Tues. June 21, 2022: Creativity in Multiple Directions

image courtesy of Chris Martin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)

Cloudy and pleasant

Friday turned out to be an up and down workday. I spent some time working the class I’m teaching in August, preparing both the Topic Workbook for it and the PowerPoint. Some of my examples have not aged well over the past couple of years, so I’m switching them out.

I hopped onto Pages on Stages to do some updates, and it was an absolute mess. The posts page had somehow detached from News & Updates. Most of the time, I got the white screen of death when I tried to get on or switch pages.

I was lucky to land some excellent techs at A2Hosting, and together, we spent a couple of hours sorting it out. I am very grateful, and told them directly, and on social media. Hey, if I’m going to moan on social media when a company is awful, I have the obligation to praise when a company comes through.

I need to put up a media room page on that site eventually, with links to productions.

I did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It started raining when I left (on foot). I almost turned back, but it stopped within two minutes, so I continued.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. My Llewellyn contract came through, so I’m good to go on that article after 4th of July weekend.

I’m playing with a very dark idea for an anthology call edited by a friend. I don’t know if I can pull it off within word count by deadline, but I will try.

Reading an article in THE NEW YORKER about a new production of HAMLET spawned an idea for a new project that mashes up two genres that seem weird, but just might work. I have to finish what I’m working on first, though, before I hie off on anything else. I made some notes, to capture characters and energy, and now that project has to wait its turn.

Tessa started howling at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday. I moved to the sewing room, but she was not mollified. We no longer leave her food down at night for her 2 AM snack, because the others are eating it, and Willa is putting on too much weight. However, Madame Tessa Is Not Amused. She wants her 2 AM snack.

Got the proof done on “Personal Revolution”, fixed a couple of formatting things, and it is out. The re-release happens June 28. Once I get links and stuff, there will be a push for it.

Now, I have to decide what’s the next Digital Delight to come off Smashwords and switch over to D2D. Probably “Severance.” I want a new cover for that, too. Or maybe I’ll take down “Plot Bunnies” and put it up with the next Twinkle Tavern piece that hasn’t yet released, “Labor Intensive.”

Headed to the Farmers’ Market. I didn’t need much, but made the rounds to chat with the vendors; ran into people I knew from other spaces, such as the library, and we were chatting as to how it’s often hard to place people out of context. You know that you know them from somewhere. . .

Quick grocery shop from the store. Didn’t need much. Home, put it all away, lugged 66 pounds of cat litter up the stairs (Chewy delivery).

Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to put together the kitchen island cart I ordered. I wasn’t even close to finishing after 6 hours (it’s supposed to take 2 people 70 minutes). The directions were incomplete, so I had to hunt for another set online. The drawings aren’t detailed enough with some of the pieces, so then I had to find various videos of similar pieces to figure out the details, so I wouldn’t put something on incorrectly and have to take it apart again.  And the design is so poor that, by following the directions, I had no room to maneuver the tools needed to tighten the next thing in the directions. Very frustrating.

If I ever get it put together, I think it will be a decent piece, though.

Used bounty from the Farmers’ Market to make a pasta primavera in Alfredo sauce (and used our own basil for it).

Started reading a biography of Balzac, before I go and re-read some of the novels.

By evening, every damn thing hurt and I went to bed ridiculously early. I slept well, dreaming of various gardens, which was rather nice.

Worked on an ad and other promotional materials for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” on Sunday. Started getting the pre-order buy links. I’m adding them onto the various websites as I get them. The release is holding to June 28.

Played with some other graphic tools to try to get comfortable. Since I can’t seem to do all of what I need with any single tool, I’m learning how to mix and match bits of what I want to do in different programs to get to the whole. It’s actually less irritating that trying to figure out a single program.

Made a logo for the project inspired by the article yesterday. If THAT’s not putting the cart before the horse and all, right? But it gave me an excuse to play with learning something new.

Worked on the newsletter. If you haven’t yet signed up for it, you can do so here. It will go out later this week. And, hint – in the newsletter, I reveal what The Big Project is really all about! So if you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been yapping about for months, calling it “the Big Project” you will find out before the hoi-polloi.

I created a bunch of ads for the Big Project, too, and they are really cool. I’m having way too much fun creating these ads. I’m trying to capture the voice of the piece in the ads.

One of the best things I started doing is opening a new document for the upcoming newsletter and adding information on projects over the course of the quarter. That way, I don’t have to scramble to remember what I did, and what I want to talk about.

Made more vegetable stock. Because buying all these vegetables from the market means I have lots of bits and bobs left over for stock. Not at a zero waste kitchen yet, but working on it.

Most of the day was spent on working on things around The Big Project, which will save me time and effort once it launches in July. It was a lot of fun.

I couldn’t face the kitchen island cart on Sunday. I needed the time away.

Slept well Sunday into Monday. Got caught up on some blogging, and blogged ahead. There’s a post on healing over on the GDR site, if you’re interested.

Planted some of the borage seeds and more cat grass. Got through nearly 400 emails. Sent out two LOIs. Worked on an anthology story.

