Tag Archives: literature

An Interview With William Shakespeare

The new Shakespeare.

The new Shakespeare.

Daily Prompt: 2100

The language of the future: what will it be like? Write an experimental post using some imagined vocabulary — abbreviations, slang, new terms.

“Mr. Shakespeare,” he said. “In the future do you imagine anything will be changed in your dialogues to update the language in order for it to be more accessible to a newer generation of theater goers?”

Shakespeare stroked his beard. “Oh, but for a moment I should deem not one syllable of my waxing winsome words be tainted no more than an angel’s tress, likely not to be.”

If that should happen, though you feel it unlikely,” he said. “What do you think the future might do with your famous line, ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’”

Shakespeare drew one eye nearly closed. “Waste myself or put up with this crap, I ain’t got a clue.”

Brilliant!” he said. “What about ’Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Shakespeare grinned slyly. “Perhaps, ’Romey homey, where you be?’ You see, not much change.”

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If You Get Published, Celebrate Like Steinbeck (short fiction)

Steinbeck knew how to celebrate success, failure, and everything between.

Steinbeck knew how to celebrate success, failure, and everything between.

Celebrate Good Times

You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news. How do you celebrate?

Mitch was giving up. He sent stories to at least fifty different literary journals and magazines, everyone was a rejection.

He shuffled into the spare bedroom used as a writing room and gathered all his stories from a cabinet. He walked them to the burn barrel like they were criminals marched to execution. He lit a fire and watched them burn. The smoke rose and he murmured, “Perhaps the angels will like them.”

Mitch walked to the mail box. There was a letter from The Maine Literary Journal. He walked it back the barrel. He opened it for nothing but the sake of reading how they constructed their rejection letters. ’Maybe I could do that,’ he thought. ’I could write rejection letters. I’ve seen so many. I know all the styles: kind, unkind, condescending, brisk, sweet, constructive, formal, informal, rambling, short, and cutting.’

He read, “Mr. Madison we are pleased to inform you that we are publishing both stories sent to us.”

Mitch had a smile that hurt his face. He went down to one knee and gave a fist pump.

He rushed inside and showered. He drove to The Night Owl Bar in town. He was going to buy drinks on the house.

The parking lot was empty, Thursday night; nobody drinks on Thursdays.

Mitch walked in. Louie, the owner, was the only one there.

“Louie,” Mitch said. “Great news, I’m going to be published!”

“That calls for a free beer,” Louie said. “I knew ya had it in ya.”

“Well,” Mitch said. “I was going to buy the house a drink, but nobody’s here. I’ll come back tomorrow.”

Mitch handed the letter to Louie. “Look there, its from The Maine Literary Journal.”

“Sounds highfalutin’,” Louie said.

“It’s very prestigious,” Mitch said.

“Yeah,” Louie said. “I was about to say that too.”

Louie sat beers on the bar for both of them. He sipped and read the letter. “What does this mean, payment in copies?”

Mitch grabbed the letter and read. “It means they aren’t going to pay me any money. They will send me five copies of the magazine and offer more copies at cost.”

“Sounds like a scam to me,” Louie said.

“No,” Mitch said. “It’s a practice by many literary magazines. It only means I got published – no money.”

“Let me pour you a hard one,” Louie said. He sat a shot glass in front of Mitch and poured a Jack Daniels.

“You better make that two,” Mitch said.

“Why,” Louie said.

“Just before I got the letter I burned all my stories,” Mitch said.

“You write them on computer don’t you?” Louie said.

“Yeah,” Mitch said. “I delete them once they are printed.”

“Those stories are still there,” Louie said. “A couple of months ago my computer in the back room crashes. I start it up and there’s nothing on it. My nephew comes in here and gets everything back in five minutes. He told me computers are like your brain. It’s there. You just don’t know where look. He knows where.”

“Are you sure?” Mitch said.

Louie got the phone from behind the bar and dialed his nephew. Mitch talked to him for a minute. Louie’s nephew met Mitch at his house and within five minutes all his stories were restored.

Mitch drove back to The Night Owl Bar.

“I didn’t expect you back,” Louie said. “Did your stories get restored?’

“Yeah,” Mitch said. “Your nephew did a great job.”

“What did I tell ya,” Louie said. “So why did you come back.”

“I got my all my stories back and I’m a published writer,” Mitch said. “I’m going to celebrate like Steinbeck.”

“What does that mean?” Louie said.

“I’m getting drunk,” Mitch said.

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Water (He Said She Said; Very Short Stories)

“Can I buy you a drink?” He said.

“I drink water only, thank you,” she said.

“Can I buy you a bottled water?” He said.

“I’ll have to think about that one,” she said.

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The State of Me is Better Than the State of You-Know-What

"M y fellow bloggers, things are okay. See you in a while. Thank you.  Whose ever last one out, turn off the lights."

“M y fellow bloggers, things are okay. See you in a while. Thank you. Whose ever last one out, turn off the lights.”

Daily Prompt: State of Your Year

Write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post. 

The Daily Prompt started on February 1st. It has stimulated me to write more and with some sense of direction. It’s given me a target for which to aim.

I’ve tried various structures to my blog, mainly for myself. Folks could give two hoots and a holler for how I do things.

On Monday’s I post something about Boise State football. I enjoy looking for what is not obvious and exploring it. Sports allows for that. It is a challenge to find the important things and separate them from the mundane. Many sports writers invent what is important. I try to discover it.

Recently, on Wednesdays, a feature has been posted entitled He Said She Said; short dialogue meant to tell an entire story in as few words as possible. As a writer, this is really enjoyable. It’s like a cat toying with a mouse. You sit and play with a few lines of dialogue until it finally submits and dies.

Fridays I have been trying my hand at a satirical look at life and news in Boise. The problem with satire is that at times you can appear sarcastic. People may take offense and that is the furthest thing from my intent. Some ideas are tossed aside. It’s better to be thoughtful and sensitive than hurtful and funny.

Sense the first of the year my novel, Galapagos Man, has taken form and is now nearly complete. I’m near the end of the final edit. Here is something I just finished:

Alex felt the warmth of sun and heard the cactus wrens chirp and watched them flutter and swoop for insects. He studied the map. Once he crossed a river just ahead of him there was about a mile and half of curved road and then about ten miles of straight road.

He stood the motorcycle and drove a short distance and waded across a calf-high water. He putted slowly along the dusty road leading from the river. He looked ahead to a dusty desolate road. He had at least one hundred and eighty miles to go. It would be like taking a ride in a hot grill. It reminded him of westerns where the cowboy trudges a hundred mile desert that no one has ever accomplished, along the way were bones of cattle and human failure. He looked to the rear and the river he just forded. A car slowed to cross. It was a green Chevy Malibu.

“They are motivated,” Alex said and gave the motorcycle gas and fishtailed away. “How did they find me?” he mumbled. “Where is a good bazooka when you need one?”

All and all so far so good .

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Agree Or Disagree, They Called It Art

Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist

It’s the year 2113. A major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was in 2013. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say? 

As difficult as it is to believe what you are about to see today was considered art a hundred years ago. You will note a proliferation in base instincts that powered the engine to bring about a downward spiral of human dignity, compassion, and sensitivities rather intrinsic morality brought about by beauty, grace, and talent.

Rather than pleasing the senses artists who prospered were those who were shocking, vulgar, and degenerate. That is not to say there were those who held art to a high standard, but they were not regarded by the public, because for the most part art was controlled by commercial entities and concerns.

In the past art uplifted a culture. It began with moral virtue, beauty, and appreciation. You will note that artists of this period began thinking from the waste down rather than the neck up.

It was a time when art was driven by celebrity and personality rather than actual talent. People were said to be intelligent and talented for no other reason than having bad behavior and doing so to the extent that it was glorified not so much by the public, but the media who were the real profiteers.

You will note music had become more visual. Lyrics were mind-numbing and vulgar. It lacked poetic or rhythmic context of thought and expression. Great voices were replaced by performers willing to display previously hidden parts of the anatomy like back-street strippers.

One hundred year old books were banned in some libraries because of what only a few considered derogatory terms and replaced with books containing words most commonly seen scrawled on restroom stalls. Little attention was given to good story telling and consequences of bad behavior. Those things were celebrated and glorified.

Even though this section of the museum has more extensive contributions than other sections it continues to be the least visited.

Enjoy your visit!

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Flannels – “He Said She Said” (New Feature Of The Jittery Goat)

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words, yet a word or just a few words can conjure a thousand pictures or stories. The imagination based upon previous experience and its own ability to be stimulated to create can conceive many settings or scenarios from the same set of words. Now multiply those possibilities by the number of readers and likely no two will be exactly alike.

How often have we taken favorite quotes from books or movies and used them in real life and a setting quite different from the book or movie.

In the next few months I will write a titled short story that will consist of brief dialogue of a line or so. There may be times I will go beyond dialogue to create a story.

The new feature will be titled “He Said She Said.” I liken them to Gary Larsen’s Farside; at times it will take a fair bit of study to see what is going on.

This is nothing new or creative. Creative writing students are asked to take the same quote and create a story using it.

So that said, her is my first “He Said She said.”

Flannels

“Put on your flannels and let’s go to Wal-Mart, Baby” he said.

“I hate dressing up,” she said.

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Never Write About Your Mother (short fiction)

Daily Prompt: Keep Out

Who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog? Why?

Cal sat at the kitchen table of his mother’s home and had a coffee with her.

“What do you want to talk about today?” Cal said happily.

“Writing is stupid,” Betty said. “Writers are weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers and I don’t like what you write.”

“Mom,” Cal said. “You read all the time and you like to read. There are some writers you don’t ever miss reading.”

“Yeah,” Betty said. “But you ain’t like them.”

“How so,” Betty said.

“You ain’t never had a brain in your head,” Betty said. “And I know some of your so-called characters are based on me and my family. You make us all look like a bunch of weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers.”

“Mom I write about people,” Cal said. “There are people I used to work with who swear I’m writing about them, but I don‘t. I create characters. It‘s coincidence they have the same traits as people I know. All of us have common traits that show up as characters in novels. My friends know that now.”

“You can’t leave anybody alone,” Betty said. “It’s no wonder you don’t have any friends.”

“I got plenty of friends,” Cal said.

“Yeah,” Betty said. “But they’re all weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers.”

“None of them are what you say they are,” Cal said.

“I just wished you never wrote about me,” Betty said.

“Mom,” Cal said. “Whatever I wrote about you has always been flattering.”

“And it’s been a bunch of horse hockey,” Betty said. “It’s either not true or all made up.”

“Remember the story I wrote about the little boy who was comforted by his mother’s attention to him while he was ill; how she sacrificed, how she cried, how she prayed, and walked through a blizzard to make it to the drugstore to get medicine? That was about you!”

“Yeah,’ Betty said. “But I hated every minute of it.”

“But, it’s how I felt, Mom,” Cal said.

“Who gives a crap about how you felt?” Betty said. “Does it always have to be about you?”

“I don’t get it, Mom,” Cal said. “If I have you in mind when I write, it’s always positive, kind, loving, generous, caring, and compassionate.”

“That’s it,” Betty said. “I ain’t none of those things, never have been and never will be.”

“To me you are,” Cal said.

“I don’t like anything you write,” Betty said. “It’s all stupid. I’d rather read Stephen King, James Joyce, or E. L. James, at least they make sense.”

“Well, they’re good writers,” Cal said. “Well, two of them are.”

“I hate it when I think you write about me,” Betty said. “I can’t live up to your writing.”

“Maybe I can’t live up to your reading,” Cal said.

“Finally some truth,” Betty said. “You just can’t write.”

“Mom, honestly,” Cal said. “Have I ever been able to do anything that lived up to your approval?”

“No!” Betty said. “You could have been a doctor or lawyer.”

“But if I became a doctor,” Cal said. “It would have been the wrong kind.”

“I guess we’ll never know, will we?” Betty said sarcastically.

“If I was a lawyer,” Cal said. “You would not have been happy with that.”

“You would have defended weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Mom,” Cal said.

“I’m not,” Betty said defiantly. “You’ve been a disappointment every step of the way. I keep holding out hope for you. You can leave now. I got some reading to catch up on – by real writers.”

“By the way, Mom,” Cal said as he opened the backdoor, “I don’t know any weirdos, perverts, or Bohemians, but the queer I write about is definitely your brother, Uncle Steve.”

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