Friday, August 21, 2009

"EDNOS"

"I realized something this morning," Kay said over coffee. "I'm not happy with my weight right now."

Emme slowly flipped through the sugar and artificial sweetner packets. "Have you ever been?"

"No, of course not," said Kay. "But I had this epiphany--I need to start working out during the day. Like that should be my job now." She smiled, but her eyes were dull and tired. "I mean, I can't control the economy or my crappy ass job search, but I can control my weight."

"Kay." Emme pressed her lips together and then sighed. "Kay, that is like a textbook example of how people with eating disorders think."

"So?"

Monday, August 3, 2009

When Novelists Sober Up Stephen King says he cannot remember writing “Cujo”, he was so loaded; but after his family staged an intervention in 1987, emptying the contents of his garbage onto his living-room floor—cocaine, beer cans, Xanax, NyQuil, Valium, marijuana—he quit, and the result was a marked slackening of tension in his work. One of the things that made “The Shining” such a great novel about falling off the wagon was that King didn’t know that was what it was about—it was written from inside the belly of an obsession. This is dead-on about The Shining--Jack Torrance is a magnified Stephen King (teacher with a drinking problem and in denial about it), and King didn't figure it out until he sobered up. However, I think a bigger problem with his later work is that he's Stephen Fucking King. Earlier in his career, an editor could say, "Look, we're going to trim this, I don't think this works, do some rewrites on this chapter". Now he can do whatever the hell he wants because there is nobody out there who is going to tell one of the bestselling authors of the last century what to do. Being fucked off your tits is associated with creativity, but I assume most creative types are like me: I've been able to write while rocking a buzz. Sometimes my brain has even worked its way around a difficult plotting problem while getting soaked in alcohol, but anything that doesn't immediately get written down is usually lost for good. And I'd say somewhere around the second or third drink, that's it. Any creative energy is getting channeled towards acting like a jackass.

As for anything more illicit, writing has never even occurred to me. I've certainly used one experience in particular in my writing, but I don't even want to think about what sort of gibberish I would've scribbled in the moment. Maybe I just fail at TRUE ART.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Where Are They Now? (2)"

"Sweetie, help Mama."

She was still an ageless beauty but the years, frustrated that they could not add wrinkles, had added additional voluptuousness until Aphrodite was past all hope of euphemism. "Curvaceous" collapsed under her, and even "Rubenesque" strained to enclose the rolling stomach, the expansive buttocks, and the dimpled elbows.

But despite her Olympian weight, she still had her tricks and glamours.

And despite the nature and indiscretions of the family, her son was mostly immune. "No."

"I'm only doing it for you, sweetie."

"How's it going to help me? He'll be dead in fifty years anyway."

"Sweetie, I think you're forgetting that if Mama isn't happy, no one is happy."

"Whatever."

"You've seen how much Father Zeus has suffered at my hand. Even now we're nothing compared to him, and you might even be less than nothing," said Aphrodite. "You know I can do things that will make the deepest, darkest pits of Tartarus look like...look pleasant." She waited, then added in a soft, pitiable voice, "You do love me, don't you?"

"Not this again..."

"I've always been afraid you're not capable of loving your poor, lonely mother," said Aphrodite.

"Lonely?"

"Emotionally lonely. Maybe you're just not capable of philia. And none of us really know how our children are going to turn out, so it's not too surprising," said Aphrodite. "And if you can't love your poor mother the way you're supposed to, I guess I shouldn't think about you being some sort of cripple and just be happy you didn't turn out like that poor Theban boy."

"What do you want this time?"

"Help Mama into her girdle like a good boy," said Aphrodite. "I'm sure this one has a lot of potential."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Where Are They Now? (1)"

"Mistress," rasped the crow. "The battlefield calls. The smell of blood--"

The pale young woman with dark, purple streaked hair glared at him from the couch. "What?"

"The smell of blood is on the air."

"It is as it was," said another crow. "Men die, and it is as the old times, when--"

She scowled. "No, it's not. And fuck the old times, Jerry's on."

"Mistress..."

"Mistress Morrigan, you must go."

