Tues. June 21, 2022: Creativity in Multiple Directions

image courtesy of Chris Martin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)

Cloudy and pleasant

Friday turned out to be an up and down workday. I spent some time working the class I’m teaching in August, preparing both the Topic Workbook for it and the PowerPoint. Some of my examples have not aged well over the past couple of years, so I’m switching them out.

I hopped onto Pages on Stages to do some updates, and it was an absolute mess. The posts page had somehow detached from News & Updates. Most of the time, I got the white screen of death when I tried to get on or switch pages.

I was lucky to land some excellent techs at A2Hosting, and together, we spent a couple of hours sorting it out. I am very grateful, and told them directly, and on social media. Hey, if I’m going to moan on social media when a company is awful, I have the obligation to praise when a company comes through.

I need to put up a media room page on that site eventually, with links to productions.

I did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It started raining when I left (on foot). I almost turned back, but it stopped within two minutes, so I continued.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. My Llewellyn contract came through, so I’m good to go on that article after 4th of July weekend.

I’m playing with a very dark idea for an anthology call edited by a friend. I don’t know if I can pull it off within word count by deadline, but I will try.

Reading an article in THE NEW YORKER about a new production of HAMLET spawned an idea for a new project that mashes up two genres that seem weird, but just might work. I have to finish what I’m working on first, though, before I hie off on anything else. I made some notes, to capture characters and energy, and now that project has to wait its turn.

Tessa started howling at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday. I moved to the sewing room, but she was not mollified. We no longer leave her food down at night for her 2 AM snack, because the others are eating it, and Willa is putting on too much weight. However, Madame Tessa Is Not Amused. She wants her 2 AM snack.

Got the proof done on “Personal Revolution”, fixed a couple of formatting things, and it is out. The re-release happens June 28. Once I get links and stuff, there will be a push for it.

Now, I have to decide what’s the next Digital Delight to come off Smashwords and switch over to D2D. Probably “Severance.” I want a new cover for that, too. Or maybe I’ll take down “Plot Bunnies” and put it up with the next Twinkle Tavern piece that hasn’t yet released, “Labor Intensive.”

Headed to the Farmers’ Market. I didn’t need much, but made the rounds to chat with the vendors; ran into people I knew from other spaces, such as the library, and we were chatting as to how it’s often hard to place people out of context. You know that you know them from somewhere. . .

Quick grocery shop from the store. Didn’t need much. Home, put it all away, lugged 66 pounds of cat litter up the stairs (Chewy delivery).

Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to put together the kitchen island cart I ordered. I wasn’t even close to finishing after 6 hours (it’s supposed to take 2 people 70 minutes). The directions were incomplete, so I had to hunt for another set online. The drawings aren’t detailed enough with some of the pieces, so then I had to find various videos of similar pieces to figure out the details, so I wouldn’t put something on incorrectly and have to take it apart again.  And the design is so poor that, by following the directions, I had no room to maneuver the tools needed to tighten the next thing in the directions. Very frustrating.

If I ever get it put together, I think it will be a decent piece, though.

Used bounty from the Farmers’ Market to make a pasta primavera in Alfredo sauce (and used our own basil for it).

Started reading a biography of Balzac, before I go and re-read some of the novels.

By evening, every damn thing hurt and I went to bed ridiculously early. I slept well, dreaming of various gardens, which was rather nice.

Worked on an ad and other promotional materials for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” on Sunday. Started getting the pre-order buy links. I’m adding them onto the various websites as I get them. The release is holding to June 28.

Played with some other graphic tools to try to get comfortable. Since I can’t seem to do all of what I need with any single tool, I’m learning how to mix and match bits of what I want to do in different programs to get to the whole. It’s actually less irritating that trying to figure out a single program.

Made a logo for the project inspired by the article yesterday. If THAT’s not putting the cart before the horse and all, right? But it gave me an excuse to play with learning something new.

Worked on the newsletter. If you haven’t yet signed up for it, you can do so here. It will go out later this week. And, hint – in the newsletter, I reveal what The Big Project is really all about! So if you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been yapping about for months, calling it “the Big Project” you will find out before the hoi-polloi.

I created a bunch of ads for the Big Project, too, and they are really cool. I’m having way too much fun creating these ads. I’m trying to capture the voice of the piece in the ads.

One of the best things I started doing is opening a new document for the upcoming newsletter and adding information on projects over the course of the quarter. That way, I don’t have to scramble to remember what I did, and what I want to talk about.

Made more vegetable stock. Because buying all these vegetables from the market means I have lots of bits and bobs left over for stock. Not at a zero waste kitchen yet, but working on it.

Most of the day was spent on working on things around The Big Project, which will save me time and effort once it launches in July. It was a lot of fun.

I couldn’t face the kitchen island cart on Sunday. I needed the time away.

Slept well Sunday into Monday. Got caught up on some blogging, and blogged ahead. There’s a post on healing over on the GDR site, if you’re interested.

Planted some of the borage seeds and more cat grass. Got through nearly 400 emails. Sent out two LOIs. Worked on an anthology story.

The Authors Guild is doing a Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival this September over in Lenox, which is close by. Well, okay, about an hour, but just about everything is at least an hour away. They sent me an invite to attend, and I accepted. It’s in the calendar. I mean, if the COVID numbers are way up again at that point, I’ll cancel, but I know the venue, and they have good protocols in place. I’m hoping it will be safe to attend. I’m sure I’ll be masked, no matter what.

Since I didn’t have any scripts in my queue, I spent the afternoon on the porch, reading the next book for review. This morning, I will send off the review, and hopefully get assigned the next book before my editor goes on vacation.

Made a sausage pasta for dinner, and it was yummy. We have plenty of leftovers for the week (most of them pasta).

The B plotline has switched with the A plotline in the anthology story. It makes it a quieter story, and I hope the editor doesn’t feel it no longer fits the tone of the overall anthology. We’ll see. It’s for a created world, so it’s not like I could use it anywhere else if it’s rejected, not without major, major re-envisioning. But trying to force it the other way wasn’t working. All I can do is send in the best piece I can to this point, and then get notes on it, and apply them.

The other anthology story I need to get out by the end of the month is percolating in the back of my brain. I’ll be making the bed or chopping onions, sorting through plot possibilities: If I do A, with D work, or should I go with E? That type of thing. Hopefully, once the shared world story is out, I will have figured out enough of the other piece to just sit down and draft.

Slept well last night, although I woke up about every two hours (similar to what I was doing last year at this time). By 3 AM, Charlotte and Tessa were fussing. They woke me from a dream where I was temping at a company. I’d brought in blueberry muffins. Their kitchen/breakroom was stacked high with empty/used takeout containers and dirty dishes. They told me to clean the kitchen. I told them I was there to type, not be the maid. They laughed and said they couldn’t get any of the wives to come in and clean. I told them maybe they should stop being sexist and  learn to clean up after their own damn selves.

That definitely happened to me more than once in my temping years, but I didn’t recognize this company or these people. Something about the dream made me think it took place in Chicago, and I never temped in Chicago. New York, Westchester, San Francisco, Seattle, yeah. Chicago, no.

I moved to the couch. Charlotte settled on top of me, Tessa rummaged. I dozed off and dreamed about more boxes (echoes of the move, no doubt). Willa woke me around 5:30, telling me she was Very Hungry, so I got up and fed them.

Plenty to do today, even without scripts in the queue, although I hope some more show up, so I can make my goal this pay period.

Last year today was the day the movers were supposed to show up and did not. I am glad we are where we are (and that it isn’t as hot as it was at this point last year, either).

I have every intention of enjoying the Summer Solstice, even though it’s supposed to rain.

Have a good one.

Wed. June 15, 2022: A Magical Garden Day

Berkshire Botanical Garden. Photo by Devon Ellington

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Yesterday was one of those lovely, precious summer days. It was warm, but not hot and humid; clear and sunny.

