The really embarrassing thing is that I’m sure I’ve sung this out loud with friends before and no one ever told me I was wrong, so maybe I’m right all along. Update: I was not right all along.

Victor and I in the car singing along to Talking Heads Wild Wild Life:

me: ♪ I’m wearing…her vagina… ♪

Victor: Wait stop. No.

me: Those are the lyrics.

Victor: Nope.

me: Yeah. “I’m wearing her vagina. I’m riding a hot potato.”

Victor: What.

me: It’s about sex right? He’s wearing her vagina. Because if you’re wearing someone’s vagina you’re having sex with them.

Victor: Ew.

Me: Don’t “ew” me. I’m not the one who said it.

Victor: NOBODY SAID IT. NOBODY SAYS THAT.

me: I’m pretty sure it’s all sexual innuendo. Like, what else is Cat Fancy supposed to be? That’s obviously vagina.

Victor: WHO SAID CAT FANCY?

Me: TALKING HEADS SAID CAT FANCY. HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS?

So I looked up the lyrics and apparently this one of many songs I’ve been singing this song loudly and wrongly because for the last 30 years I thought this was about a Dutch woman named Eliza who has a lot of pubic hair and is having an orgy with the Talking Heads guy until her husband walks in and then the Talking Heads guy convinces his to join them and then they all have cake.

PS. Here is the actual song and below are the lyrics as I hear them:

I’m wearing her vagina

I ride a hot potato

I take a little Cat Fancy.

Speak up, I can’t hear you.

Here on this mountain top, oh, oh, I got some wild, wild life

I got some news to tell you, oh, oh, about some wild, wild life.

Here come the dutch woman in charge oh, oh, oh, she got some wild, wild life.

Ain’t that the way you like it, oh oh, women and wild, wild life?

I wrestle with a llama (I know it says conscience but it always feels like he’s going to say llama and I don’t know why)

You wrestle with your barber.

Satan on your windowsill but the tense says it’s time for ardor slower

Check out pepto bismuth man, oh, oh, he bought some wild wild life

On the way he got stuck in a stage oh, oh, he got some wild wild life

Break it up when he opens the door, uh oh! We’re doing wild, wild life.

I know that’s the way, Eliza, oh oh, baby, wild wild.

He’s a man. With a piece of cake.

Thought control. You get them both then! Time of your life.

Back to sitting on pins and needles. Break them apart. It’s scientific. (I don’t know what this means but I assumed it was something kinky)

Sleeping on the edge of the stage oh oh getting wild life

Breaking in her chicken ah, oh oh oh, I got a wild wild life

Spraying it all over my money in time. Oh, oh. Too much wild wild life

We wanna go but we don’t wanna go, oh oh I gotta wild wild life

High and knowing it. That’s how it starts, oh oh, got some wild wild life

Paint a picture, it ain’t a tale, oh oh, they got some wild wild life

You’re one to talk, You go so fast, oh oh, wild wild life.

And I know that’s the way you like it, oh, oh

It’s just a wild, wild, wild, wild, love.

This week, y’all.

Things that happened this week:

Sent an email to Elizabeth and Vicky at Nowhere saying, “I’m reading an arc of Beasts of a Little Land and it is so good but making me realize how little I knew about Korean history. Nothing like books to make you realize how stupid you are”. Elizabeth emails back, “You cc’ed this to a random journalist”. Because of course I did.

My phone internet has been out all morning. Sent several texts to my sister telling her one of our old friends died. None of the texts went through. Sent another text blaming the ghost of our friend. It also didn’t go through. After spending 30 minutes trying to fix everything I realize I’d accidentally put my phone on airplane mode and tried to blame ghosts for it.

Was very proud of setting a reminder for a podcast I needed to record today. Realized that New York is an hour ahead instead of an hour behind about 30 minutes after the hosts (who luckily know me enough to realize I’m an idiot) have been waiting in their closets for me to call in.

Saw a spider on my computer at the same time Ferris Mewler saw a spider on my computer. Learned that my computer can survive being knocked to the ground by a cat. Spider jumped off the monitor and onto my lap. Walked outside to brush it off. It got scared and ran inside of my dress and now it lives inside me, probably.

Took Hunter S. Thomcat to get his teeth cleaned and the doctor said she’s going to have to remove several of them, which is apparently fine because I guess cats don’t need all their teeth but it’s thousands of dollars so I asked the vet if I could keep the teeth since technically they’ll be more expensive than any of my jewelry and she was like, “Sure. Do you want more teeth?” and I was like, “…I don’t want you to pull out extras just so I can make tooth jewelry” and started to worry if I’d chosen the right doctor but then she was like, “No, I just have a bunch of old dog teeth if you want teeth” and then I realized that I’d totally picked the right doctor.

And how has your week been?

Step into my office. It’s Friday.

