On Leaving Maryland

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Happy almost New Year’s, everyone! We made it. It’s been a damn slog through shit and torment for some, but here we are. 

I wrote the following ages ago. 2001. It’s actually been published a few times. So I’ll post it here as well. Yes, I lived in Maryland for a year or so. 

 

ON LEAVING MARYLAND
Oct 24, 01

This landscape of density–
bays, capes, chunky rivers with salt currents,
Chesapeake, St. Mary’s, Magothy, Elk, Patapsco.
Those highways, byways, freeways, cloverleafs, turnpikes;
no road going where it should, no direction sane or logical;
towns designed by blind, malicious children
with better things to do that day.
Summer in Annapolis– a creamily green jungle of humidity,
oppressive like a moist fevered hand against the face.
Not like the sagebrush-smeared lands at all.
Where everything is seen,
where everything is measured in miles,
not the time to get there.
Too many trees in Anne Arundel County, boles
dark and fulsome with mold and mildew;
the iron of my wind chimes turns red overnight.
I can’t remember how to think here…
The fan’s little motor hissing beside my bed
and my skin riddled with sweat and pores and odd hairs.
And the winter before, the heat did not come on.
They have gas here, pilot lights and little blue flames.
Always out, unlit, hidden beneath, out of reach of my short arms.
The drawbridge going up and down for sailboats,
the neighbor man offering to show me and my friend
his one testicle, the other he’d lost in Vietnam.
Someone placed the ocean here.
But even that blue beast has to endure weekend sailors.

Skypulp

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Daisy Ridley as Rey. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren

Welp. I attended the latest [last?] Star Wars event. I’m not a die-hard fan so enjoyed it. There ya go. My review. I thought the ending seemed rushed, but overall, enjoyed it. You don’t go to a Star Wars movie for…deep savage film making meant to tear the spine out of your soul, after all.

I don’t, anyway.

I go for ‘things blow up’, light saber fights with that wonderful hummy/buzzy sound and scruffy space pirate-cowboys fighting slick Nazi-Empire shits. With a soapy soap opera sort of sheen to it all.

Do the current three movies match the real Star Wars movies? No. That zeitgeist done come and gone, y’all. And that’s okay.

Do I wish they’d left the Star Wars saga at Eps IV, V and VI? Hell to the yeah.

We won’t bring up the Three that just make people weep, yank their hair out and scream why o why to an uncaring Hollywood set of Rascal Gods.

There didn’t seem to be the overall feeling of competent, smart, capable women this time around in the Rise of Skywalker. Rey, to me, is a fairly flat, static character. She had nowhere to go. She started at point A, ended at point B.2 or so. A blip. There’s nothing tearing her apart; not really. The stakes…seem tiny here for Rey. 

Kylo Ren, of course, had much more to work with. I thought Adam Driver made every scene better he was in. I also thought Daisy Ridley did what she could with Rey.

Finn. Poor Finn. He spent the entire film yelling Rey’s name, then…spoiler spoiler. You can go watch this yourself to see what happens to Finn. And then I heard the actress playing Rose—a character I really liked from TLJ, got written out or nearly cut out. Why?? I’m not going to go look up why. Politics, fan boy whimperings, who knows.

Back to Rey. Why why why did the writers do that to her? Was this planned from the get go or just thought of ten seconds before slapping people in front of green screens? It would have had so much more impact to have her be an actual nobody, a cast off orphan, a thrown away child who grew to find her worth and way in the world. That’s a goddamn hero’s journey, fucktwits. There’s, like, an arch and everything.

Some out of the blue, out of left field WTF curve ball…eh, no.

It didn’t work. Sure, it’s a space soap opera but you have to, still, set things up.

Poor Rey has a straight trajectory here. Her suffering is very little. She learns very little if anything at all. She’s good. She’s dullishly good. We know she’s good because that’s the point hammered home for three fucking movies. Ugh a bug. I was kinda hoping she and Kylo were gonna switch sides…She’d fuck up in a giant crucial battle, let everyone down and just implode. Kylo Ren would start distancing himself from the order, plagued by doubts and what he’s done. Switcheroo!

Drama based on human actions, not deux ex machina plot devices that not even beginning screen writers would trot out with a straight face.

Again, I don’t think this is Ridley’s fault. She got handed the usual girl hero part…Hollywood and story writers of all stripes tend to make them unbearably dull, earnest, joyless and…Gamora-esque.

There are exceptions—Wonder Woman got to be flawed, funny, strong yet tender; Xena had her goofy moments and an actual journey, um…Elizabeth Bennett.

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Adam Driver as the grandson of Darth Vader.

But Rey, oh dear. There’s no spark written in.

Carrie Fisher had that in spades, so Princess Leia benefited from Fisher’s sheer, forgive me, force of character. She didn’t fade into the background against Ford and Hamill. There was something sexy and warm and faceted about Leia. She was also smart, capable and a powerhouse. Again, that was probably just Fisher being Fisher. I wanted that swagger, that don’t know if Rey will choose good or evil, that flair of a living person with many layers. I got…a plodding central character surrounded by colorful sidekicks.

Just some quick thoughts. I did enjoy the trilogy and am glad I saw them on the big screen. I enjoyed the nostalgia. Of which Star Wars has by the oodle-load.

Tomorrow I might venture out to see Cats. Cause. I  OH MY GOD WANT TO SEE THIS MESSY MESS OF A MESS HALLELUJAH AMEN PRAISE BABY JESUS.

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Idris Elba as…I don’t care, I have to see a movie with that in it. Come on!

I don’t know why I’m invoking my very tame Lutheran Jesus here but it sounded funny in my head.

I survived Christmas with the notion I will skip it next year or at least skip the spend time with other people part. People make me feel bad. Lesson learned. My arc is rather flat and static, too, Rey.

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1977. And so it begins…

Merry

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from Anne. T. Donahue

I was doing okay. Pretty good mood. Made cookies. Posted something on a social media site. A happy holidays greeting. Crickets. Does no one wish me a happy holiday anything? Like. Ever? Mood evaporated quicker than belief in love. I know I am not lovable but come on.

Mustn’t dwell on that, right? That’s the message here? Must realize there’s more to blah blah than blah blah? Yep. I have a cat now. That must balance out the notion that I don’t matter at all to anyone ever and never will.

Hello, depression, my old friend, you’ve come to haunt my head again…

I notice my Christmas cheer is non-existent. Raised a Lutheran, so it’s Christmas time to me this time of the year. Oh sure, had the whole nine yards. Two days of food and family, trees and presents. And at times, church. Depending on where we lived or how close we were to the one set of very Lutheran grandparents. Christmas Eve services are when they sing the Christmas carols, by the way. All the verses! I might not like Christmas that much but dang, I sure do like belting out the carols.

I have been listening to various Christmas albums as I work on a screenplay about necrophilia. Yes, you read that correctly.

Annie Lennox, surprisingly, has a gorgeous one out. I had no idea she’d done a holiday album. A Christmas Cornucopia. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is my fave cut from that. Also one of my fave carols. O Holy Night as well ranks as one of my fave carols—the melody just thrills. Hearing a great singer belt that out…dang-a-lang-a-ding-dong.

I just wish to avoid relatives and all that. I have no wish to force myself to be social or friendly or just sit there like a loveless lump stuffing my face with food and drink so I don’t start screaming. I am rather done with humanity at this point. I guess they are done with me as well.

If I go by my social media posts. Which you shouldn’t, I’ve read.

I just meant this to be a breezy little holiday screed. The best of intentions, eh?

Happy holidays, however you celebrate or don’t.

Bits, pieces and a guillotine shout out

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Clip art.

Happy December. A short one.

Had two birthdays this weekend, made the ugliest angel food cake. From scratch. Oh the horror. It tasted okay, it just looked like a flat, chewed on by tiger’s prop from a z-rate horror movie set. It should have been featured on some ugly foods website. Even with frosting and a jam layer, that poor cake should have been taken out back and kindly beat to death, then buried in the earth.

So!

My year seems to be ending well, writing-wise.

I placed a story with the Whistle Pig—Pearlie At the Gates of Dawn.

I placed a story with the Ghastling—the Little Visitors.

Just found out my play, the Bluegrass of God, was accepted by the Santa Ana River Review.

My poem—My Feet Hurt—will be part of the  Rumpus’s Enough section.

I am currently working on a screenplay based on a short story of mine from Oregon Gothic. Prince Charming Finds His Sleeping Beauty is that tale, and the movie title, for right now, is just Prince Charming. I am collaborating with a director/film maker from the Czech Republic, with a first draft more or less done. Working on the newest version.

Got a royalty check in the mail. Small but still a check. It’s still such a wonder to be paid, even a tiny smidge, for something I wrote.

So a few hits, lots of misses. Writing some. Writing political screams but if I posted them, I’d be arrested. As they focus on things like how to build a guillotine and how to stage a revolution on a shoestring budget.

I’ll end on a truly trivial note. Been watching a BBC series called Young Dracula. Cause. Yeah. It’s so much better than it should be. It’s quite funny. I enjoy it. I’m in season three, which features a major tonal shift, a new setting and some could be interesting new characters. I’d never heard of it. It’s from OVER TEN YEARS AGO.

I also binged season three of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The gut-punch cliffhanger…damn it. The world is already burning alive right now. I am not looking forward to season four. I find I want light, frothy entertainment these days. I wonder why. Oh yeah!

Also, anyone out there want to see Cats? Is it the acid trip horror it promises to be??? I’d be down for that. Trippy weird cat-human morph mistakes high kicking for two hours through giant cardboard-looking high school sets…! I am so in!! A deliciously bad musical misfire? Or did those damn trailers totally lie about how good this confection is?? And the new Star Wars. I might have to leave the house. If only to start building a guillotine. Or change the kitten’s poop dirt.

Shivering

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Hey, can I chew on that electrical cord? Can I?? Can I??

Happy December. I wrote the following ‘a while back’ when I lived in Maryland. Pre- 9/11. The kitten has been up since two thirty. So, too, have I. 

 

SHIVERING

Shivering, I am always cold
or always hot,
sometimes mildly comfortable for a few hours.
I like how socks look on my feet.
As if my feet were small, delicate and fashionable.
However, they are wide, callused and stubby,
but they get me around.
Which is what feet are supposed to do.
Poor feet, I am always losing my socks.
Sometimes they don’t match, sometimes they have holes,
sometimes they’re new socks.
Will I be old someday, still looking for a matching pair
of foot coverings?
Wandering about in some room that no longer exists,
looking underneath imaginary chairs for my socks?
Calling out, as if they will answer.
I’m cold.
Come do your job.
I’m shivering.
Naughty socks, to hide that way
from an old insane lady.

Micro

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A sunset in Eastern Oregon

A few micro fiction attempts of mine. 

 

SUGAR AND FIRE

Is there is anything as sugar-sweet as first love? Maybe an actual slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting comes close. I, at fifty-four, had finally succumbed. Oh, the resistance to the universe itself! My avoidance of others, my shyness a shadowy wall others seldom wished to try and climb. She takes my hand. We watch the world burn together. The delight in her eyes beneath the sorrow we both manufacture. Our honey laughter as we nod solemnly. The delight we succumb to as we sink to the oily dirt to couple like snakes in a famous garden. We drown in sugar and fire.

 

VENEER

Lulu opened the box marked Veneer. The curled up skeleton of her father’s cat. The claw marks on the thick cardboard. But Veneer had not been a young strong cat when put into the cardboard tomb. “I killed my cat for your mother,” Kaleb said. Lulu folded the leaves back into place, traced the old duct tape remnants. “She asked me to prove if I loved her. What can I do, I asked. What can I do? Your mother held Veneer in her arms. She held him out to me, my trusting little Veneer. Always such a small cat. Kill him for my sake. I want to be your goddess. I command you to kill him. For my sake. So I did, Lu. I did. A box, some duct tape. Quiet then the stink. Then just quiet.”
“Love is bigger than cats,” Lulu replied. “My new stepfather doesn’t get that.”

 

DRUNKEN BEES

Bloom hated her name. She had a tattoo of the devil on her arm to remind her she was not some flower or houseplant. Be nice, her nice mother counseled without an ounce of pity. One day, as stories often start, Bloom noticed a tree. A little plum tree with white-petaled glories full of drunken bees having orgies and feasts. Her fingers ran along the back of a bee, but it melted away to the next blossom’s well. I wish to be the bee, not the flower, Bloom decided. She cut off her princess long hair, she wandered the world looking for herself. Time passed with enjoyment, with sorrow; she tasted almond candies in Marseille, she slapped a bear in Canada. I am Bloom blooming, she often said, then got it written on the back of her latest lover. On her deathbed, she held out her hand. Bring me a plum tree full of drunken bees. I want to start this all over again. Her fingers ran over the air. I wrote my name in the skin of this world. I wrote my name.