Month: October 2013

And Mrs Fringe Obsesses, doesn’t get much spookier!


smoke (Photo credit: DaleKav)

Yup, that’s me thinking.

Not that I’m thinking clearly or productively–overslept again this morning,–but still.  I had a solid, productive day on the WIP yesterday, so I’m good.

You’ve all read my rambles about why I write, what I hope for, what I dream of.  Bottom line for those who skip my angsty posts; I write to be read, to tell a story that will resonate with readers, in hopes of earning a dollar.

Over time, as my income and standards have dropped and my age has increased, I have fewer expectations, a more fractious relationship with hope.  But whatever principles I’ve got left are still strong.  Most of my writing related plans have remained the same.  Write, edit, write, edit, edit, query.  I added the blog–which has been fabulous–queries have changed from snail mail to email–also fabulous.   I don’t get quite as excited as I used to with every query, have a much better understanding of how to not read too much into every little comment I receive.

Money cash

Money cash (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

One principle that hasn’t changed for me–if anything, gotten firmer–is that writing is work, and therefore I want to be paid for anything published.  Not that anything’s been published, but this means I’m a) still searching for an agent (publishing houses that accept unagented manuscripts tend to also not pay advances) and b) I don’t submit short stories to mags that don’t pay at least a nominal fee on acceptance.  I’ve heard odds of having a piece accepted by one of the “big,” known literary mags are smaller than the odds of winning the lottery.  I think I’m a good writer, but let’s face it, Mrs Fringe doesn’t have quite the draw of oh, say, Margaret Atwood or Salman Rushdie.

First publication rights are what most literary magazines want on acceptance, means the piece hasn’t been published anywhere else.  Without those rights, they don’t want the piece.  Why am I rambling about this crap again today?  Well, I was thinking…what if I said fine, I’m willing to burn first publication rights on a story.  Or two.  Or three.  Posting a story here on the blog counts as published when it comes to rights.  So…what?  If I post a story here, it won’t earn me a dollar.  But it would get a story read by at least two of my five readers.  I think.  Maybe that story would resonate with one of the two.  Maybe that would give me some affirmation.  Maybe both would say wow Mrs Fringe really is full of suckage, I’m never going to buy anything of hers if she’s ever published.  Maybe two of the three that didn’t read the story will say screw that pretentious Fringe, I’m going to unfollow her.

What do you think, Fringelings?  I’m seriously asking your opinions and would love to hear your thoughts on this subject–whether you’re a writer, reader, or fellow wannabe.

I just don’t know.  Seems like I don’t really have a lot to lose, and I could gain something.  Maybe.

Happy Halloween Fringelings!

Stop Stepping on my Castle!

Fotosequenza - Castle Blaster

Fotosequenza – Castle Blaster (Photo credit: p!o)

I don’t know what it is, this inner drive that prompts me to write.  I can and have theorized, but I don’t know.  Clear to me as I try to find my way back to a disciplined routine this week–this “thing” includes whopping doses of masochism and delusion.

On masochism there’s the obvious, rejections.  But honestly, I haven’t faced that many rejections this year because I haven’t sent out all that many submissions or queries.  Yes, yes, I said I would have at least two pieces out on submission at all times this year.  I lied.  Sue me.  Then there’s the masochism of sharing your work with anyone.  Critiquing, being critiqued, or just being read.  I fall behind on official submissions, but I still like to be certain I’m being spanked regularly by sending work to a) people I know it isn’t their thing, and/or b) people who take for-ev-er to respond.  Gives me plenty of time to obsess about how appalled they are by my words, and how they’re never ever going to speak to me again.

Image of sado-masochism

Image of sado-masochism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then there’s the masochism of connecting with other writers.  For the camaraderie, the understanding and support.  Mmmm hmm.  Sometimes it works that way, sometimes it doesn’t.  And usually when it doesn’t, I know better.  I know better as I’m digging that six foot hole, telling myself to drop the shovel and keep moving.  Don’t respond on that thread, Mrs Fringe, it’s a trap you cannot avoid.  Like, say, trying to explain and defend that nebulous category of literary fiction.  Ridiculous, really.  Who am I to defend the validity of lit fic?  Unpublished, uneducated, my roots are anything but the ivory tower assumed by many when they see the term “literary.”  I sit and sputter and shout at the screen.  But I don’t keep moving and respond anyway.  Why?  Masochism is the only answer.

No it isn’t.  Because now my old friend walks in.  Hello, Delusion!  Walks in and snuggles against me on the couch, plying me with café  con leche and unsweetened iced tea as I write.  Whispering, “You can do this, you have to do this.  A few people like your work.  One manuscript, one agent, one publisher.  That’s all you need, and then a few more will find your words and like them.”

That’s all I need.  So clear, so simple;  so ever-loving subjective I sometimes wonder if my time would be better spent dreaming of lottery numbers.  Or doing laundry.

I may be delusional and masochistic, but  I know we’ve got to have clean bloomers.  I also know that some of the very same people who sneer at lit fic refer to their manuscripts as their babies, being critiqued and sending out queries as sending their children into the world.

Yeah, no.  I put a lot into my writing.  I fall in love with these characters I create, no matter how broken.  I write, read, obsess, polish, rip apart over and over again.  I love my children, obsess over them, hold my breath in fear and pride as they move out into the world.  But I don’t rip them apart or ask others to do so, shrug and move on, dig one out five years later and say hey, if I trim some of the fat off this one I can try again,  think of the older ones as learning experiences.

Delusions or not, this day has to move forward.  I bet if I search all the way at the back of the dresser drawers, I can find a a pair of clean underwear.   Opening the WIP….

Marat/Sade (film)

Marat/Sade (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things That Go Bump in the Day


Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We love Halloween.  Well, I’m not sure if Husband really loves it, but the rest of us here in Fringeland do, so he smiles along.   Man Child has been Jack Skellington twice, all three of my kiddos knew all the lyrics to the soundtrack of the Nightmare Before Christmas before they knew their ABCs.  This afternoon there’s going to be a party in my building for the kiddos.  A nice idea, and so I went out early this morning to hit the grocery store.  I saw a meme thingie on Facebook for mummy-hot dogs, what a great idea!  Easy, not too pricey, something in addition to candy to eat.  OK, I’m using tofu dogs, but still.  My sweetie is really looking forward to this.  I’m not sure why, but the Halloween oogie boogies, ghosts, vampires, and banshees don’t bother her at all.  (no gore though, please)

You don’t get the house to house trooping through dusk here in the city, we do vertical trick or treating, for the most part.  This has its advantages, no worries about your little superhero freezing in a costume.

I didn’t leave early enough.  The train reeked of young adults on their way home (subway of shame?) with last night’s booze steaming from their pores.  Cold outside, hot in the tunnels, lots of vodka sweat.

20101009 1818 - NYC - subway - tunnels - IMG_2309

20101009 1818 – NYC – subway – tunnels – IMG_2309 (Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))

Then the store was packed.  I was on line longer than it took me to finish my shopping–on both floors!

Fine.  I get back to my neighborhood and decide to stop in to the temporary Halloween store before going home.  Meant I was lugging groceries, but didn’t have Flower Child with me.  Sounds mean, doesn’t it?  I mean, here I am, going into the store to get make-up for her costume, but preferred to do so without her.  Bad, bad mama.  Practical mama, too.  Flower Child cannot make decisions.  I don’t know why or what misfiring synapses cause this, but she can’t decide.  Ever.  On anything.  So something like standing in front of a wall of makeup to decide which tubes of face paint could take two hours–and result in both of us needing to go home and crash–screw the mummies, let those other kids eat candy corn.  But I’m being a good mama today, damn it!  Supporting creative costumes!  Buying ghoulish makeup!  Supplying tofu mummies!  So I went without her.

Great!  Except now I’m looking at a wall of theatrical makeup, trying to decide what looks easiest to apply, wash off, most versatile, trying to fit into the budget.  Halloween costumes have come a LONG way since I was a kid.  I know, it’s hard to believe, but I was once a kid.  Wore my mother’s gold hoop earrings, red lipstick from my grandma, and a black nylon blouse from my mother’s closet–voila!  A gypsy!  I’m sorry, it was long before the idea of gypsies being politically incorrect for a Halloween costume hit Brooklyn.  Anyway, here I was  and somehow, I ended up one too-rapid breath from a full blown panic attack in the store.  What. The. Fuck.

I’ve had panic attacks before, but not in years.  Years and years.  Multiple children and lifetimes ago.  A tube of gray face paint had caught my eye.  The exact shade of gray I’ve seen on Flower Child too many times during seizures.  I don’t know what happened, I really don’t.  I mean, I know, it’s scary shit watching your kiddo turn colors human beings were never meant to be,  hearing a shriek like no other as the air is pushed out of their lungs, watching them stop breathing, feeling completely powerless, wondering if this will end quickly or be one of the ones that goes on and on until you’re in the ER reporting the sequence of events to the 18th doctor.  But it’s Halloween!  Fun scary, not mama’s flipping her lid for absolutely no reason whatsoever scary.

Flower Child was fine when I left, fine when I got home.   She’s happily playing with the makeup I grabbed.  I didn’t buy the gray.

Good Peasant Stock

This morning I gave up.  When I woke, it was 42* outside, windchill of 37*, probably 33* when factoring in the wind tunnel of my terrace.  That’s right, I cried uncle and put socks on.

Sock Prayer Flags.

Sock Prayer Flags. (Photo credit: knitting iris)

I have a love/hate relationship with socks.  Mostly hate.  I prefer barefoot or flip-flops.  I always make sure I have at least one pair of shoes that are fuzzy inside so I can delay the dreaded opening of the sock drawer as long as possible.  But then…there are so many cool socks out there.  Patterns, colors, silky, cozy, cushy, and itchy.  Can’t forget itchy.   They can be a boost on a cold morning, getting your toes warm and bright yarn to pierce a gray sky.

I always preferred barefoot.  When I was a kid and running down the outside stairs without shoes on, my grandmother would yell behind me, “Fringie, the dogs make sissy out there!  There’s glass!”  Both true.  Remember, I didn’t grow up in the country, these were the streets of South Brooklyn, no garbage cans on every corner, cracked cement, before NY was cleaned up for tourists, before the young and hip discovered the outer boroughs,  before pooper scooper laws.

Here in Manhattan I don’t often see anyone barefoot outside.  Once in a while, though, usually a young woman late at night or early in the morning carrying stilettos.  Even I want to yell at her, “The dogs make sissy out here!”

As a teen, I would go to the beach and walk the boardwalk barefoot.  The boardwalk used to be wood, no practical composite materials.  Old weathered boards.  At night, I could be found in my room with a pair of tweezers, picking the splinters out of the soles of my feet.  By then, my feet were so calloused I didn’t feel the splinters going in or out.  What did I do with my shoes while I was on the boardwalk or the beach?  I can’t remember.

Coney Island, New York boardwalk on a foggy night.

Coney Island, New York boardwalk on a foggy night. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I’ve got the feet of an old peasant.  Makes sense, I am an old peasant.  Doesn’t matter if I spend 99 cents or $8.00 on a pair of socks, the average lifespan is a season.  Or it would be, if I threw them out once they had holes.  I don’t.  Not until the holes can no longer be twisted and arranged so my toe doesn’t poke through inside my shoe while I’m walking.  That’s uncomfortable.  I’m sorry Man Child,  you got my feet.

Husband has the feet of royalty.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear through a pair of socks.  And he wears them :shudder: all year long.

English: Feral Goat on Island Davaar. At the t...

