René Crevel

Passage from Mon Corps et Moi (My Body and I) (1925)

“But since God the Father wants nothing to do with me in His Paradise, the same as yesterday, I must go on using objects, earthly creatures. Today, however, I am not inclined to making advances.

Fortunately the other is here to save me.

The other feels that thinking has gone on too long.

I hear: It’s time to go home.

It’s true, dawn leads to love.

Let’s go.

At home I touch this body, as I have already had the honor to touch others, wishing only to rid myself of my most specific desires, without the hope of satisfying any, or the wish to prolong them.”

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Calling all writers… and non-writers

Hello everyone! It has been a while since I’ve posted a blog. I think we can all agree, that life has a way of pulling you in all sorts of directions.

As I have been planning for two (yeah… I think I’m crazy) feature films, I thankfully haven’t neglected my fiction writing. Recently, I went through a transformation in terms of creativity, planning, content, and the act of DOING.

Basically what I’ve realized, is instead of working tirelessly on one full length novel, I am starting to craft existing stories I’ve written, as well as new stories, into short story, novellette, and novella lengths (I am leaning more towards the novellette and novella lengths- see the note below for word counts). When I am finished, it will be published on Amazon for Kindle.

I’m not sure if anyone else has felt this way, but I find completing an entire manuscript of 70,000 – 80,000 words occasionally daunting (Stephen King talks about a 3 month timeline for a first draft, but is that always viable?). I am technically close with a few writing projects, but it just never seems to get finished, as I am torn between life tasks (hello animals), reading, and filmmaking.

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This is me looking serious while holding my dog Caddy’s paw. In the lower right hand corner is Ulysses, by James Joyce. This was taken on Bloomsday.

Shorter stories will allow me to do the following: hyper focus on essentially one slice of the pie, hone my skills in a more economical way, craft stories around a genre/sub-genre that I feel passionately about (LGBTQ/YA/Romance), build a platform, and actually get something published out there for you all to read. The proof is in the results, right?

What’s your favorite short story, novellette, novella, and/or flash fiction? My absolute favorite novella is The Lover, by Marguerite Duras.

No, I am not going to abandon the full length novel. It is coming. For now, short stories are the way to go, at least for me.

What do you all think?

The link below will take you to inspiring site. Go ahead, click on it, read some posts, and then tell me what you think. Or better yet, do it yourself!

Is the novella (reading it electronically) the new wave of this age’s fiction? Could Finnegans Wake made as much of an impact as it did in 1939, if it were written today?

Oh, we all wish we could write Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

http://annerallen.com/

 

NOTE ON WORD COUNTS:

short story: 1,000 – 7,500

novellette: 7,500 – 20,000

novella: 20,000 – 50,000

 

Second Excerpt

I awaited during the lazy morning for this isolation. While all the others padded the stone courtyard musing upon their fresh pressed orange juice and tales of the crinkly-faced sun villagers who adore old lawless Virgil, I paced in a total wreck of a mood to get out.

The asters and carnations blooming near the eating table angered me for their sweet beauty that lived just for the sake of living and nothing else. The sun, always the sun out and about, irritated me, as the pits of my white shirt were already soaked through. Trickling water from the gold fiori water spout pulled at my chest as the water made its way to an idle, content state in the lilypad pond. My breathing became aware of me. I couldn’t swallow the grapefruit topped with sugar. The orange juice tasted dull.

Mother what is it?

My tongue pressed the backs of the front teeth in detest of… mater, mētēr, madre, mother. They contemplated me as if I were crazy or sick. Well, perhaps I am both.

 

We are Emma Bovary

“At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.”

Madame Bovary: sexy, passionate tale of love affairs gone awry… or is it?

Gustave Flaubert’s perhaps most famous novel– and quite possibly the work he detested writing the most– is a paradox. Despite the French government convicting Flaubert of immorality regarding Bovary (Flaubert escaped such conviction in the mid 1850’s), this frustrating and brilliant novel is not centered on passion and sex. Scandalous? Yes, but in ways dependent on society in 1856, or society in 2018. In 1856, this novel was scandalous by the fact that a woman cheated on her husband multiple times sexually and emotionally. In 2018, this novel is scandalous by the way Flaubert calls out our human flaws.

Often before reading well-known literature, an opinion is formed before page one is turned. Before delving into this piece, mine was more of an expectation; that I would be transported to a world of rich parties, extravagant love affairs, and tantalizing climatic desire… think Anna Karenina. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Yes, there are parties, there are love affairs, and there is desire, but it is not what one would expect, which is one reason I find this novel brilliant and unique.

