A good perspective from Flash Fiction. Or as a dear friend used to say, “There’s always someone richer than you.”
NOTE: If you like writing one thing (novels in particular), woot. Don’t read this piece, even though it might help. You don’t want what I’m selling.
Envy is rife amongst writers. It’s the first stage of jealousy and rooted in daydreams. Few daydream about labor. We daydream about success as reward out of thin air. Example:
How awesome it is to be Neil Gaiman? Rock star of genre fiction, with more success than a dozen midlisters combined and multiplied by his current stock of awards and accolades. He is rich, famous, does what he likes, and makes fun commencement speeches.
The trouble is, you can’t be Neil Gaiman…
Podcasts are the savior of all commutes, even to the grocery store. Here are a few from Raymond Carver, one of the best in my estimation. Carver Podcasts
Raymond Carver (Picture: Bob Adelman)
We compared favorite first lines. This one needed a whole paragraph. Who else but Virginia Woolf could make leaves sound so sensual?
From the oval shaped flower-bed there rose perhaps a hundred stalks spreading into heart-shaped or tongue-shaped leaves half way up and unfurling at the tip red or blue or yellow petals marked with spots of colour raised upon the surface; and from the red, blue or yellow gloom of the throat emerged a straight bar, rough with gold dust and slightly clubbed at the end. The petals were voluminous enough to be stirred by the summer breeze, and when they moved, the red, blue and yellow lights passed one over the other, staining an inch of the brown earth beneath with a spot of the most intricate colour. The light fell either upon the smooth, grey back of a pebble, or, the shell of a snail with its brown, circular veins, or falling into a raindrop, it expanded with such intensity of red, blue and yellow the thin walls of water that one expected them to burst and disappear. Instead, the drop was left in a second silver grey once more, and the light now settled upon the flesh of a leaf, revealing the branching thread of fibre beneath the surface, and again it moved on and spread its illumination in the vast green spaces beneath the dome of the heart-shaped and tongue-shaped leaves. Then the breeze stirred rather more briskly overhead and the colour was flashed into the air above, into the eyes of the men and women who walk in Kew Gardens in July.
By Raymond Carver
It’s a day for contemplating our self-destructive habits, as humans. Here’s a thought from the best.
I woke up with a spot of blood
over my eye.
halfway across my forehead.
But I’m sleeping alone these days.
Why on earth would a man raise his hand
against himself, even in sleep?
It’s this and similar questions
I’m trying to answer this morning.
As I study my face in the window.
A guest post and iPad drawing from the supremely talented Jerry Leibowitz.
when these wings
and that late afternoon
in a february fog
as a bent man
stepped safely to the curb
in the moment
a cab driver
to check his watch
and the ache
in my chest
and i remember
when these wings
and the grey early morn
doused with dew
as the buck
twitched at a fly
the hunter’s bullet
and i recall
a pocketful of hours
before a dawn
when a child awoke
to battering voices
from a faraway room
and accepted calm
would be better
and they were
when these wings
and the agony
and curled backward
to mist and light
as i climbed
the great olive tree
to find a nest
full of fine down
and small feathers
that once belonged
to sparrow chicks
that now beckoned me
from higher branches
Guest Post by Deborah Fletcher Blum
Lemon is like a question. It wants something from you. But it wants to hold onto that thing for itself too. It gives and takes back. Is tart and zesty and willful. Sometimes totally irrational. And it is yellow, because the sound is perfect for the taste.
I squeeze you for juice and drink you up.
I always loved you raw and didn’t care that I was teased for it.
You wanted to be something people can handle only in small doses.
You like that about yourself.
It means you are strong.
Deborah Fletcher Blum has taught art and English at schools in Kenya, New York, and L.A. She studied painting and liberal arts in college and has always been fascinated by cultural differences and “samenesses.” She is writing a middle grade novel set in Kenya.