Death Rattle Cat Rant

70985758_1642648689198726_733890592399949824_o.jpg
Death Rattle, Nampa, Idaho Oct 4-6, 2019

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!

3918619881_e642bf4972_zflickr.jpg
from Flickr. Downtown Nampa, Idaho. This is where I will be. Looks like a movie set, almost. Almost. 

 

 

Garden Gnomes

IMG_20190801_232714 (2).jpg
Spooky blurry pic of my guard toads. 

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.

IMG_20190829_100447 (2).jpg
Poor punkins! But still trying. 

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.

IMG_20190829_100455 (2).jpg
Go, zukes, go!

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 have books for sale. Go buy them. I wrote them. House on Clark Boulevard and Oregon Gothic. When other books will arrive, I just don’t know.

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.

Stop, wait.

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. 

IMG_20190829_100437 (2).jpg
My single dill plant, what a champion. 
IMG_20190822_221231 (2).jpg
Extreme closeup of rocks! 

My book

Hi. My book, House on Clark Boulevard, is on sale over on Amazon until July 22. Go have a read, leave a review. And thanks if you do. 

Just got a bit of happy writing news so I thought I’d also post that MY BOOK IS ON SALE RIGHT NOW, GO GET IT FOR YOUR KINDLE OR E-READER AND HEY, LEAVE ME A REVIEW. 

Okay!

 

 

Also– try Oregon Gothic. What have you got to lose? Some sleep? Enjoy!

 

 

 

Activities with Rocks

IMG_20190703_104351 (2).jpg
Early attempts at painting rocks

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.

Rocks? Wha?

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.

IMG_20190417_085748.jpg
I made this!

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.

Rocks.

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.

Plug on, you dull bit of coal. My shout out to Pink Floyd…

 

IMG_20190702_083612.jpg
Available in A Door is a Jar, latest issue.
IMG_20190702_104115 (2).jpg
Miz Bridge and Molly the Chocolate Lab.

 

 

Rosemary, Dill, Zukes, Punkins and Squarsh

43622221_10161047378535370_3337089718117466112_n.jpg
Don’t know who took this but I love it. This pic is just…sublime. 

If you live in the USA, sometimes you pronounce harmless vegetable names in weird ways. Punkin for pumpkin. Squarsh for squash. There! Title all cleared up.

If I ignore the political theatre of cruelty going on right now…like, super-hard…yeah. I’ll be just like everyone else! If I ignore it, it will ‘sort itself out’ and there’ll be rainbows and unicorn candidates of such startling purity and inspiring goodness that I’ll just have to not bother voting for them. Because they once owned a pug and pugs are overbred, with breathing and digestion problems. Strike, you’re out, unicorn.

Yes, the left really is that bad right now. Yep. Purity tests worse than anything given to young girls in conservative Christian households before a Purity ball where they prance about with daddy as a date. Gulp.

 
Ah, mini garden. So, spent about eleven bucks on plants. Got them in the ground. I am hoping Brigit, or Leatherface or Gremlin, doesn’t, uh, investigate them with her…rapid and powerful digging skills. Or her shiny young dog teeth. Even with tires to guard them, Brigit the Wonder Pup might just goofily decimate my hopes of zukes sprinkled with fresh dill. Is that even a thing? It is now!

 
I also transplanted some catnip, which is growing EVERYWHERE, to combat the weeds in the front rock garden. I bought a single clump of it years ago, when we still had cats here. I planted it in one spot. Now it’s…legion. Which is fine. It smells good. It’s a pretty plant. You can’t kill it with a nuke.

So, onward to writing.

My elderly computer went to a farm in upstate New York, so I have files on a zip drive. I was going through them. As you do. What’s this? I open a novel I started, a while ago. It’s got a pretty good solid start, over twenty thou words. No supernatural anything, just people being people. As they sometimes do even in my gothic mansion, cannibals in the attic, ghosts in the porridge sort of work. A title borrowed from Lifetime for Women. It’s About Love…gag me with a barbecue fork.

Oh hey, let’s work on this, something in my dormant little mind screams into the great void. Why? Who’s gonna read it, the void screams back, before farting thunderously and telling me I do look fat in those pants.
So a project of sorts.

I’m finding it hard to concentrate longer than five seconds at a time lately. Which is my problem, not yours.

The ground squirrels have moved into the bank. The mini garden, for now, seems well. It’s been one day. I have a project I am at least wanting to get back to. Maybe the inner tide has decided not to direct me toward sharp objects for a bit. Hurray!

Oh, before I sign off…I have two books. Two. Oregon Gothic and House on Clark Boulevard. I also have short plays available for production over on ten-minute-plays dot com

I promise neither book is a fragmented horrorscape of gardening news and despair over unicorn candidates not being unicorn enough. I promise!

DrU_IwdWkAAHRqx.jpg
Some famous painting. 

Tabula Rasa

DrmZ58GX0AAXLyk.jpg
IDK who took this pic but it seems fitting lately to represent me. A dead tree awash in a pitiless sea.

Obviously, I’ve given up. I can’t seem to get back into the groovy groove of writing. I find myself a tabula rasa. There’s just nothing there. Oddly, nothing gets imprinted on my blank slate. I try to sit down to write SOMETHING and…there’s NOTHING that wishes to be born. Which is an unusual event. Even when things are bad bad bad, topped with a moldy cherry of badness, I could tap out little tales, a bit of poetry, a tiny slap of dialogue.

 
But the act of writing right now is an actual labor. Every word draws blood to write it. I know Bradbury said something that writing was like bleeding into a typewriter. Something like that. But. This is like a forced bloodletting where you can feel your life draining with every word you fling out.

 
I watch, from afar, what’s going on in DC. It’s…a shitshow. I keep waiting for the call, the take to the streets that should have happened almost three years ago. Or over what’s happening even now at the southern border between the US and Mexico. Kids in cages. People rounded up by actual Stormtrooper sorts wearing ICE uniforms without much more than a hey, you look Mexican, let’s go

Transgender folks not allowed to serve in the military.

LGTBQ folks being targeted for ‘religious freedom’ reasons. [Jesus said what again about gay people or abortion or guns??]

Mass shootings done by white nationalists. Synagogues and mosques targeted for destruction and death. Three black churches burned down, just like the good ole days where Robert E. Lee was a hero…oh whoops, still is a hero for leading a rebellion against the US. Mm.

 
Abortion, like always, under constant attack by those who think their abortions and such care is warranted and anyone else’s is a sin or murder. The lies told about Democrats and abortion that people believe. That Democrats are for infanticide. After the child is born, Trump said at a rally in Wisconsin, the doctor and mother decide if the baby lives or dies. He took palliative care for babies born that had no chance of living or were already dead or dying and conflated that with ALL BABIES BORN.

 

Thrive-2.jpg

 
Nurses and doctors working in palliative care spoke out. They laid bare how horrible and gut-wrenching it is to face the reality of watching that hoped for child face death hours after birth or even before that. The stillborns, the children born without brains or spines or inner organs, the children born who would not live much beyond that first hour. That’s what Trump lied about…that care that goes to the at-risk or dying newborn and everything done to save that life even if there’s no hope. And parents having to decide what they wish done or not…sort of like having someone in the ICU hooked up to machines keeping them alive.

 
I’ve been through that one. With my mother. I know a little bit of what parents face when faced with choices such as how much longer do you wish your loved one to breathe.

For Trump and the GOP to turn that into some sort of Democrats hate babies political propaganda push…repulses me to the ninth ring of hell.

 
And I spend all day seething over how stupid people are to buy anything the GOP pushes. All day. It wearies me. It drains what little I still have left in my batteries.
But it’s spring. Things are growing again. Flowers. Bees. The little ground squirrels have moved into the bank between the wheat field and the yard. There’s a fence up so the three dogs can’t get at them unless the gate opens. The youngest dog, Brigit, has great fun leaping after them, digging for them, running from hole to hole. Of course, the rodents hide beneath the giant tangle of irrigation tubes, along with the wild bunnies, the mice and the little sparrows that nest in them. Oh sure, it’s a wild life refuge here a bit. Sometimes the quail nest here as well. There’s also a couple of toads.

 

 
So, I’m not writing, let alone producing anything of quality.

 
I’m wondering when the Democrats are gonna stop consulting focus groups and hold that GOP cadre of villains accountable. It’s getting almost too late for that now. Or it is too late. Far too late to grow spines now.

 
I wonder how soon America will actually cease to be. We’ve been on life support a bit lately…when does the plug get formally yanked and time of death get announced by Stephen Miller, William Barr and Mitch McConnell? All parroted through Sarah Fuckabee Sanders who will only tell this to Fox News or Infowars. Bye bye, Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the…yeah.

IMG_20190425_141304.jpg
Wildflowers in bloom. Jake. I took the three dogs for a bit of a run in the hills above the big irrigation ditch, which is dry right now.