Exit 90

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I drove myself to Mountain Home, Idaho. To do a reading of my short story, Bunny Slipper, for the tenth edition of Whistle Pig, the Southwest Idaho’s literary journal.

It’s a two hour drive, at least.

The legislators in the Gem State raised the speed limit to 80 MPH.

So, my hundred mile or so drive took TWENTY MINUTES. 

No, I didn’t, but it’s nice to look down at the speedometer, realize I’m not speeding recklessly. Or that the Idaho State cops won’t be yanking my backside over for a ticket. I don’t go eighty. No. About seventy or so. I used to drive like a speed fiend. I have the tickets to prove it. I’ve turned into that slow duffer. In the right lane, putting along. With others whizzing by at a hundred, all of them praying the cops are elsewhere…!

A lovely day. The gauge hit in the mid-sixties. Sunshine. No wind. I had the radio on, noticed the station, the River as it’s referred to, seemed to play the same set of songs. From a U2 combo of Pride, in the Name of Love and Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For to some whiny men singing about friends and weed. I seriously cannot hear the difference in today’s musical men or women. It all sounds alike. I have Old Man Get Off My Lawn Tin Ear-itus these days.

Oh and the River plays Love Shack, a lot, by the B-52’s. I turn that shit up! It feels so decadent to be tooling down I-84, on my way to not the love shack. Tin roof. RUSTED.

No, I don’t have that fancy thingamabob where you store every song every invented, that hooks into your car something or other. I, gulp, jab the buttons on the car stereo, like some old-fashioned dope. 

Now, this stretch of the freeway is known to me. I attended UNLV way back when, so I usually entered Idaho after taking the three seconds it takes to drive through Jackpot, Nevada. Up the 93, with other highways thrown in.

I would then head for the freeway, head back to Eastern Oregon across southern Idaho. I never stopped in Mountain Home, that I remember. I drove past it, a lot. There’s also a rest stop just outside Boise, which I did stop at if my back teeth were swimming.

It’s really hard to pee if you’re on a freeway. You can’t just pull over and go. Like you can on a mostly deserted back country highway. Which I’ve done. You gotta go, it’s urgent, there’s no cars in either direction.

You yank the vehicle over, you listen for motors. You hastily squat and yeah, you hear a car approaching…yep. Every. Single. Time. You can drive for literally miles without seeing another car on a Nevada highway and then, the moment you give in, decide to water the weeds a bit, yeah. There’s a freaking parade going by.

Here’s where guys have it easy. They can just casually stand by their collection of metal and rubber wheels, whiz discreetly while pretending to be looking at something by the side of the road. Oh sure, we all know what that guy, standing by his pulled over car or truck is doing. Sure. But we pretend he’s looking at a tree or a river or a crumpled Arby’s sack hanging artistically from a clump of sagebrush.

Whereas women have to yank pants down or lift a skirt, squat. It’s a whole rigmarole. What? Wait until you get to a rest area or a truck stop or a gas station?? Yeah, when the next one is fifty to a hundred miles off? Sometimes the bladder wants what the bladder wants.

Where was I???

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Oh yeah, reading a bit from a short story in Mountain Home, Idaho.

It went well. I enjoyed the other selections. There was local art work, from young kids to the elderly. Idaho has talent and it’s rather surprising how thriving the arty community is. I felt energized. It’s write a novel month coming up in November. I plan to tackle my Starved Out Eastern Oregon ranchers versus Big Gubbermint attempt. No ghosts, goblins, zombies or vampires. None! Just people being all people, as they do at times.

Exit 90 is the exit I took. You then turn right, drive a bit. If you want, you can head off to Bruneau, and the famous sand dunes.

The place I sought sits on the right. El Herradero. I treated myself to enchiladas, pork. I had to go back out, find the other room where the readings would take place. I got there to Mountain Home a bit early.

I managed to read without sounding like a squeaky mouse. I kept my reading fairly short. I used my actor training to modulate my voice. I did not touch the mic which kept going on and off for others, as microphones do at times. The atmosphere for the Whistle Pig gala was pretty laid back, warm, charming and gracious. Everyone seemed to know each other. As you do in a close-knit artist’s community such as this.

Now, I parked across the way, in the Albertson’s parking lot, the Jimmy [GMC] pointed at the one-way street I needed to get back on to get back out to the freeway heading west. I’m always thinking, when I have to get to a new place, how do I get back again. I did manage to find the freeway entrance, in the dark, and got back again obviously, instead of heading off to Twin Falls. Though, if I had gotten on the freeway going the way I did not want to go, I could just take an exit, yeah. Though, that exit might not be for some miles, so. And the cops, even in Idaho, frown at doing a u-turn on the freeway. I joke. Idaho cops would find that a ticket-worthy offense. Among other things.

Speaking of cops!

It was Friday night, so the cops were out IN FORCE. Saw lots of red and blue lights! Even when I got super-close to home, there were cop lights going off. I even thought one was going to pull me over…but it didn’t come after me creeping past the Malheur Butte, wondering where all the papers were, if my license was even in my purse and…yeah.

I had had a Pepsi and a glass of water, so no worries that way. Yay!

Also didn’t take many pictures. I just. Ugh.

To sum up, I got to Mountain Home and back home again. I left at about three thirty, got back at eleven at night on the dot. I read my piece, I didn’t embarrass myself.

It was called Bunny Slipper. About a man who buries his unwanted convenient sort of wife in the Nevada desert and she crawls out of that hole to come find him. Sad, with maggots. Yeah. The usual dreary stuff.

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Molly, the chocolate lab, happy to hear my sedate account of the Mountain Home excursion. 
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Death Rattle Arts and Crafts

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Well, it’s almost here. Book fair in Nampa, Idaho, for the Death Rattle writer’s festival. I airily asked for booth space to sell my stack of unsold books. Then, I decided I needed posters to advertise I’m a REAL WRITER. So I’ve been obsessing over that. Redoing them. Discovering I had some green body glitter from way back that, yes, can be used accordingly. I’ve been using spray paint. 

I’ll also be reading a short piece called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters, which is a quickie take on Rapunzel. 

My mood is low, and I almost want to bow out of this whole thing. Just hide in my room. I had a job interview, I botched it, I did something very wrong. I didn’t get a job I could do in my sleep half-dead with typhoid. With two degrees in that subject. I seem to have “loser” tattooed on my forehead…I know, you’re supposed to be positive all the damn time. Sorry. I’ll buck up. Write some zany review of a television show that’s been off the air for years. Yeah. It’s been raining. We needed it. 

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First draft efforts!!
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Placement of this and that.
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My Aftermath masterpiece! Nail polish, cheap supermarket watercolors and old magazine pictures, oh my. 

Library Talk

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From a local fire we had years ago. Taken from my window.

I’m an agitated little poster maker these first days of October. I’m trying to get ready for my booth, and gear up for a public reading. Two of them, actually. So that’s good! Nampa, Idaho for the Death Rattle festival. Mountain Home for the tenth anniversary of Whistle Pig. Both in Idaho, so local events I can drive to easy enough.

Now, yesterday. I had a visit with an old friend. At the library. We sat in the far back, hushed voices. Talking about. Politics. We’re both a bit blue in a very scarlet area of Oregon.

What??

Oregon has conservatives??

Yeah, outside of that Portland-Salem-Eugene strip, the rest of the state is mouth-breathing methheads who still think Obummer is comin’ for theirz gunz. I know this because I’m related to some of them.

We’re a blue state only because that I-5 corridor consists of staunch liberals, for the most part.

Anyway!

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Vale, Oregon

I’ve written about this friend before. The gentle peacenik sort with the high ideals of society and people. Right now, he’s ready to move to the bluest commune he can find, leaving behind his beloved animals if he has to. He feels sick all the time. He’s fighting with those around him who are Trump-supporters. He’s left his church over it being too pro-conservative. But he is writing. It’s helping him cope. He wants to hold a poetry workshop. 

Cope.

Those not in the cult o’Mangled Orange Hellbeast seem to be on coping mode right now.

Old movies, binge watching something familiar, listening to the same pieces of music over and over, eating too much, not eating enough, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough.

There’s this stunned, this cannot be happening take to America’s direction right now, from Americans who have to live here. We’ve become an army of zombies who want comfort, fattening food, mental candy and long snoozes in a soft, warm bed. To wake up to it was all a dream, everything’s okay, we’re still the good guys in the world. 

How to turn that survival mode switch off? Turn the LET’S FUCKING TAKE THESE MOTHERFUCKING ASSMUNCHES TO THE TRASH switch on?

We don’t need more opinion pieces on why so and so is a supporter of Fat Nixon. STFU, New York Times. Enough!

We don’t need more earnest discussions on what to do if this becomes a dictatorship. That fucking ship sailed a while ago, kiddos.

We don’t need any more the politicians on the left are as bad as the ones on the right snooty snoots.

Fuck! Are you kidding, far lefties?? Are you actually trying to make sure shit goes down that will get America listed up there with North Korea, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany?

How bad does it have to get before you unicorn-seeking far lefties start fighting back with more than long blog posts on how no one is woke but you and about three others named Dreamstar of Nowhereland, Xena Cloudwarrior for Vegan Harmony, and Jangles the Non-Materialistic Clown for World Peace?

People mention civil war more and more here. That’s what has my hackles raised, my teeth bared. Because, frankly, it would be a relief to watch Trump supporters getting their heads blown off in mid-love fest of that thing they’ve chosen to worship. I know. I’m not supposed to voice such a thing, ever. I’m not even supposed to imagine that, I’m on the ‘nice’ side, that plays by the rules, takes the high road and loses about every election there is to lose lately. Which is the problem.

People still think there are rules, checks and balances, in place. BWHA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH     um, I mean, tee hee, tee hee.

There’s not. Rules and fair play left years ago, you idiot grinners, you mannerly snitchheads.

Yeah.

The limping left keep waiting for Republicans to DO THE RIGHT THING.

Waiting. Waiting.

Waiting!

While assuming crash positions, knowing full well that those on the right will allow this creeping tide of fanatics to unleash the dogs of war on all of us. Yet waiting for the GOP in America to PUT A STOP TO IT.

Though, some on the right are sounding the alarm quite loudly. Going– hey, look over here, bad dudes and bad dudettes doing shitty things! LOOOOOOOK.

With the left using their inside voices and their company manners, telling those on the left using their outside voices and pointy fingers to pipe down, don’t upset people. Always Be Cautious Abused Wives seems to be the real slogan of the left these days. Placate, placate, placate, is the battle cry of the left. Those not placating get treated like something stepped in when walking the labradoodle at the dog park. 

Yeah. You notice that, you suppress the crappy crap, you sit through a literally hellish week of watching Kavanaugh blah blah.

And now the White House released a four person list that the FBI could interview, yet no one on the left seems to be screeching a screech that will be heard round the world about that…!!!!!!!!!! FUCK

BOOM BOOM BOOM

CLANG CLANG CLANG WENT THE COUNTRY

Until your head explodes after your tenth viewing of that song from the new Star is Born, where you melt with happy numbness over Lady Gaga hitting that middle shouty bit about being shallow or something. Bradley Cooper can sing? What?? Where’s that ten pound bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! I need some Hot Cheetos! Hit replay! Oooh, Lady Gaga, girl! Who knew Bradley Cooper could grow a beard and sing??! Lindsey Graham said what??

REPLAY REPLAY REPLAY–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo_efYhYU2A

Wheeee! Brains! Wall!!

So, I went to the library to talk to a friend. I’m redoing my posters for the writer’s event so they don’t look like I did them when drunk, asleep, depressed to the point of turning into an actual slug. I’m wondering what the uniforms will be like for American Civil War II, the Return of the Orange King.

I hope it’s flattering for all body types, and that blood washes out of it. No sense getting a uniform that stains too easy.

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Big Shiny Car

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from Feltmagnet. 

I wrote the following for some poetry challenge. It’s short. And ties into Alice in Oregonlandia, which is my SEQUEL  to HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD. 

If the devil’s in America, she’s female. And she drives around in Detroit rolling iron. 

 

BIG SHINY CAR

The devil she rides in a big shiny car
up and down the roads
outside my town.
She don’t stop for nothing
and she smiles as she drives
with the windows far far down,
her familiar riding shotgun,
that old tommy cat
grinning at the wind
a’catching souls in his teeth.
The devil she rides in a big shiny car
and God don’t seem to care at all.

AUGUST. HOT. FART NOISES.

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Light-hearted summer moments with Jake, Molly and Clyde, the big Newfie, who is now, ah, over the Rainbow Bridge

What month is this in this ghastly interminable hellbeastly span of years masquerading as a span of days? Oh. August.

It seems time has thudded to a damn standstill. And yet speeds along. I know. How original am moi? Not at all.

I’ll answer myself as no one comments or spews invectives at me in the social media time out I seem to be in. Or maybe I haven’t pledged myself enough to Satan or given enough lip service to AmmoJesus.

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from Pandora’s Boxx. No, not this version of Jesus. Is it me or did the artist put a bit of Tom Cruise in that face? 

We only have two options for worship here in ‘murica. Sort of only sorta kidding about that. You’re either with Jesus and the angels or you’re a godless Satan worshiping hate America commie traitor who hates babies. Yep.

Oh, so for those at home breathlessly reading along, I wrote a poem. That’s all.

It included the words ‘motherlumping’ and ‘scorpion’ and ‘Mamerigaga’.

I wrote it with great and furious anger.

I had fun writing a poem in great and furious anger. It drained my fury and anger.

I sent off my barely coherent scream against avocado toast to that monthly poetry challenge I AM STILL DOING. Because it’s good practice, and it helps foment me into a BETTER WRITER.

Or so I tell myself. Don’t we all tell ourselves happy lies so we don’t spatter our pretty brains on the ugly walls wherever we live? Or perhaps we live under a bridge and have to walk to the library to use the internet.

So some other form of suicide will have to do for welfare moochers and societal losers. Starvation and disease and freezing to death are free, moochers!

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from geograph.uk. Small bridge over river Dulais. 

Wow, that took a dark little turn.

Ah, so. I squibbled out a VASTLY POPULAR post about fires. I believe that’s the one before this one. Let me check, brb.

Yep. The fires still burn. It’s awful. It’s getting smoky. It’s HOT. But it is summer.

Thank you, Queen Obvious!

You’re welcome, sarcastic voice in my head!

Some snow would be nice. A nice couple days of constant rain would be nice here in Eastern Oregon.

I do mean the entire area. From Ontario all the way to Bend. Awash with rainy rain!

No wind, no lightning, just rain. The wet stuff we’ve heard tell of in tall tales. As you can, literally, walk between the rain drops here when it does piss down a bit. I’ve gone outside, when it rains here, and not gotten a drop on me. Sorta, kinda…kidding. Sorta.

I’m working on Starved Out, which, for right now, is set in the mythical world of government-hating extremists. As in they have a mythical view of themselves as freedom fighters and the rest of us see them as scary fuckheads.

But anyway!

I am telling it from the POV of the women, as men have enough stories under their column, frankly.

And when I tried to just write it…I stalled right out of the gate, trying to put the two men who started a fire and started an actual insurrection against the gubbermint front and center.

I’d also read a blip about this woman homesteader who Starved Out right at the start of the Great Depression. And of course the Massacre at Hells Canyon, I wanted that to make an appearance in my Great American Novel that No One Will Read Until I Am Well Dead and Rotting Under A Local Bridge.

So far, it’s a tripod. Rosie, the wife of Butch, the son, and Vickie, the wife of Merle, the dad. And Gladys, who had to pull up stakes and head back to the big city when drought and ruin faced her in sagebrush country.

I was, at first trying to be super-accurate and capture everything about the Hammonds and all that.

And then went, yeah, it will be fun to get sued. Fun! I’m not writing a non-fiction account, after all. I can fudge things, smear things, compose composite characters to protect the guilty and insane.

So, in the hot afternoons, I attempt a few paragraphs. It’s slow going. I need to dive in and let her buck, as they say around here.

Because we have rodeos and horses, and people actually go and get up on wild horses or other wild livestock, and…uh huh.

Why not write in the cool of the morning, dear? I hear some of you mutter that in nice, polite tones.

That tone you get when someone rattles on about some project of theirs that you could give two shits in a shot glass about.

Where your eyes glaze over as the person prattles about how they tracked down that one knitting stitch only used in Medieval stockings in Ireland by cloistered nuns who occasionally took fits because they thought the devil visited them at night.

That stitch!

Ah, well. I’ve been writing on ‘other stuff’.

Junk crap that I need to clear from my smoke-filled head so I can do the ‘real’ writing later in the day while not looking for gainful employment. Oh.

I did vow to at least go look at Craigslist and DesperateFuckers.org.

Sigh!

One last bit before I go find some pictures to place at random among these sickly paragraphs of LIKE ME I WRITE LIKE ME.

Shit howdy. I had a thought but…gone, baby, gone. Oh!!

Okay!

Movies.

Now, I wanna go see Mama Mia 2, I heard it’s great fun. I wanna see that damn Spy thing with the two women, because that looks like a lotta fun. I also want to see Spike Lee’s Blackk Klansman because that looks like angry fun.

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I find I want to watch movies that are light, fluffy and might contain dance numbers with colorful outfits.

I find I have no head or heart for sitting through a Serious Drama. I find many others share this right now in ‘murica. We want our entertainment fluffy as wobbly kittens and our real life to resemble some dystopian novel that doesn’t get that happy ending. Whee.

I want Christmas movies all year round right now, the Hallmark ones. Where there’s barely any real problems, people are shiny clean and look made of glitter and sugar cookies, and the villains and obstacles are easily overcome in the last five minutes.

Give that crap some Oscars! Emmys? Yeah, Emmys, as it’s television. Sorry.

That level of sugary goo erases the gritty reality show playing on every screen and device world-wide. Where people seems made of rattlesnake poison and toxic sludge and the villains win every single fucking time.

And the heroes mumble and then there’s tweets from ten years ago with jokes and…ugh.

What the hell was this post? Mostly just fart noises, I think.

Ah, you were wondering where the ‘fart’ came in. Glad to help out, darlings.

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Tee hee. My mother, who was a nurse, worked in a Catholic hospital back in the day. She was told to carry a spoon…not even kidding. Not even a little. 

Grumpy yet Sexy Kalurching

 

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Actual screenshot of my Grumpy Odin and Sexy Jesus project

Someone has a project plugging away and lo and behold, it’s me.

I’ve been rewriting my Odin and Jesus thingamabob. I’m skimming through it, just trying to get the LATEST FREAKING VERSION out on the page.

What am I kalurching about? [That’s a vomit sound combined with another vomit sound, BTW.]

The Adventures of Grumpy Odin and Sexy Jesus

With possible name change– Mr. Grumpy and Sir Sexy. Which is…eh.

But I am always thinking of MARKETING these days. How to market X. How to get MORE PEOPLE TO BUY MY X.

I usually end up sobbing, and taking lots of things and stuff to calm my innards. Marketing has become my bete noire.

Where did I leave off before I drifted into MARKETING waters.

Oh yes.

Doggedly discuss latest writing project because that’s why I started this blog in the first kalurchy place. And to spare my friends my burbling too-long emails. Poor friends!

SHUT UP, I DO SO HAVE FRIENDS.

That was for the roflmao voices in my head. Sorry.

Odin, Jesus, God, Maggie, batboys, Minions, Stella Lou, Click and Clack, Minette and Suzi and…

I am trying, this time around, to STREAMLINE the tale. It turned into a messy, sprawling mess last time around, which I liked but might, well, probably, would test the patience of dear readers who bothered to read it.

Poor Ms. Wuehler, she’s a bit all over the place here and if there’s a story here, I might need a compass, some rope, and a miracle on the order of loaves and fishes to find it.

Chapter five or so is where I am.

I’m having fun and want to get back to it, so that’s good. Of course I’ve written this one several times over now. It started off as a play, as a short story, and is now a PROJECT that will need MARKETING.

Can you sense a theme developing here?

I’d go off on a magnificent political rant but hey, I can funnel that rage and WTF is happening? into my sentences and word choices and subtext. When I have subtext. I am more Ibsen than Chekhov most of the time. If you get that, high five. Or– Ibsen wasn’t that subtle and Chekhov was really subtle. Okay.

Ah. So!

I’m just letting it unfold, more or less, as it wants. TAOGOASJ seems to want to get back to the far more light-hearted, rather goofy road into the wilds of the Alvord than I had written it in earlier attempts.

As the Big Showdown will take place, still, in the Alvord Desert of Oregon.

Why is everything I write set in Oregon, mostly? Ah.

Because I’m from Oregon and setting all my tales, in, say, Alabama, just doesn’t work for me.

I have nothing against ‘bama, Roll Tide!, but…not from there or from the mystical, gothic-smeared South. I’m from the interior West, home of mythical cowboys and gothic Aryan Nations smeared bullshit.

Whee?…eee…uh. That’s a sound effect spelled out. Imagine the first part is ‘should I be happy about that? Then the second set is ‘no’, with the sound descending from a high squeal to a lower, softer noise and then a gulp.

I’m keeping a lot of the things I really liked from earlier versions. Names for things, characters, Swiss Charlie’s, Po. Po is Horus’s horse. Jesus has to be more charming, more slick. Odin needs some actual grumpiness! MORE COWBELL FOR ALL.

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From the SNL more cowbell sketch. Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan. Missing, ironically, is Christopher Walken. Ironic is my middle name.

I still laugh at that skit from SNL. Christopher Walken is my spirit animal, as the kiddies opine. He’s not, but for that skit, he is.

Back to Grumpy Odin/Sexy Jesus.

I’m also working a lot on Maggie, the Head Receptionist. On her will and drive, on not making her such a Mary Sue, oh ghastly gasp of horror inserted here. [Uhhh!] I’ve kept the tentacles and the mask.

Oooh, who’s wearing a mask!

Look at you! HOOKED. Hooked, I tell ya!

Did I mention the cute ground squirrel prolly ate most of my pet eggplant? And that the cucumber I doctored for teensy black bugs has give up the ghost?

Yeah. I transplanted the eggie into a big pot and put it up high. It’s fine so far, just the leaves got nibbled off. It still looks rather splendid, except it’s just a stem with leaves at the top and one purple blossom left.

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Eggie in the halcyon days before the leaf massacre…poor Eggie. It’s in the downstage corner by the plastic chicken, btw.

I also trimmed the forsythia and rose bush next to my mini garden, put up some redneck fencing– that’s whatever crap you have laying around used as a fence– and check my mini garden obsessively.

The yard bunnies prolly also had a tooth in this.

Oh! I turned over a board on the other side of the fence and there was a mama quail and her eggs. I hope she didn’t abandon them. I’m afraid to check. I do love quail. They are perhaps my favorite bird, with hummingbirds of course ranking right up there. I saw a hummer the other day. Poking that long beak into the wild roses. I thrilled. I was thrilled.

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Quail nest found beneath ratty old board.

A little news– I somehow have nine novels to get written.

I have two done and nine to go. Someone, [it was me] mentioned titles to her publisher. Who remembered them, jumbled them a bit and then sent a contract…yep. [This is good. In case it doesn’t come across that way. This is good!!!!] 

It’s a zany slapstick sort of life, yes, it is.

So! Blog-wise, I will be attempting to MARKET my oncoming flux of writing onto the indifferent universe. Even a mild splash would be nice.

Let’s see. I’ve mentioned my latest writing project, the Alvord Desert, MARKETING, my mini garden, and Alabama. I think that’s enough for now.

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Me working hard. Go me!

May the Fourth

 

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from Neatorama

Hello, May. Something light and frothy. Let’s see. Oh.

May the Fourth Be With You. If you don’t get that…I cannot help you in any way, shape or form.

So, yesterday. I had saved a submission opportunity and actually took a moment to read through it, as I noted, somewhere in my messy mindhole, that I might have something to actually send that way. [The Honest Women, to be honest and frank and factual.] 

Ah, yes! I read through the FAQ, like an innocent little idiot. I saw the requirements were not too weird, absurd or strenuous. I saw the deadline date– May 31, 2018. No entry fee.

I can do this, I thought with real American vigor. I can do this!

So, I tidied up a full-length play, which I’ve written about here a bit. Yep, the rewrite, I finished it! It was just sitting there, pages not numbered, no title page. A sad little full-length that had not yet had my attempt at polishing it up a bit.

So I spent, yes, the entire morning, putting page numbers in, doing a title page, coming up with a synopsis. Coming up with this, that, the other as per the submission guidelines. I even had to PDF it! Oh the horror! No, actually, it’s not, but I added that for dramatic effect. Get it?

GET IT NOW?

Okay, so I magically produce a product that roughly fits the guidelines of this submission opportunity. I email it off, using the email address the FAQ provided. I had a real sense of accomplishment. Oh yes, I did. I knew and know now that my play getting picked is a long shot on the odds of a donkey winning the Kentucky Derby. You know, that ‘not gonna happen’ outlook that I have so cheerfully and sweetly adopted. So that when I do get picked for whatever, I will be truly and honestly surprised.

So, not seconds after I sent off my submission…I get an email back from this crew. Claiming I had MISSED THE DEADLINE, that it was April 30…and they included the link to their FAQ.

I read this over several times, it seemed to be in Klingon. [ Or whatever Wookiees speak.]

What the hell, I thought, honestly and truly bewildered. I then went to check my saved link to this submission opportunity. Nope, it said May 31, 2018. I checked the link the crew sent me. Nope, May 31, 2018.

Gaslighted? Were they playing some weird Gaslight prank on me?

But wait, THERE’S MORE. Can you dig it? Can you survive the rush of adrenaline that just hit your system, fellow babies???

So today, as I write this, I went back to check for that bit that says the right date. And there’s an email from this place, that says, hey, you were right, we were wrong, so sorry.

Happy ending? What??!! Some trickster god went, hey, here, I’ll give you one, you sadsack. Is that what happened?? I’m looking for supernatural elements in a very mundane, boring clerical error story. I must be an American, bwha ha ha. 

The moral of this story is…don’t pet fish.

I have no idea what the moral is here. Other than double and triple check dates for deadlines? I’m careless that way.

I also didn’t just let this go, I went back and rechecked the date and then copy-pasted that into my email back to ‘them’. Instead of sighing and going, oh well. So that’s…um, something. Right?

I was also nice and polite in my email. Nary a cuss word or hint their mom wore combat boots. Not that I regularly send off emails to sub ops cussin’ em out.

It’s nice here today in Eastern Oregon, my mini garden is yet alive and the dove baby I wrote about in One Egg IS STILL ALIVE AND THRIVING , thank you. A beautiful little birdling.

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Me invading this poor young bird’s privacy. Isn’t it cute???

There’s also a nest of tiny babies squawking in the privet hedge.

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Me playing bird paparazzi. Tiny newborns hastily caught with my elderly digital camera

And the blackbirds are back, with their ugly warning shouts. The lilac blooms. The ancient irises persist in throwing up their swordish leaves. Spring has sprung and I have learned not to pet fish. All is well, my darlings, all is well.