A Spooky Writing Update

I went to that conference I said I was going to go to. And it was super helpful. Um, not in the way that I thought it would be though.

I had a critique workshop. And oh, boy. You know yours isn’t very good when everyone pauses before their critique and goes, “Okay, yeah… … so this one…”

critiqueaww

*Me, listening to their critiques with my hand on my chin.* Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yep. Okay. Perfect! I know exactly how to fix this.

*scoops entire manuscript off the desk and into the wastebasket underneath*

I’m kind of glad. From the beginning, I knew this had some really messy challenges. It was the first novel that I had ever formally finished and even though the premise is cool, it’s extremely difficult to pin down and write… and have it make any sense.

I spent the first day of the conference mourning the unpublishable mess I had scooped together, and then the next day of the conference pushed me in a really good direction. I realized that through all of the obsession over publishing I had completely abandoned my original dream (I couldn’t think of a less dramatic way to say it haha). That dream is to one day in my lifetime, have an entire bookcase full of my own printed-out manuscripts. I’ll always aspire to be traditionally published, but I have too many book ideas to be married to just one.

The fog lifted. The direction became clear. I NEED to start writing my next book IMMEDIATELY. That has been the obvious take away from both the conference… and also from being aggressively haunted…

haunted

Yeah, so, okay. There are muses. And then there is Lennon. I’ve already mentioned how pushy he is as a muse … it’s no joke. I COMPLETELY understand why there are THOUSANDS of books and movies (and Broadway plays even) that are all about him. Because honestly, once he picks you. You’re done. You’re writing something for him right then and there. Maybe that’s even how he continues to influence music. I mean, probably.

musician

I tried to read a book. A manuscript for my critique partner. And this imaginary Lennon-presence-thing would have none of it.

 

LENNON: Reading again, ay?

ME: Go away, John, this has nothing to do with you.

LENNON: Hmm, you’re right you know. How about this ol’ bookie that Cyn wrote about me, then?

ME: No, thanks.

LENNON: Let’s have a look…

ME: I already committed to—

LENNON: LET’S HAVE A LOOK THEN, SHALL WE!

 

So, whatever, I ended up switching mid-way through for one of the books that Cynthia Lennon wrote. (“John”) I read it in like a single day, because of this imaginary shotgun to the head. At the end of the book she mentions that John had once told Julian that if anything were to ever happen to him, he would send a white feather. So that anytime Julian saw a white feather he would know that ‘John was there and watching out for him’. Which I thought was a really nice sentiment.

OKAY UNTIL WHITE FEATHERS STARTED SPONTANEOUSLY POPPING UP ALL AROUND ME EVERY FREAKING DAY.

The first time, it was a cool anomaly. I was walking the boys to my neighbor’s house and there it was. A perfect pure white tail feather. I was ecstatic, because wow, what were the odds of finding a pure white feather the day after finishing that book? I took a picture even.

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awkward phone shadow bro

I began seeing white feathers every single day (still do btw). On the sidewalk, on my car, on the playground, even in the pool.

One time, we took the kids outside to play and I told my husband about how weird it was that I was finding these perfectly white feathers all over. He totally laughed at me. He said, “Okay, just because you have a little crush on John Lennon you think he’s trying to give you a sign or something…” I shrugged. Because, yeah, that was probably right. And I went inside the apartment to get the boys a drink of water…

My husband swears that right after our conversation, as soon as I shut the door behind myself, A WHITE FEATHER DROPPED FROM A BIRD AS IT FLEW OVERHEAD, RIGHT WHERE I HAD BEEN. And he got the heebie jeebies … and now he doesn’t make fun of me for it anymore…

But even after that, I was like, wow. Pretty funny coincidence…

Do I need to mention again how pushy this muse is?

John-being-cheeky-in-the-plane-the-beatles-41011791-497-322

This one day, I’m coming back from lunch with the boys. I get out of my car. Notice the feather. Haha, there’s my feather for the day. Cute. Still happening. I take another step. Another feather. Step. Feather. Step. Feather.

I freaking look up to see -THIS IS NOT A JOKE OR MADE UP STORY OR PRANK PULLED BY MY HUSBAND THIS IS A REAL THING THAT HAPPENED THE OTHER DAY – small white feathers were scattered on both sides of the pavement leading all the way up to my front door.

