Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Tues. Sept. 13, 2022: Fun With Friends

image courtesy of Fancycrave1 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury

Cloudy and humid

I completely forgot to post an intention for the week yesterday; I knew I’d scheduled something to post, and it was for the GDR site, not this one. Oops.

Friday and Saturday were about getting the house ready for guests, and cooking ahead somewhat (making the potato salad and the curried chicken salad and the black bean soup, etc.). Sunday morning, I put the chicken in the crockpot and made the devilled eggs.

My friends arrived a little before 11. We got them settled, and then I drove them around for the basic tour of the town, ending up at Windsor Lake. In the afternoon, we just caught up chatting and decided what to do on Monday. We ate and yakked and had a good time.

Tessa remembered one of my friends from his trips to the Cape. It was funny, because at first she didn’t, until she did. Charlotte and Willa had never met either of them. Willa was friendly, but Charlotte was anxious she was being given away, and hid most of the time.

We were up early on Monday, had a leisurely breakfast, and then headed out. I showed them the library (the building is beautiful) and then we spent the rest of the morning at MassMOCA. The space is enormous, and there’s only so much you can see before the brain fries.

But we saw Kellie Rae Adams’s very intense installation “Forever in Your Debt” which was just amazing. There was also an exhibit of Louse Bourgeois marble and metal sculptures I’d never seen before, Laurie Anderson’s fascinating, personal pieces,  Gunnar Schoenbeck’s musical art, Richard Nielsen’s set of 48 masked paintings, a group exhibit of Ceramics in the Expanded Field, and a kind of graffiti/pop art/neon set of rooms.

It was all fascinating. I often wonder how different the story I receive from these pieces is from the story the artist told. It’s such an education in different ways of telling stories that don’t all rely on words on pages, and how different textures, colors, and juxtapositions stimulate responses.

Definitely an inspiration to keep experimenting with different types of storytelling.

We came home for lunch, and then headed down to Lenox to The Mount (Edith Wharton’s home) to walk the grounds, visit the sculpture installation, and my favorite, the sunken garden. We had tea on the terrace and headed back. It was hotter and more humid than I’d expected.

More snacks, more cooking, dinner, and talking.

Charlotte got a little more comfortable as time went on, but I think she needed a couple more days to really make friends.

Charlotte woke me up at 3:15 this morning to let me know it was raining, so I could put the bucket out on the porch under the leak (it’s on the landlord’s list). Her work was done and she went back to sleep, but I was up. For a while there, it monsooned, but it tapered off.

I made Eggs Benedict for breakfast, and they got back on the road by about 8:30, in case the rain slowed them down.

It was a good visit with good friends with whom I have a long history of laughter and creativity.

Stripped the beds and prepared the laundry. I have to get back to work now, and get some stuff done today.

We’ll be out of the house mid-morning tomorrow, because my mom gets Covid Shot #5.

Episode 15 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today; I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one!

Wed. Sept. 7, 2022: Meal Planning for the Weekend

image courtesy of Thorsten Blank via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, humid, cool

It was pouring for most of the day yesterday. I was worried about floods, but, fortunately, it didn’t happen.

I did some work on Ink-Dipped Advice (the post will go live later this morning), and work on the Legerdemain site. I hope to start promoting it next week, but it might take longer, because there’s still a lot of information that needs to go in. Promoted the episode that dropped yesterday (along with the scheduled promos that are running). I have to look at the budget and see where to place paid ads.

The Topic Workbooks are selling well. The money that came in from those yesterday pays the electric bill. May they continue to sell steadily.

I went out in the rain to the library (by car) to drop off a big stack of books. Nothing’s come in for me in the last few weeks (I’m on waiting lists for books), so I have to order some more older books. I’m nearly caught up with everything I have out.

The cats are much perkier now that it’s cooler. Tessa has decided that the catnip turnip (which was originally Charlotte’s toy) is now her favorite, and she tosses it up in the air and chases it around. So that’s all good. Charlotte doesn’t care. Except for her catnip banana (which we can’t find right now), she doesn’t play often with toys. Willa is racing around like a kook.

Got the dietary preferences for the friends coming this weekend, so I can cook stuff they actually like. This morning, I’m going to do a big grocery shop (I haven’t done that in at least two weeks, and we are down on lots of stuff, not just what I need for the visit). Friday and Saturday I’ll pick up some stuff that needs to be fresh. Sunday, I’ll pick up a couple of things at Wild Oats, and we’ll be good to go. Planned the menu, made the shopping list. I’ll prepare some of the desserts on Saturday.

I still have to finish recovering the kitchen chairs, and fix that one chair, so we have enough chairs to eat around the table.

Everything’s still pretty tidy from the rental inspection, so it’s only a case of making up the beds with fresh sheets, vacuuming, mopping floors, dusting, and doing the regular upkeep.

I can’t wait to see my friends.

I decided to skip Open Studios at MassMOCA on Thursday night, because I don’t want to risk being exposed to the virus right before they arrive.

I basically have been isolating since late last week (mostly because I didn’t want to be around people on a holiday weekend), and didn’t mind at all. I’m looking forward to hunkering down for the winter.

This morning is big grocery shopping, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and turn around two scripts. I have two more to turn around tomorrow; I’m still waiting on a replacement from an incomplete script. I will probably just read one on Friday and none on Saturday. I’ve pushed hard enough early in the week so taking off Monday and even possibly Tuesday is not going to be an issue.

Closing some of the windows, at least partially, at night, and boy, does that block out a lot of sound. It’s not that noisy anyway, but the first weeks of a new semester are always a little louder, because the students are settling in. The idiot who moved into the house next store and is always yelling in the afternoons and evenings – honestly, I can’t tell if he’s jerking off or gaming and yelling at the computer – is annoying, but I yelled out my own window yesterday to shut up, and he did, so that’s progress. He can yell all he wants if he closes his windows and I don’t have to hear him. There are quite a few guys coming into the school this semester who are aggressive about taking up more than their space and they will have to be knocked back.

There’s a jay yelling outside my window, so I better go see what’s gotten him so upset.

Lots to do, so better get to it.

Published in: on September 7, 2022 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Aug. 9, 2022: Just Chugging Along

images courtesy of Wikilimages via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was another hot day, although the temperature started going down later in the day. But I hadn’t slept well, which was not a good way to start.

I had trouble getting going in the morning. I had to deal with stuff on the personal front, of course, with everything going on. I managed to get the book review written and out, and was assigned my next two books for review. I worked on catching up with emails, and handling a bunch of admin. I pushed back the release date for DEVELOPING THE SERIES so that I can finish proofreading it and make sure the students really get it well before it goes into general release. I did the promotion for Episode 5 of LEGERDEMAIN that dropped yesterday, “The Luminous Lady.” The ad I made for it is one of my favorites.

I worked on the poem a little.

I let myself grieve when I needed.

There was a thunderstorm in the late morning, which helped break some of the heat and humidity. But then, it was warm and sunny again.

We headed back to the quilt shop in Williamstown. And ran into a detour, because there was a gas leak, and a big chunk of Rt. 2 was blocked off by the fire department. So I had to take back roads. The fact I knew which backroads to take pleased me.

Anyway, we went to the quilt shop, and I picked up some fabric to make holiday-themed curtains for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Because this weekend, when I’m working on seat covers and kitchen island curtains, I might as well do all of them at once.

A big guy working the lines came into the quilt shop, curious because his grandmother used to quilt, and he was interested in looking at the quilts. That, of course, triggered a story idea for me, so those characters are percolating. Now, the question becomes are they their own set of characters in their own world, or do I fold them into one of my other worlds?

On the way back, we did a stop at Wild Oats for a few things, and I paid my next year’s membership. I got to introduce my mom to the general manager, who is a sweet, smart, wonderful guy, and that was good.

Did a script coverage in the afternoon. Then, it was cool enough to prepare the rest of the Farmers’ Market vegetables as roasted vegetables, and served it over couscous. The rest of this week will be leftovers from the past few days of crockpot, primavera pasta, and roasted veggies.

Right after I finished, it was time for the cooking class with Chef Jeremy over at Kripalu (via Zoom). He’s moving into a full-time faculty position, after being the Executive Chef there for 12 years (which, as he said, is “like 187 Chef years”). He’s such a brilliant teacher, and he loves it so much, I’m glad he has the opportunity. And I’m excited to, at some point, study with him again in person.

Anyway, class was tons of fun. As usual, I learned a lot (like the difference between a tian and a gratin).

After class, I had another script to cover, but I got everything done.

It was the first night in weeks where it was cool enough to sleep, and I slept. Although I had a nightmare, and Charlotte woke me up at 3 AM. But I managed to fall back to sleep, and got up a little after six.

The damn computer took nearly an hour to do an update, and then none of the programs talked to any of the other programs, so I had to go in and wiggle things around until it worked again. I am not an IT person, and I shouldn’t have to fake being one just to get the computer up and running every morning. Especially since it’s still under warranty (although no one has any interest in honoring the warranty). And I’m only using 25% of the computer’s capacity.

I did not have these problems with my Mac.

Anyway, I have a meeting to prepare for this morning, the workbook to finish proofing, the poem to polish, and then three scripts to cover this afternoon, so it’s another busy day. But good busy.

Spiro Squirrel tried to remove the kitchen window screen again yesterday afternoon and Willa was right there, letting him know that was not an option. When I heard her scampering down the hallway early this morning, I was sure he’d somehow managed to get in and she was chasing him around the house, but she was just running up and down the hall because it was cool enough to run again. All the cats were perky this morning, because it was cool enough to feel like themselves again.

Hope you’re having a good one.

Published in: on August 10, 2022 at 7:15 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 9, 2022: Just Chugging Along  
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Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity

image courtesy of Darkmoon Art via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and hot

The SERIES BIBLE Topic Workbook releases today. This edition has information on the use of Tracking Sheets and Style Sheets. I hope you like it.

I uploaded and scheduled the content calendar for it yesterday. I updated the websites with the individual buy links across a bunch of the Topic Workbooks, and will have to do so for the next few weeks, as more links, international links, and library links go live. I haven’t yet updated the Topic Workbook page on this blog site, but I will next week.

