Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for advance purchase.

Friday, November 3, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and mild

I managed to get 1K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday morning.

I also updated 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the Nano cheerleading workbook. I tried to upload it to the Devon Ellington site, but Microsoft won’t let it then download when someone tries to click on it, calling it a “double escape” and citing “security” issues. Which is, of course, complete and utter crap. So it’s available on 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd. It is free — I hope it helps encourage those who are doing Nano.

Got some other work done as well, and then had yoga, which was bliss. I hadn’t realized how tight everything had gotten over these past two weeks. I also signed up for a crystal sound bowl meditation class on November 12 with the same teacher.

Took down the Samhain decorations, which included switching out the curtains from the black lace spiderweb curtains to the winter velour curtains.

My poor mother has another week of complicated dressing changes to go through before she gets her stitches out.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot — blood everywhere, but I can’t find a cut. However, the toe in question is badly bruised and it’s difficult to put weight on it. Fun and games all around.

Today, I have work to do early on at one site, then three hours on site with a client, then possibly back to the first site.

My article on “Conference Follow-Up” is live at Authors Publish. I also have to prepare the clip and send it to those who allowed me to quote them in the article.

I have more client work to do this afternoon, plus finish a book for review (I want to get it out tomorrow). I have to set a couple of posts up on various blogs, and type up some material for a client.

In addition, I have to do one more pass on SAVASANA and get some other writing of my own done.

There’s a full moon meditation up on Cerridwen’s Cottage in honor of the full moon, and tomorrow, a new post will go up on Kemmyrk, that ties in.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Plymouth to support one of my clients who has a speaking engagement, and I also have to get in a lot of writing. If the weather cooperates, some yard work has to happen, too.
Never a dull moment, but that’s the way I like it.

Don’t forget! SAVASANA AT SEA is available for pre-release orders and PLAYING THE ANGLES is available for purchase.

Have a great weekend. I won’t be able to post on Monday — a post will go live on Tuesday, talking about the weekend and Monday.

Playing the Angles available now.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

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Tues. Oct. 31, 2017: Samhain

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Samhain/Halloween

Pretty intense few days.

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see its new look and please, drop a commment!

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the October wrap-up.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, the blog tied to the Cerridwen Iris Shea work, to read a few ruminations.

The bulk of the weekend was the aftermath of my mom’s surgery. She’s doing really well, don’t get me wrong. She only took the Tylenol the first day — says she doesn’t need it now. But there’s a lot of post-op care to make sure the foot and the place under her collarbone where the skin was grafted heal properly. Plus, she’s exhausted, which makes sense, since surgery is a big trauma on the body.

Then, I’m exhausted, and I feel guilty about it, because I didn’t go through surgery.

But I feel what I feel, so I acknowledge it and try to let it go, while continuing on.

Friday I was wiped out. I did some research for yesterday’s meeting. I sent off my next review. But that was the extent of getting any writing done. I couldn’t focus.

I also have notes on multiple projects that I have to sort out and put into folders, or I’ll lose them and not have them when I need them.

There was a glitch with the car insurance, but it turned out the agent gave me the wrong information, and we got it all sorted out, thank goodness.

We watched season 3 of BROADCHURCH the past few days. Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, I had to run more errands, and then, finally, that check I’ve been waiting for arrived. That was a big relief. So, on that level, things are sorted out.

Started reading Hillary Clinton’s WHAT HAPPENED. It’s an exceptionally well-written book. I don’t know why that surprised me. Maybe because Tony Blair’s memoir, and so man other political tomes I’ve read weren’t? Over the decades, there have been times when I’ve disagreed with her, but so far, I agree with most of what she says in the book. And it would have been so nice to have a qualified, intelligent human being in the office instead of a narcissistic sociopath.
Also read a translation of Marc Levy’s PS FROM PARIS. I hadn’t read any of his work before. It’s joyful and surprising and wonderful. Loved the book, and am now eager to read more. It also makes me want to get my French back up to speed so that I could read it in its original language (although Sam Taylor’s translation was excellent).

