Rebirth Rebirth!

 

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A still from the Red Turtle. The Red Turtle will not be mentioned once in the following blog. 

Instead of Rejoice Rejoice…

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! 

 

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The One Rule for Writers!

 

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from Business Today. 

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!!

Whew!

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!

What am I working on?

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New Puppy. Brigit. Don’t be fooled! She’s a perfect engine of destruction. 

 

It’s beginning to look a bit like spring time! I turned the earth over yesterday for my mini garden, Year Two. I’m also moving the stumps to New Locations. I am cognizant of both function and decoration via my mini garden. I am also eyeing the places where rabbits and ground squirrels like to visit. Plus, there’s the New Puppy. She likes to dig. Investigate where the humans go. Check out why the humans do this or that. I have a feeling my mini garden might not survive New Puppy.

Politics. If I. It’s just. WTF. I??!!

After that above enlightening delve into the current state of American politics, let’s move on. Oh sure, there’s a political rant in there eight miles long. It slaps the Spirit in the Sky, nut punches Jesus and generally includes words better suited for our POTUS and the Locker Room Boys known as the GOP. Anyhoo!!

What am I working on. Nothing.

That’s right.

I don’t have a PROJECT on deck or waiting in the wings. It just tires me to even think of rumbling up the engines right now. Or ever again. Which is troubling, to say the very least about that.

I have the Oregon novel. Which deals with the sorts that took over the Malheur wildlife refuge over by Burns. I really do wish to work on this. Eventually. It interests me. I like doing the research into extremist radical gun-toting scary ass militia groups as well as Oregon history. Scraping some sort of novel out of all that, interesting as well. But not right now? Or maybe tomorrow. Or.

Rework my Beastface Bay tales. Fuck no.

Start a brand new something. Maybe even a PLAY. What?? I never leave the house. What can I write a play on?

My conversations with the three dogs?

My inner monolog on trying to decide to make a pie or not out of whatever I can find in the fridge?

A family story that’s so boring it’s almost interesting but it’s not? Something I saw in the news cycles????

Seriously, when fiction can’t compete with your basic cable opinion piece on liberals taking their babies home to kill them, reported with a straight face as if true…yeah. You just kinda deflate like a sad little balloon writer-wise. Maybe that’s just me?

That’s total fiction, of course. But all we hear is that LIBERALS KILL BABIES here in ‘murica. It’s going to be a slogan for 2020. It’s predictable. They control the narrative, so they get to direct the narrative with the Lefties playing wide-eyed defense. It’s just…fuh.

Oh no, political rant about to snarl forth like a castrated lion looking for a snack.

Short stories, flash fiction, humorous essays? Mmm. Nope.

I seem to be running on dead writer batteries.

I even scraped myself together long enough to go to a FREE WRITER’S WORKSHOP. In Nampa, Idaho. It was on a Saturday, all afternoon, at the library, which was right by where that other writer’s gathering had been! So I knew how to get there and back again. Score!

It wasn’t in the downtown one-way hell of Boise!

Yeah, I went to the workshops, as there were four of them. I did three, then the fourth had to be held at a coffee shop, as the library closed at five. I just headed home, I’d had enough. All three of those were practical, well run, informative and actually helpful.

Death Rattle is the name of the organization here. I can’t say enough nice things about them. I’m glad they exist and that they’re nearby. 

I wish, sort of, I’d schlumped off to the fourth one. The drive back was right as the sun was going down, so trying to see the road turned into GUESS WHERE THE ROAD IS HA HA for me. I also treated myself to a sausage biscuity thing and an outing outside my present comfort zone.

I also felt guilty. I was wasting time. I was feeding my delusions that I’m a writer. I clearly am not a writer because writers, well, for one thing, actually write. 

My thoughts all the time. All the time. All the time. A constant punching stream, with me as that bag the boxers hit. Except it’s punchy thoughts that swing haymakers at whatever’s left of my drive, ambition or will to GET SHIT DONE.

Maybe it’s time for the ole writer standby of heroin, wine, mind-altering shit that allows one to be totally oblivious to reality while writing about reality. 

I am trying to co-write a screenplay. I should have whipped that out in a couple days. Nope.

To sum up!

I just need to retrain myself to start writing again. Something like that. Just put some crap down on the page! I am in a frightful abyss, looking upward for any bit of light. There isn’t any. I always admire people who are positive, or at least pretending super-alot. The ones who’ve lost their entire family to the local volcano, then found out they have brain cancer. Their dog then gets run over, and their house catches on fire. Yet, that person smiles at the world, going, oh, isn’t that daisy growing through the cracks of that mass grave grand?

Maybe I need to hang out with more creative sorts. That energy seems to sizzle the old writer batteries a bit. Except me and other humans have seldom gotten along. I’m always too much or too little in some way…it’s confusing. Oh sure, just be yourself! If I fucking knew who that is, I’d now be a teacher with a pension plan, a bad perm, wondering what would have happened if I’d followed my dreams…

You get hammered in the face, dear.

That’s what I’d tell that other me. You get hammered in the face and it’s supposed to mean something. That’s pretty grim.

Smile. You look so pretty when you smile!

So, there ya go. You’re all caught up on my Artistic Strainings. Thanks for stopping by. I hope…

mumbles something about almost ready to outline that Oregon zombie novel set during the imagined ages of Middle Earth if it were run by the Narnian minotaurs. Almost ready. Almost.

 

 

 

Groundhogging

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I remember February 2 as being my grandfather’s birthday. Now that you’re warm and fuzzy or perhaps full of rage because your grandfather happened to be a total bastard, or bastards, if you knew both…Where was I?

Groundhog.

The groundhog said it will be an early spring. A charming American tradition or rodent torture run amuck?

Punxsutawney Phil.

There’s a Bill Murray movie about this, where he’s caught in an endless loop until he learns to be a nice person.

Why did this tradition catch on with America? I have no idea. None.

Oh wait, I do have an idea: I think we think it’s cute and charming to have a giant rodent predict the ending of winter wrong most of the time. It feeds into some sort of anti-science, pro-magic sort of mindset. We like our air conditioning and computer-run cars, but evolution is a plot dreamed up by Al Gore to bilk the government out of hard-working tax payer bucks. Global warming is a hoax made up by the Chinese to turn everyone into commie social marxists. Wheee! Freedom!

[ note to self– must stop reading comments under science articles. Must stop reading comments under science articles!]

I’m sure others have done in-depth psychological essays on everything Groundhog Day. I won’t.

Writing? Art I writing-eth? Oh woe betides and sucketh much-eth moi!

I seem to have wandered into some sort of Lake of Ultimate Doubts. I’ve drowned, they’re performing CPR right now. Someone is. I hope they are. I don’t think they are.

Who are they???

I haven’t been writing lately. I find I can’t concentrate. That I write something for a bit, then read over it, go…OMG THIS SUCKS DEAD WHALES. Then I start over.

I repeat this pattern for days on end. Days. On. End.

It might be the epic bout of never-ending depression. It might be that I suck as a writer. It might be that damn groundhog. It might be invisible unicorns sent by the trickster gods of Narnia. At this point I am open to all suggestions and ideas.

I am trying to get submissions off. I am trying to rework old pieces, get them turned into better this or that. I might be making them worse. At this point, I DO NOT KNOW.

Welcome to Writer Has Massive Doubts, Episode One Billion, Two Hundred Six.

Is there a writer alive or very dead that hasn’t suffered like a groundhog forced to predict weather patterns for an entire country?? WELL?? IS THERE??

Prolly not!

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!

Vineheart

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from Limelight Magazine

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.

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from Pinterest

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.

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from Birds in Hats, month of October. 

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.