Saturday, December 24, 2011

Don't be a Tool

THE LAUGHTER SHACK is a new humor venue started by a friend of mine. They publish everything from surrealist ridiculousness to lowbrow, and I have a 'piece' up there this week entitled... "Citizen Tool." (The humorous illustration is NSFW, so be warned)

I mention this story because I first wrote it in high school for Pulphouse magazine, and it was one of three tales I sent to Dean Wesley Smith ana Nina Kiriki Hoffman, the triple-named editorial whizzes who ran the acclaimed hardcover mag. I sold my stack of hardcover editions to pay off debt ages ago, and regret it. I found the mag via Harlan Ellison, whose story "She's a Pretty Young Thing and Can't Leave Her Mother" appeared in it, and since I was damn sure going to be a writer, I decided to send Pulphouse everything I wrote.

Dean and Nina? I apologize.

They were very gracious and kind editors. The original version of "Citizen Tool" is much longer, and like many new writer's work, begins with a laboriously detailed explanation of our character getting out of bed, going to a nondescript job, acting like a dick, and slowly transforming into one. Dean or Nina- the letter was merely signed 'editors'- rejected it because "the story lacks a clearly defined setting," which was true. They were kind enough not to tell me that a story about a guy who turns into a big dick for no real reason, and then meets a woman who seems to be turning into a giant vagina because people call her the C-word wasn't exactly great reading, and I kept writing. I sent them another story called "Love is a Chainsaw," about a man who loves slasher films and jerks off to them, goes home and hits his wife, and is really not about anything except that I dislike the now endlessly deconstructed sexual politics of slasher films. I still plan to use that title someday. Finally, they accepted a college story called "We're All Guys Here," but the magazine closed down before it ever saw print. That story may see print soon, we shall see. I've revised it with my newly sharpened gimlet eyes.

I'd forgotten all about "Citizen Tool" until David- I mean B.J. Titzengolf- of Laughter Shack asked for a funny story, and I had an epiphany- my story idea wasn't much different than "The Metamorphosis," so why not pay homage to Herr Kafka with the opening line? And the rest flowed from there. I also realized that the story didn't have much steam, so it had better end quickly. And with our current economic conundrum, I knew what to do.

So if you need a laugh, go check it out. It's very short and readers got a kick out of it. It's also a lesson, that there are no bad ideas- just bad writers. And bad writers, if we practice enough, become good ones.



© 2011 Thomas Pluck

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