Tues. March 22, 2022: Challenging Start to the Week

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the GDR site about being the architect of your life.

I hope you had a good weekend, and a blessed Equinox. Now, we’ll really see the gains in daylight, since it’s tipping toward longer light.

Friday was a mixed day. Very foggy in the morning. Not fun to make my way to the mechanic when I couldn’t use the broken windshield wiper. But I got there.

The wiper was easily fixed. But the engine light issue, not so much. As long as the light stays steady and doesn’t blink, I can continue to drive short distances. The mechanic thinks it’s a fuel pump issue, but they can’t even get me in for a diagnostic for another month. They suggested a mechanic in Williamstown, who specializes in foreign cars. It’s the second time that mechanic has been suggested to me. I am trying to get an appointment.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and restocked our food supply.

Moved the plants back out on the porch, and even opened the windows once it warmed up enough.

Did some client blogging, and roughed out the next edition of Devon’s Random Newsletter, which should go out this week. I think I wrote too much, so will probably edit it back.

Worked on a recipe for strawberry-vanilla mousse. It tastes quite good, but doesn’t look appealing. Nor did it set properly. Ever. I think the acid from the fresh strawberries had something to do with it. So I need to adjust the recipe, and figure out how to make it look better without using artificial colors.

In the afternoon, one neighbor was working on a new piano composition. Another neighbor was on her front porch, playing her guitar. I worked on script coverage. It was a great vibe. Everyone in their own space, but knowing people around them were doing creative work.

Fresh cod for dinner on Friday night, with rice and steamed spinach. Yummy.

Throughout the weekend, I did some cleaning here and there, but nowhere like the intense spring cleaning I planned. The Plan was to start in the kitchen and work forward doing intense deep cleaning. But I spent more time unpacking and organizing things than in deep clean mode.

It kept raining and then not on Saturday, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I didn’t. I did regular housework and changed the beds and did some unpacking and organizing. I made more vegetable stock. I finished reading a novel I’d started that was recommended by an acquaintance over at VOGUE. I liked a lot of the book, especially relating to the characters and what they were going through. I got ahead of the plot a little too quickly, and there were some chapters where way too much backstory was info-dumped, instead of being integrated into the overall story. I liked more than I didn’t, but it’s not a book I’d rave about. Went through some other books for research on various projects, and put them back in the pile for the library.

Percolated on the retro mystery for a bit. I’m creating a new name for my fictional community and putting in some lines as to how the creator of it is in competition with The Spruces. This will give me the flexibility I need for plot and character and even some geographic deviations. The application for The Spruces was careful and thorough. I want my fictional community to be a little more raucous and freewheeling. On Monday morning, I did some research on different mobile homes, and I found the one I want for my central protagonist: a three bedroom, with a second story for her main bedroom and a roof deck, with a patio downstairs, two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and the living room. I need to go back to the library and look at the dimension widths for the homes that remained in the park. On the road, they could only be 8’ wide, but if they weren’t meant to move? Could they be 10’? When I did my research, I wrote down the length, but not the width.

Sunday was the Spring Equinox. I kept the celebrations simple. It was cloudy most of the day, so I decided not to run errands that day, either. I did some more unpacking and organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day going through a research book I’ve had out of the library for months (I am allowed 99 renewals on it). But I felt like I should go through it thoroughly and return it. I got 9 pages of notes on one project, and images that are relevant to three projects, so it definitely was worth taking the time with it.

I did a chipotle chicken in the crockpot, which was yummy. I do love my crockpot.

I’m slowly working my way through ATLAS OF THE HEART, which was recommended by the leader of the Thursday meditation group. It’s not an easy book. There are things which resonate strongly with me. There are other things with which I disagree. The third category is the most problematic because they resonate, even though I don’t like them! But they make sense. Definitely a worthwhile book, albeit not an easy one.

Up early on Monday, on my own. Got the morning routine going, in spite of going down another research rabbit hole with The Spruces.

