Tues. Aug. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 97 — Rest & Prep

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image courtesy of danigeza via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and Humid

I gave myself the weekend off. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, and I’m sick of trying to keep on keeping on. The laptop stayed off; I was on social media a little bit here and there; I ignored emails.

Saturday morning was busy: watered the yard, took garbage and recycling to the dump (way too many Sliding Mask Skanks at recycling), a trip to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop (where I got things I can’t get at Trader Joe’s), home, full disinfectant protocols, beds changed, 5 loads of laundry, made chocolate mousse. All by 10 AM. Well, laundry took pretty much all day, but the first load was in before 10! Then, around 10:30, I made another curbside pickup at the library.

Sunday, I had to brave a trip into Christmas Tree Shops to pick up some things I knew they carry and haven’t been able to source elsewhere. I was there when they opened, and there weren’t a lot of Covidiots in there yet, so I could zoom around the store, grab what I needed, get out, and do a full disinfectant protocol when I got home.

It was too hot to make baguettes or do any other baking.

I read all weekend, instead. I wrote a little bit, but not anywhere near what I “should” have, and, frankly, I didn’t give a damn. I had the cats out on the deck in their playpens. I read. I napped. I was out on the deck. I stayed away from the chaos as much as possible.

I decided, in that series that started so well, then three books disappointed and angered me, but I’d already ordered the rest from the library – that I would read into each book until I hit a slur or something else stupid, and then skim/stop the rest. After three books that I didn’t like (which is more than I’d give most authors), the next book is back on track. No slurs; the protag was weaker than she was at the start of the series, which I don’t really like; the author got rid of the really great love interest the previous book in a way I didn’t like, without any real resolution, and brought in a new one here – who is basically out of the same mold as the previous one, only in a different profession and with more romance-hero looks. So I’m on the fence about that. But many of the things I’d liked in the earlier books were back in force here.

So we’ll see. And I’m learning a lot, even from that which I don’t like.

Also re-read THE CRUELEST MONTH by Louise Penny. I’m getting a lot more out of the series this time through.

And started reading ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB, a memoir by Harlequin editor Patience Bloom, which was recommended by a friend of mine, and enjoyed it (finished it yesterday).

I cooked a little, snacked too much (I’m not usually a snacker, but I was this weekend). The cats were happy with lots of extra playtime.

Illegal fireworks in the street again on Saturday night, but at least not right in front of our house. But, you know, no one will do anything because “it’s just innocent fun.” No, assholes, it’s not. Do your jobs and shut this down. Someone in the neighborhood has a horde of tens of thousands of dollars of illegal fireworks, and it’s going to take out half the neighborhood when they do something else stupid and their house explodes.

Monday, I had to go onsite for a client for a few hours. I was on my own for most of it, which is how it should be. I had to contact the Town Clerk because I still haven’t received my mail-in ballot (my mother received hers over a week ago). I suspect it’s because I’m named for my mother, and they assumed it was a duplicate –even though we have different middle initials, different signatures, different registrations,  it’s clear we are two separate people, and we’ve both voted in every election for 10 years. But it’s not a prerequisite to have intelligence or common sense if you work for the town. I contacted via fax AND via certified mail, since I’m still waiting for the town to respond to an email I sent in March, and another sent in June. Because they can’t be fucking bothered. No, it didn’t go astray, and it’s not because of the pandemic, and they’re not “doing the best they can.” This is their pattern.  If I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow, I will have to contact the Secretary of State. Mail-in ballots have to be dropped off by Sept. 1. This is not a big city with tons and tons of work and no staff. This is a small town. Who ignores their residents whenever possible.

And how sexist! Plenty of sons are names for their fathers, especially around here, and no one thinks twice. But because I am named for my mother, there’s confusion?

Setting up a quarantine area in the laundry room on the rolling rack. We’re getting into weather where clothing is not all easy-to-wash cottons. When I strip down in the laundry room for disinfectant protocols, I can toss what I need to in the machine, and put the less-often-washables on the rack in quarantine.

Finally used my Phin filter to make Vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk. Lovely.

Re: The Conways. How stupid are the people who are cutting them a break with all of this? This is one of the biggest grifts of the administration – husband and wife playing two sides against the middle, and now bowing out citing “family” issues. Husband and wife have been playing the population since Day 1 and laughing all the way to the bank. Corrupt to the core. Roped in their kid as part of the scheme. I don’t believe anything coming out of any of their mouths. It’s all orchestrated, scripted, and planned, for profit.

Prepped for this morning’s meeting yesterday – it’s at 8:30 this morning, via ZOOM. Nothing like being professionally dressed and in full makeup again that early!

The rest of the day will be a mix of client work and writing. I need to cover a lot of ground on the Llewellyn piece today, get out an email blast for a client, and upload some more pieces to her online shop.

Hope your week is starting well. We’re supposed to get storms today to break the heat and humidity. The last few days have been miserable with it.

And please share the information about Grief to Art. Thanks – greatly appreciated.

Grief to Art Logo

Fri. Aug. 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 93 — Tired

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image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, August 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It’s getting hot and humid again, so I am getting grumpy again, especially with the allergies.

Yesterday, I got some client work and some yard work done. Took my mom to the other doctor to get some things dealt with. Freelance chat, which was fun. Tidied up the deck.

My landlord came over (with his mask and folding chair) and we chatted for two hours. He’s put a lot of research and work into an historical project that someone else is trying to control, and he wanted advice. Since I knew the other individuals involved, I could give him advice based on their past conduct and patterns. Hopefully, it was helpful.

Got some reading done, but not much else. The mice arrived from Chewy in a big box — ordered only because I needed to spend an extra dollar to get free shipping on the playpens. Instead of shipping it all together, three little toy mice arrived on their own in a great, big box.

But all three cats love the mice.

Overslept this morning, decided to put off going to the dump and recycling off yet another day. Picked up my mom’s new medication at the pharmacy, which was MUCH more expensive than I expected. So I have to put off buying the lumber and the fabric for the screen.

Did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Too many people in the store, ignoring the traffic arrows, but at least everyone was masked. And the staff is so great.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, then heard from the library there were books ready for curbside pickup. Masked up again, drove down in my yoga clothes (because hey, curbside pickup). When I got out of the car to go to the table to pick up my bag of books, some women getting out of another car berated me for not wearing a bra. “What if there were children here?” (There weren’t — we were the only two cars in the parking lot). Plus, my shirt was black and oversized and nothing was showing. PLUS, it’s none of her damn business.

So I looked at her and said, “Why are you staring at my breasts?” and she stared sputtering.

I grabbed my books and came home.

I’m having a serious case of the don’t wannas today, so maybe I just won’t. Had a good first writing session out on the deck, though.

Have a great weekend.

Tues. Aug. 11, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 83 — Heatwave, Covidiots, Phase 3 Pause

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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, humid, heat wave

I really like this image I used on Friday, so I’m using it again.

