MY SPIDER TALE

 

I look up, movement catching my eyeballs. There. Scurrying across the wall. A gigantic nightmare of a spider. Big. Big spider! It’s minding its own bee’s wax. It’s just boppin’ along, doing spider shit, in other words. Not trying to scare the bejesus out of me. Not that I am all that scared of spiders but still. The spider I watch has the dimensions of a horror movie arachnid. That is, to use modern parlance, a big-ass bug. Yes, I know a spider isn’t a bug, thanks. But we’re stupid now in America and proud of it for some reason, so…ahem. Let’s return to the precious retelling of my Spider Tale, shall we?

 

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Spider was, yes, that big. 

It makes its way to the shelves. The colors of this beastie are brown and gray; I wonder if the name is Charlotte. If you don’t get that reference, just a big hearty gol DARN it.

I cannot bring myself to load the rifle and take that spider out. I cannot turn into a good gal with gun; Wyetta Earp sleeps yet far in the corners of my Wild Or-ee-gone soul, curled up and waitin’ for action, a’course. That spider freezes when it notices me noticing it. We contemplate each other. No, Sirius-ly! I stared, the spider stared, we both stared. I also talked to that arachnid that probably wished my actual death.

Read the following in the same voice you talk to your pets or stuffed animals or pet rocks when you think no one is around: Hey, look at you. What are you doing, spider? No, go back up toward the ceiling. There you are! How would you solve the Middle East thing? Who gets a worse rap, spiders or clowns? Would you get behind a gritty reboot of the Twilight movies? Do you hang out with a pig named Wilbur? [Gol-DARN-it if you don’t get that. I just can’t. Shut my head. LOL.]

Some sort of lesson happens. I learn something. The spider learns something. Nature versus inertia. I get my camera and try to get pictures. Because I’m batshit crazy at this point in my life. I find real delight in a spider that obviously bathed in some nuclear waste. I had happy moments watching this small life trying to get from whatever point A was to Point B. There’s a clear trajectory for that spider, an arc. There’s a story there, surely!

And here’s the kicker.

I did not see where that spider went.

That spider could be anywhere.

That spider could be watching me, right now.

Wondering why I bothered it and pointed a little square at it. Perhaps sharing tales of the weird human with the other giant house spiders. Or the outside spiders that live in the rocks and trees and discarded bits of machinery.

My brain tells me to stop. It’s just a fucking spider!!! Arrrr!!! Are you going to turn some stupid spider into a billion-selling YA novel centering around a typical male character saving the day except you named him Marsha because it’s fashionable right now to have a female ‘heroine’? It’s cute! Oh look, a ‘strong’ female! That’s like hot ice and wonder snow and– SPIDER!

[Random cursing, bitter diatribe, more cursing.]

My my. Must read some positive memes and just cure myself of any modern malaises. Whee. Wahoo. Whoop a do.

I had a week. It was. Um. That spider delighted me. I ‘worked’ on my ‘zombie’ novel, experienced nature without leaving my seat, much, and tried to ignore the outside world.

Oh, hey, my book/s are on sale RIGHT NOW. Buy one or several. Thanks. Look at me, being all  Willy Loman!

There’s also a new poetry challenge to tackle! I see the words ‘Jesus’ and ‘ass-licking war dogs’ in my future!

Spider!!

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ZOMBIE TEQUILA NIGHTS

 

 

 

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from Bloomberg

No, I haven’t been posting some weird zombie erotic novella piecemeal. I’ve been trying to write a Welcome to October blog post but I keep…drifting over into a stream of consciousness vomiting on my country’s reaction to mass shootings. I’m having a low kind of day. I won’t go into that because I’m a god damn pixie of positivity, curse words better suited for sailors inserted here.

After all, I went to school at UNLV, grad school. I lived there for three years. I endured flash floods, cockroaches, truly insane neighbors and heat. But it was a dry heat. Which, hell, I prefer and grew up with. Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho, Southern Washington State, all one big happy high desert sorta landscape. Humidity?? What’s that? I moved to Maryland and found out. Gawd! So, Las Vegas was just hotter than I was used to but still dry. No humidity!

Mandalay Bay went up the last year I was in school there in Lost Wages. A big gorgeous casino, to compete with the other big gorgeous casinos and the older, looser slots of real Vegas, on Frontier…off the ‘Strip’. Or the slots in the various grocery stores. People playing the poker machines at the local Lucky in my neighborhood, fun times. You went to Wal-Mart after midnight so your car tires didn’t melt. Fun times as well. Yeah, I drank and acted in very stupid ways and somehow managed to walk away with a degree in, yep, playwriting. Or writing, if I want to sound more hire-able.

I have friends there yet, in Sin City. Oh a list of major ‘worst shootings in modern American history’ since 2007:

Oct. 1, 2017. Las Vegas
July 7, 2016. Dallas
June 12, 2016. Orlando
Dec. 2, 2015. San Bernardino
Nov. 27, 2015. Colorado Springs
Oct. 1, 2015. Roseburg
July 16, 2015. Chattanooga
June 17, 2015. Charleston
Oct. 24, 2014. Marysville
May 23, 2014. Isla Vista
April 2, 2014. Killeen
Sept. 16, 2013. Washington, D.C.
June 7, 2013. Santa Monica
Dec. 14, 2012. Newtown
Oct. 21, 2012. Brookfield
Sept. 27, 2012. Minneapolis
Aug. 5, 2012. Oak Creek
July 20, 2012. Aurora
April 2, 2012. Oakland
Oct. 12, 2011. Seal Beach
Jan. 8, 2011. Tucson
Aug. 3, 2010. Manchester
Feb. 12, 2010. Huntsville
Nov. 5, 2009. Killeen
April 3, 2009. Binghamton
Feb. 14, 2008. DeKalb
Dec. 5, 2007. Omaha
April 16, 2007. Blacksburg

from the NY Times

Thoughts and prayers offered. More like a ‘fuck you, lol– from your true leaders at the NRA’ …in actuality.

Oh sure, granpa fought the entire German army with a butterknife and a can-do bootstrap spirit so mass shootings by lone wolf, probably mentally ill, sorts JUST HAPPEN FOR NO REASON AT ALL…suck it up, buttercups. Granpa didn’t fight the entire German army with a dull, broken butter knife so you libtard commies can take our gunz. 2A, you assholes! How dare you. How dare you. How dare you try and come for our gunz? We can’t do anything to stop these massacres, because libtards took prayers out of schools so society is sick now. Sick! Gunz have nothing to do with it! Nothing! And Chicago. Yeah, Chicago defeats anything you libtards throw out, LOL.

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Not the Onion, sadly. Read the very tippy-top.

The above is…yeah. That’s kinda what passes for ‘discussion’ about gun control here in the USA. Australia had that one Port Author thing…Yeah, but Australia doesn’t have our population and they’re not free there, they don’t even have roads yet. Yeah, LOL, Australia, fuck them.

HALLOWEEN

So…I’ll drift over into Halloween waters.

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The actual Uncle Sam’s in Shenyang. Note some are in costume, some are not. 

Where the zombie is high and the livin’ is easy. A slight riff on Summertime, from Porgy and Bess.

How I love October. It’s getting colder, pumpkins are everywhere. I’m not talking the pumpkin spice craporama that infiltrates EVERYTHING. Jesus, just buy some Pumpkin Pie spice and be done with it. Holy flipping gerbils!

No, it’s the actual rounded balls of squash that have the distinctive coloring that thrill my cold, dead soul. Something about that deep orange of a pumpkin’s sides…claws  me in that good way like no other squash does. Not even the summer squashes make me  have to stop and  caress their quivering sides with a single finger.

No, squash don’t quiver. Stay with me a bit. It’s okay. I love to carve faces into pumpkins, oh yes. I love to murder pumpkins and put candles where their guts used to be. Guts meaning the seeds and stringy crap you have to yank out or scoop out with a big spoon.

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Whee!! Bad makeup jobs

And yes, dressing up and going out to drink myself into an actual blackout event. That, too. Sometimes, that is. Maybe twice. I’m not admitting to anything. There was one after-Halloween morning where I woke up with pantyhose embedded in my knee. Embedded in an actual wound I had somehow sustained. No memory, even now, of how that hose came to be smashed into my wound like that. Ever yanked blood-encrusted pantyhose from a wound in your knee? Fun times. Did I magically stop drinking, change my ways, become a constructive member of society and cure cancer? Uh. No.

Ah, zombie tequila nights. I went out, in China, on the actual Halloween night. No, it’s not really celebrated there, for those of you keeping score on your Who Celebrates What Holidays cards, which can be turned in, when full, for prizes. I did full zombie makeup. I looked truly hideous. Like someone had beaten the crap out of me. Now, in China, women are supposed to look pretty all the damn time. Why go out looking like death warmed over, ever? It’s nearly unthinkable. And anything performance-wise or dressing up wise…you go for glam and pretty, not zombie-ish and stomach-turning.

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Uncle Sam’s wall where a person can write things…Notice anything, dears?

That’s right. I went out, by myself, on Halloween. In China.

I had a great night. I drifted in with others I sorta kinda knew. I ended up at this one little bar that became my favorite bar for reasons I won’t ever discuss in public. [Probably exactly what you’re thinking.] Lenore’s. Yep, a bar called Lenore’s in Shenyang, China. It was around the corner from the Swiss place, Heidi’s, where you could get stuff with cheese on it. Cheese. Real cheese. For about the cost of what you made every two weeks teaching but still. [Not really but close enough.]

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The Halloween Pub crawl. Yes, that’s Lenore’s. And that’s a teacher dressed as a dinosaur. 

Swiss-French-German food in China, to be found at Heidi’s. 

And just down the street and slightly around the corner was Uncle Sam’s. An American bar. Run by an actual sleazy American guy who oozed creepiness. But it was American, with an actual American feel to it. An actual dive bar that any self-respecting Sons of Anarchy sort would have felt comfy in. Uncle Sam’s served burgers. Real actual hamburgers. With cheese. Are you under the impression that China is not real big on cheese? Impression correct! Yes, there was also a McDonald’s and right before I left China for, oh, good, a Burger King went up. 

But!!! A not-mass produced burger and hand cut fries, worth the high price. Worth it. Especially when you’re far, oh so gosh darn far, from home. Even a crappy burger and overpriced limp fries, worth it. 

I remember Uncle Sam’s solely for the Go Ducks! graffiti written on the wall. As in, yes, the University of Oregon Ducks. If I turned my head, there it was, when I sat at the tables along the filthy wall. It wasn’t a dirty place, it just gave you that feel of filth, depravity and the need to take a shower right after leaving the premises. So yeah, an actual real life dive bar in the heart of Manchuria.

Reminded me strongly of the biker bar in La Grande, Oregon. The Long Branch. Oh, they had cheap, cheap alcohol– as in dollar tequila night. Shots of rotgut tequila for a buck. OMG doesn’t even begin to describe what nights like that did to poor widdle country mouse me.

Mostly because I don’t remember that much about said dollar shots of tequila nights at the Long Branch. I do remember throwing up, getting vomit on my shirt, then turning it inside out and telling myself no one would notice. Except. My shirt had shoulder pads. And yep, I walked out of the bathroom with an inside out shirt and shoulder pads revealed…can you picture that? It’s a dim, misty swirl in my head at best but apparently, people still tell that tale about me. Fun!

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Halloween fun, second year in China. Look at me, gross yet comfy. Yay!

Also, there are Halloween parties I both threw and attended that linger fondly in my noggin. Nights of debauchery, clownish makeup and inviting Satan to nestle in my heart. Costumes I recycled, costumes I made an hour before going out. Costumes I planned for almost two months. Witches, ghosts, Satan’s Mistress, a sock puppet, a yes, zombie…mostly scary choices. I have more fun doing zombie makeup than slutty nurse makeup. I know!

I should just do a post about my drinking. It was, at one time, legendary and truly awful. And one on China and how I revived my truly awful drinking habits. And a post on why America is now a parody of itself and not in a good way. And…oh. I’ll probably just try to stick to hustling my stuff.

Hugs and kisses from a zombie at heart. Oh. I somehow started a zombie novel…yeah. It’s weird how that shit takes off from a weird stray suggestion found on a stray bit of paper written, uh, X amount of years ago. A woman wakes up after killing herself during a zombie apocalypse. Aftermath. That was it. And I’ve been flinging words ever since. Restarted it, of course. I really like my main character, who finds herself in a zombie-run world and who…oh, that’s a whole other post, my lovelies.

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Note the American flag in the top pic. See the shots and burgers and fries in the second. All Uncle Sam’s stuff. And the third is Lenore’s. 

