Yeah, got some good news this morning. One of the submissions I sent off the other week there has borne fruit and I'll have a story appearing in the first issue of The Ashen Eye.
(Yes, any mention of the anthology will be a link in this post. It's for a good cause.)
Obviously I'm pleased that my work will appearing somewhere else, but there's also another reason I'm happy that The Ashen Eye have taken my story. It's because they go that extra mile and promote the writers they publish on their website.
So, yeah, as soon as I find out when the first issue is coming out I'll let everyone know.
Midnight-thirty. Ish. I'm getting ready for the trip downstate/wherever and packing my crud. No sign of mice in my room, or anywhere I looked (thankgod)- I'll take care of the buggers when I get back. Clothing and necessities- packed. Drawing shit - packed. LOTS of drawing shit.
I can't wait to be back on old familiar ground. Someplace where I felt utterly comfortable in my skin, cozy with being myself, not wrapped up in other people's expectations of what I should be. I feel exhausted, and giddy.
Freedom. Good food. Friends.
It's been a few years since I've had time to myself. Time to really be myself, without worrying what folks will tell my family if I let a word slip that someone doesn't like or display an opinion that doesn't jive with local thought.
I lack words to describe how giddy I am right now.
So I just ate lunch a little while ago, and I sat down to eat a candy bar I bought. In the process of eating said candy bar, I moved the plate my lunch was on, and I accidentally got ketchup on my finger, and instinctively licked it off. Chocolate + Ketchup = BAD.
Witch Doctor is a horror/medical drama comic grafting horror archetypes to really sick shit from real-world medicine and zoology. This is the book's workblog thoughtblog. For more information, read the first entry.
The 'demo' issue, Witch Doctor: First Incision, is coming April 2008 from writer Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner.
Witch Doctor: First Incision debuts in a little under a month. You can get a hard copy in your hands for the first time at Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland on April 26 and 27th, and we'll be following that with an official release party at PDX's Floating World Comics on May 1st, as part of the First Thursday art opening. Meanwhile, we'll be releasing the issue for free online, in three weekly chunks starting on Thursday, April 25.
Today I've got some copy to write -- press releases, blurbs for the website, etc. I figured I'd warm up by talking at you.
I'm reading Carl Zimmer's Parasite Rex again. Parasite Rex is basically my Bible for Witch Doctor. It's what showed me that the world is just a stack of predators eating each other from the inside out like hungry Matrioshka dolls.
Here we are, king of the primates, top of the food chain. And inside us are blood flukes and intestinal worms, and there are single-celled protozoa feeding on the intestinal worms, and bacteria eating the protozoa, and viruses, little chunks of genetic code inside a protein sheath that's like a little syringe, hijacking the bacteria and turning them into factories for making more viruses. Fill a one quart bottle with water from the surface of the ocean -- inside it there'll be ten billion viruses.
It's a sick world indeed.
I love the chapter about how parasites control their prey, making them into big wombs for more parasites or transforming them into suicide bombers, kamikazi-ing other animals so the parasites can move to new hosts.
It's only in the last few decades we've started to understand how parasites work behind the scenes to manipulate macroscale ecosystems. Zimmer uses the example of wolves vs. moose, one of those classic snapshots of life in the wild. Wolves weed out the sick and the elderly, making the moose population stronger.
But what's going on underneath that is that there's a tapeworm that lives in moose for part of its life cycle, and needs to get into wolves for the final stage of its development. As far as tapeworms go it's one of the smallest, only a couple of inches long. But when the tapeworm eggs get into a moose, they form cysts, little pods full of fluid and baby tapeworms isolated from their hosts' body by a membrane. And the cysts made by this specific tapeworm only stop inflating when they run into bone. The cysts form inside the lungs of moose. So when wolves take down a sick, wheezing moose, "culling the weak from the herd," they're killing a moose that was specifically weakened by tapeworms so the worms can get into a wolf's stomach to complete their life cycle. This archetypal dance of life and death is being scripted by a brainless two-inch long creature inside them.
So what's this got to do with supernatural horror? The staples of the contemporary horror genre, the unholy trinity of vampires, werewolves and zombies, they're all parasites, infectious agents that take over a host and are concerned with feeding and spreading themselves. I think their communicability is the reason we find those particular three creatures so scary and fascinating. Yeah, a haunted house might be scary. But it's a monster that's basically under house arrest. And Eddie Izzard's advice, "just don't go in that fucking house," works just as well for ghosts as it does for imprisoned war criminals.
Infectious agents follow certain rules. Like virulence. But now my fingers are warmed up, and I'll have to pick up on virulence at another time.
So. There are mice in my computer room. Because the cat chased them there from who knows where, or they came there because the temperature warmed up. despite being an animal lover, I want the damn things dead and gone.... However, watching the cat run into a wall while trying to get the animal? ...it's quite entertaining. I'll put up traps when I come back from vacation; I'd do it now, but I don't want to end up with rotting dead mice in my computer room while I'm gone.
Update: Apparently I dreampt about making a long-arse post on Whitechapel. Woke up to check it this morning, and no. I didn't actually write a big long post. Hah.
Earlier this morning I went out to buy groceries for the week. Afterwards driving home I was rocking out to some good tunes, and all of a sudden I see this Lady at the bus stop waving me down, I get scared thinking she saw something wrong with my car so I pull over to see what she wants. In my rear view mirror I see her running to my car, short, fat, in her late fifties, she was wearing this skanky black blouse that looked like it was fighting to hold up her saggy old boobs. She come over to my window and said in that thick long island accent,
“I just missed the bus and I need to get to smith haven mall right away”.
“Are you serious lady?” I shouted.
“PLEEEEEASE! I’ll give you five bucks!”
Now at that precise moment I should have just given her a one-finger salute and drove away, nope I just had to be a nice guy. I said fine I’ll take you there, I can go into the mall and shop around so I don’t waste a trip, She Flops in my car and thanks me like a thousand times in a row. Not even one minute into the ride she asked,
“So do you get high?”
“No not anymore I’m taking a drug test soon for the court officer’s test”
“Oh! That’s great; you’re going to look real handsome in that uniform”
“Uhhhhhh. Yeah…I guess. But if you want smoke a little pot go ahead lady”
“Why thanks, but it’s not pot”
“Just a little crack, do you mind?”
“LOOK lady, pot is one thing but crack no fucking way”
“O. K O. k don’t have to get into a huff about it”
In my head I’m telling myself, Way to go Alfred you just picked up a crack whore, if she turns out to be a prostitute that would be excellent right now. Come to think of it I should have just kicked her out of the car right there. I’m such a fucking moron sometimes. NOPE! I proceeded to drive her. She then starts telling me that she is some sort of nurse and her girlfriend that she is going to see just had her toes amputated, and that she just got divorced and looking for love. I was like THIS. IS. JUST. FUCKING. GREAT!
She then asked if it was all right if I just drop her at her girlfriend’s house. I said fine, should be interesting. She gave me directions to some hidden driveway off of 25A. I get there and I’m driving through a narrow dirt road with thick brush along each side. I get to this old rundown house and I see some people outside of it smoking up what presume to be crack. She gets out of my car and fishing through her bag to give me money. I told her don’t worry about it I just wanted to get the fuck out of there. She told me that I was a “gem”. She thanked me again and I drove out of there in disgust of what I just did
That’s right folks I picked up a stranger that wound up being a crackwhore, drove across town to drop her off at a fucking! Secluded crack house, so she can get high with her toeless friend. Karma owes me big time for that one. So the lesson I learned today is that never pick up strangers, it will only lead you into stranger situations.
A lot of people are enjoying this round of Micro Fiction (short stories too short to be called short stories because no one on the internet has time for short stories) so I thought I'd post this one here. Read more at my site: chrismferguson.wordpress.com
Sometimes you wanna feel wanted so you walk into a bar at three in the morning with a flame thrower and you spray the drunks because you want the cops after you. You can’t wait to feel wanted. But that’s the thing, you just want to feel wanted.
You don’t want to be jailed — what would you tell your mother? “See, I had bought this colossal fuck of a magnifying glass and the sun just happened to be right there. You feel me, mama?”
There’s a black van that roams around the city. They call it The Casper. You drop six-hundred dollars with them and the next week they’ll come by and you’ll have a completely new identity. Passports, IDs, numbers of people paid to pretend you’ve been childhood friends, the list goes on. Not only that but they destroy your old self. From that moment on your old self will be recorded as “deceased.” Hopefully a nice death. Not like Charlie Whitt, a registered child molester who wanted to start anew, who paid The Casper three thousand dollars only to have them call his homophobic father and say, “Your son Charlie Whitt was found naked and mangled on the freeway; blood and semen were leaking out of his rear like Niagara Fucking Falls. And you’re next Mr. Whitt. Have a good day.”
So, you take a deep breath, burn the drunks, and wait for someone to come to your door with your new life. But what happens to your old life? Do they really just say you’re dead and move on to the next sap? What if your new life is someone else’s old life and you’ve just stepped into a mire of shit.
Agh. I had a cavity filled in my back upper tooth as a kid; it fell out sometime a few months back, apparently, and I lost a whole chunk of the tooth a little while later. Went to the dentist's a few weeks ago, after putting it off for a good long while, and found out I had to get a root canal, the concept of which scared the living shit out of me, for no apparent reason. I've been skipping visits and ignoring the emails I get asking to schedule a follow-up appointment ever since, which is probably a wildly bad idea. And now I'm getting mobbed with flyers and phone calls asking me to schedule and I DON'T WANT TO.