Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Insecure Writer's Support Group December 2019 Featuring Billy the Saw Puppet

"Let's play a game, Cie"
"No! I don't want to!"

December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Well, you had to go open the can of worms, and now I can't get Billy the Jigsaw Puppet riding on his tricycle out of my head. I'm honestly not a fan of the Saw movies, but I do like this creepy-ass puppet for some reason.

If I were in high school, I'd probably think this was a really great question. As someone who's already halfway through their life and has had a number of hard knocks in the past five years, I kind of want to make it into a paper airplane and throw it out the nearest window. 

I always hated the "what are your goals for the next five years" interview question too. The answer to that one was secretly: "hopefully to have moved on from working here, but I need a job now." 

Really, yer killing me here. I'll be 55 years old in two months and eleven days. I have a lot of health problems. I have no idea how much different Future Writer Me will be from present me. She might well be ashes in an urn. If I'm still alive, I hope that I'll find an audience for my work, but, realistically, I probably won't. 

I don't like to do the creative visualization thing of imagining I'm living the dream because it tends to make my heart hurt. I don't even know what the dream is. I hope I'll still be alive except for those times when I'm so depressed that I wish I was dead. That's kind of my life. I don't have big wild dreams about making the big time. I don't have any idea what that would look or feel like. I don't even know what it is to feel secure. 

You know what I want?

I want Trump out of office. In jail, preferably, but out of office anyway. However, as Chuck D wisely pointed out, Trump is a clown but Pence is a nightmare. At least with the clown, you can see him projecting his blatant moves. Pence hides in the shadows.

I want Medicaid for all.

I want everyone to have what they need. 

Then we can start talking about niceties. 

That's the real deal.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Battle of the Poems 2019: Day 1

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

The rules are simple! Leave a comment telling me which poem you like best.

Poem 1:
Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time
I dreamed
once upon a time
he was
but now there's nothing left
except the misery
as summer disappears
and the barkers burst the colorful balloons
and take down the faire
players only love you
when you bring them money
gas, grass, or ass
no-one rides for free
little boys grow up
become corrupt
use and throw away
stupid girls
once upon a time
I believed in something
once upon a time
I thought someone waited for me
now I know the truth
the only one waiting 'round the corner
to put his arms around me
is death
that no matter where I am
I'm just two steps ahead of that man
some days I'm philosophical
some days I'm scared out of my fucking mind
and some days I'd welcome the bastard
with open arms
once upon a time
you were mine
you loved this wretched, broken thing
but like a leaf on the breeze you blew away
some things are too corrupted to love 
I thought I saw you coming back to me
but then I woke from my dream
the fairytale disappeared
in a puff of smoke
like Little Jackie Paper
you snuffed out your dreams of Puff
dragons aren't real
magic only exists in fairy tales
and love is nothing but a lie
once upon a time
I believed in happy ever after
now I only believe
that dreams vanish
and hearts break


Poem 2
Alpha to Omega

all alone adrift
boiling bad blood brew
chewing cyanide capsules
drinking death's draught
exhaling exotic excitotoxins
feeling fancy-free
gladly grabbing green
hoarding hazy hemlock
incinerating incriminating images
jaded joy juxtaposed
kicking kaleidoscopic kings
love long lost
makes me mad
nothing nice nevermore
only old offerings
placate pagan poltergeists
quietly quaffing quince
rebellious rogues repel
sweetly singing satyrs
thrilling tap-dancing troubadours
unique undines undulate
vanquishing vicious villains
while winsome warblers
xor xanthic xenophobes
yesterday's yearning youth
zap zingy Zambonis

Which one do you choose? One or two? You can leave an explanation, or just say which one you like.

Remember, whoever participates the most often will receive a $5 Amazon gift card. In the event of a tie, I will invoke the mighty coin, dice, or what have you.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

We're back!

What Lunch Looked Like

How y'all am are? I was not expecting to be back so soon, but, as fate would have it, I'm here and so are you! So, let's do this!

After spending a freezing night without power in the old Grover Hotel, the Ornery Old Lady (that's me) and Sonny Boy headed to Greeley to gather up some supplies in case we were looking at another night to a week or more of this. We stopped at Taco John's, a place I haven't been to in some 35 years. In fact, that's where I made my last post from!

I was glad to find that Taco John's still tastes the same, but the price about knocked me out of the ballpark. Twenty bucks for a chicken quesadilla, a stuffed taco, Potato Ole's, drinks, and some guacamole, queso, and sour cream. Honestly, it's not that bad for today's prices, but I can remember when I was in high school and would go to Taco John's instead of eating the cafeteria swill. I'd have five bucks on me and get a whole meal and still get change back. Well, so it goes.

