Up and comings and down and dones

Oh, life.

HA. You thought I was going to quote the entire opening to REM’s Losing My Religion, but I’m NOT because that song is NOT the boss of me, and I’m singing it in my head anyway because the lengths that I will go to. The distance in your eyes.


And so anyway.

If you guessed that what follows will have nothing to do with this preamble, congratulations. You know me well.

FIRST. Up and comings!

This Saturday, August 18th, at 1pm, I’ll be meeting readers (one hopes) at Indigo Dix30 in the Montreal area!

Screenshot 2018-08-15 22.05.53

This is my first Montreal appearance, and since MEM is set in Montreal and all. It’s a whole thing. You should come and take selfies with me, or whatever.

SECOND. The down and dones, but still super excitings! I am so happy that my PBS interview finally aired, as well as my Great American Reads recommendation spot, and the primary school age Bethany who stayed up to watch Masterpiece Theater is finally in awe of me! Like, LOOK.


Such fun. And hush, yes, of course I’m gonna share the vid as well!

First my spot!

And finally, the interview!

Some day I’ll be able to share the footage from my Books Are Magic event in Brooklyn, during which I had an awesome conversation with Jenn Baker, but alas. It is a huge file and I have zero idea how to share it well. One day! xx

Speed-Dating With Bethany

As an aside, I considered reusing the blog title “Rando Calrissian” because I just really feel like it didn’t get enough affection and is one of the most underrated of my clever blog titles. Shoulda timed it to coincide with episode VII. The following are equally random tidbits*, in an attempt to reconnect with you, dear reader. The things I do for England.

(1) Yesterday, during our Montreal Sunday Funday – which is what I call our weekly return to the city for church and fellowship…because I’m not great with titles *all the time* – I took a bite of chicken salad and immediately had a full sensory memory of the last time I’d eaten chicken salad. Which was like twenty years ago. I am 33 and feel it is far too early for this sort of phenomenon.

(2) Relatedly, I awoke with the theme to L.A. Law in my head.

So. That’s…


(3) REDACTED IN 2019 but I left this gif because I love it:

(4) This season’s marathon of the original Planet of the Apes franchise has left me with three truths thus far – because full disclosure, Ezra and I haven’t watched #5 yet, but will today! I do not apologize for how much space will now be devoted to talking PotA.

I will never apologize.

(4.1) The 2nd movie – Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the one in which a strange subterranean enclave of telekinetic radioactive humans worships a bomb and which includes an unnecessarily long “church” scene complete with organ and hymnal – which I would have *EASILY* said was my lowest ranking in previous seasons, actually went up in rating, if not ranking. I AM AS SHOCKED AS YOU ARE.

(4.2) The 3rd movie – Escape from the Planet of the Apes, in which Zira and Cornelius come from the future to 1971 and are first the toast of the town and then, well, not – remains the absolute highlight of the franchise. Period. I realize this doesn’t sound like new news, but it was confirmed. Favorite.

(4.3) The 4th movie – Conquest for the Planet of the Apes, in which Caesar begins the revolution in 1991 – tanked in my rating. Just tanked. I think due to the overall comparative strength of the story, I’d given them too great a pass on the complete and utter lunacy. No more.

But, you, beloved…

Yes, you, MacDonald. You were just grand.

(5) They opened a huge Dollarama on Queen Mary as soon as I left Montreal. Thanks a bunch, friends.

(6) There is no Popeye’s in Northcountry New York. The implications of which worked me into a nearly destructive lather at one a.m. Still adjusting to being back in the States, but nowhere near to what I’m accustomed. We’ll get through this together.

*If perchance you followed the link to Rando… you would know that my Planet of the Apes ….fixation, shall we say, is inescapable.

Everything She Wants

It’s about that time, no?

::5 days pass::

::and then literally 3 weeks::

So yes, Jelena, the blogging got away from me. It would be easier if…. wow, that gif quickly becomes distracting… as I was saying: if I were an open book and could just tell you everything I’m doing, writing, et cetera, because the source material never ends. Mais alors. Instead, lemme tell you about the wonderfully random and completely inconsequential minutia of life.

So Josh and I are sitting in a doctor’s wait room this week and people-watching, as one does. First of all, I love the number of people who have a translator with them – and I mean that. I love living in culturally diverse places and what is more interesting to watch than the translator her/himself, navigating two cultures at once? I’ll tell you what. The obligatory old woman pretending to be slightly senile because she is here to win, kids.

Old Woman (OW) has arrived for her appointment.

Receptionist requests her medical card.

OW does not have.

Receptionist says she’ll reschedule her appointment.

OW will see doctor now.

Receptionist like, whu? Gimme the card then.

OW left the card at home. She sees doctor now.

Receptionist is tryna keep the bite out of her voice because the whole wait room can hear whether we want to or not and OW got salty immediatement. Receptionist insists that cards must be proffered.

OW: (verbatim) I don’t have it with me, what can we do? (Rhetorical) I’ll see doctor now.

OW steps. toward. hall.

Reception door opens, refusals are stated strongly.

OW does not understand what you are not understanding. She should’ve brought her card. She didn’t. She is not going home, y’all. She will see the doctor now. She will.

It’s at this point that 2nd receptionist decides to help out because perhaps his being a dude will change something?

It doesn’t.

OW figures out how to grease this wheel. Pulls out OPUS card. That one uses to ride public transportation.

Receptionists are silent. Because what?

OW: (verbatim) Visa. (Shows credit card… and then immediately puts it back in wallet.)

Receptionists are silent. Because where are we. What’s happening.

You guys I cannot wait to get to this age. Head full of white hair – seriously, her tress game was crushing it – and using a cane while simultaneously holding a huge parka, a purse, several bags and clearly this woman has her faculties is what I’m saying.

OW will TALK to the doctor. Final offer.

When the receptionists tell her the doctor is leaving for the day very soon they should really have anticipated her attempt to break for the hall again. They really should’ve. I did.

Receptionist AGAIN insists that OW will be rescheduled. At this point, OW’s indiscernible muttering is her strength. That and she clearly has nowhere else to be. She will stand at this counter all day.

Receptionist, loudly, because she knows that we know that she has been bested: Just have a seat.

I mean. Better luck next time, baby girl. OW knew what she came to do.

Whatever Rhoda Wants

Rhoda gets…

Then Homer starts his voice-over and we see flashes of the ugliest car that ever put Powell out of business. ‘Member?

But no, so today I learned that when Rhoda decides to talk to you, by George talking shall be done! Who’s Rhoda, you’re probably asking. Just a lovely South African woman who moved to Montreal from Saskatchewan after going to the 1967 expo and who about four years ago went to California for about a week in order to attend a convention but she can’t remember what city. How long have you known Rhoda, you say? For about three minutes on the bus today.

Delightful older women make my day.

Today I also learned that the school board from which Ez is getting a transfer agreement (and in which he’s never gone to school but long story and it’s mostly just more “Oh brother, Montreal”) is just not as well oiled as the one to which he’s moving. Which is itself a blessing. I showed up to do some paperwork and they asked me to sit and they said they weren’t gonna call the person I was there to see because that person was gonna call them when that person got back from lunch. And then 45 minutes later, another receptionist came to relieve the first and promptly picked up the phone only to find said person had been back for like 30 minutes but also wasn’t the person I was supposed to see and why hadn’t the 1st receptionist gotten me the paperwork which was available the whole time. And for some reason, I just kept smiling at everyone. Guess I really had nothing pressing because I was just relaxing without a care in the world in that lobby. I don’t even know.

And finally – but absolutely not for the last time – my last name has been Morrow for 12 years, Montreal. I shan’t be changing that for you. Kindly stop asking, thank you.

Who finished a new short story? I finished a new short story!

If you wanna know more about (some of) my writing projects, check out my Writing page, friends.

Another Op’nin, Another Show

Which is a title befitting both the video and the fact that I’ve mentally begun a new story.

And so, my little boy’s life has gone back to normal. What a wonderful blessing that whole thing was. Precious. I love my Ezra more than [insert every valuable thing]. I wrote him a letter for the future, for some moment in his life when he’s not doing a hundred fun and exciting things, for when he’s not sure what he wants to do. To remind him God has blessed him, that he himself is a blessing and all the ordinary reasons his father and I are so proud of him. Gushgushgush.

And then because of the above and the fact that I am a memory hoarder or as I like to call it, a historian, I ran away and made the following for my little lovebug. (And before you ask, yes, my husband’s eyes are naturally red. Or fixing them makes him look like a vampire to me. So there.)

And so I’m inclined to make a projection about 2014, which is totally unnecessary and impossible to do but shut up. I am – less than two months on – dubbing it the year of the short story. I mean, of me writing them by the bowlful. This might be because I wrote Jigsaw at the end of last year, then Caroline, and am heading into #3 and am loving it.

I have a rather adolescent response to word count, or at least I did. I never understood people who wrote to a word count or complained about it or worried about it. Of course, when you’re writing toward publication, word count matters and there are guidelines for certain formats for which word count is almost a deciding factor. Or at least is taken into consideration. For myself, I’m also a data hoarder which is completely normal and fulfilling and makes me all swoony sometimes, which like I said is normal – so I document my word count as I’m writing. Moreso because I want to know exactly where I was at any given time when reminiscing about a particular project. When I came up with what, etc. It’s also why I have a hard time not saving every iteration of a project. I want to keep all the pieces. Anyway, I was going somewhere with that rebellious/defiant approach to word count…

Without inflating the inherent importance of the word count, I do have to admit what I love about the varying lengths of short stories, for me. What I find is accomplished in the varying lengths and how many words that tends to be for me. (Always for me. I have no idea what it is for anyone else.) And I’m totally basing this only on stories I have written to this point.

Novellas (I’m personally capping at 30k) I love writing because they’re closer studies of a particular, sort of uninterrupted storyline and character arc. There’s room for the world as well, to a point. With Keepsake, it came together perfectly. With Imogen-Who-Has-No-Name (please do not misunderstand that as being the actual title), what became difficult for a moment was the world getting too grand. Too wide a view of the political system, too intricate a ruling class and family trees. That for me isn’t fit for a novella. It’s why I kept stopping and eventually moved on to something else until I could get back to the snapshot I’d intended to capture.

Long short stories (I’m putting that at around 7-10k) are wonderful because in that space of words, I feel able to close in on a character and how the world she inhabits impacts her life.

Short stories (I’d say 5k – which obviously leaves a 2k no man’s land between short stories and long short stories) are like any mini dessert. Something you can pop into your mouth but it reminds you of a fuller dish. For me, this is the length of story where you introduce a character and only the world as it impacts her life at this moment. This is the difference between Jigsaw and Caroline. The former has space to investigate what she will do from now on, the latter only what she will do today.

And then, of course, I’ll next write a short story that is 3k and deals with a whole family and make myself a liar. (Right. All the rires.)

Thoughts? Condemnations?

Oh, Scipiooooooo!

So all of my world right now is my latest short story, my submissions and my sugar-butt Ezzie’s out-of-nowhere stint with the Montreal Opera. And since I don’t really discuss the former in detail, that last bit is all I can actually talk about of the subjects mentioned.  ::tosses rose petals::

I can’t even. A few years ago, I introduced my little boy – who already inherited my love of MGM classics, much to my delight – to Porgy & Bess. Well. To Sammy Davis Jr. singing selected tunes from P&B. And he loooooved it. We spent a ridiculous number of hours watching various duets of Bess You Is My Woman, some opera, some not, and then choosing our favorites. J’adore. So for him to suddenly (and I do mean suddenly – we found out the same day he started rehearsals) get cast was, in his words, mind-blowing. And we’ve just been having the best time.

As far as he knows, Ezzie plans to be a voice-acting zoologist when he grows up. I have no idea whether he’ll ever do anything like this again or when the opportunity would even arise. This seriously dropped in our laps (very, very short story) and we’re not actively pursuing but either way. The point is THIS is fun and exciting and my little boy is on cloud 9. I almost wish there were more than four performances left – including tonight’s! Have some pictures!

Aaaaand that’s pretty much it. I am so happy for him.

I Might Need Security

I know Montreal loves to bring the drama, but today on Decarie, it was a little much. It was the old guys’ turn, and they showed up in great form, ready to prove that you don’t have to be young and foolish to be foolish and just extra.

I mean, honestly, guy walking toward me who’s making super creeptastic uninterrupted eye contact while I look everywhere but directly into your gaze. When you wait until I’m a few steps away and raise your hand and slap it repeatedly – which I guess is supposed to energize me to the point of high-fiving you?! – I don’t know how fast or far to run. Because I’m a lady in a pink and white striped dress and I need you to treat me as such. Cross the street if you must, I’ll wait. Physical contact shan’t. It shall not.

Hey there, buddy who raced around me? I wasn’t gonna pick up that open bag of whatever it was sitting on that bench at the bus stop. I wasn’t gonna stick my hand in and start eating whatever it was. You win, friend. The mystery trash food is all yours. And no. He did not look like he’d fallen on hard times, nor was there any activity that would’ve made me suspect he might race up to a bag on a bench and start eating. Having done so, of course, I give him a pass. Because…a guy just ate out of an open bag on a bus stop bench on Decarie. The verdict is in.

Lastly, there was the old guy riding his bike super fast on the sidewalk. Toward me. And a family walking pretty much with me – which we won’t even question. They’re affectionate. So geezer on bike who starts aggressively swiping the air with his hand, which is apparently meant to make us get the heck out his way? Apparently, his voice did work – jury’s still out on the brakes sitchiation – because as he passed through us, face still tight in what I’d assumed was a disapproving grimace? “Have a good day, you guys!”

In a super sincere tone? After trying to mow us down with a seemingly homicidal snarl of misdirected hostility? ….k.

But don’t let any of that distract you from the bus that didn’t show or the metro that sat for 18 minutes. Because I certainly didn’t.



March. (Yep, that’s it.)

My. Bad. Is March just running away with anyone else?! <— Interrobang. ::snort:: That was for Jen-the-Twin.

So, my pretties, I wish I could tell you all the things (aw, I’m starting to get tired of that reference especially when it’s NOT making reference). Le sigh. Life. Is bigger. It’s bigger than you and you are okay, sorry, I have to stop. But fret not, my loves, because I shall replace that R.E.M reference with a song that I am fully drunk on right now.

I am seriously all in. ALL. IN. I’m having the same romance with Ellie Goulding I had with Florence and the Machine, Gotye, The Civil Wars and Page CXVI. Gotye wasn’t this intense, to be honest, but that isn’t saying much since the extreme to which I’m obsessing is just… indescribable.


Man. Between that one and FATM’s Blinding, they totally have Avrilis covered. And I wish I could talk about it for a million words but alas. I cannot. Or much of anything that I want to. Someday, my pretties. Someday.

Oh and for those of you in some part of the world where March is actually spring? Here’s a pic from last week.

SleddingYou’re welcome.

I Am Not A Crook

So, I had a little tear-jerking moment today. With someone else’s child. She has seriously grown so much! I can tell she doesn’t feel quite so awkward anymore. (She’s stopped wearing high waters for one. No judgment, girlfriend, my legs were persistently too long at that age, too. It can destroy a girl.) She’s always had this bushy, would-be-curly hair – but I suspect no one’s shown her what to do to define her curls. (Again. No judgment, my child. I was on my own in the hair department from a pretty young age. Not fun.) Today, I couldn’t really see much of it what with her touque, but the part that really stopped me in my tracks (figuratively) was the EYE CONTACT. My girl actually looked. up. Three years is all it took.

Okay, I should probably mention that I’ve never met this kid.

Um. She walks past me everyday when I’m going to pick up Ez and it’s almost alarming how quickly kids change during puberty. Man. I wanna take her for hot chocolate and pick her brain. Sneak into her room when she’s at band practice and skim her diary. You know, to see what she really thinks about everything. And why she walks home by herself seriously every.day.

I can’t believe she didn’t stop and chat or, like, hug me today. Hm. Maybe next year.

If Food Be The Food Of Food

Righteous indignation.

I won’t even embarrass myself by finding a picture of the fast food “restaurant” to which Josh and I lost our virtue tonight. Because I’m from California and I KNOW better. But I don’t think of Mexican food as being hard. It’s actually simple and delicious. So despite the fact that this is the same cuisine that sent me into a fit of tears after trying to satisfy my craving in Chester, England, and despite the fact that I tried this same place three years ago – we did it again. Because COME ON. (No. We were the ones at fault. We know this.) And as soon as we saddled up to the place, we were like NOPE. But did we listen to ourselves? No. So basically I’m a coward AND a deranged woman thirsty for sweet justice. The latter because I ate like seven bites and then cast my plate across the table.

THIS IS WHY I ALWAYS EAT THE SAME THING FROM THE SAME PLACE. Adventure is for traveling and writing, people. And dreams. Gotta have those epic, cinematic dreams. FOOD IS FOR TASTING THE WAY I WANT YOU TO.