As I mentioned, I went to a writer’s festival in Nampa, Idaho. It took place downtown, as they say. Outside of the Prefunk Beer Bar on 1st Street, South. You get off on Exit 35, take Northside Avenue.
Saturday, I went to try and sell some books. I roughly had the mood equivalent of a dead turtle, so…won’t go into that because I don’t want to. It rained a bit. I bought some raspberry lemonade fudge from the farmer’s market. Pigeons.
I drove over, somehow got there in about twenty minutes. As it’s nearly fifty miles to Nampa from my den of utter aloneness, I bent the laws of time and space! Also, the day proved to be a nice one. No rain, no wind, perfect fall weather, though a bit chilly as the day drew onward into the star-smeared night.
A workshop, where everyone there began the initial creation of a comic strip. Led by a lovely woman comics artist from Seattle, I believe. Thu Tran.
How to break up the dialogue. How to create the character or characters that will speak the words.
Write some lines. Try to draw the ones speaking those lines. Practice getting a creation you can draw over and over, until it’s almost automatic.
I did okay. People around were smart, drawing animals or bottles of spaghetti sauce. I drew people. I eventually just got to circle and triangle, with faces on each, for my characters. With differing expressions. I also drew them in profile. This actually helps me, as a playwright and prose spewer, to cut unnecessary dialogue.
What absolutely needs to be said? What can be cut? What is essential? Also, sitting for nearly two hours, drawing, helps calm the anxiety I have being AROUND OTHERS.
I also want to mention another writer I met. Javier Luna. Super-nice, friendly and talented. Thanks for talking to me. I’m an awkward social outcast right now, so thanks.
The next big group thing: poetry readings. It took place in one of the buildings over where the farmer’s market had been. I just trailed after people like a stray dog, as I had no idea what building. Was. The building.
I’m also one of those people that when told something will start at X time, I actually expect it to start at X time, not whenever people stop farting around…Okay! But! If you have to set up microphones and move equipment, yep. I get it, I do. Been there myself. I’m always early to stuff, I’m also one of those pests.
I did enjoy this. Some poets more than others, as you do. I rather like the idea that there are so many poets within a hundred mile radius. It’s rather heartening. I liked the humor that crept out or blasted from the get-go in some of those readings. I got to thrill to odd phrases that caught my attention.
I noted that I was not wearing the writer garb nearly everyone else wore– dull colors, sweats, knitted caps, black the primary color…dang it. I wore a bright yellow top with a silver sparkly sweater, and BLACK PANTS. I got part of the Writer Uniform right.
If you’ve ever been to a poetry reading, then you pretty much know how this one went. If not, you should go. Hearing people read their own work should be a life goal if you’ve not done so already. Often times, these readings are free and open to the public, and you get to support a local poet or group of poets. In these times, yeah.
We need our artists. We need them. We need them when things are not whack-a-mole off the charts batshit insane, too.
Slight break, then the flash fiction portion of the evening would begin. Here, the entire kit and kaboodle got moved back to the alley outside the bar. Running a bit late. It’s Sunday night.
Did I mention I’d had two drinks and no food? That I’m trying not to just go home, forget the whole thing? That I kept wondering why I’d worn such bright clothes?? Why hadn’t I slipped a dull hat over my grandma-ish-fixed-and-sprayed hair?? Why??? I had slapped makeup on! Dang it! I have knitted dull hats! Somewhere.
I had a dragonfruit cider, and then a giant huckleberry one. Prefunk is a microbrewery kinda hipster place. Not really, but sorta, yeah. I thought the dragonfruit cider tasted like a wine cooler. But the huckleberry one tasted swell. Like huckleberries.
The flash fiction reading had a theme. High fantasy, fantasy, sword and sorcery, etc! I happened to actually read the submission blurt, and sent in a quick take I had of Rapunzel called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters.
Originally, this one started off as Prisoner. What a dull, pedestrian title! I wrote the first draft of this for some themed contest, about prisoners or being locked up or blah. I know it had a theme to do with being locked up, breaking free of that. Something like that.
Did my piece win over those who read it? Nope! So I kept reworking my Rapunzel take, renamed it, renamed it again. Have super-long versions, then did a shorty version. Which ended up as a piece to be read at the Death Rattle Flash Fiction portion.
I went third. The night had turned cold enough for coats. October. Sunday evening.
Now, I thought my voice sounded like one of the squeaky mice from Cinderella. Ugh! I did manage to get through it, people listened. It was eight hundred words or so. I didn’t embarrass myself. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to go on these days. That I didn’t embarrass myself in public too badly.
People did stop by to say they enjoyed it.
The other pieces had a mostly light-hearted, funny bent to them. Very enjoyable to sit there and listen to them. Lots of fun word play, alchemists and witches and dragons. Even an appearance by Persephone. For a tiny bit, the real world couldn’t intrude here. For a tiny bit, one believed everything would turn out okay.
Then, you drive home, after discovering a Burger King on the corner where you need to turn to get back to the freeway. Nothing since a dubious lunch. Burger King it is! Money? Sure, I got some of that scattered in small coins across the bottom of my purse…
To sum up– I attended a local writer’s festival. I enjoyed it. I read a flash fiction piece. I drove home. The end!
Not quite the end yet– I also want to say a big thanks to Sarah, Reed, the tall guy in the baseball cap who did bad high fantasy punning, and the other organizers of this event. Thanks for being welcoming, and inclusive.
I wrote the following for some poetry challenge. It’s short. And ties into Alice in Oregonlandia, which is my SEQUEL to HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD.
If the devil’s in America, she’s female. And she drives around in Detroit rolling iron.
BIG SHINY CAR
The devil she rides in a big shiny car up and down the roads outside my town. She don’t stop for nothing and she smiles as she drives with the windows far far down, her familiar riding shotgun, that old tommy cat grinning at the wind a’catching souls in his teeth. The devil she rides in a big shiny car and God don’t seem to care at all.
What month is this in this ghastly interminable hellbeastly span of years masquerading as a span of days? Oh. August.
It seems time has thudded to a damn standstill. And yet speeds along. I know. How original am moi? Not at all.
I’ll answer myself as no one comments or spews invectives at me in the social media time out I seem to be in. Or maybe I haven’t pledged myself enough to Satan or given enough lip service to AmmoJesus.
We only have two options for worship here in ‘murica. Sort of only sorta kidding about that. You’re either with Jesus and the angels or you’re a godless Satan worshiping hate America commie traitor who hates babies. Yep.
Oh, so for those at home breathlessly reading along, I wrote a poem. That’s all.
It included the words ‘motherlumping’ and ‘scorpion’ and ‘Mamerigaga’.
I wrote it with great and furious anger.
I had fun writing a poem in great and furious anger. It drained my fury and anger.
I sent off my barely coherent scream against avocado toast to that monthly poetry challenge I AM STILL DOING. Because it’s good practice, and it helps foment me into a BETTER WRITER.
Or so I tell myself. Don’t we all tell ourselves happy lies so we don’t spatter our pretty brains on the ugly walls wherever we live? Or perhaps we live under a bridge and have to walk to the library to use the internet.
So some other form of suicide will have to do for welfare moochers and societal losers. Starvation and disease and freezing to death are free, moochers!
Wow, that took a dark little turn.
Ah, so. I squibbled out a VASTLY POPULAR post about fires. I believe that’s the one before this one. Let me check, brb.
Yep. The fires still burn. It’s awful. It’s getting smoky. It’s HOT. But it is summer.
Thank you, Queen Obvious!
You’re welcome, sarcastic voice in my head!
Some snow would be nice. A nice couple days of constant rain would be nice here in Eastern Oregon.
I do mean the entire area. From Ontario all the way to Bend. Awash with rainy rain!
No wind, no lightning, just rain. The wet stuff we’ve heard tell of in tall tales. As you can, literally, walk between the rain drops here when it does piss down a bit. I’ve gone outside, when it rains here, and not gotten a drop on me. Sorta, kinda…kidding. Sorta.
I’m working on Starved Out, which, for right now, is set in the mythical world of government-hating extremists. As in they have a mythical view of themselves as freedom fighters and the rest of us see them as scary fuckheads.
I am telling it from the POV of the women, as men have enough stories under their column, frankly.
And when I tried to just write it…I stalled right out of the gate, trying to put the two men who started a fire and started an actual insurrection against the gubbermint front and center.
I’d also read a blip about this woman homesteader who Starved Out right at the start of the Great Depression. And of course the Massacre at Hells Canyon, I wanted that to make an appearance in my Great American Novel that No One Will Read Until I Am Well Dead and Rotting Under A Local Bridge.
So far, it’s a tripod. Rosie, the wife of Butch, the son, and Vickie, the wife of Merle, the dad. And Gladys, who had to pull up stakes and head back to the big city when drought and ruin faced her in sagebrush country.
I was, at first trying to be super-accurate and capture everything about the Hammonds and all that.
And then went, yeah, it will be fun to get sued. Fun! I’m not writing a non-fiction account, after all. I can fudge things, smear things, compose composite characters to protect the guilty and insane.
So, in the hot afternoons, I attempt a few paragraphs. It’s slow going. I need to dive in and let her buck, as they say around here.
Because we have rodeos and horses, and people actually go and get up on wild horses or other wild livestock, and…uh huh.
Why not write in the cool of the morning, dear? I hear some of you mutter that in nice, polite tones.
That tone you get when someone rattles on about some project of theirs that you could give two shits in a shot glass about.
Where your eyes glaze over as the person prattles about how they tracked down that one knitting stitch only used in Medieval stockings in Ireland by cloistered nuns who occasionally took fits because they thought the devil visited them at night.
Ah, well. I’ve been writing on ‘other stuff’.
Junk crap that I need to clear from my smoke-filled head so I can do the ‘real’ writing later in the day while not looking for gainful employment. Oh.
I did vow to at least go look at Craigslist and DesperateFuckers.org.
One last bit before I go find some pictures to place at random among these sickly paragraphs of LIKE ME I WRITE LIKE ME.
Shit howdy. I had a thought but…gone, baby, gone. Oh!!
Now, I wanna go see Mama Mia 2, I heard it’s great fun. I wanna see that damn Spy thing with the two women, because that looks like a lotta fun. I also want to see Spike Lee’s Blackk Klansman because that looks like angry fun.
I find I want to watch movies that are light, fluffy and might contain dance numbers with colorful outfits.
I find I have no head or heart for sitting through a Serious Drama. I find many others share this right now in ‘murica. We want our entertainment fluffy as wobbly kittens and our real life to resemble some dystopian novel that doesn’t get that happy ending. Whee.
I want Christmas movies all year round right now, the Hallmark ones. Where there’s barely any real problems, people are shiny clean and look made of glitter and sugar cookies, and the villains and obstacles are easily overcome in the last five minutes.
Give that crap some Oscars! Emmys? Yeah, Emmys, as it’s television. Sorry.
That level of sugary goo erases the gritty reality show playing on every screen and device world-wide. Where people seems made of rattlesnake poison and toxic sludge and the villains win every single fucking time.
And the heroes mumble and then there’s tweets from ten years ago with jokes and…ugh.
What the hell was this post? Mostly just fart noises, I think.
Ah, you were wondering where the ‘fart’ came in. Glad to help out, darlings.
I must write something sluggishly wonderful to live up to that title.
So I posted a plea over on Acebookfay. If you read Pig Latin, you know I mean Facebook. Okay. It was a plea for ‘friends’ to go ‘like’ my author page. As the two people who regularly read my blog once in a while, you well know I am TERRIBLE AT SELF-PROMOTION.
Or I’m repulsive and lack charm.
Or I’m a terrible writer and everyone’s too afraid of me or ‘too kind’ to let me know I should slip over into customer service rep, complaints department, for adult diapers. Or maybe Dead Animal Removal Engineer for the Oregon Highways Cleanup Wing.
I honestly think I just have to hold my breath, overcome my near total lifetime of conditioning not to draw attention to myself and JUST FUCKING GO FOR IT. Like. Ovaries out, grinning, trying to sell every last used car [book, story, play, etc] on my writer-lot. Be that aggressive, rhino-skinned used car-esque, religious preacher selling salvation and snake oil, smiling grinner. Always Be Closing.
Which is not me.
But me is not pushing the Ann Wuehler line of products that well.
I need a spokesmodel, I need a new, brash face of the Ann Wuehler factory line of novels and plays! I need a Shamwow gal with no sense of shame or vocal volume. I can’t do the sales pitch without sounding like a sarcastic monster. It’s not in my wheelhouse. I’d have to take several years of acting classes to pull that off and even then…I’d come across as a sarcastic monster with some acting classes under my belt. And yet, I know very well that’s EXACTLY WHAT I NEED TO DO.
Be a pushy annoying rhino-skinned saleswoman pushing against all the other pushy annoying rhino-skinned sorts selling their snake oil. Whee. Oh goody. Yay.
It’s the doing it that…makes me sick. Actually sick, as in nausea and tears.
Hey, buy my books. I worked hard on em. They’re nice.
Does the above work for any of you?? Yeah. I need to work on this area of schmoozing and sales. I do. It’s my Moby Dick. [A giant whale that slaps me with its tail or something. I never read Moby Dick. Should I admit that at all?]
So, my goal is to make myself start being the aggressive pusher of my own stuff. To crow about WHAT A FANTASTICALLY WONDERFUL WRITER GAL I AM. That people need to part with their pennies for my stuff! PART WITH YOUR PENNIES FOR MY STUFF, IT’S WONDERFUL.