We left the house early and drove down to Stockbridge, to the Berkshire Botanical Garden. It was truly magical, beautiful, and wonderful. I posted some of the photos on my Instagram account, which cross-posted on Twitter, FB, and Tumblr, so if you follow me on any of those accounts, you’ll see them.

Again, as so often happens here, there was an art installation integrated into the space. This one was called “Symbiosis” and was both in the gallery, and pieces out and about in the garden.

My mom is 97, and likes traditional art. She always complains that she doesn’t understand modern art. And yet, when she experiences these installations having to do with the relationship to nature, she gets excited about them and loves them. It’s a lot of fun.

We took our time wandering the gardens, enjoying the magic of it, the different areas, and designs. I did an impromptu meditation on a carved wooden bench under a tree.

I found some borage seeds in the store. It’s late to start them, and I won’t use the entire packet, but I will plant some on the next planting day (which is actually today).

We want to go back in August, when everything will be in full bloom, and again in the autumn, before they close for the season. I would like, on a day that’s not too hot and humid, to go on my own with a notebook and write a piece of flash fiction in each of the different areas. I might need more than one day for that!

We took our time driving back, enjoying the day. I stopped at a grocery store I hadn’t yet tried, because heaven forbid I drive past a grocery store and not check it out. Got some lovely peaches and blueberries.

Although we came back early enough where I “could have” put in an afternoon dedicated to work, I chose not to. I read, out on the front porch, and played with some ideas. I wrote in my head quite a bit, and that should help me when I hit the page this morning.

Did the tarot reading from the Mystic Mondays new moon/full moon book (with that deck, of course), and it was right on the nose. Now, to follow through on the advice. Did a very simple full moon ritual at night.

Didn’t sleep as well last night as I had the past few nights, but we’re coming into the anniversary of crunch time in last year’s move, so time and energy needs to focus on separating sense memory stress from present day stress.

Up early and out the door to the laundromat. Got another chunk of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER done. It’s slow going, because of paying attention to every word, but it will be worth it. I’m shocked (and a little embarrassed) by how much sloppy language still exists in this draft. But that’s the purpose of multiple drafts. I have an editor interested in taking a look, so, as soon as I finish this draft, off it goes. It’s already gotten a pass from another editor who said that the conversations about racism and the way the characters are still masking and talking about the pandemic make it a difficult sell. Which I respect, but both those elements are important to both the book and the series, so that publisher isn’t the right fit (she saw the synopsis, sample pages, and a series overview – this other editor wants to see the full draft).

My keyboard is being wonky today, which is irritating. I can’t afford this computer to take a dive. It’s only two years old, and it’s cosseted as though it was sentient, so there’s no excuse, except that PCs suck.

Anyway, it’s back to the page for me, along with some house-and-hearth stuff. If I get enough done early enough in the day, I might try to start putting the kitchen island cart together. Or, I might leave it for the weekend.

Today is the 1st anniversary of getting the keys for this place, when we drove out the first load of stuff, took measurements, and started planning where we’d put things. I am so grateful we are here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015: After Being Under the Weather, Coming Back Up

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Quite the week! I hope all of you had a great holiday.

Thursday night, I relaxed at home, and did some reading and writing. Cooked a chicken-and-zucchini dish that turned out really well. Friday, I spent most of the day doing garden work — including rescuing three sad-looking cucumber plants from the sale rack of a local garden store. They’re replanted, and doing well. Did some mowing, too! The borage and the morning glories are in bloom, along with the Shasta daisies, and the Hollyhocks are still going strong.

Friday night, I cooked a stuffed eggplant dish that was really good.

Saturday morning, I was up very early, and out the door by 7 AM to get over the bridge before the traffic got bad. There wasn’t much traffic, although the PowWow was set up at the Fairgrounds — good reminder that I couldn’t take the Bourne Bridge to come back, although there wasn’t a problem going over. Traffic coming on-Cape was already bad.

