Monday, April 30, 2012

A very short story.

He bolts from the car a mere three steps to the office door. Winter sunlight brushes skin, his scream ancient and awful in a language too alien for words.

The door slams shut behind him, the doorman offering up a glass-eyed smile, lips twitching into an attempted smile. “Good morning, Mr. President.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

this is not going to be a feel-good novel

“Does that count for nothing?” he says, trying so hard to understand why I’d tried to kill myself.

I bite my lip, teeth digging into stitches, then: “It’s everything.  School. Family. The world we’ve made, the race we’re in. It’s all futile. It doesn’t matter and I ran out of reasons to pretend it did.”

“You wanted to get the business of dying over with,” he says. “And now?”

“Now ….” I pause, Sam coming to mind, “now I think the world is too layered and complicated to be that simple, for death to be that easy.”

“The world has never been fair; what makes us think we’d get oblivion after we die?” Emma says behind me.

I jump, turning, and she hands me coffee without a word. I take it, not meeting her gaze, fearing the fire that burns behind her eyes would be full of scorn and judgement.

“You could have told me.”

“And said what? There are limits to how often I can explain something I can’t explain. I tried to kill myself. Saying why, giving reasons, never fits. People keep wanting it to make sense.”

“It’s easy; you were afraid,” she says with a certainty common to tv talk show hosts, the authority of Saints Oprah and Jerry Springer in her voice.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the last spamfighter

The world has never had much use for superheroes. He just sat behind a desk most days, had created a forum on the internet. People joined it, because people will join anything, but he only paid attention to the spammers, tracking them back to their sources, hunting them down the information highways.

He took down computers, reported companies, all from a third-hand office chair and a computer he could barely afford. Authorities noticed a decrease in spam and were quick to praise companies, to even praise consumers for wising up to old frauds. The superhero tried not to care, tried to tell himself he was only doing the right thing, that he didn't need fame, that he didn't need fortune.

But every day it became a little harder.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Second Helping

(Actually done in 2004, but no ideas for a poem this year and it's not on the blog, so.....)

He said, “I can walk on water.”
They said, “We can fly, in air planes.”
He said, “Simon Magus was brought down by Peter.”
“Excuse me, sir? You’re under arrest.
We don’t harbour terrorists,”
they said, for His threats
and to his promises.

The first time He said He was God
the lawsuits began coming.
He said lawyers were the work of the devil.
His public defender didn’t defend him,
angry at the stories about lawyers.
“If you are the Son of God, you would be with us!”
“I walked with prostitutes, the poor, the outcasts.
I would not walk with you. You are the evils
of this age,” He said, and did not smile.

His followers said He was changed.
Forty days and forty nights in the asylum
changes anyone. He said, “I can call down the fires of God.”
They introduced Him to electroshock therapy.

The Supreme Court declared raising the dead illegal,
the FDA said resurrection was a new drug
giving the high of temporary extinction.
The first dead man returned sued him
for emotional damages and the loss of his home.
The scientists called it a mass hallucination
James Randi debunked Him on Oprah.

The believers found Him alone
in a garden outside the city.
“Tell us of God,” they implored,
asking him to autograph their bibles.
He said the bible was the work of man
inspired by God, and refused to endorse
one version over another, or Nike Shoes
for that matter.

“God didn’t fact check it. You added things
to the inspiration of my Father,
turned poetry into prose.”
And they said, “You do not believe?
Are you not a Christian?”
He smiled sadly. “Words are stones too,”
He said gently, but they had been raised
on MTV, and had no time for parables.

They strung Him up in the cornfield
to ward off crows, reckoning
that if He was the Son of God
He could do that much at least.
“You are not Jesus,” they said,
punctuating each word with a stake.

Later, drunk on spirits and Easter candy
they returned, and took Him down.
Crucifixion is too easy,” they said,
eyes bloodshot and words slurred.
“We’ve learned much since then.”

The body was discovered
by small animals in a garbage bag
at the city dump. They ate Him
without knowing who He was
and would not have cared if they had -
He had not come back for them.
He tasted a little like bread
And not like chicken at all.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Of editgasms and novel ideas

I threatened a friend on her blog to do an edit of the first two words of her first chapter (and the chapter title) as an editgasm; she asked to see it, the resulting was written up:
I sometimes 
"CHAPTER 1"? Really? Firstly, the egregious use of capitals is designed to drag the reader in, and only serves the same purpose as multiple exclamation marks. Your story should be worthwhile on its own merits, and not need to shout for my approval and beg to be read like a little child waving around a picture and hoping it get posted on a fridge overflowing with crap art.
Secondly, 1. Words are written out in fiction. While it may seem that you are trying to make up for the abuse of CHAPTER (aka READ ME) with a quieter denouncement of the 1, all it does is pander to internet-speak. You may as well as call it CHAPTER LOL!!1! at this stage.
Regarding the start of your brief sentences (the word paragraph, obviously, cannot apply to such a meagre offering), you begin with "I". Who is this I? Does the back copy tell me? Why should I begin caring about him, or her, at all? To compound your sins, you continue with "sometimes". This is the start to a novel, not a short story. Be specific, focus, draw the reader into the narrative with certainty. An uncertain voice starting out that quickly merely serves to make the reader believe the author is uncertain as well and calls the entire narrative into question as the reader is forced to solidify every authorial vagueness in his or her own head, which is far too much work for a story that is, clearly, not literature, as it is being written for the YA market.
To sum up: I believe leaving CHAPTER 1 as it stands may actually suffice, as the readers expectations will be rendered sufficiently low as to make those first sentences, if not bearable, at least acceptable. I trust that you will understand my reluctance to parse your story further, as your use of 'relative' along would warrant a small essay on the misuse of the family dynamic to lull readers into a false sense of security, to say nothing of the insult it does to the field of psychiatry.
I wonder, now, if one could do an entire novel in this style. Write up a first chapter of something and then a whole novel critiquing it, the rants about various aspects of story and structure revealing the narrator more and more ... it might be a fun experiment for nanowrimo, come to think of it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

from things written last night

Worked on a page each on two stories; this is from the darker one:

I pull up the hood on my jacket, jamming hands into the pockets and walk down the stairs. The air is knife-cold, slithering between layers of clothing. I let a breath out, let the cold in, driving out morning angst and the last of the coffee’s warmth. I think if one of us was good with mornings, Ed and I might have lasted, together. Without that we always said too much that hurt; I know it’s not that simple, but I like to think it could have been. I don’t know what scares me more: that we might be too complex for the easy labels of psychology, or that none of us are as complex as we think. We complicate everything by making in into a story, love more than anything else, when a wildlife documentary shows how uncomplicated such things are.

"The first man to tell a story ruined the purity of living. Every word we speak is another loss, a further step taken from the world," a voice says, soft, beside my right ear.

Monday, April 02, 2012

facebook & google+ status updates part X (April 2, 2012)

"Oh, the curse I'm putting on you? It's really quite simple: you must live your life as though the things everyone says about you were true."

“He writes like a poet,” she says, swirling her wine glass.
“Oh?” he says, boredom undersaying, ‘tell me more’.
“He makes words mean things they don’t. Words should just mean what they mean, and no more.”

He can’t name one thing that doesn’t get better by ending.

The god does not cry. But for a moment, as he stares at you, it seems as though crying is the thing the god misses most about being human. Even more than sex.

“Of course I invested all your money in toxic futures; what other kind of future is there?”

It’s so quiet at work these days; you would think zombies would need to buy iphones too.

For sale: one straightjacket, never worn.

"The hardest part of writing?" He chuckled. "That is quite simple: the most difficult thing, above all else, is to look at the world around you and avoid writing a satire."

Telemarketers: the only class of people we can scream abuse at over the phone and not feel bad after having done so.

A woman who finds everything in her handbag on the first try; no one notices the small magics these days.

I tried to love you but it hurt too much to stay.

He said: This is my body, this is my blood.

We're still working out which one we can smoke.

A cheap invisibility cloak: a homeless person's clothing, not bathing for two weeks, eyes too beaten down to beg.

For sale: one forest, trees not included.

Discuss the concept that 'The Flinstones' is Creationist propaganda.

My proposed taxation method: all families should just mail in their firstborn child every 5-10 years.

Every year, the employees at Burger King pick one woman to be the Burger Queen. She is never seen again

Don't read this status update. Thank you for your cooperation.

Beware! Fat-free food produces fat-free dreams.

"I'm afraid the accident didn't damage your brain at all. You really are just that stupid."

The newest executive desk toy: a crystal ball showing just how far staff will go for a promotion. To say nothing of a parking space.

the moon blurs under tears
but remains no easier
to touch

Most vending machines eat change; the one beside my apartment eats hope. There is always a line-up for it.

"Maybe that's the only truth," she says, half in jest. "It's not that this -- what we're doing --" a wave of her hand compasses the room, the whole world, "doesn't make sense, it's that nothing does, not now and not ever."

Cats may look upon kings, but only dogs get to sniff their butts.

Proposed Clive Cussler novel: 'Dirk Pitt and the mystery of the Pitless Cherries'

A used car dealership. the owner's eyes the colour of rusted hubcaps. His smile peels layers of paint from your soul.

The coffee shop has two tip jars, labelled 'heaven' and 'hell'. We have stacked a pile of pennies between them for purgatory. The stack seems, at times, too high.

Today's Unfact: every Subway shop put inside a real subway station closes within two years.

Cheap Budget Truck Rental is not a scam, but they only rent out the Flinstone's vehicle.