About Mr. Stuart 2014

My students in Creative Writing are going to be doing a bit of blogging this year. We tried Google Blogger last year, but it froze up on us so often that it was practically unusable. I am looking for our WordPress blogs to be repositories for our various pieces of creative writing and a place for us to read, share, and comment on the amazing work that we will be bringing into the world.

My New Book

I am reading A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara.  So far not much has happened.  It is about a group of friends that went to college and then stayed living in the NYC area.  They all come from widely varying backgrounds.  One of the friends, a man named Jude, has emerged as the main character of the book.  He is a mysterious person and the other members of his circle of friends  are protective of him and are curious about his past, but never push him to reveal anything about it.  He has extensive scarring on his body and engages in cutting behaviors.  His legs have been damaged to the extent that others have assumed that he has MS.  The story has begun to reveal that he has an extensive, and possibly a particularly horrific history of childhood abuse.  I know that the story is going to become more intense and revealing as to the nature of Jude’s condition because the person who recommended this book to me said that you will feel like the person in cover photo as you read this novel.  This one –

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Not So Bad I Suppose

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Night and Day.”

Is it a sign of a privileged life that the only situations that I can think of off-hand that went really well the first time but turned terrible the second time around involve restaurants and food situations?  I know that there must be plenty of meaningful and substantive times from my life where things went great the first time around but went horribly the next, but my life must be so comfortable that, for the life of me, I cannot think of one. Every example I can think of goes something like this, “when I came here before, the ______ was awesome because __________, but this time you changed __________ and ____________ and _________. Now it sucks. I swear it was better last time. I can’t believe I brought you here and told you how great it was and this is how it turned out.”

All I Want

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Fun Platform.”

Pretty much the thing I want most in this world is cars that drive themselves. I feel like driving is such a massive annoying was of time, especially long distances. I can imagine the joy of being able to click an app on my smartphone and a car drives itself over to pick me up to go to the grocery store or to Brooklyn. Inside the car, I face the back seats, recline and read a book, maybe fall asleep doing it, or maybe eat a sandwich, or even a messy taco. If I were in charge of the country, I would devote the resources it would take to make this dream a reality. The technology has already come a long way towards achieving this. Sensors, satellites, car to car communication, and an array of other infrastructure details need to be worked out to make it a large scale feasible reality,but it is worth it. The environment will be better off with fewer cars just sitting around in parking lots, or idling in traffic or sitting at traffic lights. We are tired of driving and the roads will be safer without all of these human beings out there who are prone to screwing up, drinking and texting while driving, and falling asleep at the wheel.

No Noodles for You!

Recently, a friend of mine has gone to war with the Thai noodle place in his neighborhood.  He and his wife had been ordering from this shop at least once a week.  They served, by far, the best Thai noodles in a 20 block delivery radius of their apartment.

One day, when they called to place their order, the woman on the other end of the line said, “We no deliver to you no more.  You no tip!”

Here is the thing, my friend and his wife, who I personally know to be fine tippers, did tip.  “Always,” they say (and I have no reason to doubt them).  Naturally my friend protested, “What are you talking about?! We always tip.”

“We know you! You no tip. We no come no more!” she insisted.

They went down to the store to plead their case. The conversation went pretty much the same as on the phone. They were cut off. No chance for appeal. My friend left the store saying something along the lines of, “you are all out of your minds and you can shove your stupid noodles and go out of business because crazy people should not run businesses.”

They began trying some of the other Thai places nearby. None of them came close. They were mourning the loss of their favorite noodles. Occasionally, they would have a friend order them and have them delivered to the friend’s place if it worked out somehow, but basically they were cut off.

Then they moved. And they moved within the same neighborhood. They started blocking their number and ordering noodles again. When the noodles were delivered, they had their little boy go and pay for them and sometimes even went to answer the door themselves in baseball caps and sunglasses. Noodles were back on the menu!

Then disaster struck. They had a friend visiting and sent him to pay for the noodles they had ordered. The delivery person saw my friend and his wife sitting in their living room through an open window. He recognized them. He stuck his head into the window and said, “You no get noodles no more!” He left on his bicycle with the noodles in the basket. Now the noodle shop has their new address too and it has been added to the blacklist.

My friend is seriously considering another move. They really love those noodles.

Your Capram Horoscope for October

With Capricorn firmly entrenched in the house of Jupiter, October is looking like a good month to make big moves in your life – literal moves.  Maybe try packing up a house, renting a Uhaul and moving into a new home that you can barely afford and with a two acre lawn that you will spend the next several decades struggling to maintain.  This is a good month to try new things.  If you have never sat on a riding lawn mower for any reason, this might be a good time to give one a try!  Don’t try selling a home this month, just buy, buy, buy! Now is not the time to be cautious with your money.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/in-retrospect/

A Pair of Guns

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Here was the prompt:

A bad dude in a cowboy hat is walking into a saloon in a bad Western movie.  He is looking dangerous and mad.  Tell what happens.  Create a happy ending.

He shuffled down the dry, scorched road that ran through the center of the frontier town.  The black and weathered cowboy hat on his head looked nearly gray from the influence of time and dust.  His spurs jangled and he walked with the slow bow legged gait of a man who has spent a lifetime in the saddle.  He veered from his path and strode through a pair of swinging half doors and into the grim saloon.

“One whisky,” he snarled at the bartender who was busy polishing a cloudy glass.

The menacing look on the customers face had caused a hush to come over the room since the moment he had walked in. The startled bartender fumbled with the glass he had been polishing causing it to pop out of his hands and shatter at his feet behind the bar. “Y-y-yes sir, one whisky coming up,” he stammered.

A man who had been sitting alone at a dingy table in the corner of the room rose slowly to his feet. With a gravelly voice that sounded louder than it should have in the dead silent room, he uttered, “you mangy old son of a gun.”

The stranger in the black hat wheeled around to face the man who had dared to speak in this way. His hand was already at his hip reaching for the massive revolver that hung from his belt.  He was too slow.  The man who had spoken was already upon him pulling him into a smothering embrace. “Herbert, you blind old fool, you don’t even know your big brother when he is standing in the same room.”

“Pete? Is that really you,” he managed to gasp as the bear hug forced the air from his lungs.

A fist landed in the middle of his chest with a force that would have brought most men to their knees. “Who the hell else do you think it is? Who else in the world besides you has a piece like this?”

With that he pulled out a massive silver revolver with an ornately carved horn grip. “Dad only made two, and I can see the other riding on your hip there.”

The man in the black hat pulled out his piece and placed it beside the other man’s.  The two weapons had clearly been made by the same hand as companion pieces.  The delicate carving of a rose and a skull were carved as mirror images of each other along the length of the handle.  A tear welled up in the eye of the man in the black hat, but it did not fall. “I gave up looking for you six years ago after ma and I got a telegram that said you had been killed when your mine in California went bust.”

“Well, I obviously aint been killed, and that mine, I can tell you,  is damn far from bust.”

“Big Brother, sounds like we have a lot to catch up on.  You will be very interested to hear about some, business opportunities, I have been finding around Carson City.  Some very trusting folks up around those parts.”

The two men walked out of the saloon and into the blazing sun.

Buried

The other day, reddit challenged people to create two sentence horror stories.  Here is my first go at it:

I tried with every ounce of will in my body to twitch a muscle, to open my eyes, to scream out, or even to exhale audibly. When the first shovelful of loose soil hit my face, I thought for a moment that somehow they had heard me, but then the second pile landed on my chest.