Uncle Morty seems to have a lot of times on his hands since he departed the land of the living, and he spends much of that time writing (especially when asked nicely). So, over the years he's figured out a few tips and tricks about writing along the way, and he'd like to share them with us!
By the way, your Uncle Morty can always use original material. The living around here are always pestering the dying nightlights out of him to work on their silly blog. As such, he has created a writing exercise. Feel free to share your results with us. We may publish them so your Uncle Morty can actually RIP once in a while. This exercise can be used with your own work too. Use it to enhance dialogue. (When you get to Step 2 you’ll see how that works.)
Garment of Shadows
Written by Laurie R. King
Review by Jarad Johnson
In another installment of Laurie Kings thrilling Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, King delivers an enthralling story. The twelfth book in this series opens with Russel having lost her memory, in a place she doesn’t recognize with armed police at the door. She makes her escape just in time, but for the next couple of days she wanders around a city in Morocco, with her detective skills still intact, before she is found by Holmes.
Because it is Christmas Day, the Team at Sacred Chickens is taking the day off, as we hope you all are have been able to do, to enjoy time with friends and family. However, we just wanted to post a little something to wish you all a Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas! We hope you saw our post yesterday and are reading your favorite Christmas books right now!
Merry Christmas Eve! Since it is that time of year, the entire team at Sacred Chickens would like to share with you some books that put us in the holiday mood! Enjoy your eggnog and happy reading!
This Christmas, Julie's reading.......
Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
By Louisa May Alcott
If I’m trying to get into the Christmas spirit, I always find myself slipping backwards into my childhood, and for me that means diving back into old favorites, since I spent a great percentage of my childhood deep inside the pages of books. For me the spirit of Christmas is wrapped up in two books, Louisa May Alcott’s Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom. Each of these books has a Christmas scene that has somehow wrapped itself around my brain to form a pattern of what Christmas should look like with stockings in the morning and a dance in the evening. Of course, no real Christmas could match up to such expectations, but I enjoyed Rose’s Christmas vicariously.
There are, as with any books of a certain age, problematic portions of the books where a younger reader would benefit from discussion and knowledge of historical context, but as I reread the books now, I find Alcott’s thought processes even more interesting. At the time of publication, the book Eight Cousins scandalized many parents because Rose’s Uncle Alec taught her anatomy and forbid her from wearing corsets. Like Little Women, the two books display Alcott’s unconventional wisdom about how women should behave. So each time I read the books, I not only get a Christmas feeling, I get to think about how grateful I am that things have changed and I’m not wearing a corset while opening gifts around the tree.
In the Cemetery
In the cemetery, I was standing on my knees,
reading verses of the holy book to the tombs
I was praying with tears on my cheeks
until the graveyard stopped me and asked me if
I was reading verses or reading sorrows
with an emotionless face, he asked to repeat
I started reading again and, his face was getting
red as his eyes were dropping my unrhymed tears
he stopped me with anger and screamed out
why more grieves, why more death, and less peace
I responded to him, why did hope sold us to traitors
why life is struggling with us, why did the wars rape us shamelessly
we cried together as he was saying that he’s listening to
spirits weeping with us, as the clouds will rain again
he asked me again, why our world is no longer bright
instead, it’s full of darkness and lots of bloody cuts
our grandparents were the farmers, who lift the sunshine
and brunt themselves to death, just to protect the seeds
our mothers stole the moon from the wall of the night
they hid in their coffins and the stars after our fathers
turned the rainbow into a solider in the zone of death
and made the snow into a drinkable water to survive
Ruminations on Gender and Subjugation in Ashputtle, or The Mother’s Ghost by Angela Carter- Jarad Johnson
Jarad reflects on this posthumously published story by Angela Carter
Gender and the ideologies surrounding are integral parts of our everyday lives. We see it in the way we dress ourselves, the different shampoos for men and women, what jobs are stereotypically done by men and women, and so on and so forth. The outward expression of gender, and thus the ideology of gender itself, is bombarding us every single minute of every day. It follows then, that if this gender ideology ingratiates itself in our lives, it’s also in our books, and appears everywhere in them. We use it to draw the line on what is male and what is female, leaving no room in between those two categories. However, once someone begins to study the concept of gender, then those categories become somewhat meaningless, and our understanding of gender is then challenged. But what then is the exact definition of gender? The answer is somewhat vague, as gender’s meaning and interpretation has become very ambiguous and multilayered, as such a complicated topic should be. However, it can be said without a doubt that gender and sex are not synonymous with each other, as many people often falsely conflate them together. Sex is usually used to refer to the biological aspects of a person, such as their reproductive organs. Gender occurs in the mind, and in the society.
Uncle Morty and Jupiter want to wish everyone happy times during the holidays whether that means staying in bed with the covers pulled up, watching anime until you puke, hiding in the closet with your pet possum, or eating your grandma's sweet potato casserole and taking a nap.
If you want to spend the holiday reading good books, check out all the reviews here and pick something out for yourself or someone else.
By the way, Uncle Morty is very pleased with his animated self. If you need to animate someone or something, contact julie@sacredchickens for information about our artist, Carmen Jones. She does great work for reasonable prices.
Jarad has been inspired to start writing a short story that features another Sacred Chickens employee, our Uncle Mortimer. Be sure to check back on the blog to see how it plays out (if he ever manages to finish it)! In the meantime, here's a sampling of what he's written so far!
“Are we going to be playing tic tac toe?” he asked, amused.
“No,” she said, sat down, and began drawing on the concrete porch, next to an old iron kettle full of red flowers that reminded him of a witch’s cauldron. While she concentrated, he picked up a piece of chalk, and for a reason unbeknownst to him, drew a pentagram on the table. And then another, followed by three more on the ground beside him. She saw what he was doing and inspiration from it.
It wasn't the concrete fountain that was magic, that's for sure. It simply stood in the center of the Church Park, slowly collecting long forgotten pennies, quarters, dimes, and discolored nickels. A girl with red hair tossed a nickel in once, probably wishing for a boy or a new top. Her father threw a coin in too, likely in the hopes that the boys of the future wouldn't be too much trouble. A widow dropped in a coin, maybe a single hope for a new life beyond her recent loss, closing her eyes as it clinked at the bottom of the pool. Whatever the wish may have been, the change fell to the bottom and snuggled in with the rest.
that James Cameron
made a movie about me
that had nothing to do
with my life
I was only referenced
the special effects making me
and it was a box office failure
even with 26 explosions
in the first three
and a woman
who jumps off a building
that used to be her
in an alternate