I wrote a scathing diatribe on the political hellscape that is ‘murica lately. Instead, to welcome yet another interminable month in this interminable slog of a life, I’ll write about rocks. I’ll mention two novels that will hit sometime that could be any time, really. And something of mine that got included in a literary journal.
Military parade with a bloated price tag. Tanks. Money to pay for this culled from the national parks and veteran’s programs. With ticket prices, VIP seats! Sumbitch! Kids in cages. But hey, Nike pulled the Betsy Ross flag design and PEOPLE LOST THEIR MINDS CAUSE FREEDOM AND RIGHTS AND HONORING THE TROOPS OR…or…or…mm. Is that blood leaking from my ears?
Yeah, I’m painting rocks. Badly. But it’s been a long time since I’ve painted anything. It seems a lot of people I know have turned to artsy crafty stuff to deal with…the drumbeats that celebrate the end of my country. With those supporting this screaming that we should get over it. With a ‘snowflake’ thrown in there.
I have friends also painting mandalas on rocks, leaving them places. Or writing some inspirational on a pebble, leaving it where others can find it and hopefully get inspired.
I do have a reason for why I’m slapping cheap paint on free rocks.
Last year, I went to the Death Rattle writer’s conference in Nampa, Idaho. I tried to sell some books. I was ill prepared. I didn’t have the fancy bank transaction app on my knock off Chinese-made phone. Where you can take people’s credit cards, run a transaction. Cause I didn’t even know that existed…I’m woefully behind the tech times. I’m also not up with how to sell your shit in these ultra-modern times. So. Learning experience.
I did get out of the house and mingle with others. Plus right there!
So I will attempt another attempt at a booth. You don’t have to pay a fee. Just apply for a spot. It’s held in a small alley by a bar. You sit there and try to smile and look inviting and friendly. Everyone seems to know everyone else. They’re all old friends or at least nodding acquaintances. But this time, for my wares, I intend to offer some art.
This takes place in October so I have the long hot summer to create. Or try to create something I can display without cringing.
I’ll also make some salt clay somethings. I was thinking pendants. One of a kind, small, tasteful, pretty. As I would love something like that and would scrape pennies out of the cup holders in the car to get one. I could also do some Christmas ornaments or even Halloween ornaments. I do write a lot of horror fiction. And it is my fave holiday.
If I focus on this rather pleasant problem, I do not focus on the crud coating my brain or the GODDAMN FUCKERY THAT IS CHEETOLINI and all that. At least, not entirely.
Also, I find other friends painting rocks or quilting. I noticed that Seth Andrews, who does the Thinking Atheist podcast, among other endeavors, got hooked on the Great British Baking Show. He’s been baking. I know tons of folks who love that show and then try to bake. Like, oh, me. Me, I’m one of those.
I am also hooked on baking competition shows. I find baking so oddly fulfilling. I take raw ingredients, produce something roughly like what I saw. I’ve even managed to produce loaves of bread. I’ve moved from just schlupping the dough into a heated up giant cast iron pot into cutting the lump of dough in half, then placing that into bread pans.
I’ve graduated to seeing what I can shape the dough into. Can I braid it or…turn it into something actually pretty or French Bakery-esque?
Yeah, no, not yet. But I haven’t been baking bread for that long and it takes a lot of flour. And yeast. It seems like a lot of people need comfort and an outlet to deal with reality lately. That everyone seems to have picked up some sort of art hobby or baking or throwing away all their stuff in some sort of supercleanse or life enema. I wonder why. I don’t. That was sarcasm. I don’t wonder why at all.
I feel like I’ve got an actual plan here, planning for a booth space I might not even get. But it’s a long-range plan. Longer than “make it through day.”
Ah, a flash fiction piece of mine, By Starlight By Starlight My Dear, is included in the latest edition of A Door is a Jar literary magazine. I had entered an earlier version of this same one that got soundly rejected, with actual criticism sent my way. I rewrote it. It got better. A Door is a Jar accepted it and there ya go.
Oh, so I think I have two books in editing right now. Alice in Oregonlandia, the not at all anticipated sequel to my dead on arrival House on Clark Boulevard. I kid, I kid! You’re supposed to Always Be Closing. That line from the Mamet play, Glengarry Glen Ross.
It takes up about ten years after the end of House. Alice gets a turn. The fall out of Nancy’s time in that house. Alice discovering a few truths about herself. How Art steps up as dad and caregiver.
Aftermath, which is my take on…wait for it…zombies. I know. I know. But!! It follows Hannah as she finds herself in a world run by zombies, after killing herself because she was trapped in a dead end space by zombies. Hannah tries to navigate her way through a vastly changed world, where zombies run everything and have all the political, economic and actual power. Set in Boise, Idaho, because, frankly, it’s an hour down the road from me. I had great fun writing this. Isn’t that the point of all this?
Thank you to everyone who bothers to read these. I appreciate it. I can be a tedious bore with my depression and endless string of failures. My tiny advances that give me a tiny bit of hope that maybe I should keep writing. That maybe today I can find whatever courage or gumption it takes to just keep plugging on.
I am dithering over a project. A project I will need to turn in eventually to my publisher. Yes, I have one. Stop snickering or giving me pitying looks at my delusions of being a real writer. Snort in your general direction, haters.
Okay. Sarcasm aside…!
Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice. It’s the third in my House trilogy. Alice in Oregonlandia is done, and in line to be seen by Kensington Gore’s editor/s.
Alice takes up about ten years after House On Clark Boulevard ended. The ‘tale’ moves to the world of Alice, Nancy’s daughter. Stuff happens. The end.
Yeah, I should write PR and press releases! For more money than the actual novelists ever get for their words, phrases and entire pages of words and phrases.
My mind went, hey, there’s a third book here. With everything neatly wrapped up, explained and then burned to the ground or somethin’. Cause. Trilogies. Every author should have some.
It’s like. That can of tuna on your shelf. Just in case.
I don’t like tuna so my can of tuna would have dust on it. But it would still be there in case I needed it for something. Maybe a sammich? I’d also have to have pickles, lemon, dill, onion powder, garlic…basically my tuna sammich would taste like anything but tuna. I like tuna melts.
I’m weird and contradictory. I realize that right now at this moment. Personal growth!
I know why I’m starting this last opus over and over. I HAVEN’T DECIDED WHAT THE ACTUAL STORY IS.
I knew, vaguely, that Alice would have to return to that old house and…and something would happen that would not be what was expected by any involved. Vague, sure. But. That was the general story in my head and it seemed to write itself for Alice in Oregonlandia. House on Clark Boulevard had the same feel to it but different. Is that crystal clear to everyone??
I just got into ‘that groove’ that hits when you write. Whether it’s novels or poems or short stories or plays or manifestos about why tuna is gross.
I’m not a fish person. I find the taste of fish gross and yucky. I’ll eat fish sticks but only if they taste more of the tarter sauce or whatever dipping sauce is available. I’ve never had lobster.
Living in the interior high desert [Southern Washington State, Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho] most of my life tends to keep me away from lobster binges. Can you buy lobster or find it where I live or have lived? Yes. Did the price of lobster tend to send me off to the lunch meat aisle to see what’s on sale? Yes. Do I think it’s cruel to boil those poor sea spiders alive?? Yes!!
Story. I’ve dithered here in Saint Lysette. It’s changed POV’s. Many times. I now have Nancy, Alice and Lysette all telling the story. Whatever the story is. Which I’m not sure. It won’t coalesce, even a little, somewhere in my foggy writer brain. It does but it’s campy garbage!
Gol darn it!!
I might as well add some clowns and reptilian overlords!! Not that there’s anything wrong with reptilian overlords. There is something profoundly wrong with clowns. Yes, I have fear of clowns. Yes, I do. There’s a fancy word for that even.
I think, therefore I am…sorry! I think I need to pick a path. Write to the end no matter the horrified faces I make as I write.
GET THAT MOFO ON THE PAGE YOU DITHERING DITZ!
Get a rough beast shaped up, that I can then go back through and despair over.
After all, I have scrapped entire drafts. Written better versions. Or worse versions. Dang it.
I must examine why I am dithering so. I blame tuna.
Oh if it were that damn easy!
What is the story. That’s what I need to crucify in place with big iron nails. Then watch it rise from the dead a couple times or something? Ugh. Must stop listening to atheist podcasts or atheists taking apart Christian movies made so badly they’re actually in the good column.
I’m also trying to get a screenplay done. A director from the Czech Republic found a short play of mine, made a short film out of it. Traces of Memory. It’s in actual post-production now, as I write this. It looks great. I’m pleased with it.
She also, Lucie, found my book of short stories, Oregon Gothic, and found a tale in there that she wished to turn into a feature-length. One based on…necrophilia. On a woman helping her boyfriend procure a freshly dead woman for sexual purposes.
Lucie wishes it more focused on their relationship. She has the general idea of where she wishes this to go and I am helping shape it out. It’s called Prince Charming so far.
I hope it doesn’t turn out to be another Serbian Tale. If you don’t know what that is or have never heard of it, great. Keep your ignorance. If you do know what that ‘movie’ is, then no, I don’t think Prince Charming is even in the same universe as that one. I’m being cheeky. I’m a cheeky little primate!
Humans are primates, after all, no matter what screaming manbeasts with Jesus tats and a pulpit say.
I am working on making the rather repulsive pair sympathetic. Understandable. Which gives the horror element an extra punch in the gut. Layers, y’all.
Must go force myself to work on…something. It’s almost my birthday. I might go to the hills for sustenance and soul feeding as I turn…gulp…fifty. And ponder on the smoking ruins of my life.
The [new] computer is now working. One of those refurbished deals. Man alive, it’s FAST. Whizz! Whoom! Oh hey I can play Candy Crush now. My priorities are catawampus a wee small bit.
Lesson for writers: Send out lots of submissions. Instead of, like, three. Yep. Glad I could help! Volume. Volume is the key here. That way when you get rejected, it won’t seem so thousand percent everyone hates your work. Volume will spread that out a bit. That’s the theory, anyway. Wink!
ABPIP– always be positive in public
Notre Dam has burned. Something ancient, something grandly lovely, something fragile, has been destroyed. For now. It was being renovated. So perhaps something sparked. As it can do. Whomp whoosh, medieval wood ceiling might as well be made of gasoline cans. I did hear great efforts managed to save some of it. And I am glad of that.
People claim terrorists did it. Like Glenn ‘Puppy Eater’ Beck. Or that God is sending a message. [Most of the crazier religious sorts on Twitter.] With various interpretations as to what that message is. Others make jokes or shrug. I guess the football team can still play…seems to be some people’s confused take on the fire there in Paris. [As Notre Dame is a school and…yeah.]
So am figuring out things and stuff on the new computer. It does read my thumb drive/s. That’s excellent well. Very leery of this newish machine. I trusted the old one, after all. Which was also refurbished. And worked for ten years. If not longer.
Oh! Game of Thrones was on all week on free HBO. Which is good. As it was the week my elderly other machine decided to beep forlornly at me to bury it in the computer graveyard known as ‘stored in the closet somewhere’. Yes, I did see the new ep and I am literally a quivering, miserable happy mass of cells. Will Jon accept his birthright? Will Dani find out she’s likely preggers with her nephew’s kid? Will the Night King discover that Cersei is far far far colder than he is? Will Sansa and Tyrion get together for real?? [Heard people contemplating that one…] Arya and the Hound, a new buddies cop spinoff? Brienne and the big red-headed guy? Romance or…? [my absolute fave want them together couple ever on GOT. I am not alone in this one.] So, one zombie dragon took down the Wall?
I was also watching Return of the King, as I had to find a new app to play DVD’s and the like so…and it was right there. Shh. Now. Where were the elves at? Mirkwood and Loth-whatever? [Did they all go get on the ships? All of them?] I mean, that group of elves showed up for the Battle of Helm’s Deep. The elves couldn’t send twenty or so to fight in the big ass giant battle in ROTK?? What about the dwarves? Gimli cannot be the only dwarf left and he was a fearsome, awesome fighter. So? Was there some plague that killed off the dwarves or they were busy or…did I miss that in the umpteen times I watched the LOTR movies?
So!! I have two books for sale. House on Clark Boulevard and Oregon Gothic. They’re GREAT! I also have Aftermath now in editing. It’s about Boise and…ZOMBIES. But aware zombies that run the world. Yeah, now you’re hooked! You’ve always wanted to know about Boise! Ha ha ha!
I skimmed an aggressively positive art-related how to blog correctly post, as you do. When you’re scrolling with a bored WTF am I doing with my life? air over on Twitter or elsewhere.
The social media sites that seem to be the wildly popular versus those who are not, with nobody-land, right there in the middle of those two extremes, being virtually uninhabited. It’s an either/or world when it comes to likes for a post across the social media global-sphere.
Whatever! Totes my goats!
So! 80 percent ‘helpful’ content for those who bother to ‘stop by’ for a visit and 20 percent SELL YOUR WARES. 80/20 which equals a hundred!
So, here’s my advice for writers.
Do not follow my example, ever. There!!
Whatever I do, writers and wannabe writers…you do the opposite. Glad I could help.
Ha ha ha, okay.
I should work up a list of writerly advice. So those that ‘stop by’ can chuckle, shake their heads or nod with wide-eyed wonder at my deep nearly unfathomable wisdom.
It’s an either-or world lately.
I must reflect that here…instead of writing a fifty page monologue with no paragraph breaks entitled, simply, “manifesto”.
Which would basically just be cuss words arranged in, hopefully, some new and startling formations, and which will end with ‘death to all enemies of unicorns’.
Because actually naming your enemy or enemies in revenge-minded cuss word-laced pages means I might have to start a GoFundMe page for a team of lawyers to get me off on the insanity plea.
All of which would make for the blog posts that the blogger who gave the rules for successful art blogging warned against!
Number one rule for writers from me? I guess it’s write. Yeah. Write stuff down. Send it off. Wait for the rejections. It’s a fun and fulfilling cycle that will turn you into a stellar human ‘bean’. Ha ha.
Always end on a happy, jokey note. Develop a heavy thick skin would be my other rule…or pretend to. You can sob in private, after all. You can pretend really hard in public.
That’s what adulting is, after all.
Oh– I have two books for sale. Two!
Oregon Gothic and House on Clark Boulevard.
I also might have Aftermath coming out soon. It’s been in editing for a while, so.
After that will probably be The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane. I’m reading through that now and it’s a hoot! I’m not puking over how bad my own prose is! That’s always a plus plus plus! Cannibal bikers versus wily old ladies in Fallon, Nevada! It’s funny and a lot gross!
As I microwave my ancient morning coffee, which is ice cold, I ponder. I wonder. I’m also ovaries deep back in a Wonderfalls revisit. Talking souvenirs and kitsch objects giving cryptic instructions to a slacker chick. Because reality right now is just…um.
I wonder what it will take the crack the sneering veneer of Trumpikans. An actual murder? I wonder why the Democrats still have their velvet, be nice, gloves on.
Take em off, you squirrels. Take em off.
Stop playing nine-dimensional chess with assclowns swinging battle axes at everything in sight they find scary, threatening or scary. You two groups are not playing the same game. For thirty some years now, dears. Yeah.
I put half a candy cane in my microwaved coffee, by the way. Just for full disclosure. Yes, I still have candy canes left over from Christmas. Shoo fly, that might have been the last remaining bit of one. Can you buy candy canes for Easter? Honest question. I like mint, peppermint, the general mint family. Snapple with mint is still right up there as one of my favorite drinks of all time. Do they still make that? Honest question.
I don’t believe Snapple makes this anymore. My hasty, barely glanced at google search seemed to find no evidence that Mint Snapple is available in March of 2019. Sad. Sad!
Spring has sprung. The spring bulbs planted eons ago yet again shove up their spiky green leaves, with hints that tulips and daffodils will soon follow. Bloom for about three days, then go back to sleep until next year.
The bees, all two of them, buzz about, inspecting me for pollen. Still don’t have any, bees. You’re making me nervous, bees.
Oh look, we still have bees. Global warming must be a hoax if I still see bees…
Seriously, Demo-door-mats, take them gloves off. Why do you think people are so freaked out by AOC??
IS SHE PLACATING THE VERY ONES PUNCHING HER IN THE FACE?
No, squirrels, she’s not.
I should run political campaigns, huh?
I’m trying to be super-cheerful. I don’t think I’m pulling that off. At all.
I’m readying my tiny bit of ground for a tiny garden attempt. My zukes were wildly abundant last year, yet my pumpkins, after a late belated start, were so so.
My eggplant…the less said the better but it was a weird ornamental variety. It tried. It grew tiny little eggplants!
Something kept eating or destroying my cukes and the summer squash never really got its engines running, if you catch my meaning.
The oregano went to town! My dill plant delighted me! The lavender, oh my! Lemon balm, never again. I don’t know what to do with it. I think I’ll try rosemary this year as I love rosemary in pretty much anything. Dill, yes! Sage and thyme! I might just go for spices and zukes and pumpkins.
I actually did manage to make pies from pumpkins I’d grown, after all. At least three!
I just need to work on my pie crust skills. Ouch. Ugly pies but they taste okay. I’m ashamed! I watch all those baking competition shows! My pies look like something that fell on the floor, then got stomped on by buffalo. I can and will do better!
I also need to dust off a novel that needs working on or finishing or…I’ll put a note up, stare at it a lot.
Work on novel.
Work on play.
Work on screenplay, you ditsy scatterbrained hagfish!
It’s very early in the morn. The three dogs, Bridge, Molly and Jake, have decided THEY MUST GO OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW. I oblige. Out they go.
Bridge, by the way, or Brigit, has a new nickname. The Gremlin. As she is very much a puppy yet, with a propensity for chewing anything and everything. Her favorite chew toy seems to be the rug that overlays most of the living room floor. She will pull it back, then blissfully munch on the matting under that room-size rug. But she’s such a lovebug, how can you drop her off at the nearest shelter, with some mumbled story about how you have no room or some made up tale about allergies? You just can’t! She’s part Kelpie and all Chew Stuff Up.
The coffee has not yet been made. The odd thrill and ceremony of opening a new can of coffee. Sniffing the contents, which are probably sawdust with a bit of coffee air freshener sprayed near them. The water poured, the old Bunn squirting brown liquid into the squatty pot below.
My special cup gets taken down from the cupboard. For now, it’s a Christmas design on a white background. Holly berries and leaves. I like it! It’s a big cup, a mug. I don’t have to fill it so often. I found it at the thrift store, of course. Around Christmas, as they tend to put out Christmas items during the holiday season. There’s a shelf where there are items from many seasons. I pause before it now and then. Ponder the rapid evolvement of time, which seemed to evolve so slow when I was but a child. I then pat myself on the elbow for having such Original Deep Thoughts in a Thrift Store.
Ah, so. I have my rituals. As people do. It’s part of our instincts. Part of our heritage, something handed down through the ages. Rituals, ya’ll.
I was watching a youtube this or that on Neanderthals, as you do. After watching kitten rescues, why Bigfoot is actually running the UN with a fleet of global bankers, how to make flan…I happened across where did the Neanderthals go. Yes, they were, ahem, outbred by the new wave of humans or something.
Which probably sends an actual shiver of dread through your common variety average white nationalist. As they screech about how ‘those people’ are producing far more children than white folks.
[[Tangent edited out here]]
Art, ritual and artifice. That caught my wandering attention. As it’s been supposed that Neanderthals did not have language, art, religion, etc, etc and so forth. That they just wandered about, killed animals, ate them, um…not much else. The Cro- Magnons slaughtered them! Evil laughter heard here!
No, argue the solemn scientists and tufted-haired archaeologists. As DNA says these two groups had lots of sex and then babies. Those babies survived, passed down their DNA material, which is…evolution!
Are we still allowed to even discuss evolution in ‘murica right now??? Abortion, now evolution. I must be working for Killary and the Kenyan. I must be a commie! Sputtering sounds heard as my country recycles McCarthy, then mixes that with sexism, racism, birtherism and some other isms.
Neanderthal DNA is present to this day in our genes. More in Sicilians than anyone from Africa. As that band below the ice there in Europe, which ran across modern day France, Spain, Italy, Germany, was a hotbed of territory for Neanderthals and the uppity newcomers who invaded their areas. This was a Nova program, so you can go watch it yourself. It was quite interesting. Pay no attention to how I just butchered it.
But. Art. Ritual. Artifice. That these three aspects have been present in humans since…ever. The learned sorts on that Nova hour were ecstatic at finding evidence of deliberate burial. A skeleton found in a Spanish cave, in a fetal position. With a panther paw left nearby. Deliberate versus accidental! They didn’t find the rest of the panther carcass, the bone had been cut. Ooooh. There was also pigments found in a bit of seashell, as if the Neanderthals had been painting their skin with colored substances.
Rather like people do these days with sports teams, to show who are friends, who are enemies. That tribalism, ha ha, is also granted to the Neanderthals.
They’ve found bird wing bones with scores on them, hinting that these early folks cut the feathers off, as there’s not a lot of meat on a raven wing.
What does this have to do with your damn coffee cup, lady??
Ritual. Everything is off unless I have coffee in a certain favored cup. I have two of them. But I mostly, for now, use the cup with some factory-slapped holiday design on it. Another cup feels so strangely wrong. I cannot explain it. Rituals of comfort, I guess. That sameness I can count on in a world…DEEP THOUGHTS DEEP THOUGHTS AHEAD.
I am not doing so well. In any way. Drinking the coffee from a ‘special cup’ might be part of the numbing steps I take to just get through the day. Which is also ritual.
Adornment was mentioned in that Nova program. Decorations of the person. It was supposed Neanderthals did not wear jewelry. Or paint their faces. Or make art of any kind…except we have cave paintings and all that. All that belief and supposition, of course, was due to…gulp, prejudice based on myths and notions about people whose skin is not, well, white. Why be coy? When the Neanderthal skulls were first found, then studied, it was supposed the people they belonged to were barely above that of your basic animal. That they didn’t speak, they were primitive as all hell, they were…not white people. [Junk science based on skull size, hello.]
You’ve likely heard this for years. Being called a Neanderthal is a generic insult to this day. They are the literal cave men when people sneer about cave men being “cave men”. Brutes who drag ladies about by the hair, tee hee. Grunty sorts who grunt and fart and drink cave beer. Tee hee.
But now we have to cast that go-to aside. I blame Millennials. Until the next group we’re all supposed to scapegoat arrives, I blame Millenials.
Neanderthals bad, brutish, cartoonish villain-like figures. They were blended, in racist stereotyping, with the ‘mud races’, of course. However, science has uncovered, a tiny bit, that Neanderthals were far more complex, technologically advanced and generally not a simple or brutish set of rascals.
They had stone tools and weapons people in this day and age can barely reproduce, if reproduce at all. They managed to somehow glue heavy stone shaped points to sticks to form spears or arrows. What??!! The expert in all this found trying to recreate any of that next to impossible! People are smarties who can figure out stuff even way back!!?? I adore that always very innocent surprise that modern day folks express over real old-timey folks being able to do anything, let alone do stuff in complicated, sophisticated ways. It speaks of comforting beliefs handed down about ancient folks that we’ve ingrained as ‘truth’. There’s, uh, a lesson there, I think.
New information laid over the comforting notions, making for some uneasy shifts.
I also remember reading the Auel books, where she, using the information available to her at that time, wrote her Earth’s Children series, with Ayla being the actual Aryan-like central figure who was like an Albert Einstein amidst the ape-like creatures of habit that those like Ayla called…flatheads. Uh huh. Only she seemed able to make the connection that the Cave Bear sorts were…PEOPLE TOO. Good lordy!
If you have not read the Clan of the Cave Bear or any of the books that followed, I don’t blame you. They can be tedious as all get out, with Ayla morphing from an interesting, very flawed figure into… peerless super-genuis superwoman doctor supremis who literally discovers everything. She even domesticates animals…as if people could not figure out otherwise that including animals in their lives would be of great benefit. As if other people were not also trying to domesticate animals! She alone invented domesticated beasties! Horses and dogs, even a cave lion…ugh a bug.
Don’t even get me started on Jondalar!!
Okay, I won’t get into my seething frustrations with that series. Auel’s attention to detail is fabulous. There ya go.
But I have coffee in my special cup. The stars in the sky, frost shimmering on the ground. Spring waits to pounce. Rituals. Everything is a ritual around us. Deep thoughts, I tell ya. They hit you over the head with a club.