Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr Moose - Now Back to Work!

Hey everybody! I'm thirty-freaking-six years old today!!!! Or if you prefer, one score and sixteen.

According to my birth certificate, I was born at four a.m. on a cold Ohio morning. What was that day like, I wonder. Did my parents stay up the rest of the day? When did they go to sleep? Did I spend my first night at the hospital or did I go home? Where were my brothers during this important event? When did I meet them?

How different it is thirty-six years later: I was fast asleep at four a.m. today and dreaming of pleasant things. I will spend the morning writing and the day working in the office (deadlines loom like storm clouds). I won't have time to celebrate until the weekend, although last night my wife took me to see "Inception" and it was the most awesome movie I have seen in quite some time.

So, once again, thank you mother and father for giving me the chance to come here and see what this place is all about. Rock on, the botha ya's.

(Hmm? Oh, yes, well, on the whole, it's a very strange but intriguing place and while not always enjoyable, it's certainly always interesting...)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This Conversation Is Over

There are no more words in the word barrel.
There is no more hope on the hope-on-a-rope.
There is no more air in this tiny tiny room.
There is no where left to hide from the big giant mirror.
There is no more room in my luggage for all my baggage.
There are no more cracks in the wall to squeeze through.
There are no clouds overhead to explain the rainy day.
There is no poem like the one in my head.
There is no changing your mind because there is no hole in your head to get it out. There is no way to explain.
There is no reason to.
There is no Dana, there is only Zuul.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Narrative File Compression: Negative Scalability of the Word

I don't have much time to write these days, as the Beasts are at the gates, so I find myself scribbling (yes, actually scribbling) notes to myself all day long. Sometimes they make it to the notebook, more often they end up on the backs of receipts or folded up index cards. It makes me think of Sam Shepard writing plays on the dashboard of his car as he drove across country. He said it forced him to write meaningful dialogue because he could only dash out three or four words at a time. Unfortunately for me, I wear cargo pants and can stuff my pockets full of blathering notes. But the notes themselves do tend to be boiled down to key ideas. Maybe I should just write stories that can fit on index cards (I wonder if that's how Amy Hempel starting writing). One paragraph stories, or even one sentence stories.

Of course, I would have to contend with Hemingway's famous (and a favorite of my father's) six word story: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Did you know that Gertrude Stein set out to beat him and wrote a four word story? "She stayed away longer." It's evocative, but in a much more subtle way than Hem's. That means I'd have to do it in three or less. Pretty tough. See, the great thing about the baby shoes story is the immediate arrival upon reading it of the entire life of a relationship. I tried for a few minutes this morning but all I got was: "Fatally, he'd misunderstood." Misunderstood who (whom??)? There is no arrival of the story.

I could try for a two word story, but I'll need some more time. I don't know what the standard for this one is. Maybe, "Jesus wept." Although, for this story to be powerful, you have to know who Jesus is. If you don't, you'd think, "Who is this Hay-zeus fellow, and why is he weeping? Ah, those passionate Latins!" Humbert Humbert's summation of his mother's death is a good one - "Picnic. Lightning." - but you still need the backstory to get it.

As for one word stories, all words are one word stories, so it's just a matter of placement:


Or something like that. Maybe "Nevermore!" is the standard here.

I completely skipped the option of a five word story. There's a twitter site devoted to this (find it yourself, hyperlink junky). I liked this entry:

"Intro. Crisis! Tension!! CLIMAX!!! Denouement."

But I have to say my favorite was, "And then we had sex." That's the ending of a lot of stories guys tell each other. It takes the place of saying "the end". So to end this nonsensical entry:

And then I wrote books.