Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘excerpt’

Whatever Your Taste

51-SfLy8Z8LThe Blue Serpent & other tales by Claire Buss.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

This imaginative, diverse collection of short stories is an excellent example of how to write shorts. Every story in The Blue Serpent & other tales has a beginning, middle, and end. Each tale stands on its own, and provides distinct perspectives and voices. Ms. Buss uses themes about data, technology, and society, to not only wake readers’ up, but to entertain.

One of my favorite selections is The River Flows In You. Here is an excerpt (about loss and grief). “It helps to push my hands into the earth, feel it crumble beneath my fingertips as I try to find meaning in my devastation. I stand still in a swirling, whirling vortex of people rushing, rushing, rushing, trying to run away from their hurt and their pain.

I have a feeling that Ms. Buss has scribed many of her writings while enjoying a drink at her favorite coffee shop, as there are three stories in the compilation that take place in such an environment. Other tales include nationally required brain scans for one and all, a pretend circus, and a man who is Ava’s fairy godmother (The Party’s Over).

No matter what your taste, you’ll find something in The Blue Serpent & other tales that will wet your whistle, tickle your fancy, or provide other pleasurable metaphors and cliches. One word of warning. The next time you go to a coffee shop to write, or just have a sip, make sure to heed any messages telling you to move (The Wrong Note).


Prizes Among the Dirt

51xH8YMzYQLThe Boy With The Coin – A Short Story by Christina van Deventer. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

An old man tells his story about a boy he watches across the street, who finds something in the mud and then leaves. The man goes over and finds fifty cents atop a small mound. He is not sure when, or if, they boy will return to collect his find. In the meantime, it becomes clear that the narrator (an older man) has a strained relationship with his daughter (Allison), and doesn’t have long to live.

The Boy With The Coin is a well told short story that keeps the vague past present, and an edge to the tale that is palpable. Is forgiveness, or redemption, possible? Does anyone deserve, or not deserve, to die? Ms. van Deventer asks these questions in the context of the story, and with honest speculation. Does life and death “mean” anything? If so, are we responsible for our actions, or in-actions?

Here is an excerpt, with the narrator being reminded of his childhood joy of living, and present lack of such. “I don’t know what prompted me to cross the street to where the boy had been playing. Curiosity, I suppose. I was once a child myself, but I have long since lost my ability to find joy in the small things, the prizes among the dirt, and I wondered what the boy had found that could be of any consequence to his heart.”

Reality Bites

Singing Koans by Master Tarantino. Collected by Abbott Jingo in 2222. An excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

imagesThere ain’t nothing like the real thing baby;

ain’t nothing like the real thing.

What is the “real thing”?

More questionable Mistress Marvin Gaye koans at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.


imagesA short and potent excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Explain your self.

Introductions to Koans by Master Tarantino Toshiba. Class 101.

More selfless wisdom at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Astride the Bull

images-1An excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Astride the bull of ignorance and deceit, many are oblivious to the heart and soul and tend to focus on matter. This is both a learned and biological trait, which has no end and no beginning.

Patience is not always patient and women and men are not always women and men. It is better to accept the things we can change and change the things we cannot accept. Gender, marriage, partner, spouse, and friends are not always one and the same. If this is true than what is not?

Pamphlet 69. Verse 11. The Abbess Talks.

More satirical koans, stories, & tales, at Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

As the Girl Slept

Excerpt from Feral by Deena Metzger

As the Girl Slept

The woman elected to sit by her in the car for several hours with the girl’s head in her lap. The door to the woman’s cottage was only a few steps away. She didn’t go in. Instead she sat down on the back seat, lifted the girl’s head gently, placing it on her lap, feeling the girl’s dark hair cascading like skeins of heavy silk across her hands, then covering the girl with a mohair blanket she kept in the car.

Intermittently, she thought of undoing the belt around the girl’s waist or slipping the knife out of the sheaf, but she put those thoughts out of her mind. Better to remove the knife from her mind. Whatever reasonable explanation she gave herself, the truth was that she didn’t want the girl to disappear. She didn’t want her to awaken in anger or fear and so shapeshift into a bird and fly away. The girl might become anything, go anywhere, do anything. The woman… the woman… the woman wanted to go with her.

Only once did the woman allow professional thoughts to disturb the exquisite peace that existed between them. If someone came by… if she were discovered sitting with a naked girl in her lap… if she as a therapist were discovered with her naked client… if, on awakening the girl had thought she might have abused her… if…

If can be a dangerous word, she contended to herself, trying to banish it from her mind. She focused on the stars, on the coyotes howling in the hills, on the entire animal valley suddenly alerted. Somewhere in the brush, Timber Wolf added his glorious arpeggio to the chorus. A conversation in progress that the woman had never thought to understand. As the girl was asleep, she took the opportunity to apply herself but the stars remained silent, the wolves, dogs and coyote’s language was incomprehensible to her, and the night birds only sang their odd melodies intermittently. Failing to comprehend, the woman was unable to avoid the camber of her own thoughts.

She didn’t know what her responsibilities were nor could she distinguish them from her inclinations whatever they were. Everything was unfamiliar and unpredictable. She wanted to go with the girl and converted this, immediately, into ways she could entice the girl to stay with her. An about-face in her mind pretending not to be an about-face. A reassertion of a very different mind. A mind not unlike Carmela’s mind, certain, self-righteous, determined. A different kind of shapeshifting altogether. More like possession, a thought, the kind of though the girl might have had, flickered briefly through her consciousness, an ember quickly extinguished as the woman sank into the mindset of a strategist, not Carmela’s mind, but her own old mind, very familiar and, yes, treacherous. She was unnerved and alternately was blaming the girl, Carmela, her peers, her profession. Such habits of mind often afflicted her clients. She was skilled at helping them because she knew the pattern and so could confront herself; it was not right to blame others for her face in her mirror.

Read more of Feral at Amazon.

Kinky Kahlua

Another delicious recipe from Luscious Chocolate Smoothies: An irresistible collection of healthy cocoa delights.

Kinky Kahlua

2 cups plain low-fat milk (dairy, soy or rice)
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
20 fresh strawberries
1/2 cup Kahlua liqueur

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix on medium for 1 minute.

Pour into coffee mugs, serve immediately and head straight to heaven.

Yields: 4 Cups

Per Cup: Calories 233; Protein 6 g; Total Fat 2 g; Saturated Fat 1 g; Carbohydrate 37 g; Cholesterol 7 mg


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