January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short

Friday, January 31, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for my January wrap-up. I have mixed feelings about my progress. And then hop over to Affairs of the Pen to see a post about how writing about Sophie and her capacity for joy is such a pleasure.

Got some decent work done at the library yesterday, including getting the numbers put in on the US Numbered Format version of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”
Now, I have to do the same for “Pier-less Crime” and then send them off to the director, so he has the trilogy (since he likes “Horace House” so much).

Got a carload of leaves to the dump. Maybe this weekend, I can do some more yard work, if the weather holds.

Started watched THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW Season 2 last night. Not as tight and funny a group as on Season 1. Competitions just aren’t my thing. When I’m baking, I’m going to keep at it until I get it right, not be forced to do something new to me in a couple of hours. No, thanks. I like this show better than most competition shows (which, for the most part, I loathe). But I still disagree with a lot of the parameters.

Working on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Tearing out a whole subplot section and rebuilding it, which is a challenge.

I have the short story in my head, clear as can be. But can the words find the page properly?

Absolutely disgusted with the GOP Senators. They all belong in prison. And so disappointed in the Chief Justice.

Today is Brexit, so now the UK economy gets to crash, too. Not a good day, all the way around.

How did I do on my intent for the week, for quiet?

I decided not to attend a networking event. Work prevented me from attending meditation group. I kept my mouth shut at work more than I wanted, but it made sense so to do. There were several online conversations I chose not to enter, because the people involved weren’t worth the aggravation. They didn’t want genuine answers to their questions; they wanted their own views reinforced. Not worth the time and energy. I refrained from responding to an insulting email from the potential client meeting last week, where I’d withdrawn from consideration because we were not a good fit. Wednesday, they sent me a rude email saying they were going with someone else. Of course they did — I already told them I wouldn’t work for them. What are they, six? All about control, yet another indication that we weren’t the right fit.

Lots of reading and writing again this weekend; yard work if the weather holds, purging the basement if it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend! I have a slew of errands and bill-paying, and then it’s back to the page.

Thurs. Sept. 19, 2019: Focus Back on the Writing

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image courtesy of voltamax via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cool

Hop on over to see the latest on the garden in Gratitude and Growth.

I had terrible nightmares Tuesday night into Wednesday. I dreamed someone was casting fishing line and I got a fishhook in my face.

Good work on ELLA yesterday morning and this morning. GRAVE REACH is going well, too.

Yesterday was a loooong day at my client’s, not just because I had to go in an hour early for a meeting. Part of it was that I had a migraine; another was that I’d had an excellent session directly before on GRAVE REACH, and it was difficult to switch headspaces.

As usual, the Remote Chat was outstanding. Owl Labs has put together a report on remote work. I downloaded it and look forward to reading it.

NIGHTMARE IN PINK, the next Travis McGee, was also frustrating when it comes to the female characters. There’s some gorgeous writing, such as calling cubicle offices “people kennels.” But the women in the books are awful. And McGee self-romanticizes his obsession with sex. He pretends not to objectify the women he screws and leaves, but he does. He justifies it to himself. He can lie to himself; he can lie to them; I’m not buying what he’s selling. I might have when I was twenty. But I know better now.

I listened to the radio broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” that was done in Florida last spring. It went well. In spite of the gaffe made by one of the actors, who was so charming he took the audience along with him and they applauded when he recovered, overall, it went well. So I damn well better get “Pier-less Crime” polished and out to them.

I have a commitment tomorrow, so I may not blog here. But you can hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk about creating the passenger ensemble for Savasana at Sea. Another Upbeat Authors post will be up on Monday, which is the Equinox. Then we’ll really notice how early it gets dark.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on September 19, 2019 at 9:27 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 19, 2019: Focus Back on the Writing  
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Tues. April 9, 2019: Catching Up on the Adventures

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Waxing Moon

I bet you want to hear about my adventures last week, don’t you?

