Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Andrew Singer’s wonderful memoir, China Sings To Me.

The 17th Anniversary of 9/11. I knew a lot of people who died that day. I still grieve. I perform my own ceremony of remembrance.

I get annoyed when people book social events, etc. on this day, but it’s not up to me. What is up to me is not engaging, and keeping it a day of remembrance in the way that works for me. People have the right to live their lives. I have the right to live mine.

For me, this day is about remembrance, commitment to those for whom I care, and trying to figure out how to make the world a better place that’s not fear-based. I have a long way to go, but at least I put in the work.

There was some sort of stomach bug prevalent in the house over the last few days. I had trouble Thursday and Saturday; my mom was sick Saturday into Sunday.

I managed to finish this draft of RELICS on Saturday night and get it off to my editor. I’ll get editing notes back later this week, turn it around, and then we go into galleys.

Meanwhile, DAVY JONES DHARMA moves into the Priority slot, with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE moving back into the secondary slot (out of the “I’ll work on it whenever” slot). CRAVE THE HUNT and the rest of what used to be POWER OF WORDS are in the “whenever” slot, and I’m percolating the opening chapter of GRAVE REACH, which goes into the back of RELICS.

GRAVE REACH is outlined, but I’m on a tight schedule for it, and have to get cracking. That will also be in a “whenever” slots.

I read some nonfiction books by an author whose work I’ve followed for decades. Some of her work resonates with me; some does not. She is not someone I want to meet or work with, though. Too many of her quirks annoy me: they’re not honest or endearing; I find them selfish and hypocritical.

But then, as someone pointed out a couple of years ago, we all have areas in which we’re hypocrites. We simply choose our level of hypocrisy. I’m trying to narrow those areas in my own life. Again, work in progress.

Also read an urban fantasy novel by a new-to-me author. I’d read one of her short stories in an anthology and liked it, so I figured I’d try a full-length book. The only book I could get from the library was in the middle of the series. Loved the action. Although, after awhile, it was too much action and not enough happening in between. The sex scenes were necessary to drive the plot, and were pretty well written, but ten pages plus, in my opinion, is too long in this case. Some of the best development of supporting characters I’ve seen in a long time. I wasn’t so thrilled about the protagonist. This was book six and she was in a place I’d have expected in the middle of book one or maybe book two. She doesn’t make a mistake once and then learn from it. She makes it five or six times, finds a solution by accident, but doesn’t apply it moving forward. That bothers me. She found out information and, at the end, it looked like she evolved, but when I read the reviews for the next few books in the series, it seems like she’s doing same old, same old. Also, according to the reviews, the cliffhanger set up at the end of this book still isn’t resolved two books down. I’m not sure I’m willing to go ahead indefinitely with constant cliffhangers, so that each book is like an overlong chapter. Especially since the cliffhanger involves the character that was my favorite in the book.

I rarely use reviews to make a decision about whether or not to read a book, but I had suspicions about where this was going, and wasn’t sure I wanted to put time into it, which is why I hunted down the reviews. I’m on the fence. If I can come across the next two books easily via the commonwealth catalogue or something (they’re not in CLAMS), I’ll try them.

Then I feel guilty, because I should support my fellow writers. However, this woman has plenty of sales — mine won’t matter! And, since a library book is a sale for her, it works all around.

I was really disgusted by the way Serena Williams was treated at the US Open. Men get away with questioning the umpire, but heaven forbid a woman, especially a talented black woman, do the same. The crowd also treated Naomi Osaka terribly. It should have been a glorious day for her, not a misogynistic one.

With Hurricane Florence a threat, I have to finish what I’m doing, cleaning-up wise, on the deck in the next few days. Here I’d hoped I’d have until nearly the end of October to use the deck as a staging area as I clean out, but I guess not.

Rehearsing for the reading, working on the calendar articles.

Onsite client work yesterday, today, tomorrow. Trying to find a new angle for the current and upcoming collections.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with cover reveals for the next three books. Next newsletter is December’s.

Working on my sell sheet for the weekend (and beyond), too.

Sent off a guest blog post. Working on the calendar articles. I want them done by the end of the month.

Got an idea from some of the non-fiction reading I’ve been doing for a novel. Playing with the setting, characters, themes, plot. We’ll see.

Working on the book I have to review.

Working. Working. Working.

I like it.

 

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Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Rainy and muggy

Tuesday night, there was a lovely Savasana/Reiki session at my yoga studio. I’m so glad I went. I felt so much better after.

Tessa wouldn’t eat her food (she only eats one kind of dry food, with another as an occasional treat), so at 6:30 in the morning yesterday, I went to 711 to get her a fresh box of her “treat” food, since the pet food store wasn’t open. She ate that. So her regular food must have gotten stale or something. Then, this morning, she didn’t want that food, and ate her normal food again. She’s bored and acting out. I need to give her more to do. Iris is too old to be a good companion for her.

It was difficult to make much progress on RELICS on Wednesday. My head wasn’t in the game.

Now that the US has pulled out of the UN’s Human Rights Council and believes that gives them the freedom to do anything they want, harm anyone they want, I hope that the world will prosecute this administration for human rights violations and war crimes in the Hague.

