random

Where do you get your ideas from?

Reposted from my blog tour

Yes, the most often asked question of writers, and the first one that comes to my mind as a reader : Where do you get your ideas?

I imagine like most authors, I would initially answer, “I don’t know. They just sort of come to me,” but that’s a really boring and unhelpful answer so I put my thinking cap on and sat down and tried to analyze my process.

What I realized was this – all my ideas all come from ‘somewhere’ or something tangible. Even if it’s not readily apparent. Thinking back on my most current working ideas [the ones I’ve recently written or am actively working on], the ‘biggest’ contributor is just the question, “What if?”

I tack that question on to a lot of stuff in my everyday life and mostly, it’s pretty boring. My inner monologue goes something like this:

  • What if I’m late?
  • What if I don’t pack a lunch? What will I eat?
  • What if I don’t do laundry today? Can I make it a few more days with what I have

SNORE. But! Sometimes, I find I’m asking bizarre “what if” questions based on stuff that’s going on around me. My inner monologue then goes something like this:

  • Jeez, that’s the fourth time I’ve seen that billboard, “WAKE UP!” What if it’s a message to me? What does it mean? Why am I getting it? What if I’m in a coma and this is all coma-world and all those messages are telling me to wake up?
  • I was almost run over by that lady’s shopping cart and she didn’t even see me! Whoa, what if I was invisible? What if I died at some point this morning and I didn’t even realize it and now, I’m a ghost and no one can see me?
  • The harvest moon is always so big and low. But it scares me sometimes. What if in a past life, I died while looking at it and now, whenever I see it hanging low and heavy on the horizon, I feel a little sick because somehow, my soul remembers that? I wonder what I did to ‘get dead’ while looking at the moon?

I kid you not, those are all LEGITIMATE thoughts I’ve had. Sometimes I get a thought like that and it turns into a short story, or a book, or even just a snippet for my slush pile. Other times I laugh at myself or just shake it off. Sometimes I say them out loud and get really strange looks.

I’ve gotten some ideas from other places too – snippets of a song I heard, or artwork, or maybe some overheard dialogue as I walk around. But the number one place I get them is just by stopping sometimes and wondering, “What if…?”

Side note – the “WAKE UP!” billboards turned out to be for a new morning radio show. Took me WEEKS to figure it out. I was really starting to be sure I was in a coma. True story.

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Calgary, Southern AB Flooding

I live in Calgary which is currently under a State of Emergency for flooding. I’m VERY fortunate to live in an unaffected area. My neighborhood is safe and dry. However, a lot of Calgary is flooded. The downtown core is evacuated and the last I heard, power may not be restored there until the middle of the week. The good news is that it appears all of the emergency planning and safety measures were successful. I’m very proud of my city! If I understood the news cast last night, the power transformers were shut down in the core before they could blow, and they won’t be turned on again until they are dry. If they had blown, it would have been a lot longer.

So far the city has stated that volunteers are NOT needed, although I believe they do project that volunteers will be needed for clean up in the coming weeks and months.

If you live in the area, stay safe out there!

OH THE HORROR!

I love horror. I love the creeped out feeling I get when watching it or reading it and the way it just LINGERS in my brain for days afterward.

But, I’m not necessarily a fan of just slash and gore. I like some slash and gore flicks but not the overly gratuitous ones. Basically, if you’ve got NO plot and it’s just scantily clad women running around screaming and getting hacked to bits, I’ve no interest.

When I say I like horror, I find a lot of people start reccing me slash and gore flicks. Really sexist and BAD slash and gore flicks.

Did I mention the sexism? Because it bears repeating. Several times. [But that’s a WHOLE OTHER POST].

I feel like these days, true horror has gotten or is getting lost in the slash and gore. I don’t want to be grossed out or just bombarded with blood. I want you to horrify me! I want you to terrify me! I want to be DISTURBED ON A PROFOUND LEVEL [while in the safety of my home, usually in my jammies, watching through the slits of my fingers as I cover my eyes].

If I have to watch a film clutching a rosary or I’m nervous to turn the lights off at the end of the night, that’s a good horror flick.

If I sit there watching as some [again] scantily clad buxom women gets chopped up – that’s not horror.

Some of the best horror I’ve read or seen has NO GORE. The classic example is always Hitchcock’s Psycho, wherein we only see a small trail of blood going down the drain. That’s it. He didn’t have to show me all the blood and keep pushing my face in it going “LOOK SEE THE HORROR??? DO YOU SEE IT??” He just had to set it all up – music, lighting, story, acting – and then let my brain fill in the rest, knowing that my brain will supply all the horror needed, and better than he could. Because each person’s brain will fill in the worst thing for them.

So! Here are some of my faves* – these are by no means the only ones I’ve liked, but these have stuck out in my head and I remember them all very vividly.

The Evil Dead [1981 original] – a classic. It’s got what I [and a lot of people] refer to as the ‘submarine’ element – people trapped in a place they can’t get out of. AND! it’s got something creepy in a basement. Toss in the Necronomicom and I’m SOLD.

Saw – I saw [lol] this movie by myself in the theatre when it first came out and to this day I remember when it ended and the credits started rolling, my mouth was completely dry. I’m pretty sure I sat there immobile and just… unable to look away or even swallow the entire time.

Poltergeist – I still watch this every time it’s on TV. You CARE about the family and what’s happening. You know Carol Ann is in that house but what is in there with her? How will they get her back?

A Nightmare on Elm Street – I only saw pieces of this movie and never saw the whole thing until I was in my teens but as a child I knew there was something about a boiler room and a guy named Freddy and I was terrified. I was scared of this movie before I even saw it. I also really liked Wes Craven’s New Nightmare which was a meta mashup of the Freddy mythology and just so good.

In the Mouth of Madness – I loved some of the imagery in this film. Sam Neill in a room covered in hand-drawn crosses [even on Neill himself], when Julie Carmen is forced to read the book and then starts bleeding from the eyes, when they’re trying to leave town and they just keep being forced back.

Lord of Illusions – I admit, I watched this during my HUGE Scott Bakula crush days. But I stand by it! It’s also got some great imagery. There’s also that thin dude in the creepy pants, the illusionist Swann, Famke Janssen and the sword dropping scene!

The Thing – I also classify this as a thriller [which can be crossed over with horror or separate from]. This one also has the submarine effect – people trapped somewhere they can’t leave – and then they start not trusting each other. IS ONE OF THEM THE THING?? it’s a great story device when your characters are all paranoid and anxious but it’s hard to maintain without exhausting your audience and I feel this movie does it well.

Ginger Snaps Trilogy – I just love these movies. They made me fall in love with the werewolf trope/genre. I find them fun too, but in a dark way. But I think they show the best part of horror – the effect it has on family or bonds between people. I highly recommend them. I also watch these whenever I catch them on TV.

Films by Roger Corman and Vincent Price loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s work – The Raven, the Fall of the House of Usher, the Pit and the Pendulum, Masque of the Red Death, the Tomb of Ligeia [THE TOMB OF LIGEIA, how I love you!] – I love them all. SO EPIC! So creepy!

I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I hit post, but those are the ones off the top of my head.

*As a side note, I’ve left out horror-dark comedies from this post as I feel they are a special category all on their own to be enjoyed [films like Shaun of the Dead, Army of Darkness etc]

 

Memory Game

So mum has had her house on the market for a while, and although I do think it’s time for her to move out [nudge nudge, mum], I find myself torn about how I feel about the actual SALE of the house. I know that it’s not the only house I have ever lived in. I think we moved in when I was two. and I don’t even live there right now. I live with Jenge [where mum is moving in]. But I still feel very attached to the house.

It doesn’t have a garage. It’s not open concept. There is no master bath. And yet, I’m very fond of it. I grew up there, and it’s the only house I remember. And there’s my other problem. Memory. I remember falling off my bike and pushing said bike home, lower lip trembling, leg and arm bleeding and seeing the house up ahead of me. I remember coming home from trips and being so glad to see it. Heck, even coming home from days at work or at the university. And then there’s my dad. I remember him in that house.

Intellectually, I realize that the sale of the house doesn’t mean I’ll forget. I know my memories are not somehow tied up in the wood and concrete that make up that building. But I can’t help but feel as though they are. As if having that house there somehow solidifies my gray matter.

Jessi, at work, says she has no similar feelings about the house her parents live in because she moved alot when she was a kid. So I guess it’s because I only know that one house that I feel that way.

And like I said, I know it’s not rational. It’s not logical. My memories are what they are regardless of what external cues are there. And it’s impractical to think that you can keep every place you live and go back whenever you want.

But that doesn’t keep me from feeling…. nervous? sad? morose?

Grocery Store Chit Chat

Don’t you find grocery shopping weird? you put the goods in the cart, to take them out of the cart, have them scanned and then put them in bags and BACK in the cart to take them OUT of the cart again and into your trunk. Can’t there be some way of scanning the groceries as they go INTO the cart and you bag them at the same time? then you could keep a running total of your purchase and put stuff back [by Minus Scanning it] if you were over. Alternatively, you could stock up if you were under.

And why do people need help getting to the car? you managed to shlepp those same groceries all through the store, and to the till but suddenly now you can’t push the cart [parents with small children are excluded from this rant]

But parents with small children you are not excluded from the next rant – control your kids. They do not need miniature shopping carts. They do not need to ‘help’ so they won’t act out. I neither helped my mother with the groceries nor did I have a small cart of my own to push, and I don’t recall ever EVER screaming like a banshee or crying hysterically in the grocery store or GOD HELP ME when we got home. [except for that time mum says I tried to filch a candy bar, but I was like 4 years old] [also mum, if I WAS a bad-ass in the supermarket, now is NOT the time to post it on my blog] [also, I’m not sure what would have happened if I had been bad. I was too afraid to find out. The not knowing was a terrific motivator].

Every deli needs a number system. or else we’re all standing around trying to figure out who is next.

I don’t need that many mustards to choose from. Thanks.

I don’t want to sample anything at the grocery store. Having worked at a grocery store as a cashier many moons ago, they are dirty and most stuff is getting touched by people. Except for the deli were stuff is behind glass. Plus, I did’nt go to the store to eat, I came to shop. Eating comes later when I get home.

Just because you see chips and cookies and pop and pastries in my cart, don’t you judge me! Sniff.

This, That, and the Other

Random things on my mind…..
1. My commute is killing me. Sometimes I’m not even sure how I got to work.
2. Why is the new puppy, Lola, stinky? My other dogs don’t smell.
3. What if my other dogs do smell but I am immune to it now?
4. What if I smell like dogs?
5. Where does the money go?
6. I really should put away my laundry instead of living out of the laundry basket.
7. I don’t know why it took me so long to move that shelf in the fridge. TONS more space now!
8. I really like it when my toes are professionally polished and should have it done more often.
9. 7.30 on Sunday night feels a lot later than 7.30 on a weeknight.
10. Need to prep coffee pot for tomorrow morning.