Which I’ll get to in a minute.

There are all kinds of games to connect writers now on Twitter. Which is great and fun and interesting. But too many of them demand information from WIPs. That does not work for me. If I talk the book, it takes away from writing the book. It dilutes the creativity. Not to mention that actually posting something from a draft blows the ability to sell first rights (and, for the series under contract, they are specific NOT to post anything from a draft, just excerpts from edited, contracted work), and early draft material splattered on the internet is more likely to turn readers off than engage them. It harms the work. It harms the quality. And talking about switching places with the MC or putting them in a different situation — no. Just no. They are part of the construct of their world. Putting them in a different world doesn’t add anything to them or the book. It hurts everything.

So I skip those questions. Because people can post whatever they want on their own timelines.

But I will not put the work at risk. The work is central. The work is what’s important. I’ll talk process until the cows come home, but I only post excerpts and lines and information from the actual work when it’s ready to go out into the world. — once it’s under contract and has been edited.

Wednesday morning, we left early for Vermont. The stretch from the Cape to Worcester is always the worst, but once we got past that, it was nice driving. We drove out of a storm and into sunshine (once we were over the bridge onto the mainland, it was already better weather).

Turned north at Springfield and went into Vermont.

It took a lot longer than I expected it to take. Vermont is interesting, because, although there’s not much traffic, the roads are long and often windy, and you have to drive around things instead of straight shots between destinations.

The quality of light is very different, and the quality of air is very different.

We ended up in a small hotel in Quichee Gorge, which was fine. Drove around to get oriented. Everything seems quite far away from everything else. Weathered and funky rather than ostentatious.

Dinner meeting, took care of some other business. Watched some TV in the room at night, but really, I so prefer watching DVDs. The sound and image got out of sync on one particular station, and it was annoying.

Up early the next morning. Stuck to my morning yoga and meditation routine (I’d brought my travel mat). It was another sunny, lovely, beautiful day.

The hotel served a hot breakfast as part of the stay, which was great. Then I headed off for a day of meetings, some with potential new clients, some with those for whom I do some remote writing. There’s a lot of solar and wind energy, people are dedicated to recycling and doing better for the planet. Fox Disinformation doesn’t play in public areas. People are committed to doing good work while maintaining a high quality of life. I met with a lot of smart people who are good at what they do, which was nice.

It was interesting, busy, creative, but I was tired by the time I was done in the mid-afternoon.

We drove back as far as Sturbridge, and checked into my favorite Publick House. We were up in the Lodge, with all its toile, which always makes me laugh. The room was great, the food in Ebenezer’s Tavern was terrific, and it was a nice way to wind down after a busy couple of days.

Friday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, then drove home. I ran around and did some grocery shopping, and then, exhausted, just worked on contest entries and thank you notes.

Saturday morning, I was up early trying to get things done, and then on the 9:45 bus to Boston. Another gorgeous, sunny day, and much warmer than I expected. It was a lovely ride.

Amazing how much the city coping skills come back instantly. The focus, the confidant stride, the “don’t mess with me” vibe. Even though I’d never ridden the T before (imagine, I’ve lived here for nine years, and it was the first time I took the T), I got my Charlie card, found the Red Line, and off I went.

Of course, it’s public transportation, and nothing is easy. So, at Harvard Square, we had to get off the T because of construction, and were taken by shuttle bus to the next stops.

It was nice to be above ground and get a sense of Harvard and Cambridge and all that.

The theatre was only a few blocks from the Davis Square stop, in Somerville. Somerville reminds me of Queens a bit, and I mean that as a compliment. Lots of great little restaurants and shops, busy, lively, upbeat. People of all ages and diverse — very different from down here on Cape.

Everyone was very nice. They were genuinely happy to see me, which was nice. Because so often, the writer is considered an obstruction to the production instead of an asset.

They did a wonderful, wonderful job with “Confidence Confidant.” Their commitment to the piece, their talent, their excitement, their creativity — it was all great.

I met the director, assistant director, producer, house manager/board member. It was an excellent experience. It was great to meet everyone, and meet some audience members who were excited about it. It was a good-sized house, which thrilled us all, and a very responsive audience. The laughs hit where I hoped they would. I want to tighten the scene in the garden for future productions, and beef up the role of Bill. That role was woefully underwritten, and I’m grateful that the actor made it work.

They suggested I submit “Horace House Hauntings” for their October show. I don’t think it exactly fits the guidelines, since it’s not adapted from legend or folklore, but, you never know. I’ll think about it.

The other play on the bill was also fun, having to do with airships and bank robberies and mistaken identities, adapted from a silent film.

All in all, a lovely afternoon.

Headed back to the shuttle bus, which took me back to the Red Line at Harvard Square, which took me back to South Station. The subways have far fewer seats here than the ones in NYC. People expect to stand.

I tell you, though, there’s even more walking involved in this transit system than in New York. I’d be back in shape within a month if I had to do it every day.

Caught the 5:15 bus, and was back home by 7. Some traffic coming out of Boston, but I just sat on the bus and read my book. The bus was nearly full from the airport when it hit South Station, and those on the bus were disgruntled that more passengers got on, and, heaven forbid, their luggage couldn’t have its own seat. Sorry, sweetie, it’s people before purses.

But P&B has made the bus as a quiet zone — yes, you can call to tell someone which bus you’re on and what time you’ll arrive, but no ongoing conversations during the ride. Makes it much better.

Tired, but happy tired. Still re-watching WEST WING. Worked on more contest entries. Heated up leftovers for dinner. Fell into bed, exhausted.

Had trouble getting up on Sunday, but got there. I should have gone out and done yard work. Instead, I worked on contest entries, planted the rest of my tomato seeds, wrote.

I finished the first draft of the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.” I need to let it sit a few days, because it needs work. Started a draft of “Organizing the Dead” which is a darker paranormal comedy that I might also submit to PMRP. I want to take the idea that derailed the original draft of “Horace House Hauntings” and took it out of farce, and see if I can develop it here. We’ll see.

I’m getting back into the rhythm of GRAVE REACH, which is pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to diving further into this book. Lesley is growing into herself, and Sam is an intriguing character.

This week will be stressful, on a lot of fronts, so I’m trying to mentally prepare.

Worked with a client yesterday, which wore me out, although we did good work. Had another appointment, and then skipped meditation, because I wasn’t feeling well. With a client today, too, and then another location after. Trying to keep all the flaming coconuts in the air and still keep my sanity.

I should go out tonight, but, honestly, I don’t feel up to it.

Back to the page.

Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Only a few more days until Mercury goes direct. The last week of it is always difficult for me. I’m just trying to keep my head down and keep going.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my essay on how the wonderful book SCRATCH, essays and interviews where writers talk about money, had a strong impace.

If you ever dream of writing for film or television, I hope you’ve kept up with how the WGA is fighting to make sure agents avoid conflicts of interest with their “packaging”. I’ve always hated it. Michael Ovitz talks about how he came up with the idea in his memoir. Agents are supposed to represent their clients, not act like additional producers. If they want to produce and create art, then they should switch jobs. But representing both sides of a negotiation — no. We’ll never know how many mediocre projects could have been stellar if the best people for the job had been hired instead of the project “packaged.” There’s a balanced post with both sides of the argument here. I’m also sharing a post by David Simon, who created Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire, who has a great piece about his personal experience with  the practice here.

Friday was about running errands, getting some writing done, working on books for review, and reading contest entries.

We had some snow on Friday night into Saturday, just enough to look like someone dumped powdered sugar over everything. I wrote in the morning, then we took the recycling in to the dump and ran more errands, then wrote more.

Sunday, more writing. Which was upset by the jackasses using leaf blowers. Leaf blowers should be banned on Sundays. Period. Unless it’s clean up after a hurricane or something.

