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“I am. I am up. This is freakin’ amazing.”
“The board is green. Ready for your first waypoint?”
“You know what? I’m a cat, right?”
“Screw the waypoints. I’m going outside.”
“No, um. I would not advise that.”
“Ha! One leap. Did you see that?”
“I would not take the animal outside.”
“Just going on the lawn.”
“Whoa. Jesus Christ. Did you see me? I cleared the whole thing!”
“John, I would seriously bring the animal back.”
“You’re getting all this data?”
“You’re really doing this, aren’t you?”
“Don’t tell Sharon. But... Shh! Quiet... Squirrel.”
Kent was winding down. The mottled apoplexy he wore in his face was softening to a merely agitated rosé, and I hoped somebody off in the wings was pouring him a cool glass of water.
Now he looked at me.
“And by that I mean costumed creeps like this fancypants right here, Captain Buckland. Look at him. You’re aware — of course you’re aware, you approved it — he is covered under municipal insurance? He has carte blanche? He can do no wrong? That’s tax dollars, yours and mine, to give this goon a free pass to kick whatever ass he pleases.”
“IF YOUR math is correct...”
“It’s... I’m, I’m...”
“Have a seat.”
“No, no. Do you understand what you’ve discovered?”
“Well, it reconciles all the forces.”
“Yes, and... Mein Gott.”
“Pretty snazzy, eh? Really, once I corrected the wavefunction postulate, everything else just fell into place. Took me a week.”
“What is this here?”
“That’s a derivative of the Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model. I put it in there as a joke.”
“Yes. See? They rely on the Polyakov loop effect in order to describe a ‘certain confinement.’ Get it?”
“DID YOU SEE? We made the papers today.”
“Yeah. Well, the science web, anyway.”
“University of Washington. ‘Scientists resolve a 3.5 billion-year-old mystery of life’”
“Oh, they finally figured it out?”
“Yeah. Those guys and a team at the University of South Florida.”
“Send me a link.”
“I’ll read you the thing: ‘...Scientists at the University of Washington...’ blah blah blah... Here: ‘...found that during the Hadean and Archean eons — the first two of the four principal eons of the Earth’s earliest history — the heavy bombardment by meteorites provided reactive phosphorus essential for creating the earliest life on Earth.’”
“ONE TWO THREE four?”
“Eight. Nine ten eleven... twelve thirteen.”
“Fifteen. Sixteen seventeen.”
“Eighteen nineteen twenty; twenty-one. Twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five. (Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight.)”
“Thirty-four! Thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven; thirty—”
“Forty-one. (Forty-two?) Forty-three-forty-four forty-five, forty-six forty-seven forty-eight. Forty-nine?”
“Se. Ven. Ty. Eight.”
“Fifty-six. ‘Hyphens’ fifty-eight fifty-nine, sixty sixty-one sixty-two. Sixty-three; sixty-four. Sixty-five?”
Q. John, what’s the President’s position on Barnstable Huffhein?
MR. SNYDER: His position?
Q. Yes, this is appearing before the Supreme Court.
MR. SNYDER: Tad, the President believes Barnstable Huffhein is an amalgamated vector. He’s said precisely this on all the Sunday shows, he’s said it to Jilly and Wonderbean on your own network, and —
Q. But —
MR. SNYDER: Let me finish. This president has taken the strongest position on Barnstable Huffhein compared to all other presidents before him. He wants to see a robust dialectic emerge that sweeps into the chasm any and all sundry posivectors that might dalrymple Sanders Delacroix.
Q. That doesn’t —
MR. SNYDER: Thanks, Tad. Stace?
I'M IN A TOUGH spot. I’m finally in the zone for this client’s project, and I now have to stop dead because the kids are coming over. I don’t want the kids to come over. No fault of their own, not their mom’s fault, blah blah blah; I just don’t want them here. I have a deadline. I have no idea what to make for them that they’ll eat, given I’m on this new diet. I don’t want to spend money on them this weekend, haul them around and listen to their wants and needs, their gimme gimme gimme, please.
PEOPLE ASK ME how I got my job at French Paste; I must know somebody, I must have family connections. I don’t. I answered an ad that they’d run in the
, and they interviewed me over the phone and then three times at their offices in Manhattan, and then a week later their HR gal called to ask how I’d like to start for them at this salary with those benefits.
