Prologue: Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization

This is a re-edit of the first of SPOT’S audio files from the book project. There’s more to come (I’ve heard them—just not ready to post here yet) and so far I like where things are going. Of course, I’m prejudiced because it’s my words, but I really like this reading!

Remember, He Wasn’t There

It was a @WriterlyTweets prompt on March 2—“In six words or fewer, write a story about a mind-altering experiment.” Sometimes you just gotta share the story (in this case, six words per line…):

Dock Ellis, O, pitches had stung,
and Nixon barked “Aye, he swung!”
on balls yea big, yea small,
a day he does not recall.

hogh_dockI don’t think the protagonist did it as an experiment, but he would agree it was definitely an experience, as much as he could remember of it. June 12, 1970 in San Diego, CA; Pirates vs Padres. To hell with the politicians, preachers and pundits. This is the kind of thing that makes America GREAT!

 

Red Eyes at Midnight

My entry for How We’ll Prompt’s second #7/200 Challenge,
from a ten-word story about “two red eyes peering from a dark alley”:


Rounding the corner I heard a familiar growl in the dark.

“Annie?”

There it was again.

“Annie Pants? That you?”

Annie didn’t meow so much as blow a one-and-a-half note solo—an alto with a sticky key, hoarse and unsatisfied. Against my ankle, her head ordered a scratch behind the ear.

“Hey.”

I looked up at two floating devil eyes. “Shit!”

“Hey, it’s me.” The voice scraped like Annie’s.

“Fuck. You scared me, dude!

“Need a favor, man.” It was Marv, smoking a cig.

“What’s that?”

“Got this mirror from upstairs. Ol’ lady Harris says I can have it.” He took a puff. I could barely see his reflection. Just the glowing embers. “She’s gotta have her stuff out by Friday.”

“The Medicare deal?”

“Yeah. This’ll go real good in the corner of the bedroom. Serena’s gonna love it. Long’s I don’t drop it. You got your ride close by?”

“No. Walking.” Annie Pants snaked between my legs, purring.

“Well… if we can get it to the corner, I’m sure Omeir’ll lemme lock it up til morning,” he rasped. “Need some smokes, anyway.”

“I thought you quit, dude.”

“Not for me. For Annie.”

Recognition Due

While the audio files of text excerpts are progressing well (I’ve been told), I need to give a shout out to Austin, TX-based artist Joey Marez for his excellent cover design. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It’s difficult to convey visual concepts to someone who has not read the book but Joey did a great job of translating my un-anchored ideas into a coherent whole that was better than what I originally imagined. That’s the sign of a real professional.

I should also acknowledge Ms. Laurel Violet whose editing skills—both copy and content—proved indispensable. Yes, writers, do yourselves the favor of hiring conscientious artists and editors you can communicate with. You’ll never regret it.

Speaking of Prompts…

chimp01…I’ve found Twitter to be a great resource for writers. The 140 character limit goes a long way to help folks edit their own thoughts before presenting them to the world. Aside from that and the various writers’ blogs, there are the prompts—the word games akin to literary stretching exercises, warm-ups and calisthenics (and often just a chance to wisecrack).

It all started with Writer.ly. Their six-word story setups sucked me in and I got addicted to it. Then came (in no chronological order) Liz Geisert, Kelsye Nelson, How We’ll Prompt, Tablo Prompts, iAuthor and, oh yeah, Nest and Story. If I’ve forgotten anyone, forgive me; I promise I’ll update.

We Had Pea Coats

I totally enjoy the writer prompts on Twitter.
I took How We’ll Prompt’s #7/200 Challenge and expanded
a 10-wd story about “being aboard a boat drifting in heavy fog” :


Zero visibility for hours.

“Miss Queeg?”

“Yes, dear?”

“Dear,” I huffed. “Knock off the formality. This was your idea.”

“Maybe.”

“It was.”

In the blackness, the vacuum pop of a metal container. Silence off all bows, sterns, sanity, motion, and oars bouncing against the thick soup. Fuel was useless without spark. On the deep a man has only so much mettle to deal with currents, windmills and hulls of invisible freighters looming in the murk and hiss of fading drumbeats, rimshots or pounding solos.

“I don’t understand mutiny,” she said.

“No?”

“Strawberries don’t need sugar. They’re sweet enough on their own.”

“You don’t say.”

“You need to keep up your strength.”

A misshapen orb pressed against my lips. She was right. I hoped the fog had been saturating the towels. Coffee was gone, one sandwich left, we could be going in any direction possible, one oar stroke shy of infinity.

“Is there enough battery for a heading, Miss Queeg?”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“Oh, gee.”

“I’ve been leaving a trail.”

I closed my eyes and kept rowing.

“We’ll follow the sugar trail when it gets light. In the meantime we go wherever these strawberries want to take us.”

A Book? Epic Unattended Blog-alia

bk_cov02Again I let my blogtation duties lapse.

The other day’s was all the suspense I could stand, and no one else could. Mostly cuz no one else saw the showboat go by. And I’m not gonna recap it. If you missed it, it’s gone. Another splashdown into the river of self-contempt, on its way to an ocean of floating lunch trucks. What’s good for the raft is good for the stand-up paddle board.

Yes, I announced the end of the road—the impending release of the (e)book. The novel. “Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization”—and if you didn’t hear it here first, folks, don’t worry. Had to consider the editing done and let it drop sometime, come hell or groves full of lemon trees.

Scheduled street date? April 1. Why not?

cho_line01

To quote Mr. Dennes Boon: “Objects, material, possessive, unreal circles, and games contradicting lies…” 

And thanks to Spot for allowing the “donation” of the photo—an image that didn’t make it into his “Sounds of Two Eyes Opening.” I’ve always liked it. He says the 4th & 5th (l-r) women are mother and daughter. Wow.