And STILL More From “Money As a Weapons System” (Story # 5 in Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT)

The title’s a little too obvious. The story itself is layered with irony. It’s all about how American good intentions are worthless. (“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” a quote from who, self knows not, but you’re welcome)

The narrator is an adviser who gets sent to Iraq as part of the Rebuilding. Shortly after his arrival (via helicopter, a true gift from above!), he has this conversation:

“Cindy’s a true believer . . . “

“What is she working on?”

“She’s our womens initiative adviser,” said Bob. “She used to be on a local school board back in wherever the fuck she’s from. Kansas or Idaho or something. She handles our women’s business association, and she’s starting an agricultural project for widows.”

“She knows about farming?” I said hopefully.

“Nope, but I taught her how to google.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 20 March 2017

DSCN1136

Niall Leavy Brochure from a 2009 Exhibit Called “Inner Light”; copy of self’s book Mayor of the Roses: Stories, Miami University Press

Niall was here last year. Saw his work at Open Studio at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

At the opposite end of the table, self’s book from Miami University Press (There’s another story collection that came after this one: The Lost Language. Self’s Dearest Mum gave copies to all her friends as a Christmas present, but painstakingly tore out all the stories she didn’t like, lol)

You will notice that today the writing table is square. That’s because there are two of them in her unit, and she switches back and forth between them, depending on her need for the scissors, lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 15 March 2017

Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Scissors are EXTREMELY important for any writing endeavour.

For the cut and paste.

You may also notice that there is a new book on the table: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. Yes, self finished Montcalm and Wolfe last night. The Battle of Quebec was a sniffle at the very end, followed by the downfall of perhaps the greatest statesman England has ever known, Pitt. And then self skimmed over the last dozen pages.

And the Oxford English Dictionary word of the day is — drumroll, please — VAMPIRE!

  • A vampire is a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long, pointed, canine teeth.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Impregnable Quebec: MONTCALM AND WOLFE, pp 531 – 532

At this point, with less than a hundred pages to go, the Battle for Quebec is finally, apparently going to happen.

Quebec’s location requires the British forces to storm uphill. It’s bad enough they have to storm at all, but — uphill?

To make things worse, Wolfe, the British commander, is taken ill (almost on the eve of the attack, of all the bloody ##@@!!) and has to stay in bed for five days.

Meanwhile, the French have planted small detachments (with cannon. And guns) on each declivity. So that once the British get through one line of fire, they’re met by another. All coming from above.

But the British have to attack because: 1) winter is approaching; 2) months in the Canadian wilderness have significantly weakened the British Army. Wolfe, the British commander, knows it’s now or never (Self is so impressed with this commander that she gave his name to one of the characters in The Rorqual, her horror story-in-progress.)

At this critical juncture, the British are able to send a small detachment of soldiers to a hill overlooking the city. So now this small British detachment (very wee: something like only 150 men) is able to see directly into the town, behind the ramparts, from above. The British are able to reinforce this detachment by sending ships, ships that go undetected by the French. (The French fully expected the challenge to come from the front because they believed that the hills behind the city were impregnable.)

But, let’s not underestimate British determination! Not to mention Parkman’s eye for the droll anecdote!

The 22 ships are joined by “a diminutive schooner, armed with a few swivels and jocosely named The Terror of France.” She sails by the city “in broad daylight.” The French, “incensed at her impudence . . .  begin blazing at her from all their batteries.” Still, the schooner is able to “pass unharmed” whereupon the schooner salutes the British commander “triumphantly with her swivels.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: MONTCALM AND WOLFE, p.395

This is such an exciting book, dear blog readers! Better than anything by James Clavell or James Patterson. The best part is that it’s all true.

Granted, Parkman’s sympathies (with the British) are very evident. But self thinks that knowing the author’s bias doesn’t detract from the book. He’s very good at portraying the British as underdogs, so as we move closer to the Battle of Quebec, one experiences a real sense of vindication.

The sentence below is perhaps the first evidence of the turning tide. It’s just one sentence about a French ship. Parkman keeps his tongue firmly in cheek while writing. There is a proliferation of semi-colons, self knows not why:

The frigate Echo, under cover of a fog, had been sent to Quebec for aid; but she was chased and captured; and, a day or two after, the French saw her pass the mouth of the harbor with an English flag at her mast-head.

After reading that sentence, self was prompted to lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: More “Down”

So far in self’s story, the two characters (who are as yet unnamed) argue about anything and everything while Pinkie Pie (the name of the bathosphere) floats expectantly a few yards away.

It’s the end of the world, people. The sky’s all kinds of lurid colors, and what these two want to talk about is:

I haven’t seen cake in almost 30 years. Even forgot what it tastes like.

Are you serious? All right, let me refresh your memory: Cake is sand, rain, and seaweed, all mixed together.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: “Down”

Two men are getting ready to begin a new life on the ocean floor.

But first, they argue. About everything: from the name of the bathosphere (Pinkie Pie) to whether or not they should leave the girlfriend of one of them (Go Go):

We’ve never tested the ride. And we haven’t got any maps.

We don’t need maps. There’s only one way to go, and that’s down.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: AMERICAN GODS, p. 307

So far, really enjoying this road trip with supernatural elements thrown in.  There are so many interesting encounters, and Gaiman writes like a dream.

The below is part of a very long rant by a woman named Sam:

  • I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

AMERICAN GODS p. 67: “the best lies”

  • “That is why you are a good fortune teller,” said Zorya Utrennyaya. She looked sleepy, as if it were an effort for her to be up so late. “You tell the best lies.”

More AMERICAN GODS, p. 51

Shadow (Self really likes that name!) ends the conversation with Laura, his dead wife:

  • She opened the door to the hall. The fluorescent light in the hallway was not kind: beneath it, Laura looked dead, but then, it did that to everyone.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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