Category Archives: Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff

Who wants to PHONE HOME with this blast from the past?

My sister came down to visit last month. Six months ago, she moved across the country, and she found things when she was unpacking she’d forgotten about–most items were from the clean-out of our late father’s house.

Imagine how awesome it was when she pulled this out of her bag?

ET 1980s Card Game 1

As kids in the 1980s, we played Read the rest of this entry

Writers: SCRIBEDelivery March Unbox!

March Scribed Unbox 4

The March 2017 SCRIBED Unbox…underneath, from left, the Kukuyo Notebooks and the Smock Workbook. Writing instruments, from left: the Tombow Mono Drawing Pencil, the Kokuyo Beetle Highlighter, the Sailor G-Free Ballpoint Pen, and the Tombow 8900 Drawing pencil.

SCRIBEdelivery is a monthly box of themed goodies especially for writers or lovers of notebooks, pens, and the like. Each “box” is carefully curated by people who love the stuff just like we do. I’ll let Chris and Holly tell their story in their own words…you can find out more, and get your subscription, here: http://www.scribedelivery.com/.

That said, here’s the March Unbox…the theme of which is Read the rest of this entry

Tot Terrors: The Devil at 4 O’Clock

I often get asked about what influences my work as a writer. Inspired by the amazing website  Kindertrauma–which is right up my alley–I’m compiling all of my childhood (and some adult) terrors.

devil-lava-2

The beleaguered refugees in THE DEVIL AT 4 O’CLOCK watch lava overwhelm the spot in which they’d just been standing. 

I experienced many of my childhood terrors at my Grandmother’s house. We went down there every Sunday after church (and I do mean EVERY. SUNDAY!) for a large Italian meal and visits with the aunts and uncles, who would, after the meal, play cards or talked adult subjects.

I had two options: play with some ancient, seen-better-days toys (although I was good at bringing my own things to do), sneak into my cousin’s room to read off-limit Stephen King books, or watch anything I wanted on the kitchen television set.

When I say anything I wanted, I mean it. First of all, it was the 1970s. If your parents were busy, they didn’t give a crap what you were doing Read the rest of this entry

A Minnie Birthday…

 

Minnie Birthday Cake Sweet Rewards

I went to a birthday party last weekend for my nieces. This is a video I made to share which I’m going to send everyone on DVD…it’s too big to upload to Facebook, and I’d like them to see it before I cement the discs. PS…how cool is this cake? Check out Sweet Rewards in Brookfield!

Pesce Pix: White Spotted Bamboo Sharks

white-bamboo-3I volunteer at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, and I always see something cool. This week it was a pair of White Spotted Bamboo Sharks in our Shark and Ray Touch Pool practicing a pre-mating ritual–quite beautiful to watch, as one shark bites the other’s pectoral fin and they swim (and sometimes twist) together.

Most reports I found indicated that it’s usually the male doing the biting[1], but in this case, the pale white one is the male, and the darker one is the female (I saw them turn over and could see clearly the male’s claspers, so yes, I’m sure I know which one was which). Since I don’t carry my cell phone on the floor, I had to wait until I was off-shift and on my way out to grab this photo. I wanted video, but there were too many kids around (normally when I’m heading out, the place is empty, but Sunday there was a special event after hours, so it was crammed).

Anyway…I think these pictures are still good.

[1] Motoyasu Masuda, “Mating, spawning and hatching of the white spotted bamboo shark in an aquarium,” Japanese Journal of Icthyology 45, No. 1 (1998): 29-35, accessed February 27, 2017.

 

 

 

Writers: SCRIBEDelivery February Unbox!

scribed-feb-unbox-1

The SCRIBED “boxes” have thus far arrived in padded envelopes.

SCRIBEdelivery is a monthly box of themed goodies especially for writers or lovers of notebooks, pens, and the like. Each “box” is carefully curated by people who love the stuff just like we do. I’ll let Chris and Holly tell their story in their own words…you can find out more, and get your subscription, here: http://www.scribedelivery.com/.

That said, here’s the February Unbox…the theme of which is “Sharing” — each product in the box supports a cause. Check it out!

Who doesn’t love to find…

amazon-box

…an Amazon box that was delivered to your house, never opened, and shoved in the basement when you were cleaning up for a party that you completely forgot about? I found this one a year after it was delivered.

I had to open it to find out what was in it, but I can’t can’t tell you what it was. Turns out it was intended to be a Christmas gift for someone, who will get it this year instead.

Out they go…

Bad Apple Kristi Petersen Schoonover 1

This stack of drafts was in a copy box in my basement. The novel was edited/revised seven times. One of the drafts is missing because I bound and gave it away to a reader.

One of the toughest things about being a writer is getting rid of clutter. While it’s a given we need our project materials, as well as the things that inspire us (anyone remember that picture of Ray Bradbury’s office?), there’s more: old projects and stacks of drafts.

While it’s gotten much easier since the age of electronic documents (I can keep drafts in a compact form now), there are still times when paper accumulates…and forget about years ago, when everything was done on paper. My most recent project has been to take paper drafts of stories, scan them into PDFs, and store them that way.

Bad Apple took two years to write and revise, then another two years of polish once the novel was sold to Dark Alley Press. What resulted were seven giant drafts peppered with notes and Post-It flags, wine and coffee stains. A few years back I took one of the early drafts, bound it, and gave it to a reader as a gift–but other than that, they were all there.

Scanning these all to PDF, I felt, was going to be a waste of time and energy–am I ever going to look at these again?Who is going to give a crap, anyway? So…I made a deal with myself. I photographed the pile. Just so I’d always have it to remember.

Then off to the shredder it went.

Bad Apple was published by Dark Alley Press in 2012. You can get your copy here: http://a.co/htRbr9v

Tot Terrors: Rikki Tikki Tavi

I often get asked about what influences my work as a writer. Inspired by the amazing website  Kindertrauma–which is right up my alley–I’m compiling all of my childhood (and some adult) terrors.

Rikki Tikki Tavi Chuck Jones Title Card

The title card for Chuck Jones’ Rikki Tikki Tavi special.

Back in the 1970s, every Easter–usually on Good Friday–one of the major networks (I wanna say CBS, but it could’ve been ABC) would air Chuck Jones’ cartoon special Rikki Tikki Tavi, based on one of Kipling’s Jungle Book tales about a mongoose and his fights to the death.

Despite the fact that I looked forward to this every year–it might have had something to do with the fact that my young mind associated it with the Easter Bunny’s visit–there were things in it that were so terrifying they’d haunt my waking (yes, waking) hours.

rikki-tikki-abandoned

From the opening credit sequence…abandoned temples of a forgotten civilization.

  1. The opening credits show us a violent, terrifying storm deep among the frightening, mysterious remnants of the abandoned temples of a lost civilization. This was like a train wreck I couldn’t stop watching.
  2. The narration by Orson Welles. His voice was chilling enough, but there is some kind of reverb or something put on it that gave it a slight echo, rendering it almost ghostly. I sounds like a dead person talking from beyond the grave. This really bothered me.
  3. The first time we meet the cobras, Nag and Nagaina, they are presented as looming shadows speaking in sinister whispers (which are performed by Welles as part of the narration). Heart-stopping.
  4. There is also another snake the color of sand, so he’s presented against the sandy background as almost spectral. Yipes.
rikki-tikki-nag

The heart-arresting shadow of Nag the cobra. Just…holy SHIT.

I was not alone in my terror. Kindertrauma (if you’ve not heard of this website, you owe it to yourself to check it out–I have managed to rediscover horrors that had become nameless over the years) has Rikki Tikki Tavi featured here.

Still, there were a couple of positive things I never forgot. I always remembered the line “A full meal makes a slow mongoose,” and I swear to God that’s what’s kept me for never being overstuffed at a meal, even one as big as Thanksgiving. It’s also where I learned all about mongooses and their relationship with snakes, and probably where I got such a fascination for all things overgrown and abandoned (one of the sources for that, anyway–I also know I was fascinated with the abandoned temples in Disney’s animated version of The Jungle Book).

As far as this has influenced my writing, when I was in high school, I wrote a story (two versions of it, actually, a couple of years apart) set in a village in India with the terrible title of “Slithering Serpents” (the stories are probably equally terrible). It was Rikki Tikki Tavi that made me start reading about India, and that’s how I learned about the subject matter that inspired the stories.

God knows why I’m doing this, but you can read both versions of the story by opening the PDF below. Special thanks to my friend Rob Mayette, who found the only existing printed copy of the one that was published in The Piper — our high school literary magazine (which I’d forgotten even existed) in his basement during a move.

slithering-serpents-only-existing-copy

If you’d like to cleanse your palette after reading those pieces of crap with Rikki Tikki Tavi, you can get it here.

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