Fri. Aug. 12, 2022: Art and Poetry

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, August 12, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I had trouble settling into meditation yesterday, but it was still good.

The script changes for the radio play were approved by all involved. Thank goodness for rehearsals, where one can find out where something doesn’t work and change it.

I converted the PowerPoint I used for Saturday’s class into a PDF. I proofed the Developing the Series Topic Workbook, made some necessary changes, and that is up for pre-order and ready to release next Wednesday, the 17th. I then added in some information to another version of the manuscript – I’m not allowed to actually discuss any platform or the distributors reject it, saying I’m listing “competing markets.” Well, part of the class had to do with markets, so I went back and listed them in the version for class participants. I then converted that version to PDF. I sent it to the list of students and to the conference organizers for their archives.

Episode 6 of LEGERDEMAIN dropped, so I did some promo on the channels where I couldn’t schedule posts. I need to get back to work on that website next week. I’m behind where I want to be on the website. It’s live, it’s just not where it needs to be so I can promote it well.

Freelance Chat was fun. The guy behind the Hectic App was the guest. The talk was about getting paid and automated invoicing, but the app itself looks like it takes the best of platforms like Asana and Slack, and also adds accounting stuff. I asked if there was a way to plug in royalty payments and the like. There’s a huge gap in the working artists market, and if Hectic could somehow include them and what they need in there, it’s a big market. Anyway, I might play with the app and see how it works and build on it.

So far, I like Asana, mostly, but it’s still not doing everything the way I want and need to do it. But at least it doesn’t tell me to vacuum my house, the way Todoist did!

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and then rehearsed the poem.

I’d sent my friend the draft of “Inspired By” and she had great notes. I’m looking forward to making those changes, and they gave me an idea on how to expand a beat that feels rushed and truncated (it’s a one act, so it’s all, technically, one scene, but the beats and dynamics shift).

I showered and dressed. Since the event was in an art museum, and the topic was “landscape” I wore a top and skirt that looked like brushstrokes in blue and red and black. Because, you know, once in theatre, always in theatre.  Drove to the Berkshire Museum down in Pittsfield. Took the back way behind the library, rather than having to drive past the museum and find a place to turn around, since one can’t turn left into the museum from the main road. And it worked! I actually found my way. I even found a legal parking spot in front of the museum.

I was early (of course), so I helped set up. The woman from the museum turns out to have done her master’s in Shakespeare, so I’m sending her information today on the Shakespeare horror anthology.

It was a small group, the first time the poets have met inside since the start of the pandemic. There were eight poets reading, and a smattering of audience members. The different takes on the theme of “landscape” were wonderful. And then, after we were done, one woman shyly asked if she could read something. The answer was, of course, yes, and that’s what this is all about. And it was nice to talk to the other people after.

When we came down the steps of the museum, the sky was an amazing array of pinks and grays, and we all just stood there and enjoyed it for a few minutes.

Anyway, I’ve been invited to do more with them. Some of their upcoming events, I think I will be there to listen, as an audience member, rather than read.

It’s such a different experience to read my own work than it is to have actors perform it. Because I am not an actress creating my own work to carve a place for myself, it’s very different. As the event’s leader points out, it works best when you learn something about both the poet and the topic through the poem. So, although I worked on story, rhythm, image, and told the story through a character, there were still revelations about me as a person. And, as someone who prefers to stay in the background, that’s a challenge.

Anyway, came home, and was reminded that my night vision sucks. Which, as the days get shorter, will also limit what and where I do things. Talked to the across-the-street neighbor for a bit. Gathered up the mail, which included THE NEW YORKER (I’m about four issues behind), and the check for teaching at the conference. Caught up with Chef Jeremy’s video chat, and signed up for his class Monday night in honor of Julia Child’s birthday. This weekend, I’m going to write him a letter, telling him how much his classes and just, in general, his being a kind, caring person have meant to me these last few years.

Didn’t sleep particularly well, but the cats got me up early. My cousin’s funeral is today. Workwise, I have to focus on LEGERDEMAIN and get caught up with that. I’m behind where I hoped to be uploading the next set of episodes, and I need to get to work on writing the next arc, too.

I need to go to the bank and the post office and the library and pick up a prescription for my mom. I’d planned to go to the laundromat to wash the fabric I’ll use this weekend, but I can’t find the laundry bag. I used it, last trip. I remember emptying it and folding the bad into quarters. But it’s not where I usually put it, and I am baffled. I might just wash things here at home, and, if I need to tomorrow morning, throw them in the laundromat’s dryer. Downside of not having washer/dryer in the house.

This weekend is house-and-hearth stuff. If there’s not another deluge of rain, I may go to the Mount Sunday afternoon and listen to the poets read poems in the sculpture installation. But that’s all up in the air.

And, I want to get some rest. The last few weeks have tired me, and I want to recalibrate a little.

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

Published in: on August 12, 2022 at 7:02 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 12, 2022: Art and Poetry  
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Fri. Aug. 5, 2022: Ebbs and Flows

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pixabay.com

Friday, August 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hazy and humid

Definitely tired and feeling the effects of the week. But I’ll do a big push this weekend, and, hopefully, next week will be a little easier.

Had a story rejected by a publication (I wasn’t sure it was the right fit, but gave it a shot, so it wasn’t a complete surprise). Got a rejection on a big grant application I put in earlier this year – again, not a surprise, because it was a stretch. They were encouraging and made suggestions on where to beef up certain sections of the application, and to reapply next year, so that is what I will do.

