Thursday, September 30, 2010
I wrote that six months ago. If you compare that to my style now, you'll see a definite change -- just compare it to yesterday's 3ww. Well, not so much change, but as I've struggled to define myself as a writer, it's become more of... finding and giving in to who I am. I officially despise the word "authentic," but yes, I feel I'm becoming more authentic.
Gods, somebody shoot me. Just don't drop my body by the side of the road. Properly dispose/recycle, please.
I've never done NaNoWriMo, have no intentions of ever doing NaNoWriMo, but I do love writing challenges. If you're thinking about November but thinking that maybe it's too much, what about 31 flash fics in 31 days in OCTOBER ONE OF THE BEST MONTHS OF THE YEAR???
Luna Station Quarterly will be hosting Rocktober: a prompt a day for 31 days. Check it out here. This works a bit like one of my other favorite communities, Three Word Wednesday, in that you'll get your prompt, write it in under 500 words, and submit a link to be shared with everyone. Normally, LSQ publishes female writers only, but for Rocktober, the boys get to play, too. And may I suggest that you warm up your author brain with sixty seconds of "Oh crap!" over at OneWord?
Will I be doing Rocktober? I can't dedicate myself to it. I've got a lot on my writing plate at the moment. But I will be checking it out often, especially when I've run into a roadblock with the book. Which needs a code name, a nickname, some other than "the book." Le Book. No. The Novel. God, no. Well, I'll think of something.
Luna Station also publishes a story a week over there, in addition to their four big issues per year. I do love their stories of the week. Check them out. And for their fourth issue, coming out Dec. 1, I've got one or three drabbles. They're holding onto all three in case they've got the room, but if they get a lot of great submissions (hint, hint, ladies!), they'll publish just one. Not sure which one, but I have a very definite favorite.
Also upcoming: Deadly Chaps publishes my first chapbook this month on the 19th, "Letters From The Egg Carton." Tremendously excited.
And Naked Snake Press publishes my short-short story, "Gravity," as part of a themed anthology. This will be available on their website and on Amazon, and I think it might actually be released in November, but I don't have a specific date yet. I'm very excited to get my copies of both of these. Yay, ISBN numbers! Yay, actual words I can hold in my hand with my name printed somewhere on them!
And this: Owl wearing a hat. There. Your cuteness quotient for the day, met. You're welcome.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
It's Three Word Wednesday! Come and play.
The Terrible King Roars Again
Destruction of Earth was imminent. A galactic dinosaur, far-flung predecessor and enormous mock-up of its much smaller future/past cousins, descended from the universal horizon to engulf the planet in its very workable jaws. Now it would have its revenge. Forgotten in the toybox of the gods, relegated to the bottom of the heap because of a broken tail -- through no fault of its own! -- it poured its rage out in a wake of tattered solar systems and smashed stars.
Earth scrambled to defend itself.
"It's no use!" roared the ancient monstrosity, opening wide its maw to show jagged teeth dripping with the storms of Jupiter, the milk of Pluto, the belt of Orion.
But here, staring idly at the keyboard, Senior Custodian Jim rested a bony chin atop his push-broom. "What's this one do?" he said to himself.
"Stop! Do not tamper with the computer!" And all along the rows of chairs in front of rows of computers, men and women in uniform stood, stretched, reached -- but it was too late. Jim pressed the button with a "hm."
Earth held its collective breath. What did the button do? Did anyone know? What button had he pushed?
And from deep space raced Commander Sara, diverted from her mission, alerted to this new trouble. She spun around her ship and smashed it into the godless T. Rex, her roar as fierce as his. The dinosaur was heaved backwards, arcing through space until he arrived with a clatter, back in his cage once more. The lid slammed shut, and he was left in a darkness more absolute than any in space.
"No fair!" shouted Max.
"Of course it's fair," said Commander Sara mildly, inspecting her ship for damage.
"Dinner!" their mother called up the stairs. Max scrambled to his feet and with one mighty kick, sent the inflatable Earth out the door and bouncing down the hall. They followed it, tummies grumbling for pork chops and mashed potatoes.
In the toybox, the dinosaur sighed and wished he had a tail. Things would've been different, if only he'd had a tail.
Thank you for reading! Happy Wednesday. I hope you feel a tiny bit like a child again, if only for the moment. Go and kick your own Earth now.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Please, don't everyone get up and mob the blogger all at once. ;)
Farmer John and Jason's website
Farmer John's blog
That's right! You can follow Farmer John right here on blogspot! He's a very unassuming guy, really sweet. And, uh, he loves goats. :) I have, however, just spent far too much time considering which of his does I would buy. If B would let me get goats. Which will probably happen about the time he lets me get chickens. Which, we may all assume, ain't gonna happen in this decade.
But wait! I have more Beekman news! Just as the month is ending, my September Beekman soap has turned into mush. Lovely smelling mush, true, but it's finished. I'm actually slightly nervous, because I fell for this soap hard, but October's soap promises "applewood burning in the fireplace and walks through autumn leaves," so my fingers are crossed for a happy shower tomorrow.
What, you want more Beekman news? Okay... There's a brand new group on Twitter called Beek Geeks. I'm following. :) Where do you think I learned about the blogs? And also, I learned that there will be a Beekman holiday special! And that I may ask a question of them that may get answered on the special! I am formulating questions as we speak, you may be assured.
And last, there is, my friends, some sad Beekman news. Prepare yourselves as best you can.
I took the Beekman Biggest Fan quiz and scored... 70%.
I thought I was gonna ace it. :( B got 80%, so I hate him, of course. Seventy! *disconsolate face*
BTW, I never take quizzes. I don't care what personality type I am or who my Harry Potter husband is. Do. Not. Care.
So the fact that I did take this quiz ought to tell you something. But I am, I must admit, slightly worried. I don't want to be part of a fandom for the moment. I want time off from fandoms. And yet, I feel myself getting sucked into this world... I think it's okay as long as I don't write stories about them. :)
Regarding yesterday's post: chapter one is finished. Oh, not edited, but I don't care. And I'm not caps-locking until the thing is entirely finished. But for now, I'm super happy. Also, I'm doing something I don't normally do -- I'm going in without a plan. I do know lots of stuff, such as overall arc and most of the characters, but I'm leaving it at that. Once I let go last night, he started talking. Oh, man, did he start talking. I couldn't type fast enough to keep up. And there was a niggling doubt at the back of my mind, a thought that went, "But this isn't exactly who you planned to be your protagonist! He's supposed to be--" and then I strangled the voice and kept on madly typing and now chapter two awaits and I don't have a clue what's going to happen, but it should be fun.
Also, what is on either side of the River Styx? Because I'm about to swim it. Google, here I come.
Thank you to everyone who listens to me blather, and especially those who drop a kind word in my direction. I've never been big on "cheerleaders," but I admit that it makes me thirteen kinds of cozy when some of you are so supportive.
God, who is this sap... Signing off! Beekman Bliss to All!
Monday, September 27, 2010
So I put that off, as I usually do when I'm really stumped. Coming back with a fresh perspective, that sort of thing (even though the deadline for this particular publication is in four days). And I decided -- deep breath -- to start the novel I've been outlining in my mind. Another day, I'll go into the reasons why this scares me to death, but for now, just know that I have an opening, I have some good stuff, and I felt suddenly compelled to stop, as I was gripped with fear. I attempted to allay this by going over to OneWord, then reading a bit more of Wesley Stace's Misfortune (thank you again, Jo!), then making tea, then wandering around the yard with the dogs, then needing to stare into fridge for no reason at all, and finally... Here I am. Blogging. And for once, I've got nothing really to say. I am just, really, filling space and time while I try to convince myself I am a writer and a fine one and I can fucking do this.
So, in the pursuit of filling more time, and because the season is upon us and it's my favorite one of all, a Halloween true story about egotistic serial killers and dead creepy musicians. And vampire bats.
A long time ago, I was really into being scared. I watched every manner of gore-soaked film with my sister, and at Halloween, we'd go to as many haunted houses as we could. We mostly went to commercial ones with people in costumes, but we also looked up houses that were purportedly truly haunted. One year, we went to see Ed and Lorraine Warren speak, a terrifying experience (I believe Ed is dead now, though Lorraine is probably still kicking).
In New England, there was a masterpiece of a haunted house up in Massachusetts (we lived in CT). It was supposed to be worth the two hour drive, so we took along our 13 yr old step-brother, Mike, and drove up. Possibly because the mischievous spirit of the season overcame us, we stopped at a McDonald's halfway there and climbed over the fence into the children's play area, where, in the dark, we climbed through the tunnels and jumped in the ball pit and did not, surprisingly, get stuck anywhere. No one found us, and in the dark, it was great fun. We then finished our drive, and yes, this place was magnificent.
It had a haunted barn, haunted hayride, exhibits and food vendors. We parked way out in a field and walked up. While we waited in line for the haunted barn, the centerpiece of the place, Tiny Tim serenaded us from stage. Sad to think he's dead now, and I always associate him with Poe, for some reason. Inside the barn, you first got to go through a winding hall of props from various horror movies, including a life-size Alien and Freddy's clothes and razor glove. Then the tour started, and we were to go through in groups of five or six. Teri and I were prepared to be scared shitless, and I don't remember much about the actual tour, except for this: Mike was the only male in our group, and he had five women clinging to him. He loved it. And when the end was in sight, down a wide, long corridor with the gift shop at the end, Teri and I broke free of him, but still grabbed each other's arm as we ran as if the very Devil himself was after us, screaming like banshees.
This is a basic rule of haunted houses: If they know you're scared, they (the actors) will focus on you and devote themselves to you. The worst are the ones that simply follow you, but so closely that you can hear/feel them breathing on your neck. Teri and I always had people following us, and not just within their scene, but into the next scene/room. Once, all the way to our car.