We went to Home Depot and bought a propane-powered space heater and looked into getting a backup generator. We picked up a snow shovel, which I thought was steel. It was aluminum and it bent easily. Not a winner there. We got a flashlight and a mini lantern. Then we headed to visit my son's second cousins on his father's side. They said that if the power was going to be out for a while, we could bring the cats and stay with them.

We hit the King Soopers to get some nonperishables like crackers and tinned kippers and then headed for home.

My son was reading the instructions for the space heater and I was getting the snow shovel out of the car when he came running out in an excited mood. The power was back on! I looked down the street to see the blinking red light just beyond the general store, and it never looked so beautiful!

It's still colder than a well-digger's ass in the old Hotel, but the furnace is back on and the temperature is rising. I've got salmon, potatoes, and corn in the oven. I also have (I hope) a fun opportunity.

I am going to need help deciding which poems to put in my manuscript for the November PAD Chapbook Challenge. So, for the next month, I will be having a Battle of the Poems. I will put up two poems, and I would like readers to decide which of the two they prefer. You can give me a reason, or just say "I like number (one or two) best." 

There will be a prize as an incentive for helping me. 

The person who comments on the most poems will receive a $5 Amazon gift card in their email. In the event that there is a tie, I will use a coin, dice, or Random Number Generator to help me choose.

I think this will be fun, and I hope I can get a few people to play along.

The first Battle of the Poems will appear tomorrow!


Crazy Creatives Come As You Are Party + Weekend Wrap-Up + The Cheese Grates It: The Green Manalishi With the Two-Pronged Crown

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay
Actual picture of the inside of my head

If you're the sort of person whose brain resembles a busy and chaotic train station, bus terminal, or that pole in the picture, you know what I mean. It could be ADD/ADHD. It could be OCD. It could be bipolar disorder. Or, if you're like me, you have all three. Well, my friend, then you are really fucked. But, hey, I sympathize.

If you're this sort of person and you decide to be a godforsaken fool (like I am) and put yourself out there even though you know you're opening yourself up for criticism and misunderstanding by the metric fuckton, you know damn good and well that you can't win. So, either you hide your light under the proverbial bushel (I'm not sure what it's a bushel of, but it has light hiding under it) or you throw down and let the world see a level of coolness that they cannot possibly understand. 

And then the criticisms start rolling in.

If you're like me and have lots of blogs because it's super-important to the OCD part of your synaptic mess to CATEGORIZE THE UNHOLY FUCK OUTTA EVERYTHING, you'll get people chiding you that you should put everything on one blog.

In a word, fuck no. Yah, that's two words. Fuck is a frequently used emphasis word around these parts. The main word is "no," covered in a big scoop of "fuck." 


If you do decide to put everything into one blog (I have a couple of catch-all blogs so I can see what this would look like) then you have people bitching that they can't understand what your blog is even about because their god forbid that everything isn't neatly categorized just the way they like it.

To these people, I say:

Do you have to live inside my head? No? Well, lucky you. I do. Sometimes that little task is really tough, so I try to make the most of it. Creating crazy shit is a way to relieve some of that pressure. The other way would be blowing the top of my skull off with a shotgun to let all the marauding thoughts out. I know you'd probably like that, but since they ain't found a way to force my hand yet, I've decided against that plan for now. Who knows, in the future, you may get your wish.

I would also like to ask if these people are paying my salary. If you paid me to design a blog or website for you and it was a spiderweb of chaos, then you have every reason on Earth to be mad and refuse to pay me. If I didn't come to you asking for payment, then you don't have any cause to be telling me to change my evil ways. I'm not forcing you to read my blog(s).

A lot of the time, people who are really quick to harshly criticize or ridicule people who do things in a way contrary to what they themselves would do are the same people who say: "oh, I would never make fun of or hurt a person with autism, learning disabilities, neurological dysfunctions, or psychological issues." However, these people think it's funny to make fun of "weirdos" who are "acting weird", or they think it's acceptable to talk down to us and treat us as if we are sub-human and lacking in basic intelligence.

Here's a two-pronged contradictory fact. This is my very own Green Manalishi With the Two-Pronged Crown.

I like interacting with creative spirits.
I hate networking.

The trouble is, I tend to naively believe that all creative people are weirdos like me, but a lot of them are normals who don't get weirdos like me one single bit and would like to squash us out of existence or force us to fit into the 'normal' mode, squeezing the souls right out of us with derision and pharmaceuticals.

Networking bumps me up against a fair number of these people. I fucking hate networking. Loathe it. Despise it. I would love to kick networking to the curb, but if I want to get the word about the services I offer out there, I have to keep doing it.

