Tues. May 30, 2023: Climbing The Mountain That is This Week

image courtesy of James Wheeler via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

How was your holiday weekend (if you live somewhere that had one)? Ready for our catch-up?

Today’s serial episode is Legerdemain:

Episode 89: Gloria’s Opening Night

Shelley refuses to be distracted by a mysterious man’s attention on her sister-in-law’s opening night.

Legerdemain Serial Link

Legerdemain Website Link

Friday’s errands went better than expected: picked up some good stuff at the library. Picked up my mother’s prescription. Did a better-than-expected grocery shop within the budget. Mailed my residency contract. Picked up a bottle of wine.

The damn beeping heavy machinery over at the college made me want to explode. It’s been months. If I had that kind of equipment? I could have painted the whole thing in a week. They’re just dragging it out for money and the college lets them because they’re sulking about not being allowed to turn one of the dorms into a homeless shelter and getting 2.6 million from the State – money which  should, instead, go to the families so they can, you know, actually get OUT of homelessness. So now the college is just being an asshole, trying to be as lousy a neighbor as possible.

In the Westchester Archives Playland Photographs collection, I found a sketch artist named Dorothy Dwin, who had a concession. People would pay her to sit and sketch them. I believe it was part of the WPA’s Federal Arts Program (you’ll see why in a minute). I tried to research her. I found her in the 1940 census. She lived on Lexington Ave. in NYC, as “head of household” although she’s listed as married, but she was the only one in the apartment. She was 37 then (which meant she was 32 in the Playland photograph). Her profession is listed as artist, and as part of the WPA. She was born in Russia, and was a naturalized citizen, and had lived at that address since 1935 (that was a question then, where one lived 5 years ago). She is not in the 1930 census, at least not as far as I’ve found, Nor does she show up in the 1950 Census (although she could have remarried)? There are 24 of her sketches in the National Gallery in DC, but I didn’t find any information about her, so I emailed them.

She resembles one of my Playland Painters. I cropped the photo, and ran that, with her photo, through facial recognition software. I got a 70% hit on one program and an 18% hit on another, so it’s unlikely they are the same person. The hairstyle is similar, but they could both just be fashionable. And the smile is somewhat similar.

Saturday morning, I got my National Archives research credentials set up, because I hoped to find something in the WPA files, but I’m not sure how to search them. It’s not logical; it’s red-tapey. Hey, big surprise.

I did a search through the digital collections of the New York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York, and NYPL’s digital collection. The only thing that came up with at NYPL, in the correspondence of literary agent Emma Mills (who died in 1956), and her papers from 1920-1956 are in the collection. But there weren’t any details (in-person only access) and it might just be coming up relating to “Godwin” or “Edwin” and not actually Dorothy Dwin. Emma’s correspondence sounds fantastically interesting, but I’d need to set up in NYC for a few weeks, and I just can’t do that on something that might be a wild goose chase.

But then, THEN, I just put Dorothy’s name in the general archive record  at the National Archives– and found out that she changed her name on June 10, 1930 to Dorothy Dwin from Dorothy Golden. And she lived in Brooklyn in 1930. First the age says “34” but it was crossed out and replaced with “27.” So why did she change her name? And “Dwin” is unusual.

Tracking her back as Dorothy Golden to the 1930 census in Brooklyn, I found her by using the address on her change of name petition, at that age/birth year – married to a taxi driver named Benjamin, who was from Poland. On top of that, Dorothy was not born in Russia, as it says in the 1940 census – she was born in New York, and her parents were from Hungary. On top of that, she had a 2-year-old son named Howard.  I don’t know why she left her husband and son, complete with legal name change, but there’s some serious re-invention involved.

Moving forward to the 1940 census, I found Howard, now 12, living with his father Benjamin, still a taxi driver. They are now in Queens. Benjamin is married to a younger woman named Bettsy, from Romania.

In the 1950 census, Howard is still living at home. He’s 23 now. He’s a “Wholesale Ladies Dressman.” His dad Benjamin, now 45, is now an auto accessories salesman at a gas station. This time, the wife is listed as “Betty” and was supposedly born in Russia. I found an obituary for a Howard Allen Golden, born in 1928, died in South Amboy, New Jersey in April 2014, but there’s very little information in it, other than he died as an inpatient in the Perth Amboy hospital, the visiting and funeral information.

It’s all fascinating.

I wish I knew Dorothy’s maiden name. I have not yet been able to find the marriage records between her and Benjamin. I might have to go to the library next week to use Ancestry.

Anyway, Friday afternoon, I turned around two client projects. I also made notes on some stuff for the Heist Romance script. I’m starting to doubt myself in some POV areas – I’ve kept the POV of the script pretty tight on Ben – we’re on Ben’s journey here. But I’m wondering if I should open it up to others, especially Tara’s. But it feels wrong. So I’ll trust myself for this draft, and then play with it.

Trying to figure out that memorial scene for FALL FOREVER. I need to come up with a unique memory/anecdote around Lily for each character to share (and it has to be succinct, but in their unique cadence).

Saturday, I had to run out and get ink again.

I unpacked a couple of boxes, and found some interesting stuff, but not what I was looking for. I washed various pieces throughout the weekend, and decided what to put up and what to pack away again.

I was looking through the Cornelia True and Roman Gray stories, starting with “The Ramsey Chase” which needs to be re-released, and then “Miss Holton Apologizes” and then the third story have to be finished and released. They are very similar in tone to India Holton’s trilogy and a few other things that are selling well right now. They were ahead of their time. So I need to get my act together and get them out there while the market wants them.

I went through some old scripts. Some need to be retired; they are beyond help. But I found two: PARALLEL-O-GAME and MODERN CREATION MYTHS that are mostly solid, though unfinished – and without outlines. I need to spend some quality time with them and figure out where to go next, even if it’s different from the original intent. They go in the queue after the scripts that need to be finished, and the drafts that need to be polished.

I read India Holton’s THE WISTERIA SOCIETY OF LADY SCOUNDRELS, which was a lot of fun. And Erica Bauermeister’s NO TWO PERSONS, which is hauntingly beautiful.

I found more of my photos from the Playland Boardwalk Museum, which was opened in 1998 until the Westchester Children’s Museum took over the space. I contacted WCM last week, so hopefully, they can tell me what happened to that collection.

Up early on Sunday and baked biscuits.

I’ve been trying to get into the 1925 Census (which was a state census rather than a federal one) to see if Dorothy and Benjamin already lived in Brooklyn, but no luck so far.

I may have to go to the public library this week and search via Ancestry.

Wrote 23 script pages on the Heist Romance. They’ve been kidnapped to find the treasure and Tara has negotiated a contract for the treasure hunt. Because she’s not doing it for free or for threat.

I hung up summer sheer curtains in my bedroom. Tried to hang a painting and it didn’t work. I think the frame’s warped through all the decades of carting it around the country (it was painted by my college roommate back in the 80’s). Got some of the painting done on the windchimes. Hung up a summer curtain by the back door (it looked very bare without the winter fleece). Put away the flannel sheets and the winter curtains. Washed a bunch of stuff I’d unpacked, and am slowly finding homes for these things.

It was in the mid-80’s, but because there wasn’t much humidity, it was pleasant. Tessa stayed on the porch all day. Read India Holton’s THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEWOMEN WITCHES, which was delightful.

Watched BULLET TRAIN in the evening. What a hot mess. A good example of style over substance. Whatever writer came in to punch up the dialogue in the Lemon and Tangerine scenes did an excellent job – the comic beats built well and landed, without losing the heart underneath. And it was obvious those scenes were doctored by a different writer; they played like they were from a different movie. But there were too many tangents overall, and moving the reason for the big climactic sequence (The Elder vs. The White Death, the different views of family) from subplot into main narrative drive was clunky. There were too many throwaway scenes to give Brad Pitt screen time to do what’s become his signature schtick lately. The action scenes went on too long in every case, and the casual violence was lingered over each time a few beats too long, making it “look what we did!” instead of keeping it as casual violence that’s ingrained in the characters. Adding in the Wolf and the Hornet subplot was a tangent. Other than Pitt’s character being peripheral to the wedding sequence (without ever elaborating why he was there), it could have been cut without hurting anything. It felt like it was in there to add diversity for the sake of diversity, not to layer in the plot. The actors gave it their all, though – nobody phoned it in, and one could tell they were having fun. It touched on a lot of the tropes in train/chase movies, but again, didn’t do enough with them.

However, I learned a lot about what I don’t want to do in my own work.

Sandra Bullock’s cameo (which she did in exchange for Brad Pitt’s cameo in THE LOST CITY) was fun, and the genuine friendship they have with each other offscreen reads well onscreen. Channing Tatum had a cameo (which was also funny, but unnecessary and such a small sub-sub-plot it didn’t matter if it was cut or left in), and Ryan Reynold’s quick bit of a cameo was  in return for Pitt’s cameo in DEADPOOL 2. It’s a lot of fun to have those crossover cameos, and I probably wouldn’t have even watched BULLET TRAIN if I didn’t want to see the exchange cameo Bullock did for Pitt. I’m curious if the Tatum cameo was written specifically for him to be part of it, or if that just seemed like a fun place to put him, for those few lines.

The premise of Pitt’s character caught up by accident when he steps in for another agent who called in sick (and the agent was one of the White Death’s targets) was funny, but it didn’t fulfill the promise of the premise.

Up early on Monday. Wrote 13 pages of the Heist Romance script. Polished, uploaded, and scheduled 8 episodes of ANGEL HUNT, which gets me into early July. Adapted another ANGEL HUNT chapter into four serial episodes. I’m hitting a point where I have to insert some material for continuity’s sake; I started an arc that needs to be fulfilled. Not sure where I’ll put it yet. Uploaded and scheduled the promos for this week’s Legerdemain and Angel Hunt episodes where I could.

Finished painting the windchimes. Once they dried, we started setting up the Enchanted Garden on the back balcony. It still needs more work, as we add plants and hanging baskets, but it looks pretty. It’s a nice, peaceful space, and we will enjoy it this summer.

I turned around a client project, so that I wouldn’t be so overloaded with work today. I started reading my friend’s book that I promised to blurb, and got about half way through it.

Supposedly, there is a debt ceiling deal. It’s not as bad as I expected, although the Republicans, as usual, got too much. However, they are trying to stall and whine and drive us over the deadline cliff anyway. This is why bipartisanship is dead, and there can be no more capitulation to them: they pretend to “compromise” and then get everything they want, while still destroying as much as possible, and not living up to their side of the bargain.

They’ve held the country hostage with intent to take the ransom and kill the hostages anyway. On a very literal level.

The Democrats need to stop negotiating with terrorists, and Republicans are terrorists. There’s no such thing as a moderate or ethical Republican anymore.

Reading about what’s happening on Cape Cod, we got out just in time. There was a shooting over the weekend at the beach down the street from where I used to live. People are being forced into homelessness in order to make room for short-term summer renters. Someone I know there told me bridge traffic off Cape yesterday took up to six hours. People are being forced out of dune shacks their families have leased and poured money into for decades so the National Parks Service can rent them to gentrifiers.

Another beautiful place destroyed by greed.

Watched THE BOOK CLUB last night, with Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and Mary Steenburgen. It was cute, although I felt the third act was rushed.

Barely got any sleep, because Charlotte had anxiety all night and woke me up every 20 minutes, wanting reassurance. Of course, now she’s curled up fast asleep, and I’m wrecked.

I’ve got a large workload this week, partially because I’m expecting the Republicans to destroy everything (again). I hope I am wrong; being wrong will take the pressure off me for next weekend. Since I didn’t really take the holiday weekend (much as I encouraged everyone else to do so), I hope to get some rest next weekend. If we’re not driven over the debt cliff, and I can actually take the weekend, I want to get some more plants for the Enchanted Garden on Saturday and sleep most of Sunday.

But next weekend is a long way away, and I have to get through this week first.

On today’s agenda: draft an episode of Legerdemain, work on the Llewellyn pieces, work on the flash fiction for the art call, finish my friend’s book so I can blurb it, turn around three client projects, and do the social media rounds for today’s Legerdemain episode. I also have to get tomorrow’s Process Muse post polished, uploaded, and scheduled, and get to work on the June posts. I’m not sure I’ll make it to yoga this afternoon, although I desperately need it. And get some filing done! I’m falling behind, and that will bite me in the butt if I’m not careful.

Have a good one.

Thurs. May 11, 2023: Keeping On Keeping On

image courtesy of Engin Akyurt via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Waning Moon

Mercury and Pluto Retrograde

You can read the latest garden shenanigans here, on Gratitude and Growth.

As of today, this country declares the COVID pandemic over, which is ridiculous, untrue, and will cost more lives. The only reason is to force workers back into unsafe situations and allow insurance companies to charge more. The CDC and Rochelle Walensky failed us. And now, she’s tiptoeing away and not taking responsibility for selling out the general population to corporations. I was so excited when she was named, and she was a huge (and dangerous) disappointment. May she reap what she has sown.

Today’s serial episode is from Legerdemain:

Episode 84: Jae’s Theory

Jae’s belief that Brone is a pawn could have repercussions beyond Legerdemain.

Legerdemain Serial Link

Legerdemain Website

I belong to a virtual book club hosted by my university. More men than women participate in the club (which surprised me). It means that, whenever a book choice is voted on, books by men tend to get priority. I was deeply discouraged in the current choice list for autumn’s read: two books by women, one by a man, and he’s leading the votes. He is the most well-known author, but still. . .I’m going to read the two books by the women on my own. It’s not that I won’t read his book because of his gender; I will, because I’m interested in it. I just notice how the votes skew, month after month.

I did the social media rounds for The Process Muse, and then, later in the day, for ANGEL HUNT.

I’m still having problems with the Pages On Stages website. It doesn’t come up when I put it in the search bar. I can sign in and work on it: I just can’t see it. My webhost sees it just fine. It’s something in my Chrome settings. When I followed directions to clear the caches, WordPress wouldn’t let me sign into anything, claiming I blocked all cookies. I had to go back and change that. I can get in and work on my other sites now, but still not see Pages on Stages. I’m frustrated.

I got a bit of work done on the Legerdemain site. Not enough, but at least something. I have a LOT of work to do on that site, and I’m hoping that I can do some of it next week. I thought I had the history of Legerdemain written and ready to go, but then a throwaway comment in the episode I drafted yesterday needs to be integrated into it, and I need to write up the Enrique Macallen pirate story.

As I mentioned, I drafted an episode of Legerdemain.

Client work in the afternoon; finished earlier than expected (although I got a request for some additional information from one that I will do today).

Finished reading Cherie Priest’s FLIGHT RISK, which was a lot of fun. Need to start the Elizabeth Siddal biography, which has to go back to the library soon. I was percolating an idea for something built around her, but there’s a slew of projects in various pipelines about her right now, so I will sit back and enjoy them instead. (In case you’ve never heard of Elizabeth Siddal, she was a primary muse for the Pre-Raphaelites).

Put up the new string lights on the front porch. They’re very pretty, and it’s nice to sit there as twilight moves into darkness.

Slept through the night, until the cats rousted me out of bed this morning. Most of the poem for July’s event has formed in my brain, and I woke up knowing how it would flow. I scribbled it down in my “Poetry Adventures” notebook. When I get my starting word, I can write a couple of transition lines, and I’ll still be within the time limit, I think. Before I send it off, I’ll read it a few times with a stopwatch, and make any necessary trims. I mean, I’ll work it and rhythm it and hone it more between now and then, but at least I’m not starting from scratch when I get my opening word, and I can weave it in. Writing the poem in 24 hours is a challenge I met last year; this year, I want to prepare better, now that I understand the overall event.

Figures July’s poem would come at me, when I need to work on the poem I’ll read in a week and a half!

I want to draft another episode of Legerdemain today, and I have to get next week’s episodes uploaded and scheduled. I might go back and add something into yesterday’s episode (the one I wrote, not one already scheduled/dropped). I was going to put that exchange into today’s, but maybe it will work better in yesterday’s? Once I work on today’s episode, I’ll know.

Client work this afternoon, but I hope to be done early, and then that’s it for me for the week. I’ll regret it on Monday, but I don’t care for today and tomorrow!

Have to do a grocery run, a liquor store run, mail something to my insurance company by  Certified mail (because they never admit to receiving ANY paperwork unless it’s certified and when they claim they never got it, I send them a copy of the proof of delivery). Meditation this morning. All I want to do is sleep. I’m trying to pace myself a little better to deal with the fatigue. It’s waning moon, so I’ll also take iron supplements again for a few days. If I take them every day, I get sick; if I take them 3rd/4th quarter moon, about every other day, I’m usually okay. As the spring vegetables come out, I’ll round out my diet with more spinach and kale, and will start feeling better again. I haven’t watched what I eat as carefully as usual in the transition to spring, and my diet has been less healthy.

The pollen just wafts past the window in clouds. I’m making eyewashes with chamomile, and setting aside time every afternoon to lie down on the acupressure mat with a chamomile compress over my eyes. I’ll probably start using the air purifier again, too.

At some point this weekend, I’ll climb up onto whatever lets me reach it, and clean the tops of the ceiling fans. We’ll be using those soon, and I want to make sure they aren’t just stirring up more pollen and dust. Hopefully, by Sunday, it’ll be warm enough to take out some plants and set down the rugs out back.

The FALL FOREVER edits are percolating in my brain. The Heist Romance script wants attention, and CAST IRON MURDER reminds me that there are still revisions to do there. Plus the upcoming poem and the flash fiction. By next week, I have to get back on track with the next Twinkle Tavern short, “Labor Intensive.” I had a pithy name for the third one, built around President’s Day, but I didn’t write it in the file. I think it’s in my journal, so I’ll have to go back through that book and find it. And there are some other short pieces that I worked on back in February that are almost ready to go out into the world.

Plenty to keep me busy.

Have a good one!

Fri. April 28, 2023: A Weekend With Friends

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via pixabay.com

Friday, April 28, 2023

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and cold

There was frost on the car windows again this morning.

Yesterday was busy. I had meditation. Had to get some work done. Filled out my sheet to be a reader for the plays the second week of May (as a playwright whose play was chosen, part of the deal is to help with someone else’s reading; I can do at least two that week).

Made a double batch of black bean soup. Baked a Swedish visiting cake, and a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Got some ironing done – I’d washed a bunch of old napkins that came up from storage, some of which I made for the monthly dinner parties I used to give back in the 80’s, and they’re linen, so. . .ironing). Moved the plant pots out of the kitchen; some onto the porch, some stashed in the laundry room; got the chairs rearranged and put cushions on them.

I really wish I’d found the retro kitchen chairs of my dreams before the guests arrived, but this is life. We have 4 sturdy chairs, even if they don’t match and aren’t as pretty as I’d like.

Stashed some more books. Rearranged the front porch a little bit. If it’s not as cold and rainy as predicted, maybe we can sit out there. If it’s rainy, well, they haven’t fixed the leak yet.

However, the door to the back balcony is open! Yay! My neighbor across the hall managed to get it open. But it was too late (and it’s still too cold) to set up the enchanted garden back there. That has to wait until next week.

My poor friends are here when winter is receding, but the weather’s not good enough to fully enjoy the assets of this place.

Turned around two script coverages. I am done until Tuesday. If possible, I will do a light coverage week next week, so I can finish the contest entries. I was ahead on that project for a while, but have fallen behind where I want to be this week (although I’m still fine for the deadline).

Both Charlotte and Tessa slept on the bed last night. I woke up around 3:30. Tessa was by my feet, which were on my usual side of the bed. Charlotte had pushed me so that she was lying across both pillows, and I was shoved all the way to the other side of the bed. In other words, I was beyond diagonal, and almost horizontal.

Got some good ideas for the first season arc of REP while I tried to get back to sleep.

Up early this morning. Made pistachio mousse and ranch dip. Have to run out to the store for a few last-minute fresh things like baguettes and flowers, and get the garlic I forgot and the teabags and another bag of chips, because Charlotte and I got into the chips the other night. Have to pick up the wrapping paper and the baby gate.

When I get back, I’ll make devilled eggs and the chocolate glaze for the Swedish visiting cake.

If our friends aren’t here by then, I’ll do the social media rounds for Legerdemain (which I didn’t do yesterday) and Angel Hunt (Episode 28 drops today). And I’ll start entering contest scores.

I hope the weather’s better than predicted, so we can show our friends some of the really cool stuff around here. I mean, we haven’t seen them since before the pandemic, and they’ve never even met Charlotte and Willa!

Have a good one!

Beltane on Monday (and Pluto goes retrograde – ick).

Published in: on April 28, 2023 at 7:50 am  Comments (4)  
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Wed. April 26, 2023: Today I’m Prepping the Play

image courtesy of  Gordon Johnson via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I had to scrape frost off the car on my way to the laundromat.

Over on today’s Process Muse, we’re talking about Project Rewards and how to use new and shiny ideas as a reward for getting your other work done. Read and comment here.

Today’s serial is Angel Hunt:

Episode 27: Vanka Yelena Takes Charge

When Vanka Yelena intervenes in magic used against Lianna, the game is up and Lianna has to come clean to Amy and Bunny.

You can read the Angel Hunt serial here.

Polished and uploaded next week’s Process Muse post, and then went ahead and wrote, polished, and uploaded the following week’s post.

Spent some fun time on Substack Notes. I know people are grumbling about ANOTHER feed, but I enjoy it.

John Scalzi mentioned that Twitter will stop allowing WP to connect soon, for good this time. When that happens again, I’ll keep trying to lock my account and be done, at least for the moment. The frustration level at the difficulty in interactions is getting too high, and I’m losing too much time for it to make sense. I’ll step back, and revisit after a bit, to see if things have levelled out, although I don’t hold out much hope.

Instead, I’ll focus on building elsewhere.

Drafted an episode of Legerdemain. Trying to get some episodes in the bank, so that when I have to upload more in the middle of next week, I’m in good shape.

Did some development work on REP.

Did some more cleaning/tidying up.

Turned around three script coverages in the afternoon, and got them all done before I had to leave for yoga.

Yoga was great, as usual.

Picked up takeout on the way home.

Unpacked a box of cookbooks I’d brought up from storage. I’ve been in a cooking funk the past few weeks, except for soup class, so I need to get back on track with good meal planning, cooking, etc. This weekend, having guests, will get me back on track for a bit.

I mean, I don’t have anywhere near as many cookbooks or the thousands of stored digital recipes as my friend writer Chaz Brenchley, but I do have a lot of cookbooks and most of the time, I enjoy both reading them and cooking from them. But I’ve been in a food funk lately. Hopefully, when the Saturday outdoor farmer’s market starts up again, I’ll pull out of it.

Dreamed something about diamonds, so I’m assuming it has to do with the Heist Romance script tapping its inky foot, wanting attention.

Out the door early for the laundromat, scraping the frost off the windows. Got the laundry through pretty fast (only one load, and it wasn’t that big). While I was there, I did a read-through of the first 80-ish pages of FALL FOREVER, fixing the biggest problems. I finished the first pass through the draft when I got home. I filled out the information sheet for the reading. I still have to fill out the sheet for my time as a reader for someone else’s play(s).

This morning, I will put in the changes for this draft, and then I’ll have a draft that makes sense for the table read in early May. I assume I’ll have to send it out early next week. I feel like I’m being egotistical feeling okay about the read? Like I finally have enough craft so it’s not a dumpster fire in the first draft? Well, it’ll be a second draft that goes out.  I mean, I know it still needs lots of work, but there’s enough material, and some good moments between the characters, where I feel as though I won’t cringe the entire time. Which is unusual for this early a draft.

Once that’s done, today is errand day: Library, pharmacy, grocery store, Wild Oats, liquor store, finding a place to pick up some gift wrap. I have three scripts to turn around this evening, and then I have some more cleaning and rearranging to do. That back door to the balcony is not getting unjammed before the guests get here, so I have to adjust in not getting pots and some of the furniture we brought in out there yet. And I have to do the social media rounds to promote Process Muse and Angel Hunt.

The computer is giving me grief; I really hope it doesn’t give up the ghost AGAIN – it had to go out for repair last Mercury retrograde, remember? I have too much work to do, and stuff to prep so that I can enjoy the upcoming weekend.

I’m definitely taking Friday off coverage work, and I might take Monday off it, too, and just focus on finishing the contest entries.

One day at a time.

Have a good one! Tessa is back in the rocking chair in the reading corner of my office, to make sure I don’t faff off today.

Tues. April 25, 2023: First Draft Done!

image courtesy of OpenClipart-Vectors via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and chilly

It’s already Tuesday again, and time for a catch-up. I hope you had a good weekend.

Today’s serial episode is from Legerdemain.

Episode 79: Too Many Dead Priests

Shelley wonders if the Cathedral’s priests are being targeted.

Legerdemain Serial Link.

Legerdemain website link.

 I had trouble settling in to write on Friday morning, although I got a stage play script out on a submission call. I always have second thoughts about sending out material during Mercury Retrograde, but I won’t hear anything until December, so I might as well.

I did 3 ½ pages on FALL FOREVER. I hit the pivot point in the scene.

Library, grocery store, forgot the post office.

Sat down to work on Legerdemain, but received a DG survey, and that took up more time than I expected.

Noticed the 4th episode of Legerdemain I uploaded Thursday hadn’t scheduled properly, so I took care of that.

I’m tired of people on Twitter whining about their blue checks gone,  upset about people not wanting to deal with them if they pay the muskrat to keep it (hint: your audience isn’t there anymore, boo), no time to learn other platforms. Yes, it’s heartbreaking that the muskrat destroys a decade or more of daily work in a few keystrokes, especially since he’s doing it deliberately. Yes, we’ve been in mourning since he took over and began his destruction last autumn. But this is the reality. Grow the fuck up. Tech platforms age out. Am I looking forward to investing several YEARS on various social media platforms that do different things, no one central location that can replace Twitter? And take the hit in my income while I do? No. Do I need to do so as a professional? Yes. Put your big girl panties on, people. There’s no magic solution. You don’t “have” the time? Hire someone. If you don’t make the time yourself or hire someone to do it, you won’t build the following. NONE of us built our Twitter following in a minute. Okay, maybe Stephen King did, but he’s Stephen King and we’re not.

I’m equally sick of the glee other platforms take in Twitter’s death throes, but at least I’m finding people to avoid on those platforms. I mde up a little blocking song I sing as I hit the “block” button on the various platforms.

We all just need to do the work, rebuild from nearly scratch, reconnect on various platforms, and skew different things we do to different platforms. If you can afford it, hire someone, and good for you. If you can’t, you have to do it your damn self, or deal with the consequences.

That is the current reality.

Part of that reality, for me, is spending less time on Twitter, which is sometimes difficult. It was a life raft during much of the pandemic, but again, reality has shifted, and I need to deal with what’s real now, not what it used to be or what I wish it was. I wanted to lock my account, but it’s not working. It used to be a quick keystroke.

And Mercury Retrograde’s not making it any easier.

There are a lot of advertorial-type articles going around about how great Bluesky is. It’s still invitation only. I signed up the first week it was announced, and still haven’t been invited. Guess they’re inviting the big names first. If I had the energy, I’d be offended, but I have better things to do than worry about it. It’s not like I’m lacking for social media channel options!

Did the library and grocery runs. Forgot to go to the post office.

Did the social media rounds for Legerdemain and Angel Hunt.

Read the third of the books for coverage.

Found out that my friend’s dear, sweet cat is in palliative care. He is a dear soul, a gentleman, and loves and is loved by the other cats and humans around him. I am honored I got to know him and sad his time is coming.

Read the NEW YORKER on the porch and teak oiled another chair.

Finally received the payment I’ve been chasing down, so that’s all settled. It wasn’t a large payment, but it was important to me that the publication honor the contract.

Up early Saturday morning to write a few pages on FALL FOREVER. I could see the end on the horizon, coming closer.

Out the door early to get a gift for a friend’s child. Since I was out anyway, did a Target run and bought other stuff we needed.

Home, unpacked. Rearranged the laundry/storage room so it’s tidy and I can get at things. Took down the Christmas lights in the kitchen and put up the summer lanterns. Cleaned out/tidied up the sewing room so that it’s a pleasant, welcoming guest room. Cleaned/tidied Tessa’s room, so that’s also a pleasant welcoming guest room (since we have guests coming this weekend).

Cleaned the carpet in the sewing room. It looks and smells nice again.

Started reading the next book for review.

Slept decently into Sunday. Up early.  Wrote pages on FALL FOREVER. I could taste the end, so I kept pushing, wrote 15 pages, and finished a little after 10 AM. This draft is done! It needs a lot of work – I mean, A LOT of work – but the draft is done, I finished within the 30-day window, and that’s a sigh of relief. It will need cuts. It’s a little on the long side for the sweet spot for this type of play. I wrote 115 script pages in 23 days, and, except for the last day, it was at a steady, manageable pace. 3-4 pages/day is absolutely manageable, even with other stuff to do.

I had that exhausted, hollowed out feeling at the end of a big project that I always get, once the relief and elation fade away.

Had to set up the ironing board and again and ironed the summer fabric for the living room. Since it’s supposed to be rainy and cold all week, I’m not doing the full turnover until the guests leave. I won’t switch the curtains over to the summer lace panels until next week. I hung a metal and stained-glass big butterfly on the front door to cheer it up. You know me and my monthly changeover of door décor. I did this a little early. But I covered the side tables and the coffee table with a yellow and blue floral that looks like stained glass. I’d hoped the new slip covers for the chairs and the couch would be here before the guests arrive, but that’s looking less likely.

Tidied up all the nesting spots in the living room. Put away a lot of the books that stacked up around various spots. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of books in the living room, especially library books, but at least it’s tidy. I still have some more tidying up to do, and a box of cookbooks that came up from storage need to be unpacked and stashed.

Finished reading the book for review.

Yoga was wonderful. A ton of props and lots of rest. That meant I slept well, only to be jolted out of bed at 6 AM not by cats, but by the heavy machinery over at the college grinding and beeping. I mean, not only does it make life/work next to impossible during the day for the residents, but how can students study? The librarians work? Plus, they’re blocking off much needed parking space for the commuting students. All to make the building look ugly? Why?

Tessa did not speak to me when I came home from yoga Sunday night, because she had not given permission for me to leave. Charlotte waited in the window until I returned.

Still carrying that hollow, exhausted feeling at the end of a big project. If I feel this at the end of a play, imagine what I’ll feel when I finally finish Legerdemain?

Monday was about writing episode loglines for the next 4 Legerdemain episodes, creating graphics, then uploading/scheduling the Legerdemain and Angel Hunt promos for the next two weeks. That takes pressure off me, with guests coming in AND having to finish a big client project in the next couple of weeks.

Then, it was time to draft the next Legerdemain episode. I didn’t draft over the weekend, and I need more episodes in the bank.

Wrote the book review and submitted it, along with the invoice for this last batch. Was paid by the end of the day.

Caught up on some correspondence. Played with a new-to-me program that has potential, but I need to spend some serious time with it, which won’t happen until the third week of May. I like the simply toying with it I’ve done so far, and can see where it could be a useful tool. When I’ve dug in enough to make an actual decision, I’ll share more information.

I’m starting to plan/put together summer’s promotional campaign for the serials, the shorts, and the Topic Workbooks. My content calendar planning sheets are vital. And yes, they are hard copy, not digital.

Wrote up the three coverages for the books I’d read last week, but hadn’t typed up yet. It took much longer than I hoped; I even had to do some after soup class. It also meant that the two coverages I hoped to turn around after writing up the trio were pushed to today, and I have three coverages today and three tomorrow, and then two on Thursday. I’m taking Friday off from coverage because our friends are arriving.

Soup class was fun: asparagus and ramps.

Started reading the next book for review after I finished the coverages, but was too tired to get far.

Slept pretty well. I hope the damn painters over at the college are rained out the rest of the week. I’m sick of the machines constantly grinding and beeping. All to make the building uglier instead of beautiful. They’re in the middle of a vibrant arts community and are supposedly training the next generation of artists. They could have supported the creation of something beautiful instead of this.

I feel a little lost without FALL FOREVER. Part of that is because I don’t have the opportunity to rest after finishing. Three days of rest after a big project is the ideal, but right now, I don’t have the option.

On today’s agenda: Draft another episode of Legerdemain. Do the social media rounds to promote today’s episode of Legerdemain. Polish next week’s Process Muse post and get it up and scheduled. I might do a run to Wild Oats, or I might leave it until tomorrow, when I do my big round of errands. Turn around three coverages. Yoga in the evening. When I come back, work on contest entries. And more cleaning.

Hope your week’s off to a great start!

Wed. April 19, 2023: Incoming Astrological Hijinks

image courtesy of Jae Rue via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Dark Moon

Rainy and chilly

Today’s Process Muse Post talks about how readers influence future work. You can read it here.

Today’s serial is Angel Hunt. Episode 25 drops today:

Episode 25: Vanka Yelena Ask the Questions

Vanka Yelena believes the vandalism has less to do with zealots and far more to do with a personal vendetta.

You can read Angel Hunt here.

(I just realized that I didn’t upload/schedule this week’s Angel Hunt promos – that will have to happen this morning).

Yesterday, I just sort of puttered along. I wrote 3 ½ pages on FALL FOREVER. I’m at the last couple of scenes leading up to the climax of the play. I know the climactic scene, and I know the scene after, which ends the play. It’s this scene and maybe the next one that I’m not sure about. But I will show up and do the work, and get there. It’s a first draft. It has to be on the page before I can fix it.

Did a library run. I only had to drop things off, not pick anything up. I’m catching up on the stacks of books I already have. Picked up my mom’s prescription (and some oat milk; I was out of oat milk for my coffee). Stopped by the liquor store. Had to head out again because I’d forgotten to mail my first quarter taxes, which blew the chunk of writing time I’d put aside for Legerdemain.

In the afternoon, I turned around two coverages. I got three big ones in my queue, one for each remaining reading day this week, so I’m all set.

Had a reaction to something that surprised me, and realized it was a defensive reflex echoing dealing with one of the toxic bosses from my time on the Cape. Realizing the root cause helped me deal with the reaction. That is no longer my reality, and I can leave it behind, while learning from it.

