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VOTE - final 4 - 1 goes home!

therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1063125.html

Click through, read the four entries, comment and then VOTE!!! 

Even though we've been writing for months and months, it always is a SHOCK to get to the end of the thing! I am definitely getting mindsore but I didn't want to go the season without a shoutout to my woes - Hades & Persephone, so this week is dedicated to them. 

Although, I can feel the tectonic plates of my own creativity shifting beneath me. It's a similar feeling to when I stopped writing fanfiction and dedicated myself to original. I would love to pen a long and cohesive modern-dress Hades/Persephone, at least novella-length, or a collection of intertwining short pieces, but I'm not sure it's still in me to do it. It would require a very strict outline to keep me going off into the aether. "Dirty Realism" is becoming more and more what I'm drawn to reading and writing these days. Pretty much the polar opposite of the lyrical modern myth. 

* Spring has most definitely sprung here and it's pretty much glorious. Even an autumn/winter soul like myself can't deny the sheer joy that is songbirds and sunshine and budding trees. 

* Easter brunch wasn't too successful. Sadly. Carbs and sugar and mismanaged activities. Sigh. I'm not trying to be critical, just honest with myself about what my family has become. No one seems to know how to infuse life back into all this death. Too many egos and no one is willing to give a little in order to gain a lot. Two-thirds of the family aren't interested in opening the doors and our hearts to friends and neighbors. Only family, of which there are fewer and fewer of us.

My sister on the East Coast spent the weekend with her son's in-laws and extended family as my nephew just had a baby. To see the huge amount of family and smiles in all the texted pictures hurt a bit. I clearly remember when we had four generations and heaps of children for long holiday weekends. All that is in the past now and we don't talk about it or look at photos because of the horrorshow that is my estranged sister.

Who knows where the time goes.....





This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/338119.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Literary Prize Fight - Wk 21 - OK

He wanted her to reassure him that everything was alright, that she was staying, that she wasn’t going. Leaving him. Again. He simply needed her to confirm her commitment. To tongue the arils out of the palm of his hand. Not all 613, just five, one for each of his fingers and thumb. The grip that would let him grasp her and hold her fast, her slender wrist inside his fist like a manacle.

She had left him. Before. But she had returned, and all had been forgiven and forgotten. In the way that a person who has come through a prolonged and terrible illness forgets the days and nights and nights and days filled with misery and fever, nausea and dread, does not retain the abject fear that had ricocheted up and down their spinal column as they crawled around on the filthy bathroom floor, dry heaving. How one consigns to oblivion the body memories of lying in the stripped bed, on their cousin’s couch, on lounge chaises beneath a sweltering sun sweating out the sickness, pressed uncomfortably into a plastic chair wrapped in a lap blanket stiff with vomit in the Emergency Department waiting for the triage nurse to get off the fucken phone and take the medical insurance card out of their shaking hand. How one doesn’t recall the image of sitting with bowed head, clenched closed eyes, humming a dark Bauhaus tune to block out whatever the doctor is belaboring and diagnosing, threatening long-term damage wrought by short-term malady. The convalescence of the broken-hearted not recollected.

Forgetting pain so overwhelming that it rendered them delirious. Babbling, babbling. Disremembering how they begged for death.

That had been throughout the spring and summer of the previous year. When she left. He had forgiven her when she returned and forgiven his knees for buckling when he opened the door, to find her standing on the front stoop, on the autumnal equinox. Leaves falling like a slow-motion moldy rain all around her. He reached deep for a coolness that belied the febricity he suffered, standing back and opening the door with a gentlemanly flourish, nearly suffocating as she danced through and did a pretty pirouette in the foyer, before leaping into his arms. Once he could breathe again, he said, “hey girl.”

The fall became an endless celebratory homecoming, champagne for breakfast, bouquets of sidewalk-vended flowers and surprise velvet boxes of jewelry. Gouts of supplication and gratitude. He lit candles and made offerings to whatever god or goddess had returned her to him.

Winter rose up out of the earth and he watched, stricken, as she grew thinner and tired quickly, easily. All-night soirees became early-evening café visits, next-day late lie-ins with uneaten dessert crepes for breakfast on a tray, espressos for energy, milk tea and afternoons of sitting on the screened porch under vintage fur throws while he read and read and read out loud to her until his library was depleted and his throat raw. Then she would take up her deck of divination and deal out their futures and she would read to him. He didn’t want the foreordination, he wanted to know who he had been before she appeared. The Magician? The Emperor? Death?

And now summer was creeping up on them. Again. He cursed the way the earth turned and traveled within its groove. He prayed for overcast days, rain, snow, hail, sleet and nights filled with thunder, lightning and violent windstorms.

He could feel his guts clenching in anticipation, waking each night at the end of wintertide, bathed in a cold sweat, kicking off the clammy sheet of it, to lie panting and ruined beside her, listening with all his might to the air moving in and out of her perfect mouth, her exquisite nostrils, her elegant diaphragm.

 “Tell me,” he begged of her, “that everything is ok.”

“Ok?” She asked, not answering.

“Yes, please.” He pressed his ear against her face, too hard against her lips, against her teeth. It was hardly night any more the sun rising earlier and setting later. He despised it. He put black-out curtains on the mental shopping list he kept.

“Nothing,” she whispered, “is ever ok in this world. Your world. But I’m ok. We’re ok. Everything is going to be ok.”

It wasn’t enough. “Just ok?” he asked, this time his voice breaking. He swallowed the slicing shards of it.

She laughed at him, the sound gentle and yet unapologetic. She pulled her body upright, out of his embrace, settling against the headboard. “Yes, just ok.”

He sat up beside her and poured her a glass of water from the carafe on the bedside table. It was filled with lemon slices and mint.

“Did you know that “ok” is the most commonly used word on Earth?” she informed him.

“We don’t use it that much here.”

“No? What word do you hear most often then?”

“Please. Please. Please.”

This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/337753.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
* THANK YOU to all who read, commented and voted this week! Very sad to see [personal profile] rayaso  leave, though. Idol is difficult in the unusual way that 99% of us are friends and genuinely like one another and truly enjoy one another's writing. The elimination process is difficult. But the game is still such a worthwhile venture for a writer, or a budding writer. Fiction or non-fiction, poetry even song-writing. I have nearly two hundred pieces of writing because of Idol. And a third of those are things that are in a folder to be returned to. I've had Idol pieces PUBLISHED. In real books on real bookshelves. I've been able to experiment with words in ways that give instant feedback. It's a hotbed for challenging yourself as a creative artist. It also encourages generosity of spirit which sometimes can be an issue for artists. I'm going to return and push you lot when the next season arrives! 

Now to figure out the succinct prompt due on Tuesday. EEP!  

* Kids are both home this weekend for Easter. My mother no longer wants to host any holiday dinner. We've done a fair share of Easter Sundays up here, but my youngest sister, who is local, just bought a mini-mansion last fall and has succumbed to pressure from my mother to do a holiday there. I say pressure because she's not really ever hosted anything and my mother wants her to try. She doesn't cook! This staggers me. She literally does not cook. She's a high-powered professional woman who married in her late 30s and had both her kids in her 40s. Her life is so unlike mine in every way that I can't really say what she should or should not do. Anyway, they're hosting a brunch tomorrow and they want everyone to bring a main "breakfasty" course??? Even both my kids. I don't even know what that means. I don't "do" potlucks. I serve the meal, the appetizers, the desserts and the booze. I don't necessarily know if this is good or bad, it's just what I do, and what my mother has traditionally done. So, I'm not sure what tomorrow is going to look like. My family is sad about missing out on a ham dinner. I've purchased a ham and am going to bring that. Kidling1 is bringing mimosas, and Kidling2 is making deviled eggs. Will this suffice??

* Still devouring short stories, especially those of the dirty realism bent. These are not easy stories. I say devour but that isn't correct. One, maybe two, a day are the most one can ingest. These short prose pieces are akin to gut punches and you have to be able to take a punch. They hurt and they bruise and are tender afterwards. How's that for a mixed analogy? LOL. Anyone else care deeply for this genre? Who do you count as the best? And what do you recommend?  This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/337545.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Vote Vote Vote!

* This is for the Final 4 for this mini-season of Idol and a money prize! How cool is that?! Does having a cash prize change the game? It hasn't seemed to. And teasers are already being put out for the full season that is around the corner! We need more writers - I hope the writers on the flist consider this "game" next time around.

In the meantime - the poll is up. Please click through and vote and thank you!

therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1061039.html



* This week's piece is quite dark and features a character that I've written about before. I need to find out what this particular character wants/needs from me in the way of prose representation. This guy is appearing more often for me lately when I'm in a "dark" mood than my old standbys - the black dog, Hades/Persephone, and of course, my goat-footed Muse. 

* I had only a day to write because of LONG BIRTHDAY WEEKEND. Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was nice, kids were here, my sister was not, and that's a dramatic story of another time. I last saw her on Christmas Day and she lives twenty minutes away. Anyway, we had a great dinner on Saturday. D's mother came up and was pretty sad, her brother passed away last week. She and my mom spent the afternoon together and I think it was good for them.

* My mother is still struggling and I'm still spending one night a week down at her home with her. It hasn't gotten easier. But this week seemed a bit better. I'll take all the progress or positivity I can.

* Although we were both so deeply saddened by the fire at Notre Dame. We did as so many others, got out the photo albums and remembered our time in Paris and with Our Lady. It is such a mystical building. It's somber and thoughtful, somehow even with shoulder to shoulder tourists quietly looking up up up at the ceiling arching above everyone's heads and now up to the vault of Heaven. 

* Has anyone seen the strange Dracula starring Dan Stevens? Because I'm just not sure....

This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/337045.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Apr. 11th, 2019

Last few hours to vote in this week's Idol poll! Click through, read the six entries, comment for the writers and then VOTE!!! Thanks to those who have already voted *kisses* and thanks to those who might have time today!

therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1058515.html


* Okay, hive mind, D and I are BORED by TV and we have decided we want to try....gaming. I'm not joking. Neither one of us has a zot of experience with games, controllers, consoles. BUT, we want to learn this skill! So, what do you guys suggest? I know some of you are serious pros and I want ALL your comments and thoughts! I don't care for zombies, or really brutal shooter games. Adventure might be fun! Problem-solving. We like myths. And D is interested in the shooter stuff...so that's not a deal breaker. I'm ready to drop the benjamins!  This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/336567.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

READ COMMENT VOTE!!!

Six competitors left in Idol! This week we are losing one. I urge you all to click through, read each entry and comment, then return to the poll and VOTE!!! Thank you!

therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1058515.html



* It's still raining up here. So much water! 

* The cemetery association is undergoing changes and I'm now assistant-Sexton. Yes, this is BIG news, but tempered by the amount of work involved and the fact that I'm the only one willing/able to do it. Data processing and disseminating said data to our small group. It's also forcing the other Sexton to deal with his alpha male tendencies and that's been amusing to watch, at least. This is going to add to my workload. But I'm committed to the mountain graveyard and want to do the part that I can in ensuring that things run efficiently and smoothly and can be handed off to future board members. 

* Busy day - Little Dog to the vet for a follow up, then back here, then down to my mother's. All while dodging raindrops. 



This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/336185.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Reading, Commenting, Voting!

It's hard to believe we have reached the Top Ten in Idol! And actually the top ten is the Top Eight! It's been some damned good writing and reading for these past five months and there are a few weeks left yet. I urge you to click through the link, read the entries, comment and then vote!

therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1055546.html


Thank you!

* I enjoyed working on this week's prompt. I'm trying to shave things down to the shortest, sharpest shock. I can't quite hit 500 words, but I'm trying. I want to keep the lyrical prose, if I can, but craft a really succinct short piece of fiction. It's a challenge! I've been reading so many short story collections and I'm beginning to lean towards that craft. More now than I ever have in the past. That's a new thing for me and I've been trying to explore my change of attitude about the short form. For so long, I fought against it, believed the novel to be the worthier goal, strained in my fetters to reach huge word counts and berated myself each time I fell short. Far short. So, is it an ego thing? I can't write long so I'm going to venerate those who write short? I don't honestly know. I do know that the form suits me these days, both reading and writing. I see the craft in it, the same way one sees the skill in the poetic form, and seeing the maker thrills my head and heart. Here's some of what I've been reading, most of it Dirty Realism:

Tobias Wolff - THE MASTER. Ignore all those academicians and misled hipsters who would sneer Raymond Carver's name in your face. They are WRONG. Wolff owns the genre of Dirty Realism. He really does. His work is a gut punch that puts you in the mental hospital. Research this writer and find his work. If you only ever read one of his pieces, make sure that it's Bullet in the Brain.

Raymond Carver - Obviously. The man they had us venerating in uni in the 80's. And he IS good, of course he is. He's BRILLIANT. But...he isn't Wolff. I think he wanted to be Richard Brautigan, but that's another post. Read his collection "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" and his death poems.

Colin Barrett - The astonishing Irish voice. Gritty gritty and oh so painfully beautiful. "Young Skins" is a heart-rending collection. Read it.

John Collier - I have [personal profile] mallorys_camera to thank for this gem. Not sure what they are teaching in regards to the short form these days, but I hope Collier is on that list. The forerunners of flash fiction. This man's imagination and wit are second to none. I think [personal profile] rayaso would do gleeful backflips if he read this guy's work. 

And there are more, of course. My rec for anyone wanting to really get into the short form is to read Wolff and Carver. And then subscribe to The New Yorker. Ignore the political grandstanding *gag* but devour the writing. Because the short story is worshipped in The New Yorker and the offerings are divine. Glorious really. 

* I've been listening to classic Van -



This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/335717.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
The last poll in this five-poll long Week 17 that has lasted more than a week is finally here! Please click through and vote vote vote!


therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1053594.html


Thank you!


* WTH is Tin Star?? I mean, seriously, what the hell is that show? Like everyone else, I have mad love for Tim Roth and will watch him drenched in blood in any show, but the plot device isn't making a lick of sense. Anyone else watch this? 

* I'm also on a rescue reality kick. The Horn is gorgeous and Bondi Beach has gorgeous creatures in it and Heavy Wreckers makes me want to drive a heavy wrecking tow. 

* In a series of comedic events which aren't even funny, a 6L of laundry detergent emptied itself out onto the laundry room floor. I have no words adequate to describe to you how much thick goopy liquid that is. I stood there gobsmacked for minutes before I could even begin contemplating the cleaning up. And there is no way to ever clean it up entirely short of burning down the house. It's an insidious concoction. It's in the cracks between the planks, it's under the baseboards, it's under the washer and dryer, it's in the dog food cabinet. It's filling up a ginormous bowl and I don't have a funnel. 




This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/334736.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

This is a crazy Idol week of reading and voting. Today's poll is for my Vigilance piece in which I wanted to peel back a modern day Elektra complex and take a closer look. Please click through and vote! You can access all the entries via the poll by clicking on the link that will take you to each player's post. And thanks!

therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1051975.html



* We've all got some kind of icky crud here. Thought I was going to dodge it but nope. Woke up yesterday with a headache so pounding that it made my physically ill. Spent the day next to the woodstove trying to knit for the great-nephew and watching all the Underworlds because hells yes. There simply is not enough good werewolf stuff out there. Although, to be fair I wanted to watch The Wolfman but didn't want to cough up the ducats and I couldn't find my copy of In the Company of Wolves. 

* I'm coming to a new place with my writing. I'm not ready to talk about it. Yet. But when I am I'm going to discuss it in an attempt to have the Universe keep me honest. I have to do something with all these words and I have to start doing that something now with a birthday less than one month away. It's either that or build a mad scientist lab in the turret so that I can make a turn-back machine. Of sorts. I dunno. 

* Okay, how come no one is talking about Gervais' "After Life"? Not for everyone, I get that. But those of us who love wicked sarcasm, Ricky Gervais, British village life, and dread the idea of debilitating grief but also accept it should be raving about this small series. More of a movie with five intermissions. I loved every second of it. Except for the baby who looks like Hitler because I didn't understand that. Especially in these current horrifyingly frightening times of rising anti-semitism. But maybe that was the point? Cluelessness? Anyway. It's dark but boy is it good. That experience of simultaneously crying and smirking. 

* I've been needing something musically and I just could not figure out what it was. Then I was roused in the middle of the night a few nights back by the dream radio and what I needed was Kate Bush (QUEEN) so that's what I've been listening to. Lots and lots of Kate -



This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/334186.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 and, because it's the appropriate to this situation, the Lawrence Kasdan quote: 

"Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life"














This entry was originally posted at https://bleodswean.dreamwidth.org/334039.html. Please comment there using OpenID.