Tues. Jan. 4, 2022: Back to the Page

imageg courtesy of Nile via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Clear and cold

Happy New Year! I hope yours was everything you wanted it to be.

The car failed inspection on Thursday, but I have 60 days to get it fixed by a registered garage. Now, if only one of them would work on Volkswagens. . .

Finished up script coverages on Thursday afternoon, and was able to take the entire three day weekend off. I stayed off social media, too, although I hopped online a bit when I heard that Betty White had died. What a shame she didn’t make it to 100.

Friday, I did a run to the post office, the library, and the liquor store (on foot). A good friend send a birdfeeder that’s supposed to attach to the window, so one can see the birds. I will try to get it up this week. Kitty TV.

Made roast duck for New Year’s Eve. It was very good. With potatoes and steamed vegetables. We still have plenty of stollen, so we had that for dessert. I’d made our favorite devilled eggs to snack on, and we did the traditional smoked herring before midnight. There was a small party in the house next door, but mostly, it was quiet in the neighborhood.

We watched the ball come down in Times Square online, and toasted in the New Year with prosecco. I let the old year out of the back door a little before midnight, and then the new year in the front door just after. Too bad they don’t have First Footers here. There were some fireworks in the distance, but nothing close and disturbing. Burned the second bayberry candle, for luck and prosperity.

I was very disappointed to see that NYC went ahead with letting people into Times Square, and how irresponsibly people behaved. A good many of them could be dead in the coming few weeks. Will they think this was worth death?

I used to watch the ball come down from my window, in my NYC apartment. I could watch them get the ball ready, too. Then, the years I had Broadway shows on New Year’s Eve night, I couldn’t get home in time for midnight, because it was blocked off, even if you lived there. So I was forced to go to a party or an overpriced restaurant until after the square cleared out. I’m glad I had the experience of seeing it from my window, but don’t miss the chaos. That’s probably why I still always feel so unsettled. That desperate energy of people trying too hard to have a good time.

I’d started taking New Year’s Eve off and leaving the city a few years before I moved out. Sometimes just to be with my mom; sometimes to go to a yoga retreat. Then, shows started cancelling the evening shows and only have matinees, because people couldn’t get to the theatre, or, after, had to go all the way up and cut through Central Park to get anywhere else.

The chaos takes the fun out of it, and it puts too much strain on all the services that have to work that night.

Got to bed a little before one, woke up again at three, and then Tessa woke me at five. I was grumpy and out of sorts. Tried to do the fire and ice ritual, but the ice maker wasn’t working. Then, I realized that the first day of the New Year fell on the dark moon. So the natural dark moon energy of releasing was battling the desire to start fresh we have in the new year.

So I stopped fighting it and read all day. Except when I made lemon mousse, and later, did the baked salmon in the lemon-mustard-brown-sugar-cumin glaze.

Over the weekend, I read THE TWELVE JAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Donna Andrews, laughing out loud at a lot of it. And then I read the second and third of Emily Flynn’s books, DEAD GORGEOUS and END OF THE ROADIE, both of which were excellent: writing, plotting, characters. I really like her work.

Sunday, I did some work on The Big Project, cleaning up what I’ve worked on so far, so I could dive back into it. I’m behind where I want to be, so I need to double down on it in the next few weeks. But I’m happy with the quality, the tone, the plot, the characters.

I was disappointed to learn that 365 Women a Year is not calling for projects for 2022. I hoped to write a play about Marie and Squire Bancroft, well-known Victorian actors, for them this year. There’s no reason I can’t still write it, but pitching it to 365 would have given me momentum.

I’m doing an Excel spreadsheet (oh, horrors) with details of the various scripts ready for submission, so that I can get back on track with it this year. Details on length, characters, production history, etc. I have 21 plays that can go out there and keep earning their keep after their initial readings or productions, and I have a handful I’ve pulled because I’ve outgrown them, and the market is in a different direction. I’ll do another one for the radio plays, and then a third one for the screenplays. I wanted to focus on creating and stockpiling, and that’s what I’ve done. Now, things need a polish, and need to get out into the world to earn their way.

A conversation with author and illustrator Dewi Hargreaves about Hope Clark’s 13-in-Play made me realize I need to get that back up to speed again. 13 pieces out at any given time, so the work earns its keep. The new version of THE WRITERS MARKET arrived, and I will go through it, cover-to-cover, making notes, and then work my way through pitches and/or submissions wherever I think it’s appropriate. Of course, I’ll have to cross check the information with the websites of each place, but that should get me back on track with keeping submissions out there properly, as I create new work. Almost all the new work I have on tap for this year is long form, not short form, and I need to mix it up a bit more.

The first shipment for the contest I’m judging has arrived, and I’m at work on those pieces, too. I have two book reviews to write and submit, and then get my next assignments from that editor.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up around 5:30. I fed the cats, did the usual longhand writing session. Expanded the morning yoga practice by a few more asanas. Extra-long meditation session.

After the shower, I sat down and wrote just over 3100 words on The Big Project, and I liked most of them, which is a good way to start the day, the week, the month, the year.

Headed to the library to pick up/drop off books. It was darn cold. It kept looking like it wanted to snow, but it didn’t smell like snow, and didn’t snow.

In the afternoon, I caught up on email. I sent off a grant proposal. I doubt I’ll land the grant; it’s unlikely they’d give it to a genre writer, thinking they’re “not serious enough” and my work samples were comic noir mystery/fantasy and mystery. But I have zero chance if I don’t try, so it was worth putting it together and sending it off.

Read two scripts. Should have written them up, but was too tired. Too tired to start on the contest entries, too.

But all in all, it was a good start to the day, week, month, year.

The answers to the GDR questions are posted here, if you’re interested, and if you want to post your own.

Back to the page now, to get the day’s quota done on The Big Project. Once I’ve hit that, I can decide how to structure the rest of today. A lot of it will be taken up with script coverage, but I have to run down the street to get eggs from Cumberland Farms, and then maybe take down the decorations out on the front porch. Rather than taking everything down on Thursday, I’m doing the outer rooms, and then getting the big tree, etc., down on the 6th. We have to figure out how we’re going to stash it all until next year, so it doesn’t take up all the closet space and hall space. Geometry. Fun times.

Tessa didn’t wake me this morning; I woke up all on my own, a little after 5:30. Heaven!

Back to the page, and I hope you’re having a good start.

Tues. Jan. 5, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 230 – Riding Into the New Year

image courtesy of Brent Olson via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

11th Day of Christmas (11 Pipers Piping)

Rainy/sleety and raw

Happy 2021! I hope you had a joyful transition into the New Year, while you stayed the F home.

Thursday was fine, although I got frustrated by the lack of room in the kitchen as I juggled the cooking. To think, when we first moved here, this kitchen seemed so big after all the galley kitchens in small New York apartments!

Quiet night, watching videos, burning the bayberry candle for prosperity. We tried to watch the ball come down over Times Square, but the camera focused on the Kia ad rather than the ball drop directly above it, so we felt cheated.

In the years I lived a block from Times Square, it was cool to watch the ball drop from my window. The years I had to work on the Eve and couldn’t come home until after one a.m., forced to go out to an overpriced night after the show, weren’t so much fun. The years I worked a show on the Eve, then had to go up to cut through Central Park to get to Grand Central Station to catch a train, and then spent midnight on a train – not so much fun, either. I like being home and quiet.

Went to bed a little after midnight. Was up fairly early on New Year’s Day.

Performed the Fire & Ice ritual to get us off to a good start, using the last of the jasmine oil on the candle. Will have to source jasmine oil again soon.

Traditional Eggs Benedict for breakfast, complete with hollandaise sauce and prosecco. It was really good.

Wrote a bit, noodling with some ideas and working on the 12 Days of Christmas stories. I’m mostly roughing them out at this point, and then will go back and finish, revise, polish, over the next few months. Letting my mind percolate the idea for a proposal that needs to go out no later than January 18. It would be a big, big project.

Received an invitation to write for 365 Women again this year – any woman I want! I could even write more about Kate Warne. Maybe this will be the right venue for the Dawn Powell-Dorothy Parker piece I want to write. There’s also another woman about whom I want to write, but I’m not sure I can do all that this year and move. I’m thinking about it.

Percolated some ideas for article pitches.

Started reading my first book for the new year, one of Nell Simon’s memoirs. I go into more detail about it over here on A Biblio Paradise. The choice of first book in a new year is a big deal for me.

Went through the paperwork for the contest. The first box of books has shipped. This week, I have to clear old eBook files I no longer need out of my Kindle, so next week, I can download and start reading the first of the entries sent digitally.

Set up 2021 files.

I need to set up information on all the plays that I can cross-reference – the play, the logline, characters, length, submission/production history. It makes the most sense to do that in Excel. Sadly, I loathe working in Excel (although I’m perfectly capable of doing it).

Most of Friday was about giving myself the physical and emotional space to think, to daydream, to allow the internal creative process room to actually create.

Saturday morning, I jerked out of sleep from a dream about someone trying to kill me. So I guess August is going to really suck.

Got work done on several article proposals. My trusty architect lamp, that I’ve had since the late 1960’s blew up – something with the switch. I need a lamp on my computer desk, so I went ahead and ordered another from Staples. It should be here by the end of next week.

Sunday morning, made biscuits, did admin work.

At noon, I joined the Table of Silence Project’s weekly meditation. This week, it was rooted in 12 Repetitive Gestures, that were taught first, and then the company, in their socially-distanced private spaces, led us through them. It was beautiful and powerful. It also made me realize how much I miss working with people dedicated to their craft.

I’m tired of those who are always moaning about “not having time” because they put their “day job” first, instead of remembering that the only function of the “day job” is to make their survival to create art possible. They do so because their art is NOT their first priority. I’m sick of being mired amongst people who won’t make the commitment. It’s fine to have art as a “hobby” but it’s also toxic to perpetuate the myth that artists deserve to starve and shouldn’t be paid for their work. Too many hobbyists in the arts continue to perpetuate that myth, because they don’t have the courage to pursue it full time, and it gives them joy to punish those who do. I made my decision in high school that I would build a life in the arts, that my art would always, ALWAYS come first. It has, and I have no regrets. I also made the choice, back in my twenties, that I did not want fame. I wanted respect in my field, but not fame. Especially around here, the derision aimed at me for that decision (by people who make excuses not to do what they claim they love to do) is enormous.

Apart from that realization (and isn’t one of the points of meditation to gain clarity?), the meditation itself was wonderful and powerful – movement, because it’s a dance company. Movement with meaning, and it felt good to be in my body and ground again. The morning had left me feeling grumpy and unsettled.

In the afternoon, I cleaned out five boxes from the basement, catching up to my goal for that point. I found some really cool stuff that will get integrated into the household (until it’s packed for the move), found other stuff that needed to be repacked, and tossed a good bit Also did 15 minutes on the exercise bicycle. Only half of what my 96-year-old mother does every day, but it’s a start. One of the things I found is one of my favorite patterns for comfortable pants – only three pieces, and it only takes two hours from the time I start laying out the pattern on the fabric to the finished pants. They’re casual pants, but I found some fabric in the clearing-out I did a few months back that I want to use.

One of the late packages arrived: a pair of dusky rose velvet ballet flats, which are wonderful (but I can’t wear in the rain), and two pairs of pants that are both comfortable and stylish.

Sunday into Monday, I dreamed that someone was lying to me, so I guess I need to be cautious in October (10th day of Christmas). The story for Day 10 is centered around Morris Men (Ten Lords A-Leaping). I still have no idea what to do for Eight Maids-A-Milking.

Got my act together, dropped off two bags’ worth of library books at the drop box, went into the office. I was the only one there, which is as it should be, and got a lot done. Also managed to send out all four article proposals I’d written over the weekend.

By the time I got home, one of them had been accepted. Good way to start the first official workday of the year!

Did a curbside pickup at the library, decontaminated, did 15 minutes on the bicycle. After lunch, I did some admin work, got out some LOIs. Wrote some blog posts.

I’d put dinner in the crockpot before I left for work in the morning, and it smelled delightful when I got home. Slow cooker chicken and vegetables, over leftover jasmine rice. Quite yummy.

Watched some videos, did some reading.

Good dreams of baking set up a happy November (11th Day of Christmas), although I have no damn idea what story to build around 11 Pipers Piping. I have a feeling, as I work on the earlier stories, it will start to come clear, since each story stands alone, but is also linked.

If the weather improves by 9 AM, I will do a quick grocery run to Trader Joe’s. If not, I’ll put it off until Thursday. Otherwise, there’s writing, client work, and I’m getting out the interview requests for the article. Then more admin work, and I want to go through at least two more boxes today, to stay on mission for the clearing out.

So much is on the line today in Georgia’s election.  I’ve done what I could; now it’s up to the voters.

The Sociopath should be impeached again for trying to overturn the Georgia results. And every single Congress person who plans to squawk against certifying Biden’s victory tomorrow should be removed from Congress and exiled. Not allowed to set foot in this country EVER again.

It’s time we had some actual consequences for trying to shred the Constitution. There will be no healing, no rebuilding, until there is justice.

Let’s get this done, people.