And the job is awesome. It’s the best job in the world. Basically all I do is write 100 words a day on anything I want.
THE BEST and worst thing about hundred-wording for French Paste is that I telecommute. I actually have an office at 4 Times Square, in the Condé Nast Building, but I don’t care to live in the city, and that limits me to what, Brooklyn or Connecticut? So I work from home in Western Massachusetts.
The thing is, I like working at an office. I’m good at it. I like having somewhere to go every day, a place to show off my reference books, and a crew to roll with.
Once in a while I like a little Au Bon Pain.
STEAMED BUT GOOD. One of the things I insisted on when I took this hundred-words job was that I not be interfered with editorially. That was Rule No. 1, and it’s worked out well for a year and a half.
So today Bill Briggs calls me up, wondering if maybe I would like to post something about dragons or elves, seeing as how it’s his son’s seventh birthday and he’s a big fan and all.
Dragons and fucking elves!
Briggs knows damn well I’m posting about working for French Paste this week. That’s my agenda. Sheezis.
Raar, Timmy. Raar!
TOOK THE VERMONTER to the city today to make an appearance at the office, but have been walking around, just another anonymous shmoe under a black umbrella.
During a break in the rain I sat in Bryant Park. Now heading over to Langham Place, where I might stay for a few days and then head home. I’m sure somewhere in there I’ll even peek in on the Condé Nast Building.
Nice rooms. There’s that view. Grey clouds, taxis enjambed, and a million windows.
Should I leave French Paste? Hundred-word solo?
(Tomorrow, though: crêpes at Chelsea Market.)
WALKING FIFTH AVENUE, ASKING NEW YORKERS TO SHARE A FEW WORDS FOR TODAY’S PIECE.
— “Be kind to the Earth.”
— “What? What? I don’t know. I don’t know. Obamacare, OK?”
— “Am I on TV?”
— “I don’t wanna do this. I’m not interested.”
— “Îmi pare rău, eu nu înțeleg ce spui.”
— “You look just like my Jeffrey! You look just like him. He went overseas.”
— “I like... Taylor Swift?”
— “Sorry, can’t, can’t.”
— “A few words... You've put me on the spot. Happily, though. Oh! ‘Brevity is the soul of wit!’ That’s Benjamin Franklin. He wasn’t a president!”
— “Print is dead, man. Sorry.”
MY APPEARANCE at the office was more fun than I expected it would be. Some new faces, but mostly old hands. I got in a fair amount of writing, and then a bunch of us trekked out to Park Slope. There was a wine and cheese thing at this really cool collective gallery on 6th Avenue between 9th and 10th streets, and now we’re all jammed into a pub on 4th between Bergen and something. I really, really am having more fun than — hold on.
Than I thought I’d have. These folks are the salt of the earth.
Q. How long have you been living in New York?
A. Oh, we came over, my family came over, in 1888. That was my grandfather; he came over with his sisters, his mother, and a little brother, who died on the boat.
Q. How many sisters?
A. There were five in all. Five sisters; my grandfather, his mother, who would have been my great-grandmother... The whole bunch. They all crowded together on Ludlow Street, the Lower East Side. We were Levy Glass. A glazier’s, you know? That was us. The cousins came over after.
Q. Where did they come from?
Q. Glaziers, huh?
A. And what do you do?
Q. I write.
A. Yeah? What, books?
Authorship means Taking Charge of
The workshops are presented as an interactive seminar, a candid give-and-take discussion about the heart and soul and nuts and bolts of creating a compelling experience for the reader. Whether it’s a short story, a novel, or a screenplay, the principles of effective storytelling are universal.
Your passion is the engine for your writing, but great stories come not only from great passion, but genuine commitment to getting from page one to page last. These workshops are about getting under the hood and working on the underlying mechanics of plot and character.
— David Gerrold
SATURDAY DAVID GERROLD AUTHORSHIP BEGINNERS WORKSHOP
Session One: Story Structure
Plot is about what your characters do.
What is a story? This session is a profound examination of the nature of plot and structure as the skeleton on which all else is built. What is the relationship between the protagonist and the problem? Understanding both the physical and emotional nature of the problem unravels the essential structure of a story. After you complete this session, you will see stories in a whole new way. Your own storytelling will have a new drive and purpose.
Limited Seating: $100
My role model!
SUNDAY DAVID GERROLD
Session Two: Characterization
Characterization is about who your characters are.
How do you bring a character to life? What animates the people in a story, making them real and believable? This session reveals character as a function of a person’s emotional landscape. How does a person react to events? And why? Understanding the expression of human emotions will transform the quality of your writing. After you complete this session, you will see people in a whole new way and the people in your stories will be real and alive.
Limited Seating: $100
“Off to class?”
“I’m headed that way... A fine chapeau!”
“Thank you. It was a gift.”
“From your wife?”
“No. This was from my graduate assistant, Nils.”
“It’s a Tyrolean, I see.”
“You’ve even got the little volksmarch pins. Authentic?”
“I walk when I can.”
“Best thing. You’re in a club?”
“Look, what’s this about? What are you on about?”
“This small talk.”
“Oh, is it unwelcome? I beg your pardon.”
“It’s not unwelcome; it’s uncharacteristic.”
“You’re not known generally to be gregarious.”
“I... no. No, I suppose not.”
“...Are you well?”
Own Out Oft Owl Off Opt Odd Ooh Ope Ose
Naw New Net Nor Nit Nar Nom Nap Nad Nez
Egg Err Elk Eat Est Erm Ell End Eff Ebb
Hay Hep Her Huh Hub Ham Hot Hue Hum Hen
Ugh Urn Use Ump Uke Umm Urp Ute Uhh Uhs
Nab Not Nub Nam Nix Nun Now Nog Nay Ney
Dab Dad Dam Dye Der Dur Dry Dib Dow DIg
Rah Rag Rat Rye Red Row Roe Res Ray Raw
Eek Eel Eke Esc Ess Esp Ewe Eew Eve Elm
Dud Due Dom Die Dim Din Dec Dig Die Dug
DISNEY'S PIXAR Animation Studios’ latest, “John Snyder,” is a return to golden form following the serviceable-but-why-bother “Brave” and the altogether stalled “Cars 2.” Set in a drab two-bedroom apartment, the film follows a paunchy middle-aged man (Jeff Goldblum) as he copyedits, checks social media, and tends to his sprawling to-do list, which glows with a painterly — with a masterly — inner life. Executive producer and director John Lasseter lavishes most of the film’s 93 minutes on the poetry of a divorced man slouching (and fidgeting) on a black Ikea loveseat. Sorry, Woody, hit the trail.
OTHER BOOKS BY JOHN SNYDER
The Haphazard Man
The Haphazard Man Returns
The Haphazard Man Sets Out
Make Me a Clerk: Adventures in Filing, A-L
Hatable Cats and Finicky Kittens: A Field Guide
The Arugula Device
Clandestine Fred: An Arugula Device Thriller
Fastest Fred in the West: An Arugula Device Round-Up
Murder Most Fred: An Arugula Device Whodunit
Captain Merp Mippleporp: Clandestine Fred Takes to Space
Crawlspace Curtain Cookbook
Sit ‘n’ Spell, Speak ‘n’ Say, ‘n’ the Next Big Thing
I’m Parenting Who Now?
Chocolate Soup for the Traveling Astronaut’s Wife
Phase Runner: A Rom Lightpulse Cyber Byte
ALSO BY JOHN SNYDER
Photography When You Might As Well
I Ate, I Tell You, I Ate! A Grandson Remembers
Comet Carson, Shallow-Sea Explorer
Comet Carson Meets Sand Dollar Dan
Comet Carson, Sediment Sleuth
The Erotic Letters of Stan Lee
Zapf Dingbats is Singular, and 501 Other 'Singular' Facts
What Bugs Bunny Could (And Should!) Teach America
Bowser Growlington, Dog of D.C.
Bowser Growlington, Mission to Mars
Bowser Growlington, Midnight in Moscow
What Worms to Go Fishing With
What Makes Up a Good, Solid Shed
Kissinger on China: What His Views Was/Is
Surefire Wisecracks to Disarm Most Muggers
JACK BLATHERS is Terwilliger Reece in Freewrite’s long-awaited sequel to 1981’s Hoopty Award-winning “Spectral Desires.” Taking advantage of cutting-edge computer bytes and a script by “Beetle Bailey” scribe Dan Blannanafanplast, “Spectral Desires II: The Dangerous-est Game” picks up the story without missing a beat. Now all out of Milk Duds, Blathers’ Reece is older, wiser, and driven to find the man who sold him too much butter on his popcorn. A riveting, rollicking ride through Parsippany Mall that’ll leave you spent and sticky. Blaine Spurgler (“Night at Pizza Hut”) directs. 93 minutes; R for language.