Then I did the rounds of the channels where I couldn’t schedule content, to push Episode 3 of LEGERDEMAIN, which dropped yesterday.

Once that was all taken care of, I started converting the most important points and exercises for the upcoming DEVELOPING THE SERIES Workbook for Saturday’s class.

By that time, I had to do a library run, and I picked up bagels and smoked salmon for lunch. I had a great converation about poetry, Thomas Lynch, and John Milton with one of my favorite librarians.

After lunch, it was time to turn my attention to the script coverage. I only got one script covered in the afternoon (it was a longer coverage than I expected). I took a shower and then participated via Zoom with Chef Jeremy’s cooking class at Kripalu. It was wonderful. He’s such a great teacher, and he’s so much about encouraging people to make substitutions in recipes based on what they like, and learn from it. He also encourages people to try new things, like unusual vegetables at the market, and just play. He’s very much about playing and learning and expanding. It was a great class, and I learned a lot.

I’ve been invited to attend the rehearsal of one of my radio plays next week via Zoom, right after the next class with Chef Jeremy, so that’s great. I’m looking forward to that.

Turned around another coverage after dinner, and then I was too tired to get the third one in, so that means I have to turn around 4 today, not three.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat when I opened. I got a good chunk of edits done on upcoming LEGERDEMAIN episodes while I was there.

When I came back, I found that Tessa had pulled the pants I’d worn to my friend’s place out of the laundry and was dragging them around (because they smelled of Ben, no doubt). We had some plant kerflamma on the front porch – something made several of the plants sick. We cut them back and isolated them; hopefully, we’ve stopped it from spreading to everything out there. I would be sad to lose all the plants. I don’t think we can save the impatiens. I think they’re gone. Anyway, that, and the hole the squirrel tore in the kitchen screen before Willa chased him away will be detailed in tomorrow’s garden post.

I was so pleased that Jon Stewart managed to shame the Republicans into mostly voting for the PACT Act to provide veterans with health care. It takes a lot to shame Republicans – basically they can’t be shamed; they can only be afraid their wallets get thinner. And Kansas voted to protect abortion rights. Good.

I’m tired, but there’s a lot to do this morning. I have to work on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook, and finish the slides for the class. I have to do a run out to the market for coffee and oat milk. I hope to do a little bit of work on my poem, but that might have to wait until Friday.

This afternoon is all about script coverage.

It’s supposed to be brutally hot today, and, especially tomorrow. We may have to move camp to the Williamstown Library for the afternoon on both days.

Stay well and happy, my friends.

Published in: on August 3, 2022 at 8:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity  
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Fri. July 29, 2022: A Good Friend With a Beautiful Garden

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Friday, July 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE has released, in its new edition. It helps get and keep projects on track, and teaches techniques to build a calendar that works. You can learn more about it here.

LEGERDEMAIN launched yesterday. The first two episodes are free on Kindle Vella. The story link itself is here.

It would be helpful if you like the free episodes, if you can upvote them and also leave a short, positive review. And, of course, tell everyone you know. If it’s not your thing, spreading the word to those who might like it would be really helpful.

My father died on this day in 1972. He’s been out of my life longer than he was in it. But the day still has its challenges.

I had a great time with my friend in upstate NY. The ride there on Wednesday was okay, up until the last stretch on I-84, which was rather chaotic. But it was a short stretch, and I found her place just fine. She lives in a town that’s similar to where I live here in the Berkshires, in that it’s a former factory town now populated with artists.

We know each other from working in theatre, film, and television production. There are several studios popping up in upstate NY, because of the demand for streamed programs, so she doesn’t even have to commute to the city for everything, which is great.

Doesn’t make me want to start up in production again, though. Those days are done for me, except for script  coverage and creating budget estimates.

We had iced tea in the wonderful, naturalized pollinator garden she’s built, then when into town to a taproom, where we ate outside. First time I’ve eaten at a restaurant since COVID. The tables were far enough apart that it was comfortable. It was delicious, and I had a local beer called “Marlowe” that was pretty good.

We went to the gallery where she’s part of a group show. Her piece was wonderful, and there were all kinds of interesting pieces in the show. We visited a friend of hers who has a fabric store, and there are terrific pieces there. The museum we planned to visit was closed on Wednesdays, so we went to a shop called Notions and Potions where I picked up some incense and a few crystals.

My friend is a cat person, and she has a group of rescued cats living with her. Many of them are old and had spent years either on the streets or in shelters. Bob even has his own Instagram account. I bonded with Ben, a lovely 15-year-old cat who loves the other cats (especially Bob), but doesn’t like to be touched by humans. Once he realized I would respect that boundary, he stayed close for most of my visit. He investigated all my bags, and left messages for my cats. He hung around. Griddle is a lovely black cat, who is very social and liked to come and be petted. There’s a kitten in search of a name who’s very smart and friendly, and looks like my Willa’s baby brother. One-Eyed George is kind of shy (because he can’t see much), but he was around. The tortie, Star, got more and more curious, the longer I was there, but not close enough to be petted. She kept walking through the room and staring, as though she was on her way to some other appointment. Calamity Joon was shy, although she peered at me from a safe distance. I didn’t meet Bertie, who stayed in my friend’s room, and I didn’t see Slick, the outdoor cat, although his empty bowls assured us he was around.

