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.

 

Wed. April 17, 2019: Destruction of Beauty

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a piece on goals.

I’d already scheduled Tuesday’s blog for posting and was away from anywhere I could update it when word came about the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Watching the footage of the spire falling was devastating. The whole thing was devastating.

I am not a fan of organized religion. I believe spirituality is important, but religion can taint it. I think more atrocity is committed in the name of religion than anything else, and distrust the way it is used to control the populace. However, people have the right to their beliefs, as long as they don’t impose them on others. And this is Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, which has deep meaning to many.

I’ve visited Notre Dame. Many years ago, but the sense of beauty and genuine awe (not the overused “awesome” that’s become a meaningless throwaway) still stay with me. The sense of centuries of history and passion and fervor translated into such beauty. The stained glass windows.

One of my uncles, a respected artist in Europe, used to work in stained glass. On one of my few visits, he showed me how it was done. The painstaking process melding art and math and planning astonished me.

This incident is heartbreaking.

I hope the investigation into the cause will be thorough and relentless.

Client work was exhausting the past two days, and will be so today. I’ve been working on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and “Dashed Dreams” and GRAVE REACH. Each one presents some unique challenges. I’m annoyed with myself for struggling so much on “Aurora Nightingale.” I have the craft — why am I having trouble implementing it?

Of course, a few pages here and there on GAMBIT COLONY is how I de-stress.

I’m working steadily on the contest entries. I’m polishing up my presentation for the Character Closet workshop on NECRWA, which is at the end of next week.

I’m waiting to hear back on a few other things that make me feel like I’m in limbo, although part of me just wants to shrug and move on. Disappointing, but that’s the way it goes. The right opportunities will come my way, and I have to remain alert and aware enough to recognize them. The “rehearsal opportunities” — things that don’t work out – -give me a chance to learn something I can apply to things that do work out.

Got annoyed with a thread by a guy (of course) tweeting a thread about watching one woman treat another woman badly in a cafe. He just sat there, tweeting, and did nothing, although speaking up for the woman who was treated badly could have put a stop to the whole situation. The more I read his thread, the angrier I got with him. You don’t just stand by and observe injustice. You speak up. Or you are an accomplice. So what if he thought it was great material for his next piece? He had an obligation as a decent human being to intervene.

Or maybe he showed us all he is both a coward and not a decent human being.

The grass looks good after a few days’ rain. I hope the weather holds, so I can do more yard work. I’m going to have to mow pretty soon. But I’m ahead of the game this year, with a mower I actually like. If I can start early enough and keep up, it will all be fine.

Tomorrow, I will blog about my time at the Cape Cod Digital Artists event.

For now, it’s off to work with a client, and then back to the page. Or, if the weather’s good enough, in the yard for an hour or so.

Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my next adventure in the Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy weekend.

I didn’t get in as much yardwork as I wanted. I got a little bit done on Friday, before the rain started, and then again on Sunday, before the rain started.

I had a meeting Friday afternoon, which left me feeling lukewarm about the whole situation. It should have been very simple, but wasn’t.

Also, unless someone is planning to date me or sleep with me, asking about my marital status is irrelevant. I find it an insulting question. And I’m starting to push back when people ask. I thought that was not allowed anymore in interviews.

Saturday morning, up early, and got Tessa to the vet to get her shots updated. She was vocal in the car — first time ever. I guess, since Iris is no longer around to yowl, Tessa feels she has to pick up the slack. The visit went well; Tessa was good. Then, we headed home, and she was fine.

The day was rainy and yucky, so I focused on working on contest entries.

Sunday morning, I did a little bit of work on GAMBIT COLONY. I worked on contest entries. I went grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day.

Took yard waste to the dump.

I went to Country Gardens and got pansies for the front, three kinds of lettuce, and parsley, then got potting soil. I potted the herbs and vegetables, put pansies in the front baskets and the barrel, and raked out the front beds. Cut back a lot of invasives that took up residence over the winter.

Sat outside on the deck for a bit, reading. Steven Axelrod’s newest, NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT, is excellent.

Dinner, more WEST WING. I did not watch the premiere of the last season of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a magnificent production, but I stopped watching a few years ago due to the unrelenting cruelty. It’s great that people love it so much; always glad when art has that power. But I choose not to watch it anymore. I don’t denigrate those who love it; I don’t accept anyone denigrating me because I don’t.

Storm started Sunday night, and was bad into Monday. Monday was Patriot’s Day here in MA, and the Boston Marathon. I felt for the runners. Miserable weather. And tornado warnings in New York.

Got some work done on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” but I’m still not satisfied. I have to keep working it until I get it right. Also worked on “Dashed Dreams” the Straw Hat Circuit radio play.

Worked with a client for a few hours yesterday on site, and am back there again today.

Have to get material to the organizers of the talk I’m giving in mid-May. It’s a panel discussion. Should be interesting, but part of me is wishing I hadn’t committed. But I did and I’ll see it through.

Am reconciling myself to disappointment on a couple of fronts, and feeling a bit discouraged.

Considering going to an event this evening, but I have to see how I feel. I don’t know if I can summon up the energy for yet another new group of people.

Back to the page.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019: Full Moon on the Equinox During Mercury Retrograde. Yeah.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Spring Equinox

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post about balance. Because, you know, Equinox, and why not make connections?

Client work was fine on Monday. We got a lot done. I learned I didn’t land a gig that I wanted, although I knew it was a stretch. But they were gracious and I’m going to keep in touch. I also got out a couple more LOIs. There was a third place to which I wanted to pitch, but their online process was insulting to anyone who has ever held a professional position, to I passed.

Meditation group was great. We have so much fun together, and make actual progress together.

When I got home, there was an email from someone “checking” something with me — only because that individual knew I’d find out about it, and if they hadn’t believed they’d get caught out and I would be angry, the individual would have tried to get away with it. Not amused. At all.

I’m going over the material today, either signing off or not, and will be gracious until the end of this project, and then I’m done with them, at least until there’s a major staff turnover.

The Women Write Change group helped me brainstorm the ending for “Smile” which wasn’t working. They had great ideas. I tried each one of them in a run-through. I thought I’d found what I wanted, a variation on a suggestion; yesterday morning, I made one little tweak and now it’s right.

“Quicksand” wound up being much weaker when I spoke it than it looked on the page. It needed major, major reworking.

But that’s why it’s so important to rehearse a reading, and not just stand up there and mumble.

When I was finished with rehearsal, I found an email from the director of the piece opening next Monday. She directed my last piece with this company, and she’s great. She had a question about an Elvis song and rights. I was really confused, because my piece is set in the 1920s, so Elvis isn’t appropriate. I gently pointed this out, and said I had no problem cutting the song, since I didn’t think it fit anyway. She then realized she’d contacted the wrong writer! (She’s juggling multiple projects). We had a good laugh over it.

Tuesday I tweaked the monologues in the morning, did some more work on GAMBIT, worked with a client, got out some more LOIs, and rehearsed. The stopwatch is going in these rehearsals, since I have only 5 minutes for both monologues, and I can’t rush through them or the beats and laughs won’t land. I had to finalize where to take a breath, where to let a beat land, etc.

Equinox ceremony as the sun came up. Great way to start the new cycle.

Today I’m with a client, and then I have some prep time before I go and read. I’m nervous, because I’m always nervous. I write words actors speak, not for me to speak. But, especially for the monologues, for anything that’s a script, I have to embody actorish techniques in order for the pieces to work.

And reading from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST in this part of the Cape, which is pathetically conservative, will be a challenge. On a full moon during Mercury Retrograde on the Equinox?

Challenge is an understatement.

Back to the page.

Published in: on March 20, 2019 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Wednesday, March 20, 2019: Full Moon on the Equinox During Mercury Retrograde. Yeah.  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I read for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy, intense weekend.

Worked on contest entries and books for review on Friday.

Saturday, I wrote 20 pages on GAMBIT. I planned to keep going, or to switch to one of the other novels, but then I got an email.

The radio theatre company in Florida, where I pitched “Horace House Hauntings” a couple of weeks ago wants to perform/produce it. On March 25th.

Now that’s quick!

So, on March 25, “Horace House Hauntings” will be performed in Florida. The first two weekends in April, “Confidence Confidant” will be performed in Boston. On May 10, “Light Behind the Eyes” will be performed in Minnesota.

That’s a pretty good run of productions.

The company in Florida wants more with Frieda and Lazarus, my protagonists from “Horace House Hauntings.”

So, on Saturday afternoon, I wrote the half of the first draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” which puts them on an ocean liner headed for England.

