Monday, November 15, 2010

Here are the things that I don't like about my writing:
1. The misogyny, how come my female characters are always so shallow and useless?
2. Not enough imagery. You don't really get a sense of scene in a lot of my stories. I emote very well, but you rarely know what color things are.
3. Action, nothing ever seems to happen in the stories I write.
4. Depth, they're all so shallow. It's like I really have nothing to say. I suppose someday I will and it will be useful then to have practiced speaking, but I'm worried that the practice will ruin the later message.
5. Length, too short.
6. I can't keep a coherent plot together to save my life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

212 B

"Of course" She answered, not even looking up from the table.

"I'm, sorry but that doesn't answer the question I asked. I asked what room Alexandria Van Plotts is staying in." Timothy wasn't sure why he had apologized. The pale complexion of the counter girl, plus the ironic pill box hat perched precariously on her head, added to the too-red lipstick, meant that he wouldn't get a straight answer or good service out of the girl, she was too concerned with the higher truths of her complexion and image in the small pocket mirror cut through with neat razor slashes she held in her left hand.

"Sir, remain calm" The dreadful girl droned "We're doing everything we can to process your request, and we'll have an answer for you shortly."

"Excuse me, but it is a simple question. Don't you have a register or a computer or anything back there? Don't you write these things down?"

"Yes, we have all those things, and yes we write them down, but sir." With the last sir the young woman looked up at the young man, and with a twisted little delight in her eyes she said "We're doing everything we can to process your request, and we'll have an answer for you shortly."

Nothing was being done in the lobby of the hotel. The elevators were not moving up or down, and the ceiling fans were not even twirling. The air was stifling and stale.

"Look, I've got to meet Ms. Van Plotts, we've an engagement for the evening. You see I'm a reporter, well sort of, anyway, like I said, we've an engagement for the evening, and you know how she is, I'm sure you've read about her in the news."

"Sir, it is the official policy of the Whitmore Hotel to know nothing about this subject. The privacy of our guests is our highest priority." The pale girl said, that same wicked smile returning to her lips.

A man in a garish Hawaiian shirt casually pushed his way through the brass and glass of the revolving door. There was a camera around his neck, it wasn't a digital camera. A camera bag was carelessly hung from his shoulder. There was nothing about this man that indicated any sort of competency. He seemed to be the sort of man who would spend his whole Sunday drinking cigars and betting on horses or dogs at the track, if you take my meaning.

The girl behind the counter reached over and pushed Timothy to one side.

"Stu, you know the drill, third floor second maintenance door on the right, and this time you better get my split before Tuesday."

After witnessing this Timothy had come to several conclusions about the moral status of the Whitmore Hotel and its employees.

"Look, I just need to see Ms. Van Plotts. She left a message on my machine asking me to come here, she didn't leave a room number, anyway, like I said, we've got plans."

"I thought you had an engagement." The girl behind the counter looked very pleased with herself.

"Yeah, whatever. Look I'll give you twenty bucks."

"For what?"

"Just give me her room number."

The girl behind the counter leaned forward, which had the effect of drawing Timothy's eyes towards her bosom, and with some impossibly perfect swagger in her voice she said "Sir, the Whitmore Hotel is doing everything we can to process your request, and we'll have an answer for you shortly."

It had been twenty minutes since Timothy had first walked up to the desk. He leaned back on his heels, left hand to chin, and looked forward into the evening, he could scrap the interview, and he could stop dealing with this ridiculous facsimile of a person in front of him. He could go out to the bars and taverns and find someone to occupy his time until sunrise. Dinner could be found at any number of convenient and agreeable places, and in the morning at the staff meeting he could say that the Alexandria Van Plotts had not been at the hotel, and that a vomit stain outside of her door in the hallway had led Timothy to the conclusion that she was "in" for the evening.

It was going to be so easy. Timothy knew that the events he had just forecasted would come true if he let them. With a little smile on his lips he leaned forward and said to the pale girl, with the too-red-lipstick, and the coquettishly perched pill box hat, and said "What Room, please, is Alexandria Van Plotts staying in?"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Titles: If you're interested.

These aren't really that interesting but I thought you might like to have some context for the excerpts, because the chapter titles are all indicative of what the chapter is about, and they form a nice little view of the book as a whole.

