Fri. June 3, 2022: Re-charging Through Art

image courtesy of Uwe Baumann via

Friday, June 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Mercury DIRECT

Cloudy and cool

I’d hoped for a productive day yesterday, and fell far, far short of my own expectations.

I had trouble settling in to meditation, mostly because Charlotte was crawling all over me, and over the desk. But we got there.

After meditation, I made French toast for breakfast, trying to use up the leftover ciabatta. I’m trying to recreate the recipe for the lovely one I had at Pere Antoine’s in New Orleans. Adding in more vanilla helps, but I think there was alcohol involved, too.

The morning fled as I slogged through emails and took care of admin stuff, and then washed the kitchen floor properly from the night before, first with a water/vinegar mixture, then with a water/rosemary mixture.

As soon as it dried, the cats, who all love the scent of rosemary, started rolling around on the floor.

Did some more work on the Topic Workbooks. Had a good Freelance Chat – I had a bunch of questions, as did other people, and it was a lively, fun conversation.

I think, as I prepare my Developing the Series class for this August’s booking from its previous version, that I will simultaneously create the Topic Workbook for it. The students in the class will get a copy of the workbook, and the following week, I will release it for sale.

I got my contract from my Llewellyn editor for the 2024 annual. Of course, she wants the very personal and challenging article I pitched! And it’s due earlier than usual, because of print and shipping delays. But I will sign it and return it today, and start it percolating. I will actually write it once I’ve written and submitted the Monthology piece.

In the afternoon, I only turned around one script, because I went down a Pixlr rabbit hole, trying to figure out how to use it, and if it does what I need it to do. It’s sort of like a simpler version of GIMP. But lets me work in portrait, not just landscape. GIMP doesn’t let me reorient photos. Or, if it does, I haven’t yet figured out how to do it, because when I put in the dimensions manually, it changes them to whatever it wants.

After I turned around the script coverage, I put on makeup and got dressed to go down to the MassMOCA open studios. They have a dozen or so artists-in-residence at any given time, from all over the world. Once a month in the summer (less frequently in winter), the studios are open to the public, invited in to see works in progress and hear about the artists’ visions.

It was amazing. The breadth and depth of work is astonishing and emotional and so, so strong. I felt so honored to be invited in and see it, and learn about the different processes. There were a lot of really good conversations, with artists and fellow visitors. It turns out that one woman lived on the same block as I did in NYC, around the same time! Small world.

Everyone had to be masked, and no one fussed. There was only one unpleasant incident, when an artist asked that no photographs be taken, because this is work in progress, not an exhibit and a white woman (of course) started screaming at her and stomped out.

Other that that, everyone was excited and respectful and thrilled to be a part of it.

I left a little early, because it was getting crowded, and I was uncomfortable around so many people, even masked. The bulk of the visitors came late, so that they could eat at either the taco truck or one of the several restaurants in the complex (all of whom have outdoor seating).

I walked down, and walked back, about a 3 mile round trip, and it was a couple of miles traipsing around the studios, so I definitely got my exercise! But the pieces gave me a lot to think about, for all the right reasons.

It was a calculated risk to go, with virus numbers rising, but I’m glad I did.

Woke up around 1 AM because of the rain, and had trouble falling back to sleep, due to sense memory stress. I have a feeling this will be a challenging month, on the emotional front.

Mercury turns direct today, thank goodness. Don’t talk to me about the shadow. I’d never get anything damn done if I had to worry about the pre-and-post retrograde shadows. Saturn goes retrograde tomorrow – the planet of life lessons. If I didn’t learn from the move last cycle, I’ll be paying for it this time around.

I have a post about Summer Hours up on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Sadly, I doubt I can stop work at noon today. Since I only turned around one script yesterday, I have at least two do turn around today, and then two tomorrow. Unless I get three done today, which would be a stretch. I need to do a library/co-op market run later this morning, get some writing done, and maybe some editing in the afternoon. This weekend, I need to work on the Monthology story and The Big Project.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on June 3, 2022 at 7:11 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 3, 2022: Re-charging Through Art  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. May 31, 2022: Finally, A Good Writing Day

image courtesy of Markus Winkler via

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Hazy and hot

We were out of the house before 9 AM on Friday, headed down to Pittsfield. Got some great book deals at their lobby sale, and had a closer look around the Atheneum itself. Again, lots of great reading and working spaces. They even have musical instruments to check out.

A quick stop at Home Goods on the way back to replace the glass that broke this morning. Got a couple of glasses off the clearance shelf that are pretty, and close to the broken one. Swung by Staples to drop off the toner cartridges and get the credit on my account. Did a quick stop into the (reasonably priced) grocery store there to pick up a few final things for the weekend.

We were home before noon, as the traffic started to get heavier. I mean, compared to the Cape in-season, it’s still light, but it’s heavier than it usually is around here.

In the afternoon, we watched the video on the early history of the Spruces. It was interesting, but I had already found all that information in my research.

Read Kellye Garrett’s HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE, which was good.

I’d written and submitted my book review early in the morning, before we left, and was assigned my next book.

Lunch was light: an assortment of cheeses, salami, the trout spread, and a fig/orange spread with crackers.  The two cheeses bought at the overpriced market were mediocre, and the salami, also bought there, was greasy. Fortunately, the trout and the fig/orange were delicious.

Yeah, not shopping at that market again.

Dinner was salmon with sweet Thai chili sauce, rice, and peas. Delicious. I’m so lucky we have a good fish monger here. It’s ironic that I can get Cape-caught fish at a better price than I could on Cape.

I realized, on Friday, that it was exactly a year ago that day when we put down the deposit on this place. Definitely the right move. Although my body is going into sense-memory stress again, and I’m constantly trying to soothe and reset. The next few weeks may be rough, as I teach my body it doesn’t have to go into survival mode all the time, the way it did last year during this stretch.

The Narcissistic Sociopath read the list of names of the children murdered in Uvalde and then DANCED on the stage. The SOB was dancing with glee at the death. He really is sickening, and anyone who supports him is just as bad as he is.

I am so sick and tired of these corrupt, monstrous, disgusting individuals continuing to get away with everything, because Democrats are too weak to get down in the trenches and fight in a way that wins. You cannot take the high road with people determined to kill you. You eliminate them. You destroy them. Or you are exterminated.

The fact that Congress went ahead and took vacation instead of staying in town and getting the work done is further proof that the Dems are weak. We need actual progressive leaders. Or we will all wind up dead, be it from pandemics or gun violence, or every right being removed.

And one of the first things that needs to happen is to take action against those financing the fascists.

Went to bed way too early on Friday, exhausted and broken hearted. Woke up around 2:30 AM, from a dream of being in the NYC subway and seeing a couple of guys carrying guns, so I left. It even smelled like the subway. I realized, when I woke up, that someone was outside, in between the houses, smoking, and the cigarette had that stale nicotine quality that is in the subway.

Dozed off again, and the cats rousted me out of bed a little before five.

Saturday morning was about turning over the closet from winter to summer. That took a long time. I had to rearrange quite a bit, and decide how to pack up a lot of the winter stuff. My closet here is much smaller than the one in the Cape house. I had a walk-in closet there, which meant I didn’t really have to turn over the closet seasonally.

Found a bunch of stuff, got distracted with finding cool stuff. Washed a few things. Have a pile to mend, and a pile to iron.

Sunday was cool enough to cook. So I baked biscuits in the morning, made potato salad, made egg salad, made another batch of vegetable stock, threw pork chops into the slow cooker with honey teriyaki sauce.

Read a lot, and rested as much as I could. I was emotionally exhausted, as much as physically.

Started a new blank book for the handwritten journal on Monday morning. The third of this year. Also wrote 1000 words (before 7 AM, no less) on the piece inspired by the ghost stories/auto accidents.

We had planned to go out on a fun day trip on Monday, but then I checked the event calendars around us, and all the towns were having parades for Memorial Day. We’d have gotten stuck several times on the way down, and not been able to enjoy ourselves. So we’ve rescheduled.

I started putting my Monthology story on paper (well, computer screen). Word dumped the first half page I wrote (because one can’t autosave until one manually autosaves to the cloud, and I DON’T WANT TO SAVE ON THE CLOUD). I couldn’t find it in the recovery file or anywhere else. I’m so sick of Windows11 being awful.

I nearly gave up for the day, but I wanted to get the opening that’s been crowding my head down properly, so I started over, and wrote about 600 words (the opening scene). I had to stop and ask some questions to other contributors so that I can integrate their monsters properly, but I have the next couple of scenes almost ready to write. And I know how it ends, so there’s just a bit to get to the climactic sequence that I have to work out.

Wrote a little over 1000 words on The Big Project. I have a feeling I’ll have to layer multiple edits onto the next draft, so it can go out by deadline.

Took a look at the radio play, “Owe Me” and am completely baffled as to how I get from where I am to where I need to be at the end. That still has to percolate.

Finished the revision of “Personal Revolution.” It needs a proofread, but it should be ready to re-release at the end of June, as planned. Now to get back to new editions of the Topic Workbooks.

Grabbed a script and turned it around. It was a good one, so it was a pleasure. But I am way, way under what I usually make with this company. If this continues, I may have to look elsewhere for coverage work, and add another couple of freelance writing clients to the mix.

Made turkey burgers for dinner, which were good. Read the next book for review, which was also good. I will write up the review later today, and send it off tomorrow, asking for the next one. Built in some time to work with the Druid Plant Oracle cards.

Up early this morning, after some strange dreams.  Hitting the page first, and then the plans we had yesterday and moved due to parade routes are back in play today. So today is my “holiday” while yesterday was a workday, and a productive one! May I have a string of them. I wrote 1K in longhand, writing my way still into a project, so that was a decent start.

Four more days until Mercury goes direct. The last week usually heaps additional challenges on. The day after Mercury goes direct, Saturn, the planet of life lessons, goes retrograde. Ick.

I did not post on Ko-fi last week, because it felt disrespectful, in light of the shootings. Of course, over Memorial Day weekend, there were 14 more mass shootings in this country. I loathe our politicians.

Hope you had a good weekend, and have a good week.

Tues. May 12: StayTheFHome Day 48 — Tech Woes

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

If this Saturn Retrograde continues the way it’s started, I’m done. There’s no way I can do this every day for months.

The tablet isn’t working properly – and I’ve only had it a month. Neither Staples, from whom I bought it, nor does the manufacturer. It MIGHT be a Comcast issue, since suddenly, the only device that’s connected to the Internet is my laptop, and neither the tablet nor the phone will connect anymore. Comcast, of course, couldn’t care less. When I try to troubleshoot, I get a message saying they will only answer my question if I upgrade my plan.

As usual, Comcast is out to screw their customers. I have lost tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of income/assignments because Comcast refuses to give customers like me the promised service, and I have to go far afield for basic connectivity, because Comcast is my only choice here.

I lost half my workday trying to get things sorted out. And it’s not anywhere NEAR sorted out.

Then, I’m setting up a Square Store for a client. Only the video tutorial has very little to do with how the store is actually setting up the store, and the specs for photographs look grotesque, so I had to figure out a different way to edit them.

Not a good technology day for me. I suspect that my phone is about to give out, too.

On top of that, a delivery that was supposed to arrive on Friday is – well, no one really knows. According to UPS, it went to Shrewsbury by accident, and is still there.

Considering that the weekend was pretty darn good, yesterday was an unpleasant shock.

The cat tree arrived on Friday and is, well, much bigger than I expected. I expected the height, but not the breadth. Once it was built (which took two hours), we had to rearrange the furniture in the living room to accommodate it. The cats are sort of curious, but not making it their favorite spot yet, which I expected, but has deeply disappointed my mother.

I got the printer set up on Saturday – it’s amazing. Truly amazing. The laptop arrived, too, which I didn’t expect, on Friday, and I got that set up. It works well, although I have to learn my way around it. I miss having a Macbook. But this laptop is sleek, and I’m sort of figuring it out.

I went to pick up a curbside delivery on Saturday (for which I tipped 20%) and the employee who answered the phone when I let them know I was there gave me a hard time about it being a curbside pickup. When I placed the order THE NIGHT BEFORE, that was the only option. But I got a lecture about how now they’re open and I should just come in if I’m wearing a mask. No.  I was given curbside pickup as an option, and that’s what I chose. This is the same employee who scolded me for coming into the store before the Stay at Home was issued. I’m trying to follow protocols AND support a local business, and they give me grief. Meanwhile, the asshats running around without masks spewing on people get to go anywhere they want and behave anyway they want, and no one challenges them. I know the owner of the store, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to spend my money there and not somewhere else. She’d never condone that behavior. At the same time, I know employees are under a lot of pressure, and don’t want to get anyone in trouble. Fortunately, the guy who actually brought out my delivery was delightful. I hope he’s the one who got the tip.

I scanned the article from THE WRITER magazine and sent if off to the people who contributed quotes, and they are all very excited. It’s a good article; I’m glad I had the chance to write it, I’m glad I did a good job on it. Especially since that was the week I was in and out of the hospital before my emergency surgery.

Speaking of surgeries, on Saturday I got a completely tone-deaf and inappropriate letter from my health care provider berating me for not having the surgery that THEY cancelled due to the pandemic. I am so going off on them. As a writer who creates this type of material, if I EVER had written something so callous, unresearched, and tone deaf, I would have been, deservedly, fired.

I had good writing days all weekend. I’m juggling projects, some of them are percolating along nicely, and I’m in the planning stages for others. Now that I have the new laptop, I think I can get back to some that were languishing, more due to a lack of hardware than anything else. My Llewellyn editor is sending me a contract in June to write for the 2022 almanacs.

I’m doing some reading for a couple of upcoming essays/articles and planning a Great Big Project that’s a little on the overwhelming side, but, I think, necessary. Parked my domain, now have to look at how to build it.

Cleaned up the Fearless Ink website a bit. Added the extensions for the 99-cent sale for PLAYING THE ANGLES,SAVASANA AT SEA, andTRACKING MEDUSA to the websites, and also to the Facebook pages. I need to schedule some posts for promotion.

So, until yesterday, I felt pretty optimistic about getting back on track work-wise, especially remotely. Now, Comcast is literally going to put my life in danger because they can’t be bothered to provide promised service.

Comcast isn’t the only one to blame. Our Town Mis-Management is bound and determined to get us all killed by opening up to tourists for Memorial Day. We will have 250,000 deaths by July 4th weekend in this country with the way they’re planning to open. Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you can go back and do everything like you did before. That’s not how this works. I mean, for Mother’s Day, my neighbors had the extended family all over, convinced that because they were all shivering outside in the wind – unmasked – they were fine. Again, that’s now how it works, people.

We need UBI NOW and until we have a vaccine. We need a WPA-style program, that’s more technology-based, in order to put people to work and get the economy back up and running. We need to change the way work is viewed and done.

I’m seriously fed up.

It was goo cold to plant, although I made biscuits for Mother’s Day breakfast, got her a cheesecake, and roasted a chicken.

I am tired. I have no idea what today will bring. Hopefully not more technology frustrations. At least I had a decent, if not brilliant, first writing session of the day.

Peace, friends.

Fri. March 14, 2014: Stress and Work

Friday, March 14, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop over to Adventures in Vineland to read about one of my favorite bottles of wine thus far.

Yesterday, it snowed far more than predicted. I was glad I could work from home.

One role is cast in the play; I’m waiting to hear back on another; and I’m setting auditions up for the third. We have to dive in to rehearsals next week.

Saturn is kicking my ass right now. I am listening, believe me!

Reworked the NMLC Media Kit yesterday and sent it off for the next round of feedback.

Finished another really good book for my editor. Will do the review today. Worked on contest entries. Worked with students (they frustrated the hell out of me yesterday, but we all have those days).

Started the next round of revisions on the play. Hope to have them finished by tonight.

Got a lovely note from a UK book packager who liked my proposal. He doesn’t need additional writers at the moment, but promised to keep me in the mix for future projects. It was a really lovely letter, with specific information that’s helpful to me on several levels, and we hope we’ll be able to meet at one of the upcoming conferences. These are the kinds of people with whom one hopes to do business. Plus, I really like what they do.

Tomorrow, I’m helping out with the Tomorrows Writers Today at the middle school, and, hopefully, finalizing casting, and getting a few other things out of the way.

Stressful stuff going on. But, somehow, I’ll get through it.



Published in: on March 14, 2014 at 7:40 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

Wed. March 6, 2013: This Mercury Retrograde Sucks!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was just thing after thing after thing after thing with Mercury Retrograde, complicated by the Saturn Retrograde.

On the positive side, I worked with students and spent time putting together a portfolio for a big, important meeting set to happen this afternoon. I revised per editor suggestion and sent out an article as requested.

On the not-so-positive side, I’m trying to adjust the marketing for the delayed release. Some sites are cool with it; several, especially those that are high profile, book months in advance, and are adamant that the book be available when the appearance goes live, are not, and I will not get those slots back. Whether the chances of landing a spot in the future are ruined or not remain to be seen.

I’d managed to work rehearsals around a meeting scheduled for tonight, and, although I was working until the last minute to get there, I was really proud of myself for doing it. Only to find out that the meeting was actually two hours before — I’d written it down and memorized it wrong. That was entirely my screw-up, and inexcusable. I’m usually pretty good about stuff like that, and I messed up.

I sat down at the meeting site and emailed an apology to my colleagues. I don’t want them to feel that I don’t respect their time.

Then, I was halfway home before I realized I left something at the meeting site and had to turn around, go back, and fetch it. I was in tears all the way home, just overwhelmed and exhausted.

The coordinator was very understanding, and I appreciate it.

This morning, I hope to get some writing and meeting prep done. If I don’t screw up this afternoon’s meeting, it could open some terrific doors. But I’m discouraged, blue, overwhelmed, and don’t feel on my game at all. I will have to do an attitude readjustment before I leave.

I’ve checked the time and place at least a half a dozen times to make sure I am in the right place at the right time!


Published in: on March 6, 2013 at 7:37 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

Tues. Feb. 7: And Saturn Goes Retrograde

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Three tires.

Yup, yesterday, I had to buy three new tires at the servicing. I was ready to cry when they told me, but I’m also grateful that it was caught BEFORE I start the next six weeks of way too much driving, and nothing bad happened to me on the road. The mechanic gave me a very fair price, and I can trust his work, so I’m glad it all happened there and not at some anonymous place who-knows-where.

So, it was a shock, but it could have been much worse, and I’m grateful for the bits that worked.

Wanted to run some errands in Plymouth, but the whole thing took much less time than expected, so every place I needed was still closed. Came back to the Cape and ran errands here, including doing some market research at Barnes & Noble that made me decide to do this new, potentially lucrative project. I even managed to get 1K of it done yesterday.

Came home to the happy news that Cape Cod Women Online wants me to do a story for their spring issue — I was delighted to accept. Also saw the first pass at the cover art for the new HEX BREAKER — just needs a slight tweak, and it will be there. Much happier with this cover than the previous one. And had a good conversation with my editor. My first-round edits should come through today, so I’ll have to get to work on those, along with everything else. Figures that would all come through as soon as I made the decision to accept the other project! 😉

Got my write-up out to Confidential Job #1, got out a guest blog post, finished critiquing a client’s manuscript and sent back the notes. Caught up with my students in both classes. The student with boundary issues left the class — but of course, I found out second hand. Then, this morning, I discover that individual’s tried to do an end run around me, going to administration to get them to intervene to change the parameters of the rest of the course just to suit this particular individual. Um, no. Again, an action that is completely out of bounds and unacceptable, shrouded in manipulative language. I worked with actors and television producers, some of the most skillful manipulators on the planet. I know manipulation when I see it. And such attempts piss me off, not make me cave.

Speaking of theatre, watched SMASH last night, since I’ve worked with some of the people on it! Production values are very well done, and it’s an interesting look into one view of the process, very different than anything we’ve seen. Theresa Rebeck, who’s a wonderful playwright AND television writer, is writing it, and the quality shows. Still not a fan of Katherine McPhee’s. I’ve always felt she works very hard at coming across as genuine instead of being genuine.

Anyway, my list of what has to get done today is very long, so I better get to it. Saturn goes retrograde today, which means any life lessons I didn’t learn last go-round will come back to kick me in the butt. I think I’ve made a lot of progress in the past year, so let’s hope I keep growing in the right directions! 😉


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was on the road by about 7:30 yesterday morning. It was a pretty decent drive down. Providence was a pain, but it usually is. For the most part, though, it was painless — although as I hit the bridge, I got hit with a migraine, and I hate driving with a migraine.

Stopped in Stamford at the Border’s to get a book I need that I haven’t been able to find at the seven other bookstores I’ve visited in the last month. That Borders will close on Sunday — even though it wasn’t on the original list. So that means there are NO Borders anywhere in my regular routes anymore, and they’ve NEVER gotten an internet order right in six years, so I don’t even bother. I’m sorry, I’m not driving several hundred miles out of my way to find one of their stores. The price of gas negates any discounts they might offer. There are plenty of independent stores near me that actually carry what I want, most of the time (except for this damn book). You know what? They deserve to go out of business. Their utter contempt for their customers is appalling.