Page total for Saturday: 35.

I was wiped out.

Watched some of Season 3 of THE WEST WING. Worked on the books for review.

Fell into bed, exhausted.

Sunday, I sort of slept in. I was back at my desk by 8 AM (late for me). I wrote 21 pages on GAMBIT. I wrote a couple of blog posts. I wrote a 7-page letter to an old friend. I finessed two monologues: “Smile” and “Quicksand” from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST and rehearsed them for Wednesday night.

I’m still not happy with the last beat on “Smile.” It’s not there, and I have to have something better by tomorrow night. I tossed it to Women Write Change, and hope they can help.

“Quicksand” takes a nice turn and ends on a gut punch.

“Emotional Labor” isn’t quite ready to test. I’ll do it next month. And I’ll have to decide which other piece to write and prepare.

Exhausted Sunday night, and behind where I want to be in the books for review (although I’m well within deadline).

Monday, I was with a client, and then to meditation group. Today I’ll be with a client and, if the weather holds, I’ll have to get started on yard work later in the afternoon.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. And the full moon. And Mercury Retrograde. And a reading.

Overwhelmed much?

I’d say yes!

Published in: on March 19, 2019 at 5:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fri. March 8, 2019: International Women’s Day

Friday, March 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold
International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

How about we all treat each other with respect and dignity EVERY day?

Yesterday seems long ago and far away.

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest gardening post.

I wrote in the morning. I did some work at the library. Got out some LOIs. I went to yoga, which was great.

I made a Thai-style chicken noodle soup for lunch, good on a cold day, but I still don’t like coconut milk. I have to research if there’s something I can substitute.

Read, worked on contest entries, worked out plot points on stories.

Finished re-watching the Roger Rees-starring NICHOLAS NICKLEBY. He was such a damn good actor. That show had a huge impact on me when it came to Broadway. I was just starting out then.

Errands in the morning, work at the library. I’ve got to get another month’s worth of Twuffer posts up and out for marketing purposes. Then, I’m meeting a friend for coffee in Falmouth. More errands in the afternoon, then reading and working on contest entries. I need to finish the book I’m reviewing, write and polish the review, so it can go out on Monday.

Most of the weekend will be focused on writing. I need to particularly focus on the monologues and on the straw hat play. Of course, it’s GAMBIT COLONY that wants attention. Because of course it is.

Pretty soon, I have to get down to work with GRAVE REACH. I have to get a draft of that to my editor in a few months.

Not happy that we’re “springing forward.” I always feel like I’m behind the beat for a couple of weeks.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 8, 2019 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 8, 2019: International Women’s Day  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Today is my friend Arlene Kay’s launch of her new book, DEATH BY DOGSHOW, the first in her new series! She’s a wonderful writer, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Not loving the Mercury Retrograde thing, especially since it covers most of this month.

I ran around a lot on Friday, doing storm prep, errands, laundry, baking, etc. Got some reading done, but not much writing.

Got a new idea during meditation that I’m playing with. Kind of out of my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me. It needs a lot of figuring out before I can write it.

Slept in Saturday and woke to snow. Snowed most of the day. The heavy, wet kind.

I roughed out three pitches for trade journals, and an idea for another article. The latter probably won’t hit where I plan to pitch it. The editor decided she doesn’t like me, and she always rejects my pitches. As much as the call for pitches got me thinking down the road for this particular article, it makes more sense to pitch it elsewhere. Why beat my head against the wall? So I roughed the pitch but I’m re-thinking where it will go.

Got my hotel booked for NECRWA. That’s a relief. There were rumors all the rooms were booked. But I got my confirmation, etc., so I’m all set.

If you’re in the northeast, and interested in my workshop about using wardrobe as a character development tool, information on the conference is here.

Made some notes on the next section of GAMBIT COLONY, then wrote 16 pages. Made some notes on the next radio play, featuring Frieda and Lazarus from “Horace House Hauntings.” I think I’ll put them on a luxury cruise ship across the Atlantic.

Made some notes for the new idea. It pulls at me, but has to be worked around other things.

Read quite a bit. I really enjoy Ed Ifkovic’s mysteries featuring Edna Ferber as a protagonist.

Started watching the 1982 RCS NICHOLAS NICKLEBY starring Roger Rees. I’d seen it on Broadway, and wanted to see the DVD again. It’s quite wonderful and disturbing.

