Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Nor’easter Coming

Out of the house early yesterday. Tried to make a bank deposit at the drive-through ATM, but the bank down the street “couldn’t” print receipts, so I didn’t make the deposit. The three times I’ve done it anyway, the bank has denied the deposit was ever made, and then after fighting with them for weeks, they suddenly “found” it. So I never make a deposit without getting the receipt. TD Bank sucks, and when I move in spring, we will switch banks and be better for it. I used the branch by the mall, instead.

To Shaw’s, where I couldn’t find everything I needed, but picked up a few things I knew I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s. I stood in line, with my six things, behind people who had 106 things. The manager opened the fast lane and took me over. The woman standing behind me started complaining that she should have been taken first because she’d “been waiting.” The manager pointed out that I was in line AHEAD of her, and, therefore, I would be checked out first.

To Trader Joe’s, where there were at least fifty people in line ahead of me. They’re shopping in packs again, not honoring the request that only one person from a household shop. That means one waits in line longer because if a pack of four is waiting, four people have to come out, and then they’re allowed in, but those of us who DO honor the request are still waiting until someone else comes out, because only X amount of people can be in the store at a time.

Behind me were a trio of college girls, from the moneyed side of town, with fake Valley Girl accents, supposedly home for break from Ivy League schools. If that’s what Ivy Leagues are accepting, we are doomed. What a bunch of idiots. For a few minutes, I hoped they were pulling a prank, but no, they’re actually that inane.

Forty-five minutes of their prattle in line gave me a massive headache, but I’ve also figured out numerous ways to kill them off in stories, so that cheered me up.

Whipped through the store with my list pretty fast. Didn’t need all that much, although I found some good stuff I wasn’t expecting and grabbed that, too.

Except for some fresh things I need to pick up on Tuesday, and then a quick stop at the food mart down the street for things like milk, we’re set through New Year’s. That feels good.

Home, decontaminated.

A short rest, then client work, LOIs, and the ad for “Lockesley”, and then daily posts about it scheduled through the first of the year. “Fly” is already scheduled.

Pizza for dinner. I need to start making it from scratch again. The frozen pizzas get smaller every week. They used to be big enough so we could have dinner one night, and lunch the next day. Now, it’s barely enough for dinner. Soon, they’ll be the size of an appetizer. Price keeps going up, though. I’m better off making it from scratch.

Had to contact Crystal Bar Soap to ask where my order was. It’s been FOUR WEEKS since I placed it and nothing. By the end of the evening, I got the shipping confirmation – but if I hadn’t asked about it, it wouldn’t have shipped until January, probably. It shouldn’t take four weeks to ship an order. And I shouldn’t have to beg to get my order shipped.

I keep saying I won’t order from them anymore. Then, I get the order and love it and keep ordering. But I need to stop for a few months, until they get the shipping sorted out. It’s too frustrating.

We’re supposed to get a massive Nor’easter tonight into tomorrow. If the power goes out, I won’t be able to blog tomorrow. Or do anything else online. Which is fine. I was going to attempt a run up to Plymouth on Friday to get the car inspected, but now I’m thinking I have to wait until next week.

Today, I have to go into the office with a client for some overlap, which has stressful potential. Then, I’m home to sit out the storm. I want to work on the polish for the two short plays and get them out by Friday. I also have to work on the revisions for “Mistletoe” so I can sign off on that by Friday.  We’ve talked about a different framing device for the stories (and, later, the books) that I think will work, adding more humor and some nostalgia to the pieces.

Three interesting calls for submission hit my desk yesterday, too. They’d all be due on the 31st. Not sure I can get it together to write and polish them in time, but I will let the ideas percolate. Two of them are new-to-me markets. The third is a new-to-me market, but I talked to them back in October about submitting in radio format and they were interested. Now, I have to find the notes I took for that piece, so I can create it.

I still have major brain fog, which is frustrating but okay at home, but not so great when I’m in the car.

Let’s hope the storm isn’t too bad – I don’t want to shovel, and I’m running low on ice melt!

Have a great day.

Published in: on December 16, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired  
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Thurs. March 22,2018: Pitches, Process, and Disrespect

 Thursday, March 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing

Yup, Mercury is retrograde, and, once again, I can’t hide under the covers for three weeks, gosh darn it.

We’re in our fourth nor’earter of the month (hence the reason this is going up late). I have storm fatigue. It’s not as bad as predicted, at least so far, but I’m still over it.

Long day onsite yesterday, but, for the most part, an interesting one.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION is chugging along. I’m gearing up to start RELICS & REQUIEM. I’m behind on that, and I need the first chapter polished and ready to go for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY’S release. NOT BY THE BOOK is getting some love, too.

I got two of the three pitch packets I wanted to get out before Mercury went retrograde out. The third requires more work. I have most of the pieces, but I don’t have the synopsis they want. It’s for a piece that’s yet to be written (although I wrote the first four chapters of it to get them out of my head a few years ago, and then put it aside for contracted work). I’d re-read the piece a few months ago and liked it a lot, but didn’t see a way to get it back into the schedule in the near future. It was more of a “someday” piece. But this opportunity came up, and, of all the ideas I’ve been playing with, this seemed like the best fit.

But they want a synopsis.

I have several ways I work on a book. Sometimes, characters start talking to me. I wind up outlining most of the book in what I call my Writer’s Rough Outline, and then write a few chapters to see if it’s viable, tweak the outline, polish the pages and then decide if it’s something I can sell on a pitch/sample, or if I need the whole thing written and polished. If it’s the latter, then it’s a case of deciding how to work it into the schedule. Right now, I’m scheduled tightly, and I have other potential pieces circling like planes stacked over LaGuardia.

Contracted, paid work comes first. After that, it’s whatever pulls hardest, which eventually becomes contracted, paid work.

The other way I work on a book is that characters start talking to me. I sit down and write my way into a piece, jotting notes along the way. Usually, it’s the first four chapters. Then, I stop and do a detailed Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, when I go back to it in order to work it into the schedule, I have the notes, the vision, and I’ve captured some of the energy of that first excitement.

With this particular piece, I wrote the first four chapters. I loved it, but it was during a time when I was overscheduled, so I put it away without writing the Writer’s Rough Outline.

I know I have some jotted notes. I remember the overall shape I want. But I need to sit down and work out the Writer’s Rough. From the Writer’s Rough, I need to distill and then polish a solid synopsis that works for the specific format/medium this outlet looks for.

That’s going to take a few weeks.

Fortunately, this pitch doesn’t have to go in on deadline. It gives me the room to do it well, but I still have to sit down and DO IT, rather than just letting it slide.

And I have to do it while working on contest entries, while keeping up with the books sent for review, while keeping up with client work, while anticipating the next round of edits for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, while staying on track with MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

Dropping any of these balls is not an option.

On a more wearying note, I had a rather nasty run-in yesterday. Someone wants me to co-author a book with her. No contract, no payment, no publisher lined up. All on spec. I told her that kind of work goes through my agent. She called me “stupid” and said I’d lost an opportunity.

I don’t consider working for free a lost opportunity.

This is my business, not my hobby. I am paid for what I do, especially when it’s work for someone else.

It would be stupid for me to accept something that will be a lot of work for no return, while putting aside my own work.

I was polite (although I didn’t want to be) and firm. It still left a bad taste in my mouth, especially about this individual. Unfortunately, it is not someone I can avoid interacting with in the future. Yet.

At every business networking event and far too many dinner parties, some yahoo comes up with the “oh, I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I don’t have time” or “I have a great idea for a book. You should write it and we’ll make a lot of money.” Both of those comments are complete and utter b.s.

First, there’s no such thing as “no time to write.” There’s writing. There’s not writing. We all have the same twenty-four hours in the day. It’s how we CHOOSE to use them that define us.

Second, writing is a business like anything else. Professionals aren’t going to put aside paying work for your vanity project.

I don’t meet a surgeon and say, “I’d love to start cutting people open, but I don’t have time” or “operate on me for free on YouTube and we’ll make a packet.” I don’t say to lawyers “I’ve always wanted to persuade a jury to see things my way, but I don’t have time.” It’s offensive.

So stop insulting writers.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get out and get a few things done later today. I need to do some work on the websites, work on the newsletter, and get out some LOIs.

Plus, of course, work on the fiction and the synopsis.

Never a dull moment, for which I am grateful.

 

Published in: on March 22, 2018 at 8:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 22,2018: Pitches, Process, and Disrespect  
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Fri. June 14, 2013: Cape Coastal Conference — Awesome is an Understatement

Friday, June 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and stormy (nor’easter)

Up early yesterday, worked with students, got a few things done (yeah, I got up at 5 AM).

By 7:30, I was headed to the conference. It was truly wonderful, the first annual Cape Coastal Conference. This year’s theme was The Changing Shores: Linking Science with Solutions and Local Decision Making. It was full — all 200 slots were taken. And so well run. I can’t compliment the organizers highly enough. 198 of the 200 people were friendly and fun to talk to, the presenters were terrific, questions were interesting. There was a lot of information for someone like me, who’s coming to the environmental science party late, but I took 18 pages of notes, made lists of questions I’ll pose to the presenters in the coming weeks (they included their contact information in the packets for the purpose of follow-up), things I want to look up, and notes to which I can refer in the future.

Those other two people? I’m killing “them” in a book. And that’s all the space and attention they’re getting. As actual humans, they are excommunicated from my universe — not worth my energy.

I also have to thank the staff at the Doubletree in Hyannis, where the conference was held — their work was impeccable, and they were so friendly, and not in a fake way.

There’s enough information here and from my friend to do my climate literacy paper this weekend.

In spite of the sometimes alarming science, the presenters were upbeat about the things we can do, and how we can move forward towards solutions that make the whole Cape a better place on multiple levels.

Breaks were good, and there were exhibitor booths with even more terrific information.

My seat mate was a delightful, intelligent, humorous gentleman who works for my town — which means I’ll be working with him on several upcoming projects! Lunch was fun — I sat with someone from Sandwich, someone from Brewster, and someone from Chatham, and we had a lively discussion about local politics, Town Hall meetings, etc.

Afternoon session was good, too, focused more on climate change — using some of the same sources that my Sustainability and Climate Literacy classes used. Good reinforcement. Afternoon break was even better — cookies! Cookies in the middle of the afternoon solve many problems.

I hadn’t realized how where we are in the natural geological cycles (that happen over tens of thousands of years) are adding in so much to the additional damage of the raised temperatures and raised ocean acidity. If we were just dealing with the natural change, we’d be okay. The climate-change damage on its own would still be worse, but we’d have more time for solutions. But together? Clock’s ticking, and not in our favor.

It was also interesting to see how much from my astronomy class fed into the science we discussed here. How all these different science arena weave together is very interesting.

Last few sessions were harder to focus on, because we were getting tired and running a bit over. At the end, one of the scientists from Falmouth ran up with his laptop — while we’d been in session, there’d been unusual wave activity in Falmouth (he called it a “mini-tsunami”), and his fellow scientists had sent him video, which he then played for us. It was pretty cool. It was the only place that water activity was happening in the area, although there was some funky air pressure something-something happening over Nantucket.

I was tempted to stay for drinks, but the nor’easter was starting to hit us just as session ended, so I opted to get home quickly instead. Couldn’t do much online because of the storm (didn’t want the laptop to go kerplooey), and was tired anyway, so called it an early night, after making some notes on an upcoming project.

Headed back to the conference today for the next session — very excited to see what I’ll learn.

It means working through the weekend with students and getting some other things done that have come in while I was gone, but it will be worth it!