Got the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook uploaded and out, but there’s a problem with a couple of things. The issue with the cover I understand – I think I uploaded the wrong version, so I’ll fix that. I don’t understand the other note, about “mentioning competitive markets in conflict with the distributors.” It’s about how to set up a submission system. I don’t mention any publisher or distributor by name. I do have links to resources, so I wonder if that’s the problem. I have questions in, and we’ll see.

Did a run to Wild Oats for a few things in the late morning. The heat and humidity were oppressive. I managed to turn around two scripts, and also to finish a book for review, but I was wiped out by the end of the day.

We had a cracking good thunderstorm with bucketing rain, so I spent a good portion of the evening lying on the sofa, watching the storm.

It didn’t get comfortable enough to sleep until about 3 AM, so I’m a little slow today. But I had good coffee, which makes a big difference.

I worked on the latest draft of the radio play with the producer, and finalized virtually attending Tuesday’s rehearsal, which will be fun.

On today’s docket is finalizing the PowerPoint for tomorrow’s Developing the Series class, and getting both versions of the Workbook proofed. Class attendees will get a copy of the workbook as part of the class; it will release for sale next Wednesday.

If there’s time, I need to start uploading/scheduling the next set of episodes for LEGERDEMAIN, but that might happen on Monday.

Tomorrow morning, it’s Farmers’ Market Day, and then I teach in the late afternoon (at the worst possible time for me biorhythmically, but I’m prepared, so it will work). Sunday is a day of fun for me. I have two events at the Edith Wharton manse – I’m going to see a play by a local theatre (stage managed by a fellow poet from a few weeks ago), and, after that, there’s a poetry event inspired by the sculptures in the garden. It should be a fun day.

Next weekend will be busy, between script coverage and LEGERDEMAIN and a cooking class and the radio play rehearsal and participating in Poets in Conversation, but it should be fun, too.

Have a good one, friends, and we’ll catch up on the other side.

Tues. Aug. 2, 2022: Creative Busy-ness

image courtesy of Hans via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hazy, humid

The weekend was kind of all over the place.

The artists working group that I was told met Friday morning, of course, met Thursday morning. The organizers really need to get their communications cleaned up. Especially since I specifically contacted them to ask for clarification and they still gave me the wrong information.

I picked up a few things at Wild Oats market instead.

I spent Friday revising CREATIVE STIMULUS and THE SERIES BIBLE. I was behind where I wanted to be, but between the humidity and ongoing computer kerflamma, it was exhausting.

Attended an amazing yoga class on Friday night. It was a wonderful restorative class and I slept very, very well after.

Up early Saturday morning. Went to the market. Didn’t buy much. The lines were so long as some of the stalls, which is great for the farmers, but I didn’t have the energy to stand in the sun. Picked up my mom’s prescription at the nearby CVS and came home.

Should have done a lot of stuff, but I was hot and tired and didn’t. We did hang up some of the artwork, although we haven’t found the right spot for oh, too many things. But some digital artwork by a friend went up, and the mosaic by my uncle. I put up the sketch of Paris – which I bought on my first trip to Paris when I was 11 years old for 2 francs – but it’s not in the right spot. When I find the right spot for it, I will move it.

Read in the afternoon and just relaxed.

Up early on Sunday. Charlotte and Tessa were both being pills. Made biscuits. Sent off an LOI. Did some blog work. Finally got the materials for a magical journaling class I’m taking this week with the group with whom I did Expedition to the Soul last year.

Worked on my Llewellyn article and got it done. It took a good portion of the day, since it was 2800 words.

I’m reading the biography of Emily Mann. The first time I met her was when I was working at the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, and she’d just been named the Artistic Director for the McCarter Theatre. I always admired her, and wish I’d gotten the chance to work closely with her.

Played with ideas for my poem, and for the story for the Shakespeare horror anthology. I want to keep my poem short, between a half a page to a page (even though I have a longer slot). I’m learning how to do this, and I’d rather keep it shorter and work on technique and rhythm and performance than use up the whole slot just to use it.

Monday, I was up and at it early. I made the social media rounds to thank those who participated in #31Prompts. Ello, by far, had the highest rate of engagement, both on and offline. Counter Social was second, by quite a big gap. Then, there was another big gap, and it was Twitter and then Facebook. Trailing the pack was Tumblr.

The metrics come from both engagement on the platform, and from contact individuals made with me privately about which prompts they liked and the types of pieces those prompts inspired. Because I don’t want anyone to post the actual work online and blow first rights.

I posted the July wrap up on the GDR site, and you can read it here. I had a pretty creative month.

I rewrote my Llewellyn article pretty extensively, and got it in to my editor. I still haven’t hit the sweet spot with it, except in word count, so I’m eager for her feedback.

I did the marketing content calendar for the CREATIVE STIMULUS Topic Workbook, which dropped yesterday, and got that uploaded and scheduled through the end of September.

Then, I tackled episodes 7-10 of LEGERDEMAIN. Even though I’d done a couple of revisions on them, they needed more. The world count is a little higher than I want for these episodes, but I had to set foundations for a few things, so there we were. The text got two pretty massive revisions, and then tweaks once it was uploaded and previewed. But I got them up and scheduled.

Then, I created episode loglines and episode-specific ads for them. I uploaded and scheduled those around the episode releases. I have to do the big weekend ad schedules, but I’ll do those in a day or two.

