It’s not quite the 25th, but it’ll be here before we know it. And, even though I’m writing this post early, if I know me (and by now, I’m familiar with my work) I’ll still be frantically making all the presents when this post goes live.
But, it’s been a rough year–full of fear, disgust, horror, loss, and so much more. But it’s also been a year of resilience, ferocity, strength, and love. So, this holiday season, and this coming year, I’m wishing for so many things for all of you and those you care about. I’m wishing you all the love your hearts can hold, peace and contentment that settles around you like a warm blanket, so much laughter and smiling that your cheeks and stomach ache a little, good health, excellent healthcare coverage, safety, security, and acceptance.
I hope that no matter which holidays you celebrate, or even if you celebrate none, that your hearts are full and and happy and that all of your dreams come true.
The last song fic of the year was inspired by Chances by Five for Fighting. Here are the lyrics and video if you want to take a peek.
Heads up: this story is probably going to be the shortest of the short. Unless you’re super new here, you know the drill, I’m averaging three – five hours of sleep a night as I frantically try to finish sewing and knitting Christmas presents. To be honest, I can’t even promise it’ll make sense since I’m pretty sure I can see through time and space at this point.
I scooped Jordan’s clothes out of the dresser drawers and tossed them into garbage bags.His games and movies were already boxed and ready to go. He was coming to get his stuff today. And if he didn’t show, I was donating all of it.
It wasn’t that I wanted to break up with Jordan–not really. What I really wanted was for him to just magically disappear from my life as if he’d never been there. I just wanted to have a do-over on the last nine months or so. It wasn’t that those months were horrible. They just could have been better.
Jordan wasn’t a terrible human being, but as it turned out, he wasn’t my favorite, either . About three months ago, he had a really bad cold, so he’d bailed on going out with the the rest of our friends. I think he was pissed that I didn’t stay home and fawn over him. But if I had, I’d probably be in jail for homicide with one of those little plastic medicine cups that comes with the jumbo bottle of Nyquil. I don’t know how I would have killed him with it, but I would have found a way, because nothing is more annoying than Jordan with a cold.
Once I was out with my friends, I realized that I was having fun for the first time in months. The rest of the time, it was like he just kind of sucked the joy out of everything. Even sledding. How the fuck can someone make sledding awful? Jordan could. And did.
I thought about all of the other times he’d cast a pall over my life. It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even enjoy having gotten into grad school (he didn’t have the money to go) or a raise at work (his boss doesn’t like him) or running her first 5K (he gets blisters when he runs.) He hadn’t started out that bad, but he’d gotten there quickly.
I finally had the last garbage bag filled with his stuff, and I dragged it out to the porch. I dropped it next to the box that had his toiletries and a bottle filled with sand and shells that he’d collected on the beach during our one and only vacation.
He’d already arrived and was loading everything into his brother’s pickup truck. He returned to the porch and looked up at me. “Do you think someday you might consider giving me another chance?”
I shook my head. “I think it’s better if we both move on.”
His brother picked up the box with the toiletries, and Jordan grabbed the bottle with the sand and shells, pulled the cork, and began dumping the contents on the ground.
“What…are you doing?” I asked.
“You can’t expect me to keep this reminder of us if you won’t give me another chance.”
I stared open-mouthed at my ex, and his brother muttered, “Jesus fucking Christ, dude. Dial back the melodrama, already.” He turned and started back toward the truck, but I heard him mutter, “And you wonder why you can’t keep a relationship.”
Okay, so that’s it for me, today. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories.
Hayley fussed with the place settings for the the forty-seventh time.
“Oh my god, would you quit obsessing, already!”
She startled, and I tried to soften my words by wrapping my arms around her from behind and pressing a kiss to the back of her neck. She quit fussing with the ribbon and lifted her hands to rest on my forearm where it rested across her chest.
“I’m sorry. I just want it to be perfect.”
I kissed her again. “There’s no such thing as perfect.”
She sighed. “I know. I guess I keep hoping that one of these days, they’ll realize I’m not the antiChrist.”
The only way that day would come is if she turned into a straight white male–preferably with a job in finance or real estate. No bisexual, mixed race social workers need apply.
I hugged her tighter, and she snorted.
She shook her head. I was just thinking that would take a Christmas miracle.”
Out in the driveway, car doors slammed followed by muffled yelling. Hayley and I both drifted to the window.
“He didn’t…” I muttered, watching my younger brother trying to corral an apparently drunk woman in a skirt shorter than I’ve ever seen. As she slipped on the icy sidewalk and my brother caught her, she flashed her bare ass at my parents.
“He didn’t what?” Hayley asked. “And who the hell is that with Nate?”
The expression of horrified loathing on my mother’s face was too much, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Seriously, Vanessa, who is she?”
“Last time I talked to Nate, he said that his hot math tutor was a theatre major, and he was going to try to hire her to play the worst girlfriend in existence.”
Hayley’s mouth dropped open. “He did not.”
“Of course he, did. He adores you. I think he’s hoping this will help our parents will come around, too.”
I watched as the love of my life blinked back tears then pressed a kiss to my lips. “You and Nate and whoever that chick is are all the Christmas miracle I need.”
That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other stories, too.
I’m thankful for a lot of things, so let’s get to it.
I’m thankful I don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner (other than fancy green bean casserole). Because I really hate to cook (but green bean casserole is easy). And tasty. But I do get to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Which is great because I like to eat.
I’m thankful for my amazing family–both immediate and extended. These are the most amazing, hilarious, loving and supportive people on the planet. And despite our wild differences, we’re incredibly close and I love them so much.
I’m thankful for my friends–my family of the heart. I’m so lucky to have these amazing people in my life. Without their love, encouragement, creativity, silliness, support, acceptance, understanding, honesty, strength, and therapy I wouldn’t be the mostly functioning person I’m attempting to be.
I’m especially thankful for my husband and kids. They’re the pieces of my heart that live outside my body. Sometimes, they’re lucky to continue living… *strangle strangle strangle* but I wouldn’t trade any of them – even when they drive me nuts.
I’m also thankful to have cats. They’re warm and cuddly little assholes. But I love them. And they make me laugh. Even if they do run away with my knitting needles.
And finally, I’m thankful to and for every person who reads this blog whether it’s the super rando flash fic, the stock photo rants, or the personal milestones and fuckery of life–whatever you’re here for, I’m thankful for you. And I’m thankful to all of you who read my books, too. I appreciate that more than I can adequately express. It’s a gift to be able to do what I love best, and I’m so incredibly grateful.
I’m sending you all love and hugs and wishes for contentment and happiness. Be sure to check out Jess and Gwen’s blogs and see what they’re thankful for.
Today’s flash fic song is Flaws by Bastille. Here are the lyrics and the song.
Despite the cold, damp weather, the minister at the graveside service droned on and on. It was almost as if he were part of her grandfather’s habit of making his descendents as uncomfortable as possible. Clutching a small stack of photos, Angela shifted from near-frozen foot to near-frozen foot, willing the feeling back into them. The wind shifted, and the sleet slashed sideways beneath the protective canopy, pelting her face to slide miserably down her neck.
As Becca, one of her cousins, stepped up near the casket to read a poem, Angela flipped through the small stack of photos she held. His voice whispered through her head with each image.
“You’re too old to run in the sprinkler.”
“Sure you need that second piece of cake?”
“I can’t believe your mother let you go out looking like that.”
“What did you expect wearing a skirt that short?”
“Why’d you cut your hair? You look like a boy.”
“What do you mean, girlfriend?”
Angela’s mom elbowed her then nodded toward the open grave where casket had just been lowered into the hole, and the rest of her cousins were gathering around the edge. Swallowing hard, Angela stepped forward to stand at Becca’s side, pictures clutched in her hand.
At the pastor’s nod, her cousins each scooped up a handful of dirt from the mounded pile, and one by one, threw it in the hole. The partially frozen earth hit the top of the coffin with a hollow-sounding thud. When it was Angela’s turn, she tossed in the photos, watching them flutter and land like dying butterflies.
Her flaws could be buried with his.
That’s it for me, today. Be sure to check out Kris and Siobhan’s stories, too.
Dear Stock Art Sites and Photographers who Sell Their Work There,
What are you even thinking?
No, really. I mean that in all seriousness.
What the actual merciless fuck is the matter with you?
Have you seen some of the weird shit that ends up on royalty-free photo sites?
Look, I get it. Not everyone who uses your site is trying to find appropriate looking models or images for cover art and promo for books. I realize that a lot of pop psychology articles and/or think pieces feature a good many of your photos. As do myriad advice columns, and blog posts (including yours truly) but dudes, I’m mostly there for photos that my brilliant cover artist can turn into cover art for my books. Honestly, a lot of people are there for that reason. So, we need to talk. There are some things you guys need to cut the fuck back on.
Unless you’re new here, you won’t be surprised to learn that I have a list of things that annoy me we’d all like to see a lot less of. So, let’s begin, shall we?
Why are there so many photos of people taking selfies and/or using phones in inexplicably weird ways?Yes, I’m aware that many think pieces have been written about people’s selfie fixation. Then, there are the memes and bitchy, self-righteous facebook posts. The people making memes are usually using actual selfies, not stock art. And while I have no problem with people taking selfies, (Do it up! I wish I had that skill.) as far as the stock art goes, literally no one needs hundreds of pages of photos of people taking selfies. No. One.
While we’re on the topic of phones, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the plethora of photos of people talking on their cell phone at weird and unlikely times.
If you really want to show people using their cellphones in their natural habitat, there would be page after page of people sitting on the toilet chatting or playing Words with Friends while waiting in a school parking lot for their kids.
While we’re on the topic of people doing inexplicably weird things whilst on the phone, we need to talk about the preponderance of Santa hat photos. No really. There are so many. Like…a terrifying amount. I mean, I like the holidays as much as the next person, but the sheer volume of models in Santa hats makes literally no sense. You guys, there are thousands.
Another common stock art standard is the thumbs up pose. I picked this one because Santa hat. (See? They’re everywhere.) Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to use the thumbs up pose sarcastically. Like when my husband asks me how the story’s coming.
But all the people on the stock art sites seems so damn earnest in their thumbs up giving. Why? Why are you people so earnest about it? Is the photographer blackmailing you? Is that what’s going on here? Are you signaling for help? (Oh, and the selfie douche? Scroll back up – he’s also giving the thumbs up. What the hell, man?)
In keeping with the technology theme, I’d like to address headphones. You find a model that you’d really like on a book cover (not this guy) and bam! giantheadphones lousing up your cover art vibe.
Look, I like being outside. I even like working outside. However, you can’t sit in direct sunlight and expect to be able to see anything on your screen. Also, what the fuck is with this guy. Have you even computered before, dude?
There are also an alarming amount of pictures of women posing “seductively” with their blowdryers. I am…not sure what’s happening here. Or why. But I do know that I’m profoundly uncomfortable.
Also, please stop with the stupid hats that ruin otherwise cute-ish photos that could work for cover and promo art. Just lose the damn hats. They’re ruining everything.
Close up portrait of happy young couple in love embracing each other on beach
Close up portrait of a beautiful young couple in love standing and kissing on the beach
Romantic couple with backpacks sitting on rock
See? This kid knows the pain of a bad hat.
We need to talk about all the hearts. They’re everywhere on stock art sites. Paper hearts. Puffy hearts. Dough hearts. Rock hearts. Balloon hearts. They’re like a flea infestation in a dairy barn. Weirdly, the majority of the hearts are hiding people’s faces. What does that mean? And why are so many people hiding behind hearts? I need someone to explain the psychology of this to me.
Hands of man and woman holding a heart together. Studio shot on a wooden background, view from above.
Young couple holding hands heart-shaped on the sea beach at sunset
Portrait of amorous young couple holding red heart by their faces
Please just stop already with the hearts.
Apropos of nothing, what is with nearly every couple having a Jack and Rose pose on stock art sites?! That shit needs to stop.
While we’re talking “romantic” images, what the hell is it with one partner looking really into it, but the other one looks…
Speaking of couples, are these two about to get it on in their kid’s preschool classroom?! What the actual merciless fuck are we supposed to get from this photo besides a deep sense of discomfort and shame?
Speaking of kink…
I would very much like someone to explain the absolutely baffling fuckery of this photograph.
Tiny apartment sized ironing board? Check.
Itty bitty travel iron? Check.
Portrait of judgmental cat? Check.
Late 80s bridal lingerie? Check.
Dude with sardonically arched eyebrow and buttchin? Check and check.
WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE????
Then…there’s this. I have zero words for this super low-budget ren faire photo, and that’s coming from someone who actually enjoys ren faires.
I could go on for pages about stock art.
And probably days.
No, I could definitely go on for days. There are just so many inexplicable photos there. Which stock art photos baffle you the most?