View Poll Results: Please vote for the story you like best by December 31st.

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  • You Ooze, You Lose

    7 11.48%
  • Playing the Piano

    6 9.84%
  • Kim and Me

    19 31.15%
  • The Story of Remembering

    9 14.75%
  • Forever Young

    20 32.79%
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Thread: 2011 Short Story Competition Final

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillwalker View Post
    We can actually do both (not at the same time, obviously). That's what TV was invented for - switching off the brain and plugging into the dumbed-down universe of 'easy entertainment'.
    And trust me, there's not a great deal of discussion goes on in the bedroom...! (other than the price of groceries, what colour flooring to get for the new kitchen and who to invite round for Christmas dinner...).

    H
    Like every media, TV has an inmense variety of programs for every taste. Quality in spectacle is taste and what sells is quality. And the bedroom is what it is for anyone to choose the conversation they wish.

  2. #62
    sound of music soundofmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillwalker View Post
    We can actually do both (not at the same time, obviously). That's what TV was invented for - switching off the brain and plugging into the dumbed-down universe of 'easy entertainment'.
    And trust me, there's not a great deal of discussion goes on in the bedroom...! (other than the price of groceries, what colour flooring to get for the new kitchen and who to invite round for Christmas dinner...).

    H
    Oh god, you need a change. Last few times I was in the bedroom with anyone, the only discussion was the price...

  3. #63
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    I can't improve on that one. And you're right, I do need a change!

    H

  4. #64
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Sounds! You shameless hussy!

    Also, Feliz Navidad, mi amiga.
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

  5. #65
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundofmusic View Post
    Oh god, you need a change. Last few times I was in the bedroom with anyone, the only discussion was the price...
    How much did you eventually have to pay?
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  6. #66
    Registered User SilentMute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    How much did you eventually have to pay?
    Well, when she tallied the cost at the end of the relationship...I think it was around $10,000. Her car got damaged when the young man decided to drive it over a median strip, and then it got repossessed.
    I don't care if the glass is half full or half empty, I'm just glad to have a glass.

  7. #67
    sound of music soundofmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    How much did you eventually have to pay?
    Ah well, these things are what you call the "gift that keeps on taking"...But I think Silent is right: about 10,000 for 7 months of "night therapy", 10 years off my looks, 30 pounds of additional weight and several courses of antibiotics....

    Quote Originally Posted by SilentMute View Post
    Well, when she tallied the cost at the end of the relationship...I think it was around $10,000. Her car got damaged when the young man decided to drive it over a median strip, and then it got repossessed.
    I've been borrowing money from my daughter ever since.

    Quote Originally Posted by hillwalker View Post
    I can't improve on that one. And you're right, I do need a change!

    H
    Hum, I'll send some one over. Lets see what we have in Florida: short and fat, old and thin, or gay and loving it...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    Sounds! You shameless hussy!

    Also, Feliz Navidad, mi amiga.
    Did someone call me...Yep, I'm the only shameless hussy on this site. We are in need of some cookie humor here Sancho...

  8. #68
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundofmusic View Post
    Did someone call me...Yep, I'm the only shameless hussy on this site. We are in need of some cookie humor here Sancho...
    Sounds, ain’t that the truth. Our story collaboration was fun last winter.

    Hmm…I’ll start us out anew:

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    Yes, yes, yes, excellent start. Hmmm.

    And it was a dark and stormy night.

    Uhh, I donno. Okay, okay, okay:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing, and it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

    So. Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. But. I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. Yet. You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.

    Hmmm, I’d better start again:

    The swift gray fox jumped over the lazy brown dog.

    And that's just the way the cookie crumbles.
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

  9. #69
    Registered User SilentMute's Avatar
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    The puppy of the lazy brown dog took note and vowed, "The next time that fox goes sniffing around the hen house, I'm going to the owner. I'm going to say, "Boss man, it is time for Old Yeller to be put out to pasture."
    I don't care if the glass is half full or half empty, I'm just glad to have a glass.

  10. #70
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    All stories are expressive..... good job .One of the stories was..amaising .. I found myself lost reading it! How could such words take my mind! good style.

  11. #71
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemouli Chahra View Post
    My story is not included in the competion but I would like to have comments on it...
    Concerning Grammar, which aspects should I take into account, knowing that English is my third foreign language..
    I'm in need to your comments friends...
    Great Thanks
    Hi Zemouli, and welcome. It looks like your story has migrated over to the Short Story Sharing Thread. But I read it and I enjoyed it. I’ve got some ideas, but I need to put them into a coherent form and try to get them posted over there. I’m not guaranteeing I’ll ever get around to it, but I’ll try. I’m impressed that you wrote that story with English as a third language.

    Ah, what the hey, I’m just going to post it here, because I’m on a roll, and occasionally the moderators will indulge El Sancho.

    In a nutshell, you may consider rewriting it as a first-person narrative from the perspective of the young woman – a non-native speaker of English. Her voice would ring true, and a perceived weakness of the story (grammar) would now become a strength. It turns the tables on native English speakers who sometimes have difficultly writing from the point of view of a non-native English speaker, or even in the voice of an English-speaking character from a different region. A writer from New York writing in the voice of a character from rural Alabama is going to have to work very hard to convince me (I’m a Southerner). And if I were to try to write a first-person narrative from the perspective of a Scottish Highlands Sheep Herder, I predict I’d fail miserably – and Hillwalker wouldn’t buy it for a moment.

    Much of the beauty in a language is in its nuance, and much of the nuance comes from the shared-experience of the people who speak it. I got to thinking about this a couple of weeks ago when I and a few of my co-workers were sitting around a table in a restaurant in Santiago, Chile. Most of us were native speakers of North American English, but we all had a little Spanish. One of the women was a native Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico, and one of the men was a local from Santiago. Well, the waiter came around to take our order, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself for ordering in Spanish. I understood everything he said to me and I think he understood everything I said to him. His interaction with the other Gringos at the table went similarly, but when he got to my Chilean compañero, lordy-lordy-lordy, those two started jabbering away in a rapid-fire South American Spanish that I could barely follow.

    I leaned over to my Puerto Rican friend and said, “I didn’t get any of that.”

    She said to me, “Me neither.”

    I think another major challenge for a non-native speaker writing in the third person, is the genre. Short stories are tightly packed with no slow spots. Every sentence and almost every word is loaded. I’ll try to give a simplistic example: soundofmusic and I had a shared experience last winter creating a light-hearted little story where we went back and forth, and generally enjoyed ourselves. I’m not sure anybody else read it, but we sure had fun. A few days ago on this thread she prodded me to start another one, so I made a silly post where I strung together a bunch of first sentences from famous novels and threw in some other hackneyed stuff:


    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    The swift gray fox jumped over the lazy brown dog.
    It’s a nonsense sentence that a lot of people will recognize as typing exercise. More or less. The real sentence goes like this: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” You see, that sentence has all 26 letters of the alphabet in it, making it a good drill for touch-typing.

    Anyway, for me it has always evoked an image of British aristocrats on white horses galloping through the wood on a fox hunt. But SilentMute came back with:

    Quote Originally Posted by SilentMute View Post
    The puppy of the lazy brown dog took note and vowed, "The next time that fox goes sniffing around the hen house, I'm going to the owner. I'm going to say, "Boss man, it is time for Old Yeller to be put out to pasture."
    She threw me a change-up pitch.* Excellent! I can roll with that. I’ve seen Old Yeller – It made me cry. We’re switching from a fox-hunt story to a fox-in-the-hen-house story. (I never metaphor I didn’t like)

    And here’s where I try to explain the shared-experience of language and how almost everything in it can be loaded. This has been a light-hearted, just-for-fun story, but it would be hugely inappropriate for me to come back with something like:

    And then the Red Roster strutted out from behind the barn and declared, “Old Yeller is going out to pasture. It’s been decided. It’s the final solution."
    Those seemingly innocuous words would unintentionally and immediately insult the 6 million Jews who died in the holocaust, and their loved ones.

    So then, while I’m thinking of an appropriate come-back for the fox-in-the-hen-house story, here’s a little tune that gets at it better than I’ll ever be able to:

    One night Farmer Brown was taking the air
    Locked up the barn and with the greatest of care
    Inside the hen house something stirred
    When he hollered, “Who’s there?”
    This is what he heard…

    http://youtu.be/jmgaTPz63Bw

    Asleep at the Wheel

    It’s got a pretty cool sax solo too.


