Sunday, January 29, 2023

Written Once Since November

My notes inform me I've only written once in any meaningful fashion since November 10th. I nod as I read the date, but it feels simultaneously longer and shorter than I remember... like space between a death. And it is. I mourn and stop writing. I cry, think of the different intensities of heat as our world burns, and count the tiny bit of family I have left. I try not to think of The Doomsday Clock crackling ever towards the midnight hour. I turn off the news in numbness to another tragedy and nod at the clock inching to sleep. And I don't write. As though I'm on vacation, and I forgot postcards. 

I started seeing a counselor again. She's kind. She listens like she's paid to do, but I feel she's the sort of soul who always has a clean tissue in her pocket for others. She says she wants my happiness to be at a six or seven for three months before treatment is complete; she offers the lower end when I tell her she's incredibly optimistic. 

I spend my Sunday afternoon crying as though I've lost my mom and brother all over again. Brandon cuddles me until the tears slow and we play video games together. I try to pull myself into the present and what's here while there is still stuff to enjoy and people to love. I try to tell myself people want me alive. I guilt myself with their devastation if I should choose otherwise. 

Ill again. Not sure how I got sick, but I know my immune system can't be enjoying all the stress. It's not severe... I got lucky. But I have to be careful not to stress or overwork during recovery. I'm not doing the best job. Brandon is sick now, too (and we took precautions).

The one thing I've written is about a woman in a wildfire. She runs through it, like I can't do, even though her hair is aflame. I forgot if she started it or just deals with it. I don't know if she's going to make it through, give up, or fail in the attempt. Her face is soot-marked and sparks tear at her clothes. But she's plucky, this lady. She's got a good chance of making it. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

A Cyborg Deconstructs Her Body (a Poem)

I watch myself at a slow remove/the way liquid is a mirror/Striptease until I tingle/the way time is liquid/I scream as skin comes undone/metal zippers reflect me/Caught in teeth of coal/bone char mars the view/My joints click and blood pools/I stare at my rosacea face/in tints of rose-colored glasses/time mimics my gear-heavy joints/Dripping seconds, cogs, and plasma
This poem was first published in Nebo (2020) when they had a call for speculative work. Many disabled people are cyborgs, but the term is still foreign to most who hear it applied that way. I wanted to attempt a poem that could be taken in the realm of sci-fi as well as in the realm of Crip... but I don't think I accomplished it.

Monday, January 2, 2023

2022 Year in Review

I tend to dread each new year. What French hell will befall us next?

My brother died of an illness at age 40 on December 1st. This February will be the two-year anniversary of our mother's death. I haven't had a relatively calm year since approximately 2015 (and that's the one where an ex-relative of mine threatened to sue me so I'd give up my inheritance). 

My health is still marching downhill, regardless of the changes I make. I'm on another medication for another thing I thought I could fix on my own. At least I continue to be in remission.

I've started streaming video games and other content on Twitch and YouTube under an alias. I quite enjoy it and have made a couple friends. The reason I don't tell people about it is because I swear a lot; I feel free doing it in a way I'm not on this blog. 

Husband and I are on 15 years of marriage. He's one of the few bright spots.


On the professional side, I received 56 rejections and eight acceptances. Two of my poems were finalists in some cool contests. I started posting on my YouTube channel more because I have an avatar. My literary collection can't even get a personalized rejection; there is (again) no place to submit my horror collection.

How did last year look for all of you?

Monday, December 19, 2022

Christmas Cards 2022

These are sort of Victorian Christmas with some glitz. The one with the "Night Before Christmas" theme went to Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
I'm trying to work with traditional Christmas/winter cards without always using the same colors. I wondered what I could make if I shifted something over. Would pink and purple look like a valentine? The green card is made with a rub-on transfer.
Here's a low-quality image to show off a new type of card I wanted to try... a grid card. This is incredibly easy to make as construction paper is the card body and quilling strips make the grid. Stickers from The Dollar Tree finish it off. Next year, I want to put letters in the squares to spell different words.
Another batch of cards where I tried something new (particularly the black and orange in Christmas motifs). Sometimes, I wonder if I rely too much on glitter, fake gems, and metallics... but Christmas is generally ostentatious. The black card is for my baby brother because he is anything but standard.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

A Series of Slow Losses

My brother went into the hospital in mid-November. He died on December 1st at only 40 years old. One thing you never want to write as a family member is someone's obituary.

My husband and I put up Christmas decorations yesterday. It was nice, and yet complicated. I didn't even want to put them up. How can it feel like the holidays right now? My oldest brother and I are going through the motions. Our baby brother doesn't even want to get out of bed.

I got my Christmas cards done, nineteen of them by last count. I won't put Tony's name on one this year... I won't wrap the things I bought him. This is only the second holiday season without mom, and now we have to make it through without our brother. 

We are still going to have our Christmas Eve tradition. My heart-sister, oldest and youngest brothers, husband, and nephew will be around me. But it will feel emptier... even as we hold on tighter. We (on my side of the family) are the only ones left; we have no cousins, grandparents, or uncles/aunts.

If you love someone, grief for one of you is the ultimate result. Love fierce enough to make the pain worth it.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Color-Coordinated Instagram

It might not seem like it, but I try really hard to update my Instagram with interesting content. I shoot for at least once a week and alternate between poems and artwork or something similar. It's something of myself, like most things I leave online, but I feel like it lacks. 

A lot of branding experts say your Instagram account needs to be color coordinated. Some people even suggest using the same filter on every photograph you share. Maybe, if I made everything have a purple hue, it would stand out more.

The frequency is another problem. I don't produce enough poetry or artwork to cover every single day. I know a lot of poets on Instagram turn out seven or eight poems daily just to fill the space. Perhaps that's why some Instagram poetry is considered lackluster.

I'm not shooting to be famous, and I guess it's a good thing. I don't have the bandwidth to refresh all of my accounts daily. Would it change anything if I did? I don't think so. I used to blog a lot more often than I do, and nothing really changed when I curtailed the frequency. 

Maybe I'm just not great with social media in general.

How do you approach social media? Do you feel like you have a healthy relationship with it?

Monday, October 24, 2022

Review: Halloween Ends... with a Whimper

 Note: Spoilers and ranting galore.

Four years since Michael last tried to kill Laurie (and managed to kill almost everyone else in the process), he comes back. Laurie is just trying to write her memoir and put the past behind her when she introduces her granddaughter to a young man who accidentally killed a boy he was babysitting years prior. That fateful introduction sets evil in motion.

Do you watch Halloween movies for Michael Myers? Well, if you're one of those people, you're going to be disappointed. Michael barely features in his own film. At the end of the last movie, he was slicing down people left and right in Haddonfield (gaining in strength with each kill). In Halloween Ends, he can barely muster up the strength to kill on his own and lives in a sewer. 

The main villain of the film, for the most part, is the granddaughter's boyfriend. Corey was an outcast in town for the incident from years ago. After Michael drags him into his sewer but doesn't kill him, Corey changes. He becomes much bolder and decides to kill the people who have made his (and his girlfriend's) life hell. The kicker is that he uses Michael as his co-killer without any explanation as to how this works. I guess, if old Mike plays catch-and--release with someone, they're just psychically linked. Corey seems more murderous in this one than Myers and over half the movie is about him.

Corey is obsessed with Allyson (Laurie's granddaughter) and wants to be with her forever. I really hoped he was working towards trust with Michael so he could kill him... but nope. Why try to end the person who wants to kill the person he loves the most? Laurie and a couple of other people see how Corey changes; she eventually refuses to condone their relationship, so Allyson leaves and Corey tries to murder Laurie.

Before he tries to murder Laurie, he steals Michael's mask. He should not be able to do this. Michael can overpower 30 people wielding various weapons. 

The climax of the film has Michael fighting Laurie because he follows Corey to get the mask back. After Laurie and Allyson subdue Michael, they strap him to the top of a vehicle and parade him around town. This is the same man who can be shot 20 times and stabbed 40 more and get back up like it's not even a hangover. But sure, tie him to the top of a vehicle without even beheading him first. He doesn't get up, though! They make it appear like he's finally dead. Corey dies before Myers does.

None of the acting was particularly good in this. I feel a lot of the performances were phoned in, which is not uncommon for a slasher flick. Sometimes, Jamie Lee Curtis even appeared bored. Corey's character development into the villain made sense, but it also isn't believable... more cardboard slip than dark descent.

The penultimate scene with the midnight vigil and Michael tied to the top of the car was bizarre. No one seemed to be carrying a shitload of weapons in case he gets up. No one demands the right to make sure that it is Michael on the car and not, say, Corey instead.

The kills, with the exception of one, were banal. I felt like they were on a tight budget and a huge time constraint, so the kills often cut away as though it was made for USA Network and not a theater. Michael often poses his victims in various ways (in prior films), and the presentation of his deeds fell flat here.

One of the worst parts, I feel, is the messaging about the shape of evil. Laurie talks about how evil changes form in her memoir. Michael Myers is called "The Shape" in the credits as though he's a damn isosceles triangle. They might be trying to say something profound or twisted with how Corey changes and what Michael is, but it just comes off as ephemeral and not concrete or interesting. I realize this is a safety hatch to resurrect Michael, but come the fuck on already! Halloween Kills hinted at something similar with how the town reacted when they thought they had Michael cornered in the hospital, but it was done much better.

The jumpscares were also lackluster and the tension was mostly non-existent. I paid for movie tickets, but I should have just streamed it on Peacock. If there is one saving grace, it's that I watched this with my baby brother and didn't suffer alone. I hope there are no more Halloween movies because the writers and directors murdered the legacy of Michael Myers harder than his sister ever could...