Friday, July 22, 2011

My Auto-Obituary While I'm Still Alive

So here’s a bit of background. My BFF recently received homework from her therapist: Write an obit about herself. She carried her homework to lunch with a couple other friends and me, and we had a blast thinking of creative ways to live and die. I don’t think I can compete with my friend’s Nobel Peace Prize, 65-year romantic relationship, magically immortal pets, and death by African ostrich, but I feel inspired to steal this homework assignment and make it my own.

Here goes an obit that sounds remarkably like an Onion article…

Elle Hill – teacher, writer, humanitarian, animal rights advocate, and self-proclaimed Crazy Cat Lady – passed away last January 23, 2071 at the age of ninety-seven during an incident authorities are investigating as a possible homicide.

One of the now-well-fed animals Hill and others
saved from a hoarding situation
Hill, noted paranormal romance and science fiction author whose books consistently made the New York Times’ bestseller list, was discovered in a snowed-in minivan in rural Southern Alaska along with four other humans, three cats, and two dogs. While rescuing the animals from a severe hoarding situation, a snowstorm stranded Hill and her companions on a seldom-traveled, rural backroad. According to one of Hill’s companions in the automobile, several days passed without food and with only melted snow to drink. On day four, the anonymous person reported, Hill’s three companions began talking of sacrificing one of the animals for food.

“Elle said, ‘Oh, hell no! Over my dead, fat body!’” her anonymous companion reported. “She told us her body had way more food on it than any animal’s and we should kill her and feast for days. Of course, no one wanted to kill and eat our beloved friend, but the puppies’ whines finally broke us down. By the end of the day, Elle became dinner. Her last words were, ‘Make sure the animals get enough. Always feed them first!’”

Police are baffled by the account and suspicious that Hill’s companions overpowered Hill because her body offered the most nourishment. “It’s a more bang for the buck kinda thing,” an anonymous police officer commented.

Hill in 2008 at an anti-Proposition 8
Rally in California
However, those closest to Hill agree she would have sacrificed herself for the animals. “In addition to being a human rights activist, Elle is also a very well-known animal nut,” reports her older sister and famous author and animal rescuer, Lauri J Owen. “In her thirties, she founded the well-known BAST [Black and Senior Tails] Animal Rescue; in her forties, she established HAPPE (Humans and Pets Pursuing Equality), an organization supporting the rights of fat, disabled, and queer people and their pets; and she spent a lot of her later years testifying before Congress and helping pass the ‘Fix Your Pets or Be Fixed’ Bill of 2057. Heck, even when she opened up her chain of battered persons’ shelters, she designed them to allow pets of all kinds, from guinea pigs to horses.”

Kris Owen, Hill’s youngest sister, tearfully remarked, “She was an ardent fat activist. She died fulfilling her two greatest wishes: helping animals and demonstrating the awesome, life-giving capacities of fat bodies.”

The investigation into her demise continues. None of Hill’s companions, human or animal, have been arrested.

One of Hill's black cats
Hill is survived by her three sisters, her best friend and NRLP, Julianne, and her many, many cats and Pit Bulls, most black and all senior. She is also remembered with fondness and appreciation by the four human and five non-human companions trapped with her for eight days in a minivan in rural Alaska. “I weep every day for our loss,” another car companion, who also asked to remain anonymous, confided. “However, I comfort myself with the thought that a little piece of Elle remains in us all.”

Hunted Past: Brilliant Blurb By a Brilliant Writer

Oh. Em. Gee. My very second official blurb, also from someone I respect and adore. It’s like Christmas in July, minus the awesome holiday tunes.

Without further ado, here’s my second blurb, written by one of my fave authors, Lauri J Owen:

A word of advice: find yourself a comfortable chair before you open Hunted Past because I guarantee you won’t put it down until it’s finished. Even on a work night. In sum: Ms. Hill’s debut book will rivet you, charm you, lull you, scare you, and leave you utterly sated when you finally close it - and your bleary eyes*. Her writing is so skilled, and so smooth, that you’ll forget it’s a story. Don’t you dare pass this one up!

Lauri J Owen, author of Blowing Embers

An example of a severely tired person engrossed in a good book

*Note: Ms. Owen tells me this is actually representative of her experience. How flattering is that?!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hunted Past: A Rock-tastic Blurb

Squee! How awesome is it that I’ve received my first official blurb! Not only that, but I love and respect my blurber! I’m so happy, I can’t stop using exclamation points!

Sure, I’m aware that this early in my career, this blog is viewed only by my beloved sisters, a close friend or two, and, of course, me. However, I entertain pink-tinged fantasies of future readers who search desperately for a little more of my literary brilliance, stumble across this blog, and consume past posts like they’re bite-sized Butterfingers.

Sisters, Jules, Pip, fat-positive Facebook friends, and future readers for whom my humility is nostalgic and quaint (yeah!), here is my first official blurb:

With a handful of words, Elle Hill sculptures the most glorious characters, scarred yet beautiful, valiant and caring. Like Serena we are hurled from the normal world into one inhabited by psychics and super-human hunters, and by the leeches who feed on the darker side of us mere mortals to sate their evil hungers and who view us as little more than a food source. An all-action paranormal romance with more than one twist in the telling, this will leave you gasping for more.
Pippa Jay, author of the upcoming Keir

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Protecting Kids from Fat and Other Horrors: A Modest Proposal

I’m slightly shocked to think I, as a member of this democratic society (It’s actually a republic, -- well, some might even argue it’s a plutocracy or even corporatocracy -- but that’s not really our issue today, right?), have participated in a willful cultural ignorance that has allowed our children to remain perpetually victimized and abused.

