Tues. Aug. 16, 2022: All About The Words

image courtesy of Nicole via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

It was a busy weekend, but few-words busy. As in I don’t need a lot of words to talk about it, although the bulk of the weekend was all about words.

Friday & Saturday were almost entirely about LEGERDEMAIN. I got six episodes revised, edited, proofed, and up on Friday, along with some other stuff (which I don’t even remember). I did a library/post office/CVS run.

But almost everything was focused on LEGERDEMAIN, and, of course, it all took longer than I hoped. But things take as long as they take, and I’m doing 3-4 editing passes of each episode and then uploading/scheduling, so what would normally be a process stretched out over a period of weeks is now over a period of hours.

Different mediums require different processes.

I was also tired from Thursday night’s event, albeit a good tired, and thinking a lot about the other poets’ poems.

I meant to go to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. At 7:30 in the morning, I sat down at the desk to “just do a little work” on the next 4 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN. The next time I looked up, it was 3:30. So, I missed it.

But the episodes are uploaded and scheduled through Episode 20. I did the episode-specific ads and loglines, and uploaded and scheduled all those. I started working on some more general ads.

I did some work on a residency application. I still have to take some photos of clay and textile pieces I’ve made.

I was too tired to cook on Saturday night, so I ordered in Chinese. And read.

Sunday, I had a slow start. I handwashed and ironed some of the new fabric – I’d hoped to sew this weekend, but that didn’t happen. But at least everything is washed and ironed. I managed to finish the new tablecloth for the kitchen table, and swap that out, and tidy up all of that.

The cut mugwort stems were dry enough to strip, so I stripped them and put them in glass jars for the stillroom section of the laundry room. 3 jars’ worth, which should last me awhile.

I played with some ideas for the Shakespeare horror story. So far, I have ideas and scenes, but I need the narrative drive, and I haven’t yet settled on that.

In the afternoon, I drove down to the Edith Wharton homestead again, this time to be an audience member for Word X Word. Nine poets did pieces inspired by various pieces of sculpture. It was fascinating to see how  they used the pieces as jumping off points.

Driving home, I started writing in my head two new pieces. I need to get a notebook specifically for poetry-esque work. I mean, it takes about an hour to get anywhere, so writing in my head while I drive makes sense. And then having the notebook for the specific type of work makes sense (although I always carry one of the Fragment Notebooks with me, to jot down notes).

Stopped at the Adams Market to pick up pizza and a bottle of wine, because, again, too tired to cook.

Monday morning, I was just exhausted. I think the last few weeks are catching up with me. I managed to heave myself out of the house for a run to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop, and another store, where I went in to get Velcro dots and lightbulbs. I came out with those, and some project notebooks. Love back-to-school sales. I have to get down to Staples for more.

I got some more ironing done. I worked on an application for another residency, which had just opened up. I’d worked on all the pieces. It should have taken me 30 minutes to slot in what I’d written. But it took 2 ½ hours because the damn computer kept freezing and crashing. Windows11 sucks.

But I got it done and out, and I’m actually proud of it. We’ll see if they give me a slot next year.

Turned around a script coverage. Got my inbox down from over 900 emails to just over 170.

Roasted a chicken. It’s finally cool enough to make roast chicken again, my favorite, because there’s so much one can do with the leftovers. Had the makings of chicken stock simmering on the stove while I took Jeremy Rock Smith’s cooking class in honor of Julia Child’s birthday.

Didn’t sleep well, although I don’t have the overall sense of fatigue today that I had yesterday. I have to do some serious house cleaning this morning, because my friend the baker is coming over in the afternoon, and I’m going to teach her how to register her domain name and find a web host and maybe we’ll even apply for a grant or two. Tonight, I’m attending a virtual event with The Ripped Bodice for the release of Roselle Lim’s new book.

I have two scripts in the queue; I may do one today, or I may do both tomorrow. I will see how the afternoon goes. I intentionally kept the start of this week light.

