Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Have ARCs. I'm Giving Them Away.

I have in my possession a vasty pile of ARCs that have come my way through various secret channels. Individuals have threatened me suggested that I should share the ARCs through a bloggy giveaway. And so I shall!

Here are the details.

You must answer a question related to one of the books I am giving away. For this giveaway, that question shall be: "If you were in the circus, what would your role be?" Post your silly, lyrical, or offensive reply in the comments. If there is an ARC title (listed below) that you desperately want, feel free to let me know.

I will package up all your replies and send them in a sack by eagle to Prague, where a wizened watchmaker I know from my days as an international spy/assasin will choose the winners and send them back to my via fast mail ship, sewn into the belly of a salted haddock. (Damn, that wasn't written right; ships don't fit inside haddocks! I meant to say "send them back, sewn into the belly of a salted haddock, via fast mail ship.")

One or more winners may be chosen. The exact number of winners is completely arbitrary and depend on how much postage I have at my disposal. If you win, I will contact you and you will send me your mailing address. Yes, you will! (Make sure I know how to contact you via your blog or an email address.)

If you spread the word via Tweets and such, you will get SUPER BONUS POINTS. Make sure to let me know so you can greedily claim your points.

You've gotta be a follower of "The Party Pony" blog to qualify. Otherwise, how are you going to know about future giveaways like this? There may be many such giveaways, because I have a black market flow of ARCs from my friends in the underworld. Just imagine your bookshelves: brimming, overflowing with treasures, toppling over and crushing your pet cats.

All of today's ARCs are YA/Middle Grade. Here is the list:

Circus Galacticus, By Deva Fagan (Pub date: November 14, 2011)

Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, By Curtis Jobling (Pub date: September 20, 2011)

The Inquisitor's Apprentice, By Chris Moriarty (Pub date: 10/2011)

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow, By Katy Towell (Pub date: August 23, 2011)

Wisdom's Kiss, By Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Pub date: 9/2011)

The Undrowned Child, By Michelle Lovric (Pub date: 8/2011)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Writing Is Like a River Trip

My blogger friend, the ever-inventive and imaginative and wildly funny Greenwoman, has come up with a new challenge. It's called Writing Is Not Like a Box of Chocolates: A Meme.

These are her rules:
"Take the phrase “Writing is like . . .” and finish it. Post it on your blog. Tag three others to do the same. That is all. See how easy that is?"

I know that Greenwoman expects me to say that writing is like dancing with goats wearing spangly pants, or like battling a woodchuck who keeps taunting me with a blank sheet of paper and rude hand gestures, or like wandering into a drainage ditch wearing my best Lilly Pulitzer frock—but finding a crop of diamonds and a chilled martini shaker at the bottom of the ditch.

There, now I've said all those things to please her, because she deserves it. But I'm going to write something else. Something "not silly" and "not funny." (Hold onto your party hats!) I'm used to being funny, so writing something "not funny" feels like I just tossed my pants into the hog pen and am standing here looking wan and dumb, and the scarecrow is giving me the leery eye. (Maybe this happens on Greenwoman's farm?)

Sometimes I don't gotta be funny. Here you go.

Writing is like paddling a canoe through a tract of waterways as vast as the world. Your boat moves through glades and narrow channels, whisking down rapids. You move north, ever north, through a landscape that you made and lost once in a dream.

At times, the river widens and spills you out onto a great body of water, and you are a small thing under a hollow and terrible bowl of sky. The distant shore cannot be seen, although you shade your eyes with your hand. You pull forward all the same. There is the outlet, there is the way home. The river closes around you once again, and the current takes you.

Sometimes you hear laughter and voices over the hedges that line the banks. One morning a dragonfly settles on the gunwale, and stirs its blue wings. You are lost, quite fully lost, and you know it. You can let the canoe drift in lazy, spinning circles, or you can paddle fierce and hard for the far shore.

Either way, you’ll get there. You will be carried. You will carry yourself, when the drought comes and dries up the riverbeds.

You emerge into a bright patch of sunlight and hear the buzz and fall of summer heat. Sometimes your boat slips down dim alleyways of water lined by stately trees. Sometimes it rains on the big lakes, and you pray you’ll make it home alive.

You might look over the edge of your boat one day and see a gift on the bottom of the shallow river, shot through with light. A bag of stones. A letter from a loved one. A ribbon, a coin, a flash of fish scales in the murk, falling down and down. Trivial, lovely.

You pull up your treasure. Your boat drifts, and the dusk falls. Your hands are dripping with discovery. You wonder: Who put this there? Who left this gift? Then you remember: You yourself dropped that bag of memory into the dark waters. You hid it there. Everything beautiful is waiting to be found.
Now I'm tagging three people who shall take this meme and run with it. They are:

Mary Frame
Because her excellent and helpful blog posts about the craft of writing lead me to believe her answer to this will be thoughtful and thought-provoking. (No pressure, Mary--if you want to say that writing is like a jar of pickles and not explain why, you go right ahead.)

Kalen O'Donnell
Because he's crazy! And he threatened me for my ARCs! So now I have him dart-gunned, bagged, and tagged. (By the way, his threats have paid out, and ARCs will be given away next week. Stay tuned.)

Tracey Hansen
Because she will do what I should have done and write something lewd, rude, and soaked in wine! I hope. Yes, please?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Big Fatass BEA Bookbags

Visited BEA 2011 yesterday for work purposes and found the place was lousy with literary agents. I passed one who has my full manuscript, another who holds a partial, another with a query. But could I speak to them? Nay! I did not want to be the wanna-be author going stalky-stalky in the fluorescence of the (horrible) Javits Center, leaping like a sweaty wildcat upon the unwary agent, two huge bags of ARCS and schwag swinging like fatass saddlebags from my shoulders:

"Um, um, um you read my BOOK yet? You got my book! You read it? HAVE YOU READ IT FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE? D'ya like it?! Can I use that table, over there, for my author signing?"

No, that would not be me, but the whole thing was tough. Everyone has nametags! And the agents' tags have a RED strip at the bottom of their badge, so you can spot them and get that little salivary stalking instinct. Also, the place is even lousier with authors than it is with agents, and they are published. People wait in line to get their signatures. This breeds jealousy, and jealousy hurts.

However, I am gulping down my jealousy to link to some new titles I received ARCs for and of which I heard much buzz/praise. I didn't get copies of everything I saw, because I couldn't carry any more with me. I found myself longing for an eReader, because the fatass bookbags I have mentioned knocked over some old and infirm people as I trudged to the subway after the event.

When She Woke, By Hillary Jordan (Algonquin Books)

(Note: This is the only book I have actually started reading of my new batch, and therefore it's at the top of my list.) I read Mudbound and loved it. So when I heard this new book was out, I darted right over to the Algonquin booth and pleaded for a copy. From page one, this book is intense and terrifying. A cross between The Hunger Games, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke opens with protagonist Hannah Payne awakening to find her skin, from head to toe, dyed a vivid red through a process called "chroming." She is a felon, convicted of murdering her unborn child, in a futuristic world where church and state are dangerously blurred. For thirty days, her imprisonment will be televised. Then she'll be released into the world, where an even more painful imprisonment will begin. I'll probably be up all night tonight reading this.

Bedbugs, By Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books 9/6/11)
From the author of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Everyone is terrified of bedbugs, so writing an "understated horror" novel about this topic is a stroke of brilliance. When I brought out the book and showed it to a few friends, they shuddered. One almost screamed, and said she stays up at night searching for bedbugs. In the book, a "perfect couple" in search of a dream brownstone in Brooklyn Heights find something more sinister: The bedbug problem from hell! My skin crawls at the prospect, although bedbugs are not one of my major phobias. They soon will be.

Follows the story of how Min and Ed "met at a party, saw a movie, followed an old woman, shared a hotel room, and broke each other's hearts." The book came with a postcard on which readers can write in "We broke up because..." and mail it in to the publisher. At the show, there were many such postcards tacked on a board with amusing and heartbreaking reasons for the end of romance. My favorite: "Because he was an ass."

