Coffee heat rising

Walloped, continued

Well I’m still alive, believe it or not, and still more or less ambulatory. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 3 weeks since I fell out by the pool and and broke my shoulder. Since then my right arm has been in a sling 24 hours a day, except for a few minutes per day in the shower. That’s jolly fun. The pain has slowly gotten a little bit better, day by day in almost unnoticeable increments. This evening as a matter of fact it feels a lot better than it has over the past couple of weeks.

Yesterday — migod was only yesterday? — my son drove me out to the Mayo for more X-rays and consultation with the orthopedist. This soaked up half of his day and mine, too.

The young doc’ — who actually is a PA — ordered a vast round of X-rays to be done before we met with him.

Now, the problem with the Mayo’s X-ray department is that they operate at the speed of a galloping snail. They plunk you down in the lobby outside their four x-ray rooms and…you wait. And wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait… I must have sat there 45 minutes waiting for them to get around to X-raying my shoulder, a job theoretically scheduled at 12:45. Only two other people were waiting to be x-rayed. So that was a bit stressful, if you find annoyance to be stressful.

On the other hand, the technician was awesome. She took photos of this damn thing from every angle you can imagine and then some. By the time we got in to see Young PA Kildare, we had a very detailed set of the images.

He said he thinks it will heal up completely in another 6 to 8 weeks. But in the meantime he wants me to start physical therapy.

The nearest physical therapy outfit is about three miles away. I’ve been in there before and was magnificently unimpressed. My long-ago physical therapist, who really was awesome, has moved into tonier realms, and I will be damned if I want to drive to Scottsdale to get to a PT.

Which brings us to the next problem: I can’t drive. And my son cannot keep on taking time off work to schlep me around the city. Yesterday soaked up his entire afternoon. He is supposed to be working. He manages a crew of underlings. He cannot be gone all day long. So how the hell I’m going to get to this place escapes me. In theory I could walk: three miles (one way) is not that far for me. But in the shape I’m in just now, really it’s too far. Plus it would require walking most of the way along major horrible thoroughfares, every one of them seven lanes full of Looney Tunes. Driving on those streets is difficult enough, but walking alongside one of them…Holy shit.

So one of my chores today was to try to get my coreligionists to volunteer to schlep me over there… Three times a week. Or to somehow get the Uber application downloaded into the iPhone and try to figure out how to use it. But I ended up so so engrossed in the client’s project that I never got around to either one of those proposed chores.

God only knows how much it’s going to cost to have Uber or taxicabs haul me to this place and back home. And the hassle factor is more than I can contemplate! So that is something I’m going to have to figure out in the next few days.

On Monday when Luz the Wonderful Cleaning Lady arrives, I’ll ask her if she has time to haul me around once in a while, and if so, can I pay her to drive me back and forth to this place maybe once a week. And today when I can work up the strength, I’ll ask around the church.

Meanwhile, the beloved new client is hot to trot... Off to the University of Washington Press! She wants to get a formal proposal organized and sent to the editor there. As a practical matter, she does need to get started now: selling a book entails creating a proposal (which is a very BFD indeed) and then shopping it around to publisher after publisher.

In theory you’re not supposed to send proposals out to more than one publishing house at a time. I personally consider that to be BS and in the past have sent my proposals to four to six publishers at once. It would be a cold day in an Arizona July for two publishers to happen to stumble across each other and oh, yes, of course chat about your brilliant proposal and discover that they both received the same magnum opus on the same day. I just don’t think that’s going happen, and I think publishers’ attempts to inflict that kind of embargo on their writers are exploitive. I hesitate to tell the kid that. But may discuss it with her dissertation adviser, and also with my favorite current spy in scholarly publishing.

Also meanwhile, trying to edit copy by using Apple’s dictation system, which is about as knowledgeable as my dog, is just flikkin’ torture!!! Every passage, every sentence, every phrase pops up with error after error after error after error after error after error after error. Each one of which has to be manually fixed with one-finger, one-hand point-delete-point-tap. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. To fix one item is endlessly time-consuming. And to do it for hundreds of pages simply defies belief. Dictating a few sentences gives you things like this:

This passage is probably more appropriate for the proposal, to be addressed to publishers acquisitions editor rather then placed in the books introduction. Consider using much of this material for your proposal focusing the introduction on the background of the events and in research in which you set the book’s facts and pieces

Here is what it is supposed to say.

This passage is probably more appropriate for the proposal, to be addressed to a publisher’s acquisitions editor, rather than placed in the book’s introduction. Consider using much of this material for your proposal, focusing the introduction on the background of the events and on the research in which you set the the book’s facts and thesis.


Since then my right arm has been in a sling 24 hours a day.


Since then, the army has been wrestling 24 hours a day.


It feels a lot better than it has.


it feels a lot better than cats.

LOL!! How do cats feel, anyway?

What this fiasco means — and it is an ongoing, unending fiasco — is that every single sentence, every single phrase, every single word has to be scrutinized with x-ray vision to get it correct. And even then some weird mistakes are going to slip through. It is excruciatingly time-consuming — probably absorbs about three times as much time and effort as ordinary editing requires. I do not know when I am ever going to be able to get through the client’s copy, and I’m certainly instilling as many errors as I’m correcting.

I do have my moments of wondering whether I can continue with this project… I may have to tell her she’s going to have to find someone else to edit her book.

And that is going to make this a very expensive little accident. The project is worth several thousand dollars, all of which are about to go right straight down the drain.

None of this is helped by the chronic insomnia. I was awake between two and four this morning — well, 4 a.m. was the last time I looked at the clock. The day was overcast, which delayed the usual dawn awakening for me and the dog, but we rolled out of the sack at about six. And I am presently bat-brained exhausted.

Isn’t that amusing. Apple thinks the word Dawn is a trade name, and capitalize it CAPITALIZES …sumbiche!  Five tries to get the damn thing to spell capitalizes correctly!!!!!!!!!!!

I give up. Gotta go to bed. Good night, Mrs. Calabash!




Amazonian Frenzy!

Okay, so here we are in the comfort of our backyard, ordering up junk from Amazon from the comfort of our laptop computer. 😀 What a rip! The prices take your breath away…for ordinary items that you would blithely buy in a supermarket or drugstore.  Like $25 (+, +) for a couple of three-ounce tubes of the sunscreen demanded by the dermatologist.

Twenty bucks for a pack of three tiny little tubes of Lanacane, now almost out of stock because benzocaine, the ingredient that actually WORKS, has been taken off the market because a few morons smeared the stuff on their teething infants’ gums. They get stupid: the rest of us get to pay the price for it.

On the other hand, $13.99 for twenty pounds of wild bird seed, on offer from Walmart for $15.37.

Interesting. Did you know Walmart does free delivery on orders over $35? It’s iffy, though. When it comes to groceries, fresh produce is not included, and a lot of staple items (salt, for example) are only available for pick-up.

Even though I’d sure rather not pay to have this, that, and the other delivered to the house, it sure beats risking your life to go into a grocery store. Or worse, risking the annoyance of your Honored Son who has told you to stay the heck out of grocery stores. 😀

I must get to work. A wannabe client surfaced with a document he described as a grant application. Clearly he’d never before enjoyed writing any such thing (what…uhm, fun that is), so in addition to the language issues, there are basic problems with the document itself. Like, for example…it needs to be rewritten from top to bottom. And…since your project is already completed, what are you asking them to fund?

When I realized this, I quoted a rate of 8 cents a word, which is wayyy low for what is required. A squawk of agonized protest arose. He’s running late on a deadline and cannot understand why I won’t do it for a fraction of that. I explained that a copyeditor is not a ghostwriter. When I have to write a document for someone, I get something more like 30 cents a word — and that’s for book-length documents. Wouldn’t touch a magazine article for under 50 cents a word. And even that is low, if it’s coming out under a client’s by-line.

So it’s back and forth. He’s pretty desperate — up against a tight deadline. Allllright…so yesterday he sent some new copy that I suggested. Today somehow I’ll have to try to make this thing look like a convincing plea for money.

Off at dawn for about a mile of doggy-walk. The plan now is to split the desired two miles of daily exercise-walking between the pre-dawn hour and the after-dusk hour. It looks like it may work, to some degree.

Last night we encountered only two dogs — the same couple who have the lab and the pit bull. Luckily, I spotted them from a good distance off, and so stopped and waited for them to amble on up Feeder Street N/S. Otherwise, we had the streets of Richistan to ourselves.

This morning the only dog we encountered was the beloved and goofy Sammy, the adopted mutt of a couple who live to the north of us, on the po’ folks’ side of Feeder St. N/S. Sammy, who is the funniest-looking dog you’ve ever seen, with curly blond hair all over his bouncy body and…blond eyes. Yes! His eyes match the blond color of his fur!

So he’s a great pal of Ruby’s, and I enjoy his humans.

This may work out well, at least until it gets hot and more people are walking their dogs in cooler hours.

Later today I have to call Gerardo and see if he and his guys are OK. Yesterday evening whilst perusing the evening Play-Newz, I came across a report of a truck that crashed into a dentist’s office, over on the other side of North Central. Gerardo and his cousins live north of that area and slightly to the West, so he would have been headed off to work at about this time. And this thing looks exactly like his rig. I would put money on it that we’re lookin’ at his truck and trailer there.

If so, he’s out of business, at least for the time being. Sure hope he’s insured.

One of our fellow homicidal drivers ran the red light at that intersection. Two other vehicles crashed trying to avoid the collision.

We’ll find out in due time. It’s only 9 on a Sunday morning. He has religion, so will be rounding up his kids to drag them off to church at this hour…unless like mine, his church has not suspended services for the duration. Kinda doubt it, though…think he subscribes to some evangelical Prod denomination of the fanatically missionary persuasion.


Adventures in Medical Science: Allergy Edition

So, ohhhhh goodie, here I am at the Mayo Clinic (again!!! an hour’s drive through rush-hour traffic!) to be tested for allergic reaction to one of the several OTC meds that elicit tingling lips and swelling tongue.

They just gave me a tiny, tiny dose of ibuprofen and my lips are already tingling. Damn it! The wounded paw and the elbow and shoulder spavined in a fall a month ago still hurt. Though all that is slowly getting better, I still surely would appreciate being able to use some aspirin, or some ibuprofen, or some acetaminophen.

Apparently ibuprofen ain’t gonna make it, though. The microscopic dose they just gave me is already eliciting tingling lips and tongue. Of course, that could just be stress…I hate, hate, hate being in hospitals and doctors’ offices. My blood pressure goes right through the roof every time I have to come into one of these places.

Hmmm…. Interestingly, even that tiny bit of the stuff they gave me seems to be masking some of the pain, though. If I knew for sure this was not going to cause an eventual anaphylactic reaction, the trade-off would be worth it. But…if a ridiculously low dose like this one makes itself known, what would a full OTC pill do?

Nothing good, I’ll bet.

Finished the client’s latest math project and sent that off to him. He says page proofs for the book will arrive from the publisher in a couple of weeks (so he’s told). This is good. Very good.

I really, really would like to have a bunch more of these kinds of writers. PayPal having shut down my business with the mainland was NOT a good thing. I reckon if he’s happy with the results of the paper I just sent back to him, I’ll ask if he can refer me to other Chinese mathematicians and scientists around the US. He must know some, because academics have to go to conferences and they meet each other there, if they haven’t run into each other in various university and corporate settings.

Hm. In fact. Maybe the thing to do would be to see if I could get myself invited to one of those conferences. Yea verily, maybe the Kid and I could make a presentation on editing your own golden words…the implication being “Why an ESL Author Needs an Editor.”  😉

Another thing I could do, mebbe, is offer to proofread the page proofs for him. If I threw that in as a freebie, I’d have this one on the string for the rest of eternity…and he’d probably tell his friends.

But if I’m going to do very much more of this kinda work, I really, truly DO need to learn LaTex. This is the freebie software that mathematicians use because it handles equations handsomely and it sets type. Sorta…at least, it sets type well enough for a scholarly journal, or to produce a PDF to publish online.

When we first started copyediting for Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, the Kid and I took a LaTex short-course at the Great Desert University. Unfortunately, it was taught by a woman who had to major pedagogical shortcomings:

  • She couldn’t speak English — not intelligibly, at least.
  • And she assumed everyone in the room was fluently techie…an incorrect assumption.

Upshot was that neither one of us absorbed a thing. Even when you go to what LaTex’s users consider to be a beginner’s guide, it’s well nigh incomprehensible. And as you study this guide, you quickly realize the program is extraordinarily cumbersome. Its strongest recommendation is that it sets mathematical expressions in type.  If I were an art director for a journal or a publisher of scientific books, any day I’d rather use it solely to create jpegs of equations and formulae, and then paste those into InDesign.


Welp…been here two hours. They just gave me the final “large” dose — which is just a standard OTC ibuprofen tablet. Other than a slight headache and lip tingling and the tongue tingling, nothing has happened. With any luck, maybe this “allergy” is all in my beady little brain.

The stuff sure has helped with the hand and arm pain. But the tingling stuff gives me the whim-whams, big time. Some things may be worse than a sore hand and a spavined elbow. Like…f’r example…anaphylaxis.


WordPress to the Rescue…partly

Well, that was…uhm…jolly fun… Spent the better part of the night at the Mayo’s ER after spiking a high temperature and enjoying a spectrum of annoying symptoms. Develops that the UTI that I was enjoying returned with a vengeance. The ER doc re-prescribed the stuff his colleague had given me. She’d written a prescription for only 5 days. He said I needed to take it for at least 10 more days. It was after 2 a.m. by the time I got home, and of course I didn’t sleep very well.

Head hurt like hell this morning…but  eventually I realized it was probably because I hadn’t eaten a thing since yesterday morning.

Client mathematician wanted a word count of the first five chapters of his current book, the edits of which I sent off to him the day before yesterday. In editing math copy, I don’t charge for content that I’m too stupid to understand: videlicet, just about every mathematical expression. Word counts every element in a mathematical expression — all those Greek letters, all those numbers — as a separate word. So in order to figure the actual editable number of words, you have to go through it line by line and delete every equation, every mathematical expression, every graph, every table…on and on and ENDLESSLY on.

Well, Word was having none of that. It kept crashing, and even when it didn’t crash, getting this done in any sane manner was almost impossible.

Finally it dawned on me (ever slow to tumble to the obvious…):

Hey! WordPress counts the words in a blog post. And when you paste copy from Wyrd into a WordPress post, it converts to HTML! 

Hot damn! Unlike effing Wyrd, HTML is extremely stable.

Or maybe just…dayum!!!

It took hours and hours and HOURS to paste each chapter into a post and then, in “Text” (HTML) view, to sift through line by line by line and delete every equation and every mathematical equation. Much of this stuff, WordPress converts into tables. You then have to find the table (even though it doesn’t appear as a table in the more easily comprehensible “Visual” view). This entails more sifting: through the HTML in search of tables, and then having to force WordPress to delete the damn things…which it does NOT want to do.


Along about the time this adventure ground to an end, I realized I had a 100-degree temp on top of a number of unpleasant other symptoms. That’s high for me: my normal temperature is well below 98.6, so if I have a fever of 100 degrees, I am sick.

And I have a splitting headache.

Eventually I decide to drive to the Mayo’s ER, which is a distance. What time? Late…the roads were very clear, which is some sort of a miracle.

Though they kindly saw me promptly and were, as usual, marvelously attentive, it was after 2:00 a.m. by the time I rolled out of there and made my way through the black night to the Funny Farm. They called in a prescription to the Safeway near my house, saying I should show up there the minute the place opened — that would be 8:00 a.m. — to retrieve the pills and start gulping them down forthwith. In the meantime, the doc handed me one (1) of the horsepills to take while I was sitting in front of him and said “Get your tail to the pharmacy the minute they open, grab the Rx, and start gulping these things down!” This, as you will see, is a trick easier said than done…


The few hours that remain to the night pass uneventfully and without sleep. Now I have to be at the Safeway at 8 a.m. to try to extract this stuff from their pharmacy.To make things even jollier, I promised one of the volunteer front-desk workers down at the church that I would do her gig this afternoon so she can visit family in California. That chore runs from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m.

So there’ll be no nap time for me. Can’t imagine how I’m going to get through the day.

First off, though, the problematic issue of getting to the Safeway pharmacy at 8 a.m.:

There are essentially three main drags that run from the north parts of the mid-city through the central commercial district to the downtown lawyers’ and bureaucrats’ district. Central Avenue goes through a genteel old-money residential area and ends at the North Mountains. Seventh Avenue also goes up to the base of North Mountain but then flows into Meth Lover’s Drive, which will take you westward if that’s the way you must go. Seventh Street indirectly joins a freeway bringing residents from the far northern bedroom communities, picks up people who live in the north central part of the city, and proceeds downtown.

Our City Parents, in their infinite “wisdom,” took it into their collective mind to convert the left-turn-only central lanes on Seventh Ave and on Seventh Street into one-way NO left-turn lanes during the rush hours: southbound from 6 to 9 a.m.; northbound from 4 to 6 p.m. While this sort of (marginally) speeds commute traffic (but not so’s you’d notice), it creates a GIGANTIC headache, because…well, no matter where you’re going, you can’t get there from here. Everybody who needs to go left to get to a destination travels on Central, so it’s bumper-to-bumper all the way downtown. The other roads move faster, but you have to perform what is known as an “Arizona turn” to get where you’re going.

An Arizona turn? That’s where you turn right to go left…and in the hands of a gifted driver, this can be quite the little maneuver.

This means that to turn left out of my neighborhood during the rush hours, you have to drive around and around and AROUND Robin-Hood’s barn. Because everybody else is trying to get to the same place you want to go, it creates vast traffic jams on the surrounding streets as people try to avoid those goddamn no-left-turn lanes.

Stupidly, I decide to drive across GangBanger’s Way to 12th Street (going north in order to turn south). This lovely boulevard is heavily traveled by my fellow law-dodgers but usually is navigable. BUT….I fail to take into consideration the goddamn high school on Gangbanger’s. At the high school, the city in its infinite stupidity has installed one of those crosswalk lights that holds up traffic whenever some pedestrian pushes a button. The upshot of that is that around 7:30, when I leave the house, traffic on this 7-lane main drag just flat comes to a dead stop, as kid after kid after kid ambles across the road.

But if you know where you’re going, eventually you can circumvent the schemes of Our City Parents and…yes: get there from here.

A hard left across three lanes of oncoming takes me and the pickup ahead of me into a neighborhood. We weave our way through this fairly dire little slum (there’s a reason I call it Meth Central), back to 7th Street, go north (opposite of the direction we need to go), shear right on Butler, cruise through a slightly less dire slum (yes, even this garden spot is beginning to gentrify), and come out on 12th Street. There we cruise southward, he toward whatever his destination might be and me dodging westward (a right turn) on Glendale toward the Safeway that I can’t turn left into because it’s at 7th Street and there’s no left turn allowed there.

Once I reach 7th Street (turning west now in order to go east), I sail into the nearly empty parking lot, shoot through the Safeway’s front door, and accost the two pharmacists, who bless their hearts are in a pretty good mood at this hour of the day.

However…the lucky soul who chooses to take me on has no clue to the Rx that was supposed to have been sent over at 2 a.m.  Finally she realizes: they’ve made it out in my unpronounceable legal name, a little horror that I never use. Being a little frazzled myself at this point, I don’t think of it, but just as she’s about to send me away (having tried and failed to get thru to the Mayo on the phone) it occurs to me that maybe this funny name thing has been applied to the Rx, and lo! So it turns out to be.

Finally I get home around 8:45. It has taken a full hour to make a twenty-minute round-trip drive and grab a bottle of pills!!!!!

Ugh. Now I have three hours before I have to schlep up to the church, where I stupidly volunteered to take on my friend Barbara’s afternoon shift at the front desk.

When will they ever learn?”  NEVER volunteer!!!!!

I’m too keyed up to sleep now; I really should take the poor little dog for a walk; I’m sure there’s a sh!tload of things I should be doing right this very minute (pay the bills?); and I cannot even imagine how I am going to stay awake through three hours and thirty minutes of excruciating tedium down at the Church.

Why do you suppose they have a switchboard-like phone at all? I do NOT understand that. There’s no reason the staff/clergy (all of about 12 of them) can’t have their own phone numbers that will ring direct to their office phones or to a voicemail. They want somebody lurking around the front office to bounce out the homeless and greet the parishioners?? Whaaa? Maybe two people a day come in. Could the office manager, who appears to be a kind of Guy Friday, be parked in an office near the front, where he can see and greet whoever comes stumbling in the door?

Our rector is in the final running for the position of Bishop. That’s good for him: he’s a pretty ambitious guy and an exceptionally worthy candidate. But it means now we have to get a new pastor. That means major hassle, as you’ve no doubt noticed. I’d like to see them plant our associate priest in that job. She happens to be a woman. She also happens to be amazingly sweet and she can give a killer sermon.

The present incumbent was hired to rescue our merry group from a fairly dire financial predicament, after the prior regime took a richly endowed organization and within three or four years ran its finances right into the ground. Having performed what we might best describe as a dramatic rescue, indeed, he’s ready to move on to the next stage in his career.

We, on the other hand, are not and never will be ready for him to move on….

Dog(walk) Days of Summer

Summer is tentatively turning its golden-locked head toward fall. Nights are growing longer, days shorter, and the other day’s violent storm knocked the temps down a few degrees. As I scribble, it’s only 98 out here on the side deck, just fine for breakfast, coffee, and computerized time-wasting.

You think I jest? Yes, it is “only” 98, by comparison balmy with recent days whose mornings have started out at 102. It’s a little drier than it was the other day, too: Wunderground pegs the humidity at a mere 38%, as nothing compared to yesterday’s 64%.

The endless doggy walk…

Ruby-Doo and I got a late start on the morning’s trek — didn’t leave the house till 6 a.m. But to my surprise, we hardly ran into any other dog walkers: only three dogs in a good two-mile perambulation. Which is like…the Twilight Zone, where you wake up one day and discover you’re the only person in the whole town.

What explains this Great Absence? I figure it’s Labor Day: this is the last big three-day weekend of the summer, and anyone who has the means flees the city for one last fling in the cool(er) high country. If you can take off Friday — which lots of people can — you wangle a four-day weekend. And if you work for a government office? Well!

At Arizona Highways — which is run by the Arizona Department of Transportation, making everyone there a state employee — we used to store up our vacation days so they would straddle a three-day weekend. So, for example, my boss would take four days off right after Labor Day, giving himself a week, and two weekends away from the office: (saturday.sunday.monday.tuesday.wednesday.thursday.friday.saturday.sunday) nine days off for the price of four vacation days.

Ultimately, this was remunerative, because the State of Arizona was required to pay you for unused vacation time when you retired. There was a (very generous) limit to the number of days you were allowed to stash for this purpose, but you can be sure that by the end of any given fiscal year my boss was always maxed in that department. 🙂

Didn’t do me much good, because my husband was in private practice and was expected to…oh, you know…show up to work? That kind of unreasonable demand. However, I still got enough vacation days to take off on the junkets he liked to indulge himself in: Hawaii and waypoints.

At any rate, whatever the reason, it was mighty quiet out there between 6 and 7 this a.m.

Susan-B.-Anthony-DollarIn the lengthening shadows of (financial) winter department, I discussed the current budgetary horror show with WonderAccountant. She pointed out that because I never owe any taxes and I get a large refund every year, it’s unnecessary for me to have the feds withhold income tax from Social Security. Cancel that! said she.

Well. Easier said than done.

After some fiddling around on the Internet, though, I finally found a form online. ONE LINE in an entire page of bureaucratic fill-in-the-blanks allows for a “Do not withhold” request. Checking the box and signing at the bottom requires fiddling around with downloading and then printing the form: duly done. then the page suggests you can either mail the form to a Social Security office or drive to an office near you and submit it in person.

So I figured I’d drive up to the SS office in Paradise Valley today and drop this thing off.

But on second thought: There’s no “dropping off” at that place. Dollars to donuts, I can’t just hand this thing across the counter to someone. I would surely end up having to take a seat and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. Depending on the time of day, wait times range from 45 minutes to three hours.

To turn in ONE FUCKING LINE??????????


Now the plan is to drive this over to the post office, stand in line there (almost as interminably, but surely not for one to three hours), and send it Return Receipt Requested. What a nuisance!

Well. The $300 a month that SS is now extracting from my paycheck will re-fund the empty Emergency Savings account, thereby taking up some of the slack.

That will still leave an $8870 shortfall, per annum.

But, noted WonderAccountant, now that we’ve converted The Copyeditor’s Desk from an S-corp to a sole proprietorship (and paid last year’s taxes!), I can take money out of that without tax consequences.

This year.

But then what?

It looks like the choices are…

  • To get a paying job. (Right! Know anyone in the market for a 74-year-old female employee? Har har!)
  • To cut every expense possible. (Done. Now what?)
  • To hustle up at least net $10,000 worth of business in the coming few months.

Ten grand is an awful lot of amateur novels and Chinese scientific treatises.

Truth to tell, the amateur novelists are paying one helluva lot more than the Chinese scientists. This is because a budding author’s draft magnum opus typically runs upwards of 30,000 words. At 4 cents a word, that’s $1,200. Or more. Usually more. The last two authors who hired me paid over $3,000 apiece. But even at only $1,200, that’s…what?  Three amateur novels would yield $3600, leaving a mere $6,400 in the shortfall. This would require about 20 Chinese scholarly articles to cover.

And that ain’t a-gonna happen. It might be workable if I could extract $3,000+ from every wannabe novelist. That is the going rate – 4 cents a word – if you look it up on the Net and you believe what other editors publish on their websites.  To make enough to generate at least 10 grand a year, then, I’d need to land three or four budding Herman Melvilles. Or Isaac Asimovs…most of them dream of writing science fiction.

The only way I could make that happen would be to really hustle the editing bidness. This would mean showing up at every local club of wannabe writers in the Valley — and showing up regularly. And handing out professionally written and laid-out marketing junk at every meeting. It has to be said that the last two novels I picked up came from members of the West Valley writer’s group.

That outfit meets in Tolleson, almost an hour’s jaunt from my house. It’s a horrible drive, and then you have to sit through three hours of palaver. The members are very nice and a delight to socialize with. But because nothing very useful — for my purposes — is said, it feels like an aching waste of my time. Especially if I have paying work in-house.

If I’m having to go to four or five such groups’ meetings, we could be talking about 12 to 15 hours a month of achingly boring time suck…plus drive time. I cringe! Surely there must be a better way??????




So, did I end up driven to drive, drive, drive around the city yesterday afternoon? Did I reserve a space at this afternoon’s writer’s group, where I would like to peddle my services in the guise of seeking feedback on my half-baked unfinished noveloid?

Well. No. And also, no.

Yes, I did climb in the car and turn on the ignition. About the time I got to the end of the driveway, a thought occurred: Why am I doing this???????

Got about 200 feet down the road…and then drove around the block, returned to the Funny Farm, parked the car, and proceeded back inside. Where I’ve been fairly happily ensconced ever since, except for a dog-walk or two.


Thought: Hey, estúpida! What do you think you’re doing?

Human: Driving to the credit union and to the grocery store on…uhm…some road over there.

Thought: You’re kidding, right?

Human: Uhm…

Thought: Tell me you’re not serious. You’re REALLY going to drive FORTY MINUTES so as to avoid farting around with the accursed Internet for 10 or 15 minutes to deposit two measly checks?

Human: Well, but…

Thought: And this vaunted grocery store is on…WHAT road?

Human: I think it’s at 43rd and Peoria.

Thought: NO, you moron! That’s an Albertson’s, not a Fry’s. And it’s not even a halfway decent Albertson’s. It is, in a word, a CRUMMY store!

Human: Oh. Yeah. Well…but…

I gave up. It took less than 10 minutes to deposit $2500 worth of client monnaie online. This was good. There was plenty of food in the house: two chops from a rack of lamb; tiny delicious little beets to grill (this worked exceptionally well, BTW); excellent buttered spinach to heat, also on the grill. And half a bottle of wine.

Truly, I hate farting with the computer and the credit union’s website to deposit checks electronically. But…hate it SO MUCH that it’s worth driving 20 minutes to the CU, standing in line, and driving 20 minutes back?

Maybe not.

As for today’s proposed introduction to the midtown writer’s group: they meet weekly. The local Play-Nooz reported that the police and fire department are occupying lovely downtown Phoenix with a mock Emergency Response today…and that chivaree sounds like something to avoid.

So I decided to put that little marketing maneuver off for a week: Next Sunday, thankyouverymuch. This will give me time to schlep the printout of the current installment of Ella’s story down to the UPS store and put them up to making and stapling together 10 or 12 copies, rather than expending my own ink & paper for the purpose.

Hmmmmm… Lookee here: for $30, you can get 50 pens with your bidness name on them. 😀 The MO of these writer’s groups is that you hand out a few pages of your golden words and people critique the stuff. What if in addition to a sheaf of paper, you gave each person a pen with your editing outfit’s name and URL? 😀

Apparently this outfit will deliver in four or five days, which would get said little treat here by the end of the week if I ordered it today.

If ten people show up (that’s how many were signed up for this weekend), one order would last for five weeks. Lots more then 10 show up at the West Valley Writer’s Workshop, but there’d still be enough to hand out gift pens there and still supply one or two of the in-town meeting’s participants.

Putting it off for a week will also give time for me to get off my virtual duff and write a plot outline. One of the reasons (one of several reasons) this story has petered out is that I’ve been writing it like topsy, as it grows. Frankly, I have no idea where it’s going.

Well. I know where Ella’s recollected life on Zaitaf goes. But what happens on Varnis, where her currently lived experience is happening, is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. It’s topsy…I do need to cultivate that garden.

And speaking of uncultivated gardens, now I need to return to the client’s magnum opus…