Oh….kay. Am wishing on stars and selling my soul to the devil at the crossroads at midnight. Cause. Why not. It can’t hurt and it might help.
Got through the second round of [bleep] and am WAITING OH MY LORDY DO YOU IDIOTS THINK I AM PATIENT OR SOMETHING? Just tell me. Ugh!
Tom Petty, you were right. The waiting is the hardest part.
It’s my b-day tomorrow. I’m old. Considering getting myself some Midori and watching movies all day. I have a trip coming up so don’t need to chance the local wilderness on a Friday, with the crazed shithouse rats that live around here and near here all competing for a spot in their vans down by one of the rivers.
I did manage to write this week. Got Army of Flamingos polished up and sent forth into that weird novella territory. I didn’t number the pages but I don’t normally do that for a book-length anything. I hope in the NINE FREAKING MONTHS or that one eternity later, from Spongebob, that it doesn’t detract from the wonderment of my tale. It did say nine months to respond. But. There are a shit ton of submissions to read. I get it. I get it!
My garden has some splendid spots. My tomato plant is a BEAST. I love it! I don’t even like tomatoes. But. I can do things with fresh ones. And can freeze them handy enough. Punkins are percolating. Peppers are peppering along. Flowers are preparing to bloom. I’ve been drying my sage and oregano, need to tackle the cilantro. As in dry it or figure out how to preserve it.
So yes. I have books out. On Amazon and elsewhere. Aftermath: Boise, Idaho is a sentient zombies fun romp. The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane is sort of Doomsday meets Mad Max meets a Judi Dench and her friends movie meets the Brothers Grimm. As in their uncensored tales, with cannibals and mothers beating on their dead children to make them behave and…uh huh. Make me a happy birthday person and pick one or the other or both up. Read them on your Kindle and leave me a review! Yay!
“Ahem. Miss Gray?” A low voice, of authority, banking and Wall Street matters. The low gritty voice of a walking corpse. Zombies don’t talk, damn it. They grunt and try to eat you. Everyone knows that. Everyone! The zombie in the bright canary suit. She faced him, having been caught staring out the big window.
“Yes? Um. Sir?”
“Are you okay? Is that letter done? We don’t have it yet and we’re late getting the invitations out. We’ve had to deal with the PR for all that FF nonsense. Honestly, what do those people want? Such hysterical overreactions on their part all the time. Every little thing magnified a thousand times. Of course, that can be made to look very bad! We need to get back on track, Miss Gray.” She nodded. His smell … ripe decay hidden by some powerful men’s cologne. Old Spice can’t fix everything, she thought.
“I’m doing it now.”
“Great. And did they tell you cheese and crackers tomorrow? Havarti.” His eyes held red bulgy veins. “Jodi’s bringing her potato salad, it’s a last minute decision. She enjoys making things with eggs these days. Humor her, I say.” Hannah blinked, her mind just going blank for a long, long time at this random, weird spate of information and office politicking. Fuck the potato salad, we’re going in, boys! Oh the strange things that ran through the brain tissues at times.
“Okay. Fine. Havarti.” She was not even sure that was a cheese. Was it?
“Can you come into my office, Miss Gray? I have another matter I wish to discuss with you, if you have a moment.” Canary zombie actually let his eyelid droop a bit. A wink. A wink! She clenched her hands. Alone with a zombie. But he was just one. She could kill him if she had to.
“Uh … sure.” Hannah followed the zombie into his big, square office, which had a large framed print of a … yes, nuclear explosion that graced an entire wall by itself. Bikini Atoll read the caption. A gigantic black metal and oak desk, a Mac, a printer on a small table, and a nameplate that read Harrison P. Squack. Squack. Was that a real name? He closed the door and she spied three things to use as weapons. A letter opener, a glass sculpture of a naked baby—a cupid?—and the picture itself of that nuclear explosion. The frame could be broken and turned into a stabby. Glass shards could be jabbed into face or body. She had learned, she had learned, oh yes, to make weapons from thin air. Yep.
“Have you told Kevin? About us?” He spoke as if they were dear friends, more than friends. As if they knew each other. Really, really knew each other. What had the giant zombie canary just said?
“What do I tell Kevin, Harry? About what?”
“You know I hate being called Harry. Ah, baby. Sweetie! I know you’re angry. I’m not good at this. I’m not a relationship sort. I know you said we could make it work… I’m working on that, okay? But you gotta break it off with Kevin. I’m old-fashioned. And he’s trouble and no good for you. But you girls seem to like that type. I don’t get it.” Harrison sat on the edge of his desk, saying these absurd, soap opera words to her, in an office run by zombies. She had died and woken up in hell, for sure.
You’re drinking at six in the morning, already done with the day’s shenanigans? Is that just me??
I am super-awful at self-promotion, which is what modern authors need above all. Or maybe, always?
So. Hence the drinking. But! I will nonetheless post about my BOOKS and such, regardless of the sick sharp feeling of dread and embarrassment combining into a probably gut-slicing set of Ginsu knives in my innards.
I will persist even if I start puking up blood over trying to do my own sales anything, in other plainer words.
What is Aftermath: Boise, Idaho about, one might ask.
Native Idahoan Hannah Gray kills herself, as the zombies scratch at the door of the apartment she hides within. However, she wakes up in an office, in Boise, Idaho. Hannah has no idea what she’s doing here or what she’s supposed to be doing in this workplace full of women busy with superficial tasks. To her horror and confusion, the boss seems to be an actual zombie or, in this new reality, called a Fecto. To her further disgust, the Hannah who belongs in this world seems to be having an affair with one of the other Fecto bosses, who goes by the name Harrison Squack. The other Hannah was apparently a double agent in this bizarre new plane of existence. A strange society where zombies are in charge of everything versus the humans who have to just grin and bear it. Or else these naughty humans get sent to Salt Lake City for ‘retraining’, wink wink. Or just disappear or get featured on the news as suicides or as going against the nice Fectos who just want a better society for all. There’s, naturally, a rebellion afoot! The local Fectos seem all over that! Hannah plays along but she soon sets off a chain of events that leads to some wacky, wild and, ultimately, tragic events.
So yes, yours truly slumped off to work, only to find I LEFT THE KEY ON in the car and…dead battery, anyone. Anyone?
Have to wait a bit to get a jump. Thoroughly bummed about what a dumbass I can be and…didn’t I promise the next post about be about my third book?
I sure did!
AFTERMATH: BOISE, IDAHO
What is it about? About novel length. I’ll show myself out. Thank you, thank you, try the chicken! Tip your waiters.
Here we go—
Aftermath: Boise, Idaho.
Native Idahoan Hannah Gray kills herself, as the zombies scratch at the door of the apartment she’s holed up in. However, she wakes up in an office, in Boise, Idaho. Hannah has no idea what she’s doing here or what she’s supposed to be doing in this workplace full of women doing busy work. To her horror and confusion, the boss seems to be an actual zombie or, in this new reality, called a Fecto. To her further disgust, the Hannah who belongs in this world seems to be having an affair with one of the other Fecto bosses, who goes by the name Harrison Squack. The other Hannah was apparently a double agent in this bizarre new world. A strange society where zombies are in charge of everything versus the humans who have to just grin and bear it. Or else these naughty humans get sent to Salt Lake City for ‘retraining’, wink wink. Or just disappear or get featured on the news as suicides or as going against the nice Fectos who just want a better society for all. There’s, naturally, a rebellion afoot! The local Fectos seem all over that! Hannah plays it cool as possible but she soon sets off a chain of events that leads to some wacky, wild and, ultimately, tragic events.
Doesn’t that sound like something you’d like to read?
Yes! Yes, it does.
When is it available? FuckifIknow.
Soon? It will be soon. It’s in final editing.
Have a better Sunday than me, my fellow babies.Wear your masks!
Oh we’re going with your bit of writing! We LOVES IT, PRECIOUS. Here’s some promises and possible money paid TO YOU for YOUR WRITING.
Excitement! My writing in a short film. And hey, can use the money, frankly. Cause I’m poor and money is a distant dream most of the time.
And then? Radio silence. Silence. Seven days of waiting for them to get back to me. Waiting.
Still waiting as I go about my soul-crushing, car-destroying temp job. Yeah, I had another bad tire yesterday. Fuck. Knock it off, car gods. Enough. Leave me alone. Go bother someone in a Mercedes or one of those Land Rover tanks.
And then, ah, message from film makers!!! Squee!!!
Wait, what? What now? You’re…going with someone else.
Hey, you’re still a good writer, but we’re totally going with someone else and hey, forgot to mention we were still in the ‘still looking at shit’ stage of our process.
Okay, I’m fine with rejection. Sort of. It stings. Mm. Who really enjoys being told their work is not acceptable or not right for blah dee blurgh or just not a good fit or…?
Are there actually people who love getting such messages or form letters or pat croonings about how they should keep writing? Followed by links to give money to the very thing that just rejected you often times or launch party for all the writers but you that are in whatever.
Are you kidding or high, editors? Don’t do this. I think there are entire wings of the internet dedicated to bashing just this.
What I’m having a problem with here, OTHER THAN THE REJECTION, is that this team made it seem this was a done deal. Not that it was in the initial stages and other works were being considered yet. It felt…dishonest. If that makes sense.
If you’re gonna dangle a carrot, make it a vague carrot, my lovelies.
Just a simple: Hey, we liked your X, are considering it, along with other pieces, for our project. We’ll let you know.
[And then never contact me again, if you go another way. Hey hey!]
To sum up this bitch session—DO NOT DANGLE THE CARROT if you wanna go another way or might go another way or there’s the possibility of going another way.
It just ruined my entire night. I felt like crap after an already crappy day.
I admit that freely here. That’s life, sure. But…yanking the rug out like that just seemed careless and cruel. Writers already labor often times with little or no reward for their life long efforts.
Just…don’t dangle carrots promising a job or a bit piece that earns you a little cash or might give you a bit of a boost. Don’t dangle that carrot then offer the carrot elsewhere if there’s the possibility that it’s not a done deal. Thanks. That’s all.
Just don’t. It’s just salt thrown on often open festering wounds.
June. It’s June. A few more months than it’s the glut of holidays. Thank the blessed unicorns of the third-party American voters, I never ever take my various decorations down. Score!
Thanks. I’ll be here a while. Try the chicken.
And on to a movie I’ve been wanting to see since it hit theatres in 2019. So about twenty thousand years ago, or so it seems.
I did not go see it. I think I went to Rise of Skywalker instead, because hey, sat through the other two. And I actually liked Last Jedi. Do I hear snarls? Is that snarls?
Little Women! Feminist remake! Unpronounceable Irish-named actress as Jo! Timothy Challawallabingbang as Laurie, the alleged six foot plus Italian stud-hunk.
Um, no. No.
Otherwise the casting was pretty spot on.
I LOVED Laura Dern as Marmee. This is the first time I found her to be human and lovable, instead of the stalwart lecturer of the four sisters, the saintly mother-goddess archetypal figure so often depicted in nearly every Little Women adaptation. This Marmee is far more human than superwoman. And it’s fantastic. Adds so many layers right there. The way she wipes tears from her cheeks, takes a moment to put on her Happy Marmee Face before facing her daughters…damn. We get a glimpse into just how hard her life is trying to raise her kids and make ends meet and live up to her own ideals is. That little sigh, that little moment of utter weariness. Show don’t tell moment, y’all.
Emma Watson as Meg. Eh. There’s really never been much there to play with. But Watson gives it her best. We also get glimpses of Meg’s talent as an actress, and the creative lives of these lively sisters reminds how limited and few their choices were and how limited a lot of the time women still have it. Even now. Yeah, I went there. Meg marries a good man, settles in for motherhood and caregiving, and oh…we get to see her dissatisfaction, her restlessness, her unhappiness even. This was covered a tiny bit in the actual novel, but Alcott resolved it too neatly and Meg gets to play St. Housewife the rest of her time in the Alcott universe. Through Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Don’t believe me? You have some reading to do, kiddos.
Beth is Beth. I did like this actress in the thankless role of Dying Young role. I am so glad it was not that drawn out or even given all that much screen time. You can see the potential of Beth and how she supports her sisters and lives life through her wild, free, strong protector-friend Jo.
And yes, we also get to blame German immigrants for bringing disease to the March family. That was in the novel, it’s been in all the movies, as it’s an integral part of the story as set down by Alcott.
Amy had to be my fave here. Florence Pugh gives this most unlikable sister actual layers, practicality, a lot of heart and that careless something we can call charm. Amy’s future relationship with Theodore Laurence, the hunkalicious boy next door, gets a lot of timne spent on it. In the movie, that is. Not the novel. The relationship does seem one-sided. however. Amy loves him, he tolerates her for the moment…but they do know each other, grew up a bit together and don’t ever really face any real challenges. At least, none on screen. Other than Amy’s other candidate for Rich Husband, Fred Vaughn. But he’s not given much more to be than Obstacle. We barely even see his face, let alone how all of this affects him. Amy tosses him aside like a used handkerchief. But we’re supposed to believe she had chosen love over being mercenary. Or has she???
