[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]
A VOICE IN THE CHIMNEY
Hello All, Melanie here!
I’ve always said that writers are some of the most incredible procrastinators on earth. Doing almost anything can seem easier than the excruciating act of putting words on a page.
However, I’ve always seen myself as a reformed procrastinator.
Those writers procrastinate and put off starting their book or finishing their edits. I only moderately procrastinate.
And then I visited my sister and brother-in-law this weekend. I mused how, the last time I came to visit them, I spent five hours driving around New Jersey looking for a specific spice that I wanted to fry in a curry for them that night.
Even more, I hunted for that spice in 98 degree heat in a car that just lost its air conditioning.
I melted from one store to the other.
In retrospect, (and cooler weather), I marveled at my blind insistence on visiting six different stores in various parts of the state looking for a single spice only to change plans at the very end and make them a pasta dish.
“Man!” I said. “I must have really wanted to make you that curry!”
To which my brother-in-law, with a voice a dry as a martini, said: “Don’t you remember? You had a writing deadline that day. You weren’t looking for curry spice, you were procrastinating.”
Without further ado…
Subject: News From the Writing Isolation Box!!!!
My neighbors are in the midst of a grand conspiracy against me.
Hang on, my book about subliminal messages and conspiracy is in the way of my keyboard. That of course will have NOTHING to do with the rest of anything.
Anyways, I’m sure you’re dying to know how my writing is going!!!
I was 96% certain that I was going to have at least 100 pages for you to read this week seeing that my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, has written 10,000 words in his new novel (which is 40 pages) and he and I are in every way equal although I am a tiny bit better. But I have been extremely busy monitoring my social media profile on BUG’GR…AND this developing situation in my neighborhood so that has taken up all of my attention. Crafting the PERFECT social media post is A FINE ART and I’m here to go VIRAL!!!!!! This means I have to keep a careful eye on how many of the sixteen people who have an account on BUG’GR are liking my mites (that’s what a post is called.)
Of course, the neighbors taking up my attention is in itself a conspiracy to keep me from writing my second novel which is also my first novel because I didn’t complete the first one!!!
In completely unrelated news, I went to Mark and Chastity Graves-Walker-Tidemaker-Sergeants’ Walrus party last weekend. Which was very tricky because I still haven’t gotten those keys back that open the seven locks I installed on my bedroom door that I mailed to you last week and told you to throw away. I need them back, Gladys!!! But don’t need you to send back to me just yet.
Tryxy has been keeping me alive up here in isolation by putting dried toast on a rake and standing out in the front yard so that I can thrust my hand precariously from my window and snatch the toast before it goes tumbling into our dying gladiolas. Then, Tryxy dusts the crumbs off his outfit, blows me a kiss, and heads to work for the morning.
Anyways, to get to the Graves-Walker-Tidemaker-Sergeants’ party, I had to climb out my window and swing down my red white and blue buntings that I put up since I missed Independence Day when I was trapped in my closet.
Then, I went to the Walrus party and that went the way Walrus parties usually go, nothing crazy, and then I came home and noticed a scare crow on my front porch. Then I realized it wasn’t a scare crow but that somebody had stuffed my front door and porch with a ridiculous number of handmade flyers. Of course I completely ignored them because they were obviously trying too hard for my attention, climbed up the buntings and back into my isolation box because nothing can keep me from getting this book written, Gladys!!!!!
Okay Galdys, I’m back. I’m sorry for keeping you so long but Tryxy got home from work and microwaved me some nachos. Unfortunately he couldn’t get any of them to stay on the rake tines so he had to let the cheese get hard again in the crisp autumnal air and then he was finally able to squish the nachos together into a cheesy chip conglomerate mass and toss it up to me. Way more efficient than what happened the last time!!!!!
Though slightly less delicious.
So what was I saying? OH, RIGHT!!! My neighbors are all conspiring against me and it’s taking up all my time. Just wait until I tell you about it, Gladys, you are not going to believe the crazy lengths people will go to in order to stop me from being the NEXT BIG EPIC FANTASY WRITER OF ALL TIME!!!!
However, I’m running out of time to finish this email and get some actual writing done so I suppose this will have to wait until my next missive. Doesn’t that word sound more writerly????? I’m definitely trying to sound more writerly so that people will believe I’m a writer on social media. That and perambulate. EMAIL and WALK are DEAD TO ME!!!
Hang on, Gladys, there’s a noise in my chimney. I think those stupid catbirds are back—oh no, wait, that’s a man’s voice yelling at me. Whew! What a relief. Was worried it was the catbirds!!!!
Gotta go write!!!! And NOTHING and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is going to stop me from getting those 100 pages done!!!!!!
Subject: NOTES ON THE NEIGHBORS
I know I promised you 100 pages but today I have instead had to prioritize focusing on what my neighbors are doing in their grand conspiracy against me. Please keep careful track of everything and tell me what you think they could be up to. I’ve emphasized things I think are IMPORTANT.
10:37 a.m. – Mr. D. has come home from work to install a GIANT SCYTHE on his front lawn. He then menacingly took up a rake and piled AUTUMN LEAVES before SCOOPING them into a GIANT PAPER BAG and putting the BAG in his TRUNK!!!!
Scythe = “DEATH TO WRITER X’S SECOND NOVEL.”
Leaves = Autumn is FALL so Autumn leaves INEVITABLY FALL so “YOUR DEMISE IS IMMINENT AND INEVITABLE”
10:43 a.m. – Man in the chimney coughs. I ask him if he needs a tissue and he says “No worries, love, it’s just a tickle I always have.” He has a cockney accent.
11:06 – 11:24 a.m. – Had to stop watching the neighborhood because someone posted about WRITING an EMAIL on BUG’GR. Possible sign the conspiracy is spreading?????
11:25 a.m. – 11: 28 a.m. – Ate some of my cold toast.
11:29 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. – No real neighborhood activity accept for all the squirrel behavior. Took separate notes on the squirrel behavior that I’ll send to you if you think is important. It’s like 47 pages. It may turn out to be important later, if the giant conspiracy turns out to include the squirrels, GLadys!!!!
1:46 p.m – Roving band of homeschoolers pass through the NIEGHBORHOOD and EGG Mr. D’s GARAGE
No possible message. I would have done the exact same thing if I weren’t locked in my isolation box.
2:29 p.m. – Ms. B___ returns in her little cat car. Pulls out oversized PLASTIC BAGS from TJMAXX. They are full of GIANT SPIDERS. Starts ARRANGING them on her LAWN. THROWS nylon spider webbing all AROUND them.
plastic bags = “BODY BAG”
TJMAXX = Max = Ultimate “You are the ULTIMATE writer, Writer X”
GIANT SPIDERS = STRATEGY. This is them saying they have a STRATEGY. PROVES A CONSPIRACY> GATLAT
arrangement = “We have an arrangement”
around = “you are SURROUNDED”
2:43 p.m. – Man in the chimney makes a groan of pain. I ask him if he’s alright. He says he would be except that he’s stuck in a chimney. I inform him that I’m stuck in an isolation box.
2:44 – 4:30 p.m. – Nothing happens except for SQUIRREL ACTIVITY. Squirrel activity is becoming more suspect. Adding details to the separate SQUIRREL diary.
4:31 p.m. – Johnny Chicken comes back from Aubuchon hardware with CHICKEN FEED. LASHES PLASTIC CORNSTALKS to his porch pillars. Places three pumpkins of varying sizes on his FRONT STEPS.
Chicken feed = Some how this all centers on the chicken feed gladys!!!!
LASHES PLASTIC CORNSTALKS = I just put this in here because I think it would be a good band name for a side project Tryxy and #bestkitten are working on.
Front Steps = “WATCH YOUR STEP WRITER X!!!!!!!”
4:39 p.m. – Gotta go, Gladys!!! Tryxy’s home from work and I’ve used up a TON of ENERGY surveilling the neighborhood to stop them from STOPPING ME from WRITING!!!!! Besides, I need to go read some more of my book on subliminal messaging and conspiracies and offer the man in the chimney some tylenol.