If a baker can refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding and say it’s because of his “religion” than any ethical and moral individual can refuse to sell to, serve, or otherwise provide any good or service to any individual who participates in this atrocity. And we all should. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Frontier Air took important steps yesterday to do just that. Prosecute the participants, the way Nazi collaborators were prosecuted after WWII. Cut them out of the community. Refuse them the sacraments. After all, they are tearing rosaries away from immigrants — why should they be allowed the comfort they deny others? Nor should they be absolved in a confessional and allowed to return to committing the same atrocities again.

If these were white children being detained, these gun rights militias would have already stormed the camps and freed them. But, since gun rights militants tend to also be white supremacists (not to mention hypocrites), they haven’t done anything. Or even spoken out.

A large faction of Methodists has spoken out against Jeff Sessions and threatened to expel him from the church. Good. He’s been hiding behind “religion” to justify his atrocities. His religious leaders, if they actually walk their path, should condemn and expel him. Then he should go on trial for human rights violations. All the evangelicals who haven’t spoken out, who aren’t doing anything — again, proves that they aren’t followers of Christ at all, but hypocrites. Like people with critical thinking skills didn’t already know that.

Some Republican Senators are saying this is wrong. Yet they refuse to sign on to Senator Diane Feinstein’s bill that would stop this. Because Republicans don’t really mean it, and aren’t willing to work across the aisle for a solution. It’s beyond not being willing to work with Democrats. It is because Republicans AGREE with the policies. They would rather see an entire generation of children destroyed for not being white and world-wide anti-Americanism on the rise than put country over party. It is racism and the worst kind of nationalism.

We cannot wait until November. They must be stopped NOW.

That EO signed by the Narcissistic Sociopath yesterday does not solve the problem. It was a photo op to stop some of the shouting by those who can’t be bothered to read beyond a headline. It continues to put asylum seekers — something that is LEGAL — into concentration camps. It does not reunite the children already separated from their parents. It is not acceptable.

I am deeply disappointed in some that I thought were decent human beings and have proven themselves otherwise by continuing to support and excuse this corrupt administration. Including some who claimed they voted R on “religious grounds.”

I’ve said it before and I repeat: Good people did not vote for this administration. The minute they pulled that voter lever, they forfeited any “good person” status and let the mask slip, revealing who they really are.

In the book I’m currently reading, Dolores Stewart Riccio’s THE DIVINE CIRCLE OF LADIES MAKING MISCHIEF, on page 108, she has a beautiful sentence: “The heart always has room for one more.”

Unless one supports this administration. Then, the heart has room for no one.

Had hoped to do some yard work today, but don’t know if the weather will let up so I can. I need to work on RELICS, and I also need to finish the proofs for MYTH.

It’s so important to show up and do the work every day, to keep creating, to refuse to be silenced during this dark time. It’s tough, but necessary.

Hopefully, tonight’s ritual will serve to both soothe and to activate.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 21, 2018 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World  
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Thurs. Oct. 12, 2017: Feigned Outrage Hypocrisy

Thursday, October 11, 2107
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I have to say that I’m sick and tired of the feigned outrage at Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. I don’t condone it at all; however, having worked in the business during the time he rose to power I know, first-hand, how he — and plenty of other people in power — were enabled and how most in the industry looked the other way. For decades. Many of those same individuals are now pretending to be shocked and outraged. Not because they are, but because it’s fashionable so to do.

When someone behaves this way in the entertainment industry, it’s not a secret. It is known by others who work in the business. You are warned not to be alone with the person, not to have meetings in hotel rooms or suites; make sure it’s in their office WITH OTHER STAFF AROUND, or in restaurants or hotel lobbies.

This can be difficult, because, especially in creative work, there are perfectly legitimate meetings that one wants to have in private — not because something predatory is going on, but because you want and need the freedom to get up and act out portions of the work. Pacing, muttering, running dialogue, brainstorming — none of those things can happen in public. It can happen in an office meeting; it can happen in a rehearsal studio. Often, very often, depending on schedules, it happens in hotel rooms or in residences. That doesn’t mean there’s the intent for anything beyond the work.

You have to know who you’re dealing with.

Also, the profession is a very tactile one. People are physically affectionate with each other. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sexual. It’s also important for everyone to be sensitive to what everyone else is comfortable with, and adjust one’s behavior so that EVERYONE is comfortable.

As a crew member, I had less to worry about on this level than actors do. Actors, regardless of gender, are vulnerable to more explicit overtures. As a wardrobe person, there were plenty of times when an actor was expecting a producer or a director in the dressing room and asked me to stay because he or she was uncomfortable being alone with that particular individual. Often, I’d busy myself in the background, making a repair on the costume. Basically, my job was similar to a Victorian-era chaperone. If the situation escalated to the point where the actor was uncomfortable, I made the choice to intervene in a passive-aggressive way (creating a task that physically put me between the individual and the actor) or an active way (saying I felt the behavior was inappropriate). I’ve done both. Sometimes, the individual would ask me to leave. Some actors would then speak up and say they were more comfortable with me in the room; others would throw me a terrified look, and it was up to me to say I would not leave, and I’d have to gauge the risk of whether or not to say why. Either way, it put my job at risk, but that is another reason why unions and their protections are so important. This was regardless of the actor’s gender; Both men and women have to deal with that, and they have to deal with it FROM both men and women.

In fact, during the late 1990s, predatory behavior from women was encouraged on some fronts as “leveling the playing field” and “acting like a man in a man’s world.” Um, no. Predatory behavior is predatory behavior.

