Something about mist and time and pumpkins in a patch. Something about children and candy and costumes. Something about the turning of the old year into the new. Something about snow and angels and trees dressed up in decorations not yet broken or lost. Something about love and apple cider and chilly nights. Something about beauty and peace and how fast time is. Something about hope and death and leaves recycled. Something already said many times in dull ways that we look forward to like a handful of candy corn still left from last Halloween.
note: I wrote this for the monthly poetry contest last year or the year before that. Time seems oddly fluid anymore.
I’m supposed to be a poet, I said. Well, be one, she replied. Be one. Rip the flesh away, use a figurative spoon, everyone has figurative spoons, use one, and walk around in your ridiculous bones. What sort of advice is that? It’s my advice, she said. What does it mean? It means eat a lot of grapes. Are you sure?
If you can’t glean meaning from a moldy bit of advice, then yes, it means to eat grapes. You can’t eat grapes if you’re dressed only in your bones. Sure you can, she said. You can mash those grapes against your ribs, smear them on your cranium, tuck them into your eye cavities and pretend you have eyes. I find I am out of whimsy these days. I know, she said. Maybe you should try being a poet. I hear that helps.
I will be attending the Death Rattle Writer’s Festival in Nampa, Idaho, this first weekend in October. I will be reading a flash fiction piece and manning a booth. I am attempting to SELL STUFF and this time, plan to offer some painted objects as well as my books. I plan to get the bank app on my phone as no one carries cash anymore. Except, um, me. And some business cards! I tell ya, I’m almost a competent adult this time around.
So plan on my writing about that experience and how it goes.
If you happen to be in Western Idaho and wish to attend:
Nampa is next door to Boise, by the way. Idaho is right next to Oregon. [Some might not automatically know where Idaho is. I get fuzzy on the what states are what back east and geography in general. I am so very American.]
Some pics of my wares and of course, my two novels are available for e-readers and your real life bookshelves. Cheers, all! And thanks for reading, as always.
Okay. It’s close to midnight. And something evil…no. No, I won’t go into Thriller. But I did open a can of worms. They are wriggling about on two different fronts. I made a comment. I checked who was following me on Twitter and discovered a flat earther/young earther idiot of idiotic proportions. Damn.
And with those lurking about lookin’ for trouble right here in River City!
Now!! I made the mistake, I admit it, of commenting about feminism with someone who called themselves an equalist because the ‘f’ word is so toxic…which was the subject of the youtube video, by the way. Not. Even. Kidding.
So the first interaction with the guy who made the comment went fine. It was polite and measured, we both had fun. I kept myself polite and respectful. Which if you know me is sort of a miracle on the order of loaves and fishes.
Am I being snarky and sarcastic? Uh huh. Was I actually polite? Yes, I was.
So another jumps in…a foaming at the mouth sort typing angrily away about how his daughter isn’t going to pee alongside men because of them equality laws.
Just checked. He left a new comment. I’ll ignore it for now. Cause I’m mature and grown up!
Yeah, I did that tilt the head, what the hell? expression, face palm, huh? what are you talking about? reaction…before delving into all that.
Which I should have IGNORED SUPER HARD. Or posted pictures of Janet Mock and directed that guy to watch Pose.
He then tried to pretend I was the crazy, hysterical one…as happens in such ‘conversations’. Men are logical and LOL types, women are hysterical ranters. [That’s the polite term/s. Uh huh.]
After I posted two links to myths about transgender folks, including the bathroom stuff. And linked the hysteria now over LGTBQ gaining rights to the Civil Rights fight to gain rights and even to women trying to get the right to vote. The same fears get trotted out over and over, you notice, you hear/read the same stuff…okay, whatever. Yeah, I’m the crazy loony feminazi, m’kay. He’s the cool-headed, trying to save the kids stalwart!
Talk about a meet-cute!
I, of course, am ‘projecting’ onto this…person. This ranting, hysterical, triggered by a word that has been turned into something worse than ‘cunt’ and almost as bad as the N word.
I get that. I get that ‘feminism’ is a demonized set of syllables. You have to scrape up words that mean the same thing as feminism rather than just use that word. Or you get told you hate men, that you’re for the rape of children in bathrooms and that you hate men and…yeah. I could turn this into a whole novel-length bit.
I will refrain as hard as possible from continuing that rabbit hole of whatever that is. I’ve seen that conversation repeated so many times. It’s so tiresome. I get tired of trying to placate and soothe. Fuck.
Of course. I can play with that poor trout and see how long he can continue that thread.
Now, the science denier chick. That was a head-scratcher as well. Suddenly, on the Twitter feed, between rants about Trumpie the KKKruel KKKlown and vague quotes about writing and animal rescue vids, there appeared…this wild, has to be parody, account touting what got Galileo in trouble for calling out. The earth is the center of it all cause God made the earth for us and…yeah, um, no. With some weird quote from a 60’s book. Which, yes, linked God with creating the planet. Ugh.
I can find it later, splice it in or not.
Mistake, I admit– I commented what the hell was this, was this a parody account. No, she responded and then threw out some science words, mashing them together to “prove” the existence of magic! Holy catnip, Batwoman!
I just went to town on that poor schmuck. I doubt she’ll interact with me again. I did refrain from throwing in swear words. I’m an adult, for fuck’s sake! I’ll ignore her, because I’d rather watch the rescue of a moose calf. It had a hoof caught, at the edge of a lake. In big boulders. These guys got it freed and back to solid ground.
I might just cut down my Twitter to Animal Rescue and Cute Animals Doing Cute Things.
So, basically, the Dodo, Hope for Paws and anything with manta rays. Or manatees. Or moose calves. I’ll keep the writerly stuff and the art stuff. But writers and artists notice when shit goes off the rails, then writes or paints things…damn it.
And yet another shooting, in Odessa, Texas. On the evening before Texas loosens its already loose gun laws…Not even kidding. People seem a lot angrier about all this lately. Anger gets shit done, as Mr. Nancy said on American Gods. Maybe America is finally losing her temper.
Well, I did promise to just promote my writing and arty art all September. Not dissolve into some political rabbit warren [cause it seems every rabbit is digging holes lately and they all live together in some endless fucked up underground Matrix-like hellscape…!] that swerves into ‘why feminists want all men dead and children assaulted in bathrooms’ and ‘Noah’s Ark is, like, totally real cause here’s some super-serious science words thrown out so we now have the same evidence which should make you believe in whatever I can twist out next, m’kay…’
No, this isn’t about my delusions about my garden statuary. Just a cutesy title. Click-bait-ish, even.
That’s what counts these days, clicks. Right? Not content or accuracy or sense or anything remotely with any merit. Quantity of clicks! A bit cynical? No!
The bugs slowly eat my poor pumpkin alive. They’ve killed one plant, are working on the other one which persists in sending out a long arm with blossoms on it. No round small greenish balls forming…not one. Just leaves, blossoms and bugs.
Is there anything better than watching a pumpkin grow, mature, turn orange? No! There isn’t. My pumpkins rather mirror my life at present. All efforts consumed slowly by bugs that don’t seem to notice whatever is thrown at them. Or even care when you flick them off or smush them. There’s more bugs alive than bugs smushed. I can do some sort of math. Is it entirely sad I am comparing my life to how my pumpkins are doing? Probably.
But, bright spot. The herbs thrive. Sage, thyme, dill, lemon balm, oregano. Rosemary! I mean doing well and having a ball. A bumblebee even visited my lemon balm. I remember my mother petting one, how she told me you can pet them, they get so mad! But they don’t turn and sting you. You just stroke their furry, fuzzy backs, they grumble and lumber to the next bloom. There used to be more of them. And not one hummingbird. They used to show up, even though I don’t have that feeder out so many have out to tempt the teensy birds. It seems the winged wonders had become legends and myths in my yard.
Another bright spot. A dear friend of mine from way back when has a wedding to attend in Beaverton. Ah, she can spare an hour or two for lunch as she buzzes through. She’s got kids, a tiny dog, a husband with her and it’s good. It’s so good to see her again. We talk as if we lived next door to each other, not several states apart. The wedding is for her son, a son I used to babysit when he was very very small. Yeah. I’m an elderly dog lady, it’s official. Maybe an elderly garden lady? An elderly pumpkin sadsack?
I also combined my watching of Bohemian Rhapsody and not even getting an interview for an on-call job. Freddy Mercury’s Sister. It blurted out of me, I tidied it up and have sent it off to…well, see what happens.
Because gardening and writing are pretty much the same thing.
It’s a lot of waiting and bugs eating your work. Sometimes there’s a grand harvest of two zukes! Sometimes the stuff you ignored and didn’t think was that good just thrives away among the weeds and rocks. [I’m looking at you directly, thyme patch.]
Sometimes the yard bunnies munch your veggies to nubs–That’s when submissions get lost or you didn’t read the rules which stated, in six point font, that your story has to be 800 words on dino-human love triangles and you sent them a four thousand word opus on rodeos in space.
I tried to keep to one subject or at least link a bunch of ramblings to a single image/thing. Plus plug my writing.
I plan to spend September plugging my writing. As considering the garbage-y cowering state of my country right now fills me with actual road rage. If that makes sense.
That surge of DIE MOTHERFUCKER DIE to the granny who wobbles into the road ahead of you, then drives twenty miles below the speed limit. As you test to see if your brakes actually work or not. Good thing you weren’t bopping away to throbbing bubble gum music or distracted because you just spilled your pumpkin spice latte all over your dog. Yeah, that kinda WTF R U STOOOPID insta-rage.
Oh don’t worry. Political rants will explode here like the whitebro outrage over some MeToo thread. Don’t even worry about that, dearies.
I spent the entire day yesterday making sure I WOULD NOT FORGET THE LYRICS.
Night of the local talent show. I have that notion I should not go. Just not show. Hello, chronic depression. Don’t be around all those people, stay home, stay home.
Instead, I chose some somewhat dressy clothes. My shiny mauve tank top paired with a slinky purple jacket. over black pants. Hot and uncomfortable clothing is a must when performing. But the weather decided to scratch up a sort of rainy-ish day. It rained three whole drops. That’s so good for Eastern Oregon, you have no idea.
I slapped some ancient makeup on my face and even today, my ears remain swollen and leaking pus from the earrings I had in for about five minutes. I’m allergic, have not been wearing earrings lately and my ears let me know it! But the point is– I got ready. I got gussied up.
Off to the event. I ran over my song– Hallelujah, the Leonard Cohen song. I decided to do it a capella, didn’t try to find a track or someone to plunk it out on an instrument for me. As I mentioned in Talent Show, the post before this one, I ran across a blurb about this event quite late. And hey, what a challenge to sing that song a capella. Right? Right! Except people are not impressed with a capella, no matter what might be propagandized and featured. Unless it’s a group of people making mouth noises that sound like instruments while someone sings out front. [Pentatonix, for example]
Now, in my group, was a comedian, a piano player who did America the Beautiful and a woman who wrote her own song and played it while strumming a guitar. I. Didn’t. Stand. A. Chance. Of getting the big prize or even a little one. That was my hot take. A local fave funny lady, a local fave guitar plucker and a local fave piano pounder. And some gal who sings or something.
No, she just sings. Doesn’t strum a guitar or wait for a track to play. Nope. Just sings, ya say? She stayed on key the whole time. But no guitar or piano. Doesn’t she have friends? Is she one of us? Who is that? I don’t know that last name…She was on key, at least.
The kids got through their routines and numbers. Not all of them were cute. I applauded. Speechifying about the foundation hosting the event, which is fine. It’s positive and uplifting and seems to paint Vale as some sort of arts progressive…I can’t even finish that sentence. Anyway!
WE’RE THE REDDEST CORNER OF OREGON, FOR THE LOVE OF FLAGS, JESUS AND GUNZ!
Back to the talent show!
The teens get through their sets. I really liked the boy who did La Vie En Rose, while backing himself on guitar. He liked my singing, so I’ll give him a shout out. He had this high sweet clear tenor. Just gorgeous for the most part. I’ve been watching Glee, again. Shhh. Stop giggling in my general direction. That high schooler reminded me of Kurt Hummel’s falsetto a bit. Kris Colfer is that actor? Okay!
On to my group.
We all four manage to do our selections. Nobody really flubs up the entire evening, by the way. I was really proud of everyone. [I’m patting myself on the back here most of all.]
So I get up there. I let down my hair from the scrunchie I keep it in, as it’s long, hot and hot. Did I mention how hot my hair is if I leave it down? I TAKE THE STAGE. The hot lights. The nerves making me feel I can’t get a full breath. Then just performing. Letting that song flow out as it wishes. Hearing my voice hit every corner and cranny of that old theatre.
Don’t oversing it! Don’t show off! Control, baby! Control that big belty beast! Almost done! Don’t turn into Janis Joplin, do not do that!! This song needs that quiet brokenness to it…be a quiet broken singer or something! Control it, baby! That’s it. Almost done. There ya go. Take that bow. Is that a kid singing the chorus? I done okay! I didn’t suck! I. Didn’t. Suck!
Remembering the last movie I saw there was the Color Purple, with, oddly, my grandmother. Or was it? Cause memory is a tricksy bitch.
So glad when it was done, and I didn’t have to worry anymore about REMEMBERING THE WORDS and NOT FUCKING UP. Hallelujah, indeedy.
On to the prize portion of the show.
Each person who participated got a sack full of stuff. Goodies donated from local merchants. And there were trophies. Nine of them for the three age groups.
So the adults get called up, after the other groups get awarded their places and such. A hundred bucks for first place, by the way.
I am awarded third place. The lady who did the quick story bit doesn’t place. I feel so odd. You really didn’t think you’d beat a song about a dead mother and a patriotic song, did you, says the woman running this. A version of that, but much nicer. For a second, yeah, I did think that…and then it went away because I know my town. She also, this woman running all this, said I sure had a set of pipes on me. Ah! I do. I can sing. Probably a lot better than I have ever written. Which is just me being a bitter hag and not having any belief in my writing abilities right now…yep.
After all, to take entire blame for something that doesn’t need an apology tour– I did just throw a song together and sang it a capella. I didn’t bother to try and find a track or someone to back me up.
I actually know a piano player who might have tinkled out the song for me as I warbled and burbled out front a bit. I’m sure we could have hammered out a three minute version easy-peasy. But. That’s really complicated that way. And…hey, resolving any of that would be so, like, adult or something. Eh!
I won’t go into small town politics or how they play a role in who gets what in a small town.
To sum up, I wore an outfit that was too hot for this time of year and makeup that made my eyes itch. I also got through my song without falling off the tiny stage or forgetting the words. I got third place. I got a gift card to two local coffee places and a sack of stuff. I participated in a local event. I did something artsy!
I GOT OUT OF THE HOUSE.
Thank you all for reading about my brief foray into the world of local talent shows. I never ever do community events. As I am horrifically shy, cash poor at present and pathologically allergic to others. Can’t stand crowds. But performing in front of one, that’s nothin’. Mingling afterward…HELP HELP HELP.
Hello, various readers and passers stopping by on a snowy evening. Some Bob Frost to start us all on the road to hilarity and good cheer.
I’ve lost count of the rejections this week but it’s a LOT. I either need to write up a new batch of stories, poems and plays or keep sending out the same old crappola. Hoping this time. That time. This time over here.
That it will be different.
Except right now, truth is so much goddamn stranger than any fiction I could fart out or compose while munching French pastry and sipping Italian wine. While seated outside at a sunny cafe in Athens, Greece. I’d write longhand, of course. Using my own blood as ink.
Cause I’m a writer, dangnabbit! That’s a word you hear in old timey cowboy movies as they were not allowed to say ‘god damn it’.