The Authors Guild is doing a Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival this September over in Lenox, which is close by. Well, okay, about an hour, but just about everything is at least an hour away. They sent me an invite to attend, and I accepted. It’s in the calendar. I mean, if the COVID numbers are way up again at that point, I’ll cancel, but I know the venue, and they have good protocols in place. I’m hoping it will be safe to attend. I’m sure I’ll be masked, no matter what.

Since I didn’t have any scripts in my queue, I spent the afternoon on the porch, reading the next book for review. This morning, I will send off the review, and hopefully get assigned the next book before my editor goes on vacation.

Made a sausage pasta for dinner, and it was yummy. We have plenty of leftovers for the week (most of them pasta).

The B plotline has switched with the A plotline in the anthology story. It makes it a quieter story, and I hope the editor doesn’t feel it no longer fits the tone of the overall anthology. We’ll see. It’s for a created world, so it’s not like I could use it anywhere else if it’s rejected, not without major, major re-envisioning. But trying to force it the other way wasn’t working. All I can do is send in the best piece I can to this point, and then get notes on it, and apply them.

The other anthology story I need to get out by the end of the month is percolating in the back of my brain. I’ll be making the bed or chopping onions, sorting through plot possibilities: If I do A, with D work, or should I go with E? That type of thing. Hopefully, once the shared world story is out, I will have figured out enough of the other piece to just sit down and draft.

Slept well last night, although I woke up about every two hours (similar to what I was doing last year at this time). By 3 AM, Charlotte and Tessa were fussing. They woke me from a dream where I was temping at a company. I’d brought in blueberry muffins. Their kitchen/breakroom was stacked high with empty/used takeout containers and dirty dishes. They told me to clean the kitchen. I told them I was there to type, not be the maid. They laughed and said they couldn’t get any of the wives to come in and clean. I told them maybe they should stop being sexist and  learn to clean up after their own damn selves.

That definitely happened to me more than once in my temping years, but I didn’t recognize this company or these people. Something about the dream made me think it took place in Chicago, and I never temped in Chicago. New York, Westchester, San Francisco, Seattle, yeah. Chicago, no.

I moved to the couch. Charlotte settled on top of me, Tessa rummaged. I dozed off and dreamed about more boxes (echoes of the move, no doubt). Willa woke me around 5:30, telling me she was Very Hungry, so I got up and fed them.

Plenty to do today, even without scripts in the queue, although I hope some more show up, so I can make my goal this pay period.

Last year today was the day the movers were supposed to show up and did not. I am glad we are where we are (and that it isn’t as hot as it was at this point last year, either).

I have every intention of enjoying the Summer Solstice, even though it’s supposed to rain.

Have a good one.

Fri. June 17, 2022: Project Juggling

image courtesy of Theodore Moise via pixabay.com

Friday, June 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy, foggy, humid

Meditation was fine yesterday, and Charlotte really enjoyed it, too. Managed to get through some email after breakfast, get out an LOI, and get some other admin work done. Wrote and submitted my book review; got another assignment. Freelance Chat was fun.

“Personal Revolution” is in pretty good shape. There are a couple of formatting things I need to tweak, and then a final proof, and it should be ready to go by the end of the day (or, latest, tomorrow), and release on time on June 28.

Time to turn some attention to the Topic Workbooks, and to the PowerPoint presentation for my class in August.  I’ve also roughed the outline for the Llewellyn almanac article in my head, and I should be able to start writing it just after Independence day. So at least all that is on track.

I need to do a big push to finish and polish the Monthology story this weekend, so I can get it out next week.

There are some red flags coming up on a project; I will fulfill my commitment to it, and then not take on any more.

Since I’m on a bunch of mailing lists around here, so I can keep up with what’s going on and where I want to participate, I’m also starting to get invitations to gala events. The liberation I feel from realizing I never HAVE to attend another one of those again is delightful.

I need to update the Pages on Stages website with the latest information on the radio plays. I hope to get ahead on some blog pieces.

I turned around two scripts yesterday and have one to do today, and then I’m done for the weekend. Hopefully, enough come through next week and the following week, so I can make my earnings goal for the end of June.

Still struggling with the sense memory stress from last year’s move. Lots of emotional flashbacks as to where I was at this point last year. The Pluto/Saturn retrogrades add even more weight to those emotions. I’m acknowledging, releasing, and trying to focus on the reality of where I am now.

There’s some cool stuff going on at MassMOCA this weekend. However, doing the risk assessment, it looks like too many people in too small a space for me to feel comfortable, and too high a risk for me to take right now. I will, regretfully, pass. I already have the Farmers’ Market and grocery shopping on Saturday. They’re fairly low risk, but any interactions around people involve risk.

Today is supposed to be the hottest day for a stretch, but it’s still much cooler than it was last year at this time, and for that I am grateful. I have to do a library run to drop off/pick up books. I didn’t get the borage planted yesterday, so now I have to wait until Sunday, the next planting day. For those wondering what I mean by “planting day”, I have a calendar marking which days are planting days and which days are harvesting days on any given week.

The January 6 hearings were not all that surprising, while still emphasizing just how corrupt and awful that sociopath’s entire administration was and is. The fact that the wife of a Supreme Court Justice is part of it is unacceptable. Even more so that she is getting extra security, paid by my tax dollars. She could afford to finance the coup attempt. Let her pay for her own damn security. Better yet, put her in prison, where she should be.

Keep an eye on the people both-siding through all of this, or telling us we should make more efforts to “understand” and “communicate” with Republicans. I understand them just fine. They want to destroy anyone who doesn’t agree with them. And I also understand that the both siders are those who will stand by and let atrocities happen and then be surprised when it happens to them. Gotta watch your back around both siders even more than the blatantly extremist.

Today is Starhawk’s birthday! I am deeply grateful for all I’ve learned from her over the decades, and for her commitment to education and community building.

Better get going. Lots to get done today, and I also plan on plenty of enjoyment throughout the weekend.

Have a good one, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. April 14, 2022: Figuring Out The Healing

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly Sunny and warm

There’s a post detailing the latest plantings over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was not as productive as I’d hoped (familiar refrain), mostly because I’m still not feeling well. I was feeling well enough to try to function, but bad enough so that everything and every ONE was an irritant.

I got through some email and did some prep for this morning’s meeting. I did some plotting for a couple more radio plays.

I went to the library, to drop off/pick up a stack of books in each direction. Something I read in one of my other books had a reference to playwright Ben Jonson, and that led me back to Elizabethan Theatre and an idea with which I’ve been playing for years. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it work. I think by making it an alt-universe, and giving certain creative people the ability to understand multiple alt-universes, I can fix those challenges. Anyway, the research books are coming in. Time to open a fresh notebook and take good notes. In all my spare time. Yeah.

Grocery shopping, where I spent more than intended, but we are now set for a while, except for things like eggs, milk, bread.  And, even though we don’t celebrate Easter, I got my mom the Easter ham she wanted, and I’ll make a baked ham for Sunday.

Of course, one of the reasons I spent more than intended is because prices keep going up.

Mailed some bills, and some mail which had been misdelivered. There’s another street whose spelling has one more letter than my street, and I often get mail for the person at the same number on that street. I mark it as misdelivered and how, and put it back in the box.

Stopped at the liquor store, and found some new-to-me wines to try. Time to lighten up the wines for the season. Switch to lighter reds, and, eventually, over to rosé in the summer, because a good rosé goes with everything.

Home, exhausted. I stacked a few too many errands in that trip. Normally, it would make sense, but I’m still feeling poorly.

At the grocery store, I was in constant inner dialogue, since I was so grumpy. This is where meditation techniques come in handy. It was the constant question: Does this have anything to do with you? The answer was, of course, no. So drop it and move on. Because NONE of the people filling their carts and going about their lives were the cause of my irritation. They wouldn’t even have added to it on a normal day. Nothing they were doing was about me. And none of them deserved to have me take my irritability out on them. So I didn’t. Because they don’t deserve to have their day dampened by my irritation.

So what IS the source of my irritability? A lot of it is still feeling bad after the 4th shot. I’m still achy, headachy, fatigued, and I’m tired of being tired. But more of it, I think is rooted in residual burnout, that I don’t have the time and resources to take a full break to recover. I have to focus on earning money for this major car repair. I have to get the car repaired. I have to keep up the housework, the cooking, the bills, the deadlines. Taking a weekend won’t fix it. I need a serious break. And I don’t have the option to take one.

What I am doing is rearranging my workday to fit energy levels, and matching each task to the energy best suited for it. I also want to get more enjoyment out of each day, including maximum enjoyment in the work. That means adjusting the kind of work I take on. I updated some profile information on a few referral sites, because there are certain types of work that, even six months ago, I was open to accepting, that I no longer want. There’s another arts referral/networking site where I need to create one (or more) profiles to draw the kind of work I want to draw. I have to think about how to create those profiles to best hit. Creating the Pages on Stages website was the right choice; I’m already seeing positive results from it.

It’s a process, and will take time, but it will pay off, I think. Drawing in more of the work I truly enjoy will take off a lot of pressure. Expanding the client base will take off a lot of the pressure. Raising rates for certain projects will take off a lot of the pressure.

That will give me the healing time I haven’t had post-surgeries, post-move.

What if, instead of feeling like I have to get out and network and enter into community life here, I just  . . .don’t? At least for this year? What if I only do what I want to do, and don’t feel like I “have” to be out and about? Like I “have” to network and put myself out there? The pandemic made us feel isolated and disconnected, and we all fought so hard to stay connected. What if I take more time to be solitary, virtually, as well as physically? There are still friends I haven’t seen in years with whom I hope to reconnect in person, and friends I like to see semi-regularly, which I still want to see. But rather than the whole “be out there building the network” thing, maybe I will take a different approach and a different route, at least this year.

Maybe, for me, part of the healing has to do with solitude, rather than isolation.

Not push people away, if they come into my life organically. But not dash around forcibly trying to add people into my life right now, either.

I’m still exploring that theory. I don’t have definite answers yet. I need to trust my intuition, and put it above the clamor of the “experts.” Because they don’t live in my skin. They haven’t lived what I have the past few years. They don’t have the knowledge to make proclamations on my life.

I can adjust my work, I can adjust my creative life, I can spend time enjoying what I enjoy, and limit external pressures.

I’ve never lived my life the way other people told me I “had” to. In spite of a decade on Cape where too many people tried to emotionally batter me into conformity, it didn’t work. And I’m not in that situation anymore, so why not enjoy what’s so different about things here? Because it is very different, and people tend to give each other more breathing room.

It’s a process, right? Try things, some work, some don’t. But what I’m being told are definitives aren’t necessarily relative to me personally, or to this new region.

So why not create my own definitives?

Although the thought of creating yet anything else is exhausting, but the act of creation tends to be restorative.

It was up in the high 70’s yesterday, and we opened all the windows and left the plants on the porch overnight. It was so nice to sleep with the windows open! This morning was the first day of the season I could do my early morning writing and have that first cup of coffee out on the porch, with Tessa keeping me company. It’s supposed to be warm again tonight, but then gets cold on Saturday, back down into the 30’s.

Meditation this morning. Then, some time at the page, before a video conference with a potential client. Then, some more errands and script coverage. I need to finish reading a book for review, so I can write the review tomorrow.

I think I’m going to take Monday as a holiday. I mean, I’m in a state where it’s a holiday, why not enjoy it?

Have a good whatever-you-celebrate, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

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Thurs. April 7, 2022: Websites and Politicians

image courtesy of 200degrees via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Rainy and chilly

Things are growing, and there’s news over on Gratitude and Growth!

Yesterday was another of those days where I felt like I didn’t get anything done when, actually, I did quite a bit.

I wrote a bio and uploaded it to the “About” page for the scriptwriting website. The tone is more of a story than typical market-speak bio, but the scriptwriting is a storytelling format, so the tone fits the site and the work.

I also updated the Fearless Ink site, based on conversations last week in the Freelance Chat group. I hadn’t realized that I needed to update my location; I thought I’d fixed all of that last July when I updated the resumes and put the address changes in everywhere. But I hadn’t.

I took off the social media packages. I no longer want to run social media accounts for clients. I’ll supply copy, but I don’t want to do the graphics, the scheduling, the uploading, and the interactions. It’s not where I want to put my energy. I also added, per the chat last week, a list of some of the things I don’t do, for which I keep getting emails, and/or which clients keep trying to sneak into their scope creep. This is why a strong contract is so important.

I need to update my contract with COVID protocols, too. Since on-site meetings are being pushed again, I’m adding in a clause that I will only attend on-site meetings if all parties are vaccinated and masked. Frankly, I don’t need to be onsite for business clients. ALL of that can be done virtually. The only clients I’d need to go onsite for are museums and performance venues, and they’re all vaccinated and following masking protocols anyway. It’s only businesses who are lax. And those are not businesses with whom I want to interact. I’m also thinking of adding a liability clause – if I get infected, the business is responsible for paying for all COVID care. Since funding for testing, etc. is being dropped, I think that’s important. And, since I won’t book onsite meetings closer than typical quarantine times, it’ll be pretty easy to trace where I got infected, should I get infected.

They can avoid all of that by simply keeping everything remote.

Speaking of reduced funding, as soon as the Republicans blocked the additional funding for vaccines and research yesteray, I was contacted to move up my 4th shot. I’d planned to get it at the end of the month, or early in May, because when I tried to book it at the same time I booked my mom’s shot, I was told it was too soon for me. But now, they want to do it as soon as possible. There was an opening on Sunday afternoon, so that’s when I’ll get it.

It also means I don’t have the luxury of prolonged side effects. The mechanic appointment that it took me over a month to get is on Tuesday morning, and I can’t change it. So I have a day and a half to recover It’s Pfizer, so here’s hoping. My mom only had slight fatigue for about a day. My 1st Moderna shot took me down for 4 days; the 2nd Moderna took me down for 6; the Pfizer booster took me down for 2 or 3. Let’s hope 1-1/2 works.

And, it means I have to finish my taxes on Saturday. I’ve figured out my quarterlies, so it’s just about filling out the slip and writing the check. But I have to do last year’s mess.

I don’t write a lot about the regular interactions I have with my elected officials, although it’s several times a week. Writing about every interaction would be like listing every time I brush my teeth, because it’s that steady. Generally, I try to keep on top of whatever votes are happening on local, state, and federal levels, and weigh in. They can’t represent me if they don’t know how I feel about something. I don’t expect them to vote my way every time, but I do expect them to listen. When I have a concern about something, I express it, AND offer potential solutions. The response to that is either pointing out the flaws in the argument, or asking for more information, because it sounds interesting. When it’s the latter, I work on a detailed proposal, including how to fund it, and send it off. After back-and-forth with various aides, some of it is actually incorporated into legislation, although that can take months or years of regular contract. But that’s how I do it. There’s quite a bit about which to be concerned right now, so I do spend quite a bit of time on political activism, but not in the way a lot of other people are doing it.

It’s when people complain, but aren’t willing to do anything to change it that I lose all patience.

I didn’t get any work done on any of the plays, or The Big Project, or CAST IRON MURDER. I did turn around two script coverages. I have one more script in the queue. I need three more this week, so let’s hope something comes up. I might read Saturday, too, and take off Monday instead.

I need to get out some more LOIs, too. I hated the design for the marketing postcard, so I trashed that and will start again. I need to do some promotion for content and copywriting, along with the scriptwriting.

Turned down a script gig yesterday where the pay was mediocre and the demand was to write “at least 1500 words a day.” I can and do write more than that a day, but scripts aren’t judged by word count, but by running time. So companies that talk about scripts in terms of word count are Big Red Flags. Next!

Early this morning, the neighbor across the street was taken away in an ambulance. I hope he’s okay; he’s a good guy. Hospitals are still on COVID protocols, so his partner couldn’t go along.

Meditation group this morning, then to the page, then some time at the Buddhist summit, then script coverage and other work. I need to make sure I work ahead, so that the beginning of next week, post-shot 4 is as stress-free as possible, even with the car repair.

Have a good one!

Wed. April 6, 2022: Room For the Writing I Love

image courtesy of Adina Voicu via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy/Rainy/Chilly

It was supposed to rain yesterday. Instead it was sunny, so people ran around enjoying it! I did a large grocery shop in the morning, to get us set up for the next couple of weeks. I also bought a pot of multi-colored pansies and a bunch of lavender tulips. Flowers for spring. I love pansies, because they’re so cheerful.

All the seedlings were moved out onto the porch, so they could enjoy the day, along with the cats (who moved themselves).

I finished the set of bios for Monthology celebrities tied to the Playhouse, the Gorgons, and the Valkyrie. I’d promised them to the collaborators, as fodder for the City’s tabloid. If none of this makes any sense, you can read about the shared world anthology here. It was fun, and these characters are for everyone to play with and have fun with. They are, at best, tertiary characters in my story. I felt bad that I was so late getting it in, although everyone in the group is great.

I wrote four pages of the radio play tentatively titled “Owe Me” that’s part of the Dramatists Guild project, with an eye toward sending it to the producer with whom I’ve been negotiating. It’s different from the comic horror; it’s more of a psychological ghost story. That went well. I’m letting the dialogue/plot flow, and then I’ll go back in and layer more sound cues (in radio, you have to figure a sound cue about every 30 seconds, approximately one cue every half page or so). I sometimes have clumps of sound cues to drive the plot, but then I have to layer in other cues when they get to talking, that either underline the dialogue or contradict it.

I’m percolating on the comic horror play that went off the rails. I think I will draft “Owe Me” first, and then go back to it, once I figure out how to get it back on track.

I pitched for a radio writing job that would run from May through August, and pays well. I’m sure the competition is fierce, but nothing tried, no chance at all. Plus, it was fun to include the new Pages on Stages website. I have to add in my bio page today.

The Conference wants me to take on some mentoring slots, and I’m not sure if I can take that on. A lot depends on how the upcoming negotiations for a couple of gigs go.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I started reading Deanna Raybourn’s newest Veronica Speedwell, AN IMPOSSIBLE IMPOSTER, which is a lot of fun. Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun, although everyone is eager for Easter break.

I signed up for a Buddhist series of seminars for the next five days, based on the work of Pema Chödrön, whose work I like and respect a lot. The rage I feel at fellow humans for allowing the slaughter in Ukraine to continue, and allowing the radical right to overtake this country, combined with the sense memory of the stress I underwent during this period last year, desperately searching for a place to live and organizing the move, is interfering with my ability to function well, and I’m hoping to learn some techniques that will help. Passivity is not an option, and there are so many people for whom I’m losing all respect. And yes, I am fully within my rights to judge those who allow genocide through inaction, or because the images make them uncomfortable. They are a threat to ALL our safety.

Had nightmares again last night, but I am privileged to only have them as nightmares, and not have to live them. Yet. If the GOP regains control, it’s game over for anyone with a brain and a heart.

I have to go and pick up one of my mother’s prescriptions today. It would have been nice if I’d known about it yesterday, when I was at the grocery store right next to the pharmacy, but that’s the way it goes.

More work on the radio plays, work on The Big Project, hopefully, more editing on CAST IRON MURDER, script coverage and contest entries are all on the agenda for today. Along with some admin. I need to clean out the Inbox.

Have fun, people!

Tues. April 5, 2022: Curl Up & Catch Up

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cloudy, and chilly

I hope you all had a good few days. Grab a favorite beverage and curl up for the catch-up.

Thursday wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I got the most important things done. I got a wonderful email from a producer to whom I’d submitted some radio plays. I wasn’t sure if what I submitted was dark enough for what he was looking for, but he said he loved the pieces, and wanted to read the comic noir mystery plays, too. In other words, he’s willing to expand his original guidelines because he enjoys the writing. Which thrills me. He sent me the link to the first broadcast. I have it on today’s agenda to listen to, because that gives me more of an idea of material to pitch to him, too. Yes, he pays. And he said he’s planning to make me an offer.

It also made me wonder if maybe I should try to write a comic horror play as my Dramatists Guild project this month. Then, of course, some characters started wandering into my brain. . .

While that all started percolating, I went to the online meditation group I attend on Thursday mornings. The regular leader wasn’t there; the sub kept using computer lingo, like “downloading inspiration” which really annoyed me. I am not a computer. I am a human being. One of the reasons I attend meditation is for a break from technology. I believe tech-speak in the space is destructive, not “relatable.”

By the time breakfast was over and I’d gotten some admin done, it was time to take my mom for her 4th vaccination. We left early enough so I could dop off and pick up books at the library. We were early to the pharmacy, and I felt bad, because CVS corporate cut staff there, and they were run off their feet. They are the best CVS staff we’ve ever known, and it’s so unfair to them (so yes, I will complain to corporate that an excellent staff is being punished for their skills). The pharmacist who gave her the shot was lovely.

While my mom was under her 15 minutes of observation, I dashed next door to Big Y to pick up a few groceries, including a Boston cream pie that I couldn’t resist.

Took my mom home. She barely had any side effects. Her arm was a little achy, starting about 7 hours after the shot. If anything, it was more like I had the side effects, while she had the shot. I felt like absolute crap all day.

However, I pulled myself together and did a script coverage. I have a nice long list of scripts in my queue, so after a couple of months of worrying and not making my projected income from this client, I think the first pay period in April will be close. March’s second pay period is lower than I’d hoped, but still a decent number. And it means my quarterly taxes won’t be so high.

Participated in Freelance Chat, which was fun.

I polished the materials for the first round of the major grant proposal. I was actually pretty happy with the quality of the materials. I also added the three missing productions to my theatre resume (will have to add them to my writing resume soon).

Of course, the actual application asked for additional materials that weren’t in the informational handout, so I had to take time to create and polish those, which meant the application timed out and I had to start all over again, even though I’d saved it as I went. Which was frustrating.

But I finally got it all entered, and submitted it. I got the confirmation.

By then, I was completely wiped out. I have to remember how much writing a good grant application takes out of me. As in a good piece of writing or performance, I leave it all out there and am spent. If I leave out the passion and commitment behind, under, and around the words, then the energy of the piece is lost, and there’s no way it can get funded. The language is clean and professional, but the subtext has to have energy.

Ordered pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I’d also expected my mom wouldn’t feel like eating, as neither of us have the day of the shot, but she was in good appetite, and I hadn’t planned anything except maybe scrambled eggs. So I ordered pizza. We’re lucky in that we have three excellent pizza parlors within 5 blocks. We ordered what I call the “comfort pizza” from the place about 3 blocks away.

Read a little in the evening, but was wiped out. Knowledge Unicorns was fine; even though it takes plenty of energy, so much energy is created and exchanged, that it’s worth it.

Was awakened about an hour after I went to bed by an enormous crash. At first, I thought it was thunder, since there was an intense rainstorm happening. But there was only one clap and no lightening. Then, I was worried part of the building had collapsed (not that there’s any reason for it). But everything seemed fine. No idea what that was all about.

Tessa got me up early on Friday. I stayed off social media most of the day, because I hate the way cruelty is dressed up to look like humor on April Fool’s Day.

What I did instead was build the Pages on Stages website, for the scripts I write. It took all day, with only one 20-minute break for lunch. It took 9 templates until I found one that I could make do what I wanted and needed. I hunted down as much information on the older productions as I could. A lot of it is in storage, not digitized, and I don’t have access to it right now. But there’s enough on the sites to point grant makers and producers toward it. It’s not a site I plan to heavily promote, the way I do the fiction sites. It serves a specific purpose for the scriptwriting.

I still have to add bio information on the “About” page and add contact information, but I will do that next week.

I managed to start the comic horror radio play for the Dramatists Guild End of Play event, and wrote about a page and a half. It’s out there, even more me. But the beats are building and the jokes are landing the way I want them to, so we’ll see how it goes.

The only side effect my mom had from her second booster was some fatigue toward the end of the day. She’s never had particularly strong reactions to the shots, but this was the lightest yet.

I missed going to the art opening Friday night. By the time it started, I’d just finished the day’s work on the website and hadn’t even showered yet, much less put myself together mentally or physically. The exhibit runs for about a month, so I’ll stop by later in April. I hadn’t promised anyone to attend, so at least I didn’t let anyone down.

Tessa woke me up before 5 this morning out of dreams about Greek myths and peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving with one of my cousins. The brain is a weird instrument.

Caught up on some of the 500+ emails which had come in on Friday.

I walked down to the Farmers’ Market in the morning. It’s still on winter hours, which means that it’s only the first Saturday of the month still for April and May, and it’s indoors, with a limited number of vendors. But such wonderful vendors! I wish I could have bought from everyone.

I bought from three of them, had conversations with several, and next time I go, I have to carry business cards, because they were interested in my books (which came up in conversation when I signed up for the various mailing lists).

I was thrilled with the bounty from the market. We immediately ate the espresso coffee cake muffins from Bohemian Nouveau Bakery, which were outstanding. For lunch, we had slices of baguette with butter, fresh spinach, and sliced radishes (with just a hint of salt and pepper). I don’t know the name of the artisan who baked the baguette, but it was the best I’ve ever had – perfect crumb, lovely crust, and there was a little bit of salt in the crust that was exquisite. The spinach and radishes came from Red Shirt Farm.

For dinner, I added some spinach to the sausage pasta I made, and we finished the rest of the baguette. Because baguettes only last a day.

I took it easy on Saturday. I needed to rest. I did a little bit of noodling on the comic horror radio play, mostly planning rather than writing. I read books I wanted to read, and didn’t worry about any sort of work for anyone else.

There’s so much atrocity happening in Ukraine. The Russians are behaving just as badly as they did in WWII to the citizens. The world stands by and allows the slaughter. And these spoiled brats on social media, who’ve never experienced anything worse than a hangnail, are whining about being “triggered.” They have the privilege to look away, and they are part of the reason this is happening. We need to be riding our elected officials every day about doing more to stop the atrocities AND remove all the Russian assets in Congress. World War III started when The Narcissistic Sociopath was installed as the GOP nominee. The war has a different trajectory than previous wars, but we are deeply, deeply in it. What is happening to citizens in Ukraine WILL happen here if the GOP is allowed to continue. Remember people in cages? Migrants chased on horseback and whipped? Rapists given control of their victims’ bodies? All of that is part of the same playbook.  ANYONE who has the privilege to look away contributes to the problem. We have to look. We have to feel the horror. And then we have to do something about it.

Tessa woke me around 5 AM on Sunday. I got my act together and was out to run errands early, including getting more potting soil and pots. And the tomato cages.

We repotted the peace lily. My friend and I bought the peace lily at Stop & Shop on the Cape in a 4” pot for the very first party in the Cape House, way back in 2011. I just repotted it into a 14” pot. Let’s hope it can thrive in this pot for the next few years!

In the afternoon, I read for pleasure, and did a little bit of research for a couple of different projects. I took a break from the comic horror play, and the other writing. I read THE VANISHING MUSEUM ON THE RUE MISTRAL by M.L. Longworth, set in Provence, which I really enjoyed.

Tessa was such a drama queen on Monday. I didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. My mom finally got up to feed all of the feline monsters. Tessa wrestled the bowl away from her in the pantry and insisted on eating right there (instead of on her little Sherlock Holmes pub towel in her room). She was So Hungry she could not wait one more second. It was hilarious. Like they’re not fed regularly twice a day.

Did some admin work and paid some bills. Headed to the bank (never fun) to make a deposit. Let’s see how long they keep this one. On to the post office to mail the bills and a birthday card for a friend. On the way back, stopped at the liquor store. Dropped everything off, picked up the two bags of books that had to go back to the library, and drove there. Dropped off/picked up books. Home. Moved the seedlings out to the porch. It was sunny/cloudy every few minutes, but at least they’d get more light out there.

Elon Musk bought a stake in Twitter, so my time there is probably drawing to a close. Which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. But it’s already gone vastly downhill in the last few weeks, pushing right-wing crazy posts from people I don’t follow into my timeline (which I immediately block). And I’m finding way too much emotional labor on there, thanks to a lot of the privileged spoiled brats. Cutting back my time there is necessary anyway. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out and what changes happen. I highly doubt they will be positive. I’ve cut back my FB time; I’m only still on it because of a few people with whom that’s the main way we stay in touch. Instagram is my playground, but there are so many creeps on there lately that I’ve considered changing how I use it, or leaving entirely.

We’ll see what happens. If it becomes only a work-related set of interactions, then so be it.

As corporate greed destroys what is good about social media platforms, new ones will spring up.

Covered two scripts in the afternoon. Read for pleasure. Wrote a few pages on the comic horror play and tossed them, because they don’t work. No, it’s not a case of temporary insecurity. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something like that doesn’t work. It took a turn that’s not appropriate for the genre or the other parameters needed in the script to fit the target market. Therefore, it has to go.

Got another idea for another radio script, more psychological ghost story. I might alternate between the two pieces and see which one flies.

We’re still eating the fresh spinach from the market, because it was a lot of damn spinach. But it’s good.

Charlotte woke me out of nightmares around 1:30. Around 3, as I was finally getting back to sleep, Tessa started in. I moved to the bed in the sewing room so that she would quiet down, and then had a series of dreams set backstage, in a hair salon, and in a pet salon. Go figure. But at least they were positive.

Hitting the page first thing, then a big grocery run, then back to the page, and more script coverage and contest entries in the afternoon. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun is peeking out, so maybe I’ll put the plants out on the porch. I need to oil the teak furniture soon, and keep going with the spring cleaning, which moves forward erratically. I have to spend some quality time with the inbox, too. It’s well over 600 emails again that didn’t have to be answered quickly, and I have to get it down.

My experience moving the newsletter to MailerLite has been positive so far. They sent me a report on the mailing – good open rate, good click rate, and they’re not micromanaging contacts. So that’s all good. I’ve started the document for June, so I can add information as it comes up, and then rewrite it so it’s pretty when it’s time to send it out.

