Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension

image courtesy of Kerbstone via pixabay.com

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I had a migraine yesterday, but not the option to lie down until it passed. You can yammer about self-care and health all you want, but the reality, for many of us, is that we can’t just stop whatever we’re doing. Fortunately, since I work remotely, I could at least be grumpy and miserable at home.

The major need was to get the next batch of LEGERDEMAIN episodes edited, uploaded, and scheduled, and get the ads done. Although I’m still behind in the general ads from the last batch.

I’d hoped to get episodes 21-30 done. I got through episode 29. 30 really launches that last act of this first large arc, and it makes more sense to do it with the last batch of episodes. That last batch needs a lot of revision, and will probably wind up broken down into shorter episodes with more drive, which then puts the first major arc over 40 episodes. Which means the initial offering will go over 100. So much for that pretty 90 number! Oh, well. Needs must.

I changed the episode title of one of them. I’m overusing “Welcome” in episode titles.

Anyway, in spite of numerous computer crashes, one of which messed up the dashboard badly and I had to do a lot of work to get it untangled, I got all nine episodes revised. That was nearly 11K words, and I did about 3 drafts on each episode.

I wrote the episode loglines for the nine new episodes, and got to work on the episode ads. I only got five done before I ran out of steam.

Freelance Chat was fun, although I was distracted and a little grumpy. I had rehearsal stuff to deal with for a radio play. I worked on the Shakespeare horror story which has to get out the door this weekend. I’m struggling, because it keeps taking a comic turn, and they were very clear about not wanting comic horror, but horror-horror.

I got some admin done, but not enough. I got a little more done this morning. The Chewy order arrived, so there’s cat food for the next six weeks. And I ordered the tulip bulbs we’re going to try to plant in troughs overwinter and leave on the porch, and then put out on the balcony in spring.

Berkshire Gas hit me with an enormous “settle up” bill for the end of the balanced billing year, and raised my monthly rate yet again. Which is going to make the next few months difficult. So much for thinking I could ever get ahead or get any time off. They also shouldn’t be allowed to double the price per unit IN THE SUMMER, and then probably double it again in the fall, making sure they screw us all to the wall.

Today, I have to run errands. I meant to run some of them yesterday, but never left the desk, so they all have to happen today. It’s supposed to get very hot again during the day, but cool off at night, so we’ll see if I stay here all day to work, or pack up and go somewhere cool.

I need to get the ads done and finish a draft of the horror story. I should turn around a script or two, since I only read two days this week so far, and I have that big ass gas bill to pay. And I need to get the cats to the vet to get their shots updated. And, you know, establish with a vet here.

So I’m feeling stressed and overburdened right now. It will right itself, especially if I make the time over the weekend to get some rest.  But once I get this first big arc uploaded and scheduled, I can focus on writing the next arc. Episode 29 takes me through November 1, releasing twice a week, and the last episodes will get me into December. So that gives me some breathing room to do the next arc, but I also can’t drag my feet.

I also need to do some more work on the Legerdemain website this weekend. I want to be able to start promoting it, but I can’t do so unless there’s fun content on it, not just the episode releases and loglines.

I also need to read the next book for review, so I can send off the review on Monday.

The Topic Workbooks are chugging along nicely, and doing the content calendar/scheduling the ads has taken a lot of pressure off me. Being able to upload some of the Legerdemain ads has also been a help.

I need to get back to work on the next three radio plays, too. One has to go out by the end of the month, and the other two are due in September.

One thing at a time, right? All I can do is the best I can do. But it all has to get done, and I have to be ferociously protective of my time and energy right now.

I’m also not going to chase people down for stuff. I said I could do X within a specific time frame, and needed Y by Z. You don’t get it to me, it’s not happening. You’re not paying me. I said I could help out, but only within a specific time frame. I am not nagging or begging or “sending reminders.”  Be a fucking adult and do what you said you would do when you said you would, or communicate so we can adjust the schedule. Don’t just not do it or makes excuses or  ghost, and then expect me to jump when you get back in touch. I have paying work that takes priority. We set dates. Cough up or shut up. I am moving on to people and projects where any other parties involved step up and supply what’s needed with in the time frame. And pay.

Obviously, I need to make some serious meditation time this weekend.

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

Published in: on August 19, 2022 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. July 29, 2022: A Good Friend With a Beautiful Garden

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Friday, July 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE has released, in its new edition. It helps get and keep projects on track, and teaches techniques to build a calendar that works. You can learn more about it here.

LEGERDEMAIN launched yesterday. The first two episodes are free on Kindle Vella. The story link itself is here.

It would be helpful if you like the free episodes, if you can upvote them and also leave a short, positive review. And, of course, tell everyone you know. If it’s not your thing, spreading the word to those who might like it would be really helpful.

My father died on this day in 1972. He’s been out of my life longer than he was in it. But the day still has its challenges.

I had a great time with my friend in upstate NY. The ride there on Wednesday was okay, up until the last stretch on I-84, which was rather chaotic. But it was a short stretch, and I found her place just fine. She lives in a town that’s similar to where I live here in the Berkshires, in that it’s a former factory town now populated with artists.

We know each other from working in theatre, film, and television production. There are several studios popping up in upstate NY, because of the demand for streamed programs, so she doesn’t even have to commute to the city for everything, which is great.

Doesn’t make me want to start up in production again, though. Those days are done for me, except for script  coverage and creating budget estimates.

We had iced tea in the wonderful, naturalized pollinator garden she’s built, then when into town to a taproom, where we ate outside. First time I’ve eaten at a restaurant since COVID. The tables were far enough apart that it was comfortable. It was delicious, and I had a local beer called “Marlowe” that was pretty good.

We went to the gallery where she’s part of a group show. Her piece was wonderful, and there were all kinds of interesting pieces in the show. We visited a friend of hers who has a fabric store, and there are terrific pieces there. The museum we planned to visit was closed on Wednesdays, so we went to a shop called Notions and Potions where I picked up some incense and a few crystals.

My friend is a cat person, and she has a group of rescued cats living with her. Many of them are old and had spent years either on the streets or in shelters. Bob even has his own Instagram account. I bonded with Ben, a lovely 15-year-old cat who loves the other cats (especially Bob), but doesn’t like to be touched by humans. Once he realized I would respect that boundary, he stayed close for most of my visit. He investigated all my bags, and left messages for my cats. He hung around. Griddle is a lovely black cat, who is very social and liked to come and be petted. There’s a kitten in search of a name who’s very smart and friendly, and looks like my Willa’s baby brother. One-Eyed George is kind of shy (because he can’t see much), but he was around. The tortie, Star, got more and more curious, the longer I was there, but not close enough to be petted. She kept walking through the room and staring, as though she was on her way to some other appointment. Calamity Joon was shy, although she peered at me from a safe distance. I didn’t meet Bertie, who stayed in my friend’s room, and I didn’t see Slick, the outdoor cat, although his empty bowls assured us he was around.

Anyway, my friend and I had a good catch up, and then got pizza for dinner we ate at home. I slept well, although Tessa has me so well trained, I woke up at 5 anyway. I’d woken up a couple of times in the night because I Was Being Stared At, but whomever did the staring fled as soon as I looked at them. Anyway, once Griddle realized I was up, she came for a petting session. George came to check things out, and then fled. I dozed off again for a bit.

When I woke up later, and went to take my shower, I found Bob stretched out in the doorway to the room, with the other cats looking at me hopefully from a distance.

After the shower, Ben came in to help me pack, and to make sure I put everything in properly.

I brought my bags downstairs, and most of the pride trotted down hopefully with me to the kitchen, and then were very disappointed when I failed Breakfast 101. I don’t know the medicine/food routine.

Bob forgave me and sat on my foot, with Ben right next to him, and Griddle came in to get some extra petting action, and my friend came down soon after, so all was not lost.

Morning feeding happened; we went out to get bagels with everything on them, and came back to the house to eat. Real New York bagels! I mean, the Berkshire bagels are better than the Cape bagels, but nothing beats a real New York bagel.

My friend gave me a small lilac, and a tansy plant to replace the tansy that Spiro Squirrel destroyed. She also gave me some mugwort slips and some cut mugwort. And she gave me some small pink flamingos who will dance in the pots on the back balcony.

Driving back was smooth. I got caught up in the horse trailer traffic going north on I-87, because the Belmont/Aqueduct barns are sending them up to Saratoga for the big races this weekend. But it was really a smooth ride back. Much less traffic than going down the day before. And it was so nice to spend time with my friend in her amazing house and yard and with those wonderful cats.

Unloaded the car. The lilac will be okay in its pot for now. I repotted the tansy and the mugwort.

I did some promotion for LEGERDEMAIN, did my Italian lesson. I’m learning random words, and I can figure out the phrases by process of elimination, but I’m not learning structure. And that frustrates me. There’s no context for anything.

Had a quiet afternoon. It was hot.

My mom had been sick the night before (she ate too many hotdogs in my absence). I have threatened her with kale smoothies. But the cats took good care of her.

Tessa was fine. She was very interested in all Ben’s messages, and told me everything that happened while I was gone. Willa was chill, as usual. Charlotte was upset because I had the scent of other cats on me. It took her hours to calm down.

Slept decently, although Charlotte woke me around 4:30 wanting attention, and then Tessa chimed in. So I was up at the usual 5 AM to feed everyone and start the routine.

I’m getting ready to go down to MASSMoCA to attend the artist working group to which I was invited. When I get back, I have to get a lot done this afternoon, and then there’s yoga tonight. Tomorrow morning is the farmers’ market, and then I have to finish my Llewellyn article and get it off to my editor. I’ll probably work on Sunday, too. There’s something I want to go to at The Mount in the late afternoon, but if I can’t get my work done, I can’t go.

Monday is Lammas, a big holiday in my personal calendar. And then we’re in both another week and another month.

Have a good one! See you on the other side.

Wed. July 27, 2022: Clearing The Desk

image courtesy of donterasse via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST releases today. I’m excited to have these Topic Workbooks going back out into the world.

Yesterday was busy, although I didn’t get as much done as I hoped.

Worked on CREATIVE STIMULUS in the morning. It needed more rewriting than I’d hoped. Wondering if I should move the release date.

Got rid of a massive amount of email.

Ran an errand at Wild Oats, dropped off/picked up at the library, mailed some stuff at the post office, went to the bank,  put gas in the car, and hit up Cinnamon Girl Apothecary for a few necessary crystals.

Turned around three coverages. Wrote and sent in a book review. Found out the artist working group to which I was invited is Friday, not Thursday, which means I can go! I’m delighted. And it’s outside, even better. It means being up very early on Friday, to write before I leave, and getting a lot of work done in the afternoon, before I head off to yoga that evening.

I’m playing with an idea for a short story submission to a Shakespeare horror anthology, which is right up my alley. I sent them an email, because I would like to try something that might push the guidelines a little too far. I’ve got a handful of ideas, so if they don’t want me to do that which I’m asking permission, I have some others to play with. I want to work with some of my favorites, who aren’t as well-known as, say, the characters from MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. I’m sure there will be many entries tied to that. But no. . .I have other ideas! (And those of you who know me well are laughing, because you know exactly who it’s going to center around).

It’s due in mid-August, so I want to get it drafted next week, as soon as I get my article off to Llewellyn.

The producer who’s doing “The Collector” radio play let me know they’re going into casting for it, which is very exciting.

I’m playing with an idea for a poem for one of the upcoming Word X Word events. Not sure I’ll get in, but I pitched. That’s also in mid-August. I’d actually started playing with the idea driving back from Saturday’s event. If they don’t have room for me, I can massage it into flash fiction.

We’re eating leftovers out of the freezer right now until I can get to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday. I’m looking forward to weather cool enough to I can do up another batch of Moosewood’s mac and cheese and Moosewood’ ratatouille, two of our standbys around here.

Chef Jeremy at Kripalu posted a recipe for a watermelon gazpacho that I just might have to try. I’m excited to be in his class again next week. In addition to being a magnificent human, he’s a wonderful teacher.

Finished packing/repacking my bags in the evening. This morning, I did a few things out and about online, like the prompts and my Italian lesson. And now, I am on the road!

We’ll catch up when I get back!

Published in: on July 27, 2022 at 4:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 27, 2022: Clearing The Desk  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. July 26, 2022: Protocols, Performance, Persistence

garden sculputre installation at The Mount

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Sunny, cooler, less humidity

Hot, busy weekend.

Friday wasn’t quite as hot as Thursday, mostly because there was cloud cover, but the humidity was oppressive. Once the plants were watered on the front porch, we closed it off and let it be a greenhouse for the day, which helped keep the rest of the house cooler. And we kept the blinds closed on the east side of the house, and the lace curtains drawn on the south side. The lace lets in enough light, but blocks some of the heat.

I did some admin/organizational stuff, noodled on my article, and then turned around the script I had in the late morning/early afternoon. I made a pasta salad in the morning that could cool in the fridge for dinner, so we didn’t have to think about cooking or preparing anything.

I rehearsed my portion of the poem, working on rhythm and voice placement. What made me smile is that we just moved into Leo season – a season to shine, to share, to perform – and here’s the performance date.

I finished reading the next book for review.

The request for mail-in ballots arrived, and we filled them out and returned them. The mail-in option makes it easier (and safer) for this year’s voting.

I was invited to an artists’ resource meeting, but the day and the date didn’t match up. I emailed them for clarification. If the day of the week is correct, I can’t make it this month. If the date is correct, I can. At any rate, it’s a group with which I’d like to work, and if I can’t do it this month, I hope I can next month. They even are meeting outside this month, to make it safer.

It was tough to get to sleep Friday night because of the humidity, but I managed,

I should have worked on the Topic Workbooks, but I was too hot and tired and grumpy. I am very much a Winter Girl, not a Summer Girl.

Started feeling all kinds of doubt and uncertainty on Saturday morning again. Part of it was stage nerves for that afternoon’s performance. I am not a performer; I write for performers. I am a behind-the-scenes person. But there are enough of us in this event (50) that it’s about collective creation and collective experience, and there isn’t pressure on me to do more than be in the moment (and get my first & last words right, to keep the flow going).

Another part is also with the Topic Workbook and the serial launching in the upcoming weeks, there’s the whole pressure of now it’s out in the world, and no longer in my control. It’s 50-50. Some people are going to love these pieces & find them helpful or interesting; others won’t. There will always be those who are condescending and make nasty comments. Not that they ever create anything themselves; but they talk about what they’ll do some day while slam others. That’s the reality of the business.

I remind myself: They are not my target audience.

I remind myself: The previous negative reality is not my current positive reality. I am building something new here. That means taking risks, creatively and personally. Not all of them are going to work the way I want them to. But I still need to do it.

Because the alternative is a day job outside of my field, and that is the ultimate last resort.

I cut out a rant from this post about wanna-be writers who think they know more than those of us earning our living in the industry,  because I don’t feel like focusing on them today.

Saturday morning, I had to run out and get a hat. Early, when it was easy to stay ten or more feet away from anyone else in the store. There’s no way I could make it through the event without a hat. I have a whole collection of wonderful hats – in storage. So I ran out to a store that was likely to have workable hats. I couldn’t decide between two in the store, they were both affordable, so I bought both.

I did not go to the Farmers’ Market. I knew the heat would wear me out; I also didn’t want to risk exposure to anyone who might be sluffing off virus, and then bringing it to the event. I missed it, though. I missed the beautiful produce and the friendly, engaging farmers, and the other market regulars I chat with every week.

Took the rest of the morning to rest, read, rehearse. Packed my bag for the event. Took a shower, slathered on sunscreen, braided my hair that I wasn’t able to get cut in time, the whole thing.

I was proud of myself for breaking the usual pattern, which would have been to work myself into the ground all morning, and then feel frantic and unsettled when it was time to go. I gave myself time and rest. I knew it would be hot and humid and challenging, so I made sure, for once, not to sabotage myself.

I left around 2:30, to give myself time in case I hit tourist traffic. I did vocal exercises in the car, and rehearsed my little bit (all those years working musicals have application in the real world). I made decent time to get to The Mount, and got there around 3:30. Walked through the gardens to get to the house, where we were meeting. The sun dappled through the trees in nuanced light that was both beautiful and spooky. The phone’s camera made it look lighter than it was.

We assembled. They had us on chairs on either side of the path that wound down around the side of the house, odds and evens. We lobbed our parts of the poem back and forth across the path, with the audience on the path. I was number 9 (being one of the early poets to sign up and create my bit). So Number 7 was next to me. He lobbed the final word of his poem to Number 8, across the path, who started with the last word of his poem as the first word of her poem. She lobbed back across to me. The last word of her poem was the first word of my poem. I lobbed to number 10, across the path, whose first word of her poem was the last word of my poem, who lobbed it to Number 11, next to me, whose first word was the last word of the previous poem, and so forth and so on.

The audience moved through us as we spoke. They moved through us in waves, so when the first group reached the bend (about half way through), the next group started with the first poet again, so there were multiple vocals happening at any given time, and we had to be present to the poets around us, while aware of what was going on above and below us on the path.

There were a few poets who couldn’t be there. The agreement was that, if someone couldn’t be there, that individual was responsible for sending a proxy. There were several who did so, and that was great. There were a couple of people who didn’t, and a couple who didn’t show up or let anyone know, and that put unnecessary pressure on the poets who were there. Someone early in the poem couldn’t run down and cover for someone late in the poem, because by that point, the next wave of audience was coming through. So the organizers had to work out who could move a few chairs to read a missing poet’s bit, and then get back to their original chair to perform their own bit again in time.

It worked, mostly because there were enough experienced performers to flow, and the first-timers like me, who were trying to get a handle on what was going on and feel the rhythm, weren’t put under that additional pressure.

In other words, the organizers took care of the performers, instead of expecting the performers to fix things that happened at the last minute.

And the overall poem did build a flow and a rhythm. It was amazing. Somehow, even though we didn’t know anything about the poets and their poems on either side while we wrote, it all came together.

There were poets of all ages and from all over the place. I walked in with a poet from Northampton (who used to be a production coordinator for the Boston Ballet, so we had a good talk about backstage). The woman next to me and her daughter (numbers 11 & 13) were from Gloucester, MA, and each wrote a segment as something fun to do together. There was a family of six – wife, husband, two teen daughters, and their dogs – who each did a segment (they were spread out amongst everyone. And only the humans created poems, although the dogs performed with their humans). I think they’re from upstate NY. They told me they love to “poem together” and grab any opportunity to be part of public art events like this. There was a woman across and down a few who’s stage managing a show with a theatre company with whom I had contact awhile back, and I hope I get to see the show. The guy who led the playwrights’ workshop I attended a few weeks ago wasn’t in it (he’d planned to, but dropped out when he couldn’t be there, so another poet could step in and take his place with their own work, instead of someone reading as a proxy). But one of my fellow playwrights was there, and we had a good catch-up natter. There was another woman who’s a part of a poetry group that creates and performs social justice public art.

It was great to be part of a group that had NO Trumpers in it, and no both-siders and right-wing apologists. No one pursing their thin little lips claiming they “don’t do politics” when in reality, they support extremists.  In fact, a good deal of the poetry was political. Quite a few of the older poets, men and women, a few years ahead of me in age and experience, were talking about how they’d fought/marched/voted/protested for Civil Rights and Roe the first time around, and here we are again.

It was a dog, kid, family inclusive event. Several poets brought partners or family members who set up camp chairs nearby and watched/listened or read a book or worked on their own writing.

No one was told to tone down their language, and the audience was warned of the possibility of strong language. As far as I know, no one complained.

They’d put out a buffet for us up at the Terrace Café (it’s a spectacular view). They’d told us they’d have snacks for us, but there was real food to make sandwiches (and gluten free options) and salads and fruit and lemonade and raspberry tea and all that. They watered us well throughout, to make sure we were hydrated and didn’t faint. The chairs were in the shade. The audience was kept in the front courtyard until showtimes, with lemonade and cookies.

Originally, we were supposed to do the full poem 4 times through. However, so many people signed up that, for both vocal projection’s sake and safety’s sake, they split up the audience for the first couple of shows; hence the waves of audience members. So what were originally scheduled as the first two performances turned into four performances.

Each performance built a unique rhythm and flow. As the poets got more comfortable with each other, we could try different inflections with the same words, and lob the bits back and forth more easily.

We poets also kept moving our chairs back. We knew we were all fully vaccinated and had tested negative that day before showing up, but there was no way to trust that the audience was the same. Since the audience didn’t pay attention to the social distancing, we made it happen by enlarging the distance.

After the first four shows, we had a break to eat. One of the poets was bored with saying the same thing over and over, so he rewrote his poem in the break (keeping the first and last word, per the agreement). A couple of people joked that they’d never remember everyone’s name, but they could remember everyone’s content. For instance, I became “Lilac” because I had lilacs in my poem, and the image of “frothy lilacs” stuck in people’s heads. So, you know, any event I do from here on in, I’ll be “Lilac.” I can live with that.

After the break, we had two more shows. Because of time, the groups couldn’t be split up this time around. They were larger; we pulled our chairs back farther from the path and projected more. The heat and humidity were taking a toll, even with all the precautions.

During the final performance, as we completed our bits, we folded in behind the audience (at a safe distance), so that we were all together at the end and could celebrate.

We were all pretty much hurting by then (even the puppies were tired), but we celebrated each other, and were invited to a couple more of these creations, given our travel stipends, and then headed out.

The walk back to the parking lot seemed to take forever. I managed to get home in only 40 minutes (not much traffic), but as the adrenalin wore off, it was a challenge.

Dashed up the stairs, ordered Chinese food for delivery, and jumped in the shower to hose down and decontaminate. Even with some protocols in place, there were still a lot of people involved in the day. My throat was raw and everything hurt, and I knew I’d put myself at risk.

Popped the prosecco, though, and sucked down a couple of glasses along with the Chinese food. It took awhile to unwind. As a non-performer, and also as someone who’s used to writing by myself and then it either goes into the world, or, in the case of a play, it goes into rehearsal with a finite group before going out into the world, it was quite a new experience. But that sense of excitement, creating with others, trusting in them, and then INVITING the audience to experience it with us instead of PRESENTING TO the audience as pretty incredible.

Even if I don’t participate in the next couple of events (one of them, a haiku contest where content is created in the moment, is not something I could even consider doing), I might go as an audience member and support my fellow poets.

I finally collapsed into bed. I woke up around midnight and drank a bottle of water. My throat felt awful. I woke up again at 3 and did the same. Sunday, I rested. I drank tea and water. I took Slippery Elm (which I should have taken before I left, but I didn’t think of it). I’m not used to talking that much, or projecting outdoors. Of course it’s going to leave my throat and voice raw. I read.

Again, the usual pattern would have been to push myself and run myself down even more, probably winding up sick with a cold, if I managed to avoid the plague. At the very least, running myself down would give any exposure to the virus more traction.

So I rested.

I had to run out mid-day for a few errands – pick up my mother’s prescription and get her a new blood pressure monitor, get in some groceries, since I didn’t go to the market on Saturday. Just that little bit wore me out. The heat and humidity were oppressive.

I managed to do another read-through of the next chapters I have to upload for LEGERDEMAIN. I did some work on my article on Saturday morning, but didn’t do any work on Sunday. I put some hooks up in my mom’s closet, hung up some of the copper molds in the kitchen, and hung a quilt on the living room wall.

That was it.

Went to bed at the normal time. Tessa got me up early on Monday. I was still a little tired, but overall felt decent. Still just not loving the heat and humidity.

There’s a post on the GDR site about enjoying the week. There’s a lot going on, and I want to enjoy it.

THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS released on Monday. I’m proud of all the Topic Workbooks, but I think this one will help a lot of people who get scattered among too many projects.

