Tues. Oct. 31, 2017: Samhain

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Samhain/Halloween

Pretty intense few days.

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see its new look and please, drop a commment!

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the October wrap-up.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, the blog tied to the Cerridwen Iris Shea work, to read a few ruminations.

The bulk of the weekend was the aftermath of my mom’s surgery. She’s doing really well, don’t get me wrong. She only took the Tylenol the first day — says she doesn’t need it now. But there’s a lot of post-op care to make sure the foot and the place under her collarbone where the skin was grafted heal properly. Plus, she’s exhausted, which makes sense, since surgery is a big trauma on the body.

Then, I’m exhausted, and I feel guilty about it, because I didn’t go through surgery.

But I feel what I feel, so I acknowledge it and try to let it go, while continuing on.

Friday I was wiped out. I did some research for yesterday’s meeting. I sent off my next review. But that was the extent of getting any writing done. I couldn’t focus.

I also have notes on multiple projects that I have to sort out and put into folders, or I’ll lose them and not have them when I need them.

There was a glitch with the car insurance, but it turned out the agent gave me the wrong information, and we got it all sorted out, thank goodness.

We watched season 3 of BROADCHURCH the past few days. Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, I had to run more errands, and then, finally, that check I’ve been waiting for arrived. That was a big relief. So, on that level, things are sorted out.

Started reading Hillary Clinton’s WHAT HAPPENED. It’s an exceptionally well-written book. I don’t know why that surprised me. Maybe because Tony Blair’s memoir, and so man other political tomes I’ve read weren’t? Over the decades, there have been times when I’ve disagreed with her, but so far, I agree with most of what she says in the book. And it would have been so nice to have a qualified, intelligent human being in the office instead of a narcissistic sociopath.
Also read a translation of Marc Levy’s PS FROM PARIS. I hadn’t read any of his work before. It’s joyful and surprising and wonderful. Loved the book, and am now eager to read more. It also makes me want to get my French back up to speed so that I could read it in its original language (although Sam Taylor’s translation was excellent).

ALSO read Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES. The Gamache series is intriguing. Penny is one of the few authors who I feel can pull off third person omniscient, although there was too much head-hopping in this book, and it wasn’t as smooth as usual. But her explorations into people and their motivations interest me.

One of my rocking horse statues broke while I was using the central vaccuum. It got caught in the hose — very frustrating. It will take me several weeks to put it back together properly — filling the cracks, getting the pieces to fit just right, layering it back on, then sanding down the fixative and doing some paint touch-ups.

Tessa is far too curious, and I’m worried she’ll get glue all over her.

We had quite the storm Sunday night into Monday. Lots of people without power, still, even. We were lucky — it flickered at 4 in the morning, but then came back on.

Yesterday was spent with clients — one for the bulk of the day, then came home to change my mother’s wound dressings, and then the other for a couple of hours. Two very different projects, but both terrific, engaging, and let me be creative. I’m very grateful.

Today is Samhain, a big day on my personal calendar. I have lots of running around in the morning (buying things like candy and cat food). Hopefully, we’ll have some trick or treaters tonight — the house is all dolled up!

Then, of course, the big ritual. Today is the end of the agricultural year, and tomorrow starts the new one. We’ve harvested the last of the tomatoes and herbs. Now, I still have to finish putting the yard to bed, and soon, we’ll take in the rest of the plants that overwinter inside or in the garage, and the deck furniture. And rake leaves forever, and cut back the beds.

Next spring, I either have to buy a new mower or hire someone in.

Lots and lots and LOTS of errands, et al to do today, then handing out candy tonight and then . . .ritual. The next few nights will be taken up with ceremonies for the dead — there’s an article about that over on Cerridwen’s Cottage.

I won’t post here tomorrow, but the November To-Do list will be up over on the GDR site.

I keep promising myself that I will NOT do Nano because of my deadlines, only stand at the sidelines, cheering others on. We’ll see what happens when November 1 hits. I’m definitely wavering. My ego is at war with my practicality. Because that’s what it is for me this year — ego. I want the satisfaction of another Nano win. It has nothing to do with the realities of what I HAVE to get done this month. And there’s no room for that type of ego in my life right now.

I got a little bit of MARRIAGE GARDEN done yesterday and today. I need to do a big push on THE FIX IT GIRL the rest of this week.

Back to the page.

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Tues. Feb. 5, 2013: The Minimum Doesn’t Cut It

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Marian Lanouette is my guest over on A Biblio Paradise, interviewed about her Jake Carrington series. Stop on by and drop a comment!

The February To-Do List is up on the GDR site. Short month, a lot to do.

I’m frustrated with a few people today, but venting isn’t going to do any good. Let’s just say I hate it when they waste my time, and I’m going to have to make changes to make sure that they don’t in the future.

Worked with students, finished an editing job, got out some pitches, ran errands, went grocery shopping, worked on SEVEN OF SWORDS. I’m almost there, I’ve almost unlocked what I want to fix in it. I’m hoping to get it finished and out the door this morning before my lunch meeting.

Finished Louise Penny’s BURY YOUR DEAD yesterday, and it was so well done and so tragic (in the large sense), that I was in tears by the end of it. The way she had characters re-live a traumatic event, through flashbacks throughout, is not something most people could pull off. But she did it effectively. Part of that is because she is a master of her craft. She understands structure, and therefore, when she goes against the expectations, she has the craft behind her to pull it off. Writers earlier in their careers, who can’t be bothered to learn structure, try this same type of maneuver, and most of them fail miserably. And it’s because they can’t be bothered to learn structure. It’s blatantly obvious when a skilled writer deviates from tradition and pulls it off, and an unskilled writer can’t be bothered.

It always amazes me when people say they want to learn how to do something– be it writing or anything else — and then can’t be bothered to learn the skills required for it. And then they’re surprised when they don’t succeed. If all you ever put in to something is the minimum, you won’t get more out of it.

Better get back to work — I need to clear a lot off my desk before I leave.

Devon

You can still sign up for “Journal into Fiction”, from Feb. 11-15. Transform journal entries into viable fiction. Registration and information here.

If you’re based on the Cape and/or South Shore, come try out of MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, Feb. 11 & 13, with callbacks the 15th. Detailed information here.

Mon. Feb. 4, 2013: Workshops and Rewrites

Monday, February 4, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

We had snow both Saturday and last night. Not bad, just a dusting. It’s pretty.

Imbolc was good on Saturday, and I’m looking forward to spring.

The January Wrap-Up is up over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. I still have to post February’s To-Do List. The webhost’s server was down yesterday, which was very frustrating.

Gorged myself on Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series over the weekend. I really like the books, and I’m eager for her next release in August. She is the only contemporary author I can think of who can effectively use third person omniscient and it doesn’t feel jarring.

Caught up on classwork. I decided to give the Astrobiology quiz a shot (I planned to audit, not take it for credit), but I got 9.50 out of a possible 10.00, so I just might give it a shot. It’s interesting to see how the Astrobiology course echoes material learned in Sustainability, Philosophy, and the two other astronomy courses. Did the reading for the SF/Fantasy class — Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Lucy Chase 1882 version. Interesting to re-read them with an adult perspective, and also, realize how many of them have been filtered and changed through others’ visions and how little I remembered of the actual tales. The Philosophy class is interesting, and I’m curious to see what direction it goes it. It does prove why the Right wants to cut education funding — because education encourages independent thought, and that means questioning special interests and fundamentalists.

Finished the article for my editor and sent it off. I have to get some press out for the play today and putting us in the events calendars. I’ve been working on the revision of the other play, SEVEN OF SWORDS, which I have to finish today. The first 2/3 hold together better than I expected, but the last third needs focus. I’ve been playing with different possibilities, so now I have to sit down and apply them. Writing one of the other short stories in my head, and have to sit down and finish another story today. Plus, some scenes from a different piece are bugging me; I want to note them so I don’t lose them, and then schedule them in the queue.

I need to finish up work for an editing client, and “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” starts today. I also have to put finishing touches on the handbook for “Sensory Perceptions.”

You can still sign up for “Journal into Fiction” next week, here. And, also next week, if you’re an actor based on Cape Cod/South Shore, the audition details for the play are here.

Better get going – today’s busy!

Devon

Mon. Jan. 28, 2013: Gearing Up for A Busy Week

IMG_0813
Iris enjoys a winter nap

Monday, January 28, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend. Have to put the finishing touches on this draft of the play today.

Allowed myself to bask in the praise from a magazine editor who liked a submission (although she didn’t take this one, too many paranormal elements), but loved the writing, the pacing, the characters, etc., and asked to see whatever I do next in the genre. So I’m doing it! 😉 Also allowed myself to bask in the praise from a Major NY agent, who saw an article I wrote (the one for WOW) and shot me an email to tell me it was a well-written piece. Baby steps in the right direction!

I felt very burned out, so took a lot of time this weekend to refill the creative well, in this case, by reading.

Read Louise Penny’s STILL LIFE, her first Armand Gamache mystery. She is the only contemporary writer I can think of who can pull off third person omniscient, because she glides from head to head, giving you time in the neutral space between the characters, instead of head-hopping. There are plenty of writers — many in chick lit, romance, and cozy mystery — who try to do this and fail miserably. But Penny is such a beautifully nuanced writer that she can pull it off. Once I read STILL LIFE, I went back and re-read A TRICK OF THE LIGHT, the first of hers I read, released in 2011, and still one of my favorite books. Just beautifully done.

I also read THE BOOKMAN’S WAKE, by John Dunning, and liked it a lot. As someone who teeters on the edge of bibliophilia and could easily tip into bibliomania, the details about the book business in his series fascinates me.

I read a book I promised to review for a blog tour — liked it, will write it up today, and started re-reading both Julia Cameron’s THE SOUND OF PAPER and Starhawk’s THE SPIRAL DANCE. I have a lot of problems with many of Julia Cameron’s tenets, although I think her book THE RIGHT TO WRITE is her best. I agree with her Artist Dates — I think they’re vital. I disagree with the Morning Pages — for me, my first writing needs to be on my Primary Project, not whatever’s on my mind, because that is when my creative time is most fertile. If I do Morning Pages, I’ve used that time for something akin to journal-keeping, and lost my best creative time. But they work for a lot of people, and more power to them. And I’m glad she emphasizes the need to show up at the page every day, whether one feels like it or not.

It will be interesting to re-read Starhawk’s work from this perspective, rather than when I first read her books in the mid-1990s. I’m looking forward to it.

Worked with students. Finished up work with one editing client and have the rest who took advantage of the editing special to do this week. The special is over, and rates are back to normal. Doing some more prep work on the February classes. “Sensory Perceptions” finishes this week. I’ve got a couple of articles I want to pitch, two short stories to prep — one for release on February 1 (the next Samantha Wright piece) and one to send to a submission call.

I want to do some more work on the play before I send it to the actors already cast, and we have to set up auditions for the three remaining roles.

Lots to do, so I better get to work!

Devon

Don’t forget to breathe new life into old projects during “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” Feb. 4-6, and transform journal entries into viable fiction in “Journal into Fiction” from Feb. 11-14. Information and registration here.