As a wardrobe person, I rarely had to worry about inappropriate behavior FROM an actor. After all, you’re dealing with them in their underwear or less in the dressing room. There has to be implicit trust both ways. You are the actor’s first line of defense against the world. On the rare occasions when an actor did something that made me uncomfortable, I said, “That makes me uncomfortable.” I never encountered an actor who didn’t immediately apologize and the behavior was adjusted. We moved on without a problem. There were rare times when an actor I knew well approached me because another crew member made him or her uncomfortable, and then I pulled that person aside to deal with it. Usually, that was not the crew member’s intent and the behavior was adjusted. There was only one instance in nearly 30 years of backstage work where it had to go to a supervisor and the person was reassigned with warning, and that individual was more reserved in the future. Often, there is no malicious intent, and it’s a case of crossed wires. When that’s the case, being honest about comfort levels usually fixes the problem, and both sides can move on without suspicion. Open communication, actual listening, and behavioral adjustments solved the problem when it was a misunderstanding, and not a campaign of power or seduction. Sometimes, words or actions or intent are mis-interpreted. If you speak up right away, respectfully and diplomatically (but with directness), you can stop it from escalating in many instances.

Relationships/affairs, et al do happen in these environments. People are attracted to each other, especially in a high stress, creatively focused situation. People act on those attractions. Sometimes it’s only for the run of the show or the time it takes to film. Sometimes, the relationship is more substantial. The difference is whether both parties want it, or one party feels coerced and like he/she doesn’t have a choice because of the power structure. Or when one party says “no” and it’s not respected.

Predatory producers and directors don’t usually hit on crew. If something develops, it’s usually mutual. Plus, producers and directors are usually too busy with the actors to pay much attention to the crew.

If another crew member made me uncomfortable, I’d first talk to them directly about it. If the behavior didn’t change, I went to my supervisor. In fact, in most cases, when I ran interference for an actor with someone higher in the food chain, I also let my supervisor know. I was lucky with most of my supervisors; while we sometimes disagreed on certain protocols or issues, as far as protecting their people, most supervisors were dedicated. As I was, when I was a supervisor.

As a supervisor, if I needed to intervene and talk to the parties directly involved, I did. If that didn’t work, I talked to someone higher up in the food chain. It was unlikely that I would talk to someone, get a “yes ma’am” apology, and the behavior would continue unchecked; it’s difficult to keep secrets backstage. It’s easier on a film set, but, still, there’s always somebody who knows what’s going on. Plus, if I had to talk to someone, I’d then pay close attention to the behavior from that point out. I also kept logs: dates, times, when someone spoke to me, etc. If it could be resolved without going into official reports, it was; if the problem continued, I had the logs and could then put it into the report, along with the steps taken to try to resolve it before it was reported up the food chain. There have also been times when something struck me as uncomfortable, and I’ve asked the person about it and been told, “oh, no, I’m fine with it. We’re just playing.” Every situation is different, and the people directly involved have to make the decisions, be listened to, and the mutual choices respected.

As a writer, I had to deal with what would now be called “sexual harassment” much more directly. Most meetings with producers, agents, directors, assistants, et al, were fine. You connect or you don’t — and connection is so important on a creative project. You’re comfortable with each other or you’re not. You feel you can work together or not. As a writer, particularly in a competitive business, you are constantly tested on your boundaries — how far are you willing to compromise to get film or TV money? And it’s not just the money, but it can get your career on a track to more money, and also, seeing your project come to life? Creatively, it often has to do with how much you’re willing to change your vision to the ideas those who might pay you want. We’ve all heard about the meetings with the ridiculous notes, where the writer has to decide whether to keep going or bow out. If you haven’t read William Goldman or John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion’s experiences in Hollywood.

But sometimes, sometimes, the demand is for more. Usually, it’s just a suggestion. You try to ignore it or brush it off. I found the best way to deal with it was to make a joke of it and try to move on. If the individual has integrity and was just testing the waters, he/she laughs at the joke, drops the pressure, and you both move on to the work. If not, the pressure intensifies. That’s when you have to decide where your boundary is and when you’re willing to walk away. You walk away knowing that this individual, who is in a position of economic power over you, can derail your career.

If and when it gets physical, you decide how to respond. I always found flinging an ashtray useful. More difficult now, in these no-smoking days. When I was first starting out and afraid to speak up, it was more likely to go farther and have physical consequences. Also, I was younger and cuter. But, as I fought to build my self-esteem, and was more and more determined that “no means no,” the decision to walk away or speak up or get physical in self-defense was easier and easier.

Agents need to step up in this whole issue. Agents and casting directors KNOW who is predatory. Agents — whose job it is to protect their clients — need to do just that. If you don’t send your clients out to predatory creatives, they won’t have the talent pool to pull off their projects. If you speak up when one of your clients complains about inappropriate behavior, and if the agent pool as a whole spoke up, there would be less of it. However, for far too long, this behavior has been considered part of the industry. For how many decades have there been jokes about the casting couch or about chasing the actress around the desk? These stories come from actual experience. It doesn’t make it right, and it is definitely time for it to stop.

But the enablers of these predatory individuals HAVE to step up and be part of the solution, because they sure as hell have been part of the problem for decades.

