Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve

This season has come too soon; the Christmas decorations, covering stores since before Thanksgiving, were so long ignored they ceased to register, carols were hummed but not digested, Christmas presents were left unsought until days before, and a grocery store bagger’s holiday greeting met a blank stare. Those decorations and carols are trappings, of course, string and glitter that can no more hold us together than December winds can drive us apart, but those trappings make a visceral impression I carry throughout the years.

I remember childhood Christmas Eves: long goodbyes at Granny’s house while I feared missing Santa Claus, belly full of potatoes and pies, counting the minutes until I could climb out of bed, the smell of oranges in my Christmas stocking and the turkey in to roast, and crawling into bed with my siblings, nestled beside Momma as she read The Night Before Christmas. Our copy of the poem was a pop-up book, similar to the one mentioned in Shelf Unbound’s childhood remembrances, and we each turned the wheels and slid the tabs to make sugarplums dance and Santa rise from the chimney. Those traditions altered as we grew and our family changed, but the memories are treasured.

Each tradition, whether decorating the tree, lighting the candles, or sitting down to a family dinner, holds the meanings amassed over holidays past and creates a frisson of excitement today. After spent wrapping paper is gathered up, broken toys are interred in landfills, and our time passes, we leave traditions for our loved ones and the memories they recall.  As I begin final preparations and settle in to the holiday, I need to pause, to laugh at the sweet potatoes splattered on the ceiling and the tree boughs bared by the cat, to share a moment and create a new memory, because the cooking and decorating and reading are traditions for my family, and our joy and love become the patina absence cannot tarnish.    

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fortuna plango vulnera

When translated, the title says "I bemoan the wounds of Fortune." It is the opening line to one of the pieces of Carl Orff's brilliant Carmina Burana. I had the good fortune to be able to see this performed last year. It was, to put it simply, perfect.

However, that seems to be the extent of my luck. I found out today that twice, twice mind you, Fortuna (or the Universe, as I like to call it) has denied me what could have been the highlight of my existence. The love of my life, TV's James May, was in fact in the next county over. In a Ferrari. A red one. And I somehow missed him. Twice.

Thanks, Universe.

Admittedly, I was a little heart broken at first. I mean, yes, it is a little odd that the love of my life would turn out to be a 46 year old, slightly pudgy man from Bristol with bad hair and a worse wardrobe, but I adore him. So I sat around and moped. Then I started baking to get my mind off my missed chance.

And then I got over it. Because, you know what? My apartment smells of lemon cookies and Bing Crosby is crooning. Not only that, but I just found out that two friends I haven't seen in a long time will be in town for the holidays. And darnit, it's freakin' Christmas! It's the most wonderful time of the year. There's even a seventy percent chance of having a white Christmas.

(Yes, I'll probably never get another chance to see James in person, but that's ok. I wouldn't have been able to say anything to him anyway, since I am a fruitcake when it comes to love and can never say the right thing.)

Life is pretty awesome right now. Or, as Orff puts it, tempus es iocundum. This is a joyful time.

I sincerely wish that everyone catches my sudden enthusiam and has a truly fantastic holiday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Giftmas & Thismas

Marilyn Monroe, spreading a little Christmas cheer. (Source: Google Images.)

I hate to tell you this, mainly because I don't want to be the one to break it to you, but Christmas really is about the presents.

Hang in there with me, lemme e'splain.

As I am sitting here patiently waiting for the dreary and weary UPS worker to deliver my gifts I had a bit of a revelation. I realized there are two kinds of Christmas: Giftmas- where you frantically run around trying to find the most suitable gift for your mother/spouse/best friend/dog sitter/ annoying co-worker, all the while become more and more stressed out and not even bothering to sit down. Sounds familiar, right?

Then there's Thismas. It's sort of a new thing. Nothing like Kwanza, I assure you. Thismas has a little more to do with just celebrating. Celebrating a day off due to a sudden snow storm, celebrating the joy of adopting a new puppy, or holding vigil for loved ones around the universe.

Christmas only comes once a year, that's true. As does Giftmas. But Thismas is unique. All that is required for Thismas is to take a deep breath and, using all of your senses, taking in the moment.

When you partake in Thismas you will start to notice the annoying over-played carols on the radio are replaced by actual church bells ringing the hour or a Cantata being performed by a local choir. Almost immediately the outdoors no longer smell like sweat and labor, but instead there will be hints of licorice, cloves & clementines, and pine needles. Thismas is about the feel of snow crunching beneath your boots instead of the hard pavement. It's about seeing friends and family you haven't hung out with in ages and whose company you have genuinely missed.

Thismas is about chilling out in the here and now; about the moment you are in as you are reading this.

Welcome Home.

See? Told you Christmas was all about the presence.

Giftmas or Thismas. Which one will you celebrate? 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


OK! There are a lot of things I want to cram in the post tonight. So, lets get started...

*Happy Belated Birthday Fantastic Spatula! You have meant so much to me this past year. Although I didn't post as much as I was supposed to/should have I appreciate each and every one of you, the three ladies blogging, the featured Friday artists, and the community in general.

*Merry Christmas all! Wow, how they frack did that happen so fast? But never mind that. Don your gay apparel, deck the halls and bake some cookies! Actually I have a list of things you can do this holiday season to get in the spirit if you aren't just yet (or still can't believe it's really here)
@Call someone you love and sing them a carol over the phone.
@Make your Christmas and Holiday cards. Use found things, recycled papers, crayons.
@Go to a candle light service if you don't normally or go to a church with a friend if you don't normally attend church. It can be a different church than your used to or one you haven't set foot in for years.
@Host a cookie swap party. Bring your friends to your home. Tell them to make their favorite cookies, they can bake at your home, and swap!
@Read some Christmas and Holiday books that you might normally read if you were...6.
@Avoid the mall...
@Go to a pine tree/Christmas tree farm where they plant Christmas trees each year. You don't have to buy one. Just go there and sniff.
@Watch some of the Christmas Classics with friends or Family. Some of my favorites are The Nightmare Before Christmas, A Christmas Story, A Peanuts Christmas...

Tell me your favorite holiday traditions are... or create your own!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Feckin' Christmas

You guys, there are ten days until Christmas. Ten days!

And if I am perfectly honest, I'm not feeling it. The Christmas Spirit hasn't grabbed me yet. I've got a tree, and it is pretty, but that's it. I've played Christmas carols, but mostly because they are in Gaelic and fun to sing along with.

This is the first year, ever, where I haven't been ecstatic over the holiday season. I'm guessing it is because I have no idea what to give the people I love. The stress of trying to find the perfect gift is hogging all my thoughts and not leaving any room for any cheer. There are parties to plan for, too, and I'm trying not to contract some horrible flu like I did a few Christmases ago.

And that just won't do, y'all.

Christmas isn't supposed to be stressful and miserable. Christmas is supposed to be bright and shiny; it's supposed to make you grin like an imbecile when you see a star topped tree. Hearing a bell ringing should fill you with a serenity that comes from knowing there is goodness and beauty in the world.

So, for tonight, I am not going to think about the presents, the shopping, the planning, the cooking, none of it. I'm just going to sit here, staring at my tree, and think about what this time of year means to me. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that it will be pretty close to what Tim Minchin says in "White Wine in the Sun."
I really like Christmas.

What have you guys done to get into the swing of the Holidays?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One Year Older, But Not More Grown Up

Wow! A year ago I posted my first entry on this blog. One whole year! And what do I have to show for it? A frontier town with a split personality, a zombie alligator, and a ginger werewolf. Hmmmm.
Well, at least it is more than I had a year ago!

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I wouldn't have them at all if it weren't for Miss Lucy and her blog of magic and delight. I am very glad she indulges me my strange bits of fiction.

And until Miss Lucy tells me to stop, I will keep adding to my list of weird accomplishments. I can't wait to see what another year brings!

Here now is part two of last week's post. What has curious little Savina gotten herself into?

Monday, December 6, 2010


Dear Santa, 

I've waited months for Léna Roy's Edgesand it finally comes out tomorrow, December 7, the perfect time for you to put it in my stocking on Christmas morning. I've been a good girl this year--mostly--and it sounds like the type of book I love to read: 
A story of love and grief, addiction and redemption, set in both NYC’s Upper West Side and in the red rock desert of Moab, Utah.
I love Lena's writing over at her blog, and I admire how she supports young writers, so I want to support her debut novel. Please Santa, pick it up from your local North Pole independent bookstore in the next couple weeks, because those first months are crucial for a new novel. In fact, I recommend it for the elves, and the reindeer, and the Island of Misfit Toys, too.  

Thank you, Santa.  

Yours truly, 


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Year in Magic

Greetings, All!

Tonight is a special night.

A year ago I had asked three talented friends to do something crazy: to blog. I asked them because I wanted others to know how insanely awesome they were. I wanted them to share a bit of themselves with the unknown audience of the neenernet and get something back in return.

In the span of a year, three of us have moved. Skemp boldly went where no Skemp has gone before- a cross country road trip from the shores of Carolina to the mountains of Montana. Clara moved from her teensy apartment a block away, and now has a kitchen worth bragging about. I moved from one upstairs apartment up the street to another upstairs apartment. My neighbors have much improved! Kristi and her hubby (aka: my big brother), have happily not moved.

I think it's safe to say we've also hit a few growth spurts writing wise. Each of us realizing it's okay to admit that you are an artist or author. Scarier than you know, because when you utter such a declaration you ready for yourself for the constant bombardment of inquiries such as: "But how do you eat?", "Don't you make any money?", and "What will your parents/spouse/lover/friends/therapist think?" (Answer: "I'm sorry, did you say something? I was too busy thinking about how much champagne I'm going to have to buy when my first novel becomes a best seller". Or, you know, something like that.)

And as wonderful as this constant tea party in wonderland has been, it wouldn't mean much if we didn't have a small army of supporters. To all of our readers I have been struggling to find the right words all evening to say how much your contributions have meant to us. Naturally, I've fallen short. So to put it simply- with a deep bow and a deeply grateful heart I humbly say, thank you. 

Love & Magic,


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cherry Pink

I was all set to write down more of the adventures of my vampire killers, especially now that Amanda is fully on board. However, I am on the verge of becoming ill, so about the only thing I can do is stare at the television from under piles of warm, fuzzy blankets.

If you'll indulge me, I'd like to present a little idea I got from a dream I had about some haunted lands and an unsettling house. This is the first bit of the backstory that I wrote a while back. I'm not sure if any thing will come from this bit of it, but the characters will continue on in a larger story arc. Everything has a way of connecting to everything else. Who knows who will turn up later on. I hope you'll stick around to see.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Interlude

Happy almost Thanksgiving, folks! Are you all excited for the yummy goodies this week will provide? I sure as heck know I am! I hope you all have a wonderful Turkey Day, full of happiness and family.

To whet your appetite, I've prepared a little follow up to the roof top showdown. What does this have to do with Thanksgiving, you may ask? Well, read it and find out!

Be safe and happy on Thursday, my internet lovelies!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Impulse, part four

Photo by Kris Kehe
More of the adventures of Jim, Albert, and Omar are below.

Thank you

Last Thanksgiving, after I'd gorged on mashed potatoes and pecan pie, Lucy told me her idea for a blog: a group of developing artists coming together to make a little magic.  Then, she asked me to join, and it was sweeter than the Karo Syrup that went into the pie.

Here we are, a year later, and Fantastic Spatula will soon celebrate its first birthday.  We've had 190 posts and hundreds of comments.  I've met new friends.  And so, to be sappy and keep with the spirit of the season, I want to express my gratitude.

Thank you to the lovely ladies of Fantastic Spatula for allowing me to join in your adventure; thank you to the guest bloggers who brought new wonder to FS; and thank you to all the Spatulans who read and comment and share in our vim and vigor.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hey there Spatulans! So, I'm embarrassed. Time and I got into this really great conversation last week after the Fantastic Spatula hiatus and we got so carried away that I completely missed my Sunday and Wednesday post last week. So, I'm starting fresh this week with a Sundae Sunday post. Sundae Sunday is basically a list of things that have made me smile during the week, stories I found interesting, and tender vittles that others shared with me that I want to share with you. Here we go...

Mittens with fingers! and in bright red, green, yellow and blue stripes! A fur monkey, ball-of-teeth-and-happy kitten named Scully (yes, from the X-files... yes, it's a he... yes, I got him more than a week ago... but he made me happy this week, which counts... so there), SNOW! Lots of SNOW! hot chocolate with almond flavor, butternut squash soup recipe from mamma, a "happy Thanksgiving, we miss you" card in the mail from mamma and daddy, Chonto, Dressing up as Tank Girl and the March Hare for Halloween (OK... that wasn't last week, was it...), The Magnificent Seven soundtrack, Donald Barthelme's The Balloon and The School, Ambrose Bierce's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, telephone conversations that last all night sigh sigh, the stoic squirrel goes to New York City (man, I want to do a video like this with my baby unicorn!), a warm hat that has fur in the ear parts, writing a story about Whompus Bats (maybe I'll post this here when I finish the editing process), a magical sweater with bears, local band called the Skurfs that plays surf/ski music, getting picture text messages from mamma at midnight of her and out her neighbor dressed up like harry potter characters for the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter movie (Oh, yeah. My mom dressed up for the movie!), sending a small box of happy to my happy (sigh sigh sigh), finding photos of Felix my mannequin, getting lotion that smells like honey for my poor cracked and chapped finger knuckles, the first lesson of tai chi chuan Saturday morning with Erin, finding an old Royal typewritter and making necklaces out of the keys (they are for sale for $10 if you want one...*shameless promotion of a starving artist*), making more bottle cap necklaces, writing! writing! writing!, reading! reading! reading!, The Journal of Jules Renard, C.S. Lewis's science fiction trilogy that starts with Out of The Silent Planet. DINO BITE!

So, lovelies, I hope this week starts well for you all. What made you happy last week? Any plans for happy this coming week?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Go Go Godzilla!

Hey folks! As promised, here is the showdown! Hope you enjoy it!

(Oh, and don't mind the title, I've just lost my mind!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaNoWriMo: A Surviver's Guide (With Pictures)

Week Three: Victim has suffered from malnutrition, sleep deprivation, loss of at least one of the five senses, and possibly suffered from brain damage due to multiple blows to the head via coffee pot.

Victim is a known blogger. Code Name: Lucy Wiggins.

The following was a field guide to NaNoWriMo discovered by detectives at the scene.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

May I Offer You a Distraction?

My deepest apologies but I don't have the second part to last weeks post. Working on this part has been like wrestling with a bear in a comical hat; fun at times but mostly a bad experience.

Hopefully I will have it for you on Friday, but in the meantime let me show you a video that has brought a little bit of sunshine into an other wise dreary week.

That is to say... Elvis! *points then runs away*

(Haha, Miss Lucy!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Impulse, part three

Thanks for joining our crew again.  The next installment is below the cut. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here's to You: A Thank-you Note to a Veteran

[The curtain rises and the stage is set. It is the 1970's in a dorm room on the campus of the University of North Carolina. A middle aged man and his youngest son sit together on a small twin bed under the florescent lighting.]

"So, how are things going?"
"It's tough, Dad, really tough."
"Oh? How so?"
"I've got classes on top of classes, you know how that goes for me. And then there's football practice, it's just hard. It's a lot harder than I thought it'd be."
"Oh I don't know. Sounds pretty easy to me."
"No, it's... nevermind. You don't get it, Dad. You just don't get it."
"Son," The man's posture eases as he rests his elbows on his knees. "When I was your age I was being shot at with live ammo."


This is the story as it has been told to me about my grandfather's famous conversation with my uncle. H.A. "Dude" Austin fought in World War II as a turret gunner based in Italy. Sent out the day before his high school graduation at the age of eighteen, he would fly fifty-one missions before returning home to his family's tobacco farm in Clover, Virginia. Thank you, Dude for everything you did- not just as a soldier, but as a grandfather. I wish you were still here for me to thank you in person.

