Wed. June 29, 2022: Creativity, Cats, and Yoga

image courtesy of Tamba Budiarsana via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I’m happy with the work I did on The Big Project yesterday, and that will probably be the biggest focus for the upcoming weekend: getting the edits on the first large section done while working on the second large section (this will all make sense when I reveal what this project actually is). It’s bizarre not to finish the entire thing and then edit the entire thing, but since there’s technically not and “end” (although there are options to impose one), that’s how this needs to be done.

The editor confirmed that I am in the first volume of The Monthology shared world anthology. I’m very excited, and I’m excited about my fellow contributors. There are still contracts to sign and edits to complete and all of that, but I’m happy. I’ve wanted to be part of a shared world anthology since Thieves’ World first showed up in the 1980’s, and now I am. Always nice when a creative dream comes true!

Played with the horror short story. If I don’t choose the right way to tell it, it will read voyeuristic and exploitative, instead of terrifying. I think I’ve got the right angle on it now; we’ll see as more words go on the page.

Spent a lot of time in the morning updating the links for the “Personal Revolution” re-release, and putting up the ad for it every damn where I could think to put it. Scheduled a bunch of tweets with the ad through next Wednesday on Tweetdeck, one per day. Don’t want to do overkill; at the same time, it needs promotion. Even with a list, I’m sure I missed a few places that will come to mind over the next few days.

Hopped down to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription.

Willa wanted to come out on the back balcony when I watered all the plants yesterday morning. I told her she couldn’t, and she was unhappy. I promised her that I’d take her out after lunch, in her playpen, and I did. At first she was happy, but then she was restless, so I brought her back in. Charlotte, who was upset that she couldn’t come, too, had given up by then and fallen asleep. But Tessa insisted that she wanted to go out. I told her it had to be in the playpen, and she let me put her in her playpen (each of the three cats has her own playpen) without trying to rip my lungs out, the way she usually does.

I took her out and she had a good time. She was interested in everything, especially all the different birds we have. There are a lot of different kinds of trees and tree-like shrubs nearby, with a large variety of birds. I need to look them up in the bird book. I don’t know what some of them are.

When we came back in, Willa kept running into the laundry room and trying to drag out her now folded up playpen, to go back outside.

I’m glad Tessa enjoyed herself. She always loved going out on the deck at the other house, although I didn’t need to put her in the playpen. She knew the boundaries and stayed on the deck. But the back balcony isn’t safe unless they’re in their playpens.

The computer was being wonky and frustrating. Again. And my phone is limping alone, just about done.

Something I ordered way back at the start of the month arrived, and was a big disappointment. The photo of the piece was highly stylized. Had I known what it really was, I wouldn’t have bought it. It was also presented as something created and made by an individual artisan (which is why I paid what I paid for it), but it is poorly mass-manufactured. It’s not worth returning, but I am unlikely to order from that company again. I will take some time with it and fix it up to be unique and what I want it to be, but it should have arrived that way.

I tried to concentrate on client work in the afternoon, but with the January 6 Hearings, I just couldn’t. Every seditionist and supporter needs to be removed from power any and every way necessary and prosecuted. The way nothing is happening is disgusting.

SCOTUS upholding gerrymandering in Louisiana to disenfranchise black voters doesn’t help, either. Dems need to stop telling us to “vote harder” and THEY need to fight smarter.

I went to my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years yesterday. Local place, in walking distance, should I choose. Loved the vibe of the place, liked the way the teacher teaches, enjoyed the other members of the class. The vaccination requirement is strictly enforced, some of the students still choose to mask, there’s plenty of room for everyone, and great ventilation.  I felt safe within the space (although I’ll still test in three days, then six days), along with feeling renewed after class. I definitely would like to take more classes there. It’s a little late in the game to buy the unlimited summer pass (maybe I’ll do that next year). I’m going to see about buying the 10-class pass in a week or two, once the bills are paid – and once I know how much the new phone will run me.

The place in Pittsfield doesn’t have the phone I want (and is unlikely to help me switch everything over if I order it online). I might switch carriers. A different carrier with a store a few blocks away has a similar phone (but one step up) that may be a little more expensive, or it may be on sale and around the same price. The monthly no-contract plan is less than what I’m paying now, for about double the capacity. I’ll go down and talk to them today, after I do my library run. If they can’t/won’t do what I need, I’ll stick with my carrier, get the phone I want online, and see if I can do the transfer myself (urgh). But let’s hope I don’t have to.

This morning, though, before I run my errands, I want to get the horror story drafted (it’s short), and maybe work on some of the format wonk in the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM workbook. This afternoon has to focus on client work.

