Discussion → Works in Progress

  • 17.thumb
    Frederick Barthelme
    Nov 08, 01:13am

    We'd like to have bits and pieces of your work posted here, works in progress, fragments, asides, sidebars, whatever--stuff to talk about, to inquire about, to "discuss" among ourselves, no holds barred, candid but supportive, a kind of group grope, workshop session, ongoing participatory circle etc.

    Anybody up for this? If yes, post something and ask the question you want the answer to. Or just seek opinions.

    And if you're not interest, don't worry about it, I'm just making this up as I go here.


  • Garson2.thumb
    Scott Garson
    Nov 08, 07:31am

    i'm game!

    working on this now, among other things.... it's a story made out of such pieces..... not exactly sure where it's going......

    Certain Things I Might Have Done in 1996

    Passed Guy Picciotto from Fugazi on the Sidewalk

    He was walking home. He was dressed warmly. With a scarf? Why not. And toting groceries. Canned chickpeas, probably.

    When he saw me looking, he blinked and looked back. When he saw he didn't know me, he thought I was thinking, There's Guy Picciotto from Fugazi.

    I was thinking, There's Guy Picciotto from Fugazi.

    Red plaid, I want to say: that scarf.

    Made Out with Haley, the Girlfriend of My Housemate, Steven, at Somebody's Party

    We were in the backyard. She'd come with a friend of mine, Violet.

    You know Violet, I'd thought to say to her.

    She eyed me with some kind of negative feeling, something I knew I deserved.

    You smoke, I continued.

    You talk, she responded.

    But she grinned.

    Actually we'd never spoken before. Steven was grim and reclusive, and when Haley was in the house, she was under his pall.

    Can I tell you I love the name Haley? I said.

    By then we were tasting each other at the fence. The bolder of the ones who entered the yard crept forward to see who we were.

    Temped at a Building in Tyson's Corner and Won Tickets to the Redskins Game

    It was in the cafeteria. A Hawai'ian string band played by the salad bar, whose shield had been draped with leis. There was a woman in a grass skirt. Everybody watched her at first, thinking she was going to dance.

    As America colonized Hawai'i, said a temp as we were eating, Sweden colonized America. Do you know this?

    He was from Sweden, this guy.

    Yes, Sweden had one colony, he said. Can you guess where?

    I looked at a third temp, a silent girl. If she knew, she wasn't saying.

    Then came the raffle. Some three hundred people dined in that room, and guess who gets his name read off the meal card at the microphone?

    This is the first time in my life I ever won anything, I said when I got back.

    I might have asked the silent girl to accompany me to the game—because she was involved; because fate had joined us, more or less, in that minor event. But she wasn't good-looking. Probably I was already asking myself how much I could get for the tickets.

    Had an Idea for a Novel in which a Letter Arrives, and the Guy Doesn't Know from Whom, but the Person Knows Him, and the Guy Gets All Involved in Following the Person's Instructions

    I was lying in the grass at Malcolm X Park. It was Sunday. The drummers in the circle were drumming.

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    Kathy Fish
    Nov 08, 11:38am

    Scott I really like this. It's an interesting concept, things I "might" have done because it can be taken in different ways. To me, it's things he did indeed do, which he is "sort of" owning up to here, so there is that layer of almost regret to it that is interesting. I wondered if "things I should have done" might be more powerful and intriguing where the narrator spins alternative outcomes to the various scenes, but I'm not sure, that almost runs into the danger of being something that's been done before I think.

    I like the structure and the subtitles and think you could go on, longer with this. I want to think more on it before saying anything else. I like it a lot.

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    Catherine Davis
    Aug 15, 02:05am

    Did we get tired of this game or have we just been taking a long nap?

    I want to play!

    Perfect, because I just wrote about half an I-really-don't-know-what that I wonder if is worth my time. In case anyone's listening, here's a little bit of the half:

    Taxes: A Manual for the Misbegotten
    (for JCD)

    Dread. More dread. Unbearable dread.
    Repeat as necessary.

    Pull the taxes into plain view, remove when they become unsightly. Get a job, forget about the taxes. You’re a working citizen, twelve hours a day, and you’ll get to those taxes when you damn well have time. After, of course, you recover from the trauma.

    Let years go by, up the ante. Carry the taxes with you from state to state and back again. Now here’s a recession; oops, a depression. Start thinking in terms of those refunds. Make resolutions, tell your friends. Put the taxes squarely into plain view. Tell yourself they’re staying there, until. Move them directly in your path when they fail to galvanize your attention. Walk around them until you wonder why they’re sitting there on the floor. Pick them up, take a peek. Take a xanax. Call your accountant and cross your fingers that you haven’t been fired. Huge sighs of relief when your call is put through. Banter and laughter, you love your accountant. And now you’re on the hook.

    Decide to start tomorrow. Pleased with your resolve, stay up until 4 am reading, and drag yourself out of bed at noon. Curse the hegemony. At 2 pm, after breakfast, it’s too late to get a fresh start on anything as serious as taxes. Remember that you are almost out of toilet paper, and go to the store. Repeat for a week, give or take. (Insert bananas, duct tape, ink cartridges, cat food.)

    Tell yourself that under no circumstances are you allowed to go to Barnes and Noble to buy that dragon girl book everyone is saying you just have to read. Go to bed, go directly to bed, do not read any books. Tuck yourself in, curl up, tell yourself how brutally unfair life is. Go ahead and suck your thumb if it makes you feel better.

    Get up, allow yourself no quarter, eat without tasting the food. Do not wash the dishes, this is war. Start your taxes now. Stick your hand into the front of the folder and pull out the first wad of receipts. Close your eyes and pick a system. Account. This year will be by account. Start with Visa, that’s the easiest. Cash, of course, will be last. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, so don’t even think about those million messy receipts. Proceed.

    You will be allowed to have lunch, you will be allowed bathroom breaks (timed if necessary), you will be allowed to have dinner. So don’t panic. Ignore the phone, the doorbell, the slam of the mail into your box. Ignore, above all, the internet, which is right there waiting for you behind this taskmaster Quicken. You know yourself well: checking email just once, or looking up the meaning (again) of tintinnabulation on OED will be the knell of doom.

    Look up when you hear the squeal of the lever on the bird feeder, and allow yourself to watch this breathtaking cardinal until it flies away. Try not to notice that the birdseed is getting really low.

    Repeat, ad nauseum, ad infinitum, for at least three days. Pretend that you did not spend two hours fooling with the compost heap or an unspecified amount of time forwarding those really hilarious forwards. Tell yourself you will live if the laundry doesn’t get done until next week. Congratulate yourself that you did not go to the birdfeed store. Taxes, taxes. Eat sleep taxes.

    You are down to the cash receipts. Make yourself put aside the ones on which the three-year-old ink is faded beyond deciphering. Instead of inspecting them with your father’s magnifying glass. But do save in case you get audited.

    You are almost finished. You deserve a treat. Let’s go to Bojangles and get a Cajun Filet Biscuit and a large iced tea with lemon. Drive around until you finish eating it, so you can get directly back to work when you get home.

    Around takes you right by Barnes and Noble. It really would be more efficient to stop now than coming back later, and since you are so close to the end of 2007, you deserve that dragon girl book. You can’t go directly into 2008 from 2007 without a little break, or you will go insane. This is an indisputable fact. A little dragon reading in between will cause no one any harm. Keep that book in its wrapper when you get home.

    Tomorrow you will finish the taxes for 2007. Then call your accountant, email her the pdfs, FedEx the w-2’s, and other hard copies because, after three years, this is a rush for god’s sake. Tonight, as a reward, you will be allowed to read ten pages of the book, provided that you put is back in its wrapper exactly on page 10, not one page more.

    At five am, you know you are fucked. But you are going to bully through tomorrow, come hell or high water, the both of which you have so clearly invited into your life. Turn off the light, before the sun comes up.

  • 17.thumb
    Frederick Barthelme
    Sep 11, 02:47am

    I have decided I am not mad. I want to be mad but I am not mad. Anger is good for the soul. Anger may even produce the soul. The soul does not obtain with anger. This is a problem for those of us who are not angry. I sometimes wonder why I am not angry. I sit in my wonder chair and wonder if I could be angry if I would just work harder at it. Anger is connected to care. I must care to have anger. Anger makes the soul a red hot ember. The soul, fueled by anger, throws of light. Is true as daylight. I saw this angry remark on facebook yesterday and in a movie today. What an angry coincidence. It makes me truly angry. If I could express my anger I would be soulful and rich with vital human expression erupting angrily from my brain. But no, there is not much anger there. I see many things in a day's travel that could make a person angry. But I am not quick to anger. I shrug. I wave and whistle and high five the citizenry. I blurb. I remain some feet away from the object of the angry blurb at all times. I regard the object and I explode with blurb then, without anger. Then I edit the blurb in an angry way to make it more angry. It makes me mad, that I do this, but I cannot stop myself. Once the ridiculous X told me he had stopped supplying blurbs. This made me angry and I expressed this anger to X. It felt good to express this anger, but the expression did not last long. I was angry like a baked potato is angry when baked not sufficiently. Underdone anger. I expressed anger telling X he was a trite fool who thought a good deal of himself and was being unkind to others less fortunate who could use a little help from a lucky guy like X. This ended our friendship. Or it may have. I can't remember. I don't think there was a friendship prior to that moment. I was not angry enough to develop a friendship. Friendships cannot arise from the muck of lack of anger. The weakness of not anger. I wish to have anger in my loins and anger in my jaws, especially. This will produce fine angry art which we will display at the angry arts festival. Next year.

  • Better_send_out_face.thumb
    James Robison
    Sep 24, 09:21am

    Anger is an energy
    -Johnny Rotten

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    Sam Rasnake
    Sep 24, 09:25am

    Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don’t let them take you ALIVE.
    -Sid Vicious

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    Catherine Davis
    Nov 20, 05:14pm

    No one needs to be angry anymore. Even if they are a potato. Especially if they are an undone potato. I am doing it. I didn't set out to filch your anger, this is just how it worked out. So, yeah, if you are looking for your anger, I have it. Don't worry! It's well-fed and plenty of exercise. Sleep, not so much, because sleeping makes us soft. If you miss your anger, I might agree to short-term conditional custody. No unauthorized travel and I have to have it back by Sunday at seven. Don't try to make off with it, because it's mine now.

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    Meg Pokrass
    Nov 20, 05:35pm

    I agree.

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    Catherine Davis
    Nov 20, 06:29pm

    ps Please do not be angry with me; I will cry. We like it better when you are high-fiving the citizenry.

  • Sketchhonolulu.thumb
    Kenton K. Yee
    Aug 19, 02:29am

    Is there a group for short narrative poetry?

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