Up early on Sunday. Did some Canaletto research. The books I need for the next steps in my research are all at the MFA’s library in Boston, and can only be used in-house. So I’m going to have to arrange a day to go into Boston and spend the day researching in the library. Not sure when that will happen.

Read a few more essays in SCRATCH. It really is a wonderful book.

Worked on polishing the trade journal pitches and also on notes for an essay I’m going to pitch to some of the writing magazines. As I checked the websites for the first four listings I made, I saw that the first one has changed their formatting a bit, but the slant I put on my pitch will still probably work; the second has gone out of business since listed, so I have to figure out where else I can send the pitch; the third no longer uses freelancers and does everything in-house; the fourth, I couldn’t access the guidelines from where I was, but I got them yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I can send them a decent pitch. I do, however, have to scan some article clips and turn them into PDFs to go with the pitches.

The article I had an idea for but don’t think a particular editor will take because she doesn’t like me? I re-framed it, and I have an idea where to pitch it to a higher-paid market. And I made some more notes on the essay.

We had a breath between storms on Sunday. It was nice and sunny. The snow that fell after I shoveled Saturday afternoon melted down, so I didn’t have to shovel again.

I’m reading Andrew Lanh’s mysteries, set n the Vietnamese-American community in Hartford, CT. Very well done. I should have been reading other things, but I was too caught up in the book.

Woke up to slush Monday morning. It had snowed a bit, then rained, so it was a big. slushy mess. Got some writing done, then went to work with a client, ran some errands. I’m with a client again today and tomorrow.

I’ll be working on all the other writing, but my primary focus this week is whipping the article pitches into shape and getting them out. I’ve been derelict about article pitches for months now, and I need to get back into the swing of it. I’m a little worried about sending them out during Mercury Retrograde (one shouldn’t sign contracts during the retrograde), but I also don’t want to put myself back another month, and sending them out now doesn’t mean I’ll get hired during the retrograde.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2019 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Feb. 27, 2019: Gigs, Etc.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Waning Moon

Monday’s windstorm was a little scary. We didn’t lose power, thank goodness, but driving was tough.

I got caught up in a work thing and missed meditation group, which was kind of a bummer.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where we’re working on the personal strategic plan.

Worked on contest entries, the book I’m reviewing, wrote some more on GAMBIT COLONY. Figured out a conflict that needs to deepen in one of my other books. I need to compare the numbered and unnumbered drafts of “Horace House Hauntings” before I send the unnumbered draft to another radio production company. They’re in completely different areas of the country, so there’s no conflict.

Didn’t get a particular gig for which I’d pitched, but it was a stretch, and no big surprise. I’ve got some other irons in the fire in that particular direction; one of them will hit true.

Saw an ad to ghostwrite romance novels. They pay $15 per 1000 words. That works out to one and a half cents per word. That’s beyond insulting. Especially in light of the controversy where a “romance author” was accused of plagiarism and then said it was her ghostwriter’s fault.

I’ve always wanted to write juvenile series fiction (like Nancy Drew) for a book packager, but I sure as heck wouldn’t do it for rates like that.

Worked on an ad campaign and a mailing for a client. Did some more work on one of my own promotional campaigns. Gotta say, I’m loving the Twuffer platform. Also pleased that the campaign I’ve been running for one of my clients on Twuffer is getting about a solid, daily return.

I had trouble booking the room online for the conference at which I’m teaching, so I sent them a letter with a check for deposit instead. Hopefully, that will work.

We’re supposed to get more snow tonight into tomorrow. Tomorrow’s post may be late, depending on how much snow we actually get and how long it takes me to shovel.

Totally loving watching THE WEST WING for the umpteenth time. Those little detail moments between the characters are brilliant. I love the fast delivery and that they’re smart.

I always learn so much from watching well-written, well-acted, well-produced shows.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 27, 2019 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 27, 2019: Gigs, Etc.  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Feb. 26, 2019: Cleaning the Virtual House of the Toxic

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Waning Moon

Busy weekend, but in the right way.

When I finally finished my meeting on Friday morning, and then the grocery shopping and headed to Centerville Library, the parking lot was full. I had about 20+ heavy research books to return. There was no way I was going to park in the lower lot and haul them up 40 stairs.

So I went to Sturgis library in Barnstable Village instead. It’s a lovely old library, one of the oldest (maybe the oldest) on the Cape. Returned my books, did some work on there instead.

Checked out their book sale.

I found an enormous, red Collier’s Atlas from 1960 for 50 cents. It’s wonderful! Yes, there are differences in country names and political situations. But there’s still a lot of relevant information. On top of it, when I write anything set before 1960 or near 1960, it’s a good reference.

That book makes me so happy!

I did a lot of reading Friday night, including contest entries and the book I’m reviewing.

Started re-watching THE WEST WING. The integrity and optimism of that show are a stark contrast to what we have now.

Saturday morning, I was wide awake, so I hit the page early. Got nearly 40 pages written. On GAMBIT COLONY, which isn’t what I was supposed to be working on, but it was wonderful. It was wonderful to be able to get deep into the work again.

Worked on more contest entries.

Got annoyed on Sunday by someone on social media (I checked before I clicked off for much of the day), whining that libraries should be open at night so people have options other than bars or isolation at home.

Lady, where the hell have you been?

Anywhere in the country where I’ve lived and worked, libraries are open at least a couple of times a week at night. They have a plethora of programs and coffeehouses and lectures and training sessions on just about everything. Only most people in the community can’t be bothered to attend, so then the funding is cut, the programs are cut, the hours are cut. I know this because I worked in a library for a couple of years, and our funding was based on circulation numbers and program numbers. People didn’t check books out across our desk? People didn’t bother to show up for programs? Our funding was cut. Personnel was cut. Hours were cut. We couldn’t buy as many books and DVDS. We had to spend less time providing service to our patrons and more time begging other sources for money.

You want options at the library? Then USE the library. Support the library. Check out books and videos. Attend programs.

Better yet, CREATE programs. Stop the hell expecting everyone else to do your work while you sit there and whine.

If you’re not willing to work to create the type of community you crave, get the hell away from me, because I’m working to create the life, the community, and the work I want.

I wound up reading more than writing on Sunday. My wrist hurt and my brain was tired. Plus, I needed to do some percolating.

I used the Oscars telecast to remove some toxic people from my social media feeds. It’s one thing to have an opinion about whether or not a piece worked for you, or to agree or not agree with winner choices. It’s quite another to denigrate the profession. I’ve dedicated my life to the arts; anyone who denigrates art & artists denigrates ME. It’s personal. And it’s usually done by cubicle slaves who never had the guts to follow their dreams and turn them into reality.

Buh-bye. You’re out of my life, and my life is better for it.

People who work in the arts tend to be intelligent, hardworking, dedicated, curious. They are able to learn many things and live many lives in order to share a wide range of experiences with audiences. To make the audience view the world in a new and different way.

Artists are not, overall, stupid, shallow, lazy, or lack knowledge, skills, or empathy.

There are smarter and less smart people in every profession, but this constant contempt against artists claiming they can’t know anything beyond themselves or have the right to speak out and make the world a better place — usually coming from people who are too stupid, narrow-minded, and lack the courage to do anything beyond their own selfish interests, often out of jealousy, envy, and spite — out of my life. I’ve worked too hard, my colleagues have worked too hard. Go f&ck yourself.

I’m not going to argue. I’m not going to engage. I’m going to remove them from my life. Social media is what I do IN ADDITION to my life, not INSTEAD of my life.

Art provokes change. Art can take down regimes — look at Vaclav Havel. If you don’t know who that is, look him up.

So, the side effect of award shows in my industry is that certain toxic people show their true colors, and can be removed.

Lively debate over whether something works or doesn’t work, or how a story was handled or whatever — that makes sense. We like different things, we have different frames of references, and it’s not always about “fair” or “best” — so when someone or a group of someones create something extraordinary and it gets recognized, it’s fantastic.

There were a lot of great people getting recognized last night, and they deserved their moments of happiness.

Did I agree with all the choices? No. I would have chosen some differently. But I am happy for everyone who won.

I’d considered not paying attention this year, when they threatened to give out technical awards during commercials instead of broadcasting them. The wins for costume design and production design proved why those awards need to be broadcast. I was thrilled for Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler.

I was also thrilled for Olivia Colman’s Best Actress win. She’s one of my favorites.