I was one of the first ones there, and I sat and worked on a short story while I waited. I helped set up the hospitality tent, and then worked the booth for awhile. I had to leave at noon.

The parade was terrific. I’ve marched in parades in New York, such as the Labor Day Parade, and, of course, if you work on Broadway, eventually you’re on something that’s participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — quite different than the local parade going down Main Street in Buzzards Bay! It was wonderful. People were really creative and having fun and throwing candy — hilarious. The Dive Shop, with their Pirate Ship and the Buzzards Bay Buccaneers, was a highlight.

CanalFest itself was quite good, better than I expected. And tons of people. I hope it did well for NMLC.

By the time I came home, I had chills and a fever. Not sure where that came from. I cancelled out of the afternoon and evening commitments and rested.

Traditional hamburger dinner on Saturday night — good fun.

The fireworks on Saturday night, in this neighborhood were awful. The idiots behind me (who certainly aren’t qualified to use explosives) set off such large explosives that a clock fell off the wall, glasses rattled on the shelves (fortunately, cabinet doors kept them from smashing), and the poor cats, especially Tessa, were terrified.

Not only that, but the debris littered our yard. We found crap all over the yard, the deck, the roof, including spent shells. The blue jays dislodged some bigger stuff from the trees the next morning. We were lucky the house and yard didn’t catch fire.

Our guests, who were expected on Sunday, postponed, which was a good thing, since I still felt awful on Sunday. After a consultation, I was told to go to bed and stay there for a few days.

Sunday night, more idiot fireworks.

Monday, I cheated and mowed some more, then did work on the piece set in 1938. The research I’m doing is enriching it enormously, and I’m pleased with the overall shape. But I did “rest” a lot!

Tuesday, I finished the mowing — I’m finally caught up, at least for the moment! I also went to the bookstore and bought some freshly released books: SPELLCASTING IN SILK by Juliet Blackwell, FATAL RESERVATIONS by Lucy Burdette, FLIGHT FROM DEATH by Yasmine Galenorn, and A MURDER OF MAGES by Marshall Ryan Maresca.

Since I was on “bedrest” — well, I was out on the deck on the bench — I read SPELLCASTING IN SILK first — love the Lily Ivory series. I’m interested in the character arcs growing throughout the series. I’m a big fan of Blackwell’s writing anyway. I also read most of FATAL RESERVATIONS, which was also fun.

I also tried to resolve some plot problems in the contemporary theatre piece.

Wednesday, I spent a good chunk of the day prepping a radio play for submission, and doing some work on a New Adult piece that I started awhile ago and put aside. It has some structural problems that need to be resolved so it can go back into the writing queue.

I read FLIGHT FROM DEATH, which I really liked — and I’m excited by Galenorn’s new Whisper Hollow series, which debuts in November. I read the first chapter, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Up early today. I’m feeling a little better, although the ear infection is still bothering me, and that affects my balance. A co-worker will be out all week because she fractured her ankle — she’s having a bad run of it, health-wise this year. It will be a busy at work, both today and tomorrow, but then I’m off again for the weekend, and can finish getting well. I’m not going to Tango tonight — not feeling well enough, and my balance is too messed up to be able to dance in heels.

Next week will be very busy — working the week, including the Saturday “on”, and also, we have a staff day on the Tuesday, which is usually my day off, but I’m doing it any way.

I think I’ve almost figured out the next bit of BALTHAZAAR, the part that wasn’t quite working, so I can get back to writing it.

I have Spectacle of the Trees stuff to do, the upcoming Christmas in July, Mermaid Ball stuff, and Casino night stuff. Also, I want to rearrange my office some more, and get more stuff sorted and purged. Hopefully, I’ll feel well enough to get back to it shortly.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Devon

Published in: on July 9, 2015 at 11:52 am  Comments Off on Thursday, July 9, 2015: After Being Under the Weather, Coming Back Up  
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