31 Days of Halloween

I know October is almost over. By now, you've probably seen the new Halloween, The Haunting of Hill House, and our sweet, beloved Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas about 43 times. (And if you haven't, what are you waiting for?)

If you're all funned out, if your inspiration is waning, check this list I made a few years ago. It has suggestions you may have overlooked. Some are cult classics, others will be new to you.

31 Days of Halloween

Ghost Story is an important precursor to movies like What Lies Beneath. Robert Wise's The Haunting is the foundation for The Haunting of Hill House. If you're a chicken like me, there are plenty of cop-outs. I highly recommend Transylvania 6-5000 and High Spirits, flicks we simply must do more to push into the cult classic category.

If you're looking for some fun reads, I re-edited my dorky FanFiction (totally safe for work, the playground, church, etc.) Mulder and Scully Visit the Haunted Mansion.

I also shared my poem Monsters' Girlfriends via Twitter and Instagram. Because I'm needy. 

Happy Halloween! What are you watching?


Mulder and Scully Investigate the Haunted Mansion

It's almost Halloween and it's fanfiction Friday. I just had to do something about that.*

My favorite episodes of The X-Files were always "monster of the week". This term refers to a standalone episode that doesn't affect the overall story arc of the series. Very often, writers use these episodes to celebrate holidays or reward diehard fans with wish fulfillment.

In my opinion, the very best of these were The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas, Triangle and Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-MonsterIn the grand tradition of weird one-offs, I bring you my very own X-Files episode, wherein Mulder and Scully investigate The Haunted Mansion

If enough people ask for it, I'll share the second and third acts. (I originally wrote this in script format, but over the years, I've learned that nobody likes to read script format on the internet. So I turned it into fiction instead.)

Hello Giggles Articles

In 2016, I began contributing to Hello Giggles. I wish I had more time to write for them because I really appreciate an organization that amplifies the voices of women and girls.

And I'm proud to say one of my articles even made it into one of their editor's Best of 2016 lists.

Here are a few more of my articles:

10 Productive Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

8 Movies and TV Shows To Help You Feel Brave

I talked to Ashley Eckstein of "Star Wars" about empowering fangirls, running a business, and harnessing the power of positivity. (Hello Giggles called this one a "must read" and I wrote a follow-up here.)

What TMJ taught me about listening to my body

What I learned growing up with a mom who ran a singing telegram business

How Changing My Hair Color Taught Me A Life Lesson

How other women's stories of surviving sexual assault taught me to let go of shame


Today's Writing Exercise

Several months ago, my friend Trish recommended a writing exercise wherein you catalogue the lies your characters believe. I recently had the chance to try with my characters from Leaves. (A script in desperate need of fixing. I love it so much I avoid it. That's healthy, right?)

Results are below, and they give away a pretty big plot point.

10 Museums from Pop Culture (Real and Fictional)

I work in a museum right now. On my lunch break, I can wander up to the galleries or out to the gardens. I'm so busy I almost never do. But still, it's an option. For a dreamer, that's pretty ideal. 

For me, museums have always been places of great freedom. My cousins and I went to museums a lot as children. We played a game wherein we pretended to get lost just so we could be on our own all day. It was soooo long ago that if you were within the walls of the museum, you knew, you just knew, you'd be safe. We somehow always found our parents by closing time and they were never mad and it was just the greatest. (It worked at Disney World too.)

I'm too busy to do much more than have a gif party below in honor of these 10 Museums from Pop Culture, but I hope you enjoy. (I definitely saved the best entry for last.)

1. Indiana Jones in every movie (but the gif is from Last Crusade) - The National Museum at Marshall College

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off - The Art Institute of Chicago

And now...a montage...

3. L.A. Story - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

4. The Mummy - Museum of Antiquities

5. Ocean's Twelve - Galleria D'Arte di Roma

6. Jab Harry Met Sejal - Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

7. The Squid and the Whale - American Museum of Natural History

8. Ghostbusters II - Manhattan Museum of Art

9. When Harry Met Sally - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

10. Batman - Flugelheim Museum

What museums did I miss? Do you still love to get lost in a museum?

P.S. While drafting this, I found, Museum People's Tattoos. It's a delightful blog I discovered by accident and I love it.

Also, there was a popular book titled From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler about a girl who sneaks into a museum and stays past closing time. They even made it into a movie. Any other nineties kids remember it?


New Short Comic - Swamp Ape

I'm so incredibly sensitive about human and animal welfare. That's not a brag. Frequent public weeping isn't exactly a superpower. I become overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness when I see others hurting.

But. I've recently discovered I can sometimes write my way out of the melancholy, like a lobster scooting backwards out of a trap. When I saw a particularly moving story about abandoned orangutans, I decided to write them a guardian.

Javi Laparra is the incredible artist. Justin Birch did the lettering. Here's our backstory for a famous photo...

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Please consider donating a dollar to International Animal Rescue's Borneo Orangutan project. Unfortunately, nobody can help the orangutans except us humans. So, pony up. 

Writing Prompt

How about you? If you could re-write a wrong, what would it be?

Disclaimer Town

I have work to do when it comes to clarity. Everyone who reads this has to ask me questions about it. Which is bad. But I'm learning. I think this script is better than Author. I can feel myself getting a better handle on how to harness the turn of the page or the natural way the eye reads left to right and up to down for the benefit of reveals. You would think a lifetime of reading comics would make an initial attempt at writing them less clumsy. 

Alas...a clumsy effort is an effort nonetheless.

New Short Comic - Author

I'm still learning this format. It's hard. I'm obviously struggling with clarity. But the artist (Javi Laparra) and letterer (Justin Birch) I'm working with are tremendous. I don't want their work to go unseen just because I'm a perfectionist Debbie Downer.

I have three more scripts I'm currently redrafting that are better. Prey, Sunk, and Mothers. But this was my first attempt at a short comic. Two pages only. The concept has been knocking around my brain since college.

Obviously, the idea was fresher back in 2003. It's been done to death now. Back then, I was still really obsessed with Shane Black's The Long Kiss Goodnight. I thought about how funny it would be if an ordinary woman just thought...well, you'll see...

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These were Patreon exclusives for a few months. A two page short comic costs me about $400 to create. If you want to chip in to help me continue creating short comics, essays, or anything else, consider becoming a Patron here: https://www.patreon.com/audreybrownwrites or sending a one-time donation to: https://www.paypal.me/AudreyMarieBrown

I'm so intensely thankful to the people who support me. I also take requests and commissions! This month, I'm writing a creative nonfiction essay about my grandma for Liz Tippy!


There's So Much You Don't Know About Angela Lansbury

Yes, I keep it next to my oil diffuser,
because I'm #basic. 
I'm writing an essay about how the brilliant Dame Angela Lansbury continues to stay relevant. She's not just a childhood favorite. She's a legitimate role model for a million reasons I'm currently trying to put into words.

I even keep a framed picture of her on my desk. It was a gift from my friend Jen about ten years ago. I've displayed it in every office since then. Is it a little weird? Sure. But I do enjoy watching people slowly figure out who it is, then try to get up the nerve to ask if she's my grandma.

Anyway, while I draft, I want to make sure you know about the Angela of three key eras. This is your homework, my friends.

1. Classic Film Angela Lansbury

To you, she may be the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast or a witch in training from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. But her career spans decades. There's another Angela most of you don't know. The one who got an early start in the studio system by taking on the "bad girl" archetype...and taking it on quite well.

In the unsung Judy Garland classic The Harvey Girls, she even got into a full-on fist fight with Judy. That alone makes the movie worth a watch, but so does Judy, the soundtrack, and this... 

2. Broadway Angela Lansbury

Angie once tread the boards for fifteen years straight and has since returned for many runs. She's a triple threat. She originated iconic roles and spent plenty of time in classic shows. (Mame, Blithe Spirit, and Gypsy just to name a few.) By her own account, she kept ticket sales rolling along and made sure she got ten percent of the take, to boot.

She also worked with her best friend, Bea Arthur, many times. How much do you wish you could go back in time and have a lunch date with these two?

3. Television Legend Angela Lansbury

My favorite role of hers is still that of Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. There's something innately empowering about the character. She enjoyed her time as a mother and a wife, she's clear about that repeatedly in show dialogue.

We meet her in the pilot as a widow, but she's still a vital, involved member of her community. She then goes on to find world-wide success as a mystery writer, using the skills she's developed through research to solve real murders. She bakes bread when she needs to think. She travels extensively. She's always direct, but never rude. Not even to the actual murderers when she catches them.

Plus, she even helped Magnum P.I. once. Speaking of which, no, I'm not watching the new Magnum. I know you didn't ask, but I have a lot of feelings.

You get the sense from interviews that Angela Lansbury is a lot like Jessica Fletcher. She speaks confidently about making deals, demanding excellent pay and working conditions, and treating the crew well in this series of interviews from EmmyTV Legends.org. She understands her own agency.

On a lighter note, she also pulled hosting duty for the Academy Awards. Honest to God, sometimes if I'm having a tough day, I watch this just to cheer up. (She also did one-off, televised theatrical productions like this.)

Bonus: She also did a workout video. See? Renaissance woman. 

I think I've made my point. I'm one of those writers who writes to discover. I don't really know what I'm trying to say until I gather all my research and take a few cracks at it. I'm just as curious as you are about what's brought Miss Lansbury to mind in such a strong way lately.

I'll keep you up to date...

And also...

I still love the internet for making this.