Thurs. March 16, 2017: Between Storms

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Somehow, Monday’s post vanished. Not quite sure how that happened. So there’s lots of catching up to do.

It was a cold weekend; I stayed in and wrote most of the time. The rest of the books arrived for the contest, so I also worked on contest entries.

Re-watched the first two LIBRARIAN movies. I hadn’t thought much of them before, and that still holds. The series is much better.

Friday, we had about six inches of snow. It was a day snug inside. Hard to shovel, though, because it froze — had to count on the sun’s help.

Another storm was expected to hit Monday into Tuesday– blizzard. .

Saturday was my birthday. Kept it a nice, quiet day. I don’t do well with birthdays — my own, that is. I was grateful for many good wishes from friends and colleagues, and tried to keep it a quiet, even-keeled day.

Ran around doing errands Monday morning, making sure everything was done before the storm hits. Then, we’ll hunker down and emerge later in the week.

Still a little stunned at the rudeness of a distant acquaintance who nagged for a favor and then couldn’t even say thank you. Well, cross that person off the list and move on. No room for that behavior. Someone takes time out of their work to help with yours, especially someone with more experience/credits? Say “thank you”, even if it’s not what you wanted to hear. Stop leading with your ego, and you might actually learn something.

I can’t believe the Equinox is coming up soon! Although the days are getting longer (I dislike springing ahead — I’m exhausted for weeks).

Fortunately, Tuesday’s storm started as snow, then changed over to hail, then rain. Otherwise, we would have been hammered, the way Western Mass and Maine were hammered.

Unfortunately, one of the scrub pines in the backyard splintered and is teetering. A forty-foot tree being held off the ground by two companion oaks. I was scared to death. Called the landlord, who called the Tree Frogs. The landlord came over and checked it out — he’s convinced that, even if it crashes down, it won’t hit the neighbor’s house behind us, although it might hit the side neighbor’s fence. I warned the neighbors, and told them we were getting it taken down as soon as we could get someone in. They were much more nonchalant about it than I am.

The Tree Frog guy came yesterday to check on it. He swears it’s not going anywhere, and isn’t an emergency. It’s going to be a challenge to get to the tree and get it down, so who knows when they’ll get here.

As of this morning, it’s still sort of up — but we’re getting more storms this weekend, and it worries me.

I’ve been watching travel documentaries and doing research. My protagonist in POWER OF WORDS is going to Venice for the holiday break, (Paris first, then Venice via Orient Express), and I want to make sure I get the emotional geography as correct as the physical geography. The emotional geography of Paris is still imprinted from my own experience, but I need to get Venice right.

Also, she’s climbed a few echelons of recognizability and creativity, so even though she thinks she can travel anonymously, she really can’t.

I’m also doing research on the Hollywood studio system. Part of it is for POWER OF WORDS, where an impresario is setting up a modern-style studio system, melding the best of what worked in the old system — a creative home base and resources — with the more individualized creative styles that artists want and need. Part of it is because I’m reworking THE FIX-IT GIRL and finishing it, with an eye to getting it out on submission at some point this year, and I need to get my details right.

I’m still researching the Italian Renaissance. There’s information on what Lavinia Fontana did, but not really on who she was. I haven’t found that pivotal moment that will make good drama. I found many for Kate Warne; I found those moments with both Giulia Tofana and Jeanne de Clisson. But I haven’t yet found it for Lavinia. So I keep digging.

I hope to spend most of the day writing and working on contest entries. I also have to get going on my spring cleaning.

I have hope that spring will eventually arrive!

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Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 9:17 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 16, 2017: Between Storms  
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Thurs. March 9, 2017: Preparing for Another Storm

Thursday, March 09, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Supposedly, we have a big storm coming tonight, so I’m running around like a maniac getting done all the errands that would otherwise be spread out. My head is killing me, so there’s a storm coming.

Yesterday, was the Day Without Women. I was sick anyway, and grateful to have the chance to rest. I read some, dosed myself with all kinds of herbal remedies, and didn’t write (although I thought about writing a lot). I mentally worked on POWER OF WORDS, NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS, so I hope to get words on the page for all of those today.

I did more Italian Renaissance research. I wish we had minds like that working nowadays. We wouldn’t be in such a great big mess.

Took my mom to the lovely firemen to get her blood pressure checked.  In four days on the new medication, it’s adjusted to where it should be.  A good doctor makes a difference.  Plus, you know, my firemen are the best.

Today, I’m racing around doing errands and then writing. I’m not sure if I’ll get online tomorrow – it depends if they’re right about the snow and how much we get.

Here on Cape Cod, our lives are dictated by weather. And climate change.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 9, 2017 at 10:50 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 9, 2017: Preparing for Another Storm  
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Mon. Feb. 27, 2017: Some “Mistakes” Are Not Okay

Monday, February 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

The weekend seems far away, even though it’s not.

Most of it was spent writing. Some studying, some researching, but mostly writing. That is a good thing, and I intend to take advantage of it.

I ran some errands, should have done some yard work and didn’t. I’ve got the edges of a migraine threatening, and I hope it doesn’t blow up full force, or I will be in bad shape.

The weather was unseasonably warm early on, so I did some of my work out on the deck.

I’m reading Alyssa Maxwell’s A PINCH OF POISON, which is a lot of fun.

Also watched the first season of THE LIBRARIANS, which is more clever and funnier than I expected. It’s also structured very well, so I’m watching it for structure as much as for content. There was one episode where you could tell there were just too many writers in the room, but, other than that, I was pleasantly surprised.

Tried watching another show that came highly recommended, but stopped watching. I’d read the books, and wasn’t as thrilled about them as a lot of people. I’d absolutely loathed one of the protagonists in the book, and I didn’t like her any better in the series. The primary protagonist, around whom the story is built, was okay but not my favorite in the books — I found the actor irritating. He was difficult for me to watch, both in the show and in his interviews. There was something about him I didn’t like and didn’t trust, and I found it difficult to go on a complicated journey with him.

So I didn’t.

Diving into a busy week; I have to finish reading and commenting on my colleague’s script, I have to study for Constitutional Law, I have to research both the Italian Renaissance and fashion in 1931 Hollywood. I have to work with my elected officials.

I’d hoped to go to Salem next weekend to see the shoe exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Oh, well, that’s the way it goes.

Mixed feelings about the Oscars last night. Kudos to the winners — the work was very good. I was glad to see the blue ACLU ribbons and the refusal to bow down to fascism and be silent.

Unfortunately, all the good done and the credibility of the evening was destroyed with the Best Picture Fuck Up. It is inexcusable. It’s not a “simple mistake.” You do not humiliate, in front of millions of viewers, a group of people who worked as long and put as much heart into their work as the LA-LA LAND company did by calling them onstage with the win and then say, “Oops. Kidding. Not yours after all.”

Not only is it being cruel, it negates the credibility of the entire evening, which was the chance to do some good in the world, by showing artists being creative, vocal, and engaged.

There is no room for this kind of “mistake”. There better be some heads rolling this morning.

It’s cruel to the company of LA-LA LAND and undermines the company of MOONLIGHT. Both films are extraordinary in their own ways, and they deserve better.

That’s what happens when you give bean counters too much power.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 27, 2017 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. Feb. 27, 2017: Some “Mistakes” Are Not Okay  
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Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Day after Lunar Eclipse
Snowy and cold

I don’t often post on a Saturday; let’s see if I can today, or if nothing’s working.

We had a blizzard on Thursday. Basically, the Cape shut down. The Governor told people to stay home. Although it didn’t hit the Cape until around noon, people paid attention — schools, libraries, lots of businesses closed. Most things were closed yesterday, although it wasn’t as bad as predicted.

During the blizzard, I looked out of the window, and there was something flapping in one of the snow banks. It looked like a person in distress. I bundled up and dashed out, wondering if I was going to have to call my lovely firemen. But it wasn’t a person — it was my neighbor’s flag, whose line had snapped. The way it landed in the snow bank looked like a body (it’s a big flag). I managed to grab it before it ever technically hit the ground (it was above the ground on the snow bank) and took it in. I hung it in the bathroom to let it dry off, then folded it up and gave it back yesterday, when he came over to help us dig out the bottom of the driveway. He was glad to get it back — and glad it hadn’t touched the ground.

I wrote, although not on what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m back working on what was originally called POWER OF WORDS. Now that I know what I want to do with it, once it’s all done and goes through a massive editing process, I’m inspired again. Yesterday, I finished what will eventually be Book 2 of the series and started Book 3. Yesterday I got about 40 pages done. I’m first-drafting right now, so it’s fast. It’s the basic plot and character drives, and then, in the second draft, I fill it out and deepen it. I’d already done the second draft for book 1 and part of book 2. The tandem drafting is a little odd, but every project requires its own process.

I studied Constitutional Law. It’s depressing to see how the GOP have turned into such oathbreakers. The level of corruption in the current administration is appalling. The courts are our last line of defense, and the administration is bound and determined to shred them, too. But I’m learning a lot in the class. My professor is terrific, and the course is very well done. My professor is much more optimistic than I am, that’s for sure!

I’ve been researching the Italian Renaissance, which is such a pleasure. It’s also relevant — in terms of the development of humanism and the need for art. It’s interesting how the wealthy of that time were determined to make the world better, not just for themselves, but for everyone, becoming patrons of the arts to create things that were both beautiful and challenging. The present-day rich only want to take more from themselves and hurt others. They want to shut down beauty, challenge, and, especially, education.

That is why art is always political and always important. It can also be entertaining and a relief from the strife of daily life, but, for it to connect to people, there’s got to be something meaningful there. Otherwise, it’s just empty calories. Sometimes one needs that as a stress relief valve, but genuine art always challenges and always makes the world better, even when it’s uncomfortable.

I’ve got a stack of books out of the various libraries in the network, and I’ve also checked out “Great Courses” in both art and in history. The lectures are interesting, although dense, and it’s interesting to see how connected everything is. Both professors are committed to context, and that is so important.

In other words, I’m making good use of my snowed-in time!

I have to venture out today to return some books, send off some material, and run some errands. We had more snow overnight — which means more shoveling — and expect another storm tomorrow into Monday, which could wipe out most of Monday.

Last year, the wood lasted all winter. I’m already running low. Might have to restock the wood next week.

Back to the page — things are rolling with this piece, and I want to keep up the momentum. SONGBOUND SISTERS also is starting to pull again, as is NOT BY THE BOOK, so I’m hoping I can give them some attention soon, too.

However, the bulk of the day and tomorrow morning must be about studying for the Constitutional Law quiz. If I can even take it, depending on the power situation.

Power issues all week have put me behind in getting stuff out.

At least I can write in longhand by candlelight, if necessary! 😉

Published in: on February 11, 2017 at 10:46 am  Comments Off on Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank  
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Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow

Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Waxing Moon
Rainy and warm

Yesterday’s choice to rent office space was a good one. First of all, Cape Space is great. Second of all, I got a lot done. I’ll definitely use them again.

Came home to power outages off and on all afternoon. As usual, Eversource sucks. Plus, my phone is dying. I’m so sick of these phones that only last a year.

Got some excellent work done on a project yesterday – nearly 30 pages. Not what I should be working on, but it has a future, so it’s about reshuffling. I have that luxury right now, about being able to flow with projects that pull strongly. I’ll keep in that groove, while also doing some work on SYMPATHETIC MAGIC, for which I had some ideas as I was running errands this morning.

Out and about early this morning, because we’re supposed to get hit with another foot of snow tomorrow. Groceries, cat food, wood, firestarters, liquor. We’re all good.

I’ll either spend the day alternating between studying Constitutional Law and researching Italian Renaissance paintings, or writing in longhand.

Because you KNOW the power’s gonna go out! 😉

I’ll build a fire first thing, so I can light it as soon as the power goes.

Putting together some additional material from yesterday’s meeting, and doing further research. Hoping I can get it all out on Friday.

Looking forward to a snow day!

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 10:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow  
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Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance

Friday, January 27, 2017
New Moon
Chinese Lunar New Year — Year of the Fire Rooster
Cloudy and cold

Temperature’s going down again, but at least the rain’s let up for the moment.

Yesterday, I got some work done on the short story. I think it will be ready to go out on Monday (it’s due on Wednesday). As I was going to sleep last night, I had an “aha!” moment about it, which I will have to work in to the text today.

I sent off my proposals and we’ll see what happens next. I also worked on a counter proposal to the other contract negotiation. We’ll see if that works for both of us. If not, we part ways and wish each other well. I’m done accepting work for so far under my rate that it costs me. Pay me a fairly for a fair day’s work, or hire someone off Craigslist with no credits who mixes up possessives and plurals.

Turning over and over the themes and actions for the play. I hope to get a good chunk of it written this weekend, once the short story is done and simmering, prior to its final polish.

Worked on contest entries yesterday, and also on the research for the Italian Renaissance play. Found a tangent to my research — something very, very cool, but off-topic. However, it’s so cool that I made note of the sources and started a fresh file, so that I can go back and build a project just around that in the future.

Fascinating tangents are a pitfall of research. Many sniffily advise to “just ignore them.” I take notes, especially for sources, so I can go back to them once the project I’m researching is done. I find that works better for me — I don’t waste time on tangents (fifteen minutes to note sources is reasonable, in my opinion), and I don’t resent losing something interesting.

Did some political work, and have more to do today, including a potentially contentious encounter with someone whom I don’t think is living up to the obligations of the job.

One of my favorite authors, Nicole Peeler, has started a virtual book club as part of her activist and educational work. I joined, and ordered the first book. I’m looking forward to it — she’s putting together a smart group of people, and I think we can have some invigorating discussions.

I’m re-reading AS Byatt’s novel POSSESSION. I re-read it regularly, and it remains one of my favorite novels, although I wasn’t crazy about the film adaptation. I always get something new and nourishing from the text, as one does from well-written material.

I had hoped to get to Cape Cod National Seashore today, since our National Parks are about to be sold off, and I’d like to see it one last time. I don’t think I’ll make it until next week, but I’m determined to get there, thank the rangers in person, and take one last look before the destruction.

Back to the page.

Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance  
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