Author: Amy Ferguson

The Shakespearian efforts of trying to hide a "Fangirl: Extreme Edition" personality from the PTA that will likely be in vain and eventually a blog post. These are the failures and pop-cultured musings from a fangirl/housewife's brain.

Isolation Day #6 (maybe?): The Writing Group Dilemma

I have a novel that I’ve been writing and rewriting and rereading and deleting and starting over and writing and rewriting for like 5 years now. It’s super exciting and I love it and I also think its a steaming pile of crap that should never see the light of day.

But it should. Because I love where it’s going. But I’m bored of it and how awful it all is.

But I figure I should use this self-isolation time to be productive. No excuses.

There’s also the fact that Camp Nano is coming up and I like doing that AND that I just joined a writing group which I’ve always been drawn to writing groups.

The dilemma with this new writing group however, is that I hate my above mentioned grand opus. Then there’s a story that I have partway written, that I DO like, but it came to me fast and furious, in a dreamlike way and I have no idea where it wants to go and so 10,000 words just sit there like Whitney Houston in sunglasses staring at me from across the fountain. The writing group is going to kick me out for being a waste of their time, probably.

While logging into the laptop in my efforts to have a productive writing isolation, a link came across my attention that Scribd is offering a free 30 day membership to read and audiobook as many books and magazines and whatever else you can find there as is your want. No strings attached. I’m taking this opportunity to finally read (well listen to) Save the Cat because apparently I am scrapping all of my efforts to finish something and I’m going to write a screenplay! Because of course I am. After I listen to this book and maybe a few others, because 30 DAYS FREE BOOKS!!!!

But seriously, what should I do about this writing group? Do I submit something I really like with no signs of an ending, or do I submit the mess that is my novel that I really want to finish but I don’t know that a writing group will be able to help me with, or either that, they’ll collectively tell me it’s a pile of crap and needs to be immediately scrapped with a promise I never write again? I know that won’t happen, no one is that mean. Right?

Alright, if anyone has advice, I’m here for it. In the meantime, I have a book to listen to.

Things to do in Denver when Old You is Dead.

I’m from Denver. Well, like 20 minutes northwest of Denver. Denver adjacent. I moved back about a year and a half ago from a 21 year stint in Sunny Los Angeles and I feel like I left a whole chunk of my heart and my soul back in the Valley when I moved.

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

I moved to California, when I was 20 and obnoxious (probably because I was 20). I was shy, and angry, and wrote embarrassing journal entries that I was sure would win awards once I died and they were found and published. I knew everything and as I whined about the world through pages of angsty words I threw together about living alone in this world (dramatically with cats and adoring fans of my works). I couldn’t stand to be alone. I couldn’t do anything on my own. I didn’t know how to do anything on my own. I didn’t know how to do anything. And I didn’t ever have to. And then I moved to Los Angeles. Studio City to be accurate. A mile from the Brady Bunch house to be even more accurate. A couple of blocks down the street from Universal Studios, actually. Thankfully. Because I got a job at Universal Studios (CityWalk) and on my first day of work, my car wouldn’t start, so I had to walk those couple blocks (and that REALLY BIG HILL) in end of July, Valley heat. Valley heat isn’t like anywhere else I’ve ever been. Valley heat is sticky and it smells faintly of car exhaust and dirt. Sometimes garbage, depending on where you happen to be. And your head sweats under the hair you just straightened, making it rise in volume by 2.5 units. I’m not a math person, so just believe me and pretend you know that I’m right and hair units are a real measurement. I walked into my new job, a helmet of hair that now smells like the street, face hot and flushed bright red with exhaustion and being out of shape and it’s now itchy because of the sweating and I’m in HOLLYWOOD (adjacent), my roommates hated me because they had to live with the awful version of me that was now completely depressed, and, the icing on the cake, freshly car-less. I had to make friends. And quick. I knew no one. And that lasted about 20 minutes, because let me tell you something about Los Angeles. Everyone is obnoxious. And lonely. And insecure. And alone. People cling to other people like life rafts in Los Angeles. And it’s wonderful. Sometimes it’s awful, like being stalked by a stuntman awful, but most of the time, it’s amazing. And I wouldn’t be who I am now if I didn’t have to kill off pretentious, emo queen, “Denver Amy” to survive. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Like Personality Boot Camp.

I moved back to Denver (adjacent) on an opportunity and while it’s been a great move for all the California boys I brought back with me, which is really only a husband and two kids and not like actual back-up dancers, which I didn’t realize I needed until now, there’s a feeling about moving back to a hometown where nothing has changed except there’s now a church that’s taken over the old movie theater that I saw Beetlejuice in. It’s suffocating in a way that I imagine is a lot like that one Tom Hardy movie with the black ink demon thing that people draw porn and write fan-fiction about. Anyway, I feel like “Denver Amy” haunts the streets where I grew up, reminding me of how awful I can be; my own personal Ghost of Christmas Past.

It’s entirely possible I just grew up, but throwing myself at a huge city I had only ever seen on tv and then loving everything about it for 21 years has a way of making you feel a part of something bigger than you. And I think that my reluctance to fully re-embrace Denver adjacent has more to do with my fear that if I let LA go, I can never get it back again. If I embrace my new, I’m allowing back in the old. And I made a pact to pretend that version of myself was a bad fever dream. However, recently I’ve been coming to refreshing feelings, and maybe it’s because it’s been warm for like 3 days in a row and I’m getting hopeful. I’ve decided to embrace and fall in love with my new home as if I had never sat in that new church down the street laughing at Michael Keaton in his striped suit, or been in that grocery store a mile the other way that allegedly had a make-over but I can still hear inky demon/high school me thinking about Anne of Green Gables in the frozen food isle that used to have greeting cards in it. So If I avoid those two places – the church will be easy because I don’t do the church thing, and the grocery store is where my demons seem to congregate so that one is out, then I can pretend I never lived here before.

You know what it is? When you move away from your home town, you create a new life. Like a Witness Protection kind of thing. And you can completely erase all the bad, embarrassing character flaws like Peggy Olson did with Pete’s baby. You just Don Draper it. But I’m at the Priest Colin Hanks calling me out in the Lord’s house part of the show and I want to skip ahead to the roller skating in the office part. You know? The walking down the hall carrying all my stuff in a box with octopus porn art under my arm in sunglasses with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth part of my journey. I think that I’m actually pretty close to strapping on my roller skates, though. I have made a conscious decision to actively love where I live with such vigor, that I single-handedly become the Denver Adjacent Tourism Board. I can still love Los Angeles, fiercely, but I’ve seen Sunset Boulevard. It doesn’t work to shut the world out thinking it still loves me; demanding that Hollywood not forget me while I rot away in my self-imposed exile.

But you see, as I wrote this, several friends from LA have randomly and unknowingly sent emails and texts of love and gossip, reining me back in.

OMG! Mr Deville, I’m ready for my close-up.

Molly, you’re in danger, girl.

Last night I saw a medium.

I was skeptical. But my uncle is hands down ALL IN ON THIS. She was 100% Uncle Buck certified.

He met this woman during a ghost hunting expedition like 20 years ago and swears by her. He took his girlfriend to one of this ghost hunting friend’s medium readings and she was sold and at Thanksgiving dinner this year, we all sat around the table talking about ghosts. Well, that’s all dinners when I’m involved, but ghosts were discussed. And then this medium lady was brought up. My mom was sold.

I was intrigued. She is said to have spoken of things no one could know. My mom wanted in. I wanted in, because, you know, ghosts.

Quick aside, if you’re ghost hunting and you’re a medium, do you need all that fancy equipment? EVPs? Heat maps? Night vision goggles? Ouija boards? I’m serious. Where’s the line between like, my super haunted apartment in Denver and Oda Mae Brown? Although, she seemed spooked a lot of the time, so, SAME. Okay, take Long Island Medium. She’s always laughing and snapping her nails on the granite counter tops in her fancy home and blaming farts on her clients’ dead loved ones. Allegedly. But I know what I saw. A scam of farts. (By the way!!! I heard farts last night, more on than in a minute.) See, when I lived in Capitol Hill with a super nasty early 1900’s Denver socialite ghost that hated me, I rarely laughed. Well, I still laughed, but I also peed myself more times than I care to admit out loud.

Point is, mediums are super relaxed and laughing about farts, while Zak from Ghost Adventures is always yelling and getting scratched and possessed. To be fair, if I was a ghost, I would be more likely drawn to the blonde lady who’s laughing and farting, but I would also love to scare the crap out of Zak Bagans. But also as a ghost, which adventure do you choose when a group of charlatans rolls through your spooky abandoned parlor with cameras and tape recorders?

Okay, back to me. We walk into this metaphysical book store that smelled like patchouli and random purple and yellow aura. There were several stones for sale, candles, and a lot of books with levitating yogis in front of expanding light and galaxy brain meme looking backgrounds ranging in topics from my dead loved ones to constipation. It sounds like I’m knocking this. I’m not knocking this. I was just friends with a lot of potheads in the late 90s and well, this is similar to what hanging out with them was like.

We are escorted into the back room which was painted in a light purple hue, floral curtains on one wall, fold up chairs lined up in rows on the floor, and a Christmas tree set up in the back. It kind of felt like where the gangsters held their meetings in that funeral home in The Wire. We sit down, My Uncle, his girlfriend, my mom, and me. And we wait, and wait. People start talking about who they hope will come through. And we wait. The medium ghost hunter lady is milling about. I like her, she’s got a good vibe about her. Like I could be friends with her. But I’m skeptical, right? Like, I’ve watched those debunk videos on youtube about mediums and their cue reading skills. How they plant people in the crowd to make themselves look legit. So the whole time I’m hearing everyone talk amongst themselves about dead people, all I can think is, you idiots. She could be taping this somehow! You’re giving her everything she needs. At this point, my mom turns to me and starts talking to me about the very minute details of various dead people she hopes come through.

Good job on the stealth op, Mom.

Here’s the thing. I know, scientifically or logically or whatever, that ghosts don’t exist. Like it doesn’t make sense. I also HIGHKEY believe in ghosts. Because I’ve seen them. I have lived with ghosts. Like, I don’t wish ghost living on anyone. And yet, at the same time, I don’t know how it’s possibly a thing. Like I get the whole thing about energy transference and how energy doesn’t just go away, like it has to go somewhere. And where else would it go other than ghosts and ouija boards? But I also get the whole thing about how an energy field being off in your home because of negative ions or leaking water pipes, or something else that makes scientific sense that I’m not looking up right now or I will never finish this post, how our human brains interpret this fluctuating, abnormal, unbalanced energy as danger! but since we can’t physically see danger, our brains form hallucinations on the interpretations trying to make sense of the whole thing and we see ghosts. Or something. But I’ve seen ghosts live in the ghost flesh and if what I saw was only my mind’s hallucinations, give my brain an Oscar.

So we’re in this room last night, at the back of a psychic book store and about 45 minutes after we sat down, our fun medium lady stands in front of us, cracks some jokes, says hi to my uncle, hugs a guy in the front row, waves at a lady in the back who drove over from Aurora, which Long Denver Medium knew either through paranormal or non-disclosed normal means, and off to the races we went. Apparently the ghosts chose me to go first.

She looked me directly in the eyes and asked me who the female with the J name was that was sitting on my lap and saying we were very close. Was she a friend? A sister? And my heart pounded and my neck did that tightening, painful thing right before you bawl and I bit the side of my mouth hard so I wouldn’t cry in front of everyone and then I took a deep breath and gave out a shaky “My sister, Julie” as she went on about how funny she is and she was with my great-grandma and grandpa and a whole slew of other accurate details that I can’t remember.

Then she went around the room for the next 2 hours, making other people cry with her questions and remarks about smells and inside jokes with the beyond, a murdered ghost came through, a ghost that spoke only Spanish, a ghost asking about a lady’s new hairdo just like in the real Ghost, a ghost telling a woman babies were coming, I don’t know, it was a lot. Someone kept farting loudly, a lady behind me burped. Everyone laughed together, cried together, passed around a community tissue box, it was great. I could’ve done without the farting though, but maybe that’s just a thing that summons the ghosts! I’m not here to judge the process.

But here it is, the next day and I feel like maybe it was all a scam. I mean, it was worth it, I had a great time, but maybe the emotions flowing through the room, the comradery, the ill-timed farts, maybe these were all a dripping pipe in the house type thing. The emotions made us hear truths that weren’t there. Made us believe in hope from the other side. Helped out by tidbits of information Long Denver Medium was able to pick up from the people she knew and the things she over-heard as we sat in around gabbing during the pre-show. I don’t know, but she likely made a TON of money doing this thing.

New career goal. Maybe I can get fake acrylic nails, work on my stand-up routine, and charge people to sit in a room with me and cry about stuff. I don’t have a psychic ability, but I do have ghost apps on my phone that are a hit at parties and I am a professional Ouija board user. This could totally work. Alright, who’s in?

The Demon in the Magritte Hat

There is this thing bubbling up under my heart, in my soul, my dreams, and I need to do something with it. I need to make something with it. Part of it might be having just come off NaNoWriMo, which started out great for me and kind of fell flat at the end. I was writing this mystery story, that I still really like, but I fell out of routine and started doing other things. But this thing, this demon, that has been lurking for a good 6 months now has been ignited.

It feels like I have to solve a mystery, even if it’s not going to be my own, but that Nancy Drew drive could be because I got sucked into the Visit Eroda hashtag on twitter a few weeks ago and I began piecing together clues, and reading along with others’ clues and figuring it out it was some scam Harry Styles was running about a fake island. And look, it looked like he was pulling some Alice in Wonderland/ Through the Looking Glass, Magical Mystery Tour thing. I was invested. And now that I’ve seen Harry Styles’ Adore You video, I have nowhere else to put my sleuthing. I also really wish this Eroda thing was like an album film thing like, well, like Magical Mystery Tour or Head. Because I have been yelling for months to no one who cared, that that’s what Harry Styles was filming in Scotland back in August or something. His own Magical Mystery Tour. And I was wrong. I’m not a great sleuth, turns out.

But there’s still this energy lingering in me and it’s causing my anxiety to wreck my sleep and stomach lining because I’m not doing anything with it. I’m not creating anything. I’m not thwarting bad guys in masks at a haunted amusement park, and I’m not following an art thief through a museum in a Rene Magritte hat.

I think I’m trying to write a play or start my own improv group or something. I don’t know what this drive in me is, but until I figure out what I’m supposed to do with it, I won’t get any sleep and I may end up moving to New York or Chicago and I’ll wear all black and I’ll listen to jazz and pick up smoking again. I have a family with a husband and school aged kids and a mortgage and a dog and a cat! I can’t be stupid and 20 again.

Because when I was stupid and 20 and I got this same vibey feeling, I decided to be a rock star because I learned about CBGB and I wanted to be Debbie Harry levels of cool, so I bought a guitar and moved to LA and worked a lot of retail and joined the pta and then moved back to Denver. But at least I did something with the demon. I fed that demon. And now there’s a new one and I don’t know what it wants from me. Except maybe a Beatnick lifestyle, I don’t know. I’m a middle-aged, suburban mom, Demon!

Stay tuned, I guess. At least all black is slimming.

How many plotlines is too many plotlines?

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Here I go. Here’s a whole blog post dedicated to crying about my novel instead of actually writing a novel. I’ve probably whined about this on this blog before but to catch anyone up that is interested, I am writing a novel that is inspired by true events and it is taking me a LONG time to get it out of my head and onto paper. And I’m frustrated. I’m 55,456 words into this thing and I am not near done and I’m all over the place with it and it sucks. And this is where I am.

There are two roadblocks I’m having a hard time ignoring. Because they’re imaginary, I know this. But I can still see them and I’m having a crisis about all of it. The first one is because the basis for the story, the whole point of the story, is based on a really painful, uncomfortable memory, like a real thing with real people that I knew and it’s taken me some time to get over my anger enough to want to explore this event. Even though, I’m making up 70% of everything else. Probably more than that but the characters are originally, somewhat based on real life people that did real life unfriending me on Facebook kind of stuff and I’m real bitter about it, you know? They are mean. So I really want to finish this book because I don’t want to live with some of these people in my brain anymore, I hate them.

So why write a book about them if you hate them, Amy? I can feel you asking me. Well, dear readers, because it’s funny. Which brings me to roadblock #2. I am sitting here trying to foolishly write satire when I am the most unfunny person I know. No one wants to hear me rattle along for 55,456 words. It’s pretentious. And there’s more words that need to come out so it’s even worse than where we currently sit. And reading this back it looks like I’m digging for validation. Well, in fairness, I’m always digging for validation, but that’s not what is happening here. This is a legitimate tantrum I am having with myself and I need to get it out of me so I can just move on and finish this book.

