Tues. April 19, 2022: Stormy Weather

image courtesy of Andrei Kuleshov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

My brain wanted to take Friday off, although I had a good early morning writing session out on the front porch. But I slogged through a bunch of emails. There are some places to which I want to send an LOI, but it would have been stupid to send it on the Friday of a holiday weekend, so those go out today. I also have to find a way to get in touch with this mysterious garage who supposedly can fix my car but has no website in the 21st century. And mail my state quarterly taxes.

I did write, polish, and send off my book review before deadline. The only book they had to review was one I’m not qualified to review (it’s on early childhood education), so another thing on today’s list is to get back in touch and see what else has come in.

It was lovely and sunny, although cooler.

I turned around a script coverage, and decided to start my weekend.

Saturday, I rested and read a lot. I needed the time off. It was raining pretty hard most of the day, and I was glad not to have to go out. I’d hoped to walk down to the coffee shop opposite MassMOCA and give it a try, but that’s put off until it can actually be a pleasant walk.

I set up the ironing board and the craft paper and spent a couple of hours lifting wax out of various tablecloths and altar cloths. It takes a good bit of paper, and one has to work fast, so it doesn’t absorb through the paper and onto the iron. But I got it done, and then slowly started handwashing the fabrics. Some of the dyes from the candles will need to be taken out with the bleach pen, but most of it came out well.

Only people who haven’t worked in film and television think it has nothing to do with actual life skills.

Noodled some ideas in my head for various projects and let them percolate. Percolation time in necessary.

By Saturday afternoon, we brought in all the plants, because the temperature dropped hard and fast. Vacuumed, washed floors, changed beds, the usual Saturday housework.

Baked biscuits early Sunday morning. The weather kept cycled through accumulating snow to sun to rain to accumulating snow all day. I was glad to stay in.

Although we no longer celebrate Easter, my mom wanted baked ham for mid-day dinner, so that’s what I made. I thought it was too sweet (even though I hadn’t put anything on it). That’s the second disappointing ham we’ve had (Christmas ham was okay, but not brilliant), so I think/hope we’re done with it for a while. We have enough for some leftovers, and I’ll make a ham pot pie in a couple of days. I made soup with the bone, adding in garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, and spinach, so we’ll have that for a couple of lunches this week. I’d made chocolate mousse for dessert, so at least we had that.

Read a couple of Ngaio Marsh books, and an art mystery by Iain Pears set in Venice.

Unpacked a couple of boxes of decorations that had been in my office in the other house. Most of them have various new homes; some of them will be repacked into the box of decorations that we aren’t using right now. The “New Orleans Aunties” set of dolls I brought back from the Crescent City years ago now have their own shelf on the front porch, with their beads and the little chest of Crown Royal.

But mostly, I rested. I still feel the aftereffects of Shot 4.

Yesterday was a holiday here in the state, and I was damn well going to take it! It was sunny and cold.

I took some bills, including the federal quarterly taxes, and headed for the post office to mail them and buy stamps. Then, I headed over toward Mass MOCA, to try out the coffee shop. Which is no longer there, and the space now holds a Mexican restaurant. So, as far as I can tell, there’s no independent coffee shop in walking distance of the house. In a college town. Which makes no sense to me at all. Cumberland Farms and Burger King don’t cut it.

I’m not someone who goes out and buys a cup of coffee every day (I make excellent coffee at home), but sometimes, when I’m out and about, I like the option.

Makes me think I should bring up the espresso machine on the next trip to storage.

Picked up a few bits and bobs on the way home – some plant stakes, some hair elastics, some highlighters for the upcoming multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. That type of thing.

It was warm enough to move the plants back out to the porch. I worked on contest entries out there, too. I also started oiling the porch furniture with the teak oil. I don’t have the room to spread everything out and do it all at once, so I’m doing one piece, letting it dry, then moving on. I got one of the Adirondack chairs done. I’m also cleaning and polishing the wooden sills around the windows, with another kind of oil. They are in desperate need of some TLC.

The tabletop fountain I ordered arrived, much more quickly than I expected. It’s simple, but nice. I set it up, put in the batteries, put in the water. It’s a little noisy for the size, but looks good and works well. I put a plate of crystals in front of it. And there’s the healing/meditation altar, inspired by the Twitter pal who said a blessing for me at St. Anthony’s Well last week.

The check arrived for the radio play in Minnesota. That was quick. We only talked about it a couple of days ago.

I saw an email from the potential client with whom I had the video conference last week. I fully expected it to be a “thanks, but no thanks.” Instead, it’s a contract and an NDA. I’ll read it and see if there are any points to negotiate before I sign, but it looks like I’ll be doing some freelancing for an agency. That will expand my parameters and skills a bit, no doubt.

I’ve been giving feedback on a friend’s synopsis for a TV pilot. It’s so good. I’m so excited for her. She’s entering it in a contest.

I’d been playing with the idea of taking a short trip this summer, to dip my toe back into the traveling waters, and even looked at flights. But with the inept Trump-appointed judge striking down the mask mandate on public transportation, that’s off. It also means it’s unlikely that I take the bus down to NYC for a quick museum trip, which I’d also hoped to do. It’s just not worth the risk. I’m glad the conference at which I’m teaching stayed virtual.

The storm woke me at 4 AM. In upstate NY, they were told to expect up to a foot of snow. Here, they keep changing their minds as to whether it’s snow or rain over the next few days. So far, just rain. I have to dash down to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes today, but that’s my only foray out. I’d hoped to go to the laundromat, but not in this weather.

I have a lot of admin to handle today, and turn around the contract, check in with my editor to see if there are any new books to review, pitch to my Llewellyn editor for 2024. Work on the radio plays. Work on the Big Project. Turn around two scripts. Fight with Tracfone about my mom’s phone. Try to get in touch with the mechanic who supposedly can fix my car. Work on contest entries.

I’d better get going, hadn’t I? There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site. And I have a Dramatists Guild virtual event tonight (which I can actually do, since Knowledge Unicorns is on Easter break).

Have a good one!

Wed. Feb. 9, 2022: Glum

image courtesy of wokandapix via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cold (but milder than it’s been)

Well, yesterday turned out to suck.

I got out a script coverage on time, then went out to finish digging out the car. Only the plow had pushed slush up against the car in the parking lot, which then froze. Three of the four wheels are encased in ice. Ice melt didn’t work. Chipping at it didn’t work.

I’m stuck.

I had to cancel and reschedule the diagnosis. The earliest appointment is March 3 – after my sticker extension expires. Which means if it’s an expensive repair, they will refuse my request for a year-waiver. I requested a grace period online, and it was denied.

So I’m contacting the head of the agency and cc’ing my state senator. The car HAS to go to a registered emissions repair place. I can’t get it there within the deadline, because they book out so far in advance. The other registered emission repair places are too far, and don’t have openings, either. We are in a pandemic, and everyone is stretched beyond their limits. Stop with the arbitrary deadlines.

Stop punishing people for not being rich.

Struggled not to feel like this was a personal failure, like if I’d just done x, y, z – well, you know, I’ve kept the car dug out after each storm. I’ve never lived anywhere that the snow melted, was pushed up against the car by the plow, and then froze around the tires. I did the best I could.

Anyway, I was so upset about it all, and I’d already blocked off the afternoon away from client work, so I gave myself the rest of the day off and read. Finished THE RAVEN AND THE NIGHTINGALE. Read COLD AND PURE AND VERY DEAD. Started reading THE MALTESE MANUSCRIPT.

And was upset and depressed anyway.

I’ll be without a car for another month.

Ordered pizza delivered, because I just couldn’t face cooking. Plus, I had hoped I could DRIVE to the store and do a big grocery shop. But I guess I have to hump the cart there later this week and do a series of smaller shops.

Slept well, though, and the cats let me sleep until 6:30.

I will do some work on The Big Project. Then, I have a library trip to do, to drop off and pick up books. I might go to the college library, too, for some things I can only get there, and I might check out the college bookstore, too. I heard a rumor there might even be a place to get a decent cup of coffee around there.  I’ve missed being able to walk to a decent coffee shop since I left New York (because I had to drive ridiculous distances on Cape, too).

When the weather is better, I’ll be able to walk to the place across from MassMOCA for coffee, which is supposed to be great, but if the college actually has a place, that would be even better.

Although I still don’t feel comfortable to sit down in a coffee shop to drink it, and I miss that, too.

And the dumb government fucks are rolling back mask mandates, guaranteeing that we will get another variant, and another surge. And that more people will needlessly die.

My former doctor, on Cape, got in touch, worried about my booster, so I sent all that information over, about getting it and where, and all that, for their records. It was so nice of them to check in.

I still haven’t found a doctor here, and neither has my mom. We’re waiting until the virus numbers are down and the systems aren’t overwhelmed.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine last night. Those are darned good, smart, compassionate kids.

Anyway, I’m down today. But it’s sunny, and everything I have to do out of the house is do-able on foot.

If it warms up enough, I’ll try to chip away at more of the ice.

Onward (big sigh).

Tues. April 10, 2012: Good News to Share!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday, worked flat out all day. Worked with my students on the revision process, got out a requested partial, got out a couple of short stories, worked on some marketing and proposal stuff. Someone who wanted a manuscript by June 1 now wants to take a look at the opening chapters earlier, so I need to figure out how to fit that in. Got some good work done on HEART BINDER in the sprint with students. Did my work in the Steampunk class and started One Story, Many Voices.

Went to use the library’s computer to put in a “tweet this” button on my website for the workshops, but the website won’t hold the code. Typical. Next week, I need to meet with the Mac people and set up time to learn how to pull the materials the web host is holding hostage, so I can get the website move DONE. I should probably wait until some of the Fast & Funs are done, but I think my current host is interfering so much with my ability to earn a living that I should risk the move sooner rather than later.

The great news is that OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus book, was accepted by Solstice. I’ll send back the contract today, and off we go. I need to have the third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, done and out to them early in June.

Family’s coming down in May, and I had to get my Fast & Fun dates sorted for May and June. Looks like those are going to work out, so the pages and registration information will go up soon.

Overslept this morning, but still managed to get to meditation on time. We had a good session and an interesting discussion. Stopped at Nirvana on the way back for coffee and chocolate croissants. A couple very impressed with their own importance was in the place, talking to make sure they were overheard. Nothing they had to say was worth hearing. Geez, the only way I could use characters inspired by them is in a dark comedy, where a boulder falls on them or something after a snippet of their vapid exchange.

I’ve got a busy day stretching in front of me, and a migraine with which to contend. I better get to it — got to take back a stack of books to the Sandwich Library and see what else they’ve got waiting for me! And I’ve got an article to finish up. Plus all the writing.

Fingers crossed that submitted material just keeps hitting the target!

Devon

Don’t forget — Dialogue Dilemmas & Solutions, a one-day online seminar to help you create unique and sparkling dialogue. This is the only time I’ll be teaching a dialogue workshop online this year. Information and sign-up 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