Litlets

February 13, 2010

Orts

Filed under: General,Litlets,Prose,Writing — crcb @ 9:12 pm
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When we understand that our sorrow is meaningless, it begins. There’s no virtue in victimhood (or else it would be triumph), no honesty in pain.

But then, nothing has meaning except as we give it meaning. Truth doesn’t live in nature, and honesty is an artifact.

He was very rational and extremely gullible, always a threatening combination. Convince a rationalist of the right premise, and he’ll follow you to the most absurd conclusion with absolute sincerity.

A man who works in Morpheus’s bank and embezzles the remnants of unrecalled dreams.

Phlogiman: noun; a stochastic compositional maneuver. The classical version is scrupulously performed (as one would enact the rituals in consulting an oracle) and slavishly followed; the romantic variety is recklessly executed and blithely trifled with.

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December 6, 2009

Two Litlets: The Risk You Run, The Castle of Fear

Filed under: Litlets,Prose,Writing — crcb @ 10:30 pm
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The Risk You Run

The clown was on fire. Not sure if it was a joke, and afraid of becoming the butt, we let him burn.

The Castle of Fear

The Castle of Fear is heavily fortified (what did you expect?) every floor and stair carpeted where soldiers tread softly to avoid startling when they move at all but with everyone typically hiding the castle seems deserted until danger threatens (say a cheek muscle twitches, nostrils flare on a neighbor monarch’s face) then all is fleet and ready and watch, sentries sprint back and forth along the rampart lest they miss scanning a bush or hollow where hostiles might hide and the king trembles in his bedroom while his wives and daughters and sons guard the passages then he looks at his arms and armor dustdull and rusted because to clean them is to contemplate danger oh someday he will lift the sword and sally forth alone and naked but tonight it’s too late the risk is past and everyone and he returns to bed and brittle sleep.

October 24, 2009

It’s the Journey, Not the Destination

Filed under: Litlets,Prose — crcb @ 9:18 am
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The ship arrived from a city called Sin, and it was going back. I’d never experienced surge or spray or new scenery, so I signed up.

They put me in charge of flogging the rowers. Difficult at first, but I soon smothered my squeamishness and developed my arm muscles. After a while, I started taking pride in my technique.

October 20, 2009

“Living on Lunesta” Journal, 10-19-2009: Milk

Filed under: General,Litlets,Oneirica,Prose — crcb @ 7:22 pm
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(Some nights when I need to take Lunesta, I swallow the pill, pluck a random word from a handy book, grab my pen, and start writing as the drug takes effect.)

Milk does not make an impression. You probably don’t remember the best glass of milk you ever had, though you may remember the worst, especially if it got stuck between your teeth. People might brag about Mom’s cooking, but nobody says “My mother gave the best milk!” Nobody you’d want to know, anyway.

Humanity has been defined as “the animal that makes boxes.” Equally characteristic is our relationship with milk. All mammals drink milk when young. I don’t know of any species besides humans (and those domesticated by us, like cats) that drink it as adults, or that regularly drink the milk of other species. We turn milk into various solid and semi-solid forms, with or without flavoring: butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream. We consume it cold or hot. We use it in coffee and in cocktails. Human: the animal that refuses to be weaned.

But there’s something innocent in this, something Edenic, even if the factory farms that result are evil. In the Bible, Canaan is described as a land flowing with milk and honey. My father, who was a preacher, concluded that these were the healthiest foods you could eat. My doctor, who is a doctor, disagrees.

Milk and honey are the foods of nature’s abundance. No creature is killed to gather them, and they are renewed. Milk is the fruit beneath the fur.

I’ve gone from whole milk to 2%, and I’m learning to tolerate skim. I get egg-beaters at IHOP, too, which are indistinguishable from synthetic eggs. On weekends or special occasions I treat myself to half-and-half in my coffee or some pizza.

It might be interesting to wean myself by way of experiment, to give up dairy altogether including substitutes. If I do I should keep a dairy diary. (Bet nobody’s come up with that one before!)

My thoughts are getting confused with dreams now. I wonder if this is a way to do differently, in class or watching numbers. any way as I tried to [two illegible words] the politics wasn’t really greed it was’t [illegible] a [illegible]

[drawing of a half-shadowed face]
The silent partner is angry & has much to say
time to listen to
the men? who stole the fairy nector
royal jelly to those with names

[drawing of a humanoid head, furry, with pointy ears]
he was not as smooth nor as stylish as he thought, but he gave freely of his mate’s milk

Did we say to quit looking or was that you? the last ollie-ollie-sfree. Put a quarter in milk wont get bigger yo [illegible] a operators ver[illegible] t[illegible]one.

September 4, 2009

One Thing

Filed under: Litlets,Writing — crcb @ 8:28 pm
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One Thing

I remember the bedroom I shared with my brothers (I was the youngest, clothes out of fashion and never quite fitting): bunk beds and a cot, a footlocker full of books, the dresser with one drawer crammed with paperbacks, stacks of magazines — Evergreen, Popular Science, and camouflaged caches of Playboy and National Lampoon; the floor, yellow linoleum flecked with gray, peeling next to the heat vent and showing the next layer, red and black (spatters of hardwood here and there); the doorless closet with the sloped ceiling, the south window unscreened. One summer night when I was ten, both brothers gone I don’t know where, I heard a rustling under the bed and turned on the light. As the chain clinked against the bulb, a bat flew out and perched on a green felt hat hung on the wall. I crept from the room and slept on the couch. In the morning, the bat was gone. I never mentioned it to anybody. This was one thing I didn’t have to share.

I remember the bedroom I shared with my brothers (I was the youngest, clothes out of fashion and never quite fitting): bunk beds and a cot, a footlocker full of books, the dresser with one drawer crammed with paperbacks, stacks of magazines -- Evergreen, Popular Science, and camouflaged caches of Playboy and National Lampoon; the floor, yellow linoleum flecked with gray, peeling next to the heat vent and showing the next layer, red and black (spatters of hardwood here and there); the doorless closet with the sloped ceiling; the south window unscreened. One summer night when I was ten, both brothers gone I don't know where, I heard a rustling under the bed and turned on the light. As the chain clinked against the bulb, a bat flew out and perched on a green felt hat hung on the wall. I crept from the room and slept on the couch. The bat was gone in the morning. I don't think I ever told anyone about it. This was one thing I didn't have to share.

July 10, 2009

Writing Exercise: 7 sketches

Filed under: Fiction,Litlets,Prose,Writing — crcb @ 9:49 pm
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Seven brief fictions, if they have enough narrative to be called that.

Stray Dog
I hadn’t trimmed my beard or hair for six months. A woman walked up to me on the street and barked in my face — r-r-rarf! arf! — then rejoined her laughing friends.

I had kissed her once in a rose garden.

Orphan
His father, who had buried both parents and a sister without a tear, cried for hours when his favorite cartoonist died.

Lap Dance
The stripper smells of cotton candy and sweat. She whispers something in your ear. You catch the word “death.”

Anniversaries
He went barefoot only in bed and the shower; she danced naked on the balcony. Their friends knew the marriage was doomed, and hung back from the impending carnage.

Finding themselves isolated, they clung to one another. He forced himself to wear sandals without socks. She learned to love the drag of fabric during sex.

Bent Twigs
Despite teaching geology, he still expects limestone to taste like limes.

Filters
She had learned to sleep through the gunshots, choppers and sirens of her new neighborhood, but would often lie awake until morning waiting for the next yip from the neighbor’s spaniel.

Losing It
Once, she could name the seven races of ETs, the ten pre-human civilizations, and the nineteen ranks of demons. Her faith wandered off when she forgot to feed it. Now that she was alone again, it came nosing at the door.

March 16, 2009

Writing Exercise: Flashprompt: “Dot”

The exercise: use a random word as the prompt for a prose piece from 100-300 words long. The word for this exercise: “dot.”

The story (if one can call it that) below is completely fictional.

Dot

I’d assumed it was short for Dorothy; I was wrong. She had two brothers, Bob and Bill. Not Robert and William.

Dot wrote in the George Bernard Shaw way, using no apostrophes in her contractions: didnt, youre. She wasn’t a bookworm, and didn’t know who Shaw was until I told her. She read half of Man and Superman, then gave him up. If she was going to read, she preferred nonfiction.

On our fifth date, she invited me to her apartment for coffee. Her home was tidily cluttered, if you know what I mean; there was too much stuff, but everything had its place and a reason to be there.

As she was grinding the coffee beans, I kissed her from behind and tried to slip a hand under her blouse. She gently pushed it away.

“People think they want sex,” she said, “when they really want intimacy. It takes time to know someone.”

I cut the visit short, and the relationship, but we remained friends. I introduced her to my cousin Richard (not Rich, or Rick, or Dick), an English professor who wrote his thesis on Shaw’s language reforms. I was best man at their wedding, and now they’re expecting their first child.

The argument over baby names threatens to end their marriage.

October 31, 2008

Training for Halloween

Filed under: Litlets,Prose,Writing — crcb @ 5:54 am
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A sense of isolation, preferably cultivated from preschool. (Threadbare, ill-fitting clothes help. So does that awareness of being different in kind that only a narrow religion can provide. If all your schoolmates are going to burn in hell, and you alone aren’t, how can you be on the same footing? How can you let yourself like them, knowing their fate?) Paranoia, that feeling of always being watched, always being judged, is a must. (Threadbare, ill-fitting clothes help. So does a narrow religion, one that teaches — what are those words? — “There’s an all-seing eye that watches you, everything you say, everything you do.” OK, I lied when I said, “what are those words?” I’ve never been able to forget them. Forgive me, Lord.) And now you don’t believe. Now, judged by your childhood self, your prim adolescence, your father’s ghost, you are a monster.

(Angsty, ain’t it? I haven’t had my coffee yet.)

October 12, 2007

I miss those brutal, ignorant days

Filed under: Litlets,Prose — crcb @ 5:26 am
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Mood: ichorous

 The 21st century is no place for a soul with taste. Remember those medieval years, when we were the center and purpose of the cosmos? We meant something then. Life, short and painful, was a thin film over unspeakable joys and unbearable terrors. We shared our world with now-extinct demons, angels, ghosts, fairies, a host of pseudo-humans, and they were obsessed with us. We need those incommensurable equals; we need monsters and ministers. We listen for them among the stars, but they live only in the middle of things. We looked too hard, and every center disappeared.

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