Is Space Important?

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To space or not to space? That is the question.

And no, I don’t mean one or two spaces between sentences in your manuscript (this is a real dilemma, honestly). I am talking about your space.  Your spot away from the hustle and bustle of families, pets, coworkers, and idiots with whom we share the road (nice turn signal, jerk!).  Yes, sometimes we want to crawl under our desk, or maybe into the linen closet (maybe with some NyQuil – it’s not really booze, right?) and just die forever and ever sleep until we wake up and all the stress is gone and we feel refreshed and fuzzy and… wait.

Everything is exactly as it was before I went into my NyQuil induced coma.  Only now the kids and cat are covered in flour and feces.

Mother*&*$*^!

Ok.  Since NyQuil induced comas (and binge drinking our problems away) are frowned upon (and make things sh*tty – sometimes literally), the next best thing is to find a place to escape.  However, if you can’t hop on a plane or a cruise ship to a desert island or a mountain retreat after giving your co-workers and family the one finger salute, the next best thing is to create your own personal resort at home.

How?

Well, after you duct tape and/or hogtie everyone, throw them in the basement for at least ten minutes of silence (until they start screaming from below – clearly unaware of the rules of detention!) and emerge from your NyQuil fog, here are some tips:

  1. Find a spot, preferably with a door that closes… if not, just make sure you let the demon spawn and others in the domicile know that closed door means no engagement (unless the house is on fire – then, maybe).
  2. If you have hobbies or are working on a project (book, art, music, human dissection) this is the place to set up.  A nice desk, table or slab is perfect for the elements of your future braingasms to spill out into creation.
  3. Make it your own!  Do you like flowers?  How about music? Retro band posters (I have a giant Slayer poster on my wall) are awesome.  Or maybe posters of roadkill… it really is all up to personal preference.

Once you figure out what your needs are, how to get a spot (even if it is a corner in the kitchen or basement) and make your personal boundaries clear to others, your creative muse will thank you. I believe space is important to most.  It is important to me and if you grew up having to share a room with a sibling (or a future serial killer) it is probably important to you! 🙂

As an introvert and borderline recluse, I enjoy having my own space to retire and unwind from the hustle, bustle and breathing of others. There are only so many grocery lines, coffee shops and parking lots I can handle on a given day.

Below are some pictures of my creaticave.

Good luck to you! And for Pete’s sake, remember to untie your family (duct tape removal optional) so they can eat (through a straw) or use the bathroom.

Blessed Be.

A Love and Enamorment of Bugs

I’m not sure what percentage I make up of the global population, or the national population, hell, the population of my city of people who ‘love bugs.’  I know that it is a small population (except for maybe entomologists) of strange and odd folks and I am one of them.

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When I was little, like most children, I was terrified of bugs.  More so, I was terrified of worms.  My mother would take my sister and me fishing and I refused to bait the hook.  Worms were slimy, shiny appendage-less aliens who wanted to suck my blood.

That was my theory.

I would scream if I saw a shad roach (water bug) in our kitchen (we lived close to the corner and sewer so we got a lot of them).  My mother nick named them ‘six dirty feet’ to make it a little more amusing.  Still, I hated those little shiny, black bastards and their damned feet.

Now, I can’t say I would welcome ‘six dirty feet’ of any kind into my home (shad roaches, cockroaches) because to me, those bugs represent dirt and dampness and my childhood and early years of my first marriage (things I would like to forget, thank you very much).

Spiders, stinkbugs, odd-looking bugs, caterpillars, moths, beetles, leaf bugs, cicadas… all those dudes. I love them.  I pick them up and inspect them.  I love Praying Manti as well, but I am also a stickler for superstition and will not disturb one unless it is unavoidable.  Still, my nerves get the best of me.

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Stag Beetle

Should I save a praying mantis or be doomed for all eternity? 

These are the types of questions that permeate my mind on a grand level.

But I digress.

We need bugs. The earth and all its occupants need six footed, eight footed, even thousand legged Hemiptera of all sorts because they help us more than we know.  They sustain life for other critters.  Honestly, everything on this planet helps everything else.

It’s funny… everything on this planet could live without humans, but humans could not live without everything on this planet.

Bees.

It kind of saddens me that so many people fear bugs and I think so many people fear bugs because they were taught to fear bugs.

Why are you afraid of bugs?

a) because they creep me out, man.

b) because they are ugly and gross.

c) I don’t know, I just am.  Isn’t everyone?

d) because my dad screams bloody hell and jumps around like a disco mouse when he sees one… and… isn’t that normal?

These are some common answers when asked.  I get it, I really do.  Bugs are creepy little critters that can show up in the darndest places and leave a person thinking, ‘how did you get here little guy?’ or grabbing matches and a can of hairspray and torching the whole place to the ground.

Is there an in between?  Yes, there is.   Freaking out over bugs is what a lot of people do… but before you go burning your house down or driving your car off a cliff, know that most bugs aren’t interested in you.  Some are, but the ones that scare the hell out of you most likely are not.

The only bugs that are interested in you are:

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Ticks, Fleas, Mosquitoes, Flies, Bed Bugs and Lice.  Four of these five live exclusively by drinking blood (flies eat other stuff).  These are bugs that I don’t like… these bugs are parasites that need a host to live but there are ways to keep them away from your person and your belongings.

So, good luck out there!  It is summertime which means lots and lots of buggies!  Keep yourself prepared for the pesky ones (in the picture above) and remember all the other ones aren’t interested in anything you have to do or say.

 

Flash Fiction – Crawling

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Photo: DAM Steelman

I came to the park to get away from stress.  Now here I lay, frozen on the mucky ground.  My brand new coat ripped and ruined.

Where the hell did that rock come from?  And who trips and falls on their back? Me.  That’s who. Well, at least the sky is blue.

Wait. What was that? Oh no.  I hear something in the brush next to me! I hope it is someone to help. Hello? can you hear me? I can’t move my legs.

No. No. No. Mr. Bear, please.  I just got this coat and it is so pretty! Don’t eat me.

Repost – Flash Fiction – The Darkness

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Image: forum.skyscraper.com

I’m sitting in the dark now.  It stopped raining about an hour ago.  People are walking up and down this quaint little street in Newtown, Pennsylvania.  I tried to walk; I really did.  But it was just too much for me.  All the people. Man, the people.  Their eyes boring through my skin began to drive me mad, you see.  I could see everything.  Everything!  All their sins, their heartbreak, their desires seeped into my soul like rain into the dry, cracked earth.  I had to get away you see.

Now, I am isolated with the memory of a thousand different stares beaming into my brain.  It is just too much!

There is only one way to get rid of this torment.  I have to cut it out.  I have to let the tears bleed out of my skin.  I must release the screams from my pores.

It is the only way…

 

 

 

Flash Fiction – The Leaf

(Repost from my old blog)
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Little Leaf

Carmine Carmichael smoked his last cigarette twenty minutes ago.  The sun rose above the row homes on Sutter Street as he sat down on the marble steps at the corner.  He hadn’t slept in three days, hadn’t eaten in two days and hallucinations were starting to begin.  His four-week old blue jeans felt crunchy as he ran his hands up his shins, to his knees and then his thighs.

A dead leaf blew down the sidewalk, past his battered sneakers and he thought of how peaceful the dead leaf must have felt. It was, after all, devoid of all feeling.  The leaf had lived its life on a tree somewhere as people passed it by without a thought.

Carmine knew exactly how that little leaf felt. Another leaf blew past and Carmine reached his filthy hand down and scooped it up with care. The weak stem felt dry in his fingers as he twirled it around, looking at the rips in the body of the little leaf.

“I’ll bet you were once so beautiful, little leaf, just like me.  I was a strong man once, little leaf.”

The little leaf stood lifeless in his fingers and Carmine felt his eyes well up as he clutched the leaf to his chest. Little leaf pieces fell to the ground as Carmine sobbed.

Footsteps echoed in the distance and Carmine put his filthy hands back on his thighs and watched the leaf blow away in a dozen pieces.  Carmine watched as shiny, pristine shoes stepped on and over the leaf.

Carmine knew just how that little leaf felt.

Regret – A Poem

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photo by DAM Steelman

I’ve seen so much in my short time…

Dug some ditches, walked the line…

My head drooped down, I cowered in fear…

Praying and hoping the end was near…

A switchblade smile and a melancholy laugh…

Always rewriting my epitaph…

I wear my heart on my sleeve with hate in my eyes…

Cursing you all under despondent sighs…

Why me? Why am I the chosen one?

This is not who I want to become!

But here I sit, on this lonely rock…

As the minutes go by, they tick and they tock…

I’m drunk again, and that feels right…

As the sun goes to sleep and awakens the night…

I think and cry and think some more…

As I make empty promises, to settle the score…

Tonight I will rest on this rock as I weep…

And pray the Lord my soul He will keep…

Flash Fiction – Repost – Rise and Fall

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watch the sunrise over the ocean like a wild animal creeping out of a forest den.  It will be full daylight soon and the pain will come.  Sure, I could run back inside and hide in the darkness of the cave. However, that would prolong the inevitable and I want to see the sun.

Last night got so out of control.  How could I let Lily go with the others? I could smell their abhorrent kindness. The way Kaud, the leader, stroked the small of her back as they walked into the cave drove me mad.

He knew it drove me mad and he knew I would do something foolish. What a foolish idea, charging at Kaud!

I heard Lily shout, “I never loved you, Vol.”

As Kaud broke my neck, Lily broke my heart.

Now, I stare at the sun, so blinding and pristine, as I whither to a pile of forgotten ashes.

(flash fiction piece from my old blog)

 

Flash Fiction – Repost – Between

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The Battle Continues

“So wait, I don’t understand. I can’t have any of them?”
“Oh, you can have a few, but not all the ones you think are bad.”
“Well, what about that one?” Evil said as he pointed to a small boy teasing a cat.
“Well, it’s like this. I can’t believe I have to continually explain this to you. They have free will. I can’t make them do anything. All I do is help them in ways they often do not understand.”
“So how are you helping that boy? Or better yet, the cat?” Evil rolled his eyes.
“That boy has a choice. Again, free will. I can do this,” Good said and made the breeze blow a giant branch from the tree. The branch startled the boy and the cat took off running.
“Nice,” Evil said. “It would have been better if the branch hit the boy in the head, but hey, to each his own.” Evil shrugged his shoulders and looked to the right of the Earth. “So wait, I don’t have anything to do with any of all these self-absorbed jerks roaming the planet?”
“Nope,” Good said and kicked back on a bright, puffy cloud. “It’s all their own doing. They’ll curse me and blame you. It happens all the time.”
There was a long silence and Evil said, “you wanna go mess with those people who won the lottery last week?”
Good shook his head and laughed, “Ok, come on. Let’s go pretend it’s all our doing again.”

Iffy Around People

So… I’m a writer… and an artist (kind of) and a bit of a photographer.   And I’m not sure if all of these things make me out of my effing mind, or because I am out of my effing mind, I can really love all of these things.  But I do and they really help me when I have to wind down from anything that freaks me the fuck out.  I love bugs too, but we can talk about that another time.

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Watercolor Marker Face by Me

Things that freak me the fuck out:

  • Groups of people.
  • Spontaneous plans.
  • A sudden change of plans.
  • Clowns.
  • Spontaneous plans that involve a group of clowns. *shudders*

And yes, being a writer, I kind of have to be around people because I write about people (unless I write a book of personification, but I personify my cat – and no one wants to read about that… trust me) and the silly, dumb, ridiculous, obnoxious things they do.

But the people thing is iffy for me… iffy because it is touch and go.  I can be in a group of people if I have notice.  The more notice the better, but I need at least 24 hours (gotta sleep on it).  I need this notice – this warning – because I need to store up a lot of energy and play out every ‘worst case scenario’ in my brain, mentally react to it and then file it away, and then re-react to a scenario I didn’t plan the worst about on my way to the event.

Sometimes, it is so bad:  I have actually driven by at least three or four gas stations until settling on one with no more than two or three cars in the lot/at the pump:

My truck: Yo.  I need gas.

Me:  I know, I know… but…

My truck: There’s one, a gas station.

Me: But… too many people.  We’ll find another one.

Truck: You’re ridiculous!

Me: *heavy sigh* I know… thanks for putting up with me. 

Truck: …

Ok, so clearly I personify more than my cat… but yeah, that’s a moment of a day in the life of afflicted me.

Before (like, a really really long time ago – almost 10 years!) I used to just get shit-faced drunk and then I could be around people (unless I was snorting cocaine – in which case, I couldn’t be around people) and who the hell knows how that turned out.  I was so drunk (frequently) that I’m assuming now (100% sober) that I was cool around people because I’m still alive and never went to jail.  And I absolutely should have went to jail at least two times.  Okay… maybe four times.

But again, it was always iffy.  If you get it, you’ll get it.  And if you don’t get it, you probably never ever will.  Ever. That’s something else I’ve learned.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him put on pajamas.

And, now I feel as though I am becoming condescending so I’ll see you around…

Flash Fiction – Repost – The Broken Road

There was this road; this cracked, steamy, dilapidated road that I had heard about in a bar about twenty miles outside of the small town of Centralia, PA.  The gentleman (and I use that term loosely) that spoke of the road was so inebriated, I could scarcely tell if he was just telling some whacked out story handed down through generations or if there was truth to the tale.

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But I had to know.  That was my nature.  I had to get to the bottom of everything.  So, like a snake slithering back into the trees, I slipped out of the bar unnoticed, and headed for Centralia. I drove around that bright, sunny Sunday afternoon and then I saw the sign:

CENTRALIA – 2 MILES

Yes!  I overheard the road was closed.  And why wouldn’t it be?  Apparently, it was in no condition to handle any kind of traffic.  There were cracks and graffiti; steam and overgrown weeds. I came around a bend and I saw the cemetery on Highway 61 that was mentioned. It was old Highway 61 I was searching for and it shot right off of new Highway 61.

I had made it!  I could go back to the city and tell everyone about the broken road I had stumbled upon.  Well, I could have.

You see, there was a large crack in the road, I hadn’t noticed it really, if you could believe that.  I was too busy gazing at all the profane graffiti on the sun-baked asphalt while catching glimpses of steam shooting out from cracks far down the broken road.

There was no rumble when the ground opened wide and swallowed me whole.  It was almost as if the broken road had been waiting to feast on something to quell its burning innards.

I always did have terrible timing.

(This Flash Fiction piece is from an old blog of mine called The Daily Woman)