Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gargoyles and s/D

yt sumner's back with her You-and-Me postcard series. Behold, #52! Gargoyle. Yes.

The premise is simple: You send her a postcard, and she writes a story in 300 words or less. The results so far have been amazing, thought-provoking and gorgeous. I sent one in last year. You should too.


But you wanted to read something non-fiction, but also breathtakingly honest and beautiful. A memoir to stop you in your tracks. In that case, you must read Elissa Wald's essay, Night Shifts . Does everyone have a night self? I'm not sure. But I do know this: Wald's strength as she navigates an unfolding landscape of belts, phone sex, and the change from secret fantasies to nights spent comforting a frightened child is remarkable. This one stays with you.


I continue to write, secure in the fact that it is all shit. Some people read many books at a time; I can only devote myself to one. But I'm a whore in my writing, going to bed with whatever red-sequinned words catch my attention at the moment. Hopefully, in the end, dawn will break on one of them and it will not be ugly.

via HRMTC via hexenhaus

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

small stone, day 24; Micro-fic: Telephone

small stone, day 24:

now that the lilac is bare
i can see
the alien thing growing
in the middle

long and butter yellow
but bright green in the center
i know
because I cut one tentacle
with kitchen shears 


The fate of the saints hinges on their ability to reach God via telephone: he’s not always home. Sometimes he is, but pretends he isn’t. Some saints, such as poor Rose, call again, nine times an hour. But in the end, it rings and rings. The line goes dead. And a cool, disembodied voice says, “This number is no longer in service.” Rose chose self-immolation. She repeated the number over and over as she knelt in the flames of her own being, hoping that this time, He’d answer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

small stone, day 23

small stone, day 23:

concrete steps crumble onto
winter-damp grass and base of an old
rose canes fall away from the house
a single hip dark green hanging
over the chipped face of a dutch boy


Some things bring me happiness, but I can't bring myself to share them, because it feels like I will let go of my secret joy if I do so. I think of my soul as a shriveled black walnut, the inside of a golf ball, or a mouse. Everything unravels on the morning walk -- which I hoped for -- but now it hangs loose around me like cold intestines on the floor that I must drag with me everywhere I go around this house. Someday I hope to find a way to light these things on fire. I'm afraid of a fire, but I want to stand in the middle, crouch in the center, and close my eyes to the light.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Willie sings Nirvana; small stone, day 21

It's so short, but I love listening to this cover of Nirvana's "Teen Spirit" by Willie Nelson:


small stone, day twenty-one:

bending down
after shoveling
i can hear
the hush of snow settling on
last fall's ornamental grass


Tonight for dinner: my homemade mac & cheese (secret: about a quarter-pound of swiss) and then oatmeal raisin cookies. If you bring wine, you're invited.

And last: Part I of JX Falber's No One Has Ever Loved Someone Saved In A Fire Burning slayed me. Slayed me. readreadread.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Library brain; small stone for day twenty

This is how I picture my brain:

And now, today's small stone for day twenty:

across three snow-topped garage roofs I spy
drifting puffs of wood smoke
telephone wires with squirrels
and a drooping apple tree, black spheres
yet clinging 
in spite of winter

Thursday, January 19, 2012

small stone, nineteen

small stone, day nineteen:

postman's steps in the snow
crossed by rabbit's
lunar cavities
I'm afraid to disturb


We said goodbye to Josie last night. Our options had narrowed, and we have always stood by one mantra when it comes to our animals: No suffering.

Everywhere, I see her happy, bright face. Hear her light trot on the floor. She was amazing. And she is very, very missed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

small stone, day eighteen

small stone, day eighteen:

cottony hiss of the humidifier
burble of the aquarium
even with the tv on
I can still hear her labored breathing


They say writers are leeches who excerpt everyone's grief -- even their own -- for their own devices.

I wish I had nothing to write about.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

small stones, day seventeen

small stones, day seventeen:

rain water pools in the dips
and cracked basins of the driveway
clear water, cold, a spa for
winter ghosts


Remember that you can join anytime -- even a month from now, a year. A River of Stones badge is to the right.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"The Husband" Now Up at The Corner Club Press

My short story, "The Husband," is now available for reading at The Corner Club Press. Romance and spec-fic with a dash of cocker spaniel and a whiff of tobacco.

Thank you to editor Amber Forbes for accepting "The Husband" for inclusion in issue 6. Five more short stories and six poems for your reading pleasure await.

I admit that I developed a small crush on Jackson while writing him. So much for that "piece of ice in our hearts" that writers have. :)


Thank you to everyone for your kind words of support regarding my dog, Josie, who was diagnosed with a horrible, fast-growing cancer on Friday, had same-day emergency surgery, and who came home last night and is now recuperating. I slept on the couch -- well, slept is not a good word. Laid there and listened to her breathing is a better description.

I have hope. My last German Shepherd, Max, died of hemangiosarcoma, the same thing, but much more advanced. We caught it early enough this time. I hope. Hope hope hope.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

small stone 14 buried in here somewhere...

In these questionable times, there is only one sure thing: If your dog gets cancer, you cut it the motherfucking out.

This is not a method that has worked for me in the past, with three out of four dead dogs having succumbed to cancer in some form. Once tragically. Not all deaths are tragic, though many are lamented. But one, one dog's death was tragic.

But today, B's beloved Josie is recovering, a miracle -- we were just visiting her at the vet, and it seems they neglected to tell us yesterday that they all expected her to die before surgery, most assuredly during surgery if she made it that far, or sometime in the night after, if she somehow survived surgery. And she has survived! And is eating, and seeming, well, actually better than yesterday, when she was slipping away before our eyes.

I haven't cried this month since last month. And looking back, I think all that crying right before fucking Christmas was unwarranted, because losing your dog is worse than idiotic relations and the general pressure of the holidays (not a merry time of year, no matter what anyone says).

Here's the thing: I know we're not out of the woods yet. And anxiety is my bestest friend ever, so here I am babbling, because the silence in the house is making me want to scream and break things.

small stone, day fourteen:

orange cat sitting by steel bars
staring with orange eyes at dog within
i don't believe in guardian angels
i think


Thanks to everyone who read my interview with Richard Godwin, who left a comment, who emailed me to say uplifting things -- you guys are great. I would've liked to comment individually, so please accept my apologies, as the last three days have been a mental drain.

Friday, January 13, 2012

small stones, day 13

the only black cat
is the shadow beneath all the chairs in
all the waiting rooms
that smell of disinfectant.
I know because I hung my head between my knees and
stared at all of them


Friday the thirteenth. Took my dog, Josie, to the vet because she's not been eating well for two days and she's been acting depressed. They found a mass on her spleen. Cue x-rays, ultrasounds, specialist vets, and now, at nearly eight at night, she's receiving a blood transfusion from a donor dog and preparing to go into surgery, where they might remove her spleen and its predatory mass, and they might let her go if they find more tumors than they could see on ultrasound. Neither of us said goodbye. I don't know what he said, exactly, but I said, I love you. Maybe ten times.

Now we are waiting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse-- Me and Mr. Godwin Get Up To No Good

He came up to me at the bar. I was fresh out of ways to send a man back to his seat with his tail between his legs. Figured I'd go with the cold shoulder. But he caught me off guard when he said, "Can I ask you a few questions?"

I eyed him up and down. Not a cop, not with a suit like that. Not a PI, either. Besides, all my debts were paid. For the moment.

He bought me a glass of champagne. Okay, I said, ask away. But when you're done, I get to ask a few questions.

He smiled. Said, Here's your first question...


Turns out, the werewolf at the bar was quite the interviewer. If I lived up to my half of the bargain, well... We'll see. You be the judge.

Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse with RS Bohn

And if that isn't enough, Sean Patrick Reardon says cool things about my work here.

A red lipsticked kiss on the cheek to both gentlemen.

ETA: Richard just posted a story called "Barbeque the Sink Beast" at Flywheel Magazine. This is not for the faint of heart... or stomach. But it's freakin' hilarious. Read if you dare here.

ETA2: Corner Club Press will be hosting my story, "The Husband," in their next issue and "Take Her By The Heel" will appear at NONTRUE in February. Okay, I'm seriously done bragging now. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

small stone, day eleven: Why Martians?

small stone, day eleven:

crusted with frost
the grass
makes each step sound
like little broken deaths


Don't know where that came from. I'm stuck in some kind of Martian imagery this week, and I imagined each blade of grass as a root-bound Martian, frozen by our strange weather (after all, it is red hot on their home planet), unable to move as paws and boots came down upon them.

Now I'm feeling bad for imaginary aliens!

Do you ever have moments of unexplainable anxiety? There's probably a pill for that. If I had insurance, I'd explore it. The taking of pills. As it stands, I'll try to slow my heart and remember that it's sunny out today, finally, and everything is fine. I swear.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

small stone, day ten

small stone, day ten:

in the red glow of the ice cream shop sign
licking rainbow sprinkles off vanilla swirl
stepping outside the fluorescence to look
up into black night
the moon huge overhead like a fat
the ice cream starts to drip on my hand


I do so love ice cream stands open year-round in Michigan. I also loved last night's full moon. B almost drove off the road while staring at it. So close, you could almost touch it.

Reading Lauren Beuke's "Zoo City." Awesome. Not even half-finished with it, and I recommend it. Review to come soon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

small stone, day nine

small stone, day nine:

the moon still hangs faint
white above peach-colored horizon
Bob pirouettes
an orange balloon
above black gravel and
unappreciative tetras


Ode to Bob, the amazing African parrot fish. Remember, the badge at right clicks to the welcome post for River of Stones. You can join anytime. Much like a mindfulness orgy.

There was no day eight small stone, though I stopped to be mindful. I also had the house to myself in the evening for a few hours. Lit candles. Turned iPod on shuffle. "I Still Believe" from The Lost Boys soundtrack came on -- dance party! And instant time machine, back to everything that made me who I am: The Lost Boys, Terminator, Asimov and Bradbury, Bonne Bell lip gloss and boyfriends frozen in time, still wearing black Nikes and cargo pants.

"Everything" is perhaps more inclusive than that, but that's a good start.

Feedback on "Judith of the Lions" has been *amazing.* I'm sort of blown away. And... going to try for a semi-pro market on this one. If I can figure out how to make the quotation marks "non-curly" via their instructions.

Friday, January 6, 2012

small stone day seven; book review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

small stone, day seven:

yard swathed in black
eleven minutes before daybreak
oak tree in next yard a jutting dog bone
against a strip of deep blue sky not
night or day


"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs was one of the most popular books of 2011 and on any number of "best of" lists.

The "Home" in question is long thought by sixteen year old Jacob to be a place entirely existing only in his grandfather's imagination. When his grandfather dies suddenly, Jacob begins a journey towards the truth--but will he believe it when he sees it? And what if that truth opens the door to something far darker and more insidious than anything he has ever known?

Filled with intriguing vintage photographs that are used in a clever way, it's unlikely you've come across anything quite like this before. Without the pictures, it's still a clever, twisting story, much in the vein of "Holes." The writing is solid and filled with bits of humor, even when things take a darker turn.

I found myself charmed, if not enthralled. I didn't realize that this was a young adult title -- duh! -- and so despite the book's many stellar qualities... it simply never fully clicked for me. I really prefer more adult lit. Having said that, if you enjoy YA and the paranormal, this one's for you. Unique and unendingly smart, with a likeable protagonist, it's no wonder it was such a favorite last year.

small stones, day six; musings on dinner and pirate name generators

small stone, day six:

sun slanting through green-gray fence
to cut across crumbling concrete
onto frozen grass
coming to a stop among the scattered
seeds beneath a bird feeder
shaped like a green flying saucer


Would I have noticed how the sun came through the wood fence by the driveway if I wasn't doing this exercise this month?

Tonight for dinner: baked catfish and corn casserole with biscuits. And maybe cake for dessert. One of my resolutions (I hate calling them that) is to cook different things this year. Try them. Because I've grown tired of the tedious repertoire of casseroles and frozen dinners. And I can actually cook, a continued surprise after twenty years. I remember vividly burning spaghetti and eating cereal for dinner for months when I moved into my first apartment. A fried egg was beyond me, though toast was fine. And yet, I made duck with cherry sauce this past Thanksgiving. Miracle!

Writing continues. A tip: Pirate name generators suck. I know. I tried all of them yesterday.


Lazy Legs McGee


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beta request--the apocalypse, now with more lions!

Oops -- forgot to add in my last post that I'm looking for a beta reader.

"Judith of the Lions" is 3000 words of apocalypse with a touch of bizarro. Heavy on metaphorical references. With, you've probably guessed, lions. And a special guest genre.

It is strange, and unconventional in format. Just warnin' ya.

small stone, day five

small stone, day five

five minutes after waking up
breathing in steam
over amber Assam
mixed with Irish Breakfast
hands hot, holding cup
eyes closed
whole world in this tiny


For a few minutes every morning, anyway, that's my world. And then cats meow, fish bang on tank to be fed, laundry stares and begs to be folded, dishes sit in the sink. Everything waits for me to do something. I can't remember a time when I didn't do something. I think it was when I was a teenager. I somehow recall entire days -- eight, nine hours at a time -- spent reading books. On the sofa. Oblivious to everything going on around. That might be a dream of adolescence, but it seems nice.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

small stone, day four

small stone, day four:

three day old snow on the garage roof
melting into the trough on the east side
little stone pagoda finally
peeking through in the shadows
of the fence


Find out about a River of Stones here, and join in!

Hm. Now that Gryff has arrived, a new small stone would be: fat cat jumps up, turning on printer, shoveling off important papers before blocking computer screen and collapsing in lap.

My sister and I are weighing plans to move our 89 year old grandfather in with one of us. It's a difficult situation, and we need to do something. If anyone has moved an elderly relative in with them, I would love to hear your experience.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

small stone, day 3

small stone, day 3:

dusting of snow
peppered with paw prints
that lead to
a steaming pile of rabbit poop


This was followed by a loud succession of "No!"s.

All right, that's all I've got for today.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

small stones #1 + beer and movie review

Small stone (just under the wire for day one):

dental appointment
in april
I've been waiting two months to
write it on the new calendar


River of stones is a month-long exercise in mindfulness. You can find out more here. If you're not a writer/poet, may I suggest you give it a go anyway? Hey, look at mine. :)

The calendar is from PETA, and January's is a big pink pig, if you were wondering.

In other news, we watched "Attack the Block" tonight. B thought it was atrocious. Truly awful. I felt it was absolutely best thing I've seen in ages, and I delighted in every bit, even the parts where people's heads got eaten off. A-. Because "Shaun of the Dead" was way better. (this is aliens, not zombies, fyi)

Also, I drank Sam Adams seasonal "champagne" beer, Infinium. Interesting. Good. Not to my tastes--too sweet, too spicy. I'm not a fan of the summer beers, for instance, but more likely to drink Octoberfest. Or anything dark, dark, dark. But again, as a dedicated beer enthusiast, I can appreciate the care that went into crafting this. It's just not for me.

Three days off = finished one short story, heavily edited, sent to reader-friend. A second nearly finished. Notes on book, though only a few, awkward paragraphs were written for that.

All in all, a lovely start to 2012. May all of you experience some loveliness in your new years, as well.