ALSO read Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES. The Gamache series is intriguing. Penny is one of the few authors who I feel can pull off third person omniscient, although there was too much head-hopping in this book, and it wasn’t as smooth as usual. But her explorations into people and their motivations interest me.

One of my rocking horse statues broke while I was using the central vaccuum. It got caught in the hose — very frustrating. It will take me several weeks to put it back together properly — filling the cracks, getting the pieces to fit just right, layering it back on, then sanding down the fixative and doing some paint touch-ups.

Tessa is far too curious, and I’m worried she’ll get glue all over her.

We had quite the storm Sunday night into Monday. Lots of people without power, still, even. We were lucky — it flickered at 4 in the morning, but then came back on.

Yesterday was spent with clients — one for the bulk of the day, then came home to change my mother’s wound dressings, and then the other for a couple of hours. Two very different projects, but both terrific, engaging, and let me be creative. I’m very grateful.

Today is Samhain, a big day on my personal calendar. I have lots of running around in the morning (buying things like candy and cat food). Hopefully, we’ll have some trick or treaters tonight — the house is all dolled up!

Then, of course, the big ritual. Today is the end of the agricultural year, and tomorrow starts the new one. We’ve harvested the last of the tomatoes and herbs. Now, I still have to finish putting the yard to bed, and soon, we’ll take in the rest of the plants that overwinter inside or in the garage, and the deck furniture. And rake leaves forever, and cut back the beds.

Next spring, I either have to buy a new mower or hire someone in.

Lots and lots and LOTS of errands, et al to do today, then handing out candy tonight and then . . .ritual. The next few nights will be taken up with ceremonies for the dead — there’s an article about that over on Cerridwen’s Cottage.

I won’t post here tomorrow, but the November To-Do list will be up over on the GDR site.

I keep promising myself that I will NOT do Nano because of my deadlines, only stand at the sidelines, cheering others on. We’ll see what happens when November 1 hits. I’m definitely wavering. My ego is at war with my practicality. Because that’s what it is for me this year — ego. I want the satisfaction of another Nano win. It has nothing to do with the realities of what I HAVE to get done this month. And there’s no room for that type of ego in my life right now.

I got a little bit of MARRIAGE GARDEN done yesterday and today. I need to do a big push on THE FIX IT GIRL the rest of this week.

Back to the page.

Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me

November 1, 2016
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, but a good one. I got some solid work done on the 4th draft of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. I’m still worried I’m not cutting enough, but I am making cuts, so we’ll see where we end up. Since the focus of the book is the interweb of relationships and it’s set against the backdrop of the mystery, it’s a little different than a typical, formula mystery.

I also found that I had to write my way a bit into the second book, MURDER OF A MELANCHOLIC, to satisfy myself on a few things in CHOLERIC.

I hope you enjoyed “The Possession of Nattie Filmore.” The link is down, and it’s no longer available, but you can take your coupon for the Yuletide comedy “Just Jump in and Fly” and use it until tomorrow.

Got plants repotted and stored either in the garage or found a spot in the house for the winter. The bed between the pines has been tilled and raked and cleaned; it has too much shade to be used for vegetables and herbs next year, but maybe I can put in some lovely shade plants. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get the whole yard to bed for the winter, but I’m getting there. And yes, there is still mowing that needs to happen!

Samhain was fun yesterday. The little kids were adorable, and they found the house delightful. The older girls were mostly dressed as superheroes, but will elaborately beaded and feathered masks. Gorgeous! A neighbor and I were the only ones participating in Halloween, which is kind of a shame. But it was fun.

Samhain ritual was good last night, too. It was the first time I’d done a formal ritual with all the bells and whistles, rather than a spontaneous one. I’m glad I did. Lots of work to do for the coming year! Lots of changes coming.

Baked “Day of the Dead” bread this morning — good stuff. Although I’m not a big fan of anise, I liked it here.

I have errands this morning, and then it’s back to the revisions, and, hopefully, doing some more writing, both on the prose and the plays. I am NOT participating in Nano this year –it will derail too much. But I wish everyone who’s doing it success and the joy of the process!

Devon

Published in: on November 1, 2016 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 1, 2016: Revisions, Samhain, No Nano for Me  
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Tues. Nov. 3, 2015: Grief & Writing

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Friday was a very sad day for us. Violet died in the afternoon. At least she died at home, where she was loved, and she wasn’t in pain. But we are all heartbroken. We took her body to an emergency care facility in Dennis, where they will take care of the remains.

She was a small, quiet cat, but the house feels empty without her. Iris and Tessa are looking for her. They miss her, too.

There was a lot of cleaning and scrubbing and disinfecting to do, of course. We were already exhausted from the last few days, and there was just nothing left in the tank.

Samhain was sad. It was difficult to pull it together, and I kept the ritual very simple.

On the plus side, the costumes the Trick-or-Treaters wore were delightful. Brought us some joy for a sad time.

Turned back the clocks to standard time. The cats, however, were still on their time, so I was up early anyway.

Sunday was the first day of Nano. I seriously considered quitting before it began. I wasn’t sure I have the heart to do it this month. I’m also tired of Nano and death being so closely associated, year after year. I’m going to be sad for awhile, and I don’t know how I can dig deep enough to work on the books.

But I did it, and felt better for it. I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, the cozy mystery set on a fictional island off the coast of Cape Cod. Yup, I stuck in another island near Martha’s Vineyard. Gave the steamship authority a couple of extra routes, too. I wrote the whole first chapter, 2833 words, and felt better.

I then did some work on TIE-CUTTER, getting ready to close out the section set in Hollywood. So my day’s total was 4269. Not a bad start.

The rest of the day was about taking down the Samhain decorations, but leaving up the Day of the Dead items. Again, I kept the ceremonies simple, because I’m just wiped out.

I also baked for the week: cranberry muffins for Monday’s meeting, double chocolate chunk for Tuesday’s Come Write In! session, and oatmeal cookies for Thursday’s session.

I’ve been reading Ted Hughes’s WINTER POLLEN. I know very little of his work. I’m of the generation that fetishized Sylvia Plath, put her on a pedestal, and demonized Ted Hughes. Unfair, but that’s how it was presented — he destroyed her genius, forcing her to have children and subsume her poetry to his, while he catted around. Reality was, of course, far more complicated. The older I got, the less patience I had with Sylvia. But I’d still read very little of Ted’s work.

His essays on Shakespeare are wonderful. I’m not sure I agree with his theories, but they’re interesting, and they certainly give me additional perspectives, next time I go back to the plays. It makes me eager to re-read the plays. I grow wary when I read his writing on Sylvia Plath’s work. He was in an impossible situation. Who knew her work better? Yet who had more reason to protect himself, and, supposedly, the rest of her family? Destroying her final journal — under that same guise of “protection”– is something I don’t think the world will ever forgive. I agree with that. Even if she lashed out at her children and he didn’t want them to read those moments of anger — and it would make sense to resent her children in the moment and write about it in her journal, using that to cure her — that anger or depression or whatever she poured into those final journals is vital to understanding her work. At the same time, I understand the desire to protect self and family (I don’t agree with it, but I understand it), and he’s got a point, that, at the time, she wasn’t the iconic figure she grew into. The sad part is, no matter how good her poetry was, or how much she was likely to improve as an artist, she probably wouldn’t have become the icon she is without her suicide. It’s an impossible, complex situation.

I think I would trust his writing about her work more if it wasn’t in the third person; if he didn’t refer to “her husband” when he meant himself. Again, I can understand the choice in the moment — to keep it sounding more objective. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across that way. It comes across as cold, and as though the writer has something to hide.

The only one who knows the truth is Sylvia herself, and she only knows her own truth. His truth is different. The children’s truths are different. The rest of her family’s truths are different. They are all parts of the puzzle, and some of those parts are irrevocably missing.

From the outside, though, it remains fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Yesterday morning, I was up at five. I wrote Chapter Two of CHOLERIC, 2554 words. Difficult words, but words.

I left a little before eight to go to Buzzards Bay for a strategic planning meeting at the Marine Life Center. There’s too much “committee” and “subcommittee’ and yakking in my opinion. Work is not done in meetings; work is done in the space between meetings. I feel like we’re going around in circles, instead of moving forward.

Home, another stint on TIE-CUTTER. Brought my day’s total to 3990 and my full total to 8259, which is decent for two days’ work.

Took down the spider web curtains, put up the winter curtains, did four loads of laundry. Another simple ceremony (these are the days of the ceremonies for the dead). The sadness weighs me down and I can’t shake it. But I also have to give myself time.

We will adopt another cat, but not right away. We all have to adjust to life without Violet. After Thanksgiving, or maybe even after Christmas.

Of course, people keep offering cats now. 😉

Watching the DCI BANKS series. Very well done, although sometimes the second half of each episode feels rushed.

Up early this morning. Wrote Chapter Three of CHOLERIC, 3322 words. I was raring to continue into Chapter Four, but afraid I’d push too far. There’s a COME WRITE IN session at the library this morning, and I want to work on TIE CUTTER there, and have something left in the tank for CHOLERIC tomorrow. We’re getting to a big confrontation scene.

Once CWI is over, we’re doing a test run of the tree for Spectacle at the Library. So, yes, once again I’m going in on what’s supposed to be my day off. 😉

Busy day today. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be long days, and I imagine that my word count will drop drastically. That’s why I’ve been pushing so hard up front.

Devon

Published in: on November 3, 2015 at 10:53 am  Comments (4)  
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Fri. Nov. 1, 2013: Busy Docket & Why Nano No Longer Serves My Vision

November 1, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Dia de Muertos
Windy and raw

It was nice to have a day away from the daily work routine. There was plenty to do (like grocery shopping and library), and I had to get online a few times to deal with things I needed for today’s work.

Spent most of the time doing the work I do for Samhain, which was good, and I’m ready for the wheel to turn. This last one was rough, and I want it to improve for the next cycle.

We didn’t have a lot of trick or treaters last night, which was a disappointment, in a way, but the ones that showed up at the door were awfully creative! We have a lot of leftover candy (uh, oh).

Trying to sort out the projects that need attention and prioritize them, along with juggling the contracted work coming in.

I’m not doing Nano. I’m glad I did it for the four years that I did it, and I got some good work out of it. However, I already write more than 50K in a month (or I couldn’t pay the bills), so it no longer serves a purpose.

I’m also sick and tired of the huge lack of commitment and the attitude so many have that “Nano” means doing anything they want. If you “do” Nano, you START a new project today and write at least 50K during the month. If you bring in something you’re already working on or do revisions, you are not following the parameters of Nano — you are writing WITH Nano, and siphoning off everyone else’s creative energy (like a vampire), but you are NOT “doing” Nano. You are “writing with” Nano, but you’re not within its guidelines.

And for those who drop out — if you can’t commit to your creative life for a month, you won’t be able to commit for a lifetime.

I think the premise of Nano is wonderful, but too much self-serving, poor-work-habit-enabling crap has grown up around it in the last years, and it no longer serves my vision for my career. So I don’t do it.

I wish everyone who does it well, though — PROVIDED THEY DON’T QUIT. If you quit. for whatever reason, I have no time or patience for you.

I’m going to the theatre this weekend — looking forward to hanging out with friends.

Got a lot on today’s docket, so I better get going. And the next few nights are taken up with ceremonies for the Dead, so it’ll be a slew of late nights for me.

Devon

Published in: on November 1, 2013 at 7:50 am  Comments (1)  
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days, and didn’t realize most of the morning was gone.

The weekend was all about getting the plants in and settled, getting up the grow light, enjoying the eggplants and the strawberries which are still coming fast and furiously, and trying to save the tomatoes. The patio furniture is in, but I still have to put teak oil on it before it’s completely done for the winter. The rest of the plants are adjusting to being inside.

The azalea, heather, mums, lilac, holly trees, and little oak are staying out, although the lilac will go into the garage soon to go dormant for winter.

I went out on Saturday to pick up wine before the storm hit. Seems like everyone else had the same idea — grocery stores weren’t too busy, but everyone’s cars were filled with rock salt and cases of liquor! Too funny.

The storm didn’t hit the Cape too badly — lots of rain and wind, but that’s it. My mom had a great birthday, I cooked her a good dinner, she’s enjoying the books. We lost power for a few minutes in the middle of the night, but that was all. The rest of the state was hammered — some places got 30 inches of snow. We were lucky

Sunday was a quiet day, for me, mostly catching up on stuff and winding up the Scaling the Wall class. I was afraid it hadn’t gone well, but the students who didn’t quit the first week were really happy with the new perspectives on their novels, and most of them have signed up for the short story class in January. So that’s all good.

I have a feeling a few more will drop out of the year-long shortly. On the one hand, it annoys me that everyone in the class has been investing time and energy in each other, and some of them can’t cut it. I don’t care what they claim as the reason — either you keep a commitment or you don’t. Books don’t write themselves, especially not 200 words once every six weeks. If you want to be a writer, you write. Period. If you don’t want to do the work and make the commitment, go do something else. On the other hand, I have to trust that this group will wind up being what it needs to be to do its best work.

Some people say things like, “oh, when you give this again, I’ll take it.” Um, first of all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even if I did this again, the group dynamic would be different. Second, it’s highly unlikely I will do it again, not because I don’t enjoy it, but because of the amount of time and energy it takes in proportion to the rest of my work. I definitely wouldn’t offer it for several years. Third, why would they think they’d be accepted again, if they already proved they weren’t able to fulfill the commitment now? “De Nile” may be more than a river in Egypt, so what does that make “De Lusion”?

Whatever. I have my own writing to focus on.

I finally cracked the bar scene (thanks to the feedback from the class). It’s not perfect, but it works and makes sense, and I could move forward.

I also had batches of ideas for the short story segment. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do an adult contemporary for my first short story. If I can work in some of the other stories around my other work, I will also do that. But that’s the way it is — ideas come in batches.

Yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity to go on a cemetery tour in Marstons Mills. It wasn’t about ghosts or hooky-spookies. It was about the town founders and interesting graves in a cemetery whose early graves are pre-Revolutionary war and I even saw a grave as recent as 2008. Lots of great stories. And an absolutely gorgeous horse-drawn hearse from the 1880’s, originally made in New Bedford. It had a space for ice to keep the body cool, adjustable pegs for coffin length, velvet curtains, and beautiful finials on the top. The maker stopped building hearses to build unicycles, which were a big business as indoor racing — because the outdoor roads were too bad to race on!

Anyway, I got a few great ideas, and some of them I can combine into a single fantasy tale.

The grow light fell apart — the glass separated from the filament — so I have to take it back.

We had a good turnout of Trick or Treaters last night, in full costume. I had Tessa in her harness and leash, and she came to the door with me. She was a the Belle of Halloween! She was really good about it, too. She enjoyed the attention, unlike the twins, who hid the whole time.

Samhain ceremonies went well. Today is Day of the Dead, and the next few nights are the Tending the Dead ceremonies. Tomorrow, the Samhain decor is packed, and the Thanksgiving goes up. The tween girls last night were funny — they were excited to meet the person who lived in “the house with all the cool decorations.” And a group of my adult neighbors went around in costume, just saying hi — hilarious! Good times, all the way around.

And so, the wheel turns again, and I’m looking forward to the coming winter.

Devon

PS Best wishes to those of you doing Nano this year. Go forth and write!

Today’s word count: 1205
Total word count: 45,834

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 9:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Blessed Samhain!

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

Back tomorrow with all the news!

Devon

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 7:59 am  Comments (5)  
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Worked a lot with my students yesterday. Got dates, etc. sorted for the in-person class I’m teaching in January and into February a couple of towns over. Got an extension over the holiday weekend for the assignment for Confidential Job #1.

Took off two hours in the afternoon to put up the Samhain decorations — made a big difference to the space and my morale. That was my “Artist Date” for the week. As part of the year-long intensive, everyone is required to do something fun just because they want to at least once a week. Decorating the house was mine. It looks really cute! I still want to do some more outside.

This morning’s session on the book was tough. 200 words into it, Violet knocked a full cup of coffee onto my current files, my datebook, the floor, the lovely carpet. I had to stop everything to clean it up, and it was hard to drop back down into the world of the book.

I am saddened by Steve Jobs’s death. His devices make it possible for me to write full time and actually pay my bills. I am grateful to him for building systems that aren’t rigged to fail the day after the warranty runs out.

I’ve got errands to do today, as well as dealing with my classes, so it will be another busy day. But I adore autumn — I love these crisp days and the turning colors and the sense of the wheel turning.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1841
Total word count: 15,827

Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 8:04 am  Comments (3)  
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

IMG_0718

Sunday, November 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Editing a story and staying within a word limit is like bartering — for every word you wish to add, you have to give up one.

That’s how it was, editing “The Misappropriation of Talent”, the Merry’s Dalliance tale, but I got it edited, polished, and out. Either they’ll like it or they won’t, and, if they don’t, I have other markets that will accept it.

Had to make a trip to Costco, never a good idea on a Saturday. But managed to sail through pretty fast and stock up on a few things, including a 4-lb bag of Nestle’s semi-sweet morsels. Yeah, I’m planning to bake a lot in the next few weeks!

Wrestled with “Lake Justice.” It’s going well, just slowly, and I don’t have the luxury of “slowly” right now. I prefer to have time in between projects, time to decompress, but the deadlines fell together this go-round, so I don’t. And I’ve got three more stories to write in the next two weeks.

The noise and chaos around here with ridiculous all day and made it really hard to work. I think the workmen scared away the Trick or Treaters, which is a shame.

It was well into the evening by the time I realized I’d written 1500 words into a corner, and to keep going in that direction just made all my characters look stupid. But I didn’t know how to get them out of it.

So I took a shower.

And the solution came.

I jumped back to the desk and fixed it. And keep going.

I managed to get “Lake Justice” out the door by 11:22 PM — cutting it a little closer than I’d like to the midnight deadline. It’s definitely flawed, but I hope there’s enough there to get us to the editing phase. If not, and it comes back rejected, I will do another edit before I send it out again.

But I made the deadline, and that was very important to me, rather than just letting it fall by the wayside. I’ve let too many deadlines slide over the last few months. Some of it I had to, because of higher paying work needing to replace uncontracted work. But I needed to get this done for ME.

My GDR wrap-up is online for October, and I’ll post November’s To Do list in the next couple of days.

Once the deadlines were met, I could enjoy Samhain, and also the days of Tending the Dead, which are over the next few days — long nights ahead of me. If you want to know what I mean by Tending the Dead, you can read about it here.

I should jump into the next story, the 2500 word one that has to go out in the next few days, but I think I’ll give myself the day off writing. I’ve got some errands to run, and I need to get to work on Confidential Job #1’s next assignment. This is yet another very busy week, with a bunch of travelling.

If I’d committed to do Nano this year, I’d already be in despair.

I baked cinnamon rolls this morning. Well, I stuck them in the oven. Pillsbury prepared them. I couldn’t get the carton open with a spoon — you’re supposed to press down with a spoon and it pops open. Only it wouldn’t.

So I used a hammer.

And it flew across the kitchen when it popped, but I caught it in midair, so it was okay.

