Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

Fri. June 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 32 — Dumbass White Women Tourists

Friday, June 19, 2020
Day Before Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and hot
Juneteenth

Sorry this is late. Busy morning.

I want to smack some of these local racists upside the head, complaining that there’s any acknowledgement of Juneteenth. And the insistence that the hate rally go on tomorrow in Tulsa is revolting.

WBZ News Radio is lying about cases in MA going down. The numbers are better, but I’m tracking the daily numbers, and they are headed back up. Not as fast as I thought they would, but they’re moving up again.

Restaurants can have people dine inside starting next week. I won’t be one of them. Not for a long, long time.

Yoga studios are talking about opening for classes and letting people take off their masks as soon as they’re on their mats. Um, no. In an enclosed space? Six feet isn’t far enough apart, even WITH masks. I won’t be an a space where people take their masks off and do fire breath. No effing way.

Yesterday was fine. Client work in the morning, Freelance Chat, reading in the afternoon. Some plotting and percolating on a couple of projects. It’s always difficult to explain how the percolation process works. It’s mental mapping, or clustering, or organizing. One idea leads to the next and the next and the next, and suddenly, there’s a piece and I scramble to write notes before I lose it.

I got some planting done in the afternoon, too: more cucumbers, lettuce, mixed greens, two kinds of sunflowers, beans. I hope to get some peas planted on Sunday, which is the next planting day.

Was awakened around midnight by sirens. Lots and lots of sirens. Don’t’ know what was going on.

Amazon is being bitchy about the refund. They gave me the refund; now they want to rescind it. I guess that’s it for me and Amazon, although I like using them to support authors with books on Kindle. But their lack of customer service and their customer-screwing policies are not acceptable.

Up early. Geared up and loaded the car, headed to the dump for the recycling. Dropped everything off. One of the guys who works there was very upset. He said, in all the months he’s been on shift, I’m the only one who respects social distancing. By January or February, he expects to be either very sick of dead. It’s not fair to put employees through that.

Ban the bitches who won’t follow the guidelines.

Made a quick stop at Shaw’s – and, yes, it could be quick. I only needed a few things, there was no line, everyone was masked and distancing, easy peasy in and out. Trader Joe’s next – again, I timed it so there wasn’t a line. In and out in 20 minutes. I needed a bit more, but I was able to focus and get it done.

Almost like pre-pandemic days.

But the majority of the license plates are out of state, and you KNOW these bitches aren’t quarantining for 14 days. It’s the tourists who are causing a problem at the grocery store. One chickie poo tried to run in to Trader Joe’s without a mask, jumping the line (as I was going out, a line had formed), saying she just needed to run in for a few things to go to the beach and it would just take a minute. No, bitch. Put on your mask and get in line.

Another chick (because most of the badly-behaved I’ve encountered are not only other women, but other WHITE women) came up to me as I was loading the car and said, “Oh, just give me your mask so I can go into the store. You don’t need it anymore.”

At this point in the game? That’s like asking me to give her my underwear. No. Just no.

Home, full disinfectant protocols for all the items and for me. Even though it was early in the day, I was exhausted.

Taking care of some admin, finishing laundry, working on the book for review, maybe doing some mending this afternoon.

My NEW YORKER subscription has started, and I’m so pleased. Can’t wait to read the issue that arrived yesterday (and is in quarantine).

Hoping I get in some good writing sessions and some good basement-purging sessions.

Juneteenth ritual later tonight, and, tomorrow, it’s the Summer Solstice. With a solar eclipse. And then we start losing daylight every day.

Next week will be challenging, both mentally and physically. I’m doing what I need for my and my family’s wellbeing, and to hell with everyone else.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on June 19, 2020 at 12:27 pm  Comments Off on Fri. June 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 32 — Dumbass White Women Tourists  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. June 21, 2019: Happy Summer Solstice!

summer-2951887_1920
image courtesy of Nanou22 via http://www.pixabay.com

Friday, June 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice/Midsummer
Rainy and cool

Four planets in retrograde, with Mercury getting ready to join them in early July. Time to take the time for clarifications on multiple levels.

Blessed Summer Solstice! This is MID-summer, not the “first day of summer” as is so often erroneously cited.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I finally have the post up about the play I read for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Yesterday, I was up early, and on the bus to Boston. Even though it’s about a two hour trip, especially in traffic, since I’m not driving, I don’t mind. I managed my first 1K of the day on the bus by the time we hit Plymouth.

Traffic was bad from Hingham all the way up to Boston, but we were only five minutes behind schedule, and I was still very early for my meeting.

I enjoy South Station enormously. As I walked down the platform, from the bus terminal to the train terminal, the Acela from Boston to Washington was boarding, and they called out the name of my old hometown (Rye) as one of the stops. For some reason, that just tickled me.

It had started to rain quite heavily. It wasn’t a long walk from South Station to the meeting on Tremont Street — just up Summer Street, then Winter Street, then turn left on Tremont. About ten minutes, past stores and restaurants. But I was pretty soaked by the time I got there. I was early, and waited in the conference room, trying to keep the dripping in one place.

The meeting was short and went well. We’ll see. Either I’m what they’re looking for, or I’m not. I suspect they want to go with someone younger and with ad agency experience. And, of course, in the back of my mind I’m saying, “I had to make a four hour round trip for a half hour meeting?”

But I wanted to take advantage of being in Boston.

Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out for me to get to the MFA and research in their library.

But the rain had lessened to a drizzle by the time I left. I walked back toward the Station. I got my New York City smarts back the second I’d left the bus, so the grifters looking to hit on the tourists scattered the minute they spotted me. Don’t even, people, I lived a block from Times Square.

There was a green market on the plaza opposite the station. Small, but good quality. But I forgot all that when I saw there was a Vietnamese food truck. Bon Me. I haven’t had Vietnamese food since I moved to the Cape, and it’s my favorite of all the Asian cuisines.

I was enchanted by the choices and stood to one side, taking my time to make my choice, without getting in the way of people ordering. I decided on the Namesake sandwich (a banh my, from which the truck’s name is derived) and an Iced Vietnamese coffee. I adore Vietnamese coffee — didn’t even know one could get it iced.

Those of us who waited under the shelter of the awning (it started pouring again), laughed and chatted. It was so nice to be within a diverse group of people. I didn’t pay attention to it when I lived in New York, because it was a fact of life. But on Cape, it’s homogeneous, and not in a good way. So it was nice to be around a different group of people who were smart and funny and looking forward to their lunch.

I took my meal in to the station and sat at one of the high tables in the food area, enjoying it immensely and eavesdropping on various conversations, as writers do. I mentioned, at one point, that this was the second best sandwich I ever had. That meant that other people at the table wanted to know what was the best, which was the first muffaletta I ever had from Central Grocery in New Orleans.

I stopped at Au Bon Pain to get some chocolate croissants, and headed back down the train platform to the bus terminal and to the bus. I’d missed the previous bus by about five minutes, which is why I decided I could indulge in lunch. Although, once I spotted Bon Me, I would have happily missed the bus on purpose.

The bus I wanted didn’t show up; word was that it was cancelled. But then it showed up late, and took the first ten of us (all that could fit). Traffic was bad and it was raining. I settled back in the seat with my book to enjoy the ride.

An aging Southern Belle was on the bus, on her way to visit friends on Nantucket. She did that helpless thing that absolutely drives me nuts, to get the men to jump to her tune and help her, instead of just asking for someone to help. Then, when the bus hit the brakes because some stupid car from New Jersey cut in front, made an abrupt stop, and then gunned the engine and took off, she claimed she hit her face on the safety bar (she was in the front seat). She was moaning and carrying on how she needed ice and would have a black eye and scrambled to put on her oversized sunglasses.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore and said, “Let me see.” I took a look and told her (in all truth), “Sweetie, your foundation’s not even smudged. It’s not going to get red, much less swollen or a black eye.”

She wasn’t pleased, because then she had to shut the hell up.

I didn’t make it home in time to get to the yoga class my friend was covering. But I made Moosewood’s “Best Chili” and cornbread for dinner, and it was darn good.

Today, I’m doing some remote work for a client and getting out some pitches. I have some errands to run (because we can’t run out of toilet paper, you know), and then I’m headed over to Old King’s Coffeehouse, which just opened up on the Hyannis/Yarmouth line. I’m looking forward to trying them.

It’s pouring with rain, so I might move some of my other errands to tomorrow. I’ll play most of the day by ear.

Have a lovely weekend! It’s supposed to be sunny and gorgeous here, so I’m going to alternate writing and working in the garden.

Published in: on June 21, 2019 at 8:45 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 21, 2019: Happy Summer Solstice!  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Rainy and muggy

Tuesday night, there was a lovely Savasana/Reiki session at my yoga studio. I’m so glad I went. I felt so much better after.

Tessa wouldn’t eat her food (she only eats one kind of dry food, with another as an occasional treat), so at 6:30 in the morning yesterday, I went to 711 to get her a fresh box of her “treat” food, since the pet food store wasn’t open. She ate that. So her regular food must have gotten stale or something. Then, this morning, she didn’t want that food, and ate her normal food again. She’s bored and acting out. I need to give her more to do. Iris is too old to be a good companion for her.

It was difficult to make much progress on RELICS on Wednesday. My head wasn’t in the game.

Now that the US has pulled out of the UN’s Human Rights Council and believes that gives them the freedom to do anything they want, harm anyone they want, I hope that the world will prosecute this administration for human rights violations and war crimes in the Hague.

If a baker can refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding and say it’s because of his “religion” than any ethical and moral individual can refuse to sell to, serve, or otherwise provide any good or service to any individual who participates in this atrocity. And we all should. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Frontier Air took important steps yesterday to do just that. Prosecute the participants, the way Nazi collaborators were prosecuted after WWII. Cut them out of the community. Refuse them the sacraments. After all, they are tearing rosaries away from immigrants — why should they be allowed the comfort they deny others? Nor should they be absolved in a confessional and allowed to return to committing the same atrocities again.

If these were white children being detained, these gun rights militias would have already stormed the camps and freed them. But, since gun rights militants tend to also be white supremacists (not to mention hypocrites), they haven’t done anything. Or even spoken out.

A large faction of Methodists has spoken out against Jeff Sessions and threatened to expel him from the church. Good. He’s been hiding behind “religion” to justify his atrocities. His religious leaders, if they actually walk their path, should condemn and expel him. Then he should go on trial for human rights violations. All the evangelicals who haven’t spoken out, who aren’t doing anything — again, proves that they aren’t followers of Christ at all, but hypocrites. Like people with critical thinking skills didn’t already know that.

Some Republican Senators are saying this is wrong. Yet they refuse to sign on to Senator Diane Feinstein’s bill that would stop this. Because Republicans don’t really mean it, and aren’t willing to work across the aisle for a solution. It’s beyond not being willing to work with Democrats. It is because Republicans AGREE with the policies. They would rather see an entire generation of children destroyed for not being white and world-wide anti-Americanism on the rise than put country over party. It is racism and the worst kind of nationalism.

We cannot wait until November. They must be stopped NOW.

That EO signed by the Narcissistic Sociopath yesterday does not solve the problem. It was a photo op to stop some of the shouting by those who can’t be bothered to read beyond a headline. It continues to put asylum seekers — something that is LEGAL — into concentration camps. It does not reunite the children already separated from their parents. It is not acceptable.

I am deeply disappointed in some that I thought were decent human beings and have proven themselves otherwise by continuing to support and excuse this corrupt administration. Including some who claimed they voted R on “religious grounds.”

I’ve said it before and I repeat: Good people did not vote for this administration. The minute they pulled that voter lever, they forfeited any “good person” status and let the mask slip, revealing who they really are.

In the book I’m currently reading, Dolores Stewart Riccio’s THE DIVINE CIRCLE OF LADIES MAKING MISCHIEF, on page 108, she has a beautiful sentence: “The heart always has room for one more.”

Unless one supports this administration. Then, the heart has room for no one.

Had hoped to do some yard work today, but don’t know if the weather will let up so I can. I need to work on RELICS, and I also need to finish the proofs for MYTH.

It’s so important to show up and do the work every day, to keep creating, to refuse to be silenced during this dark time. It’s tough, but necessary.

Hopefully, tonight’s ritual will serve to both soothe and to activate.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 21, 2018 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. June 24, 2015: Blasting Through the Solstice

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy few days. By Friday afternoon, I was cooked. We moved books over to Liberty Hall for the book sale. We were short handed, so in between, I had to handle the desk myself in the afternoon. By the time I locked up on Friday afternoon, I was wiped out.

Tried to relax on the deck, but it was hard. Got some reading done — I’ve read a few books of a fairly well done cozy series, except the female protagonist of the pair makes really stupid mistakes. It’s one thing for an intelligent character to make a mistake based on mis-information or mis-interpretation of information. It’s quite different to make a mistake when you know better — and keep making that type of mistake, more than once per book and in multiple books. It shows a character who doesn’t learn, and that’s not someone with whom I choose to spend time. Even though a lot of the writing is lively, that is such a huge character flaw and shows a lack of growth that I can’t accept in characters I spend time with.

Next!

Cats loved having house guests. They got even more spoiled than before.

Prepped for the wedding Friday night and some of Saturday morning. Also got some research done on Saturday morning, and spent time with houseguests.

The day was gorgeous and the wedding was wonderful. It was at a church in Cotuit –the place was packed. The wedding was full of joy and laughter and beauty — the best of what one of those public rituals should be.

The party was fun, although I only stayed a couple of hours. I was worn out.

Tried to sleep in a bit on Sunday, fed the guests, got them on their way. The weather was dreadful — storms, thunder, lightening, pelting rain. Caught rainwater to use for plants. Spent most of the day doing research.

I’ve got two plays to work on, and I don’t want to lose momentum for BALTHAZAAR. There’s another idea percolating — I’m working with characters and situations, but I don’t quite have it yet. It would be contemporary.

And there’s another idea that’s taking shape, form, character, that would start in 1938. If it works, it has the potential to go all the way to present day. The backdrop is, of course, theatre, and it combines some of the other ideas and research I’ve done over several years, trying to find the right format.

Believe it or not, Agnes DeMille’s biography of Martha Graham provided the missing piece of inspiration to pull those years of playing with ideas together, and I did ten pages of notes for the overview and, specifically, for the first story.

Something else that is interesting about DeMille’s biography of Graham is that it is as much about DeMille as Graham! It shouldn’t be titled MARTHA GRAHAM, it should be MARTHA GRAHAM FROM AGNES DEMILLE’S PERSPECTIVE.

Read SPINSTER: MAKING A LIFE OF ONE’S OWN by Kate Bolick. The writing is good, and while there is a lot I like about it, I disagree that she’s “making a life of one’s own.” Yes, she remains unmarried. But she’s a serial dater, always involved in a relationship, always dating frenetically, as though she has to prove that, although she remains unmarried, she is still attractive and desired. She has no idea what it means to be alone — especially since she’s always running to her therapist. She’s unmarried, yes, but solitude is something she avoids. Being home alone one night to read a book and enjoying it is not “being alone”. It’s having a night off.

Read MUSE by Jonathan Galassi. Liked a lot of it, loved a lot of the writing and phrasing. However, stylistically, it was too narrative for my taste. It was like reading a book-long profile in THE NEW YORKER. I don’t want to hear ABOUT all these interesting people — I want to learn about them through active scenes. So, while I enjoyed the book and the writing a lot, I didn’t love it.

Lovely Summer Solstice celebration that will hopefully ground me well for the next cycle. I can’t believe the days are starting to get shorter! In a week or so, we’ll really notice.

Monday was an excellent writing day: 16 pages (just over one chapter ) of the mystery set on Cape Cod in 1938. The reading I’d done over the weekend fed the story and characters. While this mystery follows formula in some ways, it unfolds a little differently and a little more slowly than the current fashion. The title tells you the type of character who will meet a bad end, but, for the first couple of chapters, there are several possibilities. Also, setting the book in this time period, while Europe is in turmoil and America tried to stay out of it, sets up interesting conflicts between the more insular world the characters inhabit and how world events affect it — and how they try to fight it. It’s also a good way to explore various prejudices. I’d originally planned to start the book in the Midwest (my protagonist is from a small town outside Chicago) and have her receive a letter that is the catalyst to moving to New York. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to start building the relationships during a summer stock season on Cape Cod to set the stage (so to speak) for her break with her hometown and childhood sweetheart in active scenes. In other words, this first book will be here, on Cape Cod, before she makes the move to New York. She’ll move to New York in Book Two. I’m also taking some time to develop the first murder victim. I want the reader to know the individual and feel genuine sorrow at the death. It fits more the formula of some of the books written in the actual era, instead of starting in the midst of everything or giving us background we don’t need. Every scene has relevance to the plot, even the ones that won’t seem to until the murderer is revealed.

When I’d written myself out, I got gas for the car and the mower (prices have gone up AGAIN — I’m tired of the way gas prices are manipulated). I mowed the side yard and part of the front, although a big new crop of dandelions sprang up almost immediately.

The cats missed the house guests.

Read Barbara Delinsky’s LAKE NEWS last night. I enjoy her writing.

Up early Tuesday. I have more mowing and repotting to do today, hopefully before the next storm hits, but I also want to get some work done on both BALTHAZAAR and the 1938 mystery.

I’ve also been doing background reading for the one hour pilot. The research reinforces the more jaded view that people basically suck.

However, it was an excellent writing day on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, a total of 22 pages, finishing up one chapter and writing another completely. I was exhausted by the end of it, but it was worth it. I have the research books spread out all around me, and I keep referring back and forth. The constant fact-checking slowed me down, and I still have some more to do when I do the next draft, but I was able to at least make this first one work.

Bad storms came through, with both tornado watches and warnings. The cats were upset and all sat in my lap. We were lucky here, though: thunder, lightening, heavy rain (which we needed). But no tornadoes.

Tried to read a mystery on the Kindle with an interesting premise, but the author or copyeditor didn’t know the difference between a regular plural and a possessive plural, so, after four pages’ worth of mistakes, I gave up. That’s third grade level English, and there’s no excuse for those types of errors in a published book. Read another book on Kindle that was pleasant, but no great shakes. Needed brain candy, but, ultimately, that one left me unsatisfied, too.

Upped the yoga practice to more intensity. I want to try adding another yoga session at night. I used to do that, when I first moved here, and yoga twice a day was great — in the morning, it focuses me and gets me ready for the day; at night, it unwinds me.

Today will be a very long day at the library. We’re short-handed today, and there’s something that needs my full attention that HAS to get done (I started it, but the rest of the information won’t have arrived until today). That means I’ll be putting in extra hours, after the building is closed. I’m working tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, and then I have Sunday and Monday for intense writing. Tuesday, next week, I have appointments.

Worked on BALTHAZAAR again this morning, before I left for the library, but after the intensity of the past few days, it didn’t feel like enough. It was a solid 1500 words, though, so I shouldn’t kick myself about it. There are so many great stories-within-the-story in BALTHAZAAR that I’m tempted to do some chapters set back in pirate days. However, as a reader, I don’t like that convention — having the reader get far ahead of the protagonists — and it doesn’t fit with the way I’ve set up the structure of chapters in the series. Maybe a tie-in novel set there in the future? Or would it be too much like CUTTHROAT CHARLOTTE? I don’t think so, but one never knows. We’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll do a book with Balthazaar, Sybilla, and Charity as the focus, rather than the catalyst, at some point in the future.

The weather, however, is gorgeous, and a wonderful reminder of why I live here.

I have a bad headache which I hope won’t develop into a migraine.

Have a great week!

Devon

Published in: on June 24, 2015 at 10:29 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 24, 2015: Blasting Through the Solstice  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 24, 2014: Offline to ReFuel

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’ve been offline for a few days, for a much-needed creative restoration.

Friday was busy — I had a full, but good day at the library, put in some book orders, etc. Came home and got some work done, but was tired.

Saturday, I was up early, wrote, and ran an errand on my way to the library — got some candles for the Solstice ceremony, and the woman who checked me out at RiteAid is a Reiki professional. Never know who you’re gonna meet, right?

Good day at the library — busy, but a nice, steady pace. I also sent off the final new episode on the Big Script Project, which means I’m buried in revisions all this week.

Came home, rested up a bit, prepared for the Solstice Ceremony. It was wonderful –first time I used oil lamps instead of quarter candles, and they worked very well. It was beautiful and powerful and wonderful.

Also re-read Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM — I’d love to do a live reading at the library next year for the Solstice, although I wonder if it would turn out to be a Magilla to organize.

Sunday, I stayed true to my Disconnect Policy — no internet, phone, etc. The only music was the music outside. I binge-read Ilona Andrews books, some of both the Kate Daniels novels and the Edge novels. FATE’S EDGE was my favorite. I outlined several pieces where the characters are gnawing at me. Hopefully, figuring stuff out will quiet them down until it’s their turn.

Monday, I really needed to be disconnected, too, so that’s what I did. As far as I knew, I had no commitments to meet that day, so I remained disconnected and worked. It’s hard to explain the work, because so much of it was internal. It was the quiet time, the figuring out time for writing. Some notes, but not actual scenes. It was internal, not external work, but so necessary in order to create. I went deep, deep down into the worlds of several projects and let the characters talk. If I had had any interruptions during that time, I would have lost the work — permanently.

I also got part of the meadow mowed and some plants repotted. Good to work the mind and the hands together.

When I resurfaced, in the evening, I found that a Mermaid Ball meeting had been scheduled. That was the first I’d heard about it — after the last one, which happened while I was so sick, no one ever let me know when the next one was. Even a year ago, I would have felt horribly guilty. I don’t. I needed to protect the work and work. If they needed me at the meeting, they should have let me know, right after the last one, when the next one was scheduled. If they want me there, it’s up to THEM to tell ME the schedule, not me to run around begging for information. If only the people at any given meeting are given the information, then that’s their choice, and it takes the pressure off of me. I’m already working three jobs under very tight deadlines. We sorted it out this morning, so no harm, no foul. Glad I didn’t waste my time in guilt!

The writing comes first. ALWAYS. Right now, I’m not only under tight deadlines for contracted work, with releases coming up and all the work that goes with that, but, after a period of creative fallowness, the creativity it kicking up again. And I will protect it and honor it at all costs. Because that is what writers do. It’s not about doing the work when it’s convenient — it’s about doing the work when it needs to get done.

And if those with whom I VOLUNTEER get annoyed that “my cute lil hobby” (because so few of them respect writing as WORK) inconveniences them, tough shit. This is my career, my work, my passion, and everything else works around the writing, not the other way around.

Speaking of the work — in addition to the outlining and working stuff out on upcoming work, the galleys for “Severance” are done, and I’m getting started on “Elusive Prayer” edits. I’ve got three revised episodes to send off this morning on the Big Script Project, will have two tomorrow, and have to have five by Thursday morning, then, with only the last five on Friday and Saturday. It’s a lot of work, but it needs to be done, and it will be good to get it done.

I’ve got a lot of other writing to get done in the coming weeks.

I checked out a Kindle from the library, and I’m getting familiar with it. I’m kind of liking it. I still love holding a book in my hands, and my eyes tire on the screen, but there are definite uses for Kindles. A place for all kinds of books and stories, right?

I’m still not 100% from the stomach virus, which is all kinds of annoying. At least I’ve confirmed it’s NOT a new allergy to crabmeat — had some over the weekend, and was fine. So I don’t know what triggered it, just wish I’d get back to 100% sooner rather than later. I’m in the third week of it now.

Hope everyone has a great week. I’ve got a busy one coming up, but let’s hope it’s another busy in the right way.

Oh, and I read a terrific book last night: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS by Ian Doescher. If you like Shakespeare or STAR WARS, you’ll enjoy it; if you like both, you’ll LOVE it.

Stepped out on the deck this morning, and it smells like autumn. Considering that we just passed Midsummer, that concerns me.

Devon

Tues. June 17, 2014: Writing and Raining

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool, about to rain

Worked at home yesterday morning. Headed to Centerville Library to do what I needed to do online, check email, send out my reviews, invoice, etc. Headed back home for some soup and anti-nausea medication, then drove over to the Marine Life Center to prep for the press conference.

One of the interns helped me put together packets. One of the newspapers made arrangements to come early, with a photographer and a reporter, and got the tour and the information. I rehearsed the two speakers, and set up the podium. The Board members who’d committed to come were there on time, and dressed appropriately (I’d sent out information on what would and would not read well on camera). We didn’t have a huge turnout, but each type of media — print, radio, television, and online — was represented. The conference ran smoothly, the hospital tour went well, one of the television stations did some extra interviews with personnel. All in all, I hope we got some mileage out of it. Fingers crossed.

I did some follow-up afterwards, and thank yous.

Came home, had a glass of wine on the deck, cooked dinner, and then did some organizational/research work. I’ve had a lot of books out of the libraries in the area over the past weeks, and I need to either finish using them, or return them and request them again. So that’s what I’m doing.

I just finished a really wonderful book by Rebecca Mead called MY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH. Read about it on A Biblio Paradise here.

Did some work on the scripts, but not enough; that’s on the agenda for this morning, since I have to deliver one today and one on Thursday. Next week, I have to deliver the final episode and the revisions.

I’m prepping for the Solstice Ceremony on Saturday, which should be fun. It’s my Saturday “on” at the library, but I’ll be done mid-afternoon, and the ceremony’s at night, so it’s all good.

Looking forward to a good writing day today. Trying to decide if I want to head to the Sandwich Library to do some work later this morning — it’s been a couple of months since I’ve been there. They’re the one Cape library that’s on a separate network than the rest of us. They’ve got a great collection, though. Episode #113 is ready to go out, and I’m excited about episodes 114 & 115.

I also have to mow the meadow, and bake for tomorrow’s program at my library.

I’ve got some ideas about marketing TRACKING MEDUSA that I have to get going on, too. The print edition will be out later this month, and I’d like to get it into some unusual places, especially places that are connected with the locations in the book.

Lots to do, and limited hours in the day, so I better get moving!

Devon

Published in: on June 17, 2014 at 11:07 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 17, 2014: Writing and Raining  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mon. June 24, 2013: Preparing for a Busy Week

IMG_1348
Foxglove

Monday, June 24, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Foggy, muggy, cool

Friday was spent catching up on work, getting material out to my new editor, working with students, and trying to get everything done. Because I’d worked at the library and in longhand while the computer was down, I wasn’t as far behind as I might have been otherwise. I also had to mow — running theme in my life lately, it seems! Also landed a new editing client, whose work I start today, as soon as the deposit and the manuscript come through.

It was also the Summer Solstice, which meant the Summer Solstice Ceremony, which was lovely, especially coming up to this year’s Super Moon.

Saturday was spent working in the garden, doing my classwork, and attending two gallery openings. I’m having a great time in Archaeology class, but frustrated in the Climate Literacy class.

The first gallery opening was at Tao Water Gallery, in W. Barnstable. It was a show about Cape Cod, featuring Cape Cod artists. It was wonderful. Much better than a similarly-themed show the Cape Cod Museum of Art put on last year, both in content and in curation. The place was packed, and people were excited.

After that show, I hopped in the car, fought my way across the bridge, and drove to New Bedford for the Gallery X opening. The National Marine Life Center has an exhibit in the downstairs gallery, and I wanted to be there to support them.

It was very well done and lots of fun. It was also gratifying to see photographs and the progression of all the great work the organization has done in the last few years. Townsend, the seal who was the inspiration for Sammy in my play, MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, will be released this Thursday at 6 PM at Scusset Beach — if you can get there, I hope you’ll join us.

Home and tired.

Sunday was mostly taking it slow, and working on the Dickensian Steampunk. I thought I’d done more work on it than I had — guess most of it was in my head! 😉

Read the wonderful Gaslamp Fantasy anthology QUEEN VICTORIA’S BOOK OF SPELLS, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. Great stuff, and plenty of new-to-me authors that I’ll check out further.

I’ve accumulated several Amazon gift cards (including winning one on the Solstice) — so it’s time to place my order!

Wrote and submitted my paper for Climate Literacy yesterday — it feels a bit disjointed. I think I tried to cover too much ground in the space allowed. Oh, well. Everything is notated and I included photographs.

An editing test for a company landed on my desk this morning — I’d sent them a pitch a couple of months ago. They want it turned around in a day. We’ll see –first I have to do the rest of the contracted work! Also got interview questions I need to turn around, need to polish an article and get it out, work with the private students, and wrap up the class for RWA. AND, I need to make a library run, to both Centerville and Sturgis libraries later.

I better get moving.

Devon

Thurs. June 21, 2012: Heat, Humidity, Hosting Issues

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Yesterday was another nearly-lost day, thanks to fighting with 1and1.com. Finally — again at night — I went over the incompetent control freak who was refusing to help, lying to me, and blaming me for the web problem. I got someone who actually bothered to check into the problem — and it’s a bug on THEIR end. Of course, they have no idea when it’ll be fixed. But I got an apology from management for the lousy employee.

Again — another lost day of work, needless aggravation, and the problem isn’t solved.

I apologize to those waiting for “Town Crier” — the story will be available, and available longer, as soon as the host fixes their problem.

Worked on the revision of the WIP, got some other writing done, went to the Annual Meeting at the National Marine Life Center — which was lovely. I feel so lucky to be part of that organization.

Went to Plymouth to my regular guy to get the light fixed on the car — charged me all of $10. Was worth the trip. They take such good care of me!

Yesterday was hot — not unbearable, but hot. I’m off to yoga now, and then I have some errands to run, and an article to polish and send off. I also have a PSA script to write, and some other writing to do. Still waiting the contract and the check for the ghostwriting gig — not starting it until all the details are in place.

The Solstice celebration was fun, but we had to move it inside after the first few minutes — too buggy outside. It was Tessa’s first Summer Solstice Celebration, and she enjoyed herself.

Better get going. A lot to get done today.

Devon

Monday, June 21, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon