What’s the name for when you see something so much, you don’t actually look anymore? Is it Cat Butt Blindness? Because that’s what I’ve got. Cat Butt Blindness.
We tried changing Teresa’s name to a more masculine, “Terri,” but I never got used to it. To this day, if anyone everyone refers to “Terri the cat,” I say, “Who? We’ve never had a cat named Terri.”
So, maybe we should change Hannah’s name now, but I don’t know if it will work. Or should we just have a tom cat named “Hannah”? I think Z named Hannah after her cousin, so maybe we could name Hannah after person-Hannah’s brother, Skyler. Other names I like:
Free short story for you today and tomorrow, in celebration of Halloween.
I started to write this as blog posts, but I was afraid you all might think I was going insane.
It’s a short horror story. I have it for sale, but honestly, don’t pay for it! It might not be that good. I’m not exactly a horror author. For free, though, it might be just what you are looking for. This story may be the only horror story where the first victim is a Jacob sheep. It’s like a ten minute read. I call it,
We didn’t breed the sheep this year, because we have enough sheep! We did get two lambs and an adult ewe from a friend last fall. So, that made twenty-five. “When are you lambing?” everyone in the sheep community kept asking.
“We aren’t lambing this year,” I told everyone.
Today I noticed a new little wooly one. Where the heck did that come from?
Some observations led me to the mother- one of last fall’s lambs that we got from a friend. She was only about five months old when we got her, but the only explanation is that she was pregnant upon arrival. Either that, or virgin birth. We should probably name him Baby Jesus.
No, I didn’t spell “autism” wrong. I’m talking about artism. If you relate to any of this list, you are most likely on the artistic spectrum.
Ten Signs You Might Be Artistic:
You make art. Or you write, or you do music, or you act, or you see your life is some sort of strange performance art.
You don’t understand people who want to learn the thing you do. (Because it’s not something you want to do, it’s just something you do do. If you are going to do the thing, if you were meant to do the thing, you do do the thing. It’s a compulsion.)
You’re a mess. Literally. Artistic people are often messy.
You wondered (and still kind of wonder) if Donald Trump ran for president as some sort of long form performance art, and he’s just as surprised as you are that he is now president. (Because you always assume that, in any situation, someone is doing some sort of long form performance art.)
Incompetent artists really bother you, especially the ones who do the same thing you do. And most especially when they are successful with the masses! That’s just a knife in the heart.
When people say, “you’re so creative!” it’s really annoying, isn’t it? What do you do with a comment like that? How could anyone be alive without being creative in some way?
You feel badly if you don’tmake art or do that creative thing you do. You start to go crazy without it.
Your art is not something you need people to compliment you over. Itis gratifying unto itself.
When people give you really simple, clear instructions, you don’t believe that anything can be simple and clear, and you read elaborate (and untrue) messages into the clear, normal instructions. And it makes life so hard. So very, very hard.
I’m a sucker for all of these articles on line with titles like, “How to Live On Purpose and Maximize Every Day” or “How to Live Life on Your Own Terms” or “How to Maximize Your Pickle Production.” ( Maybe not so much the last one, actually.) and then I listen to this podcast sometimes, “Happier with Gretchen Ruben” which is supposedly supposed to make you happy, but really I think it might better be titled, “Life Hacks for the Filthy Rich.” I get that the little tips make you happier- if you have no problems whatsoever in life.
And from all of these articles and podcasts I’m a sucker for, I learn things like,
Get a good night’s sleep every night.
Marry the person you love.
Fast one day a week.
Decluttering your house.
Don’t take on more than you can handle.
And that’s not even mentioning all of the parenting “tips.” (Does anyone else feel like all of these “tips” are pretty much mandatory? It’s the implied, “If you don’t do this, you are a terrible parent.”)
I don’t know why I read all of these things. I never change my behavior at all. I just now have some stupid know-it-all thing to say with my friends,
“Did you know kale prevents cancer?”
Everyone knows eating kale prevents cancer, but my friends are too polite to say so. Everyone knows kale prevents cancer, but here’s the catch: to prevent cancer? You have to actually eat the kale.
I read all this stuff, and then I look around me. Most people are overweight. There’s an opioid epidemic. Everyone’s stressed out. We’re not eating the kale. We’re not getting the sleep. We’re living in piles of junk mail and chicken catalogues. But, you know what? We’re getting by. We’re doing it. We’re living it, one day at a time.
We’re not perfect, but we’re beautiful. And we’re still here. Showing up, every day. Like the troopers we are.
I saw this show on the Discovery Channel about how the aliens came and built all of the pyramids on Earth? They had some compelling evidence:
Rocks were moved thousands of miles, “before the invention of the wheel.”
From an arial view, the pyramids look like a circuit board. (Which pyramids are these, you ask? It kind of doesn’t matter.)
The angles and slopes of the pyramids are so precise, only aliens could do that.
The materials used in the Mayan pyramids are heat resistant, which means they must have been used as a launch pad for ships.
All of this sort of rests on an assumption that people just get smarter and smarter. We assume the aliens must have built the pyramids because we are so much smarter than people were a thousand or two thousand years ago. The aliens must be smart, because they invented space travel, right? No, no, no. This is all wrong. Aliens didn’t build the pyramids. The pyramids were built by “primitive” people who were way smarter than we are now. “Wheels weren’t invented yet” is so bizarre. Why not? Perhaps wheels were invented, and then forgotten. The same with space ships. People don’t get smarter and smarter with time, but rather stupider.
It’s a new theory of evolution: we’re just getting stupider all the time.
All this time, we thought we were making progress. And we weren’t.
My first impression of Yosha Bourgea was in the fall of 1988, my freshman year of high school. He was shortish and he always wore a giant overcoat and a heavy backpack full of mysterious books. There were rumors about Yosha: that he lived in a refurbished chicken coop, that he had never been to public school before, that he was only thirteen. He was different from me. I had spent my whole life in public school, I lived in a tract house, and I was way older (fourteen). But in that fall of 1988, Yosha and I did have one thing in common: We had acting class with Mr. Hawk.
Mr. Hawk is not his real name. I only call him Mr. Hawk because he looked a bit like a hawk, and he terrified me as a hawk might terrify a little white bunny. He never ever smiled. He was gravely serious about acting. He was a Southern gentleman, a transplant from Georgia by way of Hollywood. While he was in Hollywood, he claimed to have worked on the movie Scrooged. He dressed just like the Don Johnson on Miami Vice, in pastel suits with an undershirt instead of a dress shirt.
Mr. Hawk did these emotional exercises where he tried to reach into the most vulnerable parts of our souls and expose our tears to the world, wrestle with them, and apply our deepest and most terrifying emotions to our acting on the stage. We were teenagers. Guarded teenagers. We didn’t want to reveal our inner lives- or, at least, I didn’t. Mr. Hawk would have us form a circle on the stage, and inside the circle, he would have one of us improvise things as he yelled out directions from the outside of the circle. The directions were always doable, but uncomfortable. The first memory I have of knowing Yosha is of him being inside the circle. I don’t know what the acting exercise was, but Yosha was in the middle of the stage, writhing in agony, screaming like a Yoko Ono therapy session,
“Yawoooo! Aaaaaash! Baaaa!” And Mr. Hawk was kneeling beside him, pounding the floor, sweating through his pink jacket,
“Yes! Emote! Feel it! The pain! It’s real!”
Yosha twisted his body in jerking movements, as though some unseen force from above were jabbing him with an electric prod,
“Yeeeeeoooooooow!” Yosha screamed.
It is hard to exaggerate Yosha’s complete commitment to acting out this scene of torture. It was just unreal, like he was occupying some alternate universe where he really was being tortured, and somehow I was sitting a few feet away and not feeling a thing. And Mr. Hawk was beside himself with excitement. He was practically frothing at the mouth as he yelled encouragement at Yosha,
“Yes! Feel the pain!” Mr. Hawk punctuated his words by pounding his fist on the stage. And while Yosha shrieked and Mr. Hawk had his emote-gasm, twenty or so teenaged kids (and I) just stared at this scene before us, with mouths agape, in complete stunned silence.
It was a stunning first impression.
Here is a video of Yosha more recently, singing a Christmas song he made up (the melody is stolen from a song by Death Cab for Cutie).
Yosha Bourgea is also the author of the new release Murgatroyd Buttercups, which I illustrated for him. (And also for you, actually.) Today is the last day to purchase it at half price for $5.49. Tomorrow, it goes up to $10.98.
This is actually the second time I’ve been on the Segilola Salami podcast. The first time was about a month ago, when I was on with Johnson Emmanuel to discuss publicizing books with a growth hacker vs. publicizing books with a publicist. Johnson Emmanuel is a self-professed growth hacker, so of course he felt he had the best services to offer. During the first podcast, he convinced me to let him promote me for a month, for the podcast listeners to see what amazing results he got. Then he and I would come back on the show one month later and discuss results. (That first show is here, though I think it sounds a bit like an infomercial for Johnson Emmanuel.)
And then, a funny thing happened. As soon as we weren’t recording anymore, and our host hung up, and Johnson Emmanuel and I were essentially alone together, Johnson Emmanuel said I owed him $10,000 for this one month’s services we had discussed in the podcast. And did I mention he was speaking to me from *Nigeria? Although he said he lived in New York and was only visiting Nigeria. So, I gave him $10,000 and. . . no, I’m kidding. I didn’t give him any money. I said, “Actually, no thank you.” I did, however, work on some self-promotion over the month, and I still went back to check in with Segilola Salami and report on how it all went.Click here to listen to that slightly awkward and exciting conversation. Or listen to it on youtube:
*Segilola Salami is herself Nigerian, and as she says in the podcast, Nigeria gets a bad rap. There are lots of good people in Nigeria.