[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.]
PIRATES!!! Pt. 2
Hello, All. Melanie here!
In case you missed last week, Writer X and Tod Boadkins decided to give the New Hampshire Writer’s Retreat another whirl. The retreat takes place in January. On a boat. That travels up and down the New England coast line for a week.
Or, as in the case of last year’s retreat, two weeks. But a malignant undersea Lovecraftian society were to blame for the extension.
I didn’t know they did winter cruises in New England. I’m sure it’s a lovely, scenic time to be sitting on a boat trying to write.
Here’s a link to last week’s fit for your convenience.
Without further ado…
Subject: Still No Doom in Sight!!!!!
By now you should be set up to camp for the week outside Mr. Morgan’s Food Emporium and Things Nicely Priced. Maybe you think that I’m being too dramatic about asking you to camp out a week in advance for Free Samples Week, but you can’t be too careful.
Cradensburg residents take savings seriously!!!! They will try to cut you in line!!!!
I decided to give you a run down of a few additional things you’ll need. These will see you through the rest of the week in terms of personal defense!!!
Bob and Barbara Elfwitz throw the best tailgate parties and are your singlemost top threat!!! How do you think they’re so successful at such splendid tailgates, Gladys????
EVERY YEAR THEY CORNER THE COUPONS FOR SWEDISH MEATBALLS at Free Samples Week!!!! Every winter, Bob cashes in those coupons, clears out Mr. Morgan’s stock, and sculpts a tower of delectable jam-glazed meats in the shape of Tom Brady.
NOT THIS YEAR!!!!!
Now, Bob is pretty much a pacifist, but he’ll still try to con you out of your spot by chucking a molotov cocktail through your car window.
Once you run to put out the flames of your smoldering car, he will scoot into first place and then they win!!!!! Whatever you do, LET YOUR CAR INCINERATE INTO A CHARRED WRECKAGE!!!! Show them what you’re made of, Gladys!!!!
But once you stare down Bob, you’ll have Barbara to face. Barbara is a much more serious foe. Do not underestimate her.
When you look into her warm brown eyes, you are staring into the eyes of a woman who has twelve continual years of excellent tailgate parties, each one outdoing the last.
Oh yes, Bob serves the swedish meatballs, Gladys, but BARBARA serves the Jalapeno poppers, the chicken nachos, the lemon-dill-beer dip, the macaroni salad, the hot mexican corn, the coca cola chicken wings, the buffalo chicken fingers, a seven-layer dip, and the ham and cheese sliders with the little slices of pickle pinned to the tops with a festive toothpick.
And she won’t accept a lick o’help from ANYONE, lest the GLORY BE SHARED!!!!! They throw the only tailgate party I know of that strictly forbids anyone from bringing a dish to pass!!!!
Gladys, I don’t have any other way of preparing you for this, but Barbara will use her very teeth to get past you to the coupons. She will bite off your ear if she has to. Have you noticed that Josh Nichols-Buttercop has stopped going out of the house without a beanie covering his ears???? He was in front of the Elfwitzs in the Free Samples Week of ’14. Those were dark times, Gladys.
Don’t you worry, though!!!! I have outsmarted her before!!!!! The sure-fire way to beat the Elfwitz’s to the Swedish meatballs is to
sent from my iPhone
Subject: Re: Still No Doom in Sight!!!!!
I’m writing you from the Grand Marsh Hotel in Innsmouth, Massachusetts and our power keeps going out.
Anyhoo, I need to get you caught up on our retreat notes, so be sure to do EVERYTHING I SAID PRECISELY the way I SAID IT and I’m sure you’ll be just fine with the Elfwitz’s.
As I was saying, we have one day under our belt on our Writer’s retreat and there is still no doom in sight. There is an electrical outage, a strange wall of black storm clouds that have rolled into the harbor and enveloped the yacht, and some pirates on the horizon, but NO DOOM.
Absolutely nothing is going to make this retreat run longer than a week and put me at risk of missing those free samples!!!!
Sorry for keeping you waiting Gladys, I’m back. I had to throw myself beneath a hissing fiddle leaf fig because the Event Coordinator is out on the prowl looking for a thief and he’s wearing his shouty face. Someone mysteriously stole one of the Memoirists formal evening gowns last night and I’m still wearing it because I love the sequins and forgot to pack my pajamas.
The Event Coordinator has been in a rotten mood. He chewed out my boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins for the lecture he did on publishing paths yesterday and says he expects “a lot more from him.” I’ll be ready to take notes when Tod Boadkins delivers that “lot more”, we both can’t wait to see what that will be!!!!
Sending you my notes for the BLOG next!!!!
