Category Archives: digital play

Editing as whittling

PCC collage

We are getting rain. The painters stayed home today, but yesterday as I sat upstairs in my writing chair, a man worked on a ladder directly out the window. He chatted on his phone, Spanish providing him privacy since I don’t know a word. But how I worried about him, scaling the ladder with one hand, or gripping the phone with his neck and shoulder while balancing two stories up!

In today’s blessed quiet, I’ve been editing, determined to get my word count below 140,000. Deb would scoff and maybe my paid editor would too. But a lower word count would be more appealing to the average agent. Or so I’ve heard.

Couple years back — before Covid so it feels like another lifetime — Deb visited and invited me as a guest to a writer’s conference where she was the keynote speaker. Talk at the table turned to word count.

“For a debut author, anything over 90,000 is a no-no,” one writer said. Others agreed. (Deb’s speech was amazing BTW — part humor, part wise advice).

Well, I’m not gonna even get down to 120,000, but you have to admit that our minds respond differently to 141,800 than to 139,800.

And I did it! Gonna keep going because I have a new appreciation for where I can carve. Mostly I’ll go to the Eliza chapters because she thinks too much and can be flowery in her speech. Snip. Snip.

Thirteen days

And he’s negative! Only the test could tell because he’s actually more stuffed up now than when he was sick with Covid. Seasonal allergies have hit.

This “Covid suite” aka “wreck-of-a-bedroom” will get turned back into a peaceful place today. No screens. Will run fans and air purifiers all day.

The TV was one we got for my sister. K assembled that rocker from a Shaker kit (wove the seat and back and stained and waxed the wood). That was before we got married and it’s nice to remember. Usually the rocker is hidden away for lack of a good place and if that’s a metaphor for our marriage, I don’t want to think about it.

In other news, we hired a crew to paint the house. If you knew what a DIY-household this is, your jaw would hit the floor.

We get to luxuriate in having things done for us — long overdo maintenance, at that — and to enjoy a task that gets started and finished in the same week (never mind the same season or decade). It’s also a chance to notice, not for the first time, that abrasive noise is like clutter — it bothers you less when it’s yours.

I’ll work here this morning.

A movie recommendation to end. I love stories about second chances and “I Used to Be Famous” fits the bill. Very sweet.

Kushner snuck in. Do you see his malevolent B&W eye near the left margin?

Copyright over on Instagram

Paris Collage image plus Nat Geo photo of famous free climber Alex Honnold

As you know, I routinely use magazine cut outs in my collages — National Geographic, Vogue, Living Magazine to name just three. I also use screen shots.

I think because I’m not selling my work, copyright issues have never come up. However, this week a montage of recent collages got this weird notice on Instagram about 71 nations banning my reel.

Huh? I assume the Paris Collage Club pictures do not trigger copyright claims nor, obviously, do my own photos. When I looked over the slideshow what stood out were photos of Jared and Ivanka. Is someone scouring the internet looking for unflattering pictures of them?

Screen shots used in montages

I’ll post video here just to see what happens. I have transformed the duo’s images in a way that arguably skirts copyright problems. I don’t know. I don’t really think about this stuff much.

https://videos.files.wordpress.com/GHWsNzhq/tmpmov.mp4

By the way, this spooky portrait shows up in the Jared/Ivanka Monster series. I love it so much and I wish I’d noted who the photographer was. Cut out years ago.

Drought in New England

Old map of my neighborhood

When I tried to type “drought” in the title just now, it auto-corrected to “fright.” Exactly!

We are finally getting some rain, but it’s been bad, really bad — super hot and dry. Even that hardiest of perennials, the hosta, has struggled. I’ve dug up four shrubs and will likely have to dig up two more. Ferns have crisped and collapsed. Astilbe try valiantly, but barely make it despite daily watering. I’ve even been watering well-established trees for fear of losing them (NB: our reservoir, the Quabbin, has high levels right now).

It’s been a close-to-home wake up call for an area relatively immune to the drastic effects of climate change. Hurricanes are rare here. Tornados happen now again, but usually out by Worcester or Springfield. We don’t get flooding or wildfires and until now, drought was something that happened out West.

A dogwood that I planted at the elementary school years back doesn’t look like it’s gonna make it

A “flash drought” is nothing like the nearly decade-long drought in California, say, but it brings immediate consequences.

I read that a temperature change of 1.5 degrees would be catastrophic for forests in the Northeast.

This is not autumnal turning

No wonder some nights I feel the acid bloom of fear just as I’m dropping off to sleep.

Monday — again?

Slept til 8:30. Walked Finny. Read poems by Charles Wright. Made a lunch designed to empty as many containers as possible: reheated pesto penne with cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, the last wedge of cantelope, and for K, a heated up salmon burger with avocado and impromptu aioli.

So now I’m upstairs and already identified another agent I’d like to query (why do they all look like they’re 28 and, does it matter?). It’s an online form submission, which is tedious in the extreme. All those boxes to fill!

I’ve written a query letter and a synopsis by now. I’ve assembled the requisite comparable titles. But I still struggle with bio (I like dogs?) and blurb (aka elevator pitch). How do I say what my novel is about in three sentences? It gets me every time.

It was an unusually busy weekend. Hallelujah for that! We went to Boston’s MFA on Friday to see the Philip Guston show that Maggie mentioned on Instagram. More later?

And last night we had a nice dinner on the North Shore with fireworks as an unexpected finale.

https://videos.files.wordpress.com/7BDTfEBl/img_8670.mp4
https://videos.files.wordpress.com/zNVukchH/img_8668.mp4
PCC prompt is a barn this week