Tues. Aug. 10, 2021: The Weekend Was a Lot About Books

image courtesy of Loubos Houska via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto. Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hot, humid

Pretty decent weekend.

The class I taught on Friday morning went well. I thoroughly enjoyed the students. They asked great questions, brought in strong material on which to work, and, for the spontaneous, timed exercise, rolled up their sleeves and dove right in. One student remarked that she hadn’t had the opportunity to write in a workshop situation since before Covid.

I’m glad the Center did everything via Zoom; much safer, especially with the virus numbers rising, and the Cape being a red zone again. It was great to participate from where I was (Berkshires) and have people participate from all over.

It was a two-hour class, and we took a 5-minute break at the half-way point. Administrators said I was the first instructor who suggested/allowed that. It made a huge difference; Zoom is tiring. Getting up to stretch for 5 minutes, walk around, do whatever, meant they could come back fresh with more questions and ready to work.

And they have a plethora of handouts to download from my website.

So it was all good.

After the class was done, I headed over to Wild Oats and spent more than I meant to, but it was all excellent stuff. I always get into interesting conversations with people there. And I’m officially a member-owner now, which is very exciting. Masking indoors is required once again, and that makes me feel more secure, too.

I relaxed in the afternoon, reading and resting. In the evening, I read another script. I’m behind on what I’d hoped to read this week (although still meeting all the deadlines).

Saturday was mostly spent unpacking boxes for my office and rearranging things. I moved some bookcases around, stacked others, Rearranged my books. Different books than I thought were coming up ended up coming up; they’re still useful, but it means rearranging things. I’d brought up my project books myself, and they are sorted, so I can dig into my projects.

I took a brief break for an hour to jump on the Writers’ Center Zoom for the keynote address, given by agent Tom Miller. He talked about trends and work and consolidation. He reinforced some of the points I’d made in my class the day before on what makes a good memoir (not knowing what I’d said). And yet, there were still people who were trying to get him to give them shortcuts to getting published. There are no substitutions for doing the work.

It was too hot to walk anywhere in the afternoon, so I just rested, and then wrote up the script coverage. I’d hoped to go over to The Spruces, but it was too muggy.

Sunday morning, I unpacked the boxes of books in my bedroom, and figured out how to distribute most of them. I’m going to need a bookcase in my bedroom at some point. I just don’t know where I can fit it.

I took a walk to downtown to the new bookshop that’s opened, Bear & Bee. It’s a really fun, mellow place with a great selection of the owners’ favorite books. I bought one of Marion Nestle’s books on food (I attended a virtual seminar with her via NYU Alumni a few months back), and a mystery by a writer I’ve known for years, but don’t have that particular book. Had a great conversation with one of the owners, and plan to give them as much business as I can afford.

It wasn’t that long a walk, only about 3 miles roundtrip, but the heat and humidity did me in, so I rested in the afternoon. That’s what I need most right now: rest.

I should have read a script, but needed a whole day off from coverage. That meant I had to read and write up a script yesterday (I like to read one day, write the next so that I can think about it).

I was contacted by two editors with whom I’ve worked before: one for article pitches for his publication, the other for his newest anthology. I’ll percolate on them both and see if I can come up with something worthwhile. I’ve also got a talk scheduled with a potential new client for Thursday afternoon. So that’s all good.

Went over to the academic library and got set up with my username and password, so I can access the catalogue from home. Found a couple of books – not for the project on which I was hunting, but for something else.  Dropped off the books at home, picked up the other library books, took them to the public library to switch them out. Being able to take out only 2 books at a time for the 3-month probation period sucks. But, I’m smiling and not fussing. Except here on the blog.

Masks are required again, rather than requested. No one’s fussing. Everyone’s just doing it.

After the library, I put gas in the car. Ran into the landlord, and he showed me the renovations in the house next door, which are beautiful. The new tenants will move into that on the 15th. AND I got to play with a neighborhood puppy!

Home, read a script, wrote it up, caught up on some email. Read a second script at night, although I won’t write it up until tonight or tomorrow.

