Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tabula Non-Rasa

Well, it got more likes on Facebook than anything I've ever posted, even this

, so I feel like it's maybe overkill to share it here, but: I got an acceptance for the zombie noir story. I had fun writing it - the word "dame" is in the title - but when I was finished, most of the genre markets that seemed right precluded it because they specifically noted in their submission guidelines that they didn't want 1) zombies or 2) old-fashioned, Chandler-style noir. One market actually noted "No dames walking into your office." (Splutter.) Here's a sample, a description of the dame who does her duty and walks into my main character's office.
Aside from the bundle she carried, there wasn't a thing about her that was bulky. She was delicate all over. The silk blouse I mentioned, but she had on a black silk skirt, too, pleated, the kind that rustles in whispers, trying to tell you secrets about what's underneath. The seams in her stockings were perfectly straight, and even though the aroma of trouble clouded the air around her, I couldn't help following those seams all the way up under that whispering skirt. Her hair was black silk too, and she had on a soft gray fedora with a generous brim that hid one green eye. I believed I might have snapped her elbow if I'd hung on too hard; if she'd fallen in the street, she might have broken up like a gingerbread girl. I was sweating in my lightest tan linen suit down here in the Quarter, pushing my hat up over damp hair, but she looked and felt too cool. 
Modern noir mags don't want this sort of thing, I guess. So, as I've done an interestingly high number of times before, I tried a UK market and found open arms. Yay for me. Now back to work.

Oh, right. Still haven't gotten started on the story on which I need to get started.

And still reading Moby-Dick. It has gotten less delightful. I'm still intrigued by it, though, and I want very much to know what Melville is up to with this business of putting everything and the kitchen sink in the book and then giving us mere sips of the "main" story. What is that about? What's the point of it? What effect does it have on the reader? Alas, I'm not reading it under the guiding hand of a professor, so I must resort to SparkNotes after I'm through.

I started my summer class this week. We began with Plato because, of course, that's where everything begins. I'm reminded of a very old Dave Barry column where he wrote about how every school year, history class opens with the Mesopotamians, the root of all civilization. Teachers figure they have tons of time to set forth the rest of the material, but by the end of the year they're rushing like crazy to get through World War II and then over the summer the kids forget everything so they have to start over with the Mesopotamians again in the fall. I don't know why this stuck with me, but the phrase "starting over with the Mesopotamians" cracks me up. It does call back to the repetitiveness of early schooling. And this is probably the third or fourth time I've started over with Plato and the allegory of the cave, so yeah.

Wow, hello, tangent. See, this is what happens when I don't have any writing to write about. Maybe if I can stop fooling around with my new ukulele, and stop falling asleep during Phaedrus, I'll get to writing the danged story, and I'll have more to say.

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