Tues. Feb. 9, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 265/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 13 — Ice Boulders

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Busy few days.

Friday morning, got some writing done on GAMBIT COLONY. Then did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s and a curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated.

Sent off my review and invoice. Got paid. Got out a few LOIs. Got out a couple of pitches to an editor.

Caught up on box purging, so I was where I hoped to be by the end of the day.

Spent way too many hours trying to get my mom a vaccine appointment. Every other area of the state has appointments to spare. Here, we have nothing. On top of that, there was a secret “pop-up” clinic here on cape, but you had to know someone to get an appointment. How is that equitable? It’s not.

 I’m tired of Baker smirking and lying. He says Walgreens is giving vaccines. Multiple Walgreens locations are up on the state and county websites as vaccine locations. Only “no appointment available.” You know way? Walgreens ISN’T GIVING VACCINES IN THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS. So why are they on the state and county website?

Baker says CVS is giving out vaccines. Multiple CVS locations are on the state and county websites. Only “no appointment available.” You know why? There are only THREE CVS locations giving vaccines in the entire state and NONE of them are on Cape Cod. So why are Cape Cod locations on the state and county website?

On the location list is the Hyannis Stop & Shop. Not only has the website been down for nearly two weeks, now that it’s sort of up, it states that no vaccines are being given at that location. So why is it listed as a location on state and county websites?

The delays are not the issue. The lying and misinformation are.

And if there are so many open appointments in other locations in the state, why aren’t those doses being sent here instead, where there are NO appointments, and a huge population of seniors?

FFS, I could do better using Google Docs to set this up than the state has.

Saturday, up early and did a dump run. Still couldn’t fit all the recycling into the car, but I crammed in as much as I could. Swung by the other grocery store to get a few things before the incoming storm.

Got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did my quota of box purging.

Found some old love letters. Re-reading them, wow, I’m glad I’m not with any of those guys. One, who I though was so wonderful at the time – reading the letters back, he was extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive. He died a couple of years ago, and I was sad at the loss and remembered the good times. These letters give me a more complete picture of reality. Another, wrote beautiful letters. I’d always thought of him as “the one that got away.” But when I reconnected with him a few years ago, he’s gone all evangelical religious, and we have nothing in common anymore.

I made the right decisions not to be with them. Which is good to know.

Found some more really cool stuff. Threw out a ton of stuff. I’ll be doing another dump run next week.

Read AUNTY LEE’S DELIGHTS, by an author from Singapore named Ovidia Yu. I loved it, and ordered more of her books. She’s also a playwright, and has also been to Edinburgh with her plays, so I’m even more eager to read her work.

Found a bunch of my old articles that aren’t digitized. I will scan them and put them into my clip files and portfolios.

The Goddess Provisions box finally arrived, after sitting in the postal facility in Arizona for over a week. It was worth the wait.

The coffee shipment, that was supposed to be here on Wednesday, made it as far as Westboro, and then went back to CT for some reason. By the time it arrives, it will be stale.

The Wolferman’s order arrived. I had a problem when I ordered it with the promo code. The customer service rep promised to put it through and adjust it. Instead, they CHANGED THE ORDER to something cheaper and sent me what I didn’t order. Not only that, it’s something I WOULDN’T’ have ordered, because it wasn’t what I wanted. I have to find my original paperwork and squawk. It also makes me less likely to order from them in the future, because who the hell knows what will show up?

In other words, Mercury is very retrograde.

Heard back from 365 Women – I’m going to write a Kate Warne play for them this year, AND they’ve accepted the proposal for DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE (I wasn’t sure it would be their thing) AND a play on Marie Collier. So I’ll be busy.

The head of the group just got my email about a quote for the articles – that were published over the past two weeks. She told me I should contact her via Facebook Messenger. I don’t use FB Messenger because of the hacking issues, so. . .it’s an issue. Besides, the articles are up. I’ll be sending her PDFS of the clips – at the email address I have.

The incoming storm on Sunday gave me a huge headache.

But I did write the opening of DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE. It’s kind of weird, but I like it.

Also worked on a grant proposal that has to go out in two weeks. Hate everything I wrote for it. I have to create three 250-word pitches within the proposal. I think I need to write my kind of treatment or Writer’s Rough for each project, and then distill it down. Starting at the blurb doesn’t work. It’s reading flat. So that’s on the agenda for this week: Three treatments.

Got in my quota of boxes on Sunday, too.

The snow started around noon and was so pretty! Lovely, big flakes. We had a fire in the fireplace. The power flickered, and went off once for a couple of minutes, but held pretty well otherwise.

Sunday night into Monday was rough. I woke up every hour or so with intense pain in my knees. I know I’ve been working them hard, carrying boxes up and down from the basement, but this was intense.

Then, I find out, overnight Sunday, the plow guy packed ice boulders into the bottom of my driveway and they froze there. It took me FIVE HOURS to shovel the driveway, get the ice boulders cut down, and the front walk. There was an ice crust, so I had to take the hoe and crack a section, shovel, crack a section, shovel. After twenty or thirty minutes, I had to stop and rest. I’m not twenty anymore, and I spent the past year sick. I can’t, physically, do this anymore.

For the ice boulders, I had to take the hoe and hack at them until I broke them into pieces I could lift and toss.

It was not fun.

My neighbor across the street watched me struggle for five hours (he’s about thirty years younger than I am). As soon as I went inside, he got a bulldozer out of his garage and cleared his own driveway in about five minutes. Really? He could have said, “I see you’re having a hard time; I have heavy equipment and can clear it out for you for fifty bucks.”

It’s not a surprise, though. This is a guy that hasn’t worn a mask once during the entire pandemic.

It’s a far cry from when we first moved here, and all dug each other out. Or the year where we had a series of snowstorms and the town couldn’t be bothered to plow us out, so after nearly a week, we all got our shovels and dug out the street ourselves.

Anyway, after five hours of this, I was wiped out. Funnily enough, my knees were fine, but the left leg and hip that’s been bothering me for the last few weeks were in bad shape, along with my arms.

I spent the afternoon reading contest entries instead of purging the basement.

I managed to get some client work out in between shoveling sessions, so at least it wasn’t a total loss.

Still no vaccine appointments on Cape Cod. Other areas have open appointments and are worried about expiring doses. Why aren’t they being re-routed to the Cape? I’m on EVERY list to learn about when appointments open, and. . .total silence from all of them. Why is the county listing sites as locations that don’t have appointments or doses? The only sites that should be listed are those actually offering appointments. New ones should be added as they go live. That’s basic organization.

But the state and county information remain incorrect. Nobody is fixing anything, or getting anything better organized. Governor Baker is pulled a Jared Kushner on us, and just continues to let us die. He doesn’t give a damn – he hasn’t, or he wouldn’t have reopened back in May, and kept us open when our daily virus numbers were double and triple what they were when we were shut down last spring. I’m sick of it, and I’m at the end of my rope.

My editor at SCRIPTMAG assigned me two more articles. So I’ll get the interview requests out today and get going on research.

I’ll send off my “personal update” for the class reunion later, do some client work, get out some LOIs. Work on the first treatment. I already got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY this morning, to settle me.

I might sneak in another curbside library pickup this morning, fi the next storm hasn’t started by the time the library opens. Because yes, we’re getting another storm today.

More shoveling.

And, this afternoon, I have to scrub a section of the basement floor, let it dry, and then place some boards down so I can restack the newly packed boxes. That way, once we know where we’re moving, it’s just a case of loading boxes.

It feels good to let go of a lot of this stuff, and the stuff that’s kept is being integrated into the household, even though it will have to be packed again soon.

I’m just so, so tired on so many levels. I’m burned out to a frightening extent. I know there won’t be any rest for me until after the move, but once we’ve moved, I HAVE to take some time off. I just hope I can keep going until then.

Mon. April 3, 2017: Difference Between Review and Evaluation

Monday, April 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

This will probably be the only sunny morning we have all week. So much for getting any yard work done!

I can’t believe another weekend flew past. I did some work on POWER OF WORDS. I did research for NOT BY THE BOOK on corporate espionage. The research was very depressing, especially in light of everything going on in the world today. It makes me glad I turned my back on corporate work (except for the temp jobs until I earned my way into full-time theatre work) as early as I did.

I did a lot of work on contest entries. I finished the preliminary read of the print books in one of the categories I’m judging, and moved on to the next one. Once I’m done with all the print entries, I do the digital entries; then I go back and take another look at both the “yes” and the “maybe” piles in each category. I re-read, if necessary. It’s usually just a case of a point or two difference in the top contenders, and I want to make sure I weigh everything fairly. It’s a lot of work. I put in A LOT of time. Which is why I only take paid gigs of this kind at this point.

Although I turned down a paid judging gig a few weeks ago; I’d done it last year, and not been happy with it. The pay was low, and they dragged their feet paying (it was per entry). The entries were the weakest I’ve ever read in ANY contest. Most of them were first-draft quality, and shouldn’t have been entered ANYWHERE, much less called themselves published books. But to me, the unethical part of it was this: The entrants were told, when they paid the entrance fee, that they would get reviews they could post as part of the contest. BUT THE ORGANIZERS DIDN’T TELL THE JUDGES. Instead, we were given a 92-word limit to evaluate the manuscript. First of all, a thorough manuscript evaluation often runs for pages (when you do it correctly). Second, there’s a difference in the way one critiques if it’s for publication, or if it’s a private edit/evaluation letter to a writer. Third, if I’d been told that the entrants expected to have a usable review (often for material that needed far more work), I wouldn’t have agreed in the first place, because that’s just WRONG, in my opinion. Reviews and evaluations are two entirely different animals. They come at different parts of the process.

To me, one of the most important aspects is that: AUTHORS DO NOT PAY FOR LEGITIMATE REVIEWS. That includes not paying the publication for the review (several publications have lost their status, in the eyes of the industry and of librarians, because they now charge for reviews, which makes them suspect). The publication pays the reviewer. The reviewer’s ONLY obligation is to do as fair and thorough a review based on the quality of the work.

In addition to the dozens of requests I get daily to review books by individual authors for free (there are plenty of authors whose work I’ll read and host on BIBLIO PARADISE, and I’m not paid for that, but I usually have some sort of relationship with them first, even if I’m hosting fellow authors from the same publishing house, or authors I’ve met in my travels), I get frequent requests from authors who want to pay me for a review. And I say no.

While the bulk of the reviews I do are paid, I am paid BY THE PUBLICATION. The author (or the publisher) sends a request w/media kit to the publication. The review editor decides if it’s suitable for review by the publication. If yes, the book goes in to the publication and is then assigned to the reviewer. The reviewer reads the book (I usually read it at least twice, sometimes three times) within the two week period of assignment, and writes a review. It goes back to the publication. It is fact-checked (all references have to have attribution), and edited. Then it goes into the publication queue. I usually invoice the publisher for every three or four books reviewed, and I’m paid within two to three weeks of invoice, depending on where I fall in their accounting cycle.

Being paid by the author throws it out of balance. The author needs a good review to post. By paying a reviewer directly, it takes away the objectivity — the author is paying for a service. Let’s face it, no matter how much they claim to want “an honest review”, they want a GOOD review.

And, as I said, a REVIEW is different than an EVALUATION. An evaluation (for which I DO accept money from an individual author) is done prior to a book’s publication, often prior to its acceptance. It’s about story, structure, and all the things that need to be fixed BEFORE publication, and, most importantly, BEFORE it goes out for review.

An EVALUATION helps make the book better (one hopes) BEFORE it is sent out in the world to rise or fall on its merits. A REVIEW is the judgment of whether it meets the standards set for engaging, strong, POLISHED work.

Evaluations are critiques; reviews are the criticism of the finished work. Each type of read/comment comes at a different stage in the process. Both are valuable, but for different reasons.

Reviewing is a specific skill, whether it’s literary, art, music, theatre, etc. A reviewer MUST know the protocols of the medium in which he/she is reviewing. It’s not just about “liking” or “not liking” something, although that is one of the many factors. It is an understanding of genre, craft, and the finished piece.

Genuine reviewers/critics, who knew what they were doing (even if the result wasn’t always what people hoped for) are: Kenneth Tynan, Frank Rich (believe me, I have many a bone to pick with him), John Simon (likewise), Pauline Kael, Virginia Woolf (read her COMMON READERS — they’re a revelation), David Denby, Edmund Wilson, George Jean Nathan, Mel Gussow, Walter Kerr, Brooks Atkinson. If you want to learn about the genuine art of this skill, read their work.

What some random reader posts on Amazon or Goodreads, complete with spelling errors, may help, as part of sheer bulk, get you higher in their matrix, but it’s not actually useful to your craft. Of course the opinions of individual readers matter. However, reviews are different than opinions (although they include opinions) and are an art form unto themselves.

I do very little reviewing anymore. Part of it is that, far too often, the word count is so small (often less than 300 words), it’s difficult to do the book justice. Part of it is that most publication don’t pay a whole lot, and, in order to genuinely write a well-crafted piece, I need to read the book being reviewed several times, I need to read the writer’s other work (unless it’s a debut novel), I need to be able to pull other references within the genre. That takes time. What most publications pay covers about 15 minutes, when it’s more likely to take the equivalent of 25-30 hours or more to do it truly well. Often more. When you read Virginia Woolf’s diary, and you see how long she took to do a review, and how much work, time, and thought she put into it, it suddenly makes sense, and you see how this modern model causes more harm than help to authors.

I judge fewer contests, too. I also, now, have learned to ask more questions about the expectations, before I say yes. It’s not that I think I’m so brilliant, or know so much more than everyone else or that my own work is perfect; it’s that I want to make sure the organizers are dealing with both the judges and the entrants with integrity.

Hop on over to the GDR site. I have a very simple list for April. There are things that need to be dealt with that prevent me from loading the list as much as I’d like.

Tomorrow, I’ll have an essay up on BIBLIO PARADISE about my first re-read for National Poetry Month, Susan G. Wooldridge’s POEMCRAZY.

Have a great week!

Published in: on April 3, 2017 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 3, 2017: Difference Between Review and Evaluation  
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Wed. Nov. 13, 2013: Submission Catch-Up

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

It snowed most of the day yesterday, so I stayed home and worked. Glad I got so much yard work done the previous day!

Didn’t get enough of my own work done, although I did some work in the development notebook, got out a few submissions, and found a few interesting submission calls. I’ve been focused so much on other people’s work that I feel drained when it comes to my own, and that has to change. My own work must always come first.

Got paid for a piece by someone I’d written off; always a good thing. Still waiting for a project that was promised nearly a month ago — no communication, no project. This is why I’ve started to ask for a non-refundable booking deposit.

Errands to run today, and tomorrow I’m out the door very early for an NMLC Board meeting.

I need a vacation, but there’s no chance of one anytime soon.

Devon

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 8:26 am  Comments (1)  
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