Saturday, June 12, 2004

A bright new day

Can you belive it? I woke up to snow. It didn't last long, but my plants were outside (and have been for weeks) and I was worried they would be dead. I lost two tiny tomato plants, but I have seedlings in the house that are just the right size to transplant . They're tall and strong and not likely to die from shock. I have lots of seedlings I wanted to plant in the half whiskey barrels this weekend, but I'm not sure I should take the chance if it's going to continue to snow. I'll have to wheel the whiskey barrels into the house and grow my little garden inside.

I'm not sure what changed between yesterday morning and some time last night, but I feel wonderful. I feel light and airy and happy, which has been a foreigner in these parts for a couple weeks and very unlike my usual blithe nature. I'm not sure if it was severing ties with R&T or having a very sexy and young sounding Mexican gentleman flirting with me on the phone -- and thru email -- but something has changed for the better. Last night while I waited for [info]elementalmuse to get back to me for the next Scrabble play, ideas started whirling around in my head--ideas for writing and stories and promotion. I feel positively rejuvenated and ready for action. Suddenly, all the work I needed to do in writing columns, articles, etc. has turned back into the writing I can't wait to do. Lately, it has seemed a chore, almost a burden with everything else I had to do, and now everything seems possible again. I can't wait to fire up the screens and put all these buzzing ideas down on virtual paper and send them out because I know they're winners and they are the answer to my financial distress.

I had the greatest idea for promoting my Jekyll & Hyde book, but I'm not telling it here because I'm afraid all you hungry and avaricious writers will want to borrow the idea before I can use it. I'm not sure it is something that can be used more than once, but it will definitely make a big splash when it works. Just think, I get to be the first one to devise a new marketing strategy -- finally. I've been the first before, but it has always been for someone else. This time, I get to be the first for me. Yippeeee!!

And I have a couple of really great article ideas, one of which I intend to pitch to Playboy magazine. Yes, [info]drjeff, Playboy actually publishes articles as well as sex and cheesecake. It comes from past experience, but how many married or involved men do you know whose girlfriends/spouses have cut them off from their friends and families so the only friends and families they communicate or interact with are the spouse's/girlfriend's? This is a form of abuse. It's a silent form and I doubt it has received much press and no one has ever done a made-for-TV-movie about it either. I'm thinking about calling it Silent Eunuch or Silent War or something like that. Don't know for sure, but I think this is something that needs to come out of the closet. Besides the fact that Playboy pays a lot for feature articles, since men are the target audience, it's a great way to disseminate the information and reach the right people. Playboy may not go for it, but there are lots of men's magazines and, if nothing else, I can hit the major market magazines if that doesn't work. Somehow, I think Playboy will snap it up. I just have to find the data and interview some men, but I know where I can go for that, and it wouldn't hurt to get an expert opinion from, say, a sociologist or perhaps psychologist. Know any who might be interested?

The thing is that most men either don't recognize what has happened, that they've been systematically cut off from their supportive friends and family, or they do know and aren't going to come forward with the info because it's emasculating and demeaning. They have been turned into virtual eunuchs guarding a harem of one and it happened so slowly and methodically they didn't notice until it was too late.

I have lots of other ideas, but I'm not leaving them out for you vultures to work over, so you will just have to wait until they're posted as fait accomplis.

Did you know that you can translate words and phrases and sentences from English to French, Spanish, etc. and vice versa? I figured it out yesterday when I was trying to decipher my Mexican gentleman's quip about writers without pens, who, btw, is named Juan (that's John to all you gringos). He was nice enough to tell me about the best possible tequila on earth -- Don Julio -- and he told me I was witty and intelligent and someone he enjoyed talking with. I have been on a non-male diet for so long I forgot how good it felt to flirt and be flirted with. I don't think that is the sole reason for my emotional turn-around. I think there is magic in the air and I have finally put paid to R&T and walked away. It just took a while to take effect.

So, happy days to all and to all a goodbye -- for now.

You didn't think you were getting rid of me that easily, did you? Perish the thought.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Is it summer yet?

