Storms, Tuna Melts and Writing

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from Flickr

PART ONE: VOLCANOS AND VIRGINS

I am waiting for the snow. It’s been a rather warm January. Snow, now. Snow now! Allegedly, there’s a winter storm dancing toward my area, where it will spread snowflakes about as it does the bossa nova with the mountains, valleys and pockets of scrub, sagebrush-dotted expanses and riparian spots. I don’t want spring-like weather during my winter of discontent, dang it. How dare the weather gods omit winter weather for my area this year?? What’s that about? Do I need to find a virgin and a volcano?

There’s a volcano up the road a bit [ several, in fact. Mt. St Helens, Mt. Hood…] and I’m sure I can find a virgin on the local Boise Craigslist. It’s amazeballs what you can find on there if you’re really, really looking.

I “finished” Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane. Which did not go at all in the direction I thought it would.

Does writing ever go in the direction you think it should?

Oh my, every January post of mine has been about either cannibal bikers or some vague political rant. I haven’t been nice or positive!

I’m going back over my many words today. I think half of it is pretty okay and it doesn’t make me want to spork my eyes out with an actual spork while shrieking that I can’t write. That’s good, right? The second half, now…eh. Er. Maybe it’s ‘better’ than I think? Or far far worse?? Oh!

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Who are Fine Young Cannibals, Alex?

PART TWO: THE TUNA MELT CONTROVERSY

I treated myself, yesterday, to a tuna melt from the Starlite in Vale. It’s my weird craving. I hate fish and onions and yet…that sandwich is full of both fish and onions. I don’t get it, I don’t try to understand my fatal flaws in wanting a hot tuna sandwich full of onions. I haven’t had a tuna melt in ages, like, oh, years. [Did I ever mention how abysmally poor I am and that I’m about two inches from being an actual agoraphobic?] It was way spendy and I felt SO GUILTY all afternoon. And into the night. I should have spent that money on orphans and owl rescues.

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from Trip Advisor. The Starlite in Vale, Oregon

To eat tuna– that stuff that comes in the little cans, packed in oil or spring water, as a tuna fillet or chunk of tuna ordered at an eatery or taken home from some supermarket makes me openly gag– I have to doctor it up. I do mean kill that tuna taste. Lemon, sweet pickles, garlic…so that the few bits of fish mingling with glumps of mayo–

the grossest of the condiments; just gross, BRB, throwing up a bit–

doesn’t taste like tuna. At all. It tastes like sweet pickles. So why do I crave tuna melts?

Weird tangent. Okay.

Also, that tuna melt I ordered to go…was not that great. The at least two other tuna melts I’d ordered there, in years past, were good. Tasty. Tangy and oniony. Hot mayo. I think I have some issues and problems, oh my. Yep. Anyway. That sandwich I’d ordered and taken home did not…live up to my memory of how good the Starlite tuna melts are. Maybe I’m now cured of my tuna melt cravings. And will crave kale and cucumber sandwiches on GMO-free artisan bread baked by a collective of earth-loving vegans who keep tuna fish as pets, not food.

So. I will wait for snow, mourn that iffy tuna melt and read over my collection of words.

 
I have a full day ahead.

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THE SILVER STATE

 

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from the Plate Shack

Hi again! I am ovaries-deep in Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane, my aggressively feminist scream against the patriarchy. Come back here! I am, wait for it, just kidding a wee.

I JUST NOW noticed that if you put ‘conservative’ and ‘Christian’ in front of your name, you can get away with anything you want. Like, oh, treason, chasing porn stars around with a Forbes magazine that features your own daughter on the cover, refusing to treat gay folks medically, deporting brown people mostly because they’re brown people, making it hard or impossible for swathes of people to vote in elections, blah blah blah dee blah dee blah.

I’m gonna switch to that magical and all-erasing R and then go on a murder spree. Where I murder, in the name of Jesus, everyone I find objectionable, morally repugnant, disposable and a drain on our resources, which should only go to oil companies and bald eagles.

