Wed. Feb. 6, 2019: Working Through the Tired

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Lunar New Year — Year of the Pig Begins — Yesterday, the 5th

I forgot to mention yesterday that it was Lunar New Year. The Year of the Pig began. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post on what your client wants.

I woke up at 3AM on Tuesday morning — not fun. Couldn’t get back to sleep, and had to get up at 5 anyway. I had to go in early for a client, to get some work out of the way and wait for an incoming shipment.

Let’s just say Tuesday was busy and full of challenges, and leave it at that.

On top of that, my health insurance is screwed up for both last year and this year. I am NOT paying a penalty because THEY screwed up. It’s time to get Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healey involved. Don’t ever let anyone tell you MA is a beacon in healthcare and insurance. It’s all crap.

Found a bunch of comments on the blog going way back into last year to which I’d never responded. My deepest apologies. Some of them were spam – others I caught up on. This is the first time they showed up. I try to stay on top of responding to comments.

Onsite with the client was okay. The shipment for which I was waiting never arrived – it’s stuck in Alaska, and FedEx, as usual, was useless. I was bounced around for THREE HOURS, both on phone and live chat, because NOT A SINGLE REPRESENTATIVE wanted to deal with the issue. Which I had been told yesterday, but a different “support” person had been dealt with.

Yes, you don’t have to point out that me, the writer, being there to accept the shipment was a courtesy, and not my job as the writer.

I’m back on site today, and expecting it to be challenging. As the next few weeks will be challenging.

Meanwhile, I’m working on the radio plays and the novels and the book which I have to review.

I was so exhausted by early afternoon yesterday, I noticed it affected my driving. I should have gone grocery shopping, but I just couldn’t face people in the store.

I need to sort through my seeds and start planting in the next few days. The eggplant, leeks, and scallions will go in soon! I’ll start them inside.

A Twitter pal noticed his interactions have dropped down and some of his followers have fallen away. He has a HUGE following. My following/follower ratio is both smaller and pretty close in numbers. Yes, I’d love a huge audience for my books; however I also feel more comfortable with a more manageable number, and growing the list slowly and steadily, so I can handle it. But that’s me- -he’s great with a huge following. Anyway, I don’t think he has to worry about anything – I think we’ve all got the Februaries, and we’re just damn tired.

Of course, now that I’m trying to move my second domain from 1&1 to Name Silo, it’s more complicated. And when I move the third, it will be even more so. But, sooner or later, I will be free of 1&1 and safe with Name Silo. It will be a relief.

Let’s hope I get some rest – tomorrow will be busy!

 

Published in: on February 6, 2019 at 5:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 6, 2019: Working Through the Tired  
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Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
No Retrogrades

I’d forgotten what it feels like not to have retrogrades.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for my take on “The Book Boyfriend Dilemma.”

Busy few days, and it was a little overwhelming. Friday morning was stressful with a client, then I had some errands in the afternoon. I ended up buying some clothes to freshen up my wardrobe, some pants and skirts. I need to have a bit more of a polished look this year.

When I’m writing at home, I can wear whatever I want (usually yoga clothes, never pajamas. I can’t write in pajamas). But when I actually have to leave the house, I need and want to look professional, even if it’s not to a formal meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived on Friday, a day early, so that was a fun treat.

Saturday morning, I had errands — and wound up doing more clothes shopping — more pants and a few jackets. So I’m all set for the coming season.

Got two sets of notes on the radio play — which they claim they originally sent early in December, and I never received them. I had a conversation months ago, when they claimed they’d sent me something and I had never received it, which is why they didn’t get a response — if I don’t respond in 2-3 business days, it means I didn’t get it, and please follow up. I can’t respond if I don’t know they need something. Which they did not do, again. Now, they want a new draft in a little over two weeks. When I should have had seven.

I’m all signed up for a conference at which I’m a presenter — the schedule hasn’t officially been released yet, so I can’t give out the details. I will, as soon as I get the okay. Got a pitch for another radio play out (to a different company).

Started taking down the decorations. It took me a month to get them up; I don’t know why I thought I could get them down in an afternoon. And I used enough florists’ wire to build a small city.

Got some writing done, and some work on galleys. Not enough, I’m behind, and it frustrates me.

Got yet more contradictory information on my health insurance. I now have four sets of documents, all which contradict each other. I’m turning the whole mess over to Elizabeth Warren’s office. Don’t ever believe the marketing crap that health coverage in the state of Massachusetts works. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars in repeatedly having to send documents via certified mail (which they always claim they never received, even when I have proof) and dozens of lost work hours every year to sign up for health coverage — all with the threat that I’ll have to pay a fine WHEN THEY SCREW IT UP EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Single payer. Anything else is just stupid.

