Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal March 27, 2017 - 3:40pm

groovy, maybe post a paragraph from that chapter

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal March 27, 2017 - 3:40pm

groovy, maybe post a paragraph from that chapter

SueA9378's picture
SueA9378 from Long Island, New York, USA is reading Always Something New by Indie Authors March 28, 2017 - 7:30am

@Thuggish, We posted about the same time, I actually posted three chapter it's on the previous page. It's what that one chapter developed into. Thank you for the suggestion, it actually helped me eliminate some needless explanations later on in the book. I also realized I started out writing in the first person and then switched to third so I fixed that as well. 

CFoamGreen's picture
CFoamGreen from Oakley Idaho is reading Burnt Tongues March 28, 2017 - 4:46pm

Hey folks, I am brand new to writing and the site here. I was referred to this section by Thuggish. I haven't written in a while so all I ask is that your criticisms by constructive so that I can hopefully improve and continue to write. I guess without further ado, here is a couple paragraphs from a short story I'm working on.

"I awoke from my usual drug induced coma, but something was off this morning. For starters, I could feel myself sitting upright. When I tried to wipe the drool that was drizzling down my chin, my hand tried to respond, but it couldn’t quite make it to my mouth. When the grogginess naturally lifted from my eyes, I noticed the reason for my restricted movement. I had been handcuffed to a wooden chair by its arms. The tingling sensation in my ass informed me that this was not a cushioned seat that I had been fastened to.

    I tried to get a survey of my surroundings, but the room was a bright white that stung my eyes. Had I finally kicked it? Did I finally pump enough drugs into my system to give my very soul a seizure? Maybe St. Peter had to strap me down in the detox room until I could function enough to get through the pearly gates. I'm sure the angels wouldn't want a bunch of tweeked out souls running around, that would make Heaven’s property value drop drastically.

      As if summoned by thought, St. Peter emerged through the door pushing a cart draped in a white sheet.
    “Thanks for the room service Pete, I bet the food is to die for here,” I chuckle to myself. Pete thinks this is funny too because he lets out a hearty laugh."

SueA9378's picture
SueA9378 from Long Island, New York, USA is reading Always Something New by Indie Authors April 2, 2017 - 11:39am

@CFoamGreen I like it, it sounds like an interesting story. 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal April 3, 2017 - 10:24am

Haven't posted one forever...


Her eyes look to the one-way mirror. My stomach tightens. She has to suspect I’m watching. How angry is she about Aidan? Does she blame me?
“Antivirals,” she says.
“And that did it? You mean to tell me no doctor ever thought to give him those before?”
She shrugs. “Maybe we do medicine better than you.”
He stares without blinking. “I just wonder, seeing as you specialize in DNA mods.”
Her eyes narrow. “He wouldn’t permit anything like that.”

SueA9378's picture
SueA9378 from Long Island, New York, USA is reading Always Something New by Indie Authors April 5, 2017 - 8:55am

Since I haven't posted one in about two weeks, I think so anyway, here's two: 

         It’s quarter to one in the morning and I stood there leaning against my limousine impatiently waiting for my customer to come out. It’s a beautiful spring night so I am enjoying the fresh air but I’d rather be home in bed. I was working later than I normally liked because one of our drivers got sick and my boss asked me to cover this run. It should have been easy, 12:30 am pick up in Valley Stream for a Mrs. Linda Shore going to JFK. If the idiot had come out on time I’d be halfway there already. I pick up my Nextel two-way radio, “2138 Trina to base.” The office is closed but we’ve got someone on call for the night shift but it takes them a little longer than normal to answer. I’m about to call again when I hear the voice of one of the owners, Mark, “Sorry about that Trina. Did you pick up?” I sigh, “Unfortunately no. I tried her cell and home number with no luck. Do you want to give her a call?” “Will do, I’ll let you.” Normally I would have rung the doorbell but the front gate is locked and no buzzer there so I’ll just have to wait. This is a new customer too, we could always use new customers but, in my opinion, not if they are going to be this irresponsible. The night is quiet and where I am there is no road noise, no traffic nearby. Five more minutes go by and Mark calls me back, he sighs into the radio, never a good sign, “2138 Trina, gas it up and bring it in, the office is closed so just set the car up for the morning driver.” I snort, no explanation, “Sure thing Mark. What happened?” “Hell if I know, she says she’s in London and didn’t appreciate being woken up.” “Nice. Good night Mark, see you next week.” “Enjoy your weekend, get home safe.”

         I’m turning to open the door driver’s side door of the limousine I drive when a hand comes over my mouth and I feel something cold and metal slid up under my shirt. The man holding me is huge, the body pressing me to the limo feels solid, like he spends a lot of time in the gym, he’s also towering over me, I’m 5’9” and he’s got to be at least 8” taller than me. The voice that whispers in my ear is rich and smooth, like melted dark chocolate, “That’s a gun pointed at your side sugar. If you were a dude you’d be dead, you want to live do exactly as I say.” I nodded my head slowly to show him I’m going to cooperate. I’m trying not to think of the fact that he wants me alive because I’m a female, right now that’s not a good place for my thoughts to go. At that moment I’m wishing that I had taken those self-defense classes I’ve been meaning to take, shit always seems to get in the way. “Turn and walk nice and slowly to the back, you’re going to get in.” I do as he asks, he’s still got his hand over my mouth and he’s still got the gun pressed to my side as we turn. The back door is open, it wasn’t like that a minute ago. He walks me to the door, “Scream and you’re dead. In you go.” He releases me and pushes my head down to get in the back. As I’m climbing in I notice another man is already in the car, sitting towards the front of the limo. I can’t really tell how big he is sitting in the seat but he’s got to be almost as big as the man who was holding me, he’s also as white as a ghost. I would have said he was albino except that he had these clear blue eyes, the kind that look unearthly and he was staring at me with a look that made me shudder. He looked like he’d just been given a new toy and he was going to enjoy playing with it. As the door slams behind me, I notice he’s got a gun resting casually on his thigh pointed in my direction, I swallow, I don’t like guns. He sees my discomfort and grins, it’s the evilest grin I’ve ever seen.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 17, 2017 - 10:11am


JamieHolland0929's picture
JamieHolland0929 from Pittsburgh, PA is reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra May 22, 2017 - 9:45am

“Babe… I think I’m dying”
“I think so to…” her words echo perpetually and deeply in my skull as it starts to sinks in. A guy in NA, Dale, told me once that “death was the ultimate high’. He would know, Dale had overdosed four times previous to our introduction. He spoke of a very lucid state of consciousness; and ability to bifurcate the ‘important shit from the bullshit’. Dale apparently struggled with retaining this information much beyond his resurrections, however. He overdosed, shortly after a meeting, on a batch of Mexican Brown one of my guys sold him. Dale died broken and alone in a stall at the greyhound station. Addiction has a thousands mask, some much sexier than others, but it will kill you- physically or emotionally it will end your empty and meaningless life- if you let it.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. May 22, 2017 - 5:22pm

@JamieHolland0929 Good work. keep doing it. gail

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 22, 2017 - 7:12pm

Working on a bit different of a voice...

The bag was a panel loader; dropping it in the main compartment was no good. But the outer pocket zipper was slightly open, and just big enough to drop the small tablet unnoticed. She’d have to bump into him to open the zipper- not ideal- but it was crowded enough, and she’d practiced it a thousand times. And utilized it dozens. Usually as a pickpocket; but a drop was easier than a grab.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann June 3, 2017 - 12:07pm

Still writing, but lost interest in this site for a while. Here is something...

Back then, Tony—ever the Clint Eastwood squinting at a sun that wasn’t there—was prone to hang around the bar with his briefcase and then disappear into the back with Richie and the short, boisterous, white-haired Mr. Mazza for hours at a time. Tony was, in a word, dry. He had plank-straight posture. He wore nothing but immaculately pressed suits—dark navy blue with starched white shirts and gold-pinned collars. His clothes were so smooth-ironed and free of lint and animal hair, they looked unreal, like catalog costumes that had been handed to him only moments before. His hair had started to grey at an early age, and even then in his late twenties was threaded here and there with silver. Whenever you saw him, he was waiting for various sharp-dressed men to show up and file one by one into Mr. Mazza’s office. With his briefcase set on the slab of bar in front of him, he sat at the last stool—closest to the piano and the back hall—usually with a glass of seltzer water. He drank little. He said little. He listened instead, but with his eyes narrowed as though he didn’t like what he heard. When he spoke, he was sarcastic. The sarcasm came with his usual monotone so you could never tell when to take him seriously. The flatline of his voice and the discerning, unhappy eyes seemed to say that his presence around people wasn’t a free choice. Don and Tony were opposites but somehow alike. The sun and the moon, worlds apart, never meeting, but both larger than life and in their own social-celestial suspension, never quite playing well with others—either because of brightness that could burn you alive or frosty, uninhabitable distance. Subzero temperatures weren’t always a given with Tony. The smiles that curled his face when Richie said something funny looked as though they’d risen from a great fight. Tony had somehow blocked himself off from most of Richie’s banter, though every once in a while some hilarity broke through. Don was the one who knew just what to say. He could get Tony to laugh with a single word or a well-timed piano riff. Tony’s company felt no longer daunting or unkind once you heard him laugh. Certainly not once you realized how easily he broke. His laugh was big and genuine. When you made him laugh, the poles melted and his personality flipped. His interest in conversation began only when there was a competition of sarcasm, when insults were friendly-fired back and forth, when jokes were made among good company at the expense of some absent person. Under his cold stoneface was a roaring fire of laughter waiting to be ignited, by a good joke, a debilitatingly drunk bar patron, or Richie making an out of character fashion choice.

“I didn’t know it was dress-up day, Ricardo.”

“You forgot your big-boy pants?”

“Is that your father’s sweatervest?”

“Well, come here, son!” Richie was quick to the draw with a slow and white-picket fatherly cadence that sounded like John Wayne. “Let’s talk about your problems with puberty.”

“Hey, Giuls—Mr. Rodgers is coming to the meeting.”

“My sister gave me this shirt. You don’t like this shirt?”

“I know she gave you that shirt. I fucked her same morning she bought it, right after she wrapped it for you.”

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami July 31, 2017 - 11:49am

A white truck moved from Seattle to California in search of better bars, yet finds instead that they had to get to used to the general chillness that carries a definite different meaning from in the Sea hawks state. In California, the only danger is the occasional huge waves that flood the landscape. Yet up in Washington, there is also pollution and volcanoes, though perhaps no droughts. Even in the area in the Eastern portion of the Sea hawk state, their dryness simply doesn't compare to the dryness in California. Rana didn't miss coming from Washington, but still had dreams of moving to California in order to become an actress. Yet at her age she unsure whether she could even get a normal hourly punch clock, let alone a gig a small studio production. Her life was like a losing chess match, with a robotic artificial intelligence. Whenever you try to win, the harder you fail. So she simply stopped trying to win at anything in her life.

From Life Like Wires In Sand.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann August 20, 2017 - 7:24pm

     When he requests from the nurse, “Little privacy?” she only chuffs air through her teeth. “Maybe I'm not creative enough, but what am I supposed to be able to do in here? Hold my mouth open in the shower, dry drown? Slip'n'slide to death?”
     “Honey, you got all the time you need. You ain't gotta be shy. I ain't here. Just don't even think about me.”
     “I've had more privacy in prison with no walls around the toilet.”
     “Well I don't know anything about that.”
     “Is it the walls in here? The tile? Cause there's tile out there and there's walls out there.”
     “I dunno what you gonna do in there. Maybe you gonna take a Little Debbie from one of the Ed girls and let her puke up breakfast in there. I don't know that. I don't know you.”
     “Could you just... You gotta stare right at me? They really tell you that: Stare right at 'em?”
     “Maybe you in here pulling drugs out your ass—I don't know. I don't know you. I don't know your life. I don't know your ass. I know they tell me I don't let you outta my sight. I know I got my paycheck coming for this right here, honey. I know I ain't got my paycheck if your ass goes slip'n'sliding or banging into walls or dry drowning or pulling drugs out your ass and overdosing.”
     “So, what was it? Some nut ruined it for everyone?”
     “I don't know that. I know we keep the toilets locked. I worked here twelve years and we keep all the toilets locked.”
     “I been here before and can't seem to remember locks on the fuckin' toilet.”
     “You been here before in Unit 1 with the Ed girls or you just been here before?”
     “The Ed girls?”
     “ED. Little skinny toothpick girls won't eat nothing, puke it all up. You in Unit 1, you got locks on your toilets. You ain't got locks on your toilet, you ain't been in Unit 1. You been in Unit 1?”
     “Think you answered your own question, hon.”
     “You ain't got locks, you been in 2 or 3 with the depressives or the druggies.”
     “Overcrowding. Too many depressives, too many druggies. You in Unit 1.”
     “I got that.”
     “We can't just go giving keys for whoever's giving pinky promises they won't do nothing.”
     “These girls in here—boys too, skinny cancer looking boys, we got three Ed boys—you got a key, they give you anything to puke in that toilet there.”
     “Jesus Christ. Can you... Just...”
     “You think I don't get everybody asking me to look away, I get everybody asking. These Ed girls, Ed boys, they offer, give you anything.”
     “Just stop talking.”

hagyman85's picture
hagyman85 from AZ. USA is reading Stefan Zweig's novels August 23, 2017 - 1:38am

I'm kinda doing some writings for thesis writing service right now. Thought i can share it.

"Our book surveys are written per your instructions for the reason that we make certain that each step of writing continues to be followed. Some writing companies fail when providing services to students for the reason that they want quick money thus provide poor services that do not help students. Such essay writing services are making students fear purchasing their science essays from online companies since they believe all companies are similar. When you visit our writing company's site, it will be easy to have countless science book reviews papers which are compiled by our writers. We assure our customers that services we provide for them are original and contain no grammar mistakes. If you want essay writing guides to enable you to write for your own personal, our qualified essay writers exist to present you tips, guides and procedures of writing quality book reviews."

TheCurt's picture
TheCurt is reading Armada August 24, 2017 - 11:04am

First post for me- your thoughts will be appreciated if you share them!


Those soft pink slices of lip pressed together, hooking the corner of his mouth into a tight smirk. His coffee brown eyebrows perked up, wrinkling his forehead. Combined with an innocent head tilt, the look became familiar; the type of smile handsome guys like him keep in stock to escape a speeding ticket or coerce an extra scoop of guacamole on their burrito, free of charge.  My mother called it “The Devil’s Smile”, but for me, it went beyond the look. I’d led him to this path, and now, I could only blame myself for the lecherous attention he seemed to save just for me… Goodie, I thought, half in ill conceived desire and half with sarcastic disgust.


Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal August 24, 2017 - 11:27am

What exactly is "sarcastic disgust"?

TheCurt's picture
TheCurt is reading Armada August 24, 2017 - 11:54am

Example: "I'm having a birthday party outside today, but its raining... Oh goodie." I can see here that I'm being sarcastic, but my intent in the excerpt is to go beyond normal sarcasm and demonstrate the contempt my protag is feeling about their own desire/actions.  Re-reading, I can see what you mean and the phrase does seem a little foreign.  Perhaps a change will be in order.


Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal August 25, 2017 - 9:51am

Well the sarcasm is super obvious. The disgust, I think you could actually cut the phrase and get it across, it seems a show vs. tell thing. 

What threw me was not only the phrase "sarcastic disgust" but also the "ill conceived desire" part. It was a lot thrown in there.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann August 28, 2017 - 8:06pm

It didn't throw me. I think it works, and it helped me hear the narrator's tone of voice perfectly and even visualize the look on her(?) face. You also want to treat the end of a sentence as the focal point. The last word should be important. It works to end strong on "disgust". Cutting isn't always good.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann August 28, 2017 - 8:39pm

This is purposely digressive, longwinded, and obtuse. Just fyi.

The ex-convict ex-Marine, though drunk, is not beyond appreciating the kind silence of his coworker [sic] (more accurately, boss and brother-in-law) during the drive from the Rockaway Beach Police Station to the Sundale Center. Though his coworker [sic] (boss and brother-in-law) has now resolved to a much less well-received silence at the family dinner table—the man scrutinizing the earlier dryness of his advice-well during his servitude as bail bondsman and chauffeur to his brother-in-law's rock-bottom—conversely, the ex-convict ex-Marine makes a mental note of thanking a God he is forty-two years divorced from for the earlier silence, which he found easy and empathetic. Said silence was broken only by his coworker (boss and brother-in-law)'s initial, fateful three-word question in the car, “So. Sundale Center?” (to which the ex-convict ex-Marine had nodded), and then only again broken by intake-form-filling advice and benign observations of small ironies and quirks in the Sundale Center's waiting room, whose ambiance new patients and their shepherds typically find too black to see any humor in, but to whom the ex-convict ex-Marine's boss and brother-in-law was no stranger. Having brought his wife there twice during the worst of her alcoholism and anorexia, his son once after the boy had jumped off of a family member's roof and broken his collarbone, and having visited both of them numerous times during those hospitalizations, the boss and brother-in-law did not blink at the blast of the waiting room's dejected, frightening, deeply end-of-one's-rope air. The ex-convict ex-Marine agreeably reflects that, as his coworker [sic] (boss and brother-in-law) pointed out, better words should indeed be chosen for item twelve on the intake form’s symptom list: YOU ARE THINKING OF OR HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE.


One could argue that the thoroughly drunk ex-convict ex-Marine, unlike the revolutionist's daughter and her bandaged wrists, errs more on the side of THINKING OF than HAVE COMMITTED. The ex-convict ex-Marine’s boss and brother-in-law would, however, take up the position that laying one’s head to rest atop a high, steep, rocky ledge overlooking a deep body of water in late autumn weather after a morning of heavy drinking and after having abandoned one's drunk-driven, illegally double-parked luxury vehicle with keys still inside on a nearby street certainly seems to look rather a lot like an attempt to HAVE COMMITTED. This position would be seconded by the two Rockaway Beach stationed NYPD officers whose morning consisted of free donuts, an elusive subway flasher, confused Laotian tourists, discarded needle clean-up, spilled Dunkin' Donuts Old-Fashioned Donut blend coffee necessitating the tedious re-writing of report notes (as well as a change of pants), and then the ex-convict ex-Marine, known to them as a local print-journalism-infamous mobster who, after nearly falling to a watery, hypothermic death, literally insisted on his public drunkenness arrest rather than courting a trip to the emergency room for the suspected attempt to HAVE COMMITTED—who soon realized he could neither bribe nor post bail as he unfortunately did not have on him his wallet, nor his legendarily-thick engraved moneyclip, and also unfortunately due to a state of impressive intoxication was unable to recall any of his bank information or indeed even any phone numbers of family, friends, or counsel, apart from that of his least favorite coworker [sic] (boss and brother-in-law).

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal August 30, 2017 - 9:38pm

It didn't throw me. I think it works, and it helped me hear the narrator's tone of voice perfectly and even visualize the look on her(?) face. You also want to treat the end of a sentence as the focal point. The last word should be important. It works to end strong on "disgust". Cutting isn't always good.

Hmmm... I think disgust is good to keep and sarcastic can go because it's 100% obvious with the word "goodie." 

Although, going with what BW said, are you sure you don't want to end with "ill conceived desire" instead? Because, now that i think about it, the disgust is more obvious than the ill conceived desire. That's the more poignant thing, I think, that's worth saving for the end of the sentence.

Will Bernardara Jr.'s picture
Will Bernardara Jr. from Detroit is reading Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media September 16, 2017 - 10:49pm

Tender Wolves Society (TWS):


Feeder, Ohio. You might be reading a bootleg copy of Zelda Fitzgerald’s unpublished novel, the one she wrote before she burned, look up and see an old man with no arms. Lots of the granddaddies of Feeder are maimed – amputees, the hobbled. Blue collar mutilations from when the town’s factories and plants thrived, churning out goods and grinding off limbs. Pulverized appendages and commerce are and have always been spiritually yoked. Some gramps bowed on a porch chair, perdurably stunned cast to his eyeballs, his right arm concluding at a warped stump – an arm that, fifty-one years ago, got grated into wet, red hamburger in a hungry machine – the shop and its dumb mechanisms calling for a blood libation every now and then; a geezer on crutches, his face an etching of illimitable weariness, hitching along one of Feeder’s gravel roads, his left foot a flattened nub – crushed, stamped off by a mindless, steel-pounding hulk of gears and presses. The children’s children of these mangled workers don’t toil in foundries or mills – these edifices are now shuttered and disintegrating, the carnivorous equipment long sold, scrapped or atrophied, the tumult of production gone offshore – no – the children belong to the gloom and scrounge, the acquisition, sale, and manufacture of methamphetamine, which, in its relentless drudgery and somatic toll, is really just another kind of factory. Feeder folk echo the ruin of the plants and mills, and vice versa – the people are the wasting buildings; the buildings are the demolished population. 

Sheri Attani Rohrbacher's picture
Sheri Attani Ro... from San Jose, CA is reading The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt September 21, 2017 - 9:42pm

From "Ain't No Sunshine"

When I emerged from the interview room, everyone had vanished. I searched for someone to explain what had happened but I saw no one until the military swept in and seized me. Hundreds of us ended up in an old airship hanger. All science and technology people. We gave up asking for an explanation months ago. Questions about our loved ones were always met with silence. I’ve heard whispers of escape plans but they never came to fruition. We sleep in cots. We eat when they bring us food. I’ve seen fog near the ceiling. 
I haven’t heard from Sabine since I sat texting outside the office door waiting for my interview. She’d sent a thumbs up. I sent her hearts. They took my phone. They took all our devices. I haven’t left the hanger in nine months and twenty-two days.

Christopher M Rigby's picture
Christopher M Rigby from Auckland, New Zealand is reading On Writing, by Stephen King October 17, 2017 - 9:10pm

This is the opening paragraph, and also all that exists from my autobiography that may or may not ever be written.

I was around 3 years old. Out behind the carport at my first family home in Johnsonville, I pissed on my fingers. Then placed them in my mouth to find out its taste.  After experiencing the salty bitterness, I looked up to the sky and thought to myself “Is all this real, or does it only exist in my own mind?”.   I then went about planning my next experiment - What did my poo taste like?

Christopher M Rigby's picture
Christopher M Rigby from Auckland, New Zealand is reading On Writing, by Stephen King November 9, 2017 - 1:39pm

Another paragraph from the same collection my previous one came from.

I had an ex try to murder me once. She tried to smother me with a pillow in my sleep. Only reason I found out was the next night, when she tried to start one of her midnight nonsensical psycho arguments. She told me “I tried to kill you last night by putting a pillow over your head. Then when you didn’t stop breathing and stayed asleep, I burst out into tears”.  From memory, her motive was because I fell asleep during the previous night’s nonsensical psycho argument.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal November 13, 2017 - 10:36pm

Oh, wow, I forgot about this thread. Let me see, let me see...

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal November 13, 2017 - 11:08pm

Pretty rough, but...


I follow his eyes back to where the silo was. But the silo's gone. Something huge is there now. It’s a tower. Ten times as big in diameter at least. I gaze upward. The tower stretches into the sky, farther than I can see. I think it reaches outer space.

Christopher M Rigby's picture
Christopher M Rigby from Auckland, New Zealand is reading On Writing, by Stephen King November 14, 2017 - 1:29pm

^^^This is cool!  It's a dream sequence?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal November 15, 2017 - 8:56am


Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel November 16, 2017 - 10:36pm

She gave birth to me and died on that table. The blood slipped from her body and found its way to pool on the floor drip by drip. Her heart could take no more pain. My father grabbed me and stared into shit-brown eyes and knew me. He met men like me during the war. They were men of violence and pain and always would be. I always would be.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann December 16, 2017 - 6:47pm

I love it, Jose. Thanks for sharing.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien February 16, 2018 - 3:08am

More than a paragraph, but the last thing I wrote/edited. (About a guy with an armpit fetish) ;-)

Rory had stopped by, but Bobby wasn’t home. He was almost out the back door when Jet stepped from the bathroom wrapped in a white towel. She stood sideways in the narrow corridor, adjusting the towel at her hips, pinching it closed at her breast between forefinger and thumb. Whoa! Rory rocked back on his heels.

Jet’s profile in the half-light of the hallway could have fallen from the pages of an Art History book Rory’s mother once owned. As a child, he'd spent many rainy afternoons paging through photos of oil paintings his mom said, “hung in Europe’s finest galleries.”

He'd get up on a chair and need both hands to lift the oversized volume from the shelf, carrying it to a spot on the carpet next to the heat vent, its dry blown air comforting against the outside damp. He’d start at the beginning, but soon the excitement would swell and he’d race to his favorite page.

A woman stood sideways in a doorway. She wore a white sleeveless low cut summer dress and held both arms behind her head, fingers laced, stretching as if waking from sleep. Muted yellows and blues enhanced the soft contours of her face, and a light flash of green mossed her shoulder, commanding one’s eye to the pale skin along the tender side of her arm. Rory’s gaze would travel from the stark raised elbow to the armpit’s light tufts, then down to the elliptical slope of the breast. Back up to the pit, then the elbow, and down again to the breast, always linking the three, trying to comprehend the femininity divulged in this single exquisite passage.

Rory did not see Bobby’s little sister that day in the hallway. He saw a young woman, tall and elegant, a woman that any French painter with oils and canvas and brush would be thrilled to render. And for the first time Rory’s promise to Bobby carried more like fear than loyalty. It had been an easy vow to make; it would not stay easy.

Jet's head turned towards the kitchen. Rory's cheeks flushed. His hand on the doorknob tensed, pulse throbing through the wrist and fingers. He dropped his eyes.

“Um…uh…hey Jet.”
“Hey Roar. Bobby’s at Jewels gettin’ groceries.”
“Yeah, your mom said. I’ll catch him later.”
“Hey, not so fast!”

Now it was her turn to stare. Jet studied Rory nose to toes, while the boy did his best to look cool: head banged to one side, a vandal’s smile and the doorknob twisted so the veins popped.

“Don’t leave.” She said.
“Yeah. Gimme a minute to get dressed, OK?”

Rory went to the living room where Mrs. B. was watching a soap opera. He grabbed the sports section. Sports were good; the comics in back even better. Jet had left the bedroom door cracked. Rory could hear her moving around in the room. It was weird how she’d looked at him, like she was deciding on lunch. As he finished Sports and flipped to Comics Rory heard Jet call through the cracked door, her light voice pitched for his ears only.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien February 3, 2018 - 4:48pm

Monkey was a hard little Irish kid with a square head and a smashed-in face, one that might pop up out of a child’s Jack In The Box. He'd moved to the neighborhood from Canaryville, carrying all of 43rd Street’s chips on his shoulder. In school he picked on the biggest classmates, rising on toes to slap unexpectedly, stinging their cheeks and watering their eyes, pushing his flat nose up as close as the tiny legs allowed, praying for a slap back. Outside of school Monkey terrorized everyone. He’d once spray-painted “Rory Sucks” on the side of the boy's house. No one saw Monkey do it, no one had to. He’d spelled Rory, "Roary," a mistake so Monkeyesque it coulda been fingerprints.

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damsaddm from Pakistan is reading Newspaper February 16, 2018 - 10:54am

It is very interesting to write anything you want and just make a paragraph. I love the idea. By the way, I am the full-time freelance graphic designer. I work from home. I am making a habit of writing. I love reading and want to be a professional writer.

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Sarah DarknStor... from Melbourne, Australia is reading Mockingbird - Chuck Wendig and The Fire in Fiction - Donald Maass (plus about 3 or 4 other 'guilty pleasures.' March 31, 2018 - 11:06pm

It's been awhile since I've been back here. Thought I'd share just a little something something.


And then he ordered the shots.
Not the good stuff that warms you like a slow, full body orgasm, but the cheap and nasty, rot you before it drops you shit.
The kind that will either leave you peeling your face off the bathroom floor or waking up in some stranger’s car.

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L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami May 8, 2018 - 7:38pm

From Metadata Biometric:

Biometric Meta-data, data about biological and biographical information. It transcends the individuals ability to change their digital and physical fingerprints. Collected from multiple samples, various reports about ones name, background, and other identifying characteristics are collected when one is least suspecting. Locked into a drop box database, guarded by the deepest of government funded projects, such information is changed at a moments notice. In old spy movies, people would change the color of their eyebrows and hair so as to look like a different person on first glance.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 19, 2018 - 11:59am

Been a while...


NAME1 frowned. “I forgot, what was his name again?”
“Alright, you made your-”
“Maybe your husband remembers,” NAME1 went on, sounding more like her father than she cared to admit. “They were best friends in comp school, weren’t they?”
Alright! Just tell me what you need.”
NAME1 handed NAME2 her tablet, displaying the serial of a communications hub. “Get me into that.”

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal July 14, 2018 - 5:47pm

Anyone else writing anything these days?


"Get your phone!"

NAME's voice. Her phone was buzzing? Goddammit... She rolled over and reached in the darkness, slapping the nightstand until she found the thing. Only ccertain numbers were allowed through her do-not-disturb this late. Her eyes shot open at the message alert.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann July 21, 2018 - 6:22pm


It's after my dog doesn't bark anymore when I open the garage and there’s no Audi to park next to. The kid is gone and the car stinks like vomit and Tina’s perfume, cookie perfume and stripper sweat and vomit, and I can’t remember and the kid is gone but one of his shoes isn’t gone. One of his shoes isn’t gone and then the tequila bottle, more tequila, and the tequila bottle and beer bottles fall out, I can’t remember beer bottles, and the bottles roll down my driveway. The car is diagonal and the passenger mirror is gone. The neighbor’s dog is barking and my dog isn’t barking and I have my gun cause my dog isn’t barking, and my fuckin driveway hurts my fuckin knees, feels like I was pushed, and I have my gun cause my dog isn’t barking. The neighbor’s dog is barking and I’m not a dog killer, not no fuckin psycho dog killer, but my dog isn’t barking and fuck your goddamn mailbox, fuck your gnome, fuck your birdbath with the fuckin birds six in the morning. Shrapnel into a kid’s eye once… An accident… Never touched a dog. Never a dog. And then there’s lights on and there’s the dog barking louder and there’s bottles rolled down my driveway, spent shells rolling down my driveway—that fuckin sound, shells, metal dinner-bell ring shells, Clarence gets his wings shells, and then like that there’s bombs falling, there’s fire in the sky, there’s shapes in the dark, they’re hiding in the dark, there’s jungle heat stink and gunpowder blitz lights, the imprints on the dark under my eyes, neon glitzy imprints on the dark under my eyes, they’re hiding in the dark, and I hit my knees on concrete again and I feel like I was pushed, threatened, my brain lights on fire with this feeling like somebody did it to me, like Jeanne did it or somebody did it, but I did it, it was me, I fell, I did it. I hit my knees on concrete, I hit my knees and I’m in mud and then it’s half empty garage and wires where there should be mirror and the door in from the garage and the stairs up into the house and the rug under the shoes at the bottom of the stairs—the rug that my dog chews to rope toy shreds when I’m late coming home, that he should be here on the floor chewing to rope toy shreds, he should be here and he should be angry I’m late and he should be chewing, when I open the door chewing and then running away to the top of the stairs and looking guilty down at me with carpet shreds in the drool off his jowls at the top of the stairs. And I try to go up the stairs and I can’t go up the stairs, the stairs are moving, fuck these stairs, fuck these stairs, the stairs hurt my knees, the floor hurts my fuckin everything, every shape I see is the dog, I keep looking for the dog and the dog is dead, and then it’s out the door, out the garage, on my front lawn, ignoring shells down the slope, ignoring shells and bottles sparkling in the wet street, out on my front lawn and then to the fuckin door, fuckin useless front door, and there’s too many locks, they’re hiding in the dark, I can’t get the fuckin door unlocked, I can’t, I can’t unlock it, they’re hiding in the dark and they’re coming and I can’t unlock it.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann July 23, 2018 - 6:07am

More stuff. I'm moving. I hate moving. Everything's in boxes and I can't focus.


Blinding, teeth-gritting, nose-burning, eye-watering pain convalesces in thousand-fathom deep sea pressure over my left eyebrow. Volcanic gravity bears down on my temple and the top of my eye socket—molten titanic rock on a bone cave—then reverberates out in stinging vibrations all the way into my nostrils. I can’t see. My heart spins, spins blades, whips up into my lungs. I can’t speak. When the ink-black and blotter-red flow out of my vision, when sight floods back, rolling on the pavement in front of me is a glass coke bottle. Red label; cracked and wet red at the neck.

The bottle stops at my sneaker.

Somebody’s laughing.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann October 14, 2018 - 6:28pm

Throwing more words to the void and feeling as "why write" as ever...

Johnny Aceto is, all things considered, mediocre. There is nothing special about him, morally, statistically. He’s a C student. He likes whitebread sandwiches and his dad’s sports teams. He’s the center on the football team, at which he’s not bad. His parents come to his games sometimes. He and AJ play street hockey outside AJ’s house when they’re bored, at which he’s also not bad but loses as much as he wins. He’s casually mean to his little sister as a matter of social expectation. He gets mildly annoyed when people pronounce the C in his last name with a soft ceh instead of a chay, which is often. He’s Christian but he fakes sick on Sundays to get out of church. He’s never read the Bible. He doesn’t have a favorite book. He bites his pencil and pulls his bottom lip down with the eraser when he’s pretending to pay attention in class. His eyes glaze over whenever Mrs. Davis writes dates on the blackboard for us to memorize. When she asked him to name a historical hero of his last week, he answered, “Sherlock Holmes.” He can’t sing but does it anyway if there’s a song stuck in his head. He thinks Smash Mouth is a really great band. If he wears his Mets baseball cap, it’s backwards. He pronounces especially with an X and uses supposively as a word. It never used to be his idea to call me a faggot or accost me in hallways, but if his friends were doing it, his participation was best described as empty mirroring—the empty mirroring of a chimp who sees all his chimp friends fervently hitting a particular tree with sticks for some reason, so he grabs a stick of his own and joins in with a few taps to the trunk and a chimpy, open-mouthed am I doing it right grin. Whereas AJ enjoys daily stretching the limits of his destructive creative capacity, challenging himself any time he sees me to make novel phallic innuendo out of the most unlikely references and to tell me by what new, imaginative method I should kill myself for being gay (often involving whatever’s in my hand at the time), Johnny has never strayed outside the complexities of tacking “fag” onto words of greeting or parting. And he used to only bother with it when his friends were around. When they were absent, I became Nordivino instead of fag and he didn’t seem to remember that he had any reason to insult me or that I had any reason to resent him.

Johnny Aceto is unremarkable in every conceivable way, except that he’s had the freakish genetic fortune of somehow inheriting from his cackling reptilian mom and terrifying, dead-eyed dad the ideal Western standard of masculine facial symmetry and proportionality. Johnny Aceto is the stuff of newly bought picture frames, suburban clothing catalogues, and boyband album covers. He has the kind of face that makes newborns smile. The kind of face that’s beguiled almost every girl at our school into believing it must house an inner emotional life matching its beauty. Solely by the unconscious effort of the believer and by no conscious effort or design on Johnny’s part, because Johnny’s head is empty.

I can’t be much smarter: I know he’s a moron and my days still lead up to the two-hour block of second period Civics and then Literature with Mrs. Davis, where I sit diagonal from him and spend most of my time staring at the three-quarters profile of the back of his head. When he’s called on in class, I look forward to every word he’s forced to contribute between his daydreaming out the window and carving teeth marks into his pencils. If it’s within the realm of possibility, I’ll make him sound like less of an idiot by building my comments off his—probably in the hopes of flattering him. The sound of his voice in class or down the hall or across the football field makes the color red a crawling, tactile sensation in my skin. The weight of his eyes on me makes my stomach tie itself in breathless, gymnast knots. If he says what’s up, Nordivino as a passing hello in the hall, my circulatory system kicks on like I’m being chased by a lion. My jaw won’t unlock to respond. I’m compelled on the one hand to follow him, find ways to run into him, plan every word I might need to say to him; and on the other to avoid our ever crossing paths, say nothing to him, seek out multiple avenues of escape whenever and wherever I might see him. Mediocre Johnny Aceto is the reason I play football and the reason I skip football practice. I throw up regularly beforehand agonizing over the moment I’ll have to hover behind him bent over in front of me before he hikes the ball. I have somehow become our school’s quarterback because I wanted another excuse to see him, and I keep playing—a sport that I hate—because it’s the only time he ever positively acknowledges my existence. If you can call amicable headbutting and animalistic celebratory screams positive acknowledgment.

R.U. Sirius's picture
R.U. Sirius from Mill Valley California is reading Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber, Born To Be Posthumous by Mark Dery October 23, 2018 - 11:02am

From Freaks In The Machine: MONDO 2000 in 20th Century Tech Culture (nonfiction...ish)


Identity seems to be everything today.   I mean, clearly, the planet is starting to bake; internationality is both festering and fragmenting, fascist memes are a rising tide; the cyber revolution we lusted after in the ‘90s is an intimate all-spying control mechanism that is failing to control and the scale of wealth and ownership by a small elite is unprecedented in its extreme even going back to the days of kings, nobles and serfs. But representation is (too) important. Identity is king (gendered!). Representation is the opiate of the masses. But what the hell. I’m reasonably fond of opiates, used on occasion and with care. So this narrative is going to plant the freak flag.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien October 27, 2018 - 11:17pm

From a memoir called "Remembering Mr. Frano."

One day I ran across the street to help our friend Steve, landed a lucky punch and the kids scattered. Steve and I decided to work the rest of the block together, on the same side of the street, heads on swivels, eyes wide...

We finished four city blocks quickly, then doubled back to work the other side of the street. When Mr. Frano came by, we were not where he’d told us to be. We were blocks away, walking in the wrong direction. Mr. Frano knew instinctively what had happened. He came barreling down the street. 

"You boys OK?"

When you finished your route and were out of fliers (Mr. Frano was a genius at knowing how many you’d need) you and your partner would walk to a Mom & Pop store under the El tracks, plop down 12 cents for a soda, go back outside, sit on the corner and crack-up over how you’d just mauled your way down the block.

"Did you see the look on Goober's face when you punched him? Almost knocked out his only tooth!"

Soda would spew out your nose. You'd hang your spit halfway to the ground in long, juicy sugar-strands. Life was good. God was in his garden, growing boys.

Mr. Frano would pull up in front of the store. You and your partner would pile into the station wagon, talking to the other kids about the challenges they'd faced on their routes, wondering where you were headed next. And it was never long before you were unloaded onto a new corner, fliers in hand, ready to take on whatever was waiting.

Finally, as the afternoon shadows grew and the Cubs racked up another loss, or in football season when it was already dark, Mr. Frano would roll down the backstreets picking up his crew.

• Nobody's parents ever met Mr. Frano
• Nobody's parents knew who he was
• Nobody asked what he looked like
• Nobody knew what kind of car he drove

I imagine some parents had seen the "Matthews Roofing Company" fliers. But all they really knew about the man who took their children off into the distance was that he always returned them.


Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 27, 2018 - 6:01pm

We should rename this thread post-a-passage.

“Look…” His tone sounded more empathetic. “I don’t have many details on this one, they’re really playing it tight to the chest. But I’m hearing the word traitor. He’s supposed to be arrested.” He paused before adding, “Tonight.”

She sat up straight. “Where?”

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann December 1, 2018 - 1:12pm

It's probably my fault. I'm not sorry.

      That’s his every word now.
      No casual, non-committal shortform. We’re done with fag. Full on bi-syllabic trochee, malleting the G’s and T’s, bat-swing pop, hey, faggot! homerunning the syllables down locker rows at me in front of teachers. Hey, faggot! echoing through every shower stall to find me. The coward’s taunt: Faggot: it’s got that little retreat at the end. A nagging, an annoyance. A towel-snap and run. A coke bottle thrown from far away. Something to hurl in passing. Nothing like Finook. Iambs end on the punch. That’s the leather crack of the whip in store for me when I get home: You’re some kinda finook? A word that takes a bite out of you the honest Sicilian way. It gets your attention first before it cracks you in the face. You—yeah, you. Finook. Blinding, stunning, biting. Faggot. Hitting, hurrying away, leaving you bleeding, leaving you looking: who threw that? Endless cowardly hit and run heckling in the halls, in the locker room, on the field, in the lunchroom, on the bus home.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann December 17, 2018 - 7:41am

The ex-convict ex-Marine, once alone, burns with grief and longing for his wife, who throughout their marriage nightly bore witness to the terror of his dreams, the seizing horror of his dreams. His wife who had never let show any anger or annoyance at being woken by the physicality of his dreaming, who was only glad to retrieve him from nightmares, who knew from her Marine Sergeant father’s nightmares to never wake him, who would instead stroke his hair and hold him (her smallness alongside his tallness looking more as though a monkey clung to his back), whispering to him sweetly, redirecting his dreams to softer things. His now—he tells himself—ex-wife, whom he no longer wakes up next to. He burns with the same grief and remorse and irrevocable emptiness that haunt the remembrance of his dead friends, his dead first love, his dead mother, brother, father. The sensation of this grief is located in his chest cavity. It exceeds words. It is indescribably large: of burning and longing that have physical heft, weight, shape, larger than their vessel. And yet the feeling of this too-large pain is less of an ostensible, physical thing and more the absence of one. An absence with heft, weight, shape. A void larger than the chest cavity. The phantom feel of something that once was; the absence of feelings that once made him full. And distinct burning. It is a hot void, too hot to touch, too large for the heart, too large for the chest, which spills up into the throat, which threatens to collapse the lungs and burst the heart, to take their place and never leave, never fade, never fill with anything again. The ex-convict ex-Marine feels this thing, this non-thing, this amputation, this absence burning his chest and singeing his throat and cringing his face, and he cries as he cried in his dream. He cries an overwhelming rush of tears: a drip ignored for a lifetime, withheld, collected and swelled to an ocean, kept hidden behind fortress walls that have now rotted and crumbled from damp. He cries, longing and hopeless and endless, feeling everything he’s wished to never feel—a bottomless reserve of pain. He cries and has only his sterile psychiatric hospital pillow to hold. Not for masculinity, not for shame’s sake, not for the hour of the night nor the volume of his voice is he able to stop crying, not alone and not upon Geoffrey’s return. The ex-convict ex-Marine cries and hides his face and feels as though he tries to plug a burst fire hydrant with his hands.

Tucson's picture
Tucson from Belgium is reading Late Essays - J.M. Coetzee December 20, 2018 - 7:16am

There was one interesting object present at the university. Elisabeth. It was she who had come to him and make some small talk.

He was bad with  names and beginnings, so ni the first weeks after his approval, he hadn't remembered names and who he'd be supposed to know and with whom it was ok to ask their names again. He'd avoided talks, hoping that this way he'd no longer be seen as 'new', but instead to mingle in with the browness of his workspace.

'I'm Elisabeth,' she said.

'Adam.' He took the hand she'd offered him and held in his masculinity by not pinching or holding her hand too firmly. It's hard to shake hands properly. He stared at her hand. It was yellowy, almost white, and skinny, but he liked it. There was just enough flesh to cover up her bones.


Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien January 3, 2019 - 8:45pm

I can talk anybody into anything. If we're at your house and I need smokes, I can talk you into raiding your mom’s purse or your dad’s open pack, even if you don’t smoke at all. If I need a buck forty to make the five-fifty for a burger and fries, I can talk any customer in the store into a single and four dimes, and sometimes even an extra two-fifty for a milk shake. If I feel like cutting school and shooting hoop, I can talk you and your little brother into taking the day with me. But I’ll tell you when I finally learned to stop talking people into doing shit they didn’t really wanna do; it was the day I talked Joey Lester into going snake hunting.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 26, 2018 - 11:33pm

^Very nice.