A ridiculous amount of email piled up over the weekend, so I slogged my way through that. Did the postings of the daily prompt on the site where I couldn’t schedule the posts. Wrote the thank-yous for the event. Signed up for a yoga class. Signed up for an online cooking class at Kripalu, with my beloved Chef Jeremy, and even received a scholarship to attend. Checked in with my friend about my upcoming visit, provided I test negative the morning I’m supposed to leave. Packed for the trip.

Kept track to see if I’m showing any symptoms, or if I felt bad. I mean, I was grumpy in the heat and humidity, and I was tired (hey, I’m not 20 anymore), but overall, I feel fine. My throat was a little raw for a couple of days, but steadily felt better. My voice is still a little scratchy, but I don’t talk much during the course of the day, so that’s to be expected.

Turned around a script and some questions on a previous script I’d covered. Grabbed some shorts to turn around today. I’ve been steadily working on the Italian every day. I’m definitely learning vocabulary, but I’m not understanding sentence construction.

Did some work on a grant proposal, and noodled around with my article and with an idea tossed out by Word X Word.

It was hot and humid when I went to bed, but much better upon getting up this morning. I feel like I can be much more productive today, and I kind of have to be. There are a slew of errands to run late this morning, after I get some work done on the article, the Topic Workbooks, and getting the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes uploaded.

This afternoon, I turn around the three shorts. In the late afternoon, I head out to Greylock Works for a 1Berkshires Entrepreneur meeting at Berkshire Cider. It’s inside, so yes, I’ll be masked.

Someone contacted me about a content writing position. I have to take a look at the details. On the surface, the money looks outstanding, but I need to know more about it.

Hope you had a good weekend, and let’s work toward a good week!

Thurs. July 21, 2022: Trying To Keep It Organized

image courtesy of Andreas Lischka via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Hazy, hot, humid

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

We’re in typical summer weather. We haven’t been hit as hard as a lot of other places, but without air conditioning, it’s still a challenge. It’s supposed to break on Sunday, though, and be down in the 80’s next week, so there’s that to look forward to.

Of course, Word X Word is Saturday, in the heat.

We’ll see, by next week, if I calculated that risk properly. We are outside. We are all vaccinated. We are kept a safe distance from the audience. The organizers are taking steps to protect us. But the event still involves people.  So, we’ll see.

I’m supposed to go and visit a friend next week in upstate New York. You can be sure I’ll test the morning before I go, to make sure I’m not putting her at risk.

Other than the library and taking my mom to the doctor, I haven’t gone anywhere this week. I cancelled out of everything, because I wanted Word X Word to be the only risk, and not go in there having taken other risks. I’d like to get my hair cut before Saturday, because it’s back to being pandemic hair, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to, both because places are booked, and, if they’re not masking, I’m not going to be inside with them.

I’m skipping the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, which I will miss, but I want to make sure I’m not exposed there and then expose anyone at the event.

When I get home, I’ll do the decontamination protocols. I mean, I’d be so sweaty and gross after performing four shows outside that I’d hose off anyway. And I’m putting a bottle of prosecco in the fridge before I leave!

In the meantime, I need to rehearse my lines, few as they are. Performance is not natural to me, and I want to hold up my tiny little end of it.

Yesterday seems far away, somehow, probably because it’s so hot. ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE got proofed and is headed for release on July 29. I got about 75% of CREATIVE STIMULUS rewritten. I’m still stalling on SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM, but I’ll get there.

I discovered I have to resize all the ads I did for LEGERDEMAIN so they work on Instagram, which is a PITA, but necessary.

I will have some interesting metrics to share in early August about the 31 Prompts, and the responses to them on various social media channels.

I’m keeping up the Italian lessons. I’m retaining the vocabulary, although most of it is understanding what I see, not necessarily what I hear. But I don’t understand the declensions, although I can usually figure them out through process of elimination.

Had to run the repair twice on Word yesterday, because I’m having problems with it, mostly the keyboard. I’m so frustrated.

Also, gave the computer a rest during the hottest part of the afternoon, because it was overheating.

I did a bunch of work on the Legerdemain website. There’s still plenty more to do, but I’m getting there, and will share the link when it’s ready.

Turned around a script. I wanted to turn around two, but I was too damn tired. I’m still well within the deadlines, I just wanted to get ahead a little for myself.

The cats are little fur puddles. I’m not much better. I am not a heat-and-humidity person.

The chair I usually sit on in the kitchen came apart, so it’s in pieces in the sewing room to be fixed. I’m a little garden chair, making me feel like a toddler at the Grown-Up table.

I’ve got the online meditation group this morning. I need to upload the content calendar promoting ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE, and then get back to revising STIMULUS. I also have to start the article for Llewellyn. I want to get that out to my editor early, next week, before I go away, so it’s not hanging over my head when I come back.

A local arts organization sent me information on a paid residency they thought I would be interested in, so I will start the proposal. The process is simple, but the proposal has to be strong. I also need to photograph some of my work. I hope the pieces I need are here, and not in storage.

Saturday is all about Word X Word, but I’m working on Sunday, so that I can truly enjoy visiting my friend next week, without worrying about deadlines. I just have to space out my work in the heat and stay hydrated.

I keep thinking today is Friday, but it’s Thursday, so I better make full use of the day!

Published in: on July 21, 2022 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Thurs. July 21, 2022: Trying To Keep It Organized  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. July 20, 2022: TypeTypeTypeTypeType

image courtesy of Nattanan Kanchanapratt via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hot, humid

Since yesterday was the big reveal for LEGERDEMAIN, today is the usual natter we have on Tuesdays.

Chiron went retrograde yesterday, too. The Wounded Healer.

Quite the weekend! There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site from Monday.

Friday was good; I got the prompts posted, and did a big chunk of work on the new edition of ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE,  then headed down to Pittsfield for the book sale at the Atheneum. The weather was warm and gorgeous.

Even though I got there just after the doors opened, I had to park waaaaay down the street (around the corner from the Colonial Theatre – that far)! But it’s such a pretty street, with graceful, old, multi-family houses that have all done lovely, cheerful, whimsical things with their gardens.

I met a woman exiting the parking lot, with a huge bag of books clutched to her chest. “Good haul,” I said, and she grinned. “They’ve got great stuff this time around,” she told me.

I grabbed a basket as soon as I went in. Almost everyone was masked, which made me more comfortable, and, even though it was crowded, people were respectful about distancing. I did the rounds of the main room. The back room, with the older, larger nonfiction was too small and crowded for my comfort, even though people masked. A business called Blue Q donated zippered tote bags made out of recycled plastic. The bag is bigger than it looks (which meant I only needed a single bag for my haul). I bought 13 CDs (a mix of jazz and replacements for stuff I had on cassette and then tossed in the move, when I should have kept them), some research books, some fun books, and a stack of books for my mom. The total was just under ¼ of what I’d budgeted for the day.

Dropped off the books at home, picked up my mom, and we headed to Wild Oats, where the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership did a cheese tasting, featuring Von Trapp Farmstead cheese. I’m not that into cheese, but my mom is, and I figured it would be something fun for her. She’s not comfortable being out and about much, even masked, but the co-op is good with safety features (such as the tasting being in the outer portion of the store, so people could actual step outside to unmask and taste).

The cheese was amazing. I even thought so, and, like I said, I am usually not that thrilled by cheese. My mom, of course, loved the bleu cheese. I preferred the Mt. Alice (kind of like a soft brie) and the Oma cheese (soft and like nothing I’ve tasted before). So I bought blocks of all 3. And blueberries (which are so, so good). And coffee. Rolls. Wine. You know, the essentials.

Our lunch consisted of the rolls with butter, the cheeses, and the last of the Red Shirt Farm huge tomatoes. And a glass of rosé, because hey, my weekend.

I gave myself the afternoon off to read a book and play with the cats. I enjoyed the book up until the character got pregnant after one night with the love of her life Yes, I understand biology and know this happens. But, come on, people, birth control. Especially since the character was established as sexually active. I know that might not be a realistic choice in the future, if the GOP has their way, but this book was published several years ago. Birth control. And I’m over the trope of the only way to happiness and family for a woman is to breed. I want some HEAs where the couple chooses not to have children. Really sick of the accidental pregnancy trope. The book worked for me up until that point. But after it, I resented the rest of it and felt cheated.

Saturday morning, I was off to the Farmers’ Market, for my usual rounds. I had a delicious haul, and, of course, all the good conversations that make going to the Farmers’ Market so much fun. In early August, after I teach at the conference, I’m going to sit down with a couple of people and help them brainstorm on grants.

Got the revision done of the Topic Workbook ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE and uploaded it. It needs the final proof, but should be good to schedule for next week’s release.

The woman running for re-election for D.A. stopped by the house in the afternoon, and we had a good chat. She’s doing a lot to counter what the corrupt, extremist SCOTUS is doing, and has my firm support.

Read a fun book in the afternoon/evening. Some of the author’s style was a little annoying, but the overall arc of the book was a lot of fun.

Sunday was all about LEGERDEMAIN. I drafted the last 7K of the serial’s first big arc. There’s one episode that I’m going to break down into 2 episodes, because it’s going on too long, and the climactic fight scene has more comedy in it than I expected, but it’s fun. The first big arc runs 38 episodes (it’ll be 39 when I break that other episode up). It does what I want it to do, winding up the murder/theft arc, and launching the next arc. I’d hoped to get it all into 30 episodes, but too much had to be established and integrated, and seeds had to be dropped for the next two big arcs, and for things that might or might not grow into future arcs (should the serial run beyond its initial 90 episodes).

I also worked on episode ads for the first four episodes.

It was a lot. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was a good tired. I went to bed ridiculously early, and slept straight through the night.

Up early on Monday. Did yet another layered revision on the first six episodes of LEGERDEMAIN. Set up the serial on Kindle Vella. Uploaded,  proofed, fixed, proofed again, fixed again, wrote the author notes, and sent them off. They cleared the content review within a few hours (I have specific, odd spellings and was worried I’d have trouble; ergo, I created a Style Sheet).

I did the episode ads for episodes 5 & 6 (I’m particularly proud of the ad for #5). I did tag lines for the first 6 episodes. I did an episode tracking sheet (because Vella doesn’t show the schedule once things are uploaded). I uploaded and scheduled the posts for the first six episodes. I might modify some of those post, should I ever get a direct link to them. But at least they’re up. I started the email blast that will go out on Monday, specific to LEGERDEMAIN.

I update the Series Bible as I draft each episode, which is unusual. But because each episode has to be built properly before I can draft the next, each episode goes through what would normally be a 3-draft process as its first draft. Once I get to the uploaded draft, I check and make sure to update anything necessary in the Series Bible, so that’s consistent.

I also have a style sheet, because there are unusual spellings, and I want to keep them consistent.

I set up an episode tracking sheet, so I know when I’ve uploaded and when an episode is scheduled to release. I also keep final word counts of each episode in there. My ideal episode target is 1K, but most episodes run around 1.3K, and some a little over.

I wanted to go ahead and start the website, but I forced myself to stop. I had to turn around two scripts in the afternoon/evening (which I did). Again, I then had to stop myself from going back and working on the website. Hyper productivity can end in a crash, and I have too much to do this week to crash.

I made myself rest.

That’s progress.

I kept up with posting the 31 Prompts, and with the Italian lessons.

We got the sad news that a member of the extended family in Maine is coming home for hospice care. This is a case where COVID was the final straw for him. He’s elderly, 4x vaxxed, always masking, very careful. But he had to go into the hospital a few months ago, for something non-COVID related, and then into rehab. He caught COVID in rehab, and, although he technically “recovered” from COVID, it made his other issues worse.

Up early on Tuesday. It’s more seasonably hot and humid than it’s been. Tessa is busy shedding the winter coat that she grew in a few weeks back, when it was cooler. In other words, lots of vacuuming happening in this house.

And lots of fur balls.

Started building the website for LEGERDEMAIN. Cycled through at least a dozen templates. The one I really want doesn’t post the newest posts firsts unless I buy an upgrade. So I went back to a template that I don’t really want, but have used on other sites – and it won’t post the newest posts first. This time, the person I landed at A2 hosting was not helpful. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s configured exactly the way it is on the site where it’s working. Very frustrating.

Worked on the SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM revision/update. Getting the examples into JPGs and inserting them is a major PITA. I’ll get there, but it’s not fun. Today, I have to do the final proof/changes on ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE, so it can upload for release.

Took my mom to her new doctor, over in Williamstown. It’s taken us a year to find a new doctor. But they are very nice, the building is clean and comfortable, and masks are required. She likes her new doctor, which is good. The doctor is worried about her blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are too high. So some medication adjustments are coming. She misses going to the firehouse to get her blood pressure taken every week (they don’t do that here).

Turned around a script in the evening. Made myself stop for the night.

Up early this morning, woken by a thunderstorm, rather than cats. It didn’t do anything to break the humidity. Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the next few weeks.

We have our final instructions for Saturday’s performance at the Edith Wharton homestead. I have to find my poem and rehearse. Let’s face it, even if I mess up, it’s only 3 lines/30 seconds. It’s not about me. It’s about our collective experience creating something, and then sharing it.

But I still want to hold up my end.

Back to the page with revisions today, mostly on the Topic Workbooks. I have to do a library run and pick up a prescription and a new blood pressure monitor for my mom later, and then a script coverage or two in the afternoon.

Have a good one.

Fri. July 15, 2022: Of Books and Cheese

collage by Devon Ellington from stock photos

Friday, July 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, and pleasant

Meditation was good yesterday morning. Charlotte enjoyed it, too!

Got the ads for THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST scheduled to post/run through the end of September. Created the ads for the other five workbooks, so as soon as I have buy links going live, I can add them into the content calendar, and we’re good to go through August and September. In early September, I’ll decide what I want to do through the end of the year.

I might put some of those ads and some of the ads for The Big Project into an updated marketing portfolio, because they are fun. The ads for the Big Project, in particular, have a rather wacky sense of humor to them, which I think will engage readers.

Did a library run, and dashed into the grocery store to grab some Lysol spray since I can’t find ours. Really excited about some of the novels that arrived. I’m looking forward to reading them.

Spiro Squirrel climbed the kitchen window screen, trying to get in this morning. Willa chased him off. We’ve started closing the kitchen window at night. All we need is for him to figure out how to remove the screen and get inside.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon.

Skipped Open Studios as MASSMoCA. I needed to focus on my work. Also, the though of getting dressed, putting on makeup, and pretending I wasn’t feral for a couple of hours was overwhelming yesterday. I’m not sure if masking is still required (the email was unclear), and if it’s not, I would have had to leave anyway, because they get crowded. I’m going to have to play each month by ear, and see how what they’re doing fits in with what I’m doing, and with what I need to do to keep us safe.

I’ve done more content calendars than I can count for clients over the years, but doing one for my own work has been invigorating. Having it all there on the calendar inspires me to get it done. It also helps to track the ebb and flow of projects, so I can see where I have room to do more, and where I can pull back a little and not overdo.

Buckle up, my lovely buttercups: The last week of July and the first week of August are going to have a lot of promotion going on!

A Twitter pal and her husband is taking their first ever trip to NYC for 5 days, and I sent them a boatload of suggestions for weird little fun stuff. I really love New York, and I’m so grateful I lived there the years I did. Even though it’s not where I need to be right now, I do love it.

The sentence about the children’s screams cut out from the Uvalde videos released will haunt me the rest of my days. For the parents, who are going through more pain than any of us can imagine, I hope this helps them (rather than insults them, and different parents will feel differently). For those who stood around and did NOTHING while those children were slaughtered, may they never be free from the screaming. May they be haunted the rest of their miserable lives for this, and may they suffer in eternity beyond their own deaths. May they never, ever rest in peace.

I intentionally cleared off the script reading early this week, because I wanted to have three days without it. I’m headed to Pittsfield to a book sale at the library this morning, then taking my mom over to Wild Oats, where the Von Trapp Farmstead is doing an event around their cheese. I never thought I would build time into my schedule focused on cheese, but there you have it. My mom loves cheese, so we are going.

Then it’s back to work, on The Topic Workbooks, and finished the first big arc of The Big Project, so that the next parts of the process can hum along on time, and I can actually make the Big Announcement and The Big Reveal next week, and all of this will make sense.

Then comes the Big Marketing Campaign, which will last for months, so. . .be warned!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side! The weather has been just gorgeous here, and I hope it is where you are, too.

Thurs. July 14, 2022: Of Scheduling and Tools

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Bastille Day

A very long time ago, back in the 1980’s, when I was living on the West Coast, I claimed July 14, Bastille Day, as my personal independence day. So I always acknowledge the day, in whatever way is appropriate that year.

Gratitude and Growth has the latest on the Squirrel Shenanigans, and Ink-Dipped Advice has a post on writing about your ideal workday, which we will use in autumn for another exercise.

In spite of the computer issues, I managed to get the Topic Workbook page on the Devon Ellington site updated. All the new covers are up. As buy links release on pre-orders and closer to release date, those, too, will go up.

THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST went through final proofreads and some more tweaks, and are up for pre-order. I can start scheduling the marketing ads on social media channels, so they can run and I don’t have to think about them too much. I downloaded some calendar sheets with “hour” slots from General Blue. The Google calendar stuff wasn’t working for me, and doing what I wanted it to do. I run ads at different times on different days; since the Topic Workbooks are releasing close to each other, I want to make sure I don’t schedule two ads on the same day at the same time. There will be enough overlap for the promotion on The Big Project.

Having the content calendar as something on the computer isn’t working, so I have my handy dandy printed out calendar sheets, so I can look at it as I work uploading the actual content.

The plan is for all the Topic Workbooks to re-release in early August, and have the workbook tied to the class release the week after the class (class participants get a copy, free, with the class). Once I catch my breath, I can decide how I want to fit the new workbooks into the workflow.

I had a good conversation with an editor about a project both of us are no longer connected with, and not being a part of it is the right choice for both of us. Trusting my gut was the right choice. Onward.

As part of updating another workbook, I’m playing with project management software. I loathe Trello, so that is not an option. Trello fractures things too much for my liking. I’ve used Click up with clients, but, looking at it, it doesn’t give me enough room for the number of projects I’m juggling, unless I lump them into categories. I decided to do a comparison/contrast with Todoist and Asana. I have colleagues who adore each of them, for every different reasons.

So I signed up for both, and I entered information on both, to see how they work, comparing the same tasks in the two different platforms.

Todoist is too much like the traditional “To Do” list, which makes me feel restricted. I ditched the daily list, because all it did was make me feel like a failure, and even crossing items off gave me no pleasure or sense of accomplishment.  Todoist also suggested that I vacuum the house today (Thursday: vacuum through all the rooms), which is really not its business, and not something I entered. What I like about Asana is that I can color code projects (like I do on my big desk blotter calendar), break projects down into pieces while still keeping the bigger picture in view. So it doesn’t feel fractured, the way Trello does. I had used Asana for some client work at one point, and wasn’t all that thrilled with it, but it’s letting me set things up the way I like it, at least so far.

I may ditch both of them, and just stay with my desk blotter calendar. You know, the tool that’s worked for decades.

But since I’m writing about tools, I want to give those readers options and experiences.

Working with that, and handling incoming buy links going live put me behind in the script coverage. I managed to cover three scripts, although I was working until 11 PM. But I’d decided I don’t want to do coverage on Friday, and I have limited time today, between meditation, Freelance Chat, and Open Studios, so I piled on more yesterday.

I did my Italian lesson, keeping up the streak. I’m learning vocabulary, but don’t feel like I’m getting an understanding of the grammar or why sentence construction is the way it is. I need to head across the street to the college library and find a textbook to fill in the gaps.

I was also looking at beachfront hotels for October. The prices are ridiculous for the mediocre. I planned to spend more on the hotel, since we are staying put and making use of it, but I’m not seeing the value I’m looking for in what’s on offer. Plus, with virus numbers on the rise again, and those who should have never told us it was okay to unmask telling us to mask up again, it’s probably not worth the risk. Instead of going on a midweek oceanside vacation, I can do a long weekend home disconnected retreat and not put us at risk. I’ll keep an eye on prices and possibilities, but if it doesn’t make sense, on either financial or health levels, we just won’t do it.

I took a break for a Grace and Gratitude yoga/meditation session online with the Stressed Out Professional Women Without Children group, and that was excellent.

Slept well, up early. Online meditation group this morning, then hitting the page for a few hours, and doing a library run. I have two scripts to turn around before Open Studios tonight, and then I’m done with coverage for the week.

I am working this weekend, on the Topic Workbooks, the Big Project (so that everything is in place to make the announcement next week), and starting the article for my Llewellyn editor. I want to get it out the door and onto my editor’s desk a few days early, before I go to visit my friend. Setting up the content calendar for upcoming releases, and uploading/scheduling the content. That way, I can enjoy my time away.

I had a wonderful aha! moment on the next big arc of The Big Project, which excites me to work on.

Have a good one!

Wed. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms

image courtesy of Brigipix via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a pretty decent workday. Got a nice chunk of The Big Project done in the multi-colored draft over at the laundromat. Got everything washed and dried, and put away as soon as I got home. Dealt with email, did follow up from the networking session (there’s still some more to do today), got some bills mailed, got the box from the mail carrier that was stuck in the slot (because he shouldn’t have put it there in the first place).

Did a good chunk of work on the Topic Workbooks. THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS just needs a final proof, and it’s good to set for release. THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST got a solid revision/update, and also needs a final proof. There’s some formatting wonk, but I hope to fix that today and set that release date, then update across the various websites.

Did a couple of ads for them, too. Also created a style cheat sheet, so I can keep the look/details consistent throughout.

If I meet my own goals, the six revised workbooks will release in the weeks leading up to the conference workshop, and the workbook built around that workshop will release the week after. There’s class material for two more workbooks out of classes I’ve taught, and I have ideas for at least two more.

The Topic Workbooks give clear action steps on their topic, and I intentionally keep them inexpensive so people on a budget can afford them and use them.

Finished the script coverage I’d started last night, and did a second one. I have five more scripts I my queue for this week. I won’t hit the preferred mark for the pay period, but I’ll hit the necessary mark. I have to hope the work comes in steadily in July, although I’ll have to work through some weekends, because I’m taking some time away from the work in some of the midweeks.

I also need to get started on the article for the Llewellyn annual, because that deadline is racing toward me faster than I’d like. And, of course, my editor contracted the most complex topic I pitched!

Heard from another editor about an anthology. I wrote and submitted, because I wanted to work with her, and this anthology gave me a chance to stretch. I was shortlisted for the anthology – not promised acceptance, but made it through the first round of 1K submissions. Then, the publisher ran into difficulties, and it looked like things were off. But now the publisher wants to move forward. The editor has left the project. If we choose to continue under consideration (again, no promises, but we’re the shortlisted group), we have to submit directly to the new editor. I don’t know if I want to. My gut tells me to stay far, far away. My ego encourages me to go for it. The smarter choice is my gut. My ego is just going to have to get over itself. I’ll look at the piece again, and find another possible market.

Thunderstorms and pounding rain did little to break the humidity. The next couple of weeks will be hot and humid. Still not as bad as last year, but the cats, who’ve already grown in their winter fur, are miserable. They are little fur puddles. Charlotte was smart, last night. Instead of sleeping on the bed, she slept on a side table in front of an open window (and only came into my room to wake me up for attention a few times).

Started reading the next book assigned for review. It’s good. Hard to settle in to meditation, but came up with a project title. Not sure if I will use it for something already in the pipeline, or if it’s for something new.

The computer decided to do an upgrade this morning. It only took one hour instead of 4, but then none of the software talks to each other, and it will be a mess to untangle it. There go hours of the workday for which I had other plans. Windows11 Sucks.

Back to work on the Topic Workbooks and The Big Project. I hope to have the official announcement for the latter ready to go next week. And then script coverage.

The Jan. 6 Hearings continue to horrify. And the seditionists continue to get away with it. Very discouraging.

Have a good one.

Published in: on July 13, 2022 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. July 12, 2022: Building a Sense of Creative Community

image courtesy of ds_30 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, humid

There’s a quick post over on the GDR site about how too many prompts, etc. can be counterproductive.

Friday was actually pretty fun. I wrote the first draft of the one act in the morning. I did my errands: gas station, couple of stores to get hardware and more pots, library, wine store. Ran into my friend the baker at the library, and made plans to get together at the Farmers’ Market Saturday.

Home, and got everything unpacked.

Did my first Duolingo Italian assignment. I’m keeping my expectations low, just 10 minutes per day. The first lesson breezed right past. Having a little bit of French definitely helped. I could see correlations. What I’m not sure about is if I’m actually learning the vocabulary, because a lot of “writing the sentences” was about choosing the words that made the most sense. But am I really learning them? Still, it was fun, and if I feel comfortable with the Italian lessons in a few months, I might see if I can level up my French with them, too.

I kept up with the Duolingo assignments every day all weekend. I enjoy them, but I also need an Italian textbook to understand some of the “whys” behind the choices.

Saturday was Farmers’ Market Day. The weather was gorgeous, the stalls filled to bursting with glorious offerings. I stocked up on large tomatoes, cucumbers, baby red potatoes, fennel, sugar snap peas, lemon basil, eggs, espresso coffee cake muffins, banana bread – just wonderful. It’s as much as social/community experience as a shopping one. The regulars chat with each other, it’s full of friendly dogs making friends, everyone is cheerful and happy to be there. I look forward to going there every week.

I talked to my friend the baker about commissioning her to make the cheesecake for my mom’s 98th birthday in October. Cheesecake is my mom’s favorite, and she should have a good one. I always buy one (because I am terrible at making cheesecake), and I’d rather the money go to a local, small business, really talented baker.

I popped into the grocery store to build around the FM finds, then headed off to Wild Oats, the co-op, to fill in a couple of other things, and then to another grocery store on the way home to pick up something I knew they carried.

The stores have put the signs back up “recommending” and “requesting” people masks again, regardless of vaccination status. Locals have been good about it throughout, but it’s tourist season, and while it’s nowhere near as whackadoodle here as it was on Cape, there are still germy nasties roaming around.

At one of the grocery stores, a white (of course) woman whined to the manager, “I’m on vacation. I don’t want to wear a mask, and I shouldn’t have to look at anyone else wearing a mask. Maybe I’ll just take my tourist dollars and go home.”

I stopped my masked ass the requisite social distance from her and said, “You’re gone, we’re alive, sounds like a win to me.”

She did that guppy face thing, and the manager cracked up.

Because fucking tourists.

The Cape’s COVID numbers have gone way up (of course). Makes me glad I’m not there anymore; makes me worry about friends and colleagues living/visiting/working there.

We were considering taking our two-day autumn break at the tip of the Cape, on the beach, but my mom said, “No way am I going to Cape Cod when they continue to behave like selfish idiots.” And then I got an email from the state health whatever about how the highest rate of monkeypox in the state is in Provincetown, so yeah, we’ll skip it.

So we will go elsewhere. Maybe the coast of Maine or to Newport. I just want to sit somewhere overlooking ocean and read books for two days. No sightseeing (which is why it makes sense to go somewhere familiar). No indoor dining. A room/cottage with a deck, an ocean view, and books. A room with a fridge, and we’ll do takeout. If there’s a kitchen, I can cook. Although, hey, vacation, maybe I’ll stick with takeout. If the virus numbers keep going up, we aren’t going anywhere.

Speaking of cooking (note the segue way), I used the lemon basil from the market and made pesto, because I do love pesto, and I love Full Well Farm’s lemon basil, so lemon basil pesto it is.

I made vegetable stock in the crockpot, which worked well. I’ll freeze one jar and keep the other two in the fridge to use up.

Saturday afternoon, I could not put it off any longer, and finished the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Because the directions are so bad, I had to take something apart, do the next step, then do the thing I had to take apart, because if I did it in the order of the directions, I could get at the bit that needed to be done next. But by flipping the order, I could do both. Also, they kept instructing work done on it when it was sideways on the floor, when it made more sense to work on the bottom when it was upside down, and I could use my bodyweight. It was impossible to tighten the top the way the instructions ordered – there was no way to get in a tool to do it in that space. I’m trusting gravity, and, if need be, later on, Gorilla glue. The piece for the back wasn’t cut square, but I managed to nudge it to at least cover what needs to be covered. The doors splintered when the hardware was fastened. So they are put aside. I found one of my old tension rods, and I’m using the sewing mouse café curtains that always adorned my offstage workstation off-Broadway at theatres like the Variety Arts. They’re a little long and wrong, but until I can make other curtains (I have good fabric in my stash), they will do. I will also get some fabric for the back of the cart, because it’s so darn ugly I can’t stand to look at it. I will trim it and Velcro it onto the back, so that I can wash it when needed.

But the drawer (I built a drawer; I’m so proud) and the shelves  and the top are fine. The Tupperware is in the bottom, and the baking pans I had stacked over the cabinets nearest the kitchen window all fit. Now I have room, on that cabinet top, for the teapots I’m bringing up from the next storage run. The top is a good workspace, and I always need more workspace.

But I was achy and tired by the end of the day.

Sunday was another beautiful, sunny, temperate day. The wreath we bought the weekend after Thanksgiving, hung on the door for the Winter Yule season, then stripped of ornaments and hung on the living room since, just started drying up. So I stripped the wreath. I have one jar of small needles/twigs for Winter Solstice. I have 5 jars of pine needles stripped from the rest of it.

What would you use pine needles for? Glad you asked. Incense, sachets, charms, bath mixtures, and potpourri. For instance, for this holiday season, I’ll pour pine needles in a bowl, take an orange, stud it with whole cloves, toss in some cinnamon sticks, and there’s a holiday scent without anything perfumy. I can take a cheesecloth or linen bag, put in pine needles, rosemary, and orange or lemon peel, and put it in the bathwater. (Trust me, you want it a bag you can soak and then dump, not loose in the water. Learn from my missteps. There are places on the human body in which pine needles should never venture).

I’ll keep the frame, in case I want to build some other kind of wreath using it.

Tessa helped. She loves anything scented (and I think she misses my stillroom as much as I do). Willa watched from a safe distance. Charlotte slept through the whole thing.

But most of Sunday was mellow, enjoying reading, being on the porch, playing with the cats, etc. The neighborhood was quiet, because people took advantage of the nice weather to go out and do things Elsewhere. Which meant Here was quiet.

I finished the Shirley Jackson biography and read Thomas Lynch’s wonderful poems WALKING PAPERS. He is a poet who is also an undertaker. I have several of his books to read.

Sauteed fresh trout from the local fishmonger in butter, with salt and pepper, boiled fresh red potatoes (from Red Shirt Farm) and served them with butter, and blanched sugar snap peas (from Full Well Farm) in boiling water, then tossed them with sesame oil and parsley. Absolute bliss, tasting real flavors.

I’m enjoying the kitchen island cart. The additional workspace is wonderful.

Went to bed ridiculously early. Woke up at 1:30, but went back to sleep, until Tessa and Charlotte rousted me out of bed around 5:30.

Got the email box down from over 700 emails to 67. Worked on my day’s Italian lesson. Created interview questions for a project. Did a run to the library and the grocery store to pick up something forgotten over the weekend. Worked out a visit in a few weeks to a friend I haven’t seen since before I moved to the Cape (although we always kept in touch).

I’m having trouble with my keyboard. It’s only working on the top half of the screen. More Windows 11-HP-McAfee miscommunication, no doubt.

The dickhead postal carrier AGAIN put my box in the mail slot, where I can’t get it out because the residence side is 1” smaller than the postal slot. Seven fucking months this has gone on. So I wrote it all out in a formal letter to the postmaster. If it continues, I’ll file the complaint through the main USPS system. I was polite in the letter and asked for better training, even though I know, after seven months of conversations and notes with this guy, he’s just being a dick.

Read a script in the afternoon, but didn’t finish the analysis. I will do that today, and read another script that came up in the queue, only the file was corrupted, so I had to request a new copy. That came through, so all good.

In the early evening, I went over to Greylock Works, the converted mill, that’s a really cool space now. The Northern Berkshire Artist Meetup was there, coordinated by several groups. It was a mixed experience. Cool space. But indoors, and not everyone was masking (I, of course, did). With food and drink, even those masking had to remove them sometimes. More people in the space than I was comfortable with, although the fans and ventilation system was strong.

Some very cool people. I met an older artist who calls works in “oversized political origami” and married to a guy who was a Madison Avenue adman in 1960’s NYC. I met a filmmaker/sculptor/teacher. I met a guy who moved up here from DC with his poet boyfriend (I told him about the World’s Largest Poem). And, in passing, a bunch of other people. One chick announced, “Oh, my husband just tested positive for COVID. Maybe I should wear a mask?” and started giggling. No, hon, you should LEAVE.

Everyone near by stepped back, and those who weren’t masking scrambled to put theirs on. Fortunately, she was way more than 6 feet away (more like 12 or 16, but hey, airborne). I stayed away.

The new director of MASSMoCA, Kristy Edmunds, was the guest speaker, sharing her views on sustainable creative practice, and her vision to help artists shape and live sustainably creative lives (in other words, paid for their work and supported). She takes the time to get to know people in the community as individuals, not just the big donors. That makes a huge difference. She was really interested in talking to us, and in continued conversation. Several other organizations/agencies distributed information and resources. There’s a lot to tap into, and a lot of sharing of resources going on.

I left soon after the talk and those conversations. I would have liked to stay and listen to the music, but too many people indoors and, I’m not yet comfortable with that. As it is, I’m going to be a paranoid hypochondriac for the next 10 days, watching for symptoms. But, as the friend who worked on the vaccine pointed out, I’m probably exposed to just as much virus every time I got into the grocery store. I need to keep masking, remain cautious, and let the vaccines do their job.

I was masked. Let’s hope this wasn’t a miscalculation. I’ll know soon enough, right? When I came home, I went through the old, pre-vaccine decontamination protocols, just in case.

I didn’t get much sleep, thanks to Charlotte and Tessa hurling furballs all night. The cats have shed their summer coats already, and are growing in thick winter coats. The squirrels are putting things away for winter (destroying a lot of the plants on the balcony). It bodes for a tough winter.

Up early this morning (because it’s hard to sleep through hurling furballs). Off to the laundromat. Worked on the multi-colored draft of The Big Project. I’d like to work on revisions for the one acts, but I have to get the Big Project where it needs to be, so the announcement can go out next week, and the marketing push can begin. I will also follow up on the cards/postcards/contacts I collected yesterday.

I may, however, need to take a nap somewhere in there. The cats, of course, are all fast asleep.

I have some bills to drop in the box at the bottom of the road, but I’m going to spend the morning on Topic Workbooks and The Big Project, and the afternoon on script coverage. This evening, I will start reading the next book for review.

That’s the catch up. Hope you’re having a great week.

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!

Wed. July 6, 2022: Of Typing and Glitching

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and humid

Yesterday was interesting, and kind of all over the place.

I wrote the first draft of the one-act play. It’s not long, but it still takes a specific kind of energy, so my psyche kept saying, “You put in a full day, right? I mean, you wrote an entire play. That means we get to play the rest of the day, right?”

Sadly, no. There was work to be done. Bills to be mailed at the post office. Books dropped off/picked up at the library. Groceries gathered at the store. Managed to get all the errands done before the rain began.

I heard from one of my colleagues on the Monthology anthology, who is reading the stories to help the editor decide on the order. She said my story (“Stone Garden”) was so beautiful, she cried at the end, which is EXACTLY the response for which I hoped. So I did a little happy dance.

Worked on an application for a residency. If I got in, it would be a Big Fucking Deal. It would be impressive on the old CV. The likelihood I’ll get in is small, but if I don’t try, it’s zero. And the organization contacted me specifically during this grant cycle to ask me to apply.

So I did.

Only, while I was in the process of filling out the application, the computer decided to stick/wonk/crash. It was so frustrating. Fortunately, a writer pal and a pal from Freelance Chat jumped in with ideas. I am deeply grateful to both of them. Working with both sets of ideas got things up and running and working again. It seems HP (my laptop is an HP Pavilion) and Windows11 have a difference of opinion, and something Win11 does makes HP think it needs to eat up more memory than it does. There’s a patch from HP, I downloaded it, and it seems to help, but I have to keep an eye on what’s being gobbled in my Task Manager, and then probably do regular fixes. Because, you know, heaven forbid that the companies who charge us money actually give us working products.

But it worked, and I got the application out, and now I can forget about it until November, when they tell if me I got it, or if I didn’t. It’s a project I won’t get to do unless I get this residency, more because of studio space than anything else. So I’m putting the notes for it aside and not getting too attached until I hear back, one way or the other.

I’m having a big issue with LinkedIn, and they don’t give a damn about it. Over the past week, I’ve gotten some really creepy “let’s connect” messages. First, they come through LinkedIn, which is how they’re supposed to. Then, after I either decline or ignore the messages, I’m getting even creepier, aggressive emails on my personal email, which is not connected to any of my websites, and supposedly protected on LinkedIn. All of these emails are coming from older white dudes in red states. None of them are involved in any business that would even remotely hire me for writing work. None of them should have access to my personal email. And yet, LinkedIn has somehow allowed it. Their position is that that’s what I get for not having a premium subscription. I’m tempted to take my profile down, but the email’s been compromised, and I’m not changing my personal email. Plus, pitching to agencies often requires a  LinkedIn profile.  I’ve got too much connected to it, and I like it. If LinkedIn won’t do anything, and the harassment continues, I will file with the IC unit of the FBI. They’ve been helpful before. But the fact that LinkedIn both allowed this and doesn’t give a damn that its happening is deeply disturbing. I already give them side-eye a good portion of the time, because I don’t find them particularly useful, but now? In this climate of the war against women? It’s unacceptable.

Turned around two scripts. One was deeply misogynistic while pretending to be about strong women. (Eye roll). Was requested to cover a new script by a writer whose work I adore, so I’m happy about that.

Used up the rest of the fennel for dinner to make a scallop fennel pasta dish. It was really, really good. Red Shirt Farm, from whom I got the fennel, said they’ll have some more in a couple of weeks, and I cannot wait. Between the Moosewood Cookbook and Deborah Madison’s cookbooks, I will learn how to use fennel in great dishes.

I indulged myself. COOK’S ILLUSTRATED sent me a special offer for an amazing deal for a two-year subscription and a cookbook. I’ve been a fan of the magazine for years, but the cost was always out of my budget. I usually read it through the library. But with this special offer, it’s well within it, so I’m indulging.

The downstairs neighbors have split the garden patch in front. Two of the guys who live in the apartment under me are growing corn and watermelon (which is unusual, in the middle of the city, but hey, I’m growing pumpkins), and they are so excited about it. It’s so much fun to watch these big ole construction dudes tending their seedlings. All grown from saved seeds from stuff they got from a farmer for whom they did some work. The neighbor in the other apartment last year grew the most amazing tomatoes (which she’s growing again), and beans.  I have cucumbers and tomatoes and herbs. So we’ve got our own version of a community garden growing.

I felt the full gamut of aches and pains echoing last year, when I was giving the Cape house the final scrub down. By 10 PM, when I had collapsed into the hotel room after the shower (I stayed in my favorite hideaway, The Publick House, in Sturbridge, on the way home), I finally relaxed.

I woke up feeling much better. Maybe now that I’ve ridden this out, I can get beyond the sense memory stress and build on what’s going well in the present.

A lot to do this morning, especially on The Big Project and the Topic Workbooks. And then script coverage in the afternoon.

My friend’s show opens on Cape tonight. I hope it has a good run!

An offhand (but deeply meant) Tweet I made last night went viral and it’s a little weird. But whatever. Some good conversations emerging. Dickheads are blocked. Not muting. It annoys me when someone starts something and then mutes, rather than deals with it. It’ll be over by the end of the day.

Forgot to mention that the Mid-Year Check-In went up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’m doing better than I thought, which is cheering.

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.