"YOU Peach Reynolds?"
"I got a job for you."
"What kind of job?"
"Oh, wait. Sorry. Filing. I meant filing."
"The job’s filing. I had the wrong... Interested?"
"It’s not a heist?"
"No, I read the wrong thing. That’s covered."
"What was the mark?"
"Diamonds. The Bellagio."
"You don’t like filing, we got a corporate VP gig. Southeast regional sales. Home improvement stuff. They’re listed."
"You’re allergic to tools?"
"No, to the Southeast. Something about the pollen."
"Well... Can you write a novel?"
"Sure, I guess."
"OK. You’re in."
“CAN we go now? This chimps.”
“Sweetie, language. No, we haven’t seen everything yet.”
“Who the flub munks? This guy’s been dead a scrillion years.”
“It’s a static monstrosity.”
“Look, it says here this is where he sat to write most of his hundred words. This is the very couch. You can see where it’s dented, where the cushion sags.”
“And there’s his laptop, even a bowl of strawberry caps. My God. You can almost...”
“Can we flit?”
“These were all his books, his newspapers. Oh, his laundry! I wonder if it was clean or dirty.”
All that summer on Neshobe Island in Lake Bomoseen we sunned ourselves on chaise longues, sailed our skiffs, and caroused like heathens at the bonfire.
Jeffords took me into his confidence: “The files... I’ve had them all along. They’re behind a false wall in my snack drawer.”
Now it was my turn to take the stand. The bailiff walked me up to the bench. I slid in. Oak veneer? Goddamn shiny stuff. Maybe it was real.
The pistol behind my ear held my attention faster than the curve whipping the road ahead.
EASY WITH the shaft collar. Easy. Good.
— Y’ever stop to think...
— I dunno.
Um. OK. Let me see that... Thanks.
— It’s just that...
What? What’s on your mind?
— Should we be doing this?
What, building the robot?
Well... My view, this was the assignment. We said we would do it, and we’re pretty good at it, and the guy’s waiting for results.
— I know, but...
Try it now. Sync to claws and jaws.
— Clear. And...
Wow! Ho ho! Easy, baby, easy!
— I just have mixed feelings.
“SOMETIMES I STAND here on the veranda.”
“Like the old days. When they’d cheer. Remember?”
“They’d flow in by the tens of thousands back then. All the streets. The whole plaza, all the way back to the river. Just a sea. A living, exultant sea, and every eye on me; every cheer for me.”
“‘¡Vi-lla-rón! ¡Vi-lla-rón! ¡Vi-lla-rón! ¡Vi-lla-rón!’”
“You were so handsome in your uniform.”
“And then it would change: ‘¡Viva Villarón! ¡Viva Villarón!’”
“What’s bringing this on?”
“I’ve been a good dictator, haven’t I?”
“I HAVE A thing to confess to you.”
“In ’72, remember?”
“Nineteen seventy-two, yes?”
“When the CIA men were here.”
“They were monsters.”
“I know you had to do business with them.”
“And again in 1985.”
“So? This is old news. There is nothing to say. There is nothing—”
“I allowed them to kill Jorge. They came to me...”
“Jorge? No, it was a traffic accident.”
“He died in a traffic accident. The other man was a drunk.”
“I am sorry.”
“What are you telling me? I know what happened.”
“I am sorry.”
Bonita and Jorge in the campesina. Mother is ill; father is conscripted. There are aunts. It is a land of broken aunts.
Jorge: I will protect you.
Bonita: You can not.
Jorge: I can! Let them come at me, then they will see! Swish, vish, vash, and down they’ll go! I will call to you:
Bonita come out now! It is safe!
And father will be home.
Bonita: Your nose is running. Here.
Jorge: And then I will be, I will lead the charge! Father and mother worried for me, and you worried too, but boom! Boom! We will win.
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