[Throbbing light clouds over the palantir on Dep's desk and a booming voice issues forth...]
What is the secret of the grail!
[Shocked, no one had ever yet noticed or perhaps they had forgotten Dep's obvious connection to Sauron aka The Rorschalk as direct proof she'd bugalood off into the 4th dimension long ago, their heads turn toward the source of their disaffection, which, being of the genus crystal ball, strikes in them further impressions of oddness when it clears its throat]
[DeP's sitting in the space between the wall and her desk keeping a steady beat on her djembe. It helps, this banging on, to focus on what it is she's employed to do but the practice encourages her mind to wander too, and so there arises a permanent dilemma. Rhythm. Arrhythm. Read. Ignore. Exist. Vaporize. She sets the instrument under the window, checking first for mould, then stretches, awakened from reverie or horror.]
I'm undecided. Is that news? No, I know. The damage done. Still, somewhat into the weavings of each capital I fall, at least for a time. Oui, even the ones I recognize as stinking of mouldy cheese stuck for months deep in the folds of an unused easy chair.
I've a conniving murderous femme fatale at the fountain. A seeker of something an average commoner, even those who purport to be so unusual that they do not, ultimately desires a slice of. What? Love and marriage. Cute babies and security. Money and power. Adoration from someone almost yet not quite as smart as themselves so as to maintain even a covert position of superiority and therefore dominance in the dance of yes and I don't think so.
Some of us just stop eating anything except buttons. Palantir! Listen, let me pace awhile within my own expansive albeit periodically satnam quieted obsessed mind. Where is the centre of this room? I need a replacement bulb for the pale blue lantern.
JohnVC's Pillow Talk swings on the pendulum.
I hear Harrison's For You Blue down low. Influencers try everything.
"Flies all green and buzzing in this dungeon of despair. Prisoners grumble and piss their clothes, and scratch their matted hair..." Jump in anytime, Boligard. Deplancher? Zappa composed some great singalongs.
We each have our own special way of coping down here. It's what makes us... well... special. I like Dep's subtle sensitivities and poetic musings as she guts a cap, and I like Doom's whole distracted judgment without a lot of (or any) deliberation approach. Just the verdict. Wish I could do that, but, maybe because of how I tend to skim and skip, I like to demonstrate that I at least try to read submissions that cross my path. I wonder if our regular VC hopefuls (assuming we have any) ever develop a preference. I, for one, would avoid me like the vaccine.
Frau Rabe has directed her latest offering to "Dear Gabrielle DePlancher." One can hardly blame her. Dep gives great crit. But, unfortunately, this time you got me, babe.
Found the prose precise and engaging, well researched, believable. I like writing that takes me into unfamiliar places. Like Hitler said, "Words build bridges into unexplored regions." Reminded me a little of Findley's Pilgrim, which I just started reading.
The plot's classic "Beware of what you wish for," except the supernatural element's more subtle than typically seen in this type of yarn. No evil genie or magic monkey's paw. Just an old calendar which inscribed prophecies tend to manifest. Not big things like avoiding WW I or managing inflation or stopping the Nazis. Just little things that could easily have been coincidence, like getting undesirable bosses and co-workers to quit, or the death of an old man well past his best-before date. Even the repercussions, the illnesses and injuries suffered in the granting of said wishes could be coincidence. Because the calendar's magic is, if only marginally, ambiguous, for me it works. It's kind of a metaphor for religion: arguable; occasionally demonstrable; but ultimately unprovable.
It read to me as if one jotted one's predictions on specific dates in the calendar. Like how Frank opens the calendar to April 5 to write, "Vicar General Dr. Amadeus Fohr resigns his position." So I had to wonder what date Tauber chose to forestall WW I, or thereafter to control inflation and German politics. Or, finally, portend himself eternal life. If it were me, I'd've written something like, "TQ Rockefeller becomes first ever to break 8 hours in Arizona Ironman" on October 31, 2152. Yeah, I'm probably a cyborg, but still pretty impressive for a bicentenarian.
Different for here. A cut above methinks. And up it goes. I see we have a new Terminali. A bird of some sort. Better spread some newspaper around.
[Rocks scribbles "Clerical Calendars touches Monkey" mid Miss August on the Naked Nurses Charity Calendar stuck (using God knows what) inside the lid of his little lift-top desk. He wonders if it'll work, and, if so, what it'll cost him. He's already losing his mind... so that won't be it. Possibly his dashing good looks.]
