Middibamboo Mama and Mysterious Jars

I recently purchased another copy of October Country by Ray Bradbury after losing my copy purchased years ago (and I mean years), wanting to reread some of the stories. Last night I read the story, The Jar, and boy, did it remind me of why I love Bradbury so much. Aside from his wonderful use of descriptive language, the story is about a jar containing a strange substance, described by Bradbury: one of those pale things drifting in alcohol plasma, forever dreaming and circling, with its peeled, dead eyes staring out at you and never seeing.

The protagonist, Charlie, buys the jar from a carnie because he wants attention and respect in his holler, and people begin gathering at his house to stare and wonder about what the jar contains. And as Hitchcock would agree, their imaginings are much more bizarre and frightening that the reality of the jar’s contents. One man dredged up a traumatic childhood memory after staring at the jar.  Another provided a wonderful take on the contents, as something that crawled out of the primordial swamp: That am the center of creation! That am Middibamboo Mama, from which we all come ten thousand year ago. Believe it! To come up with Middibamboo Mama. That’s hilarious.

I won’t give the ending away. You do find out what the jar really contains, but that’s not the scariest part of the story.

This is why horror movies that don’t show you the boogey man are so effective, like Blair Witch Project. You never actually see a witch and really don’t know what killed the students, if anything at all. And with writing, why withholding bits of information, and letting the reader fill in the blanks also works.


Theme songs

I think I found the theme song for my book. If it became a tv show (dreaming!!!), this would be the intro song. Here are a smattering of lyrics by the band Timber Timbre, song Demon Host. Great song, great band. Check it out.

Death she must have been your will
A bone beneath the reaper’s veil
With your voice my belly sunk
And I began to feel so drunk
Candle candle on my clock
Oh lord I must have heard you knock me out of bed
As the flames licked my head and my lungs filled up black
in their tiny little shack
It was real and I repent
All those messages you sent clear as day, but in the
Oh I couldn’t get it right

Down my throat in the pit, with my head upon the spit
Oh reverend please can I chew your ear? I have become
what I most fear
And I know there’s no such thing as ghosts but I have
seen the demon host…

Dexter Disaster and Dilemma

Dexter! What is going to happen this season? I was beginning to question my appreciation for this show after last season, but am totally enjoying this season so far.

Last night’s episode “Do the Right Thing” ended with a bang, literally. What a great episode. I don’t know how Dexter is going to squeeze by all the forces currently mounting against him: LaGuerta, Russian mafia bad boy (played with awesomeness by Ray Stevenson), and now possibly Deb when she finds out about Hannah…oh yeah.

Seems like I can’t watch tv or movies anymore without thinking about some aspect of writing, but makes sense because  shows and movies are written before they’re acted. So about Dexter. The ending. The ending! Writers are constantly told to make things worse for the character or introduce a surprise. At the end, Dexter is taking Hannah on a date to a closed park to show her snow. (It was a dream of hers and the closed park has a snow machine which he turns on.) In watching, the writers are leading you to think he’s setting her up for the kill. They are completely alone. Total Dexter modus operandi. But it seemed to obvious. So I was on alert. But, sure enough, he stabs her with the needle and next shot, she’s lying on the table. Okay. Maybe he is going to kill her.

But she intrigued him, being another killer and all. When he pulls the tape off her mouth, she tells him to do what he has to do. No pleading, begging, just cold acceptance. And with knife poised over her body, he cuts the tape binding her to the table, and they have sex on the kill table. On the kill table! Talk about surprise, although we knew he was attracted to her. But he has his code and she is a baaad woman. It’s a complete disaster in the writing a scene sense, altho Dexter probably doesn’t see it coming, not yet. The new crime writer character told Deb that he has proof Hannah has killed people, but Hannah negotiated immunity for helping find the dead bodies murdered by her and her ex-boyfriend.

It would be something if Deb asks Dexter to take Hannah out. Oh dilemma! Dexter should take her out, according to the code, but Dexter is sleeping with her. She is also quite capable of taking Dexter out herself, and she may try. So what will Dexter do? Will he kill the one woman who completely understands his Dark Passenger because she has her own?

Great story mashup. Loving it.

Honoring the Dead

It’s Halloween. My favorite time of the year. The weather is finally cooling down, which in Phoenix means it’s only in the 90s instead of the 100s. My son is super psyched about his Optimus Prime Transformers costume and I’m trying to decide if I should dress as a pirate zombie, perfectly combining my two writing projects.

But let’s talk about the dead. Of course, and especially if you live in the Southwest, Day of the Dead is a familiar tradition, a Mexican Holiday going back hundreds of years to an Aztec Festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. Here are more:

In China on April 4 is Tomb Sweeping Day or the Qingming Festival. Families honor their ancestors by visiting their tombs and leaving offerings of food. People also burn paper replicas of items that can be used in the afterlife, such as clothing, money, and cars. And now, it was inevitable, people are burning paper replicas of iPads. A must have in the afterlife.

Near and dear to my necromancer’s heart in my second book is the tradition in Haiti: voodoo traditions are mixed with Roman Catholic ones to honor the dead. People play loud drums and music in all-night celebrations at cemeteries to waken Baron Samedi, the Loa of the dead, and his mischievous offspring, the Gede.

So have a safe and fun Halloween and remember beloved friends and family who have passed. And from the blog ancentralmedecine. org, some ways to honor your ancestors, the best being fulfill your soul’s purpose as an ethical and loving person.

Snippets – T.S. Eliot

This is more an excerpt from a poem with some wonderful imagery. I try to read poetry often to help my writing. The obvious, reading the wonderful use of words and imagery, but the cadence, reading the beats, helps with inserting that in your writing to make it flow and bounce in the right spots.

Who hesitates towards you in the light of the door

Which opens on her like a grin.

You see the border of her dress

Is torn and stained with sand,

And you see the corner of her eye

Twists like a crooked pin.


A twisted branch upon the beach

Eaten smooth, and polished

As if the world gave up

The secret of its skeleton,

Stiff and white.

(From Rhapsody on a Windy Night)

I love the corner of her eye twists like a crooked pin and the entire second verse, twisted branch, the world gave up its skeleton. Fabulous!

Zombies…who knew?

When I wrote the first draft of my first novel…in my head, it was definitely about Vampires. I love Vampires, but the bad ass kind. The first actual written words involved a werewolf. This was going to be the hero. I always had a necromancer in mind as the heroine because I wanted to explore an urban fantasy heroine that had a “bad” power. I mean control of the dead is not glamorous like casting spells or drinking blood or exceptionally powerful in the traditional sense. She can’t slam people against walls and can’t really walk in stilettos. But she has this crazy, rather gruesome power and I was very into exploring how a supernatural character dealt with such a power. Does it twist her? Yes! Yes, I say. It’s how she transcends the badness or will she???

But zombies.

I’ve always enjoyed, well not enjoyed because the Romero movies are way too disturbing, but appreciated the Romero zombie movies and really, yes, I enjoyed Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, but never thought I’d write a book that dealt with zombies. Wasn’t my first choice for Urban Fantasy. But it’s been great delving into the horror aspects with my writing because zombies are horrifying. I’m waiting for that perfect horror story to pop into my head so I can write it! But there’s a lot of fun mythology you can write about zombies from the legends of necromancers, revenants, Haitian voodoo, etc.

So yes, zombies. Bring ’em on.