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From Inside My Crazy Box and Other Tales of Enclosure
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in FeralBoy2's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, September 15th, 2005
3:10 pm
Writers with Plans!
Heh, I guess I'm not real good at making plans...it's just one of my many little shortcomings I've come to embrace...anyway, for those of you who want to carpool from my place, how about arriving around 4:00, then we'll leave around 4:15 so we'll have time to high-tail it over to The Mission and park, or not. I was actually planning on taking the bus (I've been using it as my primary source of transportation of late, by choice. Gas prices and environmental issues played a part in my decision, but more on that later).

So 4:00 at my place...or check in with sflore if you want to leave from hers (we're on opposite sides of the park, no less). Current count has about 10 or us going, so a good time will be had by all. I know I'm definitely looking forward to hanging with everyone.

After the show, if you're up for it, we can walk through the Mission and find what we can find. There's a new coffee shop, Ritual Coffee Roaster, that has fantastic ginger black tea and ginger scones! And caps and lattes in big red mugs with swirly patterens on top. Mmm, mmm, good!

Oh, one last note -- I think there's a $5 cover, if I remember correctly.
2:11 pm
I'm working from the library in Civic Center today...I work here a lot. I'm able to snag a desk on the fifth floor and look across at the Asian Art Museaum and the people down below milling. The desk is nice ... there's a lamp, power, and free wireless. Good place to work.

Anyway, about an hour ago I slipped out for something to eat. On my way, I noticed a big sign by the front door...a Zyzyva reading today at 6 pm! Since I planned to be here anyway, I'm definitely gonna partake. It's been a long time since I read a copy of Zyzyva (um, am I spelling that right?), but since they're local, and accept all genres, I'm all ears.

If anybody out there is in the area, might be a cool thing to do today.
Wednesday, September 14th, 2005
10:34 pm
Writers with Drinks!!!! This Saturday!!!!
Man, time sure slips by. Well, it looks like Writers with Drinks is only a couple days away. So here's the plan.

Wanna eat with us?
Meet at Taqueria Cancun, 2288 Mission
5 pm

Wanna play with us?
Writers with Drinks
At The Make-Out Room 3225 22nd. St.,
7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM.

Hmmm...maybe dinner is a little early, but it does give us a little time to talk before the show. We want to be at the show as soon as the doors open...maybe a tad sooner...to get decent seats. Last time we did okay, but this time we may have a couple more people.

Hope everyone who thought they could come, still can!
Friday, September 2nd, 2005
10:55 pm
You know, with all the horrors going on, it seems rather trivial to lament the closing of Kepplers.

But I must.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2005
3:05 pm
Writers with Drinks -- Again!
Hey, the next Writer's With Drinks is September 17, and I'm gonna go. Who can I talk into going along with? The last one was fun -- I think there were 5 of us, and I expect that many or more this time. Let me know if you're interested in going (don't worry, I'm not into commitments), so I can have an idea of what size table to snag. Here's the skinny:

Saturday September 17, 2005:
Tina D'Elia (Groucho, Forgotten Angel)
Andrew Boyd (Billionaires For Bush, PoMo To Go)
DJ Berkley (Comedy troupe)
Suzanne Kleid (Pindeldyboz, other magazine)
David Corbett (The Devil's Redhead, Done For A Dime)
Susan St. Aubin (Best Women's Erotica, Herotica)

At The Make-Out Room 3225 22nd. St., San Francisco CA, from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM.

P.S. I saw DJ Berkley doing slam in The Mission...they were decent. Hopefully their comedy is not pretty.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2005
8:42 am
Cat Vision
I've read that cat's don't see very well. It's said that their eyes are designed to pick out movement, and can even pick up very subtle movements, but overall, their vision is pretty poor.

I don't believe it.

No, I realize I'm not a zoologist, but my own experience, with my own cats, proves otherwise. For instance, just looking at Cougar in a certain way, causes him to meow, jog over and give me a head butt. It's like clockwork (unless, he finds ANYTHING more interesting at the moment).

On the other hand, unlike dogs, changing your hair or putting on a big floppy hat doesn't unnerve or confuse them. It's like they don't even notice. But they do. They just don't care. You see, you SMELL the same, and that, in a cat's mind, reaffirms the visual. Their sense of smell is so important, and so strong, that I believe they smell you before they even see you. The two sense work together and are dependant on each other.

In fact, I think they even form mental pictures based on their sense of smell, pictures as real to them as anything we might see. Walking Cougar on a leash has been amazing. I can't tell you how many times he's tugged me to some spot only to find that there's a dead animal hidden in the underbrush (okay, NOT one of my favorite activities, but you know).

I think their olfactory sense is important on an emotional level -- just as we tend to have emotional responses to the things we smell, so do cats. But it's even more extreme, which is why it's SO important that you don't hit your cat or kitten. You see, I think they associate all the love and care you provide them with your smell. So when you approach, it triggers an emotional response -- "mmmmm, Cliffy" -- in them. So if I punish my cat rather than reward it, it begins to associate that formerly yummy Cliffy odor with armpit sweat (or Oranges -- cats hate citrus). And unfortunately, adverse associations are easier to set than positive ones, so it takes very few negative experiences to unravel the good associations made with your cat.

So no matter how stubborn, or how mad they make you, don't ever resort to forceful coercion. Changing a cat's behavior is all about provide more stimulating, appropriate activities. Rolled newspapers, swats to the butt, nose taps, squirt bottles -- they doesn't change the unwanted behavior, they only makes you stink.
Monday, August 29th, 2005
11:04 am
Returning to the fold
I've missed LJ, and missed you guys. So as of today, I'm making a concerted effort to visit on a regular basis again. Funny how routines have a way of imposing themselves upon you.

And yes, I'm a creature of habit. And whim. And caffeine.

Work is going well, but the dual home thing is difficult at best. I need a vacation. I need to catch up on bills. I need to write more. I need to read more. And right now, right at this very instant, I need to get back to work.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2005
9:40 pm
This is how I get my freak on
Sold "September Eyes" to an anthology called "Scary Stories, Series #003". Payment is on a royalty basis, but the publisher claims Barnes and Noble is buying.

So, will I get paid? Dunno, but I'm hoping availability is decent, which would be way cool.

This is one of the stories, so many months ago, I chose to keep in circulation (> or = 3 markets) all year. I didn't make it because I had a hell of a time finding markets for it, but it feels like I deserve a pass on this one.

I hope that giddy I-just-freaking-sold-one-of-my-deformed-offspring feeling never goes away.

This year is the novel revision year for me, so I'm trying to ignore the siren call of the short story. I think I'm going to do an anti NanoWrimo this year and spend the month writing a 5,000 word short story, polishing it to a spit-shine, and celebrating completion by submitting it on December 1.

Hmm... I freaking love that idea.
Monday, April 25th, 2005
4:52 pm
Time to roll?
My horror writer's group has been pretty sporadic of late -- there have been months long gaps between meetings. So I've joined up with a new, novel writing group in the city. Found them on Craigslist. First meeting is tomorrow.

The guy who arranged it requested writing samples before making a decision on who gets in the group -- I guess he wanted to make sure everyone was serious. I'm always a little leery about providing samples, but on the other hand, it will be nice if everyone is committed to getting their novel out the door. Support can be beautiful.

Which brings me back to the horror group. We definitely need some new blood if it's to survive. Why? Because we know each other and each other's writing too well. And that's not a good thing. So somehow, despite the fact that I put the group together, I'm going to have to walk away from it. It will be difficult, because I've spent a lot of time over the years with these guys, but beyond the appreciation of the genre, I really don't have anything else in common with them.

Yeah, I gotta drop out. It will be a bittersweet parting but it sure feels like it's time to move on.
10:12 am
All hail the master...
Just got an e-mail from Mariana...she's coming back to SF to do some tarot readings this summer, but her husband, Alejandro Jodorowsky isn't going to be able to come with her.


My god, after 16 years, I never thought I'd see the day. This will almost certainly be his last...I believe it's the long talked about sequel to El Topo -- Son of El Topo. Don't quote me on that, but it's likely. Maybe Mariana will tell me...

Man, I sure hope it gets a US release...or maybe I should vacation in Chile for the premiere.

Don't laugh, if the business is cranking by then, I'll do it in a heartbeat.

Now, back to cold calling...got some serious inspiration right now (:
Monday, April 18th, 2005
2:51 pm
Alzheimer's is satan
This morning I woke up, and I was thinking, somehow, I've got to get back to the business...got to make more cold calls, to get things moving.

In the other room, I heard my father and mother getting up. My father lays out my mother's clothes, but she no longer is able to put them on without assistance. Last week, I found her wearing a sweatshirt as pants, her legs through the arms, the body of the sweatshirt flapping behind her. This morning, I heard her complain that her underwear were too small...then dad said, "you've got both legs through one leg hole," his voice tinged with inpatience. My mother fumbling, trying to understand how to do this again. I put the pillow over my head, trying not to yell out to my father "she's got fucking Alzheimer's, HELP her!".

But I know he's trying to deal with this too, and I know that it will make my mother cry, so I don't, because crying was yesterday.

So I get up and realize I have to drive to the city, feed and litter the cats, before I can start my day. So I set out my mom's pills for the week, and leave. The cats are always happy to see me...and they take tuns in my lap, making me feel welcome (at this point, it's there's place, not mine). I go to the post office for stamps, mail a couple business letters, and head back to Union City. When I arrive, dad tells me he startted mowing the lawn...something I should do...and he's going to finish it. I'm begin to check my mail, and then he talks abuot fishing and his plans for another trip, and then he drops the bomb...

"Your mother feels like we don't let her do anything. She feels like nothing, becuause we don't let her do anything. But the problem is, she can't do anything, and she knows this."

I don't know how to respond. I don't know what to do. My mother, sitting on the couch, is quiet. My father lays back in the lounger and begins to rub his eyes (one of his many problems).

I gotta go. My mother just said that she's going to take a little walk. She doesn't want me to go with her. She needs to go by herself. The tears are returning.

She gets lost in the house sometimes.

I must go out and watch, from afar.

Alzheimer's is satan.
Tuesday, April 5th, 2005
6:33 am
I had a dream...
Last night. This morning. The first dream in...forever. You see, I don't dream. Not with any regularity. Less than once a year. And when I do dream it's so unimaginably uneventful that upon waking, I often confuse it for reality.

In my dreams, I do domestic chores, or shop. No, not shopping for a new chopper or a cool computer, I shop for milk and and bread. Or maybe, a magazine. When I awaken, I sometimes look for the item I purchased in the dream, and when I can't find it, that's when I realize I dreamed it.

But last night's dream had a twist. In my dream, I was going through my junk mail. I came across an advetisement for Alcohol 120% Sofware -- a program I bought online a couple of weeks ago. As I was about to set the advertisement aside, I noticed a code at the bottom of the page that included my landlord's name. It was something like: 12A-928B-Doris-348. Below the code it said: You've earned: $62. I was horrified. Was my landlord giving up her tennants names so that she could get a kickback on our purchases? I looked through the rest of the junk mail, and sure enough I came upon another advetisment, this one for a credit card, that showed a code with Doris' name in it. I checked to see if it was a "pre-approved" ad, thinking she may have taken on some of the risk, but it didn't seem to be. And then my mother moaned in her sleep and woke me up...

That's it. Now I can't go back to sleep, though I desperately need to. I don't think I lapse into REM sleep for more than a few minutes a night. I'm one of those constant tossers...

Oh well, maybe I should go check the junk mail...
Monday, April 4th, 2005
9:48 am
1st Rejection of The Year of Submitting Dangerously!!!
Okay, it happened all ready. Surreal Magazine rejected my story, Gertrude Duvall at 37 which I sent to them on March 31st! Quick, no? Well, check out the rejection e-mail:

Dear Clifford,

Thank you for submitting Gertrude Duvall at 37 to Surreal Magazine.
Unfortunately, it doesn't meet our needs as we are no longer accepting first person nor present tense stories. We've recently updated the guidelines at www.surrealmag.com. I wish you the best with this one, and you're always welcome to submit another.

Mike Miller

Okay, well, I guess all editors are welcome to their peculiarities, but damn, that's extreme in my book. Especially since the magazine is focused on the surreal. Some of the best surreal stuff out, both classic (Poe) and contemporary (T.M. Wright), is first person.... And what's the present tense bugaboo? Okay, enough railing...one more semi-pro market I'll have to tiptoe around. There are so few it's frightening, but I've got 24 hours to get the story back out there, right? That ought to be enough time, right?

Gotta go check www.ralan.com right now...
Saturday, April 2nd, 2005
8:04 am
A Morbid Invitation
It's that time of year again... almost. On Saturday, May 14th, 7 pm, it's the annual Morbid Curiosity reading at Borderlands Books. The last couple have been fantastic, so I'm putting this date on my calendar now! I would love to get a group together for dinner before the reading, and maybe a bit of exploring The Mission afterwards.

By the way, issue 9 of Morbid Curiosity promises such interesting tidbits as waking up on the operating table, dating trannies, and cleaning up after a brother's suicide among its contents.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your vantage), none among our ranks is represented this year, but it still should be a hell of a lot of fun.
Wednesday, March 30th, 2005
6:24 pm
The Year of Submitting Dangerously!
Okay, it's almost here. Tonight, I'm gonna take an hour or two and hit the coffee shop. An iced latte because it's hot in my parent's house, and then I'll let my stories fly...

I know a number of your are prepping the story/stories you're planning to submit, and that's cool. But give yourself a deadline of the end of the month. Really, cause if you let it go too far, then, well, we're back at square one. Trust me here -- this is gonna be an easy challenge, unless you're an overachiever (coughjunglemonkeecough)! It will likely be a month or two before you have to submit again.

We can do this. We can.

As an aside, I got updated to active status with Horror Writers of America today. I like that.
11:09 am
The Year of the Simultaneous Submission!!!!
Okay guys, it's time. April 1st is just a breath away (and no, the fact that it's April Fools day isn't lost on me). It's time to choose a story and send it on it's way. Remember, at all times it's got to be at three places. So once you send it out to three places, you'll have at least a couple weeks before you have to worry about it again, probably much longer. Then, in the unlikely event that an editor rejects it, you have 24 hours to get it back in the edit pool so the number of simultaneous submissions remains at the mystical number of 3!

The folks that said they were gonna take the challenge, stand up and holler, because I've read your stuff and I KNOW that if you do this, you'll get published. Guaranteed. Done Deal.

I'm gonna try to keep 2-4 stories in circulation, cause that's what I did last year and it ups your chances of finding that illusive market. So don't think that just because the challenge requires just one story you have to stop there. The more the merrier, and hell, selling multiple stories would be pretty cool too!

Let The Year of the Simultaneous Submission begin!
Tuesday, March 29th, 2005
9:54 am
A simple, yet elegant, wager...
Okay, it's no secret that America is heading for a collapse. And when that happens, I'm gonna load up all my friends into an abandoned bus on the freeway, and head for Canada. When we get there, we're gonna buy a pleasure dome (or rent one, cause our dollars will be worth very, very little) and live out the rest of our lives in a semi-lucid state of delirium.

So when's it gonna happen? The collapse. I'm putting my money on November 18, 2013.

So what's your guess?

The person who gets closest to the right date wins a full year of room and board at the pleasure dome.
Saturday, March 26th, 2005
3:28 pm
When to bug and not to bug...
My story, "Because Afterwards, They Close the Shades" was with an editor for over a year. He had "accepted" it for an unsold anthology, but hadn't kept in touch with me on it's status. So when I sold the story out form under him, I sent him an e-mail. His reply was congratulatory, then he said that he'd recently sold volume 2 and 3 of his anthology series, and had planned to notify me. Anyway, he ended up by saying that he'd be opening for submissions in the summer, but I could send him a story now if I wanted to for volume 3 of the series.

Cool, you say? Yeah, I thought so, and it kinda squashed any lingering fear of simultaneous submissions. So of course, I sent him a story (She Blinks. Blinks Again.) in reply. Now here's the problem: he didn't acknowledge having received the story. And that's the problem I've had with him all along -- he doesn't acknowledge or confirm anything. I always have to write and ask. Now I'm wondering if I should drop him a line to see if he's received it. Knowing him, he'll send a simple 'yes, thanks', and that's it. No confirmation as to whether or not he's read it, or when he plans to, etc. My previous dealings were like pulling teeth. Even with the story he eventually "accepted" took a lot of e-mails and waiting on my part. When he finally read it, this is the response I recieved: "I read it, but I need to read it again because I didn't get everything you were trying to say. Maybe I shouldn't have had those 3 glasses of wine before reading it." And that, my friends, was the "acceptance". So now I'm back to square one, and though it was a definite invite again, I don't know if I should start the litany of back and forth e-mails or not. This is a paying market, and I can't afford to piss him off.

Maybe I should just sit tight and wait it out. But man, my stories, each of them, is pretty personal to me, and having them languish in a vacuum freaks me out...
3:16 pm
Realms of Rejection...
Just got a form rejection letter from Realms of Fantasy Magazine. The story they rejected was September Eyes.

Okay, Realms of Fantasy is a fantasy publication that accepts "some horror". There are quite a few fantasy/science fiction magazines that accept "some horror", but not much.

Genetically speaking, fantasy fans do not like horror. And horror fans do not like fantasy. It's anathema. But what's strange is that there are a number of fantasy publications that persit in stating that they publish "some horror". I postulated in an earlier post that the reason they do this may be that some fantasy writers do write "horror" from time to time, and need the markets. And if it's a Pratchett or a Gaiman, how can they say "no, we don't want to see it". So they continue to offer up their slush piles to us, and I continue to bite.

This was another one of those "no e-subs" markets too, so I got a mailed form rejection addressed in my own hand. There's something strange about that too, addressing your own rejection. Once I sold a story and the publisher sent the acceptance letter using their own envelope and stamp. I had half a mind to ask them to return my unused one. he! That would have gotten me on somebody's list, I'm sure.

So when I get a rejection from a "some horror" market, it's a lot easier to digest. Because I can't place all the blame on the story. Hell, it's a genetic thing afterall.

So it goes back into the mailstream this weekend.

By the way, that will be one of the stories that I'm keeping in circulation this year...the other ones will be my @37 stories. I'm gonna try to duplicate what I did last year...
Friday, March 25th, 2005
3:54 pm
Pay Day...Reality Check Day
Got a copy of my contract and a check for $350 for the sale of "Because Afterwards, They Close the Shades". Man, does that feel good. So many issues are swirling around my head right now -- not the least of which is the bank account -- so the check arrives at a very good time. These editors have been a joy to work with...I wish them well on their anthology.

I hadn't planned on doing it today, but I think I'll work on upgrading my status in Horror Writers of America to professional status now that I have payment in hand. Man, it sure feels like I just hit a milestone in my life, even though so many other issues are seemingly out of control.

Gotta always remember to look at the good in life and drain as much enjoyment out of it as I can.

Now, which bill should I pay with the check...
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