Fri. April 22, 2022: Earth Day!

image courtesy of Purwaka Seta via pixabay.com

Friday, April 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

Earth Day!

How lovely that we have a beautiful day in which to celebrate Earth Day. I have a couple of errands I will do later on foot, to enjoy it.

I had trouble settling into meditation yesterday morning.

After breakfast, I dealt with emails and with admin work. Then, I sent off the trio of Frieda/Laz plays to the radio producer in NY who was interested in them.

I spent a good chunk of time converting “Pier-less Crime” (the third Frieda/Laz play) into US Numbered Format for the producer in Minnesota. I’d already converted “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” thank goodness. I got both of them off to Minnesota. That company is recording the first one in June, so if it goes well and they want more, they’ve got them in house and can just license them, and we’re good. They’re a trustworthy company; I’ve worked with them on several plays.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and I answered follow-up questions on a previous coverage.

A book I ordered arrived, and I’m looking forward to reading it, probably a week or two down the road. The Ipsy bag arrived, full of lovely things for the coming month.

My mom’s new cellphone arrived, and we started the activation process from Tracfone (which has devolved from mere incompetence into harassment) to Consumer Cellular (who is no great shakes either, but at least they had a decent phone, and let’s see how the plan works). Anyway, it’s a cute red flip phone with talk and text, which is all she wants, and not a Smartphone that’s too complicated for her, so she is happy. Getting the contacts in was a hassle, but we got that done. Now, we just have to wait for the migration to complete. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.

I’m really tired of these companies treating customers like criminals and claiming it’s in the name of “security.” If you assume everyone is a criminal, you shouldn’t be in business.

I have zero sympathy for Disney right now. They could have avoided all this crap by simply not funding right wing extremists in the first place, and then pretending they supported LGBTQ, and facing backlash from Republicans. Disney always tries to play both sides against the middle for maximum profit, and I hope this costs them a lot of money. They will win, in the end, because they have the lawyers and the money. And, frankly, they built the infrastructure in that area, so they’re going to defend it. It’s just performance for the GOP base, anyway. They’ll all be back in bed together in a few days. Not weeks or months. Days. Even if they pretend otherwise.

Still have a migraine, but I’m hoping that the lovely weather and doing errands on foot will mitigate it. Plants can go out on the porch again today, yay!

I’m focusing on contest entries today, and will probably work through the weekend on them, so I can make my final decision, write up the reviews for the winners, and submit the results over next week.

Before that, though, I want to get in some work on “Owe Me” and on The Big Project.

Have a good weekend. I’m hoping it will warm and sunny, so I can enjoy reading amongst the plants!

Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors

image courtesy of Yerson Retamal via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, rainy, humid

I have a new post up over on Gratitude and Growth about differences in air and earth between the Berkshires and the Cape.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that the Knowledge Unicorns are back up and running. Since none of us believe any in-person learning in this country is safe at this point, and all the kids are being taught at home (be it online learning through their school or home schooling), the homework group is back. Most of the kids stayed in touch with each other over our summer break. Two of the families went camping together, and strengthened those bonds. So that is all good. Some of the kids are sad; friends of theirs have died, thanks to the anti-vaxxers. All of the kids are angry, and rightly so, that the systems and people who are supposed to have their best interests at heart are willing to let them die by trying to force them into in-person learning when it’s not safe.

Tuesday’s session was mostly about dealing with all these realities and emotions. Today, we will actually start on their homework.

Yesterday, I was up at 4:30 (so that I had time for yoga), and we were out of the house by 6 AM to do a storage run down to the Cape. In spite of the traffic, we arrived a little before 10 AM, and, even with switching stuff out of the units, unpacking and repacking the car, we were back on the road by 10:14 and home by 2 PM. It was a good day to drive, in spite of the traffic.

Unloaded the car, got everything upstairs, and got us late lunch/early dinner from Burger King, which I knew I would regret, but it was good while I ate it.

We got the new checks from the bank – hand-delivered, no less. So now, I can go about what I need to do to get the old account at the other bank closed. The checks written have to clear, and a refund has to show up. Then, I can go over to Williamstown and shut down the account. The bills I’m paying today will start coming out of the new account. All of this was way more chaotic than it needed to be.

I started the next book assigned for review, and, so far, I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

We were back in time for me to attend the virtual Straw Dogs Writers Guild Annual Author Showcase. They are based in Pioneer Valley, and it was in partnership with Forbes Library in Northampton. So probably too far to get regularly involved, once it’s safe so do to in person. But I was curious to hear local authors read, and there were a dozen authors scheduled, a mix of poets and prose writers and memoirists.

They were wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed each reading. These writers are professional, recognize that this is valuable work, and take the craft as seriously as the art. They don’t shy away from the political implications and responsibilities of their work, either (unlike the right-wing panderers who claim they “don’t do politics” which, in itself, is political by supporting the inequity of the status quo). One author read from one of her older books, a scene depicting an illegal abortion in the days before Roe. She, too, is old enough to remember it, and we are frustrated that here we are again.

Craft matters to all of them. They take time and pride in the craft of their work, along with theme and art and entertainment. They understand that excellent work combines all of these.

I now have a dozen new-to-me authors, whose books I will get out of the library and/or purchase (as much as my budget will allow). I’m very excited to delve more deeply into their work, and I will attend more online events in which any of them are involved.

I’m so glad I attended.

Charlotte and Willa were impossible. Charlotte is always difficult during Zoom, because she wants everyone to tell her she’s pretty. Willa was fascinated every time a poet read. She loved the rhythm of it. So I guess I’ll be reading poetry to the cats!

I didn’t want to read any scripts after the event was over, because I was so filled with beautiful writing that I wanted to bask in it, rather than put myself into the “critical” headspace in which I need to be for the coverage reading.

Read passages in the published journal I’m reading, where the actor worked with someone I knew quite well. It was nice to read affectionate anecdotes about someone I know and worked with!

Got an idea for a difficult short story about a woman who makes a choice out of exhaustion and despair that turns out to be a relief, even though she is supposed to feel guilty about it. No, not abortion, something else.  It needs development and I’m playing with it. It’s one of those that will probably need a dozen or so rewrites to hit exactly what I want with it, and I have to write at least one draft before I can even start making it work. I’m hoping it will be between 3-5K. The premise is enough for a novel, but I really want to telescope the emotion and time frame into that of a short story.

The cats were impossible this morning, and would not let me sleep past 5. Nor would they let me go back to bed after I fed them.

Fortunately, writing in the morning works for me. I got some decent work done on the novel.

Online meditation group was good this morning. There was discussion on ways to break out of the self-criticism cycle, which is something I need to do, since that severely worsened during the entire moving thing.

I have a lot of work to do today, but I’m not planning on going anywhere, so I can focus on the work, and on doing some more unpacking. I put some of the stuff we brought back yesterday away (most of the carload consisted of holiday decorations). But there’s more to figure out where to put, which means more rearranging. Not that I’ve finished unpacking everything else, either.

Back to the page, and to the library and local bookstores, to find the work by these writers.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 9, 2021 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Joys of Local Authors  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 13, 2018: Wildlife Adventures and Proposal Writing

Friday, July 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I love Friday the 13th. It’s usually a good luck day for me.

It’s amazing how reader stats jump up if you title a post “Clown Semen.”

Feeling weary on many fronts. But, hey, deadlines and work that needs to get done.

Got out some LOIs yesterday, posted some copy, did some follow-up and scheduling. Didn’t get as much work done on RELICS or DHARMA as I needed to do, so have to make up for that today.

Mowed the terraced back area of the yard. Need to do the side front and no man’s land today. I like working with the push mower much better than the gas mower. Once the first long cut is done, it’s easier and the lawn looks better.

I still don’t like mowing, though.

I promised wildlife anecdotes, and therefore, you will have some. We don’t use chemicals in the yard and neighbors do; also, our yard is wilder and not as typically suburban as our neighbors’ yards. So the local wildlife hangs out here.

I haven’t seen much of the coyotes this year. Those of you who’ve known me for awhile remember a few years ago, when the coyote pair raised their pups in the yard. I saw a pair early in the season, but haven’t seen them (or any pups) since.

But we do have Bratty Bird, a nuthatch that comes on the deck and teases Tessa terribly. I think Bratty Bird’s wife made a nest in the hanging impatiens. It’s too high to see, but it looks like they built something in that pot. Bratty Bird bounces around, making demands on the deck, roaming around the tops of the chairs, laughing at us, complaining. Yesterday, I didn’t wash out the birdbath and put fresh water in fast enough to suit him (I change it every day to prevent standing water/mosquitos). Then, there’s a family of chipmunks living under a bush. The little ones chase each other along the terraced wall, and sometimes come up on the deck. Bratty Bird dive bombed them this morning. Then, there’s a family of bunnies living under the forsythia. They are really cute. They come out and munch on the dandelions.

It’s interesting to watch them do their thing.

Received my first Goddess Provisions box yesterday and it is wonderful. I’m having so much fun with the contents!

Worked on the international proposal for the play. I need to do some more work on it before it goes out today. I’ve been honing it this morning. I want to sound committed and focused. I keep cutting out qualifiers. I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I have to sound assertive and professional.

One of the radio play proposals can go out today, but I need to do some work on the other one.

Trying to finish reading a book that I don’t find tightly written and I don’t like the protagonist. I find her pretty stupid and lose patience with her every couple of pages. I’d put it down, but I like the puzzle aspect and the international locations. I’m also reading it to analyze WHY what doesn’t work for me doesn’t work and what I can learn from it.

It will be a pleasure to then re-read Ron MacLean’s HEADLONG this weekend, a book that excels in plot, character, and the beauty of the writing.

The weekend will be split between writing and yard work. Lots to do, and not a lot of time to get it done.

On Monday, I’ll have the mid-month check-in up at the GDR site, and, later in the week, the mid-year evaluation.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on July 13, 2018 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Friday, July 13, 2018: Wildlife Adventures and Proposal Writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. July 21, 2016: So Much To Do!

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Who knew being unemployed/partially employed could be so busy?

Hey, anyone who does 8 shows/week.

The confidentiality agreement prevents me from talking about the theatre job, but all is good, and it’s only until September 3 anyway.

The writing is going well – I had some additional changes to make on the book, and my new agent is sending it out.

I’m deep at work on scripts, and, especially, INITIATE, which burns my soul lately. I love these characters so much, I can’t stand to be separated from them.

Three new stories/sets of characters are burning within, too. I hope they are for novellas, not novels, or I’m in trouble!

And, of course, dealing with the intricacies of trying to get the unemployment benefits I earned, but they don’t want to pay. Because, hey, all they want to do is have people jump through hoops and take jobs in anything to get them off the rolls, not actually help people find jobs to better their lives.

I resigned from the Board of the National Marine Life Center, which broke my heart, but was necessary. I can’t give them what they need right now, not without sending myself over the edge. They asked me to move to the Advisory Board, and I’ve agreed to that.

We went to the Glasgow Lowlands Scottish Festival in central MA last Saturday. It was so much fun! Everyone was delightful, and we had a wonderful time, in spite of the heat. I was able to help a young man with his kilt emergency, thanks to still carrying safety pins. Of course, help one guy with his kilt, and suddenly they all want a hand!  But it was all in good fun. Caber toss always cracks me up. I got some great ideas I can incorporate to stories, though. It was a delightful day.

It was hard to get back over the bridge, but we managed.

I get to see an old friend today – we were tight in NY, and I haven’t seen her for at least 10 years She’s down for a few days doing a reading, and I can’t wait to see her.

If I don’t get back on wordpress tomorrow, have a great weekend! I am, of course, in shows.

Devon

Published in: on July 21, 2016 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 21, 2016: So Much To Do!  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 18, 2013: Writing and Talking

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

If you haven’t hopped over to Beth Barany’s blog to read my article on how my heroine Jain Lazarus personifies karmic return, please do. I’m also on The Writers Vineyard, in my Annabel Aidan persona, talking about the Boston Marathon and how grief can affect writing.

Wrote Chapter 10 of the book yesterday, just over 2300 words. I feel like I’m back in the flow. Did 10 pages on the non-fiction book. I have some questionnaires to complete and get out to artists and holistic therapists, which I will do today. Worked with students. Did an LOI. Had a few ideas percolating on stuff, but not sure how to follow through on them.

Spent part of the afternoon working in the yard. There’s a section on the side that’s overgrown with some prickly briar-type vines that I want to clear out. The forsythia bushes will move to that side eventually, and the owner’s putting some flowering daphne by the garage instead. I also took Tessa out and did some of my reading outside.

I’m reading Robert Olen Butler’s book of lectures on writing. There are some things I totally agree with — his insistence on writing every day, once you start a project, his use of “dreamstorming”, etc. However, his utter contempt for genre/commercial fiction is disappointing — yeah, there’s a lot of crap out there, but genre fiction also is an opportunity to make readers see the world in a way they might not otherwise be open to t he information. He also claims that writers with talent don’t outline, yet advocates the use of index cards to prepare the book — which is a form of outlining. Granted, he is much more successful in his career than I am, so he’s doing something that works for him — but I disagree with a lot of what he advocates.

Writers Night Out was last night. The good friend who’s been their business manager (and in my play) is moving to Amsterdam soon, and I met her replacement, who is a lovely person. I think I’ll enjoy working with her, too, but I’ll miss my friend. However, this is a brilliant adventure for her.

We had a lively table, a mix of people I knew and people I didn’t, so there was lots of good conversation. Four poets read (April is poetry month). Very different styles, so the juxtaposition was interesting. One guy, the youngest of them, reminded me a lot of the poets at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project in the East Village in the 90s. The language is good, what he’s trying to do is interesting, but he read in a monotone, and hasn’t yet learned how to gauge his audience and adjust what he’s doing when they get restless. Since reading is performance, those are important skills to fold into one’s reading repertoire.

Came home, fell into bed early, but had a rough night. Lots of interruptions to my sleep, and then, early this morning, the carbon monoxide detector decided it had low batteries and started to chirp.

At least I’m going back to yoga today. I’ve been away from it for too long.

Must focus on the books today, and on polishing my presentation for next weekend’s conference. Hopefully, I can get some more work done in the yard today. The hyacinths are coming up — very pretty.

Devon

Fri. March 29, 2013: Working towards the Weekend

Friday, March 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

This is the big Easter weekend for many people. I don’t celebrate Easter any more, so I’m just going to use it as a chance to rest, renew, and hopefully get some work done in the garden!

Actually, I’ll be working on props and final ideas for the show, and trying to focus on the book, but that’s something completely different! 😉

Worked flat out yesterday, but didn’t feel as though I got very far. Got out materials for Confidential Job #1, started the next project for them, worked with students, got some pitches out, worked on contest entries, spent some time with the script, and dealing with some last-minute stuff with the show. Wrote and submitted an article.

I’ve got some pitches to do today — I got some ideas. There are two essays I want to work on this weekend, ready to go on Monday, I hope.

I’m ready for March to be done — it’s been a very difficult month. I’m hoping April “springs” to life with all kinds of wonderful possibilities. I’ve got some exciting things in the works — let’s hope they come to fruition!

Have a joyful weekend, everyone!

Devon

Published in: on March 29, 2013 at 7:05 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde

So I’m writing along, feeling pretty good about the book, and up comes an issue that I wasn’t sure how to address in it. Again, if the protagonists were the age they’re struggling to be, it wouldn’t be an issue. But since they are younger, and the target market is younger, I struggled to find an appropriate way to handle it. So I emailed a friend who has kids in that age range to ask what she, as a parent, would be comfortable with. Ultimately, I think I picked the wrong material for this age group, and I’m not handling it the right way for the age group, which could come back and bite me in the butt. I can’t gut it and start over, and I don’t think these situations would work for the 8-12 age range (even though they are much savvier than I was at that age).

I had a chat with the publisher and sent the first few chapters. He agrees that it’s too old for his target market. However, he really, really liked what he read. He suggested that I reframe the book as an adult novel, told by the adult character as the memory of the summer that changed her life. He couldn’t publish it, but he invited me to resubmit something else next February, when he considers new material, and he doesn’t think this particular story should be “younged down.” I tried what he suggested — in addition to make the characters fourteen instead of twelve — makes all the difference in the world. So I’ll keep plugging away at this, a few pages a day, and prepare to start the play that’s due at the end of March.

During all this, I somehow managed to kill the coffee maker onsite. I am paranoid about making sure it is unplugged and turned off before I leave — unlike mine, at home, this one doesn’t have an Idiot Switch (pardon me, “automatic shutoff). Well, I was the idiot who needed the switch and burned the damn thing. Fortunately, I found a model close to the one here, but a little bit fancier, so I replaced it and left a note with deep apologies. Hopefully, it will be all right. To say I am mortified is an understatement.

The year-long intensive at Savvy Authors has gone live; course and application information are available here. I already had applicants in the first three hours, so it’s filling up fast.

I read a book I was really excited about on poisonous plants, and was left with a feeling of irritation. And no, not from any leaves touching my skin. Now, I’ve worked with various poisonous plants for various reasons for years, and studied them. I am very, very careful. And there are beautiful, popular garden plants found in many people’s gardens which, under certain circumstances, can be dangerous. I know rhododendron can be dangerous, but I’m not putting it in my salad. I KNOW every part of a lily is toxic, but I’m not grinding it up and putting it in my soup. And when the author started talking about the toxic properties of CORN . . .overkill. I checked everything I want to plant against the list of Prohibited Plants in the state, and nothing I want to have is on it (although I’m kind of surprised at some of the ones that are — and aren’t. Forget-me-nots and coltsfoot are banned in MA). I’m going to be careful, treat each plant as an individual, if precautions need to be used in case of wandering cat or dog (I was pretty careful in what I ordered), I’ll take them, but I’m not going to live in fear of my azaleas. I will RESPECT them, but not fear them.

Sunday morning, I was jolted awake at 4 AM by an alarm going off. My first thought was smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm. The dog, however, was unconcerned, so I was pretty sure that it wasn’t a fire. Then, I realized the power was out. Turns out the ADT alarm system goes nuts when the power goes off. I didn’t know the Special Secret Code to make it shut up (only how to arm and disarm it, and no, it is not the same code). So I made one up and it worked. I was rooting around looking for the account number and the name and number of the power company when everything kicked back on.

I went back to bed, but couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning. I finally dozed off and woke up later than I meant to, so I spent the morning running around like an idiot, making sure everything was all settled at the site.

Packed the car, made sure my mom was settled at HER site job, and hit the road by 11:30. Traffic was awful, the Idiot Quotient was terribly high. I know, I should talk after killing a coffee pot, but still — 35 mph is not an acceptable speed for the Merritt or I-95 unless something is wrong with your car (in which case, put on your hazards and I will be appropriately sympathetic), or there’s bad weather or more traffic than we had. Driving 35 mph on a highway because that’s the only speed you’re comfortable with means you shouldn’t be on a highway.

Stopped at Old Saybrook. No Adirondack chairs. 😦 But I found two gorgeous glass vases, one in blue, one in amber, a lovely tray, and a lovely silver necklace that’s in the shape of sand dollar with a starfish etched into it. The whole lot was $6, so I think I got a good deal, and the glass looks gorgeous on the mantel.

Stopped at My Very Favorite Gas Station in Rhode Island (hey, gas is up to $3.63 in NY — no way), filled up, and headed home. I was so happy to cross the line into MA, even happier to hit the Sagamore Bridge, and over the moon when I hit the garage door opener of my own little house.

The cats were pretty thrilled, too. They were fine, they’d had fun with my mom, but they were glad to see me.

Huge stack of mail to go through, a lovely gift from a good friend (she made it for me — I’m thrilled), and, yes, more seeds! The seeds arrived from Johnny’s and Territorial. They have to be logged and then I’ll have to sort them to figure out what needs to be started when for Memorial Day planting.

Lots of settling in and reorganizing and catching up today. I need to run some errands, but want to wait until the snow (yes, we have MORE snow) stops. I got my membership card from Mass Horticulture, and my ticket to the Boston Garden show (a group of us are going up for the day in a mini-bus). Something GREEN to look forward to.

And Costume Imp is planning his next visit.

All good.

Devon

Published in: on February 21, 2011 at 8:18 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , ,