Blog

Hope is a bitch

There’s been a lot of changes in my life recently.

Not so much changes in my life but in the lives around me. Coworkers I’ve been sharing the misery  at the day job  for the past 15 years retiring, friends moving away, and all the usual stuff that makes one start thinking about where they are and if they want to still be in that place during the next solar cycle.

So I decided to do something and look around for a new gig. I wanted something more in tune with me and what I wanted for my future.

And I thought I had found it. It was small publishing house in Nashville. NOT RELIGIOUS, which is a miracle (no pun intended) and they had posted a job that I would be perfect for so I joined up on this online job site, filled out a freaking resume and sent it off into the cyber ether.

I’m not going to lie. It felt a buzz of excitement I hadn’t felt in ages. I started fantasizing about getting the job and how great it would feel to be doing something I love and making new, interesting friends and how my world would just blossom and everything would just start coming up Nik.

mtm
Calm down, Mary. It’s just a hat.

The next day, I waited for an email. It was the caffeine that kept my hopes up. I kept replaying the fantasy, over and over again. Getting a new cool job. Quitting this shitshow. Oh, man, I was gonna love quitting.

quit
buh-bye

But the email never came. What I did get was a fuckton of spam phonecalls.

Yeah.

And the job?

Yeah. Suddenly, that job wasn’t on the website.

But the spam? That shit kept on coming.

Yeah.

So, I got got. Just another victim of Hope laid out by the Internet.

Meh. C’est la guerre.

My day job is soul sucking, lonely and has absolutely no future but, what the fuck. It pays the bills.

There’s always the Great American Novel dream, right?

psycho
Right.

 

 

Magical Life versus Real Life

Damien Echols came to town to push his new book, High Magick.

highmagick

For anyone not familiar with Damien Echols, here is the backstory in a quick pinch: in 1994, he was sentenced to death for the satanic ritual murder of three 8 year old boys. The evidence used to convict him was his reading habits (Stephen King), the weird obsession of Jerry Driver, the local juvenile officer who was convinced that Echols was the kingpin of a Satanic cult, and the confession (multiple ones since he kept changing his story) of a teenage gas huffer who had the IQ of a child.

He and two other young men who were also convicted but given life sentences were finally allowed to leave prison in 2011 if they all agreed to an Alford plea which said that although they still professed innocence, the State had evidence that could convict so…..yay? Basically, it was a way the state of Arkansas could say, “My bad.” without really shouldering any blame.

All in all, it was a travesty and the more I read about it, I end up gnashing my teeth and wanting to renounce humanity to the dumpster.

Seriously. How fucking stupid?

Worst of all, the murderer(s) of those little boys went scott free. Even if the motherfucker popped up today and said, “Hey! I did it! Yep, it was me!”, Arkansas couldn’t touch him or her because of the Alford plea deal.

It just ….oooooh….my head spins.

Anyway, back to what I wanted to talk about.

So, Damien Echols came to town to push his book, High Magick, A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row. He is a professed ritualistic magician and, I can tell you after listening to him speak, he is utterly void of bullshit. Whether or not you believe in Magick, he does. Wholeheartedly. And, most importantly, he truly believes it can help you as much as it helped him.

I’m not a newcomer to the idea of Magick. I’ve done a few Sabbats and spellworkings. I don’t think I’m bragging when  say that I can throw a mean Tarot spread.

But I have to admit, my head spun when Echols claimed that he spends 7-8 hours a day meditating and doing Magick.

7-8 HOURS. A day?

tennant

Riddle me this, Batman: Who cleans your toilets? Who buys your groceries, sweeps the floor, walks the dog, work a day shift and come home to make dinner?

I don’t want to sound like Martha giving Jesus a hard time about not helping out with the housework but, damn!

martha
Seriously, J.C., a little help here???

How do you take care of the nuts and bolts of earthly existence when you spent 1/3 of it converting with the Machine Elves that run the Universe?

Do magicians have a staff?

Because, I can tell you all this right now, THIS witch does her own damn shit.

Or maybe I should get those freaking elves to lend a hand.

Am I afraid?

Today, I was asked a very odd question.

“Are you ever afraid about writing horror stories since you live in the Bible Belt? Are you afraid of what people might think about you?”

I answered, “Hmmm, no. Although I have been called out as a witch many, many times, I’m not afraid. What I am amazed by is how many of these very same people will come to me privately and ask me to hex people. They never want me to heal or bless. I think that says more about them than me.”

 

giphy

Bad Butterfly

At my last physical, my doctor called me his most boring patient because, other than hypertension and cholesterol, I was healthy for a 53 year old.

A week later, I get a chirpy little message from someone in the doctor’s office, “Hey, your blood tests say you have hypothyroidism. You need to come in and see about treatment. Okay, bye!”

Well, hell.

So, a little backstory: 8 years ago, I was really, really sick. My heart was beating like a hummingbird. I couldn’t sleep. My bones felt like they were vibrating inside my skin. I just felt crazy. After a week or two of testing, turns out I had hashitoxicosis. In a nutshell, my body was attacking my thyroid and it was fighting back. In doing so, it was shooting out T-3 and T-4 hormones like a Gatling gun and causing me to become hyperthyroid.

I was put on beta blockers and a few months and blood tests later, I was deemed Thyroid Healthy.

But I wasn’t. Not really. The damage had been done.

The trauma from that past sickness had taken its toll and now it wasn’t playing the game anymore. Give it props; it had chugged along on three cylinders for 8 years before throwing up the white flag.

And looking back, it makes a lot of sense. The depression, crushing fatigue and weight gain that I’d been blaming on menopause or faulty brain wiring was really caused by a fucked up thyroid.

20180916_182857
Artist rendition of Bad Butterfly bogarting all the good stuff. Bitch.

What does that mean for me?

A lifetime of synthetic hormones to replace the ones my Bad Butterfly refuses to give up.

So, I’m going to use this space not only as a soapbox to shill out my books but also as a place to plot my journey dealing with this new turn in my life.

Maybe I can shed some light into someone else’s life.

To be continued.

 

 

Big post coming but until then, here’s this one.

The last few days have been exhausting. Traveling, shooting a film, heat, bug bites, fear, stress….all the fun stuff.

I’ll write it all up soon. Trust me.

Until then, here’s how today went:

  1. Got roughly 4 hours of sleep
  2. Woke up coughing and not feeling so good
  3. Go to dayjob.
  4. Come home from dayjob because I think I’m coming down with the Mongolian Death Flu.
  5. Take a shit, stand up, wipe, toss paper in toilet and see a small frog with huge battle weary eyes looking up at me.
  6. “What the fuck, my dude?” I imagine Toilet Frog to croak out.
  7. Not wanting to flush, I reach into the toiler (eww) and the frog hyperspeed leaps out, Jet Li bounces all over the place and then disappears.

 

TL;DR summary

Somewhere in my house there is a frog with PTSD looking for revenge.

I was a weird kid

Recently a friend on Facebook posted a challenge: Name something dumb you believed as a kid.

Oh, gurl. Let’s start with Kindergarten.

  • I was asked to play an Indian in the Thanksgiving Day play. I freaked out because I thought that feathers grew out of Indian’s heads and, ergo, I would have to grow feathers out of my head. I became so hysterical about the idea of growing feathers out of my head that  my mother had to take me out of Kindergarten. Yeah. I was a Kindergarten drop out. Something my mother never let me forget.

 

  • I also thought that when a person died on television, they used terminally ill patients so they could have a shot at stardom or people on death row as part of their sentence.

 

  • I was told that if you sang at the dinner table, Satan would drag you down to Hell. This idea plagued me. I worried what would happen if I accidentally started humming a tune at the table? Did that count? I could envision the linoleum of the kitchen floor bubbling from the heat as the hellfire cracked through, opening a hole so that Satan could drag me down to Hell. Someone also told me that if you heard someone calling your name three times, and if you answered it, Satan would drag you down to Hell.

Satan turned out not to be the great threat I imagined he’d be.

 

  • I believed that bats turned into people. I had seen it in an old black and white movie and that made it real as far as I cared. I was 7 and tried to check out a book from the school library about bats to further research the phenomenon. The librarian said the book was too hard for me and challenged me to read it. I did and that got me slapped in gifted classes and my road to Nerdom was solidified.

 

  •  When I was 9,  a babysitter told me that according to Ancient Tennessee Law, if you found a horse in the field and it had no saddle, you could take it home. Well, we happened to live in a stone cottage that was surrounded by fields. And, I knew where there was a horse. My cousin, Mandy and I went out today, put a rope around the horse’s neck and took it home.  My mom and aunt came home from a beer run to find a horse in the garage. I remember her screaming, “THEY HANG HORSE THIEVES, NIKKI!”

She made me take the horse back, Ancient Tennessee Laws not withstanding.

 

  • My grandmother, a backwoods country woman so don’t judge her too harshly, once told me that if you took a sponge, you could “wash the color off a black person and they’d be snowy white underneath” because it was the ‘mark of Cain’. As a kid, that idea fascinated me. I desperately wanted to sneak into a funeral home and test it. Ya know. For science.

 

  • As I got older, I was a diehard believer in all things weird. UFOs. Aliens. Loch Ness Monster. Ghosts. Bigfoot.

Ah, Bigfoot.

When I was in elementary school, I started up a Monster Hunters Club. We entered   a Cryptozoology exhibit in the yearly science fair. We won an Honorable Mention. My teacher, Mrs. Tarkington, even allowed the club to perform a play where Trent Ridley put on a furry parka, we hunted him down and then autopsied him, throwing guts and bones into the classroom.

Mrs. Tarkington retired after that year.

us

 

 

 

48 Hour Film Challenge or What the hell am I doing???

This is the weekend of the 48 Hour Film Challenge. It’s a glorious task where a group writes, films, edits and turns in a movie in 48 hours. I’m working with Forcone Films. This year we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sets and actors. Now it’s on my shoulders to write a script. About what? WHO KNOWS?!!?! We won’t know the genre until we pull it at 7:00 pm.

Y’all, pray for me. Burn some sage. Shake some bones. Conjure up some good Muse Mojo for your girl here. Get my brain meats pumping.

 

 

 

Little pricks

I couldn’t sleep. My head wouldn’t shut up so I didn’t get a very good night’s sleep.

I have three alarms to insure that I wake up in time to catch the bus. I have Alexa programmed to go off at 4:45 a.m. and then again at 4:50 a.m.

My husband’s alarm goes off with a annoyingly cheerful chirp at 5:00 a.m.

Except it didn’t.

I woke up at 5:26. SHIT. That means I can’t make the bus. Okay. No biggie; I’ll drive in.

I take a shower. No time to wash my hair. Throw clothes on, have some coffee and out the door.

I get to work. Notice there is a weird white smudge on my black pants. Damn.

My head feels like it is full of cotton. I can’t focus, can’t wake up. I feel like I’m running late even though I’m not.

I forgot to fill my thermos with coffee and figure that tea would suffice. I check my bag. All I have is decaf.

I figure a snack will help. I use up the last of my quarters to get a Snickers. I push the buttons and the vending machine vomits out a bag of peanuts.

I can’t eat peanuts.

Okay, that’s how we’re going to play this, Universe?

So, I laugh.

Lunchtime comes. I discover that I grabbed the wrong frozen dinner. It’s spicy meatballs and spinach. Fuck it. I microwave it, decide to take my chances.

I pull it out of the microwave….nope. There is NO WAY I can stomach this shit.

Fuck.

I push my bank account closer to the brink and go get a sandwich.

It was raining so I check to see if it has stopped. I look outside and no one is wearing jackets or carrying umbrellas. So I follow suit and leave my umbrella behind.

You see where this is going, right?

It’s raining. I’m wearing sandals.

So, I laugh.

Because sometimes that’s the only defense you have. Just laugh. Realize that you have no control. And it’s okay. This is nothing. It’s annoying but it’s nothing to get your shit in a bunch.

It’s just one of those weeks. I really shouldn’t complain. It’s not like there’s been anything majorly wrong. No one I love is dead. No one is sick. I don’t have any money in the bank but that’s not unusual. My car is running and I have enough gas to get me through until my next payday. My fridge is empty but my wine rack is full.

See? I really shouldn’t complain.

But it’s the little pricks that bring down a lifeboat.

All I have to do is open up my internet browser, check the news and see that my little pricks are nothing like the gaping wounds in so many other people’s hearts. Missing children, murdered loved ones, the sick and the dying, the hopeless.

What do they say? All it takes is a mosquito on your scrotum to teach you that violence isn’t the only way.

And a death by a thousand pricks isn’t the worst way to go.