Tues. Dec. 5, 2017: And We’re Definitely in Mercury Retrograde

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Yeah, Mercury’s Retrograde — AGAIN, and it looks like it’ll be a rough one.

Hop over to the GDR site for the November wrap-up.

Hop on over to the Kemmyrk site for some background on today, one of my favorite days, St. Nicholas Day.

I’m still recovering from the events of Friday and the car. I contacted my regular garage, and they’re putting together an estimate for me. I contacted a friend who knows the best places to get tires around here, and he gave me some suggestions.

Got a bunch of admin stuff done Friday, and then I went off to Nirvana in Barnstable to meet a friend for coffee. And was stood up. I had to dig deep — I don’t like that type of disrespect, and it’s a pattern between this individual and me.

But instead of sitting there feeling angry and hurt, I acknowledged I was both of those things, and I sat and enjoyed my mocha latte for a half hour. It was quiet, it was pretty, it was a nice atmosphere. Why shouldn’t I enjoy myself, since I was there? So I did.

Then, I went next door to Barnstable Market, and I found the plum pudding, Dresden stollen, and leibkuchen I wanted for the holidays.

I let the person know I’d waited for a half hour and then left. I didn’t hear anything until mid-morning on Saturday (since I know this person is intimately connected to mobile devices at all times, that didn’t help my attitude). She claimed she’d sent me an email, because a crisis at work came up, and she hopes to reschedule. Well, I never got it (Mercury Retrograde), and it is what it is. These things happen, and things get mixed up. Later in the afternoon, she forwarded the missing email — it had never left the Inbox. If she’s serious, she can contact me after the holidays.

This is huge progress for me, acting like a grown-up in this situation. I’m not striking out in anger. I’m also not committing to putting myself into a situation again that’s bad for me. I’m being polite, and giving the benefit of the doubt to a point, adding it to the balance sheet.

It builds on removing myself from a work relationship that had been toxic last year, where I’d done the equivalent of $150,000 of pro bono work over several years for an organization that repeatedly refused my professional suggestions because they were “too New York” (um, no, they’re “professional” which is why they WORK in New York) and then turned around and paid someone else to do the exact same thing I’d been doing for free. Truly a case of “why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” And yet, without that client, my life contains much less stress and unhappiness, although there are aspects of the work with them that I miss.

But aren’t balance sheets in relationships always uneven? To a point, yes. Relationships, friendships, the like, all go through cycles where one party tends to do more of the heavy lifting. If and when it gets out of balance, that’s when the relationship has to be reassessed. Either there are ways to get it back in balance, or it needs to end. And only the individuals within the relationship understand its unique balance.

In January of 2016, my promise to myself was “reciprocity” — because I feel that in this area of the country, most interactions lack reciprocity. One party demands everything and gives nothing in return. In New York, believe it or not, there was far more reciprocity, especially among professionals. Cape Cod is the epitome of how and why the “Trickle Down” fantasy the GOP keeps pushing DOESN’T WORK. It doesn’t let people break the cycle of poverty (on either financial or emotional levels), and, after awhile, people start living a “gimme” life. What the GOP claims is created by social services (such as SNAP and Medicare) — laziness, refusal to work, grabbiness, expecting handouts — is actually CREATED by THEIR policies when they remove those safety nets. But, because they’re being paid off to push the policies, they don’t care.

It’s been hard work these last two years to put the Reciprocity Model into action in my life. I often fail. But I’m more aware of it now, I’m better at saying “no” upfront when an unequal demand is made, or, once I realize it’s getting way out of whack, trying to rebalance and/or make the decision that is best for ME and walk away.

There’s definitely more work to do, but I’m making progress. Not the least of that progress is not letting the hurts and anger fester and dwell on them, rather than letting go and moving on. I remember, and I use what I’ve learned to make better choices.

Anyway, Saturday was about finishing up both a review and an article. I also raked another 270 gallons of leaves — still in the front. I haven’t made any progress anywhere else yet! Got a bit of decorating done, but there’s still so much more to do.

Thought about SERENE AND DETERMINED, but didn’t get anything written on it. I tried to make up for it yesterday and today. I don’t know why I’ve had such a difficult time getting the play on paper this year.

Thought about a few other things I want to create next year — long-term business plans.

I sent out a bunch of questionnaires to potential web hosts. My current web host 1&1, did nothing but insult me and give me the runaround instead of taking 15 minutes to answer my questions. I need a new web host!

Behind on TRACKING MEDUSA, too. Behind on “Miss Winston Apologizes” — release date moved back on that. Although the new cover is pretty cool.

My mom’s foot is taking a long time to heal. We still have a lot of post-op care.

Outlined two new ideas. Don’t know when I’ll get a chance to work on them, but the premises intrigue me.

Over the past month, my mom and I have read all of Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop Mysteries and her Cupcake Bakery Mysteries. They’re fun, and I like the way she grows the character relationships from book to book, so they’re all of a piece. That’s what I’m trying to do in the Nautical Namaste and the Picaroon Island mysteries.

Tessa loves the Christmas Tree. She’s very gentle with it, but she loves to spend time under it — especially when it’s lit.

Session with the client went well yesterday. Hopefully today will also be great, and forward progress.

A lot of deal with this week. During Mercury Retrograde. I’d rather hide in my bed, but I guess that’s not an option!

 

Advertisements

Fri. Dec. 1, 2017: Early Mercury Madness

Friday, December 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’m already having Mercury Retrograde issues, and all I want to do is hide until it’s over.

Yesterday, I did some running around and bill paying. I should have done yard work, but I was too tired.

I did manage to get some work done on the tree, though. It’s almost decorated. Of course, we still have to do the rest of the hosue! 😉

This morning, I had an early appointment for a basic, no frills oil change. Then, they try to pressure me to get the inspection done. I said no. They said they were doing it anyway. Then they tell me I need new wipers and two new tires, or they won’t give me a new inspection sticker. I told them the only thing happening today was the damn oil change. They gave me a quote in writing which sounded ridiculous. I got my damn oil change and left.

I hate being bullied, and when I say “no”, it means no. Can I just say how tired I am of male mechanics treating me like I’m a moron?

I emailed my regular car people up in Plymouth, the three generations of family who always look after four generations, and asked them for another quote. I’m also doing some other research. I’m not going to be pressured or bullied.

I am, however, angry.

Then, hit with a pending car expense I wasn’t expecting, I still had to run the rest of my errands. Got my 2018 calendars, thank goodness, because there’s stuff to write in them.

Went to another store to do a bit of shopping, and, although I bought stuff clearly marked “Buy One Get One Free”, it wasn’t ringing up. The cashier sent me to customer service, who tried to sell me that I’d Buy One Get One Half Off. But that’s NOT what the sign said. I am fully capable of comprehensive reading. It’s what I do. We took a walk, I pointed out the sign, she agreed, and then tried some weird math, which I corrected, and then she nearly “forgot” to refund the difference. Um, no. I may not be a math genius, but I can figure that out.

Took an hour, but it got sorted.

A full moon meditation is going up on the Cerridwen’s Cottage site for this weekend.

Let me re-emphasize how much I am NOT looking forward to this Mercury Retrograde.

Have to double down on yard work, decorating, and writing this weekend.

On top of that, I have a client who just went into breach of contract for a payment not arriving. This is the one where, every month, I’m tapping my foot wondering if and when it will come in. Within the next few months, I plan to replace this unreliable client with a reliable one.

Think good thoughts for me.

If I let myself, the upcoming Mercury Retrograde will be one furious howl. So I’ll try to restrain myself! 😉

Fri. Aug. 25, 2017: Thoughts on Forced Extroversion by an Introvert

Friday, August 25, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ten more days of Mercury Retrograde. Ack!

Sent out some pitches and an initial step of a proposal for a project I’d really like to do. I only heard about it very close to their deadline, so they may already have hired someone, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it’s in my wheelhouse, right on target (to mix metaphors), so I gave it a shot.

Worked on “Labor Intensive”, which lived up to its name.

Worked on the revisions for SAVASANA AT SEA. I thought I’d done so much, because I’m in serious beat-to-beat change territory, but it was only a few chapters. A little discouraging, but slow progress is better than no progress.

Got another round of copy edits back on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I don’t understand all of them — some of them refer to changes I made — so I have to go over it with the copy editor. Not sure if the changes didn’t save properly, or if I have to enter them differently in the document or what. We’ll get it sorted out.

Sending back some research books for projects that are farther out in the schedule, because I can’t effectively use them in the current timeline. Noted them, so I can order them again when I need them.

Did some promo for the Topic Workbook The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects which holds up well. This fall, I need to apply some of the techniques, as I reschedule projects for 2018.

Getting the balance right between the fiction and the nonfiction is always tricky. That and deciding where and how to use the peak of my creative energy on any given day.

There was a fantastic piece posted on Facebook, leading back to an article about introverts. As an introvert, it resonated. One of the things I deeply resent about living here is that I’m constantly forced into extroversion, which is painful and makes me miserable. In NY, you were who you were, and, as long as you did your work, no one cared. Here, the pressure to be constantly extroverted — and always to someone else’s convenience — makes me both miserable and furious.

I feel like I’ve lost a vital part of what made me good at what I do, living here. On the one hand, the place itself — the ocean, the land — have definitely helped my work, and in some ways, the quality of life is better. But the constant intrusions into my personal space and needs and the demands that I change the core of who I am to “fit” — well, guess what? I won’t. “Fitting in” has never driven me. I tried to be a civilian and a part of community life, and the prevalent “gimme culture” here doesn’t work, along with the lack of support for the arts (in spite of pretending the opposite). So I’m redrawing boundaries, and I don’t really care if it suits anyone else.

