My New Writer Blog

Just set up my new writer’s blog: https://willowcroftblog.wordpress.com/ for when my poetry book comes out! (Eventually, all my blogs will be consolidated, I think/hope.)

No party favours or other fun stuff (yet!) and still pretty bare bones, but take a looksie if you’re sick of seeing the most recent political shenanigans!

Hope you’re having a chaos-free weekend!

The Flat-Out Terror of Getting Published

Okay, dear readers, it’s official. I am going to be a published poet/author. Granted, my poetry book is self-published, but’s still putting my written word out there.

Sometime this March May (thanks, Trent’s World, for noticing that/commenting on it! 🙂 ), my poems will be released (inflicted?) upon the world. Brace yourselves!

Will keep you posted re: author website, promotional events/goodies and all that fun stuff.

Thanks for being along with the ride!

William Morris…

 

 

“…everything made by man’s hands has a form, which must be either beautiful or ugly; beautiful if it is in accord with Nature, and helps her; ugly if it is discordant with Nature, and thwarts her; it cannot be indifferent…” ― William Morris

 

I’ve been sorting through my things in continuation of my downsizing attempts. I’ve been getting nostalgic and a bit maudlin over the process. And trying not to miss things like my record collection and bits and bobs of stuffy stuff that I would have never used up in ten lifetimes.

I was going to do a TBT blog on old-fashioned courtship (next Thursday, if I remember), and I unearthed this in a box of books.

WilliamMorris

So, William Morris it is. (I would swear I had written about him before, but couldn’t find a previous blog about him in the Chaos Realm.)

News from Nowhere is part of my permanent collection of books, so it will escape the downsizing frenzy. I loved when he started talking about his version of the New World Order. I re-read it during the Bush Administration years, and William Morris’s foresight was pretty chilling.

Part of my “maybe-someday” (although completely impractical for my lifestyle) restored vintage home will have William Morris wallpaper. I think I may have fallen in love with him on my trip overseas, but I can’t quite remember how I discovered him.

Anyway, here’s some fun links about William Morris and his designs.

Go Shopping:

https://www.william-morris.co.uk/?act=ssocomplete

Join the U.S. William Morris Society:

http://www.morrissociety.org/

William Morris Galleries/Exhibitions:

http://www.wmgallery.org.uk/

http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/w/william-morris/

William Morris in Iceland:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/mar/27/william-morris-iceland-ian-mcqueen

Go find some loveliness out-of-doors!

 

 

Why I Could Never Be a Celebrity…

 

giphy

Photo Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/gary-oldman-sid-vicious-and-nancy-KhV9OTXFatX56

In the town I grew up in Florida, celebrities were ever present, but became like wallpaper–they just blended into the surroundings after a while. I wasn’t really interested in celebrity-hounding, even as a naive-yet-adventurous 20-something alt kid. I preferred just to leave them in peace and ignore any celebrities I ran into while getting my twenty-pack of toilet paper at the bargain store.

So, the whole crushing-on-celebrities seems sort of odd to me. And the lurid celebrity gossip magazines at the local stores really bother me. I mean, why on earth would you want the reality behind the movie/play/song illusion? Why destroy the fantasy–there are plenty of real-life people out there just waiting to rip our most beloved dreams to shreds in regards to love and other affairs of the heart.

(I touched on this in another post, Reading with a Grain of Salt, about being comfortable with the unconsummated magic of non-reality.)

From my introvert’s perspective, I just don’t know how those celebs do it. Constantly being in the public eye, no privacy, every aspect of their selves, their looks, their lives, and everything they do is obsessed over and dissected. Especially with the advent of social media.

It makes me glad I’m an aspiring writer aka nobody. (Even as a nobody, I’ve been stalked, harassed, and threatened multiple times IRL, so maybe that makes me a little more empathetic/sympathetic). Plus, as a writer, you can go insane quietly, behind closed doors, until the day comes that your neighbours begin to notice a strange smell from next door, and call the police. It seems like writers can get away with going mad (*cough* Edgar Allan Poe)–acquiring more delightful euphemisms for insanity (or drug/alchohol habits) such as “quirky” or “eccentric” or “imaginative”. Well, unless you’re a female writer, as history has unfortunately proven. But, I think we writers are supremely equipped to raid the fictional personas as displayed by celebrities, scriptwriters, other writers, poets/poems, and artists–even video games–and, truthfully, comfortably exploit them as muses* to spark our imaginations and inspire our own creative works, without getting lost in the madness where unreality becomes a substitute for reality. (While successfully avoiding plagarism, mind you. *stern schoolteacher look*)

In the words of NCIS‘s Very Special Agent Timothy McGee: “How many times do I have to tell you? The book is a work of fiction!”

