Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write

Wednesday, April 23, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Lots of ground to cover. Lots went on.

Friday was a prime example of Mercury Retrograde. The negotiations broke down with the gig I’d been offered and the offer was rescinded. It could have been worked out, but the other side’s position of not allowing disagreement or discussion made it impossible. Although the whole situation left me feeling bruised, better to know early on and not go on than be mired in it and have it worse later on. I also found out something, that, had I known it about the company, I wouldn’t have pitched to work there in the first place. That is totally on me — I did not do my due diligence on the company. I looked at the parts of the job that appealed to me, rather than looking at the whole thing.

Mercury Retrograde is a time when people are likely to mis-communicate and mis-understand each other. It is also a time when one is supposed to avoid signing a contract. I’d hoped I could circumvent the possibilities with it this go-round and it didn’t work out.

I did some research for another publication with whom I’m in discussions. Coming up with suitable pitches for them will be an intriguing challenge.

Worked on the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Grateful to the copy editor for the catches, and annoyed with myself that I didn’t catch them. But that’s why one puts another pair of eyes on it, isn’t it? Also, reading the digital proofs on the Kindle, and then looking at the manuscript/Track Changes made me realize more than just looking at the manuscript on the screen.

I’m learning a lot with this process, which is great. Each book should teach something. The craft in each book needs to build on the previous books.

The cover for “Labor Intensive” is done — finally, I think we’ve hit on the style and tone for these covers. The cover of “Plot Bunnies” was then re-worked, to fit the series.

Now I just have to finish the damned piece! I’m cutting it a little too close for comfort.

Friday night into Saturday morning, we were woken by the most intensive rainstorm we experienced since moving here. Torrential. By the time we got the windows closed, water was across half the room. Dried pretty quickly, thank goodness. But it was hard to get back to sleep.

Saturday was the counter protest to the so-called “Free Speech Rally” in Boston. After Charlottesville, and the Narcissistic Sociopath’s response on Tuesday, supporting the white supremacists, I was worried that the violence would be worse in Boston than it had been in VA. I was wrong, and glad to be so proven.

100 people showed up for the rally. 40,000 showed up in an anti-hate counter protest. The “rally” lasted a little less than an hour. There were some arrests — 33 was the last number I heard on the news — and protestors were afraid of people playing the tuba.

The counter-protest had music (tuba, drums, bagpipes), dancing, and anti-hate chants. Had the rally ACTUALLY been about “free speech” and not “hate speech” — the organizers would have welcomed the counter protestors and invited some of them to speak at the “rally”.

I felt the mood was much darker and more cynical than at the Women’s March in January — or maybe that’s because my mood is so much darker and more cynical. Still, I think we can all be proud of how Boston behaved — a mostly peaceful protest standing against hate.

The Narcissistic Sociopath tweeted against the march at first, calling it “anti-police”, and then somebody changed his tune, and he started praising Boston. There was a lot of discussion on social media about mis-spelling “heal” as “heel”. Yes, it could have been a Freudian slip; it could also have been Auto-Incorrect. I certainly struggle with that enough when I’m typing on my phone. Even when I check it before hitting send, Auto-Correct sometimes changes it just as I hit “send.” So the spelling is not an issue where I feel I have any right to criticize. Content, yes. Spelling — when I’m able to overcome Auto-Incorrect on a regular basis, then I can.

I read over the short story I’m not sure where to place, the one where a friend thinks it’s the germ of a novel. I see possibilities. At the same time, I wonder how I can possibly expand a piece intentionally tightly written to be under 8K to novel length. With a good plot and outline. Strengthen the supporting characters. Add a couple of subplots. The potential is there; it’s just making the time in the schedule to get it all done without dropping the ball on anything else. I’ve already pushed back several manuscripts that I fully believed I could have out the door this year.

I put in the changes to PLAYING THE ANGLES — it can go back out today. I still want to look at it again before it goes to publish.

Monday was my “day off” — just like in theatre days. I enjoyed myself, preparing for my trip, and reading E.J. Kahn’s memoir of his years at THE NEW YORKER, and having fun, both virtually and in real life, with the eclipse. We only had a partial here, but it was interesting — the birds upset, the cats restless, everything going quiet except for the crickets, the quality of light all wispy, shadowy, and textured. Eerie silence. Then, getting brighter — Bratty Bird, our resident nuthatch, was the first to start yelling. When I stepped onto the deck, the Murder of Crows who hangs out around here came right up to tell me all the news. They are so funny!

Things brightened up quickly, and, of course, the damn neighbor started right back up with their damned power tools. Could we have 24 hours without them once in awhile, please?

There was a passage of only a couple of paragraphs in Kahn’s memoir, but it sent me on a fun “what if?” for either a section of a piece I’m already outlining (mostly likely) or its own piece.

Making time for all of this is the key.

Tuesday, we were up at 4:30 AM and out of the house by 5:30. After a bit of parking lot kerflamma, we were on the 6:30 AM ferry to Nantucket. It was great — only about ten people and a dog on the whole big ferry. Mostly truck drivers, who settled themselves onto the benches and went to sleep. Beautiful and quiet.

I meant to write on the 2 hr. 45 minute ride — I got about a page written. But it was so beautiful that I just sat back and enjoyed it.

A friend met us at the dock. We went to breakfast at Met on Main, which was terrific. We sat outside and I had the enormous and delicious “Met Muffin”. We toured around the town — too many tourists, to which we helped contribute, I’m afraid. Library, Whaling Museum, Oldest House and its Kitchen Garden, etc. Drove around the island, seeing the sites. Spent the afternoon at the house the friends rented for their vacation, sitting out on the deck, looking at the water, and talking. It was fun.

Steven Axelrod’s books will make ever so much more sense now! 😉

5:30 PM ferry back — many more people this time, and lots of dogs. Among the passengers was a pack containing 5 standard poodles — one white (the King), one black and white, one black, and two brown. They were gorgeous and regal and beautifully behaved — better behaved than some of the children on that boat, that’s for sure.

It was still a decent ride back, although not as good as the ride out. The crew on the ferry is always terrific, and boy, they sure know their stuff.

Home a little after eight. The cats were upset, and relieved we were back. Although we had to grovel appropriately.

Hard to get back into the swing of things today. I liked having a couple of days off. I was disgusted by the rally in Phoenix last night. Others are articulating the event far better than I can, so I’ll leave them to it.

I’d really like a few more days off.

But, the manuscript needs to go back to the publisher with the accepted changes. That’s the most important.

I also have to withdraw from consideration for a gig. It sounded like a fun topic and steady work. I was asked for my rate, and gave them a range for the range of work they claim to want. They came back with an offer that’s 1/3 of the lowest number of my range, and said they assign articles to those with the lowest rate first, and higher-paid writers get assigned anything “left over”, while insisting they hired “fantastic writers.”

Um, no. First of all, I don’t know ANY “fantastic” writer who would work for the rate quoted. “Fantastic” writers are paid professional rates and have enough self-esteem not to work for rates that are barely above content mill level. Second, I don’t work for 1/3 of what I told you was my lowest rate. Third, if you’re going to put me on staff for “steady” work, I don’t wait around for the leftover crap assignments, simply because I get a decent rate.

Buh-bye.

On to other pitches.

I’d like to take a few more days off, but work (especially “Labor Intensive”) dictates otherwise.

Onward.

Advertisements
Published in: on August 23, 2017 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. March 16, 2017: Between Storms

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Somehow, Monday’s post vanished. Not quite sure how that happened. So there’s lots of catching up to do.

It was a cold weekend; I stayed in and wrote most of the time. The rest of the books arrived for the contest, so I also worked on contest entries.

Re-watched the first two LIBRARIAN movies. I hadn’t thought much of them before, and that still holds. The series is much better.

Friday, we had about six inches of snow. It was a day snug inside. Hard to shovel, though, because it froze — had to count on the sun’s help.

Another storm was expected to hit Monday into Tuesday– blizzard. .

Saturday was my birthday. Kept it a nice, quiet day. I don’t do well with birthdays — my own, that is. I was grateful for many good wishes from friends and colleagues, and tried to keep it a quiet, even-keeled day.

Ran around doing errands Monday morning, making sure everything was done before the storm hits. Then, we’ll hunker down and emerge later in the week.

Still a little stunned at the rudeness of a distant acquaintance who nagged for a favor and then couldn’t even say thank you. Well, cross that person off the list and move on. No room for that behavior. Someone takes time out of their work to help with yours, especially someone with more experience/credits? Say “thank you”, even if it’s not what you wanted to hear. Stop leading with your ego, and you might actually learn something.

I can’t believe the Equinox is coming up soon! Although the days are getting longer (I dislike springing ahead — I’m exhausted for weeks).

Fortunately, Tuesday’s storm started as snow, then changed over to hail, then rain. Otherwise, we would have been hammered, the way Western Mass and Maine were hammered.

Unfortunately, one of the scrub pines in the backyard splintered and is teetering. A forty-foot tree being held off the ground by two companion oaks. I was scared to death. Called the landlord, who called the Tree Frogs. The landlord came over and checked it out — he’s convinced that, even if it crashes down, it won’t hit the neighbor’s house behind us, although it might hit the side neighbor’s fence. I warned the neighbors, and told them we were getting it taken down as soon as we could get someone in. They were much more nonchalant about it than I am.

The Tree Frog guy came yesterday to check on it. He swears it’s not going anywhere, and isn’t an emergency. It’s going to be a challenge to get to the tree and get it down, so who knows when they’ll get here.

As of this morning, it’s still sort of up — but we’re getting more storms this weekend, and it worries me.

I’ve been watching travel documentaries and doing research. My protagonist in POWER OF WORDS is going to Venice for the holiday break, (Paris first, then Venice via Orient Express), and I want to make sure I get the emotional geography as correct as the physical geography. The emotional geography of Paris is still imprinted from my own experience, but I need to get Venice right.

Also, she’s climbed a few echelons of recognizability and creativity, so even though she thinks she can travel anonymously, she really can’t.

I’m also doing research on the Hollywood studio system. Part of it is for POWER OF WORDS, where an impresario is setting up a modern-style studio system, melding the best of what worked in the old system — a creative home base and resources — with the more individualized creative styles that artists want and need. Part of it is because I’m reworking THE FIX-IT GIRL and finishing it, with an eye to getting it out on submission at some point this year, and I need to get my details right.

I’m still researching the Italian Renaissance. There’s information on what Lavinia Fontana did, but not really on who she was. I haven’t found that pivotal moment that will make good drama. I found many for Kate Warne; I found those moments with both Giulia Tofana and Jeanne de Clisson. But I haven’t yet found it for Lavinia. So I keep digging.

I hope to spend most of the day writing and working on contest entries. I also have to get going on my spring cleaning.

I have hope that spring will eventually arrive!

Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 9:17 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 16, 2017: Between Storms  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014: The Good Busy

Friday, October 24, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy, busy times. Wednesday was a busy day at the library, and then I scooched out at 5 to go down to the Conference Center for the CCWC Annual Meeting. We had a great turkey dinner, took care of business. Some good conversations, but far too many people come to these dinners and spend their time making excuses for not writing. I don’t care why you’re not writing, and I’m not interested in the whining. There’s no such thing as “no time to write”. There’s not managing your time and CHOOSING not to write. I want and need to be around people who are actually writing.

Home in a bad storm. My 90 year old mother was already pulling furniture and plants in off the deck. We finished doing that, and then I had to bake. The inside of the house looks like a conservatory at this point.

Then, of course, the damn storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Up early on Thursday, packed the muffins, in the car and out the door by 7 AM. To Buzzards Bay for a board meeting at NMLC, which was pretty good, and then hurried to the library.

Busy day at the library – finished processing books, got about 60 or 70 out on the shelves and/or out to patrons. Helped a patron find a book he wanted, and introduced him to one of my favorite authors. Introduced another patron to the same author, when she expressed interest in the genre. Helped a college student find materials for a project she had due (the next day, of course) on etymology.

Off to Michael’s to look for foam core, but they no longer have it, so went to Staples and found it instead.

Picked up Chinese food for dinner, and then watched RUBY IN THE SMOKE, my “homework” for Masterpiece Theatre Book and Film Group. Matt Smith – who was the Dr. Who before this one – was in it, and was terrific.

I’m reading a biography of Thackeray that’s very entertaining. Published in 1947, the tone is as arch as some of Thackeray’s work is oddly amusing.

Not enough writing getting done, especially not on THE RED WIDOW. I will make up for it this weekend. I’m behind where I want to be on the diving homework, but I’ll catch up.

Next week will be flat out – Chamber meeting Tuesday evening, all-day conference in Sturbridge on Wednesday, an author event with the charismatic Kevin Symmons at the Stonebridge Club, Pinehills, Plymouth, on Thursday, and Samhain on Friday.

Saturday evening, all day Sunday, all day Monday, and most of Tuesday will be writing days. Tomorrow is my Saturday “on” at the library, and then I have a fundraising workshop in the afternoon.

Busy, busy, fun, fun.

Check in next week! Have a great one, all!

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 23, 2014: Post-Storm Writing

Thursday, January 23, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy few days. Comcast is back to their old, extortionist tricks. They truly believe they are above the law. They are not.

In any case, on Monday, I got some good writing done, including a nice section at night on TRUE HOME. Tuesday, I wrote more on TRUE HOME before discovering that Comcast fucked me. Again.

Then, it was off to Centerville Library, to deal with what I had to deal with online — checking email, working with students, sorting out answers to interview questions for the test article that this new market and I are working on together. I’m actually pretty efficient with limited online time.

I knew that the storm would start early, no matter what the weather folk said. By the time I left the library, a little after noon, it was already snowing (they said it would start around seven p.m.). I picked up more batteries, and headed home.

In the afternoon, I worked on the big editing project for my client, and read some more of the Ben Franklin biography. I think I would have liked him. He was interested in just about everything, which made him interesting.

Also worked adapting some prose to script format.

Wrote more on TRUE HOME, finishing up Chapter Six, from Garrett’s point of view, and starting Chapter Seven, from Jem’s. I love writing from Jem’s point of view. I feel very connected to him.

I also unpacked a box from the many boxes still waiting to be unpacked in the basement and found a lot of really cool and useful stuff. I also found things I could purge. The purging feels good.

We had a blizzard all night, and it continued well into Wednesday. I already knew the libraries would be closed, and I’d be cut off, so I could prepare. I wrote ten pages in longhand on TRUE HOME, first thing in the morning, finishing Jem’s chapter, and getting ready to start Chapter Eight, from Antoinette’s point of view.

Still trying to decide how to get THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE back into the queue, and if I should buckle down and write the whole book, or if I should dig out the outline, polish it up, and submit the outline and the first few chapters. I could also ask the publisher — he said he wanted to see more from me. The question is, would I be able to make the deadlines set if I sold it on outline, with the new play coming up, the screenplay packets prepped, and the edits on both books coming out this spring? I need to think about it for a few days.

Wednesday, I completed the big editing project for my client, wrote four press releases, finished Jem’s Chapter Seven of TRUE HOME and made solid progress on the next Antoinette chapter, Chapter Eight.

I hunted for my outline notes for BALTHAZAAR and can’t find them, so I’ll have to re-read the fifty or so pages I wrote on the book and go from there. However, I found a lot of other useful material. Now, I have to decide what to do with it — it needs to get out into the world and earn its keep.

Took about two hours to dig out from the storm. Not as much as the storm early in the year — about 12 inches instead of two feet. It was fluffy, so easy to shovel.

I used the electric snowblower, which is a major pain in the ass and doesn’t work well. I bought it to be more eco-friendly than using a gas-powered one. If “they” want us to be eco-minded and give up fossil-fuel-powered tools, then design alternate energy tools that both work and are affordable. Without both of those factors, people cannot and will not change.

This morning, I polished up some exercises for my students and roughed out an article. I’m at the library, catching up. I also had to shovel out the driveway again, since the plow for the street just shoved all the snow back into the driveway.

And then, it’s back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 10:52 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 23, 2014: Post-Storm Writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. May 24, 2013: Stormy Start to Memorial Day Weekend

IMG_1096

Friday, May 24, 2013
Almost Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. Yesterday wound up being kind of a mess.

Yoga was great in the morning, and I stopped by Covell’s Beach, even in the bad weather — it was lovely. Last time I get to go to the beach until Memorial Day — I’ve been going regularly off-season. On-season, even if I get a permit, it will be so crowded, I won’t be able to enjoy it.

So I enjoy my garden instead!

My mother had to get an adjustment done on her driver’s license (in light of her cataract operation), and realized that yesterday was the last day she could do it. So we had to race to the RMW in Yarmouth and wait for nearly two and a half hours to submit a piece of paper, throw some money at them, and get the license adjusted. Don’t get me wrong — the staff is pleasant and efficient. But the institution started a new numbering policy that doesn’t let the workers be efficient. Very unfair to everyone, but especially to the people working there.

But it got done, we made another stop at the beach, and got home. By now, it was mid-afternoon. I tried to get some work done, and didn’t have much luck with it. I tried to work on the proposal, but it didn’t make sense. So I finally gave up and had a mojito on the deck instead. And cooked pork chops for dinner.

One of my lovely neighbors (the one with the great garden), gave me an enormous catmint for the round herb bed, and some spinach, escarole, and romaine plants. I got them into the bed — it looks nice. Can’t wait to eat them.

Blazing migraine, so went to bed early.

Bad storm in the night. We lost some tree limbs (big ones), and one of them hit one of the gazing balls in the garden and smashed it. The two small potted trees in the front were overturned. The buckets were full (good thing), and the power was out (not so great).

The power came back on in a couple of hours, and I cleaned up what I could in the yard. All by 7 AM.

Today was the last day of the May is Manuscript Prep Month tips and they got the regular tip and a bonus tip! Hopefully, people have enjoyed this little foray.

Today, I have errands to run, packing to finish, proposals to get out, working with students, projects to finish before I leave, and things to wind up for next week’s trip. I’ll be working flat out through the weekend, so I can enjoy the trip without anything hanging over me. I also have a good friend’s going away party to attend.

Have wonderful holiday weekend, and a terrific start to the summer!

Devon

Tues. Sept. 18, 2012: Day 2 of the Migraine & No Time To Rest

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto DIRECT
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Day 2 of the Migraine. Not loving it.

Good day yesterday, especially on the edits for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I’m finding my groove, and, if I can keep it up, I can get them done on time. Spun the Marine Life mystery a bit; I feel I’ll be able to write my way into it pretty soon. Worked with tarot students. Watched the first two lectures for the Sustainability Course. Climate change — another depressing week! Watched the first hour of lectures from the History of the World Since 1300 and took the quiz at the end of each segment — too bad we’re not getting certified in that one, because I’m getting them all right! 😉 We’re going to have papers due once every two weeks in that class, and only 750 words, but they’re argumentative essays, so that will be an interesting challenge.

Went to the library; returned books, got out some more. Reading David McCullough’s THE GREATER JOURNEY: AMERICANS IN PARIS, which is wonderful.

Worked out. Needed it.

We’re going to have quite a storm today, so I’m going to go to the store early and be tucked back in before it starts. We still have lots of green tomatoes, but the stalks aren’t doing well. The Silvery Fir tomatoes had beautiful foliage, but the tomatoes themselves aren’t doing as well as the Principa Borghese tomatoes

Better get a move on things — lots to do, and limited time (so what else is new?)

And STILL waiting for payment from those clients!

Devon

Tues. Jan. 17, 2012: Good Busy

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

What a storm last night! The cats and I huddled under the covers. No snow, though, and for that I am grateful (means no shoveling).

I’m teaching a Holiday Hocus-Pocus Workshop in February. Just a week of fun and brainstorming ideas for holiday-themed work, and then resources to develop and sell them. Come join us!

Busy work day yesterday, somewhat truncated when I tried to log on to the workshop site and got a “fatal error”. So I’m a little behind there. This morning, the owner came to patch the hole in the wall — he’ll be back tomorrow for the next phase. Tessa was right there in the midst of things, of course. And, this morning, when I came downstairs — all the wall switches were on. She was busy in the night!

Got my next assignment from Confidential Job #1 — a double, with no due date, so I’ve got to get one– I figure they need me to turn it around more quickly than usual.

Finished reading a friend’s manuscript (finally) and sent comments back. Great story, just needs a few tweaks. The ending shows a lot of courage — I hope he’s not pressured into changing it.

Must catch up with students this afternoon and get going on the assignments for Confidential Job #1. Also need to work on a few proposals. It’s “good busy”. And I’ve got to get my quarterly taxes in — since the 15th was a Sunday and yesterday was a holiday, today’s the date they go off. Quarterly taxes work much better for me — I’m grateful to be on that system instead of the Hell-in-April System.

Devon

Published in: on January 17, 2012 at 10:59 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

Saturday, Octoer 29, 2011


The tree in Mother’s Park that’s nearly 100 years old

Saturday, October 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re battening down for our first Nor’easter of the season. I’m glad we’re safely tucked in here, and not in the process of moving, like we were at this time last year!

Today is my mother’s 87th birthday! Happy birthday! She had a BAG of books waiting for her on the table this morning. Yup — I went to the bookstore yesterday, bought a bag, and filled it with books! That and the cheesecake she requested are her favorite birthday treats.

In honor of her birthday, today’s essay on A BIBLIO PARADISE celebrates Sharon Shinn, one of our favorite authors. And, if you haven’t left a comment to welcome Mary Abshire, I hope you’ll do so, scrolling down to the previous day’s post.

Yesterday was busy, and this morning was busy. I keep rewriting the pivotal scene in the harpy book. Just going to keep hacking at it until I get it right. I’m closer, I’m almost close enough where I’ll have enough sorted out so I can move on without seriously tripping myself up further down the line. I wrote between 3-4,000 words. And tossed them all out. All of them, including “and” and “the.”

We went to Falmouth yesterday — got some of the ornaments I’m donating to a charity tree, bought new pillows for my bed, got some long-sleeved shirts for winter yoga! Set up the grow light and the tomatoes, et al, are happy. The Big King eggplant is practically spitting a harvest of eggplants at us. I’m not complaining.

This morning, since we’re supposed to have horribly strong storm winds, I hosed down the patio furniture (instead of the thorough scrubbing I planned to do next week), took in the rest of the pots I’d washed and the iron plant stand, pulled back the potted plants that will stay out all winter (the hollies, the tiny oak, the witch hazel, the lilac which will stay through the first big frost and then get moved to the garage to go dormant. As soon as the furniture dries, I’ll take it in, rub it with teak oil, and put it where it’s going for the winter. The bench is going at the end of my mom’s bed, the tables will hold flowers, and the chairs will be folded up and stored in the garage. I’d hoped to do part of the Samhain celebration on the deck, but I don’t think that’s going to work this year.

Baked banana bread. Will spend time with my students. I have a class to wrap up this weekend.

Am getting a little restless with an organization with whom I have a fairly good and long-term relationship. I feel that, for the percentage of the fee they keep to administrate, they should be problem-solving, not expecting ME to problem solve for them. I”m there to show up and do my job, NOT administrate. I was moaning to a friend who said, “You’re outgrowing them, that’s all. They run things the way they run them, and you keep evolving, as you should.”

That was a good perspective and a good articulation to hear. It fits in with the restlessness I feel, only I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective –a perspective that will help me make decisions without getting frustrated.

My buddy Costume Imp had to cancel his trip to London this week and pack up and move his stuff and his cats quickly because of an ongoing mold problem in the apartment that his scumbag landlords simply ignored. Poor thing! But he’s in a better situation, and I’m sure he will have a great holiday season now.

Because, yeah, the “Holiday Season” has begun — from now through Twelfth Night, we’re all going full out!

Devon

Thursday, April 14, 2011


If this path leads away from the taxes, I’m on it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I’m glad yesterday is over, that’s all I have to say. Taxes for another seven hours, but they’re finished, and I’m mailing them today. New York State f—ked me, as usual, but everything else worked out fairly. The MA taxes made no sense, but I filled them out as best I could, wrote a cover letter, etc. The Federal Taxes had eight schedules with them this year, and a three page cover letter to explain different points.

Last year, I was sure I’d get in trouble, because a theatre company that produced some of my plays listed the money as something other than royalties, but I noted it in the cover letter, and there was no problem.

But it was torture, with a lot of swearing on my part. That should be the most complicated year of taxes, having to file with two different states and the federal. Next year, it should be just straight up Federal with about six schedules, and the MA taxes, which, for full-year residents, is much more straightforward than the partial year.

Paying quarterly taxes helped a lot, as it will this year, because the income is more straightforward. I prefer paying as I go.

Done. Out. Exhausted.

It stormed and rained all day yesterday (appropriate to what was going on inside the house), and the internet went out for most of the day. I could hop on and off for about a minute here and there. So I gave myself the evening off, and will have to catch up with my workshop today.

The rain was good for the garden, and all the plants, trees, and shrubs look much happier.

Today, I’m returning some books to the library, mailing the damn taxes, and I have to return something to a store in Sandwich that I didn’t realize was broken when I bought it. I also need to get buckets, so I can start digging the excess sand out of the vegetable bed as soon as it’s dry enough. I’m gong to start my new friend’s manuscript, which I look forward to reading. I need to finish up a piece for Confidential Job #1. I’ve spent a week trying to be positive about the latter, but the truth is, the material didn’t work for me, especially not in the style the writer chose to present it. I mean, when it loses me in the first sentence because it does EVERYTHING I tell my students not to do, that’s not a good sign.

The second round of edits for ASSUMPTION should land soon, so I want to knock out a few chapters of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY before it gets here.

Ah! The sun is breaking through the clouds! Maybe I’ll be able to clean up the front beds later this morning. I’m still optimistic that maybe I can put the pansies in this coming weekend.

Devon

Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 7:02 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
A Dark and Stormy Morning

It’s raining like crazy, and there’s a flood watch on — let’s hope they’re wrong. I need to get to the acupuncturist today — if I cancel, I can’t get another appointment until May, and I can’t wait that long for treatment. I’m in too much constant pain, which negatively affects my work, and my movements are too limited. Although, this morning, I managed to get the back to release completely in pigeon pose and child pose — finally! First time since the injury. However, because I’ve been working the long muscles on my back so much, now the hip flexors are tightening, so I have to add hip openers back in, although they hurt my back a lot. But the tightening hip flexors are negatively affecting my walking and sitting. I’ll have to get that looked at today, too.

Traffic was bad yesterday, but I had a good time at the Book Barn in Niantic. Visited with their many cats, who like to follow me around and point out books I need (they’re usually right). They didn’t have the third book i need for my May class, but they had a copy of the Tower of London book I keep renewing from the library for HISTORICAL INFLUENCES, and another London book I can use, along with a theatrical diary from the early 1800’s, and a memoir by Sybille Bedford. I’ve heard of Sybille Bedford, of course, but I haven’t read any of her work. The memoir is fascinating. The way it meanders — it’s supposed to appear artless, but, in reality, the tangents are meticulously planned — get irritating after awhile, because I feel like she’s trying to manipulate me, and I don’t like that. One can argue that all writing is a form of manipulation — if you want to take that tactic, fine, then I say I prefer it to be more subtle.

The memoir is very much a reflection of the literary mores and beliefs of its time (from World War I until the turn of the 21st century), and it’s fascinating to have a first person account — even in memoir form, which is, of course, filtered through the present — of the time, in case I ever want to set anything then.

The year-long class is filling up quickly, which is good, and I have no doubt we’ll have a waiting list. A lot can happen between now and September, so I want to make sure that we have a full contingent for the year. I’m working and re-working my other workshops for the coming year, and I also want to put together another booklet.

The play is starting to take shape in my brain, which will be helpful when I sit down on Monday to actually start writing it.

For now — I’m going to get some work done on HISTORICAL INFLUENCES this morning, with one eye on the weather and traffic reports. I’m going to rest after treatment this afternoon, and maybe read some more.

Devon

Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 7:08 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, January 24, 2011


A CT winter wonderland

Monday, January 24, 2011
Waning Moon
Coldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcold (you get the picture)

OK, we’ve got some catching up to do.

I made a run for it Thursday afternoon, after I scrubbed the house down. The cats were beside themselves — Violet: “You’re dead to me! Talk to the tail!” Iris: “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, we’re going to die cold and hungry and alone” — this from a cat who never missed a meal in ten years.

Drive down was fine — and the gas at my favorite station just over the bridge is nearly fifty cents a gallon cheaper than in CT! Driving through Providence was annoying as usual, there was a lot of plowing/roadwork around Niantic, and from New Haven down it was just too many trucks. But the Merritt was too risky, so I stayed on I-95, gritted my teeth, and dealt with the trucks.

Did some work when I got to CT, did some prep work for February’s gigs down here, got settled. Went to bed way too early.

Snow was nowhere near as bad on Friday as they predicted.

My car, however, rocks. In typical tri-state fashion, the plow guy and his shovel guys show up. I have to move my car so they can plow the entire driveway (there were already two cars in the garage, so I couldn’t stash it). I parked in a way that they could plow almost the whole driveway and my car had kept the areas in front of the double garage clear. But they wanted to plow that part — where the only snow was ON my car — too. In order for them to do that, I had to move my car — into the unplowed part of the drive.

Of course, I’d called the guy more than a dozen times on Thursday to ask him where he wanted me to leave the car; he never picked up and he doesn’t have voice mail.

So I hold out the key.

“No, no, no, the car will never make it.” They’re shaking their heads and being typical workers in this area. Three of them standing around, shaking their heads, saying it can’t be done.

On the Cape, where they have a fetish for driving other people’s cars, it would have happened lickity split. Of course, on the Cape, they would have either answered the phone or had voice mail and it would have been sorted out ahead of time.

I wipe the snow off the windshield and the back window, start the car, hop over the snowbank (it is, after all, a Rabbit), he plowed where he didn’t need to, and then the snowbank I’d just crested, and I put the car right back where it was.

So not impressed with them. But at least I didn’t have to shovel a long, treacherous, slanted gravel drive.

Caught up on email and workshops.

Then, there’s Mousie. Yep, we had ourselves a little critter in CT. Now, I love Christmas mice as much as the next person (I was complaining at their dearth this past holiday season), dressed in Victorian costumes, singing and dancing. The real ones? Not so much. Especially when I’m cat-less.

I didn’t see it, or I’d be typing this from the top of the refrigerator or hanging from the chandelier. I don’t do well with real mice. In fact, one of the best-received monologues from my show WOMEN WITH AN EDGE had to do with being a single woman dealing with a mouse. But I saw evidence (you know what that means) along with a gnawed wooden spoon.

Fortunately, in my writing bag, I always carry a can opener, a wine opener (because you never know when you might need to open a bottle of wine) and a set of wooden spoons. I kid you not. It’s separate from what I keep in the kitchen, and those items living in the writing bag except when I’m using them on site jobs.

Now, we had the occasional mouse in the NYC apartment. Although, it must have been a pretty stupid mouse to venture in when there were four cats. Felicia was the huntress and handled it (I used to bring her to the theatre to hunt mice there, too); Elsa always tried to protect the mouse (thereby scaring it half to death). I don’t know what the twins will do when confronted with them (because we’re bound to have mice at some point in the Cape house. I’m hoping the pack of Maine Coons across the street go a-hunting in our yard when it comes to mice. And I will sit down and explain to the girls that anything that comes into the house — part of the deal is that they take care of it.

Finished my assignment for Confidential Job #1 and got it off on time, which was nice. I’m reading Antonia Frasier’s memoir of her life with Harold Pinter, MUST YOU GO?, which is beautiful. A playwright and a biographer/novelist living, loving, and working together — in a way that works. Harold Pinter was one of the most brilliant playwrights of modern times, and Antonia Frasier’s written some of the biographies I most admire. Excellent reading.

Up early on Saturday morning. Yoga in the front room, with all the glass windows, with the moonlight spilling across the snow. Just gorgeous.

In this house, the downstairs bathroom is the one with the shower. And the big windows with the blinds that are stuck in the “up” position. Sigh. Here’s hoping it was far too early and the other houses were far too away for me to provide any opportunities for morning voyeurism. I used bathwash supposed to smell like margaritas, so I even smelled like a cocktail at 6:30 AM. Actually, it smelled like the lovely fragrant part of a margarita, with the undertone notes of alcohol gone, so it was quite lovely.

The trip back was pretty smooth. Not much traffic out, and what was out moved smoothly. We stopped at the store in Old Saybrook — I bought a few vintage linens, and priced out some Adirondack chairs that looked good, and for which I might have to go back. Stopped in Mystic to pick up the sauce we like at the Franklin General Store, and to pick up some incense at Mystical Elements. And then, home we went.

It was so good to be home. If you haven’t read my piece, The Sense of Being Home, please do, because it explains a lot of why this place is so important to me.

Got unpacked, fed the cats who were happy to see us for once, instead of angry, slipped a pizza into the oven, had dinner, relaxed, etc. Just enjoyed the fact of being HOME, now that we have a lovely place to so call.

Up early the next morning, morning routine, got everything all sorted out for the walk at Ashumet Holly Sanctuary. Layered up, as if I was doing a location shoot — tights under jeans, thick socks over tights, a thermal shirt covered by a fleece shirt, covered by my sweatshirt from when I worked on FLOWER DRUM SONG’s Broadway revival (best sweatshirt I own), fleece vest over it (so I could stick my driver’s license, money, and keys in it and not carry a purse), big LL Bean coat over that, hat, gloves, scarf, boots. On the way to the Sanctuary, I stopped at the store to both buy the Sunday papers and get hand and foot warmers. Put the foot warmers on in the car, kept the hand warmers to insert later, when my hands got cold. Also downed a big mug of ginger tea before I left.


wintergreen growing wild on an Ashumet hillside

I just love that Sanctuary. I can’t wait until the weather’s a little warmer, so I can come and wander around at will, or bring my notebook and just move from place to place, writing. It seems like a really good spot to write. And, of course, now I’m getting obsessed with the various varieties of hollies, so it’s the perfect place — it both started and feeds my obsession.

The walk was lovely, a small, lively group that included one of the founders of an organization which protects open space in Falmouth (she co-lead), and a columnist whose work I read every week and thoroughly enjoy. We got some wonderful handouts that I read thoroughly once I got home, and a key that I will take to wander around the backyard and learn what I’ve got there, then take with me to other places on the Cape, so I can learn how to identify various trees.

I’m very sad that the Hemlock is being attacked by some insect –a woolly something (how stupid, I’ve been told its name a half a dozen times and can’t retain it). I’m very fond of hemlock, and I hate to see it destroyed. There’s got to be something that some clever botanist or herbalist can devise that will destroy Mr. Woolly Whatsits without killing everything else. I’m sure they’ve tried a bunch of things, but there’s got to be something that will eat or kill Woolly Whatsits. And I’m sure they’ll keep trying until they find it, but I hope it’s not too late. People wonder why I’m interested in poisonous plants and herbs — it’s not just to find interesting ways to bump people off in my mysteries, but it’s to see if there are ways to steward/manage habitat without doing pesticide damage (people just have to look out for their own damn selves and learn what’s poisonous. I’m interested in stewardship of plants and animals).

There’s a lot of bittersweet climbing all over things, too. Something is niggling at the back of my brain — I learned something about bittersweet lately, a use for it, and I can’t remember. I’m going to have to poke through my books and notes and find it.

Anyway, the walk was fascinating, and I learned a lot (let’s hope I can retain it). I also, finally, saw what a bayberry bush looks like! That was pretty cool. And learned that the huckleberry bush that’s arriving later in the spring will thrive in full sun, so that is what I will give it.

Yeah, I was cold, but not distractingly so, which meant I could pay attention to what was being said and going on and really enjoy it.

Came home, warmed up with hot soup, and out the door again. First to PetSmart, to replenish the kitty cupboard, then to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things (and exchange tips with the check out clerk on what to do with pancetta. I love that the clerks actually talk to the customers here instead of ignoring them to talk to each other). To Christmas Tree Shops where they had some pretty clay pots on sale, decent quality, great price. So bought five of those — two big ones for tomatoes, and three smaller ones for various herbs. Then to CVS for a couple of things, and back over to the grocery store in Marstons Mills to stock up.

Home, spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (I’m experimenting with meatball recipes), caught up on the workshops, watched JULIE AND JULIA on HBO. I remember that it got lousy reviews except for Meryl Streep’s performance, but I thought, overall, it was well done. I certainly found Amy Adams’s Julie Powell more charming that the Julie in the book.

Checked the house, the pipes, the furnace, everything before bedtime so nothing would go kerplooey in the night with the below zero temperatures.

Up at a decent hour, angry at Comcast (yeah, that’s new and different. Not). Not only do they bill me multiple times per month for a whole month, now they’re adding made-up charges, claiming I have an “unreturned modem” and have cut off service to the box for the second television. More paperwork to file, including a fraud claim with the MA Attorney General’s office, and a petition to the State Legislator to cut Comcast’s stranglehold on the Cape. They should not have a monopoly and be the only choice out here, especially when they treat their customers like this.

At least I had a good first writing session of the day, although I have to buckle down and get a lot more writing done today. And, I am determined to finish taking down/putting away the holiday decorations, once and for all! It will look bare, but that’s okay; I’ll soon have other decor up as we unpack.

To the page. And the paperwork.

Devon

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Woke up this morning with Iris stuck to one side and Violet stuck to the other. Nice and warm on a cold fall morning! Very cute!

The storm hit yesterday rather than Thursday. The brook held, no flooding, thank goodness, and I certainly appreciate the local police department, who did not give me any tickets! I have a sign I put on the dashboard stating I’m a resident of my building and not willing to lose another car to flood — they’re pretty good about not giving tickets when we’re on flood watch.

Packed 30 damn boxes yesterday, almost all books, and it didn’t even make a dent! I was ready to commit hara-kiri with the corkscrew! I wound up packing some stuff I hadn’t originally planned to pack yet but: A) I don’t need it, so into the box it goes and B) I can get at it right now, and now I can stack boxes in front of it!

Very disappointed with my original choice of realtor. They’re very nice and all, but after all that talk of how they own over 400 properties, they have NOTHING that suits my needs? I find that hard to believe. I’m dealing with individuals and setting up appointments for midweek. The other two major realtors who deal with the area — well, one is just not very nice so I refuse to deal with them, and the other talks a lot but there’s no substance, and most of the properties aren’t pet friendly. When I say my number one priority is pet friendly, don’t say, “This is perfect for you, but no pets and no negotiation.” Um, if either of those two points are true, then IT’S NOT PERFECT. There’s another company who’s swooped in and seems to have a lot of inventory, but there’s something I don’t quite trust about them, and a major national chain who has the same contact listed for a bunch of properties, only he can’t be bothered to answer an email, so forget anything by that company.

The positive in all this is that, when I’m ready to buy, I know who NOT to use. 😉

Finally got back to my yoga routine this morning (my back is killing me) and even got in a few pages of writing. I’m going to pack some more this morning, then pick up some take out and spend the afternoon at a friend’s doing laundry. I may hit Target tomorrow for more bins.

And I HAVE to finish pulling stuff off the old PC, so I can dump it when they do the electronics recycling here in a couple of weeks.

Send me positive house vibes, please! I need some!

Devon

Published in: on October 2, 2010 at 7:39 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
St. Patrick’s Day
Sunny and pleasant

As I’m catching up on email, I just noticed that my essay, “The Artist/Pop Culture Symbiosis” has been up for awhile on Smart Pop.

Stop by and drop a comment, so they ask me back! 😉

We’re finally able to reach friends and colleagues in Greenwich, who were hit terribly by the storm. Most still have no power and no water — and they can’t leave their homes because of downed trees, so they can’t even get to a hotel to wait it out. A few people were killed — no one we knew, but neighbors of our friends.

We tried to drive to Purchase, to go to the post office, but the roads were closed due to downed trees and broken power wires. It was a little scary driving through it, and we were turned back before we could get there.

We went down to the beach — lots of erosion, and tides about four feet higher than normal. It made us realize how lucky we were in our little brick tower here. It was sunny and gorgeous, though, so it was nice to be out.

Lots of busy work, paper work, admin work yesterday. But it pays off to make the time to do it as it comes in, especially when it comes to pulling/printing/filing clips, or else it becomes difficult to get out pitches & packets in a timely fashion.

I’m reading Louise Erdich’s SHADOW TAG. Fascinating book. It’s a slender volume, but by no means a quick read. And not at all what I expected, but, so far, in a good way.

I figured out why I’m struggling with the plays. It’s a really stupid reason, and I better get over myself.

Got some good work done on POWER OF WORDS, and am starting to get excited about it again. The tracking sheets are helping.

Good first morning’s writing session on a short story, even though I overslept and got a later start than I hoped. Today is more admin work, prepping for tomorrow’s talk at the Middle School, work on the play and the novella, a couple of queries/pitches out, polishing the newsletter, filling out the Census, and a talk with my Congresswoman on an issue we’ve worked on together for quite a few months now. It’s nice to have a solid enough relationship with my representative — the person whose job exists to represent me — where we can speak openly and honestly about issues, even when we disagree. We actually agree on a lot of things, but sometimes differ on how we’d get there. She’s really good at making things work both on a community and an individual level, which I think is rare in politics.

Will have to get to the library once it’s up and running again — hopefully by the end of the week. I need to do some scientific research, and don’t have the materials here. I’ve been picking up quite a few good scientific tomes for various projects, but, of course, this one needs something totally different. I don’t have to go into much detail about the process, thank goodness, but I need to know what’s involved, so my character’s choices make sense.

Devon