WEP February 2020 Challenge: Cafe Terrace


Genre: General Fiction
(The work that this will become part of is paranormal/sci-fi)

Word Count: 1000

Rating: PG-13 (profanity, discussion of adult situations)

Full critique accepted providing you agree to use the Hamburger Method.

Here is the kind of critique that is acceptable:
"I liked it when Paul told the roaming fishmonger that he wasn't interested in buying week-old fish. I am a bit confused as to why you are mentioning the fishmonger since he doesn't appear in the story. The fishmonger seems like an interesting character."

This is the kind of critique that is not acceptable:
"I don't usually read about farty old bastards reminiscing about their bygone youth, and I really don't care that Paul is sad about Gerry losing his memory. Paul seems really immature for a guy in his fifties, and I don't care about his wife either."

Further notes follow the story.

As Paul Clifford drifted off to sleep in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2015, he dreamed of the unseasonably warm Valentine’s day in 1981. The then 27-year-old guitarist had been booted from the house by his wife with a kiss on the cheek and a swat on the backside as she told him to go walk off his nervous energy before it rubbed off on their five-and-a-half-week-old daughter. Paul promised Sophia that he would be back in time for their date that night. He jumped on his bad motor scooter and rode from the couple’s home in North Wembley to the Crouch End suburb where he had lived from 1963 to adulthood.

“Bloody place has changed so much,” Paul mused as he parked his scooter in front of La Parisienne Café on Wisteria Avenue. Paul entered the café and asked if he could use their telephone. After ringing up his brother, he asked if he could take tea on the terrace. The proprietor, a doughy, middle-aged, olive-skinned man with wild waves of black hair, a welcoming smile, and a warm Greek accent invited Young Sir to have a seat wherever he chose.

When Gerry stepped out of a cab an hour later, he looked rather the worse for wear. Paul hailed from the terrace with a sunny grin.

The proprietor led the bedraggled Gerry to the table and procured a teacup.

“Could I have coffee instead, Mate?” Gerry inquired. “Black, very strong.”

The affable gentleman returned to the interior of the shop.

“Funny pair, them,” he remarked to his brother. “Same size, similar faces, I am thinking them to be brothers or half-brothers. But the one is so sunny with his shining golden curls, and the other looks like he just crawled out of a tomb.”

“I think the dark-haired one is nursing a hangover,” the tall, slender brother observed. “You and I are a funny pair when you think about it. We are the Laurel and Hardy of pastries, the fat and the thin.”

Both brothers laughed, and the plump brother brought Gerry his coffee, walking in on the middle of a mild dispute.

“Why the bloody hell are you sitting on the terrace in the middle of feckin’ February?” Gerry demanded, shivering as he pulled his jacket around himself.

 “Ain’t my fault yer a feckin’ vampire what can’t tolerate the sun. Don’t be a cunt.”

“And don’t you be a right boor in front of this chap,” Gerry admonished, lighting a cigarette.

“Pardon my language,” Paul said, turning to the proprietor. “We’re brothers, and sometimes…”

“Yes, yes, this I know,” the proprietor laughed. “I work with my brother, the skinny broomstick behind the counter. It is funny you mention you sit on terrace. My name, you see, is Taras Tarasios. My brother is Xavier. We welcome you into our shop anytime. Will you young gentlemen be taking lunch today?”

“Yeah, Mate, that would be good,” Gerry agreed. “Bit of a bender last night, I’m afraid. Probably ought to get something other than coffee in me. Nothing too heavy, though. Annie would have my head if I slagged off dinner tonight ‘cause I ate too much lunch.”

“Maybe we could split something,” Paul suggested. “Bowl of soup apiece, then a sandwich to share. Whatever you’ve got on special, Mr. Taras.”

 “So, how’s Danny doing?” Paul asked, referencing Gerry’s son, born five days before Paul’s daughter.

“Well, he ain’t had a seizure in twenty hours, so I guess he’s arite,” Gerry said. “Are you sure this bird you’ve hired to watch the kiddas tonight is up to the task of caring for a wee chap with seizures?”

“Well, she ain’t just any bird, she’s a nurse,” Paul replied, looking on with concern as Gerry procured a flask from his coat pocket and poured some of the contents into his coffee.

“Hair of the dog that bit me,” Gerry explained. “You needn’t say anything, Paulie. I’ve got to get this trouble of mine under wraps. I don’t want me son growing up with a drunkard for a father.”

“Gerry, if I was speaking with anyone else, I’d say this wasn’t my business, but you’re the closest person in the world to me, so I’ve gotta ask. Are you happy being married to Anne?”

“Well, who the hell else was I going to marry?” Gerry quipped. “Seeing as I put her in a family way, it only seemed the right thing to do. Don’t start with me, Paulie. Not everyone is so fortunate as you and Sophia, who have a love affair so sickenly sweet it could rot the teeth right out of your head. Not sure I’d want one, really. Wouldn’t be able to concentrate on business if all I could think of was the love of me life. I’d always be dropping clinkers from me guitar like you do these days.”

“Aw, go fuck yourself,” Paul chuckled, lighting a cigarette. “Yeah, I got lucky when I landed Sophia. Never thought a beautiful bird like her would take to a feckin’ ugly blighter like me.”

“Paulie?”

Paul turned to look at the person shaking his shoulder. He woke to see Sophia’s worried eyes and realized that there were tears on his face.

“You said you wanted me to wake you so you could have lunch with Gerry at the care center,” Sophia said.

Paul sniffled and dried his eyes. Sophia procured a comb and ordered Paul to sit while she combed his thinning hair.

“What were you dreaming about, Love?” Sophia inquired.

“A Valentine’s day years ago when I met Gerry at that café in Crouch End,” Paul said. “Alice and Danny were barely more than a month old, and me and Gerry…well, I was twenty-seven and he was twenty-nine, but we hardly seemed more than kids ourselves. Now he’s forgetting more and more as the days pass. Every day I lose a bit more of me brother.”

Sophia put down the comb and embraced her husband as he wept.

~Cie for Team Netherworld~

Further Notes:
This piece will become a chapter in the current WIP from this universe, tentatively titled The Ballad of Gerry Clifford.




Digital art by me. You are welcome to use it, but please credit me. (Cara Hartley, The Real Cie, The Ornery Old Lady, or even Cie Cheesemeister will do.)

I worked with the geriatric population including many people with dementia for a cumulative of around 25 years. I had to get out of the field when it started to become personal. It's one thing to be a caregiver whose patient has dementia. It's quite another when it's someone you know.

Wordy Thursday: Platonic Friendships are Important



The Ornery Old Lady is not a fan of WordPress.

Wordpress' overly aggressive Spam filter is the bane of my existence on many occasions. I attempted to leave the following comment on this post about the best fictional couples. The comment may have gone to a moderation queue, but I suspect it was eaten as Spam. 

Here is my comment.

My most recently published work is a buddy story rather than a romance, but I guess one could say there's a lot of bromance in this book. 

There's a fun pairing between a human ghost and a Lovecraftian creature who meet up with a couple of ghouls who are longtime friends. This odd bunch form a quartet on a quest to save the Universe from itself. 

The older I get, the more I prefer to write about platonic bonds rather than romantic ones. Romance seems so often to contain a toxic and possessive undertone. Admissibly, I may just be old and bitter. I never was any good at romance in real life.

Here are some further thoughts, and a bit of shameless self-promotion.

The Dreamlands Bro Squad consists of:

Ketil Nagel, the spirit of a Swedish underground metal vocalist who sacrificed himself to the vampire goddess Mormo on 6 June 1991, when he was 25 years old.

Robin Roberts, a ghoul who was a petty thief during his lifetime. Robin perished in London during the influenza pandemic of 1918. He morphed into a ghoul due to dabbling in the wrong magic for the right reasons.

