Monday, May 31, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Nine

Consider the apple. Would it be sweet or sour? Is the skin puckered, like it’s drying out? On a table on a nearby porch is a pair of binoculars. Do your feet hurt? What time is it? The door is ajar. As you step on one of the porch’s creaking boards, a cat darts out of the house. Then a dog. The dog shoots right past you, almost making you stumble. When you pick up the binoculars you find the neck strap is caught on something under the table. You give a tug. Whatever below has hold of the strap

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Eight

the treacle in a glass jar, you will see a newspaper truck idling in front of a fire hydrant. Turn your eyes in a leftward direction but without pivoting. You should be able to spot a child sitting on the grass. If that child is made of straw you will need to count the stop signs at the next three intersections. If the child is constructed completely of bird seed there will be a ladder nearby leading up into an apple tree. There will be no apples on the tree but for one at the very top out of reach.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Seven

honey, my sweet, my precious. I want to eat you up. I want to slup your entrails, nibble the webbing from between your toes, gnaw the teeth I’ve worked from those powerful jaws, tickle your tendons with my raspy tongue. All in good fun, my dear. Here, I’m going to put you by the fireplace. Watch out for the firedogs! Kidding, kidding! Sh. Just rest there. I’m going to show our new friend the TDL basics. It won’t take but a moment. Have a shrimp. OK. Besides the distractions of the manor estates with their beard moss festooned oaks and

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Six

L for L for L for leather? I don’t know. L for love? L for El Gran Idea! Something like that. Eh. It’s on the clasp, a logo. I bought the bag in a specialty shop. It was given to me. Things are beautiful and then respond well to caresses. A night draws the dawn back toward itself but there is always a struggle. Always a struggle! People have been known to weep over nothing then stand stoically amid clamorous death. Oh hello, it’s Velma the Camen. She’s right on top. She usually is. What green eyes you have, my

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Five

contortion toward the light while below an ancient volcano washes gently, gradually, roundly down. Try to cross that coral and it will shred the ship’s hull, and then where will you be! On permanent vacation, marooned desert island style. Got sunscreen? Umbrellas? Hurricane waders? Yes, you have a transdimensional shift. Go ahead. Put it on. How? It doesn’t look like clothes, right? You don’t put it on like clothes. Again, you’re looking at me like I’m not being helpful. I would demonstrate but. I have an idea. Give me the TDL satchel. T for Trans, D for Dimension, L for

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Four

just slightly, like the smudge of a word incompletely erased, by a distant island. It’s not always easy to get to an island, you know. Some of them are protected by reefs with teeth as jagged as any shark’s. You sail your ship around a surf that pounds a half mile from the sand and palms, a wild white surf bashing away on its own skirts while underneath the clown fish and octopus, the parrot and eel nip about among anemones and the coral that grew upon coral that grew upon coral, lumping and branching bonily in a slow secretive

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Three

I had been thinking about boating. There is a lot of water in the world and it would be a darn shame not to be able to step about on it. Move about on it, I mean. Swim? I’m afraid I don’t know how to swim. I know how to flail and flounder without quite failing and foundering. Not swimming, really. I probably wouldn’t last long out in the great sea unsupported, even if the waters were shark-uninfested. Sharks always infest the better water, the kind we like to hie over, wind and sea spray, joy of a horizon blemished

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thousand: Twenty-Two

a magnet doesn’t do anything, that it’s passive, the lines that iron filings gather into around the magnet being nothing having to do with action but rather automatic sorting via unvarying, unwilled natural laws, you’d roll your eyes at my weirdly restrictive definition of “doing.” Huh-chew! Sorry. Do you have a tissue? Thanks. Huh-huh-CHEFFFF! Whew. That was a big one. Hm. Would you look at that! See? A prophecy in the spittle pattern captured by the tissue. I can see that reading, but I think it has more to do with whether the weather tomorrow will be good for boating.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thousand explained, 2

“Thousand” has passed its second thousand words. Only 98 to go.

