind to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes, and stopped at the bank on the way back to deposit the check from the radio play from the company in Minnesota.

Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to stay upright. I got through a few hundred emails. I withdrew from the Dramatists Guild networking session that evening, because I didn’t feel well enough. I turned around only one script. I’m fine on deadlines, but I’d wanted to do two. I worked on a few contest entries. But that was it.

The contract points were smoothed out, so I have to sign the initial contract and the NDA and get them in this morning. My Llewellyn editor wants more information on the article pitches, and will make her decision next week. I have to send a couple of scripts to the NYC radio producer; he’s excited to read something fun and frothy.

I’m still trying to pin down the mechanic to get the car fixed.

I decided to order in pizza, which might not have been the smartest choice on a queasy stomach, but I wanted pizza. So I ordered it. And it never showed up. Two hours later, I asked for a refund. The ordering happens through AllHungry.com, not directly with the restaurant. It took a dozen exchanges before they even tried to get me a refund. They said the pizza place told them it was delivered, and it was no longer their problem. I said it hadn’t been delivered to me, and if their delivery guy is handing off orders to randos on the street, that is not my problem, and, at this point, they were an accessory to fraud. A dozen exchanges later, they claimed I would get a refund, but it would take 10 days. Which is just ridiculous. They take it out of my account instantly, but it takes 10 days to go back? And it’s not like I was trying to get anything except my order, for which I paid, in the first place. So I don’t want to use AllHungry again to order, and, as much as I like this pizza place, I am reluctant to order again.

Fortunately, there are two other good places in town, although only one of the others delivers.

But AllHungry? More like Stay Hungry and get ripped off.

Now, we’re all human. We make mistakes. We’re in a pandemic, and places are short staffed (which is why I tip 40-50% when I order delivery). My life is not ruined because I didn’t get a pizza.  But when a mistake is made, then fix it. All I did, when I contacted them, was politely tell them the order had never arrived, and to please issue a refund. It was inappropriate for them to accuse me of lying. The correct response is to find out what happened, and then issue the refund. They have my record of orders. I don’t order things, pretend I haven’t gotten them, and request a refund. AllHungry’s response was inappropriate. It shouldn’t take 12 exchanges and a filing with the BBB to get them to fix a problem.

I dreamed about working on a dance piece and taking dance notations down last night. No idea where that came from.

I was up early and off to the laundromat first thing. Two loads of laundry, and back quickly. While I was at the laundromat, I used the time to work on The Big Project. I was worried I’d gone off-tone, but it’s holding together. I just have to get more done on it, and fast. And I have to turn around two scripts today, because they’re due first thing tomorrow.

At some point, I have to take a break and go to the grocery store. They’ve offered me a small tree as a thank you for being a regular customer. I do not know where I am going to put the small tree, but I want the small tree (separation anxiety much from my lilacs)? So if they still have any small trees, I will accept mine, and deal with the consequences later.

It looks like another storm is coming through, so I’ll work on The Big Project and “Owe Me”, turn around the contract, and send the extended pitch to my editor, and go later in the morning. Unless it’s snowing.

Have a good one.