John Tamboli, a ghoul who in life made what money he could by doing a variety of odd jobs. He wasn't particular about the legality of the jobs he was hired for. John also perished in London during the influenza pandemic and morphed into a ghoul for similar reasons to Robin's.

"Yitzy," a member of the Great Race of Yith. Yithians in their best-known form are long-lived asexual creatures who reproduce infrequently by means of spores. Yitzy is not in any way bothered by being perceived as masculine and would not be bothered by being perceived as feminine. 

There is not one sliver, scad, or iota of romantic interaction in this novella. But there is bromance aplenty. 

I find that platonic friendships tend to take a backseat to romantic ties. I feel that this is a shame. Bromance, sisterly love, and opposite-sex platonic friendships are just as important as romantic bonds. 

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~


Ornery Owl
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

Notes:
The Great Race of Yith were created by H.P. Lovecraft.
The ghouls referenced in this post are Lovecraftian ghouls.

Insecure Writers Support Group 5 February 2020


The question:
February 5 question - Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

The answer:
That photo above.

The story in question was a bit of paranormal romance tripe written by a very stupid, very self-absorbed, very obsessed, very messed-up, and very incorrectly diagnosed psychologically disturbed young woman. Yeah, that would be me, or at least who I used to be, and I suppose I should have some sympathy for the silly twit, but honestly, most of the time I'd just like to go kick her simpering ass until she gets some sense because I'm still paying for her shithead mistakes. If I'm to be honest, I hate her a whole lot.

The story was based around a fellow with whom this screwed-up young lady was obsessed. She created a character in his image. That character was tall and moderately muscular with dark golden-blond hair and dark blue eyes. He was ruggedly handsome, and he was a reluctant vampire. 

The story was lacking a lot of things, and one of the things it was lacking was a good villain. Miss Simpering Twit started writing it in 1986 or 1987, somewhere thereabouts. She put it aside for a while because it was stalled. In 1990, she ended up having her only child, a son, which caused her to mature somewhat. Her son grew up listening to great music because although Miss Simpering Twit may have been a simpering twit, she did have great taste in music.

I don't remember exactly when or how the album Poison was discovered. Ms. Simpering Twit was a fan of Alice Cooper. She may have been shopping for CDs with birthday money or such and discovered it then. The CD was released in July 1989. It became a fast favorite. Then one day Ms. Simpering Twit was looking at the cover, and it came to her like a flash...like a vision.

Pretty-boy reluctant vampire Andrew should have an evil and not reluctant badass brother. When employing his glamour, he would look quite similar to Alice Cooper on the Poison CD cover. When not employing his glamour, he would look more like the image on Alice Cooper's shirt. His name was Jarius or Jared, depending on how much he was trying to blend into modern society.

I still like Jared, and, to a degree, I like Andrew, although I hate what he represents. I finished the story, sort of. A lot of changes were made to it. I published it through a POD publishing company. Hell, I even ended up with a number one fan. This was back in 2007

I learned that having a "number one fan" is scary. 

I ended up getting death threats.

I spent thousands of dollars and learned the hard way that POD publishing is terrible.

I stopped writing for several years.

The story isn't even that bad, but I know that I'll never re-release it or write the second book in the series. There's too much bad blood with it.

I still love the Poison album. Tell me Alice Cooper doesn't just look the part of a badass vampire.


Ornery and Insecure
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors



A Tasty Offer: MFRW Book Hooks + Tidbit Tuesday 5 February 2020




Blurb:
Geeky Gandy Stafford's lifelong fantasy comes true when he meets the otherworldly Dorma and Desyra. These last remnants of a botched extraterrestrial invasion discover that they require a great deal of energy to maintain their human forms.

The easiest way to obtain essential power?

Sex, and lots of it.

Snippet:
“Oh, good!” Gandy replied. “I...I probably wouldn’t taste that good anyway. My diet isn’t exactly stellar. I’m a bit of a junk food junkie. I could get you something to eat, though. Would you like some ice cream? Oh. You probably don’t even know what ice cream is, do you?”

“We wish to learn of your planet. Teach us what you know.”



