Tues. June 30, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 43 — Surgery with Mixed Results

Tuesday, June 30. 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy, stormy, humid

Venus went direct on the 25th, so at least a little pressure has eased.

I thought I’d scheduled a post yesterday. I’m sorry I didn’t.

I was on a clear liquid diet, pre-op, on Wednesday. Miso soup and white cranberry-peach juice for breakfast, chicken broth for lunch, more miso for dinner. It was pretty good.

Went for my COVID test in the morning. Very well organized. A few seconds of discomfort when they jab the swab up your nostrils, but that’s it. Everyone very nice.

Home. Info full quarantine. Checked in with a client, designed some A/B ads, got out an email blast. Participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Got the call from the hospital. My surgery was scheduled for 9:30 the next morning. A relief to get in there in the morning, and home as soon as possible.

The COVID testers only call if it’s a positive. So, once the deadline passed and no call, I started the rest of the prep, which was awful, I had side effects, and I was up all night, miserable.

I got ready in the morning, and got a call at 8 AM, asking me to come in an hour and a half early.

I got there, and was sent to the OR. Um, I knew it was surgery, because they had to remove something, but had been told it would be a simple procedure. Originally, I was told it would be done in the office.

So I was prepped for surgery, much like the last time, and a little thrown by it.

Unfortunately, it took 7 tries to get the IV in. SEVEN. I was upset. I also felt guilty (which, looking back on it, I shouldn’t. It’s not MY fault they can’t hit a vein. But it hurt like hell).

They finally got a pediatrics nurse to get it in.

Then some guy starts yapping at me, and I finally asked, “Are you the doctor?” And then I deliberately mispronounced his name, which threw him.

He said yes and corrected the pronunciation of his name.

I said, “Oh, okay, it’s just that I’ve never met you or talked to you before and you’re about to go digging in my insides. I’ve dealt with more than a dozen people while I’ve been lying here in pre-op and I’m trying to keep them all sorted. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, what’s going on?”

He said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a little presumptive sometimes” and then we talked about the surgery.

The nurses were howling. They told me later the male patients usually start sputtering and the female patients are often in tears. They never saw anyone stand up to him before.

So we had a chat about what was going on. I was a little disconcerted, because no one seemed to know why I was there. Why didn’t anyone read my chart? I’m not the professional. I’m the patient. I know, in basic strokes, why I’m there, but not the details.

I told the anesthesiologist that, especially after all the trouble getting the IV in, I didn’t want to know anything.

When I came out of it, the doctor said, “You should thank that CT technician. This surgery probably saved your life.”

Turns out it was much more complicated than anyone had told me, and, if I’d blown off this surgery (as I was tempted), by the time I knew something was really wrong, it would have been too late, and needed very complicated surgery.

So now I get to wrap my head around that and worry about the results of the biopsy.

The nurse called my ride, I got dressed, and off I went home.

I was too rattled to really sleep, but I also couldn’t do anything. I’d saved back some of the pain pills from the last surgery. Of course, they were on the list of things I couldn’t take. But I didn’t really need them.

To keep myself occupied, both the miserable night before surgery and the day after, I read the first four books in Martha Wells’sMurderbot series. I loved them. So clever, and funny, and full of action, and full of heart.

We’d set up the living room again for recovery. I ate scrambled eggs for dinner – I hadn’t eaten solid food in 48 hours, but that’s all I could stand.

I went to sleep early, and slept through the night for the first time in who knows how long.

Friday, I got some material off to a client. Heard back that she’s going in a new direction for something. She’s going to try to push me to do work that needs someone with different skills, and there will be problems going forward. So I need to find a replacement client so we can part ways soon without me taking a major hit to my income.

I got out one LOI, and then back to bed.

One of my nurses checked in with me, to make sure I was okay. I am. I mean, I’m healing. “Okay” is relative at this point.

I heard from one of my other doctors, who found out I was having this procedure; he checked in to see how I was doing. He was the one who talked me into going through this second surgery; I wanted to blow it off. But he’d been right about everything else, so I went forward. It’s a good thing I did.

I have the same post-anesthesia effects I had last time – first day or so, I have a runny nose, and then I have a few days of a scratchy throat.

I have to monitor my temperature twice a day for two weeks, to make sure I didn’t catch anything at the hospital.

My arms are so bruised from the failed attempts to insert the IV. I have track marks and bruises. I’ll have to wear long sleeves for at least a week. And I need to heal before I go in for blood work.

I managed to go down to the library for a curbside pickup and got more books. Read Donna Leon’s BY ITS COVER. I love that series.

But it was not a productive day, by any means.

I got in touch with the guy who mows the lawn; he came and did it. It looks better, but I need to put fertilizer on it.

I did not sleep well on Friday. I was up by 3 AM, fretting.

Saturday morning, I moved the two potted trees on either side of the front door to the side. They’ve grown through the years, and don’t look right there any more.

I was working on cleaning out the front beds and found a wasp nest attached to the siding in the front, near the front door. I’m so sick of the damn wasps. It never occurred to me they would build there.

I didn’t want to go back to Hyannis Country Gardens, but I know where everything is there. So I masked up and drove over.

I am never going there again, even once this is all over. Wearing the mask around your neck is not wearing the mask. Staff and customers did this (register staff were the only ones fully masked). The place was packed.

I grabbed my wasp killer (you have no idea how much strength it took not to spray the Sliding Mask Skanks). I grabbed some lawn food. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

I felt safer walking alone at 2 AM in NYC’s worst neighborhoods than I felt in that store.

Our numbers are going up again in MA. Not as badly as in down south, but going up enough to be concerned.

Not that anyone else here is. Because, if you’re not rich around here, you’re expendable and expected to Die for Tourist Dollars.

Came home and took out my fury on the wasp nest.

Rested a bit; once the buzzing died down (pun intended), I brought some of the oversized red geraniums from the back to flank the front door. They look good, and it’s good Feng Shui.

I couldn’t work in the beds, so I took myself to bed and rested for a bit. I read Ellen Byron’s PLANTATION SHUDDERS, and loved it. Excellent book, and I’m excited to read the rest of the series.

Soaked in a bath of Himalayan Salts for a bit. Cooked dinner – nothing fancy, I’m easing back in.

So the Sociopath was informed in March that Russia pays bounties to kill American soldiers? And keeps making concessions to Russia? I hope the military turns against him, once and for all. We have a sociopath calling himself “President” who is not only actively killing citizens with a pandemic, but allowing our enemies to kill our soldiers for profit. What’s his cut, I wonder? Because he does nothing without an eye to personal profit.

Why would anyone think the GOP will do anything about it? Remember, only a year ago, over Fourth of July, 10 GOP Congress people traveled to Russia to genuflect.

Those 10 should have been arrested the second they returned. But they got away with it, and here we are.

No wonder the EU is banning Americans from travel. Good for them.

And the airlines who are going to start flying at capacity? I hope they all go under. And why the hell is ANYONE flying right now?

The selfishness and stupidity are overwhelming.

Moved back up to my bedroom by Saturday night, and had a good night’s sleep.

But sat on the deck early Sunday morning, weeping, because I feel overwhelmed on a personal level, and on a broader, societal level. I’m sick, exhausted, and don’t see a way forward in anything.

Rested most of Sunday morning, because that’s all I could handle. I read a delightful book called RAISING THE BARRE by Lauren Kessler, about her journey to dance in a production of THE NUTCRACKER as an adult. So well done, on so many levels. However, I did lose a bit of respect and felt disgust when she skipped part of the tour that was the reason to write this book in the first place because of “family commitments” and because she was teaching a writing workshop. That, hon, is why you’re not in the business. The show comes first. Always. Life fits around theatre (or, in this case ballet) for professionals. Theatre does not fit around life.

That, right there, is why I managed to be one of the 11% who actually MAKE it to Broadway. Commitment and priority to the work. And why dancers can do what they do.

My arms really hurt from the bruising of the failed IV attempts.

Got out 5 LOIs, then sat out on the deck for a bit, reading. Watered the back, where I’d put down lawn food and fertilizer. Couldn’t face another wasp battle in the front.

Tackled the mending, because the light was good, and I need true daylight at this point to sew. Got a good part of the stack done. Still have a few pieces, including socks.

Managed to sleep through the night on Sunday, up early on Monday, normal routine. Because, you know, the cats like a normal routine, and it’s all about the cats. Arms really hurt from the IV bruising.

Annoyed by people on social media who beg for followers, then deride people who support them. I don’t have time for that b.s.

Also annoyed because people are asking to come visit. As in show up and stay a few days. In a pandemic? I don’t think so. Close friends understand it’s not viable. We’re going to make plans to see each other WHEN IT’S SAFE. It’s the borderline “acquaintances” who are the problems. The ones who stay in touch because they see us as free accommodation in a tourist spot they want to visit. I can’t believe how many emails I’ve gotten in the past two weeks that are “oh, we’re going to be in your area on vacation for a few days. We’d love to see you. Can we stay?”

Nope. Not doing any hosting this summer. Sorry you think just because the government decided to recklessly reopen, I’m going to put my life in danger so you don’t have to pay a hotel bill. Not happening.

Absolutely dreaded going in to the client’s on Monday.

Didn’t get a lot done on BARD Monday morning. I had to research mandolins and mandolin making before I could write the scene. Then, when I referenced something from an earlier chapter I found an enormous mistake. I have to go back and fix it, or it will throw the entire book off. I’m so annoyed with myself.

But that’s what I get for not making tracking sheets up front. Serves me right.

Discouraging, but my own damn fault.

Onsite for the client wasn’t bad. Staggered hours, lots of precautions. Only a little overlap, so we’re in synch, and not full staff (the way it should be, but isn’t on Wednesdays).  The client expects me to pull off the type of advertising campaigns that large companies with huge design and advertising budgets do, and she expects huge returns within 48 hours. That’s not realistic. She keeps sending me ads with “do that” — I can’t without design tools and time and professional photographs of product, and a budget to spend for placement.

Came home, wiped out.

I meant to only peek at the online course I’m taking on FutureLearn on The Book of Kells from Trinity College in Dublin. It was so interesting that I went through the entire week’s work. Which was pretty cool.

I decided I should brush up on my rusty Latin, and was looking for a way to do that, when, on Coursera, I stumbled across The Miracle of Human Language, from University of Leiden, where I’d studied the International tribunals a few years back. I signed up and started work on it. It’s fascinating.

That course will help me as I develop languages for books like DRAKECLIFF and other fantasies.

I was still worn out, and ran out of intellectual steam, so I stopped.

I also bought Sharon Hurley Hall’s SHADEISM. We’ve been talking about race, inspired by her most recent writings; this book will not only expand my understanding, but it will be good background for ELLA BY THE BAY.

Then, the phone rang.

It was the doctor.

As I wrote above, that’s never good news. They only call if something is wrong, never when it’s right.

The doctor had even improved his bedside manner, which worried me even more.

The news was mixed: there were some cancerous cells in what was removed, but at the tip of the polyp, not the base, and the cells scraped from the lining were clear. He believes he got it all. Originally, he wanted to see me in a year; now, he wants me back for another procedure In six months (um, Happy Holidays to me?). We’re going to treat it like another full-blown surgery, and hope it’s just a look that reveals everything is clear. He was upbeat and reassuring about it – which meant I wasn’t sure whether to go with it or worry more.

Something else to wrap my head around. Disconcerting, to say the least.

But what else can I do other than keep on keeping on?

I do have to behave as though I’m immune compromised and stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, socializing, etc. I told him that was the plan for the foreseeable future, anyway.

He promised to take good care of me. I thanked him (which surprised him) and he rang off.

I’m a little tired of 2020 piling it on.

I need to talk with my primary care doctor in the next day or two, and come up with a plan for the next six months. Losing weight and getting fit will have to be a part of it. I already eat pretty well, and I’d cut out most beef and quite a bit of pork out. I will have to continue with that. I’m glad I can cook.

I want to lose 20 pounds, the doctor wanted me to lose 10, we compromised on 15 (which I have not lost), but I think I want to go back to 20. I feel better when I weigh less.

I’d already started up core work again on Sunday, so I will do more of it.

I’d love to walk around the neighborhood, but the clumps of Maskless Wonders make it a non-starter.

Much as I hate the exercise bike, the exercise bike it is. If my 95 year old mother can do 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, I can work my way up to similar.

But I’m rattled.

Went to bed early; slept through the night.

Up early today. Have to fix BARD today, so I can move forward on it. There’s a deadline looming. Got two rejections on LOIs because they want someone with more experience in the tech sector. Which is understandable, but they SAID they wanted someone to communicate what they do to a more general audience. At least they responded, and I got responses from the companies themselves instead of a third party recruiter.

Client work. I have to come up with a new strategy for a struggling client. I have a few ideas, but I wish I had more time with them, because it’s hard to focus right now.

Classwork for Miracle of Human Languages later, and then maybe purging a few boxes in the basement. I need to get back to that.

I can’t believe it’s almost July. It’s hard not to feel defeated.

Especially when you look at the rampant corruption and stupidity people are getting away with, with absolutely no consequence.

Going back to the page will help. I hope.

