Monday, October 31, 2005

Guest Writer at Carnival of Wicked Writers Messageboard

I'm scheduled to be a guest writer on the Carnival of Wicked Writers Messageboard this week, although the thread's not set up yet. You can find it, when it's up, at I'll be taking all questions, however personal, tawdry, or sordid.

The other guest is Ilona Hegedus, who is a rather accomplished poet and reviewer. This is good, because I can't imagine my small bibliography will be much of a draw.

I went back to the hospital today to get an ultrasound of the heart catheter site- I noticed a few painful lumps in my leg and was concerned I might be bleeding internally or developing an aneurysm. All's well, thank God. The nurses in the cardiac catheter lab remembered me from last week and said I'm looking much better.

With that off my mind, and because I'm feeling better otherwise, I ran an errand before coming home. By the time I got back, I was whupped. Dizzy, winded, just beat. I thought about going back to work tomorrow, but I may rethink that.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Prophetic Story

Here's a story I wrote on Monday before my disasterous surgery. It's kind of eerie. While I was in the ICU, I also received my check from Red Jack Publishing for "Dogs of War," which will be in the round robin novel Liquid Laughter Project: Medicine Show.

Once, there was a man who needed surgery. Not major surgery, but still, he needed to have general anesthetized.
He and his wife decided to eat out and go to a movie the night before his operation.
“I want ribs,” he said.
“Yechh,” his wife said. “Besides, you should eat something lighter before your surgery. Let’s get salads.”
“Honey, I’m going under general anesthesia tomorrow, I may never wake up. I don’t want my last meal with you to be a salad.”
As the man ate his ribs (his wife ordered a salad), they discussed which movie to see.
“I’ve been dying to go to that new Meryl Streep movie,” the man’s wife said.
The man shuddered. “But Rage Dance 3 just came out. What if I don’t wake up tomorrow? My life won’t be complete if I don’t see this movie!”
After the movie, the couple went home and got ready for bed.
“So, hon,” the man said as he got under the covers. “Are you in the mood for…you know?”
“Forget it!” his wife said. “My stomach’s still upset from that awful movie you made us watch.”
“Baby, don’t you understand?” The man looked at her with eyes he hoped were soulful. “This could be the last chance- I could die tomorrow.”
His wife sighed.
The next day, the man got dressed and his wife drove him to the hospital. He put on a surgical gown and was prepped for surgery. Finally, he was given his anesthesia and fell asleep.
And you know what?
He never did wake up.

Out the Other Side of Hell

I'm glad I gave my family that extra kiss.

My outpatient procedure turned into three days in ICU. My blood pressure crashed while I was under sedation, then shot through the roof. I had a heart catheter done- no heart attack.

I woke up in ICU, on a respirator, my spouse and parents at my side. The next day was hell- drugged out of my head, I was sure I was in intensive care because one of my Fantasy Football players was injured and I pestered the nurses to call the Minnesota Vikings to find out if the player, Nate Burleson, was okay. I have a paper where I scribbled "Little Boy, Little Boy" and "Lonely" over and over.

When I finally got the breathing tube removed and was taken off the twilight sedation I cried- I was supposed to be home, not here, with IV's, catheters, and yards of tape all over me. I fell into a normal sleep and dreamed that I met God and I apologized to him. I have no idea for what.

The good news is that the heart catheter shows my heart muscle is strong and there is no obstruction in my arteries. The bad news is 1. the doctors have no idea what happened, or if it will happen again. 2. I haven't passed the kidney stone. 3. My life is changed. I'm not even sure how yet, but it is.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Naked Candy Eating

My spouse woke up from our Sunday nap and went downstairs, to find our eldest standing naked from the waist down on a chair in the kitchen, devouring the Halloween candy from her daycare party.

Somethings don't need elaboration, they're funny all on their own.


T-minus 18 hours until this bastardly demon in my guts gets zapped. Slightly worried about dying under sedation. Will give the girls an extra hug and kiss before I drop them off at daycare tomorrow.

Irrationally, I'm more afraid of waking up in the middle of the treatment. Admittedly, it's not like it's open-heart surgery. It's an "extra-corporeal" procedure. (That sounds like some type of out of body experience, doesn't it?) Still, what I've heard about the phenomena is pretty scary- 20 to 40K people a year wake up during surgery, and experience pain and intense fear. A significant portion of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder afterwards.

Oh well, there's really no use worrying about it-nothing I can do to prevent it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oh S**T!!

My beautiful daughter, who will turn four in December, is working through the final throes of potty-training. She has surrendered her pull-up during the day and has capitulated in the battle over urination. Unfortunately, she is in firm control in the BM arena.

Today, as she's done for the past two weeks, she went down for a nap and promptly pooped in her pull-up. Now, she knows she'll get a talking to if we catch her, so her newest ploy is to change herself and go to sleep. Fine when things are- how should I put it?- well formed. This was not the case today.

She duck-walked over to my room, where I was trying to sneak a nap myself, and explained with a big smile on her face that she had a big poop. This I could see, as it was smeared all over her butt and left foot. I failed to mention that she had taken the time to put a big red ring of lip balm on her face before coming over. I'll skip any more gruesome details and just say that a Haz Mat team probably wouldn't have been out of place in her room.

Strangely enough, she can't grasp my logic: If you're old enough to change your own diaper, you're old enough to use the potty.


Got a response to my submission "Dead In Baltimore," which I'd sent in to Lenox Ave. last week. I was expecting a rejection, considering the short turn around, but was only half disappointed. Lenox Ave ceased production and released all their stories. So, it's on to the next market.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Of Submissions and Kidney Stones

Sent out "For Dahlia," a comtemporary fantasy/horror to Realms of Fantasy today. I got through the slush pile and on to Shawna with a story that I don't think was half as good, so I'm somewhat optimistic. Probably too optimistic.

I have been WAITING to hear back concerning numerous submissions. Waiting for editors is the worst part of writing, for me at least. I used to brew beer for a living, and I thought those guys were pretty laissez-faire. If an editor tells you "I'll get back to you in a few days," he/she means a few months. Part of this whining comes from the fact that what responses I have gotten have been rejections. Haven't sold anything since August, I think. My early successes has spoiled me a bit, I think.

My non-writing drama right now is my kidney stone. Having one feels like you've got someone with long, dirty nails digging into your side. Add in a dash of nausea and constant aching, and you've got the mixin's for a good time! Thankfully, I get my stone zapped with super-strong sonic waves on Monday. Hopefully that'll do the trick. If not, I get a few days off from work and I can start looking forward to the more, er, invasive treatment.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Howdy Doody!

So, this is the inside of C.L. Russo's mind. Quite the echo. Never thought it would be this big and...empty!

Seriously, I'm a writer and a social worker in Baltimore, Md. USA. I've a fledgling writing career-two years-and I've sold seven stories so far. I write speculative fiction- SF, fantasy, horror, mixed-genre. I don't cleave to any one genre-I go where my ideas take me.


I have a story up at Click on 'Hologram' when you get to the site.

I'm going to be a special guest on the carnival of wicked writers on October 29-Nov 5. Check it out at

Bye for now!