Scary stories are meant to scare you, right?

Today my brother posted the most saddening link on his Facebook page:

For those of you not familiar with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark you are missing out on one of the most visually terrifying  and bone chilling short story books of the 1980s.

Written in 1985 by Alvin Schwartz, this collection of ghost stories and horrific mystery, is for many children the introduction into the world of horror writing. Scary Stories is that first taste of blood in your mouth as you realize you bit your nails too low; it’s that first adrenaline rush that leaves you aching for more and yet afraid to turn the page;  it’s the place where you find stories that you share with your friends and insist are true because you read so in a book (ahem, cousin Julie, remember the overgrown sewer rat story that you insisted was true?) And while the stories are scary enough to stand on their own, Stephen Gammell’s artwork is what really makes this book make you want to leave the lights on at night.

Gammell’s interpretation of Schwartz stories are grotesque and disconcerting and really do provide the kind of visual imagery that that we see in our heads as children. When presented with only our imaginations to create a vision of what is going bump in the night, we are always imagining the worst. We are not seeing Disney interpretations and and Victorian England.

But thanks to over protective parents and overly sensitive children, that is exactly what we are gonna get from now on. Enter Brett Helquist, the illustrator of such wonderful series as A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Chronicles of Green Knowe. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Helquist’s images are beautiful, whimsical and Gothic. But I feel like they be would more appropriate in a children’s version of Sweeney Todd than a masterpiece of horror.  Why mess with a classic? No one is going to tell Maurice Sendak that Where the Wild Things Are needs to be reillustrated because it is too scary. I mean, isn’t that the whole point?

Why buy your child a book of scary stories if you don’t want to scare the pants off of them? The world is an ugly, scary, boogeyman infested place. There is no denying it, and there is no changing it, and no amount of political correctness will magically erase that reality. Yes the artwork is scary, it is supposed to be. You’ve erased the horror of my youth HarperCollins. Congratulations. Lucky for my children, I was prepared and already have a copy of the original to scare their pants off with, otherwise we would have a problem. (Don’t worry Mr. Helquist, I don’t blame you. You were paid to do what you do best, draw beautiful pictures.)

To see some examples of the re-invention of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark click here.

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Readers who are writers

For those of  you who are not only readers but also writers, this is the 11th hour. Tomorrow begins the caffeine fueled, gut wrenching, brain frying, exhaustion inducing month of November also known as:

National Novel Writing Month!

a.k.a NaNoWriMo

If you are not familiar with NaNoWriMo, here is the description from their Facebook Page:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

This will be my 3rd year participating in NaNoWriMo and I must be honest, I feel more prepared than ever! My first year I almost made it. (I missed it by like 1778 words.) Last year (first year with an infant) I only put out 2,250 words (boo.) But this year I am picking back up the story I failed on last year armed with a new plan, much better character development, and a “must make it this year” attitude.

I have all of my character names set up, I have an outline of events planned, I have giant post-it after giant posit up on my office walls detailing ever minutia of detail about every character’s personality. I really feel like tomorrow I will be ready to go.

My title: The Black Velvet Band

Synopsis:

On the road to Galway she waits for you,
You’d think her the queen of the land.
Her hair slung over her shoulder,
Tied up in a black velvet band.

Her beauty is unmissable,
Her charm melts every man’s heart.
She is sly, and devious, and without remorse,
And she tears weaker men apart.

She moves as if she were a whisper,
And is gone as quick as a breeze.
She takes what she wants,
She never looks back,
But her presence does nothing but please.

Beware of the girl with the fiery hair,
Whom is wandering across the land,
Her beauty surpasses,
She’s a liar, this lass is,
She the head of the Black Velvet Band.

I will of course keep you posed on the progress.

 

Is any one else out there doing NaNoWriMo this year? What is your story called? What is it about? How have you been preparing? Hit me up with the details, I would love to hear about it.

 

Enjoy your last night writers! Tomorrow is Doomsday.

 

Ok I know I am a slacker…

I know, I know. You all probably thought I dropped off the face of the earth. Truth be told I haven’t been able to even look at my blogs for two weeks.  I haven’t written anything in two weeks…well that is not true. I wrote two sides of a piece of loose leaf paper while I was at work the other night because something moved me to, but that’s it. This 30-day Challenge burned me out. In my defense I actually took on 3 30-day challenges at once and in retrospect it was too much. But as they say, excuses are like armpits–we all have them and they all stink.

I could have tried harder.

I am so ashamed. I set my self a goal and I did not reach it, and then out of no where this week sneaked up on me and I have been cleaning like a mad woman and cooking like a mad woman in preparation for my End of an Era Dinner Party on Thursday.   I promise, starting on Friday,  I will get back into the normal swing of things.

Thank you all for your devotion to reading the blog over the 30-day Challenge. There is always next year.

Day 19: Happy Father's Day!

To all of you dads out there I would like to wish you a very Happy Father’s Day!

Dear Lord.. The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here’s the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won’t ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal.

~Homer Simpson

Enjoy your Sunday Daddy and Hubby!

Day 18: Wedding trip to Johnstown, PA

This weekend I am in Johnstown, PA for a wedding… Today is the wedding, yesterday the rehearsal.  To sum it up, lots of sweat, not enough time, terrible directions, great food and fabulous shoes!

Shoes and Facinator for today...

For more on my adventures in Johnstown, PA visit www.backyardbumpkin.com

Day 13: Perks revisited…

This will be a quick one, as I have a ton of work to do today.

Here are some pictures of the building where they were shooting Perks a few weeks ago. Enjoy! (warning…these are boring, but I thought it might be nice to have a reference point when you are watching the movie 🙂 )

 

Oh how did that get in there?? 🙂

Isn’t he a cutie 😉

 

Day 12: A still unhappy boy

We are still very unhappy, but we are easily entertained.

A few weeks back I had bought Benji the first disk in the WhistleFritz series Vamos a Jugar and I think Maria is his new best friend. 

This DVD is great. It is a total immersion program–the only English you see is the credits, and you hear none. It is kind of Blue’s Clues-esque in its style and the songs are familiar (head and shoulders–er… cabesa y hombros.) Ben likes it so much that we just ordered another one.

Needless to say, he has been so cranky that I plan to let him watch it all day if that is what it takes…I’m pooped.

Day 11: Unhappy boy

I have an unhappy boy in my mitts so I am gonna keep this quick…but I need to post some thing right…Lets see…ok, Benji just got some new toys this week and we are loving our new musical activity walker from Fisher Price:

Ever since he was born Ben has loved music. I had an in-utero sound system for him that I wore on my belly and he still knows the songs that were on his playlist. Any way, this new walker is pretty cool. He can sit on the floor and play with the front, or stand behind it and walk with it. It plays music using it both ways and it teaches him the sounds of a piano, a guitar, and a saxophone.  The maraca rattles when you spin the ball and and the little flip book (his favorite part, go figure) is providing a much needed distraction.

Ok…back to my crying child…bye!

Day 5: Bridal Showers and Bachelorettes, revisited

So all in all I think yesterday was a success. Everyone seemed to have a great time, especially the bride, who received loads of great gifts and ended up very drunk last night.

The cake was delicious! Marble cake, raspberry filling, butter cream icing…yum! The activity was well received–the bride loved it. And the mojitos were very refreshing. Of course  I came home with 95% of the booze, an eighth of the cake, tons of crayons and colored pencils and the biggest blisters  I have ever seen on the back of my ankles. So, who knew that when your feet start swelling in the heat when your pregnant they are going to swell in the heat for the rest of your life?? I sure as heck didn’t. The heels I wore there, that fit me when I left the house, were cutting their way down to my bone by then of the day. They hurt so bad I had to go out and buy ballet flats to wear to the bachelorette party that night.

Which reminds me, I wanted to give a shout-out to my husband (who may or may not read this blog) and say thank you, and I love you. Thank you for marrying me so that I never have to go out to places like Buckethead ever again, unless a friend asks me to, of course. Talk about tool and hooker central! There had to be at least 15 other bachelorette parties going on there at the same time and me and my bachelorette and the rest of the party were in awe of how these people dressed! Penis name tags, penis headbands–I was smacked in the head with a hot pink penis straw that one girl was whipping another girl with. At one point it looked like Jersy Shore vomited on the stage! Ugh!

The highlight of the evening was when one of the shot guys-men who whore themselves out pouring 3% alcohol shots in the mouths of drunk sluts off the front of the stage for no money and no tips-comes over to get is shot bottle refilled while I was waiting for a water. He leans on the bar next to me and says “is that your bachelorette over there?”  I say yes. He says, “she is not nearly drunk enough.” I say we’re working on it. ” And he says, and I quote, “You girls get up on the stage and send her my way and I’ll fill. her. up.” GROSS!!!!

What is comes down to is that the bride had a good time right? I think she did. I hope she did. Otherwise I have the image of that buckethead burned into my memory for all eternity for nothing.

Congratulations Nicole! Can’t wait for the wedding!

Day 4: Bridal Showers and Bachelorettes

Today I am hosting a bridal shower for one of my best friends, Nicole. This will not be a long post since I have WAY too much to do, but I needed to share something with you all.

For those young mothers out there who have taken on the task of hosting a bridal shower with an infant at home:

GOD BLESS YOU.

When I accepted this as my responsibility for her wedding, I had no idea what I was agreeing to. Thank goodness for me she is very laid back, and her mom did a lot of the work. All I was in charge of was the activity, the booze and the cake. For the activity we made anniversary cards for the bride and groom-one  for per year for every person in attendance at the party. Get supplies for activity–simple enough. Booze–some vodka, some rum, some juice, mojito fixins, and a few boxes of wine–easy. Cake–call, order it, pick it up–piece of , well you know.

Holy Cow! The night I bought the cards supplies should have been easy enough, except that with only 3 days before the shower I still had no idea how many people were coming–I wasn’t in charge of collecting RSVPs, and had to guesstimate how many cards, art supplies and envelopes to get. I wound up buying for 50. Activity–check.

Then there was the night I bought the hooch I had to take my son with me. I am so ashamed. Here I am with a baby strapped to my chest with a CART full of alcohol going though the register. I was so embarrassed.  I am sure all of the people who were smiling and making faces at Benji were thinking, “MY GOD! What kind of mother is she?” “What kind of alcoholic takes her infant to the liquor store to by $100+ worth of booze.” “She should be ashamed.” It was radiating from their smiling faces so much I could smell it. Then I had to have the clerk load up my car because the box was too big and heavy to carry with a baby. It was a mess. I kept expecting C.Y.S to pull up next to my car on the way home and tell me to hand over my child due to irresponsibility. I felt like such a lush. Booze–check.

Lastly, the cake. That was easy. I called, I ordered it, and now I am leaving to pick it up.  Wish me luck.

PS The Bachelorette party is tonight. It is going to be a long day.

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