December 27, 2011
In advance of this blog, I’d like to point out that writing it is my punishment. It’s the recompense my other half, Mickey, demands in light of some rather heinous behavior on my part. All over a griddle. A stupid $12 griddle.
It began innocuously enough. I came home from work, kicked out of my shoes, caught up a little on Facebook, then headed to the kitchen to make dinner. Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Mmmmmmm. I took the griddle out of the lower cupboard and placed it on the stove top. Then I turned and got four slices of bread, and placed them on the cutting board. Then I went to the refrigerator to fetch the cheese, the butter (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, actually), and a slice of ham for Mickey’s sandwich. He still refuses to give up meat. He and the dogs will apparently cling to the death to their decomposing pieces of flesh hacked from the corpses of tortured livestock animals. Not that I harp about it. Much.
Anyway, I emptied two cans of soup into a larger bowl and placed it in the microwave before preparing the sandwiches. Then I opened the lower cupboard to get the griddle. It wasn’t there.
“Honey,” I said, “I can’t find the griddle.”
“It’s in the cupboard,” Honey responded.
I dug deeper. “Sweetheart, I can’t find it.” That’s what I thought I said, but if we had a security camera with sound in the kitchen it might have come out more along the lines of, “The fucking thing isn’t down here.”
“I know I put it down there,” Mickey said.
I don’t know about the rest of you tall folks – anyone over, say, 5’2″ – but I despise lower cupboards. They’re useless and awkward. The only reason for their existence is to hold up the sink and the countertop. They shouldn’t even have doors on them, that’s how useless lower cupboards are. But I digress. I started pulling pans out of the cupboard. Two cookie sheets, a large skillet, a muffin tin that I didn’t even know we owned, a couple of glass lids, a second surprise muffin tin. Still no griddle.
“It’s not down here,” I snapped.
“It has to be.”
By that time I was on my knees on the dog-hairy, cold kitchen linoleum. “Don’t fucking tell me that, I’m not blind. It’s not fucking here.” I’m sure my tone sounded accusatory. How could it escape sounding so? In my mind, I was accusatory. In my mind I was castigating Mickey for his careless misplacement of our one and only griddle. He works from home, he’s here all day, and he can’t keep track of a fucking griddle? These are the things that were going through my mind.
Mickey came into the kitchen at that point. “Oh, you’re right,” he said. “It’s not down there.”
“Ah ha!” I exclaimed. I jumped to my feet, basking in the self-righteous glow of my angry triumph.
“It’s not down there,” he continued, “because you already put it on the stove.”
Mickey Mills, writer extraordinaire, software god, technical genius, and all-around long-suffering partner of mine with, thankfully, the best sense of humor ever, I am so sorry. I’m so sorry that even the dogs are sorry vicariously, although they have no clue why.
Mea culpa, darling.
December 19, 2011
In a few short days, Winter arrives! This is my season. This is my time.
As a child of Southern California, I never knew anything about winter until one year when the boy I loved at that time drove us up Mt. Palomar and into the heart of winter. Cars were stalled and stuck all along the highway, and the chains my boyfriend had in the back of his Ford Pinto Wagon were too large for the vehicle’s small wheels. Still, we stopped and helped push several stranded travelers out of the drifts, then descended the mountain to have hot chocolate at a tiny local cafe. I’ll never forget that evening. People stared at me. People always stare at me because, frankly, six foot women aren’t all that common even in Southern California. But I knew they were staring at me that night for a reason that had nothing to do with my height. They felt – as I did – my oneness with the season. Surround me with snow and ice, and I’m in my element. My inner fire glows.
There’s a blizzard warning on part of the Southern Plains tonight and, oh, how I wish it was headed my way.
Come Winter! Come snow and ice and chilling winds! I embrace thee, as you embrace me.
This is MY time.
December 9, 2011
I really hoped that I’d have one evening this week that wasn’t spent in tears, but the moon is full and grief runs high among my loved ones. And so, realistically, I suppose tears are the norm this week.
When I was young I thought there was nothing worse than my own personal afflictions. Now that I’m a middle-aged (if I live to be, say, 120 or so) woman, I know better. As a mother, an aunt, a great-aunt, a lover, a woman who put in the years necessary to nurture friendships throughout a long adulthood, I realize how wrong I was. The worst affliction is that which our loved ones suffer. Lay it on me, I scream to the gods. Send it my way, I have the knowledge, I have the experience, I can handle it! If I could take all the pain away from those I love by bringing it on myself, I would. But it doesn’t work that way, does it?
My son, my thirty year old “baby”, posted on Facebook this week that he was standing in fires of his own making. I wrestled my mom-self into submission and responded as the crone I am, the aging woman with the cauldron and intimate knowledge of the Old Ways. I told him that those fires are sacred. They burn away our illusions. They leave us standing here naked with nothing – nothing – except the realization that we surround ourselves with illusion every chance we get. We cloak ourselves in illusion as if it was cloth of gold instead of the mind-numbing crap it really is. Illusion is comfortable. It keeps us from examination of reality.
In the midst of psychic and emotional fire we burn away everything superficial and stand naked before ourselves. Pain is dreadful, pain is awful, but it strips us of everything except the knowledge of what’s really important in our lives. It gives us the chance to step out of the illusions and into the reality of life. It gives us a rare and sacred chance to see what’s worthy dieing for, what’s worth living for. And in passing along this ancient wisdom to my son, I think I might find a lesson for myself.
The fire doesn’t hurt any less just because the flame belongs to someone else. I’m standing in the fire also – the fire that is the pain of my loved ones. In this vicarious fire I find my own illusions stripped away and I find myself face-to-face with my own naked self, and I wonder: Is this my rite of passage also?
November 16, 2011
Of all the arguments I’ve embraced regarding why living to 80, 90 or 100 years old is a bad idea for me, I didn’t anticipate one: Burying the young.
Why are we never prepared to bury those who are younger than ourselves? Yet, in retrospect, this is obviously part of outliving our own youth. Recently I’ve heard of or seen babies buried while their 20-something parents struggle to understand the depth of their own loss. I’ve seen teens die by gunfire. It’s horrible, really. In what way does life prepare us for this? I wasn’t prepared, that’s for sure, and I never knew how unprepared I was until today when I learned of the death of a young cousin by marriage.
Tall, blonde, scarred. Heavily tattooed and pierced, Chris was a rebel. He’s gone now, leaving behind three little daughters, a wife, and a family torn by grief. He also leaves behind one tired middle-aged witch who wonders, did he ever know how much I admired him? Did he ever know that every time I saw him I thought “Viking”?
Well, he’s in Valhalla now, and I’m left without any words of comfort for his family other than telling them that he made a difference while he was here. He was fierce and gentle and strong all at the same time. I noticed. I saw. How could anyone not see? He carried himself like the warrior that he was.
The world is short one warrior tonight and just at the time when we needed him the most. But the fires in the Great Hall are brighter for his presence.
Continue to burn brightly, Chris. We’ll see your glow from here, I promise.
October 28, 2011
And buzz is exactly what “The Glendale Witch” has created. I’m in writer’s heaven! Buzz implies continued interest.
Digital copies of The Glendale Witch have flown off the shelves (so to speak) at an amazing rate. Sales of print copies are slower, but that’s to be expected in this day and age, and I’m totally okay with that. This week I sold my first book to a Canadian reader, which technically makes me an internationally renown author, lol. I’m amazed and humbled by the response to my novel! I’ve heard from readers that range from age nine to well past middle-age and the response has all been positive.
This Sunday, 10/30, an article about The Glendale Witch will be featured in our local paper, followed by two radio interviews on 10/30 and 11/23. If you aren’t already my friend on FB, be sure to look me up at http://www.facebook.com/debi.blood for further updates.
Did I mention that I’m excited? I see Sam Elliot in the role of Truker, btw. I hope he’ll be available when casting calls go out. ‘-)
October 7, 2011
Considering that we’re still 6 days away from the launch of The Glendale Witch, I’m not sure how it’s possible but the Kindle version is flying off the shelves. Good thing there’s an unlimited supply!
Seriously, I have no clue who sneaked over to Amazon to avail themselves of the unlaunched ebook, but I’m extremely flattered and humbled. Whoever you are, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Remember to post a review – what you liked, what you didn’t like, whether or not you’d like to see the sequel.
October 2, 2011
I can’t believe it’s been a month and a half since I’ve blogged. What a waste of empty blogosphere space. Not that I have anything incredible or profound to contribute, it’s just the principle of the thing. It’s just like all of those blank canvases of mine that stare at me from beside my boxes of paint every time I walk into the back room. They scream at me: Create! Create! Will ya just create, fercryinoutloud!
Actually, I’ve been creating. The past month or so has been devoted to getting my book, The Glendale Witch, ready for launch. We’re closing in now. Eleven days to go. The print and the ebook manuscripts looks perfect. My SO and an extraordinary writer in his own right, Mickey Mills, designed a fabulous cover and is handling all my technical issues such as the official website, getting the ebook up on Amazon and Smashwords, and also doing the lion’s share of the marketing.
The launch is Oct. 13th. Seems like an auspicious date to launch a book about a witch, does it not?
“Witch” me luck!
April 22, 2011
Mickey is in Nashville right now, so I didn’t have to worry about him when the tornado siren went off, but I encountered a totally new and different issue this year: Recalcitrant pups.
Last year when the sirens began to blare, all I had to do was clip Slevin’s leash on him and lead him down into the basement. I was completely unprepared for what I faced with both he and Shooter tonight. Slevin was not going to cross the kitchen linoleum, period. He dug in and refused to move. So with the siren wailing in my ears and my heart in my throat, I had to carry my 100-pound darling across the kitchen. I set him down on the first basement stair and told him to go. Did he? Of course not. Suddenly, Slevin was acting like a dog. Seriously. Just like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill dog, not the highly cooperative, intuitive, obedient, intelligent example of canine perfection that I’ve come to expect of him.
Keeping one hand out to block Slevin from coming back up the stairs, I started calling Shooter. Shooter, who normally comes the minute you breathe, was having no part of the basement either. I had to grab him by the collar and drag him to the top of the stairs where I was able to lift him up and carry him down into the basement.
About the time we all three got downstairs, the sirens stopped. And the sun came out. And somewhere, no doubt, the gods are laughing. I’m sure my dogs and I put on quite a show, tyvm.
So, what have I learned from all of this? I’ve learned that both dogs need to be trained to react to a command I’ll only give in emergency situations. A command that means, “last one into the basement gets sucked into the Whirling Vortex of Death”. I’m thinking “Toto” would be an excellent command word.
As for Mickey, well, I found out last year that the tornado siren and EBS alerts on the radio are more like “guidelines” to him. He’s on his own. After all, I can’t carry him into the basement. Hmmmm…or maybe, given a megadose of adrenaline, I can. Time will tell.
April 17, 2011
Today I received the proofs of my author bio and my four short stories that will be appearing in the anthology, The Best of Every Day Fiction 3. I’ve known for several months that at least one of my stories would find a home in the anthology, but to have four accepted and to see the proofs makes it all so real that it takes my breath away.
My work will appear on paper – with real ink and everything! – along side several of my favorite flash fiction authors: Sarah Hillary, JC Towler, Laura McHale Holland and, of course, my wonderful love Mickey Mills. It’s humbling and exciting and unbelievable and oddly befitting all at the same time. I’m really not sure how to process it all. But something tells me that I’d better find a way to process it, that the door has opened for me and that I’ll be seeing quite a lot of my work in print (with real ink) in the years to come. I’m giddy at the prospect of literary success, but I’m confident, also.
I’m on my way.