Bah Humbug to Winter

As I stood in line, I could feel somebody watching me, so I turned around. A sawed-off redneck was staring me down.

“Is there something I can help you with?” I asked.

“Oh, shit, it’s a girl. Sorry, I thought you was a queer.”

“Well, I am, by the way.”

“Naw, I mean a queer boy. You mean you a lesbian?” He snickered.

I had just about had it when the cashier said, “Next, please!”

– Chickenshit: Crisis #5 Happy Valentine’s Day, Frodo

In Crisis #5, tragedy strikes Elliot’s household. Despite having a cold, Billie covers all the chores as best she can alone, takes care of poor Frodo, and runs errands for Elliot. Meanwhile, Billie’s mother doesn’t have time for her, Ton-Ton gets back in touch, and Billie can’t think up a good enough excuse to call Jodie. To top things off, two people in town misgender her.

Chickenshit – Or: How a City Girl Does Country All Wrong is Volume I of a series. Available  now on Kindle and on Amazon paperback. The next volume will be published in Spring/Summer of 2018.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable week of Christmas. Now that’s done, we can get through New Years and rampage on to Spring. Oh, Spring, my heart yearns for you. As I sit here at the Ontario Library ensconced in my Gilmore Girls sweatshirt, shivering Bob Cratchit style, and downing cough drop after cough drop, I dream of green leaves bursting up towards the sunlight. Of baby chicks and dogs begging to go somewhere … anywhere. My mother always told me not to wish my life away, but, geez, winter sucks more than ever. From I-84 pile-ups and closures to the threat of falling every time I leave the house, I would just as soon deal with mud. To winter I say, “Bah humbug!”

And speaking of that phrase, have you seen The Man Who Invented Christmas? I highly recommend it. Starring Dan Stevens as the amazingly resourceful Charles Dickens and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge, TMWIC, is easily one of the best films I have seen all year. We follow Dickens and his best friend, John Forster (played by Justin Edwards), as they scurry about London, trying to solve financial problems and overcome other obstacles, including the publication of a new Dickens novel and family issues. The portrayal of a writer interacting with his characters is witty and heartening for those of us who find ourselves bickering with our own characters over what happens to them and why.  In the movie, Dickens wins the argument with Ebenezer but later loses a debate with his reader and others who say the story is morose.

Writing can be a very solitary experience. For the writers out there, does anyone else have characters that sometimes talk back to you? Does it make it harder to put them in harm’s way or to let them suffer?