Dither

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

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

Okay. Sarcasm aside…!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dither.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gol darn it!!

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

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

GET THAT MOFO ON THE PAGE YOU DITHERING DITZ!

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

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

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

Oh if it were that damn easy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I blame it all on tuna.

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

 

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Shameless Plug

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Hi again. Sorry. I am sorry. I am posting too much. I am sorry.  

But!!!!!!!!

Check out my House on Clark Boulevard. It’s free on Kindle. 

The One Rule for Writers!

 

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from Business Today. 

I skimmed an aggressively positive art-related how to blog correctly post, as you do. When you’re scrolling with a bored WTF am I doing with my life? air over on Twitter or elsewhere.

The social media sites that seem to be the wildly popular versus those who are not, with nobody-land, right there in the middle of those two extremes, being virtually uninhabited. It’s an either/or world when it comes to likes for a post across the social media global-sphere.

Whatever! Totes my goats!

So! 80 percent ‘helpful’ content for those who bother to ‘stop by’ for a visit and 20 percent SELL YOUR WARES. 80/20 which equals a hundred! 

So, here’s my advice for writers.

Do not follow my example, ever. There!!

Whew!

Whatever I do, writers and wannabe writers…you do the opposite. Glad I could help.

Ha ha ha, okay.

I should work up a list of writerly advice. So those that ‘stop by’ can chuckle, shake their heads or nod with wide-eyed wonder at my deep nearly unfathomable wisdom.

It’s an either-or world lately.

I must reflect that here…instead of writing a fifty page monologue with no paragraph breaks entitled, simply, “manifesto”.

Which would basically just be cuss words arranged in, hopefully, some new and startling formations, and which will end with ‘death to all enemies of unicorns’.

Because actually naming your enemy or enemies in revenge-minded cuss word-laced pages means I might have to start a GoFundMe page for a team of lawyers to get me off on the insanity plea.

All of which would make for the blog posts that the blogger who gave the rules for successful art blogging warned against!

Number one rule for writers from me? I guess it’s write. Yeah. Write stuff down. Send it off. Wait for the rejections. It’s a fun and fulfilling cycle that will turn you into a stellar human ‘bean’. Ha ha.

Always end on a happy, jokey note. Develop a heavy thick skin would be my other rule…or pretend to. You can sob in private, after all. You can pretend really hard in public.

That’s what adulting is, after all.

Oh– I have two books for sale. Two!

Oregon Gothic and House on Clark Boulevard.

I also might have Aftermath coming out soon. It’s been in editing for a while, so.

After that will probably be The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane. I’m reading through that now and it’s a hoot!  I’m not puking over how bad my own prose is! That’s always a plus plus plus! Cannibal bikers versus wily old ladies in Fallon, Nevada! It’s funny and a lot gross!

Death Rattle Arts and Crafts

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Well, it’s almost here. Book fair in Nampa, Idaho, for the Death Rattle writer’s festival. I airily asked for booth space to sell my stack of unsold books. Then, I decided I needed posters to advertise I’m a REAL WRITER. So I’ve been obsessing over that. Redoing them. Discovering I had some green body glitter from way back that, yes, can be used accordingly. I’ve been using spray paint. 

I’ll also be reading a short piece called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters, which is a quickie take on Rapunzel. 

My mood is low, and I almost want to bow out of this whole thing. Just hide in my room. I had a job interview, I botched it, I did something very wrong. I didn’t get a job I could do in my sleep half-dead with typhoid. With two degrees in that subject. I seem to have “loser” tattooed on my forehead…I know, you’re supposed to be positive all the damn time. Sorry. I’ll buck up. Write some zany review of a television show that’s been off the air for years. Yeah. It’s been raining. We needed it. 

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First draft efforts!!
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Placement of this and that.
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My Aftermath masterpiece! Nail polish, cheap supermarket watercolors and old magazine pictures, oh my. 

My Book!! Yay!

 

 

 

 

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Howdy. Hello there. No, I’m not taking on either movies or television today, dear readers, friends, passerbys and assorted other nice people. I am in full promote mode! Oh yes!! I will be a shameless barker of my works, because who else is going to champion said works?? Exactly!! 

It’s been available for a bit as an e-book. And you can also get THE HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD in paperback!!  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075KNFHDJ

Oh and also, go get my Oregon Gothic!! 

 

 

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The actual Clark BLVD. 

Oh. And if you can or want to or have a serious need, go review my book/s. Why be coy, eh, dearies? Why indeedy…

Mr. Blue’s Blues

 

 

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from Dreamtime.

PART ONE:

Oh I wrote a rambling, first draft, ode to my ‘villain’. I did, I did. I got into how women are portrayed in horror films and scary books. Which in fact does color House on Clark Boulevard’s Nancy.

But.

I’ll try again and try to keep my viciously messy thoughts viciously focused on viciously vicious Mr. Blue. All those sibilants! Oh and a bit more about Nancy! Go #TeamNancy!

PART TWO:

I wrote HOCB after a pretty awful summer. Just take my word for it. I just sat at my battered ancient PC and wrote. No outline, no idea where this one was going. Just that rather pedestrian title and not much more than a need to drown out the real world.

I let the words form into somewhat coherent sentences, paragraphs and entire pages as they wished. A young wife and mother, in the seventies, dealing with ghosts. I didn’t try to burn the world down with my prose. [God forbid.] I just wrote. If you’re a writer, you get that. Sometimes you just write.

You’re not trying to make a point or come up with themes or miffed about the economic realities of eighteen year olds…you’re just writing. The same as when you’re just breathing, it’s just breathing.

Nancy, a’course, is based somewhat [like, totally] on my own mother. Who would no more have run about screaming in headless chicken fashion over a ghost than not make gravy from a roast. I borrowed that pragmatic, can-do, actual pioneer spirit– my great-grandmother traveled to the West in an actual covered wagon…and gave it to my heroine/main character Nancy.

However…I became infected with the notion that Nancy needs a Loki. I had another rant in my first draft of Mr. Blue’s Blues about how villains are more charismatic and fully fleshed characters than heroes, hence the Loki reference.

After all, she can’t spend X amount of pages vacuuming, cooking turkeys–there are two holidays at the end of the American year– Turkey Day and Presents!– and trying to get her youngest to use the toilet like daddy does, all while sort of ignoring the little and large ghosties bothering her and trying to get her attention. [I’d totally read a novel like that, but I am a unique snowflake!]

PART THREE:

So, Mr. Blue crept into my narrative.

That name just strolled from my artistic shadows and took an opening bow. Mr. Blue. Who was he and why was Nancy more concerned about this cat than the tea party little girl ghost or the rolling things or the floating eyes? I find that asking myself questions helps stumble the story forward a bit toward some vague end. Yay!

I offered no origin story. There isn’t one. It was not important to the story. Mostly because, gulp. Actual author confession here– I don’t know what it is yet. I have an idea and no, he’s not a ghost or some remnant from some murder or…no. He’s SOMETHING ELSE. But that’s for the third book, now in progress. I just plopped him down into Nancy’s tale as her antagonist. One of them.

Mr. Blue expects our Nance to act a CERTAIN WAY. The expected female hysterics. The running around in her undies and tripping over rocks trope. After all, we’re led to believe all his other seductions have been successful. That he has managed to get other women to–

Nope, you have to read the book to find out what Mr. Blue wants Nancy to do. I’m a PR genius here! I leave out bits of info to tweak your interest! Available September 22!! I will post links!!

Why won’t Nancy straighten up and act like women are supposed to act? Scaredy-cats, easily led, easily seduced into X,Y or Z. Eve and the Apple! It’s right there, in the damn Bible, women are stoooooopid and must be utterly locked up or else they fuck snakes or something. Anyway!

 

I read where that snake in the Garden of Eden can also stand in for a penis…so Eve was a slut, too. Ouch.

PART FOUR:

There’s also that major question as to why people in haunted houses won’t leave. Mostly it comes down to financial reasons. The Amityville Horror tale, for instance. That family stayed because they had no money to go elsewhere. People buy some big beautiful house and then whango, it’s full of evil ghosts trying to kill them!

 

Every. Fricking. Time! American Horror Story exploits this one for fun and profit. That first season, Murder House. Then the  AHS/Roanoke one. Dark Water, both versions. The Conjuring. Mama. The Shining. The Legend of Hell House. Beetlejuice. Burnt Offerings. Oh there’s giant lists of haunted house movies, novels and the like.

The moral is– buy ugly  small houses, folks. Ghosts don’t live in shacks and low-rent eyesores. A crumbling castle, sure! It’s still a castle! Geez, does nobody pay attention anymore?? [They probably do. I’m not trying to throw shade at where ghosts take up residences. Just being mildly sarcastic on a Sunday afternoon. Okay, ghosts who live in shacks and low-rent eyesores? We good here?]

Nancy has almost no say in where she lives. That’s due to her own conditioning and training by her own mother and society and…!

So Nancy has to stay put and do the best she can with what she has. And she does! Because I find women are highly resourceful, clever, able to juggle twenty thousand things at the same time while juggling forty thousand other things and…yep.

There’s a hidden world of women as I touched on a bit in the novel. The face women show men, and the faces they show each other. That Margaret Atwood quote– men fear women will laugh at them, women fear men will kill them. That rings so fricking true, you just start nodding your head. Yep yep yep. If you’re female, that is. You just nod your head when you read that, you get it at the very level of your guts where it’s always fight or flight. Except for women, it’s hunker down or maybe find yourself dead if you act the wrong way at the wrong time. That careful read the emotional weather of those around you that women get trained to do…even the Wonder Women’s and the Ripley’s and the Sarah Connor’s and those women not fictional or battling monsters in their armor and underwear.

 

I watched my own grandmother do this. That careful politeness when the men were present, the raunchy giggler when the men were not present. The two faces of Eve. Indeed. Women don’t tell their real stories and the voices of women have been largely silent except for a few odd lady writers who ‘bucked’ the system. We censor our stories, we women. We ‘nice’ them up for the men and for each other. Silence and omissions and going along so the men don’t get upset, so we don’t upset ourselves and admit icky things that are in plain sight but which we politely ignore.  Taking out this or that because it’s ‘too much’. Uh huh.

PART FIVE:

Nancy fights back against Mr. Blue and the ghosts because not doing so goes against her nature.

Mr. Blue expects her to fold like a cheap folding chair. Will she fold? Read the book to find out!

Nancy is also a version of Little Red Riding Hood. She knows not to leave the path. She wants to be that ‘normal good girl’ she has been told she wants to be. That it doesn’t quite gel with her actual character, well. I also think that’s part of her resistance to Mr. Blue‘s attempts to mold her and shape her. She can’t go against what she’s been taught but she can rebel against some ‘other’ outside of the realm of her tiny world. That she can do. With real relish and glee.

Which confounds poor Mr. Blue and makes him a bit blue and determined to get what he wants…nope, gonna have to read the book!

 

SEPTEMBER 22

 

 

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September 22 is when House on Clark Boulevard makes its debut. Now you know. Mark your calendars, write it on your hand, engrave it on a pet rock.

I, sullen and full of fogs and low tides, went to see about securing a second public reading for HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD. At Second and Wine, the lovely little restaurant/wine bar in Ontario, Oregon. Now, the friend helping me with publicity and so forth…did not show up. [I am assuming this person had something come up or something happened at work or…?] So, I waited a bit, then, stomach churning, went into the joint and clumsily brokered a deal of sorts to maybe read, maybe, in October. I left a little packet of stuff and things– excerpt from actual book, bio about yours truly and my contact info. Hallelujah, I still have some moxie left. Not much, a smidge. But hey, a tiny sparkle of boldness still sparkles somewhere in the region of my left toe.

