Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

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Time To Talk About The Thing About That Teacher

Hell Monkey

This is what I imagine it’s like to be a teacher in America:

It’s like trying to bring God to the apes. You don’t descend into their habitat but rather, ship the apes by bus to you. There, you try illuminate the apes — or chimps, or orangutans — and deliver wisdom unto them, but let’s be honest: apes don’t give a grunting squat about God or any illumination you aim to give them. They’re apes, for Chrissakes. They just want to fling shit and pick ticks and eat bananas and ball each other. Because they are apes. And so day in, day out, you try your hardest to “get through” to these ooking primates, and every once in a while you manage to connect with one and you think, “That one, that one may just evolve into higher creature.” But for the most of the time, you’re just scrubbing ape poop out of your hair and trying to remember exactly which one of them taught the others to play with matches. After a few years of this, you’re either a hardened cynic, a battle-torn skeptic, a who-gives-a-shit-laissez-faire pacifist or a twitching pee-stained educator with ape-caused Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I say this having been one of those apes.

I was a pretty good student and, frankly, not that bad of a kid. Even still, school kinda sucked. I didn’t want to be there. Few of my fellow students wanted to be there. Already that’s a barrier for the teacher: even your best and brightest students would rather be anywhere else in the world.

So, I’m sympathetic to teachers. I do not doubt that it can be rewarding, and I also know that some teachers in this area get paid pretty well (too well, if you read and believe all the angry “We Hate Teachers” signs), but even still, anybody who would paint for you a picture that teaching is some kind of joyous cakewalk has never washed chimpanzee vomit out of their knickers.

And so we come to this news story.

Basic gist: teacher writes a mostly anonymous blog about all kinds of stuff and sometimes writes about educational woes — she calls out (not by name) whiny, lazy kids and their buddy-buddy parents. Someone (a parent?) finds the blog, casts it far and wide, brings it to the attention of the school board and principal, and wham, the teacher is escorted from the building and may end up getting fired.

Do I think her blog was the best idea? No, I guess not.

Do I think she’s wrong? Ehhh. No, no, I do not.

I am not a teacher. I do not spend day in and day out with kids. But this teacher? She teaches at my old high school. I remember what we shitheads were like back then, and I wouldn’t blame the teachers for getting all frowny-faced about us. And for fear of sounding like an old man (kids today with their video music and their cocaine hoverboards!), I think kids today are a lot worse than when I was a brash young snotwipe.

I suspect that kids seem worse today because my generation of aforementioned brash young snotwipes are having kids, and given how most generations are watered-down piss-poor facsimiles of their elders, well, this isn’t good news. I go out in public too often and where once I saw parents being parents to their children — because they are children — I now see parents locked in weak-kneed negotiations. We were in Hawaii and we were at this lighthouse slash bird sanctuary and these parents come up with their poor little squalling toddler who is throwing an epic mega ultra shit-fit… and what was their response?

It was not:

a) To soothe the child by making parental soothing noises — “Shhh. Shhh.”

b) To be firm and disciplined — “Stop crying or I give your sister to the gulls.”

It was, instead:

c) To say, “If you don’t stop crying, we’re going to have to begin a timeout situation.”

What the fuck does that mean? I’m sorry, are you trying to use adult logic and terminology to calm a blubbering toddler? Has that worked in any universe? Are you negotiating? What the crap is “we’re going to have to begin a timeout situation?” Hell, that wouldn’t even calm me down, and I’m in my mid-30s. You tell me that, I will kick you into the ocean.

The toddler didn’t stop because the toddler had no idea what Daddy was even saying. No, the end result was that the toddler kept crying and the parents didn’t even make good on their vaguely-worded, generic threat — they just brought the kid to the lighthouse, tantrum-be-damned. Meaningless threat. Zero consequence.

It feels like some parents never want to admit their kids are, y’know, kids. Imperfect in many ways. They’d much rather spend time defending them (and by proxy, their parenting skills) rather than by correcting problems. When something went goofy when I was a kid, my parents did not rush to my defense. They wanted to know what the hell I did wrong. You know why they did that? Because I probably did some stupid shit. I did stuff wrong all the time! Because I was a kid!

A dumb, chimpy, hormone-addled lackwit.

I’m not saying that parents should be backhanding their kids down the cellar steps or that the only answer is tough love and no compassion — I think parents should stand by their children when it is called for and I think parents should be sympathetic to the fact that being a kid kind of blows. But that doesn’t mean defending bad behavior. That doesn’t mean kissing their ass. That doesn’t mean doing their work for them, or excusing their worst instincts or training them to be entitled little jerk-mongers. (Yes, a “jerk-monger” is one who sells jerks at the market. Shut up, you.)

Ten, twenty years ago, a teacher who called out her students like that would’ve stirred the same shit-bloom of shame, except some of that shame would be reserved for the kids who caused it. Parents would go to their kids and ask, “Are you giving Mrs. So-And-So a hard time? Are you? Is it you she’s talking about? Goddamnit, don’t make me slap the homework of your mouth.” Nowadays, parents see this and they immediately rush to bury the teacher because — let’s be honest — she’s telling the truth and they can’t bear the sting of reality carping on about their bullshit parenting.

Do I think the teacher’s attitude is totally awesome? No, probably not. But is it dishonest? Sure ain’t. And in teaching, and in raising our kids — and actually, in practically all levels of American discourse — the one thing we could use more of in our mouths is a fist full of honest medicine.

Then again, what the hell do I know? I am neither parent (yet) nor teacher.

Curious to hear your thoughts on this whole mess. Chime in if you so feel like it.

And no, I’m not talking about all parents, and I’m probably not talking about you, so don’t get offended. I mean, okay, you’re allowed to get offended, I wouldn’t be mad at you for that, but seriously: not worth it.

The $0.99 Sale: Results Are In

Cat-Bird Banner: Irregular Creatures

So, as you may know, over the Valentine’s Day weekend I went ahead and slapped IRREGULAR CREATURES up on Amazon for a wee widdle dollar (or, rather, a penny shy).

How’d it do? Was it worth it?

Numbers-wise, here’s the poop:

Between Friday and Monday, I sold 124 copies. Numerically, not bad. I mean, considering that after the first explosive week of sales I’ve been doing 40 sales a week, seeing a four-day jump that equals thrice that number is pretty good. Of course, that’s just in copies sold.

Money made is fine enough, but nowhere near what I would’ve earned had the price been $2.99 — earning thirty cents per sale as opposed to two bucks per sale is a significant drop. Then again, would I have sold 124 copies at $2.99? No. No way.

Ranking-wise, looks like the book got into the top 2000 at Amazon Kindle store. It did better on its first day of sales, when it made it up to #824. It was a good leap, but I was hoping for better.

Here are some larger conclusions — do with them as you will:

Ninety-Nine Cent E-Books Are The Same Kind Of “Problem” As Pirated Books

Piracy is viewed as a problem because it represents lost revenue, except the problem with that, erm, problem is that it avoids the reality: those pirates were probably never going to be real customers. The $0.99 book issue has a similar throughline: those who bought at $0.99 but not at $2.99 could be viewed as lost revenue. Except, smart money says most of them were never going to buy at the higher price. In this way, they represent exactly the revenue they should represent, and further, ideally represent “new readers.” And that leads to this next point right here…

Low Cost Is About New Readers

I just want to sequester that thought away from the others — stick it in a cage, zap it with cattle-prods, and make it dance.You put something out there at that $$, it’s about gaining eyes and, ideally, fans.

In a perfect world, you’re then training those fans that your work has value, regardless of what that value is. A buck is a dirt-floor price for fiction, but free is a lot worse. This isn’t scientific thinking, but my feeling is this: you give something away for free, readers understand its value, which is essentially nothing. You sell something for any price, even a low price, they at least understand that the value of the work is in cash and coin. It isn’t garbage. It isn’t floor-sweepings. I think any money given is meaningful in this regard.

Whatever the case, new readers — if your work engages and connects — are likely to stick around for future releases. I don’t say this having any evidence beyond my own known patterns, but I suspect it’s true.

I also suspect that ghosts are real, and that UFOs sometimes steal our Bigfeet.

So, I might not be the guy you want to listen to.

Always Let People Give You More

A few people bought the book at the Amazon price, and then wanted to ensure I got more $$ out of the deal. Further, some eschewed the Kindle purchase and just went to buy the (full-price) PDF. Feels like you should always leave room for fans to support you in ways beyond funneling money through a distributor.

Self-Promotion Is Still Hard

It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s irritating (to myself and surely to others) becoming my own mouthpiece again and again. It’s bad enough I’m trying to generate energy for this blog and for Flickr photos and whatever else — suddenly I’m like, “Now you buy my shit!” And, for better or for worse it feels all the more salacious because I’m asking for your filthy wonderful lucre. On the other hand, shit doggity-damn, it works. Whenever I tweeted (which usually resulted in a number of retweets from followers, which was awesome and deserves a bucket of thanks), I got a spike in sales. I mean, a visible, sudden spike. So, it sucks being a whore, but being a whore also works.

The Amazon Sales Ranking Is Still Determined By A Crazy Robot

I’m sure there’s some kind of logic or sanity in there somewhere, in much the same way SkyNet had a “plan” when it nuked all of mankind and invented Terminators. But my mushy human brain just doesn’t understand it. Sometimes a leap in sales would register — other times a leap in sales would hamper the ranking. Beware Amazon’s crazy ranking robot. Best to ignore it because, uhhh, it’s gone insane.

What If You Stop Looking At E-Books As Individual Items?

If I have seven I Dream Of Jeannie-themed buttplugs, and they cost me $10 a pop and I sell ’em at $20, then I make $10 a pop. If I reduce my costs, I may sell more, but once they’re gone, they’re gone — I cannot sell anymore, and my sales potential is squandered. (Or something — let me remind you that I am a writer with middling math and/or business skills.)

The same cannot be said of e-books. My audience is theoretically limitless. Each e-book sold does not represent an e-book lost out of my inventory. I’m selling the equivalent of an imaginary friend.

Let’s look at my overall sales in the past month, right? I made around $5 – $15 a day in sales every day, earning $2 or so on each sale. Fine. Easy enough.

When I started the V-Day sale, on the first day I earned almost $30, and on subsequent days went back to the $5-15 range. I sold a lot more “copies,” but (for the most part) made the same amount of money.

If you stop looking at each sale as a lost e-book and instead look at the collective sales, the $0.99 is easier to swallow. I’m increasing my readership and, frankly, still making the same money. Now, again, in what I will crassly refer to as Normal Business Practices, that ain’t great — “increased consumer base” should translate to “bigger money.” Here, it doesn’t, but I’m also not losing anything, really. I don’t have overhead costs, I don’t have inventory, I don’t have a dwindling supply.

Forgive me if this makes no sense — I’m merely saying that if you look at e-book sales as a collective process with rewards that go beyond the individual sale, then a reduced price feels more valuable.

On The Other Hand

A buck is still too damn cheap for the book. For any book, really.

It’s why I don’t know if I’d recommend that price consistently. Feels like a good sale price. Besides, you start at ninety-nine cents, you can never incentivize by reducing the price temporarily or permanently.

Then again, what the fuck do I know?

The Apple Eats Amazon Kerfuffle

I don’t have much to say right now about the “Apple Shanks The Kindle App In The Prison Shower” situation, because Tobias Buckell says them for me. Go there and read his wisdom.

Only thing I will say: if you’re planning on self-publishing, may be either a good time to hurry up and do it or sit back and wait for the two giant Godzilla monsters to fight it the fuck out.

The Writer’s Survival Guide

The Incomphrensible Monster Fiend From Beyond The Depths of Sanity And Time And Sanity

The writer is a complex animal. We are grotesque mutations — irregular creatures, as I have noted — that form a crass menagerie, a mad bestiary. A writer possesses the lion’s mane, the horse’s hoof, the unicorn’s horn, the moonbat’s milky nipples. We’re dangerous animals, bred as chimera, confused as to who we are or what good we may do for the world.  The world is home, quite frankly, to too many of us. We have bred wantonly, and now we are everywhere. Our creative heritage is watered down with liquor and insanity. We’re like designer dogs. We’re a Poodle crossed with a Weimaraner crossed with a Pomeranian. We are the Poomaraner. The Weipooranian. The Pomaranadoodle. Possibly rabid. Definitely bewildered.

Or, put more succinctly, beware of writer.

Just as you should beware of us, we should also beware of us. The writer’s life is a strange one. Sitting alone. Talking to made-up people. Watching our little tragedies and comedies unfold until all we’re left with is a page of repeated text: “All Writing And No Porn Makes Jack A Dull Facebook Update.”

You do this day in, day out, you start to feel a little nuts.

The rejections. The fictions. The criticisms. Endless words. Myriad characters. So much time.

And so I give unto you: coping mechanisms. Fellow penmonkeys, compatriot wordslingers, if you want to do this job and not end up shellacked in your own snot-froth while hanging from the ceiling fan — if you are to survive at all with your mind and spirit intact — then you must do as I say. Do not deviate, lest you be struck down by your own lunacy.

These, then, are your survival skills, your coping mechanisms.

Something Something Peter Principle

Blah blah blah, every employee rises to his own level of incompetence.

This isn’t that, exactly. But it sounded good.

Here’s what you need to do: you need to realize that worse writers than you have succeeded in ways you simply have not. Find a writer who is, by your estimation, a talentless gasbag, a semi-sentient fungus that can barely string together a paragraph much less a whole goddamn novel.

The more popular and successful this writer is, the better.

At first this may seem disheartening — “They gave a million-dollar book deal to one of the baby zoo pandas!?” — but that’s not the point, oh no. The point is to take comfort that you can do better. We obviously tend to read writers who inspire us, who move us, who we feel possess talent that is otherwise insurmountable. Pshh. Fuck that narwhal right in the blowhole. You need to realize that some truly incompetent and incapable writers have risen — which means that if those muck-slurping sea monkeys can do it, well what the hell, why can’t you?

Yes, of course this is ludicrously petty. Which is why we don’t do it in public, so please go take down that blog post where you mewl and moan about Dan Brown.

We do it in our minds. It’s called “mental masturbation.”

It is a critical coping skill.

Something Something The Opposite Of That Thing I Just Said

We also need writers who inspire us, so don’t lose that sense of wonderment, of purpose, of writers who are our Sherpas. I mean, we do this for a reason. We don’t write because we want to aspire to the level of a brain-damaged ostrich holding a pen in its crooked beak but we write because other storytellers have moved us with their stories and their telling of the aforementioned stories.

If you’re banging your head against the wall and wondering why you ever chose this madman’s profession, dig out an old favorite book. Pick a chapter. Read it. Soak in it. Absorb a lesson. Revel in the words. Rub it on your body like a loofah, lathering yourself up with the cleansing soap bubbles of inspiration.

You Cannot Milk A Dead Goat

Sometimes, you need to walk away from the writing. Some writers I know, myself included, will stay down in the word mines far longer than they should, obsessively chipping away the walls looking for one last story gem, one last character diamond. Only thing you’re doing is driving yourself nuts. Get the hell out of there. The canary died three hours back. Then its flesh dissolved, leaving only a greasy smear in the cage.

You can only get so much value out of a given day of work. Set a course for your daily word count. Do your work, then stop, pause, consider. Keep going if if the juice is there — but if it’s not, don’t lose your shit. You did your work. Exhausting your internal juju is like intellectual strip-mining. You gain nothing but the scouring and erosion of your creative resources. Get out of your skull.

Beer, Bacon, Meth, Wine, Coffee, Cookie Dough, Hookers

I drink coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, wine at night.

I’m not saying writers should become chemically addicted to a whole bunch of shit, but hey, it’s better than soiling your pants and attacking the mailman with a camping hatchet.

For God’s Sake Do Not Hang Out With Other Writers

Didn’t you hear me? We’re all crazy. Don’t hang out in little writer tribes. At least, not on a steady basis. It’s incestuous! It’s like putting a band together, except every band member is a paranoid schizophrenic. Talk to people that aren’t writers. Hang out with a park ranger or some shit. An accountant. A painter. A ninja. A detective. Or what about a detective who is also a painter? And who has a park ranger ninja cohort? See? You can’t get that kind of awesomeness by hanging out with other writers. There’s a story in there!

Seriously, though, other writers are good people, and yes, from time to time you want to get together and talk the business. But other times, you need to get out of that headspace. Free yourself.

The Publishing Industry Will Explode Your Brain-Tits

Should I have hyphenated “Brain-Tits?” I thought about just going with “Braintits.” But that almost looks like “Braintitis,” which is probably some kind of swelling of the brain disorder. Of course, that’s probably apt, isn’t it? Publishing? Brain-swelling. Yeah. I thought so, too.

What I’m saying is, the publishing industry is interesting and all, and sure, you can be served well by knowing its Ins and Outs. But don’t focus long on it because it’s like staring into the unblinking Eye of Mordor (which, for the record, looks like a lava vagina). Gaze too long and you cannot look away. It’s like that quote by that German dude: “Gaze too long into the Abyss and before too long you realize you’re never going to get a book deal and then you wanna  jump into the hungry mouth of a lava vagina.”

You will go nuts trying to figure out the publishing industry. Pull back. Relax.

Write the best book you can write.

Start there. Worry later.

Beware The Superinfo Cyberhighway

The Internet has gravity. It will suck you in. Sure, it’s fun. It’s a great place to spend time. And read about book deals. And about other writers. And their success. And then you go on Amazon and you see all the books that aren’t yours. Next thing you know, you’re curled up on the floor, your iPad held tight in your arthritic talons. Your pants are in the corner. They’re smoldering, as if recently on fire.

The Internet is not always a healthy place. It is a place of rank negativity. Escape Cyberspace. Take the next exit off the Information Superhighway. Realize that nobody calls it “Cyberspace” or the “Information Superhighway” anymore. (They should really combine them for maximum coolness: The Infospace Cyberway! Or The Superinfo Cyberhighway!)

Leave your house. Let the sun fill your body with Vitamin D or whatever other voodoo vitamins the Big Fiery Sky Ball lends to us pale-fleshed writer-types. Take a fucking walk, for God’s sake.

Writing Isn’t Always About Reading

You don’t get new stories from old stories. You get new stories by closing your manuscript and going out and doing some shit. Big adventures, small adventures. Jury duty, Krav Maga, art museums, squid wrestling, garden planting, squirrel killing, windsurfing, long drives, long walks, making love to a grizzled longshoreman, whatever it can be.

Should you read? Of course. You’re a writer. Should you do more than read? Well, duh. Books aren’t just about writing. They’re about stories. Stories are about life.

Live life, lest you have no stories to tell of your own.

Set A Not Totally Insane Metric For Success

Writers are notorious for creating unhealthy watermarks for success.

“If I don’t have a novel published by the time I’m 31, I’m going to swallow a grenade.”

“If my first book is not a bestseller after the first ten minutes, I will hate myself so hard my bowels rupture.”

“If the writing I do today is not the best writing anybody has done ever, then I’m just going to quit this writing thing and go drown myself in a sewer treatment tank, hopefully choking to death on used condoms.”

Writers are afforded advantages few others manage: we are gifted with the power of the do-over and the take-back. If I’m a pilot and I fuck up, I may have just killed everybody on board by crashing into the Washington Monument. If I fuck up my day’s writing, I get to go back and fix it. And fix it some more. And fix it again and again until I’m happy or someone gives me money for it.

Set simple targets for success. Just finishing something is a thing that a lot of writers can barely manage.

CTFO: Chill The Fuck Out

Like I said, we’re all a little crazy, yeah? We can be intense, depressive, fiery, passionate, shameful, horrible, mean, obsequious, and like, a triple dozen other adjectives. It’s good to be that way sometimes, but writers, we tend to burn hot and fast like a road flare: everything is now or never, glorious or awful, everything or nothing. To that, I say:

Chill out. Calm down. Relax.

Do some Yoga. Take a swim. Pop your cookies alone or with a friend. Get a head massage. Drink some Ayahuasca and go fight the Jaguar King to learn your spirit name. Wait, maybe don’t do that last one.

I’m just saying, do you feel your heart palpitating? Do you feel suddenly overcome by uninvited worry and embarrassment? Shhh. Shhhh. Realize that this doesn’t matter. None of this matters. You’re not saving the world. You’re just telling stories. That’s supposed to be awesome, not awful. Stop shitting your pants. Stop creating false dichotomies and crazy expectations.


Chill the fuck out.

Then, when you’re easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, get back in the game and do some writing, will you?

How Do You Cope With Life As A Writer?

You got coping mechanisms for this crazy life? Share and share alike, word-apes.

I Am The Luckiest Bag Of Dirt In The World, Because My Wife Rocks

Tunnel of Love

It’s Valentine’s Day.

It is, depending on your perspective, some combination of day where you go above and beyond the call of duty to celebrate your love, or a day where you get on the Internet and bitch about how Valentine’s Day is a crass holiday created by the greeting card companies and how you should be nice to your loved ones every day so blah blah blah now you’re the Grinch That Had Venereal Disease And Stole Valentine’s Day. Because, c’mon, Santa was invented by Coca-Cola. The Easter Bunny was invented by, I dunno, Cadbury. Jesus was invented by Toyota. It’s all just marketing and advertising.

Listen, I get it, you think Valentine’s Day is a stinky pink blossom of consumerist hate juice. I don’t really care. Just shush about it and keep your head down while the rest of us love our respective others, yeah?

With that in mind, let me just announce it:

I love my wife.

I love my wife unmercifully, beyond the periphery of reason and sanity.

I met her online. Match-dot-com, actually. When I “online-dated,” I met a small percentage of very cool and lovely ladies, and I also met a small battalion of total farking moonbats. I went on dates that concluded with me going home, locking all the doors, and corking the silverware. When I met my wife, however, we went out to a Chinese restaurant. And we stayed there for four hours. We closed the joint out. They were throwing fortune cookies at our heads to get us to leave.

It was then and there that I knew I would marry my wife.

Why do I love my wife so completely, so deeply, so dearly?

First: she’s hot.

Drunken Wife

See? Hot.

Second: she is not an alcoholic, despite the inordinate number of photos I take of her where she is imbibing said alcohol. Which, for the record, seems to be most of the photos I take of her.

Mmm. Booze.

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg. In my photos, she drinks a lot. In real life, not so much. Still, right now she deserves major kudos because, as a pregnant human being, she cannot consume her most favoritest drink in the world, the Dirty Vodka Martini. Me, I just tell her to drink it. Frankly, the baby’s going to need booze to put up with us as parents. Even still, she perseveres.

My wife also puts up with my shit. Which is a really big deal, because I am a man who gives a lot of shit with up which that one would need to put. Or something. See? I can’t even write a reasonable sentence. The fact that she has not yet snapped and taken a rifle up to a clocktower is a really good sign. A number of my ex-ladyfriends are now locked away in those white metal-free rooms like where they imprisoned Magneto. If you want to see my wife in the middle of putting up with my shit, here is an image. You can see it on her face how she is very kindly tolerating my nonsense:

Dubious Wife Lady

That is her “Tolerate Husband” face. I know it well. Here is another:

The Wife, Candid

One day, she’ll probably stab me in the temple with a chopstick. And I’ll totally let it happen. I won’t even be mad. She’ll be like, “Do you remember how you were acting?” And I’ll be like, “Okay, yeah. Yeah. Yes.”

My wife is funny. And, mysteriously, she thinks I’m funny. She also has the foulest mouth of any woman I know, which for me is a total win. The fact that she can occasionally out-profane my infernal tongue does not merely earn a check-mark in the box but rather a check-plus-plus. Seriously. You cut her off in traffic, she will tell you to eat a dick and die. She will curse you in ways that will wilt your heart like warm spinach.

She’s kind-hearted. She’s tolerant. She believes in me.

But even her negative traits are ones to love:

Her impatience matches my own, as does her raging river of snark.

Plus, if cajoled, she will kiss a tiki, which is not a metaphor for anything sexual but rather a literal truth:

Tiki Love

Tiki Loving 101, kids.

She’s got beautiful eyes and long gorgeous hair and legs that won’t quit. Seriously, her legs — her getaway sticks, her lady-longs, her gams — are long. We’re the same height but I go to drive her car and I have to spend two minutes and 37 seconds readjusting the seat to compensate for her long legs and my stumpy little clod-hoppers. By the way, I totally just made up “lady-longs,” but you can have it for a dollar.

She is one half of the Husband And Wife Video-Game Super-Team.

She is beautiful even when she’s picking something out of her eye:

The Wife In Retro

She lets me thrust her into dubious Photoshop situations:

Splatter Portraits

And she is beloved by all the creatures of the earth, as evidenced by unrequited looks of love and lust born by this… I dunno, amphibious Deep One frog dude.

Unrequited Love: The Frog and the Princess

Let’s be very clear, here. The fact that this person —

Annual Tradition: The Drunken Wife Photo

Married me —

Gone Bamboo: Crazy Beard

Is an indicator that she is both charitable and loving.

She is going to be a wonderful mother, but really, who cares? What I care about is that she’s a beautiful, awesome, kick-ass wife. The kid’s just going to have to take the back-seat on this one. Sorry, Upcoming Wee One. This hot chick is all mine.

I love you, wife of my life.

You make my world awesome.

It would turn gray and then black and then die without your presence.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Things You May Not Know About Little Chucky Wendig, Age Eight And A Half

It has come to my attention that a lot of you crazy people are reading this blog. Which, for the record, is awesome, though it does lead me to suspect that my words have some kind of narcotic effect, or that perhaps my blog exudes some kind of nicotine haze. I certainly don’t know why you keep coming back. Or why you follow me on Twitter. I’m an ass.

I don’t have the good sense God gave to a brain-damaged trilobite.

(For those of you with alternate religious beliefs, replace “God” with: Zeus, Buddha, Ahura Mazda, the Devil, genetics, Papa Legba, Shiva, Wash from Firefly, Godzilla, or John Quincy Adams.)

Regardless, here you are.

Which I totally appreciate.

As such, I figure it’s a good time to get to know one another. Here, then, is a random slapdash written-in-no-sensible-order list of things you may not know about me. It bears no rhyme, no reason. It doesn’t even strive to be all that interesting, really — it’s more or less a conglomeration of meaningless facts about yours truly. With that in mind? Let us begin.

I only recently learned how to belch. Or burp — whatever term you prefer. Now I go around burping because I can, and because it is wonderful. This is not good news for my wife because I am like a kid with a new toy. What’s interesting, and this may be entirely coincidental, is that once I learned how to burp, I no longer get heartburn. True story.

Mice ate my buttplug. To clarify, I did not have a buttplug for my own buttplug pleasures but rather, because a friend gave sex toys as gag gifts one year for the holidays. (Though I am not knocking said “buttplug pleasures.” I think that in this world you do whatever you like to enjoy yourself — I make no judgments on your sexual peccadilloes.) I ended up with a buttplug which went into a drawer where I forgot about it. At the time I was living in a double-wide trailer (“the carriage house”), and I had mice. The mice, I discovered, had eaten into many objects of mine (including books, the little fuckers). I opened a drawer at one point to find that mice had eaten the buttplug package and the buttplug itself, and then made a nest out of the rubbery buttplug materials. Which makes them the weirdest mice in the history of mice, living in a nest made of a buttplug. Be advised: “Mice Ate My Buttplug” is a great name for a band. Be advised also: the mice shit on my silverware. Since I am not a fan of hantavirus salad, that earned the mice a death sentence.

Speaking of death sentence, it is Squirrel War up in this bitch. For the squeamish, you have my apologies, but so far two squirrels have… lost their lives in this war. The same principle is at work: they are shitting on our front porch. They leave a line of little squirrel turdlets along the railing. That is the lesson for all animals out there: if you shit on my things uninvited, you have written your own ticket. Actually, that’s probably true for humans, too. If some dude wanders onto my driveway and takes a dump on my car, I’m going to shoot him. And I think that would be excused in a court of law.

I wrote a short story called “Squirrel Skin.” It was about squirrels who steal the flesh of humans and wear dudes like suits. That story is in this anthology — Vermin — which is apparently out. I’ve seen no payment for this. I don’t even think I realized it was out. It was a woefully mismanaged, long-delayed anthology. It’s part of why getting short stories published is a pain in the ass. Worth the trouble sometimes, but not always.

Have you read “Hell’s Bells“…? A short story about Coyote (like, the mythic character) in Hell. It features sandwiches. And the Devil. And Dybbuk. Is it any good? Eh. Funny, maybe. Wrote it five, six years ago.

I believe in ghosts and grew up in a haunted house and believe I have proof that ghosts exist. My earliest ghostly encounter was when I was about five years old as I emerged from the bathroom. I had not yet put my “boy parts” back in my pants when I saw footprints appear in the carpet in front of me. I ran. Correction: I ran without having put my “boy parts” back in my pants.

When I was a kid, I did not fear the supernatural or monsters or any of that. I feared two things very distinctly: serial killers and nuclear war. I shouldn’t have been afraid of those things so early — frankly, I shouldn’t have even been aware of them at that point. So it goes. Now I write fucked up horror stories.

The first horror book I read was Stephen King’s The Shining, but I didn’t really “get it.” I was, I dunno. Ten? Eleven? After that, I didn’t read any more King novels until high school — but I did read one helluva lot of Dean Koontz and Robert McCammon. Stinger, Swan Song, Watchers, Strangers.

I do not like eggplant. I used to not like tomatoes, fish, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts. I now pretty much like everything I didn’t used to like. With one exception: eggplant. Because, really, fuck eggplant.

I used to run a BBS when I was in high school. It went by many names: Shadowlands, BizarroWorld, Unreality. There may have been a fourth name? I used to call BBSes, too. One time I ran up a $500 phone bill because I didn’t realize calling Philadelphia was a “long distance call.” To this day, I am genuinely surprised my father did not attack my computer with a hammer. The threat was made.

I once had a hedgehog, name of Poppy. She was not a happy animal. You see some hedgehogs being all cute and shit, but not her. Angry, xenophobic little lady. Cute, though, even still.

The first short story I had published was “Bourbon Street Lullaby,” a kind of Poppy Z. Brite-esque ghost story about these dead twins and their older, still-living brother. It was a good early lesson on the value of editors and so-called “gatekeepers.” Editor (John Benson) saw something good about it, but wanted changes — I made those changes gladly, resubmitted, and boom, my first publishing credit. That was, what, 16 years ago? And the pay rates for short stories haven’t gotten better. They’ve gotten worse. But it did teach me that you can get paid for this crazy gig. And, more importantly, you should get paid.

I’m probably going to die of cancer one day.

I used to think I was going to be a cartoonist. I drew a comic called Odds N’ Ends. Starring hedgehogs. One was a surfer. I had a copyright on it. Still do, I guess. Turns out, I wasn’t very good at it. Or, maybe more importantly, I didn’t want to become better. Writing, though — that’s what eventually drew me.

Not sure why, but I used to be fascinated by surfing. And surfers. This despite the fact that I was somewhat hydrophobic. Hell, maybe because of it. Maybe because surfers conquered the ocean, and the ocean is basically one big scary hungry watery mouth. And there they are, astride the churning hell-waves. Or maybe it was because there were a lot of bad-ass surfer chicks in tight suits. Who can say?

I was once stung by a lot of bees. Ran into a nest of bumblebees. I was more afraid of bees before that. Not sure why, but getting stung by a fuckton of bees (and being coated head to toe in pink Calamine lotion) cured me of my “bee fear.” You don’t hear that very often. “I was afraid of being trampled by wild boar and then stabbed in the face by natives. But when it actually happened, I was like, hey, this isn’t so bad.”

My Dad used to give me a .22 revolver as a kid, and we’d put .22 CCI shotshells in the cylinder, and I’d shoot carpenter bees who were trying to eat our barn. I still have that .22.

Someone bought our property a couple years back and tore it down and build a shitty-looking house. Our house was old. But, it’s gone. And the dickwipe also tore down the barn. A red barn. If you live in this area, you know that red barns are kind of “a thing.” Jacks the value of your house to have an original red barn and this guy kicks it to splinters. It’d be like buying a house with a Jacuzzi tub and then filling it with cement and then taking a crap on the cement. Nice job. Asshole.

I love bacon but I suspect it’s becoming overrated. I think sausage is the next big thing.

That’s not a dick joke.

That’s it for now, folks. I think I’ve bored you enough.

Your turn, if you so desire.

Flit down the comments, and drop into them one thing about you that I probably don’t know.