I’m not writing. I have maybe two words rattling around in my writer jar. Those two words seem to be slurgatt and fzzutrty. I can’t really do anything with those two. No stories seem to form, not even bad poetry slinks off into the wastelands where bad poems go to die.
Instead, I’m obsessed over making little ornaments for Christmas presents. I got some paints, some brushes, made that salt clay. The kind you used to make at school or maybe even at home. Salt, flour, water. You work it into some sort of shape or get the cookie cutters out. It dries, you paint it! DIY!
Yep, that’s what I’ve been doing instead of writing. So, still being creative, just not writing. I got two submissions done this week, so that’s, um, good. I feel guilty. That I’m not writing. I survived the midterms, and took up painting clumsy little hand-cut clay ornaments.
Ah, survived the midterms. There it is. What a…mm. The blue wave did show up. It took a bit to notice that, but it did show up. Cutting through the babble exhausts me. So I watch old cooking show contests and jab Christmas hues on dried flour lumps. I like the sparkle of silver, the luster of antique gold. I wonder how to make the red look less flat. Maybe I can just paint everything blue? I love glitter and glue, but now there’s glitter from one end of the house to the other! Can you paint something orange or is that too Halloween? I don’t even have orange! What do I have for string?
I love painting. I love coloring, too. It’s very soothing. I have something finished at the end. Look, I finished this, it looks okay. I used to love painting anything for a stage production as well. Detail work on something meant to look like a wall. A floor that needs something to make it seem not a stage floor. A costume that needs hand-painted flowers on it…oh yes. I haven’t done any work like that for ages. I can write bad plays, then slap paint on flat backgrounds for them! I rock and roll this planet, ya’ll! Sarcasm aside, I do like seeing something blank turned into something. Yeah, it’s that simple.
Little ornaments, before I wander off into some other subject entirely. That’s the other thing. I find it very hard to concentrate on writing anything right now. I’ll open a file, then just close it back up, with a notion that. That. Yeah. See what I mean?
But the owls call at night again. I open the door, it’s dark yet. Coyotes squabble nearby. The corn fields have been mostly cut around here, the deer run about, the pheasants scoot here and there. The two dogs want to hunt mice, though it’s cold out. No snow or rain forecast here. It’s just cold. Nothing profound here but the turning of the season toward winter’s thrall. Great writers have surely exhausted that seasonal change. Perhaps nothing is left to write about. Maybe that’s why my brain shut off, went into drift mode.
Maybe I should take up a career in tentacle porn fanfiction. Take various famous figures, have them encounter…mmm. What other color combos are used for holiday decorations?
I am making salt clay ornaments for presents. Or just to give myself a much-needed project to help me start focusing again. As my brain seems made of fog and cotton candy right now. I made up the clay mixture– salt, water, flour. I used cookie cutters for the shapes. Tree, star, circle, candy cane, snowflake. Other odd vague holiday shapes. I dried them a bit in the oven, but the dough puffs up. So, I let them air dry, figure the puffy parts are ‘artistic’.
I got some sparkly gold and silver paint, some actual glitter. As the paint, when it dries, is rather dull.
I noticed that the Democrats took back the House of Representatives, but the GOP, somehow, held on to the Senate.
It seems there was a lot of cheating, voter suppression, voter intimidation, etc, etc. See Florida, Texas, Georgia, the Dakotas, etc.
I also noted that the orange stain forced Sessions into resigning, then propped up some fanboy to oversee the Mueller investigation…all of this within hours of election results on Tuesday night. Mm.
There’s also the latest mass shooting , in Thousand Oaks, CA. Suspect is dead. Lots of others, dead. Dead, death, dying. Tots and pears offered. Mm.
I have lots of little ornaments to paint. If I can make them look presentable or as if painted by a Kandinsky or a Matisse, then I will give them as modest little presents. A little something to hang on a tree a few days a year.
Writing? What’s that? I can’t match the absurdity that is American politics right now anyway. I can’t rise to the level of sheer jaw-dropping WTF twists and turns that play out minute to minute anymore.
My imagination grabbed at its chest, muttered something about they’re not even trying to hide how corrupt and awful they are…then slumped to the floor of my skull. The EMT’s are trying to revive it. Waiting. Waiting. Mm.