That’s what’s going on in this neck of the woods. We’re in that between-times of seasonal change, where it’s too warm for the heat to kick on regularly, but too chilly to be really comfortable without layers. I’m excited for my first Berkshires spring.

I hope there are lilacs.

Thurs. March 31, 2022: For Love of Radio

image courtesy of Lubos Houska via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Dark Moon

Rainy and mild

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty productive day, because I sat down and damn well did the work, without letting myself wander too much. It never feels like I’m doing enough, but that emotional reality is far apart from the actual reality.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about all the seedlings and my experience with my new Rose of Jericho plant. I even have real photos, not stock photos! Hop on over.

There’s also a new post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about a spring refresh on one’s websites/social media/clips/etc.

Anyway, yesterday morning, Charlotte woke me around 3:30, wanting attention, and Tessa stomped in like, well, if she is getting attention, then I want some! So I moved to the bed in the sewing room and dozed off again until about 5:30.

Got some article work done. Wrote the next section of The Big Project. Revised three more chapters on CAST IRON MURDER. I have to update my tracking sheets for both of those, but I have a feeling that won’t happen until tomorrow or Saturday. Did some more research for the retro mystery, but didn’t go down the rabbit hole. The bank I contacted told me that banking was “uniform” at the time, but they “couldn’t” tell me what the laws were. Why not? That bank was around at the time. What were their policies? Useless. Let’s hope the Banking Association is willing to actually give me information.

Managed to book my mom’s 4th Covid shot for today, thanks to Ellen Byron mentioning she just got hers. I can’t get mine yet; I have to wait about another month, because I got mine after Thanksgiving, and it’s too soon. But my mom goes in this morning, and then I will take care of her for the rest of the day, in and around the work that needs to get done. it will be a relief for me to have her protected.

The newsletter went out. I have to check the MailerLite dashboard and do admin on it; remove bounced addresses, check open rates, etc. I’ve already started the document for the June newsletter and will just add information, and then all I have to do in June is edit it down and shape it.

I worked on the grant proposal. I’d hoped to get it out yesterday. In fact, I’m pretty pleased with the answers to their questions, and just need to massage the opening and the final paragraph.

I realized that I need my stage plays and the radio plays up on a website. It’s not appropriate to put them on the business site (except for mission-specific entertainment pieces). I started to put them up on a new page on the Devon Ellington Work site. I copied information that’s on my resumes, and then realized I have to add to it on the site – loglines, how many actors, length, etc., which takes time. I realized even further that it doesn’t make sense to put it on the Devon Ellington website at all. So I started a subdomain under Fearless Ink called Pages on Stages. That’s the link I will put into the grant proposal, and then I’ll build the website this weekend. I uploaded WordPress to the new site, so it’s more about choosing a template and building. Which takes me for-damn-ever because I’m slow. But I can do it.

I just have to sit DOWN and DO it.

The focus today, for all that, though, is to polish the grant proposal and get it out the door. That means walking the talk of the Ink-Dipped Advice post and freshening up my resume. I realized that it’s missing THREE of my produced productions, and I am angry with myself. How did they just fall off my resumes? The audience was full, the response was positive.

The programs, reviews, and other materials are in storage, so I will have to do the best I can from memory and from what I have on the flash drives to put it in the resume and build the websites.

I’m so frustrated with myself.

I turned around two script coverages. I need to do three today, but the grant proposal is the priority. Between the grant proposal and my mother’s booster, I have a feeling neither The Big Project nor the CAST IRON MURDER revisions will get much attention today.

I heard back from Cape Cod Writers’ Center. I am only teaching one class (virtually) for this conference, Developing the Series. It will happen on Sat. Aug. 6, from 2:45-4:45 PM. Of course, I got the information AFTER the newsletter went out, but it will go in the next one, along with the link for registration. I’ve taught this course before, although not at CCWC, so I will look over my notes and prepare a fresh slide presentation for this version. And I’ll have a new Topic Workbook out on the subject by autumn, then.

That’s another thing on the list – get the Topic Workbooks revised and reprinted. Possibly doing a portion of them in print, as well as virtual, and filling orders, if I can figure out how to store them properly in my office. Which would mean building a storefront, which might not be worth it. But at least I can get the digital versions in new editions and out again. Those are steady sellers.

More good news this morning: the producer to whom I submitted the radio plays in early February got back to me and LOVES them. He wants to read all the comic noir pieces, too, so I will get those out to him today. The pay is decent, so if any of them go to contract and get produced, I will be a happy camper. Besides, radio is my favorite format.

It also makes me consider writing a comic horror radio play for my Dramatists Guild project in April. Since, you know, pens up happens tomorrow, and I still have no idea what to write about.

So that gives me a cheerful start to the day, in spite of all the awful things going on in the world, and all the cowards who refuse to do anything about it.

I’m off to meditation, and then it’s back to the page until I take my mom for her shot. Then, it’s back to the page until I get all my work done!

Have a good one!