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.
Happy Halloween!! Here’s the flash fiction piece I read aloud for Death Rattle.
VINEHEART AND THE STOLEN DAUGHTERS
I stand at the window, look down. Far below me, is the old forest. The sky stretches in every direction like a gorgeous blue cloth, and I long to touch it, I long to grow wings. I reach out my hand. The sky ignores me. How long have I been in this citadel of stone and malice? My entire life. I write my small story on the pale gray stones, I use my finger and ink made of nightmares, so she cannot read it. I use my tears to wipe away the words that I fear remain etched deep, no matter how hard I scrub at them with my shabby homespun skirts. She brings me clothes once a year, plain and serviceable. Food appears in little brittle baskets. I empty myself into a bucket, there is water for washing my face, a cloth. At mystical times of the year, I have to take a full bath, under her eyes, to be cleansed and fresh-smelling for her rituals and rites. She brings me fresh flowers, not realizing how it cuts me to trace each petal, rub each leaf against my skin. Smell the odors of earth and life itself coming from that slowly dying thing.
Her name is Vineheart. A sorceress, a goddess, a demon, I am not sure what she actually is. She wanted a child. And here I am, almost grown. Vineheart will throw me away soon. The ghosts in this remaining bit of an ancient keep taught me to read, to make letters and words, and then swore me to silence…the ghosts of her other stolen daughters. Soon, I, too, will come visit the new daughter, stolen from some village cradle. Wearing whatever last I wore when still alive. One sits near the crumbling bit of wall, combing out her long transparent hair, over and over, with a transparent jeweled brush. Her throat sports another mouth, bloodless now. Vineheart simply butchered her with a stone knife. This ghost never speaks, just combs her long, long hair.
No. I will not wait here for that fate. My hair is long as well, Vineheart likes to play with it and tell me tales of dragons and ancient queens. She has just been here, and she was cold, distant, her pale eyes darting toward that village beyond the forest, where new babies wait for her long fingers to pluck them away in the cold expanses of the night. I watched her change into a raven and fly away, away. She used to lurk nearby, to see if I would try to escape. But lately, she seems indifferent to keeping me safe and locked away from all others. Oh can’t you just die, she sighed out, under her breath, her hair pale gold and dull. My hair is black as midnight and no matter what she does to it, it turns back into midnight and night itself. She quite hates my hair and curses it on occasion, but somehow, it refuses to bow to her wishes.
I know she has gone to look for a new baby to raise to fifteen years or so, before discarding that one and finding another…her endless cycle. She will return to this old ruin, long since fallen to armies no longer remembered, with a screaming babe in her stringy arms. And I will die by poison or her stone knife. My bones will be used to talk to her gods, as she used the bones of the other daughters she forcibly adopted. They told me. They watched her as she flayed their skin, removed their muscles and organs, scraped their bones clean. And how she sobbed, as if grieving. But still stripping the coverings of skin and flesh from their skeletons.
I fasten the end of my hair to the hook. The hook I always fasten it to pull Vineheart up. This will hurt me. It hurts when she yanks herself up my locks, though she is as small and delicate as the bones of a fish. I look down, the earth below me promising to break my body. And I ease myself over the ledge, my legs dangling, my hands gripping the stone edge, my hair coiled and roped and waiting for me to fall. My fingers let go. The fall shocks me. Freedom shocks me. I look up just as my hair yanks me about, and I scream at the pain, I scream. I lay there, on the earth. I think my ankle is broken, the bones poke at my skin. My scalp will never recover from that fall from grace. I am surrounded by the ghosts of my fellow stolen daughters for a moment, then they become clouds above my head. I need a new name. Rapunzel’s the name of every ghost here.
Setting up corn field obstacle courses that will make people shit their manties.
Carving pumpkins into leering demon faces.
Dang it! I should be a Halloween-happy fiend of productivity!
I’m watching Father Ted. I’m also not writing. Bigly so. My brain remains serenely blank. Like a giant piece of blankness. Nothin’ up there up blankness.
So!! I did some marijuana trimming. On the Blue Diesel, on the Hawaiian, on the Star something. Yeah. The plants have names. Did you know that?
Your reefer has a specific name for a reason. Connoisseurs of reefer can lovingly talk about properties, high qualities, etc…rather like those wine freaks can talk about barrels, soil and grapes.
Reefer growers can talk, for hours, on the troubles they’ve had with a certain plant. On bud size. On stickiness and gumminess. On which plant is mostly all star buds. Which plant is not all star buds but sports some good solid gigantic, super-giant, buds. Which are easier to trim, so I’ll give them points here, fellow babies. On how people really like reefer that’s named after berries. Blueberry anything, for example, is a good seller.
You have to hand trim. The machine to do this, that would replace the people-labor portion, is rather spendy. As is all farm machinery. At least, the small aunt-run operation I show up for can not field an expensive piece of fiddly machinery.
Also, she likes the company, I think. Family and friends show up to snip buds from stalks. She makes lots of food, there’s snacks and coffee and soft drinks. It’s more of a party than work! Well, no, it’s still mind-numbing, factory-like work. But there’s snacks! You get to hear gossip about people you don’t know. You get to hear gossip about people you do know. I’m not a Gabby McTalkerson, so I just listen. I just listen!
Where was I? Father Ted.
I’ve been watching this twenty year old Britcom. Craggy Island. Catholic priests. It’s gut-bustingly funny. To me, at least. I know the star of this series has died of a heart attack before he turned fifty.
It’s basically Father Ted [Delmot Morgan], who’s our Everyman sort of guy, flanked by the astoundingly stupid Dougal[Ardal O’Hanlon] and the mad elder, Father Jack [Frank Kelly]. Girls! Drink! No! Feck!
There’s also a housekeeper [Mrs. Doyle–Pauline McLyn] prone to pratfalls and absurdities. Which the British excel at. It’s rather like Monty Python meets the Vicar of Dibley, except Father Ted never ever ever seems to go near a church. Mm? Oh yes, Graham Norton shows up as a priest from time to time. And he’s HYSTERICAL. Oh my sainted aunt!
Anyway! It’s soothing and funny. The comments below the episodes [I’ve found this over on Youtube.] speak to a longing when comedies were not so PC, or policed by the SJW’s of today. Yeah. You just want to start laughing at that, too. Remember back when comedies were full of racist stereotypes and we could be awful to non-white people? Remember back in the good ole days?
Ah! Liberal nigger lovers and lefty kike watchdogs have ruined everything! Thank God America is great again! Snowflakes, LOL. SNOWFLAKES LOL.
I might be exaggerating a wee trifle, but it sure feels like I’m toning shite down.
So, today, I will force myself to write. Something. Anything. To splash some words on that blankness in my head. Or just go outside and play with the two dogs. Or watch some Father Ted, marvel at how great it was twenty years ago to be openly crappy to others.
one of my fav episodes back when TV was really entertaining and funny when people didn’t go all PC gawd i miss those days yes yes that would be a ecumenical matter–shane upham, commenting under Father Ted Are You Right There Father Ted?
you don’t see good comedy like this anymore thanks to the jackasses called the PC police–Espada2234
Sorry, no review, this time, of Father Ted. I can’t seem to gather enough thoughts to write up a little something on Ted and the gang of priests. I do recommend the episode where Ted and Dougal try to write a song for the European song contest show. Eurovision? We don’t get that here in the colonies. They came up with a song about a horse. I kid you not. The scene where Dougal and Ted have been up all night, trying to write that song, is just. I! Oh feck, it’s about the funniest fecking thing I’ve seen in a goodly long while.
That includes a ten second clip of any FatNixon public fap rally held with paid audience members.
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???
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The limping left keep waiting for Republicans to DO THE RIGHT THING.
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.