The House on Clark Boulevard!

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Molly caught in a rare pensive mood. She probably wants a snow storm, too. 

Hi, everyone. I’m waiting for the snow. It insists on raining. Ah, weather! My book, the HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD, is on sale for a bit, at about a dollar. For your Kindle or whatever you might have that lets you read e-books. 

The link to that?? 

Glad you asked, cupcakes!

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Happy Thanksgiving

oct2018dogs 020I do actually have a long post, about not much at all, scheduled for release into the wild. But. Have a great day if you celebrate Thanksgiving. Have a great day if you don’t. I think that covers everyone?

 

 

The Cracks Do Show

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Jake waiting for me to throw the stick. Behind him is a sugar beet field. 

I am making salt clay ornaments for presents. Or just to give myself a much-needed project to help me start focusing again. As my brain seems made of fog and cotton candy right now. I made up the clay mixture– salt, water, flour. I used cookie cutters for the shapes. Tree, star, circle, candy cane, snowflake. Other odd vague holiday shapes. I dried them a bit in the oven, but the dough puffs up. So, I let them air dry, figure the puffy parts are ‘artistic’.

I got some sparkly gold and silver paint, some actual glitter. As the paint, when it dries, is rather dull.

I noticed that the Democrats took back the House of Representatives, but the GOP, somehow, held on to the Senate.

It seems there was a lot of cheating, voter suppression, voter intimidation, etc, etc. See Florida, Texas, Georgia, the Dakotas, etc.

I also noted that the orange stain forced Sessions into resigning, then propped up some fanboy to oversee the Mueller investigation…all of this within hours of election results on Tuesday night. Mm.

There’s also the latest mass shooting , in Thousand Oaks, CA. Suspect is dead. Lots of others, dead. Dead, death, dying. Tots and pears offered. Mm.

I have lots of little ornaments to paint. If I can make them look presentable or as if painted by a Kandinsky or a Matisse, then I will give them as modest little presents. A little something to hang on a tree a few days a year. 

Writing? What’s that? I can’t match the absurdity that is American politics right now anyway. I can’t rise to the level of sheer jaw-dropping WTF twists and turns that play out minute to minute anymore.

My imagination grabbed at its chest, muttered something about they’re not even trying to hide how corrupt and awful they are…then slumped to the floor of my skull. The EMT’s are trying to revive it. Waiting. Waiting. Mm.

The cracks show now in America. We can usually pretend here, real hard, that we’re nice and civil. That we’re not the biggest bag of racist assholes on the planet. Our elections say otherwise, these days. Hopefully THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT. This time unicorns will show up and stab the bad guys! Whee. Mm. Maybe? What? Recount? There’s recounts galore goin’ on?? Whiskey, whiskey would taste nice right now.

I can’t wait to get out my paints, work on beautifying dried out flour, water, salt. As Christmas fare plays nearby. Or something equally innocuous and soothing. I might also go for a walk today, if the wind isn’t blowing. That cold wind that says

Hi there, it’s November, here’s an icy blast, you idiot wanderer of dirt ways and weedy hollows.

The dogs enjoy it so. I let them take off in whatever direction, then just follow behind. Harvest is done about the house so it’s far safer for them. Giant farm trucks whizzing by at a thousand miles an hour trying to get the contents they carry to the appropriate place before it closes for the night kill many an unwary pet, wild animal and confused bird.

Getting the paints out. I don’t want to write but I do want to paint, be all crafty. I find others are also not producing the Next Great Only Read By Ten People American Novel. They’re crafting. Knitting. Sewing. Baking. Usually while curled in a fetal position. It’s really hard to make cream puffs with an orange blossom cream filling, topped with bitter Swiss chocolate curls, from a fetal position.

Maybe I’ll make myself write for at least ten minutes– which is usually open a file, stare at the words which seem jumbled abstracts of a language I don’t speak–then set up for PAINTING. Or maybe go redo the resume…ha ha ha ha. I just made myself giggle. Now I’m sobbing. How long can you keep telling yourself things will turn around? What’s the expiration date on that one?

Cracks are showing all over. Mm, yes.

On Mid-term Election Day, Nov. 6th, 2018

 

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Molly and Jake in the shorn corn field across the way. 

Hi, ya’ll. I’m doing laundry. I’m watching the Food Networks Halloween Baking Challenge shows. They’re so much meaner in spirit than the Great British Baking ones. But the challenges. Turn a common nightmare into a cake! WT…?! Petite Fours for a monster wedding shower! Animals caught in a spider web design– cockroaches, frogs, dragonfly. A dessert that oozes. Oozes!

Yes, I’m keeping calm, hoping the GIGANTIC VOTER TURNOUT BEING REPORTED is, like, actually going to reflect some stuff. And that those voting will have their votes counted, as the GOP side of things has been tossing ballots due to someone didn’t check the Miss, Ms. or Mrs. box. Or a signature didn’t quite look exactly the same– here I’d have trouble, as my signature is a sloppy mess. My handwriting is awful! Or someone left out a period after something in their address. No foolin’. Or suddenly, like in the Dakotas, those that live on reservations suddenly can’t vote because they have a P.O. Box instead of a street address…which has been fine until about two weeks ago. Yeah. Yet it’s the left that’s importing bazillions of illegals to vote for them so they can lose elections like cray cray. Uh huh. 

But social media has been riding that ups and down of ACTUAL GODDAMN VOTER SUPPRESSION with how to vote if you get denied at your polling place. With what numbers to call if you get harassed. Orange Shitstain Supremas actually threatened voters…Anyway! Oh. Lyft and Uber are offering discounts to free rides to get people to vote. There’s people willing to drive people to and fro if they need a ride…it’s kinda awesome to read and hear about what companies and citizens alike are doing to GET PEOPLE TO CAST A VOTE.

I have ‘friends’ who write, in total disdain for those not in their cozy little circle of purity and shining single-purpose issues, who opine that voting doesn’t matter. Only fools vote. Only sheeple cast a ballot. I just…want to punch them in the face with my actual naked fist. I know, violence isn’t the answer but not voting because of the global corporatist blah blah blah…Punch. They sound rather like those on the Alt-Right. And then these far far far lefties complain that no one gets them and look at the state of the world…while writing reams of WORDS ABOUT HOW BAD THE WORLD IS. I just! Fuhhhhhhhh!!!

All right! Back to the little trove of Halloween baking challenges. Everything’s raspberry, chocolate something or other or burned cinnamon orange blossom water sesame seed basil-infused…I am seriously loving the rando ingredient the host throws at the bakers in the middle of them trying to get their projects done in the time allotted. Wheeeee!!! It also makes me want to try some of their flavor combos. I did buy myself some sesame seeds yesterday.

I do have high hopes for a blue wave indeed. I do. I think a mass of first time, pissed off as hell, voters will make something of a real difference. I don’t trust the polls as people below fifty don’t answer them. I saw that discussed. Where anyone of the younger generations doesn’t answer a number they don’t know. They text, they don’t talk on the phone. Old people answer strange numbers they don’t know. Mm. [Read that as Fox viewers]

So, these polls that say there’s a red wave about to hit…eh. Red wave. Like a heavy day during your menstrual cycle, kiddos? Where you are soaking through pads and tampons, bent over with cramps, wishing you were dead so you’d never have to have such a goddamn red wave again hit you? Kinda like that? Yeah.

Baking shows seem to be my choice of drug today. I do have vodka and tamarind soda pop for later. Take that as you will, fellow babies.

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. 

Death Rattle- Nampa, Idaho

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As I mentioned, I went to a writer’s festival in Nampa, Idaho. It took place downtown, as they say. Outside of the Prefunk Beer Bar on 1st Street, South. You get off on Exit 35, take Northside Avenue.

Saturday, I went to try and sell some books. I roughly had the mood equivalent of a dead turtle, so…won’t go into that because I don’t want to. It rained a bit. I bought some raspberry lemonade fudge from the farmer’s market. Pigeons.

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Setting up on Saturday.

Sunday!!

I drove over, somehow got there in about twenty minutes. As it’s nearly fifty miles to Nampa from my den of utter aloneness, I bent the laws of time and space! Also, the day proved to be a nice one. No rain, no wind, perfect fall weather, though a bit chilly as the day drew onward into the star-smeared night.

A workshop, where everyone there began the initial creation of a comic strip. Led by a lovely woman comics artist from Seattle, I believe. Thu Tran.

How to break up the dialogue. How to create the character or characters that will speak the words.

Write some lines. Try to draw the ones speaking those lines. Practice getting a creation you can draw over and over, until it’s almost automatic.

I did okay. People around were smart, drawing animals or bottles of spaghetti sauce. I drew people. I eventually just got to circle and triangle, with faces on each, for my characters. With differing expressions. I also drew them in profile. This actually helps me, as a playwright and prose spewer, to cut unnecessary dialogue.

What absolutely needs to be said? What can be cut? What is essential? Also, sitting for nearly two hours, drawing, helps calm the anxiety I have being AROUND OTHERS.

I also want to mention another writer I met. Javier Luna. Super-nice, friendly and talented. Thanks for talking to me. I’m an awkward social outcast right now, so thanks. 

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At one of the Lloyd buildings for the poetry readings.

The next big group thing: poetry readings. It took place in one of the buildings over where the farmer’s market had been. I just trailed after people like a stray dog, as I had no idea what building. Was. The building.

I’m also one of those people that when told something will start at X time, I actually expect it to start at X time, not whenever people stop farting around…Okay! But! If you have to set up microphones and move equipment, yep. I get it, I do. Been there myself. I’m always early to stuff, I’m also one of those pests.

I did enjoy this. Some poets more than others, as you do. I rather like the idea that there are so many poets within a hundred mile radius. It’s rather heartening. I liked the humor that crept out or blasted from the get-go in some of those readings. I got to thrill to odd phrases that caught my attention.

I noted that I was not wearing the writer garb nearly everyone else wore– dull colors, sweats, knitted caps, black the primary color…dang it. I wore a bright yellow top with a silver sparkly sweater, and BLACK PANTS. I got part of the Writer Uniform right.

If you’ve ever been to a poetry reading, then you pretty much know how this one went. If not, you should go. Hearing people read their own work should be a life goal if you’ve not done so already. Often times, these readings are free and open to the public, and you get to support a local poet or group of poets. In these times, yeah.

We need our artists. We need them. We need them when things are not whack-a-mole off the charts batshit insane, too.

Slight break, then the flash fiction portion of the evening would begin. Here, the entire kit and kaboodle got moved back to the alley outside the bar. Running a bit late. It’s Sunday night.

Did I mention I’d had two drinks and no food? That I’m trying not to just go home, forget the whole thing? That I kept wondering why I’d worn such bright clothes?? Why hadn’t I slipped a dull hat over my grandma-ish-fixed-and-sprayed hair?? Why??? I had slapped makeup on! Dang it! I have knitted dull hats! Somewhere. 

I had a dragonfruit cider, and then a giant huckleberry one. Prefunk is a microbrewery kinda hipster place. Not really, but sorta, yeah. I thought the dragonfruit cider tasted like a wine cooler. But the huckleberry one tasted swell. Like huckleberries.

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We’re now back outside Prefunk, with the flash fiction portion of the evening about to start.

The flash fiction reading had a theme. High fantasy, fantasy, sword and sorcery, etc! I happened to actually read the submission blurt, and sent in a quick take I had of Rapunzel called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters.

Originally, this one started off as Prisoner. What a dull, pedestrian title! I wrote the first draft of this for some themed contest, about prisoners or being locked up or blah. I know it had a theme to do with being locked up, breaking free of that. Something like that.

Did my piece win over those who read it? Nope! So I kept reworking my Rapunzel take, renamed it, renamed it again. Have super-long versions, then did a shorty version. Which ended up as a piece to be read at the Death Rattle Flash Fiction portion.

I went third. The night had turned cold enough for coats. October. Sunday evening.

Now, I thought my voice sounded like one of the squeaky mice from Cinderella. Ugh! I did manage to get through it, people listened. It was eight hundred words or so. I didn’t embarrass myself. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to go on these days. That I didn’t embarrass myself in public too badly.

People did stop by to say they enjoyed it. 

The other pieces had a mostly light-hearted, funny bent to them. Very enjoyable to sit there and listen to them. Lots of fun word play, alchemists and witches and dragons. Even an appearance by Persephone. For a tiny bit, the real world couldn’t intrude here. For a tiny bit, one believed everything would turn out okay.

Then, you drive home, after discovering a Burger King on the corner where you need to turn to get back to the freeway. Nothing since a dubious lunch. Burger King it is! Money? Sure, I got some of that scattered in small coins across the bottom of my purse…

To sum up– I attended a local writer’s festival. I enjoyed it. I read a flash fiction piece. I drove home. The end!

Not quite the end yet– I also want to say a big thanks to Sarah, Reed, the tall guy in the baseball cap who did bad high fantasy punning, and the other organizers of this event. Thanks for being welcoming, and inclusive. 

 

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The alley where things took place!

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.