Writing

My own serious stuff; the craft itself; those who inspire me in it; the art of reading.

Prosatio Silban and the Starving Survivor

2011.09.12
By

A BUOPOTH IS A STRANGE beast: some say it is half-composed of men’s dreams, others prefer not to speculate. But of the little that is known, one thing is certain: no matter what shape it takes, its eyes are the most soulful of any creature in all the Exilic Lands.

One of these eyes was fixed on Prosatio Silban as the cook approached with a bag of fatberry cakes. “Buopoths can run all day on a fatberry cake and a kind word” ran the proverb, and today had certainly proved it: a brisk sixteen-hour galleywagon pull along the Reaching Road through the light-forested countryside north of Soharis. Prosatio Silban dug into the bag and surveyed his environs. A fine evening, and a good place to camp. He patted the beast, told it what a good buopoth it was, and made plans for dinner. Read more »

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Prosatio Silban and the Visitor From The Sands

2011.08.31
By

Prosatio Silban in his galleywagon / Illo (c) 2008 Alana Dill, http://youbecomeart.com

PROSATIO SILBAN WAS NOT KNOWN for nothing as “The Cook For Any Price.” He had long ago foresworn the Sacreanthood and serving people’s souls for serving their bellies and letting the souls look after themselves. Yet every now and again, he wondered if his gods were still playing tricks on him.

He was cleaning up his galleywagon late one night at the edge of one of Soharis’ more workaday fish markets, making ready to fold down the canopy-bulkhead, when the Siddis appeared.

Now, to understand this story, you must know that cosmopolitan Soharis, perched on the edge of the Rimless Sea and the Lands of Exile beyond the sunset, is the sort of place where one may expect to meet almost anyone at almost any time. But at that, it is rare to meet a Siddis — more properly the Siddis, since only has one ever been seen anywhere, and of that rose-red robe-wrapped one little is known save that they or he inhabited a city somewhere in the Great Eastern Desert and their or his presence portended unsettling things.

Prosatio Silban was intrigued. He was also tired from a reasonably profitable day selling fish skewers and goat pasties to Soharis’ shop-clerks and porters and was looking forward to putting his feet up. But he could not deny a hungry customer. “Good evening, sir.” Read more »

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

The Poet

2011.08.11
By

HE COULDN’T TELL WHETHER HE
loved beauty or women more
until the day he called his mom and said
“Guess what? I’m marrying a sunset.”

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Storyteller’s Knot

2011.08.10
By

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Thumbs Up

2011.08.08
By

THE PACK ON YOUR BACK is both reassuring and cumbersome for what seems the third hour of shadeless noon as you think, “This one will definitely stop.”

(Actually, if it were really three hours you’d have slumped your pack against your knee, or at your feet, or otherwise at ease, but within grabbing distance since it literally contains everything you own and the territory is much, much, MUCH bigger than than the map. Besides, it’s easier to hold a sign reading, say, “Reno” or “I Know A Joke.”)

It’s been more than two dozen years since I set forth on my first hitchhiking trip (of four), yet not a summer goes by when I don’t glimpse my closet-stuffed backpack and sigh, just a little. Read more »

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Fable, With Apocalypse

2011.07.30
By

IN THE MIDDLE OF A flat grey wasteland, under a grey streaky sky, a handful of figures warmed themselves at a snapping fire.

“Hey! What are you doing?”

One of the figures had turned to stare across the waste — a vast landscape of broken dryers and tumbledown swingsets, with here and there half a gas station or bowling alley.

“Don’t do that.”

He takes the gaping figure and turns him tenderly toward the flames to warm his hands again.

“Thanks.”

“It’s why I’m here. And that” — a sweeping arm — “is why that’s there. The wasteland is only for wasting you.”

“Thanks again.”

“Don’t mention it. Just keep your hands warm. Even when you’re the last one here.”

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Aside

2011.07.30
By

“GOOD GOD, MAN — WHAT HAPPENED?”

“Well, I was on the freeway, and my car stalled right in front of a hurtling semi. Fortunately, the orchestra changed tunes at exactly that moment and distracted everyone.”

“What orchestra?”

“See?”

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Prosatio Silban and the Best Dish In The World

2011.04.15
By

IN THE EMERALD INCESSANCE, THAT great sprawling swamp east of epicurean Pormaris, Prosatio Silban was searching for his world’s tastiest meal.

The Emerald Incessance was hundreds of square miles of hummock, tussock and overtowering reeds, inhabited by societal castoffs and furtive oal-herders — not a likely group among whom to find something described with bliss as every man’s favorite dish all in one fried bundle.

“Like my mother’s potato-and-pea stew, only more so,” sighed one wizened indigine.

“The Soup Demons take you!” objected his friend. “Fresh roasted oal, it was, like I hadn’t tasted since my first hunt.”

“Ye’re both wrong,” chimed in a third. “It’s apple crumble. Hot.”