The theory that one can’t have privacy or a personal life if you work in the arts or set foot in social media (or even outside one’s own door) is ridiculous. I get to decide what to share with others. They get to decide what to share with me. The only exception is if any of us are involved in something that actively hurts those around us, instead of peaceful co-existence.

Remember, fellow female travelers, all those times you walk down the street, minding your own business, mulling over whatever needs attention and some jackass calls out, “Smile, honey!”

Forced constant extroversion is the same thing.

I’m not going to damn smile if I don’t want to. Not then nor now. (Which, since I usually am smiling, if I’m not, you can be sure there’s a reason for it, and back the eff off).

I’m not going to be forced into being someone I am not, and someone I do not wish to become.

Nor do I have to explain WHY I don’t want to do something or go somewhere. If I say “no” it is no, and I don’t need to qualify it.

I’m going back to being who I am.

Wherever that may lead.

That’s how I got to Broadway and lived my dream. That’ll work moving forward.

In any case, have a great weekend! I have lots of hearth-tending to do this weekend, along with A LOT of writing.

Best wishes to those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. I hope something happens and the storm weakens and it’s not anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Published in: on August 25, 2017 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 25, 2017: Thoughts on Forced Extroversion by an Introvert  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write

Wednesday, April 23, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Lots of ground to cover. Lots went on.

Friday was a prime example of Mercury Retrograde. The negotiations broke down with the gig I’d been offered and the offer was rescinded. It could have been worked out, but the other side’s position of not allowing disagreement or discussion made it impossible. Although the whole situation left me feeling bruised, better to know early on and not go on than be mired in it and have it worse later on. I also found out something, that, had I known it about the company, I wouldn’t have pitched to work there in the first place. That is totally on me — I did not do my due diligence on the company. I looked at the parts of the job that appealed to me, rather than looking at the whole thing.

Mercury Retrograde is a time when people are likely to mis-communicate and mis-understand each other. It is also a time when one is supposed to avoid signing a contract. I’d hoped I could circumvent the possibilities with it this go-round and it didn’t work out.

I did some research for another publication with whom I’m in discussions. Coming up with suitable pitches for them will be an intriguing challenge.

Worked on the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Grateful to the copy editor for the catches, and annoyed with myself that I didn’t catch them. But that’s why one puts another pair of eyes on it, isn’t it? Also, reading the digital proofs on the Kindle, and then looking at the manuscript/Track Changes made me realize more than just looking at the manuscript on the screen.

I’m learning a lot with this process, which is great. Each book should teach something. The craft in each book needs to build on the previous books.

The cover for “Labor Intensive” is done — finally, I think we’ve hit on the style and tone for these covers. The cover of “Plot Bunnies” was then re-worked, to fit the series.

Now I just have to finish the damned piece! I’m cutting it a little too close for comfort.

Friday night into Saturday morning, we were woken by the most intensive rainstorm we experienced since moving here. Torrential. By the time we got the windows closed, water was across half the room. Dried pretty quickly, thank goodness. But it was hard to get back to sleep.

Saturday was the counter protest to the so-called “Free Speech Rally” in Boston. After Charlottesville, and the Narcissistic Sociopath’s response on Tuesday, supporting the white supremacists, I was worried that the violence would be worse in Boston than it had been in VA. I was wrong, and glad to be so proven.

100 people showed up for the rally. 40,000 showed up in an anti-hate counter protest. The “rally” lasted a little less than an hour. There were some arrests — 33 was the last number I heard on the news — and protestors were afraid of people playing the tuba.

The counter-protest had music (tuba, drums, bagpipes), dancing, and anti-hate chants. Had the rally ACTUALLY been about “free speech” and not “hate speech” — the organizers would have welcomed the counter protestors and invited some of them to speak at the “rally”.

I felt the mood was much darker and more cynical than at the Women’s March in January — or maybe that’s because my mood is so much darker and more cynical. Still, I think we can all be proud of how Boston behaved — a mostly peaceful protest standing against hate.

The Narcissistic Sociopath tweeted against the march at first, calling it “anti-police”, and then somebody changed his tune, and he started praising Boston. There was a lot of discussion on social media about mis-spelling “heal” as “heel”. Yes, it could have been a Freudian slip; it could also have been Auto-Incorrect. I certainly struggle with that enough when I’m typing on my phone. Even when I check it before hitting send, Auto-Correct sometimes changes it just as I hit “send.” So the spelling is not an issue where I feel I have any right to criticize. Content, yes. Spelling — when I’m able to overcome Auto-Incorrect on a regular basis, then I can.