Tentative Title for the whole thing: Our Selves Explode in Light

Chapter 1: At 11th and Florence and I'm Nobody's Sweetheart.
Chapter 2: Where There’s Tea For Two, And Songbirds Sing Like Barges.
Chapter 3: In The Hospital, Where I Met My Other Selves
Chapter 4: We Aren't The Ones To Answer Your Questions
Chapter 5: About Organs Breaking, And Barges Singing Like Songbirds
Chapter 6: Or Why I’m Safely Asleep In Your Mind
Chapter 7: Sometimes I Can Really See Myself With You
Chapter 8: But I Can't Tell Who I Am, And I Might Not Be Me.
Chapter 9: Even If You Wanted Me To Do Something, I Couldn't.
Chapter 10: Because Nothing Can Stop Me From Hurting Myself.
Chapter 11: And Dreaming All Of This Was Such A Silly Lie.
Chapter 12: In Real Life All We Can Do Is Watch
Epilogue: Our Selves Explode In Light

Excerpt 5: From Chapter 5

The man behind the desk was very angry. Blake could not understand why. He had provided proof of lack of identity. His fingerprints were entered into a computer and even after several hours of searching the faithful machine had not been able to find a match. A man was dispatched to one of the central bureaucratic facilities with a photograph of Blake. There even larger, boxier, angrier, computers would be put to the task of finding out just who our young protagonist was at that very moment of his life. These advanced machines were programmed to spend eighty percent of their processing power searching for just who Blake had been, his schooling, his grades in school, any crushes on boys or girls in his class that he had ever had. What sort of macaroni he preferred to paste onto construction paper, or how he felt about the very thrilling sensation of making a clean cut through card stock with safety scissors. The computers began a thorough search through every disappointing prom date that had been registered in the last quarter century, because their programming (correctly) surmised that Thomas had:
A) gone to prom in the last quarter century and
B) had disappointed his semipopular date (who it turns out was Kathleen Watkins, a basketball cheerleader who hated Chemistry but loved Physics for obvious and unknown reasons respectively)

However the advanced alloys and super-cooled central processing units of the servers assigned to identifying this physically broken young man could not find the answer to this solution. As Thomas’s jaw had been broken in several places in the accident the current alignment of his teeth, indeed even his mandibles could not be identified from extant dental records. In fact this line of investigation was pointless because Thomas’s parents had never taken him to a licensed dentist. They had taken him to their good friend Montgomery Alberto Montenegro, or as he preferred Monty. Monty had lost his dental license as a young upright man in the late sixties. He was robbed of this important facet of his life by a lawsuit against a former jazz musician, who after years of playing hard bop and an even harder secret heroin addiction, was no longer susceptible to the effects of any of anesthetics in Monty’s arsenal, and therefore felt very abused after a triple root canal.
Monty had preformed all of Thomas’s dental work, taken every last x-ray, even cemented and wired the youth’s braces. He was by all accounts a hardworking and honest dentist. Indeed the very paragon of dentistry. However through the cruel twist of fate and a lost soul’s abuse of heroin Monty had only attended three annual Dentist conventions and was therefore largely out of touch with the latest in dental techniques and practices. So to the trained eye Thomas’s existing dental records looked much much older, as the hand that had guided and shaped the jaw had been out of touch with the newer techniques to quide and shape the proud square jaws of Americas youth. Thomas’s newly squared and solidified jaw now fell into step with those of his peers. Whereas before he had a thin intellectual jaw, he now had a firm bold lantern jaw.
After seventeen straight hours of the whole bureaucratic facility’s computers being dedicated to searching the vast and transient networks and databases that currently define our societies definitions of life and identity (well at least as far as death and taxes are concerned) Thomas Blake was declared a non-person. This was a unique situation, and the decision has been studied at many of the secret universities that secretly train the citizens who become bureaucrats. It is known as the Clarence Richmond Decision, after the person who invented the form that allowed what happened to legally take place. In case you are wondering the form is available government wide, indeed it can even be requested from the Fish and Game office. The reason is that each of these offices needs to recognize the validity of the form, and intra-office politics dictate that if two offices have the same form and they both recognize it as valid, then both should implement the form. In bureaucratic circles this is referred to as Building the Dam.

Excerpt 4: From Chapter 4

Today had been long, too long. Her neck ached, and her eyes burned from staring at her monitor. Her work had begun to bother her. The emails she was receiving from her coworkers had begun to be rather strange, they were too personal, and not related at all to the business of business. When she opened the computer she found an email from Cheryl. It read:

“Hey Evy, just wanted to see how your doing on that project I gave you last week. Also, my husband called last week. We ended up going to the bar, anyway one thing led to another and we did it in the alleyway behind the bar. It was so hot. I seriously orgasmed six times. Can you believe it? I couldn’t, he was never that good when we were married. Shoot me an email back, let me know what you think. We should get coffee soon, it has been way too long since we’ve pretended to do that.”
While this disturbed Evelyn it did not surprise her, Cheryl had a bad habit of slipping personal details into her business emails. This email was just outside the range of what she had come to expect but it wasn’t really out of character. However that was just the beginning, and a short message from Frank in Accounting where he explained that he “had a rash on (his) left nut for the last three weeks” precipitated the deluge of personal details from the company’s personnel. Emails came pouring in. At ten o’clock Evelyn’s email account was full. Every employee in the company, including employees at the branch offices in Texas and Ohio had sent her short disgustingly detailed missives about their lives. Evelyn had tried to respond to these, but gave up. She called the IT desk and asked them what to do. Greg, the technician at the desk didn’t believe her, he said that no one could fill up a corporate email account, and when he asked Evelyn if she had gotten his email about having sexual fantasies about his third grade teacher, Mrs. Hoskins, Evelyn hung up. So she did the only thing she thought she could do, she began reading the emails again.
Then impossible things started happening. Evelyn had accepted the fact that everyone employed by her company could feasibly email her personal things, on a case-by-case basis it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility, and maybe someone had sent around a message that said she was very good at handling these matters.
Evelyn worked through lunch, and then stayed late. She was like Hercules fighting the Lernaen Hydra. Each email she answered was replaced by two more. She tried deleting whole pages at a time but that just encouraged more and more emails. It was if every action she could take encouraged more and more people to send her the messy details of their lives. She read about suicidal thoughts, about falling in love again, about seeing their first child being born and about being in a car accident while teaching a daughter to drive. She read about rape and lust and passion and abstinence, about how a man had never masturbated, had never had sex, had looked at women naked on the internet and in real life and found nothing, how he had looked at naked men, animals, children, even plants and inanimate objects and still he had never had an erection, this man was immune to sex in all of its insane varieties. She read about how a grandmother hated her daughter for having such beautiful children, and how she loved her grandchildren more than anything, and how she hated herself for this, because before she had been pure and free, a statue on the pedestal of herself she had held herself naked on the beach and felt the sun’s golden rays bathe her in perfection, but now even though she had more sexual partners, some barely old enough drive, most still in college, some older than her, and one born on exactly the same day down to the hour as her, even now in the lush jungle of her sexuality she felt cold and angry because of the impossibly perfect love that the sight of her grandchildren inspired in her.

Excerpt 3: From Chapter 3:

He was seven again, and his father had just come home from work. His cheeks were flushed and he pulled a second beer from the fridge as he loosened his tie and walked upstairs aggressively to the master bedroom. He felt like he was in trouble even though his homework was all done. Then there was yelling and the meatloaf got cold on the kitchen counter. Thomas and his sister hid in the basement, playing distractedly with toys until tearfully their parents called them up to eat. There was silence at the table. Nobody spoke as his father stood, walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge. The sound of the bottle being opened was followed closely by the slam of the back door.
Thomas was vaguely aware of something cold and metallic being pressed against his cheek. There was a cool hand being laid on his forehead, and his hair was slicked back against his scalp. He was throwing up. Was he in the hospital again?
No. He was eight and still in his boyscout uniform. He didn’t have any merit badges, tonight he was supposed to get his first one. He had held back with all his might. He had felt the sickness coming on as he got on the bus after school, but he had held on. He ate very little dinner and bounced from side to side in his seat, claiming to be too excited, but he was bouncing to stop the nausea. He was turning down the shake n’ bake chicken because it wouldn’t have stayed down. It wasn’t until they pulled into the parking lot of the Lutheran Church on Delancey and he had stepped out of the van that it started. First the milk from dinner, then the warm ovenroll, everything came tumbling out of him. He fell to his hands and knees: fruit punch from lunch, a corn dog, green beans, a piece of gum, and finally a couple of bran flakes. The waves came and left him less. He felt empty and shallow, sweating there in the parking lot of St. Mark’s Evangelical. Hands came around him, lifted him to his feet, and a cloth wiped his mouth. “You made it out of the car at least.” A voice said. But all he could do was look at the vomit, it was failure, he had almost made it. He had almost gotten a badge, he was going to know how to tie knots, or maybe start fires, but that was all over now. With success so close at hand he had thrown up, all over it. Then blackness. And then a voice, humming worriedly, and a cool cloth being wiped across his forehead.
“where am I?” But the words didn’t come out that way.
“Shh. Rest now.”
His eyes opened for single second, expecting to find the lamp next to his boyhood bed, but instead there was fluorescent light, and a water stain above his head. A woman with blonde hair was seated next to him, and he saw the red fullness of her lips, and then blackness.
But in the background the vomiting had stopped.
And the blackness gave way to visions. He was in a crib, and above him was a white washed ceiling. And on the ceiling, above him was a tawny water stain. He reached up with hands too small to be his, and arms too long to belong to the hands, but the ceiling receded as he reached, drawing away from him. The sound of footsteps filled his ears, a horrid marching, as if columns and columns of soldiers were coming.
Thomas focused with all of his power on the water stain. He wanted, no, needed it to be everything but what was around him. He didn’t blink, and in the eternity of the approaching footsteps the ceiling slowly morphed. It wasn’t white washed anymore, it was a ceiling tile, but now his eyes were closed, he knew this, but he could still see, as if his eyelids were sunglasses, and the whole room seemed darker. He was in an aging hospital, and the stain wasn’t just a stain, but it was in the shape of a mating pair of monarch butterflies. This realization led to another more brilliant leap of genius, indeed the tawny water stain was not a butterfly, or even a pair of butterflies, but it was a whole migration of butterflies on their way south to Mexico to die and birth and birth and die. But soon even this was not enough, and the tawny water stain was not an image of migration but of the proud country Bolivia, or more correctly and grandly the Plurinational State of Bolivia, or even more grandly and correctly Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.
As his mind focused on the stain, the sound of footsteps grew louder and louder ringing with military precision, echoing down the long corridors of the ancient hospital. He soon saw that the map of Bolivia was indeed a perfect cartographic record of the Crab Nebula. In his mind he hoped that might bear a passing resemblance to a scar he’d had since childhood. The scar on his left knee was a result of an experiment with a stolen lighter and various inflammable materials. The resulting explosion left him miraculously unharmed except for the burn on his left knee which now, but that wasn’t right, was it someone else’s knee? The memory seemed to have left him. He felt lighter, nauseous, maybe because of how light he felt. It was like being at the top of a roller coaster hill, only he wasn’t bound to the tracks, he could go down or side to side, or up, forever up held aloft by his own buoyancy. He felt sick with the choices.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Excerpt 2 from Chapter 2:

Things quickly get crazy, and you won't understand any of this, i've posted this deliberately out of context:

“Yes, your big toe. Give it to me.”

“So if you eat my big toe, just my big toe, then you won’t kill me?”

“Would eating you kill you? How strange. I didn’t kill the teapot or the table when I ate them.”

“Well they weren’t alive.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because they didn’t grow, or change… well that’s not right… look they didn’t ever move about on their own did they?”

“I’m not sure, you knew them longer than I did.”

“What? I thought you were here before me.”

“No, you were talking to yourself when I… became.”

“Oh, so are you still going to eat me?”

“Not if I can just eat your big toe.”

“Ok… what one do you want.”

“I don’t know, you pick, I’ve never been able to decide anything.”

“Alright, so we’re agreed that if you get this toe you won’t eat me, right?”

“No I won’t eat you, don’t be ridiculous, how could I eat YOU?”

“Ok do it then.”

Thomas trembled as the shape knelt down and lifted his left foot, and lovingly unlaced his shoe, removed his sock and carefully inserted the big toe into its no-mouth. The feeling of losing his toe into nothingness wasn’t exactly unpleasant. Seeing as Thomas remembered his big toe always running into objects and rarely bringing him any joy, he wasn’t after all one of those people who find the sensation of their toe being sucked to be the height of eroticism, Thomas actually enjoyed the sensation of losing his left foot’s big too. Soon the no-teeth had bitten all the way through, and to his surprise there was no blood, there was no wound. His foot ended cleanly and neatly where a big toe would have been. He found that he could not remember what it felt like to have that big toe. He could remember the fact that he had it at one point, but only the concept of the toe remained, there were no longer any memories of how it felt to wiggle the toe in a sock.

