Mon. Sept. 24: The Autumnal Roll!

Monday, September 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy, busy, busy weekend. I was on the road, supposed to have internet, but THAT didn’t work out! I felt guilty about my tarot students, but, for the rest of my work, it was fine. I’d cleared a lot of work off my desk before I headed out.

The most important thing was that I finished the edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and got them back to my editor a couple of days early. The cover (again by the amazing PJ Friel) is set to be ready on October 5, and once it’s approved by the publisher, I’ll post it. The latest word I have on the DEATH SPARKLES anthology (in which you’ll meet one of my favorite new characters, Fiona Steele), is that it will release in October.

I’m working away on CRAVE THE HUNT, and the new book (which is still in too delicate a state to really discuss) is flying out of my fingers. I’m ready to do my first chapters for the mystery I’m using as one of my sustainability projects, and ready to do the opening on the aviation book. I’m putting together the article due Oct. 1 (I need to get it out by Friday, before I hit the road again on Saturday), and this morning, I have a write-up to do for Confidential Job #1.

On Friday morning, I had to get out the door early and drive to CT. The traffic was dreadful — for some reason, we were stuck around Fall River for nearly an hour, and then it was bad again around Stratford. Got there, exhausted. Since I didn’t have an internet connection, I concentrated on writing and on the materials for Confidential Job #1 (which were really good). To bed early, up early, more writing, back on the road later that day, and home.

Saturday was the Equinox, and I managed to get back in time to do my sunset ceremony.

Sunday, couldn’t get in to the forum where I’m teaching for some reason, which meant I couldn’t catch up with the tarot students — must to that today. However, I managed to watch the last lectures for both classes and take the quizzes and do my short weekly paper (whew). Also went to Country Gardens to pick up a few things so I can put the garden to bed for the winter.

The Sustainability Course is half-way through (we start Week 5 this week), those of the original 26,000 who are still there. Of the 70,000 in the World History class, we seem to be hanging in there. The Greek and Roman Mythology class, taught by Dr. Peter Struck of the University of Pennsylvania, starts today, and there are 50,000 of us in the class!

I have a LOT of writing to do this week. Tomorrow night’s meeting was cancelled, thank goodness, but I have a meeting on Thursday directly after yoga — I’ll have to make sure I bolt a quick snack between yoga and the meeting. Friday night, my one-act is going to be read at the Play With Your Food Festival at Tilden Arts Center, and Saturday, I hit the road again — I’m working in CT next week. Busy, busy, and keeping on top of the articles and the writing deadlines and the coursework, and I still have some manuscripts to read for that acquaintance’s submission overflow (I rarely say “never”, but in this case, I’ll say “not again without major payment”).

Costume Imp is coming down late in October, I’ve got to settle a few days for Fast & Fun Workshops and finalize the information for the Playwrighting Class, so that the application can go up.

One word at a time – -that’s how it all gets done!

The guy’s here to clean the furnace this morning, and then I have to pick up/drop off some books at a couple of the local libraries. Other than that, it’s a day of being chained to the desk (but loving it).

Did you have a good Autumnal Equinox? I’m so grateful for the many good things in my life!

Devon

Monday, May 9, 2011


Heather in front of the house

Monday, May 9, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I’m still in CT. It’s so green and bloom-y here! So much farther along than the Cape. Quite beautiful.

Saturday was a damned long day. Up at 4, out the door a little after 5. Traffic wasn’t too bad most of the way down (except around Providence, as usual). I was glad to hop on the Merritt around New Haven, because a section of I-95 was closed due to an accident, and, at the time I was in the area, people had been stuck behind it for over three hours.

Arrived a little after 9, took care of a few things, ran some errands in my former hometown, which meant dealing with the over-indulged suburbanites. Don’t miss them at all.

Spent the afternoon covering the Kentucky Derby via live stream. Had a decent, but not brilliant betting day, but not overstudying brought back some of the enjoyment. I think I’ll study a little for the Preakness, but not overly much. My favorite horse did not do well in the Derby itself, but one of my other choices came in third, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Roughed out the article, sent out a few questions on some injuries that occurred during the course of the day, hoping none of them are life-threatening.