Prosatio Silban hoped to discern the recipe and perhaps add it to his own great store. So he had hitched up his galleywagon and driven into the green. He gave more-or-less free rein to his buopoth, Onward, due to the quaint and lumbering beast’s uncanny footing and impeccable nose, and thus came two days later to a tumbledown shack under a large cypress tree. An old woman in long tattered grey shift was stirring a pot set on a long brick hearth. Nearby was a rough wooden table lined by half-sawn log benches. The air was redolent of a seductive melange blending savory, sweet, and something he couldn’t name.

Prosatio Silban climbed down from his galleywagon, told Onward what a good buopoth it was, and approached.

“I know what you’ve come for,” she said before he could speak. She didn’t smile, but her eyes were kind as she pointed to one of the benches. “Please.”

The cook sat. The woman oiled an iron frying pan, placed in it a thin white disk of dough. After some time, she stuck a ladle in the pot she’d been stirring and poured its bubbling contents over the dough, which she closed with a quick flick of a spatula. She poured a clay mug of blue duliac, plated her creation, and placed both before Prosatio Silban. “You’ll want to eat this hot,” she said.

Prosatio Silban was fascinated. The World’s Greatest Dish seemed to be little more than a fried wrap filled with some sort of cheese concoction. But what was that indefinable smell? He lifted the wrap to his lips, took a bite, chewed.

It tasted of little more than its ingredients: flour, water, a bit of egg, soft cheese, and something he still could not identify — a texture which changed from creamy to crunchy as he chewed, its flavor still eluding his curious tongue. Malt? Fish sauce? Sourbean paste? Whatever it was, it was another chef’s secret. He sighed, and raised his eyes to the woman. She smiled a conspirator’s smile.

“All my other customers wanted their favorite dish,” she said. “Only you wanted to know what it was in it.”

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Poker Face

2011.03.14
By

WE WERE FIVE MEN PLAYING draw poker.

“Ante up, gentlemen,” said R. “Nickel apiece.”

The cards went round once, twice, thrice.

B coughed. T took a sip of his Cuba Libre.

R sent the cards round again. And again.

We lifted our hands.

“Oh! Ghawd! Damn!” said K. “I’m betting TWENTY BUCKS!”

“Fold.” “Fold.” “Fold.” “You idiot.”

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

How To Make Your Blog Sound Important

2011.01.26
By

1. BEGIN EVERY PARAGRAPH WITH “I.”

2. Repost the same story as other blogs within your target demographic.

3. When commenting in other blogs, slip in the phrase “as I wrote” and flash your URL.

4. Call everyone by their first name whether celebrity, criminal or politician.

5. Make gratuitous jokes equating celebrities, criminals and politicians.

6. Be snarkier.

7. Don’t write from the heart. Ever.

8. When in doubt, link to YouTube.

9. Use lots of “ironic” quotes.

10. Remember: the world won’t run without you. Remind it.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Seeing Her

2011.01.16
By

ALL I REMEMBER NOW ARE images, and the intimate passion of an infinite love.

I remember the room of globes, of maps of worlds and wonders, soft with pillows and draped scarves. And She was there. And She knew me. And loved me. And told me I was Her own and always would be — “but it is not yet your time to be with Me.”

And She kissed me.

Her words, warm as her arms, were now cutting ice. I cried, I begged — I think I wailed. “No! Don’t leave me! Please! No!”

She told me she would see me again, one day. “I will not leave you. But you cannot be with me. Yet.”

I awoke sobbing, but comforted in Her absence — oh so small, and cold, next to Her presence! — by the knowledge that She loves me best of all Her lovers (although She loves all her lovers this way). And so I sit by the open window in springtime, listening for Her voice.

And still She walks the hidden retreats, where a ghost of love wraps me like a veil, like a scarf hung in a room full of globes where my Lady waits for me.

One day.

(They say every poet is slipped a glimpse of the Muse unadorned and transcendent, triumphant and radiant, loving, intimate and wise. I don’t know if this qualifies, but I dreamed this, as vividly as a sunset breeze, when I was 17 or 18. And I have never forgotten it.)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Literal Legend

2011.01.13
By

HE SAID HE WOULD FIGHT Wall Street, but it wasn’t long before he was brought down by a perplexed SWAT team.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Recent Tales

Prosatio Silban and the Starving Survivor

A BUOPOTH IS A STRANGE beast: some say it is half-composed of men’s dreams, others prefer not to speculate. But of the little that...

Read more »

Prosatio Silban and the Visitor From The Sands

PROSATIO SILBAN WAS NOT KNOWN for nothing as “The Cook For Any Price.” He had long ago foresworn the Sacreanthood and serving people’s souls...

Read more »

The Poet

HE COULDN’T TELL WHETHER HE loved beauty or women more until the day he called his mom and said “Guess what? I’m marrying a...

Read more »

Storyteller’s Knot

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.

Read more »

Thumbs Up

THE PACK ON YOUR BACK is both reassuring and cumbersome for what seems the third hour of shadeless noon as you think, “This one...

Read more »

Recently

August 2017
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Rewind

Wine Country Weather


Click for Forecast

Ritual Hat Pass

G'bless'ye, sir or madam.

You Can't Stop The Signal:
Celebrating the remaining days:hours:etc until Apophis II. Live it up, Earthlings.

Favicon Plugin created by Jake Ruston's Wordpress Plugins - Powered by Briefcases and r4 ds card.