Exhausted on Sunday. Had trouble getting going. Working on finishing up a book for review. Had to do some client work that I couldn’t get finished last week, and which had to be done by Monday.

Worked on taking down decorations. Still not done. The tree only has lights left on it, but it will be another day or two before I can get them off and take the tree apart. I haven’t even stripped the tree in my office of ornaments yet.

I’m just unbelievably exhausted, and don’t see any option for rest coming up. It’s not about sleep. It’s about rest.

Sunday night was a fancy dress party. The reason I’d been shopping earlier in the weekend was to find a dress for this party. I didn’t find one, although I found pieces to freshen my wardrobe. But it turns out that I could fit into my favorite navy blue velvet evening gown. I paired it with my new blue suede pumps, thigh-high stockings (I’m sticking to my resolution not to wear pantyhose anymore), a multi-colored velvet wrap, elbow-length red velvet gloves, and I had my hair up with a tiara. I was pretty pleased with the effect.

The party was fun. It was at a restaurant in Hyannis. There was live music, a dance floor. I had a few glasses of Prosecco, danced, talked to people I knew and didn’t.

When I got home, I changed into pajamas and made scrambled eggs and ham for a late, light supper.

Monday was spent in client work, a couple of other appointments, and then a new meditation class. I desperately, desperately needed it.

I was exhausted when I woke up on Monday, but proud of myself for sticking to the weight training. I do the weights before I do yoga, and that works much better. I used to do it the other way around, and it didn’t work.

My printer is acting up – just when I have A LOT that needs to be done in the next few days. I’m trying to replace the drum and hope that solves it; otherwise, I have to buy a new printer.

With a client today and tomorrow. Thursday, I start digging into the radio script revisions, and focus on some of the other writing.

Usually, even when I’m too tired to physically write much, I can work out plot points and story themes. But I’m so physically and mentally spent that I can’t even string two silent thoughts together. It’s very hard to be vocally coherent with clients.

And maybe, MAYBE this coming weekend, I can get some rest.

I’m going to figure out where I can take a few days off, either later this month, or early next month.

I still have two books coming out quickly that need to be marketed; and get back in the groove of GRAVE REACH, which comes out near the end of the year. And the plays. This year is about a lot of scripts.

I also have to get the registration of the websites shifted over to Name Silo. That means the sites will probably go down for a bit, as 1&1 tries to sabotage the transfer. But I’m happy with A2 as my host, and I want Name Silo to hold the registration. I want to finally be free of 1&1 for good. I wish I’d had the courage and the knowledge to leave them years ago. It’s cost me thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

But most of all, most of all, I am desperate for some rest.

Published in: on January 8, 2019 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest  
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Thurs. Dec. 19, 2013: Routines Constantly Changing

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy day yesterday, but got everything on my list done –minutes typed and out, other minutes amended and out, press release and blurb rewritten, pitches done, questions out on room rental, questions out about the grant, filled out the rest of the information for my new health plan.

I’ve been moved to a new insurance plan, which is about 10X better than the one I was on and cheaper. It kicks in on January 1, and that’s a big relief.

I still wasn’t feeling well–upset stomach. Which is better this morning, but now I have the sniffles. The cold in stages, I guess, one symptom a day, which is somewhat easier than being down for the count.

Got through some research, including a poorly written biography (a shame, because the subject was interesting).

Not much of my own writing done, unfortunately — trying to catch up, since the internet was working and I didn’t have to dash from library to library all day.

I got my certification in neuro-ethics, which was exciting!

I’m hoping to work on the two novellas and get some work done on the Sparkle & Tarnish series today, and maybe one of the screenplays. Deadlines are looming, and I keep sorting and resorting things! S&T is what I really want to work on, though. That’s the project pulling at me the most strongly, and, of course, is the most complex.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 7:51 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 19, 2013: Routines Constantly Changing  
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I was trying to clear some admin work off my desk when the phone rang. It was the VW place — my car was ready a week early! I was so excited that I dropped everything and dashed over. I’ve got my Blue Bunny back, working pretty well, and they even washed it! So that’s a relief.

It also means that I can do the whole stretch of the different jobs down in CT, while my mom stays up here with the cats.

Again, time to adjust the mental focus.

It means missing some stuff I hoped to do up here next week, including the writers’ group dinner, and I’ll have to pack some more books, but it will give me a nice block of isolated writing time (even though I’m moving between two sites). I’ll be car-less for five days, and not in walking distance of anything, so I have to plan carefully, but it’s all good.

It also means I have to repack the clothes. I need 11 days’ worth instead of 3.