Writing in longhand on the book every morning means steady progress, and a positive start to my day. I’m irritated because I couldn’t do it this morning, and worried that I’ll lose the momentum I’ve gained.

I’m out and about today, so have fun, stay safe, and MASK UP!!!

Published in: on August 10, 2021 at 7:20 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 10, 2021: The Weekend Was a Lot About Books  
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Thurs. Aug. 5, 2021: Some Days Just Don’t Go Very Far

image courtesy of calibra via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday just wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

Most of the day was spent on class preparations, which was a good thing. I’m still shuffling and reshuffling some of the slides. I’m still switching out some images. I’m going to run the presentation a few times today for timing, and probably cut a few things.

I wrote up one of the script coverages.

I got out some LOIs. I got frustrated at a few companies who don’t even read the materials, just make demands for unpaid work as part of the pre-interview process. They can take their assessments and shove them right up their collective ass. You want me to take a test? Fine. You will pay me for my time.

Wild Oats is going to require masks inside again, which is a relief. I think I’m going to skip in-person networking events until spring. Even vaccinated, I just don’t feel comfortable enough to be around people I don’t know inside. Even outside, I’d rather have 60 feet between us than 6.

I mean, I’ve been wearing masks in stores and buildings all along, but I’d much rather it was a requirement than a request.

Had a good first writing session this morning; got in my four pages. The piece is following the themes that originally intrigued me, but also taking on a shape of its own. I’m following where it leads for now; in the next draft, I’ll impose more on it, craft-wise. This draft, I’m trying to figure out what I want to say, and what I want to explore.

I’m going to work on the class today, finish off the handouts and upload them so they can be downloaded after tomorrow’s class. I have two coverages to write up, and one script (so far) to read. Looks like I’ll be reading over the weekend, which I’d hoped not to do. But with teaching tomorrow and doing a storage run next week, that removes two reading days from my work schedule, so I have to work through the weekend to make my nut,

Meditation soon, and then, back to the page. It hasn’t decided if it’s going to rain or clear up. If it rains, I’ll stay in. If it clears up, I have books to return to the public library, and more to get out.

There were two black cats wandering the neighborhood this morning. One sat and watched what was going on, then followed her person back home. The other was the tall, lean cat I met in the parking lot a week or so ago. She sauntered across the street, paused to acknowledge me as I greeted her from the porch, then strolled onto the porch of the house next door. I hope they don’t get hit by a car. I worry about cats outside.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on August 5, 2021 at 7:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 5, 2021: Some Days Just Don’t Go Very Far  
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Thurs. May 16, 2019: Process, Viability, and Attitude Adjustment

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Check out the latest on the garden here.

I still have the Go Fund Me up for the car repairs. Your help in sharing is greatly appreciated.

I was pleasantly surprised that the insurance adjustor got back to me on Tuesday night. Part of the repair costs will be approved. Hopefully, I’ll get the check soon; then I’ll know if and when I can shut down the GoFundMe, and schedule the next phases of repair. Even a little bit will be a relief.

I just hope it doesn’t make my insurance skyrocket.

I also have to face the fact that, within the next couple of years, I’ll need a new, or at least new-to-me, car. I love my little blue rabbit. But it’s twelve years old.

Woke up at 3 AM yesterday. The good part about 3 AM is that, from 3-5 AM, it’s relatively quiet. I can get some thinking and plotting done, even if I don’t get up and actually write.

I got up at 5. Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on articles, and on blog posts that have to go up in the next few weeks. Worked on the review of the book I just read.

I’ve now written my way four chapters into ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s a viable book. The next step is to sit down and do a writer’s rough outline, so I can continue with an idea of where I’m going.

My process has changed over the years, from being a total blank pager, to being a total outliner, to mixing the two. I get an idea; if it nags me, I write about four chapters, to see if it can sustain. If it can, I then outline, and then go back and write it.

Some pieces can’t sustain. Some are okay, but I do a nice temporary chapter ending and put them aside to get back to “someday.” (See my Topic Workbook THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS for more on this).

But “process” has to change, as we grow and change as writers. How I created work twenty years ago doesn’t necessarily work the way I do it now, although some tools still work.

