Mon. May 7, 2012: Intense Family Weekend


Mist over the dunes at the Province Lands Center, Provincetown

Monday, May 7, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Intense few days. Went to yoga on Thursday morning, came back, packed the car, and we were on the road a little after 11. Trip to Maine wasn’t bad, not much traffic, we made good time. We settled in, spent some time with my great uncle, I cooked dinner.

We were up early the next day, breakfast, picked up one cousin who lives down the street and one in Portland, and hit the road. The drive down wasn’t bad, either — we timed it well.

We hit Foxboro around 10:30 in the morning. I was born in Norwood, and Foxboro is where my grandmother lived for many years. I haven’t been back since the mid-90s.

We found the cemetery without any problem, and found my grandparent’s grave. The cemetery is beautiful — extremely well-cared for, and people are allowed to individually landscape each of the graves, which is great (unlike so many cemeteries, now, where everything is supposed to be identical and plain, and everyone is a number, not a memory of an individual). We also visited the nearby grave of another family friend. We spoke a few words by the site, and handed over the ashes to the caretaker, who will bury them today.

We drove past the house where my grandparents used to live, and where I have many happy memories. It looks lovely — the current owners take loving care of it, have landscaped it nicely, put on a new roof, etc. And the property next door (formerly belonging to the person whose other grave we visited) is also lovely. She had magnificent formal gardens, and the current owners have kept them up.

It was strange to see those childhood places through adult eyes.

Something is starting to tickle in the back of my head, an idea; I’m not sure where it

We continued around to the Cape and home. After getting the cousins settled in, we headed up to Cobb Hill — the cemetery where the first arrivals are buried. They came over from Kent, England, and one branch of the family went up to Maine. It was cold and rainy, so we didn’t spend as much time in the cemetery as we might have otherwise.

We went over to Sturgis Library and spent a few hours in their genealogy collection. They have a lot of information on the family — the branch that started here and wound up to Maine, another branch that wound up in West Virginia. It was fascinating.

I cooked dinner, and we all visited and played with the cats. I spent a bit of time with students.

To bed early, but also up early on Saturday. I baked apple spice bread for breakfast. Then, we headed out to Provincetown. Unfortunately, it was another cold, drizzly day. But we got to walk around town a bit (already quite busy) and had a nice lunch. We went up to the Province Lands Observation near Race Point, always one of my favorite places, and I got some interesting misty pictures.

We came home, and someone from Sturgis called — I’d left something important at the library the day before! Someone from the library was coming to my library for an event; I met her there, feeling both stupid and grateful. She is definitely getting a thank you note.

Cooked dinner, uploaded photos, made prints for them, copied the information from the library — by the time I tried to get online to deal with students, it was 9:30 at night and I was incoherent.

Up early on Sunday, made eggs benedict, and we were on the road a little after 9. Not a bad ride up to Maine, in spite of an accident on 93 and one inside the Big Dig tunnel. Dropped off the cousins and turned right around to go back.

I admit, I was getting a little tired.

But it was great to have the family from Maine here, to have them see where we live, and that this move was the right choice for us. They also have been working very hard, and I wanted to give them a happy, relaxing time.

We meant to stop for lunch, but didn’t find what we wanted, so wound up driving all the way back. Instead of going back through the Big Dig, we hooked around again on 128 so we could take the Bourne Bridge. The Sagamore had a two hour delay getting off-Cape, and that usually causes a tangle getting on the Cape, too. We shot over the Bourne Bridge and found off-Cape traffic backed up all the way to our little town, too. But we got home in a reasonable amount of time.

Heated up some dinner and went to bed. That was all I could take.

A LOT to do today, both online and off. The rain last week stimulated the grass — I’ve got to mow. And hit the bank. And put gas in the car. And do some work with my students. And help out a pro bono client. And polish my lectures for Saturday’s workshop.

Billy Root’s blog will go up later today.

Better get to it! I’m tired, but more optimistic this week. I’ve still got some stuff to figure out, but I’m getting there.

Devon

Don’t forget the Amazing Antagonists workshop on Saturday, May 12! You can turn your antagonists from ciphers to complex, fascinating individuals with these tips. More info and registration here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012: Better Than Fiction


Sometimes the world looks better upside down

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction days. It was pretty funny.

First of all, I went to sit with a new-to-me meditation group. They are absolutely lovely, and I hope I can make the Tuesday morning sit regularly. We were talking about all kinds of things, like deadlines and commitment and stuff. I mentioned that I tell my students there are two choices: Write. Don’t write. If you CHOOSE not to write, that’s what it is — a choice. Don’t make excuses about life or family or whatever. You’ve chosen not to write. You live with the consequences, and don’t expect everyone else to accommodate you and change THEIR choices because you CHOSE not to write. The old Devon class mantra: No excuses; no whining. They pointed out it’s very much in line with the teaching: Do or don’t do. I hadn’t thought about it in that context, but at least I know I’m working along principles that are not counter to the internal work I’m doing!

I admit to not being “of empty mind” while we sat. It was great — 20 minutes sitting, 10 minutes walking, 20 minutes sitting. But we were in a church on a hillside, and as we sat, I got a great opening line for a story with a character I’m currently working with in the story that’s been obsessing me lately (the long short story). I admit — I explored it for awhile and memorized it before I let the “thinking” part float away.

Then a van pulled up. A prison van with guys on work release. So they’re working all around us, and they don’t really know we’re meditating (although us seated on cushions and the silence might have been a clue). It was pretty funny. I added it into the story idea and then shamelessly eavesdropped on them.

Hey, there was enlightenment, I learned a lot, just not in the traditional way!

After the session, we leave, and the work release guys said hello. So we say hello back. I smiled and looked each one who spoke to me in the eye and returned the greeting. You would have thought I gave them some sort of gift. They just lit up. They were being perfectly pleasant — why should I be the same in return?

On top of that, as I drove through the cemetery behind the church to get back to the main road, I discovered this is THE cemetery the family in Maine (coming to visit in a few months) dubbed as the most important visit for them to the Cape — it’s filled with ancestors! I’d been looking for it, but hadn’t yet found it, and there it was! I’m going to have to go back in nicer weather and really walk it. No wonder it was “talking to me” and giving me ideas for stories!

I stopped at Nirvana, on the way back — one of the few coffee places around here where one can go and hang out while having a cup of coffee. And ran into people I knew!

The session left me feeling with a lot of optimism for the day. I drove to the Sandwich Library to drop off books, and wound up picking up more than I planned (that’s what happens when you go to a really, really good library). I circled around back to the hardware store and the grocery store and the wine store.

Came home and worked — got some work done with the students, but there were site issues and I kept getting kicked off with “fatal error” — as were some of the other students (always helpful to know it’s not just me). Worked on the edits for HEX BREAKER. Spun some ideas. Had a breakthrough on the obstacle for HEART-BINDER, which means I have to go back and add stuff into HEART-SNATCHER, so I made some notes and wrote a few snippets that I’ll type and add in as excerpts, so they’re ready when I hit revisions.

Took some time off the read Heather Webber’s first Lucy Valentine book, TRULY, MADLY. Loved it. It’s such fun, it’s well-written, the characters and settings are wonderful, it’s a good mystery. Yeah, I figured out the twist, but I usually do, and it didn’t bother me, because the way Lucy discovered it made perfect sense and didn’t make me feel like I was waiting for her to catch up. Instead, I couldn’t wait to see HOW she figured out the same thing I had. Webber has two other mystery series (and uses multiple names), so I’ve got a lot to look forward to.

I have a boatload of stuff to get done today, and I won’t make it to Writers’ Night Out. 😦
But, it needs to get done — I have a very long day tomorrow, and I need to clear a lot off the desk before then. That includes knocking out and polishing a couple of articles.

Back to the page.

Devon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days, and didn’t realize most of the morning was gone.

The weekend was all about getting the plants in and settled, getting up the grow light, enjoying the eggplants and the strawberries which are still coming fast and furiously, and trying to save the tomatoes. The patio furniture is in, but I still have to put teak oil on it before it’s completely done for the winter. The rest of the plants are adjusting to being inside.

The azalea, heather, mums, lilac, holly trees, and little oak are staying out, although the lilac will go into the garage soon to go dormant for winter.

I went out on Saturday to pick up wine before the storm hit. Seems like everyone else had the same idea — grocery stores weren’t too busy, but everyone’s cars were filled with rock salt and cases of liquor! Too funny.

The storm didn’t hit the Cape too badly — lots of rain and wind, but that’s it. My mom had a great birthday, I cooked her a good dinner, she’s enjoying the books. We lost power for a few minutes in the middle of the night, but that was all. The rest of the state was hammered — some places got 30 inches of snow. We were lucky

Sunday was a quiet day, for me, mostly catching up on stuff and winding up the Scaling the Wall class. I was afraid it hadn’t gone well, but the students who didn’t quit the first week were really happy with the new perspectives on their novels, and most of them have signed up for the short story class in January. So that’s all good.

I have a feeling a few more will drop out of the year-long shortly. On the one hand, it annoys me that everyone in the class has been investing time and energy in each other, and some of them can’t cut it. I don’t care what they claim as the reason — either you keep a commitment or you don’t. Books don’t write themselves, especially not 200 words once every six weeks. If you want to be a writer, you write. Period. If you don’t want to do the work and make the commitment, go do something else. On the other hand, I have to trust that this group will wind up being what it needs to be to do its best work.

Some people say things like, “oh, when you give this again, I’ll take it.” Um, first of all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even if I did this again, the group dynamic would be different. Second, it’s highly unlikely I will do it again, not because I don’t enjoy it, but because of the amount of time and energy it takes in proportion to the rest of my work. I definitely wouldn’t offer it for several years. Third, why would they think they’d be accepted again, if they already proved they weren’t able to fulfill the commitment now? “De Nile” may be more than a river in Egypt, so what does that make “De Lusion”?

Whatever. I have my own writing to focus on.

I finally cracked the bar scene (thanks to the feedback from the class). It’s not perfect, but it works and makes sense, and I could move forward.

I also had batches of ideas for the short story segment. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do an adult contemporary for my first short story. If I can work in some of the other stories around my other work, I will also do that. But that’s the way it is — ideas come in batches.

Yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity to go on a cemetery tour in Marstons Mills. It wasn’t about ghosts or hooky-spookies. It was about the town founders and interesting graves in a cemetery whose early graves are pre-Revolutionary war and I even saw a grave as recent as 2008. Lots of great stories. And an absolutely gorgeous horse-drawn hearse from the 1880’s, originally made in New Bedford. It had a space for ice to keep the body cool, adjustable pegs for coffin length, velvet curtains, and beautiful finials on the top. The maker stopped building hearses to build unicycles, which were a big business as indoor racing — because the outdoor roads were too bad to race on!

Anyway, I got a few great ideas, and some of them I can combine into a single fantasy tale.

The grow light fell apart — the glass separated from the filament — so I have to take it back.

We had a good turnout of Trick or Treaters last night, in full costume. I had Tessa in her harness and leash, and she came to the door with me. She was a the Belle of Halloween! She was really good about it, too. She enjoyed the attention, unlike the twins, who hid the whole time.

Samhain ceremonies went well. Today is Day of the Dead, and the next few nights are the Tending the Dead ceremonies. Tomorrow, the Samhain decor is packed, and the Thanksgiving goes up. The tween girls last night were funny — they were excited to meet the person who lived in “the house with all the cool decorations.” And a group of my adult neighbors went around in costume, just saying hi — hilarious! Good times, all the way around.

And so, the wheel turns again, and I’m looking forward to the coming winter.

Devon

PS Best wishes to those of you doing Nano this year. Go forth and write!

Today’s word count: 1205
Total word count: 45,834

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 9:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Friday, July 1, 2011


roses on the side of the house

Friday, July 1, 2011
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and gorgeous

Can you believe it’s July? I’ve got my July To-Do list up here, and the Mid-Year Evaluation here, over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site. Join in the conversation this month!

I’m also participating in Christmas in July. My day is July 18 — and you can win a critique as part of the festivities. There are great prizes, etc., all month — join in the fun.

I was on the Yoga Bliss high all day long from the Yoga on the Beach. Not a particularly productive day, but I was happy to Just Be.

Yeah, that means I didn’t mow the lawn! 😉

Next week, I will get up earlier and do my first 1K of the day well BEFORE I leave for class! Even if it means getting up at 5! 😉

This morning, I learned more of the value of yesterday’s class, as I applied it to my morning practice. Yes, my thighs and core are sore, but in the right way — but I could also connect the breath and adjust/correct some of the postures, and therefore get more out of them.

In general, a class is useless past the moment unless you apply what you do in it moving forward. I’m fortunate that I was able to do so.

After yoga, meditation, and watering the garden, I did a brisk, three mile walk, down the street, with a circuit through a nearby cemetery, and picking up the paper on the way back. I’m not quite up to running again (either physically or mentally), but the walk was great, especially in this beautiful weather.

I hope to have a decent day of writing and mowing ahead of me, which will be a good start to the holiday weekend.

Have a great one, everyone!

Devon


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