I slowly walk inside with my children. Turn the deadbolt. And call Ghostbusters.

Anyway, long story short, I started writing a book about John Lennon. So, that’s fun!

 

A Dark and Funny Graphic Novel to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

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Hey! If you haven’t noticed by now, I love to support indie authors. Especially if they have really cool books. And especially ESPECIALLY if those books are spooky and hilarious graphic novels…

I would like to turn your attention to The Plague and Dr. Caim, which is all about a medieval doctor as he attempts to treat people with the bubonic plague.

C. E. Gallas was so kind as to send me a few previews for you to check out. If you are interested in the project, I recommend supporting him in this way: https://unbound.com/books/the-plague-and-doctor-caim/

 

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Plague2

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I feature indie authors often and give shout outs as often as I can. If you have a book you would like featured you can contact me here or follow me on Twitter for other opportunities.

Trying to Remember: Kiki’s Delivery Service

The other day, Dan was asking me about Kiki’s Delivery Service. (You know, one of those two in the morning conversations.) And something occurred to me…

THIS MOVIE THAT I HAD WATCHED LIKE EVERY DAY AS A CHILD WAS BARELY IN MY BRAIN ANYMORE. How can that be possible? I know I’ve seen this movie more than a dozen times. So what? Fifteen little measly years can go by and erase this BEAUTIFUL CLASSIC MASTERPIECE FROM MY LIFE???

So, I had an idea. (You know, one of those two in the morning ideas.) What if I tried to explain the movie with only the vague bits and pieces that I remembered? And ALSO what if I embarrassed myself by making it a whole series on my blog?

Beautiful. Let’s do it.

kiki

KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE: A VERY SHODDY SYNOPSIS

 

Okay, so there’s this witch with a big red bow and a black cat. And she lives with her… family (???) in the woods (?????). And the family is like, Hey now, your power is flying on a broomstick so you need to go and do something with your life and… help people probably. So, I guess this child witch has come of age and ventures off to… venture, I guess.

While she’s flying around looking for a place to be a witch, she runs into another witch flying along with a white cat. She tries to talk to her, but the other witch BLATANTLY SNUBS HER. And she’s like WOW what a little B-witch. And then that witch character never appears in the story again… I’m pretty sure…

snot

Okay, then she ends up in this… French looking town? And finds a bakery and tells the old woman, “Hey, I can help you deliver your rolls by flying all around town.” And the old woman says, “Cool. You can live in my attic if you want.”

So, she… delivers bread around town… getting to know townspeople and stuff. And like helping them? Okay, maybe I’m actually thinking of Pollyanna… I don’t know. I legit am getting a headache, I am trying SO FREAKING HARD TO REMEMBER THIS.

Um, alright, so there’s a nerdy boy with a striped shirt and they become friends. And… some stuff happens… and she can’t fly for some reason… and it’s important that she fly because of… another reason. So this cute nerdy boy takes her on what I think is a bike. Lmao I don’t know why I’m imagining a blimp / bike. I think that’s wrong. But whatever, so this kid takes her on a blimp / bike and she gets it to fly. And they… deliver… the bread.

notablimp

Um, The End. I guess.

 

GOES AND READS THE REAL SYNOPSIS

 

Okay. Wow.  What? Not even close.

Why do I not remember this? IT’S SUPER CUTE. Where can I buy this movie??

20 Indie Books You Should Be Checking Out Today

Nothing but a shout out to some hard-working and talented indie authors.


Castaway Unending: Devil’s Trifecta

Ten researchers from Miami explore the Bermuda Triangle in hopes to find the cause of its supernatural phenomena. That cause doesn’t want to be discovered, however, and will make the crew of college professors and students pay for their meddling.

Trifecta

READ HERE: https://t.co/KPQVxObFNB?amp=1


 

Naylin: Dragons of Light

Naylin follows a young girl being thrown into a Coming of Age ceremony with 2 men fighting over her. Then, dragons and shenanigans ensue, culminating in a tale full of romance, comedy, and self-discovery.


Shadowless

What if the gods themselves wanted you dead?


Fated to Meet You

Tired of her boring life, one day she is magically transferred to the past. There she chooses to replace a dead princess, determined to live in that time. But there was only one reason for her time-travel; she had to break a curse that haunted the royal family for many generations. Will she be able to save her loved one and survive fate’s game?


Under a Fallen Sun

Paige’s quest to find her missing brother Todd turns into a battle for survival in an isolated Texas town. An enemy they never knew existed has come to Earth.


Among Us

Read along as we travel to Christy, Tennessee where God called together a group of friends to stop an alien invasion in this Christian science fiction novel by R. E. Henderson, where we see just how aliens are…Among Us.


Hunky Dory

Tristan Starbuck is not a man you are likely to have heard of (unless your interests are very obscure), nor is he a man who by most metrics would be considered good or important. But he is my brother, and I believe him to be the best and most extraordinary person I ever came across. I have decided to tell his story – as difficult as it may be to put much of it into words – because after all, I believe that it is emblematic, of something.


The Battle Ground Series

Sixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.

(Psst! You can also test drive a FREE novella in this series https://tallerbooks.com/freebook/)


His Name Was Zach

A dystopian thriller featuring Zach and teen daughter Abby. Chased from their home into the Wild, they must search for a new safe place. Will they make it, or will they fall to the surrounding madness?


Forever and One Day

After the death of her grandmother, Savannah’s perfect life falls apart. Seeking redemption from her inner demons, Savannah discovers the path to well-being isn’t a straight line.

One day

BUY HERE: https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/791669-forever-and-one-day


Saturnius Mons: Ruins of Empire

A lost civilization on Titan. A Global Corporation trying to destroy it. And a religious war brewing that could destroy all life of the moon.

Viekko Spade picked the wrong week to stop doing Triple-T


Dark

Hayden Crowe fronts an all-girls band down in Austin, Texas. Between tending bar so her sister can stay in school and dealing with the fallout after their addict father skipped town, she hasn’t exactly had time to join the social media freak out over the recent outing of vampires and werewolves.

Her world comes crashing down the night she’s attacked in an alley after a gig and bitten by a feral werewolf. Unable to return home for fear of hurting her sister, and with a message scrawled across her arm warning HOSPITALS NOT SAFE, Hayden is left with just one option…

Him.


The Can-Do Karate Kid

A karate kid realizes that laziness and procrastination are ruining his life and he must figure out how to fight them.

karate

BUY HERE: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1733918809/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0


The Red Dirt Hymnbook

Maybe running off with the traveling preacher wasn’t Ruby’s best idea. But she can’t call home because in 1979 the closest thing to a cell phone is a CB radio.


The Adventures of Edward Brett

5500 years old. Forged in fire. He’s the god you’ve forgotten, stopping the monsters that haven’t forgotten you

It’s spooky, kooky, supernatural fun.


The Pretender

When Sophia crosses paths with Princess Isabella their lives intertwine in an unforgettable way. Switching places for one week, they both happily live their dreams until disaster strikes. Can they reverse the devastating consequences of their actions?


Conquest: DarkForce

Ordered to undergo a dangerous mind-wipe procedure, Lily avoids arrest and becomes a rogue agent. In her journey to uncover the truth, she teleports to an alien planet where she faces a terrifying threat unlike anything mankind has ever encountered before.


Twisted

The great evil is attacking, and the king has asked a young hero to make a name for himself… But is the great evil what it seems?


Artistic Love in the Psych Ward

Rain is an artist who likes to paint, draw and write what God speaks to her on a daily basis. She is in community college majoring in art studies. She is trying to cope with the loss of her maternal grandparents when she also experiences a sexual assault. After these two traumatic life occurrences, she decides to commit herself into a psychiatric ward. In the ward, she meets a guy named Chase. Chase is a goth who also expresses himself through art. He is dealing with some issues of his own. But when he meets Rain, he reluctantly befriends her. She challenges his own thinking on being able to forgive as she is also working to forgive. Can they both heal from what has happened to them? Can the artistic bond they both share aid in the healing process? Can forgiveness truly cover the hurts and mistakes of the past?


Cursed Plantation

A haunting, supernaturally twisted tale of privilege, stolen innocence and dark, fierce and otherworldly revenge!

GUEST POST: “You Are Worth the Quiet Moment” by Morgan Flores

“You are worth the quiet moment. You are worth the deeper breath. You are worth the time it takes to slow down, be still, and rest.” 

