Wed. May 31, 2023: A Solid Writing Day

image courtesy of  Clker-Free-Vector-Images via

Wednesday, May 31, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I’m kind of enjoying these pretty days.

Today’s serial episode is Angel Hunt.

Episode 37: Hunting Your Own

Lianna discovers the position Lucius DeWitt’s put her in, and she is not amused.

Angel Hunt Serial Link.

I got today’s Process Muse post, on Interruptions, ready to go, and wrote next week’s post. That’s up, polished, and ready to go.

I adapted two chapters of Angel Hunt into 8 serial episodes. I read through the rest of the material, figured out where to insert the sequence to fix the unresolved arc, went over and smoothed out the notes for the climactic sequence and the resolution. I need to get ahead a bit on Legerdemain, but maybe later in the week, I can put in some concentrated time on ANGEL HUNT, get the rest of the episodes sorted out, and then, next week, upload and schedule all the rest for this serial.

Did the rounds to promote Legerdemain. Did the three client projects. My friend wanted to know if I could get her the blurb for the book by Friday (my original deadline was July 15). Good thing I’ve been reading the book!

I found out I was not offered the residency in Buffalo this summer. I’d sort of figured that out (the residency dates began June 1). The letter was perfectly polite and proper, but there was a hint of disdain under it, that they were funding “serious” projects and not “entertainment.” Which isn’t what the guidelines stipulated. But then, this is their first year offering such a program; maybe they’ve learned what it is they really want, and will adjust their guidelines for next year. A month ago, it would have devastated me; now, I’m disappointed, but I’m curious as to what’s in store for me instead.  And I wouldn’t have had any chance if I hadn’t tried. However, that project is on indefinite hold, since I have to do onsite research in Buffalo, and I won’t do it without proper funding.

Hey, it’s not like there aren’t other projects to keep me busy.

I did three short client projects in the afternoon, and then finished reading my friend’s book, so I can write the blurb today, polish it, and send it off by the end of the week. I noodled with some ideas for the Llewellyn project.

The idea for the short play that’s due July 1 dropped into my head, almost complete. I checked the guidelines to make sure they could accommodate 6 characters, and they can. It’s silly, goofy, and slightly bonkers, definitely a farce that needs actors who can handle quick lines, but I’m having a blast writing it. I hope to finish the first draft over the weekend, let it sit for a few days, give it a few more passes, and then send it to a friend for her opinion before I do another draft and get it out the door.

The ideas are starting to form for the memorial scene in FALL FOREVER. I hope, in the next few days, they are solid enough to put on the page.

I did not send any follow-up emails from the Playland Painters project. I sent them out close to Memorial Day, and the poor recipients deserve at least a few days to recover.

The National Archives sent me information to be a “volunteer transcriber” for some of their materials, which sounds really, really interesting, but I’m not sure I can take on “volunteer” anything right now. Depending upon which materials are available (say, maybe the journals and letters of interesting women?), it could be a great deal of fun. But again, time. Money (or lack thereof). I have to think about it. It would be an awfully cool credit to have on the resume and the website. And, as I said, the work itself would be fascinating.

Well, it’s not like they’ll have run out of material if I take a few days to mull it over.

As I predicted, the Republicans are stalling and doing whatever they can to make sure the debt ceiling doesn’t get raised on time and the economy crashes. That way, they get everything they want and more, and still destroy people’s lives.

Well, Friday is going to arrive, one way or another, and depending on what shows up in the bank account, I’ll know how I have to restructure the month.

This morning, I was at the laundromat when it opened. I revised the next batch of Legerdemain episodes. I also reconfigured the first five episodes of REP. I really need to end the third episode (the last free episode) with the news that this Rep company will be in space, which is part of the hook and the premise. The early episodes have a real 30’s-40’s touring vibe to them, and then I want to contrast it with the high tech but vintage look on the station itself. But the information that the company will be on a space station needs to happen at the end of the 3rd episode, in the chunk of episodes that are free. It was currently in the fourth. So I reconfigured the first three episodes to be the first two episodes, and the fourth episode is now the third, and the fifth episode is now the 4th. The first three episodes, the free ones, can be a little longer than the typical episode, which I want to keep between 900-1200 words.

So basically, by the time I got home a little after 7 AM, I felt like I’d put in a full day!

On today’s agenda: drafting an episode of Legerdemain, working on the new play, writing the blurb for my friend’s book, library run, noodle on the Llewellyn pieces, read the next book for review. I’d like to do some more work on ANGEL HUNT, if I can. I want to stay in its flow. I have to do the social media rounds for ANGEL HUNT and for The Process Muse. And I have two small client projects to turn around.

Anyway, it’s a very pretty day, and I intend to enjoy it, even if it’s just looking out the window while I’m working! We’re lucky to have such lovely tall windows, and so much natural light.

Have a good one.

Thurs. May 25, 2023: Using the Census for Research

image courtesy of  Clker-Free-Vector-Images via

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Partly Sunny and cold

The latest on the garden is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Today’s serial episode is Legerdemain:

Episode 88:  Jed Smythe’s Apartment

Who’s so tidy? The victim or his kidnapper?

Legerdemain Serial Link

Legerdemain Website

Yesterday felt like a somewhat fractured day. I did more research on the Playland Painters. I think I’ve located the boxes of information I need in the Archives; now, I have to plan a trip down there. I polished, uploaded, and scheduled next week’s episodes of Legerdemain. I submitted comments about the hazards of the machine gun range the military wants to build on Cape Cod – destroying 170 acres of forest, along with creating hazards in the aquifer. I may not live there anymore, but I don’t want to see it destroyed. Enough is being destroyed to appease tourists.

I did a library run. More books than I expected showed up. I’m looking forward to getting some pleasure reading in this coming weekend.

Did the social media rounds for Angel Hunt and for Process Muse.

Wrote the episode log lines for Legerdemain, did the episode graphics, converted to Insta format, and also did the TikTok videos. Might as well do all of that at once. Today, I will upload/schedule what I can for the promos.

Did only one client project, and another came in, so I have two for this afternoon. I’m fine, deadline-wise. I hope something comes in for tomorrow, and then I can take Monday off without fretting.

I meant to look at the 1930 census for “just a minute”. Three hours later, I’d gone through the 1930 census for my hometown, page by page. I have a lead or two that might be a couple of my Playland Painters. There’s also no reason to think they all lived in Rye, but I figured I’d start there, and work my way out. There’s no way to search by term within the census (at least not in the version I could get into without paying for), so I went through it, page by page, focusing on the “occupation” line, and working from there. I took a lot of notes, including notes about anyone who worked at the park, because maybe I can trace back from that.

I also took notes on interesting people and patterns, such as the theatrical manager and his theatrical secretary wife who lived in the building where I grew up! There was also St. Benedict’s Home for Colored Children – how did I grow up in the town and not know this? There were a lot of butlers, cooks, maids, gardeners, and servants listed, as working for “private family” without naming the family. I noticed that the butlers were usually English, German, Southern (Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri) or Japanese, while laborers and other servants were usually Italian, Irish, Nova Scotian, and there was a group from Iceland.

Moving on to the 1940 census, there were more listings for “artist”, both men and women. There was also an uptick in men listing their profession as “copywriter for advertising.” There were also women listing their profession as “novelist” or “fiction writer” or “writer” and I even recognized some of the names. That shouldn’t be surprising; my family moved there in 1966, which wasn’t that far removed from the 1940 census. And more people by then were involved in professional radio.

I found more amusement park workers, although not necessarily painters. There was also the dress model listed as a “lodger” with the “head of household” a woman with her own dressmaking business, and the other lodger a nurse. There’s a story there. There was also the Irish chef and the Polish gardener who listed their place of employment as “insane asylum.”

So many stories.

Some of this may add texture to whatever I write about the Playland Painters. Others may earn their owns stories.

I have more 1940 census sheets to go through today. Those sheets are not just from my hometown, but also surrounding towns. In the 1930 census, I have to go back and go through the other sheets for the other towns.

I also have to make sure that I don’t neglect other work because of this. But I’m tired and grumpy and discouraged, and the research makes me feel as though I’m DOING something.

My hometown library is encouraging me to come down and read what they have that isn’t available for lending, and also will help me coordinate with the historical society next door. They’ve even offered me a “study room.” So I might combine that with the trip to the Archives (which is in a different town).

Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about going back to visit, even with a purpose. I have a rather complicated relationship with my hometown. And yet, a lot of it is positive, so why not focus on those aspects? Most of what’s tied to negative memories no longer exists there.

I had a blasting headache by the time I was done. Read a little at night, caught up on the WGA strike. So, HBO merged with MAX to become HBO/MAX and now drops the HBO part, which is the recognizable part of the brand? And, on top of that, they stopped listing writers and directors in the credits, calling them “creators”? Then, they backpedaled, claiming it was a “technical glitch.”

Bullshit. It was a test balloon to see if they could get away with it, and then split hairs in the contract so they would have another excuse not to pay people hired as under the writer or director banner.

At least it lit a fire under the directors, and they are showing up on the picket line, even if DGA won’t let them carry DGA signs (which is bullshit, too, but probably part of their negotiation agreement).

Tina Turner died, which is sad. She was truly an extraordinary human being and talent.

The Florida Demon announced his candidacy for President – on Twitter – with technical difficulties. Serves him right. He’s a dangerous fascist, and must be stopped at all costs.

What’s on today’s agenda? Meditation. Drafting new episodes. Making the rounds to promote today’s episode of Legerdemain. Returning my residency contract for autumn. Two client projects. Hopefully, uploading/scheduling the next 8 episodes of Angel Hunt (which then means loglines and videos, but I’ll wait on the videos). Maybe finish painting the wind chimes, so they can go out, and we can set up the Enchanted Garden on the back balcony. It was in the 30’s overnight with frost warnings again, so we haven’t been able to do much.