I took a social media break for most of the weekend. I checked in now and then, mostly due to the Mueller Report. But there were too many early-career writers having the same questions, refusing to do any homework, the same arguments over and over and over again.

Everyone needs to start somewhere, to find community, to find encouragement, to learn. But all this repetition shows that people AREN’T learning from each other or researching answers. They can’t be bothered. They’re too in love with the sound of their own tweets, obsessing on how many thousands of followers they can accumulate, or why they lose followers.

But they expect and demand writers with more experience to take away time from their own work to answer questions easily answered by a Google search or by picking up any of the writing magazines. And then, instead of thanking the experienced writer for the time — they start arguing.

Shut the hell up. Say thank you. If you choose not to use the advice, fine. But don’t waste our time and throw our generosity back in our faces by arguing. Every minute spent answering a newbie question is a minute spent away from our own work. Time we can NEVER get back. Most of the time, we are happy to help. Hey, if we can spare someone pain from our own experience, of course we’ll do it. We don’t expect groveling. We don’t expect everything we suggest to work for you. But we expect basic courtesy. Act like the professional you claim you want to grow into. Learn the protocols of your industry, and behave with grace. Because professionals in any industry talk to each other, and remember the asshats. Don’t be a creative vampire.

Sunday into Monday was a challenge. Bad dreams, lonely coyote howls, strange night-calling birds. Awake by 3:30, couldn’t get back to sleep before the alarm went off.

Monday was mostly onsite with a client. A big marketing package I worked on was approved and will now go out. I’m getting us on some additional influencer channels. Meditation group was a much-needed relief.

Monday night was the performance/broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” in Florida. I look forward to hearing how it went.

Today and tomorrow will be with clients, and then it’s down to another few days of intense writing.

April is going to be a busy month, and I have to work to make sure it’s a good busy.

 

Published in: on March 26, 2019 at 5:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires  
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Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I read for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy, intense weekend.

Worked on contest entries and books for review on Friday.

Saturday, I wrote 20 pages on GAMBIT. I planned to keep going, or to switch to one of the other novels, but then I got an email.

The radio theatre company in Florida, where I pitched “Horace House Hauntings” a couple of weeks ago wants to perform/produce it. On March 25th.

Now that’s quick!

So, on March 25, “Horace House Hauntings” will be performed in Florida. The first two weekends in April, “Confidence Confidant” will be performed in Boston. On May 10, “Light Behind the Eyes” will be performed in Minnesota.

That’s a pretty good run of productions.

The company in Florida wants more with Frieda and Lazarus, my protagonists from “Horace House Hauntings.”

So, on Saturday afternoon, I wrote the half of the first draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” which puts them on an ocean liner headed for England.

Page total for Saturday: 35.

I was wiped out.

Watched some of Season 3 of THE WEST WING. Worked on the books for review.

Fell into bed, exhausted.

Sunday, I sort of slept in. I was back at my desk by 8 AM (late for me). I wrote 21 pages on GAMBIT. I wrote a couple of blog posts. I wrote a 7-page letter to an old friend. I finessed two monologues: “Smile” and “Quicksand” from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST and rehearsed them for Wednesday night.

I’m still not happy with the last beat on “Smile.” It’s not there, and I have to have something better by tomorrow night. I tossed it to Women Write Change, and hope they can help.

“Quicksand” takes a nice turn and ends on a gut punch.

“Emotional Labor” isn’t quite ready to test. I’ll do it next month. And I’ll have to decide which other piece to write and prepare.

Exhausted Sunday night, and behind where I want to be in the books for review (although I’m well within deadline).

Monday, I was with a client, and then to meditation group. Today I’ll be with a client and, if the weather holds, I’ll have to get started on yard work later in the afternoon.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. And the full moon. And Mercury Retrograde. And a reading.

Overwhelmed much?

I’d say yes!

Published in: on March 19, 2019 at 5:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend  
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Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Today is my friend Arlene Kay’s launch of her new book, DEATH BY DOGSHOW, the first in her new series! She’s a wonderful writer, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Not loving the Mercury Retrograde thing, especially since it covers most of this month.

I ran around a lot on Friday, doing storm prep, errands, laundry, baking, etc. Got some reading done, but not much writing.

Got a new idea during meditation that I’m playing with. Kind of out of my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me. It needs a lot of figuring out before I can write it.

Slept in Saturday and woke to snow. Snowed most of the day. The heavy, wet kind.

I roughed out three pitches for trade journals, and an idea for another article. The latter probably won’t hit where I plan to pitch it. The editor decided she doesn’t like me, and she always rejects my pitches. As much as the call for pitches got me thinking down the road for this particular article, it makes more sense to pitch it elsewhere. Why beat my head against the wall? So I roughed the pitch but I’m re-thinking where it will go.

Got my hotel booked for NECRWA. That’s a relief. There were rumors all the rooms were booked. But I got my confirmation, etc., so I’m all set.

If you’re in the northeast, and interested in my workshop about using wardrobe as a character development tool, information on the conference is here.

Made some notes on the next section of GAMBIT COLONY, then wrote 16 pages. Made some notes on the next radio play, featuring Frieda and Lazarus from “Horace House Hauntings.” I think I’ll put them on a luxury cruise ship across the Atlantic.

Made some notes for the new idea. It pulls at me, but has to be worked around other things.

Read quite a bit. I really enjoy Ed Ifkovic’s mysteries featuring Edna Ferber as a protagonist.

Started watching the 1982 RCS NICHOLAS NICKLEBY starring Roger Rees. I’d seen it on Broadway, and wanted to see the DVD again. It’s quite wonderful and disturbing.

Up early on Sunday. Did some Canaletto research. The books I need for the next steps in my research are all at the MFA’s library in Boston, and can only be used in-house. So I’m going to have to arrange a day to go into Boston and spend the day researching in the library. Not sure when that will happen.

Read a few more essays in SCRATCH. It really is a wonderful book.

Worked on polishing the trade journal pitches and also on notes for an essay I’m going to pitch to some of the writing magazines. As I checked the websites for the first four listings I made, I saw that the first one has changed their formatting a bit, but the slant I put on my pitch will still probably work; the second has gone out of business since listed, so I have to figure out where else I can send the pitch; the third no longer uses freelancers and does everything in-house; the fourth, I couldn’t access the guidelines from where I was, but I got them yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I can send them a decent pitch. I do, however, have to scan some article clips and turn them into PDFs to go with the pitches.

The article I had an idea for but don’t think a particular editor will take because she doesn’t like me? I re-framed it, and I have an idea where to pitch it to a higher-paid market. And I made some more notes on the essay.

We had a breath between storms on Sunday. It was nice and sunny. The snow that fell after I shoveled Saturday afternoon melted down, so I didn’t have to shovel again.

I’m reading Andrew Lanh’s mysteries, set n the Vietnamese-American community in Hartford, CT. Very well done. I should have been reading other things, but I was too caught up in the book.

Woke up to slush Monday morning. It had snowed a bit, then rained, so it was a big. slushy mess. Got some writing done, then went to work with a client, ran some errands. I’m with a client again today and tomorrow.

I’ll be working on all the other writing, but my primary focus this week is whipping the article pitches into shape and getting them out. I’ve been derelict about article pitches for months now, and I need to get back into the swing of it. I’m a little worried about sending them out during Mercury Retrograde (one shouldn’t sign contracts during the retrograde), but I also don’t want to put myself back another month, and sending them out now doesn’t mean I’ll get hired during the retrograde.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2019 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches  
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Wed. Feb. 27, 2019: Gigs, Etc.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Waning Moon

Monday’s windstorm was a little scary. We didn’t lose power, thank goodness, but driving was tough.