After that, I created three more quirky general ads (well, four, because I had an idea for something coming up, but it won’t release for a few more weeks). I got those designed, uploaded, and scheduled around the relevant episodes.

I read the revision of my friend’s radio play and it is wonderful! I love what she’s done. It’s so good, and such fun!

I did some work on the grant proposal. I need photographs. I’m not sure I have photographs of the relevant work, and I’m not sure I have it up here rather than in storage so I can take new photographs. I’ll cross that bridge next week,

I did my Italian lesson. I listened to the first session of a journal workshop on journaling with intent. I was put off by the way she was so condescending to a regular journal practice. As someone who has kept up a journal practice for FIFTY YEARS, and who has found the practice helped me navigate plenty of difficult stuff, I was annoyed by the attitude that a journal practice was “meaningless” and one just writes in a book and puts it away. Nope. Not the way I do it. This after the whole “I’ll never tell you that you HAVE to do something.” Yeah, but you’ll be patronizing when someone does something differently.  I was also annoyed by the whole “Oh, a bunch of us are doing a trip to Salem, so we won’t have live sessions for the next few days, just pre-recorded ones.” I don’t mind pre-recorded sessions, I don’t need to see the running comments in the live sessions. However, it’s kind of insulting when students have put aside the time to attend the workshop to blow them off. Just set it up so it’s “work at your own pace, here are the sessions.” I’m also really irritated at the pressure to download their app. I do not run my life from apps, nor do I want to.

My path is different, especially right now.

I was very tired by the end of the day. Between 2800K in revisions on the article, nearly 8K in the episodes, and then creating the ads, yup, I was tired. I also have 9 scripts in my queue, to read by the end of the week, so I have to push today and tomorrow, so that I’m not overwhelmed at the end of the week, before I teach.

Today’s priority is uploading and scheduling the content calendar for THE SERIES BIBLE Workbook, which drops tomorrow, and finish the revisions on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM. I also want to finish the slideshow for the class I’m teaching Saturday.

I think that’s all I can get in during the morning. In the afternoon/evening, I have to cover 3 scripts, and I’m taking a break in the evening to attend Chef Jeremy’s cooking workshop from Kripalu online. Plus the day’s Italian lesson and journal workshop. But it’s the right kind of busy.

I heard from a grant for which I’d applied that I’d made it to the next round. I’ve heard that from them before. I make it close to the end, then they give the grant to someone who never finishes anything and is never heard from again.  But they tell me to keep applying. I’d already decided that if I don’t get it this year, I’m done with them. Not worth the work putting together the grant, when all they do is string me along, and then give it to someone who doesn’t deliver. In the years I’ve applied, I went from never working in the genre to regularly publishing in it, so I guess I don’t need it. But it would sure give me some breathing room.

Anyway, back to the work that needs to be done. Hope you’re having a good start to the week.

Fri. April 8, 2022: Listening and Learning

image courtesy of El Caminante via pixabay..com

Friday, April 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Rainy and chilly

I managed to get my email Inbox down to something manageable, dealing with over 500 emails yesterday. I also wrote three pages on the psychological ghost story radio play. I have to figure out a “why” for one of the characters, and then the rest will fall into place.

I attended the first day of the Buddhist summit. The sessions were interesting, and I learned a lot. I learned some new meditation techniques, very different from the way I’ve worked before. Because I’m not tied to one particular school of meditation, I think it’s easier for me to flow between techniques and try new things than for some others who have had years of intensive training in a single, particular school. There was a session of Tonglen training, a technique completely new to me, and that kind of turns some of the other techniques inside out. Always good to expand one’s practice. There’s a lot to think about, and to wrestle with in terms of taking the practice out into the world. I think many of the tenets are naïve, when we are in a situation of fighting the evil we currently face.

The sessions were short talks, followed by practice. I liked that the workshop leaders led us into the practice, and then let us sit in silence. Too often, in group meditations, the teacher talks all the time. I like to be led into the silence and then left there for the remainder of the session.

Choreographer Arawana Hayashi’s session resonated the most strongly with me, and I look forward to exploring and experiencing more of her work, both as a choreographer, and in meditation. Pema Chödrön’s talk was both funny and gave me a lot to think about.

I’m looking forward to today’s sessions.

I still turned around a script coverage. I grabbed two more to read today, which gets me where I need to be, money-wise this week. I hope I can grab a script or two to read tomorrow, since I’m taking Monday off, post-vaccine. I’ll have to read on Tuesday no matter what, once I get back from the mechanic. I got out 4 LOIs, although one responded immediately with a demand for unpaid labor. So they are off my list of potential clients and on The List I’m keeping of red flag companies.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We spent a lot of time discussing the Supreme Court.

I am absolutely over the moon that we now have Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on the Supreme Court. I was terrified during the entire vote, worried that the racist GQP would somehow derail it. I was surprised that Susan Collins kept her word and voted for her. I’m glad Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney did, making Kirsten Sinema’s drama queen bid for attention irrelevant. It’s about time Sinema and Manchin were both made irrelevant. I cried with happiness when the confirmation went through. Kagan, Sotomayor, and Jackson give me hope.

Now, we need to get the seditionist’s husband, the beer-swilling rapist, and the handmaiden off the Court.

Read the latest issue of THE NEW YORKER as my treat at the end of the workday. I’m glad I’ve resubscribed.

I have writing, script coverage, and the summit on today’s agenda. The summit continues through the weekend and through Monday. I hope I’m feeling well enough after Shot 4 to at least listen. I also want to get ahead on next week’s work today and tomorrow, so I don’t have to stress about taking Monday off post-vaccine, and needing to take at least a half day on Tuesday at the mechanic’s.

We had an intense storm last night, with driving rain and high wind. The power flickered, so I turned off the laptop. Took 25 minutes to boot it back up, which makes me miss the Macbook all the more. But it’s working, and that’s what matters.

Got a lovely email from the place where I pitched for the summer radio gig, and I look forward to more conversations with them.

Made cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning. Just the Pillsbury ones, not from scratch. I want to make a batch from scratch, and I want to compare them. I remember the first time I learned to make cinnamon rolls, in either 7th or 8th grade Home Ec. I also sewed my first skirt in that class, and discovered I liked making my own clothes.

Anyway, breakfast and then back to the page. I need to do a library run and swing by the fishmonger to see what’s fresh today. Have a good weekend, and we’ll catch up next week!

Tues. Feb. 8, 2022: Fingers Crossed For the Car

image courtesy of pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

It was a scattered weekend, although I spent most of it at home. Local authorities were worried enough about the ice storm that on Friday, the college campus, the public library, city hall, etc,, were all closed. It kept moving from freezing rain to sleet to snow to sleet to freezing rain and back again all day. Not much accumulation, but treacherous.

I finished the second radio play, give both a good polish, and got them out the door. I received a very nice acknowledgement from the producer, so I’ll know something in a few weeks.

My reward was to buy Scrivener (using the discount coupon I’d earned by finishing Nano). Purchase went through, and I got a complicated, two-page email about how to install it. When not even the first step of downloading it worked. I kept getting a message that it couldn’t be downloaded securely.

I was ready to ask for my money back and to hell with Scrivener.

But two writing friends made a suggestion to download the trial version (which is the full version) and then, when I opened it, enter the license number and I’d be all set.

Which worked.

So why sent the more complicated instructions with a broken link?

By the time support had gotten back to me, it was, at least installed. I have to block off time to learn how to use it, because I hear it takes a while. And since software is a foreign language to me, it takes me longer than most people. Although, a few years ago when I looked at it, it was basically Mac’s Pages on steroids, and I had Pages, so I didn’t bother. But Apple has steadily stripped all the stuff I liked best from Pages, and hopefully Scrivener hasn’t. Plus I’m on PC now, and so unhappy with Word.

Wrote up a script coverage, read another script.

I meant to write up the second script coverage, but got sidelined into a discussion on a collaborative project, and then another work-related thing came up. I missed the live stream of my friend’s play, which I was sad about. But I had to stop everything and create something that was needed within a couple of hours, instead of by the beginning of the week, as I’d initially thought.

By the time it was all done and out the door, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t write up the coverage as well as it deserved to be written, so I put it off until Saturday morning.

The cats let me sleep until nearly 6:30 on Saturday morning. It snowed lightly on and off all day.

I finished reading THE SPIRIT IN QUESTION by Cynthia Kuhn (love this series).

Dealt with some stuff on the collaborative project.

Worked on script coverage.

Which meant the time I’d blocked off for Scrivener tutorials was eaten up by script coverage.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, which was great, except it was a different mail carrier. Instead of dropping the box at the door because it’s too big to fit in the community mail slots at the curb, he shoved it in from his side of the box, which is wider than the side where residents remove the mail.

Which means I couldn’t get the box out.

I had to come upstairs, get a pair of kitchen shears, go back down, cut it open, take everything out and dismantle the cardboard box while it was still in the mail slot. In 8-degree weather without gloves, because I couldn’t maneuver in gloves.

Not a happy camper.

Anyway, the stuff in the box was good.

The first seed order arrived; I’ll talk more about that in Thursday’s Gratitude and Growth post.

Finished reading the Cynthia Kuhn books I had, and started re-reading Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier series, which I love, starting with QUIETER THAN SLEEP.

Slept in on Sunday morning. Can you imagine? The cats let me sleep until nearly a quarter to seven. Finished QUIETER THAN SLEEP and started THE NORTHBURY PAPERS, which is one of my favorites.

Stopped to do some script coverage, and also start reading the Scrivener manual. It will take a few weeks of poking around to feel comfortable, I’m sure.

Did a little brainstorming on the anthology, but I need to spend less time on that, until we have more information about deadlines and structure, and things. I turned in the material that was needed up until this point, so once we get more information on the overall structure, and start working with deadlines and word counts, I can get back to it. I’m still making my own notes, reading everyone else’s brainstorming, and seeing if/how that affects my piece.

I got one of the rudest rejection notes I’ve ever seen for a short story I submitted last week. Wow. It’s fine not to want a piece, but no need to be rude. I’ve made a note in my submission log, so that I don’t submit anything to them in the future.

Had to get my mom a new phone, because TracFone is being such a dick. Decided I’d buy her an inexpensive smartphone through them, and then, if we decided to change providers a few months down, when the car is fixed, it’s not icy, and we can actually get somewhere, we would. Put the order through, and they stepped up and she is getting it for free. Now why didn’t they just say so at the beginning? That the phones are all listed with a price (even though the offer is a free phone), but when you actually put through the order, it goes through as free?

Anyway, she should have it within three days.

My 97-year-old mother is getting a smart phone. She doesn’t want one, but that’s the only choice she had.

Worked on script coverage; wrote up a coverage, read two more scripts, started one of the coverages. Since I’m taking the car in today, I didn’t want anything due today or too early tomorrow.

Went to bed early on Sunday night. Charlotte woke me up at 1:30, then again at 3:30. Tessa was so happy I was awake that I moved to the couch and fell asleep again, oversleeping, and waking up with a migraine. Weird dreams the whole way through. Not bad ones, not stress dreams, just weird ones.

Got the list of grant possibilities out that I’d promised to a colleague.

Slogged through some emails. Wrote up a script coverage and got it out the door. Bundled up and headed to the library to drop off/pick up books. Mailed some bills. Picked up some wine. Grabbed some fast food to bring home for lunch (brought an insulated bag). Grabbed a few things from Cumberland Farms.

Got back just before it started snowing again.

Poked around Scrivener some more. I have to pick a project not on deadline to use to get familiar with it.

Wrote up another script coverage.

The fast food was good to eat in the moment, but I felt lousy afterwards, so we had fried eggs sandwiches (the old college standby) for dinner.

Finished THE NORTHBURY PAPERS and started RAVEN AND NIGHTINGALE. I love this series. I’m so glad I’m re-reading it.

Stayed up way too late reading, but it was fun.

Charlotte woke me at 4, but I rolled over and went back to sleep until Tessa woke me at 6. Fed them, yoga, writing, reading, the usual morning routine.

I have to figure out how to get the car out of the ice the plow put up against it. I have the morning to dig out, and then hopefully the car will start, and I can get it to the mechanic. They’re going to do an hour and a half diagnostic this afternoon, and hopefully, I can afford the repair. Step by step, right?

I’m taking a bunch of work with me: reading, writing, editing, including the Kindle holding the next book for review. I want to finish it before I start downloading the digital contest entries I need to read. And I want to do a readthrough of the first draft of CAST IRON MURDER, to see where I need to go in the second draft, and to support what’s going on in THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

Hopefully, tomorrow, I can get back to work on The Big Project. I’m waaay behind where I need to be on that, and I need to catch up.

I have a script coverage to finish this morning before I go to the mechanic. I have two scripts to read (one for which I was requested), but they aren’t due for a couple of days. I can choose to read or not read tonight when I get back, depending on how wiped out I am after the ordeal at the mechanic’s. Hold a good thought for me.

Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Nor’easter Coming

Out of the house early yesterday. Tried to make a bank deposit at the drive-through ATM, but the bank down the street “couldn’t” print receipts, so I didn’t make the deposit. The three times I’ve done it anyway, the bank has denied the deposit was ever made, and then after fighting with them for weeks, they suddenly “found” it. So I never make a deposit without getting the receipt. TD Bank sucks, and when I move in spring, we will switch banks and be better for it. I used the branch by the mall, instead.

To Shaw’s, where I couldn’t find everything I needed, but picked up a few things I knew I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s. I stood in line, with my six things, behind people who had 106 things. The manager opened the fast lane and took me over. The woman standing behind me started complaining that she should have been taken first because she’d “been waiting.” The manager pointed out that I was in line AHEAD of her, and, therefore, I would be checked out first.

To Trader Joe’s, where there were at least fifty people in line ahead of me. They’re shopping in packs again, not honoring the request that only one person from a household shop. That means one waits in line longer because if a pack of four is waiting, four people have to come out, and then they’re allowed in, but those of us who DO honor the request are still waiting until someone else comes out, because only X amount of people can be in the store at a time.

Behind me were a trio of college girls, from the moneyed side of town, with fake Valley Girl accents, supposedly home for break from Ivy League schools. If that’s what Ivy Leagues are accepting, we are doomed. What a bunch of idiots. For a few minutes, I hoped they were pulling a prank, but no, they’re actually that inane.

Forty-five minutes of their prattle in line gave me a massive headache, but I’ve also figured out numerous ways to kill them off in stories, so that cheered me up.

Whipped through the store with my list pretty fast. Didn’t need all that much, although I found some good stuff I wasn’t expecting and grabbed that, too.

Except for some fresh things I need to pick up on Tuesday, and then a quick stop at the food mart down the street for things like milk, we’re set through New Year’s. That feels good.

Home, decontaminated.

A short rest, then client work, LOIs, and the ad for “Lockesley”, and then daily posts about it scheduled through the first of the year. “Fly” is already scheduled.

Pizza for dinner. I need to start making it from scratch again. The frozen pizzas get smaller every week. They used to be big enough so we could have dinner one night, and lunch the next day. Now, it’s barely enough for dinner. Soon, they’ll be the size of an appetizer. Price keeps going up, though. I’m better off making it from scratch.

Had to contact Crystal Bar Soap to ask where my order was. It’s been FOUR WEEKS since I placed it and nothing. By the end of the evening, I got the shipping confirmation – but if I hadn’t asked about it, it wouldn’t have shipped until January, probably. It shouldn’t take four weeks to ship an order. And I shouldn’t have to beg to get my order shipped.

I keep saying I won’t order from them anymore. Then, I get the order and love it and keep ordering. But I need to stop for a few months, until they get the shipping sorted out. It’s too frustrating.

We’re supposed to get a massive Nor’easter tonight into tomorrow. If the power goes out, I won’t be able to blog tomorrow. Or do anything else online. Which is fine. I was going to attempt a run up to Plymouth on Friday to get the car inspected, but now I’m thinking I have to wait until next week.

