It’s Autumn!

Hello faithful readers!

Yes, I’m still here. I’ve not been spirited away to another dimension. I’ve not been fighting my way through a labyrinth to save my little brother from David Bowie (although, how cool would that be?!). I’ve not had one of my notorious “f*ck this sh*t, I’m going off the grid” hissy fits. It’s actually been a decent time with a lot going on, and of course, in the midst of all of it, I have–once again–neglected the blog.

*Flogs self.*

So, what exactly is it I’ve been up to? Well, I’ll take a break from flogging of myself to tell you (in no particular order).

1. Making Room for a New Addition

When we were first approached with the idea of taking the last kitten from a neighbor’s cat’s litter, I intended to stand firm on being a dog person.  Since our place is too small for the dog breeds I prefer (Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, Huskies), I was sure we were going to remain pet-free for the time being. Then I met said kitten. Needless to say, my husband and I took the little guy. As it turns out, I’m an animal person. This is actually a shock to no one.

Salem is really adorable when he plays.

Salem is really adorable when he plays.

Of course, having been raised with dogs, I went into full research mode on the absolute best way to care for a feline since I knew nothing about doing so. And of course, being a bit of a germophobe who has now read all about what kinds of little nasties cats can carry (honestly, I just wanted to research when and how often to get him to the vet and what kind of things to have the vet check for. I had no intention of feeding my paranoia), our whole home had to be purged of junk, cleaned and disinfected from top to bottom, and kitty-proofed, because cleaning up after an animal is easier when you don’t have to move piles of junk just to get to the mess. And keeping a place in a certain state of cleanliness (and perhaps sterility) is more easily done once working with a clean slate. In truth, the Great Purge of 2013 needed to happen anyway, but our little Salem motivated us to get it done. So, a car load of donation stuff, 4 big bags of trash, and numerous containers of bleach wipes later, kitty has a very clean, much more open place to wreak havoc.

*Pats self on back for being such a good pet parent, instantly flinches from touching the flogging wounds. Humility restored.*

2. Partaking in Fall Festivities

I know, I know! I was attending various fairs and festivals when I should have been writing! How could I do such a thing?

*Still stinging from first flogging. Not doing it again.*

The view from the top of the Ferris wheel, Fall Fest 2013, Misquamicut Beach, RI

The view from the top of the Ferris wheel, Fall Fest 2013, Misquamicut Beach, RI

It’s been told to me by many writers and various other artsy folks that it’s not so much about writing what you know as it is about drawing from life experiences.  So I had some experiences.

There are few things I enjoy as much as walking around a festival, fair, or carnival. The rides. The food. The excitement in the air. It all makes me feel just a little more alive, and for me, that is vital to my writing.

Which brings me to…

3. Writing

Autumn tends to be my most prolific time of year. Summer travel obligations are through. There’s no paralyzing depression brought on by a long Winter. There’s no desperate desire to do anything but sit once Spring ends the cabin fever. And, of course, being a dark fiction writer, Halloween brings endless inspiration. You can’t swing a cat (sorry Salem, I’ll quit using that expression) without hitting some sort of creepy festivity: haunted corn maze, haunted hay ride, haunted house, etc.

So, even though I run to all of these festivities, I end up getting a lot more work done. Does that mean I don’t have trouble with my writing in the Fall? Oh hell no! I have a short story in the works right now that’s kicking my butt. I think I’m on the fourth re-write now and still don’t have a presentable first draft. I really do feel bad every time I tell my critique buddy it’s still not ready. But it’s being worked on and that’s what matters.

That said, faithful readers, you’ll be seeing some creative stuff from me soon.

Until then, I will leave you with a photo of my front yard.

Happy Halloween, readers and fellow bloggers!

Happy Halloween, readers and fellow bloggers!

A Writer’s Funk: Writing Plenty, Producing Nothing

I have not forsaken the blogosphere. Normally I would blame my absence on the Muses forsaking me, but that’s not even true. I’m in one of those funks.  This particular funk is the no-matter-how-I-write-it-it-looks-like-crap-to-me funk.

Generally, I try to say something profound or at least remotely helpful in my blog. Taking a step back to consider that only posting when things work might be a misrepresentation of the writing life, I decided to post about what’s going on now—the time when nothing at all seems to work.

Gah

That moment when it gets really tempting to say, “Screw this shit! It’s whiskey o’clock!”

I have a couple of undone blog entries and an almost-finished short story for my project 13 Morbid Tales sitting on my laptop.

The blogs are being hindered by two pesky little demons: the Nobody Wants to Read That demon, and his bitchy associate, the What Will They Think of You demon.  The former whispers, “Seriously, who on Earth really gives a crap about that? The few who might have had similar experiences, so you’re not exactly enlightening anyone.” Meanwhile, the latter whispers, “What? You want the whole world to think you’re a wack-job, in addition to the few who know you well enough to know you’re a wack-job?”  Posting this is kind of my way of telling both demons to f*ck off. Hopefully it works, and you’ll see these posts soon.

The short story is another issue entirely. It has, in my opinion, everything a short story of its nature should have, except for that whole being finished thing.  It started with a loose outline, and of course, as the story started taking shape, it evolved well past the outline. Great! It should have done so. I had momentum.  I had direction. Well, I still have direction, but suddenly no momentum.  Every paragraph I write reads back to me a little something like this:

Blah, blah…Is that even a word?…Blah, blah…Bad segue…Blah, blah…Sentence I really like…Blah, blah, blah, blah…and, oh yeah—blah!

A friend and fellow wordsmith once advised me against doing the “writerly” thing, which, in that particular case, meant reworking a whole paragraph over and over to no avail just because I was too in love with the one sentence that was screwing it up to remove it.  Realizing how great that advice was after I took the troublesome sentence out (because I ended up with a great paragraph), I placed it in the great advice file in my memory bank to be revisited any time I saw myself in a similar situation.  Well, you know what I read after I took out that great sentence? Exactly the same as above minus the “sentence I really like” part! So I scrapped the shit. And by that I mean I scrapped the paragraph, not the story. The story is good.

So, for half a second, I decided to turn to free-writing exercises to help unclog whatever has been stopping me up. But that idea was shot to hell by my own screaming at myself to, for the love of Pete, focus on the task at hand!

Gah!

There is no conclusion to this post. No great pearl of wisdom. Hell, there isn’t even a plastic Mardi Gras bead of wisdom. Just know that I’ve not abandoned you. I’ve been keeping up with the reading of posts, even if I don’t comment, ’cause God(ess) knows, I haven’t even been able to write a good one of those lately!

Freddy Krueger vs. The Children of the Corn (or Stuff I Think About Instead of the Task At Hand)

It started with an innocent status update on Facebook. “Ya know what horror movie I’d like to see get made? Freddy vs. The Children of the Corn.”

It was really meant to be no more than a humorous status update at the end of a Friday. No more, no less. But my head is a chaotic place at best and there is always something to contemplate besides the task at hand.

For those unaware of who Freddy Krueger is or who The Children of the Corn are (although I don’t know how one could be unaware), a little background first.  Freddy Krueger, of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, is a murdered burn victim turned dream demon who feeds on fear and kills the teenagers of Elm Street in their dreams (there’s a lot more to the story, but truly, I’m assuming people know who freakin’ Freddy Krueger is, and if not, Google it). The Children of the Corn from the Children of the Corn franchise are a bunch of bat-sh*t crazy kids from the fictitious rural town of Gatlin, Nebraska who kill all the adults for the pleasure of a demon referred to as “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”.  Of course they off each other when they become adults too.  The movie franchise started with Children of the Corn, which is based on a short story by Stephen King. And honestly, anything else you need to know can be Googled.

Of course, there was also the movie Freddy vs. Jason, which sparked this “Freddy vs…” nonsense in my head to begin with.

So anyway, there I was, basking in the “likes” of an innocent status update, when my chaotic head took over, outlining the plot no matter how hard I tried to concentrate on other things, because really, this sh*t writes itself.

So, we’ve established that the adults in Gatlin are gone. The children are now wards of the state of Nebraska.  Of course, everyone in Nebraska knows about what happened in Gatlin by now, so no one in his or her right mind fosters or adopts these kids. Enter the grief-stricken parents of Elm Street, desperate to hear the pitter patter of little feet, or even the hormone driven tantrums of teenagers, in their homes again after Freddy killed their own children.

Zoom in on an idealistic young couple who really just wanted to adopt the adorable six-year-old girl with bouncing curls, but upon finding out she had siblings, had to take them all in.  They’re taking their three adopted children (because there are always three—unless we’re talking about horror movie sequels, in which case there are many more), into their big, wonderful home on Elm Street.

However, the teenage middle child (because it’s always the middle child), hasn’t quite forgotten about his devotion to He Who Walks Behind the Rows, and so he becomes the leader of a whole new corn cult on Elm Street.

The killings start out looking like accidents.  The town drunk falls into an electric fence mysteriously turned up too high.  A bookshelf falls on the librarian.  The man with the notorious road rage runs his car off the bridge.  But soon it becomes obvious that the children of Elm Street are killing the adults.

And, you know, there’s that corn field that grew out of nowhere in a suburban neighborhood.

So, there’s Freddy, hangin’ out, havin’ a beer, watchin’ the game—you know, whatever it is Freddy does in his non-killing hours—when he senses the fear on Elm Street (kind of like a disturbance in the force).  Elated, he throws on his glove and goes to work.

Much to his surprise, it’s not the children of Elm Street emanating all the fear.  It’s the adults!  What a quandary for Freddy! If he does what’s in his nature, he’s a hero, not a villain. But then, well, there are some kids to be killed. I imagine this as some poignant moment with Freddy, head in knife-gloved hand, contemplating his path, accompanied by maudlin violins and dim lighting. But then, as the music reaches a crescendo, his head snaps up in his ah-ha moment.  He is Freddy!  He is a killer of teens! (Because we can’t have him killing small children—audiences couldn’t take that and it would destroy the possibility of the almighty sequel. These kids must become teens.)  He is what he is and there is blood to be spilled!  And if that makes him a hero, so bloody what!

And then there’s lots of blood, and gore, and a final battle between Freddy and He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Toe to Toe. Demon to Demon! Freddy inevitably saves Elm Street, if only to secure some future killing for himself. Job security is important in this economy.

It will be wonderful! You’ll have a tub of popcorn.  You’ll share a giant soda with your date.  You’ll hover over the cinema toilet to take a runny poo before you laugh about the movie in the car the whole way home.

But you won’t freakin’ blog about it because I already did!

Why It’s So Damn Difficult to Blog Daily

*Note: I changed the blog title shortly after this post.

I have to say that I had never really intended to blog daily, hence the name Devon’s Not-So-Daily Blog.  No, the name isn’t at all creative.  I know this.  It was one of those things I just slapped down when I realized how incomplete my profile really was, much like the bio blurb on my Twitter profile that reads, “I spent way too long trying to think of something clever to write here.  I gave up.”  I realize, that as a struggling writer (with experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations), these little blurbs may not be the best way to present myself, unless they are taken for self-deprecating humor, as I will claim was intended.  And if the blurbs are not received that way, I can always change them when the time comes.  But I digress.

Part of the reason that I never intended to blog daily is that, in hard truth, my life is just not that interesting.  While I’d like to think my fiction is pretty damn engaging and entertaining (see, friends, I’m not always hard on myself about my work), real life is pretty boring.  I get up, go to work, come home, do some other mundane stuff, and then go to bed so I can get up at the butt crack of dawn and do the same stuff all over again.  Sure, I get some writing done.  I attend social events when they come up.  This very night is game night.  But I question how blog worthy any of that is.

I certainly muse about any number of little life experiences in any given day, but does anybody really care about my theory that you can profile an entire personality based on how a person drives on the interstate?  Maybe someone might if it was based on some scientific fact or some research or experimentation, but it’s not.  It’s really just made up of the mean things I think when some dillhole cuts me off or insists upon driving 55mph in the left lane when the speed limit is 65mph (usually after cutting me off).  It’s much more likely that blog followers will profile my personality based on my obvious lack of tolerance for others who share the road.

Is anyone really interested in yet another opinion post about the pros and cons of social media?  Are there any people out there with burning questions as to why I signed up for Twitter months ago but have still only composed a handful of tweets?

Without the proper dark/supernatural fiction credentials under my belt, does anyone really care what I thought of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, or last night’s episode of Supernatural? (I will take a moment to say I’m a fan of both.  And now the moment’s over.)

If any of the above interests you, by all means, let me know. If you would like to read something from me not mentioned above, I’ll take requests. Until then, I will leave you with this:

“Wise (wo)men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” -Plato