Self-care has recently become such a popular topic and I’ve recently embraced it full force these past couple years. We are asked, in a spiritual point of view, to love our neighbors, to love our parents. But, do we love ourselves? Do we love ourselves as passionately as we love those around us?

I’ve watched close loved ones literally love their loved ones to death. They give and give till they are empty themselves with nothing left to give anymore. Their other loved ones who need it the most have been put to the wayside. They are an empty shell and have lost their true purpose and spark who made them who they once were in the first place. 

One of my favorite analogies is the oxygen mask on the airplane. When an airplane experiences distress in an emergency, oxygen masks pop out from the ceiling to assist breathing. We are instructed to place the mask over ourselves before helping our loved ones. In life, if we can’t take care of ourselves first, we will not be able to help the people next to us. 

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you.” 

If we do not take the time to fill our cups, we will have nothing to pour out. 

One of the main things people struggle with giving so much, is that there are no boundaries set with the people around them. They want to help so much that they forget that they need help too. Here are ways to set boundaries in your own life:

  1. Name your limits—You can’t set boundaries if you don’t know what you stand for. What do you tolerate and accept? What makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? That will help list your limits. 
  2. Tune into your feelings—There are two feelings that come from letting go of boundaries (discomfort and resentment). When someone makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s a cue that they’re violating a boundary. When someone is imposing their expectations on us, we will feel guilty and resentment sets in.
  3. Be direct—Be direct with how you want to be treated, what makes you tic, and what you won’t stand for. You’ll know the toxic relationship by who takes these things personally.
  4. Give yourself permission—Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; it’s a sign of self-respect.
  5. Make self-care a priority—put yourself first for a change. It’s recognizing the importance of your feelings and wellbeing. 

Putting yourself first gives you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there for them. When we’re in a better place, we can be a better wife, mother, husband, co-worker or friend. 

“You owe yourself the love that you freely give to other people.” 

In my second book, The Love We Found, my main character wants to help someone with a life-threatening illness, only to get herself in trouble too. This concept is called “Save the Savior”.  If we put ourselves in danger by helping someone, we are no use to anyone. We actually cause more damage in the process. 

I whole heartedly agree with helping and loving others. But sometimes we get so caught up in other people’s needs, that we forget our own. Why do we get caught up in other’s needs? Because of guilt and shame? Grief? Sincere selflessness? To impress? When will you put your needs first? Do you know how to put your needs first? 

Everyone deserves self-care, self-respect and self-reliance. You owe yourself that. You are a person with passions, dreams, hobbies, personality, diversity, quirks and gifts. You deserve to harness and spend time crafting those things just as much as you push your loved ones to do. 

The term self-care has been around for centuries. But it’s just come to terms with younger generations for whatever reason. Self-care can look different for different people. Self-care is defined: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

I have anxiety. I’ve always had it. I think it stemmed from my parent’s divorce from an early age. I never did anything about it till my second daughter came along. With the help of medication, my anxiety doesn’t control me anymore, even though I still struggle. And the help of self-care has even put me at lower dosage of meds. How does one practice self-care? 

Here are some things that I do:

  1. Workout for 30 minutes every day
  2. Less screen time (television and phone)
  3. Taking a long, hot shower 
  4. Going on dates with my husband
  5. Going to bed at the same time every night (10pm) 
  6. Reading 
  7. Eating well (and indulging too)
  8. Drinking plenty of water

With these things, I’ve noticed that I’m happier, I’m living more in the moment, I am invested in my children and husband, I am overall a better person not being acted upon. 

Again, self-care is different for everyone. What works for me might not work for you. It also doesn’t have to be doing something. Lying in bed and meditating in the quiet will be enough! 

And I also want to point out that SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH. It’s important. It’s integral.  

I can’t help but to believe that we were put here on this earth to just be idle. We should be giving our loved ones and ourselves the best version we can be. Don’t get so lost in others that you lose yourself. Everyone deserves to be taken care of—including YOU! 

“It’s important to do what’s best for you, whether people approve of it or not. This is your life. You know what’s good for you and remember, self-love takes strength.” 

 

mo

 

Morgan Flores is the author of young adult books including The Love We Lost and upcoming release sequel, The Love We Found. You can follow her on Instagram @morganized_living for all updates on minimalism, self-care, organization and book updates!

 

 

What My Day Looks Like with Two Little Kids

Okay, so a year and a half ago, I made a schedule of what it was like to have one kid. Well, here’s my schedule of what it is like with TWO KIDS. When I was pregnant with my second, I looked and looked and looked for this kind of post… I could never find it. So I MADE ONE MYSELF YOU’RE WELCOME.

*I will note that there is no schedule with the second for the first few months. And then they dip down to three naps a day and it all comes back to you. By the time it’s two naps a day. NO PROBLEM.

yup

8:00 (ish) Wake up, breakfast, get everyone dressed

Honestly, it’s such a mystery when my day is going to start lately. My baby is very consistently like 8-8:30, but for whatever reason these past few weeks my Toddler has been like 7-9. I wake up, I give the baby a bottle. Jack has a waffle, cereal and strawberry milk, (which he wants every day). I have to change everybody, sit the toddler on the potty. Eat breakfast and get ready myself, which is probably the biggest challenge. Showering has to be quick and I’m usually getting out soaking wet to move the baby back to his toys.

9:00 The daily chores

Every day I make the bed and do dishes. And then I have one chore assigned for that day of the week, like laundry or bathrooms. Sometimes I get them done before the baby’s nap. Most of the time I don’t.

10:30 or 11:00 Casey’s Nap

I put the baby down and then play with Jack, but I let him pick what he wants to do.

12:00 or 12:30 Lunch

I wake the baby up. Which always feels mean but worth it to get a mutual nap from the kids later. We have lunch together and if my husband is home we’ll go out somewhere fun.

mccarthyme

1:00 “Recess”

I call this time Recess in my mind. Pfft. That’s probably dumb. But mostly it’s just where I let the kids play rough and tumble for the last little bit before they sleep. During the blistering Arizona summer, I pull out the plastic slide and try to make a fun play place inside.

2:00 Both kids Nap

This eclipse is everything but it’s so hard to navigate. Jack first and then Casey. If I’m lucky I can get about an hour to myself. I *try* to reserve this time for writing, but honestly a lot of the time I’m so tired I end up sleeping!

4:00 Variable. Usually screen time

Whenever the kids wake up I try to keep it chill. I don’t have a set time for this, but every single day I try to have a reading time where I just read the kids books for a while. Right now, Jack is loving “Pajama Time”

pjtime

5:00 Dinner

I learned the hard way that dinner has to be as early as possible or the kids get GROUCHY. I’ve started meal prepping and it’s honestly SAVED MY BUTT. I can feed the kids when I need to and there is still a meal for Daniel when he gets home, I don’t have to worry about staving off the kids until later.

6:30 Some kind of adventure

Okay, so… here I just try to do something fun. Swimming is a good option right now in the heat and I prefer sunset swims because 1) Not as hot 2) Shade. Don’t have to sunscreen the kids! 3) For some reason, we get the pool to ourselves at that time and 4) THE SKY IS SO PRETTY!

If we don’t feel like swimming, we go to the play place at the mall. In the cooler months, we’ll go to the park or something.

8:00 Getting ready for bed

Bath. PJS. Brush Teeth. Prayer. Bottle. Blankies. Bed.

8:30 Both kids go to bed

I’ll probably have to put the toddler back like 600 more times. But then Daddy and Mommy get to hang out! And be so exhausted to do anything other than zone out in front of the TV…

bedtime

5 Reasons I’m Attending an Online Writer’s Conference

Guess who has two sore thumbs from drafting and is attending a writer’s conference?

 

Writer’s Clearinghouse is having their conference completely online. And oh man, I am here for it. Here are my top five reasons why:

#1 It’s a good ice breaker since I’ve never been to a conference before

If you are an itty bitty baby writer like me, everything seems very prestigious and scary. I don’t know why I haven’t tried to attend a conference yet. Maybe it’s the imposter syndrome or the crippling insecurity… (yeah, probably that).

Or going outside in general, honestly. I didn’t even know that was a thing that other writers did. What is a sun? You mean there’s a whole world on the other side of my laptop screen?

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#2 I can attend in my own comfy house

The idea of attending a Q&A with agents and editors while wearing secret pajama bottoms under a desk is exhilarating at best. Not to mention, being a mother of small children makes leaving my house MISSION FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE.

Recently, we moved the baby into his own room and had to get creative with our office space…

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Yes. That is actually a closet. I will be attending a writing conference in the comfort of my own closet.

#3 The networking is more personable

The faculty to attendee ratio is 6:1.

Granted, at a larger conference, you would have MORE industry professionals in attendance. But having a lot of time for personal feedback is pretty dang desirable. And you really get to know the faculty you’re working with.

Authors so often feel intimidated by literary agents that they forget that they’re “shopping” too. You want someone who is going to be the best fit for your book as well as your work style. For example, I’m interested in partnering with more of an editorial agent. That makes these workshops invaluable for me because I can get more of an idea of what and WHO I’m looking for.

And if you want to talk tactical efforts, I don’t think it would hurt to leave a lasting impression on only one agent. The publishing world is so tight-knit that it would only help you to be memorable. (Favorably, of course.)

#4 A free partial evaluation from Writer’s Clearinghouse is included

WCH

Yo. Not a sponsor. But I just really dig on this company, y’all. I’ve been in and out of the query trenches for a year now. AND THEM SLUSH PILE BLUES ARE NO JOKE. I’ve seen quite a few automated rejections in my day.

Writer’s Clearinghouse is an evaluation service done by former editors and agents. It’s designed to let you know how ‘publishable’ your book is. They score your manuscript in twenty different categories picking out your strengths and things that could be improved. (I’m both annoyingly pragmatic and an art educator, so the sight of a rubrics system fills me with such a giddy glee. TAKE THAT SUBJECTIVITY!)

The most delectable part of Writer’s Clearinghouse is that if your manuscript scores high, they will notify compatible agents about it. UM YES PLEASE!

If you are interested in that sort of thing, click HERE for more information.

And finally,

#5 I’m trying to make real, tangible investments into a dream

I have a hard time spending money on myself, so it took a while for me to bring myself to register. I mean, really. How dare I spend this much selfish money on myself, when I could have used it to buy 30 kids meals for my toddler? (…I only understand currency if I convert it into chicken nuggets.)

It was my husband who finally said, “We’re spending this money and we’re investing in YOU.”  And that sure is a true thing. My dream is worth it. It’s not stupid, it’s not irresponsible and it’s not impossible either. Especially if you take actual real steps toward it, instead of just saying you’re going to do it someday.

So, go and do the thing.

… And if the thing for you is this online conference, mention me. Maybe we’ll be in the same critique group together and you can cringe over my first ten pages. It will be so fun!

I Randomly Generated an Emotional Short Story using only Shrek References

shrek

Swamp Feelings

A Short Story
by Val Manwill

Shrek had always loved the stinky swamp with its bad, bitter boulders. It was a place where he felt lonely.

He was a green, scary, muskrat stew drinker with green skin and large hands. His friends saw him as an old-fashioned, obnoxious ogre. Once, he had even revived a dying, legless gingerbread man. That’s the sort of man he was.

Shrek walked over to the window and reflected on his muddy surroundings. Duloc teased in the distance like fighting dragons.

Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Donkay. Donkay was a big donkey with a hideous tail and powerful fur.

Shrek gulped. He was not prepared for Donkay.

As Shrek stepped outside and Donkay came closer, he could see the important glint in his eye.

Donkay gazed with the affection of 3765 ugly fine fairy tale creatures. He said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want friendship.”

Shrek looked back, even more gassy and still fingering the Shrekish goblet. “Donkay, ogres are like onions,” he replied.

They looked at each other with angry feelings, like two breakable, burnt blind mice saving at a very ogre quest, which had Smashmouth music playing in the background and two shreky uncles swamping to the beat.

Shrek studied Donkay’s hideous tail and powerful skin. Eventually, he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” began Shrek in apologetic tones, “but I don’t feel the same way, and I never will. I just don’t love you Donkay.”

Donkay looked god-like, his emotions raw like a prickly, pretty pitchfork.

Shrek could actually hear Donkay’s emotions shatter into 7420 pieces. Then the big donkey hurried away into the distance.

Not even a drink of muskrat stew would calm Shrek’s nerves tonight.

THE END
Many thanks to the plot generator for this piece of important literature:

Literally Just a List of Things I Want to Remember About My Children

So Jack turned three yesterday.

 

They grow up so fast. Literally nothing else they can do fast. Putting on shoes. Picking out what they want for lunch. You know, walking. But growing up… I swear sometimes I look over at them and feel like they look more grown-up than they looked AN HOUR AGO.

So anyway, in honor of my mommy nostalgia I decided to make a list of cute things that I don’t want to forget about how they were at this stage of life.

 

#1 Jack refuses to call hearts by their real name, he insists they are “farts”

#2 Casey’s favorite song is “Skidamarink”. No matter how hard he is crying, he will immediately stop if you start singing that song.

#3 Jack calls grandma and grandpa “grampens”

#4 Every time we go out everyone comments on how happy Casey is

#5 Jack has a major obsession with hats

#6 Casey loves to put toys in his mouth and turn them into actual whistles

#7 Jack has to point out every single cactus he sees… and we live in Arizona

#8 Casey eats his entire weight in blueberries… every day… like at what point does he turn into Violet Beauregard?

#9 When Casey crawls around on the floor, Jack joins in because he thinks they’re “playing doggies”.

#10 Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s just going through the motions and you don’t catch these little moments. But it’s always big love and big rewards.

 

HAPPY LIFE LIVING GUYS

My Incurable Beatlemania

So, I have a problem. The first step is admitting, right?

 

PART ONE: CATCHING BEATLEMANIA

 

Honestly, the early sixties hysteria of The Beatles is alive and well… in my freaking soul.

Beatlemania1

For more than a decade I have dealt with random bouts of Beatlemania. Like I’ll have this week-long urge to listen to their albums, watch documentaries, “A Hard Days Night” or even “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” if I’m really feeling it. Just this little burst of Oh yeah! I forgot that I really love them! And then after hours and hours of their music, the excitement dies down and I can go about my life again.

But something happened at the beginning of this year. I got a baaaaddd case of Beatlemania and it NEVER WENT AWAY. It’s been months. I don’t even get what is happening to me.

I can tell you that the timeframe is a DIRECT correlation with the difficulties that Daniel and I have been facing the past several months. It was just this one day, that I hadn’t really seen my husband in a while because of his horrendous work schedule and things were feeling grim. I was buckling Jack into his car seat and … there it was. A CD of A Hard Day’s Night in a box on the floor. So, I took it and listened to it. And I was absolutely and incurably infected.

I don’t really think that anyone knows how bad it really was, especially in those first few months. I mean, actual tears every day listening to their music. Watching the same interviews and documentaries over and over again. Beatles music from the time that Dan left to the time he got home (which was a looooong stretch).

Beatlemania2

Now, lemme just stop right here, because it’s about this point where somebody feels like they need to tell me they don’t like The Beatles. And all I gotta say to that is **IT’S OKAY. YOU ARE FINE.** You do not need to like The Beatles just because a lot of people do. Art is completely subjective. You do not have to be insecure about having a different taste from me.

SEE HERE:

https://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/video/john-lennon-interviewed-he-says-people-are-entitled-not-news-footage/100961692?adppopup=true

… Like, I don’t know. I don’t really care that they’re popular or not. I just like them. Their music and the them that make up the group. I’m just into it. I’m into the hysteria and the influence and the history. And dang, the songs honestly just fuel my freaking heart.

 

PART TWO: LENNON THE MYSTERY MUSE

coollennon

Then the Beatlemania grew into something else completely bizarre. A hurricane flood of creative juices that I could not even handle.

There was this influx of story ideas that all came from a weird fixation on a young John Lennon. Which, honestly is totally surprising. Truth. Because if I personally were to travel back in time and hang out with all of them, I can confidently tell you that I would get along with Paul the best. Paul and I have more common interests, I think. Stuff like, literature and theater, dogs and kids, generally being polite to people that don’t deserve it. That kind of thing. So I do not know where John came from. But he is the most aggressive muse I have ever had in my life.

disapproving lennon

I finally started a novel to appease this like, compulsive need. But, Lennon would not stop haunting me every day. Sitting in the effing corner like “When are you finishing the bloomin book?”

“IDK when are you getting off my BUTT! You Liverpool WEIRDO. This doesn’t even make sense to write this. This has no benefit to my branding or career or anything.”

“I don’t care about that, love. I’m tellin’ you. I’m your muse. And I’m not going away until you finish the book.”

“I don’t want to write a book about you. You’re weird.”

“Well that’s a pisser innit? Coz you’re going write it.”

“No. You’re not even fun to be obsessed with. I’ve seen like 15 documentaries about you in the past eight weeks and you know what they all say? They say, ‘Oh, Lennon… really interesting guy’. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS JOHN? IT MEANS THAT YOU WERE FREAKING WEIRD WHEN THEY MET YOU.”

“Alright, listen… can you finish the book by April?”

“Excuse me?”

“I wrote books quicker than that you know.”

“Yeah, but you are… I… John, now be reasonable here.”

“Write the book or keep waking up with Paperback Writer stuck in your head every morning. Your choice.”

“John, please. Think of my children, okay? Think of my husband stuck at work, I’m basically a widow! I have to run an entire house by myself.”

John puts his feet up on the table and pushes my laptop over to me with his Beetle-boot. “Right. Better hurry and finish it then.”

 

… FOUR MONTHS LATER AFTER RE-WRITING IDENTITY CRISIS AND THINGS HAVE CALMED DOWN…

 

“Hi!”

*startles and screams at John’s manifestation on my couch, spilling a bowl of popcorn all over the floor like a campy comedy*

“Right. So, listen. That book you started a few months ago…”

*eyes my hallucination suspiciously* “The one that I’m 40 thousand words into? What about it?”

“I just don’t feel like there is enough of me in it.”

“… I told you I don’t want to write a book about you. And I’m not going to. Go away.”

“So right then, here’s a really fantastic idea… completely new book. But this time. Actually all about me. Joost lichrally a bewk about me this time.”

*throws my ink quill to the ground and flips writing desk over*
Honestly, not sure what I’m going to do. I’m still trying to ignore him. But it is reeeally difficult…

dontlisten

PART THREE: SEEING PAUL MCCARTNEY AND REALIZING A DANG OL’ DREAM

 

A couple of weeks ago, it happened. I saw an actual Beatle, in real life. Like we were in the same room. Singing the same songs. Sharing the same moment.

 

I don’t want to be dramatic but… (see above).

That concert (to me) was comparable to when I witnessed a solar eclipse. It was something that I had always wanted to do, but never thought that I would get a chance to.  Like that guy is pushing eighty. There was not a lot of time for me to snag this bucket list check mark. And then I did, dude.

When he came out and picked up his steely base in his left hand. That iconic chord of A Hard Day’s Night rang out. I SCREAMED. Okay. And I’m not talking about a little “Woo Hoo! Yeah!” I mean it was like an actual uncontrollable piercing screech that rang out through the stadium.

Screamlemania2

And if you are thinking that I flew into hysterics and bawled for three hours like a teenager from 1964… uh, you’d be right, bro. A PACK AND A HALF OF TISSUES LATER. No, but I’m being completely serious. I actually sobbed almost the entire time. The guy on the other side of me actually nudged his date and gestured to me like ‘What year is this??’ The only difference between me and the OG fans is that they’re all like, “PAULIE! WAA! MARRY ME!” And I’m like, “PAULIE! WAA! I’M A PART OF HISTORY RIGHT NOW!”

I can’t help it that I’m a huge nerd. But, hey look. I get obsessed over stuff. I just do. Titanic, Cleopatra, Abraham Lincoln, Pompeii. But this time. This time. I could actually see in person this historical figure that I had come to know so well.

 

Paul: Alright, I’m gonna play a song now…

Literally everyone: YAY! WOOO! YEAH!

Paul: Alright, I’m gonna tell you a story now…

Just me: YAY! WOOO! YEAH! Talk about George Martin!

 

We had a seat right in front of the piano… He came around to play it. Stopped right in front of my section. Pointed up to my ROW. Waved… And made little binoculars over his eyes to show he was looking right in my exact direction.

I LEPT FROM MY CHAIR AND SCREAMED AND RATTLED BOTH OF MY ARMS AND MADE SUCH A DARN SPECTACLE THAT THERE WAS NO CHANCE HE DIDN’T AT LEAST SEE MY MOVEMENT SO THERE I MADE EYE CONTACT WITH A BEATLE AND I WILL FOREVER HOLD THAT IN MY HEART UNTIL THE DAY I DIE.

screamlemania

 

It’s just fun. It’s fun to be in love with a thing. And it’s fun to be so passionately moved in a creative way. I’m sure the Beatlemania will fade away eventually, but I’ll always love them for saving me from just a really crappy year.