I don't always write fast, but I always try to write well. If you read something of mine and think, "Well, that was crap.", please read it again. Sometimes my jokes and layered meanings don't always come across instantly. If I make you work for the punchline, I hope you realize that I wouldn't even set up the hurdle for you if I didn't think you were able to clear it.
The visitor asked, "Can you write a story without a prompt?"
"I don't know," said the writer. "I've never tried."
"Really? You mean all those stories you wrote arose from something you'd seen or heard?"
"Or something I'd read. Tasted. Felt. Wondered about."
"And the novels? The poems? That terrible album you wrote and recorded?"
The writer smiled. "Yes, all of them. I need to have something to start from, some germ of a concept that I can build on. It's like the way a jazz musician riffs off a set theme. They start with what they have and make...
I think that I shall never see
A sight so fine as irony
For all my life I lay in wait
To see a sight profound and great
This rosy glow that lights the sky
Answers every truth and lie
Every hope and all despair
Is wiped from mind and earth and air
Would that the sun had caused this glow
Sinking down in sunset low
Would that tomorrow it would rise
In sunrise warm and soft and wise
No shockwave yet, though it will come
The world will end and all fall dumb
Yon mass of rock that hurtles...
Face down on the cold floor of the cathedral, Brother Fidelis whispered his prayers. Though his lips brushed the dust and filth of the stones, his eyes were angled forward, watching the door. Though he lay in front of the altar, he faced away from it.
The flat light of dawn was pushing through the open spaces where the stained glass had been, the thin, watery edge of light creeping slowly across the burned and broken pews. There were no noises yet. The day was not far enough advanced to bring them home. When the clear light rose above the...
Four minutes away from the burn point, one of the telltales switched from green to red. Tears streamed from my eyes, flowing back fast into my ears. The compression collar held my head in an unshakable grip. I flicked from gauge to gauge, moving only my eyes.
We were pulling seven Gs on the spinning turn, squeezing as much boost velocity as possible from the flyby. Apparently, the strain had been too much for the secondary backup fuel pump. The main primary pump and its backup were still reading green, and the main secondary was still green as well. The...
In the time of stone and wood, when you and I walked through shady forests surrounded by the scent of roasting ptarmigan and flint-struck fire, we loved the world and all it contained.
In the time of iron and silk, when you and I rode through across the land surrounded by the scent of rotting bison and coal smoke, we possessed the world and all it contained.
In the time of silicon and glass, when you and I flew through the sky surrounded by the scent of soymeal and ozone, we eschewed the world and all it contained.
The world was so close to perfect, he hated having to point out the flaws to the designer. It was his least favorite part of the job; they always took it personally. Months to design each reality, thousands of hours of effort by the design teams, but it always came down to the lead designer to take responsibility for the deliverable.
Clients were, of course, unreasonable in their expectations of what kind of world they would live out the rest of their lives. They were clients, after all. The health and happiness of a hundred thousand subsequent generations would depend...
"You heard me right, friends. The evil that is draining our country of vitality is NOT Wall Street, NOT Washington D.C., NOT the Chinese or video games or foreign oil! No sir!"
I looked out at them, every one of them shocked at hearing this deviation from the party line, hearing my "lunatic heresies", as the bloggers and cable news harpies would no doubt dismiss them.
"NO SIR!" I thundered, rocking them back in their seats. "I tell you that the greatest threat to America and TO THE WORLD is this scourge, this pestilence, this new opiate of the masses:...
"Sweetie, Daddy is trying to work, OK? One more picture and then you go play with your dolls, OK? You can do a fashion show and take pictures of them. Wouldn't that be fun?"
*click* *click* *click*
"OK, that's enough now. Honey? HEY, HONEY! Can you come get Penny? I need to finish this report! Honey?"
"She can't hear you."
"Why not? Where's Mommy, sweetheart? Is she outside?"
"The woman is in my capture device."
"What? Your... Penny, what's wrong? Why are you looking like that? Where's Mommy?"
"The woman is in my capture device. Along with the pre-reproductive...
A bubble of blood oozed around the tip as he held the blade on his thumb. The knife was unbalanced and sharp. There's a metaphor in there somewhere, he thought.
Hi. My name's Steel. Chinese Steel. I'm unbalanced and sharp. And dangerous. And cheap. And I'll probably break the first time you try to use me.
Bad metaphor, he thought. Or too good.
With a flick of his wrist, the blade bounced in the air, spinning awkwardly in a half-arc. It fell, jabbing into the ground in the middle of the circle of empty beer cans. Close enough to the...
The sword hilt slipped from his hand as he staggered back. Leather-palmed gauntlets slick with blood, his own and that of dozens of men, could yet have gripped, had his hands the strength for it.
In the steaming corpse at his feet, the blade angled outward, once shining and ceremonial, now chipped and ruined by the armor and bone it had overcome. It had belonged to his father, to his grandfather, and to a king before that; when this was over, he thought, it would hang on his wall and never again leave his sight.
This was the last of...