Archive for July 2015

P.G. Wodehouse: Purveyor of Fine Slang

I want to start a movement to bring back all the slang from P.G. Wodehouse​ novels and stories. We all know the Brits have the most extensive and lexicon of nicknames, salutations, and put downs, but Wodehouse was a sheer master of the old lingo.

Right ho, old scream, what?

My New Thing That I Have to Wait For: Con Man

Just saw the trailer for Con Man, the Vimeo miniseries from Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion. I was going to say I can’t wait for this. But I will wait for it, because I have to. Which, I guess, means I actually can wait for it.

It appears to feature every person who’s ever been in a Joss Whedon project (JW included) and nearly every other sci-fi actor from the past twenty years.

It also looks superb.

Fiction of the A-Ha Moment: Foust’s Sins of Omission

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Foust’s Sins of Omission

I’m an over-writer, and I know it. No matter what I’m working on, I know I’m going to have to dial myself back, get rid of all the extraneous material. Even then, I know it’s going to be too long. It’s something I’ve learned to live with.

Enough about me.

Here’s the thing: I am in constant awe of writers who can pull off short-short fiction. Serious awe, in the truest definition of the word. No hyperbole here.

Once, when I lived and played music in San Diego, a guitarist walked up to the stage during one of our breaks and asked if he could check out my guitar. Reluctantly, I said yes, and he promptly flipped it over and played it left-handed. A guitar strung for me, a right-hander. He was brilliant, too.

I’m talking about myself again.

My point is this is the same way I feel when someone like Foust, the author of the new collection Sins of Omission, does what she does. I’m amazed, confused, and yes, damn it, I’m all kinds of envious.

I’ve heard people say that flash fiction is a gimmick, that those kinds of stories don’t have an arc, a beginning, middle and end. Short short stories leave you hanging, in other words. To those people, I say, yes, anything can be a gimmick. Oh, and I also say they haven’t been reading good flash fiction.

Good flash fiction does what all good stories do. It changes you in some way, leaving you in a different place than where you were when you started. It gives you a new view into the world, into an a-ha moment you never knew you couldn’t live without. You can occasionally go through an entire long story or novel and never experience that moment, by the way. The good news is every story in this collection has at least one of those moments.

The forty-two short-short stories in Sins of Omission are small only in the actual amount of paper they cover. Every other thing about them is huge. Plus, you’re always going to want to go back and read them again, so there’s that.

So trust me. You should buy this book.

 

Hey, Look What I Found: A New (To Me) P.G. Wodehouse-Inspired Series

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Over the weekend, we “discovered” a British series, Blandings, based on the works of P.G. Wodehouse, specifically his Blandings Castle novels and stories. It centers on the estate of Lord Clarence Emsworth, the silly family members who refuse to leave him to raising his pig, and a rotating roster of amusing characters.

In case you don’t know me, or if you’ve never been within hearing range of my voice, I’m an ardent fan of Wodehouse. If you haven’t read him, do so, and sooner than is convenient, if possible. If you ask me, he’s only one of the finest comic writers to ever scribble down words in the English language.

Of course, Jeeves and Wooster, starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, is the gold standard for Wodehouse-inspired fare, but Blandings is also damn good. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the series stars Jennifer Saunders, but the rest of the cast ably inhabit the trademark Wodehouse characters: Timothy Spall is Lord Clarence Emsworth, Mark Williams is the staid butler Beach, and Jack Farthing is Emsworth’s flighty son Freddie Threepwood.

 

My poem “Galápagos” is in the Summer/July issue of Calliope Magazine

summer-2015-coverGood news! My poem “Galápagos” is featured in the Summer/July issue of Calliope Magazine.

“Galápagos” was partly inspired by an article I read last year about Harriet, Charles Darwin’s Galápagos tortoise, who died in Australia in 2006. Yes, 2006.

The magazine will be available in print soon, but you can find the online issue here. (I’m on page 24.)