Disgusting Thoughts and Inspiration

I tried to come up with something, not exactly a metaphor, along the lines that if you beat a dead horse long enough you’ll get horse burgers, and a nice horse skin coat. Then it just seemed disgusting. Keep writing, and rewriting, and rewriting.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Opinion: Loud and Clear (Parenting)

Over the past year, outside of this blog world of mine, I’ve felt attacked. I’ve felt marginalized. More specifically I have felt as thought my opinions don’t count. Right now I know a lot of people feel this way.

As I look back I’ve found that this feeling of being discounted is not a rare or isolated thing for me. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like someone was going to attack me out of nowhere for my opinions, lifestyle, or just the fact that I exist.

That said, I will always tell my children that their opinions count. Their voices count. They have the right to be heard.

I’ve also tried to teach them – maybe tried is not the right word because I have been successful – I have taught them to be clear with their opinions. While I tend to use emotions and bad words (not always, but too often), my children use calm clear voices, with soundly based facts and logic. They use calm emotion that rings true and inspires those who listen. They speak eloquently and beyond their years.

Even if others do not agree with my kids, they DO listen to them.

I am proud of them for not being like me in that way. They know how to project their passions, and their opinions in a way that should make many out there feel afraid. And they will also make many feel inspired and safe.

That is a good thing.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Blogging and Vampireing and Parenting

Summer has been quiet this year. Yes, school is out. Kids are home. My kids are busy but they are older and more independent now that they’re older. They ask me to make coffee for them too. They sleep a lot. They spend time with friends. They study. They come up to me when I’m working and give me hugs. In a few days we will all be going to the Van’s Warped Tour. Oh boy.

We’re busy. Super busy. Yet it is quiet. Low key. Calm.

I keep my children close this summer. I trust them and let them do their own thing, but I keep a close eye. I trust them, but I keep watch, of others, of other things.

They are not followers, my children, so I don’t have to worry about them being twisted and turned in directions they shouldn’t go. Their young judgment is sound, or at least, I feel, more sound than others their age.

This morning, while my children sleep, I was out giving a rare drink to my drought stricken trees. Burrs and fox tails stuck to my shoes and pants as I hauled the hose down the hill to the orange and lemon trees. Not a green blade of grass was to be found. Leaves curled up due to lack of water and love. It reminded me of a story – something a friend recently told me.

Last night I was talking to my friend Ben. I Benjamin and I have been friends for a long time. He is also the father of my son’s best friend Randy. Anyway, he told me a story I’d never heard before. I knew he was a homesteader at one time but this is what I learned.

In the 1870’s Ben traveled to the Western plains to become a homesteader. He’d gone with his friend John, John’s wife Alma, his cousin Will and Alma’s sister Mary.

Life was hard and dirty. Bugs, mainly flies and lice infested their house. Everything was covered with dirt that could never be cleaned off. The human company proved to be no better than the insects. Will appointed himself in charge. In the isolation of the prairie he demanded obedience body and soul of the rest of the party.

There was no place to go. They rarely saw others. Life was harsh – not the new beginning Ben had thought it would be.

A year into the homesteading experiment, a visitor came to their sad farm.

Two men and a young girl stopped by and asked if they could stay for the night. One of the men, a Mr. Kent was a poet. He read to them by the light of an outdoor fire. Ben felt alive for the first time in months. The strangers spoke of news of the cities in the rest of the country. They brought books. They gave bars of rose scented soap to the women.

When the strangers were ready to leave they asked Ben if he would like to go with them. Of course the answer was yes. Ben begged Mary to come with them. He’d assumed they’d be married, but she said she would be Will’s husband.

Ben told her that she’d have a life of hardship under Will’s brutal hand, but she stayed.

When Ben arrived in Sacramento he asked Mr. Kent to turn him into a Vampire. Later he heard that his friend John had killed Will during a blizzard and left with the women. They went back east and Ben never heard what happened to them after that.

So while I picked stickers off of my shoes with one hand, a hose in the other hand, I thought of Ben’s story.

Where I stood, gold miners came to seek their fortunes in the 1850’s. The land went back to oak forests. A hundred and fifty years later houses were build. I moved in. Holy crap, I could never be a homesteader in a sod house.

Ben and I talked of our children and the adventures that they would have. Their adventures will take them many places, but I think, I hope those adventures will be all good.

“Are you still glad you became a Vampire?” I asked Ben.

“Of course,” he said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

In the quiet busy summer I’m trying to be inspired but trying too much. My blogging mind sometimes feels as dry as this drought.

It is funny how something like dragging a hose over a dry hill will bring stories to my mind. Or how a story from a friend will beg to be shared.

I hear movement from upstairs. I hear a cat running up and down the hallway. I hear my children laughing. Summer is here, but rather than dry, it is rich and blooming.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Tell Tail Heart (or A Literary Tale)

A Literary Tale

He woke with a start.

THUMP THUMP THUMP

THUMP THUMP THUMP

Immediately he thought of The Tell Tale Heart, that story of horror written by Poe.

Bolting up in bed and now awake he realized it was just the thumping tails of his brother’s wolfhounds. Why had he agreed to take care of the beasts for the week?

These huge beasts were no Baskerville Hounds. They were sweet and goofy. Sure they could kill, he supposed they could kill, but they were just happy dogs. Large dogs with large hearts. Large dogs who needed to go out and leave large piles in his yard. And they needed to do that RIGHT NOW.

All week long he’d been obsessed with trying to find the story that matched his life. No Jane Austin. No Thomas Wolf. Maybe a touch of Charlotte Bronte or Donna Tartt. A little Dave Stone or Nathan Tackett. Maybe Mandy White? J. Harrison Kemp? Gabriel García Márquez? The poetry of Daniel Tanzo? Jade M. Phillips? David X. Hunter or Michael Haberfelner? Lucy Lastic? Stephen King? More like it the beautiful haunting romantic historic stories of Diana Garcia or Marie Frankson. What about John Sanford or John Steinbeck. He liked the idea of Steinbeck. He liked the idea of all of them… except maybe White or King. That pair of horror writers were brilliant but far too scary to base a life on their works. Rob Betz , Angie Parisi or Gina McKnight came to mind. He thought about it for a while longer while the dogs played and ran in the yard as the sun vanished and night took over the sky.

He returned inside and fed the large gray beasts. If dogs could write what would they write about? His mind was on finding a story. The dogs curled up on the floor next to a wall of bookshelves. He looked at the hundreds of titles. All had inspired him but none were his life.

Then he pulled a small volume out and fingered the pages. In pencil were sketches and stories a friend had written years ago. Since then he’d followed her tales. Stories of fantasy, then stories of real life.

He picked up his phone and called. She picked up. “Marla, this is Andrew. I just wanted to tell you… What have you been up to?”

They talked for hours about life and the past 18 years, since her wedding. She’d lived life not like one of her stories but almost as exciting.

“You were never afraid of me. I mean, because I’m a Vampire,” Andrew told her.

“You were never afraid of me because I’m a writer,” she told him.

He laughed. They made plans. She’d keep writing her stories. And as for Andrew, he’d keep living his own story.

 

 

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For more fiction from Juliette Kings, Marla Todd, Mandy White and others click here for a list of find fun and fantastic short fiction.

For more short stories from the authors listed above click here.

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For more about Andrew just put in his name (Andrew or Andy) in the search window of this blog. You’ll come up with a bunch of stuff. Or go to the Stand Alone story link (left sidebar) and see “Morning at the Vineyard” or “Dancing on the Beach.”

Happy Reading,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Science Fiction and… maybe not.

You never know where creative ideas are going to come from. I’m around teens a lot. Teens belch. Write what you know (so I write about teens and Vampires) but sometimes we can be inspired to write something new. I’ve never written any real hard-core science fiction. So on the drive home from skate practice yesterday I thought of a story and told my 14-year-old daughter and sounding board Clara.

My idea:

There is a planet with two different forms of life. The first form of life belches a lot. They belch out gas that the second form of life need to live.

Clara looked at me and said “Mom that isn’t one of your best efforts.” Then in a deep strong Southern accent she says, “Bob come over here and belch in my face so I can keep living.”

“I was thinking they were more like toads or something.”

“Mom, that is so lame.”

Later I told my husband who respond with “That is really bad.”

So much for being the next Philip K. Dick. Maybe on a good day I might get close to H.G. Wells. That would be a really great day.

Friday morning could have been out of a science fiction story…

Being with the elderly is always interesting. A little bit of time travel, a little bit of wisdom, a little bit of “I’m too old to give a shit about what anyone thinks” attitude. The attitude is what makes being really old so delightful.

I stopped by to see the Elders. They’re ancient Vampires. Nobody is quiet sure how old. They look like they’re around 19 or 20 but they’ve been around since before the birth of Christ. It is my job, now with the help of my brother Val, to look in on them and make sure they’re ok.

When I arrived they fluttered around me, giving kisses and hugs. They sang a song to me Irving Berlin’s “I Love to Have the Boys Around Me.” Yes, they’re pretty random, but also exceptionally sweet.

Eleora had her long reddish-brown curls up in a loose bun and a most interesting outfit. She’d taken one of those old lady track suits. You know the kind I’m talking about – velourish fabric pants and top, always matching, usually in bright colors. Always monochromatic. Eleora rarely wears trousers (what she calls all pants.) But she wanted that track suit. So she made the pants into a skirt. Remember those skirts in the 1970’s made out of jeans? The legs were split and usually patchwork fabric (yes, like a quilt) was a large triangle in the front making a swell skirt. Well, Eleora had done that with her track pants. It was a riot of colors and patterns all in reds. She was so happy twirling around for me.

So maybe I don’t need science fiction to be weird. Sometime I just need my own life, which is always weird and astounding and fantastic and full of astonishing things I could never imagine.

It is a coolish Saturday and I’m going off to downtown to have more adventures – with a car full of teens no less. Vampires on the go. We’ll see what happens.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Lost Inspiration

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I look behind the shadows

But cannot find the words

I lost

Or the inspiration

that seems to have gone

missing.

 

Perhaps a walk

In the dark to find

A warm and waiting

Neck to taste

And get inspiration

The old fashioned way.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman