It’s Writober! Time for some creepy flash fiction and poetry

across the street sI had pretty much spaced #Writober3 until this morning. Because I’m in New Orleans and my schedule is out of my hands, I won’t be as on top of my daily writing as I have been the last couple of years, but I’m going to try to do the daily poems for OctPoWriMo and I started adding pictures to a #Writober3 Pinterest board to inspire Halloween themed flash fiction.

The first pins I added are pictures I took from my immediate surroundings and a crow claw that I had on my camera from late July.  I decided not to number the images this year. Just choose the image on the day it speaks to you. I am going to start with this one:

painting of a girl s

The theme for this year’s Halloween party  is “Strange Brood” and this little lady definitely came from one. I think writing her story will  set the tone for a great #Writober.

The OctPoWriMo theme for today is Surrender. Here’s the poem I came up with:

Callistemon

Callistemon, the bottle brush tree
releases her red tassels
as I surrender to the moment
From elation as the light shines
through the erect, lush hibiscus
to the frustration of a burning throat
and muddy head of acclimation
I focus on the detailed lines of a glistening dragonfly’s wing
She extends
tail to the sun
on the tip of a twig
fully splayed

Like a kite escaping its tether
on a fitful wind, I surrender
to each fleeting change
Revelations bombard by the hour
The days pass too quickly
Each stuffed full of muti-days of meaning
I swirl in the dance of confusing splendor,
facing my first regret of ever catching your eye while I recognize the truth of my bliss
The white flag
wavers
I yield
to whatever comes

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rubber Maids Reunite Tonight! A show 20 years in the making.

The Rubber Maids reunite

I can’t believe I flew into New Orleans on Monday and I’ve already been on WWOZ and now the day of the show is here. It has been a whirlwind week of daily practice, costume sewing and promotion and yet somehow it feels so normal, like this is what we always do.

If you want to know more about how our group formed and such, we talked about it in our WWOZ interview . We start talking at 126.

Tonight’s show is going to be stuffed full of great music. I’m excited to be reuniting with friends from when we started: The Stacks and Egg Yolk Jubilee. David Rhoden from the stacks made this adorable animation to promote the show:

http://davidrhoden.com/news/2018/the-stacks-with-rubber-maids-and-eyj-this-saturday

Robin, lead singer/guitarist for The Rubber Maids got our recordings re-mastered and pressed to vinyl. The record sounds great and will be available to buy at the show.

The Rubber Maids at Siberia

And next week we’re doing it all again. We have a show at Poor Boys next Saturday. We’re going to play more shows while I’m here and we’ll be posting videos, so keep checking back.

Though my main focus today is music. Don’t forget OctPoWriMo starts on October first, so get your poetry chops prepped for a month of great prompts and poems.

 

 

#Writober Day 26: Are They Weasel People? Are They Rat People? Is One Less Scary?

writober 26

There are many really great images of old, creepy costumes on the internet. This one really grabbed me. Maybe, it’s because I should know what they are, but don’t, or the dead-eyed expressionless affection of their pose. Is it just me, or is there a bony ghost hand grabbing for her dress?

So what are these rat (or weasel) people up to? This image makes me think of Willard (2003). Which instantly makes me think of one of my favorites Rubin & Ed . Are these the people who killed Rubin’s cat?

It also makes me think of the great Halloweens I had in New Orleans. Halloween is a huge adult holiday with parades, and elaborate costume balls. I really miss it this time of year. So I took a look at the IMDb list: Horror movies filmed in Louisiana and found some amazing looking “art” I have not encountered yet. To get in the Halloween spirit, I’ll be watching, The Beyond, The Alligator People, Evil Remains (AKA: Trespassing) and/or Creature From Black Lake. Another way to get into the New Orleans Halloween spirit is to read something by Anne Rice, if you haven’t read and re-read all her books yet.

On the creepy side of children’s movies, this image also makes me think of  The Secret of NIMH and the live-action version of The Wind in the Willows.

How will these characters act in your story? Are they the protagonists, antagonists, or secondary characters? Are they what eventually became of Willard’s rats? Or are they Bonnie and Clyde going to a masquerade?

#vss very short story

When they handed me their camera, pointing and squeaking, chirpy-growling instructions, I went ahead and took their picture; not sure if they were just really into their costumes, or I should get checked for the plague.

#OctPoWriMo

A Once and Unruly Mind
From the picture prompts, I connected most with Chaotic mind and Finding Connections Mind.
poem form: Cascade

Rats In The Walls

Scurrying through the chaos mind
Lying in wait for crumbs to drop
Spreading plague and pestilence they find
This year, there’s a bumper crop

Not afraid to bite the hand that feeds
Sniffing the trash for their own kind
Lavishly flaunting their basest needs
Scurrying through the chaos mind

Pushing the bar but never learning the maze
Biting each other for a bit of slop
But doing back-flips and tricks to join the next craze
Lying in wait for crumbs to drop

The chaos it swirls and whirls ad nauseum
May they choke on the poison from which they all dined
They chewed through the cage that tried to contain them
Spreading plague and pestilence they find

Who leads the rat people they want to know
They send out the loudest, a ridiculous prop
Shouting lie after lie, lies that will grow
This year there’s a bumper crop.

