Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Brief Lipogram Exercise

Inspired by Peter Crates and written without the letter E. Reads a bit like something translated.

“That girl is a fucking idiot,” I say. Out of my mouth words pour without my thinking about what could soon pass. Thomas says it’s unfair. Alan says I’m myopic. I don’t know. Might just paint that saying on my car and allow thinking to go on without my input. In minds along this road who look upon my car and its words, what occurs? I would wish to cut into a brain for insight post-car-sighting. A man looks in my car, watching nothing but what this man wants. It’s all around now, his want in solid form. Stifling my body with willful cloying. That’s protocol today. First said by us in that first instant of cognition. This plan is not following with facility. Thomas can’t gasp aloud without phasing Alan’s volition. Alan can’t will without making us sick about it. It isn’t at all a point of clarity as it stands. No flow, no calm. Discuss, discuss, that’s final Alan might say that. In fact, Alan has said that on many occasions. It’s not, though.
I think aloud: “I know that girl. That girl is good at sports and school. Why did I say that?” My mind throbs. “Why do I say such things? Is it my soul longing for flight from my lungs? My spirit, my vapor not, wanting my warmth?”
“Your spirit is cold. That’s a fact, not my opinion,” Alan says. “But it wouldn’t work anyway. Spirits stick to your ribs. Don’t flow through your nostrils.”
Thomas, thoughtfully sitting on his stool, looks at us and says, “Do you know it, I concur with Alan. Your soul has no contact with this girl. What do you call this girl?”
“Cassandra,” I say.
“Cassandra can call out things abnormal in you,” Thomas says. “Cassandra might do just that. But still, a good girl and not a fucking idiot, as you said. Logic, you know? Cassandra’s using it right now as you and I and Alan sit arguing with our own words and your wrong thinking.”
“A quiz,” Alan says, “to catch a fool, if Cassandra is in fact a fool. Common topics, but not too common. Normal, I might add. But surprising.”
“Surprising to a fool?” I ask.
“Yah, that’s it.”
“What’s not surprising to a fool?”
“That girl Cassandra thinks I’m dumb. Why quiz that girl’s stupidity and not my own?”
“For you also, okay. That, too.”
My apology, truly, to you all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Searching for Weird

I'd like to make this blog a central stop for weirdness, not just of my own, but for any weirdness that may interest a chap like me. If anyone is there reading this, suggest something weird for me to check out and enjoy, possibly even suggest to others or review for my blog. But I only want REAL weirdness. I don't want a picture of a turd on the American flag or a sketch from Robot Chicken (no offense, just isn't WEIRD). Leave a comment with a name of or a link to something weird in the visual arts, music, fiction, entertainment, history, science, conspiracy theory or even your abdominal cavity. If you have weird within you, feel free to expose it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How NOT to Write a Novel

Had to give a quick plug to this little gem, How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman --which, by the way, is worth reading even if you aren't planning on writing a novel. Several times I have laughed out loud at the examples of errors they use to illustrate what to avoid when writing a novel. There are lots of books on how to write, but this one is far more useful. The two authors write comic gold and never fail to give you insights into things you may not have thought in your own writing about or to reinforce points that you may academically know but have failed to put into practice.

Here's a brief sample:

The Redundant Tautology

Wherein the author repeats himself

An old man nowadays, with gray hair and wrinkles, Captain Smothers walked down the street to his weekly card game. Usually he would meet Katz on his way, and sure enough, coming down the street towards him he saw his old friend, Major Katz, who was as old as he was. It was the usual day they always arranged to meet for a game of chit with retired Rear Admiral Chortles. The three men, all former members of the armed forces, played chit, the card game known as "Priest's Delight" in Ireland, every Sunday. It was something they had never failed to do since they began the tradition. Katz joined Smothers and greeted him. "Hello," he welcomed Smothers.
"Hello," Smothers greeted him in return. The aged, decrepit, grandfatherly Katz was wearing a clean shirt and freshly ironed pants with shoes. He looked neat as usual. Smothers' shirt, however, was wrinkled and needed ironing; he had never been as neat as Katz, but rather untidy, though he too, like Katz, was formerly in the army, but no longer. You would have expected an Army man to develop a habbit of neatness, but Smothers somehow never had, and remained quite sloppy...

Another version of this is the "large gray elephant," or the "rectangular room with a floor, walls, and ceiling." While it is not absolutely a shooting offense to characterize an elephant with attributes that all elephants possess, it is a yawning offense. "An aroused and angry elephant" gives us a specific striking mental picture. "A large gray elephant" gives us two extra words.

Oh, and I just found out about Salad Fingers. Awesome stuff! I guess I slept through 2005, but if you did too, and you like creepy, weirdo flash cartoons, check it out here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Sounds of Inspiration

I've just made myself a playlist to listen as I work on my novel. For many people, it is way easier to write while listening to music that lacks vocals (something to do with processing language, but ask your local psychologist to be sure), so my list is mostly instrumental. I wanted stuff with an alien feel, so there's everything from stock French educational film scores of the early 80s to orchestral space pop of the early 60s to experimental electronic weirdness. Here is a list of a few of the albums I drew from, and links to where you can find out more about them. Because, I know people of the future are gonna want to know what G. Arthur Brown was listening to when he wrote The Belange (working title only).

Space Oddities Volumes 1 & 2
The Strange New World of Bernard Fevre
Luke Vibert’s Further Nuggets
Hyman & Mayo’s Space Pop LP “Moon Gas”
Man in Space (with Sounds)
Yu – Songs of Science
Informatic 2000 (Bizarre 80’s French Eletcronic Musique)
Nino Nardini’s “Musique Pour Le Futur”