Fri. Aug. 28, 2020: Day 100 of Dying for Tourist Dollars

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image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas1969 via pixabay.com

Friday, August 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

The 100th day since the demand was made to die for our employers/die for tourist dollars. The number of infections is going back up, and people are running around pretending it’s over. Disgusting.

Yesterday was a hit-and-miss day. I worked remotely all day, thank goodness, because the weather was wonky.

I read and gave notes on a friend’s series overview. It’s excellent, and I was delighted to read it.

I worked on the article, hated everything I wrote, and will start over today.

I noodled a bit on my client’s ad campaign. I’ve considered and rejected at least a half a dozen storylines. None of them are quite right.

I printed out all the information I could find about the now-defunct Green Mountain College, whose property was recently auctioned off and will, no doubt, be destroyed. Since that whole situation gave me the idea for a piece, I wanted to get as much research printed out before everything online vanishes.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Read Jenn McKinlay’s PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA, which is a lovely escape. Read a bit on the book for NYU book club, and a bit of Pico Iyer’s THE ART OF STILLNESS.

Got out a couple of LOIs, did some follow-up on a few things. Did some research. It was a reasonably productive day, but as usual, didn’t feel that way.

Ordered more ink for the printer.

Still no mail-in ballot for me. Still no response from repeated requests to the Town Clerk.

I skipped the Hate Rally and all the Hatch violations.

Awake at 3:30 this morning, fretting.

Got in a decent first writing session, once I got up around 5. About 5 pages written.

Out early to drop off my mom’s ballot at the ballot box outside Town Hall. They claim it’s “secure” but it did not strike me as such. But at least HER ballot will be counted.

Went to get an oil change. The website extolls all their safety protocols. However, only one staff member was masked. The unmasked staff member was wandering around the cars (people have to stay in their vehicles), chomping on his breakfast sandwich, drinking his coffee and chatting.

No. Just no.

I reversed right out of there.

I’ll try again tomorrow morning, when they hopefully have a different crew. If they, too, are unmasked, I’ll find another place for an oil change.

It’s not masking OR social distancing. It’s masking AND social distancing. Masks are required in MA. I’m tired of these fucking dumbasses who won’t do it, and I’m tired of the lack of enforcement, and I’m tired of business LYING about following protocols when they’re not.

LOIs and client work for the next couple of hours, then I’ll run down to the library for a curbside pickup, then more writing and article work.

Hopefully, I can actually get the oil change tomorrow. The rest of the day is the usual laundry and housework, writing, reviewing a book, and finishing my article. Sunday, hopefully, will be a full day off.

I will put together my proof of voter registration and proof I completed the Census (someone was denied a ballot, supposedly, because of that) to take with me when I gear up and go vote in person on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend.

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Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Day Before Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy & cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

It looks like I may be moving webhosts again, or at least when my current term nears expiration. Here I thought A2 hosting was so great. Their price point is perfect. I like their panel. Yet the fact that I can’t access my sites from anywhere I want means they cannot serve my needs. I work on different machines in different locations. That is the nature of my work. I need to be able to access my sites WHENEVER and from WHEREVER I need. But because I don’t do so from a “static IP” address, they claim I triggered a firewall and won’t let me sign in far too often.

Basically, I’m only “allowed” to sign in from a single computer they recognize. Which is not how my life works. Nor am I going to change it to suit them.

They claim this is for “security.” Yet my email accounts have been hacked multiple times by outside sources and they shrug and tell me there’s nothing they can do. But I cannot access the sites for which I’m paying far too often. And ALWAYS when I’m under time pressure.

Which means A2 Hosting cannot meet my needs, and I must look elsewhere. Which is a shame, because there are so many things I like about them. The plan has to be affordable, allow me to run unlimited websites and unlimited email accounts, and also allow me to sign in from whatever computer and wherever I am located in the world.

A2 Hosting was great for the transition away from the awful 1&1, and they are light years superior to 1&1. A2 is so much better than Green Geeks. You remember what I nightmare I went through with them when I was trying to transition my sites over a year ago. But A2 Hosting is still not what I need. I am not an IT person or a developer, nor can I afford to have one on-call. I understand most of WordPress and am always learning, but I can’t run my own server. I don’t have the skills. I need shared hosting.

Both InMotion and SiteGround have come highly recommended. They were under consideration for the last move. I may talk to them both again.

I’m really tired of the sales departments of these hosts writing checks the tech department won’t cash. I ask very specific questions when I’m interviewing hosts, and when I’m assured they can and will meet my needs, I expect them so to do. They need to stop lying and misleading in order to land the sale.

I checked out Blue Host and HostGator. They could not meet my needs.

So the search continues. I welcome recommendations. My registrations are now all with Name Silo and I love working with them. No drama. Great customer service. Great prices.

The event I attended the other night was not what I expected, and not for the better. It was presented as a speaker teaching us how to make best use of visuals on social media. Instead, in an hour and a half, the “speaker” — reading from notes she took at someone else’s social media basics workshops — never got beyond joining groups on Facebook. Well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now I know.

Wednesday morning, I worked on GRAVE REACH and on my presentation for next week’s NECRWA workshop. Two people I really like have let me know they’ll be in the workshop. It will be great to see some friendly faces.

Had to send an email ending a situation where I feel I’ve been jerked around for a week. It should have been simple and straightforward, and the other person is making Big Drama. Sorry. I keep it on the page and out of my life. The person responded in the evening, wanting to string me along indefinitely. So I said no and ended the situation. It leaves me heart-sore on one level, but I’m tired of the demands in this area of constantly having to accommodate everyone else’s neuroses, and not getting ANY accommodation for ANYTHING ever in return. It’s non-reciprocal, and I’m not participating.

Waiting to hear back from another potential client who told me they’d make a decision at the end of last week. I’m assuming they’re still negotiating with their first choice. We’ll see what happens. On the fence about whether I’d even say yes at this point. If I’m not the first choice, it’s not the right situation for either of us.

Got a weird email back from one of my LOIs, trying to justify making an offer to someone else. Hey, doesn’t matter to me. He’s the one hiring. The email made me think he has hirer’s remorse already. I sent a gracious email back.

Got out some LOIs. Had to sent a follow up email to one of the radio producers, because it’s been nearly a month and no check yet. Professional protocol is that the check goes out the day of or the day after the final performance. Not whenever someone feels like getting around to it.

I’m weary and exhausted from all the crap.

It’s all cycles. I had a strong cycle a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s more difficult. I have to acknowledge the frustration, the anger, the pain instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. I have to sort through each situation logically and figure out the best way to respond, handle, extricate, or move forward. Then I have to take the actions so to do.

My life is mine. It is not to be lived for others’ convenience or agendas.

I’m invited to another event next week, and I doubt I’ll attend. Why bother? It’ll be same old, same old. Lots of meaningless chatter in the moment, no follow-through. Then, when I follow through, trying to get me to work for nothing. That’s the pattern here. I’m not playing the game anymore.

Working on contest entries, working on GRAVE REACH, working on “Aurora Nightingale.” I still can’t get those two scenes where I want them.

Tempted to work on GAMBIT COLONY, although I really shouldn’t. But working on that piece is a great stress reliever.

Working on the presentation. I think it will be a lot of fun next weekend. I’m not happy about being in the last slot of the day, when I’m at my lowest energy, but hey, someone had to be in it, so why not me? I’ll pace myself during the day and then pull up the energy and leave it all out in the room when it’s my turn.

I had hoped to have four solid days to do yard work, but it will be raining the entire time I have off. I need to get into better alignment with the weather, so I can get the yard done!

Going to do some policy work with a few people later today. That will make me feel better. Doing something that might actually make a positive difference somewhere.

So, yeah, going through a few tough days. It will even out eventually. In the meantime, I’m frustrated and exhausted and disheartened.

 

Published in: on April 18, 2019 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others  
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Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was one of those difficult, frustrating days. By the end of it, I felt beaten down, humiliated, and wounded. I’m tired of online interactions forcing information I do not wish to disclose in order to do a basic transaction. I am dissolving several customer relationships with businesses and organizations because they demand information that has nothing to do with my buying their products. I WON’T give it to them, and they refuse to let the transaction continue until I do so. Therefore, I won’t do business with them.

But at least the six-day migraine eased up by the end of the day.

Worked with a client. Worked on the books for review. I hope to have both reviews done and out the door by tomorrow.

