Creepy Christmas To All…

Well, since tomorrow is Christmas, and I don’t have an amazing, inspirational Christmas-y sort of piece to post, I’ve decided to dig into the very, very ancient archive for a little holiday fun.

A really long time ago (as in, back in high school), I was given the assignment of writing and compiling some poetry (not my area of expertise, to say the least), for a class full of highly competitive and talented writers.  I muddled my way through some terrible rhymes and exaggerated prose to complete the assignment, with few redeemable results.  On this eve of Christmas, I am pathetically resorting to sharing one of these attempts at poetic profundity in an effort to spread some holiday cheer with as little effort as possible .  (Hey, I’ve got Santa duty, so cut me some slack.)

So, Merry Christmas, and here you go, my very own parody of the much-loved, classic Christmas poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas.  A tale which, at the time that I wrote this I was unaware, has inspired many fun parodies.

Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas

by Katie Aguilera

Twas the night before Christmas and all through my box,

not a creature was stirring, not even the lice in my locks.

My stockings were hung on a string so high,

in the hopes that by morning they would be dry.

I shivered and shook in my rags so thin,

while ice cubes formed in my bottle of gin.

My mutt in her blanket and I in my coat,

thoughts of Christmas a lump in my throat.

Out in the alley I heard a soft mutter,

so I sprang from my box and looked in the gutter.

Along the curb I flew like a flash,

tore open the dumpster, and threw out the trash.

The moon through the smog cast an eerie shadow,

upon the garbage still left below.

Turning my head, I gave a sudden start,

for behind me were eight sewer rats and a tiny shopping cart.

With a little round driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Tick.

Dirtier than pigs his coursers they came,

and he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

On Smasher, on Cancer, on Packer, on Virus,

on Bomber, on Stupid, on Blunder, and Dufus.

To the center of the street to the edge of a crack,

now dash away, dash away, and upon their rumps a good whack.

And as newspapers before the wild wind scatter,

they mounted the sky with a rattle and a clatter.

So, up to my box the coursers they flew,

with a sleigh full of eggs, and wiggly St. Tick too.

And then in a blink with a little rodent leap,

they clambered on cardboard and fell in a heap.

I sank to my knees and into my box shoved my head,

and through a split-seam dropped St. Tick to my bed.

A thick suit of fur his body did boast,

torn, no doubt, from his last unlucky host.

A bundle of eggs he had flung on his back,

and he looked like a spider just opening her sack.

His eyes how they glinted, his feet how they tickled,

and with a sly smirk he chuckled and giggled.

His antennae curled and twisted in a way so droll,

and upon my bed he crept like a troll.

A stub of a toothpick lodged in his teeth,

a hint of tick-beard upon his chin underneath.

He had a bloated round belly and a tiny puffed face,

and he dashed to and fro at a fierce insect pace.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old beetle,

but I knew that his bite was like the prick of a needle.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

and I knew I had something terrible to dread.

He gave not a squeal but went straight to his work,

scattering his eggs with a twist and a jerk.

And laying his stick-leg aside of his nose,

and giving a twitch up the cardboard he rose.

He hopped to his sleigh and to his team gave a scream,

and away they all flew to the next stop in his scheme.

But I heard him exclaim as they drove out of sight,

Creepy Christmas to all, and to all a crawly good night!


The Rules for #140Line

#140Line is a game on Twitter for writers to share a line from their current work in progress (WIP).  The rules are simple.  In loving memory of the old 140 character limitation that was the foundation of tweeting for years, lines shared for #140Line should contain 140 characters or less.  Of course, no one is going to count, just make a good estimation.

Each week, there will be an optional theme, announced ahead of time.  It can be found @linein140 on Twitter.  Choose a line that uses the theme word, or demonstrates the meaning of the word.  Be creative, and have fun with it, and be sure to use the hashtag, #140Line, so we can all find your talented work.

This challenge is an opportunity to tighten up your writing.  The goal is to express a powerful idea or image concisely.  It offers an opportunity to evaluate the words you use and the way you use them.  So, join @seekingredress and @TAwrites as we rock the old school and share a line in 140 characters or less, every Thursday, on Twitter.

140 Character Precision

I can’t deny that I love (and also hate) Twitter.  Because I have a bizarre obsession with news, my standard operating procedure as a writer is to have two computers on, and one of them always has a window open to Twitter.  I know, it’s a time suck.  I’m okay with it though, since I do find a lot of ideas and inspiration there.  I also find a lot of very supportive fellow writers on Twitter.

There are so many Twitter hashtag games for writers.  I’ve written about this before.  I enjoy posting lines from my work in progress, or WIP, and reading the lines of others.  There is some serious talent to be found on these different hashtags.   And, with the 140 character restriction, there’s some serious creativity in making those lines fit without losing their shine.

Along with the inspiration found in reading others’ work, I find that sharing a line, confined to 140 characters, is a great editing tool.  I don’t know how many times, while searching for a keyword to fit a theme, I have found over-used words in sentences or paragraphs.  And I’ve made many a change to lines in order to make the point more concise, changes that have been incorporated into my draft.

Recently, Twitter made a pretty huge change to the platform.  Tweets are no longer limited to 140 characters.  They can now contain a whopping 280 characters!  This is a game changer for line sharing.  I’m sure many love it.  I don’t.  It isn’t that I don’t want to see more of the work of other writers.  I miss the precision of 140 characters.

I’m certain I’m not alone with this opinion.  So, maybe all of us who feel a bit disgruntled with this change need a new hashtag game.  Something like, #140line, or #linein140, where we strive to keep our lines close to the old-school rules.

What do you think?  Do you love the change?  Or hate it?  Does it improve line sharing for writers, or is something of the challenge and value of 140 characters lost?


*A good one-stop source of information on the different games can be found here.

What’s This All About, Anyway?

Well, I’ve been sitting on this sadly empty blog for some time now, so I thought maybe this would be a good time to finally write a post.  You know, to introduce myself, or something.  To explain just what this blog is all about.

There’s just something about November, I guess.  Normally, I would be participating in NanoWrimo this month, but I took this year off.  I’ll get to that.  It was this event, and my lovely, talented, and highly persuasive sisters, that finally convinced me to take up something I’ve always loved.  Writing.  In November 2010, I set off on my first Nano journey.  I wrote what is essentially a completed draft of a part autobiographical, part fictional adventure titled, Volkswagen Summer.  After the month ended, the draft was left to languish deep in the files, where it remains today.  I’ll get back to it eventually.

In November 2013, I started a new project.  It has gone through several titles and many, many different plots in the years since, to emerge now, nearly finished, as The Compass Code.  And that is why I am not participating in NanoWrimo this year.  That is why this blog has sat here empty for so long.  My main focus is finishing a first draft of this novel, and it’s so close.  After years of writing scene after scene of an almost entirely character driven story, I finally have a solid feel of the full plot behind it all.  So, yay!  Maybe I can start sleeping better again.  (Ha ha.)

Two years and three days ago, I started blogging at Seeking Redress, where I get into politics, news, and war.  November seemed a fitting time to publish the first non-fiction piece I had written in years, for Veterans Day.  I still post to Seeking Redress, sometimes frequently, sometimes not.  Those posts are always linked to here, in case you want to check them out.  However, on this blog, my focus is more on the art (agonizing, torturous, insanity driven process) of writing.

So, I’ll post all the ‘other’ stuff that just doesn’t fit at Seeking Redress.  Short stories, rants, lessons I’ve learned on writing and life, whatever.  Of course, I’ll be posting updates on my novel, maybe even some short clips and deleted scenes, as I get closer to publishing.  I hope you will join me once in a while.

If you’re so inclined, join me on social media too.  I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  You can read my short bio here.