At the same time, a lot of this particular “sensitivity training” is a joke. I worked for a TV show on a major network, while I still lived in New York. All the productions in the studio were shut down for a morning (putting us all behind schedule, meaning we’d be working until at least 1 AM that day, probably 3 AM, after a 6:30 AM start), to be herded into one of the sound stages set up for “sexual harassment sensitivity training.”

It was one of the stupidest mornings that I ever spent. Maybe it would have worked on third graders as an anti-bullying campaign. But it had very little to do with the reality of adults working on a set. It was also insulting to our collective intelligence. When we left the session, all of us walked out of there saying the most inappropriate and insensitive things we could think of, and pretended to make grabs at each other. It was all out of an attempt to break our frustration with humor, and no one in my group of people was offended by anyone else’s remarks or behavior IN THAT MOMENT. We were also a group, on our show at least, that was already good about communicating, and, frankly, on our schedule, too damn tired to harass each other seriously.

However, on another show on the same network that I left (for other reasons), I heard that there were problems with a couple of young actors regularly getting drunk in their trailers and being inappropriate with wardrobe personnel, PAs, etc. The show was cancelled (due to low ratings) and I don’t think any charges were ever filed; but most people I knew refused jobs from there out if those actors were involved. I might add that none of those actors made a big name for themselves.

The worst of this was before 2000. It’s been better since then, but there’s still a long way to go. In fact, in my upcoming novel THE FIX IT GIRL, set in Hollywood in the early 1930s, it deals with some of the issues women in the business faced.

As far as the Donna Karan controversy in her defense of Weinstein, again, there are layers, and there’s my personal opinion. On the one hand, good for her for sticking up for her friend. Your friends are your friends, and you have to decide where to draw the lines when it’s proven they do something you find reprehensible. Where can you say, “I think that was awful, you need to get help/change your behavior/make amends/be punished” and where do you throw in the towel? That has to be on personal weighing what the accusation is, what the proof is, and your direct experience with that individual, not the current media pressure. It has to be an individual decision, and, either way, the decision has consequences.

However, saying that some women “ask” for it rightly infuriates the mob. Let me be clear that I know of instances where so-called victims cried wolf in order to cause harm and take revenge. When I was in college for a year down south, where the bulk of my contemporaries were openly there to earn their “M-R-S” degrees, one of the girls (and I use “girl” not “woman” deliberately) who was in the suite across the bathroom from me openly talked about how she was going to falsely tell her ex-boyfriend she’d been attacked because then he’d feel sorry for her and get back together. Her mistake was that the ex in question was now currently dating ME. I’ve heard an actress declare that she was angry at not getting cast in a role, so she was going to tell people the director didn’t cast her because she wouldn’t sleep with him, even though he’d never made an overture. (There are cases where this is true and someone isn’t cast because they won’t play casting couch; but this was not one of them).

These instances are very, very rare. Unfortunately, in addition to destroying an innocent person’s reputation, a “victim” making a false accusation means the next 1000 true accusations won’t be taken seriously, because the false victim has just validated the “blame the victim” faction. That needs to change. Accusations need to be taken seriously and investigated. And when numerous people speak up against the same individual, it has to be taken seriously.

Plus, especially in the entertainment industry, in EVERY industry, the enablers need to stop enabling the behavior.

What’s also interesting/disturbing is that many of these predators don’t NEED to be predators. Their position alone means dozens of willing partners fling themselves at these individuals regularly. What is it about their psychology that makes them pressure those who say no?

I don’t know Donna Karan. I know, working in wardrobe, some of her pieces were used by costume designers. I liked some of her designs; I felt they were overpriced. She talks a lot about living a “yogic” lifestyle — organic, compassionate, et al — yet I feel her actions often betray that, especially when it comes to her price points. So I’m not surprised at her choice of words — which, to me, is counter to a “yogic” lifestyle. I’ve crossed paths with Weinstein over the years, but I don’t know him. I was way too far down on the food chain to be of any interest to him, which was fine with me. I just heard stories and was warned not to be alone with him.

While perceptions and standards of behavior are changing, again, predators are well-known. There’s often the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” or the “well, that’s just the way he/she is, you need to deal with it.” So, all of this feigned outrage now that a power player’s been caught out and is paying the price is hypocrisy. We’ll see if anything actually changes.

After all, look who the GOP put in the White House, and how they are systematically waging a war against women on every front of civil and reproductive rights. I was talking to someone who is reading a book about abolition and pre-Civil War rights, who pointed out that we are being rolled back to those laws, against both women and non-whites.

I also want to point out that, in my personal experience, it was far worse as a temp in corporate environments, as I worked my way up to full-time theatre work. How often did I have to physically fend off drunken corporate types? How often did they go out to lunch, come back drunk, and get grabby? How many companies did I work in where “secretaries” did the actual work while handsy execs practiced golf swings in their offices? There were plenty of times when I had to physically defend myself. I’m not talking about slapping someone’s hand away AFTER I’d repeatedly told them to stop. I’m talking punch-in-the-jaw or knee-in-the-groin. It happened FAR more often to me in the corporate environment than in the entertainment environment.

And, when I reported it, well, too bad for me. If I went to HR in the company itself, “your services were no longer required. Why can’t you just go along with it? No one wants a troublemaker.” If I reported it to my temp agency — the good agencies moved me immediately to a different assignment. But, too often, I was told, “we don’t want to upset the client. Just stay quiet and work through it.”

Um, no. I walked out of several temp jobs and away from several agencies because they condoned and enabled the clients’ sexual harassment. I considered it a form of pimping. Sorry, not interested in being a prostitute.

This culture has to change. With the current administration in charge, I don’t think it will. There will be the occasional public sacrifices (“take one for the team”), but actual legislation will make things worse. It wouldn’t surprise me if this particular administration passed legislation legalizing rape.

It needs to change. Which means WE need to be the ones to change it. On legislative and personal levels.

 

Published in: on October 12, 2017 at 10:40 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 12, 2017: Feigned Outrage Hypocrisy  
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Tues. Feb. 14, 2017: We Vote So We’ll Be Left Alone

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold
Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. Please know that each of you is valued.

When you live on Cape Cod, your life revolves around the weather no matter what else is going on in the world.

So it was this weekend. We had some storms come through, although not as bad for us as predicted. The family in Maine got about two more feet of snow dumped on them, with more on the way.

But I stayed in, wrote A LOT (I think nearly 70 pages in total), researched the Italian Renaissance, studied Constitutional Law. On Sunday, I had to drive to a designated site to take the quiz. It was not a space conducive to concentration. I did reasonably well on the quiz — two questions wrong. But, for my own standards, getting any wrong is not okay, so I’m frustrated with myself. But when you’re on a timed site and people keep coming up and talking to you, demanding you drop what you’re doing to take care of them — even though it’s not your job, and you’re just there as a fellow patron — even if you say, “I can’t talk, I’m on a timed site”, it breaks the concentration needed to be successful on the material. However, there’s no room for excuses. It was what it was, and I’ll just have to do better next time, no matter what the distractions.

Add to that snow shoveling and power fluctuations, and I’m a little tired.

Add to that the work I’ve been doing with my elected officials, and I’m even more tired.

So, General Flynn apologized and resigned, and now we’re supposed to forget. Um, no. There’s no way he behaved in a vacuum. He knowingly took actions that sabotaged a sitting president and put the country at risk, and I believe he did so with the full knowledge and encouragement of the incoming president. That is not okay.

There needs to be a full and independent investigation, not just of this portion of it, but of the interconnections. Treason is going on. Not a mistake, not jumping the gun — treason.

Every Senator who agreed to the rushed confirmation and voted for this guy needs to apologize to the American people (with additional apologies to their own constituencies) and cooperate in the investigation. I believe that the investigation will find that some of them colluded and others were complicit in their silence. It needs to be untangled.

Supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath now want David Patreus to take over. Someone who’d have to get permission from his parole officer to travel. Someone who shared confidential security information with his mistress. Just because she was also American doesn’t make it okay.

Anyone who is nominated must be thoroughly vetted BEFORE confirmation. No more of this rushing. The GOP needs to stop ramming both the unqualified and the corrupt down our throats.

Any Senator who continues so to do must be removed as soon as is possible, be it in the next election, or because that individual, too, is discovered to have committed treason.

Treason is not “disagreeing” with the government, or protesting. It is knowingly and willingly working to undermine it, which the GOP has been doing since 2008. It has to stop. Their oath is to Constitution (meaning “We the People”), not party. Anyone who does otherwise has to go.

That’s why, in all this discussion about flipping districts, I’m not blindly supporting someone just because there’s a “D” next to the name. The individual needs to be researched. If I don’t think a candidate is ethical or able to stand up for beliefs, that candidate is not getting my support, no matter what the letter next to the name. Blue Dog Dems need to go — there’s no reason to have someone in there with a “D” next to the name if they’re going to vote blindly Republican instead of Democrat, or at least standing as an individual. The party platforms are now far enough apart so that if you support one or the other, that’s the party you sign with. If you don’t believe in healthcare or Medicare or Social Security, then don’t run as a Democrat. Putting someone in to a slot just to get enough letters in a particular column doesn’t do any good if they disagree with the policies that got them into office in the first place. You can be bipartisan without betraying either party or country. It sounds contradictory — support your party, but don’t be afraid to stand up to them. Some would say that’s what Blue Dogs do. It’s the “why” that needs to be dissected.

It’s great when there are issues that can be bipartisan — let’s hope the Flynn/Russia interference with elections investigation is one of them, and that there can be more. The point of bipartisan is that you’ve reached a consensus that works IN A POSITIVE WAY for the largest number of people possible. You don’t diminish the greater good; you add to it. And yes, you put your constituency and country AND YOUR OATH TO THE CONSTITUTION before your party. But not out of a fear of not being re-elected; out of a belief that what you are doing is right FOR THE PEOPLE you represent. FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS. When you’re getting thousands of calls from your constituency telling you to vote against something and you vote for it because it’s the party line — you need to go. You don’t vote the way companies or special interests want, just because they bribed you, as our Secretary of Education did. Call it “donation” all you want — that chick bought her position and is woefully unqualified for it.

Again, I think we need more than two legitimate parties. Not fringe, foil-hatted parties. But genuine parties with clearly defined positions on a variety of issues. Right now, the bigoted racist misogynists have hijacked the GOP. Let them have their own party, and the GOP can go back to being the party of Lincoln. The Democrats are a hot mess, it’s worse than herding cats, because at least cats have common sense. The DNC is trying to appeal to everyone, and therefore only succeeds at pleasing no one. The party, in general, is just right of center, when it needs to break up to be slightly left of center and far left.

The far reaches of each party need to balance each other. Most of us vote because we want someone to represent our point of view so that we can live our lives and not bother with every bill and worry about every decision and every vote. We want to be left the hell alone to live our lives. There’s a need for extreme on both the left and the right, so there’s compromise in the middle that does the least damage. The most good is rarely done — the past couple of decades it’s been about the least damage. Most of us will live with that — win a few, lose a few, don’t take away my earned benefits or mess with my personal, bodily rights. Go do your jobs and leave me alone to live my life.

Unfortunately, that is not possible right now. The GOP is not only violating the Constitution and supporting the Narcissist in his daily dismantling of it, the GOP is actively interfering in my daily life.

The party that claims to want SMALLER government is determined to regulate women’s bodies, decide who one can love and marry, decide who is allowed to use a toilet, diminish education, force religion into schools and onto people who don’t believe in it, deny others rights because of their religion, take away food safety standards, allow polluters to destroy the earth, encourage the collapse of the ice shelves that will drown a good percentage of the population, sell off our natural resources to special interests who will build condos no one can afford anyway, force the elderly into poverty, force wages down so that people can never climb out of poverty (don’t you fucking say “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” when most people live paycheck to paycheck while the top executives WHO DO NOTHING line their pockets will millions). All of this is being LEGISLATED by the party who claims to want SMALLER government. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

My fellow artists and I want nothing more than to be able to go back to creating full time and not worrying about all the rest, but we take our responsibilities as citizens very seriously. We will keep working against corruption, and to move through the current dystopia to the best possible lives for people, where they have individual freedoms, while also respecting others. We will not shut up. We’re not stupid because we work in the arts. One of the things I’ve learned, since I moved away from an art-centric culture, is how much SMARTER people who make their living in the arts are, in most cases (reality show participants don’t count — they are not artists — they are paid spokespeople).

So, no, artists will not shut up. Art has always changed the world, since the time of papyrus and Greek ritual theatre and Shakespeare and Vaclav Havel. It will continue so to do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

As Saturday wore on, I got much more cheerful. I took care of some client emails, I caught up, via email, with some friends. The summer’s booking up, not just with work, but with friends coming to visit. After all, I live in one of the best vacation spots in the country. Why not come visit?

I’m pitching for two huge jobs with two organizations I adore. I have to keep the personal out of it, in order to create a good business deal, but I hope they like the proposals. Of course, I want to land BOTH gigs, which would be enormously challenging, but also, enormously fulfilling. I just have to make the proposals persuasive enough to convince them they can’t live without me! 😉

Most of the weekend was caught up in bird trauma. I kept hearing a thumping noise at one of the windows. A little bird (which I identified as a tufted titmouse) kept flinging himself against the window and yelling. He’d been doing it so much that one side of his chest was all bloody. I tried to make it impossible for him to see his reflection: open the drapes, close the drapes, cover the window with paper, hang my yoga mat over it. Didn’t work. I tried hanging small bells from short threads (so he wouldn’t get caught in them) to make noise. Didn’t work. I was worried he’d kill himself. I couldn’t see a nest in the tree. I went outside to see if there was a nest stashed in the eaves of the house or baby bird on the ground or a distressed mate. Nothing.

I called one agency that’s supposed to deal with this and was told, “ We deal with the land, not the animals on it.” Um, aren’t they connected? I called the group in my former hometown who publicizes how much they care about nature, and was told, “It’s only one bird. There are thousands of them. This one doesn’t matter.” No wonder that’s where the City Council members who sat with one hand shoved up their collective ass and the other for a payout from the scumbag landlords who are driving people out of their homes (my mother included) all met. Typical attitude of my former hometown. I called the 24-hour hotline that’s supposed to handle this, and was told there’s nothing they can do until the bird knocks himself unconscious — which is what I was trying to prevent. I tried contacting local rehabilitators — the ones the hotline would have hooked me up with anyway. Not one of them could be bothered to get back to me. Hypocrites.

Then, some workmen who weren’t scheduled to show up showed up, sending the dog and I into fits. I called the owners of the site to make sure they were who they said they were. She said they weren’t supposed to be there that day — they’d talked about scheduling a day and time, but it had never happened. But, since they were there, they could work. Again, typical of this area. Workmen have no respect for anyone else’s time or appointments, and show up or don’t show up as they feel like it. On the Cape, you make an appointment, they show up when you both agree, they do the work, all is good.

They did the work, the Titmouse went away, the dog didn’t trust them any more than I did, so we retreated to the basement until they were done. Once they left, I checked all the doors and windows, to make sure nothing had been “fixed” to not lock properly. I might not have been so suspicious if the dog (who is friendly and not particularly brave) hadn’t been so adamant in staying between me and any workman at any given time. I’m grateful, and I totally trusted the dog’s instincts.

It was raining, and the Titmouse sat in the tree outside the window, crying and looking miserable, but at least didn’t fling himself against the window anymore.

Again, typical of this area: They pay ridiculous amounts of money at Whole Foods (or, Whole-in-the-Wallet Foods, as a bunch of us call it), but use toxic lawn materials and cleaners.

Caught up on the class (so enjoying this group), watched some TV. Didn’t like the book I was supposed to read, so read some books just for fun. Got a little bit of writing done, but not enough.

