Monday, April 25, 2011

Aim High

Harlan Coben, thriller writer extraordinaire and Livingston New Jersey native, is on twitter: @harlancoben

I was feeling a bit glum, working on the revision of my novel, when he mentioned his excellent novel Tell No One  was #2 on Amazon UK. It was my introduction to his work and still is one of the best. It gave me a burst of enthusiasm. I replied to him, "That's still one of my favorites. A great novel. I'm revising my own. You take Livingston, I'm taking Montclair."

Ballsy. Out of character for me, really. But I've been riding high on it ever since. He didn't reply, but I've written four or five stories since then, including one, "Legacy of Brutality," which three good friends, good writers all, were amazed by. It's currently under review at a well regarded online magazine. I thought about picking an easier target, one with a higher acceptance rate and a blessedly quick response time, but I decided to aim high. And it feels good.

In other good news, "The Last Sacrament" will be appearing in Shotgun Honey next month. Ten more tales are waiting for reply. My novel is percolating in the background like a pot of gumbo, developing character.

Aim high. A thousand rejection slips are only fuel for the fire, to get your pot simmering.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Friday, April 22, 2011

Items Found Clogging the Colonic Irrigation Machine

Items Found Clogging the Colonic Irrigation Machine:

311 wads bubblegum
212 fingernail crescents
113 Pop Rocks and/or pebbles of aquarium gravel
91 petrified spitballs
82 pieces dry elbow macaroni
73 baby teeth
65 chewed wax lip pellets
53 pistachio shell shards (21 red, 32 plain)
44 orthodontic rubber bands
32 beef jerky shreds
31 pink pencil erasers
29 gnawed pen cap stems
22 insect (spider?) legs
19 dental fillings
18 fossilized Play-Doh globules
12 Legos (or Lego, whatever)
11 marbles (swirly)
9 Barbie shoes
8 adult teeth
7 marbles (solid)
6 thumbtacks
5 plastic whistles
5 gray erasable pen erasers
4 swizzle stick knobs
4 superball chunks
4 cigarette filters
3 Duplo bricks
3 latex condoms
2 pacifier nubs
2 severed Darth Vader action figure heads
2 thimbles
2 jacks
1 goldfish skeleton
1 sheepskin condoms (yuck)
1 metal whistle
1 cigarette holder
1 orange snake that came with Yoda (sell this on ebay)
1 plastic sandwich bag (presumably used as an emergency condom)
1 John Wayne-worthy red meat residue stocking
1 Diamond or cubic zirconia, pending certification, approx. 1.75 carat
1 fly
$2.37 in loose change, including two Canadian nickels

since McSweeney's rejected this for their "Lists" column, I share this with you...

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Saturday, April 9, 2011

1997: What I Wanted

  If all the world had one neck, I would have clenched my hands around it and squeezed until everything went black. I had won the game of checkers Dad and I played all our lives, and he flipped the board on me. I'd made it to his side and forced him to king me, when he called me out of the blue, something he'd never done before, and I'd turned his favorite phrase back on his latest self-inflicted tragedy:

  Life's a bitch.
  Two weeks later, I heard he checked out and took the lead pill.
  I wanted to keep hating him.
  I wanted to not look at the pathetic, waxy and emaciated body in the coffin and feel pity for the man whose wake of wanton emotional destruction formed the stomach churning foundation for my formative years; gone was the charmer with glinty umber eyes and a disarming crescent grin, his acceptance doled out in niblets, treats passed to dogs standing stiff before the judges, trained to gladly suffer the verbal public flayings endured in between.
  I wanted not to cry when they sang "Danny Boy" at his funeral, elegizing the prodigal son who'd gone astray, lashing out at everyone loved him, seeking relief from a wound that would never heal. 
  I wanted him to stand up and fight. To swell into the hammer-swinging hardhat who loomed in the parlor sipping vodka and orange juice, hurling brickbat words and scraps of heart shrapnel at my mother, sister and me. I wanted to throw just one meaty fist into his face before he took the dirt nap, the coward's way out, before he did the Dutch and gypped me out of his comeuppance.
  I wanted to revel, when his uppance had cometh.
  All I threw was a rose into his grave. 
  And I sang Danny Boy with the rest of them, tears running down my cheeks.
  From that day on, every fight I've ever had has been with my dead old man. His face has grinned from every drunk I've set straight, every cop I've mouthed off to, every driver who's cut me off, and every woman who's rejected me; they've all had that grinning face, saying I got you this time: I turned you into me.
  The battle thunders on in silence; a fist clenched at my side, nails digging into my palm leaving little grin-like crescents to fight back the red mist clouding the corners of my vision, the fire in my blood and the vitriol on my tongue, to spare those close to me from my frothing, fatherless rage.
--disclaimer: I am a lot better now.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

disclaimers of legal bull shitte

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