…because I thought I was gonna have something bigger ready by tonight, but it ended up not working out yet. Sorry! So, a couple of quick stories. First one’s fictional and based on a much crappier and unfinished short story from high school. This is more or less a beginning to it–maybe I’ll try and write more of it later this week. Too many unfinished projects, haha. Like I said earlier, I’ll try and focus on finishing/continuing stuff soon–most likely this week.

…She was like a portrait, sitting on her windowsill that night. And not a self-portrait, either–No, she was too beautiful for that, too beautiful in so many ways. Too delicate to put brush to canvas, certainly unable to understand the impact she had on every arbitrary passerby. And as Billy pondered all of this, sitting on a tree branch just past the brick wall that guarded her from the rest of the world (And rightfully so!, thought Billy), he could only stray his mind so far from her beauty. Any other thoughts were justified or proven immediately wrong by that central, utterly important quality. Was she a good person? She is beautiful. Was her family loving and supportive of her? She is beautiful. Was she happy? Beautiful. Beautiful.

That night, that one damp, mid-fall night, Billy decided he would have to wait until he grew up. Another long decade, but it would be worth it. He would grow up, many years from now, and hope all the while that she would still be there, in her brick tower’s windowsill, waiting for him. If only she was unhappy, thought Billy. Then I could rescue her.

And this one’s real and quite quick: I was walking around Brown one day last year and came upon an older woman who was standing in the middle of a sidewalk, looking around confusedly. I walked up and she briskly asked me, “Do you know where the dining hall is?”
“Oh, uh, which one?”
“I don’t know which one.”
“Well, there’s a lot of them… are you looking for someone?”
“Yes. They’re somewhere around here. I’ve been looking for an hour.”
“Er, do you need some help–”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you for your help, anyway.”
“Oh! Uh, alright. I hope it works out for you–”
“It will.”

And she marched off in the direction I came from.

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Some Quick Stories

August 12, 2009

I don’t really have any long-form stuff I feel like doing tonight, but I didn’t want to do a really short update, either, since this week’s been pretty sparse on writing. So! Here are some various quick things I’ve been thinking about in the past couple of days. On an ironically similar note, I’ve realized I have too many started but unfinished or uncontinued projects on here, so I’m going to try and continue/finish some of those in the next couple of weeks, or at least before the summer ends for me. If there’s any particular ones from the past couple of months you’d like to see continued or finished, lemme know. Don’t forget you can click the Categories at the bottom of the page and look at all those entries–So, all of the music in one section, or all of the writing, or just the poetry, and so on.

#1:

“Frankly, Roger, I don’t give any kind of a damn if my brother is alive.”
“Er, uh, Lieutenant Lockjaw, sir…”
“Sure, I presumed him dead all these past years, but I hardly cared. People die all the time in this line of work, he was just another casualty…”
“Sir, I don’t think you realize…”
“Yes, every day’s motto on the field of battle is to forget about death. By the time it matters you aren’t around to care, anyway! Yes, I–God damn it, Roger, what are you going on about?”
“Sir, uh, you’re… you’re smiling.”
[A Pause.]
“…Oh. Well, yes. …Stop grinning like a fool, cadet! Back to your post! Get out of here!”

#2:

“I’m sorry, Miss Tarley, but… your son is dead. Murdered.”
[A Thoughtful Pause.]
“But… isn’t that illegal?”

#3:

He was shot in the head. On the side. Point blank. But damn, damn if you couldn’t see his dreams fly out of the other side in slow motion. Damn if you didn’t want to reach out to them, salvage them, keep them from coasting through the air, back into the skies they first came from. But you couldn’t–You realize the limited extent of your arm’s reach just as his body hits the ground, one arm crossed over the other. Better men.

Man, what’s up with me and death? I’ve actually had this thing with my fiction being much more depressing and morbid than my actual self. Something about writing, I guess.

Stranger Days: Part 1

August 5, 2009

Sorry, guys, this one’s unedited. Granted, all the writing I put up here are usually first or second drafts, but I’m not editing this one for typos and grammar because I’m tired and it’s already almost two hours late. It’s pretty long but probably worth it, I’d say. I decided to try something intentionally funny this time–tell me what you think. Think I’ll continue this one on here sometime soon.

“Stranger Days”: Part 1

Rick desperately needed to find a bar somewhere in town. He didn’t exactly fit in a hole-in-the-wall dive as well as he once did, what with his insurance agent here-let-me-help-you-with-that-form blue flannel suit, tie, and recently clean-shaven face, but damn if he didn’t need a bourbon at the end of a day like this. He staggered down the 82nd street strip looking for a place to lose this day in, muttering to himself about those damn kids from earlier–who the hell thought insuring a bunch of teenage skateboarders was a good idea, anyway? He passed by a couple of places before coming up to… “The Brass Skillet.” Eh, fine, he’s been in holes with worse names than that. (Lest we forget “The Grumpy Skunk.”) Keep on Readin’ on!

Quick Story

July 31, 2009

It was then, just after he fully grasped the situation, that he realized he could not die happy by pointing a gun to his head and smiling. It was a setback, to say the least.

(Yes, it’s entirely fictional. I feel like I need a disclaimer telling people that I’m not talking about them or myself when writing first person fiction–probably just me being self-conscious, though.)

(Workin’ on my prose, still. The fact that I had to say “In a Cafe” to let people know the last one was in a cafe kinda annoyed me, so I’m trying to set the scene a bit more this time, though if I continued or redid this I’d love to expound on the protagonist more. Also, this one’s not quite so pessimistic! Sorta. That’s always good. )

Even for a bar, The Long Leaf wasn’t exactly alluring. Sure, it had a certain… charm, I suppose. The dusty collection of fedoras lining the west wall next to the stage, the black metal chairs that deserved to be on a lawn (and probably were at some point, knowing Dustin, the owner), the fact that the bartender would always keep all of the TVs around the bar locked on an old western movie channel–Yeah, the place had charm, at least on paper. But even so, it was the sort of uniqueness that only lasted the first few times you spent a weary night at the place. To travelers, maybe some random family on a roadtrip to nowhere, it’d be “quaint.” But if you spent any more nights there–like me–you’d soon realize that this was all anyone living in this town had to escape the dust and weeds outside. Anyone who worked in Deskern came here at night, every night. And after five, ten, hundreds of weeks, no one gave any sort of a damn how many of the ash trays looked like cowboy hats.

Granted, at the point in my life when I walked into The Long Leaf that night, I didn’t really think about the bar itself much anymore. The bar had practically become an involuntary habit, like walking home from the gas station after work or hanging my keys on the hook as I walked into my house. Something that I just took as an inevitability.

But, that night, as I walked in, I heard–we all heard–a saxophone. A… tenor, I think. The saxist–“That’s what you call them, right?”, I asked myself in my head–was a gruff-looking guy in his fifties. His head was balding a bit, though you could see tufts of hair here and there. He seemed to have more hair under his chin, though, and more well-colored than the rest, too.

This was about all the detail I could manage to get into my head, though. After the initial shock of hearing someone playing music here, my first thought was, “No one has ever even used that stage before.” I asked Dustin later to make sure, and he said that sometimes his son Luke would come and play guitar, but only after hours in the early morning, well after everyone else had left. After this thought, though, I immediately sat down. Hearing such soft, sweet bellows growling from that instrument was a contract: Within ten seconds you were clearly informed that it would be necessary for you to sit down, required that you release your emotions into the air for the musician’s use, absolutely mandatory that you stay until the music ended, and even longer still after that. And the entirety of this contract felt like it was being spoken freshly off the silver tongue of the slickest con artist in town. Like anyone needed to convince me.

Quick Picture Story

July 14, 2009

Marie didn’t really get why I wanted to do it so much. She called it a waste–said it was me being pointlessly artsy, like I was trying to make my life out to be some crappy experimental film. She never really got me, anyway–we broke up the week after she walked outside that night. Which is maybe too bad, actually, since it was right then that I finally could put my feelings into words: I just wanted to make something beautiful, just for the sake of it. It’s how I make myself happy, I told her. Of course, she sighed, flipped her hair, and left. Ah, well… I’m lonely again for a while, I guess.

#1: I walked into a custom hat shop one day in Santa Fe, hoping to find a crazy shop that made tons of different kinds of hats (hopefully with optional pom-poms on top?). Instead, I found shelves upon shelves of mesmerizingly beauitufl ten gallon hats. There was a guy there in one such hat with a magnificent southern drawl and a fantastic blonde ‘stache. Keep on Readin’ on?

June 30, 2009

I’ve been thinking by my ability to write fiction recently–I really think that my short stories tend to be pretty crappy, though that’s at least partially just me being self-defeating. A major thing I have problems with, I think, is character creation and development. Probably has something to do with how I have trouble writing about myself and people I know personally, and by extension, creating and writing characters that are similar to me or people that I know. I’ve recently realized that this isn’t really how it works with a lot of writing–I think before I just thought characters were magically made up from scratch by really good, gifted writers, but now I’m pretty sure that I’m mostly wrong on that front. So! A mini-project for the next couple of weeks with me is going to be writing fiction scenes that are character-driven, and that borrow elements from my own self or from people that I know, in the hopes that I’ll get over my characters-I-know phobia and get some practice with prose in the process. Hopefully some of these scenes’ll turn into full stories, and maybe I will be able to write halfway-decent ones by summer’s end! That said, here’s the first entry. For this one I just focused on one main character–I have an idea of the guy’s son, too, so I might write a “sequel” with both him and his son after this.

“…You never really expect to be where you end up, do you? I mean, you run away from or towards whatever your dad was, right?” The old man pointed left and right. “And you always end up on the other end, swearin’ you’re your own man. But you aren’t! You just keep on livin’ out a life that’s been done before…”

“Um, yes, thanks, I just want to pay, here…”
Keep on Readin’ on?

Switchville, Part 1

June 10, 2009

A work-in-progress story I’m working on. Here’s the first part. Not sure if I’m going to put the whole thing up here or not yet.

Switchville, Part 1

“Talk to me, kid.”

Nothing. I slapped him across the cheek.

“I said, talk to me!”

But the kid wasn’t talking. Or moving, either, apparently. Just sitting there, fast asleep in his weird getup. He had on a bunch of weird purple clothes all over, and some kinda weird purple thing on his head, too, with spikes juttin’ out of the sides. What kind of a little nutcase would fall asleep late at night on the Switchville harbor docks, I didn’t know, but the damn kid should have been dead by then. The docks ain’t right. I mean—as a general rule Switchville ain’t right, neither; not by any sane man’s knock. But there are better places a kid could try and fall asleep around town if he had any kind of livin’ sense in his head, even in a town like this. Keep on Readin’ on?

June 8, 2009

So! I realized about an hour before midnight tonight that I hadn’t scheduled anything to update with tonight. I didn’t want to pull out more old stuff, so I went over to a wonderful site called oneword.com. The gist is that each day it gives you one word and sixty seconds to write something about that word. After sixty seconds, whatever you wrote is uploaded to a big daily list of stuff various of people wrote about that one word that day. I started doing one of these tonight and realized that it would make a pretty lame and short entry here, so I decided I’d instead take the daily word and do three creative things with it in an hour, instead. The result was a bit of flash fiction, a really short poem, and a vaguely xkcd-esque comic. All three after the jump. The word, by the way, was “Feather.” Keep on Floatin’ on?