Outside, we fell in love with a display of vampire bats. To this day, we both love bats. Beautiful, beautiful creatures. And then we went and stood in line for the main attraction that night: the actor who originally played Jason in the first movie (and maybe two more? I used to know all these facts) was there, signing autographs on cheap plastic hockey masks that you could buy for $5. I'm going to be honest here and say that my limited amount of contact with celebrities over the years has not led to a favorable impression of their ilk. In this case, we both bounded up when our turn in line came, both presented our masks for signing, but this guy had eyes for only my sister. She was, and is, quite beautiful. She's a tall stunner with unbelievable legs, and as unlike me as possible. Still, the jerk was so into making small talk with her that I couldn't get my mask signed, and as the handlers finally tried to usher us away, I got exceptionally peeved and pointed out that I hadn't got my mask signed yet. He did a basic scribble, not even looking at me, and said goodbye to my sister -- by name. *sigh*
Eh, it didn't really matter. She was excited, so I was excited by default, and we imagined her becoming Mrs. Jason and leading a life of riches and fame. And then we ate caramel apples and Mike got his face painted like a devil and we went home -- the hayride had closed. And Tiny Tim was gone, the stage silent and black, and we filtered back into the night, giddy and happy.
That was a very good Halloween, probably the last one I spent with my sister. I've moved, we've both grown up, but we still love the holiday. She's going to Salem, Mass. with some girlfriends soon. Wish I could go too!
All right. I've officially wasted a lot of time, and now the clock is ticking until B gets home, and I should probably have dinner ready. Wait. Maybe there's something new on Twitter? ;)
Sunday, September 26, 2010
This amazing set.
The entire Haute Macabre blog is phenomenal. Via abandoned_places on LJ.
The interwebz is full of magnificence in the past few days. I decided not to drown you in links, but only give you my top two. Here is the other: Scifaiku.
Sam's Dot publishing consistently brings some of the most visionary and well-crafted sci-fi out there. Even if it's not a genre you like, what, I ask you, is there not to like about sci-fi haiku? I found all of them thrilling, but Valeria Simonova-Cecon's question haiku (caps-locked!!!!) made my brain spin like a hungry magnetic rare earth worm. Seriously. She gets bonus points for having the coolest name ever, and both of her pieces are fab, but her second haiku is just... OMG.
I jumped up on the couch. B said, You are sick, please stop jumping. And I said, BUT!!! THIS!!! YOU DO NOT KNOW!!!! And he said, I know you're a fucking nut with a temperature and Puffs Plus jammed up her nose who needs to sit the fuck back down and chill.
True. I've been sick. We can blame this on B, who was in close proximity to elementary school children three days last week. Reason #356,783 why I don't like kids. He is also sick. Yay!
Also, notice how I snuck a third link in there. :)
Okay, it's back to the couch for me. Blankets, tea, and a notebook slowly being filled with bad sci-fi haiku.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Let me explain. When all the rest of you little brainiacs were penning novels and illustrating them yourselves and making your parents clasp their hands to their bosoms in pride at having produced such a creative genius, I was running around making mud pies out of every available inch of our backyard and putting Barbie and Ken together -- in clothes! Little RS was naive as well as uncreative! -- and making them make kissy noises. I also was busy cutting the hair off all my dolls and coloring their heads with green marker. And sometimes, I was hanging from tree branches, and not because I was a little monkey but because I'd climbed up there and then lost my grip and was now clinging for life, two feet above the ground with skinned shins and a mad cry like that of a loon being eaten by a fox.
It has always seemed to me that wherever writers gather, there is
Me? There is a picture of me on my training potty when I was two, a picture book held upside down. I am engrossed. Later, I colored within the lines of my coloring books with my grandma. I liked the ones with animals. Picking which one you'd color was a Big Deal, friends! I took this endeavor seriously! While you were penning science fiction romances and annotating them, I was coloring. A lot. Sometimes cutting them out, carefully, to hang on the fridge. Many of them were all black. Every bit of them. I frickin' loved that black crayon! Until my snotty cousin Jenny told me that black was the absence of all color and white was the presence of all color and I could clearly see that she was wrong, because if you mashed all the crayons together, WHAT COLOR WOULD THEY BE? HUH?!?!?! BLACK! This resulted in an argument which resulted in me throwing black crayons at her, which I later regretted because Grammy took them away and made me sit on the couch. By myself. While everyone else played Bingo. Later on still, there was the famous flying squirrel argument, in which I clearly defended my position that it was a made-up animal and she was again a liar by ripping the picture out of the coloring book and throwing it at her, which not only got me sat on the couch by myself again, but also had the added bonus of the threat of my grandfather's belt. Which hung on a nail by the backdoor.
For the record, that belt stayed there, unmoving, for a long time. But I'd give it a sideways glance whenever I went in and out. A, "You just stay right there, mister!" kind of glance.
