Thurs. June 30, 2022: Following Through on Creative Risk

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I talk about what’s new with the garden, especially in terms of taking out the cats in their playpens, and our neighborhood squirrels, on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started with frustration, moved to creativity, ended in sense memory stress. A day of variety, that’s for sure!

I got some work done early in the morning. Headed out to the library for a pickup/delivery. For some reason, I hadn’t received the email that the books arrived, and there was quite the stack, including several books by the poet/undertaker Thomas Lynch and a couple of Chilean authors who were recently recommended to me.

I stopped at the carrier to whom I hoped to switch my phone service, but they didn’t have the phone I want in stock, and I’d have to pay for another month at my current carrier, at least, while they got it in. So that’s a no-go.

I planned to order it online, but they would only let me order that phone if I started a committed contract, and I don’t want that, because I want the option to switch carriers. Plus, they were charging twice for the phone than listed yesterday.

I found the phone I wanted, supposedly at a nearby store (one at which I loathe shopping) at the price I wanted. I bought the phone, but of course, they wouldn’t activate it or help me with it. So I drove down to my carrier’s store in Pittsfield. They got it activated, and moved the SD card for me (and were nice about it). They couldn’t get the transfer done (said they didn’t have strong enough Wi-Fi), but wrote out the directions. I got it done at home. The photos I thought were all on the SD card (because that’s what I told the phone to do) were scattered throughout my phone, but I managed to corral them and get some of them onto Google Photos (which doesn’t seem to have a download option) and the rest onto my hard drive Photos (who knew I’d posted 888 photos on Instagram?) and will download onto my external hard drive.

I still have to re-enter my contacts. But it’s mostly done, I really like the new phone, I could get my meditation timer app back on it, so fingers crossed.

I have to figure out how to make sure ALL the photos go and stay on the SD card.

A much smoother and less stressful process than the months of hell trying to get my mom’s phone situation sorted out!

It’s a Motorola G Pure, which is what I wanted. I can also unlock the phone and change carriers down the line, should I choose.

But at least I have a working phone again. My other phone still works, to a point, so I’m keeping it handy, even though it’s not hooked up to a carrier anymore. It served me well for four years (all my other phones bit it after a year).

But it took time that I’d planned for other things.

I didn’t even get started on client work until 2 PM. But I turned around three manuscripts with notes for a client. I have four more to do today.

After dinner, I went back to work on the horror story. It truly is horror, and the first piece of mine that I believe needs trigger warnings. And yet, in light of what’s going on, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, which makes it even worse. I did a couple of editing passes on it before I called it a night. I’ll put in the changes this morning, do a final proof, and out it goes, on deadline.

Even if it’s not accepted, I’m proud of myself for taking a creative risk out of my wheelhouse and seeing it through.

Part of me wanted to immediately dive into the play that’s been poking at me since the workshop last week, but I went to bed instead.

And immediately suffered a severe bout of sense memory stress. This time last year, the clock had run out, and I had to negotiate a few extra days to finish clearing out the house, accepting the berating from the landlord. While I understood his frustration, I could have also walked away and left him to deal with everything, and I did not. I communicated and I followed through, even though it nearly killed me. But there were a lot of tears and a lot of feeling like I’d break permanently.

But I didn’t. Even though I may have sense memory stress all weekend, I got through it and I am here now. That’s what matters. Building something better.

My Ello page has over 200K views now, and has led to some intriguing creative conversations. Unlike the bottom of the barrel crap from LinkedIn, there are viable projects over on Ello. A much stronger choice for me.

I’m looking forward to meditation this morning. I doubt I can get my final copyedit/proofread of the story done before it, but it will go out early today. Then I can focus on the client manuscripts, and finishing the book for review. I have one script to read tomorrow, and then I’m taking the weekend. Which will be about The Big Project and finishing the damn kitchen island. I’m not “celebrating” this Independence Day on Monday (although I’m taking it as a day away from client work). How can I celebrate “independence” with a corrupt court is stripping away so many rights?

Back to the page. Have a good one.

Wed. June 16, 2022: Work Day

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a reasonably quiet day, especially as to where we were last year at this time. It wasn’t without its disappointments. A grant opportunity landed on my desk, and looked promising. But it’s one of those where they didn’t let the applicant read through the entire application nor did they list all the requirements. So after spending too much time filling out the application, I hit a requirement that was not mentioned in the guidelines that required unpaid labor to create something they would keep for their archives, whether they gave me the grant or not.

No. Just no. That’s exploiting grant applicants.

There’s a post on Creativity is a Business over on Ink-Dipped Advice. The profits that the arts have made, even in the year after the shutdowns, is astonishing. And too damn small a portion goes to the actual artists.

There’s also a post on Gratitude and Growth that goes into more detail about Tuesday’s visit to Berkshire Botanical Garden, and about the other garden stuff happening here.

Had to make another bank deposit, mailed my quarterly taxes (ouch), and attempted, yet again, to check out the new coffee place that opened a couple of blocks away. They were still closed a half hour after their posted opening times. This is the second time this has happened. Just proves that you can’t trust a “business” that only has a Facebook page and not an actual, professional website.

Got some writing done, wasn’t happy about any of it. Handled a bunch of email. I’m still at nearly 500 emails in the inbox, which will have to be addressed today. Turned around a script coverage. The pay period ended yesterday, and I nearly made my goal. Let’s hope I can hit it in the second half of the month.

The guy coordinating the World’s Largest Poem sent me information on a playwrighting workshop offered by a playwright from this year’s Williamstown Theatre  Festival. I took a look, and signed up. I’m feeling a little stuck in the stage play aspect of my career right now, as far as writing, and it would be good to shake that up a little. There are COVID protocols, and it’s at the Berkshire Atheneum down in Pittsfield, a space in which I feel comfortable and know that they have protocols in place, too, so it is a calculated risk that tips in my favor, rather than the virus’s favor.

Spent some time on BookBub. I’m adding authors to follow and recommending books I like. I think I will have to work my way author-by-author, because it takes time. I need to do it slowly.

But that’s how one builds sustainable accounts anyway, slowly and organically.

Had a bad night. First the fire alarm went off, for no discernible reason. I got it quiet, checked everything and double checked it, just to make sure. Had trouble going back to sleep, and then woke up every hour. Charlotte had her paws full, trying to look after me (and she is exhausted this morning). At four, I gave up, and moved to the sewing room, so Tessa could keep an eye on me. Charlotte joined me. Tessa forgot I was in the sewing room, and went back to my bedroom to wake me up, astonished I wasn’t there.

I gave up and fed them a little before 5.

After my first writing session in longhand, I was excited to hit my desk and do my second writing session on the computer. Only Windows11 decided to do one of its long updates, and then I had to “set up” the computer as though I’d never used it before, even though I set it up exactly the way I wanted it when I bought it two years ago. It was a ridiculous waste of time. On top of that, it’s trying to force me to synch with my phone. No. I don’t run my life from my phone, I resent the fact that I’m forced to HAVE a phone, and I don’t want my devices synched to the phone. No.

Not the start for which I’d hoped this morning. But still better than last year at this point, when we were in moving hell, and doing our second round trip to drop off stuff here.

But I have meditation group coming up, and then it’s back to the page. There’s plenty to do, and I need to get it done: working on The Big Project, finishing the anthology story, proofreading “Personal Revolution” so the re-release can happen on time, working on the Topic Workbooks, writing and submitting the book review so I can get my next assignment, turning around a couple of scripts.

Better get going then, huh?

Have a good one, friends.

Thursday, June 9, 2022: Unpacking Teapots

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Yesterday started rainy, then cleared up and was beautiful. I have a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

I didn’t get much writing done, which was frustrating. My brain decided it was Friday. So I focused on the client work first, after I’d gotten through all the email that stacked up while we were gone on Tuesday.

I turned around three scripts, in and around unpacking most of what we brought back up on Tuesday, and figuring out where to put it.

The box of Johnson Brothers china came up. I adore Johnson Brothers china, and I have a combination of it from my grandmother and that I’ve picked up in thrift stores and yard sales over the years. I can spot a Johnson Brothers design at 50 paces. Some of it is original, and had to be handwashed. Some of it is reproduction and can go in the dishwasher.

I also brought up my Pyrex and corning ware dishes (that are from the 60’s and 70’s), because we needed more of those dishes.

Two boxes of teapots came up. I unpacked one box and washed it, reminding myself of the story behind each pot. There are three more boxes of teapots which will need to come up in the autumn. They have to be all handwashed. Also in the box was a ceramic decanter and a pair of goblets that I picked up in a thrift shop and just love. I’m not sure yet where to put them, but I love them.

I might post the stories behind each teapot on my Ko-fi page.

I ordered an island cart for the kitchen. I need more counter/storage space. I wasn’t going to spend the money right now, but it was on sale right now, so I did. It will arrive on Monday. Not looking forward to putting it together, but the extra prep space and storage space are much needed. It’s on wheels, so I can stash it in front of the cookbook bookcases when it’s not in use.

I’m designing the way the new seat covers are going to work on the kitchen chairs, because traditional recovering isn’t going to work. Originally, I was going to staple the fabric to the frame, and then re-screw the seats into the chair frames. We’ve had problems with those screws since we got the chairs. Instead, I’m going to make like the quick change theatre wardrobe person I am and put snaps on the covers and the seat bottom, so I can remove these and wash them as needed. Then, I’m going to Velcro down the seats to the frames, allowing more stability and the flexibility to remove the seats as needed.

There is measuring and math involved, but needs must.

Somehow, in all of this, I managed to bruise the index finger of my right hand. I’m not sure if this is fallout from the bruising to that hand when I broke the bowl on Monday, of if I hurt it some more in the storage unit or unpacking. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s badly discolored, and definitely gets worse when I type. I’m keeping an eye on it and treating it with arnica cream. It’s not like I bang hard on the keys when I type. If anything, I have a light touch. (I worked with someone a few years back in the office, and she always pounded on the computer keyboard, and I’d think, “what has that keyboard ever done to you?”).

Anyway, meditation this morning, then work on The Big Project and the monthology story, then over to client work.

“The Collector” radio play has been accepted by the producer in New York, so we are talking contract terms. I’m very excited.

I have to do a library run today (books waiting). I’d planned a quick run to Pittsfield, but I think I’ll wait for better weather, tomorrow or over the weekend.

