Friday, December 03, 2004

Friday, December 3, 2004
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and Cold

It smells like snow, although it doesn’t look like snow. I hope it does snow today. It would lift my mood.

For some reason, I’m battling a major case of the blues. Everyone has a day here and there where they feel a bit down; I rarely feel this way during the holiday season. Usually it hits me in February, after too many snowstorms and cancelled trains and dark days and other dilemmas – I call it “The Februaries”. But, for some reason, I’ve got it badly now and it’s sapping the joy I usually have in the preparations for the holidays. Granted, I am usually quite annoying at this time of year – zipping around in an excellent mood almost all the time. There are some issues on the home front that need to be dealt with in the next two weeks, but even they should not have such an impact. And then, to top it off, I feel guilty for feeling blue. Putting my life in perspective with what’s going on in the world, there’s really nothing that bad of which to complain. But I feel what I feel, and I have to find a way to push through it.

Our little corner of the world has been in the news quite a bit for the last few days. Unfortunately, not for good things. A sixth abduction attempt was made a few days ago. No one can understand why the police can’t catch the alleged attempted kidnappers, since they make their move in broad daylight. Are all the reports legit? There’s some debate that some of the kids are making it up. I don’t think we can risk that assumption – I think the police are right to investigate every call. I should hope none of the kids are dumb enough or shallow enough to cry wolf about something like this.

The network news vans have been camped out in front of the police station, which certainly doesn’t help them get their work done.

But then, they all tore off yesterday afternoon to the next town over to cover a double murder.

To Keith, who calls me a whiner and wants me to get over 9/11 – Unfortunately, politics has invaded and influences my every day life and my writing. I wish it didn’t. I would like nothing better than to not be affected by it. It was a joy to be up in Maine for the holidays where it didn’t constantly affect me, and I could go along my merry way. That’s not an option any more. And no, I will not get over the murder of nearly 3000 people, several dozen of whom I knew. I should hope it affected the entire country, but it couldn’t affect people who weren’t here and didn’t lose friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances in the same way as those who did. I can empathize with Oklahoma City all I want, but I can never know what it was like for those who lived through it.

I will not stop writing about how current events affect me and my writing. It’s your prerogative to disagree. It’s also your prerogative not to read the blog.

Yesterday ended up being a day of shopping. I got my paints and other tools to get to work on the holiday gifts. I’m also going to make a batch of my therapeutic natural bath salts when the moon turns – friends love them, and they’re a good, pampering gift. I have one more present to get for my mom and some stocking stuffers, and then I’m done. I didn’t have the holiday cards I thought I had, so I had to go out again to get those, and I made a trip to the farmers’ market to get some fresh fruits and vegetables (the produce in the local grocery stores leaves a great deal to be desired). I searched and searched and searched for a very specific type of paper to decoupage some candleholders and couldn’t find it. I may have to go farther afield for it. I did find the perfect martini glass to paint for a friend. I had to go to three stores, but I finally found it.

Packed the overseas packages. I have to run some photos today to enclose, and then it’s a trip to the post office. Started the holiday cards, and will do a big push on them this weekend, in and around the other writing and the catch-up work I need to do for KIC mag.

I enjoy shopping in that I love to find the perfect gift for someone, and I love to give people presents. I don’t, however, find shopping relaxing. Many of my friends, when they want to blow off steam, go shopping. I’d much rather take a walk on the beach or sit in the library or a coffee shop reading a book.

I’m trying to organize my holiday baking as well. I pulled out a stack of cookbooks – including some of the cookbooks I picked up on my travels to Scotland. Whenever I travel, I try to pick up the small, locally printed cookbook – I guess in the US, the Junior League or Church cookbooks are the equivalent. While there are many recipes that I never get a chance to use, there are always one or two that become favorites.

In addition to the traditional sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin, and tollhouse cookies, I’ll probably make some shortbread, and there’s a raspberry cream sponge cake that sounds pretty yummy. There’s also a recipe for something called “The Tipsy Laird”: butter, almonds, sugar, trifle fingers, ¼ pint sherry, brandy, rind and juice of an orange, ½ pint whipping cream and yogurt (from Sue McDougall’s Scottish Teas, which I picked up in the gourmet food shop at Culzean Castle).

A colleague on a freelance writers’ forum was intrigued enough by my work for KIC to pitch her own proposal, and she was accepted. Hooray for her! If she gives me permission, I’ll post the link.

My dear friend Pandora has a blog about her life and her writing and her animals:

I’m going to update my links in a couple of days and will add the link.

Back to the serials and catching up with all the other stuff on which I’m behind. I have to make a decision on several projects this weekend. One, that I’m very interested in, would require an enormous amount of work over the next three months, but probably not pay off (financially anyway) for three to five years. I don’t know if I can afford that kind of lag time right now.

A place that sounded like a good, high-paying gig turned out not to be legit. I’m glad I researched them before sending them any material. Another place that sounded a bit on the shady side responded that they’d received my questions and would answer when they could – which was well over a week ago. So I doubt I’ll send them a packet. If these places who run ads can’t answer basic, legitimate, professional questions in a timely manner, I have serious doubts they’d come through with payment on time or at all. Too many places want, as Angela Hoy of Writing World phrases it, “slave labour.” While I agree that there are some places that are worthwhile in spite of a lack of funds, too many aren’t. Distinguishing them requires research and each individual weighing the pros and cons of his or her own situation. All of that takes time away from the actual writing, which gets frustrating.

When I look at the amount of material that needs to be submitted and/or queried, I just want to put a bag over my head. But it’s not going to submit itself, so I better cut eyeholes in that bag and get to work. It’s pointless to send queries out now – I’ll prep them, date them for early January, and send out a major mailing then. I’m also working on my direct mail piece for the serials, which will go out in batches of 100 after the first of the year, trying to keep up with the various newsletters, and get the holidays rolling. I haven’t made the time to send out packets to my new prospects, and now it’s too late, so January’s income will fall short. My own damn fault. When you’re your own boss and don’t do the work, you don’t get the cash.

Working on the business plan and the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for 2005. It’s necessary, and, once there’s a plan and logical steps to take, I’ll feel better. But right now, I feel as though I’m banging my head against a wall hard enough to get a headache.

I can’t remember if it’s Natalie Goldberg or Julia Cameron of if they quote each other on this – that when you feel like you’re having a breakdown, you’re about to have a break through. I’d like to get to the through part any time now.

Back to Angel Hunt and Widow’s Chamber. Both Lianna and Nora are losing patience with me. Not to mention the patience I’ve already lost with myself.



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