2016 Scares the Shit Out of Me

 

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Seriously.

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.

-Amanda

 

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(Magical Shiny Shoes to dance through the year)

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Confessions

This is inspired by an email I just received, and also that segment they used to do on the old Conan, called ‘Secrets,’ where Snoop Dogg would ‘confess’ he’d never actually smoked weed or David Bowie would talk about how he liked to stick his hand up in the straw dispenser at McDonald’s and touch all the straws.

Meaning there’s no way a court of law could ever prove any of these things true or untrue, I just feel like making a list of crap that might not ever get brought up in conversation:

* I don’t ever remember wanting to ‘be’ anything when I grew up, except maybe being in movies, though I knew I was supposed to want to be stuff and made up all kinds of things. Pretty sure I said veterinarian for awhile…

* Played with some dead animals as a child. Not in an effigy sort of way, in a baby doll sort of way. Still haven’t killed anyone, though.

* All of my dreams are very complicated and convoluted romance dramas with celebrities, or about errands and household tasks I need to do. No in-between.

* Rod Serling was my first major crush. And it turns out my husband is related to him – by marriage, I think.

* I don’t respect dogs. I like them, but I don’t respect them. I respect cats.

* I still want an initials tattoo of “HM” for Herman Melville and Henry Miller, my first and always true writing loves.

* Domesticated birds terrify me, and I’ve never met one that didn’t try to physically harm me.

* Almost all my ex-boyfriends are gay. There aren’t many of them, and I think some of them are still…not being gay, if that makes sense, at least part of the time.

* I’ve peed next to nearly every water tower in Jackson County, under the cover of darkness.

* Somewhat related to the previous post, I never, ever, litter – but I did go through a brief period in highschool when throwing beer bottles at road signs out moving vehicle windows didn’t count as littering.

* I talk about highschool like it was crap, but I had really beautiful and amazing friends and we made the best of it. Substance abuse helped.

* Cigarettes are awesome and I will always miss them.

* Courtney Love had two really good albums so shut up.

* I sweep the living room and kitchen floor with a broom a minimum of three times a day, but I don’t dust. Dusting is ridiculous.

* If I could go back in time, I would’ve done a lot of nude photo shoots because I’m 35 and damn I really didn’t appreciate everything where it was when I was 19.

* I have no ambition. But it’s in what I’ve come to realize is a good way – I have no long-term goals to reach. I don’t want anything material. I dunno. Maybe a pool?

* I lie about my brain chemistry and how all that business works on a pretty much daily basis.

* People terrify me, so I try to be stupid/crazy/funny right up front as an icebreaker.

* I got kicked in the forehead by a cow when I was seven or eight. We (I won’t name the ‘we’) were all trying to milk it at the same time. I still have the scar. Can’t remember what lie we made up to cover up what happened.

* Looking back, my childhood was charmed, and what wasn’t, I conveniently erase.

* I spend more time in a given day thinking about Tom Hardy and Andrew Scott (Jim Moriarty) and Adam Levine than is probably healthy.

* Two-thirds of what I write gets trashed.

* Jack-in-the-boxes are an abomination, and if I could go back in time and kill the person who decided it was a good idea to make weird-faced dolls and jester-looking monsters pop out of boxes on a spring, I would, without a second thought, even if the person was still a child.

* If my son ever wants to join the circus or a sideshow or wander aimlessly looking at the world in any sort of creative profession, I will support him with all of my being – unless the circus involves animals, or the profession involves weird dolls like marionettes or ventriloquism.

* I’ve been email pen pals with my friend Craig for almost four years.

* Sometimes I still want big boobs, but just for the day, so I could wear tube tops now and then.

* Nathaniel Hawthorne sucks.

* I loved that show The Simple Life.

* Simultaneously, I wish guns had never been invented and I LOVE LOVE LOVE shooting. I’m good at it, too.

* I like James Franco, I think he has a lust for life in the spirit of that Iggy Pop song.

* I think food and eating and all that is an inconvenient hassle, even though I’m not supposed to say that stuff because I’m skinny and our culture says I’m supposed to have suffered and worked for skinniness. In reality I just don’t eat every much, and have always wished, since I first saw the Jetsons, that they made food/vitamin meal replacement capsule things.

* My kid is the best kid, and I hope he always likes me.

* Once when I was like 9 or 10 I licked a cookie so no one else would eat it, and my mother still tells that anecdote to every human being every chance she gets, and it’s one of the only times I feel what True Rage is like, and think I could kill another human being.

* But okay yeah one time I did try to hit someone with a truck but they totally deserved it.

* My husband is the first and only person I ever dated that I already liked, going into the relationship, before that I just sort of fell into relationships where I thought I had the upper hand.

* I hit my head a lot. A LOT. Like bottoms of cabinet doors, corners of table or chairs, undersides of porch swings, window sills, door knobs, etc. I don’t tell people unless there’s blood involved or I get caught because I’ve greyed out; I just can’t see how adding x-Ray radiation will help.

* If I could write one story as eloquent as any John Prine song, I think my stomach and soul would ease off me a little, and I could die happy.

* If I could switch bodies/physical emodiments with any human it would be Rose Byrne, I think she’s perfect.

* I don’t find the idea of death to be particularly disturbing or scary.

* Raw meat is disgusting. I think I like crock pots just so I don’t have to cut chicken.

* I have an arsenal of embarrassing stories that I tell (hair on fire in church, stood in the corner when I was 16 in history class) so I don’t have to tell the real ones.

* Alone in the car I have all the arguments with people, loudly, that I don’t allow myself to have in real life, just to get it all out of my system.

* Most of the time I believe in ghosts. The times I don’t, I want to believe…. 🙂

* I considered going back throguh this post and editing it for length and to make it more funny and less offensive here and there, but didn’t. I don’t think there’s anything really offensive in it. And so what it’s long? It’s my damned brain dump.

 

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First Frost

The trees are dripping orange-brown leaves, they sound like crumpled paper, and I can see the potential for winter to Not Completely Suck. Yes, I’m sick, but the fire is going and the sky is blue, blue, blue. And I have coffee and a 5 lb dog that thinks I folded the throw blanket just-like-that specifically as a bed for him, so things are okay.

I like this part, when the palettes shift. White grass and red leaves. A sparkle at the edge of the petrified leaves.

yes, I am full of purple prose this morning. Largely observational purple prose. pumpkins with witch hats cling to the windows, Cheshire Cat pajama pants, red coffee mug, quiet, schoolbus passing the window, wisps of clouds. Copper. That’s the best word to sum up the morning, to distill the rambling. Copper.

Happy November. Happy transition month. May your socks be warm and your skies blue.

 

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