I got up this morning to find snow melting on the roof of the portico. I got dressed and ran outside to check my plants, but they're still alive, albeit with a leaf or two missing. The green beans and peas are fine. They were out of the sharp teeth of the wind. I thought this was June, but I could be wrong. Someone told me it had actually snowed here during a parade on the 4th of July. I think I'll believe them.

Today is blustery and cold and wild with screaming wind and the sky overhead is a curdled mixture of gray and white ominous clouds where occasional eyes of blue peer thru the murk. I think I may have to go get the chain saw, put on some warmer clothes, and cut up some wood for the fire. I thought I had more time, but evidently not.

I got a call from Mexico this morning to let me know where my corn flour for tortillas and all the rest of my Mexican groceries from Mexico are. Evidently, they have ended up in Silverthorne at the UPS and they refuse to let them go until I either go get them (where is Silverthorne from here) or I give them a change of address. I just don't get it. I live in a rural area where the post office does not deliver and everyone has a P. O. Box, but companies won't deliver to P. O. Boxes unless you put down the physical address of the post office and give your box number, which they treat like an apartment number. It just doesn't make sense. If you can deliver to the post office address with a box number disguised as an apartment number, you should just be able to deliver to the P. O. Box. Doesn't that make logical sense? But, no, UPS (a friend who once worked for them called it OOPS) doesn't deliver on Saturday (unless you pay a lot more) and I will have to wait until Monday, which is one more week for something that should have been delivered by now. *stops for throat searing primal scream* Oh, well, life goes on. Thank goodness I still have some corn flour from the last order or I'd really be livid.

I have been officially no longer on the staff of R&T for more than 12 hours and yet they still keep coming to me for changes, whining and asking questions I have answered and answered and answered until my fingers are sore from beating the same answers into the keyboard to send ONCE AGAIN. I wonder if they even read the emails I send detailing issue launches and contest pages up and running or if they just ignore them so they can keep asking me stupid questions. And writers are sending me submissions for reviews and interviews and, well, submissions when it is plain I am not the editor in chief -- as I have been sharply reminded many, many, many times. And yet they still come to me because they read my work (and compliment it) and think since I'm all over the site I must actually have a more important function than whipping boy and scapegoat for the REAL EIC. Oh, well, that is behind me now. Maybe I should send a note to all subscribers and let them know. But that probably won't work as long as they are reading the website because that is where they get their ideas. At least they're reading the web site.

I woke up in such a good mood and I'm going to recapture it shortly, despite having to write six paranormal columns by Monday, one grammar column, one herbal magick column, and three more reviews. I still have to read two of the books, but I plan to veg out this weekend and garden. I doubt I will spend much time online since I end up listening to Joni Mitchell (just discovered her thanks to Love Actually) or playing games of Euchre and pyramid instead of writing or reading or doing all the things I should be doing. So off I go.

I think I have finally exhausted the frustration and griping that have been my constant companions for the last few weeks and I get can back to being simple, plain, uninteresting, and smiling me.

Oh, and I really liked talking to the gentleman from Mexico about my groceries. He also gave me a lovely little Mexican proverb: En casa del herrero, azadon de palo. In the house of the blacksmith, a wooden hoe -- which also works for writers without pens, doctors without stethoscopes, etc. Cute, and it reminds me of how I describe my family -- palos con pelo -- Sticks with hair.

I'll shut up now.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

...while you still can.

Crap will continue to be served. Who determines what is crap?

Movies are on my mind now that Ronald Reagan has passed. Although he had a definite presence and boyish good lucks, not to mention charm, on the screen, he was not a good actor -- at least not as far as the big screen was concerned. He had the good sense to get out of the movies before it was discovered he had zero talent, which turned out to be an excellent judgment call. He had some facility as a comic actor, but all in all he was really nothing special. Looks, charm, poise, and sense. That's what Reagan had.

Think of all the actors (and singers) who went into politics: Sonny Bono, Fred Grandy, and a few others. Those are just the ones that popped quickly to mind. They had no talent. They were one note wonders, but they had enough sense to stop milking the acting teat and get into something they did well. Of course, there have been good actors who also transitioned to politics, like Clint Eastwood and Fred Dalton Thompson, but they are not the point. The point of all this is whether or not we are all being bilked by a multi-billion dollar industry into supporting crap.

Tom Cruise is on my mind and he is the crap to which I refer. Let's face it, Cruise hasn't really done anything since Risky Business. He was cute and enterprising and nice to watch. He was the quintessential teenager and he played that role well. But what has he done since then that is so noteworthy he should command the kind of dollars he earns for showing up on the set? He is a promoter, a modern day P. T. Barnum and he proves Barnum's belief that a sucker is born every minute. We, my friends, are the suckers and we are smiling while we eat crap.

I finally saw The Last Samurai and it was a wonderful movie, but not because of Cruise. The movie was wonderful because of Ken Watanabe. Would the movie have been just as good without Cruise? I'm willing to bet the farm it would have been better. Cruise added nothing to the movie but his name and fame. Name any Cruise film within the last ten years and tell me in which one of them he gave a stellar performance, something worthy of an Oscar. Don't give me Vanilla Sky because I haven't seen it, but one movie in the entire line of movies Cruise has made in the past ten years, or even since Risky Business, doesn't count. Even in Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman stole the show and Cruise was just along for the ride -- as usual. When you pare it all down to basics, Cruise is crap and cruising on his fame and looks.

What bothers me most is that the really great actors are dying and we have no replacements of the same caliber. Name any tabloid favorite and tell me what they have done that is so wonderful. Brad Pitt has good looks and he was interesting to watch in Troy, but it was Eric Bana that showed the power and presence of a real actor. Even pretty boy Orlando Bloom was not that interesting to watch. He flashed his pearly whites and proceeded to disappear from the screen. He is pretty background, a stunning landscape, but nothing special. And the list of wannabe pretty boys continues without so much as a whiff of real meat. It's like expecting a juicy broiled steak in a vegetarian restaurant. Not gonna happen. If you're counting on Ben Affleck or the cast of friends to take up the slack, keep your money in your pocket.

I will agree that there are some stand outs, like Harrison Ford, John Malkovich, Diane Lane, and Cate Blanchett, to name a very few, but mostly what you will find on the screen is crap. According to one theater owner, the money isn't in the movies it's in the concession stand -- that over priced bastion of pre-processed and sugar/chocolated coated crap. See? More crap. So when does the crap train end? When the public says enough and refuses to be served crap.

Who decides?

You can't count on the critics. They are in it for the perks and the chance to give us their oh-so-important opinions. I don't rely on critics. I make my own choices. I may agree with them once in a while, but it is rare. If you want to know how fame and fortune and having people hanging on your every syllable affects the choices a critic makes, check out Please Don't Eat the Daisies and watch David Niven turn from an intelligent professor into an egomaniacal, self important, critic basking in the glow of lots of front page press.

You can't even count on my opinion because it's mine. I'm entitled to it, but you are entitled to your opinion, too. This is supposed to be a democracy and the majority vote wins, but when the majority is numbed and dumbed by the constant service of crap, can you trust their taste buds? Probably not.

What is the end result? The continued, uninterrupted service of crap, crap, and more crap. I'm beginning to think the bomb is our last chance, getting rid of crap and crap makers and the crap that feeds on crap. That's a lot of crap. We'd have to rely on movies already made and available in bombed out cities in the movie houses just like Charlton Heston in The Omega Man or use valuable generator power to keep our DVDs and VCRs running, but at least we'd have company and we wouldn't have to subsidize the fabulous lifestyles of the purveyors and sycophantic leeches of crap. We would all be on a more or less equal footing, back to the basics.

Maybe we lost it all when Hollywood and actors lost their mystique and became fodder for tabloids, topping even their own greed in creating havoc and forgetting the simple fact that they owe everything to the poor suckers who financed their vices, their lifestyle, and their continued existence. Maybe we deserve actors as politicians, especially when the politicians are out for more money, more perks, and everything they can stuff into their pockets, Swiss and Cayman Islands bank accounts, and libidos.

Let's face it. We created the monsters, but the monsters have turned the tables and they are in control. Maybe there is no solution, except for Mother Nature to slap us all with an IRS audit and take it all away.

