Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It was hotter and more humid than predicted, but oh, well. Got out a batch of queries and five pitches, which was pretty decent. One of them is based in London, although I’d telecommute — it would be very cool to land that one. And it pays pretty well, too. Spent time with the cat next door, both morning and afternoon. Finished the wonderful Pepys biography by Claire Tomalin and went back to Joyce Carol Oates’s diary. Received my next assignment from Confidential Job #1. Made some notes on the Solstice Mystery.

Savvy Authors sent me the post for my Ons Story, Many Voices Workshop. Problem is, they’d promoted it as starting in August, only we’d moved it to January. We got it sorted, but I had a few minutes where I nearly had a heart attack, wondering how I was going to manage it with the time I’m booked to spend on the road, if we HAD to move it back to August, and also if I was crazy and had somehow written it down wrong.

But the paper trail was there, my calendar was right, and it’s sorted for January. That workshop is very unique because we start with a flash fiction story that’s literary fiction and then move it from genre to genre throughout the month, using the protocols of each genre to tweak it and explore it. By the end, you’ve either settled on a genre in which to expand the piece, or you have a handful of short stories in different genres. It’s not an easy workshop, by any means, but it’s really cool. I created it several years ago, when I was looking for something like this and couldn’t find it. So far, the students have loved it.

It’s January, it’s a long way down the road, but I hope to see a lot of you there. When it’s properly posted, I’ll put up the link.

I had some unpleasant business to deal with on my mother’s account. Some of it was handled; some will continue over the weekend and into next week. And I have to figure out my dates down in DC for some meetings, in the fall, but around the teaching jobs. I’m getting excited about going to Philly for a gig in a few weeks – not only will the work be tons of fun, and I’ll also have time to write, but I’ll get to hang out with some writer pals.

Today will be busy: writing, looking after the cat next door, sorting out some correspondence, clearing off the desk, taking a carload of stuff to storage, picking up some stuff from a couple of stores, maybe getting over to Target or Home Goods to replace the wine glasses I accidentally broke the other day (a bandaged hand is slowing me down). I want to get most of it done sooner rather than later, because it’s going to be a hot one. It never cooled down the way they promised yesterday.

Elsa improved quite a bit yesterday, and she seems even better today. She’s really working at getting better, and I’m doing everything I can to help her.

Not that we’ve heard back from the vet or anything since I contacted him on TUESDAY.

Back to the page.

Devon

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Hot and humid

May you have a blessed and joyful Summer Solstice — longest day and shortest night of the year.

This is NOT the start of summer — it’s midsummer, in spite of “oh it’s the first day of summer.” No, the Solstice is MIDSUMMER, as in Midsummer’s Eve, as in, starting tomorrow, the days get shorter until we hit the Fall Equinox when night and day are even again.

A friend and I are going to the celebration at a local spiritual center tonight. I’ve never attended one of their rituals. I went to a couple of events there last year — it’s one of the premiere centers in the area and it’s in my town. In the past, I’ve found them overpriced and catering to the local rich suburban women who live off their husbands, don’t do anything but shop and indulge themselves and want to play at being “spiritual” out of guilt, but by playing at spirituality, they don’t actually have to take responsibility for anything or take any actions that will truly make a difference. In previous experiences, I’ve liked the practitioners, but loathed the attendees. So tonight could be interesting. It could be wonderful, or it could be an exercise in gritting my teeth. All depends who shows up.

I started getting really angry and resentful about it last night — more angry at me than anything else, because I put myself in a stupid situation — my friend asked me for a ride. I’d said yes, not thinking about it. And then I realized: it’s an hour to go pick her up, and hour to get back to the event, an hour to drive her home and an hour for me to get back. That’s four hours to attend an event that’s in my town — a five minute drive from me. It’s too much. I emailed her last night to ask if we could split the difference — if she would take the train to White Plains and I’ll pick her up, and then I’ll drive her back upcounty after the event. That would save me an hour and a half. She better check her email!

The weekend was pretty quiet, thank goodness. Saturday wasn’t as hot as predicted. I actually made a peach spice cake, not the brightest thing to do on a hot summer’s day, but I needed to use up the fresh peaches. It takes five bowls and an hour to prepare and an hour to bake, but it’s really good. It’s from Mollie Katzen’s STILL LIFE WITH MENU cookbook.

Had a great writing session on POWER OF WORDS on Saturday. Went next door to hang out with the neighbor’s cat. Finished THE DEVLIN DIARY. I liked it a lot. Some of it takes place in 1672, some of it in 2008. The material in 1672 is written in the present. It’s a bold stylistic choice and I completely understand why it was made. However, present tense, especially when it’s something that takes place hundreds of years in the past, pushes me out of the narrative and keeps me outside of it, instead of serving its purpose, which is to make me feel in the midst of it. That’s a personal issue I’ve always had with present tense used in anything other than a script. It pushes me out of the narrative and makes me feel excluded. So, even though the sections set in the past — which are, actually, the Diary — were fascinating, I always felt on the outside looking in. So, while I really liked the book a lot, and I want to read THE ROSSETTI LETTERS by the same author, parts of it were a struggle for me. I could never completely lose myself in those sections of the book, the way I could in other sections. LIke I said, it’s a personal response I have to present tense used in this kind of prose, and the book is worth reading.

The book also sent me back to Claire Tomalin’s wonderful biography of Samuel Pepys, which I’ve started to re-read.

Okay, so what is this bullshit in the British press that criticizing BP means criticizing Britain? The money-grubbing greed and carelessness of specific BP executives — and, unless they release names we don’t know where the hell they’re from — caused the deaths of 11 people and is destroying an entire region of the United States. That’s not “Britain” — that’s specific individuals in a typical example of corrupt corporate culture. No one cares that Tony Hayward is British — we care that he’s an irresponsible dick. The fury would be the same, no matter where he was from.

Speaking of corruption, our landlords bought off the current City Council and they sold us out. Typical Republican City Council — hand them money and they close their eyes to any illegalities going on. So when I keep posting about the problems here, and you keep telling me to go to City Hall — the City’s been paid off by the scumbags and has turned their back on us. The landlords can inflict any abuse on us they want, and the city will stand by and laugh, because the price was right. In this town, when Republicans run things, the only way to get anything done is to be the highest bidder. Law, ethics, and values mean nothing. That’s the way it’s worked since we moved here in the 1960’s.

Sunday was hot,humid, and not particularly productive. Elsa was worse, unfortunately. I didn’t get much writing done. I got some reading done, I hung out with the neighbor’s cat. I wound up going through email — since 1and1 actually let me access my accounts. I may be booking four more teaching gigs — three this fall, seminars deconstructing a couple of novels and a film — and teaching one or two workshops for someone else next year. That ups my teaching next year quite a bit, which is good, because it also ups my income. I also spoke to the head of the Muse Conference, explaining that i need to limit the amount of students this year — I can’t do intensive one-on-one comments — which is what the class requires — on an unlimited number of students, and I can’t have people wandering in and out of class whenever they feel like it. Commit and do the work, or don’t. She was very open to that, thank goodness, and understands.

Went to the farmer’s market — radishes, cilantro, a mixed berry tart, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins, fresh rolls — all wonderful. More than I wanted to spend, but the taste and health differentials are worth it. I used up the cilantro right away, making a triple batch of the lime-cilantro mayonnaise, some of which we then had on the rest of the roast beef — it was wonderful.

Unfortunately, we got some bad news about another family member — one who’s younger than I am, married with a couple of kids. He’s very, very ill and it doesn’t loo good.

We had the air conditioner on for awhile yesterday afternoon — once the cats got over their diva fits about the door needing to be closed, they liked it. Even Elsa perked up a bit. She woke me up at three wheezing, but since then, seems to have improved slightly.

I got up and ran this morning — well, walked. It was so humid, when I tried to run, I felt like I was choking and had to stop. I came across an enormous raccoon sorting through the garbage — it was funny. He scuttled under a bush and I made sure to give him plenty of space not to spook him. It was later than I’ve usually been going — instead of setting the alarm, I let myself wake up naturally and just do it. I’d given my body a break from everything all weekend — I didn’t even do any yoga. It needed it.

I also didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, but oh, well. POWER OF WORDS is coming along nicely. Hopefully, the Solstice celebration will be lovely and joyful. And hopefully, Elsa will make up the ground she lost yesterday and continue to improve.

I’m going back to the page for a few hours, and then I’ve got the ever-present errands. It always amazes me how I keep doing errands and more come up!

Devon