Very short story

I accepted a random challenge to write a 75 word story about a duel at high noon… this is what I came up with:

 
No shadows. Sun sizzles on my scalp. Lips crack, skin flakes red. Eyes blink sticky. My tongue is a paper reproduction. Resist.

Cool crystalline water, ice snap popping, condensation beading near my hand. Dusty fingers, split knuckles–they are the cracked soil longing to absorb drops from the cool glass. Resist.

He wobbles. A tower tipping, head drooping, hand swaying. His fingers touch glass. Grip it, tip it. The ground drinks. He laughs. Still I resist.

Submitting again

I submitted that story I wrote on Thursday, to Fireside fiction. I fixed it up some and got a bit of feedback, but there isn’t much time as they are only open for submissions for a week at a time here and there. Excited to hear back from them! I have a good feeling about it.

It feels good to be submitting stories again, even if just here and there. I also sent an old story I rewrote to a couple places and have been rejected, but it still feels good to get back into it. Write, submit, repeat, get back to it!

Spies

I started The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels) which is my first Lecarre novel. It took me a bit to get into it, but now it is interesting. The character, Leamas, Is pretending to be a drunken failure (at least I’m pretty sure he’s pretending) and is currently working at a library as an assistant, and annoying the heck out of the librarian. I think the idea is for him to become an exile, and be looked down on by all his fellow agents enough that he is approached by the other side to try and turn him… I think. Anyway, its fun, and something you have to think about a bit which is always good. Hope it continues that way!

A short story appears

I’ve written one for the first time in months, and all in one sitting–something i haven’t done in over 5 years. It was exhilarating, satisfying and gave me lots of brain endorphins–it also turned out really good!

How did this happen? I signed up on Thursday for a contest which had a deadline of Sunday night, and the penalty for not turning anything in was some severe mocking and embarrassment… so I wrote it that day. Deadlines work!

It felt very good to see my own improvement. The fact that I wrote a story in two hours that was actually not bad, and probably better than a lot of stuff i spent weeks writing years ago… it means I am definitely getting better at this.

I’ll let you know if I win (though in this contest really, the goal is just not to lose) but I feel I already have, because I wrote something!

The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith

The Talented Mr. Ripley did not end the way I expected, though, if I’d noticed that it was part of a series maybe I would have guessed.

I really enjoyed this book. The protagonist, Tom, is a disgusting creature, but consistently interesting. He, like any good villain, does not realize what he’s doing is wrong, he has perfect justifications for it and only the mildest bit of guilt.

I also liked his constant paranoia about being caught. He’s sure he’s messed up somehow, or forgotten something, or that people will see through his lies. That part makes him likeable enough to keep reading through the terrible things he does. His relief and surprise at constantly not being found out is identifiable, as well as the bit of arrogance and self satisfaction that comes along with it.

The end, though, as far as story structure goes, seems a bit of an anticlimax. He does so much stuff that all builds up to… him not being caught. I was expecting him to come crashing down and get captured, or at least be found out and have to flee. But everything goes exactly as he planned in the end and he escapes with the treasure, so to speak, and no harm to him at all.

I’m somewhat curious about the other books in the series, just to see if there is some kind of arc other than him becoming a soulless killer with no consequences.

Enjoyable book, though!

Notice things

I find that I often am oblivious to things right next to me. I spend way to much time in my head, thinking about anything other than what I’m doing and where I am in the moment.

Lately I’ve been making a conscious effort to notice the things around me. What objects are near me? What are they for? What people or smells? How would I describe them?

It’s startling how many things I see, and think to myself ‘I’d never have known that existed, if I didn’t try specifically to look at the things around me.’ That’s how much of a head-in-the-clouds kind of person I am…

Repulsive beings

I’m still reading The Talented Mr. Ripley and the character, Tom, has now murdered someone and is in the process of taking over their life.

The descriptions of him trying on the persons clothes, shoes, jewelry, is somehow disgusting. I don’t know what it is in the writing that gave me this uneasy feeling of disgust toward Tom, he seemed a repulsive, slimy thing slipping into a nice persons skin. In the same scene, not only is he trying on the clothes, but he is ‘trying on’ the dead man’s personality, so to speak, practicing impersonating him. Finding that he likes this person more than himself. Something about the whole thing just gave me an unclean, gross feeling even though the author didn’t use any overtly gross words. It was a very memorable and impressive scene. I may have to read it over again to try to pinpoint what exactly it was that gave me that feeling.