Yoga was good. No surprise there. I’m glad I found this studio. Several of us had a great conversation about cooking.

Came home, had dinner, read some in a book that’s serving as background research for multiple projects.

Pulled myself out of a disturbing dream in the middle of the night, but managed to get back to sleep. It’s a combination of sense memory stress and all this eclipse/dark moon to new moon/retrograde energy. But I managed to get back to sleep without too much time or angst. There were some snowflakes coming down, but nothing stuck.

Charlotte woke me up when the coffee started, pulling back the sheet. I rousted myself pretty quickly, because I had to head out to the laundromat.

I had two loads in the big machines. Took one of the plush spreads from the guest bed because Charlotte had thrown up on it. Because, you know, we have guests coming next week, so course she’d hurl on the guest bedspread. But it’s clean and fluffy again.

I revised and edited four episodes of Legerdemain (which will be uploaded and scheduled later this week, probably tomorrow). I started revising the first three episodes of REP, but didn’t get very far, because everything was finished.

On today’s agenda: the daily pages on FALL FOREVER, another episode drafted of Legerdemain. Social media rounds to promote today’s Process Muse post and today’s episode of Angel Hunt.  Entering scores onto the contest sheets (it’s all online this year). I’ve kept up with the physical scoring sheets as I’ve read, but now I have to enter scores. This afternoon, I’ll do the first of the three big coverages.  Maybe, if I stay on top of everything and don’t faff around, I can do some more work on REP.

I also have to run some tests on an electrical socket and get in touch with maintenance. Not looking forward to that.

A local call for artists hit my desk yesterday to write a short piece inspired by a piece of art. I will stare at the piece today, at some point, for a bit, and see what it evokes. I only have to write about 500 words or so (flash fiction). I have some ideas to play with, from my first glimpse of the piece, so we’ll see.

I also need to do some more backup work on my computer, to make sure I’m ready for the Mercury Retrograde. It’s already felt like Mercury’s been in retrograde for the past few weeks (a very strong shadow, maybe?), but I want to be as prepared as possible.

Solar eclipse tonight flowing into the new moon tomorrow. Mercury Retrograde ushers in retrograde season that will stretch the rest of the year. I’m tired just thinking about it. There are a lot of squares between planets in the next few months, putting additional stress and conflict on everything.

Deep breath. Stay focused. Use the information to create as much of a peaceful environment surrounding yourself as possible, and don’t get caught up in other people’s narcissistic drama.

Have a good one.

Tues. April 18, 2023: A Productive Weekend of Scribbling

image courtesy of Queena Deng via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Day Before Dark Moon

Rainy and cold

The temperature’s already fallen 45 degrees since late last week, and they predicted snow tonight.

Did you have a good weekend? Are you ready for our usual Tuesday morning natter?

I fixed a big plot hole in Thursday’s pages on FALL FOREVER, and that allowed the scene to move forward. I wound up writing about 6 pages on Friday.

Worked on material for June’s newsletter because there’s actually material for it already.

I wrote, revised, polished, and sent off the materials for the August residency. Either they feel I’m a good fit or they don’t. And if I get something definite on one of the other applications, before I hear one way or another from this one, I’ll have to make a decision. Chances are, I’ll take the definite. If I’m offered the August slot and know early enough, then I can build other plans around it.

Did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It was pretty damn hot out there.

Turned around two script coverages.

Read PAT IN THE CITY, Patricia Fields’s memoir about her life in fashion which then turned into a career in costume design (most famously for SEX IN THE CITY). It was very interesting. Although we overlapped a good deal in NYC, especially in the late 80s/early 90s, I was far too shy to be part of that crowd, and drugs were a big part of their scene, which was not mine at all. I mean, I was aware of her store and what was going on in the area (after all, I was at NYU, and then, once I came back from the three years on the west coast, I worked off-Broadway, climbing my way up to Broadway). I was just busy elsewhere.

Fortunately, Saturday wasn’t quite as hot. It’s pleasant enough to have my first cup(s) of coffee on the front porch, to write in my journal, and, Saturday morning, to write a few more pages of notes on REP. The big challenge with REP is going to be building the comedy properly, so it’s funny, but doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the story. And, since the ambition for it is to eventually adapt it back into either novels, or a series of novellas (the latter is more likely), I have to build the humor in a way that it doesn’t read as frantic in a flow.

I created a Serial Writers Questionnaire that I’m going to post around the various channels, to get an idea of what other serial writers are doing. It might grow into a blog post or an article at some point.

I winnowed down the inbox for my main email account to something I can deal with. I have to get on top of one more email inbox, and I’ll be on track.

I’ve been chasing down payment from a prestigious publication that pays a pittance, but claims that paying writers is important. I was supposed to be paid at the end of March. When I hadn’t received payment by the beginning of last week, I contacted the editor. The interactions have been pleasant, but so far, I’ve had excuses, trying to shift responsibility to me, and still no payment. I mean, I’d already decided I wouldn’t work for them ever again, since the payment is about 1/10th of what I’d get at the other publications I usually write this type of material for. But no. Don’t say you care about paying writers and then not pay them.

FALL FOREVER was a bit of a slog on Saturday, and I only wrote 3 pages. But I showed up and did it, and that’s what matters. In the first 15 days of the program, I wrote 71 pages, so I’m on track. I expected to be somewhere between pages 45-60 at this point, so a rough day here and there is not going to make me whine. Pushing through to the end of this draft, rather than skipping days and catching up because I’m ahead at the moment is a better choice for me, I think.

Drafted two episodes of Legerdemain. Did the log lines for this week’s episodes and the episode graphics. Did some more work on the 2000-year history of Legerdemain that will go up on the website. I need to get more original content up on the website to enhance the serial for readers, and to intrigue new readers. But it takes time, brain energy, and tech maneuvering.

Revised, polished, uploaded, and scheduled the next two Process Muse posts.

Rubbed one of the Adirondack chairs on the front porch with teak oil, prepping it for summer. Re-painted a copper and crystal whirligig so it’s all shiny and pretty. Cleaned the crystals and put them back in on Sunday, when the paint was dry. That will look pretty once we can get the back door open and out onto the back balcony.

Finished reading a book I thought was great for the first few chapters. Then, the author, via her trio of female protagonists started slagging off other women with the term “witch” as a derogatory. Nope, nope, nope. I’ve been a supporter of this author’s work for several years, but no more. Referring to women who are mean and bullying as “witches” is inappropriate in a contemporary novel for 2023. Don’t pretend you give a flying fuck about equity and inclusion if your protagonists (who supposedly do care) use the term, you hypocrite.

Ordered Chinese food because I didn’t feel like cooking.

Finally got to watch THE LOST CITY. It was a lot of fun, for the most part, but the logistical lapses bugged me. I mean, there was a lot that was wacky, because it parodied this type of film, but the internal logic of this wacky created world needed to be stronger. A couple of the jokes were milked too long and the air went out of the scenes. One scene, for a supporting character, that was supposed to plant information for a final scene visual needed a rewrite. The actress did what she could with the material, but the words weren’t enough. It could have been an hilarious scene and wasn’t, because it was a badly written monologue that didn’t build properly.  A supporting character had an arc with potential set up, and then it was dropped as the film continued with a really weak exit for him, which was a shame, because it would have added texture. Sandra Bullock was a lot of fun. Her timing was impeccable. Channing Tatum was fine, doing his thing. Daniel Radcliffe had a good time chewing scenery (his role reminded me a lot of his role in NOW YOU SEE ME 2). Brad Pitt’s cameo was hilarious. And his schtick of eating in a scene (this time off camera, in the first phone call) was one of those things that the OCEANS movie viewers will get and love. The plot twist at the end of his cameo was unexpected, and I’m glad I hadn’t seen any spoilers. The way the movie sends up conferences was hilarious.

So, overall, I had fun. It also taught me a few structural things I want to stay away from in the Heist Romance script.

Had trouble getting to sleep on Saturday; Charlotte got me up Sunday. Morning coffee on the porch with the journal, then a few more pages of outline notes for REP.

Wrote 3 ½ pages on FALL FOREVER.

Sunday was the day I put aside to devote mostly to ANGEL HUNT. However, I still had to draft an episode of Legerdemain first. I drafted the episode, and then switched headspaces to ANGEL HUNT’s world.

I adapted two chapters into serial episodes, for a total of 8 episodes. I uploaded the next eight episodes to Vella, which gets me through the second week of June, and I have episodes drafted well into the summer. I need to work on ANGEL HUNT one day per week, in and around other stuff, until all the episodes are polished, uploaded, and scheduled. Somehow, I hadn’t written the episode loglines for the upcoming 8 episodes, so I wrote episode loglines for 16 episodes, which gets me through everything that’s scheduled. I updated the Style Sheet and Series Bible. I’m up-to-date with characters on that, but behind on plot points, and was too tired to backtrack, so I’ll have to catch up with that, too. Some of the stuff I adapted today needs better follow-through with the arcs down the line; I may have to insert some material into the chapters I’m adapting. I’ve got just over 60 episodes drafted, and I think I’m at the halfway point, maybe just a tad beyond it. I’ve uploaded episodes through Episode 40. The sooner I can get the serial finished, edited, uploaded, and polished, the sooner I can work on the plan for it.

Read the latest NEW YORKER. Felt tired and burned out. Got some of the painting done on the wind chimes. I need to do the small bits later this week, when it’s dry.

Worked on contest entries.

Yoga was terrific. The conversation is as worthwhile as the practice itself.

Home, finished the leftover Chinese food, read for a bit.

Slept pretty well. Woke up in the middle of the night, worried I had a fever. But I was sandwiched in between Charlotte and Tessa, both of whom are very warm.

I forgot to set the coffeemaker Sunday night. We were all very confused Monday morning.

Felt burned out on Monday morning. It was hard to get going. Which frustrated me, because I’d been looking forward to this holiday Monday all last week.

I snuck in a little work on GAMBIT COLONY.

Showed up to the page at FALL FOREVER, even though I wasn’t feeling it. Once I got into it, though I wrote 4 pages. Finished the scene.

I’m moving into the last few scenes. Maybe three or four more. I’d like to finish the draft before our company arrives at the end of next week.

Drafted another episode of Legerdemain, which makes me feel, finally, like I’m pulling a little ahead. I need to keep it up all week, and then I’ll make some real progress. I will be able, when I upload more episodes this week, to get a few weeks’ worth scheduled, instead of just next week’s. Got up this week’s promos.

Drafted the first three episodes of REP. I want to write about 10 episodes to see if this is actually a viable project, or if it’s just something silly to work on as a stress reliever. These episodes are more dramedy with slight satiric elements than straight-up comedy. I may layer some jokes into it, but I might let the voice that’s coming through prevail, since it’s working. And I’m trying to keep the episodes close to 1K/each (a little over/under is fine). So, in terms of episode length, it’s between the very short bites of ANGEL HUNT and the longer LEGERDEMAIN. Although I’m trying to keep the Legerdemain episodes a little shorter, too. Metrics show readers prefer to spend 10-15 tokens per episode, but not more than 20. (Which means 1-2K words for episode length, with 1-1.5K being the sweet spot).

It’s very much a valentine to theatre.

But it also means I wrote 5-damn-K words yesterday, and by 2 PM, I was TIRED.

I couldn’t paint because it was raining, and it wouldn’t dry properly.

I took up residence on the couch, and Charlotte took up residence on me (I’m one click away from adding “cat furniture” to my resume). I read SPARKLING CYANIDE, the Agatha Christie read for this month. Some of it was clever. But the young heroine fell firmly in the “too stupid to live” category and I was almost sorry when the hero managed to rescue her at the end.