It rained hard Saturday into Sunday. But as soon as it lessened, the Titmouse started in again — on a different window. From a different tree. This time, there’s a small nest in the tree, but nothing in it. And he didn’t fling himself against the window, just flew up to it, chattered, and flew away.

All. Day. Long.

When he was quiet, I was afraid he’d knocked himself out and went looking for him. No. He simply did the same at a different window. He’s acting like the entire house is a threat. As long as he’s not bashing himself into anything, I don’t have to worry quite as much.

Read. Caught up on classes. Had a quiet day. Wanted to be home.

Up early this morning, packed and did last minute prep to go home. The bird is at it again, but he seems to be healing. And I found a small feather on the carpet of one of the rooms, but there’s no way a bird got inside, so go figure.

I’m looking forward to being home. It’s supposed to rain all week, so I guess I won’t be mowing (gee, so sad. Yes, that’s sarcasm).

Costume Imp is coming back up for a week in June, which will be tons of fun. Hopefully, I’ll have my manuscript in by then, and know what’s going on with Confidential Job #1.

Someone I’ve known for a long time actually had the gall to say that when this lease is up, I should move “closer to a train station”, so it would be easier for me to travel down to that particular job –which can’t be counted on, changes dates all the time, and is only maybe one week a year. Had we been in the same room, I would have slapped him. Yeah, not professional, but I would have done it anyway. Talk about total disrespect that anyone else has a life. You know what? I’m not “the help” and I won’t be treated like a servant. Period. End of story.

Yeah, I’m grumpy today! It’s not going to be fun to drive home in this weather, and I won’t be able to leave until late afternoon or early evening. There are things I SHOULD be doing, and I don’t want to do a damn one of them. I am In A Mood! 😉

Don’t worry; I’ll get over myself as soon as I scoot across the Sagamore Bridge!

To answer PJ’s question about Saturn Retrograde:
There’s a difference between a Saturn Retrograde and a Saturn Return. The Saturn Return happens once about every 28 years, and lasts for about 2 years. Your life dissolves and reassembles during that period of time. Sometimes it’s painful. A lot of people either get married, or, if they’re already married, get divorced or have a major shift in the relationship at 28. People often change careers, loved ones die, the whole thing. William and Kate got married when they were both in their Saturn returns, to use a pop culture example.

A Saturn retrograde happens once every year for several months — around five or six. I’d have to look it up; can’t remember off the top of my head. Saturn is the planet of life lessons. If you’re on a path that’s counterproductive to whatever you want to call it — your destiny, your higher purpose, your real self — you will encounter more problems and obstacles than usual, especially if you’ve known that there are problems and have made the choice to stay in the situation that’s bad for you. During a Saturn retrograde, the first time you refuse to make a positive change, you get smacked upside the head. The next time, you might get fired or your car might break down and not be able to be fixed or your relationship falls apart — it will be in the area where you refused to change the previous time, and it will be worse. Every subsequent Saturn retrograde in which you refuse to make positive changes, it will get harder and harder. If you refuse to jump, you will be pushed. When you make the choice to go towards something better, even when it’s scary, it will still be difficult, but you’ll start to see things smoothing out pretty quickly.

Then, the next Saturn retrograde comes around, and you’re faced with new challenges. Saturn is the “tough love” teacher. Saturn forces growth and change. So, when you look at the calendar and see Saturn retrograde coming, you can sit down and say, “where do I need to make positive changes?” If you start them before the retrograde, you’ll still feel the push, but it won’t be as painful. If you sit and do nothing, you wind up with metaphysical bruises on your behind and your psyche.

In my own life, I left Broadway a good two full Saturn Retrogrades after I knew I needed to go, and the last few months, even though I loved the show I was on and the people, I was miserable, because I knew I needed to be elsewhere. Had I remained for another cycle, something pretty painful would have happened to force me out, because I was on a truly unhealthy path for me to follow.

Right now, too, remember, that Pluto is also retrograde, which means what is hidden is revealed. If someone’s been lying to you or stabbing you in the back, it comes out now. If you look at an astrological calendar and compare it to when the most scandals (as far as people trying to keep things hidden) break, it’s usually during a Pluto Retrograde.

Too many people use astrology as an excuse to behave badly. “Oh, Mercury’s Retrograde, of course I crashed the car and my computer failed and so-and-so got mad at my comment.” Yes, it’s more likely to happen during a Mercury Retrograde. But, if you looked at the calendar, you could have been more careful driving, backed up your computer so that when it went kaboom it wasn’t a total loss, and you could have kept your damn mouth shut.

The purpose of these calendars is to look at them, see the POTENTIAL influences (because the planet is additionally influenced by where it sits in your natal chart. Me and Saturn? We’re screwed! 😉 Seriously, where Saturn sits in my natal chart causes me different kinds of difficulties than where it sits in someone else’s chart). You look at it, you know the potential challenges/obstacles/problems. You’re more aware. My mantra in Mercury Retrograde is,”stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.” If I am angered by what someone else says, I take a deep breath and try not to respond, because getting involved in a dispute during Mercury Retrograde is bound to take longer to resolve than otherwise. I try, very hard, not to sign contracts. During a Saturn retrograde — or, rather, when I see one coming — I try to look back over the life lessons last time. What did I miss? What did I not implement? Sometimes, I misinterpret, and then get a bit of a smack during the retrograde.

