Why I, an awkward person, Streams!

It is strange that I enjoy writing on stream. I am am not who enjoys people seeing the words as she writes them. I blame it all on teachers who walked the row of desks in elementary school and beyond. The ones who peered over my shoulder, and the shoulders of my peers, to either help with what we were doing, or to ensure no cheating was occurring during the test. But I had a tendency to freeze up whenever that happened. Words, numbers, whatever I was working on would suddenly STOP. FLOWING. In both my brain and then on down to my hand.

Part of it stemmed from the atrociousness of my handwriting. That sense of shame that my teachers could not read what I was writing. It was fine (not really) when they couldn’t read it when grading, when I wasn’t around to squirm with discomfort. But the moment they asked me—MID WRITING—what a word was, or pointed out that my writing was difficult to read, I would freeze up. Shame would paint my face red (as a ginger it is very easy to paint my face red. Nearly everything can make me blush, but I digress). I would mumble a reply, apologize profusely, and silently beg for the teacher to just MOVE on. Then glance with a mixture of anger, and that all too familiar shame, at the ink that stained my left hand. I would wonder if I had bad handwriting because of being left-handed. Smearing my pencil ink (because it was all pencil ink in elementary school) certainly did not help with the legibility of my printing.

It also didn’t help that there were periods in my elementary school life where I was told to try writing with my right hand. Perhaps I had been using the wrong hand! But a pencil in my right hand felt wrong. And the numbers and letters that flowed from the ink were just as illegible. We learned cursive, and a teacher realized that they could read my cursive better, so for a while they suggested I write in all cursive. And I can’t remember how long that worked. (Or even if my memory of all of this is correct or just a mixture of scenes from childhood, some disconnected but now connected in my head. A version of the truth that may not be correct, but feels damn correct to me. Memory is a wild thing and maybe one day I’ll blog about that. But moving along…)

Then it seemed like there was less of a concern for improving my handwriting. Teachers struggled to read it, but I don’t recall hearing about it, or being made aware of it.

And maybe this is not what brought about my weirdness of people watching or peering over my shoulder when I write. Maybe it was just the embarrassment of people seeing my unedited words when I wrote on the computer. The ease of it for people to see the mistakes that I made. The plot inconsistencies. The ridiculousness of it. There’s something vulnerable about exposing that rough draft of something to people. Of letting people see how much I mess up and how little sense that I make. Of seeing the way I process through the first stages of storytelling.

But with streaming, that stuff bothers me a little less. Likely because I have a giant square of color hiding MOST of what I write from anyone daring or bored enough to read it. The fun of streaming for me comes in the social aspect (gasp?) of writing in front of an audience. I like to know that other people are writing with me, at the same time as me. Maybe they aren’t writing but they are working on something else. We sprint (that is write/productive/whatever) for anywhere from 15 minutes to 30. Then we take a break and chat. Talk about what we have been working on, and it is nice. Then back to sprinting! During the sprints there are some chill Lo-Fi beats playing for everyone. There are pitfalls to all of this too, in that sometimes chatting can be distracting. But overall, it is nice.

There is the accountability factor too. I feel like I have to write something. ANYTHING (next up on the docket: learning to finish more of what I start so this blog isn’t so woefully sparse). People are literally watching me. They can kind of see my text scrolling (because I show the smallest bit of writing above my little colored box with text that explains the “rules” of my stream). They can get an idea of whether or not I’m truly working on something. Even if they can’t really read it. They can see it moving. Incrementally. Bit by bit. That accountability is nice. The feeling that I’m not alone as I do this incredibly solitary activity. It is nice to have an audience or the appearance of an audience to ramble to when I get stuck with something or excited about something.

I am an awkward streamer. I tend to chat into the void better when no one is around. But, overall I enjoy doing these streams. And I’m going to keep doing them to. There are loads of people on twitch doing more than just streaming video games (but watching people play games is also a lot of fun too). Check out some of those categories, and who knows, maybe you will try to stream yourself writing or drawing or whatever one day. It’s okay to be awkward. So if you are bored on a Tuesday or Thursday morning at 6am then hop on over to my stream: twitch.tv/agingerwrites. I can’t promise you will be entertained, you might find it boring as heck. But, maybe you will find it helpful to write with someone else. I’m not very good at shilling myself, eh? Speaking of which…

Remember that podcast I mentioned? It is live! You can listen to my husband and I talk scary movies and other scary things over at anchor.fm/creepycabinpod or look for Creepy Cabin Podcast on spotify, apple podcasts, and google podcasts. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you stream or podcast too.

What happens after A Ghost Story?

This blog entry is in response to a comment left by my lovely Aunt. Often, with these prompts I do, I have thoughts — LOTS OF THOUGHTS — on what happens to these characters once their prompt is told. Their story is not complete. It is a bit like real life; you know? How often do we just see snapshots of people? You go to the store and have an interaction with a fellow human, and odds are good, you won’t see them again. Or they work at the store, and you will simply see them in that setting but rarely anywhere else. Your interaction with them is not the entirety of their life story. Just, possibly, the entirety of YOUR story with them. And that is fascinating to me. The stories of people that are left untold, or that we do not experience personally. The ways in which we can probably never truly know another person and—… I am going off on a tangent that I did not mean to go off on.

Back to what the point of this entry is going to be. I am going to be answering some questions about what happened to Izzy following A Ghost Story. I will not say that I have her entire life planned out, but it is a near damn thing. Possibly.

We last left off with Izzy being too drunk off of alcohol and flirting to deal with the onslaught of emotions and feelings that she may or may not have regarding her ghostly roommate, Frederick. She isn’t romantically in love with him, but there is love there. An intense love too. Frederick is just around ALL the time. Proximity can sometimes bring about closeness in friendship, and that seems to be the case between these two. Plus, they mesh really well. They have a friendship full of teasing and caring. They clash a lot and are very different people. Their living experiences are completely different — both when Frederick WAS alive and now given the fact he is dead — and so that causes friction and head-butting; but they are willing to work it out. They want to work it out.

Even if Frederick isn’t paying rent, Izzy still wants him around. He still wants to be around.

(SIDE NOTE: In the universe that this story takes place, I am still not exactly sure what the mechanics are regarding ghosts/spirits being able to leave the house/place they are haunting. Does something tie them to the place? Are they able to leave whenever they want? How do they pass on if they wish to the afterlife? Must they do something in order to move on? These are questions I would clearly need to work on should I ever expand on the story but for now we will leave them unanswered but vaguely being shouted in the back of my head. The life of a writer is living with many voices in your head.)

Now onto the potential lover. SPOILER ALERT: Izzy and the man she danced and flirted with do in fact fall in love. His name is Raffi. He likes to read, although he and Izzy at first struggle to find common ground in the books that they enjoy. At least they enjoy cozying up on the couch together to read their separate books. They have a quiet relationship when they get together.

Raffi is introduced to Frederick before he and Izzy put a label on what their relationship is. Izzy just awkwardly texts him a link to her blog where she talks about Frederick. A lot of Frederick and Izzy’s initial relationship starts with flirting via text, but they cross back into the world of actual contact too. Frederick fascinates Raffi, and he isn’t jealous of the relationship that Frederick has with Izzy. Frederick, for his part, is a fan of Raffi too. They end up getting their own private jokes, leaving poor Izzy out of the loop occasionally.

What I want for Izzy, Raffi, and Frederick is a happy existence. Sure, there is going to be strife. There will be fights between the three of them, or sometimes just between two of them. But overall, all three of them will mesh well. All three of them will have their own relationships with each other. Because look I just want happiness and good times for my characters in this story.

So, overall, it is happy. Struggles will surface in their lives and unlives, but they will all overcome them for the better and live happily ever after. Even the one who is dead.

Not all my characters are destined for such happiness. Some that are percolating in my head and heart are destined for nothing good in the end. Some of these characters have been introduced in prompts, and maybe one day I’ll babble about some of those characters too. In a vague sort of fashion.

Anyway, I hope this satisfied anyone who was curious about Izzy, Frederick, and the mysterious Raffi!

A podcast coming your way

My husband and I are starting a podcast. Just what is the podcast going to be about? Well, my husband loves horror movies. I, myself, do not. We decided it might be fun to record my thoughts and his on horror movies. Will I grow to love horror movies? Will I enjoy any of them? Will I hate every single one of them? Just how awkward will we both be when we think of people potentially listening to us blather on and on about movies? Tune in to find out!

It won’t just be reactions to movies. We plan on delving into all things creepy. Talking about our own run-ins with the paranormal and talking scary stories that we find on the internet and in books, possibly. It will be fun, we hope. We will be entertaining, we hope. If all else fails it just gives us a fun project to do together while figure out editing of sound and such.

We plan on recording our first episode this Friday. We will be watching The Conjuring.

As someone who lacks in self-esteem and who feels like most of the time that I have little to offer the world, it surprises me that I am able — and willing — to put myself out there. I do so with this blog, with sharing my writing and words. I do it every Tuesday and Thursday morning on twitch as I stream my writing. I put myself out there in all of my awkward glory and it IS awkward, because I AM awkward. And that’s okay, I think. We’ll see. I just wanted to spend a minute to just… be proud of myself. For getting out of my comfort zone. It is scary as hell. Each time I hit publish, each time I hit start stream I have a moment of panic. A serious questioning of myself and what I am doing, but I am proud of myself for pushing through.

And I’m excited to work on something with my husband. Hopefully, other people will find it entertaining, but if not? Oh well. It gives us something to do together. It will be a learning experience and that’s neat in and of itself.

I’m not sure when the first episode will be released. We are angling for Monday or Tuesday of next week. Wish us luck!

Prompt: A Ghost Story

First off I’d like to apologize for taking so long between prompts and just overall posting in this blog. I hope to not go that long again, but no promises. Anyway, here’s a new prompt! It was tilted A Ghost Story and these are the words that I had to use for it:

  • Tango
  • Diversify
  • Blog
  • Invisible
  • Missile
  • Glitter
  • Scuff
  • Balloon
  • Birdcage
  • Grizzly Bear

I alternate between first and third person in this prompt and you will figure out why fairly soon. Anyway, this is a fun (for me and hopefully you too!) twist on a ghost story. Please enjoy!


A Ghost Story

There is a ghost in my house. They seem like a friendly ghost; I think. It isn’t like they are actively spooking me or anything. They just… or well, the idea of them spooks me. At first I thought it was just that I live in an old house. I started to hear noises. I have heard people talk about houses settling. Houses creaking. Their old bones doing something. But the noises sounded a little different. Stranger. More moan-like.


Y’all. Remember when I first bought this house? How excited I was? How I showed as many pictures of it as I could? And most of you commented with something akin to: “lol, looks haunted.” “Damn, that house is old.” “ARE THERE GHOSTS?” And I in my naivety scoffed off such concerns and only spoke about the merits of the house being old and unique and not a damn cookie cutter like everything else. Someone commented with “You will regret this. All that work!” So far all you commenters are right. None of y’all were fucking trolling me.


Izzy pushed away from her desk, her chair flying back. She stared at the blog post she had finished. Chewing on her lower lip as she reread the words. Her heart racing as it always did before she hit publish. It didn’t matter how often she published posts; it didn’t matter that she apparently had people who regularly read her words and the adventures she painted with those words. Versions of her truth. There was something terrifying about exposing yourself to the masses. Even if the masses were relatively small.


She stood up. Stretching her body. She glanced at the small clock in the corner of her monitor, squinting her eyes. Likely, she needed new glasses. She sighed, noting the time. Then, without sitting back down, she bent over her desk and published the post. Her shoulders sagging with relief before the dread kicked in.


It was decidedly off brand of her to talk about ghosts. But there really was a ghost living with her. She needed to work up the courage to talk with them.


Y’all. I want to thank both the skeptics and my true believers. Seriously. I tried to take a picture of the ghost. I wasn’t expecting a great shot. We all know that ghosts often come up as blurry things in photos. If they show up at all! It makes proving the existence of them difficult. Neigh on impossible, if you will. I got a picture. It was not blurry! Wee—ell… not blurry in the traditional sense.


What showed up is a mess of glitter. I know. It makes no sense, but it’s true! I’ve uploaded a picture and you will see it at the bottom of this post. There will be the original photo and one I did edit ONLY so that y’all can see the outline of the ghost more clearly. I don’t understand it.


Yes. I did some research. So far no one else has ever had a situation where their ghostly roommates come up as glitter blobs in photos. Just mine!


Izzy needed to gain some confidence. She needed to stroll into the third bedroom, where the ghost liked to hang out. There was a perfectly good, and spooky, attic for the ghost to live in, but of course, they wanted the bedroom that Izzy would have preferred for an office space. It had a wonderful view of her small property, all the trees looking big and beautiful from it. She was glad she hadn’t moved all her stuff into the room. Glad she had planned to paint and fix things first. She figured it would be awkward blogging about her ghost roommate if they shared a space.


But she paid the mortgage! She ought to have dibs on any room in the house! She sighed and tried to clean off a scuff mark on the wall. Her feet stopping of their own accord outside of the room the ghost liked.


Izzy could not believe that she was too shy to talk to a GHOST. She groaned in her head and just barely resisted the urge to bash her head against the wall.


Why had she thought it would be possible to own a house on her own? At least if she had a partner or friend living with her, she could send them into the room to befriend the ghost. Izzy added another tally to her mental list of ways she failed at life.


The ghost’s name is Fredrick. He sounds kind of nasally, which surprised me. I didn’t realize a ghost could be nasally. It isn’t like they have functioning nasal passages, is it? Anyway, Fredrick is nice. My original assessment of him being a friendly ghost seems to still stand. He is obsessed with this birdcage that occupies one corner of the room. I took a picture of it when I first moved in, it’s actually on the blog! Remember how I wanted to do something crafty with it? Now I’m not so sure that it is a good idea.


Fredrick seems too attached to it. I asked if him if he had a pet bird when he was alive. He stared me dead in the eyes (I wonder if that is offensive to say in this situation?) and stated that HE was the living one and I was the ghost. I’ll admit my face must have done something. It turns out he was joking. Apparently, conveying jokes is difficult with a somewhat transparent face. Translucent? I don’t know what word to use. Anyway, he saw the fear in my eyes and hastily tried to reassure me he was kidding.


The bird cage never had a bird in it. The owner just before me brought the cage in (the ghost does not know why the cage was purchased). Fredrick never spoke with that family, he said. They didn’t want to believe in him. I asked him what that meant, and apparently, if you disbelief hard enough then you won’t see a ghost. Ghosts derive their power—power is not exactly the right word—from belief.


My believing makes it so I can see Fredrick. Makes it so I can talk to him. It’s… interesting. It also made me wonder if I’m a little crazy. No, I won’t make a poll on whether y’all think I am crazy. I’ll need to do some more research on ghosts, it appears


Izzy brought the sweaty bottle of beer to her lips. She was seated on the floor with her legs stretched out in front of her. Her back pressed against the wall of the bedroom, she still wanted to turn into her office. Fredrick the Ghost was floating a little way away from her, watching her with an intense expression. She wondered what color eyes he had when he had been living.


“It…” Izzy paused. She took another sip of the beer, her nose wrinkling. She set the beer down. “It tastes better than the other stuff you had me try. But it still tastes like garbage.”


Fredrick’s ghostly shoulders slumped down.


“You really need to diversify your taste buds.”


Izzy rolled her eyes. Of course he would be dramatic about it. And of course her ghostly roommate would be a craft beer enthusiast. She wished he could drink the stuff himself. She had no problems buying him the beer. It was just a pain that he then wanted her to taste it for him and to explain the experience to him.


“They didn’t have all these choices when I was alive,” Fredrick said, and he always said that. She sighed.


“I’m sorry that the way I describe this beer is a disappointment to you. But mostly, I’m sorry for my taste buds.”


I know it has been awhile since I’ve talked about my not-quite-invisible-ghostly-roommate. But this blog is foremost all about my adventures in life! Not necessarily in death, right? Plus, there were some questions y’all had. A lot of you are apparently on the path to homeownership and I would be remiss in my duties as your favorite blogger (and most modest one too!) if I didn’t answer those pressing questions.


Besides, it seems rude to gossip about Fredrick. Even if he isn’t living and breathing, he is still a roommate. I think it is time that I explain to him about this blog and maybe tell him how much I want that third bedroom back. It really would make for a pleasant office. Most of you liked the pictures of it. Remember that massive tree by it? It has flowers on it right now! I’ll need to take a picture. Perhaps one of you readers is a botanist. Or… do I need an arborist? What really is the difference? Don’t slay me for asking that question! Remember, it isn’t a crime to ask questions on this blog.


Izzy was staring out the window of the third bedroom. Her eyes squinting at the large tree. She had her phone in her hand, and she was trying to angle the camera on it to take a decent photo of the flower. She had a sweaty mug of cold brew on the windowsill beside her. Fredrick was nowhere to be seen. It made her wonder where the ghost went when he wasn’t in the room. She was wondering if she should grab one of her other cameras when she heard Fredrick clear his non-existent throat. How did ghosts do that?


“Excuse me, but don’t you have other cameras you could use? I’ve seen them.”


Izzy turned away from the window and shrugged her shoulder. She shoved her phone into her back pocket and picked up her mug of caffeinated necessity. She sipped it. Fredrick was watching her intently.


“I have better cameras, sure.” She squinted at him. “Do you know what a cellphone is?”
“Yes,” Fredrick said in that huffy way he had.


“Were you…?” Here Izzy did a complicated shrugging motion, coupled with a wave. She was trying to convey living. Alive. Without saying the words. A sudden fear that voicing that would be offensive to the dead.


“Was I?” Fredrick asked, wholly confused from what Izzy could read of his ghostly facial expression. She sighed. She seemed to always be sighing these days. Maybe her entire life was just built around sighing.


“Were you living when cellphones were invented?” Izzy spat out. Her face burning with shame. She couldn’t explain it. Why she felt so much shame.


“No,” Fredrick said, simply. He, too, shrugged his shoulders. “You know, talking about being dead or my living past. It doesn’t offend me. You can use those words. But, I’ve seen those phones.” He grew quiet before adding, “technology has advanced a lot in recent years.”


“You are telling me.” Izzy said, mirroring him with her quietness.


She was still embarrassed. Stupidly so.


I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve never been very good at the DIY stuff. And it feels even more difficult to try now that I have an audience of one actually watching me. It is one thing to talk about and show my failed attempts on this blog, but it is an entirely different thing to have someone watching me. Fredrick claims he does not judge me, but still. I don’t like people seeing me fail. You can see the result of the failure, but not the process!


Balloons are the bane of my fucking existence. How do people tie them up with ease? My fingers must not be nimble enough because all they do, all I do, is get them tangled up and stuck as I try to knot the ends. Which is a bummer because I think these lamps will look cool whenever I finish them. They will be the finishing touches to the office space. Anyway, here are some photos of the attempt. Fredrick says I look like an idiot in a lot of them. He is such an uplifting roommate, eh?


“Do you miss eating?”
“All the time.”
“What was your favorite food?”
“Grizzly bear.”


“Gri… Grizzly bear?” Izzy can’t help the disbelief in her voice. She won’t believe what Fredrick just said. Refuses to!


“I was a mountain man when I was a living one.”


“There aren’t any mountains around here,” Izzy pointed out.


“Who said I always lived here?”


“Fredrick!” She glowered at him.


He laughed and held up his hands. “Down, girl, I am teasing. No, my palette when I was alive was rather plain. Much like yours.”


Izzy glared at the dead man. But there was no heat to it.


Fredrick laughed at her. His laugh, though not quite the same as a living person, was still a sound that Izzy enjoyed. She didn’t want to say that she went out of her way to make him laugh, but maybe, maybe she did.


Y’all. My best friend has betrayed me. She wants me to learn the damn tango for her wedding. She has never been the type to do what everyone else does. I remember the two of us making fun of weddings that had choreographed dancing from the wedding party. But she had to fall in love with a dancer. Then fall in love WITH dancing. We were two nonrhythmic souls who met in middle school, awkward bodies and minds, melding into one.


I am happy for her, and I adore her partner. Fredrick thinks I’m being ridiculous. I tell him I’m not. Besides, it isn’t like I’ll boycott the wedding or the dance. She’s signed me up for lessons with her. I have no choice.


It might be fun. I guess. She is my best friend and I love her more than anyone else in the world. She has always dragged me, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. Into new experiences that broadened my horizons. Without her, I do not think I would be doing what I am do now.


I didn’t mean to become sentimental trash. Any advice on how to force my body to learn some rhythm? Help a girl out!


It was late when Izzy stumbled into her house. Her feet tired and sore from dancing the night away at her friend’s wedding. She had taken a cab to the venue at six in the morning for hair, makeup, and other pre-wedding shenanigans. It was now well past midnight. Probably nearing three in the morning. She was still drunk and knew that come the morning (the later morning at any rate) she would regret the decision to keep drinking.


But she had fun.


She couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed this much with people who were alive, of flesh and blood. No offense to Freddy or anything, she blithely thought. And there had been a guy she had met. She hated the cliche, meeting someone at a goddamn wedding, but there had been sparks. Especially the more she drank. It loosened her up to the idea that maybe flirting was something she could do.


“Wild night?” Fredrick’s voice startled her in the dark.


Her eyes widened, her heart racing. She blushed. Not quiet able to make eye contact with the dead man. She felt almost as if she were a teenager being caught doing something naughty by their parents. It was foolish. She was an adult! And Fredrick, a dead person who lived rent free in her house.


“Perhaps,” she said, her mouth thick with alcohol and sullen sounding.


“Good, you deserve it.” Fredrick said, a hint of laughter in his voice.


Izzy relaxed at those words. She sank down onto the couch and Fredrick floated close to to it. She leaned her head back and sighed.


“I’m going to regret being up this late. And this drunk.”


“You aren’t that old,” Fredrick pointed out, reasonably, but Izzy shook her head.


“Did you meet anyone?” Fredrick asked, his voice light.


She looked at him. Squinted through her drunkenness. And it hit her like a missile. If she brought someone into her life, how was she supposed to introduce her newest best friend? The dead one who lived with her, who supported her with his words, who drove her crazy? It wasn’t love in the traditional sense that she felt for Fredrick, but there was something there.


He was important to her. Anyone who came into her life would need to accept Fredrick. He was more than just part of the house.


“I think so,” she said, quietly. Her throat tightening. Constricting on feelings, she wasn’t quite ready to name.
“You think so?” he asked.


“I did, but I don’t know.. You know, whoever I like, has to like you too?” Her mind was a jumbled mess. She wasn’t sure she was in the right state of mind to talk about this. Didn’t even know what to say. What she wanted to say.
Fredrick smiled. A sad thing, but a smile all the same.


“Few living people do, but I think if this person is someone you think can be important to you… I think they might more than tolerate me.”


“Thank you…” Izzy said, quietly. And then she curled up on the couch. Too drunk and lazy to make the journey up to her room. She could deal with these heavy thoughts in the morning.