Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Direct (as of yesterday)
Uranus Retrograde

Sorry I didn’t post on Friday. The day got away from me.

But I bought 18 notebooks in the back-to-school sales, so I’m set for notebooks. For the moment!

Thursday was not a good writing day at all, but at least I got some other stuff done, including early morning grocery shopping.

I tried reading a book from a series by an author who’d come recommended. I wound up skimming through the second half of the book I was reading because the protagonist was such an idiot I wanted her to be the next murder victim, there were copy editing errors as in the wrong character name in a scene that made no sense, and some major revelations happened off the page and were told to the reader in a toss-off sentence.

No. Just no.

I tried a book from a different series by the same author; put it down after the third chapter. I’m tired of dumbed-down, silly protagonists being marketed as “cute” and “whacky” and “spontaneous” and “eccentric.” Sorry, they’re dumb and annoying. I know plenty of cute, whacky, spontaneous, and eccentric individuals who aren’t morons.

An author I’ve crossed off my list. Fortunately, I’m not in contact with her on social media or at conferences. And no, I won’t name her publicly. I don’t bash other authors.

I want the protagonists in the books I read to be smarter, more resourceful, and more inventive than the average person. Yes, I like to see characters grow and change during the course of a book and series, but the change has to start soon after the catalyst, not six books down the road. A protag doesn’t learn from mistakes and keeps making the same one over and over? First of all, I want that protag to be the next murder victim (Donna Andrews calls it the “Too Stupid to Live Syndrome” and I agree). Second, it’s not a person I’d spend time with in real life, so I sure as heck won’t waste my reading time with that individual.

I like living books through characters vastly different than I am, but I demand intelligence and resourcefulness from them. Or I just don’t care enough to take a book-length journey with them.

Dumbing down characters so the reader can feel superior (a reality-tv trend) is not something I buy into. Or buy books of authors who do that.

I managed to get some yard work done Wednesday afternoon, which meant I could sit out on the deck with a lime martini and my writing and some books and not feel guilty. I need to mow and tidy up the front again.

By the time I get the yard where I want it, it will be snowing!

Read Yasmine Galenorn’s SOULJACKER and really liked it. Totally understand why she can’t continue the series. But still really enjoy this book (and it does stand alone).

Got out a couple of article pitches. Working on a radio play pitch and a workshop pitch, and a detailed LOI for a company that really interests me. Doubt they’ll go out before the end of this week.

Friday, I got a bit of writing done, and then I had a stack of errands, including getting a new phone. I went to one store — I told the guy my budget, and he immediately tried to get me beyond by double for a phone that he could only sell me that day. Um, no. That’s more than I can afford for a phone I don’t want. So I shopped around, and finally got something at a different store within my budget, and they were nice about it. So I have a phone I like that works.

I’ve been trying to get onto Vero, a social media network that’s only on one’s phone, that’s supposedly far superior to Instagram, Facebook, etc. Only when I download the app and try to sign up, they tell me the email address I use a dozen times a day is invalid. I complained to support, and they respond quickly, but keep asking the same questions and not solving the problem. So, unless it’s solved by today, I’m done and moving on.

One of the reasons I try new social media networks/apps is because, in addition to my own needs, I run social media platforms for other businesses and creatives. I experiment with them, see how they work, and then, depending on the need of the client, I can suggest one or more network.

If there are glitches and problems and a lot of hoops to jump through, I’m not going to recommend it.

I’m still getting a handle on Tumblr. I really like Ello, but that’s for creating, not really promotion. Which is fine, because it fills the hunger I have for connecting with other creatives about creation, not promotion.

I need and want to be around other working creatives who are creating. Not who are whining about “not having time” or only talking about the business side. The whining and the only-market-driven talk is like a disease among creatives, and it interferes instead of enhances creativity.

The last days of the Mars retrograde were tough. I had to take a breath and step back or I would have burned some bridges that really don’t need it right now.

The weekend was frustrating. Saturday was not a good writing day, and I didn’t get enough done around the house, either. I feel like I have no energy, like I’m in limbo. I can’t wait for other people’s decisions, even though they affect mine. I have to do what I need to do and just adjust. But it all seems overwhelming right now.

Sunday was better, especially creatively, although I’m still not where I need to be.

In addition to necessities like laundry, I also spent some serious time working on unpacking/purging stuff from the basement. Stuff that’s sat down there for far too long that I haven’t dealt with.

Time to deal.

It took me two hours to go through four boxes. I’m trying to deal with each item only once. There are a few things which I’m not yet sure about. Everything else was either toss or integrate. Not merely keep. Integrate.

I have a box for stuff to give away, but nothing from these boxes was appropriate.

