Category Archives: Delicious Cringe

Strange Girl

My attempts to clean out the basement have yielded more suspect treasures. The best of today’s nostalgic gems? The hilarity that is this:


Lest anyone tell you that the 80s weren’t so bad, you show them this.

You show them this and you make them remember.

The dolphins remember and they are PISSED.



I also came across mountains of awful, angst-ridden poetry, and this very peculiar artifact:

The image on the left is a project I did for an English class when I was 14. The image on the right is the cover of the ARC for my debut novel. Crazy, no?

(I know, I know. I should have done a big cover reveal. But the ARCs arrived while I was in the bunker and the cover is actually going to change, so I didn’t go crazy with the fanfare. When we get the final cover, I promise there will be trumpets, dancing girls, and a big ol’ giveaway.)

The Canticle of Freaks yielded more bad poetry and some wretched assignments on Invisible Son and My Name is Asher Lev, but inside I also found these peculiar little sketches. I was never much of an artist, but I’ll admit to loving their creepiness.

Why the cloven hoof? We can but speculate. The answer to that mystery and the riddles posed by a dolphin playing electric guitar have been lost to antiquity.

I’ll be away next week, so let me take this chance to say Happy Thanksgiving. May your days be fat and full of pie, and may there be monsters at your table.



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There Can Be Only Some

When I was a kid, we had pirated cable. We had a wacky box with about a thousand buttons that meant we got all kinds of channels for free– the long defunct Z Channel, Cinemax, HBO. I was an only child and a latchkey kid. I watched A LOT of tv with very little discrimination and I was happy to settle for whatever was in heavy rotation. For better or worse, I saw the same films again and again and again.

Occasionally, the results were edifying. (I remember repeated viewings of Bernadette Peters in a delightful production of Sunday in the Park with George.) But at some pivotal stage of my development, I subsisted on a steady diet of Ralph Bakshi’s Rock & Rule, Helena Bonham Carter in Lady Jane, and the staple starch of my nerdpop cuisine, Highlander.

Highlander tells the tale of a race of immortals destined to battle it out for the future of humanity. It’s a century-hopping, epic battle between good and evil with a soundtrack by Queen and, really, that’s all you need know. For many, Highlander comes down to Christopher Lambert in a kilt, Sean Connery as a red-velvet dandy, and the famous phrase, “There can be only one.”

But for me, Highlander is all about this image—>

For those of you who don’t know, that’s Clancy Brown as the Kurgan, the eeeevil warrior who will pursue the hero across time until they battle it out for The Prize. LATER, we’ll learn that the Kurgan is a rapist and a murderer and he’ll spend the rest of the movie as a gross, sweaty skinhead who wears atrocious leather vests.

But that’s later.

In this moment, he is something spectacular. I used to wait for this shot– the lightning strike that first reveals the Kurgan in that mad armor and gruesome helm. Honestly, everything after was a bit of a letdown.

The Kurgan makes a great first impression. Tricked out in truly wicked style, he is an EPIC adversary, a perfect foil to Connor MacLeod’s initial oafishness. Sadly, as the heroic Connor becomes more dour and brooding, the Kurgan just gets goofier and, by film’s end, he’s a silly, sleazy bit of caricature. (To be fair, not even the hero escapes 80s styling unscathed; Christopher Lambert looks suspiciously like a highbrow flasher in his London Fog overcoat and white sneaks.)


Very bad.








When people ask me how I got interested in fantasy, I should probably start with Tolkien or Tamora Pierce or Idylls of the King. All of those more reputable answers are true– to an extent. But my lifelong love of fantasy really began on that rocky hilltop with a mysterious figure on horseback, part monster, part man, broadsword in hand.

The Kurgan never lived up to the potential of those few storm-lit seconds, but in the end, I owe him. He was my first dark knight.



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Delicious Cringe Part 2

My old diaries continue to provide me with amusement and awful, squirmy feelings of abject humiliation. It’s a nice trade-off.

Zoraida’s comment on my last post inspired me to share this latest discovery: When I was about 10, every few weeks I would write up a list of “Friend Evaluations” in my journal. They can best be described as profanity and exclamation point laden tirades. This is my favorite (names changed to protect the unfairly vilified):

Micah: Sweet, Hyper, Cute!!!!! I love his spiked hair!!

Owen: Jerk

Ryan: Jerk

Aimee: Sweet, considerate, know-it-all

Jenna: Disloyal, untrustworthy, wining (sic), coniving (sic), manipulative, snobby, rude, ostentatios (sic, oh the irony), inconsiderate, lying, arrogant b*tch!!!!!

Carrie: The same but a touch nicer.

Also, at one point, I refer to a girl as the “Slut of the Century.” We were ten.

The funniest/most awful part of these entries isn’t just that I felt comfortable passing such harsh judgment on all those around me (which, honestly, hasn’t much changed), but how wildly my opinions vacillated. One week, Jenna was an Ostentatios(TM) monster and the next week she was “Awesome! The sweetest!! True friend!!”

But… that was kind of the reality of grade school. I remember my friends and I triangulating constantly, forming and dissolving alliances within our tribe. We were vicious and fickle and often, almost hysterically joyful. We once got kicked out of a movie theater for CRYING too loudly. If you said we were silly and cruel, you’d be right. But we were also glittery little maenads, drunk on scented lip balm, snapping with ferocity. We were that elusive “girl power” in its purest, most unstable form, ready to spit charged particles and change without warning. We should have been more kind. We should have been more cautious. But I guess this is where I shrug and say, “We were free.”

(Also, I encourage you to click on the pic because that is, in fact, a painting by Finch of Strawberry Shortcake, riding My Little Pony, after killing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and the details are not to be missed.)


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Delicious Cringe

Late on the update this week because I’ve been in the revisions bunker, but now I emerge with treasure in hand: I found my diaries from 5th grade through college and good gravy they are hilarious/humiliating/occasionally heartbreaking.

The early stuff is just funny. (On exchanging Christmas presents with my 6th grade boyfriend: “I gave him this rad magnetic art thing and he gave me soap!! Lame!!!”) But around age 13, I leave giddy exclamation points behind and start making PROFOUND STATEMENTS. My favorite find thus far:

“Boys are like horses. They’re bigger and stronger than us, but not smarter. If they sense our nervousness and fear, they either run so fast that we hold tight for fear of being left behind, or they buck us and we’re lucky not to land in a pile of shit that they made or get kicked in the head by a stray hoof. And the worst of it is that they do none of this with spite.”

So young, so wise, so prone to run-on sentences and profanity. Hmm, maybe I haven’t changed that much at all.


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