Previous 10

Mar. 7th, 2011

shoes

Born to Hang

The sea, the ancient sea...

And mighty deeds were done! We swarmed them under, our swords four hundred strong, indeed, swamped their feeble cannon, and though we lost a score of men, gained as many yet again, freed from the lash and tackle of the Navy. We swore them in, and signed their pledges, and gave each man a vote and aye a share. Hobbs (that is the Quartermaster) saw them to their bunks and slotted them each a slot upon the duty roster.

Four days out, and we have had good sailing, good winds and good luck. Halfpipe (that is the sailing captain) knows his trade, and works us hard enough but no harder. So many hands make for easier shifts, though we are sore strained to catch our feed. Were these waters not so heavily trafficked we would be thin-bellied indeed, but Mickle (that is the battle captain) is canny and brutal, and can scent blood in the water like a shark. He is much better than Sturges, who we voted out in our assembly and sent down into the waters where he can entertain the fishes and the barnacles with his roaring.

Tethys rings us round, the patient, unsettled sea...
shoes

Small Victories

In the drawers, untouched for months, one would make unexpected discoveries. ~Bruno Schulz

The woman calling herself Omphale holds her breath and slowly curls inward until she looks a little like a periwinkle. She can't move, and she can't hold this for more than an hour, but it's useful when other options fail. She'd like to get up to twelve hours, though. Twelve's a good number -- a lot can happen in twelve hours.

"Where you hiding, you little bitch?" Six pairs of shoes pick-pack their way across the floor. "We know you're in here. C'mon out and taaalk to us." Their voices are syrupy sweet, mock-friendly. "Oh, what's the matter? Is the little dyke scared of us?" Bang goes the first stall. They laugh, drawing it out, enjoying themselves. Bang goes the second stall. "We know you can't keep your eyes off us, slut. We know you think about us when you touch yourself."

Jesus, she thinks, what a rich fantasy life.

Bang goes the last stall, but she's safe, tucked away behind the toilet. She tunes out their anger and confusion, lets it wash over her like so many waves on the beach. Yeah, twelve hours is a good goal. Maybe she'll try to squeeze in some practice this weekend.

Mar. 4th, 2011

shoes

Neban

The men wear bells at their waists, so that their every movement is fragrant with music. These reflect the harmony that comes from right-thinking, and are meant to be invisible personal reminders, a dab of perfume under the nose to spur contemplation and quiet dedication.


This is not the case. Here there is status, here there is competition. The men are creatures of fad and fashion. Now the taste is for the small and delicate, and so they vie with each other to have the smallest, the airiest, the sweetest melody. Now the taste is for the gaudy and glittering, and woe betide him who dallies with the bells of his youth. Him they shun, with all the delicate refinement of their breeding. A silence envelops him, pure silence, broken only by the outdated tinkling of his bells.


It is only the wealthy who wear the bells. Some of the men claim that this is because only the wealthy have true dedication; others that they no dedication at all. It is a subject for much well-mannered and enlightening debate, though there can be no true resolution, for the men are all agreed that such matters are unknowable.

Mar. 1st, 2011

shoes

Almeja

Gentle Reader, you read a tale of Cedar

Woman patrol the streets of Almeja, sell fruit gems spices guns books on every corner, lounge lanky and saturnine under the streetlamps, knives flashing under shawls the color of sandstone. They dance together in crowded bars, bodies swaying to the music of accordions fiddles guitars. They spill out into the plazas in a wash of light, noise, blood. Cedar keeps her knife handy, but she hasn't had to use it yet. She avoids the bridges at night, though -- every morning there's another body fished from the river, faceless, gutted and cold.

She toys with her vermouth and watches the scarred face of the woman across from her carefully. So far, she's kept herself free from the bloody alliances and mésalliances that rule the city, but they breathe politics like air here and sooner rather than later she'll have to choose a side or leave, and she's not ready for that just yet.

"Bitches," growls the woman, and gnaws on her thumb feverishly. "And daughters of bitches! They take the best of us and give nothing in return! I would feast on their still-beating hearts if I could!"

"God, I love local politics," says Cedar, and downs her drink.
shoes

Ways of Coping

Gentle Reader, you read a tale of David Brown

The room is as composed as a photograph, from the spray of just-opened blossoms to the white muslin curtains weighted down with blood. The body itself is tumbled artfully in the middle of the floor, one arm gracefully extended. David Brown thinks: he was beautiful. He was beautiful and he is dead.

What he means is: here is a riddle. Or, is there a riddle here? Is there something to discover, to unravel, to figure out, or is there merely a long chain of events with a prosaic beginning and blood at the end?

Here is what he knows about the dead man: name, age, address. All of these found on an expired driver's license in the leather wallet in the man's left hip pocket. Also in the wallet were a credit card, a library card, two membership cards for nearby grocery stores, and a collage the size of a business card with a baby's head and a bird's skeleton on it.

Here are the things in the room: three wooden chairs; one orange couch; one elaborately patterned throw rug; five hundred and seventy books, mostly genre fiction, four hundred and twenty three of which are paperback; one battered coffee table. On the coffee table are one glass, one plate, one fork, all used; one package of Fatimas, out of which four have been taken and almost certainly smoked, but not necessarily (missing from the room: an ashtray; the smell of smoke); seven empty beer bottles, comprising three different brands, which suggests a dilatory cleaning schedule more than alcoholism.

About the body: skinny jeans. One white sock, one black. Shoes are missing (he makes a mental note). Tight white t-shirt with an airbrushed picture of a howling wolf, heavily stained with blood. Hair mussed, though intentionally, modishly; no sign of violence. And of course the raw red gash of the throat with the remote, seraphic face above it, empty now of whatever it might once have held.