One side of the mirror displays Flaubert’s poetic care for Emma Bovary, primarily in a physical sense. When the other side of the mirror is flipped, a more clinical, cynical Flaubert emerges: He jabs at high society, drab husband Charles Bovary, the shallow lovers, and most often, his central character, Emma.

Externally, he explores and comments on human faults found in all, but particularly of this time period, the bourgeoisie, and the drudgery of like-mindedness. The core of the novel reveals a universal flaw found only in humans: the desire for something else than what is found in this very moment, and a desire for something more than the basic needs (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). This is why I chose the quote at the top from Madame Bovary… it sums up the existential crisis of Emma, her primary desire, and motivation for all of her actions and thoughts.

This story is the least romantic, perhaps because Flaubert had an aversion for clichés, which Emma is the epitome of a cliché. You will not read Fifty Shades of Grey plots or clichéd writing in this novel. Clichés, however, do not tag solely along with romances, passion, desire, and thoughtless writing; they are simply the outcome of similar thoughts.

Unless you have attained enlightenment– the peace of mind that this very moment is perfect and the way it should be and nothing more– you, me, and Flaubert are Emma.

“Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” –Gustave Flaubert

 

Frank

Frank curled up beside the dismal tawny pellet dish so callously thrown in from star-days ago. The gangly worker’s tiny pimpled mouth morphed into something maniacal and creepy– a friendly grin, she surely thought– only when she convinced the sluggish bifocal donning fool who dragged his feet across shiny corporate laid tiles to buy on credit one more plastic toy mouse for his elder tabby Tim who sun bathed for a living (he hadn’t batted at a fake mouse in ages).

Otherwise, observed Frank, her floppy and dreary soul stunk more than his week old bedding. Had it been more than a week? He could not remember the individual star-days. She added gray layers to his detest for the Shadows.

Perhaps Layla left me for good. Frank fumed inside. Typical. 

Layla hadn’t been to work for a few passing tearful moons. He counted with the few straggling pellets left each time the flaming stars passed through the blackened sky: three. His trust in a Shadow (he deemed her as Layla, not Shadow) had always stood unsteady like a small boat forever stuck at the tempestuous sea. All he cognitively knew of was this place: lying in a tiny jailed enclosure, passing delirious fools picked and plucked for pleasure and commerce, being gawked at like a creature at a circus side show (LOOK ya’ll! A Textile from a textile mill a he-a he-a he), and counting too many passing burned out stars since the time of pup-hood.

And Layla.

He loved Layla. Still.

 

 

Preview for an Upcoming Book

What is here? This life. This God. Creation beauty inhabiting every living and non-living soul of this planet. Dirt, ducks, beings, water. I breathe deeply the oxygen and exhale   carbon dioxide. I take steps beyond my land, beyond my world. Cautioned by those I know. Though my curiosity strikes against their warnings. I peer beyond the birch trees down the dirt path that turns into concrete.

Into a land it ventured of unspoken tragedies lip-locked horrors the life-barer warned of. Nymph of the Yonic forest, it wandered abound one morning five minutes past the jumping sun and rapturous pink-tangerine clouds.

Peace. It knew only of curious babes crawling through damp soil followed by dewy moss. It knew only of free walks of barer-hood, gliding deer not fearful of our presence. It knew only of the faces of those in the forest- not categorized. In fact, it had no name and accepted its biological features to reproduce young.

It acted upon any desire without repercussions and judgment, a temptress of nature.

It prayed to the grass, the ants, the flying birds, the running mammals. Suckling teat, provider of existence.

To those outside the Yonic forest, a mythological dream of un-realness could only describe. To it, this wandering nymph, the world outside the forest was the Underworld where Hades resided. It learned of a prescribed status outside the forest: Female. Woman. Girl. She. Her.

And with this new information, she looked upon the land stretching across mountains and seaside, soaking in buildings upon one another, individuals and moving objects amerced into one as a whole. A religion of consumerism. Religion of objects fascination with more.

I witnessed a fascination with sex, yet stigma attached to the act and body parts. I knew only of her sex as wholesome, and now I feel flushed. Embarrassed, ashamed even? Objectified.

Ruddy red cheeks perspiring palms and feet. Pursed lips and she walked toward the Tree of Knowledge and Good and Evil, the Tree of Life.

And there he was. I call him he because of his genitals. He called himself Adam. I expressed I had no name. He called me Eve. At that moment, a rushed desire to flee back to the Yonic forest ruptured throughout my body in tingles. I kept walking anyway.