It’s Friday so that means we can sneak into my office and pretend we’re doing work while I’m actually just showing you the instagram videos I saved for you.

Unless Instagram goes down again, in which case that is a sign that you are done for the day.

Happy weekend, y’all.

Hello, strangelings!

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club you already know what wonderful book we’re going to send you this month because I sent you a bizarre email about it, but in case you missed it or are an honorary member, it’s Sister Song by Lucy Holland and it gave me strong Circe and The Witch’s Heart vibes. (And if you have not joined yet this is totally your sign to come be a Fantastic Strangeling.)

I don’t know what the actual cover looks like because there are two and my copy was digital but both covers are amazing so let’s just bask in the glory of both of them:

 This is a reworking of the Twa Sisters, a old murder ballad (Did you know there were such things as murder ballads?  Because I did not and now I want to listen to all of them).  Set in the dark ages of Britain, it blends historical fiction with magical realism/fantasy in an amazing way and explores feminism and identity and belief and betrayal and family with a fast-paced story and wonderful characters. 

Here’s a quick summary:

535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans. Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal. Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter. And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance. All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, magic, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

It’s one of those books that you see as a movie in your mind as you read it.  And if you have a fear of reading historical fiction because you are history illiterate please know that I am as well and other than looking up a paragraph in Wikipedia (“Siri, what is a Saxxon?”) the book gives you everything you need. I think you’ll love it.

And if you are like me and need more than one book to get you through the month then you are in luck because October has a shitload of great new books. Here are all the October books I read and loved: Under the Whispering Door (gorgeous tale about love and grief and death that is also somehow uplifting and lovely), Slewfoot (supernatural horror revenge tale you need to read immediately), Light from Uncommon Stars (weird as hell), Reprieve (a full-contact haunted house tale that dissects race, class, politics), The Last Graduate (this is the 2nd scholomance book to read after Deadly Education and it’s very good and now I want the next in the series), Cackle (a sweet sort of halloween read about friendship), The Death of Jane Lawrence (gothic horror ala Jane Eyre but with more math? I’m not describing it right.), Shelf Life (a memoir about the woman who opened the first modern bookstore in Cairo), A Spindle Splintered (a small fairy tale where the villains are not who you remember), When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky (death defying Cherokee horse diver uncovers a mystery that spans centuries. #ownvoices), Lore Olympus (graphic novel about Persephone that will SUCK. YOU. IN), Hyde (a reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde. Very Scottish) and Death at Greenway (a mystery set in the holiday home of Agatha Christie.)

Now no worries if you haven’t read last month’s book yet (The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraido Córdova) because there are no deadlines in book club but I know a lot of you have so I’m opening up the discussion thread on the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club facebook page in case you want to talk, and if you don’t do facebook you can always leave your thoughts here. I’ll leave mine in the comments below.

PS. In case you missed it, we’re doing a free fantastic strangelings zoom with horror master Grady Hendrix later this month so check your email to rsvp if you want to hear Grady and I talk all about fear and explore his latest book, The Final Girl Support Group. And follow Nowhere Bookshop on instagram because I might be doing another fun mystery October zoom with one of my favorite people that will be open to honorary members as well. 🙂

PPS. As a little bonus, here’s an author-suggested cocktail to try while settling down to read The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina. Dorothy Barker approves.

Happy reading!

The world is changing. And that’s a good thing, I think.

Yesterday was Victor’s birthday and since covid numbers are finally starting to drop we decided to go to a Japanese place that we’d never been to. It was nice but much more crowded than I was used to and the many shower curtains hanging from the ceilings (for real) to stop germs from spreading made it feel even more claustrophobic and suddenly the panic attack I’d managed to fight off at the doctor’s office that morning when the nurse couldn’t find my veins in either arms started crawling out of my throat.

I have anxiety attacks pretty regularly. Heart pounding, feelings of dread, some nausea. They don’t last very long. Panic attacks are different. I only have one or two a year but they are so severe it literally feels like dying…like an actual heart attack. I’ve spent enough nights in ERs sure I was dying to know that this was a panic attack but I didn’t want to ruin Victor’s birthday so I explained that it was too loud and went outside to get some air. I walked to the back of the restaurant and paced, trying in vain to walk away from what was inside me and doing all the meditation practices while cursing the fact that I’d stopped carrying xanax with me. I suddenly felt incredibly nauseous and light-headed but I knew that if I started to throw up I wouldn’t be able to stop so I sat down on the curb at the edge of the parking lot and put my head in between my knees and prayed Victor and Hailey wouldn’t come out because I didn’t want them to see this.

