Empty Words

Leave the page blank long enough and it starts looking clean rather than empty.

Leave the page blank long enough and it starts looking clean rather than empty.

Have you ever wished Mrs Fringe would stop whining and shut the fuck up? Today is your day. I am taking a break. At the moment, I’m not sure how long, maybe I’ll change my mind tomorrow, next week, next year (so go ahead and stay subscribed for a while), I don’t know.

Words and writing have always been such an integral part of who I am, I’m honestly not sure who I am without them.  But as I’ve always said, I write to be read, I write to be half of a dialogue–spoken or not.  About a year ago I came to the conclusion that my fiction isn’t going anywhere.  That was a very difficult, painful conclusion.  I made self deprecating jokes and gave myself lectures.  Ok, you suck– big deal, so do most people.  Welcome to the ranks.  Sure I have occasional bouts of the dreaded hope, and send out some queries or write a story, but that faith that it will happen?  Not so much. I don’t have writer’s block, if you’re wondering–I’ve got plenty of ideas and notes and internal discipline; if someone offered me a contract tomorrow I’d be back to work within an hour. I have always written the stories and characters that I love, that I would want to find in the bookstore. But I don’t write for myself, I write hoping to offer others what I love to read, that sense of Yes. This author gets it, and has given voice to my thoughts, breathed life into characters I want to spend hours with. Many (most?) fiction writers disagree, and believe you should write for yourself.  Perhaps they’re right, but it hasn’t worked for me.

I kept blogging because it’s different than writing fiction, offers something else without pesky hopes, dreams, or expectations. I have tried to use humor (often gallows humor, but still) to address real and sometimes frightening issues.  Mostly I kept blogging for the same reason I started, a space to be a whole person, more than any one label or role I fill in the “real” world, to connect and have conversations with others, listening and being listened to. Now I am depleted. At this moment I see no point in blogging about writing if I’m not writing, no point in blogging about being a woman standing up for other women and women’s rights when my country has made it clear it isn’t interested in women’s rights and safety, no point in blogging about democracy when my country has voted for a demagogue, no point in blogging about the struggles facing people of color when the country has aligned itself with the KKK, no point in laying out the struggles of dealing with chronic illnesses in loved ones when the majority, including some who have cried with me, has just made it clear that ultimately, they don’t care and don’t want to hear it.

I know that many who are better, smarter, more evolved and generous souls than I am are sending out messages of hope, reassurances of caring, safety, and continued efforts.  Very lovely, and necessary.  Right now, I can’t do it, and frankly, I think it was the assumption that in the end people will put shared humanity above differences that has led us to where we are right now.

Many of my regular readers and commenters are not American, which has been an amazing, beautiful thing; WordPress is a fabulous platform, allowing me to feel that I have connected with others outside of my immediate, narrow margins. That said, I am American, and the American people have spoken–I am to pick a label and that is the sum of who I am. How boring. Hell, it makes me yawn just to think about it, who wants to log on and read a label?

Celebrate with Mrs Fringe

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Yesterday was my 3 year blogoversary.

3 years isn’t that long and my number of subscribers isn’t very large in the context of the “big” blogs, but I can say, without reservation, it all feels pretty damned fine to me.

When I began, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted Mrs Fringe to look like, or exactly what it would encompass.  I said from the beginning (and have continued to say) I wanted a space to be honest, to feel like a whole person, and a spot to prompt myself to write with just enough pressure but no actual, strict obligations.  Maybe I thought it would scratch my writing itch.  It hasn’t, in terms of fiction; instead, it’s an addition. I didn’t know how much I needed it, or how important this blog would become to me, my sense of self, or the growing number of fabulous people I’d meet through blogging.  I didn’t know I’d grow bold enough to post fiction, organized enough to create multiple pages with permanent links under the header in hopes of making navigation easier for readers. I didn’t know if it would attract any readers, let alone regular followers and commenters, but it has, and I thank every one of you for taking the time, making the effort.  A huge thank you to WordPress, for offering a platform that even a luddite like myself could navigate.

It’s funny how blogging has become such a part of my world.  As I go about my days in real time/space, each experience becomes a possible post, every oddity that catches my eye something that has me reaching for the camera.

The other day I took Art Child downtown, for a free workshop for teen artists, sponsored/presented by Sprite and Complex, hosted by Pen & Pixel.

While we were on line waiting to meet Art Child’s friend and her mom, I thought this is what life on the economic fringe in New York means, this is what Mrs Fringe is about.

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Life on the fringe has its own set of stresses and stressors.  There are so many, many opportunities here in New York, often closed to those of us on strict budgets.  But sometimes you fall into something that’s cool, and free, and you actually get your shit together and register early enough to get your kiddo into this cool, free opportunity, and haul yourself on the 2 train to the N train to the J train, to a neighborhood that can’t quite decide if it’s going to gentrify or remain industrial, and it’s worth it. They’re running several events out of this pop-up storefront this summer, this one was a Photoshop/Design workshop, but they’re sponsoring others in music, comedy, cooking, and film.  It’s about supporting and enabling creativity in young people.

Tattoo while I wait?

Tattoo while I wait?

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

I thought there would be a spot where I could sit out of the way, or go in for coffee, while the girl was in the workshop.  Hmm, my choice seemed to be browsing industrial-sized cooking appliances or blowing a week’s budget in a chi-chi juice bar.  But then one of the execs came over to my friend and I as we were saying goodbye to the girls (I get it, parents hovering over the kids at the computers isn’t exactly the photo ops they’re looking for, plus he wanted to confirm Art Child was within the age group they’re insured for, she looks younger) and offered to buy us coffee. Nice.

By the time we were seated and our orders were taken, coffee became wine and a lovely food plate, and I had put in a plug for Mrs Fringe–I really need to get better at this, if I’m ever going to truly grow this blog–and we spent an hour talking about parenting, cyberbullying, encouraging teens and young adults, raising girls, and S&M.

Sometimes life in Fringeland leads me to some pretty interesting moments and people; thank you for sharing them with me.

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Downturn on the Upswing

Lucky day.

Lucky day.

Yesterday I woke up and smiled.  43°F felt like spring compared to the single digits I’ve been waking up to. I was exfoliating my pits trying to scrape the last bits of deodorant on, when I remembered I had a brand new stick in the closet. The sun made an appearance and stayed out all day. I walked a dog through  Central Park, and enough ice had melted so the paths were wet but relatively clear.  We learned that Art Child was accepted to a high school she feels good about, as do we.

This morning when I woke, it didn’t feel as warm. Sunrise came and left behind a gray sky. Disappointing, but still not bad. The mounds of snow at curbs and corners are disgustingly black and slick, but they’re melting.  I took Art Child to school, and I slipped. Luckily, I broke the fall with my face.


Oh yes. I went down hard and fast, didn’t have a chance to try to break the fall with my hands. See the black chunks that look like slabs of asphalt? That’s snow in Manhattan after a couple of weeks, and I slipped on a very similar looking mound.  My entire left side was covered in black muck and who knows what else.  I could just cry thinking about how I’m going to get this crap out of my beautiful sheepskin fingerless gloves. I opted to go home and shower before heading to the urgent care place for X-rays. A good thing, because it also gave me a chance to stop shaking.

My face is bruised and hurts, but not broken. My arm is sore and swollen, but probably not broken. The urgent care didn’t have the right machine (?) to X-ray my pelvis, if my lower half gets significantly worse I’m supposed to head to the ER for more X-rays.

After loading up on ibuprofen and acetaminophen, I figured I’d blog about my little adventure.  Turns out I’ve used up all the storage available with a free domain.  Upgrade time, we’re now at mrsfringe.com instead of mrsfringe.wordpress.com–this should also mean if you saw ads before, you won’t now, and you should automatically be redirected if you’re visiting from a link or bookmark.

I think this is now me.

I think this is now me.

Fuck spring, I want summer.

What Was I Saying?



I had something specific in mind for today’s post, but I seem to have lost it. By the time I took this photo, I had already been awake for an hour, and this was five hours ago.  Actually, I first woke at 4am, when my phone gave a little brrrring to let me know I had a message from WordPress.  After my alarm went off and I had a cup of coffee in hand, I checked the message, thinking someone from a different time zone had left a new comment. Nope, it was just a notice letting me know Mrs Fringe had had a spike of views and activity.  Not earth shattering, but more than usual.  Ok, thank you!  Now I see I’ve had quite a few more hits than usual over the last several hours, and can’t figure out why.  I had a brief moment of oh! maybe I’ve been Freshly Pressed again! Nope. My stats aren’t showing that someone linked a post, no new comments, I have no clues.

And I’ve been busy. Very busy playing with my rocks

Turns out using mortar to hold rock together isn't as easy as it looks.

Turns out using mortar to hold rock together isn’t as easy as it looks.

And making water. S-l-o-w-l-y.  Water has to be specially filtered for a reef tank, so as not to kill the (future) corals and invertebrates.  That super-duper make reverse osmosis deionized water is an agonizing process.  Most of the water runs right back down the drain, and the RO/DI water pretty much dribbles out.  I’d have to have another tank to test my theory, but I’m fairly certain I could spit and fill the tank at the same speed.

The evaporation rate may cancel out the fill rate.

The evaporation rate may cancel out the fill rate.

Most of my writing buddies are gearing up for NaNoWriMo now.  I don’t do NaNo, it just isn’t how I write. I guess I’m like that filter, spits and spurts rather than a steady stream.  Unless it’s an agent or editor lurking and viewing my old posts, in which case, rest assured I will produce at whatever pace is requested, because I’m trampy that way.

I’ll leave you with a song that was playing in the grocery store this morning, that I hadn’t heard in way too long.

All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

pole dance studio

pole dance studio (Photo credit: wwphotos)

But I’m not talking about pole dancing.   I’ve seen several interesting blog posts recently discussing blogging, inviting readers to talk about who they are, why they blog, what their blogs focus on.  Maybe WordPress threw the idea out there, offered a challenge, I don’t know.  It’s Sunday morning and the beasts woke me up too early so I’ll jump on the bandwagon, too tired to be clever on my own.  Because in a way, blogging isn’t so different from pole dancing.  “Look at me, check out this nifty spin, ooh, Mister, would you throw a dollar my way–I’ll give you a peek under another layer.”

There was a recent discussion on the writer’s forum about blogging.  The profitability or lack thereof, return on investment, etc.  I think the conclusion was that author’s blogs aren’t worth (financially) the time and work required to keep them going.  I didn’t participate in the discussion, but I read, and I’m thinking about it.  I don’t blog because I’m an author, I’m not selling anything.  No book being hawked, no freelancing.  Sure, if I ever sell a book I’ll post about it, add a link so the curious and flush can purchase it.

Buy More Stuff, Black Friday 2008

Buy More Stuff, Black Friday 2008 (Photo credit: Michael Holden)

A lot of writers, published and unpublished, also run blogs.  Many of them blog about writing.  How to.  I have to admit, I find the vast majority of writing blogs boring.  Is that awful to put into the foreverness that is the internet?  Sorry.  Doesn’t mean they’re bad.  It’s subjective, after all (my favorite song).  Maybe I’m delusional, but I don’t think I need to read 8000 regurgitated versions of THE FIRST FIVE PAGES, ON WRITING,  or THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE.   I own all three, have read them, reread them, dissected them many times.

I follow several writer’s blogs but most are talking about more than writing.  They’re fun or touching or snarky, discuss a personal journey, or downright silly.  They represent the person blogging. To me, that’s what blogging is, personal.  I also follow a few agent/editor’s blogs–those are different, meant to inform by those who actually know what they’re talking about–and still, good reads that offer a sense of who the individual is.  Or at least the persona fronting the blog.

Mrs Fringe is not only not a writing blog, I don’t consider it an “author’s blog.”  I’m a blogger who also writes fiction.  When the coffee grounds appear in just the right pattern and I’m offered a contract I don’t expect I’ll sell 750,000 copies as a result of this blog.  I’m pretty sure that’s about what I’d need to sell to in order to say the hours spent on blogging (writing posts, responding to comments, reading other people’s posts and commenting on theirs) were monetarily worth it.

But I don’t blog as a marketing tool.  I blog because it’s fun, it’s a release, I’ve made and continue to make fabulous connections with other bloggers–many of whom have nothing to do with the world of writing or publishing.  And when I think about it, I don’t consider my time here in Fringeland as time I should be spending working on my fiction or wasted words.  It’s rejuvenating.  And when I am spending a lot of hours writing, I don’t spend a lot of hours on blogging.

If I’m on the pole it’s at home in my raggedy old yoga pants, no dollars in sight.  Of course I hope that somehow, some way, the time spent blogging will provide a boost to my yet-to-be-established writing career.  But that isn’t why I do it.

What about you?  Do you blog for professional reasons?  Marketing?  Display your art?  The opportunity to make connections?  Be positive?  Spread the Word?  The chance to anonymously scream out all the suckage in your life?  And if you aren’t a blogger, but you’re a reader of blogs, what draws you in and keeps you coming back?

Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

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Not So Shiny Anymore

broke in boots

broke in boots (Photo credit: patricia kranenberg)

Getting comfy, some scratches, some stretching, a few dings to make it homey.  Yup, this is my 100th post.  Happy Centennial to Mrs Fringe!

I was wondering what I would to to celebrate my 100th, and Diana, of  Talk to Diana, completely came through in her Wednesday post.  She wrote about this excellent neato-groovy-cool WordPress site, Reader’s Choice.  Wordpress bloggers can nominate their favorite post (yes, favorite post from their own blog) and have it featured, reaching a larger audience.  How cool is that?  I like this idea.  I enjoy blogging, and I love obsessing over my stats, watching my audience grow and having new people join the regulars in the comments section.

So, that’s what I’m going to do to celebrate my pigheaded sticktoitiveness.  Also, my poetic license with the English language.

Does Reader’s Choice really have a wide reaching audience? I have no clue, but that’s okay.

After all, these boots were made for walking. But I’m asking for my Fringelings’ help.  It’s only fair, because this post is as much a celebration of my Fringie followers as it is Mrs Fringe.  Thank you!!   I’m going to list a handful of what I think are my favorites, and I’m asking you to help me decide by casting a vote. Or nominate one you think I overlooked.  You can do that here in the comments section, by commenting on Mrs Fringe’s Facebook page, or Tweet @MrsFringe–I’m not sure how to link to Twitter, you can go through the little Twitter symbol on the left side of the page here.  If you haven’t already signed to follow me on Twitter, or liked me on Facebook, it’s a perfect opportunity.  I reserve the right to change my mind, go with the post that gets the most votes, or the reader who presents the most convincing argument.  I had a harder time than expected, choosing which ones to post.  Obviously I’m too in love with the sound of my own voice.

In no particular order, all posts were chosen for one of three reasons; a) I liked how it came out, b) I had fun writing it, or c) I remembered the title:

Once Upon A Time

Is It Trash Day

Hey Artist, Got A Dollar

And, Have An Orgasm

Maiden, Mother, Crone

Is It Appropriate to Mourn A Glass Box

Blogging With A Scarlet B

The End

First draft of the short story, finished.

Confetti, Times Square

Confetti, Times Square (Photo credit: StuartMoreton)

I’m working on graphics, because I want the pages to have unicorns watermarked on them when printed.  The unicorns will be bright blue, to make the reading of the royal purple print easier on the eyes.  I’m going to ask the people here at WordPress how they made the snow appear on the blogs during the holidays, because I want glitter to positively bounce off the screen.

As you know, Bob, I was sure to describe every last detail, so my readers don’t have to get stressed out using their imagination, or trying to make personal connections. My protagonist has long golden locks, aquamarine eyes, and legs that go all the way to her slender feet.  And a prettily heaving bosom. Also, she’s as pure as the driven cornfield, though sometimes her naughty bits tingle alarmingly. She sighs, whispers, pleads, and gasps, but never says. That would be boring. She does it all beseechingly, but endearingly. Nothing ever happens, and there’s no plot, so there’s no confusion when the aliens pop out of her concave belly and threaten her hero’s throbbing manhood. It’s wholesome in the way only urban and edgy can be.


Barbie_01 (Photo credit: MarinaCr)

I have Copyright in the header of every page, next to my pseudonym, Pink Peony, so no one steals my brilliance. They can do that right through the Googles these days. Now I’m going to put together an email and will cc it to every editor and agent listed in the Publisher’s Marketplace, 2003 edition. Don’t worry, I’ll let them know to act fast, before someone else signs me.  My children and husband–who all loved the story, by the way–are standing by to field phone calls.  Frankly, I’m surprised I even have to send it out.  My words are GOLDEN! like my heroine’s hair.

So…yes. Mrs Fringe did finish the first draft of a short story. And it does have much suckage, lots of telling and not enough showing. But it has a beginning, middle, and an end. It’s a start.

Mrs Fringe Is 50!


Present (Photo credit: ejorpin)

Yup, this is my fiftieth post.  Is this a big deal in the world of blogging? Nope, but it means something to me.

There’s something about the number that feels like commitment. When I’m working on a full length manuscript, 50 pages is my magic spot.  It means I’ve gone further than just trying an idea, seeing how it flows, can I sustain it?  Nope, when I hit 50 pages I’m all in.  The characters are fleshed out enough to feel real, I’m thinking about them in the shower, and wake up thinking about what they will do today.  The conflicts are getting layered, serious.  In the world of submissions, agents and editors will often ask for a partial; usually the first three chapters or 50 pages if they might be interested after seeing a query letter.  So all of those 50 pages had better be fan-freakin-tastic. Not that you can stop writing and query at this point, don’t bother until you have a completed, edited, re-edited and re-re-edited manuscript.

Because 50 pages isn’t magical commitment for everyone.

turn page

turn page (Photo credit: andy.brandon50)

Much to my initial surprise, I’ve met quite a few writers over the years who have several 50 pages; all starts to manuscripts they never finished.  I was a lot more understanding of the “rules” of publishing, warning writers (unless you are WELL established and WELL published) not to send a query if you don’t have a completed full, once I met a few of those writers.

At fifty posts here in Mrs Fringe land, I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve got fringie followers! Not quite 50, but close. I’ve got readers who come by regularly and check out what’s happening, whether they’re official followers or not. I’ve got people who stop by and take the time to comment and join in the conversation; some of whom I know in real life, and a growing number who I’m getting to know through blogging.

And that is what it’s all about.  Blogging is writing, it’s a space to share my thoughts and views, and hear the thoughts and views of others.  It has introduced me to other blogs and other bloggers. In other words, communicating.  Connecting. Growing. The blog is growing–slowly, but steadily. And Mrs Fringe is growing.

My life outside of WordPress is fairly chaotic. Evidenced by weeks when there are only two posts, and other weeks when there are six.  So I’m sending a big thank you to my Fringie readers, followers, and likers on Facebook, for hanging on to the fringe with me, finding out where it takes us.

More canoli

More canoli (Photo credit: diongillard)

Have a canoli, it’s on me.