    *That’s an American Baseball metaphor. A change-up pitch is where the pitcher makes the batter think he’s going to throw a fastball, but instead he throws an off-speed pitch, making the batter swing way out in front of the ball – STEEEE-RIKE, you outta there!
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

  12. #72
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    Come on, the Sanch. You all have four days to make this story happen.







    J

  13. #73
    Registered User SilentMute's Avatar
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    I can work with it. Okay, I'll take the PC version.

    One night Farmer Brown was taking the air
    Locked up the barn and with the greatest of care
    Inside the hen house something stirred
    When he hollered, “Who’s there?”
    This is what he heard…

    "THERE AIN'T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS! GO TO BED, DAD...ER, I MEAN, FARMER BROWN!"

    Farmer Brown's eyebrows furrowed, and he scratched his bald head. Then he scratched his beard, and then his arse. Finally, he said, "Okay."

    For you see, years of inbreeding in the backwater states had left Farmer Brown's family with a road that didn't fork. As a result, none had more brains than a mosquito. When you are at such a disadvantaged, you don't tend to notice things are slightly amissed--like chickens can't talk, they can't play the sax, and despite some of your weird relationships with farm animals, the laws of Nature should prevent any of them from calling you "dad."

    However, Nature does sometimes throw us a few wild cards. Nine months later, Fanny Brown--the farmer's daughter--was in bed, even though the rooster had crowed two hours ago. Mrs. Brown, the farmer's wife, muttered as she climbed the stairs, "Boy, dat girl is gettin lazier and lazier. No wonder she gettin so fat too! She look like she swallered a watermelon!"

    She opened the bedroom door of the girl's room, and said, "Girl, get up--OH, MY LORD! WHAT THE DEVIL IS THAT THING?"

    There was a little creature bawling in between the legs of Fanny Brown, who had suddenly lost quite a bit of baby weight...literally. It was an ugly baby, which was a tragedy, particularly since it was a little girl. It looked like it was part man, part bear, and part pig.

    I don't care if the glass is half full or half empty, I'm just glad to have a glass.

  14. #74
    sound of music soundofmusic's Avatar
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    Oh Gosh, Sancho and Silent; I was sitting up with my night light in the barn, counting chickens and good looking winged singing cowboys in boots when I fell asleep and dreamed of peanut butter oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips...suddenly, the barn caught fire and we were wisked away to a fox hunt in England, headed by no one else than the wee fairy Queen beautifully attired in purple velvet and showing just the tiniest bit of ankle above her boot. Well, of course, all the English blokes followed her when the horn blew, 16 husky horses with fine horsemen, 35 hounds following one mangy fox. But there were a fair amount of Southern Americans at that hunt and we were much more interested in the little blond girl scout who was selling chocolate mints, coconut cookies and so on. We came off our horses faster than lightening, emptied our pockets and sat in the shade with our cookies and mint juleps.

  15. #75
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Whoa!

    In a New York minute, no fewer than two-and-a-half million farmer’s-daughter jokes flashed across Sancho’s brain.

    Well okay, I’m from one of the backwater States, so the New York minute went on for around an hour and a half. It was like a flashback from ‘Nam. Except I didn’t go to ‘Nam – I was still trying really hard to grow pubic hair back during the Vietnam conflict. I know, I know, TMI.

    But anyway, it was like a flashback – from…Mmm…from…Umm…Hey I know, from Comedy Central. That’s it! I’ve watched too much of that station. Man-Bear-Pig? Mr. Gore? You’ve killed Kenny! You bastard!

    As for the fox-in-the-henhouse story line, I can’t compete with Ray Benson and Asleep at Wheel’s Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens (in that you-tube video, I fancied myself as the rooster, go figure). But since SilentMute went from a change-up pitch to a slider (very clever) and Sounds is throwing every pitch in the book at me, I figure we’re over to a farmer’s-daughter story now, so I have a short-fiction recommendation:

    Try Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People

    Here’s a teaser:

    Every morning Mrs. Hopewell got up at seven o’clock and lit her gas heater and Joy’s. Joy was her daughter, a large blonde girl who had an artificial leg. Mrs. Hopewell thought of her as a child though she was thirty-two years old and highly educated.
    Joy winds up in the barn with a bible salesman, but it’s not what you’d expect.

    I visited Flannery a couple of weeks ago. I was on my way home to Atlanta from Macon and decided to take a side trip through Milledgeville just to try to find her marker in the cemetery there. I did. She died too young; I’d like to see where her writing would’ve gone.
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

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