Thursday, April 27, 2023

I'm Back, Baby!


First of all, I'd like to apologize for missing last month's blog post. I was wrapped up in preparations for Author Con and I just plum forgot about it. I'd also like to apologize for the lack of quality blogs lately. I have been in a creative slump for quite a while that seems to be finally lifting. I'm hopeful that from now on, I'll be able to bring some interesting ideas to the table, and I thank you all for sticking with me.

Second of all, I have three new project announcements I'd like to share with you that are really exciting for me!

The first and most important project I'm working on right now is the third in my EXOTIC BIRDS series. It will be titled EXUVIUM, and it is almost complete. I expect to have it published this year, though the date is TBA. The EXOTIC BIRDS series is my baby. I started writing the first one as far back as high school. The characters have lived with me for most of my formative years, and I have a special place in my heart for their stories.

Project number two is related to EXOTIC BIRDS as well. For the last six months or so, my dear friend Stephanie 'Ms. Stubby' Webb (who you may know as the author of LUCAS, SERVICE DOG as well as the artist for my humor book, THE LITTLEST COCK) told me she wanted to write a full legnth novel. She asked me if she could borrow one of my characters from EXOTIC BIRDS and create a spin-off of sorts. I agreed wholeheartedly. I've always wanted to co-write with someone, I just had to find the right someone. This book will feature my character, Erin Rankin and his adventures with Stubby's Agent Carmen Cox, who will also make a brief cameo in EXUVIUM. The stories will be tied together, and they are going to take one hell of a turn, so stay tuned!

While at Author Con, I did some chatting with a new friend, Robert Poff. He's somewhat new to the world of publishing, but he has some truly great work out there that you should check out. Anyway, he approached me after the event to invite me to help him write an Exquisite Corpse style horror novel, along with several other writers! We did some brainstorming on ideas, then held a vote, and they PICKED MY IDEA! I can't tell you how much of an ego boost this was, considering I am new to writing horror myself. My first horror novel, PENDULUM, as you may know, came out in October of 2022. So that is project number three!

I am so happy to be able to be creative again. It has been a rough last few years with Covid not making them any easier. I am eager to start this new chapter in my life, and I hope you all will come along for the ride!

Wish me luck, and stay weird folks!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Oops, I'm a Short Story Writer

 Hey everyone! Mary here, still slightly crisped from a long weekend in the Dominican Republic last week (that sun is strong, and there's nowhere to hide if you're doing outdoorsy things!). Despite that vacation and a one to Vermont a few weeks before, I've been pretty productive lately. Just not in the way I expected.

I still consider myself a novelist. Short stories aren't my forte, I say. My brush is to big for small canvasses that require a finer touch. And yet I keep figuring out how to angle that big ole brush in a way that works in miniature (Okay, so my idea of a short story is 10,000 words... hey, you're talking to a gal who struggles to keep her novels under 100,000!). 

And suddenly I looked up, and pretty much all of my latest and upcoming projects are short stories for anthologies. Oh, I still have novels too... in fact, I have no fewer than five completed but unpublished manuscripts waiting in the wings and two indie series I intend to finish. But I have no control over the former (unless I decide to go indie with one) and too much control over the latter (which means I keep procrastinating to hit short story deadlines).

Even though I don't consider short stories to be my primary medium, I love writing them. The smaller format let me explore and experiment without committing to a whole novel. And in some cases, an anthology's theme provides an interesting challenge.

Anyway, here's what's coming up:

"Broken Wings," a dieselpunk fantasy about a former ace pilot plucked out of jail to compete for a ruthless warlord in an international competition, for the annual Origins anthology, Games Around the World (ed. Aaron Rosenberg)... first dieselpunk!

"The Four Opera Singers of the Apocalypse," about exactly what the title implies, for The Four ??? of the Apocalypse (ed. Keith DeCandido & Wrenn Simms), coming... whenever Keith and Wrenn say so (but soon, I think!)... I was about to say this was my first absurdist story, but then I remembered that I killed Glenn

"The Lost Lab," a solarpunk adventure about two teens who break into an abandoned lab seeking a rare bioengineered plant, in Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls who Engineer and Explore (ed. myself and Paige Daniels)... first solarpunk!

An untitled YA rom com, about a girl who swaps places with a classmate so she can attend a prestigious circus camp, for Magic Under the Big Top, a circus-themed anthology I'm putting together for Snowy Wings Publishing... first rom com (once I write it)!

A noir-ish 1960s/70s-set short story for an anthology that I'm not sure I can talk about yet, but will be shouting about once its Kickstarter goes live! It won't be my first noir, but it'll be my first noir with an SFF bent... first atompunk, maybe??

An alternate/secret history short story for another anthology I'm not sure I can talk about yet... first time writing this genre to!

 All right, gotta go... looks like I've got homework...

Friday, April 21, 2023

Working in the Coal Mine

Recently, one of those social media prompts went around. You know the ones. "Type in the year you turned 18 in the GIF bar and post the result!" "What was the #1 song the day you were born?" This one was "List five jobs you've had." And since I am stuck for something to write about this month, I thought that would be a fun one to expand on for a post. 

 Here's five jobs I've had. I'm defining job here as "something I got paid to do." And to make it extra fun, none of these are going to be related to my career as a theatre professional. Just many of the various things I've done along the way. 

Movie Extra: When I was 10, a friend of one of my friend's parents was making an educational film about the legal system, and the hook was "what happens if your kid breaks a neighbor's window playing baseball?" I got to play second base, so I got to look up as the ball soared over my head. The window smashing would be added in post. 

Like this, only with better production values.

I got paid a crisp dollar bill for my labors, which I probably spent on Spider-Man comics or Star Wars trading cards,  since both of those cost about 35 cents at the time. (I'm old, kids! Come, gather 'round! I have stories!)

Door-to-Door Encyclopedia Salesman: Hey, did you ever watch Glengarry Glen Ross and think "That looks like fun!" No? Well neither did I, yet I needed a summer job during a recession so I wound up trying to sell encyclopedias on commission at the dawn on the internet age. It was like trying to get those last few buggy whips out the door as the Ford assembly line started up. 

Something Mamet got very right in that play was the absolute seething resentment the unsuccessful salesmen have for the top sellers. I know this, because I was not a good salesman. I sold one set all summer, and if you weren't good, you got treated like crap by the better sales teams. Absolutely hated this job! I'm glad the internet and Wikipedia stomped it out!

Buffalo Wing Chef: 

And in Buffalo, NY no less, so you know I'm the real deal. Would you like to know the secret to our authentic Buffalo wings? You all seem like good kids, so I'll tell you the recipe we used in the SUNY at Buffalo cafeteria:

1) Drop raw chicken wings in hot oil for 10 minutes

2) Make the sauce. If you want hot, just use straight Frank's Red Hot. If you want it milder, cut the hot sauce with melted butter. Mix well!

3) Pour sauce over wings, and shake until the wings are coated. 

4) Serve with blue cheese, celery and carrot sticks. (No ranch! If you want ranch on your wings, move back to Wisconsin.)

So just remember: "Authentic" buffalo sauce is usually just Frank's Red Hot. Some places will spiff it up, but that's the base. 

Film Projectionist: Back in college, we still showed actual 35mm prints of movies, and it was my job to assemble them. "Assemble" here means, take the six or so individual reels of film (a reel being about 20 min of screen time) and combine them into one large reel. We had what was called a "platter" system at the theatre, where the films sat on a large plate and were then fed through the projector and onto another large plate where they would be rewound after the screening. When you assembled them, you had to run every inch of film between your fingers to check for cracks and splits in the film strip. If the sprocket holes were torn or broken, it could jump the gate and pop out of the projector. And, because it was now one long reel, it was extremely difficult to restart it.) New films were fine, but older rep movies were very brittle. Not only did they have a lot of cracks, they also had a ton of static electricity. I got SO MANY shocks from checking the print of Rear Window. 

Here's a fun projectionist fact: sometimes you'll see a little dot in the upper corner of the screen. This is the reel change warning. The first dot is a ten second warning, and the second is a one second warning. It's quite the trick to get this to line up! After the first dot, you start the second projector so it gets up to speed, then at the second dot you open the shutter on the second projector and close it on the first. Oh, and don't forget the sound! Nowadays most theatres use video projection rather than actual reels, so these dots are rarer to see. Still, they pop up now and then, particularly on old video transfers on TV. So if you do see one on the late show, you'll know what it is. 

Here's a compilation of some film reel cues to show you some examples.

And here's a projectionist in action:

Production Assistant at PBS Buffalo:  More adventures in Buffalo! This was one of the lowest, entry level jobs I got when I was breaking into the biz. PBS Buffalo barely did any production, so we were mainly called in to do camera for the pledge weeks. Yay! Everyone's least favorite part of the public broadcasting experience! We got paid a miserly $5 an hour to follow the hosts around the studio, trying to keep them frames up so that the banners on the sides of the screen wouldn't block their faces. Which was harder than it sounds! Often they would start to walk across the room and then suddenly stop, so your nice, smooth pan would have to herky-jerk to a stop and reframe them. 

Here's a clip of one of the pledge breaks. This is after I worked there, but the host is the same. I remember a friend in Buffalo sent me a "You know you're a true Buffalonian" list, and one of the entries was "You reflexively turn the channel when you hear the words 'Hi, I'm Goldie Gardner!"

Anyway, that's a brief run down of some of the crappy jobs that have made me who I am today. A sarcastic person who contributes to blogs. 

Have a good weekend, everyone! Don't work too hard!

Play us out, Lee!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Book Review: Cooter

"Cooter" by Christina Pfeiffer. I was sent my copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Mark and Lindsay, a happily married couple, are about to have their first baby. Things have been going well until Cooter, a flesh eating zombie rat, takes up occupancy inside Lindsay's vagina. Worst of all, if Lindsay hopes to have a whole baby, she'll have to give in to Cooter's demands and feed him. 

This is Christina Pfeiffer's debut story, and this one definitely doesn't disappoint. It's hilarious, bizarre, and totally vile. I could barely keep a straight face whole reading, and Cooter is a character I won't soon forget. This was everything and more I hoped to see from Christina.  Make sure you pick this one up from and help support the best in indie horror!

Friday, April 14, 2023

Discovering Neurographic Art


 Although I'm 99.99% certain that I have what most people would consider a "neurotypical" brain, I also understand such a thing exists on a spectrum, as does almost everything in life. I live in a pretty ADD/ADHD household, so I'm familiar with some of the ways non-neurotypical brains work, but I'm often surprised by how much we have in common. 

I see posts all the time on social media that say stuff like, "You know you're neurodivergent when you..." and then they name some action or habit or activity in which they regularly engage. And I'm like, am I maybe a little neurodivergent? Because I do that too! 

No, I know it's a lot more complicated than that, and this article does a great job explaining why someone like me can exhibit some non-neurotypical behaviors without actually being clinically neurodivergent: "'Autism is a Spectrum' Doesn’t Mean What You Think".

All of that is a preface of getting to the point of this post, which is my recent infatuation with Neuropathic Art. The Vancouver Visual Art Foundation defines it as:

Also known as doodling, neurographic art is a technique, which comprises drawing freeform lines or 'neuro lines. ' These are meant to enable the connection between the conscious and unconscious, gaining access to the inner self by using a specific algorithm or method. ...Neurographic art creates a mindful, meditative, yet aware state through the creation of new neural connections when engaging in this art form.

I'm sure a lot of people already know about it, but I learned about Neurographic Art when I stumbled across a great Instagram/TikTok account by artist and teacher, Andrea Nelson. I started following her after she did a quick tutorial, introducing newbies like me to the basic concept with an easy prompt. I like the way she talks about it, as an activity to "relax your brain." Whether neurotypical or neurodivergent, we all can benefit from brain relaxation exercises. I think that's one reason crocheting appeals to me so much, too, but this ink and paint method described by Andrea has a lower (and less expensive!) technical threshold for entry. I'm a firm believer that EVERYONE can do art, and this is a style that really works well for artists of all abilities.

For more inspiration you can Google Neurographic Art images, or, if you really want to see how far you can go with this style and medium, look it up on Pinterest. Beware of falling down art rabbit-holes if you do, though.  Andrea also has another prompt for a style of Neurgraphic Art that comes at it from a different approach:

Although I have dabbled with watercolors in the past, they tend to intimidate me. So far, I've only approached this method with my regular markers and some colored oil pencils my mom gave me for Christmas. However, Andrea makes watercolors seem  pretty easy, so I'm planning on buying a paint pallet and giving some of her other prompts a try.

In the meanwhile, here are some of the pieces I've recently completed.  I hope you'll be inspired to try making one of your own.

Monday, April 10, 2023

STC Authorcon II Autopsy

Another quality post brought to you by Steve! 

Hey, kids! Last month I talked a little bit about the origin of Scares That Care Authorcon and my plans for it. Now I am back from the con and, let me tell you, it was a hell of an experience!

First, and most importantly, the charity was able to fulfill its obligations to its three recipients this year, and Authorcon III will be happening. So yay!

Second, this was my most financially successful convention in the ten years I've been doing them. Anecdotal evidence suggests many of my peers had a similar experience.

Third, my non-scientific emotional radar is telling me that that ineffable "it" of STCs past is back. When STC first came back after the pandemic I remember speaking with John Wayne Comunale into the wee hours of the night and we both agreed that the atmosphere of the con had become bizarre, perhaps even a little unhappy. This year I felt the same way I used to years ago, that the con was the highlight of my year. And, yes, I told the organizers that.

Now, a caveat. Whenever I read a con recap, I immediately scan for pictures and mentions of myself, because I am a little, little man. You and I could absolutely have had an amazing conversation or experience over the weekend that will not make it into the paragraphs below, and for that, I apologize in advance.  But I had so many great encounters, barring just making this post a list of names (and even that would by necessity be incomplete) there must be some abridgement.  Feel free to yell at me in the comments about how you should absolutely have made the cut, though.  (Also, fans and non-public figures will not be fully identified.)

After scaring a Jovi off my front porch Thursday morning while packing in my underwear, I departed for Williamsburg, stopping only to pick up my customary Wawa tuna hoagies on the way, and arrived at the venue at about 5:00 pm.  The fine balloon artists of Air Studio had fashioned for me a bespoke black tentacle sculpture in honor of my con exclusive, THE THING UNDER YOUR BED.  The tentacle proved to be far more popular than I was as I brought it in, and many people were excited to finally get to see it in the (latex) flesh.

Thursday evening Wile E. Young and I had promised to have dinner with Sean I., a longtime fan who I gather was a bit worried about being popular at the con. Consequently he chose the three sexiest men at the event to drape himself with at dinner, that being my collaborator, myself, and legendary silver fox Craig Brownlie.  We advised no one, which, in retrospect, was something of a failure of concept, that our safeword would be "corduroy" if dinner with Sean turned into an Annie Wilkes-type situation.  Fortunately (?) it did not.

Thursday evening Wesley Southard and Mike Lombardo showed up, so I promptly went to bed.  No, I'm just kidding.  I just ditched them to link up with Jeff Strand, exhausted from being the new Writing Workshop instructor, and his surrogate daughter Bridgett Nelson, who probably tired of all the praise I kept heaping on her debut, A BOUQUET OF VISCERA.  Then we moved out to the lobby to drink with John Durgin, Aron Beauregard, and Daniel J. Volpe.  My good friend and piercer extraordinaire Kenny H. then made a surprise appearance alongside "his lady."

Friday morning Kenny texted me to ask when we would all be going to Rick's Cheesesteak Shop, another STC stalwart.  I then texted Wile E., Lombardo, and Wes, to discover that everyone was, in fact, already in the lobby ready to go for steaks.  I then decided to TikTok the rest of the con, made a single video at the restaurant, and promptly forgot to TikTok anything else for the rest of the con.

That afternoon the charity staff conducted the opening ceremonies, awarding the STC Crystal Pepsi Award to Brian Smith and the First Annual Wilburn-Thomas Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence to Jonathan Janz, recognizable by his hammer pants.  The vendor room was supposed to open at 5:00 pm, but the auditorium cleared out at 4:45 pm , and I promptly sold about ten books before we had even technically opened.  The rest of Friday was insane, and I nearly cleared out my inventory.

Me and Erica W., a fan

At 6:45 pm I moderated the Collaboration panel with Wile E., Wes, Ruthann Jagge, and Daron Kappauff.  That went extremely well, and as I had another panel at 8:00 pm, I stayed up on the second floor, talking to Kenzie Jennings, who was not having very good sales at all, which was apparently indicative of how things were going on the second floor.  That will become important again later.

The next panel was military and alphabet soup ops, led by Scott M. Baker, and featuring myself, John Lynch, L.P. Hernandez, and Rachel Brune.  I was shocked to learn Hernandez was still on active duty and publishing, something I'd always been too cowardly to attempt myself.  I was glad we got to swap service stories, and much to my surprise copies of BROKEN-DOWN HEROES, my semi-fictional war memoirs, began to walk off from the table after that.

I had intended to get precisely zero books myself over the weekend, because that always destroys my profit margin if I go down that route, but Jessica Eppley gave me a copy of her horror debut PENDULUM, I couldn't resist getting a new Strand, and I remembered I'd wanted Mona Kabbani's FOR YOU since she had pitched it to me at Authorcon last year, and I had been obsessed with the cover of Nathan Ludwig's THE COMFY-COZY NIHILIST and Wile E.'s...too long title to recount here.  So zero quickly became not zero.

Wile E. and Wes ran off to get some pizzas, while Brian Keene wandered around in a daze in the lobby saying, "I want some pizza.  Why won't anybody get me any pizza?"  It was an insoluble problem.  Fortunately I was sitting there talking to Jason Cavallaro about procuring girlfriends for the six thousand monkeys he oversees in his day job (true story) because, like Solomon, I was able to cut through that Gordian Knot and said, "Brian, shut up and eat some of Wes's."  

After catching up with Zach Rosenberg on some bitchy industry gossip which neither of us can ever share again due to mutually assured destruction, I joined Wes and the others and discovered that, unlike the Gordian Knot, the pizza had not been cut.  So like the human animals we are, we ripped chunks of cheese-covered dough off a large pie with extra COVID and jammed them down our gullets.

Saturday the vending quieted down a bit compared to Friday, but nevertheless never really slowed down.  Even cooler, the charity staff had moved all of the second floor tables down to open spaces in the lobby and ballroom, so that Kenzie and her comrades would have a better shot at sales all weekend.  What other con would do that for its vendors?  None, I can assure you.

At noon, Wile E., Daniel, Jeff, Tommy Clark, Armand Rosamilia, John Urbancik, and I had our remembrance of our dear, departed friend Jay Wilburn.  There wasn't a dry eye in the house from Armand's opening remarks onwards, and I think the catharsis from that event is part of what put me into such a better emotional place at the con this year.  Afterwards, Jay's wife asked me to help distribute some of his personal effects, including some blackout poetry by Jessica McHugh and some art prints, so I spent most of that afternoon taking care of that, and giving Jay's friends something to remember him by.

After the vendors' room closed at 6:00, Wes, Wile E., Lombardo, Lucas Mangum, Nathan Ludwig, and a few others headed to Maurizio's Italian restaurant for some manigott'.  This will also go down as the night where four of the finest minds in bizarro and splatterpunk developed the concept for RAPE APE: THE RAPIEST APE (coming later this year from Godless.)

Me and Nathan Ludwig

Saturday night was the pièce de résistance (Fr: "piece of resistance") of the con, the Gross-Out Contest.  I, naturally, won, according to everyone present and several people who hunted me down afterwards to say so, although according to the judges it went to some Chris DiLeo guy.

The festivities moved from the stinking heat of the Gross-Out venue to the bar and lobby.  I got to hang out with super fans Rachel S. and Sonja S. (no relation) and listen to Lombardo's vague reminiscences of British television show "The League of Gentlemen" before moving on to the court of King Maurice Broaddus.  If you've never heard Maurice spin a yarn, I can assure you, you are missing out.  I even got to hear one from him I'd never heard before. 

Me, Craig Brownlie, Lesley Conner, and Maurice's son listen to Maurice Broaddus

Sunday Wile E. and I had a reading.  We started with our standard five-minute con specialties, but then as the crowd poured in, we both each read a full short, which I haven't done in years.  Mine was fine, but Wile E. read a tense, utterly engrossing piece about people becoming transfixed with alien lights which I think is going to become a neo-horror classic.  We closed out the vendors tables, and the official con ended.  But Sunday night was coming, often my favorite night of a STC event.  And this year I was in for more than I ever bargained for.  I took a nap for a few hours and struggled to make it to the bar by 7:00 pm, worried that folks would be toddling off to bed early.  There I got to meet Tim Lebbon and Gemma Amor, and discussed the idea of a STC UK, although who knows if that is even possible.  When they and Brian toddled off to bed at 7:45 pm or so I joined Candace Nola, Anton Cancre, Lucas Milliron, Craig, and some others, including the entire Nola clan, for beers until we closed out the bar.

We moved on to the lobby, where every unfinished bottle of liquor in the hotel gradually began to accumulate.  There, Craig and I explained, in excruciating detail, the entire plot of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "The Inner Light" to Joseph Pesavento.  No doubt this alone was worth the price of Joseph's admission.

Don Noble, the cover artist of THE PERFECTLY FINE HOUSE, joined us and began explaining to me how to make modern home-made body armor.  Then Ali S., poor, sweet Ali S. walked by and I yelled out, "Ali!  Why haven't you hung out with us yet this weekend?"

And thus was the Sunday Night Squad born.

We stayed up until at least 6:00 am, smoking way too much, drinking way too little, nearly making Don late for his flight, absolutely making Ali late for hers, nearly killing poor Joseph when he was just trying to get a blood sugar cookie, playing "Heart and Soul" on the lobby piano, and generally making the entire lobby a No Lame-o's Zone all night.

This is what I'm talking about when I say the con was back.  This, this is what I used to do five, six years ago with Lombardo, Rachel Autumn Deering, and other folks I've fallen out of touch with.  We'd find hidden nooks, talk all night, and let the mighty power of fellowship found in the world of literature take us away.

On my drive home a Katy Perry song played on the radio.  She sang, "Just because it's over doesn't mean it's really over."  And I know, that's a stupid pop song about breaking up with a boyfriend who probably never existed or something, but it kept going through my head the whole way home.  

Authorcon isn't really over.  

Scares That Cares isn't really over.

The way it makes you feel isn't really over.

It's never really over.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

On Aging and Figuring Out What's Next

On my 32nd birthday, I celebrated with a large group of friends at my favorite bar. I was so convinced that my 30s would be my decade. 

Then the pandemic arrived two weeks later.

I tell you this because the reason I missed my last post was that I just turned 35. And though this birthday I kept it simple, I really wasn't handling it as well as I'd liked. The truth is that the past three years have been loss-after-loss, so much of which had piled on top of itself that I kind of just stopped celebrating my birthday altogether. 

I stopped wanting to grow. I sought more than anything to get away from myself, and in doing so, lost what the point of it all was regarding my writing journey. I think that in the mess of things, I somehow lost my voice and the very things that made me want to write in the first place. I'd done so mostly out of survival - though that now, has ultimately changed.

There's this game of politics more or less, just like in any sort of career, that sort of comes with the territory. It's hit me pretty recently as a journalist. And I think with Chat GPT, and really, just how everything has changed regarding stances in what I'm calling "truth by convenience" (basically, news that only counts for the person so long as it fits a particular viewpoint regardless of actual facts; methods 100% driven to generate traffic/wealth) sort of has become most of the industry.

This was what I am seeing a lot lately. Friends more-or-less betraying friends, not realizing the daggers were already raised behind them, in this silly game of group hugs, just as the layoffs keep happening across the board. I don't think I want to take part in this anymore. I'm tired of living in a real-life Game of Thrones, and kind of, just want to do the things I like while not worrying about the rest... mainly, being stabbed in the back as many of my cohorts seem to be doing behind closed doors.

For context, I left the mental health field five years ago for this exact same reason. Honestly, I was tired of selling lies to people who deserved better. One of my last, very haunting memories, was calming a hostile client down at a doctor's office because they were de-compensating for the first time. They trusted my reassurance that things would be alright, and even, get better - as I got them the help they needed.

That help? Was lying to them about how we would consider looking into their situation (which was, to be honest, a delusion that they were experiencing that was completely not at all what was happening in reality). It was all in a quick-thinking do-it-or-die moment where I'd de-escalated the situation but did so pretty much by breaking their trust. And they went back to square one regarding their progress in our program. 

The truth, which is something that the field was pretty bad at addressing, was that these people were the ones likely to forever stay in the cycle of the system. Unfortunately, the people that make it out okay and recover... were usually people that came from high means and good wealth. 

What I learned early was that social work was a service... but not a cure. And most of my clients, users with addictions and severe mental health disorders were many, well, hopeless cases. People whom, in many ways, all I did was keep people off the streets. 

What a therapist hates to tell you is that they're almost always a band-aid on a flesh wound. A part of a system as dysfunctional as the education is in this country, in that things only seem to be getting worse the further we cut budgets. 

Nowadays, I write to process the many things that I felt the world wouldn't be ready for in handling. To tell them a story in an easier and more digestible way of understanding. 

But I was wrong. 

Or at least, I think the way that I've been going about writing was wrong. Let alone, my philosophy about living. Something has changed in me. Recently. I kind of fixed some of my own trauma and as a result, the very thing I feared for so long happened in that... I don't really feel the desire to write anymore. 

The problems are still there in my life, as are the hurdles I know that I need to fix but I just, genuinely don't seem to care. 

I guess I lost hope as to why stories matter... And by proxy, I've lost a sense of why I matter. I'm not sure why I'm doing this anymore. 

So I'm going away. 

I'm going to work on things I still have just a spark of passion about. Maybe, it's time to get away and unplug from so many things that make me - just sad. 

It's mostly all in the fields of media but also, just so much of life in general now - as I'm seeing news all the time about jobs being reduced, mid-level screenwriters finding it impossible to find work, and to top it all off: Chat GPT. Sort of making news writing a bit of a redundant skill.

More than anything, I really want to find an authentic way to keep doing this. Something that doesn't feel so fake. Because at this rate... I'm repeating my past mistakes in struggling to keep a dying thing moving in a broken system that's at a complete pivot point.

And... I just... I guess I don't know anymore. 

I knew once why I wrote. 

I just can't figure out why I write now.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Oh God, It's My Turn To Post And I Forgot To Come Up With A Topic

Dark bleetings, everybody!

This post is going to be short but hopefully sweet, because I have realised recently that there are just NOT enough hours in the day. In any day. Ever. I am busier than I've ever been in my entire life. A solid 8 hours sleep is a thing of a distant memory. I started Final Fantasy 8 over a month ago and thanks to having absolutely no time to play it since that one long-ago, rare weekend, I haven't even made it out of Balamb yet.

Don't let my failure to plan a post fool you into thinking I have nothing to say though. If you know me at all, you know I always have plenty to say - in fact, I rarely shut up. My ability to talk incessantly is probably some sort of super power by now. And to that end, I'd like to declare (not with a small amount of excitement), that my review website HAPPY GOAT HORROR has branched out across the web. I'm old and out of touch, but my brother is still in his twenties and therefore, connected to the youth. And we have gone on to "the YouTubes". I think that's how you say it.

Viola! HAPPY GOAT HORROR is live!

So far, we have started posting "Let's Play" videos: on Wednesdays we post our Resident Evil 1 content, and on Saturdays we post our Resident Evil 4: Remake content. Our videos are around 15 minutes long. Join Mike and I as we game, get munched on by zombies, drink tea, and talk about horror, gaming, and life. Join us as we discuss what exactly the herbs are and why they seem to have such great pain-killing properties.

We've recorded months of videos already, and though I was a little hesitant about this, I have to say it's an absolute blast. At a weird time in life where I barely have time blink, making this time to game with my brother and reminisce is super special. He's a great person and I love hanging out with him, and technically, because this is in service of Happy Goat Horror, it's time I HAVE to set aside, so it's guilt-free! At the moment, we're posting game content 2 days a week, but from May onwards, we're adding book content, and then from June onwards, movie content. I've been working my ass off, because I love goats, I guess. And horror. I reeeeeally love horror. Slowly but steadily as I've aged, I've began to achieve the ultimate goal of having my entire life revolve around it.

If you have yet to hang out with me and the goats, we mostly review a lot of indie horror books. But as you can see from the addition of our gaming videos, we are growing. Like a fungus, you might say. World domination is imminent! You can find us bleeting around in the following places:

Happy Goat Horror: Website




Come make friends with us!

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