Thursday, October 29, 2009


Gemma is back!  Gemma first appeared in an unpublished short story, “Wings.”  Gemma’s mother abandoned her when she was a child.  Mom was addicted to smoking faery dust, and now that Gem’s an adolescent she has what all the daughters of dusters got – wings.  Horrified and outcast, Gemma has left home for NYC to find her mother, others like her, and maybe herself.


“Truth or Dare,” I said to Luke.  I didn’t really care which he picked.  I was so f*cked up, I didn’t care anymore.  I just wanted to go home…
Wait.  I couldn’t go home.  I was here.  Here was home now. 
Whoa.  I was really loopy, really a mess.  If I’d just taken the dare or told the truth I wouldn’t have had to keep drinking.  But even with all the magical weirdness in the room – the deformities or whatever – the horns, the tails, the wings, the scales – it still felt freaky to be me.  It still felt like everyone was staring at me.  Wait, was everyone staring at me? 
Lola definitely was.  Well ha ha to her.  I leaned on Luke and asked him again, “Truth or Dare?”
“Or consequence,” said Lola.  She looked like she regretted starting this game.
Luke’s tail lashed back and forth as he thought.  “Truth,” he said, smiling at me. 
Was he really smiling?  At me?  It might’ve been the wine.  Or the schnapps. 
Ooo!  That was definitely Luke’s hand on my knee.  My wings fluttered.
“What did you do the first time you knew you were different?” I asked.  I did care, in spite of all I’d had to drink.  Not only did I care, I had to know.
“I know what I would’ve done,” he said, smirking.  “I would’ve done this –“ 
And then, just like that he kissed me!  His lips were just right too, not too soft, not too rough, not too wet or dry.  Perfect really.  I sighed as his shaggy bangs brushed my nose.
“Your turn, Gemma!  Your turn!” Lola was so pissed off. 
I didn’t dare grin.  But Luke had me all fluttery and smooshy and suddenly glad
I shouted so loud that everyone laughed, “Dare!” and then I threw off my bomber jacket and let my wings free!
I flexed, shook them out, and… and… and…
I flew!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Juliet struggles to find her own voice, while caring for her bipolar mother.  Juliet began as a character in a novel, Let Her Cry, which is waiting for a rewrite, perhaps will be my next big project.

Juliet:  Last night I was writing a song.  It was about Michael, and it was going along fine, if a little corny.  I was singing and strumming my guitar, “You are the riches/You are the king/You are the future/Whatever that brings…”
     Then came pounding on the front door, and Dad trying not to yell, just to be heard – “Marnie, open up!  Marnie, please –“
     Dad’s river-wild, stage-strong movie voice was cut short by the door
Open again, and then
     My mother was crying in her show-voice, the one I think of as her desperately-crying-for-attention-and-love voice, this time melting into her for-the-audience-in-the-back-rows-too-darling voice.  Her combat boots pounded down the hall past my room and on into her own, where I heard her throwing, tearing, destroying.  And of course crying.  Gasping, sobbing, sucked-up screaming…
     My strum changed to minor chords, loud and abrupt and accompanied by “Shut up shut up shut up now!” angrily sung by me in my quietly-absorbing-everything-and-never-complaining voice.  My parents wouldn’t hear me.  I didn’t want them to.  I didn’t want to make things worse.
     But of course my mother couldn’t keep everything to herself, nope, she had to begin shoving photo after photo under my door, pictures she’d torn herself out of.  She knew how to make an entrance.  I wished I could be so talented, grabbing all the attention for myself -- and then Michael would love me, I thought as my mother scratched the outside of my door with her long fingernails. I dropped my guitar and my selfish thoughts, and ran to her, flinging open my bedroom door and allowing her to fall against me.  She was so tiny, and I was so gi-normous, her head tucked under my chin, and her drippy, sobbing, scrunchy-face pressed against my chest as if she were the child and I were the adult.
     “She shouldn’t – you shouldn’t –“ My father said from just behind her.
     “It’s okay, Mama.  I’ve got you now.”
     “They hated me!  I hate myself!  Everyone hates me!”
     “I don’t hate you Mama—“
     “Jules…” my father said, then sighed and backed away, disappearing back down the hall and into the living room.
     He turned on the stereo, and now it was as if Mama and I had a soundtrack.  Our lives were a play or a movie, and maybe this wasn’t how normal kids lived, but at least in this movie, I was a star.  Not like my mother, but a leading role at least.  A pivotal part.
     “Let her cry… if the tears fall down like rain/ Let her sing… if it eases all her pain/ Let her go…”
     Oh no!  Not Hootie!  I stepped back into my room as my mother ran down the hall to go and kill my father.
     “And if the sun comes up tomorrow/ Let her be…”
     “Oww for fuck’s sake Marcie, you—“
     I closed my door, realizing sadly that I might have to settle for a supporting role after all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Jenna is the main character in my upcoming novel, Spun.  She is a recovering meth addict with an alcoholic mother, a dead father, a torn-up life and an uncertain future.  Jenna is also an aspiring writer, carrying a notebook with her at all times in which she expresses her dreams and hopes, fears and desires, poems, images and observations.


Paige has Kevin.
Even Mom has Frank.
Is there, and if so, where and when is there, someone for me?  I’m filled with longing, or, rather, emptied of everything else.  “There isn’t any me anymore,” said Hemingway.  So say I, when I’m going home, alone again.  I say to myself, Paige loves me, my mother loves me, but do they really?  I scrawl in my notebook: 
     Paige has Kevin.  Kevin has Paige.
         I always go home
         Mom has Frank.  He has Mom.
                                                      Who has me?

I would’ve liked to make P.’s rm. a genie bottle, cause rgt. now, I feel like a genie trapped in a bottle,
bottle = home, but it confines me to its glass belly, no one gets in or out, and the most I can hope for is the glass breaks.
I want to be in love.  That’s what everyone else has, rgt.?  Paige/Kevin, Mom/Frank.  They hate each other but if they weren’t in love they wouldn’t still be together, or would they?

Who would I be willing to throw myself under?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Maree is a newcomer Outsider Girl.  I don’t know where she came from or where her story will go, but I find her to be funny, with an interesting perspective on things, and I expect she’ll be back in later posts.


My little sister, eight, believes God lives in McDonald’s, because she says, there he can get a hot meal anytime he wants.

My four year old brother just told me he only likes white guys, like Batman, and Spiderman, Wolverine and Superman, Steve and Joe from Blue’s Clues.  Phineus and Ferb.  I’m worried, because his new school will be ninety percent black and hispanic.  Hopefully, he’ll meet some new Superheroes there. 

My oldest sister, Marla, twenty-two, is a Christian missionary to missionaries. Wrap your head around this -- she helps missionaries get closer to Christ.  She had to raise a whole lot of money to get this job, but I didn’t say anything about how backwards that seemed, and didn’t dare get smart and ask how God’s dental plan is. 
Everyone thinks Marla’s so great, except me.   I think she’s crazy and kind of a bully besides, but then I had to grow up with her lording it over me -- no pun intended (get it?  “Lord”, hardeeharhar).

So then there’s me, in the middle.  Last night I gave my first blow job, in the bushes behind a party, and Christopher, that was the guy, called me an angel, but he hasn’t called today, or answered any of my texts. 

I guess you’d say I’m Godless.  But it’s not like I don’t care.  It’s not like I’m trying to break my parents’ hearts.  I’m looking for God, or something, anything out there that’s not me, but it’s hard, because when I’m mopping the floor, and wiping Markie's boogers, and scraping dried cheese off plastic plates... it seems like there is only me.  It seems like I can only be my own angel.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Kayla is a new character.  She is coping with a sick mother who isn’t always available, and at the same time with a huge crush on a popular boy who doesn’t seem to know she’s alive.  I like Kayla’s honesty.


            I told my mother -- I was crying and everything -- I told her that everyone has their belly button pierced, and if she didn’t let me then it was her fault if Brian Kepler didn’t like me, and it was her fault if I didn’t get invited to his party this weekend, and you know what she did?  She laid there on the couch with her eyes closed, doing her deep breathing thing which nobody else’s mother does, I mean really, and then she said “Party?” 
            I was kinda stuck then, because I would never lie to my mother, I just wouldn’t, because she always said that would be the worst thing I could ever do, but on the other hand, I couldn’t tell her deets about the party because Brian’s parents were going out of town and that’s why it was such a big deal – there were going to be no adults and a keg and the pool and everyone who mattered was going to be there, and my friend Rain said she was going to lose her virginity Saturday night, and if Brian were to ask me, I would too, only he won’t ask because my mother won’t let me get my belly button pierced
            “Just a party.  You know Brian, Mommy!  You know how much I love him.  Please, Mom!”  I said, adjusting her pillow.
            She winced when I moved her, but then she sighed, so I her neck was hurting more than usual.  Her pain was bad, I knew it, because otherwise she’d totally be sitting up, leaning forward on her hands, looking into my eyes for the truth –
            And then, I never could’ve lied, but all of a sudden it seemed easy, because she was lost in her world of hurt, and so I said, “It’s his birthday.  He invited me specially.  It’s almost like a, like a date!”
            “Are you asking if you can go?”  She was happier than she was letting on.  She really wanted to believe someone like Brian Kepler would ask me out.  She was crazy that way, thinking I was totally popular and everyone liked me, and all the boys loved me, when actually the opposite was true.
            I started rubbing my mother’s foot.  She sighed with relief, and I said, “So I can go, right?”
            “I don’t know, Kayla, it’s not a good time—“
            “It’s never a good time with you!”
            “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry—“
            Okay, so sue me – she was weak and I needed to get my belly button pierced, and I knew if I kept at it, kept pushing her, she’d give in, if for no other reason than guilt over being sick and being afraid that that made her a bad mother.  I knew how she thought.  I didn’t want to take advantage of her, but my love for Brian was so real, so powerful, it was all I could think about, it was like a hot knife in my heart.  I knew I could get him to like me if only -- and so I said to my mother, “Can I get my belly button pierced before the party Saturday?  I have the form you just have to sign and Rain’s mother will take us.”