I had thoughts about abandoning this project, but the characters and the storyline just keeps doing stuff when I’m in the shower or in the middle of the night and it’s like that scary, wet girl in The Ring and she won’t leave me alone until I share her with others.

How do I get over my nonsense? Does anyone have any tips? Can I just “blah blah blah” the middle parts with the holes in them? Because that’s what’s there now and I could just be done with the whole thing, close my laptop and have a peaceful life. Maybe I have too many plotlines. What will get me out of this funk?? I know what I need to do. I need to be patient with this beast. I need to continue filling in hole by hole and not be overwhelmed by the big picture. Because I know the plot. I’ve already written the dramatic conflict/resolution scenes, I already have the ending pretty much wrapped up, it’s all the little stuff in the middle and it will end when it ends, I just need to keep filling in the holes and stop worrying about tone and timing and the beat of each individual sentence.

Oh my god, I know what the problem is. I need an audience. I need to be telling a story to somebody. Because writing for me? This is not the story I want to be hearing over and over and over and over. Not because I don’t believe in the story itself, but more because I lived it. Not all of it, but the bad parts. which brings us back to problem #1.

BUT, I think to solve both of my ridiculous made-up problems, I need a beta reader. One who likes me. That’s important. And one who will be willing to beta read chapter by chapter. Like work in progress, fanfiction. Without the smut. Ooh! Should I add smut?! Also, this person must be willing to overlook my typos and stuff.

This beta reader idea solves the second roadblock as well because I’m not thinking about being funny when I’m writing a blog post or a Facebook status update or whatever that I know someone will read. I just write. The idea of writing a book is horrifying because I’m too worried about being perfect. And that’s just not how I write.

Although, how does one even go about getting beta readers? How do I get someone to devote their whole life to following me around and laughing at my bad jokes, while they comb my hair and tell me I’m pretty?

This whole blog post is a mess. Alright, that’s a sign I need to get back to filling holes. Seriously though, if anyone has any answers to any of my annoying questions above, I would love to hear them.

I am also accepting compliments.

Day 28:

I don’t really have a blog post in mind, but I’m coming to say that I’ve been working on my novel which has let me forget about this project. So yay! on the one hand, and boo! on the other. I mean, yay because I’m actually making good on my novel, but boo because I’m so close to the end of this camp nanowrimo question of the day project that I feel like I’m failing. Okay, I have some time so I’ll look up a question on the google and see what happens. Be right back.

Do you talk to yourself? What kinds of things do you discuss?

Source

I am unable to shut up. I mean, there are times when I can’t think of things to contribute to a conversation, but there are a LOT more times when I am unable to stop talking. About everything and usually it’s embarrassing.

If I’m talking to myself, I’m usually either acting in a movie or accepting and award OR I am full on owning someone in a verbal altercation. None of these things have worked out the way I’ve imagined them, but I have to keep sharp.

If I’m talking to other people, I am full on in on a conspiracy theory within minutes. I realize that this places a lot on the shoulders of the people I’m with, but that’s just how I roll.

Conspiracy theories are my favorite, whether I’m full on in or debunking them. There’s so much research and thought that goes into them on both sides, so If you want to or not, I’m usually talking about them to you at a party and asking you questions to gauge what side you’re on. These topics include but are not limited to: the Paul is Dead thing, and if you want my thoughts, it was originally a joke thing that the Beatles, mostly John, decided to play on their fans with help from all kinds of people, including the Stones and then the Manson murders happened and they had to go on record saying that they had never put anything subliminal in any of their songs or records and that was that. But Paul was never dead and replaced for real, but they thought it would be funny to create a theory about it. There is WAY too much evidence to convince me this wasn’t a real hoax. This is my favorite conspiracy and I will talk about it for hours if anyone is interested. What else do I like to drunkenly discuss? Larry Stylinson. It’s real. It just is, look it up. What else? OOH the moon landing!! Okay. This obviously happened but the debunking of the whole thing is fascinating. Also now that I think about it, the whole moon sounding like hollow tin? I’m down with these theories. I don’t believe in them but I’m so interested to hear others that do and why they do. ALSO, 9/11 being an inside job. I’m not 100% sure on where I stand on this because there are things that don’t add up. And I’m seriously on this Russian scam that’s happening now in the US and globally to be honest even though I don’t know that much about what’s happening outside of my own country’s nightmare. But listen, my grandpa was a die-hard democrat who enlisted in the Navy and was yelling about the KGB and the Russians since I’ve known him (he died 2 years ago and got a posthumous letter of gratitude for his service signed by the orange plague and I need to remedy this and write to Obama and see if he’ll rewrite the tribute. I can’t have my grandpa done so dirty). Anyway, was the original conspiracy theorist in my life and he was SO convinced the Russians were behind the republican base, and we’re talking Reagan era, that seeing everything coming to light makes me high-key paying attention.

Anyway, now that I’ve said too much… What are your favorite conspiracy theories? AND if you want to talk to me about any of these, the Paul is Dead one I have any leg to stand on as far as research, talk to me!!

Either that or I’ll be over here talking to myself.

Day 26:

Earlier today, I came across a question on one of those old facebook surveys that we used to fill out and then post in the notes section or whatever it was called way back in the beginnings of facebook before the Russian bots and racist family members took over and ruined it all. And this question I found has awakened this memory that might as well have been Eternal Sunshine‘d out of me, but now I so vividly remember fondly that it’s today’s Camp Nano: Question of the Day. Day 26.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Once upon a time in my foolish early 20s, I had a friend named Ijah who lived way out in Sylmar, which feels really far away when you live in Studio City and have an old car that doesn’t have a/c in it. Ijah and I were in a band (I know, this is what I do, I make bands with people and then don’t learn how to actually play music) and we would practice in her garage, and by practice, I mean, Ijah playing piano and singing really loud and me writing songs and pretending I could play guitar.

Me in Ijah’s garage pretending I could play guitar.

Ijah wasn’t your typical, early 20s, Southern California girl. She was loud. She was brash. She ate the apple all the way through, core, seeds, stem, all of it. She drove like a maniac. She walked around naked. She once got fired from her job and still showed up the next day in uniform and clocked in and started working until they sent her home. She had bright red hair that was completely natural, it just grew from her head that way. And to top it all off, she wore these really not in style, wire-rimmed glasses. Non-ironically. And we didn’t even say that back then.

During our garage band practices, we would practice for about 15 minutes and then we’d usually end up doing other things like drink tea and have her mom read our tarot cards and then we’d go explore Sylmar on foot. Sylmar is actually where the high school scenes of Encino Man were filmed so if you want an excuse to go watch the movie again, here’s your excuse. You’re welcome. Anyway, Ijah and I would just walk around and talk about stuff, people we were crushing on, the band, I don’t even remember, actually.

I remember one day we were at the bottom of the hill that went into her neighborhood and we didn’t want to walk back the whole way, I remember it was really warm that day. An ice cream truck slowly passed us with that music playing, so we ran up to catch it and flagged it down. We bought some ice cream cones, I think mine was strawberry for some reason, and then Ijah bribed the guy to let us hop on the back of the van and take us up the hill.

Okay. You know how they won’t let you do a bunch of adult things when you’re young like, rent a car? Well, this is why. Young adults don’t make good decisions.

The ice cream dude waited for us to hop onto the bumper and grab on to these poles that were on the back of the van and then the music started and we were off. I was on the driver’s side, meaning that my dominant hand, my right hand was holding an ice cream cone while my ridiculously weak arm was trying to wrap itself around the pole and not fall. My left arm was shaking and I could feel my Chuck Taylors sliding off the metal bumper as we started climbing the hill and I kept trying to scooch my feet back closer to the van, but this was a normal sized bumper so standing sideways, one foot in front of the other was as close to scooched as I was going to get anyway.

We were probably only going 15 miles an hour, but it’s uphill. I have ice cream running down my elbow on one arm, the other one is trying to keep it together and not let us fall us, while whimsical, ice cream man, clown music is playing the theme song to my bad choices. And I’m sweating.

It was the longest 2 minutes of my life and I don’t know how I didn’t die that day, but life lessons were learned. One of them is that I am not as cool or carefree as a tardy Marty McFly, and especially when he was that werewolf and got on top of that van to surf.

Day 25

I just came across a question for Day 25 of Camp Nano: Question of the Day that makes me want to write a short story. Except, the Freeway Series (Angels and Dodgers, go Dodgers!) is also on and I keep getting distracted, so if this posts tomorrow, now you know why. (I wrote this yesterday and then today was the Mueller thing and so THAT thwarted my motivation, and I was so caught up on my Nano numbers too!!! and now, I’m hopelessly behind.) Okay, so let’s go. I’ll never make up time sitting here with a glass of rose’ watching Ellen’s Game of Games. Let’s do this.

15. How Would You Quickly Dispose Of A Dead Body In A Hotel Room?

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Let’s lay this scene out. Where is the body? In the bathtub?? Where?? Should I be wearing shoes? Is there blood? Is this like a murder scene? Do I have anything to do with it or have I been entrusted by a friend to get them out of a situation…? Is this a set-up? Am I being set-up? Okay, make sure to leave no fingerprints or loose hairs or cigarette butts, I have watched way too much Dateline to be a fool in this game.

Um, well my first inclination is to stuff the body in the bed like in Four Rooms HOWEVER, the body would be found and eventually, there would be a situation in which, people would want to know who put a body in a mattress.

Um, well my first inclination is to stuff the body in the bed like in Four Rooms HOWEVER, the body would be found and eventually, there would be a situation in which, people would want to know who put a body in a mattress. Could we fake the death? Like, that would buy us a bit of time wouldn’t it? Like throw it out of the window or something?

Okay, who’s the dead body? If this is a Clue situation, do we pretend they’re drunk? Make out with them when the police arrive? OOH! Could I frame someone? Do I wrap them up in the shower curtain and throw the body into the back of the trunk of the victim’s car and then mop up the blood and then throw them into the lake???

Remember when that woman was found in the water tank in that Los Angeles hotel? Was that ever solved? Oh my god, I don’t know. Here’s the thing, you gotta make it look like an accident and you gotta hide all evidence that you were involved. Those guys always get caught though. Maybe hide the body down the … laundry shoot? No, won’t work. First of all, I don’t think hotels even have laundry shoots anymore?

Here’s what you have to do. If you’re not going to blow the entire hotel up with the boiler like the book version of The Shining SPOILER ALERT, then you have to either dump the body and entire car and all towels and evidence in a swamp, OR you have to be smart enough to stage the whole weird scene in the elevator beforehand like with that exchange student from Canada or wherever that was found in the water tanks after days of other hotel stayers complaining that the water tasted funny. Make it look like a haunting.

But then how do you get the body from the hotel room into a 20 foot tank or however big? Without anyone noticing you’re carting a body around??? Do you Weekend at Bernie’s the body up to the roof on a golf cart? Back to Dateline, let’s Dateline THIS. How!! How do you get a body ALLLLLLL the way up into a tank?? Because, I haven’t had to pick up a dead body even (If you don’t count any hamsters *sad face emoji) but I HAVE had to try to pick up a toddler in the middle of an epic breakdown and if a dead body is anything like a three year old that is mad and self-thrown on the floor of a restaurant, well, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.

I really wish people won’t call me for this, because as much as I wrote about the perfect murder in 6th grade (Stabbed with an icicle. Then it melts without fingerprints. I mean, right???) However, I don’t have the ability to stay cool under pressure. If questioned, I would fold like a fish or accordion or whatever that idiom is.

What would you do? AND If someone asked you to hide a body, would you? I think I totally would, I mean, the drama! Right??

Day 24

I had a migraine harshin’ my vibe all day, so this will probably be on the short side but the point of it all, I’m still going strong on Camp Nano goals so, I can’t stop now. Day 24: Camp Nano project, question of the day.

What is your biggest regret?

Source: I don’t know

Everything I do is a biggest regret moment, so with that in mind, just know that I know it’s all trivial but try telling my brain that at 3am. However. My biggest regret in the last 12 months has got to be going all LA on a neighbor here, but not intentionally but, okay look. We had just moved here from The Valley. I love The Valley and everything about it; let me preface this. And where we lived in the valley (Encino) we had across the living room window neighbors that were The Worst. And the woman that lived there was… not of the societal norms of the mental health scale and I’m not saying this to be a horrible person (I am horrible for tons of other reasons), I just don’t know how else to describe her without going INTO IT. She would decide on a whim that you were the devil, reasons unknown, and then actively make your life misery. Like, conspiracy level misery where you’re gaslit into buying skunk spray to spray into their a/c unit in the middle of the night misery. I’ll write a whole book on THAT one day. Her husband was an ex-gang member. He was harmless and nice and the only thing that annoyed me about him was the loud parties he threw with all his gang banger friends outside of my bedroom window every other night.

Last summer, we had just moved away from this and come here in our new home and our new life, and this nice woman and her nice husband with their nice kid are outside of my front yard playing frisbee and the frisbee hit my window and I went FULL ON LA on them and skunk eyed them out my front window like I had a point to PROVE. It was a gut reaction. I’ve spoken to her since, moths later, and she brought the frisbee thing up to me and apologized for it. And if I didn’t feel like a jerk before, well, hahah.

This is Colorado. Everyone here waves at you, yells “Hello!” to you across the parking lot, I’m not used to this. You do NOT make eye contact with strangers in LA and you don’t flag them down to say “Hello!” unless you’re trying to get them to go to your “fun church!” or you’re about to mug them.

And I was so excited to meet this woman and make friends! But now she’s scared of me. I know it. I see it. She avoids me, they don’t play in front of my house anymore, except the one time a month or so ago when she was playing frisbee again with her kid in front of my house and I was taking a picture of her belly out my window to show my mom that I thought maybe she was pregnant??? and I was caught taking the pictures and now I’m the crazy one.

How do I fix this? How do you retrain yourself to trust other people enough to small talk because this sounds like the absolute worst to me, to be fair.

Whatever, I don’t need her. I made some mom friends these past couple weeks at my kid’s swim lessons and we talk about childbirth and perimenopause symptoms so you know, I’m still cool. I’m young. I’m hip.

I’m not. I’m shaking the broom at youngsters on my lawn, let’s call it for what it is.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Day 23: Next Door

6. You Have Been Given The Opportunity To Create The Half-Hour TV Show Of Your Own Design. What Is It Called And What’s The Premise?

Source

This is such an exciting question because I KNOW ALREADY!! And it’s kind of helped jumpstart the novel I’m actively not working on.

A couple of years ago, I starting walking around the neighborhood with one of my friends from the PTA because we were trying to get in shape because wine was making us gain weight. Our walks were hilarious. We pretty much laughed the entire time but we also cried. And we plotted and schemed and worried someone was going to write about us being “suspicious” on NextDoor and called an uber when we walked too far and didn’t want to walk back because it was too hot and we were sweaty and hungry. Not all in one day, obviously.

There were a rash of home invasion robberies happening in the neighborhood at the time, it was on TMZ! and so while brainstorming ways to get attendance up at our monthly community meetings, the board president (at the time) decided to invite a member of the LAPD Encino division to come talk to us and answer questions we had about things we could do to protect ourselves. Dogs and cameras an motion lights were the main things I remember. Until my favorite part of the night. One of the moms started complaining that they were opening up a halfway house on her block and she demanded it be closed down. Somehow that got everyone riled up into forming a neighborhood watch and the meetings would be held in front of the halfway house until they got so nervous, they’d move it or something else histrionic. It sounded exactly as ridiculous and overdramatic at the time.

A neighborhood watch. Imagine a bunch of middle aged, upper-middle class, white women chasing perceived hooligans off their lawns in rhinestone’d flip flops. It’s too much. So for our next walk, in tears of laughter, my friend and I decided to start the first shift of Neighborhood Watch.

The thing that these walks became, it wasn’t about losing wine weight anymore, it was about our friendship, and staking our place in the neighborhood. We walked through everything from a marriage breaking up to the PTA eating itself alive, to my eventual move away.

I used to have wine nights with another friend of mine, Carol. And one night I told Carol about the walks and it hit me that they would make an AMAZING tv show. Every episode would be us on a walk. Every character would live in the neighborhood and we would run into them during our walks and that would be the show. I would call it Next Door or something else less likely to get me sued. She told me to write a book about it.

So my original novel that was just about funny things about being on the PTA has evolved into this thing that has evolved into an opus and it’s so big and so overwhelming at this point, that I need to take a break from it and also just finish it at the same time. I’m just not sure I can do it justice, so wish me luck on finishing that beast. But I will. And hopefully it will make one person laugh.