Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art

Monday, January 9, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cold

Mercury is finally direct, thank goodness! This was a tough one.

It started snowing on Friday; I’d planned ahead, so I didn’t go out. We got about 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow on Friday, which was a pain in the butt to shovel, but knowing another storm was on the way, we did it anyway.

Saturday, the snow started in the morning, and it snowed until well into the evening. Blizzard conditions, white-outs, instructions to stay off the road.

I had to give up my reading slot in the MOBY DICK MARATHON at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, because I couldn’t get there. Disappointing, but not worth risking my life over.

Instead, I stayed home and read and we took down the holiday decorations. It took most of the day Friday and most of the day Saturday. We’d taken in the outdoor decorations on Thursday, before the first storm hit.

I still have to fluff bows before packing them, switch out and wash/iron/fold fabric. I shouldn’t be surprised it took several days to take down — after all, it took a month to put up!

I had a lousy writing week. Last week started like gangbusters, with about half the short story due at the end of the month, and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK, and some other stuff. But every word, later in the week, was a fight, and the ones I wrestled, I don’t like very much.

I’m hoping for a better writing week this week. I NEED a better writing week this week.

It’s tough, because I have no energy. At all.

I had some promising news from my agent over the weekend, which is nice, but nothing is settled until contracts are signed, so I’m not jumping up and down yet. If negotiations work out, great; if not, on to the next.

I also have to do some negotiating on a potential freelance job. We’ll see how that works. Again, until there’s a signed contract and the deposit clears, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve been re-watching all of M*A*S*H lately, and I’m reminded how wonderful Alan Alda’s work is. I remember, during my theatre days, when he was the ultimate intelligent woman’s sex symbol: in addition to looks, he has intelligence, wit, humor, compassion, and courage. Then, I was lucky to work with him on some benefits, and he’s even better in person — interested and engaged, and KIND. His wife, Arlene, is amazing, too, and they’re wonderful together. He continues to be active, writing and advocating for science. We need more Alan Alda and less reality celebutard.

Adding to that, was Meryl Streep’s beautiful speech last night at the Golden Globes. As usual, she was intelligent, thoughtful, precise, insightful, and truthful.

Narcissistic Sociopath is having a hissy fit, but there again, you see the contrast between a genuine talent and a reality celebutard.

And hey, if the Duck Dynasty Dickheads have a right to spout politics — and they do, no matter how much I might disagree with them — then intelligent, talented artists have that same right.

For those who say actors/artists don’t have the right to speak about politics — ALL art is political. Some is overt, some is not. Great art makes the audience better, even for a few moments. Great art inspires us not to stand by and let people stomp on us. The incoming fascist regime is counting on squashing our spirit, by taking away everything that makes it possible to have a dignified life. We have to fight that, and one of the most effective ways so to do is through art.

You want to write narrow-minded formula pieces just to make money? Go ahead. That is your right. Even in those, though, isn’t there a happy ending? Doesn’t LOVE triumph over scheming and hate? That’s a form of political discourse. The most popular YA books in recent years — Hunger Games, Testing, et al — are political. Harry Potter is about overcoming a dictator. In Nora Roberts’s books, love and good overcome evil and destruction. That is political. Instead of just burrowing into these books (and we all need that escape), it’s time to take the principles that touch our souls in art and bring them forward into life. It is time for US to overcome those who want to break our spirits, take away love and hope, and control every aspect of OUR lives for THEIR profit.

We need to start creating the reality we want, both in our art, and then take it forward to turn it into our reality. It is time to defeat those who would crush our hearts, so they can line their own pockets.

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Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art  
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Tidal Flats, Provincetown, MA

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Worked a lot in the morning; didn’t get everything done. Spent the afternoon running around, taking care of some business for my mom, and also dropping off press kits and information to some of my favorite stores so they can start carrying ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. One place in particular is very excited. I’m also researching reading groups and circles, and going to send them information.

Also picked up some books at the library — two biographies and two novels, so that should be fun.

I didn’t manage to get any mowing done, but it’s supposed to be nice and warm today, so I hope to do it in the late morning or early afternoon. If I can get everything tidied and put to bed, garden-wise this week, it will be a good thing. I’ve also got to rearrange the garage, so I’ve got a specific place for gardening stuff — storing pots and tools, storing the potted plants that need to go dormant, etc. Right now, they’re in pockets wherever they’ll fit.

Harry Potter class seems fine. Slow start to discussions, which sometimes happens, or maybe people are just reading and not saying anything. Whatever. I learned a lot from writing the lectures, especially making connections to the body of enduring literature that precedes these books.

Dreamed I was working on a benefit, and we had to keep driving an SUV up and down a mountain between its two locations. Woke up feeling like I’d been working all night!

First writing session of the day was rough. I need to remove the internal editor, who’s yapping at me that I have to cut at least 20K from the manuscript. Yeah, fine, but let me write the whole thing out so I can pick the RIGHT 20K! Sheesh!

Gotta go grocery shopping and take bags of leaves to the dump. Chop wood, carry water, right? Keeps one grounded.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1,091
Total word count: 65,775

Published in: on November 8, 2011 at 9:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The days are flying by so fast! Part of that is because the writing is going really well, which is a good thing. I still have to rearrange my schedule to bring in some more short turn-around paying projects, but I don’t want to tip the strong writing rhythm that I’ve got right now.

