Fri. Feb. 24, 2017: Differing Realities

Friday, February 24, 2017
Day Before Dark Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Good writing day yesterday. It’s been good to get so deep into the work. The problem is that the world of the book feels more real than what’s happening when I look up from the page, and the transition between the two is difficult. But I’ve been so lucky to be able to spend such solid workdays. I’m grateful.

Ran around and did errands yesterday, back to the page, then to a friend’s going away party. She got a terrific job in Baltimore, so she and her family are moving down there. I think they’ll love it — Baltimore’s a unique and terrific city. But she will be missed.

It was fun to see people I hadn’t seen in ages. Part of me dreaded going — I wanted to say goodbye, and let my friend know how much she was valued — but just the daily running errands and being around people made my skin hurt lately, so I wasn’t sure how well I would deal with the party. But, you know? Last night wasn’t about me, so I was determined to deal.

And I had fun.

Came home and puttered. Had a dream that I was busy doing all kinds of work, so when I woke up this morning, I was puzzled to find myself in bed.

Errands and meetings this morning, then back to the page. I want to dig into the book some more. I might even do yard work — it’s unseasonably warm right now, so it makes sense to take advantage of it.

This weekend, I have to finish reading and critiquing my colleague’s script, and also work on contest entries. Reading-wise, nothing has satisfied me lately, and I haven’t wanted to impose that on the contest entries, so I put them aside for awhile. But I need to finish them, because the next batch arrives at the end of next week.

Have a great weekend! We are supposed to have gorgeous weather, and I intend to take full advantage.

Published in: on February 24, 2017 at 11:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Feb. 16, 2017: Getting Back to the Creative Groove

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Snowy and cold

Not much to stay about yesterday. I wrote, I studied, I researched.

I’m in negotiations for several interesting projects; we’ll see how they go. I think I’m going to withdraw from consideration for one — it’s intriguing, but when I weigh in all the factors, I don’t think we’re the right fit for each other. Rather than finding that out when we’re committed, I think I should trust my instincts.

I also have two plays to get out this week — they’re written and polished, but there’s an opportunity, and I’m going to see if these particular plays are right for it.

Happy that the nominee for Labor Secretary withdrew his nomination. We don’t need someone accused of domestic abuse who doesn’t believe in minimum wage heading the Department of Labor.

You want to look back at a great Labor Secretary? Research Frances Perkins. She witnessed the Triangle Factory Fire (those of you who know me know why that tragedy is so important to me), and then, later, when she became Labor Secretary, she actually cared about people who work for a living and implemented policies for them, not just for the employers who are more interested in personal profit than a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

All of these Republicans who are blocking fair and independent investigations into the Russia connections and other security breaches — after relentless investigations into Clinton THAT FOUND NOTHING BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING TO FIND — all they’re doing is raising suspicion that they’re in on the fix and that they, too, are treasonous and need to be investigated. A lot of people need to be removed from their jobs in DC, and a lot of indictments need to be handed down.

I have to work on writing a paper for Constitutional Law in the next few days. It’s short — 500-750 words. But it has to be not just good, but great.

Never short of challenges, which is a good thing.

At least I’m getting my creative groove back. I think I’m ready to tackle the next chapter of SONGBOUND SISTERS later today (after I do some work on WORDS) and maybe even can get back to NOT BY THE BOOK this weekend.

Fingers crossed.

Monday is a holiday, so maybe it’ll be quiet and I can get a lot done.

Published in: on February 16, 2017 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Feb. 15, 2017: Of Words and Firemen

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was an odd day. Dump run in the morning, to get rid of the trash. Errands. Library.

Had a huge craving for fish and chips. My characters ate it in a recent scene, while they were having a production meeting, and suddenly, all I could think of was how badly I wanted fish and chips.

There’s a place just down the street from me, a chain restaurant I usually avoid, but they were close and reasonably price.

As I pull up and get out of the car, three fire trucks pull up. And the guys, my firemen, are busting my chops, because here we all are again. Together.

Turns out the power outages caused problems in the sprinkler system for the whole plaza, and they had to check each pressure point. The fire alarms were going off all over the place, including in the restaurant. They couldn’t cook, but people could stay. Most didn’t.

I hung out, nursing a beer, and about a half hour later, it was all settled, and I got my fish and chips. Worth the wait. The manager knocked 50% off, but I left the waitress a huge tip, because three tables had walked out on her, and she was having a rough day.

So it was all good.

But I didn’t get started on my writing day until nearly 3 PM, and only got 14 pages in. Which is still decent.

I figured, as I was doing my mid-month GDR evaluation, that I’ve written 177 pages so far this month, a little over 44K words. Even though it’s not on the projects I planned, it’s a good pace.

I’m rethinking some of the plot points of SONGBOUND SISTERS, and I hope to get back into that this weekend. I’m not quite sure how I can get back on track with NOT BY THE BOOK, but I’d like to, because it’s high energy, fun, and romantic, and I think readers would enjoy it.

I’m hoping to have a solid writing and research day today, and later, spend some time on Constitutional Law. I’ve also got some material to work on for FIX-IT GIRL.

Back to the page, which is my favorite place to be.