Anyway, my friend and I had a good catch up, and then got pizza for dinner we ate at home. I slept well, although Tessa has me so well trained, I woke up at 5 anyway. I’d woken up a couple of times in the night because I Was Being Stared At, but whomever did the staring fled as soon as I looked at them. Anyway, once Griddle realized I was up, she came for a petting session. George came to check things out, and then fled. I dozed off again for a bit.

When I woke up later, and went to take my shower, I found Bob stretched out in the doorway to the room, with the other cats looking at me hopefully from a distance.

After the shower, Ben came in to help me pack, and to make sure I put everything in properly.

I brought my bags downstairs, and most of the pride trotted down hopefully with me to the kitchen, and then were very disappointed when I failed Breakfast 101. I don’t know the medicine/food routine.

Bob forgave me and sat on my foot, with Ben right next to him, and Griddle came in to get some extra petting action, and my friend came down soon after, so all was not lost.

Morning feeding happened; we went out to get bagels with everything on them, and came back to the house to eat. Real New York bagels! I mean, the Berkshire bagels are better than the Cape bagels, but nothing beats a real New York bagel.

My friend gave me a small lilac, and a tansy plant to replace the tansy that Spiro Squirrel destroyed. She also gave me some mugwort slips and some cut mugwort. And she gave me some small pink flamingos who will dance in the pots on the back balcony.

Driving back was smooth. I got caught up in the horse trailer traffic going north on I-87, because the Belmont/Aqueduct barns are sending them up to Saratoga for the big races this weekend. But it was really a smooth ride back. Much less traffic than going down the day before. And it was so nice to spend time with my friend in her amazing house and yard and with those wonderful cats.

Unloaded the car. The lilac will be okay in its pot for now. I repotted the tansy and the mugwort.

I did some promotion for LEGERDEMAIN, did my Italian lesson. I’m learning random words, and I can figure out the phrases by process of elimination, but I’m not learning structure. And that frustrates me. There’s no context for anything.

Had a quiet afternoon. It was hot.

My mom had been sick the night before (she ate too many hotdogs in my absence). I have threatened her with kale smoothies. But the cats took good care of her.

Tessa was fine. She was very interested in all Ben’s messages, and told me everything that happened while I was gone. Willa was chill, as usual. Charlotte was upset because I had the scent of other cats on me. It took her hours to calm down.

Slept decently, although Charlotte woke me around 4:30 wanting attention, and then Tessa chimed in. So I was up at the usual 5 AM to feed everyone and start the routine.

I’m getting ready to go down to MASSMoCA to attend the artist working group to which I was invited. When I get back, I have to get a lot done this afternoon, and then there’s yoga tonight. Tomorrow morning is the farmers’ market, and then I have to finish my Llewellyn article and get it off to my editor. I’ll probably work on Sunday, too. There’s something I want to go to at The Mount in the late afternoon, but if I can’t get my work done, I can’t go.

Monday is Lammas, a big holiday in my personal calendar. And then we’re in both another week and another month.

Have a good one! See you on the other side.

Fri. July 8, 2022: Creative Start to the Day

image courtesy of Yerson Retamal via pisabay.com

Friday, July 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Oops, I did it again. Wrote the first draft of another one act play before breakfast this morning. This one was inspired by an article I read in THE NEW YORKER last night. The title, at least at the moment, is “Inspired By.”

Got a letter from an editor that an anthology for which I’d made the short list of possibilities, telling me that it looks like it’s been scuppered, at least for the moment. Oh, well. At least she told us. And I had the chance to stretch in that direction. It’s worse for her than for me; I wrote one story. She read over a thousand entries.

Sent out an LOI to a company in Bennington, and got a lovely response. We will see if/how things moved forward, but that quick, professional acknowledgement went a long way. Started an LOI to another company, but, on digging into it, their budget can’t cover my rates, and I can’t downsize the scope of what they need to make it work. So I’ll skip that.

Meditation was good. That Thursday morning group has become a lovely anchor.

Willa wanted to go on the back balcony after lunch, so I took her out in her playpen. I worked on the multi-colored draft of the first large arc of The Big Project, and am mortified at how much sloppy language is in it. But that’s the point of edits/revisions. To make it better.

Did another editing pass on “The Little Woman” and sent it to the friend who is a Trusted Reader. She had excellent suggestions, which have helped me on a section I knew was shaky. Hopefully, this weekend, I can dig back in and get it done. There are a couple of script calls coming up where it might fit.

Started a script coverage, but was having trouble concentrating, so I put it aside and will finish today. I love this particular writer’s work and want to give it my full attention.

Ordered Chinese food in, because I was too tired to cook, and none of the leftovers appealed to me. Read THE NEW YORKER, which reprinted one of Shirley Jackson’s stories, the same week I’m reading her biography. Love when that happens.

I need to do a run to the library to drop off/pick up books, put gas in the car, and do some other errands, including getting some more of those Command hooks, so we can do some stuff around the house this weekend. We might actually start hanging a few things up. And, you know, finish that damn kitchen island cart.

