Hello Owl’s Eye View Readers!
I recently began to print my column, “Life’s A Hoot” which appears monthly in my online “Owl’s Eye View Magazine” in this blog. It occurred to me that I should archive all the previous LAH columns so that you could get a better idea when reading my blog, of what my magazine is all about.
Owl’s Eye View Magazine consists of 5 monthly columns (penned by my fictitious characters), 2 two original short stories, and a monthly installment of my original novel (installments usually run about 30 pages). In Volumes 1 and 2, and the first six issues of Volume 3, there were 6 columns.
Life’s a Hoot is my editorial column, which is part personal experience or opinion and part synopses of the articles and stories contained in that issue. Therefore, I felt it was appropriate to include the columns on my blog site, since they contain highlights of each month of my personal life.
This blog contains Life’s A Hoot columns as they appeared in Volume 3 Issues 1-7 of Owl’s Eye View Magazine. After this, I will publish a blog containing the current Life’s a Hoot column on a monthly basis on the day each issue of Owl’s Eye View Magazine is published online.
Thank you for reading!
LIFE’S A HOOT - VOLUME 3 ISSUE 1
Eleven days into the New Year have so far brought some success—my own, this is the third anniversary of Owl's Eye View Magazine, and I have some loyal readers, thank you all very much. And also my grandson’s, who has mastered the potty! No more diapers or pull-ups, even at bedtime!
This time last year I was still living in
, beginning to pack for the 800 mile move to my son
and daughter-in-law’s house in Georgia . A colossal
upheaval, and equally colossal adjustment for me, has been rewarded with waking
up to my grandchildren’s happy racket each day which makes me smile, and
knowing that I am useful again to the people I love most in the world. Pennsylvania
Whatever twists and turns are in store during 2012 I hope at least the ones in Owl's Eye View bring you chills and satisfy your ooky-tooth! Muahaha!
As for the twists and turns in your real lives, I hope they leave you happy and prosperous!
In this issue of her “On the WindSpirit” column, Lucy Bernelli begins the year with a flashback to her past—and then sets out on a six issue journey into her future. How far will she take us? Keep reading?
Nathan Williams shares some fond (well, this is Owl's Eye View, so take that adjective for what it’s worth), childhood memories in “Swooping Through the Years.”
Been wondering whatever happened to Max Vale? Well, for the next five issues of “From the Perch” Melanie Alden will bring you up to date.
Ever stroll all the way down Liar’s
Pond Road, over that little bridge and around to ? Ever hear the
wispy echo of violin music? There’s a
legend to go with it, and Larry Nunn shares it with us in “Screech On!” this
issue. Colbert Mansion
Children can bring us inestimable joy or inestimable sorrow. “Macabre Mirth” brings us the dilemma of in-between.
Got a brat? Need a remedy? Consider “Cure-a-brat.com” a story I wrote while pondering child-rearing one afternoon…
If you’re juggling bills in this horrendous economy, you might want to read “Disconnect Notice” before deciding which bill can wait…just sayin’…
And last but certainly not least, it’s time for a whole new novel! The first installment of “M*E*D*S” will take you into the ooky behind the scenes world of retail pharmacy—and is based on some of my true-life experiences during my seven long years as a retail pharmacy technician. To my former co-workers and friends from that era in my life, please know that I think of you often, and 200 pages of “M*E*D*S” is my proof of that. Muahaha! Let the ooky begin!!
Thank you for reading Owl's Eye View Magazine. January 11th is my birthday and the anniversary of the premier issue in 2010. The best birthday present I get every year is your acceptance of my columns, stories and novels.
LIFE’S A HOOT - VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
Wow! It’s that time again already! The past four weeks literally flew.
I know you’re going to think I’m the biggest nerd of all time, but I found the original Star Trek series used on Amazon and couldn’t resist. I was nine the first time I saw Spock, Kirk, and Bones beginning to weave their interstellar magic and completely enchanted, never missed an episode after that. I remember swiping my mother’s compact to use as a ‘communicator,’ and using a little transistor radio for my tricorder—Voila! My house shimmered into the
Through the years I followed NASA’s every step—the moon landing excited me beyond belief, and the space shuttle program blew my mind—another step closer to making Star Trek a reality. Another step closer to the
and space missions to explore the final
Star Trek gave me hopes that the future held promise—new ideas, adventures, and chances beyond earthly imagination. I hope my grandchildren will watch the episodes when they are a little older and enjoy them as much as I did and still do.
I’d like to think that “The Great Bird of the Galaxy,” Gene Roddenberry knows how much his characters and stories meant—and still mean—to me.
Okay, now that I’ve unloaded that nerd nugget on you, let’s move onto the chills for the month:
In SWOOPING THROUGH THE YEARS Nathan Williams introduces you to his mother-in-law whose heroic flight from southern
’s KKK provides a story of courage and hope in this
Meredith Alden, Owl Maiden, continues with her series of articles updating us about Max Vale. If you loved Max in “Holy Terrors” and want to see how things unfold don’t miss “From the Perch.”
What the hell is going on with Lucy Bernelli? Ya gotta read “On the WindSpirit” to find out. Even Loren Elliott might be pulling up Owl’s Eye View to try and figure out the mystery….
Larry Nunn’s article in “Screech On!” is brief but interesting about a musical send-off….
Melanie Mirth presents a little tidbit about camping in
in her usual “Macabre Mirth” style. Georgia
Wanna do something really cool for your kid’s birthday party? Wanna be sure to keep up with the Joneses? Check out my story “Balloons” before you indulge your kid with the latest fad….that’s all I’m sayin’.
Just a little father-daughter bonding in “New Kid” gives Giselle a really cool show-and-tell when she returns to school in the fall. Muahaha!
And of course, last but not least, the latest installment of M*E*D*S to fulfill your ooky thirst. Don’t choke!
Thank you for reading! I hope you end up a puddle of anxiety hiding under your bed by the end of the issue—some advice, beware of those attack dust bunnies! They’re fierce!
LIFE’S A HOOT - VOLUME 3 ISSUE 3
It’s been an interesting month—lots of illness in the DelCampo household—one after another we each got blasted with head colds, stomach viruses, the works—but we all survived and are hanging in there.
My granddaughter is excited about the impending spring. She’s becoming quite a good reader, too, and asks about holidays that appear on her calendar. She doesn’t miss a trick, and much of everything she takes in ends up in her journal. At five, she’s smart as a whip, and destined to become my little writing buddy. I’m betting she’ll exceed any modest accomplishment of mine, though, and probably before she hits her teens!
In Owl’s Nest there’s a new novel in the works: “Cloister.” I just started the actual writing, having worked on the loose outline, main plot, character list, and research this past week. I’m liking the main storyline, which is shaping up nicely. Not telling any more than that right now—but it’s chock full of ooky!
Just like this issue of Owl's Eye View.
Hard-working Mamie Colbert’s story is first in line this issue from Nathan Williams in ‘Swooping Through the Years,’ giving a whole new perspective to the old adage, “Waste not want not.”
Max and Meredith continue to work out their problems in ‘From the Perch.” I’m waiting to see how things will go myself…sometimes the muse doesn’t even tell me what’s going to happen….
Lucy Bernelli updates us about her Haudenosaunee quest to follow her dreams…literally…in this month’s ‘On the WindSpirit.’ Spend as much time with her as you can…for now…
‘Screech On!’ has a chilling little tale for you this month. Larry Nunn’s first hand observations about a mysterious fiddler will give you a whopping dose of ooky!
Also, there is a mini-chill from Melanie in ‘Macabre Mirth.’ Cheers!
My story ‘Previous Owner’ should caution you about buying a car at an auction, especially a police auction, and keep you from getting taken for a ride…
My second story, ‘Writer God’ illustrates a worry of horror writers everywhere…
And of course, if all that isn’t enough ooky for you, there’s always the ongoing story of M*E*D*S, the latest installment a whole deep freeze full of chills to keep you awake nights!
Should keep you busy for the month. Chills!
LIFE’S A HOOT - VOLUME 3 ISSUE 4
It’s been an interesting month during which my granddaughter turned six, and I turned a little grayer when my computer crashed. I still say when you order a computer already loaded with operating systems they program it to crash just before your warranty runs out so they can convince you to sign up for another extended warranty. If I could prove it I’d sue them for all their worth. Had to wipe my computer (colossal waste of time!!!) and reinstall everything. Grrrr. Funny, the only problems I ever have had with this laptop is just before the warranty runs out. Fortunately I have two external hard drives for backups, but I still lost two columns and a short story (that I’ve noticed so far). Took me days to rewrite what I’d written last week. But I think I’m all caught up now, whew! If I could go back and relive the week before the crash my motto would have been Back-up! Back-up! Back-up!
Rosie got a lot of notebooks and a touch typing course for kids for her birthday. She keeps a journal, reads voraciously, and is one smart cookie. Love being here with the grands!
In the midst of all the celebrating and computer frustration, I managed to get Owl's Eye View all ready to give you some chills.
Nathan Williams talks about ‘old farthood’ and letting the next generation, in the form of Sol Hammond, get a feel for the reins in “Swooping Through the Years.” Don’t worry, Nathan’s not going anywhere! We hope…
Meredith Alden continues on with her story revealing Max Vale’s struggles now that she’s back in Owl’s Nest…and his life. “From the Perch” is, as always, a must read this issue.
Lucy Bernelli’s transformation continues, and her spirit is pulled nearly apart in this issue’s “On the WindSpirit.”
Larry Nunn pops into Owl’s
for a visit to the band that brings all sorts of ooky
surprises in this issue’s “Screech On!”
Nest High School
In “Macabre Mirth” this month, Melanie Mirth tells of Signe Hannigan meeting her mentor.
How do you mend a broken heart? One man’s answer lies in my story, “Be Still My Broken Heart.”
You really can’t judge a book by its cover, or so my story “Sir Muddy” goes.
The ooky Pharmacy Phunnies continue in the fourth installment of M*E*D*S, right along with the chilling evil….muahaha!
Plenty of ooky to go around for the next thirty days. Chills!
LIFE’S A HOOT - VOLUME 3 ISSUE 5
Spring is here, Owl’s Nest visitors!
Personal stuff: Rosie has made shopping lists every time she goes out with her mom shopping. Among other things she always puts on her list: new marbles for Nana (because I’m always saying whenever I forget things or screw up something during the day, that I’m losing my marbles) new feet, new knees, new shoulders for Nana because hers are broken. She is a piece of work my little granddaughter. She makes me laugh. And she cracks my heart I love her so much.
Joey and Rosie have discovered the whoopee cushion. Let me tell you, they have learned to sit slowly upon it to make the fart last forever, though Joey gets a real thrill out of one big huge blasty fart. I have to admit the humor may be pedestrian, even childish, but hearing a grand huge fart along with squeals and giggles and shrieks of laughter from my little munchkins does my heart good.
I reached out to tickle Joey as he zoomed by on his BigWheel, and he screeched to a stop with this deadly serious look on his face, to give me this reprimand: “Nana! This is my ice cream truck and you can’t tickle me because I have to drive!” Then on he went. I guess I should have known better; silly me. Funny, he’s fixated on ice cream trucks but doesn’t like ice-cream because “it’s too cold!”
Rosie is going to the Philly zoo today. I wonder which animals will be her favorites? I liked the sea lions. I miss chaperoning school trips.
Spring has been too beautiful so far this year. No cloudy, somber days to put me in the mood to write ooky. But fear not, loyal readers! I just write late at night when who knows what might be lurking just outside my window. Muahaha!
I spoke with my friend Terry Segal last week-end. She is doing well with her Enchanted Journey book, based on her workshop. She’s a wonderful writer and excellent therapist. Check out her site for much thought provoking material:
and her blog:
As for me I’m just hanging out as usual, reading “The Drowning Girl” by Caitlin R. Kiernan. Astonishingly well written. Every time Ms. Kiernan comes out with a new book, I have a major dilemma on how to reorder my favorites of her work…
As for Owl's Eye View this month, let’s take a peek:
Nathan Williams tells us what really happened in 1966 at the great campground attack out on Liar's Pond Road, so take a gander at “Swooping Through the Years.”
In “Screech On!” this issue, Larry Nunn has a particularly challenging music review to write, and no matter whether his comments are good or bad, the price could be his immortal soul!
Meredith Alden winds up her five issue story that catches us up on Max Vale’s life. You won’t want to miss the exciting conclusion in “From the Perch” this month.
Will Lucy Bernelli really go through with her quest and depart Owl’s Nest for all time? Take a peek and see if you can stand the chills. And also see what a guest writer for her “On the WindSpirit” column has to add to her words concluding this multi-issue article.
In “Macabre Mirth” this issue, Melanie Mirth puts a cool spin on a classic mummy chill, don’t miss the ooky!
A murder victim gets her say in my story, “Dear Diary.”
“Motivation” is a little ditty about a surprise ending to life…or perhaps I should say afterlife.
And of course M*E*D*S pharmacy ookiness continues on. What will happen to Mark Logan? How will Melanie and CeeCee get him back…or will they? Muahaha! Installment 5 brings us closer and closer to the brink of disaster….
Now I will let you tiptoe into Owl’s Nest and lose yourself in the ookiness. Chills!
LIFE’S A HOOT - VOLUME 3 ISSUE 6
I think my whole day yesterday was a complete brain fart. Saturday a wrote a really excellent poem for my son for Father’s Day, and got up yesterday early to get it onto his Facebook page before was up and about. Which was a very good plan, except when I went upstairs and asked him if he’d seen his Father’s Day poem on his page yet, he, and my daughter-in-law both looked at me as if I’d lost my marbles (I’m perilously close to running out altogether).
In short, Father’s Day is of course next week. I deleted the post. Ugh!
But I’m not through yet. I worked my butt off all day yesterday, got all the stories in my ‘polish then publish’ folder edited and pasted into appropriate issues of Owl's Eye View, keyed in an article, worked on Princess Rosie stories so that Rosie can illustrate them this summer, got all the editing work I’d planned for this week-end done. Hugely productive week-end.
Right up until this morning when I was awake half an hour before my alarm, knowing it’s publish Owl's Eye View day, and immediately realized I hadn’t written this column. Ugh!
So here I sit, running late now because I’m an old broad whose only marbles are the two in my pocket that Rosie gave me (because I keep losing mine). J
Okay. So the point. What have I been up to this month? What have my thoughts been?
Well, the song “Hallelujah” written by Leonard Cohen is stuck in my head to stay it seems. I’m sure my family is sick of hearing me hum it, but it’s such an addictive melody I’m thinking it’ll be around for awhile.
I went through all the bits of paper holding thoughts I’ve jotted down during the month, some are provocative, some are just random crap that occurs to me. You can judge which is which.
I think the American citizenry, as employers of every politician in office, should announce immediate pay cuts for said politicians, dropping them all to minimum wage until they get the all federal and state budgets balanced. Then and only then they may vote themselves a twenty percent raise each year, once their job performance has been reviewed. If the review (by their constituents) is positive, they can have their raise. If negative, they may be summarily dismissed for not achieving the agendas set out by their employers. I highly doubt if these men and women were working in the corporate world with such poor performance and low productivity that they would still be holding their jobs.
Little Joey and I have been watching Anne Burrell and Rachel Ray for a little over a month now. Joey loves “Miss Anne” because she has crazy hair, and she’s very animated and effervescent as she works in her kitchen. I agree, she’s charismatic and her passion for cooking is infectious. He likes ‘Cooking Rachel’ (he calls her that because he has an Aunt Rachel and a friend’s mommy named Rachel in his life) a lot too, for pretty much the same reasons, sans the crazy hair. I go onto foodnetwork.com and copy the recipes, but never have the time or money to put them together. But they are lurking there in my recipe folder…
I had to laugh. I keep a bowl (Birdie Bowl) on the end of my counter for uneaten bread crusts, veggie scraps, egg shells, dryer lint (birds use it to line their nests), and other compost stuff. I let the kids take the bowl to the back corner of the yard for the birdies and squirrels (and groundhog). So the other night I’m talking to Joe and Cait about my disability benefit woes, and said, “I’m worried about not having enough money to take care of arrangements if/when I go for the big dirt nap.” And without missing a beat, Cait piped up with, “Oh don’t give it a thought. Joey and I will just cut you up and let the kids take you out in the birdie bowl!” So that’s a weight off my mind.
I jotted this thought down somewhere along the way this month: Eating sugar for an energy boost is like coasting your car down a hill when it’s out of gas—you’ll get down the hill, but at the bottom you’ll still be out of gas. Hmmm…not a bad analogy.
Rosie will be out of school for summer vacation on Thursday and I’m trying to line up little things to keep her brilliant little mind occupied. I’m thinking artist of the day. I will prop a picture of a painting or sculpture by a famous artist up, and let Rosie and Joey draw their own version of it. I figure it’ll be good for an hour or so of quiet time during each day, and at the end of the summer I will have a shit load of interesting kid art to tack up on the walls of my room. J
I wrote: I’m more shocked when a man is decent and kind than I am when he is despicable and cruel. (I guess I’m jaded—I am always happy to be surprised by the decency and kindness, though. I love it when that happens.)
Rosie handed me her recipe:
Rosie’s Homemade Cheesy Stars
1 box star pasta
3 slices (1 pat=1 tbs)
3 pinches salt
1 handful shredded cheese
1 tablespoon milk
There are no directions, but I think those of us who cook can figure out Chef Rosie’s recipe and come up with a pretty good dish. Her handwritten recipe with the face drawn in the R of her name, (which incidentally is also wearing a chef’s hat) was the best part for me.
As for me, I’ve been playing around with Hummus recipes and eating a lot of it on celery chunks every day. I wanted something crunchy and satisfying to take the place of crackers because the carb comas every evening were seriously curtailing my writing productivity. Celery, cucumber medallions, radish slices are all excellent vehicles for Hummus. Mmmmm. Hopefully my ass will shrink enough that it will no longer require its own zip code.
Oh, and I finished writing “Parliament” and completed a rough edit. I will do a final edit in a couple of months after the manuscript has had a chance to ‘rest,’ then divide it into installments and insert it in the January-June issues of Owl's Eye View for 2013.
In summary, it’s been an interesting and diverse month filled with Owl's Eye View ookiness, family closeness, grandchildren joy and silliness, and Social Security Disability preposterousness.
Editor’s note about Lucy Bernelli’s departure:
I had some things to say about Native American spirituality—which I personally respect and didn’t want to exploit. I have said what I wanted to say and that is why I gave Lucy the storyline to fully commit to her ancestors—and Native way of life—because when it comes to personal goals and values, it truly is all or nothing. People of European descent never completely understood their connection to Mother Earth because they abandoned natural, healthier living centuries before they came in contact with the Native Americans. The result is that white people are on the brink of self-destruction and unfortunately they’re dragging Native Americans with them on that violent, downward spiral. That’s what happens when the environment is treated as a political issue rather than a way of life.
Through Lucy, I tried to give Oneida Traditionals a way out—a way to survive on their own terms.
Because I have always felt that the Indians and Mexicans for that matter, got steamrolled by the Europeans, that white settlers brand of ‘civilization’ was and is mostly a selfish, hypocritical farce in comparison to the Native Americans whose nature-based religions had soul and meaning and were lived not preached. I hope I portrayed that through Lucy’s character and storyline.
Okay, last but far from least:
A dear writer friend of mine asked me awhile ago if I thought it was appropriate to fictionalize true events from one’s life in order to write about them.
I guess she gives me credit for being quite a lot more creative than I actually am because there are bits and pieces of me, my friends, co-workers, and conversations I’ve overheard on buses, in restaurants, and stores, all kinds of tidbits of truth I’ve doctored up and tucked into novels, stories, and columns.
Part of the reason I write the people and experiences of my life into fiction is because I never really figured people would care about a little housewife/writer in the second smallest state in the country. That and I like writing ooky stories. Oh, and I didn’t want to gbet my ass sued off by former employers, and others who might become upset if their parts of my story painted them in a less than flattering light.
And then of course there are a very few people here and there through the years who have truly pissed my off—not as many as you might think, actually. I’m a pretty forgiving person and I’m not arrogant enough to think that just because a person rubs me the wrong way that they’re bad through and through. But I’ve run across a couple of real bastards in my lifetime—one the owl sentries took care of in Holy Terrors, one met a dreadful demise in M*E*D*S, and that’s all I’m fessin up to. Muahaha!
The more experiences I can suck out of my real life and infuse into my fiction, or use a complete basis for a story or novel, the more textured and believable my characters and stories turn out to be.
So now, if you follow my writing all that’s left for you to figure out is which characters are me—muahaha!
In the sixth issue of Owl's Eye View:
Larry Nunn tells us a little tale of a muse gone haywire in “Screech On!”
In “Swooping Through the Years” Nathan Williams introduces us to Sol Hammond, his protégé.
Meredith Alden has a little chat with Lois Vale, Max’s mom in “From the Perch.”
Another guest writer for “On the WindSpirit” in the wake of Lucy Bernelli’s dramatic departure for another dimension, an alternate life. Trudy Shriver lends her skills to tie up so very many loose ends.
“Operating Table #4” is Melanie Mirth’s gift in “Macabre Mirth.” Pate anyone?
Who can resist soft, cuddly, hand-made baby afghans for a newborn? You might once you read my story, “Blankies.”
Little May’s solution for domestic violence in my story “Trunk.”
And of course, last but not least, the conclusion of M*E*D*S—don’t dare miss it! Chills abound!
LIFE’S A HOOT - VOLUME 3 ISSUE 7
There really is no hope for me—I started writing a warm & fuzzy novel about a woman who’s bankrupted waiting for Social Security benefits to kick in after she’s disabled. She takes in three veterans who have various disabilities also and are having trouble making ends meet. It was going to be a non-horror novel, but twisted soul that I am, I kept getting horror ideas, and finally just incorporated the whole thing into the plot for “Zee,” my current horror novel project. So…. I’m looking to have it finished and ready to publish from July through December of 2013.
Incorporating the warm and fuzzy story into “Zee” expands its plotline magnificently, and textures the book in a big way! But I suppose there is no hope for me to write a sweet, heartwarming novel. While warm and fuzzy stuff appeals to and touches me, I can’t seem to write it and leave it at that. My mind always goes off on a ‘what if?’ tangent and tacks on horrific cliff-hangers to each chapter.
Such is my lot in life…muahaha!
And Issue 7 of Owl’s Eye View is no exception. Revel in the ookiness:
Larry Nunn presents a casual interview with Tania Alden about a haunting serenade in “Screech On!”
Meredith Alden tells us all about the advantages of multi-dimensional living that started when Signe Hannigan helped WWII Jews in the late 1930s. Interesting!
Nathan Williams comments on Lucy Bernelli’s “Trail of Cheers” in this issue’s “Swooping Through the Years.”
Introducing a new column! Lisa Galloway, the young poet in “Into the Mist,” shares her “Visceral Verse” with us, promising chills galore, starting with her “Midnight Murder Ball.”
You’ll want to buy stock in Tilex after reading Melanie Mirth’s “Macabre Mirth” vignette this issue.
Finally I get to share my story “Pharmaceecee” with you, now that “M*E*D*S” is published. Enjoy the ooky in this bonus story for this issue!
In the ‘ya just never know’ category, my story, “Pot Luck” cautions fine diners everywhere to keep your wine cellars properly stocked for the big day…
My story, “List of Demands” reminds us that you never really know who your enemies are, until they’re in your face…
And I’m proud to offer you the first installment of my gruesome novel “True Crime Shelf.” Always remember, what you read is what you get. Evil oozes in Owl’s Nest leaving a swathe of dead Owls in its wake.
Thank you for reading each month! Chills!