Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"WRITING THE CREMATED REMAINS OF BOOKS" is an enormously special short-short story based on this image by the very talented Vonster, an illustrator, designer and self-described die-hard doodler. What more could our eyes want ?
And after you chuckle your way through this fast fiction, if you find yourself with a hankering for a classic short story check out Classic Reader.



Sammy lights the tiny "pinner" which promises - by the looks of it - no more than five or six measly tokes. Just enough to inhale some inspiration to help him write a story for Creative Writing 12, an elective which was supposed to be a breeze to boost his GPA to get into the university of his choice.

He hopes this weed will salvage his future.

He inhales and stares at the white wall of a screen in front of him. When he was a kid, he could spin yarns like nobodies business, yammering away tales of heroic animals, secret agent hockey players and alien parents but over the past year he's been more concerned about the cool factor of his literary concoctions. There are three girls at the back of the class who snicker whenever someone says the wrong word in a poem or story. Sammy isn't sure which words are the wrong words but he doesn't want to blow his chances of making out with one of them. They are so cute, he has to cross his legs.

"Can't create in a vacuum," he says out of the joint-free side of his mouth and he goes online and through the grey-haired strands of smoke of his third toke, he views girls in bright bikinis.

Suddenly, a genie-type apparition thing comes out of the screen."

"Holy Fuck," Sammy coughs, the joint falling out of his mouth.

"Here's the deal, little buddy. You want to write brilliantly sophisticated salvoes of prose, right ? This is the pen you are looking for. This is unlike any writing implement you'll ever use. With this pen I thee wed... to genius. You will write stories that will knock the hats off your profs and the panties off the ladies."

"What's in this weed ?" Sammy laughs, searching for the dropped joint.

"I assure you sir. The only joint you're gonna need after you take this pen, is one with a bank vault door on the front to secure your fortunes. You'll be rich !!" the genie-thing smiles and just to make his point he slaps Sammy across the face.

"Ouch !"

"There's all the evidence you need that this once in a life-time offer is yours for the taking. This pen can be yours while supplies last !!"

"What's the hook ?" Sammy says, rubbing his stubble coated chin.

"All you have to do is burn some classic piece of fiction. Something from the canon, as they say. Canon ! Fire the canon out of a canon is what I say. What a waste of space. People will thank you for your service to the community."

The genie-thingy dude pulls out a contract from the white computer screen along with a coffee and bird which are apparently there for moral support.

"So yes just sign here and the pen is yours. All you have to do is burn a book and funnel the ashes into the top of the pen. The ashes of a hundred paged book should last about five pages of double spaced writing, but remember to burn Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickinson, Woolfe somebody great. No pulp fiction. Won't work."

Sammy signs the piece of paper and the genie-thingy dude disappears.

And from this day on, Sammy writes amazing story after amazing story. Burning book after book and funneling the finely chopped up ashes into the empty hollow at the top of the pen.

At the age of 43, Sammy Derenger will die of a heart condition brought on by the guilt of destroying so much beauty which everyone says is so finely infused within his own work.

Monday, December 05, 2005

"THE BIRD-MEN KILLERS" is such a special short-short story that it might very well just fly right out of this screen, perch itself on a stray strand of your hair and spend the next hour or two repeating the last word of everything you say in a tiny mocking tone. But when it leaves you'll miss its cute feathery charms.

Inspiration for today's work comes from the very talented Andy Kehoe, a painter and illustrator whose site features a motley crue of creatures such as murderous birds, beer-swilling wild things and gun-toting stuntmen.
And on a literary note, check out bookninja's serialized selections from Derek McCormack's Christmas Days, a refreshingly sad and morose countdown of stories to Christmas.

But for now put on those spectacular slippers made by your taxidermist friend out of those two peacocks you accidently drove over and enjoy the following short-short story...


In the distance, trees fringed the top of the mostly barren hill like a receding hairline. At the base of the hill, two bird-men stood disappointedly over a body which was bleeding its life into the ground. The man hadn't put up any kind of a fight, he didn't even seem to be all that surprised by the sight of bird-men wielding knives along his walking path.