Went to bed EARLY. Had lots of weird, disturbing dreams.

It amazes me that, after being here just a couple of hours, I was fighting a migraine again. Although I’ve had a few headaches since the move (on several different levels), they are nowhere near the frequency and severity that I have down here. I wonder how much is physical environment and how much is emotional? And how does one separate them out?

Sunday was a gorgeous day. My mom found the card I’d hidden for her for Mother’s Day– with a little coaching. I’d hidden it a bit too well. Violet cried the first three hours I was gone,and wouldn’t have anything to do with anyone for the rest of the day.

Had a good morning yoga session.

I read the papers, worked on my article, caught up on email, caught up on student comments. I’ve been having trouble finding a couple of things in my new home region, so I thought I’d check “old, familiar places.” No luck here, either (sigh).

Picked up a book by an author whose work I’ve read before and enjoyed. But (probably because I’m teaching a course on setting), I’m finding her setting so vague and “Castle Anywhere” that I get frustrated. And the depiction of the relationship between the two protagonists is annoying. Yes, it get it that they’re fascinated with each other — you don’t have to beat me over the head with it in every scene. I’m paying attention! 😉

Got a little bit of writing done, a scene on Yet-Something-Else-I-Shouldn’t-Be-Working-on-Right-Now. But had a HUGE breakthrough on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so not feeling so guilty.

Got to brainstorm with two writing pals (separately) about new career trajectories for them. Love that! Love to help talented friends look at new possibilities.

The images from my dreams were so disturbing that I was afraid to go to sleep on Saturday night. I HAVE to figure out a way to incorporate them into a piece. I don’t usually write horror, but these would be appropriate for a horror story.

Lots of writing on the agenda today, and then packing in preparation to GO HOME. Now that I have a home I love, I hate to be away from it, even for good things.

Saw a very pretty fountain — not cheap, but a fair price, considering materials and workmanship. However, the description said, “Avoid extreme temperatures.” Considering what a harsh winter we had, I thought I should check. So I called the store and asked them for the temperature range I should avoid.

Clerk: Y’know, extreme temperature. Like, too hot or too cold.

Me: I know the definition. I need the temperature range.

Clerk: I dunno.

Me: Could you find out?

Clerk: No. You’d have to ask the manufacturer.

Me: Who’s the manufacturer?

Clerk: I dunno. It’s on the box.

Me: Could you take a look at the box and tell me, please?

Clerk: You’ll read it on the box when it arrives.

Me: Since I’m not going to order it unless I know it can take the temperatures, that’s not going to happen.

Needless to say, the store lost the sale. Talk about totally different than the local Cape stores, where I was looking, in general, and asked about temperature concerns. I was told, “If we carry it, we’ve tested it. We brought in a bunch of these planters last fall and over-wintered them outside to make sure the manufacturer was telling the truth.” Now THAT’s customer service! 😉

I’m leaving early tomorrow to head back to the Cape, so Lori Widmer has graciously agreed to guest-post, in preparation for Writers Worth Day on the 15th. This week, I have to catch up on the garden, get out a few proposals to convince a couple of companies which fascinate me that they can’t possibly live without hiring me part-time, write a lot, and prepare to head, on Friday morning, the the next site job.

Devon

Published in: on May 9, 2011 at 6:09 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, January 24, 2011


A CT winter wonderland

Monday, January 24, 2011
Waning Moon
Coldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcold (you get the picture)

OK, we’ve got some catching up to do.

I made a run for it Thursday afternoon, after I scrubbed the house down. The cats were beside themselves — Violet: “You’re dead to me! Talk to the tail!” Iris: “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, we’re going to die cold and hungry and alone” — this from a cat who never missed a meal in ten years.

Drive down was fine — and the gas at my favorite station just over the bridge is nearly fifty cents a gallon cheaper than in CT! Driving through Providence was annoying as usual, there was a lot of plowing/roadwork around Niantic, and from New Haven down it was just too many trucks. But the Merritt was too risky, so I stayed on I-95, gritted my teeth, and dealt with the trucks.

Did some work when I got to CT, did some prep work for February’s gigs down here, got settled. Went to bed way too early.

Snow was nowhere near as bad on Friday as they predicted.

My car, however, rocks. In typical tri-state fashion, the plow guy and his shovel guys show up. I have to move my car so they can plow the entire driveway (there were already two cars in the garage, so I couldn’t stash it). I parked in a way that they could plow almost the whole driveway and my car had kept the areas in front of the double garage clear. But they wanted to plow that part — where the only snow was ON my car — too. In order for them to do that, I had to move my car — into the unplowed part of the drive.

Of course, I’d called the guy more than a dozen times on Thursday to ask him where he wanted me to leave the car; he never picked up and he doesn’t have voice mail.

So I hold out the key.

“No, no, no, the car will never make it.” They’re shaking their heads and being typical workers in this area. Three of them standing around, shaking their heads, saying it can’t be done.

On the Cape, where they have a fetish for driving other people’s cars, it would have happened lickity split. Of course, on the Cape, they would have either answered the phone or had voice mail and it would have been sorted out ahead of time.

I wipe the snow off the windshield and the back window, start the car, hop over the snowbank (it is, after all, a Rabbit), he plowed where he didn’t need to, and then the snowbank I’d just crested, and I put the car right back where it was.

So not impressed with them. But at least I didn’t have to shovel a long, treacherous, slanted gravel drive.

Caught up on email and workshops.

Then, there’s Mousie. Yep, we had ourselves a little critter in CT. Now, I love Christmas mice as much as the next person (I was complaining at their dearth this past holiday season), dressed in Victorian costumes, singing and dancing. The real ones? Not so much. Especially when I’m cat-less.

I didn’t see it, or I’d be typing this from the top of the refrigerator or hanging from the chandelier. I don’t do well with real mice. In fact, one of the best-received monologues from my show WOMEN WITH AN EDGE had to do with being a single woman dealing with a mouse. But I saw evidence (you know what that means) along with a gnawed wooden spoon.

Fortunately, in my writing bag, I always carry a can opener, a wine opener (because you never know when you might need to open a bottle of wine) and a set of wooden spoons. I kid you not. It’s separate from what I keep in the kitchen, and those items living in the writing bag except when I’m using them on site jobs.

Now, we had the occasional mouse in the NYC apartment. Although, it must have been a pretty stupid mouse to venture in when there were four cats. Felicia was the huntress and handled it (I used to bring her to the theatre to hunt mice there, too); Elsa always tried to protect the mouse (thereby scaring it half to death). I don’t know what the twins will do when confronted with them (because we’re bound to have mice at some point in the Cape house. I’m hoping the pack of Maine Coons across the street go a-hunting in our yard when it comes to mice. And I will sit down and explain to the girls that anything that comes into the house — part of the deal is that they take care of it.

Finished my assignment for Confidential Job #1 and got it off on time, which was nice. I’m reading Antonia Frasier’s memoir of her life with Harold Pinter, MUST YOU GO?, which is beautiful. A playwright and a biographer/novelist living, loving, and working together — in a way that works. Harold Pinter was one of the most brilliant playwrights of modern times, and Antonia Frasier’s written some of the biographies I most admire. Excellent reading.

Up early on Saturday morning. Yoga in the front room, with all the glass windows, with the moonlight spilling across the snow. Just gorgeous.

In this house, the downstairs bathroom is the one with the shower. And the big windows with the blinds that are stuck in the “up” position. Sigh. Here’s hoping it was far too early and the other houses were far too away for me to provide any opportunities for morning voyeurism. I used bathwash supposed to smell like margaritas, so I even smelled like a cocktail at 6:30 AM. Actually, it smelled like the lovely fragrant part of a margarita, with the undertone notes of alcohol gone, so it was quite lovely.

The trip back was pretty smooth. Not much traffic out, and what was out moved smoothly. We stopped at the store in Old Saybrook — I bought a few vintage linens, and priced out some Adirondack chairs that looked good, and for which I might have to go back. Stopped in Mystic to pick up the sauce we like at the Franklin General Store, and to pick up some incense at Mystical Elements. And then, home we went.