And then I heard footsteps and I knew it was them but it wasn’t. It was a couple getting in their car nearby. The girl asked if I was okay and I nodded yes but she said I didn’t look okay, which was fair, and I considered just saying I’d had too much to drink or that it was the flu but instead I said, “Panic attack” and she said, “Oh, yeah. He has them too” and the guy was like, “The worst. Do you want us to sit with you or call someone or do you need to be alone?” And I said, “Alone” because being with people makes it worse somehow and they nodded and when they drove off he said from their car window, “You got this! You’re doing great!”

Reader, I was not doing great. I was on the side of the road trying not to vomit. But somehow that small encouragement from a stranger helped. I mean, it didn’t stop me from eventually getting violently sick but it helped to know that I was not alone. Or more accurately that I *was* alone because they understood what I needed but that we’ve come so far in talking about our issues that I could say “Panic attack” and have people easily understand and not treat me like a freak and instead just act like it’s okay to have a breakdown on a curb…to cheer me on rather than pity me.

I went back inside after the worst had passed and Hailey and Victor were kind and worried and I felt bad, but also so grateful to have a family that understood when I explained that I wasn’t doing well and needed to go hang out in the car. Dinner ended early. The trip to get cake was cancelled. I barely made it home before my body decided to get rid of everything inside it, making taking anti-anxiety meds impossible. Hours later I lay in bed and felt badly for Victor but he was fine, and understanding. A birthday present he ended up giving to me. Hailey snuck in and checked on me later, our normal roles reversed.

Today I am a limp rag of exhaustion and my brain is mushy…the usual after-effects of a truly bad panic attack. In spite of the fact that I know this isn’t my fault I still feel some guilt and shame. But whenever I do I remind myself of that kid in the parking lot cheering at me like I was a football player making a goal (is that what they do? I don’t know sports) while the girl he was with smiled encouragingly like all of this was perfectly normal.

Panic attacks are not normal. And I hate them. But I love that we’ve come so far that empathy for a person’s struggle is normal…and that we’ve come to a place where it’s not a shameful secret but something that brings us together. It makes me hopeful.

If my mind was less mushy I would make this all wrap up in a lovely way and add something funny but I’m still not entirely myself (but getting there) so instead I’ll just say that I wanted to write this down in case that couple from the parking lot happens to read this. So that they understand how they helped. And so that you understand that you are not alone. That none of us are, really, if you know where to look.

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

So yesterday I woke up to my computer giving me the universal sign for “NOPE”…

…and I considered that this was the universe’s way of giving me the day off but Victor said that’s not how days off work so I tried to fix it but the furthest I could get was a flashing folder giving me the universal “what the shit have you done?” symbol…

…and I was like, “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW” and I spent hours trying to fix it using a variety of suggested steps from the internet that were so unhelpful I decided to make my own more realistic one:

Is your computer all borked up and shit? Follow these simple steps:

  1. Hold down the command button and also every third button on your keyboard for exactly 27.4 seconds.
  2. Enter the password for something you didn’t even know you ever had a password for.
  3. Forgot your password? Click to send a recovery link to the email you no longer have access to and/or also don’t know the password to.
  4. Restart the computer while holding your 8th grade report card in your left hand.
  5. Reload applications
  6. Consider googling “What are applications and how to reload them” but realize you can’t because your computer is broken.
  7. Realize your warranty expired 18 seconds ago.
  8. Eat a sandwich angrily.
  9. Regret not learning what a “cloud” is and how to put things in it.
  10. Continue following long step-by-step recovery process. On step 10 realize this list was written in 2004 and is now outdated.
  11. Start over again with a new step-by-step written last week. Realize halfway through it’s outdated as well.
  12. Download updated browser.
  13. Follow error signs saying you can’t download browser without updated flash.
  14. Update flash.
  15. Follow error signs saying you can’t download flash without updated browser.
  16. Consider becoming Amish.
  17. Remember how much you like cat videos.
  18. Call tech support. Get advice that doesn’t work.
  19. Call tech support. Get opposing advice from second guy who says the other guy didn’t know what he was talking about but which also doesn’t work.
  20. Repeat step 19. Several times.
  21. Call tech support. Lady says that the computer problem you’re describing isn’t even possible.
  22. Doubt everything, including own existence.
  23. Call tech support. New guy listens to your extremely long rant about everything you’ve tried. Asks, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” Lay your head on the keyboard and cry softly.
  24. Try turning it on and off again even though you’ve already done that multiple times just to show the tech guy you’re not a fucking idiot.
  25. Stare at the wall and grind your teeth into dust when that totally works.
  26. When they guy asks, “That fixed it, right?” lie to him and tell him you have to go because you have to set your office on fire.
  27. Start back at step one 25 minutes later when everything crashes again.

And that’s basically how my day went except for the fire and the fact that in the end we ended up having to buy a whole new computer and reload everything and I think I have everything recovered but now I really do need the day off to recover from yesterday.

PS. Learn from me. BACK-UP YOUR SHIT.

%d bloggers like this: