Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Blue Moon

Happy New Year's eve, happy new decade. Tonight is also a blue moon, which means it's the second time this month that there'll be a full moon. But it reminds me of blue moon ice cream, which is largely a midwest thing. I've been trying to figure out exactly how to describe the flavor of this ice-cream (below) and have settled on mint-blueberry. Some people say Froot Loops. In any case, it's a treat.

Blue moon image above: Kostian Iftica,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 18, 2009

Following directions

So I'm applying for various writing fellowships around the country. They're fussy, you know, and each one wants something different. One of them wants eight copies of the first 35 pages of my manuscript. Stapled. Your average Swingline won't do the trick. But luckily, I've got my dad, who in terms of handiness falls somewhere between Bob Vila and Red Green.

I bring him the eight copies. He gets out his roofing stapler. My literary masterpieces are now fastened to a scrap piece of wood in the basement. He pries them off with a spackle-covered putty knife. Uses a hammer and a weird-shaped tool to tap the heavy staples into place.

The fellowship committee has got to appreciate that my manuscript can withstand hurricane-force winds.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The talkies

Enjoyed "The Blind Side" with my parents this afternoon. Mostly. To all of you out there who think it's acceptable to narrate, discuss the finer points of, or otherwise comment on a film in progress, two words:

Shut. Up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


In a search for binder clips I came across these in Office Depot. Not sure why these are useful. If the document is crap, shouldn't it just be recycled? Why save it? But perhaps these are popular among literary agents. TV execs. Advertising companies. Law offices.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Here's another short for 3WW. The words are fondle, kick and sumptuous.

Bits and pieces of dream lingered like morsels of forgotten feasts. An unknown beast. Doorways.

Awakening was like standing on a dock at dawn, the dream boxed in an underwater crate attached to a thick rope, the kind she could never climb. Whenever she managed to retrieve the crate and break it open its contents flooded her like a treasure from the otherworld.

Fondling strange ears. Wariness and fascination. The hairless tiger chased her and shot pieces of claw like throwing stars that glowed when they struck locked doors that kicked open to endless stairways and empty rooms. The tiger broke apart into doves that filled the air in sumptuous flurry. A snowstorm on a mountaintop.

A secret gift.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Loved hitting the 50,000 mark yesterday. But what I have is not a novel, nor even a draft of one. I've got a skeleton. And now it needs muscle and skin.

Without the structure of NaNoWriMo it would've taken me longer to get to this point -- I wrote when I didn't feel like writing, I kept writing when I didn't think something was working and somehow things emerged that did work. I had dreams and early morning mind-wanderings that helped and probably surfaced because I'd been spending at least a little time every day on this. It's worth it.

I started with half the word count already done, and it was still hard to finish. So hats off to all the NaNoWriMo winners who started from scratch, including those in my local writing group... we're celebrating today.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

50,000 words


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Passing 44,500 words on NaNoWriMo. Six days, six hours and 45 minutes to go.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Two years, 45 annotations, two short critical papers, three 20-page essays, a teaching practicum, and one 88,000-word novel. Done.

From my last annotation (a three-page paper on one particular aspect of a book), Isabella Bird's Six Months in the Sandwich Islands, written in 1873 (think Jane Austen on a pirate ship):

“Whenever I look up from my writing, I ask, Was there ever such green? Was there ever such sunshine? Was there ever such an atmosphere? Was there ever such an adventure? And Nature – for I have no other companion, and wish for none – answers, ‘No.’”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting there

I passed 40,000 words this morning. Most of which, it appears, is either exposition or notes to myself, which I write in all caps so I can find them later. So I'll have a string of dialogue interrupted by YOU MIGHT WANT TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THUS-AND-SUCH HERE or MAYBE YOU WANT TO MOVE THIS PART UP. I'm pretty sure I'll hit the 50,000 mark by the end of the month but how much of it is actual novel, I don't know.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Montage: Evergreen state

Headed back to the Olympic Peninsula in February for graduation. Been on my mind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


NaNoWriMo going well... started with about 25,000 words, now I'm at 34,500. I anticipate I'll finish this Half-Nano (sounds like a tiny coffee drink or an ice-skating move for a preschool class) but I have to take a break from it today. (Oh, right... I still have a packet of work to send to my adviser...)

Dad has reassessed his workload and set a new deadline of March 1 to finish his novel. I know he'll do it -- he's a project sort of guy. I'm cheering him on.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fair warning

Sign at the coffee shop where my local writers group meets:

All of us are doing NaNoWriMo; one has completed a draft of her first novel.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hand Bones: The conclusion

Here's the final chapter of "Hand Bones," again written using 3WW words, which are karma, obey and wither. You can see the first installment here and the second here.

Fury distorted the young man’s face but my eyes could not leave the blood-stained cleaver that was clearly destined to become the means of my destruction. He moved toward me and though I felt every ounce of courage wither inside, my body obeyed a higher instinct and I stumbled backwards.

“Hand bones!” the man shrieked. “I want your hand bones!”

Blood from the young man’s severed limb had drained to the edge of the stained chopping block and dripped into a pool on the concrete floor. Unawares, the young man stepped in his own blood and lost his footing; he flailed in a desperate effort but by some miracle or karma or answered prayer the young man fell hard. He could not stop his fall with his injured arm; he was forced to rely on the appendage that held the cleaver, which for him produced the most unfortunate result. The blade cut through the exposed skin of his neck and suddenly his head was no longer connected to his body. The head rolled once, and as though delivering a final message of terror, the young man’s eyes closed.

I did not trust at that moment that his body would not ambulate and continue pursing me. I forced my toe to nudge his; it moved only in the way it should. I watched his chest expectantly for some sign of respiration; indeed, the chest dropped and I stifled a scream before understanding it was only the young man’s last breath expelling through his severed windpipe. Perhaps it was the fright of my imagination but I would swear an oath that I witnessed a dark shadow leave his body.

The stolen cadavers that stood around me like a flesh forest were a silent audience to the horrid scene as the floor grew dark with the young man’s blood. It entered my thoughts that these unfortunates had witnessed endless mayhem in this dark chamber and I understood that this dead man could not be the only accomplice. How such an operation could be perpetuated was beyond my comprehension, though at that moment the shadow, which indeed was real, settled upon me and I began to desire the taste of the young man’s flesh.

So overwhelming was this desire that I grabbed the severed hand the young man had offered to me and brought it to my mouth, consuming the flesh raw until there was nothing left but bones, delicious hand bones. The act brought only temporary relief. In that moment I understood my new purpose and I stooped over the bloodied remains of the butcher’s apprentice, untied the strings of his apron, and donned the uniform of my new, glorious occupation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Got unstuck. In that early morning haze one of my characters showed me something about himself that was unexpected and totally right.

Even when I think I know where a story is headed sometimes the characters have other ideas about what's going to happen, where things will end up.

But that's okay. They always tell a better story.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Speed bump

A little bit stuck today. I've got the main story pretty well figured out but I'm having a little trouble progressing on the subplots ... what happens next? How does this relate to what's going on in the larger story? Does it have to relate? Am I making the story too complicated? Or am I ignoring my own advice and thinking too much?

Stop blogging, start writing.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Dad and I both met our NaNoWriMo word count goal for the day. Twenty-nine days to go.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Speed writing

Yesterday I mailed the second draft of my thesis off to my adviser and second reader, and tomorrow I'm diving into NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Yes, quite clearly I'm insane.

I'm not an offical NaNoWriMo participant, because to do that you must start a brand new novel tomorrow and write 50,000 words in 30 days. Instead, I'm planning to finish a novel I started in June. This has been my stress-reliever novel, my unexpected book, my yes-I-know-there’s-exposition-in-the-dialogue-but-I-don’t-give-a-f***-because-I’m-having-fun book. I'm exactly at the halfway point as I write this, just over 25,000 words, or about 118 pages of double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point type. NaNoWriMo participants will have to complete an average of 1,667 words per day, or about seven and a half pages by my count. For me, 833 words a day.

It can be done. I might not have believed it until my 100-page+ writing binge in August. Now I see it's not only possible but that there's a value in speed writing -- moving quickly can allow you to clear the mental hurdles you might otherwise create for yourself.

Not that it's going to be a perfect manuscript. But so what? Write now, fix it later.

For official participants, you can upload your novel to the NaNoWriMo site for a word count at the end of the month. If you've hit the 50,000-word mark, you win! Isn't that great? Last year there were more than 21,000 winners.

I've talked my dad into trying it and he's officially signed up. How about you?

Friday, October 30, 2009


Noticed this in the ditch along my road. Not sure I want to meet the neighbor who put it there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hand Bones: The basement

Here's the next chapter in the Hand Bones saga for 3WW. The words are incubate, nightmare, and vanity. You can see the first part of the story below in the previous entry.

What madness compelled me to follow the gloomy young man down the concrete stairwell I cannot determine, but my feet carried me toward the nightmare that awaited. I prayed that the smells that bloomed stronger with each step did not foretell my unseen fate. Only one aroma was familiar to me – that of embalming fluid – and the others carried a more ominous source. Perhaps it was some sense of vanity that propelled me forward, some false sense that I could not be harmed.

When we reached the bottom of the steps it took a moment to understand what images beheld my sight: Pods of frozen human bodies similar to those of fantastical tales of cryogenics, these lined upright against the far wall, and before them several haphazard rows of coffins which appeared to carry the residue of fresh soil. At the center of the room was a massive wooden table covered in dark stains that I could not, would not allow to linger in my sight.

The young man turned to me and I shuddered at the deadness in his black eyes.

“Frozen, preserved or fresh?”

I found myself without voice and he offered his recommendation of fresh hand bones, which were of the utmost delicacy, particularly when seared over an open flame.

“I’ll prepare them for you,” the young man said, and before I had the slightest understanding of what plans he had in store, he produced a bloody cleaver.

The fear that had incubated within my viscera suddenly burst to life and rendered me nearly paralyzed. Somehow I managed to stumble backwards, believing the young man was about to serve me my own limbs.

Instead he pushed up his sleeve, rested his hand on the stained chopping block, and whacked off his own hand at the wrist.

The fingers twitched on the table as if beckoning me. The young man wrapped his bloody stump in his butcher’s apron, his face pale and sweating, but the only screaming came from my own throat.

He named a price for his hand that far exceeded my means.

“I cannot pay!” I exclaimed, still entwined in the horror of his action.

Now the young man’s face turned from white to red. He leveled the cleaver at me like an accusation and said, “You are wrong.”

To be continued again…

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hand Bones: A partially true gothic tale

Just for fun, here's a 3WW story for Halloween. The words are reckless, heartache and jangle.

It dawned upon me one afternoon that a healthy evening soup would be preferable to a common meal and I pursued this venture which required the use of a ham bone.

It wasn’t long before I attempted to procure such a bone from the local establishment which sells groceries and other items of necessity. Having no luck in my search of the butcher’s shelves I stopped a young gentleman who clearly was the butcher’s apprentice and inquired whether the store had available any ham bones.

But the young man misunderstood me, it appeared, and repeated my question with a frightening alteration: “Hand bones?”

He asked in a such manner that would indicate it was common practice for patrons to seek such a grotesque item.

(Now we diverge into the fantastical part of the tale.)

I considered his question carefully. Should I pretend that he in fact misunderstood me and repeat my original request? But curiosity overcame me and I could not resist the temptation of viewing what he might produce.

Recklessly I nodded and agreed that I was, in fact, searching for hand bones.
He looked carefully about him to ensure no one witnessed our exchange, leaned close and whispered, “Come with me.”

I followed the young man through a pair of swinging doors that presumably led to the anterior of the cavernous establishment. There was little indication at that moment the extent of the horror I would witness but the jangle of his keys in the lock of a mysterious metal door caused me irrational heartache. My despair compounded as he swung open the door revealing a dingy stairwell lit by a single weak bulb.

To be continued…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Search and destroy

I'm working on getting the second draft of my thesis ready and the basic strategy is to compress the first half and expand the second half. So I've been going through and highlighting and deleting, highlighting and deleting. It's kind of fun, like going through my stuff and finding things to give away. Surviving with less. So does the story.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Old folks

My mom was digging out some old photos for a relative interested in genealogy and I thought these were pretty great. Love the spooky double-exposure on the top photo.

I'm not sure but I think the second photo might be an early meeting between Gandhi and FDR.

"I just wanted to look purdy for the cows!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I was thinking about how many films I’ve watched in which a character suffers the resetting of a dislocated shoulder, realignment of broken bones, a tracheotomy, bullet extractions or wounds stitched shut with dental floss, all without anesthesia or the supervision of a health care professional, and I thought, maybe people are revolting against health care reform because we’ve been culturally conditioned to think sucking it up is a virtue.

Or maybe it’s a chicken-and-egg sort of thing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wrong number

We found a serial number on the sewing machine but Googling turns up only a patent for a corn husking peg, a number to text for Star Wars wallpaper and a phone number to rent a flat in New Delhi. Already worth the ten bucks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mystery machine

On my way home from a cooking class on Saturday I stopped at a rural rummage sale and found this beauty, price $10. I dragged my dad back to the sale first to make sure the thing could be restored because I intend to use it – I don’t need a seventy-pound dust collector, sweet price or not. The parts are intact and there was even a box of attachments and the original instruction manuals in one of the drawers.

Or so we think. We’re trying to figure out how old this sewing machine is and have had trouble pinning down information on a manufacturer. It says “United States” where the brand name is usually printed. But an initial search turned up nothing. One of the instruction manuals said Greist Manufacturing Company. The Greist Brothers apparently made bicycles before joining up with a man named Ebenezer Beecher to start the sewing machine company. But a closer look showed that the company made only the attachments, not the actual sewing machines.

Another manual from the drawer indicated the machine itself may have been made by the Domestic company, which started manufactured sewing machines in 1863. But photos of Domestic machines turn up none with “United States” as the model. I speculated that it might have been a wartime production but then my dad found one reference to the United States Sewing Machine Company in a Smithsonian trade literature archive, which also carries the manuals for Domestic and Greist products.

The only other reference we found was of a Jerome W. Hyde, born Sept. 23, 1861, who was the treasurer of the United States Sewing Machine Company of Springfield, Massachusetts.

So we’ve got manuals from one company and a sewing machine from another. I’m guessing the companies merged at some point, but it would be nice to have more history on the United States Sewing Machine Company so we can date this thing. I’m reluctant to do anything cosmetic to it until we know what it’s worth. Maybe I need the Antiques Roadshow or the History Detectives or those guys from Pawn Stars.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I spend a lot of time in a dark little room with made-up people.

There’s necessary isolation when working on a project of this magnitude and the busy nature of life tends to keep us in our own tight little circles anyway. Meanwhile life and death and sickness and stress and joy continue and we revolve around our own suns and sometimes our planets line up and sometimes not. I feel more connected to friends now that so many of us are in virtual space, which has become its own weird little planet.

But sometimes I’m off in a batcave on the moon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Winging it

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I ran over a skunk last week and my truck seems to have avoided the inevitable odor but I wonder about the karmic payback for vehicular skunkicide. Poor little guy. They’re all over the place lately, dead and alive. I came across a young bald eagle devouring another roadkilled skunk. One skunk walked through our backyard a couple of weeks ago and in addition to its natural smell the critter seemed to have gotten into a bad bean burrito or something. Close the windows. I wonder if they’re looking for a place to hunker down for the winter. The geese have already been fleeing. Not a good sign.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Just found out that my school’s literary journal, the Pitkin Review will publish one of my previous 3WW stories, "Death," in its Fall 2009 issue. Here's another story for Three Word Wednesday using the words eclipse, languish and velocity.

Their relationship progressed with the velocity of a rockslide and was just as destructive. They met like most do, unsuspecting, so it was easy to conclude that fate had joined them and then suddenly their everyday lives were eclipsed by their desire for each other. In the quiet times they feared the passion languished and one of them would invent a reason to accuse the other, loudly and punctuated by thrown objects, that their love had died. Such encounters guaranteed that nothing else would occupy their thoughts until the next time they came together, sorry.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One more

Just because it's purdy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two thumbs up

My second reader (former adviser) also gave my thesis a thumbs up. So graduation in February is likely. There's a lot of work left to do on the manuscript but I am rather thrilled with how far it's come, and with the story itself.

Back to work.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Our attempt at giant pumpkins failed this year but I think this tomato was trying to substitute. Note how it slops over the edge of the BLT.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's not the ocean, but...

Lake Michigan, a few weeks ago.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Giddy up

I got a thumbs up on my thesis from my adviser, who said the last 100 pages were the strongest. Oh, my God, I wrote them so fast.

Which says to me that thinking too much can be poison.

And that everything I’ve learned up to this point is manifesting in cool ways.


Sunday, September 6, 2009


While I was scrambling to finish my thesis in August I took a retreat to a friend's house for some quiet space... she went on vacation so I took care of her cats, turtle, fish, wild birds and fed the horse (it's really the neighbor's horse but it still gets treats). Got a good chunk of work done there.

But happenings suggest her house may be haunted and it took me until the last night to watch "Ghost Hunters." In any case Mr. Spooky kept to himself. Still, it was disconcerting to head to bed at midnight and be greeted at the top of the stairs by an unhappy, hissing black cat in a supposedly haunted house. Also, my cell phone didn't work unless I walked out to the highway.

All fodder for more fiction.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Skip the soup

Friday, September 4, 2009


So, now that the thesis is somewhere off in the void, the next project is to complete the "process paper." This is a 10- to 20-page essay about my journey, influences and development as a writer both during and previous to my MFA experience.

Good God.

