Fresh

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“Weeeeeeeee!” (Image courtesy imagerymajestic via Freedigitalphotos.net)

Are you feeling fresh?

We’ve all seen these commercials, I’m sure. “Are you feeling less than fresh DOWN THERE?!” Down there. Because we can say penile forty-seven times in one 30 second commercial, but God forbid anyone say vagina. “Is your hoo-haa smelly?” “Do you have swamp rot of the nether region?”

Yes, we’ve felt less than fresh at times. It happens. It happens to the best of them. Sometimes down there just isn’t up to par in the freshness department. But why do these commercials always take place at the beach or something? Let me state something right now, on behalf of all humans. Do not-repeating Do Not-go to the beach, public pool, or any such equivalent if your womanhood is feeling unclean. Please. We do not want to share your unfreshness. No one wants to stew in the crotch rot of others. (Maybe some people, because I’ve seen things-bad things-and there are sick people in the universe.) Just stay out of the water, for the love of your fellow humans.

And wash your hands. (Image courtesy of jackthumm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
And wash your hands.
(Image courtesy of jackthumm via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I’m not judging. I’ve already said it happens. The CDC wouldn’t recommend it, though. And neither do I.

We ladies know how it is. We don’t always discuss it, maybe only in certain company. But it happens. The vagina is a complex organ, okay. Unexplainable shit happens in that area. It’s especially confusing to non-vagina owners. If you have never owned a vagina, do not try to understand one. I don’t understand that bitch, and it’s mine. What the fuck is happening down there sometimes?

Who knows? (Image courtesy  stockimages via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Who knows? (Image courtesy stockimages via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I also want to share something with non-vagina owners on behalf of all vagina owners. Click Here. Learn it. Live it. Love it. It’s not that difficult. Y’all can find prehistoric ancient cities buried under the ocean, but you can’t find that shit. It’s not that hard. There’s a diagram and everything.

Summerland. Are You There?

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Image courtesy of sattva/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Godspeed on your trek
across the boggy quagmire.
May the weight of your mortal coil
release you.
You’ve been emancipated.
Exit the lightlessness.
Match your tormentors.
No longer be a victim to anguish.
Clutch the dim radiance
filtering through the fog.
Struggle toward its source.
Pass the souls that are adrift
and that do not know they are irrecoverable.
Ignore the tortured souls’ calls.
You are not one of them.
May warmth surround you.
Do not concede to the cold.
Witness kaleidoscopic ambience.
Summerland.
Are you there?

In 1998, Robin Williams was in the film What Dreams May Come based on Richard Matheson’s novel of the same name (released in 1978). Coincidentally, the novel is about a man who goes on a quest after his death to rescue his wife from eternal torment following her suicide. As most everyone is aware, Robin Williams was found dead August 11, 2014 of apparent suicide. He battled addiction and depression. Richard Matheson died June 23, 2013 of natural causes. Maybe they will meet in Summerland.

Learn more about suicide prevention, warning signs, how to get help for yourself or someone you know: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Learn more about What Dreams May Come, Richard Matheson, and the origins of Summerland: Goodreads.

So I Went Out For Some Tea…

And the strangest thing happened. All right. It wasn’t strange at all. Actually, it’s quite common.

I decided I needed some air and some vitamin D, so I left the confines of CHNOLA and went out into the daylight with the intent of visiting the nearest grocery store for some tea. Tea’s my new thing lately. I stopped drinking coffee because I’m trying to keep my caffeine consumption low. I still drink it, but only decaf, and sometimes it feels like defeating the purpose. Also, I quite enjoy tea, always have. Some days I buy tea in the cafeteria here, but today I forgot, and by tea time, I realized I was out. Hence the field trip.

Went out for tea and returned with Triscuits, Laughing Cow cheese (chipotle!), a bag of sun dried tomatoes, four books, and last but not least, tea.
Went out for tea and returned with Triscuits, Laughing Cow cheese (chipotle!), a bag of sun dried tomatoes, four books, and last but not least, tea.

So by the time I reached the grocery store and saw all the fabulous food there, my stomach decided the salad and yogurt I’d had for lunch just weren’t cutting it. I needed a snack. The Triscuits were a treat, actually. They are full of whole-grain, no doubt, but also full of calories. The sun dried tomatoes were a serendipitous find, as I LOVE sun dried tomatoes and have never seen them sold in the bag before. Snacks galore!

Since I was already out, I convinced myself to visit a used book store just down the road. McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music is a store I’ve been eyeballing for the last year coming to and from CHNOLA. I don’t know why the music is difficult. All music is difficult to me, as I have no musical talent. But I digress…

The smell of old musky tomes struck me as soon as I opened the door, and I’m fairly certain I smiled at the familiar and inviting scent. I love the smell of old books. And new books. But especially old ones. It was rather warm in there, and it only helped intensify the glorious fragrance of the books’ years old pages. It reminded me of visiting the library as a child, and I got the same excited feeling in my gut I’d always gotten back then when my eyes beheld the shelves lined with books.

Hard cover copy of Moby Dick. I opened the book to the last page I'd read online at Goodreads, planted my nose in its binding, and inhaled the intoxicating scent of literature.
Hard cover copy of Moby Dick. I opened the book to the last page I’d read online at Goodreads, planted my nose in its binding, and inhaled the intoxicating scent of literature.

I have a certain love of used books that I don’t have for brand new ones. I love all books, don’t get me wrong, but the old, preowned books have a past. A history, if you will. They are the elderly matriachs and patriachs of literature waiting to share their tales with a new generation. I bought a copy of  The Catcher In The Rye, it’s pages are yellowed and some of them bent up on the edges. While I read it, I don’t just get involved in the story, but also contemplate the book’s past. Was it once an assignment for a high school student who tossed it aside and forgot about it until his or her mother cleaned out the closets? Did a college student sell it to this bookstore in hopes to recoup what little money he or she could in order to pay for basic necessities, a practice not unknown to struggling students? Perhaps it belonged to a professor, and it’s pages are yellowed and bent from being near his or her bedside and read over and over again. These are the kinds of things I consider when I buy used books.

Moby Dick is hiding in that pile somewhere, too.

This is no good for my book hoarding obsession, I admit. I could have walked out with many, many more books. Adopted them from their virtual book shelter, where they’ve been placed in hopes of finding a new home. I promise myself I will read all of the books on my “to-read” list. I will. I’m already halfway through Catcher In The Rye, although I’ve been reading Moby Dick for months. Honestly, there are some books from which I need a short break before picking up again. Such is the case with Cloud Atlas, which I am now finally halfway through, as well. However, in my defense, that one’s on my Kindle app, and after a while my eyeballs are ready to fall out.

Pretty sure I'll be able to finish this one in the next day.
Pretty sure I’ll be able to finish this one in the next day.

 

My list of books to read is ever-growing, and it will continue to grow. My lust for reading will never be satiated. I had a wonderful art teacher in high school who once asked, “What are you going to do when you’ve read up all the books in the world?” I answered, “Write my own.”

Faust

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For several days over the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across the topic of Faust via different forums: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Anyway, this recurrence has reminded me of an occurrence that took place  when I was 15. My mom took me and a friend to a book store in an area mall, I forget which one. I’d just finished reading most of The Vampire Chronicles in which Faust is referenced many times. So, I wanted to read Faust. I really enjoy books that lead me onto other things, that reference classic literature or themes about which I can learn. One thing I enjoyed about Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles was her use of geography. I even did a report for my sophomore geography class, a project that required us to read a book and describe the different places written about in it, on The Vampire Lestat (I was already reading it at the time, so I figured, What the hell?).

This graphic novel is in pieces. It once belonged to my dear friend who is now deceased. It's one of the few keepsakes I have from her. Most others, including all photos, were destroyed in the hurricane.
This graphic novel is in pieces. It once belonged to my dear friend who is now deceased. It’s one of the few keepsakes I have from her. Most others, including all photos, were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.
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Is it apparent how many times I’ve read this book?

At any rate, I asked the bookstore clerk about Faust, as I wasn’t able to find it on the shelves. He rudely advised me I should have come as soon as I’d gotten my book list because they’d run out from other students buying them up. I was so confused, and I asked what he was talking about. He asked me if I were buying the book for school. I said, “No, I’m buying it for myself.” His response, “Wow, impressive.” I still took him for a dumbass.

The aforementioned book
The aforementioned book

Epilogue: He ordered the book, and I read it. Then a pen pal of mine sent me copy of the book written in both English and German, as I was studying German at the time. I still have both copies. They survived Hurricane Katrina in a plastic Rubbermaid container that, although it weighed at least a hundred pounds, floated inside my house. All of my books were left unscathed.

This container survived, as did my books inside it. Unfortunately, I lost many others that weren't in the container.
This container survived, as did my books inside it. Unfortunately, I lost many others that weren’t in the container.

 

My husband actually discovered them, and my cat, just a day after I’d written in my journal how I wished my books and my cat had survived. It was 33 days later. The cat has since run away, but the books remain.

Stewie the Cat, who suffered from PTSD after Hurricane Katrina and ran away just before Christmas of 2011.
Stewie the Cat, who suffered from PTSD after Hurricane Katrina and ran away just before Christmas of 2011. This photo was taken in the trailer we lived in after the hurricane.

Terror-ific Tales


Happy Halloween! The most wonderful day of the year. It’s almost sad the Halloween season has come to an end. (Well, it doesn’t really have to end, does it? Some of us prefer to be delightfully frightful all the time.)

Started the afternoon with the original shock rocker, the wonderfully horrifying and deliciously frightening Mr. Alice Cooper on the iPod. So glad he’s still touring because maybe one day I’ll get to see him live. I’m keeping the nightmare alive.

Unfortunately, we’re confined to the hospital room today, but we’re satisfying the spirits with some Tim Burton classics and enjoying the decorations.

I’m working on another scary story to share tonight. You can read more about it here. (P.S. The frightful fun isn’t going to end just because Halloween has passed. I’m going to continue to share my own and accept your stories. >;8} )

But aside from sharing my scary stories with everyone, I’d like to share some unnerving Halloween entertainment with you. Some of my favorite books and haunting tales.

1) Anything by Poe. Really. Just anything. But if you’d like something more specific, some of my favorites:

– Premature Burial. I had this story on tape (yes, tape), and hearing it read was way more terrifying than reading it. This story is scary stuff.

– Masque of the Red Death. “There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust.” Enough said.

-The Tell Tale Heart. In case you’re not familiar with this story, it involves murder, severe anxiety, and pulling up a few floor boards.

-The Black Cat. One of my favorites as a kid. I’ve always loved cats. Apparently, Poe’s characters didn’t, but they loved walling or holing people inside of things.

-The Pit and the Pendulum. What’s scarier than the Spanish Inquisition?

-The Raven. A classic. Needs no explanation.

2) Stephen King. Same as Poe. Just about anything the King of Horror has produced will induce fear. But again, I’ll share some of my favorites.

-Salem’s Lot. What? Vampires are really nightmarish creatures that want you to die in a horrible manner or else turn you into a demon-like monster like themselves? No sparkles here. Scary as hell.

-Pet Sematary. If Fluffy or Boo Boo kicks the bucket, just let them go. Seriously. You don’t want to know the alternative.

-Misery. Because being a writer isn’t terrifying enough.

-Gerald’s Game. A good example of why bondage is not a good idea in a secluded setting.

-Night Shift. Collection of short stories including The Lawnmower Man, Jerusalem’s Lot, Trucks, and Children of the Corn.

I could go on forever . . . Or at least for several hours or maybe a day.

3) Samuel Taylor Coleridge

-The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. If you think this tale is just a bunch of hooey you learned in 12th grade lit class, think again. This poem involves sailors lost at sea, death, a curse, a ghostly vessel manned by a nightmarish woman (“Life-in-Death, was she”) and Death, and living corpses.

“They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

“The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools –
We were a ghastly crew.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

4) Mary Shelley

-Frankenstein. I love this story. Forget everything you saw in a Universal Movie when you read it. It’s chilling, sinister, and moving.

There are so many more wonderfully chilling stories and novels available. This is a terribly short list. But it’s a start. Happy haunting boys and ghouls!