“An Author’s Fate” / Memorable Fancies #1697

[“...obscure and neglected authors, most of whom have gone mad or mysteriously disappeared.” – Eugene Thacker] In his madness the author became his novel. He was marked down from the value he thought he had. Then remaindered. Then pulped. [below: an obscure author reading from his work at One More Page Books, Arlington, Virginia] … [Read more...]

“Danger” / Memorable Fancies #826

     I planned to write a firm and alarming op-ed on the dangers of illiteracy. One public official I interviewed agreed with me that widespread illiteracy is a threat to the republic and the flag for which it stands, but he added that widespread literacy was an even greater threat. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social websites. IN SEARCH OF A PUBLISHER: “One Kind of Madness” – the … [Read more...]

“Drum-Beat” / Memorable Fancies #813

“Mr. Schnitt, the prosecutor begins quietly, “please tell the court where you were on the night of February 12th.” Later, there is no quiet. “Why did you tell the police that you were...”;      “Deep knife wounds consistent with...”;      “...had followed her for several days, isn’t that what you’ve just testified?”;      “...ordered to stop, but you...”;   “Isn’t that right, Mr. Schnitt! Didn’t all of that happen?” Schnitt covers his ears with his hands, but his palm-flesh … [Read more...]

“Laughter” / Memorable Fancies #775

[“...a convulsive laughter without joy, full of dread.” – Hugues Le Roux]     The Leader is about to tell a joke. We know from his slight smile, from the way he holds his lips and cocks his eyebrows, that he is about to tell a joke. That joke. He has only one. Since we all laugh heartily every time he tells it, it’s the only joke he needs.        Sometimes I think he knows what he’s doing to us, how he toys with us, how the joke’s on us. But we are still alive, still laughing, roaring with … [Read more...]

“At Midnight” / Memorable Fancies #768

[“...and the radio / at midnight / saying only that something’s gone wrong...” – Roberto Bolaño]        Something happened, said the radio excitedly. Stay in your homes. Close the blinds. Cover your heads with pillows. Shiver uncontrollably. If there’s a knock at the door do not answer it. If there’s a voice from outside, a very young voice pitifully calling “Come outside, Mommy Mommy, help me!” for God’s sake do not go outside! Play dead. While you’re still just … [Read more...]

“Forgetting the Forgettery” / Memorable Fancies #761

           Sallie went to the Forgettery. She told the them that she wanted to forget all the times she’d shamed herself in front of her friends and lovers. “Fine,” the clinician said, “we can do that.”          Then Sallie had second thoughts. “Look,” she said, “those people will still have their own memories of what I did. They will look at me oddly, head-atilt, and say ‘Don’t you remember the time that you...?’ or worse, they will look at me and say nothing. Probably the latter, and I will … [Read more...]

“My Portrait” / Memorable Fancies #754

     My portrait has been painted. Not a good likeness, not very artistic; but then, my relatively lowly position does not warrant either. The Service did, however, provide an impressive gilt frame, and the artist painted me in a uniform I hadn’t quite earned.      Now I’m taking painting lessons from the local art school so I can add to my portrait medals, honors, a sword, wounds earned in war, a higher rank warranting a better artist. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you liked … [Read more...]

“The Inventory of Shadows” / Memorable Fancies #747

     The king of Umbrolia ordered that an inventory of shadows be made. The royal aides assigned to this task found it frustrating, as people went into and out of the sunlight, as the sun rose and set and shadows became longer and shorter, disappeared for several hours at a time.      Contention arose among the aides. Some ridiculed the project. Some questioned the purpose of the king’s order. It was all make-work, they said. It would lead to greater taxation, others hinted, as a citizen … [Read more...]

“The Dream-Prizes” / Memorable Fancies #746

    There were weekly competitions for the most interesting dreams, or the most daring. Prizes were awarded. Several weeks in a row, Sylvia Norton won. There were jealous rumors that Sylvia was making these dreams up, hadn’t really had them, that her dreams were all fiction and sounded suspiciously like the latest popular novels.        Officials were appointed to look into the matter. They dreamed that she’d made them up, and disqualified her. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you … [Read more...]

“Book” / Memorable Fancies #745

[“Things don’t know their names.” – George Oppen] “Book,” said the book. “Book,” said a second book, adding “and I’m the real one.” “Book,” said the first book to the second book, “is my name. If you want to be Book as well, you will have to be ‘Book-2,’ or some less consequential number; or perhaps just ‘Pamphlet,’ if you don’t shut up.” “Library” said the second book. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, … [Read more...]

“Histories” / Memorable Fancies #740

[“Bussoftlhee, mememormee!” – Finnegan’s Wake]      Those responsible for remembering the history of our tribe were the very old ones, those who told stories around the campfire. But they often disagreed among themselves as to what had happened, who had done what, if a god was to blame, if so which one, and so on.      So we decided to vote on which old one’s memory was correct, and which others were the products of wishful thinking or doddering minds.      We made use of this process … [Read more...]

“The Crash” / Memorable Fancies #733

Ben Wallace wakes up in a hospital bed, tells the doctor he doesn’t remember anything about the car crash they told him about, doesn’t even remember much about his life, or even if he’s married. The doctor smiles, tells Ben his memory will slowly return. A woman named Amanda visits him, hugs him, says the kids are fine but worried about you, the boss says take as much time as you need to recover. Ben doesn’t remember her, but, he thinks, he will someday, and he will remember their children … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs” / Memorable Fancies #719

If everyone is cheating, then cheating is the rule. Therefore no one is cheating, except one who does not. # Time to hide. We must hide. Right now! But from what? If we knew that, perhaps we wouldn’t need to hide. # The god is edgy today. It seems to be angry with its slow acolytes, or perhaps with their mispronunciations of its name. SMITE, it mutters, SMITE! # The body is the mind’s avatar. # [“…loved a young man and traced the outline of his shadow on a wall.” – Albert … [Read more...]

“The Program” / Memorable Fancies #712

[“No longer ask me for my program.” – E.M. Cioran]       How would I know how I’m programmed? I’m just a machine. Something quite new to me could happen at any time. Some chance event and suddenly I’m acting in a way I didn’t expect. I would like to blame someone else for these surprises. But my subroutines are me, and so I have only myself to blame whatever I do, even if my acts astound me and even if the engineers put them there when I was having downtime and wasn’t looking.      I only … [Read more...]