This is a blog tour that’s meant to get you past that humpday enervation. In part, it’s supposed to be LOUD. I don’t understand the cat meme thing so my medicine has partially been 1978ish  recordings and videos of Blondie.

TURN DOWN FOR WHAT is the brainchild of two contemporary writers that totally outclass me—so much so, it feels like a mistake I got invited to the party.

Those two writers are Emma Bolden* and Chantel Acevedo. They are killin’ it. Read their books! They’re the real deal and, again, I feel lucky to be invited.

Here are the original questions. Each writer tagged picks two to answer.

1) We know getting your work out is all about hard work, perseverance, & talent, but there’s always a dash of luck involved. So, name the luckiest publishing-related thing that has ever happened to you.
2) Your book has been optioned by Oprah. Who’s the star?
3) If your hometown threw a parade to celebrate your book, what kind of parade would it be?
4) Writing is sometimes a miserable experience. How do you drown your sorrows?
5) If you could be a box of cereal, what kind of cereal would you be and why?
6) Team Dickinson or Team Whitman?
7)  Arthur Quilling-Couch said that in writing, one often has to ruthlessly cut what one loves most — in other words, “Murder your darlings.”  What was your hardest darling to murder?
8) What’s the weirdest thing someone has said when you told them you are a writer?
9) If you could rewrite/adapt/rework any story by anybody, what would it be and what would you do with it?
10) Agatha Christie, as the story goes, created many of her stories while eating apples  in the bathtub.  How do you spark the story-or-poem-making part of your brain?

Here are my answers:

6) Team Dickinson or Team Whitman?

A New England night. A hillside overlooking a cemetery. Low fog and a full moon. A woman, shimmering in a white dress, walks slowly to the top of the hill. She carries a basket of gingerbread arranged around a skull.

A man seems to incorporate from the woods surrounding the cemetery. He swaggers up the hill and rakishly stands with hand on hip, a hat askew on his head. He grabs his hat and sends it sailing into the graveyard. It lands on the tip of a concrete angel’s wing. He rips his shirt open, baring his chest to the night, the moon, the glowing woman on the hill. He rips a tuft of grayish hair from his chest and sounds a barbaric yawp over the hillside.

The top of her head comes off, but being immortal she stands, skull regenerating. She vomits a torrent of black flies. They devour the man’s flesh. He sings as his body dissolves into the flies and the earth.

She walks down into the graveyard and takes the skull out of her basket and places it on a grave marked “Emerson.” She walks back up the hill.

She walks toward the remains of the man from the woods. What’s left of him crunches under her boot-soles and she places his skull in her basket.

She walks down the hill into the fog.

9) If you could rewrite/adapt/rework any story by anybody, what would it be and what would you do with it?

“The Most Dangerous Game.” I think.

I’m obsessed with a variation of chase/stalker films that include monsters. Predator, Jaws, Duel, Alien, The Terminator, The Thing, etc. Part of it is the mystery, whether it’s the shark in Jaws (the thing from the deep) or the alien in The Thing (the enigma of identity). This mystery always points back at the inscrutable and monstrous within us all, but I like the effect much more than the product of similar genres like slasher films.

I have the kernel of an idea set in 19th Century America, maybe even as a reversal of Moby Dick in which the white whale, the open cipher of fear, is pursuing a mix of Americans, including a runaway Civil War soldier. It would be set in the forest, so it would not feature a literal whale. Maybe one character sees a wendigo and maybe not.


I’ve tagged writer and writing coach Amanda Page. One of her recent projects documented a demolished Ohio building a day for a month. As someone who doesn’t generally think about place, I found the project had profound effects that haven’t worn off months later.


*An Internet cat fanatic like no other. Actually, she’s the houseguest of two famous cats herself–Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas! (Now you wish you would have thought of that!) Last year for Halloween my oldest daughter was the feline Gertrude, rage and all.


  1. Oh my God. This is amazing. I want to take that Dickinson and Whitman paragraph and put it on a poster and then put that poster EVERYWHERE. And please please please let this re-make happen. If you let this re-make happen, I will also re-make Our Town in the 1980’s. The mothers will both be hyped up on diet pills and on treadmills the entire play.

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