I've been stuck so far. For one thing, it feels too much like filling out a self-evaluation form. For another, how can my influences be quantified? Everything has been an influence.

Maybe I should just work my way backward and stop when I hit 20 pages.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The last month has been a blur of words, thoughts, imagination, pressure, doubt and let's-just-put-this-here-and-see-what-happens, but I got my 280-page thesis in the mail on time. It's the first draft and there's lots of work left, but my God, I finished a book.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Refrigerator poetry

Forgot I had assembled this on a friend's fridge a while back -- a fun rediscovery.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The magic

This month, the best, most powerful residency in WA state. I don't have the sentences but here are the words:

Hidden path
Fog draped on evergreens
Tarot cards and sacred rocks
Finding the words
Biking in the rain
Haunted dreams
Using my voicebox
Collective magic
New energy
Cargo ships, tall ships, the fog rolls out
Feeling the power, freedom
My hair smells like burned marshmallow
The sun

Friday, July 3, 2009

Soul kiss

"Vesta La Viesta, Discoverer and
Poet Laureate of the Soul Kiss"
OK, wow again.
My mom showed me some things packed inside an antique trunk in our living room, including my grandfather's grade school notebook (which displayed evidence that racism was actively taught in the public school system) and a pack of postcards (one of which implored a potential guest not to wear out his horse). Also in the trunk, a small box of colorful folded paper napkins collected by my great-grandmother. On each, she had written the dates and events where the napkins were collected, such as family picnics and Thanksgiving dinners. All were from 1908 or 1909 -- photos are below. But an extra surprise: Among the napkins was this yellowed Milwaukee Journal article by Jacob Waldeck. Notable that my great-grandmother chose to clip out and save this article and no others. (I thought my greats were stodgy midwestern farmers, but apparently I come from a long line of kooks.)

NEW YORK, Aug. 9 -- Vesta La Viesta, mystic and cosmologist, after two years of silence, has emerged to unfold to us the wonders of the soul kiss. No such rapture is known to humans in the present state of knowledge, she says.
Asked what it was like, she answered that when you have been properly developed and try on the soul kiss, your whole being responds to a perfect delirium of ecstasy. It is like the fusing of two great forces when responsive souls meet in this exercise.
It may last for hours, but whatever the length of it you do not breathe except cellulary.
What's that?
Why, breathing through the pores of the skin, of course. Education makes it possible.
Another strange feature of the soul kiss is that it is wireless. When you have learned it you can send one to your affinity through mountains and over seas.
The trouble with most people is that the solar plexus is not aroused, and for that reason, they are unable to enter the higher spheres. La Viesta's mission, in addition to teaching the occult, is to develop the solar plexus much as the mind is improved.
La Viesta was taught the soul kiss by her affinity on the planet Neptune.

The article also included a poem of standard Victorian flourish and sentiment. For more on Vesta La Viesta, including her trip to Mars, click here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Destructive pet

OK, wow. I'm sorry about the month-long blackout on Purple Houses. I'm up and running again, I swear. More later on what I've been up to.

Here's a fun writing assignment from the group I meet with at a local coffee shop. (Thanks, Wade) Confront your neighbor about his/her unusual pet and the damage it has done to your property. For extra credit, don't directly name what kind of pet it is.

Give the assignment a try yourself. Offer it up as a discussion topic at dinner and see how many different pet ideas develop. I ran with my dad's suggestion. Here's the result:

As usual, it took my neighbor several minutes to answer the door. Through the screen, I heard his familiar hacking cough as he walked through a beaded curtain. He poked his bearded face outside.

“I believe this belongs to you,” I said, and handed my neighbor his pet. Its lime green leash dragged on his concrete porch. “The leash doesn’t help, by the way.”

“Oh,” he said, seeming perplexed. “Where did you find him?”

“The same place I found him last time,” I said, and handed him a bill for my new living room window.

“He went through it again?”

“Yes. Again.”

“Who would do that? There’s no love there, man.”

I handed him a bill for a new plasma TV. “This time, he hit the big screen. While I was watching Buffy. And that’s just unacceptable.”

“I’m really sorry,” my neighbor said, holding the bills in a way that would make it easy for me to take them back if I found it in my heart to forgive him. I didn’t.
His arm dropped along with the expression on his face. “It’s not my fault, you know.”

“But he belongs to you. This is what happens when you leave him in your front yard and some jokester decides to through him at our house.”

“I can’t help what someone else decides to do! This world is messed up.”

“Well, if you find ‘someone,’ then you can get reimbursed by ‘someone,’ but in the mean time, that’s your ‘pet,’ and that’s my house, and as you can see, it’s broken.”

He looked down at the pet in his hand. Its sad, painted eyes looked up at him. “But it’s so cute.”

“It was cute in nineteen-seventy. Now, it’s just lame. And while you’re at it, you might want to think about updating your house paint. The psychedelic daisies on your garage door make me look like I’m living next to the frigging Partridge family.”

He took the bills and retreated into his smoke-filled haven. I retreated to my broken window and broken TV, wondering how long it would be before I received another unexpected visit.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Here's a story for Three Word Wednesday. The words are efficient, optimize, treacherous.

He called her Death because that’s all she talked about.

So when Death cooked him eggs for breakfast she always served up a side of murder and mayhem along with them. Lately she’d been on a disease kick.

“There are cancer cells floating around in your body right now,” Death would say, biting into an underdone slice of bacon. “All they need is an excuse.”

She’d discuss the fragility of life with the efficiency and relish of an assassin while she cleared the dishes. A plane crash would bouy her for days. She optimized even the near misses. “The water filled in to their necks,” she’d said. “Their necks!”

Once he caught Death intently examining a small wrinkle around her mouth, as if trying to extract an expiration date from its appearance. After that she went to bed and stayed there for days.

He brought Death dinner but she wouldn’t touch it, mumbling something about treacherous conglomerates loading the food supply with GMOs. Flowers depressed her. So all he could do was turn on CNN and let Death absorb the coverage of one war or another until she felt ready to face the world again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

From the archives

Somewhere in the Maritime Provinces...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork in a Hurry #21

Tell me, what is a "psychgo?"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another round

Many apologies for the hiatus -- this grad school thing is keeping me occupied. Here's another episode of rural digital distortion -- but I think I'll have to cut this out because I'm starting to have dreams about people with faces like this.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork in a Hurry #20

Here's a good one. What is "wisdome?"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alternate ending

On Saturday I took a great class on microfiction. One of our assignments was to write a new "tail for a tale" in 300 words or fewer, making up new endings for popular films, books or reality. The choices included new endings for any presidential election, World War II, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest without the lobotomy, any of the Star Wars films, or what might have happened if Jack lived instead of Rose in Titanic. That's the one I chose. Here it is:

Sometimes, after he settled into his spot on the beach and began drawing the tourists, he would see her walking by – always the young Rose. She never aged in his mind. Once a girl stopped and handed him twenty dollars and when he looked up it was her. Except then he saw that the girl had black hair and not auburn, and she wore one of those flimsy knit tank tops instead of lace. They only ever saw him as an old man. For the longest time he couldn’t go near the water, the waves. Now he couldn’t stay away. He felt the sea pull like he’d felt her pull at his wrist before the deep cold claimed her. They were looking again, for that damned necklace – as if it was the most valuable thing at the bottom of the sea.

He had tried to die that night. He tried to roll himself into the abyss but found he had no strength, or was frozen tight to the wood that bouyed him. The otherworld where she had gone was close enough to touch. He refused to call out when the boats drifted by but they found him anyway. In the daylight on the Carpathia he had seen Hockley searching for her and that was the only thing that kept Jack from jumping up and throttling him on the deck, surrounded by shivering masses in wool blankets – Hockley would never have her. Hockley would live with that as long as he lived, until he offed himself over something ephemeral and meaningless. Jack had much more. He’d had to live with much more.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Here's a little piece for a belated Three Word Wednesday. The words are earnest, layer and reactive.

Four dead cows.

It’s what I see when I drive by the farm, a flash of death just past the earnest farmhouse with its windows shuttered by tradition and Christian judgment. Everything else is a gray area.

Layers of dried mud crack on their flanks. They didn’t die where they stood, they were dragged there in those neat rows, their stiff legs all sticking out in the same direction, pointing toward nowhere. Before I congratulate myself on the 'CSI: Farm' deduction I chill because of what’s not apparent. Illness? Poison? Something reactive in their sixteen collective stomachs? Four times the chance something could go wrong, could morph through their odd, grass-processing bodies.

Was this the end or the beginning?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork in a Hurry #19

Someone give me a definition for "nerfous."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Strange interlude IV

The chicken puppet and the anchovy puppet decide to form a book club.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tell-Tale Book

Would anyone else be weirded out if you were reading an Edgar Allan Poe collection late at night on Friday the 13th when everyone else was asleep and you discovered the book had exactly 666 pages?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hot air