Tues. Oct. 10, 2017: Not Enough Weekend, Too Many Responsibilities

 

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Finally, some sun, after a string of rainy, humid, icky days. Remnants of Hurricane Nate yesterday. Again, I’m grateful it was just a few hours of heavy rain and wind, and not worse.

Read through the SAVASANA galleys. I made notes — six pages’ worth of notes of copy editing errors that I caught. Now, I pull up the document (I proofread on the Kindle, I catch more), and I compare my notes to my copy editor’s notes. And then I make the fixes. I’d hoped to have it done by today, but it was just too much.

Picked up my next two reviewing assignments, but haven’t had a chance to start them yet. Hope to fix that today.

Managed to work my way through about twenty research books, pulling what I need, noting citations, etc. I have stacks of books and videos to return today.

Did some work on the outline of DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Most of my writing was on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, although that was not the original intent for the weekend. But it was flowing, and I didn’t want to get in the way. I wrote about 10K on it. I’m already well in to the second notebook, and nearly finished with Willow’s first section This book is going to take at least three years before it’s submittable, maybe longer. But then, literary fiction often takes longer than genre fiction because it’s a different type of storytelling. It needs a different type of structure. The story and characters definitely affect me, differently than most of my other work. Hopefully, it will have the same effect on the reader.

Lots of cooking all weekend, making up some new recipes, plus old favorites like the raw apple muffins from THE BREAKFAST BOOK, and moussaka from THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL COOKBOOK. I’m baking my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread later today, and tonight is stuffed eggplant from a Moosewood recipe.

I have so much to do today and this week that I’m overwhelmed. All I can do is break it down and do one bit at a time. I’m waiting to hear if and when I have a project meeting tomorrow, I have to follow up on a few things, and I have some pitches to get out.

I didn’t work on the short stories or the essay this weekend, so I have to spread them over the next few days, in and around everything else, and get them done. Same with the next section of FIX IT GIRL.

My mom had one of her pre-op appointments this morning, so there’s that to juggle, too.

Somehow, it will all work out. I’m not sure how, yet, but somehow, I have to figure it out and MAKE it work.

Being off social media more than on it helped. I miss being on Twitter, especially, but I don’t miss the added stress.

I’m percolating a couple of pieces that are getting ready to be written, and I have to fact-check some names and dates in order to write the opening scene of the Lavinia Fontana play.

I couldn’t do any yard work this weekend, in the lousy weather, so that’s stacking up, too.

Onward, and back to the page.

 

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Published in: on October 10, 2017 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 10, 2017: Not Enough Weekend, Too Many Responsibilities  
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Mon. Jan. 2, 2017: Hit the Ground Writing

Monday, January 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Eighth Day of Christmas

Busy few days.

The file with my answers to the GDR questions didn’t save, so I have to retype it and, hopefully, post it in the next couple of days.  Very frustrating.

JUST A DROP went out on time on Friday, and was accepted. I feel good about it, although there’s still work to do in the development process.

It was weird not to “have to” write for a few days.

So, of course, that meant I wanted to.

Ran some errands on Friday, including getting one of my 2017 calendars. In one of life’s little ironies, the store gave me a bag with a quote on it from MOBY DICK — just minutes after I was assigned my reading slot in next weekend’s MOBY DICK marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Nothing like synchronicity, is there?

But I tried to relax on Friday afternoon and evening. Saturday was about cleaning the house, ruminating on the year, and preparing for the coming one. As a final kick to all of us, 2016 took William Christopher, too. What a damn lousy year.

Made sidecars as the signature cocktail for the evening — I do love a good sidecar! Devilled eggs, cheese and crackers. Poached salmon with potatoes and broccoli for dinner. Bayberry candles for prosperity. Choked down some herring, too! 😉

Prosecco at midnight, a little writing, meditation before bed.

Up early on Sunday, extended yoga and meditation. Fire & Ice ritual, which I do every New Year’s Day. Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Cornish hen, roasted potatoes, and peas for dinner.

A little writing on a project just for me; sorting out some calendar stuff. Finishing up GDR answers and putting together my To Do List for January. Printing off my submission log from 2016, and putting away the drafts and the research for both “Courting the Lioness” and JUST A DROP. They want me to write another play this year; I’m trying to decide whether or not I think it’s a good idea. I will mull it over for a few days.

