Fri. May 27, 2022: Shattered

image courtesy of Marcela Bolivar via pixabay.com

Friday, May 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and warmer

I was awakened just before 5 AM by crashing glass.

And cats running in all directions.

I must have left an empty glass on the table in my reading corner. I’m usually conscientious about putting the glass into the dishwasher as soon as I’ve finished with it, to prevent just such an occurrence. I must have been distracted.

It was 5 AM, so it’s not like I could turn on the vacuum without disturbing the neighbors (wouldn’t’ have had to worry about that in the previous house). So I picked up the larger fragments, and used the dustpan and broom on the room. Then a damp paper towel to get any tiny fragments. Then, I had to catch each of the cats and check/wipe their paws for any glass shards before they licked said paws. There was a good bit of howling and carrying on, but no blood.

So much for not disturbing the neighbors.

But the shattered glass represents how I feel right now.

The almost daily gun violence, on top of the over a million dead in the pandemic, are soul-shattering.

As more and more information about Uvalde comes out, and the incompetence of the police response is brought to light, it gets even worse. When I see the photos, I see white men who are unfit, both physically and psychologically, for a job to “protect and serve.” They use the uniform to bully. Like all bullies, when faced with a situation requiring intelligence, ethics, skill, and courage, they fail.

The mayor’s bloviating to aid in the coverup doesn’t help, either.

Congress continues to fail us. Their holiday weekend is more important than staying in their offices and working on ways to fix this. Except, of course, for Republicans, who are speaking at NRA and right-wing conferences. They’re busy fulfilling the agenda of more death. More blood. Because that is what turns them on.

There is a way to hit the NRA, and that’s through filing a complaint with the IRS that they’ve violating the terms of their status. I’ve posted the link multiple times, but I bet you, dollars to doughnuts, that I’m the only one who actually files the complaint.

I’m just sick of everybody right now.

I wrote and submitted the book review yesterday, and have been assigned another book, which I plan to read over the weekend. No scripts in the queue, so I will look at it as a gift of time. Got out a couple of half-hearted LOIs. Did a trip to the library to drop off/pick up books, and then to the grocery store to shop for the weekend. We do have some plans, although we intend to avoid people (especially unmasked tourists) as much as possible. Much of it depends on the weather.

I took Charlotte out on the back balcony in her playpen. She was very good.

Willa, however, carried on in the kitchen like she’d been abandoned. She screamed and cried at the kitchen window, and then tried to pry the screen out of its frame.

She won, of course. Because the cat always wins.

I went inside, put her in her playpen, and took her out, too. There’s barely room for both playpens, but it was better than the screaming, and she settled down.

Freelance Chat was fun. Some good tips, as usual.

Made a smoked trout spread. By accident, I used a recipe different than the one I usually use (both are in FOOD & WINE cookbooks). It’s good, it just wasn’t what I expected. Cooked pasta for dinner.

Last night was the final meeting of the Knowledge Unicorns, at least in present form. What should have been a joyous time was, instead, one filled with anger and grief. Some of the kids are the same age as those who were slaughtered. Others are going on to college, or taking a gap year, or are in other grades. There has to be another discussion, in July, about whether the parents want to risk sending those still in school back to school next year, or if all of them will switch to homeschooling, for gun violence reasons as much as for virus reasons. But right now, we all need a break. And it’s time for me to step back.

I feel shattered, heartbroken, and out of sorts today. How could I not?

I’m trying to get in a run down to Pittsfield for a few things early this morning, so that we’re home by noon, before people start converging for the holiday weekend. I doubt it will be the chaos that usually happened on Cape – for one thing, there’s no bridge to back up traffic for hours, and multiple roads. But I’d still rather be home, up on my second-floor porch, watching the mountains, and above it all.

I’m not sure if I will rest or try to write this weekend. I do have to turn my closet from winter to summer; that will take some time. But I need time to grieve the destruction of the country in which I was born and where I’ve spent my entire life, that has been taken over by Christofascists who find murder sexually gratifying and lucrative.

I need to give myself time to grieve, and then I can start making practical decisions.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Tues. May 24, 2022: Writing, Reading, Research

omage courtesy of congerdesign via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny and cool

Friday wound up being a lovely day. It was sunny and warm. I started at the library to drop off and pick up books (there were 10 waiting for me).

I headed over to Williamstown, looking for the Historical Museum, and couldn’t find it. I did find the public library, which is sleek and beautiful, with a garden full of blooming lilacs. The staff is lovely, and gave me detailed directions with landmarks. I scoped out the library – it’s definitely a place where I want to spend more time. Lovely, light reading areas, and a sleek work area.

And people are still masking. By choice. Which is great.

The Museum was much farther from the college/town center than it seemed on the map, but I found it. It’s a lovely building. The person staffing it is new, so we had to figure out where things were.

I looked at the exhibit, and found information about a Williamstown resident’s untimely demise that had been told to me as happening up the street from me here in North Adams, which resulted in a ghost in the building that is now the Mason Hall, so I will have to do more research. I also found information on a pair of sisters who farmed around the turn of the century, and want to know more about them.

The staff person found the file (somewhere neither of us would have thought to look), and I settled in. Much of the information was more recent, about the flood that finally wiped out the Spruces, and the rent battles the tenants had with the town leading up to it.

But there was some of the earlier information. I found contradictions and sanitization of information I’d found from other sources, which I found very interesting. It has set off ideas on how I want to build the character who heads the fictional community, and how I want to put him in competition with the real-life guy. Al Bachand, who was the actual visionary behind The Spruces, reminds me, in a lot of ways of David Belasco. My theatre pals will understand the reference. For anyone who doesn’t, I suggest looking up both names in your search engine, and reading some of the biographical information, and you’ll see what I mean.

Bachand was quite a character, a man of many talents and appetites. I want to build the fictional counterpart, who is in deep rivalry with him, to be even more over-the-top. Most of that is because it will suit the story I want to tell better. Part of it is because members of Bachand’s immediate family are still alive, and it would be disrespectful to use him in the series the way I want and need to use the visionary behind my fictional park. So I’m building a character that is somewhat inspired by him, but also very different from what I’m researching on the man, AND a character who is obsessed with the idea of besting Bachand (but can’t ever really do it). I also want to build the geography of my fictional park a little differently than the real Spruces was built, so it can serve the needs to the series.

In order to do this, I’m doing something I call “stretching geography.” By that, I mean creating fictional places and integrating them with real ones. I do that in CAST IRON MURDER, where I created the fictional Berkshires town of Persimmon. It’s got elements of Cheshire and Dalton and Clarksburg in it. While I’m vague about exactly WHERE it is (I talk about neighboring towns, including North Adams), it’s sort of stuffed between Cheshire and Adams, in my mind. I have to figure out the name of the town I want to put in competition with Williamstown and the Spruces community, and where I’m going to shove it. I want it close enough so that there can be actual competition between the two communities. That won’t come up in the series arc in action until several books in, but I’m going to seed the tension from the first book.

Anyway, there were notes in the research file that will lead me to other sources that I will go back and poke around in on another day.

I may have to buy another sketchbook just to draw the maps of my new community! The one I bought recently is dedicated to the maps I need to draw for The Big Project.

The lilacs are in bloom here, and it does my heart good to see and smell them. I still miss the ones I nurtured for a decade, but being around lilacs makes me happy.

On the way home from the museum, I stopped at Korean Garden and picked up chicken tangsooyuk, which was delicious.

There were no scripts in the queue, but I’d sent off my review and the invoice before I left for the museum, and was paid and had my next book assigned by the time I got back, so I decided not to panic.

Instead, I started reading UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by TJ Klune, which is so beautifully written.

Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I let the Retro Mystery percolate, and the monthology story percolate.

I prepared a big batch of black currant tea and put it in jars in the fridge, so I’d have something cool to drink over the very hot weekend.

I put up a one-card reading with the Herbal Tarot up over on my Ko-Fi page.

Saturday was World Meditation Day. I’d been invited to several all-day online sessions. While I was tempted, I was more drawn to not being online all day, and being quiet and internal instead.

I did some more research on the building here in North Adams. Turns out that there was a similar accident within a year of the one mentioned in the museum in Williamstown. Two different women, in similar family situations, killed in automobile accidents, about a year apart. I dug and did more research on both women, their families, and the accidents. I found some papers on them at Academia.edu, which is great, only now they email me multiple times a day with ideas on other stuff.

It also led me to research on Alice Ramsey, who drove across the country in 1909, and I put aside some information on that, because that sounds like fun inspiration.

I finished reading UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR, which is a beautiful, beautiful book. I started reading UNDER SKELETON LOCK AND KEY by Gigi Pandian, which is a delight.

It got quite hot on Saturday. Not unbearable, but hot enough so that I spend the hottest part of the day supine, reading. And letting things percolate.

I turned a script around on Saturday, too, because I was able to grab one. I typed up and revised the flash fiction, “Discoveries” that will go up on Ko-Fi this week. I put up a one-card reading with the Herbal tarot on Ko-Fi here.

Sunday was also hot, and much more humid. I had computer problems again; the computer took an hour to get up and running again, with screen freezes and all the rest. I hate Windows11.

But before that, I had a good day writing, in longhand, on the front porch. I’m going to need a new journal book before the end of the month, my third this year. I also wrote six pages on the idea spawned by the information about the two young women who died in automobile accidents up in Pownal, that I’d been researching. I’m writing my way into it. The plot is taking shape, and, once I’ve written my way into it a little more, I will stop and do an outline, if it’s viable. I figured out a way to connect the two women. It’s fiction, inspired by the real Elizabeth Botsford and the real Mary Houghton, but it’s definitely fiction.

The Houghton graves – and that of the chauffer who killed himself after Mary’s death – are up the street in Southview cemetery. I may go up there and look around, one day when it’s cooler.

Preakness Day was on Saturday afternoon. They should have cancelled, due to heat, and no one in the stands was taking any Covid precautions, which was rather disheartening. I wanted the filly, Secret Oath, to wipe the track with the boys, but she came in fourth, which is still pretty good. Early Voting won, and my baby Epicenter came in second.

I finished reading UNDER LOCK AND SKELETON KEY, which was so much fun. I also read A DEADLY BONE TO PICK by Peggy Rothschild, which was also very good.

I was assigned the word with which to start my poem for the World’s Longest Poem. I figured out the first two lines, and played with them, rhythmically, until they worked. But then I couldn’t figure out where to go with it.

Fortunately, it percolated overnight, and I woke up with the third and final line. We can have up to five lines, but I’m saying what I want to say in three, so there’s no need to witter on.

I worked the final line until it fit the rhythm, so I could send it off by noon. Also wrote two pages on the ghost story, and 1200 words on The Big Project.

More computer problems, especially with the keyboard, which is very frustrating. In case I haven’t said it often enough, I hate Windows11.

This computer is only two years old and has been babied as though it was made of Swarovski crystal. There is no reason for it not to run perfectly.

I’m also sick of people who tell me I should have a “backup computer.” Who can afford that? The computer which I PAID FOR INCLUDING AN EXTENDED WARRANTY should do the job it’s supposed to do, for more than the first couple of months, especially because I take care of it.

Sent off my bit of the poem, which is both exciting and terrifying.

I walked to the library to drop off and pick up books. I was delighted to literally stop and smell the lilacs several times along the way. I took some photos of the Houghton Mansion that I will use in my research, although my fictional mansion will be set up a little differently. I’m not going to have the added-on bulk of the masonic hall, which looks as though it should house a swimming pool. I may have that portion of the house be a ballroom instead. I’d written two more pages on that piece in the early morning writing session. The story is coming out a little differently than I expected, but I like what it’s doing. At least, so far. And I’ve figured out how to tie the two women’s deaths together in fiction, although they were only tied together by location and type of accident in real life.

Went down a research rabbit hole about Mary’s friend, Sybil. The birth, death, and marriage records point out where a lot of the sensational stories appearing on the various haunted house websites bent the truth. Probably through a lack of careful research, but still. It also took a bit of digging to find out what happened to her mother, Cordelia, after the deaths of her husband and daughter, but I found some information from reliable sources. Her two other daughters helped care for her, until she died, several years later. I’m changing that in the novel; the character based on her remarries and starts a new life, and that is tied to the deaths not only of Mary and Sybil, but Elizabeth, in a way that simply does not have evidence that happened in real life.

 Then, I went back to searching a particular record I want in relation to the Retro Mystery, but couldn’t find it. Could find records around it, but not that one. It’s a specific marriage record, and it makes me wonder if that marriage took place out of the county, such as at Niagara Falls or somewhere else. I found out that one of the inspirations for a character in the story is still alive and living in this town, so I have to make even more certain that her fictional counterpart is very different. However, my intent for her is to be a positive, dynamic character in the series.

Finding the facts, and then deciding how I’m going to change things so it works for fiction, and do so in a way that honors the real-life inspirations, is an interesting process.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun. Finals are done; it’s mostly about field trips and running out the clock. And our last session is on Thursday. It’s bizarre to think that we’re done, after more than two years. But they’ve built a strong support system amongst each other, so whatever comes next, they can handle it together, and I can step back.

I’m reading DISORIENTED by Elaine Hsieh Chou, which is by turns, funny and disturbing. The writing is beautiful.

Charlotte woke me up at 4:20, and Tessa rousted me out of bed by 5. So another too-early morning. Got some writing done, and fussed over the plants.

We have Some Plans for today, which hopefully will go well, and I’ll have a lot of fun stuff to share tomorrow.

Peace, friends, and have a good day. We’re headed to a long holiday weekend, and I am ready for it!

Fri. May 20, 2022: Preparing for a Hot Weekend

image courtesy of SplitShire via pixabay.com

Friday, May 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warmer

Meditation was good yesterday, although it took me a bit of time to settle into it. Charlotte had no such problems. She loves the weekly Zoom meditations with the Concord Public Library.

Got ahead on some blog work, did the social media rounds, caught up on email, did the necessary admin work. Now that I’m figuring out how to use Counter Social, I’m liking it. And I’ll take an anonymous hacker as the leader of it over a spoiled brat billionaire any time. But Twitter is still my main hangout, at least for now.

Freelance Chat was fun, although the pricing/rate suggestions given by the weekly guest don’t suit what I do.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. I’d been requested, which is always nice. A little worried because my queue is empty. I should be pleased; it opens up the weekend. But I’m below my financial goal for the month with them, which concerns me.

However, I read the next book for review in the afternoon/evening, and this morning I will write up the review and send the invoice for the last batch, so there’s that money. But if scripts are available this weekend, I’ll read over the weekend.

Played with the flash fiction I wrote the other day. I will type it up over the weekend and do a couple of revision passes on it, so that it’s in a decent shape for Ko-Fi. The most intriguing part, for me, about this, is the tension in the relationship between the two characters. Is this something I want to explore further?

It rained on and off all day, sometimes intensely, so I was glad to stay in. But I have to swing by the library this morning on my way to the Williamstown Historical Museum to drop off/pick up books. I have about six to return, and there are ten waiting for me.

Started a book that had come highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so, nope.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Some of the kids are finished with their exams. The rest have their last ones this coming week. Only two more sessions, and we will be done, after two and a half years of working together. Definitely bittersweet.

I decided not to do the proposal for the project in autumn. It would have to be indoors, and with numbers rising, new variants, and monkey-fucking-pox, it’s not worth the risk.

This weekend is supposed to be in the 90’s, which just makes me cringe. I will clean the fans later today, so they’re ready in case we need to use them in addition to the ceiling fans. Considering that it’s cold enough for the heat to be on this morning, I don’t want that large temperature swing. It does a number on my body.

The plan is, in the cooler portions of the day, that I can get a lot of writing done, especially on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the first draft of the anthology story. I also want to get back to the revisions of “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks. I realized how to solve a logic problem in “Personal Revolution” by simply changing a character’s job location.

Hopefully, the heat won’t drain every last drop of creativity out of me, and I can get things done, whether or not any script coverage comes through.

Have a good one.

Wed. May 18, 2022: Willa Had a Hard Day

image courtesy of Scott Payne via pixabay.com. This looks very much like Willa, although it is a stock photo.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday had to be re-jiggled a bit, because the cats got upset, poor things.

We did a final house clean early in the morning, and I got the garbage out just as the gas company guy and the maintenance guy arrived. Since the focus was the basement, and then the gas stove in the kitchen, we closed the bedroom doors, the door to the laundry room, etc. We made sure the cats weren’t shut away in any of the rooms, because they hate that. They want to know what’s going on.

They also don’t like closed doors.

Tessa was fine about it. She marched around to check the doors, glared at us, and then settled on the sofa. Her Highness refused to acknowledge our existence until late afternoon.

Charlotte wasn’t too pleased, but she made sure she met the newcomers and they told her she was pretty, and then she went in m office and sat on a chair until everything was finished.

Willa, who is usually the mellow jokester, was the one who nearly fell apart. She thought she was being given away again. She was frantic. When she was moved, all those times before she came to us, the people she was leaving must have shut the doors to the rooms where she usually hung out.

Now, the guys who came in were perfectly nice and cat lovers.

But the closed doors triggered Willa.

They were in and out in less than a half hour. But it took several hours to calm Willa down. She was Velcro kitty, and sat quietly close by, staring as if to say, “If I’m very quiet and good, you won’t give me away, will you?” We kept petting her and telling her she was good and everything was okay, but she didn’t believe us, even after we re-opened all the doors. Charlotte promptly curled up on my bed and passed out until late afternoon, and Tessa refused to have anything to do with us, because her routine was upended without her being consulted. But Willa was absolutely terrified.

It was heartbreaking.

So we took whatever time it took to reassure her. It was late afternoon before she was back to her silly self.

I worked through a ton of email. I sent out a W-9 to the theatre doing my radio play next week, and they are eager for more. As soon as I get the two plays for the NY producer ready, I will go back to work on the dirigible play for them.

I sent off the autopay authorization to Prime Storage. I bet they still screw things up for this next pay period. They are horrid.

I caught up over on Ello. I posted a flash fiction, “Angel Auditions” over on Ko-Fi. I tried to figure out how to maneuver on Counter Social.

I contacted Windsor Lake about getting the season pass and found out I can just get it at the gate house starting Memorial Day Weekend, so I’m delighted.

Edited three more chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Four more to go, and I’m done with this draft. Then, I can start the multi-colored draft. I think it will only need one draft after that, and I can decide what to do with it.

A script landed in my queue that needed immediate turnaround. It was pretty good, and I got it done in good time. I have two more to read today. I’m a little worried by the dearth of scripts lately. Thank goodness I had so many at this time last year, when I was desperate for the money. I still have other paid work to finish this week, so I don’t have to worry about the lack of scripts.

The night blooming jasmine finally arrived (the shippers sent a new one to replace the one which had gone astray). It’s much smaller than I expected, but I had a pot the right size for it, and it’s happy in its new home on the front porch.

The weather was wacky, alternating between sun and rain, sometimes raining while sunny, so I had to take down the hanging baskets so they wouldn’t get battered.

THE DRUID PLANT ORACLE and the ASK THE WITCH TAROT both arrived. The former is absolutely gorgeous, and I look forward to working with it and learning it over the coming months. The latter is much harsher than I expected from the blurbs, but also quite fascinating.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun. Hard to believe next week will be our last.

I have a couple of project proposals to work on, too, and I have to get my profile up on the Creative Ground site. And get back to work on The Big Project. I’m woefully behind where I want to be on that, although it’s in good shape.

But first, this morning, I have to head over to the mechanic to get the car fixed. Hopefully, it will be Really Fixed this time, and we can start our day trips. And run basic errands without holding my breath all the time.

I’m finding THE BONE ORCHARD absolutely fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Off to the mechanic soon. Hold a good thought for me. Hopefully, it won’t take long, and I can get back to start my workday. Have a good one!

Wed. May 11, 2022: House and Home

image courtesy of kmcremeans via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and lovely

I was out the door by 7:15 yesterday morning, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get to the mechanic. I got there in 15 minutes, found it, no problem.

In other words, I was there before they were.

They didn’t mind that I waited for them, and got me settled on their too comfortable couch while they got their day sorted out and then looked at the car. It took four hours, because they had to be methodical about it. The previous mechanic had given a vague code reference, and they had to go down a checklist to find out what the actual problem was. It’s a much simpler fix than the other guy warned (which also means less expensive). They did a temporary fix so I could drive without worry, ordered the part, and I go in next Wednesday for the fix.

During those four hours, I just chilled out on the couch with my book and watched how well they interacted with their customers. They know most of them by name, and have a great rapport. With me, they were nice, straightforward, and everything made sense.

They will also replace the battery in my key that went out a couple of years back, where I was told it could only be done by the dealer and cost $300. They will fix it for $13.

On the way home, I stopped at the store and picked up some stuff, including a hanging birdbath for the back balcony and a rug for the enclosed front porch.

After lunch, we got in the car and headed out to Whitney’s Farm, where we spent too much on plants. But boy, is the place gorgeous! Then, of course, we had to buy more pots for the plants. We weren’t back until well after 3. But I’d blocked off the whole day, and it was nice not to worry about anything.

Spent the late afternoon on the porch, reading. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Only a few more weeks, and we are done. Of course, that’s what we though in 2020 and 2021.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat. Windows 11 has decided to install, so who knows how long that will take. I’d hoped to get some work done before I head out to the library and the grocery store, but we’ll see.

It’ supposed to get into the high 80’s later this week, so it’s time to switch out from the flannel sheets mid-week instead of over the weekend, and to really set up the front porch and back balcony enchanted gardens.

I don’t have scripts in my queue to worry about, and, while I should worry about that, I’m enjoying taking it a little slow and doing things around the house. Once the Windows Update is installed, I’ll get some writing done, too.

I’ll write about it all in more detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I have a tarot reading up on Ko-fi about handling the Mercury Retrograde with grace.

Have a good one!

Wed. May 4, 2022: I Don’t Even Have the Words

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and mild

Yesterday was a frustrating day, workwise, because the computer update took four hours, even with tech support. So I lost half my scheduled workday. And I had to sit and watch the update, because I had to answer prompts along the way. I couldn’t walk away and do something else.

I’m glad I got something done on The Big Project while I was at the laundromat, or I would have been really upset.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script and went back to contest entries.

While raging about the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It’s not that I’m surprised – since it became law, this threat has been on the horizon. But to allow judges appointed by a treasonous Russian asset and the husband of an insurgent to make decisions that affect our lives it unacceptable. It’s only the tip of the iceberg of rights being overturned; that is part of the long game. And if any law can be overturned, then we’re never safe.

This B.S. that campaigning politicians give us about “voting harder” needs to stop. Right wing extremists are being placed to negate election results. Right wingers and Manchin have blocked voting rights. Voter suppression is on the rise. November is too late. We can’t vote our way out of this.

Plus, we HAVE the votes. We put enough Dems in office to get it done NOW. Stop making excuses about Manchin and Sinema. It’s up to Schumer to put Manchin’s balls in a vise and twist until he complies, and do whatever needs to be done to Sinema for the same, instead of giving in to them all the time. If McConnell can keep his people in line, Schumer needs to do it, too, or he doesn’t deserve to be Majority Leader.

Milquetoasts talking about the high road are only getting us killed. It has to stop. NOW. Not in November. NOW.

It should have stopped on January 21, 2021. But the Dems were tiptoeing around being nice, while the Republicans mobilized to kill more of us on multiple fronts, from anti-vaxx to stripping away rights to sedition. We work ourselves literally to death to get Dems in office, and all they do is make excuses about why they can’t get it done.

And Merrick Garland is part of the problem, too. If the Narcissistic Sociopath had to pay for his treason, and the seditionists in Congress removed, the invalid justices could be removed and people who are qualified could actually get back to governing.

We are in this mess because the Dems keep bringing a dandelion to a gunfight instead of getting gritty and doing what needs to be done. Those of us that understand what’s going on have been screaming about this since Reagan.

We talked about this at Knowledge Unicorns. A couple of the kids will be old enough to vote in this election, and you better believe they are going to do so.

Today, I have to dig in and catch up on the work I couldn’t finish yesterday, including turning around at least two scripts, working on both the Big Project and the next draft of “Owe Me”, and working on contest entries. I was going to do a library run, but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow, and go by car, when I do the big grocery shop.

Stay safe, friends, and do your part in the fight. At this point, anyone who says they don’t do politics, especially a woman, means they agree with what’s going on. See them for who they are.

Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress

image courtesy of mohammad Hassan via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. I managed a good bit of admin in the morning; I have to, or the number of emails becomes overwhelming. It rained a good portion of the day, although I managed to get home from the laundromat before it started, and dashed out in a quick pause in the afternoon to get the garbage out.

I went back and started re-establishing myself over on Ello, and remembered why I enjoy that platform so much. I cross-post a lot of what’s here over there; haven’t yet decided how I want to do new content.

On the wave of the work I’d done on The Big Project at the laundromat, I did another section. I am still way, way, waaaaay behind where I need to be on it, and I have to double down on it in May.

I had some additional material to look at for the contest, which was just forwarded to me (late), and dealt with that. One category is now officially finalized. I’d hoped to have the second category done today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow or Friday (likely Friday). That depends how much script coverage comes in. Right now, I just have one more script to cover today. I’d hoped for two tomorrow and two on Friday to end this pay period close to what I need, but it looks doubtful.

I set up a Ko-fi page. I think it’s a better fit for me than Patreon, because there’s less pressure for tiered content and constant content. I still want to add new material pretty regularly, and use it to play with material that’s out of my wheelhouse a bit, or with pieces that I know are strong, but haven’t found the right market.

For instance, I posted “Fallout” which is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. It’s received excellent feedback, but never the right market fit. So it’s here, and it’s getting positive response.

I also want to do some tarot pieces, using different decks. I’d considered doing it on Instagram (inspired by other tarot readers who do a great job on that platform). But it’s too complicated to do from my phone, so I’ll do it on Ko-fi instead.

It’s not that I think I’ll make a huge profit or anything on Ko-fi. I figure the money I get can be then used to support fellow creators on the platform. It’s basically going to be the same $3 going round and round forever.

And, it gives me a no-pressure playground.

It’s likely I will leave (or severely cut back to only promotions) Twitter in a few months, once the Muskrat purchase goes through, I intend to enjoy what I enjoy and use it to its fullest potential between now and then.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon and well into the evening.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are in the last few weeks. Some of the kids are graduating high school; no one knows what the next school year will bring. Some of the families plan to continue homeschooling their kids because they’re doing so much better; others are going to wait and see. In any case, they have built among themselves, the parents and the kids, a strong support system, and I can step back at the end of this school year without guilt. I was a strong voice in keeping the kids out of school because there is no such thing as safety in school right now, either from COVID or school shootings. And I helped the parents and kids make it possible to stay as safe as possible for two and a half years. I walked my talk. Now, as their situations have evolved, they need to make a variety of decisions, and it’s time for me to step back.

Still fighting with both Tracfone and Consumer Cellular to get my mom’s number transferred. Both companies are basically crap, but there aren’t any other choices for the simple flip phones anymore. We have to make this transfer to Consumer Cellular happen.

The company who bought the storage facility on Cape where we’ve got the rest of our stuff is AWFUL. Zero customer service and badly disorganized.  So I have to dig in this summer and take on as much extra work as possible so I can afford to bring the stuff up in fall – provided I can even get a storage unit around here. Because CubeSmart pulled such crap, selling us off to someone else out of the blue, announcing it the day after last month’s payment, I will certainly not rent from them in the future. They actually had the gall to send an email stating that they were up for an award and wanted me to vote for them! I don’t think so.

And I still haven’t been able to get an appointment to get the car fixed.

I am royally fed up and ready to go back to bed and tell everyone to fuck right off. I have a horrible headache like creatures dancing inside my head wearing cleats and wielding pickaxes. Tessa woke me at 4 this morning. Not a happy camper.

Instead, I have to go back to the page and work.

Published in: on April 27, 2022 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress  
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Fri. April 15, 2022: Piling On

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, April 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was sunny and pleasant. Today is sunny and cooler. By tomorrow night, it will be below freezing. Totally wacky weather.

I had trouble settling into meditation, mostly because I felt so bad, but once I did, it was fine.

I got the next three pages written of “Owe Me” which feels good. I know where I need it to end, but now I have to figure out how to get from where I am now to where I need to be at the end. Not quite sure how to get there yet, but I’ll figure it out. I hate writing in small bits like this. I prefer writing longer sections, but each of these small portions sets up new challenges (which is the point of the piece), but I don’t yet know how to solve them.

Had a late morning video conference with a potential new client. We had a great talk, and he likes my writing a lot. I don’t do much work in his area of specialization, so that might knock me out completely, which is fine. It was definitely worth the conversation, and I sent off additional materials asked for as soon as we finished.

Headed off to the store for round colored lights for the kitchen window, plant stakes, a new small rug for Tessa’s room, and an outdoor rug for the back balcony. We couldn’t find one we liked for the front porch yet.  Came back, took down the winter curtains in the kitchen (no curtains up in summer). Took down the white lights. Got the rest of the spilled wax scraped off the sill and the window (without damaging either). Got the new lights up, which are so pretty, even in daylight, because the light makes them sparkle. The new rug looks great in Tessa’s room. She’s still not sure about it, but Charlotte and Willa both love it.

In the afternoon, I sat on the porch working. First, I finished reading the next book for review (which I will write and send off today). Then, I started reading LEGENDS AND LATTES by Travis Baldree, a cozy fantasy that Deborah Blake recommended. Absolutely loved it. It’s clever and fun and the world building is lovely and the characters are wonderful.

The weather changed (as it does). We are high enough to be able to watch thunderstorms roll around between the mountains, which is really cool. We are even high enough so I got to drive through a raincloud the other day, something I didn’t even know was possible. Which was also really cool.

Part of me felt guilty for taking part of the afternoon off to read a book because I wanted to, but that’s why I freelance: to work my own schedule. I was achy and headachy, and would not do my best work on script coverage, and those writers deserve better from me. So, I adjusted the task to the energy.

Didn’t feel like cooking, so I ordered Chinese, and it was perfect. I felt well enough to run Knowledge Unicorns, and it was a good session. Many schools are either closed or doing half day tomorrow, and April break is next week, so no sessions.

After dinner, I felt much better, and could focus on script coverage. Turned around the two scripts I needed to get done. It meant working until 10 PM, but that was fine. Freelance. Can work any hours I want, and I felt better and working then made sense. The whole point of not working 9-5 is NOT WORKING 9-5.

Once I was done with the coverage, I could settle in and finish LEGENDS AND LATTES, which I did a little before midnight. Charlotte put herself to bed earlier than that, and Tessa was thrilled to have me all to herself.

So this whole Elon Musk/Twitter thing is disconcerting. He is NOT a supporter of free speech – his actions against his own workers prove that. If he ends up buying Twitter, yes, then I will have to leave. I would miss people, but I functioned before social media, and I can function without Twitter. I will start spending more time on ello.co again, which I’ve always liked, but it takes more time and deeper interactions than Twitter, and I’ve neglected it lately.  I spend very little time on FB and the only reason I haven’t cancelled my accounts is because I have some friends who are only on FB and I’d lose regular touch with them. I’m on the fence about Instagram because of all the fake accounts and scams, although I’d hate to lose my “fun” account that has little to do with marketing and promotion, and is just my playground.

We’re all going to be signing up for a lot of newsletters over the next few weeks, aren’t we?

Besides, if Musk destroys Twitter, some other social media platform will start up. I mean, there was a time when MySpace was one of the few choices, and look what’s sprung up since.

Slept well. It’s cooler today, but I could still do my first writing session on the porch. My storage facility on Cape has been sold, and I don’t like the new owners. So, somehow, over the summer, after I get the car fixed, I’ll have to put together the money and find a unit out here and hire movers and get it all brought across the state. Not looking forward to the expense.

Had to set some boundaries with a project. The editor is setting up yet another place to check for information, this time on a platform I loathe. It’s so scattered; I shouldn’t have to check multiple sites/apps to stay up-to-date on where things are. I was ready to burst into tears at the very thought of it. There needs to be ONE central source of information. It’s too damn much. It’s too much “ooh, shiny” and not enough focus. Handling the large group writers involved is huge work, and the editor is doing an amazing job, but things are getting more and more scattered and fractured. Maybe that’s the way it has to process for this particular project, but I am at my outer limits of being able to add any more on. I turned in my lore on my characters and on my organizations, so all I have to do is sit down and write my story (which I’ve blocked time off to do in May). Once I do the roughest of first drafts, I will go back in and layer the details that are affected by what the other collaborators have created that affect what I do, and double-check details (as I’ve made myself available for any of them, if they need information from me). But I can’t spend hours every day making the rounds of multiple sites as things change. We’ve created the world; now we have to inhabit it. And so much that’s been created is color and flavor for the stories, rather than trying to put everything into the stories all at once.

The reason I’ve been able to have a lifelong career in the arts, earning my living at it, instead of creating “on the side” is because I am ruthless about cutting out what interferes with the creative work. I have no regrets. I make no apologies.

Most places around here are taking this as a four-day weekend, or starting their weekend after a half day. Monday is a state holiday here (Patriots’ Day) and the Boston Marathon. I’m thinking of taking it as a holiday from client work, and focusing on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the CAST IRON MURDER edits. I also want to get through a lot of contest entries this weekend. I have a pretty good idea in two categories of who’s shaping up to be finalists, but need to hone it down some more, and then I can focus on the third category.

I also want to rest a lot. While I’m starting to get back on my feet, I still have lingering effects from Shot 4, which are not fun. Part of it, too, is accepting that I am not twenty anymore, and can’t push the way I used to. And that I don’t WANT to be in a constant state of overwork and hustle. We were sold that bill of goods, and it was false. It’s time to learn from that and create something better.

Anyway, have a lovely Whatever You Celebrate, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Wed. April 6, 2022: Room For the Writing I Love

image courtesy of Adina Voicu via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy/Rainy/Chilly

It was supposed to rain yesterday. Instead it was sunny, so people ran around enjoying it! I did a large grocery shop in the morning, to get us set up for the next couple of weeks. I also bought a pot of multi-colored pansies and a bunch of lavender tulips. Flowers for spring. I love pansies, because they’re so cheerful.

All the seedlings were moved out onto the porch, so they could enjoy the day, along with the cats (who moved themselves).

I finished the set of bios for Monthology celebrities tied to the Playhouse, the Gorgons, and the Valkyrie. I’d promised them to the collaborators, as fodder for the City’s tabloid. If none of this makes any sense, you can read about the shared world anthology here. It was fun, and these characters are for everyone to play with and have fun with. They are, at best, tertiary characters in my story. I felt bad that I was so late getting it in, although everyone in the group is great.

I wrote four pages of the radio play tentatively titled “Owe Me” that’s part of the Dramatists Guild project, with an eye toward sending it to the producer with whom I’ve been negotiating. It’s different from the comic horror; it’s more of a psychological ghost story. That went well. I’m letting the dialogue/plot flow, and then I’ll go back in and layer more sound cues (in radio, you have to figure a sound cue about every 30 seconds, approximately one cue every half page or so). I sometimes have clumps of sound cues to drive the plot, but then I have to layer in other cues when they get to talking, that either underline the dialogue or contradict it.

I’m percolating on the comic horror play that went off the rails. I think I will draft “Owe Me” first, and then go back to it, once I figure out how to get it back on track.

I pitched for a radio writing job that would run from May through August, and pays well. I’m sure the competition is fierce, but nothing tried, no chance at all. Plus, it was fun to include the new Pages on Stages website. I have to add in my bio page today.

The Conference wants me to take on some mentoring slots, and I’m not sure if I can take that on. A lot depends on how the upcoming negotiations for a couple of gigs go.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I started reading Deanna Raybourn’s newest Veronica Speedwell, AN IMPOSSIBLE IMPOSTER, which is a lot of fun. Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun, although everyone is eager for Easter break.

I signed up for a Buddhist series of seminars for the next five days, based on the work of Pema Chödrön, whose work I like and respect a lot. The rage I feel at fellow humans for allowing the slaughter in Ukraine to continue, and allowing the radical right to overtake this country, combined with the sense memory of the stress I underwent during this period last year, desperately searching for a place to live and organizing the move, is interfering with my ability to function well, and I’m hoping to learn some techniques that will help. Passivity is not an option, and there are so many people for whom I’m losing all respect. And yes, I am fully within my rights to judge those who allow genocide through inaction, or because the images make them uncomfortable. They are a threat to ALL our safety.

Had nightmares again last night, but I am privileged to only have them as nightmares, and not have to live them. Yet. If the GOP regains control, it’s game over for anyone with a brain and a heart.

I have to go and pick up one of my mother’s prescriptions today. It would have been nice if I’d known about it yesterday, when I was at the grocery store right next to the pharmacy, but that’s the way it goes.

More work on the radio plays, work on The Big Project, hopefully, more editing on CAST IRON MURDER, script coverage and contest entries are all on the agenda for today. Along with some admin. I need to clean out the Inbox.

Have fun, people!

Tues. April 5, 2022: Curl Up & Catch Up

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cloudy, and chilly

I hope you all had a good few days. Grab a favorite beverage and curl up for the catch-up.

Thursday wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I got the most important things done. I got a wonderful email from a producer to whom I’d submitted some radio plays. I wasn’t sure if what I submitted was dark enough for what he was looking for, but he said he loved the pieces, and wanted to read the comic noir mystery plays, too. In other words, he’s willing to expand his original guidelines because he enjoys the writing. Which thrills me. He sent me the link to the first broadcast. I have it on today’s agenda to listen to, because that gives me more of an idea of material to pitch to him, too. Yes, he pays. And he said he’s planning to make me an offer.

It also made me wonder if maybe I should try to write a comic horror play as my Dramatists Guild project this month. Then, of course, some characters started wandering into my brain. . .

While that all started percolating, I went to the online meditation group I attend on Thursday mornings. The regular leader wasn’t there; the sub kept using computer lingo, like “downloading inspiration” which really annoyed me. I am not a computer. I am a human being. One of the reasons I attend meditation is for a break from technology. I believe tech-speak in the space is destructive, not “relatable.”

By the time breakfast was over and I’d gotten some admin done, it was time to take my mom for her 4th vaccination. We left early enough so I could dop off and pick up books at the library. We were early to the pharmacy, and I felt bad, because CVS corporate cut staff there, and they were run off their feet. They are the best CVS staff we’ve ever known, and it’s so unfair to them (so yes, I will complain to corporate that an excellent staff is being punished for their skills). The pharmacist who gave her the shot was lovely.

While my mom was under her 15 minutes of observation, I dashed next door to Big Y to pick up a few groceries, including a Boston cream pie that I couldn’t resist.

Took my mom home. She barely had any side effects. Her arm was a little achy, starting about 7 hours after the shot. If anything, it was more like I had the side effects, while she had the shot. I felt like absolute crap all day.

However, I pulled myself together and did a script coverage. I have a nice long list of scripts in my queue, so after a couple of months of worrying and not making my projected income from this client, I think the first pay period in April will be close. March’s second pay period is lower than I’d hoped, but still a decent number. And it means my quarterly taxes won’t be so high.

Participated in Freelance Chat, which was fun.

I polished the materials for the first round of the major grant proposal. I was actually pretty happy with the quality of the materials. I also added the three missing productions to my theatre resume (will have to add them to my writing resume soon).

Of course, the actual application asked for additional materials that weren’t in the informational handout, so I had to take time to create and polish those, which meant the application timed out and I had to start all over again, even though I’d saved it as I went. Which was frustrating.

But I finally got it all entered, and submitted it. I got the confirmation.

By then, I was completely wiped out. I have to remember how much writing a good grant application takes out of me. As in a good piece of writing or performance, I leave it all out there and am spent. If I leave out the passion and commitment behind, under, and around the words, then the energy of the piece is lost, and there’s no way it can get funded. The language is clean and professional, but the subtext has to have energy.

Ordered pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I’d also expected my mom wouldn’t feel like eating, as neither of us have the day of the shot, but she was in good appetite, and I hadn’t planned anything except maybe scrambled eggs. So I ordered pizza. We’re lucky in that we have three excellent pizza parlors within 5 blocks. We ordered what I call the “comfort pizza” from the place about 3 blocks away.

Read a little in the evening, but was wiped out. Knowledge Unicorns was fine; even though it takes plenty of energy, so much energy is created and exchanged, that it’s worth it.

Was awakened about an hour after I went to bed by an enormous crash. At first, I thought it was thunder, since there was an intense rainstorm happening. But there was only one clap and no lightening. Then, I was worried part of the building had collapsed (not that there’s any reason for it). But everything seemed fine. No idea what that was all about.

Tessa got me up early on Friday. I stayed off social media most of the day, because I hate the way cruelty is dressed up to look like humor on April Fool’s Day.

What I did instead was build the Pages on Stages website, for the scripts I write. It took all day, with only one 20-minute break for lunch. It took 9 templates until I found one that I could make do what I wanted and needed. I hunted down as much information on the older productions as I could. A lot of it is in storage, not digitized, and I don’t have access to it right now. But there’s enough on the sites to point grant makers and producers toward it. It’s not a site I plan to heavily promote, the way I do the fiction sites. It serves a specific purpose for the scriptwriting.

I still have to add bio information on the “About” page and add contact information, but I will do that next week.

I managed to start the comic horror radio play for the Dramatists Guild End of Play event, and wrote about a page and a half. It’s out there, even more me. But the beats are building and the jokes are landing the way I want them to, so we’ll see how it goes.

The only side effect my mom had from her second booster was some fatigue toward the end of the day. She’s never had particularly strong reactions to the shots, but this was the lightest yet.

I missed going to the art opening Friday night. By the time it started, I’d just finished the day’s work on the website and hadn’t even showered yet, much less put myself together mentally or physically. The exhibit runs for about a month, so I’ll stop by later in April. I hadn’t promised anyone to attend, so at least I didn’t let anyone down.

Tessa woke me up before 5 this morning out of dreams about Greek myths and peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving with one of my cousins. The brain is a weird instrument.

Caught up on some of the 500+ emails which had come in on Friday.

I walked down to the Farmers’ Market in the morning. It’s still on winter hours, which means that it’s only the first Saturday of the month still for April and May, and it’s indoors, with a limited number of vendors. But such wonderful vendors! I wish I could have bought from everyone.

I bought from three of them, had conversations with several, and next time I go, I have to carry business cards, because they were interested in my books (which came up in conversation when I signed up for the various mailing lists).

I was thrilled with the bounty from the market. We immediately ate the espresso coffee cake muffins from Bohemian Nouveau Bakery, which were outstanding. For lunch, we had slices of baguette with butter, fresh spinach, and sliced radishes (with just a hint of salt and pepper). I don’t know the name of the artisan who baked the baguette, but it was the best I’ve ever had – perfect crumb, lovely crust, and there was a little bit of salt in the crust that was exquisite. The spinach and radishes came from Red Shirt Farm.

For dinner, I added some spinach to the sausage pasta I made, and we finished the rest of the baguette. Because baguettes only last a day.

I took it easy on Saturday. I needed to rest. I did a little bit of noodling on the comic horror radio play, mostly planning rather than writing. I read books I wanted to read, and didn’t worry about any sort of work for anyone else.

There’s so much atrocity happening in Ukraine. The Russians are behaving just as badly as they did in WWII to the citizens. The world stands by and allows the slaughter. And these spoiled brats on social media, who’ve never experienced anything worse than a hangnail, are whining about being “triggered.” They have the privilege to look away, and they are part of the reason this is happening. We need to be riding our elected officials every day about doing more to stop the atrocities AND remove all the Russian assets in Congress. World War III started when The Narcissistic Sociopath was installed as the GOP nominee. The war has a different trajectory than previous wars, but we are deeply, deeply in it. What is happening to citizens in Ukraine WILL happen here if the GOP is allowed to continue. Remember people in cages? Migrants chased on horseback and whipped? Rapists given control of their victims’ bodies? All of that is part of the same playbook.  ANYONE who has the privilege to look away contributes to the problem. We have to look. We have to feel the horror. And then we have to do something about it.

Tessa woke me around 5 AM on Sunday. I got my act together and was out to run errands early, including getting more potting soil and pots. And the tomato cages.

We repotted the peace lily. My friend and I bought the peace lily at Stop & Shop on the Cape in a 4” pot for the very first party in the Cape House, way back in 2011. I just repotted it into a 14” pot. Let’s hope it can thrive in this pot for the next few years!

In the afternoon, I read for pleasure, and did a little bit of research for a couple of different projects. I took a break from the comic horror play, and the other writing. I read THE VANISHING MUSEUM ON THE RUE MISTRAL by M.L. Longworth, set in Provence, which I really enjoyed.

Tessa was such a drama queen on Monday. I didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. My mom finally got up to feed all of the feline monsters. Tessa wrestled the bowl away from her in the pantry and insisted on eating right there (instead of on her little Sherlock Holmes pub towel in her room). She was So Hungry she could not wait one more second. It was hilarious. Like they’re not fed regularly twice a day.

Did some admin work and paid some bills. Headed to the bank (never fun) to make a deposit. Let’s see how long they keep this one. On to the post office to mail the bills and a birthday card for a friend. On the way back, stopped at the liquor store. Dropped everything off, picked up the two bags of books that had to go back to the library, and drove there. Dropped off/picked up books. Home. Moved the seedlings out to the porch. It was sunny/cloudy every few minutes, but at least they’d get more light out there.

Elon Musk bought a stake in Twitter, so my time there is probably drawing to a close. Which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. But it’s already gone vastly downhill in the last few weeks, pushing right-wing crazy posts from people I don’t follow into my timeline (which I immediately block). And I’m finding way too much emotional labor on there, thanks to a lot of the privileged spoiled brats. Cutting back my time there is necessary anyway. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out and what changes happen. I highly doubt they will be positive. I’ve cut back my FB time; I’m only still on it because of a few people with whom that’s the main way we stay in touch. Instagram is my playground, but there are so many creeps on there lately that I’ve considered changing how I use it, or leaving entirely.

We’ll see what happens. If it becomes only a work-related set of interactions, then so be it.

As corporate greed destroys what is good about social media platforms, new ones will spring up.

Covered two scripts in the afternoon. Read for pleasure. Wrote a few pages on the comic horror play and tossed them, because they don’t work. No, it’s not a case of temporary insecurity. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something like that doesn’t work. It took a turn that’s not appropriate for the genre or the other parameters needed in the script to fit the target market. Therefore, it has to go.

Got another idea for another radio script, more psychological ghost story. I might alternate between the two pieces and see which one flies.

We’re still eating the fresh spinach from the market, because it was a lot of damn spinach. But it’s good.

Charlotte woke me out of nightmares around 1:30. Around 3, as I was finally getting back to sleep, Tessa started in. I moved to the bed in the sewing room so that she would quiet down, and then had a series of dreams set backstage, in a hair salon, and in a pet salon. Go figure. But at least they were positive.

Hitting the page first thing, then a big grocery run, then back to the page, and more script coverage and contest entries in the afternoon. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun is peeking out, so maybe I’ll put the plants out on the porch. I need to oil the teak furniture soon, and keep going with the spring cleaning, which moves forward erratically. I have to spend some quality time with the inbox, too. It’s well over 600 emails again that didn’t have to be answered quickly, and I have to get it down.

My experience moving the newsletter to MailerLite has been positive so far. They sent me a report on the mailing – good open rate, good click rate, and they’re not micromanaging contacts. So that’s all good. I’ve started the document for June, so I can add information as it comes up, and then rewrite it so it’s pretty when it’s time to send it out.

That’s what’s going on in this neck of the woods. We’re in that between-times of seasonal change, where it’s too warm for the heat to kick on regularly, but too chilly to be really comfortable without layers. I’m excited for my first Berkshires spring.

I hope there are lilacs.

Wed. March 23, 2022: Edits and A$$hats

image courtesy of Memed Nurrohmad via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Waning Moon

Partly sunny and cold

Yesterday was a mixed day. I did a bunch of admin work once I got back from the laundromat. Then, I headed out to the library. I got the file again on The Spruces and photocopied a bunch of information out of their original brochure that I will use as research/background information for the retro mystery. They also had six books waiting for me.

Planted the tansy seeds into two pots, so I can have one pot in front and one in back. Planted some saved seeds, and did some repotting. All will be discussed in detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

In the afternoon, I covered a script. There wasn’t anything in the queue when I was finished, so I switched to working on contest entries (but later, got two more scripts in the queue, that I will start today). I worked on the porch, because it was so beautiful. I’m having weird pains in my left ear. I hope I don’t get another ear infection.

Got an email from my Monthology editor. It’s time to start writing, and we have a deadline of June 24 for the first round. People with multiple monsters can either write 1 story of up to 5K with one monster and save the other for the future, integrate the monsters into a single story that fits the wordcount, or write two shorter stories. At this point, I’m going to integrate the monsters into one story, with the Gorgon being the primary protagonist and the Valkyrie being the secondary protagonist, and then, if there are future anthologies, I can shift them. The Gorgon story is almost fully formed in my head, and the Valkyrie was going to be a secondary character in it anyway, so this choice supports what I’ve been spinning, and also sets the foundation for future stories, should I have that opportunity. I think it’s a stronger choice than to have them crossing back and forth between two shorter pieces. It will also support what I hope will be a moving subplot.

If you want to learn more about this shared world anthology, you can explore it here.

Started reading Ngaio Marsh’s ARTISTS IN CRIME. I haven’t read her books for years, and I forgot how good they are.

The bank has marked the check they accused me of scamming by depositing it as “doubt collectability.” Mofos. They were dumb enough to send me a “customer experience survey” and I did not hold back. I tried to enter the virtual annual meeting – but they didn’t send a link for it, one had to access it via typing in my social security number. No. Just no. Yet more proof that NONE of this is about security and everything is about misogyny and economic discrimination.

The Republicans aren’t even pretending they’re not all paid up members of the KKK anymore. Their behavior at the SCOTUS confirmation hearings is disgusting. Of course they fear an intelligent, ethical Black woman after ramming through a Handmaiden and a sexual predator beer bro.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are so smart and engaged and compassionate. Amazing how not going to a place where they have to worry about being shot or getting COVID enchances the ability to learn.

Tessa woke me up at 4:10 AM this morning. I will be wrecked by noon. Since I had to be out the door early to go to the laundromat again, I didn’t dare go back to sleep.

Took another trip to the laundromat on foot this morning. Moon up when I left, and it was only 26F. Brrr. But I had sheets and comforters to wash, since the linens are moving toward spring, and I wanted to get caught up.

I’m starting to really enjoy my sessions at the laundromat. I get a lot done. I finished the first editing pass on the draft of CAST IRON MURDER. I went back and made notes where I want to layer in other information. Since I cut out one subplot, that would not work unless it was a central plot, I dropped another body, and I have to set up the conflict and layer it in. There were also some references that needed to start earlier.

So this means I’m ready to start the second draft of the book! I hope to work in sections of 3-5 chapters at a time. I want to say “a day” but I’m not sure I can commit to that. I hope that will also give me the momentum to get back to the first draft of THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, which has to get back on track.

After breakfast this morning, I will work on the first three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER, then take a quick break and switch to The Big Project. The afternoon is about script coverage and, if there’s still time in the workday, contest entries.

It’s supposed to rain the rest of the week, and then plunge back into the twenties over the weekend. At some point in the next few days, I’ll do a grocery run, but, for the most part, I’m going to stay home and work, with breaks to spring clean. And try to get an appointment with the mechanic. The internet was down for a little while this morning, but it seems to be sort of working again.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. March 9, 2022: Stuff Around the House

Image coutesy of Open Clip Art Vectors via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

There’s another storm coming in today, with accumulating snow expected. So glad I work remotely!

After breakfast, we got into the car and headed out for errands. It was the first time my mom had been out and about since December (without the car, she stayed home; although I can walk to do many of the errands, it’s too far for her). She said it felt weird to be out. The masking mandates have all been dropped, although most places still “recommend” it. More and more people are relaxing from wearing masks indoors, but I’m not yet. Maybe by late spring/early summer. Of course, they’re not releasing numbers anymore either, so there’s no real way to know if the numbers are going down. And since free testing has ended, many people who should be tested won’t be able to afford it. Because you know if the insurance company is supposed to handle it, they will deny every claim. So we won’t know anywhere close to the real numbers anymore.

Except I will use my secret weapon: The Post Office.

The Post Office is the hub of all knowledge in this community. I learn more standing in line talking to other people and/or talking to the clerks than anywhere else. So our information network congregating (safely distant) at the post office will be on what I rely. Actual people talking about what’s actually going on.

Speaking of which, we’re allowed 4 more free Covid test, so I ordered those. Through the Post Office.

Anyway, errands. Masked errands.

I had a list of stuff I’ve been meaning to get done since the car broke down in December. So yesterday, I started catching up. It was mostly home-and-hearth stuff I couldn’t do on foot. I got a new rug for the bathroom (it’s green and matches the shower curtain, which is green, burgundy, and gold, in an Art Deco pattern, which fits this house); I got some magazine organizers, so I can sort the food, garden, and yoga magazines properly and store them where I can actually use them; I got some more plant pots, and more, importantly, saucers to go under the plant pots, so I’m not using bits of saved containers or extra plates; I got 5 shelved rolling carts (2 small, 3 large). I need more than that, but that’s what the store had, so I grabbed them. They snap together easily, look good, and are easy to move around. I put them together and distributed them. One will be in the closet portion of the pantry; one in the laundry room; one in the bathroom; one in my office; one in my bedroom. I still need one for the sewing room, and I might get one more for the kitchen, if they come back in stock.

I unpacked a bin that’s been storing things in the bathroom and got it all on the cart. It’s perfect. The other carts are stashed in their new homes, and I will fill them over the next few days, as I sort things.

Because next week, the big spring cleaning begins. We’re starting in the kitchen and moving toward the front of the house. It will probably take about two weeks to get it all done, in and around everything else that has to happen, like working.

With the sun, it was warm enough on the porch to set out the seedlings for a few hours, and I even sat out there for a bit to read (George Orwell’s diaries. His diaries about WWII are an eerie echo to what’s happening now. His diaries about his garden and his chickens are quite something else).

Got out some LOIs, did some admin. Was disappointed when an organization to whom I’d sent an LOI sent an automated demand for unpaid work. Add that company to my list of places that demand unpaid labor as part of the interview process and move on. Ordered an ink tank for the printer (will need to order others soon, but they’re expensive, so I break it up). Ordered more seeds, completely forgetting that the reason I got on the site to order seeds is because I need more cat grass. Charlotte and Willa love their cat grass. Brainstormed on the shared world anthology. Covered a script. Made turkey meatloaf for dinner, which was excellent.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are already excited about Easter break. And, with mask mandates being dropped in schools, we are all relieved we didn’t send any of the kids back this year. In early May, we will have a big meeting and decide what to do next year. Some of the kids don’t want to go back to a traditional learning environment until college. A couple of them are going to college. A couple of them are interested in taking a year off between high school and college to do other things, provided the virus numbers are low enough for them to be able to travel or do an internship somewhere cool. We’ll have to deal with the safety issue of summer jobs for those old enough to have them this summer. So there’s a lot to consider. The one constant is that ALL of them have learned more and done better in this situation than they did in school. Having the online homework group (which evolved into an all-around support system) has helped, no doubt. But it’s also a wakeup call at how badly most schools are run (rarely the fault of teachers), and with QAnon morons getting on more and more school boards, it will only get worse.

Worked on contest entries until I was too tired to concentrate.

Some dumbass “writer” on social media made the blanket statement about how people who call themselves full-time writers have the “privilege” of other people paying the bills. She can fuck right off. Plenty of us have to pay our own bills. I made a note to NEVER buy anything of hers. I rarely say “never” but I will in this case.

I have nothing of value to add to the war coverage, except that it’s enraging to see how little anyone is doing to stop Putin.

Tessa got me up at four (is she already on daylight savings time)? I moved to the couch, dozed off, and woke up around six. I pointed out to the cats that if they’d just let me sleep until five, their breakfast wouldn’t have been an hour late. They were not impressed.

Charlotte’s newest thing is to jump on the long table in my office, where I have all the contest entries organized, and rearrange them. I keep putting them back in order. She keeps rearranging them.

Willa, who is not a lap cat, actually jumped up into my mom’s lap yesterday. For only about two minutes, but it’s progress.

I should go over to the college library today to get a few things out, but I’ll probably just stay home and work on The Big Project this morning, then get out some more LOIs, do script coverage, and work on contest entries this afternoon.

It will be interesting (?) to see how much snow falls today.

Wed. Feb. 16, 2022: Some Days Are Rougher Than Others

image courtesy of LeoNeoBoy via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Full Moon

Partly sunny, partly cloudy, starts cold and gets milder

Yesterday was one of those sucky days. Everything was ten times harder than it should have been.

I dealt with an unpleasant situation with a big client. It took most of the day, draining emotional and creative energy. I think we’re on better ground now, but I still want to expand my client pool. I sent out a few LOIs; already heard back from one, up in Bennington, who wants more information. So that’s promising, at least.

A submission call for short plays landed on my desk. I had two which would fit the bill (and did a quick revision on one of them, to tighten it). But I decided to send the funnier one, since they admitted they favor comedy.

A friend has recommended me for a type of gig I’ve always wanted to try. The pay’s kind of low, but it’s steady, and might do as a stop gap for a few months. I’m willing to have a conversation with the potential client about it, at the very least.

I made the trek to the library, returning 8 books and picking up 13. I was annoyed when the librarian whined about having to move the books from the shelf to the checkout desk. Hon, that’s your job. I’m carrying them over a half a mile there and back on foot, so don’t go whining when you have to move books, two or three at a time two feet. If it’s too difficult for you, maybe you should be out on sick leave, or maybe you should ask someone to carry them for you, or maybe you shouldn’t be in the job (because I saw the job description, and one of the requirements is being able to lift up to 25 pounds. And I worked in a library, where I was regularly expected to lift a lot more than that). But what is NOT okay is to whine at a patron because books arrived from different places at the same time, and those checkouts are what keeps the library funded.

Got an email from a company of which I’d never heard, congratulating me for registering, and that the monthly fee would be $55. Say what? I went to unsubscribe and they wanted my credit card information. No, tell me what credit card you think you’re going to pull this from. Talk about a scam. I warned my bank, sent the company’s customer service department an email demanding to be removed from their list and asking what card they thought they had on file. Since they didn’t even have my name, just my email address, and I never gave them any information, we should be okay. I received a cancellation message.  But the bank and I will keep an eye on the account.

Filled out the Artist Census for the city, which is getting information from working artists on what they need to thrive here. Hopefully, that will open up new possibilities. Just from the Census alone I learned about a half a dozen or so opportunities that I am now following up.

I’ve somehow injured my foot, to the point where I can barely put weight on it, and I have no idea how, which is disturbing on multiple levels.

I have to finish reading ARTCURIOUS for book club. I love it. I’m going to have to buy myself a copy, because it’s a book I’ll keep using.

Knowledge Unicorns were fine. The kids were having a tough day, too, as were a lot of my colleagues all over the place. I guess it was just one of those days.

Since I cleaned up my Twitter account, I was able to have actual, interesting conversations with several people yesterday, and it was terrific. I also blocked a twat who called herself a writer and posted the faux engagement “what is your hobby besides writing?” Writing is not a hobby, you moron. Calling yourself a writer and asking such a question is insulting. It assumes no one makes their living writing. Just because the questioner isn’t good enough and won’t put in the work so to do doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of us who can and do make a living at it. I have full respect for part-time writers who work while carrying full-time work in other careers. I have full respect for writers who love writing as a hobby. I have no respect for people calling themselves “writers” who insult other professioanl writers because those “writers” can’t earn a living, and assume no one else can, either. Not worth engaging with such a person, so block and move on. And not just scrolling past, either, because it’s never just one dumbass “question” from someone like that. And I am just DONE with these jerks.

Got an idea for a couple of sets of short pieces – flash fiction, prose poems, short plays – tied to specific visuals. It’s one of those things that when I see something that sparks it, I’ll write it, and then collect the pieces on a theme to submit. . .somewhere. It’s a long-term, undeadlined project to let me stretch and experiment.

Up early this morning (after weird dreams set in a hotel, but a different hotel that’s shown up in previous dreams). Fed the cats, did some yoga and writing, was at the laundromat when they opened at 6 AM, had everything washed, dried, folded and home by 7:30.

I have to head to the grocery store again later today. MA is dropping the indoor masking recommendation, because they’re idiots. I’m going to keep masking until spring or summer.

I don’t have that much on my grocery list this time, so hopefully, it won’t be too difficult to get it all home.

I started the initial re-read for revisions on CAST IRON MURDER. It holds up better than I thought it would. Although there are plenty of details to smooth out, and writing to tighten.

I have a lot of script coverage to do today (didn’t get much done yesterday), and I want to work on the Big Project.

So I better get going, hadn’t I?