Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.

~Wendy

Monday, February 6, 2012

Exploration #1: Process Analysis Dark Inspirations or How I Get Ideas For What To Write Next (SMCC 2012)




Wendy C. Allen                                                                                              English Composition
February 3, 2012                                                                                            Dan Clarke
                                                  
Exploration #1: Process Analysis
                                              
Dark Inspirations
or
How I Get Ideas For What To Write Next

Readers like asking questions. Or maybe it’s just something about the way I write that inspires my readers to ask questions. Who knows. In any case it seems like I spend more time answering reader questions about my past work, than writing new items. One of my favorites is: “I have writer’s block. I’m stuck for inspiration. I don’t know what to write about. You always seem to have great ideas. Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from? What inspires your creepy place settings?” My answer to that: I live in Maine. Maine is full of atmosphere. And I live in a place where atmosphere leads itself to great horrific scenes: Old Orchard Beach.

All of my stories are set in Maine. Most are set on the beach or in the swamps and forests just off shore. I don’t set my stories anywhere else. I write what I know, and this town is the town I know. If you want to be inspired, just step outside, take a walk around your town, and let it inspire you. That’s what I do, that’s why everything I write is set in tiny towns on the coast of Maine...because I live in a tiny town on the coast of Maine and when I want inspiration for my next story, I walk around it looking for ideas. It doesn’t matter where you live. You live some place, even if you are homeless, you are homeless someplace. Everything in every place is fodder waiting for you to find it’s story and write it down. Everything has a story to tell.

For me, I see the darker side of things. Everything out there has someone somewhere who has a phobia of it. There are people who look at the miles of sandy beach on the ocean on a warm summer day and see it at a great and marvelous place to spend their family vacation. Warm. Loving. Peaceful. Happy. Than there are those who look at that same beach and run screaming in terror. I can not help but ask myself: Why? Why do they run? What are they afraid of? I want to know. I look for the fear and write about it.

While most people walk this beach in daylight, I prefer to walk it in the black of night. You have no idea how black night can get, until you walk alone in a place where street lights do not exist. It is so different from night and day: 2million people by day, laying bumper to bumper blistering red in the sun, yet no one at night, not a soul, just me alone with with the fog and the waves.

I know this beach, I know what it’s like to stand on the shore with a 70MPH hurricane whipping all around me, my skin covered in tiny glass cuts caused by the blast of sand, because I do it every hurricane. I also know what it’s like to stand on the shores during a -48F blizzard, because I do that too. I’m always on the beach, rain or shine, hot or cold, the weather can’t keep me away. I know the tides, the snails, the sand pipers, the gulls, the tourists. The smell of vinegar on Pier Fries mingled with scents of cotton candy, pizza and fried dough.  The deafening sound of the fireworks mingled with the crashing waves. The pitch black of night and the thick chocking fog rolling in and blotting out every sight, soaking your clothes wetter than a pouring rain, and filling your nostrils with the pungent smell of uprooted sea weed and dead crab. Once in a while we get the excitement of watching the Coast Guard dredging for dead bodies washed down from the Saco River.

Dead bodies wash up on the beach more often than town officials would like to admit; five a year, not uncommon. It’s not just bodies washing down from the river, either. People drown in the gully. People ignore the signs and jump off The Pier, splattering their brains all over the rocks hidden just below the surface. Parents turn their back on toddlers, letting them swim alone. The gully is the biggest danger. Locals don’t go near the gully. They know better. Tourists don’t care. Tourists rush into the gulley’s warm waist deep water at low tide. I wonder if they even know the danger they are in, should they be in the gully, when tide come roaring back in? Most of the people who drown on this beach are the outsiders: tourists who moved into town. They won’t stay long. They never do. They are summer tourists who have no idea that it’s so cold in the winter the water freezes over, spiting large car sized chunks of ice onto the frozen sand or that the wind chill factor come February is rarely above -50F. They are shocked to learn that an iceberg took out the Pier in 1918, just before it came to a crash landing on the beach. Most outsiders who buy a house on this beach during the summer, sell it before the end of their first winter, commenting that the rest of Maine is not this cold, why is it so much colder here? Yeah, well the rest of Maine has a garden growing Zone of 5 to 6, and here in Saco Bay we only get a growing Zone of 3, same as Greenland. I wonder what kind of brainless idiot thinks this ice encrusted, wind battered beach is warm in winter? It’s barely warm in the summer. Did they not notice that us natives of Old Orchard consider 60F an August heat wave? When my readers ask what inspired my sci-fi stories, the ones set on an ice-age planet, I tell them: “Come up here to Maine, spend a winter on the beach with me.”

But most of my stories have people dropping, or being dumped, off cliffs into the water. Readers ask me, why this reoccurring them is seen over and over again in so many stories. What inspires that? The gully. Walk from the Pier 2 miles to the North and you’ll come to it. You can’t miss it. A seemingly innocent brook, sprouting off the side of the Saco River, and dumping into the ocean. People greatly misjudge it’s depth, or the vast strength of it’s current. The tourists swim in packs, like herds of cattle moving together through the waves. Two million of them all trying to fit under the Pier at once, and spreading for miles to either side of it. Like a giant 7-mile long amoeba they spread across the shoreline, miles of pink flesh bobbing in the waves and slowly floating North to the gully, oblivious to the fact the ocean currents are moving them at all. They float on past, ignoring the fences and the great stone wall, climbing right over the top of them, right pass the warning signs, clearly posted, in bright red letters: “SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK”, “DANGEROUS RIP TIDE”, “NO SWIMMING AFTER DARK”. There are so many people in the water, that no one notices when one goes missing.

Most of the bodies on the beach wash down from the far North however. The news papers never say where the body was found, our beach is never mentioned. They say only where it fell in, in some little town no one ever heard of deep in the forests of Northern Maine. The only people who really know this dark side of our beach are those of us who live here on it, year after year, generation after generation, and actually see the Coast Guard pulling up the bodies. Elderly couples sitting on their porch fronts: “Come quick, Ethel, they’re bringing up another one”. The red and white helicopters, the big red ships, the little red boats, the yellow police tapes closing off the beach....the police officers on 6 wheeled amphibians saying: ”Nothing to see here, folks, nothing to see.”

For many years I have sat in my bedroom window watching bodies being pulled out of the gully, wrapped in red body bags, and loaded into Coast Guard helicopters. There’s a reason why no one who lives here on the beach, actually swims in the ocean. We know the danger. We know that what appears to be a nice quiet friendly beach, is only the bait nature lays down to lure you to your watery grave. Heck, we can see 5 lighthouses from our front porches, that alone ought to tell you something is wrong with these waters. We Mainers don’t just go around sticking up lighthouses for the fun of it! Those things are there for a reason: to tell you these waters are dangerous. It amazes me how many people think lighthouses are just fancy houses that eccentric ship captains lived in, or decorative monuments to commemorate some war...they actually have no idea what a light house is or why it is there!

We’re right off the delta so, any body that falls in the Saco River at any point from here to Canada, is eventually going to wash up on our beach. Bloated and purple, encrusted with limpets, moon-snails and crabs, picked apart by sea gulls, and looking more like seal than anything you’d ever think had once been human. People think it’s creepy, my morbid fascination with this little known darker nature of our beach. It’s not so much a fascination, as it is a fact of life. If you want to live here, you are going to have to be able to deal with seeing the not so occasional dead body washing up at your front steps. Every town has it’s secrets. Little skeletons in the closet. The Town of Old Orchard depends on The Old Orchard Beach and it’s 2million yearly tourists to survive. It is a ghost town in the dead of winter, businesses boarded up, homes shuttered, barely over 2,000 residents by the time snow falls. This town needs tourists to survive. You think the tourists would come swim on a beach that they knew spits up a few dead bodies each year? So only the locals know our beach’s dark little secret. Tourists remain happily oblivious.

I love this beach. Everything about it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the utterly unmentionably horrible. It is raw, cold, heartless, unforgiving, unpredictable, wild, deadly, untamed, mesmerizing, and utterly, amazingly, beautiful. Admittedly, I do focus on the horrible more than the many pleasanter things this beach has to offer. What can I say? I grew up on Vincent Price and Edgar Alan Poe. I write in their honor. I write horror. Vampires. Zombies. Ghosts. Farrdarigs. Phookas. RedCaps. Haunted mansions clinging desperately to rocky cliffs threatening to throw themselves into the depths of the foaming waves. Blood thirsty mermen, pulling their victims into cold watery graves. Brooding morbid mad men, looking uncannily like Vincent Price, droning in monologue obsessions over the long dead wife so carefully laid to rest in his bedroom. In order to write what I write, I need to surround myself in atmosphere. Read the Fall of the House of Usher, watch Vincent Price as Roderick Usher, than walk these shores and imagine the House of the Ushers looming down over it. Let my mind go wild and write it all down. This cold, icy, foggy beach has atmosphere. The atmosphere here is the perfect setting for horror, especially the horror I write. I can look out over the fog and almost see the ghost ships, the vampires, the fish men from distant galaxies...it’s the perfect setting for the dark, gloomy, bloody Poe-esk stories I tell.

I can not walk on this beach, with out seeing images of new stories dancing in my head. The stories come to me as I stand on the slick, jagged rocks, listening to the gulls screaming bloody murder through the fog. The little hermit crabs scurry across my feet in search of dead rotted flesh, begging me to write of the murder victims hidden in the tidal pools half buried in rock-weed and bladder-wrack. The rocks pocking through the sand are the tops of vast extinct volcanic mountain ranges which drop into ravines miles below the surface of the cold Atlantic. Looking down from these rocks, into the black drop offs on the other side, I see the gleaming silver eyes of seals and fish peer up at me though the dancing kelp, and my mind has to ask: are they really the eyes of fish and seals, or are they mermen and selkies, hiding, lurking, waiting, for the unsuspecting human to venture too close to the edge.  

Of course if I wrote a different genre, maybe I’d see the beach differently than I do. Were I writing Romance, I might pay more attention the couples who frequent this beach. Or perhaps if I wrote children’s fiction I’d focus my attention on toddlers and puppies bouncing around sand castles. Perhaps a travelogue writer would focus on not the beach, but life in the motels along it’s shores. What you write is going to affect what you see. Me, I write horror, so I’m more prone to focus on the darker side of the beach. No matter what you write, the stories are every where. Just look and listen, and you will find them. My life is where I get my ideas. What you read in my stories, it’s always based on something I have seen or heard. That is where my inspiration comes from. I can write about anything, because the world is full of everything, but most of my ideas, come from the beach which boarders The Town of Old Orchard. I love most of all to write the things this beach inspires in me as I walk it’s lonely deserted ice glazed shores of each cold foggy winter night.


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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow



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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat



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