Ellen Byron’s newest release, THE BAYOU BOOK THIEF, is supposed to arrive today, the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook series. That is my treat for the weekend, along with finishing Helen Whistberry’s THE MELODY OF TREES, which is just wonderful. I also have a book to turn around for review, which I will try to do this afternoon.

This time last year, I was in moving hell, and it was so hot and humid, it was difficult to function. I am grateful  to be where I am now.

Have a good one, my friends.

Thurs. May 26, 2022: When The Day Evaporates

image courtesy of Christoph via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy and pleasant

There’s a garden update on Gratitude and Growth here.

As I mentioned yesterday, while I was at the laundromat, I did 26 pages of the multi-colored draft on CAST IRON MURDER. Yeah, that will take some time, to clean up the sloppy language. I’m keeping some of it as a cadence choice for a particular character, because it supports/reveals who she is, but will fix it in plenty of other places. So much for being happy with the book!

Had a terrific conversation with my Llewellyn editor about the article I’ll write for them in 2024. Which will be contracted in the next couple of weeks, and due in August. Because almanacs work two years in advance. The material I wrote last year for next year will release in August.

It’s also a reminder to put reworking the Cerridwen iris Shea website into the schedule for this summer, as well as sorting through the twenty-six plus years’ worth of material I’ve written for Llewellyn annuals, where the rights have reverted back to me, and I can publish them elsewhere. That’s kind of a major project, since there were years where I had multiple articles in multiple annuals, which is part of the reason I burned out.

Another thing on the list, right?

And then, the rest of the day just sort of evaporated. Much of it was due to the combination of grief and rage against the elected officials for allowing continued gun violence and refusing to do anything about this. I’m tired of my government’s determination to kill me and those about whom I care (and even those about whom I care, who I don’t know). I’m tired that we are expected to pay to be murdered. It has to change. Part of that is that Democratic leadership has to change. They need to be as ruthless, no, MORE ruthless than Republicans.

I did some research, and found out that one can file a petition with the IRS is a tax-exempt organization has broken the rules. I looked at the checklist, and the NRA has broken many of them. Gathering supporting documentation won’t be difficult. I posted the link multiple times, but I doubt anyone else will do anything. I also worked on a letter to Chuck Schumer demanding Joe Manchin be removed from all committee assignments. Stop pandering to someone who stabs us all in the back at every opportunity. The carrot hasn’t worked. Used the stick and beat the SOB into submission until he’s voted out. I’ve worked with Senator Schumer. I like and respect him a great deal. But he’s not ruthless enough. If McConnell can always get everything he wants, Schumer needs to be just as much of a dirty fighter.

We took Willa out on the back balcony in her playpen in the afternoon. She was fascinated by the sights and smells. So different from being out on the deck on Cape. I will have to take the cats out in the playpens by turns – there isn’t room for all the playpens at once, like there was on our deck. So each day, one of them gets to go out. I have a feeling Tessa won’t like it, but I at least want to give her the option. Charlotte definitely wants to go out. And she’s very good in her playpen.

Put in a Chewy order. The food Tessa likes is out of stock; I’m trying one bag of a similar one, and ordered treats and the cactus scratching post. Because the 100% response to the Twitter poll was that I should get it (like I wasn’t going to, anyway). I had to buy a toy, too, to get it up to the level for free shipping.

I’m trying to look at the lack of script coverage work as a gift of time, to heal from burnout, and enjoy it, rather than worrying.

I read the next book for review, and will write up/submit that today, and hopefully get assigned a new one before the holiday.

Meditation this morning, then some work on the Big Project. I have to do a library and grocery run, and then it’s back to the page to work on the Monthology story, some more edits on CAST IRON MURDER, and the radio plays.

There’s plenty to do, I just have to stop frittering away time.

Have a good one!

Published in: on May 26, 2022 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 26, 2022: When The Day Evaporates  
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Thurs. May 19, 2022: Decent Day, Creatively

image courtesy of Clip Art Vectors via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and cool

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday turned out to be a strong day, creatively. I wrote a flash fiction piece while I ate breakfast (which I don’t usually do, but I didn’t want to lose the idea). Yes, it was in longhand.

It has characters with whom I might do more. I’m kind of test driving these characters, and will probably post the piece on my Ko-fi page in a few weeks, after it’s gone through some revisions.

I was out the door by 7:30 and over to the mechanic’s on time. They had the part, and got it into the car within twenty minutes or so. The car feels like itself again. Fingers crossed the car is really fixed this time, and nothing else goes wrong.

On the way home, I stopped at Wild Oats, the co-op where I’m a member-owner. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go there since December. Stocked up on some of my favorites. Stopped at Stop & Shop, where I rarely shop anymore, for a few things I can only get there. In both stores, everyone was masked by choice, which made shopping much less stressful.

Got everything home and put away. Went through emails. Did the last four chapters’ worth of revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, finishing this draft. It came in just over 63K, which is around where I want it. I’m going to let it sit for a bit, and next week, start the multi-colored draft.

I contacted the Williamstown Historical Museum about a research appointment that will feed into the Retro Mystery. I’d like to go in this Friday morning. Fingers crossed that I can. I caught up on Ello and am getting more comfortable on Counter Social, where I’m having actual conversations.

I have contradictory information about the guidelines for one of the proposals I want to submit, and I need clarification, because if one set of information is correct, it’s not the right fit for me, and I will move on. I’m debating the other proposal, because it has to be in-person indoors in the autumn, and who knows what the virus numbers will be like?

And now we have to worry about monkeypox? Really? Committing to being a professional recluse looks better and better.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and then went back to reading THE BONE ORCHARD, which was hard to put down, because it’s so unique and interesting. Read it until I was finished, and was still thinking about it when I woke up.

Tessa rousted me around 5:30, as usual, although she’d been fussing a good deal before that.

Did my first writing session, and my normal routine. Willa seems to have settled down a bit, although she’s still being cautious.

I have meditation this morning, and then it’s back to the page. The Big Project, work on the radio plays, maybe looking at the outline for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY to get that back on track. I have a script to turn around this afternoon, and a book to read for review. If I get enough scripts in my queue, I’ll read through the weekend, since I want to take some time off for Memorial Day Weekend.

It’s supposed to get into the 90’s this weekend, which I am not looking forward to, but be cooler and pleasanter next week.

Fingers crossed that the car is Really Fixed this time. That will take a lot of stress out of my life.

Have a good one, friends.

Thurs. May 12, 2022: Making the Most of Tech Issues

image courtesy of Gretta Blankenship via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Just like that, we leapt into summer. It’s gorgeous, and as long as the humidity stays low, I’m fine about it.

Details of how we’re setting up our garden spaces are over on Gratitude and Growth.

The computer announced it was doing the Windows11 Upgrade at 7:30 in the morning. It took 14 hours. Not a happy camper.

Fortunately, nothing was on deadline or in the script queue, or I would have been screwed.

I mean, Mercury Retrograde and all that, but fourteen hours?

I let it run, and went about my non-computerized day. Yeah, I know, it says you can use the computer while it’s upgrading up until the point where it needs to restart, but that simply wasn’t the case. I managed to get the blog up, and check email, and that was a struggle. So I closed down the tabs and let it run uninterrupted. And it still took 14 hours.

I went to the library to drop off and pick up books, and to get my Commonwealth catalogue sign-in issues resolved. Because I need my access to the Commonwealth Catalog!

Went to pick up my mother’s prescriptions, and to go a quick grocery shop.

Home, and we did some repotting (even though it wasn’t a planting day, according to my calendar, but the new plants can’t wait until Saturday). We ran out of potting soil, so that’s on the list for today’s errands.

I’d made a sesame-poppyseed dressing for which my friend Artie gave me the recipe when he’d visited the Cape house several years back. I made it before we started the repotting, so it blended by the time lunch rolled around. I tried to re-create the spinach and strawberry salad he’d made us. It wasn’t as good as when he made it, but it was still good. And the recipe makes plenty of dressing (which is really good), so I put it in a glass jar, labelled it, and we can enjoy it with other salads.

We started setting up the back balcony, which is also detailed in the G&G post. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re getting there, and it’s a lovely space. The rug is a little short; if we can find another one to match it, that will unite the space better. We also put down the rug and rearranged the enclosed front porch (also detailed in the G&G post).

And collapsed onto the chairs on the porch with a cocktail when we were done!

But both spaces feel really good now. We can enjoy using them until it gets too cold in the autumn.

Since I couldn’t do any computer work, might as well get this done, right?

Made a mushroom-spinach crabmeat concoction for dinner, wrapped in phyllo, and remembered how much I loathe working with phyllo. It was decent, but the mushrooms overpowered it, and the crabmeat wasn’t a high enough quality to hold its own. Also made a batch of lime cilantro mayonnaise, and a big batch of curried chicken salad. Used up all the cilantro I bought, which had already started to fade, although I bought it this morning.

The Radio Theatre Project wants to do “Pier-less Crime” later this month. I’m delighted. I love working with them. They’d hoped to do it when everything shut down, so there was a delay, but they’ve performed the entire Frieda/Laz trilogy.

Once I figure out how to make the dirigible play work, they’ll get first crack at it.

I have two scripts in my queue, one for today, and one for tomorrow. I’m way under my pay goal with that client this pay period, but I earned more than expected from the client for whom I finished the five-month project (the contest), so it balances out.

Meditation this morning, and then I want to get some writing done. Later this morning, we are going to run some errands, and then it’s script coverage in the afternoon. I have to learn how to navigate Windows11. It looks different, but as long as I can do what I need to do, I’ll adapt. It wasn’t working well at all this morning, so I wiggled some keys, not really knowing what I was doing, but it works now.

I have a ton of email to slog through, some paperwork to do, and catch up on Ello. But somehow, it will all get done. I’m trying to retrain the stress sense memory from last year not to be so reactive to every little thing this year.

Spending the early morning first writing session of the day in the lovely garden spaces helps. Tessa isn’t sure about the rug on the porch. It feels strange under her paws. But Charlotte was really sweet with her (for once) showing her all the new stuff this morning. And the two scout crows peered in and made a few comments. Willa was still in bed. She “helped” yesterday and is Very Tired today.

Have a good one!

Published in: on May 12, 2022 at 7:17 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 12, 2022: Making the Most of Tech Issues  
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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!

Thurs. April 28, 2022: Dealing with the Creative and the Inept

image courtesy of Kranich 17 via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Cloudy/sunny/cold

Buckle up, buttercups. Retrogrades start again tomorrow.