Soup class was a lot of fun. It will end in mid-May, and then start up again, with a slightly different format, in November.

I jolted awake in the middle of the night with sense memory stress, but Tessa purred me down. When I finally got up this morning, I felt tired and burned out. I mean, I worked all weekend, even if it wasn’t client work.

I feel good about my work (although I wish I’d gotten more done on Legerdemain’s website), but I’m tired.

This morning, first priority is the next pages on FALL FOREVER, then another episode of Legerdemain. Then, I’ll see where I am timewise, and what I can get in before I head off to the library and the pharmacy. This afternoon, I have two scripts to turn around. I don’t have any other scripts in my queue for the week yet, and I’m trying not to let that worry me.

I also need to backup my drives before Mercury goes retrograde, put up this week’s Angel Hunt promos, put together a list of collaborative tools for a friend, and send out some pitches. A friend asked me to blurb her upcoming release, and I’m excited about that. I won’t get to read the book until sometime in May (my schedule, not hers), but I’m looking forward to it. I also want to work on contest entries.

I’m looking forward to yoga tonight, even if it kicks my ass.

Episode 77 of Legerdemain goes live today!

Have a good one, my friends! I hope your week starts well.

Wed. April 12, 2023: A Simple Spring Work Day

image courtesy of G.C. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

There’s stuff to read on other sites today! Over on The Process Muse, we talk about the meanings/values of the clothes our characters wear.  Ink-Dipped Advice’s newest post will go live later today.

I wrote 4 ½ pages on FALL FOREVER. The scene took a different turn than I expected, and this draft barely scratches the surface. I will have to dig deeper in the next draft. But that’s okay. It’s getting me where I need to go. I hope to hit the act break either today or tomorrow.

I saw a call for play submissions. I thought I had a play that would fit. I did a quick re-read, did a few tweaks, and submitted it. I saw a call for radio plays from Scotland; there were a few things I wasn’t sure about, so I shot off an email with the questions, so any submission I make fits what they need.

The longer I do this, the more I have a problem with using prompts during a piece I’m in the middle of writing. When I’m looking for new ideas, I LOVE prompts. They get me going in new directions, and make me see things differently. When I’m expected to do prompts within the framework of something I’m already writing, I find it harmful, especially in a first draft. Instead of enriching what I’m working on, it detracts.

Did the curbside pickup for the supplies I needed; I hope I can get going with some painting and other cleaning this week.

Started writing the next Legerdemain episode, which has a chase scene in it. It’s fun to write,  but needs very specific choreography to achieve both the action and the comedy.

Turned around a script coverage in the afternoon, and worked on contest entries.

Yoga was fun, although it’s called “gentle yoga” and still kicks my ass. But it’s a nice group of people, and we have fun conversations at the top and bottom of class.

Home, started reading the next book for review.

Slept reasonably well, although I dreamed I worked a show, which meant I put in a full day before I woke up.

Up early, over to the laundromat. I was the only one there, thank goodness, and got the wash and dry done. While that was going, I revised four episodes of Legerdemain and did outline notes for REP.

My neighbor in the house next door’s kitchen window faces my office window. He has a large, cream-colored cat who likes to sit in the kitchen window, and Charlotte sits on the small table she commandeered when we moved in, and they stare at each other. It gives them something to do.

Plenty of writing and script coverage to do today, so I better get to it.

Episode 23 of Angel Hunt drops today. I hope you enjoy it!

Wed. April 5, 2023: Plodding Along

image courtesy of Lalu Fatoni via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

First Day of Full Moon

Cloudy and chilly

We talk about “Business Plans” over on The Process Muse today. You can read it here, and then drop in your two cents. I’d love to hear your take on it.

My mom was doing better yesterday. She ate a good breakfast, and then I headed out to get my windshield wiper replaced, which took about 10 minutes and I got to play with the resident German Shephard.

Came home. Wrote 4 ½ pages on FALL FOREVER, scene which took an unexpected turn, but I’ll go with it.

Got up the promotions for “Plot Bunnies” and for this week’s episodes of both Legerdemain and Angel Hunt. Made the social media rounds for all of them. There’s a weird yellow dog popping up as the logo on Twitter now, instead of the blue bird. So I guess we’re woofing instead of tweeting? And FB is making it harder to navigate between multiple pages. I’m getting fed up with all of them.

Yegads Muskrat now disabled shared posting from WordPress. Well, I’m locking my account next week. I was going to wait until the end of next week, but I might do it once the “Plot Bunnies” promo finishes midweek. I wonder how long until Tweetdeck is disabled, too?

Buffer’s talking about expanding to more channels, so I might have to take another look at them. I’m losing too much time manually posting across channels.

Turned around two coverages. Wrote and sent my review. The review platform says I now must change my password every 90 days. Um, no. I haven’t changed it since I started reviewing and I’m not going to do that now. I can’t track that many changed passwords all the time. The PLATFORMS need to protect us and to stop putting it all on us, pretending it’s for “security.” It’s because they aren’t good enough at what they do.

It was warm enough to work out on the porch, amongst the tulips and the scent of hyacinths, so that was nice.

Cancelled out of yoga so I wouldn’t put anyone at risk.

Glad the Sociopath was arraigned; the circus was ridiculous. The NYT had a headline saying that the courtroom made him look “small.” Nope. He’s always been a small man of enormous ego, and a con artist who appeals to the worst in his followers. Annoyed that a North Carolina rep is switching parties; once one is elected, they should have to finish out their term as elected, and only switch when they run again. She should be destroyed, both personally and professionally, but the Dems don’t have the balls to do so.

I’m feeling run down, so I’m going to take it easy today. I’m not sure if I’m fighting a bit of what my mom has, or if it’s exhaustion from taking care of her, or sense memory stress, or a combination.  I have to do a library run, because there are books that will be sent back if I don’t pick them up. But other than that, I will stay home, write, do my script coverage and work on contest entries, but also take breaks when I’m tired. I’m going to try not to get sick by pacing myself instead of just trying to push through. There’s a lot that needs to get done before our company comes at the end of the month. I can’t lose a week or so by being sick.

I woke up too late to make it to the laundromat without losing the whole morning, so that is pushed off for another day.

It’s supposed to get cold this afternoon, but warm up overnight, so maybe, maybe we’ll see some spring?

Willa keeps trying to steal the chicken bone broth I heat up for my mom a couple of times a day. Charlotte was trying to get into the act yesterday, too. It’s pretty funny. But the medicine is working, and she was back on the exercise bicycle this morning for the full thirty minutes, so she’s feeling better.

A friend of mine feels like crap. He’s taken all the tests: Covid, flu, strep, etc. All come back negative. So he’s calling it “Teenage Mutant Ninja Covid” which somehow seems fitting.

Have a good one, my friends. It looks like it’s going to rain any minute. Better rain than snow, right?

Episode 21 of Angel Hunt drops today. I hope you enjoy it. Hope you got a chance to read Episode 73 of Legerdemain yesterday and that you enjoy the re-release of “Plot Bunnies.

Peace!

Tues. April 4, 2023: Ups, Downs, and “Plot Bunnies” Re-Release

image courtesy of Connor Johnson via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Waxing Moon

Rainy and chilly

Lots to catch up on, so curl up with a beverage and we’ll get to it.

Friday morning was all about getting ready for the grant reception. I did a home test – I felt fine, but I wanted to be sure. All good. Made an executive decision to use a more forgiving shapewear, because the really good one didn’t let me sit down, and that would not work for me. I know we were in an art museum and all, but being a living sculpture is not my jam.

I forgot to mention in Friday morning’s post how happy I am that the Narcissistic Sociopath has finally been indicted. About damn time. Having served on a Grand Jury, I have some idea of how the evidence was presented, and what kinds of conversations the jury might have had, and the instructions. Personally, I won’t be satisfied until he’s up on accounts of treason and sedition, but at least SOMEBODY is trying to do SOMETHING about all that public criming in real time.

As far as school shootings, nothing will get better until the NRA loses their nonprofit status, is declared a terrorist organization, and any politician bought by them removed from office. Any politician wearing an NRA pin should be banned from office for life. At minimum.

Anyway, back to the goings on.

The grant reception was amazing. I met so many people (and I have so much follow up to do). The new executive director, Michael Bobbitt, for the Council is a theatre person, filled with exuberance and passion to support working artists. He believes in us collectively, and also takes the time to meet and know us as individuals. I was surprised that the state level senators and reps were there, not just talking passionately about how deeply they believe in us. Instead of the usual appearance, where they nod, smile, say a few words and are whisked off to the next event, they were there early, they stayed through all the speeches and performances, and they stayed after to talk to the individual recipients. Since the auditorium was packed with several hundred of us (yes, I stayed masked the whole time), that was both unusual and appreciated. Several Council board members were there, and again, the passion and belief in us is astounding.

Because there were so many of us in attendance, I didn’t have to worry about being put on the spot for anything (a nice change). There was a planned, scheduled performance by one of the artists, poet Lyrical Faith, which was terrific. And organized, and took the pressure off of us. The whole event was beautifully organized.

The director of the museum was even there to kick this off, welcome us, and encourage us to stay and enjoy the museum.

I also met Emily Ruddock, of Mass Creative, who I’ve known and worked with for the past couple of years via email, and it was such fun to finally meet in person. Her husband is a theatrical lighting designer. And Brian Boyles, the head of Mass Humanities, and I also had an excellent conversation.

The auditorium is in the same building as the library, so now I know where I’ll go for my research project on the Bibiena family of stage designers (this family and the Canalettos were the big opera designers in Italy, and the painter Canaletto started painting scenery for his father).

The ceremony was filled with passion and emotion and enthusiasm and belief. Even better, the state’s Committee on Tourism and Culture is co-chaired by Berkshire politicians – both of whom were at the event.

It was a wonderful event, but also a little overwhelming, especially after being in various stages of pandemic isolation for three years. Like I said, I need to be re-socialized slowly, like a feral cat.

Thank goodness I’d made business cards.

As I said, I have a LOT of follow-up to do this week.

After the reception (which, of course, ran late, but no one cared because we were having fun, and after, because all the people who were on the podium were actually interested in staying and talking one-on-one), I got my little museum admission sticker and wandered the museum.

I’d decided to dovetail being at the Clark with Essay Camp’s Day 5 assignments, and the start of the big nonfiction project. I spent a big chunk of time with Renoir’s “A Box At The Theatre (at a Concert).” Of course I was drawn to a theatre painting. I also spent some time with some Sargent paintings in Venice. “A Venetian Interior” has this hint of light through a door at the back that just fascinated me.

My feet hurt by then. Even though I’d worn flat boots, because I knew I wasn’t up for heels, I’m not used to wearing shoes for more than quick errands, and my feet damn hurt.

Limped back to the car and headed for Chapter Two Books on Spring Street in Williamstown. What a great bookstore! And the people running it are so nice. I wound up buying eight books, a mix of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.

Wanted to stop at another store on the way, but couldn’t figure out where I was allowed to park, so skipped it and went to Wild Oats to pick up a few things.

Headed home, limped up the stairs, took off the boots, and stripped off the clothes (especially the shapewear). Phew!

It was after 3 by the time I got home (and I’d left the house at 10 AM), so it was a long day. A good one, but long.

At 7 was the Dramatists Guild End of Play virtual kickoff, which was a lot of fun. In addition to the great DG staff members, playwrights Dominic D’Andrea, Kevin Free, Caridad Svich, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Bernardo Cubria, Christine Toy Johnson, Jacqueline E. Lawton, Migdalia Cruz, and Eric Pfeffinger were there to offer prompts and conversation.

Several of the prompts were relevant to my play; others started seeds of new plays.

It was a lot of fun, but I was thoroughly wiped out by the end of it. I read one of the books I bought at Chapter Two, a book called AIRMAIL, which is a collection of letters between Pam Houston and Amy Irving early in the pandemic, until I staggered off to bed.

Slept pretty well, although I woke up at 2:30 fretting, and managed to get back to sleep eventually. Then Charlotte woke me around 4, and I told her I wasn’t getting up until the coffee started.

After breakfast, I sat down to start FALL FOREVER for End of Play, and wrote eight pages, the whole first scene. My outline is much looser than usual, and I’m trusting the characters. Even though I know there will be a lot of revision involved, I like what’s happening for this draft.

Took a break, and switched over to draft Legerdemain. Had trouble getting into the headspace.

Had to dash out for a few errands in the rain, got those done, came back. Settled in to work on contest entries, which I did for the rest of the day and into the evening. I’m almost done with two out of three genres, and should have both finished this week, which means I can then concentrate on the final genre (I’ve done a little over a third of the entries in that one). I need to catch up on entering the scores online, or it will be too much to do all at once.

Actually slept well Saturday into Sunday, slept all the way through the night. What a big difference. We originally were supposed to go on a storage run, but because of the wonky weather and the fact I have only one working windshield wiper, we didn’t. Neither of us felt up to it mentally or physically.

I was at the desk fairly early, and wrote the next scene of FALL FOREVER (3 ½ pages). I’d been thinking of it since I woke up, and also figured out how to utilize the few scene shifts I have in the piece to drive the plot.

Although it was a struggle to settle into Legerdemain, I managed to do it, and draft a new episode. I also created the episode graphics for this week’s episodes.

I worked on contest entries. I’m having trouble with the Kindle. Send -to-Kindle material shows up, but doesn’t open, even when it’s downloaded.

Amazon’s been trying to force me to buy a new kindle for the past few years, so they’re just turning off more and more features, thinking that’ll make me do it.

What it’s making me is angry, and I’m more likely to invest in a tablet on which I can do more with more flexibility and just use the Kindle reader app.

We also did our taxes. They should be simpler this year, but changes in the forms meant they were more difficult. But if we made a mistake, they will let us know. I mean, I’m not MAILING them until next week, but at least they’re done. And then, of course, I also have to do/mail my quarterly taxes next weekend, but that’s not as much of a big deal.

I had a very intense yoga class in the evening. As my teacher pointed out “restorative doesn’t mean EASY.” Yup. And Saturn in Pisces means when you do deep work, there’s an additional level of intensity.

My mom was coughing a lot this weekend. It didn’t sound good. We tried over the counter cough syrup and liquid Tylenol, which works for a little while, but it’s solving the problem. We both took home Covid tests (since I was going to yoga, and I’d been to the grant reception, I planned to test anyway). Both negative. I planned to call the doctor on Monday morning and get her in.

But my mom woke me up at 4:30 on Monday, because she couldn’t stop coughing and couldn’t get the childproof cap off the cough syrup. I gave her some syrup and she went back to sleep for a couple of hours, but felt dizzy when she woke up, so I packed her into the car and drove her over to Urgent Care. They were very nice and ran a bunch of tests to eliminate things. Since her only symptoms were a racking cough and dizziness, and the COVID test was negative, the heart rate good and the lungs clear, it removed a bunch of the worst options. They decided to do a flu swab, and that came back positive. She was skeptical, since she has no fever or body aches or nausea or any of the usual symptoms, but this year’s flu is weird, so, and it was a positive result, so that’s the first line of treatment.

I loaded her back in the car. Conveniently, Urgent Care is next to Stop & Shop, so I picked up the recommended bone broth and chicken soup (and I have homemade chicken soup) and a baguette to make it all more palatable. Got her settled at home, then set back out to mail bills (yay boxes that let you toss in the mail), and pick up her prescription at CVS. While I was there, I got the additional home COVID tests her insurance covers. I dashed next door to Big Y to get lemons, crackers, and iced fruit bars, which I thought she might enjoy.

We finally got home to eat breakfast around 11 AM. And I had to cancel the appointment to get the windshield wipers replaced. Got her settled in bed. We are trying to figure out how she could have caught flu germs. The only place she’s been out of the house was, the day before my birthday, when she went to the Clark with me, and we were masked the whole time. Unless the germs came in on a library book, or on me. I’m usually the one who always goes down with the first flu germ.

I’d written my three and a half pages for End of Play very early this morning, while my mom was asleep, so at least I didn’t feel like I’d lost the whole day.

I’d run out of time to work on Legerdemain, and to get the promos up  for “Plot Bunnies” which re-releases with some upgrades (especially to technology) today. This is a fun little story, set in the town of Twinkle, Vermont, and I hope you enjoy it. I need to dig in the rest of this week on promotion, especially since, toward the end of next week, I will most likely lock my Twitter account.

I was exhausted and felt like I’d been run over by a truck, but I managed to turn around both script coverages due in between making sure my mom had hot tea with honey and lemon, bone broth, water, and her medication on time. The medication’s definitely helping (although heaven forbid either her insurance or her supplemental insurance pay for it – what’s the point of forcing us to have supplemental insurance when it doesn’t actually cover what it’s supposed to)?

She had appetite for dinner (and she can smell and taste, which was another reason to be confident in the negative COVID test). Willa wouldn’t let my mom out of her sight, following her everywhere and staying with her on the bed. She takes her job as feline nurse very seriously.

Friends of ours are coming to visit for the last weekend of April into the beginning of May. We haven’t seen them since before the pandemic started, and they’ve never visited us in the Berkshires, so it will be fun. It means I have to kick into high gear with the spring cleaning!

I finished the book for review and got confirmation that the contest entries which didn’t fit my genre were moved to the appropriate one.

Fell into bed early and slept fairly well, dreaming that one of my plays was in rehearsal. Woke up around 2 to find Charlotte had snuck onto the bed with Tessa and me. Fell asleep again until about 6.

My mom seems better today. I have to catch up on everything I didn’t get done yesterday, write my 3-4 pages on the play, get the windshield wiper replaced, write and send off the review, get all the promos up and out, and turn around two script coverages.

I’m going to cancel out of yoga tonight (much as I want/need it) because I don’t want to risk getting anyone in the studio sick.

Let’s hope this is a productive week. I have to get started on the follow-up from Friday’s events, too. Focus on one thing at a time, and it’ll all get done, right?

Tues. March 28, 2023: Time for the Tuesday Natter

image courtesy of Agata via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Waxing Moon

Rainy and chilly

Hope you had a grand weekend and are ready for our Tuesday natter.

A slew of submission calls hit my desk on Friday morning. I submitted two ten-minute plays to one of them. Another call was interested in radio scripts, but the guidelines made my eyes cross, so I skipped it. Maybe I’ll go back and re-read them some day when I’m not jugging sixteen kajillion things. I saw a call that a friend’s work would fit, so I sent that off to her.

I lost way too much time dealing with my mother’s health insurance. Again. Which meant I lost the writing time I’d put aside for Legerdemain, and that put me in an unsettled mood.

I picked up a big stack of books at the library, got in some groceries from Big Y (another snowstorm predicted for the weekend), mailed some stuff and bought stamps at the Post Office (and chatted, because, around here, the Post Office is the happening place), and swung by the liquor store to replenish.

I read some more in the Katharine Cornell biography – it’s good background on Jessie Bonstelle, Rachel Crothers, and, of course, inspiration for the serial in development, REP. It’s a little on the fawning side, but if one digs past that, there’s some good theatrical history in there.

In the afternoon, I turned around two script coverages, and then went back to the Cornell bio. In the evening (and late into the night), I read a book getting a lot of attention. It’s billed as a thriller, but it’s also a horror novel. It’s very well-written, a page turner. But, at the end, it didn’t give me a feeling of catharsis, just sadness, because of the unnecessary brutality. I mean, the brutality was necessary on the author’s part, but I felt sadness for the deaths of those brutally murdered in the book. It’s well done, and I’m glad I read it, but saying I “enjoyed” it would be a stretch.

Tessa and Charlotte are now BOTH sleeping on the bed with me. Tessa is on one side, down near my feet, and Charlotte is on the other side, curled up against my chest. Charlotte always considers being a pill to Tessa when she jumps up, and I tell her that if she’s not nice to Tessa, she will be kicked out; we’re here to sleep. She considers it, decides sleeping on the bed is more important than being a brat, curls up, and goes to sleep.

I figured out how much I need to write each day on FALL FOREVER for End Of Play in April. A full-length play is 90-120 pages (with the sweet spot being a little less). Over the course of 30 days, that’s 3-4 pages, and do-able. In fact, that’s a reasonable, stable pace, although there may be some days where I write more, in order to capture the entire scene.

I also came up with a large, nonfiction project made possible by the grant (once the money ever gets here). The initial phase of it would take an entire year of a block of time devoted to it each week, and polishing it after would take a few months. But it would be a good way to show gratitude for the grant, and have a tangible project by the end of it. Well, the first draft of a tangible project. I made some notes on it, and will set up the files for it once the grant money arrives, and I can actually take action on it. Because it’s non-fiction, I can write a proposal before the draft is finished, once I have a better idea of how the idea actually works as a real piece. It’s also something I could work on in residencies, if I didn’t want to apply to residencies next year with a fiction project.

The project has a nice resonance in the heart, which indicates it’s on the right track. The right thing at the right time is like a tuning fork. You can feel when it matches the tone.

Saturday morning, I woke with the pre-storm headache, which was just not fun. Once the storm started, it eased a bit, but the weather cycled from snow to sleet to rain and back again, and it was yucky.

I drafted another episode of Legerdemain. I uploaded the next couple of episodes. It wouldn’t let me schedule today’s episode, so both of this week’s episodes are dropping on Thursday, and I have an apology graphic making the rounds. I’ll get next week’s episodes uploaded and scheduled by tomorrow, to make sure there are no glitches. I did the log lines and the episode graphics.

A friend sent me a submission call, and I had a short play that might fit, so that went out the door.

I rewrote the opening of “Labor Intensive” and then did another pass on “Plot Bunnies.” I put the opening of “Labor Intensive” in as a teaser, and added in teasers for “Just Jump in and Fly” and SAVASANA AT SEA, along with information about the serials. I kept finding little copy edit glitches, so I proofed it a few more times – and KEPT finding little niggly things. But I think it’s finally clean, and that’s uploaded and scheduled for April 4 release. I’ll be doing graphics and pre-order information and updating websites and doing a big push for the next couple of weeks on that.

But it was a full day’s work.

I did a bunch of work on contest entries, too, along with a bunch of admin work that needed to be done on them.

I dug through some books I’d ordered from the library as background for the Heist Romance. I scanned some information, and I also ordered a copy of one of the books, because I can use it as research on more than one project, and it will be useful to have on hand.

I went back to the Katharine Cornell biography and learned about Minnie Madden Fiske and the company she ran with her second husband, Harrison Grey Fiske. She’s listed in the book of American Women Theatre Directors of the 20th century, so I can do more digging on her, too.

I need to start putting together a timeline of some of these interesting women and see where they intersect. Because there’s a project in there, even if I don’t yet know what it is.

But I was tired by the end of Saturday. Really tired.

Tessa was the only one who slept on the bed on Saturday night, and I overslept on Sunday. But the cats got breakfast and I baked biscuits.

I drafted an episode of Legerdemain, and started the next episode. I finished, polished, uploaded and scheduled this week’s Process Muse, and then went ahead and wrote, polished, uploaded, and scheduled next week’s Process Muse. I’d like to get all of April’s posts written, polished, uploaded and scheduled this week to take the pressure off me in April.

I watched/listened to the prep video for the April yoga/eco challenge, and a lot of it resonated with me, which is a good thing.

Worked my way through a stack of contest entries in the afternoon. In the evening, I went back to the Cornell bio and made some notes for several different projects. I love it when one resource has multiple uses.

Had weird dreams Sunday into Monday. First, I was driving along a highway and had to keep stopping because people crossed in front of me. Pulled myself out of that dream, and was in the midst of fretting. Then, I realized I’m slipping back into the sense memory from before the move. I kept reminding myself that the feelings are real, but the reality has shifted to something more positive.

I hope, as I mentioned in yesterday’s “Intent” post, that I can use the pillars of End of Play and the yoga practice to ease that and prevent me from sliding back into that physical and mental state. It made April-May-June and even into July last year tough.

Finally fell asleep again and fell into more weird dreams, which fled as soon as I woke up.

Instagram no longer lets me cross post to Twitter and Tumblr. I can only post to IG & FB. Urgh.

I need ONE scheduling tool that lets me schedule unlimited posts to ALL my social media channels. But that doesn’t exist. Most tools only integrate with FB, IG, and Twitter. Some add Tumblr or Pinterest. That’s not good enough.

Did some admin, drafted an episode of Legerdemain, wrote a 3-page insert for GAMBIT COLONY. Scheduled the promos for this week’s episodes of Legerdemain and Angel Hunt.

Turned around three script coverages. I started them on the front porch, but it was too chilly. However, our yellow tulips are starting to bloom! So that’s lovely.

Completely forgot I’d signed up for Summer Brennan’s Essay Camp workshop, which started yesterday. Thank goodness for emails. I managed to get in both the writing assignment and the reading assignment.

Soup class was a lot of fun. Poor Jeremy. It’s gotten a little bit like herding cats for him.

After soup class, I had another idea for the Essay Camp assignment, so I did it. I think this one might be a stronger choice, but it’s always good to have options.

I went back to the Cornell bio. The chapter on the year-long rep tour by train (ROMEO & JULIET, THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET, CANDIDA) was amazing and funny and difficult (among her co-stars were Basil Rathbone and a young Orson Welles). Maude Howell, the first female stage manager on Broadway, helped general manager Gert Macy set things up, before heading out to California to direct films. Minnie Fiske’s niece, Merle Maddern, was an actress in the company and a skilled tarot reader. They traveled with their own train cars with 50 actors, a crew, pets, spouses, scenery, props,  and costumes. The Christmas performance in Seattle, where the train was delayed by storms, but the audience waited, watched them set up, and then they performed until 4 AM is a wonderful story in itself.

There’s a project in there.

What and when, I don’t know, but I’m gathering information. The research will be tons of fun. I can also use some of this as inspiration for the REP serial, even though REP’s premise is very different. I’m not sure when it can fit into the schedule (probably next year), but it is very much my kind of project.

Dreamed I was part of a very busy writers’ group overnight, which was fun, but I felt like I’d put in a full day before I woke up.

FALL FOREVER is definitely ready to be written. I’m feeling that pull of “come on, now, tell my story” and I’m looking forward to April 1. I’m attending the virtual kick-off party on Friday night. I can’t attend Sunday’s virtual New England event because it conflicts with yoga AND with Sunday supposed to be my day of not going online, and, in this case, the yoga needs to come first.

Twitter’s only putting those who pay for blue checks in the “For You” feed (which is where the people I follow show up, rather than in the “Following” feed). That starts April 15. I think, that week before, I will lock my account. I need to shift my focus to building community on other platforms, and remind myself that it took years. But I need to put attention there, because, although Twitter used to fuel sales (especially for the Topic Workbooks) and reads and other things, it hasn’t the last few months. I need to figure out where my audience has shifted, and establish myself there.

The “Plot Bunnies” launch will end just as that’s happening, so I’ll be able to get some good metrics about the shift in a couple of months.

Speaking of “Plot Bunnies” it’s starting to go live for pre-order. I will post more info when I get relevant information up on the website, in the next few days. It re-releases on April 4, which is next Tuesday.

On today’s agenda: working on Legerdemain, working on tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post, prepping the launch info for the re-release of “Plot Bunnies,” turning around two scripts (one of for which I was requested), and then, tonight, yoga.

There’s no episode of Legerdemain going live today because of the glitch; again, my apologies. Have a good one!

Tues. March 21, 2023: Hints of Spring

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

New Moon

Cloudy and chilly

My interview with the Boiler House Poets Collective went live on The Rumpus yesterday. You can read it here.

I hope you had a lovely day. It’s time to curl up for our regular Tuesday catch up.

I booked my hair appointment online on Friday for yesterday.

I also ordered my saucer chair online. At first, I got a confirmation that I could pick it up around noon. Then, I got a confirmation it was ready to pick up – about five minutes after I ordered it. The problem was that, in order to do the curbside pickup, I had to download the store’s app. Which made me furious. I do not want everything run by app. And that should have been clear when the selection for “curbside pickup” was made; then I would have just had it shipped.

Anyway, swearing the whole time, I downloaded the app, drove up the street to pick up the chair, brought it home, and deleted the app from my phone.

The chair is wonderful. It’s a lovely turquoise, and detailed to look like a shell. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and folds, which means it’s my official “residency chair” that I can take when I do residencies to which I drive.

I revised the two micro comic noir radio plays and submitted them, per the email exchange I had with the producers over the past couple of days. The third play, one of the Declan Shane plays (where the detective has his office in a Broadway musical rehearsal hall), doesn’t work as a two-hander. I will expand it back into a three-hander and send it when they open their ten minute call, which they told me opens in a couple of weeks.

I uploaded and scheduled next week’s promos for both Legerdemain and Angel Hunt. I thought I’d written the loglines for the set of Angel Hunt episodes I uploaded a couple of weeks back, but I guess I didn’t. So that’s on the agenda for the week.

I booked tonight’s yoga class.

I had to trudge back out to pick up some of my mother’s prescriptions. Even though Aetna Silver Script was paid through the end of March, it was cancelled once Compass was entered – but Compass hasn’t bothered to send the insurance cards with the information. So they tried to charge me the full, uninsured price for the drugs. I said no, there was a screw up. They did some magic on their own computers, and it wound up being a ZERO co-pay. So much better than on Cape Cod, where every month’s prescriptions were a fight, and they tried to sell you pills “by the pill” under the table for cash only while they “investigated.”

Insurance in the United States, especially Medicare “supplemental” insurance is a scam.

I finished the script coverage on the novel a production company wanted me to read, and sent that off.

The first box of office supplies arrived, with the stack of yellow pads. So I’m fine with writing in longhand on yellow pads for this next bit.

I was happy to hear that the ICC issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest. About damn time. This country needs to charge The Narcissistic Sociopath. It’s been promised for years, and the indictments never come.

I started reading a Major Book by a Major Author (that was written/published in the 70s). While it’s well written, I wasn’t in the mood for male 70’s whatever, so I put it aside. I started reading Mary Gordon’s SPENDING instead, which I’d come across when researching and writing The Process Muse post about muses a few weeks back. That’s definitely more what I’m looking for right now. It deals with the theme of the male muse, and, in this case, it’s a wealthy man who underwrites an older female artist’s career.

I actually slept well Friday going into Saturday. I was still a little disoriented by the time change – between that and losing a few days due to the storm, I was never really sure what day it was last week.

We  left the house on Saturday and headed down to Pittsfield. We stopped in a shop on a whim, and found a few fun things, including a cake pan that makes little cakes in the shape of trains. We checked Re-store, but what I hoped for wasn’t there. Checked another favorite store and found a trio of gorgeous valences. Not that I know what I’ll do with them, but they are so beautiful and well-made that I grabbed them.

All the mail that had stacked up during the storm arrived in a flood: magazines, cards, my mom’s new insurance cards (finally), and the tarot deck I ordered.

It’s a pair of tarot decks, interpretations by Barbara Moore, art done by several artists. One deck is “As Above” and the second is “So Below.” They are different from each other and different than I expected, and it will take time to work with them properly. They do make sense for the coming year’s year-long reading that I do on Samhain, which takes two decks out of regular usage for an entire year.

A pair of white dudes were roaming the neighborhood pounding on doors, like incoming SWAT team. They said they were “checking the equity of the electrical company” and wanted copies of our electric bills. No lanyards, no company information, nothing. Do they really think we’re that stupid? I shut the door in their faces and refused to answer again when they started pounding. A legitimate company/nonprofit would have contacted the residents in writing ahead of time and had employees or volunteers with clear identification and some sort of professional whatever, even if it was a clipboard. Not dudes in climbing jackets pounding on doors asking for copies of utility bills. Not acceptable. And even with a clipboard and a lanyard, I wouldn’t have turned over my utility bill. Identity theft much?

Finished up the ironing from the latest fabric seasonal refresh and put everything away.

Read a lot. Mary Gordon’s SPENDING is giving me a lot to think about. It’s an exceptionally well-written book, and, especially in terms of what we were talking about on THE PROCESS MUSE a few weeks back about Muses, makes me think I’ll revisit the topic. Because, of course, the female artist/male muse experience is very different than the traditional male artist/female muse, and the book isn’t just a flip of that trope.

Sunday was a lethargic day for me, even though it was sunny. I need to remember that the day before the dark moon I have zero energy. Zero. And plan accordingly.

I did go out to a store to see if they had something I wanted; they didn’t, but they had a sale, and I got some cute summer shirts I can use for yoga and errands. Some went into the laundry basket; others have to be handwashed, and I got started on that.

Tried re-reading a book that had been a Big Deal back when it came out. While there’s some good stylistic work, it’s too much self-involved white boy, on the part of the protagonist and the author, and I just don’t care. There’s a lot of pretentiousness that was touted as brilliance at the time.

Ordered a pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I need to stop ordering in food so often. I can cook, and there’s food in the house.

Slept well Sunday into Monday, in spite of a series of weird dreams that Charlotte pulled me out of several times in the night.

I’d made peace with the fact I wasn’t going to get much of anything done at my desk in the morning, and that the afternoon would be all about script coverage, which took some pressure off me.

Plus, packed up everything I needed for errands Sunday night, which made me feel like I was six years old starting school.

Out of the house early on Monday, arriving way to early at the hair salon in Williamstown, but that was fine. I’d brought a book with me (I almost always have a book with me), and they were all very friendly and laid back. And masked. No signs, no fussing, people just did it, and that, too, made me feel more confident about the choice of salon. And the conversations all centered around the arts, rather than what I’ve heard so often at other salons, where it’s petty, vicious gossip.

The appointment took the full hour. I’ve never had a hair appointment that long that wasn’t with one of the Broadway hair dressers who used to cut my hair in my Broadway days. The longest appointment I ever had on Cape was twenty minutes. But then, only two haircuts in ten years there didn’t make me cry, so. . .

Anyway, the stylist was very nice. We figured length first, then she cut off the ponytail. I mean, the last time I got my hair cut was May of 2021, two weeks after my second vaccine shot. It was a lot of hair. If you saw the photo I posted on Insta/FB/Twitter – it was a lot of hair. They asked if I wanted to donate it and I said sure; they’re taking care of it. Then, it was a wash and condition, and the stylist got to practice her art. And it really was art. We’d gone over some photographs for basic ideas, and then she wanted to try something a little different, and I said, go for it. So she did, and it looks really good.

