Wed. July 15, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 56 — Running (Metaphorically)

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image courtesy of Conquero via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Short post, because I’m running late this morning.

Long post on reinventing work over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Up early yesterday, got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did an early morning Target run. Everyone masked, distancing, pleasant. Took a lot of stress out of the experience. Stocked up on cleaning supplies. I think we’re good for about 4 months.

Home, full disinfectant protocols. LOIs, client work. More ads.

Finished, polished, and sent off the article that was due. Hope it’s what the editor wants. Will start the other article, for the almanac, tomorrow.

Headed in to work onsite for a few hours today. I need to get ad approvals from the client, and get a few other things done.

Feeling pressured on a couple of fronts, but the work itself is fine. But I’m behind on a few other things.

Remote Chat today, which is fun. Need to get some coursework done, too.

More tomorrow – gotta fun!

Fri. May 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 11: Local Media Distorts

Friday, May 29, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid and raining

Yesterday went better than expected, but was still exhausting.

Loaded the car with two months’ worth of recycling, masked up, and headed for the dump. Got there just as they were opening. Long line to get rid of trash, but I was one of the first to make it to the recycling area.

Everyone was masked, as required. We parked leaving three spaces between us, and gave each other plenty of room. People were cheerful and talked back and forth – I think we were all glad to talk to someone.

Much less stressful than I expected.

Although, as I was leaving, I saw cars pulling up close to each other and people not being so careful.

I have a feeling they’ll have to shut it all down again in a few weeks, so I’m glad I got our stuff out. I got everything into one car load – a BIG car load, but it was still everything. I will try to go back in two weeks with whatever’s been accumulated, so I can keep as much out before they shut down again as possible.

Because I’m NOT going to be like the spoiled brats who were tossing recycling in with the trash. If we were in NYC, all piled up with no room, it’s understandable. But here? Most people have plenty of room and can hang on to their recycling for a few weeks.

Headed over to Trader Joe’s. Line wasn’t too long. It moved pretty fast, but I realized that I’m going to need sunscreen to go grocery shopping in the future. Standing in line in the sun is going to require sunscreen. Everyone was masked, as required, distanced, and the mood was pretty upbeat. The staff was friendly and wonderful as usual, it was well-stocked. They rearrange things when they can’t restock, so you don’t see expanses of empty shelves. You just realize you can’t find what you were looking for!

I bought more than I intended, but that’s okay. I won’t have to go out for anything except milk and bread for two weeks, and I might risk the local convenience store for that. Unless I see people in there unmasked.

Got everything home, went through full disinfectant protocol (disinfecting every item, putting bags into quarantine, stripping down and tossing clothes into the washer, showering).

Even though it all took less time than I expected, it was still most of the morning gone, and I was exhausted.

Talk about mask preparedness—when I go out, I’m wearing a mask, I carry a spare, and I wear a scarf that I can pull up if everything else fails.

I also realized I need more masks. Four isn’t enough. So that’s on the agenda this weekend. More mask-making.

Our neighbors (the ones who do the Driveway Dinner Parties) dropped off a note saying they were worried about us. While that’s sweet, I wonder why. Because we don’t have people coming in and out all the time like they do? We’re not socializing. We’re fine. But I appreciated the kindness and dropped off a note thanking them.

Got some client work done, but not enough, so I have to put in a few hours today.

Edward Robb Ellis’s diary is delightful. His writing about the Depression is an eerie echo of what’s happening now, although people now are acting much more like spoiled brats.

The local media’s coverage of what’s going on is distorted. What’s in the papers and what I witness daily as a resident are far apart. For one thing, it’s completely one-sided. Only business owners and companies are being interviewed. Not the people who are actually in harm’s way working and dealing with the public. Business owners are whining that Memorial Day weekend, business was 66% down. Well, maybe that’s because businesses aren’t supposed to be open yet, except for essentials and some curbside pickups. They’re acting like the long-term rentals, which are the only ones that are supposed to be happening (31 days or more) are a bad thing, and that the dozens of short-term weekend rentals aren’t happening under the table (which they completely are, putting everyone who lives and works here at risk, because those coming in for the weekend aren’t quarantining and aren’t following protocols).

Gee, local media, owned by corporate “media companies” are lying to us. What a surprise. Yes, sarcasm.

Even if workers spoke off the record, local “journalists” wouldn’t protect their sources. Because that doesn’t happen here. Because they know the employers, and would either put in enough personal detail to out the source, or tell a friend or neighbor they “trust” who the source is, knowing it will get back to the employer and there will be retaliation.

Because that’s the way it works here.

Oh, and the best thing about calling the bridge traffic “light”? Yeah, I suppose being backed up for three hours is lighter than seven hours. But there shouldn’t be enough traffic to back it up AT ALL. We are still in Phase One.

The irony is that these are the same people, whining about not enough tourists, who wanted to shut down the bridges and the entire Cape to all but residents in March and have checkpoints at both bridges. Now, when it’s no safer, they want to let in too many people too quickly to put everyone at risk.

You can’t have It both ways, boo.