Tues. Feb. 14, 2017: We Vote So We’ll Be Left Alone

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold
Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. Please know that each of you is valued.

When you live on Cape Cod, your life revolves around the weather no matter what else is going on in the world.

So it was this weekend. We had some storms come through, although not as bad for us as predicted. The family in Maine got about two more feet of snow dumped on them, with more on the way.

But I stayed in, wrote A LOT (I think nearly 70 pages in total), researched the Italian Renaissance, studied Constitutional Law. On Sunday, I had to drive to a designated site to take the quiz. It was not a space conducive to concentration. I did reasonably well on the quiz — two questions wrong. But, for my own standards, getting any wrong is not okay, so I’m frustrated with myself. But when you’re on a timed site and people keep coming up and talking to you, demanding you drop what you’re doing to take care of them — even though it’s not your job, and you’re just there as a fellow patron — even if you say, “I can’t talk, I’m on a timed site”, it breaks the concentration needed to be successful on the material. However, there’s no room for excuses. It was what it was, and I’ll just have to do better next time, no matter what the distractions.

Add to that snow shoveling and power fluctuations, and I’m a little tired.

Add to that the work I’ve been doing with my elected officials, and I’m even more tired.

So, General Flynn apologized and resigned, and now we’re supposed to forget. Um, no. There’s no way he behaved in a vacuum. He knowingly took actions that sabotaged a sitting president and put the country at risk, and I believe he did so with the full knowledge and encouragement of the incoming president. That is not okay.

There needs to be a full and independent investigation, not just of this portion of it, but of the interconnections. Treason is going on. Not a mistake, not jumping the gun — treason.

Every Senator who agreed to the rushed confirmation and voted for this guy needs to apologize to the American people (with additional apologies to their own constituencies) and cooperate in the investigation. I believe that the investigation will find that some of them colluded and others were complicit in their silence. It needs to be untangled.

Supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath now want David Patreus to take over. Someone who’d have to get permission from his parole officer to travel. Someone who shared confidential security information with his mistress. Just because she was also American doesn’t make it okay.

Anyone who is nominated must be thoroughly vetted BEFORE confirmation. No more of this rushing. The GOP needs to stop ramming both the unqualified and the corrupt down our throats.

Any Senator who continues so to do must be removed as soon as is possible, be it in the next election, or because that individual, too, is discovered to have committed treason.

Treason is not “disagreeing” with the government, or protesting. It is knowingly and willingly working to undermine it, which the GOP has been doing since 2008. It has to stop. Their oath is to Constitution (meaning “We the People”), not party. Anyone who does otherwise has to go.

That’s why, in all this discussion about flipping districts, I’m not blindly supporting someone just because there’s a “D” next to the name. The individual needs to be researched. If I don’t think a candidate is ethical or able to stand up for beliefs, that candidate is not getting my support, no matter what the letter next to the name. Blue Dog Dems need to go — there’s no reason to have someone in there with a “D” next to the name if they’re going to vote blindly Republican instead of Democrat, or at least standing as an individual. The party platforms are now far enough apart so that if you support one or the other, that’s the party you sign with. If you don’t believe in healthcare or Medicare or Social Security, then don’t run as a Democrat. Putting someone in to a slot just to get enough letters in a particular column doesn’t do any good if they disagree with the policies that got them into office in the first place. You can be bipartisan without betraying either party or country. It sounds contradictory — support your party, but don’t be afraid to stand up to them. Some would say that’s what Blue Dogs do. It’s the “why” that needs to be dissected.

It’s great when there are issues that can be bipartisan — let’s hope the Flynn/Russia interference with elections investigation is one of them, and that there can be more. The point of bipartisan is that you’ve reached a consensus that works IN A POSITIVE WAY for the largest number of people possible. You don’t diminish the greater good; you add to it. And yes, you put your constituency and country AND YOUR OATH TO THE CONSTITUTION before your party. But not out of a fear of not being re-elected; out of a belief that what you are doing is right FOR THE PEOPLE you represent. FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS. When you’re getting thousands of calls from your constituency telling you to vote against something and you vote for it because it’s the party line — you need to go. You don’t vote the way companies or special interests want, just because they bribed you, as our Secretary of Education did. Call it “donation” all you want — that chick bought her position and is woefully unqualified for it.

Again, I think we need more than two legitimate parties. Not fringe, foil-hatted parties. But genuine parties with clearly defined positions on a variety of issues. Right now, the bigoted racist misogynists have hijacked the GOP. Let them have their own party, and the GOP can go back to being the party of Lincoln. The Democrats are a hot mess, it’s worse than herding cats, because at least cats have common sense. The DNC is trying to appeal to everyone, and therefore only succeeds at pleasing no one. The party, in general, is just right of center, when it needs to break up to be slightly left of center and far left.

The far reaches of each party need to balance each other. Most of us vote because we want someone to represent our point of view so that we can live our lives and not bother with every bill and worry about every decision and every vote. We want to be left the hell alone to live our lives. There’s a need for extreme on both the left and the right, so there’s compromise in the middle that does the least damage. The most good is rarely done — the past couple of decades it’s been about the least damage. Most of us will live with that — win a few, lose a few, don’t take away my earned benefits or mess with my personal, bodily rights. Go do your jobs and leave me alone to live my life.

Unfortunately, that is not possible right now. The GOP is not only violating the Constitution and supporting the Narcissist in his daily dismantling of it, the GOP is actively interfering in my daily life.

The party that claims to want SMALLER government is determined to regulate women’s bodies, decide who one can love and marry, decide who is allowed to use a toilet, diminish education, force religion into schools and onto people who don’t believe in it, deny others rights because of their religion, take away food safety standards, allow polluters to destroy the earth, encourage the collapse of the ice shelves that will drown a good percentage of the population, sell off our natural resources to special interests who will build condos no one can afford anyway, force the elderly into poverty, force wages down so that people can never climb out of poverty (don’t you fucking say “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” when most people live paycheck to paycheck while the top executives WHO DO NOTHING line their pockets will millions). All of this is being LEGISLATED by the party who claims to want SMALLER government. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

My fellow artists and I want nothing more than to be able to go back to creating full time and not worrying about all the rest, but we take our responsibilities as citizens very seriously. We will keep working against corruption, and to move through the current dystopia to the best possible lives for people, where they have individual freedoms, while also respecting others. We will not shut up. We’re not stupid because we work in the arts. One of the things I’ve learned, since I moved away from an art-centric culture, is how much SMARTER people who make their living in the arts are, in most cases (reality show participants don’t count — they are not artists — they are paid spokespeople).

So, no, artists will not shut up. Art has always changed the world, since the time of papyrus and Greek ritual theatre and Shakespeare and Vaclav Havel. It will continue so to do.

Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow

Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Waxing Moon
Rainy and warm

Yesterday’s choice to rent office space was a good one. First of all, Cape Space is great. Second of all, I got a lot done. I’ll definitely use them again.

Came home to power outages off and on all afternoon. As usual, Eversource sucks. Plus, my phone is dying. I’m so sick of these phones that only last a year.

Got some excellent work done on a project yesterday – nearly 30 pages. Not what I should be working on, but it has a future, so it’s about reshuffling. I have that luxury right now, about being able to flow with projects that pull strongly. I’ll keep in that groove, while also doing some work on SYMPATHETIC MAGIC, for which I had some ideas as I was running errands this morning.

Out and about early this morning, because we’re supposed to get hit with another foot of snow tomorrow. Groceries, cat food, wood, firestarters, liquor. We’re all good.

I’ll either spend the day alternating between studying Constitutional Law and researching Italian Renaissance paintings, or writing in longhand.

Because you KNOW the power’s gonna go out! 😉

I’ll build a fire first thing, so I can light it as soon as the power goes.

Putting together some additional material from yesterday’s meeting, and doing further research. Hoping I can get it all out on Friday.

Looking forward to a snow day!

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Opportunities & Intriguing Projects

Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

I got some decent writing done yesterday morning, and some very interesting Renaissance art books arrived for background research on the play.

I then got sidetracked looking up something in a manuscript I’d put aside, and then got all caught up in it again. So much so, that I spent the rest of the day in revisions for it and worked forward on it this morning. I love the piece – it’s about backstage on a television shoot – but it would have to be very carefully placed and marketed to both attract its audience and sustain it, because, like a series, it keeps going. It’s broken down into manageable books, but the first three (or maybe four) in the series are of a piece. So that kind of placement in the marketplace, to make sure no one feels cheated if they only pick up one, is important.

It’s also something to deal with once the books are written.

I rented office space today, so I could have an interview without interruption (still power fluctuations and who-knows-what at home) and also do some Constitutional Law interactive work.

The meeting was interesting, and I want to dig deeper. The job itself is interesting – the pace would be quick, the topics are those that interest me, and it would be a challenge in the right way to generate exciting content. We’re both going to do more research on each other, I’m going to send more in-depth samples, and we’ll go from there. I could contribute a lot to the organization, I believe, and I’d also learn a lot, which is always key to me in a job. It’s not a place where one can grow stale, which is one of the reasons it intrigues me.

Yesterday afternoon, I got word that a short-term gig wasn’t going to happen. That organization is going with someone with less experience, and therefore cheaper. So it goes, sometimes. There was the “hope we can work together in the future”, but I’ll believe that when I see a contract! 😉

Worked with my elected officials yesterday on several issues. The deeper I get into the Constitutional Law class, the more alarmed I am about what’s going on. But what I can do is to do what I can to contribute, in the most positive way I can. I’m not going to shut up and roll over. Nor do I have much respect for people who think if they can just ignore it, it will all go away. Yes, we have to live our lives, but we have to balance it with the responsibilities that go along with it. That’s why I get so irritated at people who refuse to serve jury duty. That’s an integral part of our responsibility.

But that’s a whole other debate.

Back to the page, and to the Constitutional Law books. The weather’s supposed to be awful the rest of the week, but I’m hoping to get to the law library and spend some quality time with Constitutional crafters.

Onward.

Published in: on February 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. Feb. 6, 2017: Holding SuperBowl Advertisers to Their Message

Monday, February 6, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend.

Friday was mostly about research and studying. Saturday, I got some writing done, but there was more research and studying.

