Dither

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Three blackbird eggs, in the nest in the wild rosebush. Ain’t they cute? 

I am dithering over a project. A project I will need to turn in eventually to my publisher. Yes, I have one. Stop snickering or giving me pitying looks at my delusions of being a real writer. Snort in your general direction, haters.

Okay. Sarcasm aside…!

Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice. It’s the third in my House trilogy. Alice in Oregonlandia is done, and in line to be seen by Kensington Gore’s editor/s.

Alice takes up about ten years after House On Clark Boulevard ended. The ‘tale’ moves to the world of Alice, Nancy’s daughter. Stuff happens. The end.

Yeah, I should write PR and press releases! For more money than the actual novelists ever get for their words, phrases and entire pages of words and phrases.

My mind went, hey, there’s a third book here. With everything neatly wrapped up, explained and then burned to the ground or somethin’. Cause. Trilogies. Every author should have some.

It’s like. That can of tuna on your shelf. Just in case.

I don’t like tuna so my can of tuna would have dust on it. But it would still be there in case I needed it for something. Maybe a sammich? I’d also have to have pickles, lemon, dill, onion powder, garlic…basically my tuna sammich would taste like anything but tuna. I like tuna melts.

I’m weird and contradictory. I realize that right now at this moment. Personal growth!

Dither.

I know why I’m starting this last opus over and over. I HAVEN’T DECIDED WHAT THE ACTUAL STORY IS.

I knew, vaguely, that Alice would have to return to that old house and…and something would happen that would not be what was expected by any involved. Vague, sure. But. That was the general story in my head and it seemed to write itself for Alice in Oregonlandia. House on Clark Boulevard had the same feel to it but different. Is that crystal clear to everyone??

I just got into ‘that groove’ that hits when you write. Whether it’s novels or poems or short stories or plays or manifestos about why tuna is gross.

I’m not a fish person. I find the taste of fish gross and yucky. I’ll eat fish sticks but only if they taste more of the tarter sauce or whatever dipping sauce is available. I’ve never had lobster.

Living in the interior high desert [Southern Washington State, Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho] most of my life tends to keep me away from lobster binges. Can you buy lobster or find it where I live or have lived? Yes. Did the price of lobster tend to send me off to the lunch meat aisle to see what’s on sale? Yes. Do I think it’s cruel to boil those poor sea spiders alive?? Yes!! 

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Miz Bridge waiting for me to entertain her. Because hey, you’re not writing, she says. Let’s go dig or chase something!

Story. I’ve dithered here in Saint Lysette. It’s changed POV’s. Many times. I now have Nancy, Alice and Lysette all telling the story. Whatever the story is. Which I’m not sure. It won’t coalesce, even a little, somewhere in my foggy writer brain. It does but it’s campy garbage!

Gol darn it!!

I might as well add some clowns and reptilian overlords!! Not that there’s anything wrong with reptilian overlords. There is something profoundly wrong with clowns. Yes, I have fear of clowns. Yes, I do. There’s a fancy word for that even. 

I think, therefore I am…sorry! I think I need to pick a path. Write to the end no matter the horrified faces I make as I write. 

GET THAT MOFO ON THE PAGE YOU DITHERING DITZ!

Get a rough beast shaped up, that I can then go back through and despair over.

After all, I have scrapped entire drafts. Written better versions. Or worse versions. Dang it.

I must examine why I am dithering so. I blame tuna.

Oh if it were that damn easy!

What is the story. That’s what I need to crucify in place with big iron nails. Then watch it rise from the dead a couple times or something? Ugh. Must stop listening to atheist podcasts or atheists taking apart Christian movies made so badly they’re actually in the good column.

I’m also trying to get a screenplay done. A director from the Czech Republic found a short play of mine, made a short film out of it. Traces of Memory. It’s in actual post-production now, as I write this. It looks great. I’m pleased with it.

She also, Lucie, found my book of short stories, Oregon Gothic, and found a tale in there that she wished to turn into a feature-length. One based on…necrophilia. On a woman helping her boyfriend procure a freshly dead woman for sexual purposes.

Lucie wishes it more focused on their relationship. She has the general idea of where she wishes this to go and I am helping shape it out. It’s called Prince Charming so far.

I hope it doesn’t turn out to be another Serbian Tale. If you don’t know what that is or have never heard of it, great. Keep your ignorance. If you do know what that ‘movie’ is, then no, I don’t think Prince Charming is even in the same universe as that one. I’m being cheeky. I’m a cheeky little primate!

Humans are primates, after all, no matter what screaming manbeasts with Jesus tats and a pulpit say. 

I am working on making the rather repulsive pair sympathetic. Understandable.  Which gives the horror element an extra punch in the gut. Layers, y’all.

Must go force myself to work on…something. It’s almost my birthday. I might go to the hills for sustenance and soul feeding as I turn…gulp…fifty. And ponder on the smoking ruins of my life.

I blame it all on tuna.

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The elderly cottonwood showing why it’s called ‘cottonwood’. The big seed pods burst open and look like what cotton does or something. I’ve never seen a cotton field outside of a movie. Or eaten a lobster. 

 

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June News

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It’s June. Hello, June.

Hot. Ugh. It’s hot. 

With that out of the way–

I just found out a short piece of mine will get into A Door Is A Jar-– By Starlight By Starlight My Dear. 

I also have a poem, My Feet Hurt, in the Rumpus’s Enough, and not sure when that comes out. 

I am also working on St. Lysette and Bloody Alice, which is the THIRD BOOK in the House on Clark Boulevard trilogy. 

And a screenplay based on a short story of mine. I need to get on that. Ugh a bug! 

So, the little writing goblins showed up, bit me in improper places, and here we are. 

 

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A storm about to hit. That’s the Malheur Butte
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Gorgeous clouds against a Ford tractor. 

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!

Little Ornaments

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Half-painted!

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?

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Finished!

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?

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Further examples!
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Our fall foliage is either this rather eye-watering yellow or sickly dead leaf brown. See? No snow or rain for quite some time. That’s the Malheur Butte!