I need rum and cigarettes if I’m going to actually tackle this side of writing…the push it until your sanity snaps side. And then someone else can write a biography of my attempts to sell my own writing, become a best-selling New York Times darling and get a movie deal, with that movie winning all the Oscars ever invented…ugh a bug.
The Disaster Artist, anyone? Anyone? It didn’t win blah blah blah, but that’s what sprang to mind for an actual real-world example.
I might also need to pick up some forms for Dead Animal Scraping, part-time intern with no benefits or pay check expected, too. Just in case. It’s outside, you bring your own shovel and you’re outside. You work with animals, too. That’s a big plus right there.
Yes, that’s an actual thought in my head. If I do dead animal removal, I’ll be outside. Uh huh. Yep.
I am languishing a bit, waiting for ‘inspiration’ to tell me to…!
I, meanwhile, work on crap and shit, because I have to claim I’m ‘working on something’ or I lose my cool Writer Street Cred with the other growling, snarling Writers that lurk near my part of the forest.
I have a collection of writings I’d never show anyone. And maybe one day publish under a name not mine and make tons of cash because it’s easily digestible fluff and not angsty, vague, endless examinations of why my parents didn’t really love me. [Are we writers all not, pathetically, Eugene O’Neill on his worst and best days?]
And then I remember someone thought of Sharknado and pitched it and people loved that.
And then howl with despair, inside my head, of course, at the state of my own serious ‘stuff’ and not write anything for the rest of the day. Or feel guilty I’d rather knock out some fluff-n-fold, which won’t advance my career in the least unless I show it to someone who has the power to publish it…if not self-publish it but then I’d have to go back through it all, tidy it up, fill in blanks I left because I wanted to get to the ‘good parts’ and…oh the work load alone. It’s both exciting and terribly not exciting at all.
I have some options for my next Serious Stuff Project.
I can think of something brand new, based on a short story or something I started. Or something yet in my head.
There’s Aftermath, my zombie short story that grew into an actual novella and now waits for me to finish it or call it a day. I left Hannah staring down into a giant crater outside of Boise, Idaho, with wild zombies closing in. I know. Zombie. I know but…well. And like every other god damn zombie blah ever, it’s NOT ABOUT ZOMBIES. It’s a METAPHOR FOR TENTACLE PORN AND ACID-WASHED JEANS and possibly something about politics and feminism and greyhound racing. Zombies, pfft! It’s never about zombies, is it.
There’s the Tales of Beastface Bay, my Wind in the Willows meets Modern Societal Wrongs meets the Marx Brothers rompings. No. I can already feel myself just going nope nope not yet in my head.
I can work on my third book in the trilogy of my House on Clark Boulevard fun. I need to read through the first two. Alice in Oregonlandia might need a reworking…ooooh. Maybe.
Work on my Honest Women full length play. Mm.
Curl up on the floor, in utter despair, at what has happened in a very short time, to America. Drink directly from vodka bottle. Eat a taco of leftover stuff from night before. Continue with this list.
Give up writing altogether and slit wrists. Mm. Maybe.
Take up writing fanfic. Either Watership Down or something in the Barbara Kingsolver area. I could really work the hell out of a Bean Trees/Twilight mashup. And all my characters could be badgers who act like British rabbits. Which would lend nicely to my Beastface Bay squrivvels and scribblings. [Made up word, ten points!]
Actually try to make heads and tales of my fluffy, can’t-show-to-no-one, pennings. Arrange them, put them in order, rewrite the truly awful ones. Fanfic…ahem, um, yes. Sparkly vampire badgers who spout Moliere…oh yes, spank me with a gray tie. [If you get that, we can now be friends.]
Start a new blog, under another name, full of naughty stuff. To see how popular that would be as opposed to my dull, proper plodding blog here. Anne Rice and A. N. Roquelaure, for instance. Maybe I’ve already done that! Ooooooh! [I haven’t, for the record.]
Take up knitting or adult coloring because it’s clear my writing is full blown crap on burned, moldy toast that no one outside of my patient, tolerant friends, would go near.
Take an online course in how to have self-esteem and sell your crap to friends and strangers alike for cash to pay things like bills.
Um…yeah. This has been fun. I should go watch the twirly skaters or stare at the sky, waiting for the snow. It still has not snowed here. I’m flabbergasted and hurt.
What about an earthquake full of bears? Bearquako. And then the sequels! Bearquako, Fists of Bees. Samantha Saves the World, Bearquako III. The Son of Bearquako! And of course, Bearquako, the End? And that has to be a question, because sequels…they sell. The marketing does itself.
Obviously, I have about two maybe good-ish ideas on here for NEXT ACTUAL PROJECT and some silly-Susan kinda wafflings. Wish me luck.