Thurs. May 5, 2022: Finally, Some Sun!

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Yesterday felt kind of lost and scattered. I’m still waking up in the middle of the night ready to fret (sense memory from last year at this time) and there’s nothing to fret about on the scale there was last year, so I have to calm down and get back to sleep. Also, going into yesterday, once I fell asleep again, I dreamed that I wrote several 30 second and one minute commercial spots, and woke up feeling like I’d already put in a full day.

The morning wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, although I caught up on some blogging, answered emails, and got out a grant proposal. I’ve applied for this particular grant for several years, and always told that they really like my work, and I should try again the following year when they don’t give me the grant. As I entered in my credentials this year, I realized that I have built quite a few credentials, and therefore a professional place, in the particular milieu the grant covers, and if they don’t fund me this year, I won’t apply anymore. They have three grant cycles this year to which I’m suited. I will apply, and if I don’t get any of them, I’m done with them. I looked back at their previous recipients, and, so far, I’ve only found people with few or no publication credits who never show up anywhere again, so they get the grant, they work a little, and they vanish. Which, hey, I’m all for supporting writers at any stage of their career, but if the organization doesn’t support working writers who can deliver consistently and actually grow a career and a body of work, then I’m wasting my time on these applications. It’s time better used on my work and/or applying to other organizations that support writers who grow and sustain their work. Otherwise, I’m just bashing my head against a wall for no reason.

I put up o new post on Ko-Fi, a sweet, somewhat romantic flash fiction under the Ava Dunne name called “Floral Arrangements.” I was surprised at the positive response. I’ve always liked it, but couldn’t find a home for it. One friend encouraged me to turn it into a screenplay, and she’s right, it would work, so I’m taking notes as I think of them. I just have to make sure I don’t drop bodies in there, reverting to my usual wheelhouse!

Did some plotting on the anthology story, and I think I’ll be ready to start it next week.

Turned around two scripts, and went back to contest entries. I have two more scripts to turn around today and then, like last week, I’ll focus on contest entries tomorrow and into the weekend, to finish the decisions on this final contest by Tuesday’s deadline. Did some work on a proposal for my elected officials, which will go out tomorrow.

Deborah Blake’s CLAWS FOR SUSPICION arrived the other day, too, and I’m looking forward to reading it once I finish contest entries and the next book for review.

I’d placed a big order for things like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc., and it was delivered early, so there was that unpacking and sorting. I left the box out so the cats could play in it, and will break it down later today. So we’re supplied for another six months or so with all of that.

Meditation this morning, and then I’m off to run errands: library, big grocery shop, pharmacy, liquor store (I ran out of red wine, although I have plenty of white). Then, it’s back to the page. Hopefully, I’ll get everything done and be back in time for Freelance Chat.

There’s a garden post on Gratitude and Growth. It looks like today will be lovely, so I’m going to do some of my work out on the porch.

Have a good one!

Tues. April 5, 2022: Curl Up & Catch Up

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cloudy, and chilly

I hope you all had a good few days. Grab a favorite beverage and curl up for the catch-up.

Thursday wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I got the most important things done. I got a wonderful email from a producer to whom I’d submitted some radio plays. I wasn’t sure if what I submitted was dark enough for what he was looking for, but he said he loved the pieces, and wanted to read the comic noir mystery plays, too. In other words, he’s willing to expand his original guidelines because he enjoys the writing. Which thrills me. He sent me the link to the first broadcast. I have it on today’s agenda to listen to, because that gives me more of an idea of material to pitch to him, too. Yes, he pays. And he said he’s planning to make me an offer.

It also made me wonder if maybe I should try to write a comic horror play as my Dramatists Guild project this month. Then, of course, some characters started wandering into my brain. . .

While that all started percolating, I went to the online meditation group I attend on Thursday mornings. The regular leader wasn’t there; the sub kept using computer lingo, like “downloading inspiration” which really annoyed me. I am not a computer. I am a human being. One of the reasons I attend meditation is for a break from technology. I believe tech-speak in the space is destructive, not “relatable.”

By the time breakfast was over and I’d gotten some admin done, it was time to take my mom for her 4th vaccination. We left early enough so I could dop off and pick up books at the library. We were early to the pharmacy, and I felt bad, because CVS corporate cut staff there, and they were run off their feet. They are the best CVS staff we’ve ever known, and it’s so unfair to them (so yes, I will complain to corporate that an excellent staff is being punished for their skills). The pharmacist who gave her the shot was lovely.