I’m off early tomorrow, talking to middle schoolers at my former school about career as a living, evolving organism, rather than a straight line. Why did I agree to do this again?

Devon

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 8:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

IMG_0663

Saturday, October 31, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild
Samhain

Greetings and blessings, everyone, on the Celtic New Year and the final harvest. May the coming seasons bring health, joy, and abundance in all good things.

Unless, of course, you’re my landlord. In which case I hope you (insert expletive of choice) and (insert expletive of choice). Scumbag landlords are at it again. The day before Halloween, with NO ADVANCE NOTICE (which is required, in the State of NY), they ripped down everyone’s decorations to paint the doors. Doors which don’t need painting, and, make this place look every more like a sleazy-rent-by-the-hour motel. Now, we were home. No one even attempted to knock on the door and politely ask us to move the decorations for the painting. It’s nothing short of yet another act of harassment against tenants.

I polished and submitted the online portion of both NYFA grants yesterday. I printed out all the work samples (with the printer giving me agita) and prepared them. I hope my confirmation numbers aren’t an indication of how many people have applied, because if it is, there are over 40,000 applicants in each category. But I needed to try. If you don’t try, you REALLY don’t have a shot.

But by the time everything was all put together, I was ready for a breakdown. It’s not even one of the more complicated grant applications, but one does have to be meticulous about making sure all the directions are followed EXACTLY. When I worked for a foundation, I was at some sort of networking luncheon or something and the subject of guidelines came up. Quite a few attendees said approximately 78% of the applications never even make it to the judging committee because they haven’t fulfilled the basic requirements set out in the guidelines. It’s similar to submitting to a publication — you have to READ the guidelines, UNDERSTAND the guidelines, and then go ahead and FULFILL the guidelines. Or you don’t get past the gate. Nor should you. It’s disrespectful and egotistical to send it however YOU wish without an eye towards the guidelines. Trust me, most of us aren’t so brilliant that we can wow the panel in spite of disregarding the guidelines.

Had to drive to Purchase (a couple of towns over) to mail everything, since our post office’s hours are so wacky. Also, since I was out — bought the Halloween candy.

Got the weirdest email from an editor yesterday. I’d submitted a short story to an international lit mag a few months ago. Got a nice acknowledgement, great, worked on other things. A couple of weeks back, I receive an email stating that they liked the story, but had decided they no longer would accept material from international authors, so they were rejecting it. Okay, fine, it’s their mag, they get to do whatever they want. Yesterday, I get an email from the same editor saying she’s updating her address book and “should I know you?” WTF is that supposed to mean? As in, does she know me and can’t remember? In which case, obviously, she doesn’t know me. Or does she mean, am I worth knowing? Which is a completely subjective question. In any event, HER address book is not MY job.

Delete.

So much noise around the place all afternoon I was ready to rip my hair out. I finally gave up, made dinner, watched the news (I’m seriously considering a self-imposed news blackout after Tuesday’s elections for about a week), and hit the desk again around 8 PM. I finished “The Misappropriation of Talent” at 10:30. I’ll give it a polish today, do a bit of cutting. It’s 20 words over the limit. I hope to cut more, especially from the front section, and then beef up the end a bit — it feels a bit rushed. And then, off it goes.

Right now, I’m headed off to finish “Lake Justice” so I can give that a polish and get it out the door, too. So it’s back to the page for me. As it is, today’s so booked I’ll be up until three or four in the morning.

The GDRS may be up later today, or they might go up tomorrow.

A friend’s little boy is in the hospital, very ill with H1N1. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. In the bigger scheme, that’s really the priority right now.

Devon

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

If you haven’t yet read “The Merry’s Dalliance” over on NEW MYTHS, please hop on over there and do so. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written.

It was in the 30s last night, and the building scumbags actually provided heat without us having to place a call to the Health Department. Imagine that.

Dashed into the city yesterday, ran my errand dashed back. Got some work done on the Western, but not much. I’m trying to figure out how to bridge this section to the next section, and it’s slow going. The ironic thing is it’s slow going because I have to keep up the pace because the word count is limited, and the story would like to unfold a little more slowly than I need it to.

Got out a few pitches for some interesting-sounding jobs. One, in particular, I know I have more varied and relevant experience than anyone else who’s applying – because I’ve worked in several fields relevant to the job that the majority of copywriters have not. But I’m worried that they can’t afford me, even at a discounted rate. And there’s a certain point where I have to say, “sorry, I can’t work for this price.” So we’ll see.

Sorted through a few boxes from storage; found a bunch of good stuff I’d forgotten about. So I did a load of hand laundry, freshened the unwashables, and figured out where to put thing. One of the items I found was a pair of red velvet opera gloves. I’m a huge glove person – I adore all kinds of gloves. So you know I’ll look for an excuse to wear them over the holiday season! I also found a pair of small lavender crocheted gloves, great for spring.

I need to get a lot of writing done today, but maybe I’ll give myself a break in the afternoon and take a walk on the beach. The leaves in the park should be turning by now, and, although cold, I bet it’s going to be beautiful out there. Maybe I’ll get inspiration for some more “Dogs on Beach” stories. Or another Congress Corners story – in the votes, Aunt Doris and her young Italian boyfriend walked away with the most votes, so I’m figuring out something to do with them!

I’m still on the fence about Nano. I’m on too tight a deadline to be able to put something aside November 1st to do something new. I have a novel, a novella, and a play due during the month, plus I’ve got to get ANGEL HUNT cleared up and out. It doesn’t make sense. I know I’ll miss the sense of writing in community, and I don’t like it when people go, “oh, well, I’m not REALLY participating in Nano, I’m just going to work on something I’m already working on.” That’s not the point of Nano. The point of it is to start something fresh and write 50K in 30 days in community, not just do whatever the hell you want.

I signed up; the site crashed (of course, Mercury is retrograde), and I’ll just see how I feel closer to the date, and where I am with my deadlines. I want to do it, there are several pieces that would be appropriate, but I’m afraid I’ll blow some of these wonderful opportunities with which I’m being presented. I’ve spent the whole year saying “yes” to almost everything, so this will be an exercise is saying, “no” and finishing a bunch of projects and getting them into the world on time.

I watched the premiere of SANCTUARY last night. I like the production design a lot. I like most of the cast – a few of them still need to grow on me. I thought the first forty minutes were intriguing and wonderful, but then it slowed down and I got ahead of the story, which annoyed me. I wanted more surprise and delight (even a dark secret can be delightful when properly presented). I hope it will continue to have interaction between what happens in Sanctuary and the real world – the detective that Will worked with in the opening is great, and I hope he’s a recurring character. His world-weary “you’re a freak, but I kinda like you and I’m trying to watch your back” take on the material worked well. I have some logistical questions, like does Will keep his apartment, or has he moved in to Sanctuary? The design of the apartment was so terrific – even though it was a small space, the books and the art and the details were so telling about Will’s character – I want to see more of the apartment because of the production design! And I want Helen’s office/library. I’ll definitely watch more episodes, but I didn’t fall in love with it the way I wanted to.

I’m also really glad that LIFE is back – one of my favorite shows last year.

None of these shows make me change my schedule to accommodate them, but if I’m home, I’ll watch them.

I put up the Samhain decorations yesterday – the apartment looks cheerful, and I added even more stuff than usual to the front door – it’s got the special wreath, the bagua mirror AND a cut-out of an enormous black cat. The workmen better not splatter my stuff with anything . . .or they’ll wish they hadn’t! I’ve got my garland of ghosts up – I made them years ago, using Styrofoam balls stuck onto popsicle sticks, covered with handkerchiefs and tied, then with those paste-on moving eyes, and fastened them all to a strand so I can hang them. It’s one of my favorite decorations. Each ghost has a distinct personality, and they fascinate the cats.

Back to the page.

Devon