Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Am I Really Doing This?

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Saturn went DIRECT on 10/10/2021

Foggy and mild

The weekend turned out quite differently than expected, but I’m doing my work on flow and flexibility, and grateful that my work allows it.

The plan, since it was supposed to be a warm and sunny day, was to go to Holyoke and Hadley (about an hour and a half away) to hit some stores we don’t have around here and stock up on a few things, and check out a few places to see if they’re worth a return visit. It wasn’t that warm, and it alternated between clouds and sun.

But the big thing that jettisoned those plans was that Tessa was limping, badly. Her right front paw was the problem. She wasn’t happy about me checking it, but it wasn’t broken, and she didn’t have anything lodged in it, and it wasn’t an ingrown nail. I figured she landed wrong on one of her jumps, or when she raced up and down the stairs, playing, in the night.

We decided to stay home and watch her, and keep Charlotte away from her, in case I needed to book a vet visit in the next couple of days. She didn’t want me carrying her, and insisted on jumping up and down, even though she still limped. But we managed to keep her quiet most of the day. I stayed next to her on the sofa, and even, sometimes, down on the floor.

Snuck off while she napped to send off my last script coverages for the week, and made my nut and a little over, so I could relax.

Got my book review sent off, but it was too late to get another assignment, so I’m hoping that will come through today. Managed to catch up on a bunch of emails, too, and designed a new ad for Fearless Ink which I will probably launch next week, after both Jupiter and Mercury go retrograde.

Did some research on William Morris Hunt and the female painters and sculptors he trained, in preparation for the steampunk piece.

Over Friday and Saturday, I read WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams. It’s an excellent legal thriller. If Stacy Abrams can be such a purposeful activist to save democracy and still manage her book deadlines, I can shut up and get back on schedule. I enjoy a good legal thriller, and oh, so many fall short, but this exceeded my expectations. Incredible plotting. Just masterful. Along with characters and storytelling and great settings. Top notch in every way.

Friday night, I set up the sofa bed, brought in Tessa’s food, water, and a litter box, and shut everyone else out of the living room. This way, I could be nearby if Tessa needed something, and could make sure she had uninterrupted rest from the others, so her paw could heal. She was pretty happy about it; Charlotte, not so much.

Slept through then night and got up a little before 5 on Saturday. No howling from Tessa, which proves it’s not about food, it’s about loneliness.

Tessa was much better on Saturday, but it was rainy and yucky, so we didn’t go anywhere. We’d hoped to go to Great Barrington, but that will have to wait for a sunnier day. I finished reading WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, and then made vegetable stock, and hunted down the box of Halloween treat bags. I was sure I’d brought it up, but couldn’t find it the last few days, and was worried I’d have to do another storage run between the time Mercury goes direct and Samhain. But I finally found it, so it’s all good.

Unpacked some of the boxes in the sewing room, filling the new dresser with fabric.

Signed up for a weeklong course called “Expedition to the Soul” by The Sisters Enchanted. I figured that would work well with the whole Chiron/healing theme. They give you a workbook to download, and ideas on putting together an “Quest Pack.” At first, I rolled my eyes, but reminded myself that I’m the one who signed up for it, so I should do as they ask, because there are reasons. When I teach a class, one of the rules is that you do all the assignments as asked, even if you decide to never work in that way again. So, as a participant, I need to show the same respect to my instructors.

 Once I started putting it together, I had a lot of fun with it. It contains items from Goddess Provisions and Tamed Wild that didn’t have placements yet, and were just sitting around until I found something for them to do, but they’re perfect for this.

Worked on some notes and background for a couple of writing projects, but nothing too major.

Made a quick mac and cheese lunch from Annie’s Organic in a box. It’s been a few years since I ate it, and I was not impressed. The sauce mix was lumpy and wouldn’t dissolve into the milk and butter, and, overall, it was too salty. In a week or two, I’ll have to make up a big batch of Moosewood’s cheese sauce and do their mac and cheese from scratch, and freeze a few packets. I used a Campbell’s sweet and sour skillet sauce with leftover chicken (and made rice) for dinner. Again, not impressed. Somewhere, I have the really good sweet and sour recipe my mom’s best friend gave me (she grew up in Macao, and we took a Chinese cooking class with her a looong time ago, but I kept all the recipes). Foodwise, Saturday was a bust.

I couldn’t find any photos of my dad for the Ancestor Altar we’re building, which is really frustrating. I was sure the big box with all our photo albums and scrap books went on the truck, but can’t find it. That’s upsetting; it better be in the storage unit and not lost for good.

But I have the box that was sent after my uncle, my father’s younger brother, died. Going through that, I found a great, happy photo of my dad from 1965 in Chicago, so I’ll use that. I also found photos of both his older and younger brothers (both of them were artists in Europe). And found a bunch of letters and ancestry research. Most of it is in that difficult-to-read German script, so it will take some time for my mom and I to interpret it. Most of the letters are typed, so my mom is going to work on the translation.