“Well that wasn’t so bad at all.” Thomas said still shaking, but now shaking more from relief than fear.

“That was incredible, and look!” The nothing pointed with its no-hand towards what was once its no-toe, and a miracle had occurred, there on the left foot was a big toe, to be specific: the sinister hallux. It was exactly the same as the toe Thomas had just lost, but now it was attached to nothing.

The shape said “If I thought I was living before… this” the nothing gestured wildly around and down at the toe “this my friend is living!”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Excerpt From Chapter 1:

Remember everyone this is a rough draft, so please be kind:

They sat in the darkened living room; the fireplace cast shadows on the walls, and left the room in a flickering red twilight. The cousins, and aunts and uncles had left; the grandparents were asleep in the guest room upstairs. The necessary dishes had been cleaned, and the dishwasher hummed contentedly. The remaining dishes, the serving plates, and larger bowls, were left on the counter piled next to the sink. His mother was weary from a barrage of in-laws and she had opened a bottle of red wine for herself and sat back comfortably in her leather recliner. He began slowly: “Well, Mom, yes, there is something wrong.”

A concerned look appeared on his mother’s face.

“No, I’m not failing school- if that’s what you’re thinking” it was what she was thinking “and no it isn’t girl troubles.” Girl troubles were Mrs. Jennings second conclusion, and after this last sentence his mother’s face twisted into a look of confusion, and then a look of worry, greater than her initial look of concern about Thomas’s grades, came over her face. She asked “You’re not… gay” softly whispering the word gay with an exaggeration of her mouth, and then after a pause “are you?” Thomas, feeling the mind of his mother begining to brush against the barriers of his own, was silent for a minute.

“No, mother, I’m not gay.” He paused, then he began again, “It’s just that, well, I feel like I’m losing myself.”

“What do you mean losing yourself?” She asked with incredulity. “People don’t just lose themselves. Its not like you can just forget yourself at the beach or on the subway, you’re not a wallet or a watch.” Thomas’s mother was beginning to get into a comfortable ranting position, but when she took a long sip from her wine glass Thomas interjected.

“Its like, I don’t know what I want to do, I mean, other people know what they want me to do, sometimes I feel like I’m being told to do something, even when nobody has told me to do it.” Thomas was slowly realizing that what he wanted to communicate would be impossible to say to his mother. “I just feel like all my goals and dreams, you know, what I want to do with my life, like they’re being slowly taken away from me, like someone else’s goals and dreams are replacing mine, and not just someone’s everyone else’s.”

As he continued he saw his mother’s eyes glaze over, he knew she was switching into an automatic response mode. She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could begin Thomas continued “I…I just feel like I… like I’m not myself anymore, like I’m becoming everyone else.”

At this his mother cut him off, “Thomas, are you on… the weed? Is that what I have to deal with now? I have to take care of my… dope fiend son now? It’s bad enough that your father drinks like a fish” she said as she gestured vaguely with her hand she splashed droplets of wine across the room. “I’m going to go to the pharmacy tomorrow, and I’m going to get one of those home drug testing kits, and you’d better hope mister, that you’re piss comes out clean, or else I’m pulling you out of that fancy university and sending you to community college, you’ll have to live at home of course…” His mother’s words began to fade to white noise.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A New Initiative

Ok, internets. I know this probably won't happen, and I know no-one ever reads this, but please nobody steal what I'm going to start putting up here.

That said. I'm going to start posting novel (or novella) excerpts! Isn't that great and interesting!

Remember these are rough.
We're going to start with perhaps my biggest, and oldest work in progress. Something that I've tentatively titled (drumroll) Axis Mundi. Yes such a deep and thought provoking title, I know! After all I thought of it.

Anyway it will unfold slowly but I'll post some bits from it here soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Horseshoe Crab

The horseshoe crab is struggling. I'm sure that if I spoke horseshoe crab, I would hear screams and pleadings. After all I'm holding it up to the fire on the beach. Aren't I cruel? Hideously cruel. I mean I've thrown twelve bottles of empty beer into the ocean. With every throw I hoped a whale would choke. I scratched my name and address into the glass, painstakingly. I wanted to be on the news. I wanted to be that bastard who choked a whale to death with an empty beer bottle.

Now look at me, now I'm just a fuck-up holding a horseshoe crab up to a campfire on the beach. How cruel.

The ocean is rolling in. It forms a nice background for the sizzles and pops. The crackle as the shell gets smaller and the insides of the horseshoe crab get larger, the snap as the shell cracks; these are the noises that I focus on over the endless chorus of waves coming in and going out.

I drove away all my friends this way.

Not by roasting horseshoe crabs. Not at all. I'm sure they wouldn't care. They've all got kids and careers and lives, they wouldn't care about one little horseshoe crab.

No I drove everyone away by holding myself over the fire. I tried to make them all hear the sizzles and pops. I wanted them to hear the crackle as the shell of my life got smaller and my insides forced themselves out through the cracks.

I'm not sure when the final pop happened, but now here I am alone on the beach. I'm staring up at the moon, and I wish I could find a way to hold it over a fire. I want to hear what happens to the moon when it starts cracking. How cruel am I?

I've tried to keep a steady balance, make sure no one loved me too much. I held everyone at a distance, even when I wanted them all to gather around and throw up their lunches at the sounds of my insides coming out. I wanted to turn their stomachs with the things I told them. I wanted to be the most fucked up of fuck-ups. I wanted a crown. I wanted a fucked up throne. because in my own little beach-combing mind I'm the god damned king of fucking-up.

I pissed away anything that ever meant something to me. That or someone took it away from me.

It all makes sense though. Especially when I look at the way the crab"s legs curl up in on themselves when the flame hits them. I want them to curl so far inward that they pierce the shell even further. I want the crab to rip off its own carapace in its dying struggles. Those meaningless dying struggles.

But here I am alone on the beach. Holding a crab over a fire. Listening to the pop and sizzle of something that isn't even edible. I'm watching the waves roll in, distorting the moon on the water. I'm wondering why I ever though ti was a good idea to be a horseshoe crab.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


"What do you want from me?" The angry young man in the heartless brown suit asked.

"I want you to sit down and finish your coffee, and think about it, this an opportunity here." Replied the older woman in the uncompromising sunglasses, lit eerily against the overcast sky.

It had rained for three weeks, almost a full month of summer rain. In the streets people were talking about crop failure, and floods, and the market, and the economy, and the rest of the imaginary friends society keeps for some strange comfort. But at the inexplicable pair sitting outside at the cafe, even as the thunderheads rolled in, they were talking about the Weather, whether it would change.

"I don't know how it happened, look I really don't, if I knew I'd tell you, but I haven't talked to her." and after a pause of sudden respiration, and perhaps even emancipation, or inspiration, or revelation, the young man in the heartless brown suit continued. "I didn't talk to her before she" he asserted quickly "well, look I can't explain it, sometimes she's just gone, and here I am left holding what's left of this mess together."

"Ethan, listen to me, this is your last chance for the position, I've seen your camera tests, and from what I understand you're the best meteorologist the station has seen since Ed "Perfect December" Blakely died, god rest him. Now, I want to see you succeed, I really do, I think you've got great hair, great teeth, and your smile, well I think we can make people think it is supposed to be sunny when you tell them its raining, just by smiling."

"You really think so?" The young man in the heartless brown suit sipped his coffee and leaned back into the chair, and it seemed to him that a crack appeared in the clouds above him, just a tiny crack, and that maybe there would be sunshine today. "I mean, I could've gone anywhere you know. I had a job offer in Boston, you know that? I've never been to the ocean. I was gonna be the guy that set off the John Hancock Tower lights: steady blue, clear view; flashing blue, clouds are due; steady red, rain ahead; flashing red, snow instead."

Behind her uncompromising sunglasses the older woman, not old perhaps, but certainly mature, smiled. The smile did not reach her lips, and it was only for a moment, like a cloud passing over the sun.
"That sounds great Ethan, but nobody would have ever known who you are. What I'm offering you is local fame, and the money's not bad either."

"Yeah... but, I mean I can't, I mean I don't know where she is." Ethan's lips quivered as the word she passed through them, and the woman in uncompromising the sun glasses across from him saw her reflection in Ethan's eyes.

Ethan grew pale in his heartless brown suit. The skin of his upper lip began to perspire, and his leg trembled. Perhaps it was at the thought of giving her up for the job, for his future, but it was easily as likely that his leg began to shake and his lip began to sweat at the thought of being on camera, of being known, of getting the weather wrong.

He breathed in and almost sighed, but instead he spoke a sentence very quickly: "Amanda, the last time I saw her, she was leaving my apartment after I told her that I wasn't going to sleep with her. We had a big fight about..." and then a pause came. A look of fear came over Ethan's face as if he was suddenly afraid of revealing so much to the woman behind the uncompromising sun glasses. He finished his sentences speaking the words as if they were poison, only the poison came from them coming out, as if they were stoppers that had been loosed and the poison had been inside him all along. "We fought about the weather, she refused to let me help her." Then suddenly the poison didn't matter, words were coming out, and the original burn of illness had turned into a slick patina of rage and jealousy. "I was angry that she had been throwing away my analyses." Ethan's eyes began to light up, the sort of light that hits the bottom left corners of a persons eyes when they are lying, but believe that they are only bending the truth, or they believe that the truth is too complicated and cannot be extracted from the layers of past that surround it. "I think she was throwing them away before the broadcast, not even reading them."

"Ethan, that's what I wanted to hear. The job's yours. I'm firing Amanda." Sun broke through the clouds, and the woman behind the uncompromising sun glasses smiled, this time it reached her lips, she said "Can you believe she said it was supposed to rain today? With sun like this I could go to the beach." She grabbed her umbrella as she stood up and walked away, leaving Ethan smiling, but trembling.

He thought that perhaps if he had tried to tell the truth a little bit harder, than maybe it would've rained, but then he smiled and looked up at the sun coming through the clouds as if it were the blinking light of the studios cameras, and the clouds seemed to melt away.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rejection Letters, a new series. Pt. 2

Dear Stephen,

Your Graduate School Application was lost in the mail, but that didn’t matter. There’s no room in your stupid choice of a major. Why did you ever think it was good idea? Also, even if there were room in the program you selected what makes you think your pitiful ideas are any good? This institution questions your right to exist based on the poor grades, and even worse letters of recommendation.

However, if you would like to apply again in a couple of years when you’ve all but given up on your dream of becoming a successful person, we’ll gladly accept your application for processing. Fair warning though, everyone younger than you is smarter and better trained at what you want to do; also they are better looking and have WAY MORE sex.

In all honesty the thing that made us reject you was the fact that you cry yourself to sleep at night. We don’t associate with babies.


The Graduate School You Always Wanted To Go To

Rejection Letters, a new series.

Dear Abigail,

We cannot process your student loan request. You were wrong to think that you could get ahead in the world, stop trying. Our decision was based mostly on how attractive you are, which is clearly not enough. We suggest you get a large paper sack to cover your whole body.

Furthermore, after consulting with your parents we have determined that you are a disappointment to everyone you ever met, especially your Grandmother, who never loved you. We are informing you of this as a courtesy, in the hopes that you will continue to store the few dollars earned from your pitiful, dead end, minimum wage job in our trustworthy hands.

Customer Service Representative #859-23-4788

Monday, January 11, 2010

To The One Who Knows Who This Is From: A Love Letter

At the very end of my life, perhaps I will regret all of the moments that I spent in pursuit of you. It was only those scant few decades, those April months spent staring at the moon: inhaling the scent of newly blooming flowers. Perhaps, upon my deathbed, I will recant all the days of my life; hoping that the seconds stolen with you will not weigh against the lonely years.

However, now that we are both in the prime of our lives, I cannot even hope to smell another scent than that of your hair. I cannot even dare to dream of another caress than that of your fingertips running up and down the inconsolable length of my arm. In the darkness I shiver at the memory of your touch, and my lips swell with hope in dreams as they gently devour yours in passionate sunlight.

Now, in the growing shadow of my youth I realize that I am wasted by those seconds of love. I am ruined by the impossible heights of passion, and the inconceivable depths of sorrow that our affair brought me. If only in a different time. If this or that hadn't happened, then perhaps now, you would wear something of mine, and I, your heart; would walk boldly in the streets. Alas, alas, alas, this or that was not meant to be.

Do not weep at this missive, for it is just that, a thing that may be dismissed. However, even though this letter is granted a brief nature, it reflects a sentiment that I hope is deeply missed. Instead of sorrow, know that I do not expect that my life find harbor in any distant port of love. Know that I only intend to travel upon the river of memory that flows from our fleeting love.