“Crime and Punishment” / Memorable Fancies #825

         Politely, now, we allow those guilty of crimes to pay us money, or sit in a prison cell, or be exposed to public humiliation, as symbols of the sudden justice we would like to wreak upon them but now, by law, cannot.         But we remember: it was blood, back in the old days. Blood. Nothing else could atone for crimes, for ripping the fabric of society. And perhaps that’s still true even now, when we feel that money or imprisonment or shame doesn’t quite meet our frantic passions, … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #818

The loudspeaker and the loud speaker – they use the same words – but from one of them the meaning itself sounds … what? more insistent, more invasive? # Thy will be done – thy will! The nodding, cunning gods, we thought they wanted prayer from us, contrition, maybe even Love – but no, that was all for show. They wanted our souls — to gorge on. # [“‘Thinking of him’ is as it were nailing him with my thought.” – Wittgenstein] Yes, I have him now. Another butterfly for my collection. … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #812

I’m old enough that no one listens, so I have the pleasure of telling one great lie after another. – Especially to myself. # “Rats deprived of sleep die within weeks.” [Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2013] Those who torture the rats, however, sleep well. # Data seduced by the first man who comes along and tells them their true nature is Information and only he can draw it out, reveal their true Meaning. # The words break down into letters, letters into undramatic forms I don’t … [Read more...]

“This Place” / Memorable Fancies #791

[Reminder: on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 7pm, I will be reading/signing my new short story collection at One More Page Books (onemorepagebooks.com). Complimentary wine, fun, fiction, and friends!]        Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m free, able to do something that could surprise me. But there are no surprises in this place.        Once there was nothing. There could have been a different something, but when there was finally something there was only that one something, What Is. The time … [Read more...]

“Leaving” / Memorable Fancies #788

[“Sometimes I forget which is my shadow and which is your shadow” – Roberto Bolaño]         Our shadows merge when I embrace you. I’ve always noticed this with pleasure, even remarked on it a few times. You didn’t seem to find it romantic or even amusing, but I did.        One day when we were together I saw your shadow leaving. <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social … [Read more...]

“Cross Words” / Memorable Fancies #774

[“A kind of writing in which the crossed-out word, the crossed-out sentence, is a sign.” – Wittgenstein] Civilization suffered a setback when the BACK button was invented. It’s possible without the BACK button to delete the words you keyed in haste and an instant later regretted, but it’s not as convenient. We would know much more about each other if our crossed-out words of impatience, doubt, frustration, and annoyance were to remain, still there as the soothing afterthoughts appear, … [Read more...]

“Nothing” / Memorable Fancies #767

[“A tear of no particular meaning...” – Nabokov]      “What are you crying about?” he asks. “Nothing,” she says. He thinks that “nothing” is her way of avoiding the subject – any subject. He is sorely disappointed that she is not communicating with him.      Actually, “nothing” was exactly what she meant, what she wanted him to understand. <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social … [Read more...]

“Letters” / Memorable Fancies #760

      It hurts me to sit and stare at her letter, lying there unopened on my table. But if I were to open it, reading what she has to say might hurt a lot more. As it is, I preserve my options. The letter says nothing until I open it. Yes, that’s it. Until I read it, the letter could say anything, like some quantum bit. Until I open it, it can tell me what I want to hear. So I will not open it.       And my letter to her; is she staring at it, right now? <END> THE WEDNESDAY … [Read more...]

“Cinema Vérité” / Memorable Fancies #753

         The famous director picked Kathy to star in his next feature film. During the script read-through, Kathy discovered things about herself: what her past life should have been – or perhaps what it had been – or what she had been mistaken about all this time.        Why had the director chosen her, just her, for the role? She asked him. He smiled. “It’s working,” he said. <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, … [Read more...]

“Ida” / Memorable Fancies #739

[“Ida decided that she was just going to talk to herself.” – Gertrude Stein]      “I’ve decided,” said Ida to herself, “that I will talk only to myself from now on. I used to speak with Gertrude, but I never could understand her and after a while it just got boring especially as she was always talking to her own self and sometimes I ended up sounding exactly like her which I just HATED.” <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]

“Taste” / Memorable Fancies #732

      Survivors of the disastrous meteor strike barricaded themselves in forts, lived in giant public compounds where secret murders would be impossible. When the danger of mass starvation became too great, a portion of the refugee population was slaughtered by lottery, and a few volunteered, to be fed to the survivors. It was terrible, revolting, don’t think about it - but it was either that or all would die.      And that’s how it began, how we developed a taste for … not … [Read more...]

“Tommy’s Problem with Shadows” / Memorable Fancies #725

[“And where are you going / That you take no shadow? – W.S. Merwin]      Tommy’s problem was that he cast no shadow. His classmates in grade school took turns following him and laughing and calling him names, chanting “Vampire! Vampire!” until the Human Sensitivity Office got involved and forced the children to apologize, which of course made them even more hostile to Tommy, made his life even more miserable.      Specialists were called. Sadly, they told Tommy’s mom and dad that his rare … [Read more...]

“Getting Around” / Memorable Fancies #718

[“... an accrual of phantom limbs” – Kathleen Stewart]       Yes, losing a leg in that car crash last summer was bad, although I’m doing a lot better know, learning how to get around without too much trouble. When I woke up in the hospital, back then, I did have the “phantom limb” sensation – that my leg was still there. The docs said don’t worry, that’s a common experience, harmless.      But the last few days now, I’ve been feeling that I have more than one phantom limb. Five more, in … [Read more...]

“Trek” / Memorable Fancies #711

     A long trek through the desert; several died but at last we found a fertile land, well watered and green. There were houses, streets, businesses; but all had been abandoned. Not deserted in a hurry, but … as if everyone had just left for some very ordinary purpose and never came back. Where did they go? Why? We found no answers to these questions.      Anyway, we settled in and were content for several years. And then one of us left one ordinary day, and then others, and then the … [Read more...]