Devon

Published in: on June 14, 2013 at 5:52 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Nov. 8, 2012: Nor’easter Still Hammers

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

We didn’t get hammered by the snow, the way they did over the bridge and in NY, but the nor’easter is still going strong. Wonky power, going in and out during the day. Nothing like having to re-set all the electronics every few hours!

Got out some quote requests for a press release I’m writing. Worked with my tarot students. Worked on a couple of proposals. Suffered from post-Election Hangover Syndrome (and I didn’t even drink on election night)!.

Read a mystery that had some engaging aspects, but lacked logic within its world on so many details that it drove me nuts. However, one of the clues planted was terrific. The rest, I’d figured out pretty early, but that one clue was very clever. Too bad the rest of the book didn’t live up to it!

Doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get out to run my errands today, other than paying bills. Couldn’t even go to yoga this morning, due to downed trees and the high winds.

So I’ll just write! 😉

Devon

Published in: on November 8, 2012 at 7:28 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, Octoer 29, 2011


The tree in Mother’s Park that’s nearly 100 years old

Saturday, October 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re battening down for our first Nor’easter of the season. I’m glad we’re safely tucked in here, and not in the process of moving, like we were at this time last year!

Today is my mother’s 87th birthday! Happy birthday! She had a BAG of books waiting for her on the table this morning. Yup — I went to the bookstore yesterday, bought a bag, and filled it with books! That and the cheesecake she requested are her favorite birthday treats.

In honor of her birthday, today’s essay on A BIBLIO PARADISE celebrates Sharon Shinn, one of our favorite authors. And, if you haven’t left a comment to welcome Mary Abshire, I hope you’ll do so, scrolling down to the previous day’s post.

Yesterday was busy, and this morning was busy. I keep rewriting the pivotal scene in the harpy book. Just going to keep hacking at it until I get it right. I’m closer, I’m almost close enough where I’ll have enough sorted out so I can move on without seriously tripping myself up further down the line. I wrote between 3-4,000 words. And tossed them all out. All of them, including “and” and “the.”

We went to Falmouth yesterday — got some of the ornaments I’m donating to a charity tree, bought new pillows for my bed, got some long-sleeved shirts for winter yoga! Set up the grow light and the tomatoes, et al, are happy. The Big King eggplant is practically spitting a harvest of eggplants at us. I’m not complaining.

This morning, since we’re supposed to have horribly strong storm winds, I hosed down the patio furniture (instead of the thorough scrubbing I planned to do next week), took in the rest of the pots I’d washed and the iron plant stand, pulled back the potted plants that will stay out all winter (the hollies, the tiny oak, the witch hazel, the lilac which will stay through the first big frost and then get moved to the garage to go dormant. As soon as the furniture dries, I’ll take it in, rub it with teak oil, and put it where it’s going for the winter. The bench is going at the end of my mom’s bed, the tables will hold flowers, and the chairs will be folded up and stored in the garage. I’d hoped to do part of the Samhain celebration on the deck, but I don’t think that’s going to work this year.

Baked banana bread. Will spend time with my students. I have a class to wrap up this weekend.

Am getting a little restless with an organization with whom I have a fairly good and long-term relationship. I feel that, for the percentage of the fee they keep to administrate, they should be problem-solving, not expecting ME to problem solve for them. I”m there to show up and do my job, NOT administrate. I was moaning to a friend who said, “You’re outgrowing them, that’s all. They run things the way they run them, and you keep evolving, as you should.”

That was a good perspective and a good articulation to hear. It fits in with the restlessness I feel, only I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective –a perspective that will help me make decisions without getting frustrated.

My buddy Costume Imp had to cancel his trip to London this week and pack up and move his stuff and his cats quickly because of an ongoing mold problem in the apartment that his scumbag landlords simply ignored. Poor thing! But he’s in a better situation, and I’m sure he will have a great holiday season now.

Because, yeah, the “Holiday Season” has begun — from now through Twelfth Night, we’re all going full out!

Devon