Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rest in Peace, Gorgeous

She broke the rules while wearing a corset. She plowed through the pop culture blonde bombshell stereotype like a Mack Truck. Now thousands of girls run around wearing her bangs, sporting halter tops and cuffed jeans, while tattoos of her curvaceous body and impish smile peek out from under their long, sleek hair. Never a legend in the traditional sense, but a legend just the same.

Rest well, Ms. Page.


Stereotype This

I usually love where I live. It’s quiet, slow-paced, and people are generally very friendly. However, once in a while I come across someone who just doesn’t “get” me, someone who, for whatever reason, feels it necessary to take it upon themselves to poke at me like I’m a bizarre insect, to prod into my cage with their pointy stick until they elicit the behavior they seem to feel I should have displayed at the outright, the behavior they have assigned to individuals with my appearance.

Steve did a great post a while ago on stereotypes in writing, and their necessity. As art echoes life, I understand the need for stereotypes in society, for neat little boxes to insert people into so that they may be understood better: athletic; beautiful; nerdy; normal; devil worshipper. You know, all the usuals. I understand that without the means to sort and categorize the world around us, humanity would lose much of its ability to function. Boxes have a purpose. They help keep our minds from overloading. I get that. I just wish we all could follow basic kindergarten rules and be nice and keep our sorting mechanisms to ourselves.

To the charming lady I ran into in the store yesterday, here’s an educational video to help you out. Enjoy.

(Bad words here, kiddies… Get Mom and Dad’s permission before clicking. Or just don’t tell them I was the one who taught you how to say them)


Back from the Void


Well, I’ve managed to crawl out of the sucking (in so many ways) blackness of technological meltdown just in time to say I hope all my American friends had a happy Thanksgiving. My evildoer cohort/benefactor, “X”, came through and I have a monitor to use until the new iMac’s come out in early January, at which time I will have a brand-spanking-new computer on which to play Sims… Ahem, I mean write.

Thanks to everyone for their well-wishes in my absence. I’ll be back to doing the rounds of blogs in a day or so. I have one last mission to accomplish before settling back into the writing routine–climbing into the fifteen-foot long, six-foot wide, peaked space that is what’s left of our attic (which was stuffed to the gills with everything we owned when we started renovations) and finding the Christmas decorations stored at the very back. While I’m at it, I suppose it would behoove me to locate my party clothes, as the Architect’s firm is having its annual gathering on Friday, and all my festive clothing is trapped somewhere amongst the rubble. Oh, and on that note, allow me to give a piece of advice to anyone getting ready to renovate; don’t smash the crap out of your closet until you have an official place to stash your duds. Boxes, trash bags and your grandmother’s old powder-blue suitcase with the jacked-up zipper are paltry substitutes for proper storage.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the loop, catching up on everyone’s brilliant posts and getting my writing going again.

Thanks again, X, for the loan. I promise the cats aren’t getting hair on it.

Much.


Around, just mostly unavailable

Sad to say, it seems my monitor is on the brink of–if not already toppled into the chasm of–death. So, until further notice, I’ll be noticably absent. I can still get emails on my cell (and obviously can type very painful short posts on its teeny, tiny screen). I’m hoping this matter can be resolved quickly and with little pain, but I’m not holding out too much hope for this eight year-old machine.

Great. Now my eyes are crossed.

Have a good one.


Be Afraid…


Well, Whaddaya Know?


The well ain’t dry.

Yesterday I finished screwing down the plywood in the downstairs floor, a task I hadn’t been much looking forward to because of its mundane, knee-aching nature. That was pretty much the last of the daytime work I had scheduled myself to ensure the Architect could be free to do more complex work on the weekends. Our living area (currently the second floor of the house) is comfy, if not terribly attractive, and the debris and most of the lumber has been moved to the garage. Our living space is livable again. With a clear mind and clearer schedule, I got up this morning–and wrote two first chapters, one for each of my new works in progress. Just like that, I’m back in the game.

Contrary to my uber-organized nature, one of them doesn’t even have a fleshed-out storyline. No charts, graphs, index cards or anything. Just me flying by the seat of my pants. Of course, the other novel is halfway written already in outline form (you can teach an old dog new tricks, they just really prefer the old ones). I have to admit, it was exciting switching from one story to the other. I can see now why some authors chose that path; there’s little room for boredom. The question now remains; can I keep up doing two at once? At the very worst, I’ll have one strong story I’m very much drawn to finish, and a solid second-place winner to brush up once I’m done with the first.

On a completely unrelated, slightly ADD-ish side note, I’m totally digging the weather today. From my office/storage closet window, I can see the squirrels in my neighbor’s backyard chasing each other across the sunshine-dappled trunk of a monstrous pine. The air is cool, almost chilly, and an inviting breeze continually drifts through the room, making it feel less claustrophobic. It seems fall finally has arrived–and here I’ve had my Halloween stuff out for two weeks. Exposed insulation, plywood floors, sparse furnishings, and spooky-themed tchotchkes covering every square inch of horizontal surface. What’s a Halloween-loving girl to do? Stop messing around and get back to work, I guess.


Take-backs

For those of you (no names named, but you know who you are) who track my blog like the CIA and know I posted an entry and then took it down, I’m sorry. For those of you who don’t know: what I did was make a slideshow of the destruction/construction going on over at Casa DeBow and posted it. Then, Photobucket decided to eat it. So, I made another one. I was going to put it up just now, but after thinking a little more, I decided I’m not going to post it for all to view. Everyone here should know by now I’m a little (lot) paranoid sometimes, and I think it’s best to keep some things between friends. So, friends, if you want a visual explanation as to why my writing has gone down the toilet (set to repetitive, Danny Elfman-esque music), send me an email at Averydebow@comcast.net, and I’ll send you the link to the carnage. Sorry to do it this way, but I’m really not feeling the public view-fest thing. Hope you understand.


Where’s Your Head At? (and other gramatically incorrect existential questions)


I suppose one could call me a hobby slut. I have a drive to learn new crafts, but few ever really stick. Once I’m halfway into one, I’ve already got my eye on another. Some may say it’s because I’m a Gemini and have a limited ability to stay put for very long. Could be true. Whatever the cause, the end result of most of my endeavors is the same–sudden termination due to lack of interest. There was that bout of cake decorating where I insisted on rolling fondant for everyone’s birthday party/baby shower/bridal shower. Before that was candle-making, soap-making, and carving. Even when I was a kid I went through this short-but-fervent obsession with cross-stitching plastic coasters. I become engrossed in whatever I do for a brief time, then let it go as easily as it came.

There are a few activities that have stuck, despite my lack of effort at keeping them alive. There’s gardening, a hobby that began when I watched my mother coax the clay-filled, rocky soil of Southern Maryland into a fruitful garden of herbs and vegetables. Then there’s sewing and baking, crafts taught me by both my mother and her mother, the fruits of which were harvested in eighth grade when I received with shamed pride the award for highest grade in home economics (gratifying, but a death-knell for my dating/coolness prospects in the following four years).

And then there’s writing. I remember my fifth grade teacher telling me I was a natural writer, but not really paying much attention to her. I remember my high school best friend failing twelfth grade English and needing to win a Halloween horror story contest to boost her grade via extra credit. We spent the night at her house, laughing uncontrollably as I penned the the goriest, most ridiculous story that ended with her ex-boyfriend’s severed head in the refrigerator. She passed (this was before kids brought guns to school and budding authors got expelled for their thoughts). I spent my twelfth grade summer vacation awake until two a.m. writing the most awful novel ever put to paper. And I spent my freshman year of college writing my roommate’s English papers in exchange for her writing my French ones (a trade that saved me from failing French 201). But then I left school and my writing stopped. Completely. I had a job (a crappy one, at that), and rent to pay and there was no room for writing. Eventually, though, the desire resurfaced. I was working as a secretary where my other co-workers were somewhat intellectually challenged, so what took them all day to do took me two hours, tops. I started writing to pass the time. I wrote a children’s story and sent it to Harper Collins. I got one rejection and let the whole thing go. Looking back at that letter, I could kick myself; it was a personal rejection from the editor herself, praising my story and explaining it just didn’t fit with their current lineup. As young and inexperienced as I was, I took that rejection as the ultimate denial of my ambition and stopped writing again. It took many more years–peppered with a few community college writing courses that were more harmful than helpful–for me to take up the keyboard once again.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m not writing right now. It won’t take years like it did last time, but maybe a little more time. But, soon enough, the desire will become uncontrollable and I’ll be back at it once again. Already, ideas are jumbling in my head when I go to bed at night and it won’t be long before they demand my waking mind, as well.


UberCleaver


One of my favorite online pals, Pirate Steve (he’s not really a pirate, I just like to think of him as one), recently requested I blog a little more. Despite the fact he was clearly drunk when he said that, I’ll just go ahead and indulge his whims and my ego–although this post will most likely be void of anything beneficial, and will undoubtedly contain only a big, long, lame excuse embedded in cute prose about the current goings-on of my life.

The Architect and I have been working weeknights from six to midnight, and every weekend on our renovation project. With the Architect having to deal with his day job for eight hours and then come home and do manual labor, I’ve decided to step up the housefrau activities to make his life as easy as possible. I’ve taken over the yard work (why hasn’t lawn mower motor technology improved in the past fifty years?) and the task of taking things to the dump (made easier by my recent acquisition of a 1977 GMC Sierra Camper Classic V-8 pickup aptly named “The Beast”). I do laundry on a daily basis and do my best to keep the sawdust out of the “living” areas. And did I mention my recent, fifties-esque compulsion to have dinner ready when the Architect walks in the door?

Yep. I’ve turned into the UberCleaver. But, you know, if we’re splitting hairs about mid-century television housewives, I’d rather picture myself as a raven-haired Samantha Stevens–although if we’re being totally honest, I’m painfully aware I’ll always be more like her snarky, over-eyelinered mother, Endora.

Yesterday evening, after a day of grocery shopping and errand-running, I accompanied the Architect to a historic district review, where we pleaded our case for replacing our windows. Actually, he pleaded and I sat in the audience. It sounds cruel, sending him to the gallows on his own, but really, what would I have to add to the discussion that he couldn’t handle?

“No, no, no. Honey. Please. I’m a dark fantasy writer. Let me handle this.”

Right.

So, I watched as they argued if our dinky little house was “significant.” Then they grilled the Architect about why we couldn’t just repair the crooked, broken, air-leaking windows that currently have to have ugly storms slapped over them in winter. And he argued his case. He touched on the artistic points and the structural concerns of putting straightened windows back into crooked holes. And he won. We can tear out these things and put in new, energy efficient windows that do amazing things like stay open. But, for all you history lovers, don’t worry. We’re not chucking the old windows into the landfill; right now we’re tossing around the idea of making them into an interior wall/sculpture.

Well, that’s about the best I can do for now. As I warned before, this post had nothing to do with writing, because, honestly, right now my life has nothing to do with writing. But, don’t give up on me just yet; the construction will end sooner or later–at the very least, we’ll run out of money.

And to my friends Charles and Lana down in LA, I’m watching the Gulf and hoping you’re okay.

Here’s a photo proving renovations really are murder:


The Wail


The district I live in is an old fashioned clock; the houses have been crafted with skill and grace, the cramped quarters engineered for efficiency, and each turn of its gears is clearly audible. Any given day I am audience to a symphony of sound and vibration: the low bellow of the tugboats passing between the raised gates of the drawbridge on their way to deposit their cargo a half-mile downriver; the whistle of the freight train lumbering through town along its rusted tracks; the throaty rumble of the Medevac helicopter and the high-pitched whine of the Sheriff’s chopper as they circle not-so-high above; the trumpet of the fireman’s summon (a shrill beast with no concept of time or depth of slumber); and the fire and police stations that burst with sudden life, spewing out urgent shrieks in multiples.

This morning belonged to the emergency department. For over eight minutes the air filled with growing numbers of sirens. As I listened, I became certain the creator of that particular sound knew exactly what he was doing. In hearing that shrieking for such a prolonged period, I came to believe the inventor not only understood the noise that would most likely gain a semi-alert driver’s attention, but sensed its source. Because as I stood listening to that manufactured conveyance of urgency, I, too, heard its origination.

My mother’s not breathing! I can’t get her breathing!

Oh God, he’s really going to kill me this time!

They’re trapped! The car is flipped over and they’re trapped!

The Blood! It’s everywhere!

Within that electronic wail, I heard those who summoned it–heard their anxiety, their pain, their horror. I heard their screams. Even the little old lady who wanted a free ride and someone to alleviate her crushing loneliness for just an hour—I heard her, too.