Countdown to Midnight #4: Good Girl

Posted by TERESA

Well, it’s October 8th.  By 11:59PM ET tonight, I will know whether I’ve won the NYC Midnight flash fiction contest in any way, shape or form.  And so, I give you the final story I submitted for the contest, entitled GOOD GIRLThe one I submitted when it was down to me and 39 other writers. Location?  A car wash.  Genre?  Fantasy. Object?  A kitten. I’m actually very proud of this one.  I spent a lot of time on it, but in a good way – it was inspired and I spent most of my time honing it, as opposed to coming up with an idea.  I love the main character, and would love to do a longer version of this sometime, regardless of its fate in this particular contest.  So, in a way, I’ve already won.  (Though a cash prize would be nice.)

Special thanks to Neil Gaiman, whom I ripped off a LOT in this (who, I’m sure, has ripped off a million other writers, right Neil?).  If you don’t know how I’m ripping him off here….well….forget I mentioned it.

kitten in dress

GOOD GIRL

Only eight weeks old, and she knew how it felt to be unloved.  Her mother would allow Kitten and her siblings to suckle, but she wouldn’t look at them.

Then the first of Kitten’s siblings was taken.  A small person, a girl, put her face up against the glass and showed her teeth. Kitten watched her brother make the mistake of stalking, then pouncing at Girl’s face, clawing at nothing. The next thing Kitten knew, someone reached in and took her brother out of their glass box, placing him in Girl’s hands.  The same happened to the others until only Kitten and her mother remained.  She promised herself that she would never approach the glass and be taken away, leaving her mother alone.

One day, a woman peered into the glass.  She, too, showed her teeth. Kitten did what she usually did – mewed over her shoulder.  Move along.  Nothing more to see here.

Suddenly, someone took the mesh cover off the glass box and reached for her.  She clawed at the hand, but her tiny claws didn’t do much damage.  She looked to her mother for help, but her mother sighed and turned her head, exhausted by the whole world.

Kitten was handed to Woman, who cupped one hand under her rump and held her under her shoulders with the other. Kitten’s heart beat like a hummingbird’s wings, but Woman held her close, tightly, giving Kitten the warm contact her mother never did. Kitten purred. Woman said, “All better now.”

There was a man who lived with Woman.  They touched faces a lot. Kitten learned many new things.  She learned that when the people said ANABELLE, they meant her. She learned that people showed their teeth when they were happy and said GOOD GIRL.  And she learned that people liked it very much when kittens climbed into their laps and purred. Kitten was happy.  For the first time, she was regularly nuzzled and cared for.

Then things changed. Woman began pushing Kitten away whenever she’d jump in her lap.  Water came out of her eyes a lot. Man started yelling at Kitten more often.  He spent a lot of time holding Woman close.

Woman would say, “All I’ve ever wanted was a little girl of my own.”

Man would say, “It’ll happen for us, honey.  You’ll see.”

Kitten didn’t like seeing her people sad or angry.  As Kitten fell asleep one night, she prayed to The Cat God and asked for her people’s happiness…

In Kitten’s dream, The Cat God was all black, except for his paws and his snout, which glowed white.

“You pray for others but not for yourself?” asked The Cat God.

“I like being able to make my people happy.  Now, nothing does that.”

The Cat God smiled.  “You have a kind heart, so I shall give you a gift.  Tomorrow, your people will take you on a trip.  They will put you in a fabric carrier and place you on the backseat of their car.  Once there, claw your way out of the front of the carrier.  I will give you the strength to do it.  Hide on the floor of the backseat.  You must not let them see you.  If you do this, you will be able to make them happy again…”

The next morning, everything happened as The Cat God foretold.  Her people announced a big trip – something about a vee-eee-tee – and put her in a carrier.  She was placed in the back seat, and quickly set to work.  She was able to fit one paw through the mesh, then two.  She tumbled out of the hole and onto the floor of the backseat, curling up into a ball.

The car stopped moving, and the people exited. Man opened the back door and removed the carrier without looking.  The people rolled up the windows and closed the doors. Kitten sat in silence for a moment wondering what would happen next.

Suddenly, the car moved forward on its own. Kitten looked up and noticed that there was soap and water shooting all over the windows. Then something even stranger happened.  She began to grow and change.  Her fur fell out.  Her hind legs grew long and became something very different.  Her front paws grew, but not as long as her hind ones.  No more walking on all fours.  Her nose got bigger, her tail fell off. Kitten was afraid. She beat the doors with her paws that weren’t paws anymore as water started shooting at the windows with increasing force. Kitten didn’t like the noise.  She opened the car door fumbling with a metal bit and slid out of the car. Hot water hit her bare skin, and it hurt.  She looked at herself through squinted eyes and realized she was a person.  She stood on only two legs, crying, trying to dodge the jets of water.  She heard a commotion, and noticed Woman looking at her through a window, flailing her arms, screaming.  The water was shut off, and three men came in and rushed Kitten out the door and into the office where Man and Woman stood, shocked.

Woman rushed to Kitten, held her and said “Someone get this poor girl a blanket or towel or something?!”

Kitten understood!

Woman knelt before her and asked, “How did you get in there?  Where’s your mommy and daddy?  Where are your clothes?”

“I dunno” Kitten said, using words she didn’t know she had.

“What’s your name?” Woman asked.

Only one name came to her lips.

“Anabelle” she replied.

Woman stared into Anabelle’s eyes, shocked.

“Honey,” Woman said to Man.  “Check the cat carrier.”

“What do you mean…?” asked Man as he glanced at the carrier.  He saw the front torn out and panicked.  “Oh no!  Anabelle’s gone!”

Woman wrapped Anabelle in a towel one of the car wash employees brought her.

“No.  I don’t think she is…” Woman said.

Anabelle put her head on her mother’s shoulder and nuzzled her neck.

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 6:37 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Countdown to Midnight #3: Newbies

Posted by TERESA

Special thanks for this third story (of four) needs to go to LINDSAY.  I wrote NEWBIES during the weekend of Alana and Rob’s wedding in Chicago, after having discussed my assignment (Location – A factory.  Genre – Open.  Object: A stick of butter.) with her.  She started riffing on a story idea after I told her my original idea (which was inspired by Last Tango in Paris. Yeah, you heard me.).  I kept her general idea, but updated the setting (she would have set it during The Great Depression) and the characters (she thought of hobos, I went with semi-hipsters), and made the object less of a focal point than she would have.  Still, her riffing allowed me to riff a lot more than my original idea did.  So, thanks Lindsay!  Also, I suppose I also owe a special thank you to a certain threesome who had a…well…threesome.  Had I not been so annoyed by being in the same hotel suite as three people who chose to make me an unwilling auditory participant in their sexcapades, I would not have gone down to the hotel lobby to check my email, I would have missed my assignment entirely, and I wouldn’t have decided to stay in the hotel lobby until 5AM to work on it.  So, thanks to them, too, I suppose.  However, the fact remains: not everyone wants to listen to you have sex.  Especially if they’re not invited to participate.  That’s just rude.

Anywho, here’s the story:

homeless hipster

NEWBIES


“Let’s duck in here!” he said as the rain began to pour.

He was able to pull the metal door of the factory open just wide enough for them to squeeze inside despite the lock and chain holding it closed.  In that part of Long Island City, everything was a little slipshod, including security.

She followed the way she always did, not by choice, but because he never left room for discussion.  He spoke, then acted, dissenting opinions be damned.  This annoyed her.

“This place creeps me out” she said as she squeezed through the door.  She stood by it as he felt around for a light switch.  When he found it, she wished he hadn’t.

Textile factories aren’t particularly inviting during business hours, let alone at night.  They were in what looked like the main factory floor, and the room had a sickly green tint.  She wasn’t sure if the lighting caused it, or the paint on the walls, though the paint was so grimy she wasn’t sure it was even a color at all.  Rows of silent machines sat with fabric still in their jaws, and the fluorescent lights hummed eerily.  She didn’t like this, but they couldn’t afford better.  Friends and roommates, they’d both been dealt a blow by hard economic times.  He was a writer who, after being laid off from his day job hadn’t had luck finding even temp work for over five months.  His “novel” did nothing but take up folders and space on his laptop.

She, well, she didn’t know what she wanted to be.  The fact that she’d only completed two years of college before she couldn’t afford to attend anymore didn’t help.  Her parents had passed away years ago, and her savings had run out.  His parents were still alive in Wisconsin, but he was too proud and stubborn to ask them for help.  Eviction from their apartment forced them onto the street.  They were the Newly Homeless, and they didn’t know what to do.

He threw his duffel bags down, triumphant in the middle of the floor as if this were the World’s Best Plan.

“See?” he said.  “I told you we’d be able to get into one of them.”

She hated him when he was smug, which was often.

“I’m hungry” she said.  “What are we gonna do about food? I have, like, ten dollars in my bank account which I can’t get out until tomorrow ’cause I need to get it out at a fucking teller window.”

“What about your debit card?”

“I left it in the apartment. It was on my dresser…”

“You left it on your dresser?!”

“When someone’s hurrying to pack everything they own into a wheelie suitcase because they were fucking kicked out of their fucking apartment, they might not be thinking too clearly, OK?!”

“Hey, hey.  I’m sorry, all right?”  He approached her, eased her duffel bag from off her shoulder, and put his arm around her.  “It’s just that my bank account was closed because of that last overdraft fee, and…well, we’ll think of something. We’re gonna be OK, OK?”

She wasn’t sure about that, but she appreciated his effort.

“Sure” she said.

They found the least dirty portion of the floor and began setting up a makeshift camp, laying out towels and clothing on which to lie down.  Her stomach was in knots from hunger – they hadn’t eaten that day – when an idea struck her.

“Hey!  There might be a kitchen!”

“This is a factory” he replied.  “Why would there be a kitchen?”

“For the workers” she said, jumping to her feet.  “For their lunch breaks or whatever.  Every workplace usually has some kind of kitchen area.  There might be a fridge with food!  I’ll go check it out!”

She summoned her courage and went down the one available corridor and into the darkness. As her eyes adjusted, she noticed a large room on her right from which emanated a greenish glow.  She followed it and was relieved when she saw that it was the clock display on a microwave. She squealed with delight and found a lightswitch.

Sure enough, there was a mini-fridge. She rushed over to it, but was immediately disappointed. In it was nothing but a lone stick of butter.

It was then that she noticed the sign on the cabinet above the fridge:

PLEASE NOTE: ALL FOOD ITEMS WILL BE CLEANED OUT AT THE END OF EACH WORK WEEK.

It was Friday.

She trudged back to the factory floor, where he was waiting with a snack size bag of potato chips.

“I found this in my bag. Snagged it from that picnic we passed in Astoria Park. Want some?”

She took a handful, but after eating them only felt more hungry. The chips just warmed up her appetite for something that wasn’t coming. She felt miserable, and it was raining outside, and cold in the factory, and she couldn’t think of any friends who had room for them to crash or money to spare. She had never felt so low in her life.

“Don’t worry!  Tomorrow, we’ll take out your ten dollars, go to a supermarket, and get whatever groceries we can.  We’ll have breakfast, and figure out what to do about sleeping. It’ll be an adventure!”

Anger surged through her.  Her ten dollars? Was that his Master Plan?  He let his account be overdrawn and now he was claiming a right to her ten dollars?

“An adventure?” Her voice was ice.  “Is this fun for you? You’re volunteering my last ten dollars in the whole fucking world when you’re not even willing to ask your comfortable fucking parents in the Midwest for help?”

“Hey. I’m not running home to Mommy and Daddy…”

“Argh!”

She only meant to shove him.  Knock some sense into him.  She didn’t think she would be able to knock into him that hard. She didn’t think he’d stumble back that far.  She certainly didn’t plan on him hitting his head on the edge of a machine.

She heard his head crack twice; once on the metal, and then again on the concrete floor. Blood began to seep from his skull in twin rivers.

“Omigodomigodomigodomigod” she began muttering as her heart began to pound. As tears began coming.

For a moment, she forgot she was hungry.

Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 12:47 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Countdown to Midnight #2: The New Kid

Posted by TERESA

My second story was called THE NEW KID, and in it, I plagiarized MYSELF!  🙂  When I got the assignment (Location – A perfume shop.  Genre – Political.  Object – A hamburger.), I immediately thought of an old short story I wrote years ago called The Sandbox.  I reworked it into a 1,000 word version, and I incorporated all the necessary elements.  It’s not wrong if I’m ripping myself off, right?

flea-market

THE NEW KID

Abdul wasn’t sure what to think of it.  It wasn’t a perfume shop so much as a perfume stand, though they did manage to provide the appearance of walls with plastic piping and brightly colored fabric so that it could generously be referred to as a perfume booth.  On one hand, his mother’s perfumes were always a hit at Crescent Elementary’s PTA flea market.  For as long as his family lived in the neighborhood, and his older siblings attended the school, his mother was involved in school fundraisers.  However, more than a way to ensure her children’s welfare, her booths had also proved an intelligent business decision.  Abdul’s father had to acknowledge his wife’s ingenuity when he saw that her stands at various school functions drove business to their perfume shop downtown. Women from all over the neighborhood flocked to her booth when they saw it and marveled at her selection and professionalism in the face of their homemade handicrafts and baked goods.

On the other hand, there was something about the way they talked about her items that disturbed Abdul.  Very often, customers’ comments would grate his seven-year-old sensibility.  Oh! This scent is so exotic! they’d say.  Where’s it from?

A factory in New Jersey, Abdul wanted to say.  It was the truth, after all.  But he never did.

However, he never understood why even return customers commented on the foreignness of his mother’s wares.  His family had lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years.  His mother had been born one town over.  Yet whenever his mother was behind the counter of her perfume stand, booth, shop, his family was treated as other.  As if they didn’t share the same history as the non-brown, Christian people in town.

But Abdul never said anything.  He knew it wasn’t his place.

He was usually bored at these functions, where it seemed mothers and daughters ruled and everyone seemed a little too interested in things like knit caps and tea cozies, but this one was different.  A family he’d never seen was setting up a booth next to his, and they had a little boy with them.

His name was Benjamin, and he was The New Kid.  He’d been placed in Abdul’s class, but he’d never had a chance to talk to him before.  Benjamin had arrived two weeks earlier, and Abdul thought it odd that his parents were already getting involved in a PTA function.  Benjamin was quiet and kept to himself, and so the rest of the second grade had spent the time since his arrival filling in the blanks of his story for themselves.  Abdul watched as Benjamin’s parents set up what looked like a craft table.  Benjamin stood off by himself backed up against the school gym wall, occasionally fiddling with his glasses, but otherwise seeming to want no part in his parents’ efforts.  He seemed skittish, and the one time he caught Abdul’s eye he immediately looked the other way, terrified.

Sam had heard rumors about Benjamin, but he wanted to know for himself.  He was never one to be swayed by the other second graders.  He left his mother sitting at the planning committee table and bounded over to Benjamin’s side.

“What are you doing standing all by yourself?”

“I don’t think anyone here likes me.”  Benjamin stole a quick glance at Abdul.  “Everybody’s looking at me funny.”

“I’m not.”
They continued to talk, and Benjamin felt more at ease.  He was amazed that someone like Sam, jovial, popular, and confident, would take an interest in him.  At his other school, his diminutive stature had gotten him into trouble, and he got beat up often.