Ah, Jo. One of my favorite literary characters. I identify with someone who wants to write. Yes, I do. I identify with someone who has such trouble fitting in and being what’s expected of a girl. Here the Jo character doesn’t really deviate from all the other Jo’s, not really. I did like how we got to see the business end of writing. The getting your stuff into print work Jo had to go through. She was always working out story ideas and composing her tales. We got to see that. We got to watch her work on a novel. It wasn’t she sat down at a desk, poof, the next scene, the novel is finished and ready to go to print. Nope!
I adore that this film tackled, head on, the Jo mantra that she would never marry and yet the novel and movie ends with the requisite happy ending. Because it’s what people want and expect, not because it’s what the characters want or need to happen. Gut punch. That’s a gut punch. That a story involving women or a ‘woman’s tale’ has to end in either marriage or death.
I had no quibbles, much, with Professor Bhaer. Except…HE’S GERMAN, POOR AND NOT HANDSOME AND OLDER THAN JO BY A LOT OF YEARS. Ugh. In the film, he was young, French and should maybe have swapped with the Timothy Challawalla kid. I felt a real hollowness over this alleged romance between him and fierce independent Jo. It seemed to arise out of nowhere and suddenly, she was madly in love so they could have AN ACTUAL DASH TO THE RAILWAY STATION scene. I. Just. Ugh.
Suddenly we’re in romantic movies land and it just rang so goddamn false. I DIDN’T BELIEVE THE CHARACTER SET UP OVER THE COURSE OF THIS LONG ASS MOVIE would suddenly turn into Meg Ryan galloping after Tom Hanks or some other screen couple we wait two hours for to do just that. Not Jo March, no sir! Christopher Columbus! But…then again, we are set up that the publisher guy told Jo her stories involving women had to have it end with a wedding or the death of the woman. She could not go off to a life of happy spinsterhood, no no no!
Now, the neighbor guy who was in love with Jo from their first meeting to marrying some other sister cause…mm.
I, too, always asked why Jo didn’t marry Laurie. Or Teddy, as she called him. Teddy, in the book, made the other boys call him Laurie, after beating the shit out of them. As they were teasing him anyway. He’s also presented as some sort of ‘other’ due to his hot Italian blood. Alcott’s wording. As if those of Italian descent are fire-blooded hotheads with almost no morality. Oh, you thought stereotyping of other cultures was a new thing??? Bwha ha ha ha.
We get to see a very torn up Jo, lonely and confused, reconsider her choices here. Openly saying she’d give another answer to that proposal. It was hinted at in the book but here we get to hear it.
Aunt March is played, with lots of fun and vinegar, by Meryl Streep. Teddy’s grandpa is played by Chris Cooper, one of my fave actors. Both are a hooty hoot.
I was taken out of this otherwise stellar film every time Timothy Wallawallbang bang popped into frame. He looks twelve years old to me. He’s heroin skinny with the frame of a stork. I just. I just can’t overcome my suspension of disbelief barriers to swallow him as the over six foot tall, built like a brick shithouse, Theodore Laurence. Who is also supposed to be astoundingly handsome. Rather the perfect foil to Jo March, who is often described as her hair being her only real beauty.
Teddy and Jo. They share actual bonds. Friendship, confidences, trust, companionship. They spark each other. We are led to believe this is bad; that actual passion, conflict and being hot-tempered are the worst things, like, ever.
Alcott makes it clear that because the two often fight, this is a bad thing. We are led, by Alcott, to think that Meg and John Brook have the idyllic- more or less—married relationship. All cooing doves, no screeching falcons. That a marriage should be polite barely affectionate people…or a marriage of that time. Okay. Okay!
This film breaks the linear fashion of the story up. That’s good. I didn’t expect it to work, I expected to be highly annoyed. I was not. It worked. It often paralleled a moment from the past with one in the here and now to one of the sisters. We got to watch a jigsaw puzzle being filled in rather than being spoonfed a homespun tale of sisters finding their way through life.
I was jarred a bit by all the legs and underwear shown. That’s fine for modern audiences but…not at that time. Even at home in private with no neighbor watching. Marmee had her skirt hiked up, baking, as Meg was brought home by Jo and Laurie from a winter dance due to a twisted ankle. Marmee, no. No.
And to end this rambling screed on Amy. I adored her speech about how marriage was an economic everything to women, not so much for men. As men held all the power, the land, even the children were theirs. Men held the pursestrings mostly and women were very limited as to what careers they could pursue without having to endure society calling them all sorts of names and shunning them accordingly. Amy declares she can’t be a great artist, so she will be an ornament to society. Laurie is horrified by this but she icily reminds him that she really has very few choices here beyond marry a wealthy man or live in poverty with a poor man or…work at some job she hates for very little money to retain her respectability. Aunt March, in an earlier scene, lays it out quite baldly. She never had to marry because she had oodles of money. She urges the sisters to marry wealthy men because that’s one of the only ways a woman can move up in the world. It’s also a means to take care of the entire family. As the Marches have no sons…well.
And of course…if you know this story at all…who does Amy end up marrying?
I could ramble on for days and days over the nuances of Little Women, feminism, the various cinematic takes on Alcott’s most famous work and the absolute puzzlement that the casting folks can’t cast a decent Theodore Laurence already. Though…Christian Bale was okay, in the Winona Ryder version. Which is such a beautiful film, if you have not seen it.
Over and out, fellow babies. I need to croon over my growing squash plants and squee over the opening of the bachelor buttons.
Oh! Jaws, the kitty, jumped off the fence and must have come down on it funky. I was freaking out thinking she’d broken her leg but after some rest and TLC, she was fine. Today I caught her tormenting a baby mouse, which is now resting and recovering a bit before I find a place to release it or…let it live with me a few days. I’m sorry, the little frightened squeaking! I put it in a giant glass container and will give it some water and…Yes, it’s ‘just a mouse’. But I like to think the March sisters would approve.
Yesterday, it was theorized that people try ingesting cleaning products to cure the virus having its way with America. Not to mention the other parts of the planet…Okay!
DO. NOT. DRINK. BLEACH.
It’s poisonous. It will cure the virus because you will be dead. But that’s rather extreme, dontcha think?
And sunlight? It also won’t do much more than give you a sunburn. Sorry.
So I saw all that flurry yesterday caused by these batshitteries and…
This is where we are now as a country? Debunking loony pronouncements by the POTUS that will actually kill people if followed? Yes, indeedy. That’s where we are. Been there for a while.
At Thursday’s White House coronavirus taskforce briefing, the US president discussed new government research on how the virus reacts to different temperatures, climates and surfaces.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump said. “One minute! And is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”
I couldn’t even begin to write something approaching the levels of WTF here. Fiction has to slink off and lick its wounds after trying to compete with the actuality of hey, inject or drink bleach, whaddya got to lose?
Sipping coffee, considering where to plant the rosemary, rejoicing that my bachelor button’s are sprouting, happy I got some cheap manure and generally in a spring frame of mind. Instead of, oh, writing. I did get off three submissions yesterday. I plan to write today, even if it’s just a paragraph. Bad habits lately, not writing lately, wonder why that is…mmm.
No, I can’t blame the VIRUS for my utter disinterest in writing. I get into cycles where I write a lot, then just don’t, then write a lot, then eh…that’s all this is. I also need to dust off a project, give myself a deadline, then go from there. Oooh!
I have a stack of novels I need to work on, for instance. I need to rework short stories, spruce them up, trim, throw out and start over, etc! Poetry needs to be written!
Jaws the cat is doing splendidly. She is now twice as big as she was, with a gorgeous shiny coat overlain with ginger tones. A sort of tabby with auburn patches. I don’t know my cat coats. She’s sort of striped with orange patches here and there. Short-hair. The dogs are bored! The fields around the house use drip irrigation as well as being organic so dogs not welcome at all. Normally I would take them out in the afternoon, for a jaunt down the bank and into the fields so they can hunt rodents.
To sum up this hodgepodge—DO NOT DRINK OR INGEST OR SHOOT UP BLEACH INTO YOUR BODY. No!! Bad!! Sunshine is not a miracle cure, either. Sorry. I am not in a writerly frame of mind but will overcome that by opening files, staring at words, perhaps doing more than that. The cat is well, the dogs want to get out and run.
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.