Re-read what I’ve written so far on NOT BY THE BOOK. I dive back into that today, hoping to finish a draft by March 6. Also working on the outline for SONGBOUND SISTERS, so I can start drafting that again next week.

I have some annoying administrative stuff to handle today, but can’t be avoided. Will also start putting together the newsletter, which I hope to get out by the end of the week. Instead of monthly, which isn’t an option, and too randomly, which doesn’t do anyone any good, I’m going to aim for quarterly.

Start rehearsals for the MOBY DICK marathon today, and also want to get a start on the short story due at the end of the month for the anthology. The word limit is 5K, so it shouldn’t take long to draft, but I want enough time to hone it.

Working on my personal strategic plan, and new marketing plans for the Topic Workbooks and for the Delectable Digital Delights.

Start a new strength training/cardio training plan today, that should work well with the deepening yoga/meditation practice. I need to get back into top condition. I was in shape working shows last summer, and then lost most of it in the autumn, between all the sitting and the driving.

I’m diving into the New Year and making a go of it!

Hope your New Year has started well. Let’s work together to make sure it gains positive momentum, shall we?

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2017 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 2, 2017: Hit the Ground Writing  
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Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

I forgot to post yesterday. I apologize. So this post combines both day’s thoughts.

Busy few days. Got some painting done, some yard work done (but I can’t stay ahead of the leaves).

DEATH OF A CHOLERIC was ready to go out on submission yesterday, but I had file compatibility problems, so it has to go out today instead. However, the completed revisions of PLAYING THE ANGLES went out, and will hopefully be picked up and re-issued soon. I’m going over TRACKING MEDUSA in a few days, and then that will go out the door in search of re-issue, too. HEART-SNATCHER is almost through revisions and will be ready to go on submission either before the end of the year, or just after the first of the year.

I love PLAYING THE ANGLES (what used to be ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT). It’s still one of my favorite books that I’ve written.

I think I’m going to do the Nina Bell books myself; they’re too quirky to make business sense for a traditional publisher. I need to do a new cover in the next few weeks for one of the shorts, and then work on the first Nina and the beginning of the second Nina so that I can release the first one in spring. It makes me laugh (uncomfortably) that a range of time I lived through could now be called “period”.

I found an older novel of mine, that needs about 100 more pages to complete, which I loved, but put away. It’s called THE FIX-IT GIRL, and is set in 1930s Hollywood. I read it yesterday. There’s a lot of good stuff there. I made notes on revisions, and I’ve got an idea of what to do with the last 100 pages. I think I can whip it into shape to be ready for submission by late winter or early spring.

I want to make sure I get through the backlog, and that everything out there is earning its keep!

Did some work on MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, and also on the sci-fi/fantasy/mystery. and the contemporary play. I need to get back to the contemporary intrigue/romance, and the two historical plays.

I have to stop eating red meat for awhile again; that seems to be what’s been making me sick lately. That happened a few years ago — I had to stop eating red meat for about six months. I’ve eaten too much of it since our company came in September (they were big fans of red meat), and now I’m paying the price. So, back to a lighter diet.

I’ve got to finish up some research on Gilded Age Newport in the next few days and get those books back to the library. I think I need to focus on plot and character for this draft, and then layer in historical detail in the next. I’ve got a decent idea of time and place, but the research is interfering with the story at this point. I need to write the story to see what I have, and then see what needs to change for it to make sense within its historical context, and where my character chooses to break the social norms. That’s one of the themes of the series — that she chooses to break convention, and then has to pay the price.

I’m hoping it clears up a bit in the coming hours, so I can get more yard work done. I mowed the front day before yesterday. It looked good for about five minutes until it filled with leaves again. I still need to do no-man’s land, the terrace, and the meadow, and then start raking the front.

However, I need to take the yard waste and recycling in as soon as the weather clears. It rained off and on yesterday. It’s miserable trying to unload the car and get it all the bins and on the yard waste piles in bad weather. But the garage is about to pop.

I think I’m done painting until spring, unless I paint some of the shells I’ve collected, with an eye to the holidays.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on November 18, 2016 at 9:40 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 18, 2016: Rolling the Writing Ball  
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Fri. Jan. 2, 2015: Starting the New Year

Friday, January 2, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Can you believe it’s 2015? It better be a damn good year, that’s all I have to say!

Wednesday was busy at work, with a special flurry towards the end as we were trying to lock up. Oh, well, that’s the way it goes.

Tired in the afternoon, trying to get everything sorted out for the turn of the year, including three loads of laundry. Can’t go into the new year with dirty clothes!

Salmon for dinner — didn’t think it was as good a piece as it could have been. Read and wrote a little, listened to music. Couldn’t get the live stream for the ball drop to work properly — first time I’ve missed it in my life that I remember. Read a lot — I’m reading and re-reading one author in particular right now, focusing on her structure so I can learn from it. Finished re-reading Thomas Mallon’s A BOOK OF ONE’S OWN, which I try to re-read every few years, just to get back into its rhythm. I always find something new in it.

But it was a nice, quiet way to see in the New Year, complete with a bayberry candle for prosperity.

Up early New Year’s morning, the fire/ice ritual, plenty of yoga and meditation. The answers to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Questions are here. They got me thinking in some interesting directions.

Eggs Benedict for breakfast (one of my favorites and I make it well. Roasted a ham for dinner, and am boiling the bone down for soup (with white beans and kale).

Wrote about 30 pages on POWER OF WORDS — not the piece I thought I was going to work on, but there you go. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. Fortunately, my notes for it are very organized.

Did some organizing and some research. A full day at the library today, and then I focus on the Burns/Woolf script over the weekend. I’ve got some press releases to write for the library, and then one, over the weekend, for the writing contest.

Playing with a new series title that RED WIDOW will launch. It’s moving in the right direction, but I still haven’t hit just the right one yet. Not to mention that I need to re-title POWER OF WORDS, which is actually a serial novel — technically, I’m writing either book 2 or book 3 (depending on if I put the rehearsal process in with shooting the mini-series). The first season will be Book 4 and the second season Book 5. Once I’ve gotten through all of that, we’ll see where we are, but all of that needs to be contracted together and released quite close together. It’s a challenging project, and it will be interesting to see where it lands. I toyed with some ideas for titles — some of them work, some of them still need work.

When I stay in a steady writing groove, everything else in life feels better and makes sense.

Devon

Published in: on January 2, 2015 at 9:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Nov. 21, 2014: Prepping for Parties & Freelance Flow

Friday, November 21, 2014
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

BUSY day at the library yesterday. Good busy, but busy, between patrons and short story group and programming and grant ideas and all of that.

Also, suddenly, I’m getting a lot of requests for my scripting and editing services. I need to make sure I don’t overbook. I wasn’t going to take on ANYTHING new between now and the end of the year, just finish what I’ve got and concentrate on my own writing, but some of these gigs are awfully tempting. And I’d like to bank a bit against both a rainy day and some of the things I need/want to do next year. But I also don’t want to overbook and not be able to give each piece the attention and skill it deserves. So I said yes to a few things, and asked for more information on other things. I’m grateful for a feast cycle, but I also don’t want to sabotage myself by taking on too much.

Grocery store after work, to get some additional things for Saturday’s party. I decided to make a few additional things.

Home, dinner, research. Exhausted and to bed early, which meant I woke up at 1 AM. Managed to get to sleep again.

Up early, writing, worked on student manuscripts. To work, for a busy day of promotion, programming, getting out information. Must run to the store again for a couple of last-minute things. I’ll be baking tonight and preparing what can be prepared ahead. Tomorrow, I’ll make three dozen devilled eggs, do the stuffed celery, and the chocolate bruschetta. I also have to run over to West Barnstable to visit the Woodturners’ event – they are always so good to us, I want to support them.

The book launch for CREED is tomorrow, late afternoon, here at the library. Sunday is going to be an intense writing and yard work day, as are Monday and Tuesday.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week!

Have a happy one!

Devon

Published in: on November 21, 2014 at 9:33 am  Comments (4)  
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Mon. July 21, 2014: Chaotic Start to the Week

Monday, July 21, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool
 

Friday was busy at the library, complicated by the fact that I don’t have a working computer at the moment, and different computers have different programs, so I migrated between six different computers over the course of the day, trying to get things done.

I also had to keep my phone on all day, because Iris was quite sick in the morning, and I was worried I’d have to rush her to the vet at a moment’s notice. But, she got better as the day wore on. I suspect it’s a bad reaction to the flea/tick medicine.

After work, my boss and I headed to Centerville Library, to support the dedication of the new addition. I hadn’t seen the whole thing yet — it’s gorgeous. The Community Room is huge, great for events, would be great for yoga. The bookstore is also magnificent. The renovation’s beautiful, and worth every penny. There was champagne, and there were h’ors d’oervres. Everything was lovely. Got to see some of the staff I’ve known since I moved to Centerville, and introduce my boss around. The director from Hyannis was also there, and I got to meet her, along with some other locals. It was good that we were there, supporting a fellow library. I was surprised and a bit dismayed that more library personnel from other libraries weren’t there.

We came back to the house for martinis on the deck, and then headed back to the Mills, where a sports auction was going on in Liberty Hall, the door take to benefit the library. I wound up bidding on (and getting) a wicker chair for my mom and some minor league hockey pins for myself.

Home, tired, unwound a bit. Saturday was my “on” day at the library, so I was up early and over there. Still no working computer for me, so I floated around to other computers, trying to complete paperwork and place some orders.

When I got back from the library, I cleaned, repaired, and sanded down the wicker chair. The caned seat needed to be fixed, and some of the wicker was coming unspun, so I fixed all of that. The frame is a good, sturdy wood. It’s been painted quite a few things, under the white — red, hot pink, and green.

Did some research for upcoming projects, got some reading in. Thoroughly enjoyed Ilona Andrews CLEAN SWEEP. Lori Roy’s UNTIL SHE COMES HOME is both claustrophobic and disturbing, but in a good way. Elizabeth Adler’s SAILING TO CAPRI was fun.

Watched COMPANY MEN — excellent movie. Didn’t get enough attention when it came out. What a terrific cast — Ben Affleck, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Kevin Costner, and great supporting actors as well. Really well done, but John Wells only does excellent work.

Slept in on Sunday. It was raining off and on, so I couldn’t mow. But I did head to Home Depot. Don’t like shopping there, but I hoped to replace a lamp globe I broke and pick up paint for the chair. The staff was disgustingly unhelpful with the lamp globe. Not only did they not know how to help, they didn’t care. I found the paint though — called “Spa Blue”. Painted the bottom of the chair. Took most of the day to dry.

Had to fix my bed frame and do stuff around the house. Also cooked some Sichuan Noodles and steamed vegetables in a ginger soy sauce for tonight’s meeting.

Planned to go to a climate change lecture, but something happened and the lecturer was delayed indefinitely, and I couldn’t wait around.

Got some research and other work done, then watched PEACE, LOVE, AND MISUNDERSTANDING, which was a lot of fun.

Up early this morning. Couldn’t find the flash drive with all my work on it. Drove to the library and found it in one of the public computers I’d been using on Saturday. This is what happens when I’m constantly interrupted. Came back, started to paint the front of the chair, ran out of paint, went back to Home Depot (only because it was the only place open that early), got more paint, finished painting the chair. It’s drying.

The writing plan for this morning is on POWER OF WORDS and BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I have to nip out to one of the libraries to get a few things done, and then pick up a cushion at Christmas Tree Shops for the chair. I need to finish a review for my editor, work on some media kits, and then head to Buzzards Bay for a Mermaid Ball Meeting tonight.

Did about 1500 words on POWER OF WORDS. Have to nail down the writer’s rough on BALTHAZAAR. I’m going in circles every time I sit down to write. Book 3 is almost fully formed, but book 2 is not. It’s frustrating, because somewhere I HAVE a detailed writer’s rough, but I can’t find it in any of the files or the drives. So I have to start over.

Have a great week!

Devon

Monday, April 28: “Lake Justice” releases!

tnLakeJustice

Monday, April 28, 2014
Dark Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

“Lake Justice” released! It’s available in digital format here. I’m excited about it, and about being part of the Amber Quill Press family! I hope you’ll buy it, read it, enjoy it!

Busy, busy, busy weekend. Worked at the library on Friday until 2; headed straight for the show. We had a small, but enthusiastic house, and the show went well. Came home, started cooking for Sunday.

Saturday morning, up early. Had to finalize a contract and get it into priority mail — of course, the printer ran out of the ink, and the business services place down the street is now closed on Saturdays, so I wound up making photocopies at Tedesechi, the local convenience store. But it’s signed, out, and should land on the producer’s desk today.

