Posted on November 19, 2013
Beneath that darling, Siamese face is a dark lord plotting to conquer any living being that will submit to his nefarious power. Until recently, Evil Cat has wielded minimal influence. The most he has accomplished was frightening those who dared to enter the basement in my former Chicago home. Since the washer and dryer were in this basement (as were Evil Cat’s litter box and food and water), I frequented what he considered prime territory. Somewhere in the darkness he lurked, waiting, plotting. Well aware that the instant I stepped into the basement that I was the hunted, I tried to carry on without showing the slightest sign of apprehension, because, as we all should know, Evil Cat feeds off of our fears. No matter how I prepared myself for his trumpeting meow, the hair on my neck always stood on end. I would whirl around to face my attacker. But I never, ever saw him. From the recesses of the shadows, he’d bellow, calling for my death. I’d cram the washer full of clothing and make for the basement door seconds before Evil Cat lunged from the darkness to slay me.
As you might expect, in my new home Evil Cat is not permitted in the basement where his power quickly became too great. This severely inhibits his measured steps to take over the house (AKA The World). But he’s quick to change and adapt his methods. And this weekend I think I might’ve uncovered his newest and most diabolical plan yet.
Evil Cat thinks that my bed belongs to him and I am merely a humble, nightly visitor. This means that how the bed was originally positioned in my room is how the bed should remain FOR LIFE. When I set my bed up in the summer, I enjoyed the open window and cool breeze moving over me in the night. Now that it is winter, I don’t very much like a cold draft. Getting sick is not my idea of fun. The only solution was to turn the bed 90 degrees away from the window.
For most animals, meaning humans, the shift of a bed 90 degrees is moderately interesting. You see the room differently from this new perspective. Light hits at unfamiliar angles. The path to the bathroom is altered. It adds a little spice to the boring ol’ bedroom. But for Evil Cat, my moving his throne is roughly akin to Moby Dick rising out of the water to swallow Ahab and his whaleship, Pequod.
Of course, I did not warn Evil Cat of this attack. I waltzed in, clutched a corner of the metal bed-frame, and tugged on it with all my might. Evil Cat, curled up on his throne, quietly meowed in protest. I tugged again. He meowed louder just in case I didn’t hear him the first time. When I didn’t show any interest, his meow exploded into raw, feral outrage. He bared his teeth. He hissed. But he did not budge from his spot. “This is MY nest, human!” he roared.
I wasn’t about to sleep one more night under that damn drafty window.
Grunting, I grabbed the opposite side of the bed frame and dragged it across the floor to align with the wall. At this, Evil Cat leaped onto all fours, arched his back, and hissed and hissed. His tenor meow descended into a bass growl. My two mutts standing in the doorway didn’t edge toward the commotion–they knew better. They remained helpless spectators as I faced off against the enemy.
Despite his fury, Evil Cat didn’t dash out of the bedroom like most animals. His whole world was shifting underneath him, yet he held his ground like a proud, motherfucking hop-lite soldier. But I, Moby Dick to Evil Cat’s Ahab, yanked the blankets off of the bed in brazen defiance. He sailed across the room and, like magic, disappeared into thin air. He was gone. The room fell silent. Too silent. His rage lingered, aloft in the charged air.
Evil Cat didn’t return to the room for 48 hours. Cats can only hold a grudge for two days. They don’t seek revenge so I’m told.
But I was wrongly informed. Oh, so wrongly informed.
To be continued…
Posted on November 15, 2013
A few years ago, Mr. T and friends rented a car and drove from the west coast to Chicago. Road trips are supposed to be fun, so they took a high mountain road through Colorado as part of this male-driven adventure. All seemed to go swimmingly until heavy snow was thrown into the mix. Too soon Mr. T and friends were in trouble. The vision of Gandalf and the Fellowship on that mountain when the snow crashed down around them always come to mind when I think about this story. Anyway, just like The Fellowship, my dear hobbit, Mr. T insisted that the high mountain road hated them because it tried to kill them by first sending a careening vehicle in their path and then flipping their car. Mr. T swears it is Colorado that tried to kill him and, being a devoted fan of Colorado, I insisted he was bonkers.
But… I may have been too dismissive. (to which Mr. T would say “I think I had that one.”)
My drive home from work is spectacular compared to my commute back in Chicago, one that topped out at 1.5hr to go 8 miles. As one might expect from a mouthy Irish-Italian-Czech bird, the litany of profanity I’d spew at neighboring cars would make Pazuzu from The Exorcist blush. Before you start, I know, I know. I should “use my patience.” But virtue means jack-squat when find yourself sitting still through four stoplights because of city gridlock. Try it sometime.
My commute nowadays is 20 miles, takes 25 minutes, and is flanked by 14,000ft snow-capped peaks. Sometimes fairies riding unicorns deposit cupcakes on my passenger seat just because they can. In the evenings, I drive toward the mountains when the sun begins its descent, silhouetting the massive bluish shapes with orange and gold hues. My heart flutters as I devour that fairy-made cupcake and watch Mother Nature put on her best show. Meditative, right? Everyone should have such a lovely time while traveling to and from work.
As part of the creative process, I listen to my iPod with my book’s playlist pumping through the speakers. I’m a captive audience. Since I can’t write, I think about writing. Driving is the perfect time to brainstorm book ideas. Now, most of my book’s inspiration comes from movie the District 9 soundtrack or Mastodon’s album Crack the Skye. This musical combination is neither relaxing nor meditative. But the playlist gets the job done.
Somehow, someway, on this most recent commute, something odd popped up on the book playlist. The heavy metal ruckus from Divinations faded into a drone. A far-off, sleepy voice filled the car. At first I was pleasantly surprised. “This must be the part in the book when Ollie is looking contemplatively at the mountains,” I said to the fairies and unicorns as my eyes grew heavy and body eased into a blob of contentment. Then… well… I remembered that I never wrote that part when I started to veer off of the road.
Lisa Gerard’s ELEGY is NOT the type of music I want to hear as I face a mountain sunset, warm in my car, lava-buns at full heat, tired from a long day, and barreling down the highway at 75mph with bald tires and unwarranted fearlessness. Of course, this scene would have been wonderful if I had been sitting cross-legged in front of a fire with a pillow under my butt. But if you are anything like me, meditation is a futile battle to stay awake. When people ask me if I’d ever join them for a meditation retreat with monks and Buddha and fasting, that means to me “let’s go group-nap for three days.” SIGN ME UP! (side note: in music school, I took Alexander Technique on Monday afternoons @ 4pm. This was my favorite class because I got college credit for laying on the floor with a stack of books under my head while I napped for an hour.)
Listening to Gerard’s pensive “oohing” and “aahing” is just swell during my meditation, but not while driving home from work. The thing was, I didn’t turn the damn song off or switch it back to Mastodon. The Jezebel had me in her clutches. I was transfixed as I faced imminent death. Turning her off was sacrilegious, like slapping my Spirit Guide across the face. Yet there I was, eyes barely open, fighting a fight against Lisa Gerard and the hypnotic, mystical sunset. I almost think Colorado planned this, saying “you didn’t like that Chicago commute… well, I am gonna make you love this commute UNTIL YOU DIE!”
Moral of this story: do not listen to the music you meditate to in your car. Ultimately the greater forces will conspire against you.
Posted on November 12, 2013
I cried today.
For anyone who has read my pre-November 2013 posts, you know that I am no stranger to depression and so crying at any moment isn’t out of the ordinary for me. As someone who has undergone massive life changes in under 12 months, I tend to think that this recent bout of depression is merely a survival method. But I know better. I’ve spent most of my life running one step ahead of depression. This year I didn’t have the energy to outpace the demon and for that I am subject to “good days” and “moderate days” and “can’t crawl out of bed days.”
Last Holiday season, I didn’t decorate or buy gifts or listen to Christmas music. The mere thought of the Holidays turned my stomach. All the jolly hubbub was an insulting reminder that I was existentially alone. But the child in me adores this time of the year. The lights, decorations, music… it’s the nostalgia of waking up on Christmas morning to a pile of gifts and hugs and kisses. So in effort to combat the Grinch from last year, today I bought a reed diffuser from Target to put in my office. The promise to enjoy the next 2 months begins with the scent of Christmas!
Naturally the diffuser was difficult to open. Children must chug reed diffuser oil as sport. After a massive struggle at my desk that included keys, a plastic knife, and my teeth, I was successful, only pine tree scent sprayed all over my face. Now my mouth tastes like oily pine and I reek of Christmas. *sigh* At least I’m starting off this Holiday season’s festivities with good intentions, even if I’m not proud of my problem solving.
But stinking of fake pine isn’t what made me cry today (though it almost did). The BF is visiting for Thanksgiving. He ordered a turkey from a local farm, one I will pick up the weekend before the holiday. It’ll be so fresh that if I want to, I can pluck it (ew). I’m sure this turkey will be delicious. When the BF called, excited to tell me that next Friday will be our turkey’s date with death, I burst into tears because:
I AM A TURKEY GRIM REAPER! AND I SMELL LIKE FUCKING CHRISTMAS!
Posted on November 6, 2013
- Let’s see. How should I announce that my debut novel, DEATHMARK (the working title), a Quebec City urban fantasy about a world of grim reapers and a one rebellious tattoo artist, will be published? Should I say it with balloons? Cupcakes? Fist bumps for all? Chippendale dancers?
Since completing the novel and signing with my agent, I have been longing to hear that DEATHMARK has a home. I’ve imagined various ways to announce that Ollie and Brent will be heard and the world of Styx and grim reapers will finally be “seen.”
Someone suggested that I post a gif or video of me expressing my excitement in my blog announcement. But I don’t twerk when I’m told good news. (Fact: you will never find me dancing in a flash mob, unless it is a grim reaper flash mob and that’s only because it’s better to blend into the crowd than go noticed by some soul-hungry reaper. Just sayin’.)
So let’s pretend in the below gif that I am the celebratory reaper on the right, m’kay?
Bam! Book Deal!
This past year has been an emotional roller coaster (depression, goodbyes, x-country move, cool new job, wonderful friends, old and new). Because of the support from New Leaf Literary, my friends, and family, and because I’m finally taking names and chewing bubblegum (or is that chewing bubblegum and kicking ass?), I have zen-like peace for my debut book deal. I’m grateful. I’m relieved. My eyes get misty when I think about setting Ollie and Brent free on the world. And I smile too. Yes, yes, lots of smiling.
November 5, 2013
|Digital: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy||Abigail Baker’s debut DEATHMARK, featuring the last Scrivener, a young woman who works for the Grim Reapers, marking humans who have cheated death, until she must mark her only human friend, to Danielle Poiesz at Entangled, with Allison Blisard editing, in a three-book deal, bySuzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media.|