Do I sound pessimistic? Probably, but I'm not. I just find it hard to accept that real style and taste is a rarity in a world gone mad for publicity and their fifteen minutes of fame when they have nothing to crow about. Maybe I'm just getting old because I long for better times when substance was more important than looks and flash. The stalwart pillars of society are dying and that puts me closer to the fires and I wonder what legacy I am creating to leave for those behind me. I feel much like Peter Finch in Network when he yelled out a window, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more," or Peter Sellers as Chance, the gardener, in Being There whose life revolved around television and his utterances, in the same way the Rain Man's non-sequiturs, were taken for profound wisdom.

All true wisdom is found within, but if you haven't looked there in a long time, maybe it's time to check it out. Don't accept crap because crap will continue to be served as long as you and I and everyone else make it profitable.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Cobalt skies

I got it licked, except for the boards. The Rose & Thorn Summer 2004 issue is now online and I think I've outdone myself with the staff issue, but you'll have to pay $3.00 to see that. I wish I could see the staff issue in print, but I have to conserve my ink. I'm on my last cartridge and I can't afford to buy any more until next month. Funds are tight right now until I can (finally) get some writing done and generate some income that I might see in six months or so (probably a year).

I have let the house go to pieces while my butt has been welded to the seat of this chair focused on two computer screens that scroll out endless lines of code with the occasional word or URL I actually recognize. My feet and legs are swollen from so much sitting, but I'm getting out of here shortly. I have a few things to write, like reviews and some messages, not to mention a story or two, but for the most part I am going to spend this day outside looking up at the lakes floating overhead, ominous with another deluge. It rained yesterday and everything is fresh and bright...including me. I might just make it thru this little sink hole of hassles.

I forgot to bring in the feeder until 10 last night, but bringing it in the previous three nights may have discouraged the persistent thieving raccoon who has decided my place is the best place for sweets. I'm still bringing it in. He may try his luck again, although not tonight. Tomorrow is trash day for some of the local residents and he'll be busy trying to get into the juicy yuppie offerings.

I am sad for a friend, too. I read her journal this morning, wondering where she has been the past two days, with the intent of scolding her for cheating on me at Scrabble. She has been in the depths, blaming herself and her job for her husband's death. I'm not a fatalist, but I know one thing for sure, there is a predetermined time for our deaths and no matter what we would have done differently, our friends, enemies, and loved ones will still die when it is their time. Not being home to prevent his actions would not have mattered. He would have died some other way...or even the same way. You don't know. It's like having a child. You can't watch them every single moment of every single day and eventually they are going to get hurt, get sick, and even die and nothing you do will change that.

T, my best friend and my sister, went to the babysitter's to pick up her first son, picked him up from the crib, and he was silent and cold. He was dead. She still remembers putting her lips on his cold, blue lips and trying to give him CPR. The cold hard touch of his tiny lips against hers haunts her even now over 18 years later. If she had come a few minutes earlier or not gone to work that day, would she have been able to save him? Would he have died? Probably. As hard as it is to understand for those of us left behind, the fact is that we cannot change the past and beating ourselves up over it doesn't help. I know that is small consolation and it doesn't make the pain any less, but ultimately when we mourn we are sad for ourselves and not for the person who is gone.

I miss having someone to hold and share my thoughts, dreams, and time with, but I realize it is not in the cards for me. I have had love, great love, but it is gone and I have to look forward because I'll stumble and fall, unable to move, if I keep looking backward. I miss not being able to share every moment of my children's lives, watching them grow up and grow into their adult lives, but I can't change that either. I miss my youngest son, but I cannot change what happened or why. I wish I had more money and could have given my children the lives I feel they deserved; I still do. But I am poor and I'm barely making it right now. What I do know is that change is constant and though I am poor today and may be even poorer tomorrow, I will survive. I will find a way. In the end, if the world was destroyed tomorrow or someone dropped a bomb and you remained, could you still be happy without all the trappings and conveniences of civilization or would you spend your last days and hours mourning what you've lost? If you do, you'll die. Survivors carry the guilt for those who no longer care or even worry that they have moved on to the next plane of existence.

Happiness is not found in things, as wonderful and enticing as they seem to be. Happiness is a feeling and cannot be bought and sold. There's always more to have, more to get, more to reach for, but ultimately happiness is inside you. Can you reach it? Do you really want it?

Children are acquisitive creatures. They want what they see. They want the next, the brightest, the newest, but most innovative and technologically spectacular whatever they see, like crows and magpies picking up sparkling objects from wherever they see them no matter who owns them. But ultimately having is not happiness. Remember back to when you were a child or, if that is too dim a memory, when your children were little, what was their favorite toy? Was it the big, beautiful, bright and most expensive toy you could afford or was it some ratty old stuffed animal or blanket they wouldn't give up even long enough to wash, or a big spoon and an empty coffee can (like me)? Remember the look on their faces or the feeling when you played with your favorite toy. That is happiness.

If you want more, get more. Do what it takes. Give up what you love and cherish: your dreams, your future, your free time, or whatever Sacrifice yourself on the alter of more and give up what means most to you just so you can have what everyone else seems to have. Lie, cheat, steal, if necessary, and get that fancy house, fast car, latest technologically marvelous whatever and turn away from what really matters. It's out there and no one will bat an eyelash if you get what everyone else has in whatever way you can.

I know a woman who has a big beautiful house and lots of pretty land all around her. She has mortgaged her soul to hold onto it and even has her family working to help her maintain what she cannot. She has lots of gadgets, a pool, a deck, the best of everything and she had it with a husband, once upon a time, but their idyllic life was a sham. He led a double life. He had another child with another woman and spent much of his time with her. At home, he and his wife fought over their respective children, neither liking their spouses children from previous marriages, but they had lots of nice shiny new things and they loved to tell everyone how much it all cost and how it was the best and brightest and didn't you feel cheated because you didn't have as much. Their lives looked good from the outside, but they were miserable. She was in love with him, but less than two weeks after he left her for the other woman and his child with her, she was dating someone else, weeping and wailing how he done her wrong, but she was back out there. She had a boarder for a while, but even he moved on, and yet she still lives in that big house alone, the house and dream she still mortgages her life to maintain, but it is all show. Her house is bigger and fancier and more expensive than anyone else's in her family, but she isn't happy. She will never be happy, but she'll make sure everyone knows she has the best and she still has the trappings, the illusion of prosperity and success. But illusions aren't worth anything real or lasting. She is alone. She doesn't really care about her children, except when it comes to doing her duty to them. She has always bought them whatever they wanted, took them on wonderful vacations every year, but she sold herself and her happiness to get them. When all is said and done, her life is about nothing but work. She enjoys nothing. She loves nothing but the work, the acquisition of the trappings of success and prosperity, and she is not happy. She smiles. She laughs. She buys. But she is not happy.

Another woman of my acquaintance robbed her ailing grandmother of everything she has saved and worked for, taking vacations around the world, buying a big fancy house, and keeping her family in the style to which she had become accustomed, but she isn't happy either. She has to live every day with the knowledge that everything she owns, does, and has seen was taken from someone who loved and cherished her...if she thinks of it at all. She has a family, having divorced her previous husband because he couldn't make enough money to suit her, a wealthy and prosperous husband, a big house, goes on wonderful vacations, and looks happy, but she isn't. There is a dark worm eating her from the inside, hollowing her out because of what she sacrificed to have what looks so nice from the outside. She comes from a family to whom prosperity and the trappings of success mean everything. But she is not happy.

Or would it be better to look at what you have and nor worry what anyone else has. Don't be embarrassed if you can give your children or yourself what you think you want. Two weeks from now it won't matter when you're doing what you love and being with those that matter most in your life.

What are you willing to sacrifice for the trappings of success?

What do you love?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

One night in cyber hell

I spent last night until 7:30 this morning in cyber hell. The Rose & Thorn site had to be reset and then uploaded again, except FrontPage would not play at all with the server. Uninstalled and re-installed the extensions twice, but still no soap. Now, before all the computer geeks get on me about using FP, sit down and forget it. It was the only program available on this computer and I was sort of thrust into the position of webmaster. You go with what works. I've used Page Maker and I like that, but FP is easy for anyone to learn and it streamlines a lot -- if you don't mind funny symbols in place of normal things like ampersands, carets, and quotes. It all comes out in the wash.

