“I SAID, THIS BAND IS GREAT, DONTCHA THINK?”
Stewart felt his eardrum strain to the point of rupturing. The shouter, a scrawny, shortish guy dressed like a dollar-store demon smiled moronically at him, clearly waiting for a response.
“OH, YEAH. GREAT. REALLY GREAT.”
Before he could stop himself, Stewart had responded, “WHAT?” Continue reading
It’s the way he looks around that is hardest to take; the frightened look of a traveller lost in a maze of indecipherable alien symbols and incoherent foreign chattering. Smiling and nodding at everything, agreeing to anything, defensive actions to prevent any exposing questions from the unknown strangers that his family has become.
Dementia feasts on the fresh memories, eroding the hard won lessons and experience of recent times, washing out new images like overexposed film. Only the deepest scars of war, the darkest prison-shadows cast against his mind remain un-devoured, and he clings to them, a raft made of lost and dead friends floating in a sea of confusion.
The present is reduced to a twisted television signal, more static and noise than picture; but the war is left behind, colourful, focused.
When my Grandfather hated, he called it duty. Attacking the trenches, killing the enemy, glorifying the dead and the dying.
My father rejected my Grandfather’s way, he despised the violence, the bloodshed, the slavish obedience to the politicians and generals.
When my father hated, he called it faith. Attacking obscenity, stamping out heresy, protesting against freedoms.
I rejected my father’s way. I despised the ignorance, the idolatry, the slavish obedience to the church.
I am a man of science. When I hate, I call it reason.
It is a well established truism that in order to write you must read. You must read.
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.
Read broadly, read widely, read deeply, read frequently. Read within your tiny genre and read well outside your comfort zone. Read, read, read, goddamnit read already. Continue reading
The ritual completed, the last note hanging in the night air like a promise before… silence.
A gentle, seductive scent slowly filled the air. Chanel No. 5. A sudden, shockingly warm breeze rushed from the cemetery ground, air escaping from a non-existent subway vent. Almost invisible except for a gentle opacity, ephemeral cloth billowed in the air, an intangible white dress, flirting, never exposing, what was underneath. Continue reading
The sommelier wiped a stray hair away with his right hand. “Now madam, may I suggest that with the braised beef cheeks you try the ’97 Beaujolais. A light-bodied red, I think you will find the fruity acidity surprising.”
The napkin flicked out with a right-handed flourish, billowing out flat before floating to rest on the unpleasant customer’s lap. His mind wandered, remembering her annoying complaints on previous choices.
He quickly unclenched his left hand from her throat. She pitched face-first into her food.
He had made a rookie error.
He hadn’t allowed the whine to breathe.