Come as You Are Party/Catching Up With the Ornery Old Lady

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Hiya people! I had myself a little bit of a mental breakdown over the past week and went MIA, not, I'm sure, that anyone missed me. I came to one of those crossroads points in my life where I needed to make a critical decision. I'll just let this tentative introduction that I wrote for the book I'm currently working on tell you all about it.

A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD ISSUE

Here's how I will introduce my longer, more involved books from this day forward.

The chapters in my books can be read as standalone short stories or interpreted cohesively as a longer novelette/novella/novel. During the first half of my life, I had a lot of people tell me that my writing would never be good until I was able to make it conform to their ideals. Now that I am in the second half of my life, I refuse to apologize any longer for the way my mind and brain work or to force my writing to conform to rules decreed by others.

I have ADD (attention deficit disorder), type 2 bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These factors affect the way my brain processes information and the way I write. While I strive to make my writing concise in its own way and to continually improve my skills, I will never be able to write novel-length stories in a cohesive fashion. My mind simply cannot stop developing subplots.

It came to a point where I realized that I must either stop sharing my work or start sharing it without apologies for the fact that I neither think nor write like other people. I have chosen to share my work with an explanation but no apology.

I write the way I see the Universe as working: in a sometimes seemingly haphazard and disconnected fashion with an unseen thread connecting aspects in surprising ways. As the Tenth Doctor once said, “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective point of view, it is more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff.”

My stories are a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, and I will no longer apologize for that. I will simply issue the warning that you are now entering the Zone Where Normal Things Don't Happen Very Often, as was once revealed on Johnny Bravo.

If that sort of thing really is your bag, Baby, then welcome! Leave your expectations at the door, and come join Team Netherworld for an adventure like no other! You may at times be baffled, but I promise that you will never be bored.

Cie the Ornery Old Lady with a Mind Like a Maze
I would dare you to try and figure me out
But that wouldn't be fair
Because I've never managed to figure myself out!

Check out the latest and greatest from Team Netherworld


Weekend Writing Warriors/Snippet Sunday 2 February 2020

Click the Banner to read other snippets


The following snippet is from Team Netherworld's recently published novella, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House. The previous snippet from this story can be found here. Further details and a link to purchase the book will follow!

“Yithian, I fear the concept of ‘overly simplistic’ has evaded you. Your explanations are always quite detailed. However, I am tremendously pleased that you have decided to assist me. I did not know it at the time but embarking on this task which I have placed before myself is much more pleasant with a companion. Not just any companion, mind, but the right sort of companion. Perhaps it is so that the Universe felt that we ought to meet. As you have observed, it certainly seems that we can benefit one another. Now, shall we enter the house together?”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~



Notes:
I have generally used the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop to share WIPs up to the point when the WIP is published. However, the WIP I had been sharing has done some really weird things, and I am trying to get it under control. So, I am going to be sharing the adventures of Ketil and Yitzy for a while. I love this story, so it isn't as if it pains me to share it. It also gives me an excuse to share some fun pictures of members of the Great Race of Yith. However, I thought that this time I would share an image of Ketil that I created while messing about in Pixlr.


The amateur ghost photographer ran screaming from the building moments after capturing this image, which pleased Ketil to no end.

I won't take up too much space in this post rattling on about personal issues. If you're interested, you can catch up with me on Sunday at the Come as You Are Party.



Come and Get It: MFRW Book Hooks 22 January 2020 + Tidbit Tuesday



The story is free from January 21 thru January 25, 2020. Click the preview link to check it out! After the 25th, the price returns to 99 cents.


Blurb:
Geeky Gandy Stafford's lifelong fantasy comes true when he meets the otherworldly Dorma and Desyra. These last remnants of a botched extraterrestrial invasion discover that they require a great deal of energy to maintain their human forms.

The easiest way to obtain essential power?

Sex, and lots of it.

Snippet:
Gandy watched as sparks blipped in the forms of the two jelly-like aliens. He realized they must be communicating with each other. Suddenly, the pair extended pseudopods from their gelatinous forms and reached into the brush, dragging the terrified groundskeeper to them.

“No, please, please, don’t eat me!” Gandy begged. “I won’t tell anyone what I saw, I swear!”

The aliens pressed their pseudopods to Gandy’s temples. He could suddenly understand their thoughts.

“Fear not, Terran. We have no intention of consuming you.”




Boycott Aaron Carter: Art Thief and Asshole

So, dumpster fire and talentless hack Aaron Carter is ripping off the work of an actual artist to promote his shitty merchandise.



Here is the location of the tweet in case you’d like to respond to Aaron’s entitled temper tantrum. https://t.co/MG78rgCwZr

Here is the article on Forbes where I first learned of this incident. It includes a picture of Jonas’ art.

I added the following sentiment to my retweet of Aaron’s cosmically shitty response to Jonas Jodicke’s classy request that Aaron stop using his art without his permission.

It's probably too much to ask for @aaroncarter to not behave like a complete trash fire for once in his arrogant, entitled life. Aaron is ripping off @JoJoesArt because he doesn't have an original bone in his entire body. Don't buy his overpriced merch, he doesn't deserve a cent.

I wouldn’t wipe my ass with Aaron’s overpriced clothes. Please share this so everyone knows what a colossal douchebag Aaron the Art Thief is.

Weekend Writing Warriors 19 January 2020 (PA, RO, SF)



Diane dried her dark eyes and put on her glasses. She made her way to the kitchen to put the kettle on the stove.

“I’d another one of those dreams, Dain.”

“The ones frae the future?”

“Cer. I’m an Arab girl, adopted by a dreadful churl of a man and his weak wife. I’ve two brothers, wee twins, six years younger than me. Their names are Gerry and Paul.”

“Di, do ye not suppose ye might be projecting yer emotions over Gerry’s troubles into yer dreams, Love? And, after all, you yerself were adopted.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

This snippet comes from Team Netherworld's current WIP, The Ballad of Gerry Clifford. It is the first book in the "Fetch" series and is part of The Yadira Chronicles.

Diane Clifford Savage is Gerry Clifford's elder sister by fourteen years. Dain Savage is her husband. Dain and Diane have been married for 48 years.




Coming to Earth Again: MFRW Book Hooks 15 January 2020 + Tidbit Tuesday



Click the preview link to check out the story. I uploaded the second edition and lowered the price to 99 cents. I am planning to have a few free promo days for this book, but I have to wait for Amazon to finish approving my changes before I can create a promo. This book is the first in the Carnal Invasion series and was originally published on June 20, 2018.

Blurb:

Geeky Gandy Stafford's lifelong fantasy comes true when he meets the otherworldly Dorma and Desyra. These last remnants of a botched extraterrestrial invasion discover that they require a great deal of energy to maintain their human forms.

The easiest way to obtain essential power?

Sex, and lots of it.

Snippet:


When the Earth invasion fleet from Gamma Iridon was wiped out by irradiated space junk, there were only two survivors. 110X1 was the spawn of the vice-admiral and 1X0X1 was the spawn of the lead wing commander. The pair were notorious for being exceptionally lazy; when space junk devastated the fleet, they were napping in an escape pod, which detached from the doomed flagship and fell to Earth, landing in a sand trap at Big Putt Golf Haven at the stroke of midnight.

The pod dematerialized ninety seconds after the surprised occupants evacuated. No-one witnessed the event except for countless mosquitoes, several hundred fireflies, approximately 108 mice, one screech owl, and a young groundskeeper named Gandolph Stafford, known to his gaming friends as Gandy.

“Holy chimera crap!” Gandy gasped.

The evacuees of the pod initially appeared to be amorphous, transparent blobs. Gandy attempted to stay hidden from them. He was just twenty-five years old, and he had every intention of celebrating his twenty-sixth birthday in 172 days. The invaders, however, had far more advanced senses than humans.







Carpe Diem New Beginnings: Ornery Senryu: First Sunray


first rays of sunshine
after working the night shift
felt like a vampire

~The Ornery Old Night Owl~



Image Copyright Open Clipart Vectors

Ornery Notes:
I haven't had to work the night shift in close to three years now. But I'm still a night owl!
The night shift was always fine for me until about three or four in the morning. The last three or four hours were horrible.



Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"I gotta tell y'all, on Halloween night in Telluride in 1880, I was whoopin' it up with some of the other miners, and when I went out behind the saloon to drain the ole rattlesnake, this pale feller with slick black hair wearin' a fancy cape come floatin' up beside me. I asked him if he wanted to come into the saloon and join me and the fellers fer a swig of Amos Fine's Famous Shine. 

That high-fallutin' feller said in a hoity-toity way that he didn't never drink Shine. Now, maybe he was jest eccentric or somethin', but when Father O'Malley come outta the saloon wearin' his big ole silver cross on a chain, that feller hissed like an angry tomcat, hollered "BLUH!", pulled his cape over his face, and turned tail and run. 

Maybe he'd bin slippin' outta the church after Sunday meetin's without tithin' proper, but there shore was somethin' weird about that fancy-pants stranger, and he shore didn't take a shine to the good Father and his shiny cross.


Cactus Clem Sez:
"Well, Grover, I bet y'all didn't know it, but Ornery actually is a vamper. I done heard her tellin' someone all about how she got hammered on cactus juice on Saint Patrick's Day in 1992 an' ended up sleepin' on someone's bathroom floor! She ain't tried to drink the juice from my veins yet, but I'm gonna have to sleep with one eye open on St. Patrick's Day!"


Further Ornery Notes:
Cactus Clem doesn't have anything to worry about. I really can't drink more than a few sips of beer or wine these days. But if you're feeling daring, you can click the link above and try the drink that the cute little buffalo is serving up!

About Me Monday: Ornery and Sly: Stop the Bullying and Stigma

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Today isn't FOAD Thursday, but "The Biggest Dickweed" and anyone who supports it can FOAD every day. Please read about and sign the petition to stop this horrible, hateful garbage from being resurrected.

If you're one of these people who are so indoctrinated into diet culture (I was one of those people for 33 years, and it never made me thin, it just made me miserable) that you believe that shaming and bullying large people "for their own good" is a great idea, here are some key points refuting that belief.

This show caused so much harm to the health of contestants and viewers alike by perpetuating weight stigma. Since the show went off the air, we have research related to how weight stigma and yo-yo dieting actually harms people in larger bodies. Additionally, there is research from prior Biggest Loser contestants indicating long term negative effects:

Participants not only gained the weight back due to a slowing of the metabolism but that participants had increased leptin levels that cause extreme hunger: 
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/health/biggest-loser-weight-loss.html

From The National Association of Eating Disorders:
“Weight stigma, also known as weight bias or weight-based discrimination, is discrimination or stereotyping based on a person's weight. Weight stigma can increase body dissatisfaction, a leading risk factor in the development of eating disorders.” 
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/weight-stigma

From Abby's Kitchen:
DANGEROUS SECRETS FROM THE BIGGEST LOSER & MY PETITION TO MAKE IT STOP
“A study published in the Journal of Obesity suggested that watching even one episode of the Biggest Loser increased hateful weight bias among viewers! This is particularly concerning to me when there are children watching, as it’s easy to sense and duplicate the disgust for fatness when they see it in their peers or even themselves."
https://www.abbeyskitchen.com/nutrition-dangerous-secrets-biggest-loser-my-petition-make-i/

From Today’s Dietitian:
January 2018 Issue

The Health Impact of Weight Stigma
By Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD
Today's Dietitian
Vol. 20, No. 1, P. 24

“The health risks of weight discrimination are consistent with the observed effects of racial discrimination.”

Being the target of weight stigma increases the risk of poor mental health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and eating disorders. These associations happen regardless of BMI, so it's unlikely that body weight itself is a cause.”

“Harrison says. "The majority of the clients I've treated for disordered eating cite bullying or shaming for their weight by parents, peers, coaches, or health care professionals as the initial trigger for their issues with food."
https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0118p24.shtml

My reason for signing the petition is this.

Promotion of size shaming and eating disorders does not equate with "health."

I have had an eating disorder since I was twelve years old. I was not fat at twelve, but I was so terrified of becoming fat that I became bulimic. 

I never felt direct hatred for fat people, but I saw the way that they were bullied and shamed. I was already the target of bullying. I couldn't bear the idea of the bullying being stepped up if I got fat. 

I am fat at this point. Not the "I feel fat" kind of fat. (By the way, "fat" is not a feeling.) I am really, genuinely, truly fat, and yes, I am "that" fat. My size, like everyone's size, results from a combination of factors. The first and most important factor in determining a person's body type is DNA. 

One of the waitresses I worked with at the job I had eighteen years ago was a tall, sturdy young woman. One time in the break room she ended up telling me about her sister, who was bulimic and anorexic. She told her sister: "we're big people. We come from a line of big people. It isn't natural for us to be skinny." 

So, which sister was the "healthier" of the two? The one who accepted the way she was built and went on with her life, or the one who was so obsessed with the idea of becoming thin that she was going to extremes to manipulate her body to a perceived point of acceptable slenderness?

By the way, health is not a measure of personal worth. I am not asking which of these sisters was more worthy of being treated with common decency. They are both worthy of that.

I had a very difficult time during this past holiday season. My feelings of self-worth plummeted to the depths. I ended up starving myself. I also ceased my daily walks. I didn't feel motivated to walk, and I felt as if everyone was staring at me and judging me. Also, walking can be painful for me. No, not because I'm fat. I was fat back when I was waitressing. I was fat when I was working as a nursing assistant and later as a nurse. These jobs contributed to the spinal problems I now have. So did engaging in behaviors consistent with orthorexia, such as spending five hours a day at the gym on my days off from work. My size did not.

I don't know how people can fathom that it's okay to say whatever they want to a big person. Okay, I actually know how it happens. It happens because larger people have been othered and dehumanized. One of our neighbors saw me having trouble shoveling the snow off the porch. He came over to help. In fairness, he wasn't trying to be cruel, and I think he is in the early stages of dementia. But this is what came to his mind, and what society has led him to think is perfectly okay to say.

"My wife was built like you. She was obese. But at least you're trying. She didn't try, so she died."

If you think that "obese" is a harmless word, think again. Obese is a shaming, othering, dehumanizing word which leads to people being denied proper health care and even basic respect. Obese is a word that kills people.

I'm fat. I'm not stupid. I know when I'm being condescended to. I know when I'm being looked down on. I know when I'm being othered.

Sometimes my bad attitude prevails and I let the middle finger fly and go on about my life.

Sometimes I get broken and relapse into unhealthy behaviors (starving myself) and self-loathing.

I got broken over this holiday season. I starved myself, and I stopped taking my walks because I felt like I was being watched and judged and the walks weren't bringing on the almighty WATE LOOZE!!11!!! Which, of course, is the only thing that matters.

I am getting back in the saddle and charging back into action on my very large horse.

So, if you're one of those people who thinks it's okay to behave badly towards me and others who look like me because we don't fit your criteria of beautiful or fuckable or because we don't fulfill your criteria of perfect "health"...

Let's face it. It's never really about health. 

You may expect that this is where I tell you to FOAD.

Actually, I'm going to ask you to read the words above mine again.

Then I'm going to ask you to go read these blogs.

Big Fat Science
Dances With Fat
Heavyweight Heart

If, after reading those blogs you still think it's fun to ridicule fat people or concern troll fat people or you still think The Biggest Dickweed is good wholesome entertainment for the family...

Then you can fuck off forever.


Fat and Ornery
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors


Sly and Snarky
Image copyright juliahenze @123rf.com






The last diet you will ever need.
 

Come As You Are Party + MFRW Blog Challenge: Catch-up: Week 1: Vacay or Staycay



I am playing catch-up with this prompt. I missed the first two weeks. If you are interested in joining in, visit this blog.

The question is, vacay or staycay.

Well...

I don't have enough money to consider vacay-ing, and even if I did, my disabilities limit what I can do. So, that's a big Staycay. Which at this stage of my life is probably what I'd prefer anyway. 

Road trips really aren't fun anymore. There are too many aggressive drivers and the speed limits are ridiculously high. The speed limit on I-80 heading to Cheyenne is 80 MPH. Personally, I think that's courting disaster. Whenever I have to drive to Cheyenne, I take the frontage road. 

Road trips aren't fun, and the airport sucks big hairy donkey balls.

Yeah, I'm staying home.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~


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Blow Your Stack Saturday: Late to the Party (and nobody cares) Insecure Writers' Support Group 8 January 2020


I would completely have forgotten about doing this, except that someone I sometimes follow did it and I realized that I had once again dropped the ball and screwed the pooch. So I am late to the party and, lo and behold, no one gives a dead moose's last shit. 

This holiday season was the rat's ass. I ended up feeling bad about everything, but mostly about myself. Whatever, let's get on with it.

Here is this month's question.

January 8 question: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

I suppose in a sense it was my late father, who was a professor of literature and the humanities. November 28 of last year marked the ninth year of his passing. I was a huge disappointment to him and am a huge disappointment to my remaining family members as well as to myself.

I knew how to read by the time I was four years old. I was a precocious little shit, which meant that my father believed I would have no problems making my way in the world. Turns out I received the wrong brain and body for thriving on this planet, so that wasn't the case. 

Anyway, my first exposure to the horror genre was through the writings of fellow depressive Edgar Allan Poe. My father also had a bunch of really cool horror comics. Uncle Creepy, Cousin Eerie, The Old Witch, The Crypt Keeper, The Vault Keeper, and Vampirella. These were my friends as a child. I loved them like they were real people. That's what started me on the path. Even though I started to write a lot of Lovecraftian horror later, I didn't discover HPL until I was fourteen.

I wish I could write for a living, but the stuff I write has no appeal to normal people. I've tried to write normal stuff, but I don't enjoy it. So I review books for a living, such as it is, and I publish things that no-one but me enjoys. HPL lived in poverty too during his lifetime, and sometimes there's cold comfort in that knowledge, but other times there's just cold drafts and suicide ideation. Most horror writers don't achieve Stephen King levels of renown. We just end up as rotten as the undead heebie jeebies we write about.

Anyway, I'm in a low place, and nobody needs to feel entitled to respond to this verbal vomit. I write because it's the only thing that I feel like I'm any damn good at, even if no-one else thinks I am.

~Cie the Ornery Old Resting Bipolar Bitch-Face~


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Image copyright The Latest Kate

The new novella from Team Netherworld. Only $3.99 on Kindle. We're keeping it Lovecraftian!
Samples available through the preview link and at the official Naughty Netherworld Press blog.

Weekend Writing Warriors + Snippet Sunday 12 January 2020 (PA, RO)



Diane Clifford Savage woke from a troubled sleep, crying out.

“My boys! My boys! I’ll save you, I will!”

“Di, wake up.”

The elderly woman’s husband shook her gently. Diane glanced about the darkened room and burst into tears.

“Oh, Gerry, me wee bairn!”

“Aw, Di, my hinny, please quiet yourself,” Dain Savage pleaded. “It does nae good to torture yourself this way.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Notes:
This snippet is from Team Netherworld's current WIP, The Ballad of Gerry Clifford, which is the first book in the Fetch series and part of The Yadira Chronicles.

Our most recently published book, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House is part of The Yadira Chronicles and Nyarlathotep's Necropolis series and is tied into the Fetch Series. 


WEP February 2020 Challenge: Cafe Terrace

Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay Genre: General Fiction (The work that this will become part of is paranormal/sci-fi) ...