Thurs. Sept. 15, 2022: Organization is Key

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowka via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and cooler

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn. Doesn’t quite smell like it, though. There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

We went over early to Stop & Shop for my mother’s bivalent booster. Good thing we did, because they claimed they “only got the first page of the paperwork” and we had to fill it all out again. So sick of filling out forms.

While my mom got her shot, I picked up a few things we needed. She didn’t have to sit and wait for 15 minutes, like we had to for the other shots. It was stab and go.

She had zero side effects yesterday at all, to the point where she worried she’d gotten a placebo. This morning, she has a little soreness n the arm. That’s it.

I finished reading a second book for review. I will write and submit both reviews today, submit my invoice, and ask for my next assignment.

I spent way too much time building my profile on Creative Ground, but it needed to get done, since the launch party is tonight (virtually), and I’m invited.

I set up an appointment at the law library next Tuesday to do the research on banking laws here in MA in 1957, for the retro mystery that will be drafted during Nano this year. The librarian is looking forward to it (and so am I). Since the state banking association and the banks themselves refuse to answer my questions. I’m batting around potential titles with some trusted friends, and realizing just how much I need to get back to the outline, so it’s ready to go before November 1. I have character sketches, locations, situations, but I need to, you know, actually plot the murders and the rest of the book.

Did some research on local radio stations, and on the community television/radio station that’s here in North Adams. I might need to make an appointment to go and check out the facilities.

Got my instructions for next week’s conference sessions down in Lenox. I’m worried that people won’t be responsible about masking; if that is the case, I will get up and leave the session. Not taking the risks.

WAM’s next show is in October, and tickets are available. I’m not going in person, since their audience already proven they won’t keep up their end of the masking bargain (even though a caveat of ticket purchase is to remain masked). I may buy a ticket for the virtual performance. At least they have that option, and I know their work is excellent.

Starting to figure out the autumn into winter schedule, which looks to be intense. I have 4 radio plays to write, for specific producers; I have to write the next 2 arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, polish them, and get them up; I need to revise “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By” so they can go out the door when appropriate calls open up; I have a handful of short stories with which I’m noodling; I need to outline the retro mystery so it’s set to go for Nano; once the first draft of that is finished, I need to draft THE KRINGLE CALAMITY and then the third book of the Hearthstone Mysteries, so that all three of those are ready to go out the door by early summer. And I need to do the first draft of the full-length play FALL FOREVER. I’d like to get ANGEL HUNT finished and broken down into episodes, so that can launch in January.

Which of course means having to keep up the content calendar on LEGERDEMAIN, the Topic Workbooks, and, if ANGEL HUNT goes live, the ANGEL HUNT content calendar, and it’s a lot.

Plus, you know, client work and script coverage, and next year’s contest entries will start arriving before the end of the year.

So I guess it can snow, because there’s plenty to do at home!

But it’s nice to feel creative again. In late winter, early spring, decisions will be made on the current series, as to whether I feel up to starting up again, and if my publisher wants to keep carrying them.

I haven’t spent the time on the Cerridwen’s Cottage website that it needs, so that has to be folded in there somehow, too. Plus organizing the almanac articles whose rights have reverted, so I can turn those into eBooks and sell them.

I might need a larger desk blotter calendar!

Anyway, I have meditation this morning, and then getting the reviews done and out, and invoicing. I have to pay my quarterly taxes today (argh), get everything to the post office, pick up my mom’s prescriptions, take a couple of checks to the bank. This afternoon, I have two more scripts to cover, finishing out the pay period, not terribly, but still below what I’d hoped.

What I do hope is that my bivalent booster tomorrow won’t take me out. I’ve blocked off the weekend to rest. If I feel up to it, I’ll do some work on LEGERDEMAIN, and maybe turn over the closet from summer to winter. Otherwise, I’ll stay in bed, or read on the couch.

Episode 16 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

The next two weeks are busy, but filled with good stuff.

Peace my friends, and enjoy!

Fri. July 8, 2022: Creative Start to the Day

image courtesy of Yerson Retamal via pisabay.com

Friday, July 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Oops, I did it again. Wrote the first draft of another one act play before breakfast this morning. This one was inspired by an article I read in THE NEW YORKER last night. The title, at least at the moment, is “Inspired By.”

Got a letter from an editor that an anthology for which I’d made the short list of possibilities, telling me that it looks like it’s been scuppered, at least for the moment. Oh, well. At least she told us. And I had the chance to stretch in that direction. It’s worse for her than for me; I wrote one story. She read over a thousand entries.