I came into this one thinking it would be easy because I did the move, I’m out of the wardrobe business, I’ve got a writing room, I’ve set up my schedule, etc., etc. I straightened out a lot of things that were problems, and I made choices to let certain things go, instead of acting like that bird I mentioned above.

And yet, here I am, with a bunch of new lessons to learn, this time having to do with the changing vision of my career. I don’t want to make decisions out of haste, anger, or fear. I want to really look at the options, listen to the messages, listen to myself, and then figure out the actions I need to take.

There’s this theory that “doing nothing is a choice.” Well, when it comes to the Universe, and the Universe has been telling you to DO SOMETHING and you ignore it, it considers stasis a vacuum. So, it’s going to fill that vacuum by kicking your butt hard enough to make you pay attention and fill it.

The planets don’t give you excuses. They give you information. And how you choose to use it can make things smoother or easier on the path. Survival is tough enough — I’d rather listen and try to make the choice the first time than put my hands over my ears and sing, “La la la” until my butt is kicked into the abyss.

Granted, it doesn’t always work out the way I think it will (usually quite differently), but when I listen and at least TRY, the results, in the long run, are much more positive.

Devon

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I love the warm, pleasant days and the cool nights we’ve had. I haven’t even put in the air conditioner yet! Love that.

Finished consolidating the storage units yesterday. I still have some repacking to do in there and re-organization. And then I can bring in a bunch of stuff from the apartment, and buy myself some breathing room. Since the unit is close and large enough to get at things without having to take it all out because the thing you need is always at the back — I can actually use it as an extra, very large closet for stuff I don’t need every day.

Worked on client projects and Confidential Job #1 yesterday. The latter present some interesting challenges.

I’ve been good about keeping up the yoga this week, but with all the box moving, I’m skipping the weights. I think it would be too much.

Interesting contrast between two actors: i received a really nice email from a well-known actor with whom I’ve never worked, but we were both working on Broadway at the same time last year/early this year. We ran into each other in the neighborhood, as one does, had a few conversations, joked around, etc. He came to see the show on which I worked and I happened to be there that night, and he’s kept in touch with one of the actors with whom I worked closely and am still in touch with regularly, which is how he got my contact info. He’s in town to promote his new movie and just dropped me an email to say hey, he was thinking of me and hoped all is well. Classy, which is typical of him. We’re not going to get together, but it’s a nice gesture on his part, and it keeps two professionals who respect each other in touch, so if we get the chance to work together someday, we’ve maintained a rapport. On the other hand, another actor with whom I worked very closely last year, and with whom I’ve been in sporadic touch (whenever he needed something), was in town for an entire week last week. Not only did he not contact me at all (we couldn’t have coordinated our schedules, I’m sure, but it would have been polite to say hi), I found out he was in town when he twittered about hanging out with someone about whom he complained frequently to me while we worked together. Déclassé to the max. Fortunately, I think it’s funny rather than getting upset about it, and I will work it into something someday. Inspiration comes in many forms! And it’s always great to create a fictional situation of poetic justice or envision the karmic return. Like I always say: EVERYTHING is material! 😉 And, if and when I have the opportunity to choose which one to work with, guess which one I’ll choose? The classy one, of course.

This morning’s writing session was better. I hope I’m starting to turn the corner. if you just keep digging, eventually you dig your way out the other side.

I’m taking my mom to the train station this morning — she’s off to NYC for the weekend. I’ve got some errands to run, and then more client work and I want to wrap up Confidential Job #1. I will be glad to get that one out the door!

The weekend is about packing, writing, and reading. Now that I’ve brought all these books home from storage (in anticipation of the bookcases I’m bringing out when I do the furniture swap in a couple of weeks), I want to read them! 😉 Nothing like shopping in your own bookcase, right? I might get to go out of town for the second half of next week, which would be great, if I can coordinate everything and get the cat sitter to stay with the beasts.

Violet seems fine today, thank goodness. I told her yesterday she might have to go to the vet, and it was amazing how quickly she stopped sneezing! I’m keeping a close eye on her for the next few days, but I hope it was just that there was extra dust from the storage work and everything is fine.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Nina Bell lately (the protag of TAPESTRY, “Tumble”, “Too Much Mistletoe”, etc.). Those pieces were set when she was just starting her life in NY in the mid-1990s. I really do want to write FINDING JAKE, set in that same time period, where she finds out once and for all what happened to the boyfriend who got her into so much trouble in TAPESTRY, was shot, and she doesn’t know if he’s alive or dead. But I’ve also wondered what would happen if I wrote about her life in the 21st century. Do I need to write the adventures in the interim to see what happened? Or can I imagine her in the present and then, maybe somewhere down the line, fill in? Would she have grown up, settled down with more than her philodendron Esmerelda, or gotten more eccentric? Would she have stayed in theatre? In New York? Are Tom and Zach still in her life?

It’s something to think about while packing.

Oh, and for the hypocritical politicians, a bit of clarification on definitions: When you pay or are paid for sex, it’s called PROS-titution, not RES-titution. Just saying.

Anyway, I’ve got some correspondence to get out today and then it’s off to errand land before getting back to work. Have a great weekend, all!

Devon

Published in: on July 10, 2009 at 6:38 am  Comments (2)  
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