Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Life of Discontent, A Saturday Centus

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Jenny Matlock


Here I go again, back at it again for what I will call Saturday Centus plus a day!  Yes, I am a little bit tardy this week, but at least I made it while it is still week 39!  I couldn't let my buddy Judie down after she did such a bang-up job on this week's prompt!   Thanks Judie!

One of the wonderful things about this writing exercise is that our host lets you have a whole week to post a story, so even if you post your Saturday Centus on Sunday, that doesn't make you a total dweeb.  (Well, not total, anyway.) 

So if you have other urgent matters, such as a school paper you need to write for example, you can go ahead and take care of that before submitting your story and the kindly, understanding Centusians who follow and contribute to this meme will not think any less of you. 

Generally speaking.

For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with this fun and challenging literary meme from the endlessly creative mind of Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent, here are some other things that probably haven’t reached you there at the rock you've been living under:

Dubya is no longer President of the United States. (Yes, the long national nightmare is finally over.)

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series. (Seriously, I kid you not!)

Martha Stewart was arrested and sent to prison. (Dick Cheney, on the other hand, was not.)

Avatar, a movie about tall, ugly phonies trying to fit in with an alien culture, became the highest grossing movie of all time. (In related news, Paris Hilton is still irrelevant.)

The most popular reality television show is currently “So You Think You Can Fart.” (Okay, I admit it. That’s not true. It would be an interesting concept though.)

Succinctly put, as that is the Centusian way, the rules of Saturday Centus are that participants must write a very short story using a supplied prompt and no more than 100 extra words.  These stories must not include any vulgarity or photos and must use the prompt as written.  After writing your story, you must link it back to Jenny’s meme post so that others can share in your creative endeavors.

Special thanks again to guest prompt-giver-outer Judie from the blog, Rogue Artists, for supplying this week’s wonderfully challenging prompt.   The prompt is “She lifted the stack of letters from the ancient chest...”  I admit the first time I read it I pictured scrabble tiles stacked precariously on some mummified Egyptian queen’s boobage, but I decided to go in a different direction anyway.  (Oh, like you didn’t think of that too!)

Here is my latest 100-word effort.  I have entitled it:

A Life of Discontent

Aunt Eugenia was a nasty, old crone.  Mean-spirited and always ready with a harsh word or criticism, the family rejoiced when she finally died.  Her niece Sarah always thought it sad that the family shunned her, but after meeting her for the first time and being told she was fat and ugly, she thought better of it.

Cleaning out Eugenia’s cluttered hall closet, Sarah spied what looked like piles of envelopes sitting atop an old oak chest.  She lifted the stack of letters from the ancient chest and was astounded to find they were all rejection letters from publishers.

At last, Sarah had discovered the source of Eugenia’s bitterness.


Jenny Matlock


The difference between the right word and almost the right word
 is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

--  Mark Twain

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

To Go Where Everyone Has Gone Before…

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Jenny Matlock

Welcome to yet another weekly installment of Saturday Centus, that wonderfully challenging and yet refreshingly brief literary meme hosted by none other than that superstar of the blog world, Jenny Matlock, at her blog, off on my tangent.

This week’s assignment is yet another shake-up because usually we are assigned to write a story of up to 100 words (but no more than 100, or face the furious and unstoppable wrath of Ms. M) based upon a supplied prompt with the only other rules being no vulgarity, no splitting the prompt and no photos or illustrations.  What is different this week is that our stories must be written within the sci-fi genre.  Yes, sci-fi, as in outer space, time travel, alien beings, robots, futuristic technologies and the like. 

I think it’s marvelous!  What an interesting way to challenge Centusians to step outside their comfort zones and write about a reality that includes huge interstellar space ships, extraterrestrial hedgehogs and giant robot TSA inspectors from the future.   I definitely would like to see more of these shake-ups!  Maybe we should do one that combined the dark and moody film noir style of the 1930’s and 1940’s with one that has brain-eating zombies.  Oh, and make it a musical also!  I bet we could pull that off easily with 50 words tied behind our backs too! 

Just a thought.  (Please leave your invective at the usual place.)

This week’s prompt is “Beam me up, Scottie.”  My 100 word take on it follows.  I have entitled it:


To Go Where Everyone Has Gone Before…


“Captain’s log, Stardate 5732.4.

Our mission to save the planet Jen’Mat Lok III and destroy the loathsome creature known as the Srapal’n is complete."

*BEEP!!!*

“Captain, we received orders to proceed to Seti Alpha 6 immediately to bring medical aid to millions suffering from an outbreak of T’baaggah Fever.”

“Seti Alpha 6…isn’t that the planet known for its green-skinned dancing girls, Scottie?”

“No Captain…that is Seti Alpha 5.”

“Sigh.”

“Of course”, chimed Scottie, “it IS on the way.”

“Beam me up, Scottie!  We have some humanitarian aid to deliver.”

“Yessir, Captain.  Dibs on the redhead!”



With apologies to Gene Roddenberry


Jenny Matlock

We are Centusians.
Resistance is futile.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Winning Loser - A Saturday Centus

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Jenny Matlock


Welcome peeps!

Well, week 37 of Saturday Centus has come upon us like snow on an orange grove and it’s time once again to participate in a little writing!  “Little” being the operative word this week as Ms. Jenny Matlock, host of this addictively fun meme from her blog, off on my tangent, has thrown us a challenging twist this week.  Instead of the usual 100 word limit we have come to expect, this week our beloved Jenny has decided that 25 words is more than sufficient to craft a story filled with drama, suspense, romance and intrigue.

Okay, maybe the intrigue part is a stretch.

Personally I like the idea of micro fiction.  I wish there were more publishers out there who appreciated the skill and talent required to write a complete tale with just a limited amount of words.   Let’s face it; a lot of people don’t have the patience to read an entire book or even a short story.  People want something they can zip through quickly, enjoy and then move on with the rest of their day.  I am one of these people.  I prefer to do my reading while sitting on the toilet.

Don’t laugh!  I bet a lot of people like to read while doing their business.  There’s even a very successful volume of books called “The Bathroom Reader” which have very small, interesting or amusing news articles, quotes and anecdotes which can be read quickly.  I have a number of these books.  But as far as fiction is concerned, there’s not much available.  Maybe we Centusians could get together and do a compilation of stories from SC and have them published?  We could call them Toilet Books!

Imagine the pride you would feel knowing that your finely crafted stories are sitting on the top of toilet tanks all over America, between the box of tissues and the can of air freshener (or between the can of bug spray and book of matches if you're from the South!)  Think of the exposure you would have as a writer!  A whole new genre of writers could emerge, Toilet Writers, and soon we could at last have a taste of the fame and glory that has eluded us. 

Toilet writing could become the next great trend in the literary world.  Libraries would have to install more bathrooms to keep up with the demand for more toilet reading, maybe even going so far as to install porta-potties where space permits.  Writers of this genre who achieve great popularity might even be courted by toilet manufacturers to endorse their products.  A toilet recliner with a built-in reading lamp could even be released for toilet readers with discriminating tastes in bathroom d├ęcor.  The possibilities are endless.

And to think we owe it all to Jenny Matlock, who will now and forever be known as the “Mother of Toilet Literature.”  To be able to say that you were there at the birth and infancy of Toilet Literature kind of gives you a lump in your throat, doesn’t it?  Yes, surely it’s a proud moment for all us Centusians. 

Moving on to the story segment of my babbling, I have written a very short, short story that contains scenes of violence.  For that reason, my twenty-five word story is rated PG.  For those of you who do not wish to deal with the graphic reality of everyday American life, you may click on this link instead and be comforted by images of puppies, kittens and soft, fuzzy bunnies.

This week's prompt is "the lottery ticket."

I think I will give this tiny tale a tiny title and call it:


The Winning Loser


“Congratulations!

You’re the winner?

No one else knows?

Here’s a bullet.

Bang!

I’ll take the lottery ticket and your life.

Fool.

Didn’t anybody tell you?

Don’t trust anyone.”



Jenny Matlock

"I have a great faith in fools -
my friends call it self-confidence."

- Edgar Allan Poe

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Tender Bleeping Jersey Moment

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Jenny Matlock


Another Saturday and another Saturday Centus…the 36th one for those of you who are keeping count until we reach the 100th week, which as you all know was foretold by the Mayan calendar and scholars as being the final Centus on Earth.  But fear not because the Saturday Centus will survive.

Plans are currently underway to have a huge space station completed before that time so that the fabulous host of this jaunty literary meme, Jenny Matlock from her blog off on my tangent, can be blasted into space with a crew of hand-picked Centusians so that the Saturday Centus will survive the worldwide cataclysm to come.

Of course the blogosphere will be fairly sparse then, what with only a few blogs, but once word reaches other alien civilizations about Saturday Centus, we are sure there will be plenty of interesting stories to read and enjoy.  (Just a suggestion, though.  Try not to be negative in any comments to a Twartdackian blogger’s post.  They are sensitive and will hunt you down and vaporize you.)

If this week’s post seems just a bit disjointed I should tell you I am struggling with a bad cold and can’t be sure if the words spewing forth from my mind might be tinged with the effects of the medication I have been taking.  How does the old adage go again?  Starve a cold and feed a fever?  My own personal motto goes like this: “Drink plenty of scotch.”

Although drinking scotch is doing very little to allay any of the symptoms I'm suffering with, I’ve found that drinking scotch as a preventative measure to becoming ill has a high percentage of success.  The same can be said of eating Twinkies.  This routine has probably saved me months of sick time over the years.  Could scotch-flavored Twinkies be our salvation from the common cold?  Perhaps.  Time will tell.  

This week Ms. Jenny (who I would just like to state for the record is not flatulent but has a dog that is….why I feel the need to bring this up I have no idea) has shaken the firmament here in Centusianland once again with another twist for us to wrap our collective minds around.  Instead of a written prompt, we are given this photo from which to base our short, short stories on.




Our instructions are to write a short story of 100 words or less (unless of course a muse tells you otherwise) with no vulgarity (or as little as you feel you can possibly do, written or implied, given the situation) and without any photos or illustrations (except for the one we are supplied by Ms. Jenny) and post it to her meme post within a week’s time.  Once posted, other Centusians and fans of this succinct writing style can congregate and read your stories and give you their feedback.
 
This week I admit I’m pushing some boundaries in my story.  It’s true that it could be considered in bad taste and that I did nudge past the word limit a little (I’m so not worthy of being a Centusian!) but it was unavoidable.  When your muse tells you to write something or face total creative meltdown, it’s wise to just go with it and let the chips fall.  So I apologize in advance to anyone who gets offended by this piece due to its vulgar nature, although I did utilize the word “bleep” in lieu of the actual words in a half-hearted attempt at trying to be sensitive to the feelings of others. 


This week’s Saturday Centus effort is entitled:

A Tender Bleeping Jersey Moment

Vacationing in Florida, a father and his young daughter stroll through a snow-covered orange grove.

“Daddy, what’s with the *bleep* snow on these oranges?  We get enough *bleep* snow in Jersey.”

“*Bleep* but that’s a stupid question.  You’re really retarded, you know that?”

 “So what are we doing here anyway?  This don’t look like no *bleep*  fun.”

“Memories.  This is where I first *bleep* yo’ mama and got her knocked up wit you.”

“That’s *bleep* gross.  That still doesn’t tell me why there’s snow on these *bleep*  oranges.”

“*Bleep* where do you think frozen orange juice comes from?  Sometimes you are such a *bleep*  idiot, Snooki!”


**Readers familiar with American popular culture will hopefully recognize the reference to Snooki, an orange-skinned, foul-mouthed  little troll a reality TV “celebrity” who appears in the popular television show, “The Jersey Shore.”  


Jenny Matlock

Please post complaints in the comments section   
and be brief as space is limited.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Gloomy New Year's Eve - A Saturday Centus

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Jenny Matlock

Happy New Year!

Another new year and another new week of Saturday Centus!  I tell you, does it get any better, people?   Yes, of course it does, there could be free chocolate too!  For a Centusian, though, the opportunity to transform a blank page into a literary work worthy of posting for public view is all the satisfaction we require, with or without the chocolate.  Right, Robyn?

Okay, so that topic is still open for debate. 

We are at week #35 of this wildly popular and world renowned writing meme hosted by the high priestess of short, short story writing, Jenny Matlock, at her blog, off on my tangent.   As the first Saturday Centus of 2011, I think it is a good idea to start off the year on the right foot.  Whatever witless comments, extra-long posts and clumsy mistakes we made in the past are now distant memories because we have a clean slate and new chances to get things right moving forward.

The rules of this fun writing exercise are to write a short story of up to 100 words using a supplied prompt (which isn’t included in the total word count) without using any vulgarity, images (this week is an exception) and without splitting the prompt.  After posting your contribution, you are instructed to link it to Jenny’s meme post so that the rest of us can read it and share our thoughts about it with you.  In keeping with the times, vulgarity will now be allowed in the comments section if deemed necessary provided that it is used in a complete sentence.

This week’s prompt is "Her crumpled up list of resolutions..."  I tried the whole New Year’s resolution thing last year and failed miserably on almost all counts.  If that lesson taught me anything it is this.  Don’t try.  Yep, you stand a much better chance of not failing if you don’t try.  So this year I have no resolutions.  None.  Instead of following some old, contrived tradition of trying to address my shortcomings at the beginning of each year, I’m just going to let my lovely wife handle the job.  She’s a natural.

I want to point out that this story is a small milestone in my blogging career, my 100th post.  Though I was much slower in getting to this point than most of you amazingly prolific bloggers, many of whom post daily or even put up multiple posts per day (all of which leaves me feeling quite humble) I am at least pleased to have at long-last cracked the triple digits.   I need to recognize Jenny Matlock for her encouragement and for this meme which has resulted in a third of my posts!  Thanks, Jenny!  At some point I hope to post with greater regularity, but conditions being what they are I must remain noncommittal for the time being.

Here is my first post of 2011.  I have entitled it:

A Gloomy New Year’s Eve

Donna dreaded New Year’s Eve.

It only served as a reminder of what a shambles she’d made of her life. 

She had written out some resolutions - “find love, make friends, stop smoking, get fit” – the usual suspects.   

Staring as coils of smoke rose up from her lit cigarette, she pondered whether she had the strength to get it right this time and escape the cycle of regret and despair. 

In her mind she heard her mother’s voice with the answer. 

“No.”

Sighing, she went to bed, leaving her crumpled up list of resolutions on the kitchen table.

Another holiday spent home alone.


Jenny Matlock


New Year's Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. 

Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

-- Mark Twain

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