Short Story: Pauper’s Pumpkin Patch

[I like releasing short story over Medium, but this needs a little push, so it’s coming out here first after airing for a couple reading audiences.]

In another place, in another time, Cindy Pauper had a small bio-organic no-till permaculture produce garden and orchard, in a corner of the Halcyon Realm. She ran a neighborhood pumpkin and gourd patch in the fall – not the biggest, but many claimed the most beautiful. She used the same fancy-lettering sign each year that read, “Pauper’s Pumpkin Patch.”

A single woman business owner, she relied on good community connection to keep her business thriving. She helped her widowed stepmother raise her two younger daughters, in the house she grew up in with her father. Cindy lived in her own earthen cottage, closer to the garden. She had designed and built it herself with the help of friends.

It was a custom in the Halcyon Realm to bring champion produce to the castle, to present to the royal family for pride of honor. The custom in turn was that the royal family lived on this first and foremost. Cindy had an amazing pumpkin yield this year – not only were they gigantic and blemish-free, they radiated vitality and robust perfection; they were delicious and would keep well, from hardy land-race stock, bearing many seeds. Everyone agreed that one of these simply had to go to the castle. So, Cindy put her name on the list for the next agricultural audience.

Prince Benedict of the Halcyon Realm was starting to think about family. He’d earned his reputation in beneficial politics around the world and in the Realm, feeling that he’d taken proper action for his people and for the future. He might even soon be ready for fatherhood – but he knew that it would be asking something mighty of anyone to take his partner’s seat, have family, and rule the realm well together. He looked at potential partners differently now, from attractive dignitaries to various distinguished leaders, wondering who the people and his heart might accept. Just the other night he’d held a social event where he strengthened friendships and allegiances, but hadn’t felt any kind of spark. Not that it happens for trying, but that special someone could be anywhere.

On the day of the farmer’s audience, Cindy’s neighbor came over with the flatbed cart to transport her and the prize pumpkin. It sat upon a special rolling pallet that Cindy made. As she was hurrying to meet the cart’s arrival, one of her wooden clogs – her only pair of outdoor shoes – suddenly broke in half on a regular stone in the ground. She met her neighbor at the pumpkin, holding her broken shoe.

Cindy’s stepmother came to help them load up the pumpkin. She offered her own shoes for use, but they were too big for Cindy, who was likely to trip in them. They had to go, so Cindy just grabbed her fuzzy fur house slippers. These were made from rabbit skins her father had hunted and tanned. She had lovingly maintained and resized them over the years, adorning the mends with scrap ribbons and colored thread. They might look foolish in the castle, but no less foolish than in her stepmother’s shoes. Her neighbor had an important appointment afterward, so they would have to leave right after Cindy presented the pumpkin.

The Prince sat with his parents, the King and Queen. Farmers entered the sunny hall with their most remarkable specimens. Last but not late, the doorman opened the other side of the double door to assist the pumpkin farmer and her friend. This farmer was young, and very pretty, wearing cutoff overalls and some sort of fur booties. Something about those fuzzy slippers struck Prince Benedict to his core, and the Prince raised a hand to his heart as she raised a hand to her brown hair still done up in braids. He snuck the list out of his father’s hand and took over the calling portion of the ceremony, stating that audiences would be called in order of door entry.

The farmers were already arranged accordingly, Cindy Pauper and her pumpkin staying right where they were. It was a really amazing pumpkin, practically shining there. When Prince Benedict looked at her, he decided it was safest if he gazed on her shoes. They looked so soft. She was patient and pleasant. The farmer next in line to her already knew her, and they traded comments on some of the produce and as it was presented. Was it his imagination, or did her eyes shine a little when she looked at him? His father was shrewdly observing his behavior, harrumphing a reminder when the Prince’s eyes rested too long on that particular small farm entrepreneur. She looked like his kingdom – his country! She made him feel at home in an entirely new way. Before he called her up, the Prince announced that he would be holding a meet-and-greet afterward in his salon, next to the garden.

Cindy Pauper deeply wished she could attend the garden greet, as much for professional reasons as anything else. She had not known that the Prince would be this handsome. He was well-spoken-of… politically, which was why she’d been of a mood to bring them her best. That was one thing to hear, and another thing to see. People had really encouraged her into this.

When he called her name, Cindy stepped up to introduce herself, her small garden CSA and pumpkin patch, and then the pumpkin itself, which she named Splendour. She handed a small booklet of recipes and preservation preparations to the Queen, who was well known for this hobby. She recommended the plentiful seeds to their farms and vaults, also handing them a care instructional. The King and Queen smiled and nodded often. The Prince was on the edge of his seat. He watched Cindy escape the moment her audience was concluded, which is when the general audience was concluded as well.

The cart zipped off with its passenger, unburdened of its treasure. Cindy sighed and mentioned, “Prince Benedict is holding a greeting session next to their garden, and if we have any time available, I would love to go even for just a little.”

“Oh Cindy, I would like to grant you that but we’ve been waiting on a cow for so long, and we finally have everything ready and they’re holding onto this one for us. It’s going to make a huge difference for our family, I just cannot imagine missing out this time.”

“Oh, you’re right. I’m happy for you and the kids, and so grateful that you could even spare the cart for this today.” That was when she looked down and saw one slipper missing off her feet, which must have happened when she hopped in. No going back for that, either, with the daylight they had left.

The Prince strategically milled people through the same exit Cindy Pauper had used. Outside, he immediately glimpsed Cindy’s furry slipper on the edge of the road, though there was no trace of the woman or any vehicle. He could see that all the ribbons and colors of thread were different, and that the very soft fur was aged but clean. He went over, picked it up, and thought three things:

  1. I am the Prince.
  2. She brought me her best pumpkin.
  3. I’m going to return her slipper to her.

After this meet-and-greet I just promised, he thought as he tucked the fuzzy bootie into one of his large coat pockets. Tomorrow, when he would have the day to find her. It was due time for some country visiting. He turned and gave his attention to the people around him, not explaining the moment and taking them onward. As he socialized, he made sure to talk to anyone who talked or nodded to Cindy, and they would magically find a way to drop a generous word about her and her farm. Her pumpkin was a top point of discussion.

Cindy Pauper lived one county over. Prince Benedict took his chariot to the county office first, but there was no ownership registry for the name Pauper. As the Prince went to exit without finding what he was looking for, the entry clerk said, “I remember that cloth.” He was pointing to a ribbon on the fur slipper sticking out of the Prince’s coat pocket. “Those were wedding favor kerchiefs, at the Pauper place.” Oh, was she married? Maybe the property was registered to her partner. “Nearly thirty years ago, but I still have mine. Sidney Pauper and Sharon Cherry. That was a golden time. Some party.”

“Does a Cindy Pauper live there?”

“Cindy… that would be their daughter. I think she moved out on her own.”

“She brought a magnificent pumpkin to the castle. I wish to personally return this slipper to her, which I believe she left in haste. It looks like an irreplaceable item.”

The clerk smiled. “Perhaps you can find word or whereabout at our Farm Hall. Mr. Pauper was a farmer, Cindy might be too. They lived at the end of the longest lane,” he said pointing vaguely. “Though the roads are different now. Better, your highness. Now most of the roads are longer than they were and connect to other places. I haven’t actually been to that part in a while, not since the roads were named. Many thanks to your family for the trade routes, and keeping them nice.” The Prince returned a gracious gesture as he departed.

He arrived at the Farm Hall with the furry, beribboned slipper sticking further out of his coat pocket. When he walked inside, a young boy ran up to him, pointing. “That’s Cindy’s slipper,” he said, “it’s not supposed to go outside the house!”

“Well, she herself actually left it at the castle. I’d like to return this to her.”

The boy’s mother came over, saw his dress ranking, and recognized him. “Goodness, it’s the Prince! You’ve come looking for dear Cindy?”

“I go to her house sometimes,” the boy exclaimed, “and I help dig!”

His mother nodded. “She gets along very well with young Neil. Your highness, I would like to thank you for your libraries initiative. We get so excited when new books arrive. In fact, Cindy helped install the shelves. There’s one right over there,” she said, pointing to a sign that said Farm Hall Library.

“Cindy read us the Munchy Munchy Caterpillar,” young Neil exclaimed.

The Prince was feeling a little lightheaded. “So, where do I go to bring this to her home?”

“She still lives on the old property on Lovers Lane, past the creek. Though, you’ll have to walk out back unless she’s in the house with her sisters.” The Prince turned to exit, remembering to sketch a bow at the door, which they returned but he barely saw.

The tree at the corner of Lovers Lane had grown so well that it was obscuring the signage, so the Prince went three roads too far before growing suspicious. At that moment, he saw a produce stand and stopped there to talk.

“Ah, you’re looking for Cindy’s place? We’ve got some of her apples here, very sweet Pink Ladies!” The Prince bought a dozen for the chariot’s sack. “It must be because of the huge black walnut tree at the corner. Might be time to build some furniture out of that. Her pa planted it, Ol’ Sid. He was like my big brother, and she’s like a lil’ sis. She painted my sign, too.” The sign was pleasingly exuberant, with happy-faced fruits and vegetables. Prince Benedict smiled back at them. “I can cover this up for a moment and guide you back to Lovers Lane.”

The grocer took his pony, and the Prince followed in his country chariot. The grocer pointed past the black walnut where the Prince could see the sign from the other side. As he waved the Prince onward, he yelled out, “Thank you! Fair Prices For Farmer’s Wages!” He was referring to the market stabilization the Prince had helped with a few years back. Prince Benedict smiled and waved as they parted.

Lovers Lane was incredibly beautiful, brimming with flowers and trees. There were homeful houses and well-designed food environments including orchards, fields, and gardens. The Prince sighed, and heard a tinkling trickle of water. A rill crossed the road here, and he wondered if this is what passed for a creek. It had a housing to run under the road.

He went to the next gate on the right. Inside, a blacksmith was at his foundry with an apprentice. When he saw the Prince, he handed the bellows to the apprentice, a muscled and powerful-looking girl of young teenage years. “Wow,” he said, “Are you the Prince or something?”

“I am the Prince,” he replied.

The blacksmith let out a jolly whoop. “What an honor! How can I help you?”

“Is this where Cindy Pauper lives?”

“Oh.” The smith picked up a bell and rang it at the foundry. The girl set aside the bellows and dusted herself off on her apron, coming toward them. “This is Cindy’s sister, Rena.” Her hair was darker than Cindy’s, her build very square, face differently shaped. They could be assumed of more distant relation. She smiled wide and stuck out her hand, then appeared unsure if she’d done the right thing. The Prince accepted the handshake.

“Rena Mendez. Stepsister. My mom was her late dad’s second wife. He was really cool, and so is she.” Everywhere a good word in support of her, even from her little sister. “We don’t live here, though. I come here for my apprenticeship. We’re out past the creek, further down.” That was when Rena noticed Cindy’s slipper in his pocket and pointed. “Hey, you found that? She was really missing that.”

Prince Benedict touched it lightly and smiled. “So, that wasn’t the creek I just crossed?”

“Goodness, no,” replied the smith, “but Cindy and Rena did help me lay that pipe into the road.”

Prince Benedict extended a hand to the girl. “Would you kindly ride with me in my chariot and show me the way to your home, so that I may personally deliver her slipper with my highest regards?”

She turned to her teacher. “Can I go?”

“You can go.”

“Sure! Your highness.”

They soon arrived at the creek, which was framed by a well-aged and well-maintained stone bridge, with lovers’ initials painted onto the rocks. Another mature black walnut grew majestically to the right of the bridge on the other bank. “Take the lane past the tree there,” Rena said. “You’ll have to park this at the house first before you can go any further in.”

As the chariot slowed into the clearing, Rena’s mother came out of their house, an old fashioned medium sized log cabin. Wonderingly, she said, “Rena, to what do we owe this honor? Excellent fortune, I hope?” She was nervously polishing a glass.

“No,” said Rena, hopping off the chariot, “or yes. He’s here to see Cindy.”

Through the open door an even younger girl came out, barely of reading age. She had some of Cindy’s features, and was also clearly her mother’s child as she leaned on her. “Cindy’s my sister,” she murmured.

“This is Zena,” said their mother, “and I’m Avena.” Behind her, the chimney puffed smoke warmly. The woodpile near the house was well stacked. The sun was dipping closer to the horizon. The Prince took Cindy’s slipper out of his pocket slowly, wanting to explain yet now reluctant to part with it. Avena looked at it, and him, nodding with understanding. “She’ll be glad to have that back,” she said with a soft smile, “We’ll show you the way to her place further in.”

“I hope you like dogs,” said Rena. “Trumpet might be a little loud, but he’s actually really nice.”

“I love dogs,” said the Prince truthfully. He went with them around the back toward a pasture fence.

“How about horses? Roamer is usually somewhere around the cottage,” asked Avena cautiously.

“I tend to agree well with them,” he replied. As they neared the gate, dog and horse appeared, both looking old but loved. The dog Trumpet, a hound, bayed exuberantly, sniffed toward the slipper, and licked the Prince’s coat once. The old stallion whickered, “Hm-hm-hm-hm-hm,” bringing his nose toward the Prince’s hand. Prince Benedict stroked his muzzle, and Roamer blinked and sighed. “That’s a good introduction.”

“You can go in through here. Take the path through the alders to her cottage on the other side. She might be in her garden just beyond.”

Bird chirped overhead as he passed through the alders. Trumpet and Roamer followed him. The earthen cottage on the other side was a stunning work of art with colored windows, delicious curves, and natural details. He had just practiced knocking on the door when he heard singing, presumably from the garden. It was an enchanting melody in a voice that made him ache.

He followed the footpath around the side to where a kitchen garden lay next to the resplendent pumpkin patch, in a field over a dell awash in sunset. Prince Benedict focused on the voice and he saw her there, barefoot, tending seedlings in a cloche with a watering can. He brought forth the slipper and suddenly fell to one knee when Trumpet announced him with a blaring bark.

Cindy turned from the last of her watering to see the Prince kneeling at the edge of her garden, her fuzzy slipper held out before him. Thrilled about the slipper and flustered by the Prince, Cindy wiped her hands on her overalls and went straight to him.

Before she said anything, he spoke from where he knelt. “I thank you so much for your gracious gift, of the pumpkin, Ms. Cindy Pauper. You left your slipper at the castle, and so I have come to return it to you. All the people I’ve met along the way have sung your praises – you’re kind, giving, hard working, ingenious, joyful, knowledgeable, and your family name is as good as gold. I am humbled in the paradise you’ve created with your own hands, here in my realm. Will you date me?” Prince Benedict remained kneeling throughout, his intent gaze upon her face.

Cindy lifted a hand to her heart and a wrist to her forehead. Feeling faint, she sank to a seat on the ground in front of him. With both hands, she relieved him of the fuzzy slipper, cradling it against her. He sat on the ground facing her, and this time she spoke first.

“My family, my business, my community, and this realm are safe and thriving because of the work you’ve done. I brought you my prize pumpkin because I’m already a great admirer of what you do and how you’ve done it. And, you’re gorgeous. Yes, I’ll date you.”

Their initials soon joined the others on the stone bridge across the creek. When, miracle of miracles, they celebrated their union, folk from every neighborhood cheered the pair. Cindy kept her house and farm at the Pauper place, where the Prince made his refuge; and there was a seat for Cindy everywhere in the castle, where she also made a home, bringing her fair, honest, and gentle sensibilities to the throne room. There, her name was given a dignifier, and she became known far and wide as Cinderella.

[Eva L. Elasigue CC-BY 4.0 Creative Commons]

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Typewriter: Fandemic Dead Atlanta

Fandemic Dead happened in February! Here are the pages people typed with my typewriter at my Creator’s Alley table (sanitizer provided).

[EDITED]

Fandemic Dead Atlanta 2022

Add anything to this page!

oi hi 890 hiiii hi

how are you

hi

everything will be okay…
sucks one day someone will walk across your grave sebastian stan
Hello According to all known laws of aviation there is no way I’ve got a
I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts. joey is really freaking cool. Alex is alright.
Howdy. I want food Please and thank you oh and I want sleep

Leave your mom’s phone number please. Your mom is a very nice lady.
$f your mom
if your moms number was an amount of money how much money would you have?
hhhhh sorry I had a moment… The moment was a stroke

lovelife@ @minor.michela @major.jte

love laugh live
hike
We met Chandler Riggs and he was sooo sweet – Lydia & paige.) vanessa brooklyn
kill her mommy kill her / gay cowboys hello hello I like apples gay cowboys gay cowboys

john bernthal is quite attractive. um no. die then. *then. I will not. You stink
You are stinky.

Fandemic Dead Atlanta 3/2022

contribute what you will

hi my name is paige 🙂

hey you owen pugs are cute james rodil have a good sorry I meant good negan lives

Count your Blessings

hi how is your day

what do you do when you wake up and

Hi, I’m from michigan glad to meet you…

shiela

david hilliad

add lunarmizaru on runescape

hh
tt
tt pp
::
//
::shell::cyclone:
shell gaming dominion

booth
A32
htpp:sgd.wiki

http://shellgamingdominion.com

[VERBATIM]

Fandemic Dead Atlanta 2022

Add anything to this page!

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sucks llooneyday someonewill walk across your gravehi eb sebastian staan
Hello wo l my he i h According to ll known laws ofaviatin thee isno way i ve got a
i ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts. joey is really freking cool.Alex is alright.
Howdy.I want food Please and thank you oh and i want leep

Leave yorm msmom8s phone number please. Your mom is a very nice lady.
$f your mom

if your hmom8s number was an amount of money how much money ouwould you have?
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhh sorry i had a moment…. T em moment was a stroke

l velife@ @minor.michela @major.jte

love laugh live
hi ke
We met Chandler Riggs and he was sooo sweet – Lydia & paige .) vanessa b rooklynn
kill her mommy kill her gay cowboyshelo hello i like apples gay cowbys gay cowb
jon bernthal is quite attractive.um no. die th h. *then. i will not. ou stink
ouy you are stinky.

Fandemic Dead Atlanta 3/2022

contribute what you will

hi m y name is paige .:)
hey u owen pug are cute james rodil have a good sorry i meant go goodn negan lives
Count your Blessings

hhi how is yyou er day

h tbdomyou do when you wake up and

Hi I,,,m from michigamnglad to meet you……

sheila

th d thedavid hilliad

dd add lunarmizaru on runescape

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tt
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::
//
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shellgamingdominio n

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Fandemic Dead Atlanta 3/2022 last day

I feel like star material.

Typewriter: Why verbatim transcripts?

(I flew this sentiment past my social media with no uproar, and I’m including it here where it can be referenced for my type transcripts.)

Why the verbatim transcripts?

When taking down other people’s direct words, I acknowledge that though I can usually discern what a person means to say (as a sometime professional editor and copy editor), there are times when someone’s linguistic culture may be different from mine in ways I am totally unaware. At Standing Rock for instance, I can’t spell check native wording. Black language has its own innovations, and I also allow for artistic license. I don’t wish to unwittingly erase other cultures or intentional deviations from standard english.

I recall learning that there have been social traumas around verbatim transcribed quotes in journalism. Some people get the benefit of editor’s polish, while others may be depicted as less eloquent by including the pauses, ticks, and sounds that everybody makes while speaking aloud. This may be extended to include average typewriter proficiency error. This is not my intention. I have done paid transcription work, and I do know how to make spoken language into intelligible text. For other purposes, my methods may be different.

The original, unedited text is in the image, but text in an image isn’t searchable. While I do post group pages on my site in their own time, as part of the service I render by taking first person accounts, I have made searchable text – both possibly as intended, and as-is. Again, because I may be wrong about a name, or a word. Maybe someone wonders if they can find that page where they put their ‘thizz face’ line, but if I edited to their ‘this face’ then their historically recorded specificity has been erased by the clueless. That can extend to names, concepts, anything.

Fidelity may seem more important for some statements in some settings, but again from the historian’s viewpoint, I choose not to weigh the value of recorded statements. A six-year-old saying Hi on the typewriter may be as important as the political manifesto. Oftentimes history is left searching for the ordinary.

By recording what may seem like mistakes or errors in transcription, I am not trying to magnify them. I am instead humbly acknowledging the limits of my own cultural awareness, while embracing the authenticity of the original writer, without judgment and perhaps with some joy of appreciation. Mistakes can be charming, in a world of official accounts polished by the elite. I do create an edited version for easier reading, but I am uneasy about creating only one version altered by my biases, known or unknown, even if having mistakes re-recorded makes some feel self-conscious. I offer an apology to any who may feel disrespected, but I insist on honoring language diversity to the best of my ability.

Do I bother making unedited transcripts of my own typing? No, because I know my own mistakes and intentions, but for others, I do not. My typewriter poetry is a different collaborative practice in which I have some authorship. I claim no sole authorship over collectively typewritten pages, though I may have contributed.

I do not claim to be a real historian, or a journalist in this capacity. This isn’t the same as writing an article, which I have done professionally. I just have a great typewriter that can offer a moment of entertainment and release with a touch of posterity, at times that may be casual or serious. I don’t lay individual claim to this practice; if others want to record first-person accounts on the site of any event with a typewriter, I’ll be pleased to know of it but they don’t require my approval. I generally do not profit from collective typed pages, but the CC0 Creative Commons rights agreement allows anyone to do so. I enjoy seeing people learn a new skill, accept imperfections, have an experience with thought and word, and feel that they have a voice and a place in a record.

With sincerity, Eva L. Elasigue

Poem: when a daughter thinks of her dad

when a daughter thinks of her dad
for Summer & Jordan, Father’s Day

never done before
figuring out a style
telling the things that are important
a lot of knowledge
and style in the person
that is so deeply appreciated
the caring person they know through and through
it’s a cool blue twilight
at this typewriter on the street
when a daughter thinks of her dad

[Eva L. Elasigue / ELE CC-BY 4.0 Creative Commons]

I was in San Diego when typewriter poet Jeremy Brownlowe and I sat our typewriters next to each other on the sidewalk to type in tandem, and I was the one to handle this request from passersby.

Poem: Et Cetera

Et Cetera

and I know that reality
reiterates its entirety eternally
with me in it
and all the love
and pain
that some part of me never forgets
even as it moves ever onward
and must see beauty
and must feel everything
or just wander lost
still as itself regardless
as myself
reminded again and again
forgetting as it suits the tired self
is this body just a story?
what is the brain, how is the enfolding done
and the refolding
where is the skin of the all
what’s beneath it
I know the always
in the never
I know forever

by Eva L. Elasigue / ele CC-BY 4.0 Creative Commons

Poem: The Forgiving Ground

The Forgiving Ground

Cast yourself upon the ground,
the forgiving ground,
on the softest place
I’ll be there with you
It is not bad to be lowly
atop the sinking, tickling moss
eye to eye with tiny bluebells
rubbing shoulders with mushrooms
There is softness
We are not unforgiven
This body is good
The sun kisses
and kisses and kisses
The moisture from the light rain
turns to steam
Picking out a gentle prickle
that plucks a chuckle
Laying out full length
Like me, the moss loves love
it is allowed and encouraged
The eagle flying under the day moon
is also here
above the rich breath of trees
It’s not yet the season
for the dragonfly dance,
but there are new buds
We can eat them
and be fed by this day

by ele / Eva L. Elasigue CC-BY 4.0 Creative Commons

Curriculum Vitae (continuing, +volunteering)

Including all the information from the previous first post, this new version includes the following entertainment event volunteering up through part of 2020:

5-8/15 – Volunteer: Sasquan (WorldCon 73 Spokane WA), full staff volunteer, Guinan’s Place cabaret stage & bar
8/15 – Volunteer: FaerieWorlds Portland OR, admissions & parking
10/16 – Volunteer: Okanogan Family Faire, Fall Barter, firetending
3/17 – Volunteer: MythicWorlds Seattle WA, registration desk & merchandise table
4/17 – Volunteer: Norwescon Seattle WA; programming, fulltime
5/17 – Volunteer: Creative Commons Global Summit Toronto Ontario Canada; information desk, full time
8/17 – Volunteer/Author Panelist: Nine Worlds GeekCon London UK; registration, Wrestling & Fightcraft panel
8/19 – Volunteer: TitanCon/EuroCon 2019 Belfast Northern Ireland; bookselling table, program operations, signing table picture taking & line management for George R.R. Martin
6-8/20 – Volunteer: Global Bond Society Soiree Pittsburgh PA; press releases

FULL DOCUMENT:

2014

1/14 – Theater: “Inventors of the Invisible World” monologue script, performed in Friday Harbor Fringe Festival 2014
6/14 – Primal Spiral Studio 1, Guard Street Friday Harbor
9/19/14 – Published: Bones of Starlight begins serialization online, bonesofstarlight.com

2015

4/20/15 – Primal Spiral Studio 2, AudioCinema SE Portland
5/21/15 – founded Primal Spiral LLC
5-8/15 – Volunteer: Sasquan (WorldCon 73 Spokane WA), full staff volunteer, Guinan’s Place cabaret stage & bar
7/15 – Published: Audiobook 1 CD, Bones of Starlight: Fire On All Sides (Fire Within) sec. 1 & 2
8/15 – Volunteer: FaerieWorlds Portland OR, admissions & parking
8/20/15 – Suite of the Endless, Sasquan (WorldCon 73) penthouse room party at the Davenport Grand Hotel
9/15 – Table: Rose City Comic Con, Portland OR, Artist’s Alley
10/4/15 – First Novel Complete – Bones of Starlight: Fire On All Sides (Fire Within)
10/15 – Table: Okanogan Family Faire / Fall Barter Faire, Tonasket WA, poetry/typing/art/audiobooks
11/15 – Table: Wordstock (revival), Portland OR
11/15 – Published: PDF Ebook Release, Bones of Starlight 1: Fire On All Sides (Fire Within)
12/4/15 – primalspiral.wordpress.com created
12/23/15 – Published: First 30 books arrive – Bones of Starlight: Fire On All Sides, Bare Bones Printing (Blurb), white cover hand lettered spine

2016

1/12/16 – Published: Peanut Brittle Cheesecake (food humor) McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, New Food Reviews
2/4/16 – Interview: The Susan & Frank Program, “We’re joined by Titus from the BrokeAss Guide to Life to discuss social anxiety, art, Ninja Turtles, YouTube, and more!”
2/5/16 – Published: Bones of Starlight: Fire On All Sides (Fire Within), blue hardcover
2/14/16 – Table: RadCon, Pasco WA, table shared with Hadley Rille press
2/25/16 – Primal Spiral Studio 2 closing, AudioCinema Portland
5/16 – Primal Spiral Studio 3, Surina Business Park 510, Friday Harbor
5/16 – Popup: Scribing, Poetry & Love Letters, Okanogan Family Spring Faire
6/21/16 – Published: Paperback, Bones of Starlight: Fire On All Sides (Fire Within)
8/16 – Author Panelist (1st): MidAmericon II, Kansas City (Panels: 7)
7/14/16 – Interview: Dive Into Worldbuilding, dive-into-worldbuilding.blogspot.com
8/7/16 – Review: * by Black Gate, Bones of Starlight: Fire On All Sides (Fire Within), blackgate.com
8/8/16 – Table: GeekGirlCon, Seattle WA
8/10/16 – Reading: Galways Arms Irish Bar Chicago IL, Time & Place featuring Eva L. Elasigue & Richard Chwedyk, hosted by Primal Spiral
8/16/16 – Book 2 begins serializing online, Bones of Starlight: The Enfolding Abyss (Abyss Surrounding), bonesofstarlight.com
8/29/16 – Reading: Van Loon Gallery Santa Fe NM, In The Real World hosted by Primal Spiral, plus typed manuscript showing
9/16 – Reading: FaerieWorlds Festival OR, Tales with Vaquita Mermaid at Oberon’s Traveling Tavern, hosted by Primal Spiral
10/16 – Volunteer: Okanogan Family Faire, Fall Barter, firetending
10/16 – Reading & Show: Photon Factory Seattle WA, The Challenge feat. readings by Eva L. Elasigue & Caroline Yoachim, music by Animals of Grace, activism by Women of Color Speak Out, plus panel featuring all leads; hosted by Primal Spiral
11/11/16 – Typewriter: Share Your Words @ Standing Rock, facilitated collective firsthand pages (published online 11/13), Standing Rock Reservation SD
11/16/16 – Published: Paperback 2nd Edition, Bones of Starlight: Fire On All Sides (Fire Within)
11/16 – Room Party Event: OryCon 38, Second Printing Party (whiskey etc.)
11/25/16 – Included: Worldbuilders of Science Fiction & Fantasy, photography series by Richard Man

2017

1/14/17 – Room Party Event: Arisia convention Boston, The Magical Typewriter facilitated collective pages
winter/17 – Swag Drop – Don’t Panic: selected convention materials, flyers, freebies, group info packet for the Friday Harbor Ace Hardware secondhand magazine rack
1/28/17 – Typewriter & Seminar: Liminal Alchemy event at Praxis Gallery Seattle, Fiction as a Transformative Medium & collective contribution pages
2/8/17 – Workshops, Typewriter & Reading: Liminal Alchemy @ Praxis Gallery Seattle WA, multi-room event; Visualization Writing, Fiction as Parallel to Lucid Dreaming; typewriter Collective/Personal pages w/ tarot cards; collective typed page reading
3/17 – Volunteer: MythicWorlds Seattle WA, registration desk & merchandise table
3/15/17 – Stage: 1001 Panamanian Nights collaboration, The Shaharazad Project story, song circle, and bonfire cacao ceremony
4/17 – Volunteer: Norwescon Seattle WA; programming, fulltime
4/26/17 – Reading: San Juan Island Library Friday Harbor WA, Bones of Starlight reading & talk
5/17 – Volunteer: Creative Commons Global Summit Toronto Ontario Canada; information desk, full time
5/10/17 – Swag Drop – That’s No Moon: science fiction fantasy funsies & freebies packet, Friday Harbor WA Ace Hardware secondhand magazine rack
6/17 – facebook page reposting for Share Your Words at Standing Rock
7/17 – Typewriter servicing, Hermes 3000
7/17 – Workshops & Reading: Cascadia Festival, Mythica Village; Live Muse Writing; Mind Maps & Synaesthetic Processing; Rainbow Honey Tea Party variety show reading
8/17 – Volunteer/Author Panelist: Nine Worlds GeekCon London UK; registration, Wrestling & Fightcraft panel
8/17 – Author Panelist & Table: WorldCon 75 Helsinki Finland, including reading with Jo Walton; 1-day table
9/9/17 – Workshops: Cascade Writers Critiques & Pitches, Tacoma WA; Visual Mapping Techniques & Synaesthetic Processing; What’s Your ‘Good Enough’ and How to Reach It
9/30/17 – Story Event: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? at Living Computers Museum Seattle WA, distributed new short story The Realization of Self Identity, or: Beevenge
10/15/18 – Table: Ace Comic Con Midwest, Chicago IL
10/17 – Stage Reading: Pirate Poetry & Siren’s Tales, Sh’Bangfest 10, Alger WA
10/14/17 – Published: The Realization of Self Identity, or: Beevenge, short story resyndicated over Medium by the Breathe Publication, an AI magazine
11/15/17 – Reading: Alternative Library Bellingham WA, Teatime Culture Salon w/ painters Adam One & Louisa Firethorne, videographer Daniel Harm; hosted by Primal Spiral
11/15/17 – Published: The Process, poem broadzine, collaboration with Subaqueous (Isaac Cotec) album Shatter Spell (w/ The Octarine Eyes collective) & artist Taylor Seamount
12/19/17 – Swag Drop: Search Your Feelings, science fiction fantasy goodies giveaways info, Ace Hardware Friday Harbor secondhand magazine rack

2018

2/18 – Participant & Reading: Foolscap open space convention Seattle WA, plus book reading
2/18 – Typewriter: Love Letters @ Behind The Veil 2, Port Townsend WA
2/18 – Workshops: Tribal Gathering Panama, weeklong solo workshop series incl. Remembering The Forgotten Through Your Original Storytelling
5/4/18 – Swag Drop: Why Is Gamora? science fiction fantasy etc. goodies/swag/music/stories at Ace Hardware Friday Harbor secondhand magazine rack
5/24/18 – Published: Kindle Release, Bones of Starlight: Fire Within, Book titles changed
5/26/18 – Room Party Event: MisCon 2018, Kindle release celebration toast
7/18 – Lounge Event: G*psy Vibes Tea Lounge, book reading & staffed
9/10/18 – Typewriter: repair of a bad fall, article on evalisaelasigue.wordpress.com
9/13/18 – Manuscript completed: Bones of Starlight: Abyss Surrounding
10/12/18 – Featured Reading: Gumbo Fiction Salon Chicago IL, awarded the Golden Gator
11/10/18 – Swag Drop: Made of People, science fiction fantasy etc. info freebies swag, Ace Hardware Friday Harbor WA secondhand magazine rack packet
11/11/18 – Published: Bones of Starlight 2: Abyss Surrounding in bookstores
12/18 – Table: Island Authors @ Farmer’s Market, Friday Harbor WA, shared collective

2019

1/1/2019 – Primal Spiral Studio 4, Surina Business Park 507 Friday Harbor WA
1/10/19 – Table: Ace Comic Con Glendale AZ
1/19/19 – Published: Audiobook beta chapter 4, evaelasigue.bandcamp.com
1/20/19 – Swag Drop: By The Power, Ace Hardware Friday Harbor secondhand magazine rack mystery packet
1/31/19 – Table: Resonate event supporting women in music w/ Naughty Princess, Smasheltooth, BeatKitty, Kasey Lee @ Starline Social Club, Oakland CA
3/19 – Rainforest Writer’s Retreat, WA
3/3/19 – Video: Trailer for Bones of Starlight by Medrano Productions
3/18/19 – Behind the Scenes: LAIKA Studios w/ Coby Lorang
4/1/19 – Featured Reading: Cafe Racer Seattle WA, Two-Hour Transport
4/17/19 – Invited Reading: Great American Diner, Alan Sobel’s Open Mic
4/20/19 – Author Panelist: Norwescon 42, w/ reading
5/1/19 – Speaker: Creative Commons Global Summit, Lisbon Portugal; Lightning Talks session, CC Profiles in Arts & Entertainment Frontiers; my experience making science fiction fantasy novels with Creative Commons
5/5/19 – Typewriter & Reading: Last Word Books 17th Birthday Party, Into The Future (ideas into science fiction
8/19 – Volunteer: TitanCon/EuroCon 2019 Belfast Northern Ireland; bookselling table, program operations, signing table picture taking & line management for George R.R. Martin
12/19 – Reading & Table: Fernie Brae Portland OR, signing & 3 in-store micro-readings
12/19 – Typewriter: Chapel of Sacred Mirrors NY Full Moon Gathering, word-by-word Collabstream lines

2020

1/20 – Typewriter: Celebrus Lupercalia Seattle WA, Love Letters
2/11/20 – Auction: book donation to Make It Rain Australia Wildfires benefit at Wild Buffalo Bellingham WA
3/30/20 – Reading: Virtual Rainbow Honey Tea Party
6-8/20 – Volunteer: Virtual Global Bond Society Soiree Pittsburgh PA; press releases
8/20 – Typewriter: Share Your Words @ Commitment March, Lincoln Memorial Washington D.C., collective pages
10/20 – Author Panelist: Virtual World Fantasy Convention 2020, w/ reading

[More Items to be Added]

Interview: David Wong / Jason Pargin

[I conducted an email interview with David Wong, aka. Jason Pargin – series author of John Dies At The End, Zoey Ashe, and other novels. This is a writer whose stories I encountered first in the movie John Dies At The End (from the movie rental where I worked), and then encountered the living room legend of how this serialized blog excerpt story became a phenomenon. These questions, excerpted, focused on his experience going from online serialization to print, and how his career evolved.]

“So a publisher picked you up eventually, and then they edited. What was that like, did you and your readers mind the changes much?”

Editing has always been painless for me, but I have no idea if that experience is typical.

Like I’ve actually never had an editor demand changes, it’s always more of a collaborative thing where they explain issues and you kind of work together to figure out the best way to fix them. But I also had some leverage during that process, too. By the time I was working with an editor for the 2009 St. Martin’s release of JDatE, the online version had already gone viral several years before (some 75,000 readers saw it for free online starting around 2000) and I’d self-published and sold a substantial number of print-on-demand copies (something like 6,000). So the one time they did suggest a big change (cutting a certain chapter) I argued that existing fans would see this as an incomplete edition, and would rebel. And those existing fans were the ones we were depending on to build hype for the hardcover release and leave reviews etc. But it wasn’t some huge argument, they suggested it, I explained why I didn’t want to do the change, that was the end of it.

Every other suggestion from the editor was less substantial but always made the book better (pointing out plot or continuity errors, incorrect phrasing, confusing action descriptions, quoting copyrighted song lyrics – stuff you can’t really argue with).

“How many groans were there when they took the serialized story offline? Did you feel like that changed your way of relating to your audience?”

Well, there’s some additional context there. Completely aside from the book, I was a mildly famous blogger starting in the late 90s (not that I made any money from it, but I had a lot of readers and was pretty well known-among other online creators). So I gave my work away for free for years and what you find is that the most passionate fans do feel some sense of entitlement, even when they’re getting all of the content for free (for example, there were constant complaints about the banner ads, even though they barely covered my costs and in no way paid me for my time/work).

I don’t even mean that in a negative way. It’s just the way it is, fans will always demand more, so any change (say, if I switched the publication schedule to be less frequent, or took a few weeks off, or ran something they disagreed with) there would be loud complaints and messages implying that I owed them now, that I needed to make up for my mistake, even though again they’d paid nothing and about a third of them were using ad blockers. They just assumed that because I was so widely read, I was surely getting rich off it thanks to them, and that I thus owed them.

So the angry messages that came from me pulling the free version of the novel offline were there, but those kind of messages are always there – if not about that, then people complaining that the site was slow, or that they were getting error messages on the forum, etc. Often I’d have to pull old articles because something would be broken with the formatting (due to an update to web browsers or Flash version or whatever) and as soon as it came down, a bunch of angry people would claim it was their favorite article and why didn’t I pour hours into fixing it instead.

It doesn’t take many years of that before you kind of grow numb to the complaints. Not that you don’t care or stop listening to feedback, but that you realize that’s just kind of the background noise of your life and you don’t let it cause you stress if you know the change was one you had to make. Complaints are just the noise an audience makes sometimes.

“What has novel publishing been like since, are you still with the same publisher?”

Same publisher, same editor. What happened was the hardcover of JDatE sold pretty well (I earned back my advance in seven days) and then they signed me to do a sequel, which came out right when the movie did in 2012, so the hype/press around the movie put the second book on the NYT bestseller list. After that, the publisher signed me to a multi-book deal for a legitimately huge amount of money. I’m on a schedule where I publish a novel every two years and it takes me every bit of that time to write one, that’s just the speed at which ideas occur to me. Still, I had a full-time job separate from novel writing until early 2020 at Cracked, and had intended to always do that. Things just didn’t work out that way so I’m writing novels full time but that’s not by choice. I assume I’ll get another day job at some point.

“Is serializing something you only did that once, would you again? Why did you serialize in the first place? You were working in insurance, right.”

Here’s where I’m worried my advice might not be relevant in 2022 or, more importantly, to someone trying to start a paid writing career. In the late 90s to early 2000s, I was working two office jobs (doing data entry for an insurance company and filing/billing for a law office, jobs I was just getting through a temp agency) and was blogging on the side with some hopes that I could get popular enough to turn it into a side job via banner ad revenue (that never happened). The first “John Dies at the End” post wasn’t called that, it was just another blog post, one I did for Halloween in I think 2000, a standalone haunted house story in which “David” and his friend investigate a haunting and get chased around by meat.

Back then, the blog was just any kind of humor essay I felt like writing, sometimes reviews or fake news stories, other times comedic narratives starring David and John. So this Halloween post wasn’t out of character, occasionally I’d just have a funny story starring these two guys, and the format of the site was that each story would start off with some kind of normal setup and then wind up somewhere extremely stupid.

That next Halloween, leading up to the holiday people started asking when the “sequel” to the previous year’s scary post would be up, and that was the first time I realized I was going to have to write another one. So those stories became an annual Halloween tradition until I wound up with something novel-length. Then in 2005 or so I put them all together with their own navigation and section of the site, and heavily edited the whole thing, going back and retconning changes and adding foreshadowing to events I wrote later, so that it all appeared to be on purpose. It was written over the course of five years and those posts were basically my fiction writing school; I’d barely done it before that. I think I’d written a total of two short stories in my entire life prior to 1999. But I’d written plenty of silly fiction as part of the blog.

But I can’t make this clear enough: I never aspired to be a full time novelist, and actually never thought I’d like doing that as a job. I have never shopped for an agent or publisher, I literally don’t know what that process looks like. I’ve never researched the industry to find out what’s hot or what genres are selling, I’ve never kept up with trends or looked into the best ways to get a foot in the door, it all just happened to me mostly on accident (more on that later).

“I was super happy for you to hear that you were subsequently hired to write for Cracked, and it looks like your career continues smoothly.”

Yeah I got the Cracked job in 2007 but that was due to a whole bunch of good luck and circumstance (there were more famous writers up for the job, but I was friends with the guy who had it before me and his reference went a long way). It was absolutely a dream job that any friend of mine would kill to have (working from home writing blog posts full time, with benefits). But when I got hired, I assumed it wouldn’t last more than 1-2 years, dotcom startups had a bad reputation for flaming out and I was taking a huge risk by taking the Cracked job and quitting my much more secure insurance job. My rationale was that if nothing else, it would build my resume and allow me to get other writing jobs in the future.

Instead, it was a huge success for the first several years. Then around 2014 the industry started to change and in 2017 the site was sold to a new company, who fired pretty much the entire staff (aside from me) less than a year later. But we were always understaffed, I think I averaged 100 hours a week for five straight years, putting in at least some hours on every single weekend, holiday and sick day.

I held on until 2020 but it was a steady process of budget cuts and layoffs and constantly feeling like every day would be my last. I left in early 2020 because they basically eliminated my position and I just didn’t feel like pivoting to a new one, because at that point the years of stress had taken a massive toll on my health (I still need medication to digest food normally). I only recently stopped having stress dreams that I’d overslept and missed some important meeting or deadline.

“Do you now find it easy to write a book in secret and release it the traditional way, now that you have industry support?”

The industry support is great, but that extends to them working with bookstores to make sure the book gets stocked, and doing some of the promotion. The rest of the promotion is up to me, and it’s literally a full time job (this is true of any author). In order to maintain a network of connected readers I can announce books to, I maintain three Facebook pages, a Twitter, an Instagram, a Mailchimp newsletter, a Substack blog/newsletter, a Goodreads page, a website and a YouTube account:

https://www.facebook.com/JohnDiesattheEnd.TheNovel/
https://www.facebook.com/jasondavidwongpargin/
https://www.facebook.com/FuturisticViolence/
https://twitter.com/JohnDiesattheEn
https://www.instagram.com/jasonkpargin/
https://johndiesattheend.us13.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ca6c5263dcedde59eb143eb39&id=488d52a6c1
jasonpargin.substack.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16596547.Jason_Pargin
johndiesattheend.com
https://www.youtube.com/johndiesattheend

I maintain all of those myself, for the most part. I also do publicity year-round, in 2021 I guested on about 32 hours of podcasts; that’s all unpaid, it’s purely for book publicity:

https://jasonpargin.substack.com/p/all-of-my-2021-podcast-appearances

I also write guest columns on other sites, again the main benefit is to get the book order links out there:

The video trailers I release for my books are arranged entirely on my end, for the last Zoey book I hired a production company here in town, writing the script myself, approving every aspect of the production down to the props, and paying for every bit of it out-of-pocket:

For each book, I’ll spend about $20,000-$25,000 of my own money on promotion, plus several thousand hours of my own labor in updating socials or doing guest posts. So the industry support is amazing, I know every author would kill for it, but I can’t emphasize enough that my life is 80% publicity/promotion and 20% book writing.

“Is serializing something you only did that once, would you again?”

Well the issue is that I don’t actually write my novels in order, I do an outline and frequently skip ahead to write some part I feel more like working on that day. The process of circling back to change the beginning (to add foreshadowing or to set up payoffs) continues right up to the end of the editing process. So the only way I’d release something in serial form today is if I wrote and edited the entire thing, and then released it a chunk at a time. And at the moment I don’t know that there’d be any advantage to that. But if I was starting my career new, I might consider it (but even then would probably release it primarily as an audiobook or podcast, with the text version as like a bonus for those who prefer it).

Typewriter: Collective Page, Open Mic @ The Haven

This was a beautiful open mic night on 2/21/22 in the recently-expanded Portland, OR art collective space known as The Haven. Along with my reading on the mic, I hosted my Hermes 3000 for people to add things to a page.

Edited transcript:

@ The Haven PDX art collective
Open Mic night 2/22

Collaborative page:
Contribute anything!
facilitated by Eva L. Elasigue

my chaos is my offering… a sacrifice for transmutation^
the universe says hello.
I’m so confused!
glass apples beating fastgood tidings to all baby garfunkles, hobgobbles,
love urself
poopbucket and all
I am conscious and stuck in this typewriter, help
pull yourself up
and
we can help

Verbatim transcript:

@ The Haven PDX art collective
Open Mic night 2/22

Collaborative page:
Contribute anything!
facilitated by Eva L. Elasigue

my chaos is my offering… a sacrifice for transmutation^
the universe says hello.
I,m so confused!
gl ss a ples beating fastgood idings to all baby garfunkles,hobgobbles,
love urself
poopbucket andall
I am conscious and stuck in this typewriter, help
pull yourself up
and
we can help

Typewriter: Collective Page 2, DisCon 333

Here’s the second page from that great Type, Tea & Chocolate late hours room party. Someone bestowed me with genuine vintage WorldCon letterhead at this point, and we put it to historical use. For reference, we’re at WorldCon 79 here, so this paper is older than me.

Edited transcription:

… from the Dealer’s Room freebie table at DisCon III ! 2021
[ the paper – ed. This was still in Room 333 ]

messages from outer and inner space:
if — and only if —
if we should see a better future —
may this find you well, O Reason, Reader.
echleiwen dech
ech haerzen dech
ech hunn dech gaer

May you have good fun with good friends, good health and a great year

a few parting words
(?) ampi n he irelintswi ming throughtheflo ting dr msembes
on the wind

Despite or because
we know it’s not possible
wonders anyway John Hertz 18 Dec 21 2:20am


Verbatim transcription:

… from the Dealer’s Room freebie table at DisCon III ! 2021
[ the paper – ed. This was still in Room 333 ]

messages from outer and inner space:
if — and only if —
if we should see a better future —
may this find you well, O Reason, Reader.
echleiwen dech
ech haerzen dech
ech hunn dech gaer

May you hve good fun with good friendws, good health and a great yoear

a few parting words
(?) ampi n he irelintswi ming throughtheflo ting dr msembes
on the wind

Despite or because
we know it’s not possible
wonders anyway John Hertz 18 Dec 21 2:20am