Spring Has…Sprung?

Well, it’s mid-April and Sunday is Easter so I guess it’s Spring now?

I mean, it’s kind of cold and definitely raining and gray and generally “blah” outside, but here I am looking at the calendar and yup…definitely Spring.

I usually count Easter as the beginning of Springtime, likely because of my early indoctrination into the Catholic Church.  I left such organizations many years ago, but I still hold a little solemnity for the Easter Season, from Palm Sunday (when Jesus rode into town on a donkey,) to Good Friday, at least .  Today is Holy Thursday, for those not in the know.  Dinner Party Day, as I like to call it, but most scholars refer to it as The Last Supper, when Jesus gave his apostles the sacrament of the holy communion.  It is “celebrated” by some guy at church washing the feet of other guys at church.  Tomorrow is Good Friday, where nothing good happened, and they crucified a dude for wanting to help the poor, sick, and needy.  (Same sh*t, different millennia, amiright?)  This is celebrated with the Stations of the Cross, which is like an art showing with a terrible audiobook playing in the background.  Then Holy Saturday…which is just a weird one.  See, the apostles held a vigil outside of Jesus’ tomb that day, waiting for his resurrection.  Apparently, they stayed all day, yet still somehow no one was there the next morning to see Jesus come strutting out.  No, Easter morning was when “the women” (including Jesus’ wife, but whatever, Catholic Church,) arrived and found that he was already gone.  Yay Easter!  A celebration of a gruesome death followed by slight confusion!  Wait no…we’re celebrating the resurrection part.  At least, that’s according to my 12th grade Religion teacher.

But as I said, I’m done with all that.

So instead, I think of my garden.  I just cleaned it out and got it ready, and now I need to do a little weeding and lay some new mulch, and some greenery is already starting to show.  My front lawn is a mud pit, so that will take more time, and the trees remain bare, but I know it is coming.  I know one day soon I will look out the window and see grass and leaves and sunshine, not this windy, cloudy, terrible day I see right now.  After all, April showers do bring May flowers.

So, next week, I guarantee no update for Monday because I am having cataract surgery on my right eye.  If I think of it on Sunday I might write, but don’t expect anything.  I will hopefully be back Thursday to tell you all about it.  In the meantime, I’d appreciate if you took to literally any of my socials and watched the video I made today for my piece “Garbage.”  It recently lost it’s home, and instead of finding it a new one, I have built a house for it on my TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.  So, I ask you to check it out (@hamneggs716) and share it or like it or leave a comment, because I am letting this little guy fly free out there and it needs all the love it can get. 

So do i.  And well wishes, too.  Big week ahead.

Anyway, that’s all for today.  Happy Monday, my friends.

Movie Night

For algorithmic reasons I can’t explain, a Facebook event appeared to me the other day, and it piqued my interest.  It was for a viewing of North by Northwest at the local community center.  I immediately sent word to my father.  This seemed right up his alley, and when he marked that he was “going,” I did the same.  This morning, mother was excited to go when I stopped over for coffee, and I felt a little bad about leaving Mark and E home for it, but I’d honestly rather just go with them (sorry, guys.)  Why?  Well, and no offense to my mother either, but I have lovely memories of movies with my father.

The first movie I remember going to was when I was in maybe Pre-K or Kindergarten.  My school held a movie night, and we all piled into chairs in the gymnasium to watch a film on the projector.  They gave us cans of pop and little paper bags of popcorn.  It felt special, like it would be going to a real movie theater, which I think I had probably already done by that point.  I don’t recall, however; this is the first movie I remember.  It was about a dog.  I think it was Benji, only because I can’t find another dog-themed movie from the time period.  Dad might remember, but it was 35 years ago so let’s not hold out hope.

The second movie I remember seeing with my father was several years later, in 1999.  A couple years earlier, a show premiered on a new station called Comedy Central, and that show was called South Park.  Dad and I both watched it…separately, mind you.  Never together.  Which was never considered when the movie came out.  Now, I was only 16, so he had to take me to go see it because it was rated R.  We assumed it would be a great time, because we both liked the show: the cable show.  The “censored” show.

By the time they got to the “Uncle F**ker” song, there was deep discomfort on both sides of the armrest.  I remember trying very hard to focus on the movie and not the fact that my father was hearing the same raunchy jokes that were hitting my eardrums.  I don’t think either of us laughed much during it, despite finding it funny.  I think we were too scared.

Now, I am thinking today’s excursion would liken itself more to the Benji experience than the South Park one.  I am expecting a large room with a big TV and bags of popcorn.  I am expecting a movie my father and I both enjoy, and to spend time with him and my mom without thinking “Jesus Christ why couldn’t I have come seen this with Kevin?”  We like Hitchcock, and we thankfully know what to expect.

Anyway, I have some life to attend to before I can sojourn to a Cary Grant flick, so I must bid you adieu until Thursday.  Ha.  Hopefully I actually make the Thursday deadline this week.  We shall see, won’t we? 

Happy Monday.

Me watching a movie, circa ’87

Sick, with Stories

Well, that marks the third Thursday with no update.  This time it was illness again…it’s been like that all week.  The worst part is that I missed work yesterday, which I hate doing.  I love my job…like actually love it, because it is the perfect amount of childcare for me.  I can’t really do those long days I used to with kiddos anymore, but the few hours I put in in the afternoon for the program really makes me happy, and exhilarates me, because I’m actually out there doing something I love again. 

Of course, then I get sick and I wonder just how long it can last.  I went for this job because I was delighted that it didn’t start until midafternoon, which means that even if I am sick early morning, as is usual, I can be better by 2pm.  On Monday, I managed just that, going to the ER in the morning before coming home to nap, shower, and go to work.  I was fine that day.  Yesterday, not so much.  I couldn’t shake the crummy feeling, even after returning from the hospital, so I had to call off, which just kicked me in the stomach again.

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.  What’s good??  A good thing from this week is that I wrote myself a little story.

I needed something on Wednesday for my Patreon, something meaty.  More than a poem, y’know?  And I had this little thought in my head about what it takes to get me running in the morning, and then the thoughts started to take a shape.  There’s this movie called Osmosis Jones that I have loved always, and I started to ponder it.  What if there were a cell in my body, that was responsible for what I do?  It was a fun little thought experiment, but what would the cell actually do?  What would be its true purpose?  I thought of the Vonnegut quote: “Make your characters want something right away, even if it’s only a glass of water.”  And so, the tale of Bob the Cell who works in the Hypothalamus was born.  His goal?  Get the Girl a glass of water.

It’s a funny little story that both Sahar and Mom called “brilliant,” which I actually believe to be true because, as rare as it is, I love this story. 

Hardly ever do I write something that I like from the jump, so when I finished this and was so delighted with it I knew it would receive great reception from my “fans.”  (Why is that in quotes?  Because the only people who have read it are friends and family.) And it did, Carey liked it, Mark loved it, and of course my mother just wants to know why I can’t automatically have it picked up by some magazine.

Anyway, that was my big accomplishment for the week, and if you would like to read it (well, the rough draft, anyway,) then you can pop on over to my Patreon and pay $5 for that and more.

I’d really like your patronage over there.  You’re missing out on a lot, I promise.  Also, I need to pay the internet bill.  (See also: Tip Jar, to the right of this page.)

Ok, well, It’s Friday.  I have two kiddos here already and two more on the way, so I guess I better get myself going, and participate in life since I am well enough to do so.  I hope y’all have a great weekend, and happy Friday!

Hair Growth

It’s Sunday, but I’ll post this on Monday.  Just keeping myself on schedule.

This time, I didn’t post on Thursday because I was sick pretty much straight through until Sunday morning.  I managed work on Friday, but immediately felt pukey again afterwards and found myself in the ER again early Saturday morning.  But I don’t want to talk about that, because aside from this little snafu, I feel great.  Really.  Today I am fine, of course, and while I am terrified of what tomorrow will bring (more later) I am feeling confident.

What I did do during my illness was watch television.  I love TV, like how some people love movies.  I just think television provides better character development, and that is my bread and butter when it comes to entertainment.  So, I was scouting for a new show to watch, and Hulu suggested something called Life & Beth.

First of all, I’d heard of this, through relentless Spotify advertisements that actually made me NOT want to watch it because I found the ads so annoying. Then I discovered Amy Schumer was in it.

I like Amy Schumer.  I liked her standup, more or less…she made a lot of jokes sometimes that I didn’t necessarily dig, but it was kind of a 50/50 split of what I liked and didn’t like, so I always caught her specials.  Then Mark and I started watching Inside Amy Schumer, which was hilarious, and that made us go see her movie Trainwreck, which was a decent flick that showed a little of her range…not just the raunchy stuff, you know?  Anyway, that’s about what I was expecting from Life & Beth.

I was mistaken.

It started with a Hollywood Reporter article that Buzzfeed posted, discussing Amy Schumer’s new show and how it explored her “big secret.”  I mean…clickbait is clickbait for a reason, so of course I go open it, and what do I find?  A gosh darn heroine. 

Amy Schumer has trichotillomania.

If I were a crying sort of girl. you know, the kind that tears up at coffee commercials and puppy videos, I would have bawled right there.  I’m not going to say they don’t exist, but please show me another celeb who has come out and admitted this, because I have yet to know ANYONE famous who suffered as I did.

So, of course, I devoured Life & Beth.

First of all, forget everything you know about Amy Schumer and understand that you now need a broader definition for her talent.  The show is a sort of creative autobiography, and while the character of Beth obviously leans on Amy’s real-life persona a bit, she is unlike anything I’ve ever seen her in.  It is heartfelt and funny and sweet and sad all at once.  And best of all…episode 9.

In episode 9, we flashback to Beth pulling out her hair.  She has to get a ill-fitting wig.  She has kids at school make fun of her.  She sometimes knows she does it, sometimes not.  And finally, in one scene, she rips the wig from her head and throws it across the room, crying and beating on her pillows and head…angry and ashamed.

Just like me.  Just like most of us, who were 12 years old and going bald.

It was just so good.  Not just a good show that I would have liked without this detail, but it was certainly made better for it.  Once, I saw a documentary called Bad Hair Life, about Trichotillomania.  It was, until this week, the only real representation of TTM in the media that I have ever come across. 

In Life & Beth, Beth goes to the doctor at one point, and asks him for a hug.  It’s a peculiar but sweet moment, and I wish I could reenact that with her myself.  I would love to hug you, Amy Schumer, for being brave.  How we both would have longed for someone like you back when we were young. 

Anyhoo, I must bid adieu because I have to get ready for my first day of in-person work (hence the aforementioned terror.)  I’m sure it will go well; I just feel rusty.  Oh well, wish me luck, and happy Monday!

Poetry Night

I didn’t post on Thursday, because I didn’t feel like it.  Simply no excuse…just wasn’t in the headspace to write.  Plus, the only thing I wanted to write about was something that hadn’t happened yet.

Back in October 2019, pre-plague, my dear friend Beth (whom I had lunch with yesterday, coincidentally, and therefore has already heard this story,) went with me to a monthly poetry night at a bookstore near my house that I like.  I wanted to read one of my poems during the open mic portion, but I was terrified.  She sat by my side and encouraged me, and I was able to do it.  I was very proud of myself that night, for overcoming my anxiety of not just attending a function full of strangers, but for reading in front of them.

Come February, we had a problem, and that problem was a pandemic.  Poetry night kind of moved online for a bit, and while I would love to say I’ve watched every episode (because it was very good,) I honestly fell off when I started working on the novel.  I pretty much fell off poetry all together, then.  But now, she is in editing, and that bug is biting, and here we go again.

So I inquired a couple of times at the bookstore once they reopened as to when they would be bringing the night back and they kept telling me “soon.”  Then one morning my father tells me that an old buddy of his is hosting the return of Poetry Night!  I was ecstatic, and not at all anxious to attend.

When I got there, I sat by a woman and who seemed to be her boyfriend, and also a woman who appeared to be her bestie, and bestie’s husband.  Woman A, whom I came to know as Mary, seemed very nervous, and as I unintentionally eavesdropped on their conversation, I learned that she was going to be sharing her poetry for the very first time.  She had brought her reinforcements, as had I, and was probably so anxiously awaiting her turn that she barely even heard the key speaker…at least, that’s how I was that first night.

She had the courage to go first, too, once the open mic started. And it was good.  Her poetry spoke to me, because guess what?  They were about chronic and mental illness.  I sincerely hope my poems spoke to her as well, but as per usual, I flew out the door first, because mingling is still really hard for me.  I’m going to push myself to do it next time, though, so wish me luck.

In other news…yes, this is a two-parter, to make up for nothing last Thursday.

So, I decided to do a book giveaway, for funsies.  I figured I would do it on Twitter, where all my reading/writing friends live.  Out of my nearly 7k followers, 82 whopping people saw my giveaway tweet.  No one responded.  Ergo, Twitter’s algorithm is a steaming pile of garbage, yet again.

So, I roll over to TikTok, where I get better views, and I got a couple hundred.  A few folks commented, hoping to win the book.  I picked a winner, and emailed them.  A day went by with no response, so this morning I hop on and browse their page to see when they were online last.

It’s a kid.  It’s a literal child.

Now, my book doesn’t really come with a content warning because it’s not really graphic or anything, but there are some choice words and definite adult themes.  So, I emailed the kid and told him that I was sorry, but I couldn’t send him the book.  Also, he would have to give me his address, and it isn’t cool for me as an adult to encourage that, or safe for him as a child to do so.  I feel kind of bad, because I should have specified you needed to be 18 to win.  I hope he isn’t too disappointed.

Anyway, I have moved this giveaway over to my Facebook page, now.  So, if you’re not already following me there, I encourage you to do so, especially if you would like to win a book today!  I will be announcing a random winner tomorrow morning, so this offer is only good for you folks who are reading my blog on Monday the 28thGo follow me now!!

Anyhoo…that’s about it.  Happy Thursday, my friends.  I’m off to watch a bunch of TV, which might sound lazy, but is actual research for Thursday’s blog, I swear. 

This quote doesn’t really have anything to do with anything…I just like it.

You’re a Poet, and You Don’t Know It.

All day yesterday I was without a topic.  I tried all day, I swear, but nothing came to me.  That is, until right before bed when I saw a Facebook post from Amanda Gorman about World Poetry Day, and did a literal facepalm.

So, if you’re a constant reader, you know that I share poetry on this day with you.  In the past, it has been my own, but today I have something special.  Today I am redefining the word “poet,” and I am including everyone.

Since October, three folks have shown me something they have written that they asked me to take a look at and perhaps give some advice about.  For me, editing poetry is just as fun as writing it, so I of course said yes to these three.  What I discovered is that you can absolutely be a poet, and not know it. 

The first poem I would like to share can be found HERE at Pink Plastic House: A Tiny Journal.  It is by far one of my favorite mags, and when my friend Audrey asked me to take a look at her October-themed poem, I immediately thought of the journal’s Halloween poetry countdown as the perfect vehicle to get her work out there.  She sent me a rough draft, and I polished it up for her, and when she was pleased, I sent it off to the editor at PPH.  Audrey has written plenty for herself over the years, but this is the first piece she shared with the world.  I am hopeful that it gives her to drive to continue to pursue her creative talents. 

Next up is Kevin.  Back in his day, Kev was the best freestyler I knew…he knew every word to every rap song, but on top of that, he made his own music.  I always loved listening to his beats, but when he would flow over them was always my favorite.  When he and the guys would hang out and take turns coming up with ciphers, his was always the best.  So, when he sent me a text one day with what he called “a poem,” I was excited and surprised.  He doesn’t often write down the stuff he comes up with, but when he does it’s pretty cool.  So, he sent me this piece, and I formatted it for him, and now I would like to share his pretty cool words with you.

H2O by Kevin Henry

While I sit stoic, 
smothered in stinky sea fish,
the sight of society succumbed to solid selfishness-
my subconscious steams like that of a shellfish.
Everybody now walks like zombies 
on Zofran and barbiturates,
In 2021,
a walk in the park
might mean mask mandates and manipulators, 
a society sculpted in supreme science, 
overpopulated with particle of plastic.
Seems we're swimming in a sea of synthetic sickness,
an ocean of sadness.
I sit stoic, 
smothered in stinky sea fish.

Then, my husband, Mark. Mark is not a writer by any means and will tell you so…he’s the math brain in this relationship; I handle the words.  But one day, he had a dream, and he wanted to capture it somehow, so he tried to write it down as a sort of poem.  He came to me for help, and we gussied up the words and changed the formatting, and now he has this:

Awakening, by Mark Falcone

Awaking under my blanket, 
winter beckons from my window, 
daring me to come outside.  
Sadness holds me there, 
frozen.
I rise and dress 
for weather 
and wander down and out,
with my protective clothing. 
Pressing cold on my face, 
he beats me down,
but I trod on in the snow- 
another day.  
Until finally, 
home, 
I wrap myself in my blanket,
hide from him again. 

What my point?  I’m a poet.  They’re poets.  You’re a poet.  Poetry lives inside of all of us, if only we are brave enough to let it out of our hearts.  That’s where it resides, deep inside your soul, sleeping and waiting to be released.  So why not let it out?  Don’t be scared.  What you make is beautiful, and if you don’t think so, no one else will either.  (Also…I am totally free to help you edit, should you want to make it a little shinier.) 

So, Happy (Belated) World Poetry Day, to all us poets!

Price Point

Today I went to check on my chappie on a whim, just to see if maybe a review came in that I hadn’t noticed.  I haven’t checked in with her in a while, so suffice it to say that when I saw she was now listed at 25% off, I threw a hissy-fit.

My immediate thought was whose pocket is this money coming out of, and it had better not be mine!  Second thought, what do I do now?  Well, God bless Google, because apparently this is an oft asked question and it led me to several forums and articles about what to do when your book price drops.

Now, I have been assured by a few sites that the money is not deducted from me, but I’m not 100% sure who is footing the bill, be it the publisher or Amazon.  I just know it ain’t me, and that’s fine.  Many sites suggest buying up your book when this happens so you can sell them at full price by hand, which is not a terrible idea…right now it would only cost me a couple of bucks a book, in the long run, and I would have stock to do a signing or something.  Still, my writing funds are low-I only use what I make writing for my writing.  It’s a career that supports itself, at the moment. 

Alas, that kitty will grow if I can sell a few of these ladies at their new rate…so if you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of A Lovely Wreckage, I invite you to CLICK HERE and get it while it’s 25% off.

I think that if it drops lower, and I can scrape together the funds, I will buy up whatever is left.  The reasoning for price droppage that I found was either that Amazon determined it will sell better at that price point (no, not out of the goodness of their hearts-they want to make that money,) or they have a stock they are unloading.  Either way, if it goes lower, I’m snatching them up.  Then I’m finally going to try to figure out how people end up with signings and such.

Soon, I will hopefully also have single-run limited edition copies of my minichap, and ideally, I’d like to be able to sell the two of them together.  Alas, I am waiting on my editor to get back to me.  A month ago he said we were almost there…then nothing.  I sent an email a few days ago, but I know he is busy not only with the press but also the bookstore he is opening.  So, I will bide my time and hope.

Speaking of hope, I just remembered my other minichap…did I tell you about that one?  It’s about nature through the lens of depression.

You know what?  Let’s save that for another day.  Like the day it gets picked up.  I don’t want to rain down any bad juju on it.

Anyway, go get a copy of my book, so I can get some copies of my book.  Please, and thank you.

Happy Thursday.

Ethical Dilemma

Sometimes in life, an opportunity comes along that seems too good to be true.  Even rarer, that opportunity is true indeed…and even more rare is the instance in which you have to walk away from it.

A recruiter contacted me with a writing position last week.  5k a month for 2 articles a week.  “Scam,” I thought, but a quick glance at the company website showed me it was legitimate. I told the recruiter I was interested, and she set up an interview.  I was elated…briefly.

See, I am of the mind that when you receive an offer or get a new job, you should have a little knowledge of the company you are applying to.  So, to prep for the interview, I went to the website again.  At first glance, the company seemed cool…all about different kinds of energy.  Then, I kept scrolling, al the way to the footer, where I saw the emblem for the American Petroleum Institute.  Excuse me?

A quick Google search led me to find that the company was a front for Big Oil.  So, yes, of course it was well-paying.  But also misleading…the more I looked at the website, the more I realized it was less about renewable energy (which is what it seems to be at first glance) and more about fossil fuel expansion. 

That’s a hard pass from me.

Now, half the people I know are like “good, you stood up for what you believe in,” and the other half are like “girl, you should have got that money.”  I suppose I’m really in the middle, because I did consider it.  I thought about maybe working there and being able to change some things, or maybe they really are trying to clean up their image, or maybe just for a month or two until the bills are caught up…but no.  I can’t.  I’d be a sell-out, and I just can’t support these folks in good conscience. 

So I emailed the recruiter and told her thanks but no thanks, as they were against everything I stood for.  She doesn’t work solely for the company, so I told her to keep me in mind in case anything else comes her way.  Maybe something will, something better suited to my personal morals.

Do I have regrets?  A little.  That’s a lot of money.  Alas…I feel like it would have drained a part of my soul.  I would rather have that than money, I guess.

Resurrection

So, the other day, Kevin sent me this photo:

Creepy right?  Well, what if I tell you this is the whole photo:

Creepier.  Why?  Those are Cardinals.  This is the Vatican.

Created in 1977 by sculptor Pericle Fazzini, this work of art is in the Paul VI Audience Hall, where the Pope does his daily blessing if it’s raining in the square.  This is the backdrop, a giant bronze statue called “The Resurrection.”

It is supposed to be a vision of Jesus resurrecting in the Second Coming, from the ashes of a nuclear crater in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It took me a few to wrap my head around all this, honestly.  Ok, I can buy that the Vatican wanted to have a sculpture depicting the resurrection; that hardly seems news.  But then, there’s the nuclear attack thing…this was commissioned during the Cold War, so I understand the threat of nuclear attack then.  Sadly, this is truly just as strong today as it was once, thanks to a certain Euro-Asian country with an itchy trigger finger.  So, I enjoy the concept of Jesus coming at the “end of the world” to rise up and save humanity…y’know, as art.  But then there’s the fact it’s in the Garden of Gethsemane…and I truly am not sure why.  All the info I found told me that Fazzini chose it because it was Jesus’ last place of prayerful reflection.  Ok…now I understand the piece.  What do I not understand?

Why is this in the Vatican?  It seems so much better suited for MOMA, in my mind.  It reminds me of that old Sesame Street game: one of these things is not like the others.  This is a sad, apocalyptic depiction of Christ, and while it is meant to be hopeful, I’m sorry…I just do not get that vibe.  And honestly, I don’t want to.  I think the feelings I get from this piece, such as fear, sadness, and devastation, resonate more with its features than hope.  But what do I know?  I’m not art scholar.

I just know I’ve been thinking about this piece for days.  I went to do the research this morning and also found one of my favorite things: a conspiracy theory!!  Lots of people think it’s actually a statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed demon worshipped by the Knights Templar.  Others think the whole thing is about the devil, because of the serpentine structuring.  My favorite brand of conspiracy theory is the Catholic Church kind.  Do you know why?  Because their theories have a terrible track record of actually being true.

Anyway.  I just wanted to share this with you so it can take up space in your brain the way it has been in mine.  Enjoy this image and information, and as always…

Happy Thursday.