The Bright Guest Disappears

Stacy Campbell died at the worst possible time.**

Wow Kat, you don’t write  a post for two years – with the exception of two end of the year recaps – and you jump right into that? What a fucking “return”.

Yes, well, a return is also based on investment, and in this case the investment of time has created a poor return. (And while I’m at it, I love my penchant for using numerical alliterations despite being dyslexic.) But anyway. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about then we’re on the same page; I’m writing this shit and I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

No, that’s not exactly true. I unfortunately know exactly what I’m talking about, but it makes the dinner guest feel better if you volunteer that the meal is terrible.

Eat up, and please be assured that I hate the fare as much as you.

Stacy 1Stacy Campbell died at the worst possible time, but it apparently was her time – on her own time. Her official last day in this world is September 16, 2015, but the actual date isn’t known for certain. I can’t help but wonder if she didn’t actually pass on September 15th. I wonder this because Stacy had the most ironic sense of humor, and it would be so her to take her life on National Suicide Awareness Day.

And, as is the case whenever someone takes their life, I’ve being wrestling with that question of “why?”.

I know the answer, but I don’t understand it. And I hope that I never do understand it. I think that “why” is in itself part of the reason that I’ve been as frantic to figure out what made her reach that point as I have.

I’ve been low, and I’ve had those thoughts of the world being a better place without the burden of me and my insanity. I’ve also been to that point where everything hurts and you don’t want to end your life so much as you just want everything to just stop fucking hurting. I understand that pain so much that I cannot be angry at her for wanting it to end. I just wish I knew what I could’ve said to make her hold on a little longer, and that I could’ve been there to say it to her. I wish I could’ve told her that she’s not alone, and then I would’ve pointed to all of the people who have written on her Facebook wall saying how much she meant to them. The Interwebz can be good like that sometimes.

But then that very thing, the ability to connect to other people who understand your pain – the pain that “normal” people do not – is a double edge sword. I know that unless you battle mental issues you might not understand this, but people with our – ahem – affliction tend to gravitate to each other. We want to help each other, to assure each other that there are people who understand, that they are not alone. It helps, but at the same time I feel that our exclusive community of the tortured and the tested ends up being a macabre game of Russian Roulette. With so many players we’re bound to lose someone eventually. Depression comes in ebbs and flows, and everyone comes to a time when it’s their turn to pick up the gun. Thankfully the odds are in our favor. There are five empty chambers – family, and friends, and Faith, and life, and you, and anything else you value – they outnumber that single bullet. And life goes on… But people with depression identify and lean on each other, and unfortunately as soon as you put down the gun, then one of your friends picks it up.
Spin the barrel.
Fire the gun.
Someone dies.

That’s my own issues speaking though, and I want to talk about Stacy. Being a writer herself, I know she would have understood that diatribe.
Perfect segue.

Though we were both writers, I met Stacy through our love of animals. She had lost her beloved Jurgen, yet had found the strength to adopt another dog that needed a loving home. I so admired her for opening her heart again that it inspired me to dedicate my 200th blog post to animal rescue stories. I remember wondering what I should do for such a landmark post, and she was the inspiration for it.

nightmare dog, animal rescue storiesThat was Stacy though: kind and inspiring.

Unfortunately my own depression has been relentless for the past two years, and I didn’t talk with her as much as I wish I had. Like so many things in my life, I’d set her in my peripheral vision and only looked directly when something really fascinated me. I’m just thankful that she was so fascinating that I paid as much attention as I did.

Stacy just seemed so…”cool”. Even her name was interesting. Her full name was Anastasia, which usually garners the nickname of “Anne” or “Anna”, but she was a Stacy. I seriously thought that was the neatest nicking of names ever – so much so that I planned on changing the name of one of my characters in my book to that.
Stacy had the best Bucket List, and she was the only person I knew who actively worked to check things off of it. I loved it when a picture would show up on her Instagram feed documenting an adventure done, a check marked next to box on that list.

She skydived.

 

stacy 4
She went to a firing range.stacy 6
She went to concerts because she said she was going to stop saying she would see a band or an artist “next time”.stacy 5

She stayed in the fucking Stanley Hotel.stacy stanley i cant spell

I am a huge fan of The Shining and it had never occurred to me to want to stay in the creepy hotel that inspired the story until I saw Stacy’s black and white pictures of the infamous fourth floor. Not only was the fact that she was at the hotel so brilliant, but her pictures were taken with such a sharp eye that they captured eeriness without being campy. But this shouldn’t be surprising because Stacy was an incredible photographer.stacy stanley Her Stanley Hotel pictures were not just beautiful but they were complete with captions about hearing children playing in empty halls, and ordering Whiskey from a bartender named Lloyd. They were beautiful as only she could make them because they illustrated her vision, both also her wicked sense of humor and her mastery of words.

Her words. I wish that I had read more of them while she was still here.

Through the power of the Interwebz and its promise threat that nothing ever really disappears from its depths I’ve been able to read her former blog “Jurgen Nation”. There is so much brilliance there. It’s not an easy blog to read – there is a lot of pain, and it kills me a little wondering if she wished that she could make her pain disappear as simply as she thought she had deleted the blog that detailed it…and how wretchedly ironic it is that her blog didn’t truly disappear after all. Nothing disappears.

Another irony – bloody fucking hell I’m beginning to hate you, Mistress Irony – is that the post that resonates most to me right now – the one that exactly touches on the punch in the throat that has knocked me into such a pit this year that I cannot fathom ever being able to climb out of it, on a pain that I cannot even yet put into words – was written only a few days after a post where she wrote a letter to herself twenty years from now. Or “then” since it was in 2009. It a post about how she would still be here in twenty years, even though she might think she won’t.

Stacy 2It makes me so angry that Life thinks it’s so clever with these little elbows to the ribs. You’re so not fucking funny, in fact sometimes You feel downright cruel.

There is so much that I’m going to miss about Stacy. Her presence was like birds singing: you don’t realize how much you enjoy their music, and take for granted that they will always be singing until they are silent. I think of all of the empty buildings that she will never photograph, all of the words she’ll never write, all of the snarky jokes she will never make. Stacy was caring, and beautiful, and wrong, and clever, and brilliant. I read the stories shared by people who knew her better, and I’m so jealous of them. I wish that I could justify this pain by proximity, where the equation would make sense. But there is a reason that artists are dyslexic, and numbers do not add up to us. stacy 7

Stacy was a true Siren, drawing so many people to her.
I’m grateful that I  heard her song and listened while I could.

I will see you later, beautiful girl. Keep the cocktail chilling.

In the mean time I am changing a character’s name in your honour. It is my hope that “Stacy” destroying demons in my story will give you the victory down here that you so deserved.

 

stacy brody

“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.”

 

**The average time that people will allow you to mourn is one month. I wrote this entry nearly three months ago, and I still feel it so much that I decided to finish it and publish the bloody thing. It reminds me that loss has no timetable. Loss is not something get over, you just learn to live with it.

 

 

I’m Sorry Since It’s My Fault That You Can’t Get Chicken and Waffles Chips Anymore

This isn’t so much of a post as it is an apology to all of the fans of the Lay’s Chicken and Waffles chips since it’s apparently my fault that you can no longer buy them.

Yesterday I walked in from a long day of being forced to interact with people via my second job and was greeted by my mother with, “Well I asked the guy at the supermarket, and they aren’t getting anymore of the Chicken and Waffles chips anymore.”

I grunted in response.

“The guy was really nice though. He said that they had some down in their Hainesport store.”

I grunted again as I flopped on the couch.

“He also said that the Chicken and Waffles chips were the ones that sold the quickest even though they lost the contest.”

I was about to grunt in response again when my mother turned from her computer to give me an accusing look.

“Apparently the stupid flavor that you liked won!” she snarled.

I blinked in shock at my mother because, first of all I wasn’t aware that I specifically liked any a particular flavor of potato chips, and second, I didn’t realize that by my liking a certain flavor of chip that I would be responsible for my mother not being able to buy these fucking absurd chips anymore. However it was quite apparent from the sparks flying from my mother’s hazel eyes, the steam shooting out of her ears and the fact that I’m pretty sure that for a moment she turned into a she-wolf that I, me, myself, personally caused the extinction of her Chicken and Waffles chips.

It was only after a dig through the Interbutz that I remembered that the Chicken and Waffles chips were one of three flavors introduced for a contest to pick the next flavor. I kinda remember my mother buying the three flavors (Sriracha, Garlic Bread and the coveted Chicken and Waffles) and I vaguely remember mentioning that I liked the Garlic Bread chips the best but that’s about it. I didn’t rave about the flavor and I definitely didn’t bother to vote in Lay’s goofyass contest, yet I still managed to swing the election in Garlic Bread’s favor. Had I realized that my mother was so emotionally invested in her flavor I would have used my alleged potato chip voodoo and made her Chicken and Waffles win.

So my sincere apologies to anyone who liked the Chicken and Waffles chips (and I suppose I should apologize to the people who liked the Sriracha since that’s probably my fault too) and is no l0nger able to get them.

Sorry, Mom.
lay's chicken and waffles chips, rage
(In other news, the migration is almost complete. I still have the “Writes Like a Slut Posse” page to do, ect, ect, ect…
This has been un-fucking-believable.)

Not Really a Post But More of a HA HA! Moment I Decided To Share

If you are my fraynd on the Facebook then you will see that my current status is that today’s originally scheduled post was not finished due to a visiting puppy. Puppy trumps all work. This is a fact.

However as I was perusing the Interbutz wasting time, I came across this cartoon and it made me snicker and I had to share it because I’m obligated to share amusing shit and also it explains my recent lapse in posting.

writers procrastinate funny

This is almost exactly what I have been doing for the past week and a half only instead of chopping wood I’ve been gardening. And while most people would yell at me for procrastinating on work that needs to be done on the novel (and rightly so but that’s an entirely different egg), I say that I had a legitimate excuse for all of this gardening. Namely that my mother saw a Hummingbird in the backyard and in my world this executes into tearing a part a Bonsai tree that has been growing wild for nearly two decades. (Don’t ask, just accept that this logic is normal for the circus that is my life.)

The hours of slaving in the sun and mosquito bites aside (and oh do I have one motherfucking spectacular rage-filled post about those assholes in the works) I actually think that I did a nice job in creating “Hummingbird Garden”. Mostly it seems to have made my mother happy and she puts up with a fuckton of my *ahem* eccentricity so it was worth it.

Bonsai tree garden before

BEFORE

bonsai tree garden after

AFTER

That is all one tree that I had to tame and you would not believe the shit I found while taming it. Aside from the dude buried amongst the branches who thought that Reagan was still president, it was like an entomologist’s dream of freaky fucking insects that were jumping out of me. It was seriously like being in bloody Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Not cool since I’m still traumatized from my battle with the Carpenter Ants from Hell.

*Sorry about the picture being the wrong way. I’m still trying to remember that I can actually turn my phone.

But He Will Be Missed

“It’s okay. He had been suffering a long time.”

I’ve said the words so many times this past week they’ve become a reflex and I wonder if I really mean them, if I ever meant them.

No, I did. And I do. But I’ve come to realized that a tiny voice in my mind has started to add, “But he will be missed.”

My uncle was a good person who never intentionally hurt anyone. Unfortunately he made some poor choices in his life that hurt himself, and I don’t think he ever realized how much it did hurt us to see him struggle. It irked the shit out of me to see him make huge strides toward a better life only to blow it all on another bad choice. In recent years he had finally showed consistent progress but I think I’d been subconsciously concentrating on what he had done that made me angry when he got sick because it’s easier to be mad than sad.

My uncle’s battle with End Stage Liver Disease ended last Monday.

It’s okay. He had been suffering a long time.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

At least until my bitch of a brain betrays me as it often does, and the memories came floating through.

Memories of my uncle making me pancakes when I was in elementary school and then me telling him that he couldn’t move away because who would make them for me when he left.
Of taking my grandmother and me to dinner at the restaurant in Virginia where he got his first job as a chef.
Of introducing me to “Interview with a Vampire”.
Of watching UFC matches at P.J. Whelihan’s and drinking Smithwick’s which I had never had before.
Of taking the injured gosling I had saved to the wildlife rescue because I couldn’t miss work to take it there. (He named it Matilda because she/he had a broken leg and “tilted”.)
Of going to see the Flyers.
Of watching my brother and him ride the roller coasters at Great Adventure.
Of him whispering that I looked beautiful as he passed me on his way to the podium to read at my wedding.

I tried to ignore them all, but grief is the piper who insists on being paid.

So it’s okay. He had been suffering a long time.

But he will be missed.

I’m a Disaster Area But I Make Up For It With Cute Dogs

The other day The Bloggess tweeted that she had fallen off of the self-harm wagon, and that she was having issues with ICD. A number of people responded with questions about what ICD stands for. Some attempted at being clever and others were genuinely puzzled about the acronym. For those of you that don’t know, ICD stands for Impulse Control Disorder. You’ll notice if you read the definition that self-harm is an “other form of ICD”. It then occurred to me that ICD is an oxymoron. And it was surely a moron with a fancy PhD in Psychiatry who came up with the term while he or she sat on the outside and tried to categorize the mess that people like I sludge through at any given moment.

anxiety girlFor many of us I don’t think that self-harm is an impulse control disorder because the problem isn’t so much the control, it’s about the impulse in the first place. Truthfully I have the best fucking impulse control in the world because for every stupid, manic thing that I’ve thought or done there are at least fifty that I don’t act on. A normal person doesn’t have the impulse to hurt themselves. They don’t know what it’s like to have to fight something that you intellectually know is incorrect but that your basic instinct is telling you is right. Logically I know that slapping myself during a panic attack shouldn’t make me feel better, but Jiminy Cricket’s evil twin who sits on my shoulder assures me that it will.

And the awful thing is that sometimes it does.

For a split second the sting in my cheek makes me forget the war raging in my brain, the irratic pounding in my chest. Unfortunately the moment passes all too soon and it’s followed by the return of all of the symptoms of my panic attack only made that much worse by the guilt and anger that I did something so stupid. You would think that the memory of the guilt and anger would keep me from hurting myself again, but of course it wouldn’t. Because I have ICD.

I’m almost to the next step in my novel, and the best way I can describe the feeling is that it’s like being in gym class when your asshole gym teacher makes you run the mile dash even though you forgot your inhaler and your almost to the end and you feel like your heart is laughing hysterically but nothing’s coming out of your mouth because you can’t breathe and all you can think is how much it would suck to collapse this close to finishing and silently telling that teacher that she’s a fucking cunt. And you hardly ever, ever use that term.

On top of this Kira has to have dental surgery on Thursday. I made light of how traumatic it is to take Kira to the vet and turned it into a funny anecdote because that’s what I do, but in truth it’s a challenge to not cry hysterically when Kira screams at the vet. On top of her screams though, I have the terror that something will happen during the surgery. I know she will be fine–I know this–but we’ve already established that the logical portion and the emotional portion of my brain are woefully disconnected.

Also the hard drive on my fucking shitty computer is going which isn’t stressing me as much as you would think, but it’s pissing me off that I have to waste time trying to figure out what to do about a replacement.

So that’s where I’ve been up to for the past two weeks. I did however make this month’s BirchBox Unboxing video and the bloopers video, but the big news was that Kira and Lily got their first BARKBOX.

A Peek In My Brain (God Help You All) Aka: LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN DRAFTS!!!

So you know that shit to which I referred in this video post here?*

*I find it somewhat hilarious when I curse and yet use proper English.**

**That said, I’m easily amused.***

***Especially by my own humor.

reblog for stupid questions

(You’re gonna get some soon.)

Anyway! I’m stupid busy with that shit, yet trying to maintain a better blogging schedule (because who doesn’t want to up the ante on their blog posts when they have a deadline to finish rewrites on their first novel and the pressure is ridiculously on, right???) and luckily I found this little ditty in my drafts folder thanks to some questions posed by my girl Jewels a while ago on her blog. This is actually perfect because I’ve received a number of really weird? personal? WTF? questions in my email and various DMs and I’m going to add my answers to those questions at the bottom.

1. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

The top.

2. Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes. I don’t discriminate against a person just because they don’t have a body.

3. Would you be willing to go on a cross country (driving) trip with me?

More than willing, in fact I think that we should do this because I’ve always wanted to drive to Hawaii.

4. If you could only watch one show for the rest of your life what would it be?

Cupcake Wars. As long as Florian Bellanger remained one of the judges. (I fucking love him!)

5. If you could only read one author until the end of time who would it be?

I’m going to go with George R.R. Martin because I really want to know how the “Song of Fire and Ice” series ends, and at the rate he’s writing, it’s going to take until the end of time for him to finish it.

6. If you HAD to get something pierced what would it be?

A Tragus or a Helix because I kinda want those anyway.

7. Given a choice of a mystery meaning Chinese symbol, butterfly, or zodiac tattoo which would you pick? (You HAVE to pick one)

A butterfly. Zodiac is hoo-ha, and a former friend of mine had a Chinese symbol tattooed on himself that he found out later literally translated to “Kill Whitey”. And then there’s this:

English tattoo on Asian girl

8. Would you rather have sex with Wilford Brimley/Susan Boyle or give up sex for good?

Well I’m not a lesbian, and I’d rather not give up the option to have sex, so I’ll go with Wilfy. He and his “die-beetus” wouldn’t last long anyway.

9. What would you pay for a vaccination that prevents kids from being bitchy, sassy, dickheads?

I already have a vaccination for this.  It’s called The Naughty Box.

10. Would you rather serve a week in prison or try and survive for a year alone in a jungle?

Jungle. Easy. Only I wouldn’t just survive, I’d be ruling that shit by the time a year was over.  And everyone who visited would be greeted with “Do you know where you are?  You’re in the jungle, baby.  You’re gonna diiiiiiie!”

11. What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?

You smell nice.

BONUS ROUND OF QUESTIONS ASKED ME PERSONALLY VIA TWITTER/EMAIL

How old are you? (Number one question I get asked.)

Old. Like super old.

Let me put it this way, there is a reason that I write about vampires.

Are your stories really true? (The majority of the time this question refers to the story about what I did to The Cheating Dude and his keys.)

With the exception of the story about the toaster, yes, the stories involving me are true. I’m seriously a magnet for WTF, and I’m just blessed that I (seem to) have an effective enough writing voice to convey just how bizzare some of this shit is.

Why haven’t there been any stories about S. lately?

This is my own fault since I probably didn’t state it clearly in the post that I wrote , but S. succumbed to the cancer that she had been fighting on the day before Thanksgiving in 2011.

What kind of dog is Kira?

A Brat-skimo: 100% American Eskimo* and 100% Brat
*Kira is a runt though and only about 12 lbs when she should be closer to 20.

Did you go to school to be a writer?

No, with the exception of a few courses, I didn’t go to college period. I said that I graduated from a college to get into first “real” job and then moved my way up by always asking for more responsibilities. I do not advocate this at all, however when I left that job I was the head of the department and had reorganized it so that the practice was making twice as much as it had under my predecessor who had a Masters degree.*

*And by admitting this I realize that I’ve given my future spawn a massive weapon to use against me when I harangue them about the merits of proper education.

Since turnabout is fair play, here are some questions for you all!

1-Did you ever wonder how they get the “M”s on M&Ms?
2-If you could only read one book for the rest of you life, what would you have for a snack?
3-What was the first CD that you ever bought? (Not record or tape, but CD.)
4-Are you stealing your Internet? If so where are you located because I’m tired of paying for mine.
5-Do you think that I’m joking?
6-Should I keep asking questions?
7-If you answered “no” to number 6, why did you read this? If you answered “yes”, are you mental?
8-If you answered number 7 yet said “no” to number 6, are you a Cthuhlu? If you answered “yes” to both number 6 and 7, then you are probably me.
9-I talk to myself.
10-Number 9 wasn’t a question unless you are me, then you know what I was asking.
11-Are you sleeping okay, dear?

Finally, since I’m sure that I’ve just told you all way more than you ever wanted to know about me, I’m chalking this entry up as Number 23 on my terribly neglected List of Shameless Shit: “Air one of your secrets.”

“What Are We Going to Do Tonight, Brain?”

First things first, I want to announce the winner to the giveaway! Put your paws together for hilarious Working Dan from Shameless Promotions! He wins the “Therapy is Expensive, Tequila is Cheap” mug and I’ll be shamelessly promoting his site in the sidebar for all of January! Thanks so much to everyone who entered and congrats, Dan! (And on a sidenote, anyone can still get their own mug at my store here.) The next giveaway will probably be February–but don’t quote me on that.

Now on to the entry!

I’ve unfortunately been so busy with edits on my book and Christmas (I had the 12/25 post scheduled) and such that I haven’t had the time to share with you all something really, really fucking awesome that happened recently. Exactly two weeks ago today I received an email from the brilliant Louisa of Weezafish that she had received the “Writes Like a Slut” shirt that I sent her. The reason that this is major news because we had gone to great lengths to get this shirt to her since she couldn’t order it herself directly from my Zazzle site due to shipping restrictions to her location, namely South Africa. Check Louisa rocking out in her shirt, yo!

writes like a slut shirt

First off, Louisa would like you to know that behind her is a handmade African natural grass brush, and that her hair is not in fact frizzy like that.

Second, is a cute little tidbit (I cannot tell you all how much I fucking love that these pics always come with stories!) which is that this pic was taken by her five-year-old son with her camera phone after Louisa wasn’t satisfied with the ones that her hubby had taken with the camera. That’s commitment to the cause, peeps!

But the reason that I am extra stoked about Louisa getting her shirt is because a few weeks earlier I got a picture from Naty, one of the winners in September’s giveaway, that she had received her shirt, too.

writes like a slut shirt

I’d have been thrilled to know that Naty got her shirt no matter what, but what’s really cool is that this shirt made it to South America!

With the arrival of Louisa’s and Naty’s shirt, “Writes Like a Slut” is now featured on four fucking continents! There are members of the WLAS Posse in North America, South America, Europe and Africa! Keep your fingers crossed that 2013 will bring a WLAS in Asia, Australia, and if anyone knows someone heading to one of the research facilities in Antarctica we’ll take that continent, too!

So the answer to “what are we going to do tonight, Brain?” is of course:

“The same thing we do every night, Pinky… Try and take over the world.”

And we are doing it one t-shirt at a time.

Hanukkah Is the BEST Holiday For Terrible Music Puns

I just happened to see one of my Jewish friends yesterday, which was brilliant since Hanukkah started later that evening.

Kat: Happy Chaka-Khan-ukkah!

Amigo: What?

Kat: Chaka Khan. The singer.

Amigo: Okaaay… thanks.

Kat: I’d also like you to know that you spin me right round. Baby. Right ’round. Like a dreidel, baby. Right ’round, ’round ’round.

Amigo: …

Kat: What? Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Amigo: …

Kat: Did you know that if you were a rapper your name could be Dr. Dreidel?

Amgio: …

Kat: Nothing? Fuck me, you’re boring.

Amigo: I’m just surprised that you didn’t say something like “Keep the Han in Hanukkah” since you’re such a comic geek.

Kat: Han?

Amigo: Like Han Solo? I’ve seen that meme a few times.

Kat: Han Solo in Hanukkah?! Now that’s funny! Or better yet, “Keep the “Chew” in Han-Chew-Kkah!”

Amigo: That’s awful.

Kat: And Star Wars is a movie, not a comic. Mostly.

Amigo: …

Anyway, these wretched puns are my ridiculous way of wishing my Jewish peeps a very Happy Hanukkah!
(Or Chanukah.)

happy hanukkah marvel comics

Call me a comic geek, eh? Then take THIS!