English: Feral Goat on Island Davaar. At the time he was stood stock still and blended into the background very well. I almost walked straight past within a few feet and not notice him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carb Coma

Breakfast for lunch!!! Mangu, queso frito, sal...

Breakfast for lunch!!! Mangu, queso frito, salchichon, y juevos #dominican #breakfast #lunch #foodporn (Photo credit: pics)

Husband and I went out for breakfast this morning.  There’s a local Dominican restaurant with the best (and best priced) coffee in the city a few blocks away, and there’s nothing like a big plate of yuca con cebolla–cassava with sweet red onions and vinegar–for comfort food.  It won’t even hit my large intestine until tomorrow, but hey.

Now I feel physically the way I’ve been feeling mentally; overly stuffed, and unable to even look at more food or another word of fiction, until I can process what I’ve already taken in.

Husband asked if I got a lot of writing done yesterday.  Nope, not a word.  Not the day before or the week before either.  I’m in overload, not to be confused with overdrive.  Not writer’s block,  just a pause.


Ink (Photo credit: heidarewitsch)

Sure, there’s that little voice in my head telling me I should be writing.  I’m telling that little voice to shut up.  There are certain perks to being forty thousand years old and having written off and on for much of that time.  I know better, know when to stop giving the voice an ear.  Uncertainty about what I’ve produced?  That’s forever.  But I know I will write again, taking a break can be a break without the ceremonial gnashing of teeth and wailing that I’ll never write again .

Six weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t retreat from the world and do nothing but write for a month.  I was on a roll, and knew that inevitably real life would interfere.  And so it did.  Cycles.  Life will settle again, I will settle again, and then I’ll find myself muttering and clicking over Astonishing again.



I went here

and my head exploded at seeing the ride on mower in the quiet zone.

and my head exploded at seeing the mower in the quiet zone.

And I wore this



And I brought these

Green for turtles, green for mitochondrial disorders.

Green for turtles, green for mitochondrial disorders.


And then I did this

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When I arrived, there was a homeless man playing guitar next to the Imagine mosaic.  There’s always someone there singing and or playing.  But usually, they’re singing Imagine.  Today, as I walked past, he was playing and singing Let It Be, the song Nerd Child played and sang at my mother’s funeral.

DSCN2983 DSCN2984

I did this in honor of an exceptionally brave little warrior.  Friends across the country released balloons or planted bulbs to show support, respect, love, and mourn with a friend when we couldn’t be with her in person.

While I was in Strawberry Fields releasing balloons; a friend, along with her husband and her daughter, was laying her six year old son to rest many miles away.  Too soon, too short, too heartbreaking.  Mitochondrial disease is something that most people have never heard of, but those who know it, know it all too well.  It’s an umbrella term, the name covering many sub-disorders, but all affect multiple systems of the body.  The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells, bringing oxygen, converting food to fuel and energy. Some forms of mito disease are more aggressive than others, and different people are affected to varying degrees.  There is no cure, not much in the way of treatment, and understanding of mito diseases is really in its infancy.

I’ve never met this friend in person, never met her son, but I know her, knew him, wept for every setback and cheered for every discharge from the hospital.  I’ve already blogged about online friendships, how very real many of them are.  But some have a depth I have no words for.  Medical needs moms, special needs moms, the communities and friendships developed are invaluable and indescribable.

Mito sucks, epilepsy sucks, cystic fibrosis sucks, cancer sucks, neuro-transmitter disorders suck, von willebrand’s disease sucks, CDKL 5 sucks, all the assorted disorders rare and otherwise that most-people-can’t-even-name-the-color-of-the-ribbon suck.  But the friendships, the support?  Beautiful, pure, sometimes gut wrenching and always filled with love.

Rest in peace, sweet boy.

Let’s Make a Deal

Publicity photo of Carol Merrill, Monty Hall a...

Publicity photo of Carol Merrill, Monty Hall and Jay Stewart from the television program Let’s Make a Deal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You don’t call me a Feminazi, and I won’t call you a misogynistic asshole, okay?

If you absolutely can’t give up the term, just know you’re aligning yourself with Rush Limbaugh.  I’m not certain that he is the originator of the term, but he is the one who popularized it in the ’90’s.  I know, I know,  you’re really in favor of equality, might even be someone who self-identifies as liberal, it’s just “those women” who you’re referring to.  I understand, it’s only the emasculating ones;  who have the audacity to want equal pay, respect, control over their bodies, and access to quality, affordable childcare.   The right to not be strip searched and molested on the side of a highway.  The right to not be under continual assault for appearance, or choices in love, work,  or dress.

Lest I be accused of a man bashing post, let me stop and be clear.  I’m also speaking to women who use this term.  I know, I know, there’s nothing wrong with being a woman who embraces being a woman, meets Daddy at the door with a martini and a smile, ready to make that deal…blow job and meatloaf in exchange for an allowance.  Because,  yanno, if you’re an at home mom, taking care of the house and children isn’t really work.  And if you work outside the home, you’re still the one primarily responsible for the house and children.  Because, yanno, wimmenz work.  What?  That isn’t what you meant?

I wonder what you did mean, then.  You, a modern American woman.  Perhaps you don’t enjoy the right to own property, a right secured by earlier generations of feminists.  How about the right to not be property? Or the right to vote. That must be it.  Maybe you should share that info with the other women in the world who are still trying to secure those rights.  Or the right to call the police if you’re assaulted, regardless of what length your skirt was, or if your assailant was your husband, your father, brother, or uncle.

I have a daughter, I’d like her to be safe.  I have two sons, I’d like them to be safe.  Silly me, I’d like to be safe.  No one should have to live within a “rape culture,” yet we still do.  Tremendous strides have been made, but no, it isn’t finished.  Our society is a work in progress, and will be until every individual’s humanity is recognized and respected.

Feminazi.  Really?  Fighting for women’s rights is on par with the slaughter of sixteen million people.  How silly of me not to make the connection myself.

Sorry Fringelings.  This rant was brought to you by some disturbing comments  seen on Facebook today.  Not on my page, so I didn’t want to rant there.  Now Mrs Fringe will go back to her thoroughly subversive, militant feminist crochet work.

Tangled up in Blue

Tangled up in Blue (Photo credit: chickeninthewoods)

Sleep, You Fickle Tramp

Sleeping, relaxing

Sleeping, relaxing (Photo credit: Pascal Maramis)


Husband and I have been together a long time, but I have two relationships that are considerably longer.  One is with writing, the other is with Insomnia.

Oh, Insomnia.  The bitch who won’t let go.  Sure there’ve been a few times in my life when I’ve managed to kick her out, but sooner or later she always worms her way back into my bed.  We reached an uneasy agreement six or seven years ago.  She let me fall asleep as soon as I wasn’t upright, but in exchange she’d snuggle in and slap me awake by five AM.  Or four.  Or three.  Not fun, but doable.

Lately she’s decided she’s no longer satisfied with this arrangement.  I might or might not fall asleep within an hour of lying down, but then she gives me sneaky pinches just before I ease into sleep deeper than a  light snooze.  This cycle repeats, over and over, until at least 3AM.

Diagram of a pinch in progress

Diagram of a pinch in progress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I get up at 5:30.  This isn’t working for me.  Please, I know we’ve been together forever, but would you get the fuck out?  I promise not to badmouth you to our children, Anxiety and Caffeine.

Today I overslept.  Really overslept.

At 7:30 Husband nudged me, “Don’t you have to get up?”

WTF?  Why is he waking me up on Sunday?

“Oh shit, it’s Monday!”

I flew off the bed, woke the girl up, and got ready in record time.

Husband thinks this is a good thing, extra sleep.  Not a good thing for me when this is how I get it.  Yes, I need sleep, but I also need my alone time in the morning.  Peaceful on my terrace with my coffee, checking emails, FB, planning my day.

Now I’m crankier than I would be on two hours of sleep, migraine starting to nibble at my temporal lobe, can’t focus enough to tell myself to settle down and focus on Astonishing, and I’m pretty sure there just isn’t enough coffee to make up for this.

So you see, Insomnia, no matter how many times we try to work out an agreement that makes both of us happy, it just never works.  My Grandmother warned me about you, told me to to get involved with Money, instead, but with all the arrogance of youth, I didn’t listen.

Hippo yawn hippopotamus

Hippo yawn hippopotamus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)


Pigs, Drunks, and Amy

English: Pigs and Daffodils Pig farm and Daffo...

English: Pigs and Daffodils Pig farm and Daffodil fields (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My goodness, October 1st!  I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I’ve posted.  blahblahblahlifeexcusessadnessmuckfringeblahblahblah.

I’ve come to a very important (though I’m not sure why) realization.  Little Incredibly Dumb Dog isn’t all that dumb, she’s just a pig.  The other evening I was getting ready to walk the beasts, and the little one was being a nuisance.  I dropped my sweatshirt on top of her to keep her busy while I got the leashes.

You know, that’s supposed to be the test of doggie intelligence, how long it takes them to get out from under a towel, or some equivalent.  Imagine my surprise when it took her about 1 second.  Maybe I didn’t have it completely over her.  So I dropped it again, making sure the thing was centered.  Same result.

This is the same dog that I still have to keep a pee pad in the apartment for, even though she’s over two years old now.  She’ll do great, not use the pad at all for 10 days, and then do nothing when we’re out on a walk, come in and race to her pad to pee/poop.  And still, not always remembering that it doesn’t count if only her front half is on the pad.  Very special.  Even more special is how she’ll take a treat and run to the pad to eat it.  Thus, my conclusion–she isn’t dumb, she’s just a pig.  Eleven dingy white pounds of gross.

Yes, I’m still writing.  Slowly.  Painfully.  I hit 35,000 words earlier today, which I figure puts me about halfway through the first draft.  My protagonist, Christina, is now permanently pickled.  Half time, that moment when I close the file and have a wardrobe malfunction through blogging.

The Pin-Up by Charles Dana Gibson.

The Pin-Up by Charles Dana Gibson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do I still think Astonishing is any good?  No clue.  I’m too deep in it.  Slogging through the middle muck, trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to write her way to an ending.

So the other morning I was walking the beasts, thinking once again how much easier life would be right now if I was better at drinking.  Sadly, Mrs Fringe pretty much has a one drink a week limit.  More might sound appealing in my head, but my body doesn’t want it.  But it would be easier to put myself in Christina’s head and ride along with her downward spiral, and easier not to care when Little Incredibly Dumb Dog is rolling in another mystery puddle in the curb.  I was contemplating all of this, and then I heard a familiar voice, “Hi Amy!”

It’s a parent I used to see during drop off and pick up when Flower Child was in elementary school.  Never got to know him other than 2-5 minute chats waiting for the kids to come out or bring them in.  Nice enough guy.  Except for one thing.  My name isn’t Amy.

I don’t have any clue why he thinks it is, but he does.  For all the years I’ve been doing the parent thing, there are more parents of my kiddos’ classmates whose names I don’t know, and who don’t know my name, than who do.  I probably didn’t notice the first few times he said it.  Hey, it’s a group of parents, I’m waiting for my kid, didn’t pay that much attention.  Then I noticed, and corrected him once or twice.  Nope.  I don’t know if he didn’t hear me or has a mental block, but I decided it didn’t really matter.

I live in a fantasy fringey world of pigs and drunks, I suppose being an Amy is pretty good.  Maybe I should use Amy as a pseudonym for Astonishing.

{| style="width:100%; border:1px solid bl...

{| style=”width:100%; border:1px solid black; background:#ffe0e0; padding:0; text-align:center;” |- | This photo is of Wikis Take Manhattan goal code R13, Curb cut. |} (Photo credit: Wikipedia)