Somewhere in there, I’m sure I’ll spend more time on the census.

Oh, yeah, and I’m out of frigging ink again!!!

Have a good one!

Wed. May 24, 2023: Research Into a Place From My Past

image courtesy of  Connor Johnson via

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Come visit the Process Muse, where I talk about Idea Cookies.

Today’s serial episode is Angel Hunt:

Episode 35: Who Is He?

Who is the entity who allowed Lianna entrance? What does he have to do with the hunt?

Angel Hunt Serial Link

Yesterday was just kind of an “I’m disappointed in myself” kind of day. My brain just checked out, early on. I got the blog up. I did some more research on the photographs of the Playland Painters. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to go down and research in the archives in person. I worked on next week’s Process Muse. I crunched numbers. If the grant money doesn’t show up and the debt defaults, we’ll get by, although June will be tight. If either the grant money or the debt ceiling limit is raised by June 1, I can move forward on everything. Even without the grant money in place, if the debt ceiling is lifted, I have enough to take care of everything that needs attention in June, and even a few things that want attention.

The back-and-forth on the Playland Painters was interesting. Playland park itself knows nothing. The new “management” company has no idea, nor do they know where any of the materials from the museum ended up. Typical. No sense of history or lineage.

The researchers at the Westchester Archives are intrigued. They asked for the jpgs, and I sent them over. I told them the search terms I’d used from their collection, which hadn’t yielded results. One had been 8 pages’ worth of thumbnails. The other is over 50 pages, and I’ve only made it through the first 10 (although, in both, I found some really interesting photos that will help with the project). I also found a book on the history of the park, which I will order sometime in June, depending on how all the money stuff shakes out over the next few weeks.

The Archives is only open to appointments one day per week, and then only 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the afternoon. The loose plan is, if/when I book an appointment, I’d drive down very early in the morning to be there when they open, research both sessions, and then either drive back partway and visit a friend, or stay in a motel overnight and drive home the next day. Doing the full drive is possible – especially since I’d be done late afternoon. But, energy-wise, I’m not sure I could do it, especially after researching all day. Play it by ear.

I took a brief look at the Rye Historical society site. It doesn’t look as though they allow researchers; they research “for a fee.” They have very little of their collection digitized thus far. They have some photos of Playland, but I don’t know what other types of records they have. I contacted the Westchester Children’s Museum, which took over the space where the little museum in which I found the photographs used to be.

I tried to look for census records, but the last NY state census was in 1925. Four years too early, and I need a name.  If I want to look in the federal census online, I need to have a name.

What I need are Playland’s employment records. The Westchester Archives might have them. I’m also wondering if maybe they were part of the WPA program? Although that didn’t start until 1935, and, according to the caption below the photo, these women worked there from 1929-1940 panting. They’re wearing smocks, and it’s hard to tell what they have under them, but it looks like, from the hem length, the shoes, and the hair styles, the photo was taken somewhere in the mid 1930’s.

I sent an email to the reference librarian at the library where I got my first library card, just in case. I keep hoping that someone I send the photo to will be related to one of the women in it!

Anyway, that was that rabbit hole yesterday (and early this morning). What else did I do yesterday? I didn’t draft an episode of Legerdemain, which puts me back. I uploaded the Legerdemain episode video on TikTok. I’m having a terrible time with the sound attribution. It keeps listing it as original sound by me. One can only change the attribution line ONCE – and when I change it, it doesn’t save what I entered. I did the social media rounds for Legerdemain. I worked on next week’s Process Muse post. I did two client projects, one fairly large, one short. I sent three plays out on submission.

I did not go to yoga, which I missed, but I wasn’t feeling up to it.

On a practical level, I patched the hole in the screen from the time Spiro Squirrel tried to get in. I got myself a roll of screen tape for this kind of patching.

I’m reading VIVIANA VALENTINE GETS HER MAN by Emily J. Edwards, and it’s lots of fun. I’m thinking I might do book recommendations occasionally on TikTok, too, if I can set up a good template.

Went to bed early, exhausted. Woke up around 3 AM with sense memory stress. Managed to get back to sleep, and got up with the coffee. The oat milk is all clumpy AGAIN – that’s twice lately. I didn’t think plant milk could curdle.

I didn’t go to the laundromat, which I’m fine about today, but will regret next week. On today’s agenda is a lot of Legerdemain, so I can get back on track; more Playland research; a trip to the library to drop off/pick up books,  I have two client projects to do this afternoon. I hope I get in more for tomorrow and Friday. I really want to take the Monday holiday. I need the rest. But we’ll see how it all shakes out. I might have to push through all this week into next.

I’ve pushed working on the flash fiction to the weekend, along with drafting a 10-minute comedy play. I have to start thinking about the radio play for the UK company, too.

So I better get going, hadn’t I, and get a few things done! Have a good one, my friends.