So to sum up: I will not be posting my early childhood writings, despite desperately wanting to join in Le R's uncontest because all the cool kids will be doing it. I did consider -- because at heart, I am nothing but a thief and a liar myself -- making something up and writing on paper in childish handwriting. But then I said, "Hey, do you think could be honest and unscheming for ONE DAY? HUH? DO YOU?" And so, no, no fake writing. But I encourage you all to do it. Just don't throw your early geniosity in my face, because dudes, while I may not have been a very creative child, I was obviously a violent and uncoordinated one. And some things, well... Some things never change.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Did I mention that Blots is little sister to Ink Monkey? Yeeeaaahhhh... Cool, huh?
Now I answering your burning questions: First, how did the orgy go?
THERE WAS NO ORGY. &#@$!%^
In fact, B and I even thought the tits on display lacked their usual fanfare. Last year, they hit an all-time high, with corsets cinching in waists and boosting breasts to over-spillage everywhere. This year, not so much. We also noticed that there were very few Steampunk costumes. Rude language? Hardly. This was, we feel, a family-friendly Ren Fest. Sure, one guy hawking his handmade wooden mugs did call out to a passing woman drinking beer out of a plastic cup, "My wood will get you drunk faster, lady!" But aside from being slightly confusing, it was just amusing. I wouldn't care if my kid heard that. And now, pics!
Monday, September 20, 2010
I am so honored to have my piece "Loom" included, and I want to thank Mark. He helped turn my little tale into something truly magical, and I'm indebted.
I tried finding some art to post here using the keyword "beaver," but you cannot imagine what the search results gave me. Or maybe you can imagine. So... no art today.
But I do have another writer's hotel! For those times when you've got to get away, far away, retreating as much as you can from the blight that civilization imposes on our creativity. And when you're not really a writer but a Famous Writer With Scads Of Money To Blow.
Rustic Mexican, but with a/c and room service. Private, quiet, and look at the desk! Enough room for quill, ink, parchment and an 8x10 of a dead author to keep me company and remind me why I do this.
I love Mexico. I've been a few times, but never anywhere as nice as this. Maybe someday...
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The oiled wings of hummingbirds, collected pair by pair, hung on wire in front of the floor to ceiling windows in his third floor apartment. A tiny quilt of ruby and emerald feathers dangled from the finial of a dusty black lamp. And in a jar full of curved beaks, one opened with a click muted by glass and a metal lid.
He studied his newest aquisition as the coffee brewed. Its eyes were closed, but in another room, something also studied him.
He drew the tip of a finger down the fragile sides, noted the stickiness where the bird had dipped its beak into poisoned honeywater before falling onto the silk pillows beneath. He thought how nothing could stir the tiny, still heart, jolt it back into its racing form, a watchmaker's aviary engine.
Another beak trembled, another; the jar like a house for bees, but he didn't notice the buzzing.
The gleaming quilt fluttered in a wind-less room.
The coffee sputtered to a stop, and he placed his treasure on a towel on the table. Poured himself a steaming cup of Chock Full O'Nuts. His nose came close to wading in.
The wire holding the wings shivered, and all at once, they engaged, Lift Off! Ping! went the little metal snaps.
Crack! went the jar as it tottered on the edge of the shelf and finally fell.
The quilt made hardly a sound as it float away from the finial.
The coffee nearly scalded his tongue. He grimaced, put the cup down, returned his attention to this newest jewel --
But where was it? Hadn't he only just set it there, on a bleached white towel? His eyes swiveled, taking in the kitchen. Could it have possibly rolled off? Was that the sound he had heard only a moment before? He bent over, looked into the shadows beneath the ancient table that had belonged to his mother, the cabaret dancer of great fame who had left his father and raised her son all by herself. No hummingbird. Something grazed his shoulder. He stood.
There, framed by the peeling doorway, was a sparkling vision, a humming, distant vision that retreated and then, with the gentlest of roars, descended upon him in a rush.
His arms flew, flapping like an ungainly seagull as he was engulfed by a swarming, bright parade of pieces of birds. A tiny tornado of pin-point beaks took aim at his eyes, into his ears, and the beating wings muffled everything, like pillows around his head. The wire, chosen for its slenderness, now sliced delicated into his neck, behind his ears, and blood ran into his shirt collar.
When at last he slumped to the floor, and his body stopped its intermittent jerking, the final hummingbird rose up from the settling swarm. Its heart beat a trillion times a minute. It waited for someone to come and open the door.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Three Word Wednesday has come around again, and thank you to ThomG for this fabulous community.
If I couldn't be a waitress, what else could I be? I walked home, apron jingling and heavy with coins, and stared at the sidewalk. Check-out girl at the supermarket. They might make me bag groceries first. I could do that. Work my way up. I'd been hinting -- incredibly subtly, for sure -- to the guy who ran the used book store that I could work there. I'd keep the books in order. I could add numbers in my head real well, and count back change like a pro. And then there was the ad I'd seen in the paper, for someone with good conversation skills to talk on the phone. Females only. It paid good. I could sit and talk on the phone -- they'd let you sit, wouldn't they? I wouldn't have to stand? Well, I was used to standing anyway. It wouldn't make a difference.
Yellow and green leaves fell next to me. The first falling leaves of September. I don't know why they fell; they were still soft-looking, not dried and crumbly. If I found another job soon, I'd have money for Christmas. Last Christmas, money had been tight. I had a feeling that Mandy and Lissa were still offended by my homemade gifts. I'd tried to make them sound charming and heartfelt, but they were married with babies and already had two-story homes with decks and garages. Mandy had given me a gift card for fifty dollars to Macy's. I'd tried to demure, like, "Oh, no, I can't take this, it's too much," but secretly, I was already thinking about some nice long johns and maybe even a pair of earrings. Lissa gave me a sweater from Express that I'd seen before; it cost eighty bucks. Maybe she got it on sale. It didn't matter. It was chunky and long and expensive, and I wore it every chance I got that winter, except when I was seeing them. I didn't want them to know I treasured it that much. I wanted them to think that I had other nice sweaters, from Express and Macy's and, I'd half-sort-of-pretended, Ann Taylor.
I could probably get a job at Ann Taylor. Except I kind of thought you needed the right wardrobe to work there. By the time I'd mentally gone through my closet and discarded all my options, I was home.
"Hey," Chris said when I walked in. I put my coin-filled apron on the counter. "How was work?"
I didn't dare tell him I'd been fired. His personality was... volatile under the best of circumstances. Instead, I said, "I think I'm gonna look for another job."
"Good. You're better than a waitress." He turned back to his TV Guide, circling possibilities for the day. He used pencil, so he could change his schedule. He was smart and organized like that. "How about some lunch?"
I put a pan on the stove and got out the bread. I'd make grilled cheese. My feet were killing me, but I was used to it. Standing. Walking. I thought about the change in my apron, how good I was at money. And I'd done pretty well in school. I was a good reader. I had a lot of skills. I'd just need to make them work for me. Soon. Real soon.
Macy and Lissa weren't going to be the only ones with babies.
Thank you for stopping by. During the course of writing this, I dropped my toast with Nutella. Nutella-side down, of course. On my flash drive. You should know that I pulled it out of the laptop and licked it off. This is the kind of writer I am. One who licks food off her laptop.
Thanks again. Happy Wednesday. *lick*
Monday, September 13, 2010
But wait, there's more! B gave me two of my birthday gifts early. (it was either that, or I continued to harass him non-stop)
A Year On The Farm -- 12 months of Beekman goatmilk soap
BLAAK -- Beekman's own cheese, an ash ride softer cheese that is 60/40 goat/cow milk.
We will be sampling the BLAAK later on this week. It's a testament to my love for the Boys that I asked for their cheese. I am not a cheese lover. But B most certainly is. Besides, we must do all we can do, friends, to get Josh out of the city and up at the Beekman full-time with Josh!
For the soaps, I am currently using -- of course! -- September. You can look up all the descriptions at their website, but I will tell you that this one has quickly become addicting. There is something herbal/medicinal about it that reminds me of my childhood, and I can't get enough. I've actually showered twice a day for the last few days, just so I can smell it all over me. And instead of using the hand soap dispenser in the bathroom, I reach in the shower for the soap. I want to bathe in this scent. In addition, we've both remarked on how creamy it is, and how clean you feel afterwards but not dry at all, which is usually the case with soaps and our skin, no matter what they say on the packaging.
You can find both the soap and the cheese and a wealth of Beekman goodness at Beekman 1802. I highly suggest reading their blogs.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Other things that make me happy:
chocolate and peanut butter, Panera, WDW
I mean, insanely happy. Not, like, pretty happy. Not I've-finally-colored-my-hair-again happy, or I just painted my toes sparkly silver happy. Or even God I love dunking my grilled cheese in tomato soup happy. And certainly not I am so drunk again on Sutter Home white zin and I don't care if it is the middle class Wild Turkey happy, which is pretty good for a while until the headache. Or sex happy, which, let's be honest, is not always happy, but sometimes more a matter of getting to the point, if you know what I mean. I'm not really a person who likes to get to the point; I enjoy rambling along and exploring other avenues, but much like conversation, sex needs two of you to both be interesting and sometimes, he would just like his mushroom-swiss burger and then check, please. Le sigh.
I digress. There are many types of happy. The cat who finds the best way to sleep is with his head tucked into the crook of your neck with his little paws under him while he purrs himself off to the Land of Nod? Happyyyyyy. This bra makes my tits look fucking AWESOME! Happy! (they aren't half bad, if I do say so myself, and I do) There is new thesaurus happy, as if there will be wonderful new words in this one that have never been in any thesaurus previous.
It's important to find the things that make you happy and go after them. Design your day to have them. For example, I am planning on having chocolate and peanut butter ice cream in Disney World next month. I am looking forward to this moment with nearly unbearable glee. I imagine sitting on a stone wall, in the midst of WDW, possibly by Cinderella's castle, as the sun goes down and ice cream is melting from my spoon into my mouth. Until then, I will have my small moments. Champagne in a small tumbler with my pork chops for dinner. The new lacy magenta underwear that makes my butt look nice (Target, $3, helluva bargain). Going out with the dogs in the yard after it's rained, and everything is green and gray and wet.
Because in between these moments, the depression will return, and I will think I will never make it out of this place, and I will wonder why the entire world seems hellbent on making my life miserable when I just want to be happy and not hurt anyone, and I will stare out the window and see nothing nothing nothing.
But when I turn back to look inside, hopefully, there will be dusky-nipple-purple walls that make me glow inside, and be calm, and there will be a pair of fuzzy purple socks to keep my feet warm, and the ghosts of good memories may surface -- for a moment.
Don't take the small happinesses for granted. And also, take a nap.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Welcome to Three Word Wednesday, where my feet are cold and the Devil's lips are warm.
Twelve cities had fallen in answer to the Devil's robust appetite. White pillars cracked, giants slabs of rock split in two, libraries and city halls crumbled. Tennis courts caved in, elementary schools half gone, and this was only the beginning. Humanity scattered like ants looking for a new hole, but even the running dogs knew nowhere was safe. I sat up on the bridge and watched black smoke over Detroit turn into starless night, chewing on the wind as it whipped around me.
"You, my dear, are a feast for sore eyes."
I knew he'd come. I pretended not to look -- it's best, anyway, if you look at the Devil out the side of your eyes. He comes in more clear like that. I also pretended he hadn't said "feast" instead of "sight." I grunted and didn't say anything.
"Things have been rough lately. Work is very hard." He sat next to me, swinging his legs in the air. He didn't hold on to anything.
"I feel for you," I said.
"I know you do. You are the very kindest and most compassionate of all my children."
It was hard to say which of us had conjured up the most sarcasm, but I would give it to him. He always won, of course.
"So where to next?"
He laughed. It sounded like the rushing river far below us. "Did you think I would just tell you?" He put something in my lap. "Here. I got this for you."
It was a teddy bear. Its stitched eyes were frayed, its brown fur bald in patches. An ear was stiff from constantly being chewed. Well loved, this teddy bear. I wondered about the child who had owned it.
"No, thanks. I'm not nine anymore." And I dropped that bear, straight down. It flopped and jerked in the wind, but then it was gone. It was hard to see, but I assumed it had hit the dark water and sunk.
"No, you're not. Not a bit." He didn't look at me now, not even out of the corners of his eyes. He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek, and despite myself, I leaned into his lips, the only warm thing out here, as if his kiss was a charm I could wear, or a benediction.
He stood. The entire bridge swayed, nearing destruction, and yet he didn't. He cut a dark shadow against darker shadows. "Atlanta," he said. "If you must know."
And then he was gone. I waited, feeling the bridge quiver, a foal on new legs that would never stand again. I stood myself, adjusted my cap, and tested the wind. "Atlanta," I muttered. "Yeah, they'll never see that coming."
And I dove off the bridge, soaring south over a city it was too late to save, the screams of the already-forgotten at my back. A thirteenth chance. Well. Thirteen always was my lucky number.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
xTx states, unequivocally, that her reasons for using a pseudonym are fear-based: she writes some funky shit, and she'd rather no one from her real life associate stories about getting one's asshole tongued with, you know, her. The "real" her. Rachelle, meanwhile, talks about writing in different genres, or writing memoirs, non-fiction v. fiction, getting lost on the bookstore shelf, and so on. Commenters on Rachelle's blog talk about other writers having similar names, or their own name being boring or unpronounceable, etc. No one has yet said, "Well, I write primarily heavy bestiality with a side of scat, and I'd rather my boss/mother/neighbor didn't find out about it."
In a previous internet incarnation, I used a psueodnym. It always made me uncomfortable. I remember the first time I met people in person who I had only previously known online, and how I would say, bashfully, "Oh, call me Becky." And I'd probably do the same thing today if I were meeting people who know my writing, and know me as R.S. Bohn. "Ms. Bohn" or "Hey, R.S.," would sound strange. Rebecca's fine, Becky, but no Becca. And don't drop the "y." Those that go straight to calling me "Beck" get a frosty glare that shrivels their genitalia down to pea size. Just warnin' ya.
In my never-ending quest to prove that Detroit is a city you shouldn't dismiss just yet, pics from the Heidelberg Project. B and I went years ago, when it was still controversial. It's embraced more fully today, and I'm grateful for that.
There was a time when I despised living in my tiny suburban home in its grid neighborhood on the outskirts of the D. And now, to my surprise, I have become one of the biggest supporters of Detroit. It may, in fact, be a city I love more than any other. We try to get down as often as we can, go to the bars, clubs, restaurants. Listen to the musicians, go to the largest farmer's market in the U.S., walk through its museums, and we've seen a lot of musicals, plays and sporting events. Has it got its gritty side? Damn straight. And maybe that's why I love it so much. All I know is, it's in my soul now.
No book reviews this week. Just now, I abandoned the second book in two weeks. The first, "Paladin of Souls" by Loid McMaster Bujold, was bar-none the most boring book I've read in ages. I got about a third of the way through it, and I simply could not have cared any less about the characters, who all seem not to care about the book they're in, the world, etc. I'd heard a lot about Bujold, and I looked forward to reading it. Maybe I chose the wrong book of hers, I don't know. But I felt like I was just slogging along, wearily, and so were the characters. *yawn*
The second, not a genre book but straight lit as recommended by the New York Times Book Review: "The Emperor's Children" by Claire Messud. I'm halfway through and calling it quits.
"Masterly comedy of manners", NYTBR? Where was the comedy? I found a lot of self-absorbed, shallow individuals knocking against one another, like bits of puff blown into a jar. It's got a ton of detail, and most of it is beautiful in both its phrasing and its unique observations. Keen-eyed, this Messud. And on the surface, it should be amusing. But I'm halfway through, and our characters, who all get their own chapters, are still being set-up for... something. I can guess what, which makes it more dreary. And I can guess how each will react. *yawn, again*
Here's the thing, though. I'd be willing to keep going, to find out how each will be the agent of their own destruction as chaos eventually reigns, if Messud could stop showing us just how edgy and brilliant of a writer she thinks she is. Tell the fucking story, Messud. Every single page is filled with sentences like this:
Hunched forward over the table against the cavernous cacophony of the restaurant, the three women were playing the dessert game--each trying to hide her sentiments about the course while simultaneously attempting to gauge those of her companions; a routine in which the younger two rightly surmised that randy was more hopeful for a sweet than they were anxious to avoid one, so that they orderd, eventually, a single chocolate pot de creme and three spoons--when a shadow, the lean shadow of Ludovic Seeley, blocked their table's light.
*pant, pant* Goodness, that was long sentence. Messud's fondness for em-dashes and her love affair with the semi-colon are apparent in every teeth-clacking, open-mouthed kiss, er, paragraph. And it never ends. I grew wistful for a short sentence that told me what was essential. Many was the instance in which I had to stop and go back to the beginning of the sentence. I felt like I'd been put on a California freeway in a Neon without a map at rush hour.
This isn't to say that many of her observations are, indeed, brilliant. The dessert game! Yes, we've all played that one when we're out with others. Or the, "Should we get one last round?" game. But honestly, Messud could've made less of a mess of the observation. Because one sentence like that every couple pages is good for the mind, it's fun, but one after the other, neverending, becomes repeptitive and obnoxious. We get it, Messud. You think you're clever. And, indeed, you are. Now that we've got the message, do you think you could tell us a story and perhaps wield the "delete" key a bit more deliberately?
Of course the NYT loved it. It's a book about New Yorkers, and these are New Yorkers, after all. Well and skewered.
I start a new one tonight. Wish me luck.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Meh. I just print them out and put them in a folder with the acceptance letters. Can't say they hurt too much. Thick skin and all that.
So this, yes, is a rejection. I've received two in the last two weeks, and both had been out for a while. Now that they're back, I need to decide what to do next. Here is my process:
First, I try to understand why a piece got rejected. If it's because it's good but not great, I may post it here and/or to my DA. If it's utter crap, I relegate it to the "rejected" file on my USB and it never sees daylight again. And if I think it's good, it'll be submitted elsewhere. Perhaps, for instance, I realize that a piece simply wasn't right for that particular publication. So I search for the right home for it.
This one, I think, is a good concept.
There's something wrong with it, and I'll be damned if I can figure it out on my own. I've had this idea for well over a year, and I've tried several different ways of putting it on paper, but nothing seems to jell the way it should. This was my best attempt, and it got rejected once, and I am throwing it up here in the hopes that I can learn something from you.
A Piece of Advice -- 800 words. Link goes to my DA account.
It's taken me all three days of this holiday weekend to approach something resembling "rested." I am saddened by the fact that I've got work tomorrow, as I could use one more day to really get back to myself. The past six weeks have been hell, work-wise. Not just the load, but the scorching temps, a near-constant that drained me. On Friday, I thought I actually wouldn't be able to do another single thing -- and that was when I woke up. After I locked my keys in my car that afternoon, I took it as a sign from the universe that I needed to STOP everything.
I do overburden myself, this is true. But in the last month or so, it's become ridiculous. Right now, I'm making a list of things -- other than my job -- that I want to do, and then I'm taking a good look at everything to see what can be accomplished without breaking myself in two.
On tap: I'm riding the noir train over at A Twist of Noir. Many thanks to Christopher for dropping me a line and reminding me that I had a ticket. I'm 655, which gives me lots of time, and I'm so glad to be doing this. Now for an idea, LOL!
Two short stories that have been in the works for most of this year. Both will top out at 8-10,000 words before editing, and they're completely different genres. I am committed to both of these, not least because they both occupy very special places in my heart, so besides the noir, these make up my top three assignments.
I've got my pieces mostly finished for next month's publication of my first chapbook at Deadly Chaps, but I'd like to write a few more, to give JQ, editor, a wide selection to choose from.
Other than those, I've got pieces out and awaiting response, and accepted pieces that won't be up for a bit. So... I'm thinking that after these, I buckle down and take what I've learned in the past year and, you know, write that fucking book.
Remind me of that when I'm talking about writing new fics, LOL! Oh, and 3WW and OneWord don't count. Those are just fun. :)
Friday, September 3, 2010
*flails* *screams* *dies of excitement*
The Tiger Machine is now up on Cast Macabre. You can listen to it or you can download it -- for free! -- and listen to it later.
It is read by the inimitable Norm Sherman, and you can find more info about him on the CM entry. I highly suggest you look him up -- a musician with a wicked sense of humor, when I found out he'd be doing the reading, I freaked. I've just listened to it, and it's beyond what I could ever have imagined. There is even a subtle sound effect at one point which is pure brilliance. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Barry J. Northern.
I highly suggest anyone else interested in writing horror submit to CM. It's been a fabulous experience, and CM is taking off like mad.
A bit about "The Tiger Machine": it's about 1000 words, and it is probably my favorite story of the year so far. I had a gleefully insane time writing it, and I smiled all the way through, even as I caused havoc for my poor characters. Huge thanks to
Ahhhhhhh! So excited! CM is brilliant!
But wait! There's more! MORE TIGER GOODNESS!
My dear friend, Asuqi, wrote haiku in honor of my birthmonth! Yes, birthmonth. :)
Kick-ass Haiku So Sexy
Yes, sexy, take-no-prisoners haiku. Beastly haiku. Asuqi writes with bold flavor and subtle spice. Enjoy.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It is Three Word Wednesday.
I may be exhausted, in every way that counts, so I can only offer up what I hope is a moment of beauty.
The Little Thief
I'd had twelve devotionals tucked away, all tossed into the pillowcase along with a few pens for notes I thought I might take some day. This was spiritual enlightment, this theft from my mother's church. I was not a budding Buddhist or Catholic or even a garden-variety heathen, but just a thief. I was ten.
I found them years later, at the back of the closet. The room filled with things that she thought I might use some day, I'd had difficulty reaching the closet, then more getting the door open, and finally, a breaking wave of small things, soft things, strange things, and me kneeling there as if I'd finally come to altar of my own volition. I pushed through the tide, embarrassed at the amount that was mine, thinking with a certain zealousness of my apartment in Hamden: the white walls, sheer, white curtains, the clean floors and sunshine. Over and over, as I sorted through these items, I flung myself through whirlwind imaginings of my home a hundred miles away.
The pillowcase was at the bottom. I tugged it up, wondering why it was yellow when I clearly recalled it to be pristine white. But here it was yellow, with little turtles. I didn't remember any turtles. The outlines of the devotionals moved beneath my hand. I opened the case and dumped them out.
A buttery cover between my fingers, its surface lightly pebbled. I flipped it open, the pages tissue-paper thin, covered with the word of God.
And of my mother.
For here was her handwriting, in the purple ink of the pens I had favored in those long-ago days, a little girl's pen, grape-scented. The scent was gone now. I touched my nose to another page, more of her words in tiny script.
Questions. Annotations. Referrals to other parts. But this could not be my mother's -- she was, til her last day, so devout she made my mouth pucker, a lemon-sharp Christian in shabby cardigans and LL Bean shirts. And yet the design, the y's and i's and t's, all so recognizable as hers. I couldn't fathom the woman who had written these things; where was my mother, with her obey, obey, obey?
It was Jeannie who found me there, saying where had I been, it had been hours? I looked up. The curtains, dusty magenta, were dark. Only the light from the hall to see by. My eyes blinked, as dusty as the curtains. My knees ached. A knot at the base of my spine that had been there for forty years was gone -- dissolved, I knew, like the negative glance of sugar in water, and somehow, there was a new sweetness in me.
"The church people are here. They have boxes," she said. "And casseroles."
I rose, slipping the devotionals back into their pillowcase. Hours ago, I would have handed over the pillowcase to them with a smile, gleeful. Now I walked with Jeannie to the kitchen, the only room that had been as yet de-cluttered enough to sit, to talk, to eat tuna casserole with potato chip crust. To do these things with those who had loved my mother. To do them with grace, no longer the little thief, but only the keeper of my mother's love.
The NOT's Dog Days of Summer contest was simple: 101 words exactly, include "heat" and "summer."
I celebrated by writing dark fic. My piece, "Bottle Rocket," is a Special Jury Award Winner. Yep. You can call me Miss FancyPants now. Or, you could just find me at the totally free, totally downloadable PDF chapbook with 80 others, including Grand Prize Winner, Sam Adamson.
The NOT's Dog Days of Summer contest PDF chapbook.
Later this week: I'm up at Cast Macabre. I'm so freakin' excited about this, I can't stand it.
Neither can Gryff, apparently. He had to hide in the water bottle thingy just to contain himself.