The cracks show now in America. We can usually pretend here, real hard, that we’re nice and civil. That we’re not the biggest bag of racist assholes on the planet. Our elections say otherwise, these days. Hopefully THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT. This time unicorns will show up and stab the bad guys! Whee. Mm. Maybe? What? Recount? There’s recounts galore goin’ on?? Whiskey, whiskey would taste nice right now.
I can’t wait to get out my paints, work on beautifying dried out flour, water, salt. As Christmas fare plays nearby. Or something equally innocuous and soothing. I might also go for a walk today, if the wind isn’t blowing. That cold wind that says
Hi there, it’s November, here’s an icy blast, you idiot wanderer of dirt ways and weedy hollows.
The dogs enjoy it so. I let them take off in whatever direction, then just follow behind. Harvest is done about the house so it’s far safer for them. Giant farm trucks whizzing by at a thousand miles an hour trying to get the contents they carry to the appropriate place before it closes for the night kill many an unwary pet, wild animal and confused bird.
Getting the paints out. I don’t want to write but I do want to paint, be all crafty. I find others are also not producing the Next Great Only Read By Ten People American Novel. They’re crafting. Knitting. Sewing. Baking. Usually while curled in a fetal position. It’s really hard to make cream puffs with an orange blossom cream filling, topped with bitter Swiss chocolate curls, from a fetal position.
Maybe I’ll make myself write for at least ten minutes– which is usually open a file, stare at the words which seem jumbled abstracts of a language I don’t speak–then set up for PAINTING. Or maybe go redo the resume…ha ha ha ha. I just made myself giggle. Now I’m sobbing. How long can you keep telling yourself things will turn around? What’s the expiration date on that one?
Hi, ya’ll. I’m doing laundry. I’m watching the Food Networks Halloween Baking Challenge shows. They’re so much meaner in spirit than the Great British Baking ones. But the challenges. Turn a common nightmare into a cake! WT…?! Petite Fours for a monster wedding shower! Animals caught in a spider web design– cockroaches, frogs, dragonfly. A dessert that oozes. Oozes!
Yes, I’m keeping calm, hoping the GIGANTIC VOTER TURNOUT BEING REPORTED is, like, actually going to reflect some stuff. And that those voting will have their votes counted, as the GOP side of things has been tossing ballots due to someone didn’t check the Miss, Ms. or Mrs. box. Or a signature didn’t quite look exactly the same– here I’d have trouble, as my signature is a sloppy mess. My handwriting is awful! Or someone left out a period after something in their address. No foolin’. Or suddenly, like in the Dakotas, those that live on reservations suddenly can’t vote because they have a P.O. Box instead of a street address…which has been fine until about two weeks ago. Yeah. Yet it’s the left that’s importing bazillions of illegals to vote for them so they can lose elections like cray cray. Uh huh.
But social media has been riding that ups and down of ACTUAL GODDAMN VOTER SUPPRESSION with how to vote if you get denied at your polling place. With what numbers to call if you get harassed. Orange Shitstain Supremas actually threatened voters…Anyway! Oh. Lyft and Uber are offering discounts to free rides to get people to vote. There’s people willing to drive people to and fro if they need a ride…it’s kinda awesome to read and hear about what companies and citizens alike are doing to GET PEOPLE TO CAST A VOTE.
I have ‘friends’ who write, in total disdain for those not in their cozy little circle of purity and shining single-purpose issues, who opine that voting doesn’t matter. Only fools vote. Only sheeple cast a ballot. I just…want to punch them in the face with my actual naked fist. I know, violence isn’t the answer but not voting because of the global corporatist blah blah blah…Punch. They sound rather like those on the Alt-Right. And then these far far far lefties complain that no one gets them and look at the state of the world…while writing reams of WORDS ABOUT HOW BAD THE WORLD IS. I just! Fuhhhhhhhh!!!
All right! Back to the little trove of Halloween baking challenges. Everything’s raspberry, chocolate something or other or burned cinnamon orange blossom water sesame seed basil-infused…I am seriously loving the rando ingredient the host throws at the bakers in the middle of them trying to get their projects done in the time allotted. Wheeeee!!! It also makes me want to try some of their flavor combos. I did buy myself some sesame seeds yesterday.