I’m back to work on GRAVE REACH, which needs to get to the editor in the not-too-distant future. I finally figured out what Sam, my male protagonist, does for a living. He’s a forensic psychologist. So now I have to familiarize myself with that profession.

I’m also working on the final proofs for the almanac — they are due early next week. The changes are pretty simple, and the design is lovely. I’m pleased that I was able to participate again. I had a good time. The almanac will drop in August for 2020. I hope the keep me on for 2021.

I’m playing with some ideas for a few things. I need to start carrying around a notebook for random ideas instead of trying to organize everything from the get-go into its own little box. Because some ideas wind up working well together. So I chose one of the notebooks I bought during school season last fall, and its special pen (every notebook needs a special pen, that works best with it), and it’s becoming my “Whatever Ramblings” book. I will carry it around most of the time to jot whatever, and then figure out what fits where.

I need to get back to the Frieda/Lazarus radio play this weekend, and also to the monologues. Plus everything else I’m juggling.

I hope, with Mercury going direct, this sense of gloom and discouragement will lift.

Had a good conversation with a potential client, but I have a feeling they’re looking for someone younger. But the organization would be excellent with which to work.

I’m supposed to pick up a printer in Harwich, which I hope will get me through what I need to print for my workshop at the end of April. I’m hoping, in May, I can buy a new laser printer, since I can’t seem to get my old Brother laser up and going again, even though it has a new drum and new toner. But it won’t grasp the paper properly.

I’m so tired of products built to fail to force you to keep buying newer, lower-quality products.

I’m tired of a lot of things today.

 

Published in: on March 28, 2019 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue  
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Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got out some pitches, did some research. Worked on some articles. Got my errands done in a timely fashion–I was early enough to avoid the worst of the tourist traffic.

Mowed the terraced back area; it looks much better. Today, it’s back to tackling the meadow. If I’m lucky, it’ll be done by fall. 😉

On the drive to Orleans in the afternoon, I wrote a story in my head; will try to get it on paper today. I started this morning. I thought it would be an 800 word, rather upbeat piece under one particular name. The characters are taking it in a different direction, so I may have to re-think my target market, and what name it would go under.

The meeting went well. I liked the person I’d be working with. There are a few things that make me hesitate, and that I think will make them hesitate, and I’m disappointed by the money (or lack thereof). So I’m not sure what will happen. But I’ll know early next week.

Sat on the deck reading when I got back and got bitten to pieces by mosquitoes.

The new-to-me editor sent me another round of contradictory revision requests. This is just not going to work. I doubt I’ll even do all three of the assignments I told myself I’d do in my self-imposed trial period. Not the right fit, and the time/money ratio just doesn’t work.

Today is mowing, pitching, research, writing. I’m behind on a couple of things, especially THE FIX IT GIRL. I need to catch up this weekend.

I’m frustrated and discouraged this morning, and I’ll have to find a way to write myself out of that.

To the page (my mantra, it seems).

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now  
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Mon. June 30, 2014: Go Direct Already, Mercury!

Monday, June 30, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny, warm, humid

Busy weekend.

Friday just sucked every possible way. I don’t even want to get into details, but I was furious by the time I left work, and had to reassess some of my goals and how best to get there. Hate it when Mercury and Saturn are retrograde at the same time.

Came home, and Tessa was like, “Mom, calm down. Play with the turquoise mouse. It’ll all be fine.”

Read a bit, wrote a bit, worked on the last three script episodes, finalized my PR materials for Saturday.

Friday night, we had coyotes in the yard. Woke us up at 2 AM, right up at the house. It’s a strongly bonded mated pair, and I think they’ve got little ones close by. They’re absolutely gorgeous animals — but they’re coyotes, and very close to the house. Tessa wasn’t phased at all, but the twins hid under the blankets. They were establishing territory — we heard them circle their two-mile patch for several hours. I don’t want them hurt, but I also don’t want them to hurt any person or animal in the neighborhood. If anything, I’m most worried that a neighbor will do something stupid and then officials will come in and hurt the animals. I’m hoping we can peacefully co-exist, but let’s face it — humans are stupid and arrogant, and it’s almost always the habitat that suffers.

Exhausted on Saturday, from lack of sleep. Sent off the last script episodes (will be happy when the final check arrives). Sent off some emails, took care of some business.

Headed home for lunch and to pack up the materials in the car, then over to Osterville Library’s tent for the AuthorPalooza event. There were 27 of us there, hosted by Books by the Sea. The copies of TRACKING MEDUSA didn’t arrive in time, but I had HEX BREAKER, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT in print copies, and the sell sheet for the three digital releases, and the sell sheet for the Topic Workbooks. We were a fun, lively group. I got to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some interesting new ones, AND talk to some of authors about the possibility of doing a program at the library. My boss came from the library after work, my friend from NMLC came, and it was, all in all, a fun afternoon. We were on the grass, so every time I got tired, I could slide out of my shoes and put my bare feet on the grass and re-energize.

Stopped at the liquor store on the way home and found an affordable bottle of blue raspberry vodka. Toss in a squirt of lemon juice, and I have my blue lemonade. Yummy!

Watched AMERICAN HUSTLE on Saturday night, on DVD. I’d seen it in the theatres when it came out, and now wanted to see it again. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It reinforced my sense that Jeremy Renner’s work wasn’t given the praise it deserved (although he didn’t maintain the Jersey accent consistently, which I hadn’t noticed the first time I watched it, but noticed here). What an amazing cast. In the interviews, the director talks about inconsistencies in characters and how that interests them, but my sense was that they were true to their cores, and then layered the inconsistencies onto that core to get what they wanted and needed.

Yesterday, I was going to do many things, but decided to stay true to my commitment to Disconnected Sundays. I did, however, turn around my edits for “Elusive Prayers”, which I will send off to my editor.

I also read Lauren Owen’s debut novel, THE QUICK. It’s getting a lot of hype, and the initial printing was 100,000 copies, so her publisher is very confident. I read the whole thing yesterday. Yes, it’s a great, big, fat book, but it held my attention. I absolutely loved the first 100 pages — especially her phrasing. I liked and admired almost all of the rest, and was frustrated by the last chapter, although I saw what was supposed to be the final twist coming about 150 pages before it did. It’s a literary horror novel, and there are vampires involved. Anything more would give away too much. It’s very well done, much better than most, but I’m rather vampired out at the moment. It’s definitely a novel I would go back and re-read in a couple of years (especially if I manage to avoid most vampire novels in the interim, which I doubt I can do). It’s definitely up there, for me, with DRACULA (the original Bram Stoker one) and Elizabeth Kostova’s THE HISTORIAN (which I loved).

Read a cozy mystery where the protagonist’s best friends were so unlikeable I kept hoping one or both would be the murderer’s next victim. No such luck. Also, there was only one body drop, and the protagonist was never in any actual peril. Boooring. That author’s off my list. Not reading more of her books for myself, nor am I ordering any for the library, nor will I recommend them for the Cozy Mystery Book Group that we hope to start in the autumn.

Re-reading Elizabeth Elo’s NORTH OF BOSTON, because she’s coming to talk at the library in July. It’s kind of a modern Boston Noir (very different from other types of noir).

The coyotes did a howl-by last night as they raced through the yard, but that was it.

I’ve got to mow today, send off some materials, and then run errands. Monday is errand day, after all.

Champagne Publishing and I have parted ways, as of today. The last few copies of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT are the last copies (it’s officially out of print), and it’s no longer available online. You can get the print copies that remain through Books by the Sea in Osterville (as of later this week — I have to drop them off when the copies of TRACKING MEDUSA arrive). Cotuit Library also has a copy in circulation. The rights have reverted back to me. I wait thirty days, then I’m commissioning a new cover, changing the title, changing a few things in the text back to my original vision, and it will be re-released, both in digital and paperback formats. I will keep you up-to-date as things happen.

I will be so happy when Mercury goes direct tomorrow.

Have a great week!

Devon

Thurs. Oct. 31, 2013: Samhain

Thursday, October 31, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Samhain

This is my busiest day of the year. However, check out my post on Writers Vineyard (in my Annabel Aidan persona) about “Fresh Starts and Turning Inward”.

I was frustrated yesterday, so by mid-afternoon, I decided to cut myself a break and go “out of office” early. Technically, I’m out of the office until tomorrow morning.

I did some research, did some reading, and wrote another 20+ pages in the development notebook. The first 3 chapters are roughed out. I want to type them up, rough out another chapter or two, and then sit down and outline, so I have my plot set out. It’s supposed to have a strong element of suspense in it, which means I need to figure out the plot and the escalations, not just see what happens.

Also, because it was a very sense-oriented time in history — even though there’s the steampunk element layered into it — I need to layer in a lot of sensory detail. Scent, texture, and sound are especially important to this piece working.

Today will be a busy day, but I’m looking forward to it. Then, tomorrow, it’s back to being productive!

Devon

Published in: on October 31, 2013 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 31, 2013: Samhain  
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Mon. July 9, 2012: Guest-Free & Geared For Insanity


Violet & Tessa get the bed back, once company leaves

Monday, July 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

All the guest are gone, which is good, since this week will be beyond insane. But that’s okay, I’m just going to deal with everything one piece at a time, and, somehow, it will all get done. It was great to have friends and family here, although having them converge unexpectedly at the same time, and both groups bring extra people I wasn’t expecting and didn’t know was a bit much. Everyone was nice and fairly easy-going, it was just a lot.

Friday was busy. Saturday, I just hated everybody. For no good reason, just everyone and everything worked my last nerve. Overtired, and tired of people who are lazy and incompetent making unreasonable demands. I don’t have time or tolerance, and I’m not going to waste my valuable time with them.

On the plus side, the weather is quite lovely, the garden is growing well (see the latest post on Gratitude and Growth), and I’m figuring out what I want to do next and what direction I want to take, career-wise. I’m getting rid of what no longer works, even if it’s scary to get rid of the known devil, and going after what I want.

I got the notebooks for the writers’ conference next month — yeah, it’s early, but fellow writers will nod and smile at the excitement of finding the right notebook for the job. Next month’s conference will be fun, and it will be nice to go hang out and not be responsible for anything except showing up and being a good student! 😉

The short story due last Friday, about a woman aviator in 1947, really wants to be a at least a novella, or maybe even a novel. I’m excited about the feedback on what I tried (even though it didn’t work as it stands), and looking forward to finding a way to slot it in and do more work on it.

Today is the last day “Town Crier” is available for download. Billy Root has a few things to say about it, and the upcoming story featuring him, “The Occasional Ghost”.

The Scene Meat workshop starts today — looking forward to it. But you can still sign up for the Series Bible seminar that runs on Saturday, and, if you’re on the Cape this weekend, for the Character and Situation Workshop over at Three Fish and A Ram.

Today, I’ve got to make arrangements for the yearly house inspection from the town, work on three articles, the ghostwriting project, deal with Nightmare Client, prepare for tomorrow’s jazz concert, do three chapters of revisions, deal with students, work on the edits for an anthology I’m collaborating on, polish “The Occasional Ghost”, deal with some more HEX BREAKER PR, and work on the deadlined novels.

NEWSROOM just gets better and better and better. How terrific that there’s a show on the air geared for intelligent people, instead of the reality-pay-them-for-being-their-worst-selves that dominates network television right now.

So, I better get going!

Have a great week, people!

Devon

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Iris

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and humid

You can smell the hurricane, even though it’s still thousands of miles away. I’ve dealt with hurricanes ever since we moved to the East Coast in the late 1960’s, and they have a specific scent of wetness, decay, and chaos, unlike a thunderstorm, which smells and feels heavy, but then everything is fresh.

The day on Long & Short Romances Chat Loop was a lot of fun. I got on just before 9 AM and was on pretty much all day until nearly 8 PM. Interesting questions, good conversations.

In and around that, I wrestled most of the heavy iron furniture at the site into the garage. I’d asked the grounds crew to help me, since they were walking around waving leaf blowers at nothing, and they refused. I realize the client couldn’t know there’d be a hurricane, but expecting me to move stuff that’s way too heavy for me is out of bounds. At the same time, it’s too dangerous to leave it where it could smash through the glass windows/walls.

I did not feel at all bad when one of the coyotes snuck into the cab of their truck and ran off with the Burger King bag. In fact, I was highly entertained.

Quiet evening, to bed early. Had trouble sleeping as the electronic devices went wonky again (and no, there’s no way I can cover them/hide them/whatever. Tried. Doesn’t work). Up early, wrestled the last few big pieces of iron into the garage. Two of the coyotes were watching me, making it clear they thought I was out of my mind. I said to them, “Really? ‘Cause it’s not like this is fun for me, you know. I am NOT in a good mood today. Be warned.” Dumbass grounds crew does nothing but walk back and forth from 8 AM – 5 PM every day waving leaf blowers unnecessarily. Yesterday they mowed the exact same patch of ground at 8:30, at 11, and at 2:30. The patch of ground they’d mowed the previous day. And you all know how I feel about leaf blowers.

Hopefully, I can get a little bit of productive work done. I have to check in with my “relief” later, who’s supposed to take over for me while I deal with the Mermaid Ball tomorrow and Saturday. Then, I’m back here on Sunday to deal with the hurricane and into next week.

I get reports from home that Tessa is finding all sorts of new things to get into, everything from taking all the dishcloths down in the kitchen (and dragging them all over the house) to unrolling the toilet paper to playing with the rubber duckies in the bathtub. Yes, I have rubber duckies decorating the tub. I think they’re funny. I can’t wait to see her again. Iris is still being mean to her, but Violet is ignoring her.

I am determined to triumph over that difficult chapter in THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY today, leaf blowers or not.

I can’t type more than a sentence or read more than a paragraph here without an interruption. Not conducive to getting anything done. And the interruptions can’t be stopped — I don’t have any say in how I set up the workday here, which is not what I agreed to.

I have stories that need to be spun and classes that need to be prepped, and everything is fractured and frustrating.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on August 25, 2011 at 8:10 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and humid

I’ll be over on the chat loop at Long and Short Romance all day, answering questions. That should be fun.

So that whole East Coast earthquakey-thingy was interesting. I missed it, out here on the Cape. Didn’t feel a thing. The animals were upset — should have listened. Friends in New York said they felt things shake, but nothing major. DC seems to have been hit the hardest — Smithsonian evacuated and then closed. And here I’d just hopped on Twitter, hoping for a few minutes of distraction!

Fragmented work day. The person who’d demanded the 9AM meeting yesterday regarding the client project never showed up; never called. She’s supposed to take over for the weekend. She damn well better show up on Friday morning.

Paced and muttered a lot this morning, because in the waiting process, I frittered away the best part of my writing day. Didn’t dare to dive into the writing for fear of interruption. I should have just done it anyway. Caught up on email, did some promo work on ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. Struggled with SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Worked on the lectures for my classes, including doing prep for the book I’m supposed to start in September along with my year-long intensive students. I read the notes and felt . . .nothing. Now I have to figure out what the heck I’m going to do for that. I’ve got a couple of intense pieces that need my attention. I’ll weigh each of them, and see which one I think I can live with in the context of the class, for a year.

I’m restructuring the Dialogue Workshop quite a bit. It’s Advanced, so hopefully most of the students have taken the intermediate workshop and won’t start whining because they don’t know what a beat and a scene is.

Didn’t sleep well. I don’t have any electronic devices in my bedroom at home. Not even a clock radio. No TV (I hate TVs in the bedroom). The room I have to sleep in here is FULL of them, and they whistle and hum and blink all night, driving me nuts. On top of that, at 4 AM, the cable box went nuts for whatever reason, and didn’t settle down until after 7. I was worried the computer would be wiped, but it seems okay.

And now I have to deal with a frigging hurricane coming in and I won’t even be at my own house. I have to be here on site, in a strange place that’s built like it’s made out of matchsticks instead of being in my stable, sturdy little house with my cats. When I go back on Friday, in preparation for the Mermaid Ball, I will bring in all the plants and the deck furniture. I have to get in the patio furniture here, only it’s cast iron and HEAVY and I have no place to put it. Where there’s room — the basement — only has long, narrow stairs. I am not wrestling heavy stuff up and down those stairs on my own. But I can’t leave it out because, if we have hurricane winds, iron or not, it’s going to smash the windows if it starts flying around. I’ll have to figure out how to both fit it in the garage and drag it all the way around the house to the garage. I have to leave my car unprotected, because there are two cars in this garage, and I have to leave it in front of the house. And there are tons of unstable trees all over the place. Not a happy camper, and trapped here until September 2, except for a brief foray out Friday and Saturday for the Ball.

