Sunday, August 4, 2013

2013.08.04 — Plumbing a 5-7-5 set that Tanka-ed and a *Fushigi re-started

So, two posts two days in a row! [Snoopy Dance! as a co-worker is want to say.]

I wrote some poetry humour today in the less then reputable 5-7-5 format. I'd call it Haiku, but that would be wrong. I'd call it Senryū, but would be wrong too. But the post will truly bottom out when it tankas. So, if you have been able to brave that onslaught, here is some 5-7-5 / 5-7-5-77 that plumbs the depths of how low verse can go. Note: I've extracted these from a continuation set that takes its inspiration from the previous entries. To see these in context, please go to Belly Petersen's brilliant post, good with the pipe in the Haiku thread in the Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company.

pizza by the peace pipe

'Where is the towel?'
I wipe tomato and grime
into my work shirt

from under the sink
I pull the once white towel
and give it to her

but she demurs for
a quick rub on her own shirt
takes from me a slice.
And, to continue the theme:
romancing the pipes

She sits down with me
to survey the sink's bottom.
She touches the new pipes.
'You are a man, after all,'
she says before I can belch.

And, yesterday I posted a small fushigi involving a company by the name of BA Blacktop. In it I stated that I'd not seen the BA Blacktop truck on my street since the day of the initial fushigi. Well, this morning, coming back from the morning's grocery shopping chores, and a few hours after posting that blog, I saw that same truck parked beside my parking garage's entrance. And I smiled.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2013.08.03 — So Little, So Late; Reached 40k, Some Haiku, a Fushigi* and some (a)Musecorn.

Hello. I am shocked that it has been seven months since I got my blogging fix. I could say that my life has gotten busier in that time, and in a way it has. But the reality is that my writing time has been consumed with other writing, stories, poetry and something called (Interactive) Musecorn.

Musecorn is a variation of the play-like writing that has come to be called Popcorn that was initiated by Al, head moderator of the Goodreads writing group, Weekly Short Story Contests and Company. (And Al is a very fine writer. Please check out her poetry and prose in the WSS or on her blog Pens and Erasers.)

Popcorn is a way for authors to interact with his or her characters, by giving them a voice though which they can express their personality directly with their author. This has been running since January 2010. For a short and interesting and not atypical example of popcorn go to From Seagulls to Mice, Exhumed Babies to Diarrhoea.)

Musecorn is a slight refinement, in which the interacting personalities in the play-snippets are not characters created by the writer, but the writers' muse or muses. Some of the popcorn is more specifically musecorn. It sounds odd, I know, but it is a great deal of fun, challenging to write, and liberates the imagination.

A few months ago, and one of the reasons I've not been blogging as I used to, Al and I began to create Interactive Musecorn while talking via a chatterbox window. We had no idea how this would work, but to my surprise and immense pleasure, it has become as alive as anything I can imagine writing. I have, here, published an early exchange. I expect to turn some of it into a play for fringe festivals.

Interactive Musecorn
Note: In this extract, Guy's muses are the Professor (Prof), Neve, and Pandora, and coloured as shown.
Al's muse is Frank and coloured as shown.

Prof: [Speaking to no one in particular.] Al's rabbit-coitus dream has been puzzling me.
Frank: Me too. VERY puzzling.
Prof: [He pauses.] Freud would have a simple answer, I think.
Frank: Quite creepy, too. I don't like having to share her with some bunny man.
Prof: But it is about hidden wish fulfillments. At least that's Freud.
Frank: And everyone knows how much I loathe that fruity man. Oh dear Lord. And now I'm making typos! How embarrassing.
Prof: [Laughs.] What's that got to do with anything?! She gets you a lot, so you aren't a hidden wish fulfillment.
Frank: [He raises his eyebrow.] And now you're on the same list as Freud....
Al: Frank. Be nice.
Neve: Did Al have sex with a rabbit? OMG, that's gross!
Al: Not a rabbit, a man wearing a rabbit suit.
Neve: [Mutters under her breath.] How big was the rabbit?
Frank: And here I thought I was your only bunny.
Al: He was massive.
Neve: Oh! [Pauses.] But really, isn't that even, sort of, more gross?
Frank: [He wanders off.] Is Pandora here?
Neve: Well, you never know. Why?
Frank: Oh, no reason.
Al: He wants to have a "chat" with her.
Prof: That is just displacement, Frank.
Frank: Who asked you, fruitcake?
Prof: You think that if you can touch greatness, you will become a better man.
Al: Fruitcake? [Bursts into laughter]
Frank: You, clearly, have no idea what being a "better man" is all about.
Al: Frank...
Prof: [Laughs.]
Frank: [He rolls his eyes.]
Prof: Frank, you have all the behaviour of small man syndrome. And I don't mean your height, if you get my meaning.
Al: Remember your promise, darling. Don't do anything stupid....
Frank: [Ignoring her.] You insolent little man! If I wasn't being elbowed by Al, I'd strangle you!

[Continued on separate page, for those interested. Go to: Musecorn.]

End of that 'phase' of this blog.

Sigh! So much to write. Even now I have a choice between writing a story, quickly to meet today's deadline — I have a creative idea for this week's topic in the WSS Awkward — or put up this blog post so as to stop feeling guilty about my not doing it for so long. It would seem I have decided to blog and feel a little guilty about not writing a story for now. (Might get to it tonight.)

So, first ego-blog post:
My long absence from blogging, and no my doing it, is overwhelming my fingers. I want this to be a complete ego blog, to put in a bit of everything. Then, of course, no one will read it. But, I will, anyway, by cheering at my blogs having gone past 40,000 page views. This happened a little over a month ago, and I actually started toblog that astounding success, but just kept doing other writing instead.

Second ego-blog post
I also wanted to post some of my writing. I have been writing poetry and short stories. Lots of Haiku — well, more often than not Senryū, target="_blank">Tanka, or 575 or 57577 forms, in particular. I may have written a couple of good pieces in the lot. So here is some short form poetry-like verbiage. (Note, these are extracted from an interactive Haiku game thread, and these will read better within the context of the other fine works that inspired my efforts. I've attached the links to the titles. Enjoy, if you can:
the moon, he doth wax with eloquence

He waxed his belly
Until it was mistaken
For the waxing moon
On a starless cat-less night
With white wine, a dark future.

back in the tank

Drunk and far from home
Ziggy spent time in the tank
going star crazy.

to be or not to be dancing

His ghost danced lightly
with a quick and gentle step.
He kept perfect time.
When the rains came he stayed dry
and sang 'Fly Me to the Moon.'

the wind up boy

She bade susurrus,
With a siren's soft whisper,
To dance in his ear,
Bid him strip inhibitions,
Seek her umbrella.
There has been a lot more than that, but that is more than enough to give you a taste.

I was tempted to throw in a short story, but have managed to resist that.

Here are two small, somewhat recent fushigis.

On Friday, July 19th, my co-worker NR asked me to read and critique/edit a letter he was going to send to a project manager of BA Blacktop. They are doing the road re-arrangement and overpass for the Vancouver Ports. NR's letter was an apology on behalf of the logistics people in our office who had failed to get the work done on time for the project, despite NR having completed his design on time and having given the logistics people instructions on what needed to be done. Nothing special about that circumstance, anymore, as that is more-or-less the norm for the department as it suffers under the poison of severe MBA mismanagement and bureaucratic dysfunction as my employer continues its drive to eliminate its labour to an outsourced engineering department.

The following morning, @ 9:50 am, I was exiting my condo's parking garage in order to begin my Saturday morning chores. Parked across from my egress was a van with a BA Blacktop red and black logo. I have, since then, looked every day, every weekend for that van. And nothing.

Well, before I left to do my chores on that Saturday, from the TV that my wife was watching, I heard the word/phrase Doppelgänger.
She was watching the movie Doppelgänger Paul, and asked me what 'Doppelgänger' meant. I defined it for her. When I got to Safeways about thirty minutes later, I heard a young woman standing in line talking about having to keep clear of doppelgängers. I can say that I have heard that word used by people other than me perhaps less than twice in the last 15 years. It is, however, a favourite of mine.

Fushigi Addenum:
After writing the above, I went back to the top of this post to find a good extract of Musecorn to post. While looking for it, I came across a recent chatter post (google hangout), and smiled to read the following, which I'd forgotten I'd written:
Does that count as a part of the fushigi too?

Fushigi Addenum II:
Stuart McLean, on his radio show Vinyl Cafe, read the letter of an amazing fushig. So amazing, I'll blog it here. To add to the fushigi nature of the story, today was the first time I've listened to McLean in months. Zahida Murtaza, from Pakistan originally, relayed how at the age of 12 she fell in love with the writing of Stephen Leacock. I was desperate to read more stories written by this author, but I had no way of doing that. Instead, I read the story so many times that I memorized it. She had no idea of where Canada was, or even if Leacock had written anything else than the short story she read from the English Literature Anthology her class was studying. On a random drive, she and her husband, some 40 years later in Canada, stop at random at a small town in Ontario, visit the church and its graveyard, and discover the grave stone of Leacock. The short letter is a delight to read. You can read it here