How about this, as we rebuild the future of work? If you won’t pay a living wage and provide safe conditions, you don’t get to have employees. Do the work your damn self. Or you have to work for someone else, who hopefully provides a better wage and safer working conditions than you were willing to provide.

An organization promoting local businesses is talking about having a “fair” this summer. Seriously? How irresponsible is that?  There’s no way to make sure people follow protocols. Not only would I not attend such an event, I would then avoid vendors who participated, because I’d worry both they and their merchandise were contaminated.

This marketing that we “owe” it to go out and shop? Nope. My first priority is the health and safety of my family. If you allow other customers to act irresponsibly in order to get a few bucks from them, you’re not getting my money. If I feel confident that you are following protocols, and your customers are, too (and those who aren’t must leave), then I will shop there. If I see irresponsible behavior without consequence, I won’t. And, if I witness the latter, I probably won’t come back, even when it’s safe.

I’m focused on the necessities. I’m focused on working as much as I can SAFELY, because who knows when the work will dry up with 25% of the population currently unemployed.

The entire concept of “work” and “labor” has to be rebuilt in order to rebuild the economy, and part of that is dismantling current corporate structure.

I also think, during reopening, that any company that requires employees onsite dealing with the public has to have its executives and management pulling shifts with the same risks.

In the Governor’s daily noon briefing, he talked about how the numbers are going down and we are past the surge. Yet when the daily numbers came out late in the afternoon, there were 100 more cases in the past 24 hours than in the previous day (from low 500s to high 600s) and about 30 more deaths than there had been the previous day (from low 60s to mid-90s). Is this a one day uptick, or are the numbers going to steadily climb again? I suspect the latter, although I hope I’m wrong. I’m not sure I trust the numbers being released, either.

Switching to happier things, the cat playpen arrived. It’s an excellent design. It’s like a strong tent, with a solid floorcovering (although flexible), pops up, and has netted sides. Its arrival meant that we had to put the flea and tick medicine on all three cats. Charlotte, who I thought would have a nervous breakdown, didn’t care. Tessa didn’t like it. Willa rolled around, trying to rub it off on the carpet.

Charlotte was the most interested in the playpen, so she went out in it first. She didn’t freak out, but the world is too big out there, and she’d rather observe through a window.

Brought her in and took Willa out next. Willa was interested, and likes all the smells. She’s the one who’s been slithering out when we open the door, so I wanted to give her a way to be outside but safe. She kind of liked it, although she doesn’t like to be confined.

So far, Tessa wants nothing to do with it. Tessa’s good on the deck, but there’s so much chaos getting her back into the house that I am only willing to carry her in and out when she’s in the playpen at this point.

But it has to be HER idea to go into it the first time.

It’s bigger than I expected, but that seems to be a theme with recent orders.

The riots are not surprising. There has to be a reaction to the increased open racism. Also, it’s completely inappropriate the way the protesters in Minneapolis were treated, but the WHITE domestic terrorists in Michigan, occupying the state capitol, were allowed a free pass.

Meanwhile, we have over 100,000 dead and 25% of the population unemployed. While the Sociopath laughs and dances and claps his hands with glee (unmasked), golfs, and threatens Twitter.

In World War II, we were part of an alliance to keep fascism from taking over the world. If we don’t take back our country, we will be the enemy the way Nazi Germany was. Because there’s only so long the world can let this continue.

I have some client work today that I was too exhausted to do yesterday. Must get it done this morning.

Then some more writing, and I want to work on cleaning out another stack of boxes from the basement.

One eye on the world, in despair. The other focusing on chopping wood and carrying water.

Have a good weekend all. I wish you peace.

Published in: on May 29, 2020 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 29, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 11: Local Media Distorts  
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Wed. May 13: StayTheFHome Day 49: Creativity and Exhaustion

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I had a new post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, but I took it down because it wasn’t really helpful. I will try to come up with a better one and get it up later today.

Yesterday was an overly-long work day. I am on the edge of burnout. I’m hoping I can make it to the Memorial Day weekend, because I intend to take some time off and do nothing except sit outside and read, and write if I feel like it.

Not only am I working long hours, but the clients for whom I’m working insist that I’m not working, and they resent paying me to do nothing – even when the results are coming in that prove otherwise. So I’m feeling burned out, overworked, underappreciated.

Too bad for me, right? At least I’m still alive.

Yesterday started pretty well, though. I had excellent writing sessions on two different projects, and I’m happy with the way both are going. The band name “Orgasmic Clowns” turned up, and at first, it looked like they would be a part of one of the novels, but now I think I need to make them their own piece.

I got admin work done, some bills paid, put in another Chewy order. I’m frustrated because an order from Target went astray via UPS and neither entity wants to do anything about it. I’m still having Comcast issues, and the only “fix” they provide is something I’ve done before that only makes everything worse.

But at least my stamps arrived, so I can write more cards!

There’s a new logo for the Topic Workbooks, that needs a bit of tweaking, but I like it. Instead of having all the covers uniform with different titles, I’m getting new covers and using the logo at the bottom. Once I have all the covers, I’m going to pull them off Smashwords and put them through Draft2 Digital. I also want a new cover for 30 Tips for 30 Days. I don’t like it.

I have to get some promotional material posted via Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for the books on sale, and I need to finish the Trinity of Teasers free download that I want available in either mid-June or early July.

A writer friend who misses writing in coffee shops set up a bistro table and chairs in her house, and writes there, drinking from her travel mug and playing music. Sometimes she put the TV on in another room to simulate conversation around her. And she’s grateful not to be in a tiny NYC apartment, where her bistro table was once the only table that fit in the place! I love that idea and that image, and may need to use it in a story.

So at least I’m feeling creative, even if I’m exhausted.

I got out five LOIs yesterday, and go responses back on four. All of which have turned me off to the companies, but best to cut it off now than waste time. This idea that I should be willing to trot into an unsafe office full of germy strangers is simply not happening.

Got a lot of client work done on a big project. Will get a little more done today, but it won’t be ready until next week. By tomorrow, I will have used up the allotted time for the week, and I’m not working for free.

Today, I have Remote Chat to look forward to. I had two excellent first writing sessions this morning, on two different novels, and a frustrating computer update on a computer I’ve had less than a week.

Peace, my friends, and be well.

Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly sunny and cold

Mercury went direct yesterday, thank goodness. So I’m feeling a bit more optimistic, at least for the moment.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on what is, and isn’t, happening in the garden.

Went in to my client’s early, so I could finish off a few things before we took a colleague to lunch for her birthday. We went to The Black Cat, down by the waterfront in Hyannis, and had a lot of fun. The food was good, too.

It was bucketing down with cold rain, the kind that gets into your bones when it hits. Came home, relaxed for awhile, played with the cats.

Then, we did a big vacuum and floor mop. The guy comes to look at putting in a new furnace today, and we have to talk to the landlord about a couple of leaks that sprung in the bathroom and kitchen. I still have some more tidying to do this morning.

Spent some time with Tessa upstairs. She wants to stop being confined to one room. If she’s ready to make friends with Willa and Charlotte, that can happen. Tomorrow, I will spend a couple of hours working in my room, with the door cracked open, and we will see how those supervised introductions/playtimes go.

Started watching the German production of the BRUNETTI series, based on Donna Leon’s novels. It’s very strange to watch German and Scandinavian actors speaking German on a piece set in Italy, where they’re supposed to be Italian. But, overall, it’s very well done, and the Venice locations are fantastic. I will be very disappointed if I do some research on the production and find that some other place is substituting for Venice!

Up early this morning. Worked on the proofread. I’m at the last big push. I hope to get it to my editor today or tomorrow.

Library time, then back to work on the revisions of “Confidence Confidant” that have to go out ASAP, and on “Pier-less Crime.” I hope to get a lot done before the landlord and the furnace guy come to walk around, sigh, shake their heads, and waste my time. Look at it, measure, write it down, make a decision.

But perhaps I’m being unfair, and tomorrow, I will need to post an apology.

I want to spend some time this afternoon working with the cats.

Tomorrow, I have a lot of errands to get done AND writing AND library time AND cat time, and who knows what will come out of today’s meeting — how much do you want to bet they’re going to swap out the furnace next week, at the worst possible time? I’m working long days at a client’s Monday and Tuesday.

I shouldn’t borrow trouble. I should just see what they say and then handle it. After all, it’s better to replace the furnace before it conks out than be stuck without heat in the middle of a blizzard.

And I’m glad they didn’t try to do this during Mercury Retrograde!

Reading the book for the online book club from my alma mater. I’m reading the comments and the posts. There are more men than women in the group, but the men try to dominate the conversations. The book we’re reading is by a man. There’s a choice by a woman for the next go-round that I think would be really good, but the men in the group are pushing for a man’s book because it’s “important.” Um, the woman’s book about family dynamics is also IMPORTANT. Stand down, bro, and if this is the way the club is run, it is the WRONG place for me.

On a positive note, a second jury found Dr. Scott Daniel Warren, of No More Deaths, not guilty yesterday in Arizona. The government prosecuted him (twice now) for leaving water out for immigrants in the desert. Since the government’s current policy is concentration camps and human trafficking when it comes to non-whites, they put Warren on trial TWICE for being a decent, compassionate human being and walking his spiritual path.

Twice, now, juries have found him not guilty. Being a decent human being should NEVER be considered a crime. The whole exercise in justifying cruelty is appalling.

Let’s hope these impeachment hearings actually get some momentum to get these corrupt, self-serving traitors OUT.

So Microsoft Office 365 had a global outage yesterday. Not a surprise. Again, I don’t want my life run by apps, not do I want to be forced on be online all the time. I work and live OFF LINE. I want to CHOSE when to go online to send things out or interact. Stop forcing me, and then charging me, and then it either doesn’t work or you cut me off because you decide I’m not rich enough to get service. The inequity in technology has to be addressed — and solved.

I’m working on my 2020 plan, with room for flexibility, but targets for what I want to do. I like having a plan, even when I have to change it along the way.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.

