Zipping Through April

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Well, this is it! The very last letter of the alphabet and the very last day of April. It’s been a wonderful month, and more on that on Monday (I assume. I don’t know. I say these things like I’m planning, but anyone who’s been reading me this month knows better).

And on to May, and opening night for our sketch comedy show, one week from today!

April was one of the fastest months on record, time speeding up at a pace enough to make you wonder if any clocks would survive. For me, May will be about watching this show come to life, about watching nature come back to life, and probably about cleaning.

It should really be about cleaning.

Oh and maybe some writing. Ah yes. Writing. That thing I do. With my keyboard. And my imagination. Where did I leave that again?

A happy Z to all, and to all a good Z.

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

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Y is for yellow. Sorta.

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Y is yelling at me because I am being slow and am yet to create a post. So I decided that I would go easy on all of us, we who have read at least nine million words this month in blogmiles alone, and go with pictures. Pictures with yellow. Mind you, I haven’t selected the photos yet, so let’s see how this goes!

Oh and a quick note on Jane Storegoer and the Cone of EvilHer story will continue, stay tuned to find out how and when!

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Look. I’m kinda pale yellow.

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No question. Yellow here!

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I’m tiny! See my yellow? SEE IT?

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I could attack a medium-sized city if I only had some toxic waste.

n or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

For X, I’m X-tending…The Continuing Story of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil

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2812307328_e98beafab9I know, I know, I could choose a legitimate obscure word that legitimately starts with X, but I’ve got to admit, the strange little tale I concocted while illustrating villains spurred ideas in me like…well, like ice cream spurs cellulite (it totally doesn’t. I swear. I just made that up for literary purposes. Ice cream is awesome. Well, most ice cream).

So I am “X”-tending it. I hope it amuses you as much as it amuses me.

For anyone who missed it, here it is, Part 1 of The Continuing Story of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil:

Jane went to the store. Jane dug an ice cream cone out of the deepest corner of the freezer, loosening the ice around it to pry it out.

“How dare you disturb my frozen rest!” the ice cream cone bellowed, shooting a barrage of sprinkles at Jane. She felt herself growing cold. “I curse you, I curse you, Jane Storegoer, and all of your descendants. My expiration date, long since past, earned me eternal freezitude, and you have defrosted it.”

Jane tried to loosen her grip on the cone, but like a tongue on a cold fence pole, her hand stayed put. The shelves around her wavered and dissolved into a crystal white, extending far beyond her sight above her. The ice cream cone grew and grew until it towered, glaring down at her with its peanut eyes. Walled in on all sides, ice clumped like boulders along the vertical expanse, she felt a smooth surface beneath her feet. It gave slightly.

“Where are we?” she said. She bent, brushing the fallen ice beneath her shoes. Was that…an Amy’s frozen Breakfast Scramble box? “Is this the freezer? Am I in the freezer?”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” laughed the ice cream cone evilly.

“But if I’m in the freezer, how can you curse my descendants? I don’t have any, unless you count my parakeet. You wouldn’t count a parakeet, would you? I think there’s something wrong with this plan here.”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” said the ice cream cone again, mainly for emphasis.

***

And on to Part 2:

“I really wish you’d stop doing that,” Jane said, crisscrossing her forearms to rub her goose-pimpled flesh with her numbing fingers. She shouldn’t have left her jacket in the car. But it was a warm day, and she was only running in for an ice cream cone.

“I’ve been practicing my laugh for centuries,” the cone said, one sprinkled eyebrow arched high, “and I’m going to make the most of it.”

“You’ve been in this freezer?” Jane leaned against the freezer wall, but as the ice bit into her back, thought better of it.

“Yep.” The ice cream cone nodded, which looked mainly like the ice cream trying to wobble its way off the soggy waffle base.

Eyes narrowed, Jane angled her head. “For centuries?”

“Yah-huh.” With scrunched frosty lips, the ice cream cone leaned menacingly toward Jane. “Got a problem with that?”

“Yeah. Freezers have only been around for like, a hundred years or something.”

“I’ll have you know the first ice-making machine was invented in 1854!” the cone roared, close enough to Jane to cast her in a cloud of his chilly vanilla-scented breath.

She stepped a tad closer to the cone to get another whiff of a delicious exhale, the box under her bowing a little more. “But that’s not a freezer. And it’s not even enough to say ‘centuries.’ One-and-a-half, tops.”

“It’s called hyperbole!” Like a simmering volcano of frozen confection, a flow of chocolate fudge started at the top of his swirly peak and ran slowly down, gliding lumpily over the sprinkles. Jane couldn’t take her eyes off it. “Do not underestimate powers of my creamy magic!”

Without even thinking, Jane took another step nearer, reaching out with curved fingers for a swipe of that enticing chocolate rivulet.

“Do you have to yell everything? We’re in a closed freezer, I can totally hear–” is as far she got, as the frozen breakfast box buckled beneath her. Down, down she plunged. She clawed at the remains of the box, trying desperately to slow her descent, the soggy cardboard tearing away in her hands.

***

Yeah, I know. I have no idea what happens in my head either. Have we seen the last of Jane? Or the Cone of Evil? Only time will tell! Stay tuned. Or not, if evil ice cream cones totally aren’t your thing.

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

Waning with W

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By Art Lupinacci (OTRS email 2015090710009336) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Here we are at the bottom end of the alphabet, the final letters of the A-to-Z blogging challenge. It’s an end with which I am well-acquainted, always being one of the last when we went in alphabetical order in school. Except when a kind teacher decided on reverse-alphabetical order.

Ah, those were the days.

So with the challenge now waning, it’s a good chance to think about what we’ve gotten from it, in addition to all of our lovely new blogging friends (hi new blogging friends!).

I’ve seen little chunks of the world I never would have otherwise seen; read poetry, flash fiction, micro-fiction and micro-micro-fiction; learned about a range of topics from the very heavy (child/sexual abuse) to the informative and practical (crafts, cooking, writing); and have had the chance to share other people’s unique and entertaining memories.

It’s been a great month.

But I’ve also learned a lot about my own blogging, and perhaps that’s the point. For example, I’ve decided I like pictures in my posts. And they don’t always have to be my pictures either. Like that amazing moon.

I’ve learned I’m not much of a topic blogger, though I probably already knew that, and that I enjoy starting my day blabbering about whatever is crowding in my head at the moment. Having a letter made it easier to focus on that.

How about you? What thoughts do you have on the challenge now that it’s nearly over? And if you’re not an A-to-Z Challenger, what has it been like reading the posts? Have you found new fun blogs from the comments? (If not yet, I highly recommend it!)

Final hours! Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) is $0.99 through the end of today, April 27!

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out my other full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

 

Villainous V

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skull icecream colorized yellow pinkYou can’t have a story without conflict. I mean, I guess you could, but I’m not sure how far it would go or how interesting it would be. Let’s try it:

Jane went to the store. Jane dug an ice cream cone out of the deepest corner of the chest freezer, loosening the ice around it to pry it out. Jane paid for the ice cream cone, got in her car, and drove home.

Whew. I don’t know about you, but that had me on the edge of my seat. So how do you get conflict?

Add a villain:

Jane went to the store. Jane dug an ice cream cone out of the deepest corner of the freezer, loosening the ice around it to pry it out.

“How dare you disturb my frozen rest!” the ice cream cone bellowed, shooting a barrage of sprinkles at Jane. She felt herself growing cold. “I curse you, I curse you, Jane Storegoer, and all of your descendants. My expiration date, long since past, earned me eternal freezitude, and you have defrosted it.”

Jane tried to loosen her grip on the cone, but like a tongue on a cold fence pole, her hand stayed put. The shelves around her wavered and dissolved into a crystal white, extending far beyond her sight above her. The ice cream cone grew and grew until it towered, glaring down at her with its peanut eyes. Walled in on all sides, ice clumped like boulders along the vertical expanse, she felt a smooth surface beneath her feet. It gave slightly.

“Where are we?” she said. She bent, brushing the fallen ice beneath her shoes. Was that…an Amy’s frozen Breakfast Scramble box? “Is this the freezer? Am I in the freezer?”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” laughed the ice cream cone evilly.

“But if I’m in the freezer, how can you curse my descendants? I don’t have any, unless you count my parakeet. You wouldn’t count a parakeet, would you? I think there’s something wrong with this plan here.”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” said the ice cream cone again, mainly for emphasis.

***

So I think we can all agree I’m having a weird morning. That aside, without an antagonist, your protagonist has nothing to do. Enter the villain. In this case, an ice cream cone. And here’s the thing about villains: they need to have their own agendas.

Villains need to be as complex as heroes. They need to have a why; that they’re just plain evil is as unsatisfying in fiction as it is in life. Our ice cream cone just wants to rest.

Or does it?

Big news! Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) is $0.99 for a limited time!

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out my other full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

 

 

U: The Power of a Prefix with Un

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Nope. I have nothing to do with post. I'm just a bird...UNrelated. Ha! Take that, "bird brain."

Nope. I have nothing to do with post. I’m just a bird…UNrelated. Ha! Take that, “bird brain.”

Quick reminder, if you need a brain massage, Aunty Ida is only 99 cents for a limited time! Warning: she practices deep tissue massage. Deep, deep tissue.

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Done. Told. Easy.

Undone. Untold. Uneasy.

There’s something in the prefix “un” that takes a very hard, concrete word and softens the edges, releases the borders until it’s more nebulous. Take the first word in that series, “done.”

Feel how compact it is. In that single syllable, there’s completion. Done.

But stick “un” in front of it, and suddenly everything that was sure is now…unsure. Undone. Not a hint of how or how much, just that something that was whole is not anymore. Someone who was whole isn’t anymore. Undone.

“Told” and “easy” do the same. Told is one of those words without equivocation, it even has its when built in. Yet when “un” attaches to it, it morphs into something else entirely. Untold isn’t even the opposite of told, it’s its own independent creature. And when you think about it, makes sense, because “told” is so firm, it cannot be reversed. Untold can contain the universe.

Easy is soft and laid-back, but is still firm about it. There’s no argument with easy. Easy is as it is, and the world is smoother for it.

But uneasy.

Uneasy fills the corners full of shadows. Uneasy sends the clouds across the sun on an otherwise bright day. Uneasy twists the fine into something that isn’t.

Just two little letters can turn a word inside out and twist it into something entirely new. That is the mighty power of “un.”

Big news! Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) is $0.99 for a limited time!

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out my other full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

A Tail Tale

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Reminder! Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) is 99 cents for a limited time! Get your copy now while it’s…whatever temperature digital books are!

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20160415_161513So I was just taking a walk the other day, and I turned my head and saw this guy. I looked at him and he looked at me. I pulled out my trusty cell phone camera, took a couple of shots blind — the glare was so strong I couldn’t see what I was shooting — and we continued our assessment of one another.

Chattering a bit to him or herself, or maybe grumbling, because that’s what it sounded like, it then climbed its way up and over the top of the fence. Given that it was a nocturnal animal out in the bright sunlight of day, exhibiting absolutely no fear of me, I promptly left it it to its climbing. I had no interest in playing the rabies lottery.

It went one way down the walking path and I went the other. I looked at it, down the narrow way, unconcerned in its stroll, its tail up, its stride steady and confident. People were coming. It didn’t care, on it went, the sun lighting the tips of its fur.

Maybe it didn’t have rabies. Maybe it was just a city raccoon with a rebellious side enjoying some of the day life.

Big news! Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) is $0.99 for a limited time!

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out my other full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!