The latest on the garden hijinks is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday, I pushed hard in the morning and had to ease off in the afternoon, because I wore myself out.

I got a good chunk done on The Big Project, one section of a little over 1400 words, and a start on the next section. I need to get back into its rhythm and push hard in May, because I have to be in good shape in June, when it needs to start going live. I was worried I’d lost the voice there a bit, but I haven’t. The writing itself takes much, much longer than a normal 1400 words of an outlined piece would take because of the level and structure that has to be in the first draft, or I can’t move on to the next section. Each part has to compress the process of what would normally be the first three drafts for me. It’s been a learning curve.

Tracfone and Consumer Cellular are both being dicks about the phone transfer. Tracfone, after sending multiple texts confirming that the transfer was going through, is holding the phone number hostage. They won’t finish the transfer unless I pay for an additional month (the month is up today). Consumer Cellular SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN IN TOUCH as soon as there was a problem, but, of course, heaven forbid they actually provide customer service. I was trying not to be a nudge and waiting for the 3-5 business day period they said it could take before I followed up. When I should have been riding their inept asses from Day 1.

Summary: avoid both these companies if you have the choice.

It’s a shame, because Tracfone used to be a great, no fuss company. I hope they go out of business soon. They don’t deserve to have customers.

I’ve been trying to set up the autopay for the storage unit with the company who bought the facility, and I can’t get into their system to do it. Nor does anyone at the facility or the main office respond. This is intentional, of course, so they can charge late fees. Horrible company. I didn’t think anyone could be worse than U-Haul, but this company just might be.

I FINALLY got an appointment with a mechanic that’s not afraid of working on a VW. It’s for May 10. I have basically been without a car for six months, which is getting frustrating. It didn’t matter so much in the winter, because the weather kept us from doing much, but there are things that need to get done out of walking radius.

I got in touch with the landlord about the gas company wanting to do an inside service line inspection. The gas company couldn’t give me a straight answer about what they needed to see for the inspection, and I suspect it has to do with how lines come into the building in the basement, which is a landlord thing, not a me thing.

I gave myself the day off from script coverage. I worked on contest entries and read for pleasure instead. I was completely worn out from dealing with the stupid and the incompetent.

Tessa woke me up at 4 again (I am not a happy camper). She didn’t want me on the bed in the sewing room and fussed at me until I moved to the couch.

But I’m not complaining too much, because I heard about a friend whose elderly cat recently died, and I want to enjoy every moment I have with mine. Even when they’re being little pills.

Meditation this morning, then back to the page, then Freelance Chat, then script coverage and contest entries. Oh, yeah, and by late morning, fighting some more with Consumer Cellular and Tracfone. The number of billable hours I have lost because of their incompetence is infuriating.

Have a good one! Catch you tomorrow.

Published in: on April 28, 2022 at 7:18 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 28, 2022: Dealing with the Creative and the Inept  
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Thurs. April 14, 2022: Figuring Out The Healing

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly Sunny and warm

There’s a post detailing the latest plantings over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was not as productive as I’d hoped (familiar refrain), mostly because I’m still not feeling well. I was feeling well enough to try to function, but bad enough so that everything and every ONE was an irritant.

I got through some email and did some prep for this morning’s meeting. I did some plotting for a couple more radio plays.

I went to the library, to drop off/pick up a stack of books in each direction. Something I read in one of my other books had a reference to playwright Ben Jonson, and that led me back to Elizabethan Theatre and an idea with which I’ve been playing for years. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it work. I think by making it an alt-universe, and giving certain creative people the ability to understand multiple alt-universes, I can fix those challenges. Anyway, the research books are coming in. Time to open a fresh notebook and take good notes. In all my spare time. Yeah.

Grocery shopping, where I spent more than intended, but we are now set for a while, except for things like eggs, milk, bread.  And, even though we don’t celebrate Easter, I got my mom the Easter ham she wanted, and I’ll make a baked ham for Sunday.

Of course, one of the reasons I spent more than intended is because prices keep going up.

Mailed some bills, and some mail which had been misdelivered. There’s another street whose spelling has one more letter than my street, and I often get mail for the person at the same number on that street. I mark it as misdelivered and how, and put it back in the box.

Stopped at the liquor store, and found some new-to-me wines to try. Time to lighten up the wines for the season. Switch to lighter reds, and, eventually, over to rosé in the summer, because a good rosé goes with everything.

Home, exhausted. I stacked a few too many errands in that trip. Normally, it would make sense, but I’m still feeling poorly.

At the grocery store, I was in constant inner dialogue, since I was so grumpy. This is where meditation techniques come in handy. It was the constant question: Does this have anything to do with you? The answer was, of course, no. So drop it and move on. Because NONE of the people filling their carts and going about their lives were the cause of my irritation. They wouldn’t even have added to it on a normal day. Nothing they were doing was about me. And none of them deserved to have me take my irritability out on them. So I didn’t. Because they don’t deserve to have their day dampened by my irritation.

So what IS the source of my irritability? A lot of it is still feeling bad after the 4th shot. I’m still achy, headachy, fatigued, and I’m tired of being tired. But more of it, I think is rooted in residual burnout, that I don’t have the time and resources to take a full break to recover. I have to focus on earning money for this major car repair. I have to get the car repaired. I have to keep up the housework, the cooking, the bills, the deadlines. Taking a weekend won’t fix it. I need a serious break. And I don’t have the option to take one.

What I am doing is rearranging my workday to fit energy levels, and matching each task to the energy best suited for it. I also want to get more enjoyment out of each day, including maximum enjoyment in the work. That means adjusting the kind of work I take on. I updated some profile information on a few referral sites, because there are certain types of work that, even six months ago, I was open to accepting, that I no longer want. There’s another arts referral/networking site where I need to create one (or more) profiles to draw the kind of work I want to draw. I have to think about how to create those profiles to best hit. Creating the Pages on Stages website was the right choice; I’m already seeing positive results from it.

It’s a process, and will take time, but it will pay off, I think. Drawing in more of the work I truly enjoy will take off a lot of pressure. Expanding the client base will take off a lot of the pressure. Raising rates for certain projects will take off a lot of the pressure.

That will give me the healing time I haven’t had post-surgeries, post-move.

What if, instead of feeling like I have to get out and network and enter into community life here, I just  . . .don’t? At least for this year? What if I only do what I want to do, and don’t feel like I “have” to be out and about? Like I “have” to network and put myself out there? The pandemic made us feel isolated and disconnected, and we all fought so hard to stay connected. What if I take more time to be solitary, virtually, as well as physically? There are still friends I haven’t seen in years with whom I hope to reconnect in person, and friends I like to see semi-regularly, which I still want to see. But rather than the whole “be out there building the network” thing, maybe I will take a different approach and a different route, at least this year.

Maybe, for me, part of the healing has to do with solitude, rather than isolation.

Not push people away, if they come into my life organically. But not dash around forcibly trying to add people into my life right now, either.

I’m still exploring that theory. I don’t have definite answers yet. I need to trust my intuition, and put it above the clamor of the “experts.” Because they don’t live in my skin. They haven’t lived what I have the past few years. They don’t have the knowledge to make proclamations on my life.

I can adjust my work, I can adjust my creative life, I can spend time enjoying what I enjoy, and limit external pressures.

I’ve never lived my life the way other people told me I “had” to. In spite of a decade on Cape where too many people tried to emotionally batter me into conformity, it didn’t work. And I’m not in that situation anymore, so why not enjoy what’s so different about things here? Because it is very different, and people tend to give each other more breathing room.

It’s a process, right? Try things, some work, some don’t. But what I’m being told are definitives aren’t necessarily relative to me personally, or to this new region.

So why not create my own definitives?

Although the thought of creating yet anything else is exhausting, but the act of creation tends to be restorative.

It was up in the high 70’s yesterday, and we opened all the windows and left the plants on the porch overnight. It was so nice to sleep with the windows open! This morning was the first day of the season I could do my early morning writing and have that first cup of coffee out on the porch, with Tessa keeping me company. It’s supposed to be warm again tonight, but then gets cold on Saturday, back down into the 30’s.

Meditation this morning. Then, some time at the page, before a video conference with a potential client. Then, some more errands and script coverage. I need to finish reading a book for review, so I can write the review tomorrow.

I think I’m going to take Monday as a holiday. I mean, I’m in a state where it’s a holiday, why not enjoy it?

Have a good whatever-you-celebrate, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on April 14, 2022 at 8:05 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 14, 2022: Figuring Out The Healing  
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Thurs. April 7, 2022: Websites and Politicians

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Thursday, April 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Rainy and chilly

Things are growing, and there’s news over on Gratitude and Growth!

Yesterday was another of those days where I felt like I didn’t get anything done when, actually, I did quite a bit.

I wrote a bio and uploaded it to the “About” page for the scriptwriting website. The tone is more of a story than typical market-speak bio, but the scriptwriting is a storytelling format, so the tone fits the site and the work.

I also updated the Fearless Ink site, based on conversations last week in the Freelance Chat group. I hadn’t realized that I needed to update my location; I thought I’d fixed all of that last July when I updated the resumes and put the address changes in everywhere. But I hadn’t.

I took off the social media packages. I no longer want to run social media accounts for clients. I’ll supply copy, but I don’t want to do the graphics, the scheduling, the uploading, and the interactions. It’s not where I want to put my energy. I also added, per the chat last week, a list of some of the things I don’t do, for which I keep getting emails, and/or which clients keep trying to sneak into their scope creep. This is why a strong contract is so important.

I need to update my contract with COVID protocols, too. Since on-site meetings are being pushed again, I’m adding in a clause that I will only attend on-site meetings if all parties are vaccinated and masked. Frankly, I don’t need to be onsite for business clients. ALL of that can be done virtually. The only clients I’d need to go onsite for are museums and performance venues, and they’re all vaccinated and following masking protocols anyway. It’s only businesses who are lax. And those are not businesses with whom I want to interact. I’m also thinking of adding a liability clause – if I get infected, the business is responsible for paying for all COVID care. Since funding for testing, etc. is being dropped, I think that’s important. And, since I won’t book onsite meetings closer than typical quarantine times, it’ll be pretty easy to trace where I got infected, should I get infected.

They can avoid all of that by simply keeping everything remote.

