Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Musical Musings: Song I Can’t Stand, Song I Can Listen to All Day Without Getting Tired of It, Song That Grew on Me

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I don’t dislike songs as much as I dislike musicians or bands, and I have a list of them that make me stabby. That list is long and colorful, but topping it is any iteration of Van Halen. I don’t know if I have sufficient command of the English language to fully describe the depths of my loathing for Van Halen’s entire music catalogue. But the opening chords to any of their songs, but most especially, Hot for Teacher or Panama, or god help me, Jamie’s Cryin’ cause me to rage impotently. Once, I had fucking Jamie’s Cryin’ stuck in my head for two hellish months. I don’t know why I was being punished. Maybe I wronged David Lee Roth in a past life? But Van Halen (and yes, that includes Van Hagar)… *full body shudder*

As for a song I can listen to all day without getting tired of it? Let’s see…there are quite at few, but topping that list is probably Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way and Walk Off the Earth’s Gang of Rhythm. 

And a song that grew on me… There have been a ton of them. But the one that jumps out at me right now is Uptown Funk. I know, how can anyone not like that song, right?! In my defence, I was in a bad mood when I first heard it, so that didn’t help. I remember thinking, “I have neither the time nor the inclination to be funked up, right now, Mr. Mars. And this reminds me a lot of Jungle Love. Does Morris Day know you have his song?!” But it’s so damn infectious, you can’t help but get into it. Also…Bruno Mars.

 

I just had to play this song a couple times because Jamie’s Cryin’ was trying to crawl back into my head. *shudder* What are some songs that have grown on you? Also…anyone else loathe Van Halen with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns, or is that just me?

Be sure to check out Jess and Gwen’s posts, too.

Flash Fiction #66 – Criminals

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This month’s song fic is inspired by Criminals by Ms Mr. Here are the lyrics and video if you want to give it a go.

 

Doug looked around the conference table, not letting his gaze settle anywhere for too long–not even on Vanessa. How in the hell had they ended up here? Christ, he wasn’t even sure if he meant the two of them or the nation as a whole.

“Look,” Tony said. “I’m just saying, it’s hurricane season. There’s probably not a better time to roll this out.”

Vanessa nodded. “And it’s the start of the school year. According to our our studies, anxiety for both parents and students–not to mention teachers–is at an all time high.”

Doug’s skin crawled, and he shifted uneasily in his chair. That uneasiness grew when the guy from marketing, whose name he could never remember piped up.

“With all of the on-campus protests and demonstrations, not to mention the rise in shootings, we’re golden.”

“Don’t forget all the marches held by the general public,” Katy said. Ticking them off on her fingers, she added, “Trans rights, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, healthcare, LGBT rights, marches for and against white supremacy. Eddie’s right, we’re golden.”

Eddie. That was his name.

“And there’s always the threat of nuclear war,” Tony said. “I don’t know anyone who isn’t worried about that. ”

At least eight people frantically scratched notes on pads of paper or typed rapid-fire on their laptops, others nodded thoughtfully.

Someone Doug didn’t recognize added, “We may have to work with the media to amplify the coverage some of these, but there’s really no better time to roll this out.”

Murmured agreement flew around the table.

Vanessa leaned forward and smiled at Doug, then addressed the room at large. “I’d like to introduce you all to Doug Freeman, one of our top scientists and developers here at PharmaCaresNational. He’s going to explain how the drug affects brain chemistry and neurotransmission.”

How was his wife–the love of his fucking life–sitting here, completely at ease in this meeting? How was he still in his seat, let alone in this company?

Tony gestured toward the wall. “We’ve got a whiteboard here, if you need it Doug.”  Turning to the others, he said, “Pay close attention everyone. If you have questions for Doug, save them until the end. And remember, if you’ve got an idea for marrying the effects of this drug with any of these specific fears, jot them down. There’s a lot of money to be made here, people.”

Doug’s stomach lurched violently, and his hands began to sweat. Jesus-fucking-Christ. They were all criminals.

_________

No…I’m not feeling cynical, this morning. Why would you even ask that? Anyway, be sure you check out Kris and Siobhan’s stories, too.

Promptly Penned: Traitor

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Prompt: They say I’m a traitor. Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do.

 

“Hi, I’m Roxanne,” I said when she answered the door. “We spoke on the phone earlier.”

“I’m Alicia.” We shook hands, and warily, she invited me inside, leading me to her dining room table. I carefully moved some macaroni artwork off the chair before I sat.

She smiled, but she kept shifting in her chair as if she were considering running away. “I’m a little nervous. Can you tell me a little more about how this works? I mean how did you even get into this…business?”

