10. Playing “CSI: Dreamhouse” with your (or your sister’s) Barbie dolls.
9. Telling Mommy she’s “pretty” to her face and then adding the words “poor at parenting” as you walk out of the room.
8. Presuming that when you’re “grounded” you’re free to play with electrical outlets to your heart’s content.
7. Texting while driving your Big Wheel on the freeway.
6. Skipping biology class so you can experiment directly on animals at the pet store without supervision.
5. Actually punching Hawaiians to get your hands on their branded juice box.
4. Festooning your bedroom with ropes of snot rather than blowing your nose on the hankie you got last year for Christmas.
3. Writing your book report in thick black marker covering every page of the book you were supposed to “report on” with the words “HATE, HATE, HATE IT!”
2. Going commando when shopping for scout uniforms.
1. Sacrificing a goat instead of blowing out birthday candles.
Try saying “asphyxiation” five times fast. You will know what it means from experience. But if you survive, read on…
You probably know the term refers to “choking to death” and that it is the fancy pants medical name for strangulation. But did you know the term derives from the Greek, meaning a- (“without”) + sphyxis (a “heartbeat”)?
If you thought it had something to do with the Egyptian term “sphinx” (which I think means “without + a nose), then you were wrong. (To “asphynxiate” actually means to turn into a giant cat with wings and tell riddles till your enormous human face erodes away.)
There are many circumstances that can induce asphyxia, all of which are characterized by the inability to acquire sufficient oxygen through breathing for a long, long — gasp! — LONG period of time. These circumstances can include but are not limited to: the constriction or obstruction of airways, such as from asthma, laryngospasm, or eating an excessive amount of cotton candy; from being in environments where oxygen is not readily accessible, such as underwater, in outer space, or when your head is dunked into — and held down — in a vat of boiling acid; environments where sufficiently oxygenated air is present, but cannot be adequately breathed because of air contamination, such as inhaling excessive smoke in a burning building, being trapped in an evil villain’s stinkbug chamber, or passing out in the men’s room in a truck stop on I-15. Asphyxia can cause coma or death or auto-erotic pleasure followed by death followed by embarrassment to your family who wishes they could choke you all over again.
To asphyxiate will fix nothing, especially not your ass.
ANNOUNCING A NEW YEAR’S WRITING CONTEST
in the Instigation Playground at AuthorBee
Deadline for entries is 12/29/13 at Midnight est.
WIN AN AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATE FROM OUR HOST, @AUTHORBEE!
Let’s write a twisted tale together to ring (or is that “wring”?) in the New Year! The story is called “The Resolution.” And it all begins with the following line:
You’re bound. A TV shows Times Square. “What’s your resolution,” a man holding a knife asks, “for the afterlife?”
Consider yourself “instigated”: YOU GO NEXT! You simply need to be a member of twitter to play along (it’s free — check it out). Just log in via Twitter and load up http://tweet.authorbee.com/stories/689 (or return to the Instigation Playground channel at any time) to continue the storyline. But while you’re there, click around on the arrows and mute/solo buttons. If you read other people’s posts and get to a point where you want to change directions, you can do that, too, anywhere along the way.
EVERY POST TO “THE RESOLUTION” STORY IS AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THE CONTEST and has a chance to win — no matter how erudite, no matter how nutso. So don’t be afraid to join in the fray. In fact, I encourage you to not only fray away, but instigate your friends to come join us too. The story may get crazy, but the beauty of the AuthorBee web app is that it allows you to reassemble the story however you want to, remixing every plot thread until you’ve got a good narrative result. Then you can “share the storyline” on twitter as a way of publishing it. That’s a good way to get your friends to participate in the telling of the tale. But I will also choose and publish the “best storyline” (in my humble opinion) on January 29th and you earn a chance to win a prize of books, poetry magnets, discount codes, and even amazon gift certificates if you are a part of it!
The genius of the AuthorBee site is that it allows you to make sense out of the chaos inherent to twitter. Use this contest as an opportunity to play around all over the site, like joining in the other stories already started in the Instigation Playground. But “The Resolution” is where you can win a prize. The good folks at AuthorBee believe in our creative hivemind so much they are sponsoring our exclusive contest with an awesome amazon gift card prize…and the more people who join us in writing the story, the better the odds are that you’ll win!
For this story — and this contest — to really work, you simply need to follow the following rules.
- Contribute to the story titled “The Resolution” on AuthorBee between 8:00 pm (EST) December 20, 2013 and midnight (EST) December 29, 2013.
- One contribution is required, although we encourage you to contribute more than once.
- You must be a Twitter follower of @MikeArnzen AND @AuthorBee. Follow, then contribute — or contribute, then follow. We don’t care which order, just follow us both so you’ll be updated as the story unfolds.
WINNERS & PRIZES:
I will choose the contest winners in two (2) categories:
1. Best individual contributions. Each contribution that you make will be judged separately. If less than 20 people contribute, I will give one free, signed book to my single favorite contributor. But authorbee.com knows we can do better than that! So if 20-49 people contribute, they have generously offered me FIVE $20 AMAZON GIFT CARDS to give as prizes. If 50 or more contribute, TEN gift cards will be awarded! (What this means, essentially, is that that the more contributors we can bring into the story, the better your chances are at winning something).
2. Best storyline. I will select the best storyline for publication on Gorelets.com and offer featured publicity to everyone who is a part of it, by sharing the story far and wide. Contributors to the “best storyline” will also receive A DISCOUNT CODE on Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side and be entered into a random draw for one of THREE SIGNED REFRIGERATOR OF THE DAMNED POETRY MAGNET KITS!
The final storyline and contributing winners will be announced on December 31, 2013 on Gorelets.com and via Twitter.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Note: Any tweet you post remains your literary property and are only subject to the terms of service of twitter and/or authorbee — but as a collaborative story line, the final results of this contest should be considered public and the award-winning storyline will fall under the Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license. This will allow contributors to share our wild and wacky story freely with others. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
+ Santa goes down the chimney…and enters hell! Script a dialogue between Santa and Satan.
(xref: Instigation Playground)
+ Describe an incident with the border patrol at the edge of an otherworldly portal.
(xref: Instigation Showcase)
+ Dramatize your own funeral (and/or wake) from the viewpoint of the person in attendance most likely to be bored by it all.
(xref: Instigation ebook)
On Halloween, I began using a new mail server to design and deliver The Goreletter, which includes fancy HTML graphics and more options.
I have also now removed previous newsletter server pages for The Goreletter — which means that more than a decade’s worth of former archives are also no longer accessible and any links here and abroad that referenced a “cgi” directory are no longer valid and will probably take visitors automatically to an error page or a dead end.
I am presently rebuilding the former archives (and eliminating all old dead URLs from them) in a fancy, new “responsive” webpage which I will be unveiling over the Thanksgiving holiday, if not sooner.
If you want to review back issues, subscribe, or change your delivery options for The Goreletter, simply visit the newsletter’s about page.
If you think you’ve subscribed, but haven’t received an issue for over a year, you may have changed email accounts in the mean time. The latest issue was published on November 17th, 2013 — read it here. And if this doesn’t look familiar to you, then check your subscription or resubscribe to the Goreletter here.
Thanks for your patience as I work to shuffle the backend of this website around. If you hit any dead links or run into trouble, just email me.
ALERT, HORROR WRITERS! For the rest of November, you can get my creative writing helper, Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side at a 50% discount (just $1.99) if you order directly from Mastication Publications.
Available only on the Mastication Publications weblog.
[Sorry…special offer period has ended.
But you can subscribe to the Mastication Pubs newsletter
for another opportunity to get Instigation at a discount!]
Around midnight on Halloween, I unleashed the latest issue of The Goreletter — an all new format hosted by an all new service for better security, greater options, and a renewed mission.
If you did not receive one, either your address was stale or you were lost in the shuffle. Here’s what you missed — http://eepurl.com/H17F1 — please resubscribe or check to ensure your spam filter isn’t blocking mailings from me.
In the mean time, I will be moving the archives of back issues and chasing down old, dead links to them. Thank you to all who follow my writing and subscribe to this newsletter. It’s been delivered for free for many years now, but issues were coming too irregularly for my taste each year. I think I’ve streamlined things now so I can send out new material more often, but of shorter length, and in a way that better integrates with my workflow and social networking. Happy to hear your feedback on the new format, etc., in a comment below or private email. — Mike Arnzen
p.s. If you’re a writer engaging in NaNoWriMo this year, be sure to check out Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side. It contains material specifically for novelists working on binge projects like this.
I had a fabulous time last weekend as a guest at North Virginia Community College – Manassas, who has been running a “Horrorfest” all month to celebrate student creativity on the dark side. The event began with my reading in Colgan Theater (I read a sampler of things, from excerpts from 100 Jolts to zombie poems from Gorelets Omnibus to a dark slide show of images and poetry based on my trip last Halloween season to the Mutter Museum). The booksigning afterward was great because I got to meet lots of great folks, from people I knew only from twitter to a few good folks from Virginia Writers Club. Though I was so busy that I didn’t get many good pictures, it was relatively well-attended, and the dynamic duo that run Raw Dog Screaming Press came down from Baltimore to hang out. The following day, I held two workshops with NOVA students (called “The Sense of Dread” and “Taking Your Reader by Surprise”), which included not only some deep conversations about writing in the horror genre, but also a deconstruction of a Black Sabbath song and writing activities involving such things as clowns and hammer killers. It was a lot of fun to meet new readers, and I was honored to come to NOVA to inaugurate Halloween week. Thanks to Prof. Lorraine Goldberg who coordinated and was an awesome host for both days (and good luck NOVA students on your short stories for the writing contest!).
You can see even more photos in the Raw Dog Screaming Press page dedicated to the event.
The Goreletter — my creative horror newsletter, delivered free since Sept. 2002 — is evolving into something fresher. I’m still prepping the new issue, but you can now subscribe to add your name to the list and be among the first to check it out using the form below. Uncertain if you’re on the list? Go ahead and use this form to resubscribe. Or if you’ve never read The Goreletter, give it a whirl — you can always unsubscribe later if it doesn’t strike your fancy. Still unsure? Here’s a taste: a sample back issue from July. [Update: take a look at the latest edition!]
I’ll be reading at North Virginia Community College – Manassas on Friday, October 25th. The event in Colgan Theater begins at 7pm, and will be followed by a booksigning. This part of the event is free and open to the public; the following day’s workshops are for NOVA students only. If you’re nearby, come on by Friday night to warm up for Halloween!