Tues. May 28, 2013: Getting Ready to Hit the Road

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I will miss this over the next few days!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Check out my opinion of Twyla Tharp’s THE CREATIVE HABIT, a book I found helpful.

Also, I’m teaching my Supporting Characters Workshop for RWA from June 10-24. Sign up here. There will be a lot of writing involved! Only $15.

Weekend was busy. I was trying to clear things off for this week’s trip. I mowed, yesterday, the front and No Man’s Land. Didn’t get the terraced back done. I finished the meadow last week — was it Friday? I can’t remember. It’s one long day after awhile. Battled the ants. They are destroying the front yard.

Did my classwork for the Climate Literacy Class for last week and worked ahead and completed this week’s work, so that it’s not hanging over me. Finalized some appointments, moved around some other appointments, printed out a schedule, set up some “if I’m in the neighborhood and can fit it in” type things.

It will be HOT in NY this week — I’m going from having to put the winter quilts back on the bed because it was so cold to running around in 90 degree weather.

Cleared off a review, some library books that needed handling, some pitches and article stuff, and some correspondence. I’d like to finish an article this morning before I leave, but don’t know if that will happen.

The pollen’s been so bad that everything’s covered in a film of yellow. Iris and Violet are miserable, and even I’m having allergy issues. From tree pollen to smog in a matter of hours — gotta love it.

The cats are in a tizzy. They hate the suitcase. They know what it means.

So much of this trip is research for upcoming/ongoing projects, as well as trying to land some new ones. I’m trying to balance what I have to do, what’s expected of me, with what I want to do.

New SD card in the camera — I plan to take A LOT of photos this week.

I’m not going to be gone for long — just a couple of days. I don’t know why it feels like it will be months. The change of location and lifestyle, I guess. I’ve worked so hard in the last few weeks, doing energy alignments with the land. It’s going to be weird to be in a space with layers of frenetic energy.

Off to get things done, and then hit the road.

Devon

Tues. April 30, 2013: Contests and Writing and Paperwork

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

My guest on A Biblio Paradise today is Mike Robinson, talking about THE PRINCE OF EARTH. Stop by!

Worked like crazy yesterday, yet feel I got so little done.

On the plus side, I finished Chapter 14 and wrote Chapter 15. Which means I have to dive into Chapter 16 this morning. I have to make a decision by this chapter for the heat level of this book — there are several kinds of ways I could go with it, and I don’t want to lose the light tone I need, but I also want to let my protag go with her desires — that’s part of it. It’s also why it’s not marketed as a “romance”, because I’m giving her options.

My webhost was down yesterday, which hindered my work. I have to take a proofreading test for a big job today — must brush up on CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE — I use Strunk. And I don’t want to do it when I’m too tired, or I’ll make careless mistakes and lose the job.

People are signing up for the free tips — so glad. Had a nice exchange with another writer — we went to each other’s workshops this weekend.

Am finishing up the paperwork for the contest I’m judging — lots of paperwork. But picked my top choices and sent off the recommendations. Yesterday was about rearranging the stacks of books I’d read, comparing them against each other as well as individual stories.

Keyed in some data I needed, worked with students.

This morning, I’ve written a thousand words of a short story that started pulling at me. I hoped it would be only six pages (about 1500 words), but it’s growing like a dandelion and I want to see where it goes.

I need to start setting up my NY appointments for the end of next month, and make sure all my presentations and materials are in good shape. I’m juggling various projects, and need to make sure I don’t drop the ball on any of them, while still hustling enough freelance projects to pay the bills short term. Same old, same old.

But I love the longer days, and I’m definitely feeling more productive and more creative.

Devon

Last chance to sign up for the free Manuscript Preparation Tips in May. Signing up also gets you Devon’s Random Newsletter and a 10% discount off up to 30 pages critique. More information here.

Wed. Oct 31, 2012: Post-Sandy Samhain

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Samhain

We made it through Sandy. We were pretty lucky, tucked in mid-Cape. We lost power about mid-day on Monday, as the storm picked up speed. The gas stayed on, though (the lines didn’t flood), so we could cook and had hot water, which made it all much easier. In other words, we didn’t need to cook in the fireplace!

Sunday, we’d pulled in all the plants, creating an indoor jungle that Tessa loves to play in. Friday totally sucked, on so many levels I don’t even want to get into it, crowning with the deadbeat client who paid me three months late giving me a rubber check — don’t even get me started. Needless to say, it’s started a negative ripple effect that will take weeks to sort out, and, since the client is in the worst of the hurricane zone, it is unlikely I will EVER see the money. I don’t want to be unsympathetic to a hurricane, but it should have never happened in the first place.

On the positive side, we did a big Market Basket run, and were well-stocked. Since the power was off for only about 12 hours, we didn’t lose anything, and we could cook. We hunkered down, reading books, eating, and listening to the battery-operated radio. We woke up in the middle of the night when the power kicked back on, and started watching the news at 4:30 in the morning.

The devastation in NY and NJ is horrible. Kudos to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pointing out that we’re getting the “100 year storm” every 2 years and climate change! Even Broadway shut down for two days, which is a heck of a lot more unusual than the damn Stock Exchange.

The town I grew up in was hit hard, especially the art deco amusement park down by the water. The boardwalk was seriously damaged, and one of my favorite restaurants destroyed. I’m glad I took so many photos while I still lived there. I’ve tracked down most of my friends and neighbors, who are fine, but in the dark. We never lost mail delivery, but someone tacked a sign on the post office in my former home town — which happens to be at one of the highest points in town — saying, “we’ll be back when it’s safe.” Although the official news reports are saying how things are running smoothly, I hear very different stories from the people actually living there, and much bemoaning that the former mayor isn’t still in charge — someone good at dealing with this type of crisis.

It’s that mix of relief that I’m here, and things are fine, and guilt that I’m not there, with the people I’ve known for so many years.

We are in much better shape here. In fact, everyone yesterday was, in typical Cape Cod fashion, Very Busy yesterday. There was as much traffic as on a summer day — it’s as though people had been trapped inside for a week instead of a day.

I did cancel the writers’ group gathering, since the roads were still hit-and-miss, and there were lots of power outages.

Today, it’s buckling back down to work, and getting everything re-decorated again for Halloween. I’ve still got to finish edits on a manuscript and knock out a couple of articles, not to mention get started on my school work for the week. Costume Imp is figuring out if he’s going to try to go back at the end of the week, as planned, or stay longer. He’s welcome to stay as long as he needs to.

All I want to do is sleep!

Devon

PS on two fronts — the “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” seminar is ON for this Saturday, only $20 to learn how to interpret and successfully prepare your submissions to guideline. More information here.

The deadline for application for the Playwrighting Intensive has, per request, been extended to November 20, in light of the hurricane and power issues. Decisions will still be announced on December 1. More information and application here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Today will be chaotic, especially since Comcast connection is worse than ever, and 1and1 won’t let me access my email. I have to leave the site for a few hours mid-day, then come back to pick up my stuff and head back. I’ve somehow tweaked my back, so I am not looking forward to hauling the luggage around Philly and NY. But I’ll take some ibuprofen and deal.

On a good note: I received a request for the full of one of the novels circulating. So I’m pretty excited. Hopefully, that’s a positive sign for the month!

Live chat went well, in spite of wonky internet.

Off to get some stuff on site before the others come in, and finish packing. I also have to check and make sure I comment on exercises before everything gets nutty.

But, first and foremost, the full has to go out. Fingers crossed.

Back to the page. I’m taking the short story with me when I wander later today. I’m not hauling the computer around, so it’s one of the longhand pieces.

i finished THE MANUAL OF DETECTION last night. It’s fascinating, but damned if I can describe it.

And the US-Canada Olympic hockey game yesterday was one of the best games ever. Sure, I wanted the US to win, and yes, I hurt for Ryan Miller (who was so awesome throughout the series), but, let’s face it, if Canada lost, they’d have been run out of town.

Back to the page, and quickly.

Devon

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 9:26 am  Comments (7)  
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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Upstate NY in Autumn

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I have SUCH a headache today. Where’s the Excedrin? 😉

Monday was great fun, as I mentioned yesterday, and where I was, the foliage was at its peak.

I was out of the house yesterday by 6 AM, a little later than I wanted, because I was having trouble — again — with MobileMe. I’m really starting to think it was a huge waste of money. It does not do what it’s advertised to do. I can’t even get what I need on the iDisk, much less access it from anywhere. Unless Apple fixes it, I’m dropping it when the year is up. The computer’s working well again, but the MobileMe isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, so to hell with it.

Anyway, yesterday was kind of a gray and drizzly day. I’m curious why the NY metro area weather folk are NEVER right, when the Boston area weather folk are ALWAYS right. The NY weather folk promised it wouldn’t start to rain until late afternoon. At 6 AM, it was raining. Later in the day, as I had the Boston station on (which comes in clearly in VT, although you can’t get it in the MA Berkshires), they were spot on. Same with traffic. The NY traffic reports are always wrong, while the Boston/South Shore/Cape are always right.

We travelled up I-87. It was early enough to be fine. We hit Saratoga a little after 9 AM and, of course, headed immediately to Mrs. London’s for coffee and an almond croissant. Which was just fabulous.

And inappropriate customer requests never cease to amaze me. A woman of certain age, obviously wealthy, and her it’s-easier-for-me-if-I-never-argue-with-her husband entered. She asked if they served breakfast. The woman behind the counter said they don’t have eggs or anything like that, but there’s a variety of pastries and croissants and things that people eat for breakfast. The woman re-iterated that she wanted eggs. The woman behind the counter apologized and re-iterated that they didn’t have them. The woman said, “I don’t think you understand me. I want EGGS.” It took a minute for all of us to realize that she expected the woman behind the counter to go out to some other restaurant and bring back her order so she could eat it at one of the tables in this particular restaurant, rather than actually going to the restaurant that served what she wanted.

Uh, no.

After our snack, we walked up and down Broadway. I stopped at the Adelphi Hotel to take some photos. It’s closed for the winter, but I want to set a piece in a place inspired by the Adelphi, so I photographed some of the architectural outer detail and tried to photograph some of the interior through the glass. It looked very lonely, all closed up, and I wished I was a multi-millionaire so I could buy it, winterize it, and bring it back to its glory.

We stopped at Borders to pick up a couple of things — I love the fact that it was packed before even 10 AM on a weekday.

Back in the car, we headed up past the track (some horses are still training there, but racing’s done until next summer) and to the public gardens at Yaddo.

Yaddo is one of the premier artist colonies in the world. I hadn’t realized it backed up to the racetrack on one side — and I-87 on another. Several people whose work I respect swear by them with an almost obsessive fealty. I’d had a couple of negative experiences with their administrative staff about a dozen years ago, and scratched them off my list, but I’d always been curious about the facility. I hadn’t realized that the gardens were open to the public until recently, so I figured, why not take a look?
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The gardens were being put to bed for the winter, and those working there were quite lovely and welcoming. I bet the gardens are stunning in the summer. And there are some lovely places tucked away that seem quite inspirational.

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The main house, as you can see by the photo, is rather imposing. Lovely, but imposing. And there are signs and gates everywhere to keep the public away from the artists. Or is it the other way around? 😉 On the one hand, I appreciate that — you don’t want people tromping around peering in your windows or knocking in your door while you’re working. That’s not the point of a residency there. On the other hand, all those signs gave off a rather zoo-like vibe: “Don’t feed the artists. They’re more dangerous than they look.”

So that was really, really interesting. And the grounds are great. I took a lot of photos I can use in my work — there’s stagnant water with stuff sticking through it and downed trees and rushing streams and cairn-like creations — really fascinating. I’m glad I was there. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the noise from the track or the highway, so I guess the studios are well-insulated. Seeing the property, I understand the place in a different way. Funnily enough, it makes me not want to apply there. I think I have too much of a life, in a way, built on my time with various projects over the years, and it would be hard to stay in my studio and work — I’d feel like I wanted to go here and there doing all the things I usually do in Saratoga that make the place so special to me. There would be just as many distractions for me as I have at home, which cancels out the purpose of having a residency. I think it’s a great place for artists to work if they’re from somewhere else — it would not necessarily be the right place for me to work, because I’d be so tempted to be out and about instead of inside working.

I had hoped to see a friend’s exhibit that was outside of Saratoga — and I couldn’t find the turnoff. I felt like a total moron. I had the directions — I just couldn’t find the place. Fortunately, because I had no idea if I was actually coming up until that day, I hadn’t promised to get up there at any particular time. Maybe I can make another trip up just to see it.

We stopped at Lowe’s because they have one in Saratoga and we don’t, picked up some stuff, and headed to Vermont. The drive was very pretty, the rain held off, and the temperature dropped. There are many things I would have liked to photograph, but didn’t get the chance. Oh, well.

We drove across what’s basically a pass in the Green Mountains, past Bromley Ski Area and with the turn off to Stratton — and it smelled like snow. Technically, it was too warm to snow, but it still smelled like it.

We arrived in Weston later than we planned because we’d lost so much time looking for the exhibit we never found and were starving. We ate at a place called Bryant’s House Restaurant — I’m assuming a guy named Bryant owned it at some point. It’s an old farmhouse converted into a restaurant. The food was excellent – really good chicken pie with excellent biscuits.

We meandered through the Vermont Country Store after lunch. The store was the reason we’d factored in the side trip to Vermont today — we’d seen a few things in the catalog that looked interesting, but the shipping is so exorbitant it was actually cheaper to drive to Vermont and pick it up in person.

The store was really disappointing. To me, it came across more as a mass-produced version of a cliche of an image of Vermont lifestyle, rather than actual Vermont-based arts, crafts, and foodstuffs. When you look around at the overhead for the place, you realize why things are so expensive. We decided to try one of their stollen — stollen is a “must have” in our holiday season. But, other than that, there was nothing we really wanted.

Very disappointing.

But I got some ideas for AMENDS, of all things, while driving through the Green Mountains.

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Maple tree in Lenox

Back in the car, back across the mountains, down Rt. 7 through Vermont and down through Massachusetts. By the time we hit Lenox, it was starting to get dark, The Haven had closed (so no curried chicken sandwich for me) and we were tired. If it had been an option, I would have booked into a motel right then and there. But we needed to get home.

So we did. It was raining by now, and dark, and the new headlamps in cars are angled so they hit oncoming drivers (me) right in the eyes. It was not a fun trip.

We stopped to pick up a pizza on the way home, and were back after being on the road for 13 hours.

Ate, watched stupid TV, and went to bed early, after playing with the cats.

I’ve got a headache this morning and am weary, but I have to pull it together to finish the NYFA applications and one short story. I also have to go out and pick up a cake — tomorrow is my mom’s birthday.

Hopefully, I can squeeze in a nap sometime this afternoon. I’m beat.

Devon