Had weird dreams last night. Not bad, just weird.

We spent far too much time trying to figure out where to go for a quick, two day or so vacation in autumn, just for a change of scenery, that will also be COVID safe. Maybe rent a place with a kitchen, so we don’t have to worry about eating out. Sit on a deck somewhere pretty reading books. I mean, we do that at home, in our downtime, but sometimes it’s nice to do it Somewhere Else.

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

Published in: on July 8, 2022 at 8:38 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 8, 2022: Creative Start to the Day  
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Wed. June 29, 2022: Creativity, Cats, and Yoga

image courtesy of Tamba Budiarsana via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I’m happy with the work I did on The Big Project yesterday, and that will probably be the biggest focus for the upcoming weekend: getting the edits on the first large section done while working on the second large section (this will all make sense when I reveal what this project actually is). It’s bizarre not to finish the entire thing and then edit the entire thing, but since there’s technically not and “end” (although there are options to impose one), that’s how this needs to be done.

The editor confirmed that I am in the first volume of The Monthology shared world anthology. I’m very excited, and I’m excited about my fellow contributors. There are still contracts to sign and edits to complete and all of that, but I’m happy. I’ve wanted to be part of a shared world anthology since Thieves’ World first showed up in the 1980’s, and now I am. Always nice when a creative dream comes true!

Played with the horror short story. If I don’t choose the right way to tell it, it will read voyeuristic and exploitative, instead of terrifying. I think I’ve got the right angle on it now; we’ll see as more words go on the page.

Spent a lot of time in the morning updating the links for the “Personal Revolution” re-release, and putting up the ad for it every damn where I could think to put it. Scheduled a bunch of tweets with the ad through next Wednesday on Tweetdeck, one per day. Don’t want to do overkill; at the same time, it needs promotion. Even with a list, I’m sure I missed a few places that will come to mind over the next few days.

Hopped down to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription.

Willa wanted to come out on the back balcony when I watered all the plants yesterday morning. I told her she couldn’t, and she was unhappy. I promised her that I’d take her out after lunch, in her playpen, and I did. At first she was happy, but then she was restless, so I brought her back in. Charlotte, who was upset that she couldn’t come, too, had given up by then and fallen asleep. But Tessa insisted that she wanted to go out. I told her it had to be in the playpen, and she let me put her in her playpen (each of the three cats has her own playpen) without trying to rip my lungs out, the way she usually does.

I took her out and she had a good time. She was interested in everything, especially all the different birds we have. There are a lot of different kinds of trees and tree-like shrubs nearby, with a large variety of birds. I need to look them up in the bird book. I don’t know what some of them are.

When we came back in, Willa kept running into the laundry room and trying to drag out her now folded up playpen, to go back outside.

I’m glad Tessa enjoyed herself. She always loved going out on the deck at the other house, although I didn’t need to put her in the playpen. She knew the boundaries and stayed on the deck. But the back balcony isn’t safe unless they’re in their playpens.

The computer was being wonky and frustrating. Again. And my phone is limping alone, just about done.

Something I ordered way back at the start of the month arrived, and was a big disappointment. The photo of the piece was highly stylized. Had I known what it really was, I wouldn’t have bought it. It was also presented as something created and made by an individual artisan (which is why I paid what I paid for it), but it is poorly mass-manufactured. It’s not worth returning, but I am unlikely to order from that company again. I will take some time with it and fix it up to be unique and what I want it to be, but it should have arrived that way.

I tried to concentrate on client work in the afternoon, but with the January 6 Hearings, I just couldn’t. Every seditionist and supporter needs to be removed from power any and every way necessary and prosecuted. The way nothing is happening is disgusting.

SCOTUS upholding gerrymandering in Louisiana to disenfranchise black voters doesn’t help, either. Dems need to stop telling us to “vote harder” and THEY need to fight smarter.

I went to my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years yesterday. Local place, in walking distance, should I choose. Loved the vibe of the place, liked the way the teacher teaches, enjoyed the other members of the class. The vaccination requirement is strictly enforced, some of the students still choose to mask, there’s plenty of room for everyone, and great ventilation.  I felt safe within the space (although I’ll still test in three days, then six days), along with feeling renewed after class. I definitely would like to take more classes there. It’s a little late in the game to buy the unlimited summer pass (maybe I’ll do that next year). I’m going to see about buying the 10-class pass in a week or two, once the bills are paid – and once I know how much the new phone will run me.

The place in Pittsfield doesn’t have the phone I want (and is unlikely to help me switch everything over if I order it online). I might switch carriers. A different carrier with a store a few blocks away has a similar phone (but one step up) that may be a little more expensive, or it may be on sale and around the same price. The monthly no-contract plan is less than what I’m paying now, for about double the capacity. I’ll go down and talk to them today, after I do my library run. If they can’t/won’t do what I need, I’ll stick with my carrier, get the phone I want online, and see if I can do the transfer myself (urgh). But let’s hope I don’t have to.

This morning, though, before I run my errands, I want to get the horror story drafted (it’s short), and maybe work on some of the format wonk in the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. This afternoon has to focus on client work.

The kitchen island cart is still in pieces all over the place. It’ll be the weekend before I can deal with that, too.

For the moment, though, now, it’s back to the page.

Fri. June 3, 2022: Re-charging Through Art

image courtesy of Uwe Baumann via pixabay.com

Friday, June 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Mercury DIRECT

Cloudy and cool

I’d hoped for a productive day yesterday, and fell far, far short of my own expectations.

I had trouble settling in to meditation, mostly because Charlotte was crawling all over me, and over the desk. But we got there.

After meditation, I made French toast for breakfast, trying to use up the leftover ciabatta. I’m trying to recreate the recipe for the lovely one I had at Pere Antoine’s in New Orleans. Adding in more vanilla helps, but I think there was alcohol involved, too.

The morning fled as I slogged through emails and took care of admin stuff, and then washed the kitchen floor properly from the night before, first with a water/vinegar mixture, then with a water/rosemary mixture.

As soon as it dried, the cats, who all love the scent of rosemary, started rolling around on the floor.

Did some more work on the Topic Workbooks. Had a good Freelance Chat – I had a bunch of questions, as did other people, and it was a lively, fun conversation.

I think, as I prepare my Developing the Series class for this August’s booking from its previous version, that I will simultaneously create the Topic Workbook for it. The students in the class will get a copy of the workbook, and the following week, I will release it for sale.

I got my contract from my Llewellyn editor for the 2024 annual. Of course, she wants the very personal and challenging article I pitched! And it’s due earlier than usual, because of print and shipping delays. But I will sign it and return it today, and start it percolating. I will actually write it once I’ve written and submitted the Monthology piece.

In the afternoon, I only turned around one script, because I went down a Pixlr rabbit hole, trying to figure out how to use it, and if it does what I need it to do. It’s sort of like a simpler version of GIMP. But lets me work in portrait, not just landscape. GIMP doesn’t let me reorient photos. Or, if it does, I haven’t yet figured out how to do it, because when I put in the dimensions manually, it changes them to whatever it wants.

After I turned around the script coverage, I put on makeup and got dressed to go down to the MassMOCA open studios. They have a dozen or so artists-in-residence at any given time, from all over the world. Once a month in the summer (less frequently in winter), the studios are open to the public, invited in to see works in progress and hear about the artists’ visions.

It was amazing. The breadth and depth of work is astonishing and emotional and so, so strong. I felt so honored to be invited in and see it, and learn about the different processes. There were a lot of really good conversations, with artists and fellow visitors. It turns out that one woman lived on the same block as I did in NYC, around the same time! Small world.

Everyone had to be masked, and no one fussed. There was only one unpleasant incident, when an artist asked that no photographs be taken, because this is work in progress, not an exhibit and a white woman (of course) started screaming at her and stomped out.

Other that that, everyone was excited and respectful and thrilled to be a part of it.

I left a little early, because it was getting crowded, and I was uncomfortable around so many people, even masked. The bulk of the visitors came late, so that they could eat at either the taco truck or one of the several restaurants in the complex (all of whom have outdoor seating).

I walked down, and walked back, about a 3 mile round trip, and it was a couple of miles traipsing around the studios, so I definitely got my exercise! But the pieces gave me a lot to think about, for all the right reasons.

It was a calculated risk to go, with virus numbers rising, but I’m glad I did.

Woke up around 1 AM because of the rain, and had trouble falling back to sleep, due to sense memory stress. I have a feeling this will be a challenging month, on the emotional front.

Mercury turns direct today, thank goodness. Don’t talk to me about the shadow. I’d never get anything damn done if I had to worry about the pre-and-post retrograde shadows. Saturn goes retrograde tomorrow – the planet of life lessons. If I didn’t learn from the move last cycle, I’ll be paying for it this time around.

I have a post about Summer Hours up on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Sadly, I doubt I can stop work at noon today. Since I only turned around one script yesterday, I have at least two do turn around today, and then two tomorrow. Unless I get three done today, which would be a stretch. I need to do a library/co-op market run later this morning, get some writing done, and maybe some editing in the afternoon. This weekend, I need to work on the Monthology story and The Big Project.

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

Published in: on June 3, 2022 at 7:11 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 3, 2022: Re-charging Through Art  
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Thurs. May 26, 2022: When The Day Evaporates

image courtesy of Christoph via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy and pleasant

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

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

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

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

Another thing on the list, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good one!

Published in: on May 26, 2022 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 26, 2022: When The Day Evaporates  
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Fri. May 13, 2022: Windows11 Sucks, but Plants are Pretty

image courtesy of planet_fox via pixabay.com

Friday, May 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and hot

This is going to be the retrograde of computer malfunctions, I guess. Windows11 is awful. No more autosave – it tries to force you to save to the cloud. I don’t want to save to the cloud, and it should be MY decision. So, when I’m reading on screen and taking notes in a document, I have to save the document any time I switch back to the reading screen, or I lose everything. On top of that, when I opened the computer to start my day, it decided it had to “restart” and then “update” and then, when it asked for my PIN and I put it in, it gave me the gray screen of death. More than once. I shut it down and turned it back on, and it’s glitching.

As usual, Microsoft sucks. Although, from what I hear, Apple has descended to Microsoft’s level of ineptness.

In any case, yesterday was a decent day, although it got hot. I had trouble getting online to the meditation, but got there, and was glad I did. I got some work done in the morning, including slogging through way too much email. I had trouble getting the computer and the printer to talk to each other again after the upgrade, which is frustrating, because I have paperwork that needs to get done. I managed to get the next book for review downloaded, although that was a chore, too.

Once Mercury goes direct, I have to go through my Download file and dump a lot of it. It’s been double downloading things, and taking up space I can better use otherwise.

Headed for the grocery story, which had a special deal on hanging baskets, and we got a couple of lovely baskets of impatiens, one in a dusky pink and one in a bright pink. Headed to another store, where I wound up getting a lovely, soft shirt in organic cotton (on sale – gotta love Mercury Retrograde bargains). Headed back to the other store and got more potting soil, more pots, another patio rug, and three small shelf units that I plan to put together and use in various parts of the house. They’re kind of a dull brown. I will see what they look like put together, and then maybe paint them. Or, at least, stencil them.

The curried chicken salad I made the night before was perfect. We have a great big batch of it to enjoy, and that recipe might be a summer go-to for me. I used the Asian greens in it, almonds, currants, and golden raisins. I’d picked up a ciabatta on our errands, and that went perfectly with it.

After lunch, we set out the new rug on the back balcony – it even matches at the seam to the other rug. Having the two rugs run the length of the space unifies it. We hung the impatiens, and hung and filled the bird bath. We put the cushions on the bench and the bistro chairs. It’s a really nice, shady retreat. When the front porch, with its southern exposure, gets too hot in the afternoons, we can retreat to the back balcony, with its northern exposure.

Charlotte and Willa sat in the kitchen window and watched. I’m sure we will have to take them out sometimes in their playpens. Tessa happily stayed on the front porch.

I turned around a script coverage and cleaned up some other work, then read on the porch. The Ipsy bag arrived with the monthly goodies, and also MOTHER NATURE’S HERBAL by Judy Griffin, which had been recommended by an Instagram pal. It’s a lovely book, and covers a lot of ground. Since most of my herbals are still in storage, this will serve me well, and I look forward to savoring it.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. We’re prepping them for finals, and the kids are ready for summer.

Leftovers for dinner, and read. I was achy and tired, so went to bed pretty early. Had a rough night, though. I kept waking up with stress memory of this time last year, when that landlord was pressuring us to get out and we had no idea where we could go yet. I kept having to calm myself down (yoga and meditation came in handy) and get back to sleep.

Woke up with a scratchy throat and sneezing, but the itchy eyes and open windows tipped me it’s more likely to be pollen than plague. I was woken by screaming cats. At first I thought they were mine, but my trio was sitting in a row at the window (together) watching cats fight outside.

A friend’s card arrived yesterday, which made me happy, and another friend signed up for The World’s Largest Poem, so I hope that means she comes up for the performance!

Today, I have more email to get through, paperwork to take care of and get out the door, and work on The Big Project and the radio plays. I also have a script coverage.

This weekend, I have to turn over the linens and the closet from winter to summer, but I also want to get a lot of work done on The Big Project and work on the anthology story.

I need to get more scripts in my queue for next week, because I was well below my nut this pay period, and it was because there weren’t many scripts. I didn’t mind the break, because it gave me time to really focus on finishing the contest entries, and that paid more than I expected. But I have to look ahead, and I have a couple of big bills coming up in June.

It doesn’t help that I can’t trust the computer to power up properly or work properly, either.

Fingers crossed. Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on May 13, 2022 at 6:20 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 13, 2022: Windows11 Sucks, but Plants are Pretty  
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Fri. May 6, 2022: In the Midst of Creativity, Loss

image courtesy of strikers via pixabay.com

Friday, May 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a rollercoaster.

It was a beautiful spring day here in the mountains. Just gorgeous.

Charlotte sat with me for the regular Zoom meditation group,

I got some admin work done. I need to spend some time over on Ello this week; I’ve been lax about that.

I pitched myself for a large creative project that will happen in July.

I did some brainstorming on the Monthology with fellow creatives who wanted to know if they could use something in one of the organizations I created, and we figured out how to make it work.

I did a drop off/pickup at the library – there were nine books waiting for me! I had to pick up a few things as the pharmacy. They had aloe plants there, so I grabbed one of those, two. The aloe plant we had in the kitchen on Cape died about two years ago, and I’d never replaced it. We’d bought it when we first moved there, so it had a long life. I did a big grocery shop (five bags’ worth). I stopped at the liquor store, because I was out of red. I got another bottle of red, found a bottle of interesting rosé on the sale shelf, and, in the back of a shelf, another bottle of the Pomelo sauvignon Blanc I like so much.

Getting everything upstairs and put away was a bit of a chore, but I got it done. The latest NEW YORKER has graphic photos of the Russian atrocities in Ukraine. I was worried it would bring back nightmares for my mom, after what she went through with the Russians in WWII, but she wanted to see the magazine anyway. The fact that the world hasn’t banded together to stop this is despicable.

I turned around two scripts in the afternoon, and went back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push today and tomorrow, and hopefully can make my final decisions by tomorrow.

I was accepted for the creative project and can even say what it is: I’m participating in Word X Word’s “World’s Largest Poem” event. 50 of us will write an ongoing poem (we get the last word of the previous writer’s poem, we write 3-5 lines, and the next poet starts with our last word) over the next two months, and we perform it at Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount, in Lenox, on July 23rd. I’m very excited. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but something I wanted to try. We each have 24 hours to write our lines, once we received the prompt from the previous person’s poem.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun, with a lot of laughter. We are enjoying our remaining time together.

Then, I had some shocking and heartbreaking news. I found out that my friend, Thalia Proctor, had died on April 2nd of cancer, and her memorial service was on May 4th. I found out on Facebook. I hadn’t even known she was sick. We’d exchanged cards at Christmas, and I was planning to spend time with her in London next spring, provided it was safe enough to risk the trip. In additional to being a wonderful editor, Thalia was one of the kindest people I know. We met in Nottingham, at one of the first mystery conventions I ever attended, back when I was just starting to get my feet wet in the convention scene. We hung out together at conferences (including the year Bouchercon was in Omaha, of all places) on both sides of the pond. When I was in the UK, we visited. She visited me in 2013 on Cape, which was the last time I actually saw her, although we kept in touch for birthdays and Christmases. She was a steadfast friend during one of the worst romantic relationships of my life, and had a mix of kindness, humor, and common sense that was a joy to be around. We’d been friends for nearly thirty years. In addition to the heartbreak of the loss, I feel guilty that I didn’t know she was sick, and hadn’t supported her more during her illness. But mostly, I’m devastated that the world has lost such a beautiful and graceful person.

Today is about writing and working on contest entries. Tomorrow is the farmer’s market, and finishing contest entries, and making the decisions in the final category. Tessa woke me at three. I moved to the sewing room and dreamed I was at a luncheon with Senator Elizabeth Warren, and she decided to introduce me to Kathy Griffin, because she thought we should know each other. Which is very much like Senator Warren. She got me involved with the Small Business Administration when I first moved to MA, and involved with the state arts organization who advocates for arts funding.

But, throughout, I will take the time to mourn the loss of my friend.

Wed. March 2, 2022: A Focus on Creating

image courtesy of Willgard via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

New Moon

Cloudy, slushy, cold

Yesterday was a pretty decent day creatively, in spite of keeping an eye on the news out of Ukraine.

After I got back from the laundromat and we had pancakes for breakfast (because hey, Fat Tuesday), I got down to work. I spent the morning working on the material needed by the anthology on my new characters/organizations. It was more complex and interesting than I expected (which is a good thing). But that means it takes longer to create.

It was still a solidly creative batch of hours. It also involved going back and re-reading a lot of the brainstorming and the material already approved, so that what I’m doing fits in with what’s been established, and builds on it, rather than fighting it.

Shared worldbuilding is very different than individual worldbuilding.

But I can’t jump from that world to the world of The Big Project easily, so I focused on the shared world yesterday (and will finish up today). I will either work on The Big Project first thing, take a break to go to the library and then switch worlds, or finish the shared world today and focus on The Big Project tomorrow entirely. Since I don’t know how long things will take at the mechanic’s tomorrow, I’m not scheduling any script coverage. I don’t want to be under that kind of pressure. Tomorrow will just be about my own work.

I’m probably working through this weekend, because I want to take a long weekend off next weekend for my birthday. We’ll see what my energy is like, and then decide where to place it.

My mom hasn’t been feeling well the last few days, so there was also taking care of her.

In the afternoon, I did a script coverage, which took longer than it should have, because I kept getting distracted by the news. I also felt like I’d hit the creative a wall hard – felt like I left my imprint on it. It was a good tired, and it didn’t interfere with reading and commenting, but I had hoped to go back to the worldbuilding, and there just wasn’t enough left in the tank for it.  In the evening, I read the next book for review, and it was delightful. I’m looking forward to writing the review today.

Charlotte woke me up out of a weird dream around 2:30. I started sliding back into a dream, and realized, “I don’t want to go there” and pulled myself out of it. Felt like stopping myself halfway down a slide. I managed to fall asleep again, because it was nearly 7 when Tessa woke me up.

Yesterday, I also wrote the formal letter requesting a lease extension from the landlord. Fingers crossed he likes us as tenants and is willing to sign us for another year. I will be a bag of nerves until I get an answer.

Knowledge Unicorns had a short session last night, specifically on homework, because it was important that they watch the State of the Union address. It was nice to have a decent human up there, talking to grownups. Too bad the GOP trash aren’t grownups, and didn’t behave with basic courtesy. But then, most of them should be in prison as Russian assets, so why be surprised. And Manchin keeps showing who he is. He needs to be stripped of committee assignments. I didn’t agree with everything said in the speech, but I felt it was a good, SANE, calm speech that hit some important points.

Have a good one.

Published in: on March 2, 2022 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 2, 2022: A Focus on Creating  
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