I want that statement of ‘very fine people on both sides’ to apply to my side, a’course, only.

Oh. Shithole countries. Lest we ever forget. Shithole countries is how 45 referred to Haiti, all of Africa, El Salvador…and probably a host of other places. Why can’t we have more people from Norway come here…was, I believe, 45’s lament.

And most of actual Norway started puking or laughing right after that. Or so the liberal media claims! Don’t check with CNN, they’re in Killary’s pocket! NBC works directly for Soros! ABC, might as well be We Hate Trump Wah network!

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from History.com and the History Channel’s Vikings. Lagertha–Katheryn Winnick– leading her troops into battle. 

You know, “Vikings”. I guess they can leave their socialist shithole of a country on their longboats and invade us and take our gold, our women and our land. Like oh, they used to, way back when. i viking is, I believe, the term used, to describe those raids, where, I assume, the term ‘viking’ originates from. Maybe we should ask Europeans about that, since they still seem to have history classes at their socialist hellhole places of indoctrination…

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from Vice

Oh! Our gubbermint is shut down. [America, in case you thought I was Canadian.] Which is, somehow and laughably, passed off as the fault of the two or three Democrats still holding office right now in DC. Ummm???

 

 

We also, yes, had Fake News Awards, compiled by Pumpkincunt AKA Stormy’s Spankmonkey.

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Yep, everything’s a go if you put an R behind your name. Good to know.

This has now become normalized. It’s normal for the American king wannabe to publicly go after news organizations…as it garners them ratings and cash when the White House does so. I noticed that. It’s a national version of Yahoo Answers right now. Fuck you, lol versus no, fuck you, lol.

Which draws in viewers on both sides in record numbers! It sells papers, it brings hits on websites, it creates smokescreens when actual shittery is brought forth or some piece of truly heinous, unAmerican legislation gets rushed through.

But.

I digress. I meant to post a small update on my rewrite of a gritty novel into a more commercial-friendly, happy, funny, light-hearted sweet-esque dark fairy tale romp.

Novel! Must focus.

The ideas churn through my brain meat, oh yes. I am tying up this, that, the other, so it all makes a sort of sense that Western lit readers really seem to prefer in their Western literature.

Unlike real life, where things just happen and entire threads go nowhere and people do things without a tragic backstory to explain their every last little action in the present…my novel happily chugs along picking up easy-peasy happy little this and that to explain why X is X.

As my novel is art and not a ‘real life, let them see the long hairs on the beauty’s chin, sort of effort’, I think it best I strive toward a coherent three-fourths sort of project. As it will never be whole or perfect and is that not the entire beauty of novels, writing, art itself?? That the artist never declares, weeee, that’s perfect, never gonna obsesses about that one sentence in that one paragraph ever ever ever again!

Of course, that’s how we got those three weird and awful Star Wars prequels…so. Grain of sand, babies. Grain of sand.

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from Nevada Design. 

Oh. So. I got a flash about the Snitty Ratballs and the Glitterbugs of Boise, Idaho. What if the Ratballs are…oooh. You’re gonna have to wait! But it was HUGE. It was BIGLY. I had to go back, to nearly the beginning, and INSERT tidbits to support the story that reveals itself in tidbits to me throughout the day. What if Amy Octopus and Vance Romance came to Winnemucca because Boise had been…ooooh. Oh yes, I have actual thoughts where ‘Glitterbugs’ and ‘Amy Octopus’ march through alongside ‘should I microwave a burrito for lunch or make a sammich’.

I did get a bit political this time around but I also managed to swing it back around to my desperate bid to fill my silly time on this earth with writings about cannibal bikers and the Silver State. Surely, that’s worth a bowl of oatmeal? As ever, thanks for reading and BUY MY BOOKS. They’re awesome. Awesome!

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from Easy Rider. The Telegraph. 