Anyway, I have an FTP program I got with a PDF converter to convert the 2004 Staff Issue to PDF from MS Word and decided to give it a go, especially since the FREE program I downloaded wouldn't send me the key code to unlock it. And into the Mines of Moria I went without a clue it was overrun with orcs, trolls and a Balrog. I couldn't seem to get it to work and went searching for info on how and what and where to do what I needed to do. I also figured out the problem with our Poetry and Prose Boards and the cpanel telling me there were boards still listed under names that were deleted...they were still there, nonfunctional, but there all the same. I have to call the Host again and I'm getting really tired of dealing with them. They should have gotten the problem fixed the first time I called instead of making me go thru this whole thing again.

Got the site uploaded, minus a few little things like hover buttons that appear and work with their links intact (and I just can't wait to hear from the EIC and her pet troll about that), and shut down the site and my functions as I stumbled into the bedroom, scraped off my clothes, and fell into bed only to be awakened by two phone calls, both of which I refused to get out of bed to answer. They were still waiting for me when I woke on my own at 11:30. One was a call from QWest, probably about buying some new service or product I neither need nor want, and the other was an 800 number I do not recognize. If they really want me, they can call back so I can properly ignore them while I'm awake.

I also had a lovely surprise in the wee hours of my trudge thru the bogs of cyber hell. Mike actually found a way to steal the website and lock me out. I own the site and Christian of my stuff, and put one page of his lying crap up there. Talk about Christian morals, virtues, and honesty. He won't pay me what he owes for my work or the website, for which I paid two years of freight and domain name, but he'll undercut me, steal my site, and have one of his Christian buddies put up his crap. Now if that isn't an advertisement for conversion to Christianity I don't know what is. And he had the nerve to tell me that as a Christian I was bound by God not to talk about him behind his back or speak of all the things he did to me, like lying about being married, like taking every last cent of my money (always promising to pay me back) and then shoving me out the door of a train at 100 mph with a smile and a reminder about the goodness and decency and honor of Christians, like being a thieving, conniving, money hungry, materialistic, son of a biscuit eater while spouting Bible verses and chastising everyone about their lack of Christianity. Give me a big fat break.

As if the last 20 hours of my life hasn't been grueling enough, someone sends me a message about Pat Boone and his letter to Christopher Ruddy, news editor at NewsMax about CBS and then I find out the head of Alfred A. Knopf publishing is giving Slick Willy in excess of $8M to write his memoirs of his time in the White House because it's a part of history. While I was battling the Balrog in cyber hell, the world disintegrated and I've ended up in the Twilight Zone of Twighlight Zones that neither Rod Serling nor Philip K. Dick could have envisioned in their wildest manic fantasies. Hillary's piece of garbage didn't earn a tenth of the advance her publishers gave her and they knew that going in. Now her sleazy, woman chasing, lying, ignorant son of a whorehouse maven gets even more money Knopf knows his book won't make back and good writers are forced to scrape up, beg, borrow, and steal enough money to get their own books published. Yep, the world has spun off its axis and the worst lunatics are in charge of the asylum. Somebody drop an atomic bomb on the whole lot of these prevaricating, vermicious knids and let me live in a kinder, simpler, more peaceful world.

That is all!


Monday, June 07, 2004

Cool and comfortable

I'm sitting here half naked (don't get your knickers in a twist -- I'm wearing a bra top and shorts) and the sky outside is cobalt blue with big fluffy clouds touring slowly overhead. The breeze thru the trees is deliciously cool without being cold and the sun is deceptively mild. A few minutes too many out on the deck and I'd be toast.

I left the bedroom window open all the way last night and this morning was awakened by the sound of a lark or some other warbler singing. I think spring finally made it to the mountains. The air is redolent with the scents of growing things and flowers carried on the breeze. The aspens are lime green and bursting with leaves. The stark landscape of winter is blurred by the spring dress rehearsal for summer. The deck sparkles with fool's gold dust and soon will be green with pine pollen. It is a beautiful day and I feel restless.

I want to drink all this in before the coming of winter again, which will be all too soon here in the mountains. I need the chuckle of a mountain stream tripping over rocks and the buzz of industrious bees gathering nectar and pollen. I need action and activity and a change of scenery. I want to go to the desert and soak up the dust of the ancients, walk in their footsteps and climb tumbled boulders to the summit and into the warrens of pueblo indians tending fires and life.