Today, I have to go into the office with a client for some overlap, which has stressful potential. Then, I’m home to sit out the storm. I want to work on the polish for the two short plays and get them out by Friday. I also have to work on the revisions for “Mistletoe” so I can sign off on that by Friday.  We’ve talked about a different framing device for the stories (and, later, the books) that I think will work, adding more humor and some nostalgia to the pieces.

Three interesting calls for submission hit my desk yesterday, too. They’d all be due on the 31st. Not sure I can get it together to write and polish them in time, but I will let the ideas percolate. Two of them are new-to-me markets. The third is a new-to-me market, but I talked to them back in October about submitting in radio format and they were interested. Now, I have to find the notes I took for that piece, so I can create it.

I still have major brain fog, which is frustrating but okay at home, but not so great when I’m in the car.

Let’s hope the storm isn’t too bad – I don’t want to shovel, and I’m running low on ice melt!

Have a great day.

Published in: on December 16, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired  
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Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

There’s a short post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short

Friday, January 31, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for my January wrap-up. I have mixed feelings about my progress. And then hop over to Affairs of the Pen to see a post about how writing about Sophie and her capacity for joy is such a pleasure.

Got some decent work done at the library yesterday, including getting the numbers put in on the US Numbered Format version of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”
Now, I have to do the same for “Pier-less Crime” and then send them off to the director, so he has the trilogy (since he likes “Horace House” so much).

Got a carload of leaves to the dump. Maybe this weekend, I can do some more yard work, if the weather holds.

Started watched THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW Season 2 last night. Not as tight and funny a group as on Season 1. Competitions just aren’t my thing. When I’m baking, I’m going to keep at it until I get it right, not be forced to do something new to me in a couple of hours. No, thanks. I like this show better than most competition shows (which, for the most part, I loathe). But I still disagree with a lot of the parameters.

Working on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Tearing out a whole subplot section and rebuilding it, which is a challenge.

I have the short story in my head, clear as can be. But can the words find the page properly?

Absolutely disgusted with the GOP Senators. They all belong in prison. And so disappointed in the Chief Justice.

Today is Brexit, so now the UK economy gets to crash, too. Not a good day, all the way around.

How did I do on my intent for the week, for quiet?

I decided not to attend a networking event. Work prevented me from attending meditation group. I kept my mouth shut at work more than I wanted, but it made sense so to do. There were several online conversations I chose not to enter, because the people involved weren’t worth the aggravation. They didn’t want genuine answers to their questions; they wanted their own views reinforced. Not worth the time and energy. I refrained from responding to an insulting email from the potential client meeting last week, where I’d withdrawn from consideration because we were not a good fit. Wednesday, they sent me a rude email saying they were going with someone else. Of course they did — I already told them I wouldn’t work for them. What are they, six? All about control, yet another indication that we weren’t the right fit.

Lots of reading and writing again this weekend; yard work if the weather holds, purging the basement if it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend! I have a slew of errands and bill-paying, and then it’s back to the page.

Published in: on January 31, 2020 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short  
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Wed. Jan. 29, 2020: Good Show Improves Week

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Waxing Moon

Ink-Dipped Advice’spost talks about Intent, and ties back in to what we do here on Mondays. I hope you enjoy it.

On Monday night, my radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” was performed in Florida. I sent them best wishes for a good show, and heard that the audience absolutely loved the piece, and was delighted to have more Frieda and Laz. Frieda and Laz have become fan favorites.

Work commitments prevented me going to meditation group on Monday, and I missed it. I sat on my own, which I enjoy, but I also enjoy the group. Although sometimes there’s too much of the “guided” and not enough silence.

Monday night, I read Ann Patchett’swonderful new book, THE DUTCH HOUSE. Wow. Just wow. I could not put it down. Beautiful writing and characterization, although I got irritated with the protagonist’s disinterest in everyone around him over the course of his entire life. He was constantly surprised to find out that people had lives that didn’t revolve around him. That their lives had a richness when they were away from him. Patchett showed that very well.

So yes, I sat up late until I finished the book! I love doing that.

Got some admin work done on Tuesday morning, mediocre writing session, answered a letter from my college advisor, which was fun. College was way back in the early 80s, and we have kept in touch. I’m so glad. He was a wonderful advisor, especially when I went through some rough stuff. He has been a touchstone for me through the years. Now he’s written his first novel, and I’m delighted.

Got out another article pitch. Worked onsite with a client. Got some work done at the library. Got some more work converting “Intrigue” into US Numbered format for a different production company that’s doing “Horace House” in October. I figured I’ll reformat the other two plays of the trilogy; that way, the director has them all and can decide if he wants to do them, or just “Horace House.”

Still struggling with the end of “Trust.” I’ve lost the thread of what I’m trying to do, and have to figure it out again.

Today will be an intense day with the client, working on a big project. Then, it’s home for pizza night. I hope to get some work done on revisions.

Tomorrow, if the weather holds, I’ll do some yard work, along with the writing and other work. I’m working on a new targeted prospect list for the postcards. Third party recruiters and HR are a waste of time and space.

You know who else is a waste of space? The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I’ve been a juror in all kinds of trials over the years. No judge in any trial on which I’ve ever served has been as inept and useless as the Chief Justice. No jurors could get away with what the Republican Senators are getting away with. They’d be held in contempt of court.

THIS is the person who supposedly heads the highest court in the land? What a huge disappointment, at a critical juncture in our republic.

It’s both enraging and discouraging.

I will find a way to work on it via fiction, but it’s no fun to live through, that’s for damn sure.

 

Published in: on January 29, 2020 at 7:07 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 29, 2020: Good Show Improves Week  
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Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers

Friday, July 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

For some reason, I feel like one of those big steamrollers went right over top of me! I’m exhausted,physically and emotionally. I’m trying to solve those reasons, and change what needs to be changed, but it doesn’t happen in a day. Heck, it’s been taking me months, and certainly months longer than I’d hoped. But I’ll get there.

Got a little bit of writing done yesterday. Nowhere near enough. I lost the momentum I had on GRAVE REACH, and I’m fighting to get it back. ELLA has slowed down, but at least it’s putt-putting along. Of course it is, because that’s the piece that’s not on deadline.

Conferences with my cover artist and editor yesterday. The cover artist has roughed out the next two Coventina Circle books — THE BARD’S LAMENT (Sylvie’s book) and DEADLY GROVE (Diana’s book). They are kind of cool. I like the black and gray tones on all the Coventina Circle covers, with the yellow/orange lettering.

We’re still going back and forth on the Justice By Harpy books, which is just fine, since they are quite a way down the road. I am being difficult about them. I have a very clear idea of what I want, which my editor and publisher agree will be striking, but how to make it happen, how to layer and color, is a challenge. We may just bring in a painter to do small paintings of the three and then photograph or scan the paintings. Book 1 is close to ready to go into production, but I’m behind on Books 2 & 3, and we want all three ready to release quickly. And we’re discussing the Gambit Colony covers for the first six books.

I’m so lucky that my publisher allows so much input.

Took my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. He’s pleased with her progress. Had to take her over to Osterville for a blood test, only they were closed by the time we got there (it would have been nice to know they were closed before we left the doctor’s office).

Read on the deck in the afternoon, enjoying the yard. Worked on some article pitches I plan to send out early next week. I got some interesting leads, and I’m spinning ideas.

Still trying to chase down the freelance payment from that job I did over a month ago.

Some yahoo from TruGreen scared the bejesus out of us yesterday by pounding on the door like the FBI doing a raid. And then launched into a diatribe on how bad my yard was with all the weeds and how I “had” to pay him to fix it. WTF? Seriously? Why the hell would you dumbass think I would ever, EVER do business with you when you come to my house and try to intimidate me into hiring you? Especially since I have an organic lawn and every so-called “weed” is something that is there on purpose as a pollinator or because it’s good for the soil. TruGreen is getting SUCH a letter from me. I rarely say “never”, but I can say I will NEVER do business with TruGreen again, and the next time this jerk shows up and tries to intimidate me, I’m going to kick him in the nuts and then call the cops.

This morning, I was up early. Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. I really need to type up the chapters written in longhand, because I’m losing some threads in this draft.

Took my mom to the blood test. They were open this time, and it was early.

Then, headed to Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping, and then Staples. Because notebooks are on sale. I bought 16 spiral bound and 4 composition books, for a grand total of SIX BUCKS.

As a writer, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The school supplies go on sale.

I plan to spend the weekend reading, writing ELLA and GRAVE REACH, roughing out my article for Llewellyn, and maybe starting to shape the opening scene of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. The three Canaletto books I hunted down and ordered because I kept taking them out of the library arrived, and that will make the writing of the play so much easier.

I’m still trying to figure out the plot of the Brighton Pier radio play. I have sounds and jokes, but the plot is weak so far.

I ordered from Chewy this morning — cat food and cat litter. I refuse to shop at Petmart anymore, for multiple reasons. I’ve heard good things about them, but putting the order through was a major PITA. Let’s hope the rest of the customer service experience is better, or it will be a one-and-done.

I also hope to clear out some boxes from the basement. I also have to take the recycling in tomorrow. It’s getting a little crowded.

For the moment, though, back to the page.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on July 26, 2019 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers  
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Thurs. July 18, 2019: Steady Like the Rain

Thursday, July 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Pop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

I had a useless day on ELLA yesterday, but a good, smooth day on GRAVE REACH. I love being in the groove with it, and the characters keep surprising me for the right reasons. It’s a leaner book than the last two, which I think works better for the genre. There’s less overlap and backtracking of the same time periods on the separate tracks. I had an excellent session on GRAVE REACH this morning, and I’m excited, at this point, to see how the outline evolves into the actual book.

Sam and Jake are becoming friends, which I didn’t expect.

Client work was okay. The next few weeks with this particular client will be frustrating and difficult. I just have to deal with each day as it comes.

We kept getting storm alerts all afternoon, so I came straight home after client work. The storms hit six hours later than expected, and weren’t as bad as they warned, thank goodness.

Up early today, decent day on ELLA, good day on GRAVE REACH. Headed to do some work at the library, some client work, and then start roughing out my Llewellyn article.

I’m just about ready to start the next Frieda/Lazarus comic radio mystery, too. I need to get it drafted, then let it sit, so I can revise it, and get it out in early August.
I have to come up with a few more malapropisms before I’ll really be ready to write.

This weekend is supposed to be brutally hot and humid. I’m not looking forward to it. I’m hoping I’ll still be able to write a lot.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 18, 2019 at 8:57 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 18, 2019: Steady Like the Rain  
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Wed. July 10, 2019: Daily Pages Add Up

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

 

 

There are plenty of things that are worrying me and infuriating me on several fronts. However, I am grateful for some of the small, but important pleasures.

One of the biggest of those is my first writing session of the morning out on the deck. I take my coffee, Tessa usually comes with me, and I write my first 1K or so outside, enjoying the yard.

It’s not always 1K on this particular project. Sometimes it’s only 500 words. Sometimes it’s more than 1K. But it’s in longhand, in a series of notebooks, and it’s uncontracted and not on deadline.

Which is one reason I’m having such fun with it. There’s no pressure. I can just let it rip.

I recently started my second notebook on this project. The first notebook contains the first 10 chapters, a little over 130 pages, approximately 1/3 of the book for this first draft. I love seeing the tangible evidence of these past few months’ work.

I’ve done some research for this book, but as I continue, I keep finding more things I’ll have to look up, and I’m using more placeholders than usual to keep the momentum. I’ll regret that when I hit the next draft, but it’s working for me in this first one.

After my yoga/meditation and my shower, I go to the computer, and I work on the next book that’s contracted. I do at least 1K, although at this point, it’s more like 1.5K, and with a deadline looming, I have to up my game to closer to 2.5K a day. That’s the reality of deadlines. But the steady, daily work, even on days I don’t feel like showing up to the page, builds momentum, keeps me in the world of the book, and makes this book better than the previous books in the series (which is my goal).

I print out my pages every day, both because I’m paranoid about losing work (even backed up work has been corrupted) and because it’s easier for me to edit on the page still. It’s easier for me to make the tracking sheets I need and the notes I need for the Series Bible when I can physically flip between the pages.

I print material on 3-hole punch paper and keep each draft in a 3-ring binder. I do refer back and forth between different drafts in the editing process, especially when my editor and/or copyeditor find discrepancies. Or when I cut characters or subplots, and decide to re-introduce them in other books, where they fit better, further down the line in the series. I use the final galleys to update the Series Bible.

(If you want more information on how I create and maintain a Series Bible, I have a workbook available, based on my workshops).

Again, I have (and need) the tangible evidence of the pages adding up.

While this contracted novel is with my editor, a few weeks down the line, I’ll switch to the next book in the next series that has to be torn apart and rewritten, because the last few drafts I wrote haven’t hit the mark. It has to get fixed and get in the publication queue — we already pushed back the dates for it, and for another book, and now we’re playing catch-up. But I’d rather push the release date back a reasonable amount of time than release a bad book.

At the same time, in the evenings, I’m playing with pieces inspired by #31Prompts.

Again, there’s not pressure on these pieces. They’re not contracted. They’re taking all kinds of different formats. I’m stretching and having fun.

By the end of the month, I have to write a short radio play set on Brighton Pier in the 1920s, and I have to start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters, which is due in NYC by the end of the year.

Showing up at the page every day for whatever project I’m working on is vital to me. I can’t write in spurts and then go away for stretches. I lose the innate rhythm, the heartbeat of the piece.

I need to see it through.

I need the dailiness of the writing. It keeps the rest of my day in perspective, and makes me feel better and clearer about the entire day.

I change my writing process every few months. I make adjustments as to the where and when I write.

But I show up.

What is your process?

Published in: on July 10, 2019 at 6:20 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 10, 2019: Daily Pages Add Up  
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Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was one of those difficult, frustrating days. By the end of it, I felt beaten down, humiliated, and wounded. I’m tired of online interactions forcing information I do not wish to disclose in order to do a basic transaction. I am dissolving several customer relationships with businesses and organizations because they demand information that has nothing to do with my buying their products. I WON’T give it to them, and they refuse to let the transaction continue until I do so. Therefore, I won’t do business with them.

But at least the six-day migraine eased up by the end of the day.

Worked with a client. Worked on the books for review. I hope to have both reviews done and out the door by tomorrow.

I’m back to work on GRAVE REACH, which needs to get to the editor in the not-too-distant future. I finally figured out what Sam, my male protagonist, does for a living. He’s a forensic psychologist. So now I have to familiarize myself with that profession.

I’m also working on the final proofs for the almanac — they are due early next week. The changes are pretty simple, and the design is lovely. I’m pleased that I was able to participate again. I had a good time. The almanac will drop in August for 2020. I hope the keep me on for 2021.

I’m playing with some ideas for a few things. I need to start carrying around a notebook for random ideas instead of trying to organize everything from the get-go into its own little box. Because some ideas wind up working well together. So I chose one of the notebooks I bought during school season last fall, and its special pen (every notebook needs a special pen, that works best with it), and it’s becoming my “Whatever Ramblings” book. I will carry it around most of the time to jot whatever, and then figure out what fits where.

I need to get back to the Frieda/Lazarus radio play this weekend, and also to the monologues. Plus everything else I’m juggling.

I hope, with Mercury going direct, this sense of gloom and discouragement will lift.

Had a good conversation with a potential client, but I have a feeling they’re looking for someone younger. But the organization would be excellent with which to work.

I’m supposed to pick up a printer in Harwich, which I hope will get me through what I need to print for my workshop at the end of April. I’m hoping, in May, I can buy a new laser printer, since I can’t seem to get my old Brother laser up and going again, even though it has a new drum and new toner. But it won’t grasp the paper properly.

I’m so tired of products built to fail to force you to keep buying newer, lower-quality products.

I’m tired of a lot of things today.

 

Published in: on March 28, 2019 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue  
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