This morning, in and around the cleaning, I’ll do some promo for Episode 7 of Legerdemain, which releases today, “There Are Rituals, and Then There Are Rituals.” The episode ad is lovely/creepy with a candle balanced on a raven’s beak.

Better get to it. Busy day, but again, it’s good busy.

Published in: on August 16, 2022 at 7:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 16, 2022: All About The Words  
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Fri. Aug. 12, 2022: Art and Poetry

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, August 12, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on August 12, 2022 at 7:02 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 12, 2022: Art and Poetry  
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Wed. Aug. 18, 2021: Down the Research Rabbit Hole

Photo courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Got the laundry done at the laundromat yesterday. Three loads, but since it was nearly empty, I could run three machines at the same time, so washing, drying, and folding took just over an hour. Brought it all back; headed to Wild Oats for Owner Appreciation Day, and then to Stop & Shop for some other things.

And that was the morning. Those few things took all morning.

Which is why I really need to get up at 5 AM, not 6 AM, much as I’m loving that extra hour in bed.

Heard back from Williams College. I have to pay a fee to access the books I need in their collection. But the collection is only open to Williams students, faculty, and staff due to COVID right now. So I’ll check back with them in autumn, and we’ll see where we are. They were very nice, and I appreciate the information. I’m just not sure I need access badly enough to pay $60.

I searched for the Marie Corelli biographies I need (that are in Williams College library) online via various secondhand bookstores. Most of them are expensive and out of my budget, even second hand. I can get the books she wrote for Kindle either through Project Gutenberg, or through the library, so I can do that. But I can’t see spending nearly $300 on the biographies.

I finally managed to find a copy of one of the biographies, which doesn’t seem to be in great shape, but as long as I can read it, hey, I can afford it, so I grabbed it. It looks like I can access the other two biographies through JSTOR and through Semantic Scholar, so I might be able to do everything in my budget.

Then, I came across the memoirs of Squire and Marie Bancroft. Most of those copies are wildly expensive collectors’ editions, but there’s a copy in questionable condition from a bookstore in Devon, England, and the shipping’s not that bad. I grabbed it. Of course, there was an email this morning, upping the shipping costs, but it’s still less than a fifth of the fancy copies. I don’t need that book until either later this year or early next year, so it can take its time coming across the pond.

Found some other interesting research on Marie Corelli, tied to her home Mason Croft in Stratford-on-Avon, where she was involved in preserving buildings connected to Shakespeare. Not sure if that will be the event around which I build the play, but it’s a possibility.

Wrote up script coverage, read two more scripts, which I will write up this morning. The toner cartridge arrived last night, and I have to put it in this morning and get all the backed-up paperwork done.

My reward for getting the scripts read last night was to start reading the third Wonky Inn book. I’m enjoying that series.

Slept until six this morning. Wrote on the front porch, working on a tricky emotional scene in the book, so it was slower and a lower word count than I’d hoped, but I’m hitting the points I want to hit, so it’s worth it. I’m well into Chapter Four in longhand, so I should start typing soon, or it will be overwhelming.

Script coverage, paperwork, article work, LOIS, reading today. Maybe unpacking a couple of boxes. If it’s not too humid, I can work straight through and stop at a normal time; if it’s yucky, I’ll take a break mid-day, and then work more at night. Which is why I like flexibility in my hours.

I’m looking forward to Remote Chat today.

I had a thought, though, earlier this morning: What if, even when it’s safe again to socialize and network in person, I choose not to? One of the biggest sources of unhappiness the past decade was too often being bullied into pretending to be an extrovert on far too many occasions, just to serve others’ agendas and make THEM feel comfortable. What if I just. . .don’t? What if I choose to stay semi-reclusive?

We may all have to be semi-reclusive through the winter. The entire state is back to being high risk. But at least here, people are masking up indoors without fussing. Takes a lot of stress off.

Something I noticed walking around downtown the other day was that most buildings have a sign on their sides reading “Watch out for sliding snow and ice” so I guess that’s a thing here in winter. I’ll find out, won’t I?

Published in: on August 18, 2021 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 18, 2021: Down the Research Rabbit Hole  
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Thurs. March 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 307 — Breathe the Scent of Rain

image courtesy of Krzysztof Pluta via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Waxing Moon

Foggy and cool

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

Yesterday was busy, but, for the most part, it was a good busy, at the client’s office. Did my time, got a lot done, we talked about what needs to be done in the coming weeks, on several fronts. The owner is making noise about not wanting to wear a mask at the office anymore since she’s been fully vaccinated, and we said no. She’s going to keep pushing, and this will cause a problem a few weeks down the road.

Swung by the library to do a curbside drop-off/pickup and then home for decontamination.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun.

Rested on the acupressure mat, looked at house listings (depressing), got out some LOIs, worked on contest entries. There were a couple of truly delightful ones. I have three more to read in this category, and then I can make the decision. I’m working on the other two categories, too.

Researching interview options, since two of my requests were a no.

Got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY. Played with some other ideas. Read Nick Hytner’s book more. I have an idea percolating (it’s been doing so on and off for years) about Laertes, Hotspur, and Tybalt, but I’m not sure if it’s a piece of its own, or if I can fold it into another piece on which I’m working. It might not be more than a scene – I can’t tell, it’s still too vague in my brain. Also, in the play I’d be folding it into – even though it’s not a realistic play (it IS set in the Afterlife, after all), I’m using real people; mixing fictional ones in with them would muddy the play. So, I guess, in this public brainstorming session, I’ve figured out that they either get their own piece or they will be part of some other piece, but not the one of which I was thinking. Thank you for listening to my ramble.

I have to make sure I do at least one session of creative work for myself in a day, because it helps keep me centered. Otherwise, I turn into a hot mess. Keeping up regular writing/reading on my own projects takes off some of the pressure, instead of adding more.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. Then, it’s back to LOIs, client work, house hunting, and packing. We’re supposed to get some much-needed rain today. If it’s nice over the weekend, I might put out the Adirondack chairs and the wind chimes on the deck over the weekend. We aren’t setting up the usual Enchanted Garden with the upcoming move, but at least we can sit there and enjoy it a little bit before we go.

Have a good one.

Published in: on March 25, 2021 at 5:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 307 — Breathe the Scent of Rain  
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Tues. June 16, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 29 — Bone Weary

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It was cool enough last night for the heat to kick on.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, “Just Rest”, which I have to take to heart this week.

Up and down weekend. Not as productive as I wished, but I got work done. It just wasn’t what I needed to get done.

I felt as creative as wilted lettuce on Friday, so I concentrated on admin tasks. Cleared out a couple of inboxes, dealt with things, got out some LOIs.

I can’t remember if I made the new curtains for the bedroom on Thursday or Friday. Sheers with small roses on them, a little out of character for me, but they’re nice.

Saturday morning, geared up and went to Star Market early (after dropping my library books in the bin). People were masked, and there weren’t a lot in there, so it wasn’t bad, even though they don’t always follow the arrows.

On the way home, I saw lots of people out and about. All unmasked. All acting like nothing’s happened.

Basically, we stayed home to give the powers that be time to come up with solutions to keep us alive, and they did nothing. Now, they just want us to go back out there and die for their profit.

Still getting daily emails claiming my package will be delivered that day (whatever day it is). Of course, it’s not. Now, UPS marks the excuse as “emergency or natural disaster.” Um, no. There haven’t been any emergencies or natural disasters in the 11 miles between the facility and the house in the past ten days. It was either Friday or Saturday when the UPS truck drove right past the house, but didn’t stop.

Absolutely unacceptable.

If my package isn’t important enough for them, then they should hand it off to USPS, like they did the last one. At least USPS can be bothered to deliver.

UPS seems to forget that the only reason they exist is to deliver packages. If they can’t do that, then they need to be broken up.

Most of the weekend was taken up by GAMBIT COLONY revisions. I planned to spend an hour or two in re-reads. That piece is my favorite stress reliever. But I got caught up in it. I revised books 3 & what I have of 4. Book 4 is nearly finished. Book 5 is an interlude book, and I have bits and pieces of it done, and Book 6 is in basic outline.

Once all six books are done, I will do a big pass over them for continuity and hand them off to the editor. As we do the editor-based revisions, I will do the Series Bible, which is complex.

The plan, once the first six books are edited, is to release one a month over the course of six months. Although I have ideas for a few more books in the series, whether or not anything will come of them remains to be seen, and will be contingent upon how well the first six books do. They are of a piece; while they don’t act as cliffhangers, each book is a specific part of the journey.

I’ve been joking about the series being a “creative soap opera” since it deals with the behind-the-scenes filming of a television show. But, really, that’s what it is. And not your typical, clichéd, bitchy idiocy. But an exploration of creative process under pressure; some of it is a creative utopia I wish existed, some is about the actual conflicts that come up.

We’re looking at a 2022 release, but it could get pushed back, again, because of other contracts that need to be finished first.

If there are further books down the line, they will have to deal with the pandemic and how it affects the show. Maybe by then, I’ll have a better idea of how things actually work out.

Providing I survive. Which, when your government and your bosses are doing what they can to make sure one doesn’t, becomes a challenge.

I got a bit of yard work done. Not as much as I should have. Cut back some invasives. Did not get the front finished, which is something I need to do this week if the weather holds.

A lot of this week is getting in what I need for next week’s surgery and recovery. I think I have most of it; will get a few last things at the end of the week, and then play it as safe as I can until I have my COVID test next week, and, if it comes back negative, the surgery.

At each phase of the process, depending on what happens, there are different sets of protocols to follow, so it’s just one step at a time.

I decided, since GAMBIT COLONY is my stress-relief project (as complex as it is), that it will be my carrot. If I finish what I need to write that day, I get to spend some time on GAMBIT COLONY. If I don’t, no GAMBIT.

That should motivate!

Had weird dreams all weekend. Sunday night into Monday I had a good one, which was working on a Shakespeare production with Peter Dinklage. That would be great, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Decent first writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Monday morning.

Headed in to the office. It was quiet for most of my stint, and I was on my own. A bit of overlap with a stressed out co-worker. There’s nothing I can do to help her. I’ve tried. I attempt to lend a sympathetic ear to her venting, but I leave feeling bruised from the negativity.

Home, got out some LOIs, had a really nice preliminary online interview with a company based in Australia. I don’t have enough expertise in their field, so I doubt they’d hire me, but the actual process was a pleasure. That is so rare when so many of these recruiters and application places either bait and switch or are so demeaning in the initial contact that I stop the process right there.

I’m so weary, weary all the way into my bones, running deep. Having a migraine didn’t help, either.

I took a two hour nap (I’m not a napper). It didn’t help.

Slogged through making dinner. Read a bit, went to bed early. Felt no better after nine hours of sleep.

The UPS package finally arrived. It wasn’t delivered for so long because it was small (smaller than I expected). Therefore, not important enough. They should have just handed it off to USPS, and not lied every day that it was going to be delivered.

I already decided NOT to buy a couple of things in the past few days because the companies use UPS to ship.

Ron Perlman taking Ted Cruz to the woodshed was funny as hell. Cruz behaved completely inappropriately for a sitting Senator – especially one who allowed the Sociopath to publicly trash both his wife and father. Perlman is smart, talented, and has integrity – everything Cruz does not.

The Supreme Court decision saying the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT was important. I was not impressed with Gorsuch’s opinion on it, and Alito’s disagreement was appalling and from the past century. But it passed, and the Supreme Court actually served justice and our population, which it hasn’t always done.

I’m hoping to have a good day both on the fiction front and the client front today, and mentally prepare for a difficult day onsite tomorrow.

But I still have a migraine, I’m weary unlike any exhaustion I’ve ever had before, and it will be a struggle. Hope it’s all better on your end.

Published in: on June 16, 2020 at 5:36 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 16, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 29 — Bone Weary  
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Fri. March 15, 2019: The Ides of March & Need for Focus

Friday, March 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
The Ides of March

I’ll be re-visiting Shakepeare’s JULIUS CAESAR today. If you don’t understand why, look up the Ides of March.

We’re supposed to get a big rain storm later today; I’m trying to get everything done ahead of time.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the mid-March check-in.

Didn’t get as much writing done yesterday as I’d hoped. Same song, different day, right? I got some blog posts done, and I started putting together the ideas to help hungry kids for the resource sheet. I’m going to have to research some of the suggestions and put useful links in there, too. It’ll take awhile.

Some additional mansplainers jumped in to defend the mansplainer. Really? I can’t be bothered with any of them. Not worth the time or energy for engagement.

The next book for review arrived. So I have two. I want to turn them around fairly quickly (while still giving them my full attention).

Working on the monologues. I’ll start rehearsing them this weekend, and see which ones I want to read.

Working on the pitches. I didn’t think they’d take this long to craft, but I want to do them well. I’d like to start solid relationships with these trade journals, so it’s not just one-and-done.

April is shaping up to be a hugely busy month. I will have very little downtime. I have to be organized, keep my head screwed on straight, and stay focused. It’s all the right kind of busy, but it doesn’t stop it from being damn busy.

I’m determined to make it a happy month.

Saddened and angered by the terrorist attack in New Zealand. Especially since the terrorists were inspired by the Narcissistic Sociopath and his enablers. Truly disgusting how his poison spreads around the world.

A few more things to do out and about today. Got the grocery shopping out of the way first thing. It took me 5 minutes to make a right turn out of my little street. The snow birds are back. Urgh.

Then back to the page, both as a writer and a reader.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on March 15, 2019 at 9:11 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 15, 2019: The Ides of March & Need for Focus  
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Tues. June 20, 2017: Market Choice/Writing Choice

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, foggy, muggy

Today, I’m going to spend some time on choosing the right market, and then backtrack to the daily details of my constant striving (and strife) to balance the freelance writing life.

Last week, I struggled over an article, but was ultimately satisfied I’d done good work and sent it to a new-to-me market that pays fast. I specifically crafted an article I hoped would hit their sweet spot because they pay fast. I don’t like their style or their content. I don’t like writing on spec (and in many cases, I won’t). But I didn’t expect the piece to take as long as it did to write and research, and, as I’ve said numerous times, I liked the fact that they pay fast.

I woke up this morning to a rejection.

I knew it was well-written, carefully proofread. The fact checking sheet was solid, with reliable sources. But they wanted more National Enquirer and less New Yorker. Basically, I hadn’t dumbed it down enough for their readership. I’d hoped I’d mimicked their style; I’d tried to mirror it as much as possible, without making myself throw up. I cared about the topic, and wanted to do it justice. I had hoped to find a balance between an interesting, well-written piece and the pandering they often do to their readership.

The market was the wrong choice for me. Does that mean I’m not “professional” enough to be able to write for them? Some would say yes. I say I wrote to the limit of pandering my gag reflex would allow, and hoped it would fit what they were looking for. It didn’t.

I should have stopped writing as soon as my gag reflex engaged. Hey, it would be great to detach myself from the content and not give a damn. Write whatever the market wants, take the money and run. Well, if I turn down corporate gigs for companies whose missions I believe are unethical, and they are offering me enough so I could buy a house in a year, and I still say no, why would I do the same for an okay-but-not-brilliant rate? There was only so far I could go.

I’ve worked hard on my author’s voice; I’ve worked hard so that when I ghost, I can mimic the “author’s” voice. I’ve worked hard building craft over a long period of years. Perhaps that means I should be able to bend the craft to fit any market; or perhaps I should just write for those markets I respect.

I liked the idea of the piece. In fact, I loved it — the topic was something I cared about. The research was interesting, and I was sorry I had to distill the piece down as much as I did to fit the market’s parameters.

The topic was part of the problem. Although it was, technically, in one of the arenas the publication claimed it wanted, it was something that would appeal more to the literate than the reality-show crowd.

Basically, I attempted it to appeal to a wider audience, when the market appeals to a narrow (and often narrow-minded) audience. Once I knew the idea was for a literate audience, I should have re-slanted it and aimed it at a different publication.

I followed the formatting guidelines exactly. I had the proofreading, the links, the format — exactly. But the content was off.

In my classes and in the Topic Workbooks, I harp on the necessity of following submission guidelines EXACTLY. An acquaintance of mine is handles submissions for a monthly publication; they get between 800-1000 submissions per week. 85% of them are pitched unread because they don’t follow submission guidelines. Of the other 15%, 75% are then rejected because of sloppy writing and lack of proofreading to such an extent that it would take the editors too long to fix the errors. Massive editing doesn’t fit the production schedule of the publication. 10% don’t fit the focus of the publication (probably a great many of the 85% that were rejected also did not fit the publication, but they never got that far). The remaining submissions make it to the editorial meeting for possible inclusion.

So, let’s say, that particular week, they got 1000 submissions. 850 are chucked out for not following guidelines. That leaves 150 — not too shabby. 75% of those are so badly written, they’re out. That’s 113 badly written pieces that are chucked, and another 15 that don’t fit. That leaves 22 possible pieces. Not bad.

This is when it gets really competitive. 22 viable pieces come in once a week for a limited number of slots free every month. 22 pieces a week x 4 weeks — 88 pieces per month when there are probably only 20-30 slots available.

The competition is keen.

From what my rejection letter stated, it looks like I at least made it to the round where it passed guidelines, format, and craft, but they felt it didn’t fit their focus. In other words, it was one of the 10% chucked out for not fitting the publication neatly enough. Which is a perfectly legitimate reason for it to be rejected.

I knew the finished article was a risk, because it wound up being more “literary” than I expected. At that point, I could have decided not to submit. But, I decided to take the risk, just in case they’d pick an occasional piece that was a bit more literary.

I wanted the money. Nothing wrong with that.

They didn’t want the piece. As is their right.

Now what?

I still like the piece. What I’m going to do is reformat it and re-slant it a bit. Some of the fact-check links that the original market demanded will be transformed into a sidebar for additional information. I’m going to re-shape some of it and add some of the content I liked, but knew I had to cut for the particular market (both word count and content restrictions). And I’ll pitch it to a different publication. A publication that wants more New Yorker than National Enquirer.

It also means that two other articles I have pending with this publication will probably be rejected for the same reason. In which case, I won’t keep submitting, quick pay or no, because my time is better spent working on pitches to publications that pay $1/word, where I like their content and they like mine.

It was a gamble that didn’t pay off. I submitted to a publication that left a bad taste in my mouth, whose work I don’t like, and I wasn’t willing to match enough of their writing style to get in. Some would say that means I’m not “professional” enough, not detached enough. Definitely not detached enough. Others would say I’m not a “hack”, and I shouldn’t have tried hack writing. I don’t happen to think there’s anything wrong with hack writing. Many a writer who went on to public works we still read was known as a hack in their own time, churning out stories for pulps, and articles and reviews for anyone who would pay them enough to keep a roof over their heads.

“Writing to market” is an important part of selling one’s work. Since this is my business, not my hobby, I better write material that sells. I better also choose my markets by what they actually publish, instead of what I think they should publish.

So, onward.

Yesterday was one of those days that no matter where I worked, the work didn’t flow well. My hyperaccusis/misophonia was bad (as it is when I’m under severe stress) and almost any sound caused pain.

I took my mom in to the doctor, and she had a biopsy. Fingers crossed it turns out well. I had trouble writing anything by the time we got back. I tried working at the library, but it was too noisy. I came home and did some research and noodled with a few ideas.

I sent off my requested revisions to my new editor, explaining nicely that if he wanted something first thing Monday, it needed to be on my desk before noon on Friday, not at 9 AM Sunday morning. If I get fired for that, so be it. They don’t pay enough for me to compromise my Day of Disconnect.

I will have quite a bit to say tomorrow on the Shakespeare idiocy that the ignorant and stupid are currently engaging in (since most of them seem to think he’s alive and can be bullied). But that’s another piece for another day.

Today, I have errands to run, and I’ll try to work at the library for a bit. I’m having trouble finishing the short stories that need to go out, but I just have to buckle down and do them. I have some more article pitches to send out, and others to work on and/or follow up.

And I can’t neglect the longer fiction, which has gotten the short shrift the last few weeks, replaced by articles that are on a quicker pay cycle.

Tomorrow, the weather’s supposed to be clear, so I have to get back to work mowing (the terrace is looking like a vacant lot again). I also have a project meeting way down the other end of the Cape that I’m looking forward to. I don’t want to get my hopes up, and it’s out of my usual client range, but I like the company, and I like the person I dealt with so far, so fingers crossed it will all be good.

Tomorrow is also the Solstice, and I have to get ready for that celebration. I’m not feeling much like celebrating, but it will make me feel better.

Back to the page.

Thurs. April 23, 2015: Onward

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool
Shakespeare’s birthday

Yesterday was a good day. Got things signed in Plymouth, was at work by noon, had a good afternoon. Got the magazines processed and out, and got a little bit of cataloging done. I can’t be interrupted while cataloging, and there are constant interruptions, so it’s nearly impossible to get the cataloging done properly while the library is open.

We had a program on edible landscaping in the evening, which was great.

Came home, ate, read, did some work, puttered around. Got the lemon syllabub done. Since I had everything out and some bananas left from the banana bread, I made banana pudding, too.

Up early this morning, got some writing and editing done. To work on time. Will be a busy day, then tango tonight.

I hope to get some editing done tonight, and some more writing done in the morning.

Today is Shakespeare’s birthday. Well, it might be a different day, since he was baptized on the 26th, but this was the day most of the reliable sources choose to celebrate. I’ve got a display up and have lemon syllabub and sugar cookies with almonds out for patrons.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on April 23, 2015 at 8:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 23, 2015: Onward  
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Saturday, June 5, 2010 — Belmont Race Day

Saturday, June 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Hot, humid, stormy

My handicapping for today’s Belmont race card is in the post below this one.

I did not run on Friday morning — too tired. I got a little bit of Gerber’s baby food into Elsa, but she didn’t eat much. She’s interested in food, which is a good sign, but is having trouble actually eating it. I hope in the next day or two, her stomach settles enough so she wants more. I finally found an organic baby food that’s meat-based (most are just fruits and/or vegetables, which won’t work for her). She likes it better than the Gerber, and I fed her a few spoonfuls every couple of hours. At least she’s interested in food — or I’d be hauling her right back to the vet. Over the course of the day yesterday, I got almost a whole jar into her, a spoonful at a time, which is a good thing. She had a rough night, though, and I’m not sure what today will bring.

Left early, took the car in for servicing. It feels much better now. They think the constant tire problems are due to someone playing pranks in the parking area and letting air out of the tires. I guess it’s better than slashing, but I’m still not happy about it.

Bought an eco-friendly water bottle that matches my car’s color. Because I thought it was funny.

Picked up a few things I forgot yesterday at the store, found the organic food, and then stopped at Clay Art Center to pick up the pieces I made in the workshop a few weeks ago and buy my tools for next month’s class. They don’t look as bad as I remembered. Hopefully, I’ll make progress. My mom’s already making a list of things she wants me to make. She thought it was kind of silly to take the class — but now she’s in love with the pieces. Go figure!

Worked on the Shakespeare research while I waited for the car. It was nice to sit and have that uninterrupted work time. The research will actually be used in at least three different projects, and it’s been months since I did anything on it. It was fun.

Did some work on POWER OF WORDS. The rehearsal section should be tweaked enough to go out later today. I have to add a couple of short scenes, I’ve cut some stuff, and I’ve tweaked the material a bit.

Today’s Belmont day, so I’ll be tied up with horse racing all day. In incredibly hot and muggy weather. Somehow, though, organic cotton yoga pants and a sports bra are not proper racing attendance attire.

Philadelphia beat Chicago in last night’s game 4 of the Stanley Cup final. Now, they’ve each got two and they need four, so we’ve got a couple more to go. They’re great games, though — the two teams are well-matched. I feel like i should be rooting for Philly, because of all the time I spent there, but most of “my” guys are gone from the team, and Chicago is an Original Six team, for which I have a soft spot.

Back to the page and to taking care of Elsa.

Devon

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Just another quick checkin, because the writing is going very well and I want to keep as much momentum going as possible. I’m eating, sleeping, dreaming this WIP. It’s put the steampunk behind a bit, but, fortunately, I’ve got time and space before that deadline, and can roll with this piece, since it’s on fire. I had to work out the logic of the piece within the WIP, but now that that’s figured out, the characters are chattering, several unexpected ones have come forward to demand attention, and they’re all surprising me in the best possible way. So I’m running with it. I’ve used up two entire ink pens in two days.

I need to accept that fact that most first drafts still work better for me in longhand.

Yesterday was good. I drove up county, picked up my friend. We visited a disappointing store, but had lunch at a great little restaurant, and caught up on life, the universe, and everything. It was good to see each other again.

Came home, took a nap, did some more writing. Didn’t watch much TV — I want to like HUMAN TARGET (I have a weakness for a good action show, my guilty pleasure) but, in both episodes that aired so far, I’ve gotten ahead of the story far too early, and spotted the villain in the character’s first shot. It’s a little heavy-handed for me. I keep watching because I like Jackie Earle Haley’s work in it. He’s taken what could easily be a two-dimensional cardboard cutout character, and given him detail and elegance. The costume designer also served him very well — the elegantly, expensive casual costume choices perfectly ironed, the matte shine on the boots, etc., support the character. But the writing and the direction is off for me, especially the pace of the direction. There’s a heaviness and too many pauses in the dialogue scenes (except for Haley’s work — he stays true to his own character’s rhythms). They don’t need that much weight to counter the action.

The final proofs for the anthology essay arrived — I’ll try to turn them around today, so it’s not hanging over me this weekend. They’re due Tuesday, but I’d rather get them finished earlier rather than later.

Although pulling myself out of my own WIP to proof an essay on someone else’s work will be difficult. I’m in the headspace of only being passionate about my own work at the moment.

But a deadline is a deadline, so I better get over it.

The weekend’s work is cut out for me — I’ve got the work that needs to get done on site in Philly, I”m taking the WIP, the steampunk, and the notes for the new play. I’ve got to get started on that. It’ll be interesting to see if I can switch between contemporary realism to steampunk to comic noir mystery over the course of the weekend.

Or maybe my head will just explode and the cat will lick my brains off the floor.

Going to CT this afternoon to take care of the laundry, throw the last few things in my suitcase. The backpack will be easier to take than the big writing bag, so I have to pack the backpack this evening with the computer, the iPod, the writing files, the book for the bus, and I have to throw the travel yoga mat into the suitcase. I’ve got my bus ticket, and I’ll pick up my train ticket this morning. I’ve got to travel into the city during rush hour, which means I’ll have to stand in the vestibule with my luggage for the nearly-hour long train ride in. Ick. But then I sit on the bus for a few hours, so it all works out.

The books from Strand arrived: FRANCIS BACON: THE TEMPER OF A MAN (about Shakespeare’s contemporary, not the painter), and SHAKESPEARE AND CO.: CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, THOMAS DEKKER, BEN JONSON, THOMAS MIDDLETON, JOHN FLETCHER, AND OTHER PLAYERS IN HIS STORY. Yes, I’m back to feeding my Shakespeare obsession, even though I doubt I’ll actually get to write that book this year.

The Deanna Rabyourn books have not yet arrived; I was hoping to read them on the trip. Oh, well. Time to pull some others from the TBR pile.

Got to get some housework done before I head out to do laundry. I’m sure my head will remain filled with the WIP. What’s that expresson? “Chop wood, carry water.” It’s amazing how the mundane tasks feed the creative juices.

Back to the page.

Devon