Dealt with trying to get my own health insurance before the window closes and it was nothing short of a nightmare. I’d been given the incorrect information about how to apply back in December, and the window may close before I’m processed. If that’s the case, they can go (you get the idea). I’m not paying a fine for being misinformed.

Anyway, I filled out the paperwork — my life does not fit into their forms.

On a positive side, I ordered seeds and plants last night. Finally, something to write about in the garden journal other than “it snowed again”. So I’ll have to get on that.

More brainstorming on a neat project with a writer friend, and Savvy Authors booked the workshop I tossed at them for March: “Unstick Your Book.” Participants get to bring in a WIP (usually I make them write fresh material for class), and, in very individual terms, we are going to find out where they’re stuck, why they’re stuck,and get it unstuck, so they can finish. Because that’s the point — not to get them to write the same stuff the same way, but to make them look at the individual work in a new way, from a fresh angle, and make it the best it can be. It’s not about writing it as I would write it, but how to make it work best within their own visions. Because it’s not about me — it’s about the work. Details are here. The need for something like this came up in discussions in other workshops, so I thought, why not create it? People are already signing up, and it gives me some work for March, which is a relief. The Dialogue Workshop, in September, is also filling up, which is great. It’s an Advanced Workshop, different from the two week one I’m teaching for RWA in April, and builds on what we’ve done in other dialogue workshops at Savvy.

So that’s all good, and bills will be paid, but I didn’t get much writing done.

Watched the season finale of HUMAN TARGET last night, which may be the series finale. Got my Jackie Earle Haley fix, which is always a good thing, and last night was a shining example of how good actors can find ways to make scenes and moments work, even in a big mess. The first third angered me so much, my reaction was, “Did this show even HAVE a showrunner this season?” But again, I’m not in there, the poor showrunner might have been browbeaten and undercut by producers and/or network execs who are running around trying to justify their salaries. I don’t want to pin it on the wrong person. But the first third of the piece was a giant mess — the lapses of logic were as big as black holes in the Universe, the writing and situation was untrue to the characters without reason — if they’re going to be that sloppy, there needs to be a reason. They’re not stupid or careless, and that’s how they were portrayed without a foundation. The way the first third was structured was disrespectful to the actors, who’ve busted their asses for two seasons getting the audience to care, and to the audience. Julia could have never tracked down Guerrero unless he wanted to be found, (and, if that’s what he did to bring her out into the open, it needed to be addressed) and he’s way too smart to have been conned by her. The way the show’s misused the character of Ames as the season progressed is just pathetic — she started out as strong, smart, funny, and a real potential protege for Guerrero, and, as the season progressed, they turned her into a shallow, self-absorbed, whiny creature who’s WEAK. She couldn’t survive the life she had or with these guys if she was weak. The scenes in the car with Guerrero weren’t comic relief – they were painful, although Haley was valiant about trying to pull something out of the mess, and he gave his scene partner much more than many other actors would in that situation. The boxes of files brought in marked “Guerrero”, where the villains learned about his pressure point? Make no sense in what’s been set up over the past two seasons — the point has been made more than once that he shifts identities and stays under the radar. He’s got a reputation, well-earned, but he doesn’t leave a paper trail. There wouldn’t BE any files, other than a page or two of unconnected police reports on mysterious deaths or disappearances in far-reaching areas (And yes, I have a way that they could have gotten the same piece of information they needed for the plot point — that would have fit the logic of the world that was set up the past two seasons).

Fortunately, it got better and tighter as the hour progressed (felt like that part was written by a different person or people). It was nice to see Ilsa more active, the rooftop scene was good and set groundwork for the Julia character to return at some point (she did a good job, she’d be worth a return). It was good to see Guerrero do what we’ve come to believe he does best — move like smoke, while taking out an entire team of opponents, and the choice of making most of the violence off-screen makes him even stronger and scarier. His final scene in the episode was beautifully done, perfectly played, fairly well-staged, effective. We hear how often he’s taken no prisoners — now we saw it. It was important to the overall character arc, because there have been times this season when they’ve tried to dilute his character, and it’s only been Haley’s abilities that have kept the character’s integrity intact.

If this is the series finale, it ended on a good breath of hope for all the characters (except Ames, of course, who never got a final scene, but she’s been an afterthought for most of the season). If the show gets picked up next season (with some different people in charge, I hope), it gives them a good jumping off point.

Shooting a one-hour drama — especially with action scenes — is a huge undertaking, I’ve been there, I know. Everyone’s pushed past their limit, especially towards the end of the season, and especially when ratings aren’t what one hoped, with enormous detail, scheduling, budget, etc. They could have kept the overall structure, the action, the locations, etc. — all they had to do was inject some more logic into the writing — logic supported by what they established over two seasons, and it would have been outstanding instead of just “okay, this is a serviceable finale.”

