Saturday, April 3, 2010

Uh ... It's Friday ... Already?

Wow. I shoulda known! Here it is, Friday already -- in fact, it's just become Saturday (for about 19 minutes)-- and I haven't posted that piece of fiction I was hoping to post!

I've thought it over throughout the week. I really can't spare the time right now since I'm working hard on my current WIP and have to finish that draft this month.

So, although I really want to post some fiction here every Friday, looks like I'll have to postpone it for a while.

Somehow I'll find a way, though, if I can. It's a good idea. A little "side project" to distract me even as I focus primarily on my WIP. Nonetheless, if I need that time for the WIP, the WIP comes first.

I'll see what I can work out. Maybe an ongoing serial, posted one scene at a time.


I'll check back in during April. Meanwhile, you can follow my main blog, Chronicling the Novel, and see how it's going over there!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hmm . . . .

Other than the prologue previously posted, I haven't shared much of my writing on this blog! This is because the stuff I write is geared toward publication, whenever I can get it out the door, so I don't want to give too much away. But, by golly, I'd like to share some writing here!

I've never been a fan of flash fiction, but perhaps I can find time to create short, short, short stories, or moderately-edited flash fiction to share. Some bloggers take part in various challenges where they post an excerpt one day each week, to give them something to produce and share on a regular basis. I've always avoided that, but perhaps the time has come for me to give it a try.

I'll start something this coming week. I'll post it every Friday, and it'll be short and self-contained each time, just a fragment or scene or incredibly short story, and in each case I'll base it off a title, a word, or an image. Something to kick-start the weekly piece. The point will be to keep my writing flowing, to allow myself to write something that I don't have a lot of stakes attached to, and to share samples of my prose and -- here's the really cool part -- possibly receive some feedback and/or encouragement, which would be delightful.

Check back, and feel free to share your comments if, and when, you have anything to comment on!



Saturday, November 1, 2008



A classroom in Memphis.

Friday, November 9th.

Mr. Wexler tapped his ruler against his desk, a sign for his sixth-grade students to quiet down and listen up.

The students took their seats and focused their eyes on the front of the room.

"It's time for our literature lesson," Mr. Wexler said.

"Oh!" the students mourned.

"Yes, I'm afraid it's true. Today we are going to study the story of Jack and Jill."

"But that's a nursery rhyme!" Tyler said.

"A kids' story!" Trisha said.

"For little kids!" Tommy said.

"Yes, perhaps it is, but there is more to it than you may be aware. Can anyone recite the rhyme?"

Eileen raised her hand.

Mr. Wexler smiled and nodded to her.

Eileen stood up and cleared her throat.

The other children watched her impatiently.

"Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water."

"Very good," Mr. Wexler said.

"Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after!"

The children burst out laughing.

"Whatever on earth are you laughing at?" Mr. Wexler asked.

Eileen blushed. She quickly resumed her seat and pretended the other children could not see her.

"Eileen farted!" Kyle said.

"It stinks, too!" Kellie said.

"Just like that nursery rhyme!" Kevin said.

"Children, please stop with all that noise!" Mr. Wexler said.

The children laughed another moment then quieted themselves. A few giggles persisted.

Brian raised his hand.

"Yes?" Mr. Wexler said.

"What's there to study about that stupid rhyme?"

"Glad you asked."

"I was wondering, too," Billy said.

"I was wondering more than he was," Beth said smugly.

"Well, I'm glad you were all wondering. You see, the poem seems simple and obvious on the surface, but if we dig deeper, we will see that it contains many more interesting ideas than we might have realized."

"Like what? Kevin said.

"Well, let's deconstruct the poem. Just those two lines. Then you'll see what I'm talking about."

"Deconstruct?" Trisha said.

"Yes," Mr. Wexler said, writing the word on the chalkboard. "Deconstruct is a literary term. It means to take things apart. To break them into pieces, so we can see what they are made of."

"The way my little brother broke the birthday present I gave him. He only had it one hour before it was in a hundred pieces!" Kellie said.

"Something like that."

"Is deconstruct anything like self-destruct?" Matthew asked. "Cuz if we read any more books this year, my brain's going to self-destruct!"

"Well, let's deconstruct the poem, then you can decide for yourselves what you think."

"Poem? I thought it was a nursery rhyme!" Tommy shouted.

"Rhymes are poems, dummy!" Tyler said.

"Let's not call each other names," Mr. Wexler said.

"Why not?" Tyler asked. "My folks do it all the time at home!"