Someone else dropped out of the year-long, and I had to hear about it third hand, which annoyed me more than the actual quitting. Acting with professionalism and grace costs nothing. Slinking away like a coward does not serve anyone. The expectations were set out at the beginning of class, and even earlier, during the application process. If anything, I scaled back some of the requirements and there are STILL people who thought it was too much work? What did they think writing a novel in a year-long INTENSIVE is? A vacation? A fluffy-bunny-white-light-kumbaya?

Well, that’s life. People never stop surprising you, and it keeps things interesting, right?

I’m glad I went to the meditation workshop on Friday night, although it was very different from the way I prefer to practice. It’s good to try new techniques, because until you try it, you can’t know whether or not it works. It was a little too much “guided” and not enough “mediation” for me. It’s hard to be “one with the silence” when you’re being yapped at all the time. And the leader had us OPEN our chakras, but not CLOSE them again, which I find dangerous. I closed mine, as is my practice when I do chakra cleansings or balancings, but it should have been part of the guidance. It’s unhealthy to walk around with totally open chakras. You’ll get whomped.

Wrote a lot, spent time with students, worked on the Harry Potter lectures. The class starts today and runs for the week. It should be really, really fun. I bet most of the people who signed up even read the books! It’s my last deconstruction class for the foreseeable future, and I think it’s a good one to wind things up with.

Put together the hard copies of media kits that have to go out in the coming weeks. I’m sending out some today, and dropping off several at local places that have interest in my work later today. I’m researching local book groups and putting together a proposal for them, too.

It’s supposed to be warmer today, which means I’ll get to work in the yard. I want to get most of the front mowed and tidied up. If everything work out, this will be the last mowing I need to do until spring. It will take me four or five sessions to get it all done, especially if the mower continues its wonkiness, But then, I’ll just need to keep up with the raking.

Re-read the ENCHANTMENT PLACE anthology edited by Denise Little. It’s a lot of fun. I was laughing out loud as I read some of the stories.

Put together another bookcase that will live in my room and hold urban fantasy, etc. There’s just enough room for it. Now, I think I’ve run out of space for bookcases in that room, as big as it is!

We’re still getting tomatoes and eggplants and strawberries from the plants under the grow lights, so all is good.

Should be a busy hearth-and-home week this week. I’ve also got to try a couple of lasagna recipes. I’m always responsible for the meal for the family in Maine on the night before Thanksgiving, and this year they’ve requested lasagna. Which I’ve never made before. So I want to do a couple of test runs!

I turned down a book contract this morning. I’ve been worrying over it for awhile now. It’s simply not the right fit. There were some red flags, and I ran it past my lawyer, who flat out said, “No way.” I’d done research on the company before I submitted, but once I looked at the paperwork they sent me, the warning bells sounded, and my gut told me it wasn’t the right fit. Better to bow out now gracefully than to get frustrated and miserable during the process. It’s always a risk to say no, but in this case, I think it serves everyone — including that publisher — the best. Scary, risky, but I want to re-think the approach on this series and try something else.

Devon

Today’s word count: 2985
Total word count: 64,684

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

The only thing I did outside yesterday was go out and get the papers and deposit a check in my mother’s bank. Driving was tough on my back, but it wasn’t far, and all was accomplished.

I’m writing about my Green Pepper Experiment on Gratitude and Growth, so go have a look.

I managed to do three loads of laundry — the Yuletide fabric can finally be put away, nice and clean! The vacuuming had to wait until today or tomorrow, because I couldn’t handle the hose for the central vac. I always feels like I’m in HARRY POTTER wrestling the mega-snake.

Didn’t get enough writing done, got a bunch of admin done, caught up on the workshop. I can’t believe it ends tomorrow!

Finished Susan Wittig Albert’s DEAD MAN’S BONES, which was very good.

Started a book by an author whose previous work I really enjoyed, but this one, for me, misses the mark. It’s supposed to be a modern comedy of manners, but I can’t find humor or satire in it. I find formulaic cliches, which, if this was a comedy of manners, or a satire, would have been exploded or at least turned inside out. But they’re just there. And I don’t like any of the protagonists. It’s one thing to have an unreliable narrator, or a narrator who isn’t the best of human beings — a skilled writer can make you care. But the protags in this book are ordinary in the way only a fictional character can be, whiny, and refuse to learn from experience. I realize there are plenty of people like that. I don’t keep them in my life (whiny and refusing to learn from experience are cut out — I find uniqueness in everyone I know), and I don’t want to spend my free time with them in a book, especially if, halfway through, there’s been zero character growth.

When something like this happens with an author whose work I’ve liked before, I always feel guilty. Authors need reader support. They also need the freedom to write whatever they want, and try new things, even if they don’t always work, and not lose support. In this case, I’d read this author’s work again; I just don’t like this book. If the next three books or so don’t work for me, then I’d probably stop. But if I want the freedom to write whatever I please, even if it doesn’t always work, I have to support other writers who do the same.

Have to run a few errands this morning before the next storm hits. I think it will hit sooner than they’re saying — I have the pre-storm headache. So maybe I will just stay home and work!

The back is better — I’m mostly uncomfortable rather than in acute pain, and I have a better range of motion. I just hope the snow isn’t another six inches, because if I have to shovel again, I am screwed.

Devon