Day Two on The Writing Boat
One hour delay on launch of the boat. A Memoirist had gone missing but someone found him on the roof of the Grand Marsh Hotel sharpening the talons of an ancient aquatic creature into spear heads. He says his name isn’t John anymore, that we now have to call him The Vessel and pour him glasses of cow’s blood, but this is fine because no one liked John and The Vessel is much more tolerable.
Skipped private writing session for the morning thanks to The Vessel.
The Hoity Toities hosted a panel on finding an agent. The biggest takeaway was that you should immediately inject your agent with an iridium tracking device to prevent your agent from getting lost in the first place. The Rest of Us-es took careful notes. The Selfies said they never have this problem.
Lunch was cancelled due to the captain sailing the yacht at 28 knots to outpace the brigantine and fleet of sloops that are coincidentally going in the same direction we are, no matter how many evasive maneuvers we take.
Fortunately, I brought forty pounds of emergency chocolate so I made do with a few nibbles of that. Imagine how hungry I would be if I had packed clothes instead of chocolate, Gladys!!!! Good thing I think ahead!!!!
I’m sure it’s fine.
Memoirist keeps eyeing me asking me where I got my jeans from. I said “down south.” By south I mean her suitcase in the hold.
Tod Boadkins is just glad he didn’t have to do another lecture on the path to publishing. I think he’s running out of different kinds of pavements to talk about.
Tells me not to write that. Says yesterday’s lecture was all part of a bigger plan. Sticks his nose in a corner and stares into the shadows while swaying catatonically.
Says he’s not catatonic.
Another Memoirist created a kerfuffle when her black star agate necklace seemed to go missing but mysteriously returned to her neck just as the strange mist overtook our ship.
The Vessel says he is the chosen one and will let in the Ancient Jackal through the Eye that Devours the Worlds.
Way nicer than John.
Day Three on The Writing Boat
Dropped anchor for the night on the island that appeared in the middle of that mist. Took shelter in a desolate stone village that has every modern amenity but looks as though it was abandoned with cook pots still on stove and shovels stabbed into snow piles.
No footprints anywhere to indicate where the inhabitants may have gone.
Everyone’s surprised that all of the Memoirists are alive and cordial this far into the trip!
The sea is free of mist so its clear sailing back to Boston. Were supposed to stay there last night but there was only that island where Boston should have been so the captain says he’s just gonna loop around the island and Boston should reappear, no problem, so long as no one crosses their fingers.
Tod Boadkins has his fingers crossed.
Tells me not to write that he’s crossing his fingers.
Tells me to erase that.
Says “Why do you keep writing down everything I tell you in confidence?”
Facepalms himself and says nevermind.
Hoity Toities host a morning panel on Getting An Agent. Agree that they probably should have started with this one. Give us a recipe for an arcane, agent-summoning spice.
At lunch, the Rest-of-Us-es make a commotion and say that maybe we should call for help. The captian says “why?” The Rest of Us-es point at the pirate ships with unfurled black flags that have encircled our boat. The flags have books with crossbones on them.
Tod Boadkins suddenly becomes light-hearted and happy, like he senses he won’t have to do another lecture.
Starts to open his mouth to tell me something, then shuts it.
Day Four on
The Writing Boat The Dark Ship of Vanity
Were boarded by pirates yesterday so spent the rest of the night on the commandeered ship swabbing the decks and setting up chairs for the presentation.
Pirates have hoisted their black flag with book and crossbones on our yacht. They have asked how many of us are completely satisfied with our book sales.
The former captain raises his hand.
He is pushed overboard.
They have informed us no one needs to die, but that everything will go well if everyone is published and headed for the bestsellers list by the end of the presentation. But if we aren’t, they’ll make us walk the plank. Everyone agrees this seems reasonable.
Pirates inform us that they help writers dreams come true. For a small fee of only a quarter of your life’s savings, they will partner with every writer here and publish their latest manuscript and guarantee over 100,000 book sales in a small, nonexistent Eastern European country.
Selfies push back on the pirates. Say there should be more markets. Pirates explain that they have an additional publishing package that they offer of 50,000 additional book sales in a small, nonexistent West African country.
Selfies push back on this too and ask if the pirates have any packages in the States. Pirates explain that they include that in the standard package. They send the book out to all fifty non-existent States.
Hoity Toities say something smells fishy about this.
Pirates say that’s just the fish tacos. Tell us that if we don’t care for the fish tacos, we’re welcome to try the jalapeno poppers, the chicken nachos, the lemon-dill-beer dip, the macaroni salad, the hot mexican corn, the coca cola chicken wings, the buffalo chicken fingers, a seven-layer dip, or the ham and cheese sliders with the little slices of pickle pinned to the tops with a festive toothpick.
sent from my iPhone