 

The January of my Discontent

 

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from Twitter. A lion figures in my story, a lot. As metaphor and deus ex machina and convenient convenience. Yay!

The snow remains a teasing little flirt, hinting she might show up but then sending flipping rain or fog or record-breaking temperatures instead. I sigh! Wherefore art thou, snow? I needeth thou! I enjoyeth walkies in your depths.

I went outside just yesterday. Spring, allegedly, decided she wished to park her buttocks on Eastern Oregon like the unwelcome crackwhore she can be at times. Get thee gone, Spring! Blue skies, mild weather, mud. What the eff??!! I left the pavement and nearly sank to my ankles in sticky goo. What the effing eff???!!! No! NO! This cannot stand. Snow, stop teasing us here and arrive in big white pretty snowflakes that we will curse with many curses once we have to go anywhere.

An update. On Remarkable Women.

I am on Chapter Ten. Yes, go ahead and applaud and cheer and bust out the Keystone Light, Icehouse Brew edition. [I bet you think I made that up…]

Yesterday, I was fuddling about, after my abortive attempt to go for walkies, when I had an actual epiphany of a moment. What if the Snitty Ratballs already….HA HA HA HA HA. Joy. My mind threw forth a hoary old chestnut of storytelling and my heart just started singin’ arias. Wheeee. Because that hoary old chestnut works. It glides somewhat neatly into place and it won’t take much tweakage to incorporate it back into the narrative. Yay!!!

Snitty Ratballs? Wha?

I’ve set up a DYSTOPIAN afterworld, so I can yank up names from my Silly Name Generator all I wish. They’re a fable within my dark fable, so to speak. Intrigued? Mmm!

I read, in a cynical and tired bid to drum up business for my words and phrases, that one needs to advertise a book before it’s even conceived. Start banging a giant set of virtual skins well before you actually write anything. Marketing. Everyone has talent! MY imaginary iguana has talent! It’s the marketing end you need to master and dominate and tie up with its own panties.

Anyway…

Where was I?

Ah, snow, a hot January and my current Important and Real writing project.

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from the Nevada Travel Network. Fallon, NV. Obviously before my recounting of current events takes place…

I’m humming along, as they say. I’m enjoying myself as I type words. I’m giggling most foully at certain portions and then self-censoring at other portions because…cannibals. I’m challenging myself to come up with new words and such that people would toss about after some world-wide fuckitall war had happened. I’m looking up stuff about Fallon, Nevada, which, for some reason, presented itself as Ground Zero of my dark and now slightly funny and almost light-hearted romp of a tale. The Top Gun school is nearby. They have petroglyphs in the hills nearby. Farming community, small town, an hour from Reno. Cottonwoods. A bird sanctuary. Carson River. I’ve been there. Most of my hasty research won’t be tapped. But it’s there. It’s there and that’s a comforting feeling.

Okay! I need to return to Disney-fying my cannibal bikers versus the three old sisters Magnum Opus. Excerpt? I never thought you’d ask, my dears!

***

From Chapter One of the Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane:

“I don’t know. Men need things named so they can own them,” Laura said in her suddenly new restless way. “Wouldn’t it be better to be a part of the new world order than hiding from it or fighting against it? Shouldn’t we get our bottoms on the ground floor of whatever happens? I could eat some human flesh, if it had a sauce or something on it. You wouldn’t even know what it was. Some ketchup. You’d think it was pork. Long pig! That’s what human flesh is called, or was called. I think it’s just called food nowadays.”

“It’s a sin to eat other humans,” Lily said in her final, that’s it, way.

“A sin? Worse than being killed and eaten yourself? Or starving slowly to death in this darkened, dusty old house in the middle of the damn Nevada desert? Listening to two old biddies talk about birds and the Lord?? Worse than having to bite your tongue during that?”

“We are not in the middle of the Nevada desert.” Lily pointed out. “And what is wrong with you, sister? What?”

“I told you about those little blue and gold birds. I’m sure I did.” Violet studied her knitting, frowning. “Why do I keep dropping stitches? You’re an old biddy as well, Laura. You never talk, that’s not our fault.”

“I don’t want to sit here in this house anymore. And wait for them to come find us. The monsters always win in real life, Lily. They always win. There is no justice. None. Not for three old broads, not for your Jesus and not for anyone else…but monsters. Let’s be monsters. Let’s join them. We can cook their food. Wash their clothes. We’re women. We’re useful! Men think they always run the world. But women do the actual work. We could work for the monsters. What’s wrong with that?”

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from Unpopped Cinema. This has nothing to do with this rewrite. Nothing. Enjoy!

 

LOOK AT ME, I’M BLOGGING!

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from Flickr

Let’s get some bidnez out of the way first, m’kay?

BUY MY BOOKS. There. We all feel better now? I do!

House on Clark Boulevard, in case you didn’t see that title SPLASHED ALL OVER THIS SITE and of course, the lovely and talented OREGON GOTHIC featuring short stories no self-respecting cat hoarder would ever be without.

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Surely, some of you housebound hoarders out there need some new stuff to hoard? 

I do actually have a topic. Patience, grasshoppers. Patience.

Me, myself and I have restarted, from scratch, my novel about old ladies V. cannibal bikers in the small town of Fallon, Nevada. Oh my, I can hear the intake of shocked breaths from HERE.

The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane.

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from 2 Chronicles. 

Now, the previous and finished product held elements of gut-wrenching horror and gut-churning forays into the heart of darkness. And my publisher dude just went…fuck this, what the hell is wrong with you. No doubt in a veddy posh British accent.

Posh Spice snorting about bloody Americans as they sip their tenth cup of Earl Gray for the day. Yep!

I was understandably X. [I can’t write, wah!] I went extreme! I let people see how extreme I went! [Believe me, kiddos, there’s a whole flipping ocean beneath my extreme, don’t even worry.]

“Never go full extreme!” seemed to be the lesson here…or at least, shop your extreme stuff to those in the extreme bidnez. Don’t be an Albert Fish in a world of Dr. Seussian polite murder mysteries and sweet little ghost tales. Lesson learned! 

The street in that title, THE REMARKABLE WOMEN OF BROKENHEART LANE, by the way, is an actual street name I saw in Nevada. There’s also a Chicken Dinner Lane [it might even be road] in Caldwell, Idaho. I love those wacky street names. They ‘inspire’ me.

A year or more goes by.

Imagine that flippy calendar visual. Got it? Okay! We’re hopping from a June of perhaps over a year ago to–

It’s December of 2017.

I think, ah, I need a new project. Candy Crush cannot become my new project, even though HOW THE FUCK DO YOU GET PAST LEVEL &&$. Yes, I am a bit hooked on a damn game, and it’s sad and silly. It’s sild. Slad? I’ll work on combining those two words into one awesome one. New goal for today! Where was I?

Oh. New project. Christmas time.

Lurking in my muzzy, wuzzy head is the idea that Remarkable Women needs a REWRITE. Because, allegedly, that’s what writers do. Take out something laid aside and torture it into new, probably sleazy, crackwhore-ish shapes. All to make a buck eventually somewhere in the land of the not really free and the home of the sneeringly can’t be bothered. Most of whom don’t even know the words to their own National Anthem yet have strokes over how patriotic they are. Amen, Baby Jesus. And the socket’s red blare, the fights bursting in fair! Gave proof to the lie that our frogs were still hair!

What’s YOUR NOVEL about, you ask. Thank you for asking!

Oh these three elderly sisters have survived some sort of world-ending event. They live in a falling down house and try to avoid starving to death, when they’re not trying to avoid the gangs of human monsters roaming about through the Nevada wastelands.

