Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday's Sunday's Reading: Do Not Worry If You Cannot Dance... (66,795 Words)

From now on, the stuff that had been appearing on lit, a place for stories will appear here, instead -- look for a new story or poem each week, usually on Sundays.

He wondered if the poster was real

He wondered whose house this was.
He wondered how everybody else knew about the party.

He wondered how he had heard about the party?

It didn’t seem, as he stood there, that he had heard about the party, that someone could have told him about the party and he would have gone home from his classes, blown off his homework, showered, changed his shirt into the t-shirt with the obscure band name on it from his hometown, in hopes that some girl would ask him about it, and he could say he’d known the band, had sometimes filled in on rhythm guitar for them, no he wasn’t a musician…

His beer was warm.

That was crazy, right?  Someone had told him about the party.

Or had he simply been walking home from the Rec, seen the party, come and paid his $3 and gotten his cup, stood in the corner while guys played beer pong, looking for someone from his classes, his building, somewhere?

He felt dizzy, staring at the poster of Marie Curie.

The quote couldn’t be real.

After all, it was Einstein who’d said all the stuff about dancing.

She moved slowly through the crowd by the kitchen.

She wanted to see what the poster of Marie Curie said.

She didn’t have a beer in her hand, had set down her $3 cup 10 minutes after coming in, had left Kaitlyn by the guy pretending to be a DJ.

The guys playing beer pong annoyed her.

She saw him, standing there, looking a little flushed, staring at the poster of Marie Curie, too.

His shirt looked on him like he couldn’t let it go, like he was still homesick and wished he’d gone to work in his dad’s garage instead of going off to college, like maybe he might not be back next semester. 

She tapped him on the shoulder.

He looked startled.

“I think it was Einstein who talked about dancing,” she said.

He was right, of course.


In 66,795 words, I am writing a story every day, each story with one less word than the day before.  This was story 361.

At least one of the words should probably ought to be "shrieked."

...or "howled."  Or may I suggest Waffle Of Doooooooooom?  The 200-word writing challenge is up on Indie Writers Monthly: a flash-fiction flash-contest for horror stories to appear in our October issue.  Details by clicking here.  Scary clown toy pictures by looking at this:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How To Come Up With An Idea, Turn It Into A Novel, Find A Publisher, And End Up With A Bestseller, in 437 Easy Steps: A NEWSBREAK!

This is superimportant news --


as Isaac Newton (huh?) would say, and definitely merits not yet getting to Step 1 of the 437 Steps To All That Stuff In The Headline That I'm Not Going To Rewrite.

The news is:

I have a new Twitter account.

It is:

 and if you click that link you'll be  magically transported to the land of Tweets, where you will again be treated to the kind of wisdom I can only lay out in 140 characters or less, wisdom like my very first Tweet from my new account, which I will reprint for you, and posterity*
*posterity couldn't be there this morning, something suddenly came up
here so you can see what you won't be missing when you click and go follow me. Here is the first-ever @BrianePagel tweet, in its entirety:

I know, genius, right? Like it was handed down from God.  It's so awesome, it should be written in... what was that stuff that people would write on like whale tusks or something? SCRIMSHAW.  It should be written in scrimshaw, which seems the best possible way of pointing out how important the things I say are, doesn't it? I mean, now that anyone can publish any old piece of junk on the Internet*

*this blog post, for example, and everything else I've ever posted

And now that apparently they will give print book contracts to anyone, apparently, no matter how little talent he has**

** it's okay, I know you were thinking it
 and how much pizza he's eaten today (a surprisingly small amount, for me), then the only way to truly show that your writing is valuable is to have your book done in scrimshaw:

This is actually George R.R. Martin's next book.

That, of course, is how I am going to be even more of a snobbish jerk than Stephen King and Garrison Keillor and those other "writers" who don't like ebooks because GET THIS DID YOU KNOW THAT ANYONE CAN WRITE ONE OF THOSE THINGS KATIE BAR THE DOOR and keep my 'prestige' as a 'real' writer whose books are worth paying $39.95 for (softcover; hardcover requires that you literally give me your teeth, so that I can have them recast into fake narwhal tusks for the scrimshaw because I am certainly not going to hurt animals, all right? I'll just use your teeth and whale ivory from free-range whales who died of old age surrounded by their family and friends, peacefully, after pleasant lives in which they never had to turn of "Twin Peaks" on Netflix just because it was Sweetie's night for the TV.

I forget where I was.

OK, so here's the reason for the new Twitter account:

(A) My website that I came up with the idea for, Arquebus (the site where you only get to post ONE THING EVER, and that's it) isn't yet ready to go, because I have (technically) no idea how to program such a website (although you have to admit, it would be awesome) and


The reason for the new Twitter account is that my publisher told me to do it.  So if you are keeping track of my priorities, let's review:

-- Had a heart attack, was told to maybe lay off the pizza, did not lay off the pizza. 
 -- Was told to switch Twitter accounts by a publisher to maybe sell a few books, DID SO IMMEDIATELY. 

Actually, I more or less doubled down on the pizza.  I'm going to make those doctors earn their money.

So this is the part of that headline where we jump ahead, obviously, to the "Best Seller" part, because (in case you are new to this writing thing) creating a Twitter account and randomly following four hundred and fifty five people in one day has nothing to do with coming up with an idea or writing it or finding a publisher, and while I'm pretty new to the formal publishing end of this, I have done exactly what they said, so I assume that my book is already number one on the New York Times Best Seller List, even though it won't even be published for several months yet.  Isn't that how this works?

Next time, Step One: Steal An Idea for sure, though.

Also, I just realized I never ended that parentheses up there.  PROBLEM SOLVED. )

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I'd have stopped but I'm pretty set for socks, thanks.

It's a bit hard to read, there, but that sign on the corner and the tent behind it is some kind of traveling sock sale; it's advertising 30 socks for $5.99, and that is the third such stand I've seen this week in various places around Madison.  I have this image of a giant sock supertanker being hijacked and the socks distributed through the black market to be sold, with the money going back to some shady Russian oligarch (is there another kind?).  And you may say "Why would they hijack the ship and then sell the socks openly, wouldn't that make them easy to catch?" but that just demonstrates how little you know of shady Russian oligarchs. They don't care, man.  They don't care. If there is money to be made, a shady Russian oligarch will try to make it.

And there is obviously money to be made in the streetcorner sock biz.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Fascination Of Turtles

We have been going to the Vilas Zoo for years and years now.  We go several times a year, because it's free and has a great playground, and as I said to Sweetie, "What could be better than a playground surrounded by wild animals?

Well, you get the point.

Anyway, for as long as we have been going there, Mr F has been mostly indifferent to the animals with one exception: there is a tank in the reptile house where some turtles swim around, and Mr F has always been fascinated with those turtles.  He watches them for as long as we let him: 

He'd still be there now, if we hadn't had to move on and go see the parrots for Mr Bunches, who likes to visit the parrots in hopes that they will one day say his name.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Today on "lit, a place for stories"

It's Robot/s, six very short stories about... Oh, I forget. They're about something, though, and so certainly would be worth checking out.

Click here to go there.