So here’s a poem based on the pic of a banana hangin’ on a hook. This is what formed in my brain. Not even kidding.
JESSICA IN THE GARDEN
Catnip and thyme, basil and lavender. Her left hand tugs at the leaves, caresses the stems. She will smell like spaghetti sauce and old lady purses when she wanders by. She eats a banana while standing on one leg, her eyes on the cat chasing the dog through the new mown grass. They put bananas on hooks, some sly wit tells the child. Maybe that’s where bananas go, Jessica replies before arranging the rocks she painted into odd and various piles.
Here I sit, on this chilly March day, about to enjoy a cup of coffee. I am alone. But I know I do better, in all ways, when alone than with others. I am solitary by design and nature and oh yes, the stay at home orders from our local governments.
As Idaho has, as of today, joined other states with the shut downs. Oregon took it seriously last week. Washington State, of course, did as well. California declared that people should amuse themselves at home. Probably not that exact wording.
I’ll not write the oft-repeated name of the Virus.
My dad, he who watches Fox News far more religiously than he ever attended Missouri Synod Lutheran Church services, does not take this seriously at all. It’s getting better, my brother said not a couple days ago.
I have stocked up. I managed to find some toilet paper yesterday while running errands for a friend of mine who’s put himself into self-quarantine. I dropped off his order by his mailbox. He has helped me in the past and I feel this is a tiny way to repay some of that. If people need help, I find I help them if I can.
I do the same with baby birds, stray dogs, starving kittens with broken jaws. I have a kernel of utter kindness somewhere in me yet.
Today I am making ham and beans. From scratch. I’ll add hot biscuits. The American version, not the British cookie. The broth tastes fantastic. I added a bit of liquid smoke. I had oregano from my garden to toss into the pot. A cast iron pot, at that. I cooked the beans yesterday, all day. They are gorgeously perfect, somehow. Yeah, it’s not that hard to cook dry beans, okay. I’ve cooked dry beans before. I will again, perhaps.
I’ve been listening to podcasts mostly. Cheerful ones. The God Awful Movies boys have kept me in raunchy stitches. I enjoyed Maggie Mae Fish’s video on T.S. Eliot and Cats. I learned a lot about that poet and how the musical is the antithesis of everything he stood for. Sort of, anyway.
I try not to obsess over EVERY LAST UPDATE on the Virus.
I’ve also been obsessed with Pet Saga Animal Rescue, something like that. It’s free, so hey. Instead of writing or oh, sewing or pickling things, I am trying to match up colored blocks, bombs, earn rockets that can take out a whole row, puzzle out the puzzles. Instead of writing.
My mind seems empty.
I am saving actual quotes from this time period. Actual awful things said. Such as the elderly should just sacrifice themselves to save the economy. That America will re-open by Easter, with packed churches. That we should give even more money to the super-rich because the super-poor are super-poor. And then I have to retreat.
My dad is now sneezing, joking he ‘might have it’. Sigh.
I haven’t watched puppies herding ducklings since yesterday. I have a raspberry plant now. Jaws snoozes on the bed, belly exposed.
The writer’s workshop happened. I went to it, despite my cat and the dogs conspiring to keep me up all night the night before. It was. Interesting. I had a whole post about it but decided to just let it go and focus on being the best cat lady ever.
My short play, the Bluegrass of God, is included in the Santa Ana River Review for winter 2020.
I just needed an alliterative title. No porridge was harmed in this post.
I am sort of working on projects. Some of which I will foist on here now and then. Mostly a screenplay I need to be reading over, then plunging back into. A novel to be published that needs a cover. A couple other novels started, in various stages of waiting for me to churn out some pages within their frames.
The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane will be the next novel out. Three elderly sisters taking on cannibal biker gangs in what’s left of Fallon, Nevada after a world-wide conflict that didn’t go so well for anyone. It’s kind of Mad Max meets Doomsday meets that French movie with the three sisters. The Triplets of Belleville. And it’s funny. I think so. I had earlier versions that were grim, realistic, gritty and…it didn’t match the story in my head. This latest one does. A lighter-hearted absurd tale of an apocalypse narrowed down to small Nevada town. It started off as a tale about three sisters making plans to travel to see the grave of a childhood pet by a bridge.
And morphed into cannibals, end of the world, and scavenging.