A Big Project for the Winter.

My mother’s father had done a lot of ancestral research on that side of the family, but I have very little information about my father’s side.

I slept in the living room again with Tessa, and slept through the night until nearly six in the morning. Heaven. By this time, Charlotte’s separation anxiety was in high gear, so it took a couple of hours to get her calmed down.

Tessa was running and playing at top speed, so it was just a bad landing on a jump, and nothing that needs a vet visit. Sometimes she forgets she’s not still a kitten.

Dreary day on Sunday, weather-wise. Spent the morning writing six short almanac articles, which was a lot of fun. Spent some time with the Quest workbook. Unpacked a tiny bit, and found some stuff for the Quest Pack.

In the afternoon, I read three scripts for coverage, which I wrote up on Monday.

Worked on an outline for a piece that is taking shape in my head. Those characters that were in search of a story? Found one for them. I’m starting to think it would make sense to work on it during Nano. Yes, the siren song of Nano calls. On the one hand, it’s a chance to write an entire project in a condensed period of time, and get back into the groove, and to connect with local chapter writers. On the other hand, I have three plays due at the end of the year in New York, and I need to get back on track with the series books, keep up with the script coverage and the copywriting, and other “in progress” things. Also, in previous years, I found those who quit before the end of the month were exhausting. They were always the ones pulling the most energy from everyone else, and then they quit anyway.

I’m worried that if I do Nano, I’m doing it for ego. I realize there’s a certain amount of ego involved in writing any book. But as much as I’m trying to justify that it’s about finding my rhythm again after stalling during the early part of the pandemic and while I was sick, there’s also ego involved.

Because, let’s face it, I regularly write more than 50K in a month, although not necessarily on one project. And I don’t have to interact on forums – in fact, the last time I did Nano, I found the moderators snippy and awful towards professional writers.

And doing Nano simply because of ego is not the right reason for me to start writing a book.

Writing because I’m pulled by the story and characters (which I am, especially if I can craft a tight outline between now and November), and writing a whole book from start to finish (which would spill over past Nano, because this book needs to be at least 70K. I’d need to keep writing it into December, while finishing off the plays. And juggling everything else.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that time and put that energy into something that I SHOUILD be working on?

Or would the WANT TO writing fuel the SHOULD?

If it’s the latter, I can work with the ego elements, ignore the energy vampires, and just write.

I don’t know. I’m having an internal debate. Maybe the Soul Expedition will give me some answers.

I know I CAN write 50K on a project in 30 days; it’s just a case of getting back to doing it, and then continuing it past November 30, to get back to my normal rhythm between 1.5-2K/day on whatever is the “primary” project of the moment. Can I use Nano to fuel it, even with a new project? Or will it just become another obstacle?

I wouldn’t mentor this year; Let 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS take care of that. I’m promoting it all over the place.

Of course, the site’s not letting me sign in, so it might be moot anyway! Update: I managed to get in, under my old password (wrote down the new one, just in case). Updated the profile, set up the novel. Switched regions. Looked at the forums, which gave me a headache. I can still always change my mind.

Then I look at my intent for the week and wonder, is Nano a bad habit I have to break, or is the uneven writing rhythm of the past few months the bad habit I have to break?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

Did some work on the Fearless Ink ad. I might do two ads. I create a tagline and am sourcing the right images, and I found an image and can create a good tagline.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up a little after 4:30, because she was lonely (Charlotte was thrilled I slept back in my own bed and she could snuggle all night).

Good first writing session, good early morning yoga.

Barbara Moore’s THE WIZARD’S TAROT arrived, and it is spectacular. Looking through the deck gave me chills in the right way. I plan to use this deck and her STEAMPUNK TAROT together on Samhain, when I do the year’s monthly action/energy reading. It takes both decks out of regular usage for the upcoming year, but I think I can do a lot of work with them in the coming year with them as that foundational reading.

(This year’s deck were the Pagan Tarot as the action deck and the Sacred Circle tarot as the energy deck. Pretty accurate throughout the year, although not necessarily in the way they were originally interpreted).

Did another pass through the Nano forums. Some very toxic topics like:

–What’s your day job?

–What’s your favorite hobby besides writing?

–Writers are your competition

So, yeah, not participating in those. Whenever “what’s your day job?” comes up on something like Twitter, I respond “writing” and then wait a day or two to block the toxic poster. Or just skip the question and block.

And other writers are NOT my competition. That’s something the industry promotes to keep writers “in their place” and too many of them underpaid, because traditional publishers only have a finite number of slots. But the reality is that you can’t have too many good writers, because humans have an insatiable need for stories.

I admit it; I was tempted to be an asshat and post a snide response. But then I didn’t. Because I’m a grownup, and I don’t have to give in to these impulses. Being snippy is not in the spirit of Nano, which is for everyone to try to find their way to a regular writing rhythm. I can avoid the toxic, the whiny, and the dilettantes, without being mean.

Wrote four more short almanac articles. Wrote up three script coverages. Used the rest of the slow cooker pork to make pork Lo Mein, which was good, but, for some reason, the sauce turned out spicier than I expected. I’ll have to cut back on the red pepper flakes next time I make that sauce. Spent a couple of hours on the prep for the Soul Expedition stuff, using the journal prompts.

Read four scripts last night, which I will cover today.

Tessa let me sleep this morning until just before 5, but she is now insisting that, when I wash her bowl in the morning, I put the food into a WARM bowl. Okay, Tess, whatever you say, you’re the boss.

Headed over to the laundromat first thing, got both loads done and was back by 7:30, which was pretty damn good.

I used my time at the laundromat to work on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, the working title of this piece. I wrote about 5 pages (I already had jotted about 3 pages of notes). I have the characters (the ones who were in search of the plot a few days ago). I have the situation. I know the murderer. I know why the murderer did it. I even have a couple of red herrings, and some good situations as my characters work to solve the mystery. I need more clues and red herrings, and to tighten it all up, which might not happen until the second draft. I need enough in the outline so I can get the first draft down quickly for Nano, and then, starting next spring or so, massage it and hone it and tone it. I want it to be fairly short – around 70K.

I’m finding I have to do some research, like do persimmons grow in the Berkshires? (They do). And about the casinos in Springfield. I really hope I don’t need to do a research trip, because I loathe casinos.

I feel pretty good about the piece and the prep. What I hope is that the energy used to drive this piece in Nano will spill out to the other pieces on which I’m working, and have a ripple effect. So that I’d work on CAST IRON MURDER first thing in the morning (after the longhand session on the other project, so, well, second thing in the morning), and then, later in the day, work on the plays. Maybe I’ll leverage the Sundance Collaborative writing sessions for that.

Anyway, I need to start my day. I have to do a grocery run in the morning for things like oat milk, eggs, wine, and coffee, and then get back to the almanac articles and the script coverage. I’d hoped to get LOIs out today, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. Working on the ad, too, for Fearless Ink, and the blog for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

So it’s a busy day. Might put off the library and the post office until tomorrow.

Most of the students were away for the weekend, it being a long one, so it was nice and quiet. They’re really not bad, and when there’s noise, it’s for about 20 minutes or so. But there is a difference when they’re not around. I like both ways – the energy when they’re around, and the quiet when they’re not.

Hope you have a good week, friends. Peace.

If you want to grab a copy of the free 30 Tips for 30 Days, you can get the download links here. It’s not on Amazon; they blocked it because they don’t allow free downloads that don’t originate/aren’t exclusive to them. If you need a mobi file, contact me through the website, and we’ll set it up.

Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

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

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Oct. 18, 2019: Storm Day = Cat Socialization Work

Friday, October 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Clear and cool

Sorry about yesterday. No Ink in My Coffee. No Gratitude and Growth. But there’s a short post over on Affairs of the Pen today on shipboard activities.

The power went out around 1 AM on Thursday. We called it in, even though it was during the storm. Better to get in the queue early than to wait until it’s over and then have to wait even longer.

Tried to go back to sleep, but didn’t do more than doze. The winds screamed more than the new cats when they’re arguing about something.

It kept the cats quiet, that’s for sure. They didn’t like it.

I got up at the usual time, although it was still dark. The flashlight got me to the candles. I made coffee. The gas stove works in power outages (although the oven does not). The heat, also gas, does not work because it’s powered by an electric switch, which annoys me on multiple levels.

I fed the cats by candlelight. Charlotte was so cute. I told her I couldn’t see in the dark the way she could. She would run ahead of me a few feet, then come back and touch my leg with a paw, then run ahead a few feet, then come back. Like a seeing eye cat.

Willa and Charlotte have not been socialized much. It’s obvious their original human adored them and spoiled them. But they’ve never really learned how to interact, although they want to. So we’re working on that.

Willa is more outgoing. She’s already a lap cat, and loves to play and interact. But she gets oversitmulated, and then, even on a lap, can get yowly and growly. She nipped the first few days, but we’ve gotten her past that. She’s very sweet, for the most part, although she needs to learn to be a Writer’s Cat — I need BOTH hands to type, and will pet her in between paragraphs.

Willa does start the yowling and screeching with both of the others. I think she wants to be dominant cat. She might be dominant over Charlotte (although I suspect Charlotte only lets her think so sometimes), but Tessa is Head Cat in this house, and Tessa is not putting up with Willa’s antics.

Willa does back down from Tessa, though. Which is good.

Willa is also fascinated by running water. She likes to be on the bathroom counter when the tap is going, and she’s trying to learn how to turn it on herself. Fortunately, one needs thumbs for that. She doesn’t like closed doors, especially not bathroom doors. She loves the new perch we made for her on the old tea cart from Chicago’s Pump Room that’s in my office and usually holds plants. We put a fleece blanket on the top, which is even with the windowsill. She sits and watches the squirrels and neighborhood dogs and cars. Her behavior has vastly improved since we set that up.

She needs a lot to do. Lots of playtime, interaction. I’m thinking of getting her some battery-operated toys.

Charlotte is at the stage where she wants company, but she doesn’t know how to interact with people or other cats. She sits and watches most of the time, which is fine. She comes and asks for attention, but still won’t let anyone pet her.

I think she and Tessa will make friends first. They barely growl at each other anymore, and, when they do, it’s half-hearted.

Charlotte likes to be up — on the behemoth, on the bureau. She likes to be on the bed with me. Unfortunately, so do the others, so it can get a little dicey.

Tessa stomps around, keeping them in line.

Willa and Charlotte swat each other sometimes, but not Tessa. And they swat each other with soft paws. It’s more vocal than physical, thank goodness.

They’re getting lots of individual playtime, but now they want to be involved in each other’s playtime. But then they get upset that the other cats are there, and run away. But it’s already better.

Today is only two weeks since Willa arrived, and a little less for Charlotte. Tessa is much happier with them here, even though she’s telling them off. My cat vet in NY said that once, “It’s better for two cats to live together than alone. As long as they don’t attack each other, even if they don’t like each other, it gives them something to do.”

So this weird insistence here in MA shelters that adult cats have to be “only cats” makes no sense.

The Storm Day was good for socializing. With no power, no street lights, library closed, many businesses closed, and the sirens going for police and fire all day, I was lucky I could stay home.

Even without power, it wasn’t too cold. We bundled up in sweats & sweaters & socks & blankets. The cats settled in with us. We read and played with them. It was quiet (except for the neighbors’ generators). They got used to all being in the room together and associating good things with it.

Willa and Charlotte learn fast. They already know that “bedtime snacks” means treats and then I head upstairs for meditation and bed. Now, they gobble their snacks and get there ahead of me.

Charlotte is fascinated by the meditation space. Sometimes, she sleeps on the cushion when I’m not there.

The power came on for a few minutes in the early afternoon. Then it waved, off and on, until it steadied later in the afternoon. Cell service was out for most of the day. Most of the batteries I stockpiled for just such an emergency were new, yet didn’t work.

Candles are much more reliable.

The batteries in the radio worked, though, so we could get news, which was a help.

I finished reading MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK, which was odd and charming and delightful. I read a mystery by an author whose earlier work I adored, but whose turn into puritanical mystery in locations with no flavor and stock caricatures instead of characters disappoints me. I’d skipped her last few books, but thought I’d
try again. It didn’t work for me. The relationships, including the supposed romantic ones, are flat and bloodless. No, thanks.

Started reading a mystery by a new-to-me author who has a lot of books in the series (how did I miss her )? The location is unusual and well-rendered, the human-animal relationships are good, but I’m not sure about the rest yet.

My treat for myself this weekend is my friend Arlene Kay’s newest release, Homicide by Horse Show. Once I get everything done.

Made a Kripalu recipe of roasted eggplant, tomato, raisin, and mint over couscous for dinner. It was good. Hope to make cowboy cookies (from the Moosewood recipe) later today.

There’s a lot of yard cleanup to do. Plenty of branches came down, although I don’t think any big limbs did. Some idiot was out in the nor’easter yesterday using his leafblower.

I have some client meetings to finalize for next week, and some other work to get done at the library, along with pickups/drop-offs. The furnace guy is coming this afternoon for yearly maintenance. I have stuff to put away.

I didn’t turn around the edits for my Llewellyn article; will do it this weekend and send it off on Monday. I have some other edits to finish this weekend, too.

I gave myself yesterday off for the storm and cat socializing. Now, I need to get back to work.

Have a great weekend!

 

Fri. Oct. 11, 2019: Interesting Times, My Friends. Interesting Times

Friday, October 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about Location.

We’re still in the throes of the Nor’eastern. Wondering how long we’ll have power.

Speaking of power, what PG&E is pulling out west is crap. The ONLY reason a power company exists is to provide power for its customers. Customers pay. The utility provides. Because the company is too incompetent to maintain/improve its equipment so it doesn’t start wildfires, everyone has to sit in the dark? No. Just no. Get rid of them and hire someone competent. Dismantle the company. Fine them in the billions and drive them out of business. What they are doing is NOT acceptable. THEY are at fault for this problem. To inflict it on the people who are the reason for the company’s existence is not acceptable on ANY level.

Cat update: Willa is a little love bug. She’s in my lap constantly. Wants to be petted. Wants to be included. We’re giving Tessa plenty of attention, because I am Tessa’s Primary Human, and she is not amused.

Charlotte is the one left out right now. I’m spending some quality time just with her to get her socialized and comfortable.

I posted photos of Willa on Wednesday night; still trying to get photos of Charlotte.

Got some work done yesterday on GAMBIT COLONY and GRAVE REACH. Had a phone interview with what turned out to be a recruiter. There are some possibilities there. I have to say this is the first recruiter I’ve spoken to since I moved to the area who hasn’t been a complete waste of space. She knew what she was talking about and actually listened.

Another potential client asked for more information, and I sent that off. I have another phone conference with yet another potential client this morning, so I am scheduling this to post on Thursday (while we still have power).

Yesterday was about meetings, writing, storms, and cats. Today will be about meetings, writing, and cats. This weekend, we add cleaning out boxes from the basement into the mix.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on October 11, 2019 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 11, 2019: Interesting Times, My Friends. Interesting Times  
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Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and chilly

Hop on over to see the latest on Gratitude and Growth. Not much to tell, but still. . .it’s there. Consistency is important, correct?

The cats officially have new names. The one I’ve referred to as New Kitty #1 is now Willa, for Willa Cather: smart, independent, resourceful. Willa wasn’t even one of the names originally considered: we had it narrowed down to Jane or Clara. But we came up with Willa, and she likes it, so Willa she is.

New Kitty #2 is Charlotte, for Charlotte Bronte and the various feisty Princess Charlottes over the centuries. Charlotte is stubborn, determined, and a bit of a diva. She picked her name early on; Willa was more difficult to name.

They are doing well. Tessa keeps them in line. Willa is exploring more than Charlotte is. Willa comes out to play. She’s even started asking for pets, started purring, and, yesterday morning, she sat in my lap while I typed. Willa even made friends with my mom, and now asks her for pets, too.

Charlotte is still figuring things out and wondering why no one pays any attention to her tantrums. But then, she came into the house two days after Willa did. Charlotte will get there. We won’t rush her. We’ll let her figure it out in her own time.

Tessa keeps unpacking Charlotte’s toy box and playing with her toys, just to prove she can.

As soon as they are comfortable enough to have their pictures taken, I will do so.

They haven’t even lived here a week, so I think they’re doing well. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but that’s the way it goes. The less we fuss at them, the faster they adjust.

I got some good writing in on Wednesday morning. Then headed in to a client’s.

I was invited to a chamber event on Wednesday night, at a new restaurant. I knew I SHOULD go, but I didn’t really want to. I mean, we had a nor’easter coming in.I also realized I need to make new business cards with the new logo. And the new contact address, to replace the hacked one.

This is scheduled to post because  I have a meeting first thing this morning, about potential projects. Tomorrow’s post will also be late, because I have another meeting, with a different potential client about a project.

The weekend is about writing, socializing the cats, and working on cleaning out boxes from the basement.

 

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells  
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Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on the business side of things.

I needed meditation group on Monday! Felt so much better when it was done. Came home. Cats were fine. They had a quiet day, mostly sleeping, which is good for them. They’ve had a rough few days.

Had fun opening the latest Goddess Provisions Box. It’s such a treat. My prize arrived from last week’s remote chat, which was fun, too.

New Kitty #1 came out and we even played a bit. She’s very sweet. I thought she was striped, but she’s not. She’s a gray-and-white tuxedo. She’s very pretty. After a few minutes, though, she had enough interaction. She took refuge in my reading chair in the writing room, and contemplated possible names. She did a few half-hearted hisses, but no one would engage.

Tessa got into the toy box that came with New Kitty #2. She took every single one out, marked them, played with them, and left them all over the living room. She feels it’s a job well done. When I put them back, she took them all out again. Now, we have LOTS of toys all over the house. She has her favorite toy, with which we play every day. But she had to show who is boss.

I was exhausted and went up early to read in bed. After awhile, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. To my surprise, it was New Kitty #2. She looked as shocked as I did. She growled, and I said, “Okay, I won’t look at you if you won’t look at me.” Well, Diva Princess that she is, that doesn’t work. I went back to my book. She explored the room, checking to look at me sometimes. I looked at her when she was busy. She finally sailed out of the room, tail high. First periscope tail since she moved in. Progress.

Quiet night. Up early yesterday. I spilled a cup of coffee on the light-colored carpet in my bedroom, so they got to hear me swear and watched as I scrubbed.

Good writing session. New Kitty #1 still has a fort in my office, but she likes to watch me at the computer. Tessa sits and keeps me company, as she always has.

Tessa feels secure because we are maintaining the routine. The other cats are learning it, and the fact that (in spite of freelancing and ME doing different things every day) THEIR routine is consistent helps. Tessa sets a few boundaries and makes it clear she is in charge. After being bossed for years by Iris & Violet, she likes being the boss.

They both are really nosy, now that they’re not terrified. They’re starting to seek engagement with us. That makes a smoother transition than if we tried to force it on them. Cats always prefer it when it’s their idea.

It makes us miss Lucy and Lucy’s sunny personality even more, though.

I think we have New Kitty #2’s name. One that suits the little diva princess, and to which she responds. New Kitty #1 is being more particular. There were several names I tried which she definitely does NOT like.

Got some good writing done in the morning. Onsite at the client’s. Only one in the office, which meant I got A LOT done. Set some appointments/meetings for later in the week. Got out some more LOIs.

New Kitties are venturing out more to explore, so I think we have some more hissy-spitty and growly days ahead of us as they work it out.

Today, I’m onsite with the client again. I’m looking forward to the Remote Chat (it’s become one of my favorite parts of the week). Thursday and Friday have the potential to be a good busy.

Hoping some other pieces fall into place, but I’m making Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Having multiple plans works for me. That way, I can mix and match elements as I need, and have options while still being flexible.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “too many options.” I have no time for people who whine about that. Fine. Too many options for your comfort. Get out of my way, because I intend to make full use of them.

And showing up at the page every day keeps things steady, and gives me tangible progress.

Have a great day!

Published in: on October 9, 2019 at 6:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process  
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Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my next adventure in the Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy weekend.

I didn’t get in as much yardwork as I wanted. I got a little bit done on Friday, before the rain started, and then again on Sunday, before the rain started.

I had a meeting Friday afternoon, which left me feeling lukewarm about the whole situation. It should have been very simple, but wasn’t.

Also, unless someone is planning to date me or sleep with me, asking about my marital status is irrelevant. I find it an insulting question. And I’m starting to push back when people ask. I thought that was not allowed anymore in interviews.

Saturday morning, up early, and got Tessa to the vet to get her shots updated. She was vocal in the car — first time ever. I guess, since Iris is no longer around to yowl, Tessa feels she has to pick up the slack. The visit went well; Tessa was good. Then, we headed home, and she was fine.

The day was rainy and yucky, so I focused on working on contest entries.

Sunday morning, I did a little bit of work on GAMBIT COLONY. I worked on contest entries. I went grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day.

Took yard waste to the dump.

I went to Country Gardens and got pansies for the front, three kinds of lettuce, and parsley, then got potting soil. I potted the herbs and vegetables, put pansies in the front baskets and the barrel, and raked out the front beds. Cut back a lot of invasives that took up residence over the winter.

Sat outside on the deck for a bit, reading. Steven Axelrod’s newest, NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT, is excellent.

Dinner, more WEST WING. I did not watch the premiere of the last season of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a magnificent production, but I stopped watching a few years ago due to the unrelenting cruelty. It’s great that people love it so much; always glad when art has that power. But I choose not to watch it anymore. I don’t denigrate those who love it; I don’t accept anyone denigrating me because I don’t.

Storm started Sunday night, and was bad into Monday. Monday was Patriot’s Day here in MA, and the Boston Marathon. I felt for the runners. Miserable weather. And tornado warnings in New York.

Got some work done on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” but I’m still not satisfied. I have to keep working it until I get it right. Also worked on “Dashed Dreams” the Straw Hat Circuit radio play.

Worked with a client for a few hours yesterday on site, and am back there again today.

Have to get material to the organizers of the talk I’m giving in mid-May. It’s a panel discussion. Should be interesting, but part of me is wishing I hadn’t committed. But I did and I’ll see it through.

Am reconciling myself to disappointment on a couple of fronts, and feeling a bit discouraged.

Considering going to an event this evening, but I have to see how I feel. I don’t know if I can summon up the energy for yet another new group of people.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done  
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Thurs. Oct. 11, 2018: Creativity & Women Write Change

 Thursday, October 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Muggy and cloudy

Dealt with a hell of a migraine yesterday. Left the client an hour early, because I couldn’t be productive. Light, which usually doesn’t bother me, did. Usually, it’s sound, because I have hyper-accusis, and I’m so hyper-sensitive to sound.

Came home and tried to rest. Took Tessa out onto the deck. It was covered, so I was protected from the glare. Even though it was hot and humid, I could relax. It took a few hours, but the migraine finally released its grip.

Stayed up late to work on RELICS & REQUIEM. Ripped apart and re-structured the section that was the most problematic. It’s much better now. It still needs a couple more tweaks.

Got most of the forum set up for Women Write Change. I have to do some introductory posts, finesse the guidelines, and then it can open for participants. The guidelines page is up on the Devon Ellington Work site, with the address to request an invitation.

I’m creating the project I need in my life right now. If there are others who want to take the journey, great. If not, I continue on my own.

Today, I have to work on Women Write Change, work on RELICS, and finish a review for a book. I also have to take my mom to a medical appointment and run some errands. I’m hoping to find a garage who will give me a fair price for an oil change.

Governor Baker is telling people to vote No on Question 1, that would require adequate staffing at hospitals. Yeah, the guy who refused to vote for one of the candidates for president in 2016 has NO grounds for telling anyone how to vote now.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 11, 2018 at 9:14 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 11, 2018: Creativity & Women Write Change  
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Friday, Aug. 3, 2018: Loss

Friday, August 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny, cloudy, hot, humid

The last 24 hours have been rough.

My lovely, vibrant, dynamic friend Pamela Wills passed away, after a battle with cancer. I met her at the Artist HobNob Group she started. I was frustrated by the lack of support for artists in the area. There’s a lot of talk about the importance of the arts, but no one wants to pay for talent, unless it’s a visiting artist in for an event. Heaven forbid you want to be a WORKING artist in this area, and get paid for your actual profession in the arts; Pam started a group determined to change the way they were valued, and, more importantly, to teach them to value themselves. Everyone who attended was welcomed and valued for WHO THEY WERE, and their dreams encouraged, along with practical advice on how to get there.

I didn’t know her as long as many others in the area who are also grieving, but she had a strong, positive impact on my life, along with many others.

I believed that she could and would beat the cancer. Out of everyone I know, she is the one I would have bet to win, and then use her experience as a survivor to improve the world even more than she already did.

Her daughter starts college in autumn; it’s a tough time for her, and for the whole family. There’s a whole community of people ready to help, to love, and support. That doesn’t lessen the loss, but hopefully it will help the healing.

I’ve been playing with an idea she inspired (which will, if it works, be dedicated to her). Although I’m setting it near Culzean Castle, in Scotland, her inspiration is the lynchpin.

The world is a dimmer place without her love, her laugh, her wisdom, her chutzpah, her inspiration.

As I digested that news, I also did whatever I could for Iris, who weakened hour by hour. She slipped away peacefully a little before two a.m. this morning. I took her remains to the 24-hour vet in Dennis for cremation. I had the radio on to keep me company — Prince on the way there. As I drove out of the parking lot, after making arrangements, “Dust in the Wind” came on, and then a bunch of old favorites from the 1980s.

Iris was one of the twins, Iris & Violet, that I adopted right before MISS SAIGON closed. They were born under a friend’s porch, and only a month old, two little gray fluffballs, when I adopted them. I hand-raised them. I was lucky enough to have Violet for 15 years and Iris for 18 years. Once Violet died, Iris never purred again. They had never been separated for even a day until Violet died.

So I was up most of the night. I’m supposed to be in and out of a conference this weekend, and at an alumni event tomorrow. I’m cutting back my time. I’m going to a dinner party tonight given by one friend for a visiting friend; I’m pretty sure I can put on the Broadway and be a good guest. It will be good to be around fellow creatives, and the evening isn’t about me, and I have no intention of making it so.

I have cancelled out of tomorrow — I couldn’t face mixing with a lot of people I don’t know, even with NYU in common. We do have friends stopping over early in the morning on their way to Nantucket; I’m putting on a spread for them.

Which means a lot of house cleaning today, which we had to do anyway – washing bedding, putting away Iris’s things. I was already in negotiation to adopt a friend for Tessa; I should be able to pick her up next week.

Tessa, my younger black cat, is very upset. She keeps looking for Iris; she follows us around; whenever one of us leaves the house, she gets anxious.

I’ve given myself the day off writing today. If I feel like I can concentrate, I will try to get some work done, but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t.

I did a nice chunk of work on RELICS & REQUIEM yesterday (not enough, but close), and even started getting back into DAVY JONES DHARMA.

I have an article to finish to post for next Tuesday, and I want to finish writing the foreword for my friend’s book and get it out earlier rather than later.

And spend a lot of time playing with Tessa.

I have candles burning for Pam and for Iris. I will give myself the room to feel sad.

But I am so grateful that both Pam and Iris were a part of my life. The joys make up for the loss. Or, rather, they will, when time allows the joyful memories to overpower the sadness.

Published in: on August 3, 2018 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018: Loss  
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Thurs. April 25, 2013: Still Rainy and Raw

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was no where near as productive as I wished. I was checking on Iris every few minutes, struggling with Chapter 13 of the book, and working with students. I baked brownies, and, in the evening, went to the Volunteer Appreciation dinner at the National Marine Life Center, which was fun. The organization really does honor and respect its volunteers, and it’s a great environment.

This morning, I spent some early morning time outside with Tessa meditating, and then it was off to yoga. Great class, and gave me ideas on layering more yoga into the book (because, after all, my protagonist is a yoga teacher).

Iris is much better this morning, ate a lot, is back to almost-normal — poor little thing!

Have to finalize the last few things for Saturday’s conference, and finish printing materials out.

I heard about a community yoga half-day on Sunday — if I’m not completely wiped out from Saturday, I’d like to do it.

AND, of course, if I’m up-to-date with my deadlines! 😉

Read an interesting book, the first of a new series by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzoni (two writers whose work I like). They have a new series set in SF in 1894 and have wonderful sensory and historical detail and great characters. The first book is called THE BUGHOUSE AFFAIR, the one I read yesterday. There was one choice off adding a recognizable character which didn’t quite work for me, but I liked the rest of it to roll with it anyway.

An interesting opportunity landed on my desk yesterday. It could be a chance to be part of something exciting, but I have to see how it balances out against the rest of my commitments.

Back to the page.

Devon

For more information and to sign up for your free Manuscript Preparation Tips in May, visit http://www.fearlessink.com/manuscript.html. In addition to a free tip each weekday from May 1-24, you get a 10% discount code on a critique of up to 30 pages, and signed up for Devon’s Random Newsletter. Come join the fun!

Thurs. July 5, 2012: Over the Holiday Hump

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Busy times! Hope you had a great holiday! I was off line earlier than I expected as of Wednesday, with this and that going on, and a houseful of people and all that. Lots of cooking, eating, conversation. Some thunderstorms, too — in Boston, they had to evacuate the Esplanade before the fireworks for awhile. But everyone was safe, and the show continued.

Wound up working mostly on the deck on Tuesday — took my work outside. It was a lovely day, with storms moving in later, but by then I was running around getting ready for company, and Wednesday, when there were quite a few storms, I just stayed offline.

House full of people for a few days — Tessa thinks it’s wonderful. A neighbor invited us over yesterday, but we never managed to get over to the party he was having, which was a shame, but that’s the way it goes. Everyone sort of goes their own way, and then converges for food and conversation, so there’s no pressure, and I’m getting some work done.

Of course, today there’s a ton to do, since I was offline, and I’ll put in some extra hours tonight. Article due, have to get some bookings into the calendar so I don’t blow them, catch up with students, get out the newsletter, get out a mailing for an organization of which I’m the secretary, work on the ghostwriting project. It will all get done, I just have to look at each piece and deal with it, not get overwhelmed by the entire list. Also, HAVE to get cat food in — Tessa’s at the bottom of her bag. Everyone fills the bowl when they walk past and see it empty, so she’s feasting. Fortunately, she’s still growing and allowed for the next few months!

I’m starting to notice weak editing when I read. Read a fantasy novel that didn’t deliver on its promise, but a lot of the problems could have been fixed by an editor with a sharper eye. The grammar, spelling, etc. was all great (always a relief), but there were some logistical elements that I could see the writing missing, but the editor should have caught.

Also re-read Susan Wittig Albert’s wonderful memoir, TOGETHER, ALONE. Beautiful book. And I’m re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES. THUNDER & LIGHTENING is my favorite of hers, but WDB is good to re-read. I remembered it being much more self-indulgent — it’s really not, and it talks about first draft freedom. Unfortunately, too many of the book’s disciples use it to mean you don’t have to EVER worry about things like grammar, spelling, structure, whereas she’s saying don’t let it trip you up in the first draft. Use the freedom to explore, and then work and massage the material so it makes sense –which is what all good writing teachers say. She advocates showing up at the page every day, writing specifics, showing instead of telling. Too many writers think the first draft is THE draft. It’s THE draft once it’s published — before that, everything’s up for change! 😉

I’m off to yoga, and then a busy day.

Devon

Learn how to create focused scenes with impact in the Scene Meat workshop, July 9-13. Learn how to create and maintain a series bible in a one-day seminar on July 14. Take both classes together and save $15!
And don’t forget — “Town Crier” is available, as a free download, on the Jain Lazarus site until July 9.

Tues. May 1: Tessa Turns One!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold
Beltane

Tessa turns one this month! Not sure exactly when, but she’s a Birthday Girl!

The weather’s definitely a contrast to Beltane energy! It’s in the forties and raining. And I’m sick again, with fever and chills. Ick.

Did as much work as I could yesterday; so tired of feeling behind all the time. Got a rough to my collaborator and a proposal out to another arts organization. Fought some more with Verizon. I’m turning the paperwork over to the appropriate legal authorities. I’m done trying to reason with douchebags who think they are above the law.

Getting the house ready for the family visit from Maine over the weekend. In addition to it being the first time they’re visiting on the Cape, we’re finally bringing my grandmother’s ashes back to Foxboro, where she lived for so many years with my grandfather.

Lots of work to do today. I have a meeting this evening, but if I don’t feel better by noon, I’ll have to cancel and send in the report instead.

Students in Setting as Character seem excited by the class, which is a good thing.

Hope I can get my energy back up. I’ve got a newsletter to get out!

Devon