Category Archives: Wtf did I just read?

Speedy scene transitions for writers in a hurry

There is now a door in the closet. Don’t ask

The protagonist entered a mansion through the wrong door. They are promptly sent on a deep expedition to the asteroid belt beyond Mars until things cool off

One of the protagonists notices a rock that doesn’t look like normal rocks. This is what they do now

The chorus comments that something is amiss

Eagles

After glancing a painting, the protagonist suddenly remembered with unusual vividness and verbosity that one time when

A presumably benevolent forest bard barges into the situation and recites poetry for a while

As they carefully opened the outer door, they found out they were not on a space ship after all

Following the dictum that it is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven, we went

As the music started to play, everything faded away

He awoke. This surprised him to a great extent

As she awoke, she noticed the dinosaur was still there

As the bear creatures carried me away,

Among the great certainties of space travel, was the fact that space elevators take a long time

The drugs kicked in faster than I thought

While the invention of teleportation sure sped things up, it was considered polite to ask first

Computer, end program

A new character enters from stage left. They bring news

The cat escaped. We followed

The need to soliloquy suddenly grips one of the usually silent characters

There is one new notification

This snowball has more gravity than it should have

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, we suddenly found ourselves in

Snake magic. Why did it have to be snake magic

Having thus closed the book, she sighed

Expelliarmus

A small clockwork device lay on the floor. As I cautiously picked it up, it started to whir and rotate in an ever faster manner

Let me tell you one thing: budget cuts sure shift things around

We fell. It took a while

Have you heard about the Kenosha Kid?

It was at that moment my spider sense started tingling

Everything is almost ready to go. There’s just one thing left

No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature. Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it?…And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom , my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.

All the king’s horses

The book rewarded rereading. In fact, it managed to become an entirely new story upon every subsequent reread, each time from a new point of view. Or, sometimes, from a point of view so thoroughly redefined as to become a new character, for all intents and purposes

Most stopped at their fifth or sixth reread, not because of a sense of having understood it all, but because things ended in a nice place this way. Some, however, had pushed the boundaries and were now at their nineteenth successful redefinition of the narrative, each reread as dramatic as the last one. When asked, however, their responses were either vague or incomprehensible; it is unclear whether this stems from a fear of spoilers, or the impossibility of communicating their understanding to those not already in the know

In an interview, a daring journalist once asked the author how he managed to accomplish this feat of literary polysemy. The author had only shrugged and replied that he only wanted to write a story about someone walking their dog, with some strange happenings along the way. The response from the fanbase was immediate and surprisingly coherent:

The dog? The dog! The dog! The dog? The dog!

Attention deficit

This was clearly a dream. Everything was too ordered and structured to be otherwise. To be sure, it was all disjointed pieces juxtaposed in parallel with no clear reasons for anything being where it was, but every piece was also clearly delineated from other pieces in such a way that there could be no confusion as to which was which. Such precisely organized chaos could only be the product of a dreamscape; any real agent organizing these things would attempt to impose some sort of principle or another into what went where, rather than this haphazard everything everywhere all at once kind of hot mess

Somewhere in the back of his mind, a nagging suspicion made him think that this might be one of those rare moments in his life where paying attention to what was going on might be a priority

Attention was duly paid

It turned out that each and every one of these strangely underorganized pieces were reconstructions of conversations that took place after he had left the scene. Some were about him specifically, some about other things. Some conversations painted him in a flattering light, others not. Some surprised him, others came crashing down on him the way only a confirmed suspicion could crash and down

At length, the dream ended. Immobilized by insight, he stayed put in bed the rest of the day, to sort out what even had happened and how to deal

Attention was duly paid

When you see it

The video clip began

Immediately, it was apparent that this was porn. Nothing in the proceeding seconds did anything to dispel this insight. Strangely enough, they also did very little to support it. As the moments went by, very little of a pornographic nature took place. Very little, in fact, took place. There were no characters to speak of, barely even anything in motion. Still, somehow, the very essence of porn was evident all over, communicated loud and clear to anyone who saw or heard it unfold. All this without bothering with people, plot or anything else beginning with the letter p. This video clip managed to convey everything without everything – a masterful subversion of genre and medium

Needless to say, a great many academic articles were written about this relatively short video clip. Not a single one of these articles dared mention it directly, leading to a powerful surge of circumlocution, some more skillfully performed than others

Kafka does not live here

“You say your story is Kafkaesque”

“Yes”

“What makes you think it is?”

“Well, see, there is this bug that has to navigate what seems to be a routine bureaucratic errand, which turns out to be the start of a series of inexplicable events, and”

“Let me stop you right there and give you some of my impressions”

“Shoot”

“Here’s the thing. Your protagonist seems to have a firm grasp of who he is, even though he is – as you said – a bug. Moreover, the worldbuilding you do seems to indicate a stable set of circumstances whose particulars are known and relatively unchanging. Atop of that, the plot is intuitive, possible to grasp without too much in the way of close reading. It is very easy to follow along and know just exactly what is going on, and why. The antagonists – no pun intended – have clear motivations, and act on them in an understandable (albeit unfortunate) manner. Lastly, there are virtually no emotional confrontations with father figures of any kind”

“I do not understand”

“Indeed. Let’s continue this discussion with the shared understanding that this story is not, in fact, Kafkaesque. What do you see in the future of our protagonist?”

Non-inclusive yet all-encompassing writing

Theory

Foucault (1970, 1977, 1982)[1]

 

 

[1] This might seem an unorthodox theory section – consisting of only a name and three numbers which are presumably years of publication – but it makes sense if you think about it. Those who already know Foucault’s theories know them to such an extent that repeating them would only be to retread old ground, with an added risk of miscommunication due to imprecise wording and nuances lost in translation. Meanwhile, those who are not familiar are unlikely to become so through a brisk discursive walk through the highlights; again, the specter of miscommunication looms overhead. Thus, those who know already know, while those who do not know will not be enlightened.

100% cat

Here sits Jaspers
regal of bearing
proud of stature
listening to things beyond hearing
cat from head to tail

Here loafs Jaspers
legs tucked away
all snug and comfortable
pondering the day
cat from head to tail

Here flomps Jaspers
belly for all to see
petted and rub’d
that’s what he wants to be
cat from head to tail

Cat person

You change your mind like a girl changes clothes

Yeah, you meow like a kitten

I would know

And you overthink, always purr cryptically

I should know that you’re no good for me

 

‘Cause you’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You don’t really want to stay, no

But you don’t really want to go, oh

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re up, then you’re down

 

We used to be just like twins

Purr in sync

The same frequency, now’s a dead rodenty

Used to laugh ’bout nothing, now you’re playing string

I should know that you’re not gonna change

 

‘Cause you’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You don’t really want to stay, no

But you don’t really want to go, oh

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re up, then you’re down

 

Someone call the doctor

Got a case of a purrpurr sonar

Stuck under heavy fur

Can’t get legs unpurred

 

You change your mind like a girl changes clothes

 

‘Cause you’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re up, then you’re down

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You don’t really want to stay, no

But you don’t really want to go, oh

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

Extreme peer reviewing

The book invited criticism. Both explicitly, by means of a humble invitation from its author, and on a deep, implicit level; something about it screamed that this was a thing to critique. Every page figuratively screamed that here was a “but” to be had, and that it would be a good one, should you take the time to formulate it.

Yet. Everyone who did found that, in the last moments of their due diligences, their critiques did not measure up. There was always some prior remark, some footnote, some small but crucial aspect that rendered their critical efforts moot. Though the book did cover a finite amount of things, somehow it seemed to contain an infinite amount of rebuttals to any attempt to criticize it.

This sparked quite an interest. It became an informal competition among its readers to find the one thing that could unequivocally be said to be bad – no ifs, buts or qualifiers. The race was on.

At length, in a small gathering of the minds, one particularly bright voice abrupted: “I’ve got it!” When all else failed, the voice announced, there was still a nuclear option: to proclaim that the book was, among all the other things is was, boring. Following this revelation, cheers erupted.

At that very moment, the author – for reasons quite unrelated – entered the establishment, and noted the general excitement of the room. Upon asking what was afoot, the answer was given. And then, the final blow, the one innocent utterance that so shattered hearts and minds:

“I’m glad to see you are all so excited and enthused by what I’ve written”

Recipe for new dreams

Go new places

Go to old places and see them from new angles

Meet new people

Meet old people

Do new things with old people

Do old things with new people

Revisit everything

Ask her out

Ask him out

Read

Write

Walk every street in your city

Do it now