Went in and worked onsite with a client.

Came home, changed, had a quick snack, and then drove to Brewster to participate in a panel discussion for a local organization.

Of course, I had handouts. Because I am the Queen of Handouts.

We got off to a bit of a rocky start. I’d given myself an hour to drive there, which would mean I arrived 15 minutes before start time. But the traffic was lighter than I expected, and it only took me 45 minutes to get there. So I was a half hour early. I’m often that early to events — it gives me time to prepare, set out handouts, find out the structure of the event, etc. However, as I tried to get into the building, a board member came out and said, “You’re really early. We’re in the middle of a meeting. Come back in ten minutes.”

Excuse me?

I am one of your guest speakers. An UNPAID speaker, on top of that. (I rarely accept unpaid gigs at this point, but I did here because of my connection with the organization). The proper greeting is, “We’re so glad you’re here! We’re still in the board meeting. I’ll get you set up over here until we’re done.”

Not “come back in ten minutes” so I had to sit outside in the cold.

When I was on the board, I considered it my JOB, my RESPONSIBILITY, my HONOR to make guest speakers and presenters feel welcome and appreciated. I also considered it my job to make the audience feel the same.

“Come back in ten minutes” because they’re busy? No.

I sat outside, fuming. I was tempted to rant on social media. Which was inappropriate. I was tempted to leave. And then I thought, why? Why behave with as little grace as this individual? I’m not Top Poobah Writer of the Universe who demands minions bow to me. It’s really not that big a deal in the scheme of the Universe. It gives me important information, and factors in to future dealings, but, really, it’s not a crisis. I got over myself. Because, in the bigger scheme of things, apart from both my ego, and from feeling that’s not the way to treat people who donate their time to an organization, getting over myself made more sense.

Which was the right choice, because ultimately, it was a lovely evening. My fellow panelists were delightful. The questions, for the most part, were excellent. Except for the couple of people who went on and on about the “art” of what they do and how they didn’t like we talked so much about business. (The topic of the evening was business-oriented, so go figure).

Well, first of all, one does not negate the other. My passion for my art does not mean I forfeit my right to earn a living at it. And if you want to succeed as an author, the business part of it is part of the gig. All of those making faces about how they “don’t do” or “don’t like” websites and social media and all the rest can either pay someone to do it for them — and really PAY, not the attitude around here where $20 is supposed to pay your rent for three months, or better yet, you’re supposed to be THRILLED to do it for free — or suck it up and learn or don’t do it and have a different career trajectory. But if you do the latter, don’t whine that nobody pays attention to you.

Still, it’s an important discussion to have. The more information people have, the more informed decisions they can make for the path that works best for them. There is no ONE WAY — thank goodness! It would be far too dull.

But I’m glad I did it. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in ages, and that was great to catch up.

And I’m glad I didn’t stay mired in annoyance. That wouldn’t have done any good for anyone. This was a case where recognizing the emotion and CHOOSING to move on from it made a lot of sense. I didn’t ignore my response. Nor did I pitch a tantrum. I was able to face it and see how it fit into the bigger picture, and make the best choice for me, which turned out to be positive for everybody.

However, if this individual treats the keynote speakers and better-known workshop presenters at the conference this way, it’s going to hurt the organization.

Happily, it is not my problem!

It was still light-ish driving home, which was nice. I had Prince turned up on the radio for a few miles, and then, by the time I got to Yarmouth, I drove through Yarmouth and Barnstable with the windows down singing along with various radio songs at the top of my lungs. Which was really fun.

The abortion ban in Alabama is disgusting. So are the bans in Georgia and Ohio. I am sick and tired of old white male religious zealots trying to control me. And who are bound and determined to kill me if I don’t “behave.” They must be stopped. Especially when they give rapists more rights than rape victims.

The level of corruption in our government is appalling. Russia is delighted.

Last night, I dreamed about a large tree falling. It woke me, and I was upset, but I managed to get back to sleep. When I looked it up, it said it indicated that I’m “on the wrong path.” Which path is wrong? I’m preparing to make several major changes over the coming months. Is it warning me where I am at this moment is wrong (which I know) or that the options I’m looking at are wrong? So now I’m really confused and worried.

Today, I’m working on ELLA BY THE BAY, GRAVE REACH, and the articles. I hope I can polish the review well enough to send it off, either later today or tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go to yoga.

If the weather holds, I’ll do some yard work.

I have a new Trusted Reader for GRAVE REACH. She’s going to read GR, and I’m going to read her magical realism she’s-not-sure-what-it-is.

I hope the rest of the quotes I requested for articles come in soon, so I can finish them and send them off. My mechanic can’t give me an estimate on the rest of the work without seeing the car. That means losing another day of work to go to Plymouth, and then losing another day of work when repairs are actually done. Whereas if I have them done here, at the original estimate, they will drive me to and from work and home. The money I lose by losing those days in Plymouth will even out what I’d save in actual repair costs. So I’m not sure what to do.

I have some more pitches to finesse and send out. I was about to send out a short story to a market, only to find it closed early this reading period. Oh, well.

I also have to finish the first draft of the short play that has to go out this month, so it can marinate for a few days before revisions, and polish “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” so it can go out next week.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do.

Wed. April 10, 2019: Sorting Out Priorities

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Waxing Moon

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for more on the Personal Strategic Plan.

Yesterday morning, I woke up around 3:30, wondering about the evolution of language. Not sure why that would wake me up in the middle of the night, but there you go. I managed to fall back asleep, but had a hard time getting up when the alarm woke me.

Worked on contest entries and a bit of writing in the morning. I’m shaping an essay for submission, and working on a few pitches.

I need to contact some sources for the essay, just to get a few good quotes. I need to do the final polish on the trade magazine pitch I’ve worked on for weeks and keep putting aside, because, should it hit properly, it would be both a fun and lucrative assignment.

I need to finish putting together the presentation for my NECRWA workshop, and start printing the handouts. Because, remember, I am the Queen of Handouts, and when someone takes one of my workshops, they get a Big Packet of Stuff to take away with them. I also have to start packing the pieces I’m going to take with me, and the books I want to show. I’m bringing a rolling rack and about a dozen garments, along with some accessories, books, and maybe even a few vision boards.

I have to ask where I can stash it on the morning of the conference before my workshop. I have to ask the conference organizers what they’d like me to do. I also need to decide if I’m going to do a Power Point presentation or have it all tangible. Because clothing is so tangible, I’m tempted to do the latter.

I’d gotten out five LOIs on Monday afternoon; heard back from one the same day, from two different people, one saying they were interested, one saying they weren’t. I’m going to assume the latter, because that just sends up red flags.

Frustrated by a couple of things, but also have a sense that things are falling into place the way that will be for the best in the long run.

Worked with a client, worked on GRAVE REACH, got out some more LOIs, worked on pitches, worked on the essay.

Today, I’ll be with a client, then working on more contest essays, and whatever writing I can get done.

At some point, in the next few days, I have to do my taxes. I resent funding the golfing grifters.

Published in: on April 10, 2019 at 5:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 10, 2019: Sorting Out Priorities  
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Saturday, October 15, 2011


Tessa

Saturday, October 15, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
The weather better be good!

Check out the launch of Midnight Enchantments over on A BIBLIO PARADISE — sixteen days of magical celebrations leading up to Halloween! Colin Galbraith kicks it off.

If you didn’t get a chance to visit my roast yesterday, stop by now — it was hilarious fun.

I scheduled this to post, because I have to write this morning, and then attend the Burying-The-Time-Capsule Ceremony at the park — well, and help set up and clean up. Ah, the joys of holding office! 😉

Then I’m off to a pottery sale and to Staples and to rip Verizon a new one because they are just dreadful liars, cheats, and thieves when it comes to my cell bill.

Spent time with students, and printed the first 45 packets for the conference. 45 down, 105 to print! Ran out of ink, nearly ran out of paper. Will have to make purchases at Staples tomorrow whose total will make me ill again. Still cheaper than sending it out!

All I want to do is write my book, because I’m in its groove.

And there are tulip bulbs that need planting, weather permitting . . .

Devon