And here are several more than sounded incredibly good but I don't have time to write about in detail. Someone has written about them on Amazon already. You can read it all there. And even order the books should you so desire. Enjoy!

Victoria has spent her childhood in the foster care system; her only connection to the world is through the world of flowers and their meanings.

Someone called this "The American Chronicles of Narnia." An adventure into the Impassable Wilderness, a tangled and magical forest in the middle of Portland.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor (9/27/11)
A YA "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" with a mysterious and unique blue-haired MC.

Carrier of the Mark, by Leigh Fallon (10/11)
Megan moves to Ireland, meets hot boy, discovers she has power over one of the four elements.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, by Joe Schreiber (10/11)
Average high school guy spends a wild prom night with geeky Lithuanian exchange student—who is really an international assassin!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin (9/11)
Mara wakes up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. Then she starts to see things, and people start dying. Editor cites an incredible "big surprise twist" ending.

Down the Mysterly River, by Bill Willingham (9/13/11)
A boy and three animals in a very bad forest.

Monday, May 23, 2011

All Food Is Poison and Anything You Eat May Kill You

People with panic and anxiety disorder are very suggestible, and they are especially suggestible to their own stupidity. The story of the last month, below, reveals my extremely scientific approach to food intolerance and how it may affect the brain. Please note: If you read this and decide that you, too, are intolerant to all the things I have listed, then we should have a martini together. Contact me. (Except that martinis are derived from wheat, and are now a terrible poison to me. I will be drinking a tea made out of organic quinoa shavings, while you enjoy your delicious martini.)

About one month ago, I decided I was intolerant to Gluten. Gluten can cause all sorts of bad things, I’d read, and I wanted no part of it. It has been reported to cause indigestion, osteoporosis, rashes, and depression. I cut all Gluten out of my life. By the second day off Gluten, I decided I was cured of every anxious thought I have ever had. I ran about through the wet grass in the night, and hurled a tennis ball at the moon.

“Yah! I am cured!” I said to the moon.

A few days later I started feeling dizzy and anxious again, so I decided I had an intestinal parasite. I researched all kinds of parasites, and found out that some can bore into one’s brain! They really can. They can invade every major organ in the body. I researched some online cures that promised to expunge parasites from the body.

But what if it wasn’t a parasite? What if it was just my own idiocy? Then I would have paid $47 for a revolting “colon cleanse” that would just cleanse the nutrients from my body and make me even more dizzy and ill.

I held off, but still brooded heavily about the parasites.

Another week or two went by. By Thursday 5/19, I decided that I didn’t drink enough water. Water, by God, now that was the solution! If I could gurgle down about 10 glasses a day of water, I would be instantly healed and would wake up with my hair in a braid and a song on my lips. As I woke, I would sing a song that would begin with the words: “Another glorious day to celebrate my life!” I made a chart and started to check off how many glasses of water I imbibed per day. On the first day, I drank 10 glasses of clean, pure water.

I woke up feeling just as rotten as ever. “Perhaps,” I thought, “I was right about the parasites.” I also pondered a bit about brain tumors and incurable mental illness. Or maybe I had lactose intolerance? Maybe I was allergic to coffee. Maybe there was some kind of oil in the coffee bean that was sick-making, and caused incurable mental illness. Why, look at the proliferation of coffee shops, and all the poor sad addicts standing in line.

On Friday 5/20, I gave up coffee.

On Saturday 5/21, I was fully convinced that my troubles were all due to a mysterious malady called Fructose Malabsorption. If you have this problem, you can’t eat most fruits, high fructose corn syrup, asparagus, artichokes, onions, leeks, wheat, and brown rice. Basically, everything that is good for you. Fructose Malabsorption can make one extremely anxious and depressed, and can even make one’s eyeballs ache. Plus, it causes bad poop incidents and a bloated tummy that looks like you just swallowed a dodgeball. All these terrible things have happened to me. Therefore, I had "Fructmal."

I started drinking coffee again. What did it matter? Apples were poison.

By Sunday 5/22, I had discarded the Fructose Malabsorption theory altogether. It would be a bore to never eat an apple again! How would I explain this weird food intolerance at Appletini parties?

Instead, I now determined that my trouble was corn and dairy. Corn, the evil of America! No pretty corn-fed maidens, sipping frothy glasses of milk, would tempt me again. I packed up the industrial-sized bag of Costco tortilla chips and, on Monday 5/23, thrust them at our nanny on my way to work.

“Take them, take the awful things from my sight!” I begged.

“But, we just bought those,” she said.

“And look, I have eaten half the bag,” I cried. “It is no wonder the corn has made me quite ill and mad.”

I glared at the cheese in our fridge with suspicion. No doubt it had been made from mad cows and goats, and eating it would pickle my brain matter. I would eat no cheese. I gave up coffee again. I had some weak tea without sugar and milk. I felt very bitter.

By now there was very little left on the "safe list" that I could eat. I ate a few nuts and a banana for breakfast, and became worried about the Fructose thing all over again. “Suppose I was right, and this banana is not on the ‘safe” list, and it makes me sicker than ever!” I fretted about this on the way to work.

By 11:00 I was so weak and shaky from not eating a proper breakfast that I had a panic attack, and immediately nibbled at the corner of a small Xanax. I felt much better.

If you can cure me of this stupidity, I will send you a package of cookies. They will not contain any wheat, corn, dairy, nuts, fruit juices, or sugar, and will taste like little turds coated in sawdust.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

After the Rapture: What Was Taken and What Was Left Behind?

The rapture done come and gone, and some things were snatched by God. Others were left behind on this dreadful ball of doom we call Earth. Now we have to live with this nonsense until October, when even these pancakes (below) and their ilk will be destroyed.

These hideous and misshapen pancakes were deemed unfit for the Lord, and were left behind to sink into a fiery crevasse.
Jonathan Snartzhugh, part-time laborer, was Raptured right off his ladder, leaving only a lone chicken nugget which fell out of his surprised maw onto the pavement below.
The shopping cart known as "Big Red" was belched forth from its grave during the Judgment, and carried straight up to the arms of God, who immediately filled it with nutritious organic vegetables and overpriced products from Whole Foods.
Schtincky Teddy was instantly raptured and rose unto Heaven. Mousie, left behind, tried to grab at the ascending ankles of the fragrant teddy bear, but was, alas, too slow.
A good Christian bunny rabbit, about to be caught in a nefarious heathen trap, was raptured right before succumbing to the lure of the bad carrot of Atheistic Irresponsibility. Note: The child in the background was raptured after he fulfilled his "time out" for naughty behavior.
"No." —God
Evil Grubby Baby, aka "The Trumpet of God," decides who shall rise and who shall perish: My Little Pony "Star Shine" version, or The Party Pony?
Star Shine is cast down! Burn, Star Shine, for you are a plastic thing from the bowels of Hasbro, and will not be raptured. You have bulbous eyes. I once loved to comb your hair with the Pretty Purple Comb, but your vanity and licentiousness have doomed you. Your stubby purple wings will fly you only to the Hot Place.

Monday, May 16, 2011

8 Helpful Etiquette Tips for Judgment Day

So, like, Judgment Day is coming on May 21, and it's going to be frigging awesome for 2 percent of the world's population, who will be "raptured" up to God's bosom immediately—even in the middle of eating their soup or tying their shoes!

The rest will suffer lots of awful torments, but you are not among them, because if you are reading this you are clearly one of the saved. Why else would you have clicked on any link that contained "etiquette tips" for Judgment Day? The sinners are going to be far too busy lobbing turds at the ascending ankles of the saved to worry too much about color coordination and chewing with their mouths closed. They don't need "etiquette tips" while they dance under the lash of a vengeful God.

We rock, saved people! Woot.

I'm not sure the exclamation point is really necessary. After all, we are talking about the end of the world. A simple period  would carry sufficiently ominous weight. Is the proper spelling of judgement with an "e" or without? My style guide suggests the "e" is not required and is more commonly used in Britain. This is something I can wonder about until Saturday, when I don't gotta wonder about it no more. Cause I'll be in heaven, and maybe only four or five proofreaders will have made it there, too. But heaven is pretty big and I probably won't run into them.
"It's getting real close. It's really getting pretty awesome, when you think about it," said Harold Camping, the California evangelist who ran some numbers in the Bible that, dude, "blew his mind."

Camping predicted the end of the world in 1994, but he had eaten so many 'shrooms then that he got that dates wrong. This time he has them right, because he studied the Bible a little more fervently.

"I thought I was back in Cincinnati '87 at that awesome Dead show, when I ate the acid and saw a Dodge Dart turn into a jackrabbit. I ate this one burger at that show, and it became like real alarmingly conscious in my stomach. But no, I was reading the f'ing Bible and it was saying some weird shit! What?" said Camping. 

Camping plans to watch television during Judgment Day. Sure, that's what I'd do on the day the world starts to come to an end, too. Watch television. “The whole world will be weeping,” he said. “I think I will have my eyes glued to the TV.”

Camping, how can you have your eyes glued to the idiot box while you're ascending into heaven? Is it one of those little portable televisions?
But what if some of the saved ones are the very ones responsible for quality television programming, and in their absence we get automatic re-runs of Saved by the Bell and some of the Scooby-Doo cartoons that featured the execrable "Scrappy Doo"? I don't want to be watching that shit while my home sinks into a yawning chasm.

Anyway, there are some important etiquette tips to keep in mind while being raptured. Manners matter!

1. Practice your "O Face" quietly and in the privacy of your own home, until it is super convincing. God knows when you're faking it! Unless you're really good at faking it.

2. "How do you do, Lord?" is preferable to "Heya! Have we met? Where are the canapés?"

3. Right before the moment of rapture, it's probably not a good idea to say: "Hold on. I just want to step out for one more quick smoke."

4. If anyone who is not saved tries to grab at the hem of your garment as you are being transported up to Heaven, well, why not let them? Aiding and abetting stowaways is a nice Christian impulse. I will wager that having these stowaways in Heaven will make it a more amusing place. They might start up a comedy improvisation troupe. I think we could make a good movie about this called The Madcap Stowaways about a funny group of bums and drunks who make it into heaven during the rapture. I will need lots of money to make this film. Please see Tip # 5.

5. Give away all your money quickly before 5/21. I recommend giving it to me. However, put it in some kind of deferred escrow account, because I don't want to be like that rich guy for whom entering Heaven is harder than a camel passing through the eye of a needle, or a baby passing through the vagina of a woman.

6. Heaven has a lot of verdant, grassy areas. Spike heels are not recommended. Please note that May 21st is before Memorial Day, not after. No white shoes at the Rapture party.

7. When God is talking, try not to take out your Blackberry. Total instant smiting. God has an unlimited family plan, and that includes Jesus and that Holy Spirit person who is always lurking about. He can smite without getting dinged by a mobile services provider, because he is Most Awesome.

8. Don't get all giddy and giggly and dance about hugging random strangers just because you got picked to be one of the chosen. That's totally gay, and God doesn't like gay stuff.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Same 10 Questions I Always Ask Myself, Part the Eighth

1. What are you wearing?
A brassiere made of gallbladders. Smudged glasses.

2. What's the nature of today's hypochondria?
The occasional ringing in my left ear is caused by a rapidly growing brain tumor that will soon cut off all sound and sense. I also think the doctor gave me the wrong prescription for my eyeglasses, and as a result I will soon go blind.

3. What was today's workout?
A punishing session of wrassling "Baby Sunshine" into his diaper while he slapped at me with snot-encrusted fingers.

4. How do you do what you do and stay so sweet?
I have wallpapered my writing den with the flesh of darling little animals, such as bunnies.

5. What's that burning smell?
That's the neighbor down the block, Crazy L, who is putting into effect her brutal Scorched Earth policy. First she put up the No Trespassing signs. Next will be the chain link fence complete with slavering dogs. Soon, she will install gun turrets on the roof to take down anyone who accidentally strolls across her property line with the "double tap" to the forehead.

