Archive for the ‘A Month Of Letters’ Category

Eleven letters were posted, one to a cat and one to a friend no longer here, so lets make the count nine. There were many more days in the month than that, so what happened all the other letters?

Two people didn’t want their letters shared, and I don’t blame them because neither did I. They were too personal. That brings us back to eleven. One letter, not requested, I just flat didn’t write because of my own reasons. The others? There weren’t any. I made it voluntary, even changed the rules and said the receiver didn’t have to respond, and there were only eleven letters actually requested.

I’ve learned two things from all this. The post office made a killing in the month of February because of this project and my friends, and family, are just as busy as I am. I also had a freaking BLAST doing it.

So how about finishing up with a letter to myself?

Self, yes, I do remember that desk you wanted.

Yeah, that's it...

Yes, it’s covered in dust, cat food, and piles of paper because you haven’t sat down in front of it even once. NOT ONCE. Not even to work on a painting, never mind the MS.

Where are you instead?

The kitchen? Still?

Ok, that’s fine, at least you’re sitting at the laptop – it’s a start – and your back isn’t to the wall. Yes, I see that stack of paper to the right. The one under the card reader. That’s your manuscript. You’re forty pages from the end of rewrite number bahzillion. Forty pages! That’s all. So close! What’s that you say?

You… what?

Shut up. Just shut up, because I don’t want to hear it! Didn’t it already pass one round of beta reading? It’s not shit. Nia wouldn’t LET you write shit and Lex’s beta copy is dog-eared because she reads it over and over and bugs you about book two and a short on Juliet, the zombie. It is not shit. Is it publishable? Will anyone other than Nia and Lex like it? Not for you to say, but it’s not garbage. Your writing does not suck, the fight scene is not too complicated to rewrite, the sex scene is not stupid and you have not wasted ten months working on this thing.

You do not suck.

And quit reading anymore writing advice, you’re officially forbidden. All it does is make you second guess every freaking word on the page and, at this point, does more damage than it’s worth.

You know your not wanting to work on it isn’t really all about the self-doubt bullshit, or even the fear of a synopsis, don’t you? It’s also about the shitty last few months of stress at work that bleeds over into every blessed thing else. Last night you took rubbing alcohol to the new list on your arm that ran from wrist to elbow, kinda like that one, but much, muuuuch longer. You only draw on yourself when you’re overwhelmed, but you did that, erased it, because that list is done, it’s over. Taxes are done, the new koi pond is gonna get built, Bean’s trip to Nola in October is gonna get financed, the crap at work will even out, blah blah blah, and everything will be okay. Just… stop it. And breathe, dammit. You really do have a better handle on it all than you think you do.

Now that you’ve had a lecture on self-doubt and stress, what you most importantly need to remember is that it’s okay not to work on the edits.

 ~~ What?? What?? ~~

The good thing about a first novel is you’re not on a deadline. Save Deadline Stress Syndrome for when you actually have one. The koi pond? Your babies need a bigger home and you’re going to start working on that this weekend. And it’ll be beautiful and it seems such a wonderful idea to sit out there with the laptop and write while those fish swim lazy circles in their new home.

Get out of the funk you’ve been in for the last five days, dump the stress, quit projecting your stress on the MS, grab up your sizable man-balls, and get back to work.

When you can.

Forty pages. Forty. So close.  SO close, so true. But you could still be here. You’re too damned hard on yourself.


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Not only am I late for your birthday, but I’ve apparently also forgotten you went and grew up on me. I’ve gotten so many graduation invitations over the years that you’d think it would click, maybe, when instead of high school it started saying COLLEGE!

Maybe it’s just because I don’t like to admit I’m *OLD*.

Yeah, that’s it, exactly.

p.s. Share the other pressie with your sister. You know you can’t give one “kid” a pressie without giving the other one a pressie, too.

That thing is just disturbing...

p.s.s I think the wand is cooler. I bought one for me, too.

“Lena” is Marlena Frank. And yes, she grew up to be a lovely woman and a talented writer.

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Hey, you! Cat!

You know, you’ve been outside living under my car for a very long time. I swear it’s been a year. One would think you would trust us enough by now to come a little closer than ten feet. Seriously, we’re not going to eat you. I don’t even much like Chinese. Honest.

You were so sick when I first saw you, which is why I call you Zombie, you see. You staggered, listed, tripped, flat fell over numerous times. So much for a cat’s grace, eh? Sometimes, you just sat in the middle of the yard with your head down, nose between your paws. I’ve seen that behavior in a cat before and the outcome wasn’t pretty.  The neighbors’s cats would mess with you and, much as I loved them, they got on my shit-list for that. But! We’ve fed you, we’ve kept you warm as best we could. And guess what? You got better. And you’re so pretty.

Kal is in the front yard, too, ya know. She’s a good kid. Oh, hell… fine. She’s a bitch, but I’m sure she’d like someone like you. Socks, the idiot cat in the house already? Don’t worry about him, he’s too stupid to breathe, sometimes.

Wish you’d come closer – I can’t even get you to hold still for a picture. Bobby says you can come inside if I can ever get you to come to me. I’m going to hold him to that.


Your Wanna-Be Mom

No, I did not mail this one. I left in on the Vette. If Zombie suddenly develops opposable thumbs and opens it, we’re all screwed.

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Mailed Feb 23rd to Nia

She got her package yesterday, but because I blew the day with the “Spooge” blog, here we go!

Nia, Gail… whatever the hell your name is today. It’s interchangeable. 

Hi! 🙂 

And yes, I did do that sideways smilie, there.  Why not? I’ve written that way to you since nineteen ninety-freaking FOUR! I’m not going to stop now just because you’re reading a piece of paper and not a damned screen. What? Are you special or some shit? 

You see what I mailed you? HORRIBLE artwork. You asked for it, just remember that. I don’t care that you have it, it gets the shit outta my house before anyone can see how bad I suck at oil pastels. 

The art sucks! The dreams behind it? Well, you get it. So…



I was so pissed off when I messed up those lamps. 😦

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Hey, bitch! Yes, YOU! 

You need to get your ass back down here, pronto! You and Ronnie James, both! This is messed up shit, here!

Wendy’s lost her damned mind! I had to go bail her out of jail because she ran down Broad Street naked. NAKED!…. chasing Sharon with a bat! No, not a baseball bat, a *reet-reet* bat, ya know… with WINGS and FANGS. Exactly how the hell am I supposed to make them both behave by myself? Are you damned NUTS?

And Pamela? WOW! Johnny Depp’s single now and I keep trying to tell her that just because he is does not mean it’s her cue to take her happy, wrinkled, old ass across the pond after him. It’s yours.

You get back here. NOW.

Deepest regards,


Sorry about not typing out the p.s. Writing it was hard enough.

Rose was my best friend since like… puberty. Throughout our teenage years, she would move away, move back, move away. *sigh* I got so sick of putting her on buses. Once, we talked my parents into letting her live with us, but then her mom called and she moved away again, only coming back to Augusta when we were in our early twenties.

While she was away, I used to write her letters like this. In fact, before this whole Month of Letters thing, she was the last person to whom I had actually written a letter. Ronnie James is Ronnie James Dio, Wendy is his wife. Sharon is Sharon Osbourne. Pamela is Pamela Des Barres. Letters like the one above were comic relief, something to say so we didn’t have to talk about how fucked up our families were for just a few minutes, and because I liked to make her laugh. She would never reply, she’d call me instead.

Life goes on, we grew up… I lost track of her for a while. Everyone has demons and Rose had many, some she just could not shake. Rose passed away one year ago today. February 24, 2011.

Ronnie James left us in 2010, less than a year before Rose. I didn’t miss it, not for  a second. The last thing I said to Rose, alone in ICU, when I knew for certain that she was never going to wake up again, was this:

“Tell Ronnie James I said hello. And tell him his wife is a craaaaazy bitch.”

Three days later, I danced with her brother at her funeral.

She would have LOVED it.

And, yes, I mailed the letter. Rose Marie Bragg, c/o Ronnie James Dio

… On Tour…


… your best friend always sticking up for you, even when I know you’re wrong!


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Hi, Leia!!!

You might have figured I’d send you a picture. You post so many beautiful shots on Facebook that it was hard to resist. 

See, I have this nifty camera and really haven’t ever learned how to use it properly.  This picture is extra special because it seems I got something mostly right that night. You should see some of the shitty pictures I’ve taken at hockey games. Oy! Who’da thunk men could skate that fast? It all ends up a huge blur and just *BLAH*. 

But New Orleans? She doesn’t move; she holds still for me and poses so prettily. 

It’s my favorite out of every picture I’ve ever taken there. That view, that bridge… are so, so special to me. There’s a set of steps just on the other side of the grass that lead down to the water… sort of a strange story, but I’ll tell you on the blog if you want to know… and I’ll hope you still like the picture after I tell you. LOL! 

Ya know, I was thinking about when we “met” and I have a confession… I can’t remember anymore, for the life of me, what your nickname was on “That Board” with “That Guy”. 

Gods, I suck. I have a worse memory than a thousand year old vampire.



And now we hear… The Rest of the Story!

I went to get that pic printed on Feb 8th, as evidenced here. I’m at the kiosk, pushing buttons. It prints my receipt. I scan it at the print station. Nothing happens. I wait. Nothing happens. Dude comes over and pushes a few buttons, overrides the machine and pushes print again. Nothing. Reboot the system. Twenty minutes later, the system is finally back up. Redo the print job. Nothing. By now I’ve been in this store about forty minutes. System is brrrrrrrrrroken and I have no picture, I’m leaving. I never make it back until the 16th.

Go back FINALLY and yay! the machine is fixed. I almost order myself a copy. Nah, change my mind. I didn’t know where I’d hang it, anyway. I order just the one. The store has that internet deal where you can order pics online and they print in the store, so when the dude goes to punch in my print job… he accidentally hits the print job for 194 pictures off the internet. He apologized, but are you shitting me? I end up standing there for about thirty minutes when dude suddenly double-takes at me.

“Did you try to print an 8×10 the other day and the machine broke down?” Yeppers, that would be me. He reaches under the counter and pulls out my 8×10 from the other day. “It took us three days to get a Kodak technician here, and when he got everything booted back up it printed this out. ”

The print’s been kinda bent by the machine trying to eat it, but it’s not terrible. It printed a little odd, the raw camera file seems to show more – like the image is cropped. Still, I’m not sending a bent pic to Leia, so I frown and hand it back to him, saying it’s kinda bent and it’s a pressie, so I’ll wait on the new one. But it’s bugging me, because I see it over on the counter and that’s “mine”, ya know? That’s *my* bridge. I grow more pouty by the second.

A few minutes later he hands me an envelope and kinda hides his hand by his cheek and does this pointing down motion. Then he smiles and says, “Here’s an envelope for your picture when it’s done.” I take a discreet look inside the envelope and he’s slipped my extra, bent copy inside and stapled the bill for only one copy on the outside. My brand new print slips out of the printer about then, so I smile to him and I’m off.

So! Now we both have a copy. I don’t mind that mine is bent, not one little bit. That bridge, that view, that city, means so much to me… just things no one can  possibly imagine. It’s my wallpaper on every computer I own, and now it hangs on the wall in my office, reminding me that October will eventually be here and, if the stars align just right, I’ll be there, taking another picture…

ETA:  Re: Nia’s package

I also painted this pic. It’s not great, but it also didn’t get tossed out.

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*facepalm* I forgot to take a picture of the whole “set”, so let me explain. I mailed Juliet a large envelope with two letters inside:



I’m sure you ‘get it’.

Wish it really worked that way, but honestly, I think you’ll be just fine without anyone giving you a ‘sock’.

When you get sad, or even a little down, wear the sock!

Love you,

Letter #2

You didn’t really think I’d only send you one sock, did you? You’d look kinda goofy wearing just one sock.

(I even bought myself a pair.)




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