The Final Installment Of “Waking Up”

My first serial fiction reached its conclusion today with Part 8: Into The Light. This story pushed me to write my first happy ending with a triumphant heroine story arc.

My next step with this story is to assemble the parts, then expand and rewrite it for adaptation into a novella. This will let me expand on the tender flashbacks Deidre experiences as her memories of Madison return to her.

When I started writing this story, after reviewing the premise with a friend I love, I intended to target cis audiences to help them understand trans experiences. As the parts of this story came out, JK Rowling demonstrated her complete lack of understanding, making this story more valuable. There is an archetype of narcissism in some parts of our society that refuses to accept the identity of a child beyond how they are named and the assumption based on traits observed at birth.

I purposefully left many details ambiguous and do not plan to clarify these in the adaptation. This is to emphasize the unimportance of these details in regards to the characters’ identities.

The details I chose to emphasize are those that are most important when listening to the life stories of trans women, such as battles with body image, the complex relationships with cosmetics and clothing, and the difficult impacts coming out has had on their relationships with their parents. Additionally, what I hope to have conveyed is that Deidre, and all trans women, are not inherently victims. They are the heroines of their own stories by defying a world where almost all systems are set up against them.

Of the women I spoke with, all mentioned that the relationships with their mothers were among the most helpful and harmful depending on the responses. Thus, Katherine emerged as the antagonist, going so far as to physically act out the emotional and verbal abuses described by some of the women I am lucky enough to call my friends.

I do not pretend to tell my friends’ stories – this is a work of fiction and is intended to communicate realities to a reader through the eyes of a fictional character. Though heavily researched, this story has room for improvements I look forward to adding in the adaptation as I work with more resources and sensitivity readers to make sure I hit all the important details I may have missed this first time through.

In the meantime, I want to mention that “Waking Up” is dedicated to all transgender persons struggling for acceptance in a narcissistic world, denying them of the most basic human right: the autonomy to live and express your own identity in whatever way you see fit for yourself and your happiness.

Thank you for taking the time to read about “Waking Up” – each part is linked below:

Part 1 – The First Day

Part 2 – On The Third Day

Part 3 – Six Months Later

Part 4 – Mother

Part 5 – Missing Pieces

Part 6 – Katherine

Part 7 – Identity

Part 8 – Into The Light

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this today. I hope you enjoy “Waking Up” – please like, comment, and share this story. This will help me gain feedback as I move forward into its expansion and improvement into a novella.

Things That Influence My Writing: Montana Cow Mutilations

Newspaper clipping from the Billings Gazette, October 10, 1975

**Content Warning: This post discusses the killing and mutilation of animals by unknown perpetrator(s) over the past 50+ years in the United States. As a non-beef eater myself, reader discretion is advised**

While the world is caught up with everything that is 2020 (do you have your apocalypse bingo card yet?) I’d like to visit an ongoing state and national news story that captured my attention when I first moved to Montana in 2013. In October, 2019, new developments arose. I think it’s time to share this news with readers for the purpose of distraction. So, I’ll compile some basic information here. While I have some thoughts on what the possible explanations could be, I will save those for the end.

Cow Mutilations

From the GIPHY keyboard

On October 2, 2019 the Billings Gazette reported a new report of 5 dead cattle being found in Salem, Oregon. While tragic, the random death of cattle in the Pacific Northwest would not turn heads under normal circumstances. These were not normal circumstances. Instead, this was the newest report in an ongoing series of documented cow mutilations throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, with the majority of documented cases in Montana, dating back to the 1970s.

According to the original newspaper clipping from the Billings Gazette on October 10, 1975 (shown above) about 175 reports of mutilations were gathered from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho in addition to Montana at that time. At that time, given the cost of the equipment necessary to cause the types of mutilations and damages found, the issue stumped authorities, leading to the concern of a cult traveling throughout the country traveling “by helicopter”. Reasonably so, this was thought to be ridiculous.

There is a Wikipedia page on Cattle Mutilation as a general concept, but it is important to note that this page includes international and domestic horse, goat, and other unidentified livestock incidents. These non-bovine and international incidents have mutilation patterns not matching those specifically found in the mutilated cattle of the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. That said, they may still be worth discussing for contrasting purposes.

The Investigation

From the GIPHY keyboard

The common pattern with these mutilations is that the sex organs and tongues are removed with all blood drained from the corpse. An investigative report mentioned in a 2001 article in the New York Times mentioned that a group that researches these incidents, The National Institute for Discovery Science, did find one interesting variation in a case in Utah where there was a hole in the head of one of the cattle with both BHT and Formaldehyde present, indicating that an embalming/preservation process took place. This group is/was funded by Robert Bigelow – a man that became obsessed with aliens and the Skinwalker Ranch – a place so notorious even the History Channel has added it to their questionable line up.

As their website is now defunct and it is hard to find information on anything other than his alien focused ventures, I am not going to spend much time focusing on this aspect for now.

I used the Wayback Machine to look up their website and I have to admit it’s hard to take this seriously. Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20071009234743/http://www.nidsci.org/

Another common element between all of these cases? They remain unsolved. To give readers an idea of how extensive and compelling these reports are, there is an open case file with the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the recurring ritualistic serial mutilation of cattle. At this time, the FBI only investigates mutilations that occur on tribal land and all have been closed unsolved according to the Billings Gazette.

Private and public reward monies for information regarding cattle mutilations continue to accumulate, including a $25,000 reward for the recent mutilation in Oregon.

My Interest And Thoughts On These Events

From the GIPHY keyboard

Shortly before moving to Montana, on March 1, 2013, a rancher found more mutilated cows approximately 5 miles outside of Browning. Given how current it was in the news, this provided the opportunity for me to learn more about these incidents and start compiling information on this truly bizarre fascination.

Spoiler Alert: I don’t think this has anything to do with aliens. While I do not dismiss the possibility of life in this universe more intelligent than humans, I don’t think it is coming to Earth and messing with our cows.

I have 7 years of research and thoughts on these events and there are a few options regarding what I can do with this information. The option currently in the lead:

  • Start An Investigative Podcast/YouTube Series With A Funny Name

I would present each individual documented event in chronological order, the information available that I’ve been able to gather, any additional leads people are able to provide, and similarities between the events that I’ve been able to observe. This would then include leads from listeners that have been followed up on in later episodes.

The reasoning behind presenting the same information in two formats is because I want to be inclusive of non-auditory individuals, and those needing closed captioning and/or lip reading to assist with auditory processing. For more information on auditory processing disorders you can visit that website or read the Wikipedia page here.

Possible Explanations

From the GIPHY keyboard – credit to Trey Parker and Matt Stone

The big rule here driving my investigation: It’s Not Aliens. The perpetrators could be many things, but the response of “aliens” has become the standard cop-out. There is a lot of additional evidence, even from those that do believe aliens visit earth, to suggest these mutilations are not being performed by aliens.

I mentioned before that I have thoughts on alternative explanations. I don’t think these cases are going to be a “one explanation fits all” kind of thing. These potential explanations include: insurance fraud, publicity, public diversion from other questionable activities, ritualistic or cult activity, and intimidation. That said, I absolutely expect that there are potential explanations that I have not yet thought of. Who knows – maybe I will be proven wrong and there are aliens. I have to be open to that possibility, no matter how skeptical I am and how little I think it makes sense.

TL;DR

If you are interested in this kind of investigative podcast about the unsolved mysterious cow mutilations that have been ongoing throughout the United States for at least the past 50 years, please like this post and/or comment your suggestion for title of the series, what excites you the most, or if you have any thoughts you would like to contribute. If you think a friend would like to listen to this podcast or would have anything to contribute, please share this.

I’m excited to have as much input as possible in this 100% bizarre side project, even if you disagree with me and want to tell me you think I’m wrong; even if you insist that it’s aliens.

If this gains enough interest (100 likes) I will launch the first episode of the podcast.

Until then, I will continue to focus my efforts on reviews, my book becoming available for pre-order later this summer, “A Hundred Different Skies”, and my short story collection coming out early next year.

As always, thank you for reading. Without you, this post would have been meaningless electrons sent out into the void.

Publication Announcement: Waking Up – Part 5

Deidre faces her mother in Waking Up – Part 5.

To read parts 1-4, visit my author page here.

**Content Warning:** This story contains depictions of and allusions to the abuse of vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, LGBTQA+, and children of abusive parents, and may contain content that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

Remember where your happy place is!

Waking Up: Missing Pieces – Part 5

Short Story Announcement!

Waking Up: Missing Pieces – Part 5

As an additional layer, the content warning is as follows:

This story contains references and allusions to the abuse of vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, LGBTQA+, and children of abusive parents, and may contain content that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

The specificity is important here. These topics are ones related to trauma.

Things are revealing themselves in Part 5 of “Waking Up” over at Coffee House Writers (Read: Part 1| Part 2| Part 3| Part 4).

As the first of 2 parts (parts 5 and 6) released during June 2020, I am planning these to be the big reveals of the main characters’ situation in this LGBTQ+ medical and legal Southern gothic horror.

There is a correction. There are two references to a slamming door (oops). This is being corrected by the editors. Only the second reference is correct. The first reference is going to be removed. If you only see one reference to a slamming door then it has been fixed by the time you have read this.

Let me know what you think of the story so far as the story of Dee and Madison continues to unfold.

Thank you for reading. Without you these would be words entered into the void of electrons/photons making up the internet.