CROW PIE

 

 

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by Jude Collins

 

Welp. Yours truly got picked for that monthly poetry contest…not days after writing a bad unicorn poem. No, seer-eeee-us-lee! [Say that with a Valley Girl accent, m’kay?] The universe, man, it never gets tired of being the universe. My Mint in Pots piece, written for the August rush, got tapped. That little poetic ass got tapped hard. That’s for the prurient-minded.

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I feel like September handed me some gifts and I is not properly grateful. Which affects my grammar and balance! So. THANKS SEPTEMBER. I will sing and dance and shake  my moneymaker for your enjoyment later today.  Slurpy kisses and too-long, slightly moist hugs sent your way, dear September. 

The crust, for my CROW PIE, will be flaky yet dense. The crow is yet complaining it’s stuffed in a pie and the oven is broken. But damn, that pie will be consumed, hallelujah. 

 

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——–> Oh!! GO GET MY BOOKS. I have books now, for sale.  THE HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD. OREGON GOTHIC. <—————–

Go and mock me in a review, you know you want to. Or do an actual review.

Write– it’s got a nice beat and you can dance to it, four stars.

I dare someone to do that. If they do, I’ll…yeah, I’ll do something funky and mildly public.

Oh and some more crow pie to consume, while I’m being brutally honest…I fell and watched AHS last night. But!!! It was all the crazy Milo-wannabe [Koi Fish] slouching around like some third-rate Bond villain with bad hair and almost none of Sorethroaty! I really don’t think an American voter would cut their arm off to cast a vote for a president. We’d cut our arm off to vote for dancing or singing, sure! But a president or some other politician? It’s so cute when the writers on AHS get so idealistic! Cute, I tell ya. Cute!

Trigger Warning: Depictions of harmless pumpkins as country-destroying fuckballs of malice.

I also love, complete and total subject swing here, so hold on…how people are suddenly so PATRIOTIC. Especially when NFL players take a knee or link arms to protest police violence and racism and a host of other societal ills that are Making America Sick as Usual. MASU! And Pumpkincunt jumped into this fight with both feet in his dick-shaped mouth. If yer a red-blooded ‘murican, you’re ballz deep in this here fight already and knows allz abouts it. If you’re, say, Euro-other-country-not-Europe…well, you have your own worries with Sharia Law being enacted there and immigrants taking your good women and your bad jobs and making you all speak Spanish or something.

Oh and the latest attempts at making sure poor people just die as horribly as possible did not get a vote in the Senate or something. But like Freddy, Jason and those Alien critters, it will probably come back for many, many, many sequels…cause some rich people sure do hate poor people buying insulin and birth control or somethin’.

But did you see the Voice last night?? Jennifer Hudson is gonna be a HOOT. Adam and Blake are the cutest! Miley is a goddess! If you don’t vote, those singers might have to go back to waitressing and being poor and not having health insurance. God damn it!! Do you want that on your head???

Oh, also, Puerto Rico, pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Being ignored in favor of tweeting insults at…sigh. 

To sum up: right after I wrote a snarky poem, a somewhat okay poem of mine got selected. Crow pie for moi.

I fell and watched AHS, sigh!

I took two careless seconds to address both rampant racism and the truly ghastly health care system in my country.

I also included a PLUG FOR MY BOOKS, House on Clark Boulevard and Oregon Gothic. I begged, shamelessly so, for reviews and purchases of said books. I’ve tried cutesy, I’ve tried serious, so now I’m just tryin’.

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Oregon Gothic country. The Owyhees

 

My Book!! Yay!

 

 

 

 

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Howdy. Hello there. No, I’m not taking on either movies or television today, dear readers, friends, passerbys and assorted other nice people. I am in full promote mode! Oh yes!! I will be a shameless barker of my works, because who else is going to champion said works?? Exactly!! 

It’s been available for a bit as an e-book. And you can also get THE HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD in paperback!!  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075KNFHDJ

Oh and also, go get my Oregon Gothic!! 

 

 

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The actual Clark BLVD. 

Oh. And if you can or want to or have a serious need, go review my book/s. Why be coy, eh, dearies? Why indeedy…

Mr. Blue’s Blues

 

 

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from Dreamtime.

PART ONE:

Oh I wrote a rambling, first draft, ode to my ‘villain’. I did, I did. I got into how women are portrayed in horror films and scary books. Which in fact does color House on Clark Boulevard’s Nancy.

But.

I’ll try again and try to keep my viciously messy thoughts viciously focused on viciously vicious Mr. Blue. All those sibilants! Oh and a bit more about Nancy! Go #TeamNancy!

PART TWO:

I wrote HOCB after a pretty awful summer. Just take my word for it. I just sat at my battered ancient PC and wrote. No outline, no idea where this one was going. Just that rather pedestrian title and not much more than a need to drown out the real world.

I let the words form into somewhat coherent sentences, paragraphs and entire pages as they wished. A young wife and mother, in the seventies, dealing with ghosts. I didn’t try to burn the world down with my prose. [God forbid.] I just wrote. If you’re a writer, you get that. Sometimes you just write.

You’re not trying to make a point or come up with themes or miffed about the economic realities of eighteen year olds…you’re just writing. The same as when you’re just breathing, it’s just breathing.

Nancy, a’course, is based somewhat [like, totally] on my own mother. Who would no more have run about screaming in headless chicken fashion over a ghost than not make gravy from a roast. I borrowed that pragmatic, can-do, actual pioneer spirit– my great-grandmother traveled to the West in an actual covered wagon…and gave it to my heroine/main character Nancy.

However…I became infected with the notion that Nancy needs a Loki. I had another rant in my first draft of Mr. Blue’s Blues about how villains are more charismatic and fully fleshed characters than heroes, hence the Loki reference.

After all, she can’t spend X amount of pages vacuuming, cooking turkeys–there are two holidays at the end of the American year– Turkey Day and Presents!– and trying to get her youngest to use the toilet like daddy does, all while sort of ignoring the little and large ghosties bothering her and trying to get her attention. [I’d totally read a novel like that, but I am a unique snowflake!]

PART THREE:

So, Mr. Blue crept into my narrative.

That name just strolled from my artistic shadows and took an opening bow. Mr. Blue. Who was he and why was Nancy more concerned about this cat than the tea party little girl ghost or the rolling things or the floating eyes? I find that asking myself questions helps stumble the story forward a bit toward some vague end. Yay!

I offered no origin story. There isn’t one. It was not important to the story. Mostly because, gulp. Actual author confession here– I don’t know what it is yet. I have an idea and no, he’s not a ghost or some remnant from some murder or…no. He’s SOMETHING ELSE. But that’s for the third book, now in progress. I just plopped him down into Nancy’s tale as her antagonist. One of them.

Mr. Blue expects our Nance to act a CERTAIN WAY. The expected female hysterics. The running around in her undies and tripping over rocks trope. After all, we’re led to believe all his other seductions have been successful. That he has managed to get other women to–

Nope, you have to read the book to find out what Mr. Blue wants Nancy to do. I’m a PR genius here! I leave out bits of info to tweak your interest! Available September 22!! I will post links!!

Why won’t Nancy straighten up and act like women are supposed to act? Scaredy-cats, easily led, easily seduced into X,Y or Z. Eve and the Apple! It’s right there, in the damn Bible, women are stoooooopid and must be utterly locked up or else they fuck snakes or something. Anyway!

 

I read where that snake in the Garden of Eden can also stand in for a penis…so Eve was a slut, too. Ouch.

PART FOUR:

There’s also that major question as to why people in haunted houses won’t leave. Mostly it comes down to financial reasons. The Amityville Horror tale, for instance. That family stayed because they had no money to go elsewhere. People buy some big beautiful house and then whango, it’s full of evil ghosts trying to kill them!

 

Every. Fricking. Time! American Horror Story exploits this one for fun and profit. That first season, Murder House. Then the  AHS/Roanoke one. Dark Water, both versions. The Conjuring. Mama. The Shining. The Legend of Hell House. Beetlejuice. Burnt Offerings. Oh there’s giant lists of haunted house movies, novels and the like.

The moral is– buy ugly  small houses, folks. Ghosts don’t live in shacks and low-rent eyesores. A crumbling castle, sure! It’s still a castle! Geez, does nobody pay attention anymore?? [They probably do. I’m not trying to throw shade at where ghosts take up residences. Just being mildly sarcastic on a Sunday afternoon. Okay, ghosts who live in shacks and low-rent eyesores? We good here?]

Nancy has almost no say in where she lives. That’s due to her own conditioning and training by her own mother and society and…!

So Nancy has to stay put and do the best she can with what she has. And she does! Because I find women are highly resourceful, clever, able to juggle twenty thousand things at the same time while juggling forty thousand other things and…yep.

There’s a hidden world of women as I touched on a bit in the novel. The face women show men, and the faces they show each other. That Margaret Atwood quote– men fear women will laugh at them, women fear men will kill them. That rings so fricking true, you just start nodding your head. Yep yep yep. If you’re female, that is. You just nod your head when you read that, you get it at the very level of your guts where it’s always fight or flight. Except for women, it’s hunker down or maybe find yourself dead if you act the wrong way at the wrong time. That careful read the emotional weather of those around you that women get trained to do…even the Wonder Women’s and the Ripley’s and the Sarah Connor’s and those women not fictional or battling monsters in their armor and underwear.

 

I watched my own grandmother do this. That careful politeness when the men were present, the raunchy giggler when the men were not present. The two faces of Eve. Indeed. Women don’t tell their real stories and the voices of women have been largely silent except for a few odd lady writers who ‘bucked’ the system. We censor our stories, we women. We ‘nice’ them up for the men and for each other. Silence and omissions and going along so the men don’t get upset, so we don’t upset ourselves and admit icky things that are in plain sight but which we politely ignore.  Taking out this or that because it’s ‘too much’. Uh huh.

PART FIVE:

Nancy fights back against Mr. Blue and the ghosts because not doing so goes against her nature.

Mr. Blue expects her to fold like a cheap folding chair. Will she fold? Read the book to find out!

Nancy is also a version of Little Red Riding Hood. She knows not to leave the path. She wants to be that ‘normal good girl’ she has been told she wants to be. That it doesn’t quite gel with her actual character, well. I also think that’s part of her resistance to Mr. Blue‘s attempts to mold her and shape her. She can’t go against what she’s been taught but she can rebel against some ‘other’ outside of the realm of her tiny world. That she can do. With real relish and glee.

Which confounds poor Mr. Blue and makes him a bit blue and determined to get what he wants…nope, gonna have to read the book!

 

SEPTEMBER 22

 

 

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September 22 is when House on Clark Boulevard makes its debut. Now you know. Mark your calendars, write it on your hand, engrave it on a pet rock.

I, sullen and full of fogs and low tides, went to see about securing a second public reading for HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD. At Second and Wine, the lovely little restaurant/wine bar in Ontario, Oregon. Now, the friend helping me with publicity and so forth…did not show up. [I am assuming this person had something come up or something happened at work or…?] So, I waited a bit, then, stomach churning, went into the joint and clumsily brokered a deal of sorts to maybe read, maybe, in October. I left a little packet of stuff and things– excerpt from actual book, bio about yours truly and my contact info. Hallelujah, I still have some moxie left. Not much, a smidge. But hey, a tiny sparkle of boldness still sparkles somewhere in the region of my left toe.

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Clark BLVD. Oregon wildfire smoke

The wildfires here in Oregon. Yeah. The haze here in extreme Eastern Oregon has been Mordor-ish. It just looks foggy all the time. We get inversions here, so that look is rather familiar but still. I’ve also seen what these fires are doing to Montana. Over a million acres. The Columbia Gorge on fire, set off by kids with fireworks. That’s the Eagle Creek fire, for those keeping score at home. We’re waiting here, on the far other side of the state, for our own set of out of control savage flame festivals. So far…nothing. But the surrounding surfaces hold tall growths of cheat grass and such, dry as Thanksgiving turkey. We had those gigantic snowfalls and the weeds loved it…and we’re waiting for that one strike of lightning. A thunderstorm moving through that deposits a few drops of rain. Where the thunder rolls and the lightning sparks hundreds of little fires, and perhaps one or several take off…yep. Or a careless sort who drops a ciggie or a spark from the undercarriage of an ATV or some sort of off-road whatchamacallit. Bango! Smoldering evil coal! BOOM!! Wildfire.

 

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Actual Clark BLVD. Pretty close to the actual house I based my novel on. 

There was a big fire here, I remember it. Watching the flames munch the dry hills, it was both awesome and pee down your leg terrifying. We were told to evacuate and went to my aunt’s, high up on the hill overlooking our little bit of the Treasure Valley here. You could stand outside, with the ash drifting down, and observe the line of the fire as it threatened to turn our way, to engulf everything…but kept going sideways, parallel to where we all stood. I remember the local farmers stayed to protect their equipment and buildings, my dad and brother included. This was years ago. Memory says I was a ‘kid’.

September 22!! Did I mention House on Clark Boulevard comes out then?

I’m going to tackle the Betsy Devil shit in a separate post. Because siding with the MRA shits, Betsy, should go against all your so-called inner Jesus urges. Michigan is now among the bottom of the states in education due to their embrace of charter schools and ‘choice’ thereof for the kiddies. Devos brings nothing but destruction, and a return to unless ‘she’s a virgin, she deserves to be raped’ fun. Once upon a time, not that long ago, you had to qualify as a ‘good’ rape victim. [ Boys just gonna be boys, right? And yes, men get raped, but not in the numbers women do. ] Oh, yeah, there’s still that ‘she deserved it’ narrative and ‘what was she wearing’ and ‘if she’d made better choices’ and…uh huh.

Rather like ‘earning’ an abortion– rape or incest only, gals!

So, I’ll fuss and fume about all that in a post I probably  won’t post. Because it will prolly turn into a single solid block of cuss words and pics of  raised middle fingers. WWJD? Cuss like a sailor and write blog posts in these here modern times! I did promise to make September about the writing process or share smoogens of projects. Smoogens– agonized over liftings from various writing projects. The more you know.

 

September 22. Let’s finish off this shameless self-promotion and side-trip into wildfires and Betsy Devil with a shoutout to moi and her book. Now books!

Oh– I took a tiny trip, a nostalgic drive, back to the actual Clark Boulevard. Evening, twilight, the smoke making everything very eerie and oh so atmospheric. Still enough daylight to snap some snaps of the road, old houses, farmie stuff. I looked for the old house…I think it’s gone. I might have had to drive further up Clark but I don’t remember living that far from the main highway between Vale and Ontario. Memory, lies to you all the time…!

But. I made a pilgrimage, of sorts. Is that not what counts? You really can’t go home again, especially if that home seems vanished like a meat fart in the breeze.

The road looked suitably spooky. The old house I took a picture of looked just right. The sign, with the smoky sky behind it, ah, something out of a Dario Argento film. The haystack had an air of menace! The people living on that road probably still wonder who the nut in the GMC was. What is that weirdo doing? My self-consciousness, always there to turn me into a scaredy-cat!

Oh– on an uplifting final note, uplifting for me and this blog is all about me, me, me– my short story, Maybelle, got into Whistle Pig, which is out of Mountain Home, Idaho. In their October issue. I’m thrilled. I sat and wrote this little tale on a Sunday afternoon, about an elderly woman and her doll. I am glad, after schlepping it to many another, to see it find a home. Sometimes there’s an acceptance of your work. And then the crushing avalanche of rejections, of course, that crush you and crush you and crush you. Yay!

September 22. Get that tattooed, on your cheek. So others will stop and ask you why you have this date inked permanently on your skin. You can reply– That’s when Ann Wuehler’s House on Clark Boulevard arrived!

They’ll be politely puzzled and forget promptly all that information but you, at least, tried. You can just write it with a ball point pen, too. If you don’t wish to commit fully to this sort of advertising. I’ll understand.

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The House on Clark Boulevard!!

 

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THE INSIDE OF MY HEAD IS FULL OF LADYBUGS.

That is a line from my latest stab at the third book of my ‘trilogy’. Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice. The second is done– Alice in Oregonlandia.

I’ve started that third book over X amount of times [at least four] and have stumbled upon…well, will do a whole blog post on that. I am determined that September will be ABOUT WRITING AND WHAT I’M WRITING OR ELSE I’LL EAT MY OWN HAT. I have two hats. One is from Thailand. I won’t eat that one. Because I got it in Thailand and I need to remember I was once a brave little world traveling cookie.

American politics, at the moment, make me want to write snarky comments under news stories and start my own religion so I can get a megachurch, too. The Church of Annabella. I’ll preach on America First, everyone else can just suck it and why guns are holy and in the Bible. 

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Hence, the focusing on the gentle art of writing and the gentler art of promotion of said writings. Yippee skip, my cowpokes and cowladies. Mostly because anything I write that way– [I edited out a mini-rant on AmeriJesus running over SJW’s in a chariot. Uh huh.]– makes me a bit, well, unfocused and scattershot. So!! Let’s get promotin’!! Isn’t this fun?

The first leg comes out in September. The House on Clark Boulevard.

Ghosts. Holiday meals. Human sacrifice. Will Nancy ever get those Christmas cards written? How can a housewife get a kid potty-trained if she’s fighting the forces of darkness? Who is Mr. Peepers and just why does Mr. Blue do what he do? Who will get up to let Fred in? It’s certainly not Art! Will that turkey ever cook?? Is Calgon far more magical  than that company let on? Find out these questions and more!!

The House on Clark Boulevard.

The street is real, by the way. That house, which is one of the characters in this book,  was one of my childhood homes. I was just a little older than Alice Stockhorst when I lived in the actual house on Clark Boul-de-bard. That’s how I said it, because I was, like, four or five.

We were living in Washington State by the time I hit first grade…Paterson Elementary, where you could spend your whole recess watching barges go up and down the mighty Columbia if you so wished. We took field trips to McNary Dam [giant man-eating catfish!] and to Tri-Cities [Pasco, Kenniwick and Richland] to see the ballet. Memory, it cleans up those images you wish to be sparkly and nice, doesn’t it. Oh yes.

Oh, I made my grandmother–the real Grandma Joan in my about to hit the market book, whose middle name was Joan– drive us past the dead bull when I lived in that house. A dead bull they had not yet taken away. Yes, one of the truly darker parts of that happy fantasy friendly barn yard picture some of you hold dear in your heads. What happens to large dead animals? When they get all ripe and stinky and very very very dead? La la la!

It fascinated me, that gas-bloated dead behemoth, and she indulged my morbid tastes, like any good granny does. Kids, they love death and gooshy stuff. That shiny, balloon-looking carcass we had to visit as long as it remained a fixture of the landscape. Back then the roads had not yet been paved and the ruts shook her little car.

A Lynx. Or maybe that car came later, maybe she had another car before that, there’s so few left to ask. And I find I’d rather romanticize than ferret out the boring make and model of whatever car she ACTUALLY had at that period of time. I remember her silver Lynx, a Ford. I remember the bull and my grandmother driving us by it so I could get a good look. That much is true. That much will go in the documentary called What Ann Wrote. It will be produced two hundred years from now when people ‘discover’ my writing and there’s fan clubs and…

Oh look, there’s me not being a total unicorn-happy butterfly of positivity!

Sorry.

Back to this book about to TAKE THE WORLD BY STORM. Yay!!!!

A friend of mine has helped me set up readings. In Ontario, Oregon. At the local library and possibly, at this little wine place that features ‘local talent’. Second and Wine is the name in case you’re ever in Ontario, Oregon. Chefs, authors, foot models, who knows. I don’t get out and about, I am not in the loop, even the tiny Eastern Oregon/Western Idaho loop. I’m nearly a total recluse at this point in time.

So, the reading/s.

There might even be a Boise, Idaho one. Big city, bright lights, fellow babies. I know, Boise is relatively ‘small’ when compared to, say, Los Angeles or Hong Kong, but I am not getting on a bunch of planes to go to Hong Kong. That takes more than the seven dollars I have in my purse at the moment. Just saying. There might be ‘some places’ in north Boise– which is apparently the arty end?

If you know Boise at all, that’s mildly funny. If you have no idea what a Boise is or have never heard of the state of Idaho, well. Maybe that’s God’s will working wonders in your life, who can say at this point in the narrative. I’m being totally, like, sarcastic, so let’s return to our regular blog post road, shall we?

Being a grad school grad, I’ve had public readings of my stuff.

Oh yes. I’ve seen my work done on stage, either really well or so badly I actually died a little. I’ve had to sit and take criticisms that were more about tearing me apart than addressing my work. I’ve gotten great stuff from actual enemies who hated my guts. I’ve gotten many a neutral ‘good job’ from actual friends who perhaps didn’t wish to hurt my feelings.

So I’m not shaking over reading a few pages for the public’s amusement/boredom. I probably will be a lot more nervous once actual dates and times are nailed to that cross of public speaking, oh yes. But it will be more about– what do I wear, my hair should be murdered with a nuke, should I just shave my head or what and what did I do with my beige iridescent lipstick? [A shout out to the real Dirty Dancing]

Oh hey, I have a new book coming out!! You can buy Oregon Gothic!! I also write plays, so produce them!! I’m fabulous!!

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