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Clark BLVD. Oregon wildfire smoke

The wildfires here in Oregon. Yeah. The haze here in extreme Eastern Oregon has been Mordor-ish. It just looks foggy all the time. We get inversions here, so that look is rather familiar but still. I’ve also seen what these fires are doing to Montana. Over a million acres. The Columbia Gorge on fire, set off by kids with fireworks. That’s the Eagle Creek fire, for those keeping score at home. We’re waiting here, on the far other side of the state, for our own set of out of control savage flame festivals. So far…nothing. But the surrounding surfaces hold tall growths of cheat grass and such, dry as Thanksgiving turkey. We had those gigantic snowfalls and the weeds loved it…and we’re waiting for that one strike of lightning. A thunderstorm moving through that deposits a few drops of rain. Where the thunder rolls and the lightning sparks hundreds of little fires, and perhaps one or several take off…yep. Or a careless sort who drops a ciggie or a spark from the undercarriage of an ATV or some sort of off-road whatchamacallit. Bango! Smoldering evil coal! BOOM!! Wildfire.

 

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Actual Clark BLVD. Pretty close to the actual house I based my novel on. 

There was a big fire here, I remember it. Watching the flames munch the dry hills, it was both awesome and pee down your leg terrifying. We were told to evacuate and went to my aunt’s, high up on the hill overlooking our little bit of the Treasure Valley here. You could stand outside, with the ash drifting down, and observe the line of the fire as it threatened to turn our way, to engulf everything…but kept going sideways, parallel to where we all stood. I remember the local farmers stayed to protect their equipment and buildings, my dad and brother included. This was years ago. Memory says I was a ‘kid’.

September 22!! Did I mention House on Clark Boulevard comes out then?

I’m going to tackle the Betsy Devil shit in a separate post. Because siding with the MRA shits, Betsy, should go against all your so-called inner Jesus urges. Michigan is now among the bottom of the states in education due to their embrace of charter schools and ‘choice’ thereof for the kiddies. Devos brings nothing but destruction, and a return to unless ‘she’s a virgin, she deserves to be raped’ fun. Once upon a time, not that long ago, you had to qualify as a ‘good’ rape victim. [ Boys just gonna be boys, right? And yes, men get raped, but not in the numbers women do. ] Oh, yeah, there’s still that ‘she deserved it’ narrative and ‘what was she wearing’ and ‘if she’d made better choices’ and…uh huh.

Rather like ‘earning’ an abortion– rape or incest only, gals!

So, I’ll fuss and fume about all that in a post I probably  won’t post. Because it will prolly turn into a single solid block of cuss words and pics of  raised middle fingers. WWJD? Cuss like a sailor and write blog posts in these here modern times! I did promise to make September about the writing process or share smoogens of projects. Smoogens– agonized over liftings from various writing projects. The more you know.

 

September 22. Let’s finish off this shameless self-promotion and side-trip into wildfires and Betsy Devil with a shoutout to moi and her book. Now books!

Oh– I took a tiny trip, a nostalgic drive, back to the actual Clark Boulevard. Evening, twilight, the smoke making everything very eerie and oh so atmospheric. Still enough daylight to snap some snaps of the road, old houses, farmie stuff. I looked for the old house…I think it’s gone. I might have had to drive further up Clark but I don’t remember living that far from the main highway between Vale and Ontario. Memory, lies to you all the time…!

But. I made a pilgrimage, of sorts. Is that not what counts? You really can’t go home again, especially if that home seems vanished like a meat fart in the breeze.

The road looked suitably spooky. The old house I took a picture of looked just right. The sign, with the smoky sky behind it, ah, something out of a Dario Argento film. The haystack had an air of menace! The people living on that road probably still wonder who the nut in the GMC was. What is that weirdo doing? My self-consciousness, always there to turn me into a scaredy-cat!

Oh– on an uplifting final note, uplifting for me and this blog is all about me, me, me– my short story, Maybelle, got into Whistle Pig, which is out of Mountain Home, Idaho. In their October issue. I’m thrilled. I sat and wrote this little tale on a Sunday afternoon, about an elderly woman and her doll. I am glad, after schlepping it to many another, to see it find a home. Sometimes there’s an acceptance of your work. And then the crushing avalanche of rejections, of course, that crush you and crush you and crush you. Yay!

September 22. Get that tattooed, on your cheek. So others will stop and ask you why you have this date inked permanently on your skin. You can reply– That’s when Ann Wuehler’s House on Clark Boulevard arrived!

They’ll be politely puzzled and forget promptly all that information but you, at least, tried. You can just write it with a ball point pen, too. If you don’t wish to commit fully to this sort of advertising. I’ll understand.

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