I go back into development for the Big Script Project today, and start delivering episodes next week.

Worked at the library for four hours, then headed to the grocery store to get the rest of the food for Sunday. Got some cooking done, headed for the show. Another small, but enthusiastic house on Saturday night. Surprising — we thought that would be a big house.

Sunday morning, up at 5, cooking. The edits for TRACKING MEDUSA landed in my in-box, so those get started today. Finished everything up to feed the company, loaded it into coolers, headed for the matinee. Matinee was fun –enthusiastic house. We had a nice dinner together, as a company, between shows, and my actors gave me a lovely gift from Flying Pig Pottery, one of my favorite local artists. Evening show was lively and our best yet. Nice way to end our ticketed run. Met a woman who runs an organization who’d like to commission me to write something specific to her organization’s mission. Looking forward to talking to her.

I was very lucky with this company of actors. They were a delight. There were definitely challenges around the production, but it was nice to know that I could trust my actors to show up, commit, and do the work, both in rehearsal and performance. And the production would not have happened without the above-and-beyond support of Kathy, Ann Marie, and Jim Zagzebski. Huge thanks to them!

There’s one more performance, on May 7 — I’m working with the understudy early this week, and then she has a put-in next Monday for Wednesday’s show.

Came home, exhausted. Unloaded the car, did the dishes, packed away the leftover food, packed the props the way I need them for this week’s rehearsals, put aside what has to be washed for next week’s performance. Dropping stuff into bins for the conference later this week. After spending so much time on the road, I thought I’d never want to see another hotel room again, and yet, at this point, I’m looking forward to it!

This week is busy — need to finish client projects, turn around the edits on TRACKING MEDUSA, develop the Big Script Project so I can start delivering episodes next week, print off the rest of the materials for the conference, guest lecture at the college, work at the library, bake for Welcome Spring!, help out on Welcome Spring!, work on the next set of contest entries, and teach at NECRWA.

Onward!

Devon

Published in: on April 28, 2014 at 6:03 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. April 25, 2014: An Interesting Start to the Day . . .

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

Friday, April 25, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Well, THAT was an interesting way to start the day. The door in the bathroom jammed — doorknob wouldn’t turn. Tried to climb out the window, but couldn’t get it up high enough to slip through. Had to call the landlord just after 6 AM, so he could come over and hand me tools through the window so I could get out the hinges and take off the door. It was either that, or call the fire department!

We don’t call the landlord often, but, when we do, it’s something unique.

Yesterday was a good day at the library — put in my first video order; enormous sense of accomplishment. Worked on setting up some programs — getting excited about that aspect of the job.

Left at 2, headed over the bridge to the Marine Life Center. Again, the volunteers had turned around the room for me, which was a big help. The wonky light worked. We had a troop of girl scouts. The show itself was challenging — lines getting jumped, and then, instead of moving forward, actors trying to go back and getting even more tangled. The understudy was there trying to learn the show, and I had the actors run lines with her after the show, and after I gave notes. The audience still loved it, though, and I have to remind myself that they don’t know the show, and, as long as we got through it in a believable way, it works. It’s set up to be full of interruptions and tangents, that’s the structure, so there’s more room than if every line set up every other line and had to be letter-perfect.

Came home to work on client projects and some contract negotiations. I’m having a lot of trouble with tendons in my right arm and hand — will have to set up an appointment with the acupuncturist.

Late to bed, up early, wanting a productive morning on client projects, but then was stuck in the bathroom. It was pretty funny, but I lost time I desperately needed to work. Will have to make up for it tonight, in and around starting the food prep for Sunday. I’ll also be baking for the library’s big event next week — but I’ll probably do that Monday or Tuesday.

I’m at the library again, then head straight for the show, then home to get as much work done tonight as I can, before working at the library tomorrow and the heading to the show, finishing up the food, and two shows on Sunday.

That king-sized bed in the hotel room during the conference looks better to me every minute.

Oh, yeah, and “Lake Justice” is set to release on Sunday. I’ll let you know as soon as I have a buy link.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

tnLakeJustice

Published in: on April 25, 2014 at 6:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Jan. 2, 2014: Hit the Ground Writing!

Thursday, January 2, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cold, snowstorm, preparing for blizzard

Yup, we’re supposed to have a blizzard over the next 30 hours. Batten down the hatches!

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog to see the To-Do List for January. Quite a bit on my plate, but I’m optimistic.

It was nice to sign off early on New Year’s Eve and do a mini yoga/meditation retreat. I also got to read Val McDermid’s book CROSS AND BURN — excellent.

Salmon pasta with broccoli for dinner, and then a quiet New Year’s Eve, welcoming in 2014. I’m ready for a fresh start!

Up early on the Day, yoga, meditation, and some other rituals that make the start of the new year fun.

Polished and uploaded the first two weeks’ worth of assignments for the Editing Intensive, which starts on Monday, watched the Tournament of Roses Parade, started the JK Rowling book under her pseudonym, THE CUCKOO’S CALLING. It’s quite good. I didn’t like CASUAL VACANCY, her other adult novel. It was well-written, but I didn’t like or respect any of the characters. This book is both well-written, and there are characters to whom I can connect. Makes all the difference.

Started reading George Eliot’s ADAM BEDE. I’m reading the Estes and Lautier edition, published in 1887 (that is not a typo, that’s the edition). I’m turning pages very carefully and feel almost as though I should wear white gloves when I read.

Also did a nice chunk of work on TRUE HOME, about ten pages’ worth, finishing chapter five (from Ella’s POV) and starting chapter six (from Garrett’s).

I have some interesting offers in my inbox. I have to mull over the pros and cons and check some dates. I’ll have to say no to several of them, but I want to make sure I pick the opportunities that are most in alignment with what I want long-term and truest to myself.

Lots to do today, before the storm hits, so I better hop to it!

Happy New Year, all!

Devon

Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013: After the Holidays . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to Writers Vineyard, where in in Annabel Aidan persona, I talk about the blessings of the season.

Terrific couple of days off. I got a good bit of work done on Wednesday, especially on two novellas. Did the last-minute grocery shopping.

Christmas Eve dinner was pork loin with herbs and thyme gravy, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans, and cranberry horseradish sauce. Very good! With traditional stollen for dessert.

Christmas Day, we did the stockings and then had a big breakfast before stuffing the turkey and wrestling it into the oven. Yes, I cook my stuffing IN the turkey and have never had a problem. I know how to cook thing so they don’t make people sick!

Roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, corn for Christmas dinner, and for dessert, pears in warm chocolate sauce.

Then, we divvied up the food, boiled down the bones, strained them and made a lovely turkey soup!

In other words, I spent the day either cooking or doing dishes, but it was fine.

I did a lot of reading, too. Also watched the farewell tribute to Matt Smith on BBC America and his final DR. WHO episode. I wish they hadn’t hyped it so much — I thought most of the episode itself was a hot mess, trying to be too much in too many directions. Matt Smith was fun in the role, I still adore David Tennant, and I’m looking forward to Philip Capaldi. The beauty of the show is that each actor who plays the doctor has room to be unique.

Back to the grindstone today, although I’d love to have an actual vacation. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

I did some work earlier this week with a lovely new client, and I hope we get a chance to do more work together.

Devon

Published in: on December 26, 2013 at 8:05 am  Comments (3)  
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Monday, Dec. 2, 2013: Adventures in Maine

Monday, December 2, 2013
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sleety and cold

Don’t forget to sign up for the “Organize Your Life” Workshop on Sat. December 7. A few hours on Saturday afternoon, and your writing life is sorted out for 2014! The techniques will serve you well beyond the class and the year. Information here.

We haven’t had a good sit-down for quite awhile, and that’s because I haven’t been around.

Monday night, during the 11 PM news, it became clear that Wednesday was going to be a stormy, difficult travel day. So, we stayed up until 3 AM baking lemon cupcakes and preparing beef stroganoff and putting together everything else we needed to take to Maine. We caught a few hours’ of sleep, called Maine at 8 AM and asked if we could come up a day early. The answer was a resounding “yes”, so I did as much work as possible, and we were on the road by 11 AM.

The drive wasn’t bad — a little testy around Boston, but, otherwise, traffic wasn’t bad and roads smooth. We made a couple of favorite stops up in Kittery and York, but made decent time, and arrived near sunset a little after 4 PM.

We were staying at my great-uncle’s house — a place we’ve visited since the mid-1970s. Many memories tied up in that house. But my great-uncle was moved to a nursing home a few months ago, so the house is mostly empty. Before that, he wasn’t able to do much, especially not cook. In other words, in addition to bringing up all the food we expected to need for the week, we also brought up pots and pans, and, from my writing bag, I had my wooden spoons, can opener, and wine opener.

We relaxed on Tuesday night and went to bed early. I slept like someone knocked me unconscious.

Up early Wednesday — and it was a miserable, stormy day. We were so glad not to be on the road. We hunkered down in the little house. Maine can be spooky, with the dark and the fog and the silhouettes of trees. There’s a reason a lot of horror and thriller writers live in Maine! There’s no internet access there, so I got as much done as I could, then hopped over to the library in the early afternoon, set up there, did what I needed to do online, and came home.

My job on the big Thanksgiving holiday is to make Wednesday’s dinner for the family members who work all day setting up the Hall for the holiday feast. Hence the stroganoff. The stove in the house is AWFUL — a very old electric thing. I was glad I’d done the cooking ahead of time on my good gas stove. It took over 40 minutes to heat the meal up. And no, it couldn’t go in the microwave, it would have tasted disgusting. But we had the meal and the wonderful Portuguese bread and the dessert I made, so it was all good, not to mention the chance to sit around and talk at the meal.

The Big Day consisted of writing in the morning, and then going over to the Hall to set up. We have so many people for dinner that we rent the Legion Hall every year. Everyone tosses in a few bucks for the rental and the food. I help set up, and am in charge of the mashed potatoes and the sweet potatoes. We’re taking vats with 20-30 pounds of potatoes in each, mashed with a four-foot tall masher. Not for the faint of heart.

We had 53 people for dinner this year, of all ages. The tables are in a “U” formation, and there’s the dinner buffet set up on one side, and the dessert buffet on the other. Great food, good company, no egos or drama. The rules are, if you show up, you treat everyone with kindness and respect. Those rules are always followed.

After the dinner, the clean-up crew moves into the massive kitchen and starts washing and drying the dishes. Yes, I help with that, too. I’m on the drying team. Dishes and pans from the Hall are washed, dried, returned to their shelves; personal pans and platters are washed, dried, and set out on the counter for pick up. We all split the leftovers and then go home in a turkey coma.

Shortly after getting back to the house, my cousin (well, not sure how the permutation works, but I call her my cousin) came over and we drove into Portland to visit my great uncle. He’s in an amazing rehab/nursing facility — brightly painted walls, an outstanding, enthusiastic and very kind staff, and it smells fresh without the scent of decay or chemicals.

My great-uncle is now in a wheelchair. His memory’s fading, but he recognized us still, and lit up when he saw us. We took him down to the very cheerful dining room so he could have his dinner, and met some of the friends he’s made at the facility. It’s amazing how they all light up the minute you treat them as an individual, with kindness and dignity. Some of them are fading, mentally, but their bodies are still going strong. Many of them are still sharp as tacks, but the body hasn’t kept up. But everyone was worth spending time and few words with.

My cousin goes every day. By this point, she knows most of the staff and the other residents. She’s practically an additional staff member. She’s also an amazing human being, and I admire her enormously. A lot of it, though, is just talking to the residents like people, which is something all of us did, asking questions, listening to their stories (many of their anecdotes are hilarious — a lot of these were quite the hell-raisers, back in the day, in the best possible way).

We got my great-uncle settled for the night after dinner, and went back to the house, and packed for the trip home. My cousin feels a lot of guilt about my great-uncle being in the facility. However, it’s as good as it gets for that kind of place, and so much better than any other facility of its type I’ve ever seen. He gets excellent, round-the-clock care, which he needs. He also has interaction with other people, more so than when he was home alone, getting checked on several times a day by the family. The family simply can’t take care of him at home, because he needs round-the-clock care, and hiring three shifts/day of in-home care would still mean numerous trips to the ER whenever something went wrong — as it does, unfortunately, quite frequently at this stage in his 96 year old life. He truly has a better quality of care in the facility, and family members visit him every day. In this particular case, it was the right choice.

This is probably the last time we will be in the house. It holds many wonderful memories. There were still some things there from my grandmother (she died four years ago), which my cousin gave me — little mementoes that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else but me, because they hold specific memories.