To all the veterans who have served, and are still serving, we are truly grateful for all that you have done for us. Let freedom ring.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hac In Hora

Ooo! Finally, some action. Well, almost. You'll have to wait until next week for the fight scene (as well as I can deliver one). But, as promised, you will get a glimpse into what makes Charlotte so special, and there is a small clue in this week's story. (If you can figure it out from the miniscule hint I give you, then you will get a cookie. A big one.)

Once again, I need to thank mom for giving me the little spark of inspiration I needed to get this thing rolling.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Impulse, part two

Last week, I posted the first installment of "Impulse," a science fiction short story inspired by the shuttle Discovery launch (now postponed until November 30), the humanoid robot it's delivering, the International Space Station's tenth anniversary, and research into new engines.  Did you know the U.S. will have a new rocket ready for testing by next year?  Thankfully, that engine is not like the one I imagined in this story.  

When we left our intrepid crew, their exploration of the Martian terrain had been interrupted by a message from Katya, the astronaut who manned their orbiting nuclear engine: “The engine’s sustained propulsion is inoperative.  We cannot change altitude.  And pressure is rising.” 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ponds, Parties & Pictures

My apologies for the late posting. Guess who fell asleep before 10 last night, with her contacts in and makeup on? *raises hand shyly*

Last weekend I had a return to proper picture taking with my new Nikon. Clara and her family were kind enough to invite me up for Halloween festivities. Here are a few of the pictures I thought I'd share. Hope you enjoy!
Nothing says "Halloween" like deer skulls and lanterns! How perfect is this?

Can you see the old lady in the tree?

Kind of spooky at night. Cue the scary ghost stories!

Hope you enjoyed these! What did you enjoy most about your Halloween?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In Sheep's Clothing

I must admit to feeling a certain amount of levity from my decision to cull my overflowing ideas to a more manageable number. I assure you it was no easy task, but I can now dedicate myself to the stories that have real possibility.

With my new found freedom I’ve decided that I will write something for each of the five story ideas during the week. It may be background, dialogue, or just snippets of imagery; but I will write down what ever comes to mind that day for that story.

Of course, when deciding which ideas to keep, I found myself unable to leave Francois and the gang behind. I simply have way too much fun writing for them. I’ve wanted to do some back story for Charlotte, but she is so mysterious that even I don’t know who or what she is. So we’ll keep her under wraps for a little longer.

In the meantime, I hope I can tide you over with a little exchange between our resident spook and the timid archaeologist.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Impulse, part one


As promised, here is the first installment of a science fiction short story inspired by space shuttle Discovery's final launch.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Salty Scares with Chocolate Sauce

(or: How to write something and get it critiqued by a bunch of "strangers")

You will need:

1 cup Fantastic Spatula Blog Host to issue a horrifying halloween challenge.
4 oz. (about 2 weeks) to actually do said horrifying halloween challenge.
1 pound (about 1 life time) each of fear of failing/fear of being awesome/admitting yourself a writer/ admitting yourself an artist.
1 teaspoon (about 3 months) work on a story where elements are the main characters.
5 swallows each of pride/embarrassment/self doubt/self shit talking
40 cups and 6 oz. short fiction work shop.
about 8 copies of previously mentioned story.
about 8 different opinions written on previously mentioned copies (opinions are best when freshly picked from strangers).
1 small portion of a bag of chocolate chips you found in the freezer left over from when you made chocolate chip cookie.
5 gallons of hot tea.
Salt to taste


Combine halloween challenge with fears and admissions. Finally finish short story where the main characters are elements. Main characters are named Nade (Na), Cla (Cl), and Hye (Hydrogen). "Finish" is a broad term. You may think that the story is not finished but you joined a writers work shop and it is your turn to turn something in to be critiqued/workshopped by the other participants. Drink all tea and eat rest of the chocolate while finishing story. Swallow pride, embarrassment, self doubt, self shit talking at the same time and send the fraking story to your peers and get their input. The sooner you do that the sooner you can get some help where you feel you need it and you can ask questions about style, does-this-work, and any other questions you may have. Get constructive criticism and comments back from peers. Breathe.


1 ridiculously over-sensitive self-doubter. Helps give direction on a story/idea self-doubter has been working/playing with for about six months now. Makes self-doubter realize that she is indeed a writer AND artist and that other people outside her comfort unit can and do appreciate/understand/get her writing/art.

Halloween Challenge: Let There Be Fright

Hi Everyone!

While we were all out on our two week hiatus from the blog I issued out a challenge you've probably already read about. Each of us had to find something that scared us, and then go out and actually do it.

While two weeks is hardly the time to scramble the money it would take to go shark diving or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane it was just enough time to delve into our own darkness and come back up.

For some of us it meant sucking it up and admitting our passion. By announcing to the world "I want to be a writer.", or "I want to be an artist." we have charged ourselves with the duty of fulfilling these titles.

Something that I think we can each attest to is our own procrastination. Several years ago I ran into a friend from high school and we began swapping "what-are-you-up-to"'s and "where-are-you-now"'s. I told him that I was looking at moving into an apartment above a local restaurant. "Yeah. You said that last time I saw you. Two years ago." It was a slap in the face. I had forgotten that I mentioned it to him years ago- my finally getting a place of my own! I had thought about it, and thought about it, and when my brain was hurting I thought about it some more. I had thought the idea into the ground, but had taken no action towards it.

This tends to be the way of it. A brilliant idea will burn brightly and attract others to its warmth and brilliance. If it is contained too long, the fire will go out. If it is not contained at all, it will burn down everything around it.

Thursday I, with trembling hands, surrendered my fate to The Gods of Credit and purchased a new camera. A Nikon D3000 to be specific. I have loved Nikons since college and have always wanted a nice DSLR to 'play' with. I wanted one, and thought about taking the plunge and purchasing one many times. I'd thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it some more. But never had the kick in the pants I needed to actually go to the store. When my very nice point and shoot camera had finally met it's end I knew it was time to upgrade. While being in debt is something that absolutely scares me to death, and really keeps me awake at night, I knew that I had to buy a new camera.

I keep telling myself that it's an investment and not a splurge. I can now go out on professional shoots and be taken (somewhat) seriously. I have always loved photography and the feeling of being behind a camera. (Now being in front of one--totally different story!)

For my end of the challenge, I had to stare down the monsters Debt & Credit, suck it up and admit that I was a photographer who deserved & earned to have a nicer camera, and surrender to the frightening aspect of being deemed a "Professional". Scary, neh?

Now if I could just figure out how to download them to the computer...

Halloween Challenge

There are many things that scare me; spiders, clowns, zombies, over-crowded elevators, confined spaces, and the unseen things that lurk in the shadows, just to name a few. But all those things and the myriad others are phobias, actual fears and there isn’t much I can do about them.

So, what about things that I am simply uncomfortable with? Well, let me tell you that if I had the means, I would go shark diving in a heart beat. I’m terrified of sharks, but find them utterly fascinating. The thought of being in the water with something that is, essentially, unchanged since the dawn of time is both petrifying and exhilarating.

Unfortunately, shark diving takes time and money, neither of which I have in vast quantities. Now what? Here I am at zero hour and with nothing more than the vague notion that given the right circumstances I’d jump in the water with the greatest predator in the world. As exciting as the idea is to me, no one wants to read about what someone might do.

To cut a long story short (too late!), I finally got an idea. I am going to make an admission. Thinking hard on it, I’ve come to the realization that admitting to something and then doing something about it is scarier than coming face to face with a great white. Here it goes:

Hello. My name is Clara Maxwell, and I want to be a writer. I never thought to admit this and then act on it, although I knew the day would come. *deep breath* I want to be a writer, and I have too many ideas. They are all swirling around in my head, combating each other for space in my priorities. As a result, I ignore them all and go play video games to tune them out. I can’t be a writer if I slack off every time one idea trips another in their attempts to get my attention.

So, here is the part that I really wasn’t looking forward to. I sat down last night, wrote down every idea that I have, and then I said goodbye to all but five. It broke my heart, especially since one of the stories I cut was my original story, the one that made me want to write in the first place. I’ve been dreading doing this, but I knew it was inevitable.

I hope that, someday in the future, I can come back and save them from oblivion. Until I am capable and mature enough in my career as a writer, I can’t afford to lug them along in the hopes that I can do something with all of them. I need to focus on the stories that have a real possibility to become something.

Starting with November, I am only going to write and research these five stories in the hopes that I can be a better writer for it.

Happy Halloween every one, see y’all on the flip side!

Halloween Challenge

Courtesy of Fotolia

Two weeks ago, Lucy issued a challenge: think of something that scares you and go out and DO IT. 

I brainstormed fearsome actions for a week; there were even tornado warnings.  I crossed off reality-tv-like stunts and anything that would take more than two weeks.  I wanted to do something to further a goal I cared about, another step down my five-year plan. 

Recently, I’ve taken a lot of steps that scare the hell out of me (and there’s a lot of hell in there to scare out): I started River City Fiction, shy me talks to Richmond’s literary who’s who; I left my day job; I started another job more in line with my literary ambitions; I’m planning a 30th anniversary celebration for an indie bookstore as part of the job; I joined and formed critique groups; I’m applying to grad school.  Basically, the last few months have been one pee-my-panties experience after another, but there was one major career-related biggie left.  I needed to share my fiction in a public space.

But it scared the crap out of me.  Since 2008, only 100 words of my fiction have been read by anyone outside my inner circle, and they were here on Fantastic Spatula.  I admit it seems neurotic since I hope to be published one day.  I, like most species on earth, protect what I care about.  I guard it from bullying like an over-protective parent, I hoard it like Smaug, but to improve, fiction has to get black eyes, and it has to circulate. 

To fulfill the Halloween challenge, I will post fiction to Fantastic Spatula for the month of November.  I can already feel the hairs on the back of my neck raise.  Happy Halloween, Spatulans.   

Friday, October 29, 2010


Because it wouldn't be Halloween without "Thriller". Am I right? ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Listen to the Musn't's

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.
-- Shel Silverstein

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Circled the World

Normally Thursday nights you can find me in a dance studio downtown taking Belly Dance or Zumba.I just thought I'd share a little bit of dancing with each of you. <3

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In the end
these things matter most:
How well 
did you love?
How fully 
did you live?
How deeply 
did you let go?
Siddhārtha Gautama

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greetings All!

Just to inform you that for the next two weeks The Fantastic Spatulans will be taking a hiatus. We have each tackled Life Crazies of varying forms recently, so a small break seemed the thing to do.

That doesn't mean I'm letting anyone off the hook! Being the Evil Blog Mod that I am (high pitched cackling included), I decided to issue a challenge to be met by Halloween. 

What kind of challenge? Ooo, you'll have to stay tuned to see! I'll give you a hint: it even has me spooked.

While we're taking our hiatus, I'll be posting pictures, quotes, and maybe even a few videos to keep you lovely lot inspired and making magic!

So don't think of this as a parting of ways- more of a disappearing act by talented magicians. ;)

Luff & Magic,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baking Magic

When the idea for creating a blog first concocted itself in my mind I had no idea what to do. I had the name, and I had a subtitle, but that was it. Originally I had thought about making a food blog, (the title being "Fantastic Spatula" seemed all too appropriate).

In the end, as you know, I settled on making it a community blog where we all pitch in our own stories and do what we do best. Which is, well, to write.

Baking is still something that I get an itch to do. I blame this completely (and happily!) on my mom who is a terrific cook! Her fudge and peanut brittle are legendary. And I know a certain someone who has been hankering for a spice cake for his birthday. (Hi, Dad!) 

So tonight instead of sitting down to write more about our much beloved Baba Yaga I decided to do something she too enjoys.

I baked.

Being the beautiful season that it is, I decided that something pumpkin flavored would have to happen. I poked around the internet and found a delightful, and stupidly simple, recipe for pumpkin muffins.

For those among you who love to cook & bake, I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that baking is a sort of mediation. You follow the recipe and you'll end up with something nom-alicious. While you're busy measuring and mixing ingredients, taste testing, lining tins with paper you're mind goes elsewhere. You tend to forget what hasn't gone right and you let yourself melt like the butter in the saucepan. What part about that isn't magic?

And now! For your drooling pleasure- A little pictorial evidence!

What are some seasonal treats you like to bake?