Thurs. July 26, 2018: And Mercury Goes Retrograde, Too!

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Day Before Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I’m tired of everything being perpetually warm and damp.

Mercury goes retrograde today, with all these other retrogrades, and right before a full moon with the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

Yesterday was not a productive day on RELICS, and I’ll have to make it up this weekend. I have a deadline looming (although my editor let me push it back a few days). But this new deadline still must be met. I have Amanda and Phineas’s first real love/sex scene to write, and it’s tricky. I haven’t been in the right headspace to write it, and I can’t just skip it, move on and go back, because how it plays out influences the rest of the book. I know the focus and drive of it and what happens after, but the nuances I’ll discover when actually writing the scene will make a big difference.

Review out, a few blog posts ahead on some other blogs. Worked with a client on a batch of blog posts. The new hire at that client’s place is working well, so far. We’re finding lots of mistakes from the person that left. I also got a raise at this gig, without having to be the one to say, “I’m raising my rate.” Which is nice.

Got some work done restructuring THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so I have an idea of what I have, how much, what needs to be tweaked since I split out the material that grew into MYTH & INTERPRETATION. Behind on where I want/need to be for DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will also have to get caught up this weekend.

The consensus on the DAVY JONES DHARMA cover was that it was too cutesy. Since the Nautical Namaste mysteries intentionally break some of the cozy formula rules, the covers can’t be entirely cozy, although they are more light-hearted than the ones for the other series. My cover designer showed me two other options. My editor, publisher, and I all liked the same one best, and I admit — they were right, I was wrong. The new one fits the tone of the book and the theme of the series better. We’re still debating whether or not to have the figure seated in lotus position, as we did on SAVASANA, to keep it consistent. But it looks wrong, so we might go without.

Also saw a rough of the cover for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I love, love, love!!!! Completely different direction than I expected, and much better.

And the cover for RELICS & REQUIEM is beautiful. We also have a rough of the fourth boo in the Coventina Circle series, GRAVE REACH, which is lovely. The image was originally one of those proposed for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It wasn’t right for that book, but was compelling and fit more in the style of the Coventina Circle books.

So all of those covers are done ahead of time and are in good shape. I’ll be working with my other cover designer on the covers for the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures for next spring, and the next set of covers we need to worry about are those for what used to be POWER OF WORDS, but is now going to be called something else, and get its own logo and subdomain and website and all the rest, so it’s a lot.

I have a few things to do this morning and the library, and then it’s back home to write, write, write!

 

Published in: on July 26, 2018 at 8:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 26, 2018: And Mercury Goes Retrograde, Too!  
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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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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy

It’s so humid that it feels like I’m trying to breathe underwater. Ick.

Drove to Stamford to use a gift card at the bookstore. That was fun. There was also a lovely farmer’s market in the lot beside the bookstore’s. Got some absolutely wonderful produce, still sun-kissed from the gardens. Which contributed to a delightful lunch with a friend.

Called the acupuncturist recommended to me by the woman in my pottery class. She picked up the phone herself; my acquaintance had talked to her about me, so she was expecting my call. We discussed Elsa for awhile, and she actually has an opening this morning, so, off we go.

Elsa thought we were going immediately, and tried to get into the carrier as soon as I was off the phone!

I really don’t think the new medication is helping her much. So, we’ll see what happens here. At the very least, this practitioner can make her more comfortable, even if there’s not much more we can do for her. And quality of life is more important than length. Of course I want Elsa around for a long, long time, but I also don’t want to torture her. When she’s ready to go, she will let me know. She’s made it pretty darned clear she’s not ready yet — she actually was the dominant cat yesterday, for the first time since we lost Felicia several years ago, bossing the twins around.

Read the second book in that series I’ve been reading. It was much tighter, better plotted, better written. If it wrapped up the story, the first book would have been unnecessary, and it could have all been the second book and been just fine. I read the first chapter of the third book, and it’s not grabbing me. So, we’ll see. If I come across it next time I’m in the bookstore, I might pick it up But I’m in no rush.

I also got Yasmine Galenorn’s newest release, NIGHT MYST, the first book of her new series, and I’m reading that and enjoying it very much.

It’s raining and gross outside. Not the kind of weather I want to haul Elsa around in, especially since the directions don’t really make sense to me, but we’ll see. Somehow, it will all work out. And, if it helps Elsa, it’s worth it.

Good first writing session this morning, about 1200 words. Will try to get a little more done before I have to pack up Elsa and go.

Considered applying for an editing job yesterday, but I don’t want to put that much energy into someone else’s work right now. The business writing and articles are fine, because it’s mine, even if I’m doing it to attract customers to someone else’s work. But working on someone else’s creative work — other than reading the piece for my friend — just not in that headspace right now, and why set myself up for a job I won’t enjoy at this point?

Would like to do some more adaptation on the plays so that I can work on query letters and start pitching them in August.

Well, I’ve been assigned an editor for my new book and sent the paperwork for marketing and cover art — but I’ve not signed the contract, so I’m not yet making any announcements. Guess we’re going forward, though, on what I hope will prove to be an exciting new venture. It also means I have to get started on the next book for them – and re-read this manuscript so that I can come up with blurbs, teasers, etc. I want to get that all turned around in the next few days. And it means the photo shoot needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Today is the 38th anniversary of my father’s death.

Devon

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

It is so humid in here that when I walk across the livingroom carpet, I squish moisture out of it. Disgusting. Thank goodness there’s an air conditioner in the bedroom.

Got out a stack of correspondence, headed to the post office. Ran into a neighbor and caught up. Just walking six blocks in the heat nearly killed me. Could have run into another neighbor who is supposedly heading the tenants’ organization, but he’s been so useless and uncommunicative for so long, that I chose to avoid him rather than get into it with him. I don’t want excuses — I want follow-through and some cojones.

I’m re-reading some books that I’ve recommended to someone who’s taking a private course of study with me, so that we can discuss them. It’s been five or six years since I read them, so I figured I needed to refresh my memory.

A few short stories are swirling around my head, and I hope to get them down in the next few days, if I don’t pass out from heat exhaustion. I keep hearing or reading something, and the short story wheels start to whir. Character voices are coming through loud and clear, and I want to get them down before they float away. Muses don’t come when you call — they come when it’s time to write. If you ignore them, they leave you and don’t necessarily come back (they hate disrespect). And on the days they don’t feel like showing up, you have to lean on craft and the notes you took when they were around.

It was too humid to go into the studio and work yesterday — nothing would have dried enough to write up and put on the greenware shelf for firing. So I’m making another attempt to go today. This is really my last shot. Also, the large wheel-throwing class met yesterday before open studio, and, from what I’ve heard, most of the class continues to work through studio hours, so it would have been crowded.

One thing I love about the place is that everyone is nice, and everyone helps everyone.

If I can get in there, I want to work on a couple of pinch pots and do something on the slab.

I picked up the keys to my friend’s place yesterday afternoon, so that I can bake over there tomorrow. I have to pick up a few things at the store when I’m done at the studio in order to do that, and I’ll bring some writing along to work on while the stuff’s actually in the oven and then cooling.

Elsa’s hanging in there. Her medicine still isn’t here (and no one has an answer for me on that — hmm, let’s see, how about sending me another shipment, then?) and still no word from the vet.

Haven’t heard back yet re: the contract negotiations. Hopefully, there will be someone else at the company with whom I can talk in the coming week.

Lori, always happy to brainstorm with you. Always have time.

Brandy, hmm, online writing classes for teens. Try checking with www.savvyauthors.com — email them via the “contact us” feature if you don’t see anything offered and suggest it — I bet they’d bring in someone to teach. Their yearly fee is reasonable, and once you’re a member, some classes are free or at least have even more of a discount. Even if you’re not a member, the fees are reasonable. National Novel Writing Month, in November, has a section for teens, complete with mentors. www.nanowrimo.org. That’s completely free, although they always need donations, so if you donate $10 or $20 bucks or buy a mug or a tee shirt, it helps. Have you checked the Y? I’ve taught at a lot of Y’s, and the prices are usually reasonable, and I also teach at Continuing Ed programs of both high schools, colleges, and community colleges, which often have classes for teens. Let me also ask on the Muse Online loop — I bet someone there would know. I don’t think Muse, where I teach every October, has teen-focused classes, although I’ve had teens in my workshops along with adults. Again, the Muse conference is free — but you have to sign up by August. You could talk to Lea, who runs it, and ask what would be appropriate for your daughter to sit in on. It’s a wonderful week, and it might give her a taste of lots of different things so she can decide in which direction to proceed next.
http://www.freewebs.com/themuseonlinewritersconference/registration.htm is the link, and Lea’s email is at the bottom. We’ll find something good!

I’m trying to figure out what to make as Christmas/Yule/Holiday gifts this year. My mom hoped I could make little pots for everyone, but I just won’t be that good that fast. So I’m exploring other options. I need to get started in August and make things in August and September, because October through December will be wild months.

Okay, must shower, I’m way too sticky for this hour of the morning, and then it’s back to the page for a few hours, before heading back to the studio.

Have a great weekend. Stay cool and hydrated!

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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday, June 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and HOT!

Hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July.

I wanted to start running again today, but between the humidity and coyotes and the warning that the pollution is so bad we shouldn’t run — I didn’t. I’m starting to understand why people use treadmills.

Lots of yoga, though, to make up for it.

We’re supposed to have a week of hot, humid weather in the high 90’s, with heat index bringing it well over 100. Ick. Let’s hope Con Ed doesn’t screw us with a power outage.

I’ve had a good few days working on POWER OF WORDS, getting back into the rhythm of it. Rolling around some other ideas that I hope will migrate from percolation to page in the coming weeks.

Reading ALMOST FRENCH by Sarah Turnbull, and, for the most part, enjoying it. The fact that she adopted a Westie makes me like her (and the book) even more, since I have a soft spot for West Highland Terriers.

Reading all these ex-pat tomes makes me realize that I approach living in a new place very differently than many others. Which is odd, because I’m shy and not outgoing. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always felt like an outsider, so I never worry about whether or not “they” consider me an outsider or not. I’m just me — deal. I start from a position of respect and courtesy. If you try to walk all over me, I won’t put up with it, but politeness is met with politeness. Friendship takes time and shared experience, so you’re not going to go somewhere and make instant friends. It’s more likely to happen in the theatre — I’ve actually made several long-term friendships when my shows travelled — but, again, there’s shared experience.

I don’t sit around and wait for people to be friendly. When I land somewhere, whether it’s a holiday house rental or a stop on the show schedule — I set up house, I find the nearest grocery store, newsagent, cafe, pub, and bookshop. If the newsagent’s is close enough, I get the papers first thing every morning. Newsagents know everything and everyone. I’m polite, pleasant, I listen. I’ve got my notebook and camera, so I’m busy. I walk the neighborhood, learning it, in ever-widening circles. I always meet people who are walking dogs, because almost every dog I meet will stop to greet me. Even if I don’t feel particularly social, I am polite to people I meet. I let things develop organically. There’s always going to be an element of loneliness in a new place — or even a place you’ve lived for years. That’s part of the deal. When you actively participate in what’s around you, everything else happens organically. Granted, it’s easier when one is in theatre, because theatre people are used to transience, and tend to be friendly from the get-go. Even if I’m not in a theatrical capacity, if there’s a local theatre, I know I can find people to talk to. Having Broadway credits gets one through most stage doors.

Several places around here had fireworks last night, close enough to see from the apartment windows, and certainly close enough to feel. The cats were not amused. I left mine in good hands and went next door, to my neighbor’s cat, who was just terrified. I didn’t want him to get overly stressed. I sat with him under the table, petting him and talking to him, until it was quiet again. Poor thing.

If Elsa was healthy, I would have just brought him over at the beginning of this three-week stint and integrated him here, but I think it would be too much chaos for her. Even though she’s the friendly one.

I’m hoping it doesn’t get quite as awful, weather-wise, as they predict. I’d like to get up and about and get a few things done. I’m pretty sure it’s a holiday Monday, so I’m hoping it’s relatively quiet.

The producer who relocated is talking to companies in her new locales about my plays. That’s great, but I need to see a contract if there’s interest. This is my business, not my hobby. So, we’ll see what happens.

I want to get some writing done, some revisions done, and get started on the fantasy novel on which I’m giving the seminar in fall. Two weeks ago, I followed up with someone else on a workshop proposal I sent; chickie said she was on vacation for a month (must be nice, but why no auto-responder? If you put out a call for proposals immediately before going away FOR A MONTH, you need to put up an auto responder — or put out the call when you get back) and would get back to me the next day. Of course, I have yet to hear from her. So I’m not holding the slots. Your disorganization is not my problem, and I don’t put my life on hold because you can’t get it together.

Busy week coming up. I hope I can get in some studio time. And that the weather is not as awful as predicted.

Devon

Published in: on July 5, 2010 at 5:59 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

The humidity let up, thank goodness, because yesterday, it was disgusting. There were severe storms all around us, with enormous damage and possibly tornadoes, but we didn’t see a single raindrop.

Had a good day on POWER OF WORDS, finishing Chapter 15. This whole section is pretty weak, and I have to tear is apart and restructure a lot — I haven’t integrated the logistics well enough into the story, and the two are very interdependent. But at least I have something on paper with which I can wrestle.

Hung out with the cat next door quite a bit — got some reading and writing done over there. Put the air on for him for a few hours, too. He’s a big cat, and he suffers in the heat.

Elsa was in pretty bad shape yesterday. I had to haul around quite a bit to find the tasteless Pedialyte — damn them all for only having flavored varieties in the single-serving sizes. I had to buy a huge bottle. Anyway, since she wouldn’t eat, I gave her Pedialyte every couple of hours all day. She ate a tiny bit in the evening, baby food and a little cooked chicken. She still has what seems like acid reflux, so she wants to eat, but it’s physically difficult for her.

And I”m STILL waiting to hear back from the vet, which irritates me. I think he’s just hoping she’ll fade away at home and be done with it, since I can’t afford to drop tens of thousands of dollars on treatment, and I resent it.

This morning, however, Elsa is very perky and dancing around, shades of the old, funny Elsa. She was very busy all morning, making the rounds she used to make before she was so sick. She ate better than she has in about a week — it was hard work for her, but she was determined– interacted well with the other cats, and is now happily curled up in front of the fan, enjoying the breeze. Best she’s been in a few weeks. I’m hoping it’s not just a momentary rally.

I’m going to do some more research and see what else I can figure out.

I hope to have a reasonably quiet day today. I do have to fight with some scumbags (not landlords for once) who are trying to take advantage of my elderly mother, and I will not tolerate it. I’ve got some paperwork to do, a few more pitches and queries to get out, and a proposal to work on. So, provided dealing with the scumbags doesn’t totally wipe me out, it should be a reasonably productive day.

And, hopefully Elsa will continue to improve. She’s definitely happier and more cheerful than she’s been in awhile. All your good thoughts are helping — thank you!

Devon

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 6:28 am  Comments (7)  
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, sticky, icky

I pretty much wilted yesterday, and fairly early. Got the grocery shopping done, hung out with the neighbor’s cat, got a bit of writing done.

In spite of honoring Fandango, the Air Conditioner Goddess (thank you, Barbara Ardinger), I had all the excitement of a wet dishrag. I am a Winter Girl, born in a snowstorm under a full moon. Heat and humidity don’t do it for me.

The cats got absolutely frantic in the afternoon, trying to get out of the air conditioned room. At first, I thought it was their usual hatred of closed doors. But then, Elsa, who had not been doing well all afternoon (I thought I’d be posting her obituary today), hauled herself up, yanked away the barrier that blocked them from opening the door, pried it open, and led them to “safety.”

Turns out there was an earthquake near Ottawa, and it could be felt all the way down here! I sure didn’t feel it, but the cats did.

Funny thing is, whenever Elsa gets very busy, we always tease her with, “Is there an earthquake in New Jersey?” because once, when there was one, she practically climbed the walls. And this wasn’t in New Jersey, but she could sense it anyway. Always trust the cats and dogs, right? They know what’s going on.

Checked on the neighbor’s cat in the afternoon. That apartment wasn’t too hot. I actually fell asleep with him on my lap for about an hour, which was pretty funny, but at least he had some company. Three weeks is a long time for a cat, and that’s how long his human is away.

I wasn’t very productive yesterday. Today’s supposed to be hotter and more humid, so more of the same. We were supposed to head to Plymouth, MA and just over the bridge on the Cape to take care of a few things, but I can’t leave the cats in this heat. They need the air, and it’s not safe to leave the air on without us here — too much of a fire risk. So we’ll try to go sometime next week instead.

Elsa’s having a hard time eating, still. She wants to, but it’s like she physically can’t. I haven’t heard back from the vet yet, so I’m going to get some Pedialyte and see if that will help. The vet had suggested it earlier, and that’s what we give to actors when they’re ill, but we still have to get them onstage. Feeding her a few teaspoons every couple of hours is keeping her going, but now we need to find something stronger and more longterm. And it’s hard on the other cats, too, especially Violet, who adores Elsa. Iris has my mother as her own, personal human slave, but Violet and Elsa have always been very close. Elsa’s illness is breaking Violet’s heart, as well as not being much fun for Elsa.

I’m going to try to get some work done on a few articles this morning, before it gets too hot to work, and maybe a little bit of work on POWER OF WORDS. I need to work on some proposals, but I’m not up to zippy, excited language today. More like mojito-on-the-beach language.

I am grateful to live someplace where the seasons are clearly defined. I don’t do well in the heat, but I do even less well when there’s an unchangeable climate. I like variety.

Devon

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 5:43 am  Comments (8)  
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Hot and humid

May you have a blessed and joyful Summer Solstice — longest day and shortest night of the year.

This is NOT the start of summer — it’s midsummer, in spite of “oh it’s the first day of summer.” No, the Solstice is MIDSUMMER, as in Midsummer’s Eve, as in, starting tomorrow, the days get shorter until we hit the Fall Equinox when night and day are even again.

A friend and I are going to the celebration at a local spiritual center tonight. I’ve never attended one of their rituals. I went to a couple of events there last year — it’s one of the premiere centers in the area and it’s in my town. In the past, I’ve found them overpriced and catering to the local rich suburban women who live off their husbands, don’t do anything but shop and indulge themselves and want to play at being “spiritual” out of guilt, but by playing at spirituality, they don’t actually have to take responsibility for anything or take any actions that will truly make a difference. In previous experiences, I’ve liked the practitioners, but loathed the attendees. So tonight could be interesting. It could be wonderful, or it could be an exercise in gritting my teeth. All depends who shows up.

I started getting really angry and resentful about it last night — more angry at me than anything else, because I put myself in a stupid situation — my friend asked me for a ride. I’d said yes, not thinking about it. And then I realized: it’s an hour to go pick her up, and hour to get back to the event, an hour to drive her home and an hour for me to get back. That’s four hours to attend an event that’s in my town — a five minute drive from me. It’s too much. I emailed her last night to ask if we could split the difference — if she would take the train to White Plains and I’ll pick her up, and then I’ll drive her back upcounty after the event. That would save me an hour and a half. She better check her email!

The weekend was pretty quiet, thank goodness. Saturday wasn’t as hot as predicted. I actually made a peach spice cake, not the brightest thing to do on a hot summer’s day, but I needed to use up the fresh peaches. It takes five bowls and an hour to prepare and an hour to bake, but it’s really good. It’s from Mollie Katzen’s STILL LIFE WITH MENU cookbook.

Had a great writing session on POWER OF WORDS on Saturday. Went next door to hang out with the neighbor’s cat. Finished THE DEVLIN DIARY. I liked it a lot. Some of it takes place in 1672, some of it in 2008. The material in 1672 is written in the present. It’s a bold stylistic choice and I completely understand why it was made. However, present tense, especially when it’s something that takes place hundreds of years in the past, pushes me out of the narrative and keeps me outside of it, instead of serving its purpose, which is to make me feel in the midst of it. That’s a personal issue I’ve always had with present tense used in anything other than a script. It pushes me out of the narrative and makes me feel excluded. So, even though the sections set in the past — which are, actually, the Diary — were fascinating, I always felt on the outside looking in. So, while I really liked the book a lot, and I want to read THE ROSSETTI LETTERS by the same author, parts of it were a struggle for me. I could never completely lose myself in those sections of the book, the way I could in other sections. LIke I said, it’s a personal response I have to present tense used in this kind of prose, and the book is worth reading.

The book also sent me back to Claire Tomalin’s wonderful biography of Samuel Pepys, which I’ve started to re-read.

Okay, so what is this bullshit in the British press that criticizing BP means criticizing Britain? The money-grubbing greed and carelessness of specific BP executives — and, unless they release names we don’t know where the hell they’re from — caused the deaths of 11 people and is destroying an entire region of the United States. That’s not “Britain” — that’s specific individuals in a typical example of corrupt corporate culture. No one cares that Tony Hayward is British — we care that he’s an irresponsible dick. The fury would be the same, no matter where he was from.

Speaking of corruption, our landlords bought off the current City Council and they sold us out. Typical Republican City Council — hand them money and they close their eyes to any illegalities going on. So when I keep posting about the problems here, and you keep telling me to go to City Hall — the City’s been paid off by the scumbags and has turned their back on us. The landlords can inflict any abuse on us they want, and the city will stand by and laugh, because the price was right. In this town, when Republicans run things, the only way to get anything done is to be the highest bidder. Law, ethics, and values mean nothing. That’s the way it’s worked since we moved here in the 1960’s.

Sunday was hot,humid, and not particularly productive. Elsa was worse, unfortunately. I didn’t get much writing done. I got some reading done, I hung out with the neighbor’s cat. I wound up going through email — since 1and1 actually let me access my accounts. I may be booking four more teaching gigs — three this fall, seminars deconstructing a couple of novels and a film — and teaching one or two workshops for someone else next year. That ups my teaching next year quite a bit, which is good, because it also ups my income. I also spoke to the head of the Muse Conference, explaining that i need to limit the amount of students this year — I can’t do intensive one-on-one comments — which is what the class requires — on an unlimited number of students, and I can’t have people wandering in and out of class whenever they feel like it. Commit and do the work, or don’t. She was very open to that, thank goodness, and understands.

Went to the farmer’s market — radishes, cilantro, a mixed berry tart, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins, fresh rolls — all wonderful. More than I wanted to spend, but the taste and health differentials are worth it. I used up the cilantro right away, making a triple batch of the lime-cilantro mayonnaise, some of which we then had on the rest of the roast beef — it was wonderful.

Unfortunately, we got some bad news about another family member — one who’s younger than I am, married with a couple of kids. He’s very, very ill and it doesn’t loo good.

We had the air conditioner on for awhile yesterday afternoon — once the cats got over their diva fits about the door needing to be closed, they liked it. Even Elsa perked up a bit. She woke me up at three wheezing, but since then, seems to have improved slightly.

I got up and ran this morning — well, walked. It was so humid, when I tried to run, I felt like I was choking and had to stop. I came across an enormous raccoon sorting through the garbage — it was funny. He scuttled under a bush and I made sure to give him plenty of space not to spook him. It was later than I’ve usually been going — instead of setting the alarm, I let myself wake up naturally and just do it. I’d given my body a break from everything all weekend — I didn’t even do any yoga. It needed it.

I also didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, but oh, well. POWER OF WORDS is coming along nicely. Hopefully, the Solstice celebration will be lovely and joyful. And hopefully, Elsa will make up the ground she lost yesterday and continue to improve.

I’m going back to the page for a few hours, and then I’ve got the ever-present errands. It always amazes me how I keep doing errands and more come up!

Devon

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and humid

Yesterday was so much fun! I really enjoyed it.

Got a few things done in the morning, then went to a CT site for a few hours to make sure things were moving along as they should be.

Headed up to Ossining in the late morning. Picked up my friend and we headed back down-county to the NY Botanical Garden. Can I say that the directions on the website suck? The directions had very little to do with the roads we needed to get there. They had some of the big stretches right, but there were small stretches on other roads that they didn’t bother to include. And, since you need the smaller roads to connect to the bigger roads — it was frustrating.

But we got there It was hot, it was humid, but the Edible Garden exhibit was pretty wonderful. Things are in bloom now, everything’s lush and gorgeous. We walked around, took a lot of pictures, and pretty much had the whole garden to ourselves. My favorites were the pools with the lotus and lily pads. (No, that wasn’t part of the Edible exhibit).

We had lunch n the garden cafe and browsed the store, and, all in all, had a nice afternoon.

My friend headed to her Broadway gig. I was stuck in traffic part of the way home. Once I cleared the Bronx, it wasn’t too bad, but getting out of the Bronx was a challenge.

I had dinner back in CT, then headed home. The heat really took a lot out of me. I managed a light weight training session last night, but not much else.

The temperature numbers are lower, but the humidity is stuck between the front moving in from the West, the Great Lakes, and Hurricane Bill, moving in from the East. So it’s oppressive and nothing moves.

I had a great morning’s writing session on “Amends”. I’m really happy with the way it’s developing. The humor’s a little off-beat, but there’s also action and character development and conflict, so I like the way it’s growing.

I’ve got some errands to run this morning, and then I have to print out postcards and get some mailings done.

Hopefully, the Apple personnel and I will talk this afternoon and we’ll actually have some sort of solution. I know I’ve been hard to reach, but I have to make up for the clients and work lost last week due to the computer problems. I want information, not just phone tag.

I’m quite angry about the release of the only man convicted in the Lockerbie bombing by Scotland on “compassionate grounds.” Especially since Libya then slapped the US in the face by staging a hero’s welcome. This man was CONVICTED — it’s not like maybe someone thought he had something to do with it. He was CONVICTED of participating in the murder of 270 people. I was in Lockerbie on September 9, 2001 — two days before 9/11 — it was an incredibly moving experience.

I am deeply disappointed in the Scottish government, and I’m sure there were plenty of political machinations we’ll never know about that had absolutely nothing to do with “compassion”. Some mucky-muck, somewhere, is receiving a personal gain at the expense of those who died.

Devon