It was an up-and-down weekend for me. I didn’t feel well at all during the course of it. The thunderstorms we needed desperately and were promised never showed up.

I did a Target run early on Friday to get the pens and notebooks I needed. People were masked, and I was in and out in just a few minutes. Disinfectant protocols, then a quick curbside pickup at the library.

It was so hot, I had trouble concentrating. I gave myself the time off from working and read. I read THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME by Krista Davis, and really liked it. It made me laugh, more than once, for the right reasons.

I read another mystery by another author. I’d read a book from one of her other series and had mixed feelings about it. Had even more mixed feelings about this one – especially since she misused “witch” in an insulting way. Normally, I’d just cross her off the list, but she’s friends with some acquaintances of mine. I will read one more book by her and then decide. That choice of language usage is a slur and shouldn’t be used any more AND it’s a sloppy language choice.

Reading volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. Even when I disagree with the writers (especially the white male ones), I wind up learning something.

Read Robert Caro’s WORKING, where he talks about his process of writing his books about Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson. Reading about his research into Moses made me loathe the man even more than I already do. Yes, he was a visionary with parks and road and bridges – but he destroyed a lot of people’s lives, and he didn’t give a damn. Which sounds far too familiar in these days. If someone was rich enough to buy him off, he modified his vision. But if one couldn’t afford to buy him off, he thought they deserved to have their lives destroyed. I’m so glad he didn’t get to put in the bridge between Rye and Oyster Bay. I grew up in Rye while that was being floated around. It would have ruined my hometown.

Did an early morning run on Saturday to Star Market. They are eliminating the position of the door person making sure there aren’t too many people in the store and that people are wearing masks. Which means I have to time my shopping as early as possible, and, when the customers stop masking properly, stop shopping there. Which is a shame, because it’s the only place I can get the white cranberry/peach juice.

The fucktwits are still setting off illegal fireworks in the street every day. But heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its residents. Because it doesn’t care about them. With everything as dry as it is, this is a disaster in the making.

Did laundry, changed the beds, cleaned the house. Typical routine.

Sunday was all about organizing the files I’d kept from the boxes I purged. I also cleaned out four file cabinet drawers. Everything I’m keeping is being sorted and organized into five boxes: one for files from the 1900s; another from 2000-2009. The next box only fits the first half of the decade we’ve been here – 2010 – 2014. I had to get another box for 2015-2019. The fifth box is for project manuscripts. I’m thinking of pulling out all the contract files and putting them into a separate plastic file with a lid and a handle.

It was overwhelming. I worked all day and it felt like I got nothing done, because I didn’t go down and clean out any more boxes. I was just dealing with stuff I’d already brought upstairs. I don’t get how people can clean out their attic or basement in a single day.

It was hot and humid and I felt like crap. Yes, there were tears. More than once.

The dumbass neighbors – more than one of them – all had heavy machinery going ALL FUCKING WEEKEND. We couldn’t have the windows open – without air conditioning and in the heat – because there was so much dust flying around we were choking on it.

Again, Town of Barnstable doesn’t give a flying fuck about its residents. There’s no reason that heavy machinery/construction should be allowed 7 days a week from a little after 7 in the morning until whenever they feel like finishing (often 9 or 10 at night). They don’t do anything about illegal fireworks; they refuse to enforce the noise ordinances; they’re not enforcing the state requirement for masks (most of their own workers don’t wear them when they’re out and about, and they’re sure as hell not distancing), they’re not doing anything to enforce quarantine.

The Town of Barnstable is fucking useless.

So it was a disheartening, frustrating weekend.

On a happier note, I fit into a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt Capris on Monday that I haven’t been able to wear for a few years. So there’s that.

Was onsite for a client for a few hours on Monday. I was by myself in the office, so it was all good. Got a bunch done. Did a curbside pickup at the library on my way home. Read in the afternoon. I have another book assigned to review, so I’m looking forward to that.

Sent out a couple of LOIs.

Today, I was out watering by 5 AM. Took me nearly an hour to water the front. No rain in sight. The back took only 20 minutes, because I’d watered it last night.

I have some client work to do this morning, then more LOIs, and work on an article that’s due in September, but I’d like to get out early.

In the mornings, I’ve been noodling on the new idea, trying a very different way of working, just to see if I can shake up the process.

I’m hoping some of that will transfer to getting back on track with BARD’S LAMENT.

But, honestly, I’m feeling overwhelmed and hopeless right now. While I appreciate all the suggestions for “self-care” – at this point, they’re psychobabble for me. Also, I CAN’T “take a walk” anywhere around here, because the fucking tourists WON’T WEAR A MASK OR SOCIAL DISTIANCE and it’s not “self-care” to put my life in danger.

We’re supposedly on pause for Phase 3 of the reopening, and the governor is talking about rolling back some things, which is necessary. But no one is paying any attention because there’s zero enforcement and zero consequences — except people who ARE trying to do the right thing are getting spat on (literally, often) by Covidiots and dying.

“Taking a walk” won’t help. Fucking locking down the country, enforcing masking regulations, and UBI will help.

I’m sick of the Democrats not getting it done. Republicans rammed their agenda through no matter if they were the majority or not. So the Dems need to start getting ruthless. Our lives are on the line. Get it fucking done.

I’m sick of it all. I’m tired of the stupid and the selfish ALWAYS getting away with EVERYTHING, especially when it hurts everyone else. Without consequence.

Wed. July 29, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 70 — The Anniversary of My Father’s Death

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imsage courtesy of csr_ch via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot, but a little less humid

On this day in 1972, my father died. He’s been out of my life longer than he’s been in it, but it’s still a difficult day. He still has so much influence on my life, both positive and negative. He was brilliant, and difficult, taught me a lot on many fronts.

Over on Ink-Dipped Advice, I talk about the myth of the “full-time freelance job” that some companies are pushing.

The elected officials are worried because our numbers are creeping up again, more kids are getting sick, and we’re seeing more long-term complications. Recoveries are running 4-6 weeks, with potential lifelong problems that may never heal. They’re talking about dialing back some of the phased re-opening, which is as it should be. We should go back to Phase 1, clear out the tourists for 6-8 weeks, wear a mask every time we leave the property for the duration, and then maybe, MAYBE, we’d be back on track. But only if they enforce mandates, especially on tourists.

Which they won’t do, because, you know, greed.

William Barr needs to be impeached, disbarred, and then prosecuted for his crimes against this country. He is an abomination.

Yesterday was hot and humid again, and difficult to get things done. I worked in the yard early, before 6:30 AM, then sat on the deck and wrote for a bit.

Did some client work in the morning, until the computer threatened to overheat. Did a few insert scenes for the 4th Gambit Colony book to keep some arcs running through it.

In the afternoon, I read. It was too hot to be very productive, but at least I could concentrate long enough to read.

