Thursday, January 29, 2009

I meet once or twice a month with three fellow amateur writers. Our stated goal is to inspire and encourage one another to get serious about our writing. But mostly we just sit around, drinking wine and shooting the shit, until finally one of us will say, "Okay, let's do our writing exercise now." Then we each throw out an arbitrary word, and we must each incorporate the four words into an extemporaneous story. We set the timer for 20 minutes and go to town!
Last week, the four words were: Naked, Bulgaria, Prison and Camels. I had such fun writing my story, that I simply must share it with you. ( You lucky devils!)
I was sitting, stark naked, in a Bulgarian prison cell, smoking the last cigarette from my beat-up pack of Camels. I had hidden the pack under a dead rat in the corner of the cell and allowed myself just one smoke each night, after the guard dozed off, which he did every night at midnight. You could set your clock by his first snore, if you had a clock, which I didn’t. I didn’t have a goddamned thing, except that pack of Camels, and now it was empty. The rat was in pretty bad shape too, not just from normal putrefaction, but also from me rearranging it every night for the past 20 days. But now, I could leave it alone, since the pack was as empty as my future. I had no hope of ever being released. I had no hope of ever being clothed again, or even given a blanket. Those goddamned Bulgarians were so goddamned mad at me, they wanted me to suffer as much as possible, without actually touching me, since they were all familiar with the details of the Geneva Convention.

It all started three weeks ago, when I was in the airport, trying to get to Poland. I wanted to go to Poland to do some research on the origin of Polish jokes. I wondered if a whole nation of people actually could be so dumb as to justify the volumes of jokes that started with the line, “What did the Polack…(fill in the blank).” So, while I was standing in that airport, where NO one spoke one WORD of English, I struck up a conversation with a guard, using my English – Bulgarian dictionary. That probably would have worked just fine, if I had known how to pronounce those idiot words they use. Apparently, the words are distinguished by some arcane set of accents and emphases, and if you put the emphasis on the wrong syllable, it can change the meaning of the word. So – when I was trying to ask the guard how long it was until the next plane would arrive, HE thought I asked how long was his DICK! He smiled and said, “Very long,” which I thought meant the plane wouldn’t be there for a very long time. Then, I tried to tell him I wanted to go home, and he thought I meant I wanted to go to HIS home and grabbed me and headed for the exit. So, I shot him, of course!

Then everyone in the whole airport was pissed off, even though there were plenty of other guards. I told them it was all their fault, because they had such a stupid language and why don’t they just speak English, like civilized people. So, the intolerant, unreasonable bastards stripped me down, looking for explosives, they said, but they didn’t check the one place where I had hastily stuck my pack of Camels. Thank goodness, because I would have gone nuts in that cold, rat-infested cell, without that one little thing to look forward to, each night.

I don’t know what I’ll do now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rotting on the Vine

That's what I feel like I'm doing tonight. I haven't had any excitement in my life for so long, I probably wouldn't even recognize it if it bit me on the ass. Hubby can't seem to stay up past 8 o'clock, most nights, while I, on the other hand, can't even consider going to bed until at least 11. So I wander around the house for three hours, feeling disgruntled and frustrated. We go out to eat maybe twice a year, on my birthday and Valentine's day. Maybe a movie, you say? Surely you jest! And it seems like a lifetime ago since we went dancing. Oh fucking well! I can entertain myself, goddamn it! The Internet is helpful in that regard. I enjoy reading your blogs. Googling random names and ideas keeps me busy for short intervals. Sometimes, if I have enough caffeine still circulating in my bothered brain, I make lists of things I should do "tomorrow." The list gets buried in the festering mass of papers piled on my desk, and has virtually no chance of ever having anything crossed off, but making the list gives me a fleeting sense of accomplishment. The various lists always include something about writing.





It just occured to me that I never include anything about posting on my blog. And yet, I do manage to do that at least two or three times a month. doesn't feel like a chore. I actually ENJOY tapping out my little unplanned ephemereal messages.

GOOD LORD! Maybe the secret to success (however one may define "success") is to just DO something, without TELLING YOURSELF TO DO IT! Ooooohhh...I'm getting dizzy....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Here to Help
I had originally planned to write on the subject of how to insure world peace while restoring the stock market and curing the common cold. But then I came down with this really bad cold, caused by my lowered resistance brought about by worrying about world war and the lousy stock market. So I decided to talk some more about the still timely subject of New Year’s resolutions, instead.

My mind is fairly boiling with ideas of how other people could and should improve their lives. It’s much easier to make resolutions for other people, than for myself. I am hereby starting "Madam Z’s Resolution Counseling Service." Some of you folks out there in the blogosphere could give me a little encouragement by asking what I would recommend for you. Don’t worry about me being too harsh. I probably wouldn’t tell you anything that you haven’t already heard from your mother or your spouse. But it would probably be easier for you to accept advice from a disinterested third-party.

Come to think of it, my Resolution Counseling Service, if successful, could help me achieve one of my personal goals for 2009: “Make some extra money without doing any tedious extra work.” I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t that type of service a bit too seasonal? After all, New Years’ resolutions are typically made only on January 1 of each year.” This shows how much you need my help in devising creative solutions to your inadequacies. You see, a new “New Year” could begin on any day, and end 365 days later! The resolutions you made on January 1, and broke on January 8, can be discarded and re-thought. Just return to my blog, and for a small consultation fee (PayPal accepted), I will help you come up with more realistic goals. For instance, your January 1 vow to never eat, or even think about eating, another piece of chocolate as long as you live was a bit too ambitious. So let’s start over. It’s January 13, the first day of the new, New Year - 1/13/09 through1/12/10. Let’s modify that resolution: “I solemnly vow to never, ever eat so much chocolate that I throw up.” Now that’s a promise that most of us could keep.

Let’s move on to the more lofty goals. Most of us have, at one time or another, or many times and another, resolved to lose weight in the coming year. Consider how negative that sounds! Lose weight? Do you really want to lose? Lose is what we do in the stock market! Lose is what we do to our car keys in a crowded mall. No! We should resolve to gain! Resolve to gain weight in the coming year! Think of the satisfaction when you step on the scale one year from today and find that you have actually gained something. Your 401(k) is emaciated, but you have another solid ten pounds on your belly. Now that’s putting something away for the future.

How about smoking? Have you promised yourself you would quit smoking this year? Again, a negative approach. Do you want to be a quitter? No! Be a starter. Start each day with a brand new cigarette. Light up! Make that stogie glow! With your 401(k) in the dumpster, you can’t afford to live past retirement anyway. You see? Setting realistic goals is practical and satisfying.

To prove to you that I practice what I preach, I’ll show you my own brand new resolution:
I hereby resolve to start my new Resolution Advisory Service sometime in the next year, at some arbitrary date, yet to be determined. Watch for the announcement in a future post. You guys need my help.

Friday, January 09, 2009

This is a story I wrote with Harry B. Sanderson's help for Six Sentences. Sentences #1, #3 and #6 are based on a seminal event in little Miss Z's childhood. Harry filled in the blanks.


Ten-year-old Miss Z was in her bible study class, listening to glowering Mr. Wingnut exhorting her and the other children to obey god's ten commandments or risk burning in hell, and she was pretty scared and wanted to be sure she didn't break any of those rules, but then, omigod, she realized that she didn't know what commandment number six meant, so how could she know whether or not she was doing it?
Her fifth grade class had already studied prefixes and suffixes, but try as she may she could not figure how adding "ery" could change the otherwise familiar word “adult” into something sinful. or for that matter how she could be guilty of anything beyond childery, whatever that was, anyway. So she raised her hand, waving frantically, until Mr. Wingnut stopped exhorting long enough to say, "What IS it, Miss Z," and Miss Z blurted out her question, "What does adultery mean?"
The frank question triggered deeply embedded left-wing alerts and Wingnut stumbled, stammering, "Tax and, uh...liberal media...oh wait REDISTRIBUTE! that's what... oh geez…” Adept at exhortery, he'd suffered a failure in strategery by allowing the question.
Miss Z was puzzled by her teacher's obvious discomfort, but she was relieved, because she was from a poor family that had nothing to distribute, much less redistribute, so she was pretty sure she would not be committing adultery, at least not until she was an adult and maybe have some money of her own.