The kitchen island cart is still in pieces all over the place. It’ll be the weekend before I can deal with that, too.

For the moment, though, now, it’s back to the page.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022: Release Day for “Personal Revolution”

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

The re-release of the short mystery “Personal Revolution” is out today! I’m in the process of updating all the links. It’s a Delectable Digital Delight, a short story set in a fictional town tucked near Lexington and Concord, MA.  Since Independence Day weekend is coming up, it was a good chance to re-release it. Only 99 cents. Universal buy link is here.

When a man is hanged from the oak tree in a Redcoat uniform at an historic house just before the Independence Day program, Glenda vows to both solve the murder and protect the newly-opened museum. What she finds is much darker — and more personal — than she bargained.

There’s information on the other Delectable Digital Delights here.

Back to our regularly scheduled natter.

Neptune has joined Pluto and Saturn in the retrograde lineup. Neptune has strong influences over me, so it’s a reminder to be cautious until it goes direct in December. It’s good for revealing phonies, though.

Friday was a hellscape, wasn’t it, with the corrupt, extremist SCOTUS striking down Roe. I’m glad I got a good chunk of work done on The Big Project, because the rest of the day was lost. The Dems had the heads up on this months ago. What do they do? Stand on a few steps singing a song and send out fundraising emails. They are pathetic.

Don’t start with “they don’t have the votes” or “don’t criticize Dems.” We gave them enough votes to get it done and it is THEIR JOB to keep their people in line, the way the Republicans do. The Republicans get whatever they want no matter who is in office, because they fight, and they don’t stop. The Dems throw up their hands, say they “don’t have the votes’ and ask for more money. Pathetic. They just let the extremists roll right over top of them, no matter what.

I had to hop out to the grocery store shortly after the announcement came down. What was hopeful was that there were growing groups of women of all ages, at both the grocery store, and the post office, talking. Those of us who are old enough to remember life pre-Roe, and who’ve been activists since before the Internet know how to harness the power of memory and communication that’s not based on technology, so we can help set up less traceable networks (nothing is untraceable if more than one person knows about it). Use the best of modern advances with old school.

There is plenty I will not be discussing publicly.

I tried to write in the afternoon, but everything came out incoherent.

I gave up on the Balzac biography, and I’m trying to figure out why I liked his work so much, back in the year I lived in Seattle. But I was a walking disaster that year, so my judgment was undoubtedly questionable.

Read Donna Leon’s latest Brunetti mystery, GIVE UNTO OTHERS, which is quieter and sadder than many others in the series. At least she deals with the pandemic. I don’t trust authors setting their books as “contemporary” who act like the pandemic never existed. I’m giving some a pass, who had books that stalled in the pipeline during the pandemic, but going forward, it’s a big red flag for me.

Saturday morning, I was up early.  I took a home COVID test, because there’s the regular question of “Is it pollen or the plague?” and because of last week’s playwrighting workshop. Even though we were masked and vaccinated, there was still risk, and I felt questionable a few days after, so I wanted to make sure.

The negative test meant I could go to the Farmers’ Market (that and the fact that I felt fine, other than scraping pollen off my skin every few hours). I bought from my friend at Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery, I bought tomatoes and fennel and carrots and eggs from various other farmers, and told the maple syrup place how amazing their syrup is. I chatted with all kinds of people and dogs lined up to get attention (often thoroughly confusing their owners). I left before it got too crowded, but the market is as much about the social aspect as the culinary one.

Felt the need to rest, so I did, pushing away all the “should haves.”

Made a big salad for lunch, then put Willa in her playpen and took her out on the back balcony, so I could read and she could enjoy being outside. It’s nice and shady, and the humidity wasn’t too bad.

Finished the Donna Leon book and started FROM BAD TO CURSED by Lana Harper, which was a lot of fun.

Dinner was leftovers, and then I switched to a biography of Shirley Jackson. It didn’t get as hot as I feared, but I was too wiped out to move. My body remembers the exhaustion from last year, the move, going back and filling the two dumpsters, the difficulty getting things sorted to either the dumpster or into storage. So this week, I have to focus on building new, lighter, happier, more relaxed memories here over those other memories, even with all the crap going on, and even as I have to focus on deadlines and making a living.

So that will be. . .something or other.

Had weird dreams Saturday into Sunday, where I lived in a condominium. My next-door neighbors had theirs on the market. For some reason, the wall between our apartments served as a one-way mirror for me, so I could see everyone coming through to look at their apartment. I have no idea what the hell that could mean.

Sunday was even hotter than Saturday. It was also the day before the dark moon, my lowest energy day of the month, but all the stuff I’d put off for Friday and Saturday had to be dealt with.

I worked on the SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook. That should be ready to go for final formatting and proofing this week, and maybe release next week. The workbook for class is nearly done. I took down two more workbooks that I want to re-release in July, so that they are down long enough for me to revise them and get them back up.

I worked on the anthology story and it wasn’t working. I’m percolating an idea for a different anthology that is genuinely creepy and twisted and, if I pull if off, will need trigger warnings.

The yoga studio here sent out a wonderful email blast about processing what’s going on, poses to help, and where they stand on the issues. Unlike the yoga studio on Cape Cod, who only allowed right-wingers to voice opinions and have safe space. If anyone spoke up to stand up to the right-wing crap spouted by class members, they were told to stop being political. Yet those right-wingers could say whatever they wanted and it was their right to express an opinion. Which meant it wasn’t safe space for anyone else. Huge difference, and the attitude here is much more what I want and need out of my yoga studio.

The meditation group also set up something virtual for Sunday night. I’d hoped to go, but Charlotte got her claw stuck on something in the kitty condo and panicked. By the time I got her safely extracted and calmed down, the mediation was nearly over. She wasn’t hurt, thank goodness, but was very vocal in her upset. Both Tessa and Willa were worried. Once Charlotte was free, and hiding, Tessa sat nearby, so that Charlotte wouldn’t be alone. I was worried Charlotte would get aggressive in her panic, but she didn’t. It was very sweet of Tessa, since they still don’t always get along.

Could not get going on Monday. Everything was a struggle. Managed to get the SUBMISSIONS Topic Workbook smoothed out and uploaded, but there is a lot of formatting wonk, so I will have to go back through and figure it out. I might have to push back the release date.

Lost way too much of the day trying to get my mother’s new doctor situation sorted out. It shouldn’t take us a damn year, pandemic or not, to find a doctor. I’m lucky she’s in reasonably good health for 97, and the paramedics aren’t here every couple of weeks, the way they are for several other residents on the block. I think we’ve found someone decent. We’ll see, after her appointment in mid-July.

Finally managed to shake loose what wasn’t working in the Monthology anthology story, and got it done. It wasn’t just that the originally planned A and B storylines flipped, causing restructuring – the heart of the piece was somewhere else. Once I found its heart, I could build the story properly. I did a few revision passes (some of them major), and wound up with a draft I felt good enough about to send to my editor. Hopefully, she likes it. I’m a little worried that the story is too quiet, without the harder urban fantasy edge. But I was careful about fact-checking the shared world details and the details of anyone else’s monsters, so I think we’re okay.

There’s a lot less about the workday of the protagonist, which I thought would ground the piece, and would have called for more inter-monster interaction. But there’s room to do more if there’s another volume, and if I’m invited to contribute again. This story stands on its own, but also leaves the door open for more stories with these characters.

Fingers crossed it fits the shared vision.

I let the horror story percolate. I actually have two ideas. The more gruesome one is the one I’m going to draft first.

While there weren’t scripts assigned in my cue, I got a stack of manuscripts to cover, where I have to read the first fifty pages and comment, so there’s the week’s work from that. I’ll still be under where I wanted to be this pay period, but not as badly. And, with the review invoice I’m sending, I should be okay. Bills are covered, and as long as I’m not extravagant, I don’t have to feel like a miser.

Started reading the new book for review. It’s pretty good.

Up early this morning to go to the laundromat. It’s usually kept up quite well, but it was filthy today. The machines were fine, but the rest of it was yucky. I brought the laundry back unfolded, because I didn’t want it on the folding table.

I managed to get a good bit of the multi-colored draft of first big section of The Big Project done. The good thing about the slow and careful attention it needs to catch passives, adverbs, and qualifiers is that a lot of other errors show up, too.

I’ll do some writing this morning, and promotion of “Personal Revolution”. Later, I have to pick up my mom’s prescription. This afternoon, I’ll take a home COVID test, not because I’m feeling terrible, but because tonight I’m going to my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years, and, even though they have strict protocols, I want to make sure once and for all I’m clear post-workshop and Farmers’ Market. I have my vaccination card tucked into my purse. I still have to clean my mat and fix my mat bag before tonight. The buckle on the strap broke during the move.

I’m hoping to get a tarot spread up on the Ko-fi page later today, too. I was going to head down to Pittsfield to try and get a new phone (my phone’s giving me trouble, but hey, it lasted four years, a record for me), but I think I’ll wait until later in the week.

Plenty to do, so better get to it, right? Overlay the NOW over the sense memory stress of the final clear-out last year.

Have a good one.