2016 Scares the Shit Out of Me




It’s only the 2nd day of the year, nice easy Saturday night full of peppermint candy, Lana Del Rey and sleeping dogs.

Last night was Sherlock’s ‘The Abominable Bride’ (which was better than all of S3 put together, and I loved S3), and this afternoon was ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ with my almost-8-yr-old son in his Darth Vader sweatshirt and my cool-as-hell hubby (and it was GREAT! I was afraid to hope, after the prequels). So. I’m high on Moriarty and Chewbacca.

The year ahead lies sprawled in an almost impossible glowing light. These Lite Brite blips of things to come, and they seem too good to be true:

  • the first edition of Menacing Hedge I’ve worked on as full-fledged co-fiction editor with my incestuous sibling Craig Wallwork, out pretty much anytime – and conspiring with the beautiful crew there
  • more and more unbelievable announcements about the Gutted:Beautiful Horror anthology – just a lil ole book coming out this year with me in it….AND Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Paul Tremblay, Damien Angelica Walters, Richard Thomas…that’s not even all!! It’s just too hard to type out all the names, and they’re not even DONE with the ToC!
  • AWP LA, which I guess is some sort of “conference” or something, but whatever – I’ll be spending April Fool’s Day in California with the crew that welcomed me into the bosom of ‘Warmed and Bound’ nearly five years ago, only that crew times ten…ocean and bowling and books with some of the best people I’ve ever met or am about to
  • Tentative plans for a vast and ambitious family vacation that, worst case scenario, would take place next summer instead of this one
  • Tentative plans to finish a semi-vast and very-ambitious linked short story collection surrounding the concept of Frankenstein’s Monster and the freedom from the burden of chronological memory…that, worst case scenario, will be completed next summer instead of this one (it would take some massive laziness to drag out an entire extra year)
  • Jewelry – Jewelry!! Work!! They call it work, I call it a kitchen and laboratory full of adoptive family, gems, and magic lasers and elf-sized tools. They let me hang out there, and talk about movies and gold and life, and pay me for it…
  • my son and I have started the Harry Potter series, a mere two hours ago, and he’s into it
  • Richard Thomas has extracted a promise for a story from me for Gamut, which seems like something I should have to fight to get into
  • Craig Clevenger wants to podcast with me for a couple guest episodes of Booked.
  • My sister is going to give me another niece or nephew – another minion for my son!

Can I just stop there, and take a breath?

My fear is justified, yes?

Because this is my life, and I want to deserve it. I want to deserve the people and the love and the pictures in my brain and the roof over my head and the happiness,

and I don’t want to take a breath, or cough, for fear I’ll wake….

So, before I do, in this world now I want to say: I love you all. I appreciate you all. You’re heavy and light and wispy and warm in your love and support and confidence and laughter and conspiratorial smiles. My family, my friends, my work family, my writing , my reading compadres, my Sherlock-fiends, my fellow mothers of beautiful strong babes, my ladies in the shadows that whisper to me that I’m good enough.

Thank you. By the Stars and the Moonlight and the magic of breathing, I wish you all as beautiful a 2016 as you’ve made possible for me, just by being a part of my life.




(Magical Shiny Shoes to dance through the year)

black market babies

blanche:  it’s a little bizarre that one with a fondness for pachouli was able to solve my spoiled little girl gift issue in under 2 minutes.

dorothy: i’m a good problem solver. and an even better shopper. and i’ve spent the vast majority of my life wanting a daughter.

blanche: i browsed a little.
i want a daughter too. those little bathing suits with the ruffly bottoms make my heart ache.

dorothy: i know. actually, the bathing suits, underwear, tights…anything with a ruffly bottom. and those little dresses always make me want to cry.

blanche: i love little girls. but you have to remember, they’re like puppies and kittens – little girls grow up into something horrifying, 9 times out 0f 10.

dorothy: i know. that’s my attitude towards babies in general. they turn into children. then they turn into adults, and that’s almost never good.

 blanche: but we should still adopt foreign girl babies simultaneously and force them to hang out.

dorothy: i’m fearful you’d be more successful in acquiring a girl baby.

blanche: nope. i have medical history, my file is thick as me. i think you’d do better,what with your penchant for steady jobs and making payments on things. my past is a wreck. yours looks impeccable on paper!!

dorothy: yes, but you’re married. and i have a ten month marriage on record. i smoke and my cat ran away.

blanche: i’m crazy on paper and my husband has a “hazardous” job.

dorothy: i’m crazy on paper too. you have prior experience.

blanche: shit. we may just have to go black market.

dorothy: i think we both knew it would one day come to this. you and me. buying black market asian babies. it was bound to happen.

blanche: well shit, neither of us are going to traverse the baby black market alone. and i’m pretty sure we’ll also go shopping together for improbably large sunglasses to wear when we go pick out our babies.

dorothy: yes. and a very big purse. to carry the baby in.

 blanche: almost a tote or carry-on.

dorothy: yes. it could be used as a tote, and most people would, but i’ll be confident enough to pass it off as a purse. just remind me to not be yelling all the time about how i can’t find my lighter in this damn thing. that would completely blow my cover.

 blanche: yeah, because then you would upset the baby, and your relationship would be off to a bad start. unless the baby handed you a lighter….

dorothy: That would steal my heart

blanche: i think my baby will have a very old-timey name – a name that fits no one. cecilia. opal. june.

dorothy: oh, for sure. i like cecelia. i think i’ll go with clara. charlotte. celeste. ruby.

blanche: if they were opal and ruby, they would be DESTINED to be best friends, based on their shared hatred for us for those names.

dorothy: they’d have to be. with a bond like that, and the fact that we’d force them to be friends, there’s no way they couldn’t be.
the other option would be may and june.

blanche: that’s TOO far!! it could wedge them apart. they could blame each other’s existence on their month names. i vote opal and ruby. so when are we going to new york, again? that’s where they keep the black market babies, right??

dorothy: god. to find a good black market baby, i’d have to find j—. she was always talking about black market babies. mainly she was interested in selling them, so that may be as far as we need to go.
i like opal. opal —-. that’s a good name. ruby —- is not so great, but —- doesn’t really go well with anything.

blanche: ooooh, ruby —- is actually quite good. they’re BOTH quite good.
now we just need to rustle up some cash and find j– or whatever name she runs her underground operation as….

dorothy: i have no idea what ever happened to j—. i know she went to college in d— …and i have no idea what happened to her after that.
i’ll start saving immediately

blanche: i’ll start saving immediately also.
well, shit. there goes my vagina.

dorothy: what!?! where goes your vagina?


 dorothy: fuck. there goes my vagina.

 blanche: exactly. you know, paradoxically, the only other way we could raise money to buy babies is to rent our body space as surrogates. ain’t that a bitch???