Tues. Sept. 20, 2022: The Boostered Couch Potato

image courtesy of Agata via Pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Yup, Mars is still in Gemini (until March 2023)

Cloudy and cooler

Anyone else find all these retrogrades exhausting?

This will be short, because it was close to a Lost Weekend. Not due to alcohol (hopefully, I’ve matured beyond that by now). Due to Covid Shot #5, the bivalent booster.

I got it on Friday morning, at good ole Stop & Shop. It hurt. My arm hurt immediately. My mom drove us home. She hasn’t driven much here in the Berkshires since we’ve moved (and her license is good until she’s 101).

I was woozy, but not too bad, for most of the day. I’d blocked it off for rest, so I spent the day on the couch, reading. I read Kwana Jackson’s KNOT AGAIN, the second book in her series about a group of foster brothers who inherit their foster mother’s knitting shop in Harlem and are determined to keep it a community hub. The series is a lot of fun.

I didn’t feel bad until about 12 hours after the shot. Then, it hit. I’d gotten steadily colder during the afternoon, but by 12 hours post shot, I was so cold I was, very literally, shaking. That was a new and different reaction. I piled quilts and cats on the bed, did a hot water bottle, and snuggled in.

That warmed me up, but I was awake most of the night with terrible body aches, headaches, and nausea, but I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed to get the Tylenol.

I finally managed to hoist myself out of bed around 11 AM on Saturday and took Tylenol, which helped, although I continued to feel nauseated. Again, new and different. Usually, I am all kinds of hungry after the shot.

I spent Saturday on the couch, reading and dozing. I read Roselle Lim’s SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB, which was delightful. I do love her books so much.

I barely ate anything all day (just some chicken soup), drank a lot of black-raspberry-flavored water, and hot tea when I started getting cold again. I alternated between a slight fever and chills.

I went to bed at 7:15.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up at 5 AM on Sunday. I had a blazing headache, which makes sense, since I hadn’t had any coffee the day before (just the thought made me queasy, and rarely do I skip coffee). I made coffee, fed everything, retired to the couch.

Where I spent the day.

I read Michelle Sagara’s CAST IN SHADOW, which I really liked. It was published in 2005, and there are 16 books in the series, so I have a lot of pleasurable reading ahead of me. Not sure how I missed it back then, but I’ve found it now, and am happy about it.

In one of my half-dozed states, I figured out the climactic sequence and resolution for ANGEL HUNT. It’s quite different than I originally planned (I am sure), but I’m using what I’ve learned about craft and character in the ensuing years, so I believe it’s stronger.

I also worked out a few threads for LEGERDEMAIN. Let’s hope they haven’t fled when I sit down to write!

I decided that I’m not going to the Authors Guild Festival in Lenox next weekend due to lack of COVID protocols. They’re taking the cowardly “Masks recommended but not required” which means having high numbers means more to them than having healthy attendees. Nope. Not doing it. To say I am disappointed in them is an understatement. I emailed them on Monday, releasing my tickets (so someone else can take the risk) and telling them why. Rather than going there, getting upset, and leaving, I will withdraw now. Because, fuck you, you CANNOT be in a seminar claiming you give two shits about equality and justice when you can’t be bothered to wear a piece of cloth over your face for an hour. That’s hypocrisy. I won’t condone it or be around it. At least 500 people are dying a DAY. That calls for stricter protocols, not fewer, and I have zero tolerance for cowards.

I started re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES by Marshall Ryan Maresca, which remains one of my favorite books ever. I’m re-reading the whole Maradine Constabulary series, and then probably all his Maradine books. They hold up.

Monday, I woke up feeling semi-human. Still not great. Fed the cats, caught up on the journal, went back to the page. Typed up the notes for ANGEL HUNT’S climactic sequence. The notes were 2K, so the sequence will be long, and then cut. I made a placeholder for the resolution saying “figure it out” which will bite me in the butt, but hey.

I was saddened by an email that the yoga studio is closed for a couple of weeks, because the owner came down with COVID. This is the one place I felt safe indoors, because everyone had to have proof of vaccination. And still . . .just proves there’s no safe place outside of home.

Wednesday, we have to “activate” our new debit cards with Greylock Federal Credit Union. Having the entire base activate their debit cards on the same day during Mercury Retrograde would be a clusterfuck even if they didn’t always get everything wrong the first time. Not looking forward to it.

I was going to run some errands, but I had a slight fever, so I decided to stay home.

After typing up and printing out my notes for the rest of ANGEL HUNT, I went back and adapted chapters two and three of the third draft into Episodes 9-15 of the serial. The pace is good, it works structurally. I mean, it was designed to be a serial, then adapted into a novel, so adapting back isn’t all that much of a stretch. These episodes are shorter than the original episodes. So far, they are all under 1K, except for one of them, and shorter than LEGERDEMAIN’s episodes. I want to look at the contrasting metrics for the two serials, especially during the stretch they run concurrently.

I should have switched over to script coverage, although I am fine with my deadlines. Instead, I went back and re-read all of ANGEL HUNT. It holds together, I’m happy to say, but I can see why I stopped where I did. I spun out multiple arcs when it looked like the serial would continue indefinitely. When it was clear the company was in decline, I tried to tie things up before the company collapsed, but was not able to do so. When I adapted, I had some good ideas, but didn’t know how to pull it all together without cheating an arc or going on for too long.

Hopefully, in the intervening years, I’ve developed the craft to fix that. We’ll see, won’t we?

I was starting to think, between the climactic sequence and the resolution, I might have as much as 8K left to write, but I think I can keep it within the original 5K vision.

So I guess that’s what I’m doing later this week, when I’m not doing client work.

Shelley, over at LEGERDEMAIN, is tapping her foot with impatience.

I stayed up way too late re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES. I have no regrets.

This morning, I am up and out of the house early, headed to the Berkshire Law Library in Pittsfield, where their librarian will point me toward the books on banking law in 1957 for the retro mystery. I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

On my way back, I’m getting in some groceries, doing the errands I didn’t do yesterday, and getting in some cash, in case the whole banking think goes cattywampus tomorrow, as is inevitable.

Speaking of LEGERDEMAIN, Episode 17 drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges

Friday, May 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Sorry this is up late; I had errands to run this morning before the tourons descend on Cape Cod and make our lives hell for the next three months.

The relief I feel at getting out both requested partials to the interested editors ahead of deadline leaves me exhausted. HEART THEFT went out nine days before deadline; NOT BY THE BOOK went out four days before deadline. Neither one were dumped on the editor during a holiday weekend (although I cut it close with NBTB). I lived up to my own expectations for myself AND I’m happy with the quality of work I turned in.

I tried mowing yesterday. The reel mower doesn’t really mow much. It massages, and the grass snaps right back up. I bought a rolling blade. It should damn well cut whatever vegetation over which I roll it. Not happy AT ALL. When it cuts, it does a decent job of it, but there’s too much it’s not cutting.

I’m getting annoyed by the part-time writers who have non-writing day jobs to pay the bills attacking full-time writers who earn our living at it for “writing every day.” This is my profession, not my hobby. If I don’t show up and do the work every day, I can’t pay the bills. Getting paid for my writing doesn’t make me love it any less or make me any less of a writer. Stop attacking people who achieve what you can’t.

And, you know what? Go ahead and DON’T write regularly. Only write “when the muse strikes.” You’ll still be a cubicle slave. I’ll still be earning my living doing what I love — because I show up and do the work.

Spent some time outside, both reading and working on the maps for THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I’m moving forward as though my first choice market passed, and not writing it with an eye to their parameters. I’m back to writing it because I really love the piece and want to create this world. It will have to be done in and around other projects, but not having a deadline means less pressure. I’m getting more and more ideas about the world, and making more and more notes. The chapters I’ve written so far have a strong energy and drive, and I like the sprawl. I like weaving the characters, situations, and storylines together, to see where they converge and where they part.

This morning, I worked out a plot and character arc involving one of my five central protagonists with one of the minor characters who’s more complex than I expected. In my first putterings with this arc, it would have derailed the main drive of the piece. But now, I’ve figured out a way to adjust it so it supports the central plot instead of serving as a tangent. It will drive plot, illuminate character, enrich the world. In other words, serve its purpose.

However, this morning, I’m going back to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, whose deadline is coming up quickly. I’ll be looking at cover choices next week from my publisher and cover designer — hopefully, there will be a cover reveal soon.

I’d also like to sit down with the market list this weekend and come up with some more article pitches to go out next week.

I finished reading Marshall Ryan Maresca’s AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE. I like this series a lot. A MURDER OF MAGES remains as one of my Top Twelve Books across genre. The choices made as the series develops surprise me. I often think, “I wouldn’t do it that way — but I’m really glad HE did!” I enjoy his world building, and I enjoy the way he breaks genre clichés.

There’s such a big difference between turning a trope (I hate that word) inside out and ignoring it. Tropes set up expectations. A talented writer (like Maresca) knows them intimately and knows how to use them beyond the expectations and take the reader somewhere new and exciting. A careless writer would toss it in and not follow through or defy it without providing expansion and payoff.

I admit it, I read Maresca as much for craft as for story and character. I learn a lot about the way he structures his books, about the paths his characters take. There’s always the sense of discovery there, but he’s got such good craft, I’m willing to leap with him wherever he goes, because I know it will be a satisfying, exciting experience. He was also kind enough to point me in the right direction when I had questions about mapping that have been useful.

I heard the radio play went well earlier this week. The cast, crew, and audience had fun with it — that’s music to a playwright’s ears! I’m looking forward to hearing it.

I’m playing with ideas for the new gun violence play that came out of the conversation I had with an actress friend. I’d set out a cast of characters, but they started feeling too much like representations than individuals. So I stripped it back and narrowed the focus. Now, I have something to work with, something to develop. I usually don’t mention the physical characteristics or race of characters in a cast breakdown. With my work, I find that when the actor who connects best with the work is cast, we have an array of physical types, races, ethnicities.

However, in this case, race is part of what the play deals with. Which means I need to specify which characters are black, white, etc. We’re dealing with things people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, but which have to be acknowledged. This will be a challenging piece to work on, and I’m pulling in advice from all kinds of actors and creatives with whom I’ve worked on Broadway, to make sure it’s not just a banal “I’m presenting a message” piece, but a piece that digs deep in search of the cause of the problem, and also offers more than one solution. The development process will take a looong time. But it will be worth it, if something valuable comes out of it, for those of us in the creation and the experience of the final piece. Flippant responses out of emotion, fear, anger, aren’t necessarily ones that will help. Yet they will also need to be a part of this, as they are a step on the journey to a solution, and sometimes a tangent.

I hope I’m up to the challenge.

In the meantime, I have to tackle the challenge of the Lawn that Refused to Bow to the Mower.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on May 25, 2018 at 9:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges  
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