Linda raised her hand.

Mr. Wexler nodded to her.

"Tell us what the poem means, if you think it means something other than what it says," Linda said.

"Yeah," Tommy said.

"Tell us!" the class shouted.

Mr. Wexler smiled. "To begin with, let me point out that sometimes it's not what a story says, but what it doesn't say, that reveals something about it. We have two children, named Jack and Jill. Who were they? Does anyone know?"

"Brother and sister?" Eileen said.

"Possibly. But what if they weren't brother and sister? Who else might they have been?"

"Cousins!" Kellie shouted.

"Or?" Mr. Wexler smiled. "Think of the possibilities! Stretch your imaginations!"

"They were twins," Tyler said.

"Good one. Any other ideas?"

"They were Marxist revolutionaries," Harold said. He rarely spoke in class, and it was always a big deal when he said something.

The class looked at him, wide-eyed.

"That's a very interesting theory," Mr. Wexler said.

"What's a Marxist revolutionary?" Matthew whispered to Sarah.

Sarah shrugged.

"I know!" Herbert shouted. "She was a ho, and he was her pimp!"

The class burst out laughing.

Even Mr. Wexler laughed. "I'm not sure about that one, but it offers an intriguing new perspective on a poem we all thought we knew so well."

"Jack is a faggot, and Jill is his boyfriend, a transsexual," George said.

"Let's watch our language," Mr. Wexler said. "We shouldn't use derogatory words like faggot."

"But you let him say ho and pimp!" George protested, pointing at Herbert.

"And you let Harold say Marxist revolutionary, whatever that means!" Trisha said.

"Well, we're off to a good start, in any case," Mr. Wexler said. "You see already that there may be more to this poem than you had first imagined. Now, let's consider the hill. Why did they go up the hill?"

"To fetch a pail of water!" Tyler shouted in a tone that suggested any idiot would know that.

"But why was the water up the hill? Why wasn't it down in the village where the people lived? I mean, after all, when you dig a well, you have to dig down deep, so why build a well on top of a hill, where you'll only have to dig that much more?"

The class sat quietly a moment, contemplating.

"I know," Annie said, raising her hand.

Mr. Wexler nodded to her.

"It's because they lacked common sense! My dad says everybody lacks common sense these days! Especially the way they drive!"

Harold raised his hand.

The class quieted, curious that Harold would speak twice on the same day, let alone during the same lesson.

"It's because the rich capitalist oppressors live on the high ground where they have a commanding view of their vast land holdings, while the poor live at the lower elevations which are less protected from invaders and more easily flooded. The capitalist oppressors want to control access to the most important natural resource, safe drinking water. Only then can they completely subdue the downtrodden proletariat whom they have enslaved with their capitalist ideology."

The class sat in stunned silence.

"What is capitalist ideology and why are people oppressing other people?" Kellie asked.

Mr. Wexler grinned. "Perhaps that is a larger discussion than we have time for at the moment, but you made another interesting point, Harold. Thank you for speaking up. That's two times today!"

Harold grinned bashfully.

"Next question: why did Jack fall down?" Mr. Wexler asked.

"Because he was high on drugs!" Herbert shouted. "Damned pimp!"

The class burst out laughing.

Herbert rose to his feet, did a little dance to show off, which he ended with an ultra-cool smooth glide of his right foot on the floor, before sitting down again. His face beamed with pride.

"I know," Linda said. "It's because Jack is an idiot. All men are idiots. At least, that's what my mother says."

Tommy threw his eraser at Linda, hitting her on the head.

Linda sneered at him, then sat back in her chair, arms crossed, her expression defiant. She sneered again at Tommy, as if to say he had proven her point.

"Jack didn't trip!" Edgar blurted. "The rhyme's a lie!"

The class stared at Edgar in silence. If Harold rarely spoke, Edgar spoke even more rarely.

"That's a distinct possibility," Mr. Wexler said, smiling proudly at Edgar.

"No, that just stinks," Tyler said, waving a hand in front of his face. "Eileen farted again!"

"You're the one!" Eileen said. "You do it all the time!"

"What I want to know," Trisha said, "is why was Jack wearing a crown?"

"He was a king!" Kyle said.

"He was too young to be a king! He was a prince!" Matthew said.

Harold cleared his throat. "Sounds like ageism to me. Denying opportunity to the young, hording wealth and power in the hands of the few on the basis of their age, paying substandard wages to young mothers in urban areas, particularly racial and ethnic minorities. Capitalism fosters such social inequities."

The class stared at Harold in silence.

"After Jack fell down," Harold continued, "his parents no doubt rushed him to the emergency room, which turned him away since his poor family lacked the proper insurance, and when they finally found a hospital that would treat him, he had already bled internally for so long that he suffered permanent brain damage. Now he is further reduced in his opportunities while the rich get richer."

"But they're not poor," Kellie said. "He was wearing a crown!"

"The word crown refers to his head," Harold said plainly. "It's an archaic usage, one that persists in nursery rhymes and other odd pieces of sexist, homophobic, Euro-centric, religiously-intolerant, racially-bigoted, male-dominated capitalist propaganda."

The class stared at Harold, unsure what to make of his unusually talkative attitude, or the things he talked about.

"And notice that Jill came tumbling after," Harold concluded, "which symbolizes the oppression of women, because the men fall first, and then the women. Jill was not permitted to fall until Jack had fallen."

"But why did they fall?" Trisha asked.

"Because they're all a bunch of idiots," Linda said.

The class burst out laughing.

MEANWHILE, at 23 Hammond Place, Wickford, the home of the Royal British Philosophical & Philological Society Museum Archives, Annex 2, in the maze of corridors which ran below street level, specifically in Chamber 8, which had been sealed shut for decades upon decades, there sat an ancient manuscript, long neglected, rolled and sealed, its container dust-covered and faded, including the label which ran around the oblong leather canister, bearing the solitary word "FORBIDDEN".

The manuscript told the tale of two boys, aged seventeen, whose names were spelled J-A-C-Q-U-E-S and G-I-E-L. Although its ultimate origin was unknown, the story had been translated into English from a Flemish codex in 1643. While the French pronounced Jacques like Jacques, the British of that time preferred to pronounce it like its English equivalent, "Jack". Similarly, while the Dutch pronounced G-I-E-L with a strongly guttural initial consonant, "Kheel", the British chose to pronounce it "Jeel", which is very similar to but slightly distinct from the English name "Jill", which refers to a girl, where Giel refers to a boy.

Centuries-old scholarly writings contained within the same vault attested to the fact that the story contained in this manuscript eventually formed the basis for the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme, though in much-altered form. The scholarly papers also revealed that this was the only surviving manuscript in any language which contained a record of this story.

As the Society had worked hard to ensure.

What follows is the complete text of that manuscript, updated to current English usage, with no change in meaning from the original translation.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Yes, for the first time, I'm actively seeking Beta Readers! Here's my "Beta Reader FAQ":

Who can be a Beta Reader?

  1. Anyone who reads a lot, particularly Fantasy, GLBT fiction, YA Fiction. Other genres are helpful, too!

  2. Other serious, aspiring writers (or published ones!).

What does a Beta Reader do?

Simply put, the job is to read a given work (one of my novels) and comment on it! You can read one of my stories or many over time, according to your interest and availability.

How are the novels furnished to Beta Readers?

Two ways. The first (best for longer excerpts or entire works) is in eBook format using Mobipocket Reader(tm). This text viewing program is available free over the internet from the Mobi website. The Reader enables you to view/read downloaded files (eBooks) using your PC, smartphone or PDA. It also allows you to add comments directly to the eBook (you can then email the file back to me).

Second, you can also read available chapters online by visiting my password-protected blog created just for the purpose of sharing manuscripts with Beta Readers. In this case, you would send me your comments by email or post them as comments on that blog, which is called ADRIAN'S ARCHIVES. If you'd like more information about visiting my secure blog, see
this posting.

Are there any restrictions?

By agreeing to become a Beta Reader, you express your agreement with the following terms:

  1. You must keep the stories confidential. Since they are intended for possible publication, it is absolutely imperative that you do not share the stories with others, or disseminate them in any way. Most especially, this means not posting the stories on the internet in any form whatsoever, which would effectively nullify their potential commercial value.

  2. There is no compensation (payment) for your services. Think of it this way: you are helping a serious, hard-working aspiring writer to improve toward becoming a published writer, and you get to read some interesting stories before the general public does! And, if you are also an aspiring writer, I would be happy to reciprocate and share feedback with you regarding your own stories!

It's that simple!

If you're interesting in helping a serious, hard-working, aspiring writer become a published novelist (that's me!), then please contact me by posting a comment to this blog posting, or by emailing me at:

americanauthor [AT]
yahoo [DOT] com

Thank you!