November 14, 2009

Launch party writing

So it’s the morning after the launch party, and it was great! Live music, lots of people, good company, old friends; warmth on a cold November night is always welcome. So thanks to everyone who came, and the musicians who played, and everybody for your continuous presence and support.
For those who missed it, during the party we masochistically asked the audience for writing prompts. We then each (Alex, Duane and I) picked two at random and used them to write something in fifteen minutes. The results were then read out loud, whatever they were.
I wanted to share with you what I wrote last night. The prompts I got were “Fire extinguisher” and “Pirates”. So here it goes.

We were told not to come here. “Do not sail these waters,” the man had said back in Abu Dhabi after shaking his bone amulet. “If you go there, you could die. Or worse, you could survive.”
I would have liked to listen to the man with the bone amulets, I’m usually a listen to ominous warnings type of captain, but I could not. Not with what’s in my cargo hold. It’s got to be delivered to Akambo before nightfall on the 31st. The fate of the forever fire depends on it.
And everything could have been fine. But fate and the bone amulet have spoken. I forgot to replace the fire extinguishers on the Reliant, my old rusting Norwegian cargo that I won three years ago from a Swedish captain at a poker game. Apparently, that didn’t include fire extinguishers in working order.
So now, Somali pirates are boarding my old cargo.
I stand in front of their captain, a sweaty, stinky, bald gut with teeth that smell like the back end of an albatross, and he’s telling me to hand over my cargo. I can’t. Akambo will kill me in a much more unpleasant way than these amateur pirates could. So the smelly-teeth captain stares at me and grins, and then flicks his lighter. There’s Diesel all over the bridge, the Reliant leaks it from everywhere. I try to stop the man, think of the bon figurine, it was grinning too, I recall. And then the captain drops the lighter. Fire. No extinguishers. The pirates leave. As they get off the ship, the captain drops a bone figurine on the deck, laughing.
Fire. No extinguishers. Fireworks are coming.

November 9, 2009

Preview for Alexander Newcombe's "Ten Kinds of Places"

Here is the final preview for our first issue.  It is the story of Dex's "one last job" told through his own tangled point of view.  It's noir, but it's more scrambled than hard-boiled.  So, for your perusal, Here Be Monsters presents, Alexander Newcombe's "Ten Kinds of Places":

There are ten kinds of places in the world:

I spent the day planning until the sun was pushed low enough in the sky to go meet Dic. Dic only met after dark, and only if you bought him a drink and a bite. So I was off to a number five, a place to eat.
The trick is choosing the best place of its kind. Dic had an appropriate slice of pizza for a downtown pizza joint then drank my suitable beer outside. From there, we went to one of my favourites, a number seven, a place to talk. In this case, it was a café under the bridge, all dim lights hidden even from the stars, good to tell secrets in. Dic agreed and he read from his vast mind everything he knew of the people I needed.
Why them, Dex?” He asked. “I can’t see the connection.”
Not even you can see it?” I was shocked. “I’m shocked.”
Clearly,” said Dic, “the deal stands though? No harm of any kind to my clever girl Taxi?”
The deal stands my friend.”
Like a hand?”
Like a kick.” I returned.
I was out after an acceptable time for drinks. Dic should be called Fish, I thought, but it didn’t matter. My mind was already drawing names to faces, making pieces into people, casting people into parts.
A number three is difficult to judge. What happens there can go well, terribly, or not at all. I drove to the university the next day; the meeting place. The campus was all bobbing hats and hairstyles, flowing from one building to another in the late morning light. I stood on a bench and held out a red plastic lunch box with She-Ra on the front. A few hands pulled up weakly from the mass below, but I held it high. Then, near the doors, I saw a disturbance. An eddy had formed as something fought its way upcampus. An incredible woman came into view, wiry brown hair breaking above the surface. Despite my raised position, I gulped like a cartoon. She stood on the ground and looked me in the eye.
Pointing up, she asked, “Is this for me?” She said it sweetly, though there was no reason to. She could snatch it from me and pull me apart like a Christmas cracker.
It’s for whoever has Chuck’s address, Bell.”
She pouted slightly and reached up as if to cup my cheek in a caress. When my vision came back I was spitting blood and tooth out onto the well-treaded pavement. I inhaled the scent of over-priced sneaker until my breath came back. “Sorry Bell, it’s for you. There are some goldbären inside. Heard you like them.” I ran diagnostics, tested tolerances, and sat up gingerly.
Thank you,” she said, as sweet as ever. Leaning down with astonishing flexibility she said, “Find him at the shooting gallery on Turney. He’s always alone there.”

Don't forget, the full versions of all of our stories are available this Friday, 8pm, at the launch party.  Thank you for reading everyone, looking forward to seeing you at the party.

November 4, 2009

Time, writing, November 13

So, I feel a lot has been happening in the world, but I am removed from it. I mean I have not heard about all of the world’s problems over the past few days, but I am certain they are still there. Besides H1N1, no escaping that one... School has sucked me in deep.

I have had ideas, but no time to write. My ideas for my next short story are accumulating, but without time they are doing only that. The more time the ideas bounce around up there, the better they will be I feel. Time can let me see and think about them from different angles. When I say think, I mean the kind of thinking that happens at random unpredictable moments, on the bus, falling asleep, in the midst of an unrelated conversation when maybe I should be paying attention… After such moments if I am lucky, they end up on random bits of paper. If I am even luckier those bits of paper are not lost.

Why do I write them down? Well ideas are very clear when they happen and during the moment I feel I won’t forget them, only I know better. In a deeper sense, why do I write them down? Why do I write anything? Not certain. Partly to tell a story that is. Partly to flex creativity because it craves to be. 

The creative process is intriguing and if anyone has comments or ideas on it then feel free.

Also, just a reminder that there will be a thing, the HBM launch with good music and such at Burritoville, 2055B Bishop Street, Friday, November 13 at 8. I imagine it somewhat like a house party.