I read over the short story I’m not sure where to place, the one where a friend thinks it’s the germ of a novel. I see possibilities. At the same time, I wonder how I can possibly expand a piece intentionally tightly written to be under 8K to novel length. With a good plot and outline. Strengthen the supporting characters. Add a couple of subplots. The potential is there; it’s just making the time in the schedule to get it all done without dropping the ball on anything else. I’ve already pushed back several manuscripts that I fully believed I could have out the door this year.

I put in the changes to PLAYING THE ANGLES — it can go back out today. I still want to look at it again before it goes to publish.

Monday was my “day off” — just like in theatre days. I enjoyed myself, preparing for my trip, and reading E.J. Kahn’s memoir of his years at THE NEW YORKER, and having fun, both virtually and in real life, with the eclipse. We only had a partial here, but it was interesting — the birds upset, the cats restless, everything going quiet except for the crickets, the quality of light all wispy, shadowy, and textured. Eerie silence. Then, getting brighter — Bratty Bird, our resident nuthatch, was the first to start yelling. When I stepped onto the deck, the Murder of Crows who hangs out around here came right up to tell me all the news. They are so funny!

Things brightened up quickly, and, of course, the damn neighbor started right back up with their damned power tools. Could we have 24 hours without them once in awhile, please?

There was a passage of only a couple of paragraphs in Kahn’s memoir, but it sent me on a fun “what if?” for either a section of a piece I’m already outlining (mostly likely) or its own piece.

Making time for all of this is the key.

Tuesday, we were up at 4:30 AM and out of the house by 5:30. After a bit of parking lot kerflamma, we were on the 6:30 AM ferry to Nantucket. It was great — only about ten people and a dog on the whole big ferry. Mostly truck drivers, who settled themselves onto the benches and went to sleep. Beautiful and quiet.

I meant to write on the 2 hr. 45 minute ride — I got about a page written. But it was so beautiful that I just sat back and enjoyed it.

A friend met us at the dock. We went to breakfast at Met on Main, which was terrific. We sat outside and I had the enormous and delicious “Met Muffin”. We toured around the town — too many tourists, to which we helped contribute, I’m afraid. Library, Whaling Museum, Oldest House and its Kitchen Garden, etc. Drove around the island, seeing the sites. Spent the afternoon at the house the friends rented for their vacation, sitting out on the deck, looking at the water, and talking. It was fun.

Steven Axelrod’s books will make ever so much more sense now! 😉

5:30 PM ferry back — many more people this time, and lots of dogs. Among the passengers was a pack containing 5 standard poodles — one white (the King), one black and white, one black, and two brown. They were gorgeous and regal and beautifully behaved — better behaved than some of the children on that boat, that’s for sure.

It was still a decent ride back, although not as good as the ride out. The crew on the ferry is always terrific, and boy, they sure know their stuff.

Home a little after eight. The cats were upset, and relieved we were back. Although we had to grovel appropriately.

Hard to get back into the swing of things today. I liked having a couple of days off. I was disgusted by the rally in Phoenix last night. Others are articulating the event far better than I can, so I’ll leave them to it.

I’d really like a few more days off.

But, the manuscript needs to go back to the publisher with the accepted changes. That’s the most important.

I also have to withdraw from consideration for a gig. It sounded like a fun topic and steady work. I was asked for my rate, and gave them a range for the range of work they claim to want. They came back with an offer that’s 1/3 of the lowest number of my range, and said they assign articles to those with the lowest rate first, and higher-paid writers get assigned anything “left over”, while insisting they hired “fantastic writers.”

Um, no. First of all, I don’t know ANY “fantastic” writer who would work for the rate quoted. “Fantastic” writers are paid professional rates and have enough self-esteem not to work for rates that are barely above content mill level. Second, I don’t work for 1/3 of what I told you was my lowest rate. Third, if you’re going to put me on staff for “steady” work, I don’t wait around for the leftover crap assignments, simply because I get a decent rate.

Buh-bye.

On to other pitches.

I’d like to take a few more days off, but work (especially “Labor Intensive”) dictates otherwise.

Onward.

Published in: on August 23, 2017 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Aug. 9, 2017: Building & Happiness

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy day yesterday. Early morning errands and bill paying, including a major grocery shop. I love grocery shopping. I love looking at what’s fresh and in season, and, because I cook, I can make up recipes as I shop.

Built two websites yesterday, one for the Coventina Circle series and one for the Nautical Namaste series. They’re not live yet; I want to get most of the material on the site before I send it live.

At first, it looked like the host wouldn’t let me build any more without yet another fee, but then I figured out how to do it. As usual, customer disservice was useless.

I’m happy with the look of both sites, although I need to wrangle the graphics on the Nautical Namaste site a bit more.

Finished the last piece of backmatter for the PLAYING THE ANGLES manuscript. One more major proofread, and off it goes. I need to get it out the door before Mercury goes retrograde! I have to change a few links, since I directed readers to the web PAGE for the Coventina Circle series on the Devon Ellington site, whereas now they will go to the web SITE dedicated to the series. And I’ve got some fun stuff going on the site, too!

I had a lovely wine/cheese/gab session with someone yesterday afternoon. Good catch-up. And, for dinner, baked chicken with Thai sweet chili, basil, and garlic, along with mashed potatoes and spinach. Yummy! And I baked chocolate chip cookies, because I wanted to.

It was nice to spend a few hours relaxed and happy after the unrelenting stress of the past few months.

Today, it’s getting the manuscript out the door, uploading more material to the Coventina Circle website, getting in cat food, and probably buying a new phone.

I’ve been having trouble with this phone for months now. It’s constantly telling me I’m “running out of internal storage”. I’ve taken out almost all the apps; I have about 11 emails in my inbox. And it keeps “running out of storage”. That’s because the manufacturer, BLU, is trying to force me to buy a more expensive phone. I may well do that, but it won’t be from this company. It stopped letting me take photos months ago, claiming there wasn’t any room; and the camera isn’t anywhere near as good as it was on the other phone. The other phone wasn’t very good, either (Alcatel), and I won’t buy another of those. BLU was useful in the transition from T-Mobile to AT&T. T-Mobile was a crap carrier; AT&T serves my needs much better. But this particular phone causes me grief on a daily basis. I need a smart phone for email and to do internet research. I never TALK on the phone — my hyperaccusis makes it painful. I don’t do business by phone. But I need something reliable for email and social media, and so I can look things up when I write. So I’m off to hunt down a new, affordable

And it all needs to happen before Mercury turns retrograde, or I’m really screwed.

I’m still not back into a good writing rhythm, but I hope to get that handled later today.

“Labor Intensive”, SAVASANA AT SEA, and SPIRIT REPOSITORY are the priorities here.

Onward.

Published in: on August 9, 2017 at 8:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 9, 2017: Building & Happiness  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Research and Reading

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

A blizzard during a full moon Mercury retrograde. What could go wrong? Yes, that was sarcasm.

Meeting all morning yesterday. Lots of information, good group of people, which is always helpful. My computer at work still isn’t working properly (the guy was out again — it worked for fifteen minutes after he left, and then — same old). Worked on some programming stuff, caught up on email, had to work the desk in the afternoon.

I have most of the research books I need to start the play set in 17th century Italy — I will dive into them and start note taking this weekend. I also plan to finish reading my friend’s manuscript and type up the notes. Plus, of course, finish the radio play, and keep working on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, to meet my self-imposed deadline.

I’m gathering research for another project, set in the Berkshires. Actually, I might be able to use the research for more than one project, which is always good. I’ve got some submissions to prepare over the weekend — I might even get one or two of them out before the weekend, if everything works. With Mercury retrograde, I doubt it, but fingers crossed.

I also need to work on a potential submission for an art exhibit. I have to think about it. I’m not sure I can get my hands on what I want and need for the visual element, but I’m going to try. Again, it’s a stretch, and my piece might not be accepted — but I need to stretch. I’ve been avoiding it, on the one hand, since I heard about it last week; on the other, it’s been percolating. So we’ll see.

I’m working my way through the contest entries. The first batch of ebooks is coming in now, to supplement the print. I’m nearly through the stack of print mysteries, and then I will turn my attention to novella, then to fantasy, then to ebooks, and by then, the second deadline will have passed, and the final batch should be in. There aren’t a lot of “maybes” this year so far — they are either fully in the “yes” pile that will need to be winnowed down or the “no” pile, because the craft and storytelling just isn’t there. Previous years have had more that were right on the cusp — some problems, but, depending on the entire batch of submissions, a stronger possibility to move into the “yes” pile. This year’s strong entries are STRONG, and those winnowed out will be so by a point or two on the scale. Truly enjoyable reading. Several new-to-me authors that I plan to keep reading.

Once I’ve read everything, each entry gets a second look. Then the weighing and comparison starts. I want to make sure each entry gets full attention and a fair deal.

Washington DC and New York are hunkering down for a blizzard. Local weather people are just dithering, which is highly annoying. I’d like to at least have an idea of range of possibility. “I dunno” two days before the storm is NOT acceptable.

Today will be a long day — big upgrade to the system used for books. I’m sure it will take most of the morning to get everything back online.

I’m almost looking forward to the possibility of being snowed in. Not the shoveling part, but the can’t-go-anywhere-so-stay-home-read-and-write part.

Have a great day!

Devon

Published in: on January 21, 2016 at 10:39 am  Comments Off on Research and Reading  
Tags: , , , ,

Thurs. Jan. 7, 2016: Fighting Fatigue

Thursday, January 7, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

This is going to be a tough Mercury Retrograde. I am going to do my best to try and keep my mouth shut and my head down. My computer at work is fried — it’s been limping along for awhile, but it is done. No one is really understanding what anyone else is saying (I include myself in both the speaking and the hearing ends of that equation). I’d like to just stay in bed until the 25th, but the bed would probably break.

