brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Mirrored from Words, words, words, art..

Doyle leaned against the counter and wiped his forehead on his arm, which didn’t help because his forehead was wet with sweat and his arm was wet with sweat, so nothing got absorbed. It just got moved around. Redistributed. Kory tossed him a paper towel and he dabbed at himself while Alma busied herself with drinking Gatorade.

“So I guess we’re done for now. Everything’s moved in, the bed’s set up, boxes are all in their right rooms… wanna get a pizza?”

“Pizza gives me heartburn,” Kory put in.

“What? No. What are you, an old man?”

Kory laughed, shaking his head. “It’s the tomato sauce, man! I guess I could get a white pizza or something…” he leaned over and opened the fridge, taking out a coke. He held it against the back of his neck for a moment before popping it open and taking a drink, then held it against his forehead. “We could go to Duck Burger.”

“Ah, no!” Doyle laughed, shaking his head.

“Duck Burger?” Alma looked up, curious. “What’s that?”

Doyle held up a hand.

“It’s just a burger place, nothing special.”

“But why’s it called Duck Burger? Is that just like… a family name or nickname? Do they use duck fat for the fries or something?”

Kory started laughing so hard he almost dropped his soda.

“No… no! It’s just… it’s just burgers and fries. Just a burger place. It’s not even really called Duck Burger, that’s just like a joke name Kory calls it. It’s really called McNally’s on account of it’s owned by a dude named Jim McNally.”

“Well, are they like… shitty burgers?”

“Nah, well, not shitty. They’re ok.”

“I could really go for a burger, actually.”

Kory started laughing again.

“What? What’s so funny, Kor?”

“Don’t even ask him. He’s twelve. Y’hear that, Kory? You’re immature!”

Kory wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.

“Whew. Well. Let’s clean up and go. They keep the air on real low, it’s nice there when it’s hot.”

The three of them cleaned up, and went to Duck Burger. As Kory said, the air was real low. The cool air felt good after a long day of lugging furniture and boxes and cleaning. The burgers were good, the fries a little mushy, the cole slaw fantastic. They lingered a bit over cake and coffee, tired to the bone, overly full, not ready to move yet. And then they got up, paid, and parted ways. Kory went home and Doyle and Alma headed back to their new place. They watched a little tv while unpacking a few boxes, and then turned in to bed. As they lay there, cuddled up between clean sheets, getting used to the new space and its shadows, Alma felt a pressure in her lower abdomen.

And then she heard it.

Quaaaaaack.

Quaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

“Scuse,” said Doyle.

And then she smelled it.

“JESUS GOD,” she said, clapping a hand over her nose, and Doyle started laughing and then she started laughing and then it was her turn to fart, long and sustained.

Quaaaaaaaaaaack.

“Oh Goddddd I get it now. You guys are so nasty!”

“Hey, it could be worse,” he said. “We could call it–”

“Don’t say Fart Burger. Don’t. Do not.”

He started laughing again, and she did too, comfortable together.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

When Niko and I went and enrolled him in pre-k, the teachers asked a few questions about his skills and if we read to him at home etc. They mentioned that it would be helpful if we could work on him writing his name. I think I’ve mentioned before that we have been working on teaching him to write, and I figured I’d tell you some of the stuff that worked for us.

Pencil Holding

I thought about getting some of those triangular finger positioners that you can slide onto pencils, but decided to skip it. Like a lot of really little kids, Niko has a hard time physically holding a writing utensil. One of the things that helps him hold his fingers the correct way is to put a little something in the palm of his hand for his smaller fingers to curl around. We initially used a bit of wadded up tissue, which he objected to. I picked up a little baggie of pom poms from the Target dollar bin and he likes those a lot better. We don’t have to remind him as often to hold his writing utensil the correct way, it’s becoming a habit with him.

Making Lines

There’s a few things we’re doing to teach him how to make straight, slanted, and curved lines (IE, letter components). One of the earliest things I did was draw dots on a piece of paper and have him draw a line from dot to dot. It was a fun thing that we did together, and we’d take turns making the lines. You could also use stickers or something for the “dots.” This ties in to later activities like connect-the-dots and draw-a-line-to-match games.

There are worksheets you can buy from stores or print from the internet that have dotted lines to trace, making up straight, diagonal, curved, etc lines.

brigid: close up of keys from a manual typewriter (write)
Are any of you familiar with the Short Story Challenge? It sounds utterly fascinating, but I don't have $39 to throw around. Is anybody interested in doing a local volunteer/free version of this? No prizes except a sense of pride in a job well done.
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

I’m tired but can’t get to sleep.

I hate having insomnia.

I did, however, seize this chance to write a new Secret Chicago piece, so check it out.

I’m also working on an essay for a contest. It’s 1500 words, completing the thought “I never thought I’d…”

My first thought was “I never thought I’d utter the words “Don’t eat that, it’s no longer food!” ” and then talk about being a parent of a toddler. Then I thought that might be too trite and not inspiring enough, so I’m going to write about how I never thought I’d enjoy math but I had a (female) teacher who didn’t assume I couldn’t do math because I have a vagina, and who encouraged me to tutor other students in Geometry, and now I’m an adult and am tutoring other adult women in basic math so they can get their GEDs, go to college, improve their lives, etc and for the first time in their lives they feel that they CAN do math, they CAN understand it, they CAN use it… that they are smart and can get math things done even though they are lady-types and lady-types suck at math. Math is beautiful and elegant and I wish teachers had SHOWED ME that as a kid.

I might write the “no longer food” essay anyway and post it online someplace.

brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

Let’s say that you are reading a piece of fiction that is well written and enjoyable. It’s got what you like in it: good characters, good world building, action, romance, happy little elves, sparkling vampires, hard bitten cynics with hearts of gold, whatever.

Let’s say that there’s a character who is one gender, but presents as another. FOR INSTANCE: you have a biological female who dresses in male clothing, uses a male or gender neutral name or nick name, and doesn’t correct people who use male pronouns.

Do you assume this character is transgendered?

If you find, via the story, that the character presents this way for social reasons rather than identity reasons, do you feel let down? Like, the character doesn’t really identify as male, but gets less crap from people/is taken more seriously when wearing pants and short hair, but has no problem having a vagina/ovaries/menstruating/etc?

If a character IS transgendered and presents/lives/identifies as female, but is a sex worker, is that offensive because it’s a stereotype? What if the character is fully accepted by the group she lives/works with, and her clients? What if the character is a minor character who is well fleshed out and realized but ultimately is a support character only (”magical transperson”)?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to email me (brigidkeely at gmail .com) if you don’t want to post publicly.

  • Share/Bookmark

FICTION

Wednesday, 9 June 2010 09:51
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

I’m a little peeved because I’ve had a story kicking around in my head for awhile now about 3 young women who all find out about their supernatural abilities. One of them is the daughter of Manannan mac Lir. And now I’ve seen the first (I’m assuming there’ll be more) Percy Jackson movie and I’m worried that 1) that will inform my narrative and 2) that people will assume that informed my narrative. I kind of want to read the books, but now I’m fretting about influences and… yeah. Whatever. (One of the other young women is a werewolf, although she’s always known that, and the other is a Phoenix-like supernatural creature.)

WHATEVER I WILL START WRITING IT ANY WAY.

  • Share/Bookmark

~blog silence~

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 11:39
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

I’ve been working on some fiction stuff and also drawing again, PLUS I have a child who’s discovering the joys of bipedal locomotion, so I haven’t been posting much of anything lately. I also haven’t been reading blogs.

Is anyone familiar with small press or independent publishers in Chicago who focus on fiction and short fiction? The much vaunted Twilight Tales is on hiatus.

  • Share/Bookmark
Tags:
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

The Cat Sìth (Scottish Gaelic: [k?aht? ??i?]) or Cat Sídhe (Irish: [kat?? ??i?]) is a fairy creature from Scottish mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth was not a fairy, but a transformed witch.

The myths surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish Folklore, but a few myths occur in Irish folklore as well.

From Wikipedia.

The Cat Sidhe, in Faerie, has two forms: a stocky, powerful, bipedal fur-covered form with large teeth, claws, and tail; and a large stocky mountain cat type form. Cat Sidhe are skilled trackers, hunters, and guards who live in the Winter Court. Like most Fey in the Winter Court, they are more reserved than the Summer Court. Unlike most Fey, the Cat Sidhe are not immortal. They have long life spans, but they still age and die. Further, Ice Trolls (which do not live in Faerie) prize their pelts and hunt and kill them when they can.

When Cat Sidhe cross Iron Side, they are consigned to either a fully human looking form (bipedal, no fur, no fangs, no claws, no tail) or fully cat. They tend to prefer the cat form, as the human form leaves them feeling naked and defenseless. The longer they spend Iron Side, the more likely they are to be stuck in that form. As a human shaped Cat Sidhe cannot cross back into Faerie, this poses a problem.

Cat Sidhe do not tend to take part in political intrigue. Although intelligent, they are not devious or overly secretive (any more than any other feline influenced race).

Cat Sidhe, with their limited life span, do experience pregnancy– which is rare among Faerie. Females have 1-3 litters in their life time, of 3-7 kits. Generally, more males than females are born and survive. Cat Sidhe are able to interbreed with other fertile Fey creatures and humans, although it’s unlikely. Their offspring generally take after the non Cat Sidhe parent, although this is not always true, and are usually sterile.

  • Share/Bookmark

036 Black Cat

Thursday, 17 December 2009 14:25
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

There’s a small elementary school not far from Balmoral Race Track, in the distant South Suburbs of Chicago, not far from Indiana. Near that school was an abandoned church, which was torn down in the late 1990s after a series of disturbing events.

During the late 1980s and very early 1990s, locals were very disturbed to find cats nailed to the door of the church on what seemed to be random dates. Concerned parents set themselves up in deer blinds to try and catch the perpetrator or perpetrators, however no one was ever caught in the act. Further, nobody in the vicinity ever reported their pets going missing, leading some to deduce that the perpetrators were either using barn cats or feral cats (tricky animals to catch), or else importing cats from miles away.

Parents and teachers admonished local children about witchcraft and satanism, warned them to stay away from grave yards and strangers, and chalked the proceedings up as an unsolved mystery.

One bright autumn morning in 1991, two teens walking through the woods found a wallet. Opening it, they found no ID or credit cards, but they did find money and condom still in its wrapper. One of the pair took out the money and then pocketed the wallet, resolving to turn it in to the cops after their walk– a walk that was interrupted by them tripping over what turned out to be the nude, half-eaten corpse of a young man. Most of his face was gone, as were his hands, making indentifcation difficult. The forensic examiner determined that the majority of bite marks on him were feline in nature, but was unable to determine cause of death. No more cats were found nailed to the church door, and it stood abandoned until it began listing to one side, under the effects of winter and neglect.

It took a while to resolve ownership of the building, but it was condemned and torn down. The small cemetery attached to it remains, and continues to be a local hang out for teens escaping parental supervision.

  • Share/Bookmark

035 Organ

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 10:11
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

The stretch of houses on St. Louis between Lawrence and the River is primarily brick two and three flats. One of these, a dark red brick two flat with the front porch converted to an enclosed sun room, and blown roses leaning limply against the iron fence, is frequently host to odd music. Passers by notice this music at random hours of the day and early evening, rarely at night. It sounds like a polka played one and a half times normal speed, on an organ. Nobody in the neighborhood plays the organ, and although pedestrians and neighbors pinpoint the music’s location consistently as being this particular house, those within the house claim never to hear it while indoors.

  • Share/Bookmark
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

I’m cutting back Secret Chicago updates to twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I just couldn’t maintain an every day schedule… the ideas clogged up in my brain arteries. The habit of writing at least 100 words every day was a good one, though, and one that I need to continue.

Does anyone have suggestions for short story publications, especially horror, that I can submit actual short stories to? I’ve been doing research on my own, but do you have a favorite magazine or webzine that you read or submit to? If so, please comment with links/info.

  • Share/Bookmark
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

In 1988, a Russian vessel mistakenly emptied its bilge into Lake St. Claire. The living contents of that bilge water migrated through the great lakes, some of it ending up in Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

Every few summers since then, residents of Chicago notice that the water, which comes from the Lake, tastes odd. Some describe it as “greenish” tasting, or “almost grassy.” The City issues bulletins and news casters make announcements. The water is safe to drink, the water is perfectly fine. There is simply an overgrowth of zebra mussels, which affects the water’s taste but nothing more.

While zebra mussels are an invasive species that have fundamentally changed the nature of the lake, and while they do have life cycles that rise and fall, it is not the zebra mussels that change the taste of the water.

  • Share/Bookmark

033 CTA

Thursday, 3 December 2009 17:03
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

It is somewhat surprising, perhaps, that despite the large number of deaths due to accident, murder, and suicide, that the CTA trains are not thickly haunted. Some theorize that the electrified third rail keeps spirits at bay, the live electricity having the same effect running water is said to have on supernatural entities.

Buses, however, are a different matter.

Henry Collins had the night route for the 92 Foster bus. It was a nice night, clear and calm, and ridership was low. He was heading westbound when he pulled over for someone waiting at Pulaski. The passenger boarded the bus, a girl “about 11 or 12 years old,” wearing a red pea coat, dark grey pleated skirt and knee socks, black shoes, and no hat. She laughed and dashed down the aisle, ignoring his “fare, miss.” and taking a seat at the back of the bus. Mr. Collins, a large man, stood up and went down the aisle after her. She startled visibly as he approached her, and to his utter amazement, vanished.

Although he kept his eyes open, Mr. Collins never saw his ghostly rider again on the Foster route.

  • Share/Bookmark

032 Knock

Wednesday, 2 December 2009 14:31
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

The unseen preys most heavily on those who are alone: those who are alone for the night, and those who spend their lives alone. Prey animals are most vulnerable when separated from the rest of the herd, after all.

When alone, one might barely hear a soft knock at the door. The sound is so faint that one will pause and listen again. It is odd, how so faint a sound can carry through whatever else one is doing. The knock will come again, weak, slightly louder. There may be a compulsion to check the door, to check the lock, to check the chain. There may be a compulsion to open the door and see what brushes against it.

Do not open the door.

  • Share/Bookmark
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

It is not common, on dark lonely nights, to see the family dog rise suddenly and advance towards an otherwise innocuous spot, hackles raised and growling. Perhaps it is a closet door, a closed door on an empty bedroom, a spot on the wall, the dining room. It is of the utmost importance to pay attention to these occurrences, and to act. Invite a priest into the home to cleanse and bless it. Keep the home well lit. Do not stay there alone, but invite loved ones to spend time with you.

Conversely, a cat acting the same way can safely be ignored.

  • Share/Bookmark

030 Laurel

Monday, 30 November 2009 16:39
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

In late November of 1941, Myrna Mitchell finished feeding her 8 month old son, Laurel, breakfast. She left him in his high chair with an arrowroot teething biscuit and a spoon “to keep him occupied” while she went into the kitchen to wash up from breakfast. Halfway through her last load, she heard a small sound. She turned the water off, and heard Larry laughing and jabbering to himself. She went back to her dish washing, wiped down the counters, and swept the floor.

When she returned to the dining room, she found a gnawed-on, still damp teething biscuit on the floor next to the high chair. His bib had been removed and placed on the seat of the high chair. The child was gone.

Myrna called the police, who found all the windows closed and the front and back doors both locked. No one in the neighborhood had seen any strangers in the area at the time of the abduction. No ransom note was forthcoming.

One sensationalist newspaper reported that a strange foot print was found beneath one of the dining room windows, and that it was shaped like a goat hoof. It’s true that a foot print was found, and casts were made of it. The police report denotes it as a shoe print, although the cast has been lost.

In December of 1941, one month after Larry’s disappearance, Myrna thought she heard a child’s voice over the speaking tube leading up from the lobby of the two flat she and her husband lived in. She ran downstairs, finding no child. The spoon Larry had been playing with was neatly laid on the bottom step, however; shining gently. Snow had fallen a few hours previously and not yet been cleared away. There were no foot prints.

In January of 1942, again on the anniversary of the child’s disappearance, Myrna discovered the shoes and romper he had been wearing stuffed into the mailbox.

In February, on that fateful date, Myrna discovered a small white envelope slipped in the morning newspaper. It contained a lock of Larry’s hair.

In March, near what would have been his first birthday, Myrna received a package in the mail; it was wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, and had no return address. Herbert Mitchell, her husband, reports that she went very pale upon receiving it and rushed out of the house. She was later found dead in an alley. The package was never recovered; neither was Larry’s body.

  • Share/Bookmark

029 Father

Monday, 30 November 2009 16:38
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

One of the most well known ghosts in Chicago, or the world, the apparition known as “Resurrection Mary” has frequently been seen in dance halls and along road sides. People, primarily men, have reported dancing with her, speaking with her, and giving her a lift “home,” although she invariably vanishes from the car before any destination has been reached. “Mary,” who most likely died, young, in a car crash, seems desperate to reach “home,” which more and more seems to be the cometary she is buried in.

Less well known is an apparition that seems to be an adult male. Descriptions of him and “Mary” share common features: hair color, nose shape, a curl to the lip. He is seen on nights when “Mary” is active, pacing along the iron fence of Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue, or standing near the main gates. He acts much like a father, waiting up for his child who has missed curfew; or a pimp waiting for one of his prodigal hookers to return with his money.

  • Share/Bookmark
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

There is a ring that floats from thrift store to resale shop to antique store, made of iron, with an amethyst intaglio about the size of a quarter. The intaglio, or cameo, is not a crisp carving. The edges are soft, blurred. However, it seems to depict a woman from the bust up. She has a complicated hair style and her hand, visible near her chest, holds a bundle of something… reeds, perhaps, or arrows.

One who obtains this ring, by purchase, trade, or theft, may wash it in a mixture of almond oil and rose water on the 1st or the 8th of the month. Applying this mixture of almond oil and rose water to the eyes will result in prophetic dreams.

The ring will soon slip away from its owner, to find someone else.

It is rumored that should the intaglio be removed from the iron setting, it will become much stronger, and possible to take permanent possession of it.

  • Share/Bookmark

027 Bakery

Monday, 30 November 2009 16:37
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

There is a bakery in Albany Park, nestled between a linen store and a children’s clothing store. It has a closed sign hanging in the door, but the lights are on. If you try the door, you’ll find it unlocked and will be able to enter.

The baked goods are reason enough to visit this particular bakery: the eclairs and cream puffs are excellent, as are the red bean buns and slices of tres leches cake. The real draw, however, is “the special.” It is not advertised in any way, and you must wait at the counter for someone to come out from the back room. After asking for it, they will retreat to the back and stay there for five or ten minutes. When they come out again, they will hand you a small white box tied with string and name a price. Do not open the box in the bakery.

The box contains a tart, slightly smaller than the palm of your hand. The crust is buttery and contains ground nuts. The filling seems to be chopped red seeded grapes in a thick, overly sweet sauce. Eat the entire tart. You may need a glass of water to rinse the sweetness out of your mouth.

After eating the tart, any chronic illness will be alleviated or healed. However, once the tart has been eaten, you will find yourself filled with the longing for a child. You will find that you have been rendered entirely sterile, however, and unable to conceive or cause conception.

  • Share/Bookmark

Son Of God

Thursday, 26 November 2009 22:24
brigid: B&W photo of Chicago skyscrapers against a broody sky (secret_chicago)

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

There is a man with shoulder-length tangled hair who dresses in a white robe and a red sash, bearing a large wooden cross over his shoulder, who rides the CTA. He is most active during the morning commute, transferring at various stations down town, being visible. Most people ignore him, or surreptitiously take photographs to post online.

He believes he is Jesus, and preaches compassion and mercy.

Coincidentally, he is a direct descendant of Jesus’ youngest son, born to Jesus and his wife.

He does not know this.

It does not make him any less insane.

It does not make his message any less vital.

  • Share/Bookmark