Vonnegut Check's picture
Vonnegut Check from Baltimore September 27, 2016 - 5:49pm

Yes, sir, Kedzie, those are also great stories. The title story you mention, "The Things They Carried," had to grow on me at first, because of, as you call it, the slow roll out. By my third read, however, it easily became one of my favorites. That entire collection exemplifies the principle Chuck Palahniuk mentions in Stranger Than Fiction: "A good story should make you laugh, and a moment later break your heart."

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien September 28, 2016 - 1:59am

So you've also read In The Lake of the Woods? I have not. Yet. Will read it someday. I have fished Lake of the Woods a lot, mostly for walleyes to eat, muskies for sport (catch & release). I've always had a deep connection to LotWs. If my wife could handle serious winter I'd live in a cabin on an island in that lake. But alas, she's a thin-blooded California girl now. She can't even handle Chicago's winters anymore.  

Vonnegut Check's picture
Vonnegut Check from Baltimore September 28, 2016 - 9:22am

Blasphemy, Kedzie. You fished Lake of the Woods, have a kinship to it, but have not read the book of the same name! Seriously, though, great book. O'Brien seamlessly blends truth from the events surrounding The My Lai Massacre into the fictional narrative. If you weren't three thousand miles away, I'd drive over and lend you my copy and wait while you read it.

And yes, California, ah. I lived in Huntington Beach for a short while. Gorgeous. I distinctly remember getting up every morning and going to the beach in November, usually sitting a quarter mile from the famous pier, to read books. The weather was always 70 degrees, in December or July. At least during the day. Nights were more likely to be sweater or hoodie temperatures.

Sheri Attani Rohrbacher's picture
Sheri Attani Ro... from San Jose, CA is reading The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt September 28, 2016 - 10:32pm

Thanks, Kedzie! I used to go up there quite a lot several years ago and was fascinated by it.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien October 1, 2016 - 9:22am

We had entered the Avondale Freight Yard, a massive expanse of city railroad easement filled with trains from all across the country. You could hang in the yard for hours, branching out and exploring wherever the tracks took you. Oftentimes, especially in summer, that’s exactly what we did. We played in the freight yard after breakfast until lunch, after lunch until the bells of St. Veronica told us it was dinner time.

Inside the yard were trains from everywhere. Many were “staged” for a period of time, a night or two, perhaps a week. As kids we’d heard rumors about what was on these trains. All sorts of stuff, it was said. Food, clothes, toys, pinball machines, furniture, building materials, auto parts, sports equipment, even musical instruments. But of paramount importance: liquid refreshment from The Anheuser-Busch Company, of St. Louis, Missouri.

During the teen years, when we were greasers – juvenile delinquents in baggy grey work pants, black Army-issue combat boots and black or grey Cabretta leather jackets – we confirmed these rumors many times over. And if what Mark Twain said about stolen watermelon was true, well, it goes double for beer. But for now we were just kids, aged 9-12, and the tracks were still our special place for cutting school, catching snakes, smoking cigarettes, paging through stolen Playboy magazines, playing poker, crossing paths with hobos & Boxcar Willies, and watching teenage rumbles from afar.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. October 1, 2016 - 9:54am

@Kedzie. So nice to read your work this morning. I love(d) trains. We didn't have the yards where I grew up, only the one long snake of rail that we walked along picking up pieces of sulphur or coal, and laying pennies on the track and putting our ears on the hot rail to see if we could feel the train coming. Love your work Kedzie. I would have given an arm and a leg to eavesdrop on all you little rot monsters in your leathers and tee shirts, drinking warm beer and being juvenile. Happy Saturday. Write me some more....please sir. gsr

Or, was the beer cold?

lmjacobs172's picture
lmjacobs172 October 2, 2016 - 11:41pm

May contain offensive language.

Taken from a short story ''The Couple''  

The monkeys broke off into two groups. One group leapt at John, took him to the ground and clobbered him with their fists. The others banged and hammered on Jane's door and the windscreen. They hit harder and harder as she screamed louder and louder. Just when she thought she couldn't scream any louder, the monkeys had smashed her window. Instead of trying to get in and beat her, they simply backed away, squatting onto their palms and through feces at her. Shit splattered on to her face, ironically forming the exact pattern of face paint Matt's girlfriend had on her EP cover. She looked over at her husband, he lay there on the ground, clinging to what little life he had left when a bonobo - typically being the more playful primate – thrusted it's genitalia into John's mouth. This particular monkey was named Hope. Hope apparently knew what it was doing, because as it face fucked John's soul into non-existence, it began to hold his nostrils tightly shut. That's right kids, Jane watched with one eye, as her other was blinded by excrement, as her husband choked to death on monkey dick.

Full story can be found at lewjacobs.co.uk

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann October 3, 2016 - 8:50am

Not much time for writing or reading anything non-school related lately (or even sleep, really). :'( Here's a little something.

In Florida, it was already summer. My flight got in early afternoon at Fort Lauderdale. Uncle Joey came alone to get me. We met around the baggage claim. No smiles, no hugs, no helping with my suitcase. Just a few moments of silent observation, a quizzical look like he was staring at some new species of insect, and then the slow, southern-drawled remark that I still hear in my head sometimes: “You don’t act like a queer.” Fuck if I know why, but this became a nearly pathological source of anxiety for Uncle Joey. Sometimes I think maybe it was like if you knew you had mice in your house but never saw them in action. You’d obsess, think they were behind every noise, worry about them crawling over you at night. He never saw the gay in action. It freaked him out.

Uncle Joey thought, as long as the weather didn’t hit above 90, lowered windows and a retracted sunroof were a reasonable alternative to gas-guzzling A/C. He had shaggy hair, a permanent farmer’s tan, and he took to the heat like a reptile. It was 90 that day, not above. I was in the backseat ‘cause he said, “Your dad ‘prolly wants you stayin’ far away from men.” He and Aunt Eva were property managers for a bunch of houses and apartments down in Miami. He still had all his garden shears, manure fertilizer, pesticides, paint buckets, and a lawnmower in  the trunk and backseat from work, so I sat behind the passenger seat, breathing in hot paint fumes and cow shit, pouring sweat with two suitcases on top of me and my backpack full of books at my feet. The whole way, I hooked one arm over the window—my skin cooking on the hot aluminum of his Chevy—so I could rest my head there in the wind. Coral Springs is maybe a half hour from Fort Lauderdale, if even, but the heat made it feel longer. At the end of the journey, whether it was back from the airport or back from therapy, the road to Aunt Eva’s house uncoiled always in these two big loops that went on forever, first going left around the fishing pond, and then right around the Green Island rec center, until the pavement narrowed and the path went parallel to the main road outside the community gates. From there, it was a straight shot of two blocks flanked by the expensive homes of retired geezers from up north.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. October 3, 2016 - 8:54am

@bethwenn. Nice bit. Good to see your face. I know you're busy. Glad you are staying in touch. gsr

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien October 3, 2016 - 1:21pm

Gail,

That's from a old post I made to a blog once.

It's an OK piece but has several clumsy sections. Also, people like to argue with the George Gershwin reference. Yes, GG was mainly a pianist. But he also played the organ, and when he did it was a Hammond B3. He even made commercials for Hammond back in the day; mostly photos with a quote that were made into posters placed in music store windows.

Anywho...here's the article. It could be a lot better, I've just never taken the time to tweak it.

But since ya like trains, this whistle's a blowin'.  

http://reliablerascal.com/avondale/2013/09/up-on-the-avondale-tracks/

(Note to Admin. If this post goes againt the rules of this forum kindly delete it and I'll send it to Gail via PM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. October 3, 2016 - 1:37pm

And here's for you, Kedzie and Bethwenn. From my work today.

"They sped through the streets without a word, blowing stop signs, burning around corners, and finally slowed, as the adrenalin started to sputter and burn out. Ramon pulled over and turned off the engine. The only sound was the two of them breathing and the sound of the heat ticking in the radiator."

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 3, 2016 - 3:07pm

^ delete one of the "sound"s 

otherwise i like that paragraph, concise but patinted a picture.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. October 3, 2016 - 3:37pm

@Thuggish. Right on. Thanks.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel October 3, 2016 - 7:33pm

Enjoy the random.

We’re driving down the road toward my sister’s home. The car is silent. Headlights of oncoming cars zoom by. The radio is turned low, just in case someone wants to talk. My mother gets a call. She drops the phone. I can hear someone screaming. I pick it up. It’s one of the mothers of one of my nephews. “They killed my baby. The fucking killed my baby,” she’s crying into the phone, she’s screaming into the phone. My brother’s oldest, he’s been killed in that other fucking place with those other fundamentalists. The place we call Afghanistan. He idolized my ability to get away from our family and followed in my footsteps and joined as soon as he could. Like I said he should. Like my sister said he should, and my mother. Now he’s dead. My sister stops the car and takes the phone from me. My stepfather keeps saying, “Ah Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, ah Jesus Christ. He’s only twelve. What’s he doing in Afghanistan? Ah Jesus Christ.” My brother-in-law is silent. I’m silent. My sister is crying and saying it’s all her fault for pushing him to join, and my mother is crying and saying it’s all her fault and she pushed him to join.

And I all I can think is, I think I’d like to die now.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. October 3, 2016 - 9:04pm

Hi Jose. Nice paragraph.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 4, 2016 - 4:43am

I didn't think I'd fall in love with a parricidal girl.

The lust, it crushes all overpowering self. It smiles weakly simmering. Lustless, the sex drive withers into fine dust. Weeping, weeping, and weeping.

Danse, rhythm of death. The twist and turns then, the final epitaph of the damned. Her smile weakly burning into my mind as her severed head becomes lifeless.

I here the sound of my father screaming, and then jerking me to the side. My final chance at being reunited, now gone.

We were separated in death.

-- The Incernations Of Hemato Tomato And Anna-Marie

Daltonwriting's picture
Daltonwriting from Charlotte, NC is reading As many short story collections as I can get my hands on October 13, 2016 - 1:26pm

Working on a few things on my day off. 

 

She found her mother passed out on the bed. An empty bottle of wine dripped its remaining contents staining the carpet near the bedside table. A shattered wine glass was scattered across the floor below the bedroom wall, its contents splattered across the wall, desperate to resemble a Jackson Pollock masterpiece. Her mother was supposed to pick her up today, an empty promise of going to the DMV for Brittany’s permit test, lost again in another afternoon binge.

 

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann November 5, 2016 - 7:37pm

A thing from a recent thing:

Towards the end of winter, when the cold had just begun to break, when my weight had just gotten back up to a healthy level, and when Dad had finally let me come home, that was around the time I first started breaking into cars. Three hours was the longest I waited for a reaction. The mean was maybe forty-five minutes to an hour and ten. Even when no one came out to see what I’d done, it didn’t really matter. That wasn’t the point of it. The thing I loved most wasn’t exactly how, at night, the streetlights get this soft, blurry glow to them like the distant beams of a submarine penetrating through dark water, although that was high up on the list. In the rain especially, the texture of the glittery, wet streets gets extra sharp, all ocean surface in a canted world, upside-down and underwater. Up above, starless city sky opens up like the depths of the Mariana Trench. The kicker—one reason I did it—was seeing all that from someone else’s car, through the dappled, pebbled glass with little, fast-writhing, translucent snakes of raindrops rushing down, with the static sound of the rain hitting the windows and the wipers cutting their whining arcs and whatever CD or radio station they had on last at whatever volume they left it filling the silence as my heart leaped marathon hurdles over thoughts of getting caught.

And now I disappear back into the void of ceaseless homework...

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. November 5, 2016 - 6:51pm

@bethwenn. Shit girl! This is good. The submarine lights under water.....This is exquisite work.

Sheri Attani Rohrbacher's picture
Sheri Attani Ro... from San Jose, CA is reading The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt November 9, 2016 - 11:51pm

@bethwenn That is absolutely beautiful.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal November 10, 2016 - 12:24pm

^ i agree, voice great, imagery even better. 

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann November 10, 2016 - 5:22pm

Oh wow! :o  I don't even know what to say. Thank you guys!

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien November 23, 2016 - 3:47pm

QUESTION: 30 years ago I read a fantastic simile in The Wanderers (Richard Price).

A guy was looking at something. It might have been a woman, it might have been something else, I can't recall what it was, and I can't check because I don't have a copy of the book handy.

Anyway, the simile was: "he looked at _________ like a starving man looks at a menu." I just used that great simile in a little different way. And now I wanna know...do I need to delete it? Is this plagarism?

     “Here, make yourself useful,” Francesca broke the dream. She handed me two bottles of root beer and two glasses, ice cubes already inside. She took the popcorn and the salt and stepped in front of me. I fell in behind, eyeing her nose to toes, like a starving man eyes a menu.

Answers appreciated.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien November 23, 2016 - 3:48pm

Bethwenn, great stuff up above!

Daltonwriting's picture
Daltonwriting from Charlotte, NC is reading As many short story collections as I can get my hands on November 23, 2016 - 6:53pm

For your entertainment...from the story "Maybe She's Born with It"


“Oh, shoot,” Ethel mumbled. “Forgot my teeth.” Ethel rummaged through the medicine cabinet by the sink until she found her sealant. Applying a ring around her counterfeit bite, she inserted the dentures. Ethel clenched her teeth, securing the bite. She gathered whatever saliva her fourteen prescription medications hadn’t sucked dry and ran her tongue along her upgraded bite. This would just have to do. Ethel grabbed her bag and pulled out a picture of her late husband Fred.
“Oh, Fred. If only you could see me tonight. You always loved this dress.” Kissing the picture, she turned and strolled out of her room.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann November 27, 2016 - 6:00pm

Yes, it's plagiarism. It's not enough to move words around and find a few synonyms. You're also not just using the same simile; you're using it in the same context. Being inspired would be taking the idea and creating your own thing from that idea. Plagiarising is taking the thing as is and tweaking a couple of parts so that it's not recognizable.

If you really like it, get rid of the menu part and write your own thing based on the idea of someone hungry looking at some sort of food. A banquet. Some specific spread of food. You could compare a part of her anatomy with some sort of food/drink (e.g. the milk-white of her thighs like a man in a desert; something specific, whatever he finds attractive/appetizing). Make it a metaphor instead of a simile. But if you're even worried about it or have to ask, I think you're better off scrapping it and starting over. I'm sure you can come up with something better anyway! :)

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien November 28, 2016 - 12:33pm

Bethwenn,

Good stuff as always. 

And you're right I can come up with something better.

Bottom line: the simile works in Richard Price's book, but it doesn't work in mine.

Back to the drawing board! :-) 

stevenjjones's picture
stevenjjones from Brandon, Manitoba is reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut December 3, 2016 - 6:21pm

When you work nights, you may as well live on the moon. So cut off from the world. So alone in the darkness. Eat your little vacuum sealed meal and wonder about life back on earth.

Then the craziness sets in. The what-if and could've been. But you are so far away from normal that you give in to your fate. After all, these buttons won't push themselves. You go home to your little moon colony apartment with its bleak little moon colony furnishings and stare at the world through a piece of glass. Watching it spin out of control. You wish you could relate. Maybe feel something. But when you are so far away, does it really matter.

One day it's time to go back. Time to pack. Time to return. But a part of you will never leave. A part of you is stuck here forever. The sun shines brighter than before. It has gotten louder here on planet earth. Everything moves so fast. Even a cloudy day is a welcomed sight. But everything moves too fast. So your mind returns. A part of you is stuck there forever.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. December 3, 2016 - 6:26pm

@stevenjones    This is a lovely bit. It's harsh and steely and edgy and intriguing.I like the bite of it, the voice....I hope you'll think about submitting something in the writer's workshop. Could be fun.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 4, 2016 - 1:31am

Just realized I have something new...

 

“Thought you quit,” I say.
“I save it for special occasions.”
These two lines are from a script we used years ago to indicate that one of us had something important to say in private. If he’d responded with I’m cutting back it would have meant someone might be listening.

stevenjjones's picture
stevenjjones from Brandon, Manitoba is reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut December 4, 2016 - 1:39pm

@smithreynolds Thank you!

MarcD's picture
MarcD from Illinois is reading Autumn Cthulhu December 7, 2016 - 6:28pm

Hi everyone...this will be my first post here on litreactor.  Intro paragraph to a story I've been working on.  

This part of the city is a faded and cracking portrait of metropolitan death.  Its inhabitants, encased in rows of broken-down brick buildings three to four stories high, are an industrious yet impoverished lot.  They worship the streets, hanging half-way out of their windows, bellowing into the winter’s air their exaggerated tales of toil while the dregs scatter about under the night’s sky below.  Night after night these scum stumble, trudge through pools of filth, patronizing the neon-illuminated, sinfully-suggestive storefronts.  Illuminated hair, lips, and breasts flash salaciously against the snow.  The wind-muffled wailings of scraggly, disfigured streetwalkers, these diplomats of despair, signal the onset of night and invite the tired and disconsolate to find release in their shadows, comfort in their alleys, salvation in their sin.

 

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. December 7, 2016 - 7:08pm

@stevenjones. You're welcome. Please come and post in the WRiter's Workshop if you have the inclination to share some of your work. We would be honored. gail here.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. December 7, 2016 - 7:15pm

@MarcD. Gail here. Ooh I like these scummy people. My kind of folks for sure.We are honored that you chose us to make your first post. That's really great. Just so you know there is also a writer's workshop where you can post and read the work of other's on a regular basis. It's fun. I would invite you to check it out and share some more of the piece. You have a power handle on descriptive language. I think you like it, and it shows. Good work! show us some more in the workshop if you feel so inclined. with regard, gsr. Welcome to litReactor by the way. How did you find it?

MarcD's picture
MarcD from Illinois is reading Autumn Cthulhu December 7, 2016 - 7:31pm

@smithreynolds.  Thank you!  I actually just stumbled upon the site searching for online writing classes/workshops.  I look forward to checking out the workshop. 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 7, 2016 - 7:40pm

Uh oh, a spacebar double-tapper...

I, too, was one of those once.

Anyway, hi, nice to have a fresh avatar around here.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. December 7, 2016 - 7:41pm

@MarcD. Please do. We will roll out the red carpet for you. Welcome to LitReactor.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 7, 2016 - 8:25pm

There's a red carpet?

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. December 7, 2016 - 8:35pm

Thuggish if you post, I guarantee there is a red carpet. And we'll leave it down for MarcD. gsr

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated December 9, 2016 - 1:27pm

Fuck you Thuggish, I burned your red carpet. Then I spread the ashes in a sewer. 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 9, 2016 - 2:31pm

If I was a redhead this would have a way different meaning...

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. December 9, 2016 - 3:19pm

Boys Boys Boys. Throw something in and see if it floats or circles the drain. You guys all talk such big shit. Show us some stuff...big dudes, tough guys, secret sharers, Foul mouthed seventh graders with a yard full of mean dogs and profanity. Double dare you to post something. Any of you, all of you hot shot potty mouth secret talkers. Which side of the chain link fence are you on, anyway?  Oh. Never mind. Just kidding. What was I thinking? Just give me a minute to check my lipstick. Can you back off a little and let me park? You all be nice now. Christmas is coming. I can smell the gingerbread now.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 9, 2016 - 4:30pm

Did you just ask me to show you my red carpet?

(Dwayne wasn't being serious.)

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. December 9, 2016 - 4:52pm

Neither was I. It's hard to tell in the cyber world. Isn't it?

 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 9, 2016 - 5:52pm

It can be.

stevenjjones's picture
stevenjjones from Brandon, Manitoba is reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut December 9, 2016 - 10:41pm

Me, A brief description:
How the hell do some many people lose the battery cover on their tv remote? Are you a fucking moron? Now you will have a constant reminder that your life is so incomplete. I pick apart everything just to see if it will bleed.

stevenjjones's picture
stevenjjones from Brandon, Manitoba is reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut December 13, 2016 - 11:01pm

.

MarcD's picture
MarcD from Illinois is reading Autumn Cthulhu December 10, 2016 - 8:20pm

Another from a story I've been working on.  

 

In open, yet quiet defiance of decency, these men flood nightly Bishop’s Hill and filter directly, in a prurient procession, onto 15th Street.  Penetrating deep its sensual superficiality, these creeps with a calculated curiosity peruse and patronize the sordid establishments and bask in the raunchy radiance of their signage.  Representing the gutter of man, they embody industrial waste.  They are the manifestation of suppression; engaging in the self-dehumanization of submission, they forever dwell in the deepest recesses of the foreskin of existence. They drip silently and steadily, oozing into the bookstores, strip clubs, and peepshows, begging to be chosen, to be wanted, to be used, disposed of, forgotten.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien December 10, 2016 - 9:13pm

Republicans?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 10, 2016 - 10:36pm

ba-dum-dum.