Here's another insight to my life that my readership may not know. I'm a big dog lover. I love dogs of all kinds. St. Bernard's are my favorite breed, but the ones that really hold my heart like no other are pit bulls.
I have a four-year-old male pit named Sarrow. He's red and white, red-nosed and too gentle to bite at flies. He's been in my family since he was three weeks old, and been a complete joy from the moment we brought him home. He's a beautiful dog, weighing in right at 70 lbs. A good weight for a medium sized pit. He might be a tiny bit fat. I can't help it, I have to spoil him.
That's him above, in his play area outside.
Today, though, my heart was broken. I met a beautiful little girl pit named Chancey. She is only three-years-old, tawny and white. She seems gentle and has taken right up with my children, my husband and I.
Chancey, though, hasn't had such a happy life. For a long time, she was left on a mountain top with no food or sufficient water. She received no human love or attention--no one even lived at the place where they left her chained, outside, with no dog house or cover. She's full grown, as tall as my Sarrow, but poor Chancey can't weigh but 25-30 pounds. Every bone she has shows through her skin. She has no muscle mass, no fat stored on her body. She literally is skin and bone. The pads of her paws hang from her feet, even the joints of her toes knob through the skin and fur. I nearly cried when I saw her in the condition she is in. Her neck and legs have abrasions from being chained for so long with no slack to play on. Can you see the difference in the sheer size of these two dogs? Can you?
Well, what could I do? I brought her home with me. When a friend of mine and my husband's called and said he knew where a neglected female pit had been left, I had no idea how bad it was. I've seen neglected and abused dogs, rescued my fair share, and I've never, ever seen a dog this thin. My friend wanted to keep her himself, but he knew he couldn't afford to feed her. So he called me. And now, my family has grown yet again. Do I mind? Hell no, I don't mind. If I could, I'd rescue every animal I see that suffers neglect and abuse. I'd take them all.(And I'll post new pics of her once she's healthy again. This one doesn't show how ghastly it looks up close, but you know)
But it makes me wonder if rescuing is enough. There are times, as is the case with sweet, gentle Chancey, that it's never going to be enough. Will she always wait until she's alone to eat, so that nothing can take her precious food away? Will she always ache for attention, as I can see in her liquid green eyes that she aches now? When I held her, loved on her, she just leaned on me--like her frail frame could barely stand without my support. Her tail flicked back and forth with each stroke of my hand on her head, but it never reached a full wag. She just didn't have the energy. And when I took my hand away, I saw her lean under it, trying to make the gentle touches stay. She has missed being loved.
She will not miss it again.
I can't keep every dog. I know that. This will make my third amid a veritble menagerie of pets. Turtles, frogs, fish, birds, cats and dogs. I have some of every one of those animals. I can't take on all the abused dogs I see. Though I'm a horror writer, my heart is so big that if I could afford it, I'd give every one of them a home and the special attention they need. Because no one else will. Especially for a pit bull.
These dogs have been given a stigma that nothing but caring and understanding will out-do. These animals want only to be loved, like any other breed. They are not fierce killers, but gentle darlings who are forced to kill by the bastards who use and abuse their awesome strength. If they will not kill, they are left to starve, as Chancey was.
So next time, dear readers, you see a thin dog with sad eyes--stop. Take a chance, as I've done with this sweet girl Chancey. You may get a trusted friend... and you may instantly become a saving grace in a life that, before you, had no meaning beyond the three feet of chain that held it down.
There. I'm fairly certain I've destroyed my hardened image, but I don't care. Sometimes, it's good to be soft too. To love. Chancey has a chance now, and that is all that matters.
I'm so sick of this new fad that has vampires as protagonists. They shouldn't be protagonists. I think ALL of these vampiric romances are gimmickry. Bland blah romance story, so what do we do? We make one half of the couple a vampire who hates themselves. COME ON!
Let me ask this. Would you date someone who drank blood? Would you find Hannibal Lecter (fictional) or Jeffrey Dahmer (very real until his death) sexy? Ooh baby, ooh baby. Would you lay beside someone who could, at any point and time, roll over and take a chunk out of your throat?
Let's all face the music here. I'm not ranting, but I'm gonna make my point. Vampires don't like humans except for as dinner. If a vampire male or female took an interest in a human of the opposite sex, they would turn the human. Humans are the vampire's natural prey. No way around it. Does a tiger fall for a gazelle? Would a lion love a zebra? (Although, I do have to mention, I did find my cat having his way with a squirrel once, but he was one of those that would have his way with anything... we called him the rape artist)
These vampire romance things are ridiculous. It's time to move on from the vampires and let them be the horrifying, disgusting monsters they are supposed to be. Vampires do not have souls. No soul. They are things, creatures. They do not feel. RESEARCH! My god, if you can use google, you can find out what constitutes a real vampire.
I wouldn't kiss a dead man. I wouldn't kiss a man who wanted to drink my blood. What is so sexy about a killer? Before you (general you) start screaming "my vampire doesn't kill anyone", I'll go ahead and say it. If he doesn't kill, he's not a vampire. Or she, since we could be talking about the female here.
The sexy enchantment everyone is bastardizing is supposed to be frightening, not admirable. The animal magnetism has been part of vampire lore since it's fledgling days. However, the "enchantment" wasn't by a sexy guy who just happened to have fangs and suck blood. It was like hypnotism--the one on the receiving end had no control over themselves. They went like a lamb to the slaughter... because there was no way to stop it. And in all actuality, that particular trait of the vampire was borrowed from snakes, of all things. Want to kiss a snake?
I'm not trying to stifle creativity. But just because your story has a vampire in it doesn't make it horror anymore. The vampire is just the new forbidden fruit and to be honest, it disgusts me. The things we used to fear are becoming acceptable and desirable.
Does anyone know what happened in the 17th to 19th century to people who were thought to have the "vampire virus"? Anyone? If they do, I'll eat my hat. Does anyone even know what the "vampire virus" truly was? Tuberculosis. Let me put on my history hat and instruct...
Throughout Europe and the colonies, a sickness struck. Those afflicted would weaken, grow pale, feeble and frail. Their skin would eventually take on a translucence that could only be explained by old folklore. Vampires. Many times, after the death of one person with the sickness, their family members would become ill. The more widespread the illness, the bigger the fear grew. It became the belief that if one died, the corpses were reanimating and coming after their families in the night while they slept. One after another, family members would die. Immediately after their death, their cheeks would grow rosy, as those with TB or the plague do, feeding the belief that the corpses were rising from the grave.
To stop this "vampire affliction" it became practice to mutilate the bodies. Remove the head, burn the heart and mix the ashes in a tea to feed the living but ill relatives, saw off the arms and cross them over the remains. Pretty gruesome, huh? But this is all sexy. This is romantic.
I admit it, I'm pissed. Every single vampire romance out there is a fraud and bull shit and I don't mind people knowing how I feel about it. These are the monsters of my genre, but suddenly, they aren't monsters anymore. They're just "misunderstood". Sure, sweetie, come on. I don't care if you kill me by ripping out my throat, because it's you and I LOVE you.
I'm done with this. I can't keep going or I'll just get angrier.
Today, I watched my husband's youngest brother get married. Ben and Amanda have had a short romance, but I think they are well suited. I'm not one to say whirlwind will end in disaster. My husband and I'd been together for two months when he moved in with me, so I am living proof that whirlwind can turn out good. Wonderful in fact.
I'd never been to the church the ceremony was held in. There wasn't much to it, the place was positively tiny, but the home-like structure held a certain Southern charm that larger religious structures are incapable of having. Beyond the walls of the tan exterior, a comfortable room sported only two rows of pews and small stage. A minuscule flight of stairs descended from the immediate left of the door. Candles burned on the stage area, no taller than the rest of the church, but set off by lovely wooden banisters.
Ribbons of royal blue and cream floated down from the top of each pew. Two candelabras sat a bit behind and on either side of the pulpit. Their glow would soon encircle the couple about to join their lives.
Ben stood in front of the guests, maybe forty to sixty people in all. His nerves were all over his face too. Poor boy. He looked like he'd swallowed a few fistfuls of Mexican Jumping Beans, the way he looked. Like his insides were taking a go on a tilt-a-whirl.
The music started and the wedding party came in. The music was a simple accompaniment to the party, rather than leading the show. The party was small, only the best man and maid-of-honor and the intendeds' parents.
After a short pause and little jingle of the piano, Amanda came up the stairs and took her father's arm. She was spectacular too. I'm not sentimental, or one to tear up at weddings. I don't normally form an opinion of them. I think most of the time, they're a big waste of time, energy and mental well-being. Not to mention money. The dress, the hair, the decorations, flowers, cake, the tuxes and dresses for the bridesmaids. It's ridiculous.
This wasn't. The wedding was simplistic and of tasteful elegance. Amanda didn't look like the brides in magazines, but in every way, she was far more beautiful. Her face nearly devoid of make up, just a bit of eye liner and a pastel shadow that only sparkled on her eyes lids, but she didn't need even that.
And it made it all perfect when she walked into the reception hall and told her maid-of-honor to "Please bring me my flip-flops". I don't know why, but that was the funniest, sweetest thing in the world.
I just wanted to share this. I'm not a sucker for weddings, but this one was truly magical. I have a new sister to add to my family. And she's a spit-fire. Of which, I wholly approve!
No matter what I'm writing, I'm willing to take chances. I'm willing to pay to play. I'm definitely able to write good stuff.
So why the hell don't I?
Well, a couple reasons. I am not pounding out publishable prose on the first draft. Unless I somehow become a genius in the next twenty-four, I don't think I ever will. That doesn't mean it's not good, just not publishable on the first go around.
When will it become publishable, you ask? Fuck if I know. I'm not a big believer in faith, no "It'll get better" for me. To me, it's shit, will always be shit. It's never perfect enough.
This holds me back? Sure it does.
My problem, not yours... unless you want to read, and then you're fucked. Double fucked.
But I'm trying! I'm sending out short stories to different magazines, getting good--no GREAT-- feedback. Will it ever happen? Maybe. Probably. Does this mean I'm better?
NO! A big, giant, resounding NO to be exact. It's hard work, writing a good story. People say, "Anyone can write a story."
Yes, yes they can. But I don't just want to write a story anymore. I want to write a good one, one to be proud of, one I can point at and say, "I did that!" without a big, fat face full of red shame. Okay, okay, I know my face isn't fat, but still...
So, what does that make me?
It makes me a writer. We all want our works to be better. That's why we edit non-stop. Yeah, that's loads of fun. But in truth, it really is fun. It's a blast. But it's frustrating, confusing, and intimidating all at the same time it's being fun, too. It's a roller-coaster.
It's a drive through the mountains.
It's a day without a night.
It's a beautiful spring morning.
It is... whatever I want.
So, why can't I get it right?
Answer: Because no matter how perfect I want to be, I am as fallible as any other. I have flaws, for fuxake!
I am beautifully flawed.
Incredibly gorgeous... Oops! Didn't mean to type that one. Oh well, it stays.
Really, this is just a post for the sake of posting. I really just wanted to say that a person needs to have a pair. Other than that, I have no idea what I'm saying here.