It was so good to be home. If you haven’t read my piece, The Sense of Being Home, please do, because it explains a lot of why this place is so important to me.

Got unpacked, fed the cats who were happy to see us for once, instead of angry, slipped a pizza into the oven, had dinner, relaxed, etc. Just enjoyed the fact of being HOME, now that we have a lovely place to so call.

Up early the next morning, morning routine, got everything all sorted out for the walk at Ashumet Holly Sanctuary. Layered up, as if I was doing a location shoot — tights under jeans, thick socks over tights, a thermal shirt covered by a fleece shirt, covered by my sweatshirt from when I worked on FLOWER DRUM SONG’s Broadway revival (best sweatshirt I own), fleece vest over it (so I could stick my driver’s license, money, and keys in it and not carry a purse), big LL Bean coat over that, hat, gloves, scarf, boots. On the way to the Sanctuary, I stopped at the store to both buy the Sunday papers and get hand and foot warmers. Put the foot warmers on in the car, kept the hand warmers to insert later, when my hands got cold. Also downed a big mug of ginger tea before I left.


wintergreen growing wild on an Ashumet hillside

I just love that Sanctuary. I can’t wait until the weather’s a little warmer, so I can come and wander around at will, or bring my notebook and just move from place to place, writing. It seems like a really good spot to write. And, of course, now I’m getting obsessed with the various varieties of hollies, so it’s the perfect place — it both started and feeds my obsession.

The walk was lovely, a small, lively group that included one of the founders of an organization which protects open space in Falmouth (she co-lead), and a columnist whose work I read every week and thoroughly enjoy. We got some wonderful handouts that I read thoroughly once I got home, and a key that I will take to wander around the backyard and learn what I’ve got there, then take with me to other places on the Cape, so I can learn how to identify various trees.

I’m very sad that the Hemlock is being attacked by some insect –a woolly something (how stupid, I’ve been told its name a half a dozen times and can’t retain it). I’m very fond of hemlock, and I hate to see it destroyed. There’s got to be something that some clever botanist or herbalist can devise that will destroy Mr. Woolly Whatsits without killing everything else. I’m sure they’ve tried a bunch of things, but there’s got to be something that will eat or kill Woolly Whatsits. And I’m sure they’ll keep trying until they find it, but I hope it’s not too late. People wonder why I’m interested in poisonous plants and herbs — it’s not just to find interesting ways to bump people off in my mysteries, but it’s to see if there are ways to steward/manage habitat without doing pesticide damage (people just have to look out for their own damn selves and learn what’s poisonous. I’m interested in stewardship of plants and animals).

There’s a lot of bittersweet climbing all over things, too. Something is niggling at the back of my brain — I learned something about bittersweet lately, a use for it, and I can’t remember. I’m going to have to poke through my books and notes and find it.

Anyway, the walk was fascinating, and I learned a lot (let’s hope I can retain it). I also, finally, saw what a bayberry bush looks like! That was pretty cool. And learned that the huckleberry bush that’s arriving later in the spring will thrive in full sun, so that is what I will give it.

Yeah, I was cold, but not distractingly so, which meant I could pay attention to what was being said and going on and really enjoy it.

Came home, warmed up with hot soup, and out the door again. First to PetSmart, to replenish the kitty cupboard, then to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things (and exchange tips with the check out clerk on what to do with pancetta. I love that the clerks actually talk to the customers here instead of ignoring them to talk to each other). To Christmas Tree Shops where they had some pretty clay pots on sale, decent quality, great price. So bought five of those — two big ones for tomatoes, and three smaller ones for various herbs. Then to CVS for a couple of things, and back over to the grocery store in Marstons Mills to stock up.

Home, spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (I’m experimenting with meatball recipes), caught up on the workshops, watched JULIE AND JULIA on HBO. I remember that it got lousy reviews except for Meryl Streep’s performance, but I thought, overall, it was well done. I certainly found Amy Adams’s Julie Powell more charming that the Julie in the book.

Checked the house, the pipes, the furnace, everything before bedtime so nothing would go kerplooey in the night with the below zero temperatures.

Up at a decent hour, angry at Comcast (yeah, that’s new and different. Not). Not only do they bill me multiple times per month for a whole month, now they’re adding made-up charges, claiming I have an “unreturned modem” and have cut off service to the box for the second television. More paperwork to file, including a fraud claim with the MA Attorney General’s office, and a petition to the State Legislator to cut Comcast’s stranglehold on the Cape. They should not have a monopoly and be the only choice out here, especially when they treat their customers like this.

At least I had a good first writing session of the day, although I have to buckle down and get a lot more writing done today. And, I am determined to finish taking down/putting away the holiday decorations, once and for all! It will look bare, but that’s okay; I’ll soon have other decor up as we unpack.

To the page. And the paperwork.

Devon

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2009
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Just a quick check-in this morning. I have to dash to CT briefly this morning, and then I’m returning to the page.

All I could think about yesterday was the steampunk. I couldn’t physically get back to the page after my errands for several reasons, the major one being most of my day was spent taking care of Elsa. But I worked out a bunch of plot points, tossed out some more possibilities that would make the piece too long, and I think I’ve got the whole piece worked out in my head. Now, to get it all on paper.

It took 40 minutes to get the ice off my car. Ah, for the day when I’ll have a garage! Trader Joe’s was a madhouse. I guess most people stayed in during the bad weather and had to stock up. Staples was a madhouse, but I got and set up my 2010 folders. Mrs. Green’s was better, and I grabbed the coffee I needed. Again, there’s this sense of desperate shopping. I don’t know why — the sales just aren’t that good this post-holiday season, and I’m not going to shop just to shop. The stores that had very little merchandise and didn’t carry what I wanted/needed are the stores I will pass by next year. As far as my business went, they gambled and lost.

And other stores, who stepped into the breech with both customer service and quality goods will continue to get my business.

I had to drive all the way to Purchase to mail my bills because I couldn’t get near, even on foot, the post office right up the street. Sigh.

Got a rejection from a publication that both threw me and annoyed me. I know the story stands up. This is the second rejection I’ve gotten from the editor — both times, the reasons given were things that should have been in the guidelines — if you don’t want stories with more than three characters (first rejection), or you don’t want a protag under the age of 18 (second rejection), that needs to be in the guidelines. Yes, a lot of writers don’t follow guidelines properly. But, for those of us who make our living at this and actually pay attention, the guidelines need to be accurate.

Bottom line is, this woman doesn’t like my work, so I’m scratching the publication off my list and moving on. In spite of the recession, there are plenty of publications out there. And some of them have published me before and want more from me, so I better get going on that.

And I already sent out the rejected story to another market. My first submission of 2010!

Got back the rider from one publisher who’s expanding an anthology in which I appear from print into digital as well. Very happy about that. I’ve really enjoyed working with them on this anthology and the one that’s coming out in April. I love my editor there — she’s fantastic. We can really go back and forth on the details of a piece, not in conflict, but working in tandem to make the piece the best and most effective it can be.

My SMITHSONIAN magazine started arriving (since I”m now a member). It’s really great. There’s so much information I can use as research for my writing — splendid! Even stuff set in the era in which I’m currently writing! I love synchronicity.

Have a good Sunday, all! Thanks for all the good wishes towards Elsa. We can certainly use them.

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2010 at 7:10 am  Comments (4)  
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IMG_0684_2
Upstate NY in Autumn

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I have SUCH a headache today. Where’s the Excedrin? 😉

Monday was great fun, as I mentioned yesterday, and where I was, the foliage was at its peak.

I was out of the house yesterday by 6 AM, a little later than I wanted, because I was having trouble — again — with MobileMe. I’m really starting to think it was a huge waste of money. It does not do what it’s advertised to do. I can’t even get what I need on the iDisk, much less access it from anywhere. Unless Apple fixes it, I’m dropping it when the year is up. The computer’s working well again, but the MobileMe isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, so to hell with it.

Anyway, yesterday was kind of a gray and drizzly day. I’m curious why the NY metro area weather folk are NEVER right, when the Boston area weather folk are ALWAYS right. The NY weather folk promised it wouldn’t start to rain until late afternoon. At 6 AM, it was raining. Later in the day, as I had the Boston station on (which comes in clearly in VT, although you can’t get it in the MA Berkshires), they were spot on. Same with traffic. The NY traffic reports are always wrong, while the Boston/South Shore/Cape are always right.

We travelled up I-87. It was early enough to be fine. We hit Saratoga a little after 9 AM and, of course, headed immediately to Mrs. London’s for coffee and an almond croissant. Which was just fabulous.

And inappropriate customer requests never cease to amaze me. A woman of certain age, obviously wealthy, and her it’s-easier-for-me-if-I-never-argue-with-her husband entered. She asked if they served breakfast. The woman behind the counter said they don’t have eggs or anything like that, but there’s a variety of pastries and croissants and things that people eat for breakfast. The woman re-iterated that she wanted eggs. The woman behind the counter apologized and re-iterated that they didn’t have them. The woman said, “I don’t think you understand me. I want EGGS.” It took a minute for all of us to realize that she expected the woman behind the counter to go out to some other restaurant and bring back her order so she could eat it at one of the tables in this particular restaurant, rather than actually going to the restaurant that served what she wanted.

Uh, no.

After our snack, we walked up and down Broadway. I stopped at the Adelphi Hotel to take some photos. It’s closed for the winter, but I want to set a piece in a place inspired by the Adelphi, so I photographed some of the architectural outer detail and tried to photograph some of the interior through the glass. It looked very lonely, all closed up, and I wished I was a multi-millionaire so I could buy it, winterize it, and bring it back to its glory.

We stopped at Borders to pick up a couple of things — I love the fact that it was packed before even 10 AM on a weekday.

Back in the car, we headed up past the track (some horses are still training there, but racing’s done until next summer) and to the public gardens at Yaddo.

Yaddo is one of the premier artist colonies in the world. I hadn’t realized it backed up to the racetrack on one side — and I-87 on another. Several people whose work I respect swear by them with an almost obsessive fealty. I’d had a couple of negative experiences with their administrative staff about a dozen years ago, and scratched them off my list, but I’d always been curious about the facility. I hadn’t realized that the gardens were open to the public until recently, so I figured, why not take a look?
IMG_0703_2

The gardens were being put to bed for the winter, and those working there were quite lovely and welcoming. I bet the gardens are stunning in the summer. And there are some lovely places tucked away that seem quite inspirational.

IMG_0701_2

The main house, as you can see by the photo, is rather imposing. Lovely, but imposing. And there are signs and gates everywhere to keep the public away from the artists. Or is it the other way around? 😉 On the one hand, I appreciate that — you don’t want people tromping around peering in your windows or knocking in your door while you’re working. That’s not the point of a residency there. On the other hand, all those signs gave off a rather zoo-like vibe: “Don’t feed the artists. They’re more dangerous than they look.”

So that was really, really interesting. And the grounds are great. I took a lot of photos I can use in my work — there’s stagnant water with stuff sticking through it and downed trees and rushing streams and cairn-like creations — really fascinating. I’m glad I was there. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the noise from the track or the highway, so I guess the studios are well-insulated. Seeing the property, I understand the place in a different way. Funnily enough, it makes me not want to apply there. I think I have too much of a life, in a way, built on my time with various projects over the years, and it would be hard to stay in my studio and work — I’d feel like I wanted to go here and there doing all the things I usually do in Saratoga that make the place so special to me. There would be just as many distractions for me as I have at home, which cancels out the purpose of having a residency. I think it’s a great place for artists to work if they’re from somewhere else — it would not necessarily be the right place for me to work, because I’d be so tempted to be out and about instead of inside working.

I had hoped to see a friend’s exhibit that was outside of Saratoga — and I couldn’t find the turnoff. I felt like a total moron. I had the directions — I just couldn’t find the place. Fortunately, because I had no idea if I was actually coming up until that day, I hadn’t promised to get up there at any particular time. Maybe I can make another trip up just to see it.

We stopped at Lowe’s because they have one in Saratoga and we don’t, picked up some stuff, and headed to Vermont. The drive was very pretty, the rain held off, and the temperature dropped. There are many things I would have liked to photograph, but didn’t get the chance. Oh, well.

We drove across what’s basically a pass in the Green Mountains, past Bromley Ski Area and with the turn off to Stratton — and it smelled like snow. Technically, it was too warm to snow, but it still smelled like it.

We arrived in Weston later than we planned because we’d lost so much time looking for the exhibit we never found and were starving. We ate at a place called Bryant’s House Restaurant — I’m assuming a guy named Bryant owned it at some point. It’s an old farmhouse converted into a restaurant. The food was excellent – really good chicken pie with excellent biscuits.

We meandered through the Vermont Country Store after lunch. The store was the reason we’d factored in the side trip to Vermont today — we’d seen a few things in the catalog that looked interesting, but the shipping is so exorbitant it was actually cheaper to drive to Vermont and pick it up in person.

The store was really disappointing. To me, it came across more as a mass-produced version of a cliche of an image of Vermont lifestyle, rather than actual Vermont-based arts, crafts, and foodstuffs. When you look around at the overhead for the place, you realize why things are so expensive. We decided to try one of their stollen — stollen is a “must have” in our holiday season. But, other than that, there was nothing we really wanted.

Very disappointing.

But I got some ideas for AMENDS, of all things, while driving through the Green Mountains.

IMG_0725
Maple tree in Lenox

Back in the car, back across the mountains, down Rt. 7 through Vermont and down through Massachusetts. By the time we hit Lenox, it was starting to get dark, The Haven had closed (so no curried chicken sandwich for me) and we were tired. If it had been an option, I would have booked into a motel right then and there. But we needed to get home.

So we did. It was raining by now, and dark, and the new headlamps in cars are angled so they hit oncoming drivers (me) right in the eyes. It was not a fun trip.

We stopped to pick up a pizza on the way home, and were back after being on the road for 13 hours.

Ate, watched stupid TV, and went to bed early, after playing with the cats.

I’ve got a headache this morning and am weary, but I have to pull it together to finish the NYFA applications and one short story. I also have to go out and pick up a cake — tomorrow is my mom’s birthday.

Hopefully, I can squeeze in a nap sometime this afternoon. I’m beat.

Devon

Monday, October 26, 2009

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Autumn in CT

Monday, October 26, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Still Dark Outside — hopefully good weather

I’m off on a commitment upstate today, so I’m scheduling this to post and hoping for the best.

I’ve got a piece up on Kemmyrk about the importance of careful notation as you work.

If you didn’t read my encounter about the guy freaked out about my car full of brooms, hop on over here — it’s pretty funny.

The weekend was pretty good, albeit rainy and raw. I was out of the house early on Saturday, complete with luggage, writing bag, yoga bag, food bag, and arrived at the site just after 7 AM. The drive through the foggy morning was delightfully, appropriately, seasonally spooky.

Got in, got set up, got to work (after reading the newspapers).

I had a hard time concentrating. The goal was to focus the bulk of the weekend on “Lake Justice”, but a bunch of other stories kept leaking in. And, I was worried about the word count for LJ, so that got in my way. I figured out a way to stop worrying about it — if I can’t keep the word count in check, then “Lake Justice” won’t go to the anthology either, and I thought of a half a dozen other potential markets for it, and used the experience as the basis for my next SDR blog post the first Wednesday of November. Take away that pressure, and “Lake Justice” started to flow again. I’m still not where I want to be with it, and now I have to figure out yet a third possible story for the anthology — and get it out this week.

I also realized something else. I was constantly trying to keep on a normal/theatre (which is different from most people’s “normal”) schedule, just in case I got called for a show. Now that I’ve taken the honorable withdrawal, my body is urging me to move back into its natural rhythm, which is more nocturnal. In other words, I’d stay up all night into the morning (because morning is always my most productive time), go to bed in the late morning, sleep all afternoon, get up in the early evening and start over. I wasn’t planning on reverting to this until after I relocated, but I can feel my body moving towards that now. Unfortunately, that makes the business writing more difficult because a lot of those deadlines and meetings need to happen within regular business hours.

So, while I’m not making that schedule switch yet, at least I’m aware of it.

I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD: A WRITER ON WRITING. It’s fabulous. It’s not a how-to book; it’s a why-do book. She brings up very interesting points about internal splits, responsibility, society, and the writer-reader symbiotic. Absolutely fascinating. Atwood’s perceptions of humanity in general are always fascinating. Her conversation with Bill Moyers in his series FAITH AND REASON is one of the main reasons I joined PEN.

I did a lot of work on my NYFA samples. The playwrighting samples are almost set (I need to find the flash drive with GLAMOROUS HEARTS in it and add that) and just need to be printed. I need to do a final polish on all my “statements” that go along with the work, file the application online, and then get my number to enclose with the hard copies that must be mailed this week. I have to check one piece of information for the fiction samples, and then that’s the same. The chances of getting awarded either grant are infinitesimal, but, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I think it’s been about ten years since I even considered applying, and my work has certainly matured during that time. It’s wroth a shot, and it may well be the last time I can apply for a state grant in New York – once I relocate, I’ll have to fulfill whatever residency requirements those states have for grants.

When I woke up on Sunday, I realized that I’d woken up at the same time I arrived the day before! I don’t know why I found that amusing, but I did. Sunday was a cold, crisp autumn day, lovely after the rain and tumult of the previous one.

Due to the weather, I might go off on my adventure tomorrow rather than on Wednesday. That means two truncated writing days in a row with deadlines coming up, but I’ll just have to somehow make it all work. I’ve got two short story deadlines (one the elusive anthology) and the NYFA applications to get out by the end of the week. Plus, Confidential Jobs #1 & 3 need some attention. And I’m basically away from my desk for two days. AND it’s Samhain on Saturday, which knocks that day out completely.

I might need to pack everything up and head to the library for a day or two, if it’s too noisy here.

I read an absolutely delightful mystery yesterday called HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER, the first of a new series by Kate Carlisle. It’s really delightful — melds the intricacies of book restoration with a lively mystery featuring a smart, engaging heroine and develops fantastic relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and handsome men! The title worried me a bit –the alliteration made me worry it would be one of those gimmick mysteries, where a single trait is substituted for a well-rounded character, but that was not the case at all. I highly recommend it. DruAnn, Lara, and Brandy — I thought of all three of you immediately as I read it.

Hopefully, I can track down the author and feature her on A BIBLIO PARADISE.

Got home early enough Sunday to do four loads of laundry and puzzle out the next Merry’s Dalliance story — this one damn well better be the right one for the anthology. Worked on it (and “Lake Justice”) a bit before I left this morning.

Yeah, I was up early.

Devon

Friday, September 4, 2009

IMG_0341
Maine — don’t I wish I was there this weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and beautiful

Well, yesterday was kind of a bust, and I don’t even have any photos to show for it!

We’d heard about a great British grocery store up in the wilds of CT, so we went in search of it. The rise up 684 wasn’t bad, but I-84 was hateful — full of trucks who kept trying to crawl up my tailpipe, even though I was driving above the speed limit. And one of them was transporting a BARN — shouldn’t you be driving more cautiously instead of less cautiously when you’re carrying something that big?

The directions were awful, the store wasn’t well-marked, and when we got there it was a disappointment — small selection and stuff you could get anywhere — even in some of the grocery stores around here — but at three times the price.

We did find a lovely restaurant on the way back for an enormous lunch. A few things were just slightly off in design and presentation — stuff like Italian painting and tiling, but Asian-style chairs. But the food was outstanding. I don’t think I’d go back that way, but it was a nice respite.

Did the recon/information gathering for my friend. It was definitely a challenge, but it got done; report out; he’s pleased. I wish I could go into detail, but I can’t. Suffice to say, it was an adventure.

I’m off to get my hair cut, pick up my currency, and try a few more Staples to see if I can get my stuff.

The latest Apple problem seems to be that the power cord isn’t actually getting any power to the computer. I’ve only used it plugged in for the past two days, yet the light is red instead of green. I can’t go into a long prep weekend and not have any power. I’ll try a different plug, but this better not be “here we go again.”

Have a great holiday weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 4, 2009 at 7:42 am  Comments (4)  
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