I had a long list of errands that needed to happen. On the way to the first set, I stopped at the credit union to make a deposit for my mother, in the joint account, on which I am named with Power of Attorney. The teller and the teller supervisor accused me of trying to scam my elderly mother. Even though I have POA, and my mother signed the check (since it was made out to her), and marked it for deposit. Because I am named for my mother, and therefore must be trying to scam her, because heaven forbid a daughter have the same first name as a mother. If I was a man named for my father, this would never be a problem. Because misogyny. I had to go home, get the check stub and the letter that came with the check TO MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO A JOINT SAVINGS ACCOUNT. On top of that, they’re going to hold the money until the end of the month “to make sure the check is real.” It’s from a major company in the Midwest. On top of that, they said she should have come in to make the deposit herself. First of all, she’s 97. That’s why it’s a joint account and I have POA. So that she doesn’t have to come in herself. Second, none of the staff is masking. Why would I put her at risk in a pandemic? As usual, they are inappropriate.

EVERY interaction with Greylock Federal Credit Union since we opened the account has been unnecessary drama. Why would I want to keep our money in an establishment that treats me like a criminal instead of a customer? The whole point of being with a credit union is because their mission is to treat their members like individuals.

Not Greylock.

As soon as I can legally move the money, I will. It will be a nightmare to open yet another account and switch everything over.  I’m starting the research now. But it’s necessary. Because my mother is 97. I hope she’s around for a long time, but when she does go, how much you want to bet they’d refuse access to the JOINT ACCOUNT so I could pay the bills for the funeral? What about when I start traveling again? How much do you want to bet they’ll leave me stranded somewhere, even though I will have given them the information about the trip in advance? Not to mention that, as a legal adult (for decades now), I shouldn’t have to get the bank’s “permission” to travel.

NONE of this is about security. ALL of it is about control.

The Annual Meeting is tonight. Part of me is exhausted at the very thought of attending. Part of me wants to go in there and tell them off. Yet again. I have brought up these issues before, and they “feel bad” that I have a bad experience with them, but never adjust their behavior.

I have ALWAYS been polite in dealing with them, even when they frustrated and insult me. And EVERY transaction is an absolute nightmare of unnecessary drama.

If I was rich and laundering money through them, they’d let me do anything I want.

Part of being the architect of my own life is only dealing with businesses that treat me with basic human respect and decency. The credit union does not. Therefore, I need to take my business (small as it is) elsewhere.

After it took the hour plus to get sorted what should have been a basic deposit, I did the rest of my errands: the liquor store, the library. Did a pass through the thrift store, hoping for some cute plant pots, but they didn’t have any in stock. Went to another store, where I found pots, potting soil, and even got some morning glory and moonflower seeds.

It meant I didn’t have to drive to another store I thought I’d have to visit, for the soil and the pots. So that saved time, energy, and stress on the car.

After lunch, I planted eight pots with seven kinds of seeds (I’ll discuss it in detail in this Thursday’s post on Gratitude and Growth). It was lovely out on the porch, so we moved all the pots out there in the sun. I updated the plant journal. I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Keeping it in a 3-ring binder instead of a spiral-bound notebook makes it easier.

There were plenty of things I “should” have been doing in the afternoon, although I was well in the zone, deadline-wise. So I cut myself a break, read a book I really wanted to read for fun, and watched the clouds roll by. Being up in the mountains is fun, because the clouds are low enough to really observe.

Tessa started howling as soon as I went to bed. I got up, sat with her while she ate her bedtime snack, and waited until she fell asleep before sneaking off to bed. I was awake on my own just before five this morning, and she was happy.

Took the laundry to the laundromat in the rolly cart. The moon was still out and shining brightly when I left. They’d adjusted the lights to the time change, finally, although the clock is still an hour behind. Got a nice chunk of edits done on CAST IRON MURDER, in spite of some guy coming in to do his laundry who kept trying to talk to me. What is it about men that they can’t stand to see a woman involved in something that isn’t them? I had my folder open with a full manuscript of several hundred pages, I was editing hard copy in red pen, it was obvious I was working. Basic greeting and acknowledgement make sense; trying to engage me in conversation when I am obviously working is not. I was polite, but minimal, and made it clear that I WAS WORKING, and not there to hang out and socialize.

I mean, it’s a lot better here than it was on Cape, but still. Read the room, guys. Not everything is about you.

Home, put the clothes away. I only have about two chapters left to edit on CAST IRON MURDER, so I might just go ahead and do that, and then put in some of the fixes I noted in pen this morning, before switching over to The Big Project, and then client work in the afternoon.

