Tag Archives: Duncan Hills

Start with a Queen, End with all the Queens

Thus ends the specified “Year of the Ladies.” Although next year starts tomorrow, I’m not clear on whether or not I want to have a theme.

The main thing I know about next year is that I have a lot of art to finish before April.  Another thing I know is that I am both petrified and anxiously awaiting the edited version of the final book in my Squirrelpocalypse trilogy – Night of the Squirrels. I will then revisit it, stare at it wondering what I was thinking, re-write some chunks, probably cry about said chunk re-writing, ask the guinea pigs if they have any ideas about why it turned out so differently than what I planned for the story in 1998 and not get ANY useful answers, and then accept it and rearrange all the semicolons before I format it and put it up with the other two. I finished it this year, on December 5th at 11:53 PM, and immediately wasn’t sure if I liked it. That probably means it’s all right because every single time I finish a book – and I’ve finished two this year, personal best, probably never to be repeated – I’m not sure if I like it. So, I await my cognitive distance and since I like to end with pictures, here are all the sweet little lady pigs that I’ve owned since 2008. Snippiest, most gratuitously disagreeable bunch of cavies ever to exist and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Murderface and Pickles in Hattiesburg

Miss Murderface and Pickles the Drummer (yes, that Pickles, and her full name is the entire line from the opening credits – that’s a behind the scenes secret you couldn’t get from very many sources).

Sepia toned teddy bear ladies Twiglet and Pammy. So fuzzy. So domineering. But so fuzzy and so good at napping.

Sepia toned teddy bear ladies Twiglet and Pammy. So fuzzy. So domineering. But so fuzzy and so good at napping.

Murderface and the lovely Duncan Hills. I only got to have Duncan for eleven months, but she had the softest ears and the sassiest disposition. She also helped me quite a bit with the planning of Day of the Robots.

Murderface and the lovely Duncan Hills. I only got to have Duncan for eleven months, but she had the softest ears and the sassiest disposition. She also helped me quite a bit with the planning of Day of the Robots.

Merricat and Peregrine, my first non-Mississippi or Iowa born lady pigs. Merricat was frighteningly special and my first lady Abyssinian. She was very small in size, but had a very large bite.

Merricat and Peregrine, my first non-Mississippi or Iowa born lady pigs. Merricat was frighteningly special and my first lady Abyssinian. She was very small in size, but had a very large bite.

Peregrine and Ozma having a mild moment. Peregrine has not been the most friendly of new friends to Ozma, but Ozma's willingness to explore is slowly, very slowly seeping in to Pere.

Peregrine and Ozma having a mild moment. Peregrine has not been the most friendly of new friends to Ozma, but Ozma’s willingness to explore is slowly, very slowly seeping in to Pere.

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing

I’m going to type every word I know! Rectangle…America…Megaphone…Monday…Butthole

15. Die for Me – Carol Gorman

My copy of this book is signed to Carol Gorman’s good friend Marilyn. The book is also dedicated to someone named Marilyn. I can’t remember where I got my copy. I’m pretty sure I picked it up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Carol Gorman lived when she wrote it and possibly still does live, but I can’t recall exactly where. That bothers me because I’d like to know how I ended up with the copy of the book that’s signed specifically to the person it’s dedicated to. I have a lot of YA books with their owner’s names in them, and some books I’ve picked up have been signed and weren’t labeled that way, but this is a little more personal and to me, it has the potential to be related to a sad situation like a falling out, a death, or an unfeeling book purge. Hmm. Mysteries.

Carol Gorman is able to do a lot more with a few words than most of the YA thriller writers I’ve read. This book clocks in at 138 pages (damn that’s short) and she’s got subtle clues, characters that feel real enough that I could remember their names throughout the story (Sometimes thrillers just need somebody to be there, you know? Like the murder victim who is quickly lost in the shuffle.), a very realistic motivation for murder, and supernatural tomfoolery. Once an Ouija board is involved, tomfoolery is sure to follow.  Or possession. Die for Me hints a bit at supernatural possibilities, but doesn’t engage and it works nicely because teenagers are gullible and paranoid. Also, there is a lot of driving around and threatening notes composed on a typewriter. Awesome! You have to really know what you want to say to use a typewriter and not end up with whiteout everywhere.

Mixtape 4:

1. First and Last and Always – Sisters of Mercy

2. Heart Attack Kid – Bass Drum of Death

3. Show Me What Your Lights Mean – Electric Six

4. So Many Ways – Morphine

5. Love Me Forever – The Black Angels

6. I Want Your Love – Chromatics

7. Is Vic There – Department S

8. I Hear Satan – Dax Riggs

9. Everything’s Ruined – Faith No More

10. Dirty Eyes (Sex Don’t Sell) – The Raveonettes

11. Down Boy – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

12. Spike Island – The Icarus Line

13. Unnatural Beauty – Electric Six

14. Bad Blood – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

15. Cutt Off – Kasabian

16. Dead Souls – Joy Division

One time Duncan spoke to me in a dream in a very creaky high pitched voice and it messed with me substantially, so my caption isn’t totally anecdotal.

If Duncan was contacted by teenagers via Ouija board, I’m sure she’d mess with them substantially. Or just have them spell out “wheek” over and over. That would be confusing.

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Filed under Books, Review, YA Megamix Summer

Find some other way to feel. Then you won’t feel sad. Good luck.

70. Gone South – Robert R. McCammon

I’ve been looking at this book on my mother’s bookshelf for a long time and it’s one hell of a novel. I did not expect a single thing that happened in it; I didn’t know I was going to be reading such a tense, fantastical story that included some Elvis, some serious amounts of sweating, a fairy tale garden, drug dealers, obstinate ladies, and a conjoined twin. I felt like I understood it better after having lived in Mississippi (it takes place in south Louisiana) and I definitely know where the areas that the story took place are on a map – mainly it reminded me that there are some things about living in the South that I cannot explain to anyone. It’s retained its sense of wildness and a weirdness that is heavily on display in Gone South. And living there truly demonstrated to me that there are some things that can never be fixed, some things that will work themselves out regardless of how much I worry, and some things that are just doomed. My darling Duncan was one such doomed individual and you can see her sweet little profile in the photo below, she’s with her mother Murderface. She died four years ago today, the first of my herd of eight to pass, of cancer. She was only nine months old and time was obviously not on her side. No it wasn’t.

I think about Duncan a lot and regardless of whether or not I want them to, some of my pigs’ death days sneak up on me. I’m pretty sure one of the currently living pigs’ death day is soon to come and so the death days are reminders of what I’ve gone through and what I will go through again and again, as long as I choose to keep these little rapscallions. Granted, the benefits of having guinea pigs for me far outweigh the non-benefits. Lost my words there a bit. Oh well. Anyway, another reason that Duncan’s death day is weighing heavy four years on is that Ned Vizzini committed suicide recently. He was only a year older than me and was living a chunk of my dream career- he’s had four books published, he allowed a movie to be made of one horrifically affecting novel (that meant a lot to me), and he was writing for television. He also may have had enough money for his family to live on at any given time. And some people have to write- regardless of whether or not it’s ever going to get anywhere that anyone notices- and some people get paid too. It’s hard to understand where that kind of accomplishment would go south on you. But maybe he lost his anchors or maybe he was being pressured to just “get over it” too much, as that seems to happen to people with serious depression. I definitely lost my anchor and, just a quick public service announcement, try not to choose anchors that can die.

So, 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short' it is! Fuck it, you won.

Murderface and Duncan Hills, brutally cute, also brutal reminders of how short the lifespan of guinea pigs can be. Happy Holidays, Mr. Hobbes!

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You’re standing on my neck

It has been sequeled.

Sometimes I don't feel like adding hovertext, like now, when I've lost another job. But I do it.

Heeeeere’s Duncan.

The Guinea Pig-style first edition of Night of the Squirrels: Day of the Robots
It’s the sequel to Dawn of the Interns and the middle section of the Squirrelpocalypse trilogy, and it is internationally available on Amazon right this very second. I said it would be finished in May 2013 and I was not lying or catastrophically impaired, even if I didn’t say anything about it until June.

Verbal trailer (think about “O Fortuna” for trailer integrity or the book’s real theme song, Ween’s “It’s Gonna Be a Long Night,” off Quebec): In a world where things start with “D,” the cover model’s name is Duncan, the title is Day of the Robots, Danger Crumples still exists, I’ve been watching a lot of the show Daria lately and I bought the second season of Deadwood on DVD recently; and Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost films also involve robots, Day of the Robots now exists to wreak its combination of Gremlins II and Cabin Fever on readers.

It’s gory…and romantic. It’s revolutionarily cynical…and idealistic. There are shiny objects…and decaying furniture. A nose will be lost. One kind of plague will be contained. The responsibilities of a field jacket will be assumed. Origins will be explored. It’s not going to end well because it’s a sequel and the middle part of a trilogy, that’s also why origins will be explored – but you surely already knew that and I won’t call you “gentle reader” because that’s kind of patronizing. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that it won’t end well. “Well” doesn’t always mean what you probably think it means. So there.

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing