Horror and pigs

Hello! I had a shitastic mental health day yesterday and sort of fell into a lot of self-hatred but today I feel a bit better and hopefully you do too. If not, know that this will pass. Keep breathing.

I can’t remember if I took my ADD meds this morning but I suspect I didn’t so I blame that for this very random blog post that sort of goes together and sort of doesn’t.

SO. My friend Laura (of Beyonce fame) had this uncle (PJ Allen) who was a parade float maker 50+ years ago and years ago they auctioned off the ridiculous stuff in his giant barn and that’s how I ended up with a life sized Marie Antionette and a giant portrait of Martha Washington and bird cages and baby carriages and boxes and boxes of crumbling crepe paper flowers and this pig:

It’s about 4 feet tall and I assumed it held something and also it was wired for sound at one time which makes me wish PJ Allen was still alive because I really want to know what the pig was screaming at people as it paraded down the street. When I originally bought it I thought I’d put a chef hat on it and put it in the kitchen but it was filled with wasp nests and I am lazy so instead it just lived in the garage.

BUT! Then the plague came and I was bored so I decided to do a pig makeover because I thought this pig should probably live at Nowhere Bookshop. And after many hours of elbow grease and strange looks from my neighbors, she is done.

Victor and Hailey think it looks weird because the eyes are too small so I may have to fix those but I texted a picture to Elizabeth (illustrious manager of Nowhere) to see where everyone else stood on pig eyeballs and she was like, “Huh. It’s a little creepy, don’t you think?” And I was like, “WHO EVER HEARD OF A CREEPY PIG, ELIZABETH? Oh, except for the demon pig in Amityville Horror. Omg. We have a name. Jody the Amityville pig. WE ARE A GREAT TEAM.” She hasn’t responded to me yet but probably just because she’s so overwhelmed with how well we work together.

Also, Jody is too heavy to pull in and out of the shop every day so probably she’ll live in the back hallway next to the bathrooms so she can keep you company while you wait to pee and tell you what author is coming to visit next. But I’m still not sure about the eyes.

Anyway, speaking of horror, this month The Fantastic Strangeling Bookclub is reading Catherine House which we’ll discuss probably next week so you have time to sink into the weirdness of it, but we also did an optional book for anyone who wanted an extra distraction and I finally feel good enough to discuss so let’s do that today, okay?

The optional book was HORRORSTÖR by Grady Hendrix and for me it was the perfect distraction. Funny, witty, scary. It seems counterintuitive to love horror when you have an anxiety disorder but I think the great thing about supernatural horror is that you can exercise your fear on something you don’t actually have to worry is going to happen to you. Unless you work at a haunted Ikea knock-off, I guess.

You can go to the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club page on Facebook to discuss, or if you hate Facebook you can leave your thoughts here in the comments. Also, even if you haven’t read the book, let me know what you think about Jody. Should the eyes be bigger? Is she creepy? If so, should I put her inside one of the bathrooms so that she makes people pee faster and there are never any lines?

PS. The folks are wordpress are helping me with a little revamp and that means that my blog might load weird for a few days while we fix things. Like, right now the first 7 comments on each blog post are sort of covered by sidebar stuff so I’m going to fill those 7 comments with random trivia so that you can skip them if you can’t read them or read them and be smarter if you can.

EVERYONE WINS!

It’s okay

I was really hating myself for being behind on everything and then I came across this from Binchcity and it was exactly what I needed to read.

You’re not alone, y’all.

Let’s have a happy distraction, shall we? YES, WE SHALL.

Hello!  Remember a week ago when I shared all my most recent favorite instagram distractions and we pretended that we were coworkers and I pulled you into my office so we could laugh and look at cats being idiots and talk about all the people we don’t like?

Wrong.

That wasn’t last week.  That was five weeks ago.

I know.  Time isn’t working the same way it did, but that’s all the more reason to laugh while we can and that is precisely why today will be instagram ridiculousness and beauty and horror that I bookmarked for you during these last 800 years of plague.

Look, it’s us:

Okay, let’s get started…and if you’re new to instagram, if there’s big arrow click it for video and if there’s a tiny arrow on the right it means you should click it to scroll through.

Get ready to be singing this all day:

This is weird, but in a fascinating way.  Like, not as creepy as the doctor who dug up a corpse and lived with it, but still…

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Alma Mahler (1879–1964) was a Viennese socialite and arts patron whose infamous romantic life inspired composers, painters, and novelists, including Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, Franz Werfel, and others. Between her marriages to Mahler (who died in 1911) and Gropius (in 1915), Alma had a turbulent affair with the expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980), who memorialized her in his painting The Bride of the Wind, 1913-14 (just before their relationship ended).⠀ ⠀ Unable to forget his muse and lover, in July 1918 Kokoschka ordered a life-size doll from the Munich doll-maker Hermine Moos as a substitute for his lost love. It was to be made to look exactly like Alma Mahler.⠀ ⠀ Kokoschka provided Moos with many detailed drawings and a life sized oil sketch. On August 20, 1918 he wrote to Moos: “Yesterday I sent a life-size drawing of my beloved and I ask you to copy this most carefully and to transform it into reality. Pay special attention to the dimensions of the head and neck, to the ribcage, the rump and the limbs. And take to heart the contours of body, e.g., the line of the neck to the back, the curve of the belly. Please permit my sense of touch to take pleasure in those places where layers of fat or muscle suddenly give way to a sinewy covering of skin. For the first layer (inside) please use fine, curly horsehair; you must buy an old sofa or something similar; have the horsehair disinfected. Then, over that, a layer of pouches stuffed with down, cottonwool for the seat and breasts. The point of all this for me is an experience which I must be able to embrace!”⠀ ⠀ In December Kokoschka eagerly demanded of Hermine Moos: “Can the mouth be opened? Are there teeth and a tongue inside? I hope.”⠀ ⠀ The doll was not finished until the second half of February 1919. On February 22 Kokoschka asked to have the doll sent to him. The packing-case arrived.⠀ ⠀ Kokoschka was ultimately disappointed with the result, a clumsy construction of fabric and wood wool. He complained that the shag carpet-like skin was not life-like enough.⠀ ⠀ After several moths, despite Kokoschka’s effort, expense and energy, he decided to dispense with the fetish.

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I want to live here.

Victor:  How’d they get a picture of your car?

It’s like a dinosaur.

Victor gets mad at me for not being able to socialize with his business people but then when I do I am 100 this and he gets mad at me for that so I might as well be drunk.

I snorkeled in a cave once and it was like this and I legitimately started hyperventilating and clawing at anyone near me.

I think this is making fun of a biscuit and gravy fountain but I would 100% want this at any party.

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😛

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He just tryin to get food

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Impossible to overstate how much last year’s SDCC changed my life. It was actually a year ago today that applications closed for the Her Universe Fashion Show– I’d been planning my drag inspired Pink Diamond / Rose Quartz transformation garment design to submit to this show for honestly years. I worked tirelessly on this look for months and while I didn’t finish every detail how I dreamed, I couldn’t be any prouder of this runway walk. It’s absolutely the right call to cancel the con, but I know how much my 2019 centered around this build and this show, and my heart is so heavy for all the talented designers who’ve gotta wait for another year. Think I might rewatch (and maybe finally finish!) Steven Universe to cope ⭐️ Thanks to @mark_edwards_photographer and of course @littlemantiscosplay my one woman army backstage and wig wrangler extraordinaire 💜 #stevenuniverse #hufs #sdcc #heruniversefashionshow #geekcouture #heruniverse #wigfromheretohomeworld #stevenuniversefandom #stevenuniverserose

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this radiates vine energy via @lucweed

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@hoops0926 on tik tok – julia

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🔊🔊🔊🔊🔊🔊

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I want a self loading laundry basket

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This.  And also when I say a work I’ve only read and everyone points out that that is not how you pronounce it at all.

Victor doesn’t understand the appeal of instagram and just stares at me while I laugh at cat videos but he fucking loves the videos of people hurting themselves when doing dumb stuff.  We all got our stuff, I guess.

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Wait for it😳

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Dying of cuteness (@paige_soccer23)

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Continue reading

I made you something.

Two things…the first is that I’m sharing drawings with you until we get out of isolation and you can print them and color them or burn them.  It’s up to you.  Usually they’re pretty enormous because I prefer to work on a giant sketch pad but today’s drawing is tiny because I’m feeling a bit small myself.

Click to embiggen.

And two…tonight I’m hosting a conversation with one of my favorite writers ever, Christopher Moore, on zoom and you are invited although I think there are only 10 tickets left because they went really quickly.  If you buy a ticket you get to watch us talk about writing and taxidermy and ridiculousness live and we’ll send you a copy of Christopher’s latest book, Shakespeare For Squirrels, AND a book plate autographed by him for your book.  Click here to see if tickets are still available.  

We did our first ever Nowhere Bookshop zoom conversation a few days ago with the amazing Samantha Irby and it was fantastic even though we literally had no idea what we were doing.  That event was invite-only for the Strangeling Book Club Members but I think maybe we’ll be able to share it online with everyone sometime soon.  We’re not great at technology, y’all, but we’re learning.

Me, Samantha and Fleece Witherspoon.

To keep up with all that Nowhere Bookshop is doing just follow our instagram here.

PS.  There will be a Q&A at the end of today’s zoom meet-up so if you have a question for Christopher just leave it in the comments.  Love!

PPS.  I’m almost finished with Shakespeare for Squirrels and it is really, really good.  I recommend.

UPDATED:  Five minutes later and we are sold out!  That was quick.  🙂

Button, button, who’s got the button…

This isn’t a real post but I thought you might enjoy.

I collect buttons.  I have for years.  And a few of you enjoy them as much as I do so yesterday when someone in the comments asked me for more button videos I made a few.  Is this ridiculous?  Completely.

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Video 2. These buttons have a story. Victor and I met a man last year who bought an old button factory. He once supplied the button in the Benjamin Button movie. Now the man is ready to get rid of all the buttons so Victor had him send me some as a surprise. Y’all. He sent hundreds of pounds of buttons. Like, he took A SHOVEL and sent me enough old mother of pearl buttons to fill up *literally* two army trunks. They were ancient and filthy and were packed with branches and leaves and decades of dust and rain. Whenever I need a break from my head I scoop out a bowl and soak them and scrub them with toothbrushes until they shine. This is 1/50th of those buttons but it’s all I’ve cleaned so far.

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Book club time!

Hey.  I was going to write this all yesterday but then I didn’t because yesterday was very not good.  Nothing really bad happened but I fell into a full meltdown of depression and I basically just cried and curled up into a ball and waited for it to pass.

And it did.  A little.

All day yesterday I felt so bad for not finishing this post, because how fucked up do you have to be to not be able to blog?  And then today I woke up and my heavy meltdown turned to mild depression with spots of okayness and I realized that it literally makes no real difference that I’m posting a day later than I planned and that I’m behind on emails and deadlines and other bullshit because first of all, we’re all behind and probably the people waiting to hear from me are just as relieved to have an extra day, and also my depression was making everything seem much more horrible and bleak in the same way that it always does because it lies so impossibly well.

This intro has nothing to do with what I’m writing about, but maybe you are having a no-good, very-bad day right now and need to hear this: it’s okay.  Everyone is struggling.  You will get through this.  Don’t let your worst days tell you lies about who you really are.

Okay, so…time for the Fantastic Strangeling Book Club!  As always, keep in mind that there are no rules to book club and so it’s totally okay if you haven’t read this month’s book yet.  Lots of people read it immediately.  Lots of people save it for when they have time and come to the discussion later.   Lots of people save up all the books for a summer of reading or lend the books to other people and forget to get them back.   Most people read the book and lurk in the discussion but never actually talk because most of us are introverts who like to be part of a group that expects nothing from them.   The only real guideline to this book club is that you feel special when the book is delivered to your hands because it is a gift to yourself.  The end.

So this month’s book is Samantha Irby’s WOW, NO THANK YOU and I really hope you loved it as much as I did.  She is magic and writes dark and real stuff that also makes me laugh out loud and that feels so rare sometimes.  I’m always so happy when a new book of hers comes out because when I read it I feel like I’m having a conversation with her and when she writes something particularly inappropriate I always say (in my head), “OH MY GOD THAT REMINDS OF THE TIME -” and then suddenly I’m having an actual conversation with an invisible person who is not listening but I often end up writing down those tangents and then sometimes those tangents become chapters in my own books. I wonder if that’s weird or normal?  I wonder if there are books that talk to each other and you don’t even know it until the authors point it out?  Ignore me…I’m rambling and I’m not sure this is making sense.  If we were having a book club irl I’d be like, “Talk amongst yourselves” and you would say smart things about metaphors and authenticity and I would nod and drink too much rum but you aren’t physically here so all I can do is the rum part.

BUT!  I’m also announcing this month’s book and I think you’re going to like it because it’s weird as hell:

A taste of the novel, Catherine House:

“A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

Trust us, you belong here.”

And in case you missed it, for those of you who – like me- need constant distractions from your own brains in the form of books I’m doing an optional extra book club read of HORRORSTÖR later this month if you want to pick it up.  If you buy it through the Nowhere Bookshop portal we get credit and it super helps us but no worries if you want to support your local indie shop or library or if it’s not for you and you want to just skip it.

Sidenote: Some of you asked how you can help Nowhere Bookshop, and ordering through our bookshop portal makes a giant difference and has been enough to help us buy a sign for the store.  WHOOP!  (No pictures yet but it’s in the process of being made and I’ll share when it’s up.)   Everyone needs a boost right now so no worries if you change our affiliate code to any other participating indie bookstore.

SO…I’m opening up a discussion post on the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page if you want to discuss Samantha’s book but if you hate Facebook you can always leave your thoughts here.

Remember, I super crazy love you.

Yes, you.