I’m hoping some of this pressure will lift when Mercury goes direct on Friday. Because I am DONE.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 7:52 am  Comments (7)  
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

I spent NINE HOURS correcting exercises yesterday. I had nothing left in the tank for my own work, which simply can’t happen. I have more than double (close to triple) the amount of students I expected. I’m glad people are so enthusiastic, but with so many of them and only one of me, and each one submitting 2-3 pages for an exercise, it’s a lot.

The frustration is partially my fault. I don’t like to have things hanging over me. I wanted to comment on the exercises so they could apply the comments moving forward and to give them as much time for the next exercise as possible. I can switch from creation mode to comment mode, but I can’t switch back. So, not only did I spent nine hours commenting, but I couldn’t get back to my own work.

Therefore, I’m restructuring my day. I’ll write myself out on my deadline work first, and then switch gears into comments. It takes a whole different side of the brain, in a way, but a lot of energy. And people do put work into this, so they deserve my full attention on the posted piece.

The other workshop I’m going to teach for them is moved from August to January, which is what I’d originally asked for, and it works much better for me. There’s some amazing work being submitted in the class, and I honor the work and creativity that those people put in. But I’m spending way too much time dealing with grammar and punctuation issues (not just here, but in all the workshops in general) that are taught in the third grade. A pre-requisite of the course is to have a solid foundation in grammar, spelling, and structure. It is part of a writer’s JOB to get up to speed in these areas, and there’s plenty of material out there to help one do that. Although, frankly, if one can’t pass third grade level English requirements, one shouldn’t have been allowed to get to fourth grade, much less graduate from high school. A few mistakes are fine, but sometimes the student hasn’t bothered to proofread, which also drives me nuts. When the grammar, punctuation, and spelling make it impossible for me to follow the scene, there’s a problem. And when I say, “Go back and work on this, clean it up, here are the resources/books/links that will help you” and the next exercise contains all the same mistakes and it’s obvious that my notes were ignored and the person hasn’t bothered to learn the basics, I’m irate. I’m seriously considering making it a requirement to pass a structure test before taking a workshop. Because really, I’m not here to teach grammar school. I may institute a policy where I send it back if I find more than five errors. I get really angry when sloppy work is submitted. I find it disrespectful. I don’t want to hear whines about a lack of time — the student committed to the class. The student’s time management skills or lack thereof are not up to me, they are up to the student.

I also may have to think about limiting class size. That’s the norm for in-person workshops, but rarely done when teaching online. Either I have to limit class size, or jack my fee way up, which automatically limits class size, but then you lose some of your best students, because often the best ones are the ones scraping together their pennies to take the class. They’ve had to sacrifice the most to take the class, they want it the most, and they’re the most dedicated. I don’t want to deny them the opportunity because of cost. Having faced economic discrimination so often over the years (especially during Republican-run regimes), I don’t want to practice it. My time and work are worth a fee, but that balance has to be hit between people feeling that, because they’ve paid they better take it seriously and keeping it in reach of people who are struggling financially, but also talented and dedicated.

There’s definitely a learning process involved, especially when it comes to online teaching. On site is much easier, because the safeguards are already in place.

I got up at 5:30 this morning to run. I doubled my circuit from Monday and still wound up doing the loop twice. It was nice to be out that early, although a little eerie first time around. Down one particular block, the streetlights winked out as I passed, even though it was still dark. I felt like something out of a HARRY POTTER movie before Something Really Bad happens.

Lara, I have lots of trouble with my knees, especially the left one, which was permanently injured while hauling heavy clothes up and down stairs backstage on Broadway over the years. It’s one of the reasons I was so hesitant to start running, and I’m keeping an eye on it. I can’t do any type of squat exercises because that knee gives out. It’s another reason why I’m trying to pace myself and not overdo, especially at the beginning.

Hit the desk a little before 7, got some work done on POWER OF WORDS. The fixes I made in the sections up until now muck up the next bit, so I have to untangle it. I also have to do some research on the legalities of a teenager who emancipates from inept parents. Hopefully, I’ll also get to the library to do the research for the short story, and I have to go grocery shopping at some point, because right now, the cats’ cupboard is the only one that’s full.

Strand Books found some research books for two of my projects and they arrived yesterday. They take such good care of me. I truly treasure my relationship with them.

I have A LOT of exercises still to comment on — it looks like even more students are pouring into the class.

But first, I need to get back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 7:48 am  Comments (11)  
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Who knows?

You think it’s going to be simple: Go to storage, move around a few boxes, leave. Instead, you end up calling for help.

Yep, not only did I nearly forget I was supposed to go to storage instead of the theatre because I was writing in my head when I got off the train (fortunately, I met my boss in the train station and remembered where I was supposed to go) – I got stuck.

Storage was hot, humid, icky. In other words, same as usual. I was a filthy, sweaty mess after about an hour or so of re-arranging the unit I’m keeping and shifting boxes around.

I go to the intercom to call and let them know that I’m ready to come down. The intercom is off. Whoever was supposed to turn it on for the day . . .didn’t. So I figure, okay, in this case, I’m not actually taking anything away with me, I’ll walk down the stairs.

The doors are locked. Including the fire doors and the push-and-the-alarm-goes-off doors.

Okay. So I take out the cell phone and try to call the office.

They put me on hold.

And never get back to me. More than once.

My battery’s going, I’ve been up there for who-knows-how-long, and the elevator operator (who’s supposed to always stay in range) has wandered off somewhere. I’m trapped.

So I called the fire department. Not the emergency number, just the regular number, and apologized, but told them what was going on and that I didn’t know who else to call. They were there in ten minutes, complete with axes, very nice, and, needless to say, cited the facility for locking the fire doors. I was a sweaty, dirty, pathetic mess by the time they got there, but I was relieved. Being stuck in there has been one of my biggest fears since I rented the units. And now it’s happened and I lived through it. The dispatch guy was really nice, offered to stay on the phone with me until they arrived; I explained I wasn’t hurt or, as far as I could tell, in immediate danger – just trapped, and that I didn’t think I had enough battery power to stay on the phone, but as long as someone arrived in a half hour, forty-five minutes, I’d be fine. He promised they’d be there in ten, and they were.

It was time for a cocktail by noon.

I was upset and had a few things to say to the facility, who just gave a shrug and a kind of half-hearted apology.

Because I held my anxiety in check until I was out of there safety, it spilled out elsewhere throughout the day and just affected everything else. I was a gosh darned basket case. It’s funny in retrospect, it will be funny in a few days, but I’m not there yet. Especially since the firemen were cute and I looked about as bad as one could imagine, and I didn’t even care about that until later.

I was an exceptionally needy mess for the rest of the day. Which is silly, because it really isn’t such a big deal, but it was, if that makes any sense.

Plus, I’m anxious, because I’ve fulfilled my part of a contract, and the other party has been out of touch for close to three weeks – and the completion date is rapidly approaching. If I haven’t heard by Monday, I’m going to call. I’ve been emailing regularly and . . .no response. In my way of dealing with things, that is not the way to run a business. The internet business protocols in which I was trained say you respond within 48 hours.

And no one was available to go out and play last night, so I was an anxious needy mess all on my own.

And then I thought I would catch up on some series I enjoy, download video and watch it – only what I wanted to watch is no longer available. Two days ago, it was, but today . . .

In other words, the day just totally SUCKED.

Sometimes you just have those days.

I started work on a piece called Talent, playing with some ideas, so I guess that actually counts towards JWAT. I have no idea what it will morph into – scenes popped into my head, but I have to start before those original scenes and build to them. I’m blank-paging this instead of outlining, just trusting the characters and seeing where it takes me.

I’ve got a bunch of other writing on which to focus today, along with some correspondence that has to go out ASAP, so it’s all about juggling. The weather is supposed to be vile, so I’ll just stay home and hope for the best.

Thank goodness yesterday is done and I never have to live through it again.

Devon

(I’m actually posting this before I go to sleep on Wednesday night, because I’m hoping to sleep in tomorrow (yeah, I know, what a fantasy) and then I have things to deal with before I go online. Right now, Violet is yowling about something, and I have no doubt the cats will resume their wildebeasts thundering across the savannah impersonation come 4 AM).

Published in: on July 2, 2008 at 10:25 pm  Comments (8)  
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