The Dwarf* in the Closet – Little Things Mean a Lot of Fear

Imagination is a womderful gift until you hear something in the dark.

The best thing to do is to name it and then deal with what you think it is. Be it werewolf or vampire or zombie or mummy, once you identify it, you know the rules for escaping or defeating. Silver bullet, wooden stake, headshot, just run because mummies are slow. If there is something large or human size coming at you, you can easily see and hear it.

BUT – What if it’s the dwarf in the closet?

See, he is small. He can hide in small spaces. He can hide under the bed and slice your hamstring. He knocks at night just to remind you not to visit the bathroom. He steals your shiny stuff so you crouch to his level to search for it, then he attacks.

*Now I am not speaking of smaller humans, little people. Everyone is made differently and I respect that.  This is a DWARF – who should not be in this realm of all things good. Who definitely should find whatever cosmic portal he dropped through and vacate my closet and my imagination.  I picture him solidly in my  mind’s eye: He has dirty fingernails, fangs, big angry eyebrows, a corkscrew dagger at the ready.  And he has homicidal thoughts about the humans who tramp about above his crawlspace during daylight.  He is a culmination of all the “Little Things” in lore, legend, books and film that have horrified us over the years.

With Hallowe’en approaching, here are my top ten scary little things:

10. Let’s get the campy ones out of the way: Leprechaun, Children of the Corn, Village of the Damned, Dolls, Chucky from “Child’s Play”, Gremlins, Ghoulies and “It’s Alive!”

9. Resurrected Gage from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary”.  He is a cute little guy and so beloved in the book before he “comes back”.  But the old Indian burial ground does bad things – the horror lies in both his familiar sweetness. his pallid adorable face, and his sudden adept talent for murder.


8. The rage children from “The Brood”.  If you think PMS is bad, what if you literally had a baby every time you got really angry.  Nola, the lead character, is the controlling mother of disfigured, faceless manifestations of her own wrath,  Yes, they travel in a pack and she can order them to kill.

the brood

7. Annabelle the doll.  One of those “based on true experiences” stories.  Annabelle is part of the Ed & Lorraine Warren history. She is housed in a glass box in the Warren’s Occult Museum.


6. Robert the doll – another “based on true experiences” story.  Robert is now housed the East Martello Museum.  It is said that you must ask his permission to photograph him or bad things will happen to you. I am not sharing his picture, but you can google him.

5. The puppets from “Puppet Master”.  They are savage and creative.  The franchise is endless, but I really liked the first movie and “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge” which gives us the origin stories for the main puppets and their creator.

puppet master

4. Rumplestiltskin.  Yes he starts out all helpful.  Then he wants to steal your baby.


3. Olivia from “The Haunting of Julia” (aka “Full Circle”).  A murderous little girl died once.  But he ghost is still hanging around and would like some attention.


2. Fats the dummy from “Magic”.  Sir Anthony Hopkins is brilliant in this. His face is amazing and he is able to embody painful shyness and heartbreaking dependency on his wooden self.  The dummy is the evil mirror of Hopkins very sweet and open face.


1. The serial killing dwarf from “Don’t Look Now”. The movie itself is more of a drama, but that last 8 minutes had me gripping the chair arms and I did not sleep for 3 nights. It’s the kind of linger fright where you feel like you’ve been slapped and it tingles for days.

don't look now



Poetry: And the Banshee Raises Her Wail

This weekend found me full of the Halloween spirit! Decoration are up and Connor’s costume is almost done. He is going as Link from Legend of Zelda.
I wrote this poem about 3 years ago. And yes, it is about a monster of sorts. The Bean Sidhe (or Banshee) is the messenger in Celtic legend. She is the harbinger of death or transformation, connected always to the Tuatha De’Danaan (Tribe of the Goddess Danu) and especially to the Sidhe (Fairies).
The Bean Sidhe is a monster very dear to my heart.  She is the unbridled spirit living in every woman –  the part that refuses to buckle and surrender to arbitrary rules made by others. She is that voice inside that tells us to leave a bad situation. She can only be true to her nature and call out for what is required. Transition or death.  For most of us it is transition – standing up for yourself, speaking up and speaking out, voting, protesting, making your presence known.
And when we embrace her and let her out, she is fierce. Her wail, her warning, used properly can blow open doors, frighten the people around us who may have never heard us actually speak for ourselves.  It is the voice of preservation, the clarion call that things must change – if only for you. Authentic nature will not be silenced.
Please enjoy!
Bean Sidhe
Deeply sonorous, most defenseless
Unaware, unawake, poor man.
Red curtains shiver o’er shuttered window
Painting all the air with blood cast shapes
I sigh, next to him
Dressed in spasm of shadow from candlelight
Breath so quiet, sweet taste of camphor and kiss

Lingering like a faraway lover

For I am already gone and done
Already in the trees outside raising my wail
Already calling pale armies to raid
House and Soul
“Come down and be a good girl,” he said.
“Come down and make a home and try love
Wake before each sunrise next to me.”
And I did.
And oh the invisible cage
of his embrace
Even when he was not with me…
We built seasons, tore down dreams,
We built routine, tore down ideas.
I could not make a home with all the wild in my body
I could not constrain the savage driving my heart
So I wake before each midnight next to him
So the feral cry climbs in my body and twitches my limbs
He is all beauty–
base and innocent of the thing I am
He believes darkness only lives out in the trees
Poor man.
For when I next open my mouth,
it will be the last sound he hears.

Poetry: In the Midnight Garden – The Power of Dreams

One August night three years ago, I woke up blind sobbing.  I could not snap myself awake because this dream held on to me.
I dreamed of the man I love being called by Death.
Death is not a stranger to me.  My grandparents, parents – all no longer in this life. It is an honor to be truly present when someone passes.  I was there for my maternal grandparents and my mother. I held my grandfather’s small, blue hand and felt all of his memories pass through him; his life in rural Kentucky as a child, his mother’s face, his dogs, his children when they were small, his continued strength and determination and I knew firsthand the blessing it left on me.
T-shirt design by Daz L’asrtist
Aside from my wonderful son, I have no immediate family. I have built one with friends and specifically with this man. This man who is fearless and kind and creative and magic and steady and real.
So when she came to collect, in this dream, in her guise – I made a deal.
Please enjoy the poem below:
In The Midnight Garden
She stole in through indigo bough under the weight and glory of
a full, gold moon
A ghost of a girl moving like breeze through gaudy forsythia
Her limbs birch white and eye pale grey blue like the pulsing
vein of a wild dove
Her ebon hair whipping savage and smile curving down
She sang her rain crow song, weaving through phantom
She called to me with a lover’s voice by my secret name and
brought me out under the darkling stars
“I know you by your eye and your song.” She croaked softly
and offered me her cold hand as if gifting me a lily.
Her cool breath stole across my shoulders and slowed my blood. The
Death crow had coming to steal away my love.
Steal him from his life and waken in him another. A birth into
fretless abyss and humming oblivion.
To waken in me endless
empty hours and stillness without peace,
To tear him from his life and so from mine.
“How will you keep him with flesh that alters and weakens?
How will he love the finite and imperfect? When art and beauty
are timeless?
How can he stay with you? When I am Evolution and Omega.”
“I know you by your cold and illusion.” I sang softly and placed
my warming hand on her icy brow as if feeling a child’s face
for fever.
She wavered a bit but stood frozen, defiant. The Death crow demanded her treasure.
“I know you will take him. Into the desert darkness
where life is only a covetous idea.
I know he will love the journey and waken from the dream of
this life.And you may have him when my heart stops and me
too for the bargain.
But first listen…”
She smiled a curving downward crescent and let her head fall to
one side.
Her raven mane falling over the shifting planes of her
silver face altering into pain.
She heard
Loud and hard and hot and fierce the insistent beating of my heart.
The Death crow’s eyes grew wide as the moon. “I’ll be back.”
I smiled. “Take your time. We will be a while yet.”

The 3 Sisters of the Sky – How Not to Be Afraid of the Dark

Words of a Dandelion

I finished the manuscript today for the children’s book.  Daz is hard at work on the illustrations.

If you were a child and you feared the night, would this comfort you?

Would it ease your fears to see the balance of night and day?  For centuries, we have assigned fear and danger to the night. I wanted to create a story about balance, about sisters who must share and perform their tasks.  They are all friendly and positive in their own way. They care for people, animals and each other. They benefit everyone in completing their specific tasks and taking their turns.


If my perception of night – rife with its histrionic terrors  – could be altered into the character of a young, helpful girl with a magic silver bow, then it would be my favorite bedtime story.  Please enjoy:

The Three Sisters of the Sky.

Celeste, Soleil and Selene…

View original post 495 more words

What The World Needs Now

So I had this song tickling the back of my brain..

In lieu of a complicated, wordy blog this week, I will simply present this video. It was made in 2 days. The artwork is my son’s – the awesome Connor McManis. He illustrated my story about Cougar: Fur Family. The voice is mine – such as it is. I’m literally sitting in the hot car with windows rolled up, singing into my iphone, downing herbal tea and ignoring my ear infection. Daz, my lovely artist boyfriend and skilled video editor, put it together for me. The words belong to the immortal Burt Bachrach – who is a master at finding perfect little niches in the human heart and celebrating them in song.

The world is full and busy and ugly sometimes.  I needed to do something quiet. And honest. And decidedly raw and from the heart. So from all of us here in our little house full of love and music and art, we send love. For everyone.


Poetry: Cat & Canary Part One

(Artwork by Michelangelo Buonarotti, of course.)
In 1995, I had been hermetically sealed in a bad marriage. The person I married was not really bad, but the whole systemic instutition was killing me off. I felt caged and smothered. So instead of getting a divorce, I signed up for Creative Writing. Professor James Elledge at ISU knew my fondness for expensive multisyllabic words. My assigment? Write a poem using only words with two syllables or less.
Michelangelo’s figure work has always connected with me on a real gut level. The men and women are equal.  They have substance, motion, tension, expression. My favorite is the Libyan Sibyl from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Her face is beautiful. Her biceps are epic.  The Creation of Adam is probably one of the most well known, but we shrug and think it’s cool and slightly holy. Everyone is so familiar with it that it’s now a blip on the pop culture art radar. I even had a set of coffee cups from Goodwill that had God handing Adam a cup of coffee.
So I wanted to really look at it as meat for this piece. Examine the curve and composition that supercedes the power of the event depicted. It is beautiful. It is a celebration of the human body. God is not huge. He’s the same size as Adam. In fact, it all seems very casual. Adam is just not awake yet. There’s no lightning bolt connecting them just yet. And God has brought his little friends who look very uncertain as to whether this is a good idea or not.
The Cat ELECTRIFIES The Canary
(Reflections on Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam)
Boy, is he in for it now! Look at that
finger pointing blame and regret.
Clay and earth thicken, Adam stricken with muscle
hangs in suspense.
We all know what comes next
in the drama; still, we ache to hear it
“You, boy. Move that cartoon clay butt of
yours up here! Going to make you walk and talk
and do all sorts of wholesome things.”
Reminds ole God of story he once heard
’bout Mister Franken something who built himself
a man out of spare parts.
“Boy, you’re lucky all right. I used grade A clay,
real earth, no used parts.
Now don’t eat the fruit and don’t play
with the big snake.”
We want sparks to fly and
shock him awake.
We want Darwin to eat
his words and scratch
his primate skull.
We hope
lightning hits us, makes us live like we just
got born.
No more flaccid wrist or empty
“Come on, Daddy-O, hit us with volts,
amps and ohms.”
Waiting and hoping.
Only a crack
in the plaster for false lightning.
“Come on, Big Guy! Jolt us! Bolt us! Give us your own
Big Bang! Make science cry! Make blood sing and wail!
Hurts so good!
Touch it! Come on, touch it!” we scream.
And Adam lies there all naked
lounging like a Playgirl model
waiting for the Big Boy
to give him the finger.