(By “our” children, I mean, of course, the children of those who have given birth to, adopted, or in some way claimed responsibility for them. I don’t mean to imply I ever have, would, or in any way desire to participate in this messy and pricey process of raising small humans. Oh, and by virtue of empoloying “our,” which is a possessive pronoun, I mean to imply the children also/really belong to us. Americans. As a society.  Maybe not financially, but definitely physically and morally.)

An example of one such
fat kid who needs our help
I speak, of course, of fat kids. It seems we can’t shake a stick without encountering the question of whether we (again, meaning American citizens, although certainly not personally) should remove fat kids from their parents’ or caretakers’ custodies. I know, I know – at first hearing, it sounds a bit Draconian (although not literally, at least for now!), but when you put a little logic behind it, I think you’ll agree with me that if American children are the future of our country and really belong to us – see paragraph above – we have a responsibility to actively, literally shape them into good, helpful, moral, productive citizens.

Lawmakers, diet-industry-funded scientists, and Jillian Michaels can’t all be wrong. If they say fat is bad and fat people are costing us (the collective “us” must mean “non-fat peeps” here, right?) oodles and bundles of money, I believe them. Especially Jillian Michaels. Fat is unhealthy, fat people need our help, losing weight will benefit fat folks (read: non-fat “us,” an oppressed minority), and fat kids need to be shown the way. Not much to argue against, is there?

But I’m not here to argue. I buy it. I’m all over it. If “it” were a red velvet cupcake, I’d swirl my tongue around it and nibble it bite by bite, crumbs tickling down my chin into… Oh, sorry. Where was I? In fact, I think we should do like those fat peeps out there and be BIGGER. In thought, though. Just thought.

Akutaq, also known as "Eskimo ice cream"
All right. So we take fat kids from obviously stupid, poor, abusive parents who probably serve akutaq for breakfast and lard-fried tortillas for dinner and put them someplace where they can learn the value of dieting and proper citizenship/public corporal ownership. Okay, sure, but why stop there? As Baldrick was known to say to Blackadder, “I have a cunning plan.”

Why not take all unhealthy kids from unhealthy parents in order to de-program and re-educate them?

I know – brilliant, right? I mean, it’s not just fat kids who need to be taken from their caretakers’ arms and taught the value of docile, state-sanctioned bodies. What about kids of depressives? Smokers? Insomniacs? Caffeine addicts? The dentally challenged? Gender dysmorphics? Anorectics? People without pets? Victims of discrimination? (Nah, just kidding. Sure, victims of discrimination experience higher levels of health problems, but it’s not really their fault they’re sick, right? Okay, well, maybe sometimes it is. But we’ll find a way to determine when it’s people’s fault and when not and act accordingly.)

For example, let me take one of my favorite – least favorite, I mean – groups of peeps: the stressed. How can we sit by and let kids live in a home where their parents STRESS OUT? Where’s the humanity, metaphorical parents of our nation’s children? I mean, do you know some of the health problems that follow stress? These parents and caretakers are costing us a fortune and teaching their kids the same awful coping strategies!

Sapphire, a "kitty of size," learning to relax
Imagine. Imagine there’s no stress. Imagine intervention. Imagine taking the kid at the first sign of a stress headache and teaching them the value of forced meditation and aromatherapy, of recognizing their parents’ illness and the stress (no pun intended – ha!) they’re putting on all our backs. Imagine a world of smilers, of people who have all gone through cognitive behavioral therapy and who intuitively soothe?

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!

7-Up cake, shown here only as an example of
what *not* to desire or eat.
Fat kids, smoking kids of smokers and “experimenting” kids of transgendered and LGBT folks, intellectually lazy kids with parents who prefer reality shows to The History Channel: Worry no more! We’re coming! Put down your Red Bull, your 7-Up cake, your Unisom and Ritalin, your copy of Hustler, and pack a suitcase. We’ll be there soon. 

Note: My sister, a brilliant super-shero crusader for justice who also just happens to be a lawyer, told me I should include a “proviso” at the end of the article saying, essentially, this work is a creative piece of satire meant to lampoon the obcene, intrusive, and terrifying notion that the state has a right to take kids away from their parents based on a corporate-sponsored War on Obesity© that relies on shaky science, various –isms, and public hysteria. Oh, and names have not been changed to protect the guilty. This means you, Jillian Michaels. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Greetings, Earthlings!

Um, hi. Howaya? My name is Elle, and I'm pleased to meet you. My first book, Hunted Past, is due out in October, and its release has catapulted... er, persuaded me to begin chronicling my endeavors, particularly those concerning writing -- and, let's face it, politics and animals, my two great passions. 

I admit I feel a wee bit weird blogging. I mean, it's not that I don't think I'm interesting. Sure I do. I'm fascinated -- riveted! -- by me every day. There's just something so self-satisfied, even a bit masturbatory, about a lowly teacher-slash-writer keeping a blog. Ah heck, maybe that's just too many years of White, feminine socialization speaking.

But no matter. I'm here, I'm sphere -- let's all get used to it. 

And welcome. To you. To me. To the blogging world. MWAH to us all.