Trying to decide if I want to do a run to the library – six books came in after I had done my drop-off/pickup yesterday.

The tansy seeds finally showed up after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago back to the Berkshires. I hope to plant them today. Otherwise, I have to wait until Friday, which is the next planting day.

By the way, any business that is running around with an unmasked staff behaving like the pandemic is over does not get to use “the pandemic” or “supply chain issues” as an excuse for not being competent or fulfilling their responsibilities. Either they acknowledge we are still in a pandemic and follow protocols, or they forfeit the right to use it as an excuse. It doesn’t work both ways.

The Republican racists are in full sail in the hearings for our new SCOTUS. People need to believe them when they show who they are, and remove them.

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

Wed. Aug. 12, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 84 — Recruiter Fail, Writing Process, A Whisper of Hope

graffiti-1450798_1920
image courtesy of ShonEjal via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I’m still working on the piece for Ink-Dipped advice, about how companies drive away skilled workers, while whining they can’t find enough skilled workers.

Yesterday was hot and humid. I watered the yard in the morning, and the back both morning and evening. Watered this morning. The mosquitoes are relentless, and completely ignore the bug spray. It has no effect.

I tried to get as much done in the morning as possible, before it got too hot and my computer got too hot. I forgot how much PCs suck. This laptop is barely three months old and it makes changes in Word documents – jumping around in the document and adding or deleting. It takes 13 minutes to boot up. I’m grateful I have it, but I definitely want to go back to MAC as soon as I can afford it.

Got some LOIs out, got out a pitch to an editor for a site I’d really like to work on. A client to whom I’d pitched several months ago is interested in having me come on for a smaller job – I’m sending her some information this morning, and we’ll see if we can go from there.

Got a rejection from a company that puzzled me. I’d never applied to them for anything. First of all, the job from which I was rejected wasn’t something I’d try for anyway. Second, it was a company I knew wasn’t a good match. So how could they reject me from something I’d never wanted?

I contacted the HR person and explained my bafflement. Turns out a recruiter I’d talked to months ago – and decided NOT to work with – pitched me for the job. Without telling me.

No. Just no.

I contacted the recruiter and expressed my displeasure. In cordial terms, but this is not okay. The response? I should be “glad” this individual submitted me for anything, and I should take whatever I could get.

Again, No.

These people.

Got some reading done in the afternoon. Read another book by the person whose work I was on the fence about. Liked this one. Started a third book that will be the deciding vote! Anyway, glad I gave this author another chance, even if I disagree with some of her choices.

Made up an Asian-inspired chicken, vegetables, and noodle dish that was quite tasty.

Actually could sit outside and enjoy a breeze in the evening. First time it’s been quiet around here in MONTHS.

Noodling around on this new idea. Totally different development process for me, developing far more early on before I write any of it. I often outline, then write. Or I get an idea, think about it, jot some notes, then write my way in for about four chapters. If those four chapters work, I’ll sit down and outline the whole book, figure out where to put it in the queue, and work from there.

But this, I’m working on theme first, and then I’ve found my protagonist. Now I’m building around that, and from there, I will find my plot.

I’m keeping a diary specific to this novel, separate from everything else.

It’s helping to loosen the stuck creative bolts, and I’m hoping that will transfer to other projects that need attention.

Absolutely delighted that Kamala Harris is the VP choice. I feel more hopeful than I have in weeks.

Blocked a bunch of morons after the announcement. I’m sure I will have to call out racists fuckwits locally, because we have a lot of racist fuckwits locally.

I have to go into the office for a client today, along with other people. Not looking forward to it. But it’s only for a few hours, and I will be masked, so here’s hoping. They tend to be Sliding Mask Skanks after about 10 minutes. Which means I will probably leave shortly after they turn up.

At least I have Remote Chat to look forward to later.

Have a great midweek.

Mon. Jan. 20, 2020: Intent for the Week: Listen

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image courtesy of sasint via pixabay.com

Monday, January 20, 2020
Waning Moon

I considered multiple intents for this week. The one I really wanted was “Solitude” but that wasn’t going to happen this week, so I decided not to set myself up for failure.

Instead, I chose “listen.”

The Senate trial for removal, post the House’s impeachment of the Narcissistic Sociopath starts this week. I intend to listen. I intend to let my Senators know, each day, what I think of what I’ve heard. I intend to be an additional juror. McConnell has already made it clear he won’t be impartial. The Chief Justice should force him to recuse.

This week will show each Senator for who they are: Whether they will fulfill their Oath to the Constitution, or whether they only care for lining their own pockets and are willing to sell us out and destroy our democracy. The Senators are o trial as much as the defendant.

I will listen to the trial. I will listen to those I encounter who have opinions on the trial and other things. It gives me information I need about them, and listening this week will help me shape my decisions over the next few months. I will listen to what’s not being said, and become aware of subtext.

I will listen to music, to soothe my soul.

I will listen to nature: the wind, the waves, whatever other weather comes our way. I will listen to the way the house creaks and the way the car sounds as it starts.

I will learn from aural cues.

I am hypersensitive to sound anyway, with a rare condition called hyperaccusis, which manifests in strange (and often painful) ways.

But this week, I will listen mindfully, and see how that shapes perceptions and aids me in my decision-making.

What is your intent for the week? How have you used the intents in the past few weeks?

Published in: on January 20, 2020 at 6:04 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Oct. 3, 2019: Perhaps a Moment of Respite?

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto DIRECT
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Drizzly and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to catch up on the latest with the garden.

If you didn’t get a chance, hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for yesterday’s post about trusting your instincts in early meetings/job interviews.

I had a bizarre experience on Tuesday night going into Wednesday. I was awakened by odd music a little before 4 AM. I could have sworn someone was on the deck. At first, I thought someone was stealing my wind chimes, but it sounded like playing a pennywhistle or something. Came up on the deck for a bit, then moved away. I should have gotten up and checked what it was, but it was too creepy.

When I came down in the daylight, everything was fine.

It was disturbing.

Yesterday was busy at my client’s. She’ll be away next week, and right before she goes is always chaos.

The Remote Chat was fun. It always is.

Came home exhausted. Tessa was busy and kept us going. We have a lead on an adoption that I hope will happen over the next week or so. So far, the conversations have been really good.

I’ve been lucky to have steady, good writing sessions every day, in and around client work. That always helps keep me on keel. Show up at the page; do the work. Stay creative.

I had a good first writing session. I haven’t worked on ELLA for the past few days, because I’m on deadline with another two projects, which had priority. I’m looking forward to getting back to it early next week, though.

I’m working at the library for a bit, and then I’ll go back to my own desk (where I’m most productive), and get back to the page. I want to get the radio play polished and out.

There’s still high stress in certain other areas of my life, so, of course, I use GAMBIT COLONY to ease it. It’s not time that would be spent on the deadlined work; it’s time I’d spent fretting. Instead of fretting, I’m creating.

I’m absolutely dreading the upcoming Mercury Retrograde at the end of the month, especially combined with the ongoing Neptune and Uranus retrogrades. Plus, the whole being in my second Saturn Return.

All those people who told me in my first Saturn Return that the second one would be easier? They lied.

Tomorrow’s post will be late, because I have to take the car in for an oil change.

Anyway, one word in front of the other, and, eventually, it gets done. Back to the page.

Tues. May 28, 2019: Hit The Stress Running

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

So much for having five days off. When the best laid plans go awry, and all that.

Wednesday morning, I’d had a brief conversation with a potential new client. This would be a big deal. Good money. The conference went well, and the person with whom I spoke wanted the next steps up the food chain to happen on Thursday morning, via Skype, and Friday, in person in Boston.

Only I never got the necessary information by end of day on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, I let her know that I hadn’t had any information, and I would not cancel my Friday and go into Boston, on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. That’s just nuts. I said I could arrange to go up next Thursday or Friday, but I needed to know by next Wednesday noon. I’m getting a little tired of this attitude that I’m supposed to be at their beck and call when they’re not paying me.

I got a message back stating that the Thursday morning conference couldn’t happen, could we do it in the afternoon?

Good thing I hadn’t booked office space at Cape Space, as I originally planned. Or I would have had to pay for it, even if I canceled. They seem to have difficulty understanding that I actually work for a living; I’m not lounging around the house in pajamas waiting for their summons.

The Skype meeting went well, although it was 45 minutes, longer than I expected. I haven’t heard anything about whether or not the meeting in Boston is on for next week. If I don’t hear by my deadline, it won’t be.

They requested writing samples, which I provided from my portfolios. On top of it, they want me to do a project-specific “assessment” — which, if they weren’t such an established company with a good reputation, I would refuse to do without pay. But again, I’m losing billable hours for AN INTERVIEW. Red flags going up.

In the meantime, I had a very, very busy Wednesday with a client, and was exhausted by the time I got home in the afternoon. But glad that I had five days away from clients. We have a big project coming up that’s more difficult than it needs to be, because the other party responsible for organizing it is clueless.

I was supposed to have five full days off. However, once the Thursday Skype meeting was moved, I got some other work out of the way in the morning, and then mowed the front yard in the afternoon before my meeting. It looks pretty darn good. The push mower does a far better job than the gas mower ever did.

I finished the final polish on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and sent it off to the producer.

Started plotting the next Frieda/Lazarus radio play, which will take place on the Brighton Pier — provided I can get the research in. I’ve been in Brighton, but I need to do some of the historical research. It’s hard to find books in the MA library system on historical Brighton, England.

Working on the stage play that’s due next week.

Friday, I ran some errands, including stopping by the mechanic to make arrangements for the rest of the car repairs, which are happening today. Downloaded the materials for the “writing assessment” and did a couple of other things.

Managed to get some decent work done on ELLA BY THE BAY throughout the weekend. I find it relaxing to do a few pages with my morning coffee, even before I do yoga and start the rest of the day.

Finished a chunk of research on forensic psychology, so I can draft Sam’s professional scenes in GRAVE REACH.

Mowed the side yard.

I’m taking as much time as possible to enjoy being on the deck. I rubbed the wooden furniture with teak oil; I’m starting to put out the garden ornaments.

I managed to get a lot of reading done: MURDER AT OCHRE COURT and A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE, both by Alyssa Maxwell, although each is from a different series; THE LOST CAROUSEL OF PROVENCE and LETTERS FROM PARIS, both by Juliet Blackwell. Started reading a serial killer novel, but the cat was murdered, so I’m done. I’m tired of pets and women constantly brutalized in fiction (not to mention real life).

Saturday, I ran some books back to the library, and got out a pitch for an opportunity that landed on my desk late Friday night.

The stage play I was writing took a turn to the more dramatic; I started another, more comic play that I think will work better for the piece I have to submit at the end of the week.

Mowed No Man’s Land and about half of the terrace back part of the yard. An enormous tree limb crashed down in the meadow, and I’m not sure if I should be worried about the rest of the tree. Not to mention that I don’t think I can move the tree limb by myself.

Cooked a lot and ate too much on Saturday. Complete indulgence. A Spanish-style tuna with relish, olive, and tomato along with an Italian anti-pasto plate, French bread, and French wine for lunch (and a sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries). A French bistro recipe for chicken, shallots, tomato, and tarragon for dinner.

The hordes of tourists have descended and Cape Cod is a nightmare. They are rude, they are arrogant, they drive on the wrong side of the road while texting on their phones. They are sloppy and they litter.

Sitting on the deck on Saturday afternoon, it smelled like Cape Cod, but with the noise of traffic and sirens, it sounded like New York City, and I felt claustrophobic.

A thunder storm woke me overnight Saturday into Sunday, but it passed quickly. It was the first night we left the plants out, and they seem to have survived.

Up early on Sunday, reading and writing. Especially on ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s got a nice, steady pace. I need to transfer some of that pace to GRAVE REACH, and up it a bit.

I should have mowed, but I didn’t. Instead, I tried to enjoy the day.

I am, however, worried about a tree in the backyard that’s leaning. Only I’m not sure if it’s on my property or my neighbor’s. So I will have to ask the landlord. But I’m worried that it will come down and hurt someone or something.

Wrote and polished an article which will go out today. Worked on the “assessment” assignment for the potential new client. Read Tami Hoag’s DUST TO DUST, which was quite good.

Noodled with some ideas for stories and for plays (different ideas). We will see which ones work and which ones don’t.

Got an idea for a short play, which I think will work better for the play on deadline than either of the ideas with which I’ve been playing.

Monday, morning, up early. Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY. Worked on the new play, called “Qualified Personnel.” Got the first draft done. Will let it simmer for a day or two before I revise it and then I want to get it out by Thursday, if possible.

Got more stuff out on the deck, to build our enchanted garden there. Put in the solar stakes. Started mowing the meadow, which is a nightmare, because it’s uneven. Wondering if I’ll have to get in someone to do it for me, at least mow it down the first time.

Reading about the history of Havana. Fretting about the “writing assessment.” I should have simply stated I was away for the weekend, and had the initial interview, etc. this week. It’s my own fault, but I didn’t get the rest I needed, and am still feeling cooked, instead of revived and ready to face the hell that is summer on Cape Cod. It should be wonderful because it’s so beautiful, but it’s not.

Just when I hit a low point, a friend sent me a link to his new song, which is quite beautiful. That cheered me up.

Thought I’d bought ground lamb for dinner, but it was beef. Made burgers for dinner. They were very good, but the last few times I’ve eaten beef, I’ve felt awful, and this wasn’t much different.

Up early today, stressed, and off to get the car fixed. Hope it stays within the estimate and can all get done.

Exhausted and out of sorts, when I should be renewed and ready to face what’s coming. Not a good way to start the coming months.

Mon. July 9, 2018: Say “Yes” — #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, July 9, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

 

There’s a saying I’ve heard about both opportunity and the Muse: that when it knocks, you better answer or it will move on to someone else.

I believe that.

Of course, there are those who will insist they are “offering” you an “opportunity” to try to get them to work for free while they do nothing. Laugh and walk away. That is not something you to which you want to say “yes.”

But say “yes” to new experiences that are out of your comfort zone, but that you might enjoy. I did that with Argentine Tango – I said “yes” to taking classes for a few months. Not only did I have the chance to do something I hadn’t done in years – dance – I met new people, learned about a world-wide community, and gathered material for at least three new books. I even put a tango scene into my radio play “Light Behind the Eyes” which was produced this past March.

I said “yes” to attending my very first Bouchercon way back in the mid-1990s, and that was the catalyst to writing novels again. I said “yes” to my very first Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which led me to an invitation to participate in the Adelaide Festival Fringe, which meant I got to go to Australia, something I’d always wanted to do. And I got to go there as a working artist.

In Australia, I said “yes” to a local networking meeting someone I’d met in passing invited me to, which led me to saying “yes” to a curator for the library, who invited me to see an illuminated manuscript, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen in my life. I said “yes” to doing a promo on a local radio show – which got such a positive response that I wound up co-hosting the show while we were at festival. I said “yes” to an invitation to an art gallery opening, where I was exposed to stunning work by Aboriginal artists depicting the sections in Australia where the ozone layers are burned all the way through. I said “yes” to an invitation to join a group of Aborginal women artists for their morning coffee – a rare honor, since they didn’t mingle with the other festival participants often – and learned a whole new way of communicating and relating.

I said “yes” the first time I was invited, in my first theatre lighting class in college, to working on the crew of a show – and that, eventually, led me to my career on Broadway.

I said “yes” in high school, when I was starting to learn cello, but they needed more viola players and asked me to switch. And I learned the viola (not that I remember it after all these years, but still . . .)

I said “yes” when I was just getting back into thoroughbred racing to work on a benefit to help racetrack workers have access to childcare and ended up with lifelong friends among trainers, jockeys, backstretch workers, which led me to pitch (and accept) a job covering the Triple Crown for thirteen years, and go to races in England and Scotland.

I said “yes” when given the opportunity to write about ice hockey and spent months with a minor league time; I said “yes” when given the opportunity to cover America’s Cup and learned about sailing and those beautiful old Newport yachts (even though I can’t swim). I said “yes” to covering Highland Games and local sports and lighthouses and restaurants and anything else that sounded interesting.

I can’t even count the times I’ve said “yes” – because I say “yes” more than I say “no” – especially if it means a new experience. I trust my gut – if something seems off about the offer, or I figure it’s dangerous in the wrong way, I decline.

But I trust my gut, and saying “yes” means I had opportunities and experiences many others around me haven’t. I ask questions. I’m interested in the world. So when someone offers me a chance to do something unique, especially by someone who is passionate about their interests, I try to say “yes” and then enjoy it!

 

Nano Prep: Oct. 24: Music

I used to write to music.

However, when I write, it needs to be instrumental, or the lyrics distract me.

One of my favorite procrastination techniques is to create Character CDs – a CD for each of my main characters, filled with the music to which I think that character would listen.

I’ll play it before I write about the character; or, if it’s instrumental, while I write about the character.

Writing the romantic suspense novel Assumption of Right(as Annabel Aidan), I told the tale in chapters from alternating points of view. Each day’s chapter was from one or the other’s point of view. So I’d pop in that character’s CD, listen to it for a few minutes, and I’d be in the right mindset to write.

That was when I lived in New York, and it was noisy and full of interruptions. Once I moved to Cape Cod, for the most part, I stopped writing to music. Weather-permitting, I have the windows open and listen to the birds and the wind and sometimes, even the rain.

If someone’s running a leaf blower or some other power tool, and I’m ready to strangle them with their own cord, I’ll put on the iPod and crank up the tunes.

But, still, it has to be instrumental.

I never, EVER use a soundtrack from a play or movie. That music was created and assembled to support someone else’s creative vision. It bleeds into your writing. When students turn in work that was written to soundtracks, I can tell exactly which ones, because it shows up in the writing.

Published in: on October 24, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano Prep: Oct. 24: Music  
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Snowing

Spent a great deal of yesterday on conference work, which is as it should be. Unfortunately, it took much longer and was frustrating because the conference site kept kicking me off, and then, when I tried to post, it said I was flooding the site and would be banned. Excuse me, I’m doing my job! After several hours of it, I was ready to say, “No more.” I did sent a relatively polite email to the conference organizers asking for ways around it and expressing my frustration in (for me) relatively mild terms. They’ve tweaked something so the threat doesn’t appear, and now I’m only booted off every half hour instead of every five minutes.

It definitely makes tomorrow’s live chat a challenge, and makes me even more grateful that I have Optimum at home and not Comcast, like I have here, because Comcast isn’t as good or as reliable. Who would have ever thought I’d find a reliable provider? Now, if I can only wrestle away the websites to a new host, I’ll be all set.

Finished reading THE JOURNAL KEEPER, which is lovely. I highly recommend it.

Will go back to THE MANUAL OF DETECTION later today, in and around conference work.

Looks like I will be here until Monday, after all, which is a good thing, although Monday is turning out to be chaotic. I thought I’d have a full eight hour workday here before heading back to NY, but, although I’m still heading to NY in the late afternoon, my workday is truncated because someone else is coming in during the afternoon. I can’t change my ticket — they’re still trying to catch up on the cancelled transportation during the snow — so I have to either try to work elsewhere or do other research, et al for a few hours before coming back, picking everything up and leaving. I will probably do the latter.

Went to Trader Joe’s to do some grocery shopping — it was packed. Seems no one went to the store before the storm hit, so they’re all going now that they’ve emptied the larders. But I can cook and eat properly here now, instead of opening cans or putting something in the microwave or eating out all the time.

A family member in Maine has been diagnosed with cancer — that will change this year’s schedule quite a bit, as I’ll travel back and forth to help out as needed, and we’ll all do what needs to be done so he can recover.

About a block away is a music studio. They’re rehearsing with their windows open, and, due to the direction of the wind, I can hear the pieces. It’s quite lovely. Lots of french horn. Although the 34th time you hear Ravel’s “Bolero”, it gets a little old!

Conference is going well. We had to get some specifics sorted out — things that, to me are common sense, and, had the students pulled that at ANY of the writing programs in the country, they’d have been bounced. But, as a friend reminded me, this is the first conference many have attended, and they don’t know. To me, it’s common sense, and, even when starting out, I wouldn’t have dreamed of pulling such a stunt. But, for the moment, I clarified the position and will give them the benefit of the doubt.

I’m even taking a workshop in a genre out of my comfort zone to push me a bit.

I miss the cats, and, from what I hear, they are being spectacularly rambunctious in my absence, but I’m settling in a bit and getting down to work.

Back to the workshops.

Devon