I also purged a box from the basement. I wanted to do two boxes, but ran out of energy. But I cleaned out one box, and tossed 90% of what was in it. The other 10% gets filed – I think I have the files already set up in my filing cabinets.

Had weird dreams again last night. Stress dreams.

Up early again this morning. Worked in the yard. I need to get some work done this morning at home before I head (early) onsite to a client’s for a few hours, which will contain stresses of its own.

But Remote chat is today, and that is always a bright spot in my week.

I also hope to get some more writing done, and purge another box.

Have a lovely day.

Tues. July 28, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 69 — Maskhole Rant, Che Guevara Chipmunk, and Writing

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image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

I hit a level of burnout on Thursday afternoon and into Friday. I was just done.

But, of course, when one is the breadwinner, not coping is not an option.

From Masshole to Maskhole
Plenty of people from Massachusetts are not well-liked (often even in their own state). “Masshole” is the common term. But far too many are now also Maskholes – refusing to wear the mask properly or at all. To be fair, they’re not just from around here – the tourists are even worse.

Virus cases are on the rise in this area. No surprise. Some dimwit in Chatham had a party with 50 people, no masks, no distancing. At least half the partygoers have tested positive since that party. They are trying to figure out how many people THOSE people infected Elected officials moan and say there’s nothing they can do because it happened on “private property.” Yes, they can. Charge the party-thrower with criminal negligence. Anyone who got infected by someone at the party should have all health costs paid by the person who infected them.

A good portion of the attendees were restaurant workers. Yeah, so how’s all that Phase III-IV on-site dining working for everyone, huh?

On Saturday morning, I did a quick errand. The drive home was 3 miles from store to home, along the beachfront. I passed about 150 people (I stopped counting at 127). Over the course of three miles.

4 of them were masked.

FOUR.

You can’t social distance when there are that many people in that small an area. Not that they were even trying. Many of them walked in packs, or hung out as their pack met another pack. No masks, no distancing. And yeah, not even pretending they give a fuck by having one around their neck or in their pocket.

I can’t go for a walk in my own neighborhood because the fucktards roam in maskless packs. All those people who claim they’re “safe” when they take a walk or walk the dog because “nobody’s around” or “there’s plenty of room” or “I cross the street” or “we’re good at social distancing” – I don’t believe you. They’re saying the same things here every day. Praising themselves to the sky for being so responsible and careful. I watch every day and it is not happening. No masks. No social distancing. You need BOTH. You need to wear a mask AND social distance. What part of this is an airborne virus do you not understand? Being outside doesn’t negate that. “Oh, but I’m just walking the dog, it’s early, no one’s around” – yeah, so are 15 other people and you’re stopping to chat and pet each other’s dogs and hang out and you’re only about a foot apart. Wear your damn mask when you leave your property. Keep it on – properly on, not pretend on — until you return.

If you NEED to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

If you WANT to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

It’s not hard. Yes, it’s inconvenient, and the first ten minutes are uncomfortable. So?

The level of selfishness is just disgusting.

The stats are that we have 100,000 extra people so far on Cape Cod. I don’t want to hear one word from businesses about how slow business is. Every place around here is packed. Plus, almost every business I know got either a PPP loan or an SBA loan or both. We have heightened travel rules in place as of the first of the month per the governor about 14-day quarantines and fines of $500/day. Too many aren’t even doing the mandated masking and social distancing. No one’s going to enforce a damn thing.

The bridges are backed up every damn day and unbearable from Friday to Monday again like every summer weekend. People aren’t quarantining here. They come in for the day, spread the virus, leave. They’re not being careful, even if they pretend they are so they can feel all righteous about it. Yes, the travel restrictions are not as firm from New England states and New York and New Jersey because those states have controlled it FOR THE MOMENT. But many, MANY of these plates are from high-risk states. They’re not complying with quarantine. The places they’re renting aren’t requiring it. They’re just taking the money and looking the other way.

There are businesses requiring people follow the mask mandate and distancing, etc. They’re truly trying to make it work and keep people as safe as possible. But plenty of businesses look the other way when the tourist twat walks in and immediately pulls the mask down around their neck.

We’re going to need to be in lockdown all damn winter because people are so damn selfish and lazy, while claiming they’re being responsible. I’m talking genuine lockdown, where maybe you can leave your property once a week for an hour to go grocery shopping. It’s going to make this spring look like a cakewalk.

We could have had the virus under control and be back to a modicum of normal without much danger – like New Zealand and Iceland and Europe – but instead, it’s getting worse. People are lying to themselves and each other about it.

The positive spin that’s being put on everything here and WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING are far apart. But people are buying into the spin, which means things are moving even farther apart.

I am very, very glad I was wrong that we would hit the 250,000 death toll mark by July 4th. But I doubt I’m wrong about the next lockdown. And so much of this could have been prevented. So much of it still can be prevented, but won’t, due to selfishness on personal and nationwide levels, and greed.

I’m sick of it.

No wonder I’m feeling burned out. If I didn’t have to leave the property at all, I could just shrug it off. I mean, on human level, I’d still be angry at the sheer level of selfishness and I’d still be working with my elected officials on various legislation, but I could stay in my little book-lined tower and keep my family safe.

Chop Wood, Carry Water
I mailed off my passport renewal materials for the third damn time. Let’s hope they actually renew it this time. The first time, last fall, when the rumors about no more passport renewals started, it was returned because it was “too early to renew.” When I tried in March, it was “returned to sender” with “office closed due to COVID-19” scrawled on the envelope.

Even if we’re banned from entering other countries, I need my passport. I hate being separated from it.

Saturday morning, the cats got me up way too early. Fed them, watered the front and back gardens, lawns, and the meadow out back. Changed the beds, did two loads of laundry, did a run to the store that carries the white cranberry-peach juice and some gelato for the heat wave. Full disinfectant protocols (not letting up on them any time soon). Sorted the boxes and bags in the quarantine area of the garage – some went downstairs to be used, some put aside for other use, some into recycling). Washed all the reusable grocery bags and disinfected them.

The ban on reusable bags has been lifted in the state, but most grocery stores sill ask that people not use them. Still, I thought it would be a good idea to disinfect all the bags.

Paid end-of-month bills.

The neighbor across the street has his very own small bulldozer. Yup. Drove it around the neighborhood to show it off on Friday. Saturday, he brought in a truckload of gravel and dumped it next to his garage (which faces our front yard). Then he started leaf blowing the gravel. Which is a stupid move on multiple levels, but it also sent clouds of gravel dust across to us, and I had to close the windows (on a hot day, with no air conditioning) so we didn’t choke on the dust.

His parents must not have bought him Tonka Trucks as a child, and he’s making up for it now.

All he ever does is use heavy machinery, make noise, and destroy. There’s never building anything beautiful – just cutting down trees or leaf blowing gravel.

My neighbor next door is awfully fond of his power tools, too – but he builds. A firepit, a three-season room, a shed for his nifty tools. Also, he does it during reasonable hours, and it’s never for long stretches. I don’t mind even the power tools, because the energy is so different – it’s CONstructive, not Destructive.

Sunday morning, I was up early again to water. I don’t have a sprinkler system, and I don’t want to do the putting green thing, but I also want the yard to be healthy. Right now, we haven’t rain for a bit, and it needs a drink.

Che Guevara Chipmunk is back. I didn’t put out the bird bath this year (because it’s 2020 and West Nile or some other plague would come by, too). But I’ve been putting out a big dog dish of water out back, and changing it three times a day. Che Guevara Chipmunk comes by the drink out of it and tell me the news. And the birds like it, too. We had some melon that was getting squishy, so I put it out back and the murder of crows dashed from the front yard and gobbled it all up. Who knew crows like cantaloupe?

Friday morning, when I sat on the deck with my first coffee and my writing, a bat dropped down from the roof of the covered deck and then flew away. Startled me, but I like bats, so I’m good with it. If he (or she) comes back, the bat gets a name!

I got a spam call on my cell from Russia. Uh, yeah, that’s a block.

Monday, I was out early to water. This morning, I was out early and did just over an hour of yardwork from just after 5 AM to nearly 6:30. It’s been brutally hot and humid. 102 degrees in Hyannis yesterday, 94 degrees here, a few miles away. We’re still a little cooler because we haven’t cut down all our trees.

But there are poor air quality warnings up. On Cape Cod. Can you imagine? We moved here for healthy sea air. But it’s been clear cut of trees so badly and overbuilt so badly and with the tourists flowing in DURING A PANDEMIC, we have poor air quality.

The virus is delighted.

But with fans going and staying quiet in the worst of it, it’s bearable. Even without air conditioning. So far.

Shall I mention that the furnace was supposed to be replaced by the owner last year before Thanksgiving, and he was going to add coils for air conditioning? And it still hasn’t happened?

Writing. Oh yeah, there’s writing. And Reading
I got about half the revision of VISCERAL INVISIBLES done. Still trying to come up with another title, although a part of me kind of likes this one.

Shaped the review for the book I read. Sent it off yesterday morning, along with the invoice. Yay, money!

I read a wonderful book by Fenton Johnson, AT THE CENTER OF ALL BEAUTY: SOLITUDE AND THE CREATIVE LIFE. It’s quite wonderful. As someone who is, by nature, solitary, and needs a lot of solitude even within the context of relationships, the book speaks to me on multiple levels.

Catching up on the issues of THE NEW YORKER. There’s always so much good information there, and stellar writing (even if I don’t always agree with the pieces). The latest issues re-runs earlier profiles – Toni Morrison, Larry Kramer, etc. – it’s interesting to see how much I’ve changed since they first came out. How much I’ve learned.

Actually got to sit outside and enjoy the deck for an hour here and there, in between neighbors and their power tools and heavy machinery. And they’re still setting off the fucking illegal fireworks most nights.

Also reading Donna Leon’s non-Brunetti mystery, THE JEWELS OF PARADISE, which is interesting.

My mother is reading Chris Cavender’s pizza-lover’s mysteries, and really likes them. I will read them soon (while she finishes reading the Vivien Chien series). We have one more Brunetti book to read, the one that came out during Stay-at-home, and then we’ll start reading the Gamache series in order (re-read for me). It’s fun to read a long series together in order and talk about the books.

Did some planning for the Gambit Colony books. Will get back to them once I’m done with this draft of BARD’S LAMENT.

Worked on the Topic Workbooks.

I’m working on the Grief to Art website, but it takes a lot out of me, and is thereby taking more time than I’d like. With nearly 150,000 dead, we need a site for collective mourning.

Did a quick proof read of the WINNER TAKE ALL screenplay and sent it to my friend, who has time to read it this week.

I was at the office for a few hours yesterday for a client, by myself, which was perfect. I’m still far more productive from my home office even than in an empty office, but if I have to be in an office, I’d rather it was empty. I do some client work before it gets too hot. When it heats up, I have to shut down the computer; it doesn’t function well in heat and humidity. Plus, I figure the power’s bound to go off at some point.

Have a safe week, and try to stay cool, if you can. Mentally and physically. Peace.

Tues. July 23, 2019: Physical Manifestations?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

The weekend was brutally hot. It was bad. Difficult to get anything done.

I also fretted and stressed all weekend about this week with one of my clients, which I knew would be off-the-charts stressful. It’s easy to say “don’t think about it” or “detach” — but it doesn’t work that way, at least not for me.

I worked hard in the early mornings (usually up by four) to get the fans going and cool down the place. I had to shut everything by 7 AM, and then keep fans going inside. The humidity and lack of breeze kept everything heavy and oppressive.

Of course, there were power outages. Why should Eversource actually provide the services for which they exist and overcharge?

Read a lot. Jean-Luc Bannalec’s THE MISSING CORPSE, set in Brittany, which was interesting. The way the book is structured is so different from the way an American or British or Australian mystery is constructed.

Re-read Susan Cheever’s AMERICAN BLOOMSBURY, which I enjoyed even more this time around.

Tried to stay quiet and cool, and keep the cats the same.

I’d done some research on Friday about possible article markets, and I’m working on pitches. I hope to get at least some of them out this week.

The 2020 SPELL-A-DAY ALMANAC author copies arrived. They look wonderful! My work is in there under the Cerridwen Iris Shea byline. I’ll have to do some updates on that website, and on the blog.

I’m still waiting for payment for a freelance job for a local client I did nearly a month ago. It was invoiced on July 1. On July 15, the client apologized for the delay and promised to take care of it. It’s still not here. That is not okay. That money is marked for specific bills that need to be paid.

I’m sick of the attitude in this area that paying for work is optional. That, along with the attitude of hiring the cheapest person who is also the least threatening, instead of the best person for the job has gotten real old real fast.

I got out some LOIs. There was a communications job at a theatre in Maine that looked interesting. Unfortunately, instead of accepting a resume and letter, they demand filling out a specific application that is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever read. Some of the questions are also now illegal. So I’m not even going to pitch to them.

I had to go onsite at my client’s early yesterday and stay late. Same today. It went better than expected, but was still a tough day.

I’m having terrible trouble with my back. Every movement causes pain. I’m wondering if my frustrations from the past few weeks are manifesting in this particular type of “stuck” pain.

Meditation was much needed.

Between the heat and the stress, I’ve lost some of the momentum on GRAVE REACH. I hope to regain it in the next few days.

Awakened last night by tornado alerts. Got things together in case we had to go down to the basement. Lots of thunder and lightning, but it passed.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 23, 2019 at 8:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 23, 2019: Physical Manifestations?  
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Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Yesterday wound up being hot. My poor grass!

I got out a few pitches in the morning, and ran some errands. Got some research done around lunchtime. Worked on an essay, and a couple more pitches in the afternoon. Tried to work on the teleplay, but couldn’t concentrate.

Managed to get some more pitches ready to go out this morning. I want to get work set up for the rest of the summer.

Thinking of freshening up a website and some of the names I haven’t used recently. Will play with some ideas. Freshening up is always a good thing!

I pitched to do some corporate video scripting for a new fragrance company. They want to shoot by the 25th of June, so it would be a quick-turnaround, but the scripts would be short. I sent them my credentials, writing samples, price. They responded by telling me, at 10 PM last night, that they want me to send them two spec scripts, either by midnight last night or by afternoon today.

Uh, no. That’s not how it works, bubbelah. I don’t write corporate scripts without a contract and a deposit in place. If you can’t tell if my style and tone match what you want from my previously-produced samples, you shouldn’t be in the position you’re in.

Far more likely, you’re trying to get the scripts for free. We’ve seen all these fake gigs – they want project/product-specific samples, tell the writers who apply they didn’t get the gig, change the company name, and use the material without paying. It’s called theft and/or fraud.

Not only is that a way to get on Whispers & Warnings and keep professional writers away, it’s a good way to make sure none of the writers or anyone in their circle ever buys your product. You lose customers. Buh-bye.

Sent a polite, but still to-the-point letter withdrawing from consideration for a local position. As is usual here on Cape, they want you to work without pay in the hope of “maybe someday” money. Sorry, I am paid for hours work, as is NOW THE LAW.

So, Delta now sees itself in the business of censorship? Pulling its support of the Public Theatre Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of JULIUS CAESAR because some moron thought it makes fun of the Narcissistic Sociopath is ridiculous. First of all, the reason JC’s been done for well over 400 years is that it’s politically relevant to EVERY time period. That’s the point of the play. I bet you no one at Delta saw the production or even read the play.

Second, how come the Narcissistic Sociopath and his followers can attack, degrade, and incite violence against anything and anyone they wish, but anyone who criticizes them is threatened? Authoritarianism much? First Amendment, people. If he and those who drank his Kool-Aid can say and do whatever they want, so can everyone else.

That means Delta joins United on the I’m Not Flying Them Anymore list. Pretty soon, there won’t be any US carriers getting my money.

Makes me think my article, which will post soon on A Biblio Paradise, should be about JULIUS CAESAR instead of THE TEMPEST, but too bad! 😉

It’s too hot to mow this morning (that’s my excuse, anyway), so I’m going to work on the teleplay, the essay, the short story, and some more pitches.

Several incidents mentioned above made me cranky, but, at the same time, standing true to my boundaries only serves both me and the work well in the long run. In the end, it’s all about serving the work, with as much creativity and integrity as possible.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 13, 2017 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)  
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It’s been back up in the 90’s for the last few days, but low humidity. That seems to be changing — the humidity is rising to meet the temperatures. And it looks like we may have to deal with Hurricane Earl over the holiday weekend. Ick.

Yesterday was tough. The workman/landlord situation was bad in the morning, which of course, stressed me out and made Elsa worse. I spent most of the morning in tears out of sheer frustration and exhaustion.

Got some queries out. We’ll see what happens. Tried to start the assignment from Confidential Job #1, but couldn’t concentrate. Managed to get some research done in the afternoon, with the iPod on to Naturescape, which has to be my favorite app ever. Ran a few errands, put gas in the car, things like that. It cost me $10 more to put the same amount of gas in the car at the place near here with the best prices than it did up in Sturbridge last week.

I’m still eating the fudge I bought up there — best fudge I ever had. Smooth and creamy and rich. I have one little slice every day, and I still have a lot. That’s the way I like it!

Booked my tickets for the two Philly gigs in September. So that’s all sorted out. Even though it’s ridiculously early — I don’t leave for the first until the end of next week — I’ll probably pack in the next day or two.

Made a note the other night as I fell asleep for a story idea. Now I have to decipher it!

Had a lot of trouble sleeping. Well, I GET to sleep just fine. But I wake up completely anxiety-ridden.

Decent writing session this morning on the Willowspring Grove piece. Not a brilliant one, I’m having to fight for the words harder than I’d like, but I’m getting there. I’ve got to get back to SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Even if I don’t hit my goal every day, even a few pages a day would be better than no pages a day. But it’s noisy and dirty and chaotic here, and I can’t concentrate. As it is, I’m having to get up at 5 AM to get anything done before the rat bastards descend. And I can’t flip my schedule completely because I can’t sleep when they’re “working.” And I can’t leave to work elsewhere because I have to be around to make sure they don’t destroy the apartment.

I’m gathering references for the moving packets. Even though I can’t get my hands on the cash for a few more months, I want to have everything ready.

Will head to the museum this morning to see the exhibit before it closes (my mom is staying with the cats), and then come back to do some more sorting and purging. And I have to start Confidential Job #1 — it’s due on Friday.

Elsa is a little better this morning; let’s hope she doesn’t get worse now that the rat bastards are back.

It’s relentless, and it’s hard to keep any energy and focus. I feel like I’m fading and failing. And I have to hold the line until I can get out. Thanks so much for all your support. Sometimes it’s all that keeps me going.

I pitched a piece, never thinking they’d really want it, and they came back wanting more than one. I have to go over the terms and then sit down and get them done in the next 72 hours, provided the terms are acceptable. It would be some quick cash on something fun — if it works out. We’ll see.

Devon

First Willowspring Grove novel (first draft, handwritten): 36, 125 words out of est. 100,000 (36%). I’m not sure how I wound up with a lower word count today than yesterday, when I wrote an additional 4 1/2 pages this morning. Headdesk).

Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 6:59 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I seem to have a perpetual heat exhaustion headache. Ick.

Anyway, Saturday was good. I got some stuff done in the morning, cooled down the bedroom with the air conditioning for the cats, and headed off to open studio hours in the afternoon.

I made six little objects: three pinch pots, one raised round disk on square feet that I think will be a candle holder (for pillars), a slab-rolled cut-out leaf design that’s too open to be a bowl, so I think it will hold one of my crystal balls, and a small tray.

I’d stopped at Michael’s to buy a package of loose leaves (like autumn leaves, not tea leaves), because I wanted to try the slab leaf projects a teacher showed us on Wednesday. But these leaves didn’t have deep enough ribs, so, when I tried to roll them onto the slab (using a rolling pin — it’s amazing how useful kitchen tools are in ceramics) it didn’t make a deep enough design. The larger leaves have the clearly defined ribs and work better. So, instead, I used the leaf as a pattern to trace into the slab/tray bottom with my needle tool, and then I drew in the leaves. I rolled, cut, measured, and attached the sides of the tray, putting in extra clay for shrinkage, and hoping it won’t separate once it dries.

There were three other people working in open studio, all on the wheel. We wound up putting out our pieces to dry in the parking lot in the sun (talk about old style) because it was more efficient than just sitting it in front of the fan.

I was there for the whole open studio time — and STILL have clay left over! 😉

But I had a blast. I love, love, love handbuilding and slab work. If there’s a class for that which is for a beginner in the fall, that’s what I want to take. I feel like I should tackle the stuff I’m not good at, but I want it to stay fun. A mixed class would probably be best, but if there’s just a handbuilding class that’s not too advanced, I have a feeling I’ll take that instead. I love rolling the clay (between two cloths) through the slab roller. I love checking it and using the needle tool to remove air bubbles, then sliding it through again a few times. I love figuring out how to cut and shape and playing with tools and texture. It made me happy.

One of the other women there has been taking class for two years. She said that, for the first eighteen months, she couldn’t get the feel of the wheel at all. Then, suddenly, she had a breakthrough, and now she’s obsessed.

Hopefully, I’ll hit a point where I can do wheel as well, but right now, it just discourages and intimidates me. Maybe, once I’ve moved, I’ll take a few private lessons (if I can find a really good teacher), who can baby-step me through both the theoretical and the experiential. Because so much of wheel work is understanding the feel of the clay.

My morning glory somehow managed to grow through the screen and is trailing down the side of the building. Oops!

I go this from Brandy, who got this from Dru . . .

Five things always in my purse: lipstick, pens, small screwdriver for my glasses, a couple of crystals, a Susan B. Anthony dollar (for luck, not to spend)

Five things always in my wallet: driver’s license, bank card, store discount cards (actually, at this point, only Costco, Borders, and Staples Rewards — all the rest are in their own wallet), too many receipts, National Wildlife Federation card.

Five things always in my refrigerator: milk, wine, eggs, cranberry juice, lemons and limes.

Five things always in my closet: Well, my closet is kind of like the one in THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE — it looks small, but I keep putting things into it and it expands to meet need. When I empty it to move, I may find Jimmy Hoffa and a trail to another country in there. At this point, stuff in there includes clothes, my childhood sled, offseason shoes (on-season are on a shoe rack in the bedroom or in the front hall for easy access), boxes of fabric, childhood ballet costumes.

Five things always on my desk: Printer (computer is a laptop, so it travels), gargoyle, crystals, Ganesh statue, too many projects (not that I’m complaining — it means the work is going well).

Sunday was pretty quiet. I got some work done in the morning. I packed up the baking materials and went to my friend’s place, where I baked brownies all afternoon and worked on notes for a new series while the brownies were in the oven and cooling. It was a nice, quiet workspace, both the oven and the airconditioning worked, and I got a lot done.

Quiet night reading and playing with the cats. In the morning, Elsa scooped a blueberry right out of my bowl and started playing with it on the floor, so at least she felt well enough to play.

Hopefully, her medicine arrives today, so we can start it before I leave. I’ve got to do a lot of last minute running around — a bit of bill paying, getting my tickets and money sorted, finish packing, return my friend’s key.

I should have internet in Philly (famous last words), and, for some reason, I’ve decided I want tea towels with Ben Franklin and/or the Liberty Bell on them. Yeah, I don’t get it, either. I’m building up my stock of tea towels/kitchen towels, and am on a novelty tea towel kick.

I’m trying to limit the projects I’m taking, because it will be a busy week: the work for Confidential Job #1, notebooks for two projects, the new booklet, the books on which I’m lecturing, and a couple of other books just to read for fun. That, along with what I’m doing while down there,should give me a productive week.

I do plan to blog all week, internet- permitting, and I hope to get the last bit of the potential contract sorted out, so that I’ll have good news by next week. Here’s hoping.

In the 90’s+ all week in New York, which means it will be even hotter in Philly. I have to mentally gear myself up for a lot of running around hauling luggage in hot weather tomorrow.

Devon

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

We’re supposed to break 100 degrees again today. Ick.

Off to pottery yesterday, for my last regular class. Finally, I found something I”m good at — mask-making. We did slab masks (which means we created a slab on the roller, then shaped it on a newspaper form and decorated it). I’m thrilled with mine.

I have some experience with mask-making, both for ritual purposes and for theatre productions, although I’ve never made one in clay before.

We also trimmed the pots we threw on the wheel. So, I was back to going clockwise, which feels more natural to me, but other than that, it was a disaster. Now, it’s just getting to the point where I’m afraid of the wheel, which is not a good thing. My pot is a disaster, but I’m firing it and glazing it anyway, because when I master my fear of the wheel (like, when I’m 105), I can see how far I’ve come.

Glazed my little tiny pressed mold pot, which looks cute, and glazed my enormous pressed bottle vase. I love the glaze room, and I’ve gone from being fascinated by glazes to being obsessed with them.

Several people praised the pressed bottle vase, which surprised me. I look at it and see the flaws, but they think it’s really cool, the way I played with texture. I thank them for their support of a newbie.

When I get back from Philly, there are a few glazing days, so, provided this work’s been bisque-fired (the first firing), I’ll be able to glaze it and send it on for the second firing.

I received an unexpected check which, I think, will pay for fall’s pottery class.

While I was at class, my mom dealt with the new exterminator now handling the building. He’s very nice and very thorough — what a great change from the guys who wandered in, squirted the hose a few times at baseboards(and then we had to wash away the run-off before the cats stepped in it), and wandered out. Everything he uses is pet-safe (Elsa, being Elsa, followed him around to make sure, and the twins peered out from under a table; Elsa must always supervise and remind anyone who enters that this is a cat-centric household, and she expects proper greetings and pettings) and his equipment is very precise, so there’s no drippage or leakage or it getting onto anything but what he focuses on. With all the construction and other chaos going on, we needed a good exterminator around here, not to mention so many people moving in and out. It’s a fact of living around New York — you have to battle vermin on every level.

Unfortunately, because he was so thorough, it means I can’t use the gas oven for two weeks.

And while that was happening, I’d merrily offered to bake for the final class party that I’ll miss next week, and leave it on Monday at the clay center before I leave for Philly on Tuesday.

So, I called up a friend of mine, who will be away this weekend (she goes to an old family retreat every weekend all summer), and asked if I could borrow her oven. She was just talking to her co-workers about our last adventure when I called, thought the whole thing was funny, and we’re sorting out the key exchange later today.

I received a very exciting offer, but there are a few contract details to sort out, and the person I’m supposed to deal with is on vacation — but the contract is supposed to be signed “immediately” — so I went to the person who sent me the offer and asked who I should deal with in the interim. Someone’s got to be covering, or, if not, it won’t be finalized until that person gets back. Not signing something just because the other side is in a rush. Anyway, IF we get these two contract points sorted out, it will be exciting news and I’ll be able to share it.

Also received my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, which looks pretty darned interesting. Sometimes, I think my editor over there reads my blog!

Elsa’s new medicine did not arrive yesterday — although it was sent out and to the correct address. Why am I not surprised? And, of course, the vet still hasn’t made his promised phone call. She actually was a little better, although she’s kind of droopy. I want to call the acupuncturist/Reiki master recommended by the woman in my pottery class when I get back from Philly and see if I can set up an appointment. Elsa’s moving sometimes as though she’s uncomfortable (although she can still outjump Iris, who never bothers to do the math before she does a jump, but just flings herself on and off things and assumes inanimate objects will move to accommodate her). I think a little acupuncture or some Reiki would do her good. I know I sure as heck could use some Reiki. So, I’ll meet with these people and see if we connect, and then maybe they can at least help Elsa stay more comfortable. Supposedly, they do acupuncture at my vet’s, and I’ve asked for it several times, and the request has been ignored. I’d rather go to an independent professional anyway. My acupuncturist was recommended by both a jockey friend and a trainer’s wife, and she’s been a life saver — certainly a career-saver. I would have had to quit Broadway much sooner because of disability had I not started seeing her.

Anyway, I’ve got some running around to do today, some correspondence, hopefully get some writing in. I got some ideas for a couple of little projects to use up what’s left of my clay, so I might head back to the studio for open studio hours this afternoon and finish up for a couple of hours. Got a couple of things sorted out for the Philly trip — looks like I’ll be dealing with another set of scumbag real estate management company when I hit Philly, who are creating unnecessary problems at the site. I’m used to real estate scumbags by this point, and if they get physical, I’ll file a police report. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. I’m starting to think that 98% of the people who work in real estate make pond scum look like a higher life form.

I am certainly looking forward to things lightening up after July 21. Saturn can’t leave the House of Pisces fast enough for me. Enough life lessons already! 😉

I’ve got to pack for Philly and decide which projects to take with me. I’m doing a lot of running around, so I don’t want to take too many projects and then not get around to doing them. I’m definitely taking both books on which I’m lecturing, to finish the notes and lectures. If the contract is finalized before I leave, I’ll be outlining another project along the same lines (per the contract); if it’s not finalized, I’ll wait. I’ve got the booklet to work on and some short stories. I’ll take the assignment from Confidential Job #1, which I don’t think I can finish before I leave. And, oh, yeah, I kind of have to do the work I’m paid to do while I’m there, right? 🙂 I’ve also got to write up Elsa’s medication schedule and feeding schedule so my mom can take care of it while I’m gone, and cook ahead so my mom doesn’t have to cook while I’m gone.

Yeah, it’ll be a busy weekend. And a hot one. I will probably run the air conditioner a lot. Yesterday, even in air conditioning, I just couldn’t cool down.

Devon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
This weather is disgusting

If this is a “break” . . .use your imagination. Ick. Perhaps the temperature is down outside, but in here, the bricks in the building absorbed the heat from the past few days and I feel like I’m a loaf of bread baking in a traditional oven.

I am not a heat-and-humidity girl, which is one of the many reasons I live in a mid-Atlantic state rather than a more tropical one, and one reason I hope to move further north.

Even Elsa is coping better than I am. Actually, she’s showed steady improvement over the last few days — although she is smart enough to prefer the air conditioning. Violet has ben fine; Iris got all sulky for some reason, kept getting out of the air conditioned room and hiding in one of the hot rooms, so I had to drag her out and back into the cool. Since she’s the fattest of the cats (as the vet says, she is “at the top of her weight range”), I have to watch her carefully in this weather.

I got some work done, mostly reading and note-taking. The possibility of several non-fiction books looms on the horizon — two are fairly new ideas to me, but make sense; one has been swirling around for years, but I think I finally have a handle on it; and one I wrote up an entire notebook of notes on about a year ago, and am now expanding those notes into chapters and essays here and there. I’m going to play with shaping them a little more to see if they are actually viable, and then get to work on outlines, sample chapters, and proposals. Two would go under the Cerridwen Iris Shea moniker and two under the Devon Ellington one.

Also made notes on another piece of fiction, but I’m not sure if anything will ever come of it.

Have to go next door early to look after neighbor’s cat, then it’s off to pottery class. If the studio isn’t sweltering and I’m not at the point of collapse after three hours, I may stay and try to do another hour or so of work. Then, I have to come home, shower, and change — the opening of my first wonderful teacher’s exhibit is tonight, and I want to be there.

I found two potential pottery studios to join in the area in which I hope to relocate. One is close by, but I don’t like it as much as the one that’s about an hour away, and seems run more like this one is. Of course I’d like the one farther away. Once I move if that’s where I land, I’ll attend events at both and see which one feels best. That’s the one I’ll join.

Because I am hooked on clay.

Devon

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 6:45 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, disgusting

It hit 101 here yesterday, with 103 in the city. I was cooked by 8:30 in the morning.

I need to clarify — the power issues have nothing to do with the landlord — it’s strictly the power problems Con Ed has. There are so many millions of people in this area that pressure the grid that the lines burn out. In Queens, a batch of power lines burst into flame Monday into Tuesday night, taking out the power in the neighborhood and landing on cars, torching them. Con Ed’s running around congratulating themselves that only about a dozen major feeds blew out of 1200 — but for the people served by those broken feeds, it’s horrible. The guys actually working the lines are great — it’s the ones making the decisions that are idiots. And, when you have the most densely populated area in the country, you know you need a lot of power. If you can’t provide it, while still raising rates every year by the amounts they do — maybe someone else needs to provide the power. Our monthly payments are contracts, and a power outage like this is breaking the contract.

I am grateful that our power’s held, thus far, and hope it continues today. I am running the air for a few hours, then trying just to sit in the cooled down room with it off during peak hours. Don’t know how many others are following the guidelines, but hopefully, if I’m not the only person in the county doing it, we can keep things going.

I am extremely grateful that I freelance, especially in this type of weather. Most summers, I would be stuck on Metro North — sometimes literally — and, since they are dolts, they run the heat on the trains in the summer and the A/C in winter. I would have to slog through the hot Manhattan streets, and then haul baskets of laundry up and down three to five flights of stairs for hours at a time, then take at least an hour and a half slogging through the streets and on a heated train to return. Those of you that have been reading the blog since the Broadway days probably remember the tales of nightmare commutes and being stuck on Metro North, sometimes until three a.m.

I miss my theatre pals sometimes a lot,and the interaction and adrenalin rush of working a show, but I don’t miss the commute!

I don’t do well in heat and humidity, so I was done before 8 AM yesterday. I barely made it online at all, and the computer was off for most of the day. I didn’t dare take the computer into the air conditioned bedroom to work, for fear I’d run down the battery, the power would go out, and I couldn’t recharge.

I bounced back and forth between keeping my cats in the air conditioned bedroom (barricading the door with pillows, because they hate closed doors and the doors are so warped with paint in this place that they don’t close) and going over next door to run the air for the big cat for a few hours.

I had trouble concentrating — I always do in hot weather. I didn’t take any of the computer work with me. I finished LUCIA, LUCIA by Adriana Trigiani. I think all of you would enjoy it, but it struck me as something particularly that Lara, Dru, Brandy, Ada, and Teresa would like. Dru — it talks about a lot of neighborhoods we know well!

Also read Nicole Peeler’s newest in her Jane True series, TRACKING THE TEMPEST. I’d picked up the first book in the series because the cover was so outstanding, and was pleased that I liked the book (and Nicole) a lot. This builds on the first book beautifully — a great story on its own, but also builds the character arcs of all the regular cast. It’s very well done.

I tried to read an historical research book for a project, but couldn’t focus.

I started re-reading Doris Lessing’s THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK, which I haven’t read since college (and which I may be writing about). It came out the year I was born, and was an enormously influential book in the 1960’s and 1970’s for women and the fight for equality. So it’s very interesting, in this 10th anniversary edition — which came out in the 70’s — to read her introduction detailing that how it was received was quite different than her intent in writing the book.

That’s the thing with writing — you sit there and work your ass off and have a very clear vision of what you’re doing. But once it’s out in the world, people approach it with their own frames of reference. The better the writing is, the stronger the response, the more likely you are to get a wide range of responses. If you spark a response in someone who speaks or writes persuasively about that response, many other readers will either approach it with that frame of reference imposed on their own, predisposed to see it through that secondary lens, or think they SHOULD view it that way, or will be perceived as stupid, and the author’s entire vision of the book is shifted, then, to the critic’s or essayist’s.

Sometimes meanings that the author didn’t realize were there come through, which can be fun or disconcerting: “Hey, I didn’t know that was in there when I wrote it!” (Of course, the subconscious did, but that’s a whole other ball of wax) or “That’s not at ALL what I meant!”

I have some errands to run, which I will try to get out of the way before we hit triple digits — I’m out of cat food, and it would be a good idea to get some people food in, too. Elsa is actually handling everything very well — she’s eating well and every day is a fraction more “Elsa” and less “invalid”. Still waiting to hear back from the vet. She’s lost far too much weight quickly, which puts stress on her liver and kidneys, and, although I want her to put it back on, we have to do it slowly, so as not to stress them in the other direction. I really want to start her on the new medication sooner rather than later.

I hope to start the first of the books I’m deconstructing in fall, re-reading it and taking notes to shape the week of lectures.

We’re being careful in the heat — that’s all we can do. I’m very excited about pottery class tomorrow, but sad I haven’t been able to do any studio time.

Devon

Wednesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, sunny, sticky

The humidity wasn’t a problem yesterday until later in the day, although the heat soared. Today, I doubt we’ll be that lucky. Now they’re saying we’ll break 100. That’s pretty rare around here.

I wanted to put studio time in, but the website wasn’t updated, and no one answered the phone, so it was a pretty good bet they were closed.

I got out a couple of queries for the plays. I finished the draft changing BEHIND THE MAN from a three-act interactive piece to a two-act proscenium piece. I expanded it a bit in Act I and have to add some more in Act II — it’s still a little short. And I need to work on the new material. It’s not yet seamlessly integrated with the other material.

I started the same transformation on THE MATILDA MURDERS. My dilemma there is that one of the jokes in the interactive version is that all the characters interact/acknowledge the audience except Nate, and he starts to wonder if he’s crazy or if they’re crazy. I’ve been trying to make that work in the two-act structure, but it doesn’t. I may have to lose that whole element. That makes the gap between the three-act and two-act versions wider, which is a good thing, but means I have to come up with extra business to replace the business I’m cutting, and, again, make the play longer.

It’s a fascinating process.

Finished Susan Turnbull’s ALMOST FRENCH. In many ways, it works better for me than Elizabeth Gilbert’s overpraised EAT, PRAY, LOVE. Don’t get me wrong — I think Gilbert’s writing is beautiful. But, to me, she went on this incredible journey and ended up in the same place she started. The man was a different individual and the location was different, but she hadn’t really made progress. The entire focus of her existence was still on a man. Yes, she spent time on her own, but one never got a sense that she developed as an individual. It was always in how she related to the men on her journey. And then, the second book of hers that came out a few months ago, is a justification as to why she agreed to marry this new guy after swearing she’d never get married again. Don’t plan to read it. It’s none of my business. It’s her life, not mine. I don’t care what she does, and if she wants to change her mind, that’s up to her. But she’s doing it publicly, and in my opinion, she’s being well-paid to be a hypocrite. It doesn’t matter on a personal level because we are not a part of each other’s lives. I think it’s great she’s a success, good for her, it’s hard to make a living in this business. So, she found out her “ethics” on the matter of remarriage weren’t all that strong when push came to shove and she’d have to make actual compromises for her supposed “principles.” I don’t need to spend my hard-earned money reading her justification. Turnbull, on the other hand, although she comes to Paris because she’s fallen in love with a guy, actually builds a life AND a partnership, and, for all the growth and change she manages during the six years before her marriage, she also stays true to an essential core of herself, even when she makes mistakes, even when it’s not always pretty, even if she’s not always right. And I really like and respect that about both her and her book. She doesn’t make excuses or justifications. She simply IS. She’s doing the best she can, she’s learning along the way, and she’s taking joy in the journey. For a memoir, there’s not a whole lot of naval-gazing going on, and yet she has a wonderful journey of self-discovery.

Roughed out two comedy sketches, one political, one more universal, about scumbag landlords. They still need work — the political one needs more zap leading to the end, and it’s very vicious. I may need to dial down the viciousness, yet still be witty enough to get my point across. But they were fun to write. I want to write two more, polish them, and that will be my first bunch sent to the comedy group.

Started reading Adriana Trigani’s LUCIA, LUCIA, which is a lovely novel. I’m throughly enjoying it. Although most of it is set in the Greenwich Village of the 1950’s, enough of it remained when I went to NYU in the 80’s to enjoy the landmarks. Some of them are still there, but NYU is rapidly buying up all the lovely historical buildings, ripping them down, and building soulless dormitories. I’m sometimes embarrassed to be an NYU alum; it used to mean something, one could take pride in it, but now — they’ve been such poor stewards of the grace and history of the Village for the past twenty years that it’s disgusting.

Will try to get some writing done and read at least a bit of the play sent over by my acquaintance before it gets too hot to work and I have to shut off the computer. We have to “conserve power” — either the air can be on or the TV or the computer. Let’s see, now, Con Ed raises our fees by 17% every year, but can’t provide the power we need. Something’s not only twisted about that, but fraudulent. Their JOB, their reason for existence, is to provide the power we need because we’re paying for it. Fingers crossed they don’t screw us like they usually do — there’s no place I can take the cats to cool down if the power goes out.

No studio time for me today. It’s not even 7:30 in the morning, and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I do not do well in heat and humidity. I am a Winter Girl all the way!

Elsa is hanging in there. She’s not making huge progress, but she’s eating better and interacting more and making decisions. She’s not backsliding, although the heat and humidity are tough on her, too. Still waiting to hear back from the vet about her new medication. Getting a little tired of having to wait at least a week every time I make contact.

Stay cool, stay hydrated.

I’m going back to the page.

Devon