Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are Mermaids the New Vampires?

These are not the sirens of myth that lure sailors to their death during long hallucination-inducing voyages, mirages of beauty and sex, offering escape from the endless sickening storms and searing sun. No, mermaids live among us. They are beautiful, and (mostly) benign, content to while away their days on land as placid wives to fisherman or ferry captains - those men who make their livelihoods from the sea. Mermaids choose them so they can stay close to their life-blood, the salt water. These women have skill with their hands when in human form. They can weave, and bake and play music. They live quietly on land until one day they are called to return to the sea - long after they have mated and raised human children.

But sometimes, a mermaid is driven onto land from a desire to seek revenge on the human male. Because a man once did her wrong, perhaps forced her to a watery death by murder, or drove her to it by suicide, now she seeks revenge on all men. So, gentlemen, beware the great beauty, the lure of flashing green eyes and long, thick hair; of a perfect body, strong and tan. Beware of those sweethearts you meet at the shore, those sun-goddesses, those of wind-blown tresses, who hunt the tide pools and stare longingly at the crashing waves, those who surf the inhumanly cold waters of the north pacific or bathe endlessly in the serene summer oceans of the Atlantic. Don't be lured into the sea; don't join her for that naked moonlit swim. Listen to my words of warning: they are out there; beware.

- The theme of a novel in progress: Siren Depths

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vampires in Portland?

Tom Cruise as Lestat de Lioncourt and Brad Pitt as Louis
de Pointe de Lac in Interview With a Vampire
Forget Transylvania, or even Forks, Washington (location of Twilight for all of you uniformed). If I were a vampire, Portland, Oregon would certainly be my city of choice. Like Forks, and probably Transylvania, it rains a lot, there's very little sunshine, lots of clouds and fog, and plenty of green forested areas in which to lurk. As a matter of fact, while I'm here on the 3rd stop of my family-visit sojourn, I'm staying at my brother's house in a suburb just outside of Portland; even here, in this neatly manicured corner of the world, you can find a bit of forest here, a stand of pines there. One minute you're at a mini-mall, the next you're driving under a canopy of ancient firs eerie enough even for Sookie and Bill (of True Blood - come on, people, get with it!)

Oh, but Portland isn't all burb-claves and big box stores - far from it. Get out of the suburbs and into Portland proper and there are hillsides of cottage-y homes and winding streets, so green, so lush with vegetation that I was pretty sure I saw a werewolf the other night as I was leaving my aunt's house. And old Portland, what I think is referred to as the Hawthorne District, is all vintage clothing stores, tattoo parlors, pubs, and old, old houses, shrouded in shrubbery. Such hip-looking people slouch about that area, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Lestat de Lioncourt sipping an espresso in some neighborhood boÎte. Portland is cool. Portland is creepy. Someone oughta write a series about it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Desert is a Scary Place

photo by Bill Josh Young
I'm in Tucson at the moment, it's the Fourth of July, and there's a thunderstorm brewing. Last night a huge one blew in around 9:00 pm. We all ran outside and stood under the eaves to watch. The lighting and thunder crashed all around us and the rain poured down in torrents. You could almost feel the desert soaking it up. And the smell of that desert in the rain is intoxicating - my favorite smell in the world. However, all that rain brings out some nasty little creatures. As I went to do yoga in my mom's living room this morning, I was confronted by a small scorpion. I sprayed it with raid and it flailed about, giving me some major creeps. I went to put the raid away and when I came back, it was gone. Where the heck did the horrible little thing go? Well, I wasn't about to exercise on the rug after that, not knowing when it might skitter over to take its revenge. Finally, after I finished the workout in another room, I decided to fling myself in the pool to cool down. I stripped down to my skivvies and leaped in with abandon. Suddenly, I came face to face with a desert toad that was dog-paddling for its life. Once I recovered from that small freak-out, I retrieved my flip flop, fished the toad out with it, and placed it on the grass. Minutes later, it was gone - ungrateful bastard.

Beautiful and awe inspiring as it is - the desert is full of surprises, some not so nice. I'm keeping my shoes on and my eyes open til this little vacation is over.