Sent out an LOI to a company in Bennington, and got a lovely response. We will see if/how things moved forward, but that quick, professional acknowledgement went a long way. Started an LOI to another company, but, on digging into it, their budget can’t cover my rates, and I can’t downsize the scope of what they need to make it work. So I’ll skip that.

Meditation was good. That Thursday morning group has become a lovely anchor.

Willa wanted to go on the back balcony after lunch, so I took her out in her playpen. I worked on the multi-colored draft of the first large arc of The Big Project, and am mortified at how much sloppy language is in it. But that’s the point of edits/revisions. To make it better.

Did another editing pass on “The Little Woman” and sent it to the friend who is a Trusted Reader. She had excellent suggestions, which have helped me on a section I knew was shaky. Hopefully, this weekend, I can dig back in and get it done. There are a couple of script calls coming up where it might fit.

Started a script coverage, but was having trouble concentrating, so I put it aside and will finish today. I love this particular writer’s work and want to give it my full attention.

Ordered Chinese food in, because I was too tired to cook, and none of the leftovers appealed to me. Read THE NEW YORKER, which reprinted one of Shirley Jackson’s stories, the same week I’m reading her biography. Love when that happens.

I need to do a run to the library to drop off/pick up books, put gas in the car, and do some other errands, including getting some more of those Command hooks, so we can do some stuff around the house this weekend. We might actually start hanging a few things up. And, you know, finish that damn kitchen island cart.

Had weird dreams last night. Not bad, just weird.

We spent far too much time trying to figure out where to go for a quick, two day or so vacation in autumn, just for a change of scenery, that will also be COVID safe. Maybe rent a place with a kitchen, so we don’t have to worry about eating out. Sit on a deck somewhere pretty reading books. I mean, we do that at home, in our downtime, but sometimes it’s nice to do it Somewhere Else.

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

Published in: on July 8, 2022 at 8:38 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 8, 2022: Creative Start to the Day  
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Thurs. July 7, 2022: Cleaning Up Some Messes

image courtesy of Mote OO Education via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Partly Cloudy and pleasant

Garden update over on Gratitude and Growth here.

Yesterday was not as productive as I’d hoped. I am tired, trying to shake off the last of the sense memory stress. Also, as an astrologer friend reminded me, we’re in the sun sign of Taurus right now, and Taurus likes to slow things down and look at it from all angles (sort of like Tessa the cat approaches life all year long).

Broke off contact with someone I’d known, both personally and professionally, for quite a few years, whose patterns in the relationship will not change and aren’t acceptable. This individual refuses to respect boundaries, intentionally causes harm, when I speak up, tells me I have to “take it” because they have mental health issues, goes into therapy, reinvents themselves, wants to repair the relationship, and, a few weeks later, starts again. Not doing it anymore. I wish them a long and happy life, far away from me. Mental health issues aren’t a free pass to treat people badly.

 Plus, the viral tweet just keeps going and going. This morning, I finally muted it. I hate muting threads; I feel it’s a cop-out.  Most of the tertiary conversations have nothing to do with me. I’m glad people are discussing it, but after two days and the repetition, I’m done. I have nothing more to say. I said it. Plus, a lot of people who are arguing how small a portion of the population it is when over a million died are showing their psychological dirty panties. Every one of those dead matters.

On top of it, the guy who started it all is snickering and said he made the initial post as a “social experiment.” So he’s getting blocked. If you claim you’re building relationships on social media, you don’t set the people in those relationships up like that. It is, of course, a white dude. Because it’s always a white dude.

All of this interaction is getting in the way of the work, and when something gets in the way of the work, it has to go.

A welcome distraction was watching what’s going on over in the UK, ousting Boris Johnson. Absolutely fascinating.

I did do a good chunk of work on the Topic Workbooks. For the SUBMISSIONS Workbook, I have to take the example pages and turn them all into jpgs, and then insert them into the text, because the e-reader formats can’t hold the necessary formatting. That will take time, but I think it will solve the problem. THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS is almost updated; just a few more pages to go, and the resources. That can re-release on time. I have to take down the remaining few workbooks, so that they can go back out before the end of the month.

Most of those revisions shouldn’t be too awful, although the Series Bible may need the same examples-into-jpgs done. But the others need some expansion for changes in the industry, and updated resources. It shouldn’t take too long (famous last words).

The damn computer crashed again. I think McAfee is part of the problem. It’s acting more like a virus than a virus protector. Combine that with the HP/Windows11 conflict, and it’s not pretty.

Oh, and Spectrum raised my internet bill by 25%, which means I expect 25% better service. (ha). That still might only get it up to 50% of what it should be.

We gave in to the every-so-often fast food craving and had burgers, fries, and shakes. Good while eating; misery for the rest of the day.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. Got some questions on a script I’d covered earlier in the week, which I will answer this afternoon, after I’ve turned around another script.

Invited to an artist networking group next Monday. Part of me wants to go; another part of me wonders if I’m doing too many in-person things, and if I should be a little more careful until after the Word X Word event on the 23rd. I already am going to MassMOCA’s open studio event again next week, and then there’s a book sale at the Atheneum. Even being careful and masked, with more people around, especially unmasked tourists, it’s a risk. I’ll think about it.

I mean, we only have a few months of possible outdoor gatherings before it’s winter, and we’re all inside, and that means little to no gathering (and new variants). But if I choose the wrong gathering, I’ll pay the price.

At the same time, I need to build a life here. The vibe’s already much more laid back, inclusive, and generous than where I was before. But every event/interaction needs a thorough risk assessment. I made the choice to take that risk with Word X Word. So now I have to adjust events/expectations around that to make it as safe as possible, and not put myself at risk before then. Because I also don’t want to put my fellow poets at the event at risk.

I look around at writer colleagues, flying all over the place to attend in-person conferences, posting unmasked group photos, then wondering why they’re sick when they come home. What the hell did they think would happen? Come on, people. Get a fucking clue.

This attitude of “it’s over” or “it’s not over, but I won’t get it” is, quite literally, killing people. So every time I’m invited to something, I have to find out: Is proof of vaccination required? If no, then I don’t go. If it’s indoors, is masking required? If no, then I don’t go. If both answers are yes, I still have to calculate number of people expected in the space, and the likelihood that someone is positive without yet knowing it, or has been exposed and transmitting, even if they themselves don’t get it. Do I have enough open time before and after for contact tracing/testing if necessary, before another event?

Exhausting, but necessary.

And the day is likely to come when I’ve miscalculated, and will have to pay the price.

On a happier note, a neighbor a few doors down was on his porch practicing the tuba.  A few minutes later, some guy with a djembe showed up, and they were jamming. It was pretty funny, and kind of wonderful. I love that about this neighborhood.

I started reading HOW TO DO THE WORK by Dr. Nicole LePera. It resonates. I hope to learn some pattern-breaking and healthier pattern-setting techniques.

Looking forward to meditation group this morning, and then it’s back to the page. A friend is eager to read “The Little Woman” and I want to do another draft before I send it.

And, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I STILL haven’t finished that kitchen island. That is a goal for this weekend.

People are enjoying the 31 Prompts, and I’m glad.

Have a good one!

Tues. July 5, 2022: New Week, New Play

image courtesy of Kohji Asakawa

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto. Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Why, yes, I started the week by writing a full draft of a new one-act play this morning.

Friday morning, I got the review and invoice out. I was paid my month-end fee by the biggest client. I got some information on something for which I want to apply in autumn. Sent a marketing idea to my shared world anthology editor.

I set up all #31Prompts to release via Tweetdeck at 11 AM each day. They will be consistent on Tweetdeck, and hit all the other social media channels whenever I can get them up. But at least, if you follow along on Twitter, it will be consistent.

Made a logo for #31Prompts, and also for the Friday Journal Prompts which are exclusive to my Ello page.

Turned around a script coverage in the afternoon, and received two scripts I will turn around today.

Got the information for The World’s (Possibly) Largest Poem event on the 23rd – when to get there, how we’ll be set up, etc. They’re giving us a travel stipend for gas, which will help. Thankfully, gas prices have gone down 34 cents in the last week or so. Which is good, since I need to top up this week (I always refill the tank when I hit half).

Spent the late afternoon on the front porch with an ice-cold martini, reading THE NEW YORKER and VANITY FAIR. It was hot, but not unbearable.

An article I read in VANITY FAIR gave me an idea to layer into GAMBIT COLONY, so I started doing that. Yeah, I’ve been working on that series for years. Eventually, I will finish it! But it’s always a comfort for me to work on it, even though it’s large and unwieldy. It has a very specific target audience. Anyway, I wrote about six pages of new material, to layer in another character’s story. At some point (probably over the autumn and winter), I will go back to finish Book 5 and write Book 6, then do another pass, because those first 6 books encompass the major story arcs and hopefully will release fairly close together.

But GAMBIT COLONY can’t be the main focus right now, just a stress release valve. The Big Project needs my primary focus.

A thunderstorm with lightning woke me a little after midnight, going into Saturday. Tessa and Charlotte were scared, so I stayed up with them for a bit. Willa yawned and went back to sleep. Not a lot bothers her.

It was still drizzling when I went to the Farmers’ Market, but I made my rounds, and then went to the grocery store to fill in.

