Publication Date: June 27, 2012
Plagued by a crushing illness that no doctor can seem to diagnose or cure, dejected-Hollywood-working-
stiff, Evan MacKenna, takes a friend's advice and visits a faith healer who lives in the hills. "Everything changed after I saw Agatha," assures her friend, Jimmy. "I survived. You will too." What seems like an other-worldly miracle, restoring Evan to the most virile and healthy version of herself, soon shifts to something darker. Evan does not just feel The Cure... she feels it... transforming her... into something else entirely.
"The illness, the one that almost killed me, or almost killed my soul, was also the thing that brought me here. A new home in my city of angels. Heads on stakes. Enemies impaled. All of this revenge surrounding what used to elude me - Power. Until now. One visit to the bird streets and everything changed. They say absolute power corrupts. Absolutely. Yes, it does."
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TOO OFTEN WHEN I LOVED ...
LovLifLife guest post by mc foley
“Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so.”
I’ve always felt that one of the greatest gifts given to a writer, is the ability to catch a
fleeting moment, a passing chance, a fading dream... to catch something that is, by its
very nature, temporary—
—and to enshrine it in a temple of letters – a feast of words – before it’s gone forever.
As Greg Rucka (comic book writer/novelist: Whiteout, Queen & Country, 52, Wonder
Woman, Wolverine, etc) once said, in reference to the English language, (and I’m
mangling his words here): A writer uses 26 symbols to evoke emotion in another human
being. 26 symbols ... triggering joy, anger, fear, love...
It’s a powerful gift. An age-old skill, which has inspired revolutions, pushed legislation,
elected presidents, eulogized heroes... and in my own case – saved me from prison
It was a fall afternoon in Virginia. I was about fifteen. And I’d devised a brilliant plan
to – with the help of a friend – “borrow” my father’s Hyundai, head to the nearest mall,
and “borrow” some merchandise. Yes, I was a little punk. And I proved it by jacking
over a grand in merch from a store, racing outside, and getting chased and dragged
down by plainclothes police who cuffed my friend and I in front of a crowd of onlookers,
pulled us to the backroom, and called our parents.
I don’t know what was worse – getting arrested in front of a public crowd – having to
face someone else’s parents, who consider you a juvenile delinquent/bad influence
on their angel – or having to face my own parents. Parents like my father, a man
who’d served his country on two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he contracted the
black plague (yes – that plague – the bubonic one) and almost died, who’d worked
diligently, often seven days a week, for endless decades. Parents like my mother, who’d
immigrated to this country and adapted to a series of cultural norms utterly different
from her own – including the need to beat her own accent out of her speaking voice in
order to be taken seriously in the DC government work world.
Charged with a felony, losing every shred of respect my family had for me, and having
to quit my job at a local restaurant, was pretty gut wrenching for a freshman in high
school. And as our official hearing neared, my friend and I were informed that a judge
could sentence us to large fines, community service and jail time.
Faced with the foreboding unknown, I did what any traumatized, guilt-ridden, locked-
down writer would do...
I wrote a sixteen-page letter to the arresting officer (okay, okay – it was eight pages,
double-sided). I poured my guts out on those pages. Lamenting the complete absence
of judgment on my part, the lack of self-respect, the loss of discipline, the failure as a
citizen. I did not simply apologize for breaking the law – I expressed that, in my opinion,
what I did was a humiliating reflection of myself as a human being.
A few days after sending the letter, we got a phone call from the arresting officer. This
was, he said, the first time he’d ever received a letter like this.
It’s odd to relay an account of praise for something you wrote yourself – but to
complete the story, I will just say: the officer was impressed by the letter. He used
words like “sincere” and “moving.” And when time came to finally stand in front of the
judge, the charges had been dropped – for BOTH my friend and me – to misdemeanor.
After the hearing, the officer took my friend and I on a tour of the jail. “Take a look,” he
said, “this is where you should have been.”
How could I have known – that the simple act of committing pen to paper would change
the entire outcome of one situation. A change, which, in effect, changed the outcome
of not just my life – but also, my friend’s.
Since then, I’ve often turned to those 26 symbols. In times of great joy, in times of
crisis, in times of love... both experienced and impossible...
Other writers undoubtedly do the same... writers like Alan Ball, who has said in
interviews that he was sitting in NYC’s World Trade Center Plaza one day watching
a plastic bag blowing around in the wind... and that image ultimately became the
unforgettable – and achingly beautiful – “dancing bag” scene in American Beauty.
Writers like Stuart Beattie, who has spoken about a sudden thought he had one day,
while sitting in the back of a cab in Sydney: what if I was a killer? – a thought, which,
years later, morphed into the film Collateral.
Life, as we all know, comes with messy, unexplained twists and turns. It comes
with unfathomable sadness. It comes with magic. Luckily, for our tribe, the tribe of
storytellers, we have been blessed with the ability to encapsulate those ephemeral
chapters – to distill the essence of thought – into a character, a landscape, an
embodiment of something or someone on this Earth who we loved... who we lost... or
who we could never have...