Peace, friends.

Wed. June 24, 2020: Isolation to Quarantine (Pre-Op)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid/storms expected

Up and down day yesterday. Didn’t feel very productive.

Got out two LOIs. One is a very long shot, but it’s interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot, and hope they read my cover letter.

Got the first pair of A/B ads done for a client. Will work on the second pair today, along with a stand-alone ad.

Looking for another survey platform. I have two or three I’m interested in trying. I’ll let you know if any of them actually work.

Got my call in the early afternoon yesterday. My COVID test this morning is at 10 AM. If it comes back negative, I will get the time for tomorrow’s surgery and get started on the pre-op prep (that’s different from the isolation/quarantine). I already know the medication I have to take for several hours will make me seriously nauseated. Not looking forward to it.

As soon as I’ve taken the test, I’m quarantined away from anyone else in the house. I’ll spend the rest of the day in my office, sleep in the living room, have exclusive use of the downstairs bathroom (which I’ve scrubbed down this morning).

Cleaned the house yesterday, so that everything is in good shape for the next few days.

Put in the Chewy order yesterday. They were out of a few things I needed, but I adjusted. The order already shipped. They have been the best company to deal with throughout this whole pandemic. When they needed to slow things down, they did, they communicated clearly, and they fulfilled what they said they would do. I wrote them a couple of times to thank them.

The Comcast bill arrived yesterday. Payment has to clear by next Tuesday or else. So payment goes out today. I can’t believe how much I had to fight with them to get a damn bill. They want you to pay, but won’t tell you how much. Because they want you to go on AutoPay, so they can take whatever amount of money they feel like out of the account. They are an awful company.

Finished the book for review, wrote the review, sent it off. There will hopefully be another assignment in the next few days.

Reading C.E. Murphy’s MAGIC AND MANNERS, which is an interesting re-imagining inspired by PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

For the record, the Aunt Jemima bottle was never allowed in our house growing up because it was racist. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, my parents felt that way.

I want it to be Friday. The next 48 hours will be difficult.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do. Hopefully, I can get in some decent writing, although I feel as inspired as wilted lettuce.

I can smell the storm coming in. Hopefully, it won’t hit full force until after I get back from the COVID test.

See you on the other side.

Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 31 — Attempt at Equilibrium in Five Retrogrades

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Five retrogrades for the next week, one of them Mercury. May I hide under the bed, please?

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

I had a decent first writing session yesterday on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Sitting down and doing at least 1K early in the morning, whether I feel like it or not, makes a huge difference.

I was at the office early. Everything went much better than I expected. No fussing or whining about protocols. I’ve worked ahead, in light of next week’s surgery, and will work from home next week.

Left by 12:30, swung by the library to do a curbside pickup, had to stop at the bodega (called here a “convenience store”) to pick up a loaf of bread. In and out quick, they have sanitizer, everyone’s masked, no fuss.

At least some people are taking it seriously.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, and even made it to Remote Chat only a few minutes late.

Remote chat was fun. Worked through some emails and other admin. Got some reading in (I have a book review due soon).

Worked on some article ideas per an editor’s request, but haven’t hit the right one yet. Hope to get something out to him today.

Sent an LOI to a theatre looking for plays; found out later they’ve gotten a grant from Mass Humanities, which is a good thing. My local library did, too, which is also a good thing.

Got to spend a little time out on the deck.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s SEALED OFF, the latest Maine Clambake Mystery. I really like the way this series has grown. It’s more human and complex than many cozies, which is one reason I like it so much.

Woke up at 2:30 with a blistering headache; dozed off, but Charlotte woke me again at 4:30. So I guess it’s another early day.

I hope to get a good chunk of writing in today, some article pitches out, some LOIs out, a session of client work, and maybe even some yard work. If the light is good, I might even get some mending done in the afternoon. I need good daylight for mending.

Tomorrow, I have to take the recycling in to the dump and then head to Trader Joe’s for one last grocery shop before I hunker down and isolate before next week’s surgery. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of nice weather for Summer Solstice, and I can spend a lot of time out on the deck, reading and writing.

Unexpectedly, a book I got from the library because I was interested in the subject (nonfiction) turns out to be useful as background information for ELLA BY THE BAY.

I want to make solid progress on BARD this weekend, and GAMBIT will be my reward if I do so!

I had sent my state senator, with whom I’m in regular contact, just a simple thank you for something, and he was really pleased. I guess we all spend a lot of time complaining, and not enough time thanking.

Andrew Cuomo will end his daily briefings this Friday. I wonder if he has any idea how many people he sustained through all of this? I don’t always agree with him, but I like and respect him.

I need to withdraw a bit from the world burning down, in order to be in good shape, mentally and physically, for surgery. So my focus will be small and close to home for the next week and change. It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention; but it means I can’t cope with it on a larger scale right now. I allow myself that choice without guilt.

Wed. June 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 30 –Destruction & Pain

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Goes Retrograde Tomorrow

Buckle up, people; starting tomorrow, we have five difficult retrogrades going on.

I’m late getting up the post over on Ink-Dipped Advice. I have a feeling it will be mid-late afternoon.

Yesterday was painful and a lost day all the way around. Woke up still exhausted, still with a migraine, but hoping for a better day. However, THREE neighbors were cutting down perfectly healthy trees ALL DAY LONG.

Cutting down healthy trees is painful to me on an emotional level. But, as someone who suffers from hyperacusis, and repetitive machine noise is one of the worst contributors, I was in agony. All day.

Couldn’t be creative. Did some client work, but not happy with it.

Finally, in the late afternoon, they were done, and, for about twenty minutes, there was some quiet so I could put Willa in her playpen and take her out on the deck. Before, you know, the idiots with leafblowers started.

I moved here because I need quiet. Not just on an emotional level, which is important, but on a physical level, because of hyperacusis. One of the major reasons for moving to Cape Cod was for quiet. Yet it’s regularly as noisy or noisier than it was living on 42nd St. and Eighth Avenue in NYC. Traffic, sirens, repetitive machine noise. And, around here, illegal fireworks.

Crawled into bed early. This morning, I still have a migraine, and there’s a lot of pain still in my ears, but I’ll deal. I’m hoping to get some decent work done on BARD’S LAMENT. An editor asked me to pitch some articles (I’ve written for this publication before, quite often). So I have to come up with something. Or, I should say, I should come up with something. They pay fast, and I’ve used them when I needed quick cash. The least I can do is pitch something interesting when they’re short.

Have to be onsite at a client’s for a few hours this morning. Not looking forward to that, because each week, she pushes more and more to act like the virus is gone and everything’s back the way it was.

It will never be back; something new has to be built.

So that adds another level of stress to my day.

I’m hoping to do a curbside pickup for a library book today, and then make it back in time to decontaminate and settle in for Remote Chat.

And then, hopefully, get some other work done in the afternoon, if my dumbass neighbors aren’t destroying something else (loudly).

Hope your week is going well.

Published in: on June 17, 2020 at 4:42 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 17, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 30 –Destruction & Pain  
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Wed. June 3, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 16 – When the Personal Moves into the Forefront

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s been cool enough the past few days so the heat kicked in.

There’s a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, called “Who are You?” about how important personal values are in professionalism.

Struggled with some client work, when it comes to resizing photos so they work for a website. I’ve attended six different tutorials now for that platform. All six contradicted each other; NONE of them had the same stuff coming up on screen that I am. I’ve done all the adjustments suggested, and some of the photos still don’t look right. These aren’t photos that can be retaken. I have to use what I have. The client’s not too worried about it (yet), but I’m not happy.

Andrew Cuomo broke it down very well – separating the protestors from the looters, and what each stand for. And then where the virus comes into all of this.

Because the virus is still here, still waiting to kill more.

But, like I said yesterday, we weren’t dying fast enough from the virus to suit the Sociopath, so now he’s going to send people out to shoot us.

I’m hoping the good writing flow for THE BARD’S LAMENT continues. If it does, and I can keep pace and up it a little, I can make my deadline.

However, in all this, my second surgery has now been scheduled, for June 25. There are stringent protocols around it, due to the virus – including the fact that, the day before, I have to get a COVID-19 test and then isolate completely until I enter the hospital the next day. Now, I’m an advocate of as much testing as possible. Yet I feel guilty that I will be getting a test when so many others aren’t. At the same time, since I’m having surgery, I have to have it. As if the prep for this surgery wasn’t complicated enough anyway and taking an entire day.

If the test comes back negative, I find out when my surgery is scheduled the next day and we go forward with that set of protocols. If it comes back positive, I go into quarantine, and there’s a whole other set of protocols.

They’re going to send me all the instructions, and have put in the prescription for the medication I need to take for the prep. Let’s hope CVS deigns to fill it this time.

And then there are additional post-op protocols that must be followed, due to the virus and the possibility, that even with all these protections in place, I could still be exposed while I’m in the hospital.

So that is going to be an interesting ride. As Venus goes out of Retrograde, and while Mercury is IN Retrograde. Normally, I wouldn’t schedule a surgery while either one is in Retrograde (hence Venus coming out times almost right), but with the Mercury Retrograde, it’s about going back to resolve something that was unresolved – the cancelled surgery. So I’m risking it.

I did some work on the Coventina Circle website. The article about the goddess Coventina is up, along with some links to the historical site. I’ve also posted the blurb for THE BARD’S LAMENT. I have to check with the publisher, but I think the cover reveal is in either August or September. This is the fifth book in the series, and marks just past the half-way point. I love being back in that world.

Went to follow up on an LOI and do some LinkedIn connections. Discovered one of the people to whom I’d sent an LOI just moved companies. Want to stay in touch with him, but not really interested in working with the new company, so I’ll have to figure out to whom to re-send the LOI at the old company.

Tessa doesn’t want to go into the playpen, but Willa likes to show off when Tessa demurs, so Willa was the one who got to go out on the deck yesterday.

I need to do some serious weeding this weekend.

Woke up at 3:30 again today. Getting really tired of being really tired and not sleeping. Writing early this morning (back to BARD as soon as I post this). Then I’m onsite at the client’s for a few hours. Then home, disinfect, maybe more writing or sewing, and more reading about Susanna Centlivre. I still need the catalyst for the play, and haven’t found it yet.

Elizabeth Warren was out with the protesters yesterday, because she walks her talk. Kamala Harris spoke up right away. Joe Biden gave a good speech that didn’t get enough coverage. But the Democrats aren’t hitting back hard enough, and the GOP loves what’s going on. It’s disgusting. They need to stop talking and GET THINGS DONE.

It’s very, very true: If you want peace, work for justice.

Injustice has won out, and it’s so corrupt at the top right now that what’s happening was inevitable.

Spent some time on issues with one of my state senators. On the local level, the town is still being useless.

The COVID numbers are ticking up slowly. I’m keeping an eye on them. If they accelerate, that’ll be another reason for the surgery to be postponed again.

If the surgery goes forward, then there’s all kinds of bloodwork to look forward to in July. Oh, joy. More needles.

Trying to keep balance and perspective on the big picture of what’s happening that has both long and short term effect on my life while dealing with the day-to-day is even more challenging than usual. So I’m just doing what I can as I can and hoping for the best.

Peace.

Published in: on June 3, 2020 at 4:54 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 3, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 16 – When the Personal Moves into the Forefront  
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Tues. July 9, 2019: The Steadiness of Daily Writing

Tuesday, July 9
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Yup. Five damn retrogrades. July will not be an easy month.

If you missed any of the #31Prompts, you can catch up here.

The weekend was good, for the most part. Too much stupid from too many stupid people, but, whatever. Some friends stopped by on their way to the rest of their trip. Nice to catch up.

Other than visiting with friends, it was a quiet holiday, except for the numbnuts who set off fireworks in the neighborhood. The cops do NOTHING. It’s nudge, nudge, wink, wink, boys will be boys. It’s the same damn idiots every year who set them off. It’s illegal, so DO SOMETHING.

I will have a few words with my Town Councilor this week. Not that it will do anything — he’s a total waste of space and has done NOTHING for his district since he got elected. (And no, I did not vote for him. I knew he’d be a waste of space in the job).

The night of the 4th was spent on the floor, trying to soothe the terrified cats.

These jerks aren’t smart enough or skilled enough to be handling explosives.

Friday was an outstanding writing day — worked on ELLA, GRAVE REACH, typed up part of ELLA, did some revisions on GAMBIT COLONY. I love steadily working on projects. You can watch pages stack up, in a tangible way.

Got a contract signed and in the mail — wanted to get it done before Mercury went retrograde.

Finally switched the winter, fleece sofa and chair coverings to the cotton yoga blankets for the summer.

My order from Crystal Bar soaps arrived — just lovely. They have such excellent products.

Marinated tuna steaks in a soy-sesame-ginger sauce. Delicious.

Saturday, was up at five. Baked lemon cupcakes, chocolate chip devil’s food cupcakes, and a spiced chocolate banana bread with rum before it got too hot. Took a dozen of each cupcake to the new neighbors to welcome them. They are long-time Centerville residents, downsizing. Took another dozen of each type of cupcake to my lovely firemen — this is a busy weekend for them.

Got a little bit of writing done, but not much. It was too hot to think. Got a good bit of reading done instead.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived and is a delight. A book arrived, too — one of the Caribbean books I test drove from the library that I wanted to keep, so I bought a copy.

Started re-watching the Lord Peter Wimsey episodes starring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walters. I’d forgotten how much he loves to play with props when he works.

Up early on Sunday. First writing session on the deck, on ELLA.

Plenty of loads of laundry, between clothes, sheets, and the winter furniture covers.

Worked on GRAVE REACH.

Started the short story inspired by the July 1 prompt on #31Prompts: The bagel has landed. I wanted it to be a flash fiction; it might be a short story, or the draft might be a short story, then edited down to be flash. We’ll see. Right now, I’m just writing. Stretching. That’s important.

Up early Monday. Worked on ELLA, worked on GRAVE REACH. Onsite with a client, then another appointment, then meditation group.

Today, I’m onsite with a client, then another appointment. Decent writing sessions on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH.

Not where I’d hoped to be by this point in the summer on anything, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 

Published in: on July 9, 2019 at 5:43 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 9, 2019: The Steadiness of Daily Writing  
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Mon. July 8, 2019: Commitment To Your Writing #UpbeatAuthors

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Image by Stocksnap via Pixabay

Monday, July 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Enough retrogrades for you? Buckle up, buttercups, it’s a rocky month. But the retrogrades will also help clear out a lot of the deadwood and make way for new growth.

We are Upbeat Authors. We want to make the world better through our writing. That doesn’t mean denying that bad things happen. It means exploring and sharing ways that we can work through the bad and build something better.

It means nothing if we can’t finish anything. If we perpetually start things and let put them aside when the next Shiny Idea floats in front of us.

Those of us who write full-time know that we have to juggle multiple projects and meet our commitments to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. Part-time writers and hobbyist writers face different challenges to also keep sheltered and fed.

Finishing projects is vital.

It’s great to play with ideas. Some of them will work. Some of them will not. You don’t want to hang on to a project that’s not going anywhere and drains energy.

But unfinished projects drain creative energy, and if we let too many unfinished projects hang around, it’s like drowning in quicksand.

I actually teach a course on this, and have a Topic Workbook called THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Also, some ideas formulate before they are ready to bloom into full projects. I have pieces where the idea arrived years before I actually write the project, and I’ve often had several false starts along the way.

There’s a big difference between DECIDING to put a project aside and just LETTING it slide.

Contracted projects on deadlines always get first attention. They have to. That’s the deal of being a professional writer. Earliest deadline/highest pay = first attention.

But there are always other projects begging for time that need to be slotted in around it. You need to be a time management whiz without feeling like you’re trapped and never have a minute to do anything fun with friends or family or just hang out and do nothing. All of that is important.

Ideas tend to come in batches. Some ideas demand to be spun out a bit. Some won’t work.

How do you handle it all?

I’m offering some suggestions that work for me, and there are specific exercises in the workbook.

When I get an idea, I jot it down as soon as possible. I try to keep a “Fragment” or “Whatevers” notebook with me at all times.

I DATE each entry. Like a journal. Because sometimes, when I go back to the idea, the context of WHEN it hit me winds up being important.

Contracted projects, like the Coventina Circle, Gwen Finnegan, and Nautical Namaste series, are outlined in advance. I need to be able to drop right down into them the moment I work on them, and not have to wonder about what happens next.

However, I consider outlines roadmaps rather than prisons. I deviate often. I follow where the story leads. Sometimes it leads back to the outline, sometimes not. Sometimes the tangents are cut, although I learn something important from writing them.

Remember, as a writer, nothing is ever wasted.

Uncontracted projects that have to work around the contracted ones, have a different process. Sometimes I’ll outline the whole piece. Other times, I’ll make notes, and then write my way into the book for about four chapters to see if it’s viable.

If it is, I find a way to work it into the schedule.

If it’s not, I write a temporary ending scene, wherever it stops. I either retire it or put it in stasis, and turn my attention back to the viable projects.

Every few months, I review the projects in stasis. Is there a project in there that’s calling? Has it reached its time? If so, I read through it, make notes, and fit it back into the schedule. If not, I leave it in stasis. Because it has a temporary ending, it’s not an unfinished project that’s draining energy through lack of attention.

Every couple of years, I review retired projects. Often, they stay retired. I needed to work on them to learn something — readers don’t need them.

But, every once in awhile, a project from the retired pile shows promise, and comes back out. Dusted off, freshened up, maybe a new perspective, and becomes viable again.

My minimum goal for my own fiction, plays, etc., (separate from marketing writing, articles assignments, reviews, etc.) is 1K/day. I generally do that first thing in the morning, and the pages add up. I up my game as I need to when under deadline pressure.

Right now, I’m working on contracted fiction and play projects at 1-2.5K/day and another 750-1000 words longhand on an uncontracted projected. This is around the other paid writing assignments. I will have to adjust upwards on the contracted fiction a bit, but the uncontracted — there’s no pressure, no deadline, so as long as I do a little every day, no guilt, only pleasure.

There are days I don’t write. Most of those are planned days off, and then I try to write more in the days BEFORE planned time off (because if you wait until after, you never catch up). I lost a few days a couple of weeks ago, when I was unexpectedly sick and couldn’t even think or sit up, much less write. It happens.

But, for the most part, I keep a steady pace. It keeps the momentum going, the pages adding up. I keep my commitment to the work, the deadlines, but most important of all — I keep my commitment to myself.

If you don’t respect yourself and your writing, no one else has any reason to, either.

How do you keep your commitment to your work?

Fri. June 21, 2019: Happy Summer Solstice!

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image courtesy of Nanou22 via http://www.pixabay.com

Friday, June 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice/Midsummer
Rainy and cool

Four planets in retrograde, with Mercury getting ready to join them in early July. Time to take the time for clarifications on multiple levels.

Blessed Summer Solstice! This is MID-summer, not the “first day of summer” as is so often erroneously cited.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I finally have the post up about the play I read for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Yesterday, I was up early, and on the bus to Boston. Even though it’s about a two hour trip, especially in traffic, since I’m not driving, I don’t mind. I managed my first 1K of the day on the bus by the time we hit Plymouth.

Traffic was bad from Hingham all the way up to Boston, but we were only five minutes behind schedule, and I was still very early for my meeting.

I enjoy South Station enormously. As I walked down the platform, from the bus terminal to the train terminal, the Acela from Boston to Washington was boarding, and they called out the name of my old hometown (Rye) as one of the stops. For some reason, that just tickled me.

It had started to rain quite heavily. It wasn’t a long walk from South Station to the meeting on Tremont Street — just up Summer Street, then Winter Street, then turn left on Tremont. About ten minutes, past stores and restaurants. But I was pretty soaked by the time I got there. I was early, and waited in the conference room, trying to keep the dripping in one place.

The meeting was short and went well. We’ll see. Either I’m what they’re looking for, or I’m not. I suspect they want to go with someone younger and with ad agency experience. And, of course, in the back of my mind I’m saying, “I had to make a four hour round trip for a half hour meeting?”

But I wanted to take advantage of being in Boston.

Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out for me to get to the MFA and research in their library.

But the rain had lessened to a drizzle by the time I left. I walked back toward the Station. I got my New York City smarts back the second I’d left the bus, so the grifters looking to hit on the tourists scattered the minute they spotted me. Don’t even, people, I lived a block from Times Square.

There was a green market on the plaza opposite the station. Small, but good quality. But I forgot all that when I saw there was a Vietnamese food truck. Bon Me. I haven’t had Vietnamese food since I moved to the Cape, and it’s my favorite of all the Asian cuisines.

I was enchanted by the choices and stood to one side, taking my time to make my choice, without getting in the way of people ordering. I decided on the Namesake sandwich (a banh my, from which the truck’s name is derived) and an Iced Vietnamese coffee. I adore Vietnamese coffee — didn’t even know one could get it iced.

Those of us who waited under the shelter of the awning (it started pouring again), laughed and chatted. It was so nice to be within a diverse group of people. I didn’t pay attention to it when I lived in New York, because it was a fact of life. But on Cape, it’s homogeneous, and not in a good way. So it was nice to be around a different group of people who were smart and funny and looking forward to their lunch.

I took my meal in to the station and sat at one of the high tables in the food area, enjoying it immensely and eavesdropping on various conversations, as writers do. I mentioned, at one point, that this was the second best sandwich I ever had. That meant that other people at the table wanted to know what was the best, which was the first muffaletta I ever had from Central Grocery in New Orleans.

I stopped at Au Bon Pain to get some chocolate croissants, and headed back down the train platform to the bus terminal and to the bus. I’d missed the previous bus by about five minutes, which is why I decided I could indulge in lunch. Although, once I spotted Bon Me, I would have happily missed the bus on purpose.

The bus I wanted didn’t show up; word was that it was cancelled. But then it showed up late, and took the first ten of us (all that could fit). Traffic was bad and it was raining. I settled back in the seat with my book to enjoy the ride.

An aging Southern Belle was on the bus, on her way to visit friends on Nantucket. She did that helpless thing that absolutely drives me nuts, to get the men to jump to her tune and help her, instead of just asking for someone to help. Then, when the bus hit the brakes because some stupid car from New Jersey cut in front, made an abrupt stop, and then gunned the engine and took off, she claimed she hit her face on the safety bar (she was in the front seat). She was moaning and carrying on how she needed ice and would have a black eye and scrambled to put on her oversized sunglasses.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore and said, “Let me see.” I took a look and told her (in all truth), “Sweetie, your foundation’s not even smudged. It’s not going to get red, much less swollen or a black eye.”

She wasn’t pleased, because then she had to shut the hell up.

I didn’t make it home in time to get to the yoga class my friend was covering. But I made Moosewood’s “Best Chili” and cornbread for dinner, and it was darn good.

Today, I’m doing some remote work for a client and getting out some pitches. I have some errands to run (because we can’t run out of toilet paper, you know), and then I’m headed over to Old King’s Coffeehouse, which just opened up on the Hyannis/Yarmouth line. I’m looking forward to trying them.

It’s pouring with rain, so I might move some of my other errands to tomorrow. I’ll play most of the day by ear.

Have a lovely weekend! It’s supposed to be sunny and gorgeous here, so I’m going to alternate writing and working in the garden.

Published in: on June 21, 2019 at 8:45 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 21, 2019: Happy Summer Solstice!  
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Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
No Retrogrades

I’d forgotten what it feels like not to have retrogrades.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for my take on “The Book Boyfriend Dilemma.”

Busy few days, and it was a little overwhelming. Friday morning was stressful with a client, then I had some errands in the afternoon. I ended up buying some clothes to freshen up my wardrobe, some pants and skirts. I need to have a bit more of a polished look this year.

When I’m writing at home, I can wear whatever I want (usually yoga clothes, never pajamas. I can’t write in pajamas). But when I actually have to leave the house, I need and want to look professional, even if it’s not to a formal meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived on Friday, a day early, so that was a fun treat.

Saturday morning, I had errands — and wound up doing more clothes shopping — more pants and a few jackets. So I’m all set for the coming season.

Got two sets of notes on the radio play — which they claim they originally sent early in December, and I never received them. I had a conversation months ago, when they claimed they’d sent me something and I had never received it, which is why they didn’t get a response — if I don’t respond in 2-3 business days, it means I didn’t get it, and please follow up. I can’t respond if I don’t know they need something. Which they did not do, again. Now, they want a new draft in a little over two weeks. When I should have had seven.

I’m all signed up for a conference at which I’m a presenter — the schedule hasn’t officially been released yet, so I can’t give out the details. I will, as soon as I get the okay. Got a pitch for another radio play out (to a different company).

Started taking down the decorations. It took me a month to get them up; I don’t know why I thought I could get them down in an afternoon. And I used enough florists’ wire to build a small city.

Got some writing done, and some work on galleys. Not enough, I’m behind, and it frustrates me.

Got yet more contradictory information on my health insurance. I now have four sets of documents, all which contradict each other. I’m turning the whole mess over to Elizabeth Warren’s office. Don’t ever believe the marketing crap that health coverage in the state of Massachusetts works. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars in repeatedly having to send documents via certified mail (which they always claim they never received, even when I have proof) and dozens of lost work hours every year to sign up for health coverage — all with the threat that I’ll have to pay a fine WHEN THEY SCREW IT UP EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Single payer. Anything else is just stupid.

Exhausted on Sunday. Had trouble getting going. Working on finishing up a book for review. Had to do some client work that I couldn’t get finished last week, and which had to be done by Monday.

Worked on taking down decorations. Still not done. The tree only has lights left on it, but it will be another day or two before I can get them off and take the tree apart. I haven’t even stripped the tree in my office of ornaments yet.

I’m just unbelievably exhausted, and don’t see any option for rest coming up. It’s not about sleep. It’s about rest.

Sunday night was a fancy dress party. The reason I’d been shopping earlier in the weekend was to find a dress for this party. I didn’t find one, although I found pieces to freshen my wardrobe. But it turns out that I could fit into my favorite navy blue velvet evening gown. I paired it with my new blue suede pumps, thigh-high stockings (I’m sticking to my resolution not to wear pantyhose anymore), a multi-colored velvet wrap, elbow-length red velvet gloves, and I had my hair up with a tiara. I was pretty pleased with the effect.

The party was fun. It was at a restaurant in Hyannis. There was live music, a dance floor. I had a few glasses of Prosecco, danced, talked to people I knew and didn’t.

When I got home, I changed into pajamas and made scrambled eggs and ham for a late, light supper.

Monday was spent in client work, a couple of other appointments, and then a new meditation class. I desperately, desperately needed it.

I was exhausted when I woke up on Monday, but proud of myself for sticking to the weight training. I do the weights before I do yoga, and that works much better. I used to do it the other way around, and it didn’t work.

My printer is acting up – just when I have A LOT that needs to be done in the next few days. I’m trying to replace the drum and hope that solves it; otherwise, I have to buy a new printer.

With a client today and tomorrow. Thursday, I start digging into the radio script revisions, and focus on some of the other writing.

Usually, even when I’m too tired to physically write much, I can work out plot points and story themes. But I’m so physically and mentally spent that I can’t even string two silent thoughts together. It’s very hard to be vocally coherent with clients.

And maybe, MAYBE this coming weekend, I can get some rest.

I’m going to figure out where I can take a few days off, either later this month, or early next month.

I still have two books coming out quickly that need to be marketed; and get back in the groove of GRAVE REACH, which comes out near the end of the year. And the plays. This year is about a lot of scripts.

I also have to get the registration of the websites shifted over to Name Silo. That means the sites will probably go down for a bit, as 1&1 tries to sabotage the transfer. But I’m happy with A2 as my host, and I want Name Silo to hold the registration. I want to finally be free of 1&1 for good. I wish I’d had the courage and the knowledge to leave them years ago. It’s cost me thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

But most of all, most of all, I am desperate for some rest.

Published in: on January 8, 2019 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest  
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Mon. Jan. 7, 2019: Long Term Practice Pays Off #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, January 7, 2018
Waxing Moon
NO RETROGRADES

Can you believe it? Nothing is in retrograde right now. We get the chance to catch our collective breath!

This month’s topic is self-care, and the first topic I’m going to tackle is how commitment to a practice over a long period of time pays off.

I’m using two long-term practices from my own life — writing and my yoga/meditation practice — as examples.

I have a commitment to write 1K day on what I call my “primary project.” Of course, as a full-time writer, who writes for others as well as creating my own work, I have to write a hell of a lot more than 1K/day to keep a roof over my head.

But that 1K/day, first thing, builds up the pages and the chapters and the books. It is the foundation of my writing career.

Before you start whining, writing 1K/day doesn’t mean you never get a day off. The difference is that you CHOOSE when you take time off instead of just letting the writing slide until days and weeks of not writing accumulate.

Uh, uh! What did I say about whining? You have a full-time job, but want to be a full-time writer? How badly do you want this? Do you simply want the idea of being a full-time writer, or do you actually want to be a full-time writer?

If it’s the latter, then treat your writing as your second job until it’s your ONLY job. That doesn’t negate the passion, the fun, or the creativity. It makes you a professional.

The other thing that separates pros (especially in the arts) from the rest is that the only purpose of the day job is to support the writing. That is, if you actually WANT to be a full-time writer. It means you change day jobs whenever you need to, and whenever it gets in the way of the writing.

When I worked in theatre (and I wrote then, too), I’d take non-theatre jobs in between shows. A show closed, I’d take a job. Usually with something arts-related. Trust me, you never, EVER want me as your waitress. I waitressed for two days, swore off, and haven’t had to work that gig since. I leave that to actors, who, you know, actually like people.

Anyway, I’d take a day job, and when I landed another theatre job, either the day job would let me work a flexible schedule that didn’t interfere with rehearsals, techs, shows, matinees, put-ins, etc. — or I’d quit the day job.

Until I reached the position where there was no down time between shows. I went from show-to-show-to-show, and then, on Broadway, I was lucky enough to land slots on long-running shows, such as MISS SAIGON, where I worked the last five years of the ten year Broadway run. 8 shows/week. Nights, weekends, holidays. I took my two weeks’ vacation once a year (usually a week twice a year). A couple of times, I took a leave for a month when one of the shows I wrote was produced overseas. But I was there. 8 shows/week for five years.

Theatre (and writing) always came first. ALWAYS. The work must always be protected. ALWAYS.

“But I have a family! I have responsibilities!”

So do I. But my family and my partners needed to be fully supportive, carry their weight, too (although, most of my life, I have been the primary breadwinner in any relationship). Any partner who didn’t carry his share of the physical and emotional work? Or, more importantly, who got in the way of it? Gone.

Because the RIGHT partner doesn’t get in the way of the work.

For me, it’s lonelier to be with the wrong person than to be single.

It paid off in theatre. I worked my way up to Broadway. And it was wonderful. And when it was time to leave and do something else, I accepted it, and did so.

It is paying off in writing (which is always a journey). Writing is my business as well as my vocation and my passion. It is not my hobby.

I am not rich (working on that–sort of a joke, sort of not). I’m not famous (thank goodness, and some of that is a choice, much of that is luck, and some of my decisions that may cost me cash that fame would bring, but buy me the peace to do the work — we’ll see how they’ve turned out at the end of my life/career).

I’ve given up plenty that society considers “normal.”

I don’t regret it.

I wanted it badly enough.

I show up and do the work.

I am relentless when I have to be. Ruthless when I have to be.

Long-term practice pays off.

Moving to the yoga/meditation practice, which I’m sure is more along the lines of what you expected from a self-care post, this past year of practice has caused a huge positive shift in my life.

Every single day of 2018, I did at least a short meditation. I admit, I skipped yoga on some days (and regretted it, every time).

But every single day, and often more than once a day, I maintained my meditation practice. Even when I had a session with a meditation group on any particular day. I kept up my own practice.

It helped my focus. It increased my concentration. It lowered my stress, which improved my health.

But I didn’t realize the full impact until New Year’s Eve.

This was the first New Year’s Eve in years where I wasn’t miserable.

I talk about that misery in detail in the January 3rd, post, so I won’t go back into it here.

I didn’t have it this year. I didn’t have the misery, the desperation, or any of that. I wasn’t happy and dancing around, but I was content. For the first time in years of New Year’s Eves, I was content.

Be where you are. Start where you are. You’re fine right now.

That’s what we work on at Kripalu.

That’s what I work on in the daily yoga and meditation practice.

It doesn’t mean to stop striving to be better or do more. But it means to stop hating yourself in the moment. It doesn’t mean give up and feel like nothing can or will ever change. It means taking stock of the moment.

Accept yourself.

Take care of yourself.

You are fine where you are.

Once you hit that point, then, THEN you can build something positive for the future.

Commit to something that makes you feel happy or content or serene or fulfilled. Do it, even for a few minutes every single day this year. When you’re tired, when you’re sick, when you’re overwhelmed.

Do one good thing for yourself for a few minutes every day.

Chart the difference until next year. You’ll be surprised.

You’ll be content.

You might even be happy.

Published in: on January 7, 2019 at 6:25 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 7, 2019: Long Term Practice Pays Off #UpbeatAuthors  
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Thurs. July 26, 2018: And Mercury Goes Retrograde, Too!

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Day Before Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I’m tired of everything being perpetually warm and damp.

Mercury goes retrograde today, with all these other retrogrades, and right before a full moon with the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

Yesterday was not a productive day on RELICS, and I’ll have to make it up this weekend. I have a deadline looming (although my editor let me push it back a few days). But this new deadline still must be met. I have Amanda and Phineas’s first real love/sex scene to write, and it’s tricky. I haven’t been in the right headspace to write it, and I can’t just skip it, move on and go back, because how it plays out influences the rest of the book. I know the focus and drive of it and what happens after, but the nuances I’ll discover when actually writing the scene will make a big difference.

Review out, a few blog posts ahead on some other blogs. Worked with a client on a batch of blog posts. The new hire at that client’s place is working well, so far. We’re finding lots of mistakes from the person that left. I also got a raise at this gig, without having to be the one to say, “I’m raising my rate.” Which is nice.

Got some work done restructuring THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so I have an idea of what I have, how much, what needs to be tweaked since I split out the material that grew into MYTH & INTERPRETATION. Behind on where I want/need to be for DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will also have to get caught up this weekend.

The consensus on the DAVY JONES DHARMA cover was that it was too cutesy. Since the Nautical Namaste mysteries intentionally break some of the cozy formula rules, the covers can’t be entirely cozy, although they are more light-hearted than the ones for the other series. My cover designer showed me two other options. My editor, publisher, and I all liked the same one best, and I admit — they were right, I was wrong. The new one fits the tone of the book and the theme of the series better. We’re still debating whether or not to have the figure seated in lotus position, as we did on SAVASANA, to keep it consistent. But it looks wrong, so we might go without.

Also saw a rough of the cover for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I love, love, love!!!! Completely different direction than I expected, and much better.

And the cover for RELICS & REQUIEM is beautiful. We also have a rough of the fourth boo in the Coventina Circle series, GRAVE REACH, which is lovely. The image was originally one of those proposed for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It wasn’t right for that book, but was compelling and fit more in the style of the Coventina Circle books.

So all of those covers are done ahead of time and are in good shape. I’ll be working with my other cover designer on the covers for the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures for next spring, and the next set of covers we need to worry about are those for what used to be POWER OF WORDS, but is now going to be called something else, and get its own logo and subdomain and website and all the rest, so it’s a lot.

I have a few things to do this morning and the library, and then it’s back home to write, write, write!

 

Published in: on July 26, 2018 at 8:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 26, 2018: And Mercury Goes Retrograde, Too!  
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Tues. June 26, 2018: Good Writing Things While the Country Burns Down

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

Five retrogrades. That’s a lot of weight.

Turned around the galleys for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. The book will be ready for pre-orders soon. I’m happy with it.

RELICS & REQUIEM is steaming along nicely. I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night, so I spent several hours lying in bed refining plot points and making mental adjustments to the Writers Rough outline. I’ve started putting those adjustments into practice. It makes a big adjustment to the romantic part of the romantic suspense arc, and I’m not quite sure it will work, but I’m going to give it a shot.

This week, along with RELICS, I get back into the saddle with DAVY JONES DHARMA, the second Nautical Namaste mystery. I need to re-read the material and take a look at the outline to get back into that headspace and voice.

The anti-gun violence play is going along slowly. But that’s okay. Every piece has its own innate rhythm. I don’t yet have a title for it, which is making it more difficult.

I received the check from the radio play. Always great to get those checks.

PJ Friel, the cover artist, is going to stay on as the cover artist for The Jain Lazarus Adventures, which is a relief. She created a specific look for the series, which I think works. My publisher agreed. I’m very proprietary about Jain, and I’m lucky that my publisher is giving me more leeway than is usual.

I’m also reading PJ’s debut novel, A TWIST OF WYRD, and loving it. It’s a terrific urban fantasy with a strong romance at its core. I’m looking forward to more in the series. PJ was a guest of mine on A Biblio Paradise when the book came out, a few weeks ago.

Friday night, I went out with a friend I haven’t seen in person since last fall, right after PLAYING THE ANGLES released. We went to Embargo, a tapas place in Hyannis. The food was surprisingly good, and we had a great catch-up. She invited me to participate in a fundraiser for a mutual friend of ours, which will happen in August. I’m going to write a new monologue for that, which I’ve started percolating. She is a ceramic artist, and is participating in a show in Falmouth opening in a couple of weeks, so I will go to that. And she’s encouraging me to apply for a reading slot at a local festival this fall. She’s right. All they can do is say no. But they can’t say yes if I don’t let them know I’m interested.

So it was a good, creative shoring up of each other’s work.

Saturday was a rainy day. I like listening to the rain here. I gave myself the day off. I needed it.

Sunday, I was back in the saddle for RELICS & REQUIEM, and got some solid work on it in. I also read over what I’ve got on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, now that I’ve cut out the material used for MYTH. It’s much tighter and more focused. I’ll have to massage a few things for the timeline and then move forward; I’ve lost several chapters of the material that was the foundation for MYTH. But now BALTHAZAAR has its necessary pace and focus, and I can move forward.

Re-read what I’ve got so far on CRAVE THE HUNT, the third Jain Lazarus. It’s a little more than the first quarter of the book, a little less than the first third. I like it. I found most of my outline notes, so I know where I’m going with it. I think I can whip it into shape for its release in March.

IF I stay focused on everything else that’s already contracted.

Yesterday was about client work and continuing to work on the media kit for MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I had trouble getting my head back into RELICS, for some reason; but eventually, I got there.

Some idiot yesterday, here on Cape said, “I don’t have anything to worry about with politics. My skin is white.” And THIS is why we now live in a fascist dictatorship. The ignorance and lack of care is appalling.

Today is about more client work. I’m hoping to get to Reiki tonight. Because believe me, I need it!

 

Published in: on June 26, 2018 at 1:44 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 26, 2018: Good Writing Things While the Country Burns Down  
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