Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Bare Belly of a Bassett

I have asked the agency to which I belong to change my mailing address to one which seems at least 20 degrees cooler. It is remotely connected to a job I once had and I like the sound of it.

The agency meets outdoors and has no name. I'm not really sure that I'm the only one embarrassed to admit I have forgotten our mission. I'm not even sure we ever had one, but I keep quiet in case we did.

A somber withered one speaks to the group leader. I watch him in profile as he says, "I know why Bowden wants to be associated with this particular address. It's because of his weird belief that canines are susceptible to poison oak. Also, he believes 'carbon dating' is a matchmaker premise that any two organic creatures should be perfectly compatible."

I object. "That last odd belief is from Descartes, not me, and I never met the man. And anybody can find a rash on the bare belly of a Bassett." I might also have countered with a statement challenging the absurdity of either of these statements remotely conflicting with our raison d'etre, which is what smart argue persons often say, but I had no idea what that even meant.

I may've won the point, or lost it, but it wasn't the sort of discussion to give much satisfaction either way, then or now. It was growling at a Poodle in a passing auto.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Number®

It is all quite simple, you see. 

Just as pollsters can with great accuracy predict the victor in national elections, you can devise a strategy to move any product, practice or premise. It is strictly a matter of leveraging prime factors into a sine quotient of current derivatives. If everyone would just go to our website at, you will see it's much simpler than it sounds.

Oprah is very impressed. She gazes sincerely at her audience. "I'm very impressed," she tells us. "It's life-changing." This made the fourth epiphany for Oprah that week, and it was only Thursday.

All you could hear about then was The Number®. Did you know it will help you sell turnips? It made my wealth in sugar futures. I found my husband through The Number®!

It sure did sell a lot of books, anyway. The Number® was numero uno on the NYT Best Seller list for 18 straight weeks.

Then it popped, sudden as a soap bubble. It just went away, with no word about whatever had become of The Number®. Maybe it was the report that the author and entrepreneur had skipped out on a hotel bill after a conference. Maybe sugar futures tanked.

Or maybe it was Oprah again. The problem is missing the point, another guest told her, dripping sincerity. Everyone worries about the mot juste, when the primary agent in communication is The Letter®. Like, have you accepted your RDA in Rs today?

Oprah is thoughtful. "My Asian friends do have trouble wirh that one."

"But we all do!" exclaimed the shill, "Which is why we are as a nation bereft of the thrill of the trill!"

Oprah looks at us. "This is very interesting to me."

If you are very interested in The Number®, there are some copies left in major bookshops. Look on the remainder tables. But hurry. They won't last long - before they're pulped.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


I am a published author. 

I have a story in a local publication. Some read it and are impressed. They either praise me or dismiss me, which is the same. I am quite pleased at this turn of events.

Once somebody would say, if they said anything, "There goes ol' whasshisname. " Now they say, "There goes ol' Whasshisname, the author."

All in all, I think, life is much improved. I have definitely come up in the world. Maybe I should be fitted for a tweed smoking jacket with leather elbows. It's no good pretending everything is the same now.

And then suddenly one early afternoon I stop dead in my tracks. I had been on my way to the local diner to allow them as weren't writers to observe one who was, a rare opportunity for the poor proles.

What stopped me was a contemplation of my method of composition. For the first time, I began to wonder if my private process as a writer might be the talk of the town, as I figured my new tweed jacket would be. All those intimate portraits of the artist alone in his den, in his bath even, once he has been recognized as a genius, such a bother. Is there no privacy at long last once fame comes calling?

My creative work on the published story, for instance, consisted in copying it word for word out of the Atlantic.

Now, really, is this anybody's business? Who really bothers with inspiration? One pretends to channel old George Eliot, that other one studies the bon mots of Balzac in translation, while I see my my own m├ętier somewhat more directly.

I wonder, should I relate this matter to the press? Say, toss it out, like another author might let on she always does a first draft in longhand, or dictates to a secretary while in the bath? My own source
may never be discovered, after all, as many original screenplays are only borrowed from literary classics, on the assurance no one who goes to the movies reads. I doubt anyone who reads me would be familiar with a writer published in the Atlantic, after all.

But it is a puzzler, this moral conundrum. After all, I only want what's right for me, which is the essence of scruples. And I am a most scrupulous person.

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