Anyway, most titles were 75-80% off, and I wound up getting 11 books for $21. Not the book I needed, but oh, well. I had to order that on Amazon for two day delivery, because I have to have it next week. Now, this book is a best-seller. It should be on all the shelves.

The work at the site threw a monkey wrench in what I hoped to get done in the afternoon, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. When I finally got online in the evening, I got an email from my editor at Confidential Job #1 that he’s leaving and this was his last day! I was stunned. He got a better job, and I’m happy for him, but still . . .When I first started with this company, I worked with two editors. When the company downsized (and cut our rates), they fired the primary editor I worked with, and this one took over everything. I agreed, at the time, at his pleading, not to leave while he was still working there. In the interim, the company was sold. Now, he’s leaving. And there’s no replacement. The paperwork goes to one person; the invoices to another. So who assigns? Or will we not get new assignments until this is settled? But at least I don’t have to feel guilty if I decide to leave. I can’t help feeling slightly abandoned, although that’s not a logical response. But whoever said emotions were logical?

Saturn Retrograde is challenging me to rethink some of my long-term clients. In freelancing, the top earners warn the rest of us that your client bases changes pretty drastically about every six months. I tend to stick with clients for years — sometimes out of misplaced loyalty. I’m already feeling a lot of frustration with a portion of my clients — not because they’re doing anything unprofessional or skeezy, but because my focus, needs, and vision for my career are changing. I’m building a new life in a new location. I can’t pop down for a 500-mile (or, in some cases, more) roundtrip whenever it’s convenient for them for a couple of days– I have jobs and responsibilities in my new location. It’s not just about money, but about the logistics of the travel and the time lost during travel that really needs to be spent on other things. Also, now that I live in a place I love, some of the jobs I originally took on as “escapes” feel more like burdens. I have to really be firm about the parameters, so I’m not taking on something that doesn’t work for me, and then resenting it because I didn’t ask for the right things. In two of the new jobs which are in proposal/negotiation status, yes, the money is considerably higher, and yes, there is travel involved – one would have me roaming around MA, and the other would have me in Boston sometimes and DC at other times. They would both be challenging (I’m trying to land them both), and both push me in new directions more in alignment with the vision of where I want to go in the next few years. I’m at a crossroads, and I have to figure out how to gracefully, professionally, and kindly work towards my goals without leaving anyone in the lurch. Although, as a good friend reminds me, “You’re not HR. It’s not your job to find a replacement — it’s theirs.”

Crap. And here I thought I could ride out this Saturn Retrograde because I’d left NY! 😉

The thought of all the work that needs to get done this weekend just depresses me, but there it is. I have a lot of figuring out to do — in some ways, I’m in the same boat as several of my friends going through job changes. And I really want to make positive choices, or the next time Saturn goes retrograde, I will get my ass kicked (as a friend of mine does regularly, because she refuses to make changes, staying with the devil she knows, and then wondering why everything keeps getting worse).

Deep breath. Keep moving forward. And keep figuring it out. All we can do, right?


Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Wrote, spent time with students, worked on the edits yesterday. I’m procrastinating with my taxes, which is not a good thing. Teaching on an email loop is difficult, frustrating, and takes much more time than on a board.

I’m having adventures in gardening, which I will detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post, but it certainly took more time than I expected yesterday afternoon! However, the vegetable bed is sort of prepped, although I think it needs more work. Later today, I want to clean up some of the front beds. It’s still supposed to freeze tonight, so I won’t hook up the hoses and turn on the spigots until tomorrow. It’s supposed to be a warm weekend, so maybe I can put the pansies in at some point.

I did three loads of laundry and vacuumed the whole house yesterday, so that feels bright and clean.

I’m struggling to get into the rhythm of the writing. Hopefully, by keeping at it, by showing up at the page every day, I can find the rhythm again. That’s what happens when too much time passes working on a project. You lose the thread, the rhythm, and it’s difficult to get it back. That’s why it’s so important to finish a draft before you put it away.

I remembered that Saturn and Mercury were both retrograde and refused to get into an argument that a web acquaintance tried to shit-stir. This is someone who calls herself a writer without actually writing, someone who feels that content mills are an actual job (not that she writes for them — she can’t get it together to write a single article, much less batch them on deadline). She forwarded a piece by a self-proclaimed marketing guru that was beyond insulting, hoping I’d get into an argument. I don’t mind that the “guru” has a different point of view on aspects of writing than I do — there’s room for plenty of opinions. I mind that she stated that anyone who disagreed with her was crazy, didn’t know what they were doing, and wasn’t a “real writer.” Now, since I make my living writing this, and I do so by doing exactly what she said no one could survive doing, I AM the real thing. And if she was such a big fish in the marketing pond, I would have heard of her before this. I was tempted. And then I thought, why waste the energy? Why not put the energy into my writing, my edits, the marketing for the new book, and my students? Both of these people want attention, which is why they are trying to stir shit. I don’t need to be the one to give it to them.

I’m feeling very emotionally exhausted right now, and I’m not sure why. I’m on some very tight deadlines, so it’s not about “taking time for myself” — I’ll do that when the deadlines are met. I hope that working in the garden and maybe walking some of the sanctuaries this weekend will revive me. I’m rehabilitating the back with several sessions a day, working slowly and steadily to make sure I heal properly and don’t re-injure myself. But I’d really like to take some time off. I hope I can do that in late April, between two teaching sessions — I’ll have about eight days. If I can just write whatever I want, read, and garden, I think that will do a lot to refresh me.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Not only did I have a migraine (and still do), but it was a very much of a Saturn-retrograde day. Let’s hope I took the “lessons” part under advisement and applied them! 😉

I’m absolutely knocked out by the material the students are bringing into the class. Every time a slimy reality “star” puts out a “book” they “wrote”, I despair for the publishing industry, but then the students come in with this quality of material, and these unique and wonderful stories, and I think there’s hope. We made need a renaissance of small, independent houses and may need the behemoths to crumble under lack of book buying, but eventually, I think we’ll get there. Story-telling and story-accepting are deep needs hardwired into us.

It’s taking me longer to go through their initial materials, though, than I thought. Instead of spending about 20 minutes on each project for the initial, individual suggestions, it’s taking me anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour. With nearly thirty students, that’s a lot of time. I don’t mind putting it in, but I’m behind where I wanted to be, and hate to keep them waiting.

I got some work on the play done, and, now that I’m getting in to it, I’m having fun with it. The plot is taking a different direction than I expected, but that’s okay.

Finished A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES last night. Absolutely loved it. All of the things I urge the students to do — sensory detail, integrating backstory, keeping action and dialogue clear, strong sense of place as additional characters (one of the settings actually serves the purpose of a character), well-rounded and truly frightening antagonists — it’s there. As are a very clever melding of history, science, belief, and evolution.

I’ve never believed evolution and religious belief in creation cancel each other out. I just figure God’s seven days might not be the same as what we think of as seven days. In the course of the universe, our lives are relatively short. The segments we use as time, days, etc. are in blocks useful to us. That doesn’t mean deity runs on the same schedule. I actually think the two theories support each other. However, those who want dissension because they want to control others need to keep them separate so they can continue to exert control.

The book doesn’t delve into that particular argument, but it does beautifully mix magic, alchemy, and science, and explore both the evolution of species and its possible extinction. Definitely makes me want to go back and re-read Darwin with fresh eyes — haven’t read him since college.

I don’t want to give away spoilers for those who still have the book on their TBR list, but I will say this — as satisfying as the ending was (it’s the first book of a trilogy), I am also scared for where they’re headed (in a good way), thrilled by the possibilities that opens up for the next book, and care so much about the supporting characters that I hope they aren’t pushed aside completely in Book 2 in favor of the characters that are necessary for this next step on the journey.

Brandy, did you worry about the cat near the end as much as I did?

Go read this book– it’s wonderful on many levels! 😉

A project in negotiation fell through because the company decided they no longer wanted to work in the genre. They do, however, want something else of mine, so I’ve got to hunt through the backlog and see if there’s something that might fit. I can’t start something new right now unless there’s a lot of money up front. Unfortunately, it puts me back to square one with a project I thought had a home, and has a domino effect on the projects in that series that are lined up behind it, so it’s time to reshuffle a few things. It happens. You shrug, adjust, and move on.

Right now, I need to go back to the page, and then, later this morning, back to my students. I have trouble concentrating on anything when I know they’re waiting to hear comments on something.


Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 8:03 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

I talk about pots in today’s entry of Gratitude and Growth. Hop on over.

Saturn went retrograde this morning, and will stay retrograde until June 12, according to my calender. Saturn is the planet of life lessons. When it goes retrograde, the life lessons it tried to teach you in the last retrograde and you ignored/refused to learn will come back and bite you in the butt here. Saturn does not take prisoners; it is a tough love planet. If you keep making the same mistakes, you dig yourself in deeper.

I have a dear friend who, since I’ve known her, has been caught in a pattern and refuses to break it. Saturn retrogrades are particularly difficult for her. We’ve talked in detail how to break these patterns holding her back, but she refuses. And yet she wonders why each Saturn retrograde cycle is more difficult than the previous one. Until she takes action to break the negative patterns, it’s going to keep getting worse.

I went through a couple of those cycles when I knew it was time to leave Broadway,but I was afraid so to do, both financially and emotionally. And, each Saturn retrograde cycle, I was reminded (harshly) that it was time to go.

Hopefully, moving here broke a negative pattern in which I was mired, and hopefully I can learn how to get what I want and stand up for myself in a more positive way in this cycle. I have to make sure I don’t fall back into old patterns just because they’re familiar.

Yesterday, it snowed almost all day. There wasn’t a lot of accumulation, but it was still kind of a pain to get around. Got to the library; returned the books due, got out some new ones, and got my mom all set up with her library card. They are so nice there!

Back home, read for awhile, then called the place holding the seminar to make sure it was still on. It was, so I layered up and headed back out onto the road. My little lane was kind of a mess, but once I got onto the bigger roads, it was fine, as long as I was cautious. The turnoff to the seminar location was tricky, and the hill going up — let’s just say I’m grateful I have a VW!

The first parking lot hadn’t been plowed since the last storm, so there was no way I was going to park there. I managed to squeeze into a parking spot closer to the buildings, but those roads were in bad shape.

It was a small class, among them the nature columnist I met a few days ago at Ashumet, which was great fun — we exchanged information and will go play, soon.

I had mixed feelings about the class. The weather was too bad for us to go tromping around identifying plants, so it was modified so we could stay inside. All good. The teacher knew what she was talking about, but her style of teaching did not work for me. I found her very condescending and making sweeping generalizations: “We all demand prescriptions”, “Heaven forbid we turn off the TV” , “you won’t read these guides, but you should”– stuff like that. I was biting my tongue, wanting to say, “Listen, bitch, maybe most of your students do that, but why do you think we’re here, learning this? I haven’t had a prescription since 2002, and it’s easier to pill a feral cat than to get me to take anything stronger than an Advil. And I have the TV off most nights to read. And when I get a guide, I READ it from cover to cover. You just met me; don’t assume you know anything about me or that I fit some preconceived societal notions.”

To actually say that in class would have been incredibly rude, even for me, so I kept my mouth shut, but I think my new acquaintance next to me knew something was up from the way I shifted around in my chair. I kept having to unfold my arms and change my body position, because, in a class of five, it’s noticeable when you have negative body language.

I’m sure she thought I was responding negatively because I’m her societal cliche.

Once I could filter through the way the information was presented, I got some good notes, which I now have to learn.

However, I also felt she didn’t have proper respect for poisonous plants. I’m as deeply attuned to the facts that there are a lot of positive uses for poisonous plants as she is. However, a poisonous plant doesn’t give a damn about your beliefs or “place in society” or anything else. If you don’t approach a poisonous plant with the proper respect and knowledge, it’s gonna kill you, no matter who you are. It’s very non-discriminatory.

She knows a lot, but her teaching style doesn’t work with me or connect positively with me (really, one should not leave a class wanting to smack the instructor upside the head). But you’re not going to get along with everyone, and I can be cordial when we meet again (as we’re bound to in a community this small) and appreciate the information I was able to separate out from the teaching style. She’s simply not the teacher under whom I want to train professionally next year, when I am in a position to take classes for certification. I shouldn’t have to fight so hard through the teaching style to get to the information.

I managed to make it down the hill (love my VW) and back onto the road. Stopped at Lavender Moon to get the icky energy off, replenish some incense, and have a nice chat with the proprietor. Actually, I made a conscious effort to leave the negativity outside the door before I entered the shop.

Came home, burned incense, roasted a chicken with lemon caper sauce, and read Susan Wittig Albert’s WORMWOOD, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I used to read each of her China Bayles mysteries as soon as it came out (because of the herb shop aspect as much as the mystery). I don’t know why I stopped, but I’m pretty far behind at this point.

We’re supposed to get hammered with another storm today, so I’m staying home to write and comment on exercises. The big black cat sauntered past this morning, and is lounging on top of the shed across the way.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast, and then, back to the page.


Inauguration Day — Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and snowy
Inauguration Day

Today is an exciting day on so many levels. Finally, we have someone with intelligence and integrity who actually plans to LEAD the country, honor the Constitution, and listen to its citizens. Do I unilaterally agree with him all the time? Of course not. No one will. But I respect his intelligence, his commitment, and the fact that he will listen to multiple points of view and make an informed decision. The greed and ignorance and corruption can’t be flushed out in a day, but it will happen. Even better, there are millions of people willing to do their part, because he believes that the country as a whole will benefit. This is in direct contrast to the past eight years, where people were punished for working hard, and the only reason to work hard was for the benefit of a few, imitating the feudal system of the Middle Ages. I think Obama’s way forward is much more positive than the only other choice open to the people, should the previous regime’s stance have continued, which was revolution in the streets.

It’s interesting that this happens during a Saturn Retrograde, which is about learning life lessons and implementing the new knowledge. I wish it wasn’t happening during a fourth quarter moon, but perhaps it symbolizes all that still needs to be banished in Washington by this new administration.

I’m one of the people hosting a Watching Party for the inauguration. Of course, I’m in charge of the food! 😉 It’s all very simple: beef empanadas with sour cream and salsa as an appetizer; chicken tortellini in a homemade alfredo sauce with spinach on the side (now that I’ve learned how to make alfredo sauce, which takes very little time and so much better than jar sauce I don’t know if I can ever go back), and cheesecake for dessert.

So how about those folks at Spirit Airlines, huh? They cancel a group of passengers from one of their flights, put them on US Air flight 1549, and then, when the plane goes down and the passengers need to change their return flights, TRY TO CHARGE THEM FOR THE CHANGE. To call them buttheads is an understatement. However, it is typical of that airline. I used to fly frequently. I flew Spirit Air exactly ONCE. I’d use any other form of transportation, including walking, rather than set foot on one of their planes again. It was the worst flying experience of my life, and every single employee I encountered along the way was both rude and incompetent.

Just for the record, Air France is my favorite airline. Every experience I’ve had with them has been great. Icelandair is great once you’re ON the plane, but the whole getting on it is a bit of a pain.

Sunday was a writing day. I’m frustrated on THE MATILDA MURDERS, because it’s not working. I’m writing plenty – but what I’m writing isn’t working. So I’ve put it aside for a few days and hopefully can attack it with fresh eyes.

I spent most of Sunday working on The Lucy Gothic. I finished chapter three, wrote chapter four, and started chapter five. I have to type chapters three and four, but at least they’re written. I will try to put an hour or so into that this morning before finishing the lunch preparations.

Let’s face it, there’s too much to celebrate, and not much writing will get done today!

Yesterday, I was up at 4:30 (I bet some of the cast members from the previous night’s show weren’t even home yet), on a 6:19 train to the city. Because it was a holiday Monday, the streets were relatively quiet when I got in; I love the city like that. The sense of calm, of stillness, of potential. I trudged across to the theatre, with a Very Large Cup of Coffee, and joined the rest of the wardrobe crew to pack out the show. The stage crew has the bulk of the week to strip the theatre, but we had to get everything done in one day. We did, of course, because our supervisor organized us well, and we’re a good team. On top of that, we managed to have a lot of fun together, our last time together on this show in this configuration.

It was an odd sensation, walking out of the stage door at the end of the day and realizing it could well be the last time I walk through a Broadway stage door as a member of a crew. If this was my last Broadway show as a crew member, it was a good way to leave.

My friend and I walked back to Grand Central through the falling snow and took our respective trains home. I poured a nice glass of wine and took a long, hot soak in my infamous bath salts designed to help muscle fatigue. Hey, if I’m going to make them, I should use some for myself occasionally and not just give them all away, right?

I had a quiet evening. Because the day was filled with physical activity, I skipped my evening weight training session – I was afraid that was putting too much strain on already tired muscles. I did a yoga sequence to boost immunity instead (since I’d been on the train with a slew of sneezing, coughing individuals) and my usual nightly calming sequence.

Back to the page for a little while today, and then I’m going to revel in the possibility that this country is headed back towards the actions and ideals on which is was built.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
New Year’s Eve

“First Feet”, the Jain Lazarus adventure, unfortunately, won’t be up today. Due to computer glitches which, because I have to leave, I can’t fix this morning, it probably won’t go up until Friday, January 2. My apologies. It’s got a lot more comedy than “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” – I think you’ll enjoy it. It will be a free download once it’s up, and it deals with the New Year’s tradition of “first footing” – but I can’t get it up today.

Buckle up, bunnies. Saturn went retrograde today, to kick your butt into the new year. If you continue to make the same mistakes and refuse to learn life lessons in the coming months, you will get your butt kicked.

Every time Saturn goes retrograde, I get an “offer” from a former job making it sound like they’re doing me this huge favor by taking me back.

Only, I’ve learned, thanks to Saturn, that it’s no good for me to keep putting myself into the situation, and I’m sticking to “no” as my answer.

I had a GREAT day yesterday. I got the cake in to the show safely. I received gifts from my colleagues. We exchanged greetings.

Costume Imp met me at the theatre. On the spur of the moment, we decided to visit the Angel Tree up at the Met – the tree I keep talking about and putting into my stories! We took the bus up Madison Avenue and got into the Met.

It was packed. And, because they’re “renovating” nearly a third of their galleries, there was no flow. So we were trapped in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for hours, always coming up against dead ends, not being able to GET OUT.

It was very frustrating, and it was STUPID on their part, to shut things down like that during their busiest season. Ever hear of planning, people? The Met should know better. It’s not like they’ve never done this before.

On top of it, they’ve renovated the Hatshepsut exhibit, taken out her sphinx, put it in the Temple of Dendur – without a plaque – and crammed her room so they could use the second room for the jewelry of some PRINCESS. The arrangement felt completely wrong and I felt bad for my pal Hattie.

Not to mention it screws up the way I wrote the chase scene in TRACKING MEDUSA. I’ll have to put an author’s note in the book when it’s published. Because I like the way it used to flow, and the way the scene worked, and I’m not changing it because the museum makes “improvements” that aren’t really improvements.

By accident, we landed in the Asian wing, and the Shoan room and tea gardens are beautiful. Only we couldn’t get out. We finally managed to find the Love and Art in the Italian Renaissance exhibit. With all the beautiful art for that period, why does the representative poster show Cupid giving Venus a golden shower through a laurel wreath?

When we finally escaped the museum (we had to stand in line to GET OUT), we hurried down E. 83rd St. to a place that is now on my favorite reasons to visit the Upper East Side (and there are very few of those): Vosges Haut Chocolate.

Yes, a chocolate shop. Our original intent upon meeting was to catch up over hot chocolate. Well, we caught up over HAUTE hot chocolate, a “Pariseienne” as it was called, which is dark drinking chocolate mixed with steamed milk, served in a flute.

Heaven. Complete and utter heaven.

And our server was adorable, too.

After we took our time recovering from the Met debacle over Chocolat Parisienne, we wandered down Madison Avenue. These boutiques expect people to come in a drop obscene amounts of money on their clothes. Unfortunately, the current designs are appallingly ugly, and there was obviously no thought put into the windows to create an enticing display. You can be creative and create a beautiful window without spending money if you use CREATIVITY. Unfortunately, most of these high-end boutiques lack that. I won’t be sad as they continue to close.

We stopped at the bookstore and got books. I bought Terry Pratchett’s MAKING MONEY and Elizabeth Bear’s HELL AND EARTH, which juxtaposes Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth with Queen Mab. I can’t wait.

Home a little after six, did some work, had computer problems, packed.

They said it would snow all night and be done by noon. It didn’t start until 8:30 this morning. So I’m packing up things now and trying to get out of the storm before noon.

Fingers crossed.

I’ll be offline until the 2nd – hopefully, by the time you hear from me again, I’ll have the link up to the “First Feet” download. Again, my apologies.