While my mom was under her 15 minutes of observation, I dashed next door to Big Y to pick up a few groceries, including a Boston cream pie that I couldn’t resist.

Took my mom home. She barely had any side effects. Her arm was a little achy, starting about 7 hours after the shot. If anything, it was more like I had the side effects, while she had the shot. I felt like absolute crap all day.

However, I pulled myself together and did a script coverage. I have a nice long list of scripts in my queue, so after a couple of months of worrying and not making my projected income from this client, I think the first pay period in April will be close. March’s second pay period is lower than I’d hoped, but still a decent number. And it means my quarterly taxes won’t be so high.

Participated in Freelance Chat, which was fun.

I polished the materials for the first round of the major grant proposal. I was actually pretty happy with the quality of the materials. I also added the three missing productions to my theatre resume (will have to add them to my writing resume soon).

Of course, the actual application asked for additional materials that weren’t in the informational handout, so I had to take time to create and polish those, which meant the application timed out and I had to start all over again, even though I’d saved it as I went. Which was frustrating.

But I finally got it all entered, and submitted it. I got the confirmation.

By then, I was completely wiped out. I have to remember how much writing a good grant application takes out of me. As in a good piece of writing or performance, I leave it all out there and am spent. If I leave out the passion and commitment behind, under, and around the words, then the energy of the piece is lost, and there’s no way it can get funded. The language is clean and professional, but the subtext has to have energy.

Ordered pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I’d also expected my mom wouldn’t feel like eating, as neither of us have the day of the shot, but she was in good appetite, and I hadn’t planned anything except maybe scrambled eggs. So I ordered pizza. We’re lucky in that we have three excellent pizza parlors within 5 blocks. We ordered what I call the “comfort pizza” from the place about 3 blocks away.

Read a little in the evening, but was wiped out. Knowledge Unicorns was fine; even though it takes plenty of energy, so much energy is created and exchanged, that it’s worth it.

Was awakened about an hour after I went to bed by an enormous crash. At first, I thought it was thunder, since there was an intense rainstorm happening. But there was only one clap and no lightening. Then, I was worried part of the building had collapsed (not that there’s any reason for it). But everything seemed fine. No idea what that was all about.

Tessa got me up early on Friday. I stayed off social media most of the day, because I hate the way cruelty is dressed up to look like humor on April Fool’s Day.

What I did instead was build the Pages on Stages website, for the scripts I write. It took all day, with only one 20-minute break for lunch. It took 9 templates until I found one that I could make do what I wanted and needed. I hunted down as much information on the older productions as I could. A lot of it is in storage, not digitized, and I don’t have access to it right now. But there’s enough on the sites to point grant makers and producers toward it. It’s not a site I plan to heavily promote, the way I do the fiction sites. It serves a specific purpose for the scriptwriting.

I still have to add bio information on the “About” page and add contact information, but I will do that next week.

I managed to start the comic horror radio play for the Dramatists Guild End of Play event, and wrote about a page and a half. It’s out there, even more me. But the beats are building and the jokes are landing the way I want them to, so we’ll see how it goes.

The only side effect my mom had from her second booster was some fatigue toward the end of the day. She’s never had particularly strong reactions to the shots, but this was the lightest yet.

I missed going to the art opening Friday night. By the time it started, I’d just finished the day’s work on the website and hadn’t even showered yet, much less put myself together mentally or physically. The exhibit runs for about a month, so I’ll stop by later in April. I hadn’t promised anyone to attend, so at least I didn’t let anyone down.

Tessa woke me up before 5 this morning out of dreams about Greek myths and peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving with one of my cousins. The brain is a weird instrument.

Caught up on some of the 500+ emails which had come in on Friday.

I walked down to the Farmers’ Market in the morning. It’s still on winter hours, which means that it’s only the first Saturday of the month still for April and May, and it’s indoors, with a limited number of vendors. But such wonderful vendors! I wish I could have bought from everyone.

I bought from three of them, had conversations with several, and next time I go, I have to carry business cards, because they were interested in my books (which came up in conversation when I signed up for the various mailing lists).

I was thrilled with the bounty from the market. We immediately ate the espresso coffee cake muffins from Bohemian Nouveau Bakery, which were outstanding. For lunch, we had slices of baguette with butter, fresh spinach, and sliced radishes (with just a hint of salt and pepper). I don’t know the name of the artisan who baked the baguette, but it was the best I’ve ever had – perfect crumb, lovely crust, and there was a little bit of salt in the crust that was exquisite. The spinach and radishes came from Red Shirt Farm.

For dinner, I added some spinach to the sausage pasta I made, and we finished the rest of the baguette. Because baguettes only last a day.

I took it easy on Saturday. I needed to rest. I did a little bit of noodling on the comic horror radio play, mostly planning rather than writing. I read books I wanted to read, and didn’t worry about any sort of work for anyone else.

There’s so much atrocity happening in Ukraine. The Russians are behaving just as badly as they did in WWII to the citizens. The world stands by and allows the slaughter. And these spoiled brats on social media, who’ve never experienced anything worse than a hangnail, are whining about being “triggered.” They have the privilege to look away, and they are part of the reason this is happening. We need to be riding our elected officials every day about doing more to stop the atrocities AND remove all the Russian assets in Congress. World War III started when The Narcissistic Sociopath was installed as the GOP nominee. The war has a different trajectory than previous wars, but we are deeply, deeply in it. What is happening to citizens in Ukraine WILL happen here if the GOP is allowed to continue. Remember people in cages? Migrants chased on horseback and whipped? Rapists given control of their victims’ bodies? All of that is part of the same playbook.  ANYONE who has the privilege to look away contributes to the problem. We have to look. We have to feel the horror. And then we have to do something about it.

Tessa woke me around 5 AM on Sunday. I got my act together and was out to run errands early, including getting more potting soil and pots. And the tomato cages.

We repotted the peace lily. My friend and I bought the peace lily at Stop & Shop on the Cape in a 4” pot for the very first party in the Cape House, way back in 2011. I just repotted it into a 14” pot. Let’s hope it can thrive in this pot for the next few years!

In the afternoon, I read for pleasure, and did a little bit of research for a couple of different projects. I took a break from the comic horror play, and the other writing. I read THE VANISHING MUSEUM ON THE RUE MISTRAL by M.L. Longworth, set in Provence, which I really enjoyed.

Tessa was such a drama queen on Monday. I didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. My mom finally got up to feed all of the feline monsters. Tessa wrestled the bowl away from her in the pantry and insisted on eating right there (instead of on her little Sherlock Holmes pub towel in her room). She was So Hungry she could not wait one more second. It was hilarious. Like they’re not fed regularly twice a day.

Did some admin work and paid some bills. Headed to the bank (never fun) to make a deposit. Let’s see how long they keep this one. On to the post office to mail the bills and a birthday card for a friend. On the way back, stopped at the liquor store. Dropped everything off, picked up the two bags of books that had to go back to the library, and drove there. Dropped off/picked up books. Home. Moved the seedlings out to the porch. It was sunny/cloudy every few minutes, but at least they’d get more light out there.

Elon Musk bought a stake in Twitter, so my time there is probably drawing to a close. Which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. But it’s already gone vastly downhill in the last few weeks, pushing right-wing crazy posts from people I don’t follow into my timeline (which I immediately block). And I’m finding way too much emotional labor on there, thanks to a lot of the privileged spoiled brats. Cutting back my time there is necessary anyway. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out and what changes happen. I highly doubt they will be positive. I’ve cut back my FB time; I’m only still on it because of a few people with whom that’s the main way we stay in touch. Instagram is my playground, but there are so many creeps on there lately that I’ve considered changing how I use it, or leaving entirely.

We’ll see what happens. If it becomes only a work-related set of interactions, then so be it.

As corporate greed destroys what is good about social media platforms, new ones will spring up.

Covered two scripts in the afternoon. Read for pleasure. Wrote a few pages on the comic horror play and tossed them, because they don’t work. No, it’s not a case of temporary insecurity. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something like that doesn’t work. It took a turn that’s not appropriate for the genre or the other parameters needed in the script to fit the target market. Therefore, it has to go.

Got another idea for another radio script, more psychological ghost story. I might alternate between the two pieces and see which one flies.

We’re still eating the fresh spinach from the market, because it was a lot of damn spinach. But it’s good.

Charlotte woke me out of nightmares around 1:30. Around 3, as I was finally getting back to sleep, Tessa started in. I moved to the bed in the sewing room so that she would quiet down, and then had a series of dreams set backstage, in a hair salon, and in a pet salon. Go figure. But at least they were positive.

Hitting the page first thing, then a big grocery run, then back to the page, and more script coverage and contest entries in the afternoon. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun is peeking out, so maybe I’ll put the plants out on the porch. I need to oil the teak furniture soon, and keep going with the spring cleaning, which moves forward erratically. I have to spend some quality time with the inbox, too. It’s well over 600 emails again that didn’t have to be answered quickly, and I have to get it down.

My experience moving the newsletter to MailerLite has been positive so far. They sent me a report on the mailing – good open rate, good click rate, and they’re not micromanaging contacts. So that’s all good. I’ve started the document for June, so I can add information as it comes up, and then rewrite it so it’s pretty when it’s time to send it out.

That’s what’s going on in this neck of the woods. We’re in that between-times of seasonal change, where it’s too warm for the heat to kick on regularly, but too chilly to be really comfortable without layers. I’m excited for my first Berkshires spring.

I hope there are lilacs.

Tues. March 29, 2022: Washer Woes

image courtesy of Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Fairly quiet weekend. There’s a March wrap up over on the GDR site, posted early, even though we still have a few days left in the month, and I’m just trying to steadily do the work.

It wasn’t a good writing day on Friday, sadly. Oversleeping threw off the morning for me. But I did write and turn in another book review, and cover a script. Did a bunch of admin work. Put the seedlings out on the porch. It’s still too cold at night to leave them. I received an internal promotion and a pay bump from a big client.

Tessa woke me early on Saturday. I moved to the couch and overslept. The sun overcame the clouds, so we could put the seedlings on the porch, at least for a few hours. More seeds are germinating (more on that in Thursday’s garden post.

Had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription. Because the weather was good, I went on foot, and then I took a different route from there to the library, to learn more about the town. I found some interesting restaurants and stores that I will visit at leisure in the future.

Dropped off/picked up books at the library.

In the afternoon, I tried reading a book that was supposed to be an exciting, twisty thriller getting a lot of buzz. I figured it out less than a third of the way through, and lost patience with the characters for not catching on. Checked the ending, to make sure I was right (yes, I was). That’s back in the return pile. Tried another book that came highly recommended, but it’s written in present tense, which I loathe, and, since I’m not being paid to read it, it goes back in the return pile.

Returned to reading contest entries, which was fun. It started raining in the late afternoon, so we brought the seedlings in. Crockpot chicken was a good choice.

Up early on Sunday, baked biscuits. Charlotte, or maybe Willa, chomped on some of the cucumber seedlings, so I’m trying to recuse them. A member of the extended family in Maine is very ill. I’ve kept a distance since the lack of support around the move last year, but I don’t want this person to be ill.

It snowed off and on all day. Sometimes flurries, sometimes intensely. In a break between it, I did a run to the liquor store and to get burgers. Bad choice on the burgers, and I was miserable all afternoon. Red meat and I are no longer friends. And yet, every few months, I crave it. But fresh trout for dinner was a better choice.

I covered a script in the afternoon, and then returned to working on contest entries. I ordered snapdragon seeds and marigold seeds. That means I have to go out and get more pots and soil next week, when I go to get the tomato cages. I set up the acknowledgements file for CAST IRON MURDER and for the retro mystery. Starting a document for acknowledgements early in the process saves a lot of panic later on.

Tessa woke me on Monday at 5:30, which is a perfect time. The usual early morning routine of writing in longhand, yoga, meditation. Blogged.

It started sunny, but too cold to put the seedlings out. More seedlings are sprouting, which is lovely. I got through some admin work. Didn’t get much done on The Big Project. Revised the next three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Worked on the grant proposal. I need to flesh it out some more today, and put material connected to the proposal up on one of my websites. I don’t have information on the stage and radio plays up on a website, and I should.

I also played with the MailerLite site, and worked on the newsletter, which will go out in a day or so (since it’s the end of the quarter and all). If you haven’t yet signed up and would like to, newsletter signup is here.

Received the next book for review. Started a script coverage. There’s not much in the queue, which worries me a bit, but also takes off some of the pressure. Worked on contest entries.

Noodled with some ideas for the play I have to start on Friday as part of the Dramatists Guild project. Noodled with some ideas for the Monthology story.

The Tamed Wild box arrived. In it, was a Rose of Jericho plant. I’ve put it in water, and it’s unfurling. Fascinating. It’s not a plant with which I have much familiarity.

Up early this morning, before Tessa even got started. Was out of the house and on the way to the laundromat early. Ended up spending more time there than planned, because the machine I used was stuck on “rinse” for 15 minutes, and then didn’t spin out properly, so the wash was soaking wet (no sink in the building, no techs). I had to have it in the dryer on high for an hour. I put a note on the machine, so that no one else has to go through this.

I brought the pages done so far on The Big Project with me, and worked on them while at the laundromat. I got a lot done.

Home to find more seeds are sprouting. It’s very exciting.

Today’s list items include work on The Big Project, revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, another revision of the grant proposal, putting information up on the website, a polish on the newsletter, and a script coverage. I might do some more contest entries, if I get the chance.

It’s supposed to start warming up again over the next few days. Let’s hope this was winter’s last gasp, and I can get the seedlings out on the front porch, and set up the enchanted garden on the back balcony sooner rather than later.

Have a good one.

Wed. March 16, 2022: Research Day

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Waxing Moon

Mild and cloudy, supposed to turn sunny and gorgeous

In spite of a rocky start to the day, yesterday morning went well. I dealt with some email. I worked on the next section of The Big Project.

I headed up to the library to do some research in the local archives on The Spruces, a self-governed community in Williamstown begun in the 1950’s that has fascinated me since we moved here. It took a bit to track down the material, but once I had it, I sat and took plenty of notes. I have some names to research further. I have physical details of the layout, looked at photos.

I think I will use it as the inspiration for what I want to write based on a place very much like it, set in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. I need to do more research, but as I walked back from the library, the core ensemble of characters, and the two protagonists who will drive the piece and/or series became clear.

Some of the names, and that people in positions of authority were married couples holding multiple positions in the community cause questions. And also open opportunities for the kind of conflict I want to create here.

I also want plenty of cocktails, chain smoking, and cool clothes.

I’ve set up the physical file folder to keep the notes as they evolve, and any additional research I come up with.

The sweet pea and mallow seeds arrived. I need more pots and soil in order to plant them. I need at least a half a dozen more pots, and probably three more bags of soil. Hopefully, the tansy seeds will show up today.

Ordered more ink for the printer. Then I’ll have a full complement of color tanks. I think I can wait to order more black ink for about another month or so. The tanks are good for about 1300 pages; while I go through a lot with the black tanks (and tend to order the ones that can run more pages, when I can afford to), the color tanks last me nearly a year.

In the afternoon, I went down another rabbit hole of research on The Spruces, thanks to the Williamstown Historical Society’s online archives. I found some wonderful photographs and got some more names to research. The Society has a DVD about the place, which, once the car is fixed (again), I will make arrangements to go over and view.

The characters are telling me their stories, and I am taking notes. Out of this will come the conflicts that I need to create the mystery, and then I can outline. I need to do some more research, especially in newspaper archives. I have to find out if The Berkshire Eagle’s morgue is online, or if I have to go and visit them in person.

Reading newspaper files will also help me decide in what year I want to start the series. It will be sometime between 1957-1960.

I also found out (again, thanks to the Berkshire Eagle, who will be thanked in the acknowledgements, no doubt), that there used to be a horserace track over in Hancock, Berkshire Downs, in the 1960’s. I will have to find a way to incorporate that, if I can.

I got my script coverage done, and I worked on a grant proposal. I also worked on contest entries.

It was a pretty good day, all around.

Charlotte woke me up at 4 this morning. I refused to get up, but then I overslept until 5:30, which meant I had to scramble to get out the door to the laundromat. I went on foot, with the rolly cart. It was open on time, and the machines worked, but they didn’t have the lights over the washing machines calibrated to the time change, so I had to use the flashlight on my phone. Why yes, I will be getting in touch. It was a little creepy.

But I got 60 pages of CAST IRON MURDER revised.

If it’s as mild as they predict, I’ll put the seedlings out on the porch for the day. I need to go over to the college library to get some art books out I need for the series of short projects. I plan to work on The Big Project, maybe put in some of the fixes I caught on CAST IRON MURDER, and do more research, in and around script reading and going to the library.

I’m watching the news on Ukraine, and donating what I can to World Central Kitchen, which, for me, is the best place to put my funds right now. One of the most important things we have to do NOW, not months down the line, is to remove the Russian assets in Congress and prosecute them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The seniors are already talking about how this would be spring break for them next year. I wonder how fast the new cases will rise in the next two weeks? Since we’re not getting real numbers. Supposedly, the transmission rate in the Berkshires is down to 1-1/2%, and new cases have gone down by 34% in the past two weeks, but with free testing stopped, who knows how accurate that is? I am still masking indoors in public spaces (like the library, the grocery store, etc.).

The Ipsy bag arrived, full of great stuff for a fun spring look, including lipstick from one of my favorite brands. I started cleaning, by giving the copper molds a good scrub in the kitchen, because I’ve decided I want to hang them up around the stove. If you’ve ever been to the Cape house, they were on the wall by the door to the garage, next to one of the cookbook bookcases (yes, I have two tall bookcases full of cookbooks in my kitchen, and two shelves of a bookcase in my office are also full of cookbooks. And there are more in storage). Hanging up the molds and tidying up the now three bookcases in the kitchen (two with cookbooks, one with bins of different flours, etc.) is on today’s list. I have to figure out how to get the red wax off the window (long story). Looks like someone met with a fatal accident in the kitchen.

If you’re curious about the shared world anthology I keep mentioning, the Monthology website is now live here. You’ll find my Valkyries in the District of the Dearly Departed, and my Gorgons running a theatre in The Amalgamate. There will be lots of fun blurbs and ads and all kinds of information coming out about it in the coming months.

Have a good day, my friends.

Tues. Jan. 4, 2022: Back to the Page

imageg courtesy of Nile via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Clear and cold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurs. Feb. 18, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 274/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 22 — A Little Good News

image courtesy of Oliana Gruxdeva via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Incoming storm

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth about the quiet and the garden.

Yesterday was stressful.

The good news is that my 96-year-old mother was moved from the waiting list to an actual slot for the first dose of the vaccine.

I swung by the office to do a few things before anyone else arrived, left a note, and then came back home and did some more work before we had to head out.

The vaccination site was on Cape Cod, and not too far away. It was in Orleans. At the dump. They had to set up a vaccination site at the town dump.

Everyone was very nice, and it was well-run. It was a drive-through clinic, so we stayed in the car the entire time. We were guided to our slot. The nurse gave my mom the vaccine in her arm. We had to wait, with the fire/rescue checking on us every few minutes, until we could leave, about 15 minutes later. We drove home.

There’s a ton of paperwork around it all. The paperwork was more complicated than the shot itself.

There weren’t enough doses to give me the “caretaker” shot – I have no problem with that, but it worries my mom.

We drove home, decontaminated. She felt fine; I was wrecked.

I managed to do a final polish and get one of the grant proposals out, though. And I talked to some of my interview sources for two of my articles. Even got out a couple of LOIs.

But mostly, I was a wreck.

My mom was perky until sometime in the middle of the night, when her arm started hurting badly. She’s in pain right now, and can take liquid Tylenol, so let’s hope that helps.

I’m not sure if we have to compete for a slot for the second shot, like we did for the first, or if it’s assigned. The paperwork says we have to compete, but several nurses along the way said we’d be emailed with the next slot.

It should happen right around my birthday, and I can’t think of a better gift.

So why is the headline on this post still about the distribution fail? Because it’s not all about me. There are thousands of people unable to get an appointment because of the chaos. I was lucky and dogged in staying online and trying and trying and trying. Too many people don’t have the resources to do that, or anyone who can help them. Until there’s equitable distribution, this will continue to happen.

This morning, I have to go into the office WITH a client, which I’m not too happy about. But it’s just a couple of hours, what would have happened yesterday. I’m hoping to get home before the snow starts.

I did some good work on GAMBIT COLONY this morning.

I looked at the sample budget for the second grant proposal, and the sample seems way off base from reality. I have to do some more research.

I’m looking forward to meditation this morning. I definitely need it. I’ll probably need another session when I get back home and decontaminate.

I’m worried about the people suffering in Texas, and furious at their governor and the other leaders who are perfectly happy to let them die, to prove their independence. They should all be indicted. Removed. Imprisoned. Hopefully, the federal aid will reach them soon, and not be turned away by the twats in charge.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on February 18, 2021 at 6:55 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 18, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 274/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 22 — A Little Good News  
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Tues. Feb. 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 272/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 20 — Trying to Hold Steady

image courtesy of M. Maggs via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Icy rain and fog

Busy weekend, but that’s the way it is for the foreseeable future.

Worked on the grant proposal on Friday, which comprises three 250-word pitches. Working on them was fun. Decided to wait and send out the interview requests for the article for THE WRITER today, because I’m worried it will get lost over the holiday weekend. The pitch for that had most of the information I need, so those go out today.

Got out some LOIs.

Did not do my box quota; ran out of steam by lunchtime, which is what starting work a little after 4 AM will do.

Got some good work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Looked for the start of a draft for a play I’d hoped to finish and submit yesterday; can’t find the draft anywhere, so it’s just not going to happen this cycle.

Jumped on the signup site for vaccines for tomorrow, out in Orleans. The first time, the site glitched and switched me from the Orleans facility to the Needham facility. I had to cancel that appointment and re-apply in Orleans; by the time I got the information all put in again, all the appointments were gone.

Again, why is the Cape only getting enough doses to have one site live PER WEEK, when sites all over the state are getting as many or more doses PER DAY?

And the county is saying we should go off Cape to get vaccinated. How many people can’t? I talked to my mother’s doctor’s office about that, when I had to call to get one of her medications adjusted. Their concern (which echoes mine) is especially about the second shot, especially if I’m able to get the “companion shot.” I won’t be able to drive that far directly after getting the shot. There’s a good chance we’ll both start feeling bad within 30 minutes and have to be careful for a couple of days. A day trip to get the shot is not possible. And it’s not safe to get someone else to drive us.

Baker’s swanning around, acting like everything is great, but Cape Cod is being ignored. It’s disgusting. It’s bad enough he’s demanded non-essentials workers put their lives in danger by working on site since last May to please tourists; now he won’t even give us access to vaccines. The Feds have increased the doses steadily, but they are not being distributed within the state properly.

But at least the signup site was sorta working, and my mom is on a waitlist tomorrow. I’m sure it’s with several thousand others, but it’s better than the previous week, when the sites weren’t even live when promised.

Up early on Saturday morning to do a dump run. Five bags of garbage and as much recycling as I could stuff into the car, which still wasn’t enough. There will be another dump run this week.

Stopped at the grocery store for a few things, swung through an empty Dunkin Donuts to use a gift card someone gave us, home, decontaminated.

Then, it was time to put in some more work on the grant proposal. I fixed some log lines and a few other things. My friend and I are reading each other’s pitches and helping each other hone them, which is helpful. I do want to get it out soon, though, and not wait until the end of the week.

I need to turn my attention to the other pitch, due March 1, which needs a production budget attached. As I worked on the proposal, I realized I don’t know what things cost anymore, so that requires some research this week.

Managed to purge 13 boxes on Saturday. Tossed A LOT, which was good. Lost some books to basement damp that I need, so I found replacement copies on Alibris and orders them. Repacked a bunch of stuff. Scrubbed the basement floor, where the boxes rested for so long. I’m going to put some boards down, and then restack the freshly-sorted boxes on top of the boards, so they don’t stick to the floor and get damp again.

Found some books relevant to current projects and put them aside. I have to configure some project bins so I can keep certain books handy.

Found a ton of writing books – fun to go through them again. Tried not to get too caught up in re-reading.

Packed up some of the books in my bedroom, and now things look more chaotic instead of less. I have A LOT of books in my bedroom.

The packing/moving tape I bought sucks. Sticks to itself, but not to the boxes.

Read the book for review. It’s delightful. What a gem, what a lovely, lovely book.

Up way too early on Sunday. Worked on GAMBIT COLONY. Wrote my review. Did another pass on the grant pitches.

Felt overwhelmed and exhausted.

Purged 12 more boxes from the basement, and scrubbed the floor some more. One whole wall’s worth of double-rowed boxes is nearly done. I just have the corner boxes to finish.

The bulk of those boxes were books. I’ve been re-sorting them and repacking them. The upside is that I’ve assembled a wonderful library over the years, especially when it comes to diaries, letters, women’s history, and the arts.

The downside is that some of the boxes of books were destroyed by being in the basement for so long, and, since it’s Cape Cod, the bottom boxes disintegrated in the damp. One set of Robert Louis Stevenson, leather-bound, from 1912, might not be able to be saved. Which is my own damn fault. But I’m trying.

Most of the lost books don’t need to be replaced. But five of the ones in this weekend’s purge do, and I found replacement copies at reasonable prices online. I ordered them, and they’ve already shipped. I am sorry to lose two of the original copies – they were signed by the author and had personal meaning to me. But it’s my own damn fault for not going through things in the basement once we moved, and not getting the boxes up off the floor.

One of the most difficult things the past days has been the constant negative talk inside my own head, telling me what a failure I am.  (If one more person tells me to “take a walk” to feel better, I will scream. TAKING A WALK IS NOT SAFE HERE DUE TO COVIDIOTS). I’m trying to halt each time the negative loop starts and turn it into something positive. Because the negative just drains me, and I don’t have the time to be drained and wallow right now.

It needs to be turned into POSITVE ACTIONS.

But fighting with that inner negative loop takes a lot of energy.

I’m exhausted and in pain from the physicality of scrubbing the basement floor and moving all the boxes around, unpacking, repacking, stacking, etc. But I can’t take any time off right now. The time doesn’t exist.

Sunday night into Monday, I dreamed of a dead black snake. A disturbing dream. I panicked when I looked up the interpretation of “black snake” – which is about evil and distrust (wait, you mean I’m surrounded by Republicans? No! – Yes, that is sarcasm). But then I remembered it’s a DEAD black snake, so I looked up that interpretation, which is positive transformation.

My subconscious is telling me to hang in there. And, when I listen to that quiet inner voice, I feel on track. But when I look at exterior logistics, I panic.

The exhaustion and the headaches don’t help. But I just have to keep going on.

Monday morning, I did some more work on GAMBIT revisions. And looked at the notes a friend gave me on the proposal.

I knew there was an incoming storm, and there was some stuff at the client’s office that couldn’t be done at home. I went in extra early (to make sure no one else would be in), loaded the photos I needed onto a flash drive, packed the order that needed to be shipped, and was out of there lickety split.

On the way in there, I stopped at Target, right when they opened, to pick up a few things, like toilet paper and garbage bags. And my favorite pens. You know, the necessities.

On the way back from the office, I stopped at CVS to pick up my mom’s adjusted prescription. I felt bad for the staff – the computers ran so slowly, which was causing all kinds of backups. And then, when I used the hand sanitizer, it squirted all over me, so I looked like I’d been hosed down in sanitizer. Too funny. Swung by the post office to drop off the shipment. It was small enough to fit in the bin in the lobby.

Home, decontaminated, did client work. Got up the Monday social media posts, finished the graphic for the email blast and got it out, created a graphic for another email blast (which I hope to get out today).

Got out some LOIs.

Did not look at the grant proposal, so that I could come back at it with fresh eyes today.

Got assigned two more books for review from my editor, and already started one of them, which is very good.

Worked on contest entries. I’m on the print books in the second category now, and they’re so all over the place. It’s kind of wonderful.

Hunted for vaccine appointments. No luck. I’m so sick of Baker treating the once-a-week sign up as thought it’s Black Friday, and then standing there smirking when people can’t get appointments. He’s saying that not enough doses are coming in. While that is true to a point, there are many more doses coming in now than there were a few weeks ago. It’s the distribution that’s a problem. There are sites all over the state with open appointments. There are sites all over the states with expiring doses. There are sites all over the state where you can book an appointment weeks in advance.

EXCEPT on Cape Cod, where one site opens to book appointments once a week, if we’re lucky. And the slots fill up in ten minutes or less. Which is ridiculous. The problem is not on the federal level – they’re ramping things up as fast as they can, and increasing dosage deliveries. The problem is at the state level.

Baker’s office.

Not to mention that the county continues to have a slew of sites listed that AREN’T LIVE. That aren’t getting doses or booking appointments.  So Baker points to the site to say there are so many locations – but if none of them have doses or take appointments, it doesn’t matter. It’s not real.

I packed up some boxes of books in my bedroom yesterday afternoon, and I’m taking down the folding bookcases in the room as I empty them.

Tessa is not amused.

I did some work on GAMBIT COLONY this morning. I have another ad to design for a client later on. Have some LOIs to get out, and I’m going to send out interview requests for THE WRITER article today. I’m hoping the power stays on, so that I can do some work in the basement this afternoon, but if it doesn’t, I’ll pack more in my room. I’ll set the logs in the fireplace later this morning, so we can light it if necessary.

As I’m searching through the boxes, I’m finding the print copies of articles not available online. I’m stacking them by the scanner, so I can scan them and put them in my clip file and online portfolios.

Why has WordPress changed the font suddenly? Why is every WordPress upgrade actually a downgrade?

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on February 16, 2021 at 7:12 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 272/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 20 — Trying to Hold Steady  
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