OK, seriously? What is going on around here? Jon Strother you have created a monster. There are more awards flying around than there are stories on the Flash Report and weren't there, like, about 900 stories this week?
(Why is that woman's face so yellow? I mean, I know it's the '80s and all but that was only the other day, right? And I do still have that haircut.)
Well, it's obviously working. Awards are flying faster than bullshit at a cattleprod convention.
Hey, don't get me wrong. I'm not bitching. I think it's a good thing – especially since I am the recipient of about 100,000 of these puppies. OK, so maybe not quite that many. It just feels like it. I'm going to have to write a novel just to thank everyone and – oh, god, let's not say the 'n' word anymore tonight. It makes me feel faint-ish.
(I'm writing this in the gazebo, watching my fiance plant lilac bushes. It's about 400 degrees of humidity and the flies are swarming and he's perservering while I sit on my wide lily-white arse pecking away at this.
So, to start things off, let me first thank Dave, my Dave, who almost-hardly-ever gets ticked off because I spend more time on my computer than I do with him. He is handsome and handy; he fixes my car and he fixes my supper; he never gets mad; he's the best kisser ever, and I mean EVER; and he's a wicked euchre partner. Plus he plants lilacs, oh, and he is my story proofer. Every time I write a flash I read it to him and he always says nice things. A big round of applause for my Dave!
Gracie Motley is the next person on my list. A week or so ago, while I was in the throes of god knows what but it must have been important because I forget what it was, Gracie over at Crone's Cauldron Publications gave me a Lovely Blogger Award. You've no doubt seen it around. The Bukmeister, handsome Anthony Venutolo described the pink roses in a teacup badge as something Holly Hobbie might have designed. Speaking of Anthony, he also bestowed the lovely blogger award on me. Here's the award:
And here's how I picture Gracie, because I don't have a picture of her anywhere:
And here's a picture of Anthony, just because it's a great picture:
He's pretty much the coolest guy in Flashworld, loving the seedy underbelly and glam-sparkled world of Vegas and Atlantic City and New Jersey. The only uncool thing about him is he comes to the Muskoka River sometimes and hangs at the riverbank, reading the Bracebridge paper and saying nice things about it even though it pales to the Ledger. It was kinda embarrassing the last time he put Dave's favourite lure in the birch tree but he was so cute that even Dave couldn't hold a grudge.
Gracie, on the other hand, is an L.A. kind of girl. She buys all her clothes on Rodeo Drive and is regularly seen giving fashion advice to Paris Hilton and Cher. Gracie is also Flash's biggest and most enthusiastic cheerleader. She reads EVERYBODY and she always has nice things to say. I love it when Gracie jet sets over to Bracebridge and pops by for some frothy blender drinks and a peek at George Strombolopolous on CBC.
So what are the rules about Lovely Blogger? Oh yes: post pink roses, link back to the person who nominated you (Gracie and Ant) and then award 15 (!) newly discovered blogs. Ack! Okay - geez, this is a bit like work, but here goes.
1. Xanox Marcelles over at Crooked Fang scares the shit outta me because he's a vampire and a rock god. But he's buds with Carrie Clevenger so what's good with Carrie is good with me.
2. Elizabeth Griffin at Horsepatch is my little sister. She's crazy about horses, like just whacked, really, but she's a pretty fine writer and a good woman.
3. While I'm on family, I want you to know about Kelly Gough, who is one of my favourite cousins living out in British Columbia. She is a fabulous artist who has just sent her work all the way to China (is that right Kel? God, I hope it's not Japan.. then I'm a complete idjit). Kelly and I used to write comic books when we were, like, ten years old. We did it all summer long. You can see her blog at PTSD is NOT My Fault but make sure you visit her art website here. She's awesome.
4. Speaking of relatives, Wendy Bolt is someone else I admire. Wendy is not only Kelly's sister, she is the amazing women at the top of this page with a shorn head. She did it to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. Pay her a visit here.
5. I did recently discover this blog and know nothing about Mavis other than it's fun to visit.
6. Deb over at My Great White North is a favourite haunt of mine. She lives a few miles away; she's funny and she has a cute dog.
7. Ed Boutilier at Stumbling Around Muskoka takes the MOST incredible photographs. Check his work out - he has a special technique that makes everything crazy beautiful.
8. I would certainly be remiss if I didn't name my mother here. Dot is the occasional writer of Dot and Molly. She is awesome in every sense of the word, and not just because she hatched me.
9, The Red Dress Club is a cool blog hang-out for ladies only. Sorry, boys.
10. Jenn Jilks truly is the Queen of Muskoka blogs. If you need to know Muskoka, you need to visit Jenn.
Fifteen? Are you kidding? Did I read that wrong? It's getting dark out here! Ok..
11. An Airstream Adventure is Tomara Armstrong's mom. Tomara is a really funky, funny #fridayflasher I am getting to know a bit, especially through facebook. Thanks for cheering me on, Tomara!
12. Bill & Pat's Excellent Adventure is Tomara Armstrong's dad! These two each have their own views on the unpredictable world of camping and I love to laugh at their exploits - especially their septic exploits!
13. John McConnell - I don't know if John is new to flash but he's new to me and his stories make me laugh, really, laugh out loud.
Holy crap, am I done yet?
14. I just started following the work of Taliansaurus (did I spell that correctly? Can't anybody have easy names anymore?). Love her stuff even though she has some creepy doll pictures posted.
15. Really? Am I here already? Gee that wasn't bad, was it? I very recently started paying attention to She Blogged By Night, mostly because of the cool vintage picture posted on top, but this blog is a lot of fun. Anthony, you oughta love this one.
WHEW! As you noticed, I tried to stick by the rules and post only recently discovered blogs. I gotta tell you, though, that was a tall order. I have so many old regulars that I love that it's hard to find time for new discoveries.
Pee break. BRB.
Still with me? Hokey noodles. I feel like I'm in another marathon here.
This is the award Jon Strother started this week. The Fabergé one? That's it. Jon nominated four people, including Shannon Esposito at Murder in Paradise. Talk about well-deserved. Everything Shannon writes is absolutely top-notch. It's not written so much as it's crafted. Beautifully crafted.
Her's was one of the first flash stories I set eyes on and I greedily come back all the time looking for more. I just purchased one of Shannon's e-books and, I hate to admit this, I haven't had time to crack it open yet. When I do, I'll be sure to tell you all about it.
Thanks Shannon. You passing this on to me makes me a very happy camper.
So it wasn't enough that I got this award from Shannon. Oh no.
You don't think I got this pudgy from not being piggy, did ja?
(Oh. Only I am allowed to say that about myself, by the way. Cathy's Rules.)
Nope, I got the same award, a day or so later, from Peggy McFarland, who dazzles me regularly over at Eldritch Way. Peg is a tough gal, a barkeep cutie who's about my age (27) and who writes with a satisfying edge. She wrote a sci fi piece about a woman with extraordinary powers that had me just glued. That she wrote such nice things about me makes me all googly inside.
(Yes, that's really her in the picture. And, yes, they're real.)
The deal with the Fabulous Flash Award is you have to pass it on to four other bloggers who write amazing flash fiction. This is hard, really hard, by the way. When you get your own award, you'll see. I decided to go a little further afield, to talk about some writers you may not (or may, if you're lucky) be familiar with. Do pay them a call. Tell 'em I said hi.
Without further adieu, my choices for Fabulous Flash:
1. Alan W. Davidson, Conversations From Land's Edge.
Alan is known as an affable blogger, easy to get along with, makes you laugh, makes you think. But he is more than all that. He writes incredibly good flash fiction. The first story I ever saw involved a little barking dog, a wonderfully romantic and round woman, Wal-mart and an unfortunate Valentine's incident. His most recent flash was a tear-jerking story from his childhood, when kids were kids and kids were trouble. I admire this fellow Canadian like crazy. He truly deserves this award. And he has become, I think, a very good friend.
2. Tomara Armstrong, This, That ... The Other Thing
Tomara is young and hip and writes with SUCH enthusiasm. Her flash this week, called Pink is the Colour of Shame, is a tender, honest story that pulls at my heart strings. I am fast becoming a big fan of Tomara. Not to mention her cool parents who blog about their trailer-ing life. If you haven't visited with Tomara yet, what the heck are you waiting for? And doesn't she remind you of Bridget Jones? Only skinny? She does me. And I'm a big fan of the Bridget.
3. Gracie Motley, Crone's Cauldron Publications
I've already mentioned Grace, above, but can you possibly mention Grace often enough? No! Never enough! I've enjoyed a number of Gracie's stories but none touched me as much as this one did this week. The Car Trip made me smile, made me laugh, made me cry. And I loved the video she added to it. Congratulations, Gracie, you write wonderful flash.
And nice painted butt, too.
4. Donald Conrad, Flashtold
Donald describes himself as a lurker. Not sure where he wrote that - facebook, I guess. To me Donald sort of skulks about the outer perimeter of Flash, not making a huge name for himself, but consistently writing interesting, well told stories. He has a way with words that I admire. And he's a fun presence on facebook - I love it when his family gets on his back!
And I kinda like his couch.
Still with me? Really? Is there nothing on TV tonight?
Wow, you must really be desperate.
Funny thing is, I am truly saving the best for last.
With all these awards floating around, Mark Kerstetter of The Bricoleur decided to create one of his own. This is what he posted on his blog yesterday: "In the spirit of showing appreciation I've created my own badge. It's based on my drawing of a rose-kind of fantasy flower straight from my noodle. Sui generis: one of a kind. This is a token of appreciation for someone who's irreplaceable, someone unmistakable, someone who practices great and totally unique artistry. It goes to someone I really like, my buddy Cathy Olliffe. It's for her because her writing kicks ass and also because her spirit throws mighty waves into cyberspace. She may do with it whatever she likes. It only comes with one rule: should the recipient wish to pass it on, it only goes to one person. "
As you can imagine, I was completely blown away.
I don't want to go on and on about this. Suffice it to say I don't know Mark, of course. He lives in Florida with his lovely wife V and goes about life fixing his house, saving the planet, writing cool flash and rendering amazing art. Quite a fellow, Mark is.
But I feel like I know him.
We call each other "pal" and I like that. A lot.
I just want to say thanks. From the bottom of my heart, thanks.
I can't even begin to describe what it means to me.
You know what, pal? I'm going to hang on to it for a little bit.
Really think about who I want to pass it onto. Because honestly? Right now I am so thrilled about it I don't want to pass it on to anybody. I want to snug it close and enjoy it for a wee bit longer.
Do you blame me?