Sunday started out very well, writing-wise, and then the power went out around 9:30 in the morning. It had fluctuated a bit earlier, but Autosave had saved most of the larger document on which I was working. I corrected, saved, printed, and then the power went off for the rest of the day, and I lost the next 750 words of a new chapter, which sucks. Especially since I’d gone off the notes/outline and can’t recreate it.

Put a fire in the fireplace, and did what I could to keep the house at a reasonable temperature. It was sunny, so I read. Michael Connolly’s THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, which was very good.

Eversource, as usual, was a nightmare to deal with. It’s illegal in this state to be entirely off the grid; you HAVE to be connected to Eversource. Yet, when the power goes out, their lack of interest in fixing it is insulting, as is their shrug and suggestion, “Go get a generator.” If I need a generator, and add solar panels and a wind turbine, I shouldn’t have to be connected to YOU. We were okay, but I felt bad for all the people in the area who were having Super Bowl parties and had to prep.

A local newswire said it was a transformer fire just up the street, but the “outage map” showed no power outages. I emailed them and told them they were wrong. But, actually correcting an article from a source on the site is not the Cape Cod Way. Far better to have the wrong information up.

I was supposed to go to a political meeting in Brewster in the early afternoon, but there was no way I was going out on the road without traffic lights. Local drivers consider them suggestions at the best of times; no lights and many accidents. No, thank you.

And if you think a transformer fire “just happened” to occur on Super Bowl Sunday, you’re incredibly naive. Either the transformer was tampered with by someone who wanted to mess with game day, or the transformer was tampered with by someone inside who wanted the company to be considered “heroes” for getting the power back on in time for the game. However, they just looked like idiots all the way around — not the linemen, who actually do the work. They’re good, as always. But Eversource Management, which isn’t even located in New England, doesn’t understand the northeast, and doesn’t care. Although, from what I heard today, it was a pretty massive fire, so who knows?

The power went on for about two or three minutes at a time, and then off again half a dozen times between four and six o’clock. They’re lucky they got it up and running again before kickoff or they would have had a riot on their hands.

We need a smaller, local company that actually gives a damn and has an ethic or two.

I’m not a football person, so I didn’t really care about the game one way or another. Usually, I’d root for the Patriots, because, well, I live here. I rooted for the Patriots when I lived in New York because the Jets and Giants both played in New Jersey, so they can say “New York” all they wanted, but they still played in New Jersey, so who cares?

I’ve had less respect for them over the past few months because of the connection to the Narcissistic Sociopath. Hey, you stick by your friends, good for you. Most have tried to keep politics out of the game, good for them. But my respect for them went down. But my neighbors and people I deal with here on a regular basis are ardent fans, and I wanted to see them happy. At the same time, I felt they were going in with a lot of arrogance, and it was a given that they would win.

I always thought “deflategaate” was a crock. You look at the charges, at the evidence, and it was Roger Goodell wanting to give Tom Brady and the Patriots a smack down. There was nothing legitimate in it. I think he thought — and so did football fans all over the country — that with a 1/4 season suspension, even undeserved, the team couldn’t get into the Super Bowl.

They were wrong.

I also didn’t like a lot of the nasty Tweets that were going on, beyond trash talk, especially once the Patriots started pulling it out. To compare it with election night? Get over yourself. This is a football game. Decisions made no matter which side wins don’t change the direction of the country.

The Patriots had an amazing comeback. The Falcons were ahead, 28-3, and by the end of the game, the Patriots tied, and then won in overtime. When the pressure seems insurmountable, Brady and Belicheck dig deeper and pull it out. They did it. The team did it. They deserved the win. Goodell got his karmic return.

I have lots of happy, hung over neighbors this morning!

Lady Gaga’s halftime show was spectacular. Prince’s is still my favorite, but this comes very close. It WAS political, but it didn’t need to speak politics. The show itself was about the positive, the inclusive, the joy of creation. She’s a hell of a performer, and she showed it last night.

The commercials were pretty surprising, too. Corporations gave the people who reject the evangelical, white supremacist trajectory on which this country is headed what they wanted. I mean, let’s face it, Coca Cola has always been good at this. They did the whole “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” and the “world harmony” thing decades ago. They gave us our vision of Santa Claus. I was pleasantly surprised by Budweiser, Air Bnb, 84 Lumber. Good for them.

Not that I trust a corporation. Ever. They gave us what we wanted last night. It wasn’t quite a promise, but it was a message of inclusion. Now, we hold them to it. We thank them. We buy their products. We keep track of where they make political contributions. And if they’re backing people who are contrary to last night’s message, we call them out on it.

I did have to laugh at the Tweets responding to the threatened boycotts of Coca Cola, Pepsi (who did the halftime show) and Budweiser by suggesting that those boycotting individuals drink Flint’s water.

Meanwhile, Nieman Marcus (known in the wardrobe trade as “Needless Mark-up”) and Nordstrom’s dropped things in lines made by the Sociopath’s Daughter. I never bought anything anyway by any of the family brands, because I’ve practiced conscientious consumerism for years. Not spending my money on their products is not new to me. But I also didn’t buy any of the designs or products because the craftsmanship was always poor, and, frankly, I thought the designs were tacky. Very Bridge and Tunnel. (New Yorkers will know what that means). I stopped shopping Macy’s when they added that family’s product line to their stores. To me, that was a sign that Macy’s no longer cared about quality.

