Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ten Things I Found in an Old Notebook

Here are ten things I found in an old notebook of mine. Once you read them, they are yours.

The first paragraphs of an essay I was calling "On Judging Books," which was meant to outline how I approach book reviews.

A very weird beginning of a short story told in first person from the perspective of a some sort program accessed through voice recognition software. 

A recipe for "Lonely Asshole Pie." 

A short story about a junky who shoots up oil paint, slices open his fingers, and paints canvases with his own blood. (Most likely inspired by William Burroughs.)

A list of words that people probably mispronounce until they hear someone else say them, for example, lingerie, albeit, and colonel.

A fictional anecdote (that is, an overlong, bad joke) about being frightened of proctors after mentally connecting proctor with proctologist.

A fan letter to Neil Gaiman that I never sent.

This sentence, written high up on an otherwise blank page:
My god, she even has beautiful feet!

This bad poem:
A Man's here to take me away
I don't know where he wants me to go,
But it's gotta be better than this, so
I've no motivation to stay.

There's more of it, but it only gets worse. I've been binge-watching Doctor Who this week; I wonder what was going on when I wrote this?

And, finally, the beginning of the three-word Wednesday I mention here. It remains unfinished. Someone want to finish it for me?

   The elevator is always crowded at this time of morning. I usually bypass it and take the stairs, but it is a Monday morning, and I'm groggy and irritable. So I waited with the pack in the hallway for that Pavlovian ding that would signify the actual start of the workday.
   The crowd of people bottlenecked through the doors, jostling for a place against the elevator wall. It took three tries for the elevator doorsto slide shut because somoene wasn't fully inside. But shut they did, and I was immediately reminded of why I don't take the elevator.
   The buxom woman next to me was a bot too fragrant; her morning perfume spritz hadn't had the opportunity to wear down yet. Coffee breath and body odor broke through and blended with her aroma, creating a noisome stench that only seemed to grow as the elevator began its ascent.
   And, of course, no one said a word about it.
   Halfway between the third and fourth floors, the elevator shuddered. The lights went out. The elevator stopped.
   Someone said, "Oh, shit," and there was a collective sigh, which only tainted and strengthened the coffee breath stench.
   Brief power outages were a monthly occurrence in this building, more so during summer, when the industrial-sized air conditioners sucked up power like water through a straw. The electricity nomrally returned in less than a minute, which is why we all remained so calm.
   At first.
   I don't know how much time passed in the rising heat and choking stench of that black box, but at some point, the darkness was pierced by the glowing screen of someone's iPhone. One by one, tiny LCD screens lighted the small space as people checked their e-mail, texted bosses and staff, and even played Angry Birds.

What now? You're stuck in a dark, smelly elevator crammed with people and have no idea when you'll be able to get off. Or if.

I have a vague recollection that I wanted to play out Lord of the Flies in a stuck elevator. But beyond that, I have no idea where this was going to go. It's up to you. Consider this your creative writing prompt of the day.