#FlashFicHive

flashfichive day 26

graphic by Anjela Curtis

Today’s prompt is a little game. The objective is to make a new word or words from the word “Circumlocution”. I had too much fun with this. I hadn’t played with anagrams in a long time. Look for an odd piece of art from me later today.

I hope something in today’s post brings you some inspiration.

I truly appreciate everyone’s efforts that are inspiring me this #Writober. Special thanks to Morgan Dragonwillow morgandragonwillow.com@MDragonwillow and Anjela Curtis anjelacurtis.com@AnjelaCurtis.

Happy Reading and Writing!

My first vocal interview: Chris is a talented interviewer; I want to buy my own books.

ROACHOPERA

The cover of Christian Champagne’s poetry book.

YAT DICTIONARY ine YAT DICTIONARY2Chris Champagne, author of  Roach Opera and The Yat Dictionary who has been voted Best Comedian in New Orleans two years running, interviewed me about my books for his podcast. It’s a great interview. He made me want to read my books.

The first part of the podcast is a comedy quiz show, my interview starts at 24:37. I recommend following his podcast; it’s funny and I learned most of the truth about New Orleans politics through Chris’s comedy. He is a true New Orleanian.

Reading to Keep the Blues Alive

I recently received an email from author Ben Sandmel announcing that he is the recipient of the Keeping The Blues Alive award in Literature for 2015, presented by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation. Congratulations, Ben! If you, dear readers, are at all interested in history, biography, New Orleans, rhythm and blues, music in general, or even me. I highly recommend checking out this book and its website erniekdoebook.com

The book has won many previous awards:

Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans is selected by National Public Radio as one of the Best Music Books of 2012

Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans is selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Non-Fiction Books of 2012

selected as Blues Book of the Year for 2012 in Living Blues magazine’s annual Critics’ Poll

My email from Ben included a ton of wonderful reviews. Here are just a couple:

12-22-12, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, Staff Picks: Our Favorite Music Books Of 2012:  Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans, by Ben Sandmel:  “Much more than a biography of a New Orleans music eccentric, this perspicaciously researched book encapsulates the spirit of a city that honors the wisdom of its weirdos. It’s also the story of a unique place — K-Doe’s Mother-In-Law Lounge, the shrine to his career-defining hit, and a haven for connoisseurs of this precious city’s flamboyant expressive culture. Packed with rare photos and gorgeously produced by the Historic New Orleans Collection press, this volume will transport you to the liveliest city in America — a trip all music fans should frequently take. —Ann Powers

6-21-12, ROLLING STONE, 4 STARS: — “With passionate R&B-detective research and eyewitness accounts from local legends like Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, Ben Sandmel vividly captures K-Doe’s wild rise out of poverty, the riches on his many 45s and his long, strange rebirth as a Crescent City treasure. In a city that breeds and adores gifted eccentrics, K-Doe was royalty. And he reigned in style.” — David Fricke

So why, you may be asking yourself, did I list an interest in myself as a reason to pick up this award winning, critically acclaimed tome of American Music History? I’m in it!

Ernie was a good friend of mine. I was in a band called The Rubber Maids that performed with Ernie near the end of his life. After Katrina, I stayed near family in the Pacific Northwest, but Ben called and interviewed me for the book. I’m even pictured AND in the index. I love showing off that there’s a picture of me in a book that includes pictures of Paul McCartney and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin). Like I said, this is a must have for music lovers.

Personal poster from show not in book.

Personal poster from show not in book.

If you want to take a trip to pre-Katrina New Orleans from the comfort of your reading nook, I highly recommend the book that is Keeping the Blues Alive, Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans.

Exploring the senses – Hearing

Auditory stimuli have the ability to trigger physical reactions. The calming sound of rolling waves, or the alarming jolt caused by a popped balloon can influence how we act and feel. Sounds, especially music, can also trigger memories.

Exercise: To explore hearing, each member of writing group brought a song to listen to. As we listened, we jotted down all of the thoughts that came to mind for the duration of the length of the song. I found that each song triggered personal memories and vivid imagery.

As with all of the sensory writing exercises I’ll describe, the results are twofold:

1. Sound triggers memories and writing ideas.

2. The exercise brings attention to how one’s fictional characters may react to sounds and music based on their histories and circumstances (perceptions).

Describing sounds, how they are perceived and their physical and emotional effects on the characters will add realism and depth to your writing.

Examples of my responses:

St. James Infirmary by Alan Toussaint

Railroad tracks

Otis playing piano in N.O. w/Kathleen on stand-up

I expect to hear Tom Waits start singing at any moment

The piano in that horrible apartment which I almost never played

La Belle Dame Sans Regrets by Sting

Ballroom classes at that weird dance studio in Metairie where I first met Bridget

The black and white checkerboard floor and the floor to ceiling mirrors in the middle of an empty club

Helping teach ballroom at Ruby Fruit Jungle

Drinking a tiny strong coffee at a café in Paris

The drawing Spencer did of his cousin Marie

The program from a Sting concert I thumbtacked to my wall over my desk

Like a Virgin by Madonna

Going to the record store with my gift certificate for winning the talent show and Mom making the clerk play every song on the Air Supply album, then saying it was too suggestive and making me get M.J.’s Thriller instead.

Buying Madonna’s tape from a friend at church because Mom wouldn’t let me get it

I hope this exercise triggers all sorts of ideas for you. I’d love to hear some of them. Also, if you have other sensory exercises you have found useful, please send them along. I love trying new things.