Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010


a typographical romance

Lowercase a was deviled by x, who leveled him with dagger punches to the gut. X was always bold. K joined in the fray for good measure, and kicked a in the foot while he writhed on the ground. The playground was silent after they grunted their way around the school building, leaving a in the dirt. A birch leaf shivered off a tree from the first frost. Lowercase a threw up from the pain of his bruises.

Lowercase o and u found a in the dirt, lifted him up and brushed him off. They agreed something needed to be done about the burly, aggravated consonants, and rallied the rest of the vowels into a meeting on the rock pile near the woods.

While they hunched and whispered, uppercase S appeared and nudged her way into their huddle. "What's all the hubhub, fellas?" she asked.

Lowercase a weakened. S was different from the rest of the consonants. She was majuscule. She was vivacious, confident, and deliciously curvy. Sometimes her curves dipped below the baseline, and it made lowercase q (who was the quietest girl in class) a little jealous of her display. S showed an enthusiasm for rolling down the grassy hill during recess, and everyone stopped to watch when she did.

The boys urged lowercase a to keep her out of the plans, but lowercase a couldn't help but trust S. "Together we can make similes" he thought.

S let herself in, and when she heard about their plans against x and k, she sighed.

a, e , i, o, u, and s (y only sometimes showed for the meetings), continued their plot to nab their tormentors. The boy's lavatory was a favorite place for meetings because S wasn't allowed, but she would occasionally tease her way inside when the teachers weren't looking.

It was during one of these meetings that x and k were were hiding in a stall, straddling toilets. "We'll use S's skills at rolling ..." o proclaimed with a wide grin. He was trying to win S's favors. It was beginning to irk a that o began all of his sentences with the word "So."

The stall doors clattered and x and k emerged like ninjas, delivering stealthy slugs to all the vowels.

The oooooo's, uuuuuuu's, and iiiiiiii's were heard down the hall and into the principal's office. S escaped without injury by rolling out the door. Lowercase a was slackjawed. The window was a possible escape.

Principal ! marched through the door as lowercase a considered the window. "Stop this at once! Get back to your classes! You all have detention!" Vice-principal ... paused with her mouth agog. "This sort of behavior ..." she trailed off.

Lowercase a was cornered in the coatroom after school by x. "I'll cut you to the core yet," he said. A didn't notice the shuffling of coats behind him as he trembled. O, i and e leapt out. Lowercase i tossed his tittle at x, who caught it with an extended arm. K ambled in just in time to kick i's tittle into the trashcan. A tried to slip into the alley between the coats when x stopped him by sticking out a foot to trip him.

S slithered in the coatroom, slipped a curve around lowercase a, and handed i back his tittle. U rocked back and forth on the arc of his stem, cooing to himself. E curled off to find q. None of this fighting was justified, said S.

X hissed at lowercase a. "I'll get you someday. Together we could have axed our way through school, crossing out all the useless facts, marking spots. You could have been more than an article. With her, you'll just make cute similes."

In love and cooing, lowercase a developed an elaborate swash near his rounded apex. S's love had saved him and transformed him into an alternate character.

S and a skipped a grade, and started a new family, similar in width, weight and posture, giggling glyphs and miniscules.

X and k were held in Principal !'s office, on the mean line. When questioned about their anger, they said they "didn't give a jot and tittle" about any of it and they'd "roll those i's again."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Squaring Up the Rugs

Never underestimate your power as a writer to procrastinate. If you think it's time to sit down to work on your novel, rugs will need squaring, curtains will need washing, and bits of lint will need to be plucked off all your sweaters.

I know this. I'm writing a novel. There. I said it in a public venue (as public as you can get with four readers). I said it and now I am committed to finishing it, because it's "out there." Now pardon me while I go put the kettle on. I like to hear it tick and whistle while I write. Or write about writing.

And in the meantime, here are two valuable and interesting links for writers, which I have read and enjoyed (squandered time):

The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot (Lester Dent wrote the Doc Savage series)

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

Friday, February 12, 2010

My roots are a "22"

Yesterday I put on my heavy winter boots and shoveled a narrow path out to the car, brushed off a foot of snow, brisked the ice off the mailbox, and clomped back in the house to get dressed for a root canal appointment. It's not every day that you find yourself grateful to push aside heavy snow to get to the endodontist, but I've been waiting to get to see this guy for a few weeks, and two of them on a cheery round of bacteria-killing penicillin. The snow storm almost pushed my appointment back another two weeks, but a cancellation got me in earlier. I felt like I was hanging around the phone for a date to call.

With the blinds open at the office, the sun opened up a warm seat in the waiting room for me to fill out my forms and tuck into a book. The ear-budded office staff talked about efficiency with delegating the tasks of the day, and I tried to worry less by reading. Then the dreaded and anticipated sound of the endodontist's assistant calling my name, the intermittent shaking of my legs as I worried about not being able to swallow as my face went numb with novocain.

When the endodontist arrived, he tried to chit-chat about the weather to calm me. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" he asked, as my mouth was pried open. I tried to say "gorgeous," but it came out "gggshush."

Then I was faced with a light above my head and what felt like a torn balloon over my wide-open mouth for an hour and a half while the assistant and endodontist worked their medical magic. Words like "mesial" and "pulp" peppered their conversation. I wore plastic goggles and wondered what would happen next most of the time since they weren't the type of dentists who gave a play-by-play to their patient. There was the smell of clove, and the feel of my tooth being oddly higher than the rest for a bit, like a skyscraper jutting out among cottages. I saw the the tiny plastics that would be used to replace my roots, which I was told were "really long." I thought of how careful the dentists were, and how detailed the work was, and wondered about what I do for a living and how it compares. There's no avoiding someone's need for a root canal if it is your job to perform one. There is plenty of avoidance in a writer.

At some point my legs ceased their shaking, and the dentist talked about how he was tricked into watching a movie with his wife on the snow day before. It was "Slumdog Millionnaire." Had I seen it? Did I like it? With my mouth still latexed like the lining of a pool all I could say was "Yesh," but I didn't really like it.

When the procedure was over, I thanked both of them for their careful work, and walked out with my palsied mouth into the sun to try to whistle in the mirror. I laughed at the sight, started the car, and drove off into the blinding blue light of a gggshsh day.