"Go to the battle and drink of blood..."

"Pluck out men's eyes..."

"Feast upon their entrails..."

"Look, seriously, I don't know where the shit you guys have been--thanks, by the way--but it's over," said Morrigan. "I don't do that anymore. It's not even--nobody dedicates their kills these days, and I got cable."

"The feast!"

"Feast!"

More crows swarmed the window, squawking demands with out-of-use voices. Morrigan watched them apathetically. "Really," she said. "You're going to pull that Hitchcock bullshit on me? Get out before I eat your souls."

"Mistress longs for battle..."

"Thirsts for blood!"

"Craves--"

"Go your damn selves." Morrigan waved a hand. "Go, and be as my eyes and gnashing teeth or whatever."

Most of the crows left in a flurry of wings and cackles.

Morrigan glared at the three that were left. "Well?"

"Mistress, you must ride."

"I said no. I don't know if you noticed, but I haven't done that in years, and people still hack each other to bits or blow each other up." She turned back to the television. "Now fuck off. These white trash aren't going to watch themselves."

"Mistress--"

Fast as a swordstroke, Morrigan grabbed the crow and twisted off its head. She smeared the blood on her cheeks and forehead, then drew out a small, black wisp from its ragged neck. She inhaled the wisp of a crow and tossed the body in front of the other two on her way back to the couch.

"Piss. Off."

The crows pissed off.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Unemployable"

It seemed to be going well, but it always did until later, when it turned out that, uh, no, it didn't.

"How would you describe your classroom management style?"

Pause thoughtfully. Don't sound rehearsed, even though that's not really a problem at all. "I...I try to keep a good balance. You know, more Picard than Kirk. Using reason and intellect instead of just shooting."

"Uh-huh." Oh, right, they're taking notes.

Fuck.

"Sorry, I've been watching a lot of Star Trek lately. Metaphorical shooting. Although sometimes I wish I had a laser gun, ha ha..." Nobody else was laughing. "Eugh."

They looked at each other, then at the clock--fifteen minutes have passed. "Well, that's it for us. Do you have any questions?"

"No, but I'd like to say that I'd never...I mean, I'm not crazy violent or anything, and I really want you to know that I've never actually considered--okay, I've considered it, but...thank you. For...your time."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Big Picture"

"I think it's going well.  I mean, as well as these things can go."

"Neither one of us is three hundred pounds."

"Or visibly a member of a hate group."

"Visibly."

She laughs.  "You're not, are you?"

"Not enough time.  An if it's been a rough week, I'm just too tired to actively persecute anyone.  Aside from regular white guy stuff."

"No glasses."

"Contacts."

"Oh."

"What is it?"

"Okay, this is going to sound strange, but...nearsighted?"

"Yeah."

"What's your perscription?"

"I don't know...negative four, maybe?  What about you?"

"Negative six, negative five and a half."

"Wow.  You're blind."

"Nearsightedness runs in my family."

"Just my mother's side."

"Mm.  What's your shoe size?"

"Uh, 12?"

She sighs.  "Look, I come from a family with crappy vision and big ass feet."

"They don't look that--"

"I'm not fishing for compliments; I just have big feet.  And I know this is a bit premature, but genetically speaking, I just can't take this risk."  She stands, holding her purse in front of her with one hand.  "I mean, we seem fairly compatible, and...look, the world doesn't need more alcoholic four eyeses stomping around."

"How did you--"

"My mother's family, and the fact that we went through a bottle of red in half an hour."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Take Me Out"

This story is completely, utterly, irrevocably true.

It was a fine spring morning in London in the year of our Lord 1902.  

An airship, the royal red of HRH had just docked in Canary Wharf, and the ground-dwelling retinue had gathered in the skyscraper's triangle to greet their grim-faced, epically-bosomed sovereign.

The Queen descended, the foldable wooden steps trembling beneath her dignified stature.  She roughly handed off her bloodied shield to one of her attendants and began to remove her platinum gauntlets.

"We are not amused," she declared.  "One would like a cool drink and the head of that Austrian rotter!"