I can only imagine how I might be as a public-image celebrity hounded by fans everywhere I went and online as well (Though, in a future reincarnation, I’d be more open to the possibility. Being a starving artist kinda sucks. LOL).

I would probably betray my bleeding-heart-liberal, progressive, grassroots activist belief system about things like gun control and set myself up in a heavily-manned island fortress just for a bit of privacy. And never, ever, go anywhere without a platoon of armed mercenaries. I can see the hashtag campaign now: #fanlivesmatter.

The Chaos Fairy re-imagined as a public-image-based celebrity**:

Fan #1: “Can I have your autograph?”

Celebrity Chaos gives Fan #1 a death glare.

Fan #1: “Please, it would mean so much to me. My dad and I always used to watch your movies together when I was growing up. Until the family bull trampled him to death in the north pasture.”

Celebrity Chaos: “Piss off, I’m in the middle of eating my organic, locally grown, gluten-free vegan burger. If your dad had been a vegetarian instead of a cow murderer, maybe he’d still be alive.”

Fan #1: “You’re an a-hole.”

Celebrity Chaos tazes Fan #1 with her eco-friendly, solar-powered Tazer. Resumes eating her veggie burger nonchalantly.

Disclaimer section for above asterisks:

*Attaining muse status does not mean that you are that person’s true love, soulmate, BFF, boy toy, cougar, or that they would even like you if they met you in real life.

**This only exists in the author’s imagination. It is a completely fictionalized scenario and absolutely does not reflect The Chaos Fairy in real life, nor is it about any existing real people, fans, celebrities, a-holes, restaurants, veggie burgers, cows, pastures, eco-friendly Tazers, mermaids, unicorns, fairies, elves, dragons…

I Spread Misfit Chaos at the “Celebrate Local Authors” Event Last Thursday!

Last week, The Chaos Fairy met a bunch of local authors, including Lois Duncan, at Gulf Gate Library’s “Celebrate Local Authors” event. It was great “book nerd” fun!

GroupShotCrop

Richard Hodder, the master of ceremonies (and Gulf Gate Library staffer) got things started Redfoo style! (Oh, wait, that was at the afterparty. 🙂 My bad.):

DSC03827

Authors who presented at the event (which came off chaos-free, despite the attendance of The Chaos Fairy, amazingly!)

Gabrielle Lennon

Remind me to hire an actor surrogate the next time I have to do any public speaking. Because it REALLY pays off in keeping the interest of the crowd. Actor (and writer) Gabrielle Lennon gave a powerfully haunting read of her provocative, no-holds-barred short story, which relates the circumstances of a young girl struggling with life and her not-so-ideal home environment. (Have I exhausted all my purple prose adjectives yet? *laugh*) In short, I could feel a palpable emotional and visceral response emanating from the audience in response to the suspenseful arc and chilling ending of her story. To say more would be a spoiler, but check out her short story collection, Touch Me Real and Other Stories, and her poetry collection, After Midnight: A Book of Poetry, via her website: http://gabriellelennon.com/.

GabrielleLennon

Tom J. Hosted–The Naughty Red Fox

What’s the most important tool a writer needs to have in their arsenal? A SENSE OF HUMOUR! And Tom J. Hosted NAILED it with his charmingly funny presentation that detailed his journey in creating his juvenile fiction Christmas story called The Naughty Red Fox. (I apologize for the blurriness/poor quality of the photos–still haven’t been able to upgrade my camera :-(.)

DSC03836

DSC03838

DSC03841

Tom with letters from his fan club in the background!

DSC03900

The laughs continued with Spokes Ableman (aka Ed Hopper) sharing some delightfully snarky antidotes from his book, Don’t Push Me: Walking The Wheelchair Walk. http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Push-Me-Walking-Wheelchair/dp/1507843321

DSC03890

I try not to play favourites, but I really enjoyed longtime animator, filmmaker, and children’s book writer Tanya Weinberger’s presentation. Maybe it’s because she tackles environmental causes, like in the case of her book, The Compost Pile ( http://www.amazon.com/Compost-Pile-tanya-weinberger & YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR3U5lyJhAM). Or, perhaps, it’s because she collects quirky eggcups! Or maybe it’s because the Chaos Fairy is a big kid at heart! And, as you can see from the pictures, Tanya Weinberger is very animated, herself!

DSC03903 DSC03878

Local Florida history and culture also stole some of the spotlight, thanks to the dedicated efforts of local authors, longtime residents Jane Gill and Gene Jones. Jane Gill’s fiction novel, A Matter of Pride, is set in Florida, and Gene Jones’ historical fiction novel, Suwanee Divide (http://flcivilwarsuwanneedivide.com/suwannee-divide-civil-war-novel/), looks deeper into Florida’s past–all the way back to the Civil War. Of all the books here (I was unable to afford any books–there’s no currency in the Chaos Realm, after all!), I’ve only read Suwannee Divide, because I had a copy from a few years back. It was an excellent read–you gotta check it out, especially if you’re a history nerd like me!

Jane Gill (on the left) sharing information about the Florida Memory project (www.floridamemory.com), an online archive that preserves Florida’s history and artifacts. Visit her website at http://www.amatterofpridebook.com/

DSC03897 DSC03898 DSC03902

Gene Jones (Suwannee Divide) swapping stories with fellow author Eloise Hanner:

DSC03888

There were also quite a few travel authors and such (the above mentioned Eloise Hanner, for example)–another favourite topic for the Chaos Fairy!

Dennis R. Blanchard (www.dennisblanchard.com) spoke on “close encounters of the bear kind”, accidentally blinding himself with his super-deluxe seen-all-the-way-out-to-space headlamp, and many more outrageous adventures he fell prey to (no pun intended) while hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

DSC03906

Let’s hear it for awesome women adventurers Jane V. Blanchard and Eloise Hanner!

In addition to her travel experience books, Jane V. Blanchard (in the middle, in photo) has her own travel blog! We love bloggers!  http://womanonherway.com/ (On the right, also in the below photo, is local suspense and fantasy author, Susan Klaus.)

DSC03904

Eloise Hanner is:

1) A vibrant, kick-ass speaker!

2) A kick-ass adventurer, who traded a stockbroker career to join the Peace Corps. She was stationed in Afghanistan. In 1971. Need I say more? Live vicariously through her adventures, here: http://eloisehanner.wordsandwriters.com/.

DSC03882

McClaren Malcolm also takes us on a thoughtful historical  journey through an old Georgia church, and the community that surrounds it, in her book “Spirit of the Valley” http://www.amazon.com/McClaren-Malcolm/e/B001K8PJ4S.

DSC03864

Lois Duncan

I saved Lois Duncan for last, not because she’s probably the most well known of Sarasota’s local authors, but her presentation came with a message that is especially pertinent in light of recent events. It’s difficult for me to write in a way that doesn’t detract from her eye-opening presentation, and somehow cause unintentional offense and upset.

Yes, I’m talking about recent incidents that have put U.S. police departments, and their corrupt practices, directly into the nation’s spotlight. Hopefully, there are very few people who aren’t aware of the high-profile murders certain police officers have been committing against its African American citizens.

Lois Duncan, herself, has dealt with this same level of corruption and dishonesty from the police department of New Mexico, as she explained in her presentation. As she continued to relate, she has once again “picked up her pen” as the primary weapon she wields in her attempt to uncover the truth behind her daughter’s murder and expose the ongoing cover-up the N.M. police have held to, to this day, and their potential underground connections to local crime rings. New details and new information about the case, she tells us, are the premise of her book (a sequel to her earlier book on the same subject) One to the Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer.

As I lived in New Mexico for a few years, and have family there, I was already familiar with the unsolved case of Kaitlyn Arquette, thanks to articles that had been written about it in local papers. Being both a native of Sarasota, and a on-again-off-again resident of New Mexico over the years, and also having read many of Lois Duncan’s books as a kid, Duncan’s presentation about her daughter and her continued quest to find the truth, made me feel a strong personal connection to Duncan, and the things she had/continues to go through. Or maybe that was just due to Duncan’s powerfully intense up-close-and-personal presentation that seemed to move many in the audience, myself included.

For more information about Lois Duncan and her books, past and present:

http://loisduncan.arquettes.com/

Real Crimes website resource:

http://www.realcrimes.com/

Articles:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/timstelloh/who-killed-lois-duncan-s-daughter#.qvwKea6ya

http://www.copefoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=58

I hope I’ve helped in raising awareness about this, and others, unsolved cases, however small my effort may be…