I like what this does for our property values.
6. If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
A hot buttered bivalve.

7. What are you drinking, and why?
The hot, bitter mead of insatiable sorrow and jealousy.

8. In what ways hast thou offended?
Instead of going to church last week, I waited in the shrubbery outside the church and threw pickles at the churchgoers. I do this every weekend.

9. What's the next big thing?
Spam filters made out of actual SPAM, designed to catch unwary tourists and people with unfortunate surnames like "Fagina" in their rubbery, pink coils.

10. Music selection?
Elbow: "Build a rocket, boys!"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Eat Me! A Blog Award That Will Swell You Up Like a Tick

I got another blog award. And it's edible! This was a gift from the Most Wonderful Cherie at Ready. Write. Go., who has continued to send me awards and bestow affection on me. Her niceness is unparalleled—maybe only paralleled by that magical bunny that came by yesterday and threw diamonds on my rotting front porch. (Is paralleled the appropriate word? Editor!) Here is the tasty award:

I think it's adorable that a deranged, profane, and usually drunk blogger who calls herself something that sounds vaguely porny like "Party Pony" would be given an award that smells like a Care Bear's vagina. Oh dear, did I just write that? Too late to delete it now. I knew I would soil this award thing sooner or later.
I am going to pass this beauty on to 15 bloggers as required. (This is starting to seem like a bigger Ponzi scheme than ever and I will surely wind up in the poky! Plus, I'm not sure I even know 15 bloggers who don't already have this award because I'm kind of a loser. But maybe I'll stalk a few new ones, who will then call me The Creepy Lady With the Sickly Sweet Pie Made Out of "My Pretty Pony's" Intestines.)

Before then, however, I have a special award for Cherie! At first, I couldn't come up with a gift for her that she didn't already have. But then! I remembered that I am the creator of the Hot Buttered Blog Award and have been hoarding it. And Cherie's blog is pretty well slathered in Hot Butter and deserves this award. Mmm. Butter. Here it is. No rules for this one. Just display and enjoy. More Hot Butter may be ladled out shortly so stay tuned.

Cherie, you are hot buttered!
Now for the sweet, sweet pie award. If you do not forward this to 15 bloggers within the hour your sheep and crops will be blighted. If you do forward it to 15 people you will be deluged by a hail of lifegiving beets, radishes, and hamburger sandwiches. Do not break the chain or I will have to murder you.

I'm giving you this award because something you once wrote or did pleased me. It may have nothing to do with how sweet you are. You may be secretly evil.

The rules:
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
2. Share seven random facts about myself. This will be exhausting if you are a boring, depressed type of individual.
3. Pass the award to 15 blogging friends. This will be exhausting if you are a loser and have few friends.
4. Contact the winners to congratulate them.
5. Display the award on your blog should you desire. If you are a man and wish to maintain a certain level of dignity, you will be allowed and are in fact encouraged to say subversive things about the award.

Salt in Wound

Baked Ziti




Nina Badzin

T.S. Welti

Aurora Smith

Jen Daiker

Jenn Johansson


Nascent Niknud


Sydney Salter

Anna Zagar

7 Random Facts:

1. Rutabagas are amusing.
2. I don't care for ticks.
3. I stopped eating gluten two weeks ago, in the hopes that it will cure my madness. Has it worked? You be the judge.
4. Two of my boys have names that I have rarely heard elsewhere, except for those of a horse and a dog.
5. For one Halloween, I dressed as "ballet pumpkin." I was in my twenties.
6. I always wanted a pony but I never got one. Now I have this blog.
7. I once threw lentils out the sunroof of my car at a passing stranger.

Wild Shopping Cart Sighting: 5/6/11

Since moving to the suburbs I have long been tracking the habits of wild shopping carts. In their quest to mate, battle for dominance in an ever-dwindling habitat, and collect the most Bud Lite cans and Chinese food takeout cartons, they are noble beasts and well worth this budding naturalist's attention.

Do not stalk them without proper training, however, as some carts can be quite fierce. Many a hopeful amateur naturalist with a camera has been savaged by a seemingly innocent cart.

I urge you to seek my forthcoming book Lesser-Known Shopping Carts of Southern Westchester for more details and some stunning color photographs.

Imagine my delight when I came upon this rare beauty, sunning herself by the local Applebees!

Gently, I drew closer, afraid of startling the creature.
Her pelt was quite glossy, although she seemed thin. Clearly, she had weathered the harsh winter safely. I wondered if perhaps spring would bring her a suitable mate. Could it be that soon there would be a bevy of little shopping carts to grace our streets, wobbling forward on rickety, moist legs? Rapture.
But Man, cruel Man, always interferes. He cannot leave nature alone. He must tame it, subdue it, break its spirit! Not long after, I spied this magnificent cart being corralled by a posse of young hooligans. They lashed at her and laughed with much sniggering and foul language. Was this free and wild cart to be used for sport—perhaps even as a diversion at children's birthday parties?
But lo, she broke loose! With the hooligan clinging desperately to her back, she galloped with abandon to free herself. I could hear her triumphant whinny as she reached the crest of the hill. The hooligan screamed in terror. They vanished.
Later I shall go down to the river's edge and look for her again. It must be days before she recovers from this insult. No doubt the hooligan's broken body is floating out to sea. His friends, sad yet wiser, will not lightly approach a shopping cart again!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's in the Box?

My husband got a box for his birthday. He wondered, "What could be in this big box?"

Whatever was inside must be very valuable! Perhaps it was a glass sculpture.
It must be very large, too!
The item came encased in much padding.

When autopsied, the padding was made of a white foamy substance. It could not be destroyed by man-made force or by nature.
Boxes within boxes were about to unleash their secret!
More wrappings! The gift must be very fragile and precious indeed. Our anticipation was high.
They were revealed. The item on the left is a little spoon used for dipping olives or cherries out of a jar. The item on the right is a garlic press. Oh, fragile beauties, only the grace of God could have prevented damage to you on your treacherous voyage to our home. Can we even touch you? Nay. You will go into a precious cabinet, and we will gaze at you from time to time. The person who so lovingly packaged you has destroyed our planet in one swift stroke, but no matter: You are safe.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Flash 55 Blog Challenge!

A challenge: Flash us! Trim a blog entry to 55 words max. Say something witty, dimwitted, scatological, eschatological. Direct eyes via “comments” to the slim gams you revealed under that trench. Hide them hamhocks. You can eke out more mileage with ginormous and verbosalicious vocabulary, if it suits, but keep ‘er clean ‘n’ pithy. Yar!
(55 words)

Oh sir, your blog entry is so wee, so compact! But your photo caption is so lardy and fat. Did I mention that captions don't count in the word count? No, they don't! May I mention it again? I feel I have a lot to say here. Blah biddy blah biddy blah. So anyway, he or she who posts the best Flash 55 blog entry in this cockamamie scheme may get a special award from ME! If your picture caption is as painfully rambling as mine is, you will most certainly get extra points. My award will probably be offensive to the eyes and you'll want to tuck it into your sock drawer immediately, away from prying eyes. But hey, why not try to fly close to the sun? Just like that Greek guy with the wings made of wax and bits of gargled cat hair and denuded birds. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Here's to You, Anita Howard

A few months ago, I was feeling rather low. I was consorting with worms, and sticking my head into the compost bin to drown out the harsh and awful daylight.

The words "pull yourself together" could not be more apt for a person like me who struggles with panic and anxiety on a frequent basis. At its worst, fierce panic makes one feel like one is literally "falling apart." These clichés were born of truth.

I had days that were not good. Sometimes I had maniacal thoughts: that my kneecaps would just plain fall off my legs, or that my teeth would fall out into my soup. It's called "personality disintegration" or "depersonalization."

I tried many things, including fancy lights, tinctures, pills, breathing through only one nostril.

I also had what's called "derealization"--that funny sensation that the world is not real. I swam out into the world wearing fogged and hopeless goggles. I forgot how to get home, sometimes.

(The story of all this is being told in a book I'm writing called PURSUED BY BEARS.  I hope it will one day have a spine, rather than a blinking cursor on a screen.)

Then one day a fellow writer named Anita Howard visited my blog from Query Tracker, and left me one of the nicest comments I have ever received. I had been keeping this blog for a long while, but hadn't even bothered to tell my neighbors about it. (It is a pity that I've told them now, because now I can't write about them as freely. Oh neighbors, I wouldn't say a thing about you, and you know that!)

Some friends had read my blog, sure, and they said awfully nice things as well. But Anita was a stranger. And she talked to me like she was an old friend. I knew right off that she was a good egg.

You probably know her. As another blogger recently said, "she knows all the cool kids." If you don't, go and visit her. I'll bet she'll say something nice to you, too. And she'll mean it. No fakies.

I wanted to say thanks, Anita. Because one never knows when that kind gesture, that thoughtful word of hope, that effort to take time out to reach out to someone will matter. It's true online and in our everyday lives. Smile at a dour person you pass on the street and say hello, and see how his or her face changes. It's magic, ain't it? (Unless they are touched in the head, in which case they may bite you with razor-sharp fangs. Best to be warned. It's not my fault if this happens.)

Here's another fat cliché: Ray of sunshine. And another: Ray of hope.

So yesterday Anita gave me this blog award--one of many that she has given to some other wonderful writers on this Bloggy Wonderland post. It sort of says that I am mad as a hatter. In fact, that's exactly what it says.

If I'm mad enough to startle when a butterfly flaps its wings in Tibet, or despair at my own lurching heart, or count and multiply the ceiling tiles in an effort to avoid staggering into a ditch of my own making, then I am also mad enough to dream, to write, to run for the far borders of my imagination.

Thanks for the reminder, Anita. Oh, and you get the Bacon Award AND the Hot Buttered! I don't suppose you want the sebaceous cyst award? Didn't think so. Damn it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hot Buttered Blog & New Blog Awards!

 I’ve just been graced with another blog award from my pal Cherie, whose blog you should visit and gift with many wise and kind comments. She keeps a very chic and stylish blog, which she buffs and oils daily so that its pelt stays glossy. Thank you, Cherie!

This blog award appears to be in flames, so I was a little bit scared at first. But then I embraced it, and also doused it with a big hose. It doesn’t look quite as perky as it did before. But it’s much less menacing.
This award comes with one rule: Pay it forward. Wait for it! It's at the end of this entry.
Get out your fire extinguishers NOW, mofos!
I decided that I, too, could make some nice blog awards. And I could hand them out like unwanted fruitcakes at a bad holiday party! I cannot decide which award I shall start to foist upon my friends, who will quickly block me, spit on the ground when I pass, and write my name on tiny scraps of paper and toss them into a bewitched urn so that my goats' milk gets blighted and sour. Anyway, perhaps you'll vote?

Everything tastes good bathed in hot butter. Your blog tastes good, too. I want to dip my crawdaddy right into it! That sounded dirty but I didn't mean it that way. I like hot butter. It would taste good even on a brick, or maybe on a small turd.

Goll Damn, it has so many heads. And they are all staring at me! If you get this award, your blog has hooves, multiple eyes, and rocks the Kasbah six ways till Sunday. You are specialness incarnate.
I just don't know who to give this award to...eeny, meenie, miney, mo. No takers? Hey, if anyone wants this award, you can have it for free. No bribes this time. No secret $ envelope exchange, no PayPal. Just take it. Take it! Get it out of my sight, for it sickens me!
When I went to your blog expecting witty and erudite commentary, it unleashed four bacon slices into my waiting hands. I tried again, tapping at my screen, and then it fired the bacon out at my eyeballs. My eyeballs and mouth were instantly erased. This is not what I was expecting. However, I am still very fond of you and find you amusing.
And now the winners of the Blog on Fire Award. I picked them because they are rather fun and fiery, and are presumed to have fire extinguishers. Some of them are new(ish) to me but I am quickly growing fond of them all! I hope you enjoy their blogs and give them some followin' love.