Speaking of reduced funding, as soon as the Republicans blocked the additional funding for vaccines and research yesteray, I was contacted to move up my 4th shot. I’d planned to get it at the end of the month, or early in May, because when I tried to book it at the same time I booked my mom’s shot, I was told it was too soon for me. But now, they want to do it as soon as possible. There was an opening on Sunday afternoon, so that’s when I’ll get it.

It also means I don’t have the luxury of prolonged side effects. The mechanic appointment that it took me over a month to get is on Tuesday morning, and I can’t change it. So I have a day and a half to recover It’s Pfizer, so here’s hoping. My mom only had slight fatigue for about a day. My 1st Moderna shot took me down for 4 days; the 2nd Moderna took me down for 6; the Pfizer booster took me down for 2 or 3. Let’s hope 1-1/2 works.

And, it means I have to finish my taxes on Saturday. I’ve figured out my quarterlies, so it’s just about filling out the slip and writing the check. But I have to do last year’s mess.

I don’t write a lot about the regular interactions I have with my elected officials, although it’s several times a week. Writing about every interaction would be like listing every time I brush my teeth, because it’s that steady. Generally, I try to keep on top of whatever votes are happening on local, state, and federal levels, and weigh in. They can’t represent me if they don’t know how I feel about something. I don’t expect them to vote my way every time, but I do expect them to listen. When I have a concern about something, I express it, AND offer potential solutions. The response to that is either pointing out the flaws in the argument, or asking for more information, because it sounds interesting. When it’s the latter, I work on a detailed proposal, including how to fund it, and send it off. After back-and-forth with various aides, some of it is actually incorporated into legislation, although that can take months or years of regular contract. But that’s how I do it. There’s quite a bit about which to be concerned right now, so I do spend quite a bit of time on political activism, but not in the way a lot of other people are doing it.

It’s when people complain, but aren’t willing to do anything to change it that I lose all patience.

I didn’t get any work done on any of the plays, or The Big Project, or CAST IRON MURDER. I did turn around two script coverages. I have one more script in the queue. I need three more this week, so let’s hope something comes up. I might read Saturday, too, and take off Monday instead.

I need to get out some more LOIs, too. I hated the design for the marketing postcard, so I trashed that and will start again. I need to do some promotion for content and copywriting, along with the scriptwriting.

Turned down a script gig yesterday where the pay was mediocre and the demand was to write “at least 1500 words a day.” I can and do write more than that a day, but scripts aren’t judged by word count, but by running time. So companies that talk about scripts in terms of word count are Big Red Flags. Next!

Early this morning, the neighbor across the street was taken away in an ambulance. I hope he’s okay; he’s a good guy. Hospitals are still on COVID protocols, so his partner couldn’t go along.

Meditation group this morning, then to the page, then some time at the Buddhist summit, then script coverage and other work. I need to make sure I work ahead, so that the beginning of next week, post-shot 4 is as stress-free as possible, even with the car repair.

Have a good one!

Thurs. March 31, 2022: For Love of Radio

image courtesy of Lubos Houska via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Dark Moon

Rainy and mild

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty productive day, because I sat down and damn well did the work, without letting myself wander too much. It never feels like I’m doing enough, but that emotional reality is far apart from the actual reality.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about all the seedlings and my experience with my new Rose of Jericho plant. I even have real photos, not stock photos! Hop on over.

There’s also a new post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about a spring refresh on one’s websites/social media/clips/etc.

Anyway, yesterday morning, Charlotte woke me around 3:30, wanting attention, and Tessa stomped in like, well, if she is getting attention, then I want some! So I moved to the bed in the sewing room and dozed off again until about 5:30.

Got some article work done. Wrote the next section of The Big Project. Revised three more chapters on CAST IRON MURDER. I have to update my tracking sheets for both of those, but I have a feeling that won’t happen until tomorrow or Saturday. Did some more research for the retro mystery, but didn’t go down the rabbit hole. The bank I contacted told me that banking was “uniform” at the time, but they “couldn’t” tell me what the laws were. Why not? That bank was around at the time. What were their policies? Useless. Let’s hope the Banking Association is willing to actually give me information.

Managed to book my mom’s 4th Covid shot for today, thanks to Ellen Byron mentioning she just got hers. I can’t get mine yet; I have to wait about another month, because I got mine after Thanksgiving, and it’s too soon. But my mom goes in this morning, and then I will take care of her for the rest of the day, in and around the work that needs to get done. it will be a relief for me to have her protected.

The newsletter went out. I have to check the MailerLite dashboard and do admin on it; remove bounced addresses, check open rates, etc. I’ve already started the document for the June newsletter and will just add information, and then all I have to do in June is edit it down and shape it.

I worked on the grant proposal. I’d hoped to get it out yesterday. In fact, I’m pretty pleased with the answers to their questions, and just need to massage the opening and the final paragraph.

I realized that I need my stage plays and the radio plays up on a website. It’s not appropriate to put them on the business site (except for mission-specific entertainment pieces). I started to put them up on a new page on the Devon Ellington Work site. I copied information that’s on my resumes, and then realized I have to add to it on the site – loglines, how many actors, length, etc., which takes time. I realized even further that it doesn’t make sense to put it on the Devon Ellington website at all. So I started a subdomain under Fearless Ink called Pages on Stages. That’s the link I will put into the grant proposal, and then I’ll build the website this weekend. I uploaded WordPress to the new site, so it’s more about choosing a template and building. Which takes me for-damn-ever because I’m slow. But I can do it.

I just have to sit DOWN and DO it.

The focus today, for all that, though, is to polish the grant proposal and get it out the door. That means walking the talk of the Ink-Dipped Advice post and freshening up my resume. I realized that it’s missing THREE of my produced productions, and I am angry with myself. How did they just fall off my resumes? The audience was full, the response was positive.

The programs, reviews, and other materials are in storage, so I will have to do the best I can from memory and from what I have on the flash drives to put it in the resume and build the websites.

I’m so frustrated with myself.

I turned around two script coverages. I need to do three today, but the grant proposal is the priority. Between the grant proposal and my mother’s booster, I have a feeling neither The Big Project nor the CAST IRON MURDER revisions will get much attention today.

I heard back from Cape Cod Writers’ Center. I am only teaching one class (virtually) for this conference, Developing the Series. It will happen on Sat. Aug. 6, from 2:45-4:45 PM. Of course, I got the information AFTER the newsletter went out, but it will go in the next one, along with the link for registration. I’ve taught this course before, although not at CCWC, so I will look over my notes and prepare a fresh slide presentation for this version. And I’ll have a new Topic Workbook out on the subject by autumn, then.

That’s another thing on the list – get the Topic Workbooks revised and reprinted. Possibly doing a portion of them in print, as well as virtual, and filling orders, if I can figure out how to store them properly in my office. Which would mean building a storefront, which might not be worth it. But at least I can get the digital versions in new editions and out again. Those are steady sellers.

More good news this morning: the producer to whom I submitted the radio plays in early February got back to me and LOVES them. He wants to read all the comic noir pieces, too, so I will get those out to him today. The pay is decent, so if any of them go to contract and get produced, I will be a happy camper. Besides, radio is my favorite format.

It also makes me consider writing a comic horror radio play for my Dramatists Guild project in April. Since, you know, pens up happens tomorrow, and I still have no idea what to write about.

So that gives me a cheerful start to the day, in spite of all the awful things going on in the world, and all the cowards who refuse to do anything about it.

I’m off to meditation, and then it’s back to the page until I take my mom for her shot. Then, it’s back to the page until I get all my work done!

Have a good one!

Thurs. March 24: Digging into the Creative Work

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Thursday, March 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Rain/sleet/snow

Wacky weather this morning. It keeps switching from rain to sleet to snow and circling back through. The grass and rooftops have a glaze of white, while the streets are shiny and wet.

There’s a longer than usual post up on Gratitude and Growth, because I was very busy with soil and seeds this week. And here is the corrected link for Ink-Dipped Advice.

After returning from the laundromat yesterday, I sat down and started the second draft of CAST IRON MURDER. I rewrote the first three chapters and printed them out. Of course, I found errors when I read them over to update the tracking sheets that will become the Series Bible. But it’s a good start.

I used that momentum to do a bit of work on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I thought I’d written 50 pages on it. I wrote 5. I guess what I remember is the outline I wrote. So I have to get back on the stick with that.

I did a little work on The Big Project, but nowhere near enough.

Still, it was a solid, creative morning, and for that I was grateful.

I did some admin in the afternoon. I was delighted that the cat grass seeds arrived. I think this time, I’ve ordered enough to get us through the summer.

Moved seedlings back and forth from the porch as needed. I took the laptop out on the porch and did script coverage out there, because it was so pleasant. Pleasant surroundings mean a higher quality of work.

I signed up for the Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event in April. The last thing I need is to add another deadline to my plate. However, this is when the opportunity came up, and I don’t want to pass on an opportunity to work in company with other playwrights via the Dramatists Guild. I have no idea what I will write yet; be it a stage play or a radio play. I could write the next Kate Warne play; If I read the research material on Squire and Marie Bancroft between now and April 1, I could write that play (which I’d hoped to write for 365 Women this year). Or I might write something completely different. I wasn’t planning any playwrighting in April, so I need to adjust my mindset.

Again, as with Nano, I already know I can write a play in a month. I do so regularly. But this broadens my network of colleagues, and makes me sit down and write it. Whatever “it” will turn out to be.

I still have to balance The Big Project, the rewrite of CAST IRON MURDER, the draft of THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, the research for the retro mystery, and the first draft of the anthology story. Along with the client and script work that’s paying the bills.

It should make for an interesting April. I will have to be ruthless and brutal about protecting my time. Fortunately, that’s easier as a remote worker.

I also have to get my initial grant materials out early next week. The grant application and my taxes need to be my primary focus this weekend.

I spent some time trying to learn a graphics program last night. I know how to create the visuals, but I have trouble understanding how to use the program. The way it’s set up doesn’t make any sense to me.

Tessa let me sleep until a quarter to six this morning, which is a luxury.

I wrote two sections on The Big Project this morning, and now have to update my tracking sheets.

Meditation was great. This morning, I will revise the next section of CAST IRON MURDER, write a book review, enter some contest scores, and work on some information for the shared world anthology. In the afternoon, script coverage and client work. I need to do a grocery run, but will probably leave it until tomorrow.

Have a lovely day!

Published in: on March 24, 2022 at 8:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 24: Digging into the Creative Work  
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