This morning is cold and sunny. As I said, lots of happy, hung over neighbors. I have a lot of writing to do today, I start my second week of Constitutional Law classes, and I have a few errands. Plus, research. A great deal of the next five months will be about research.

Tomorrow, I spend time in the rented office. That should be interesting.

Meanwhile, another week, another chance go do some solid work. Let’s hope I can, and that there aren’t yet more illegal Executive Orders stripping us of more rights.

In one of the pieces on which I’m working, the architecture is vital to the plot. I used a real house as the inspiration, but then I spent time this weekend drawing blueprints/floorplans to make the story work. I added a rotunda to one side, I changed a few things. My architecture books came in handy. But now, I have to think twice, when I work on the book, and when I think about the house — do I mean the real house who inspired the fictional house, or do I mean the fictional house? Interesting dilemma.

Back to the page.

Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

We had snow yesterday! Enough to cancel my evening plans, although not so much we were stuck and had to be rescued. Again.

Busy day yesterday. Short story out to the anthology, the Constitutional Law textbook arrived and I can dig in. Worked on contest entries. Worked with my elected officials.

Not enough writing done, which is something that has to be remedied this month.

Contract negotiations that were seemingly settled blew up last night on the ghostwriting project– after I’d sent out the paperwork at the author’s request. The other side came at me with new terms — even worse than the terms to which I’d agreed. Not only that, but I was accused of “imaginary research” — for a non-fiction project. We’d talked about research — the author wanted me to do research, handle photo permissions, and all that — and then decided she didn’t want to pay for it. Um, no. I put in the work, you pay for the work, and for any permissions fees. So we agreed to a provision where I wouldn’t put in any time or incur any costs without prior written permission from her on specific parameters. So she comes back with capping “imaginary research” at a specific fee.

I don’t know of a single professional working in non-fiction who doesn’t research the topic in question. I can understand if she was talking to advisors and that term was bandied about in conversation — but to try to put that language into a contract?

I wrote a rebuttal and formally withdrew from the project. She’d already kept scaling back and scaling back — trying to get out of a fair rate. No. Line. Crossed it. Done. Find someone on craigslist who’s going to do substandard work and screw you six ways from Sunday. Because it sure as heck won’t be me working on this.

My lawyer warned me it would come to this, back when she negotiated back the fee the first time. He gets to do the “I Told You So” song, and I’m going to have to acknowledge that, as usual, he was right.

This is the second referral from the same person who tried to screw me on money. I’m going to tell this individual to not give out my name and information any more.

I’ve got my To-Do list for February up on the GDR site. Let’s hope I’m more productive in February than I was in January!

Back to the page — and to the Constitutional Law textbook!

Mon. Jan. 30, 2017: Political and Personal and Art

Monday, January 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend, a lot of it political. Although, within it all, I got some writing done.

The Unconstitutional, poorly thought out “travel ban” that went into effect late on Friday was the primary cause of it, along with removing legitimate security officials from the National Security Council to install an unqualified, unvetted white supremacist. Lots of activism, and thank you to the Federal judges who actually understand and uphold the law.

Every Senator and Representative who remained silent needs to be removed from office next year. The ACLU got five to six times more in donations this weekend than they typically get in a year. Better them than the DNC, in my opinion. The candidates need to start earning their keep before I give any money to them. Hopefully, we will see some contentious primaries and get some of these cowards out.

Ironically enough, I was re-reading the Constitution in preparation for today’s start of the Constitutional Law class. The Executive and Legislative Branches are not only ignoring it, they are using it as toilet paper.

I’ve also taken note of those, who, right after the election, kept insisting that even though they voted for the Sociopath, they were “good” people and would be the “first” to stand up if he violated the Constitution, yet remained silent this weekend. Duly noted. You didn’t stand and you won’t stand. Because you agree. Also duly noted.

I got nearly thirty pages written on one project. Too bad it wasn’t one of the ones I was supposed to be working on! But it felt good, to get back into the groove. Got some work on the short story due on Wednesday, although I didn’t finish it, and will have to so do today.

Worked on contest entries, finished re-reading POSSESSION, which remains one of my favorite books.

Waiting to hear back on two contract negotiations. Got a request for a meeting on another project that I’m hoping to set up later this week. Got an email from someone with whose company I parted on less-than-stellar terms who wants to know if I want to come back for the summer. Wondering what the ulterior motive is — we were relieved to be parted.

SAG Awards last night, and it was a lively night. I’m getting sick of those who try to demean or diminish artists for speaking out. Having spent most of my professional life working in the arts, most artists are intelligent, thoughtful, have a strong sense of justice, curious, and, in the course of researching their work — informed. The artists I’ve worked with, on the whole, have been much smarter than the non-artists I’ve worked with. Yet non-artists are quick to try to bully, condemn, and censor artists. All that does is show the lesser character of those non-artists.

Because genuine artists are the ones who change the world. And theatre, in particular, started out in Greece as a form of politics.

Speaking of artists making a difference, I’m re-reading Vaclav Havel’s THE ART OF THE IMPOSSIBLE: Politics and Morality in Practice.

One of my neighbors built a section of fence to block off his patio area from the street. Good for him, I have no problem with that. Privacy is important. Unfortunately, it’s one of the ugliest structures I’ve seen in a long time. It’s especially noticeable to me right now because, this weekend, I was researching different types of walls, fences, and gates for one of my novels, and designing something beautiful. Synchronicity!

The Constitutional Law class begins today. I’m excited and a bit apprehensive. I hope I can do the work. I really like my professor, who’s both soft-spoken and passionate about his topic.

I have to set up some appointments, and some places for appointments, so I’ll have some running around to do.

Another week, and Imbolic is only a few days away! First planting!

Onward.

Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance

Friday, January 27, 2017
New Moon
Chinese Lunar New Year — Year of the Fire Rooster
Cloudy and cold

Temperature’s going down again, but at least the rain’s let up for the moment.

Yesterday, I got some work done on the short story. I think it will be ready to go out on Monday (it’s due on Wednesday). As I was going to sleep last night, I had an “aha!” moment about it, which I will have to work in to the text today.

I sent off my proposals and we’ll see what happens next. I also worked on a counter proposal to the other contract negotiation. We’ll see if that works for both of us. If not, we part ways and wish each other well. I’m done accepting work for so far under my rate that it costs me. Pay me a fairly for a fair day’s work, or hire someone off Craigslist with no credits who mixes up possessives and plurals.

Turning over and over the themes and actions for the play. I hope to get a good chunk of it written this weekend, once the short story is done and simmering, prior to its final polish.

Worked on contest entries yesterday, and also on the research for the Italian Renaissance play. Found a tangent to my research — something very, very cool, but off-topic. However, it’s so cool that I made note of the sources and started a fresh file, so that I can go back and build a project just around that in the future.

Fascinating tangents are a pitfall of research. Many sniffily advise to “just ignore them.” I take notes, especially for sources, so I can go back to them once the project I’m researching is done. I find that works better for me — I don’t waste time on tangents (fifteen minutes to note sources is reasonable, in my opinion), and I don’t resent losing something interesting.

Did some political work, and have more to do today, including a potentially contentious encounter with someone whom I don’t think is living up to the obligations of the job.

One of my favorite authors, Nicole Peeler, has started a virtual book club as part of her activist and educational work. I joined, and ordered the first book. I’m looking forward to it — she’s putting together a smart group of people, and I think we can have some invigorating discussions.

I’m re-reading AS Byatt’s novel POSSESSION. I re-read it regularly, and it remains one of my favorite novels, although I wasn’t crazy about the film adaptation. I always get something new and nourishing from the text, as one does from well-written material.

I had hoped to get to Cape Cod National Seashore today, since our National Parks are about to be sold off, and I’d like to see it one last time. I don’t think I’ll make it until next week, but I’m determined to get there, thank the rangers in person, and take one last look before the destruction.

Back to the page.

Thurs. Jan. 19: Day of Resistance (Part II)

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy turning to sunshine and cool

Not a productive writing day yesterday, but got a bunch of other things done. One contract negotiation, in particular, is taking more and energy than it should. I’m being pushed towards signing something that is not in my best interest and is in conflict with the standards provided by the Authors’ Guild, and I’m not willing so to do. Yes, I am willing to walk away if necessary. But the person who fights me on it wants me to sign it anyway. Which I won’t. This “shut up, roll over and deal, even though you’re being fucked on every level” mentality especially irritates me because it reflects what Swamp Thing Elect’s supporters are demanding of the country in every capacity.

Got some research done, but not as much as I’d like. I’m on hold on some of the research, because that is yet another contract that needs to be finalized.

On the third ongoing contract negotiation, the other party asked for more time, which is fine. She needs to run things by her legal advisors, too.

Today is officially the Day of Resistance, before tomorrow’s inauguration and our country’s march into destruction.

I am not able to go to NYC for tonight’s rally led by Michael Moore and Mark Ruffalo, unfortunately. Unfortunately, I’m limited in how much I can afford to travel right now, and since I’ll be marching this weekend, and last weekend was the PEN event — something had to give somewhere. But I will attend it virtually.

Swamp Thing Elect, the Narcissistic Sociopath, that corrupt con man, is not my president. I will not give him the attention he craves. I will not capitulate to his bullying, nor will I become complicit as he tries to destroy the many good things this country stands for, and the progress we’ve made over the last fifty years.

I am not interested in “unity” with Swamp Things Elect’s supporters, who believe it’s okay to mock the disabled, to deny women healthcare, to sexually prey on others, to destroy Medicare — which is an EARNED benefit, to destroy Social Security — again, an EARNED benefit, to condone violence against those who disagree, to destroy the educational system, to destroy the very planet on which we live on, to deny equal rights and basic human decency based on skin color and/or religion, and/or sexual orientation, to force one’s particular brand of extreme religion down the country’s throats while claiming everyone else’s religion makes them a “terrorist”, to condone domestic terrorism as long as the individuals performing it are white, to deny the press access to what is going on so the corruption can go unhindered, to put people in charge of agencies they are bound and determined to destroy, and to get us into a nuclear war because of a Who-Has-the-Biggest-Dick contest.

I’ve heard Swamp Thing Elect’s supporters proclaim that, should they see anything unethical, immoral, or tactics that resemble fascist tactics, they will be the “first” to stand up, and they will protect the “others.” These idiots are completely ignoring that they HAVE seen countless demonstrations of all of that throughout the campaign and voted for him anyway. The behavior had only intensified since the election. They can’t expect anyone to take them seriously that they believe in “family values” when they vote for someone who is its antithesis. They ARE NOT and they WILL NOT stand up against Swamp Thing. or his goons. As usual, they’re blowing a lot of hot air. Paraphrasing the meme that’s been going around, when someone comes for them, there will be no one left to stand for them, because they did not stand for others.

He has had numerous opportunities to respond to criticism and dissent with statesmanship and dignity. He refuses so to do. Instead, he behaves like a spoiled, ranting toddler, and incites further hatred.

It also amazes me how many Swamp Thing Elect supporters think they’re on a “special list” because they voted for him. They genuinely believe that, while people who voted for Hillary will lose health care, Medicare, all health and human services, and Social Security, because they voted for the Swamp Thing, they will keep their benefits while the “others” lose them. Several have SAID that to me. “You’ll be left to die in a ditch, but I’m getting a Cadillac plan and I don’t have to pay for it, because I’m on The List.”

So when they’re shocked that they might lose their benefits and go crying to the media? Honey, this is what you voted for. There is no such thing as “one issue voting.” You voted for the whole package including advocating racism and violence and inequality. You voted to lose your healthcare, your benefits, your overtime pay at your minimum-wage job, and to have your house foreclosed. You are not exempt. You are not on a “special list.” The information was out there; you chose to ignore it.

All while Swamp Thing Elect and his buddies line their own pockets, plunder the US Treasury for themselves, sell us off to other countries, and probably put the contents of the White House up for sale on eBay.

No. I will not “unify”. I will not normalize one of the most unqualified and corrupt administrations in this country’s history.

It is BECAUSE I have respect for the Office of the President that I will not unify with those determined to destroy it for personal gain.

For eight years, anti-Obama factions refused to work with/unify/compromise with the Obama administration. The amount of racial insult against the President and his family, the constant obstructionism. Mitch McConnell declaring it was his mission to make sure Obama was a “one-term President”. Not that he would do his job to serve the country, but that his entire mission was to obstruct Obama. Mitch McConnell refusing to give Merrick Garland a fair hearing for the Supreme Court vacancy, and then whining that the Senate has to rubber stamp anyone Swamp Thing Elect puts forth. If the cabinet posts are any indication, the next nominee for the Supreme Court won’t even have any legal experience.

I will not “unify” with such hypocrites.

I will not give the Swamp Thing the attention he craves. When the Supreme Court betrayed the American people by handing the election to GW Bush, instead of allowing votes to be counted, I did not consider Bush my president, either. I ignored him as much as possible, working with my elected representatives on issues that mattered to me.

Then, of course, 9/11 happened. Even though Bush had the information on August 6 that would have prevented it. Read, or re-read, the 9/11 Commission Report if you’ve forgotten. So we had to pay attention. And then Bush came to speak to an anti-war rally in NYC, against getting into Iraq, and told the assembled crowed, “I don’t care what you think.” I was there. I heard the words. I wrote them down on the day. He was my EMPLOYEE. He damn well better care what I thought!

And here we are, with thousands of lives lost and thousands of veterans who aren’t being cared for, and who won’t, be cared for, under the incoming administration.

The dumbing-down began in the Reagan years. I lived through them. I remember. It got worse with reality television. And now a reality television celebutard is about to take an oath of office he will not fulfill, treat the job like a hobby that he will ignore when he doesn’t feel like doing it, destroy our relationships with our allies all over the world, do whatever Putin tells him, and probably get us into a nuclear war, because he thinks it’s like a video game, and, in his pathetic life, there have never been any consequences for any of the horrible things he’s done. He’s been bankrupt four times. If this cabinet picks are any indications of how he’s run his businesses, hiring the least qualified for every position, no wonder. Now he gets to bankrupt the country.

I will not give him the attention he craves. I will ignore him as much as possible, while working with my elected officials on issues that matter, and fighting the policies that will destroy us.

One of the first things to do is to remove Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell from their positions, because they are using Swamp Thing’s ignorance and bombastic posturing for their own ends.

I have been keeping up with the confirmation hearings this week for the inept and corrupt that want cabinet positions. So far, they’ve all been horrifyingly unqualified for the positions to which they were named. I have been letting my elected officials know how I feel about them. I will continue working with my elected officials, and I will work to help other ethical progressives get elected all over the country in 2018.

I will continue with my own creative work, in prose, on stage, on film, and on radio, and accepting gigs from organizations in whose missions I can believe. I will not normalize behavior, legislation, and corruption that are sickening to me, and I will not “unify” with people who promote, condone, and live those beliefs. If I have to, I will co-exist with them, provided they don’t try to force them on me, and I will continue to use my First Amendment rights to speak out.

I will continue working with organizations like PEN, Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and environmental organizations that work for dignity and rights for all. I will cut ties with organizations who don’t take a stand.

I will continue to vote when votes come up, to read as many bills coming up as possible, and to find daily ways in my life to make the world around me a better place. That does not mean shutting up and ignoring the corruption around me.

There are plenty of progressive slogans being bandied about with which I don’t agree, because I think it’s too much bunnies and rainbows and not enough practicality. While we often need to unwind with cute cat videos and a glass of wine after a long day, bunnies and rainbows and “positive energy” won’t fix this. Hard work, cunning, intelligence, and a refusal to back down will.

That is my resistance.

I am not watching the inauguration tomorrow, for the first time since I can remember. I have other work to do, especially creative. I am also taking the trash to the dump — the gesture pleases me, in a small way. I intend to help take out the trash that is the incoming administration as much as possible in the coming months.

I will be offline from tomorrow until Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Fri. Jan. 13, 2017: Lucky Day & Retreat!

Friday, January 13, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Sunny and mild

Yesterday was rather a useless writing day — yet another one.

I managed to get started on the contest entries, though. That’s always a good thing.

I’m also in the early stages of negotiations for an interesting project in New Bedford — that would happen when it’s unlikely snow will derail me! Fingers crossed I’m what they’re looking for.

I decided, this morning, that, once I go offline after posting things, I’m offline until Tuesday. I’m giving myself a writing/yoga retreat for a few days. I want to work for a few days without distraction.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

May you take Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday to contemplate the positive change he created in the world and see how you can contribute to it.

Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 11:19 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 13, 2017: Lucky Day & Retreat!  
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Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art

Monday, January 9, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cold

Mercury is finally direct, thank goodness! This was a tough one.

It started snowing on Friday; I’d planned ahead, so I didn’t go out. We got about 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow on Friday, which was a pain in the butt to shovel, but knowing another storm was on the way, we did it anyway.

Saturday, the snow started in the morning, and it snowed until well into the evening. Blizzard conditions, white-outs, instructions to stay off the road.

I had to give up my reading slot in the MOBY DICK MARATHON at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, because I couldn’t get there. Disappointing, but not worth risking my life over.

Instead, I stayed home and read and we took down the holiday decorations. It took most of the day Friday and most of the day Saturday. We’d taken in the outdoor decorations on Thursday, before the first storm hit.

I still have to fluff bows before packing them, switch out and wash/iron/fold fabric. I shouldn’t be surprised it took several days to take down — after all, it took a month to put up!

I had a lousy writing week. Last week started like gangbusters, with about half the short story due at the end of the month, and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK, and some other stuff. But every word, later in the week, was a fight, and the ones I wrestled, I don’t like very much.

I’m hoping for a better writing week this week. I NEED a better writing week this week.

It’s tough, because I have no energy. At all.

I had some promising news from my agent over the weekend, which is nice, but nothing is settled until contracts are signed, so I’m not jumping up and down yet. If negotiations work out, great; if not, on to the next.

I also have to do some negotiating on a potential freelance job. We’ll see how that works. Again, until there’s a signed contract and the deposit clears, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve been re-watching all of M*A*S*H lately, and I’m reminded how wonderful Alan Alda’s work is. I remember, during my theatre days, when he was the ultimate intelligent woman’s sex symbol: in addition to looks, he has intelligence, wit, humor, compassion, and courage. Then, I was lucky to work with him on some benefits, and he’s even better in person — interested and engaged, and KIND. His wife, Arlene, is amazing, too, and they’re wonderful together. He continues to be active, writing and advocating for science. We need more Alan Alda and less reality celebutard.

Adding to that, was Meryl Streep’s beautiful speech last night at the Golden Globes. As usual, she was intelligent, thoughtful, precise, insightful, and truthful.

Narcissistic Sociopath is having a hissy fit, but there again, you see the contrast between a genuine talent and a reality celebutard.

And hey, if the Duck Dynasty Dickheads have a right to spout politics — and they do, no matter how much I might disagree with them — then intelligent, talented artists have that same right.

For those who say actors/artists don’t have the right to speak about politics — ALL art is political. Some is overt, some is not. Great art makes the audience better, even for a few moments. Great art inspires us not to stand by and let people stomp on us. The incoming fascist regime is counting on squashing our spirit, by taking away everything that makes it possible to have a dignified life. We have to fight that, and one of the most effective ways so to do is through art.

You want to write narrow-minded formula pieces just to make money? Go ahead. That is your right. Even in those, though, isn’t there a happy ending? Doesn’t LOVE triumph over scheming and hate? That’s a form of political discourse. The most popular YA books in recent years — Hunger Games, Testing, et al — are political. Harry Potter is about overcoming a dictator. In Nora Roberts’s books, love and good overcome evil and destruction. That is political. Instead of just burrowing into these books (and we all need that escape), it’s time to take the principles that touch our souls in art and bring them forward into life. It is time for US to overcome those who want to break our spirits, take away love and hope, and control every aspect of OUR lives for THEIR profit.

We need to start creating the reality we want, both in our art, and then take it forward to turn it into our reality. It is time to defeat those who would crush our hearts, so they can line their own pockets.

Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art  
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