I studied the woman across from me. Her hair was falling out of her messy bun. It wasn’t a cute Instagram messy bun. It was a straight up mess, complete with what looked like crusted baby food in there. Squash, if I remembered my pureed vegetables correctly.

I looked like her not too many years ago. Exhausted, frantic, inside out shirt, and a leaking nursing bra. Though, my kids prefered to slime me with peas.

“To be honest, I didn’t even intend to make it a business, but my brother-in-law left me no choice.” I sighed. “I don’t want to sound cold. I’m actually pretty fond of him, but when his kids were little and his wife was out of town, he’d drive for five hours, show up on our doorstep with his infant and toddler, and basically move in until his wife was back from her business trips.”

“He did not.” She looked furious on my behalf. I liked her already.

“Oh, he did. And he and my husband would sit around and play video games and I was stuck with five kids under the age of four. But my favorite was when my husband was at work, and my brother-in-law decided that that meant it was naptime for him.”

She leaned forward. “I have to know. Did you kill them? I think I would have killed them.”

“Honestly? I came far closer than I’m comfortable with. That’s when I started studying the occult.”

Alicia got up. “Keep talking, I’m going to get us some coffee. You want creamer?”

“And sugar, please.”

“Okay, so tell me more about how the occult figures into all this.”

I shifted in my seat. I was pretty sure I was going to stick to it when I stood up. “Well, I didn’t go full bore. I started out looking for protection spells and binding rituals. And while I was researching, I discovered sigils.”

Alicia placed a huge cup of steaming coffee in front of me. “I wanted to make a mocha, but all I had was Hershey’s syrup.”

I took a sip. “You know what? This is great. Trust me, I’ve made much worse. And I drank it anyway. Because caffeine.”  I took another sip then shook off the memory. “Where was I?”

“Sigils.”

“Right, sigils. These things are so incredibly versatile. You can use them for protection, hexing, attraction, but as far as I’m concerned, their best use is warding. It was getting so bad, that my brother-in-law was coming up two or three times a month and staying for three to five days at a time. I snapped. I couldn’t take it any more.”

“What did you do?”

“Dude is a pig. Seriously, doesn’t pick up after himself at all. So, I took a pair of his dirty underwear he’d left wadded behind the door and hair from the shower,” I shuddered, “various herbs and oils, and boiled it together under the light of a full moon. Then, the next time he called to tell use he was coming, I took a small brush and painted warding sigils on every side of the house, the garage and the cars. And I waited.”

Alicia had slid forward in her chair, her eyes wide. “What happened?”

I tried not to smile, but it was almost impossible. “He called a few times. Said he was lost. My husband thought he was pranking us, but nope. He turned around and drove the five hours back home.”

“No.”

I nodded. “Couldn’t find the place at all.”

“That’s brilliant!”

“When my husband pisses me off, I do it to him, too.”

She laughed and clapped her hands.

“These days, I let my brother-in-law visit every two to three months. And now that I’m not stuck at home with nursing babies, I leave, and let my husband and his brother parent all the kids.”

Alicia shook her head. “I’m impressed. Seriously impressed.”

I shrugged. Some people would say I’m a traitor to family togetherness.” I shrugged. “Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do.”

“You absolutely did. And,” she added, “you didn’t go to jail for murder.”

“Exactly.”

I pulled my spellbook out of my purse. Technically, it was one of those planners with all the stickers for things like doctor’s appointments and soccer practice, but it doubled and a mighty fine spellbook. And hey, I’m a busy mom, makes sense to combine the weekly menu with my side gig.

“Now,” I said, clicking my pen. “Who are we warding against? Tell me everything.”

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories, too.

Kris * Jess * Siobhan * Deelylah

Top 10: Things That Set Me Off/Things Not to Say to Me

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Soooooooo…this month’s Top Ten post is all about how not to piss me off. These are in no particular order. They all piss me off equally.

Welcome to the unloading.

10.) The phrases; “But her emails…”, “How much damage can he do in four years?”, “There’s a system of checks and balances in place.”, “I’m not racist, but…”, “Trans women and men aren’t real women/men/are mentally ill/are perverted/etc”, “Global warming is a hoax.”

Just. Fucking. Don’t.

9.) Any iteration of  “So you write porn?”, “When are you going to write a real book?”, “So, like Fifty Shades of Grey?”, When are you going to write something I can read?”, “Are the sex scenes from personal experience?”, “How can you call yourself a feminist if you write romance?”

Again… Just. Fucking. Don’t.

8.) The Pain Olympics (not those horrible videos you can never unsee – seriously, do not google them)  also known as “One Downing” – there are always a few of these types in most people’s circles. Could be a co-worker, a family member, a person you deeply regret ever becoming friendly with, but they all have the same M.O.: You’re in the midst of what you think is a conversation, but before you know it, the Pain Olympics have begun. It goes a lot like this:

Scenario 1:

You: *sad because your cat died*

Pain Olympiad: “That’s too bad. Once, my cat was kidnapped and held for ransom and after I took out a loan for a million dollars to pay the ransom, they took my money and sold my cat to a foreign dictator who said he was going to make a hat out of her. At least you got to say goodbye to your cat.”

Scenario 2:

Coworker: “Hey, haven’t seen you in a while.”

You: “I’ve had a cold. Didn’t want to give it to anyone else, so I stayed home for a couple days.”

Coworker: *strips off work attire to reveal Pain Olympiad uniform beneath* “Last year, I got a cold and spent a three months in the ICU and the doctors had to take half my lung. You’re lucky you didn’t get that.”

You get the picture. Whatever it is, they’ve had it soooooooooooooo much worse, and they want to give you all the details about how their experiences are so much more horrific than yours. In normal conversation, we all share things to let others know they’re not alone in whatever they’re experiencing. One-Downing is a little different in that these people tend to be in desperate need of all the sympathy and acknowledgement that they’re the biggest and best victim of all.

7.) Vaguebooking. Either say it, or don’t. I get that sometimes people have things going on in their lives that they’d like to talk about, but they can’t because there may be other people involved, or they just don’t know enough about an upsetting situation to make a definitive statement.

What makes me beyond ragey is the vaguebooking (or any social media) for attention thing. The kinds of posts that are designed to make everyone feel like they need to fawn over the poster. Examples include things like:

“Well, I guess I know who my real friends are.”

“*sigh*”

“I can’t believe someone would be so mean.”

“Sometimes you have to learn who you can trust the hard way.”

Unless any of those statements accompany a photo of your dog stealing your steak, just don’t. If you’re having a bad day and could use some sympathy, fucking own it. If you’re pissed at someone, own that, too.

6.) The phrase, “Well, it’s not like you have a real job.” There are some people who are under the misguided impression that people who work from home don’t actually work and have all kinds of free time for things like babysitting, or driving them places, or endless phone calls, etc. Bitch, between writing, editing, coaching, audio prepping, website creation and maintanance,  and other client assistance, I’m currently putting in 12 -18 hour days, 7 days a week. Don’t tell me I don’t have a real job.

5.) I understand how incredibly difficult it is to find the right thing to say to someone who’s grieving, but I promise you, “God needed another angel” is never ever the right thing to say. Especially to those grieving the loss of a child.

4.) I believe that often adversity can make people stronger, more resilient–it’s certainly been true in my life. But that growth typically isn’t noticeable or appreciated until well after the fact.  So when others learn of something awful occurring in the life of someone they know, like say,  a cancer (or some other debilitating disease or life circumstance) diagnosis. Saying things like, “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle” or “You’ll be stronger for it” or calling a disease a “health opportunity” because you’ve got that life coach mentality is never ever the right thing to do. If the person in question expresses interest in your life coaching philosophy, bring it up then. But if not, calling a cancer diagnosis a “health opportunity” is not a road you want to take.

3.) Okay, so I’m a fat woman. This is not secret. I’m not particularly happy about it, but overall, I’m healthy (I have the test results to prove it) and I’m working hard on self-acceptance, and when I don’t financially need to put in 12-18 hour days, I’ll work more exercise in. If I make a crack or mention something about being fat, for the love of kale, please don’t say things like, “You’re not fat, you’re pretty.” or “You’re not fat, you’re so nice.” While, I understand that you may be attempting to be helpful or kind, the way that comes off is that you equate fat with ugly  and meanness. In addition to being incredibly hurtful, it’s not a good look for either of us.

2.) “This is a Christian nation.” Hard NOPE! One of the ideals this country was founded on was religious freedom and the separation of church and state. We need to adhere to that. STAT.

1.) Other random things that set me off are;

People who lie–especially when their story changes depending on who their audience is and what they want from them.

People for whom literally every last thing in life is a goddamn competition–not people who try to better themselves, people who have a pathological need to prove their superiority to others–even those they supposedly care for

People who are awful to their children and view them as extensions of themselves or belongings as opposed to individuals.

People who leave their animals out in extreme weather.

People who try to impose their religious views on everyone else.

People who constantly assume the victim role and refuse to take responsibility for their own shit.

People who plagiarize or otherwise take credit for someone else’s work.

Okay, so…I’m thinking I should probably stop now. I’ve got a ton to do today, and I need to get moving. Feel free to share what sets you off. An be sure to check out Gwen’s post and see what sets her off, too.

Flash Fiction #65 – VW Bug

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17241577 - color shot of a vintage car in a forest

I pulled the giant handknit sweater over my head. It was way too big for me, but I didn’t care. It was warm and cozy and something about it made me feel safe. It wasn’t even my sweater. My mom had knitted it for my brother, Kevin–hence the giant-ness–but he’d left it at my apartment a few years ago, and I’d never managed to remember to get it back to him.

I scooped up my keys and phone from the table and headed toward the door.

“Cat? Where are you going?” Jesse called from the other room.

“Just out for a bit.”

“Will you pick up milk while you’re out? The other jug went bad, and I want cereal.”

You could always get off your ass and get it yourself.

I didn’t answer, just pulled the door shut behind me and jogged down the stairs, eager to get out of the stifling heat of the apartment. Jesse constantly complained that he was cold, hated to have the windows open, and turned on the furnace at the first sign of an changing leaf.

The cool crisp air swirled around me as soon as I stepped outside, and my hair immediately blew in my face, catching on my balm-slathered lips. Tucking the strands behind my ears, I squinted into the weird autumn light. There’s no other time of year when the entire sky can look like the inside of a dull pewter bowl but the leaves glow as if they’ve been lit from within, because somehow the sunlight is still managing to get to them even though, there’s no sign of the actual sun. It’s surreally beautiful, but eerie and unsettling, nonetheless.

There was something about September… Maybe it was the start of the school year and that anticipation that pervaded the neighborhood whether you were in school or not. Maybe it was the swiftly turning leaves or the weather that grew chillier by the day. It could be the scent of woodsmoke in the air. Or the pumpkins ripening in the field. Whatever it was, it made me restless.

Too restless to walk down to the party store to get Jesse’s milk. Too restless to walk to the park. I wanted to go farther than that. I needed to go farther than my feet could comfortably carry me. I wasn’t even sure where, but I needed to go.

My phone’s text tone chimed, and I glanced at the screen. Will you get Poptarts, too?

I tossed my phone in the passenger seat of my ancient VW Bug. Well, like the giant sweater, it was Kevin’s, too. But he was gone to god knew where. On September 26th, it would be three years.  No one knew where he’d gone. No one had heard from him. Not even our mom.

I started the car and put it in drive. Maybe he’d been restless, too.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories.

Jess * Siobhan * Kris

Writing Hopes and Aspirations

Old black vintage typewriter

So, my writing hopes and aspirations are pretty simple. I’m not looking to hit lists or become a millionaire, I’d just like to:

  • To make enough to support myself by writing full-time–not that I don’t genuinely love my other jobs, but…this is the dream, people.
  • To write stories that provide people with an enjoyable escape from reality for a bit.
  • To write stories that I love and am proud of.

I’m actually feeling confident about number three. Really need to work on number one.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ writing hopes and aspirations.

Jess * Deelylah * Torrance * Kris

Monthly Goals Check-In: August 2017

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August is, historically, not a great month for me to get stuff done. I’m not sure why that is. But since Jess Jarman has been coming to stay with me every August, I’m getting more done.

This month I…

  • wrote all my scheduled blog posts and an extra or two
  • went to the Rust City Book Conference with Jess Jarman and Jenny Trout and did panels and a book signing and played Cards Against Humanity and helped name a new martini and had a fantastic time
  • prepped two audio books (I’ll have three done by month’s end)
  • edited two novels (180K)
  • started helping a friend with a new aspect of her business
  • wrote over 21K that I’m really happy with and I still have a few days left of August to make it to 25K.
  • I’ve been working on 3 websites
  • I went to see Billy Joel with Jenny Trout and her daughter

 

Next month, I want to…

  • Release Rewritten
  • Finish all my scheduled blog posts
  • Continue writing daily
  • Finish building the websites
  • Make progress on some re-releases I’ll be putting out
  • Complete the assigned audio preps
  • Complete the spreadsheet for my friend’s business
  • Finally sort out the bedding and purge my clothes
  • Finish two very late Christmas presents

So, that’s it for me. What’s on your list of things to accomplish for September? And be sure to check out what Jess and Torrance are kicking ass at!

The Most Rebellious Thing I Did While Growing Up

I feel as though this blog post is going to be an overwhelming disappointment. Of the five of us kids, I was really the least rebellious.

For instance, I  wasn’t the sibling who relandscaped a neighbor’s lawn with my car and relocated their patio furniture (also with my car) into their inground pool. That wasn’t me. That was my brother who’s two years younger than me.

I also wasn’t the sibling who ended up on Cops (and virtually every news station in the U.S.) because we got pulled over and my girlfriend stole the cop’s car and ran multiple barricades and had to have the tires shot out. That was my brother who’s thirteen years younger than me.

Nor was I the sibling who staged a fake hit and run accident that alarmed the old lady down the road who then called the cops. That was my brother who’s fifteen years younger than me.

Lastly, I wasn’t the sibling who cut off a huge chunk of below-the-ass length hair from the top of my soon to be sister-in-law’s head. That was my sister who’s eighteen years younger than me.

Most of my rebellious transgressions were the civil disobedience kind. And interestingly enough, most of my rebellious acts featured the same person…

  • Protesting and pushing the limits of the flagrantly sexist dress code at the Catholic high school I attended. (I spent a bit of time in detention for that.)
  • Protesting the preferential treatment the football players received at said Catholic high school by staging a walkout of my religion class with my forever friend, Alex Kourvo.  (More detention.)

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    These weren’t our detention outfits. This was just us being cute af.

  • Starting a literary magazine, with Alex and some other friends, and getting shut the fuck down by the administration. Yes, that happened. We put together a chapbook type collection of original fiction and poetry. We all contributed, someone’s dad bought us paper for printing and cardstock for the cover, and we distributed it to students at the school. And we all got in trouble. We were called into the office and reamed out. There was nothing offensive. Nothing problematic. But there were six or seven kids who dared to be creative, and that was a transgression that wouldn’t be tolerated.

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    Recently found a copy of contraband literary journal.

  • A final bit of rebellion was the garage band I was a member of–again, with my girl, Alex and several of our other friends. Our name? Rebell and the Ions. (If you put it together, it spells, Rebellion – get it?)
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    For some reason, the grouper fish was our mascot.

    You may have noticed a bit of a theme here. We’re still amazing forever friends, we’re both still writing, and we’re both still rebelling.

    Also? Neither one of us has been on Cops.

Be sure to check out Jess, Jessica, and Deelylah’s post and see what kind of shit they got up to.

Flash Fiction #64 – Ghost

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This month’s song fic was inspired by Ghost by Halsey. If you’d like, you can read the lyrics here and/or watch the video here. 

“What are we even doing?”

Ryan sighed. “We’re trying to get some sleep because we have an early flight.”

A car drove slowly down the street, its headlights bouncing around the perimeter of the bedroom, and I shifted against the pillow I had propped up against the headboard. In the temporary illumination, I stared down at the man in my bed. My husband, I supposed.

It was weird. Like I was looking at him from a distance despite the fact that if I shifted, I could feel him next to me. But it was still as if I were looking at him through inches-thick plexiglass. Trick of the light or trick of my broken heart? The car fully passed, plunging the room into darkness again.

He wasn’t the same man I’d married. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t the same woman I was ten years ago, either. I knew why I’d changed. If you spend long enough kissing someone whose mouth is always full of lies, it poisons you. Changes your perception of everything around you–even yourself.

I missed the guy I’d fallen in love with, but more and more lately, I was wondered if he ever existed. The soul I’d loved had vanished, and in its place was an empty shell I didn’t recognize. And even more important, I didn’t like him.

His breathing had deepened and evened out as another car passed, illuminating the room again. The white fabric of his t-shirt seemed to glow. He was a ghost sleeping next to me.

But I was done trying to sleep. And I was done swallowing lies.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. Hopefully, they’re a little more upbeat.

Jess * Kris * Siobhan * Kayleigh * Gwen * Deelylah

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Where I Live

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It’s another edition of Wordless Wednesday, and as usual, mine will probably have words.

There are some things that piss me right off about Michigan, but the landscape isn’t one of them. No matter the season, it’s almost always freaking gorgeous. Here are what some of my favorite spots look like in summer.

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Northern shore of Lake Michigan. We had so much fun swimming in the waves.

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Eagle Harbor, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Munising, Michigan

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Lake Superior at Whitefish Point, Michigan

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Sunset on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

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Floatie parking on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

As you may have guessed, I really like being by (and in) the water. I try to spend as much time by the water as possible in the summer–as long as I have my SPF Vampire handy, that is.

Be sure to check out the other blogger’s posts to see what summer is like where they live.

Jess * Gwen * Kris * Paige * Jessica

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