But I'll settle for having the R&T website working again so I can move on. Maybe that is the restlessness I feel--the need to be on about my work and my life.

In the meantime, if anyone is interesting in tapping the tree for the sap of knowledge, check out the classes at Scribe & Quill and join in the fun.

Sunday, June 06, 2004


I am feeling at loose ends like a revved up race car at the starting line and they won't drop the flag. And so I sit.

I handed in my notice to the editor in chief of The Rose & Thorn almost a week ago, but I'm still here. It's as if something is holding me back, keeping me from moving on. First it was all these changes to the staff issue and then more changes to the web site, none of which would go thru because the host is screwy right now. I finally called them today and asked what was going on and how soon I could expect it to be fixed. Six to twelve hours. In the meantime, the EIC is bugging me about canning the contest and the staff issue "if it's too much trouble", which basically means she doesn't want to deal with it anyway, especially since I won't be there to carry the load.

I don't feel like I can move on until this last issue is safely up and working properly. I'm just tired of trying to get it right because I am ready to move. If I don't turn my back on R&T soon it will seem like I was just trying to get some attention, which is the least of my worries or needs at any given time, but most especially now. I need to get back to writing and submitting my work. I can't until this is done. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow. As Scarlett always said, Tomorrow is another day. Like there was an option for tomorrow to be another week or month or year or elbow.

I know. I'm being a bit sarky right now. But I itch and nothing seems to help, which means I'm am tense and unsettled. My body reacts to my inner turmoil by itching.

On another note, there is a thieving raccoon climbing up on the deck railing and spilling what he doesn't drink of the hummingbirds' syrup. Two days in a row I went out on the deck to find the syrup was all gone. I didn't think the birds could go thru four cups of syrup, but I couldn't figure out what else was happening. And then I saw the shadow and white rimmed eyes of a great big old raccoon. And I do mean big. He's about the size of a German Shepard. Of course it might be a she raccoon, but the result is the same. Thief. I brought the feeder in last night and the hummingbirds scolded and circled and buzzed and whistled at me. It was nearly dark and the coon shows up just after the sun goes down. I didn't want to forget and leave him with more of their food. Tonight when I took it down they scolded and whistled at me again, so I stood on the deck holding the feeder while they flitted and sipped and landed for a good long drink. I didn't think they'd do that but I was wrong. Guess they're getting used to me being out there.

My plants are in various stages of growth and I had to heavily water my pole beans because the leaves looked a mite withered and dry. They perked right up and I noticed I had quite a few two-inch long beans. I guess they're going to grow after all. The one test pea I planted is also growing and sending out tendrils.

I did one quick writing project this afternoon while I was fussing with the R&T web site and trying not to scream and throw things. (It's rare, but it does happen when I'm really frustrated and something still isn't working). I wrote a quick 230-word essay about writing -- But I'm Doing it Right. It comes from the sudden realization that I'm spending a lot of time sending out clips and resumes and looking for markets, but I haven't really written anything of note for a couple of weeks. Not a good thing at all. In order to be published one must write. I did think it was funny--not in a ha-ha way--that market searches and clips and organization can be a way to put off writing. So here it is quick and short.

But I Did it Right

I just don't understand why I'm not getting published. I did everything right, but let me go over the check list again.

I bought plenty of paper and ink to print out my submissions. I invested in a good computer and spell check program to make sure errors don't get past me.

I have all the books on characterization, dialogue, formatting, and markets and I have read and made detailed notes. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent going over markets and updating my files on editors, agents, and publishers, but it's safe to say I spend at least 30 to 40 hours a week making sure my submissions don't go astray. I even have plenty of SASEs of all sizes typed and stamped, ready to send. I have been very thorough and organized.

I thoroughly read and research my target markets and magazines, making sure I know exactly what they publish, but I'm still not getting published. I'm doing everything right, but nothing's happening. I must have left something out.

Supplies, organization, research, marketing, studying, reading, and keeping updated copies of my files. There's nothing missing that I can see. Stamps, SASEs, right size envelopes, and a quiet room of my own to write.

Oh, yes, I see. All the marketing and organization and preparation don't matter if I don't write.

Well, I did almost everything right.