Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Full Moon & Japanese Game Shows

So it's a full moon tonight.

I love writing when the moon is full. For some reason, it makes me feel like it. I can take my laptop outside and sit on the deck, watching the moon turn the woods into silver threads against the horizon and always--always--a new story nudges its way into my brain.

Probably not tonight though.

I think I have lost ten IQ points inthe last hour. Why, oh why, did I let my husband convince me to watch "I Survived A Japanese Game Show???" Holy crap--it just makes me cringe to see these people making fools of themselves like that. Tonight they played a game called "Big Chicken Butt Scramble."

How do you look at yourselves in the morning after LOSING a game called that?

"Big Chicken Butt Scramble." Somewhere over in Japan, World War II vets are sitting together pissed off.

"We lost to people like that?"

Yeah, hate to admit it to you, but--you did. Your bad.

I just don't get this new urge for self-humiliation, for public spectacle, and for lubing yourself down with oil, rolling in feathers, and then trying to sit on big balloons to burst the egg filling out of them! And on top of it, these people are taking this 'game' seriously!

The $250,000 prize money probably has something to do with it.

*sigh* I guess I'll never be able to survive a Japanese game show. Unfortunately, neither will my Muse--at least not tonight.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Great Hummingbird War of Hocking County

We've been housesitting for my inlaws, who have been at their youngest daughter's wedding in Wyoming. During the time I've been here, I've witnessed some extraordinary things.

For example, the hummingbird wars.

My inlaws live out in the country--just on the edge of Wayne National Forest and Hocking Hills. At the back of their two acres, the trees grow fast and thick and the hills rise up to give me a poignant reminder of the foothills of the Smokies a couple of states south in Tennessee. There is a weathered back deck, surrounded by lilies and flowering shrubs, a gigantic willow tree and a plethora of smaller plants--in other words, bee heaven. They also have a pretty good sized hummingbird feeder with a colony of fifteen to twenty hummingbirds who feed at it daily.

Hummingbirds are highly strategic creatures. Ignore the impossible speed of their little wings whirring, forget about the flash of ruby at the breasts of the males and the tiny inquisitiveness of the smaller females.

THE FEEDER BELONGS TO ME seems to be the mantra they all chirp to themselves as they perch upon strategic locations and guard their personal feeder from the rest of the colony. Just now, as I was sitting outside with a cigarette while listening to my daughter's woes on the cell, I watched as a great battle unfolded before me.

To the west: perched upon the wire fence sat a tiny female. She's the one that yells at us if we get too close to the feeder. To the south: a larger male eyed me from his flamboyantly defiant seat on a shrub just below the wire fence. He's closest to the feeder and he knows it. Atop the willow tree to the southeast, a second male yells a challenge. He's been fighting the first male for girls and sugar water since the hummingbirds returned. I can't see him, but I recognize his voice. Full east, another female hides behind the waving leaves of an azalea bush. She insinuates herself into the branches, hoping for a go at the feeder while the others scream insults at each other.

Suddenly, over my head there's the loud buzz of a divebombing hummingbird. She's come over the top of the house and slides into the northern-most feeding station for a quick stolen bite. Immediately the two males dart towards the feeder, but they encounter each other in midair and fly off the the field to continue their private feud. The female on the western side of the fence cries out and attacks the newcomer, wings beating at her foe's head. As the two females chase each other through the yard, the female hidden in the azalea flies in a liesurely fashion to the deck, eyes me with just a hint of friendly curiosity, and slakes her thirst calmly at the feeder. Her enemies remain out of sight, unaware that the victor has already taken the field.

Full, she flits up to the patio table where I sit under a large umbrella. I lift my hand slowly and just for a split-second, I feel the whispered touch of her claws on my outstretched finger. The next thing I know, she's gone--back to her nest made of spiderwebs in the ridge of oak trees a half-mile away--while I watch her flight and smile.

Round one: to the little hummingbird female I call Emily.

Round two: probably in about fifteen minutes.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Redemption Doing Well...Or Is It?

Occasionally I find myself, much like Piers Anthony, living in conjunction with my book subjects. The Gift of Redemption is about one individual giving up everything in order to redeem a society. In my world, it's about one individual giving up a lot so that others can have what they crave.

For example...

Lately, my husband and I have been feeling a financial crunch--much like the rest of you. Ours is due to a combination of things--my back, my daughter, OPEC--just to name a few.

My back has now (again) made it impossible for me to work in the 'real world.' So, I've increased my work in writing and editing and have become a stay-at-home writer. So, my husband has to take up the slack. He's working more hours, losing the time to do the things he loves, and has nothing left over for what he wants to do. In other words, his gift to the family is to redeem me for my lack of steady financial input.

It's hard to watch. It's harder to agree to, knowing that I haven't 'hit it big' yet and that all of the responsibility lies upon him. I can do my part (like submitting short stories and hoping for the best) but in the long run, unless I get an agent and my book goes to auction, this burden will be on him for a long time.

And I'm not even thinking about the back surgery that's looming in the near future either.

Sacrifices. Everything these days seems to be about sacrifices, just like in Redemption. That worries me.

Book 3 is called Temptation of Asphodel.

Oh dear.