Thurs. Jan. 3, 2019: A Year of Daily Meditation Paid Off

Thursday, January 3, 2019
Day Before the Dark Moon
Uranus Retrograde

The day before the dark moon is always the lowest energy day of the month for me. Unfortunately, I’m with a client today, so too bad for me on the energy front.

New Year’s Eve wound up being better than I expected. I got exasperated with too many people determined to lash out at others and be snarky, especially toward artists. But, as I said in yesterday’s posts, those who don’t have the courage to follow their dreams always try to punish those who do.

Last year’s dedication to daily meditation paid off on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t miss a single day of meditation in 2018 (although I skipped yoga sometimes). Often, I meditated twice a day.

New Year’s Eve showed me the positive result.

New Year’s Eve is often difficult for me. I had many years of trying too hard to run around to parties and have fun. When I lived in NYC, I could see the ball drop in Times Square from my window, and had parties. That was fun, but then, even though it was a block away, it became part of the sealed-off area. People had to come in early, or not come. Arriving after the show wasn’t an option.

Then, it got stricter. Even if I lived there, if I left the neighborhood before 6 PM, I could not return until after midnight. So the years I had 8 PM shows, I was forced to go out after my show, until I could get home. Do you know how expensive it is to go out on New Year’s Eve in New York? Even when I was with people I liked, I was unhappy.

Then, I tried taking the day off, whenever possible. Sometimes I went out of town to yoga retreats or other things. But being with a bunch of strangers didn’t cut it, either.

Here on Cape, it’s been better. Quiet New Year’s, maybe with a few friends over (I make sure I’m off the road by noon, because people are already drunk).

But I’m still often attacked by both the Doubt Demons and the Ghosts of Past Failures. New Year’s Eve often finds me teetering on the edge of the Abyss of Hopeless.

Often, I welcome the New Year in with exhausted relief, and desperation for something better.

This New Year’s was quite different, and I credit the daily yoga/meditation practice with a lot of it. Yes, I got cranky at the whiners and trolls on Social Media. But there were also some wonderful people who came into my life through that (especially via Twitter) with whom I would probably not have crossed paths otherwise. They’ve been a source of inspiration and conversation and laughter and creativity.

I stuck to my practice, I did minimal socializing with a handful of people I wanted to be with, I cooked a great meal (we eat salmon for wisdom on New Year’s Eve). I tried a new side dish — scalloped potatoes and parsnips with thyme, which was excellent.

I’d made two kinds of devilled eggs — my infamous eggs, based on the recipe in THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, and Ina Garten’s smoked salmon devilled eggs. I tried to make the devilled eggs with avocado in them per a Twitter pal’s recipe, but it didn’t work. They didn’t look right, they didn’t taste right. Either he’ll have to let me sous-chef when he preps his next party, so I can learn from him, or I’ll keep playing with the recipe on my own until I get it where I want it.

We had the traditional herring before midnight (don’t ask; seriously, don’t ask).

The bayberry candle burned merrily most of the day, and a little past midnight, to carry prosperity into the New Year. We had a nice fire in the fireplace.

Just before midnight, we opened the back door to let the old year out; watched the ball drop; then opened the front door to welcome the New Year in.

I stayed up a bit longer to babysit the candle and make sure the fire was properly banked.

The weather was awful; I felt sorry for people out in it.

I didn’t feel particularly unhappy or depressed or worthless. I wasn’t happy or joyful, but I was, at least, content. Which is a huge step.

Slept in until after 8 o’clock on the Day (which I rarely do). Did the annual Fire & Ice ritual, which I do every New Year’s Day — and this time, it felt peaceful and grounded. It was a much better way to enter the year. No sense of desperation due to the previous year’s failures, and the ghosts of the other failures lurking behind them.

It’s a nice change.

Yoga/meditation (start the year right, now, don’t lose ground). I’d started the weight training again on the Eve because my designated weight training days are Mondays and Thursdays, and I didn’t want to wait until Thursday. Even though I started slow (rather than starting too fast and giving up), I was still sore on the Day.

Long, hot bath in some of the treats from the Goddess Provisions box, dressed, and then it was Eggs Benedict for a late breakfast (with prosecco and cranberry juice, of course). Yummy.

So we had something from the pig before noon, another long-time tradition.

It was a really pretty day, so Dance Partner and I took a walk on the beach. He’s only around for another few days– he was on Cape for a few weeks visiting family, and he goes back to his life on Twelfth Night. We had a lot of fun together these past weeks, and I have no regrets. Besides, his entrance into my life gave me the idea for THE LINGERIE TRAIL, so how could I not be pleased?

Scored the ham, added the bourbon and molasses. The ham turned out really well. Will write the recipe down in the special recipe book, so I can recreate it.

Played with some ideas. I’m letting some things percolate; other things need more focus. I’m trying to see which of the ideas will take shape as the first monologue. Juggling other work.

Send out the proposal for the play set in Renaissance Venice. If it’s accepted, that’s four plays on the roster this year. Three novels releasing, and four plays to write, plus the novels for 2020 to write, so I don’t fall behind. Time management skills much?

Getting back to what still needs to be done on the BALTHAZAAR galleys. The next two books are too tightly scheduled, and then I have some breathing room to get ahead.

Client work yesterday – tiring, but it went well. Today, I’ll also be with the client (I’ll miss my favorite yoga class, sadly).

Weight training this morning, too. I’m getting back into it slowly, so I don’t overdo too soon and get discouraged.

I’m looking forward to getting back to a regular schedule next week. I need some uninterrupted writing time.

But then, I always do. I may start getting up even earlier than I already do to make up the difference.

 

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Wed. Oct. 23, 2013: Corsets and Doubt Demons

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Busy day. I’m very unhappy with the screenplay. The logic isn’t holding, and I haven’t figured out how to fix it. I’ve veered far from my original outline — maybe going back to it, somehow, will fix it, instead of the new direction that I thought would raise the stakes? What I need to do is push through on this draft, finish it, put it away for two weeks, and then rip it apart.

To clean my palate, I worked on another project. Hopefully, that won’t fall apart, too.

Got out some pitches, had some negotiating conversations. Am in a holding pattern for one project, gave some quotes on another. Someone I thought wasn’t interested has now circled back, but the questions indicate we are probably not a good match. I will still answer them politely and see.

Bad headaches.

Had to run errands. Batched them all together, plotting the route for maximum efficiency and using the least amount of gas possible. But I was still exhausted by the time I got home.

Getting in the plants. It’s too cold to leave them out. Pretty soon, I’ll have to rub down the furniture with teak oil and get that in, too, and then turn off the hoses. The yard needs some serious attention re: raking, too.

Hit with a bad case of the blues last night. Doubt demons attacked. Hopefully, I can work through it soon. Hate it when that happens.

Tonight, I get to suit up again as a steampunk mermaid for the Writers’ Center Annual Meeting. Not looking forward to driving in a corset!

Devon

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 7:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Something must be retrograde, but darned if I know what it is

I am a wreck. Tough weekend.

First, I came back from the site job on Saturday afternoon with a sore throat and a fever. I took to my bed, with a book, and the cats, and plenty of fluids. The book was okay — I didn’t have to think too much, it was pleasant and poignant. But it set a section among actors, and, while it was obvious the author reads tabloids, it was equally obvious the author’s never spent any time around actual actors, and that spoiled the book for me. You could still get the fairy-tale quality the author strove for if you based it a little bit more on the way actors actually behave in those situations.

Fever broke in the early evening, returned later that night, broke again in the night. Sore throat faded the next day.

I wrote on Sunday, working on a short story that I want to get out in the next couple of weeks, getting out a few short stories, following up on a few pieces that have been twisting in the wind for far too long, and getting out a few queries.

I tried to watch — and like RIVERWORLD last night. I really did.

Uh, no.

It took me awhile to figure out why I didn’t like it — there were the elements there for a cracking good story. And it just didn’t work for me. The first forty minutes, I kept saying to myself, “Okay, just roll with it. Roll with it.” But, after a certain point, if you have to keep TELLING yourself to roll with it, there’s a problem. And then the Conquistadors came in, and it went south for me. There was too much right wing-nuttism trying to masquerade as social enlightenment. If they really meant the latter, not the former, they did a poor choice of showing it, because it came across that they supported the former. There were a lot of good actors in it; some performances worked for me, and some didn’t. The character of Jessie didn’t work for me — mostly, I think, due to the directing, which Made. Every. Moment. Equally. Important. instead of working with ebb and flow. But if Jessie’s our hope for humanity, we are all damned screwed — too much Twinkie, not enough substance.

Again, to be fair — I only suffered through the first two and a half hours, and missed the last hour and a half.

Because I had to rush Elsa to the emergency vet.

She’d been getting worse all day, more and more mucous-y, and when she sneezed blood, that was it. I packed her up and drove to the emergency vet in White Plains. They were very nice. She behaved very well. They have her a very strong antibiotic, faxed the info over to my regular vet at North Short Animal League, and I have to call them to day and get an appointment in the next few days. The BEST case scenario is that she may have pneumonia. The worst is, well, much worse. So please keep a good thought for her.

Got home well after midnight. Couldn’t sleep at first. It was pretty late (or early) depending upon how you look at it, when I finally got to bed. I didn’t set the alarm for 5:30 to run this morning, but Elsa woke me at six anyway, patting me with her paw and saying, “Hey? Aren’t you usually up by now?”

Tried to work on the short story this morning. Hard to concentrate. I have to choreograph a fight scene using a welding torch, which is a challenge, and, hopefully, will wind up being a welcome distraction.

I was sad to read that one of the Derby-pointed horses I was interested in broke down and had to be euthanized over the weekend. That always makes me cry.

Weird tax fact: You can write off a racehorse, but not a hearse.

The Doubt Demons attacked in force this morning, since I am overtired and worried. I have to juggle a few things around re: the vet bills, and, of course, there’s the little voice saying, “Who do you think you are, thinking you can make it as a full-time writer? If you’d stayed on Broadway, you wouldn’t have to worry.” Which is, of course, a crock, because Broadway’s a hard place to make a living, too, due to the limited amount of work available. But it’s a familiar challenge, where the writing is a fresh challenge each day. The fresh challenges are one of the reasons I like it, but at times of great stress, it makes it harder.

I was going to write an essay/post about the remake of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and how Jackie Earle Haley must be kicking ass as Freddy Krueger, because the movie’s not even out yet, and I”m getting a lot of people contacting me (well, Cerridwen Iris) about dream stalking. So the post was going to discuss dream stalking, and how important it is to separate the actor from the role. You may think Freddy Krueger’s stalking you in your dreams, but remember it’s the character and not the actor. I think it’s safe to say that Haley’s way too busy working and living his life to go around stalking individual viewer’s dreams, even if he was trained in the way so to do, not just the way the movie (a piece of fiction) depicts it. The man’s working a lot right now (thank goodness) and has a life. Tip of the hat to him, though — it must be one hell of a performance. But that post is going to have to wait.

Must light candles today — 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t believe it’s been 15 years. It still seems very fresh.

I have all sorts of business and admin stuff to deal with today, I have to take care of a very sick cat and see what we can do to get a full diagnosis and treatment, and I’ve got to find a club big enough to effectively beat back the Doubt Demons.

Devon

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant
Ostara

I adapted my tipsheet as an article. When it goes up, I’ll post the link. I also researched, wrote, and sent the questions for my next Biblio Paradise guest. That should be fun. I did some email admin, cleaning up accounts, catching up on old mail that fell through the cracks or needed follow-up, and making sure that things were properly entered into the Submission and Pitch Logs. I wrote a guest blog post as promised.

I had problems with a client trying to pull a manipulative power play. I dug in, although it stressed me out and pretty much ruined the afternoon’s work. I had a lousy session on POWER OF WORDS, I beat back the Doubt Demons with the Karma Fairy Wand (a prop from a show I co-wrote a few years ago — it’s out of foam, one end spiked, the other end with a star and glitter), and I did a dream analysis as a favor for an acquaintance of a colleague.

No wonder I’ve been feeling resistance on finishing the plays! My producer contacted me and told me that, after FEMME FATALE closes, she and her husband and closing up shop and moving to Florida. They hope to start another company there. If it happens, and she wants more from me, great. If not, that’s life. But somehow, somewhere, I knew, and that’s why I was struggling. At least she told me before I nearly killed myself trying to finish two plays for her next week while I’m teaching. It’s a big hit to my income as of next season — but it also gives me time to find something that hopefully pays better to replace them. I can put aside these partial plays for the moment, concentrate on other work, and even the drama, VINDICATION. I can still market the plays whose rights reverted back to me — and now I can market them in this area as well, since there won’t be any conflict of interest. In the short term, it’s a disappointment; in the long-term, it will all be good. After a few months, I can go back to the partials and write them with more freedom, since I”m not bound by the interactive and flexible staging elements I’ve had to use when writing for her.

I’m starting to get into CAPRICA and enjoy it more. I love the way they’ve built the world. Tamara and Sam are my favorite characters (and actors) in it. However, if Zoe actually killed the dog in last night’s episode, I would have turned it off permanently. I don’t care how many people are killed in a piece, but you start murdering pets and I’m gone. That’s my line, and once it’s crossed, that’s it for me.

I came up with some good ideas for POWER OF WORDS in the shower this morning, had a great morning’s work on the short story, and am eager to get back to the steampunk, since I can now put aside the stress of the plays.

Today, it’s about getting out some queries, working on POWER OF WORDS and the steampunk, and doing some more admin work. Already this morning, I wrote about 1500 words on the short story, tweaked an author bio for a friend, and answered some questions about the workshop that starts on Monday.

Today will be a GOOD day.

And happy Ostara!

Devon

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Okay, I’ve rejoined the Land of the Living, pretty much.

Monday was just a rough day all the way around. A chronic condition was triggered, not just by stresses that piled up over the previous few weeks, but made worse due to the jackhammers outside the building where I stayed for hours on end. I’m hyper sensitive to sound, and there are certain repetitive machine sounds that trigger negative physical response. Jackhammers are one of them.

I also suffered an assault by the Doubt Demons on Monday. The whole, “Who do you think you are, calling yourself a writer?” and “If you were really all that, you would have moved already” and “what makes you think that production company would want YOU?” and on and on and on.

Well, I’ve seen the reels that this production company’s done. I respect their work. It’s high quality. I also think my writing could take them to another level, and that’s why I’m pitching to them. My experience in theatre and fiction is what will make their spots really shine.

Add to that someone’s trying to pick a public fight with me over a critical literary essay I was paid to write, and whose contents I stand by. When the person discussed in the essay thought I was a man, that person fell all over the self praising it. Once the person found out I was a woman, the person started criticizing me publicly and trying to draw me into a fight. Uh, no, thanks. I’m going to step back and let your metaphorical cow patties hit the ground, not me, and I’m not playing in your dirty sandbox. Not interested. I don’t care that you’re famous and I’m not. I was paid to state my opinion and back it up. That’s what I did, and I did it in a much more respectful way than a lot of other people have responded to the work. Sorry if I don’t worship the person or the person’s work, but I don’t. I’m not going to pretend I do and fawn. Hell, I don’t fawn when I LOVE somebody’s work.

The weather was disgusting on Monday, but it actually stopped raining and was sunny when I left the site to head back to the station. It was so windy that I had to stop and take refuge in a few doorways along the way because I couldn’t walk against the wind, and I’m hardly a delicate little flower.

I felt like crap when I got to the station, and I was early, so I sat in the waiting area of 30th St. Station, hoping I wouldn’t pass out. One of the lovely K-9s took it upon himself to keep me company and lick my face — he knew I wasn’t feeling well.

I went out to the MegaBus stop and — no bus. Then, we had a cloudburst and dashed to the nearest building to get out of the rain — where the security guard said we couldn’t “loiter.” The bus was 28 minutes late, and the driver comes out, shuts the door and walks past us without saying a word. So we’re standing in the pouring rain in front of an idling bus for another 15 minutes. He doesn’t put our luggage in the luggage hold, just opens the door. So I put in my suitcase my own damn self, while other people just stood on the curb looking confused.

I had a good seat, but the temperature was so cold all the way back that my hands literally turned blue. The driver ignored all requests to turn off the air conditioning. The water on the outside of my coat turned to frost by the time we got to New York.

Not to mention that we were stuck on the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel for over an hour. Better in front of the tunnel than in it, but still — an extra hour in a freezing bus while I’m soaked to the skin is NOT my idea of a good time.

We finally get to the drop off point, and the SOB opens the door to the luggage compartment and steps back, chattering on his cell phone. I climb in to the luggage compartment (as everyone else stands there with their thumbs up their asses), retrieve my suitcase, and start to walk away. The SOB driver stops me and says, “Aren’t you going to tip me?”

I looked at him and said, “Do YOU see any pigs flying?” and kept walking.

Oh, yeah, the company is going to hear from me.

I grabbed a cab to Grand Central, managed to make the 7:16 train (I’d left the site in Philly at 2). The train wasn’t very full — again, unusual for rush hour. One guy on the train looked at me and said, “Did you fall into the Hudson River?”

“That just did so much for the self-esteem,” I said.

Gotta give him credit, though. He forced the conductor to get one of the first aid blankets to wrap me up in (He said if the conductor didn’t get it, he’d just yank the first aid box out and get it himself), and offered me his flask. I didn’t even fuss that it was blended whiskey instead of single malt.

Got home well after 8 PM, took a hot bath, had something to eat, felt like someone took up residence in my chest and was trying to hack his way out with a machete. Prepared some disgusting herbal concoctions, but, other than feeling like I swallowed a rasp and it’s stuck in my throat, I feel much better this morning. Lungs are a little sore, but I’m dosing myself anda it’s getting better. Fever’s gone.

I’m going to start working with someone on sound therapy. Since I’m so strongly affected by certain sounds negatively (to the point where they can trigger things like a heart attack), we’re going to find positive choices to counteract them.

Because it’s not like we lived in a civilized country that actually provides health care options.

For the most part today, I’m staying in bed and writing.

eTreasures was bought by a new person, so I’ve got a new boss as far as DIXIE DUST RUMORS. I’m excited by her ideas, and signed on for some promotions and offered some ideas of my own. I’ll refresh the link once the new site is up and the book is available again.

Okay, gotta get back to bed. I think I’m done with any sort of exertion for the day.

Devon

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 9:40 am  Comments (9)  
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Monday, November 23, 2009


National Gallery of Art

Monday, November 23, 2009
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I found it! I found my favorite molasses spice cookie recipe! And it was where I thought it should be, only farther down in the pile.

Yesterday was a tough day, a combination of frustrations both interior and exterior, and a particularly bad attack of the Doubt Demons. I was also frustrated because I sat down to write down the holiday gift list, and all the great ideas I had previously fled out the window.

I brainstormed with some fellow writers on Twitter because I’m frustrated by the pace of the Victorian-era Christmas story. After the brainstorming session, I decided to put it aside and work on something shorter and lighter that requires less research. If I’d started the Victorian-era story in summer (when I should have), it would have been fine, but I didn’t, and it’s just taking too long for the time frame I have left. I started a contemporary piece, and have written just over 2K on it. I’m about a third of the way done, so, if it keeps going at this pace, I can get it done and edited and designed and off to the printers by this weekend (only a week late) and still get it out only a couple of days late.

I’ve got a lot of correspondence to deal with today and errands. Plus, I need to write, prep for the Maine trip, and start packing up the stuff stored on the bunk beds before the December 3 furniture swap. And get UNDER the bunk beds and see what’s accumulated there.

I’ve got the baking pretty much sorted, although I may have to cut some of the recipes I want to try in the interest of time. I may start some of the baking next week. I want to get all the cookie platters out between the 12th and the 15th.

I’ve got to figure out which holiday parties to attend (and what to wear). One of the most important disciplines that’s hardest to hold sometimes during the holiday season, is to make sure I cut back on drinking. I like a drink as much as the next guy (and probably more). But I don’t like feeling drunk, and I don’t like the hangover. I don’t bounce back the way I did in my 20’s, and I can’t afford to lose the time or the writing productivity. I can’t write when I’m hungover. And the truth is, I really only enjoy the first drink anyway. I don’t NEED ten drinks to have a good time. I can have an even better time with one or two and then switch to water. I have just as much fun and I feel better the next day. Truthfully, I consider that part of my commitment to writing — not losing time because of hangovers.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 8:32 am  Comments (7)  
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