Monday, September 7, 2009

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Garden at The Mount, Lenox, MA

Monday, September 7, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant
Labor Day in the US

Batten down the hatches! Mercury’s retrograde.

Seven days to Prague departure!

I read a lot yesterday, mostly about Prague: John Banville’s PRAGUE PICTURES, Richard Burton’s PRAGUE: A CULTURAL HISTORY (finally finished it) and went back to Vaclav Havel’s TO THE CASTLE AND BACK. I’m mulling over what I read, digging up memories of my personal experience with the Iron Curtain, etc. I’m not ready to articulate much yet, but there’s a lot of percolating going on.

It will interesting to see what “My Prague” turns out to be. “My Edinburgh” is vastly different from my friend Colin’s Edinburgh or anyone else’s Edinburgh. “My New York” is different now than it was when I lived on the Deuce, and it was different then, as someone working eight shows/week on Broadway from someone else’s New York who worked on Wall Street, or someone who came into town for a week’s visit.

Costume Imp and I are travelling together, and, even with shared experiences, we will wind up with very different personal Pragues.

I’m more anxious about this trip than I usually am about travelling, and i wonder how much of that is connected to the fact I don’t speak the language (although I didn’t speak Icelandic either and was perfectly comfortable there), and how much is ingrained from my own and my family’s personal experience with the Iron Curtain and its politics? Even though it no longer exists, it leaves resonance in its wake. It’s more than just visiting a new place for me — it’s connected to the personal history of my family, even though, as far as I can tell, none of them are from the area. My mother lived outside of Prague for awhile, many years ago.

There will be more layers to this trip than I expected.

Got some good work done on AMENDS and hope to get some more good work done. I’m about a third of the way into it, it’s time to up the stakes.

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Didn’t get much sleep. Elsa was very busy all night, rummaging, getting into things she shouldn’t have, and i spent a lot of time getting her out of things she shouldn’t have been in in the first place. I got maybe an hour of sleep at a time. I might take a nap later.

Things are moving along well for The Muse Online Writers’ Conference. I’m teaching my dialogue workshop there again this year. I’ve been invited to teach again at the Catholic Online Writers’ Conference again next February — I have to see how a few things shake out in the next few weeks before I give them a definite, and if they want me to teach something other than dialogue.

I need to get out some submissions this week, and would like to finish a draft of an article and get it to my editor before I leave. I keep thinking it’s Sunday, but it’s already Monday, and not a lot will get done on Friday, because of 9/11, and I want to have my desk completely cleared off before the 12th.

Seven days until lift off.

A lot can happen in seven days.

Devon

AMENDS: First Draft: 22,250 words out of est. 75,000
29.6%
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View out of the window at The Mount, Lenox, MA

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and mild

We dodged the flood bullet yesterday, but it doesn’t look as though we’ll be that lucky tomorrow. The brook held at the top of its banks, more a river than a brook, rushing, gray-green, filled with sludge, but not turning the neighborhood into a river — yet. However, we’re supposed to get rain again all night tonight and all day tomorrow.

I managed to get three loads of laundry done in the brand new laundry room before it began to get water-logged. I boiled and bottled about six gallons of water. We’ve got plenty of food and batteries. I moved the car around noon, when the brook rose four feet in an hour and a half — and it was still low tide. I’ll move the car back to the lot for the day, because it’s supposed to be dry-ish, and then move it up the hill for the weekend.

Yesterday was mostly about flood preparation. Finished up a couple of client projects, ran a few errands. I got some business correspondence done. UHaul got another Middle Finger award — this one as tall as the Chrysler Building, but I hope there’s a solution on the horizon. I’ve got more business correspondence to do today, and then, hopefully, all I have to concentrate on this weekend is the weather.

Lunch was great — slices of smoked salmon on ciabatta, using the rest of the homemade tartar sauce. For dinner, I made a turkey bolognese, using a recipe recommended by someone I met via Twitter. It was excellent. There are two versions of the sauce — one with white wine and cream, and one with red wine. I made the white wine version, and will make the red wine version next week.

I’m reading PRAGUE: A CULTURAL HISTORY. Wow. I basically knew NOTHING about Prague. We have a lot to pack in during eight days! It’s fascinating. It’s extraordinary how much of its history was shaped by writers, artists, etc., which I think is quite wonderful.

I got a bit of writing done this morning on the Matty book. I hope I can get more writing-focused this weekend. I have a feeling not much will get done over the next 2-3 weeks because of outside pressures, but then, although the entire summer is very booked and very busy, the writing will open up. Until a few things that are hanging over me are resolved, the writing’s not going to be what it needs to be. I’d like to resolve them in less than 3 weeks, but not all of it is in my control, and I’m not going to roll over and allow myself to be taken advantage of simply to get things moving faster.

Whenever I turn on the PC to pull stuff off the floppies and back them up, the McAfee tries to hijack the computer, demanding that I renew the McAfee software. Now, I don’t plug the old computer in to the internet. And there is no way IN HELL I would give McAfee another penny after the crap they pulled the last few months. I’d uninstall the program, but it won’t let me. Well, in a few months, I can just dump the whole unit and not worry about it anymore. But the gruntwork of the transfer is time consuming and annoying. Oh, well, gotta do it when you can’t pay someone else for the aggravation, right?

I’m glad I live on the third floor of this building. Saves me from having to build an ark.

Chad, I believe that one of the reasons groups are fighting change is that corporate profits are put ahead of lives. As a teenager, I temped in several insurance companies. At one in particular, the representatives were instructed to refuse EVERY claim without reading it the first time. If the person filing the claim challenged the refusal, then they were supposed to actually review the claim; but, since 75% of people who get a refusal never bother to dispute it, the company saved hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by not paying legitimate claims. And people who were too frightened or believed that they had no other recourse or were just overwhelmed by the paperwork had to pay out of pocket for care that was supposed to be covered.

Companies count on consumers being “too busy” to dispute/fight bad service, and every time a consumer allows something to go undsiputed, be it poor service in a store or a refusal of a legitimate claim, the consumer condones the company’s action and hurts all other consumers.

Back to work.

Devon