Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Art is Useless

"In 1890, following the publication of Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, an intrigued young fan named Bernulf Clegg wrote to the author and asked him to explain a now-famous line included in its preface: "All art is quite useless."

To Clegg's surprise, Wilde responded with the handwritten letter..."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday -- Creature Catalogue


   The dull gray morning got brighter at 10:47am, when the shout came from downstairs, "Mail's here!" Micah's voice squealed out and his sneakers squeaked across the linoleum floor as he tore off to the mailbox, his excitement erupting from his head to his toes. Elliot planted himself at the bottom of the stairs, waiting. He didn't like being disappointed, so he always refused to admit it was coming until it was actually in their hands. He needn't have worried, though; Micah ran back into the house bearing a thick volume, slightly turned up at the edges from the rough handling in transit--it had come, just like it does every October 26.  

   The glossy photograph on the cover displayed a blurred image of twinkling lights and rich colors, much different from last year's all-text cover (an attempt to throw off the littler kids who couldn't read yet, they supposed), or the year before, which bore a vintage illustration of a Christmas morning scene. This year's cover photo was was bright, and emblazoned with tall white letters, reading, "Holiday Wishes," spread across most of the scene, and at the bottom, in small black type, was addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Hayd or current resident, 1429 Mabel Ave..."  

   The boys carefully laid the catalogue on the kitchen table and chose three markers. The blue one for Micah, the red for Elliot, and two-ended black and green, one side for the notes their mother would make after they had circled their selections, and the other for the baby, who couldn't circle her own choices yet. 

   "Remember the deal," Micah commanded, refusing to open the pages until they agreed to move forward as planned: "one favorite per page each. We can only like three of the same in the whole book. And we never look back--only go through once."

   "And no choosing before the timer runs out. Sixty full seconds for each page before we start to circle," Elliot reminded his brother of his own amendment. Micah nodded.

   "Mom! We're starting! So don't come down here!"

   They skipped past the first forty pages of girly stuff, princess costumes and pink play kitchens and doll dream houses, to what they wanted. Elliot flipped the timer from the Cranium game and they began. Micah wiggled in his seat, waiting anxiously to mark the nerf gun on their first page, having decided on it immediately. "Only thirteen second in," Elliot announced, smiling at his brother's unneeded haste. He went for the vintage-looking gum ball machine coin bank. Next, moon boots and rocket shoes and every size of trampoline tempted them, but they both circled a punching bag with two sets of boxing gloves. "We can both use this one, so it's good for mom," Elliot offered, hoping he hadn't used his first shared vote too soon. 

   On the video games page, Elliot backed down from trying to circle the same PS3 title. The seconds ticked down as he calmly watched Micah squirm, anxious to race him for it. He knew right away they shared the same favorite, and he knew too, he could beat Micah to circling it; he didn't need to watch the timer to know when he could move. The count in his head was scarily accurate. Still, he didn't want the same one enough to use one of his mutual votes, so he chose his second favorite and let Micah eagerly stare at the sand falling, and then race to select it first, beaming at his assumed win.

   Micah was the next to volunteer another shared item. "This Lego Star Wars set has six ships, so we can each have three. Mark which ones you want now so we don't forget," he directed. They both circled, and then added a star by three of their favorite kits within the giant box set. It was all going perfectly. 

   Their third and final mutual gift wish item was the easy one, the same this year as it was every year: the swimming pool section at the back of the catalogue. They both vigorously circled the biggest option, smiling and satisfied, and were about to close the book and deliver it with the third marker to their mom upstairs, when Elliot noticed something. "Wait!" he stopped Micah's hand from shutting it closed and carefully turned the last page, revealing a category they had never seen in the book before: hatching eggs, ready to be shipped, incubated and raised. The left column contained different breeds and quantities of chicken eggs, and the right displayed options for duck and quail. But there, right in the center, were the words "OWLING KIT," and the image of a large owl egg with a box on a post. 

   Micah stared at the page in awe as Elliot quietly uncapped his red marker, reached up and tipped the timer over, and stared his brother in the face, counting down with the sand.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, "basketball socks."

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Or maybe I just care... too much!!"

Sometimes I have irrational concerns with the world that I seriously should not let bother me, because really, what can I do about them? Things like:

  • This public bathroom soap dispenser uses the classic, liquid, sticky soap, instead of the foaming stuff I find much more efficient and preferable. Now I'm irritated with the entire hand washing process. Why do they do this to me? 
  • My favorite dress from a designer's runway show, for which I have waited months to find finally released on their website (knowing full well it will be too expensive to ever consider a viable purchase) is the ONE dress from the collection that doesn't make it to the production line, and so I will never know by how much it would have been impossible to buy. Jerks.
  • The kindergarten gate (to keep kids from running off, being kidnapped, etc.) at my daughter's school is awkwardly designed. They should really get someone in here to install a second gate. One for going and one for coming. This bottlenecking of high-strung moms trying to get to their kids is tedious and grating, and it's hard enough not to judge them all without having to hear them gripe behind me while I attempt to patiently wait my turn. 
  • (While were at it...)Your children are not as awesome as my children.
  • This jumbo pack of cotton underwear is practically dirt-cheap and just what I need, but I can't buy it, because one of the nine pairs is a color I don't like. Clearly the cotton underwear industry has conspired to ruin my day by never allowing packs of underwear to be grouped in a palette acceptable to my tastes. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday -- I know what I saw

Ghost Stories
Krisann Gentry

I was late. I ate my peanut butter toast faster as I can, but that is pretty hard, because peanut butter is sticky in my froat, so I had to get another glass of milk to eat it all, so I was still late.

Mom gave me a wipey and I cleared crumbs and peanut butter from my face. If I hurried, I could still make it to my bus on time. 

Mom buckled me into my booster seat and whispered stuff about missing the bus. She had to run back into the house because she forgotted things and her shoe broke. She is even faster than a race car sometimes.

We pulled up to the gate, but Mrs. Jensen has started kindergarten without me. I thought then that it was the worst day ever, but I had no idea what was waiting for me.

Mom smooshed my hair down with her spit again, and I hopped out of the car. She yelled something to me about coming back with the sheets, but she was driving away, so I couldn't hear her really good.

I ran straight here from the school. I'm so glad mom taught me where the police station was, for mergencies. The whole class was all turned to ghosts, sir. I don't know how, but they were. That's everything I saw. Don't let mom go back, or she'll be one too. Can you send the fire truck?

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is "Creature Catalogue."

For Keri's story, click here.
For Jeannine's story, click here
For Jeffery's submission, click here.
For Esdras' story, click here
For Karlet's story, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Introducing Flash Fiction Fridays

For the next two months (to start), I'll be hosting a small consortium of writers participating in a weekly flash fiction exercise. Every Friday I'll post my efforts, followed by some of the selections offered by my coolest friends. We won't collaborate with one another, rather, they will know they prompt when they read my update, and we will revel in how very, very different each of our finished products will prove themselves to be.

Want to play, too? The first flash fiction story, and prompt for next week, are already up. You can find it here. Contact me in the comments, or whatever other creative way you come up with, to let me know you'll be joining us. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

First Flash Fiction Friday

Powder and Soda

Rows upon rows of bottles and jars rest along her high counter. It looks more like an old apothecary than a kitchen; she looks more like a lab tech than an artist, carefully matching a syrup or brew to one of the carefully lined-up measures, pouring a hint or a drop into a vessel and patiently observing and noting everything about it--how it reacts to the other elements, what it needs to round out its flavor profile, and other decisions important to her, but unseen by most. She is a master of these, the tiny measurements. In her mind she systematically works through variables and outcomes, extrapolating from these micro-experiments, understanding what she will need to bring to the table when the time comes to create a large batch. She fails often. She learns every time. She measures again.
She cried once, into a pile of sifted flour, and mourned for weeks. Not a single one of her fourteen varieties of salt could quite recreate the exquisite flavor, and no matter how she tried, she couldn't make herself cry enough for a test batch, let alone the whole order. “Can’t cry enough or cry too much.” She thinks of things that way. A maddish kind of scientist.
Today, she is trying something new. The lavender oil has already been rejected in favor of elderberry syrup. The powders and sodas will react as she intends; she is the director of their chemical symphony, and nothing will go wrong, she is sure. She drops two large yolks into a bowl of equal parts oil and water - the mixing bowl stares menacingly back at her for a moment. “Challenge accepted,” she smiles as she grabs her whisk and begins blending with a little too much enthusiasm.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dear Moffat,

You have betrayed us.

See, we liked you because you were better than us. You were smarter and weirder and wilder. Your ideas were surprising and outside of our imaginations and brilliant, really.

The Statue of Liberty taken over by the weeping angels? How could you break so many of your own rules just to pander to a wildly popular internet meme?

It was funny to think about. It was weak to use it. You made it part of the Doctor Who canon, do you understand? Not that you’ll honor it later... you have been ignoring your own established ideas for some time now.


Sincerely, the FanGirls