I've been thinking about the guy in the following photo a fair bit recently. Probably because I've been conducting seances to ask him to impart to me a portion of his mechanical abilities. He could fix just about anything. I'm a numb-nuts living in a very old house with a bunch of ramshackle appliances, and I have all the mechanical aptitude of an earthworm. 

So far, I haven't come up with the right offering of food and incense to invoke him. Or maybe the lighting is wrong. Probably both.

You can decide for yourself if I'm serious or not. One thing I do have in common with him is enjoying fucking with prats lacking a sense of humor.

Another thing I have in common with him is crippling shyness combined with a tendency to lash out if I feel like I'm being attacked. I managed to avoid the addiction to alcohol. How, I'm not sure, because I was a very heavy drinker when I was younger and there is a strong tendency for addiction in my family. We had depression in common, though. Now, if only I could symbiotically pick up on the mechanical aptitude--my man, let's talk! I've been having problems with my washer recently. Could you, like, come and possess my hands for an hour or two?

I'm revealing a bit more of my very weird sense of humor than I've allowed myself to do in a while. People don't get my sense of humor, and I get tired of trying to explain myself. So, you know, I hide my light under a bushel. In my case, it's probably a bushel of unwashed laundry.

My brother used to get my sense of humor. When we woke up on Saturday mornings before our favorite cartoons came on, we'd sit around making up dumb stories for an hour or two. I miss the friendship that I had with my brother before life beat that weird whimsy out of us. I kept writing stories because it's a thread that keeps me in the world, but sometimes I'd just like to let go and fall into the darkness.

I need to figure out a way to switch more in the direction of proofreading than book reviews. Authors don't tend to hate proofreaders. They tend to see proofreaders as helpful. Book reviewers are generally seen as assholes who want to destroy what the author has built. Despite the fact that I appear to be extremely prickly and hard-headed, I really don't like having people hate me. 

I guess that's about all for this party. That was fun, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Don't forget to thank the Green Manalishi before you split.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Friday, November 29, 2019

Heeding Haiku: Senryu: Runaway Steam Engine

doing much too much
the steam engine of my mind
runs over my dreams


November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2019: Day 29: Have iPhone, Will Travel

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Have iPhone
Will travel
I've never seen the Northern Lights
I'd like to get them in my sights
To watch their ghostly green glow
As they put on their show
See them dance across the sky
And if I could fly
I'd like to dance into their beams
And leap from stream to stream

Have iPhone, honey
But no money
So I won't be going far
In my beat-up car
But when my beat-up body ceases to run
I'll go and have my fun
I'll ride on the green glow
Who knows how far I'll go?
Dancing in the Northern Lights
I'll become one with the night


The November PAD Chapbook Challenge prompt for today was Have (blank.) 
This poem came out of nowhere. I just wrote it down.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2019: Day 28: Grateful

Image by Matthias Cooper from Pixabay

grateful for what's here
a town far from everything
life in an old house
impossible dreams fade out
bittersweet acceptance in


Today's November PAD Chapbook Challenge prompt asked for a Gratitude poem.

People, you know me. I am not the sort to write heartwarming, Chicken Soup for the Soul, grateful for God and family and Better Homes and Gardens type poetry. I am an agnostic curmudgeon, and the only miracle here is that I'm still alive. They ain't found a way to kill me yet, and neither have I. I believe there is something that survives the death of the corporeal body, and I believe there are advanced spiritual forces which could be termed higher powers. I don't like the Church God, and although I'm willing to judge his followers on a case by case basis, I tend to be mightily skeptical of them.

I was raised Catholic and am the black sheep of a family that tried way too hard to keep up appearances. Today is the ninth anniversary of my father's passing. Although we had a sometimes contentious relationship and he passed his own insecurities down to me, he was a devoted father and I love him. I am glad he isn't suffering anymore. The last five years of his life were increasingly difficult. In the end, he really wasn't himself anymore.

I want to call my mother today. My mother is a loyal person who is too wrapped up in keeping up appearances to see the damage that mindset does. She has no idea who I actually am or what I'm really doing because anytime I have tried to tell her, she shuts me down and criticizes me, so I just let her think what she wants.

My brother and I were once the greatest of friends but now have a civil but distant relationship. 

I love my son with all my heart and soul. There are some hurts from the past from when my mental illness was as yet undiagnosed and my behavior was chaotic.

Leonard Cohen wrote the line "It's Father's Day and everybody's wounded."

I think the same could be said for most holidays.

If you're having a Better Homes and Gardens Thanksgiving, that's great, and I hope you enjoy it. I would just ask that you realize that this is not the case for everyone, and those of us who are unable to have Shiny Happy Holidays are not bad people or just feeling sorry for ourselves for attention. The hurt is real.

Just to lighten the load a bit, here's one of my favorites: