Sunday, August 29, 2010


A short story...

C. Foley

I knew when I was five about the zombie in my house. My uncle pointed out the innocent looking panel of sheetrock that stood out from the rest of the wall.

"Knock three times," he said, "and it will come out."

I didn't know then just what a zombie was. A monster, maybe. Something horrible from beyond the boundary between life an death.

All I knew, as I passed that panel daily to play in my backyard, or to go take something down the cobwebbed, cement stairs to my basement, was that knocking would release the zombie and leave me vulnerable. My fear, like a zombie in its instinctual feast on my fevered brain, made me avoid that room with its sheetrock panel and scary noises.

I didn't find out until years later that my monster was simply a water-heater, hidden behind a sheetrock panel for aesthetic reasons. I'd been controlled by an illusion--forced to walk a narrow path because of fear of the nonexistant. Or so I thought.

Now, nearly twenty years later, I have another zombie in my house, eating at my brain one bite at a time. All because, one overcast, boring day, I knocked at that proverbial panel.

I knocked because it hadn't harmed me when I was five, because if all of my zombies were just water-heaters there was nothing I couldn't do, no horrible thing to keep me in check.

Only now I know not every zombie is a water heater. Now the contagion pours into my blood with each nibble. Soon I will be a zombie. Unthinking. Motivated only by a horrible, cannibalistic impulse. I will destroy the lives of others as surely as my life has been destroyed.

Every time I pass a mirror, I look less alive. There's a manic glow in my eyes that was never there before, behind my excellently styled hair. I smell the reek of death, too, under the fruity scent of perfume and beneath my designer shirt and jeans.

My face is not my own. The colors--carribean shimmer, strawberry burst, smokey cobalt--reveal the decay in my skin.

The zombie in my house bares its teeth when it sees me; a grotesque attempt at a smile that chills me to the bone.

I see it in my TV screen, on my computer, in the faces of friends who flocked to my side after that first, painful bite. I was a loner before, when I thought my own thoughts--when life flowed through my veins.

Now, life leeching out of me, I join the ranks of my murderers. Stumbling along in the crowd. I know, somewhere deep inside, that this zombie is as imaginary as my five-year-old monster. All I have to do is strip off the paint, bolt the sheetrock panel onto the wall once again. Stand alone in an empty room.

I can't go back.
I smile--a dead grimace.
I'm not alone anymore.
Do I miss myself? I can't tell now.
There is no "I".
Only a mass, chasing after something...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Missed it Again

I thought Sundays would be easier to post on. I have more free time on Sundays--at least in theory. I was delusional and wrong.

Missing my blog-post deadline yesterday got me thinking about writer's and their time management in general, though. In an industry so centered on creativity and "inspiration" or "muse" it's easy to forget that we, too, must be held to the constraints of time.

You can't just force it out. Or can you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm Writing...

Today I'm writing. Official writing. On my novels. Which means that I'd rather not take too much time on the blog. Which means that I'm going to post some quotes and call it good. Enjoy. :)

Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.
Charles Caleb Colton (1780 - 1832), Lacon, 1820

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
Cyril Connolly (1903 - 1974)

Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.
Daphne du Maurier (1907 - 1989)

Saturday, August 14, 2010


My week was swamped by training and work, so I didn't have time to get to my weekly Bookaholics anonymous post earlier in the week. Consequently, this week's session is short. I just have a question for you:

Is it still bookaholic behavior when you're buying text books and school related resources?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Book Shelves

Well, school begins a week from Wednesday, and the upcoming week is filled with job training (I work with developmental English classes for Grammar training), dentist appointments, and bluegrass band practice (my band is playing at the county fair). Summer is, for all intents and purposes, over as soon as Tuesday rolls around.

So, the order of business today guessed it...whipping my growing pile of school books into organized submission. How? Three words:

Milk. Crate. Shelves.

As soon as I figure out how to anchor the darn things into my brick wall (and find the cement drill bit that will allow me to do so) I'll be in business.

Pictures will be posted upon completion. No guarantees about the completion part, though.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Books, Glorious Books!

Today I received ten books in the mail. They were school books, of course. The same ones that I admitted to buying in my last BA session on this blog.

It is always nice to get a new book, though. Somehow, those little tomes hold a promise--no matter how new and shiny or old, dusty, and abused they are. In fact, opening those little packages and pulling out the newest additions to my book collection (which seems to grow exponentially) balanced out some of the pain and doldruminess I was feeling due to the recent removal of another wisdom tooth. (I had it pulled this morning).

Books hold the promise of adventure, escape, enlightenment, entertainment, or--and even the driest, hugest textbooks holds this power--at least the promise of some kind of mental exercise.

Recent trends in the publishing blogosphere indicate an increasing concern that our heavy dependence upon technology in everyday life may be causing us to lose the ability to think at deep and prolonged levels. Instead of mulling over a topic for hours or days, we flit from brief consideration to brief consideration. What's new of Facebook? Twitter? Myspace? Who wrote a new blog today? Let me just skim through this and move on to my next task of the day...

Multitasking, social-networking, texting, and emailing, as major parts of modern life, require skill sets vastly different from the skills needed to read, consider, even appreciate a full-length novel. Even books these days cater to the ever shortening attention spans of their readers. With the internet at our fingertips, do any of us have the will power or tenacity to deny ourselves the route to easy information and actually WORK to find, research, or understand whatever it is that needs attending to?

Concerns about the effects of technology have abounded since technology first became available to people. But what if the ability to make "friends" instantaneously online has degraded our ability to invest the time and hardwork required for personal, real friendships? What if our ability to flit from blog to facebook to twitter is destroying our ability to invest the time, effort, and deep thought required to read texts like Thoreau's WALDEN, Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH, Dumas' THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO?

Being a bookaholic doesn't seem so terrible in light of these considerations, does it? I like my books. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First v. Third Person: Pronouns

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with criminal abuse of sentence-starting 'I's' in first person writing. I see articles plastered over agent/writer blogs and sites about de-victimizing the sad, overused pronoun.

But you know what? Third Person has it's own pronoun pitfall...and it has been driving me insane in my writing lately. Can you guess what it is? the He/She conundrum. That's what. Take a couple of recent paragraphs I wrote, for example:

“Have fun with that,” Clacher said. He chuckled when Morales muttered Spanish curse words in reply. He pulled his hat down over his eyes and walked into a steady spatter of fat rain drops. He smiled and straddled the bike.

If Dedos was holed up near Reserve, he knew just the man to root him out. It’d been too long since he’d given Addison Baker a call anyhow. Much too long.

It's too clunky. He did this. He did that. He also did these things...

Of course, the problem isn't a large one--because I'm aware of it and can actively combat it. But starting too many sentences with pronouns (I, She, He, It) can cause writing to lose its flow. As illustrated by my renegade paragraph above, if you're not careful about using these pesky pronouns as sentence-openers, you may have a large list on your hands, rather than a well crafted novel.

Just some thoughts...