See why I went all dark and Cormac MacCarthy? Yeah, me either. Because that premise just screams for a lighthearted romp with zingers, witty observations about modern manners and a sneer sent toward Millenials, because…that’s what everyone else is doing.

The seed of Remarkable Women was actually three sisters going to visit their childhood home to visit the grave of their childhood dog. Which I did actually write and send off somewhere to get SOUNDLY REJECTED.

But then another moldy seed split from my original kitchen sink reality seed…cannibals, bikers, Mad Max-like scenarios, old ladies.

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from Moviefone. The Road Warrior, anyone? 

I mixed Doomsday, the Road Warrior and those movies featuring women far past their prime [ anything over fifteen years old, amirite, gentlemen??]. Those movies usually starring Judi Dench, Helen Miren and Maggie Smith. Actual Dames! Kind of like those movies starring a raft of ancient creaky actors still creaking around, usually studded with Morgan Freeman or Michael Caine.

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from Rotten Tomatoes.

Who doesn’t combine a bunch of rando thoughts into one big whirling shitball and then make ART from it? Everyone does it. Everyone.

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from Roger Ebert

Now!!

This outing, this new rising from the dead ashes of another book, [not dead, just resting. Just resting!]

–this time taking on that dusty world of death, destruction and impossibly narrow escapes…

I find the story wishes to float along in a truly breezy, just write the damn words sorta way. I also find the story wishes to be told from two POV’s– those of the sisters and those of the bikers. I’m giggling rather foully to myself as I write so that’s a good sign. For me, at least. I’m having fun! Writing is fun! Look at me! FUN FUN FUN.

It’s foggy here so I can’t go outside. It’s also non-snowy so my rage at the lack of snowiness rages.

Candy Crush and total ass out, balls to the wall rewrite in the works. I’m not consulting the finished draft I already wrote ages ago. I reason I can make up silly post-Apocalypse names without having to copy my own silly made up post-Apocalypse names, as that just seems like cheating.

Lily, Violet and Laura, hello again! It seems like we’re old friends and you all have a fresh tale to shout in my ear. A sort of dark-ish fairy tale about ogres and witches and my own version of a Valentine to Nevada, that Silver State that oftentimes leaves a bit of shiny fake gold in my noggin. Let’s raise our typing fingers to THE REMARKABLE WOMEN OF BROKENHEART LANE. Long may she languish in don’t wanna touch that publishing purgatory!*

*If I say something like that, the only place I have to go is up. I’ve read the inspirational quotes, for the love of fucks and money. Start low and go high! You can’t start on the high road without wading through the cow pond, my dears. A bit of homespun Oreeegun wizdum. Wheeee.

Losing My Flapdoodle

 

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I wrote the following after receiving a rejection. 

Then moi conceived a magnificent plan.

Here’s my ‘brilliant’ plan!!

I’ll write some stream of consciousness, totally woke prosepoemsmear and submit that to X submission opportunity! It will be lacking in actual grammar, structure and paternal literary merits! It will have no merit. None. Not a whiff of merit. I stayed highly aware of my own wokeness the entire time I typed that below. Did North Korea just flippin’ BOMB US?? Where is the vodka? 

If I consider ‘murica right now…I’ll start eating my bad hair. I won’t bother with a mustard chaser this time.

 

 

Flapdoodle sexbugs of Ganderv55

CarLISLE gives nothing and I rot like a dream as we rut in the leaves beneath the tree of his mother. She brings us old toast and new coffee her hair on fire from daddysexjuice and we smell her burning but she pours us coffee and scolds us about jesus who is meek and mild and full of corn. mother moother you are old news and mother directs us like traffic cones into the river of my lovers who slap me with morality. i screamed could not find my way but my carLISLE advised me to take three aspirin and stuff them in my sexbug and oooooh i discovered the sands of my own breasts and i wept because i am not awake.

we went on the sidewalk found a cup and a dead idea, took both back in our backpack and put them in a cage because it’s all we know of high heels. dream on screamed moother and we dreamed on

until father gave us gum that smelled like cinnamon whores at low tide which created ghosts in our intestines that we farted out as ironic statements of purpose for ivy schools that never considered us contenders. I WORE A YELLOW FLAPDOODLE and nobody told me I WORE A YELLOW FLAPDOODLE and I wondered why no one told me because i posted the bread pictures and everyone hit the yes button and told me yes yes yes and squirted yes juice into my burning eyes. I tire to be brilliant but the diamonds turn to rodents in my kneecaps where slime shops for canned meat and mark down cancer drugs. WHY WON’T U SLAP MEE mmmooother asked as she sliced smelly lettuce for the eternal meal

and sister, my sister is dead yet sits on my right hand better than god or allah because she gives me pink gummy bears for my sexbug slit and doesn’t need them back to glue in her scrapbook where she once glued a live frog that begged her to traditional marry it and she told it no, it wasn’t fresh and that she wanted a turtle to lay eggs in her vast pulsing worldwomb. My sister puts her hair out to be sliced and my mother slices it slices and my sister marries the frog and glues herself in the scrapbook that’s how she died and yet how she lives because i can cut her shape from the pages and stick them to my eyes so she stares at me as i paddle over the rainbutt and into the dirk

but CarLISLE won’t say. Theres nothing there and I MADE HIM UP because father asked me to and we all obey we all obey

except the cat but the cat lives on some other plane thats not here at all poor cat.

77 oh 5 hump my leg like naughty poodles of elves left in the jupitor rain and all the numbers confuse me with yearning

so i dig up the cat and the cat doesnt scratch me because mooother

cut off its soul and used it for a suncatcher but the sun stays captured in my father who hangs strips of his love on the wall like narrow rewards won at turkey shoots.

run brother run

u hav no bro says car and i curl up and shud at it all but the Ganderv55 invasive me so i sigh thru the orgi and use vanilla soap and my cookie smell sells stocks so great men can shit with ease

 

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Molly enjoying a snooze

 

My Running With Scissors Book Report

It’s officially Christmas month. So here’s a book report I whipped up after marching myself through the following book like a bit of cannon fodder  facing grimly toward cannon fire. The following will be spoiler-free and will contain adult language and adult themes. I wrote this over on Goodreads. So. If I can write book reviews, dearies, you should, too. Hint– that’s about writing one for one of my bits and pieces. Hint hint hint. 

Ann Wuehler’s Reviews > Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors
by Augusten Burroughs
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Ann Wuehler’s review Dec 03, 2017 
did not like it

Note– this stupid site says I read it twice. No, I didn’t. Ugh! How do you fix that? Why does this stupid site need dates of what was read???? Fie upon you, bald-faced dog!

I’d heard the movie was crap, but the book was great. Nope. I felt a real antipathy to everything about this tome. I wanted to quietly euthanize everyone in this memoir or whatever it actually is. I normally don’t want to take an entire cast of characters to the vet to put them down but Augusten and company proved the exception to my euthanasia rule for fictionalized characters.

Now!! I do realize there are actual families and individuals who are ‘like this’. I do. I’ve read accounts, I’ve seen the grim, dark films, I’ve even worked in areas that overlap into areas of mental illness, physical problems, etc, etc. Been there, seen that sorta gal here. However…I just could not work up any sympathy or anything much but a determination to GET THROUGH THIS BOOK to win some bet no one made with me.

The mad poet of a mother. Oh I just wanted her to kill herself already. Just kill yourself and stop torturing the world with your shit poetry, lady. I also wondered if this mad lady poet mama figure had a trust fund. How is she paying her rent and all those doc bills? Her divorce settlement must have been gigantic. Last I checked, being a barely published poet didn’t pay the rent. Even back in the early eighties/late seventies or whenever this thing all took, allegedly, place.

