Dear grandma,

I did not have a good day today. I woke up aching, sore from cold and not enough sleep, and I went to work with a sense of quiet resignation: back to this, then, the same litanies of customer complaints and entitled do-this-for-me that in my darker moments I feel forms the boundaries of my job. I spent much of the day heartsick, for a variety of reasons.

And then I came home. I cleaned my kitchen: washed all the leftover dishes, scrubbed down the counters and the stove, and I made two apple pies. I used your knife, and your pie plate (although I confess, I cheated and bought pre-made crusts; it was a long day at work and I don’t have the patience today to make it from scratch. I’ll do better next time, I promise), and I thought of you while I made them. I’m thinking of you now.

It’s comforting to know that muscle memory doesn’t go away, or family memory, maybe, the sort of habit that is so thoroughly ingrained that we can’t help but inherit it: to sit, and chat, and let your hands do the work, slice-slice-slice-slice, wafers of white or yellow-gold apple flesh dropping into the bowl. My wife and I did it tonight, like I remember you and I doing while I was young enough not to appreciate it: sat down at our dining room table, and together peeled and sliced apples. Fifteen or sixteen of them, half Arkansas Black (a strong, tart, nicely crisp apple I just discovered; like a Granny Smith that doesn’t suck), and half my beloved Cortland (Cortland! Finally, I can find them here, at the farmer’s market – all the gorgeous natural sweetness that I grew up with, that is my favorite out of all the countless varieties anyone could offer).

There are pies in the oven now, and my house smells of apple and cinnamon and clove and pastry. And my heart, at the end of the day, is warm.

I miss you. But I have a pie plate, and a paring knife, and apples and muscle memory (because after all, the heart is a muscle, beat-beat-beating blood, and they say, don’t they, that pie runs in the family), and what that means is I still have you.

Love you, grandma. It was good to see you again. The mind’s eye is the sharpest.

Not bad for off the cuff. Moohahaha.

Aforementioned story has found a comfy home at Circlet Press, lovingly taken in by editor J. Williams. Brief acceptance commentary made me preen; am pleased and proud.

So it looks like my career shall begin in what we shall coyly term explicit romance. If anyone’s startled by this, the line forms to the left; take a number. I doubt they’ll hit double digits.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to bed I go.

-her map of Tasmania. It’s her first show, and she’s terrified and ecstatic. Her mother watches, fretting with glued-on lashes a flurry of spiky black around gem-bright eyes. Sequins and rhinestones catch the cheap-lightbulb fluorescence that surrounds the makeshift dressing-room mirror as she puts her scissors down and picks up a pair of sheer stockings. The fleshtone nylon whispers and scratches as she unrolls it over her skin, encasing herself with a drag queen’s first line of defense.

She stands, smoothing her slitted gown over her bestockinged thighs. The slice in the fabric nearly reaches her naval, and slides as she moves, a shifting peep-show that shows far too much but never quite …everything.

“You all tucked up, honey?” her mother asks, and the virgin queen reaches between her thighs, giving the space there a quick once-over with cherry-taloned fingertips. Nothing comes loose, and she strikes a pose. The line of her posture is nervously perfect, from the tip of her glittering stiletto pump to the peak of her lace-front bouffant. Someone must have bled on her lips to get that color of red, and her lashes are a falsely modest line against her carefully porcelained cheek as she shyly ducks her head and blows her mother a moue of a kiss.

“You’re beautiful,” whispers her mother through proud tears that threaten to make her eyeliner run, and with all the frightened determination of a robin in late spring, she nudges the virgin through the curtained door, down the dimly-lit hallway at the end of which the stage is waiting, dollar bills in hands around it, waiting for a garter to receive them.

Putting together a list of wordses to possibly be used in building Strangeandsavage.com.

Fringe
Underground
Outskirts (Out Skirts! I love a pun.)
Alternative
Unconventional
Weird
Queer (so many definitions…)
Aberrant
Deviant
Freak

I learned a new word, as well, in digging for wordses: heterodox. Loff. Loff! Say it out loud. Heh-ter-oh-docks. Hedderohdokz. Mmm. Tasty word with mmmmmeaning.

Brain is apparently set to random, although given RuPaul’s Drag Race is on in the background, this is not startling. Ah, Ru. You are such a distraction.

So we registered strangeandsavage.com in my name tonight.

The project is… the secondary, parallel track to my impulses to make things. Stories come first, but images are a close second.

Watch this space.

Story open. Words there; no words in head. Story stares at me. I stare at story. Story says, “wriiiiiite meeeeeeee…”!

Want write! Brain dead.

Sad.

Maybe brain work later? Brain work after moved. Moving eating brain-words, filling brain with ‘deposits’ and ‘large truck’ and ‘hodeargod I have too much shit, where did it all COME from?’ and ‘I do not want to lift that sofa’ and ‘we should get more bookshelves’ and ‘holy shit this is expensive’.

Brain work after moved.