Published in: on November 21, 2019 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments  
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Mon. April 15, 2019: Make the World a Better Place #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, April 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Tax Day
Patriot’s Day in MA

 

Yeah, Jupiter Retrograde on Tax Day. Isn’t that fun? We already know anyone who actually works for a living is getting screwed out of a refund, while the richest get yet another break.

Week 3 of our month about “Make the World a Better Place” focuses on how to do so at work.

Many of us, as writers, work on our own or remotely. We started making our home a better place last week; this week, we make our work a better place, even if we work from home.

Others of us work outside of the home in whatever fields we work in when we’re not writing.

Work situations can be toxic, especially if we’re in a position where we can’t immediately leave a bad situation. Also, remember that everyone has bad days. Sometimes people are thoughtless or exhausted or overwhelmed and lash out. WE all need to practice a certain amount of forgiveness and give each other some breathing room. When it becomes a detrimental pattern, then you have to choose which action you take further, but remember that you will have bad days, and your co-workers have bad days, so try to approach the work situation with compassion.

So, how do you make wherever you work a better place?

Here are some things I have found that help. Try them or don’t, as you please:

Come in with a smile and a cheerful greeting. It makes a difference. People will start associating you with a pleasant start to the day.
Answer the phone sounding cheerful. Again, that makes a difference. It can also diffuse a tense situation if the other person has a gripe.
Have a small item you can put in your workspace that personalizes it. Some places don’t want you to personalize your workspace. Unless it’s a safety issue, I suggest finding another job as soon as possible, because, in my experience, it means they are trying to dehumanize their employees. But a small stone or shell or photo or mug or something that is uniquely YOU that you can put in your space when you arrive and then tuck back in your bag when you leave also ritualizes the work day. You put it down, and it helps indicate you’re starting work. You put it away, and this portion of your day is finished. Even if you work at home, entering the space where you work and performing a specific action to start and end your day makes a big difference.
Listen to your co-workers and learn about them. Pay attention. REMEMBER what is said in conversations. I worked with someone who, whether it was personal or work-related, would constantly say, “You can’t expect me to remember that.” Yes, I can. If I relay information you need for your task, remembering it or writing it down so you can refer to it later is called being professional. If it’s something personal, then it’s called being a decent human being. (Note: I no longer interact with this person at ALL, thank goodness).
Know what’s going on in your field. Read internal newsletters and reports. Read external information about the profession. Know what’s happening, what’s changing, what’s phased out. Be that valuable reference who knows the pulse of your profession. Relay appropriate information where it will do the most good.
Communicate with clarity and precision. Take good notes, especially in phone conversations. Send a summary of the phone conversation by email immediately after, stating that you will proceed on your understanding of the next steps based on this summary, unless you hear otherwise within one business day. Documentation is vital, and accurate documentation saves a lot of agony down the line.
Avoid passive aggressive behavior in yourself and call it out in others. You can say, “If something is bothering you, please let me know instead of expecting me to guess.” If it continues to be a problem, go to a supervisor for a discussion. In my experience, more sabotage and harm on both personal and professional levels is done through passive aggressive behavior than through direct attack.
Be honest without being cruel. If you disagree with something, or you find something unethical or unacceptable, calmly and clearly speak up using a positive language as possible. Don’t let an aggressor trap you into an argument. Remember that you can say “no” without a qualifier. “No” means “no.” If challenged, you have the option to say, “Because my answer is no.”
Be kind whenever possible. As we discussed in our work on kindness a few weeks ago, kindness is not weakness. It’s the opposite. As mentioned above, everyone has bad days. When a co-worker is struggling, sometimes even a kind word makes all the difference.

We spend so much time with our co-workers; even remote workers have to deal with people more often than we sometimes wish!

But when we remember that every word and every action has an impact on our co-workers, when we take that extra beat to think before we speak, we can make a positive difference.

Published in: on April 15, 2019 at 6:50 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Feb. 13, 2019: Life is Short

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Waxing Moon

Woke up yesterday morning at 1:30 with a blaring headache, due to the incoming storm, and had trouble getting back to sleep.

The storm hadn’t hit by the time I left for client work; but I figured I might have to leave early to get safely home.

Was shocked to find out that a Twitter pal died on Saturday night. We’d had a few exchanges earlier in the day, when she was sitting in the ER. We’d cyber-met because of politics, and she was witty and incisive and had a huge heart. She will be missed. Another Twitter pal is writing a song in her memory.

Reworking the second half of the radio play is making it stronger. It will be ready to go out at the end of the week.

Working on the monologues. I want to test at least one of them next week, at an open mic, but right now, the monologues need more work. They’re not sharp enough. The softer edge gives a whiny quality that I don’t want.

Working on the review, and on contest entries. Have to finish with a book on Canaletto and his patrons today — it’s due back tomorrow to the Commonwealth Catalogue, and I can’t renew it.

Client work yesterday and today. Wore me out. I’m working on new page for the Fearless Ink site, about social media training and social media packages.

Speaking of Fearless Ink, there’s a new post up about Tools and Resources.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 13, 2019 at 5:56 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 13, 2019: Life is Short  
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Fri. Dec. 1, 2017: Early Mercury Madness

Friday, December 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’m already having Mercury Retrograde issues, and all I want to do is hide until it’s over.

Yesterday, I did some running around and bill paying. I should have done yard work, but I was too tired.

I did manage to get some work done on the tree, though. It’s almost decorated. Of course, we still have to do the rest of the hosue! 😉

This morning, I had an early appointment for a basic, no frills oil change. Then, they try to pressure me to get the inspection done. I said no. They said they were doing it anyway. Then they tell me I need new wipers and two new tires, or they won’t give me a new inspection sticker. I told them the only thing happening today was the damn oil change. They gave me a quote in writing which sounded ridiculous. I got my damn oil change and left.

I hate being bullied, and when I say “no”, it means no. Can I just say how tired I am of male mechanics treating me like I’m a moron?

I emailed my regular car people up in Plymouth, the three generations of family who always look after four generations, and asked them for another quote. I’m also doing some other research. I’m not going to be pressured or bullied.

I am, however, angry.

Then, hit with a pending car expense I wasn’t expecting, I still had to run the rest of my errands. Got my 2018 calendars, thank goodness, because there’s stuff to write in them.

Went to another store to do a bit of shopping, and, although I bought stuff clearly marked “Buy One Get One Free”, it wasn’t ringing up. The cashier sent me to customer service, who tried to sell me that I’d Buy One Get One Half Off. But that’s NOT what the sign said. I am fully capable of comprehensive reading. It’s what I do. We took a walk, I pointed out the sign, she agreed, and then tried some weird math, which I corrected, and then she nearly “forgot” to refund the difference. Um, no. I may not be a math genius, but I can figure that out.

Took an hour, but it got sorted.

A full moon meditation is going up on the Cerridwen’s Cottage site for this weekend.

Let me re-emphasize how much I am NOT looking forward to this Mercury Retrograde.

Have to double down on yard work, decorating, and writing this weekend.

On top of that, I have a client who just went into breach of contract for a payment not arriving. This is the one where, every month, I’m tapping my foot wondering if and when it will come in. Within the next few months, I plan to replace this unreliable client with a reliable one.

Think good thoughts for me.

If I let myself, the upcoming Mercury Retrograde will be one furious howl. So I’ll try to restrain myself! 😉

Published in: on December 1, 2017 at 11:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 1, 2017: Early Mercury Madness  
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Wed. Nov. 8, 2017: Everything Changes When You Wish It Wouldn’t

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes.

I got some news that shocked, then angered, then disappointed me late on Monday. I can’t discuss it fully yet; I’m not trying to be cryptic, but I need to order my thoughts and come up with potential solutions. Otherwise, the blog entry will be a single wail of despair, and that’s just boring.

It makes me feel as though the whole past year, where I felt I was gaining some real ground, was for naught.

On the other hand, the time wasn’t wasted, because I learned a lot.

But I have to talk to the other people immediately affected, and we have to come to decisions.

I hope you enjoyed Rhonda Pollero’s piece over on A Biblio Paradise. If you didn’t get the chance to read it yet, please hop on over now and do.

Also, click on over to Kemmyrk, where there’s a piece up about Kami of the Hearth, and some musings about the Two of Pentacles in the Tarot.

I’m amazed I didn’t wake up with a massive hangover yesterday morning. After Monday night, all I wanted to do was to curl up and stay in bed, oh, I don’t know, until the end of the year!

But Tuesday is the day of Mars, of Tyr, a time to get out there and get things done. So I did.

I voted yesterday. We had some local election stuff to deal with around here. Frankly, I didn’t want to vote for either candidate for Town Council. Neither of them bothered to get to know their constituents. They consider themselves “well known” in the area. All that happened was that a bunch of lawn signs went up last week. I have no idea where they stand on anything that affects me. But I went and voted anyway, for the candidate with alliances most likely to align with what I want. And you can damn well bet I’m going to be a huge pain in the winner’s neck with demands that I’m represented. There were also votes on ballot questions that had gotten very little attention. Fortunately, someone in the parking lot handed out information that was useful.

I’m sure turnout will be low; but I didn’t care. It’s my responsibility to vote. Those who ignore said responsibility need to STFU. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve forfeited their right to complain. As flawed as our system is, especially the way the right is trying to move us back before the 1860s, it’s what we have, and it’s our responsibility to do things like vote and serve on jury duty.

I’m trying to reframe Monday’s news and turn it into something positive. It’s an obstacle, but a new direction might be a better one, although I wish it had waited until AFTER the holiday season.

It throws off my schedule for the next couple of years, but, if I make the right decision moving forward, it will pay off. I have to remember the sage advice — don’t make decisions when you’re upset. I need to gather my information, look at my options, and make the most informed decision I can.

Of course, that little voice tells me that’s what I did in the first place, and look where it got me.

It got me some confidence, in spite of the disappointment.

Spent the bulk of the day onsite with a client.

 

Published in: on November 8, 2017 at 3:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 8, 2017: Everything Changes When You Wish It Wouldn’t  
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Wed. June 1, 2016: Diagramming a Series for Structure

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend, but not with a lot to show for it.

Saturday was my Saturday “off” from the library. I ran around doing errands, and got the terraced back area mowed. It desperately needed it! Sunday, I worked on the meadow, but only got about ¼ of it done.

Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to see the amazing Neil McGarry in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV at Cape Rep in Brewster. It was a beautiful space, and a wonderfully done show. The entire cast was terrific, and the direction was superb. It was easily the best thing I’ve seen since I lived on Cape.

Monday and Tuesday rained, so I couldn’t work outside. I wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t get as much done inside as I would have liked, either. My lunch date was cancelled yesterday, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since I felt so bad, and I missed both the Mermaid Ball meeting and the Artist HobNob.

I did a lot of mental work on the rewrite of what’s been THE CHARISMA KILLINGS, but will shortly have a new title. I figured out the new opening, and how that affects the rest of the plot and red herrings and incorporates the other suggestions. I didn’t get a lot of words on paper, but I’ve got a good sense of direction for this revision. It didn’t LOOK like a lot of work got done, but it’s the part of the process that, unless you are an artist or writer, you don’t really understand, and it’s difficult to explain. I ran the response ideas past my agent and she liked them, and we’re working on both a new series title and new book titles.

I also worked on ideas for CHOLERIC’s revision. The contrast between the two series is interesting. Although they are both mysteries, the tone is very different for each. I broke down some of Philip Craig’s Martha’s Vineyard mysteries, because they are closer in tone to what I’m going for that something in CHARISMA’S subgenre. I was surprised by several things: the conservative tone of the books, which I hadn’t really noticed when I originally read them in the 90s and which I do not like now; and the number of characters, which I like A LOT.

I dislike books with too few characters. Even in a small community, you run into a lot of people, and keep crossing paths with people. If a writer doesn’t differentiate characters well enough, that’s one thing, or substitutes character quirks for actual character. Neither of those work for me. But if a reader’s too stupid to keep track of more than six characters, well, that’s not the reader for whom I’m writing, period. And I’m a little tired of all these content producers, across different mediums, claiming they want “diverse” characters, when in reality, they want the mention of different skin tones, but they want the characters to act like white people.

The exercise is very illuminating. I’m also doing it with Jane Langton’s Homer Kelly books.

I also took the opportunity of not feeling well and having little left over energy to re-read Sharon Shinn’s entire TWELVE HOUSES series. I’m nearly done with all five books. I love them more each time I re-read them. MYSTIC AND RIDER is still one of the books in my Top Ten list, and I still think it’s one of the best opening chapters I’ve ever read. I still sob at portions of THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE. I liked DARK MOON DEFENDER better this time around, and still love READER AND RAELYNX. I’m about half way through FORTUNE AND FATE.

I have to respect her decision to end the series when she feels she should, but I would love more in this world. I love all these characters a lot.

Back to work today; will be a long day, and then I have to tackle actually getting words on the page. I have a feeling, over the next few months, I’ll be writing both first thing in the morning, and adding another session at night.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Devon

Fri. Jan. 15, 2016: Early Morning Writing

Friday, January 15, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day at work yesterday. I’m still on a different computer; mine isn’t fixed enough for me to trust it. Got a lot of PR done, notes typed up from meetings, that type of thing. Also putting together some programs for the spring.

I got a friend some contacts for research information she needed in London. I’ve gathered enough research on the immediate characters for the first historical play to get a start on it soon. The research books coming in will help me add ambiance and social/historical detail.

I’m booked to talk about scriptwriting for the March Writers Night Out. That should be fun. I’m already working on the handout.

A friend gave me a draft of her novel to read, before it goes out on submission. I’m excited about it, and plan to get started on it this weekend.

I’m enjoying the first entries for the contest. Working my way through them. I really like getting them in batches, rather than one huge batch at the end, with a more compressed time frame. This way, I feel I can really give each entry extra attention. I always review all the entries when I’ve read everything — to make sure the “yes” pile is still my “yes” pile, re-reading the “maybe” pile to see if they move into “yes” or “no”, and checking the “no” pile to make sure they are a firm “no”.

I woke up early this morning. Rather than tossing and turning, I got up and went to the desk. I have some ideas for the next section of TIE-CUTTER, and I have a new story starting to percolate that could well evolve into one of the stories I need for an end of April deadline. I think I’ve figured out how to fix the short radio play, and will tackle that this weekend, and, hopefully finish the draft.

But what I spent my time on, during my early morning writing session, was fixing the problems in the funeral chapter in DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. It’s got a lot more dynamic now, and makes more sense. That will help me get out of the corner I wrote myself into in the next chapter.

We’re getting to the meat of it now, although I see a few places where I have to go back in the next draft to salt in a few clues and red herrings. But, after a few days of frustration on CHOLERIC, I’m back on track. That feels good.

Today will be a long day. Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I have to get in another load of firewood. It’s a holiday weekend — not sure what the weather is going to be like, so I might push some errands back into next week.

I always feel better when the writing is going well.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions, and see how I’m doing for the mid-month check-in.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on January 15, 2016 at 9:50 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 15, 2016: Early Morning Writing  
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Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015: Just Trying to Avoid Stupid

Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was a busy day at work, but a good one, in spite of a useless meeting in the afternoon, and the fact that we’re all so exhausted, we’re just trying to stay upright.

Home, spent some time on the deck with my martini, dinner, am watching the first season of SIX FEET UNDER. I’d watched it when it ran, but I’m now watching everything in order. Very clever. Also fun to see some of the actors I worked with, both off-Broadway and in television, in the show.

Up early this morning, got some editing done, and headed over to the Bourne Library for a Commonwealth eBook Training. Some good information, some frustrations, still. I’m very excited by Biblioboard and the unusual, quirky things one can find in there.

Reading Claire Cook’s WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM, which is fun.

Finishing up my last few tasks for the Cape Cod Writers Center — I’m stepping off the Board when my term ends this month.

Had a disappointment, which, in retrospect, is winding up to be a blessing in disguise, so I’m getting over it more quickly than I might otherwise. Nothing like dodging a bullet when you didn’t even realize you were in its way.

Working out some other stuff, where the decision makes me sad, but it’s necessary.

If I can just avoid being stupid for the next 26 hours or so, I have a bit of a break. I’m doing a writing/gardening/yoga retreat for a few days, starting tomorrow evening. I think that will be restorative. I don’t want to make decisions when I’m so tired I can’t think logically.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 3, 2015 at 2:44 pm  Comments Off on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015: Just Trying to Avoid Stupid  
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Wed. July 29, 2015: 39 Pages, NFL Morons, and Thank Goodness No Olympics In Boston

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Challenging few days. On the upside, yesterday, I wrote 39 pages (three chapters) of a fantasy novel — approximately 9,750 words. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Thank goodness the Olympics in Boston is OFF. That was a damn stupid idea in the first place — the city simply does not have the space, and spreading out all over the state — one of the ideas floated — was ridiculous. People need to be able to get to the venues, and even a few miles in Boston traffic is impossible. It would have hurt Boston, not helped us, and cost us (not just financially) far more than it would have earned us.

So, I appreciate Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker’s standing up for the taxpayers. However, I’m still annoyed with Baker for vetoing a $2.3 million dollar funding increase for the arts in MA. Close the tax loopholes for the corporate fucks and fund the arts. We already have a population who’s losing the ability for independent thought. Fortunately, the Senate and House overturned the veto.

The weekend was rather chaotic. This was supposed to be my Saturday “off” rotation. However, I wanted to deal with an issue in a particular way that I believed would be best for all concerned and save face for us; my boss said no. She’s the boss, so be it. Then, at 5:18 that night — when I’m already home on the deck with my feet up and a martini, trying to sort out the writing for the weekend — I get a text saying she shouldn’t have butted in and if I wanted to handle it that way, go ahead. In other words, the answer I needed at 10 that morning.

Part of me just wanted to ignore it — technically, this is supposed to be a part-time gig and when I’m off, I’m supposed to be OFF so I can write. But being petty would only hurt all of us. Believe me, I seriously considered being petty. I’m not trying to present myself as “good” in this situation by any means, because I was angry.

But, I went in on Saturday, and started the ball rolling. I knew it would take several hours to get the definitive answer that would allow me to do all the rest connected to it — what I SHOULD have had all day Friday to do. I didn’t want to spend all those extra hours at work, and I certainly wasn’t going to deal with the public, not on my day “off”. So I left and ran errands, planning to go back near the end of the open hours to find the answers, take care of the rest of the domino effect, and take down last week’s specific event display.

Only there was a major truck accident on Rt. 28, the road was closed, and the cops sent us into a maze of side streets I’d never seen before, and I couldn’t “get there from here”. An hour and a half later, I figured out how to get home.

Which meant I had to go in on Sunday, too. I baked first thing, and then headed in to work, dodging people who are incapable of understanding that “closed” means they can’t come in and do whatever they want, and they have to come in when the place is actually open. I had the answer I needed, I then spent the necessary time taking the next steps, so everything is taken care of. Because it all had to be done by Monday, and certainly before I officially got back to work today.

So it all worked out, but I was still irritated (putting it mildly), because all that extra chaos could have been avoided if I’d simply been allowed to do my damn job, which includes making the decisions that are part of it.

Watched LINE OF DUTY over the weekend, which is well done, and JACK IRISH, which I liked a lot. I think Iain Glenn is great in JACK TAYLOR, but it was a little too consistently dark, whereas JACK IRISH has a better balance, and Guy Pearce is also excellent. Watched MY OLD LADY, which is packaged as a comedy, but is definitely NOT, and needed about 20 minutes of whining cut out of the middle of it. The actors were terrific, the camerawork was good, but the script needed some tweaking. I’m watching POWERS, with Sharlto Copley and Susan Heyward. I like the actors a LOT, and the scene work is terrific. I like the concept. I’m not convinced on some of the arcs yet. But I’ve watched 6 episodes out of the 10, and I’m still watching, which says something positive!

Throughout all of this, I read and I tried to write. I read Lisa Chaplin’s THE TIDE WATCHERS, which I thought was good, but I’m wondering if she’s setting up for a sequel, or just leaving us somewhat dangling at the end. I read Barbara Delinky’s BLUEPRINTS. I read THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET. I read some research books for various projects.

I worked on a couple of ideas for projects. Got about six solid pages done on one. Did seven pages of another, and then, as I was driving around yesterday, picking up things for the Mermaid Ball, I realized that I’d started it in the wrong place. General advice is to start later than you think you should (cutting unnecessary exposition). In this case, I started in the wrong place with the wrong characters. So I let that percolate for awhile.

Met with my editing student and we had a good session. She’s taking her time to learn the craft, which is necessary, and her premise is good. As long as she really LEARNS before she sends this out, she can then apply it moving forward.

Worked on Mermaid Ball stuff, running around picking things up and putting together packages. Amazon delivered three days later than guaranteed — this is the third time in the last two months, and I’m getting sick of it. Guess they’ve gotten so big, they no longer care about customer service. Which meant all the stuff I wanted to deliver on Sunday couldn’t be — not that I could have made it over the bridge anyway in good time, but that was my day to deliver packages.

You’d think Mercury was in retrograde! 😉

Yesterday, I wrote. From about 6 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon. 39 pages of the re-envisioned piece. Obviously, it’s working now.

I ran over to pick up something at Cotuit Center for the Arts, then changed and went to Harvest Wine Bar and Gallery in Dennis for an artist HobNob event. We were a small group, but it was enormous fun — spent a lot of time talking to a choreographer, a musician, and a cabinet maker.

Home, dinner, POWERS, percolating some more writing. I have a play I have to work on, and work through the next section of BALTHAZARR. I don’t know why I’m struggling so much with this book. It should have been done ages ago.

The whole Tom Brady/NFL suspension is ridiculous. Tom Brady is one of the few players who is consistently a class act, and people want to take him down. When I was on sports journalism gigs, football players and baseball players were my least favorite interviews. Hockey players were consistently interesting, not to mention nicer and more respectful. What’s the most disturbing, to me, is the anti-woman message the NFL is sending. Players can beat up on women and only get 2 suspensions, but because there’s less air in a piece of pigskin, that deserves 4? Totally out of balance. It says that the air in a football is more important that the treatment of women. For an organization that makes that much money and has that many people looking at them as role models (heaven forbid), it is appalling. I could understand 1 suspension, but 4? Aside from the fact I don’t think he had anything to do with it, and the whole “destroyed cellphone” thing — hell, I throw my phone across the room several times a week, not because I’m trying to hide something, but because the phone and TMobile are both garbage. It’s all crap. People — especially women — should boycott the NFL this season, make a point with their wallets. But they won’t, because until someone beats down on them personally, they don’t care enough to stand up for something that matters.

It’s also the anniversary of my father’s death in 1972, never an easy day for me.

On that happy note (yeah, that’s sarcasm), yet another long week begins.

Hope yours is terrific!

Devon

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 7:56 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 29, 2015: 39 Pages, NFL Morons, and Thank Goodness No Olympics In Boston  
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Fri. Feb. 20, 2015: Last Day Before the (Stormy) Weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and very cold

My renewed driver’s license arrived yesterday – took just over a week to get it, after renewing online. Pretty slick! 😉

Work was busy. Good busy, but busy. Did a lot of research on a couple of things, and some press and programming stuff, and hopped on and off the desk as needed.

Home for a snack and to change, and then to tango. This was “milonga night”, so we newcomers could learn the milonga etiquette. It’s more for the experienced dancers than beginners, although two experienced dancers kindly took me on the floor to practice. Had an interesting conversation with many people, including another newcomer, a few people who’ve been coming on and off for years, the sister of someone I knew well from the library, a friend who works at another library, and a professional musician who’s part of a group and we might brainstorm on a collaboration.

Home, a couple of episodes of WEST WING, a late dinner.

Last night gave me some great ideas for the radio play.

Up early this morning; some work on the radio play and the hour-long pilot. I have to get out some press releases today and do a submission, in and around the work here at the library. We’re planning some really fun stuff for next week, in and around the book sale – author Kevin Parham will be here next Wednesday, talking about his book THE VINEYARD WE KNEW (weather-permitting, of course). And we’re doing something fun all day Wednesday, too – which I’ll reveal closer to the date! 😉

I’m looking forward to having a whole weekend off. I’ll be writing – and buying cat food before the next storm hits – but it’ll be nice to have the whole weekend on MY schedule. We’re supposed to get more snow on Saturday night into Sunday, rain all day Sunday, hard freeze on Monday, and more snow Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hopefully, that will mean a solid weekend of reading, writing, research, and student work.

Stay safe and warm!

Devon

Published in: on February 20, 2015 at 9:11 am  Comments (1)  
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