I really like my characters. This one was easy to write. I wanted to write it. I had fun with seeing where it went. It’s a sort of dark faerytale. And such tales tend to be very dark indeed. At least the original versions do.
It’s based on a short story of mine, from Oregon Gothic. About necrophilia. I am working with a woman from the Czech Republic who is a director and producer. She’s fantastic!! She truly is. She did a previous short film based on a brief play of mine, Traces of Memory and had to halt production on King Leer, due to the lead actress becoming seriously ill. So,Lucie Gukkertova plans on filming this next year. It’s called Prince Charming for now. I’m trying to remember everything I sort of learned from my one screenwriting class…yeah.
A new novel started. Based on a one act that no one ever wants to produce. Oh Savage Bliss of the Pirate’s Wench is where the characters contact the author and they work up a better story but…mm. Bored yet? Sure, it’s an old idea, done many time by better writers, sure, but hey, they can’t all be Sarte or Pirandello. So hey, what if this is actually a novel?
And here’s where my mind took this off into a weird landscape of God, the devil, angels, demons and writers. Oh dear, already did a novel on that sorta thing except different. Am I doomed to explore whatever’s left of my faith? Dang a lang a dang!
The kitten is doing well. She now likes to go outside. She’s growing! Her belly is healed up, she’s a happy little thing. I did find a severed rabbit leg…on the picnic table. Blurgh.
I am writing some– just not in my usual gushy fashion. I do have projects lined up for spring. January was a good month writing-wise. New decade starting off sorta okay.
I haven’t posted for a bit. So here’s a quickie. I’ve been eyeing the DC craptastic craparama of crap and oh dear. Oh my.
So here’s a ‘pome’! About love! Happy almost Valentine’s Day!!
LET ME SLEEP DREAMLESS
Let me sleep dreamless with no notion that you ever existed. No world where you tied your shoes with the dog trying to lick your cheek. Erase yourself. Erase yourself from me. That would be a kindness of immense practicality right now.
My two books are available on Amazon. Oregon Gothic, short stories. House on Clark Boulevard, novel.
And hopefully soon, my Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane will make its debut. Cannibal bikers versus elderly sisters during the end of the world– no, wait. It’s funny and absurd more than grim, gross and the Road-ish.
I find that I don’t wish to write. At all. Opening a file is just a damn chore, let alone trying to string words together into some sort of coherent whole. Advancing dementia, perhaps? Getting old? Tired of trying to ignore the world’s indifference to anything I produce? Eh, ugh, bruh.
I have nothing to say. My rage seems oddly absent. I’m just tired. Do I need rage to write cute stories about cats? No, but it helps. Anger gets shit done, to quote from American Gods over on Starz.
I’m still in end of the year mode, maybe?
Where you just want to clean out closets and boxes, throw stuff away, in preparation for spring cleaning. Where you clean out closets and boxes, throw stuff away…I have a real need right now to just toss whatever I have left in the nearest burn barrel and light a match. Then take a picture of that. To post on social media. Proclaiming I am done now. I am done with all this.
That can’t be healthy.
I can’t cash my final check anyway. I have a cat. She just got fixed and had her shots. I can’t burn everything of mine just yet. Right? That’s why we have pets. They keep us from succumbing. To whatever. Which is entirely selfish.
I can’t keep my mind on anything I actually need to get done more than three seconds.
Write a list, pin it where I can see it. You can do X when you get Y amount of pages done or edited.
Simple goals. Make it five pages. Five good pages. The bestest pages ever!
So, the cat is now fixed, with her shots. My brain seems to be made of pudding.
It’s only January.
If I ignore American politics right now, I can…huh. I can’t pretend that hard. Probably why I have pudding brain. I suspect there’s a bit of a link there.
Okay, just hold on until it’s time to pick out herbs for the garden this year. If I try pumpkins…I can’t. It breaks my heart when the bugs arrive to turn my plants into a cholera ward. Basil and dill and lavender and oregano and thyme! Chives? Parsley?
By November it will all be [over]. Right? Sort of? Political stumping never ends in America…it never ends. Pudding brain!
So! Must force self to focus a bit to get some pages done. That’s it. That’s my life goal right now.
Had two birthdays this weekend, made the ugliest angel food cake. From scratch. Oh the horror. It tasted okay, it just looked like a flat, chewed on by tiger’s prop from a z-rate horror movie set. It should have been featured on some ugly foods website. Even with frosting and a jam layer, that poor cake should have been taken out back and kindly beat to death, then buried in the earth.
My year seems to be ending well, writing-wise.
I placed a story with the Whistle Pig—Pearlie At the Gates of Dawn.
I placed a story with the Ghastling—the Little Visitors.
My poem—My Feet Hurt—will be part of the Rumpus’s Enough section.
I am currently working on a screenplay based on a short story of mine from Oregon Gothic. Prince Charming Finds His Sleeping Beauty is that tale, and the movie title, for right now, is just Prince Charming. I am collaborating with a director/film maker from the Czech Republic, with a first draft more or less done. Working on the newest version.
Got a royalty check in the mail. Small but still a check. It’s still such a wonder to be paid, even a tiny smidge, for something I wrote.
So a few hits, lots of misses. Writing some. Writing political screams but if I posted them, I’d be arrested. As they focus on things like how to build a guillotine and how to stage a revolution on a shoestring budget.
I’ll end on a truly trivial note. Been watching a BBC series called Young Dracula. Cause. Yeah. It’s so much better than it should be. It’s quite funny. I enjoy it. I’m in season three, which features a major tonal shift, a new setting and some could be interesting new characters. I’d never heard of it. It’s from OVER TEN YEARS AGO.
I also binged season three of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The gut-punch cliffhanger…damn it. The world is already burning alive right now. I am not looking forward to season four. I find I want light, frothy entertainment these days. I wonder why. Oh yeah!
Also, anyone out there want to see Cats? Is it the acid trip horror it promises to be??? I’d be down for that. Trippy weird cat-human morph mistakes high kicking for two hours through giant cardboard-looking high school sets…! I am so in!! A deliciously bad musical misfire? Or did those damn trailers totally lie about how good this confection is?? And the new Star Wars. I might have to leave the house. If only to start building a guillotine. Or change the kitten’s poop dirt.
Happy December. I wrote the following ‘a while back’ when I lived in Maryland. Pre- 9/11. The kitten has been up since two thirty. So, too, have I.
Shivering, I am always cold or always hot, sometimes mildly comfortable for a few hours. I like how socks look on my feet. As if my feet were small, delicate and fashionable. However, they are wide, callused and stubby, but they get me around. Which is what feet are supposed to do. Poor feet, I am always losing my socks. Sometimes they don’t match, sometimes they have holes, sometimes they’re new socks. Will I be old someday, still looking for a matching pair of foot coverings? Wandering about in some room that no longer exists, looking underneath imaginary chairs for my socks? Calling out, as if they will answer. I’m cold. Come do your job. I’m shivering. Naughty socks, to hide that way from an old insane lady.
Is there is anything as sugar-sweet as first love? Maybe an actual slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting comes close. I, at fifty-four, had finally succumbed. Oh, the resistance to the universe itself! My avoidance of others, my shyness a shadowy wall others seldom wished to try and climb. She takes my hand. We watch the world burn together. The delight in her eyes beneath the sorrow we both manufacture. Our honey laughter as we nod solemnly. The delight we succumb to as we sink to the oily dirt to couple like snakes in a famous garden. We drown in sugar and fire.
Lulu opened the box marked Veneer. The curled up skeleton of her father’s cat. The claw marks on the thick cardboard. But Veneer had not been a young strong cat when put into the cardboard tomb. “I killed my cat for your mother,” Kaleb said. Lulu folded the leaves back into place, traced the old duct tape remnants. “She asked me to prove if I loved her. What can I do, I asked. What can I do? Your mother held Veneer in her arms. She held him out to me, my trusting little Veneer. Always such a small cat. Kill him for my sake. I want to be your goddess. I command you to kill him. For my sake. So I did, Lu. I did. A box, some duct tape. Quiet then the stink. Then just quiet.” “Love is bigger than cats,” Lulu replied. “My new stepfather doesn’t get that.”
Bloom hated her name. She had a tattoo of the devil on her arm to remind her she was not some flower or houseplant. Be nice, her nice mother counseled without an ounce of pity. One day, as stories often start, Bloom noticed a tree. A little plum tree with white-petaled glories full of drunken bees having orgies and feasts. Her fingers ran along the back of a bee, but it melted away to the next blossom’s well. I wish to be the bee, not the flower, Bloom decided. She cut off her princess long hair, she wandered the world looking for herself. Time passed with enjoyment, with sorrow; she tasted almond candies in Marseille, she slapped a bear in Canada. I am Bloom blooming, she often said, then got it written on the back of her latest lover. On her deathbed, she held out her hand. Bring me a plum tree full of drunken bees. I want to start this all over again. Her fingers ran over the air. I wrote my name in the skin of this world. I wrote my name.
The kitten plays. She’s lively, endearing, clearly on stimulants such as crack or triple expressos. Her broken jaw has not held her up much. The stitches were removed, the vet declared Jaws doing well. It’s her nickname. Jaws. Probably, eventually, her name. She enjoys attacking the dog’s tails. We have three dogs, all with long wavy tempting tails. Jaws stalks each one, sneaks up on it, does the wrap all four paws around tail, kick with rhythmic precision until whatever dog has been enduring this decides enough is enough. Jaws like to hide beneath the loveseat, bat at the nearest dog waiting for food to fall into his or her mouth from the indulgent humans nearby.
The kitten also wakes up in the middle of the night. Wet cat nose. Murder mittens about my foot. Plaintive meows. Are you up yet, giant inept cat? I read where cats regard humans as other giant ‘very bad at being cats’ cat. It’s why they bring us gifts of dead mice or a dead bird, often not so dead. Our pet cats are trying to feed us.
So, the state of American politics at present. I feel like pouring a giant glass of whiskey, with some Coke thrown in it, and watching it all burn to the ground. Maybe that would finally satisfy everyone. We can all enjoy the flames, roast some marshmallows, blame it all on the DNC, Nancy Pelosi, millennials and those who lack civility.
People will vote straight R because the ‘other side’ uses curse words. Okay, sure.
I also notice that the Dems do not play offense. Ever. It’s always a bewildered ‘here are the facts, why don’t you get it?’ blinky sort of ingrained trained door mat niceness.
As the Republican PR propaganda machine churns out 24/7, every minute, whatever reality they wish pushed and believed.
Ukraine interfered in our elections in 2016! Investigate the Bidens! Hillary sold uranium! The polls are rising in favor of Trump!
And so many more, over and over and over, repeated, over and over and over, repeated, over and over and over. Relentless.
There does not seem to be a counter to that, other than a timid ‘that’s not true, here’s the truth, m’kay, you guys.’ Any actual fiery response or push back seemingly gets shot down. By the other Democrats.
Calm down. Calm down, be polite, don’t upset the apple cart, take the high road.
Until that one actually fighting back gets silenced or even shoved out. It doesn’t seem a coincidence that the fighters and loud mouths all seem absent, missing or gone altogether. Or those speaking out don’t get supported or defended that much as the right, with a gleeful savagery, goes after that person with lies, more lies and damn lies. Hello, AOC.
Adam Schiff practically has to be a robot, speaking without much passion or anger. Pelosi has to remain preternaturally calm in the face of rabid hyenas snapping their foamy jaws in her face.
Any show of anger or outrage from the left gets met with how nuts they are, how ANGRY all the time, how they hate America and Americans, how…oh sure. Until the Dems get so trained to be calm apologists you tend to…ignore whatever they might say. Which is the whole fucking point of training them so.
And I find myself wishing a Dem would snap, and just go to town on the R’s. That other Dems start repeating talking points in counter to the talking points we always hear–
That Dems are weak on family values. That Dems are into spending. That Dems are blah blah blah.
Boil down a few very simple talking points that counter the message that Dems are unAmerican fringe weirdos intent on turning everyone gay after handing out free abortions to middle schoolers.
Dems fix the economy after Republicans wreck it. Dems stand for human rights when Republicans don’t. Dems want immigration reformed, not some free for all whoever wants to enter can bullshit. That fucking wall needs to be shoved up the nearest MAGA asshole sans lubricant. Protect the environment. Wrecking the land, water and air will not make America great. It will just make America uninhabitable.
Just some thoughts.
The kitten has slipped off somewhere. She likes to look out the windows. I need to get her fixed before she can return outside a bit. I have made myself her caretaker and servant. I have no wish to lose her as she seeks out mates or take care of more cats as she churns out unwanted kittens.