It’s really quite easy to write 100 words. It takes 5 to 10 minutes, time which isn’t difficult to find in a day. As the passage usually ends mid-sentence, my mind goes on busily, finishing that sentence off the page, and typically runs on with the story, spinning it toward future turns. When next I sit down I tend not to remember most of the ideas I’ve had for what will happen next. That’s perfectly fine. I have to focus on the 100 words, and 100 words don’t present much opportunity for advancing a plot, unless the writer is very patient and willing to take baby baby steps toward a long term goal. I’m not that patient. Nor do I have enough faith in any plot I might dream up. I wouldn’t expect it to play out well over 100,000 words. I think it’s better that I have little more idea of what is going to happen next than anybody reading along.

There being no plot, each 100 word piece has to stand on its own to a greater extent. There has to be something interesting going on in every passage; merely advancing the plot is not an available excuse for dull prose.

Thousand: Twenty-One

How many would it take to make nice drapes? I wonder if souls melted down would make an alloy with gold. Could there be a metal more likely to be the soul’s mate? Does “transdimensional” sound more scientific than “soul”? Here, pass it to me. Yes, you have a perfectly good grip on it. The thing about “transdimensional”, it sounds explanatory. But it isn’t, really. Might as well call it a “bunduggle wah zinswitz”. Euphonious, no? Harder to remember, though. What does it do? Do? I’m tempted to say it doesn’t do anything. But if I were to say that

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thousand: Twenty

and in some stories the Devil is hideous. It seems more reasonable to me that he is beautiful if he’s in the business of temptation. But then, he would have to be a really great salesman if he was hideous. And isn’t he supposed to be? Or maybe he’s supposed to be a great buyer. Although it isn’t right to say a salesmen doesn’t buy things. He buys things for a little and sells them for a lot. Even if the Devil gets a soul cheap, who would want it? Of what use is it? Is a soul beautiful? Decorative?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thousand: Nineteen

thinking of those buttresses, flying up like shoulder pads, and those dazzling windows that draw your eye to as much as from the cleavage between breasts lifted, gently together pressed and held, the display of patience before God like that of a bustier before three candles which raise gold flames, unflickering in the warm boudoir. There you go. You found it. It was the best clue one could offer. The transdimensional shift! Beautiful, isn’t it! I know. It’s hard to tell. But it’s more fun to say it’s beautiful than that it’s ugly. In some stories the Devil is beautiful

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thousand: Eighteen

you’ve ever seen a cathedral in blue? Yes. No, I don’t mean a cathedral painted blue. Never mind. I saw a book once that was all in blue; it was adapted from a major motion picture that was all in blue, which was inspired by a very rainy day. The shift? Look for something that does not look like clothes. Does not. I realize many things do not look like clothes. A fire hyrdant does not look like clothes, a beach ball does not look clothes. A cathedral? Some cathedrals are ready to wear, don’t you think? I guess I’m

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thousand: Seventeen

escape you, despite my velocity. Not that I’m in any hurry to leave you. No no. I could stay all afternoon. Work? Don’t worry! I called your boss to let her know you wouldn’t be in today. You have the sweetest boss. I would dip her in my bitter dregs any day. Would you like to watch some TV? No? Why are you staring at me like that! I know, what we really need is a transdimensional shift. Yes, I have one. It’s in my bag. Don’t let out the camen. She’s very sweet but toothy. I don’t know if

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thousand: Sixteen

See, just here. The portrait of George “The Slugmullion” Washington will watch over it. I’m going to make you a cup of tea. Coffee? Sure. Cream and sugar? You take it with what? God’s everlasting glory? Sounds great. This blue mug okay, the one with the Live Fish logo? You know, you look beautiful like that, sipping coffee gone to glory. The way the steam paints a soft mist across your bifocals, the way the halo orbits your neck, its counterclockwise motion revealed by the blue bead caught in the inevitable pull of your fine gravity. I, too, am unable

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thousand: Fifteen

roses fluffed. The door. Here it is. Standing before you in its gatekeeper way, there to keep things out and in and to provide egress. No, I’m not stalling. Wait, yes, I’m getting a transmission. All that caterwauling that supposedly sounds like it’s calling for you? All that banging and thumping like a crowd of elders on mission after somebody’s slipped triple cap shots in their chamomile tea? Pay no attention. Sh. We’re going to go over to the couch now. Sit down. Let me unlace those hobnailed boots. I’m hanging your chain mail on the hook by the door.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thousand: Fourteen

on the list of things to do. There are always so many things to do. No matter how many of them you’ve done! You go to the door. It’s the foremost thing on today’s agenda, it seems, though you’d been thinking earlier that riding the new slide down from the highest turret at the Castle of Nowundaid with the kids from the Knitting Club or putting in your application for tusk polisher at the Mega Large Elephant Array could fill that ungainly space between the usual chores, the cats needing to be watered, for instance, or the heads of the

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thousand: Thirteen

your hands inside the launch car, and loose articles under the seat. Besides, who cares if it’s your name. Your name could be anywhere, could go anywhere, could be living a life separated from you by miles and attitude. You realize your brow is wrinkled. That is what happens when you concentrate or when you’re upset, and when the botulism injections have been neutralized by your immune system. If I had allergies, I would take something for my allergies, you say to yourself. The latch is almost off the trapdoor to heaven, you note, as you look up. Put that

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thousand: Twelve

loaded? And what about that one? It’s heavy enough. OK. Shark hat, octopus gloves, dragon breath, supersonic goggles, DNA-disruptors. Check, check, and, oh, no more breath in the dragon breath bottle. You listen again. Yes, the knocking is still going on, and the shouting. It might even be your name. But your name sounds like all sorts of common noises; you’ve heard your name in the sounds of subway trains, the troubling through underbrush of ground animals, and the squeaks of the clouds rubbing against the sky. So you’ve learned to be cautious, not to jump to conclusions without putting

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thousand: Eleven

the mother of presidents? Presidents stand for something. It would be nice to be able to stand. Later, after a good night’s rest, you are rinsing your mouth with detergent and alcohol when there is a knock at the door. You think, “I’m not going to get that. It’s way too early to see humans.” But again there’s the knocking and this time a voice seems to accompany it. You stop swishing and spit, then cock an ear. That voice is familiar? If so, she’ll just have to wait a minute while you strap on your weapons. Is that thing

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thousand: Ten

achieve its beauty, unmarked, unmarred, made. Now, having flexed, it cracked your skull open, pulled itself, wet and purposeful, from the chrysalis. Which it leaves on the accent rug. Next to a curl of hairs and dust beside the shower stall. How does it feel to be emerged from? To be left by your inner child? For starters maybe you’re wondering what’s left of you. It’s all rather sudden. One must take a moment. You blink your eyes. Yes, your eyes blink. You remember who the president is, then decide, no, you’d rather remember who your mother is. Was she

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thousand: Nine

sort of idea one clings to in the face of contrary evidence? Then you remember: you haven’t taken any. So the leprechaun business—you’re facing it straight. “It might be a dream,” offers the gnome. No. It wasn’t the gnome. Its eyes are closed, its breathing slow and even. Maybe the cat? The cat who lives in the dell? It is time to be naked and empty so the butterfly within you breaks out via your forehead, sloughing the material that held it back, but which held it safe so it could grow, restrained it in order that it could

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thousand: Eight

gnome on the leprechaun which is face down on the toilet's lid. The day is looking up. A new dawn is already crawling into the sky. You draw the curtains. A cold wind is blowing. It gets in through cracks in the walls. Soon something mythical will begin its dark rounds. The leprechaun and gnome, despite being mythical, don’t look like they’d be up to dark rounds. The gnome groans and squirms atop the leprechaun, then, with a long sigh, seems to fall back into unconsciousness. The idea of taking drugs in order to improve one’s situation—is it the

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Thousand: Seven

door open, as the reveal takes place, the chemistry constructed for your mental construction, for the relief of your aches and cooling of your cough. You didn’t expect the leprechaun. He’s not dead, but the signs of life are few. You consider CPR, which suddenly makes you think it’s an abbreviation of coprolite or, even worse, coprophile. Well, can’t have any of that. So you put the leprechaun aside and move on to the red-capped gnome who also is looking unwell. Were they at each other’s throats? Or at your drugs! You don’t even have good drugs. You stack the

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Thousand: Six

pink kitties? Who wants pink kitties? You can’t sell them. You can’t get money for them. You put them in a box by the supermarket and they squall and roll their bloodshot little eyes and the cute little girls bend over the box only to jump back and begin to wail, clutching their mothers’ legs. So you take a tranquilizer. That’s really your only choice. Faced with a preventable accident like pinkness in cats so freshly laundered. You go to the medicine cabinet, you don’t even let yourself meet your blue eyes in the warped mirror as you pull the

Friday, May 07, 2010

Thousand: Five

and mouth to mouth and sea to shining sea. Grandma, you know what I’m talking about! Meanwhile, in the laundry, one red sock turns every fucking white cat pink. You throw them all in together, hold the lid down, maybe you have to put a few bricks on top to keep the lid on, and when you go to put them in the dryer, they’re pink because some shithead left a red sock from the last load down there in the bottom of the tub. You wanna kill him. Cuz what are you going to do with a passel of

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thousand: Four

be dropped off on a nearby doorstep. We can pilfer that. The stars will need to be replenished from the bucket out back. A rare religious exception will be made for the rinderpest to recede to its original hosts without exacting divine punishment from the wicked. Why? Don’t ask why. The reasons are among the stars, I mean the way they are distributed. It’s a pattern. A completely random and arbitrary pattern meaning nothing, but a pattern nonetheless, one you can read by, the future, the past, and certain recipes, the ones that have been passed from hand to hand

Thousand: Three

apologize again. That’s what’s going to happen between now and November, more frequently than either of us would prefer. This means I’m going to insult you repeatedly? That’s not the plan. But things I don’t think bad will turn out bad and I will come to see the error of my ways and, all things being equal, will search my drawers for an apology as sincere as any other, clean and uncreased, and I will offer that to you. I promise. OK? That out of the way, let’s look at the inventory of celestial items. I understand fresh produce will

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Thousand: Two

know by now, being familiar with the experience of humanity. A bug is a bug, or so they say. Once one was wonderful. Then one became wretched, and after looking the body over, one was amazed by the miracle of misery, what perfect drama it created, or if not perfect, then meticulously crafted. Someone is going to write your story up. I have a lead or two. I will get it out of my supernal box then swoop it over your nose—swoop swoop—while the angels of hootenany repose in their ordnance. I’m sorry I’m going to have to

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Thousand explained

I'm starting a new long piece. It is called "Thousand." The plan is to write one hundred words at a sitting, stopping as soon as I've hit 100 -- with Microsoft Word doing the counting for me. That means stopping in the middle of a sentence, like as not.

The plan is to write one thousand of these 100-word pieces. Each takes off from where the other left off? I guess so. We'll see. A thousand pieces sounds like a lot. If I write one per day "Thousand" will take less than three years. But let's just say three years, it will take three years. And end up being 100,000 words. That also sounds like a lot. It sounds like a good deal more than a thousand.

There is, so far, no plot. A plot of some sort may begin to accrue. I suspect it will. In my writing I tend to pull all the parts together, even if I am also trying to push them apart.

Thousand: One

Thousand thousand. You don’t have to be happy, mon ami. The happier, the crueler, I used to say, until the boom got lowered and I had to crawl around on all fours and I discovered the necessity of reserving words for torturing small animals and children. The wind blows, the air shakes sand out of its skirts, and a legless lizard disappears into the downslope. You never know what is going to happen. You’ll hear that a lot. Frequently you know what is going to happen. What is going to happen has happened to someone else who you ought to