“To Sleep, Perchance to Dream…” Shakespeare’s Hamlet

fairy 2
Image Courtesy of Canva.com

I’ve been sitting here staring at this picture, and trying to figure out what words I want to use for this post.

Yesterday’s in-my-head draft was so clear but didn’t hold up today.

I know I want to post something, but everything is all reflection and inner worlds and impossibilities and dreams all surrounded by the discomfiting reality of the world-as-is that doesn’t make sense anymore, if it ever did.

So, even though there’s not much I believe in these days, there’s a little part of me that always hopes the winter season will bring some transformative magic.

Maybe this year…

Best wishes for what’s left of 2021…

Cozy
Photo Courtesy of Canva.com

Talkin’ Turkey #TurkeyFreeThanksgiving

 

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/turkey-free-thanksgiving-fourth-thursday-in-november/

Well, I don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving, but I did kinda want to have something a little different then my usual burritos this week, so I kitchen-indulged in a “Stir-Fried Radish” recipe that was posted up over at Tanooki Homemade Cafe: https://tanookihomemadecafe.wordpress.com/2021/10/01/stir-fried-dried-radish/.

I tweaked the recipe a teeny bit, and used fresh radish and mushrooms–mainly because I decided to do this last-minute–so if you want the authentic dried ingredients the recipe suggests, they’re on the original blog post link I shared above.

And I didn’t have any sake to accompany the meal. The grocery store didn’t carry anything other than “some beer” according to the staff person I asked. They suggested going to a local liquor store, but, you know, going to a liquor store during these (COVID/Mass Extinction/Climate Emergency/Liberal-Democrat-Vegetarian-Living-In-Red-State/Insert-Your-Own) times would have probably meant I would have walked out with not only sake, but something like this or just the whole kit and kaboodle.

Anyhoo, the stir-fried radish dish was heavenly, so thanks again, Tanooki Homemade Cafe, for the great meal opportunity! I’d definitely make this again.

So, yeah, it probably goes without a reminder that I’m vegetarian, and even if I weren’t, being up close and personal with a family member’s rescued (They were strays. Seriously.) turkey(s) would make me have second thoughts. Who knew turkeys made such interesting and charismatic pets?

These turkeys were (with a turkey-ton of creative license) the inspiration for the story I wrote for Jersey Pines Ink’s Whodunit anthology (“Two Smart Turkeys”). Care to feast on your own copy? Check it out here: https://bookshop.org/books/whodunit-9781948899161/9781948899161,

And, I have successfully (well, as of today) weaned myself off TV. I already didn’t have cable, but I’ve been renting DVDs from the absolutely fabulous Wichita Public Library System (my most favourite thing about Kansas, so far), so I switched them out for audio books. But for some reason, my quirky calico Moon Pie is not so fond of lap- and brushie time to the accompaniment of audio books, so I may cave and go back to renting DVDs.

The things we do for our pets, right?

And with the cold weather, I’m enjoying curling up with a book (and a few cats!).

As I commented on Twitter, I think this book titled Omens would be a good choice for winter reading, right? Check out the Antimony and Elder Lace Press store, for Omens and all their other great books: https://aelpress.com/index.php/store/.

Yes, it’s got my story in it, too, but I am so thankful for all the publishers that have included my stories in their anthologies, journals, and online publications. I need to update my “Wordcraft” page with my more recent publications and, yes, I’ve being meaning to redesign it…

Thank you to all the great publishers/publishing companies out there, including the absolutely amazing one my alter ego (alter alter-ego?) works for, Bronzeville Books. I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunities you all have provided.

Happy feasting, everybody! Thanks for all the support over the years/months/days!

 

Wednesday’s Book Look–Unburied: A Collection of Queer Dark Fiction

I’ve been a little off-kilter lately. First the time change, and now temperatures are rising, and it seems winter has left. While I like all things nature-related, winter and autumn are my favourite seasons.

I miss cold, crisp days, and walking in the snow, and eating dinner when it’s actually dark out.

And so it was chillingly comforting when I read Unburied: A Collection of Queer Dark Fiction.

The characters were like the voices of friends, by virtue of their shared experiences that were revealed in many of the stories.

Yes, the content was dark, but it also felt like some mysterious, imagined presence had appeared, wrapped a blanket around my shoulders, and whispered to me “you are not alone”.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been a little discombobulated lately. Reading this collection of stories was not only a haunting experience, but a visceral one as well.

Sure, I could talk a lot more about this anthology. But it’s proving to be a bit of a challenge, because my readerly experience went deep. And I’d rather listen, anyway. Listen to all the authors’ voices, as they tell their stories. Stories that remind me that I’m not so alone, after all.

Special thanks to Editor Rebecca Rowland for the advance reader’s copy.

You can dig up a copy for yourself when it releases June 1: https://rowlandbooks.com/unburied. Because, admit it, we could all use a little less “alone time” and a little more community, about now.

Am I right, or am I right?

Six Degrees of…Neighbours!

A festive winter season to all!

If there’s magic of the season floating about, I hope it finds you!

And me…to be honest.

If I were to make a holiday wish, it would be to live surrounded by nature, with a whole lot trees and flowers and animals and plants and insects for neighbours. And lots and lots of unkempt ‘weeds’ and brambles and thickets.

That was one of the hard things I found about the place where I lived before. When I first moved to New Mexico, I expected it to be the wild and untouched vista you see on TV. It’s the desert, I assumed in my naivety, who landscapes the desert? I thought it was going to be a much-welcomed vacation from leaf blowers and weed whackers and the suburban mania for perfect lawns/landscaping that was characteristic of Florida.

New Mexico wasn’t my ideal locale, but the spot that I lived was quiet and peaceful and there was even a creek close enough to make things a little green to ameliorate the brown upon brown upon brown landscape. And a beautiful meadow full of flowers and lovely waving grasses and even deer. It was like right out of Bambi. But, sadly, it didn’t last long. Soon the meadow fell to the weekly weed whackers and not only was the peace ruined by the drone of leaf blowers but there were pesticides being sprayed to the extent that, one day, a worker in a white hazmat suit with a hose attached to a truck was dousing everything in sight. 

Ugh. 

(Yes, there’s a point to this story. And not just me characteristically kvetching on Christmas Eve. Keep reading!)

And don’t get me started on the snooping around and the internet sabotage and lots of other weirdness going on.

So, when I begun Good Neighbors* by Sarah Langan, I didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into. That I was going to be immersed in a chilling thriller that was uncomfortably and yet wonderfully-spooky close to home.

Of course, Sarah Langan’s Maple Street suburban community takes things to a horrifying extreme after an equally terrifying and tragic event, but the seeds were there. Tiny little mowed-to-an-inch-of-their-lives seedlings, but still, I would swear the mentality was the same. Or that my creative writer’s imagination decided it was going to believe as I clung to the pages of Langan’s book late at night. (I think this was the week I had a couple of nightmares, mind you.)

As a result, this was one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a while. I was both haunted by never-happened memories of suburbanites coming for me in full lethal force and it made me even more nervous about my move to a perfectly manicured residential complex.**

On top of that, I related so much to the Wilde family in the book, as one misfit to another.

A misfit dreaming of a place where I feel I belong. Where I fit. Where I’m safe and sound and have my happily ever after. Not just me, but for the wildling animals and trees and plants and insects and all other non-human life forms. Because they belonged here first.

That’s my magical winter season wish.

(*I believe I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway, but with all the craziness of the out-of-state move for internet and cell phone service and jobs, I lost track, unfortunately.)

(**The oddest part of all of this, is that within this landscaped, water-hungry, pesticide-reliant area I relocated to, I have not heard ONE leaf blower since I moved in. Or weed whacker, or lawnmower, or even apocalyptic-looking people in white hazmat suits spraying clouds of pesticides over every square inch of the compound. How’s that for irony?)

Oh, here’s the book link for Good Neighbors. Read it, even if you live in suburbia. It’s so good. (Especially if you need a break from all the “goodwill towards men”.) https://bookshop.org/books/good-neighbors-9781982144364/9781982144364

Now I’m going to go keep watch for any creepy, hostile neighbours. (Though I think the recent spate of earthquakes were a little more terrifying than obsessive suburbanites.) Let me know what you think about the book, if you read it!

And for more tragic ‘fun’ in the suburbs, you could always follow up your read with Penelope Spheeris’ Suburbia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086589/.

Winter Solstice and Ice Dreams…

I hope you all are enjoying this winter solstice and have hot chocolate and blankets ready for the conjunction viewing tonight. Alas, there is so much light pollution here, and my new locale is lit up so brightly I’m surprised you can’t see it from outer space.

There’s a little teeny part of me that’s expecting something momentous to happen, even though I fall more on the skeptic’s side of things. But I’ll settle for the veil between worlds to thin so that I can spend some time with my ghost cats of season’s past. I miss them.

I don’t even know about the veil-thinning thing, but I have been thinking a lot about the past. Many of my poems have elements taken from experiences I’ve had in the past, and turned into what-might-have-been second chances, or alternate dimensions.

The spec fic story (“The Ice Dream of the Crow”) I wrote for Excalibur’s Books’ Phantom Games: Dimensions Unknown 2020 was inspired by my grandmother’s boyfriend Ernie (he died some time ago). As the story goes, he was an excellent skater, and worked at the Lake Placid Olympics. From the family’s written record of the story, he laid the flag under the ice, and escorted Sonja Henie onto the ice. He was gifted an ice skater ornament for his work on the Olympics, which is still in the family.

So, if you’re looking to escape into an alternate reality and want to experience a fictional journey to the Games, and can’t wait for them to start next year, check out the anthology by clicking on the link here: Phantom Games: Dimensions Unknown 2020 or here https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Games-Dimensions-2020/dp/B08KQP53X2/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Thanks, and enjoy the rare conjunction tonight! Merry solstice!