I’m here, standing before my ending. I’m shooting to use all this month’s NaNoWriMo energy to push through and finish Stars Fall Out.

Since I’ve been going through the draft and tying off loose ends, I thought I’d finally share some short excerpts as I come across them, and as I write them.

This is from a scene in which my character is interrogated for reasons unknown by the Imperial Oneiromancer Master Zanhrori, although she doesn’t realize this at the time–his demeanor doesn’t match his sinister reputation.

“How do you think you did?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I was kind of… baffled by the whole thing.”

“Baffled,” he said, scrawling the word on the paper underneath my name, as though it were a general description of my state of being. “Excellent. Did you know that a baffle is also a type of dessert?”

“No. I did not.”

“There’s a meringue component.” The man sat back in his chair, appearing distant for a moment. As though contemplating dessert, despite the early morning hour.

I looked up some Charles Darwin quotes for a second Judgmental Advice Column post. Darwin said some wise words in his life, but this is what I found the most relatable:

I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.
Charles Darwin

I’m the only person I know with an English degree who doesn’t enjoy Shakespeare. He’s not my bag. (But, I’ve also realized in hindsight that going to school for English isn’t the best choice I’ve made in my life.)

However, Shakespeare created hundreds of words that we still use, and that’s awesome. I remember learning that he coined “ambiguous.” Athough I haven’t been able to confirm that now, Merriam-Webster does say that the word dates back to the 16th century.

“…hold on to this box, lest the pumpkin goblins grab them all.”

Thus reads the warning at the end of the side-of-box copy on Trader Joe’s Pumpkin-O’s.

Of course, I wrote a book called Pumpkin Goblins, so this was hilarious to me. My partner and I discussed whether we thought the pumpkin goblins would actually steal someone’s Pumpkin O’s. I said, no, they wouldn’t. They’re professionals. They won’t mistake a cereal for a real pumpkin. Pumpkin sense goes deeper than eyesight.

He said, yes, they would, but not when they’re on duty.

The Little Engine That Could is female! And so is the red engine who breaks down on her way to bring toys and food to children. I didn’t remember this book well, so I was surprised to find this out when I started reading it to my toddler.

Incidentally, all three engines who refuse to help are self-important dudes. Well, one of them is actually an old, tired dude. His depression-era exhaustion makes me sad.

It makes me wonder if there is an intentional message hidden in the Dude-Engines’ unwillingness to help with the female task of making sure children are taken care of.

The Phantom Gourmet tries Salad Fingers

I started writing a Halloween short story and there’s a spirit creature that I realized is basically a cross between Salad Fingers and the Phantom Gourmet, a local restaurant review TV show that is a staple of those times when you just happen to be in front of a TV in Southern New England and it comes on. Here they are talking about a hamburger joint in New Hampshire, which I have actually been to:

And for a welcome counterpoint, here’s Salad Fingers:

As weird as it was to realize the origins of this particular character, I’m going with it.

Needless to say, I’m playing both videos at the same time for inspiration, but they’re being cancelled out by the 90s alternative being played at this Dunkin Donuts.

The president of the college where I work and the governor of the state were supposed to come through my office today. One of my first thoughts when I heard they would be coming was basically, “I’d better make sure to have my best playlist on.”

BECAUSE THEY ARE IMPORTANT PEOPLE.

And because they would notice that? Sure. Sure, they would.

They turned out not to be the actual visitors, but I still think putting on your best playlist is good etiquette.