If I can do a little every day, and more on weekends, eventually I will have gotten through it. But it’s slow going and it means making decisions that I’ve been putting off, sometimes for years. But it must be done.

It was also much more emotional than I expected. I had to confront my past self, and, again, decide what to integrate and of what to let go.

Difficult, but necessary.

Design work on site with a client yesterday and today. It’s fun, but needs a lot of focus.

 

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 3:42 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge  
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Wed. June 22, 2016: The Writing Fugue

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I will be so glad when this Mars retrograde is done. It has kicked my ass.

Saturday’s house & garden tour went well – people seemed to enjoy it. Things were busy. I stayed after the library closed and got some work done, and then went over to the play. It was cute, although I wasn’t really sure while all these Cape Codders were speaking in a southern accent.

Home, writing. Wrote all day Sunday, all day Monday, all day Tuesday. 100 pages in longhand, finishing a major section of INITIATE. Worked on the radio plays – trying to figure out as much in advance so that I can get what I need to in the ten minute limit. Developed a logline and quick pitch for the potential new series that the actor pal wants to send to his producer pal. These projects can take years to develop – so I stepped up, did my part, delivered what and when I said I would, and we’ll see what happens from there.

Was asked to return to an organization I left about a year ago; not going to do so. It would simply be yet another drain on my time, and people expecting me to put their demands before my own writing, which I am not willing to do. I tried working with them, and they were detrimental to my writing, not supportive of it; therefore, no.

This will be another long week, with long days at the library, and then, on Friday night, our Casino night fundraiser. On Saturday, I’m headed out to the flower show.

I hit up the wholesale nursery on Sunday and got some great plants, and then hit Country Gardens to get potting soil and a few other things. I mowed a lot, and put down more fertilizer, but there’s still a lot to do.

I’m behind where I want to be on CHARISMA KILLINGS, so that is where the bulk of my focus needs to be for the next few weeks. Somehow, everything will get done!

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 26, 2012: The Teaching Juggling Act


Tessa checks out the buffet table, the morning after the party

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Still dark out

I’ve got a piece on “Fuel for a Weary Soul” over on Writers Vineyard (as Annabel). Go check it out!

Busy day yesterday. Read as much student work as I could before my eyes gave out. Got irritated because a student who wastes a lot of time expects ME to organize threads to HER convenience and keep HER organized, instead of taking responsibility for herself, and wants me to “add extra slots” in classes. First of all, I am not her personal assistant; second, every extra student adds at least 40 minutes to an hour to my work day; more if they have questions (which they’re encouraged to ask — you learn by asking questions and DOING). There are only twenty four hours in a day. I put limits on classes FOR A REASON. I’m not going to work 24/7 — not for these prices anyway — and too many students in a class means I can’t give the individual attention to each piece that it needs. I allowed two extra students in the current class, and I’m stretched beyond my limit, even though the class is lively and active and working their butts off and it’s all positive. The lack of respect some people have is just appalling. I’m sure all teachers go through it. Goes with the gig. People who don’t teach don’t understand the time OUTSIDE of direct interaction it takes to do the job effectively.

The wall is painted and looks lovely. Got a bunch of work done on Confidential Job #1,and will start the second part of the two-part project today, getting the write up of the first part out. Yoga this morning, then I have to take my mom to the eye doctor to get measured for her eye operation. That’s supposed to take three hours, so I will take a notebook and the materials for Confidential Job #1 with me.

I’m happy with the progress on HEART BINDER. I just have to get a few other of my own projects back on track, and I won’t feel so pressured and resentful. I need to remember to focus on and be grateful for all that is wonderful in the class situation and let the irritations slide off more. Everyone’s working hard AND doing good work. The year-longs are required to have their drafts finished by the 31st or they’re out of the class — 50% of them are done. Not too shabby. Most of the 5 in 10s are staying on schedule, and the work is terrific. Really impressive, and the range of topics and how they’re handled is wonderful. I ENJOY going to the page and reading the material each day — I’ve just got only X amount of time to get it all done! Being interested in the world helps make them better writers.

Not loving the Mars retrograde, I have to say. Struggling with the personal crap it brings up, and trying to handle it with a modicum of grace! It will be good to be in yoga class this morning, for some kick-booty Om! 😉 That’s part of the retrograde — gaining skills to help you deal with it positively. Saying “I am positively OVER this retrograde” probably isn’t what “they” had in mind! 😉

I was assigned my new editor for the reboot of HEX BREAKER, so let’s hope that’s going to be a good partnership. I need to start pulling together my press kit for that. Once I get my edits, they’re going to have to turn around pretty fast, I’d think — two weeks or so. So the more I can get cleared off my plate ahead of time, the less pressure.

To yoga, to medical appointments (scribbling in the waiting room), and then back to the page.

I’m reading the seed catalogs and dreaming of this year’s garden. Let’s hope I’ve learned something from both what did and did not work last year!

Devon

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Elsa naps between the Christmas stocking pillow and the soft doll angel

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I am extremely grateful that I don’t have to travel over these holidays, especially with the weather problems and the fact that airlines aren’t actually interested in providing service for customers, just taking as much money away from them as they can. At this point, most of the major airlines deserve to tank. They’ve been in business for enough years so that when they’re hit with bad weather, they should be able to reshuffle their schedules and planes in order to get people WHO PAID THEM where they’re going in a timely, safe, and pleasant manner. That includes providing food and hotel vouchers in bad weather, or setting up food and shelter areas in the terminals — not expecting people to sleep on the floor and continue to pay outrageous terminal prices to eat during the ordeal. The new legislation limiting time on the tarmac is an improvement, but not enough.

I didn’t have that many errands to do yesterday, but I forgot to to mail my letters at the post office. I walked right BY the post office, but I was so excited about the Buche de Noel I bought that I forgot!

And you gotta watch those clerks at CVS. The one up the street from me is dreadful; the ones a few miles out are fine. But everything I needed to do was in walking distance, so I went to the dreadful one. I bought what I needed, she rings it up, and tells me the total. I hand her a bill and say, “Give me a minute and I’ll get you the change,” and I start counting the change out.

She looks at the bill, sneers at me, and says, “That’s not enough.”

“I SAID I was getting the change.”

She rolls her eyes at me.

No, I did not haul off and bitch slap her, although she deserved it. I kept digging for my change, then looked at the total and said, “That’s not right. You overcharged me.”

She rolls her eyes again. I pull out the item and show her the price on the sticker, which was several dollars less than what she rang up. She rolled her eyes AGAIN. I put my hand in my pocket this time to keep from slugging her and said, “So, you see, now YOU need to give ME my change.”

She voided the price, re-entered it, handed me the change with this “uh!” noise, and I said, “Cut the attitude, chickie, this is your job.” The manager wandered by and asked if there was a problem. I said, “If you won’t hire the competent, at least hire the polite” and walked out.

We all have bad days, but when you are dealing with customers, it is your job not to take it out on them. I’ll always start with politeness, but if you push me, I WILL push back, and if you start something with me — especially when you’re wrong — you WILL be sorry.

Remember when I said I couldn’t remember if a Mars retrograde made me stand firmer or stand down? Obviously, it makes me stand firmer. In other words, do NOT get in my face for the next two months, until it goes direct again! 😉

On the flip side, the staff at the French bakery were absolutely delightful. I walked in, and it was like entering a Wonderland. Turns out all the ex-pat French, French Canadian, and Brits in the area hang out there, so I’ll probably start spending more time on site! Anyway, I get in and see that they’re offering the Buche de Noel by the slice — and they’re lovely. The woman behind the counter asked if she could help me and I asked if I could buy a whole Buche. She said, “But of course!” and proceeded the delicate task of rearranging everything in the glass cabinet so she could get at it, packing it beautifully, and making sure the box was in a convenient bag. I admitted I was buying one because I was too much of a coward to make one, and she said, “And that’s why we’re here.” Totally lovely people. If they had eclairs, I’d be there every day.

I will still frequent the Salzburg Patisserie (which is only two blocks away as opposed to five), because it is wonderful, I’ve gone there for years, and I love their quality. But I will ALSO go to this French bakery.

And yes, I’ve scoped out bakeries in the areas in which I plan to relocate! A good bakery in the area is as vital to me as a good bookstore!

I have to do an errand for my mom and then pick up the turkey for Christmas Day dinner. I marinated the pork roast this morning, so by the time I put it in the oven tomorrow, it will have marinated for 30 hours. Just perfect.

Excellent writing day yesterday. Really pleased with the progress. The piece I’m working on has hit just the right tone — it’s funny and a little scary and a little sweet. Wish that had happened, like, three weeks ago!

We received the final packages we expected, and got confirmations on all the stuff that’s shipped. One more big box will be delivered to the family in Maine on Christmas Eve. Wolferman’s has been my go-to place for food gifts this year. Their quality is terrific, prices reasonable, and they are completely reliable. Great quality and great customer service means I’ll keep coming back. And no, they didn’t give me anything to say that! 😉 Actually, I’m about to shoot an email to them thanking them for their lovely service.

Guess what? The bookstore in town that was supposed to close in January has been saved. There was such an outcry, it’s staying open. It’s tiny, it’s not very efficient, and it rarely has what I need — but it’s there, and I do use it, so I’m grateful. Christmas miracle, anyone?

Violet says that we have to have play time RIGHT NOW, so I’ll play with her for a bit before going back to the page.

Happy day, all!

Devon

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009
Waning Moon
Sunny and COLD!

A day without retrogrades, can you believe it? But Mars goes into retrograde soon, so . . .sigh. I can never remember if that means I get crankier and more prone to fights, or have trouble standing up for myself. Guess I’ll find out!

I keep thinking today is supposed to have some deep personal significance, but damned if I can remember what it is!

Having some nice discussions with UK producers about my plays. My work tends to do well over there. Fingers crossed.

Yesterday was just flat out frustrating. I got some errands done. I can’t find my hot glue gun, so I sprang for the $10 to get a new and better one. Actually, I had a 40% off coupon, so it was much less than $10.

By the afternoon, I was finally able to start pulling Christmas decorations out. It was total chaos, so, of course, one of my least favorite neighbors shows up at the door in the middle of it in a panic about a situation that has nothing to do with me, and there is nothing I can do to help her. I explained that this was a really bad time to interrupt me, and that there was only one small thing I could do to help. I was willing to do that one thing, but that was ALL I could do. She’s always trying to get me to do things for her — I don’t mind helping out when I can, and I set firm boundaries, but when I say, “This is what I can do for you, no more” and the response is, “ But I need this, this, and this in addition”, my response is “If what I’m able to do doesn’t work for you, then I can’t do anything.” I will NOT be guilted, manipulated, or bullied into doing things I don’t/wont’ do. She’s also a nasty old gossip, and always trying to get into the apartment to see what’s on the desk or on the altar and then gossip about it.

She finally agreed to what I said I could do. I told her I had everything scattered all over the floor, and she could borrow my cell phone, but we had to do it in the hallway; she could NOT come in. So what does she do? Tries to push her way into the apartment. I realize it’s rude to manhandle senior citizens, but when I say NO it means NO, no matter who you are. She would have broken her neck if she’d tried to pick her way through wires and half-opened boxes of decorations. Plus, I don’t want her in there and talking about how the apartment looks when I’m in the middling of decorating.

I took care of her business, told her that was all I could do, I wouldn’t be around most of the weekend (which is true), and I was in the middle of something and this was it. So what happens? Not only does she knock on my door a half a dozen times more throughout the afternoon with this request and that request — none of which I could fulfill because I was up to my armpits in fabric and glue and tree branches and ribbon and stitching and a lot of other stuff — but she goes to another neighbor and GIVES OUT MY CELL PHONE NUMBER as her contact.

I basically melted down. Not at her — won’t give her the satisfaction — but the lack of respect just galls me. The complete and utter disrespect for my time and my boundaries is completely unacceptable. Whenever someone called, I said that I had allowed her to use my phone as a courtesy and that was the extent of my involvement. I could not take or deliver messages, nor could I serve as coordinator or point person on this situation.

I realize she and another nasty old gossip (they talk about each other behind each other’s backs all the time, yet spend all their spare time together) are in a competition to see who they can get to do more for them, but I am NOT playing. I have my hands full taking care of my own mom, handling her medical appointments and cooking and laundry and all of that. I don’t mind helping out my neighbors, but when I tell them what I can realistically do, I expect those boundaries to be honored.

If I’d been on a deadline and writing, I would have gone ballistic, and there would be bits of the building missing.

Needless to say, I got very little done. I have the tree table set up and the tree on it and fluffed, though not decorated. I have the Advent table set up, although not decorated yet. Part of the faux mantel is decorated, and I wrapped some things in the hutch and built and stitched the bows, shown in the photo above, because I thought it was cute and a little different. And that’s as far as I got.

Today, before I leave for my friend’s place, I’m going to wrestle the lights on the tree, and then, bit by bit, over the weekend, I’ll finish the decorating. And not answer the door OR the phone.

In spite of all the chaos, I had some very good writing sessions yesterday. I have to back up my computer — Time Machine reminded me that I hadn’t backed up in 30 days, and really, given my history of technical difficulties, didn’t I think that was damned stupid? And here I thought I was backing up faithfully once a week! So I’ll do that. I’ve got the holiday cards and lists packed in my writing bag, and I’ll take my other writing. The laundry’s ready to go. I’m going to a friend’s this afternoon to do laundry, write cards, and then cook dinner as a thank you for letting me do umpteen loads of laundry. (LIke I said, they never replaced the machines in the laundry room after the floods a few years ago, just hosed them down, and I’m sorry, but no cholera panties for me).

I baked mini scones for breakfast. Pretty good, but again, even the dough isn’t holding together properly. I think they’re processing flour differently. I will ask Pillsbury. I’m having trouble with anything I make using Pillsbury flour. I think I’ll just switch back to using King Arthur — I can completely trust their quality and consistency.

Backing up, back to the page, and then heading out!

Devon