It’s an emotional threshhold on which to stand.

We drove back on Friday. Very smooth drive. Everyone was far too busy shopping to be on the road except around the malls. Since I don’t shop on Black Friday on principle, I was happy to have clear roads.

I don’t believe stores should open on Thanksgiving itself. I think it’s disgusting. I also believe that stores that encourage brawls — and, let’s face it, the brawls happen in the same stores every year, such as WalMart, because that’s the kind of individual those stores attract — should forfeit their right to open on both Thanksgiving and the following Black Friday, if there is an altercation in the store. The individuals involved in the altercations should be banned from the site for 18 months, so they can’t come back the following year and behave badly again.

Exhausted when we got home Friday, but got some work done Friday afternoon, and more work done on Saturday, although a lot of things went to hell without even the handbasket. I managed, however, to upload all the topics for next week’s class. All I have to do next Saturday is show up and teach. Caught up Friday night with some episodes I’d missed earlier in the week, but what is the use of On-Demand when the show is only available for three days after broadcast? WTF?

By Sunday, I felt like I’d been run over by a steamroller. I got some work done, fretted a lot, tried to rest. It was the first of advent. We managed to get the tree into the stand (the stand SUCKS and is so poorly designed, don’t even get me started). The lights are on, some ornaments are on it, the festive fabric is mostly in place, and some of the decorations are up. It will be a work-in-progress for the upcoming weeks.

I re-watched THE ITALIAN JOB last night (such fun), THE TOWN (I like it better every time I see it), and sobbed my way through ANGELS IN AMERICA. It was a brilliant piece of theatre and translated into film wonderfully.

I’m exhausted and spent, but I have work to do this morning, then I’m helping set up NMLC’s tree at the JFK Library for the Spectacle of the Trees event, and then, who knows? Maybe I’ll get to bed early.

Right now, I have to try and get some work done, and hustle more work for the coming weeks.

Devon

Tues. Nov. 26, 2013: Comcast sucks, stress, and late night cooking

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and snow showers

I lost most of yesterday, work-wise. I had a decent start, then went out to run errands, and then spent the afternoon dealing with Comcast, who majorly fucked me. There is no polite way to say it. I checked and guess what? They violated both Federal and State laws, and I filed complaints against them. I refuse to let these major corporations turn me into a victim, because they think they are above the law and no one will fight back.

But I lost a half a work day. For which they will pay, on more than one level.

There was some other unpleasantness to deal with, too.

Unfortunately, because of Comcast’s doucebaggery, I lost a job I was scheduled for yesterday, and also lost the ability to take an editing test for a BIIIIG upcoming job. I’m trying to reschedule the latter for today.

Ma Bell was broken up so they wouldn’t have a monopoly, yet that’s what Comcast has here on the Cape. How is that legal? They are my only choice.

Didn’t get the screenplay finished. Managed to work with students and get some other work done.

Wound up staying up until three a.m., doing the cooking and baking for which I’m responsible for the holiday. All that’s left to do is to frost the lemon cupcakes.

Today will be crazy busy, as will tomorrow, then the holiday, then the whole weekend crazy busy.

But not with shopping. I don’t shop on Black Friday and I sure as hell boycott the stores that are trying to lure customers in on Thanksgiving themselves — especially those who don’t pay their employees a living wage.

Devon

Published in: on November 26, 2013 at 7:52 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Aug. 30, 2013: Brain Fatigue

Friday, August 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and warmer

Not very productive yesterday, although I got some stuff done in the morning. Suffering from brain fatigue, I think. Worked with students, got a few things cleared out of the way, went grocery shopping.

Read a terrific book, DEATH OF AN AMBITIOUS WOMAN by Barbara Ross. Really well-written.

Cooked a pork roast in a spice marinade, roasted fingerling potatoes, red cabbage, for dinner.

Giving myself the weekend off, my houseguest leaves Monday, and then it’s back into the writing routine. My brain needs the break right now, and I need to refill the creative well. I’m waiting to hear back on a few projects, and I can’t set my schedule until I know what’s coming through and what isn’t.

Thinking about applying for a residency for next spring. Not sure what to do. Tired of feeling like I’m on other people’s schedules all the time.

Devon

Published in: on August 30, 2013 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 30, 2013: Brain Fatigue  
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