I feel like myself for the first time in years. YEARS.

It’s flattering, will grow out well, and not need a lot of fuss/product/styling in the day to day.

And it’s done before next week’s grant reception.

I was ever so pleased and gave quite the big tip, because she was worth every penny.

From there, I headed to my mom’s doctor’s office to update her insurance information. I went to Wild Oats to pick up a few things and use my member/owner credit from last year’s profits. I went to the pharmacist to make sure the insurance info was all updated, but the computer magic they did the other day held, and it’s all good. 

I ran into Big Y to pick up small tomatoes, which I’d forgotten to get at the Wild Oats (although I managed to get curry paste at WO). Then it was a library run, to drop off/pick up books, mostly from Commonwealth Catalog. Love me some Commonwealth Catalog!

Stopped at the bank to deposit some unexpected checks (always love those). And home.

Found out that the article went live on The Rumpus, so I grabbed the link, created a PDF, and sent the link and the PDF to the poets interviewed, and over to MassMoca’s press office, and Assets for Artists. I also pulled an article off Clippings.me and added this one to the online portfolio, and put the link over on the Fearless Ink website. And, of course, saved it to my Clip files.

That took time, but it’s always better to do it right away. Putting it aside to get to “someday” means too much stacks up at once. Plus, I want to make sure that the interview subjects and sources get the link and their PDF copy for their own files before they come across the piece n the wild. It’s just basic courtesy.

Did the social media rounds to share the article link.

Turned around three coverages in the afternoon/evening. I was interrupted a few times to deal with some other stuff that came up, so it took longer than it would normally, and I wasn’t finished until 9 PM. I was able to spend some time working out on the front porch, because it was sunny and mild enough, and the hyacinths are starting to bloom. Willa and Charlotte were out there, too. Tessa had regained control of the sofa and was not about to give it up.

The dishwasher decided to stop working. I hope it’s just a fuse, because I LOVE this dishwasher, and if they have to replace it, it’s not going to be with one this good. But we’ll empty it this morning after breakfast, do the dishes by hand and put them away, and I’ll get in touch with the maintenance guy and see if he can swing by in the next few days.

Made a frittata in honor of the Equinox, and did a simple ritual at night, before I went to bed.

Up early. Weird dreams, including something about a teashop. As I was coming up out of the dream, I kept telling myself to remember the name of the teashop, but, of course, I lost it by the time I was fully awake.

Tessa has decided that she is sick and tired of Charlotte and Willa eating her food, so now she marches into the kitchen and eats their food, especially right in front of them. It’s all the same food, but it’s the principle of the plates and bowls that’s the issue.

After doing the dishes, I will get back to the page. I’m looking forward to the start of the Dramatists’ Guild End of Play, staring April 1. I realized, over the weekend, that the work I’ve done on FALL FOREVER is solid, and the play is ready to be written. It’s not screaming at me that if I don’t start RIGHT THIS SECOND I’ll lose it. But it’s ready to go on April 1. The percolating and note taking I’ve done has set the foundation. I haven’t made a detailed outline, but I know the shape and the emotions and the themes and the characters. It feels ready, in a calm, grounded way, and that feels good and right for this project.

I need to get ahead on Legerdemain; by the end of this week, I have to upload more episodes, and while I have those, I’m running a little too close to deadline on it right now. I also want to do some work on the “Plot Bunnies” revision and re-release. I want to make sure it’s uploaded and scheduled by the end of the week. Later in the day, it’s social media rounds to promote today’s episode of Legerdemain, and then a script coverage. I only have one so far; I hope some more come in for the rest of the week. If not, I’ll switch my focus to the contest entries.

I have yoga class tonight, and then I will work on the next book for review.

I should have planted yesterday, but didn’t. The next planting day is Friday. I’m getting a late start this year. Oh, well. There’s still snow on the ground, so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

Have a good one!

Fri. March 17, 2023: Shamrocks for Luck, not Liquor

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Friday, March 17, 2023

Waning Moon

Cloudy and milder

St. Patrick’s Day (eye roll)

It was sunny, off and on, yesterday, so at least that made the errand-running pleasanter. But good golly, did people want to TALK! You’d think we’d been trapped inside for months instead of a couple of days. It was pretty funny. And I’m not in that big a rush that I can’t stop and chat here and there. Even though yesterday, it wasn’t just here and there, it was everywhere.

Did some of the social media rounds before errands, and then did the rounds to promote Legerdemain after I came back. People like to start the day reading the blogs, article links do better late morning, and the fiction links do best in the afternoon or evening.

One of these days, there will be a scheduling tool that actually lets us schedule posts across more than FB/Twitter/Insta and then it will save me hours. Some of that time I can spend on sites you know, actually interacting more.

Polished and uploaded next week’s Process Muse post.

The library weeded out reference books about children’s art illustrators. I gathered up the three volumes they let go, covering 1744-1966. I have a feeling they will come in handy for various projects. Even though I don’t yet know which ones.

Bought more at the grocery store than I planned (gosh, I bet you’re shocked, SHOCKED), along with buying coffee AND restocking the “emergency coffee.”

What, pray tell, is emergency coffee?

Since I often buy small-batch, locally-roasted whole bean coffee and grind it for the Magic Coffeemaker, that’s become “regular coffee.” But if the power is out, or, for some reason, I can’t get to the store, I keep “emergency coffee” on hand. That is ground rather than whole bean, and usually one of the brand name espresso strength coffees. I use it when I make Vietnamese coffee. And, when the power is out, I can heat up water on the gas stove and use it in either the French press or the Melitta pot.

I am not a big fan of St. Patrick’s Day for oh, so many reasons. Back in my NYC days, I’d started taking it as a personal day and staying in, because people come in from all over to celebrate and are drunk and sexually harassing anyone in their path and  puking in the streets by 8 AM. Cape Cod has some pretty intense celebrations, so I always made sure, if I was doing site work, that I was home by mid-afternoon, and then stayed put.

Last year was the first time we were here in the mountains for it, and it seemed pretty low key. Even the bar down the street (which has since closed), wasn’t too rowdy. I expected the college students to be out of control, but, for the most part, they weren’t too bad, even at the frat house down the block.

We’ll see how it goes this year, since so many people think the pandemic is over.

Charlotte is trying to learn how to play. She came to us not really understanding toys, except for the catnip banana and a few catnip sticks. Which is weird, because she came with a whole box of toys. Most of the time, she just watches Willa and Tessa play from a safe distance. If one tries to engage her, she backs away slowly.

But Wednesday night, she picked out a couple of toys and tried to play with them. It was a bit awkward, but I kept encouraging her, and she kept trying, until she realized that Willa and Tessa stopped what they were doing to watch her. But it’s progress. Let her get comfortable in her own time.

Willa loves mice and stick toys, and sometimes the balls with the bells in them. Tessa loves mice, pom poms, and stick toys. Considering Tessa is the Grande Dame of the household at age 12, it’s amazing how much she likes to play. And whenever she wants play time, she gets it.

I have three scripts in Monday’s queue, so that’s a good thing.

I did the social media rounds for yesterday’s episode of Legerdemain. I edited, polished, and uploaded two more episodes, wrote their loglines and made their episode graphics. Today I will schedule the promos, along with next week’s episodes of Angel Hunt.

Updated the tracking sheets. Tried  to set up character cards for Legerdemain in Scrivener, since there’s a lot to track. While I have the character sketch thing down, the only way I can work plot arcs is via “Untitled Document” or some such shit. Even creating a template, there’s no place to put the damn thing. Unless I completely work from a blank binder, but then I can’t mix and match the character, location, and plot arc cards.

Just fucking let me choose/create  my categories and create new index cards. I hate it when software micromanages me. I looked up a few sets of instructions to “create new index card” and the way it’s shown and what’s coming up on my screen are, of course, different. I’ll play with that. It’s not that big a deal.

Or, I’ll go back to my old-school tracking sheets, which, you know, actually work the way I need them to because that’s how I created them.

A book on AMERICAN WOMEN STAGE DIRECTORS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY arrived (fast, I only ordered it a few days ago). I bought it for the chapter on Jessie Bonstelle, but flipping through it, there’s information on a lot of the women with whom I’ve worked in theatre throughout the years. I’m very excited to sit down and enjoy the book.

I heard from a theatre to which I’d submitted a play about a month ago, acknowledging receipt. I heard from another company, to whom I’d submitted formatting questions for the one-minute radio plays and never heard back. They answered, I thanked them and said I’d watch for the next open call (since I missed this submission call because I hadn’t heard back). They responded and said they felt bad that they hadn’t responded in time for me to make the deadline, and I could go ahead and submit this week; even though they got a lot of submissions, they’re interested in looking at mine.

Which means my focus changes this morning to getting those micro-plays polished and out the door today.

Their call for 10 minute plays opens in two weeks, and I have something to submit to that, too.

I need to look at the science fiction horror western that used to be called “Severance” and find a new title, get a new cover, and re-upload it as a Delectable Digital Delight in the coming weeks/months. It was ahead of the fashion when it first came out, Of course, researching the titles that make the most sense, there are pieces out there with those titles. Even though one can’t copyright a title, I’m trying to come up with something different (and why I’m changing the title it released under before, because of the TV show of the same name).

Put in an order for office supplies, and ordered a double tarot deck I absolutely do not need but wanted (and will make use of, in writing and articles).

By accident, I found an article I wrote a few years back, and I need to add it to my portfolio. Clip file, and up on the site.

Soup class (which had been postponed from Monday) was a lot of fun. Someone’s cat was being very vocal, and then my three had a few choice opinions, and then someone’s dog added to the mix, so it was a very pet-friendly class.

Finished reading the material for the coverage and will write it up today. I did not sleep well last night; the time change is still messing me up, big time. I have to put in an order at a nearby store for curbside pickup today, and hopefully, I can finally schedule my haircut for next week. I want to get it cut before the grant reception, and there’s about 14 inches of hair to hack off.

I will polish and send off the short radio plays, and then get back to Legerdemain. This weekend will be a lot of work on Legerdemain, and also the polish/re-upload of “Plot Bunnies.” I want that to release the first week of April, which isn’t all that far away. And by re-releasing “Plot Bunnies” it means I’m committing to writing “Labor Intensive” and having that ready by the end of summer. So I need to get back into that world, set up the series bible, tracking sheets, etc. (not in Scrivener, but in my own system).

And, you know, get going on spring cleaning that I didn’t do because of the storm, and maybe, just maybe, starting to work on taxes, although I’ll probably push that off to next weekend.

Last year’s taxes shouldn’t be too complicated (famous last words). This year’s will be more so, with the grant and the residency and some other stuff, so I will utilize the help that’s offered in this region for working artists. I’m diligently tracking everything used for the grant down to the smallest detail as it happens, instead of just dropping it into a file and compiling it next winter, so that will help, too.

There’s an artist meetup next Tuesday, but it’s indoors, and I’m not comfortable with the (lack of) COVID protocols in place, so I’ll skip it. Thursday is a tossup between a theatre open house and MASSMoCA’s open studios. A lot will depend, again, on the weather.

Monday is the Equinox. It will BE spring, even if it doesn’t yet feel like it. Hopefully, I can do some planting this weekend, too. Sunday’s the next planting day.

Enjoy today’s episode of Angel Hunt!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side of it!