Feb. 26th, 2011

shoes

No, Seriously, Monique Wittig. Cut It Out.

I mean, look at this!

The excursions with the glenuri on their leashes are not without difficulty. Their long filiform bodies are supported on thousands of feet. They constantly endeavour to move away to some place other than where they are. Their innumerable eyes are grouped round an enormous orifice that serves them as a mouth as well as taking the place of a head. It is filled by a soft extensile membrane that can become taut or relaxed, each of its movements producing a different sound. The harmony of the glenuri may be compared to fifes drums the croaking of toads the meowing of rutting cats the sharp sound of a flute. The excursions with the glenuri are constantly being interrupted. This is because they systematically insinuate themselves into any interstice that affords passage to their bodies, for example the gates of public gardens, the grills of drains. They enter these backwards, they are stopped at a given moment by the size of their heads, they find themselves trapped, they begin to utter frightful shrieks. Then they have to be freed.

That's from Les Guerilleres. I AM SO MAD I COULD SPIT. I am choked with jealous fury. This book -- and the equally enragingly brilliant Across the Acheron -- has made me question everything about who I am and what I am doing, and the answer is always: NOT AS GOOD AS MONIQUE WITTIG.

Jul. 14th, 2010

shoes

#1000

So it looks like next Friday -- assuming everything goes according to plan -- will be the 1,000 sketch I've posted.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, I guess I'm pretty pleased with myself -- I like writing these things -- but I'm still not sure what exactly I'm trying to do with all of this stuff. Make friends and influence people? I'm still pretty dilletantish about all of this, dabbling my toes in the pool of Actually Writing Things, but at the same time that's almost 200,000 words dropped into the uneasy lap of the internet, and long enough to qualify as a Webcomic Long Runner on TVTropes.

Gene Wolfe says (in the excellent book of essays and commentaries Castle of the Otter) that there are 3 pieces of advice for writers:

1. Don't. If you can stop yourself from writing, you are not a writer. (But you may not be a writer even if you cannot stop yourself.)
2. Read. No matter what you may long to believe, you cannot become a writer without tens of thousands of hours of reading. You cannot please the master [meaning the reader] until you have been a master and know what is pleasing.
3. Write. Writers do it. Would-be writers do not. Just as you can't learn to swim without floundering around in the water a lot, you cannot learn to write without writing. Harlan Ellison tells his would-be writer audiences that they should write a short story every day -- three hundred and sixty-five little stories over the next year. Is Harlan grandstanding with a piece of ridiculously exaggerated advice? No.


Have I learned anything from all this business? Maybe. Not much. A little bit about what to say and what not to say, a tiny bit about making boring ideas interesting (hint: don't show anything more than you have to, Andrew; words are like cards in poker, or like a naked hip, always more powerful when only glimpsed), a little bit about bloodymindedness. Still. Where is all this going? Who knows?

Jul. 3rd, 2010

shoes

Weekly Redux: June 28 - July 3, 2010

Monday: Officer
Alexander Hammil is working a rough beat, but someone has to keep the powers in line.

Tuesday: Up in the Hills, Down at the Shore
The sea has grown hungry for the land, and has built a home for its hunger.

Wednesday: A Trap of Conscience
Keeping Us Together By Force is a stupid name for a band, I think we can all agree on this, but no one else in the group seems to have come up with anything better.

Thursday: All According to Hoyle
Sol Armstrong has learned the first rule of being a master criminal: DON'T TALK TO THE POLICE.

Friday: Land's End
A little girl doesn't like raisins or seagulls. Her parents are divorcing.

Jun. 25th, 2010

shoes

Weekly Redux 3: The Weekening

By jingo, here it is week three. THIS KEEPS HAPPENING.

Monday: Last of the Opera Stars
I swing a big ol' nerd cock and write a sideways homage to E. E. "Doc" Smith. Much in the way, say, Kelly Link writes about fairy tales and Gene Wolfe writes about horrible Russian murders. YES.

Tuesday: Full of Gore
Lesley Gore isn't dead. But wouldn't it be rad if she were? (No.) Wouldn't it be super-rad if she haunted a guy and sought bloody revenge? (Really, no.) Shut up, I'm awesome.

Wednesday: By Such Signs Will You Know Him
David Brown has been sleeping better lately. He's hardly involved in any murders at all.

Thursday: Those Veiled Eyes
Hey, remember The Ladies? Yeah, me neither. That was four years ago, holy crap. Anyway. The Ladies are pissed off about something. Probably their hats or the high price of tea. (Whoa Andrew that is pretty sexist I mean what?) Ha, no, just kidding. It is war. War is hella serious, guys!

Friday: Untouchables
Everyone likes Bible fanfiction, right? How about Bible fanfiction crossed with Kevin Costner movie fanfiction? Why have I not already won a million dollars from my writing. CLEARLY I AM BRILLIANT.

Jun. 22nd, 2010

shoes

Weekly Redux

Has your time been well spent? Are you happy in your work? Here's the week in review.

Monday: The Name for Patience is Solitaire
Spywork shenanigans in a public place.

Tuesday: Shaggy Dog Contest
A case is solved in a way that leaves everyone feeling dissatisfied. Fun for the whole family!

Wednesday: Tits Akimbo
The world's hardest woman knows how to play the game. (The game is murder.)

Thursday: Nativity
The true secret origins of Tits Akimbo. NSFW if your boss doesn't like you looking at the word 'tits'. In which case, IT'S ALREADY TOO LATE.

Friday: Dale
A skinny little kid. Not really somebody I'd want to hang around, but, hey, here he is.

Previous 10

shoes

March 2011

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com