Yes, the American political and all other scenes are just rife with WTF, then topped with Is That An Actual Tweet? followed by Don’t Read the Comments Section, ended with I Am So Done With Social Media, I’m Off To Raise Sunflowers To Help Third World Scarf Herders. Then the cycle starts all over again. With variations.
It’s the downward spiral. It’s the we’re imploding and prolly gonna take the entire world with us. It’s…it’s fucking hot right now.
So my thoughts are roughly—it’s hot. I should write something. About. Something. It’s hot.
Being poor, air conditioning is one of those unheard of, rich people inventions that exist in movies. Sort of kidding. I have a tiny fan. It helps. I go outside, throw water on my squash. I dig out weeds. I hear the hawks raising their kids down the road. Noisy bastards. Shut up, hawks! The corn hides the ditch bank road so the dogs have to listen real hard instead of watching to see who drives to and fro on what they obviously consider their bit of territory. Any engine gets them still and holding their breath. It’s rather creepy-cute.
What to write about. My hot take on politics? Nah, that’s just solid cuss words at this point. Eve Carlin, from hell, shouts out, hey, throw in some other words there. Feminist issues that affect us all? Golly, I’m either too much or too little here or…eh?
Oh!! Sidetrack. Here we go.
Saw the Spy Who Dumped Me. We have free Epix, whatever. So, the plot, eh. Some international whatever, been done a gazillion billion times. However, what’s fresh, you ask? Or haven’t asked at all though you’ve made it this far?
The relationship between the two best friends. Played by Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. It rang every true bell. How they support each other, are there for each other, their acceptance of each other’s faults yet the irritation over those faults…it’s all there. I especially found my bell rang over Kate’s character being called ‘too much’ by a lot of people, including the secret spy/boyfriend of Mila’s character. And Mila’s character siding with Kate’s character, then telling her she’s not too much. Ah!! I almost teared up.
As someone who’s been repeatedly called ‘too much’, which I ALWAYS took as—
there’s something very very wrong with me; nobody likes me unless I act quiet and not myself. I am a monster!—
That moment reminded me of what great friends I have.
I could write about my own experiences with people trying to whittle me down to acceptable size.
And never show that writing to anyone because it would be like ripping my face off and gluing a salted strip of razor blades in its place.
How I have the self-esteem of a dead rock and yes, have let other people define me because 99% of those people tell me I’m ‘too much’…!
And when I try to not be a monster, I find that I am silent and limp as moldy lettuce stuck to the gunk under the veggie drawer in the fridge. And that I am angry. Then I explode and people walk about me as if on the most delicate eggshells and…yeah, pattern.
Pattern! Yep. Pattern detected.
So I’ll stick to making up monsters or writing about sexual encounters between dinosaurs and women. Is that still a thing?? What about man’s inhumanity to man?
Oooh! I smell a Nobel outta that one!
I’ll call it Man Being Mean to Men. It will feature no women characters whatsoever. It will just be two white straight guys on a beach arguing over who’s the bigger victim of post-post modern society as the world literally burns. I will use a thesaurus a lot. I will describe their inner penis. A lot.
I suspect if I actually did write something like that, it would probably actually sell.
I’m not bitter.
I am. I am so bitter I’m a walking moldy lemon at this point. Okay.
Rejections fast and furious this week. I’ll not buck up at all. I’ll stew in my own sweat until autumn shows up and it’s STILL FUCKING HOT GOD DAMN IT FUCK FUCK FUCK. But hey, the nights are cooler. I should move to the Artic. Except it’s on fire where they’re not drilling gleefully for oil. Where else is cold?
Minnesota? Maine? Montana? It would have to be within walking distance. How much can I stuff in a backpack? I’ll have to dig up my jars of pennies I buried for a rainy day. Some jars only have one or two pennies in them but hey, that first step, amirite? Amen! A cave, some berries.
I can be the Unibomber without all the baggage.
Holy moley, what a scattershot post. But I felt it important to not write yet another political scream that is only heard by some wide-eyed mice in a deserted choir room.