"You said we'd strike terror into the hearts of men," the one bird-man said to the other who was busy shaking his head back and forth and back and forth.

The man had simply looked up from the pebbles of the path and stared ahead at the bird-men who stood in angry stances intended to inspire blood-curdling screams. When they both lunged at his belly with their flashing blades, he continued to maintain total calm and as his body toppled to the ground the one bird-man thought he saw a yawn taking shape on his lips.

"How is this any kind of start to a killing spree ? You said people would scream ?!"

And the bird-men shrugged their shoulders and made the journey back to the trees to come up with another plan to make a name for themselves in the world of men.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"GROTESQUERIES OF THE GODS" is a divinely special short-short story that explores the lighter side of the abject cruelties of this dung-heap of an existence.

(Yes, that's mostly my hangover talking.)

Inspiration today comes from the very talented Camilla Engman whose paintings, illustrations and calendars for Christmas are all intelligent bursts of color and joy.
Oh, and on a literary note check out this Globe and Mail article on the declining sales of literary fiction in Canada. While al-Qaeda are cited as possible culprits, terrorists who've blown our imaginations to smithereens, there's no mention of George Bush's almost unbelievable election, performance as a president or inept responses to any number of global issues. I mean if we're not reading fiction because of the disastrous times we live in, I think a whole gallery of international rogues could share the blame.

Of course we need our imaginations for a whole host of purposes: from mocking idiot presidents to creating new worlds within a couple hundred pages of prose, but how do we preserve all that playful grey matter ? Yann Martel comes to the rescue: If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams. In other words, we need intelligent fiction to sustain a worthwhile dream of a future.

(Yes my hangover is slowly disintegrating during the writing of all this.)

So for those of you whose imaginations are still alive and kicking, enjoy the following...


While Victor Gliest hadn't a shred of imagination in his head, his dog's fecund mind created worlds, people and futures that poets and artists only dreamt of in moments of supreme intoxication.

Sitting on his favorite bench one afternoon under an empty sky, Victor stared blankly ahead, holding his dog close to his body as though it were a new born baby or a bag of potatoes during a famine. Victor was in the habit of holding most everything close to his chest. He grew up in a family of 12 within the confines of a two bedroom apartment. In short, he valued what little he had.

Victor blinked.

Victor's dog, who went by the moniker of "Dog", was busy imagining treats in a bag brought to him by a masked parachutist by the name of Argonarita, who would acrobatically leap out of planes, sailing and spinning though the sky in order to land next to Dog to bring him sumptuous little treats.

Victor blinked.

High above all of this in the canopy of the heavens, two gods were sitting around people-watching the world of mortals below.

"Shall that man die today ?" a hoary god said, pointing down at Victor.

"He's a good man. He just sits on that bench all the time doing nothing. Today, let's be decent," the other god suggested

"But even now the messengers of death have seen my finger and are going to take a life."

"Let them take that little mutt. Its passing will go unnoticed by the universe."

And just like that a world of bone-trees, cat parades and the very existence of Argonarita himself was extinguished.

Victor blinked.

And it took him several days to notice that something wasn't right with Dog.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

"THE PROPHET PEELS BACK ANOTHER LAYER OF TRUTH WHILE GETTING PAID MINIMUM WAGE" is an almost impossibly special short-short story based on a great little work by Nicholas di Genova. Check his shit out before it checks you into the hospital. Yes, his work is good and has the power to hospitalize if you stumble across it unawares.


"And in the end times all of the oceans of the world will dry up and fish will evolve stupid little feet that will enable them to waddle along in a Charlie Chaplin gait. They will stretch up like giraffes to suck perspiration out of the sky !! Would you like any fries with that ?" the prophet asks. His face is a collection of different razor cuts and lengths of facial hair, which move sharply from length to length like an attempt at a terraced landscape. The prophet has worked at this fast food joint for seven months and is slowly working his way through his daily grooming routine. Someday - his manager tells him - he might make employee of the month.

The prophet is the manager's uncle who went off sometime ago.

Proving once again it's who you know.