The Finches. Where to start. I just can’t. I wasn’t charmed, I wasn’t repulsed, I was just– how many pages until the end so I can win that bet no one made with me? I found myself wondering how the neighbors ignored everything there…on a nice street full of nice houses. Having lived on the East Coast, nobody ignores anything, because you’re cheek and jowl; there’s a ton of people. And if you live in one of those neighborhoods where it matters what things look like…mmm. Probably a nitpicky niggling sort of notion here, but nothing about that house rang true. Yes, I know people actually do live, willfully and otherwise, in truly filthy shitholes. Hoarders exist, I know several myself. I don’t know…something about how piled on the Finch household seemed…I don’t know. Something about it didn’t quite ring those golden bells of truth, truth, truth.

Oh and the underage stuff. Ugh. I and you and that person over there know it exists, that it’s rampant. I wasn’t bothered by it so much as bored by it. Was it meant to be titillating? Was it meant to shock? Was it meant to be background noise to Augusten’s journey to BECOMING A WRITER? Fuck. [I find myself swearing. Not a good sign when trying to write a hasty, shallow book review]

I’ve read Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which has some truly stomach-turning stuff in there. But. Forgive me, it rang like a big golden bell as a whole. It was honest, frothing, savage, truly funny and actually self-revealing. Running with Scissors seemed like someone trying too hard. Ah. Mm!! Thompson’s take on Vegas was just Thompson being Thompson. Here’s what happened, with some hair-raising, funkalicious details.

Running with Scissors seems, to me, like a writer TRYING TO BE A WRITER instead of…telling the story that needs to be told. [Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a REAL LIFE ADVENTURE.] Perhaps my store of empathy for others has become sorely depleted lately. But I had actual trouble giving a poop in a bucket about the fate of any of these charmless bit players.

Speaking of poop– the scene where Dr. Finch had his daughter lift his bowel movement from the toilet bowl and carry it outside to dry on the picnic table. Does ‘jump the shark’ apply to literature, too? I actually heard Fonzie, in my muzzy-fuzzy head, revving up his bike to jump a shark on that episode of Happy Days. I heard it as I read about…yeah. You can read that yourself if you so wish and make your own hasty or long, involved, Rhodes Scholar sort of judgment.

Oh, the main character/author. I have no idea how to sort out my reaction here. So let me try! He was…yeah. He got lost in his own tale. That’s as best as I can fathom. Which was maybe the whole point? That this child grew hi-larry-lously of age in a cray cray household while being an underage sex toy to an older man that garnered nothing more than a shrug from everyone about? How New Age, baby! I find my own knee-jerk reaction to hearing or reading about abuse kicks in like a mustang on meth here. It’s a kid being molested, folks. And Natalie being sold– that is how her going to live with that man was described as–and…ugh. And then people wonder why no one talks about this or talks up or speaks out or…ugh a…cuss words.

I think it’s the willful looking away of what’s going on that made me check how many pages were left so I could tick this one off my Read That list. I know it happens, that people really are this cartoony awful. I just happen to not wish to spend any time with them more than I have to.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like December!

 

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The actual Malheur River, from March 2017.

Part One: In Which I Prattle A Bit

What a noisy night.

Bam! Shiver of little furry body meeting something metallic outside on a cold moonlit night! Coyotes yowling and prowling and carousing nearby! What the hell, someone was heard to mutter. It might even have been me. Window yanked open, sudden silence ensued. Whatever primal chase had been called a weird draw held its breath and went still, waiting for my intruder-like presence to withdraw. I withdrew. Returned to my not at all earned slumber.

I did promise a sliver of my November novel challenge.

I did promise that, yes? I didn’t invent that in my head just now? Hello? Is this thing on?

Part Two: In Which I Keep A Promise!

Before I descend into woe is me o woe land…here’s the unvarnished, totally rough, actual opening to Naked Farmers of the Apocalypse. Notice there’s cursing. If that offends you, eh. I am probably not the writer or friend you wish in your life if you find cursing crosses the line with you. I cuss like a motha bear, to quote, somewhat, from something my dad occasionally mutters.

The story! Always Be Selling Your Writing. ABSYW.

Candle– yes, that is her name because it leaped into my brain that Candle is the name of that girl I yanked forth from my imagination– finds a newborn baby girl alongside the banks of the Malheur River. She takes this baby to her house and her grandmother absconds with it, in a light-hearted Edwardian romp about manners, tea and the right way to steal a car to aid in your kidnapping efforts. I made myself giggle with that somewhat accurate summary of my ‘plot’. Plot! What is plot but patriarchal imperialists trying to control all women???

Okay!! Before I totally dissolve into a more bonkers version of America right now…here’s a bit from NFA!! Enjoy! Joy! Oy!

chapter one: Riverbank is kinda rank

Candle Santiago let the smell of the Malheur River soak into her nostrils. Fetid rotting carp and soft rotting cottonwood branches. She moved closer to the stank little river, sniffing back a snootful of snot. Her allergies had come back for a visit. Springtime had come to Malheur County like a sullen bride walking down an aisle covered with dog shit. Candle waited for Tiff to show up; they would smoke a joint Tiff would steal from her mom’s new boyfriend, Mike. It’s good stuff, Tiff had promised. If I let Mike touch my titties, he gives me a joint. It’s totally worth it. Considering that Mike was over forty and Tiff was way under eighteen, no, it really was not. But Candle had her own problems and Tiff seemed fine with an old pervert slapping her tiny boobs or whatever he did.

Something caught Candle’s attention. A splash. A faint little cry. Some animal caught in the act of drowning. Candle walked toward the heavy brush. There, a grungy pink bundle and yes, a tiny human hand extending from it. A baby. She bent over the filthy blanket full of a tiny child, which looked like a small wrinkled monkey. “Hey, what the hell.” A glance about but it seemed the baby had just been left there. Like that Moses baby in the Bible her grandmother loved to read. He floated down the Nile and the Pharaoh’s daughter scooped him right the bibbidy up. Except this baby didn’t look clean and cared for. It looked like shit. There was blood and goop on it. It didn’t seem hurt. Fresh born? Jesus on toast, as her dad liked to say, which made her grandmother lower her truly caterpillar-like eyebrows and mutter about Mother Mary, forgive my son. Candle picked the baby up and then nearly dropped it. It wiggled and went stiff and wiggled some more, and then sobbed. She had never held a real baby before. Her sister, Doreen, was a lesbian. Dora had told the entire family, at Christmas not two years before, that she wasn’t having no fucking kids, ever. Candle, then ten or so, had been too young to trust with Aunt Irina’s brand new baby girl. Nobody was allowed to hold the little freak, who had been born with only one arm. There was also something messed up inside and everyone had acted real sad when Kaitlyn had died in the night. Just one of those things, Esme Santiago had moaned out. Just one of those things. Candle’s mother, Cris, had not been there. She had been down in Pasadena or Thousand Oaks by then. Now and then she sent post cards to Candle. I live here now, one had said, with a picture of something pretty on the front. As Cris did not have any money, Candle assumed she lived in a shithole and took the buses to get around.

“I got it…what the fuck is that? Oh em gee, it’s a baby,” Tiff came up behind Candle, wearing her favorite pair of sweat pants, stamped with the Florida Gators and already holding out that joint, which she put behind her big ear. Tiff would have been somewhat pretty if only God hadn’t given her giant elephant ears. Tiff also had a strong stench of pot. But her mother had plants. Candle really didn’t pay attention to all that pot talk; it bored her into tears. “Whatcha doing with a baby?”

“I found it. What do we do with it? Cops? Hospital? It looks real young,” Candle let Tiff peek at the dirty, squirmy little life.

malheurriver 044.jpg
A bovine skull I found by the Malheur River, more than likely a death caused by the incredibly harsh winter of 2016-17.