Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Story Every Day #12: Friends

I've usually skirted around novellas or pretended with some portion of my brain that they don't exist and now I'm coming around. It took me a while to come around to short stories too. I think this reluctance to embrace shorter forms has something to do propensity as a child to find the heaviest book in the library or store so I could sink into it for longer.

I bounced around the internet tonight looking for ideas about novellas and found, in addition to John Madera's long list of recommended ones, this set of ideas about the form. (The link to the list is near the bottom.) I'd be happy for any recommendations or thoughts on the subject.

Here are a couple other things I've enjoyed tonight:

IsReads is a poetry journal that exists as individual poems posted in public spaces. Pretty sweet. I'd like to see an issue done in chalk or posted with pens attached to invite public editing. The results would certainly be monstrous but I think the issue itself would be an interesting extension of the journal's insertion of poems into everyday public life.

The Drunken Moogle is a blog for people who like video games and enjoy alcohol. It features cocktails that you might enjoy even if you don't like booze but you do like pretty things. The Phoenix Down looks most thematically wonderful, despite being essentially a sunrise (but shouldn't it be Fenix Down?).

Here's another story every day: Friends.

I figured out if I cut off parts of myself those parts will grow back the rest of me. They will actually grow another me. It's like a star fish sort of except even the smallest part will do it. Like the way I found out was actually pretty terrible. It was this thing with the blender, and this wedge of ice had stuck in the blades and I had my hand in there with freezing margarita mix and tequila and then I didn't have the tip of my finger anymore. I mean not like a lot but enough. Do you know what it looked like? What was left? It was like looking at a lasagna. Or like bloody paper. All these pores. I sucked on the thing and jumped around and wiped it with a paper towel and still blood welled up out of it.

So anyway I thought about the hospital but then really. I stuck the little chunk of myself in the freezer and drank the tequila straight and then way later like maybe at three or four I got woken up by banging in the kitchen. From inside the freezer. I thought the ice machine was going but then I remembered that was my last place. That had the ice machine.

It was a good thing I was so numb because when I opened the door there was this arm flopping around there and some of a shoulder and veins hanging loose, blood getting onto the frozen pizza boxes, all syrupy. I took the arm out and had no idea what to do and thought this must be a dream and then I threw it in the bathtub and went back to sleep. And that was fine and really had to be a dream but then the next morning I got up and a me was in the bathroom, sitting on the tub.

"Hey," he said.

We didn't talk about it, which was good. I got real curious about all this but I wasn't about to mutilate myself so I mutilated him. What I did was I threw this big party for us and then when he was trying at the citrus press I took the knife we'd been using on limes and used it on his finger instead. He was too pissed to punch me and I threw the finger into my closet. It was the whole thing, two joints and all, and you should have heard it skip over the floor. The sound made me glad I don't have carpet.

I slept with the bedroom door locked but I didn't have to, the other me was dead asleep, and I knew because in the morning he was on the couch with that stump unwrapped and blood seeping into the upholstery and a t-shirt I'd loaned him. That got me thinking about the finger and sure enough in the closet there was another friend. He wasn't entirely ready to go yet you could tell and it was easy to get all five toes off one foot. What wasn't so easy was figuring out what to do with them. I ended up fanning them out in the office and then later that afternoon I had seven new friends. Where this goes next I'm not entirely sure. To see it one way I've got all these mes wanting nachos and I've only got one computer and the one TV. To see it another way I've got an unlimited supply of meat. I keep thinking about how I sucked my finger after the blender and about how something in that blood tasted so good, so good.


  1. Those are really great ideas for IsReads. I hope you don't mind if I hawk them when I'm posting poems for the next issue.

  2. That list of novellas (plus comments) is amazing. I've been looking for more novellas in my life right now, as I sort of seem to be writing one, and would like to continue to write them--I'd echo Kyle Minor's thoughts on why it's a great form. I looked up the Halldor Laxness and the Ted Chiang (who has come highly recommended before now, and whom I never really got around to checking out--Your Stories, I think, looks a little more up my alley than the Seventy-Two Letters). Thinking about buying them soon.

  3. ce: Sounds great! I'm thinking the most interesting alterations or annotations or whatever would be retaliations from people who feel the poems are striking too deeply into their everyday lives or who for whatever reason get really hooked by a piece and come back on a lunch break or something to read it again and make a note or something.

    Tracy: I'll check those out, and will hope you write a little about them when you finish. I'm reading Ben Brooks's An Island of Fifty and am intrigued by the density of the thing. It's less than two hundred pages and a lot of the print is tall and wide but it's slow going, in a good way. The word choice is intensely poetic at times and tight. The whole thing, so far at least, is like a perfect meld of long-form scope and short-form economy.