I got caught up in a work thing and missed meditation group, which was kind of a bummer.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where we’re working on the personal strategic plan.

Worked on contest entries, the book I’m reviewing, wrote some more on GAMBIT COLONY. Figured out a conflict that needs to deepen in one of my other books. I need to compare the numbered and unnumbered drafts of “Horace House Hauntings” before I send the unnumbered draft to another radio production company. They’re in completely different areas of the country, so there’s no conflict.

Didn’t get a particular gig for which I’d pitched, but it was a stretch, and no big surprise. I’ve got some other irons in the fire in that particular direction; one of them will hit true.

Saw an ad to ghostwrite romance novels. They pay $15 per 1000 words. That works out to one and a half cents per word. That’s beyond insulting. Especially in light of the controversy where a “romance author” was accused of plagiarism and then said it was her ghostwriter’s fault.

I’ve always wanted to write juvenile series fiction (like Nancy Drew) for a book packager, but I sure as heck wouldn’t do it for rates like that.

Worked on an ad campaign and a mailing for a client. Did some more work on one of my own promotional campaigns. Gotta say, I’m loving the Twuffer platform. Also pleased that the campaign I’ve been running for one of my clients on Twuffer is getting about a solid, daily return.

I had trouble booking the room online for the conference at which I’m teaching, so I sent them a letter with a check for deposit instead. Hopefully, that will work.

We’re supposed to get more snow tonight into tomorrow. Tomorrow’s post may be late, depending on how much snow we actually get and how long it takes me to shovel.

Totally loving watching THE WEST WING for the umpteenth time. Those little detail moments between the characters are brilliant. I love the fast delivery and that they’re smart.

I always learn so much from watching well-written, well-acted, well-produced shows.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 27, 2019 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 27, 2019: Gigs, Etc.  
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Tues. Feb. 19, 2019: Writing & Weather

Tuesday, February 19. 2019
Full Moon
Sunny and not too cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see how I fared reading horror on the first month of the Reader Expansion Challenge. My choice this time around was in the horror genre, and I read Grady Hendrix’s WE SOLD OUR SOULS.

I cut myself some slack this holiday weekend. I did a lot of reading: what I felt like reading just because, research for various projects, contest entries, and the next book I have to review.

Writing-wise, I finished the short comic ghost radio play, “Horace House Hauntings” and polished it. The ending had to be rewritten quite a few times, because it kept going off track. Then, I changed the murderer (again), and it all fell into place. It goes out to the company in Minnesota today.

Started the next comic radio mystery play, which is set in the Straw Hat Circuit. I was going to set it in the early 1950’s, but the heyday was in the late 30’s, so I’m moving it back. I’ve been playing with titles for it. And I’m going to have a running joke about wardrobe in it. I got about 12 pages done on it, and it’s not quite as comic as I expected. More of a drama. And likely a two-parter, not wound up in a single 30 minute episode.

Worked on GAMBIT COLONY more than I should have — I have other pieces on a tighter deadline.

Worked on the monologue, to the point of rehearsing it. Still not sure if it’s ready to test by tomorrow night. Plus, there’s another storm coming in tomorrow night, so it might be again a moot point.

Sunday night into Monday, we had a snowstorm. Not anywhere near as bad as predicted, but I was glad I didn’t have to go in for any client work. Especially since they didn’t bother to plow the road, and it got mushy, and then icy. It meant I also couldn’t get out of our little road and down to Provincetown for the only local protest against this false National Emergency the Narcissistic Sociopath Autocrat declared.

Shoveling wasn’t too bad, except for the place where the plow packed everything at the bottom of the driveway. That’s always killer. Me with my little orange shovel having to undo what a two-ton plow packed down.

Monday’s meditation group was cancelled, due to the storm, and I missed it.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then some other appointments; same tomorrow.

Plus, of course, writing.

Published in: on February 19, 2019 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 19, 2019: Writing & Weather  
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