Sam was moved by him.  While he had no concept of skittishness, he felt for this poor boy, backed up against the wall by his own shyness.  Sam became determined to be Benjamin’s friend. I’ll make him popular, too!  He’s gonna thank me!

Sam took Benjamin by the wrist and pulled him toward Abdul.

“Hey, Abdul!” Sam called out.

Abdul had seen them coming, and his stomach had immediately knotted itself.

“Abdul, this is Ben,” Sam said.  “Ben, this is Abdul.”

Benjamin’s heart flooded with joy.  He called him Ben!  Ben!  A cool, shortened nickname, like Sam for Samuel!

“How do you like it here so far?”

“It’s OK,” Ben replied.  “I haven’t been here that long…”

“Do you wanna hang out and have lunch?” Sam interjected.

“Sure,” Abdul replied.

Ben glanced at Sam, who glanced at Ben and smiled.  Abdul caught their silent exchange and felt a pang of jealousy.  Sam barely knew this boy, and already they were standing together like old friends.  It had taken Abdul all of first grade to establish a rapport with Sam, and even then their relationship was mostly based on lunchtime trade.  Sam hated the lunches his mother packed for him every day.  The constant barrage of ham-and-American-cheese-mayo-on-white-bread sandwiches was too common for a boy with Sam’s adventurous spirit.  And so their relationship began.  Falafel for American cheese.  Baba ghanoush for peanut butter and jelly.

“Let’s go get bacon cheeseburgers!” Sam said.  “The guy with the truck is already outside, and my mom will give us money.”

“My mom already made me something to eat,” said Abdul.  “She says they charge too much for food here…”

Sam looked at Ben, who seemed suddenly uncomfortable.

“I can’t eat those,” Ben said.

“Why not?” Sam asked, concerned that his hanging out plan might unravel.

“Well, my mom says that I’m not supposed to eat anything made from pig, ’cause it’s against our religion.”

“Us, too!” Abdul exclaimed, suddenly more interested.  “‘Cause pigs are unclean animals, right?”

“Yeah.  And they have cheese on them,” Ben continued.  “My mom says that we can’t eat meat and dairy stuff at the same time.  So, bacon cheeseburgers are like, a double whammy.”

For the first time, Sam felt left out.  He couldn’t think of any dietary restrictions to bring to the table.  His parents didn’t talk to him about their religion much.  But he brushed his insecurity aside.

“We can just get plain hamburgers then,” he said.  “They have those, too!”

Ben smiled.  “Yeah!  I can do that!”

Abdul glanced at his mother, who had carefully packed his lunch for him in a cooler on the floor beside her chair.

“I can’t guys,” he reminded them.  “My mom already made me something to eat.  She’ll be mad if I don’t eat it.”

Sam shrugged, and looked at Ben.

“I guess it’s just you and me,” he said.

Abdul watched them walk away toward Sam’s mother.  He watched as she supplied them with money, and he watched as they walked, chatting the whole way, out the gym doors and toward the hamburger truck.  He felt forgotten.  He felt annoyed.  He wondered what school would be like on Monday.

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 5:55 PM  Comments (1)  
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Countdown to Midnight #1: Prowler

Posted by TERESA

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been taking part in a flash fiction contest being held by NYC Midnight.  In each round, we were given a location, an object, and a genre, and had a weekend to write a story using all three in no more than 1,000 words.  Well, the contest is over, I made it to the final round, and I’ve submitted my final story!  Winners will be announced on Thursday, the 8th.  As a lead-up to finding out whether I will be winning money for my words, or whether I will be a big ol’ loser, I thought I’d share the three stories I wrote for the contest with you in the order they were written.

PROWLER was my first story, and in my opinion, my least successful.  To tell you the truth, I’m surprised I got anywhere after this one!  To be fair, I had to write this the same weekend I was away in Philadelphia for Wizard World, which is why I only managed a little over 500 words.  I just had no time to write.  Location I was given?  The trunk of a car. Object?  A candle. Genre?  Horror. Here’s what I did with it…

woman looks at trunk

PROWLER

My name is Delilah Scher.  I’m 27 years old.  I’m from Rego Park, New York.  I currently live at 21-49 37th Street, Apt 4B in Astoria.  My parents are Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Scher of Rego Park.  Call them in case of emergency.  My name is Delilah Scher.  I’m 5’8″ tall.  I have brown hair that isn’t usually caked with dirt and sweat.  I’m shivering.  I don’t know where we’re going.  My name is Delilah Scher.  I have brown eyes.  I wear a size nine shoe.  I have a stomach that’s in knots.

I’m in the trunk of a man’s car.

Calm down, Delilah.  Stop talking to yourself.  You’re going to get through this.  He is not going to be the end of you.

I can’t help it.  I’m scared.  And when I’m scared I talk to myself – well, in my head anyway – and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Where are we going?  We must be on the Grand Central.  We’ve been going really fast without stopping for a while.  Or are we on the Triboro Bridge?  We’ve definitely left the borough.  Where are we going?

There’s something in this trunk with me.  It’s moist and cold.  Something long and fuzzy like a rolled-up rug or a blanket.  There could be another body in here for all I know.  I’m going to throw up.  Oh, God.  I’m going to throw up.  Where are we going?

Tears are sticking to my face.  I don’t want to cry, but I have to.  There’s nothing else to do.  My face is dirty.  The rope feels like it’s cutting into my wrists.  This trunk smells like mold, and dirt, and sawdust, and death.

He is not going to be the end of you.

You can get through this.  You can get through this and when it’s all over, you’ll be a stronger person.  Every time he changes lanes, my head knocks into the side of the car.  My head is bleeding.  It hurts.  Oh, God.  Why are we slowing down?

Breathe, Delilah.  Breathe.  Where are we?  My heart is racing.  How long do I wait?  He’s getting bags out of the back seat.  That’s probably the groceries.  The candles.  He promised her a meal.  I heard him on the phone.  He promised her a gourmet, candlelit meal.

He’s been so wrapped up in his date planning that he didn’t even realize that I destroyed the lock to his car.  He’s been so busy talking to her on the phone that he didn’t even notice that the trunk is being held shut by this rope I’ve got wrapped around my wrist.

He probably won’t notice me sneaking in his back door, which he always leaves open because he’s a moron and thinks he lives in a safe neighborhood.  He won’t notice when I slip into the closet in the living room with my can of kerosene.  He won’t notice when I take one of those romantic candles he put on the table for that bitch, the ones he never lit for me, and set his place aflame.

Published in: on October 6, 2009 at 11:41 PM  Comments (2)  
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On Turning 30, Part 1: Hellzapoppin’!

Young At Heart

Young At Heart

Posted by TERESA

So…on 8:26AM on Saturday, July 11th, I officially turned 30.  I celebrated a bit at Albatross the night before, where ADAM bought me drinks, I got a free one from Jocelyn, and I sang I’m the Only One to LIZ over the phone since she couldn’t come out to sing it herself.

The real celebration happened on Saturday night at Waltz-Astoria, where I had a 30’s themed birthday party complete with live jazz band karaoke!  And boy did I need a party that night….we got the bad news about Liz’s sister-in-law that morning, which of course made working on a party seem pretty meaningless.  On top of that, I had a couple of friends either call out of the party sick, or say they couldn’t make the food they said they’d make originally, or I didn’t hear if people were bringing something or not….by the time the party rolled around, I was pretty down, and worried that no one was going to show up, we’d have no food for those that would, and that the whole thing would be a huge failure.

Dorothy, Emily, Liz (behind Emily), Sebastien, Lori, and Adam

Dorothy, Emily, Liz (behind Emily), Sebastien, Lori, and Adam

That couldn’t be more different than what actually happened!  Many of my friends DID come, including several that I wasn’t expecting to see!  Liz, her sister, DOROTHY, and EMILY came despite the earlier news, because they both wanted to take their minds off it for a while, and also because they wanted to celebrate my birthday, which I thought was so sweet!  Also, my “longest-serving friend”, Vanessa, came with her boyfriend, which was a complete surprise and fabulous!  And I met someone new and really cool in KATIEBOONE’S friend Peter, who is a jazz musician himself and brought his saxophone to jam out with the band!  I had WONDERFUL food provided by ROBIN and JOANNA as well as an AMAZING Bill Compton birthday cake made by LINDSAY (who should probably go work for the Ace of Cakes people at some point!).  Just about everyone sang at least ONE song, if not several, and the staff at Waltz as well as the band commented that I had really talented friends.  They were expecting at least SOMEONE to be awful, and no one was!  What can I say?  I only HAVE talented friends!  And I realized that I am so lucky to have such amazing ones.  People who, even if they don’t know each other, are so warm and friendly that they make instant friends with everyone they meet.

Peter and the band!

Peter and the band!

Highlights:

**Robin and JEAN sang me “Happy Birthday” a la Marilyn Monroe.  It was the strangest experience ever.  But hilarious!

** ALEX, after much unnecessary protesting, sang an AMAZING rendition of “Summertime!”  He was so insecure in his singing ability that he had to be DRAGGED up there by Jean and prodded by AARON…but once he started singing, Jean couldn’t snag the microphone from his hands!  He started doing some hilarious improv, and Jean eventually left him up there to finish the song alone!  Yeah, he “hates” singing karaoke.  Uh-huh.  Best birthday present ever.  If you’re my friend on Facebook, you can probably find the video.  If not….sorry.  🙂

Bill Compton cake, Lindsay, Lori, and Me

Bill Compton cake, Lindsay, Lori, and Me

** Lindsay’s cake!  Not only was it a Bill Compton cake, but when you bit into the neck, there was cherry “blood!”  I’m so grateful that Lindsay went to so much trouble!  It was amazing.

** DANCING!  Adam deserves the credit for getting this started.  He started the ball rolling by dancing with LORI as I sang “In the Mood.”  Then he fox-trotted and swing danced with me for two numbers.  Then Emily and Lori danced.  Then Emily and I danced.  It was a great time made even greater by awesome and game people!

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

** Adam and I singing Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.  While it wasn’t the best rendition ever, I love singing this song with him as it kind of captures our friendship perfectly.  🙂  One day, we’ll sing this song right!

** Catching up with Vanessa, and having her, EILEEN (all the way from Florida!), Joanna, and Robin all in one room!  I’ve known Vanessa since I was about 3.  I’ve known Eileen and Joanna since I was 5 going on 6.  And I’ve known Robin since I was 10.  The fact that I’m STILL friends with all of them blows my mind, and I look forward to being friends with them for even longer!

It was a wonderful way to spend my 30th Birthday.  I really am a lucky duck for knowing such great people.

And now, some photo highlights:

Alex, Katie, Jean, Matt, and Aaron

Alex, Katie, Jean, Matt, and Aaron

Emily, Liz (so badass she dragged herself to my party with a broken leg), Diana, and Sebastien

Emily, Liz (so badass she dragged herself to my party with a broken leg), Diana, and Sebastien

Robin overcame her stage fright for my birthday and sang You Can't Take That Away From Me!  It wasn't ENTIRELY miserable!

Robin overcame her stage fright for my birthday and sang You Can't Take That Away From Me! It wasn't ENTIRELY miserable!

Liz, Robin, Kelly, and Enrique

Liz, Robin, Kelly, and Enrique

Eileen, Joanna, Me, and Vanessa - my oldest friends in the world!

Eileen, Joanna, Me, and Vanessa - my oldest friends in the world!

Robin, Me, Eileen, and Joanna - Best. Entourage. Ever.

Robin, Me, Eileen, and Joanna - Best. Entourage. Ever.

The way I figured it, if my dress coudn't be strictly 1930s in style, at least my hair and my underwear could be!

The way I figured it, if my dress coudn't be strictly 1930s in style, at least my hair and my underwear could be!

My 30s are SO going to rule.  🙂

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 9:38 PM  Comments (3)  
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Writers as Professional Maker-Uppers of Shit

Posted by TERESA

At the end of 2007, after years of attempting to balance a day job with pursuit of careers in acting, writing, and producing, I decided that writing – the thing that never went away despite my dalliances with other art forms – deserved my undivided attention, and it’s gotten it ever since. You can read about my decision here.

Lately, I’ve been focusing my attention even more tightly. While I’m still writing for Pink Raygun, and am always seeking out outlets for my non-fiction ramblings, I’ve been devoting more time to my fiction, and it’s been making me very happy. In fact, I’ve just finished a rough draft of a short story I’ve been obsessed with writing for the past two weeks.

WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!!!

When I first decided to focus on my writing, I had a couple of stories I was working on, but they weren’t particularly fun to write. It was the sort of stuff I thought I should be working on as a Serious Writer. You know, stuff about Dysfunctional Families or What It’s Like To Be Twentysomething In The City. It was difficult to keep going, because I couldn’t get myself to care about what I was writing about, which was strange. Now that I’d come back to writing, it didn’t feel the way it did when I was younger; back before it was a “career choice”; back when it was just this thing I did. 

Recently, I’ve become re-infatuated with the work of Neil Gaiman. I’d read Sandman as well as several of his short stories years before, and I thought “He’s good!”  Left it at that.  Didn’t really think about him much after reading Sandman in 2004.  A mysterious force made me stumble across his website several months ago, and I started reading the blog, the stories, the essays, and it was a case of a writer coming into your life exactly when you need them.

Gaiman’s work is reminding me of what fun and power there is in  just making shit up.  Whereas the essays of George Orwell (another one of my favorites) taught me how powerful writing could be, and how it can be a weapon that’s used to change the world, Gaiman’s work reminds me that, Well, yeah – Orwell wrote that stuff, sure.  But he also wrote a story with talking pigs in it.  Also, 1984 was really science-fictiony, when you think about it… He reminds me that caring about things like craft and language, trying to make a point, and having an awesome time aren’t mutually exclusive.  In fact, the best things happen when you manage to have all three of those things at once. 

I stumbled back onto his work at a time when I really needed to see someone living, working, and writing the way he does, and I’m extremely grateful for whatever it was that led me to his website that one time.  My friends have noticed my current Gaimanobsession, and have totally chuckled about it.  They haven’t seen anything like this from me since The Great Jonathan Safran Foer Obsession of 2002.  But just like JSF came to me at a time when I needed to be excited about reading contemporary fiction again, Gaiman has come to me at a time when I needed to be reminded of why I fell in love with writing in the first place; when I needed to be reminded of the little girl I used to be – the girl in the schoolyard scribbling in a notebook who had other kids come up to her asking to read the newest pages from her latest story, or her latest “scripts” for Alien Nation or Star Trek: TNG.  The girl who used to get detentions in school, not for misbehaving, but because she couldn’t stop writing long enough to pay attention in class.  The girl for whom writing was FUN. 

And this reintroduction to what made writing fun in the first place opened the floodgates in my head, and it’s almost as if I’m finally giving myself permission to write stuff I like, which is strange.  You’d think that wouldn’t be necessary. 

So, the short story I’ve just finished is a love story involving an alien (but it’s really about self-acceptance), and I’m revising my short comedy script about werewolves (which is really about racism).  Heh.  THIS is the good stuff.  It is for me, anyway.

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 1:04 AM  Comments (2)  
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