I do have high hopes for a blue wave indeed. I do. I think a mass of first time, pissed off as hell, voters will make something of a real difference. I don’t trust the polls as people below fifty don’t answer them. I saw that discussed. Where anyone of the younger generations doesn’t answer a number they don’t know. They text, they don’t talk on the phone. Old people answer strange numbers they don’t know. Mm. [Read that as Fox viewers]
So, these polls that say there’s a red wave about to hit…eh. Red wave. Like a heavy day during your menstrual cycle, kiddos? Where you are soaking through pads and tampons, bent over with cramps, wishing you were dead so you’d never have to have such a goddamn red wave again hit you? Kinda like that? Yeah.
Baking shows seem to be my choice of drug today. I do have vodka and tamarind soda pop for later. Take that as you will, fellow babies.
Setting up corn field obstacle courses that will make people shit their manties.
Carving pumpkins into leering demon faces.
Dang it! I should be a Halloween-happy fiend of productivity!
I’m watching Father Ted. I’m also not writing. Bigly so. My brain remains serenely blank. Like a giant piece of blankness. Nothin’ up there up blankness.
So!! I did some marijuana trimming. On the Blue Diesel, on the Hawaiian, on the Star something. Yeah. The plants have names. Did you know that?
Your reefer has a specific name for a reason. Connoisseurs of reefer can lovingly talk about properties, high qualities, etc…rather like those wine freaks can talk about barrels, soil and grapes.
Reefer growers can talk, for hours, on the troubles they’ve had with a certain plant. On bud size. On stickiness and gumminess. On which plant is mostly all star buds. Which plant is not all star buds but sports some good solid gigantic, super-giant, buds. Which are easier to trim, so I’ll give them points here, fellow babies. On how people really like reefer that’s named after berries. Blueberry anything, for example, is a good seller.
You have to hand trim. The machine to do this, that would replace the people-labor portion, is rather spendy. As is all farm machinery. At least, the small aunt-run operation I show up for can not field an expensive piece of fiddly machinery.
Also, she likes the company, I think. Family and friends show up to snip buds from stalks. She makes lots of food, there’s snacks and coffee and soft drinks. It’s more of a party than work! Well, no, it’s still mind-numbing, factory-like work. But there’s snacks! You get to hear gossip about people you don’t know. You get to hear gossip about people you do know. I’m not a Gabby McTalkerson, so I just listen. I just listen!
Where was I? Father Ted.
I’ve been watching this twenty year old Britcom. Craggy Island. Catholic priests. It’s gut-bustingly funny. To me, at least. I know the star of this series has died of a heart attack before he turned fifty.
It’s basically Father Ted [Delmot Morgan], who’s our Everyman sort of guy, flanked by the astoundingly stupid Dougal[Ardal O’Hanlon] and the mad elder, Father Jack [Frank Kelly]. Girls! Drink! No! Feck!
There’s also a housekeeper [Mrs. Doyle–Pauline McLyn] prone to pratfalls and absurdities. Which the British excel at. It’s rather like Monty Python meets the Vicar of Dibley, except Father Ted never ever ever seems to go near a church. Mm? Oh yes, Graham Norton shows up as a priest from time to time. And he’s HYSTERICAL. Oh my sainted aunt!
Anyway! It’s soothing and funny. The comments below the episodes [I’ve found this over on Youtube.] speak to a longing when comedies were not so PC, or policed by the SJW’s of today. Yeah. You just want to start laughing at that, too. Remember back when comedies were full of racist stereotypes and we could be awful to non-white people? Remember back in the good ole days?
Ah! Liberal nigger lovers and lefty kike watchdogs have ruined everything! Thank God America is great again! Snowflakes, LOL. SNOWFLAKES LOL.
I might be exaggerating a wee trifle, but it sure feels like I’m toning shite down.
So, today, I will force myself to write. Something. Anything. To splash some words on that blankness in my head. Or just go outside and play with the two dogs. Or watch some Father Ted, marvel at how great it was twenty years ago to be openly crappy to others.
one of my fav episodes back when TV was really entertaining and funny when people didn’t go all PC gawd i miss those days yes yes that would be a ecumenical matter–shane upham, commenting under Father Ted Are You Right There Father Ted?
you don’t see good comedy like this anymore thanks to the jackasses called the PC police–Espada2234
Sorry, no review, this time, of Father Ted. I can’t seem to gather enough thoughts to write up a little something on Ted and the gang of priests. I do recommend the episode where Ted and Dougal try to write a song for the European song contest show. Eurovision? We don’t get that here in the colonies. They came up with a song about a horse. I kid you not. The scene where Dougal and Ted have been up all night, trying to write that song, is just. I! Oh feck, it’s about the funniest fecking thing I’ve seen in a goodly long while.
That includes a ten second clip of any FatNixon public fap rally held with paid audience members.
I drove myself to Mountain Home, Idaho. To do a reading of my short story, Bunny Slipper, for the tenth edition of Whistle Pig, the Southwest Idaho’s literary journal.
It’s a two hour drive, at least.
The legislators in the Gem State raised the speed limit to 80 MPH.
So, my hundred mile or so drive took TWENTY MINUTES.
No, I didn’t, but it’s nice to look down at the speedometer, realize I’m not speeding recklessly. Or that the Idaho State cops won’t be yanking my backside over for a ticket. I don’t go eighty. No. About seventy or so. I used to drive like a speed fiend. I have the tickets to prove it. I’ve turned into that slow duffer. In the right lane, putting along. With others whizzing by at a hundred, all of them praying the cops are elsewhere…!
A lovely day. The gauge hit in the mid-sixties. Sunshine. No wind. I had the radio on, noticed the station, the River as it’s referred to, seemed to play the same set of songs. From a U2 combo of Pride, in the Name of Love and Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For to some whiny men singing about friends and weed. I seriously cannot hear the difference in today’s musical men or women. It all sounds alike. I have Old Man Get Off My Lawn Tin Ear-itus these days.
Oh and the River plays Love Shack, a lot, by the B-52’s. I turn that shit up! It feels so decadent to be tooling down I-84, on my way to not the love shack. Tin roof. RUSTED.
No, I don’t have that fancy thingamabob where you store every song every invented, that hooks into your car something or other. I, gulp, jab the buttons on the car stereo, like some old-fashioned dope.
Now, this stretch of the freeway is known to me. I attended UNLV way back when, so I usually entered Idaho after taking the three seconds it takes to drive through Jackpot, Nevada. Up the 93, with other highways thrown in.
I would then head for the freeway, head back to Eastern Oregon across southern Idaho. I never stopped in Mountain Home, that I remember. I drove past it, a lot. There’s also a rest stop just outside Boise, which I did stop at if my back teeth were swimming.
It’s really hard to pee if you’re on a freeway. You can’t just pull over and go. Like you can on a mostly deserted back country highway. Which I’ve done. You gotta go, it’s urgent, there’s no cars in either direction.
You yank the vehicle over, you listen for motors. You hastily squat and yeah, you hear a car approaching…yep. Every. Single. Time. You can drive for literally miles without seeing another car on a Nevada highway and then, the moment you give in, decide to water the weeds a bit, yeah. There’s a freaking parade going by.
Here’s where guys have it easy. They can just casually stand by their collection of metal and rubber wheels, whiz discreetly while pretending to be looking at something by the side of the road. Oh sure, we all know what that guy, standing by his pulled over car or truck is doing. Sure. But we pretend he’s looking at a tree or a river or a crumpled Arby’s sack hanging artistically from a clump of sagebrush.
Whereas women have to yank pants down or lift a skirt, squat. It’s a whole rigmarole. What? Wait until you get to a rest area or a truck stop or a gas station?? Yeah, when the next one is fifty to a hundred miles off? Sometimes the bladder wants what the bladder wants.
Where was I???
Oh yeah, reading a bit from a short story in Mountain Home, Idaho.
It went well. I enjoyed the other selections. There was local art work, from young kids to the elderly. Idaho has talent and it’s rather surprising how thriving the arty community is. I felt energized. It’s write a novel month coming up in November. I plan to tackle my Starved Out Eastern Oregon ranchers versus Big Gubbermint attempt. No ghosts, goblins, zombies or vampires. None! Just people being all people, as they do at times.
Exit 90 is the exit I took. You then turn right, drive a bit. If you want, you can head off to Bruneau, and the famous sand dunes.
The place I sought sits on the right. El Herradero. I treated myself to enchiladas, pork. I had to go back out, find the other room where the readings would take place. I got there to Mountain Home a bit early.
I managed to read without sounding like a squeaky mouse. I kept my reading fairly short. I used my actor training to modulate my voice. I did not touch the mic which kept going on and off for others, as microphones do at times. The atmosphere for the Whistle Pig gala was pretty laid back, warm, charming and gracious. Everyone seemed to know each other. As you do in a close-knit artist’s community such as this.
Now, I parked across the way, in the Albertson’s parking lot, the Jimmy [GMC] pointed at the one-way street I needed to get back on to get back out to the freeway heading west. I’m always thinking, when I have to get to a new place, how do I get back again. I did manage to find the freeway entrance, in the dark, and got back again obviously, instead of heading off to Twin Falls. Though, if I had gotten on the freeway going the way I did not want to go, I could just take an exit, yeah. Though, that exit might not be for some miles, so. And the cops, even in Idaho, frown at doing a u-turn on the freeway. I joke. Idaho cops would find that a ticket-worthy offense. Among other things.
Speaking of cops!
It was Friday night, so the cops were out IN FORCE. Saw lots of red and blue lights! Even when I got super-close to home, there were cop lights going off. I even thought one was going to pull me over…but it didn’t come after me creeping past the Malheur Butte, wondering where all the papers were, if my license was even in my purse and…yeah.
I had had a Pepsi and a glass of water, so no worries that way. Yay!
Also didn’t take many pictures. I just. Ugh.
To sum up, I got to Mountain Home and back home again. I left at about three thirty, got back at eleven at night on the dot. I read my piece, I didn’t embarrass myself.
It was called Bunny Slipper. About a man who buries his unwanted convenient sort of wife in the Nevada desert and she crawls out of that hole to come find him. Sad, with maggots. Yeah. The usual dreary stuff.
As I mentioned, I went to a writer’s festival in Nampa, Idaho. It took place downtown, as they say. Outside of the Prefunk Beer Bar on 1st Street, South. You get off on Exit 35, take Northside Avenue.
Saturday, I went to try and sell some books. I roughly had the mood equivalent of a dead turtle, so…won’t go into that because I don’t want to. It rained a bit. I bought some raspberry lemonade fudge from the farmer’s market. Pigeons.
I drove over, somehow got there in about twenty minutes. As it’s nearly fifty miles to Nampa from my den of utter aloneness, I bent the laws of time and space! Also, the day proved to be a nice one. No rain, no wind, perfect fall weather, though a bit chilly as the day drew onward into the star-smeared night.
A workshop, where everyone there began the initial creation of a comic strip. Led by a lovely woman comics artist from Seattle, I believe. Thu Tran.
How to break up the dialogue. How to create the character or characters that will speak the words.
Write some lines. Try to draw the ones speaking those lines. Practice getting a creation you can draw over and over, until it’s almost automatic.
I did okay. People around were smart, drawing animals or bottles of spaghetti sauce. I drew people. I eventually just got to circle and triangle, with faces on each, for my characters. With differing expressions. I also drew them in profile. This actually helps me, as a playwright and prose spewer, to cut unnecessary dialogue.
What absolutely needs to be said? What can be cut? What is essential? Also, sitting for nearly two hours, drawing, helps calm the anxiety I have being AROUND OTHERS.
I also want to mention another writer I met. Javier Luna. Super-nice, friendly and talented. Thanks for talking to me. I’m an awkward social outcast right now, so thanks.
The next big group thing: poetry readings. It took place in one of the buildings over where the farmer’s market had been. I just trailed after people like a stray dog, as I had no idea what building. Was. The building.
I’m also one of those people that when told something will start at X time, I actually expect it to start at X time, not whenever people stop farting around…Okay! But! If you have to set up microphones and move equipment, yep. I get it, I do. Been there myself. I’m always early to stuff, I’m also one of those pests.
I did enjoy this. Some poets more than others, as you do. I rather like the idea that there are so many poets within a hundred mile radius. It’s rather heartening. I liked the humor that crept out or blasted from the get-go in some of those readings. I got to thrill to odd phrases that caught my attention.
I noted that I was not wearing the writer garb nearly everyone else wore– dull colors, sweats, knitted caps, black the primary color…dang it. I wore a bright yellow top with a silver sparkly sweater, and BLACK PANTS. I got part of the Writer Uniform right.
If you’ve ever been to a poetry reading, then you pretty much know how this one went. If not, you should go. Hearing people read their own work should be a life goal if you’ve not done so already. Often times, these readings are free and open to the public, and you get to support a local poet or group of poets. In these times, yeah.
We need our artists. We need them. We need them when things are not whack-a-mole off the charts batshit insane, too.
Slight break, then the flash fiction portion of the evening would begin. Here, the entire kit and kaboodle got moved back to the alley outside the bar. Running a bit late. It’s Sunday night.
Did I mention I’d had two drinks and no food? That I’m trying not to just go home, forget the whole thing? That I kept wondering why I’d worn such bright clothes?? Why hadn’t I slipped a dull hat over my grandma-ish-fixed-and-sprayed hair?? Why??? I had slapped makeup on! Dang it! I have knitted dull hats! Somewhere.
I had a dragonfruit cider, and then a giant huckleberry one. Prefunk is a microbrewery kinda hipster place. Not really, but sorta, yeah. I thought the dragonfruit cider tasted like a wine cooler. But the huckleberry one tasted swell. Like huckleberries.
The flash fiction reading had a theme. High fantasy, fantasy, sword and sorcery, etc! I happened to actually read the submission blurt, and sent in a quick take I had of Rapunzel called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters.
Originally, this one started off as Prisoner. What a dull, pedestrian title! I wrote the first draft of this for some themed contest, about prisoners or being locked up or blah. I know it had a theme to do with being locked up, breaking free of that. Something like that.
Did my piece win over those who read it? Nope! So I kept reworking my Rapunzel take, renamed it, renamed it again. Have super-long versions, then did a shorty version. Which ended up as a piece to be read at the Death Rattle Flash Fiction portion.
I went third. The night had turned cold enough for coats. October. Sunday evening.
Now, I thought my voice sounded like one of the squeaky mice from Cinderella. Ugh! I did manage to get through it, people listened. It was eight hundred words or so. I didn’t embarrass myself. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to go on these days. That I didn’t embarrass myself in public too badly.
People did stop by to say they enjoyed it.
The other pieces had a mostly light-hearted, funny bent to them. Very enjoyable to sit there and listen to them. Lots of fun word play, alchemists and witches and dragons. Even an appearance by Persephone. For a tiny bit, the real world couldn’t intrude here. For a tiny bit, one believed everything would turn out okay.
Then, you drive home, after discovering a Burger King on the corner where you need to turn to get back to the freeway. Nothing since a dubious lunch. Burger King it is! Money? Sure, I got some of that scattered in small coins across the bottom of my purse…
To sum up– I attended a local writer’s festival. I enjoyed it. I read a flash fiction piece. I drove home. The end!
Not quite the end yet– I also want to say a big thanks to Sarah, Reed, the tall guy in the baseball cap who did bad high fantasy punning, and the other organizers of this event. Thanks for being welcoming, and inclusive.
Well, it’s almost here. Book fair in Nampa, Idaho, for the Death Rattle writer’s festival. I airily asked for booth space to sell my stack of unsold books. Then, I decided I needed posters to advertise I’m a REAL WRITER. So I’ve been obsessing over that. Redoing them. Discovering I had some green body glitter from way back that, yes, can be used accordingly. I’ve been using spray paint.
I’ll also be reading a short piece called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters, which is a quickie take on Rapunzel.
My mood is low, and I almost want to bow out of this whole thing. Just hide in my room. I had a job interview, I botched it, I did something very wrong. I didn’t get a job I could do in my sleep half-dead with typhoid. With two degrees in that subject. I seem to have “loser” tattooed on my forehead…I know, you’re supposed to be positive all the damn time. Sorry. I’ll buck up. Write some zany review of a television show that’s been off the air for years. Yeah. It’s been raining. We needed it.