I Said I'm Writing

and Other Lies I Tell

(Tammie's Blog)

  • Tammie Burnsed

Crazy 4 a.m. Ideas


I keep vampire hours, always have. If left to my own devices I’d sleep until the cool breezes of late afternoon rattled the windows to wake me and garden by the light of the stars. These hours are hard to keep if you want to have, what’s it called? Oh yes, A LIFE. And so I fight against my own internal clock so that I can spend time with people I love—those normals who go to sleep before midnight and wake in time to see the last colorful banners of sunrise waving across the pastel blues of a morning sky—and have a job and go to the bank and the grocery store and take care of all the other things responsible people take care of.


But I don’t like it. The moon whispers crazy ideas in my head when I’m alone with her in the velvety dark hours between midnight and 4 a.m. Make a journal from all those old cards you’ve been saving and write secret spells on every page, she says. Remember that dream you had last night about the woman who turned men into fish? Make that into a story, she says. Dig out those notes you took in Eureka that time with Aunt Marie, and start a new novel about your great-great-great grandmother. Do it now, she insists.


The moon never tells me to clean out the refrigerator or take my vitamins or remind me of the value of a good night’s sleep. That’s why I love her.


It was the moon that told me to write #shortstories about all the characters in Moonlight, Mugwort and Murder so that I could get to know them better and understand their motives. It was Luna’s idea to collect them all into a companion book for #Moonlight. Pretty smart.


She’s big and red tonight outside my window. Mars is her closest companion. In her honor, I’ll tell you the beginning of a fish story:

Once there was a witch named Brenda who had a bad habit of turning her lovers into fish when she tired of them. The men didn’t appreciate this at all and usually begged to be returned to human form when they woke from a night of passion to find themselves finned and gilled and surrounded by water—fresh or salty, depending. Brenda tried to explain that she was a Pisces, a mutable sign and naturally drawn to change, but this information always failed to dampen their protest.

She chose the type of fish based on the man’s personality and love-making style. Not on any of his sizes as some may assume. For example, one should infer nothing unflattering, girth- or length-wise, about Dale the guppy who, in human form, had been completely adequate--a bit ample if anything-- but was the kind of person who could circle around the same day-glow pink resin castle over and over again and be genuinely surprised each time he encountered it. Plus, he was always pretending to mount her from behind while in motion, while they were walking down the hallway together, say, or, perhaps, while strolling the shampoo aisle at Wal-Mart. She didn’t like it.

None of Brenda’s paramours had ever been turned into crustaceans, who were bottom dwellers; the thought of someone who had once seen her naked spending its life eating waste was upsetting to Brenda. There were limits.

© 2014 T.J. Burns