Saturday was a bit of A Day: woke with a migraine, stepped on glass later in the afternoon and cut my foot, choked on a vegetable at night. Survived, but let’s hope that’s my quota for the month!

Dived into the world of GAMBIT COLONY and stayed there most of the weekend, tweaking, making notes on additional scenes, making cuts. The years of work put into it need to eventually add up to something. I wrote about 20 pages of new material.

A friend is working a show at an historical playhouse on Cape where I worked  a few years back. I had a very mixed experience (slanting to the negative) when I worked there. I’m glad I got to be a part of its history, but it’s highly unlikely I’d work there again. I hope she has a better experience.

Salmon with fresh dill and lemon basil on Saturday night, which was good. Coq Au Vin in the crockpot Sunday, which was okay, but now that I have the base recipe, I need to work on it to deepen the flavors.

We were so lucky for most of the weekend. There were some controlled fireworks for about an hour or so every night, but not the constant shelling, danger, and noise that we had on Cape. So much healthier for us and for the cats. I heard from colleagues still living on Cape that it was absolutely packed and awful all weekend. Hard to get into the grocery store; lines to get to the beaches; and so forth.

I wonder how high the Covid numbers coming out of there will be in two weeks?

The weather’s been warm, but not unbearably hot, which has been nice. I haven’t taken advantage of Windsor Lake yet, but that’s on this week’s schedule! Spending regular time at the lake.

Monday, I was paid by a client and received my next assignment.

I intentionally stayed fairly quiet this weekend, in spite of the nice weather. My body demanded it, with all the sense memory stress. Here’s hoping that I pull out to the other side in the next few days.

I took Willa out on the back balcony on Monday afternoon. Tessa and Charlotte set up a Big Fuss. So everyone got a turn, each in her own playpen, for about a half hour each. That allowed for harmony in the afternoon.

There were some fireworks, but not dickheads setting them off in the streets. Around 10 PM, down past the end of our street, there was a professional fireworks display that ran 20-30 minutes, setting the starbursts over our street. It was beautiful, well-choreographed, and not very loud. Very pretty. We sat on the front porch and watched it. Well, Tessa didn’t like it and hid in the bathroom, but the rest of us watched it from the front porch, and some of the neighbors came out into the street to watch. It was fun.

Unlike feeling like one was being bombed 24/7 for days and having to worry about the roof catching fire, like on Cape Cod.

The shooting in Highland, IL was atrocious, especially since the cops were right there, “couldn’t” catch the shooter, but later took him “without incident.” This, after a black man in Akron was shot 60 times for a traffic stop and his dead body handcuffed. This is not acceptable.

And the Dems just shrug, tell us to “vote harder” and try to fundraise off it.

No. Just no. Do your fucking jobs.

When I finally did get to bed, I had a huge sense memory flashback to this time last year, when I was in the almost empty house, with the last few loads of boxes going to storage, hoping the roof wouldn’t catch fire from the illegal fireworks, because I’d given the hose away. On the 5th last year, was the day of my final storage runs, cleaning the house, and finally getting the hell out, so maybe, just maybe by 9 PM tonight, when I’d hit my favorite hotel in Sturbridge last year, exhausted and in tears, and they upgraded me to a fancy room, I will finally be done with the sense memory stress. I just have to ride out today.

It already started better than this day last year. I woke up with an idea for a short play, sat down before breakfast, took a quick breakfast break, and had the first draft written by 8:30 AM. It’s short, a one-act, but it was a place to put my rage, with a character who comes up with a solution. I mean, it needs work, it’s a first draft, but I said what I wanted to say. Once it’s polished, it’ll go out on submission. It’s called “The Little Woman” so you can guess the context and content.

A colleague on the Monthology anthology, who is helping the editor decide the order of the stories, said she read mine last night and it was so beautiful it made her cry. I’m delighted! I hoped it would have that power.

Today, I catch up on a lot of admin, and start writing my Llewellyn article, which is due by the end of the month. I’ll go back and wrestle with the formatting on the SUBMISSIONS Topic Workbook, and start putting in the edits to the first big arc of The Big Project, so that I can have clean copy to submit by early next week. I have some scripts in my queue, including one for which I was specifically requested. This week, I’ll also do some work on a couple of the other Topic Workbooks, and work on the slides for my class. If you haven’t yet signed up for it at the CCWC, the class is about “Developing the Series” and you can sign up here. It’s in the late afternoon of Aug. 6.

I hope your long weekend wasn’t too chaotic, and you were able to have both rest and pleasure.

Peace, my friends. We have to go to war for it (again), but we can get there.