I would want to fight monsters with Carl Kolchak for a day.
When Carl took on a Vampire or Demon he did it with his wits.
He didn’t work out in a gym, he didn’t shoot them over his shoulder with a hi-tech stake gun he didn’t wear leather.
He went after Zombies with stuff you could pick up at the Dollar Store.
It was simple, efficient and when he took the monsters down it was oh so very glorious.
But this is the best part.
When he was done he wrote about it.
I guess I really did spend a long summer working with Kolchak when I was about 13 , I was doing a lot of babysitting ( I used to get a lot of jobs. I never raided the fridge, I never used the phone and I used to like to play board games) so I actually spent time with the kids I ‘sat on’.
That was also the summer I learned to play the guitar and I was writing and reading a lot of horror stories so my imagination was working overtime.
This is how my adventures with Kolchak went:
I remember at the beginning of each episode Kolchak would do a voiceover and from nowhere that voice used to pop into my head when I was walking home late at night after babysitting:
Anita Godfrey, ( Carl would say ) after a long night of babysitting three of the weirdest kids to ever be born, only had to walk down five doors to the safety of her own home one late June night.
She only made it as far as three doors.
( Monster attacks here )
Anita screams and tries to run.
Muncha Muncha Cruncha.
You’d think in those scenarios I’d have made myself the fearless hero, but I could see those monsters run straight at me. I could see their eyes, their teeth their twisted faces covered with dirt from the graves they had crawled out of or covered with cobwebs and dust from the attics they hid in until sunset.
I wouldn’t have traded that point of view for the world.
Besides a story is a story and I would die to find a good one to tell.
So are these five things that make my house a home material, spiritual are they those little Anubis Knick Knacks I picked up all over the place when I was learning to be an embalmer?
Are they memoires? Dreams? Hope? Nightmares?
The First thing that makes my house feel like a home is the lack of mirrors.
I would have to learn three other languages just so that I could fully express to you how much I hate mirrors. I hate their coldness, their lifelessness, I hate they way they hang there and though they don’t judge you, they make it oh so very easy to judge yourself.
Mirrors are demons.
And these demons are not entertaining and funny ones that are on shows like Supernatural or The Kardashians
My three black cats and my dog.
Hamish, my dog and Kolchak and Darwin and Micey are my cats.
I’ve always had a dog and cats, when I was living on my own and had no dog and no cats my house was empty and scary and I only showed up there to sleep.
And that was not easy to do for a couple of reasons.
My Grandma told me cats could see and protect you from bad spirits and angry ghosts. I used to suffer from sleep paralysisand it was worse when I didn’t have cats
I have cats, no sleep paralysis.
As for the dog- well, they’re there to watch over the home. I always felt vulnerable with no dog in the house.
All of my dogs have been sweet and loyal and smart and they’ve had big freaking teeth.
My Herb Garden
I used to have an herb garden.
I tended it everyday with my cat Wolfgang.
He enjoyed walking through the plants, he loved to chew on the cilantro and mint leaves, so he always smelled like a pizza.
It was OUR herb garden and it was an important part of our home.
And then Wolfie died and most of the garden went wild and I don’t have the heart to make it what it once was, so I let it be what it is and that’s okay.
Call them memories or reflections, but my house is full of ghosts.
I’ve lost a lot of friends and family members to death.
I’m not saying they walk my hallways and hide under the bed or stand in shadow choked corners ( it surprises me more that they do not ) but their presence is there.
I can feel it, sometimes I catch a wiff of perfume or a drink and I know they’re there.
Sometimes my cats and my one year old Lab Hamish refuse to sleep where Domino and Cerbie used to sleep. They’ll start to and then they’ll jump up like somebody just poked them with a pin and they’ll tear out of the room, on other days they’re fine.
But these ‘ghosts’ are part of my home too and it would be less of a home without them.
So those are the things that make my house a home:
Memories, security, stories, people who have been there and have either moved on and some ( both living and dead apparently) come back sometimes for a visit.
When they are committed to an idea or a plan or a feeling they will ride that horse from one end of the universe to the other. They will not turn loose no matter how hard that horse tries to buck them off in the process: they are solid in what they believe.
They’re not mean about it, they aren’t self-righteous and they will honestly listen to every word you say.
Respectful is the word to sum it up.
And then there is me
When I’m wrong, I’ll try to course correct, I’ll even try to learn something.
And then I go to the source and ask myself:
” Anita Marie, are you really going to let this jackass take you to school? “
And at that point I take that solid focus my family shares ( yeah, well for the most part) and I will go down fighting not only in flames but with a song in my heart and a smile on my lips.
So, in the end all that’s left for me to do is get through the Hell I’ve found myself in, take a few heads and not back down and as take the walk lonesome walk of the always wrong.
I mean, when you’re obviously going to lose the battle, do you have to loose it all?
I’m at this point now because I have spent years YEARS I SAY in indulging people in their opinions, their world views they’re taste in food for Godsakes.
And in return I have learned to ” eat crow’ from the same people when I am wrong.
How messed up is that?
So I might not be as solid as my family.
But if I’m wrong, I’m going to come out of that one alive, hopefully I’ll have taken a head or two along the way and maybe, must maybe I’ll learn something.
One of my favorite memoirs was written by Carol Burnett.
It’s called called One More Time-
I enjoyed Carol’s book because of the way she wrote about her family and friends. The people in her book were in glorious technicolor.I felt could see them as I read her book. On the other hand my family is full of vivid characters so I could relate.
So, where is this going.
I have been off looking for ideas, listening to music and probably eating to many snacks but it was worth it.
I was cruising around FB one day when I ran across a post in a Writer’s Group and an editor posted something where he said this would probably upset people but… ( oh translated this means I’m going to screw with you guys but that’s okay, right?)
You are NOT a writer because you say so, because that’s what you do. You are not a real writer or an author until someone like him edits your book, you gain ‘approval’ and you end up getting paid.
I have three little stories about that.
When I was just starting out as a guitarist I used to get offers to join bands- as a singer, but not as a guitarist because these bands were looking for “Professional Guitar Players.”
This criteria was set by 16-19 year old BOYS.
I told my music teacher I was sick of hearing that and what did it mean anyway?
My teacher told me, ” Professional means paid. “
He told me to run through the song I had been working on, I did, he reached into his pocket and handed me a dollar. ” Here, you’re now a paid musician. You’re professional. Congratulations.”
As to the milestone- getting paid and published.
Well, by a very rough estimate I won prizes and awards for my writing that ended up being worth a serious chunk of cash before I hit 17, so I guess by those standards I was a professional writer too.
I was in scholastic magazines that went state-wide and I think in a few other cases further than that.
The first time that I was ‘recognized’ as a writer was for a poem and a short story I wrote about a demon cat.
My teacher was so impressed he passed it around to other teachers and writers- all the way to ones who taught college.
That’s right I was EVALUATED and my teacher put together my own lesson plan for the next two years so I could develop my gift, my other teachers followed it to Junior High and it stopped in Highschool because Creative Writing was only taught to Sophomores.
So I applied for extended credit I came up with a new lesson plan and got credit towards Graduating high school for writing.
So my story and poem ( which I hate writing poems and that was the only one I have ever written) were entered in contest I’d never heard of and all I know is I got a check for 20.00 and a certificate and a copy of the magazine which in my infinite wisdom as a 10 year old ( this was in 1973), I cut my stuff out and threw the rest of the magazine away :::facepalm:::
But hey, OTHER people SAID I was a writer and I was good. I was only 10 but whatever right? I was APPROVED BY A HIGHER AUTHORITY
I was in another group where we were doing peer reviews and the only piece out of the dozen or so stories that an editor/writer liked ( which was good actually ) she got up and said and I quote ” YOU WROTE IT EXACTLY THE WAY I WOULD HAVE. THIS IS FANTASTIC!”
Oh seriously, really?
Back to Carol’s book.
One of my favorite quotes was by Carol’s Grandma, ” Nanny”. When Nanny thought you were being how can I say this…you were being a mindless fool, she would say, ” You make my Ass want to chew tobacco.”
Now the imagery in that slays me.
I love it.
When I read those criteria by people who I will never know about what it takes to ‘be a writer ‘ and that most people who read what they said about what it takes to’ be a writer’, will probably never meet and that they took it upon themselves to define people because they have access to the internet and that more then a few people would be discouraged by them all I can say to those haters is:
” You make my ass want to chew tobacco. Shut the hell up, go write something meaningful that could actually help shape a writer or the world in general or give blood or do something useful with your life.
And if you are out there writing, and living the experience and it’s an important part of you life then yes you are a writer.