Only saw one typo: Father Tauber polled the calendar out of the pocket... pulled
Sometimes I wish there was a Basement below this Floor, where ill-tempered denizens could pre-preview cap before allowing it to ascend even to here, with editorial comment perhaps limited to a word or two.
Full Bloom appears to be the first four chapters of a novel written by a young author in a second language. If so, pretty impressive. Despite being riddled with grammatical and punctuation errors, it flowed, waxing, even at times, almost poetic. Still, after pressing on for a thousand or so words and having no idea what it was about, I skimmed to the last sentence: "And so it all ended, leaving countless questions unanswered." Way to stick a fork in it. Kid has instincts. Still, no.
Lee's recent submission got me wondering whether anywhere in our excellent and unique Guidelines we ask that VCs submit documents in William Shunn's oft insisted upon "Standard Manuscript" format. So I checked. We don't. Didn't think so. It's a pain in the ass not just for writers, but (unless maybe printed out, which I'm pretty sure almost no one does anymore) for readers too. No one (especially ezines) publish in this stupid format. No one wants to see the author's name along with the title atop every fucking page. As a slush reader, I'll probably get arthritis in my middle finger someday from having tapped down through all that double line-spacing, and be unable to extend or retract it as necessary when driving. Also, it doesn't suit certain forms, like this 100 Days piece, which is a journal of one man's quest for sobriety. But OK. I get it. Lee probably had to coerce it into this ridiculous format in order to garner other rejections from other magazines who, for want of imagination and a penchant for conformity, do insist on it. So no points deducted for this decision.
I read the piece last week, and remember it as fairly engaging, with authentic characters. Some of the political discourse, while perhaps cutting edge at the time of writing, struck me as a little tired now, probably because I spend too much time on Facebook (which is really any amount of time at all) and Zerohedge. It also seemed like it incorporated too much verbatim speech, usually italicized, for what were essentially diary entries, epistolary notes to self. I can't recall how the narrator's quitting drinking mattered, except as a ready source of entry headings. I remember the "parler" pronouncement (parlay vs. parlor) motif as feeling overworked.
So, while overall intelligent and articulate, because it lacked forward momentum and struck me as more of a memoir excerpt than a story, I am, albeit with a modicum of uncertainty and guilt, returning it through the Porthole into the deluge from whence it sprang.
Happily, it's already formatted per popular guidelines and will likely find a happier home a decade or two down the road when (in the unlikely event we survive) we're nostalgic for what idiots we were and for yesteryear's littler, simpler problems.
[doomey swivels in the pilots chair. he sucks in some sweet smoke, tilts his noggin. twitches his lips, juts his lower jaw. he shoves his lower lip forward, twists his eyes]
cousins. Basu has been shoved out the Porthole to twirl and twist forevermore. And, totally fuck me, Z.K.Parker has been Portholed. and i know you're standing there or sitting in your cozy movie house/room/attic thinking how can you do this to these aspiring fantastic authors and creators of greatness and... oh, fuck it. Tis fucking done, bitches.
I do love true and fit capital. But this capital bored me. I feel horrible saying that, but it bored me. And the only reason I responded thusly, spitting, is because I believe honest vetting makes better artists, right? We kinda got to be honest. And so, fuck me, I feel bad, Parker's The Honeymooner's Seven Lives has been Portholed, bitches.
[She tears the capital in half and tosses it up to the rafters. The pieces of capital erupt into sparkling, twirling, flitting butterflies that meander their way down, swirlingly, slowly, to the disco floor tiles around Carol's boots, and there they fizzle and crackle they die out, in a black mush with an occasional pop of spark. Carol puts her heel to one troublesome blob, and she twists]
[doomey revolves in his pilot's chair, round and round, reminds him of an old hair-band song. he has an unlit pall mall dangling from his lips, and he's challenging the swan vesta to light the tip of the cigarette, the flaming match-tip wavering as he twirls, the tip of the cigarette ever illusive. Will the two ever meet? doomey slows his twirl. he puts flame to the tip of the pall mall. he sucks in some sweet smoke. he sniffs, twitches his lips. he pulls a bottle of amber from the lower right drawer of the cherrywood and he gently places on the desktop, stage right. the tumbler waits, upstage left]
we're gonna need capital if this ship is gonna sail. good news, a new sopranos show.
[he winks at the camera that no one else can see]
tony's son. right? fuck me. s'gonna be good. is anybody else here in this room with me?