Friday, March 16, 2018

Prose Poem: Winter


Plastic over the windows, a Superman blanket strung up between the kitchen and the dining room.  Fingers red, pain when you touch anything, impossible to type.
The cats come inside and as time wears on, stir-crazy they go to war.

We play board games.  The school leaves the doors open on the swimming pool and our complaints mean nothing.
Scraping clear the driveway, nose running, face flushed with blood.  The dog disappears in the white expanse, too small to keep her head above water.
Tunnels dug into hillsides, sitting on the furnace, nightgown billowing around me.  The cat knocks the tree over again.  Pine needles fall like rain, and we sleep under mounds of blankets; the wind whips at the windows, but we won’t let it in.

Inside, the winter cannot catch us.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Maggie Gets Antagonistic: Things That Should Be Legal

     Alright, listen up, fucks.  This is an opinion piece through-and-through, no writing stuff, except as far as anything and everything is related to writing.  It feels like the world is in shambles and I just have to talk about some shitty aspects of the law that DON'T have anything to do with our idiot-in-chief, or I am going to EXPLODE.

     ...  I'm sorry I called you a fuck, you're a beautiful person inside and out and I shouldn't have taken my aggression out on you like that.  That's on me, my bad.

     I mean, the heading says "Maggie Gets Antagonistic" for a reason, but it wasn't fair of me to hop out with that one without explaining what that means first.  Basically, I sometimes need to vent about stuff.  Sometimes very aggressively, such that even my friends would think I was mad at them, when in reality I'm just mad about the situation.

     I also think it's really funny when I'm reading an informative article with about as much professionalism as President Cheeto-Man, which is why I like and Chuck Wendig so much.  But I also feel bad when I do things like greet people with "Listen up, fucks," and I wouldn't want anyone to think I was trying to hurt them.  So when I decide I need to discard my professional candy coating and inject venom from my veins into yours, I'm gonna get antagonistic, and label my articles as such.

      Anyway.  It seems pretty ridiculous to me that we still criminalize

1.  Marijuana

     Okay okay okay okay alright alright alright alright alright alright I know way to be cliché, Coates, great job, why don't you write about how blue the sky is and how the grass is, it'd be the same amount of original, blah blah blah.

      "Also you already did this one," you add, and I sigh deeply because yes, I did.  A few weeks ago, in case you didn't catch it, I posted a rebuttal to my cousin's facebook post asking about marijuana.

     Those points still stand:  people have a right to dignity of risk, substances are safer and attract less crime when they're legal and can be taxed, tracked, inspected, and controlled, and legalization allows us to study its effects both positive and negative, to the benefit of science and mankind.

     Also, it's not as deadly or addictive as tobacco, it might help improve memory (when used in moderation), it has numerous medical applications that go well beyond pain control, and it's less dangerous to the public than alcohol consumption.  And if you don't believe me, remember that most people don't get into fist fights when they're high.  Most people don't even have the energy or motivation to do things like drive, I mean, when was the last time you heard about someone getting a DUI for pot?  When was the last time you heard about someone getting killed because they or someone else was high?

     It's just ridiculous that we allow these provably deadly substances to circulate, substances dangerous to the health not only of those that partake but those around them, and we draw the line when it comes to silly greens.

     The Federal Government allows arsenic to be used as a pesticide on tobacco, which then retains the poison in concentrations generally between 90 and 780 parts per billion, but sometimes reaching upwards of 2,000 ppb, with an average of 200-400 ppb in the US, our largest manufacturer putting out product with around 250 ppb, which, just fyi, means that at minimum we allow for arsenic levels 9 times higher than the federal maximum for arsenic contamination in drinking water, which is set at 10 ppb by the EPA.

Me, ranting about this same topic on Facebook

     If you think people deserve the dignity of risk inherent in a society in which alcohol and tobacco are legalized, but don't believe in allowing people the same dignity when it comes to something as innocuous as cannabis, you need to get off your high horse and stay out of the way.

     If you protest marijuana but don't have any problems with tobacco or alcohol, you're a hypocrite.  You don't care about safety or health or the good of society, you just care about enforcing your traditionalist values on people who have no interest in a traditionalist lifestyle, and I would be grateful if you stopped.

2.  Polygamy

     Who the hell is it hurting to let someone marry multiple partners?

     The only reasoning behind the law against bigamy is "God said so," which, first of all, isn't true, there's plenty of polygamy in the Bible, and second of all, is super Judeo-Christain-centric, because there are a bunch of religions--Islam, Pagan religions, *heavy sigh* traditional mormonism--that allow for or even encourage multiple partners.  We're not exactly separating church and state here, are we?

     And legally, what the fuck does a marriage do that can't be shared between three people instead of just two?  Joint filing, ability to visit in the hospital, ability to make important decisions for one another's care, automatic joint custody of any children conceived during the union--all the things that same-sex couples have been talking about for years, poly tribes are still being denied.

     If four people live together as, let's say, man and man and wife and wife, and they have a child, the birther automatically has full custody of the child.  If she's married to one of the others, they then also have parental rights, and one of the fathers can put his name on the birth certificate.  If they're savvy (which many people aren't), they'll have the person signing the birth certificate be a different person than the one she's married to.

     These four people provide a very loving home for the child, and it grows up very happily with two moms and two dads that love it to death.  But one day, three of the parents get into an accident; the remaining parental is married to none of them, and isn't allowed to make the tough decisions, maybe not even allowed to visit--the important decisions all go to the grandparents, who never cared for their children's lifestyle.

     And because the remaining parental isn't legally anyone's next of kin, if the four of them hadn't written up a legal document leaving care of the child to one another, and the remaining parent was never made a legal guardian, care of the child reverts back to the grandparents.

     It might be a little confusing, since the child legally had three families that could claim it, but the mother's family will usually win out.  And let's say the mother's family doesn't care for any of their daughter's decisions.  They can take the child back home with them and cut the remaining parental out of the picture completely, denying visits, hiding information, even calling the police if they feel like it, and the remaining parent likely has no legal recourse.  None that anyone will listen to--legally speaking, they were just a roommate, a live-in babysitter.

     And with there being no legal ties, our remaining member of the quad inherits nothing; they could even end up tossed out of their own home if their name isn't on the lease or the mortgage.

     And most people don't think far enough ahead to realize they need to do any paperwork, or list anyone on the birth certificate, or draw up legal documents--my oldest brother was even too daft to list himself on his son's birth certificate, so whenever his relationship with his girlfriend got rocky, everyone would cling to the sides of the boat and pray no one fell over, because if she took my nephew and ran, the law would absolutely 100% be on her side.  Unless he took a paternity test, of course, and while we're certain my nephew is his son, had the test come up negative he would've been out any chance at ever seeing his boy again, even though he raised him, clothed him, fed him; despite all he sacrificed to make sure he could provide for his family.

     Family is more than blood, and marriage is the way that we tell the government, "This person is my family and needs to be treated as such."  Some people believe in it, some people don't, some people go back and forth, but it can protect your ass when things go wrong, and the thing about life is, you never know what direction it's going to go wrong in.

     Polyamorous people deserve to be able to protect themselves against that just as much as monogamous folk do.

     The only halfway cogent argument I've heard against polygamy is that it's "oppressive to women," which is untrue.  Yeah, yeah, I see where you're coming from, in most countries where polygamy is legal it's only polygyny, and the women are sold into it more than they enter into it, but this isn't Saudi Arabia.  We can sing and dance and take off our shirts in public if we feel like it and no one can stop us!
      Why the fuck would we assume that in a USA where you can marry multiple people, men would suddenly be able to force women into marriage?  Do you think that's what men are already doing, but just to one woman at a time?

     Women aren't property, and legalizing polygamy won't make them property.  If anything, when you have polyamorous lesbian covens popping up all over the place, and marriages where the men outnumber the women, it'll be hard to see these women entering into an equal and consenting union as anything but their own.  Not to mention the gay harems that want nothing to do with any part of poly but andry.

     Damn it, if three people want to be able to share their lives together without worrying about paperwork or future calamities they should be able to go down to city hall like all the monogamuggles!

3.  Pretending to be married



     THIS PILE OF ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT if a cop wants to they could arrest u for calling ur boyfriend ur husband cAN U EVEN BELIEVE I mEaN rEaLlY

     Now listen here, cumslut, if I and my boyfriend and a third prospective mate ever decide to tie the knot and we perform a little backyard ceremony to become wife and husband and spouse in the eyes of our God that is our business and ours alone, and if we introduce ourselves as such to people the government has no right, NO RIGHT, to tell us we're committing a crime, I mean for fUCKS SAKE, was it a crime for me to call my brother's girlfriend my sister-in-law before they were actually married?  Was I violating the law that says you're not allowed to "impersonate a married couple?"

     This is the shit that shut down that Sister Wives show, because they were a polygamous gaggle that lived together and called themselves a married family unit and tHE LAW GOT PISSED AND RAN THEM THE FUCK OUTTA UTAH now u tell me, how the goddamn hell do you run someone outta UTAH for POLYGYNY it's the holy land of the mormons for crying out loud I mean JESUS.

     Look at me.  Look me in the eyes.  I mean it, look me in the eyes and tell me who it's hurting for me to call someone my spouse.  It's not like they're claiming it on their taxes, if somebody wants to call their partner their spouse they shouldn't have to get a peace of paper from the government to do it, that's like saying no one can call me Maggie unless I get my name legally changed from Meghan, it's R I D I C U L O U S and I feel so.  much.  hate.  




     It's not illegal for me to say I'm gonna kill a dude, but it's illegal for me to use a word to refer to someone with whom I've not signed a legal document wELL FUCK YOU AMERICA, FUCK YOU VERY VERY MUCH, this is the kinda shit the government is supposed to protect against, not a problem it's supposed to cause fucking Republicans always trying to peek into my bedroom window, wELL GUESS WHAT


     was it illegal for my parents to call themselves divorced when they were only legally separated

     was it illegal for my parents to call themselves separated before the paperwork went through

     is it against the law for my friend to call a kid his adopted son because he's neither his son nor adopted but just a kid he took under his wing

     is it against the law for me to call my boyfriend's parents my in-laws

     I just.  There's just,  Why.  There is so much Why.  Why is this even, who decided this was a good idea, why would it matter, I mean back in the olden days families had a little ceremony and the couple fucked three times and that was that, married in the eyes of the lord and everyone was happy, and I just


     Okay.  Alright,  Okay okay alright alright alright, let me just.  Breathe a second.


     There's no reason this should be an issue.  There's no reason for this law.  It's a stupid law, and everyone should be able to live their life without fear of suddenly being brought up on charges for something as innocuous as behaving like a married couple.

    Fuck these laws.  Fuck them hard in the ass without lube and don't let them finish, they are stupid and I am tired and I hope they die goodnight have a wonderful day, I love you you're beautiful never change Maggie out

*drops mic*

Monday, March 12, 2018

Flash Fiction: Better Left Unfound

Better Left Unfound

After four days the snow thawed, and Barry finally found Whiskers.
With his head caved in and paws singed to blackened stubs, Barry felt that it might have been better if Whiskers had stayed missing.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Formatting Dialogue

    All right motherfuckers, I wrote pretty much this entire entry once already but blogspot didn't fucking save it, and because I go through a mild depressive episode whenever I lose 1,000+ words of progress on a thing, the way I'm choosing to deal with it is by angrily rewriting what was lost and punching the fuck out of the save button every paragraph or so.


     So basically the impetus for this post was born of me reading fanfiction and, more specifically, me being unable to finish fanfiction because the fucking dialogue isn't fucking formatted fucking properly.


     Okay, I'm gonna try to chill here.  Just.  Give me a second.

     Okay.  Okay okay okay alright alright alright alright alright.  Allkay.  Look:  I get it.  The public school system failed me, too.  I had to learn everything I know about creative writing from copying what I read in books and looking up articles like this one on the internet.  And the things they DID teach me about writing--things like, indent two finger spaces before each paragraph, and use the "hamburger method" of essay writing, and make every paragraph exactly five sentence long--was pretty much entirely bullshit that doesn't get you anywhere after the fifth grade.

     (Even your middle school teachers won't accept an essay written on loose-leaf, wtf are they thinking, really??  I can open any book in the world and the chances that the first paragraph I poke at consists of exactly five sentences is so slim I can't even)

     SO.  BASICALLY.  Let me help you, young writers, because let me tell you, improperly formatted dialogue is a great way to scare off your audience.  Let's start with:

1.  New Speakers

     Every time a new character speaks, slap that enter button before you tickle those quotation marks.  Why, you ask?  Many reasons.  Reasons like avoiding confusion as to who's speaking when, keeping your text away from block form, and creating lots of juicy delicious white space for your beautiful gorgeous readers (like you guys <3 <3 <3)

     (I took a nap and ate some pizza, and because I am like unto a tiny cranky child I feel much more at peace with the world, and with yOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE.  HA!)

     See, when you have a bunch of characters involved in a conversation, and you're smattering in action tags every here and there, it gets hard to follow the train of thought--who's talking when?  To whom?  When does this person stop and the next person start?  This way we can also dispense with some of the dialogue tags that clutter up the walkway, leaving everything more streamlined and aerodynamic.

     Audiodynamic?  Visiodynamic?  Logodynamic?  Bibliodynamic?  Hmmmm.....

     Anyway, gigantic blocks of text also tend to happen when we get multiple speakers in a paragraph, which can cause problems for dyslexic readers, give people headaches, and makes people lose their place far more easily.

     We get enough block text from long descriptive and active paragraphs; when it comes to dialogue, we like to have a break from that, and allow our eyes to cascade smoooothly down the page.

2.  Character Monologues

     When a character goes off on a monologue that lasts more than one paragraph, there are a couple things you can do--literally, a couple.  Two.  Two things.

     You can insert an action tag at the end of the first paragraph or the beginning of the second, or you can press enter, indent, and add another starting quotation mark.

     Now to be clear:  The entire point to reusing opening quotation marks is to indicate that the same character is speaking, so if you cap the first paragraph with ending quotation marks, everyone is going to assume that that character has had their say and that another character has started speaking.  So don't do that (cough cough GINA *glares at friend*).

     Anyway, this is a pretty common mistake that gets made all the time because no one fucking teaches it, so if you haven't figured it out don't get down on yourself.  I only figured it out because I was a voracious reader in my younger days and I learn mostly via visual osmosis.

3.  Dialogue tags

     Dialogue tags, along with action tags, bookend spoken fragments of conversation within your narrative and give attribution to the text.  Specifically, dialogue tags are the ones that say something along the lines of "they said," "they mumbled," "they whined," etc.  They let you know who's talking, and sometimes how they're saying it.

     The tag usually goes at the end of dialogue these days ("I hate the way this runs," he said), but can just as easily go before (he said, "I hate the way this runs.").  That just depends on how you want the line to flow, and is up to personal taste.  You can also chose between "they said" and "said they."  "She said" is traditional, but there's a certain ring to "Said she" that isn't to everyone's tastes, but can really pack a whallop in the right time and place.

     Generally speaking, "said" is the dialogue tag you want to use about ninety percent of the time--it's nothing special, but it gets the job done.  Like water.  Or salt.  Or silica.  But not poisonous like silica.  Anyway, the more you use said, the more meaningful non-said dialogue tags will be.

    Contrary to what public school may or may not have bothered to instill in you, you don't necessarily need to use a dialogue tag--once the flow of a conversation has been established, you can drop it until something happens--like the arrival of a new character or a change in tone--that requires clarification.  You can also use

4.  Action tags

     Action tags, like dialogue tags, let you know who's speaking, but they elect not to add in any of those communication verbs like "asked" or "whispered."


      Henry held a hand over his stomach.  "I think I'm gonna puke."

      Action tags are simple lines of action that follow, precede, or interrupt dialogue.  They help you avoid Talking Head Syndrome, and if you're following the rule about slapping enter for every new speaker, it allows you to tell or remind your readers who's speaking.

     Just try to make it clear which character is the main focus of the action tag if you make mention of more than one:  "Jenny leaned against Martha and shook her head," makes it pretty clear that we're focused on Jenny.  "Jenny and Martha leaned against each other," is extremely vague, and while it makes for a good line of action, it wouldn't be doing its job if it called itself an action tag.

      Unless maybe both characters were speaking in tandem.  Then it'd be fine, as long as that was previously established. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sketches, Comics, and Other Various Drawings

Again, I needed to clear out some space on my Toshiba's harddrive so I have room to continue making things, so I figured I would clear some of that space by dumping some photos on the blog.  That way I can always find them if I need them, but I can get those huge files off my computer.

As such, here are a bunch of drawings I've done on physical paper!

3-Horned Jackelope.

Tri-level diamond-backed griffin

A creepy picture of Jack before he loses his shit #Homestuck

I um.  I don't remember why this is a thing that happened.  Poor Karkat.
Translation:  "Who decided that life was a good idea? Why am I here?"

I decided to draw alien genitals. Troll genitalia specifically. God knows why.

Oh, I found this is a collection of my childhood notebooks.  I was very inventive.

I like color. And unnecessary tails.

A physical manifestation of rage.

A physical manifestation of self-loathing.

I made this dragon for art class.  

Also an art class project!  I'm surprised I didn't get a talking to for this one. I was nine.

I was really impressed with the vibrancy of the colors little me used, all the color combinations. 
It's entirely done in crayon.

Squid thing.

(Maybe he's Dr. Fisher's cousin)

A drawing of a character from a story I started then turned into a musical.

Physical manifestation of doubt.

Physical manifestation of Lust.  I love that I outlined her in orange.



He's very mad can u tell.

idk who wrote my name on this but I can assure you it was not me.

Owlsnake.  I wrote a whole mythology for this guy, about how the species is endangered because the snake head often ends up going for the owl head.

It's a dragon!

Monsters galore!

Sometimes you just can't explain yourself.

Oh! I wrote this in like, Junior year I think?  Never shared it with anyone.  It expresses my extreme displeasure with America's education system.

It was important to me that it ended with something hopeless and then finished off with something saccharine and insincere.

The joke ending was also important to me.
I was not a happy child.

Sketches for a show I was going to make with a friend.

We never got it past this initial stage.

Just couldn't get it off the ground.

Oh hey.  This is from a tv show I was going to write.

I based all the characters off people I know irl.  This one is a really good likeness, I'm proud of it.

This one is based off of me.  You can tell because of the long hair and glasses.

A sketch for Hail To The Noose.

A wriggly flower.

Black Queen vs. White Queen; the ultimate Chess Battle.

This was a sketch that I ended up turning into a painting.

I reeeaaallly like how this turned out.

I made a little alien dude!

This is my sorry bird.  In case I need to apologize.