...until we wrote.
mc foley's most recent YA fantasy novel, THE ICE HOTEL, is currently being adapted to screen by the Oscar-nominated screenwriters of THE FIGHTER, Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. mc was born in Cebu, Philippines, raised in Virginia and resides in West Hollywood, CA. After winning a poetry slam competition in Oakland, CA - foley paid rent with the winnings, and began touring as a performance poet, doing shows across the U.S. and overseas, including tours through the UK and Denmark, where foley performed on Denmark's national radio station, Radio P3. foley then wrote/acted lead in "The Coconut Masquerade," a play written entirely in verse and produced by Bindlestiff Studio in San Francisco's SOMA district. Segments of "Coconut," were featured in theaters around the country including the national Hip Hop Theater Festival and LA's Greenway Court Theater. Now in LA, mc foley is an active novelist, studying screen and television writer and weekly e-columnist on The Business of Show Institute's e-newsletter, which reaches 40,000+ global subscribers - thebusinessofshowinstitute.com
my new paranormal fiction novella... NC-17
Days later, I feel it. I really feel it. I’m clean. I move like a teenage panther. I think at a speed that
seems like some new technology has implanted itself in my skull.
More than that – I can alter my world.
It occurs to me first, at work. That petri dish of gluttonous, medieval rulers holding desperately
onto disintegrating plots of land on the fifteenth floor of our recycled-oxygen fluorescent-flooded
prison. That black hole of gross inequality in compensation, backdoor blow jobs to book the best
window office, and beaten down workhorses hardly able to drag their loads anymore.
I return on a Thursday morning. “First day back for you and first day out for Cate,” they tell me.
“Fired? Quit? Leave of absence? Suspension without pay,” I ask. Not Cate I think. Not Cate the
staff favorite who’d lately taken sides against the medieval rulers. Not Cate the rebellious fighter in
her late fifties who is scheduled for open-heart surgery.
“Yes. Cate.,” they say. “Axed.”
She is just the first. The rest come during the layoffs. Layoffs and forced transitions. Shove-outs
and dishonorable computer lockouts and pack-your-box-and-leave-I’m-sorry-you-just-squeezed-
Then come the multiple forms of full-times cut to part-times cut to “with this reduction in hours you
don’t earn enough to keep your health insurance. Oh, say hi to the wife and kids!”
Some days after the bloodletting, it’s time for get-back-to-work-like-this-never-happened-at-all.
Co-worker Kerry and I make our way down the hall. On every side huddled clusters hum with
their now common whispers about how, in the midst of it all, a few of the fifteenth floor residents
booked their trips to London and Spain. How – some of them walked away with camouflaged
I feel scorched inside. A rage claws its way up my throat. It smokes up my eyes.
Maybe the whispers would bother me less, I think, if it somehow made sense. If these ‘superiors’
and so-called ‘leaders’ were aces at their jobs... but their glutton-induced obesity, cover-my-
ass M.O. and soon-to-be-senility infests the entire pack. This is daily clear in their looks of quiet
desperation and dead-eyed attacks aimed at each other. New trips and hidden raises are just the
current way for them to keep their enemies close, by handing each other the spoils of war.
We all know. Of course we do. There are those snakes in our own ranks who do the same – but,
aside from two of the executive pets, I have a soft spot for the snakes. Even with all of their
scheming, most of them do no better than the rest of us – barely making the rent, barely keeping
THE CURE by mc foley
As Kerry and I wind our way down the northwest executive hall, we see them. Two of the worst
offenders. The pair of medieval rulers start to laugh like dirty hyenas, their heads cocking back,
their throats rippling.
Something about the stumpy one – Wendy, the champion of hiding-behind-her-browbeaten-
assistant – something about her laughter chimes in my ear like a starting bell. Then... something
about Tom, the tall, corpse-like CFO, something about his bony, overpaid, health-insured arm
stabbing into the wall... it sticks with me, stays with me, suffocates me with anger, sends me
spinning all the way into my rage.
“Greece this time?,” Tom cheeses to Wendy in plastic-faced awe.
“Then Turkey,” nods Wendy, her plump face bobbing up and down like a mid-blowjob prostitute.
“We’re only walking to all of the five star restaurants this time. I have to break in my new shoes!“
I look at them, then. Those shoes. Those shoes that remind me of the richest women on
Washington DC subways wrapped in Martha Stewart colors and only the finest of uptight clothes.
Those shoes that clamp on her feet as if to shrink them, all of their thousand-dollar price tag trying
to hide the excess of fat, but failing and pushing the doughy meat up, into her already-swollen calf.
We make our way by. “I wish someone would break her fatass legs,” I mutter to Kerry, both of us
struggling as we pass not to reveal how much we want them impaled on wooden stakes shoved
bluntly through the ass. Take it away, some dark mist thought breathes into my skull.
Within a few hours, word flies around. “Wendy just walked across the street and a car cut the
light!” – “Barreled into her!” – “Crushed her!”
Crushed both of her shiny-shoed feet, I can’t help but think.
“Rushed to the hospital!,” come more of the murmurs. “They’re going to amputate her leg!”
I listen to all of the whispers and mock shell shock and subtext of glee from everyone around... and I
look down at myself in the reflection of my locked cell phone screen.
Crushed? Amputate? Her leg? ... Was that... it couldn’t be... couldn’t... but how was it... so
accurately... what I... just... asked for... what I... just... achieved?