So I’m trying to tread as carefully as possible, and take a breath whenever something hits me the wrong way — which it’s doing about once every five minutes.

Three weeks of this is going to be exhausting.

It was tough to get anything done at work, because I had to keep moving computers. I got a few things done, but not everything I wanted. I got some writing done in the morning, but not as much as I wanted. Yes, there’s a pattern. I have an article to write this week, and the thought of it is just overwhelming, but I better get over it and down to it.

We had our holiday party at work last night. My Secret Santa was both generous and thoughtful. I am grateful.

The very last of the holiday decorations needs to be put away. I have some proposals to prepare, but I’m hesitant to send them out during the retrograde.

I was supposed to do something interesting in New Bedford this weekend, but I don’t think it’s going to work out. I don’t want to drive that far on a “maybe”. I think I’d be better off doing things at home, trying to get some rest (I’m mentally and physically exhausted), and get some writing done. There are deadlines coming up, and I want to make sure I’m not scrambling at the last minute.

I kind of feel like a dog chasing its tail right now, but sometimes, it happens.

Hope your year is starting off more smoothly!

Devon

Published in: on January 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 7, 2016: Fighting Fatigue  
Tags: , ,

Wed. Jan. 6, 2016: Starting Out the New Year Right!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Because, really, what better what to start off the New Year than with a Mercury Retrograde? Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

The holidays were good. Busy, busy, but good. I’m exhausted. I feel like I need about a month to sleep and do nothing.

That’s not an option, of course.

Ran around a bit when work closed at noon on New Year’s Eve. But, once settled at home, it was all good. Saw in the New Year with a good meal and prosecco. Up early on the Day for the Fire & Ice ritual, eggs benedict, more prosecco, and some good writing on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Made the dips for the party.

Worked on Saturday, ran some errands, got in the liquor for the party, made more food. Also, rearranging the house. It looked really pretty. I’m going to sort and purge as I bring stuff back, so that the year doesn’t clutter again.

The party was Sunday afternoon. The right mix of people showed up. It was fun, and I’m glad that I did the party again — although it was a “Nine Ladies Dancing Party” instead of a “Twelfth Night” party. After two years of being snowed out, it was nice to have it again.

When people left, did a pile of dishes, put away as much as possible from the party. Collapsed into bed early. Woke up at 4 AM on Monday, and started taking down the holiday decorations. Twelve hours later, most of it was done. Not all, but most. There are still a few dribs and drabs to finish. But most of it is put away safely in the Christmas closet. I have to do the laundry and put away the fabric, and do a few more little things.

It snowed on Monday night into Tuesday. Not much, just enough to be pretty and slippery. I went over to a friend’s on Tuesday morning — a group of us gathered to help with a contest where the ball was dropped, and get it back on track. Although the people were great and I got a lot done, it reminded me why I am no longer a part of that group.

Knitting was fun last night. Turns out one of the women in the group lived near us in Westchester, and her mother-in-law is best friends with the mother of an actor I worked with both on and off-Broadway. Small world!

365 Women is pleased with “Confidence Confidant” and would like me to do another play this year. I sent them a pitch, so we’ll see. I have two unique women about whom I’d really like to write, so we’ll see what we come up with.

I also have to get back on track with BALTHAZAAR, CHOLERIC, TIE-CUTTER, and finish the short radio play.

The Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site will have more going on this year. Instead of just sharing lists, there will also be posts on getting and staying organized, and on motivation. So I hope you visit the site a few times a month, or set it so you get notifications when new posts come up.

I’m already starting to plan the garden for the coming spring. I am determined not to suffer from blossom rot again with my tomatoes!

This year, I’m trying to figure out how different parts of my creativity feed each other, and encourage that integration.

Hope you’re setting yourself up for a wonderful new year!

Devon

Published in: on January 6, 2016 at 11:00 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.

Thursday, October 08, 2015
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I am looking forward to Mercury going direct tomorrow!

So, the library is an official Come Write In! Center for Nano, which I think will be great fun. We will have drop-in writing hours on Tuesdays from 11-1 and Thursdays from 2-4 for the month. There are other Cape Cod Write-ins and events throughout the month – if you’ve signed up for Nano, go to the Cape Cod Region Forum, and you’ll find the information.

Also, I’m going to revive my “30 Tips for 30 Days” for Nano, and schedule one writing tip per day for the duration. It will be set apart from the daily blog post and clearly marked as a 30 Tips for 30 Days post. Basically, they’re cheerleading posts to help you get through the month.

I won’t be “doing” Nano per say, as in starting a new book on November 1 and writing it through November 30, because of my current deadlines and where I am with current projects. I don’t want to lose the current momentum on any of them.

However, I will be likely “writing along with” Nano, on my projects in process, to ride the enormous current of creative energy that Nano generates.

I’m not mentoring individuals this year, either – the 30 Tips posts will be used for that, but too often, the Mentees flake, and I don’t have time to waste on people who can’t commit to writing for one whole month every day. Harsh, blunt, true. My own work must come first.

Yesterday was a good, busy day. I was pretty tired when I came home. Watched KILL THE MESSENGER, which is a good film, although I would have restructured the opening a bit. Also started watching the first season of SCORPION, which I liked better than I expected.

Woke up extra early this morning, got in some decent writing on the contemporary piece. Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a couple of comic scenes that revolve around Hollywood pitch meetings, so revisiting those experiences and dramatizing them has been fun.

I have some proposal packages to work on this weekend, a house inspection to prepare for on Tuesday, and, of course, going through my uncle’s photos and documents.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on October 8, 2015 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles

Friday, October 10, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold

Yesterday was busy. Got in early, processed all the check-ins that couldn’t be handled the previous day due to the computer being down; got the holds and other books processed; hand-entered the manual checkouts into the system. Thank goodness we had volunteers at the desk to handle the patrons coming in and out that day needing check-ins and check-outs, so that I could catch up on the previous afternoon’s system work.

It all got done, and that’s what counts.

Home, tired. Dinner, some reading, worked on a student manuscript.

Watched STILL LIFE, the film version of Louise Penny’s book. Nathaniel Parker played Gamache; Kate Hewlett (whose work I really enjoy) was Clara. One of the biggest delights was Anthony Lemke as Jean-Guy. I knew his work from LOST GIRL – he was terrific in this. I like the character of Jean-Guy in the books, but this was definitely a case of the actor raising it to an even better, deeper level. I hope they film more of the books in the series. I can’t wait to see what he does with Jean-Guy’s journey. I was disappointed that they pushed the character of Myrna aside, and they didn’t start the development of the wonderful relationship between Jean-Guy and Ruth. To me, the odd affection between those two is one of the best cornerstones in the series, and I hope it develops in future films.

Bad dreams last night. Truly disturbing, and when I woke from them, I remembered that they’ve been progressive. I have to stop them before they progress any farther, or I will be in trouble, so that’s on my agenda for tonight.

I have two books and a novella screaming for writing time. I managed to untangle a problem in INITIATE that prevented me from moving forward in the fight sequence. Something that happens post-sequence needs to be set up properly here, and because I’d tried to force one of the characters in a wrong direction, it wasn’t working. But we’re back on track, so that sequence should start flowing. I have to do the opening of RED WIDOW (the novella), because the characters are getting very impatient, and BALTHAZAAR is starting to percolate properly again.

I was going to submit a couple of pieces, and then realized it’s Mercury Retrograde, so there’s no damned point. I will prep them, and then send them when everything goes direct.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I can write all day on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Wednesday, we have a staff day out in P-town, so, after tomorrow, I won’t be back on line until Thursday, which is great. I LOVE being offline at least half the week. The improvement to my work is tremendous.

I also have to do some yard work any time it’s not raining. Time to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 10, 2014 at 8:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 6, 2014: And Mercury Retrograde Hits!

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing

Yup. it’s snowing again. Getting a little tired of it, and I LIKE winter.

Got some decent work done yesterday, in the morning. Made some notes on a couple of projects, played with ways to punch up the play.

Of course, shoveled.

Lost the second half of my workday at the doctor’s office. I took my mom in for her check-up. We’d confirmed the appointment in the morning, but we get there, and she’s not on the schedule. They said they’d “fit her in” around 3-ish, two hours after her appointment, then didn’t tell the doctor, and it was nearly 4 by the time she was in and out for a FIVE MINUTE APPOINTMENT. Three other people showed up during that time who weren’t on the schedule, either. Instead of trying to solve problems caused by THEIR screw-ups, they don’t give a shit. Unacceptable. It’s not like we could go home and come back in the bad weather, either. So we had to sit and wait while they carried on personal conversations that are inappropriate to have in patients’ hearing instead of working.

Before anyone goes on about “a mile in their shoes” — I’ve worked as a receptionist for a BUSY doctor’s office. I know all about the challenges of dealing with patients who think every hangnail is a major emergency, how one often has to juggle appointments, how one has to monitor doctors’ time to keep them on schedule with patients and with the other work they have to do — reviewing charts, doing notes, making calls, writing prescriptions, etc. I’ve done it. It’s not difficult work (although sometimes exasperating), and it requires a level of attention to detail that this staff lacks.

In the four years we’ve lived here, not ONCE has an appointment run on time — even in an empty office without emergencies calling staff away. Three hours’ wait time is the norm. This is not acceptable. Just because a patient is elderly doesn’t mean you can let them sit there for hours. And when YOU make a mistake — FIX it. Don’t just shrug and ignore it. Mistakes happen. Own it and make it right.

When my mother complained to the doctor, the doctor said if she’d known my mom was sitting out there, she would have taken her earlier. Don’t play “good cop, bad cop” either, missy. Yes, the staff should have let her know there was a screw up and had a solution to fix it that INCLUDED the doctor. But the doctor walked past at least a half a dozen times during those hours. You don’t recognize a patient unless that person is inside the examining room? You expect me to believe that? You, who have a MEDICAL degree?

My mom feels comfortable with the doctor herself and doesn’t want to start over with someone else, or I would have ditched this place a long time ago. But she’s left to sit around for hours at every appointment, and I lose a half day of work every time I have to take her to an appointment. I read TWO BOOKS while we were waiting — a book of essays and a book of poetry. If the books that arrived for review had arrived BEFORE we left, I could have knocked out one of those and been paid for my time.

I’m going to start invoicing them for wasted time. Maybe then they will start to pay attention.

But my mom negotiated not having to go back until next January, and she’s happy about that! She still has to go for regular blood work at the facility in Mashpee, but they whisk her in and out in about ten minutes and have the results back within three days.

Frustrating.

Came back and tried to pick up some threads of the day, which was difficult. However, while I was in the office (fuming and advocating), a scene for a piece came to me, along with the setting. When I came home, I sketched out the basic configuration of the main location and made some notes. Later, I wrote about 1700 words of the opening.

I have a couple of articles to work on, have to get back to the play, work with students, get some pages done on a handful of projects, and buckle down for Mercury Retrograde. Not looking forward to this one — the anxiety dreams have already started.

The day’s barely begun and I’m exhausted.

Devon

Published in: on February 6, 2014 at 8:48 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I knew it was too good to be true. I kept my head down for the first few days of the Mercury Retrograde and hoped for the best, and got whammed this morning when Comcast screwed me. I am so sick of them having a stranglehold on the Cape and being my ONLY choice. Where are the anti-trust laws when you need them?

Yesterday I worked at getting the screenplay on track, and I think I’m getting there, at least for this draft. Then I worked on the palate-cleanser, which is just taking off.

Sent out a few pitches, and got immediately hired on a new, potentially long-term, fun gig. My first assignment is on its way, so we’ll see how that works out.

Got in many of the plants from the deck. Working at putting everything to bed. There’s a LOT of work still to do in the yard, but I’m doing a little bit every day, and, eventually, I will get there.

Most of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the CCWC Annual Meeting (in costume). Not having to set up the ball all day and then having only 40 minutes to get ready made a big difference. I got an hour just to do the make-up, and it was much better. Getting into the corset was, of course, an adventure in itself. Next corset will be front-lace.

Since it was raining, I had to put a cloak over the costume, and maneuver the cloak and the tail. Quite the adventure.

Dinner was fun, the annual meeting part of it was quick and fun, and it was great to see familiar faces and meet some new ones.

Home at a reasonable hour, stripped out of the costume pieces back into sweats, to bed early (after taking nearly as long to scrub the make-up off as it took to put it on).

Worked with students, shot an email to an editing client asking for the new ETA on the project that was supposed to arrive on Monday. Have two articles to write in the next few days, an article to wrap (got two new sources yesterday), and an essay to get started on.

Deep breath, pull it together, move forward.

I need a nap, and it’s barely 9 AM.

Devon

Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 8:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013: Costumes and Comcast  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, Oct. 21, 2013: Writing, Editing, Eager for the Week

Monday, October 21, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yes, Mercury goes retrograde today, until the 10th of November. However, since it never felt that Mercury went direct for me last time, other than a temporary ease of psychological pressure, I’m going to use this retrograde to untangle what’s still tangled, instead of cowering in a corner.

I will also try to remember to be quiet and not just be reactive.

Weekend was good. I booked three editing jobs for the week that really excite me, have a Writer’s Center Annual Meeting (in costume), and my own work. Plus, of course, hustling work for the coming weeks and months.

The screenplay is 2/3 done. Love my central characters, but am worried it’s neither fish nor fowl. There’s not enough sense of urgency in the piece; I have to ratchet up the tension. I know it’s going to run long and need cuts, especially with the elements I’ve had to go back and plant so there’s a more dramatic payoff, but it’s still not where it needs to be. Which is fine, it’s a first draft, but it’s frustrating to know there’s a problem and not feel I can fix it until I have a full draft.

Did some work on the novella, which I had hoped would be done by now, but oh, well. Will get back to that again, this week.

Did some yard work, but not enough. We have to bring in the rest of the plants this week.

Went to a party on Saturday, at my friends’ place in Sandwich. That was fun. It was nice to get out of the house and have conversations with real people, rather than fictional characters in my head.

Off to work, and I’m looking forward to it!

Devon

Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 6:43 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,