Again, this is just my personal response to the material and the way it’s handled. It’s ONE opinion, not THE opinion.

Continued reading AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS. What a beautiful book. I’m putting together the reading list for my year-long intensive, and that book will definitely be on the list.

Did not sleep well. The cats were impossible last night. Kicked them out of the bedroom, and then they tried to dig a hole in the carpet under the door. Had to let them back in — I don’t know why they were in such a tizzy, but there was no sleep to be had. Roadkill is in better shape than I am this morning.

Lots to do today, including going to the dump — ahem, “transfer station” — I don’t want garbage sitting around the house while I’m working out of town. Gotta make room for the new garbage! 😉 Seriously, we don’t generate much garbage, about 80% of it is recycling, and only have to go to the dump once a month or once every six weeks.

Hoping I can catch a nap this afternoon for a bit. Almost all packed — a few things need to get into the writing bag, but clothes and books are all packed. 12 books for 10 days — that should be about right. Gives “book bag” a whole new meaning!

Got to get some info to one of my editors so she can arrange a press pass for me at some local hockey games. Errands, etc. Still haven’t found those 200+ pages of notes for POWER OF WORDS, which is disconcerting. It took me weeks to sort out the character arcs, the arcs that the actor characters play, the show-within-the-book arcs, the plot arcs, and all the scheduling. I’d hate to have to start from scratch. It’s just odd that the notes wouldn’t be with the manuscript. I’m usually more careful than that — but then, it was an unusual situation. It’s got to be here somewhere, and it won’t be unearthed until I return.

The book, essay, and short story need to take center stage — especially since the latter two are due on the 15th.

Back to the page.

Devon

Thursday, January 27, 2011


One of the trees in the side yard

Thursday, January 27, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

It snowed all day yesterday, and I was glad to stay home. I worked on the workshops — realizing, as I went over the exercises, that I’d been unclear in my lecture about formatting, and needlessly confused the students. I apologized, and I’m working with the ones who see their pieces as stage plays to get it properly formatted. In all the times I’ve taught the workshop, the students never wanted to work in stage format, just for the screen, so I stopped focusing on stage format. And here, I have students who want stage format — and have picked work that will be powerful in it. Exciting, but I feel badly that I was unclear.

Got some good work done on the new book. It’s not happening as quickly as I want it or need it to happen, but it’s getting there. I’m finding its innate rhythm, and hopefully, as I get further into it, I can accelerate it a bit. Looking at it as another type of Nano won’t help, unfortunately, because quality is just as important as quantity, and I’m only going to get one shot at revision for this submission, and it will be without the two month rest period that is necessary between the first draft and edits. My own fault for not getting into it early enough.

Started reading Michael Innes’s APPLEBY AND THE OSPREYS. Innes had a long and successful career as a writer and as a mystery writer (Innes is a pseudonym). It took me awhile to “get” the gentle humor and cerebral wit of the book, but now that I do, I really enjoy it. He gives a wink and an elbow to the ribs towards Christie’s formulas, and there’s a solid layer of satire under the manners. There’s a lot of intelligence in the writing, which I enjoy. He’s from the era where the puzzle was more important than the action, and it’s fascinating to see how it’s constructed. I think I can learn a lot from him, and I want to read more.

It’s like any genre — if you want to learn how to do it well, you have to read the Masters. If you want to write plays, you read the Greeks and Shakespeare, and work your way through to O’Neill and Inge and Odets and Glaspell and Miller to Albee and Pinter and Stoppard and Churchill and Wasserstein and Devere Smith and Parks.

Great writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s influenced by the writers who wrote before. If you study the greats, you raise the bar for yourself. If you only read the mediocre, that’s where your writing stays.

Some garden stuff arrived yesterday via UPS. And this carrier was the good one — he came all the way to the door and helped me get the box inside. It’s adorable! Can’t wait until the weather lets me put it out.

We didn’t get hammered by the weather as badly as Boston, which is in a great big mess, but it will be a pain to shovel. However, it’s supposed to get sunnier later, and I have to get my mom to an appointment with her new doctor this afternoon, so . . .

I also have to get my act together — the window is open to sign up for insurance, and, if I don’t sign up (health insurance is mandatory in MA), I get fined at tax time. I’ve got an organization whose sole purpose is to find me care I can afford — I just have to pull my paperwork together and we’ll sort it out. Preliminary research showed several affordable options, so let’s hope at least one of them pans out. It will be good to have access to traditional health care, even if I rarely use it.

Back to the page for awhile, then out with the shovel!

Devon