Ever seen it? If not, you should. It’s great. You get a mystery basket with four ingredients. Random ingredients. You are on a timed deadline. You have to incorporate all four ingredients into one dish. You then get judged. If your dish sucks more than the other dishes served up, you get…CHOPPED. It’s just brutal and so much fun to watch! Three rounds, starter, main course, dessert. Starts with four chefs, whittles down to two, with a winner declared at end of the hour.
I’ve seen things like Spaghetti-O frozen pops. Goat head. Salmon ice cream. Dried tarantulas. Vienna Sausages, in the dessert round. Vienna sausages. In your dessert.
Now they can do with these four ingredients as they want, with a full kitchen to help out.
I’m trying to make myself write. I thought I’d do a quickie blog post, maybe open that short story I’ve restarted several times now. A story already written, where I switchedPOV and yeah, it’s a whole thing. I did manage to finish it but it…ugh. It’s not right yet. I didn’t hit that groove. I might have a last go today, then just…let it go, let it go. Let it ferment and pickle if that’s what it needs!
Waiting for stimulus check, of course. It’s like a game. Check my account, still not there! A bad game.
I streamed JoJo Rabbit. Loved it! That’s my professional film critique. I have it stored away for a month on Red Box, so might watch it a couple more times, then do a post about it.
Some writing, some cooking tips and a movie. I’ve also been outside moving rocks about, looking for stray sheets of metal and whistling back at the ground squirrels. I do live in the boondocks, in the middle of actual nowhere. It’s vastly easy to social distance if there’s nothing much around you but dogs, a cat and some cheeky rodents.
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.
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.
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.
October. Halloween. We’re approaching my favorite holiday. My pumpkins were eaten alive by bugs. It’s cold here.
And I will be mingling with other humans this weekend. Dread is my main emotion, frankly. I have pretty much turned into cat lady practically sealed inside a dwelling with her stacks of TV Guides from the 80’s. Remember those???
You could read, ahead, what was gonna be on TV! Do the crossword puzzle. I don’t know, it’s been a while. Remember magazines? Ah! The only reason I actually go to a doctor is to sit and read Sunset or Reader’s Digest. What are they wearing in Aspen for the 2002 Fall season? Laughter really is the best medicine. So why am I here when I can cure whatever’s wrong with my heart rate by just laughing at it?? I’d save myself getting weighed, then having to wait for whatever pills big Pharma…Anyhoo!
Oh, cat lady attempted joke. Then distracted by TV Guide nostalgia. Then dad jokes about magazines in general. I am so woke.
Dread in dealing with others.
I will have to do small talk, maybe. If I talk to anyone. I might not. But I am manning a booth. [Womanning?] I’m selling, I’m a salesperson for a few hours this Caturday.
I don’t have a cat, I should not make cat jokes.
I haven’t even seen any cats about, we used to have them all over. There used to be cats that lived with us. I remember a cat of ours that got trapped by the hammock. That was one mad cat once we got it cut out of the strings.
Another cat from way back adopted my mother at a sale barn where she was buying pigs. It brought my mother her kittens. People were glaring at her cause this calico kitty was VERY LOUD AND INSISTENT that my mother was its goddess and reason for being. Alice lived with us for many a year, the best mouser ever. She lived outside. I don’t remember if she got spayed, she probably did. Our animals did not go about having loads of babies when I was little or when I got older.
Spay and neuter. I worked in animal shelters. SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR GODDAMN PETS. PSA over.
Well, as this post will get maybe just me ticking it as a ‘like’, thank you for reading.
I think I am actually ready for this coming event hawking my wares to the truly indifferent public. I looked up how to get there—it’s just a street over from where I was last year, so that’s good and nice and good. Same exit and everything. Score! My anxiety level will creep high and higher yet as the week winds down. But it will be over by next Monday and then the anticipation and dread of the Mountain Home reading.
I will be in Nampa, Idaho this weekend!!! Road trip!
I will be shilling my books and some art, and then reading a flash fiction piece on Sunday about a naughty computer program called the Fish Whisperer. Naughty in the PG sense, not X. Sorry.
The Death Rattle Writer’s Festival starts this Friday, runs through Sunday. Okay. Bye!
I will be attending the Death Rattle Writer’s Festival in Nampa, Idaho, this first weekend in October. I will be reading a flash fiction piece and manning a booth. I am attempting to SELL STUFF and this time, plan to offer some painted objects as well as my books. I plan to get the bank app on my phone as no one carries cash anymore. Except, um, me. And some business cards! I tell ya, I’m almost a competent adult this time around.
So plan on my writing about that experience and how it goes.
If you happen to be in Western Idaho and wish to attend:
Nampa is next door to Boise, by the way. Idaho is right next to Oregon. [Some might not automatically know where Idaho is. I get fuzzy on the what states are what back east and geography in general. I am so very American.]
Some pics of my wares and of course, my two novels are available for e-readers and your real life bookshelves. Cheers, all! And thanks for reading, as always.
No, this isn’t about my delusions about my garden statuary. Just a cutesy title. Click-bait-ish, even.
That’s what counts these days, clicks. Right? Not content or accuracy or sense or anything remotely with any merit. Quantity of clicks! A bit cynical? No!
The bugs slowly eat my poor pumpkin alive. They’ve killed one plant, are working on the other one which persists in sending out a long arm with blossoms on it. No round small greenish balls forming…not one. Just leaves, blossoms and bugs.
Is there anything better than watching a pumpkin grow, mature, turn orange? No! There isn’t. My pumpkins rather mirror my life at present. All efforts consumed slowly by bugs that don’t seem to notice whatever is thrown at them. Or even care when you flick them off or smush them. There’s more bugs alive than bugs smushed. I can do some sort of math. Is it entirely sad I am comparing my life to how my pumpkins are doing? Probably.
But, bright spot. The herbs thrive. Sage, thyme, dill, lemon balm, oregano. Rosemary! I mean doing well and having a ball. A bumblebee even visited my lemon balm. I remember my mother petting one, how she told me you can pet them, they get so mad! But they don’t turn and sting you. You just stroke their furry, fuzzy backs, they grumble and lumber to the next bloom. There used to be more of them. And not one hummingbird. They used to show up, even though I don’t have that feeder out so many have out to tempt the teensy birds. It seems the winged wonders had become legends and myths in my yard.
Another bright spot. A dear friend of mine from way back when has a wedding to attend in Beaverton. Ah, she can spare an hour or two for lunch as she buzzes through. She’s got kids, a tiny dog, a husband with her and it’s good. It’s so good to see her again. We talk as if we lived next door to each other, not several states apart. The wedding is for her son, a son I used to babysit when he was very very small. Yeah. I’m an elderly dog lady, it’s official. Maybe an elderly garden lady? An elderly pumpkin sadsack?
I also combined my watching of Bohemian Rhapsody and not even getting an interview for an on-call job. Freddy Mercury’s Sister. It blurted out of me, I tidied it up and have sent it off to…well, see what happens.
Because gardening and writing are pretty much the same thing.
It’s a lot of waiting and bugs eating your work. Sometimes there’s a grand harvest of two zukes! Sometimes the stuff you ignored and didn’t think was that good just thrives away among the weeds and rocks. [I’m looking at you directly, thyme patch.]
Sometimes the yard bunnies munch your veggies to nubs–That’s when submissions get lost or you didn’t read the rules which stated, in six point font, that your story has to be 800 words on dino-human love triangles and you sent them a four thousand word opus on rodeos in space.
I tried to keep to one subject or at least link a bunch of ramblings to a single image/thing. Plus plug my writing.
I plan to spend September plugging my writing. As considering the garbage-y cowering state of my country right now fills me with actual road rage. If that makes sense.
That surge of DIE MOTHERFUCKER DIE to the granny who wobbles into the road ahead of you, then drives twenty miles below the speed limit. As you test to see if your brakes actually work or not. Good thing you weren’t bopping away to throbbing bubble gum music or distracted because you just spilled your pumpkin spice latte all over your dog. Yeah, that kinda WTF R U STOOOPID insta-rage.
Oh don’t worry. Political rants will explode here like the whitebro outrage over some MeToo thread. Don’t even worry about that, dearies.
Hello, various readers and passers stopping by on a snowy evening. Some Bob Frost to start us all on the road to hilarity and good cheer.
I’ve lost count of the rejections this week but it’s a LOT. I either need to write up a new batch of stories, poems and plays or keep sending out the same old crappola. Hoping this time. That time. This time over here.
That it will be different.
Except right now, truth is so much goddamn stranger than any fiction I could fart out or compose while munching French pastry and sipping Italian wine. While seated outside at a sunny cafe in Athens, Greece. I’d write longhand, of course. Using my own blood as ink.
Cause I’m a writer, dangnabbit! That’s a word you hear in old timey cowboy movies as they were not allowed to say ‘god damn it’.
Yes, the American political and all other scenes are just rife with WTF, then topped with Is That An Actual Tweet? followed by Don’t Read the Comments Section, ended with I Am So Done With Social Media, I’m Off To Raise Sunflowers To Help Third World Scarf Herders. Then the cycle starts all over again. With variations.
It’s the downward spiral. It’s the we’re imploding and prolly gonna take the entire world with us. It’s…it’s fucking hot right now.
So my thoughts are roughly—it’s hot. I should write something. About. Something. It’s hot.
Being poor, air conditioning is one of those unheard of, rich people inventions that exist in movies. Sort of kidding. I have a tiny fan. It helps. I go outside, throw water on my squash. I dig out weeds. I hear the hawks raising their kids down the road. Noisy bastards. Shut up, hawks! The corn hides the ditch bank road so the dogs have to listen real hard instead of watching to see who drives to and fro on what they obviously consider their bit of territory. Any engine gets them still and holding their breath. It’s rather creepy-cute.
What to write about. My hot take on politics? Nah, that’s just solid cuss words at this point. Eve Carlin, from hell, shouts out, hey, throw in some other words there. Feminist issues that affect us all? Golly, I’m either too much or too little here or…eh?
Oh!! Sidetrack. Here we go.
Saw the Spy Who Dumped Me. We have free Epix, whatever. So, the plot, eh. Some international whatever, been done a gazillion billion times. However, what’s fresh, you ask? Or haven’t asked at all though you’ve made it this far?
The relationship between the two best friends. Played by Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. It rang every true bell. How they support each other, are there for each other, their acceptance of each other’s faults yet the irritation over those faults…it’s all there. I especially found my bell rang over Kate’s character being called ‘too much’ by a lot of people, including the secret spy/boyfriend of Mila’s character. And Mila’s character siding with Kate’s character, then telling her she’s not too much. Ah!! I almost teared up.
As someone who’s been repeatedly called ‘too much’, which I ALWAYS took as—
there’s something very very wrong with me; nobody likes me unless I act quiet and not myself. I am a monster!—
That moment reminded me of what great friends I have.
I could write about my own experiences with people trying to whittle me down to acceptable size.
And never show that writing to anyone because it would be like ripping my face off and gluing a salted strip of razor blades in its place.
How I have the self-esteem of a dead rock and yes, have let other people define me because 99% of those people tell me I’m ‘too much’…!
And when I try to not be a monster, I find that I am silent and limp as moldy lettuce stuck to the gunk under the veggie drawer in the fridge. And that I am angry. Then I explode and people walk about me as if on the most delicate eggshells and…yeah, pattern.
Pattern! Yep. Pattern detected.
So I’ll stick to making up monsters or writing about sexual encounters between dinosaurs and women. Is that still a thing?? What about man’s inhumanity to man?
Oooh! I smell a Nobel outta that one!
I’ll call it Man Being Mean to Men. It will feature no women characters whatsoever. It will just be two white straight guys on a beach arguing over who’s the bigger victim of post-post modern society as the world literally burns. I will use a thesaurus a lot. I will describe their inner penis. A lot.
I suspect if I actually did write something like that, it would probably actually sell.
I’m not bitter.
I am. I am so bitter I’m a walking moldy lemon at this point. Okay.
Rejections fast and furious this week. I’ll not buck up at all. I’ll stew in my own sweat until autumn shows up and it’s STILL FUCKING HOT GOD DAMN IT FUCK FUCK FUCK. But hey, the nights are cooler. I should move to the Artic. Except it’s on fire where they’re not drilling gleefully for oil. Where else is cold?
Minnesota? Maine? Montana? It would have to be within walking distance. How much can I stuff in a backpack? I’ll have to dig up my jars of pennies I buried for a rainy day. Some jars only have one or two pennies in them but hey, that first step, amirite? Amen! A cave, some berries.
I can be the Unibomber without all the baggage.
Holy moley, what a scattershot post. But I felt it important to not write yet another political scream that is only heard by some wide-eyed mice in a deserted choir room.
I wrote a scathing diatribe on the political hellscape that is ‘murica lately. Instead, to welcome yet another interminable month in this interminable slog of a life, I’ll write about rocks. I’ll mention two novels that will hit sometime that could be any time, really. And something of mine that got included in a literary journal.
Military parade with a bloated price tag. Tanks. Money to pay for this culled from the national parks and veteran’s programs. With ticket prices, VIP seats! Sumbitch! Kids in cages. But hey, Nike pulled the Betsy Ross flag design and PEOPLE LOST THEIR MINDS CAUSE FREEDOM AND RIGHTS AND HONORING THE TROOPS OR…or…or…mm. Is that blood leaking from my ears?
Yeah, I’m painting rocks. Badly. But it’s been a long time since I’ve painted anything. It seems a lot of people I know have turned to artsy crafty stuff to deal with…the drumbeats that celebrate the end of my country. With those supporting this screaming that we should get over it. With a ‘snowflake’ thrown in there.
I have friends also painting mandalas on rocks, leaving them places. Or writing some inspirational on a pebble, leaving it where others can find it and hopefully get inspired.
I do have a reason for why I’m slapping cheap paint on free rocks.
Last year, I went to the Death Rattle writer’s conference in Nampa, Idaho. I tried to sell some books. I was ill prepared. I didn’t have the fancy bank transaction app on my knock off Chinese-made phone. Where you can take people’s credit cards, run a transaction. Cause I didn’t even know that existed…I’m woefully behind the tech times. I’m also not up with how to sell your shit in these ultra-modern times. So. Learning experience.
I did get out of the house and mingle with others. Plus right there!
So I will attempt another attempt at a booth. You don’t have to pay a fee. Just apply for a spot. It’s held in a small alley by a bar. You sit there and try to smile and look inviting and friendly. Everyone seems to know everyone else. They’re all old friends or at least nodding acquaintances. But this time, for my wares, I intend to offer some art.
This takes place in October so I have the long hot summer to create. Or try to create something I can display without cringing.
I’ll also make some salt clay somethings. I was thinking pendants. One of a kind, small, tasteful, pretty. As I would love something like that and would scrape pennies out of the cup holders in the car to get one. I could also do some Christmas ornaments or even Halloween ornaments. I do write a lot of horror fiction. And it is my fave holiday.
If I focus on this rather pleasant problem, I do not focus on the crud coating my brain or the GODDAMN FUCKERY THAT IS CHEETOLINI and all that. At least, not entirely.
Also, I find other friends painting rocks or quilting. I noticed that Seth Andrews, who does the Thinking Atheist podcast, among other endeavors, got hooked on the Great British Baking Show. He’s been baking. I know tons of folks who love that show and then try to bake. Like, oh, me. Me, I’m one of those.
I am also hooked on baking competition shows. I find baking so oddly fulfilling. I take raw ingredients, produce something roughly like what I saw. I’ve even managed to produce loaves of bread. I’ve moved from just schlupping the dough into a heated up giant cast iron pot into cutting the lump of dough in half, then placing that into bread pans.
I’ve graduated to seeing what I can shape the dough into. Can I braid it or…turn it into something actually pretty or French Bakery-esque?
Yeah, no, not yet. But I haven’t been baking bread for that long and it takes a lot of flour. And yeast. It seems like a lot of people need comfort and an outlet to deal with reality lately. That everyone seems to have picked up some sort of art hobby or baking or throwing away all their stuff in some sort of supercleanse or life enema. I wonder why. I don’t. That was sarcasm. I don’t wonder why at all.
I feel like I’ve got an actual plan here, planning for a booth space I might not even get. But it’s a long-range plan. Longer than “make it through day.”
Ah, a flash fiction piece of mine, By Starlight By Starlight My Dear, is included in the latest edition of A Door is a Jar literary magazine. I had entered an earlier version of this same one that got soundly rejected, with actual criticism sent my way. I rewrote it. It got better. A Door is a Jar accepted it and there ya go.
Oh, so I think I have two books in editing right now. Alice in Oregonlandia, the not at all anticipated sequel to my dead on arrival House on Clark Boulevard. I kid, I kid! You’re supposed to Always Be Closing. That line from the Mamet play, Glengarry Glen Ross.
It takes up about ten years after the end of House. Alice gets a turn. The fall out of Nancy’s time in that house. Alice discovering a few truths about herself. How Art steps up as dad and caregiver.
Aftermath, which is my take on…wait for it…zombies. I know. I know. But!! It follows Hannah as she finds herself in a world run by zombies, after killing herself because she was trapped in a dead end space by zombies. Hannah tries to navigate her way through a vastly changed world, where zombies run everything and have all the political, economic and actual power. Set in Boise, Idaho, because, frankly, it’s an hour down the road from me. I had great fun writing this. Isn’t that the point of all this?
Thank you to everyone who bothers to read these. I appreciate it. I can be a tedious bore with my depression and endless string of failures. My tiny advances that give me a tiny bit of hope that maybe I should keep writing. That maybe today I can find whatever courage or gumption it takes to just keep plugging on.