There are all kinds of reasons to disagree with the competition aspect and the apples/oranges comparison between projects. But it’s important for kids who dream of a life in the arts to see it’s possible — both on the technical end and on the acting/directing end. That ‘s why broadcasting more than just the actors and directors is so important.

The Narcissistic Sociopath’s attack on Spike Lee was disgusting. The lack of class and basic human decency in that creature are appalling.

Bad night, woke up too often. Up late on Monday, and trying to get things sorted out.

Client work Monday, client work today and tomorrow. Plus a lot of admin stuff that needs to be dealt with. Technical issues on different fronts make it feel like Mercury already went retrograde.

Then, more writing. I’m behind on too much, and need to catch up.

I am NOT looking forward to most of March being Mercury in Retrograde.

And people keep messaging me on FB, in spite of my constant reminders that I can’t open the messages and NOT to contact me that way. Email me.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 26, 2019 at 6:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 26, 2019: Cleaning the Virtual House of the Toxic  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Feb. 19, 2019: Writing & Weather

Tuesday, February 19. 2019
Full Moon
Sunny and not too cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see how I fared reading horror on the first month of the Reader Expansion Challenge. My choice this time around was in the horror genre, and I read Grady Hendrix’s WE SOLD OUR SOULS.

I cut myself some slack this holiday weekend. I did a lot of reading: what I felt like reading just because, research for various projects, contest entries, and the next book I have to review.

Writing-wise, I finished the short comic ghost radio play, “Horace House Hauntings” and polished it. The ending had to be rewritten quite a few times, because it kept going off track. Then, I changed the murderer (again), and it all fell into place. It goes out to the company in Minnesota today.

Started the next comic radio mystery play, which is set in the Straw Hat Circuit. I was going to set it in the early 1950’s, but the heyday was in the late 30’s, so I’m moving it back. I’ve been playing with titles for it. And I’m going to have a running joke about wardrobe in it. I got about 12 pages done on it, and it’s not quite as comic as I expected. More of a drama. And likely a two-parter, not wound up in a single 30 minute episode.

Worked on GAMBIT COLONY more than I should have — I have other pieces on a tighter deadline.

Worked on the monologue, to the point of rehearsing it. Still not sure if it’s ready to test by tomorrow night. Plus, there’s another storm coming in tomorrow night, so it might be again a moot point.

Sunday night into Monday, we had a snowstorm. Not anywhere near as bad as predicted, but I was glad I didn’t have to go in for any client work. Especially since they didn’t bother to plow the road, and it got mushy, and then icy. It meant I also couldn’t get out of our little road and down to Provincetown for the only local protest against this false National Emergency the Narcissistic Sociopath Autocrat declared.

Shoveling wasn’t too bad, except for the place where the plow packed everything at the bottom of the driveway. That’s always killer. Me with my little orange shovel having to undo what a two-ton plow packed down.

Monday’s meditation group was cancelled, due to the storm, and I missed it.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then some other appointments; same tomorrow.

Plus, of course, writing.

Published in: on February 19, 2019 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 19, 2019: Writing & Weather  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. Feb. 12, 2019: Right Decisions Relieve Stress

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Snowing

Stressful few days. Friday was about a lot of running around, and still feeling wiped out.

I had a lot to think about, with my head, my heart, and my gut giving me conflicting messages. But the more I considered, the stronger the guidance from the gut.

For a few hours, it looked like another door would open that would make the decision easier, but it didn’t, so I don’t have an easy out. I have other options, although I can’t finalize them quite as quickly as I’d like. I do, however, have an ever-strengthening gut reaction. I need to go with that, even if at the beginning, it seems like the weaker choice. It puts more pressure on me in other areas, then, at a time when I’m feeling under too much pressure already.

I also had to remove my ego from the decision (with a scalpel, sometimes, it felt like), because my ego pushed me in the direction my gut told me was wrong.

Suffered from stress-related health issues most of the weekend, which slowed me down.

Spent most of the time working on GAMBIT COLONY revisions on the first four of the first six books. Wrote some new material, made some cuts. Re-arranged things. Added a character to take care of an arc that needed to be handled, and will now have to adjust scenes in several places to see that through.

Worked on the comic ghost story radio play, trying to get back from where it derailed. It needs to be sharp and witty, which, since I’m not feeling either right now, is a reach. But I ripped out the section that took the wrong turn and am rebuilding it. It works much better as a comedy. The discarded plot thread for this will wind up as the central plot thread for a darker radio play in the future.

Read Mary Louise Wilson’s memoir MY FIRST HUNDRED YEARS IN SHOW BUSINESS, which was fun. We crossed paths a few times in the NY theatre world, and we’ve worked with a lot of the same people.

Read Jayne Ann Krentz’s UNTOUCHABLE. She’s trying some new things, which are interesting.

Worked on the review, and on contest entries.

The Fearless Ink site finally completed the domain transfer. I’d had to fight with 1&1 about the Cerridwen’s Cottage transfer. So all three domains are now safely with Name Silo. I sent in my cancellation to 1&1 for the account. I’m sure I’ll be in for at least several more months of fighting, and they will try to squeeze more money out of me. And then I’ll have to file against them. Again.

It’s taken me a YEAR to get the sites moved and the domains transferred. A YEAR of fighting with them. If you ever want a place to register a domain or host you, stay away from 1&1. I wish I’d had enough knowledge to break free years ago. They cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost income over the years.

Yesterday I was onsite with a client, which was fine, and the same today, although I’m expecting it to be more stressful due to weather and other issues. At least I had meditation group yesterday. In general, the next three weeks will be very, very stressful, and I’m trying to put some stress management tools in place.

Working on my personal strategic plan. The dashed possibilities of the past few weeks had derailed it a bit, but now I need to focus and then complete the actions I need to get where I want to go.

Onward.

 

Published in: on February 12, 2019 at 6:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 12, 2019: Right Decisions Relieve Stress  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way

Tuesday, February 5, 2018
Waxing Moon

The weather is milder, thank goodness. Some rain expected mid-week, but if it then clears up, I’ll be in the yard doing yard work next weekend. The squirrels are very happy with the massive amount of acorns that fell last fall, but I still have lots of leaves to rake.

The weekend was fine. It was cold and sunny. I didn’t do much. I gave myself some time off to recharge.

Got a little bit of work done on the radio play; I have two possible endings, and I have to figure out which one is funnier; I might have to rewrite the first half and introduce another character, but I’d rather not.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony books. They’re pulling at me, although I really have no time for them right now.

Read — finished Michelle Obama’s beautiful autobiography, BECOMING. Went through some research books for various projects. And finally read Theodora Goss’s THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER. I’d read TRAVEL FOR THE EUROPEAN GENTLEWOMAN, the second book in the series, first. Love them both.

Found the Super Bowl dull. I should be all in with the New England Patriots, since they’re the home state team, but their owner’s friendship with the Narcissistic Sociopath has dimmed that for me. Of course, the owner of the Rams is also a supporter, so neither team was really an option for me.

But, the Patriots pulled it out again, as they usually do. I’m surprised by how many people hate them because they’re a good team and get the job done. I respect Tom Brady’s work, although I’m not a particular fan (for numerous reasons), and I’m glad he rubbed it in the faces of all those that said he was washed up.

The Half time show was awful. Went back to doing other things rather than put myself through that. Really, at this stage in the process, the organizers should know better.

Some of the trash talking comments I saw on social media, even by people I usually respect, made me rethink how much regard to actually have for said individuals. Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like. Don’t trash stuff other people like when it doesn’t cause harm. And don’t trash talk professionals who can do what you can’t. I don’t like football, but I respect good players and good teams on a professional level. When I see people whose only form of exercise is lifting their beers trash talk pros, I lose respect for them. If you disagree with something an individual does, or the league does, or whatever, state your case and put your money elsewhere. But demeaning people who had the guts to achieve their dreams and are good at their chosen professions — all that does is show what trash the speaker is.

Artists and athletes get that kind of derision all the time from people who don’t have the talent or the guts or the commitment to follow their own dreams and turn them into reality. And those people can fuck right off.

Up early on Monday, for the usual routine. I think I might have to start getting up at 5:30 again soon, not 6. Decent first writing session.

Worked with a client. Stressful time. Picked up a prescription for my mother. More stress, that particular pharmacy is always having a problem with something. Very poorly managed.Headed to the library for some other work. Then to the much-needed meditation group.

In the evening, I worked on the book I have to review.

Today, I’m with a client, and then off to the library to do some work, then work on the review.

Once I get in my words for the day, of course.

Published in: on February 5, 2019 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way  
Tags: , , , , , , ,