A New Year, A Clean Sweep, All That.

It’s a new year. I’m in a mood to organize my life. I’m cleaning the kitchen as I rarely do. A few poor spiders have had an unpleasant time of it today. They’ve wobbled off in a panic. They can return to a clean home when they’re ready.

We don’t kill spiders in this house. My husband is very pro-spider. They kill other bugs, other good things. Can’t think of what they are right now, but I’ve had that drummed into my head.

I’ll cleaning up my desktop, trying to weed out duplicate files and move my many projects to two 64-GB sticks that will hold all or most of my data. I have all but the latest Maisie stuff saved on eight or nine lesser-capacity thumb drives, but I want my files ganged, easier to locate.

I’ve having problems moving them. I keep getting an error message: Error 10006. The transfer stops dead in its tracks. I don’t know what 10006 is. I’ve googled it and I still don’t understand. But I find that if I do a few files at a time, I mostly manage.

My major time periods that I write about are the late sixteenth century and nineteen-twenties/thirties Broadway and Hollywood. I have gobs of files dealing with both eras. I’m forever grabbing interesting bits of information. Only yesterday I found this:

“When we did a scene together, we forgot about technique, camera angles, and microphones. We weren’t acting. We were just two people in perfect harmony.” – William Powell on working with Myrna Loy.

Isn’t that marvelous? Maisie works with William Powell on several films. They had a special relationship (according to her). I can see Powell saying that about my mouse, who adored him, by the way.

In terms of research, sometimes I have a specific goal in mind. Other times I just grab, sure I’ll find a use for it sooner or later. I have a file on the history of shoulder pads. I’d like to get at it. I added it into something else and failed to resave and rename it.

Wallace Beery, I have a file on him. He and Maisie were also good friends. Beery was Gloria Swanson’s first husband. How did that ugly mug win goddess Swanson? She was just starting out. He was already a huge star. Swanson may have seen it as a smart career move, who knows?

The problem with gathering new information is that I have ‘Maisie in Hollywood’ built as a 48-page book. I have art laid in, and areas set aside for art-to-come. The type is tightly structured with wrap-arounds and section breaks at strategic spots. I’d like to add recently discovered material, but I don’t dare. To mess with it may be big trouble.

I can’t see reducing the art. I have a lot of type and I want to break it up with a major image on every double-page spread. I am trying to trick the reader into thinking there isn’t so terribly much text. I don’t know if I can slip that by, so I want to make it as much fun to look at as I can. The story is my usual arch nonsense, not remotely for children, although it’s about a mouse, her tale told in prose . . . and in paper dolls.

I’m down at the moment. Not because of the above, because of a bad back and bad knees. And there’s the political climate, and the Covid. But mostly because of the back and knees. I’m over the hill, I’m afraid. I used to look forward to a new gardening season. Now I dread it. In the garden last summer is how I hurt my back.

Who’s optimistic for the new year? Tell me about it.


8 thoughts on “A New Year, A Clean Sweep, All That.

  1. Happy New Year, Mimi, to you, the hubby, Maisie, Sly, et al -the whole menagerie residing at your home. If y’all can’t have a good time, I don’t know who can!
    I suspect 2021 will be like 2020 for a few months, then, hopefully, we will enjoy the Roaring Twenties, just like they did after the 1918 pandemic. (That does sound like the kind of social atmosphere your books will fit right into.)

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Happy New Year, Mimi! Charming opening paragraph heading this blog post.

    What is there to look forward to in 2021? Books, film, music, food, drink, sex, sleep. The opportunity to continue to hone our craft. Laughter amongst friends.

    Or as George Burns put it: “Every day above ground is a good day.”


    Liked by 7 people

    • George Burns! I remember their early shows from the 50’s, black & white. When he suspected Gracie was plotting against him, he’d go upstairs and turn on his television set to watch her. Has anybody used that as a writing technique?

      Liked by 3 people

  3. themargret says:

    I’m optimistic that Sci-Fi Lampoon will start to get more traction and we can afford to pay more to contributors. As for the politics, pandemics, and crap, yeah, not-so-much.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Can we retain optimism in the face of bad back and bad knees? Covid will eventually be vaccined away, but there’s no vaccine for the aches of aging. Maybe rye or Chardonnay, but they’re only palliatives.
    I do feel optimistic, but that’s just who I am. I was optimistic last year. But I have three books to publish and promote, to see if anybody will buy them and read them—or at least leave nice reviews. Good reviews give me a shot of optimism.
    May the new year bring us joy and optimism and good story ideas—and rejuvenated joints.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Perry Palin says:

    Happy New Year, Mimi!

    I look forward to 2021. When we get past these pandemic surges, things will be better.

    This morning I completed my state sales tax forms for my writing “business,” and I realized that I earned almost no money from writing in 2020. The good news is that I didn’t lose anything. The business account is in the black.

    Meanwhile, I wrote a 400 word book review for a friend that will appear soon in a regional periodical. The editor liked the submission. The friend’s wife and sons loved the review. The friend says he owes me big time. That’s how I profit from writing.

    In 2020 I wrote one of my best short stories, inspired by a pretty girl whom I loved in college. We haven’t talked in over 50 years. I found her online. We live only 40 miles apart. She dared to read the story, said she loved it, and when the pandemic has eased in 2021 she and her husband will treat me and my wife to drinks and dinner at a nice restaurant between our homes. Another profit from writing.

    I was contacted online by a man 2000 miles away who said he liked my contributions to an online message board which, among other things, entertains mostly true stories. In a short correspondence I was able to answer a couple of his questions. When he learned where I live, he said he annually visits old friends that live only five miles away. I’ve met his friends, don’t know them well, but it is a small world. He offered to buy my lunch when he’s in the neighborhood this summer. Another profit from writing.

    I’ve posted earlier how I’m fighting a cancer. Yesterday I had a post-op visit with my surgeon, who said things are looking good, and to check in with him again in three months. So far, so good. I’m back to full service on the barn chores, and we have wonderful snow now for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Haven’t got back to housework yet; maybe in the spring? There were expenses with my diagnosis, consults with a half dozen doctors and dentists, various scans and tests, and surgery and a hospital overnight, but my insurance covered most of it and the balance in the health savings account grew faster in 2020 than I was able to use it. Can’t complain.

    Next week we start our winter writing class, this time by Zoom. Will I be able to manage with our snail’s pace rural internet service? We’ll see. I have two good ideas for stories, each of which may lead to new friends.

    20201 will be a good year. I know it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Great post, Perry! Thanks for keeping us informed re: your health.

      I, too, have made–and deepened–many friendships through my writing. Most recently, I recall Marc Grose (my producer on Inflections in Horror) and I sharing many laughs and wry enthusiasms during the recording of that album in his apartment. There I was, crammed into his sweater-stuffed closet, intoning into a studio-quality microphone while he coached between takes: “Channel Rod Serling, Carl! 1930s-era radio announcers. Vincent Price.” The absurdity of it all would oftentimes cause us to crack up; we’d take a short break from recording in order to re-center ourselves and assume the proper solemnity for some of those darker weird tracks. Ah, good times!

      PS. At one point during our sessions Marc told me, “Can’t wait to tell my hip-hop stars–who usually demand all manner of alcoholic beverages and/or other substances near to hand during a recording session–of your one diva demand, buddy: a half-gallon of ice-cold chocolate milk. Hilarious! At least it wasn’t cowboy hat and cap pistols.”

      Liked by 4 people

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