Category Archives: #amthinking

CAKE & HYPERBULL JULY 2022

Come chat about life, lyrics, and mad poetry love with Amy Zoellers and Angela Yuriko Smith. Tomfoolery, shenanigans, electric ecleticisms and the usual literary lunacy. Drop your links in chat and share yourselves and your own work.

LINKS MENTIONED: ***some of these are affiliate links.

VICTIMS by Marge Simon & Mary Turzillo: https://amzn.to/3OGsH2c
WE’LL BE PERFECT WHEN WE’RE DEAD by Laura Kester Duerrwaechter: https://amzn.to/3bM6sco

Topless Swordfights: http://tinyurl.com/2244n2kd

SpoFest Poetry & Prose: http://tinyurl.com/mvfvfudn Poetry Postcard Fest: http://tinyurl.com/22xs4hd5

NEW! Go here to visit our new LEAGUE OF MAD POETS Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/19392…

Amy Zoeller’s YouTube, Etsy and other links: https://linktr.ee/hipnessandoutrage

THE CASE FOR SILENT FIREWORKS

As many in America prepare to celebrate Independence Day, pet owners everywhere are preparing to drug their pets. Last 4th we didn’t get our dog drugs and I spent the holiday trying to calm down Dante, our poor 120 pound anxiety inflicted dog. Of all the dogs we live with, he’s the most sensitive to fireworks and thunder.

With fireworks going off every night for the week plus before the holiday, the poor guy is hyper ventilating in terror for hours and there is nothing we could do but try to soothe him. He was so scared to go outside, he had accidents in the house. Imagine sh*****g yourself in terror.

Personally, I love loud fireworks and chaos, but since I’ve seen the stress some animals endure, I’m no longer a fan. This year I hope noiseless fireworks become more common, at least in residential areas. Or perhaps people could save the celebration to just one night when pet owners can be prepared to drug their animals, the vet condoned way pet owners handle the 4th of July.

And speaking of vets… I can’t imagine all the vets who suffer PTSD. Waking up to “the bomb bursting in air” at 1 a.m. is traumatic without PTSD. Thanks for living the nightmare of war… in appreciation, have some more nightmares. Thanks for your service.

So, without shouting from a soapbox, I urge everyone to just get noiseless fireworks and light up the sky. I’ll be celebrate along with Dante and all the humans who may share his fear of loud noises. Yes, I will miss the cacophony of chaos, but why mimic bombs bursting to celebrate freedom? I think it’s a better option to celebrate freedom with light and love.

Don’t take my word for it. Here are other viewpoints on noisy fireworks:

Purchase noiseless fireworks here: Phantom Fireworks

Get Ready For The Fireworks. How To Keep Your Pets Safe And Happy This 4th Of July from npr.org

Fireworks and PTSD: How to Raise Awareness from usmc-mccs.org

It’s time for silent fireworks from The Hill

STRIVING TO DO LESS IN 2022

In a lot of ways, this last year was harder on me than 2020. I handle stress by getting busier and by mid 2021 all my busy-ness was starting to peak into insanity. I still remember brainstorming and deciding that starting a monthly virtual convention, a university for writers and a monthly contest for writers would be a good idea. It wasn’t.

Somewhere around October I realized I was being buried alive. I saw the errors of my frenetic activity but I couldn’t stop making new work. If I had a spare minute I might think about current events. The scarier the news, the more things I scheduled.

Then, last week I heard a quote from Bruce Lee that resonated with me:

It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease.
Hack away at the unessential.

Speaking of decrease reminds me of the sculptor Michelangelo. He said the statue was already waiting in the block of marble. All he had to do was chip away the excess to free the masterpiece.

I looked around at the distractions I’ve piled around myself, my task lists (yes, plural) and my jam packed schedule. The last two years have been scary and I haven’t wanted to deal with it, but in piling on all the distractions I’ve buried what matters. What sculpture is waiting trapped in my excessive doing?

This last week I’ve slowed down, cleared out my schedule and simplified. The problem with doing more is that I do nothing well. I’m just adding more noise to the world. As I close out 2021, I’m not dissatisfied. It was a good year, I accomplished a lot and I learned even more. But enough is enough. Time to listen to Bruce and cut away all the noise so the essential can be heard.

And with that, I will be back here next Saturday.

JUST NOW: FINALLY VACCINATED

Today we finally left the house and got vaccinated. We have the privilege of working from home, having everything delivered and the very few times I went out I masked up and kept my distance.

Why did it take us so long? First, since we didn’t leave the house it wasn’t a priority. That gave us another privilege: we could take our time, research and make a clear and conscious decision based on science instead of fear. In the 80s I swore to always question authority. That’s still important to me.

Now that I’m vaccinated, I’d like to bring up a few points about the current witch hunt going on against the unvaccinated. I keep seeing claims that this is a pandemic “of the unvaccinated” and this is usually accompanied by hatred.

I personally know of three people who have been told they can’t be vaccinated due to other health risks. They would like to be vaccinated, but it could damage them, their doctors say. How do you think those people feel when they hear that the unvaccinated are the scourge of the earth and to blame for all of this?

Then there are the people like me. I have the luxury of staying isolated at home. I like to make an informed decision about my vaccinations. Every time I heard someone shouting hate about the unvaccinated, it made me more cautious. That’s not an effective method for sharing valuable information. In some ways, getting vaccinated reminds me of a bunch of evangelists running around demanding everyone jump onto their faith wagon. I’m a big girl, I can make my own decisions. Being told I’m hated for thinking just makes me think harder.

The current division is ridiculous. Even among the vaccinated I’ve seen arguments between “Team Pfizer” and “Team Moderna.” Really? Personally, I’m rooting for the aliens that have been buzzing the US Warships. We need them to come down here and remind us that we are Team Human regardless of gender, race, religion et al.

Have you not yet heard about the Pentagon’s admissions that UFOs have been buzzing US warships? Surprisingly, most people haven’t. This has been ongoing since the pandemic started with the Pentagon releasing footage and even Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), admitting it a few days ago. You can catch up on all that here and use your own judgement.

And for the record, we took Johnson and Johnson.

DOES PHASMOPHOBIA ATTRACT REAL GHOSTS?

It all starts when two people share the same experience. We were recently playing Phasmophobia, a realistic ghost hunting game. Players use standard equipment like EMFs, recorders, spirit boxes to analyze what spirit is haunting a particular location. If you figure it out, you get paid. If you don’t, you lose your equipment. If the ghost catches you, you die.

Whenever I ghost hunt in real life, I get really cold so I mentioned this to the group with the suggestion that maybe we are attracting real ghosts. It was a joke until other people in our group said they experience temperature drops as well. Turns out, that’s not uncommon to feel the temps drop when playing Phas. This leads me to wonder… are we attracting ghosts through sympathetic action?

There’s only one way to find out… go ghost hunting while playing a game about ghost hunting. I’m pulling out all the equipment and over the course of the next few weeks we’re going to see if we can get any kind of ghost action while playing Phasmophobia in our home. We’ll run tests on all the equipment before, during and after each game session.

We’ll aim for Monday sessions, and I’ll post the results here. In addition, I’ll be running polls and gathering anecdotal evidence to record what kind of other odd experiences (if any) people have while playing this game. We may come up with absolutely nothing, or we may be able to document some real activity. Either way, it will be interesting.

Anyone who plays Phasmophobia is welcome to jump in with us. Up to four people can play at one time. You can find and download the game here.

If you want to watch the events unfold live, I’ll be on AussieManPlay’s stream (aka Ryan, my husband). You can find him on Twitch here. How about you? Have you ever experienced sympathetic ghost activity while playing a game, watching a movie or reading?

Want to see what Phasmophobia looks like? Here’s a trailer. The game has changed a little since then (we have bodies now) but it gives you the idea.

NOVEMBER, WHERE IT ALL BEGAN (FOR ME)

Happy, happy November.

This is my favorite month of the year. It begins in the ashes of Halloween, with Samhain and Day of the Dead. It’s my birthday month and my personal new year. It’s when I generally try to step back and revaluate what’s working and put an axe into what isn’t. November is where I start planning for the next year.

One of the things I’m after is getting back into shape. While I know we have a long, dark winter ahead of us, I think by next Spring we will be back to our new normal. StokerCon and Camp Necon are already on the schedule. There’s a lot happening in 2023 and I don’t want to spend it huffing and puffing with my pandemic flab.

No Nanowrimo for me this year. I’ll be aiming to get the rest of Soft Deadlines up on Kindle Vella. Remember last year when I tried to write a romance for Nanowrimo but the best I could do was a paranormal dark humor about a blue, Australian incubus named Duncan who was too tired out to perform? Yep, it’s been done for ages. I just wanted to give it a little polish before I posted it all.

In other news, yesterday was officially Book Release Day for the Don’t Break the Oath Women of Horror anthology Vol.4. Edited by Jill Girardi and Janine Pipewriter and with foreword by Meghan Arcuri-Moran (Vice President, Horror Writers Association) Available on Amazon Kindle and Paperback, Kobo, Apple Books/iTunes and Nook (Barnes and Noble). To Purchase: books2read.com/brokenoath

This book includes my story “Perfect Girlfriend” as well as stories from:

Jessica Burgess
R.A. Busby
Holley Cornetto
Tracy Cross
Cassie Daley
Ariel Dodson
Melissa Ashley Hernandez
Alyson Faye
Sheela Kean
Kirby Kellogg
Cecilia Kennedy
K.P. Kulski
Caryn Larrinaga
Marie McWilliams
Charlotte Platt
Samantha Ortiz
Lydia Prime
Jennifer Soucy
Anna Taborska
Sonora Taylor
Roxie Voorhees
C.C. Winchester

HOW WRITING IS LIKE MAGICK

Quiet the room, then your mind. Prepare your environment. Light candles, burn incense and play the music that empowers you. Sit before your favorite tool of connection and let your fingers brush the surface.

Can you feel the tether between you and the story that waits beyond? Like weaving with threads of gentle lightning, let your physical self snag those invisible strands and draw them into this world and onto your page. Once you have also become invisible, you are writing.

When I was in college I used to play the Ouija board a lot. It worked easy for me and was a good way to get plenty of free beer. I set up near nightly seances in my room and cover charge was a 12-pack. Through the board I could tell people secret information no one in the room knew. I could answer questions and tell the future, though I always caution taking any Ouija board too literally. I quit one night when a too-drunk me got a little too mouthy with whatever we were chatting with and then things got a little too scary for any of us.

The point of this nostalgic story is to point out how similar touching a Ouija board and touching a computer keyboard feel. There is the same sense of a massive beyond eagerly waiting just past the illusion of physical barrier. It feels like the two systems—writing and conjuring—work the same. In both, the magic happens when we simply step to one side and let the spirit/force/power/energy/flow/chi move through us and around us.

I’ve heard that Michelangelo said that the sculptures were already waiting in the marble for him. All he had to do was chip away the extra. That’s how writing can be when we open up to it. The words are there, waiting for us to pick them up and pin them to the keyboard. Mouse or planchette makes no difference. Tools are tools and they are all powered by us.

The trick is simply putting our hubris to one side and allowing the magic/magick to come through. Simple, right? As simple as slipping a dragon through a match factory. Feel free to share how you do it.

A PAUSE CREATES FRESH PERSPECTIVE AND BOUNDARIES

Getting knocked out of the saddle can be great to gain fresh perspective. Having limited computer usage for the past two weeks caused me to hone down to the essentials. It was stressful, and actually awesome.

It made me realize I will never “catch up.” How long have I been promising myself that after the next challenge/event/crisis/project I will allow myself to breathe and get back to what I love doing… writing? It’s been a few years, at least.

The last two weeks made it clear to me there are only three ways I will ever reach that point:

  1. Learn to set boundaries.
  2. My computer dies.
  3. I die.
Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

The 8th of this month my computer died. Then, as I was wallowing in the heartache of my lost machine, I watched my 26 year old neighbor get wheeled from his house and into a coroner’s van. It puts things into perspective. I thought about what I would regret not finishing.

This week finds me back on my feet with a new computer and perspective. I don’t feel like dying right now, and I don’t want my new computer to die… so I better learn to set boundaries and create a sustainable workflow.

So for now, SPECFAIRe is postponed until I either find a group of people that want to work on it together or the domain name expires. Iron Writers had no competitors this month. If I don’t get any entrants in November we will hold the Winter quarterlies and then an early year challenge between the two quarterly winners and call it for the year. If that happens, I’ll consider starting it up again for 2022.

What will I be doing with all my free time? I enrolled to train as a accredited book coach in nonfiction, I’m in tarot studies, I have two 15k short stories due for Crystal Lake Publishing, a cryptid story due for the Hybrid: Misfits, Monsters, and Other Phenomena antho from Hybrid Sequence Media, poetry for MÖBIUS LYRICS with Maxwell I. Gold, another poetry collab with Amy Zoellers, the third Bitter Suites novella to complete that story arc, finish getting Soft Deadlines up on Kindle Vella, finish my haipoo for Anton Cancre (I didn’t forget!), work on my next poetry collection How to Be Human/Inhuman, finish “How to Save a Faerie,” put together two more poetry books (by Amy Zoellers) from Yuriko Publishing—finish writing the Yuriko Publishing website!!!—and then STOKERCON!

So for now, please excuse me while I figure out how one goes about setting up boundaries. Should I use razor or barbed wire…? 😈

MEET MY NEW (COMPUTER) BEST FRIEND

New computer!

It’s been nearly two weeks, but I have a computer again! My old machine is actually still running, just barely. All respect to my previous machine… nicknamed Lazarus for coming back from the dead after a lightning strike the year before last. If there is a computer heaven, Lazarus deserves a place of honor. Thank you, old friend, for your years of faithful partnership.

But on to this new machine… so far I’ll say this is the best computer I’ve ever had—sorry Laz! This new computer cost just over $600 (Laz was almost $2,000), is almost silent and powerful. Today I’ve been downloading, photo editing, testing InDesign, playing video, running games… simultaneously.

Did I mention tiny? This entire computer tower is about the same size as a fat sandwich. This is my dream computer… powerful, competent, portable and affordable. Someone might need to pinch me because this can’t be real life. Or maybe, after the last few weeks, just let me dream a bit longer. You can see this Dream Machine for yourself here.(affiliate link)

Now, I wonder what the name will be… any ideas?

@angelayurikosmith

New computer has run all day with everything I can throw at it. Finally, my dream computer: cheap, fast and travel sized. #newcomputer #love

♬ Video Games – Hybrid Rose

HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT MATTERS

To recap last week: I found out a very special colleague died, then my computer died, then our neighbor died dramatically… there was a whole lot of other morbid details mixed in with all that but there are the Cliff Notes.

All this got me thinking. I’d just finished Tortured Willows. I knew my poor computer was having issues and I kept requesting it “just make it to Specfaire.” It did. It crapped out right at the first event. I should have requested my computer make it until after Specfaire. I managed to finish the day on my phone since most events were pre-recorded. Now that it was all done and I was nearly computer-less I faced a void. What did I do now?

Things got more intense the day the neighbor died. He was a younger guy. My brain seems to be stuck on this loop wondering if he got everything done he wanted to… and what would those be? And more pertinent to myself, what would I regret not getting done?

For me, the answer is writing. It’s also what I almost never have time to do lately. There is so much to be done around writing I barely get to the creation part anymore, or if I do it’s a rush. With my computer being replaced I’m on a laptop with limitations. I only have one monitor, more than 5 tabs open start lagging it. Photoshop is painful and Quark impossible. I’m putting everything on hold while I revaluate, replenish and replace.

How to find out what’s important: strip it all away and see what you miss most.