Monday, October 19
I had a weird dream about Jo. He was over at my house, hanging out with me and the family. For some reason, all the lights in the house were off, but the windows were enlarged, and bare of all window treatment. The crowd of us was downstairs, blabbing and mingling around in the dark, between the kitchen and living room. The enlarged windows revealed the dim but beautiful, purple-blue light of dusk. It was a more intense purple-blue than usual.
Jo stayed close by me, through the whole gathering. Every time others in the room had their backs turned for a second, or if they got distracted by the other conversations going on, Jo would quietly slip a wad of cash into my hand. The first time he did this, I thanked him, and asked him what this was for. He pretended to not hear me, and kept talking. So I got the hint that I’m supposed to keep quiet about this. Then he snuck another wad of cash into my hand, and another, and another. I appreciated his generosity, but this was a weird way of expressing it, and it was making me uncomfortable. In real life, I had given him an extra 200 pounds, for editing my same damn book, for the millionth time. This equaled to about $284. In the dream, I was worried that he would end up giving me back all the money that I paid him and more. It clearly felt like the wads of money he kept giving me were of American bills. After the tenth or dozenth wad, I couldn’t keep quiet anymore. “Jo! What are you doing?!” I asked. “You’re giving me back, like, all the bonus money I gave you!”
He stopped talking, and looked towards me, as though to answer, but before I got an answer, I was suddenly outside.
I was walking away from the house, by myself. Heading down the driveway, and down the street. It was still dusk outside, but the street was brightly lit with silver L E D streetlights. This is the part where the dream got stupid, because the curbs of the street were replaced by mounds of plain, cooked pasta and white rice.
Whenever my editor appears in a dream, it usually means that I’m either going to get an email from him, or I’m going to see him that day. There is something a little paranormal about Jo. Spooky, psychicish things like that often happen to those who work with him.
It was vacation, so I switched off my phone’s 7:00 A M alarm, and slept in. I had coffee with vacation-style junk creamer, instead of the vegan kind that’s made with almond milk. Their coffee maker was awesome. It was one of those with no carafe. So the coffee never burns or gets stale and pissy smelling.
While turning on the Apple Music hard rock station, I realized that the wi-Fi they gave us was a pain in the ass. Well, maybe not really. I’m just a technologically spoiled diva. The resort had a menu of other wi-Fi options. Some were secure, and others were unsecured. They gave us an unsecured one, which means that you don’t need a password to log into it. All you do is tap on its name on the menu, and your in. Perhaps It wasn’t necessary for me to explain that to all of you who are most likely more technically in-the-know, but this was something new to me. I thought it was cool, at first, until I discovered that every time you lock your phone, or put your computer to sleep, you get bumped off of the wi-Fi. Every time I unlocked the phone screen, god forbid I had to inconvenience a minute or so of my time, swiping through the wi-Fi menu to get back on our assigned network.
When the clock struck eleven that morning, it was time for Monday’s Write-In, with the Writers’ Mastermind Group. The Write-In is when we authors and aspiring authors among the group meet up on Zoom, Mondays at 11:00 A M, and now on Fridays at 3:30 P M, Eastern Standard time. These meetings are for writers whose day jobs and busy schedules get in the way of their writing time. First, everybody who shows up spends a few minutes catching up with one another. Then Christa, who hosts these meetings, sets her timer, and puts the whole room, including herself, on mute for one hour. Within that hour, we are to get as much work done on our books, as we can. When the hour is up, we all share our W I P updates, and then just hang out for a while.
I don’t have a day job, or a husband and kids to care for. My busy schedule is all in my mind. Nobody outside of my head is obligating me to write, read, and go on social media at such-and-such day and time. So I don’t necessarily need to attend these Write-Ins. The way my quirky brain operates, the Write-Ins are honestly more of a hindrance to my natural flow of productivity, than being of any help. However, I love them.
It’s fun to hang out with other writers, and exchange gossip about our characters, as though they are real. We’ll exchange opinions on each other’s work too. I bought group members’ books, and some members bought their own copy of HECCTROSSIPY (book 1) The Legend of the Land. And we promised to give each other reviews, or blog about one another’s books.
When people started showing up to Christa’s Zoom waiting room, sure enough, there was Jo.
As much as I love the Write-Ins, and writing is my Lord and Savior, the Tuscany Resort is not the most concentration-friendly environment. They have staff outside, constantly primping up the landscaping. So all throughout the day, there’s either a lawn mower going, a hedge trimmer, or some other peace disturbing yard equipment.
While me and the group members got our pre-writing blab on, someone started up a lawn mower that sounded large and powerful enough to mow the grass plus the trees and buildings. It mowed down the sound of our conversation too.
When the timer was set, and it was time to write, I had to go look for an outlet to plug in my Mac Book. The poor old thing’s battery is near the end of its life. So it has to be plugged in, if I want to use the computer for more than ten minutes. The closest available outlet was at the wet bar, which was on the other side of the room. At first, I thought this was a risky place to put the computer. Thankfully, the sink didn’t turn on full-blast, by itself, and the nearby bottles of spring water didn’t spontaneously explode.
When I pulled up a chair at the wet bar, and started writing, the lawn mower thankfully stopped. But only to make way for the noise bomb that went off by my workspace. The wet bar was near the lock-off’s front door, which faced an echoey walkway. Someone was shouting something in Spanish. Rattling room service carts came passing by, along with a stomping tribe of rowdy kids. A neighboring room was being vacuumed, and then someone started up a leaf blower. So yeah, I didn’t get much writing done.
Even so, it was a wonderful write-in, because after the hour was up, the group members told me what I wanted to hear. That it’s perfectly OK if you’re not one of those writers who could pound out a thousand or so words an hour. Even Jo, who always seemed like a speeding novel dispenser, admitted that, on average, he gets about a little over 400 words done a day. My fellow blogger friend and group member, Clennell, mentioned a writing group called something like, The 10-Minute Novel, which is for those whose schedules are SO swamped, they could only squeeze in some writing time during their bus rides to and from work, or during their lunch break. Aspiring writers with that kind of life are lucky if they could get just a paragraph done each day, but it all adds up.
While trying to make it as an author, it’s really hard to not feel burdened by the pressure to be productive. Especially when writing a series. Some of the group members, and even the authors I follow here on WordPress are SO… FREAKING… PRODUCTIVE! It’s like, every time they exhale, they have a new book out. Or they’re working on the next one in the series, and also an outline for a fresh new story idea, all while writing short stories on the side. And it’s not like these writers are just slopping ideas onto documents. I’ve read samples of their work, and they’re GOOD, god dammit! Grrrrrrr! It makes me so jealous. So intimidated too. How could I compete, when it took me THREE YEARS to complete the first HECCTROSSIPY book? It took a year-and-a-half to complete the first DARK ADMIRATION book, but that one is going to be the fourth one under the Velva Leena series category. So it won’t be released until after the third HECCTROSSIPY book. I started my dozenth or so re-write of the second book, back in March, and I’m still nowhere near being finished. It’s a well-known fact among the writing community, that you should never take a long time to write the next book in your series. People will forget about you, and forget about what happens in your story, which would make them not feel all that pumped up about the next installment. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!
…Relax… Take a few deep breaths… The Writers’ Mastermind group says, take a chill pill. Everybody goes at their own pace. Miracle willing, I’l get each installment completed and published, in less than a year.
It’s hard for me to stay satisfied with what I’ve written. There’s always something to tweak, something to add or delete or rearrange. I’ll get a chapter done, and be on a high about it. Then a new idea would come rudely barging in, about how I could make this and that scene so much better. This, of course, really dddrrraaawwwsss ooouuuttt the novel writing process. Sadly, a couple other members among the group have to put up with the same issue. Fingers crossed that this perfectionism insanity will pay off…
After the Zoom meeting, I hung out at the parents’ suite for a little while, where mom read to me. Yeah, I know, I’m a grown-ass woman in her 40s, and mom still reads to me sometimes. Very cute, huh. Pllllll!
Long, long ago, we used to have a morning ritual where she would read to me, while we had our coffee. We read mostly non fiction. A lot of personal growth books and spiritual type books, inspirational stories, and stories about miracles. Then I started going out in the mornings more often. Going to the gym, or attending classes at this or that program for those with disabilities. Then I lived in a separate place for a few years. Meanwhile, the parents got more and more into watching TV in the morning. So our cozy reading ritual gradually fizzled out.
She brought an Anne Rule book to the condo, one of Rule’s true crime story collections. We had started this book exactly a year ago, during our last resort vacation! I hoped we could finish the book this time around. We got into a story about a sweet little housewife named Nancy, and her best friend, Rose, who was in an unhappy marriage. Rose’s husband, Art, was a good guy. It was Rose who seemed like a prissy bitch that didn’t appreciate him. Still, Nancy sided with Rose, no matter what. Her unconditional loyalty towards her was a bit overboard. Enough to where she assumed it would make Rose happy, if she had Art killed. So Rose could be free of her marriage, and have Art’s million-dollar trust fund. The way Nancy conspired this murder was so twisted and manipulative, and how this story ended up with a holy-shit ending, there just has to be a LifeTime movie based on this story.
Mom read until her throat dried up. So I went back to my lock-off, and didn’t do anything according to plan. My book just came out! So there was no time to waste! I had to go hype it up on all of my social media outlets. However, vacation laziness overruled this plan. Christa had already promoted HECCTROSSIPY on social media, and so did Jo and Ross. I used this as an excuse to be a lazy turd for the rest of the day.
There was not going to be any indulging in TMZ and Judge Judy this vacation. To my great annoyance, the resort changed their TVs to be more high tech, in a way that’s not accessibility-user friendly.
It used to be, when you turned the TV on, it would be on the Tuscany resort channel, which has TV guide and movie rental menus and such. All you had to do was simply hit the Channel-Up button on the remote, and it took you to their selection of regular TV channels. I loved it that way, dammit. Mom or dad would just show me where the basic buttons were on the remote, and I was fine on my own. Now when you turn the TV on, you have to visually point and click the remote at the icon on the screen that puts it on regular TV mode. This takes you to the Tuscany resort channel, where the Channel-Up button no longer takes you to the regular channels. You have to visually point and click the remote at some other icon, and only then can you watch TV.
Booooooooo! Not cool, Tuscany! Not cool at all!
I sure as hell wasn’t up to driving my parents nuts, coming into their condo a couple times each day, like, “Could you help me turn the TV on?”, “Could you help me turn the TV off?”, “Could you help me turn the TV on?”, “Could you help me turn the TV off?”
Luckily, my favorite pass-times are on my I-phone, anyway.
Among my inner rabbit hole of many levels of synesthesia, musical synesthesia is one of the forms of mixed sensory that I actually don’t resent having. Yeah, it’s like color-sounds, but different. Music doesn’t just send patterns of colors and shapes parading across my brain. I could feel the colors and shapes dancing, slithering, and swishing through my skin and internal organs. The patterns of melody, rhythm, and tones of singing are different electrical currents of emotion and expression that surge through my torso. No matter what the sound of the music looks, smells, tastes, or feels like, it sends all kinds of mental movie images into my mind that can put on one heck of a grand, imaginary story show. I could easily waste hours of time, just tripping out on music.
Apple Music has a selection of radio stations that broadcast live, from all over the world. So I spent most of the rest of that day streaming radio from Kenya, Germany, Thailand, Norway, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and several Latin American countries. It was addictive. Sadly, the dreams from my youth, of living a globe trotting, jet-set lifestyle weren’t written in my cards. So this was the next closest thing to world travel.
It was interesting to listen to, and compare the tones and patterns of different languages. The Norwegian radio personalities spoke with a bouncier, almost singsong tone, while the radio voiceover guy from Thailand sounded kind of reprimanding. The people from some of those Spanish speaking countries can talk at the speed of light. It’s amazing that a human tongue could move that fast! Those people would definitely get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie pop, before any english speaking people could.
While listening, I thought about how, somewhere in those faraway countries, someone was listening to the same radio station at the exact same moment. Thailand’s time zone is 11 hours ahead of Florida. At the time of the afternoon I was listening to their pop music station, it was a wee hour of the morning where they were. Who in Thailand was up at that hour, listening to that station too? A College student, cramming all night, before a test? Someone with a nightshift security job? An unfortunate young person who can’t sleep, due to the pain and suffering from terminal illness?
Germany is 6 hours ahead of Florida. It was around 11:00 at night over there, when I was listening to their pop hits. Who was listening in Germany? Someone on their way home from a visit with their secret lover? Yeah, my imagination flies off the handle like that.
It was evening, when I started listening to the station from Singapore, but it was Tuesday morning over there. The station had on a morning show, very much like the silly morning shows on American radio stations. I was surprised that the radio personalities, and all the people that called in, spoke full-blown English. They just had a cute, Singapore accent. There was a morning show on, on the station from Indonesia too. I didn’t understand their language, but I could tell it was the same type of morning show, with goofy radio personalities, and people calling in to answer prize-winning questions.
It’s interesting how universal we as a human race, really are. The radio stations all around the world had the same types of radio jingles. Some jingles were snazzed up with the same types of electronic sound affects. I heard commercials for a lot of the same types of things, like car dealerships, insurance, and fast food. Except that these ads were spoken with different accents, and some countries have different car and fast food Preferences. We are more universal than a lot of people would probably want to admit. I had also observed this, by watching a lot of travel shows, through the years. However, as universal as humans may be, we still stubbornly insist on being tribal and cliquish, with this need to fight with other tribes and cliques over whose dominant, and whose right. So that could only mean that not getting our shit together is our most universal characteristic.
Love you all! Post you, hopefully tomorrow!